Nikita, Season 4, Episode 06: “Cancelled”
Written by Albert Kim and Carlos Coto
Directed by Eagle Egilsson
Aired Fridays at 9pm (ET) on the CW
Over the course of its four season run, Nikita has established itself as a supremely entertaining action series that was unafraid to kill off characters, keep dramatic tension high, and move through stories. Anchored by a strong lead performance from Maggie Q, the show developed from a fun distraction into a compelling series with fully fleshed out characters that often went off in unpredictable directions. All of this came down to this week’s series finale. Having previously defeated enemies such as Roan, Percy, Sergei Semak, Gogol, and Division, and spurred by the grief of Ryan’s death, the team takes on Amanda and MDK, in a fitting finale that serves to illustrate who Nikita really is.
It’s wonderful to see the final showdown between Nikita and Amanda focus on both their similarities and differences. Nikita’s fight against Percy was always more of a business-based decision on both their ends, as Nikita’s goal to take down Division clashed with Percy’s desire to hold onto and expand his power and influence. If it was someone else in Nikita or Percy’s place, the two individuals would not have had an issue with each other. The struggle between Nikita and Amanda, however, has always been more personal, and in many ways tied into the individual nature of the two. From the beginning, as the series has shown numerous times, including this week, Amanda has seen Nikita as very similar to herself, and has seen Nikita’s attacks on an Amanda-run Division as a fundamental betrayal on an emotional level. Much of Amanda’s fight against Nikita in the third season revolved around teaching Nikita a lesson in how to be more like Amanda, and while she may have a number of faults, she has been, by and large, a keen judge of character. Amanda hasn’t been wrong about the similar circumstances from which both of them rose; seemingly abandoned and tossed around, both of them are, at their very core, survivors and fighters.
However, the key difference between the two is also what Nikita ultimately recognises as her ultimate strength; the fact that Nikita cares for others, and has people who care for her. Amanda’s final monologue is very telling in how she perceives the world, as she tells Nikita that Nikita’s a leader, and that the others will follow her. While it’s understandable that Amanda would perceive Nikita’s relationships in such a way, as manipulation and forced coercion is the only way Amanda knows how to bring about loyalty, she is markedly wrong on this count, which is what brings about her downfall. For the ex-Division crew, helping Nikita has never been about blind loyalty to a follower. In fact, Nikita has had her differences with nearly everyone on her team, including Alex and Michael, all of whom have come back into the fold. The overarching theme of Nikita, and by extension that of the team, is that they care about the well-being of each other, and the world as a whole. In that way, Nikita is never a leader, but she is the core that the team revolves around, and that is something Amanda could not ever comprehend.
If one were to look at Amanda and Nikita and highlight what drives them, it would come down to the fact that Amanda wants the world to suffer the way she has suffered, while Nikita wants nobody to go through what she did. This, in many ways, explains why Amanda always sought power while Nikita shied away from it, hesitantly wearing the crown of hero and actively rejecting a chance to run Division at the end of Season 2. The fact that Nikita is the one who ended up more powerful between the two speaks volumes. Everything Amanda did, she did for herself, whereas everything Nikita did, she did for others, often others she did not know. That Nikita emerges victorious while Amanda ends up in an isolated jail cell proves that this series is a fundamentally optimistic one. The fact that Nikita continues to fight injustice even after her biggest battle is over is simply icing on the cake.
Overall, this is a great finale, and a fitting end to the series. With a nail-biting first half that moves at a quick pace yet never feels rushed, the show’s writers demonstrate, for one last time, how good this show was at action, as well as fight scenes. While the reveal of Slokum as Amanda’s mole wasn’t quite surprising, it is nonetheless a nice moment, and the setup of Amanda’s perceived win, and the reveal of Nikita’s full plan, is very well done. It’s nice to see Nikita end the show with some level of recognition for her accomplishments by the world at large, even if it’s a limited recognition. Seeing her and Michael get their happy ending is also a heartwarming moment, for while they decide to go after the child soldier training facility, the fact that they have a choice in the matter puts them in a good position. It’s also good to see Alex’s Udinov persona survive to the end of the series, and to see her continue her humanitarian efforts, as well as help Sam out. Ryan’s eulogy is a touching one, and it’s good to see his accomplishments get recognized by the government, particularly in light of the disciplinary actions he faced in the first season. The ending for Amanda is also good to see, particularly in its cruel ruthlessness, as she would do the same if the situation was reversed; in fact, she never hesitates from pushing Nikita to the same fate. Seeing Nikita fight solo, fight alongside Alex, and fight alongside the team is a great encapsulation of her various skills, and the show as a whole has been a delight to watch over the course of its run. This was a worthy successor to the La Femme Nikita mantle in many ways, and hopefully it’s not long before the performers and creative forces behind this show are back onscreen.
– Deepayan Sengupta