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Date Posted: Friday, January 27, 07:19:43am
Author: ~delle
Subject: what is a hero?

and, more to the point, given the discussion below about Section and adultery: can one be a hero if Section requires heroic action?

Is heroism defined simply by the action? Or by the motivation behind the action?

Can Michael and Nikita truly be heroes, since their actions were dictated/required/necessitated by Section?

This was sparked by a conversation Warren and I had on Storyboard One. You can read all of our exchange, but here are a few salient points:

From Warren's story: When he put the phone down, Adam turned to him and asked, "Papa, qui est Jacques? Est-ce qu'il est gentil?"

"Non, Adam, il n'est pas gentil. C'est un ..."
Michael paused. Only for a split second. He spoke in French with a soft voice. "He is a hero."

[Translation: Adam: Daddy, who is Jacques? Is he a nice man? Michael : No Adam. He is not a nice man. He is a hero.}

Warren, answering Mary's question: The title. Well, let us look at Michael in the story. He thinks that Nikita is better than the best. Adam calling Michael the best. Elena saying he is the greatest man she ever met. Simone saying he was a great man. His sister saying he was a great brother. Lisa Fanning saying he was a good man. Adam asking if Jacques is a nice man. Usually the nice guys of the world do nothing and get nowhere. They sometimes don't even start and finish last.
Michael/Jacques is less than nice. He is the unknown man protecting us from the evils of the world. The unseen person doing better than anybody else. A section operative. A hero. Even better than Nikita because he is going back. He was, is and always will be a level 5 op.

Me, questioning Warren: I don't follow your juxtapostion here: "less than nice" != "hero" in my book.

And I would say that Michael, of all the LFN characters, would never see or call himself a hero. As he so often told Nikita and the audience: he did what he had to do. There's nothing particulary heroic about that, to his mind...Now the audience may (and does!) perceive Michael as the hero (however 'gray' he may have originally appeared, his heroic stature within the framework of the show certainly became apparent with each season), but I don't see *Michael* calling himself (or Jacques, his alter-ego) a 'hero'. YMMV

Warren, responding to me: Hero is less than nice because as you said the true heroes are the unknown people that do extraordinary things. Heroes are less than nice, they finish less than last. But are always written and perceived as better than the best. Which is the circular point I wanted to make in the story. If a hero is 'less than nice' then he is also better than the best/Nikita.
...He is a born Level 5. He cannot be anything else. A hero. He knows it, but cannot and does not say it. Now at the time of the story in the LFNuniverse, he is sick and tired of lying to all he loves. And when the brown hit the fan he paused and didn't lie. Adam doen't know that Michael is Jacques, so Michael could tell him now.

My response, unposted because I wanted to bring the conversation here: "Heroes are less than nice, they finish less than last. But are always written and perceived as better than the best."

I think we must have a basic disagreement here. I simply can't agree that heroes are "less than nice". Heroes are heroic *because* they are good, they do the right thing. Finishing first, last or in the middle has no bearing on one's heroic status. Nikita is a hero because she does (or attempts to do) the right thing. She protects the innocent. She doesn't keep her eyes on the Big Picture (esp. in the early seasons), but she sees the details - the innocents, the 'collateral damage' - and it's unacceptable. Whether we (as the audience) approve of Nikita as Operations or not, I think Section under Nikita will be a very different place. *Because* she is incapable of ignoring or accepting 'collateral losses' as necessary.

"Man is a heroic being. We need people to look up at and admire. Of course these people say, "I did what I had to do, Just did it., etc) but inside some of them, not all, may really want to say "I am a hero." "

I still don't see Michael calling himself a hero (even sideways, by calling Jacques one). I guess we just have very very different views of the character.

Now, obviously, Warren and I have very different definitions of "hero". I thought it would be an interesting discussion to bring over here.

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