Nikita Season 4 Premiere Review: America's Next Top Martyr
Welcome to Nikita's final season! Six episodes is kind of a weird number, and The CW definitely picked a weird time to start airing the show, but at least we'll get to spend a few more hours watching our favorite 93-pound super-duper spy straight-up ruining people's worlds. In case you forgot where the show left off last season, Amanda and Mr. Jones helped frame Nikita for killing the president, who actually committed suicide in Nikki's presence. Nikita became public enemy number one, and in response, she ditched the team (including Michael) to keep them safe.
Unsurprisingly, that last part didn't stick. While Nikita spent 100 days running for her life and trying to figure out why the leader of the free world would blow her brains out in the oval office, Michael, Birkhoff, and company did their part to track her down and find leads to clear her name. As these things go, it doesn't really matter what Nikita has been up to, or how she blended in, or how she managed to cross borders with ease. (The real answer to those questions, obviously, is "She's Nikita.") What matters is that "Wanted" began with Nikita still beating herself up over the possibility that the team could die because of her action,s and what matters is that everybody's back in the same orbit again. I mean come on, there are only six episodes this year; the show can't screw around too much.
Provided you were able to let go of any pesky logistical questions and follow the episode head-first into chatter about conspiracies, hostage situations, and an increased amount of blood and violence, then this was a pretty enjoyable opening hour. I'm mostly there. Were we headed into a 22-episode season, I'd be less willing to forgive the show for running back the cliffhanger so quickly, but the writers did the best they could with what little time they had. Although "Wanted" did bring the team back together somewhat, all of their interactions had something to do with the fallout of what happened in the Season 3 finale. Birkhoff and Ryan scolded Nikita for ditching them, and scoffed when she said silly stuff like "Oh, I thought you could move on if I was gone." There was some real tension between Nikita and Michael in the brief moments they shared together. This is such a tight-knit group that they're never going to give up on one another—that's kind of the whole point of show—but "Wanted" did a solid job of acknowledging that the team can help Nikita survive without forgiving her for removing them from the equation.
The primary story here was all about Nikita trying to reach out to Dale Gordon, a TV journalist obsessed with the truth but with enough stroke to get the head of the FBI task force to bring Nikki down. Setting aside how ridiculous it would be for an agent in Matthew Graham's position to do an interview like that in the middle of such an high-profile investigation, Gordon and Graham's role in the episode served a really important function: to remind us that Amanda is not screwing around, and that she's almost always a step ahead. Amanda funneled real information to Gordon to get him talking on TV, which in turn drew Nikita out because she thought she had someone to trust. And even though Nikita got away, Amanda apparently had Graham in her back pocket too. Gordon gave up Nikita's information and Graham subsequently blew him up, further painting Nikita as the world's most dangerous woman. And while at times I've grown tired of the kind of reach that characters like Amanda (and previously Percy) have/had, that's the show—and in the final season, its stories will need to be parsed down. It's Nikita vs. Amanda, as it was probably always meant to be, and "Wanted" pushed Nikita further down in a way that will make her eventual triumph even better.
Plus, I'm hoping the show has one more Weirdo Amanda plan in its arsenal. Nikita and Ryan seemed to think that it's some kind of mind-controlling drug that can turn anyone into robotic killers (in the president's case, self-killers), and I can already picture a world where one of the team members gets injected with the stuff and turns their gun(s) on Nikita or anyone else. It's still unclear how that might fit into whatever Alex and Sonya are investigating in their Batgirl and Robin worldwide journeys, but no matter what it is, the premiere introduced enough mystery to keep the story intriguing. And we probably won't have to wait very long to figure out what's really going on.
"Wanted" wasn't a top-shelf episode of Nikita, but it did what it needed to do, and it did so in an efficient and entertaining manner. If this episode is any indication, the show will be hammering the gas pedal as quickly as next week. Five more.
NOTES FROM THE BLACKBOX
– Nice coincidence that this episode, full of discussion about conspiracies and dead presidents, aired on the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination. OR WAS IT A COINCIDENCE?
– Was it just me, or did this episode seem more violent than usual? The blood was certainly more noticeable. I don't know if Warner Bros. and The CW told the creative team to push the limit a little bit more or what.
– Owen made an early appearance and shockingly, he's screwing with people seemingly at random. That dude needs a hug.
– I appreciate that Ryan and Birkhoff are just flying around in a jet that seems to include like two computer screens and a see-through dry erase board. It's like the S.H.I.E.L.D. jet, minus everything.
– Maggie Q looks very nice in hats. That is all.
– I'll be covering all six episodes this season, so tell your friends.
What'd you folks think of the premiere? Good start? What are you hoping to see in the final season?
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