Nikita is returning from an (unsuccessful) mission - her target never showed. On her way out, she runs into Madeline.
"Where do you go when you leave here?" Nikita asks her.
"Very good", is the answer, "It usually takes the new ones several years to ask me that question.”
And how many years does it take to get an answer?
Madeline doesn't know ... she hasn't ever given it yet.
Interrupting the girls' chit-chat is a pained "no" from Birkhoff. It's a system's breach!
And the lights go out. Uh-oh ...
Operations: "Send what..."
Birkhoff: "The Directory ...."
Operations: "Oh my god..."
The Directory, we learn, is a file containing the identity and cover of everyone in Section. Each one of them is an unprotected target now. Bringing everyone (who is out) in, isn't an option - jobs need to be done, Operations makes known.
Madeline says they have been able to contact everybody but two of their operatives ... whereabouts unknown, involvement a possibility.
Whoever broke in knew Section's system really well, Birkhoff reports. Somebody they've communicated with in the past. And he even left a message ... "THANKS. I'll be in touch".
Alright, Michael is to leave for Prague tonight.
How much is he authorized to bid? he asks.
"Whatever it takes, Michael", Operations replies.
And Michael, in his priceless stoic way, says, with a small glance towards his "present": "Thank you". It takes a little more than a head in a box to shake this guy, Benko!
Harding is walking in the cold (I guess he is no longer in Prague?), I guess on his way to deliver the Directory. All of a sudden, a van stops ... and Benko and his men start pouring out. Harding manages to jump on a bus that conveniently comes along ... AND takes him right to where Michael is waiting. Oh, but Benko is also there! He shoots Harding in the back (good riddance) and Michael takes cover - bang, bang, bang, they are shooting at each other. Both sides try to get to Harding's body first. Section wins, Benko runs.
Cut to a guy called Gray Wellman (Callum Keith Rennie). One of the Section operatives, dressed as a police officer, asks him to come to the station with him. Where Madeline is waiting (posing as Detective M. Frayn), to ask him "a few questions" about the bus ride. Monitoring the interrogation from somewhere else are Operations and Birkhoff.
At "the station", they are getting somewhere. Gray remembers that the guy the police is interested in (Harding) brushed against him.
Madeline has one last, tricky question: Why does he ride the bus? He is a successful man (occupation: architect; marital status: widower, 1 daughter). He says it gives him a chance to look at old building.
Operations: "So what do you think?"
Birkoff: "I think he's an architect who likes to ride the bus."
At Gray's apartment, which is a complete disaster by now, Michael gets a phone call. He tells his team to put stuff back together - the man is coming home. Nikita asks: "How much time have we got"? and Michael says: "Fifteen minutes". And leaves, without even bothering to help. Haha.
Benko talks to a guy called Mick Shtoppel (Carlo Rota, a recurring character), who tells him he got a phone call from a woman who a) knows Gray Wellman - and b) has the Directory. She wants to meet Benko in person.
Our Nikita is on a new Valentine Operation ... she "bumps" into Wellman at the library, pretending to be a student, and they bond immediately over architecture books. Later, she and Wellman are looking at a church in the city. She even links arms with him later.
At Section, she is waiting for him to call. Operations is pacing upstairs, casting dark glances in her direction again and again. Finally, the call comes in: and Benko tells her to come to the Park. And to bring "her friend". Nikita starts to say: "Leave him out of it!", but Benko hangs up mid-sentence.
"Why are we still at this point with her?" a brusque Operations wants to know from Michael.
Because he's a civilian and has done nothing wrong, Michael says.
Operations smiles his mean smile and says: "That's completely irrelevant and you know it". No sentimentality on Nikita's side is to get into the way of this mission, "is that clear?!"
After Operations has left, Madeline tells Michael that he has done a good job with Nikita:"She still lacks perspective, that's all".
And after a short pause: "You don't think she has formed any attachment to Wellman?"
He thinks not, since they have only seen each other a couple of times. Good, Madeline says: "But sooner or later, she will." With Wellman, or somebody else. When that situation happens, will he be able to handle it?
Michael: "Why wouldn't I be?"
Madeline: "That's a question only you can answer".
Oh my god, is that a tiny tiny smile on his face?!
Benko asks whether she has the Directory (she of course doesn't). He tells her her life is at stake: take him to the Directory now, or die. But she can't do that, she says: if she doesn't return to Wellman on her own, the Directory will be destroyed.
Nikita runs to Section, straight into Michael's office. She covers his mouth with her hand, signalling him to be quiet. She types into his computer that she has been wired by Benko and shows him the collar.
"Nikita!", Michael says sharply. Is he nervous? Or just annoyed she did something unsanctioned again?
"I knew he didn't have the guts", she tells Michael, and starts to put the button to her exploding necklace in Michael's hand. She doesn't though, changing her mind, and walking away, giving him one of those teasing looks of her.
And where is she going? Madeline wants to know.
"With Mr. Wellman?"
"Yes ... is that a problem?"
"That depends. Is it about dinner, or something more?"
"I don't know yet".
"Your relationship with us is the only real relationship you'll ever have - if knowing that you still want to proceed, I just hope he's a good cook!"
Nikita never listens, does she? Gray Wellman is such a bland, almost boring, but so wonderfully normal guy. He is promising to be what she never ever had (family, warmth, normalcy) and she is drawn to him like a moth to the flame. Madeline's warning was clear enough - there cannot be any normal relationships for Section operatives. But Nikita's desire for a normal relationship is so huge, she will not stop - unless she is stopped.
Untouchable Michael is far away from her at the moment; plus, she surely hasn't forgiven him for what he did to her in "Escape". Her not giving the remote control to him was a show of strength: she no longer needs him. And, maybe, part of her dalliance with Gray is motivated by a desire to punish him. And it does seem to work - at least on some level. Though Michael will not acknowledge his attachment in front of Madeline, he does care enough to follow her around and watch them together.