Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Episode 15: Inevitability
By: Carlos Uribe

Nikita is a show about a female spy who does missions for a secret, undercover government agency.

Spoilers Ahoy!

I really like the title “Inevitability”. It fits into this episode really well for two reasons. The first is the sense that what happens in this episode was inevitable based on what has happened so far. The threat towards Division that our characters were seeking to avoid almost comes to pass. It does seem inevitable that the President would eventually chose to wipe out the secret organization in order to contain any damage. The inevitable sense that this new Division is slipping back into hold habits comes up as Alex struggles with the idea that they're going on kill missions once more. That they've recruited a member into their team and started keeping secrets does make it feel like they're turning into Percy without helping it. What's worse is that the previous episode had strained the bond between Alex and Nikita. The two used to be on the same page until Alex realized that Nikita always had to have her way. They start to inevitably fight as they can't seem to agree on anything. It gets to the point where their little war threatens to destroy Division from the inside. As Ryan notes, Percy was so busy with dealing with outside dangers that he never saw the inside ones. This episode almost serves to prove that as Nikita and Alex's dispute threatens to destroy Division. It gets so bad that Ryan is forced to confront them about it. It did feel that the whole season had been building up to this point. It's true that most of the plot threads remained unresolved. Amanda is still out there, the military threat remains, and the relationship between the characters haven't been fixed yet. At the same time, this was an episode where a lot of inevitability threatened to come to pass. That's the first reason of why the title fits this episode well. The second is because it deals with what might come: this new Division becoming the old one, Ryan transforming into a new Percy, and Nikita losing the values that set her on a crusade against it. There's even hints that Alex might become the new Nikita to bring down this new Division. There's a sense of inevitability with what seems to be the direction of where the characters and the black ops group are heading.

The weekly case this episode is a bit complicated because it's actually split between the people who approve and the characters who don't. Those that do approve are Nikita, Ryan, Michael, Owen, and Sean. They are sent on a mission to assassinate a dictator. This dictator is the kind who kills his own people so it's not like the viewers are going to see these characters in an unflattering light. The episode is hurt a bit by this as Alex's objections would make a lot more sense if the dictator wasn't an outright villain. Alex should be objecting because killing this man would be wrong on all levels-this means creating a shade of gray that the episode sadly stayed away from. Nikita's mission to kill the dictator also comes with instructions to get the list of all American spies within the oil industry. This is complicated when Amanda decides to step in. She sends a spy to kill the dictator before Nikita's drug causes him to seem like he died of a heart attack. This spy is able to steal the evidence and get away. They need to find her and retrieve the list. This gets more complicated when they realize that the only way to get the military to stand down is to take out the rogue agent. This allows them to point the finger at her and look good in front of the President. It's a decent weekly case but it would be quickly forgettable in literally any other episode. What makes it interesting is that even doing the weekly case was a conflict of it's own.

Alex and Birkoff refuse to help kill this dictator because they don't want Division to go back to the way it was. Once again, it would help if there was a little more gray in this because I honestly don't get the big deal. The problem with Percy and Amanda's Division is that they both used it for financial gain. They sold the services of Division to the highest bidder. That's the real reason that Nikita ended up leaving them. It's not because Division was working for national security interests but because it stopped serving those interests. Having this new Division do government jobs might be a slippery slope but it doesn't have the same impact if it wasn't so black-and-white. The two decide that they're going to investigate the White House adviser who deals directly with Division in order to find evidence against him. They're hoping that they'll be able to discredit him in the eyes of Division and that they will no longer do kill missions. It makes sense that they would want to do something but I'm not entirely sure they've completely thought out their plan. It's one thing to cast doubt on the White House but it's another way to actually separate yourself from it without declaring war. The two manage to discover a kill house where the military has built a replica of Division. They've been training to take out their headquarters and they manage to infer that they're going to actually raid them soon. Their solution to this problem is to kill the White House adviser but Nikita has a much simpler solution. They're going to start a new file in the black box they just got that implicates the adviser in his role in this week's case. The adviser is now going to have to advocate for Division. It's a great way to turn a foe into a puppet but I wouldn't trust him for long. Now Division no longer has to do the kill missions and they can go back to doing what they set out to do: retrieve all of the rogue agents.

The two groups had their own separate plots that converged in the end. Nikita managed to solve both crisis-the immediate and the person. The immediate threat being the military when they managed to prove to the President that Division wasn't going to be exposed anytime soon. They controlled the narrative. The person was solved when she basically blackmailed him into having him join their side. It's great but through these two plots is the small little war that Nikita and Alex fight. The two can't seem to agree on anything because they're at odds. They want two different things. Even when they want the same thing, they have different ways to get it done. Alex wants to kill the person but Nikita doesn't want to start a war with the White House. Nikita wants to kill the dictator to save Division while Alex doesn't want anything to do with it. There's a scene at the end where Nikita and Alex are finally able to talk. Alex reveals that the reason she's been so difficult is because she wants to be heard. She wants her opinion to matter. That's when I realized something. It makes sense that we would get Nikita's side of the story as she's our titular protagonist but the reason we get her side is because she doesn't seem to accept that people might disagree with her. She really prefers when people just listen to her. It's a part of her character and that is what is ultimately causing the conflict between Alex and her. The conflict isn't completely resolved by the end of the episode. Alex reveals what's bothering her but they haven't fixed it yet.

Inevitability is a pretty great Nikita episode. Okay, there's parts that don't really work because the writers chose to keep the weekly mission black and white rather than making it gray. This really does make it look like Alex is making a big stink over nothing if you don't have the first two seasons as context. It promises on the Alex-Nikita conflict that the previous episode had promised but it doesn't tie everything in a nice little bow. Michael points out that they thought it was ridiculous that Amanda was going to turn them against each other but now they're no longer laughing because it's happening. It's this tight plotting that really makes Nikita stand out from just being a spy show.

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