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La Femme Nikita: In Between

"Every once in awhile, someone turns up where they shouldn't."

Madeline was married?

As bad as what Operations did to Charles Sand, Madeline was even worse. How could she just kill her own husband like that, out of the blue, and after such a long separation? I absolutely don't believe that it was something she had to do to protect Section. Was there a David and Bathsheba thing going on nine years ago? Did Operations leave Sand out in the cold so that he could have Madeline?

And what about the future? Madeline knew that Operations lied to her about Sand, and might have truly believed that she had no choice but to kill her own husband. Will this be the wedge that finally drives them apart?

This week's villain, Abel Goellner, was sort of fun. He showed the same curiosity that many show about Michael and Nikita and whether or not they're involved, but his interest wasn't prurient; he just wanted to see if he could deal with Nikita instead. And was that a good fakeout on Nikita's part, or what? Michael actually showed some emotion when Goellner decided not to kill him. Was he really freaked, or was he acting?

I think Michael was having a hard time letting Nikita go. He was pushing her away because he had to ("You'll have to stop coming to me. I'm no longer your mentor"), and at the same time, resisting the fact that Operations had her on "special assignment." "Nikita performs best when she's scripted"? What a bunch of bull. She did just fine right here in this episode, when Goellner was ready to kill Michael.

In other news, Carla was back, and with a boyfriend... who was, interestingly enough, one of the "twins." And we got a last minute cliffhanger: Carla is a player. Who is she working for? Oversight? Red Cell? Another terrorist organization?

Bits and pieces:

— It's only been three or four months since Nikita got back, which means season two was compressed.

— Michael was arrested in 1984. When did he enter Section? Would he have known Sand? Was that an oops? Maybe not. Maybe he was on death row for awhile, exhausting appeals. Do they do that in France?

— The heartlessness that Madeline showed to Sarris, an operative who was only doing his job, was echoed in what Operations did to Sand.

— Nikita wore some gorgeous clothes in this episode, including a knock-out leather coat. And Michael wore a couple of lovely suits.

— Madeline's brief flirtation with black hair is already over. She was still big with the black, though. Sometimes she reminds me of an adult Wednesday Addams.


Sand: "I like a woman who knots her own tie. Shows an independent nature."
I guess he does like independent women, if he married Madeline.

Walter: "Why don't you go out? Have a good time? Find a man?"

I enjoyed Walter's astonishment at Nikita's predicament (being caught between Operations and Madeline). "Are you telling me that you have separate confidences with both of them?"

Very good. Three out of four stars,

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


  1. I have a mixed reaction to this episode. Among the positive aspects: an intelligent and unique threat, a flamboyant villain, gorgeous sets, an engaging undercover mission, and a nasty dilemma for Nikita. Plus our heroine has her safety net (ie. Michael) pulled out from under her, yet still manages to successfully navigate a confounding and dangerous labyrinth of deceit in order to uncover a despicable secret agenda.

    However, since the script has minimal action, the director seems to feel the need to compensate by going overboard with tilting the camera crazily in almost every scene. This exaggerated technique is so disorienting that I am unable to give proper attention to the convoluted plot and fine performances. Finally, the most problematic aspect of this episode is that the conclusion is utterly confusing to me, and seems to contradict both Nikita’s established character and Madeline’s power within Section.

    Spoilers follow...

    While Michael and Nikita pose as shady accountants vying for Goellner’s business, Nikita is secretly contacted by Sand, a former Section One operative. In order to keep Michael out of the loop, Operations promotes Nikita so she must report directly and only to Operations. Suspicious of Operations’ motives, Nikita wisely investigates on her own. With Birkoff’s help, she discovers that the man Operations wants killed is actually Madeline’s husband, believed dead nine years ago.

    Already uneasy about hanging a fellow operative out to dry, the discovery that Operations deliberately exposed Sand and has been burying his communications ever since pushes Nikita to inform Madeline of the truth. Madeline then asks Nikita to invent some pretext on site to convince Michael to bring Sand back to Section alive, in spite of the mission profile. Now Nikita must decide between conflicting directives from the two most dangerous and powerful people in Section, with either option possibly proving fatal. Since he is no longer officially her mentor, the only advice Michael can give her is to “think it through”. Unfortunately, the way this dilemma is resolved is completely mystifying to me as a viewer.

