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August 1, 2014

'Nikita' Season 1, Episode 6 Recap

by Ryan McGee, posted Oct 22nd 2010 3:30AM

['Nikita' – 'Resistance']

After a brief hiatus, 'Nikita' returned tonight with what proved to be its weakest installment so far. It wasn't so much that the thematic content of the episode was terrible: If you're doing a spy show, matters of who you can trust are pervasive and well worth exploring. But 'Resistance' didn't so much explore it as explain it, with dialogue replaced by character motivation directly delivered.

On top of that, the episode tried to be twisty and turning and instead ended up seeming like a pal imitator of the camp classic film 'Wild Things,' with an increasingly insane number of plot "twists" that were simply mere reversals. Inside of providing a sense of disorientation, they simply provided a sense of déjà vu. They weren't twists so much as one of those Russian dolls that, when opened, simply reveal similar yet smaller ones inside. By the end, I half-expected one of the villains from one of those old 'Scooby-Doo' cartoons to come out and tell Alex they would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for those meddlesome Division kids.

At the heart of the long con tonight lay Percy's suspicion of Michael. After the Birkhoff-aided break-in while Percy was in Montreal, it makes sense that Michael is in his boss' crosshairs. It's less clear why Percy knew to use Alex as bait. While we have been told that Michael has a weakness for her that borders on the one that he has for Nikita, we haven't exactly seen it onscreen. Moreover, it makes the Michael/Nikita dynamic less ... well, DYNAMIC, if his attitudes toward her can be transferred to another character in the show. At the gas station, 'Nikita' seemed almost to be trying to throw a love triangle our way with these three; if so, Alex is welcome to put a bullet into me. Forget the blanks: I want the real thing.

Having Alex break so early during her tortured interrogation might have seemed a bit quick, but it was a good reminder that for all her skills, she's still very green when it comes to actual experience. One year ago, as tonight's episode showed, she was just a homeless girl sleeping under bridges. After getting hooked up with Nikita, a warm place to sleep, and a copy of "Hacking Division for Dummies," she's come a long way, for sure. But that distance is still relative, and breaking within minutes proved that she's not Supergirl. That's important, since it gives her 1) room to grow as a character, but also 2) room to actually separate herself from her former mentor's mentality.

Speaking of the former mentor, it's unclear if the writers of the show have a bet that they can give Maggie Q the worst lines of dialogue in the history of television or not, but it looks like the exposition-heavy lines have slightly broken her spirit. Not a good sign only six episodes into the show's run. Her scenes with Owen this week were ruined by the fact that everyone watching the show figured out before she did that he killed her ex-fiancée. For someone who used to spend all day scouring newspapers for signs of Division, she sure didn't see the signs of guilt all over Owen's face upon telling him about the circumstances surrounding Daniel's death.

His escape from her safehouse allows the show to organically build up a relationship between the two of them over the season, as the search for the eight black boxes will more than likely serve as backdrop for the other Mission of the Week episodes. Will that relationship be platonic or romantic? Hard to say, but either way, it hopefully lightens Nikita up a bit. Her bleak past has been rehashed to death at this point: It's time for her to mount up and kick some butt instead of sitting around moping about it.

"The truth is what we choose to believe," Michael told Alex near the episode's end. Again: that's not a bad idea to hang an episode upon. It's even better when it remains simply an idea and not something underlined, highlighted and constantly repeated throughout the hour. If this episode started us down a path in which Nikita/Owen take down Division from the outside while Alex/Michael do so on the inside, that's all well and good. But that doesn't mean this hour in and of itself served as a viable hour of entertainment. However, I will take a cue from Michael and chose to believe things will get better. Because the alternative is quite frankly depressing.

A few bullets about tonight's episode:

– Alex's "true confession that read as a cover" might have reminded 'Lost' fans of Sayid's hysterical interrogation during Season 5 under the influence of Oldham's drugs.

– Did Nikita have a tracker planted on her while at Division? Or were those installed by Percy as a post-Nikita precautionary measure?

– Division has some pretty cheesy names for its various levels of employees. Guardians. Reapers. Can't wait for the episode in which Nikita battles a group of Debilitators. They are like the Dementors from the 'Harry Potter' series, only with more ninja skills.

What did you think of 'Resistance'? Did you give into it, or push it away? Leave your thoughts below!

'Nikita' airs Thursdays at 9PM ET on the CW.

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GerryofNorVA

Ryan, your second paragraph is awesome critique-prose. If you put music to it, it'd be a hit song. I stopped watching this implausibly idiotic series after ep3 but I still like to read your writeups since it typically validates my decision.

BTW, except for all the obvious differences, doesn't "Nikita" have the look and feel of "Dollhouse", another female-dominant show I tried to like but couldn't ?

October 25 2010 at 12:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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