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Review #2518: Nikita 1.22: “Pandora”

Posted on the 14 May 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Henry T.

Written by Craig Silverstein
Directed by Ken Fink

I’m going to go ahead and look at this episode as a season finale. I think it looks better if it’s seen like that instead of a series finale. The show is still on the bubble as this review is being written, but I think it will be back next season.

Review #2518: Nikita 1.22: “Pandora”

That said, the finale went in directions that I didn’t expect. I was looking for more focus on Alex. Most of the material went into Nikita’s quest to stop Percy’s takeover of the CIA. It’s all very complicated, as a rigged black box is supposed to assassinate the CIA director so Percy can publicly “go above ground.” It ends up muddled by the end. The much more compelling emotional character moments are pushed into the background as a result. It becomes yet another mission for Nikita and once again, gives very little in terms of character growth or change for Alex. There is also the little matter of this committee of corrupt spies and politicians that we’ve never seen before added onto this episode as a tease for next season.

Nikita and Alex work out one last plan to make it look like Nikita is dead for Percy’s satisfaction, then revive her when it’s safe. Nikita must be stronger than she looks to come back from being technically dead, then fighting with Percy’s cleaner enough for her to escape. Nikita’s mission in this episode was to stop the black box given to Ryan and the CIA from killing the CIA director. It was all very rote. Nikita comes into the CIA, makes it to the room where the black box is held just in the nick of time, saves Ryan and the director, then gets interrogated before escaping.

It would have been more exciting if it didn’t feel like a bunch of other missions Nikita had done before. She’s the hero of the show so the stakes aren’t very high here. What is different about this case is that a previously captured Michael gets out of Percy’s grasp to grab one of Percy’s black boxes and helped Nikita evade CIA custody. I would have hoped for something more with the confrontation between Michael and Percy. They just had to rush through everything to get to the end revelations. The endgame for the season is then set up at Nikita’s loft.

It all hinges on Alex’s decisions in this episode. She chose to temporarily save Nikita, only after finding out she killed Alex’s father and shooting her for it. Alex’s attitude and reactions to everything made the episode somewhat fun. Another interrogation from Amanda yielded some interesting tidbits. Is Alex purely bent on revenge for her family’s death? Does she want to take over her father’s oil empire? Nevertheless, any of the goals Alex has set for herself now that she knows the whole truth are incompatible with Nikita’s overall mission of destroying Division.

This is the reason why she chooses in the end not to follow Nikita and Michael. I loved that emotional scene between Alex and Nikita at the end. It felt like a goodbye scene. They could have stayed together in the fight but this was an instance where Alex needed to strike out on her own. It leads to the offer being laid on the table for Alex by the previously unseen intelligence committee at the end. Anything she wants done would have the full backing of that committee. It provides her with resources that would rival anything Division gave her. She may need it too, because Percy and a weakened Division is still out there as well as Michael and Nikita. This is an expansion of the show’s world that arguably should’ve been done earlier. It could ultimately sink the show in the future or make the show more than the mediocre one it was throughout this inaugural season.

“Nikita” was a series that kept spinning its wheels by the end, waiting for something to happen. The missions were very similar, the betrayals were expected, and everything felt like it was going through the motions. The faceoff between Nikita and Percy ironically didn’t happen. It’s now something like Percy versus Nikita versus Alex. The next season could be spent making Alex into something Nikita probably wanted to prevent: a villain.

It would certainly be an interesting turn for that character. But I’m dealing in hypotheticals there. There should be a better integration of character and plot than what was presented during the season. Overall, the finale changed some things about the series but they didn’t feel like large changes. The show just can’t seem to kick into a higher gear to go from a merely okay, occasionally good to great levels that made other spy shows so addictive.

Grade: 7/10

(Season 1 Final Average: 6.6)


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