How does this entrapment work, you ask? Sonya sends a message to Amanda, saying that Birkhoff is developing new weapon technology - in the form of a tricked-out Aston Martin. Michael and Nikita stage an argument over Amanda, which is conveniently picked up by the bug that Sonya leaves behind, so that Amanda and Anne can see everything.
The footage convinces Amanda that Michael is hiding something - but when she compares it to pictures she has of Michael's meeting with Alex, she mistakenly believes it's his interest in Alex. Once Amanda sends those pictures to Sonya, they come to light and Alex is forced to admit her drug use to everyone. Birkhoff points out that fights like these are exactly what Amanda wants to see.
Knowing now that they're all being watched at extremely close range, Nikita figures out that Amanda's working with a 'Division legend' known as 'The Watchman' - but who is The Watchman? She decides to give Amanda what she wants - letting her continue to believe that there's something romantic going on between Michael and Alex. Nikita sets up a fake rendezvous between Michael and Alex so that she herself can tail The Watchman, while Birkhoff has narrowed down the candidates for Amanda's second mole to four random operatives, and sticks them together in the basement.
Michael and Alex are on "the most awkward date ever," as Nikita puts it, which doesn't do anything to make either of them relax. Michael decides this might be a good time to talk to Alex about her options for getting off the painkillers, but Nikita interrupts to say that he'd better give The Watchman something to phone home about - namely, that Michael ought to kiss Alex. "Are you joking?" he asks, but she's definitely not. It works, however, as The Watchman snaps his photos and makes a prompt exit. Nikita and Birkhoff tail him back to his apartment, and Nikita pays him a not-so-friendly visit.
After Birkhoff is able to discern where The Watchman was sending his photos to, Michael and Nikita arm up to crash her party. "I just have this feeling something's going to happen," Nikita admits to her fiance. As if on cue, the episode cuts back to a tense-looking Sonya and Birkhoff, the latter of whom has totally lost his patience. He convinces Ryan to let him take Sonya down to Amanda's former torture chamber to attempt deactivation of her kill chip.
The four mole suspects are quickly narrowed down to one when one of them figures out where Sonya has gone, and fakes an injury to get himself out of the basement. Alex notices his departure and confronts him, knocking him unconscious.
At the same time, Michael and Nikita are preparing for their assault on Amanda's safe house, but their plan is thwarted because Amanda is departing for Serbia. Just as Birkhoff completes deactivation of Sonya's kill chip, Nikita and Michael pursue Amanda's SUV, causing chaos on the roadways. Anne decides that it's a smart idea to throw a grenade, which causes Nikita and Michael's vehicle to roll, trapping Michael. Nikita and Anne engage in a firefight that turns into a fistfight, ending with Nikita stabbing Anne in the gut in front of a shocked Amanda.
As Amanda drives away, Nikita ignores Michael's pleas to leave him, and instead hacks off his hand to free him from the wreckage. It's one of the show's most cringe-inducing moments, even if it's thankfully not seen, and that's the note the episode ends on. While it was more stomach-turning when Jack Bauer did it to Chase Edmunds in 24, that's still a pretty uncomfortable note to leave audiences thinking on for the next seven days.
Especially considering that it's virtually unsupported on the schedule - it kicks off the night for The CW and is followed presently by reruns of newcomer Beauty and the Beast - Nikita is doing decently for a Friday series, perhaps on its way to shaking off the myth that the end of the week is where TV shows go to die. (It also aired on Fridays last season.) It still has some of the best action sequences on television, and episodes like "Intersection" show how the series has become more accessible to casual viewers over season three. The ongoing elements are easily explained, and there's still enough standalone action that newcomers don't feel as if they've missed the plot.
The questions with the show are two-fold: how long can it go on and where is it headed? The former is likely out of creative control; it's going to come down to ratings, as is not uncommon. Nikita isn't a huge ratings winner, but given its network and time slot, it's not necessarily anemic either. The plot-driven questions are the most interesting. Did anyone see Michael with a replacement hand coming? How long is the series going to tease us with Amanda on the run before it inevitably dispatches her the way it did Percy? (She can't keep getting away forever.) Whenever she does exit, who's going to be the next villain that's going to be as compelling as either of them? Craig Silverstein and his writing staff have shown a willingness before to move quickly with their storylines, so it will be interesting to see where Nikita ends up at the end of season three.
For more from Brittany Frederick, visit my official website and follow me on Twitter (@tvbrittanyf).
(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.