02 January 2014


La Femme Nikita - Choice (S01E10) (Recap)

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on January 02, 2014
Nikita keeps dreaming her dream of a normal life, stubbornly believing that she can make it work, despite several warnings from different people. In the end, the awakening from her dream is brutal, and Nikita realizes that her actions have consequences - sometimes for people she cares for deeply. Michael remains a puzzle: is he jealous, is he not? He protects Nikita once more by saving someone's life - and in the end, Nikita probably realizes that he is the only thing in her life that she can care for - at least professionally.
Choice 1x10

We are at the scene of a drug deal. Money and drugs exchange hands - a guard outside gives the "all clear". Oh, but it's not all clear, far from it ... suddenly, there are guys with automated weapons everywhere, and a man in a tie orders the guy who bought the heroine to hand it over to him; and the guy who has the money to do so as well. As soon as they have complied, the guys up on the roof open fire ... and kill everybody not in their team.
At Section, Operations tells Madeline they need to find to guys responsible for this. What, is what she says, we're chasing street criminals now? But no: it's as serious as it gets - the ones responsible were CIA agents.
Juicy ... Nikita is in bed with Gray, snuggling. Naked. They discuss whether it's too early or not for her to meet his daughter. Nikita is reluctant. He isn't. She explains: "I don't wanna start something I can't finish". He asks what is holding her back and she is about to answer when somebody starts knocking at the door. Persistently.
Hastily, Nikita puts on a black blouse and goes to open the door. Oh shit ... it's (a very displeased) Michael. Her "cousin" Michael, as it is.
"It's not a good time, Michael", she whispers.
"Since when do you decide when it's a good time", he says, and puts on one of his bright smiles.
"I missed you", he says loud and kisses Nikita on the cheeks.
"And you must be Gray", he hollers and goes to shake the surprised man's hand (who has put clothes on, at least). Michael says he is all Nikita talks about these days so he feels like he knows him already. The oven peeps ... dinner is ready. Michael apologizes for bursting in like this: he tried to call, but "I couldn't get through". He steps closer to Nikita, but she backs off, until she hits the wall.
"See? It's disconnected", says Michael dangerously, plugging the phone back in, "I wonder how that happened".
Nikita says she unplugged it. So what about her cell phone? That is broken, she claims.
Michael stays for a glass of wine. They chit-chat. Gray says it's kinda weird that Michael shows up today, when they were just talking about meeting family themselves.
How nice, says false-Michael with his creepy-false smile, and looks at Nikita. Who wishes him far, far away ... 
So ... what is cousin Michael doing here? Nikita wants to know.
Oh, it's her aunt Josephine, Michael says - she is still not doing well. So he told her Nikita would drop by in the morning.
Oh well, that's one spoilt evening for our Nikita ...
The next day, at Section, a furious Nikita confronts Michael: what gives him the right to barge in on her life?!
Michael: "You don't unplug the phone EVER."
Nikita: "All I wanted was one hour to myself. Is that too much to ask?"
Michael: "Yes."
Alright, so here is what's wrong over at the CIA (which, so it seems, is identical to "The Agency"): there is a special group of agents tasked to fight drug trading (called Operation Rosewood). However, there now seems a rogue element among them. Operation Rosewood is to remain top secret, even within the Agency - therefore, Section has to do the clean-up, all quietly. To do this, they are to break into a top secret facility.

The Mission (Impossible) is on. They will use EMF to knock out the power. Nikita, who is to go inside, has 4 seconds until auxiliary power kicks back in. Is that enough time? she asks Michael. It will have to be, he says.

