Oh Nicki! You sleepy eyed temptress!
For two seasons I despised her character. It wasn’t even a hate-love of a good villain (a la Finch on the UK Office or Cy Toliver in Deadwood). I found her character too conniving to be compelling. But now, I think she’s one of the most exquisitely written characters on TV. Her motives are so beautifully corrupt and so deeply human.
Nicki divides loyalties in a way only a woman can. We ladies are socialized in the fatal art of subterfuge aggression. Her self-interest is always stealthily cloaked in noble motives (family, loyalty, devotion etc.) So while she creates delicious drama among the wives, my true love for Nikki comes with her inability to be honest. Hers is the most accurate portrayal of deception and it makes her thrilling to watch in action.
Unlike Tony Soprano who would lie as a mode of self-preservation and tradition, Nikki lies so she can keep a sliver of control. Telling the truth closes doors for Nikki. She’d have to be in either in Bill’s house or Roman’s house if she was honest. Keeping the the truth obfuscated allowed her to move fluidly between the two men she loves. Nikki is without remorse when she’s caught because because, I mean, can you really blame the girl? While she touts the glories of submissions, she’s far to forceful to swear allegiances to one patriarch. Like her homicidal-mother constantly says: “Nicolette, you never did submit.”
In comparison to Bill, who is such a buffoon and failed schemer, Nicki is diabolically clever. She plays it close to the chest whereas Bill is all hubris and bluster.
When she’s called out on a lie, like Barb’s failed intervention, Nicki’s exasperated rather than regretful. She thrashes and bucks because she’s being asked to fall in line. Begrudgingly you have to admire Nicki’s determination to protect her interests. Ugly, ruthless, human.