30 December 2013

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La Femme Nikita - Treason (S01E07) (Recap)

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on December 30, 2013
Nikita becomes a "full-fledged operative", but life certainly doesn't get easier for her. Again, her compassion gets her into trouble, but this time, she turns her "weakness" into strength and solves a tricky issue for Section almost by herself. There isn't a whole lot of Michael in this episode, and almost no Michael-Nikita, because this episode is ultimately about her emancipation. She is a big girl now. Deal with it, Section!
Treason 1x07

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.
Nikita: "So do I get a cap? Gown? Merit badge?"
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. 
Ah, but Nikita does indeed have a question: why are they hardly any old people in Section? Surely they haven't all been killed in the line of duty, have they? Do the old operatives maybe get a condo in Miami? Or ... is it a bullet in the back of their head.
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.
Oh, but then, the poor agent doesn't know one thing - his colleague is on Suba's payroll. He pulls out a gun and shoots Agent No 1. Suba starts laughing crazily and says: "have you ever seen a more surprised face in your life?"
At Section, Nikita is walking along a corridor, when suddenly, someone calls out her name. She turns around and greets the man as "Roger" (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.
The briefing is about Suba, of course. The guy was sponsored by "The Agency" because of his anti-terrorist activities, but now, he has become a liability. He is trying to get his hands on uranium, in fact, he might already have some. Section needs to clean up "The Agency's" mess.
Michael: "Weaknesses?"
Madeline: "Yes. He likes tall blonds."
Nikita is entering Suba's club in a blue almost-dress. A bouncer stops her and tells her it's a private party. But she's one of the girls! she says. Then why is she late? the guy wants to know.
"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.
She is in. She switches on a camera located in a small brooch at the front of her dress. She positions herself at the bar and starts shaking her behind to the music. Suba, who is sitting not far from her, is noticing her immediately. 
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.
The dance continues and becomes more aggressive. It doesn't look like Nikita will be allowed to leave. Michael, who has been watching from a van parked outside, tells Birkhoff to get him in. Birkhoff identifies the frequency the bouncers use for communication and Roger tells them there is an emergency up front - they are urgently needed. In the ensuing commotion, Michael walks in. Nikita is being dragged into the tacky back room - Michael catches a glimpse of her hair before the doors close behind her. He strides through the club, looking impassive as always, but a tiny bit faster than somebody who doesn't care at all. 
In the back room, Suba is getting ready to rape another woman, but in comes Michael, calling Nikita a "bitch". She gets up from the bed immediately.
"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. 
A van full of black-clothed operatives is following Suba, whose tracker's signal is as strong as can be. He stops at an old farmhouse. Michael instructs everyone to get Suba alive. The operatives put on night goggles and infiltrate the house. They enter a bedroom, in which the tracker is located, but ... no Suba! It's just a pair of pillows, with the tracker neatly displayed on top. It's a trap!!
A helicopter is upon them already and starts firing: it doesn't look good for our Section people. Nikita manages to drag a wounded Roger out - he has been shot in the leg. What a disaster. When they return to Section, Nikita is immediately blamed for the failure; they believe she didn't place the tracker well enough. But not only her gets to feel Operations' wrath, next is Michael, who takes responsibility and says "he will fix the mess".
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. 
Nikita goes to visit Roger in sickbay. He isn't doing too badly. And he tells her to forget about the tracker when she apologizes: he isn't blaming her such stuff comes with the job. But she really is chewing herself up over this now. She sits in Walter's workshop and talks about how she should have placed it elsewhere, etc.
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.
Suspicious now, Nikita goes back to the farmhouse and into the bedroom. She gets back into the position she was in at the night of the shooting, remembering where Roger stood. She walks over, blows away the feathers from the pillows that are everywhere, and discovers a hole in the floor.
Back to Roger. Playing friendly at first, she suddenly turns very vicious and confronts him with what she has found: He set them up! She found a bullet from his gun in the floor. He shot himself so he wouldn't be suspected (what a stupid move, dude). Why? she demands to know, why, why?!
He whispers: "Because Suba has my son". He is eight years old and if he doesn't do exactly what Suba tells him to do, they will kill him. Section doesn't know about his son; there are no records, no papers. The mother is dead - he gave his son to another couple to raise his son when he was two years old. He only watches him from afar - he never ever speaks to him. Suba is using Roger to smuggle uranium out of the country, bit for bit, at exit points that are safe according to Section intel. And Roger begs Nikita to please, please help him. Oh what a mess.
When she steps out, ready to leave, Michael walks past her and is being nasty. He tells her to use her free time to study the mission profile again. They cannot afford any more mistakes.

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 is getting shouted at by Operations back at Section again (cause there is still no news of Suba's whereabouts) when Nikita comes running, interrupting with a friendly but decisive: "Excuse me".
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.
After a short pause for reflection, Operations grants her the wish, but when she is gone, he tells Madeline: “She’s protecting someone”. She agrees. Roger listens to all of this, looking worried.

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.
She skillfully rolls the golf ball under the car and ... BOOOM, the car explodes. And Section operatives are coming! They open fire. Unfortunately, Suba manages to grab the kid and runs into the stables. Nikita is right behind them - but Suba tells her he will kill the boy if she doesn't immediately put the gun down. She does ... almost, but then, the boy bites Suba in the finger and starts running towards Nikita. Suba recovers quickly though and yells at the boy to get back to him. He is now standing right between Suba and Nikita, who both point their guns at each other. Nikita tells him to "back up", and Suba keeps telling him to "get back". But he listens to Nikita, slowly backing up ... and falling into a hole in the ground (used in stables to throw down hay to the animals). Nikita immediately shoots and Suba goes down.
And Roger gets to briefly meet his boy - who doesn't know him of course, and only ask irritated who that guy is. Happily, he runs to his (foster) parents, who are waiting for him and embrace him like the dear son he is to them. Roger thanks Nikita while he watches the happy family. When she turns around, he is gone.
Sometime later, Nikita arrives in Section and asks where Roger is.
Michael says: "It was thought he would be better off somewhere else".
Nikita: "Where else is there?"
Michael doesn't answer ... and Nikita, getting what he is implying, whispers: "Section had him cancelled".
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".

Comments

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.

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