After the epicness that was “All The Way”, Nikita was always going to fall short in its subsequent outing. There’s a very jarring tone-shift with this one as Alex settles in her new life. The music, the lighting, it’s all very CW-ish but it’s definitely not the disaster than many make it out to be.
In fact, I think that Free fits the show (and particularly Alex’s) journey very well. After all, we tend to forget that Alex is still pretty young and that she never really had a proper childhood. Thus, the introduction of Nathan and her sudden interest in him and the possibilities of a normal life are very realistic and fitting. Moreover, there’s actual chemistry between Thad Luckinbill and Lyndsey Fonseca (who are actually old co-stars) so that definitely makes the sudden romantic angle easier to swallow.
I was also pleasantly surprised by Ryan’s involvement in this episode. Although I wasn’t a big fan of him before, he had a purpose here as he raised some interesting ethical dilemmas concerning Nikita hurting so many people on her quest to take down Division. And that final kiss was quite hilarious. I’m not entirely sure if Nikki’s attracted to him or if it was supposed to be some ego-boost to shut him up but it was still pretty funny.
Finally, one of my favorite endings ever from Nikita is in this episode. After a series of flashbacks of Alex with her dad on some sort of survival trip, we discover that Alex is some sort of Russian princess. This culminates in an excellent moment where she meets Nathan at a club (and decides to live some semblance of a normal life) intercut with flashback Alex listening to her iPod under the bed. The song used (Life For Rent by Dido) is just so perfect and gives me chills juxtaposed with innocent little Alex’s angelic smile, oblivious to the hell and turmoil her life is about to endure. Even the song’s repeated final lyric “nothing I have is truly mine” epitomizes everything about Alex so poignantly. Haunting, beautiful and perfect.
Bits & Bullets
– I really fell for the opening dream sequence. The iPod was quite funny.
– I found Nikki and Alex’s hug very touching. I seriously love their relationship.
– The look of uneasiness on Nikki’s face when she realizes Alex’s tracker is actually a kill-chip (without telling Alex of course). The flashback of the assassination is also quite effective at demonstrating the device’s power.
– Alex is damn adorable buying six jars of marshmallow something.
– Alex beating up the touchy guy at the party was a bit much (from a storytelling perspective).
– Nikki & Michael double teaming the CIA agents in the hallway was incredibly awesome. This show just never ceases to amaze.
– Although Amanda only had one scene in this episode, I quite liked her threatening Alex about her “life out there” as our protege infected the system with Nikita’s malware.
– Loved Nikki’s video to Division about “always looking for new soldiers.”
– Epic scene as Alex tells Nikita she won’t run and intends on completing their war.
Nikita: She wants you dude. Congrats.
Ryan: You’re alive!
Nikita: You know I never get tired of hearing that.
Birkhoff: (To Ryan) Um, Mini-Ethan Hunt, you better worry about where you’re heading because you have no idea who you’re dealing with. And not only have I always wanted to say that, it’s true.
Nikita: Give me the password. Otherwise, prepare for oral surgery.
Ryan: You were right.
Nikita: Yeah that usually happens.
Amanda: Everything about your life out there is just to facilitate your life in here.
Alex: (To Nikita) I’m here to finish this fight just like you.
A transitionary episode to be sure, Free is a nonetheless enjoyable hour that shifts our chess pieces around in a compelling manner.