Last week, Nikita finally bumped off the much-maligned Sergei Semak, so it's no surprise that this week, Amanda and Ari (Peter Outerbridge) move to fill the void.
Action begins outside a DARPA research facility, where an unfortunate staffer ends up shot dead after swiping a nasty-looking device for an enigmatic woman. Michael explains to Birkhoff (and the audience) that the device synthesizes a rare isotope and allegedly "represents the future of clean energy." Nikita recognizes the shooter as a Division agent. It's up to the team to find her and retrieve the device.
Michael and Nikita track the agent to New Jersey, and with some help from Alex, realize the device was stolen in order to turn it over to Amanda and Ari. It's their key to getting control of Zetrov. Michael and Nikita try to interrupt the exchange, which then turns into a firefight between them and Gogol agents. When Nikita goes looking for the device, she gets into a struggle with and is eventually shot by Amanda. For whatever reason, Amanda chooses not to kill her, instead taking the device and fleeing the scene with what remains of the Russian team.
After another flashback to Nikita's days at Division, everyone's in Moscow, with Michael wondering why Amanda didn't take the kill shot. Alex briefs everyone on the inner workings of Zetrov HQ, in hopes of stopping Ari and Amanda's formal takeover. The plan involves Alex herself showing up for the planned reception, and Nikita posing as a supermodel. Alex is able to get into the board meeting where Ari pitches the stolen device and makes his case for CEO, while Nikita tries to lift the device but triggers an alarm while doing so. This brings Amanda down to say hello...by which I mean she triggers the extraction of all the air in the hazmat chamber.
It's Michael to the rescue! While Amanda tells Nikita that she "broke her heart" by turning against Division and the two ladies have a long-overdue argument about who hurt who more, he rushes to the scene, pretending to be part of an arriving response team. When he asks her to stall Ari, Alex decides to tell the board that she's supposed to be dead in some detail. Nikita makes her escape, knocks out Amanda, and is reunited with Michael while Ari gets fired from everything. Amanda calls Division for help, and Percy decides to leave her out in the cold, literally.
On the ongoing plot front, tipped off that Amanda is out the door, Percy decides now would be a good time to retake Division. He has Mason (the agent he co-opted last week) pretend to haul him in. The moment Amanda finds out, she knows that Percy is plotting something, and orders his immediate cancellation. (Not that it'd happen as this show would be a lot weaker without some Xander Berkeley snark, am I right?) Smooth-talking as ever, Percy puts doubt in Sonya's mind, and while she survives, he's clearly got the upper hand. He convinces Sonya to call Birkhoff, and everyone can hear as Birkhoff tells Sonya the truth about what Amanda is up to, including sending a video of her saying everyone is "fully expendable." Ouch.
For that, Amanda and Ari end up in Romania, hunted by Gogol and Division. Somehow, though, Ari has a half-decrypted black box, which is not going to make Percy very happy (and of course, keeps them both relevant to the show). We get one last reminder of the difference between Amanda and Nikita: Amanda laments letting Nikita live, while Nikita is proud of herself for not bumping off Amanda.
"Power" builds on the game-changing developments in "Arising" quite nicely, following through with what was set up there. What makes it a memorable episode, though, is not the plot but the acting. Maggie Q and Melinda Clarke have some fantastic scenes together, with the former at her vulnerable best. It's true that she's beautiful and capable of kicking butt, but in all that I think we sometimes overlook how good of an actress Maggie Q is. This episode is a nice reminder of that.
Xander Berkeley has manipulating people down to a science at this point. And though I have no idea how it would work, I'm tempted to suggest the idea of Peter Outerbridge as a regular in any potential season three, if only because I have grown to truly enjoy watching his character development over the season. I hate the character, but I do have a growing respect for the actor. As I mentioned last week, while Nikita is a show that's based on action, and that action is great, we shouldn't overlook that there's some good acting going on as well.
The question is: how am I supposed to look at everything they're doing? Am I keeping an eye to the future, thinking these storylines may play out for awhile longer, or are we getting to an end where I'm going to end up leaving these characters? With season three not yet a go, I find myself looking at these episodes with two minds. Part wants to see resolution, the other doesn't want to wrap up too much in case we get more story. That unfortunately is a question that only network brass will be able to answer and not for some time.
If this is the end, the characters aren't yet in a place where I'd feel comfortable with leaving them. Alex getting free of Zetrov means she might have a fresh start, and it's clear that Michael and Nikita are trying, but he's still got plenty of emotional issues plus I'm not convinced Cassandra and Max won't pop up for dramatic effect later on. And even if Amanda and Ari are on the run, Percy is still crazy and Division is now back at his fingertips...that's not a world I want to be living in! It'll be interesting to see how much gets answered by season's end and how much doesn't. As I recall, La Femme Nikita didn't have a "happily ever after," either...
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.