Two weeks from tonight, my fellow Human Target fans, we get our show back. I don’t know about you, but I’m literally having a party that night. I’m also celebrating a little early by giving you an advance review of “Taking Ames,” the third episode of the second season, which is scheduled to air December 1.
If you’ve been with me for awhile, you know the character I’ve been most on the fence about is Ames (Janet Montgomery). Well, this episode is – as you can tell by the title – pretty much about her. She’s pulled back into her criminal past, and it’s Chance to the rescue. More importantly, though, it’s a chance to see who Ames is and what we can expect her to contribute to the series.
After Ames does a favor for a friend (read: theft of explosives), Chance and Winston want to know what she’s really up to before she becomes a liability. It’s not surprising that her friend gets her involved with a Very Bad Guy by the name of Andre Marcus and his diamond heist. In turn, she enlists Chance and the team to get them both out of trouble. Plot-wise, Chance does some very cool MacGyver-ish things that remind us he possesses both brawn and brains, Guerrero is good for another laugh-out-loud moment, and we get a bad guy so grating that I was rooting for him to get his comeuppance, which, of course, he does. It’s a good showing all around in what could have been a conventional caper story, but most definitely isn’t.
This is Ames’ episode, however, and given that she hasn’t really sold me in the first two episodes, Janet Montgomery had some work to do in order to prove that she belonged. I’m pleased to say that she did that. “Taking Ames” allows Montgomery to move the character beyond the archetype, and she does that well. Once she drops the smart mouth and the cocky attitude, and is given vulnerabilities, she becomes a character that’s much easier to understand and therefore embrace. I know I’m not the first person to say that the key to getting an audience to like a character is getting us to understand them, and I understand Ames better now because of this episode. She, like Ilsa, has convinced me to let her stick around a little longer.
Speaking of Mrs. Pucci, this may only be the third episode, but the writers have figured out how to integrate Ilsa into the stories effectively; her appearances don’t feel forced, she knows when to leave, and she’s starting to fit in. I still am not in favor of the idea of her needing sexual tension with Chance (the hint at such is the one thing in this episode I quibble with), but I like her. Her first appearance this episode helps to set up a truly great action sequence that gives Jackie Earle Haley and Chi McBride another chance to get their hands dirty, which is always a worthwhile sight. To say nothing of Mark Valley continuing to shine in his spectacular action sequences, further perpetuating the idea that he really can take on anyone. I know it’s just a TV show, but I’d still trust him to get my back.
The cherry on top of all this is the fact that nothing and no one is magically okay after it happens. There is no bigger pet peeve in the world than seeing a really great action sequence, and then the next day everyone looks perfect. Our heroes (and their furniture) carry their scrapes and bruises through the whole episode, and I like that about them. It’s part of why I love them.
If you haven’t already, mark your calendars for two weeks from tonight (November 17), when Human Target Season 2 finally premieres. I’ll be keeping you busy right up until that date with news, and I’ll have a full recap and review right after the credits roll every week this season. Don’t miss out!