Nikita, Season 3, Episode 14: “The Life We’ve Chosen”
Written by Albert Kim
Directed by Brad Turner
Airs Fridays at 8pm (ET) on the CW
Since Amanda found out about Ari Tasarov and Division working together, she has had a single-minded focus towards getting him back on her side by any means necessary, first going after his son, then going after Alex. Despite her back being to the wall, however, Amanda remains a formidable threat, as these actions prove, and the capture of Alex was bound to put Division into high gear, forcing them to make some difficult choices. This episode examines the aftermath of that capture, proving that Amanda’s psychological manipulation skills are just as sharp as ever, and revealing a few disturbing chinks in new Division’s armour, in a fast-paced episode that rearranges the chess pieces of the season once again.
The looming conflict between Alex and Nikita took a few steady steps forward this week, fueled by Amanda. In many ways, a battle between the two feels inevitable, as the story of Nikita has always been about the rogue agent who took down the organisation; however, Alex has been as crucial a part of that takedown as Nikita has been. While Alex has been at Nikita’s side throughout due a sense of loyalty, she is still a Udinov, with the remnants of Gogol at her command if she wants them, and her inability to see eye to eye with Nikita at some point was bound to drive a wedge between them, with Amanda simply ensuring that the wheels begin turning now, rather than later when she is no longer in a position to take advantage of the vulnerability it is bound to open in Division. It will be interesting to see, should this be a conflict that blows up between the two rather than simply simmers now and gets re-ignited by another incident down the road, what sides people end up taking, as Michael and Sean are the only two whose loyalties between the two are firmly set, which leaves the allegiance of several key players, such as Ryan, Owen, and Birkhoff, in limbo.
Ryan’s disturbing transition into a Percy-like figure also moves forward this week. Installing the kill chip in Ari’s head, even though it was eventually endorsed by Michael, felt very much like an idea that Percy would have come up with, and his eventual lack of concern over Ari’s death is also disturbing. The steps Ryan continues taking to protect Division remains one of Nikita’s most compelling background stories, as the change in Ryan is happening slowly but surely, and how the rest of Division’s core team, particularly Nikita herself, deal with this change once it visibly manifests itself will surely be fascinating to watch. While everyone knew Percy as a terrifying authority figure from day one, Ryan’s overall arc, from someone Nikita used, to someone she saved, and someone she and others trusted to effectively run Division, makes him a much more difficult figure for the team to see as a threat and a villain, and is bound to raise some difficult questions about whether it would be possible for anyone to run Division without succumbing to underhanded tactics, no matter the intentions behind them.
Overall, this episode continues the solid pacing the season has maintained to date. Ari’s death and the retrieval of the black box are two major gamechangers, as the latter especially takes away any leverage Amanda has over Division, freeing them up to go after her without any reservations. Ari’s death itself was bittersweet; as someone who very clearly did oppose both Nikita and Division, one way or another, for a long time, his death ensures he will never be a threat again. On the other hand, his gradual turn towards sympathising with the side that was against Amanda, which to him meant Division, meant that he could have been a valuable ally, both in terms of the information he knew, and the knowledge he had gained through years of experience as the head of Gogol, knowledge he could have imparted to Ryan to help him run Division and keep the looming government threat at bay more effectively. Peter Outerbridge has been a great presence on this show since his introduction back in Season One, and it is sad to see him go as well. Whether or not the gulf between Nikita and Alex widens, and what Amanda’s next step will be now that she’s low on money and minus her only source of leverage and protection, as well as how running Division continues to take its toll on Ryan’s moral compass, are all exciting points with great potential, and worth tuning in for next week.
– Deepayan Sengupta