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When I first heard the premise of this week’s Nikita I was less than thrilled at the idea. Only 20 episodes into its first season, the show had seemingly already recycled the same plot twice. The basis of the entire show is that Nikita had her love stolen from her by Division and is on the warpath for revenge. Getting too close to an outsider is about as taboo as it gets when it comes to the life of secret assassins, and the use of that plot device to drive an episode that wasn’t actually about Nikita seemed kind of lazy. At its core, "Glass Houses" focuses on Nikita’s quest for another one of Percy’s black boxes. After Michael is ordered to surveil a female guardian, Nikita goes in ahead of time only to discover that the target isn’t where she’s supposed to be. After a humorously clever fake bank robbery, (yet again a device that has been used in the show before) Nikita finds the super killer and learns that not only is she not where she is meant to be, but she isn’t alone. Having discarded her duties as a guardian, she has become domesticated, with a boyfriend and his son.
Knowing the consequences for her and her family were Percy to find out, Nikita insists on saving the guardian before it's too late. This was the point that the episode departed from the usual formula that I’ve come to expect from the show and really turned me around on the idea that the writers were going for. The acting wasn’t exactly top of the line, nor was the writing, but the way that the scenes played out was far more interesting that just watching people shoot at each other for five minutes. Seeing the subtle standoff between these trained killers whilst in the company of a blissfully unaware father and his son was a great beat, with glances being more powerful than words.
Outside of the hunt for the box, Alex’s life takes more dramatic turns than I can count. When her lover of sorts Nathan comes by and she tells him everything, he blows her off assuming that she is lying to avoid breaking up with him. As if that wasn’t bad enough for her, her nemesis Jaden drops by at the worst possible moment and learns of Alex’s confession. Minute long fight scene later, Jaden is dead. One of the better fight scenes that the show has delivered, (whether it was because it was girl on girl I couldn’t say) and the ending came as a genuine shock. Whilst the show has delivered some strong cliffhangers and unexpected moments throughout the season, this episode really amped things up for the push towards the finale. The aftermath of the fight probably brought out the best acting that Lyndsey Fonseca has done in the series so far, a testament to not only how far she has come since the slightly wooden beginnings of the show, but also to the writers as well. They’ve really begun to hit their stride in terms of adding true emotional depth to a show that really lives on the height of emotion. If we as the audience can’t believe that the characters really feel the consequences of what is occurring, it becomes exponentially more difficult to invest in the show as time moves on. Fortunately, this show really is getting better and becoming more deserving of a renewal as time moves on.
Ultimately an episode of Nikita wouldn’t really feel right if there wasn’t some shooting, so the mandatory deaths swing in towards the end when the guardian takes matters into her own hands and fights back against Division. After the dramatic climax of the episode, namely the guardian leaving, Nikita and Michael get a continuation of the many emotional heart-to-hearts that they’ve been having since Michael joined the fight against Division. Contemplating life beyond all of the chaos of their current existence, their back and forth balances well against the tone of the episode. When it seems like all is done, "Glass Houses" has one more surprise up its sleeve, however, when Alex reports back to Division after Jaden’s death. Amanda informs her that Jaden had been fitted with a listening device and that she knows what really happened in the head-to-head between them. Whilst for some reason the weight of the situation didn’t really strike me, it was just about the biggest switch-up in plot since the mid-season finale when Alex framed Thom as Nikita’s insider.
Whilst the drama is just about as top notch as a show like this could ever deliver, I find myself nervous about the remainder of the season with this most recent development. Now that Alex has truly been ousted, where is the show going? Assuming that the writing staff is optimistic and planning for a second season, how on earth are they going to deliver a satisfying finale escapes me. You have to assume that Alex, Nikita and Michael will all live, but how they can possibly get out of this situation intact I do not know. I don’t write television, but I can see no satisfying way out of this for anyone. I won’t be thinking too much about it over the week as the show doesn’t grip me that much, but for what they have to work with, the Nikita team has delivered a pretty great setup for an ending. I only hope they know what they’re doing.