Here we are: the Nikita season finale, picking up where “Invisible Hand” left off. In true Nikita season finale fashion, “Til Death Do Us Part” is an hour full of major twists and turns, jumping the show’s narrative forward in a major way yet again. Whether or not it pays off is a matter of preference.
The show opens with a bang – literally – as Nikita has apparently shot the President in the head in the Oval Office. Because she could totally do that unnoticed without a ton of Secret Service agents swarming her. Uh…anyway, twelve hours earlier, she’s wandering around an empty Division when Ryan shows up and tells her everyone’s getting pardoned. He asks if there’s something she wants to say, but she doesn’t because Amanda’s in her ear. So Ryan wanders off thinking that everything is fine, at least until Sonya gives him the rundown on the nanotoxin. Then our favorite bureaucrat starts to worry.
Meanwhile, Michael has figured out that Nikita was lying to him about being alone in that aquaduct for twenty-plus minutes last week, and confronts his fiancee, convinced that Amanda has brainwashed her just like she did with Alex previously. Nikita’s response is to pull her gun on him. In fact, she doesn’t just pull the gun, she starts shooting in his direction. “I don’t want to hurt you, but I will,” she says, before getting on her motorcycle and taking off. Just guessing, but that might put a crimp in their wedding plans. Even if everyone figures out in about a minute and a half that Nikita’s been bugged, and that her ultimate target is President Spencer.
Ending up in Georgetown, Nikita runs into the President’s personal aide, and asks if she can get on the President’s calendar that day, because it’s super-important. When that doesn’t work, the gun comes out again. A few threats later, she gets what she wants. Alex and Michael promptly zoom onto the scene, explaining that they know what’s going on, and Michael does not like the knowledge that he’s got nanotoxin in his super-hand.
Alex thinks there’s a Plan B, with a scientist named Kang. As far as we know, Kang does not have a brother named Kodos. Alex and Michael pay him a visit, and ask if he knows a way to counter the nanotoxin. Michael volunteers himself as a lab rat to help the doctor, even though his face says he’d rather swallow a chainsaw. Unfortunately, Dr. Kang doesn’t get too far past the front door of his lab before the nanotoxin kills him, too. Is there a Plan C?
Nikita gets into the White House through the restricted-access tunnels that Ryan used to use, and connects with a mole there, who provides her a gun and escorts her toward the Oval Office. No one stops her since she’s already on the calendar, but President Spencer knows who she really is, and is not thrilled to see her. Before Nikita can do anything, Michael hijacks Nikita’s earpiece and lies to her, saying that he has the antidote for the nanotoxin. This prompts Nikita to tell the President everything she knows…only for the President to grab the gun and shoot herself in the head.
All hell promptly breaks loose. Nikita manages to escape the White House in a panic. An irritated Amanda orders some of her “former employees” to return to Division and add to the body count. And in a true case of “desperate times call for desperate measures,” Michael permits Alex and Sonya to kill him for twenty minutes in hopes of also destroying the nanotoxins. It feels a bit like a spy version of ER (which is amusing given that Shane West was a regular on ER) as the team tries to resuscitate Michael while Division finds itself under attack from the remainder of the “Dirty Thirty.” Lots of shooting is involved. The best part is that some of it comes from Ryan and Birkhoff. The worst part of it is that Nikita comes in and saves everyone – including Michael – again.
With Amanda and her new partners ostensibly in the wind and the President still dead, our survivors make the decision to blow up what remains of Division and go back on the run. Birkhoff’s hacker buddies provide them a new base of operations. Alex decides to take the United Nations job she was offered so that they can use her connections. Yet because there must always be at least one season-ending plot twist, we find out that the President isn’t dead after all; she’s been being held hostage since the events of the last episode. And Nikita, tired of putting her fiancee and loved ones at risk, has set off on her own again.