Nikita enters the building through the roof, crawls along an air duct, descends into a laser-secured room with a rope and pulley, and gets her four seconds, during which she falls past the now disabled lasers onto the floor. The auxiliary power comes on, the lasers are back, and she has to lie still for eight hours until the people return to work and switch off the alarms. Ouch. That looks uncomfortable. And I do hope she went to the toilet before going in. 
In the morning, she is finally released when the security guards outside switch off the lasers. She jumps up, and starts uploading files from the computer in the room to Birkhoff immediately. There are steps outside: one of the guards is coming! Nikita starts changing ... on come the high heels, a hair clip, glasses, into the bag go the other clothes, the guard opens the door and shouts "Who are you?", but she claims to be somebody's secretary and rushes out, under the pretext of a conference call. Well played, Nikita! 
Back at Section, Nikita asks Michael whether she can please debrief in the morning?
No, he says, she will do it now, like everybody else. She begs him, because it is very important to her, but he says: "the sooner you get started, the sooner you will be out of here".
When she finally gets back home (a church bell outside indicates it is 11pm), she finds both Gray and his daughter asleep on her floor. Awww, she was to finally meet her ... Michael, you bastard. Or are you protecting her again? Nikita sees a fully set table, everything untouched. Slowly, she approaches Gray, kisses his ear and tells him her aunt Josephine is fine, once he groggily asks her how it went. His daughter doesn't wake, but Nikita says "Hi Cassey" and smiles sweetly at the child.
Yikes, it's a tete-a-tete with Madeline next. Nikita is weary enough, and rightfully so. Madeline doesn't beat around the bush. For everybody in here, there comes a time when they get confused. When it feels like they are living two separate lives - and they start tearing themselves apart, trying to reconcile them. Nikita doesn't want Madeline's advise, but she sure gets it. There aren't two parts of her life. This isn't a job.
"Gray doesn't exist ... not really."
Nikita: "Isn't it enough that I do what you ask?"
Madeline: "You will do what we ask. You miss my point. You can't hide who you are from the people that you care about".
So ... she can't see him? Can't care about him?
Oh, but it's simple: it's one or the other. "Your choice".
And when Nikita walks out, Madeline adds: "The world outside these walls is an illusion; it's not really there for us. We're ghosts".
Birkhoff tells Michael that he has most likely found their drug-lord-link to the CIA - it's a guy called Vallery. Him they need to get, but he is heavily guarded. And to confirm that it is indeed this guy that will lead them to the rogue CIA agents, we see how Vallery is meeting with the CIA guy who walked away with both money and drugs in the cold open: his name is Price. Price tells Vallery who the boss is (Price) and they exchange keys.

Nikita and Gray are at a hotel! It's a romantic getaway, and he got the biggest suite for them. D'awwwwwwwz. And they start making out immediately on the big bed (cause: what else). Clothes come off. And ... the phone rings. She tries to get it while he tries to hold her back, but then, she answers. Oh f***. It's Michael. And he says: "Josephine". She immediately snaps to attention. There is a head-set under the sink; she'll get instructions once she put it on.
She excuses herself (lying to him that it was room service): she is feeling a little sticky and wants to take a shower. He tries to hold her back, he tries to get her to take the shower with him, but no ... she goes in alone, now in urgent-mission-robot-mode.

She turns the shower on and starts frantically searching under the sink. There is the headset. Michael tells her there's a removable panel behind the towels. There's a sniper rifle. She assembles it. There are six trank darts - she is to put in two. She has to go to the window and open it. But it doesn't. Michael's voice takes on a new urgency when he tells her "now, Nikita!". So she breaks the glass, wrapping her hand in the bathroom curtain to do it. Gray, hearing the sound of breaking glass, asks whether everything is alright, stepping closer - yes, of course! she answers. She is pointing the gun outside, Michael tells her the target will be out in seconds. Gray starts talking to her about dinner plans, she thinks his idea is marvellous. The "target" walks out (it's Vallery), Gray now talks about art exhibitions. Nikita shoots, he goes down. Sirens starts howling outside, she puts the gun back. Gray starts knocking more persistently, asking whether something is wrong, but then, Nikita steps out, toweling her wet hair, smiling innocently.
Be still my heart! This, by the way, is a sequence from the original film by Luc Besson.
Outside, an ambulance picks up Vallery. And look who's there in the ambulance … Michael.

