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Review #2504: Nikita 1.21: “Betrayals”

Posted on the 08 May 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Henry T.

Written by Andrew Colville
Directed by Eagle Egilsson

All season long, I have criticized this show for its lack of depth and relative predictability. Early in the season, it seemed like Percy largely ignored a lot of attempts to take Nikita out. Her easy victories over Division created an imbalance as the season progressed. This episode proved most of that wasn’t what it seemed. Now that Alex was discovered as the mole inside Division, the danger is heightened. The expected move is for Percy to torture her for information on Nikita, then go through with the cancellation order on her. This episode plays on that expectation and turns it on its head. For the first time this season, I wasn’t sure of where the episode would end up. This lack of predictability is good since it has been missing for a large part of the season. It also changes the stakes going into the season finale.

Review #2504: Nikita 1.21: “Betrayals”

What was interesting to me about this episode was that it showed how manipulative and conniving Percy really is. As with the title character, Percy has largely been colorless this season as a villain. He has been defined by the black boxes that Nikita and Alex have been hunting for (funny that Birkhoff called them his “horcruxes” since they are so coveted by everyone on the series) and largely nothing has been done to really make him villainous. He doesn’t personally kill people, he isn’t proactive with many of the plots in episodes, so to me, there’s no reason to dislike him. That changed here, with his “interrogation” of Alex. That was much more effective than Amanda’s questions with Alex, and there was no need for psychotropic drugs!

Percy may have revealed a little too much in his overall plan perhaps, but it’s an ambitious one. It’s dependent on Alex’s willingness to turn against Nikita, which the ending does kind of prove. It wasn’t too much of a surprise that Nikita killed her parents so it does provide a nice trigger for Alex to go against Nikita at the worst possible time. Her manipulation by Percy and now, Nikita changes what has been occurring with her character arc. It is unclear how this change will affect the larger picture still to come.

For Nikita, the task now is to prevent Percy from using the black boxes to engineer a takeover of the government. I had asked in a review for a previous episode whether she would be willing to sacrifice either Alex or Michael or possibly both to bring Percy down. It looks now like she’ll have to at least consider sacrificing Michael since he is now locked up in Division. Alex is of no use to her, at least in the short term. I thought the writers also integrated the CIA into things more organically this time. The CIA hacker may have proven just to be a small part of Percy’s overall deception to Nikita (since he does nothing of note after she hands him over to the CIA), but Ryan shows up to facilitate things on her end.

It still bothers me that Nikita is willing to confront Percy and his large plan with such a small force to fight it, and it certainly doesn’t help that she’s losing allies. The two sides are set up for that clash, however, and I am a little interested in how things end up for the next episode. My hunch is that Alex’s anger at Nikita is short-lived and Percy’s plan will fail. There isn’t a lot of proof to back that assertion up from the episode presented, but I feel that is what is going to happen. I really like the fact that there are questions as to how things shake out by the end of the season.

This episode proved that a little unpredictability can be a good thing for a series. It has spent too long languishing in mediocrity and needed a shakeup. Alex has surprisingly developed into a much more fascinating character as a result (minus the entire subplot about giving her a civilian love interest) and will factor in pretty much everything that occurs in the season finale. I don’t think Nikita is fading into the background, but she has been, like Percy before this episode, colorless. She is not really the center of the show (many viewers will agree it’s probably Alex) so she lacks depth. That could change depending on what happens in the season finale.

Grade: 8/10


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