Madeline congratulates Nikita - she has passed the "probationary period". She is a full-fledged operative now; the equal of any operative in the Section.
"Equal to ... Michael?" Nikita asks.
"Well...", says Madeline.
Nikita gets it: Some are more equal than others.
Madeline sits down opposite Nikita, telling her that they are very satisfied with her progress. Does she want to raise any issues?
She is invited to ask questions? Seriously? Nikita asks cynically. But why bother? Madeline isn't going to answer them anyway. And if she does ask, that will just go into the data file named Nikita. And Section gets more insights into the way she ticks.
"You really have graduated", Madeline says.
Of course, the answer to that is highly classified. Nikita gets up and starts to walk out. But Madeline has one more thing to say: "Nikita ... you have to understand, from now on, more will be expected of you. Don't disappoint us".
***An ugly (almost) rape scene starts this episode off. We are in the tacky chambers of a man called Suba (played by Von Flores) - and he is just forcing herself on a woman, with three of his guards watching. Thankfully, he is interrupted by a pair of agents - they say "The Agency" wants him out of the country. The drugs are bad enough, but now, he has killed a guy, just because he didn't let him dance with his wife. The two guys give him 48 hours. But that's a no go for Suba. He wants to go see Disneyland after all! But the agent is not having it - he has also heard Suba has recently become interested in Uranium. Two days - that's all he's got.
Peter Outerbridge). He tells her that there's a meeting in 5 minutes. Nikita is disappointed that she cannot have a relaxing evening at home and Roger jokes with her about having to postpone that for a few hours, days ... or maybe forever. Nikita asks him how long he has been at Section and he says: "My whole life - just like everybody else".
She asks what it means to be off probation and he says: "It means whatever they want it to mean - until they decide that it means something else".
The only thing she can do while in here is - not focus on the mission like she suggests but - stay alive.
Madeline: "Yes. He likes tall blonds."
"Because I had to take a philosophy exam". Buahahaha!
He is still doubtful, but only until she says he can frisk her if he wants.
Suba: "Whoa! I need a step ladder for that one!" (hm, I guess he is saying she is really tall?)
The rogue agent goes over and taps Nikita on the shoulder. She knees him in the balls when he tries to grab her. Suba is smitten - and gets her to dance. Nikita puts a tracker on his shirt.
"It's not what it seems", she says, breathless. Michael slaps her and Nikita starts begging Suba to tell him that nothing happened.
"Where did you get this dress?!", Michael rages on, "it's a disgrace! You're pregnant!"
He pushes Nikita out of the room. Suba, looking on half-angry, half-disbelieving says "where do you think you're going, Mister?"
But Michael just steps really close and says: "Let me give you a piece of advice, mister ... don't get married."
And out he storms.
Oh man. Priceless.
Madeline steps up to Nikita and says: "In time you’ll learn it’s not enough to do your best."
Nikita: "I did what you wanted me to!"
Madeline: "It wasn't enough."
Well, Section after graduation might suck even more than Section before.
Good ol' Walter says: "Don't beat yourself up. It's their world. You just live in it."
And he continues to say that they had no chance with their handguns against the machine gun of the chopper. A hundred rounds vs. Nikita and Michael: 5; Roger: 3.
Nikita interrupts him: "Two".
She remembers seeing Roger pulling the trigger twice. But Walter has proof: he has Roger's gun. Three shots were fired. Three ... not two.
We see images of a boy, playing with a soccer ball in an empty stable, being watched by a sour woman and several armed guards.
Roger meets with Suba at the docks. When Rogers says he hasn't got any new information, Suba first threatens his son, then hits him - until Roger promises more intel this afternoon. Watching the exchange from a little distance away is Nikita. She follows Suba to a ... not sure what. Abandoned monastery? Farmhouse? She invades the property and does some pretty awesome crawling and sneaking up. She sees the boy and manages to talk to him. She instructs him to kick the ball behind the house, so that she can flee with him. Unfortunately, another guard discovers the guard she took out at the entrance in the meantime and her plan is foiled.
Michael rudely refuses to talk to her ("We're busy"), so she just interrupts his and Operations conversation again by saying: "I can deliver Suba".
She asks for an assault team and a ten minutes head start.
Back at the farmhouse-monastery, Nikita does all kinds of awesome things, like hitting guards over the head and shooting out tires to stop Suba from leaving. Once he is out of the car, she calls out to them and approaches slowly (and smiling). He recognizes her as the "lady with the jealous husband" and gets very nervous about her presence there. He shouts at her to stay put, she says she just has a little present for the boy - a golf ball. In case he gets tired of soccer.
Michael says: "It was thought he would be better off somewhere else".
Nikita: "Where else is there?"
She then challenges Michael to say it out loud: Section killed Roger because he was weak.
"He betrayed the Section", says Michael, "lives were lost".
Nikita: "And a life was saved ... an innocent one".
Michael: "Leave it alone, Nikita. It's over".
Off to Madeline Nikita goes, and asks tearfully: "Why".
Madeline invites her to sit down. Nikita is crying. Madeline tells her that what she did for Roger was noble - but not worth the risk.
Nikita: "How can you be so ruthless?"
Madeline: "Because the other side is ruthless. If we are not stronger, than they win and we lose. You're a good operative, Nikita. Don't let your humanity get in the way."
And while Madeline walks away, Nikita repeats to herself: "my humanity".
The Roger-story wasn't so good. An operative as stupid and vulnerable as him would certainly have died a long time ago. Who would shoot themselves with the absolute wrong kind of ammunition in an attempt to not appear suspicious??? Sure, I get that storywise, he serves the purpose of alientating us even more from Section, who once again acts with utter ruthlessness and distain for human life, and the purpose of making Nikita and her kind heart shine even brighter. Still. Not my favorite plot, this. I actually liked the portrayal of Suba much more - the guy's insane laugh is quite memorable. A shame Nikita only shot him in the leg, though. If she had killed him, Roger would probably not have been cancelled; he must have been the one to tell them who betrayed them. That was bad thinking on Nikita's part, or just bad writing. To finish the topic of "where are operatives going" that started this episode off, we needed to see where they (sometimes) go. Not to Miami. But to an early grave.
On a deeper level, this episode was about Nikita's "graduation", which can be seen as "maturing". But it also was somewhat of a turning point in how Section sees (and treats) Nikita. For the first time, what has always been considered her prime weakness ("her compassion" or "her humanity") becomes the one thing that makes her special, and enables her alone to accomplish what Section cannot: find Suba. Only because of her compassion, Roger confided in her. That led to Nikita finding Suba - and Section finding the mole. Michael is quite remote in this episode, almost rude. He probably doesn't like her emancipation, because it also means he loses influence over her.
A special note on Madeline. So far, she has not been more than a mildly interesting, not even always present side characters. But slowly, she is emerging as one half of the master mind that is Section. And I am not sure who is worse: Operations with his up-front brutality or her, with the subtle manipulations. She has several interesting interactions with Nikita in this episode. The cold open between the two women is both a little scary and quite fascinating. Madeline certainly knows how to get people to think and do what she wants. Nikita is right in assuming that there is a "Nikita file" and that these people are trying to find out how she ticks; and I think Madeline knows quite well how Nikita ticks already - in the last episode, her answer to why Section needs to be ruthless is exactly what a person like Nikita would need to hear, and about the only thing she might be able to accept; that ruthlessness is needed to defeat the equally-ruthless enemy.