After last week’s cliffhanger in the “Nikita” Season 4 premiere, things looked really dire as they picked up in Friday (Nov. 29) night’s “Dead or Alive.” If you aren’t too tired from Black Friday shopping or still stuck in a turkey hangover, let’s dive in, shall we?
Holing up in an animal hospital after getting shot by FBI deputy director Matthew Graham, Nikita was going to self-operate, but passed out as someone found her … but nothing to worry about, it was just Michael and he brought her to the plane!
After she wakes up and gets some heartwarming (Birkhoff) and some heartbreaking (Michael) reunions, Ryan fills Nikita and everyone else in on the conspiracy he’s put together: Amanda and the The Shop are actually using body doubles and switching out high-ranking people in the government to … frame Nikita? Plant evidence of a fake Cayman account in her name to create a narrative of why Nikita assassinated the President? What is their real end goal?
Meanwhile, formerly-known-as-Owen Sam catches up to Alex in Mumbai but before he can steal the tech she pulled off of one of the human traffickers she just killed, reinforcements arrive and they’re forced to work together to get out alive. Also, side note: how great is it to see Sonya get caught off guard while showering and having to provide tech support for Alex soaking wet in a towel? They’ve never showed agents unprepared like that before, and it’s kind of a breath of fresh air. They’re not always perfectly coiffed!
Nikita decides to confront FBI director Graham and calls in to FBI headquarters, outing him as an imposter and tells him she’s done chasing shadows: her new point of attack is him. She knew that no one would believe her, but her real agenda was to let Amanda know that she’s on to her.
Ryan figures out there’s someone besides Amanda pulling the strings because the plan is too subtle for her, but he doesn’t know who it is. He just adds a big question mark in the center of his wall of crazy, but we find out it’s Mr. Jones, the head of The Shop. Jones in turn figures out that Nikita wasn’t the one who figured out his doubles plan, it was Ryan. This is the first time that it seems like both sides, Nikita’s group and The Shop, are evenly matched. We’ve got the rash action takers – Nikita and Amanda – and the silent, behind-the-scenes planners – Jones and Ryan – but where are Birkhoff, Michael, and Alex’s counterparts? Well, maybe Sam is Alex’s even though he’s not on the same side as The Shop. Either way, it’s an interesting set-up that doesn’t make the outcome obvious. Either side could come out victorious, which is a frightening aspect.
While Birkhoff changes Nikita’s bandages, she confides in him like old times. She’s blaming herself for the journalist Dale Gordon’s death because she got him involved, and says that’s why she left in the first place: it’s always her fault that people get hurt. She also asks Birkhoff how Michael’s been and if he said anything about her after she left, but Nerd tells her that he didn’t say anything. It’s clear there is still love between them, but they don’t know how to approach talking about their relationship. And to be fair, there isn’t much time for defining the relationship as they’re in the middle of dismantling an international security conspiracy that heats up after the Graham imposter has his wife killed and his own arm shot while in their own home, once again framing Nikita.
This gives Nikita the idea to kill the imposter and have the FBI compare the imposter’s DNA during the autopsy to the real Graham’s DNA on file, exposing him as a fake and clearing Nikita’s name. It’s a two-man op and this gives Michael and Nikita the chance to talk about their relationship subtly while handling guns and ammo. Perfect “Mikita” conversation, right?
Meanwhile, in Mumbai, Sam offers to help Alex and Sonya saying that he could be their ally in taking down Amanda. But he’s hiding something: he’s in major debt to someone with considerable manpower. This is shady.
Graham holds a press conference to announce the FBI has learned that Pakistani intelligence funded Nikita’s Cayman accounts and laundered the money through a mysterious third party. The Shop’s plan becomes slightly more clear, as it appears they are trying to start a war between the U.S. and nuclear power Pakistan. But why? And who is the third party?
One of the most shocking moments of the hour comes when out nowhere, Nikita shoots Michael! But don’t worry, a minute later it’s explained that it’s all a part of their plan. Birkhoff superimposes Graham’s face on Michael’s body (and Nikita was firing false rounds) to make it look like the real Graham was assassinated weeks ago. They plant a fake camera on one of the press at Graham’s house while he holds yet another press conference addressing the video and right before they pull the remote trigger, Amanda calls Nikita. She tells them that when they put a double in the field, they keep the original locked up in case they need information. She brings the real Graham out of his cell and tells Nikita that if she kills the imposter, she’ll be responsible for the death of the real Graham too.
The real Graham tells Nikita to kill the imposter anyway before a world war can be ignited, and Michael grabs the remote and pulls the trigger. Nikita then releases a video to the public promising to turn herself in if the FBI analyzes the imposter body’s DNA to the real Graham’s on file.
A group of men invade Alex’s room in Mumbai and detain her, while Sam and Sonya slip out the back to figure out who took Alex and try to set her free. Is this the group that Sam owes money to, or is there another player in the game?
Back on the plane, Nikita thanks Michael for pulling the trigger for her so she didn’t have to be a killer today, and Michael gives her a canned speech about how the team is there for each other. Nikita, tired of talking in veiled and subtle ways, asks point blank about their relationship. And then comes the moment we’ve been dreading since the Season 4 promos first aired: Michael tells Nikita he’s still fighting for her and against Amanda, but he’s done fighting for their relationship. That is like a knife to the gut for both Nikita and viewers. Is this the end of “Mikita?” Has Nikita left too many times for Michael to forgive?
Back at The Shop, Jones reveals that their plan is to name Alex as the third party helping Nikita, thereby freezing the Udinov assets and kicking off the world war. And Amanda announces confidently that they still have “one ace in the hole,” and the camera quick-cuts to Birkhoff. He found a match in the NSA that is probably the double they’re looking for – one Ronald Peller – but Birkhoff hides the findings from Ryan. Does this mean Birkhoff is the ace in the hole, a doppelganger that The Shop put into play? And who is Ronald Peller?
All in all, “Dead or Alive” was a solid follow-up to “Wanted,” that tied up a lot of loose ends introduced in the first hour while posing some new, and terrifying, questions. Also terrifying: with the end of “Dead or Alive” comes the realization that we now have only four episodes left of “Nikita.” That’s not enough!
“Nikita” airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.