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Nikita: Season 2
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In season one of this sexy and suspenseful series featuring international action star Maggie Q in the title role, the charming and deadly Nikita waged a war against Division, the agency that created her. Michael – the man who trained her, a man she trusted – was hunting her. But Nikita had an ace up her sleeve: Alex, a girl she trained to infiltrate this secret unit of the government. At the end of season one, Nikita and Alex's relationship has been shattered, and Nikita and Michael's relationship has been restored. Now, Nikita and Michael are on the run with a hard drive containing the government's darkest secrets and conspiracies. Together, they are going to right the wrongs that Division has committed over the years, one mission at a time. But leading the hunt for them this time is Alex ... and she knows all of Nikita's tricks!]]>
Season two picks up and complicates multiple story threads that were gradually revealed in season one. First among the intersecting stories is the continued quest to hack into and reveal the secrets of so-called black boxes that will expose the diabolical activities of Division, especially the self-serving puppet-master manipulations of Percy. Michael is now working with Nikita to bring down Division from the inside, and Alex appears to have turned from a mole to a loyal Division operative diligently working to destroy Nikita. But as with any good spy saga, things are not always as they seem. As episodes unfold, allegiances falter back and forth with shifting goals as Division continues to run its nefarious games, and both Nikita and Alex also keep focus on discovering the secrets of their own pasts. The black boxes progressively dole out information while other plot threads weave through the arc of the season. There's a constant ratcheting up of some pretty nasty doings orchestrated by the villainous Percy and his increasingly unhinged attempts toward personal domination, including an obsession with gaining control of a nuclear device. In addition to the top-line cast there are several recurring characters who make nifty allies and thugs. Owen Elliot (Devon Sawa), Division contractor and keeper of black-box secrets, pops up frequently as both consort and conspirator. Roan (Rob Stewart), Percy's personal button man, makes mission life difficult for both Nikita and Alex, and Ryan Fletcher (Noah Bean) proves to be both a pawn and wily collaborator for Nikita. All this cloak-and-dagger and martial arts combat stuff unfolds against an international backdrop that the show fakes with creditable flair. Nikita kicks out the jams in locations that include Istanbul, Minsk, London, Basel, and the jungles of Colombia, not to mention the sinister high-tech underground lair that is Division headquarters. It's highly produced and excellently designed material that gives each episode a distinctively cinematic sense of panache. The cast and crew are pros in the reality of making glossy entertainment about pros of a fantastical but equally fast-paced vocation. There are only a few extras in the five-disc set, but they include nicely executed pieces of documentary film in themselves. One is titled "What If? Writing the Fate of Division," which delves into the brainy process creator Craig Silverstein and his writing staff go through to give Nikita its strong verisimilitude. The other, "Living the Life: Maggie Q," is a glamorous, unpuffy featurette about the on-set life of the star. There are also the usual deleted scenes and a commentary track from Silverstein for the season finale. Best of all is the promise of seeing season three of a show that's edgy, sexy, exciting, and dangerous, words that also describe the pretty faces and outlandishly irresistible situations that highlight every episode. --Ted Fry
Top Customer Reviews
When I tuned in to Season Two (I guess I was one of the few as it is consistently one of CW's lowest rated shows and that's saying a lot for CW), I was absolutely floored by the show's changes. It was like they reached into my mind and corrected everything I found lacking in the preceding year. And with that, "Nikita" emerged as this year's most improved program AND the season's most underappreciated treasure. Why is this fantastically complex and rewarding spy drama being subjected to a slow tortuous death in the ratings dungeon? Being relegated to the dismal Friday night landscape didn't help, but with all the cookie cutter procedurals on the air--I'd still have thought the ladies of "Nikita" would demand some attention! This year, leads Maggie Q and Lyndsy Fonseca have consistently served two of the most surprising and multi-layered roles on TV.
I won't give away much of the plot, but I will say that all of the actors have been given a chance to shine. Maggie Q and Shane West (Michael) are now working together and the tribulations of mixing missions with romance is a constant struggle, as both have large secrets emerge from their pasts. West has a lot more impact now. Aaron Stanford (Birkhoff, mostly comedic relief in the first season) now works with our rogue agents and is given additional drama and development, showing a whole new fully explored persona. Fonseca is now liberated (but still tied) to Division and her complicated back story is explored with much detail, giving her a chance to shine in terms of performance. The invaluable Xander Berkeley (Percy) starts out with a seeming lack of power, but still engages with sly cunning and understated menace. And the show finally utilizes Melinda Clarke (Amanda) in the way this great actress deserves and she devours the opportunity to step into a leading role.
