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Nikita – Michael has a problem (and so do we)

There was one big bombshell dropped at the end of this week's 'Nikita.' But who is the reveal a bigger issue for: Michael or the audience? And just what are the writers doing this season?

- Season 2, Episode 5 - "Looking Glass"

There’s only one plot point I want to talk about in this week’s Nikita. You know the one. In the middle of another formulaic episode (discover something from the past, guilt trip about it, rinse, lather, repeat), we found out that…

…Michael fathered a son with former asset Cassandra, and doesn’t know that the child is his. But Nikita does!


I can hear the “Mikita” fans being quite upset about this one right now, and I don’t blame them. I have a whole list of issues with this little reveal, and none of them have anything to do with the Michael and Nikita relationship.

I’m concerned about Michael. And what this means for the show. And how the writing has now gone from just formulaic to at risk of careening off the tracks.

Seriously, how much more weight does my favorite ex-Division agent need on his shoulders? In season one, Michael went through a roller coaster of deceptions and tragedies that would break most people. Now, in season two where he finally seems happy for a stretch, we’re going to drop something else on him? And possibly one of the toughest things we could, knowing how important family has always been to him?

We know that he will find out about his paternity at some point in season two. It would be the cheapest of writing tricks to introduce this little gem and never reference it again. And when he does…it’s going to be angst-filled and ugly, and as much as I know Shane West will knock that stuff out of the park, that doesn’t mean I want to see Michael go through it.

That’s the fan in me talking. Yet as a screenwriter, looking down the line at the future of the show, I don’t like the idea either. I just don’t know what adding it introduces, other than the possibility for more melodrama (the car blowing up just as Michael happens to get there? Not unlike the house blowing up just as Nikita happened to get there two weeks ago?).

How is this going to play out in a way that works out well for anyone? Cassandra isn’t going to part with her son, and Michael isn’t going to dump Nikita to be with her, so they’re obviously not going to be a family.

Is the kid just going to have an absent father his whole life? That would seem far out of line for Michael. Even if he believes that he’s a liability, I just can’t see him being able to completely walk away from his family. Family is too important to him.

At the same time, we know the show isn’t going to have Michael and Nikita somehow adopt Max and be running around saving the world with a five-year-old. As Birkhoff pointed out, that’s just beyond problematic.

So do the writers just never let us see Cassandra and Max again and say Michael’s been in touch with them off-screen? Well, that would seem to be cheating the audience, not to mention wasting the chance for Shane West to continue to show Michael’s more vulnerable side.

No matter what way you slice it, the reveal looks like something that’s going to come back and bite someone in the behind very soon, whether it’s the writers who have to write whatever comes next, or the characters who might come out of it not looking so great. Without knowing what the future holds, this looks like one of those situations where something sounded great for dramatic effect right now, but isn’t necessarily the best choice.

It’s all the more painful when you look at the work that the cast has been turning in. Shane West is fantastic, and unsurprisingly, he took things to a whole other level this week. Dillon Casey got to finally flesh out Sean. Lyndsy Fonseca and Maggie Q are always reliable, even if Nikita had to get down off her jealousy ledge this week. And Xander Berkeley would be even better if someone would let him out of his box already. These actors are good – we know that because we saw what they could do last season. I feel like they’re owed scripts that are as good as the talent they have.

Season two has thus far been largely a formulaic exercise. It was one thing to be disappointed, when the show was just underperforming. But now, with curveballs like this, I’m actually worried about what happens next. I’m not sure what this show is doing anymore. But can we get back to the Nikita that had me surprised and intrigued, rather than the one that has me shaking my head in disbelief?

Photo Credit: The CW

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One Response to “Nikita – Michael has a problem (and so do we)”

October 25, 2011 at 6:06 PM

OMG. Agreed sfm! This whole kid sl is completely ludicrous. It adds nothing to the show, to mikita or michael’s character in the long run. Of course, they would have had to break Mikita apart eventually… but i tried and tried getting it across to the writers, it should have been b/c of CIRCUMSTANCIAL obstacles. Not a cheap LFN knockoff storyline that could pass for a soap opera weekly event. *rolls eyes* So dissappointed.

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