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La Femme Nikita: Threshold of Pain

Nikita: "I got the impression that they inflict pain and death for the sheer fun of it."

Michael again broke the rules for Nikita. And I just never get tired of that.

He started out by suspending standard protocol when she was captured. Then he changed a mission profile at the last minute to capture Crachek instead of killing him. And finally, he came up with that wonderful hoax at the end. Crachek said at the start that he was sensitive to lovers, and he proved it. How else could he have guessed that Michael wasn't an uninterested interrogator? Michael doesn't exactly wear his heart on his impeccable black sleeve, after all.

I'm starting to wonder if Nikita's compassion will ever not get her into trouble. Poor Mark. I can understand him giving up the substation to stop Crachek torturing Angela. But deliberately betraying Nikita, after all she did for him? What a jerk. I was confused about Angela and Mark, too. If they could be lovers and live together and still work for Section, why can't Nikita have Michael? It doesn't make sense.

The B plot was fun. Walter, as usual, held up his end of the comic relief. Was Walter really losing it, or was he just having a bad week? Again, Operations made an exception for Walter. "All right. I'll stop by and... pat him on the back." I loved Eugene Glazer's face as he said that, as if he had just tasted something extremely unpleasant. Walter's grouchy reception of Operations' attempt to praise him was also pretty funny.

Bits and pieces:

— I had a favorite Michael moment: when he told Nikita, "I'll have Crachek brought here alive. Just tell me what you want him to say." That was love, Section style.

— How did Mark beat the machine? They never said.

— The Devos were back, but unsuccessful with Crachek.

— I hope Madeline wasn't lying to Nikita about not being able to use Crachek. He and Caroline were just too creepy. I don't want to see him turn up in a future episode.

— Michael was having an exceptionally human week because he was also kind to Walter, telling him that the sights being high didn't affect the Black March mission, that a lot of stuff went wrong.

— Nikita wore a long, brown hairpiece in the nightclub scene that practically screamed "wig." The ice blue dress she used to attract Caroline didn't fit all that well, either.

— Everyone in Section wore black or dark colors. Nikita wore a gray sports-like outfit that made her eyes look gray, and followed it up with a gorgeous gray suit. It sort of matched the whole shades-of-gray, who's-guilty-and-who's-not plot.

— Cancelled scene: Mark and Angela, acting very couple-y, are having dinner at Nikita's apartment. Mick stops by and flirts with Angela. As he's leaving, Mark introduces himself: "I'm Mark." Mick says, "Of course you are." Angela asks Nikita about her own love life, and we can tell Nikita is thinking of Michael. Nikita, Angela, and Mark get simultaneous phone calls from Section, which is just fun.


Walter: "It'll end badly, sooner or later. It always does in this place."
Yes, he was talking about Mark and Angela, but I couldn't help thinking of Michael and Nikita.

Mick: "And what... is in it... for me?"
Nikita: "I won't break every bone in your body."
They're so cute together. The way she threatens him has become a fun tradition.

Madeline: "Out of the goodness of your heart?"
Nikita: "Out of a thing called friendship. You should look it up."
It takes nerve to smart mouth Madeline, and I'm always impressed when Nikita does it.

Walter: "Don't patronize me. All of a sudden, out of a clear, blue sky, you come down here and say, thanks for the good work? What do you want me to do, wag my tail?"

Two out of four stars,

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


  1. A solid episode that emphasizes Nikita’s courage and compassion, as she takes (perhaps unwarranted) risks to help a fellow operative, and is instead betrayed in return. However, although the villain is vividly realized, the audience is not given sufficient opportunity to connect with either Mark or Angela, thus reducing the impact of their respective fates. Also, when Nikita learns the hard way that she needs to improve her ability to plan and execute clandestine missions without compromising her friends, Michael is required to rescue her yet again (that’s twice in this episode alone!). Michael is once more portrayed as a strategic genius, whose astute psychological assessments (see also “First Mission”) allow him to manoeuvre Crachek into telling the truth by (falsely) satisfying the man’s twisted need to inflict suffering.

    Logic Flaws:
    If Mick can locate Black March faster than all the resources of Section One, why the heck bother with all that costly infrastructure? Seems to me that the writers couldn’t think of a plausible way for Nikita to get that information first without Section knowing. Sloppy!

    Favourite Scenes:
    Crachek’s short-lived moment of triumph, when it is revealed that he was outsmarted by Michael. This is followed by Nikita’s shock when she realizes that, because Michael brought Crachek into Section in order to save her life, now the monster might actually become a Section operative.

    Madeline’s private smile at Operations’ attempt at positive reinforcement.

  2. Okay Billie, I just have to note two things from your review:

    1.) "Michael again broke the rules for Nikita. And I just never get tired of that."

    2.) 'I had a favorite Michael moment: when he told Nikita, "I'll have Crachek brought here alive. Just tell me what you want him to say." That was love, Section style.'

    Um, I never get tired of Number 1 either and as to Number 2 - yes absolutely, that is love Section-style.

    And Serena, those scenes you mentioned are favorites, I have to agree.

  3. This episode moved pretty fast, which surprised me. I really liked both your reviews here again Billie & Serena. I'll add a couple things: I had NO IDEA the creepy bad guy was ADAM ANT!!! Yes, the famous singer from the 80's!! What the heck!? I just had to go back and pause and I'm looking at his face and I STILL can't recognize him with the blonde, cropped hair and round face! Weird.

    The other thing is I was really, really grateful that Nikita iced Angela right then and there in the bathroom. I really wasn't down for spending any more time with those creeps! I think the actress was very pretty and would have made a great character elsewhere, a different one I mean. This one was even creepier than Karen in "Recruit", by light years!

    I didn't notice the dress not fitting Peta, and I really liked her in that shade of brown hair. Did not scream "wig" to me at all. I don't like her with dark hair (think Mina or the black short wig of "Love") but she didn't look washed out in that shade of brown.

    This reminds me: in the opening credits, we see Nikita in a dark long wig and a blue body hugging gown, is that supposed to be it? That can't be right!? Because I can't recall a single episode where she wears that but I don't think S3 was shot yet when S1 premiered. Does anyone know which episode that's from? Maybe an outtake?

  4. I smiled when I saw your note about Nikita's "gorgeous grey suit." She looked stunning in that scene. Her hair, her lipstick, the suit were all perfect.

    I loved the look on Nikita's face when Madeline told her that Crachek did not become part of Section because he is a monster. Guess the woman still has a surprise or two up her sleeve.

  5. I think Michael and Nikita can't be together because he's a level 5 operative and is too valuable to section. His loyalty to section can be compromised by his love for her a level 2 operative who is disposable while Michael isn't. She can date someone on her level but not him like the dog comparison previously made by operations. Section would lose control of one and have to take one out when it affects their job performance.

  6. So in the previous episode we saw someone (probably) canceled, because she covered Walter. Here Nikita lies at the debrief, feeds false information to Birkoff, puts a substation at risk, goes to unauthorized mission - all to protect a colleague who "betrayed" the Section.
    With no consequences?!
    I know it might make more sense with the future episodes. But in the past she wasn't that much special, she was expendable in Operations&M's eyes.


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