Seeing Alex enter a catholic church is surreal enough, but when she walks directly into the confessional, you anticipate her meeting with someone for a nefarious reason. You certainly don’t expect her to have a conversation with none other than Nikita. Or that Alex would ask Nikita for help because “things aren’t going the way” she planned. As it turns out, Nikita isn’t in the confessional with her but rather on a rooftop nearby with Michel in tow, communicating with Alex via a camera set up inside the confessional.
Nikita tries to, once again, convince Alex to leave Division; but Alex states that her deal with Amanda is only for her to get to Sergei Semak “and the black box” as Nikita reminds her. Alex claims she doesn’t need the black box, she only needs one file. As seen in flashback, Percy tells Alex he wants a simple barter. He tells her that he has dossiers on all of his enemies, including Semak, encrypting them all onto the black box – except for the photography memory lodged inside his brain. He will exchange that one file for a box of Monte Cristo cigars. Alex points out he will need a lighter, but Amanda has clearly stated Percy gets no fire. But, of course, Percy argues that Amanda doesn’t need to know about any of their plans. It would be Alex’s choice to either make the trade or not, but she makes a third choice instead. She goes to Nikita to get the intel off the black box, circumventing her need for Percy or, for that matter, Amanda.
This would also benefit both Michael and Nikita because Alex would have no longer need to hunt them for Division; but Nikita tells Alex to forget about revenge; to which Alex states that is not an option anymore. Division picked up chatter that Gogol has put a hit out on Alex and her time is running out. She pleads with Nikita that she has to get Semak before he gets her. Nikita agrees to look into, but makes no promises with Michael, at the very least; agreeing that screwing over Percy has its appeal.
Alex hears footsteps getting closer to the confessional and rushes out nearly bumping into an older woman. Thinking she is in the clear, Alex glides out of the church without seeing Roan – in a pretty pathetic disguise I must say – sitting nearby; he is obviously following her.
Back at Birkhoff’s place, he is going through the mission logs trying to track down the Semak dossier but he comes up empty-handed, finding only a psych evaluation, some photographs and a transcript where “Semak goes all Christian Bale” on Percy. They figure out that Percy, once again, is lying; but Birkhoff finds something interesting about Nikita since she is obviously on Percy’s enemies list.
There seems to be some “personal stuff” on her psych evaluation about her parents. Nikita says that she’s not interesting in seeing it because being in foster care once was bad enough, she doesn’t need to relive it. But he explains that the information is about her birth parents, which stops her in her tracks.
Amanda then meets with Percy where she tells him that Roan followed Alex to a church where they know she meet with Nikita. Amanda seems to think it was Percy sending her there behind her back; but he claims it was behind his back too. Alex did exactly what Percy expected her to do, rush to Nikita to get the dossier, which will put Amanda even closer to catching Nikita. He knows exactly where Nikita will be for the next 24 hours and he wants a trade – sunshine; or more to the point he wants a transfer above ground so he can have a room with a view. In exchange, he will tell Amanda right where Nikita is heading.
As Nikita goes through the records on the black box, she discovers her mother’s name – Anh Pham – and she explains that she knew her mother died in childbirth – it was the only time her foster parents ever told her the truth. It seems as if her father’s name wasn’t listed so Michael believes he was a soldier, but upon further review of the document, they discover the word “Rybat” where her father’s name should be listed. Michael explains that word is an old CIA designation, meaning “classified”.
Nikita shares that the first thing she did when she escaped Division was to hack in everywhere, searching for her birth parents, but she always came up blank. Birkhoff admits that part of his job at Division was to burn all birth records of new recruits so no one could trace their identity. To make it up to her, Nikita wants Birkhoff to hack into the CIA; but he says he burned all his bridges getting her out of there so Nikita plans to break in to get the info she wants even with Michael trying to talk her out of it.
As Nikita tells Michael that breaking into the CIA is something she HAS to do because it’s been hanging over her for her entire life, he flashes back to 2004 when Nikita was a new recruit in Division. In this scene, she goes ape shit on a trainer who makes a comment about “mommy and daddy” not teaching her any manners. After tackling him to the ground, breaking his arm and nearly beating the crap out of the trainer, she is put to a stop by Michael and two of the guards. This leads to a discussion between Amanda, Percy and Michael about putting an end to Nikita because they can’t control her. Percy wants her cancelled but Michael wants a chance to talk to her. Percy relents stating if he doesn’t see any improvement, Michel will be the one to put a bullet in her head.
That night as they get into bed, Michael and Nikita talk about losing a family as opposed to not having one. This leads to Nikita being a little cold toward him because of the knowledge she has on Max – the son Michael doesn’t know he had with Cassandra (the wife of the Belarus President). Because they are talking about families, he gets the wrong idea thinking that Nikita is pregnant, which she corrects him on immediately. And while she desperately wants to tell him about Max, she keeps quiet and instead says that she feels Michael is sacrificing so much for her and she’s not doing the same in return. But he says that while he cannot get his family back the least he can do is help her to hers back.
