I post to flail briefly about how brilliant the season became... OMG THE EPICNESS!!! They brought it!! I thought the show built well to the mid-season cliffhanger, but I'd taken a break after that, since I was away travelling. I settled in to watching the remaining season half a few episodes at a time, but as the season drew to a close, my viewing momentum massively picked up pace! Thanks largely to some unexpectedly good plotting.
Percy! What a surprise he was to me as a villain... I'd never found him that chilling really, because he was quite low-key in the early season. Sure, he was the head of Division, but he didn't *personally* seem that menacing until his amazing chess game with Nikita started playing out. His interrogation of Alex was really chilling and his skill as a master manipulator was finally shown (rather than just implied). I like that they didn't play him as being a cliched melodramatic evil mastermind. He was more cold and more frightening for having many attributes we'd associate with any successful businessman (ambition, logic, persuasiveness, self-interest...). Yet, at the same time as I appreciated the gradual reveal of Percy's depths of villainy, I also enjoyed how much of a deranged lunatic they made him look in the season finale as the attack on Nikita's lair was executed! He grew to be very enjoyably hate-able!
Nikita!!! OMG EPIC LOVE FOR HER NOW. I'd always enjoyed her and found her intriguing, but I really loved in the second half of the season seeing two threads evolve very strongly--first, her strength as someone who draws out the best in others, whose very presence demands them to act from their better sides. And second, her inner conflict with herself over what the future holds and whether she can ever really be free of the past.
I thought the confrontation between her and Alex was incredible. I love the backstory between them--love that the writers wrote epic angst between these two women. And I love that Alex lashed out at her about her obsessive quest to bring down Division. There is some truth in that, and Nikita's flinch at her pointing out she still sleeps in a recruit's bed was very telling. Nikita can't actually imagine a life beyond Division ... she struggles to picture a life that is not dominated by the struggle with them.
Yet, I mostly felt Nikita's pain that confrontation because Alex will definitely live to regret taking the path of vengeance against her father's killer. She's seen her future self and deep down she doesn't want to be that person. Yet I find it very convincing that at this stage in her life she can't resist the impulse to go down that road. It's partly that her emotions are still so fresh and deep, but it's also about the fact that she feels she's never not been someone's puppet, and she is desperately searching to find that free identity. Amanda releasing her and then recapturing her is very dangerous in light of this. It's so sad because she was freer with Nikita than she ever realised... there was a time when she could have walked away, and she didn't take it. But at the same time, it's also true that she was indoctrinated into a certain way of thinking by her experiences with Nikita, so while I trust absolutely in Nikita's love for Alex and genuine desire to do right by her, I can also see how it must feel to be Alex... always a pawn in someone else's game. Gah, but it's going to be hard watching her be brainwashed by new!Division!
I had had concerns about how the Michael/Nikita thing would play out... I think I feared that they would be too soppy or he would slow her down somehow, mire her in a relationship plot too much, but I found I liked them both better once they got together. I find her really adorable with him, particularly how calm and sincere she is with him (although she's not without her anxieties). And it was greatly enjoyable to see him turn on Percy and come over to her side, especially when he had his little alpha (actually beta, since they are both betas to Nikita's alpha!) match with Owen. They've had some cute lines too. :) I liked Nikita's 'We just sleep together' brushoff. :)
Fletcher! OMG, he came through so courageously with the CIA! I loved his little 'I expect you to bust me out of prison asap' routine. He was an added joy in the final episode. It was great to see all Nikita's 'boys' playing a role in the final victory.
I also like that both Amanda and Berkhoff forged their own individual destinies within Division by the end, were shown to be not just lackeys but powerful actors in their own right. I don't *like* either of them, but I appreciated it from a plot perspective, since it put a lot more into play. And I also find intriguing (though sometimes chilling) the dynamics they have with others... Berkhoff with Michael, Amanda with Alex.
Sure, it's a melodramatic show (that cell Michael was held in was GLORIOUSLY OTT). And it does have a bunch of stuff that you could nitpick (why, for instance, would Division use the words 'father' and 'mother' in gunning down Alex's family!?! Their Alex's father and mother, sure, but that's not significant to Division...) But really that kind of thing is so irrelevant to the overall storytelling I find it easy to brush off. I am delighted I have two female characters I love on this show, and they have a complex and deep relationship between them that isn't easily simplified to a stereotype. I believe that Alex and Nikita do, on a deep level, care more about each other than almost anyone else (Nikita has Michael, Alex has the memory of her family, but that's about the only things that come close), and yet they also have a very real power struggle between them to sort out. I see both perspectives on it very clearly, and find both easy to empathise with. Both women are very strong but also make mistakes sometimes and have their own weaknesses--Alex was right to say Nikita never trusted her enough to handle it. Nikita is more comfortable playing the protector, yet Alex has proved time and time again that she can handle her own life, and not trusting her has had devastating consequences. Alex's weakness is definitely the ease with which she can be manipulated by the past and the memory and death of her family. Do I think she really wants to lead a Russian corporation? No. She wants to make the little girl she saw on the television screen in Percy's office feel less empty and broken inside, fill that hole by getting something 'back'. But it's going to feel like such a hollow victory when it comes...
Hopefully Michael and Nikita can reach her before that happens. I like that things will be changed around quite considerably for the second season (if it goes ahead? I realise I don't even know if it's been greenlighted...). Should make it interesting!
Yay for good plotting and pacing! :) And kickass female characters!
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