Very few shows fire out the gate with the assertiveness that Nikita exudes with its pilot episode. There’s just an excellent sense of confidence to the show as it throws you right into the middle of the action without much set-up. And by action, I mean two utterly compelling arcs (Nikita & Alex’s) that seem quite different but parallel each other magnificently.
While Maggie Q is undoubtedly awesome and more than proves herself over the course of the next two seasons, it’s Lyndsey Fonseca who’s a standout. She’s tough, vulnerable, and breathtakingly beautiful to boot. In fact, she outshines Nikita as a character several times throughout the year but we’ll get to that eventually. Both protagonists are complex kickass heroines to root for and that’s quite rare on network television.
Moreover, I’d be a fool not to mention the show’s stellar production values complete with film-grade cinematography and thrilling action sequences. In fact, the action bar is consistently raised on a weekly basis and that’s truly something to be commended. While the pilot has some impressive set pieces, they’re nothing compared to the awesomeness that’s to come.
Of course, the pilot isn’t perfect. There’s the obvious exposition dump that’s prevalent in many a pilot, and some characters aren’t as intriguing as they could be. For starters, I’m not really a fan of Percy who’s not the intimidating and sinister presence a show’s Big Bad ought to be. Amanda and Roan on the other hand, are far creepier antagonists who radiate menace on every level. As for Jayden, the less said about the writers’ attempts to force her into the show the better. She feels way too much like a CW mandate inserted into the show to appeal to a certain demographic.
Finally, I can’t stress enough how epic the pilot’s ending is. The reveal of Alex being Nikita’s partner is an astounding and ridiculously effective twist that completely subverts your expectations and the dynamics set forth throughout the hour. Everything from Alex playing dumb as Michael stumbles on to her, to the pig mask and Nikki’s “here we go”, come together to make this development a twist that really pushes the series’ momentum forward.
Bits & Bullets
– How hot does Maggie Q look in that red bikini?
– This is the second time I watch the pilot and I still don’t like the fake mannequin gag. It’s just too far-fetched for my taste.
– I seriously love Nikki’s loft. It’s incredibly gorgeous.
– The pilot has a distinct Alias vibe with Daniel being brutally murdered by Division, and some splashes of Dark Angel and Dollhouse with the brainwashing-young-killers angle. I love all three shows so that’s a definite win in my book.
– Expertly choreographed fight scene between Nikki and the two Division agents in the bathroom.
– Nikki’s escape from the gala is another action-y delight for the hour.
– Love Nikki’s confrontation with Michael as she gives him the “good wound”.
– Melinda Clarke owns the Amanda role. Every word, every delivery – perfect.
Alex: What do I have to do?
Michael: Learn… how not to sound like a teen meth-whore for starters.
Amanda: (to Alex) The more you try to get out, the more you realize there’s always another room.
Amanda: (to Alex) Sometimes, vulnerability can be our greatest weapon.
Coupled with a game-changing final twist, Nikita‘s pilot capably sets the stage for a thrilling journey.