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August 27, 2014

'Nikita' Season 1, Episode 22 (Season Finale) Recap

by Laura Prudom, posted May 13th 2011 12:45AM
Maggie Q. and Lyndsy Fonseca['Nikita' - 'Pandora']

After tonight's episode, it's all too tempting to simply type "WOW," and leave it at that, but such brevity would do a great disservice to the phenomenal writing, acting and pacing of the 'Nikita' season finale, and this tenacious little show deserves as much praise as it can get.

We've already established that 'Nikita' is one of the best new shows that most people aren't watching, and I can only hope that the CW sees what a diamond in the rough it has on its hands when next week's upfront presentations roll around: If 'Nikita' isn't back on the schedule next fall, I might have to go rogue, Nikita style, and infiltrate CW headquarters to give the higher-ups a piece of my mind.

It's rare that a show can establish such labyrinthine mythology -- multi-layered and unpredictable -- whilst still managing to keep the plotting clear and logical (I'm looking at you, 'Alias'). Between the backstabbing, double-crossing and shifting allegiances, 'Pandora' pulled out some pretty heavy political maneuvering, and yet Percy's motives and plans were crystal clear, for the first time all season.

The hour contained so many twists and turns that I'm not certain which way is left and which is right at this point; true, none of us believed that Nikita was dead, but Alex's motives were definitely in question, and look to remain that way if the show is granted a second season.

Melinda Clarke once again proved herself MVP after 42 minutes of play; from her decision to deactivate Alex's kill chip by, well, killing her, to her startling involvement in Oversight in the episode's final moments, I finally understood what the actress meant when she told me that "Amanda truly is one of the most dangerous human beings on the planet, but also probably one of the best teachers at the same time," in a recent interview.

She truly did give Alex an out -- she instructed her to walk away, to avoid going back to Nikita and making herself vulnerable once again, but Alex ignored her warning and entangled herself in Oversight's affairs instead. It's likely that Amanda knew Alex would be incapable of simply walking away without confronting Nikita, of course, but the offer was there, and Amanda was protecting what she saw as one of her most valuable assets. I found it especially telling that she admitted that she held on to Nikita too tightly, and didn't want to make the same mistakes with Alex, choosing to let her go instead.

I was also thrilled to see the return of the Michael/Birkhoff bromance this week -- as sarcastic and socially inept as Birkhoff may be, he's never struck me as a "bad guy," so much as a selfish one. He turns a blind eye to Percy's double dealings the same way Michael did in the past, but it's good to know that the hacker has a heart of gold beneath those sloppy sweaters, and that he'll be working to give Division the middle finger behind his back for as long as Percy keeps him alive.

As fascinated as I am in regards to where Alex, Nikita and Michael will go from here, I must admit that it's Percy's exit strategy I'm really curious about. Michael and Nikita have a ticking timebomb of incriminating information riding shotgun with them, his plans to take down the CIA were derailed, and now Oversight appears to be moving against him, with two of his assets, Amanda and Alex, potentially at the helm. Where can he go from here, and would Oversight dare to remove him while he still has the black boxes at his disposal?

Many shows give the unnerving impression that they don't actually know where they're heading over the course of a season -- storylines are diverted, characters are added or outstay their welcome because of supposed "cast chemistry," and sometimes showrunners change their plots on a dime "just 'cause." One of the most enjoyable aspects of 'Nikita' has been the careful groundwork the creative team has laid this year -- it's fascinating to see how supposedly throwaway lines, such as Roan the Cleaner's observation about flushing the toxins out of Jaden's body before her acid bath, were all planted for a reason, to tie into revelations in the finale that would have made no sense otherwise.

Viewers can now go back and rewatch the season and clearly see the signs of Percy's endgame littered throughout: the missions he led Nikita on simply to implicate her in other crimes, the weapons or intel he was actually seeking out while distracting her with a human target. Such sharp, intelligent writing is rare on broadcast networks these days, and it's refreshing to know that a creative team respects its audience enough not to spoon-feed us these revelations, nor telegraph them the way other shows might.

If I have one slight niggle (and it is slight), it's only the unnecessary use of CGI to enhance the ominous looking sky that Nikita and Michael are driving off towards. I understand that the writers want to evoke storm clouds on the horizon as outside forces gather against our heroes, but the thunder and lightning felt too melodramatic in a show that doesn't need fancy gimmicks to convey a sense of danger or dread.

Still, at this point, it's nitpicking for nitpicking's sake, and even a little CGI silliness doesn't detract from a sharp, shocking and undeniably thrilling finale we were treated to tonight. I can't wait to see where this unique show progresses from here, now that the Chess pieces have repositioned themselves in some unpredictable ways.

What was your favorite part of 'Pandora'? Who do you think Alex will align herself with next year? Are you hoping the show returns for a second season? Share your thoughts and reactions below!

