Sunday, October 2, 2011

"Falling Ash" raining down on Nikita

     The CW's Nikita returned last week, and this past Friday brought the season's second episode, "Falling Ash." Michael (Shane West) convinces Nikita (Maggie Q) to put their main mission on hold when a former Division operation causes trouble. On the scene, they run into Owen (Devon Sawa), who thinks this case might hold they key to get him off of his Division-caused chemical addiction. Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca) also investigates at Amanda's (Melinda Clarke) behalf. But Pierce (new series regular Dillon Casey, Being Erica) from Oversight notices when Alex doesn't take an obvious shot at Nikita.

     Spy games continue to dominate this action-packed drama. Alex is in the most precarious position, considering she still works for Division, albeit, by freelance. Alex thinks she has the upper hand on Amanda, and she may, as, at least for now, they both need each other. But Pierce is onto Alex, knowing there is more than meets the surface. He is suspicious from the beginning, but after seeing how Alex lets Nikita operate unhindered, even after Nikita injures Alex, he now knows for sure there is still affection between them. This can only make Alex's job harder, as she will have to keep Pierce happy, and still do the work Amanda wants her to do in order to reach her own goals.

     Alex isn't the only one under Amanda's thumb. Percy (Xander Berkeley) is in a basement cell of Division, with few comforts. He gets a handful of perks in trade for giving Alex information. Percy's insistence on speaking with Alex does make her even more valuable to keep alive, but surely that is not why Percy is doing it. He's either just trying to annoy Amanda, or he has long-term plans for Alex. It's hard to tell which, but Percy doesn't seem scared or impatient in the least, meaning he must have something up his sleeve.

     Meanwhile, Nikita and Michael have a lot to decide when choosing what to do next. Nikita wants to stay focused on taking down Oversight, while Michael still feels a nagging guilt over some things he participated in while with Division. This does cause a minor clash in "Falling Ash," which is resolved when Nikita lets her love for Michael sway her. But Owen complicates things even more when telling Michael he should run away with Nikita, and forget the whole dangerous game, a tempting thought. How long before Michael starts to feel he's done enough, and pushes Nikita to consider retirement? This should provide much story fodder for the season to come, if not beyond.

     Owen's return is not unexpected, but there is a surprising twist at the end. It is obvious that someone in bankrolling Owen's activities, but it's not known who for most of the hour. Owen is not working for nice people. They have given him the means to break his addiction, sure, but only in that it frees him up to better carry out their plans. Which involve taking down Percy, not a bad goal. The real question is, what will they do once Percy is out of their way?

     Finally, Birkhoff (Aaron Stanford), an interesting character from the beginning, has become a true favorite on Nikita. Away from Division and feeling lonely, Birkhoff decides to throw his lot in with Nikita and Michael. He backs away from that soon after, but a pretty face sends him right back in. Birkhoff wants to help, but he doesn't know how to communicate that, which will be his real challenge. Luckily, the duo understand him enough to not make him ask to be included.

     Nikita airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on the CW.

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