Nikita, Season 3, Episode 20: “High-Value Target”
Written by Michael Brandon Guercio
Directed by Dan Sackheim
Airs Fridays at 8pm (ET) on the CW
Among the many tumultuous events of the past few weeks of Nikita was Amanda awakening Owen’s dormant alter ego Sam Matthews, a ruthless criminal soldier who was only interested in finishing his revenge, and gathering enough money to get away, and who was willing to betray even Nikita to get what he was after. Nikita’s capture and the revolt at Division meant that the threat of Sam ended up lower on the priority list than it would have previously, but the resolution of those situations, along with Alec’s return and Sam’s possession of the black box, made him the top issue for Division, and this week explores how Nikita and co. go after him, in a thrilling episode that brings to a close one of the season’s major storylines.
Having the SEALs storm Division was an unexpected turn of events, and was excellently executed in light of the fact that it was foreshadowed all season. It makes perfect sense for the US government to have surveillance set up on Division, and the added urgency to the team’s search for the black box feels very organic with the presence of the figurative and literal gun to their head. The government backing off of Division, and the final black box being destroyed, is a great way to close out the government storyline, and remove the cloud of being collateral cleanup damage from the minds of the remaining six members of the organisation. With Amanda and The Shop now working together, however, and Division nearly destroyed, Nikita and co. may find themselves financially and technologically outmatched, and if they consider the government a viable ally, and what cost they’ll have to pay if they do ask for help, is worth keeping an eye on.
Having Amanda align with The Shop is also a great way to bring together the two remaining antagonists of Division, making them greater than the sum of their parts. Amanda’s resilience and her ability to survive despite being hunted by Division for so long, first by Percy, then by Nikita, is a testament to her resourcefulness, something which was on display this episode as well in the way she was able to use Sam to contact The Shop. However, if there’s anyone who can keep themselves from getting manipulated by Amanda, it’s The Shop, which makes this alliance a very interesting and unpredictable one. If, in fact, it’s The Shop that needs Amanda, they may decide to eliminate her once she becomes useless, forcing Nikita and her peers to decide if they want to stop The Shop or let their arch-nemesis die. If, however, it’s Amanda who needs The Shop, that brings up the intriguing question of why The Shop is working with Amanda, and what she can give them.
Overall, this was another great episode, and nicely sets up the end of the season. Sam’s Jekyll and Hyde transformation also continues to be fascinating, and the sympathy he shows Alex upon hearing of Sean’s death, and his destroying the Black Box proves that Owen returning, or Owen and Sam reconciling and coming to terms with each other, are both distinct possibilities, and it’ll be exciting to watch how the character progresses now. It was also good to see Alex using her Udinov fortune to bankroll the auction for the Black Box, and with the government now formally disengaged from Division, the group will be much more reliant on the combined fortunes of her and Birkhoff. Nikita’s past mission metaphorically coming back to throw a wrench in Division’s plans was a nice touch, and worked well as a contrast to the return of Cyrus, who is alive now due to Nikita’s efforts. Watching an episode actually set in Toronto, where the show does most of its shooting, was also anecdotally amusing. How the core six members of Division adjust to working on their own once again, how the relationship between Ryan and Alex progresses following the events that put Ryan into a coma, and what Amanda and The Shop have up their sleeve are all storylines worth tuning in for next week.
– Deepayan Sengupta