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Nikita, Ep 4.04: “Pay-Off” puts the spotlight on The Shop

Nikita, Ep 4.04: “Pay-Off” puts the spotlight on The Shop
Noah Bean, Shane West, Maggie Q, Aaron Stanford

Noah Bean, Shane West, Maggie Q, Aaron Stanford

Nikita, Season 4, Episode 04: “Pay-Off”
Written by Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett
Directed by Dwight Little
Airs Fridays at 9pm (ET) on the CW

Over the course of the season, as Nikita and the ex-Division crew have tried to throw a wrench in The Shop’s plans, their attempts to start a war between the US and Pakistan have continued to march forward. This week gives the audience and the ex-Division team their clearest look yet at The Shop’s motives behind starting a war, and their overarching plans on how to do so, in another strong episode that leaves key members in an uncertain state.

Alex taking on Sam is a very promising idea. Nikita’s weakness for Owen is understandable, since he was her second real ally, after Alex, in the fight against Division. However, it’s also possible that her goodwill towards Owen, as well as her inherent desire to save everyone, may be clouding her judgment on Sam, a handicap Alex does not have. However, Sam’s return, with the diamonds, to help Alex fight the Shop agent, could possibly indicate him turning over a new leaf, or the team finally reaching beyond his hardened edge. However, his debt still remains, and with Alex’s suspicions of him growing, the next steps he takes are going to tell a lot about who Sam really is. If he chooses to be honest and deliver the diamonds to Sonya, it will prove that he has possibly turned over a new leaf. If, however, he uses the fake diamonds to try and pay off his debt, his decision to come back and help Alex adds another dimension to his inexplicable presence with the group as they fight The Shop. How Alex deals with Sam also promises to be fascinating, as there’s a good chance she will decide to tackle him alone. As the person who has spent the most time with post-Division Nikita, Alex is aware that she’s unwilling to give up on anyone, which could prompt Alex to not bring in anyone else until she has hard proof on Sam, thereby putting her in more danger.  Whether she decides to turn Sam in, help him fight off his debtors, or both, is a promising storyline.

Maggie Q, Shane West

Maggie Q, Shane West

Watching how The Shop deals with Nikita is also a fascinating aspect of this week’s episode. Most of their actions to date have been viewed in hindsight mode, as the ex-Division crew has played catchup in their attempts to battle The Shop, with varying success. This week, however, gives a clear look at a Shop plan in motion. Their willingness to sacrifice an entire operation, including most of their personnel, speaks more about the organization’s calculating ruthlessness than anything prior. At the same time, the fact that The Shop had to go to such lengths, including faking deaths and incarceration, simply to get Nikita off their back, proves that they are not as untouchable as they might appear. Michael’s rescue of President Spencer, as well as the reinstatement of Ronald Peller, also adds to the support behind the ex-Division crew, and it will be interesting to see whether or not they break through the bubble and end up on Nikita’s radar once again, as their decreased capacity and her increased strength may lead to a decisive end for The Shop. The continued presence of Amanda in The Shop’s employ is the big wild card in this situation, as her personal vendetta against Nikita may eventually prove to be The Shop’s undoing, and whether or not they try to keep her under wraps, and how successful they are, will decide the fate of the organization.

Overall, this is another great episode, and continues the season’s trend of moving through storylines and not lingering on plot points. It is good to see Ramon make a return this week, and it will be interesting to see if, and how, his death affects Nikita and Michael, particularly the latter given their final conversation. Birkhoff’s reunion with his father is also a touching moment this week. With the supposed disposal of The Shop, hopefully Alex and Sonya reunite with the team in the final two episodes, as the team being physically in one place is something that’s overdue. It will also be interesting to see how, despite The Shop’s survival, how Nikita is perceived by the public going forward, as her image now goes from the person who assassinated the President to the person who saved her. It’s a testament to the show’s strong writing to date that Nikita’s death in the missile strike, despite her being the main character, could have been a strong possibility, and it’s regrettable that Graham did not manage to survive alongside Spencer and Peller. How Nikita finds out about Amanda’s survival, and whether or not she decides to take action, how the rest of the team reacts, and what their next steps will be, are worth looking out for in the show’s final two episodes.

– Deepayan Sengupta

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