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'Human Target' - 'Run' Recap

by Mike Moody, posted Feb 11th 2010 9:30AM
human target run recap review
(S01E05) High-speed car chases! Police baton beat downs! Seat belt strangulations!

The 14-year-old kid in me loves this show.

So does the currently overworked and underpaid adult version of me. Like a lot of folks these days, I'm just looking to wash away the week's stresses with some fun, old-fashioned hump day entertainment. Thankfully, 'Human Target' is happy to oblige.

This week's energetic hour offered more kicks and wittier one-liners than last week's mountaintop tussle. "Run" was a confident episode. It felt strong and sturdy, not unlike the series' awesome third outing ("Embassy Row").

So far, when at its best, 'Human Target' fires fast and precise, like a high-caliber machine gun. It delivers the goods -- action, adventure, casual references to contract killings -- with ease and drops clues to a deeper mystery, or mythology, just itching to be explored. That's quite an accomplishment for a show that's only five weeks old.

Still, something's gotta change, and fast.

I'm having a blast watching Chance 'Die Hard' his way through all of these missions-of-the-week, but the show is starting to get too formulaic. I want to see some real character development, or at least a mission that has some heavy personal stakes for Chance.

Since its premiere, 'Human Target' has hinted at a greater arc for our hero by dropping references to his dark past and his unhinged emotional state. I'm anxious to start exploring that arc.

I'd love to see 'Human Target' split the season between stand-alone eps and mythology eps, similar to 'The X-Files' or, more recently, 'Fringe'. Anyone else out there hoping for a more apparent ongoing arc to emerge here?

OK, let's dive a little deeper into the episode at hand... Mark Valley seemed to awaken from the stupor he was in last week. Guest star Kristin Lehman did a great job as the client looking to root out corruption in the city's police department (and resolve a few daddy issues along the way). Here's hoping she returns on a recurring basis. Like Winston said, the boys could always use a friend at the court house.

The twist that came in the middle of the ep wasn't shocking at all. It was obvious from the start that Allyson was related to mob man Whitey Doyle ('X-Files' Smoking Man William B. Davis). But I can forgive that. The real fun came with watching Chance take on the entire San Francisco police department.

Sure, the action scene in the inspector's car was utterly ridiculous, but it was great fun to watch. So was Chance's smug attitude toward the crooked cops. It seemed like a dumb strategic move for Chance to show all of his cards at that moment, but I guess that just speaks to his unhinged spirit. He's a professional, but he's also in it for the thrill.

Of course, Chance couldn't close the case all on his own. Our man Guerrero, who had just finished shampooing the trunk of his car (hmm... I wonder why?), was ready to lend a hand. Jackie Earl Haley still kills as the shrimpy go-to guy for technical troubles. "What's his story?" Allyson asked. Wouldn't we all like to know?

I was sad to see Winston's buddy from the force, Detective Jenkins (Chris Mulkey), bite it close to final act. It seemed like the character was being set-up for multiple eps as Winston's police department contact. His intel on Allyson came in handy, and it was nice to see that at least one local cop wasn't on the mob's payroll.

And just what kind of mob boss is Whitey Doyle? He gave himself and his entire empire up just to make amends with his estranged daughter? Sergei Bazhaev from '24' would eat this guy for breakfast. It would've been nice to see Davis, so threatening and memorable on 'The X-Files,' do more than just frown and deliver a sappy speech. What a missed opportunity.

I loved the fast pace of this ep. Also loved seeing Chance wake up from a lazy afternoon snooze, sharing his noodles with the dog. That was a nice quirky character moment. I'm looking forward to more of those as we get to know this team a little better.

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Justin McGuirk

"And just what kind of mob boss is Whitey Doyle? He gave himself and his entire empire up just to make amends with his estranged daughter? Sergei Bazhaev from '24' would eat this guy for breakfast. "

HaHA I'm reading this weeks later, and I'm sure no one will read this, but Bazhaev pretty much did just that.

February 24 2010 at 11:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Excellent points Hessian. Sounds like the "lost ep of Fringe" thing again. I swear, sometimes I wonder how "The X-Files" did as well as it did for so long being on FOX.

Does anyone know the true order of how these eps are supposed to go? Assuming we get all the eps of this first season I would love to go back later and re-watch them in their true order.

