Now we come to the end of the rollercoaster ride that is Nikita. I hated it, then I loved it, then my feelings got all lukewarm, and now...well, now I'm still kind of lukewarm.

Nikita

 

Picking up where "Betrayals" left off, Alex has apparently killed Nikita. We know that's not the case, but Joey Greco tells Percy that cardiac arrest is what did our heroine in, which doesn't make him as happy as one might expect. Percy orders Alex back to Division, telling Amanda "that was unexpected," before leaving to visit Oversight.

Meanwhile, Michael is still hanging out in the basement. Birkhoff walks in, looking much, much better than when we saw him last. "Was it worth it?" he asks, ranting about Michael lying to him. In return, Michael retorts that Birkhoff set him up. Birkhoff insists that he didn't know it was a setup. Michael isn't buying: "You're not stupid, Birkhoff. You're just a coward." After some more arguing, Birkhoff reveals to Michael that Nikita is dead. "You went and joined her. Encouraged her. That was your choice," he adds before he leaves Michael to think on that.

Percy goes to his Oversight meeting, which consists of some very powerful people, including Harris Yulin (24) as an Admiral, and La Femme Nikita alum Alberta Watson as a Senator. Percy tells them that if they didn't slash his budget, he wouldn't be doing the side jobs they're so upset about. He explains his master plan: to frame Nikita for a nerve gas attack on the heads of the CIA, contained in the rigged black box that Ryan is currently bringing into Langley.

Alex is hauled back into Division, where she is greeted by a gloating Amanda. We flash back to Alex stealing a dart from Nikita's loft and slipping it into her back pocket from last week. As she administers it after the shooting, she tells Nikita, "Good luck, and goodbye." What does this have to do with anything? Well, Joey Greco still has to take care of Nikita's body. In case you're not sure what's going on, we get another flashback, to him explaining the process to Alex as he disposed of Jaden two weeks ago. Unlike Jaden, however, Nikita comes to, throws Joey Greco's own chemicals back in his face, and makes him run off screaming. She sees what's left in the warehouse and realizes what has happened. In a panic, she calls Ryan, but he's in a secure room without his phone...

Percy is making his case to the Oversight trio. He wants to control the CIA and its multi-billion-dollar classified budget. He is not happy to get a phone call from Joey Greco saying that Nikita is alive. When he steps away from the table, the Senator says "We've created a monster." Thankfully, Percy doesn't hear that as he's activating a sleeper agent at the CIA.

He returns to Division and breaks the news of Nikita's not-death to Birkhoff and Amanda before ordering the former to hack into the Agency. They watch as Nikita walks right in through the front door and asks the receptionist to see someone in intelligence. Ha. I think I was supposed to find that funnier than I did.

Oh hai there Priest promo.

Alex is getting really used to that torture chair. This time Amanda is the one doing the interrogating, and wants to know the question everyone asks on TV shows: "Why?" She wants to know why Alex saved Nikita despite turning on her, and Alex replies, "Screw all of you too." Oh, Alex, how you have grown on me. Downstairs, Michael finally gets out of the basement, since it would be a total waste of Shane West if he sat down there the whole hour.

At the CIA, Ryan calls shenanigans when he realizes the phones are dead shortly after the black box has been decrypted, but fetches his boss anyway. Nikita kills Percy's sleeper agent and then sets off to come to his rescue. She arrives just as the nerve gas is deployed and after saving the bigwigs, surrenders to security.

Amanda gets Alex to admit that she's alive because she wants to live, before administering a scream-inducing electric shock. This kills Alex, but Amanda brings her back with one big needle of adrenaline, telling her that the twenty-five seconds she was dead has disabled her kill chip and that she is free to go. She's not going to try to hold on to Alex like she did with Nikita. Seems like Amanda has something up her sleeve just as much as Percy. Or maybe she had her eyes opened when Percy shut her out last week. What's that they say about a woman scorned...?

While I'm still picking up my jaw from that revelation, Michael strides into Percy's office and the two brawl for a minute before Michael whacks him unconscious with his own black box. I really, really wish that fight had been longer, because that was the one I'd been waiting for all season. Alas, no.

After that, Michael comes up behind Birkhoff with a gun aimed at the back of his head. Under duress, Birkhoff tells Michael that Nikita isn't dead after all.  "Who do you think let you out of your cell?" he adds. "And I'm not a coward." He explains that Nikita is still inside Langley. She's currently being interrogated by the guy whose life she just saved, while Ryan pleads for her release. When that doesn't work, he smacks his boss with a chair, and holds him at gunpoint while Nikita escapes. "I expect you to break me out of prison as soon as you get the chance," he tells her. I know a lot of people don't like Ryan Fletcher, but I do!

As Nikita escapes, she hears Michael paging her over the PA system. Birkhoff suggests they get a room. While he distracts people, Michael tries to get Nikita out of the building. Predictably, she is pursued anyway and there is shooting, which ends with her creating one big fireball. She eventually gets back to her loft, in time for Michael to tell her Birkhoff is minutes away from decrypting Percy's black box. Birkhoff warns Michael that he's about to be in a world of trouble, while Nikita decides to blow up her loft and start fresh.

