Episode 7: Interception
By: Carlos Uribe
Nikita is a show about a female spy who does missions for a secret, undercover government agency.
When Nikita said that she was worried that something was going to go wrong, it became obvious that she was predicting that their mission would turn south. It was a possibility that Amanda would trigger the kill chip and kill Sonya before they were able to remove it. At the same time, it didn't really feel like she was talking about Sonya. She might have been afraid that this mission was going to tear her apart from Michael. This makes sense as the seeds had been planted in her mind that their relationship might not have been as perfect as she had thought. Was that scene necessary? It did allow the character to express her fears that her relationship was facing a force that threatened to tear it apart. On the other hand, the tension of the episode was already pretty high. Sonya's life is at stake, Amanda is in their heads, and there were a lot of variables that could go wrong during their mission. Having Nikita express this fear referenced the stakes as if the writers didn't trust that we weren't already dying to find out what happens next. It simply felt like a fake way to increase the tension of the episode. Any scene where a character expresses the feeling that something might go wrong can always be a double-edged sword. It can tell the audience to embrace themselves or it can reveal that the writers didn't trust their own writing. I'm not entirely sure which was the case here but if it's the second then can I allay their fears and state that I was completely immersed in the Nikita world?
There were so many factors in this episode that it was difficult not to be immersed. Sonya has a kill chip inside her that could go off at any time. The episode began with a dream sequence where a mission goes wrong as the kill chip is turned on and Nikita is killed. Starting an episode with a dream sequence can be a cheap way for the writers to do something shocking without committing to it. It is, just like warning the audience through the character that something wrong might happen, a cheap way to hook the viewer into the episode. It's more of a problem when the dream sequence becomes obvious before the character wakes up. I'm not talking about when a dream gets weird but when the show goes to a place where it couldn't go in real life. For instance, Sonya dying was realistic because she's not a main character and the kill chip is in her. It's doubtful the show would be so cruel to begin an episode with her dying but it could be a plot that begins mid-action before going back to the beginning. It's when Nikita gets an injury where she does die where the writer's trick of using a dream reveals itself a little bit too bluntly and ironically draws the viewer away from the world. Still, the dream did have a purpose beyond just trying to shock the viewer as it was so vivid that it convinced Birkoff to reveal the truth to Nikita. This sets up the weekly mission: remove the kill chip from Sonya while using her to set up bait for Amanda.
The weekly mission was amazing this week. There were basically three different components to it. The first was to try and discover who the second mole is. This involves infrared cameras and trapping the suspects in a room to distract them from Alex's absence. It's a pity that the mole is a character that we've never met before as it would have been nice if his reveal would have been an actual twist. It also was obvious that the character who derided another suspect of believing in conspiracy theories was the second mole. When the second mole figures out what's going on, he tries his best to warn Amanda but he's killed by Alex before he can. This was a nice plot but it does bring into question on why Amanda chose such an elaborate plot. If this second mole was a computer nerd like Sonya, why didn't he just bypass the security protocols and report to Amanda himself? The show doesn't answer this directly but it's because Amanda wasn't interested in mission details but personal secrets. The best way to figure them out was to use a character close to the circle against them. That's why she needed Sonya. This part of the mission is a huge success.
The second component had to do with removing the kill chip from Sonya's brain. They can do it in three hours but the issue is she has to report to Amanda every two hours. They need to find a way to buy time. This is one of the reasons that they have to find the second mole and bait Amanda without having either of them figure out what's going on. The good news is that Birkoff manages to remove the kill chip right before Amanda decides to use it. That means that the first component and the second component managed to go off with a hitch. It's the third component that presents the problem. Nikita and Michael try their best to stop Amanda but it all goes terribly wrong. There's a grenade, the knife girl disobeys orders, and Michael's hand gets stuck under a truck. The knife girl is dispatched by Nikita but she has to allow Amanda to get away to try and rescue Michael. In the most shocking scene of the season Nikita can't rescue Michael so SHE CUTS OFF HIS HAND AND DRAGS HIM AWAY FROM THE BURNING CAR!
To state that shit just got real is probably an understatement. Nikita's fear that her relationship with Michael might be threatened is proven to be correct because cutting off his hand was an extreme move. She might have saved his life but this is going to present problems (as the previews seem to indicate). Does Interception have some problems because the writers don't seem to realize we're already hooked? Sure-but it's still a pretty fantastic episode which has a cliff-hanger that comes from basically nowhere. If this had aired as the mid-season finale like intended then I would have been frustrated to wait a month to figure out what happens next. I'm grateful I only have to wait a week-and even that's pretty painful.