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212. "Soul Sacrifice"

        
 (#34) Nikita befriend Terry, a Section operative who's pregnant. While on a mission, Terry betrays Michael in return for an opportunity to escape Section, and Nikita must make a difficult choice.
lfnforever briefing
Nikita befriends an experienced female op named Terry, who has been with Section for at least four years and who does her job very well. Until, that is, a mission to nab a rogue NSA agent named Sullivan Bates, who is in the process of cutting a deal which would deliver sensitive intel to Red Cell. Terry suddenly gets cold feet, and even tries to escape Section. Nikita discovers that Terry is pregnant, and is, understandably, concerned for the well-being of her child if she remains in Section. In the end, a desperate Terry schemes to betray Section by turning herself over to Bates in return for his guarantee that she'll live long enough to have the baby. But when Bates is on the verge of shooting Nikita, Terry kills him to protect her newfound friend -- and signs her own death warrant. Michael tells Nikita that Terry will be allowed to live long enough to give birth, and one wonders why that is; surely an amoral Section One isn't squeamish about abortions. The implication is that something sinister happens to the offspring of Section ops. Are they trained as children to become killing machines? Used as pawns in missions? Or does Section run an adoption service? There are more questions than answers here, including whether Michael is the father of Terry's child; Nikita suspects that he is, since Michael takes chances in trying to keep Terry's condition from Operations. The inimitable Mick Schtoppel makes an appearance as an independent broker used by Section to get to Bates. He no longer seems to be the menacing ruffian we first met in "Gray." (The new Mick works so well that he will become a recurring character for the rest of the series.) A subplot involves Walter's bad case of nerves as he approaches his "Three-Year" -- an evaluation which he must pass or face "retirement". And that's another unanswered question: what does retirement from Section entail? (And which answer did Walter give to the question of whether he would rather kill a cat or a monkey?) Even Birkoff doesn't know, but the rumors are that it isn't pleasant.This is a morally ambivalent and at times gut-wrenching episode.

best dialogue
In The Perch...) OPERATIONS:" I've been following your progress ever since you returned to full status."
NIKITA: "How an I doing?"
O: "How do you think you're doing?"
N: "I get the job done more quickly than most. But I do have a more unorthodox approach. Something which is frowned upon by the Section."
O: "Not by Section. By me. If you were me, what would you recommend I do about that?"
N: "I'd give me some time off. Say, the next forty years."
Written by Michael Loceff
Directed by David Warry-Smith
Original airdate: June 14, 1998 (USA)
March 1, 2001 (France); December 17, 1999 (UK)

guest stars
Khandi Alexander (Terry)
Carlo Rota (Mick Schtoppel)
John Ralston (Sullivan Bates)
Jason Noel (Snow)

music
"Homit," Juno Reactor
"Dirty Harry," Adam F

locations
Le Grand Hotel, the scene of the showdown with Bates, is a building at Toronto's Colborne and Scott Streets; the scene in which Nikita sees Michael and Terry leave Terry's apartment (while the Goatee Man watches Nikita) were shot on Front Street (South Side) and nearby Leader Street.


Czech title: "Obetovat dusi"
French title: "Sacrifice"
German title: "Doppeltes Spiel"
Italian title: "Il segreto di Terry"
Polish title: "Poswiecenie"
Portuguese title: "Sacrificio da alma"
Spanish title: "El sacrificio del alma"


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Dawn Connolly's commentary on this episode
To this point, Nikita's relationships with other women have been warm, intriguing, or compelling. Unfortunately, this time nothing really gels for either the story or the actors. Years of service in Section have hardened Terry, and it shows; it's hard to suddenly warm to the woman just because she is pregnant. Still, the premise is intriguing: what does happen to pregnant operatives and their children? As Terry observes, there is no day care in Section.
Nikita is getting better at lying and is developing a better sense of when to trust Michael. It pays off here as Michael covers for Terry when she tries to run and arranges for an abortion if Terry wants to keep Section ignorant of her predicament. Unfortunately, Michael's compassion exposes Terry to manipulation by an enemy and gets Michael shot, calling into question the choices Nikita so frequently advocates.
There are some lighter moments in this generally overwrought episode. Carlo Rota returns as a cartoonish version of Mick Schtoppel. His endless shtick provides some comic relief and a great pay-off when Michael throws him out of a moving limousine. Wilson provides a cute moment at the party while Nikita plays the bubble-headed blond[e] and teases Michael with a couple of dance moves intended for his eyes. The eal humor lies in Walter's absurdly hilarious three-year review. Subjected to a series of inane questions for which there cannot possibly be right answers, Don Francks takes the cranky Walter through his paces as a highly amused Operations looks on. What could possibly be the question for which "eyeball" is the correct answer?
La Femme Peta, pp 172-174
Joel Surnow's POV
Great idea, didn't work. Again, it was a chemistry thing. Some nice things [work] in it, others don't. Technically, I had some issues with the show. They can't all be winners.
La Femme Nikita Episode Guide
Edward Gross, Retrovision # 6 (1999)