Episode 6: Sidesweep
By: Carlos Uribe
Nikita is a show about a female spy who does missions for a secret, undercover government agency.
Sidesweep is an episode that deals with the theme of sacrifice. It was made pretty self-evident when characters kept bringing up the idea of sacrifice. Ari brings up that Amanda just needs to sacrifice time in order to get the resources she needs to seek her revenge on Nikita. Amanda tries to teach Nikita that she's going to have to sacrifice the people she cares about in order to beat her. What Amanda wasn't expecting is that the same attribute, caring, that she sees as a weakness is a strength to Nikita. She's properly motivated when her loved ones are in danger. Amanda also suffers from that same weakness as she really cares about trying to make Nikita suffer. It's because Nikita is unwilling to give up on the people that she cares about, even just a tiny bit, and her realization that Amanda actually wants Nikita alive that allows Nikita to beat the lesson. She's able to get Amanda to not press the remote trigger on some bombs that a new potentially recurring character, Cyrus, was sitting on. Everyone is able to get out alive because Amanda overestimated Nikita's intelligence and willingness to sacrifice herself if she was wrong. Sidesweep is an episode that is indeed about sacrifice but it's about what sacrifice one should make.
Take Nikita. She's willing to sacrifice her life for someone she just met this episode. She's willing to go towards a bomb controlled by a sociopath that seeks to destroy her. Nikita's loyalty is one of her finest attributes but it does put her in huge risk. Now compare her to Sonia. One of the biggest surprises in the episode comes when it's revealed that Sonia was the one sending Amanda all of the coded messages. Sonia has been Amanda's mole this whole time. It was such a big shock that it almost seemed out of character. There is no way that the character who turned the old Division against Amanda was working with her to bring down the new Division. It turns out that she had a good reason. Amanda had placed a kill chip inside her body and was forcing her to be a mole. That gas bomb was meant to warn her to stay away from medical. Sonia was being forced into being a mole. Sonia isn't a character who is used to being in harm's way, like Nikita. She wasn't willing to sacrifice her own life in order to protect the lives of the main cast. It's true that she doesn't have the same relationship with them as Birkoff has with them but Nikita was willing to risk her own life for someone she had just met. Sonia would have learned Amanda's lesson but Nikita was able to undermine it.
Sidesweep wasn't completely about sacrifice. It was also about Alex's struggle with drugs. She used to be an addict and she's now using her pain medication. This has put her on edge and making her push too hard in training. She's pushing herself to go on field work. This is because she's hoping that being on the field will allow her to stop concentrating on the emotional damage of Sean leaving her and the rage that being back on drugs is putting her on. The characters haven't figured out that she's gotten addicted to her medicine yet but they're bound to realize it sooner or later. Sean does make an appearance this episode to save Alex when she gets ambushed by a large team of the bad guys. He's trying to convince Alex that he's over her by stating that he did a job and that it meant nothing. This is only going to push Alex deeper into her current state of internal chaos.
Sidesweep was a pretty good episode of Nikita that largely dealt with sacrifice. The only major issue is that it simply felt the need to state it's theme over and over again. We get it show, this episode is about sacrifice. This served as the mid-season finale but it didn't have a classic cliff-hanger that makes you wonder about the fate of the characters. Still, I'm excited for the rest of the season because it ended on a note where Nikita tells her friends that she's not the target but they are. It's an ending that simply makes you want to see the rest of the story simply because it tells you what the rest of the season is going to be about. The first half was about finding out Amanda was still alive and she wanted revenge on Nikita. Now it's going be about how she's going to seek that revenge. That ending scene also helps to tell viewers where each plot is currently at. Sidesweep is a good episode that manages to make you excited for the remaining episodes.
There may be another mole in Division which explains why Sonia didn't just say anything to anyone about the kill chip.
If the messages are delayed 30 minutes, shouldn't Sonia's message about Alex have been sent 30 minutes before the mission began?