Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 3, Episode 4 of The CW's "Nikita," titled "Consequences."
Since things hit a bit of a lull with last week's solid but unspectacular "True Believer," it was great to see "Nikita" back on form with "Consequences," which started at sixty and only accelerated from there.
Having Owen or Amanda return separately would've been thrilling enough, but when put together in one episode, the story felt like a shot of adrenaline right to the heart. When we weren't witnessing spectacular action scenes, we were being drawn deeper into Amanda's web of intrigue, wondering what our favorite sociopath might want with Owen and why Ari was so against the idea of taking him along with them.
It was great to see that Amanda was still as commanding (or terrifying) as ever -- lucid enough to be an intimidating leader for her army of recruits, but clearly unhinged enough to be wholly focused on "teaching" Nikita some valuable lessons in the art of revenge. From her genius ploy to sneak a Trojan agent into Division to gas the place out, to the canny video she sent to undermine Nikita's leadership, it was impressive to witness how many steps ahead she was -- and unnerving to consider that she might've had a mole in Division all along. Melinda Clarke did an excellent job of portraying Amanda's singular focus and determination, and I'm glad to see that she's not letting Ari call the shots when she clearly has a master plan in mind.
Owen felt like a seamless addition to the ensemble, and I'm glad that the writers have included the mystery of his past to unfold alongside the Dirty 30 arc, since it gives him some emotional stakes rather than simply being an untethered weapon in Nikita's arsenal.
Since we now know that Amanda performed some kind of brain surgery on Owen to erase his memories (and how creepy is that mental image?) it will be interesting to see whether she did more than just take things out; something certainly seemed to be triggered in his mind by the mention of his alleged true name: "Sam." Does she simply want to turn him into a Terminator-esque killing machine, or is there something deeper at work? In our recent interview, Melinda Clarke described Owen as "one of Amanda's great creations ..." Ominous, indeed. Mostly I'm just glad to have Devon Sawa back in rotation, since Owen has always been a fascinating character.
It's clear that Michael still doesn't think too highly of Owen, even if they've managed to work together in the past; he was pretty trigger-happy with the taser. It will be interesting to see whether that friction will continue, given Nikita's close relationship with Owen, or whether the former Guardian will be able to win Michael's trust too.
True to Lyndsy Fonseca's word, Sean was already issuing ultimatums in this episode, once again pointing out that Alex didn't owe Nikita anything and that people who stick around Division for too long tend to end up dead. He did finally admit that he loved her, but since that came with a side-order of emotional blackmail, I'm not sure that I approve of it. Certainly, the stress of being told to choose between the guy she obviously cares about and Nikita sent Alex right to the drug cabinet, and we know things will only get worse from there.
Alex certainly played the physical and emotional punching bag this week, and it's no wonder she was popping pills after being thrown around by one of Amanda and Ari's gigantic henchmen. I just hope that Nikita doesn't become too distracted by other things (such as Amanda's clear targeting of Michael, and likely Alex, if those photos were any indication) to notice the warning signs of Alex's addiction rearing its head again.
"Consequences" had plenty of developments on the relationship front, since it also featured Birkhoff and Sonya finally finding a way to be amicable to each other -- a huge relief, since their teamwork can only be a benefit to the gang (plus, they're adorable). The show had better not throw us a huge curveball and somehow make Sonya Amanda's mole -- I don't think my heart could take it.
If I have one minor niggle with the episode, it's the huge macguffin of the cryptograph, which seemed so powerful and so easily made that it was nothing but a convenient plot device to give Amanda a way into Division. Having something that can so easily hack into any secure server makes things a little too simple, especially for Birkhoff, so I'm hoping it won't be relied on too heavily in future episodes just for the sake of laziness.
But that truly was the only thing I took issue with, and thankfully, it didn't hamper my enjoyment of the episode, which was so well-paced and tossed out so many intriguing questions about Owen's past and Amanda's endgame, I found myself gripped from beginning to end. What did you think of it?
"Nikita" will return with a new episode on November 30 at its new time of 8 p.m. ET on The CW.