Hitting the halfway point of the show’s final six-episode Fourth Season, “Step-Up” focuses on Birkhoff‘s (Aaron Stanford) suspicious behavior and the trouble Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca) runs into in India after Amanda‘s (Melinda Clarke) manipulations make it appear as if she is privately funding Nikita’s terrorist network. Although Ryan‘s (Noah Bean) suspicions put everyone on edge it turns out Birkhoff isn’t a mole for Amanda but has hidden the likely target of Ronald Peller (Judd Nelson) who he believes has been swapped out with one of Amanda’s doubles. Fearing exposing the fake will endanger the real Peller, Birkhoff didn’t want to put his father in any more danger.
Eventually Nikita (Maggie Q) convinces Birkhoff on a play that could lead them to the real Peller, but the scientist’s shock and concern about his son (long thought dead) create another dead end. The loss of Pellar forces Mr. Jones (David S. Lee) to take control over the operation from Amanda, but it also gives Amanda a new focus by trying to find the secrets of Shadownet inside Peller’s head. The good news for Birkhoff is his father is still alive, the bad news is he’s now at the mercy of Amanda who will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
Michael (Shane West) and Sam (Devon Sawa) help break Alex out of the CIA black site, but to do so means blowing what remains of her cover as a spoiled Russian party girl to the operative (Rose Rollins) interrogating her. As the episode comes to a close Alex is safe, but it appears her public life as Alexandra Udinov may very well be coming to an end with her accounts frozen (much to Sam’s frustration) and her being branded a terrorist by Amanda and The Shop who still aren’t finished with a plan that looks to spark a war between the United States and Afghanistan.