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La Femme Nikita: Approaching Zero

"Jurgen could not be allowed to hold the Section hostage."

Operations and Madeline used Nikita to bring down Jurgen. And Michael helped them. Did he want to help them? I don't think so, but we may never know for sure.

Michael did indeed lie to Nikita about Jurgen's past. And Jurgen was once Michael's trainer and mentor. That completely explained their respect and regard for each other, despite being romantic rivals. Wouldn't it have been cool to see Michael as a trainee however many years ago it was, working with Jurgen? What crime did Michael commit? What sort of trainee was he? Reluctant like Nikita? I think not. I think he probably threw himself into it and saw it as his salvation.

It couldn't have been easy for Michael to listen to Nikita talking with Jurgen about him. (Madeline discreetly excused herself during this scene, showing courtesy toward Michael that I wasn't expecting.) My favorite Michael moment was his face while he was listening to Nikita and Jurgen while they were smooching on the couch and taking their clothes off. "Birkoff, do you have sync yet?" Birkoff: "Almost." Michael: "Hurry." Although that could have been concern that Jurgen not discover the bug Nikita had on her back... nah. During the same scene, Jurgen talked about his trainees hating him, which had interesting implications when we learned about his previous relationship with Michael.



Nikita hadn't given up on Michael after all. She was still trying to get a rise out of him. She wants emotion. She wants him to show that he cares. She refuses to see that he does care. "That's how I live my life, Nikita. Split in two. I never let anyone see the other half, but it's there." He's an emotional cripple, but he's trying, Nikita. Really, he is.

In the final scene, we had some quid pro quo: Jurgen shot Michael in order to save his life, just before going out in a literal blaze of suicidal glory. And it was just too bad. I really liked Jurgen.

Bits and pieces:

— This week's villain: The Fifth Order. It must be a challenge to keep coming up with realistic terrorist group names.

— Nikita told Madeline that it wasn't about getting out of Section any more for her. It was about having a better life.

— Operations and Madeline gave Nikita a vacation! That was quite a concession.

— Walter talked about an old mission. So he was once an active field agent, huh?

— In Section, nearly everyone wore black. Nikita and Jurgen both wore blue. She also came in wearing a gorgeous red coat over an equally gorgeous black dress.



— Mission hair again. If he has to resort to ponytails, Michael's hair may be a bit too long for this sort of work.

Quotes:

Nikita: "Patented Michael answer, the blank stare. If you're jealous, just be jealous. Tell me not to see him."
Michael: "Is that all it would take?"

Here's a Section lesson in terse. Remember that a missile actually hit the freighter they were on during the mission:

Madeline: "How was your visit to the North Sea?"
Michael: "Brief."
Madeline: "How'd your team hold up?"
Michael: "There were no incidents."

Another good one, which makes four in a row. Three out of four stars,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

5 comments:

  1. A solid script that simultaneously peels back the layers of deception and secret agendas for both the mission to recover the satellite, and the resolution of the Michael-Nikita-Jurgen triangle. We get clever misdirection from the bad guys and from Section, plus strong contributions from all of our Section regulars. As the second season progresses, the audience is being shown more of each episode from Michael’s perspective instead of just Nikita’s. We see more of his duties in planning and executing both external and internal missions, earning audience admiration for his strategic intelligence, unflappable demeanour, and physical prowess. It also means that the viewer is given information that Nikita does not have, increasing sympathy for Michael’s predicament while Nikita is left in the dark guessing about his motives. The episode ends with a number of surprising revelations and some unexpected honesty from Michael, but most importantly, we finally get rid of the Jurgen character. What a relief.

    Favourite Scenes:

    Two more excellent action sequences: the novel mission aboard the freighter, aborted when a jet launches a missile; shimmying under the lasers at the software factory, then trying to figure out how to get at the computers behind bullet-proof glass (lovely set, though I can’t for the life of me figure out why the computer would be in a glass cage).

