The first time I watched Nikita‘s first season finale, I liked it but I didn’t really love it. You see I always set enormously high expectations for season finales, and I’m often disappointed when I don’t get an explosive hour and a jaw dropping cliffhanger to top it off. This episode wasn’t much of a spectacle at the time so I was obviously let down. Now that I’ve seen both seasons of the show, I can appreciate the effectiveness and thematic relevance of the hour. In fact, I’ve come to realize that it’s actually quite the stunner.
First off, Pandora does a magnificent job of paying off everything that’s been building up all year. Alex is now in a potentially dangerous agreement with Oversight & Amanda to hunt down her mentor in exchange for resources to kill Semak. Nikki & Michael are on the run with a black box, and Birkhoff has switched sides. Everything from the original premise has now been flipped on its head with a thrilling stage set for season two. Thematically and from a story-arc perspective, this is a superbly-written hour that does the plot and characters justice.
Now while the action might not have been mindblowing (which diminished my enjoyment the first time I saw it), the episode was filled with poignant moments jam-packed with layers and emotion. In particular, Nikki & Alex’s conversation at the loft was quite powerful. The two women finally put everything out on the table and their relationship was infused with a raw reality that has forever altered the status quo. Of course, Division agents then crashed the loft and we lost a locale that I really grew to love over the course of the year.
Moreover, I adored Amanda in this one. How deliciously evil of her to make Alex say she wants to live just before activating her kill chip? Of course it turns out she was just helping her out as she stabs her with adrenaline and gives her the choice to leave. I’ve always felt like our villainess views Alex as a sort of protege and this episode cemented that. I also loved her appearance in the end as she revealed herself to have been working with Oversight as they tried to convince Alex to join them in an expertly-executed scene. Alex’s world had really been turned upside down over the last few episodes so her actually considering the deal feels earned and realistic in the grand scheme of things.
And finally, I’ve even grown to appreciate the finale’s end scene. Although a bit heavy handed, Nikki worried about the future as her and Michael drive straight into a CGI storm is just the right dose of ominousness and unpredictability to bookend the year on. Color me impressed.
Bits & Bullets
– Awesome twist with Alex faking Nikita’s death and injecting her with a toxin. And Nikki waking up and burning Roan with acid? So satisfying.
– I so enjoying watching Nikki making her way through the CIA’s front door (especially after Percy mentions she’ll be sneaking her way in).
– Michael was much too badass flying at Percy and kicking his ass.
– Ryan had his best moment of the season as he saved Nikki and asked her to save him from prison when she can. Her goodbye kiss to him was also cute.
– Amazing Nikki setting off the explosion and escaping through the vent.
Amanda: Before you go-
Alex: Let me guess. You’d like to “ask me a few questions.”
Alex: Screw Nikita.
Amanda: If you feel that way then why save her life.
Alex: Because screw all of you too.
Absorbing and powerful, Pandora is a terrific season finale from a truly impressive debut season.