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Human Target “A Problem Like Maria/Communication Breakdown” 

Photo Credit: Fox

As a general rule, a woman getting the shit beaten out of her is going to have me reaching for the remote so I was extraordinarily glad that when Human Target went that route a) they cut away and b) Ilsa got to ventilate the son of a bitch laying hands on her. I was also glad the textbook “strand the two leads in some Godforsaken place” didn’t lead to a romantic rendezvous.

So some interesting mechanics in these two episodes. The setup involves Chance rekindling an old flame with Maria, a woman from his past, ostensibly to rescue her friend only to find out that the friend is her husband and she’s engaged the team in a kidnapping that gets Guerrero and Ames kidnapped as well. Ilsa fairly loses her mind about it, and Chance started off on the wrong foot with her because he blew her off for a meet cute/smooch/shoot em up with Maria. Ilsa asks the team to gather so she can get them onboard with a Pucci Foundation subsidiary that would take some of the heat off of her when their brand of wrong-righting goes sideways. Apparently there’ve already been seven lawsuits. Nobody signs. Ilsa stews.

The team heads south for Maria’s mission, where Ames is dressed to the nines (and miserable) as part of a deflecting mechanism to distract security. Chance misbehaves, Maria gets her guy, and then it turns out he’s the brother of a dictator and Maria’s all about a kidnapping instead of a rescue. They go home, argue, and return with Maria as bait. The team does the actual rescue, Winston fires his rocket launcher (which had instructions in Hebrew), and the boys and Ames start toward home. Ilsa arrives to dress down Chance (not like that, perv) and threatens him with a very long private jet ride, so the others beg off that they’ll fly commercial. As soon as they’re airborne, the brother of one of the crew they took down (who was dropped from a helicopter by Chance) decides to launch a rocket of his own and take down the plane. And cut.

Thankfully we resume a few minutes later. We get an extended version of Ilsa and Chance’s argument before the missile hits and Chance switches into savior mode, while still finding time to bitch at Ilsa. The plane goes down, pilot red shirt perishes, and Chance and Ilsa have to hike the (British Columbian) jungle. They end up at a drug runner’s hideout and argue some more while Chance tries to reboot a radio and Ilsa patches up her wounds. While she’s doctoring her arm, Chance notices old 9 mm scars and she deflects him when he asks the source, turning his words back on him that she’s just a “trophy wife.”

Back home in SF, the rest of the crew has arrived at HQ. Guerrero wants to lay odds on whether Chance will return, Winston is having none of it, and Ames hikes it to the roof to “write her report” (aka sunbathe — in SF in January? OK…). Then they’re descended upon by Harry, a PI fried of Chance who never leaves trouble far behind, and as expected, he brings a goon squad in behind him. So we commence with Guerrero and Winston trapped with Harry trying to turn the tables while Ames is obliviously unconscious on the roof. She finally wakes up and sees the goons and calls downstairs. The guys rope her into the plan (which involves her in a bikini) while Harry tries to Dr. Phil the source of Winston and Guerrero’s animosity toward each other.

Back in the jungle, the rocket launcher assassin, Hector, is on Ilsa and Chance’s trail and Ilsa has the chance to shoot him but doesn’t. Chance tells her it’s not a big deal because killing someone is and he wouldn’t wish that on her. Hector pops up again and this time Ilsa lets him go when he grabs her wrist while dangling over a ravine. He grabs her bracelet as he goes, which is important later. Ilsa and Chance agree to bury the hatchet and head home. He asks her again about the scars and she tells him she was caught in the crossfire walking to school as a child in Belfast. She says that got her sent to London where she put herself through school and worked hard to be somebody (pre Trophy Wife status). Chance eats his hat about that and bids her goodnight. He gets back to the office in time to save the day just as Winston and Guerrero maybe have an edge, and it turns out he’s the source of the boys’ agita because he intervened n a previous mission leaving Guerrero and Winston to believe they were in debt to each other and not Chance.

At Casa Pucci, a post-shower, robe-wearing Ilsa is coming into the kitchen for a glass of wine when she finds her bracelet on the counter, and psycho brother pops up behind her. At HQ, the phone rings and Ilsa tells Chance to come quickly. He tells her to clear her throat if she can’t speak freely and instead she says “Hector Lopez is here.” Chance hauls ass to his car and races to her. Ilsa is defiant, telling Hector he wanted Chance to come and now he will. Hector’s response is to begin smacking her around. We’re witness to the beating intercut wth Chance racing to her. Just as Chance gets to the building, Ilsa and Hector struggle with a gun and it fires as he enters the apartment. Hector stands up, bullet hole in the chest and then drops. Ilsa is numb as she looks up at Chance, and he slowly kneels down and puts his arms around her.

So, that happened. I sort of saw that coming when Chance made a big deal about taking a life but the whole end montage was just squirmy even though India Varma kicked all kinds of ass. I liked that the boys wanted so hard to get the bad guys on their own but at the end of the day, they still need Chance. We had another twofer tonight (the 12th) and then they’re off next week but back on the 26th. The TCAs were this week and FUX is noncommittal on a third season. It’s a shame they’re double-running them because there are only three episodes left after the two that aired tonight, but I’m glad we’re getting them at all.

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