Title: Black Badge
Air Date: February 22, 2013
Synopsis: Amanda frames Sean for the assassination of the CIA director; Nikita has a dangerous plan to help.
Washington, D.C. A young blond woman jogs down the sidewalk and finds a package in her mail box. Apparently left by a man standing behind a tree that she catches a glimpse of.
CIA Headquarters. The woman, Naomi, takes the device to Director Kendrick. Naomi has been speculating about a black ops unit, i.e. Division, and the device has mission reports that give credibility to her speculations. (Kendrick is the only person in CIA that knows the truth about Division.) The Director states he’ll parse through it and to keep it between the two of them. Kendrick calls Ryan in Division about the ambitious young analyst, reminding Fletcher of his earlier days.
At this point I was thinking that Naomi might get recruited as a new Division asset.
Division. Michael, Nikita, and Birkhoff are discussing the new missions handed to them by the President that they were not supposed to get. Nikita tells Birkhoff that they plan to take on the missions themselves without involving the rest of Division. Birkhoff replies, “Speak for yourself sister.” “Birkhoff. Sack up. These are not Percy’s side jobs. These are not illegal.” Fletcher interrupts stating they have an exposure alert.
Alex and Sean are in bed together. He’s questioning the tattoo of a butterfly on her back. Sean reveals that he redeploys with the SEALs in two weeks. His special leave is up. Alex appears hurt as she thought he would join her at Division. Sean insists he can’t stop being a SEAL, it is who he is and it doesn’t have anything to do with their relationship. They are paged into Division.
Division. Fletcher has a closed briefing for Nikita, Michael, Sean, Alex, and Birkhoff about the exposure instigated by Amanda through Naomi. The information that was leaked to Naomi could have only come from Percy’s black boxes and the files all link the late Senator Pierce, Sean’s mother, to Division. Michael questions why Amanda limited it to just these files. Nikita realizes that Amanda must be going after CIA Director Kendrick, she knows he will have to deliver the files to Division himself. They arrange a drop with Kendrick.
Next morning. Kendrick is to stop by a coffee cart and drop the flash drive into a tip jar where Nikita will pick it up while Division operatives cover a three block radius. As the drop unfolds the man who delivered the drive to Naomi deliberately walks into the street and places a cell phone call in front of a street camera. Director Kendrick’s care pulls up and he steps out.
Sean Pierce receives a call from Amanda, she tells him that his mother didn’t deserve to die.
Director Kendrick’s care explodes in a ball of flames and debris before he can give the drive to Nikita.
Division. Ryan Fletcher is shocked and disoriented at the unexpected explosion and loss of his friend and former boss Kendrick. Birkhoff pulls him back to reality and insists they couldn’t have protected against this. Sonya steps up and Ryan orders her to start scrubbing the street camera footage of Division’s presence. Ryan is distraught over knowing who killed Kendrick but not being able to tell the authorities and revealing Division.
Sean and Alex return. Michael is in medical with Nikita over some minor cuts. Sonya finds that someone has already altered the street cam video. The mystery man with the cell phone has been replaced with Sean Pierce while the rest of Division has already been scrubbed from the scene. Further she picks up FBI chatter that Sean’s cell phone pinged a tower at the same time as the detonation. Ryan realizes Amanda has framed Sean for the assassination of CIA Director Kendrick by placing him at the scene, the phone call, and motive in the flash drive about his mother.
Amanda greets the mystery man handing him a brief case with his payment.
Nikita consoles Ryan for a moment. “He gave the eulogy at my funeral and I can’t even go to his.”
Nikita plans to interview Naomi Ceaver, the only one who has seen the mystery man’s face. Michael states, “That’s going to be hard to get you a black badge with all these heat.” (A black badge is temporarily swapping real credentials, of an FBI agent in this case, to suit Division purposes.)
The news reports have Sean Pierce wanted as a suspect. Sean feels like he’s on his own but Alex insists he’s part of the family and she’ll help to set the story straight.
Naomi’s house. Nikita approaches as FBI and pretends to have her own conspiracy theories about a covert black ops group and leads Naomi to telling her about the mystery man by her mailbox.
Division. Ryan is ending a call with Danforth, from the White House, telling Danforth that Pierce was never officially a part of Division so he doesn’t have a tracker. Sean realizes he’s going to have a tough time explaining his whereabouts during much of his leave from the SEALs. Fletcher then decides it would be best for Sean to turn himself in for questioning as any innocent man would do. And give Division time to go after Amanda. Alex argues that Sean has a reputation he has built. Sean knows his reputation is already tarnished and staying in the shadows won’t help clear it. He tells Alex, “I’m innocent. And I’ve got a whole secret agency trying to prove it.” Then Sean walks out and turns himself in at FBI headquarters.
