'Nikita' 1.19 'Girl's Best Friend' Recap and Review
Oh, Nikita. You are all about girl power this week. I just can't wait for the bigger and better things. Color me impatient.
Things are really awkward for Alex and Nathan, as Alex has told him her real story. He is not pleased with the entire "let's fake our deaths and run off together" idea. Just as he's leaving, Jaden shows up on her doorstep. Immediately, a three-way fight breaks out and ruins a lot of perfectly good dishware. This is obviously a nightmare.
Alex wakes up from it and is promptly summoned to Division by Michael, who is sending her on another mission he describes as "on the level." Oh, and it involves Jaden. The two of them are on the trail of Kalume Ungara (Edi Gathegi), who's got his fingers in illegal weapons operations, including a lethal nerve toxin. Dude has his own private lab (sweet!) and Division would like it blown up. Percy says this is "a big deal," so you know this is serious business.
Team huddle! Nikita is not thrilled with Alex's new assignment or Michael's inability to get her out of it, so she wants to fake Alex's death early. Michael believes that Alex's mission is legitimate and won't budge. Alex believes they can combine the two objectives. This gets Michael's uber-skeptical look, but he eventually relents. (Is he turning into a bit of a pushover? He argues, but Nikita has been getting her way a lot of recent.) Game on.
Everyone prepares for their separate missions, during which Michael and Nikita argue about whether or not Division as an entity is separate from Percy as a megalomaniac. He says yes, she says no. She says, "I love you, I just hate where you work." For some reason, that feels like the kind of pithy line I'd hear in a romantic comedy. Michael, bless him, just wants to make a difference in the world. She leaves before they can really finish the disagreement.
Jaden and Alex get close to their target (who uses another slightly awkward but funny line, "Try not to trip on the pole up his ass") and score an invite back to his place. Cue generic pop-techno music, as that's what seems to play during every party or club scene on TV these days. While Jaden fakes being drunk, Alex slips off to plant the bomb in the lab. (I love how all labs are white. Just out of spite, my evil lab will be a nice cerulean. I don't care if it clashes with the equipment.) True to how these things go, she's still down there when Kalume brings woman named Anya - played by an actress who strangely resembles Justified star Natalie Zea - to see the nerve toxin. This means she gets to see what it can do to an expendable security guard. Thankfully, we don't have to, as it's done kind of like the 456 in Torchwood: Children of Earth.
Overhearing that Anya's plan is to use the toxin to mess up an impending peace summit, Alex brings this information to Nikita, who tells her that they should keep it from Michael so that he can't call off the mission and ruin their other mission. She tells Michael herself, and Michael tells Alex not to blow up the lab...then gets a puppy dog expression on his face that makes me want to hug him yet again.
Back at the party, Jaden is confronted by Kalume, who's found part of Alex's dress in his lab and thus blown her cover. Alex returns and her pretending to be trapped in the lab over comm is so bad that it's painful. It's like introductory drama. In the midst of her overacting, however, she hears that Jaden actually is in there. Jaden wants Alex to blow up the lab with her in it, but Alex decides to save her instead. (While knowing that were their roles reversed, Jaden would probably have blown her up with a minimum of hesitation.) Meanwhile, Nikita gets into a fistfight with Anya that leaves her knocked unconscious. That's two episodes in a row she's been TKO'ed...that's not good for her head.
Jaden is unafraid of being killed by Kalume, as she recounts a creepy story about one of her Division operations that ended with her stabbing the guy. Alex walks into the lab to save her, but she doesn't need saving. She has a gun and pumps Kalume full of lead. This, of course, sets off alarms and brings more trouble. Percy wants Jaden and Alex out of there, and Michael says he'll get on that "soon as they finish surviving." Alex blows up the lab, but there goes her plan to fake her own death.
Nikita gets into a second fight with Anya as the latter tries to activate the nerve toxin via cell phone. Stairwells are a dangerous place. Nikita knocks Anya unconscious and then I groan out loud when she feels the need to use the tired Verizon ad line, "Can you hear me now?" Really? Really? C'mon, writers. It stopped being funny a long time ago.
She steals Anya's outfit and safely disposes of the nerve toxin before telling Kalume's dad that he's a terrorist. He seems to believe her immediately, so either he's gullible or he saw this coming a long time ago (or both). Percy isn't happy that Division didn't get to capture Anya, but he's happy that the mission went well.
Back at Nikita's lair, Alex declares that she's not leaving Division for the time being, because she feels like she made a difference. Even if she leaves the agency eventually, she's staying in the fight. Obviously she subscribes to the Michael train of thought. After she's left, with the help of some pop music, Michael references the possibility of Nikita running Division, and I immediately flash back to the last episode of La Femme Nikita.
And Jaden's earned her promotion because she does what Percy tells her to do. Namely, she gave him nerve toxin. Well, duh.
I wanted to love this episode more than I do. Part of me likes it and part of me doesn't. The latter has to do with the predictability of the writing. Certain things are pretty easy to suss out, like Alex still being in the lab when company comes, and there being an obligatory guy who has to die so we get that the nerve toxin is a bad idea. I also worry that Nikita and Michael's exchanges are getting perhaps a bit too cute, more like bickering parents than two people who are seriously discussing differing methods. I don't want them losing their edge now that they're a couple. If they lose their edge, so does the show, at least in part.
Also - but this is a general complaint - can TV stop needle-dropping sappy pop music every time there's supposed to be a "moment"? It's been done far too much.
What did work for me is the acting, particularly on the part of Tiffany Hines. Jaden has been hit and miss for me. I've found her to be insufferable at times - which I presume was the point - but yet I missed her when she was gone. I was glad to see her really step up and save herself, and work decently with Alex. Not that it changed her much, as she's still ambitious and self-centered. I still don't like her character, but I'm impressed by Hines, who finally gets to do a bit more than antagonize Lyndsy Fonseca and shows that she has the chops to handle it. Speaking of Fonseca, she's no slouch either. I love that Alex has her own mind and isn't doing what Nikita wants, or what Michael wants. She's deciding her own moral path, and making a life for herself, something that both Nikita and Michael tried and failed to do. Let's see if she's more successful.
I'd call this an entertaining one to watch, but I'm still waiting for that post-"Echoes" episode that's absolutely going to rock my world. Here's to hoping the last couple are even better.
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