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Human Target “Cool Hand Guerrero”

Photo Credit: Michael Courtney/FOX

Because I am a huge nerd, the opening scene in “Cool Hand Guerrero” made me hugely happy for two reasons. One, it was shot in the “pick something/they shot it here” 2400 Motel. Two, Guerrero’s doomed buddy was played by John Cassini, one of the stars of the Canadian series, Intelligence. Go find copies of both seasons and watch them. Seriously.

With that out of the way…we begin with Guerrero making a fake passport for his very jumpy friend, Jerry, who indicates he’s on the run from something sinister. Guerrero’s all “don’t ask, don’t tell, $5K, please,” and there’s a little passing banter there that tells us he’s been taking care of Jerry since they were children. They hug goodbye, Jerry departs, and the next time we see Guerrero, he’s at a truck stop in the Eldo. A cop comes up on him and turns on the sirens and tells him to get out of the car. Guerrero slides a gun down to the passenger seat and jokes that he has a license for the samurai sword, but when they tell him to pop the trunk, his snark fades, because there’s Jerry, bullet wound to the head, dead in his trunk, and Guerrero’s being handcuffed.Cut to SFHQ and Ilsa’s wondering where Guerrero is and the boys are all, “no worries, he does this,” but then the next thing we see is Chance coming to visit Guerrero in lockup, not totally buying that Guerrero don’t actually kill somebody. Guerrero says he didn’t, that what they need is in SF, and he’s taking care of it, so go home. Chance and Winston retire to a diner to discuss and at this point I should mention they’re in sweet home Alabama and Winston is rather passionate about his crawfish. Chance prefers his burger (I love that these two are always eating together).

They discuss the case and agree while Guerrero can kill rather freely he’s unlikely to kill a friend and buy a gun at “Gun Mart” and leave the receipt in the trunk with the body. They go back to the jail and watch and wait and discuss how they really don’t know much about Guerrero. Winston asks Chance if he knows his first name, and Chance says he changes it now and again. Inside the jail, Guuerrero gets a cell mate, who immediately assaults him, demanding the location of a notebook, and Guerrero finishes him off and then makes his way out of the cell and out to the parking lot. Chance stops him, says they can help, and he and Guerrero throw down a bit before Guerrero says OK.  He does the walk of shame back into the prison and is soundly beaten up again, this time at the behest of the warden, a smarmy James Remar (who needs to be a lead on his own show, perhaps in something like this again, OKAY)? Chance and Winston go visit Gun World, where Chance incites the customers to test the merchandise on him, but he gets out with a security tape that shows the gun buyer was one of the prison guards. Chance realizes that’s a sticky situation for Guerrero so he turns himself in for the Gun World shenanigans and gets parked in a cell alongside him.

Back in SF, Ilsa has goaded Ames into picking the lock on Guerrero’s locker, where they find a locked briefcase. They head to Alabama (in a shiny new replacement Pucci plane) to do the handoff  and Ames take a shot in the dark that Guerrero’s password on the case is “Eldo” and it works. They find the notebook but also disturbing evidence that Guerrero has been keeping tabs on all of them. Ames also finds a picture of a little boy on a tricycle.  The ladies meet Winston at the diner to hand over the info (minus the little boy, which Ames keeps to herself) and he’s disappointed they won’t try the crawfish. The notebook reveals that the warden is ex-CIA and he had a penchant for busting meth houses, so they surmise he’s set up a meth lab production inside the prison. Ames and Winston go to the truck stop to look for one of the trucks Jerry mentioned and send Ilsa to see the governor (who calls her Mrs. Pookie—hee!)

Things go to hell pretty quickly from there. Chance and Guerrero get shaken down by a goon squad, discover the meth lab, and then warden’s all “kill ‘em” Meanwhile, Winston and Ames find, and get locked inside, a truck where they discover the transport mechanism for the meth is nestled inside snowglobes. Ilsa offers the governor a $50K campaign donation if he’ll see to taking down the warden and he agrees. Before the dust settles, Chance and Guerrero have torched the lab, the governor and Ilsa have caught up with Ames and Winston, and the warden gets shackled.

We pick up with the boys walking free and Ames trying to ease into giving Guerrero the news that they trashed the Eldo. He’s upset but relieved when Ames happily tells him they didn’t touch the engine. Ilsa offers to have the car sent home if he’d like to fly back with them and he says no, he’ll drive. And he agrees to “stop watching everybody’s backs.” Chance says he’ll stay, too, and they wind up back the diner. Chance pushes the crawdads off on Guerrero and he pronounces them disgusting. He calls Chance’s bluff and asks why the alone time and Chance says he know “he” has a birthday coming up, and he produces a meth-free snowglobe. A chastened Guerero says thanks. We close on Guerrero driving up to a house where the tricycle from the picture Ames found is on the sidewalk. He walks up to the door with his box and…CREDITS. So, Guerrero has a son, or a nephew, or…

Awesome job from Jackie Earle Haley, and if I may swim shallow for a moment, we get a scene of him doing shirtless pull-ups after the warden-invoked beating, and he may be wee, but he’s cut. Woof. I liked that Ames and Ilsa and Ames and Winston had to buddy up in this one. I’m enjoying that the show is mixing up the dynamics to see how the different personalities work (or don’t). We thankfully didn’t have to address the Chance/Ilsa “save me/don’t save me” issues this week. I liked that they stayed true to Guerrero’s tendency to git her done solo. He needed Chance and the team, he was grateful for the help, and they knew it, but it was never really said outright. No new episode until the 31st!

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