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'Nikita' Season 1, Episode 17 Recap

by Laura Prudom, posted Apr 8th 2011 7:30AM
Shane West and Maggie Q['Nikita' - 'Covenants']

It's been a long, cold hiatus, and we're sure Michael's a little sore from sitting in Nikita's lair for the past six weeks, so let's cut right to the chase.

In many ways, this is the episode that fans have been waiting for since Michael first spared Nikita's life in the pilot; we've watched their fractious relationship oscillate between antagonism and barely-concealed lust for the last 16 episodes, and that simmering sexual tension finally reached its boiling point tonight.

We knew we were in for a volatile episode as soon as Kasim's name was dropped, but I doubt many of us were able to predict the surprise that was waiting for Michael -- and us -- when the two finally came face to face.

Nothing is ever as it seems on 'Nikita,' so maybe I should've seen Kasim's involvement with Division coming (and maybe some of you did?). But the cat-and-mouse chase between him and Michael was executed with such tension and style in 'One Way,' I guess this was a case of being unable to see the forest for the trees.

Regardless, it's no surprise that Percy's deception runs far deeper than anyone imagined: He's always seemed like an "ends justify the means" kind of guy, and despite all of his infinite contingency plans I'm sure he never foresaw a future where Kasim and Michael would ever break bread and discuss just what a manipulative S.O.B the head of Division actually is.

I must admit, I was a little baffled by Percy's logic in demanding that Michael's full focus stay on the mission at hand rather than tracking Kasim -- it seemed wildly counterproductive; even if Percy was doing his darndest to keep Michael from ever actually confronting the terrorist again, he had to realize that Michael's focus would be wholly on his arch-nemesis as soon as Michael caught a whiff of Kasim's scent, regardless of his orders. We'll chalk that one up to a case of convenient writing, since Percy obviously needed a reason to pontificate over the black boxes and his scheme to bring down the government ... which is a pretty bold move, even for an egomaniac like Percy. I hope we get to see at least some of the contents of the mythic boxes before the season ends.

But that twist wasn't the main draw for a number of 'Nikita' fans, I'm guessing ... Not only were we treated to a flashback of Michael and Nikita's first away mission, out from under the "big Division eye," we also got a peek at their first kiss -- with many more to come, judging by that steamy ending.

The dynamic between the pair was note-perfect this week. Though Michael caught Nikita in a vulnerable position at the beginning of the episode, our femme fatale had more than turned the tables by the time she captured Kasim: Her terse, take-no-prisoners call to Michael from Russia was one of the season's most memorable moments to date, a sharp reminder to her former handler that the first time you dare to underestimate her could likely be the last.



Still, do any of us believe that either of these lovesick puppies could actually kill each other if push came to shove? Despite who he works for, Michael is intrinsically good and, as Nikita pointed out this week, entirely incapable of not caring. And Nikita's blind spot for Michael is almost as big as it was for fiancé Daniel. It was a little startling to see our super-spy so visibly shaken after Michael destroyed her computer and stormed out of her lair at the start of the episode. Their relationship is certainly the most compelling aspect of an increasingly unmissable show, as far as I'm concerned.

I found the costume choices especially interesting this week. Both times Michael turned up at Nikita's apartment, her clothing was soft and feminine, from her neutral sweater at the beginning of the episode to the sheer, loose-knit sweater-dress at the end. Not to get too subtextual on you, but I couldn't help but draw parallels between Nikita's vulnerability with Michael and her attire, especially when her mission clothing is generally so utilitarian. She rarely lets her guard down with anyone (her more "girly" clothing is always reserved for when she's alone in her apartment or with Alex -- even when she's on a seductive mission, there's something sharp-edged and vampish about her revealing gowns), and I liked that the costuming seemed to reflect her subconscious trust in Michael. I can't wait to see where they take the relationship from here now that Michael has switched sides, since Nikita once again has a capable mole inside Division, while Alex's tenuous position leaves her spy future uncertain (though surely not for long).

Speaking of Alex ... she was, alas, stuck in CW-land this week. Though executive producer Craig Silverstein has said in a number of interviews that Alex leaving Division and meeting Nathan was always part of the game-plan for season one, the show does tend to slip into the shortcomings of its network in their scenes together. Maybe it's because Nathan's just so darn "CW pretty." Not that I'm complaining about the eye-candy, of course, but it feels like a waste of Lyndsy Fonseca's considerable skill when she's tangled up in romantic melodrama -- the exception being her excellent performance in 'Echoes,' when that relationship and the freedom it represented in her hallucination was in direct opposition to her supposed destiny as head of Zetrov.

