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La Femme Nikita: Into the Looking Glass

"Because I can't live without you."

This episode was like a complicated chess game. Michael, the master manipulator, finally checkmated Operations and saved his queen. Sympathy, fear, love – yes, let's stimulate those obstructing emotions. For awhile, I was afraid they'd disappoint us and Michael would go for fear or sympathy. But no.

Michael put in some serious time here nursing Nikita, and very tenderly, too. He even had to spit medicine directly into her mouth. (I loved that; I could just watch it over and over again.) And of course, passionate sex in an isolation chamber takes health care to a whole new level. They've always danced around the love scenes before and let us use our imagination. This was the first time they gave us an erotic, explicit Michael/Nikita love scene, and it was something special. Nikita appeared to be submissive (well, she was still in a lot of pain), and Michael a lot more intense and controlling than we've ever seen him in other sexual situations. I think I was right about him being a top.

The title was a reference to Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, of course, but I also think it was about the glass barrier "look but don't touch" imagery they use so often to symbolize the way Section keeps Michael and Nikita separated. Michael did finally get through Nikita's barriers, though, and hallelujah.

And now, Nikita has to play robot girl. How long will it be until Operations and Madeline figure it out?

While Michael was channeling his inner nurse, Birkoff and Walter were channeling Michael in the field. (Walter: "Relax. Breathe." Birkoff: "I think I'm going to throw up.") They did beautifully, too; this may have been their finest moment. Loved the hat.

Bits and pieces:

— We got another Michael/Nikita fight scene. And later, he managed to remain completely expressionless while she squeezed the bullet wound in his arm. How stoic. Typical Michael.

— I loved the way Michael got out of the handcuffs as much as the med spitting and the isolation chamber love scene. And Walter and Birkoff and the hat. And Michael and Nikita surreptitiously touching fingers in the end.

— When Nikita told Madeline she had faked responding to Michael (sort of like faking an orgasm, but more so), I thought for a moment that it might be true. And then I remembered that she had a gun on Michael at one point. She certainly would have killed him if she had been faking it. She wasn't faking it.

— Michael managed to come up with two more vehicles: a van and a motorcycle.

— It was very kind of Adrian to send that message. Gene coded. Scary.

— Who did Michael get to impersonate Nikita? Not important, I guess.

— The sleeveless shirt of goodness was back.

— The Devos returned, and they had a new season four look, too. In the teaser, Nikita actually made a yummy face while observing torture. I found the contrasting pigtails to be rather funny.

— Peta Wilson was wonderful in this episode, by the way.


Walter: "You scared?"
Birkoff: "You can't imagine."

Madeline: "You're not afraid to die. Are you, Michael?"
Michael: "No. You've seen to that."

Nikita: "I'd rather die than go back now."
Michael: "Don't say that."
Nikita: "Why?"
Michael: "Because I can't live without you."

This episode is an absolute gem. It's also my favorite in the entire series. Five out of four stars,

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


  1. By far the best episode of Season Four: a compelling conclusion to the Michael and Nikita arc, plus the best story for Birkoff and Walter in the entire series. The well-structured script cleverly juggles several plot threads, while creating an enormous amount of suspense as the missions overlap and build to their respective climaxes. Both Dupuis and Wilson give mesmerizing performances in the struggle to deprogram Nikita, culminating in the most erotic and the most intimate scenes ever filmed between these two characters. As well, Ferguson garners even more audience sympathy as Birkoff risks his life to help his friends, while Walter’s old field operative skills prove to be surprisingly sharp. We even get to take down a terrorist this episode, though the main villains of the piece are still Operations and Madeline. Hopefully, now that this story arc is complete, we can get back to fighting terrorists full-time.

    Spoilers follow...

    The teaser begins with Nikita completely transformed into a robotic and remorseless killing machine. As Operations and Madeline gloat that the Gelman process will become irreversible in just seven more days, Michael is given one last chance to save Nikita in the form of a delayed message from Adrian. Now it becomes a race against time as Michael has to deprogram Nikita without Operations and Madeline finding out, while simultaneously handling the Terragamo mission. Thank goodness Michael is a strategic genius ;-)

    I really enjoyed the interlocking storylines, as first Michael has to contrive a way to isolate Nikita, then kidnap her without notice, then administer detox and “stimulate obstructed emotions”. He is forced to pass the Terragamo mission on to Birkoff, and the way Birkoff rises to the occasion despite his fear made me want to cheer! Of course, while this is going on, Operations and Madeline are growing suspicious, increasing the danger for our heroes and the suspense for the audience.

    Though I did panic for a moment when Nikita so effectively fooled Madeline, I was reassured by the final scene of Michael and Nikita discreetly touching hands (a romantic gesture copied in season 4 of “24" between Jack and Audrey). After all the risk and effort by Michael, Birkoff and Walter, at long last it looks as if we finally get the real Nikita back.

    Favourite Scenes:
    Michael forcing the medicine into Nikita’s mouth with a kiss: according to the book “Inside Section One”, this expression of violent sensuality was Dupuis’ idea. I’m just amazed by this, that Dupuis knew his character so well that he could come up with such an original way to express both Michael’s love for Nikita, and Michael’s powerful, controlling nature. Kudos!

