Dress You Up: The Racialicious Roundtable For Nikita 1.2

Hosted by Arturo R. García

In one sense, “2.0” kicked off what’s sure to become one of the show’s major plot points: Who’s really running Alex’s agenda? The episode veered back and forth between showing her being rescued and cleaned up by Nikita in preparation for infiltrating Division and, in the present, getting rushed into – ahem – service while the department tries to protect a smarmy former despot.

Sure, right now Alex is firmly in Nikita’s corners for reasons not-quite-known, but with Michael once again “getting too close” to the rookie agent, there’s sure to be a triangle of some sort developing in the weeks to come. Which still might mean bad news for Maggie Q’s title character, but in the meantime, at least she still gets to shoot people – seeing her blast a fool into the wall was fun – and crack a joke here and there. But not all the Table members are as high on the show anymore …

I’m glad we got to see more of the backstory between Nikita and Alex this early. Good work by both MQ and Fonseca.
Diana: I was glad to see their back story too, but that sweat chamber freaked me out a little.
Mahsino: I’m just going to go ahead and guess now that Nikita killed Alex’s parents. Yeah, it’s heavy handed and played out, but it’s also the CW.
jen*: That is totally possible, Mahsino.  And a little Jason Bourne-y. This show really recycles.
Andrea: Hmmmm…I’m feeling this show slightly differently two episodes in. I feel I’m watching a little too much of Alex and not enough of Nikita, even though Nikita is supposed to be the lead character/protagonist/main ass-kicker on the show.  Like True Blood, what I’m seeing is yet again, another spunky white girl whose pluckiness causes more danger than gets people out of danger. And, to be honest, I think Alex is a mole for Division or will turn so very soon.

Speaking of Maggie, that last encounter between Nikita and Michael was a nice moment for her – the character got to be funny and competent while completing her objective. But how’s the Michael character coming along for you?
Diana: He waited a little too long to go in after that creep beating up on Alex.  But I still like him.  He’s just the right amount of conflicted for me.
jen*: I am just not feeling him.  Everything about him is ‘too little, too late’ for me. [Especially waiting to help Alex.]  And I’m also not into Shane West.  So I’m a tad biased.
Andrea: West is trying to hard to be a hard-ass or conflicted or whatever anti-hero vibe he envisioning getting an Emmy for. Whatevs.
Arturo: That’s the problem with being The Guy In The Middle, I guess. Dude’s so serious he makes Michael Westen look jolly.

Meanwhile, Jaden’s antagonistic role seems to be progressing at a good pace. I don’t mind that she’s angry if she’s got good reason to be – and it makes sense for her to resent Alex at this stage, no?
Diana: It was a metaphor of corporate America and stereotypical all at once.  Strong, but angry black woman gets passed over in favor of the new blond girl with less experience.
Mahsino: To be fair, I wouldn’t call Alex a blond (*shrugs*I’ve been yelled at for calling people with lighter hair blond), but the white privilege still applies. The reasoning was probably something like: “Alex has more appeal” or  “Alex has better extensions” or some tired excuse.
jen*: Truth: Alex has better extensions.  Also, it seems pretty clear that Jaden’s gonna find out about the partnership with Nikita, unless the writers decide to make her an idiot.  I’d kinda like her to be a worthy opponent baddie, instead of a sidekick.
Andrea: Wait, Mahsino, didn’t Michael tell Alex in the pilot that Division chose her because she was an attractive young white woman?  And I sort of think that’s why the creative team’s giving a liiiiiittle too much face-time with Alex.  But the larger point about Jaden’s upset is well taken.  I just wanna know if she shops at the same wig store that Gabourey Sidibe shops at.  They wear some *atrocious* hair thangs.  (Yeah, I said it.)

On the not-so-good side, the Dollhouse comparisons are becoming harder to avoid, between Birkhoff’s Fran Kranz impersonation and the nature of Alex’s first assignment. But was I the only one surprised they didn’t tie in Alex’s past as a victim of female/sex-trafficking to the subplot?
Mahsino: Yeah that was weird and a little sloppy on the part of The Division- taking an unstable recovering drug addict and putting her back in the position that made her turn to drugs. Smart.
Diana: Well, the people who run The Division are supposed to be bastards and assassins are apparently expendable, so in that sense they probably didn’t care about her weaknesses that much since she was just there to be a sexual diversion and a punching bag.
jen*: I liked Dollhouse.  It had issues, but it had better story.  This was sloppy, and is turning the director of the Division into an almost cartoonish villain.  Is he really already evil-incarnate?  It’s episode 2.

Open Mic!
jen*: This show has already wriggled under my skin – notwithstanding my cringing at Shane West, I am invested.  That says a lot for Maggie Q and the girls.  I’m gonna guess that Birkhoff is helping Nikita, knowingly or unknowingly, and that Alex doesn’t know yet.  Cuz I’ve been getting that vibe.
Andrea: As boring as I find Michael, I do think he’s figured out that Alex is working with Nikita with the shoot-out.  He’s going to play along until he gets definite proof, but yeah.  Unless he figured that out by ep’s end…I fell asleep towards the end.
Arturo: One touch I thought was nicely played; the reveal that Amanda the etiquette instructor also works as an interrogator, without changing her on-camera demanor. I’m sure there’s other levels to that discussion, but for the sake of propriety, I’m just gonna keep mum.

Images courtesy of The CW

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Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at team@racialicious.com.

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