This episode was only an hour, but it seemed like more with all the things that happened.
First off, Michael, always the careful observer, should have been just slightly more suspicious than he was when Operations kept pairing him with Nikita, not bothering to ask him who he wanted on this particular mission like usual. Especially right after the whole 'you'll lose everything if you continue the relationship' thing. But he's too lovesick to think it over, and really, it's too nice of a change to be mad at him for.
Meanwhile, Walter is sweating bullets because he's been ordered to go to the dreaded "Retirement", where no one ever comes back, rumored that they use the old operatives on medical experiments and harvested body parts. Birkoff finds him just as he's about to go shoot himself. Walter, nearly crying, tells him of the horror of retirement, just as two men come and grabs him to go. Birkoff swears to him that he'll get his best friend back.
Michael and Nikita are sent on a mission together, to a lab that is used by Red Cell, where Michael convinces Birkoff that he can't do it in any less than ten hours, also while slipping Nikita a piece of paper that says where and when to meet him. Only after getting hit on by an older man. Talk about hilarious - if only he had informed Nikita about that!
Back at Section, a new guy, quite young, has taken over Walter's position. Operatives are mean to him, takling their anger of Walter's absence out on him. But what Birkoff is forced to see, is that this guy is really nice. Too bad. He still ends up setting him up to blow a wall piece...can't remember the exact term for it. When Operations says that such a thing hadn't happened in all the thirty five years that Walter had been there, the new guy (Giles, yes?) goes bye bye.
Walter returns, much to his aggrivation. He loved retirent, claiming that it was better than Heaven. To which Birkoff says that it must have been a set up. Therefore, we still dont know the truth about retirement. Perhaps Ops knew that Birkoff would get Walter back and sent him to a good place instead of the truth?
So then we're back to Nikita. Birkoff tells her to go to a room on the top floor. Upon closing the door, she finds a very scary evil looking Madeline standing before what looks liike it could be a human grill. And Nikita knows there is no running. Madeline informs her that her love affair is now over, they'd make sure of it. Two backup ops go on either side of her and inject something in to her neck that makes her body give out. Nikita tells her elder that she can't just be erased - that she's a human, not a computer. To which Madeline says...."we'll see."
And in to the grill she goes! We see all of her memories of her and Michael - poor girl, she remembers the clone and Michael sleeping together...and as we see these memories, we see Michael against a pure white backround, slowly backing out of her memory. When he vanishes, her emotions vanish. She still remembers, just doesn't care.
Time for a test mission, Operations not entirely convinced that Nikita is cured, though madeline is. Which brings up the point - any terrorist causing alarm here? Any in the whole world? No? Just Michael and Nikita's love affair? K,just checking...
So mission is successful. Nikita runs for cover, when she gets the order to blow the lab. She asks if Michael is out yet, which Operations yells tShet doesn't matter, just blow the thing up. She hesitates a few seconds as he continues to yell, but ends up doing it anyway, even though she wasn't confirmed of Michael's exit. Madline says next time she wont even hesitate on killing thier level five operative, the best they have and Operation's successor, whenever they ask. It used to be that they couldn't spare Michael for anything - now they can sacrifice him on a test for Nikita?
Episode ends with Nikita painting the wall of her apartment from light blue to white. Michael comes in, and she goes right back to the wall, trying to stay aay from him. Yet he knows now that there's something wrong. KHis suspiciousns about Section getting to her too great. He carrassed her shoulder, she doesn't react. He goes to the other side and carresses her neck. This gets her attention, but not in th way he wants. She starts to back away. He tried to kiss her and she squirms from his arms. And finally, to make Michael absolutely positive that he had lost her to Section ; Section, that took away his sister, his life, Simone, made him marry Elena just to take her away, who took his beloved son , Section takes his Nikita - the only thing he has left, by her saying that she don't love him anymore. He closes his eyes, pain surging through him. It hurts the viewer just to watch ho much he is hurting. The screen goes black, but the episode isn't over until he vows, "I wont let them do this!" The last words of season three. It's going to be a long wait for season four!
Three and a half stars out of four.