La Femme Nikita - Escape (S01E08) (Recap)

Another strong episode, featuring an unforgettable "seduction" scene. Who would have known that doing a finger dance can be so damn erotic?! Nikita is severely tested in this episode and almost makes the mistake of her life (which would certainly have cost her her life), but Michael manages to save her ... by probably destroying every last bit of trust she ever had in him in the process. But isn't it a sign of true love if you are ready to jeopardize a deep friendship (or budding love, even) in order to save a person's life?
Escape 1x08

It's a cold (Canadian) winter's day. Nikita is walking home after shopping. A guy is first silently watching her and then hurries after her. "Hi!", he shouts and touches her shoulder. She whirls around, and he immediately backs off, apologizing.
He says: "I think you dropped this", and gives her a glove. No, she says. Absolutely not, and shows him the two gloves she is still wearing. He clumsily continues his advances, asking her whether she wants to have coffee with him. She politely refuses, like any sane woman would, but he tries again to give her the glove, to no avail.
When she turns around to leave, he says "Nikita. Wait". Well, that gets her attention fast! How does he know her name??
"I can get you out of Section One", the man says hurriedly. She pretends not to have any idea what he is talking about.
"There is a number in this glove. If you want to be free, I can make it happen".
And off he goes. Nikita looks around, very worried. But nobody has seen them talk, it seems.
In her apartment, she throws the glove onto the counter, looking at it again and again - and then, finally, she reaches inside and pulls out a  slip of paper with a phone number on it. 
When Nikita enters Section, Michael watches her through the blinds from his office. Not creepy at all... Unaware, she goes to see Walter, stepping really close before she asks, carefully: "Does Section ever test its operatives? Tempt them, for example?"
Walters answer isn't exactly non-creepy either: He says it's best to think of Section as a living organism. And like any other organism, it will do whatever it has to do to survive.
"Be careful", he adds, with emphasis. Nikita nods.
Nikita walks threw deserted section corridors and there is Michael again, wishing her a good morning from above, asking how things are. And then he compliments her on her new glasses. WTF: stop being so creepy! He then adds that she shouldn't go too far - they have a briefing in an hour.
The briefing is about two American Marines who got abducted by a terrorist organization ("Tiburon") headed by a guy called Cassian Perez. They are watching the video the guy sent, stating his demands: he wants to trade prisoners. The problem: Perez' men have been dead for several months already. They cannot trace the transmission, so they have to work through Perez' brother, a guy named Jericho. He lives in a secluded house, which is heavily guarded. Throughout the meeting, Nikita is constantly stealing glances at Michael. Yes ... they are very aware of each other.
Jericho is a portly, friendly seeming guy, who is currently cooking a meal, while Section operatives are approaching in the dark outside. His wife, who is coming down the stairs with a glass in her hand, tells him to hurry up with "the soup", she is starving. He retorts that it isn't soup, it's Bouillabaisse! It takes a long time! She: Then just make soup!
Outside, a guard is being taken out by an operative. Two kids come running in, circling a table in the kitchen. Jericho his annoyed: What's the point of giving the maid the night off when the kids are there?! They are supposed to be at his mother-in-law's. But his wife shouts back that her mother got sick! Ah, what a lovely family.
The operatives are in the house now. Jericho senses that something is off ... he steps to the window and glances outside. No guards. He runs to a drawer and takes out a walkie-talkie, frantically calling his bodyguards. Who are all lying on the snow outside, probably dead. Panicked, he orders the wife and kids upstairs and pulls out a machine gun from one of the kitchen cupboards.
The lights go out in the entire house.
Michael and Nikita shine a flashlight on him and order him to drop his weapon. He doesn't. And to make things much worse, his wife comes back in! Michael shoots a tranquilizer dart into his neck, and Jericho goes down ... shooting. All over. Sadly, he hits his wife.
The kids are on the stairs, shouting for their now dead mother. Nikita rushes up the stairs and ushers them back to their rooms. Coming back down, she confronts Michael: she thought there weren't supposed to be any kids?!
There weren't, he says.
"They just saw their mother get shot!!" she yells.
"It can't be helped, Nikita", is his dispassionate answer.
It's furious work-out time next for Nikita. Somebody's at the door ... it's her neighbor Carla! She is here to tell Nikita that she has met someone new ... a classical musician. Nikita isn't all that thrilled and Carla quickly realizes that something is wrong with her. Obviously, she can't tell her - but she does tell her that something disturbing happened today - a car accident. A mother was killed in front of her kids. It was terrible. And she can't get the sound of the kids crying out of her head.
Not long after, Nikita goes out to a phone booth and dials the number from the glove.
"I'm ready", she says. They agree to meet at her apartment in one hour.

