Episode Title: "The Trouble with Harry"
Writers: Jonathan E. Steinberg & Robert Levine
Director: Peter Lauer
Inept Private Investigator Harry (Tony Hale) happens to spot his friend, Christopher Chance (Mark Valley) at the bar of a local establishment and he goes over to make small talk. He ignores Chance’s initial brush off until he notices that Chance is handcuffed to the chair, which is wired to a bomb. Chance also points out a goon with a gun making sure that Harry isn’t there to talk to Chance. Under his breath, Chance explains that he was left behind on a mission that began several days ago. Winston brought in Sarah Han (Nicole Bilderback), a client who discovered that her fiancee Henry Claypool (Michael Massee) ran a hit squad and he threatened to kill her if she told anyone the truth.
Because Ilsa Pucci (Indira Varma) was upset about a picture linking her dead husband Marshall to his mistress, she overly sympathized with Sarah and volunteered to use her personal connection to Claypool to get access to his sensitive files and gain leverage over him. She essentially forced herself onto the mission over the objections of Winston (Chi McBride) and Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley). Back in the present, Harry rejects Chance’s offer to walk out on him and volunteers to help him escape. But he wants to hear the rest of the story first.
Ilsa arrives at Claypool’s compound with a bottle wine dosed with sodium thiopental, so that Claypool will literally tell her what she wants to know. Guerrero goes undercover as her driver while Ames (Janet Montgomery) and Chance hide within a hidden compartment. They soon sneak inside while Winston overrides the security system remotely. The plan hits a snag when Claypool initially refuses to drink the wine until Ilsa drinks it first. Reluctantly, she does and follows her toast. Soon enough the drug takes effect and Claypool knows something’s wrong. Ilsa holds nothing back as she reveals their plans to incriminate him and release his grip on Sarah.
Elsewhere in the compound, Chance and Ames download Claypool’s most sensitive files while Ames tries to set up Chance with one of her girlfriends. Guerrero finally comes over to Claypool’s office and restrains the man. When Claypool’s security discover that Guerrero is not where they left him, they immediately check on their boss. Ilsa is able to delay them, but Guerrero gets back to the car with Sarah. Chance goes back to save Ilsa, mowing down several men on his way. They initially ride out on horseback, but Chance soon realizes that only one of them can escape and he makes sure that it’s her.
Back in the present, Harry calls out Chance about his romantic feelings for Ilsa, as she arrives for the trade of Claypool’s files for Chance’s life. Claypool attempts a double cross, but thanks to Harry, Chance gets a much needed distraction to break out of his bonds and start taking out Claypool’s men. The rest of the team shows up for the mop up and Winston reveals that they tricked Henry into being there by pretending to be his date. Later, Ilsa cries over the picture of her husband with another woman. When Chance offers her some words of comfort, she kisses him.
I think I just barfed a little at that last scene.
I’ve made no secret of my distaste for Ilsa Pucci’s character and I’ve lost my patience with Indira Varma, who has been better in other roles. Everything about Ilsa has been a detriment to a series that used to be a lot of fun. I don’t object to finding a romantic foil for Chance, but Ilsa is absolutely the wrong choice for his leading lady. Even Ames would have been fun in that part, although she’s been pretty vapid and one dimensional for most of the season.
Have you ever heard the critique that "the writer obviously never met a woman"? I think that needs to be amended for the "Human Target" writers and producers. I’m not not sure that they’ve ever met another person, period. NO ONE acts like a real human being in any of this mess. Let’s start with Harry, who was surprisingly the least offensive character here. He thinks that he’s there for an internet hook up, but he stays to help out his friend when he’s in trouble. Fair enough, that’s kind of admirable. But would anyone really insist upon a mountain of exposition when they have minutes to live?
And let’s not forget why he’s there. Rather than simply ask Harry for his help, Winston and Guerrero trick the man into going to the bar by playing on his loneliness. And then, after he’s helped save the day, they’re both huge dicks about it and they crack jokes about Harry’s ineffectiveness. Harry is definitely the opposite of competent, but helping to save their friend doesn’t earn him any consideration? They just makes Winston and Guerrero look like s***y people, which is apparently cool in the "Human Target" universe.
The Ames subplot was also incredibly ineffective. It would have been humorous at least if she had been hitting on Chance in the trunk of the car because she was interested in him. Though, I didn’t buy her trying to hook him up with her friend. Amazingly, the writers have made it through the season without giving us any idea of who Ames is beyond her good looks, questionable skills and relatively flat personality. I’m not even sure she or Ilsa qualify as one dimensional. That seems to suggest more depth than they really have.
There were some parts of the episode that were enjoyable, primarily with the running gag of Guerrero getting the worst undercover assignments. And some of the action was passable. But this isn’t good or consistently entertaining. This is a show practically screaming "Cancel me! It’s never going to get better than this!"
I don’t want to see "Human Target" get canceled, I want to see it become good or at least watchable. But it’s on the razor’s edge…
Crave Online Rating: 6 out of 10.