The Season 1 finale of Nikita threw all the established rules out the window and set-up an entirely different Universe. The Season 2 premiere, titled “Game Change”, saw our heroine, her main man and a growing gang of rebels start a new chapter in their quest to take down Division. Game changes, it seems, are what Nikita does best. Because last Friday’s Season 2 finale, “Homecoming”, turned the world on its head once again. I love that this show has the balls to burn it all down to the ground instead of merely beating a ‘big bad’ or solving a mystery and returning to the status quo. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this finale and I have a LOT to say about it, so hunker down!
The Lead Up:
The episodes leading up to the finale were pretty hard on our band of deadly misfits:
-Birkhoff lost his $20 million dollar fortune in a ponzi scheme during a botched attempt to steal Percy’s money. But the team did manage to blow up a truck full of cash and cut off Percy’s supply.
-Nikita and Co. tried to foil Percy’s plans to assemble a nuclear weapon (or what they thought was a nuclear weapon) but he still managed to get his hands on plutonium, triggers, and casings. But then they discovered he wasn’t planning on building a bomb. He was planning on commandeering a 20-year-old satellite system and using it to shoot specific targets on earth (I assure you that the explanation on the show was a lot more credible and science-y).
-The gang gained a new ally in CIA director Morgan Kendrick, who they rescued from Percy’s clutches by disabling a kill switch installed in his heart.
-Percy tried to gain entrance to some super secret evil society (now that he’s disposed of his last super secret evil society, Oversight) and must prove his worth. He shot a nuclear reactor in an isolated area and threatened more destruction if the President of the United States didn’t meet his demands.
-Nikita finally got fed up and decided to take the fight back to where it all started – Division. She devised a plan: shimmying down the abandoned silo shaft, blowing up their server, and cutting off their connection to the satellite weapon. Michael acted as her backup, while Sean and Alex took out the creepy hick guards who live on the perimeter.
Where we are now:
The server has been blown to bits but Percy was alerted to the intrusion and Nikita and Michael are trapped inside Division, being hunted down by aggressive assets. “Find, them, kill them and you will be rewarded.”
Quick question: Why do armed thugs NEVER look up at the ceiling when they’re chasing their enemies? The people they are looking for are always pressed up against some support beams or something, flexing their muscles for dear life. Okay, sure – the first guy to come up with that hiding place, kudos to him. It was a total EUREKA moment and he was probably gloating gleefully when his pursuers just walked on by. But that hiding place is now as tired as crouching behind a wall in a game of hide-and-seek. Do they not make the muscle watch at least one spy film in training camp? If only so they can learn to a) always check behind doors, b) conceptualize the spatial properties of ‘the corner’ and realize people can easily fit around it and c) LOOK UP AT THE CEILING!
Nobody is yet aware that Nikita has severed Percy’s connection to the satellite and the President of the United States is being backed into a corner. Percy has demanded that he kill a peace treaty between Afghanistan and the Taliban on national TV or he’ll aim his Death Star at a major city … or at least I think that’s what he said the peace treaty was about. Why anyone would legitimize a treaty signed by a crazy terrorist regime is beyond me. Maybe I had water in my ears or something? Percy doesn’t actually give a crap about Middle Eastern politics, but this one is going out to his new super secret evil friends, by special request. The President caves to Percy’s demands but he also sends 205 military troops to take Division by force.
Imagine the confusion of the clueless minions at Division when the government they ‘work for’ surrounds their base. “I don’t understand. Division is part of the Government. Why would the Marines be here?” I can’t help but be completely flabbergasted. Are these people really THAT stupid??? How many times have they executed horrendous, brutal, shady orders under Percy or Amanda’s command? Can they really be so naïve as to believe they are still on the right side? Percy says he called the Marines to help capture Nikita and Michael, which makes absolutely no sense because three seconds ago he was asking his tech nerds to determine who in the hell was gathering a force on ground level. But no one even blinks an eye. Sigh.
While Michael and Nikita try to stay alive inside Division, Alex and Sean are holed up in a barn on the perimeter. They deflect gunfire from another group of assets and Alex actually skewers one of the guards with a pitchfork. It’s completely badass. When the Military rolls up, they are boxed in and have to wait it out. Sean uses the time to officially ask Alex out on a ‘proper’ date. Totally improbable, but adorable! Sean Pierce definitely gets the award for most improved character. He was a complete blowhard in the beginning of the season: an angry mama’s boy who was obsessed with colouring inside the lines. Now he’s a complete sweetheart – still a kickass soldier, but sensitive and caring, with a touch of bumbling dork. It’s an attractive combination.