Season Two consists of 23 consistently entertaining episodes. While some are stand-alone in nature, the serialized structure of this year's main story arcs really provide the show with renewed focus and purpose. Enigmatic newcomer Dillon Casey is a new foil for Fonseca, and it's fascinating to see exactly where his loyalties lie. The show also wisely brings back some memorable guest stars from Season One including Noah Bean as upright CIA analyst Ryan Fletcher and Devon Sawa as rogue agent Owen Elliot. Seriously, Season Two is an expert blend of action, plot, and characters. It has moved from a show that I liked to one that I feel passionately about. If you are one of the viewers that jumped ship for the second year, I strongly encourage you to check out what you've been missing! KGHarris, 4/12.
The 2nd season has shown a lot of maturity from the 1st & has consistantly been interesting, well written, & well acted, especially by Maggie Q, who is the best part of the entire series. 'Nikita' goes beyond the typical gov't assassin/James Bond plots & story lines, & goes for a well developed story that has viewers interested in the characters, how each episode will turn out, & keeps you guessing until the end. 'Nikita' doesn't rely on cheap, gratuitous violence, nudity, or any raunchy visuals to keep viewers watching. Instead it works at being an intelligent, well crafted program that offers people what they truly want to see.
'Nikita' is one of those rare gems you find on TV, but its network doesn't support it & the show's plagued by low viewership. CW really needs to get its act together & understand that it has a great program on its hands. There's tons of potential with this show as far as where the story can go, character development, & so forth. High praise for 'Nikita'. Hope to see a 3rd season.
People might laugh because, hey, it's on the CW and while CW shows are a guilty pleasure, they're not actually GOOD, right? But the thing is, Nikita isn't a typical CW show at all. In fact, it sticks out like a sore thumb on the network because it really doesn't fit with any of the other programs. Anyway...
When season two starts, a lot of things have changed. Amanda is in charge of Division and has locked Percy up. Nikita and Michael are on the run. Alex is trying to avenge her father's death. And Birkhoff is, well, NOT working with Nikita and Michael. ;)
Nikita's second season ends up being vastly different from the first. For one thing, Nikita and Michael are no longer "frenemies", which lends a very different vibe to their scenes together. I've heard some people complain that these two are boring now that they're actually in a relationship, but I disagree. I like that the writers don't feel the need to throw in manufactured drama and angst into their relationship. And we knew that they were going to get together eventually, so I'm thrilled that the writers decided to not drag out their will-they-won't-they dance for an additional four or five seasons.
The biggest change is that Alex and Nikita start off this season no longer working together. As someone who really enjoyed the friendship between these two, I was pretty heartbroken when Alex and Nikita had a falling out at the end of season 1. Their relationship has become a lot more fractured and complicated in season 2, and the writers do a good job at depicting this. We see that Nikita feels like she has failed Alex and will do anything to protect her even though they're no longer on the same side. We see that Alex resents Nikita for what she's done and said (or not said), but that ultimately Alex still cares about her, too. The scenes between these two as they slowly rebuild their trust and friendship are fantastic. When they finally reunite and reconcile, it is hands down one of the best scenes in the series.
Both Alex and Nikita are strong female characters whose lives don't revolve around men, which is another thing that makes this show so great. At the same time, "strong" is not the same as flawless. Nikita and Alex have their share of flaws, which make them more believable and relatable as characters. For example, Nikita has trouble treating people as equals, which both Alex and Michael rightfully call her out on. Alex, meanwhile, is stubborn and naive, which ends up being a dangerous combination as we see her getting in way over her head with Percy and Amanda.
The casting for this show is pitch-perfect. Maggie Q especially comes into her own during this season. She was a bit wooden at times in season 1, but now she delves deep into Nikita's emotional core. Her acting in Wrath was some of the finest I've seen. And on the action side, I'm impressed that someone like Lyndsy Fonseca, who I assume doesn't have any stuntwork or fighting experience, comes across as a very believable Miss Badass. (It should go without saying that Maggie Q is badass herself.) We also see the introduction of some new characters like military man Sean (Dillon Casey), who ends up being a foil for Alex, as well as the return of some old favorites like the rebellious Owen (Devon Sawa) and by-the-book Ryan (Noah Bean).
One potential drawback of this show is how heavily serialized it is. I don't mind serialization, but it could be confusing to newcomers. Season 2 in particular becomes MUCH more heavily serialized than season 1 was. During the latter half of season 2, there were times that even I was confused as to what was going on, even though I'm a loyal viewer. It's sometimes a headache trying to keep track of all the shifting alliances and backstabbing going on! But hey, on the other hand, it's pretty nice having a show that makes you think to that extent. There are a few plotholes because I don't think the writers planned everything out in advance, but nothing so big that you can't just handwave them away. :)
All in all, Nikita is an excellent series and more people should give it a chance! Don't let its CW pedigree scare you away.
A solid 4.5 stars (rounded up to 5 due to Amazon's ratings system).
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