The final season barrels on, as more is revealed about Amanda and the Shop (sounds a little like a band name doesn’t it? Ha!). Now, my attempt to recap the episode’s events.
At the end of last week’s premiere, we see our heroine walking wounded through a dark alley (as Birkhoff predicted would happen). No worries though, as Michael quickly made his way to Nikita and gets her on board the “l’air” where she lovingly reunites with Birkhoff and Ryan. Seriously, even just the way she said “Nerd” was beyond cute and serves as a reminder of how much of a team they all are. It was back to business as usual, as the team gets Nikita up to speed with what’s been going on – Alex and Sonya are out trying to take down human traffickers associated with The Shop, the Udinov family trust is funding the plane (run on auto-pilot!), Ryan’s wall of crazy, and that she’s also now framed for the murder of Dale Gordon. Back to the wall of crazy, Ryan tells the team of his theory that all these high level personnel are body doubles, planted by the Shop using techniques we’ve seen last season plus Amanda’s special ability to alter a person’s thinking. (Close enough to cloning, right? Though Michael and Birkhoff both scoffed at just the idea of doubles, let alone clones.)
All of which leads to Nikita’s next plan of action: expose the double acting as Deputy Director Matthew Graham and take him down. So the cat and mouse game between Nikita and Amanda continues on, as Graham stages a hit on the real Graham’s wife and an attempt on his own life. Following the staged hit, fake Graham hides in his house with more security and a multitude of cameras waiting outside. Using those camera crews to their advantage, the team stages their own hit on Graham via video magic (Michael gets “shot” by Nikita, Birkhoff uses the footage and alters it to make it seem like it was Graham) and plant a remote gun rigged into a camera. During a press conference fake Graham is holding inside his residence, following the “leaked” assassination footage, Amanda makes a call to Alex, thereby to Nikita, and does her own special brand of psychological torture. If Nikita shoots fake Graham, Amanda will kill the real Graham, and Niki wouldn’t want to have the blood of yet another innocent life on her hands now would she? It’s exactly what Nikita doesn’t want to hear, but she now struggles with her decisions, and with time running out, Michael makes the decision for her and shoots fake Graham so she didn’t have to.
Meanwhile, we check in on Alex and Owen/Sam. Sam’s reasoning for showing up out of the blue, instead of laying on some beach with his $300 million? To find Amanda so he can get payback. But as we later see, Sam somehow managed to lose his $300 million and then some, and looks to Alex as a way to settle his debts. By episode’s end, Alex’s suite gets raided and she is taken away. Who are these guys? The authorities? The guys Sam owes money to?
Along the way, Ryan picks up some things from Graham’s various public statements to add to his wall of crazy, and try to piece together what The Shop is trying to do. Account in the Cayman Islands, supposedly in Nikita’s name. A third party funding the Pakistanis. Could The Shop be trying to instigate World War III, between the U.S. and Pakistan? Graham claims that he “obtained” such information from the NSA, which leads Ryan to task Birkhoff with trying to find a potential double in the NSA higher-ups.
The episode was filled with various Mikita moments. Nikita trying to explain to Michael why she left. Michael more or less giving her the cold shoulder, and using “The Team” as a cover-up for how he feels. Nikita’s longing and loving looks to Michael, wondering if he could ever forgive her. Michael slowly taking Nikita’s hands off the remote trigger, so he could do it. And then the last scene they had together this episode, where they finally had an honest conversation. Michael continues on about how much they all are a team, but Nikita asks him to stop covering up his feelings through the team. And this is the part in the promo video, now played out in full, where he goes: “There’s a reason why I’m talking about the team. I’m still here to help you and always will. And I’m still here to fight Amanda and The Shop. But I am done fighting for us.” To which I yell out (every single time I watched that promo vid): “BUT I’m not done fighting for you [the show]!”
It is then revealed that Amanda and The Shop were going to “expose” Alex as the third party funding the Pakistanis for the President’s assassination, a bit of intel Mr. Jones wasn’t planning to let out so soon, but thanks to Nikita, their timeline now has to be moved up significantly. Graham also had more of a part to play in everything, according to Jones, to which Amanda responds that they will simply have to adjust and reminds him “We still have one more ace in the hole and his mission is just beginning.” Cut to…Birkhoff?! Wait, what?! What’s going on? What don’t we know about Birkhoff? At this point, Birkhoff has been going through the NSA personnel database to find the potential double and comes across a Ronald Peller, the system labeling him with a target probability of 98.9%. Birkhoff looks like he just saw a ghost and as Ryan walks up to ask how the search is going, Nerd deletes the results and lies to Ryan about his findings. Who is this Peller? Is he related to Birkhoff somehow?
I have to say what a great job Albert Kim did writing this episode. At the end of this second episode, we get more answers to what The Shop’s true motives, but at the same time, we get a whole bunch more questions. Also, just an observation, but the B-storyline(?) with Alex and Sam: I’m hoping that picks up a lot faster next episode. Everything else has just been moving so fast that I feel that storyline is a little lagging, but I’m sure the payoff will be worth it in the end.