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Human Target “Marshall Pucci” 

Photo Credit: FOX

I hope this is isn’t the last thing I ever write about Human Target, but if it is, thank you so much for reading my reviews. I hope they were as fun to read as they were to write.

Human Target closed out its awesome second season with a caper that involved the whole crew and set up a third season, if we get one. “Marshall Pucci,” thankfully does not involve Marshall Pucci re-appearing alive and well, but does rewrite a bit the events of his death as they were explained in the premiere, “Ilsa Pucci.” We pick up with the scene that closed last week’s episode, although we don’t get all the dialogue again. We do get the kiss, and Ilsa leaving silently afterward, quite flustered. The next day, she’s announced she’s leaving for London, and Winston immediately wants to know what the hell Chance did. Outside, Guerrero confronts a woman tailing him, who turns out to be Julia, the woman from the picture with Marshall. She comes in and tells her sob story, that she was an aid worker for the foundation and that Marshall found some improprieties with supplies shipping involving covert weapons that got him killed and have had her on the run ever since. She tells them she and Marshall were never lovers.

Chance fetches Ilsa from the airport to tell her they’ve found Julia, and she ropes Ilsa in to help her. That turns out to be another very big ruse as Julia’s revealed to be CIA, working under Bill Fickner (Jake Weber, playing very against type),  a cool cookie not afraid to shoot to kill right out of the gate, and who creepily has files on everyone. The weapons shipments were real, and Marshall was killed for threatening to blow the whistle. When the team realizes the CIA is in on things, and Ilsa’s gotten away from a potential kidnapping (with Chance’s help), they make a break for it.

Guerrero (in his t-boned Eldo) and Ames discuss where to go and how to live before Fickner announces he knows about Guerrero’s son. While Ames stammers that she already knew, he puts the skids on the getaway and says he doesn’t run. He sends Ames away and heads back into HQ.

Chance and Ilsa end up in a motel with Winston, who backs out to the van when he realizes he’s stepped into the middle of their chat. Once alone, they discuss Marshall, and Ilsa’s relationship with him, and they finally twig that the letter she’s been carrying around all this time is the key to why the CIA wants her (although we don’t get a “why now” kind of thing). The letter leads them to a hotel where the Puccis used to role play a romantic weekend as alternate identities. Ilsa flashes back to Marshall calling her from the car as he’s run off the road (and we presume, to his death, which was earlier attributed to a plane crash, so I don’t know if that was a gaffe).

Ames, who has reconnected with Winston, leads the CIA team astray in the hotel while Ilsa goes to her suite, which was paid up for the year. She sits on the bed and takes in the room, and one of the pictures registers with the language of the letter. She takes it down, and there inside the back frame is a microchip.

The CIA catches up with Ilsa and they wind up in a staredown on the roof, with Ilsa holding a gun on Julia and the CIA folks. Chance climbs onto the roof and takes the gun from Ilsa and sets it down in seeming defeat until he tells Ilsa they’ll always have Geneva. She’s processing that as Ames and Winston are too, and Ames is concerned that only works over water. Chance asks Ilsa to trust him and they turn and run hand in hand off the roof. Back at HQ, Fickner is being menaced by somebody unseen and then Guerrero gets the upper hand on him. Weber tells his men to stand down as Ames and Winston arrive on the roof and we pan to Ilsa and Chance hanging off the building.

Next we see Ilsa resuming her plans to return to London. There are niceties all around and then she leaves. Cut to Guerrero talking to a bruised, beaten, and handcuffed Fickner seated in the Eldo out on a dockside. Guerrero makes the point that you don’t threaten him or his family, ever, and then he walks away. As he gets about ten feet in front of the Eldo, Fickner turns the key in the ignition and the Eldo fireballs behind Guerrero as he walks toward the camera (an awesome visual that FOX didn’t do a promo still of—boo!).

At HQ, Chance comes home and Winston chastises him for dodging Ilsa and Chance finally comes clean that he thinks she’s out of his league and one of them will get hurt anyway, so what’s the point. And Winston nails him with my favorite line of dialogue from the episode, “Don’t you have enough scars on you to know that things heal?” Chance thinks about that and then says he’s likely missed her plane. Winston offers they still have the CIA feed hooked in, so Chance heads out and guns it through every (Winston-cued) green light to get to the airstrip.

He sees a plane lift off and is disappointed. Behind him, a hangar door opens and Ilsa stands there, and asks if he’s coming with her. He says no, and banters a bit as she turns around to get back on the plane before he finally, finally says “Don’t go.” She asks him if he’s asking for the team, or… and he answers simply, “Yes.” They move in to kiss and then her driver interrupts to confirm that the flight’s been cancelled as she requested. She’s chastened, and Chance breaks into a grin while she fumbles hat she had errands and whatnot so she delayed her trip and she’ll just see him tomorrow. She hustles to the car and collapses into her seat with her hand on her forehead. Chance smiles broadly with a “See you tomorrow, Mrs. Pucci.”

And, season!

I am so happy that my misgivings about the casting and production changes this season weren’t borne out. Kudos all around that Jonathan E. Steinberg kept a hand on the show and that the addition of Indira Varma and Janet Montgomery and changes to the production team (led by Matt Miller of Chuck, which isn’t a show I watch) didn’t break what was so special about the first season. This season we got the crew working cases with a little romance and a little backstory thrown in.

I loved that Jackie Earle Haley was used so broadly, that Mark Valley, who’s figuratively the show’s lead, was just as effective when he wasn’t front and center in each episode, and that Chi McBride was so lovely and believable as the heart of the show. This is one of the very best ensembles on TV, and I hope FOX brings them back. They couldn’t hold the American Idol lead-in, but they did pick up more viewers as the season progressed, especially in the newly-counted Live + 7 (i.e. DVR/online) which is something. Adore this show, adore this cast.

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