Let me start by saying again that I am an unabashed fan of Nikita. It’s not deep or intellectual. It’s not going to pop up on any Emmy shortlists. But it’s a fun show, with an exciting pace and one of the few action shows currently on network television with female leads (including an Asian-American female, no less).
Was this the best show I saw last week? No, but it might be the best episode of Nikita yet. Taken with view of the entire series’ run, this week’s episode was stellar.
First of all, “Glass Houses” marks the first time the writers managed to limit exposition to the voice-over and just one sentence of dialogue. This was a key weakness in some of the earlier episodes, and my Nikita-loving heart rejoiced when they pulled this off.
The Nikita storyline was full of emotion and character development. The Alex storyline was lighter on emotion, but included some unexpected plot twists. Massive spoilers ahead.
The heart of the episode lay bare in the opening scenes, when Alex asks Nikita what she plans to do after she defeats Division. “And when it’s over? Where do you go after that?”
Good question, Alex. Nikita works with Michael on a new mission, taking another
Horcrux black box from a Guardian. This Guardian happens to have all the things Nikita wants: a family, a home in the suburbs, a calm and peaceful life. At least, Nikita has her stable love interest by her side, but she doesn’t even get the chance to discuss their future before Michael cuts her off. They close the episode with a tender moment, but is it enough? Will they ever get their happy ending? Only time (and a CW renewal) will tell.
I know that description sounds like Nikita’s storyline was all sentiment and no action, but there were plenty of guns and hand-to-hand combat and police cars and sirens. Business as usual on Nikita. High points in the episode included appearances by the always funny comic relief (Aaron Stanford’s Birkhoff) and the delightfully creepy Amanda, played by Melinda Clarke.
Amanda doesn’t appear until the very end of the episode, in a shocking twist to Alex’s storyline. This week, Alex gets in a tiff with her boyfriend, who assumes that whole “government assassin” shtick is just a way for Alex to break up with him. Newly-minted agent Jaden comes over at a very inopportune time and catches wind of Alex’s involvement with her neighbor. A fight ensues. Tiffany Hines and Lnydsy Fonseca both do a great job in this fight scene, the first believable fight I’ve seen either of them present on this show.
What happens next is shocking, to say the least. JADEN DIES. I really didn’t expect Nikita to kill her off so quickly. I’m a little disappointed, actually. Jaden was shaping up to be a complex and interesting foil for Alex. With both Thom and Jaden out of the picture now, we’re quickly running out of recurring characters for second season. Seems a little hasty to get rid of her, when Season 2 is still a likely possibility. Ah, well. Farewell, Jaden. The writers did a good job humanizing her in the last episode, and the little girly giddiness Jaden expressed over a new apartment and new credit cards made her death a little sad, in retrospect.
Nikita is getting into a habit of saving the plot twists for the episode codas. This week, we learn that Amanda knows of Alex’s involvement with Nikita. There are many ways this could play out, but, again, I didn’t expect the show to go this far so quickly. Guess they wanted to tie up all loose ends, in preparation for a possible cancellation.
It would be a shame to cancel the show now, just when it’s finally found it’s rhythm. Crossing my fingers for Season 2!
On a final but non-plot-related note, sometimes, the little things in television count. In this episode, I noticed that Nikita and Alex were clad in casual clothes for once, not the usual black spy/biker chick getup. It didn’t quite work. Everything looked too big, too baggy, especially for the diminutive Maggie Q. Also, the makeup folks need to never let Shane West shave himself again. That scruff was hard to even look at.