Episode 13: Reunion
Episode 14: The Life We've Chosen
By: Carlos Uribe
Nikita is a show about a female spy who does missions for a secret, undercover government agency.
Ari has turned himself over to Division. He gave them essential information to stop more attacks and now he's telling them everything he can tell them about Amanda's organization. He's making himself useful because he's trying to secure his son's safety. Division has to rush to save the son's life because Amanda is already planning on taking him out. The major obstacle is that his bodyguard is one of the best in the business. He's not only good but he's been told to be wary of Division. Making matters more complicated is that Ari doesn't have any way of getting into contact with the bodyguard. He doesn't even know where his son is. He did this so that nobody could use him to kidnap his son. They can't just go in and take the kid. They're going to have to find ways to deal with him. They do have to go in before the bodyguard realizes there's no money left. He might just leave the kid and then the son would be easy pickings for Amanda. So they have to go in, deal with the bodyguard, and deal with Amanda. It's not like she's going to allow the bodyguard to stop her men. The weekly mission is very well set up plus it has a great guest actor portraying Ari's son. Dylan Minnette did a great job on Awake and he does a pretty good job this episode. The episode's cliff-hanger was also a pretty good and shocking one that helped keep the narrative momentum to the next episode.
The weekly case seems to go right at first. The protagonists manage to take out the bodyguard and take the kid safely. That's when things go wrong. As they're printing out a passport for the kid, Amanda uses this opportunity to find and attack them. She's able to use her knowledge of Division protocol against them. Amanda remains a formidable enemy because she's smart. Her people manages to take her kid but then she gets captured by the bodyguard along with Nikita. Alex is left alone to try and save the son from Amanda's people. She does manage to get into contact with the bodyguard and he does join her for the final rescue mission. A mission that is successful even if the police happen to capture her. That's okay because they can easily get her out of the local prison. Nikita and Amanda manage to escape their restraints. So the weekly mission seems to have ended in complete success. The kid is safe, the bodyguard is going to protect him for free because of their bond, and they can all go home safely. That is until Amanda beats them to the punch of freeing Alex. She manages to take her in a pretty exciting and well-executed cliff-hanger. This alone makes the episode a pretty exciting and good one where all the elements really complimented each other.
There is more than just the weekly case as Owen tries his best to figure out who he used to be. He knows he was a soldier who killed his own men and he has a first name. It's a pretty common name but he wants to know more about who he used to be. The perfect person for this is Ari. He decides to sneak into Ari's cell to interrogate her. Ari doesn't know anything about Owen so he doesn't really get anything useful out of him. Making matters worse is that Owen's actions inadvertently put Nikita into more harm when they were trying to prove Division is working with Ari and he was in a medically induced slumber at the time. As a consequence, Owen is put on time out. It's a pretty good plot but here's hoping Owen starts to actually get some answers soon. There's only so much juice a narrative has without revealing anything.
The Life We've Chosen:
What a brilliant episode of Nikita and it's all because of Amanda. She has managed to capture Alex and she's using her to trade for Ari. Once she has him, she plans to open the blackbox because she needs him to unlock it. It's a bit silly that their password system is actually in the form of a game that picks up on subconscious electrical impulses but I liked the idea behind it. There is no doubt that once Amanda regains access to the Blackbox that Ari is going to die. It's basically a death sentence for him. Most of the characters are okay with this trade. They like Alex and Ari has been a major enemy in the past. He might be their prisoner but they don't actually have a reason to keep him alive. He's already given them all the information that they need. Nikita is different. She values human life and she doesn't want to sentence him to death. She decides that they're going to trade him for Alex and then they're going to go back in and rescue him. She gets the rest of the characters to sign off on this idea. It's a pretty simple mission but it's complicated for two reasons. The first has to do with Ryan. He doesn't believe it's possible to actually rescue Ari. The second is Alex. These two obstacles ultimately spell doom for the mission. It doesn't just get in the way of ensuring Ari's survival but it starts to create tensions between the characters.
Ryan undermines Nikita in this episode. He doesn't believe Ari can be rescued. He doesn't think it makes tactical sense and he doesn't think the huge risk is worth it. He decides to secretly implant a kill chip in Ari's neck. When the trade is made, Owen is given the order to activate it. He knows that Owen doesn't like Ari so this means he can trust him. Ari dies and Amanda doesn't get what she wants. Ari isn't shocked by this as he doesn't think the rescue makes any sense either. He still thinks his best chance is with Nikita and the crew as he saves their lives when they get captured by bandits. Nikita manages to eventually figure it out and she's given the switch. She does try her best to go through with the rescue mission but it fails because of Alex. This is basically yet another sign of when how Nikita wants Division to function differentiates from how it actually works. It gets so bad that she actually questions what they're trying to accomplish. Their tension over how Division should be run has constantly be running throughout this season. The writers have done a good job of slowly building up the inevitable conflict between Nikita and Ryan. It's a brilliant sub-plot but it basically fades away because of Alex.
Alex basically goes against Nikita. While she was captive, she grew a bond with a nurse who helped her recover. The two quickly became friends and the two tried to escape together. This escape attempt failed but Alex was determined to get the nurse out. When she finally got rescued, she wanted to immediately go back for the nurse. Nikita thought that Ari was a priority. Suddenly they weren't on the same page anymore. They both wanted different things. This undermined Alex' loyalty to Nikita. The two split up to try and get the person they wanted. Nikita and Owen went to save Ari but he ends up getting shot by Amanda. Alex and Sean go to rescue the nurse but a grenade blows up the room the nurse was in. The two didn't get their way. Alex might be rescued but she's now in direct conflict with Nikita. There's a great scene where the two of them meet after they return from the mission. All they can do is say “So.” to each other. It's a simple word that basically describes how the two are now at odds. They might be on the same team but they're no longer the pairing that they used to be. Amanda might not have gotten the black box. She might have lost Ari. She doesn't have Alex anymore. Amanda did win because she managed to pit Alex and Nikita against each other. Oh and the best part? Ryan doesn't even see the tension that's right under his nose.