Episode Title: "Free"
Writer: Kalinda Vazquez
Director: Jonathan Glassner
Previously on "Nikita":
Nikita’s (Maggie Q) young protégé Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca) was sent on her first kill mission. But before she could go through with it, Division discovered Nikita’s backdoor program into their system and realized that they had a mole. An impromptu trap was set for them and in order to maintain her cover, Alex pretended to catch Nikita and turned her in. Later, Amanda (Melinda Clarke) psychologically tortured Nikita and Alex scoured the armory for explosives to free her friend.
After setting the charges, Alex was confronted by Thom (Ashton Holmes), her would-be friend and confidante who caught her in the act. Alex was forced to kill him in self defense and she refused to leave with Nikita. But Alex had the presence of mind to plant evidence on Thom that framed him as the mole. Although Nikita escaped, Percy (Xander Berkeley) promoted Alex to a full agent.
In a dream sequence, Alex breaks into a mansion with Nikita and she sees a vision of Thom which startles her awake. In reality, Alex is coming out of surgery for a wicked looking tracking chip that’s been placed in her neck by Birkhoff (Aaron Stanford). Before Alex is escorted out of Devision’s headquarters, the supernaturally annoying Jaden (Tiffany Hines) "subtly" threatens her for killing Thom. But on the outside, Alex has a fantastic apartment and cover identity, which Michael (Shane West) spells out at length. Later that day, Alex makes contact with Nikita in the linens department of Nordstrom… or whoever’s sponsoring the show this week. Anyway, Nikita recognizes that Alex’s tracking chip is also a kill chip, but neglects to tell her about it.
Nikita approaches CIA Agent Ryan Fletcher (Noah Bean) and elicits his help for a mission. Back with Alex, she bonds with her neighbor Nathan (Thad Luckinbill), who seems romantically interested in her. Elsewhere, Nikita eventually convinces Ryan to help her kidnap Birkhoff as part of a CIA operation which will give her Birkhoff’s password to the Division computers. Nikita even sneaks into the CIA facility as one of the kidnappers while Ryan unsuccessfully tries to interrogate him. Nikita finally goes in to see Birkhoff herself and tricks him into contacting Division. Moments later, Nikita has the password she wanted.
In Alex’s apartment building, she takes Nathan up on his party invitation but she kills the mood when she judo flips the landlord’s annoying son, who tried to force her to dance with him. Back at the CIA, Michael comes by himself to retrieve Birkhoff. However, Nikita is able to elude him and Michael is eventually subdued by the agents in the building. Unfortunately, Percy’s woman at the CIA brass comes down hard on Ryan and demotes him, after she frees Michael and Birkhoff. Division is initially mystified about Nikita’s motivation for the kidnapping until a video message from her plays on every monitor that seems to be her attempt to recruit another mole.
Later at the linens section (again), Nikita tells Alex that her chip has been cloned and that she can escape Division’s reach any time that she wants. But she still doesn’t tell Alex that the chip can kill her. Throughout the hour, Alex has flashbacks to her life with her father as she was taught survival skills in the Russian wilderness. But her childhood home was the same mansion from her dream at the beginning of the show.
Back in December, there was an episode of "Nikita" that was actually good. Which was surprising, since I and several of our nation’s leading thinkers had come to the conclusion that it was a scientifically impossible feat.
So naturally, I had to see if it could happen again. And so far, the jury is still out.
"Free" gets some leeway by focusing more on Lyndsy Fonseca, who is the best actress on this show and her character Alex is far and away more interesting than Maggie Q’s Nikita. Unfortunately, Alex doesn’t have much to do this time around other than enjoy her bitchin’ new apartment and hanging out with her underwear model-looking neighbor. Did I accidentally turn on "Gossip Girl"?
I can forgive Thad Luckinbill’s Nathan for being such a cipher in his first appearance. But the whole "Alex goes kick-ass on the dude hitting on her" was wildly overplayed. It’s certainly something we’ve seen before, time and time again. And it could have potentially worked if there was some kind of fresh take on it. However, much like "Nikita" itself, the scene was just a rehash of better written stories that were already played out years ago.
Also, I have to point out something subtly hilarious about Nikita’s recruitment video. She tells the Division recruits that they killed her mole just a few moments before she says that she’s looking for a new one. She… might want to work on that sales pitch.
There was one thing I didn’t understand about Nikita’s plan… Why exactly did it have to be the CIA who grabbed Birkhoff? She couldn’t have just hired two other dudes for a quick kidnapping? Because the people waiting outside of Home Depot would probably do it for scale. If all she needed to do was to scare Birkhoff into giving her his password, she could have probably done it herself.
The one intriguing thing about Nikita is that she’s very willing to use Ryan for her own ends and ruin his career at the CIA before offering vague promises about elevating his status there and making him a hero. Even the kiss she plants on him seems devoid of passion and is designed only to mollify him. Or that might just be Maggie Q’s wooden delivery. It’s hard to tell, but it may have been the "anatomically correct" doll from "Lars and The Real Girl" standing in for her there.
Nikita also made what will probably go down as a major blunder when she tells Ryan about Alex and he proceeds to write down Alex’s name. Does anyone out there think that Ryan’s new information won’t eventually expose Alex to Division as a double agent?
I’ll give "Nikita" this: "Free" wasn’t a bad episode and it was even mildly entertaining.
But it wasn’t good either.
Crave Online Rating: 6 out of 10.