Before she can finish setting all the explosives, however, Alex sneaks up behind her. She says that she just wants to get her stuff and get out, but won't put her gun down anyway. Nikita tells her that the real orders were to kill the entire Udinov family, but she defied those orders in saving Alex. This is little comfort to Alex, who replies, "You didn't trust me enough to handle it, so now I can't trust you." She snarls that Nikita's struggle with Division has become her obsession, while Nikita retorts that she wanted Alex to have balance, and the two are busy fighting with each other as Division troops come through the windows. (Didn't I see this earlier this season on Human Target?) Lots and lots of shooting ensues, and it's still going on as the bombs go off. Sadly, we don't get to see a cool explosion, but the show makes up for that by giving us Nikita making a cool zip line escape from the roof. Though she gives Alex the chance to come along, Alex doesn't follow.

Michael is outside and nearly runs his girlfriend over with his car, before telling her "I'm really sick of people telling me that you're dead." As they drive off, Alex walks alone, only to be shot in the neck with a tranq dart and wake up at the Legion of Doom...oh, I mean Oversight. Oversight looks ridiculous, but at least Harris Yulin apologizes for the ridiculous "we're trying to be mysterious" lighting. He, Alberta Watson and their friends want Alex to help them stop Nikita.

Amanda walks in, telling Alex that she should have stayed away from Nikita. Alex retorts that she was just there "gathering resources" and is really after her father's right-hand man. Amanda retorts that they have the resources Alex will need. Alex doesn't answer her, so we're treated to Nikita and Michael still on the road, as Nikita confesses to Michael that she's worried about their future. If that's not a good enough hint for you, there are some really obviously computer-generated storm clouds overhead that make for a rather blah final scene to an otherwise busy finale.

I'm not quite as ready to rave about "Pandora" as others have been. There's a lot of good here, but some of it comes with a 'but' for me. For example, I'm glad that we finally got to see Michael and Percy come to blows, but that fight was too short to be really satisfying.  I'm glad that the show didn't have Alex magically become best friends with Nikita again, but I worry where that leaves Alex for season two. (More on that in a second.) It's great to finally meet at least part of Oversight, but they ended up being pretty underwhelming; there was far less of Alberta Watson than I was hoping for, and that set of the whole of them sitting in the obligatory mysterious darkness was so cliche and a little bit hokey to me. In La Femme Nikita, Oversight was as creepy as Division; here they didn't scare me at all.

I was hoping for that final moment that would make me jump out of my seat waiting for season two...but we get an ending that's surprisingly low-key and some really bad CGI. Not that I don't want to see Michael and Nikita happy, but for the very last scene we're going to get for a few months, I was hoping for something more to chew on.

I think that's my primary frustration with "Pandora." Nikita set up some big, big questions through the course of the season, and I got nervous when it started to answer a lot of them before season's end. I kept waiting to see if the show had enough story to last us into a season two, and I'm still not very sure.

The great question was when Michael would turn sides, and who would become the new antagonist; I could have seen that element going into season two, but the writers chose to have it happen in "Covenants." We got lots of cute Michael/Nikita moments that pleased shippers and probably helped that oh so crucial young female demographic, but they came at the expense of other things. Michael's own individual story seemed to take a back seat; though he achieved his objective of popping Percy, I don't feel like he got to do as much by himself as he did before he turned sides.

And in his absence, the show hasn't yet established that antagonist we want to see chasing Nikita down. With "Pandora," we now know who that is: Alex. I had to read an interview with Craig Silverstein to grasp what he really wants to do with Alex, and it always concerns me if I have to get an explanation to grasp something that I'm supposed to get out of an episode. Alex will now be pursuing Nikita and Michael, which has the potential to be interesting, but can Lyndsy Fonseca be as intense and intimidating as Shane West was? And does the show risk repeating Michael's early story arc as we wonder when Alex will rejoin Nikita?

Speaking of turning sides, it looks like Birkhoff has his doubts too. This gave Aaron Stanford some great material, but it also makes me wonder about the series' longevity. We can't have everyone turn sides, or the show would be incredibly one-dimensional. As it stands, the only true antagonists we have left are Percy and Amanda, and even they appear to be at odds. I definitely want to see what Amanda has up her sleeve, and think the idea of her against Percy is an intriguing one for sure, but my big concern is that this show needs a villain or villains as strong as its heroes. We've come to embrace Michael, Nikita and Alex, but they need a formidable foe to fight for the show to be at its best.

Watching "Pandora," I appreciated the payoff of the season, but I'm not so sure if what is laid out will last in a second season, and that concerns me. Nikita has proven itself to be a good show, and an entertaining one at that...but I worry that it's given up its secrets too easily.

For more Nikita, head over to DigitalAirwaves.net.

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Photo Credits: CW


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