NIKITA 1.20 ‘Glass Houses’

Nikita and Michael attempt to save a rogue guardian and her family while Alex has her final confrontation with Jaden.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Episode Title: "Glass Houses"

Writer: Kalinda Vasquez

Director: Ralph Hemecker

Previously on "Nikita":

Nikita (Maggie Q) finally convinced Michael (Shane West) to turn on Division after she helped him discover that the murder of his family was ordered by Percy (Xander Berkeley). As Michael and Nikita began to wage war on Division by stealing the various black boxes from around the world, they attempted to find a way to extract Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca) safely from Division's grasp. Towards that end, they planned to fake Alex's death during the course of a mission.

However, Alex passed up an opportunity to run and saved her rival, Jaden (Tiffany Hines) while also helping to prevent a terrorist attack. Afterwards, Jaden seemed more friendly towards Alex, but she hid the fact that she had retrieved a toxic nerve agent for Percy; earning her a promotion to Agent. Meanwhile, Alex told Nikita and Michael that she was in the fight for the long haul.

Story:

In a private meeting with Michael, Percy sends his best agent to Pennsylvania to spy on one of his guardians to ensure the safety of the black box in her possession. Sensing an opportunity, Michael gives Nikita a several hour headstart to find the guardian, Dana Winters (Christina Moses) and get the black box before he even arrives in town. However, when she breaks into Dana's house she finds that Dana's tracking device has been planted on the man who currently lives there. With time running out before Michael's arrival, Nikita stages a bank robbery to draw out Dana, then follows her to a suburban home.

At first Nikita believes that Dana intends to kill the local deputy, Charlie (Seann Gallagher) when he comes home, but instead Nikita realizes that Dana has started a family with Charlie and his teenage son, Eddie (Dylan Authors). Meanwhile, Alex 's boyfriend Nathan (Thad Luckinbill) tries to get her to flee to San Francisco to escape what he thinks are her mob connections. Cornered, she admits the truth about working as a government assassin, which he immediately disbelieves and angrily breaks up with her on the spot. Back in Pennsylvania, Michael and Nikita come to the home of Dana and Charlie pretending to be new neighbors.

After a tense dinner, Nikita and Dana have a brief fight in the hallway before Nikita explains that she's trying to help her. She warns Dana that Division is only hours away from moving on her and urges her to tell Charlie the truth about her. Needless to say,  he doesn't take it well. Eddie overhears her story as well and runs away from the home. Back with Alex, Jaden unexpectedly arrives at her apartment in an attempt to bury the hatch. However, Nathan enters to return Alex's things and he sarcastically says that she's another government assassin. Alex tries to convince Jaden that it's nothing, but a fight to the death ensues. Nathan comes back into the middle of it and shoots Jaden dead.

Panicked, Alex dismisses Nathan and calls Nikita for advice. She tells Alex to report the incident and stay for the "cleaner." Meanwhile, a Division strike team meets up with Michael while Nikita finds Eddie breaking into a local hardware store. Nikita talks Eddie into staying with his family by relating that Dana is staying in town to find him when she should have run immediately. However, Division locates them in the store and Michael's team surrounds them with Dana. Nikita "releases" Eddie to save his life, but the strike force leader attempts to use him as leverage. Incensed, Dana kills everyone on the strike force except Michael and embraces her surrogate son.

Michael and Nikita send Charlie, Dana and Eddie on their way and admit to each other that they want to have a future together even if they don't know what that means yet. Back at Division, Amanda (Melinda Clarke) gently interrogates Alex about Jaden's death until she asks to leave. Then Amanda drops a bombshell: an implant in Jaden's ear recorded and transmitted Alex's conversation with Nikita, exposing her as a traitor. Amanda also physically subdues Alex and addresses her by her real name "Alexandria."

Breakdown:

For all of its faults, "Nikita" has a knack for some really juicy cliffhangers.

The trigger had to be pulled at some point on Alex's cover within Division, but the way that Amanda spoke to Alex and used her real name suggests that they've been aware of her identity for some time. Amanda was also unexpectedly formidable in their brief fight sequence. She's actually a better villain than Percy in terms of getting a response from the other characters and the audience.

As much as I really didn't like Jaden (the girl who must have escaped from "Hellcats"), the ending of her story seemed kind of sudden. She died literally the week after she was promoted to Agent status, which seems a little wasteful. We never actually got to see Alex and Jaden start to get close so that their eventual fight to the death would have had even more sting. But on the other hand, it did move the story forward so I can't complain about that too much. It was pretty cheap for Nathan to be the one to pull the trigger on Jaden. That definitely should have been Alex's kill.

I've had problems with Maggie Q's performance as Nikita from the very first episode, but this was one of her better turns as the lead character. For once, I could actually buy that Nikita really wants to settle down with Michael and that she envied the life that Dana had made for herself. On the other hand, I thought that Christina Moses was really poor in the role of Dana and I didn't believe in her as a trained assassin or a would-be wife and mother. Her lover, Charlie was also pretty one note. It's like the writer tried so hard to make them partial duplicates of Michael and Nikita that the parts that make them interesting were left out.

I appreciate the speed at which the story is moving and we might actually get some good resolution before the end of this season. It also seems like the series is following a planned storyline and the twists have been nicely timed. With more episodes like this, "Nikita" may become a show well worth saving.

Crave Online Rating: 7.5 out of 10.