Nikita – 2.0 – Episode review

Last night’s second episode of [[Nikita (TV Series)|Nikita]] divided its time between Division’s protection of a war criminal and establishing the history of Nikita’s (Maggie Q) relationship with Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca).

This makes sense, since the premiere dropped a bombshell of a cliffhanger by showing us that Nikita had managed to plant a spy inside Division. This raised a whole barrage of questions as to how Nikita and Alex had come into contact and how they’d ended up working together. Basically, Nikita intervened when Alex was on the verge of a brutal gang rape in a drugs den.

Intercut with the present-day scenes, we see Nikita take Alex in, help her fight her addictions and try to rebuild her life. However, it’s at the end when Alex takes an overdose, that we discover Nikita has been looking for her all along. More mystery though, because it turns out that her parents have been murdered and Nikita promises to deliver their killer to Alex.

We can only assume that Percy (Xander Berkeley) and Division are behind the deaths, and we already know that Alex is really from some Slavic country. Can we assume that her parents were important people in their country and Alex somehow came to be stranded in America? Or has she travelled there seeking revenge?

Elsewhere, Division step in to protect Mirco Dadich, a war criminal who has access to a substantial cache of Uranium. Michael, however, isn’t totally happy about being in bed with a terrorist. And he’s even less happy about having to activate new recruit Alex to act as an escort for the sleazy Slavic.

However, thanks to the smart intercutting, we also know that Alex has some sexual hangups and she won’t appreciate being pawed by the terrorist. And sure enough, she reacts badly when he tries to ‘move things to the bedroom’. Nikita, ready to play sniper atop the opposite building, sees this and almost shoots when she sees a van of mercenaries rolling up at the safe house to take out Dadich.

I’ve gotta admit, the plot with Dadich lost a lot of my attention. A dirty terrorist being protected by the US government. That would never happen, would it? Though his very presence seemed to validate that Division had gone ‘properly’ rogue and was massing nuclear weapons for some reason. (Couple that to the fact that Percy has the government over a barrel with his knowledge of black ops missions dating back a couple of decades). Although, I’m surprised that Michael (Shane West) can’t stifle his distaste for Dadich in order to remain professional. He seemed to be chomping at the bit to take Dadich down, which means Michael is clearly playing for the wrong side.

TV Squad’s review raises the question of whether Nikita focusses on the wrong character. We already know about Nikita, her defection, etc, etc. It’s Alex’s story that’s more interesting at this point and Nikita herself is quite difficult to warm to as a calculating revenge-bot. Yes, we’ve now seen a nurturing side to the character in how she helped Alex, but at the bottom line, she still needs Alex for her infiltration task. Better dialogue for Maggie Q would go some way toward warming up the character and making us empathise with her more.

All the same, The CW are making it crystal clear that Nikita isn’t going to be a lightweight show. We’ve already seen Michael deliver a cold-blooded kill in this episode and it’s dealt with uncomfortable rape scenes already. This could be a grittier show than anything we’d previously expected from The CW.

Finally, I was pleased to see that they’ve given the show something of an introductory monologue – remember the other day when I was moaning about Warehouse 13 not providing something to quickly give newbies a feel for the series? Well, heads up Warehouse producers…

Six years ago I was taken from prison and forced to become an assassin for a secret unit of the government. A black ops programme called Division that has now gone rogue. They destroyed my identity and they destroyed the man I loved. I escaped, and now the man who trained me, someone I trusted, is hunting me.

What Division doesn’t know is that I have a partner on the inside, Alex. A new recruit with a dark past who I’ve trained secretly to resist their control. Together, we’re going to take Division apart, one machine at a time. And the last word they’ll breathe before the end will be my name.

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