Nikita, Season 3, Episode 21: “Invisible Hand”
Written by Carlos Coto
Directed by Dwight Little
Airs Fridays at 8pm (ET) on the CW
Despite the US government finally letting Division go from their obligations last week, freeing Nikita and her group with the SEALs right on their doorstep, Cyrus’ bomb at the end of the episode about Amanda collaborating with The Shop proved that the fighting was far from over. Amanda, even working on her own, turned out to be a very dangerous enemy, with no intention of ever stopping her crusade against Nikita, and having her team up with The Shop could lead to some disastrous actions. This week illustrates the true danger of an Amanda with resources, in a gripping episode that sets up a potentially game-changing season finale.
While it can be very difficult to create and sustain a psychologically manipulative villain such as Amanda for a long period of time, Nikita has managed to effectively walk the balance between making her realistically dangerous yet a constant threat without making her actions seem implausible or superhuman. Planting the new version of the killchips in Michael effectively continues the trend by having Amanda once again figure out and target Nikita’s weakness in a way that seemingly offers no escape, and shines a light on the mutually beneficial relationship between Amanda and The Shop. Martin’s words in the season opener 3.0, about people who are close being a liability, seem to ring particularly true in the case of Nikita’s predicament, and how she manages to come out of this one, particularly with Amanda now tracking and listening in to her, promises to be fascinating. While Amanda may have the ability to end Michael’s life at any instant, she has seemingly not accounted for people like Alex, Birkhoff, Sonya, or Ryan, and it’s very possible that one or more of them will factor into the final showdown.
The possibility of Alex becoming a UN ambassador is also an interesting one. With Percy and Sergei Semak both dying last season, and Alex’s mother being found and taken to safety, a lot of Alex’s story in the third season has revolved around her trying to discover her identity in this new paradigm, an identity that ended up thrown even more into doubt by Amanda’s manipulations and Sean’s death. Having Alex become a UN Ambassador against human trafficking is a great way for her to assuage her survivor’s guilt in a non-destructive manner, and gives her a way to safely take advantage of her high profile Udinov standing and build a stable life for herself outside of both Zetrov and Division. Whether or not she manages to take it, however, will be heavily dependent on what happens to Division and Nikita in light of Amanda’s latest play, and what sense of obligation she feels in helping take down Amanda and The Shop, particularly with Birkhoff pointing out how widespread the organisation is.
Overall, this was another solid episode, although a lot of it felt like setup for the endgame of the season finale, and was a noticeable step down in pace from last week’s episode. It was good to learn more about The Shop, and they appear to be the most formidable foe that Nikita and co. have had to face to date, as even Division was located only in one country and wasn’t as technologically advanced as The Shop. While they have yet to develop a strong enmity with the remaining members of Division, it isn’t difficult to imagine that Nikita’s sense of justice will not allow her to properly rest until The Shop is destroyed, in light of all the things she has already seen them do. Michael’s replacement hand being a Trojan horse for the new killchips was a good way to drop the other shoe on his free gift, and how Nikita goes about killing, or trying to avoid killing, the US president, as well as how the show brings everything together in next week’s season finale is worth tuning in for.
– Deepayan Sengupta