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La Femme Nikita: Charity

"It's not enough to lie to them. We've got to lie to each other, too."

Nikita finally used her beauty in an assignment for Section. About time.

Alec Chandler was a three-dimensional villain; Simon MacCorkindale did a great job here. He appeared to be so nice at first, and even a believable love interest for Nikita; hey, money-laundering just didn't sound all that bad in the grand scheme of things. Of course, he turned out to be totally subhuman. I thought his comment about the weather playing havoc with his shoes in the truck-burning scene was even more illustrative of his relentlessly evil character than that whole rant about the "market in mature flesh" and selling Nikita to a cathouse in Asia.

Michael managed to show jealousy of Chandler, even though he remained impassive. (It's those eyes of his.) My favorite Michael moment was the final scene where he tried to apologize to Nikita for lying to her, she pulled a gun on him, and he kissed her hand, with the gun still in it; Roy Dupuis actually made my toes curl. ("Why shouldn't I just pull the trigger?" "I can't think of a single reason.")

I also liked his drunk scenes while wearing the red jacket and... was that actually a ruffled shirt? He was almost giggling as he told the guys searching him, "I'm giving you guys twenty minutes to cut that out."

Bits and pieces:

— Michael and Nikita looked at each other at the party. How un-secret-agent of them.

— The obligatory Walter/Nikita scene was seriously cute: "When I start something, I can't stop, even if it takes days. That's how it would be with you and me. Nonstop sweat." And Nikita actually kissed his forehead.

— Alec Chandler didn't sound like he came from a bad neighborhood. Maybe he took elocution lessons.

— Nikita drank milk out of the carton. That's such a guy thing.

— Madeline told Michael that the password was GRAYSTONE, all caps. But she didn't tell him that it was "gray," not "grey."

— Nikita pissed off Operations by saving the lives of the children. That said a lot about Section, and Operations' priorities.

— Wardrobe note: In the initial street car rescue and the scene in Alec's office, Nikita was wearing stockings and a garter belt instead of the more plebian pantyhose. And Simon MacCorkindale actually pulled off a bright orange tie; not many can.

— In this week's hair report, again with the tails, although there were a couple of other interesting bun-like do's. Peta Wilson's hair was so long that there must not have been a lot of options.

— Cancelled scenes: There are three brief deleted scenes on the DVD that are all about the cat that Nikita adopts: (1) She and Alec petting a cat on the street; (2) Nikita coming home and finding another cat in her apartment (a present from Alec? they don't say), and (3) Nikita in bed, petting the cat and bonding with it.

This episode gets three out of four stars, mostly for that Michael/Nikita scene at the end,

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


  1. The interrogation/torture room looks so similar to the room in Alias that flashes red before you get into SD6. I'm watching LFN for the first time because I love Alias and your articles have convinced me to give it a try. I already see tons of Alias overlap! I'm definitely still partial to Sydney and friends though. But I'm not giving up on Michael and Nikita yet!

  2. Emma, I have to say that LFN fans are crazy about it, but not everyone loves Nikita. When I first got into it and started writing about it, I got a number of emails from people who thought the series truly sucked. Don't feel bad if it never clicks for you.

  3. I saw Nikita first and then attempted to see Alias, and it just didn't work for me. I still kept looking for something as deep and dark as Nikita. The series comes together in episode 6,LOVE.I was hooked and kept watching...

  4. To Emma: I enjoyed Alias, too, but what should be taken into account is that LFN came before Alias, and was a cable show with a limited budget. Give LFN a chance to grow on you, and I guarantee you won't regret it ;-) You will notice many similarities, as Alias (and The Pretender and 24) borrowed many concepts from LFN.

    On to the episode... What I really enjoyed were the character interactions: Birkoff teasing Nikita ("Anytime, babe"), Walter with his one-track mind, Madelaine and Operations exchanging pleased comments and smiles when they confirmed that Nikita liked Chandler (while poor Michael fumed with jealousy). These small exchanges go a long way to creating believable relationships in Section. I especially enjoy when Madelaine and Operations fool me into thinking that they might actually be caring (though tough) parental figures, and then shock me with their utter ruthlessness!

    The audience is now becoming familiar with the "white room", and how Section will lie to and manipulate its operatives. Michael is clearly caught in the middle, wanting to tell Nikita the truth in spite of his orders. All he can do is warn her to stay focussed on the mission ("get rid of the cat -- it's a distraction".)

    I absoutely agree, Billie, that the best part is the last scene between Michael and Nikita: it just sizzles with sexual tension. I think this was the episode when I realized that I was watching the show more for Michael than for Nikita...

  5. Interesting. I reacted to this episode differently from the rest of you.

    I agree that Chandler was a wonderful villain, multi-faceted and interesting to watch. The story was good and the twist was well done.

    What bothered me about it was both Walter's and Birkoff's comments to Nikita. They both clearly regard her in a sexual manner, something that is inappropriate (to say the least) in a professional environment. Nikita is their colleague and she could kick their ass. She deserves better than snide, little sexual innuendos from them.

    Similarly, while the final scene with Michael was HOT, it felt manipulative to me. He must know how she feels about him; he made it clear to us how he feels about her. Yet, that kiss felt off to me.

    Which is why I LOVED the final scene where she is cuddling the cat. Here's a girl who is not going to do what she's told simply because she is told to do it. The smirk on Nikita's face made me smile.

  6. This is an odd one to me probably because it is a television show and not a book. Honey traps are a long standing spy tradition (think Mata Hari). Nikita was recruited primarily for her physical beauty. One would think that any attractive operative in Section would receive training in sexual seduction and techniques including Michael himself. His reticence around her in this area feels much more protective than jealous as Operations tells him basically to pimp Nikita out to the target bad guy, "Is she sleeping with him? Whatever it takes" and he doesn't do it.

  7. It was an eye opening episode for me, I think that the Michael we see in these earlier episodes, showing more emotions, smiling, being more approachable than later in the season, is because the writers wanted to communicate to us that part of Michael that resurfaced when Nikita was brought in Section, and revealed in the episode Simone, when Walter said to her that he had shut himself off before then for a very long time.

    Michael was bothered about Nikita enjoying a little too much her "romance" with a supposed Section dangerous target, " You have become quite fond of him " and the fact that Nikita knew that Section was not done with Chandler - "Because we have not caused enough pain and he is still standing" knowing the length Section goes to inflict damage, to me suggested that she was hopeful to have a real relationship with him.

    On this note, I might be wrong but I had the feeling that Michael wanted to tell Nikita about Chandler out of jealousy, he was bothered that she liked him, why in the last scene he felt to go to her and apologize, it was not only because he could not tell her the truth from the beginning protecting the mission, but because the all thing got personal for him, and the last scene proves it, when he touches her hand in a very intense, sensual, intimate manner, just thrilling and sexy at the same time. Beautiful.


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