(Playing Catch-Up With The CW Dept:)
BY ANTHONY MEDINA
**This episode originally aired in September 2010. If you are unfamiliar with the series, be aware this review contains spoilers.**
“Three years ago I escaped, and have been hunted ever since. I was the first recruit to get out. I’m going to make certain I’m not the last.” – Nikita
Sexy women, rogue assassins AND an interesting story?
Count me in.
We open on Nikita (Maggie Q.), a highly trained assassin, typing away at her computer. The voiceover informs us that she has spent the last three years in hiding but is now resurfacing to wage all-out war against Division, a covert government organization that recruits its agents through kidnapping and extortion. This means fighting and killing many of her former colleagues and friends, including the Head of Division, Percy (Xander Berkeley), his second in command and Nikita’s former trainer, Michael (Shane West), and Birkhoff (Aaron Stanford) Division’s resident computer genius.
We then drop in on two masked bandits robbing a drugstore. When the owner resists, he is killed. One of the thieves escapes. The other, a teen junkie named Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca), is arrested. Soon afterward, Division comes calling, taking her to a training center where Michael explains that as far as the rest of the world knows she is now dead. She must give herself over to the agency, and in return they will give her a new life as an elite secret agent. Sounds great, but there’s one little catch. Alex later discovers that if she fails the training or in her missions she’ll be killed.
As the episode continues, we intercut between Nikita and Alex, seeing the process of shaping a new recruit and the challenge of eliminating a veteran agent. Through Nikita, we learn more about the reasons for her crusade. Through Alex, we see the various levels of training that shape a young assassin. More than combat skills are involved. There’s also a charm and beauty school run by Amanda (Melinda Clarke), a master manipulator, interrogator, and psychologist who has the potential to be the most interesting yet terrifying character in the series.
The episode ends with a twist: The discovery that Alex, the young new recruit, is Nikita’s inside operative. And that Nikita was the second masked bandit that shot the drug store owner.
Okay, so this show is awesome. Yes, the sexy secret agent thing has been done. But the pilot provides a nice balance of cool action, engaging characters and enough story depth to provide a solid foundation for the future. This is the CW, so there’s the occasional cheesy line and overacted scene, but if you’re in the mood for sexy women with guns AND an interesting story, do yourself a favor and check this show out.
Thinking Man Rating: 11 Thumbs Up
**Be aware the Thinking Man rating system is based on awesomeness and should be disregarded if you are not now, or have never been, awesome.**