Nikita is not happy about Ryan’s decision to send Sean to the FBI. Ryan has the team working to fabricate motive and reason Sean was framed and they plan to plant it on Amanda’s accomplice once they identify him.
Birkhoff is sifting through street cam footage and finds the accomplice dropped the cellphone in a trash can, and he wasn’t wearing gloves. Michael sends a team to retrieve it.
FBI Headquarters. Pierce is being questioned about where he has been during his leave from the SEALs.
Division. Birkhoff identifies the accomplice from the cellphone. Nikita sends the photo to Naomi’s phone and she confirms the ID. Before Nikita can hang up the inquisitive Naomi says she was trying to track down Nikita, or her FBI cover anyhow, and suspects it was a black badge. Naomi agrees they should focus on the real bad-guys. Birkhoff and Alex have an address for Amanda’s accomplice.
They’re too late, he’s been cleaned, they see a steaming pool of acid in a large tub. A cellphone rings. Nikita answers it. Amanda reveals dropping the cellphone in the trash was part of her plan. Nikita insists Sean will be found innocent without motive. However, Amanda explains she has documented his obsession with his mother’s death. She also framed Sean for murdering the Navy psychiatrist he was ordered to see and the psychiatrist kept copious notes on how Sean thought the CIA murdered Madeline Pierce.
FBI Headquarters. Sean is arrested with the overwhelming evidence.
Division. Birkhoff accesses the FBI evidence and analyzes the psychiatrist’s recording. It was clearly made under duress. The weapon used to kill the doctor is a common choice of the SEALs. Birkhoff explains it is too late to scrub any of the fabricated evidence. Ryan states they can charge Sean with treason. Alex is growing desperate, “You’re talking death penalty. There’s nothing we can do?” Nikita states, “There is.” All eyes are on Nikita as she explains they can bring Sean into Division they way she was brought in. By faking his death.
The team begins planning Sean’s death and extraction. Birkhoff suggests swapping a body currently in the morgue that is flagged as an irradiation risk and scheduled to be picked up by the CDC. Ryan says, “Don’t look. Don’t touch. That solves extraction.” Alex brings up a third problem, knowing what Sean wants them to do. Nikita asks Alex to get in touch with Sean’s sisters, they’ll use a real lawyer to get Sean’s response.
FBI Headquarters. Nikita does a sweep pass on the approaching lawyer, dropping a bug in his briefcase. The lawyer, Thomas Leonard, introduces himself to Sean and presents a message from his sisters. The lawyer states that he has a specific message for him before he reads the written message. Thomas states, “They want you to have the alpha team on your side.”
Nikita and Alex pass through security at the FBI Headquarters. Birkhoff and Michael are waiting to see Sean’s reaction.
Sean begins reading the brief letter. When he questions that his sisters sent it the lawyer gives only a small nod of his head. Sean continues to examine the letter as Birkhoff gets anxious about him figuring out the coded message. Birkhoff explains to Sonya that the letter points to an Article 134: Self injury with intent to avoid service, and hopes Sean gets it. Sean glances up at the attorney, “I think I understand.” “Good because I couldn’t make much sense of it. They need to know if you agree.”
Article 134 of the UCMJ is a catch all article that might be phrased as “self-injury without intent to avoid service”. Michael quoted it as “with intent”. So Sean’s ability to get Division’s meaning of faking his death would be highly suspect. Not sure why the writers didn’t pick something more reasonable, while it sounded good on screen, it really doesn’t check out in reality.
Nikita and Alex go up an elevator and stop at a First Aid station and swap out an injection. Naomi is trying to get permission to speak to Sean Pierce and shows Will Arnold, the special agent questioning Pierce, the photo Nikita text her of Amanda’s accomplice. Naomi tries to paint a bigger picture of the covert black op group. When Alex questions Nikita what Naomi’s doing, Nikita replies that she’s earning her “Fletcher badge.” (Referring to how Ryan Fletcher found out about Division when he was CIA.)
Interrogation room. The attorney asks Sean if he has made up his mind. Sean replies that he has then attacks the attorney for talking about his sisters. Will Arnold pulls Sean off the lawyer but Sean gets his gun. Then Pierce turns the gun on himself as if to commit suicide, Arnold wrestles with it and Sean is shot high in the chest near his left shoulder. Sean slides down the wall. Arnold calls for a medic.
