HUMAN TARGET - 1.8 - "Run" Review - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Title: Human Target
  • Episode: Run
  • Starring: Mark Valley, Chi McBride, Jackie Earle Haley, Autumn Reeser and Emmanuelle Vaugier
  • Written by: Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia
  • Directed by: Paul Edwards
  • Network: Fox
  • Series: Human Target

HUMAN TARGET - 1.8 - "Run" Review

Assassination Tango

By Rob Vaux     March 19, 2010
Source: Mania

Human Target takes things a little easy this week, reintroducing a few recurring characters and shedding more light on Chance's (Mark Valley) murky background. The producers did well by casting cockney actor Lennie James as Chance's foil/former partner, now out to assassinate a high-level diplomat. In order to stop him, Chance turns to FBI Agent Emma Barnes (Emmanuelle Vaugier), last seen traipsing through the Russian Embassy with him. Barnes received quite a rap on the knuckles for that earlier fiasco, and has since grown a wee bit obsessed with hunting down our hero. Lucky for her, Chance comes right up to her doorstep, bringing Winston (Chi McBride), Guerrero (Jackie Early Haley), and "new girl" Layla (Autumn Reeser) along for the ride.

Adding the gals to the equation really kicks the show up a notch. Vaugier makes a terrific sparring partner for Chance, launching heated quips and the occasional right to the jaw that counterbalances her essential status as straight man. Reeser does well too--she was the tech gal in that inescapable building a couple of episodes ago, and provides both Guerrero and Winston with some fresh interaction. They treat her with an endearing combination of protectiveness and exasperation that keeps the humor crackling. While Barnes has more of a personality (and gets to do something other than tap at a computer terminal), Layla has plenty of room to grow in the final few episodes of the season.

But the bulk of "Baptiste" stays firmly centered on Chance, as James's title character tries to do in his target and Chance races to stop him. The dynamic between the two men colors in a lot of Chance's missing past: a betrayed mentor, a life of senseless killings, a moment of clarity and a new path as defender rather than attacker. James does a fine job of conveying the complexities which shade that equation. Baptiste feels betrayed at Chance's change of heart, daring the man to shoot him in cold blood just to confirm that he really is a killer after all. Their conflict contains the right blend of familiarity and tension, highlighted by a confrontation in a DC subway station with a mural from Paradise Lost in the background to make sure we don't miss the implication. (The focus on character extends to Guerrero too--reinforcing his loyalty to Chance while revealing a few things about his own life which may come as quite a surprise.)

Their feud also helps keep the ostensible purpose of the exercise fresh, while the script provides a few enjoyable twists to the expected combination of break-ins and car crashes. Unfortunately, because "Baptiste" focuses on big-picture stuff, its immediate plot feels a bit threadbare. We never see the intended target, and most of the material concerns Baptiste's modus operandi rather than specifics of how he intends to commit the murder. When the balloon goes up, it's distressingly ordinary--something about a bomb in the basement--and director Paul Edwards simply has too much on his plate to elevate all the mayhem.

Luckily, that's not really the purpose of the exercise this week. It confirms the show's status as solid, reliable entertainment by stressing the characters at its core. Human Target doesn't rely on flashy explosions to get by, nor the gimmick of the week to keep hooking viewers. It hooks us because we like watching these guys do their thing, because their background intrigues us, and because the peripheral figures bring more to the table than just a pretty face or two. "Baptiste" has only its principles to go on. Thankfully, it doesn't need a single thing more.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 8 of 8
1 
xpaladinx45 3/19/2010 10:10:59 AM

Excellent choice on casting for Baptiste.  Thought the guy was great and look forward to most likely seeing him again.  This show is quickly becoming one of my favorites on TV right now.  And it's all in the acting and dialogue for me.  Just love the witty banter back and forth

TheDrow 3/19/2010 11:49:08 AM

I think Human Target has firmly become this generation's MacGyver.  I'm a fan. 

phantomx69 3/19/2010 12:25:00 PM

great episode....  i happen to own the original human target on dvd...   not even close to macgyver ,  macgyver never used weapons....   anyway  i would like to see other shows comeback that are similar to target... like t.h.e. cat, equalizer, and stingray....  so if any other networks read this these shows are  profitable....  we need more shows like this on tv now...

fft5305 3/19/2010 1:51:52 PM

I'm really digging this show. Valley is dead on as Chance. McBride & Haley are perfect foils for both Chance & each other.  The plots aren't always the most original, but always entertaining. Excellent action, too!

death4sale 3/20/2010 11:26:47 AM

Yeah, dude...this episode is not called "Run." That was the name of an earlier episode where Chance is protecting a woman who is prosecuting the mob and all of the dirty cops are trying to kill her. This episode is called "Baptiste." I normally hate pointing stuff like this out, but I figure you guys might want to keep some kind of journalistic integrity. Mistakes and typos are not a great way of doing that.

This episode was pretty awesome. This show set out with a simple premise of entertaining it's audience and that is what is does. I respect it for that. I already put enough thought into Lost. I don't need every show to be deep and confusing. And I love me some Emmanuelle Vaugier, she is f**king gorgeous. Bringing another cutie onto the show wasn't a bad idea either. Mark Valley did say there would be action and women when he was promoting the show. So far, we've gotten both.

fenngibbon 3/20/2010 10:59:13 PM

 Good, solid episode.  It's nice to see some backstory on Chance and Guerrero, and while the inclusion of Layla seemed out of the blue (did I miss some mention of recruiting her in the previous episode she was in?), she makes a nice addition (assuming she is an addition and not a one-off).

There is one thing that kind of bothered me, though:  from the exposition, Baptiste is some sort of ghost who's so good that you can't even definitively say the target was deliberately killed, but in this episode he left a number of bodies that couldn't be anything but murder victims (the maintenance guy with multiple gunshot wounds alone would be a tip off).  In other words, for a guy with supposedly such a light touch, he was awfully heavy handed here. 

monelonmonday 3/21/2010 8:08:27 AM

 yeah i agree this show is one of my new favs,valley is great as is mcbride & haley,the chicks dont hurt either, 

i'd like to see more of the chick from the jungle

monelonmonday 3/21/2010 8:12:02 AM

 yeah i agree this show is one of my new favs,valley is great as is mcbride & haley,the chicks dont hurt either, 

i'd like to see more of the chick from the jungle

1 

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