Nothing good ever happens at 2:13 AM. Yet a random American agent is taking a meeting in a deserted part of Berlin at exactly that time. No wonder why he ends up dead.
Back at Langley, Ryan (Noah Bean) stumbles upon the particulars of this failed meeting, and a little red flag goes up in his head. When his bosses won't listen to him (because whose bosses actually do on TV?) he swipes the file and takes matters into his own hands, setting up a meeting with Nikita. When Nikita gets this message back at the loft, as it's Valentine's Day, Alex asks Nikita if she has a thing for Ryan, which only gives Nikita license to ask about Nathan. "Would it be so bad if we both got to have a life?" Alex ponders aloud.
Nikita goes to meet Ryan, who tells her about the murdered CIA agent and how he needs her help to potentially stop a terrorist attack on American soil. He's been monitoring Cold War substations in Europe, and has uncovered information about Jurgen, the man the dead agent was supposed to meet. Nikita tells him that Jurgen is an alias for a man named Voss, whom she was once involved with as part of a Division operation. This makes Ryan feel really awkward about asking for her help in finding him and the weapon he's smuggling into the country. "I'll do what I have to," she tells him but neither of them look happy about it.
You know who else isn't happy? Percy, who's gotten wind of the situation, and who sarcastically asks Michael how stopping Nikita is going for him. I don't know which is funnier, Xander Berkeley's deadpan delivery of the line or Shane West's reaction to it.
The only person who seems remotely happy is Alex, who's spending more time with Nathan. Feeling bold, she invites him over to her place for dinner. When her phone rings, he makes the mistake of answering it. It happens to be Michael, whom he tells Alex "sounds like Batman." I choke on my soda as he says what many of us have been saying about Shane West for months now. Once Michael wisely gets off the phone, Michael takes us on a flashback to earlier days, where he and Nikita are having a disagreement about her relationship with Daniel. He gives her practically the same speech that she gave Alex. It's another nice hint that the two of them are not as different as they'd like to believe they are.
Nikita has a flashback of her own, back to France four years ago, where she's in bed with Voss (Matthew Marsden) and totally feigning interest in him. Thankfully, Michael and his team bust into the room and pretend to take her into custody. Once he's outside with her, he promises her that she'll never have to be that woman again - and a large contingent of us melt a little more at how sweet that moment is. I do so love the reminders that Michael has a pretty big heart for a trained assassin. The scene is made all the more poignant by the fact that he could never have seen this coming.
In the present day, she waltzes into a pricey hotel in Quebec, taking note of the Russians on the lawn, and just happens to walk into her old contact, who seems thrilled to see her until he gets her upstairs. That's when he points a gun at her, having put the pieces together regarding her disappearance and the subsequent fall of his business. Unfazed by the weapon, she tells him that she knows about the weapon and his working with Division's Russian rivals, Gogol (last mentioned in "Phoenix," when they tried to recruit her). This is one guy's cue to come in and shoot up the place. Stopping him totally blows Nikita's cover, but persuades Voss to spill the truth: he does have a dirty bomb, but he's not planning on using it. He's looking for political asylum.
Nathan has decided that he's going to teach Alex how to cook...at least until Michael arrives, totally lying when he says he was in the neighborhood. Since he's there, he decides to invite himself to dinner. I start laughing as Alex finds this terribly awkward, Nathan has no clue, and Michael almost seems to enjoy messing with the both of them. I say almost because as much as that scene makes him look like a jerk, when his phone rings and he's got somewhere else to be, we're treated to one last expression on his face that looks like regret. It becomes clear in that moment that he's trying to keep both of them from getting hurt, probably reminded of what happened with Nikita and Daniel. This is another great example of how subtle Shane West's acting is; he can seem like a royal pain but convey an underlying remorse with just an expression, and both parts seem real. We never sense that Michael is faking the first to cover up the second.
Meanwhile, Nikita has contacted Ryan for help, and he agrees to do what he can on her behalf, as the Russians continue to close on her. While she and Voss are waiting, she decides to ask him what changed his mind, and he gives her a spiel about becoming whoever he might be before it's too late. She empathizes with that more than he knows, so much so that she gives him her real name. Moments later, Voss meets with the CIA and quickly leaves with them. All seems well, until Ryan calls to tell Nikita that they have pictures of the guy that killed the poor CIA agent in the opening minutes. Surprise - it's Joey Greco!
Panicked, Nikita goes after the CIA vehicle, only to find the agents dead, Voss dying, and to add insult to injury, Percy on the other end of someone's cell phone. He gloats (and even says he's gloating; at least he's honest) just as Michael walks into the room. Like a true villain, he reveals his entire plan, telling her that he made up the intelligence that Ryan discovered in order to manipulate him and Nikita into doing his dirty work and helping to set up Gogol as "the evil empire." He's spent so much time bragging that Nikita is able to defuse his car bomb before he can use it to blow her up. It's a perfect moment, because again, we've got two classic reactions: Michael standing there shifting his jaw as if he's trying to hold his tongue, and Nikita telling Percy that maybe he shouldn't brag before he tries to kill her. That last part is only laughing in the face of every cliched TV villain, ever.
Michael and Percy have a chat after this whole scene. "It seems like you struck another nerve with Nikita," Michael says, and I really want him to say "I told you so," but alas, no luck. Instead, he goes back to work.
Nikita makes a phone call to Alex, asking her to go into Division so that she can get much-needed information to keep Percy from getting the bomb and selling it to the highest bidder. Once she gets off the phone, she goes directly to the Gogol operative who tried to recruit her in "Phoenix." She's not interested in his help, so he sends another lackey to follow her.
Alex arrives in Division, confronting Michael about ruining her dinner. He is truly not in the mood for that discussion. As it turns out, she's only snarking at him so she can be close enough to see the location of the airport where Division's team is taking the bomb. Once she has it, she sends it to Nikita, who calls Ryan and asks him to stall for time until she can get there. For an analyst, Ryan is not totally useless in the field, but he still ends up nearly shot as a gun battle breaks out between Division and Gogol, with the side dish of randomly appearing Nikita. When word gets back to Division, Michael gets one step closer to a migraine, especially when he learns the Russians have taken out his entire team.
Once the shooting stops, Nikita has another conversation with the Gogol boss, who tries to recruit her once again even as he drives away with the bomb - or so he thinks. In reality, he's just got luggage. The actual bomb is sitting in the passenger seat of Ryan Fletcher's car. This is enough to get him promoted back kto his old job, which annoys Percy but makes him a happy camper. Yet when he goes to tell Nikita the good news, she's not so happy. She asks him if they can come back from all the things they've done, and he decides to shut her up by kissing her. I feel for the guy; I like him, but we know that Nikita and Michael belong together (which is reinforced by another brief flashback of the two of them together right after Ryan leaves), so we also know that Ryan is going to get his heart broken. That makes me make my sad face.
At least the episode ends on a positive note: Alex and Nathan finally get themselves together. But how long will it last? Are they doomed to go the way of Nikita and Daniel? Only time will tell.
For more Nikita, check out the show category at my blog, DigitalAirwaves.net.