TV Show: Nikita
Episode: Season 3, Episode 19, “Self Destruct”
Two things I just have to say right away.
1. How SAD was the blood on the floor, at the exact spot Sean died (although it was, technically… internal bleeding…hmm…), and Alex’ flashback on their last kiss? I still miss Sean terribly… and I still think it was a terrible move from the writers to have him off the show when he had so many fans and brought in the very much needed goofiness and humor from time to time, in a place as tense as Division.
2. ‘Nikita’ does THE BEST, MOST AMAZING flashback scenes, especially when it involves Michael and Nikita. Season 1 had, of course, the best ones, but the one on this episode was pretty awesome too.
That being said, this episode was filled with parallels I was ardently scribbling and taking notes while watching. One of the many reasons I love this show and truly admire the writers for their talent, effort and devotion: watching each episode is like watching a number of seemingly independent and separate dots as they magically connect themselves. As we see the present unfold as a fruit and direct consequence of the past and one character as a reflection (or projection, Amanda would say) of another, we also see the boundaries between male and female character, and between good guys and bad guys fade away. Each new episode is like, to the risk of sounding cliche, finding a piece of the puzzle you didn’t even know existed. And as you place it in the perfect little corner of the puzzle, you see it not only fits with its neighboring pieces, but that it is just as connected and dependent to all the other pieces and the big picture as well.
1. The episode starts with Alex going into this shady part of town, with hookers, pimps, drug dealers and what-nots. It’s a glimpse to the world she would be right now, had it not been for Nikita, and, in a sense, Division as well, the very two targets she was fighting so hard against like insane for the past couple of episodes, leading to a very heavy and heart-breaking sacrifice. True, it is Division that ruined her life in the first place, but we also have to admit, Division is also the one that gave her a second life, and like she said to Sean, ‘this new one could be something better’, and it was!…until Amanda worked her mojo on her and she lost her self.
2. The episode, properly titled ‘Self Destruct’, takes us into Alex’s own journey of self destruct after her loss. Flashback time, and we see Nikita, 6 years ago, when she lost Daniel and went down the very same path and signed on a ‘suicide mission’, which Michael tried to get her off from. The feeling of guilt weighing down on her, feeling responsible, feeling she should have been the one to have died, it’s all a deja-vu for Nikita. And of course, she knows exactly what her young protegee is going through. Although she has experienced and seen with her own eyes that indeed, ‘not everyone can be saved’, Alex is still savagely and blindly determined to save everyone, at the risk of her own life.
3. And now, the BIG flashback into Michael and Nikita. Did anyone just melt when he said “You have people who care about you. You do have something to live for”? No? Just me? It was a big OMG moment, considering, well, you know, that is EXACTLY what Nikita said to Michael in Season 1, Episode 9, “One Way”, when Michael was the one going into a suicide mission to kill Kasim. This is precisely why I love the flashbacks in ‘Nikita’ and why I admire and adore the writers for their obvious attention to details when it comes to character interaction. A lot of the flashbacks in Season 1 dealt with characters saying each other’s exact line, with a few years of difference. Nikita especially would tell Alex many of the things that Michael himself, and Amanda had told her. (I just had to watch that scene one more time after writing this)
3. Isn’t it a bit spooky that Nikita often goes back to her experience with Amanda to find answers and words of comfort, more often than we would want to? She may say Amanda is a bitch, and yes, she is, but she can’t deny that she also was… her ‘mentor’ (for the lack of a better word) at some point in those years at Division. Despite her initial animosity, Nikita eventually learned to turn to Amanda in her moments of confusion and sure enough, the ‘mother figure’ always knew how to give a hell of a pep talk. The ‘trust’ Amanda put in Nikita because she was, in her heart and in her instinct, a ‘survivor’, is the exact advice and words of comfort Nikita gives to Alex.
4. The title of this episode doesn’t only reflect Alex’s journey but also the journey and ‘risk’ Division is at. Ryan plans to blow the place up so that they can all vanish in the wind and he will be the one to take responsibility. Throughout the whole Season 3, we’ve seen the group struggle with keeping Division running. Despite their initial objective of getting the ‘Dirty 30’ and only them, before letting the place go, they’ve had to face difficulty after difficulty, and risk after risk, during which they were forced to make unsatisfactory and ominous compromises. And throughout their tough journey, the deeper they were getting themselves into this mess they decided to give a try to, the more I’ve been convinced that Division is an entity with a life of its own. I bet Percy is seeing all this and rejoicing himself from his grave, with that evil look telling them ‘I’m Division’ and that if not him, then no one else can run it. And he is right. We’ve seen Division take over the better of Nikita, Michael and Ryan. It is because Division was also self destructing that it led its members to walk the same path. Once again, in ‘Nikita’, we just can’t draw a clear distinctive line between what is good and what is bad, because it’s never so in reality either. Even after this wreckage, Michael and Nikita are still determined to make it work until the end. You can’t just blame everything on Division and destroy it and expect to live a good happy life after it. After all, the previous episode was titled “Broken Home”, meaning that with all its flaws and twists, Division is still the best ‘home’ they’ve known so far.
5. And last, but not least, isn’t Ryan Fletcher (Noah Bean) handsome in this picture?
Honestly, Ryan is my least favorite character in the show (not that I don’t like him, per se, but the others are so amazing I just can’t put him high on my list) and I think, one of the weakest ones too, in terms of story, power or presence. But I have to admit, he looks quite dashing in this picture 🙂 And I didn’t realize how much I was actually missing him while he was in comma until the moment he turned and said ‘You missed me?’ (obviously not to me, but to Nikita). I found myself crying ‘Yes, yes, I did miss you!’
PS: Did anyone notice the dorky glasses Birkhoff wore in the flashback? Like he used to in the first season? We also had an appearance by one of the agents who allowed Percy to come back in Season 2 during Amanda’s absence and who got killed in all the mess. Gosh, the attention to detail they have at ‘Nikita’ is simply… admirable.