NIKITA 1.18 ‘Into the Dark’

Owen goes wild while on a mission in London with Nikita. Meanwhile, Alex lies her way out of trouble and causes some issues for Michael.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Episode Title: "Into the Dark"

Writer: Albert Kim

Director: Jeff Hunt

Previously on "Nikita":

Michael (Shane West) figured out that Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca) was the inside mole of Nikita (Maggie Q) within Division and tracked Nikita back to her apartment before holding her at gunpoint. Michael then gave Nikita an ultimatum: find Kasim Tariq — the terrorist who killed Michael's family — or he vowed to expose Alex as her agent. With only 24 hours to accomplish her goal, Nikita burned her contacts within the Russian organization Gogal and captured Kasim. But she in turn blackmailed Michael into giving her intelligence on Division's black box program.

Inside Nikita's safehouse, Kasim used her smart phone to alert his men to save him. Nikita was overcome and briefly captured, but Michael's arrival saved her life and brought Kasim back into their custody. However, Kasim revealed that he once worked for Division under Percy (Xander Berkeley) and he murdered Michael's family on his orders. Incensed, Michael left him alive for Nikita to kill. Later, Michael and Nikita met up at her apartment in the states where he pledged to help her bring down Division. Then they slept together.

Story:

Nikita and Michael celebrate their newfound alliance in bed, when who should show up but Owen (Devon Sawa), the former Division cleaner who killed Nikita's fiancée Daniel. After a half-naked standoff with Michael, Nikita defuses Owen's suspicions and learns that he's located the Guardian (Ray Park) living in London near another Division black box. The tentative new alliance sees Nikita travel with Owen to London while Michael remains behind to get info from inside Division. Meanwhile, Alex remains blissfully unaware of her new ally while secretly erasing files linking her to her boyfriend, Nathan (Thad Luckinbill).

But before she can get out of Division, Amanda (Melinda Clarke) recruits Alex for a debrief with Jaden (Tiffany Hines), which quickly turns into a disaster for Alex when Jaden starts covering her own mistakes by revealing that Alex was caught breaking into Percy's office and other sensitive areas of the compound. In London, Nikita learns that Owen's increasingly erratic behavior stems from his drug regimen, which gives all cleaners near superhuman abilities. But they botch their first investigation steps, alerting the Guardian and Division to their presence.

Percy sends Michael and a strike team to kill Owen and Nikita. Inside Division, Amanda has Alex hooked up to a high tech lie detector and immediately catches her in several lies about her activities within the organization. Compartmentalizing her emotions, Alex weaves a partially true tale that still fingers Thom as the mole and she passes through with her lies undetected. But Amanda states that her story partially implicates Michael, as Thom's trainer. To Alex's surprise, Michael backs up her account and accepts the blame. But Amanda still pushes for Alex to be terminated.

In London, Nikita and Owen get the black box away from the Guardian, but Owen snaps when Nikita tries to destroy the box. Wanting the truth about Division to get out despite the cost, Owen attacks Nikita and flees. Nikita then meets up with Michael at Owen's loft where they realize just how far gone he is. At the same time, Owen realizes that he can't access the black box without the blood of the Guardian. So he calls Percy directly and allows himself to be traced to a nearby church. When the Guardian and the strike team arrive, Owen kills them all and starts implementing his plan.

Nikita and Michael soon catch up to him and she desperately tries to keep the two men from killing each other. Michael gets a few clear shots at Owen before ultimately siding with Nikita and letting him live… after taking out the black box. Later, Nikita helps Owen recover from the battle and gives him a fresh batch of the drug regimen taken from the Guardian. He then offers a heartfelt apology for killing her fiancée which she accepts with tears in her eyes. When Alex calls Nikita, she tells her that Michael backed up her B.S. story, leading Nikita to arrange a meeting with her and disclose the truth.

Breakdown:

I'll give the writers of "Nikita" credit, there's been some real forward momentum for the last few episodes. But it's still hard to get invested in this sometimes farcical spy world that they've created.

I've lost track of how many times that Alex has been strapped to a chair by Amanda to "get the truth" out of her, but it's really gotten old. Lyndsy Fonseca usually gets the best scenes in any given episode, however this is the second week in a row that she's been minimized. I guess technically, Nikita is supposed to be the main character. But the only story I really care about is Alex's.

There are times in the episode when Devon Sawa seemed acceptable as Owen, but his drug cravings and decent into partial madness were way over the top. I wouldn't go so far as to call Sawa a good actor, but there are certain things that he can pull off. Craziness is apparently not one of them. The worst thing is that Ray Parks was completely wasted as the Guardian. His character had almost nothing to do besides fight Owen twice and even his martial arts skills weren't used well. "Nikita" should have pulled out all of the stops to show off Park's abilities.

In fact, the entire fight between Owen, Michael and Nikita just seemed silly instead of dramatic. The action was poorly choreographed and it didn't play out convincingly. And when an action show can't even handle a simple fight sequence, that's a big problem.

I do like the new partnership between Michael and Nikita, though they probably shouldn't have become lovers again so quickly. It kind of took any suspense about that right out of the window. It also made Michael's jealousy of Owen seem very high school. This also wasn't the first time that Michael's taken the proverbial hit for Alex. That does make him look good as a character but if there aren't any real consequences for his actions than Amanda and Division just seem like ineffectual paper villains.

Speaking of horrible villains, for some reason "Nikita" keeps forcing Jaden upon us despite the fact that she's by far the least interesting character on the show. I get that she's supposed to be the anti-Alex of the series, but instead of being someone we love to hate, Jaden brings an unnecessary cattiness to Division that makes it hard to even sit through her scenes.

Hopefully, there will be some kind of dramatic payoff for this show at the end of the season. There's some potential in "Nikita," but it might take an act of God to unlock it.

Crave Online Rating: 5.5 out of 10.