This review contains spoilers.
11. All The Way
This week’s Nikita is the last we will see until January as the show enjoys a mid-season hiatus, and my, my, what a busy episode is was. So much plot was packed into this one single episode that it seemed like a season finale proper, instead of a merely a whetter of appetites for the second set of eleven episodes.
The story began with a fairly standard setup, with Alex getting ready for her first real assignment. The powers that be have decreed her ready to become a full field agent, and all that stands between her and escape from the claustrophobic confines of Division’s training facility is the successful completion of an assignment.
This, in gansta speak, means ‘icing some fool’, as we have been told that recruits do not graduate until they take the life of a target, and said target, incidentally, is a rather shady chap with ties to the mafia, who is in no way heading for posthumous sainthood anyway.
Alex feels she is ready to take the assignment, and in a nice touch, the flashbacks take us back to just before the supposedly botched bunny masks heist that got Alex into Division in the first place. It is testament to the writing of this show that the flashbacks have yet to feel dull or unnecessary. Each one still brings something valuable to the narrative and these gave a nice impression of events from the first episode coming full circle to those in this episode.
We see Alex claiming she is ready to kill, yet she is still unable to go through with it, which leaves the poor sap Thom to clear up her unfinished business. In any other episode, this would be the whole plot, but in All The Way the setup and eventual execution of the target was merely a preamble to having Nikita finally come face to face with Percy, as, through a desire to save Alex, she allows herself to be captured and taken back to Division.
Nikita’s return to Division could have been delayed until much later in the series, but it is another welcome surprise that the show is so eager to move the plot forward and has to get these massive events out of the way midway through the first series.
Nikita’s face to face with Percy was great, but was soundly beaten by the tension of her meeting with Amanda. Amanda has been a sleeping giant so far, a simmering cauldron of evil that we were still yet to see boil over, and although we didn’t witness her unbridled wrath here, the look of terror in Nikita’s eyes as Amanda entered her interrogation cell spoke volumes. This was much more effective than mention of her penchant for needles, electric shocks and stabby knives in establishing her Ice Bitch credentials.
Undoubtedly, the highlight of the episode eventually came with Nikita’s escape. The scene where Nikita pwns an entire brigade of recruits was possibly the standout action scene of the series thus far, and this is not said at all lightly. Nikita taught the group of wet-behind-the-ears some manners and respect, whilst using the gym weights strewn about as projectile weapons. This made me happy in ways I didn’t imagine possible.
This fight was quick and extremely well choreographed (I personally like the fact that, unlike some fight scenes, the recruits didn’t just attack Nikita one by one), and ended in a way that has elevated Percy’s coolness rating by untold ranks. Nikita fires the gun at the glass and everyone dives out of the way, apart from Percy, who doesn’t even flinch. Kudos to him, as in ‘coolness’ stakes this did narrowly beat Nikita storming towards the camera swinging two very large chains. (How did Amanda escape, anyway?)
This isn’t to say that this was the only good action scene, either. There was a shootout outside the mansion, and also a brilliant and unexpected scrap between Alex and Thom. I, for one, was expecting a climactic showdown between Alex and Jaden, and it was suggested by a red herring that this would be the case.
Instead we got a cramped battle in a corridor, ending in the demise and eventual framing of Thom for Alex’s double dealings. This was an interesting way to remove Alex from suspicion, and is also something of a shame that Thom had to pay the ultimate price, as he wasn’t half as annoying once he graduated to full field agent.
Jaden’s comeuppance will have to wait, it seems, although judging by the pacing of what we’ve seen so far, we won’t have to wait very long.
The episode was not without fault, though, and the fact that it still succeeds on almost every level, despite its faults, demonstrates what a cracking episode it was.
There were a couple of plot holes that were just plain shtoopid. At long last Birkhoff cottons on to the fact there is a leak in the system (which allows Nikita to contact Alex), and through Percy’s not so subtle guesswork ascertains Nikita is on the other end. What could have been the intriguing situation of Percy playing the part of the mole and drawing Nikita out was utterly ruined within five minutes. Birkhoff knew Nikita was at the mansion. He also knew the prime candidates for the title of ‘mole’ were there too, with no access to a computer. So texting “WHERE R U?” to Nikita was perhaps the stupidest thing of all time.
Another annoyance came, once again, at the lack of CCTV at Division. Or, should that be, the lack of CCTV in logical places. One shot showed CCTV feeds in the corridors of Division, so it does have a system in place, but not, for some unfathomable reason, in the armoury or outside Percy’s office, to name but two places. This is obviously for plot reasons, but it’s just daft, isn’t it? By the end of this episode the show has patched over every other logic gap (the data breach, the unlocked vents leading to the outside world, etc), but this one seems to survive through convenience.
The episode was, on occasion, quite corny, too. The endless spiel about how killing someone ‘takes away a part of you that you can never get back’ seemed to have been lifted wholesale from a rather naff episode of Murder She Wrote, and the rather distracting and perpetual Mark Snow-eque incidental synths were at severe odds with the tasteful and atmospheric accompaniments of last week.
Still, as always with this show, these are but minor gripes, and are included merely so I can have a bit of a moan. In all other respects, this episode was a brilliant addition to a list still yet to have a duffer. If you have never seen this show (and if you haven’t, this review would have been a very dull read, indeed) then there is now an opportunity to catch up on the previous episodes so you can rejoin it after its Christmas break.
It really has surprised me how good a show this has turned out to be, truth be told. I was expecting a sub-Alias, Dark Angel-aping mess with the same level of intelligence as the average punter of a Flares bar, but colour me converted.
Roll on episode 12!
Read our review of episode 10, Dark Matter, here.
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