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La Femme Nikita: Rescue

"They may be expecting a rescue attempt, but not by two women selling makeup."

As a new viewer, I was involved enough with the characters at this point that it really upset me to see Michael shot several times and promptly abandoned. And they wouldn't even have attempted rescue if it hadn't been for someone more important: Petrosian. Nikita was outraged, of course, but Michael appeared to accept it. What does it take to piss the man off?

Half naked, covered with blood, shaking violently and trying not to lose consciousness, my favorite Michael moment was when he poured gunpowder into his wound and lit it. It's difficult for an actor to pull off a scene like that and make it believable. And of course, Roy Dupuis pulled it off; it was very effective.

Michael certainly recovered quickly enough from his wounds to manipulate Angie, the kidnapped nurse, in his usual Michael fashion. To give him credit, he didn't intend to cause her death; I'm sure he meant it when he offered to relocate her to the West. Angie sacrificed herself because she had no life and because her father's ideals were her own (and I bet she was at least partially influenced by those big green eyes), but still... they didn't even check her body for a pulse. That was cold.

Madeline and Nikita doing Mary Kay was cute, but brief. What I found more interesting was that Madeline's dedication to Section was so extreme that she gave herself an in-the-line-of-duty heart attack. She's sick. Pun intended.

In the final scene, Petrosian complimented Nikita's work, and called Michael incompetent. Come to think of it, Michael did look pissed off there. Yes, abandon me in the field, but don't malign my work ethic, buddy.

Bits and pieces:

— Was this the first time we saw Madeline outside of Section? I think it was.

— We got a little of Birkoff, finally, and discovered that the guy has a heart.

— Michael doesn't put down the toilet seat. :) Is that something we needed to know?

— I particularly liked the song during the mission-gone-bad opening scene.

— In Section, nearly everyone wore black or dark colors. Nikita wore white and red.


Operations: "I want Michael back too, Nikita. I am human."
Nikita (sarcastically): "Of course you are."
Yes, she has doubts. We all do.

Petrosian: "If you understand Rambo, you understand the West."

Angie: "You are French? American?"
Michael, answer the question!

Two stars? Three?

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


  1. This is my absolute favourite LFN episode of all time. There simply aren’t enough superlatives to describe it, from the visually stunning opening sequence, to the suspenseful cat-and-mouse pursuit, to the poignant portrayals of courage and sacrifice, to the agonizingly cruel twist at the end. This is a rivetting episode that showcases the talent and dedication of the entire LFN creative team.

    Spoilers follow...

    The teaser is spellbinding: a covert mission to destroy a chemical-weapons factory in the middle of the night that unfolds entirely visually, with no dialogue or sound effects. Instead, the images are accompanied by a haunting, ethereal soundtrack that elevates the co-ordinated assault to an eerily beautiful ballet. The action is clever and innovative, as the Section operatives infiltrate and Nikita takes point, capturing the key spotlight position. Especially thrilling is Nikita rappelling from the perch while firing at the enemy. Then, just when the audience thinks the mission has been a complete success, the technology fails and Michael is forced to return to the lion’s den. When he is subsequently wounded, the audience shares Nikita’s grief and helplessness as she is forcibly dragged away to leave Michael behind in enemy territory, injured and alone.

    The rest of the episode maintains the drama and tension as three separate plotlines converge and inevitably intersect: the Section rescue attempt, the hunt for Michael, and Michael trying to survive by kidnapping a nurse, Angie. The cliches are easily forgiven (stereotypical bumbling secret policemen, the concealed communication device that doesn’t seem to have a mute button), as we get Nikita’s loyalty and heroism (“I don’t care about the odds, I’ll go back for him.” ), clever ploys from both sides, and a shocking insight into just how far Madelaine will go to establish her cover. Most poignantly, however, the audience quickly develops empathy for Angie in the brief time she interacts with Michael.

    As for Michael, having somehow escaped his pursuers, he endures incredible pain from his wounds (Dupuis is entirely convincing as a shaking and sweating Michael weakened by blood loss), and then inflicts even more pain on himself to cauterize them. The visual storytelling is extremely effective in these scenes: we see Michael counting out his last two bullets, and feel his desperation and resolve as he puts those last two bullets to surprising use. No wonder Angie is won over to his cause. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Michael has to remove his shirt to treat his wounds ;-) What endears Michael to the audience even more is that he does nothing underhanded to win Angie’s support: he doesn’t flirt or seduce, as we know he is capable of doing. Instead, Michael just listens to Angie, and shows kindness in return for her help. The actress playing Angie quickly gains audience sympathy with her blossoming courage and unrequited infatuation.