When Eric (that's the guy who promised to get her out) approaches her apartment, he trips over a wire in the snow. Nikita put it there: precautions! Before trusting this guy, she needs to know who sent him, and how he knows about Section One.
"I'm in it", Eric says, "just like you".
But Nikita wants proof. So Eric unpacks a laptop and shows her ... herself. Undressing.
He tells her that every operative is (constantly) watched. There are two cameras in her apartment. And how does he know about them? Easy: It is his job to watch the others.
She stomps away, freaked out, scared that he was followed. When somebody else steps out into the courtyard the two hug, pretending to be lovers. The fear in their eyes is palpable. Nikita walks away once again, she is just too afraid of Section and what they will do when they find out. Running away? No point in that - they will find them anyway. But Eric assures her that things will be fine: he has created a virus. It will wipe them from the Section's mainframe and they will cease to exist.
So why her? Nikita asks.
Because the plan takes two, Eric says ... and because he knows her. And he knows he can trust her.
The next day at Section, Michael tells Nikita that he called her last night - she was out? He wanted to ask whether she wanted to get a cup of coffee.
N: "Why?"
M: "I like coffee".
Oh, but Nikita isn't dumb. What's going on? First he compliments her on her new sunglasses and now he is asking her out for coffee?
M: "I've been thinking about you lately"
N: "And what have you been thinking?"
M: "That we might spend more time together outside of Section".
Hot damn! 
Briefing time. They received another transmission from the terrorists. Mr. Terrorist will not lift a finger to save his brother, he says.... But if they do not release him, he will kill the second hostage. The first he has already killed, in retaliation for his brother's wife. This time, little genius Birkhoff has been able to trace the transmission thanks to a piece of software he created. It was sent from an old stadium.

The team goes in. Right before they run down the stairs, Michael holds Nikita back and warns her about the "nooks and crannies" that didn't show up on the schematic. "Be careful", he adds.
They go in deeper and deeper ... and finally find the body of the dead Marine. But no sight of anyone else. Nikita thinks they have long moved on, but Michael orders them to split up and continue to search for the one that is still alive.
Nikita, now alone, runs up the stairs and meets up with Eric, who has been waiting for her. Let's go now! he says. Nikita starts to go with him, but suddenly, she hears voices and stops. Eric yells that there is no time, but she doesn't care: this could be the second hostage! Weapon drawn, she enters the room from which the sounds come and slowly goes down some stairs. Suddenly, a guy holds a gun to her head. Busted! But when the guy tells her to put her gun down, she grabs his hand and throws him off the stairs. When he tries to shoot her, she kills him.
Eric has been waiting outside and they start to run again, but Michael and the rest of the team run towards them: they heard shooting. And there goes the escape plan... Michael agrees with Nikita that the 2nd hostage has been moved. He adds: "We have to start all over again". That's exactly what Eric must be thinking.

