Episode Title: "Alexandra"
Writer: Andrew Colville
Director: Ken Fink
Previously on "Nikita":
To get revenge on Division, the rogue black ops organization that trained her, Nikita (Maggie Q) sent her protégé Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca) undercover as a recruit. However, Alex rose through the ranks much faster than expected and was promoted to field agent… complete with a kill chip implanted in her neck which will end her life if she tries to get away. Her trainer, Michael (Shane West) has also interfered in Alex’s attempts to have a personal life outside of Division.
When Nikita was a member of Division, she and Michael had a close relationship. But ever since she cost him his shot at Kasim — the man who killed Michael’s wife and daughter — Michael has been irrationally angry at Nikita and more loyal to Division. More recently, Nikita aided her CIA ally, Ryan Fletcher (Noah Bean) in recovering a dirty bomb from a murdered defector while evading a trap set by the head of Division, Percy (Xander Berkeley).
As part of her latest assignment, Alex goes on a date with a young media mogul named Dustin Zimmer (David Reale, who looks suspiciously similar to Jesse Eisenberg) and quietly grabs his Oculous when she sticks her hand in his pocket. It’s an iPhone killer, so get your mind out of the gutter! Speaking of which, Alex runs into Irina (Ksenia Solo), a living ghost of a girl, high out of her mind who recognizes Alex from their time together as Russian sex slaves. Alex pretends not to know her at first, but she returns a few hours later to help her escape her slavery. But Irina quickly turns Alex into her boss, Vlad (Mark Ivanir), who seems very eager to get Alex back into his service.
Vlad locks Alex in a dog cage and tells her that he knows that she’s really Alexandra Udinov, the heir to her father’s vast company and possible royalty (?!). Yeah, no s***. In flashback, we see eight months earlier (SERIOUSLY? They expect us to believe that Division recruited Alex and made her an agent all inside of a year?!); as Nikita helps Alex construct her cover story using parts of her past to embellish the lie. We also see earlier flashbacks which hint that Nikita may have been the one who killed her parents. Also, Alex’s guardian (whom Nikita entrusted with her safety) sold her into sexual slavery to Vlad.
Back at Division, Michael quickly realizes something has gone wrong and sets out to find Alex before Percy can find out she’s missing and test his kill chip on her. Meanwhile, Nikita starts planning her own rescue mission for Alex and threatens some Russian mobsters with a fake claymore bomb. She runs into Michael and they briefly spar before fighting their way out to safety together. Then they draw guns on each other. Nikita claims that she was tracking Alex down to recover the Oculous and she makes an arrangement to help him save Alex in return for the next gen smart phone. Sure… that’s believable.
Inside her cage, Vlad starts shooting Alex up with drugs to get the truth out of her. And Alex actually does spill on video that she’s an agent of Division. Outside, Nikita and Michael have it out about her costing him his chance to kill Kasim. But she pledges to help him take him down forever. As Michael and Nikita stage their joint break in, Alex convinces Irina to let her out of the cage. She then shoots Vlad when he comes back into the room. Before she executes him, Alex tells him that he was right about who he thought she was.
Moments later, Nikita enters the room and slips Alex the Oculous to avert any suspicions that Division might have. Nikita tells Michael that Alex didn’t have the phone and it was all for nothing in her mind. Michael tips Nikita off that a Division team is on its way before leaving with Alex. After Nikita is gone, Alex gives the phone to Michael who passes it on to Percy. In a good mood, Percy is only too happy to have Alex treated for her drug exposure and withdrawal symptoms. But Amanda (Melinda Clarke) takes the opportunity to interrogate Alex before giving her anything for the pain.
I’ve noticed that the best episodes of "Nikita" tend to minimize Maggie Q’s title character and this installment was no exception. From the start of the hour, this was almost entirely Alex’s show, with Nikita and Michael’s rescue mission as the defacto B-story. There were a couple of moments between Nikita and Michael that I really did wonder if Nikita was being unconvincing on purpose to throw Michael off or whether Maggie Q. just couldn’t deliver the goods in those scenes. Honestly, I’m not sure. But when Nikita kept telling Michael that she was only interested in the phone it didn’t come off as a convincing lie at all. And Michael’s suspicions of Alex from two episodes back weren’t even brought up when he thought she had tried to escape Division.
However, there was one really good scene between Nikita and Michael when she spelled out her reasoning for foiling his assassination attempt a few episodes back. For once, Maggie Q actually conveyed an emotion that didn’t seem forced and it offered some depth to the Nikita and Michael relationship. That said, I thought that they teamed up in the Russian steam room way too quickly, especially if he was still pissed at her during that scene. That said, it was actually the best action sequence of the night.
Lyndsy Fonseca — who I consider to be the real star of this show — had another effective outing. Even some of the cheesier scenes in which she’s meant to be undergoing a reaction to the drugs had a certain weight to it despite some added campiness as well. Her opening mission had to have been influenced by "The Social Network." That guy looked so much like Mark Zuckerberg from that movie that it seemed like a deliberate reference.
Alex’s backstory is getting a little convoluted now. So, she’s the daughter of a billionaire businessman… and possibly royalty?! Okay, whatever. Her execution of Vlad seemed to indicate that she’s got her own dark side, since she was actively avoiding killing anyone until just a few episodes ago. I’ve got to say, I’m not that interested in the royal angle at all, but watching Amanda interrogate Alex for her secrets should be fun in next week’s show.
I was also intrigued by the notion that Nikita may have killed Alex’s parents herself. I think in the off-chance that "Nikita" survives for another season, Alex and Nikita are going to be either working together at Division or Alex will be turned against Nikita over the death of her family. Both of those concepts could be really interesting. And again, sometimes the producers of "Nikita" manage to pull off entertaining episodes.
Now, if only "Nikita" was more consistently good and had less Maggie Q…
Crave Online Rating: 7.5 out of 10.