Nikita is a spy show, so having double-crosses galore is part of the job description (though I’m not sure how I feel about making it the title of the episode). But this week’s episode sort of smashed everyone together to see what sticked (or died, or escaped).
I’ll give you the short version: Amanda (Melinda Clarke) turned to Nikita (Maggie Q) and Company to locate Percy (Xander Berkeley), offering to trade Ryan (Noah Bean) for him. Got that? Right. Then Carla (Erica Gimpel) got on her self-righteous high horse and tried to screw up the plan, at least until Birkhoff (Aaron Stanford) shot her. But it didn’t matter that much, because Nikita had been expecting Amanda to double-cross her all along. Percy escaped, Ryan came back, and Carla and Guardian Patrick Miller (William deVry) checked out.
What to make of all that? Firstly, as mean as I know it sounds, I’m glad that Carla is out of the picture. I never warmed to her, nor did I ever believe she was as sneaky-competent as the show wanted me to think she was, and her pro-Division rhetoric got tired quickly. It was clear she was single-minded and that train was going to crash. I can’t decide if I’m sympathetic or annoyed that even in her death Nikita still seemed to think the world of her; I know they’ve got a long history together, but the woman had been clearly betraying that trust for awhile now. Still, as Birkhoff told us, that’s who Nikita is, always doing the right thing no matter how many times she’s let down.
Speaking of Birkhoff, what a great scene for Aaron Stanford to pull that trigger. I half expected him to go Will Traveler and reveal that Birkhoff was, indeed, capable of murder. But regardless, I still thought it was some fantastic acting on his part. Now what’s killing Carla going to do to him?
On the other side of the world, Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca) was reunited with Sean (Dillon Casey) only to find out that mom Katya (Sarah Clarke) had gone missing from the family home, and when she confronted Ari (Peter Outerbridge) about it, he claimed innocence and told her details of his plan to kill the man she wanted dead anyway. He had an agent inside MI6 to do the deed: Michael’s baby mama Cassandra (Helena Mattsson). That sound you hear is my head smashing into my keyboard over and over again.
I thought Cassandra was a cheap plot device when she first showed up, I loathed her when the show pulled her MI6 history out of nowhere the second time, and I certainly never wanted to see her a third time. No offense to the actress, but everything about this character has felt contrived for the most melodrama possible. The only good thing to come of her is that it’s given Shane West some emotional material to play with. Otherwise, I have no problem with seeing her be the next one to go.
Unlike last season, where sometimes we had standalone episodes, season two of Nikita has been working mostly with its two major arcs: the battle for Division and Alex’s dealings with her family. It’s episodes like this one that make me miss the standalones. It seems like we deal with the same themes each week and almost everything has to be connected to the big picture in the end.
Having said that, it’s episodes like this which take big steps toward resolving these huge plots, and while I’m already fearing next week’s is going to be a huge trainwreck like the two Cassandra episodes before it, I’m curious to see how it’s all going to shake out and if this show will end season two as wide open as it ended season one. This is a show that likes to do things big, especially toward the end, and you can’t say it’s not doing that.