Nikita, Season 3, Episode 11: “Black Badge”
Written by Mary Trahan
Directed by David Grossman
Airs Fridays at 8pm (ET) on the CW
It has been clear for a while that Amanda, despite ostensibly having depleted resources, still remains a major threat to Division at large and Nikita and her closest friends in particular. If that wasn’t enough, Division also faces the looming threat of being eliminated by the government with extreme prejudice if their existence ever became public knowledge, despite the government now also choosing to use Division for its original intended purpose once again. Both these threats came together this week, as Amanda chooses to exploit the threat of government elimination to draw out Nikita and target an unexpected member of her core group in a thrilling episode that once again rearranges the show’s dynamics.
Bringing Sean into the Division fold is an interesting way to resolve the conflict over whether Alex should exit Division while still continuing the struggle over whether staying at Division is a good or bad thing. How Sean adjusts to becoming a full-time Division member, as well as publicly “dying” as a traitor and murderer, is something to look out for, as unlike prior Division recruits, Sean will have the ability to interact with the outside world, increasing the temptation for him to reconnect with his sisters or military friends, to clear his name, if nothing else. He might possibly be the biggest risk to exposing Division, albeit not maliciously, and both his struggle with that, and how Alex and Nikita monitor and take action to prevent this, is something that could prove to be an interesting storyline down the road.
How Nikita and Ryan decide to take the successful extraction of Ryan could also prove to be compelling. The discussion to close off the episode, while ostensibly lighthearted, is apt in its comparison of Ryan as the new Percy and Nikita as the new Amanda. While their predecessors, as has been established, were evil to begin with, circumstances and good intentions could just as easily push Nikita and Ryan down the same path, especially with Division now being sanctioned by the government to take on killing missions. Having been able to once successfully run Division’s old trick of faking a prospective agent’s death and bringing them in, the temptation to do so once again if Division’s ranks get thinned out or spread out as a result of a heavy workload or attack could be high, and how the core group deals with this situation if and when it arises could go a long way towards indicating whether it was the people in charge or the power they wielded that made old Division so evil.
Amanda’s plan this week was also a stroke of genius, and a clear illustration of her cunning. The parallels drawn between Ryan and the false CIA agent, both overt and subtle, paid off wonderfully with the reveal of Amanda’s mole. The fight between Amanda and Nikita has been a compelling one in large part because the two are very evenly matched overall, with each one being keenly aware of the other’s methods, and a left field strategy such as this one goes a long way towards keeping the momentum going, and making the individual encounters garner a distinct feel from each other. With the loss of Michael’s hand, the death of the CIA director, and now the forced “death” of Sean Pierce, Amanda has managed to inflict a fair amount of damage on Nikita and co. to date, and her returns remain exciting to watch, as she remains a formidable and unpredictable foe.
Overall, this was another thrilling episode, and one that manages to alter the makeup of the show once again in a manner that doesn’t feel forced or inorganic. The loss of an alliance with the CIA is bound to deliver a blow to Division’s prospects of getting out from under the government’s thumb, and how Ryan adjusts to that, as well as what steps the government takes with regards to Division now that a major ally is no longer in play is something to keep an eye on. This point, as well as what Amanda tries next in her plan to get back at Nikita, whether Michael reignites his attempts to go after the company that could potentially re-grow his hand, and how Sean adjusts to becoming a full-fledged Division agent, are all worth tuning in for next week.
– Deepayan Sengupta