    Continuity Issues:
    In the final raid, Nikita signals Sand to flee from the initial assault. But when she pursues him, she raises her weapon and tells him that “I have orders to kill you.” It really looks as if Nikita is considering killing Sand instead of inventing a reason to keep him alive, and only Madeline’s timely interruption prevents this. Since Madeline’s presence on site was not part of the instructions she discussed with Nikita in her office, and Madeline even apologizes to Nikita for putting her in this position, I have to assume that Nikita did not know that Madeline would intervene. This means that Nikita was ready to pull the trigger on Sand, which contradicts Nikita’s own previous statements that she doesn’t value her own life enough to kill innocent people (see “Mercy”, “Soul Sacrifice”). Now suddenly her fear of Operations is sufficient to kill Sand in cold blood? This seems completely out of character.

    As if Nikita’s actions aren’t confusing enough, I really don’t understand why Madeline kills her own husband. The explanation she gives Nikita doesn’t hold up – couldn’t Sand’s absence from Section be explained as an extended undercover mission? Madeline should have enough power to enforce such a ruse, so why did she shoot him anyway? Maybe Madeline believes that, since Operations clearly wants Sand dead, he would just find another, more painful, way to kill him? In the end, Madeline doesn’t let Operations know that she is aware of the truth, and I would like to think that she is planning some form of revenge for the loss of her husband.

    As for Michael, his concern over Nikita’s upgrade is well-founded. Operations has always disliked Nikita, and removing her from Michael’s protection will make her even more vulnerable. His argument that “Nikita performs best when scripted” is one that he hopes will convince Operations to maintain the status quo.

  2. Talk about being in between a rock and a hard place, only worse! I didn't envy Nikita's predicament at all.

    I have to agree that I love the costumes here. I love a woman who can don menswear with style and aplomb. I love Michael whatever he wears (or not wear). Both actors can wear sacks and still be beautiful, though.

  3. Haven't seen this one yet (after it was on TV 10 years ago) but:

    "-- Michael was arrested in 1984. When did he enter Section? ... Maybe he was on death row for awhile, exhausting appeals. Do they do that in France?"

    No, because there is no death penalty in France, not since 1981.

  4. Just want to jump in here and respond to Serena's two questions. My own biggest puzzlement is why Nikita allowed Sands to break formation first if she had already decided to follow Operations' orders, but given her shaking hand perhaps she had hoped he would be able to talk her out of it. Motivations are often confused and contradictory in real life, so why not here? However, I think potentially executing Charles Sands cannot be compared to Nikita's choices in Mercy, Innocent etc. since Sand is NOT innocent by those standards. He is either a skillful manipulator who turned his coat or he is (still) a long-standing Section operative working the job. I don't find it unbelievable that Nikita would be ready to kill him under threat of her own death, even if she felt bad/hesitant about it.

    As for Madelaine's actions, bringing Sands in would have been difficult and would have required her exercising her force to circumvent Operations directly - something we have never seen her do. More to the point, I think it is implicit that Madelaine has changed over the last 9 years, that she can't imagine returning to a man she gave up for dead so long ago, and, most crucially, allowing him to live would be creating a weakness for her in Section - potential leverage against her. I cannot see Madelaine tolerating that. Not to mention, as we have already seen, Madelaine genuinely values the work of Section One and sees Operations as being the best man to lead it. She would not choose to act directly against him for a purely personal reason. That is simply not who she is.

    Love both your reviews on each episode! I'm in the middle of a re-watch myself so it's great to have the accompaniment.

    I liked Sand and maybe I'm being naive, but I don't think he would have endangered Section had he returned. The problems would have involved the morale of the others knowing a high-level operative with amazing record could be treated that way. He spent nine years sending messages for help. That's hope and faith in your organization. He gave the villain info that wasn't detrimental to Section. He actually looked worried when the bodyguard pulled the gun on Michael during the first meeting (Also someone commented on Michael looking relieved or emotional when he was spared - I think he had to do that because he was playing an accountant). And the only reason Section was able to get to the villain was Sand vouched for Michael and Nikita. He saw it as his last chance to come in from the cold.

    Given his age and the length of time he was away, he came from a different era. Section and Operations have changed since he left and it made me think of a time Operations told Madeleine that he missed the Cold War because things were more straight forward.

    Love Michael, but that "What's your problem?" directed at Nikita as they went on the last mission sounded petulant and not like him. He's the master of saying as few words as possible and sounding impatient, not annoyed especially with her.

  6. Three or four month since she back, just can't work. Quite some episodes ago she had her 6 month evaluation. 3-4 months back in the apartment? Even that would be tight.


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