Follow Laura on Twitter: @LauinLA

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Ally

What did I enjoy most Michael/Birkhoff/Nikita 'just like old times' it was a comical, action packed, sentimental scene. I really was pleased to see Birkhoff. I always enjoy ensemble episode styles. I really want more Birkhoff, Amanda (who was so amazing, that big needle fmylife) Percy. I as always I love to demand more Michael and Nikita scenes but with the amazingness of the episode I cannot complain. It was cleverly crafted, imaginative and left so many answered questions. This show has to have a season 2 it will be heartwrenching if it did not. I already find the CW a shady network. I would have to join Laura - go rogue and take CW execs. OUT! Because this show is gold is is diverse, fresh and action packed. Maggie Q, Shane West fantastic portrayals of Michael and Nikita as an old viewer of LFN I had reservations but they knocked those reservations out of the park and changed the sport. We need a renewal or me and CW will part ways and I'll be an online watcher instead of the avid live viewer I am!

May 15 2011 at 1:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ally

The finale was explosive and AWESOME. The entire game changed, but without altering the integrity of the show or its characters. Seriously, CW, give this incredible show the chance it deserves--air a couple of marathons of the first season!

Nikita is one of the best shows on television. The actors are stellar and gorgeous, the show is dark, sexy, full of really great action--the kind that makes even a non-action-geek like myself thrilled. Something this adrenaline-filled, a roller coaster ride like Nikita... it deserves a second chance to get good ratings.

@ EludiumQ36 more realistic like the drug that turned off her emotions, or her random "twin"

May 15 2011 at 1:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eludium Q36

Warning: unpopular comment follows.

I honestly gave this show a shot but it lost me with its sheer implausibility. I'm a 30-something guy and it just sets me off when I see size 4's ridiculously overcome men twice their size, and it's even worse when they're armed with uzis. It feels very Josh Whedon with Dollhouse notes, too. It's just too unbelievable, and yes, the original series of Nikita was FAR MORE realistic. This one comes off as geared for tween girls that need that boost of empowering confidence. So maybe that's the problem, I'm entirely the wrong demographic for a girl-lead series on the CW; it seems so clear when expressed that way.

May 13 2011 at 5:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ivy

Action/emotionally-packed finally. So much suspense and at the same time so many heart-breaking moments. Not my favorite episode (just because it felt rushed and because we did not get a Mikita kiss XD), but definitely on my fave list. The show is written intelligently, and all things have a purpose. I hate to see Alex and Nikita break apart, but this also makes for interesting storytelling. I love Mikita on the run (Maggie's and Shane's chemistry is out of this world). I love Amanda's sneakiness and I can't wait to see how Percy is going to get out of the mess he got himself in.
This show better return in September. CW you better announce renewal ASAP ("yesterday would be nice").
The season ended on a high note; I didn't expect less from this show. Writers have a big challenge in keeping this great work throughout S2 (because I am confident we will get one). But I trust Craig and the writers.

Nikita is the best show of the CW (because it keeps away from teenage drama) and definitely underrated. Nikita FTW!

May 13 2011 at 1:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tvnerd

I agree, the writing on this show is ridiculously good, for TV and for the CW. The only thing that scared me last night was that it was so good, that it gave me the impression that the writers wanted to go out on a high if Nikita gets dumped at the upfronts. I don't want anyone thinking that way, I want this show to stick around!

One of my many "dayum! this is good writing" moments was Nikita's escape at Langley. The trash shoot/explosion shot was right out Point of No Return. There were more great moments, but I really enjoyed the allusion to the Bridget Fonda Nikita.

May 13 2011 at 11:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Fan

I just want to say 'WOW' also. Was a fan of La Femme Nikita on USA and this version of Nikita is really good! I have a question about tonight's episode and the Oversight committee - can anyone confirm if it was the former 'Amanda' (Alberta Watson) that was in the shadows, and also who any of the other Oversight people are? Recognized the man's voice, but can't quite place the actor's name and none of them are showing in the IMDB credits and couldn't read the credits under the starting of the news at nine. Thanks!

May 13 2011 at 1:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Fan's comment
shadowracer

I said I would give it a season and I did, I didn't like it at first but all I can say now is Wow.
It's and excellent thriller/action/espionage piece by any measure.
I like that the 3 most interesting characters are female, seriously - you don't get that at all with this genre, especially when its done well.

It really is a like a Bourne series, but with a strong dose of Star Wars(in terms of character relationships). Nikita is Obi-Wan, Alex is Anakin/Vader, and Amanda is the Emperor. At least if they make Alex the villain in Amanda's Division. Which would be really fun to see. It will be like the prequels - if the prequels weren't written by...idk...ink by itself.

May 13 2011 at 1:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chiyuu

great recap! thanks for this!
the show is just so epicly amazeballs that CW would have to be retarded (to unbelievable proportions) to not renew it.
One of the things i really liked was the part where Alex cut the zipline. it was a really nice metaphor to emphasize the severing of ties between Nikita and Alex.

May 13 2011 at 1:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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