Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 2, Episode 17 of The CW's "Nikita," entitled, "Arising."
This week's "Nikita" was the latest in a string of strong, focused episodes that relentlessly drove the mythology forward with admirable confidence. While "Arising" wasn't quite as narratively satisfying as "Doublecross" or "Rogue," it did feature some much-needed character development, allowing the divisive characters of Cassandra and Max to be removed from the chess board without going the lazy route of simply killing them off and saddling Michael with more emotional trauma.
Something about the Cassandra story did feel like a cop-out, though: At the climax of last week's episode, Alex's discovery that our "Belarus Barbie" (thanks, Birkoff!) was a double-agent for Gogol was given a lot of dramatic weight, which didn't seem to be earned by her actions in "Arising." Though Ari tasked her with going to Moscow for "surveillance," it was made clear that she was being manipulated and had no idea about Ari's plans to assassinate Semak, thus keeping Cassandra's hands clean.
I completely understand the writers' desire to avoid painting the mother of Michael's child as a cut-and-dry villain (which would've been another easy way out), but even though Cassandra lied about being a double agent for Gogol, there was a little too much narrative emphasis placed on making sure she could still be seen as a good person (albeit one who had been tempted into spying when she was young and naive). It lessened the impact of Michael's anger earlier in the episode, since every spy is forced to lie at one point or another to protect their cover, let alone when a child is involved. Read More...