Then the scene jumps to Alex’s apartment where her intercom buzzes, but rather than someone being at her door, Birkhoff appears on the screen, greeting her from his home, telling her that her new security system isn’t just to keep out the bad guys, it’s Division’s way of spying on her. It seems Alex did an online search on Birkhoff’s name, which sent him an alert – something he set up and shared with Alex back when they were at Division together. It was the only way that Alex figured she could get in touch with Nikita. He shares what they discovered about Semak, telling her that she was played by Percy.
Meanwhile at the CIA archives in Maryland, Nikita and Michael trick their way in, knock out a clerk and grab the old files that she needs to track down her real father. But, they are caught in the act by two armed guards who they easily take down in tandem. This break-in leads Amanda back to Percy because know she knows what – or more precisely who – Nikita is after: Richard Ellison – a name that Amanda hadn’t expected to ever hear again.
The moment of truth has now arrived. Michael and Nikita track down the only CIA agent who is unaccounted for from the intel on the files they stole. This agent is living, or rather, hiding in plain sight in suburbia (on Walnut Lane). Nikita knocks on the door but no one answers so she picks the lock and goes in where she is soon greeted by a large man (guest star David Keith) wielding a knife. As they duke it out in the kitchen, he nearly stabs her over the dining room table, but Michael storms in holding a gun on him. The man – Richard Ellison – demands to know who they are. Nikita quickly explains, but he doesn’t believe her, saying his daughter is dead; that he went looking for her a few years back but found nothing but her grave. She pleads that they both know a little something about disappearing and he relents. But he demands that they leave because he is a fugitive and he doesn’t want to make them accessories to his “crimes”. But Nikita refuses to go because she wants to know the truth. He claims that back in 1984 he was doing his job, slipping into Laos where he met with a contact of his from Hanoi. This contact told him he stumbled upon half a dozen men digging a well under armed guard. They were Caucasian wearing lots of zippers – flight suits. They were downed pilots! He had credible intel and a location on POW’s, but when he reported this information, the “higher-ups” didn’t want to look into it, afraid they would start an incident and that didn’t sit well with him. Next thing he knew he was brought up on charges for smuggling heroin into Thailand so he ran.
Just then black SUV’s pull up outside, unloading an Alpha team led by Roan – who Michael believes were sent in because Percy set them up. Richard moves quickly pulling out weapons and smoke bombs. The trio makes their escape out the back door with Michael reigning down a hail of bullets on the team, even blowing up the BBQ to stop their pursuit. They make their escape on a speed boat with Richard narrowly getting shot by Roan, but being saved by Nikita.
They take her dad back to Birkhoff’s place, making introductions and Nikita tells him he doesn’t need to leave right away. She suggests if there are documents or a witness to corroborate his story, they will find it; but her father says it’s too risky. She counters that they are family, hoping that is enough, but he points out that his cover is now blown, his house is destroyed and he is being hunted by two government agencies; he is doubtful what more she can do to help him if what transpired in less than a day is any example.
Meanwhile, back at Percy’s prison, Alex is berating him for lying to her, using her and demanding to know why. Percy reveals that he used Alex to complete a mission that was put in motion 7 years ago.
Back at Birkhoff’s place, Nikita is awoken by a noise, discovering her dad lurking around, claiming he’s trying to find something to help him sleep. They have a somewhat heart-to-heart talk about her mother with Richard sharing she was a nurse who patched him up after he was shot on a mission. And that after her mother’s death, he got her out of the country and to the States as soon as he could, but with the kind of life he led, he knew he couldn’t keep her so he gave her, saying it was the hardest thing he ever had to do in his life.
Then we jump back to Percy telling Alex that he knew who Nikita’s father was all along. Then there is another flashback to 2004 this time continuing on from Michael’s flashback with Amanda and Percy talking about how to control Nikita. Amanda states that Nikita won’t stop until she knows where she came from so they would give her information on her family, using that to dissipate her anger and channel it in the direction they wanted it to go. The idea was Amanda’s but the plan was all Percy’s; one they never had to move forward with because somehow Michael was able to get through to her. And, what’s more, just like the Semak intel on the black box wasn’t true neither is the identity of Nikita’s father – it was all a lie to keep her under control, to make Nikita think she was CIA royalty and not just trash.
The heart-to-heart between Nikita and Richard continues with him asking about her relationship with Michael and if they ever thought about children of their own. She shares that Michael’s wife and daughter were killed by a car bomb.
Then we jump back to Percy and Alex where he shares that he created Richard Ellison, planting that information so Nikita could find it in her personnel file in 2004 because she was always on the computer trying to find her real parents. But, that plan never went forward because Michael was somehow able to talk her down and get her in line. But the plan was always out there, sitting in the black box just waiting to be used. “So now the tool that was designed to motivate recruit Nikita becomes a weapon to destroy rogue Nikita”, states Percy.
