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La Femme Nikita: New Regime

Madeline: "Be careful, Nikita."
Nikita: "Of him, or of you?"

Madeline's devotion to Operations, as it was revealed here, was stunning. She was more than ready to execute a roomful of doctors for his sake, and no, I don't think she was bluffing. Not for a moment.

Petrosian, played by the wonderful Nigel Bennett, was such a jovial wild card of evil. I thought at first that he wanted Nikita for his second so that he could sleep with her, but no. He wanted someone young and impressionable that he could mold into his very own Madeline, which was fine as far as it went. But he seriously misjudged Nikita.

There is no way Nikita could ever do Madeline's job. Nikita is certainly smart, she has courage and nerve, and she did a fine job at tactical. But let's face it, compassion is Nikita's middle name; she's not even in the ballpark when it comes to ruthless. She wasn't comfortable spying on her friends, either. You can't be at Madeline's level and still have friends.

So now that Jurgen is dead, we were back to the status quo: Nikita loves Michael and wants a relationship, and he's keeping her at arm's length for reasons of his own. I thought Petrosian bribing Nikita with romantic access to Michael was a hoot. My favorite Michael moment was in the bar scene, when he said to Nikita, "Am I under orders to please you?" I also loved the way she came back at him with, "Of course," and then lost her nerve and added softly, "not." She accused Michael of being uncomfortable with her having power over him, and there might be truth in that, since Michael is something of a control freak. But I also think Michael just knew that Petrosian's reign would very likely be short.

I'm not really into fashion at all, but I've noticed that the way Nikita is dressed is almost always symbolic of her position within Section. In this episode, the entire time she was Petrosian's protege, Nikita wore dark colors and heavy makeup, and her hair was upswept and professional. After she sided with Madeline against Petrosian, she was "herself" again in the very next scene, in blue, with her hair down.

Bits and pieces:

— The assassination attempt in the briefing room was terrific. Completely unexpected and shocking.

— Nigel Bennett, who played Petrosian, was also in the episode "Rescue," where he praised Nikita and called Michael incompetent.

— In the final scene, Operations and Petrosian (is "Petrosian" an anagram for "Operations?") bid each other a cordial farewell as if it were a chess match instead of life and death.

— Nikita thought that Michael was actually concerned about Operations. I wasn't so sure.

— Michael's team was referred to here as the "Red Team." Was that new, or did I just miss it in earlier episodes?

— The mission with the snow and the high wire was oddly beautiful.

— In the bar, there was a guy with dark hair, mustache/goatee and glasses in the foreground. I think this is the first time we see one of the "twins" that figure in the final episodes of season two. (Just a tiny spoiler there.)

— In the same scene, another one of the bar patrons is director Jon Cassar.

— The Torture Geeks, or Devos, were back. I thought the interrogation was over. Were they there just to execute the guy?

— Walter: "Any time anyone in this place starts talking about mom, you know he's got problems."

— Cancelled scene: The deleted scene introduces Kronen, who later shoots Operations.

Another good one. Three out of four stars,

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


  1. A strong episode that tempts Nikita to the join the Dark Side: a trio of missions to track down and destroy a prototype nerve gas punctuate what is really a story of a power struggle within Section itself. Michael features in some beautiful and memorable action sequences, and we get some excellent performances as Petrosian returns, Walter’s reflexes prove to be pretty amazing for a man his age, and Madeline moves up another notch on the scary scale. Even Sykes, who might as well have been wearing a red shirt, proves to have some dignity in the end. But Wilson shines as Nikita grapples with the ruthlessness required of her new promotion, and has to decide if the promise of a better life is worth the price.

    Spoilers follow...

    I really bought into the possibility that Nikita could be tempted by power, because what she later says to Petrosian is in fact the truth: he is the only one who has kept his promises and never lied to her. It is also nice to see Nikita use her intelligence for a change and not just instinct or emotion to discover Petrosian’s complicity after he lets slip a vital clue during his lecture (“Everyone has a weakness... You find a weakness, you control the person.”) As the episode progresses, it gradually dawns on Nikita that keeping her new power would cost her everything she wanted that power for: to protect her friends, to have a relationship with Michael, to avoid killing in cold blood. When she is forced o choose sides, it seems to me that what really decides her is her abhorrence for what she would have to do in Madeline’s position, since it really is a toss-up between Operations and Petrosian as to who is worse.

    Favourite scenes:
    Because Nikita is removed from the field, Michael practically carries the action sequences alone in this episode. Thankfully, he’s more than up for the task, and we get some exciting stunts and beautiful camera work to boot. In the embassy mission, the high-rise “slide-for-life” stunt in the falling snow is stunning: just how did the LFN team manage to do this on such a limited budget? And I love the dark humour, as Nikita says, “Michael, the only thing we know is that the disk is hidden in a book.” Cut to: pan of library, walls filled with books! But Michael always keeps his cool even when things go wrong, which saves the second mission as well.

    I love that I was caught by surprise that it was Michael at the bar. Great reveal, and further temptation for Nikita! Petrosian sure has her number.

    Continuity Issues:
    Why did Nikita remove her earpiece when the kidnapping mission went wrong? Isn’t that exactly when tactical oversight would be most needed, to try to salvage the operation when mistakes are made? Luckily, Michael pulled it off anyway.

    I’m guessing that Nikita used the holiday she earned at the end of “Approaching Zero” to purge her anger at Michael for using and deceiving her, because in this episode, she’s trying to connect with him again.

  2. "...Nikita loves Michael and wants a relationship, and he's keeping her at arm's length for reasons of his own."

    Billie - When you wrote this review, I don't know if you already knew the Season 3 story arc because if you didn't, it's prescient.

    At the time, it totally frustrated me that Michael was doing this to Nikita. Given the fact that there are reasons for Michael's actions (or lack of them), I still couldn't understand why. Suffice it to say, the reason was a shock once it was revealed.

    'And I love the dark humour, as Nikita says, “Michael, the only thing we know is that the disk is hidden in a book.” Cut to: pan of library, walls filled with books! But Michael always keeps his cool even when things go wrong, which saves the second mission as well.'

    Serena - Your comments about the dark humor sprinkled throughout LFN is one of the things I love about the show. This particular scene made me snort in amusement and still tickles me when I see it. How very Michael it is to just continue on with the job at hand.

  3. I love this analysis of la femme Nikita. I grew up watching it (wishing so badly I could be her lol) and enjoy the subtle tones that I now pick up on (her wardrobe referencing her position etc) love this !


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