219. "Last Night"

(#41) Madeline must engage in a battle of wits with Brutus, a computer capable of independent thought that's been programmed to destroy Section One. Meanwhile, Nikita puts her life at risk to find out if an innocent girl she thinks may have been injured during a mission is still alive.
lfnforever briefing
Operation's romantic overtures to a reluctant Madeline are a subplot to this episode, as is Michael's desire to run Section, and the two dovetail when Operations turns control of Section over to Michael while he meets with Madeline for a tryst in The Tower (which we see for the first time). When Operations chastises Michael for not calling him during a crisis that erupted, we see the two men play high-stakes office politics, Section One-style, in a memorable "old bull vs. young bull" confrontation in The Perch. The assault on the Brutus automated stronghold is one of only two carried out by boat in the series, and opens a memorable action sequence. When Michael requests that Nikita kill the entire family of the little girl she's tracked down just because her father knows Nikita's codename, we're reminded how cold-blooded he can be. And the "Goatee Twins" make their 9th appearance in Season Two; this time they're playing chess in an urban park as Nikita pursues the little girl. The plot segment involving Brutus and Section's attempt to identify its maker and its purpose slips a bit too far into science fiction, but that's mitigated by the very human components of the two subplots -- Operations' romancing Madeline and Nikita's search for the girl.

best dialogue
OPERATIONS:"All the situations are routine and should remain that way for the next twelve hours anyway."
MADELINE: "We can get some rest."
O: "There are other possibilities."
M: "It can never be what it was."
O: "It can be more than it is."
M: "Let's not go into this again."
O: "I can't go on living in twilight. It has to be day or night."
M: "I don't like ultimatums."
O: "It's not an ultimatum. It's an invitation. My last. I've reserved the Tower for 8 o'clock. I hope you'll join me."
Written by Robert Cochran
 Directed by Clark Johnson
Original airdate: August 9, 1998 (USA)
April 19, 2001 (France); February 18, 2000 (UK)

guest stars
Geza Kovacs (Julia's Father)
Sarah Gadon (Julia)
Cliff Saunders (Beeka)
Jean Heney (Rosa)
Colm Feore (voice of Brutus)

"Silicone," Mono"
Gentle Rain,"Diana Krall

The unusual geodesic dome of the Ontario Place Cinesphere served as the visually striking Brutus stronghold.

Czech title: "Posledni noc"
French title: "L'ordinateur aux mysteres"
German title: "Ausgetrickst"
Italian title: "Julia"
Polish title: "Ostatnia Noc"
Portuguese title: Ontem a noite
Spanish title: "Anoche"
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Dawn Connolly's commentary on this episode
Clark Johnson joins the roster of guest directors as he tries to extractsome relevance from Robert Cochran's strangely uneven script. The two main storylines (the capture of Brutus, the HAL-inspired supercomputer, and Nikita's search for a young girl) never seem to go anywhere. Nikita's quest fits the producers' mandate for a return to the story-telling style of Season One, but in the end there is no story. The girl, Julia, is alive, Nikita is captured, she escapes. Big surprise. Madeline philosophizes on the meaning of logic, reason, and intuition, but in the end the computer poses no lasting threat to Section per se and is dismantled, so who cares?
What we do get are metaphors. Brutus, the slayer of Julius Caesar, becomes a new image for Michael, Operations' heir-apparent. When the foreplay between Madeline and Operations culminates in a little hookie and nookie in "The Tower," Michael seizes the opportunity to nurse his ambition and exercise some initiative. Averting a disaster with only seconds to spare, he is censured by Operations. What follows is a skillfully written game of check and mate, as Michael and Operations, shot almost entirely in profile (like the heads on a Roman coin?), redraw the map of the kingdom. Although it is too well acted and beautifully shot in close-up, Nikita and Michael's similar "chess match" over the fate of Julia's family simply revisits old conflicts.
Still, the action sequence at the dome is great. The special effects are convincing and the action is inventive (particularly when "Blue team" rises silently out of the water and takes out the guards) and Nikita comes to the fore with a spectacular leap from the exploding geodesic dome.
La Femme Peta, pp 187-188
Joel Surnow's POV
It had a great action sequence in the first act in the big dome, but outside of that, it wasn't one of our better episodes.
La Femme Nikita Episode Guide
Edward Gross, Retrovision # 6 (1999)