And we’re back for another episode of Human Target this week, also known as FOX Putting The Series Out Of Its Misery Week! This is the penultimate episode of season two and well, it’s not very good. While I was watching “The Trouble With Harry” I found myself enjoying it. Then I thought about it for 10 or 11 seconds and my mind completely changed.
Most of the problems I have with this episode aren’t any different from the problems I’ve had with most of this season’s offerings. The plotting is coming from this shorthand place where details and logic don’t really matter, Ames continues her stretch of ridiculous pointlessness, there’s more forced romantic tension between Chance and Ilsa and even more attempts at creating recurring characters. I’ll try to tackle most of these complaints individually.
First of all, good lord does this episode completely ignore some obvious concerns. The whole set-up of it with the flashback framework actually kind of works. But the events of the actual case are stupid, poorly-written and stupid. Yes, that stupid. At this point, I understand that the series is trying to make Ilsa and Chance happen so that usually means Ilsa has to be involved in the mission. She’s been out in the field before, so it’s nothing new for her to do here, right? Apparently WRONG. Winston, Guerrero and Ames continuously deride Chance for letting Ilsa be part of the dangerous mission because she’s an amateur. These are valid concerns, but this episode makes SUCH A BIG DEAL of them that it’s just annoying. Yes, Ilsa is a liability, but she’s been a liability all season long and there has been countless missions that she’s gotten heavily involved in. No real reason to get worked up about it now.
Well, unless you’re trying to hammer home the point about how Chance has “changed,” which this episode really tries to do. He’s off his game during the mission because Ilsa is there, WHICH OF COURSE MEANS HE’S IN LOVE WITH HER. The plot weaknesses return when everyone flips out that Ilsa actually can’t handle herself on a mission. The whole plan is to drug this hermit security boss with his favorite wine, but apparently no one on this genius team thought about the fact that the guy might make Ilsa taste the wine first. Of course, this is exactly what he does and so she has to drink it as well and hilarity/drama ensues. Moments like this are supposed to make the cases seem more suspenseful, but Chance and the guys are supposed to be so intelligent that they always point out all these possibilities way before ever even entering the building. If you want to tell me Chance didn’t think of it because he’s too far stuck up Ilsa’s butt fine, but what about Guerrero and Winston? They aren’t charmed by any annoying foreign businesswomen that I know of. Sigh.
Moreover, while I see the validity in trying to humanize Chance and put him with a woman so that he has a more personal connection, but it’s just been mishandled to death. Chance and Ilsa’s relationship has been built in such a stereotypical way that it’s unfortunate. They were antagonistic with one another for the first seven or eight episodes, he tried to stop her from killing someone, she did anyway and now there’s a more emotional connection? Oh okay, I’ve got it. I just think that when you introduce a new female character that the audience already knows is going to be the love interest, you have to try to subvert those expectations even in the slightest bit. This season on Human Target, that hasn’t been the case. So at the end of this episode when the two of them finally kiss, I was more relieved than anything because I just wanted to get to that moment, you know so it could be over.
I can’t skirt out of this review without mentioning Tony Hale’s Harry character. Listen, I’m human, so that means I love Tony Hale. But just like Ilsa and Chance’s relationship, this season has tried so freaking hard to make recurring characters happen in hopes of expanding the universe that it’s just laughable. Tony Hale appeared in one of the season’s earlier episodes and didn’t really add or take away from the action, but here, the episode wants to think that the relationship between he and Chance is so developed and realistic…and it’s not. I like the chemistry between Hale and Mark Valley, but you can’t just tell me that these two characters have been on all sorts of zany missions and expect me to buy it. Beats and pay-offs have be earned, and that’s something Human Target has avoided all season. And it’s unfortunate.