Throughout seasons 1 and 2, Nikita was an unstoppable force in her mission to stop Percy and take down Division. She became something of a boogeyman to the agents of Division, and simply the threat of her presence interrupting a mission had the men and women behind the scenes sweating. She was a one woman army that would gradually expand to encompass those who would, by the end of season 2, make up Team Nikita.
Throughout seasons 1 and 2, Nikita also had purpose. She was a righteous soldier fighting against her oppressors, saving innocents along the way.
Fast forward to season 3; Nikita completed her mission only to see Division continue to run in secret anyway. The worst of the worst are off the streets or in the process of being rounded up, and missions are being run by a select group of people that Nikita trusts, but it turns out certain standing missions from Percy’s day have been extended.
Mia, this week’s rogue agent, was working undercover at the time of the recall but requested an extension—she said it was to work a new lead but she simply hoped to buy enough time to “set things right” with a terrorist attack. She found purpose in the goals of Third Wave, supposedly fighting against upper echelon corruption in support of those in the Third World. She turned from the corruption of Percy’s Division to a group that she believed would give her a way out.
But it took the actions of one individual to give her the strength to defect from the old Division in the first place, bringing us to the theme of this week’s episode:
Mia as a mirror for Nikita
Quiz time: Who says, “Your life is a lie. Division is a lie.”? It could have easily been Nikita in season 1 or 2, right? She was fighting against Division agents, many of which she’d trained and fought alongside, but the only person she was out to kill was Percy. She didn’t want those she considered innocents to be caught in the crossfire, leading to countless efforts on her part to convince the loyal Division agents to switch sides.
But it was actually Mia who said it to Nikita. Mia was sure that Nikita had abandoned her principles and hated her for it. “I didn’t think there was any way to make it right. Until one person stood up,” she says. “You. You were supposed to tear that place down. You kept it running!” Nikita’s reply, “Division’s different now,” falls on deaf ears, reminiscent of season 1 Nikita trying to turn Michael away from Division, though he believed Division could be good under the right leadership.
“I’m willing to die for what I believe in. Are you willing to die for Division?” she demands. “Are you?”
Nikita, though, doesn’t have an answer for her and ends up thrown out of a window. She hesitates and that is what costs her, as she tells Alex in the next scene:
“I went there to kill this crazy bitch and I found myself looking in a mirror. She asked me if I was willing to die for Division. I didn’t have an answer.” Alex tells her that it’s “because you’ve spent so much time trying to take this place down.”
But that’s exactly the problem.
“And in that time, no one thought I could be stopped because they thought I was stronger or faster,” Nikita says. “But it had nothing to do with that. … I was committed. I was more committed than my enemies. I believed.” For her to lose that commitment, she believes, means that she’s lost her edge.
Of course, that doesn’t turn out to be true at all. Nikita’s true edge comes from the fact that she cares about others. She is fiercely protective of her loved ones and works tirelessly to protect those who can’t protect themselves. She is determined to bring Mia in alive, even after she shoots Alex and prepares to blow up a stadium full of innocents. Mia could be redeemed if she were only to see the truth, much like Nikita herself. While it would’ve been far easier to just take her out, that is not Nikita’s M.O.
Nikita turns Mia by providing evidence that Joshua is a fraud, eventually allowing Mia to die a hero. Though Nikita laments not being able to save her, Ryan reminds her that letting Mia die a hero’s death did save her. Mia was willing to die for a phony cause after all the blood she’d spilled for Division; but her dying to protect innocent people was a truly heroic legacy that set things right in the way that she’d hoped serving as a martyr for Third Wave would.
Mia, Nikita’s mirror, found atonement for her time as a Division agent in death while Nikita continues to atone for the lives she took for Percy and Division every day.
Nikita is not the only one doing some soul-searching in this episode, though. Alex is shot in the middle of the mission to extract Mia from prison, which keeps her out of commission for the remainder of the mission. She is determined to help behind the scenes in any way she can, but Sean confronts her about it.
“What are we doing here, Alex?” he asks. “Chasing monsters—monsters that are only going to be replaced as soon as we take them out?” But when Alex tells him that she doesn’t believe that, he asks, “Well, what do you believe? ‘Cause if you’re here for Nikita, I’m not sure that’s such a good idea, especially if she’s having doubts. You had a life before all this. You could have it again.”
Nikita was the one to save Alex when she was a girl and again rescued her from her drug addiction and set her on the path for answers—and eventually vengeance. But she also put Alex on the path to finding purpose in her life. With the death of her family, Alex was left with nothing. She was thrown into sex slavery and ended up addicted to drugs. She was going nowhere, except perhaps an early grave. When Sean says that Alex had a life before “all this,” he doesn’t seem to understand that there is not a life in her past that she can (or would want to, now that she has answers) go back to.
What Alex needs is a new life, one that she creates on her own outside of those of the heiress of Zetrov and agent of Division. But that’s not something she can do until Division is put to rest—meaning that the Dirty Thirty are stopped and the loose ends from Percy’s regime are tied up. Until then, Alex has purpose in working for Division.
Staunchly in defense of her mentor and friend, Alex points to a picture of Mia and says, “You see this woman? This woman threw her out a window and she still wants to save her. You want to know what I believe in? Nikita.” Even when Nikita is having doubts—or perhaps because Nikita is having doubts—Alex knows she can’t afford to.
And when Alex asks Sean, “What about you? You were never really Division in the first place. Why are you still here?” and he answers, “Well, I guess some things are worth fighting for,” we get a hint that maybe there is a happily ever after waiting on the other side of Division for Alex with Sean—just as there is for Nikita with Michael.
Nikita and Ryan: “Still trying to figure this out”
One other striking part in this episode was a continuation of an ongoing plot from the season premiere: the tension between Ryan and Nikita.
Nikita is shocked to learn that the new Division is running old Percy missions. Ryan explains that Mia requested her extension and that it was a good mission—one based on intel he’d collected himself during his time at the CIA. Ryan wants to get Mia out of prison, but there is no standing Division protocol for retrieving a captured agent. Nikita challenges Ryan, saying that “Division is different now,” a mantra that Team Nikita seems to have taken up this season, and goes in to rescue Mia.
Nikita also confides in Alex that she’s worried about the temptation that Division’s existence provides to those in power—while she trusts Ryan, she does not trust the people he is working for. And it is for this reason that Nikita continues to challenge Ryan and push him when he makes a call that she is not comfortable with. She refuses to let the new Division fall into the patterns of the old one and let her loved ones—who make up the core of the new Division—get caught up in it.
We’ve seen in the past three episodes hints of both Ryan and Nikita struggling with the new order. Nikita chafes against authority, whether in the form of a friend or not, and Ryan is simply trying to hold his head above water. But Nikita offers an olive branch at the end of the episode when she teases him about all the paper documents littering his desk. They laugh and banter, giving us hope that they’ll find a measure of balance between them as they work on being comfortable in the new roles they’ve found themselves thrust into.
It only remains to be seen how the group will react once they learn about the President’s standing threat to wipe out Division if it becomes too much of a problem. Probably not well—which makes the interactions and trust built between Ryan and Nikita during this time so crucial.
In the end, it is crucial for all the members of Team Nikita to have purpose and believe in the work they are doing with the new Division. Without the confidence that they are doing the right thing, they will never be able to put Division to rest and have the lives they’ve dreamt of.