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Nikita: Falling Ash (Season 2, Episode 2)

By Lewis Swift · October 3, 2011

You’ll be hard pushed to find a more dramatic opening than this week’s episode of Nikita. A brainwashed Connecticut ice cream man turns a gun on a Senator and receives a couple of rounds to the chest for his trouble. As you might expect somewhere down the line, Division is behind it.

Handily, this season Michael (Shane West) is on hand to deliver some slightly ham fisted, but much needed exposition relating to the mysterious shooting. Together with Birkhoff(Aaron Stanford) Michael enlightens Nikita(Maggie Q) with the details of P9, an experimental technique used to create sleeper assassins. Michael’s personal involvement in the cover up of P9, ‘Operation Falling Ash’ leads to some much needed conflict between the two allies and Birkhoff is less than happy to be in the middle. With their emotional and physical sparing forming the backbone of season one’s action, there was the possibility that this new allegiance could lead to some stagnation. However, Nikita’s desire to ignore P9 and continue her crusade against Oversight proves that it’s not all going to be smooth sailing from here on out.

Meanwhile, back at Division, Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca) is working hard to recover from the butt kicking dished out at the end of last week’s episode. With the carrot of more clues to her past dangled in front of her, Alex departs on what I am now assuming will be a weekly visit to Percy’s (Xander Berkley) plastic prison. There we learn that not only does Percy have a skewed understanding of the word ‘irony’ (“It’s ironic isn’t it, that an organization know as Oversight should have such little foresight”) but also, he is fundamentally at fault for the re-emergence of P9.

After that, it’s left to returning guest star Owen (Devon Sawa) to fill in the rest of the blanks. When Nikita and Michael arrive at the site of the original cover up, they’re intercepted by the former guardian. Owen reveals that Dr Joseph Mars (John Ralston), the man behind P9 is also behind the ‘Regimen’ drug to which he is addicted.

After the bravery of last weeks opener, bringing back a popular guest star felt a little like a safe bet, but tying the weekly story into Owen’s own personal plight was a clever way around any accusations of stunt casting and the line “You’re kind of small; you’ll dissolve quick” fully demonstrates that Michael and Owen are different enough to co-exist.  

With finding Dr Mars now high on everyone’s to do list, it was only a matter of time before all involved parties descended on their next black tie dinner. There, Alex blows her chance to take out Nikita when she protects the Senator from a second sleeper assassin, proving she may not be quite so single minded as first thought. With sleeper agent Alicia in tow, Nikita, Michael and Owen leave Alex to face the music and return to Birkhoff’s mansion. Although less than happy with the arrival of yet another lodger, old ‘Shadow Walker’ quickly warms to the naïve assassin, making the moment when Alicia is retriggered all the more dramatic and proving once and for all that Birkhoff does in fact have a heart.

A third act twist means that Birkhoff is the first to catch up to Alicia, giving Stanford the opportunity to flex some of his acting muscles. A convincing plea to Alicia’s buried humanity does little more than convince her to turn the gun on him, but Nikita arrives just in time to resolve the situation.

With Owen now back on the road and the equilibrium now fully restored, there’s time for a second act of kindness by Birkhoff as he introduces Nikita and Michael to his latest innovation. By his own description ‘Shadow-bot’ is designed to cross reference incoming news headlines with the details held on Percy’s black box and thus can provide a seemingly endless supply of missions and counter missions to keep the show ticking over. Of course, the danger of this plot device is that it could cause the show to become formulaic in a similar way to the later season’s of shows like Alias. Hopefully, this will not be the case.