I am dreading the end of Nikita. This incredible little show has been a cornerstone of my TV-watching experience over the last three years, and it's going to be utterly heartbreaking to say goodbye.
On paper, I don't like the fact that Nikita is embracing science fiction by introducing clones and doubles. My favorite show of all time, Alias, suffered a great deal when things got too whacky and sci-fi. Thankfully, Nikita seems to be doing a better job of integrating the technology (using Amanda and The Shop) into the show's world. It also helps that Nikita only recently began this tonal shift, whereas Alias employed the Rambaldi mythology from the very beginning. Ultimately, I'm willing to let this slide because it admittedly raises the stakes for Nikita's final battle.
The whole Graham debacle was a hoot to watch; I loved everything about Team Nikita's plan - from "shooting" Michael, to the nifty rifle-equipped camera in the press conference. Nikita has always tackled the world of espionage with an equal dose of fun and thrills, and this was no different. The sequence with Nikita trying to decide if she'll take out Graham's clone (as Amanda blackmailed her with the real operative) was downright exhilarating. The stakes gradually escalated, and the tension beautifully climaxed in a gorgeous character moment (Michael profoundly going for the kill and sparing his love the agony of the decision), as Amanda coldly eliminated the real Graham. Utterly sensational.
And that's another reason why Nikita is so special. Our lovers' fractured relationship didn't exactly take center-stage from a storytelling perspective, but it still felt like it was at the forefront this week. While I'm pretty sure these two are going to get their happy ending four episodes down the line, Craig Silverstein isn't going to let Michael forgive Nikita for leaving him quite so easily. And as always, Shane West and Maggie Q sell it with nuance and a true sense of gravitas. This really is one of the strongest and most underrated casts on television.
It's also interesting to note that Amanda and The Shop's plans are much more ambitious than simply eliminating Nikita. Dead or Alive revealed that the alliance from hell is only using our heroine to frame Pakistan for the hit on the President. Their goal? A nuclear war (suitably end-of-the-world-ish for the show's final season). And as an added touch, Amanda further frames Alex as Nikita's supposed benefactor (a half-true fact). This little twist gets the heiress arrested in the episode's closing moments, and that's bound to be a fun subplot to watch, particularly with her celebrity status.
While I want Lyndsey Fonseca to spend quality time with Maggie Q (Nikita and Alex's dynamic has always been the heart of the show for me), I'm admittedly glad that Devon Sawa is getting some focus this year. I'm not sure if I want Alex and Sam to get together romantically, but it's obvious that's what the writers are going for. Let's hope they don't rush the dynamic too much as there isn't much time left. A little action and some flirtatious banter is all that's required. I think.
The episode's cliffhanger wasn't the strongest the show's ever done, but I'm certainly intrigued to see why Birkhoff hid the fact that the NSA director is Amanda's "ace in the hole". Perhaps the man in question is his father? That sure seems like the obvious answer. I know a lot of people online are speculating that Birkhoff might be a double himself, but I refuse to believe that's a possibility. The show's too close to the end to jump the shark now!
All in all, Dead or Alive is a bold and thoroughly exhilarating hour of Nikita.
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