    Birkoff and Walter facing off with Terragamo: audience admiration for Birkoff soars as he pulls off this dangerous exchange without throwing up ;-) and then humourously outsmarts the bad guy (“Oops, I may have spilled some while I was pouring it into the vial.”). And thank goodness Walter is still a great shot ;-)

    Both scenes in the isolation chamber: the gorgeous and tastefully filmed erotic love scene, followed by the poignant scene where Michael and Nikita have to gather their strength to return to Section hell.

    Continuity Issues:
    I have to assume that Michael kept one of the latex Nikita masks from the previous episode “View of the Garden”, and gave it to one of Adrian’s remaining operatives (since Adrian must have ordered them to work with Michael when they were cooperating to save George). This is the only way I can make sense of how Michael arranged the substitute for Nikita.

    How the heck did Walter and Michael smuggle that enormous mesh isolation chamber out of Section?

    The Michael/Nikita fight scene isn’t convincing: it’s obvious that it is Wilson versus a masked stunt double. Even without seeing his face, Dupuis is recognizable because of the way he moves, and the stunt double could not imitate Dupuis’ physicality, making that plot point unintentionally ambiguous.

  2. Yes, my favourite episode of the whole series. The chemistry between Nikita and Michael was insane and the several plots were great. Walter and Birkhoff on a field mission was fun. I like these two together.

    I have to compliment both of you, Billie and Serena. The LFN reviews were the first I read on this site and made me come back for more series. So much attention to detail, funny and smart. It really adds to watching a series.

    Serena your comments are reviews on their own. And I enjoy reading them now in retrospect. You paid attention to things Billie didn´t mention and that is interesting, especially when you add things you know from the BTS book.

  3. Erm, I can't believe I didn't comment on this episode review. It's one of my favorite episodes of the series!

    The uppermost feeling I had after this episode ended was overwhelming relief. I was extremely glad that Michael succeeded in bringing Nikita back to him. I loathed robo-Nikita! She's a betrayal of everything I love about her. Not to mention, Michael was miserable without the true Nikita by his side. Enough is enough.

    Your reviews for this episode are outstanding, Billie and Serena! They encapsulate everything for my viewing pleasure. I salute you both. Thank you!

  4. What I don't understand - is why time and time again Michael and Nikita return to Section instead of going rogue? It's so frustrating because there's no compelling reason provided for it. Others (like Gelman himself) have gone rogue before and were at least semi-successful at it. Why would they risk their relationship and subject themselves to the machinations of Operations and Madeline ad nauseam?

  5. First I have to say, I recently discovered this site and am I loving it! LFN was my guilty pleasure and I am having a blast reliving it. Oh, if only Peta and Roy would be wooed back to a La Femme Nikita TV movie event...but, I digress.

    Billie, your review is perfection - as was this ep. Since the series debuted, my hope for scenes like this between Michael and Nikita kept me glued every Sunday night.

    Michael was drool-worthy during this whole ep. Pissed, confident, and take charge. Billie, I'm with you, that mouth-to-mouth medicine scene..heaven. And the way he held Nikita in the chamber and let out a relieved sigh knowing she was really back, just wow.

    Peta rocked this ep too. My favorite part was the way she just gently laid her head against Michael's as he was holding her in the chamber. She knew what was ahead and she just let him be her rock. Such electric chemistry between these two!

  6. Finally! Our valiant knight has gotten his lady back with the help of her 2 loyal retainers.

    I had a different reaction to the medicine administration than other viewers on here. My main concern was how the hell was Michael going to get that into her if she was going to keep spitting it out. Then my feeling was oh good he's gotten it done. Clever. As for the violence some are concerned with, come on the marshal arts expert and assassin didn't apply any more force than necessary to achieve the objective.

    Michael is easy to understand. He doesn't ever change. Once committed he will persist until the task at hand is successfully completed. To ensure success he will control as much of the process as possible. 

    So Nikita, in this episode's example, doesn't get to be "on top" until after the "mission objectives" have been successfully achieved. Then she is shown laying on top of him. I will grant you given his personality that he will probably prefer to lead in this dance but given his extensive experience he will do "whatever it takes". 

    One of my favorite parts of the scene is, after the initial physical addiction withdrawal is over, when he picks her up and carries her over to sit in the window sill to look outside and listen to the birds.

    The creativity of how to show a sexually intimate scene without any visuals being removed by network censors was perfect.

    The Birkoff/Walter mission scenes were also great and the scoring was fun. I just continue to have the pet peeve of operatives (Walter, Birkoff and Nikita) leaving money all over the place. Either bring it back to Section 1 or stash it away outside as a retirement plan as Michael has done with his farm house in Belgium. 

    Yes I agree with Billie a 5 out of 4 star rating for this one.

  7. Billie,

    This was also my favorite episode of the series and I completely echo your sentiments in every way. I may have re-read this review a few times ;) thank you for the amazing reviews!

  8. This episode was amazing, nothing to add really to what was already discussed here.
    Just some thoughts related to the secondary plot:
    Was it really so simple to replace someone on a mission - no backup team to ask questions, no monitoring? Especially since they sent Michael specifically to keep him busy... And nobody noticed Birkoff and Walter missing?
    In 4.02 Birkoff refuses to help until Michael points out that Nikita is just the beginning (his hesitation was quite understandable, people often participating in dubious activities don't live long in Section). This time it was extremely brave: neither him nor Walter are in a shape for combat, and any bullet wound would raise huge questions.


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