Whenever a network tries to intervene with a show, fans tend to lose a few nights sleep, and rightfully so. Fringe was recently relegated to FOX's Friday night death-slot, a night that has seen the demise of countless TV shows, including Firefly (it still stings). Nikita, however, is doing pretty well ratings-wise for The CW, but, of course, they obviously think they can do better. The Powers That Be noted that they wanted a more light-hearted feel to the series, as they reckon a show about two extremely capable, extremely independent women is losing its core female demographic from The Vampire Diaries lead-in. The solution? A new love interest for Nikita... because no woman is complete unless she has the perfect man by her side. Ahem. Enter CIA junior analyst Ryan Fletcher (Noah Bean, who looks like a cross between Tom Cruise and Christopher Reeve).
We can all breathe a sigh of relief, as the show's formula, from the looks of this episode anyways, isn't going to change all that much. In fact, Ryan's introduction into the series is played completely straight; there's no sign of a possible romantic relationship forming, it's strictly business for now. It's too soon to tell how he'll fit into the show in the long run, especially with the likes of Owen still waiting in the wings, kicking ass and taking names, but there already seems to be yet another arc taking shape involving the CIA and Ryan's persistence in exposing Division. This series has planted enough seeds to span several seasons, never mind filling up the back nine order of this season.
The episode works in solidifying just how powerful an organization Division really is. It can be difficult to remember just how much of an influence Division is meant to have on various covert operations when we're dealing with relatively low-key missions on a weekly basis, but webbing the CIA into the story, broadens Nikita's personal vendetta to a nation-wide ordeal, she's not just taking on a black-ops unit, she's taking on almost every single military and covert branch the US has to offer until she can locate and destroy Percy's black-boxes.
Less interesting this week is the unusual amount of screen-time dedicated to Birkhoff. Aside from being teased about the new Mortal Kombat game coming out early next year (I reaaally want to play it!), there's just not enough here to warrant an entire sub-plot. We learn that Percy is the trigger to activate the black boxes, and I'm not quite sure what the significance of that is. Alex catches a glimpse of Percy's murderous capabilities, but we've seen him attempt far worse on the show, as has Alex herself: he tried to kill her when she escaped during a trial a few weeks back. Speaking of Alex, I'm getting tired of the forced animosity with Jaden. Not only does it slow the episode down, but once again nothing really comes of it... for now. We need to get past this teen-friendly, high-school subplot. It's rubbish!
Still, it's a big win for Nikita this week. After weeks and weeks of small victories, she finally manages to destroy one of Percy's black boxes. Only six more to go! With Owen, Alex and Ryan on her side, Nikita is starting to feel like a true ensemble TV series now. It seemed odd that most of the main characters so far work for the bad guys.