Inside, Nikita is in tears … she isn't feeling very well, she tells Gray. He, frustrated, because this is not the first time she completely spaces out on him, would like to help her, but she cannot tell him anything.
Why did they come here? she finally asks him.
What does she mean? He sighs heavily. To be together of course.
But why this particular hotel?
Is that why she is upset? Did Michael tell her?
Uhm … wut?! So Michael called Gray, heard they were planning a get-away trip and suggested that hotel, because Nikita likes it so much.
Nikita laughs bitterly. Is this a family thing? Gray asks. Oh yes, it is, Nikita confirms. Alright, he suggests they leave, but no, she doesn't want that. She wants them to stay and have a good time ... to laugh, and drink ... and she wants to stay up all night long. She sounds so sad when she says it...

When they're back, Nikita goes to see Michael in his office. He doesn't even look up.
Is there a reason why he had to involve Gray into their business?
"There's a reason for everything we do" (still typing)
But when she doesn't say anything, he finally looks up and asks: "Is there a problem?"
No, nothing she can't handle.
She goes to see Walter next - he has never let her down before. Walter is all excited: wasn't she impressed with the gun in the hotel room?
Well, that's not what's on her mind: "Can I talk to you for a minute?"
"You can do anything you want to me, and it can last more than a minute."
Has he ever been involved with anyone outside of Section? Oh yes, he flirts, of course, once a week if he is lucky! But she is not in the mood to joke.
"Oh gee ...", the old man says with heartfelt sympathy, "don't tell me, you didn't fall in love, did you?"
Not a good idea, Nikita, not a good idea at all... Walter repeats what Madeline has already told her. You cannot continue lying to someone you love for every minute of every day.
Alright, what if she didn't? What if she told him the truth?
"Oh - then just take a gun and shoot him yourself!"
Don't dwell on what you can't have, is Walter's advice. If you loose an arm, don't be sad all your life you can't play the piano - learn to sing!
White Room scene with Vallery and Madeline. They have paralyzed him with a nerve agent, at least temporarily. If he doesn't talk within the next 90 seconds, he will be forever paralyzed. Name of whoever he does business with at the CIA and the place of the next meeting, please. He has 28 more seconds.

Nikita is having lunch with Gray and his daughter. She is putting salt on a drawing she has made. Nikita mainly talks to the girl, but Gray isn't happy. He wants to know where Nikita goes when she goes away, who aunt Josephine is. Nikita tells him "not now, please". Later. They will talk later.
Nikita takes Cassey home, walking her through a shopping center. Unexpectedly, Nikita gets a Josephine call (20 minutes) - and she turns her back on the kid for a few seconds. When she hangs up, the girl is gone. Nikita panics, running around the shopping mall, screaming her name. She goes up to the information desk and is trying to get the lady there to close all the exits, when suddenly, an old man approaches her ... with Cassey!
Nikita isn't back in time, so the Mission has to start without her. Vallery says it's a bad idea - everybody knows he is superstitious. He always takes a girl with him. Michael says it doesn't matter, things will be over quickly. Vallery isn't so sure. And he adds: "Just remember: I'm not the target". Michael: "Duck".