The medic arrives and gives Sean an injection, almost immediately he starts to react badly to it. The defibrillator won’t work either. A doctor arrives and announces Sean Pierce is dead. Naomi pokes her head in the door and quickly walks away as if to vomit. She steps into the stairwell and makes a call. Her face turns from a grimace to a smile as she tells Amanda that Sean Pierce is dead.
Amanda quickly suspects it is an extraction by Nikita and orders Naomi to go to the forensics lab. Naomi is concerned about blowing her cover but Amanda simply states, “Kill Sean Pierce. Again.”
FBI Forensics Lab. Sean is being zipped into a body bag. Nikita and Alex walk in, “We’re shipping out the glow stick.” Alex is posing as Nikita’s supervisor and asks who’s going to suit up and get the body. Nikita says she will so the other guy leaves. (Not sure why Alex is wearing a yellow rain coat.) Alex hooks Sean up to some monitoring equipment and Birkhoff starts talking her through administering an intricate cocktail of drugs. Nikita alters the paperwork to replace Sean with the other corpse.
Naomi walks in, still under her CIA cover, and confronts Nikita who tries to talk her down. But Naomi shoots one of the vials needed for Sean’s recovery then attacks Nikita. They fight out into the hallway, pausing briefly as some bystanders walk through, while Alex races to get Sean revived. Nikita recognizes Naomi as a Gogol agent. Alex searches the lab to find a replacement for the vial Naomi destroyed. Birkhoff continues to talk Alex through the procedure. Nikita compliments Naomi on her her shows then attacks her. They fight back into the lab where Nikita ends up throwing a knife into Naomi’s chest killing her. Alex finishes administering the cocktail and waits.
Sean takes a deep breath, he’s alive again. Alex conceals him in the bright yellow CDC body bag and starts out the door. Nikita tells Sonya to add a Jane Doe to the lab’s forensic manifest. Nikita walks out the door carrying Naomi’s heels.
Division. Sean Pierce is waking up. Alex cautions him about moving too fast. He asks to talk to his sisters and Alex replies, “You can’t.” Sean doesn’t appear to remember the last moments of what happened. “They think you’re dead Sean. The whole world thinks you’re dead. The FBI. The Navy. Your funeral is one Wednesday.” Sean says, “This is crazy.” “This was your choice. I fought so this could be your choice.” “So to the world I died a criminal, a traitor.” Sean has a pained expression on his face. “When a new recruit wakes up in Division. They’re told that their old life is over. But they’re offered a chance at a new one.” Alex takes his hand. “Maybe this new one can be something better.”
Ryan’s office. Nikita is sitting across from Ryan. Nikita says, “I swore that when you and I took over Division, that no new recruits would make the roster.” Ryan replies, “And I swore that we wouldn’t do any outside missions for the government.” Ryan suspects that without Kendrick as a buffer that Danforth is likely to send more missions to Division. Nikita recalls Birkhoff’s words about Division going on whether they want it to or not. Ryan replies, “What’s wrong with that?” Nikita has a puzzled look. “Look. Division is as good or bad as the people running it. We can do it right this time.” Nikita recalls how Percy and Amanda wouldn’t ran things, “If an agent was exposed on a mission they were cancelled. (We see Alex comforting Sean in medical.) If they got injured too badly, they were put down. (We see Michael working out his robotic hand.) And if they formed relationships… (We see Birkhoff and Sonya sharing a kiss.) Amanda would never forgive that.” “But you do.” replies Ryan. “And the people around here would take you over her any day.” Nikita laughs a little. “Me on the other hand. Pure evil…” They joke about how Percy has nothing on him. The scene fades out.
Naomi’s role change was not my favorite part of this episode. After it is revealed she is working with Amanda I have to question the reasoning for placing the mystery man by the mail box. Just to help fool the viewer I suppose. Perhaps if Naomi was being observed by the CIA then she would have needed an actual stranger to drop off the flash drive in order to maintain her cover. Although I only got that angle on a second viewing and as I’m writing this so I believe it would have been lost on most casual viewers. Essentially up till the scene where she calls Amanda, there is no indication she is not CIA. I would have preferred some subtle clues, earlier in the show, just a look or a slight slip somewhere.
So apparently Owen is still recovering from rib injuries from a few episodes ago. Michael did say Owen was going to be Nikita’s partner now. And now Division will be going on more varied missions I suppose. I wonder if Division will stick a tracker in Sean’s head now since he is officially a Division operative.