In case you missed something, Amanda basically walks the audience step-by-step through her evil plan. It's the Nikita equivalent of that part at the end of Monk where Adrian Monk says "Here's what happened." She reveals that the nanotoxin was injected in the carbon fiber bone that makes up Michael's artificial hand. Literally as they are speaking, he is delivering Team Nikita's only dose of the antidote to Alex, who then injects it into Hasan.
There's a "but" coming: Amanda offers Nikita another dose of the antidote, if she assassinates President Spencer. As if Nikita would really trust Amanda to keep her promises. "Even if I do this, even if Michael lives, we'll never be together again," Nikita realizes tearfully. "My life is over." After some more taunting, Nikita silently walks away. She returns to not-Division in a daze, and very obviously pretends to be totally okay, while the needle drop over the closing scene is even more obvious (with lyrics like "keep quiet" and "poison in your bones").
"Invisible Hand" reads very much like part one of a two-part story, which admittedly isn't atypical of episodes before season finales. Many of them these days are setting the table for the next episode, and that makes them feel like filler. Where "Invisible Hand" succeeds is that, while you can argue that it's one long setup plot-wise, it's still very much worth watching. There's the show's usual great fight sequence, some truly cringe-worthy blood being spit up, and hints at a new direction for Alex that are refreshing after how her story's felt like a retread the last couple of episodes. Speaking of hints, Birkhoff and Sonya realizing that The Shop goes international is a clear setup for a new antagonist network in season four. (Whether or not that will actually play out, well, see below.)
The good news for Nikita fans is that the show is coming back: it was renewed earlier this week for six new episodes. The bad news is that six episodes is less than half an average TV season these days, and the fact that The CW would extend such a limited renewal in the first place isn't a huge show of confidence, which in turn doesn't make it seem likely that they'd consider increasing that order. It wouldn't be out of line to presume that season four will be the last.
What does that all mean for fans of the show? Aside from the obvious disappointment, whatever story arcs the Nikita writers create for season four are going to have to fit within that limited space. All the smaller stuff - like the subplots and supporting characters the show has come to use more of recently - might not fit in that picture.
On one hand, this could be a great thing for the show. Season three (and even parts of season two) hasn't had the same focus as the tightly plotted season one. Maybe the reduced order will mean that we'll see another season with a really well developed arc. Maybe we'll see the emphasis placed back on the core characters. On the other hand, the writers might be unable to use some great ideas because they can't be done in so few episodes. It will really be interesting to see how the show adjusts to fit the network's decision.
That's something we won't be able to find out for months, though. Right now, all we can focus on is the upcoming season finale, which has now set up this 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' scenario and should also - if there's any justice left and credibility left for these heroes - see the end of Amanda. How next Friday's episode ends should also be a big clue as to what's possible in season four (or at least what the writers thought was possible when the finale was penned). Keep your eyes open, Agents. A huge crossroads is ahead.
(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.