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REVIEW: Nikita S1 E1-11

26 Jan

I love a good spy show.  Ask anyone who knows me about my favorite all time shows (list will be coming in the summer time) and you will be sure to hear “Alias” in my top 10 (maybe even top 5.)  “Alias” was perfect.   The ultimate protagonist….the intelligent, hot, ass-kicking, sensitive, loyal Sydney Bristow played by the awesome Jennifer Garner; the no-nonsense, hard-assed, don’t want to mess with double agent (who also happens to be Sydney’s father) Jack Bristow played by one of my favorite all time actors, Victor Garber;  the handsome, smart, by-the-book handler/love interest Michael Vaughn played by Michael Vartan; the quirky but funny and lovable tech geek, Marshall Finkman played by Kevin Weisman, the partner who is the veteran and pseudo big brother/protector of Sydney, Marcus Dixon played by Carl Lumbly; the best friends with whom Sydney could not survive without, who are also civilians that have no idea Sydney is a spy, Francie and Will, played by Merrin Dungy and Bradley Cooper, and the evil leader of SD-6 who the CIA is trying to bring down who is crafty and funny (a likable bad guy) Arvin Slone, played by Ron Rifkin.   Look at that cast!!!   Are you kidding me?  Alias was an intelligent, action packed, fast-moving show that sometime got a little too intense and congested with too much happening at once that would confuse the casual viewer.  When it went off the air, it was time, but I still felt like I was losing a member of my family when Sydney and crew were no longer on my TV.

When I heard about another reboot of La Femme Nikita, I rolled my eyes.     My first thought was that this was going to be a show that was going to feature an attractive Nikita and be more about a titillating experience on TV rather than hard-core spy drama.   I’m very happy to say, I was completely wrong!   At first, I thought Nikita was really sloooow.  But thankfully, the last few episodes have started to pick up.  It probably has something to do with the fact that I have learned more about the characters and are a little more invested in them.  There are still some issues with the show (Jaden needs to go and suspension of disbelief only goes so far) but overall it is enjoyable.

For those of you who haven’t checked out Nikita yet and are considering but don’t what’s going on or have been watching and maybe just need a little review, let’s break it down character by character:

Nikita (played by Maggie Q)

As a young girl, Nikita was on death row and ended up being recruited by an US government agency called Division.  Division brought her in and trained her as a spy and an assassin.  Nikita was led to believe that the people she was eliminating were dangerous people or companies who threatened the safety of Americans.  She trusted Division but they ended up betraying her trust.   They killed her fiance and she found out that they had become corrupt and went rogue from the CIA.  She has managed to escape Division and now she is on her own but she certainly isn’t safe.   She is trying to bring Division down for what they did to her and what they are doing to many innocent people.  But Division knows that Nikita knows their secrets and they are determined to bring her down before she brings them down first.  Maggie Q does a wonderful job with Nikita.  She is smart, intelligent, tough, resilient, sexy, and broken.  But even with this hardened exterior, she is heartbroken on many levels and a really good person who wants to do the right thing.   Can one woman bring down an entire rogue CIA branch with lots of power and money behind it?  I don’t think so.  She needs help.  Luckily she has Alex.

Alex (played by Lindsay Fonseca)

Alex is a troubled young girl who was arrested after a robbery gone bad.  Like Nikita, Division recruited Alex right out of prison, staged her “death” and brought her on board for training.  What Division doesn’t know is that Alex is a mole planted inside Division by Nikita to help take them down from the inside.   Alex’s parents were killed by Division and Nikita took Alex under wing after that.  Alex is strong, feisty, and has good instincts but still lacks Nikita’s worldliness and knowledge.  Her emotions can get the better of her sometimes but Nikita is there to give her guidance and direction and calm her when needed.   But as she grows and becomes more confident and has more experience, she will no doubt be someone you don’t want to mess with.  They have a security code they use to communicate through a sort of instant messaging program and they are able to let each other know what is going on.  Nikita is able to let Alex know what the behind the scenes meanings are for the tasks Division is asking her to do…because Nikita has gone through them herself.  And Alex is able to give Nikita advanced knowledge on any missions Division is planning on executing.  Alex has advanced quickly through Division’s training program so far…maybe a little too fast.   The last episode before hiatus, Alex was promoted to field agent and will be living on her own instead of inside Division.  This may be bad for her and Nikita and time will tell.  But Nikita isn’t the only one who has her best interest in mind.  Michael seems to have her back as well.

