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Nikita - Episode 4.02 - Dead or Alive - Review: Reluctant to kill

Is it possible for one man to die three times on one day (and also get shot once)? Apparantly, it is!

Nikita continued her hunt for Amanda and The Shop, but this time with the team by her side. After waking up in the new headquarters, Nikita and the team decide to track down their only lead: FBI Deputy Director Matthew Graham. But actually, he is not Graham - he is a double made by The Shop and Amanda. When Ryan realizes this, they try to expose fake Graham, but this plan fails. Fake Graham then decides to let himself get shot while Graham's wife is taken out because she is the only person who can possibly expose fake Graham. Of course, Nikita is framed for the alleged attempt on the FBI's Deputy Director. So the team decides to take fake Graham out for real (confused yet?). But when Nikita aims her rifle from the roof top, she shoots Michael instead!?!

I am glad I don't live in the USA and watched the episode online instead. I am sure that commercial break was killing (no pun intended). Anyway, Michael's "death" was digitally enhanced to make it look like Graham's death. When the video spreads itself all over the net, fake Graham decides to give his second press conference of the day. At his first conference, after he got shot, he revealed that Nikita was hired by Pakistan to kill the president. Now he simply revealed that he wasn't dead, and that he would do anything to get Nikita. However, one of the journalists actually has a gun embedded in his microphone, which is pointed right at fake Graham.

Meanwhile, at the other side of the globe, Alex and Owen/Sam get involved in a gun fight, but manage to shoot their way out (after Sam shoots Alex to get her out of the line of fire). They and Sonya then try to decrypt the black box (kidding! - just the thing Alex found at the scene last week), but are interrupted by a phone call from Amanda! She demands to speak to Nikita, who was just about to kill fake Graham. The manipulative bitch says she still has the real Graham, and threatens to kill him when Nikita kills the fake one. This leaves Nikita reluctant to pull the trigger, even after the real Graham gives his permission to shoot his fake double. At the end, Michael has to pull the trigger to kill fake Graham (and in turn the real Graham is killed by Amanda). Nikita has obviously changed, something that Amanda also realizes.

Elsewhere, Alex is captured in India, but Sonya and Owen manage to escape. Also, Amanda gets a little bit in the way of Jones, as he wasn't planning to reveal the Pakistan connection until later. Jones also poses a big interest in Ryan as he can see patterns that no one else can. And then there is the big Birkhoff twist: is he also a double?? It at least appears so when he suspiciously holds back information from Ryan and the rest.

I really liked this episode, but again I didn't really get the making of the doubles. Does The Shop just clone them? Or do they use real humans (slaves) to look and act like them with a little bit of brainwashing by Amanda? For me, neither would be a realistic explanation. But because we are in the final season and time goes too fast, I will accept whatever explanation they give.

However, I do hope that the team won't be split up for the entire season! I have read various complaints that this show was based on the Nikia/Alex dynamic and I certainly agree to that. So I hope Alex and Nikita get more than a few minutes phone call. I also realized when Amanda called Alex that I really miss the Amanda/Alex dynamic from season 2, so I'd hope to see that either. There is just to much to see in the little time that we have!

Burning questions:
-Is Birkhoff a double or is he in trouble (or both)? Was the man he got flagged his father?
-Why does The Shop want a World War III to happen? And why Pakistan with his nuclear powers?
-Does The Shop's interest in Ryan mean Ryan is actually a double?
-Will Nikita really turn herself into the feds when Graham is revealed to be a double?
-Who else got shocked to see Michael "killed"? Could the writers give a more subtle hint that no one is safe?
-Now that Amanda has revealed she keeps the original VIPs, does the team realize that means the real president is still alive?
-Who captured Alex and what do they want with her?

Promo for next week:

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