I understand that the romance with Nathan gives Alex real-world stakes -- something else she loves that can be used against her by Division -- and from a character standpoint, it makes sense, but something always tends to frustrate me about their scenes together, and I felt that they were the weakest part of this otherwise thrilling episode.

Between 'The Vampire Diaries' and 'Nikita,' I must admit that I'm impressed with the fearless storytelling style the CW has engendered on Thursday nights -- it seems that many new shows are trying to buck the 'Lost' trend and avoid stretching their mythology out unnecessarily over multiple seasons, though I do worry that this breathless pace will cause the shows to stumble as they progress. Apparently, showrunner Silverstein has 'Nikita' plotted out at least until season three, though, so I have high hopes that the series can keep up its breakneck momentum without getting too bogged down in mythology and dramatic hand-wringing. There's a lot to be said for serialized storytelling, and after marathoning the whole of 'Nikita' over the course of three days last week, I can vouch that the current arc certainly leaves you wanting more.

I also want to give a shout-out to the outstanding direction and editing this week; in particular, the scene in which Nikita broke into the ballet to interrupt Kasim's meeting with Ari Tasarov. Everything, from the music, to the timing of the fight sequences interspersed with the ballet rehearsal, to the subtle humor of the Nikita's actions, just worked, and it's well worth a repeat watch.

'Nikita' airs Thursdays, 9PM ET on The CW.

What was your favorite moment from the episode? Did you predict Kasim's involvement with Division before it happened? Were you glad that Nikita and Michael finally sealed the deal and acted on that sizzling sexual tension? Share your thoughts below!

Follow Laura on Twitter: @LauinLA.

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Ally

Amazing review. The episode was epic, put me through a whole range of emotions. Bawling after the revelation the Kasim worked for Division, getting excited over the Michael/Nikita loving and being angry and intrigued during the blackmailing, lies and deceit.
Didn't really like the Nathan and Alex scenes, but when put against Michael and Nikita how could they compete. They felt unnecessary the more he talked the more you realised he doesn't know Alex, she doesn't know him if they haven't bothered to discuss whether his family is dead or alive so what is so great about their relationship.
The flashbacks really draw you in it's amazing, I wanted more and more. I still do.
The background music for their flashbacks was really good.
Their first kiss/makeout was golden the intense moment as they stop to talk was equally as amazing as when they were making out.
Then the final scene, if that isn't the definition of steamy I don't know what is. Truly hot, when he pushed her against the wall I assure you fans everywhere were squealing, I know I was. Only complaint: they cut it before he took her to the bed.

Peace out.

April 09 2011 at 7:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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April 08 2011 at 11:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
emily

Nikita is abosolutely amazing. Well worth the wait...although it was still very long! Maggie Q is a goddess and Mikita is divine. (:

April 08 2011 at 11:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chiyuu

great recap!
i totally missed the thing with the costumes and you were totally right!
this episode was beyond epic.
the show MUST be renewed for many many seasons to come!

April 08 2011 at 11:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sally Holland

Wonderful article! This was such an amazing episode.

April 08 2011 at 11:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
londongirl

What a fantastic recap! i also thought the same thing about the cotumes Nikita wore this week.

April 08 2011 at 9:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sabrina D. Shaw

Anyone who says the show is all about sex clearly doesn't watch regularly. 2 episodes out of 18 for Mikita to enjoy a passionate reunion? I think that's ok given all the crap they are going through.

April 08 2011 at 9:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Em

Great review!! The episode was amazing.. Shane West and Maggie Q gave us really outstanding perfomances! It would be a crime if the show doesn't get picked up for a second season!

April 08 2011 at 9:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
VeggieShake

The episode was kickass amazing! Maggie Q's and Shane West's acting was superb! I loved the storyline... the intensity of it blew me away. Finally we got to learn about Michael's character and see pieces of Michael and Nikita's story. Loved the episode and love the show! I praise the amazing actors, writers and producers!

April 08 2011 at 9:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Denise

I loveeed the episode!! so amazing

April 08 2011 at 9:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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