Original Air Date: Mar 1, 2013
Andrew – TwoCents Reviewer
We’re always fighting for a cause in the present, but what do we ultimately care about long term? Whether it’s a person or a dream, what role do our current troubles truly play in them?
“With Fire” brought the return of Gogol leader Ari Tasarov, who surrendered himself to Division as our episode began. Thus began a fierce negotiation between him and Nikita, one that involved a ticking clock as Amanda used a driven terrorist to orchestrate random attacks all over the country.
Let’s begin with Salim, a new Amanda recruit who lost a daughter from an American drone strike. This motivated him to inflict terror onto the country, lethally striking innocents in Brooklyn, rural Michigan, and suburban Ohio. Though he fails on the last, he’s accomplished far more in one episode than Nicholas Brody ever has.
Ari, isolated in Division holding, withholds Salim’s name in an attempt to extract $50 million from Division. Nikita, the principal negotiator, won’t give in, and it quickly devolves into torture. Alex and Owen chase Salim’s footprints of bomb destruction, while Nikita bloodies Ari up down in Sublevel 12.
Eventually Michael has to step in when Nikita tries suffocating Ari, which leads to him delivering sermons to the couple individually. “Nothing is forever,” he says, commenting on their spy engagement, using him and Amanda as evidence. He says that if their relationship meant anything, neither of them would be in the spy game.
It’s a question that causes Michael and Nikita to think about what they’re truly doing, and whether it’s more important than their plans. The future is something we all hold onto for hope, especially when we’re struggling in the present. Team Division is so deep in reeling in fugitives that they rarely pause and consider the danger they face daily. If you have a loving partner, does anything else matter?
Ari’s own source of hope is his son, Stefan. Nikita figures this out, and says she’ll let Amanda devour him, which instantly pushes Ari into submission. He has no end game for himself; the $50 million is for Stefan. Nikita says he’ll protect him if Ari gives up the terrorist, and he obliges.
Amanda kills Salim anyway, and calls Nikita to threaten young Stefan’s life. There’s nothing that riles up her more than harming innocent, child lives. It’s an easy bait technique for Amanda; if Nikita resorts to torture because of civilian deaths, going after a child will launch Nikita into seething action, right into Amanda’s hands.
“With Fire” closes with Michael and Nikita putting an end to stalling their wedding. They realize it’s what they care about the most: a romantic ceremony on an isolated island, where their love is celebrated over all else.
• Quite a stunning red blazer Nikita was wearing in the first act.
• When did cash become an issue on this show?
• The palpable chemistry between Alex and Owen clearly evoked twinges of jealousy in Sean, but if he’s going to function as a part of a love triangle, he’s wasting valuable time for our primary characters. He coordinated Operations – usually Ryan’s role – just so he would be listening in on Alex telling Owen the story of her butterfly house mate over the comm. It was terribly contrived.
• Nikita’s dialogue when she first sat down with Ari was really stale. It felt like she was an automated, steadfast, angry response machine for Ari’s claims. This is the first time I’ve noticed this, but I do wonder if her character is becoming increasingly one-note.
• “Are you telling me Shadowbot isn’t up to the task?” Alex asks Birkhoff. The only way to get a hacker motivated is to question his code. “Bite your tongue, princess,” he shoots back. These two are the last fun bantering coupling left on this show.
Next week: ReunionFollow @TTCAndrew