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La Femme Nikita: Not Was

Michael: "I must be a real jerk."
Nikita: "Actually, I'm very fond of you."

Yes, amnesia plots can be fun. This one certainly was, because we probably got a glimpse of the man Michael could have been if he hadn't ended up in prison, and in Section.

Michael, who looked younger and more innocent here, was such a sweetheart, so charming, and so open about expressing his feelings for Nikita. We saw every emotion flit across his face, from affection to confusion to panic to despair. Nikita stayed calm and professional, but note that she was also finally free to care for Michael and express her affection for him; she touched his hair repeatedly, caressed his face, and even kissed his hand. Did she wish he could be like this forever? Or does she prefer the real Michael, just as he is?

There were so many fun scenes that it was hard to choose just one, but my favorite Michael moment was the scene in bed in Nikita's apartment, when Michael asked Nikita about his friends and family, and referred to his former self as a real jerk. I also loved the scene in Michael's office, when he was in a panic about what to do. And then there was the nightclub opening scene, where Nikita walked up to Michael and took hold of his lapels, and he took her hand and slowly dragged it down his body to his... gun. Understated sexy. Or would that be overstated?

This week's Most Obvious Symbolism was when Nikita rescued Michael, he was half-naked and she put her own jacket on him, literally covering his body as well as covering for him in Section. And Michael's hair was loose, symbolizing that his real self was finally unrestrained.

In other news, we learned something new about Madeline: she showed a surprising weakness for good-looking young men, and Operations didn't like it one little bit. Madeline was clearly aware throughout of what Operations was doing, and didn't rise to the bait. Lucky Russell got to live awhile longer only because Operations allowed business concerns to trump his jealousy. I believe this was the first reference to the term "valentine op," something we know Michael does particularly well.

Bits and pieces:

— Michael now has a last name (Samuelle), a birthplace (Marseilles), and a date of birth (1965, which would make him 33 years old). Why Michael and not Michel? And since he had amnesia, why wasn't he speaking French at least some of the time?

— Amnesiac Michael said that he had strange dreams. In "War," Michael's file said that he was prone to nightmares.

— Michael is a "class five operative"? What's that?

— Michael's cover name in the "library" mission sequence was "Mr. Bonniere." This must have been a nod to Rene Bonniere, who directed this episode as well as many others.

— In the same scene, we saw the "twins" exchanging a newspaper and something else that I couldn't quite see, as if they were passing the surveillance baton.

— This time, Nikita was the one to turn on the jamming device in Michael's office.

— Nikita again turned to Walter for help, and trusted him with Michael's life.

— Michael was shot again. How many times does that make?

— Christopher the Section chef (that's chef, not chief) was mentioned again.

— This week's villain, Orlando Perez, was both ordinary-looking and utterly revolting. What was he doing with the three shaved, naked people? On second thought, I don't want to know.

— Loved Nikita's exotic chauffeur uniform. In the "library" mission scene, Michael wore a green shirt and a particularly ugly tie, with a pair of particularly ugly glasses. And he was wearing white at the end, like he did in "War." Maybe that's standard Section hospital garb.

— Cancelled scenes: (1) In the van before Nikita takes Michael into Section; she briefs Michael on how to act. "Just stay vague. Be terse." (2) A conversation between Madeline and Walter, who are trying to figure out what Perez was doing with the three shaved, naked, and now dead prisoners.


Nikita: "Please don't."
Michael: "Why not?"
Nikita: "Because this is not who you are."
I dunno... I think I would have gone for it, Nikita.

Operations: "Let them remain convinced that they fooled us."
Why, I wonder? Because it wouldn't have accomplished anything? Or to keep the upper hand?

Nikita: "These people are trying to kill you."
Michael: "Why?"
Nikita: "Because you're their enemy. You're an anti-terrorist operative."
Michael (giggles): "No, I'm not."

Michael: "Did we ever dance?"
Nikita: "Only under orders."
C'mon, Nikita. More than that. What about "Escape" and "Mercy?"

