Nikita Round Table: "Sideswipe"
Nikita may be missing from our television screens tonight - and for the next few weeks - but the show is not far from our hearts.
In "Sideswipe," Division gained a new agent, Nikita called Amanda's bluff, and the mole was revealed. Our Round Table team including TV Fanatic staffers Carla Day, Carissa Pavlica and Douglas Wolfe are joined by Danielle Turchiano from LA Examiner and Tiffany Vogt from TV Addict break down all the happenings.
What was your favorite moment from "Sideswipe?"
Danielle: While it was hardly a game-changing moment, the opening of "Sideswipe," introducing Isaiah Mustafa's character and his relationship to both Nikita and Michael, as well as Birkhoff's shining moment, was a personal favorite. Mustafa's Cyrus was infused with so much wit and humor that it was immediately hard to hate him, even though he was doing a very bad, bad thing and needed to be stopped. Everything from his smooth sales pitch, to his banter with Nikita, to the way he knew when he was beat perfectly set up the kind of guy he was and why we should want the show to keep him around for more than a one-episode wonder.
Carissa: When Sean came sliding down the rope to save Alex. It was such a suave and superhero maneuver, too bad it didn't mean he was back to stay.
Tiffany: Hands down it was Sean coming to Alex's rescue. Just as I was wondering where he was and how he could leave Alex just when she needs him, there he was coming to her rescue. Gotta love a knight-in-shining-armor moment!
Douglas: The look of shock on Amanda's face when Nikita called her bluff and went over to stand with Cyrus. I honestly didn't expect that, and obviously neither did Amanda. The richness of the archetypal relationship between Amanda and Nikita is part of what makes this series so great: both seem to need each other - hero and nemesis. That said, I hope Nikita follows Michael's advice at some point.
Carla: While Carissa and Tiffany loved Sean's rescue, I hated that moment. It came across as too staged for me. How many Division lives were lost so he could save the day? Like Doug, I loved that moment when Nikita bested Amanda. I'm not looking forward to the day that rivalry ends.
Do you like or love Cyrus? (No other option is available!) What does it mean now that he's a sanctioned Division agent?
Danielle: I absolutely loved Cyrus. Admittedly, with a different actor in the role, I might not have been quite so taken with him, but Mustafa has an energy about him that is just so warm and naturally charming-- even when he's screwing over Nikita in the moment. He proved himself not exactly trustworthy a couple of times, though, so as much as I may personally want to see him stick around, it's a bit worrisome why Ryan would want to keep him around. I have to hope it's to keep an eye on him and make sure he doesn't get swayed by a worse crowd, but Ryan has done quite a few things this season that could result in major trouble for Nikita, so we'll have to see. And I do hope we'll see and that Cyrus will be back!
Carissa: I loked him. Don't tell me there's not another answer because I'll find one, that's what any good Division agent would do. I have no idea what it means that he's a sanctioned agent, but I'm guessing when they need someone to play weapon salesman, he's their guy. I hope he's around a lot because he's a breath of fresh air. Division needs more humor to release some tension.
Tiffany: Hello and welcome to Division Cyrus! So happy he is sticking around. He brought some great charisma to the role and his playfulness with Nikita was hilarious. Loved!
Douglas: I have mad bro-love for the guy. If this was a role-playing game, Cyrus would play the part of the rogue: you can't help liking him but you can only trust him to the limit of his narcissism. Therefore, he'll be a Division asset - to a point. I think they'll use him again, but watch him closely just the same. The only thing that would bring Cyrus into Division's confidence at 100% would be a romance between him and a Division agent.
Carla: Yes, I swooned for the guy. His charm and humor is something that Division desperately needs. They shouldn't entirely trust him, but I'm glad that they were able to bring one of the Dirty Thirty back into the fold rather than capture or kill him.
What do you think about Alex's drug use? Who will be the first to recognize her problem?
Danielle: If I'm being completely honest, I've been waiting for Alex to "slip" and start using again for quite some time now. She has had so many terrible things happen to her, that it certainly could have been believable that she'd reach for an old crutch in seasons past. But until recently, she has been so busy with missions that her mind has been distracted. It is absolutely going to be heartbreaking to watch her succumb to the pills for however long it takes for someone to notice (and if I had to bet, I'd say it will be quite awhile), her behavior growing more and more erratic. The thing is, even if she stops taking pills, she is always going to be an addict, and channeling that behavior or mentality into something else, as she has been trained to do, is equally detrimental. Though it certainly seemed like Michael knew more than he let on, he was so busy with the week's mission that he really didn't get to reach out to her in a way that would stick. Alex needs someone like him or Nikita-- someone she fully respects-- to be the one to call her on it. Anyone else, even Sean or Owen, who does have experience with similar issues, she can easily deflect or push aside. But since Michael and Nikita don't have much time to spend with her these days, and that is probably contributing to her problem, it certainly seems like Sean or Owen will notice first.
Carissa: Whoever is with her after she's shot multiple times and gets up and walks after her prey, still shooting like Jason Vorhees or Michael Myers?
Tiffany: When Alex's addiction to pain killers reared its ugly head I was shocked that she allowed herself to fall prey to such a nasty habit again. It's sad to see such a strong young woman crippled by her desire to medicate her problems away. I really hope Sean finds out soon and helps her kick that bad habit.
Douglas: Alex may have fooled herself into thinking she has her problem under control but obviously she doesn't. If the series writers' wanted to be predictable, then Nikita would pick up on the problem - so that's out. If Sean hadn't been such a sanctimonious jerk about Division, he might have stuck around long enough to notice that this isn't the Alex he supposedly fell in love with - so he's out too. I'm playing my bet on Cyrus, who obviously has been around the block a few times. Wouldn't it be neat if he and Alex got together and he helped her through it?
