Let’s be honest here. Nikita is not an amazing show. However, viewing the show against typical CW fare, I dare say it’s not half bad–enjoyable, even, and it has been improving by leaps and strides in its first season.
If you haven’t watched the show, and you’re interested in it, please do yourself a favor and skip the first 5-7 episodes. Really. Especially the disastrously bad season opener. The show has been picking up pace since right before the mid-season break, and it’s settling into a nice groove as we move into the home stretch.
It’s easy for a new viewer to get into the show, as every episode’s opening bit includes an overview of all key plot points. I’m glad the show realized it didn’t need the lengthy exposition of the first few episodes. Yes, we know the Nikita franchise is long and storied, but really we don’t need any background.
All we need to know is there is a secret organization that is questionably bad. The main player is a rogue former agent named Nikita. She now has two associates secretly working in the organization. Done.
Anyway, to get back to the episode:
This episode was fairly exciting. Maggie Q, as always, looks wonderful in fight scenes. Unfortunately, this has the effect of making the other actors seem much less natural, but that’s what happens when you set up an action pro with soap stars.
The show has done a passable job creating and sustaining the conflict between Jaden and Alex. Jaden has been a one-sided villain for a while now, but the writers gave her a little depth and a little backstory today, with yet another rape bit.*
There was real tension and drama in this episode, which doesn’t always come out in Nikita. While the audience knew Alex wasn’t going to leave (because that would put Lyndsy Fonseca out of a job), Alex’s decision to save Jaden at the expense of her own salvation was fraught with emotion and poignancy.
Everything worked well in this episode, to the extent to which that can be said about this show. The actors didn’t seem wooden, as happens occasionally in this series. The pacing wasn’t oddly slow and then overly fast. There were even a few humorous lines. Two of them centered around tech catch phrases. I’m going to guess the writers have been trying to play up to CW’s target audience with lines like “There’s an app for that.”
I may be a Nikita apologist, but I liked this episode. Sometimes you want to watch The Hurt Locker, sometimes you want to watch Source Code. There’s a time and a place for both sorts of entertainment, and personally, I’m rooting for a second season.
Side note: How did the neurotoxin cause that one victim to bleed from his hands? Is that scientifically possible?
*I’ve seen hints of this in the blogosphere, but I have to reiterate my belief here that Nikita, as a show, hates women. Yes we have Wonder Woman in the form of an ass-kicking assasin played by stern-faced Maggie Q. We also have vulnerable but feisty younger female characters, and of course the incomparable Melinda Clarke as Amanda.
However, time and time again, these women turn out to have some horribly abusive background. So-and-so was raped, so-and-so was a sex slave. Characters are locked in cages, tied up in chains. Granted, a show focusing on two women as action heroes is still a rare thing in television, so perhaps I shouldn’t make such a fuss.
I do appreciate the strong female characters on this show. I just don’t appreciate Nikita‘s need to repeatedly weaken these characters. Guess I have to accept that Buffy has been cancelled for almost a decade now.