April 28, 2012

Quick Thoughts NIKITA, "Shadow Walker"

Last season, one of my favorite new shows was The CW's Nikita. The bastard child of The WB and UPN had become a breeding ground for shows about spoiled rich kids and sexy vampires, so the fact that they tried out a pure action show with a kick-ass female lead was both shocking and promising. While it started off slow, it was able to find itself and become one of the better shows of the 2010-2012 season, but the highs didn't last because so far Season 2 has been too sporadic and a lot less fun to watch. That was until "Shadow Walker" which felt like a throwback of sorts.

My biggest issue with Season 2 has been that fact that there's been too much of an emphasis on Alex's "Anastasia" arc that had her return to Russia to get revenge on Gogol, find her once dead mother and take over the family business. While all of that sounds fun on paper, the execution missed the mark, and this storyline became the weakest link. Adding one of the most boring characters of all time in Sean didn't help either, but there were more issues than just him. The narrative shifted and became too bogged down on black ops programs turning on one another while government officials looked over, and it ended up being a jumbled mess, but things started to take a turn for the better once Percy was back in charge of Division.

While I'm all for equal opportunity ass-kickers, Amanda was a dud as the Big Bad, and I was happy when Percy reclaimed his throne, not just because he's more interesting, but because it felt like a return to form which probably had an affect on how I watched "Shadow Walker." This episode reminded me of why I liked Nikita in the first place because it temporarily tossed aside Oversight, Amanda, Gogol, Sean and everything else that was weighing the show down in favor of a fairly straightforward mission that involved Birkoff losing his fortune which caused a riff between him and Nikita.

One of the highlights of Season 2 has been Birkoff because he's been allowed to show everyone that he's more than just a computer geek by showing his range as a member of Nikita's team of bandits. Since "Shadow Walker" was essentially his origin story, I couldn't help but get wrapped up in it, and it was made even better thanks to some great scenes between him and Nikita. I know that most fans only care about "Mikita," but I really have enjoyed watching her bond with Birkoff grow into an almost sibling type relationship. Now, I just hope he doesn't end up being some kind of mole, and we find out he's been working for Percy this entire time.

Speaking of pairings, I also really liked seeing Michael and Alex interact without the others around especially since the writers have gotten rid of the incestuous vibe that was distracting last season. Much like Nikita and Birkoff, I can see these two becoming close friends and confidants as they continue their quest to take down Division. Let's just hope that's the extent of their relationship though.

Overall, "Shadow Walker" had everything that I look for from an episode of Nikita. We got some pretty cool action sequences, a story that made sense, a bank robbery (those are always fun), growth and some nice moments between various characters. You really can't ask for more than that.


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