    Flashes of dark humour: “Brief”; the reveal of Birkoff’s high-tech vest full of gadgets to infiltrate Jurgen’s house; Michael and Nikita in turn casually dispatching guards as the analysis of the glass cage is interrupted.

    Some fantastic acting from our leads when Nikita confronts Michael in his office: her obvious hurt is much more in character than the repellent way she tried to provoke a jealous reaction from Michael earlier in the episode. I am reminded of the scene between them in “Charity” (“You lie, then you say you’re sorry.”). But this time we get an admission from Michael that he literally has to cut off his emotions to do his job. Great job from both Wilson and Dupuis.

    Continuity Issues:

    Finally, an explanation for Michael’s aloofness the past three episodes: he was supposed to push Nikita towards Jurgen as part of Section’s plan to counter blackmail. It is clear Michael doesn’t really want to do this: when he overhears Nikita saying it’s over between them, he is definitely hurting. While Nikita is rightfully left wondering if everything as far back as their night of passion was a ruse, the audience is feeling sympathy for Michael caught in the middle between his feelings for Nikita and his duties to Section.

    Another contradiction from Jurgen: last episode Jurgen explained that his ability to cope with captivity in Section was a result of waking up from a coma with new clarity: “It was a state of mind. People on the outside, they’re not freer than we are.” Except in this episode, he becomes suicidal once he loses his leverage and the little bit of extra freedom he has wrested from Section. What happened to his “state of mind”?

    Cringe-worthy:

    Jurgen making the moves on an inebriated Nikita. I understand that she was engaging in a rebound relationship because she was hurting from Michael’s apparent rejection, but Payne makes my skin crawl.

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  2. Thanks to Billie for giving clarity to Jurgen's role in this story arc but I have to admit to feeling the same relief that Serena did as this episode brought it to a close.

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  3. I think Bruce Payne is a very charismatic actor…. and a match for Michael…. I really liked him and I was sad to see him go… at least he went out on his own terms….

    Michael was jealous….. :) Roy Dupuis is sooooo good! He doesn’t say anything …. He’s face is like a mask…. But it speaks volumes …. I think it’s the eyes.

    Madeline had enough decency to leave the office during an almost sex-scene… I was surprised toŠ¾

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  4. I was sorry to see Jurgen go so soon as I liked his relationship with Nikita. It was good for her to have someone who actively wanted to be with her and who was not playing constant games.

    I'm wondering how many figurative lives Michael has left before Nikita tells him to go away for good. He just keeps using her and hurting her. He may not want to, but he is still choosing Section over her.

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  5. I liked the Jurgen character at first when he was all zen-like, and Obi Wan Kenobi-ish. The strange voice showed up after he had to talk more as well as emote. What's with the glasses going on and off? He scared me a little when first introduced and when he spoke to Michael but Michael didn't answer. It wasn't him being rude or
    disinterested, Michael looked nervous (or as nervous as he is capable of showing) and we shortly found out why.

    As mentioned by others, Nikita acted in an immature fashion during this arc. Michael was busy covering for the two of them to the point he was practically throwing missions, which is totally against type and an indicator as to how precarious their situation was. Michael definitely looked jealous in these episodes, but he also looked vulnerable. I never thought in a
    million years I'd say that of him. But the first scene of this episode, the dinner date scene at Nikita's apartment when
    Michael stopped by (did he actually say he was just passing by? In the neighborhood??), smelled the cooking and asked if he could come in was so heart achingly tender, his face so vulnerable as he saw the situation and took his leave, it reminded me of him standing outside of Gray's home as Nikita went into his home for a dinner date. Still waters run deep. Roy Dupuis is a wonder! The eyes are the key here but it's everything from how he carries himself, which facial muscles he moves, to how he pauses before he answers (if he answers). I am checking out his next (after LFN ended) series that Billie mentioned where Roy is in a biker gang. I think Sons of Anarchy had inspiration like Alias did - just a guess. He has serious mission hair, facial hair and leather!! Yum!

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