Michael (played by Shane West)

Michael is very complex.   I think Michael is a good guy that unfortunately has gotten caught up with the wrong people.  He is fiercely loyal and it’s this loyalty that is aligning him with the corrupt members of Division.  Michael was recruited to Division many years ago after his wife and daughter were killed by a man he trusted.  He was promised to get his revenge for their death.  He came on board and now he is in charge of recruitment and training and was Nikita’s handler.  They had a very close friendship but now that friendship is strained due to them being on opposites sides.  But are they?   As I mentioned, Michael is very loyal and the people in Division became like a family to him for a long time.  Lately though, he has seen certain sides to the people and directives within Division that make him question what is right and what is good.  In the field, he and Nikita have come face to face many times with guns aimed at each other.  At first, they seem to be enemies.  But you soon learn that they are still “friends” and have a mutual respect for why they are doing what they are doing.  They can’t always trust one another but they watch out for each other as much as they can without Michael setting off any red flags.  Michael has also taken a special interest in Alex because he sees a younger version of Nikita in her.  He has no idea she is Nikita’s mole.   There are some people who sense a romantic element between Alex and Michael but I don’t.  I see this as a big brother/little sister type relationship forming.  And I think he wants to protect her from the corruption as best he can but wants her to be the best agent for them at the same time.   Because even thought Michael has his doubts, he still believes, maybe naively, that Division does some good things and is necessary for the safety of Americans.  At least that’s the bill of goods Percy keeps selling him.

Percy (played by Xander Berkley)

Percy is the head of Division and the man who recruited Michael many years ago.  Percy started Division on request from the CIA but has since become obsessed with power and greed and his turned Division from an upstanding branch of the CIA to a rogue mockery of justice.  Division is hired by many high-ranking officials, businesses, and government agencies and politicians, who pay them to take out anyone who stands in their way.  It is usually framed to their agents that the people they are taking out, are dangerous to our country.   So the agents have no idea that they are killing innocent people.  How has the CIA not shut this down?    Right now that’s not 100% clear.  What we do know is that Percy has these black boxes hidden in various locations around the world that houses secrets and information that he uses to blackmail people into leaving him and his Division alone.  We don’t know what this information is, but it must be powerful because Division is still going strong.  Percy is not a good person and only cares about himself and his ambitions.  And other than power and money, his only other goal…destroy and kill Nikita.

Thom and Jaden (played by Ashton Holmes and Tiffany Hines)

Fellow recruits at Division.   Thom came in a couple of years after Nikita left and a year before Alex.   Jaden was brought in a few months before Alex.  These characters are ok.  Thom and Alex have become friends (Thom even has a crush on Alex that isn’t reciprocated) and Jaden and Alex hate each other.  About halfway through the season, Thom is promoted to full agent while Jaden and Alex are still grunts.  Neither one of these characters do much for me and I wouldn’t be unhappy if they went away.   SPOILER ALERT….Thom is accidentally killed by Alex at the end of episode 11 so at least Thom is gone.  Now if we can only get rid of Jaden (who I dislike even more than Thom) I would be a happy camper……END OF SPOILER. Thom and Alex do have a sweet friendship and it is nice for her to have someone on the inside she can trust.  Jaden is Jaden.   She’s a pain in Alex’s ass and mine.

Birkhoff (played by Aaron Stanford)

Birkhoff is the tech geek guy inside Division.  He’s absolutely brilliant but he’s a jerk and an asshole.  I have no sympathy or care for this character so I don’t really have much more to say on him.

Amanda (played by the wonderful Melinda Clarke)

Amanda is Melinda Clarke at her best.  MC is the queen of being able to play a character so even-tempered and dare I say monotone that you never know if she’s good, bad, loving, or a psychopath.   Amanda is like Hannibal Lector without the cannibalism.  She’s Division’s psychologist and Sayid Jarrah.  She is beautiful, sophisticated, brilliant, and charming. But she is sinister, calculating and manipulative.  She is there to “assist” the recruits but also to give Percy status updates on what is going on and deal with difficult people Percy needs information from.  I would like more of her back story to know why she is there and how she came to Division.

Owen (played by Devon Sawa)

Finally we have Owen.  Owen is also another former Division agent who is out on his own.  Nikita finds Owen through Percy because Owen has one of the black boxes she is looking for.  At first they don’t trust each other (shocking) but they eventually bond when Owen’s girlfriend Emily is killed and he wants to seek revenge on Division.  While at Nikita’s he tells which part of Division he was in. Owen was part of a nasty team at Division called the “Cancellation Team.”   Their main job was to go after agents and anyone who was close to them and kill them.  Nikita finds out that Owen is the one who killed her fiance, Daniel.  Not the best way to start a partnership.  He tells her that Division betrayed him, specifically Percy, and he wants his revenge, especially now that they killed Emily.  Nikita promises to help them, but he leaves before they can pinky swear their allegiance to each other.  They meet back up in episode 10 when he asks for Nikita’s help with a plan he has to locate more black boxes.  They work together and slowly a trust is forming.

Those are pretty much all the main players and what is going on up to date.  I was planning on doing this post for a while but it kept getting pushed to the back burner.  But with Nikita returning this Thursday January 27th on the CW at 9pm, I thought now was as good a time as any to finally get this finished!   I wasn’t sure I was going to stick with Nikita but it has gotten really good and became one of my favorite new shows of the season.  Again, check it out, on demand it if you have to, but this is some quality TV you must watch!

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Posted by on January 26, 2011 in CW, Recaps and Reviews

 

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