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La Femme Nikita: Toys in the Basement

Operations: "If you have to grieve, do it on your own time."
Michael: "You owe me fifteen days."

The whole psycho in the basement plot left me cold. It's been done so many times, let's face it, and much, much better.

At least Mrs. Collins turned out to be a psycho Betty Crocker instead of a moldering body in a wig. And Henry wasn't your typical serial killer type since he was healing animals instead of the reverse, although all of those bandaged animals in cages did creep me out. (The meowing upset my cat, too.)

Jason's interactions in Section were so much fun. Jason appears to be much like Birkoff, but with his own unique flair and without Birkoff's years of experience in Section to make him careful. He flirted shamelessly with Quinn, who slashed him to pieces with her tongue. He compared her to the iceberg that sunk the Titanic. He generously helped Michael, completely oblivious to the fact that Michael was in trouble with Operations. He called Madeline "Mata Hari." :) If Madeline didn't needed him, I don't think Jason would last long in Section.

The best part of this episode was Michael, as usual. He made Operations give him those fifteen days off so that he could search for Nikita. He was told not to use Section resources to search for Nikita, but darn it, he did it anyway. He was relentless here, with a one-track Nikita mind, which is how I like him best. I also liked the marital imagery of Michael carrying wedding-dress-clad Nikita out of the house and off on his motorcycle to a tent for two in the woods.

Did the symbolism mean anything? Are there wedding bells ahead for Michael and Nikita? I very much doubt it. But at least they finally got to take that vacation together.

Bits and pieces:

— A gun battle in a book store. Now that was new.

— The shots of the white Collins house with the white power plant behind it made it look like a church. More with the wedding imagery.

— Speaking of which, this week's Most Obvious Symbolism was Nikita trapped under those wedding veils.

— How did Henry catch Nikita after she got loose the first time? Yes, she was injured, but she's still a Section operative, isn't she?

— Did Michael really give the woman at the insurance company a Spock pinch?

— What the hell did Henry give Nikita intravenously? It wasn't milk, was it? Wouldn't that kill her?

— The cat in the dumpster looked like Nikita's cat in season one. Maybe it was. Hey, you get an actor that works for you, you call 'em back.

— Cancelled scenes: (1) Jason courts Quinn with a red rose; she brushes him off. (2) Madeline asks Quinn about Jason's computer skills, and orders her to be more receptive to his romantic advances. (3) Quinn apologizes to Jason for being brusque. (4) Jason and Madeline watch a vid of Seymour Birkoff as a child, being trained in Section by Madeline.


Jason: "Tact is for the boardroom, not the bedroom."
Quinn: "Or in your case, just bored in the bedroom."

Henry: "You smell a lot nicer than most of my patients."

Nikita: "There are people looking for me, Mrs. Collins. Very dangerous people."

Jason: "I'll bet that moat around your thighs has kept most every human male standing at the drawbridge, trying to figure out why he ever wanted to cross in the first place."

And this week's totally romantic, you-shouldn't-have-risked-your-life-for-me exchange:

Nikita: "What if this had been a Bright Star substation? You wouldn't have made it out of here."
Michael: "If you weren't alive, it wouldn't have mattered."

Most of this episode was unpleasant to watch, but it was almost redeemed by the ending. Two out of four stars,

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


  1. "wedding bells ahead for michael and nikita" i think not!!! someone's dreaming. but it was almost like he rescued her from a marriage she didn't want this time. so it was michael coming to her rescue, whihc is how i like him best.

  2. Absolutely atrocious: this episode is pointless, distasteful, and completely derivative – scriptwriter Hertzog steals yet another incongruous story idea, this time from the horror genre, and rams it into LFN. Unless you want to waste forty minutes of your time cringing, avoid this episode at all costs.

  3. I agree with Serena, this is a very distasteful episode, the ending is the only part worth watching and i think Michael should have taken Nikita to a hospital first, the girl is likely to be in need of blood detox after all the milk that was pumped into her veins!

  4. My first comment on here, love these commentaries. Yes, I think this is the most unwatchable episode in the whole series. It departs so badly from the show's theme and vibe that it's jarring. What were the chances that an undercover top secret agent would be captured by a psycho family, really??

