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La Femme Nikita: Third Party Ripoff

Nikita: "You've created a situation where everyone loses, Madeline."

This episode was like a companion piece to "All Good Things." Last week, Michael was in charge, and master of all he surveyed. This week, he was practically cleaning the toilets.

Hard wedge. Type one directive. Michael and Nikita can't have a romantic relationship, because Madeline thinks it has a 1.5% negative effect on Michael's performance. Come on. Is Michael going to stop favoring Nikita, just because he can't sleep with her? He's been protecting her since the very first episode of the series, long before he kissed her for the first time. When it comes right down to it, Madeline doesn't care about Michael and Nikita doing it. She just wants them to stop caring about each other. It makes a Section kind of sense. If her operatives aren't dehumanized and suffering, how is Madeline going to get her jollies?

Michael is a control freak. It's his defining characteristic. He said it didn't bother him to lose his authority, and he may have even believed it when he said it, but it was soooo not true. He had to insert himself into Davenport's mission instead of allowing it to fail. And it also applied to his relationship with Nikita. He was reluctant to risk it, slow to commit; it took him years to get to this point. Now that he's decided that he wants to be with her, nothing Madeline says or does is going to change his mind. I didn't even need to see that final scene, where he told Nikita that very thing. This isn't over, because Michael doesn't want it to be over.

Just like in the previous episode, Nikita backed Michael and let him make the decisions. She stopped ragging him about what he did while he was in command. She slept with him again, even though she had been instructed not to. She was lying awake worrying about him at 3:30 a.m., while he was sleeping. And when he needed to acknowledge it was hopeless, that was just what she forced him to do. The one thing that stayed with me, though, was when he told her it wasn't over. After he left, she smiled just a little. It was clearly what she wanted to hear.

The humiliation and seriousness of Michael losing his status was contrasted by the totally silly Walter Birkoff Valerie-the-profiler love triangle B plot. Gee. I guess that's allowed because it doesn't affect their work by 1.5%, huh? The entire plotline was only partially redeemed by Birkoff's touching and extremely mature decision to drop Valerie in order to keep Walter's friendship, while Walter came out of it looking somewhat childish.

Bits and pieces:

— Davenport endeared himself to me by treating Michael with compassion and respect, and by graciously ceding command of that final mission to him as well. How many Section operatives would have the guts to do something like that? Not many.

— During the Operations/Madeline working breakfast, she spoke offhand about eliminating an entire team because they might be infected with something. What a sweetheart.

— Michael and Nikita. Bubble bath. Need I say more?

— This week's Most Obvious Symbolism was Michael's nerdy raincoat and hornrims. When Davenport turned the mission over to Michael, Michael immediately discarded his "disguise" as well as his semblance of submission.

— There was more "looking through glass" look-but-don't-touch stuff, too. Plus, we saw an opaque, distorted Madeline through that plastic thing in her office. This directive crap was all Madeline, after all. Operations was ready to let it go.

— European license plates this time.

— There were more dehumanizing images at the nightclub: naked people dancing in plastic bags, and waitresses and bouncers wearing executioner hoods.

— It couldn't have been easy to cast a woman that worked as a love interest for both Walter and Birkoff, but they did it. Walter appears to do very well with younger women for a man his age.

— While undercover, Nikita wore a fake-looking wig, a slinky dress, and an alias: Lisa.


Operations: "These two have been dancing around this thing from day one."

Davenport: "Michael could have killed you. But he didn't. I'm not as patient as he is."

Madeline: "Michael's self-esteem is tied into Nikita's perception of him. I'm sure it's very painful for him."

Michael: "I just came by to tell you something. It's not over. We will be together."

I want to give this episode four stars, even though I didn't like the B plot. Maybe it's the bubble bath talking,

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


  1. that bubble bath was something different.

  2. This gut-wrenching character study deals with the consequences of Michael’s display of virtuosity in “All Good Things”. Feeling threatened, Madeline issues a “type one directive” to force the lovers apart, hoping to derail this formidable team before they come to rival her and Operations. This leads to some extremely uncomfortable situations with a new team leader, and some truly poignant scenes between Michael and Nikita as they try to cope with this deliberate cruelty. As well, the episode features beautiful sets and gorgeous costumes in the nightclub mission (thanks to Rocco Matteo), plus a clever climactic action sequence that proves Michael’s operative superiority once more. It is just a shame that the “B” story is quite unpleasant and makes Walter look like a jerk. I recommend fast forwarding through those scenes.

    Spoilers follow...

    The viewer finally gets some insight into the driving force behind Michael’s perfectionism, which proves to be quite admirable and even noble: “Whatever I do, I need to do it well, the best I can. That means something to me.” It is acutely painful to watch Michael demoted and sidelined to the point where he can no longer be effective – the viewer can’t help but feel furious at the cruelty and injustice of this treatment.
    Nikita’s heartbreak is also touching, as she decides to give Michael up in order to put a stop to his suffering.

