Review: 'Human Target' - 'Sanctuary'
by Mike Moody, posted Feb 4th 2010 12:39PM
(S01E04) Just like Chuck Bartowski, Christopher Chance seems able to access any type of fighting skill, foreign language, or Bible verse necessary to nudge his way out of a tight spot. But unlike Chuck, or Echo from 'Dollhouse', his super skills don't come courtesy of some dubious sci-fi technology. So where did Chance get his awesome abilities? Who knows? We'll probably never learn the answer to that question. Despite the show's small attempts to get a larger arc moving, 'Human Target' is more concerned with delivering fun, action-packed self-contained episodes than with building a rich mythology.
Surprisingly, 'Sanctuary' offered some valuable intel about Chance's past, courtesy of Guerrero's latest "side job." We learned that he's wracked with guilt over his involvement in a woman's death -- a woman he was probably in love with. The same woman might've been the reason he turned things around and started working for the good guys, mirroring this week's client, John Gray ('Fanboys' star Sam Huntington). I'm looking forward to seeing these plot elements finally pay off somewhere down the line, but I don't expect the payoff to be huge.
'Human Target' delights in exploiting action movie clichés and adorning its formulaic episodes with fun storytelling devices (the gumshoe narration) and nutty stunts (the hero swinging from a gondola line). So I don't expect the ongoing arc about Chance's past to lead to much more than a fun shoot-em-up, or maybe a fight scene on the hood of a runaway monster truck.
Sadly, nothing so outrageous happened this week, but there was still some fun to be had. I loved Winston's narration, and the action scenes were solid. I wasn't very invested in the A plot, which pitted Chance against a wonderfully over-the-top William Mapother (Ethan from 'Lost').
Guerrero's storyline was much more interesting. Maybe its Jackie Earl Haley's performance, but Guerrero is the most intriguing character on the show. Just when it seemed like he was ready to betray his buddies, he proved his loyalty in the most brutal way possible. I love the duality inherent in the character -- he's a good guy who acts like a goon and shoots people in the back.
Apparently, Guerrero is also the guy to call when you're trying to disarm an explosives detonator. This classic action movie trope led to line of the night, "Did you just flip a coin?"
We also learned a little more about Winston, who, it turns out, is a retired cop. No surprise there. He's also very invested in helping people who are trying to reform themselves. Like Chance, it seems like Winston might have his own sins to atone for.
"Sanctuary" wasn't nearly as exciting as last week's ep. Mark Valley sorta seemed to be sleepwalking through his role here. Thankfully, Haley and Chi McBride made up for that with their very fine performances.
One last note ... I loved the 'Crisis on Infinite Earths' breakdown. "Alternative services" huh? Makes sense, I guess.
[Catch up with free episodes of Human Target on Slashcontrol.]