Back inside Division, Percy throws everyone for a loop. He calls the President and says he will surrender in exchange for “immunity and the retirement of my choosing”. Nikita can’t figure out his game. Walking away from Division must mean Percy is making an even bigger power play. Oh, and guess what Mr. President? There was never any real weapon. The particle beam was fiction and they fell for his bluff. But there IS a store of plutonium, in Roan’s hands, and he will use it to melt down a nuclear reactor in a major metropolitan area if Percy doesn’t get his way. I must confess to being a tad confused by this plot twist. I can see why Percy would make up a weapon to make President Puppet dance. But he actually HAD a different kind of weapon … why not just threaten to use that instead? Small quibble. No biggie.
So now the game becomes tracking down Roan. Birkhoff video messages Sonja and sweet-talks her into giving him access to Division’s vehicle manifest. “Percy’s a bad guy. You know that right?” So Sonya’s not a moron … she just likes pretending to be one out loud? Alex and Sean locate Roan’s abandoned car and find a body stashed in the trunk. Birkhoff identifies the corpse as a janitor who worked for the National Mall Reactor – a giant nuclear back-up generator right under Washington DC. Lovely.
While Percy is holed up in his office awaiting the President’s response to his terms, Nikita and Michael bust into operations and stage a coup. Michael keeps the locals in line by holding a hand grenade, while Nikita heads off to ambush Percy. Michael tries to talk some sense into the brainwashed agents. The army isn’t interested in Nikita and Michael. They’ve come to capture Percy because he’s the real enemy. “Open your eyes.” Sonya redirects the security teams so Nikita can safety navigate to Percy’s office.
Nikita busts down Percy’s door and roughs him up a bit, but he won’t give up Roan’s location and she can’t take him out without activating his heart trigger. If he dies, a signal will be sent to Roan and he’ll melt down the reactor. Okay, time for some hard ball … err … balls. Nikita forces Percy to address the agents and reveal his true nature: “You’re going to get on that intercom and you’re going to call off the boys. Or I take off your boys.”
So Percy gets on the intercom and does what he does best – speechify! He waxes about how he started the organization to save young lives but somewhere along the way he lost sight of his original goal and started treating the agents like mercenaries. Division became a criminal organization. He admits that the Marines are here to shut them down. “By morning you’ll all be dead or renditioned to a secret prison in some godforsaken place because of me. I betrayed you. Each and every one of you … and I don’t regret minute of it.” Wow, leave it to Percy to provide a big finish. He invites the “pathetic street trash” to come and get him if they have a problem with that. I want to come and get him and I’m not even a tortured fictional assassin!
Despite the fact that she’s the one with a gun to his head, Percy has managed to maneuver Nikita right where he wants her. She’s now become his unwilling bodyguard. She’ll have to ensure his survival if she wants to avert nuclear disaster. And it won’t be easy because the Kids are pretty pissed off at Daddy!
Percy is such an incredible villain. He makes my skin crawl every time he’s on screen. He just HAS to make the dick move even when it’s completely unnecessary. One of the agents tries to shoot him, but Nikita puts a gun to his temple and begs him to put the gun down and trust her. He reluctantly does. but the second he lowers his hand, Percy lifts his own gun and blows the guy’s brains out. Why? “I’m in a hurry.” It doesn’t get nastier than that.
Nikita brings Percy safely to the surface where they disarm and surrender to the Marines. But even with his freedom in sight, Percy cannot resist one last dastardly move. He attacks Nikita and starts violently punching her in the gut, trying to knock her into the silo. It’s a move that perfectly illustrates why Percy is the coldest person on this show. Amanda is a compelling evil force, and a certified mega bitch, but when she had Nikita in her gun sights, she froze. Because there is something inside her … dare I say, something human? … that is plagued by emotion. Percy has no such burdens.
Nikita earns the upper hand in the fight and Percy ends up dangling over the silo – Nikita’s strong grip is the only thing keeping him from plunging to his death. The arrogant bastard demands that she help him up. Don’t forget the death signal! Nikita stares down and him and makes a move that can only be described as legend-wait for it-dary. She says, “Birkhoff, there’s going to be a signal in the Division silo in about 5 seconds. Get ready to track it.” Percy’s eyes widen in genuine terror for the very first time. He whispers her name in a desperate pleading tone – as if he still thinks he has earned even one iota of sympathy from her. Nikita unclasps her hand and Percy clings to her arm in a panic, slowly sliding further down until … whoosh, he’s falling through the air. He crashes down, right on top of the glass prison he once gloated from; so confident that no one could hold him captive for long.
