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La Femme Nikita: Sympathy for the Devil

"Sometimes our thoughts and our feelings take us where we can no longer go."

Operations is a great villain, so of course he has depths. But sympathy for the devil? Not from me. I don't really care how tough it was for Operations in Vietnam. It surprised me a bit that Walter appeared to care, though. At least Operations got to the end of the episode with his illusions about Willy Kane intact.

The B plot was actually a lot more interesting than the A plot. Poor Birkoff! Discovering he was born in Section and that his mother was an operative explains a lot. But shades of Nazi twin experiments! And what an extreme bummer to discover that Birkoff had to spend his life in captivity because of the flip of a coin. And it was Walter's flip of a coin, on top of it.

Nikita got her apartment back, and now she and Michael can be together. They were even allowed to play house again during their off-the-books mission for Operations. So how come she doesn't seem to want him now? Is it because of residual issues from the Gelman process? Or could it be because it's not forbidden and exciting any more? "Michael, I'm lost. I don't know what I am any more." No, no, no! Nikita, don't throw away two weeks alone with Michael! Are you nuts?

Bits and pieces:

— I really liked the opener, with Operations touching his own name on the Vietnam Memorial. I also enjoyed the scene where Operations out-bluffed Bonaventure. It was funny, seeing the Mafia afraid of Operations. Not afraid enough, apparently.

— Stephen McHattie, who played Willy Kane, is usually pretty good. I don't think they gave him enough to work with.

— I'm sure that since this plot line has been introduced, we'll eventually meet Birkoff's twin brother.

— Birkoff's mother was a level two operative named Lisa, who was much like Nikita, and a favorite of Walter's. Birkoff's twin's name is Jason.

— I hope Michael and Nikita will eventually take that fifteen day vacation. Don't they need one?

— Was Michael speaking Vietnamese?


Walter: "Remember. Stay vertical."

Nikita: "Which way do we play it? His way or Walter's?"
Michael: "Ours."

Two stars,

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


  1. Another unpleasant and uninteresting episode by Hertzog, who recycles the premise of Operations’ back story from the Season One episode “Missing”. Except in “Missing”, Operations’ back story was used to create even more jeopardy for Nikita during a dangerous and elaborate undercover counter-terrorism mission. “Missing” had fantastic action sequences, taught suspense, layers of deception, clever dialogue, and interwoven plot threads – “Sympathy for the Devil” has none of these things. Instead, Hertzog provides another detour from fighting terrorism as we get an annoying guest star, clumsy dialogue, and a distasteful and boringly simplistic plot that has some huge continuity issues.

    In addition, Wilson is still adopting a detached performance, giving Dupuis nothing to work with. In fact, it hardly feels as if the character of Nikita is present in the episode at all, and the meaningless dialogue (note to Hertzog: randomly generated words do not equal “profound”) in the apartment scene does nothing to clarify Nikita’s chilly attitude towards Michael. At least Birkoff and Walter are the same loveable characters, though their storylines strain credulity as well. I advise avoiding this episode altogether.

    Continuity Issues:
    I have to assume that the 15 days that Operations spent captive, as elaborated in this episode, happened before he spent 7 years in a POW camp, as specified in “Missing”.

    Why the heck would Walter go to such extremes (murdering Willie) to protect Operations’ opinion of Willie? Operations ordered Belinda to her death, for crying out loud, so why would Walter care about Operations getting his feelings hurt?

    Why wouldn’t Operations be able to figure out that Willie was a traitor? He was told that Willie was giving money to Lin – Operations is not stupid, he could connect the dots.

    If Birkoff was raised in Section, how the heck did he ever develop a conscience and the ability to make emotional connections? And did they wipe his memory so he doesn’t recall who looked after him all those years?

  2. I agree with you 2 ladies.
    Only the story on Birkhof was interesting (unbelievable, but interesting). The rest of the ep was a snoozefest, sorry to say.

  3. I enjoyed the A story, I feel you've all been a bit harsh!
    Continuing to develop a back-story is not recycling.

    Michael being Willy's guardian angel was fun, and how could you not love the scene where Operations takes on the Mafia dude?

    The only real silliness going on is Walter knowing absolutely everything about everyone that is or has ever been connected to Section One.

  4. SPOILER!!

    It seems to me that in this episode Nikita begins to have a hard time knowing how she feels, who she is, if she loves Michael and her limits obeying orders of Section 1. Something similar to what happened to Michael before? Despite all her confusions Michael stands firm beside her, always supporting her and without doubting his love for her. He never stops loving her. I'd say that finally he earned our forgiveness for his mistakes from season 1 to the middle of season 3.



    I always keep thinking about the scene where Nikita is confused regarding her feelings. My interpretation of this changed after rewatching the entire series one more time. It seems to me that Nikita already knows that she is going to have to betray Michael at the end of the season and that is why she does not know what she feels and how to act with him.

  6. Its highly illogical that Operations and Madeline continue (or even started) this persecution in the first place. If Michael was allowed to have a relationship with Nikita he would have stayed at section and been a top agent.

    I m also annoyed at the writers continued attempts to return the status quo (N+M being ambivalent relationship wise etc) it reminds me of the constant tendencies and mistakes major comic brands fall in to due to this obsession with status quo.

    In this case its especially vexing because 1) we finally had a decent start with this season (it felt like it was LFN again after the shortcomings of certain episodes and writers from S3)

    2) with Michael its always clear that its just physical or even passionless when he has to seduce someone else (and it has happened at stages when things weren't so clear cut with Nikita) ..but when they throw some idiot at Nikitas feet it always has to end with them implying she has fallen somewhat in love with them

    Finally to echo some of the comments above: it makes no lick of sense that after all they ve been through, after all they ve survived and done for each other that anyone could come between them (for either one of them)


  7. At least she actually does have chemistry with Michael in this episode (even with the ''I dunno where I am'' weirdness)


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