Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 3, Episode 20 of The CW's "Nikita," titled "High-Value Target."
Although Division has already suffered through its "Tipping Point," it wasn't until "High-Value Target" that our heroes truly found ourselves hanging off the edge of a cliff with the president holding the only rope. Everything could've gone explosively wrong this week, but ironically, Amanda's megalomaniacal genius was what earned Team Nikita their freedom.
Our resident HBIC apparently wanted to keep Nikita and Michael alive "for our plan to work" (ominous!) but her escape -- along with a heartfelt talk from Alex -- may have unearthed a little of Owen in Sam, allowing him to do Nikita a solid and destroy the troublesome black box, which prompted the president to call off her kill team.
Now, the Superfriends have their well-earned pardon, but before they can retire to a tropical island, Amanda's still on the loose, and even worse, she's apparently joined forces with The Shop, the mysterious tech wizards who gave Michael his real-boy hand. Nothing good can come of this.
While "High-Value Target" did have some clunky exposition (having seen Sam trying to sell the black box to Leonardo Santos in the opening moments, did we really need Michael exclaiming "the black box!" after Cyrus explained the auction?) it was overall a well-plotted hour, which allowed for some beautiful character moments and the long-awaited return of Cyrus. Isaiah Mustafa is one of the show's best guest stars, and with ShadowNet down, he was a smart and organic choice to bring the team information about the sale. The hour also allowed Ryan to reassert himself after being tempted to play the martyr last week, and I loved his verbal smackdown of Vasquez when the SEAL mistakenly dubbed him a "low-level analyst." You go, Fletch!
It made sense to bring back Alex's fortune, too, and despite her obvious grief over Sean, it's good that she's refocused on the mission at hand and was able to turn the charm back on to manipulate the minister of Turkey. Flashing back to the pilot was a similarly nice touch, and even if Santos' vendetta against Nikita felt a little random, I still appreciated the effort to bring things full circle and give the black box auction some personal stakes. Even more entertaining was the fact that Nikita has killed so many bad guys at this point, she didn't waste any time worrying who Santos was or who his brother might've been.
Devon Sawa is doing an excellent job portraying Sam's darkness, but the aforementioned scene between Sam and Alex was beautifully nuanced, allowing two bruised souls with far too much in common to connect for a moment -- long enough to remind Sam (or Owen) that he still has people who care about him and that heinous acts can still be redeemed. As Nikita pointed out, if people can't change, then everything they're fighting for is meaningless. I hope we get to see the conflict between Sam and Owen play out for a little longer, but I'm still eager to get our loyal and lovable rogue Guardian back.
Amanda, on the other hand, doesn't want to change -- if anything, time is only making her more formidable and more unhinged, and I dread to think what she has planned with the resources of The Shop available to her, even if the black box is finally out of the picture. You've got to admire her contingency plans and alliances -- I wonder how many more admiring Ari Tasarov types she's got hidden up her sleeve.
Now that "Division is dead, baby!" the distractions have been put aside and the battle with Amanda is only going to get more personal -- but that's how we like it, right?
"Nikita" airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.
What was your favorite part of "High-Value Target"? Weigh in below!