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La Femme Nikita: Getting Out of Reverse

"Michael means nothing to her any more. She's a perfect robot."

Talk about role reversal. Back in season one, Michael was the emotionless robot, following orders and manipulating Nikita. Now, Nikita is acting a lot like Michael used to, but worse.

This is classic La Femme Nikita, layers upon layers and covert times ten. We think we know what's happening, but we're never quite sure. Were Michael and Nikita playing a game? Was she faking it? I thought so at first, but then I realized that she wasn't; she was playing him. Nikita set Michael up and betrayed him. The dead giveaway for me, pun intended, was the sixteen people who died in the embassy explosion. The real Nikita would never have done this, even to save her own life, or Michael's.

Operations finally had enough and ordered cancellation for Michael. I didn't for a second believe that Davenport et al. would succeed in killing Michael, but I was still shocked by the hologram scene. All of Michael's years of exemplary service to Section, all the critical missions he carried out for them, and they threw him away like a defective toy.

The Gelman process is reversible. If the process requires maintenance, does that mean that if Michael gets Nikita off the stuff, she'll recover? Who was the original subject? That's the big question, because whoever it was, that person must be the key to saving Nikita. And Michael is certainly going to save Nikita. I must admit that I love seeing Michael as the romantic hero. Works for me.

Bits and pieces:

— A Michael/Nikita fight scene: that was new. Shades of Buffy and Angel. And Nikita was outright nasty to Michael. That was also new.

— Three months have passed. Nikita spent at least two of them at brainwashing school.

— The title is misleading. Nikita did not get out of reverse.

— See, I knew Michael could truly escape Section if he wanted to badly enough.

— Nikita's apartment was much starker, and had extensive workout equipment. And she let her plants die, which was of course, symbolic of her emotional state.

— "Well, I can smile more." This show rarely makes me laugh, but when she smiled at Walter, I laughed out loud. Michael knocking down Mick was pretty funny, too.

— Michael suddenly had his own car. Black, of course. I wonder what happened to the orange sports car at the start of season three? Yes, it was a tad more conspicuous.

— Birkoff finally crossed the line and joined Walter as Michael's accomplice. Sides have been taken.

— Mick Schtoppel was back, and providing tons of comic relief. The poor guy got beat up by both Michael and Nikita.

— In Section, Nikita wore black, black, black. On her own, she wore a metallic silvery grey, instead of her usual blue or white. Maybe they should have put Michael in blue or white this time. Although I did like his new sleeveless look because, hey, biceps.

— In this season's hair report, Nikita finally got a new look: a foot or two shorter, with layers. Looked good on her. Michael's grew out a bit (yay) as did Madeline's. And Operations went back to his normal color, but shorter.

— Cancelled scenes: (1) Nikita returns from her "vacation" and goes to see Michael in his office. She closes the door, turns on the surveillance jammer, and says she wants to talk to him. She touches his face while wearing black gloves, which is really creepy. They don't say much. He obviously knows something is wrong, evades her, and leaves. (2) Walter asks Nikita if she's all right because she's been gone for awhile. She pretty much blows him off. Michael and Walter look at each other, and Walter shrugs.


Madeline, on the emotional component: "It's unnecessary for us. But they need it." That made it sound like Madeline had also been subjected to the process. I guess with Madeline, it's her natural state.

Walter: "There you go. Reach out and touch someone."

Operations: "We were pleased with your clarity in yesterday's mission." Yeah. The one where all the innocent people died.

Four out of four stars,

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


  1. An exciting season opener that continues the story arc from Season Three’s cliffhanger – definitely one of the top three episodes of Season Four. The script never lags, and demonstrates an excellent balance of action and drama, humour and suspense. Since the story arc continues over three more episodes, this one ends on another poignant cliffhanger. The only flaw detracting from the quality of this episode is the cartoonish characterization of Operations and Madeline: it really would be necessary to give the audience a plausible justification for their extreme actions, but so far no such luck.

    Spoilers follow...

    As Operations and Madeline gloat over Nikita’s “adjustment”, Michael is still trying to figure out what’s been done to her. The scene of him and Nikita sparring is an effective shorthand to illustrate the changes in her personality: not only has Nikita’s fighting style become much more aggressive, she also uses several dirty tricks on Michael that take advantage of his concern for her. Has Nikita really been “Gelmanized”, or is she just pretending because of the constant surveillance? The proof is in the embassy mission, when she kills 16 people unnecessarily. Walter is quick to forgive her, but Michael remains suspicious and records their next conversation. With Birkoff’s help, Michael starts to put the pieces together.

    Since Nikita is now acting “like a perfect robot”, and Operations and Madeline continue to act like power-mad evil stereotypes, the audience is left with only Michael, Birkoff and Walter to relate to. Thankfully, the episode proceeds at such a swift pace that the viewer is carried along without dwelling on the fact that we are down to a bare minimum number of protagonists.

    Favourite Scenes:
    Michael and Nikita sparring: I never tire of watching Dupuis’ grace and athleticism.

    Michael clocking Mick in Nikita’s apartment: hilarious and long overdue.

    The shootout and chase scene: fantastic soundtrack as Michael stalks the runner, then leaps off a railing to bring him down.

    The haunting trailer music as Michael watches the “Gelmanized” Nikita.

    Logic Flaws:
    Why would Operations order Michael cancelled? Michael’s the best operative they have – why not capture him instead so he can be “adjusted” like Nikita to remove the emotion (ie. love) that is causing his disobedience?

    Over The Top:
    Since when does Michael have “holographic emitters” installed in his office? A little farfetched – looping the surveillance tape would have sufficed. And the hand-held blue LED that knocks people unconscious when applied to the neck is a little too “Star Trek” for the near future world of LFN. Luckily, these fantastical devices are used only briefly, and thus are easy to ignore.

  2. I don't think it's a logic flaw.
    Michael's a threat to Operations authority. I'm pretty sure that if Michael was stripped of his emotions he'd have focuced on gaining power - and most likely succeed. Now that he's distracted with Nikita his cancellation would be easier to explain to Oversight than if he was a perfect operative he used to be.
    (Sorry if I'm not very clear on my point, english is not my native languidge :)

    1. That's an interesting point.
      Though it looks like the process wasn't just about removing emotions, but also included some brainwashing. I don't think lack of emotions by itself would completely remove sense of morality from already developed person and make them loyal as Nikita was pictured here.

  3. Okay let's talk intelligence/expertise levels here. Birkoff, Michael and Madeline win hands down. The 2 strategists and the computer expert. Totally leaves Operations and Nikita, who did not have much formal education, in the dust. Walter is a nice guy but nowhere in with the other 5.
    This move by Madeline and Operations (Paul) was super dumb from my perspective. Of course the whole plot of forcing Michael to give up Nikita was not very human resource oriented to begin with and deciding to kill him now completely harmful to the organization with no upsides unless the Gelman process becomes a success. Operations is a serious meglamaniac. I do wish Nikita had not destroyed the Gemstone file that would have been quite helpful at this point.
    Instead we are left with a tremendous question of "now what?" I do hope there is no 9/11 style bombing in the near future because Section 1 has destroyed its own effectiveness for the time being.

    1. George has the Gemstone file from when he sent Hillinger to Section One in S3 create chaos.


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