    However, the reason for the “type one directive” seems petty. Clearly, this cannot be about a 1.5% drop in Michael’s performance, as any other operative would barely be half a good as Michael anyway. Instead, it looks like Madeline is worried about the threat that Michael and Nikita could pose to her and Operations (refer to “All Good Things”). Also, there seems to be an element of revenge:

    Madeline: Michael’s self-esteem is tied into Nikita’s perception of him. I’m sure it’s very painful for him.
    Operations: Good.

    So it appears that Madeline willingly jeopardizes missions and risks sacrificing Michael purely out of spite, which contradicts “Gates of Hell” when she was the one championing Michael’s value to Operations.

    While this conflict does provide fodder for writing scripts, I can’t say that I approve of the direction that the writers have taken these characters. Operations and Madeline are being depicted more and more as one-dimensionally evil, with Section power politics taking precedence over bringing down terrorists and saving the world. While in the first season, the writers were careful to balance the necessary ruthlessness of these characters with dedication to a higher purpose, now their command of Section no longer seems to be driven by the “greater good”, and instead has become a reign of terror with the sole aim of protecting their power base. This diminishes the characters by removing any redeeming qualities, and undermines their appeal.

  3. I have to reiterate what I said about your reviews: they make me appreciate the characters more, better understand their motivations and easily follow the storyline. Billie and Serena, you both rock!

    It WAS difficult to watch Michael demoted and sidelined. I was furious for him and couldn't help but agree with Nikita's decision to give him up.

    But seriously, I love this episode because of this statement alone:

    Michael: "I just came by to tell you something. It's not over. We will be together."

    Go Michael!

  4. 'It is acutely painful to watch Michael demoted and sidelined to the point where he can no longer be effective – the viewer can’t help but feel furious at the cruelty and injustice of this treatment.'

    Serena you took the words right out of my mouth!

    There are few episodes in this series that make me cringe and which i'm not easily willing to re-watch but this one is soo heartbreaking especially since its not the bad guys suffering it's michael and in turn the viewer (me!).

    The only thing that salvages this episode for me and makes me more willing to suffer through it is michael's line:"I just came by to tell you something. It's not over. We will be together."


  5. It is 2015 and am still watching this show and dreaming that somehow someway someone will make a movie to tie it all together. I miss this couple soooo much, I still look for every bread crumb (figuratively) anything to quench this thirst for La Femme Nikita (Michael really)!!!!!


    1. I know what you mean. I cannot get enough of this series. I wish Micheal and Nikita could do a follow up as older operatives. Roy Dupuis as Michael is a DRUG’ lolol

  6. I started watching Season One of La Femme Nikita because I was bored and nothing was good on tv at the time. I got hooked and I can't stoop watching. I love Michael and Nikita and wish they were still on tv. Years have past and I see them back on Peta is 48? and Roy/Michael is 53. Roy is still sexy and Peta is still beautiful even though they are older. They can show Adam going to college and Michael comes back to Section One and they reunite. I want Nikita and Michael together again. Maybe Adam will join Section One. who knows. I don't think Michael would like it. Would like to see them have a child of their own. wishful thinking. I have enjoyed the blog and everyone's comments.

  7. I am watching the series for the third or fourth time, after many years. LFN did not lose its appeal over time.
    I think Madeline's problem is that right now she doesn't have attractive young operatives to enjoy a good night out. ;) How ugly is envy!
    Excuse my English but I am from Argentina. Thanks for the great reviews and comments! They help me enjoy this series even more.

  8. Emphasizing his responsibility and perfectionism as a primary motivation as opposed to ambitions seemed like a bit of a play from Michael in order to cover for what he messed up in the last episode. I liked that dialogue in any case: if he was sincere, then I admire such mindset, if it was half-true to support his image in Nikita's eyes, then it makes Michael's character somehow more real, more human.
    Interestingly the persecution is seen mostly as a direct result of their relationship, not the political games Michael participated in. Is Nikita aware of all the details?
    Not sure if Madeline's persistence is even retaliation or defense however, more like envy after turning Operations down. I completely understand why relationships are not encouraged in Section, especially between different ranks, but it's not a hard ban - Michael and Simone were even married, for goodness sake. It keeps Michael happy and content, and most importantly provides a unique way to keep him under control.
    They should have put agreement in place, set strict boundaries, keep them in separate teams of course. Question of loyalty and priorities would have been always there, but just imagine what these two could achieve, if properly motivated! Everyone's happy, performance off the charts, end of the show :D
    Plot B indeed portrayed good Walter unrealistically. He could have felt bitter perceiving it as sort of his last chance in romance. But then that last scene came, and yeah...
    Birkoff was cool in this episode, and Davenport was too - hope we'll see more of him in future.


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