I had to do a double take after getting through most of “Pay-Off.” I was loving it, but Amanda is dead, Judd Nelson was rescued (yay!) and the bad guy neutralized. Nikita and Michael kiss over their new life together. There are still two episodes left, right? Then it suddenly hit me what show I was watching. Of course there was going to be a new twist at the end.
I mean, the episode really did feel like a “pay-off.” Everyone worked together and beat the bad guys. On one side of the world, Nikita, Michael, Ryan and Birkhoff were on the plane in Pakistan. On the other side were Owen/Sam (Sowen?) and Alex, working on the money thing in Switzerland to help finance the others in Pakistan. Paying off corrupt locals costs so much money in that country!
We know why Owen/Sam (Owam?) was taking interest in the money thing. He needs it. He saw Alex’s case of diamonds and ran with them as soon as he could, only to come back when he saw a bad guy going into the building to take Alex out. A proof of loyalty, right? Well, the bad guy told Alex he saw Sowen leaving. So Alex took pieces of glass from a broken table and switched them for the real diamonds, then told Owam to take them to Paris and meet her there. It’s a test! Of course she put a tracker on him so she could exactly see where he was going. She didn’t get to be a rich, super spy heiress for nothing.
That was really the distraction of the week though. It’s the main story that made the whole episode very entertaining and strangely satisfying. In the hunt for missiles that were being controlled by the shop, they ran into ex-acquaintance/owed a favor guy Ramon. They tried to get capture him alive and get him to take them to the shop, but he decided the nearby landscape would be more colorful if his spattered brains decorated it. Another dead guy that can’t help them. But hey, Michael did learn something from Ramon during their fight. It made him realize all the shit Nikita did, despite the hurt feelings, was because she loved him. She’s suffering because of her actions too, BIG time. Bitterness is over. He forgives now. Perfect timing!
Ramon’s loss didn’t matter though, because Team Nikita caught a couple of breaks for once. Our favorite very smart boy scout Ryan Fletcher put it all together (with some help from the assassin that was kept alive after trying to kill Alex). The manufacturer of the weapons was MDK, and their CEO is…Mr. Jones! The bad guy has a face. His goal, why to start the next world war of course! Why make the weapons if you can’t use them for world domination?
But wait, there’s more! Birkhoff was online to witness his impenetrable Shadownet get, well, penetrated. Totally hacked, down to his ultra-secure password. What sort of hacker could possibly do this and why is he sending him a message? IP address? Birkhoff has to see who this guy is. It’s Judd Nelson, aka Ronald Peller, aka Birkhoff’s dad from last week! Do you all know how much I love Judd Nelson? Anyway, Birkhoff wasn’t sure what was better; finding out his dad was still alive or that his dad tipped them off to where he, thus Amanda and Jones, are located. They’re in Dubai. It’s showdown time!
So, it all happens so easily. Team Nikita bursts in, captures Jones, has Amanda cornered, and rescues the prisoners. That was my favorite part for two reasons. For one, Birkhoff and his dad hug! Reunited after all these years. Mr. Peller especially looked like the weight of the world had been lifted off his shoulders. I admit getting teary and man do Judd Nelson and Aaron Stanford sell the father/son act perfectly! I hope they get to carry on as a powerful hacking father and son team. Yeah, that’s my wish for Birkhoff now. He doesn’t need a woman.
The second reason, Michael gets to save the President of the United States! She’s so relieved to see him, because he’s CIA. Erm, try again. “Marines?” Colder. Then Madame President gets totally deflated. “Division,” she says tersely. Bingo! Hey, she lives, so this is going to do Team Nikita very well in the favor department. While Ryan is outside keeping guard with a machine gun (I’m more in love than ever!) and Michael and Birkhoff have their moments with the prisoners, Nikita tries to talk Amanda off the ledge so to speak. Amanda’s locked herself in a room and has decided just for spite, because nobody can win, to launch the missiles at US aircraft carriers anyway. Psycho bitch. Nikita realizes they need to blow up the building they are in to stop that launch, so Birkhoff just whips out his laptop and launches the missile they captured when they had their encounter with Ramon. I smiled again when proud (and probably sarcastic) dad even commented how happy he was to see his hacking wizard son target a missile at his current location. You raised a heck-of-a son there pop!
It’s all pretty rapid fire after that. Everyone flees. Nikita tries to get Amanda out, but she isn’t budging so Nikita gets out with seconds to spare. The building is blown to smithereens, Amanda is blown to smithereens, Nikita is wounded but alive, and the entire f***ing US is trying to figure out what it does with two presidents now. Nikita eventually wakes up at one of Ryan’s lofts. It’s all over, she and Michael kiss in celebration of them finally getting a life together while Ryan and Birkhoff watch, because that’s what sidekicks do.
BUT…yeah I noticed there was still time left when that all happened. Jones is taken in orange jump suit and black hood to a very secure facility. There he’s greeted with…scotch? By Amanda?? Crap, I guess the person blown up was her double. This was part of Jones’ strategy all along. By making Nikita think she can finally have that life of domestic bliss with Michael, they can carry on without being noticed their plot of world domination. Everyone will be none the wiser. MDK was just one arm of The Shop, albeit a quite expensive one. Cut it off and move on.
So that’s where the last two episodes take us. Somehow, Nikita figures it all out. I think it’s going to involve our favorite boy scout getting wise again. You can’t fool Ryan! Anyway, two episodes left to conclude all this? Why do I feel like we aren’t going to leave this show completely unsatisfied? Faith I guess, gotta have faith.
I’m also giving a huge shout-out to Craig Silverstein for naming his final two episodes “Bubble” and “Cancelled.” I know Nikita was low rated, no thanks to a banishment to Fridays in season two, but quality wise it was one of the best shows on the CW. Which is very likely why it failed. I don’t think Nikita was ever a great fit for this network and its core audience. It certainly didn’t deserve though the send-off during the holiday dead zone, but I and a bunch of dedicated fans will stick it through no matter when it airs. Think of it this way, where else are you going to get good, original programming during the holidays? I never liked watching the same holiday show reruns every year myself. So at least this year I get a nice gift, even if it’s a bittersweet one.
Friday, 9pm, The CW, December 20th and 27th. Done.