“More characters! ADD MORE CHARACTERS!”
When we last saw Nikita (Q), she’d gained some help for her struggle against Division in the shape of fellow defectors from the organization, Michael (West) and tech guy Birkhoff. But she’d lost protege Alex (Fonseca), who had stayed with Division to further her lust for revenge on those who’d killed her parents, while reclaiming her family fortune. Meanwhile, Nikita’s nemesis and former boss Percy had been usurped by Amanda (Clarke), and was now in a plexiglass box in the basement. Throw in Oversight, the government committee supposedly in charge of Division under Senator Madeline Pierce; CIA agent Ryan Fletcher and Pierce’s son Sean, who join Team Nikita; Owen, a rogue guardian, keeper of one of Percy’s black boxes… And I haven’t even got to Michael’s love-child, a source of much angst for all concerned.
I think the main problem with this sophomore season is clear: too many characters, resulting in plotting that’d be thrown out by a telenovela as far-fetched and convoluted. It was also notable that Nikita did significantly less heavy lifting on the action front, with Michael taking up more. Because, of course, no woman can survive without a man. Unfortunately, the increased focus on relationships – of multiple kinds – is probably almost inescapable on a network like the CW, even when a show gets buried in the “death slot” of Friday night. But it defused what made the show stand out: a kick-ass independent heroine, who could handle herself without relying on a team of men, and as a result, I frequently drifted off, either to sleep or to do something else more interesting. Which would be just about anything.
By the time of the last few eps, I would genuinely not have been bothered if the show had been canceled. But then, it returned to form: Percy escaped, getting himself a nuke and a satellite – nothing good can come of this. Focus on a genuinely threatening villain and the heroine, not the soap-opera “Mikita” ‘shipper bullshit, and I was engaged again. The end came almost full-circle – in part, I suspect because the makers didn’t know when they were shooting the final episodes, whether or not they’d be renewed. And, in the end, I am glad it has been given a third season, because there’s no show quite like it on television – despite the flaws, it’s flying the flag for genuine action heroines, almost solo. Still, how long my interest lasts when it returns, remains to be seen.
Star: Maggie Q, Shane West, Lyndsy Fonseca, Melinda Clarke