HUMAN TARGET - 1.12 - "Christopher Chance" Review - Mania.com



TV Opinion

Mania Grade: B

5 Comments | Add

 

Rate & Share:

 

Related Links:

 

Info:

  • Title: Human Target
  • Episode: Christopher Chance
  • Starring: Mark Valley, Chi McBride, Jackie Earle Haley, Armand Assante, Lee Majors and Amy Acker
  • Written by: Jonathan E. Steinberg & Robbie Thompson
  • Directed by: Paul Edwards
  • Network: Fox TV
  • Series: Human Target

HUMAN TARGET - 1.12 - "Christopher Chance" Review

Guns Blazing?

By Rob Vaux     April 16, 2010
Source: Mania


HUMAN TARGET - 1.12 - "Christopher Chance" Review
© Mania

They end the first season of Human Target on a cliffhanger, which is officially dirty pool if it doesn't get picked up for next year. Apparently, the Fox executives are high on the show because it embraces stand-alone episodes rather than complicated plot arcs. That makes it easier to pull the plug on it without alienating the fans… which is exactly what will happen if this is, in fact, the last episode. In a single stroke, they've invalidated the very features they found so attractive and landed themselves in the same pickle they might have avoided with a proper sense of closure.

Beyond that caveat, however, "Christopher Chance" wraps the season up with aplomb, tossing in a few high-profile guest stars, but otherwise sticking resolutely to the formula which has served Human Target so well thus far. Bad guys invade the team's turf, taking Winston (Chi McBride) and Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley) hostage in an effort to leverage the location of a grand macguffin out of Chance (Mark Valley). Their questions trigger an extended flashback to the events which set Chance on his current path, which heavily involve the girl he couldn't save.

Back then, he acted as a killer for hire, working for anyone who would pay him at the behest of his sinister boss (Armand Assante). They hand him Katherine (Amy Acker), a well-meaning good Samaritan who overhears the wrong piece of information when coming to the aid of a gunshot victim. The bad guys consider her a loose end and send Chance in to tidy it up, but he can't bring himself to kill her. Instead, he endeavors to keep her safe… a doomed task which nonetheless pulls him onto the side of the angels for good.

The scenario's foregone conclusion robs it of a certain excitement, since we know that none of Chance's clever tricks are going to work. Neither does Acker generate the chemistry with Valley that previous guest stars do (though she does have a cute puppy, which grows up to become Chance's beloved Rottweiler). Winston and Guerrero get involved of course--the former a San Francisco cop frustrated at his department's inability to keep Katherine safe, the latter a fellow employee of the same organization that Chance works for--but the episode struggles to catalyze their growing connection. Their reasons for joining forces feel nebulous and ill-defined, particularly with Guerrero, whose unwavering loyalty to Chance remains as mysterious as ever.

Director Steve Boyum responds to the difficulties by making maximum use of his guest stars, which include not only Assante but Lee Freaking Majors as Chance's oh-too-brief mentor. Both establish a marvelous rapport with Chance, either as antagonists or allies, and Boyum shifts their position on that front multiple times during the episode to keep us on our toes. Assante has become all but incomprehensible in recent years, but at least he can still mumble with the appropriate amount of menace, while Majors digs into his hood-ornament cameo like a man who never forgot the good old days. Lennie James makes a welcome return as Chance's old rival Baptiste, and while the action remains fork-and-spoon, it still holds the twinkle in its eye that we've come to expect.

The general lack of big explosions infers a slam-bang finale to the ciffhanger, presumably to kick off a second season. But with the show's future still up in the air, that feels very hubristic. As it stands, "Christopher Chance" make for a solid set-up, but too quiet and reflective for a series finale. We'll just need to hope that Our Heroes can escape the trap of cancellation the way they've escaped some many others. It'd be a shame for our last sight of them to come in such a decent-yet-unexceptional fashion.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 5 of 5
1 
lusiphur 4/16/2010 11:30:25 AM

I've been waiting for this review to come up so I could comment on how great an episode it was.  And what do I get?  You bemoaning the fact that it might get cancelled when all indications are the executives at Fox like the series.  Granted, it is Fox and give their history, I guess I should be worried.  But I'm not.  This episode just screamed "renew me, I'm worth it". 

Lack of big explosions?  I seem to recall a boat blowing up.  Nothing too excessive, but it was big enough for my taste.

Anyone want to take bets that Katherine wasn't still on the boat and is still alive out there somewhere?

I'll give props to Tim Omundson (I'm a big Psych fan) for playing Mr. Nameless Villian with just enough menace to make me forget Carlton Lassiter.  The rest of the guest cast were great also.  I popped when Lee Majors stepped out of the shadows with the shotgun.  I had no idea he was guest starring.  Made my day.

xpaladinx45 4/16/2010 12:47:58 PM

Ya seeing Lee Majors made me happy.  Very cool to have him in that particular role.  I hope that upon getting a renewal, that we also get more Baptiste next season.  James, imo, has made the perfect nemesis to Chance.

And yes, like you lusiphur, I don't think she was on the boat either.  At the very least, it's a plot point they are considering and left it open ended like that intentionally.

ponyboy76 4/16/2010 1:41:43 PM

Yeah, I was also waiting for this review only to read this very lacking unethusiastic  discourse. That episode was great and it definitely creams "renew me" which I hope they do. I mean they gave Dollhouse 2 seasons and TSCC. It should at least get 2 seasons. Its one of those shows that may not be a huge success but it still quality. There is one every season on Fox and this year, its Human Target. Besides now that Valley isn't banging Anna Torv, throw him a bone.

As soon as that boat blew up and they didn't show a shot of her on the boat, a second before or something indicating she wa still on it, it just screamed that she wasn't on it. They seem to want to keep it in the air , although Amy Acker isa main cast member on that new Happy Town show, so Katherine might stay dead.

Season 2 PLEASE!!

fenngibbon 4/16/2010 7:43:55 PM

 I don't know if Katherine was actually killed or not, but certainly they set it up that she may not be.

What I'm wondering is if, as with the book, Winston knows more about Katherine's fate than he's told Chance.

Here's hoping for a renewal.  Or at least a two hour movie to wrap everything up.

monelonmonday 4/19/2010 7:02:53 AM

 EVERY MOVIE & TV CLICHE (sorry bout the caps button was locked) but anyways -it points to katherine not being on the boat,just gives them something for a episode later,do like the show though

1 

ADD A COMMENT

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Please click here to login.

POPULAR TOPICS