Exactly!! No matter what actor is playing him, Nikolas has been sitting on the fence between light and dark. And in the last few years he has been going dark, darker, darkest. That writing has definitely been on the wall. I thought it was very telling that Laura made a comment about her time on Cassandine Island that put that in perspective.
That was a great scene and Maura played that line to the hilt.
That is something I forgot to mention. The fact that while I too do not want Esme to be a heroine, I have to admit the actress is winning me over to her current state...the elusive tabula rasa. The audience is aware of who she is and what she has done, but in her current state, she has a remorse and common sense factor to her that does make her compiling in a way that Esme as vixen did not. One almost (note on ALMOST) do not want her to remember. That said...given SOD's February Sweeps info, it looked like she might be getting aimed at someone she should be aimed at, continuing to prove she should have never came out of that particular bubble of story. Even if the result if true, is typical of her current arc.