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All Shows > La Femme Nikita > Season 1

La Femme Nikita - 1x04 - Charity

Synopsis: Nikita is asked by the Section to get close to someone she is told launders money, but she finds out he launders much more than that.

Review: Not that Nikita was not already great, but they really get into stride with Charity adding another element that becomes a mainstay of the series that I affectionately dub: "music video teasers." Nikita often features teasers stripped of dialogue and sound save a rocky soundtrack artistically portraying an action sequence that sets up the episode.

This episode is full of beautiful framing. The cinematography is top-notch throughout. And Charity doesn't skimp on the extreme close-ups of Nikita's and Michael's eyes. I've never seen a series that makes such effective (or frequent) use of the extreme close-up. During the boat scene, we get two extreme close-ups of Peta Wilson's beautiful eyes representing how open and vulnerable she is to someone outside the Section that appears to care for her. In the very next scene, inside the Section, she is wearing sunglasses. She is still closed off to the Section.

Michael is recognizably jealous of the bond Nikita forms with the bad guy. He visits her house twice in this episode! But he seems unable to be emotionally available for her. Nikita even calls him on it asking, "What's it to you?" and Michael keeps his emotions to himself. This continues the characterization of Michael started in the previous episode, Simone. Michael and Nikita's relationship is stuck in a cycle where Michael manipulates and then apologizes. The turmoil within Nikita is evidenced by her comment to Michael, "Sometimes I think you are the enemy" and the fact she pulls a gun on him in the closing scene. That scene was a brilliant scene and prime example of the brilliant writing on Nikita.

Nikita is understandably upset with the Section's methods. Operations even gives tacit approval of sexual manipulation when he asks, "Is she sleeping with him?" of Nikita and follows it up with his admonition to Michael to do whatever it takes. But even Nikita is outraged when she discovers the crime the Section is trying to stop is child slavery. She is confronted with the street life the Section "saved" her from in this episode. It is hard to argue that the new competent, seductive, and strong Nikita is not better than the lost teen wondering the streets, but the Section forces Nikita to violate her principles to accomplish the tasks they assign.

Charity also has several scenes for the spy-fi fan in all of us. Nikita's "water aerobics" was so spy-like and sleek as well as her barefooted attack at the climax of the episode. Michael's part in the climax takes the cake and even has hints of film noir. His trench coat silhouette approaching the bad guy and his one word answer "no" to all his demands were memorable moments. The cinematography, writing, and characterization were all brilliant making this episode shine with an 8 out of 10.

Objectionable Content: Walter makes a sexual remarks to Nikita, and Nikita raises her skirt to distract a guard.

Michael pretends to be intoxicated and utters an obscenity.

Rating: 8 out of 10 (Reviewed by: Matthew Miller)

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