If you’re reading this review, then you’re likely aware of the information revealed at The CW’s upfront presentation yesterday: that yes, Nikita‘s season four will be only six episodes, that it is, in fact, the show’s final season – and that the series is being held back as a midseason replacement, with no premiere date announced yet. Given all that, what does all this mean? (With the caveat that this was obviously written well before the show’s fate was decided.)
On the positive side, Nikita has never had a season finale that was boring. The writers have always used these last episodes for all they’re worth, pulling out all the stops and making huge game-changing moves that shake up the show. There’s no denying that watching Division get leveled was entertaining (and honestly, it’s a surprise that it didn’t happen earlier in the season). The action sequences remain some of the best on television, and letting Ryan and Birkhoff get a few shots in was a welcome surprise.
However, this finale didn’t answer a number of the question marks that have been hovering over season three. Having Amanda still at large is incredibly disappointing; Nikita and company have been playing cat-and-mouse with her all season, and even going back into season two, and the fact that they still can’t get her doesn’t do their credibility any favors. Amanda herself now looks like a supervillain who has an answer (and a maniacal speech) for everything. Melinda Clarke is a fantastic actress, but her character is completely played out.
The supporting characters also get somewhat shafted in the finale. Devon Sawa doesn’t appear at all, so we’re left to wonder where Sam/Owen is and if he’ll ever be part of Team Nikita again. Let’s hope he comes back in season four, because his character deserves better than an open ending. The scene in which Ryan, Birkhoff and Alex try unsuccessfully to fight off Amanda’s minions is kind of frustrating, too, because what it amounts to is that they need Nikita to save them. Maybe Birkhoff and Ryan aren’t trained assassins like Alex, but all three characters have previously been able to hold their own. Nikita shouldn’t be the only person on the show who can save the day. To say nothing of Michael’s “death” being extended just long enough for Nikita to be able to deliver a tearful monologue before he wakes up.
And as expected, the finale essentially wipes out everything that the season set up, taking our heroes from the bosses of Division to fugitives all over again. That has the side effect of making season three feel slightly like a waste of time, because most of what the audience invested in – be it characters like Sean, relationships like Sean/Alex, or the idea of the “new Division” – no longer exists.
So what is season four of Nikita going to look like? The good news is that everyone knows there will be only six episodes, so the writers are on notice. They should be able to deliver a story arc that works within that timeframe and a series finale that is a proper conclusion, other than the countless shows that don’t know the axe is coming and end on some unresolved cliffhanger (you know several of them).
But how season three ends doesn’t necessarily inspire confidence in season four. It’s common sense that Nikita will eventually be reunited with the rest of the characters, or there’d be essentially a bifurcated show; the question is what damage her departure will do. If the show time-skips ahead for any reason, she could be gone for weeks or months, and if so, then there needs to be some fallout. You don’t disappear on your loved ones for any length of time and not have issues when you get back.
Then there’s the Nikita/Michael relationship, which has always been part of the show, and became a huge throughline for the series starting in season two. The writers have constantly come up with wrenches to keep them from their happy ending, from Michael’s suddenly appearing son (who hasn’t been referenced since his last appearance) to now this. Fans will not be pleased if the two characters don’t get back together and stay together, and understandably so; the writers can’t expect the audience to invest so much time in the Nikita/Michael relationship and then not reward them. It’s time to get them together, keep them together, and maybe even turn the focus of the show from their personal life to other things, like plot and fleshing out the supporting characters.
And where is this all going in the end? It’s hard to say. Obviously, it probably won’t be happily ever after. It’d be pretty implausible for these characters to have run afoul of the White House and all these terrorist organizations, and somehow be able to leave it all behind and retire to a beach somewhere. Unless you’re Mulder and Scully at the end of The X-Files and flee the country, you’re not going to get “normal lives.” Maybe something close, but not normal. So then what? It’s not really clear from this episode, as far as what bad guys we’ll be rooting against (The Shop is still a bunch of nameless folks for the most part) and where all the individual characters are headed. Then again, as this episode proves, the Nikita writers like throwing big wrenches in at the end.
It’s going to be a long wait for Nikita‘s final season, fans. Are you on board?