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Human Target “The Wife’s Tale” 

Photo credit: Michael Courtney/FOX

Well I’m happy to report we’re two for two for Human Target not sucking in its second season. Yay, team! “The Wife’s Tale” works out the new team dynamic as Chance take on a protection case that’s an attempt at redemption for a hit he carried out seven years ago. We begin with a flashback to that, complete with “Hey Ya” on the soundtrack, as Chance, dressed in a repairman’s coveralls, steps outside a well-appointed Tudor to confirm via cell that Daniel Brooks , the button-downed  man inside really is the guy he’s supposed to kill. The voice on the phone says yes, so Chance goes back inside, turns up the music, and puts a bullet in him.

Cut to the present. Chance is doing his Tai Chi routine (and the Rottie is back!) when Winston tells him has a phone call. They take a trip down to a seedy bar so Chance can meet Donnelly (M.C. Gainey a.k.a. Papa Crowder from Justified), an old associate. He hands Chance a folder on a woman who’s had a hit ordered—and karma steps forward to show him its Brooks’ widow, Rebecca—and the clock is ticking. That’s all Donnelly will share with him.

Chance heads outside and tells Winston they’re taking the case; and after some wizardry back at HQ with the fancy new NCIS-level computers (Winston gripes that the manual needs a manual—call me!), they find out the widow Brooks has a blind Internet date set up. So Chance goes to the restaurant to assume the date’s identity and sends Guerrero to press Donnelly for more info. Since he lost his eye glasses in a meat grinder (plot device, party of one), Guerrero has to have Ames drive him to the meet. Sidebar: he refers to his Cadillac as an Eldo, short for El Dorado, which is the first I’ve ever heard anyone call that car. Ames can’t sit outside as asked, so she interrupts Guerrero’s attempted strong arm by sashaying into the bar, loudly announcing herself as his girlfriend, and then stealing Donnelly’s wallet.

Chance shows up at the restaurant to meet Rebecca (Molly Parker!) just before her real date shows up, and Chance immediately snaps to that the guy is sketchy and the hit man. Rebecca is freaked out that two guys are there for her date, so she bolts and then Chance finds her in the parking garage. I so wanted him to throw “Come with me if you want to live” at her, but he didn’t. The assassin, however, does his best T2 Robert Patrick, running around and jumping down the parking garage in pursuit of them. They make it out of the garage and back to HQ, where Ilsa has shown up to “observe.” She plays good cop to Rebecca, trying to assuage her panic, while Chance and Winston try to determine why two economists would be worth killing. Rebecca says she recently filed a request to re-open Daniel’s research, so they realize that’s what got the hit issued.

While Chance and Rebecca go to the university, Ilsa and Winston sort of have it out when Guerrero lets slip that Chance killed Daniel. She can’t abide that their cases are his make-nices, until Winston finally sets her straight that Chance’s whole making amends lifestyle isn’t just talk and yes, their business is a lot about him physically putting himself in harm’s way to personally correct his misdeeds. Once they’re at the university archives to retrieve Daniel’s papers, Chance and Rebecca again run into the assassin. Cue some more chase and hustle before he ferries her to safety and out to the house where he killed her husband (awkward).

He can’t hide that for very long, and when he confesses to her, it bites him in the ass—she shoots him (in the shoulder). Then there’s some more hand-to-hand with the assassin who’s caught up to them, she’s knocked out, and Chance finally takes the guy down. Meanwhile, Winston and Ilsa have been trying to find them because the hit man has seemed a step ahead, and he killed an attorney while Guerrero and Ames were standing ten feet away. Winston thankfully shows up in time to plug Donnelly, who appeared right after the assassin was taken down to exposition fairy that he’d been driving the whole thing so he could snag the research (originally about baseball statistics but also handy with stock applications) and make a mint.

As they wrap the case up, they find out that Daniel had been blackmailing an investment firm over his research and bankrolled a getaway stash in the Caymans, which is what got his hit ordered, and which they don’t tell Rebecca. Once they’re back at HQ, and Rebecca’s been given the false version of events by Winston and Ilsa, she verbally annihilates Chance and he takes it silently, which Ilsa can’t wrap her head around. He tells her it doesn’t matter, and doesn’t make killing Daniel any more justifiable. Guerrero takes his new protégé, Ames, to the dive bar we visited earlier and opens a tab for her, a silent seal of approval (and a thank you for tackling him out of harm’s way when a skylight came crashing down after the attorney was killed), while she grins and grins.

The several different threads clicked along fairly seamlessly. Not all surprising since Mimi Leder directed. I liked that Ilsa thought she could just barge in and commandeer and found herself well out of her depth. I was okay with Ames here but this is about as far as I want to see her push “See, I’m spunky and I get things done.” Guerrero has done fine on his own, so I don’t want her way of doing things to always one-up him. I did like that Chance was still true to himself; his redemption is only about his own personal peace, not the forgiveness anyone else assigns him.

New episode tomorrow night—yay for starting late so we have new episodes almost all month!

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