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La Femme Nikita: Deja Vu All Over Again

Operations: "Am I in command, or is she?"

Okay, better.

This episode made me think about a line from The Princess Bride: "Fool, fool, back to the beginning is the rule." The writers almost immediately addressed everything that went wrong in "Four Light Years Farther" and made a valiant attempt to clarify Nikita's motives as well as reconcile conflicting plot threads.

Nikita did what she did because she wanted to change things in Section One, huh? Yes, let's bring in her trademark compassion for others. Not perfect, and it didn't address the improbability of her faking it for three years, but I can live with it. And it appears that Mr. Jones made a promise to Nikita, and he hasn't kept his word. Operations suggested that Mr. Jones was not what he seemed to be. (Gee, I'm reeling from that new plot twist.)

Operations was still his vicious, manipulative self, and he and Nikita were quickly at each other's throats. No way is Operations going to accept Nikita in Madeline's place. (Looked like Quinn was auditioning for that role, too.) What interested me most was that Operations was certain Michael was still alive and that Nikita did love him, after all. "She could no more have killed him than I..." Let's finish that one. "... could have killed Madeline." And he was right, of course.

No Michael, no Madeline, no Jason. But they did bring back Quinn and Walter, as well as several other familiar faces: Mick Schtoppel slash Mr. Jones, the Devos, and interestingly enough, a one-shot character I liked: Marco O'Brien, the cop from the season one episode, "Voices." O'Brien was essentially standing in for Michael. As if anyone could.


After the trauma of "Four Light Years Farther," I was dreading this episode. But they did a lot of significant fence-mending, and I'm more intrigued about the rest of season five than I thought I'd be.

Bits and pieces:

— The cast changed for the first time. It was down to four: Peta Wilson, Don Francks, Cindy Dolenc, and Eugene Robert Glazer.

— Marco O'Brien turned into a seriously good agent. Not a surprise.

— They picked up a huge, major dropped plot thread: why Nikita was framed into Section in the first place. Nikita also showed some of her earlier trademark compassion here when she couldn't handle watching O'Brien execute the young abeyance operative.

— Red Cell held a terrorist convention. That's too funny.

— In the too-ironic-for-words department, Operations told Nikita that she had been sheltered in Section.

— The early torture scene was exceptionally nasty.

— The guy who knew Nikita in Cairo was not from an earlier episode. But they brought back so many other old characters that I certainly didn't mind.

— In this season's hair report, Nikita chopped off hers. Very cute. I could interpret that as an expression of mourning (for Michael, of course), although I bet they did it because they brought Peta back and her hair was already shorter.

— That final scene with Nikita and Walter was sweet; yet another attempt by the writers to mend their fences. "Suppose I said you are the best man I've ever met, and another day in Section without you seems unbearable. Would that matter?"

— Cancelled scenes: (1) Nikita, in her new office at Center, is questioned by Michelle about her agreement with Mr. Jones. Michelle is very friendly and admiring of Nikita. Nikita brushes her off. (2) Nikita and O'Brien are prepping a mission. O'Brien is very combative at first, but then he takes her off guard by asking her out. Then he puts a knife to her throat, saying she should never drop her guard. (3) Alternate version of an Operations/Nikita scene where they are discussing the mission. The deleted version includes Quinn; the aired version did not.

Quotes:

Nikita: "He's into technology. I'm more visceral. Together, we're very effective."

Quinn: "If Michael's alive, sooner or later they'll find each other."
They'd better, is all I have to say.

Solid, and not infuriating. Three out of four stars,

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

2 comments:

  1. It is a relief to have a competent scriptwriter like Robert Cochran return to LFN. This episode has an actual plot about fighting terrorists, with an interesting mission and decent action sequences, plus excellent dialogue for Operations and a valiant attempt at maintaining continuity. Unfortunately, Cochran still has to deal with the fallout from the disastrous “Four Light Years Farther”, and these limitations hobble the episode.

    First of all, very little of the exceptional original cast remains. Cochran does a wonderful job writing scathing lines for Operations, but the episode suffers without Madeline, Birkoff, and Michael, with Walter only showing up in the last scene. Dolenc as Quinn is required to replace both Madeline and Birkoff, and the actress is simply too weak to replace Watson, and her character is too unsympathetic to replace Birkoff. O’Brien has potential, but unfortunately suffers by comparison to Michael, especially in the action sequences. It becomes quite clear that Dupuis’ grace and athleticism were pivotal to creating the illusion of Michael’s prowess, and Michael’s stylish and original methods for dispatching the enemy are sorely missed. And the less said about Mr. Jones, the better.

    As for our title character, at least Wilson seems to have overcome her Season Four apathy. Unfortunately, Cochran has to portray Nikita as a complete idiot in order to “explain” the incomprehensible revelations of “Four Light Years Farther”. Is the audience really supposed to believe that Nikita would come back and spy on Section for 3 years simply because Mr. Jones gave her his word that she would be allowed to change things? Nikita has never been so na├»ve as to negotiate without leverage before – way back in Season One’s “Missing”, she had already mastered that lesson, so it is completely unconvincing that she would trust Mr. Jones’ promise.

    It is also damaging to our heroine that the first big mission she designs is an utter failure. We would have needed to establish Nikita’s competence more thoroughly before this happened – simply talking about a “matrix” solution at Centre and correcting Quinn at the briefing is insufficient to convince the audience of her strategic ability. Come to think of it, we haven’t seen Nikita plan and execute a successful mission since “All Good Things” – are we to assume that the Gelman process scrambled her brain cells, but she has been promoted anyway?

    Favourite Scenes:
    Glazer has some marvellous dialogue in this episode. I thoroughly enjoyed the venomous re-introduction to Section One that Operations gave Nikita, and his first meeting with O’Brien is quite amusing as he compares him to Michael.

    Operations: O’Brien, your record is impressive.
    O’Brien: Thanks.
    Operations: That’s not a compliment, it’s a complaint.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ah yes, it finally feels like the early seasons of LFN!

    ReplyDelete

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