Here we are: Nikita‘s last stand. It’s the end of the road for both the character and the series. Naturally, that comes with some pretty high expectations.
We find Nikita has been “the most wanted woman in the world” for the last hundred days since the apparent death of President Spencer. When the news compares you to Osama bin Laden, your situation is pretty dire. A local cop attempts to apprehend her in Boston, and he’s all proud of himself until Nikita grabs his partner’s gun, shoots just past his head, and steals their patrol car. That’ll teach you to be smug, dude.
Elsewhere in the world, Amanda is watching the news with interest. She points out that Nikita is very good at holding a grudge, but insists that she’s nothing to worry about. On another channel, Alex – now campaigning against human trafficking – is giving a press conference in India. She’s shut down three of Amanda’s operations in the past few months, and she’s working with Sonya to find the location of The Shop. Sonya is more worried about Nikita having come out of hiding. “She must have a plan, and she’d want us to stick to ours,” Alex tells her.
Having ditched the cop car, Nikita turns up in the office of the talking head who compared her to bin Laden. She wants him to do her a favor. She tells him about another figure acting suspiciously, just like the President before she died. Nikita’s convinced there’s shenanigans going on. Meanwhile, Michael, Ryan and Birkhoff are still looking for her – the latter two aboard their new headquarters on a courier jet in the sky. Nikita is going to need their help sooner rather than later, because she just got played by Amanda.
As the news HQ goes into lockdown and a bevy of law enforcement officials swarm the place, the reporter’s annoying secretary blows Nikita’s cover, forcing her to pull a gun while everyone around her captures the situation on social media. Because that’s what sane people do, is stand around and film on their iPhones rather than try to protect themselves. Birkhoff uses that to his advantage, calling Nikita via all the phones to put her in touch with him and Michael. Once Nikita realizes she’s not alone, she becomes Captain Nikita again and starts issuing orders, much to Birkhoff’s annoyance. He points out to her that everyone’s kind of lost the plot in their attempts to clear her name. “You’re going to wind up in an alley somewhere, alone and dying, unless you stop running and let us help you,” he warns.
Stuck inside the building, Nikita realizes she has to give up control to her team for a little bit. Ryan, who’s still the sharpest looking spy we’ve ever seen, uses this delay to ask her what the hell she was thinking in the first place. As the two theorize, we cut back to Sonya and Alex, the latter of whom’s just been made. She kills several people we don’t need, while somebody else has her in their crosshairs. She recovers a suspicious piece of technology from the scene. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out these two threads are connected.
Michael threatens the FBI boss’s (Alex Carter, from Burn Notice and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) with Photoshop and his trademark glare to give Nikita an escape option. When Michael and his former fiancee are reunited, he doesn’t seem to be that enthused about it, but you really can’t blame him for that, all things considered. (In this moment, it’s also not hard to see how Shane West made People‘s Sexiest Man Alive list this year. The man even makes apathy look good.) As Nikita slips out in the back of the FBI boss’s car, he rants about how he’s going to catch her no matter what, in one of those speeches everybody says. He shoots at her as she drives away, hitting her in the arm. C’mon, Nikita, you didn’t think to take his gun off of him?
Speaking of guns, Sam/Owen makes his return appearance pointing a gun at the back of Alex’s head, so clearly he hasn’t come back to the Rebel Alliance yet. As they stare at each other, a wounded Nikita staggers from her stolen car, the FBI boss tells the reporter he’s ready to listen to him, and then the news HQ blows up, because that’s the way you end an episode. Blow something up and then have a cryptic phone conversation.
“Wanted” is basically a season-opening setpiece. It has to be, because there’s a ton of stuff to be explained: what happened after Nikita allegedly assassinated the President, where everyone has been since then, and what’s going on in all of their heads. That all has to come out now in order to lay the foundation for the next five episodes. As setpieces go, though, this one is an efficient and entertaining one. By the halfway point, the show is back to its familiar rhythms and character interactions.
Another nice aspect is that it doesn’t make everything okay. You can’t expect an audience to believe that the stakes are high if you show your characters having a great time. Granted, with only five more episodes after this, Nikita can’t spend a lot of time letting them recover, but it’s appreciated that the show at least makes an effort to show the fallout.
As any good season premiere does, “Wanted” gives us questions to ask about where the season is headed. How long can that airplane stay in the air? You’d think it will have to go to ground at some point, if only so Aaron Stanford and Noah Bean don’t have to do all their scenes in the same enclosed space. How much of a part is Sam/Owen going to play in the action, especially since his bad-guy arc was already played out through a last part of Season 3? And when – not if, not unless Nikita wants to really cheat its audience – is Amanda going to be put out of everyone else’s misery? There’s a lot to chat about here, and that’s exactly how you want a season to start.
Nikita‘s final season continues next Friday at 9 PM ET/PT on The CW; you can check out our final season interviews with the cast and creator Craig Silverstein by clicking here.