Outside her apartment, he is indeed whining about the lost opportunity. She asks him why he didn't go alone, and he claims again that the plan takes two people. But Nikita isn't buying it: it doesn't take two people to run through a tunnel. I have to agree with her.
Nikita: "Is this some kind of game Section's playing with me?"
No, but finally, Eric reveals the truth: he cannot go without her. In all those hours he was watching her he has grown to profoundly like her (oh my, you creepy stalker). He just knows they can be happy together. Even if she doesn't feel the same way now. Maybe in time? Oh dear ... such a sad puppy.
And he continues to tell her that she does have a lot of reasons to stay in Section. But please - she should not decide to stay in Section because of Michael. Anything: but not that.
Nikita: "Why would I stay because of Michael?"
Eric: "I've seen your face when he calls".
But Eric knows that Michael doesn't feel the same way. Oh yes - he is watching him too. Enough to know that.

Nikita is at home, looking mighty fine in black trousers and a black velvet blouse. But what is she doing?! She is thinking about Michael. Sometimes smiling, sometimes frowning. And by the way, the fish tank that isn't a fish tank and the silver dolphin she puts in from time to time? I do not get it.
Madeline goes to work on Jericho. He wants to see his kids, but he cannot ... unless he contacts his brother so that they can trace him. Jericho refuses to betray his brother, but Madeline shows him the transmission, the "I would not lift a finger to save my brother". Endlessly. And then, they let him walk out.

And they are successful - of course. Madeline knows what she is doing. The bad guys have been located in an empty office building. Time for some more advances from Michael to tell her what is going on ... hmmm, the almost whispering and the bending down really closely are ... *gulp*
Nikita stays in late ... to study to mission profile again, she claims. Yikes, Madeline is onto her. She doesn't believe it's the mission Nikita has troubles figuring out ... And of course, Madeline is spot on. This is about Mr. Impassive, isn't it? Oh yes, it is: Nikita asks Madeline how he got there, what his life is outside section.
Nikita: "Does he even have one?"
Madeline: "Would knowing the answers make you perform your missions more efficiently?"
Nikita: "It might".
Madeline: "Is it his life you want to know about, or his heart?"
Nikita: "Does he even have a heart?"
Madeline: "Michael love once - very deeply. Some men can only love once. Whether Michael's like that I don't really know."
Eric calls Nikita, who is now at home: the mission is about to go down. This is their last chance: so she better prepare herself.
*Knock, knock*.
Nikita hangs up on him, wearily approaching the door. Look who is here ... it's Michael. Here to go over the "plan again" with her while they are on standby. Please. Lamest excuse ever! :)
She calls the bullshit, so he just adds: "May I come in?"
She hesitates, but then let's him in. She seems to be feeling a bit uncomfortable around him, especially when he is standing so close.
Michael: "Then we could have that cup of coffee. Or the drink".
Alright, she says, and grabs her coat, but ...
"No need to leave the apartment", he says, "whatever you have will be fine".
"Well, what if I'm out of everything??"
"That will be fine too".
He puts on music next. She? Sits on a chair and doesn't quite believe what is happening to her.
"Are you trying to seduce me?", she asks.
He stands up and walks over, ever so slowly ... and ever so handsome. His hand outstretched, he is asking her to dance with him.
"Why should today ... be different?" she asks. Keep it up, girl. Don't get weak!
It is simple, he says. He was always certain that only someone from outside section could win his heart after Simone. But not so ... because nobody outside can understand who they are.
And now, he has her ... 
And while he starts doing that incredibly erotic finger stroking, he adds: "We fight all the time to stay alive ... let's not fight what's between us. Let's take what we can get".
And they dance. It sizzles. He slowly strokes her leg, moves his hands under her shirt. And they kiss. Ah. How they kiss.
And then ... his phone rings! Michael finally closes his eyes ... in annoyance about the interruption, it seems. The mission is on.

