24 December 2013

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La Femme Nikita - Friend (S01E02) (Recap)

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on December 24, 2013
In the second episode, Nikita already goes against Section in order to save an "innocent" childhood friend. She is such a trouble-magnet ... We learn that trusting people isn't anything one should do, especially not in the vile world Nikita lives in. We also learn that Michael lies to Section for her. Hm. interesting.
Friend 1x02

Cold open in one of Section's torture rooms (Yeah, Section has many of them ... and they are always shining white. They must have potent detergents!) Michael is asking an impenitent prisoner whom he is working for and whether he made the bomb himself - or just set it off. "I promise you, this will be the worst day of your life ... but it doesn't have to be the last". Michael is speaking in that dangerous, ice-cold voice, and I'd be VERY afraid ... but the prisoner isn't. He growls "Mijovich will die" ... and then he bites down on a capsule of cyanide hidden in his mouth. Operations is royally pissed about it and tells Michael to work every angle: They don't have a lot of time.
***
Mission-prep meeting at Section. We learn about Mijovich, and his importance for the stability of his country. However, somebody is after him; unfortunately, they don't know who. Section is in charge of his security - because he is coming to their country for negotiations. By the way, we have no clue where Section is. The series was filmed in Canada (Toronto), but it seems Section is somewhere else. US? Europe? We will see. Anyway, Operations tells Nikita to meet someone who knows who is after Mijovich.
Nikita gets a spy gadget from Walter: A shoe with a tracker in the heel. Walter flirts with Nikita and calls her "sugar", but she is not very amused. Michael gets a phone call and tells Nikita (man, she has an attitude! Teenagers could learn from her!) the meet-up is at 10am.
Nikita is on the street (with two pigtails, haha), and she is observed by a woman with bright red hair and light blue eyes as she enters a club. The woman seems to recognize her and runs after her. She gets almost driven over by a car, so intent is she, and screams like a real damsel.

Inside the club, Nikita orders coffee. The door opens and the red-head comes in. A very nervous informant sits down opposite of Nikita and chides her for being 4 minutes late. She doesn't care much for his nervousness and asks whether he has something. He has ... the name is "Legion". "Nikita"? asks the red head with a shy smile, interrupting them. The contact freaks and gets away - such a bundle of nerves, that one. The woman introduces herself as "Julie Roarke", and asks Nikita whether she doesn't remember? Elementary school! They were best friends! Nikita denies any knowledge or recollection of her and leaves. Julie calls after her that she works just across the street, and if she does remember, contact her!
Birkhoff fills everybody in what "The Legion" is. Well funded, well connected, a group of real baddies. And with a grudge against Mijovich, who has executed some of their member. Michael summarizes the difficulty: if Mijovich knew the Legion were so close to him, he'd break off the peace negotiations and head back home. They can't have that. So: he must be kept in the dark.

He calls back Nikita (who is wearing sunglasses inside) and asks her how the meet was. She says all was fine etc. (he lifts her sunglasses, to see her eyes). But, oh yeah ... she ran into someone who said she knew her from grade school. She didn't recognize her, though. And Michael says (heavy with meaning): "But she recognized you". Nikita wants to know whether that's a problem, but Michael says that all is fine: he'll take care of it. He doesn't answer when she asks what that is supposed to mean, but I think we all know WHAT it means. Nikita is supposed to be dead, suicide in prison. Her cover is now blown ...
Next up, a masked guy enters an office building with a drawn gun. People scream. He goes into Julie's office and drags her out, down the stairs. Some suited guy just enters the office building at the exact same time and when he sees that Julie is dragged away, he pulls out a gun of his own and opens fire. The hooded person and Julie are on the street, and the guy with the gun shoots after them from a window, but the hooded guy gets him - dead or wounded, we don't know. Julie screams not to hurt her and the guy pulls off his mask ... it is Nikita!
She brings the terrified woman to her apartment. Nikita explains to the blubbering mess that she just saved her life. Julie wants to go to the police, but Nikita pushes her back down. Somebody knocks at the door. It is Michael!
He walks in uninvited and starts asking Nikita all sorts of questions: where was she an hour ago? Nikita plays innocent, but Michael clearly doesn't believe her. He looks around a bit and then leaves, telling her that he hopes she is telling the truth - otherwise, she will just end up hurting herself; and her friend.
Well, he clearly didn't look very hard, because Nikita has hidden Julie in a secret compartment in a cupboard. There is some bonding. Nikita tells a devastated Julie that she needs to disappear ... she will help and protect her.

Mijovich's plane lands. Michael and Nikita are there to pick him up. He immediately starts hitting on Nikita, thinking she is an escort or something, but she keeps him in check. When he gets overly touchy she says "I'm part of the security team". Michael seems slightly amused. Mijovich just laughs about it and tries to touch Nikita's cheek, but she proves that she really is security by almost pulling his arm out of the socket. Hehe.
 
