'Nikita' Recap: 'The Sword's Edge' (3.05)
December 1st, 2012 9:30am EST
When last audiences saw the characters of Nikita three weeks ago, they were dealing with the returns of Owen, Amanda and Ari. Their situation is not improving.
As the action of 'The Sword's Edge' begins, rogue agent Edward (guest star Jonathan Goad) is questioning Division's motives before revealing himself to the people of Uzbekistan as their newly-elected leader Markov. Ryan sums it up thusly: "One of the Dirty Thirty is the leader of a foreign country."
He declares that a move needs to be made on Edward/Markov when he heads their way for a scheduled visit to the White House, and snaps everyone's heads off while he's doing it.
Nikita wants to know what Ryan's problem is, and in his office afterward he reveals to her that there's a mole in the new Division. She says that she'll put Alex on it, because Alex has experience with moles, but questions if that's really all that's bothering him.
After telling Alex that she has carte blanche to question anyone in Division, Ryan uses an underground tunnel to make his way into the White House, where he meets with the President (guest star Michelle Nolden), who wants to talk about the events of the last two episodes. She doesn't want Division's dealings to overshadow the White House's agenda. Her staffer Evan Danforth (that's former Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles star Richard T. Jones) makes clear to Ryan that he's prepared to wipe Division off the face of the planet if the situation doesn't improve.
Michael and Nikita try to concoct a plan for stopping Markov and replacing him with a double. Birkhoff suggests they get to him at his hotel room before he meets the President. He also admits that Michael, who speaks Russian and has undercover experience, may be the best replacement. Nikita is sent to Markov's hotel and gasses him. He wakes up with Michael telling him that they've placed a grenade in his mouth and that he has three minutes to get out of the room. Once he does, Nikita is there to meet him, ordering him to get in her car.
Elsewhere, Alex confers with Sonya about the mole situation, during which Sonya notices that someone has breached one of Division's internal firewalls. The alert is coming from Medical, and Alex heads there to find Owen. She asks if he's still having problems with his memories, and he confirms that there's been no change. When she confronts him about the server breach, he says that he decided to search the archives, and didn't realize that he was being watched. "If you're worried about her getting into the system, why are you worried about internal traffic?" he retorts, and volunteers to help her look for the traitor.
Unfortunately for them, they narrowly escape an explosion that rocks Medical just minutes later. First Sarin gas, now an exploding oxygen tank - the Medical department is about the least safe place in Division this season. Surveying the wreckage afterward, Owen informs Ryan that "this was planned," and Ryan tells him and Alex to say it was an accident. He also suggests that Alex should be armed as the mole now knows they're looking for him or her.
Birkhoff is busy scanning every little detail about Markov in order for Michael to be the most accurate double. While he's doing that, Michael tells Nikita that he should only be undercover for "a couple of weeks," until he can arrange for "a nice, natural death."
It's not going to be that easy, however. Markov tells Nikita that Amanda helped him "craft a message for you," and the whole team sees a recording of him revealing his true identity and work history with which Markov claims will get released to every major media outlet unless he's freed. As Ryan knows one more public incident means the end of Division, he pulls the plug on the operation, and orders that Markov be transported back to the hotel.
When Nikita confronts him again, he tells her about the warning he received in his meeting with the President. "We will get Markov another day," he says, "but today, we have to let him go."
Meanwhile, Alex and Owen are in the middle of interviewing possible moles when she realizes that Owen was likely the target. She cross-references his mission files with the duty roster and he recognizes some of the resulting names. Owen confronts Carl, an agent whose lover Percy ordered him to exterminate. He tells an enraged Carl that he remembers the woman and begins to rattle off details about her and how he killed her, reducing the other man to tears.
Still bristling from Ryan's actions, an angry Nikita suggests to Ryan that they tell everyone at Division that the government might come for them, and snaps at Michael when he suggests an alternative, saying that "If we go public, they send us right back to where we were, and for me, that's death row." She storms out, leaving Michael and Ryan to discuss amongst themselves, with Michael pointing out that the last head of Division lied to him too, and is dead now.
While they're doing that, Birkhoff finds another video of Markov bragging about the death of the President, and realize he plans to kill her when he arrives at the White House in three hours. "Division is going to save the President's life without her even knowing her life is in danger," declares a returning Nikita, who decides that they're all going to head to the White House.
Ryan brings the cryptograph that Division recovered earlier this season to the White House as a way of buying time, for his agents, while Michael and Nikita are also in the underground tunnels, with Michael preparing to stand in for Markov. He emerges above ground, although his arrival is spotted on security cameras by an eagle-eyed Secret Service agent. The real Markov is hauled in front of the Secret Service, and when he's confronted about the security breach Michael caused, he attacks the agents and heads right for the Oval Office.
Nikita manages to knock out Markov, but that puts Michael in some hot water. He claims that he was attacked and Danforth believes that Markov has some sort of post-traumatic stress. As Ryan excuses himself from the President's sight, Nikita and Michael rush to drag the real Markov back through the underground tunnels and away from the White House.
Birkhoff feeds a worm into Markov's servers, obliterating his incriminating videos, while Michael and Ryan watch a video report of a scandal that's clouding Markov's death, indicating that the situation has been handled. Ryan then tries to make nice with everyone else, offering to step down as leader of Division if they no longer support him in command. Nikita reiterates that it's not about support, but trust, but she also agrees to keep the President's ultimatum quiet for now.
'The Sword's Edge' builds on the momentum built up in 'Consequences,' but it does show some signs of treading familiar territory. Another ex-Division agent giving a speech about how the 'new Division' isn't all it's cracked up to be? Another attack in the same place that there was one in the previous episode? Nikita and Ryan at odds with each other? Parts of it feel too familiar.
However, that's countered by a strong performance by Devon Sawa and pacing that keeps the action moving fairly quickly. It's an entertaining hour of television - but hopefully next week's mid-season finale means that the story will be pushed into some new territory that this season has set up so well.
Nikita returns next Friday, November 7, before taking a break for the holidays.
For more from Brittany Frederick, visit Digital Airwaves and follow me on Twitter (@tvbrittanyf).
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.
Photo Credits: The CW