CliqueClack TV

Nikita – Michael still has a problem (and ours is worse)

This week's 'Nikita' picks up from one of the season's weakest episodes - and does more damage. There's very little good to say about 'London Calling.' Except for that Shane West can act with next to nothing.

I have only one positive thing that I can say about this week’s Nikita: that Shane West is a truly talented actor, because he can deliver a watchable performance even at a deficit.

Unfortunately, that’s the only compliment that I can give to “London Calling.” I wish it wasn’t so. Perhaps I should have expected this – it does continue a storyline from what was the weakest episode of the season – but I didn’t think that it would drive the show farther down.

How did it go wrong?

I can’t say that I was thrilled to see Cassandra again, but I did expect it. I didn’t think the show would reinvent her whole backstory. In the previous episode, she was shocked to find out that Michael was a spy, but this week, she suspected it from the start – because she’s been an MI6 agent all along. Huh?

Also taking a big hit in the characterization department was Sean. Last week, I thought he might be a great asset to the show, as he apparently began to doubt working for Division and that brought him closer to Alex. This week, he’s in a limo telling his mother that his plan is to seduce her – turning him in an episode from possible conflicted hero to definite manipulative jerk. And his idea of seducing Alex? To help her and then bluntly tell her to kiss him. I sincerely hope he has other pickup lines that are better than that.

Half the main cast was absent or underused. Melinda Clarke was missed, Xander Berkeley spent most of the episode in his box (except for a great hallucination that showed how cool he’s going to be when he gets out of the box), and Aaron Stanford could have taken a vacation this week.

Then there were the lapses into cliches. For the third time this season, we were treated to a fake death. Michael flipped out when he believed Cassandra had died as her car was pushed off a cliff – not unlike he flipped out when he thought she blew up, or Nikita flipped out when she thought Michael had died in the house explosion. And was anyone surprised when Cassandra’s handler betrayed her? I can’t say that  I was.

Lastly, but not least, we come to the development that probably has “Mikita” fans wailing. Mere moments after Cassandra and Max headed home, Nikita turned on Michael, sort of told him that she knows him better than he knows himself, and then left him so that he could pursue a life with his son.

My issue isn’t necessarily with her decision; I can understand her reasoning. Where I take issue with it is the fact that she came to that realization so abruptly and of course, at the very end of the episode. It felt more like a piece forced in to end the episode on a dramatic note, instead of a natural conclusion that Nikita had time to contemplate and arrive at. She certainly didn’t have a lot of time to think with all the fighting and shooting going on this week! (Nikita still does fighting and shooting like no one’s business…even if this week it was a club fight with very little setup and the fastest kidnapping on record.)

I’m also skeptical because of how the show’s handled major developments thus far this season. When we learned that Max was Michael’s son and that Nikita knew but he didn’t, it seemed like that might become an honestly major wedge between the two – and then she told Michael in the very next episode. It makes me wonder how long Michael and Nikita will really be apart. It’s been said that Shane West will be absent from a few upcoming episodes, so they may legitimately be separated for awhile, and it might be interesting to see how the show is written without him. It is called Nikita – but at the same time, he’s a compelling character and his solo story seems equally worth telling.

And will the show be willing to keep them apart long enough for it to be a serious development, when doing so will understandably raise the anguish and ire of the die-hard “Mikita” fans?

We’ll find out. But at this moment, we have an episode with some confusing priorities. Rather than maintaining its canon or continuing to positively develop its characters (as it did so well last week), it chose to give us what it thought was more dramatic and/or fun.

There’s nothing wrong with television that’s fun to watch. But I must say that’s not all I want from my television. I don’t want to be entertained and then forget it. I’m looking for a quality show that’s true to itself. I don’t believe that’s too much to ask for, especially when we saw last season that Nikita can be that show. I just wish it would be that show again.

Photo Credit: The CW

Categories: | Clack | General | Nikita | TV Shows |

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