Carla: I'm not a fan of the direction of this story. Given her past, it's not a surprise that she would relapse from her shooting, though I hope it has an amazing payoff. If not, it's just a distraction. At this point, it looks like Michael will be the one to notice first, but in the end, I'm guessing it will be Birkhoff that calls her out.
Besides teaching Nikita "lessons," what is Amanda's end game? Is she crazy?
Danielle: Amanda's obsession with Nikita is so personal now, so borderline psychotic, I honestly can't assume or anticipate anything specifically. She certainly seems to be taking things way too personally with Nikita, in a purely narcissistic way. Not only does Amanda want revenge on Nikita, to a degree, but she also feels this deep need to prove she is still her superior-- she is still smarter than her. You have to break your victims so they submit, so that you can actually lord power over them; if they stay strong, as Nikita has proven to, you did not succeed. In so many ways, Nikita has outwitted and out-mastered Amanda; she quite literally became the teacher when she broke free and saved Alex. So now Amanda needs to prove her own value, and she will only feel superior if she has more to teach Nikita. I have a hard time calling Amanda "crazy," but she certainly seems to have proven herself a psychopath.
Carissa: I don't even enjoy watching her any more. She has no point. She's a sadistic bitch and that is nothing but sad. The look on her face when she may have lost Nikita was atrocious. Borderline unbearable. She needs genuine help and high doses of medication. She has some sort of twisted love for Nikita, but wa ts to show it through destruction. What a pitiful shell of a person.
Tiffany: Amanda is definitely certifiably nuts. She played a brilliant game in usurping Percy and stealing Division from him, but Nikita bringing down her house of cards sent her over the edge. Amanda's sanity switch has been flipped and she's no longer sane. She is consumed by dualing emotions to make Nikita pay to teach her a lesson and wanting to mold Nikita into her own image like a surrogate daughter. But it will be curious to see which emotion ends up being the stronger in the end.
Douglas: Amanda is bat-crap nuts. She is, however, a genius. I think her belief about Division is the same as Sean's: that it can't operate as anything other than the vehicle Percy envisioned: a rogue agency designed to profit from murder. She sees herself as the ultimate head of it, and she definitely sees Nikita as the only real threat. I think she also sees a lot of herself in Nikita, which is why she's so obsessed about her. I mean, why not just kill her? Why does she have to teach her anything? She's teaching Nikita as a means of proving that she's right and Nikita-as-Amanda proxy is wrong. It's twisted thinking - and so enjoyable to watch.
Carla: Amanda's sanity is definitely questionable at this point. I wish I better understood her long term plans. She feels a need to continue to teach Nikita, but what is her plan? She doesn't seem to want to re-gain Division now that it's being legitimatized. I'd love to see her recruit former agents and rebuild the Division of old. She would be a formidable big bad if she refocused her energy.
Sonya as the mole? Surprised? What should happen now?
Danielle: Unfortunately, everything within "Sideswipe" made it so obvious Sonya was the mole that the reveal lost a major part of its affect for me. Who else could it have been, really? There are a finite number of important players, and if it was some random, nameless worker bee, it wouldn't have had any emotional impact. What's important here is not who the mole is but what is being done with the information.
For one thing, Sonya claimed she did it under duress, and because of Birkhoff's feelings for her, he just bought it outright, at her word, and what's worse, didn't clue anyone else in. That is a decision that should really come back to bite him. He's smart, but this team has proven time and again that what makes them successful is how they work together and use the best of everyone's skills to their advantage. Right now he is trying to manipulate things on his own to keep Sonya safe, but emotions are involved, and that's when mistakes are usually made. In the world of Division, even the smallest mistake can be fatal. Birkhoff and Sonya really need to come clean to Nikita and Michael so they can come up with a plan together-- not only to find the other traitor but also to find a way to keep Sonya safe.
Carissa: Well. I can believe she's not the actual mole. I thought something was up the way she just picked up with Birkhoff again. She needed information. Plus, she probably felt safe with him. She could be lying about a second mole, but I doubt it. People line up to help the bad guys on Nikita. Weirdos.
Tiffany: Not surprised one bit that Sonya is the mole. I've suspected her for awhile now as she just didn't seem as into Birkoff as he was into her. Her plea that she was being watched by another mole is interesting, but it is much more interesting if she were just playing Birkoff again. He really needs to let Nikita know what is going on so that they can get some perspective on what Amanda is up to and determine if they have a double-threat inside Division.
Douglas: I've always seen Sonya as somewhat weak: witness her pliability as various strong people came into/took over Division, even on a temporary basis. She was the sheep who followed in every instance. So while I'm not surprised she was the mole, I had no idea who it was until Birkhoff mentioned that the messages were going out on a 30-minute delay. Unfortunately for Amanda, Sonya hooked up with the one guy who could undo her nasty plan: the computer genius. Birkhoff will find a way to short-circuit Sonya's kill switch. I don't know if he'll be able to do it without the team's help, however. I kind of imagine he'll make it look as though he's onside with Amanda for a while.
Carla: I was surprised that Sonya was the mole, though upon reflection, I shouldn't have been. I did buy her story about being forced into it because that's exactly something that Amanda would do. Whether or not there is a second mole, Sonya clearly believed that there was and that drove her behavior. Birkhoff needs to let Nikita know as soon as possible and then deactivate Sonya's kill chip. If he did it once, he can do it again.