I don’t usually go gaga for camera angles or specific shots, but I LOVED the way his death scene was set up. Nikita watches him as he falls, then we’re looking up through the silo, from the bottom of the glass prison. It’s all black until the glass begins to crack and we see Percy’s battered, lifeless face hanging above us. It almost looks as if he’s trapped inside the glass. Then we go to a wide shot as the glass completely gives way and he lands on the bottom of his former cell. Such incredibly beautiful, haunting imagery … and this is coming from a dialogue purist!
I’m shocked and delighted that the writers had the cojones to kill their major villain. Yes, they’ve got Amanda as backup, but no one brought the ‘bad’ the way Percy did. It says a lot about the creative force behind this show that they’re confident enough in their vision to smash everything to pieces and start all over. Wow … just … wow.
Roan receives the signal on his phone. Percy’s heart has stopped beating and it’s up to him to fulfill his master’s last evil request. Roan takes a moment to mourn his fallen overlord and then readies his weapon for detonation. But the signal has led Birkhoff right to him, and Alex karate chops the trigger out of his hands before he can press it. He attacks back and breaks her arm, but then punches his hand right into some electrical grid thing-y and fries himself to death.
With Percy out of the way, the military moves in on Division but Nikita begs them to back off and let her negotiate with the remaining recruits before the death toll rises. And why would they listen to their sworn enemy? “Division agents only respect what they’ve been made to fear. They’ve been made to fear me.” How true. For two seasons Nikita has been the shadow in the dark, who could jump out at them at anytime; the ghost assassin who haunted every mission; the boogey-man myth for every new recruit. Who better to get their attention!
Nikita takes the elevator down into the belly of the beast and when the door opens, she is covered in tiny red dots; at least half a dozen sniper rifles are pointed at her chest. She walks into the centre of operations (where incidentally Michael is still standing … almost forgot about him!) and tells them she is supposed to negotiate their surrender with the Vice President. But she has no intention of doing that. “The second you put down your guns, they’ll gun you down because legally Division doesn’t exist. That’s going to change today. And they’re just going to have to deal with it. You are not invisible. You exist. And if they want to get to you, they’re going to have to go through me first.” Sorry … I had to quote practically the whole speech because it flowed so perfectly. I teared up more than a little.
The Vice President sends Ryan Fletcher into Division next and he arrives with an unexpected proposition. She wants to keep Division running with Ryan as Head of Operations. There are dangerous field agents all over the world who need to be brought in, Percy’s super secret evil society is still an unknown threat, and there will always be monsters lurking out there … like Amanda, who made her first appearance on the show since her dethroning. We see her resurface in Estonia – with a freshly decrypted Black Box. The only organization capable of cleaning up Division’s mess and protecting America is Division itself. But Ryan won’t accept the appointment without Nikita by his side. It’s a twist she could not have seen coming. And yet, her reaction is surprising. She isn’t horrified or disgusted. She doesn’t get angry and dismiss the plan. She looks out at the sea of displaced agents and flashes back to Carla’s unfailing optimism: “I was saving lives, lives that the system was going to throw away”; to the time she told Michael that Division would never be a good place unless he was running it; to Owen reminding her that, “When they gave you the ability to kill, they also gave you the ability to protect.” And a look flashes across her face. Could it be hope?
Nikita’s relationship to Division is dysfunctional but it’s strong. She’s been singularly focused on destroying it for the past two years but it still has a strange hold on her. Throughout the episode, as she maneuvered around the facility, she was fighting off memories and visions of her time in Division, visions of herself and of Michael and even Amanda. Percy was a son-of-a-bitch but he was also pretty damn intuitive when he told Nikita, “Everything in your life, anything with any meaning, came from inside these walls.”
Michael wants to leave together and build a home, but Division is a messed up version of home to Nikita. “I grew up here”. She wants to help other agents salvage a life from the wreckage.
The final scene in of the episode is a quiet moment between Nikita and Alex (who is recovering from her broken arm). It’s a nice throwback to Season 1, when it was just the two of them against the world. Nikita asks Alex if she remembers what Nikita told her when she decided to let her infiltrate Division. “Here we go?” Well … “here we go again.”
A new adventure for a new year. Thank god The CW bet on this underperforming gem and brought it back for Season 3!
Percy: “Did someone order up a cruel irony?”
Photo Courtesy of The CW