Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

La Femme Nikita: Psychic Pilgrim

Michael: "I thought it would be an opportunity for you to improve your field mechanics."

Yes, we know that if Nikita and Michael got married and moved to the 'burbs, there would be no series. But still, there was something satisfying and delicious about this episode.

Nikita and Michael have a relationship that is hidden and unacknowledged. This is the second episode in which they expressed their feelings for each other while undercover, pretending to be married... and interestingly enough, in front of an audience. (The other was the first season episode, "Love.") When Nikita told Michael that she loved him, and that she didn't expect his support but she did expect his love, we could tell that she wasn't acting. When Michael told Nikita the morning after that "it was a mistake," we knew he meant it literally as well.

Nikita always protests when she is given an unreasonable order, but she didn't so much as blink when Madeline ordered her to have sex with Michael. I think that at this point, Nikita was just willing to take anything from Michael that she could get. What was interesting was that, despite the fact that he is exceptionally strong-willed and has said no to Nikita more than once, Michael didn't even attempt to resist her; he immediately succumbed. Saying no to her could possibly have endangered their cover, but I think Michael could have found a way around it if he had wanted to do so. What would have happened if Madeline had instructed Michael, not Nikita, of the "necessity" that they have "intimate relations"? Would Michael have followed through, or decided not to risk it?


My favorite Michael moment was when he told Nikita that he chose her for the assignment so that she could improve her "field mechanics" and that they were convincing as two people in love; he gave her a look that meant something totally opposite from what was coming out of his mouth. In the closing scene, Michael confirmed (sorta) that he does indeed love Nikita ("What you need to hear, I can't tell you yet.") And that he must keep a part of himself hidden, that he has no choice. It is likely that at this point, the writers had already decided on a certain future plot line and that was where this statement came from.

I'm going to drag myself away from Michael and Nikita now, because that wasn't the only good thing about this episode. We also had two other plotlines, both involving parents. Making Armel such a good father gave him more dimension than the usual villain, and I could feel his pain during all of the "psychic" scenes with Nikita. Nikita's final gift to Armel was touching, and I thought Joaquim de Almeida, who played Armel, did a wonderful job conveying such strong emotion while bound and gagged.



Although we cannot know for sure because she was senile and because we were only seeing her through the lens of Madeline's perceptions, it appeared that Madeline's mother never forgave Madeline for Sarah's death – accidental or not. Poor Madeline. Imagine growing up with that insane level of guilt. It explains a lot about her.

Bits and pieces:

— Personally, I think it takes serious chutzpah to make love knowing that there are several people watching you. Especially when you work with some of them. Did Birkoff eavesdrop? I'd like to think that he tactfully left his station.

— Operations again made an exception for Madeline that he would make for no one else.

— Nikita appeared to be topless during that second bedroom scene.

— As Michael was "leaving for work," I could see one of the "twins" walking his dog.

— Roy Dupuis had a visible bruise on his thumb. Yeah, I know, I'm obsessed.

— Michael in normal business clothes: yum. In the final scene, Nikita wore white. (And dreads. White people shouldn't do dreads.) Plus, she and Michael both looked out of place in Section wearing their undercover clothes. Apply any appropriate symbolism to these observations that you like.

— Cancelled scene: An extended version of the opener, with Michael and Nikita as a couple talking after their dinner party guests have departed. Michael has had a little too much to drink. Very cute. In fact, this is one of my two favorite deleted scenes. (The other is in episode 5.7.)

Quotes:

Walter: "So. How's things in the suburbs?"
Nikita: "Normal."
Walter: "Yeah. We all remember normal."

Madeline: "The average couple who have been married under five years have intimate relations at least twice a week. Also, I would suggest a small argument, perhaps about finances or in-laws."
This scene was such a hoot. I loved it.

Another lesson in Section terse. In the closing scene, Nikita asked Michael how he felt about what happened between them. Michael's response, at first, was one word: "Conflicted."

Four stars, of course. This is one of my favorite episodes,

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

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

A fantastic episode, engrossing from start to finish, and one of the top three from Season Two in spite of there being very little in the way of typical action sequences. Instead, this episode showcases a superbly-structured plot, as details of the elaborate undercover mission are slowly revealed, and the layers of deception are peeled back to expose a completely unique method of exploiting the villain’s weakness. Simultaneously, Nikita’s suspicions of Section are aroused, and she intelligently pursues her own investigation until she uncovers the surprising truth. In addition to all the fascinating plot twists and turns, the audience is treated to plenty of Michael and Nikita chemistry, plus strong contributions from all of our Section regulars and an excellent performance from the guest star.

Spoilers follow...

Talk about a teaser! Right away the viewer is sucked into the story, wondering what kind of bizarro alternate universe has Michael and Nikita playing house. We are assured that it is indeed an undercover mission right after the credits, but we are still dying to learn more as Madeline says about Armel: “He has vulnerability.”

What follows is a truly original method of infiltrating Armel’s home, as Section subverts the villain’s technology and presents Armel with exactly what he wants to see. Wilson gives an extraordinary performance both undercover, faking the psychic channelling, and in her interactions within Section as she tries to pry the truth out of Michael and Madeline. Nikita displays her intelligence as she questions the faster-than-real-time intelligence she’s receiving, asks Madeline how Luis died, and finds out from Walter where the “buffered hostiles” are held. The writing was particularly sharp here, as clues are indeed planted throughout the episode, but the final twist was still a complete surprise to me. Delightful!

As established previously in “Mother”, Nikita retains her heroic nature, showing compassion not just for the innocent child, but even for the villain at the end.

Favourite Scenes:
Billie has nailed them all;-) I especially enjoyed the interactions between Michael and Nikita, both in Section and undercover: a little bit of humour, a touch of honesty, and tons of chemistry.

Continuity Issues:
The first deleted scene for this episode actually establishes that Michael invented the “hurt back” excuse – clearly, he did not want to force Nikita into having sex for the cameras. Without that scene, however, it looks as if it is Nikita who invents the “hurt back” excuse to rebuff Michael’s advances in the teaser. I prefer the first version, as it shows that Michael is actually trying to be considerate of Nikita’s feelings. He even offers another excuse for Nikita the next time they’re in bed (“You should get some rest, you must be exhausted."), but it would have stretched the believability of their cover if Michael had refused when Nikita initiates sex. Notice, however, that he positions his body to shield her from the view of the camera.

I was confused by Operations’ line: “Michael, work it out with your mission profiler.” Didn’t we find out in “First Mission” that the team leader comes up with the profile? And if Michael were to consult with anyone on this mission, it would be Madeline, wouldn’t it?

In this episode, Operations suggests that Madeline “... take some time off.” This was to allow Alberta Watson more rest as she continued to undergo treatment for lymphoma. Her character’s absence from any episode is keenly felt.

1eclecticviewer said...

Agreed with both reviews from Billie and Serena. One of my favorite episodes of Season 2. From the teaser alone, I was sold.

ChrisB said...

That was certainly a WTF opening. I kept waiting for one of them to wake up from a dream.

It was during this opening that both of them told the other that they love the other. Was it acting? Yes, to a degree; but, I think they both meant it. Nikita's profession was soft and quiet; Michael's was almost reluctant. He didn't have to say it; he could have just hugged her or touched her in some way. In the moment, he chose to respond.

Which is what made that final scene between them even more powerful. Nikita needs to hear that Michael's "I love you" was real. He tells her that he can't tell her -- yet. That last word was a powerful one.