    So as we now understand it, Season 4 was so uncharacteristic because of the new showrunner Herzog and the fact that they knew the show was going to be canceled, so they wanted to try "new" things to give it new life, potentially. But this new life consisted of themes from other genres transplanted into LFN, a universe totally at odds with these. The result was a sorry Frankenstein of a show in a lot of episodes: a psycho theme in Toys in the Basement, a X-files Americana in Catch a Falling Star, a mental hospital creepy/horror installment in Time out of Mind. These three were the weakest, weirdest episodes ever. Other episodes with uncharacteristic theme implants (but at least with some semblance of the LFN spirit) were He came from Four (paranormal), Abort, Fail, Retry, Terminate and Down a Crooked Path (StarTrek sci-fi technologies), Sympathy for the Devil (mob/Vietnam) and even the Helmut ark (reminded me of the 70s spy movies). All in all, season 4 was not good, but in my opinion, season 5 was the worst. Yes, it gave us the finale and attempted to wrap holes in the plot, but the scripts and characters were very weak and forgettable. (Given the afterthought, low budget and hurried manner it was put together, it's no wonder it turned out this way).

  5. No one's mentioned that the sub-plot with Jason was good fun, and there some excellent deleted scenes on the DVD. I particularly like Jason's summing up of Michael to Madeline, and the way Michael actually says thank you to him, which I don't remember him ever saying to Berkoff.

  6. I don't know about cow's milk in your veins, but I have read that you can use coconut milk from green coconuts as a substitute for saline. A doctor in India used it during an outbreak of dysentery. The milk was sterile and full of minerals to keep the patients alive. But overall, I have to agree, this was not a favorite episode, except for Michael riding to the rescue.

  7. Another nice review! Thanks for share!
    `` So as we now understand it, Season 4 was so uncharacteristic because of the new showrunner Herzog and the fact that they knew the show was going to be canceled, so they wanted to try "new" things to give it new life, potentially. But this new life consisted of themes from other genres transplanted into LFN, a universe totally at odds with these. ``
    I’m agreed with all that statement. Personally, the best episodes of Season 4 were: Eps 1,2,3 and 4. Michael showed that he was really piss off, that he was the best spy and of course, he demonstrated his love for Nikita (Michael Vs Section One ...and all for love. A very romantic idea). There are other episodes that were interesting like: ´´ Kiss the Past Goodbye´´; ``Sleeping With the Enemy``; `` Man In The Middle``; `` Love, Honor & Cherish``; `` Time to be Heroes``.
    As many reviews have said: Nikita is not the same. She is colder and showed an odd detachment for Michael (poor Michael…). I thought that it could be a secondary effect from Gelman process….may be more time was needed in order to clean up all the drugs from Nikita´s system. But this is only a belief.
    Also, Michael has changed: is more human and emotional (well, he was always like that, but now he show that). Although, in an interview, Dupuis said that for him, Michael character didn’t changed. The writers had tried to revert roles at an emotional level (Michael is like Nikita in Season 1 and She is like him (same season)) ?
    Spoiler alert: Then, at the end of Season 4 happened what we all know, and then Season 5. If the writers tried to demonstrate that Nikita was the best operative by this way, then I have to say that they were wrong. There is not coherence with the fact that they (the writers) put a lot of relevance on Michael character (wow!!! Dupuis worked a lot! and yes, his performance is great!!) on season 4. I believe that this is not logic with the season finale. I think that for that reason, more than 25,000 letters and e-mail messages from some 40 countries descended on network's offices after the season 4 finale of LFN. Also, there were funny things like that: someone sent to the company cookies baked with actor Dupuis' picture on them. Someone else printed about $100 of fake dollar bills picturing him. That information is on a CNN article ('La Femme' again. January 1, 2001).
    A la vie!

  8. Coming back to rewatch multiple times and I’ve now started reading show recaps. You know what was extra weird about this episode. That actor eventually landed a lead role on Prison Break as a convicted rapist — and became a convicted rapist in real life. At the time these S4 episodes aired we all knew the series was ending, so what I recall is just more dismay every week as we did the countdown towards the end. And then the elation that we were getting a mini season 5 due to fan interest. I’m not finding these episodes nearly as awful as the recaps point out, but I understand WHY there’s disappointment. I did like the Loceff-helmed episodes a lot. Compared to how the Nikita CW reboot took the concept totally left, the way this series worked with such a limited budget and incorporated tension, subterfuge and betrayals for breakfast it’s held up far better over the years I think.


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