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La Femme Nikita: Choice

Nikita: "All I wanted was one hour to myself. Is that too much to ask?"
Michael: "Yes."

When Gray started acting like he was about to propose at any moment, I could see the end coming. An occasional date was one thing, but Nikita can't have a husband and a child. She can't unplug the phone. She can't win, because Section holds all the cards. And in the end, she was almost suicidally angry about it.

The fun undercurrent here was Michael's jealousy. He was practically petulant in the hallway scene after the mission: "No, you can't debrief in the morning." (He might as well have said, "No, you can't go home to Gray.") My favorite Michael moment was at the beginning, when he barged in on Nikita's tryst with Gray; he was all smiles and charm on the surface but clearly angry underneath, and not just because Nikita had unplugged her phone. Symbolically, Nikita had also tried to unplug Michael, remove him from her life. We certainly can't have that.

The fact that Michael kept Section from killing Gray at the end indicated to me that Michael is not vindictive... although I bet he did it for Nikita's sake, not Gray's. I got the feeling Michael could have cared less if Gray fell off the edge of the earth.

Bits and pieces:

— There was some near nudity. Peta Wilson was topless in the opening scene with Callum Keith Rennie.

— I expected Casey's disappearance in the mall to be kidnapping, either by Section or the bad guys. Wrong.

— The ambulance that picked up the guy in the pink shirt had English words on the side.

— Nearly everyone in Section wore black. Nikita wore bright blue.

— Nikita asked Walter for advice again. "Can I talk to you for a minute?" "You can do anything you want to me, and you can take more than a minute."

— Madeline: "This isn't a job. You can't go home at night and be someone else." Madeline also told Nikita, "We're ghosts."

— Operations told Nikita, "There is such a thing as evil. It exists." Irony R Us. Section itself is evil.

— Cancelled scene: An extended version of the drug deal in the teaser.

Two out of four stars,

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


  1. This follow-up to the plot-driven episode “Gray” is much more character-driven. It revolves around a “life in Section” lesson for Nikita, though there is still plenty of interaction with the rest of the cast to enjoy, plus two amazing movie-quality action sequences. Though the problem of Gray lacking much personality is still apparent, it seems clear to me that Nikita is mostly attracted by the possibility of having a “normal” life. In the end, the audience finds out once again that Michael is protecting Nikita the best he can within the constraints of his position in Section. Another solid episode that deepens the mythology of the world of Section.

    Spoilers follow...

    How cool is this? We get a Mission Impossible-style entry through the roof in the dead of night, a rope and pulley descent from the air duct, then a four-second window in which Nikita has to fall past the disabled lasers and lie absolutely still for eight hours until the building opens in the morning. She’s amazingly limber afterwards, too, hacking the computer and effecting her disguise. Fun!

    The second action sequence comes from the Nikita movie itself, and is suspenseful on two fronts: whether or not Nikita can accomplish her mission in time, and whether or not she can keep Gray (who is in the next room) ignorant of her activities (especially when she has to smash the bathroom window!). Sean Callery’s percussive score ratchets up the tension, and expert cutting between the two competing plot threads keeps the audience at the edge of their seats. The quality of the action scenes is so consistently high, that even today I can think of only one show that can compare (“24", which has the same creative team as LFN).

    We get juicy scenes for all of our main characters as well: Birkoff gets to be brilliant, Walter is full of caring advice, Madelaine easily psyches out the drug dealer, plus dispenses “maternal” advice to Nikita, and of course Operations impatiently lectures Nikita on the nature of evil (ironic, no?).

    Most important, however, is Nikita’s lesson on the reality of life in Section. She still naively believes that Section protects the innocent, and would punish only her for her transgressions. Michael does his best to shield her while trying to set her straight (“You don’t ever unplug the phone.”), but Nikita stubbornly ignores his warnings. He then tries to demonstrate to her with the hotel mission that she is endangering Gray by getting involved with him (“There is a reason for everything we do”), but she decides to interpret this ploy as jealousy. It is only when Michael admits he had Gray’s life threatened in order to prevent Section from “cancelling” him does Nikita realize the truth: Section would rather sacrifice an innocent civilian than discard an operative they invested two years in training. Section’s “morality” is all about numbers and efficiency. Though she is willing to risk her own life (“You don’t own my soul. I’m not afraid to die.”), Nikita now realizes that Section can control her by threatening anyone she cares about. This is a turning point for Nikita, recognizing the truth of Madealine’s words “The world outside Section is an illusion”

    One particular exchange I found quite memorable: when Michael asks “You don’t love me?”, Nikita avoids answering the question. I think she’s realizing that, as much as she’d prefer it weren’t true, she really is deeply attached to Michael. Most humiliatingly for her, he knows it even better than she does.

  2. Sarah, I'm really sorry, but I had to delete your comment. I know the show has been over forever, but it's been my experience -- I've been told -- that some people read reviews as they are experiencing the show for the first time, and that's why my reviews don't have spoilers in them. Serena has been putting a spoiler warning and spoiler space in her comments, and it's fine with me if you'd like to do the same. I kept the text of your message if you'd like to repost it that way, with spoiler space.

  3. Michael saying "You don't love me?" to Nikita in this episode is one of my all time favorite moments of the series, for precisely the reason Serena states: Michael knows Nikita loves him, and that is what he has used again and again to manipulate her. The real question is: how does Michael feel? We get some hints in this episode...his behavior in Nikita's apartment (I love to watch Roy Dupuis move so effortlessly between buttoned down, emotionless Michael and charming, all round nice guy Michael). Peta Wilson is also fun to watch in this scene: she knows what's going on and knows there will be hell to pay later with the "real" Michael.

    It's worth noting that the scene with Nikita in the bathroom shooting the guy with the tranquillizer while Grey is talking to her through the door was in the Bridget Fonda version of the Nikita movie. It is one of the few scenes that replicates the movie: the only other one I can think of is in the pilot where they used the shot from the movie when Nikita avoided the rocket launcher while jumping into the garbage chute.


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