It is right then that Nikita shares the truth about Max with her “father” – because she needed to tell someone. She shares with Richard that if she told Michael about Max he would go back to Belarus to protect his son and she is afraid telling the truth would just make things worse. Division would find out the truth and they would both be in danger. She breaks down a little, stating that she has gotten into so much trouble for keeping the truth from people and he consoles her, even giving her advice to tell the truth all the time even when it hurts.
Then we see Amanda talking to Roan about “what he has heard” and we realize they are closing in on Birkhoff’s house; that Richard is working with Division to get the black box back. Amanda wants Richard to have a little more time and then Roan and his team can strike. But Birkhoff receives another alert, causing him to come downstairs to his bank of computers where Alex pops up on the screen, warning him that Richard isn’t Nikita’s father but a Division plant.
Then the action really starts with Richard coming at Birkhoff with a gun, demanding the black box. Birkhoff pretends to look for it in a nearby box, making too much noise (in hopes of waking up Michael and Nikita) and allowing Birkhoff to grab something to knock the gun out of Richard’s hand. They begin to fight and even though Birkhoff holds his own (somewhat) against Richard he is knocked down with Richard aiming a gun at his head. But before Richard can shot Birkhoff, Nikita storms into the room and battles with him, quickly realizing that it was all a lie, that he isn’t her father. She starts to beat the crap out of him the same way she did the Division trainer in 2004 with Michael racing in to pull her off of Richard.
Jumping back to Roan and the Alpha team – they are told by Amanda to storm the house, retrieve the black box and kill everyone. This is happening as Michael secures Richard to a chair as Nikita questions him about who he works for with Birkhoff quickly chiming in that he works for Division. Nikita thanks Birkhoff for fighting Richard and he shares that the thanks really goes to Alex who warned him about Richard. She holds a knife to Richard’s throat demanding the truth. He admits he works for Division in psy-ops; he was stationed in Manila for years. He tells Nikita that he trained for this mission 7 years ago and no one was more surprised than him when they reactivated it; he got to the house on Walnut Lane only three hours before Nikita and Michael. He also states the real Richard Ellison died in a prison for smuggling heroin and he claims he doesn’t know the first thing about her father.
As they try to determine how close Division is to their location, the Alpha team and Roan open fire on Birkhoff’s house. The trio, who thankfully put on Kevlar vests seconds before the shooting started, attempt to fight back, but Nikita tells Birkhoff they need air support. After retrieving his tablet from across the room (while Nikita lays down fire to cover him), Birkhoff is able to unleash his drone missile plane upon the house, setting off a huge explosion that wipes out the Alpha team and Roan. Unfortunately Birkhoff’s house is destroyed, but the trio survives as does Richard; but before they make their escape, Nikita turns back around and shoots Richard. As he drops to the floor dead, Roan wakes up (doesn’t this guy ever die?).
Alex is then summoned back to Percy who wants to know if Nikita was captured, but Alex tells him that she escaped, that she must have figured it out; and Percy berates her for lying to him twice (pot calling the kettle black, anyone?). He tells Alex that he knows she was the one to warn Nikita, but that he will hide the truth of her betrayal from Amanda in return for her doing anything he says, getting him anything he wants. Alex scoffs at him that it is her word over his, but he warns Alex that she won’t be able to pass Amanda’s lie detector test. Alex is now caught between a rock and a hard place, but she tells him to go to hell and he simply states, “You know where to find me”.
In the final scene we see the trio together as Birkhoff tells them that they will meet up wherever he “sets up the next rebel base” and that they know how to contact him. Before they depart, Nikita admits to Michael that she should have known better than to think that her real father was alive; that in her haste to find a home she lost them the only one they had, nearly getting them all killed in the process. He tells her that if anyone should have seen through the veneer of lies, it should have been him, but he wanted this for her too; he wanted her to find her father; and if she wants to go looking for her father again – as he might be out there somewhere – he will be there to help her do just that. This leads her to tell Michael the truth – that not only did she not shoot Richard merely out of revenge but because he knew something about Michael that he could have taken back to Division. Michael realizes this is what she was trying to tell him earlier when he thought she was pregnant. Nikita reveals to Michael that back in Belarus Max told her his birthday, 9 months after Michael’s mission in Minsk. She says, “Michael you have a son,” to which he stares at her first in disbelief and then in slow recognition of the fact. But where does that leave them and their future.
“Walnut Lane” is the sixth episode of the second season of Nikita. The next new episode of Nikita will air on The CW on Friday, November 4 at 8/7c.
What did you think of this episode? Were you surprised that Nikita could find her birth father rather easily? Did you suspect that Percy and Amanda had a hand in the deception? Did you have a brief moment where you believed Richard really was her dad? Were you surprised that Birkhoff actually held his own (to an extent) against Richard? Were you surprised that their base of operations was discovered and destroyed so early in the season? Where do you think Birkhoff will move them next? And, what do you think Michael will do now that he knows the truth about Max? Where will this revelation lead the relationship between Michael and Nikita? Please share your thoughts below.