I loved this one. Four stars,

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


  1. Another marvellous episode, one of the top three of Season Two. Though the “amnesia” concept can be cliche, LFN’s version is a flawless classic: the plot is solid, the villain is uniquely creepy, and each successive scene ratchets up the suspense for the audience and the jeopardy for our heroes. Plus, we get strong contributions from all of our Section regulars, and loads of new “Section-speak” to enjoy. Still, the most engaging aspect of the episode is that Michael and Nikita are forced into a reversal of their usual roles, with Nikita protecting the debilitated Michael.

    Spoilers follow...

    The lavish visuals in the teaser fulfill a dual purpose: Michael gets to “insert” a little flirtation with Nikita into the mission profile, and the audience is reminded of Michael’s habitual prowess as he knocks a bad guy down the stairs with a tiny push, and then kills two more by shooting from the hip without even aiming. This is the last we’ll see of “class-five operative” skills from Michael, as his subsequent capture by Perez erases his memory of everything except a functional knowledge of English.

    Without even an identity, Michael is immediately plunged into a deadly scenario to escape Perez’ clutches. He reacts as an ordinary person would, cowering in fear at the hail of bullets, then suffering from shock after having to shoot his assailant. Nikita quickly grasps that she has to get Michael out of Section as quickly as possible, and brings him to her apartment in the hopes that the drugs will wear off.

    The scenes in Nikita’s apartment are mesmerizing. Dupuis plays Michael completely transformed by the loss of the brutal and traumatic experiences that have forged him into a tightly-controlled, highly-disciplined, and ruthless operative. This “young and innocent” version of Michael may be frightened by the world he finds himself in, but he seems to have the uncanny ability to pick up on Nikita’s feelings for him. For a man without memory or identity, he is quite confident in pursuing a dance, and even a kiss, with a woman he just “met” hours ago ;-) The soundtrack as Michael and Nikita dance is just perfect: a slightly off-kilter, carousel-like melody that echoes Michael’s sweet but damaged state. As for Nikita, she valiantly resists taking advantage of her now-helpless mentor, but Wilson shows us just how much the “young” Michael pulls at her heartstrings.

    When they are called back into Section, the tension mounts as Michael stumbles through a planning session, then fumbles on the mission. The suspense becomes excruciating as Operations catches on that Michael is no longer functional, and the audience fears that he will not survive the mission without his customary skills. Once again, it is Nikita to the rescue, both to salvage the mission and to save Michael’s life. The final scenes in Section medical are heartbreaking, as we share Nikita’s grief over having to lose the “young” Michael in order to keep him from being cancelled.

    Continuity Issues:
    The first deleted scene included on the DVD for this episode should never have been cut, as it explains what I would consider to be an important plot point. This scene occurs after Nikita rescues Michael from Perez, and she coaches him (rather humourously) on how to act in Section so as not to arouse suspicion that he has lost his memory. On first viewing of this episode, it actually bothered me that Michael seemed to know how to act when they met Operations in Van Access. Now I know it is because Nikita gave him some pointers beforehand.

    The assumption that Nikita makes, that Section will kill Michael if they find out he’s lost his memory, is likely incorrect. (She made a similar mistaken assumption in “Voices”.) Even if Michael’s memory were lost permanently, Section knows his potential. It makes much more sense that Section would simply retrain Michael as if he were a new recruit rather than kill him.

  2. This is one of my favorite episodes in Season 2. And judging from Billie's and Serena's reviews, there's no need to say more.

  3. One of my favorite episodes!

    SO much fun! Watching Michael in panic mode is a rare thing and such a hoot!

    Nikita: "Please don't."
    Michael: "Why not?"
    Nikita: "Because this is not who you are."
    I dunno... I think I would have gone for it, Nikita

    I understand why she didn’t go for it, if she did, she’d be taking advantage of him. Michael she loves isn’t ‘this’ version of him.

  4. I loved this one, but my heart broke for Nikita. It must have been so tempting to just give in to the fantasy. She proved what a great friend she is, however, by not succumbing and simply helping him.

    The final scene brought tears to my eyes. I believe Michael remembers the past three days, but can't act on them. The way Nikita pulls away from him just wrecked me.


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