'Nikita' series finale recap: 'Canceled' gives fans the perfect ending
For four seasons, The CW's spy thriller "Nikita" held nothing back. The main character was a junkie-turned-assassin with so much blood on her hands it's shocking that she was still a hero in viewers' eyes. And that was pushed to the limits on the series finale, "Canceled," which aired on Friday (Dec. 27).
The episode saw Nikita (Maggie Q) struggle with the question Amanda posed to her when she first entered Division all those years ago: "Who will you be?" Is Nikita a hero, or a murderer? A calculating strategist or a wild animal? Right when viewers gave up faith in our heroine, thinking she crossed a line and gave in to the darkness inside of her, the showrunners yelled "Psych!"
Nikita never truly lost her way in her last mission to take down Amanda and The Group. It was all a ruse to ferret Amanda out of hiding. Nikita, Michael, and the rest of the team knew that Amanda would only surface once she believed she was safe, only to gloat in front of Nikita, thinking she had won the war. So Nikita pretended to break protocol and go off-book, and everyone else pretended to worry about how far she would go so they could finally capture Amanda.
It was brilliant in the way that the writers got us all -- in one episode -- to lose faith and stop trusting in Nikita after four seasons, only to pull the rug out from underneath us and shame us for ever thinking Nikita would betray her loved ones. Haven't we gotten to know Nikita better than that by now? She would do anything, even sacrifice herself, to save the people she loved. She would always care about saving innocent lives -- she would never not care about collateral damage. We know this, and the writers know this, so playing with that in the final episode only to turn around and reiterate the kind of person she is was so clever.
That kind of character development carried through the whole episode for each character. The writers did not sacrifice anything just to tie up loose ends: everyone stayed true to who they were, making it the perfect series finale. But that's not to say that there were any loose ends kept dangling -- on the contrary, everything was tied up in a neat little bow, "Nikita"-style.
The key to Nikita's team's success was all thanks to Ryan. Before he died a hero's death, he gave Nikita one last gift: the knowledge that the military commander in charge of the operation to take down the remaining leaders of The Group was actually one of Amanda's doubles. Once again, without Ryan's sacrifice, Nikita and her team would have failed. And that makes his death in "Bubble" all the more heartbreaking.
But thanks to his tip, Nikita and Alex were able to kidnap -- not kill -- the remaining seven leaders, and once Amanda thought she won and had Nikita in cuffs, the tables turned and Amanda ended up in the cuffs she thought Nikita would spend the rest of her life in. Michael and Sam infiltrated the prison, killed the double, and they were all able to look into Amanda's eyes as she realized she lost and would spend the rest of her life in that very cell. Game over.
The victory was even more sweet because it came with pardons and immunities for Nikita and her team. Their names were cleared and they were truly seen as heroes in the government's eyes. Even Ryan was honored posthumously with a star on the wall of the CIA.
So now that the bad guys were defeated and the good guys prevailed, what comes next? Alex becomes a human rights activist, with Sam responsibly holding down a legitimate job as her head of security. They are also maybe kind of dating, but taking things slow. Sonya convinces Birkhoff to open Shadownet to the masses to create "open-source anarchy," and he comes out of the shadows to enjoy his much-deserved fame as Shadow Walker. Nikita and Michael elope and on their honeymoon in Ecuador, they eschew sitting on the beach for breaking up a war that uses child soldiers. They had said a long time ago they would never be able to just sit on a beach somewhere ...
The ending was perfect. Everyone achieved what they set out to do while staying true to who they were. Amanda got her comeuppance without taking down Nikita's soul with her. Ryan was honored for all he sacrificed. And the entire thing was unpredictable.
Like we said, perfect.