12:26 am EST, November 30, 2013

‘Nikita’ season 4, episode 2 ‘Dead or Alive’ recap: Double trouble

Nikita season 4, episode 2 “Dead or Alive” aired tonight, featuring Michael and Nikita in the field together again.

So what happened in Nikita season 4, episode 2 “Dead or Alive”?

Team Nikita reunion

Nikita stumbles into a veterinary clinic, looking to treat the bullet wound that made her crash FBI Deputy Director Graham’s car. The wound is too much, though, and she passes out.

She wakes up on the plane with her wound treated and Michael sitting next to her. After reuniting with Birkhoff and Ryan, Nikita learns they are headed to D.C. since Graham is blaming her for Dale Gordon’s death. He also claims the FBI has found evidence of off-shore accounts in Nikita’s name that tie her to Pakistan.

Ryan McSmartypants realizes this stinks of Amanda and believes she has switched out high profile targets — the president, Jaeger, Graham — with doubles who were physically and mentally altered to act as convincing replacements using Shop technology.

Taking on the FBI

Nikita turns her focus to Graham, but after Nikita is blamed for the murder of Graham’s wife and his attempted assassination, Team Nikita recognizes Amanda’s involvement.

Nikita wants to expose Graham as a double by forcing a comparison between the double’s and real Graham’s DNA. Since the FBI should have the real Graham’s blood on record, she plans to kill the fake so the FBI can compare samples during the autopsy.

After the fake assassination attempt, Graham holds a press conference confirming that Nikita’s off-shore accounts were funded by a third party. Ryan realizes that tying the president’s assassination to Pakistan gives the U.S. the excuse to invade, thus triggering a third world war.

Ryan also believes that Amanda has a double in the NSA and asks Birkhoff to look for ties between communications between high-ranking NSA agents and Graham. This will become relevant later.

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The operation

Nikita and Michael stage an assassination in which Nikita shoots Michael with a false round. Michael and Nikita then retreat to a news van outside of Graham’s house while Birkhoff superimposes Graham’s face over Michael’s and sends the footage to the media.

Michael switches out an ENN equipment bag, leaving the reporter a camera fitted with a remote gun. Graham calls a press conference in his house, as not to be lured into public, and the reporter brings his hijacked camera along.

Nikita prepares to shoot Graham, only to be interrupted by Amanda. When The Shop switches people with doubles, Amanda explains, they keep the originals alive (which explains why the president was seen alive last season). If the double dies there’s no reason to keep the real Matthew Graham alive.

Amanda blames Nikita for Sarah Graham’s death while Michael, Ryan, and the real Graham tell Nikita to take the shot. But Nikita can’t do it, so Michael takes the shot instead. The real Graham says he hopes Nikita finds Amanda. Amanda agrees and shoots him.

After the assassination, the media airs a video of Nikita offering to turn herself in if the FBI does a DNA test, all according to plan.

Meanwhile, Alex…

In Mumbai, Sam tells Alex that he’s been following her for a lead on Amanda. He’s desperate for revenge. To that end, he wants to take the scanner Alex salvaged from the botched human trafficking exchange. However, the arrival of more traffickers forces them to work together.

Sonya knocks the power out, and Alex and Sam use the darkness to take out their assailants. At one point, Sam calls a warning to Alex before shooting her and then a trafficker behind her. He knew she was wearing Kevlar and was trying to keep her out of the shooter’s line of fire.

Sam then follows Alex back to her room. He wants the information on the scanner, so they agree to a cease fire while Sonya and Birkhoff decrypt it. Sam offers to stick around, saying he and Alex can help each other out. Alex accepts the offer for the moment but doesn’t trust him.

While the scanner is being decrypted, Sam gets a phone call about owing someone money. He says he’s in the process of getting it. But before we can learn more, the room is raided and Alex is arrested while Sam and Sonya flee in the confusion.

Michael and Nikita

The tension between Michael and Nikita is palpable throughout the episode. Early on, Birkhoff and Nikita share a poignant moment as he changes her bandages. She expresses her guilt over people getting hurt. And when she asks about Michael, Birkhoff replies that he has been more focused since Nikita left but has kept his hurt to himself.

In the field, Nikita tries to talk to Michael about her leaving, but Michael deflects the conversation from his own feelings to those of the team, which visibly frustrates Nikita. However, he also asks Nikita to stay when she suggests she leave again and he welcomes her home, so it’s something.

Later in the episode, when Nikita and Alex finally get to speak, Alex also assures Nikita that Michael still cares about her. Nikita replies that she knows that and hopes that Michael does too.

After the mission, Nikita thanks Michael for taking the shot. When Michael deflects once again, Nikita asks him to stop talking about the team. But Michael replies that while he’s there to help Nikita and always will be, he’s done fighting for Mikita. Ouch.

And The Shop

After noting Ryan’s pattern-spotting skills, Mr. Jones tells Amanda that he wants to reveal Alex as the third party funding Nikita’s efforts.

Amanda replies that they have an ace in the hole whose mission is just beginning. Flash to Birkhoff finding a target in the NSA but denying it when Ryan asks. Uh oh.

Watch a promo for next week’s episode

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