At the deal. Price approaches. And he immediately gets that something "is wrong". No bimbo hanging off Vallery's arm? Price remains very cautious, but then, he hands over the money. And Michael gives the order to shoot: "Everyone but Price is expandable". Nikita comes running in, just in time to witness the bloodbath. Would it have gone down differently had she been there? Most likely, yes.
She gets a royal dressing down for her behavior from Operations next. To cut a long lecture short, he is saying: we're not playing games. We try to protect the lives of every man, woman, and child out there. "There is such a thing as evil. It exists." (hahaha, you're funny, Operations)
And Madeline says: "You gonna have to let him go". 
Nikita says she can make it work, she can!
But Madeline adds: "I am sorry, Nikita".
Nikita: “You don’t own my soul. I’m not afraid to die.”
But the poor girl realizes very quickly that it isn't her life that's a stake here. When she next meets Gray at her apartment, he is a bundle of nerves - he was almost hit by a car on his way there! It seemed it was actually aiming for him.
That does it. Nikita breaks up with him. She claims to not love him. She has no time for him or his daughter anymore. And he knows nothing about her. Nothing. Well, he isn't a man to fight, obviously, because he silently accepts what she tells him, puts the keys to her apartment on her kitchen counter, and leaves.
At Section, Nikita throws her gun onto Michael's desk. She doesn't want it anymore - cancel her.
"I can't live like this. I'm done".
But he calls her back, closes the door - and she rants at him that Section is "full of lies". They're on and on about saving innocent people, but what about the innocent people they hurt? Like the 4 year old girl, wondering why she has been abandoned.
"You were warned", Michael says, "you should have never gotten involved".
He steps closer: "You still believe in free will. In here, there is no such thing".
But she is over believing him. Isn't it the truth that he couldn't handle it? That he was jealous?
"Because I love him - and not you".
He turns around as whispers: "You don't love me?"
Look who's not answering ...
She isn't done yet, though. He accuses him of almost killing Gray. Just admit it!
"Yes", he says, "it was my idea."
"You are sick", she hisses and walks away.
"I only proposed it after I heard theirs", he adds softly. "they wanted to kill him".
He picks up her gun and hands it back to her.
"Gray will heal, his daughter will grow up. And they'll have the life they deserve". 
She rips the gun out of his hand, looks at him defiantly once more and storms out. 


The title of this episode is "Choice". So what is the choice Nikita gets? First, the choice that Madeline refers to is to see the man, but not care for him, i.e. use someone from the outside for carnal pleasures - or care for him, but never see him. Life in Section is like living in a high security prison, only worse: no ties to the outside. None at all. Because all of them are "dead" to the outside, all of them are ghosts. Second, the choice that Walter refers to is to lie to someone every second of every day or to quasi kill them yourself. The truth about Section, about what they do: it is deadly.

It takes Nikita quite a long time to understand - I guess because she really doesn't want to. All of a sudden, there's a possibility of a family, her own family right in front of her. So close ... and yet so far. The scene in the hotel room is brilliant in this context: she obeys without a second's pause, and performs like a robot, while keeping up a conversation with the innocent civilian outside her door almost to the end. She gets the job done, and he doesn't suspect anything: but that scene embodies the "being torn" between two lives perfectly.

Finally, Michael. Was he jealous or wasn't he? He saved the man's life - but he also tells Nikita about it. He wouldn't have had to do that. It sounds like an attempt to redeem himself in her eyes, at least partially. I.e. Nikita, I may be bad - but I am still a lot less bad than the rest of them. And what he says is true: she was warned. She was warned at least three times, if not more, by different people. The message was clear: you cannot start loving someone that isn't part of our weird family. Love makes you vulnerable, and we cannot have vulnerable operatives.

I think Nikita gets it now. But this will not be the beginning of an "easy" life in Section, which is its own world. It is a world full of desperation. I think Nikita has now realized that she truly is a prisoner there - and that they may not own her soul, but everything else. I think she also realizes something else, and that has to do with her relationship to Michael. She claims to his face not to love him (giving that thing between them a name), thereby challenging his grip over her. It is a direct allusion to his seduction-attempt in "Escape" again, and a clear statement about wanting to be free from the kind of power he has (or thinks to have) over her. But when he asks “You don’t love me?”, Nikita grows a bit too quiet. As much as she might wish at that very moment that she was emotionally detached from him, she clearly isn't. She constantly runs to him to went her anger and frustration and he still seems to trust him ... at least at some level.

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