The opening credits of the season finale of Nikita announce that the episode was written by someone named “Carlos Coto” and directed by one “Eagle Egilsson.” The temptation is strong to give the whole thing points for being double-plus super-awesome on the basis of this information alone and go play Angry Birds Space until it’s time for Supernatural, but anyone who does this would only be cheating himself. When we last saw Percy, the Mephistopheles figure who has used the resources of Division to craft his own unknowing army of good-looking young drones, he had the President’s balls in a vice and was thoroughly enjoying every minute.
Having convinced the leader of the free world that he was in control of nuclear satellite technology that could enable him to turn the continental United States into a large toasted bran flake, Percy forces him to go on TV and withdraw support for a peace treaty with Afghanistan. Because this isn’t Scandal, the Secret Service doesn’t have to pull the President off an intern when the time comes for the announcement, but if they had, he could scarcely look more pissed off. When Ryan, the good-hearted mouse-man, begs the President to give Nikita and Michael more time to bring Percy down themselves before literally sending in the Marines, POTUS snaps, “I’m about to kill a peace treat that this country has been praying for for a decade. Do you think my presidency’s going to survive that?” Ryan doesn’t reply, “Oooooh, it’s all about you!” in a high-pitched voice, because that’s how much respect he holds for the office.
Soon the troops are rolling towards Division headquarters, but there’s no need for them, because Nikita has her hair in a bun and is wearing her skin-tight crinkly black thing and means serious business. For two years, she’s been watching Xander Berkeley’s face grew more Nixonian with each passing minute, to the point that you half expect him to cite Ben Stein as a character witness, and now that this show has been renewed for a third season, the need to make sure that he won’t be coming back in the fall has taken on a new urgency. Shimmying through a passageway deep inside the company’s Orwellian facilities, she gets off a good line: “I finally realized what I hate about this place It’s the hum.” Percy, meanwhile, is busy dealing with the unraveling of his empire by treating his loyal troops as saps. When someone sees the marines preparing to storm the building and wonders aloud why the U.S. government would send its own soldiers to attack one of its own assets, Percy takes a personal moment to grow a fresh layer of sweat on his upper lip, then stammers that, well, see, the Marines are coming to protect us! From Nikita and Michael! Yeah, that’s the ticket. Well, good talk! now if you'll all excuse me, I need to go call my travel agency and see how many Kruggerands I fit in my butt. Everyone in the room buys this, which makes you think that Nikita is out of her mind to believe that some of them are worth saving. Percy is much smoother and more assured when he has to deal with being called “a common thug.” “There is nothing,” he says haughtily, “common about me.”
Percy has given the game away by admitting to the President that he never really had control of that apocalyptic “particle beam” and was just pretending. It may actually count as a character point, and not just weird writing, that Percy chooses to reveal this rather than string out his bluff, just because he has this killer speech in his back pocket, comparing himself to Cortes and the President to the Aztecs he tricked into believing that he had the power to control the sun, and he can’t bear to not use it. All his fancy talk can’t save him when Nikita barges into his office, but he does have yet another trick up his sleeve. “Heart trigger!” he shouts, just before she’s about to open up some real estate between his ears. It turns out that Percy’s second-in-command, the awesome Roan, is out there somewhere with a nuclear device, just itching to set off a meltdown in a major metropolitan area. “The second I die,” he says, “Roan gets the signal.”
Thwarted in her quest for revenge, Nikita decides that there’s no harm in at least letting Percy switch on the intercom and confess the truth to all his heavily-armed disciples in the building. Percy informs them all that he’s been lying to them and using them, and that in the process of following him, they’re all complicit in major crimes against the U.S. government, and so are fucked six ways from Sunday, and then he gets really inspired and calls them all “pathetic street trash” for good measure. Soon, Nikita and Percy are on the run together, with Nikita forced to protect him from the people he’s just riled up. “Someone order a cruel irony?” Percy wheezes. Meanwhile, Alex, who has spent most of the episode out in a barn someplace, killing people with a pitchfork when she grows tired of machine-gunning them, has caught up with Roan. They have a most excellent hand-to-hand fight that ends when Roan makes contact with an electrical field and goes down deep-fried. Percy himself gets to exit the series for good, in a highly satisfying fashion. That’s assuming he doesn’t have some clones stashed away someplace, and I’m not taking any bets.
When the forces of justice, or at least the forces of not-Xander-Berkeley, stand triumphant, Nikita tries to bargain with the Vice-President for the fates of the Division employees. She asks that they be given “immunity” and “absolution.” The Veep counters with a promise that there will be “no extreme rendition,” and even then she looks as if she might have her fingers crossed behind her back. Nikita offers to go inside and talk the Division forces into giving themselves up meekly, but once she’s got the kids’ attention, she delivers an “I am Spartacus!” speech, pledging them her eternal loyalty and promising that if the Marines want their hides, they’ll have to come through her. The Marines apparently decide that’s one headache they don’t need, because the next thing you know, Ryan is in charge of Division, and probably making each of the people under him brown bag lunches containing personal handwritten notes, telling them all how proud he is of them. This leaves Nikita and Michael free to explore the miracle of love together, at least until their services are needed come the fall. The last few minutes reveal that, while Percy and Roan may have breathed their last, Melinda Clarke’s Amanda is still out there and avid to cause mischief.
I used to think that Nikita’s lack of humor was an unforgivable sin, but when a show achieves sustained ridiculousness on a level like this while remaining poker-faced throughout, the humor kind of takes care of itself. The things that have always been good about the show —mainly, Maggie Q, the principal bad guys, and the sometimes kick-ass action scenes —have, if anything, gotten better. So have some things that were neither great nor terrible such as the design—it has a real look to it now— and some of the things that used to be grating have gotten easier to take. (I’m this close to being willing to entertain the possibility that Shane West, with his intense blind man’s gaze and “I’m Batman!” line readings, might possibly be in on the joke.) I’m going to miss Percy and Roan, but they were probably necessary losses; you can’t have your heroine battle the same super-villains to the death every week forever, unless you want your show to turn into the wrong kind of joke. Here’s hoping that when Melinda Clarke returns to threaten civilization next season, she’ll have a decent henchman and snappier lines than, “As they say in the trade, that’s for me to know and for you to find out.”