Nikita, Season 3, Episode 5: “The Sword’s Edge”
Written by Albert Kim
Directed by Kenneth Fink
Airs Fridays at 8pm (ET) on the CW
Nikita took an unexpected hiatus for the past two weeks, as the CW shuffled its schedule to allow this current season of America’s Next Top Model to round out its cycle, before moving the story of Division and its once and current star agent an hour ahead on Fridays to 8 pm. Switches like this can be tough on a show; a hiatus often takes out a show’s momentum, and a time shift invariably causes an initial drop in viewers. However, this can also present an opportunity for a show to return in an even stronger fashion than before, and entice new viewers. It was this challenge that Nikita faced this week, and rather than see it as an obstacle, the show took it as a challenge, delivering another pulse-pounding episode that proves that the quality of the show remains unchanged.
The struggle between the US President and Ryan Fletcher over the fate of Division has been one of the most fascinating storylines of the season, so it was exciting to see this particular plot thread not only move to the forefront, but make major advances this week. Ryan Fletcher’s need to protect Division makes perfect sense; even beyond his loyalty to Nikita for saving his life, it was due to Fletcher’s efforts, more than anyone else, that the government managed to find out about Division in the first place. Had he not made any noise, Nikita or Percy wouldn’t have found out about him, but neither would non-Oversight members of the government have found out about Division, which would easily make him feel indirectly responsible for the gun the President is currently holding to Division’s head. With the lives of so many agents in the balance, as well as everything the team is going through in their attempts to locate and bring in the Dirty Thirty and combat Amanda and Ari, his desire to try and ease the President off the destruct Division button on his own makes sense, but opening the secret up to Michael, Birkhoff, Alex, and Nikita adds a wonderful new dimension to the season going forward.
Not dragging out the conflict between Ryan and Nikita is also a strong move on the writers’ part. Ultimately, both are driving towards the same goal; ensuring the survival of Division, and the agents within. Having two of the most important members of Division squabbling over withholding information would only have been bad for the organisation, and it would have been quite out of character for Nikita and Ryan to not recognise that, or keep fighting despite recognising it. It will be very interesting to see how the core team deals with threats going forward, especially since they are now aware that Amanda knows about their vulnerability. It also seems inevitable that at some point the team will have to inadvertently make some noise to effectively capture a Dirty Thirty agent, and how Division, as well as the government, reacts when that situation arises is one to look out for. Despite more people now being in the loop, the threat of Division being burned to the ground is clearly far from over.
Seeing Alex and Owen work together this week was also quite interesting. Despite both being a big part of the group that orbits around Nikita, the two have yet to work together, as Michael has historically been the one who ends up as the third prong in a Nikita-Owen attack. Thus, throwing these two together brings a fresh new dynamic in a very organic manner, while also giving Owen a purpose at Division beyond simply regaining his memory, something that doesn’t really tether him to the organisation. It will be interesting to see how the two continue to function, as well as how Sean Pierce factors in the search for the mole, if he does at all. Furthermore, while Alex’s shoulder seemed to have healed this episode, Owen might be able to help her if she relapses into addiction once again, as he is all too familiar on drug dependency from his days as a Guardian.
Overall, this was another solidly well-crafted episode. While it was sad to see the cryptograph go, it makes more sense for the narrative going forward that Birkhoff, and Division, doesn’t have a deus ex machina like that lying around. The storyline of Markov was also a good reminder of how cunning and calculative Percy was, and that the effects of his reign are still being felt in some form or another. It was exciting to see that the show has not lost a step due to its hiatus, and that the strong pace of plot advancement that the show established last season has carried over to this season as well. How the core Division team deals with the looming government threat, as well as their efforts in finding the mole, will greatly shape how the season swings from here on out, and watching their efforts is worth tuning in for next week.