    When the three separate forces finally do intersect, we get another superb action sequence as Michael and Angie escape (best use of an unloaded gun) and meet up with Madelaine and Nikita (best use of a car and car door). Then there is the heartbreaking moment when Angie realizes the connection between Michael and Nikita, and the impossibility of her hopes. Her noble sacrifice is made bitterly insignificant by the revelation of the final plot twist, and the audience hates Section more than ever.

  2. Agreed on everything, 100% - especially with regards to the teaser, such an indelible scene.

  3. i'm really enjoying your episode reviews..makes me wanna go back and check on some things you mentioned which i might have missed...

    more power!

  4. Loved this episode,it's one of the best episodes in season one, loved your reviews Billie and Serena- insightful as always!

    Love the way Nikita can't help herself, she has strong feelings for michael and lets everyone know ...even him!


  5. I also really enjoy this episode, mainly because of the true compassion we see in Michael. In previous episodes, his love of Nikita is distorted by his manipulations and the mandates of his job. But in this episode, we can really see compassion in our hero. He is seen as a sympathetic listener and kind heart. Outside of the Section setting, we can see some of his true character.

  6. The name of the song played during the assault on the industrial complex is "Beyond the Invisible," by Enigma.
    "Rescue" is certainly my favorite stand alone episode of Seasons 1 and 2 of "La Femme Nikita." It is hard to narrow down just one single episode of any well done program as my single favorite.
    However, this is the one episode I show - or recommend - to people who have never seen LFN.
    I saw it during the original broadcast run of "La Femme Nikita" and was just entranced by the opening. There was nothing on any other network that could touch the intellect and emotion behind LFN. Only "Alias" came close, and it leaned more toward "The Girl From UNCLE" than "Nikita" (I love Sydney Bristow, too, but she is no Nikita).
    Probably the only other episode of LFN that comes close to this one is "I Remember Paris." The opening scene in the elevator as Michael and Operations casually discuss how long they had been in Section evoked similar emotions.
    Love these reviews. So few people "get" the layers of film and television, but the people on this site do.

  7. Thanks so much, Sgspires68. I've been enjoying all of your comments! Glad you're enjoying the site.

  8. This is wonderfully crafted episode of television that left me very, very sad at the end.

    There were several plot holes that I struggled with, however. The biggest was the end. That chopper arrived much sooner than the anticipated four minutes which made Angie's death all that more poignant. Wish they had just waited for that rocket.

    Also, I loved the fact that a bullet managed to do all that damage to Michael's back without marring his jacket in the slightest. Continuity errors like that always make me wonder who is in charge of costuming...

  9. I loved everything about this episode (except the GLARING use of an American Army senior officer's cap on the bumbling Major). Roy really outdid himself as a wounded Michael. I was suffering just watching him suffer. This episode also showed how Michael could be kind. He seems to have a tender spot when it comes to innocent women. I instantly felt sorry for Angie--a lonely middle-aged woman, smitten with a younger man--and the expression on her face when Nikita tells Michael "I was worried," was telling. She realizes her love is totally doomed and so, she willingly gives up her life to facilitate his escape. This episode was bittersweet, all around. We witnessed a brief friendship between Nikita and Madeline. That friendship reappears at odd times during other episodes, but I was left wondering why the writers killed it off in later seasons.

  10. This was the episode, while I was bored after 10 pm at night and watching a spy show I had missed somehow when it came out, that caused a sudden Roy Dupuis addiction. I had seen many actors do similar scenes for years but none of them had performed as well in a wounded sequence as Dupuis. That was it. I was hooked. This was more than just a handsome male sidekick in a spy show. The guy could seriously act and the director and producers did not hold him back to a more superficial portrayal. A qualitative difference from other similiar shows. Add to that the superb opening mission sequence with the Enigma music that was brilliant. It was then I decided I had to see the whole series. Now, right now. And I did.


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