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La Femme Nikita: Darkness Visible

Michael: "This is not a game. We're not playing house."

Well, actually they were sort of playing house. Nikita, who always makes the compassionate choices, was the devoted Mommy, and Michael was true to type as the emotionally distant Daddy.

At the very least, this episode showed that Nikita's expectations of him make Michael more human, and he does have compassion for others buried beneath his tough Section exterior. It was mildly amusing to see him reluctantly doing the right thing, repeatedly, despite the fact that it interfered with their assignment. Maybe not amusing enough, though, because most of this episode was outright grim. It wasn't surprising that there is no happy ending for Peter and Sasha, but at least they survived, instead of dying horribly in a hail of bullets or ending up in a refugee camp.

In this week's B plot, poor Birkoff had to turn in his girlfriend... but what choice did he have? I was surprised that there was a happy ending for him, that Section catered to Gail to the extent that they did. Section sacrifices operatives without batting an eye. Yes, she was one of Birkoff's best analysts, but are Section's analysts more important to them than their field agents?

Perhaps they did it to keep Birkoff happy. Gail may not be important to them, but we can certainly assume that Birkoff is.

Bits and pieces:

— The border crossing scene was powerful, the strongest scene in this episode.

— Birkoff's love interest, Gail, was introduced in the season one episode, "Noise."

— Gail suggested that she and Birkoff sneak off to have sex in the white room. Bleah. That's not a room I can imagine feeling sexy in.

— Nikita and Michael usually wear black in the field. Here, they were dressed as aid workers in Western winter weather gear, shiny blue and brown, making them look out of place. Which I suppose was the point.

Well intentioned, but too... something. Too well intentioned? Too grim? Two out of four stars,

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


  1. There’s dark – and then there’s downright depressing. This episode is too real for comfort, in that it tries to accurately portray the horror and hopelessness of the Balkan situation. The ambitious and extensive location shoot is very impressive, and the production designer should be commended, but such grim realism actually does not fit well with the surreal urban fantasy world that LFN has established. To make matters worse, the pacing of this episode is practically glacial – I found myself watching the clock several times as the plot lagged repeatedly. Sadly, unlike in “Rescue”, the audience is never really given an opportunity to connect with the guest stars on a personal level, so their plight becomes rather abstract instead of emotionally moving.

    Meanwhile, back at Section, we have a “B” story about Birkoff and his girlfriend that I actually found more interesting and engaging than the “A” story. Normally, I would criticize the lack of plot or thematic links between the two stories, but since the “B” story saved this episode for me, I’ll restrain myself ;-) Still, this episode is guilty of the cardinal sin for television: it's essentially boring. As such, it is near the bottom of my list of Season Two episodes.

    Spoilers follow...

    Continuity Issues:
    When Nikita had the opportunity to shoot Luca in his car, why didn’t she? Afterwards, she would have still been able to shoot the guards who had found Peter and Sasha.

    As for Section, what determines when an operative’s idiosyncrasies will be tolerated or not? Seems to be down to Madeline's judgement in the end -- better stay on her good side ;-)

  2. Seeing Michael and Nikita with Peter and Sasha was bittersweet. Is it hopeless to wish they could live happily ever after with a family of their own? I know how it all ends but it doesn't stop me from hoping.

  3. Serena is RIGHT! This episode was downright boring and I, too, kept looking at the time on my computer and pausing it and going do other stuff. It took me quite a few tries to finish it. It was that dreadful... and pointless. The weird thing is I know I saw the entire series back when and I didn't have a single recollection of that episode! I guess they must have skipped broadcasting it or something? Not a big loss IMO!

  4. The writers seem to be really pushing the envelope in how far they are willing to take Michael's coldness and distance. When he and Nikita drove away from the kids, I was astonished that the writers would believe that we, the audience, would forgive him for that. Luckily, his better angel won out and we don't have to.

  5. Was this the first time we saw Michael in jeans during a mission (or at all), or have I not been paying enough attention before?


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