Synopsis: Nikita plays dress-up with someone who turns out to be an enemy.
Review: Like the pilot, Friend is more character-centered than mission-centered. It's only the second episode, and there is still a lot to introduce about these deep characters. Thankfully the mission, while marginalized, isn't a Nintendo game mission like the pilot: get the PDA and return to the car before the timer runs out to complete this level. While Nikita is definitely still green, she shows remarkable competence during the mission. Passage of time between episodes is always fun to guess in a series like this. Is this Nikita's second mission or has she gone on twelve missions between the pilot and this episode?
The morally ambiguity that is key to this series comes forefront in this episode. If Nikita had obeyed the Section even though at first it seemed unethical, it would have protected her from a lot of pain. On the other hand, Nikita has a license to kill, but she does not have the conscience to kill. She couldn't force herself to shoot the very enemy that had deceived her and tortured her until her enemy made the first move (Nikita's second kill?). She even taunted Nikita to shoot her, and Nikita acknowledged the world would probably be a better place if she did, but she couldn't bring herself to do it until her enemy started pulling the trigger. Nikita showed considerable remorse after killing her. Michael, who it is assumed would have never broken a Section rule before Nikita came along, attempts to cover for Nikita's mistake.
Deceit was the obvious theme of Friend. Not only was Nikita deceived by "Julie," but Nikita deceived Michael and the Section and was captured and almost killed because of it. On a side note, Nikita was planning on getting a new name for "Julie," but Nikita was never given a new name even though she is supposed to be dead. I think a new name would prevent a lot of problems like the one they had in this episode. When Nikita was talking to Michael, Michael lifted her sunglasses off her eyes. He wanted Nikita to be honest with him. During the ridiculous dress-up scene (really, did anyone like this scene?), Nikita counseled, "Just don't ever lie to yourself." Believe it or not, I did not suspect "Julie" was not who she said she was, so for keeping me on my toes in spite of a goofy dress-up scene, this episode earns a 7 out of 10.
Objectionable Content: Nikita is brutally tortured by electrocution while water is streaming down on her. Torture scenes can be particularly disturbing for some viewers, but torture is a frequent topic of La Femme Nikita, so I won't mention it frequently in objectionable content unless something particularly graphic and/or disturbing occurs.
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Reviewed by: Matthew Miller)