'Nikita' Season 2 premiere: 5 ways 'Game Change' lives up to its title

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"Nikita" moved through story at a breakneck pace in its freshman season, so it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Season 2 picks up with the chessboard looking a bit unfamiliar.

"Everyone is in a different place," showrunner Craig Silverstein said at a recent screening of the premiere episode, "Game Change." "Almost every character has shifted, musical chairs style, to a different position of power... or lack there of. It's part of the plan that we have from last year."

We won't spoil exactly how that plan takes shape in the episode, airing tonight (Sept. 23) at 8:00 p.m. ET on The CW, but we can give you five fan-baiting hints as to what you'll probably love the most:

Frenemies
Alex ( Lyndsy Fonseca) and Nikita ( Maggie Q) are still at odds -- but it's not that simple. The lines are blurred, especially with Alex working for (not part of) Division. "I think that it's a little more complicated than just fighting each other all season," Silverstein says of the leading ladies. "It's going to sort expand and contract, there will be hot and cold periods between them. It will get better and it will get worse." Nikita obviously feels a responsibility to her former protege, but don't expect Alex to be anything but more vengeful after the premiere.

Comic relief
Season 1 of "Nikita" took a particularly serious tone, but even though the stakes seem higher than ever, the premiere has plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. And you can thank Birkoff ( Aaron Stanford) for that. "We wanted to try to go for a lighter feel," says Silverstein. "It's still a serious show, but there's a little family dynamic between Michael ( Shane West), Nikita and Birkoff." The former brains behind Division is the premiere's MVP, in more ways than one.

More firepower
Fans of "Nikita" are used to butt-kicking, usually in the form of fisticuffs. That changes in the season premiere, with a particularly spectacular C.G.I. sequence that involves some futuristic weaponry. "We went a little over budget on this episode," says Silverstein. "We realized we're not an effects show." Given the alliance that forms, we can expect more to come on the high-tech end -- and maybe even a tank.

Mikita moments
There's a few twists, but yes, Mikita fans will get to see their couple share more than a few tender scenes -- not that it doesn't come with a few complications. "With Michael being with Nikita, it's a whole other set of problems," says West, who also spoke at the screening with Silverstein. "This year, being on the run, it's far different, but the scenes that I get to do with Maggie are more intimate... trying to figure out how their relationship even works."

Undercover
Speaking of Mikita, a scene in the premiere calls for our couple to go undercover in full military garb. And, as you can see in the above picture, the two look seriously dapper in uniform. An expertly-delivered line may even make your heart skip a beat. A game-changer? Maybe not. But possibly our favorite moment of the entire episode.
Photo/Video credit: The CW