Episode Title: "Kill Bob"
Writers: Brad Kern & Zev Borow
Director: John Terlesky
A man named Bob Anderson (Todd Grinnell) waits in his car for traffic to clear up. As he bends down to answer a phone call from his wife, an assassin makes an attempt on his life with a spray of gunfire, narrowly missing him. Bob immediately runs to Christopher Chance (Mark Valley) and Winston (Chi McBride) for help. He explains that he’s a code writer for weather satellites with the lowest possible security clearance and he can’t understand why anyone wants him dead. Winston and Chance follow Bob to a meeting with his wife, Angie (Lauren German) and to their surprise, they realize that Angie is there to kill Bob herself. The team gets away, but now Angie and her Russian handlers are suspicious about who’s aiding Bob.
As Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley) and Winston plan a break in at Bob’s employers, Ames (Janet Montgomery) returns from a weekend in Vegas where she apparently got married to someone we’ve never seen. And she seems to have excluded Winston from her invite list. Meanwhile, Chance introduces himself as a coworker of Bob’s who needs a lift up to the cabin resort retreat that Angie and Bob have been planning for some time. At the office, Guerrero and Ames accidentally trip the alarm and get out just before the Russians return. And at the cabin, Angie and Chance both realize they are a threat to each other and engage in a furious battle while Bob is out of the room.
Chance meets up with Bob outside and notices that Angie seems to be missing a lot of her shots at them. Even when she blows up their truck, her shots seem designed to be non-lethal, making Chance believe that she’s not actually trying to kill Bob. Instead, the team works out that Angie is trying to fake Bob’s death and her own, which means that she really does love him. With that in mind, Chance has Bob set up a meeting with the Russians where he will give up the satellite code that they want in exchange for his life. But once he does, Angie reluctantly shoots him.
As the Russians drive off with Angie, Chance and his crew discover that Bob’s wound was strategically placed to look fatal and yet leave him mostly unharmed. They pursue the Russians before Chance and Angie have a van side gun joust that she intentionally loses. Thanks to Chance’s expertly placed shot, the Russians believe that she is dead as well, allowing Angie and Bob to reunite and have a happy ending together.
In the subplot, Winston is very resentful of not being invited to Ames’ wedding and he seems relieved to learn that she had it annulled shortly thereafter. At the same time, Chance and Guerrero find evidence that Marshall Pucci, the dead husband of Ilsa Pucci (Indira Varma), may also have been connected to these Russian spies. A single photograph of Marshall meeting with a female spy comes up fruitless, but Ilsa is determined to know more about her husband’s activities.
This was actually one of the more enjoyable episodes of "Human Target" this season, particularly because of Lauren German’s Angie. As a Russian sleeper agent and yet still a loving wife, Angie was a lot of fun to watch. Her interactions with Chance in the cabin were entertaining as they both made excuses to trip into each other and disarm their respective weapons. And their dinner table fight was also well choreographed. It’s kind of a shame that this episode writes her out of the show so completely. If the Human Target team really needed a female member, it should have been someone like Angie instead of Ames.
In retrospect, even the first scene is a hint that Angie is trying to keep Bob alive. The cell phone was placed intentionally out of his reach and the call was timed for just when the gunman was going to mow him down. In terms of foreshadowing, that was nicely done. I was a little less convinced with Bob himself and why Angie loved him so much that she would betray her country for him. Even in the backstory established here she already killed one husband, which was kind of glossed over. So, there wasn’t much to tell us why her relationship with Bob was any different than her first marriage.
The plot itself was a little nonsensical, dealing with a weather satellite secretly being used as a CIA spy satellite. The villains’ plans were nebulous at best and Chance and his crew basically let them get away. But because of their potential connection to Ilsa Pucci’s dead husband, we’ll probably see them again. One of the other reasons this episode worked out fairly well was that Ilsa was minimized. I have given Indira Varma all of the benefit of the doubt that I can, but I find Ilsa completely tiresome. And I don’t like her character at all. If "Human Target" comes back for season 3, then she needs to go.
I had higher hopes for Ames when the season started, but she too has largely been vapid and one dimensional. Her entire subplot this week is a WTF?! moment about her marriage to some boyfriend that doesn’t even last the episode. And is Winston really so attached to her that he’d be pissed she didn’t call him out to Vegas for that quickie wedding? Even more ludicrously, Ames seems to have invited both Ilsa and Guerrero to the wedding, neither of whom she exactly gets along with! Again, Angie so easily outshined Ames, that it makes me wonder why the writing staff can’t come up with a dynamic female lead in this cast.
"Human Target" is the junk food of action shows. Who doesn’t want to see the occasional gun battle and explosion on TV? But its storytelling is so unambitious, that there’s little reason to tune in week after week. I want the series to improve, but it may already be too late to help it get another season.
Crave Online Rating: 7 out of 10.