Nikita episode 3 review: Kill Jill

The new take on Nikita finds some rich form in its third episode. Luke has been taking a look...

3. Kill Jill

See what they did there? With the title of the episode? Ha!

Rubbish opening sentences to a review aside, this week’s episode of Nikita gave us the most satisfying standalone story thus far, dishing out enough cover-ups, assassinations, drug smuggling operations and shooty-slappy action sequences to give the impression that the show is really getting into its stride. It also let Maggie Q off the leash a little bit, after her relatively sombre outing last episode, at last showing us in some way why Nikita should be considered, in the parlance of our times, as ‘double hard’.

The airline AirMerica, one of Division’s high profile clients, has been propping itself up through these tumultuous financial times with a spot of drug smuggling on the side. That is, stuffing a passenger jet so full of Bolivian marching powder it plummets to the ground due to the sheer mass of secreted contraband on board. Good thinking there. On a smaller scale, why keep sneaking onto planes with condoms full of whizz up one’s fundament when you can cram a Space Hopper full of the stuff in there, thus minimising the risk of capture? What could possibly go wrong?

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Needless to say, over a hundred passengers die in the crash and Division, in the employ of AirMerica, are in charge of the cleanup.

Jill Morelli, one of those overeager journalists who really should know better than sticking in their oar when appearing in programmes like this, has made contact with a source, who caught the whole clandestine cleanup operation on camera whilst out ‘hiking’. (‘Hiking’ appears in inverted commas solely because, if you were caught out dogging in the woods, what would you claim you were doing? Exactly.) While Jill is trying to sell the story to her editor, Division swoop, take out the editor and frame Jill for his murder.

Thankfully, due to Alex’s hastily improvised method of ascertaining Division’s new target, Nikita isn’t far behind. She arrives in full Matrix apparel and, in a very cool scene, takes out Division’s getaway van with a couple of clinical blasts from a pump-action shotgun. Nikita and Jill must now join forces in finding the source and getting the tape, while evading the widening net Division is casting for them.

It is this central plot of the episode that really hangs together quite well, in a fairly by-the-numbers Tony Scott kind of way, keeping the hunter and prey tension high enough throughout with insights into the resources at Division’s disposal. The secondary story strands, unfortunately, weren’t quite as strong, but nothing stood out as being outright bad.

On the contrary, BIrkhoff’s interrogation as a potential mole addressed the fact that Nikita was always a step ahead of Division before it became an annoyance that they didn’t even suspect there was a leak.

BIrkhoff continues to be an entertaining presence, and his quip about the River Phoenix film, Sneakers, was his personal high point this week, with his story strand also explaining what else happened when he was held captive by Nikita during the times we weren’t privy to. Poor BIrkhoff. First he gets the full cavity treatment (from a man who, just by looking, you can tell has got wide fingers), then a painful molar extraction. Not the best of weeks for the show’s token geek.

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Alex’s tale this week, by comparison to other events, did seem a little bit pointless. The persistence of Jaden’s public antipathy towards Alex seems quite unlikely when the consequences of it are certain death, and though Alex did herself no favours in this regard this week, Jaden’s growth in the coming weeks into more than simply a megabitch will be most welcome.

The training exercise seemed little more than a reason to get these three primary recruits in a few scenes together in a storyline that didn’t really require them, and it’s not that these scenes were particularly boring in any way, merely that their payoff was limited to a ‘get Birkhoff to spill the Red Bull’ capacity.

After Nikita and Jill had found the tape and the source, while in no way mourning the untimely passing of that particular idiot, Nikita and Michael had their customary meeting at the end of the episode. But, wait! Instead of swooning at each other and spraying the carpet with repressed reproductive hormones, they had quite a brutal scrap, and not before time, too, ending with a party piece reminiscent of one pre-alcoholism/racism Martin Riggs.

Nikita escapes with one very sore arm, leaving one very disgruntled (but, no doubt, mightily impressed) Michael behind to once again lick his wounds. This fight scene was the episode’s highlight. It was brief, and will win no awards for choreography or stunt doublage, but it was entertaining and a satisfying end to an episode which had far more highs than lows.

Sadly, in the denouement, the seeds were sown for an unnecessary romance between Alex and Thom, which will now certainly happen at some point, with Jaden as the jealous and usurped third party. Again, as in last week’s review, we hope the show will not turn out to be quite this predictable and contrived.

So, Birkhoff likes Nikita, Nikita and Michael used to be an item, now Alex and Thom? Division should really face up to the fact that this many good looking people locked up in a bunker together will eventually start bumping uglies, and that immediate and severe countermeasures are needed.

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With the threat of death seemingly not enough of a deterrent there are simple steps that have to be taken to fix this problem quickly. They could start a new Uggo’s academy, splitting the sexes so that one good looking sex is placed in digs with its homely opposite. This doesn’t account for same-sex attraction, however, so how about a system whereby prolonged eye contact between recruits, for more than, say, three seconds, is punished by a ruthless kick where it hurts?

Pretty sure that would work.

Read our review of episode 2 here.