February 11 2010 at 6:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Didn't Fox also screw with the episode order of Dollhouse last year? So ridiculous.

I like the way the storytelling is handled on shows like Burn Notice, where each week you get a standalone story plus another piece or two of the overarching arc. But you have to know that your network will show the eps in the correct order to do that.

February 11 2010 at 1:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Deej

One thing that is not helping is that FOX is not showing the episodes in order. This was the fourth episode aired (aside from the pilot) but it was second episode filmed.

I am sure there is development and narrative, but FOX has fucked that up.

February 11 2010 at 12:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to The Deej's comment

You must have the inside track on how the episodes were made because to be honest I couldn't tell one way or the other and I've been watching every week.

Personally I like stand alones. The little hints I get from each episode allows me to piece some things together like a puzzle and that's why I tune in every week.

February 11 2010 at 4:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There has been evidence from the get go that these episodes were airing out of order.

If you were paying close attention, you would have noticed a great deal of character exposition in the script for this week's episode that is not required in subsequent episodes.

Didn't Winston say something to Guerrero along the lines of "What are you doing here?" or "I guess we'll be seeing a lot more of you."

Guerrero wasn't part of the team at the start of this episode. But he was in the second episode that aired.

In THAT episode, Guerrero was seen eating some leftovers from the fridge that had Winston's name on them. The way it was shot, you had to KNOW Chi McBride's character was named Winston - and I didn't.

There are tasks that a pilot script has to perform. There are also requirements included with the second and third scripts. The exposition has to continue to a degree, becoming less and less necessary as the series continues and the audience learns names, locations and relationships.

That's part of the reason the viewing audience isn't 'getting' this series as well as it could. They're not aware of it, but something's slightly off kilter about the path the program is leading them down.

It's like a shadow coming from the wrong angle. You may not instantly understand what's wrong, but you can tell something's just...off.

Even if the writers attempt 'self-contained' episodes, they can't prevent character evolution. It's going to happen. It's part of the process - and we're being robbed of the experience - and it's just....off.

Please, FOX - respect this show. Let us enjoy it as written. This episode was fantastic and would have served to cement fans who enjoyed the pilot.

February 11 2010 at 5:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wouldn't it be interesting if, at the end of the season, all of these people he's helped and now "owe him a favor" had to come together to help him out for the season finale/cliffhanger? Talk about a motley crew.

There are always two camps for the continuing arc/mythology thing. One group loves it, one group is perfectly happy with formulaic stand-alones for all 22 eps. :-|

I personally would like a little more "substance" to it all. I love a really good (and that's the key - a well written) conspiracy wrapped inside a mystery. You have to strike a balance though. Too much of one or the other, especially the continuing arc thing, and you loose the masses. If people miss an ep or two for whatever reasons they feel they can't get back into it - even with Tivo and the like to get caught up. Not enough arc and people get bored and tune out. Either way you end up loosing viewers. Balance is the key.

So glad to see the dog back. And, yeah, how/why is Chance able to pull up just the right information from his brain when needed? It's almost like he has to stop and concentrate for a second to access it. Hmm.

February 11 2010 at 12:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The stand-alone shows are fine, but there should be some that connect the dots of Chance's past. This was what I liked about The Equalizer: one week the show was about keeping a stalker away from a woman; the next week an assassin from his CIA past showed up in NY that he had to kill because of revenge or a kill on sight order etc.

February 11 2010 at 10:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I want to know how he seems to know everything, this week he stood there dumbfounded and that started quoting a lot of law precedences, and last week he hesitated then started spewing scripture. Its like he has Chuck's intersect in his brain. I don't know anything about the comic it is based on but is there anything like that in the comic?

February 11 2010 at 10:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah, I see what you're saying. It's great watching chance kick butt in ridiculous fashion, but we need to get some character arcs going. They've hinted at troubled pasts or dark motives for some of them, but just hints...we need a better story here.

February 11 2010 at 10:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eric H

This was a lot better than last week. But HT has not lived up to the pilot.

February 11 2010 at 9:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Eric H's comment

Well, that's because Tricia Helfer WAS the pilot. Anyone? ;)

February 11 2010 at 10:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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