At the location, Eric murmurs "elevator, 15 minutes" as Nikita runs past him. The bad guys are on the top floor in an empty office building. Nikita rides the elevator up and gets out ... pretending to be a dumb blond secretary that got sent to the wrong building.
Quickly, she goes back in and disappears from their sight. But she doesn't ride down - she stops the elevator, and Michael, who was riding it on top, pulls her up to him. She briefs him about the number and positions of the guards. Mr. Terrorist is just about to shoot the Marine, when Nikita jumps on top of him and knocks him out. Some bad-guy shooting and life-saving (Nikita's) follows, and then, the mission is accomplished. Nikita looks at her watch and turns to leave ... with one last, long glance at Michael.
Downstairs, she meets Eric. Is she ready? Yes, she says ... But she doesn't seem to able to move.
"Nikita! He does not love you!" Eric shouts.
She nods her head slightly and then says: "You go".
He refuses at first, but then, he does leave ... after telling her that he will take her out of the virus. And he goes.
Back at Section, Nikita is giving back her weapons. Walter is sure she had another one: it's in the report! She keeps denying it, so he goes: "I'm afraid I'm gonna have to search you."
Nikita: "Go ahead."
Walter: "Brat."
She walks away laughing, but the laugh freezes on her face when she comes face to face with Michael. He is as cold as ever, the bastard - and he tells her that the mission was successful, but something came up; Eric didn't come back with the rest of the team and a virus erased him from "our primary database". Oh shit. There's a backup system.
"He will not get far", says Michael. "And anyone who went with him wouldn't have either".
And then it dawns on her ... "You knew about his plan all along, didn't you", she whispers. And starts crying, while his face stays blank. "This is one big manipulation to keep me from going with him, wasn't it?"
"To keep you alive".
"But why? Why bother?"
He looks at her for a while longer, then turns around without saying anything and walks away.
"Welcome back, Michael", a crying Nikita whispers.
A meeting between Operations, Madeline and Michael. In comes Nikita, with very wild hair. Silently, but furious, she empties her bag onto the table ... it's the surveillance equipment.
Operations gets very angry, but she says "cancel me if you don't like it". She'd rather be dead than be watched like an animal in the zoo. And off she stomps.
Madeline actually finds it amusing. Michael just slightly, slightly raises his eyebrows. And Operations says to cancel surveillance on Nikita, at least for the time being.


Was to rip a girl's heart out, you bastard! He is forgiven, though, because he really does save her life. Could he have done it any differently? Hm. He could have told her, of course, but I guess that would have meant warning Eric, too; she most certainly would have told the poor sucker. And as we know, Section cannot have weak, traitorous operatives, so he had to "go". And I guess the possibility of becoming more than a dear friend and colleague to Michael was about the only thing that would trump over a live outside of Section - and Michael knows that. He has been the only anchor in her new life, the person that has helped her countless times. Their bond is undeniably strong.

Exactly this, his role as a mentor and friend makes his "seduction" such a mean thing: It is an abuse of power. He knew with absolute certainty that she would "fall" for it (also because he isn't only acting). Oh, she is suspicious alright - he is much more attentive, constantly nice, looks at her during briefings, asks her out for coffee, compliments her, etc. ... But the reason he gives her, especially that thing about how nobody outside Section can truly understand them, and that he is ready to move on from Simone, that is too much. Obviously, she desperately wants a relationship with him (who wouldn't), and once again, she trusts him. That makes the whole thing so utterly humiliating for her. She showed him her true heart - he just played with it.

Still, the reason why he wanted to keep her alive is plain to see. He is strongly attracted to her. It may not be love, but she means more than the others to him. Who knows, he may not be ready to move on, he may be incapable to move on, or he might not want to move on. He knows how dangerous Section is - and he also knows that Section doesn't like relationships between operatives (an issue that will be raised again and again in the series). That's why the interaction between Nikita and Madeline, the "girl-talk", was really creepy to me. Madeline is playing the confidante, the friend to Nikita. All she ever does, though, is evaluating her operatives. And she (now) knows that Nikita is strongly attracted to Michael. That cannot be good.