At the end of last week’s episode, FBI Deputy Director Graham (the real one and the double) was shot dead, with Nikita ordering the FBI (via video) to do a DNA test, proving that the Graham shot dead at the press conference was a fake. We also had Amanda ominously telling Mr. Jones that they still had “one more ace in the hole” with the screen cutting to Birkhoff. What does it all mean? Is Birkhoff REALLY not Birkhoff? We find out this week.
The suspicions started early on with Birkhoff working off his laptop elsewhere on the plane and not at his station. Ryan, ever the conspiracy guy, noticed it immediately, particularly after Birkhoff got beat when trying to control the FBI’s DNA results on Graham. It’s a big red flag: when does Birkhoff fail at anything? When Ryan talks to Nikita and Michael about how weird Birkhoff has been acting, of course they think he’s going nuts, with Nikita hilariously going “Ryan, step away from the wall of crazy…” To be safe though, Nikita goes and tries to have a talk with Nerd to make sure he isn’t a double, and this is where we learn the truth. At 15, Birkhoff faked his own death because life at home wasn’t great – he got in really well, really fast with hackers and whatnot and his father (who had pretty much ignored him) was going to send him to military school to set him straight. His real name: Lionel Peller. And in case you forgot, Ronald Peller is the name of the presumed double Birkhoff found in the NSA database and hid from Ryan last episode…so yeah, Birkhoff’s dad!
There was a reason for Birkhoff not telling Nikita about his dad being a double, and even though they had a strained relationship, he doesn’t want to get his father killed. So Nikita comes up with a plan (she always has a plan!): capture the double, only to release him with false information that he will take back to The Shop, which will then lead them to Amanda. Amanda and The Shop will have no idea their double is compromised, thereby saving Ronald. While Birkhoff pretends to be looking for a NSA double (the fake intel that fake Ronald will take), Nikita encourages him to embed a message in the code, knowing that the real Ronald is on the other side monitoring under Amanda’s orders. At first resistant to the idea, Birkhoff decides to follow Nikita’s advice and does message Ronald. It’s a whole different means of cyberchatting! After they go through with their act and hands off the intel to fake Ronald, Amanda is all happy thinking she pulled a fast one on Team Nikita. But then, in the lamest way possible, real Ronald decides to utter “Why’d you do it Lionel?” as he looks at the picture of Birkhoff that he requested to see from Amanda. I know, time is of the essence, so everything has to move superfast, but that really was stupid of Ronald to do that. Anyways, Amanda quickly pieces together that Lionel is Birkhoff and orders fake Ronald to execute the failsafe, knowing that he’s been compromised. Before fake Ronald can kill Birkhoff, Nikita shoots the double.
Meanwhile, last we saw Alex, she was being captured by the CIA and is now being questioned by a forensic accountant. Remember, The Shop has twisted the truth about Alex funding Team Nikita, but they altered numbers and evidence to make it seem like something bigger involving the Pakistanis. We also get reminded by Nikita that Alex isn’t actually a U.S. citizen, so within 24hrs, the CIA will have her in rendition in some other country’s hellhole. With Alex hidden somewhere in a CIA safehouse (and Nikita, Birkhoff, and Ryan busy with their thing), Michael makes his way to Mumbai to help Sonya and, to a lesser extent, Sam find Alex. It was all very swift, as Michael and Sam found their way to Alex right before she was to be transported.
By episode’s end, Mr. Jones has put Amanda on the bench for once again being played by Nikita and losing another asset. For killing fake Ronald, it was safe to assume that Amanda would do as she did to Graham, and kill the real Ronald. But you know what happens when you assume. Amanda decides not to kill the real Ronald, and instead sees an opportunity to dig into his brain because she couldn’t crack Birkhoff in all those years.
Other short notes:
- There was a cute little mention of “La Femme Nikita” as part of the French news broadcast at the beginning.
- I love how they keep referring back to last season’s episode “High Value Target” which took place at a G20 Summit in Toronto. Everything has been tied back to that episode story-wise, but I also like to think it’s their little shout-out to Toronto since that’s where they filmed for 4 years. I’m probably wrong and it’s most likely all for the story, but just let me be with my own crazy thoughts, okay?
- Love continually seeing the friendship between Nikita and Birkhoff. I think I might miss seeing that the most, when the show is done. Birkhoff telling Nikita to take her own advice, “Stop running. What you run from, you run into” was sweet.
- Even with SUCH a short season, it was really great to see that they could still include more backstory on Birkhoff, while obviously tying it to the main arc of the season.
- Judd Nelson was a great casting choice to play Ronald Peller!
- Carlos Coto did a wonderful job on the script, especially with continually playing up the emotions to drive the action of the story.
So how did you like the episode? We’re halfway through the season (that sounds wrong saying that already) and if I remember correctly, there’s going to be a death next episode. Hang in there, Nikita fans!