They walk through the airport and he asks whether she will have sushi with him (he wants to atone for his misbehavior), but when he sees the men's toilet, he quickly makes a beeline for that and is inside before they have a chance to stop him (tight schedule!). Michael waves a guy to go in after him. He goes and stands next to Nikita to wait for the politician when a red dot appears on his forehead! Nikita pushes him to the side and bang, bang, shots ring. There are people in the ventilation shafts, but they are soon dead - I guess Section operatives are the better shots. When Mijovich gets back out, nothing seems out of the order (remember? He is not allowed to find out Legion is so close) ... and Michael conveniently covers the bullet holes with his hand, as Nikita guides Mijovich away.
Nikita gets home and calls for Julie ... she is asleep in the secret compartment. Nikita wakes her and they talk again about Julie's new life that she is going to need. There is cute bonding with wigs and some of Nikita's weirdest clothes ... and a wash-off rose tattoo. When Julie is asleep, Nikita watches her with a smile and has fond memories of herself and Julie as kids.
All of a sudden, there is a loud crash. Julie jerks awake, but Nikita motions her to be quiet. She takes her gun and slowly ventures outside to have a look. It's just the wind. NOT! Somebody jumps from the roof and attacks! When Julie comes outside to look for Nikita, nobody is there.

Lethal Weapon torture scene! They have Nikita - and they want to know where Mijovich is staying. She is not telling.  
Michael, God bless him! is at her apartment, slowly walking in, seeing the open patio door, the wigs ... and knows something is wrong.

More Lethal Weapon torture. I LOVED that film, by the way. Nikita passes out, or at least almost ... the torturer wants to continue, she screams "wait"! They turn their backs on her for a minute and she manages to kick up her legs, hit the one guy in the back and activate the tracker in her boot! Yay! Michael (who has the receiver) now knows where she is.

The torturer says: "You have the courage of a man." And Nikita replies: "How would you know?" (hahaha) The torturer continues: "Maybe you think I am the good cop and he is the bad cop ... we're both the good cop. In the next room is the bad cop."Nikita goes: "Bring him on". The door opens, black boots come in. The camera moves up the body and ... oh SHIT, it's Julie! With makeup this time and a really hard bitch ... and pissed off that the rose Nikita put on her hand hasn't washed off yet.
Nikita is shocked - how? why? The wrong Julie just says Section isn't as invisible as it likes to be; and the really Julie Roarke was rather helpful ... before they disposed of her. And when Nikita doesn't tell her where Mijovich is, she starts hitting her. She realizes that Nikita is not going to tell them anything, so she orders the one guy to kill her - going out to "do what she can". I wonder what that is.

The guy pulls a gun and aims it at Nikita - but she kicks it out of his hand. They stare at each other for a bit, but then, he bends down to pick it up. She immediately leg-grabs him and doesn't let go. Good on you, girl! He screams for his colleague to shoot, but when he finally does, he hits his Legion buddy and not Nikita. He aims again when ... Michael jumps in through the (rather high up) window! Why use the door when you can have such a cool entrance.
He lifts her off the hook and she, half-crying, says: "I thought she was my friend". And he immediately starts telling her what happened, while gently (and briefly) stroking her face. It isn't what really happened, but what she is to tell Section: that the Legion was onto Julie, that they saw them at the café with the contact, that they kidnapped Julie first, and then went after Nikita. But hello. Michael?! You want her to lie to Section?
Mijovich is leaving. Section operative, including Michael and Nikita, slowly walk next to the plane. Nikita has a bad feeling ... she believes Julie is there. And yo behold! There is someone at a hangar window! Nikita runs, busts in ... it's Julie indeed, ready to fire a grenade. But Nikita shoots at the rocket launcher and Julie goes down. But not for long! She taunts Nikita to pull the trigger, but of course, she doesn't want to. She wants to know who the woman is. The false Julie picks up the rocket launcher and says: "This is who I am." And she turns to fire a grenade at Nikita, but Nikita is faster: she shoots the Legion woman. When she is dead, she gently closes her eyes.
Operations observes and comments: Nikita remains a puzzle. She continues to break Section code - but she still manages to succeed. Michael wants to know what code she broke, but Operations cuts him short. Does he think he's stupid? Of course he knows every detail. Why did he not find Julie the first time he went to Nikita's apartment? Michael says he looked everywhere, but Operations says that one could think Michael didn't want to find her. Nikita is not a trainee anymore - the same standards apply to her as to everyone else. And Michael has to make sure that's the case. They're both a liability if he can't.
Downstairs, Nikita approaches Michael and thanks him. He says that there's nothing to thank him for and walks away. Nikita looks up at Operations (who looks down at her), puts her sunglasses on and leaves.

Comments

So ... Michael has a soft spot for Nikita? Or is it more than that? In the beginning, he is as cold as ever, ready to kill Nikita's friend just because she recognized her. When Nikita busts "Julie" out of the office and hides her in her apartment, Michael does show up, but he doesn't try to find her all that hard. And when he saves Nikita (after she saved his life once again during the Mijovich Mission), he tells her what to say so that Section doesn't punish her. And at the very end, we get that final scene with Operations. And it tells us (for the first time) that Michael is actually risking his own status and life for what he is doing. Nice.

Nikita on the other hand is what she has been: ready to trust, ready to love and be loved. She doesn't even remember Julie (at first), but when Julie's life is in danger because of her, she risks her own life (cause Section's wrath is deadly) to save her. She feels deeply for this woman, who has to give up her old life and take on a new identity, because this is just like what happened to her. Finding out she has been betrayed all along - and even worse, that the real Julie had to die for this - likely comes as a turning point for Nikita. In the last episode, she burned the photo of her funeral. In defiance? Because she didn't want to believe in the lie? We cannot be sure, but in this episode, her past is turning out to be a curse. People from her past cannot know her (or they will have to die) and the person pretending to be from her past turns out to be absolutely deadly. I guess this means that Nikita's old life is now definitely over.

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