Episode Report Card
Tippi Blevins: B- | Grade It Now!
The Expendables
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

Six recruits walk into the training room, outfitted in black bodysuits and protective gear. The workout machines have been replaced by blocky obstacles and walls. Alex and Thom are there; the others are new to us. Michael joins them and tells them they'll be simulating a "close-quarters firefight." Is his voice getting raspier? Did he spend too much time frolicking in chilly Pacific kelp forests? Someone get that guy a lozenge. He hands out virtual reality glasses and divides the group into two teams. Thom will lead one, and a tall dark-haired fellow named Robbie will be leading Alex and a munchkin named Sara. Michael tells them they'll only have a second to tell who's a friend and who's an enemy. This leads Alex to flashback to two months before her "insertion" into Division. She's reading a version of a prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson into a computer for the text-to-speech program we've since seen Nikita using. Alex complains, but Nikita hopes Alex will actually learn something. "Spare my friends, kill my enemies?" Alex asks. That's... not what I took from the prayer. But whatever. They talk about the difficulty of telling one's friends from enemies. Alex scoffs at the thought of making friends inside Division, but Nikita reminds her the other recruits aren't there by choice. The hard part isn't making friends, but losing them.

Back in the present, Alex and her team fight their imaginary fight. Nikita's voice says, "When you're in a group.. look at the recruit on either side of you." Alex looks at Sara and Robbie. "Odds are, before you graduate, one of them will die." Place your bets, kids! "Hey, Sara, cover our six!" Robbie shouts. She looks confused, so he clarifies: "Our rear!" Michael watches from the ops room. Imaginary bullets fly. Sara shouts for Alex to watch out, thus revealing her position and getting herself and her teammates killed. The simulation over, Robbie lays into Sara for her sucky spy skills. Thom calms him down and reminds him he's about to graduate. Sara's sucky spy skills aren't going to change that. The recruits head off to a coed locker room. Alex tries to cheer Sara up, but Sara says she's been activated for a mission. Everyone within earshot is stunned. Alex, sensing some foul play, offers to help her prep her for the mission.

In a heretofore unseen indoor shooting range, Michael plugs his paper target full of bullets. For some reason, the fact that he's not wearing any protective ear or eye gear gives me more pause than any number of bone-crunching, head-mashing fights he's been in. Birkhoff joins him. The conversation soon turns to Nikita, who they still think is dead at this point. "Nikki was one in a million," Birkhoff says. "A force of nature. Like a one-woman Michael Bay movie, only with good acting." Well, maybe better acting. But "good" acting? Birkhoff shows good sense by putting on protective gear before shooting. Michael makes his best angry baby otter face and shoots at another target. Birkhoff suggests Michael accept Nikita's death, but Michael gets so flustered that he screws up his next shot.

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