Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 3, Episode 10 of The CW's "Nikita," titled "Brave New World."
Things are about to get even messier on "Nikita." The loss of Michael's hand continues to drive the narrative momentum as we near the halfway point of the season, but as dramatic as that twist was, it's clear that things are being teed up for something even bigger. Between the President seemingly changing course on Division's fate and the Michael's renewed interest in finding a replacement for his hand, dark things are afoot (no pun intended).
"Brave New World" saw Nikita trying to assuage her feelings of guilt and helplessness by finding a way to make herself useful to Michael, pursuing the nefarious scientist Heidecker and the tech that could help regenerate Michael's hand. But life is never fair or easy in Nikita's world, and not only was Heidecker a mere sales rep instead of the brains behind the miraculous technology, he was also using children as lab rats, meaning that no matter how alluring his knowledge was, our heroine had to put him down.
While it was reassuring that neither Nikita nor Michael seemed willing to work with Heidecker after finding out who he was experimenting on, it will be interesting to see whether Michael's moral compass will start to slip if they actually succeed in finding the source for the tech. He certainly seemed single-minded about tracking down (and ending) the mysterious geniuses behind the regenerative stem cells, but how far would he go for the chance to be whole again? Only time will tell.
"Brave New World" was distinctly focused on exploring the moral gray area that Team Nikita inhabits, and not just because of Michael's desire to regain some semblance of normalcy. Ryan, too, could be heading down a dangerous path in his dealings with the government; his sudden competence at lying certainly seemed to unnerve Birkhoff, and I don't think he's naive enough to believe that if Division takes care of the President's four files, "that's the end of it." (Is there anything more terrifying than using Percy as a role model, strategic or otherwise?)
One of the most appealing things about Ryan when he was introduced was his sense of honor and justice -- he had a very Clark Kent vibe (and only partly due to Noah Bean's resemblance to Christopher Reeve) that made him a perfect ally for Nikita while she was rogue. It would be heartbreaking to see that integrity tarnished, much as it's heartbreaking to watch Michael pushing Nikita away and internalizing his pain in recent weeks. But good TV is often heartbreaking, and power corrupts, so it wouldn't surprise me to see the pressures of running Division and being responsible for dozens (hundreds?) of lives forcing Ryan to compromise his beliefs under the pretense of "the greater good." I just hope there's a light at the end of these dark paths.
I'm also torn over the loss of Michael's hand, and the potential "fix" that this technology apparently offers. As a fan, I want nothing more than for Michael to be miraculously healed and for he and Nikita to end up stronger than ever after this ordeal, but as a critic, I would be infuriated if some deus ex machina cure simply allows him to "wax on/wax off" his debilitating injury and everything returns to normal, like the end of a cheesy sitcom.
Obviously, we're shaped by our experiences, losses and victories, and healing Michael wouldn't totally invalidate all of the conflict and character growth he and Nikita will have gone through, but it still seems a little too easy for the writers to simply find a flesh-and-blood solution and then forget his injury ever happened, so I'm hoping the story doesn't go that route (and I think the writers are more inventive than that).
I'd much rather see Michael (and by extension the show) being forced to live and adapt to a handicap, with all the frustration and eventual acceptance that entails, than to squander that potential evolution in the space of a few episodes, but we'll have to wait and see.
Overall, "Brave New World" was a satisfyingly solid hour that raised plenty of intriguing questions and positioned all the pieces for a much larger conflict. How will the President's new mandate affect Team Nikita and the other Division operatives? Will Michael go to the dark side in pursuit of a miracle? Will Nikita ever be able to forgive herself for what she had to do? When it comes to answering the tough questions, the show hasn't disappointed us so far.
"Nikita" airs Fridays at 8 p.m. EST on The CW.