'Nikita' Season 1, Episode 5 Recap (VIDEO)
by Ryan McGee, posted Oct 8th 2010 6:15AM
['Nikita' – 'The Guardian']
Black boxes aren't just useful for storing flight information on airplanes. According to 'Nikita,' they are also useful for consolidating power to turn a secret branch of the American government into a superpower unto itself. The overall scope of the show became clearer in tonight's episode, 'The Guardian,' although it's unclear if that clarification actually helped or hurt the show in the long run.
If the show didn't use cheaply obtained pop hits as its soundtrack, The Rolling Stones' classic 'Under My Thumb' would have been a nice musical motif to weave in and out of this episode's various plotlines. Not only would that have literally described a lot of the action (Owen's access to the black box, Alex's access to Percy's office), but also metaphorically described the way in which Division presses down upon individuals unfortunate enough to be drawn into its web. Much like Al Pacino said in 'The Godfather: Part III': Just when these people think they're out, Division keeps pulling them back in.
Having Owen return, albeit against his will/consciousness, with Nikita is an interesting choice to say the least. Given how competent he seemed in the field this week, coupled with Nikita's similarly soft heart , he could be a welcome addition to her hunt to take down Division. On the other hand, having such a helping hand might dilute the power of her singular search, especially in terms of finding the other "Guardians" spread around the globe. Perhaps his insertion into the mix was necessary, however, given the impact of Alex's break-in.
Though her plan to get herself in there on Nikita's behalf spoke volumes about her character's cleverness, it nevertheless produced the possible side effect that conversing with her mentor via encrypted IMs may be a thing of the past. At the very least, her constant unsupervised trips to the computer labs already border on the ridiculous. Division HQ is a lot like Castle over on 'Chuck': both have seemingly limitless resources at their disposal, yet it's seemingly extremely easy to move around as one pleases regardless of any security measures supposedly implemented.
Also moving forward inside Division this week was the Alex/Thom/Jaden love triangle, a nice way for people to take a breather (or a nap) in between the various adrenaline-pumping fight scenes the show manages to churn out on a remarkably consistent basis. The triangle exists for two reasons, neither of which are dramatically all that interesting: 1) It's the CW: Pretty people must be triangulating whenever possible, and 2) Alex's feelings for Thom, even if they remain purely platonic, will nevertheless complicate or outright sabotage Alex's aid to Nikita at a crucial point. Would many people have been upset had Jaden taken the fall for Alex tonight? Probably not, although it would have added a complex, dark shading to Alex's character, making her question her allegiance to Nikita. Oh well.
Outside of Division lay the mythical Black Box, the source of Percy's power. Of course, that's not the sole source of his blackmail material. They are the 'Nikita' version of Lord Voldemort's horcruxes: They're stashed all around the world, hidden from view, and make it impossible to actually kill The Division Leader Who Can Be Named But Is Still Pretty Scary All Things Considered. But did you check out the serial number on that black box? "BB-4905." If Nikita has to find 4,904 more of these boxes before she can pop a cap in her old boss, then this show has seriously optimistic views on its overall time on the air.
A few butterfly bullets about tonight's episode ...
– Love the way Percy uttered the phrase, "It's inevitable," while torturing Owen. Suddenly, "inevitable" has fourteen syllables. Delicious.
– 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' fans probably had some serious déjà vu when watching Emily die via a bullet through the window.
– "He's a blip, a rounding error." Just guessing that won't be what Owen puts on his gravestone as his epitaph.
– Loved the little flinch Michael gave when Percy referred to Owen as Nikita's "boyfriend." Since it was the first time one could use "Michael" and "subtle" in the same sentence without irony, it deserves notice.
– The unnamed assassin talked of "canceling" Owen. Is this the first time in this iteration of 'Nikita' that the infamous gerund has been used? Any insight would be helpful.
– The show has mentioned Nikita's skills at blending in and making people trust her since Day One, but tonight's episode really let those skills shine in a way they hadn't before. Even in last week's episode, flashbacks showed her already having worked her mental mojo, not the actual encounters that led to that trust. But this week out, she used it to enter Owen's building, con his girlfriend, and then secure his cellphone location without having his password. Solid stuff all around, and a welcome addition to the character's skill set.
'Nikita' airs Thurs., 9PM ET on The CW.
Crazily enough, that's the last episode for a few weeks. The show returns two weeks from tonight. Will you? Or will you take this break to move onto something else? Leave your thoughts about the show's initial run below!