Wednesday, 2 February 2011

'HUMAN TARGET' 2.11 - "Kill Bob"

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

I don't have much to say about "Kill Bob", so I'll be reasonably brief. This episode was entertaining and had good action sequences, but the idea behind it didn't quite take flight, and the subplots were very weak. The central premise was solid, though: a scientist working on weather satellites called Bob Anderson (Todd Grinnell) became the credulous target of an assassin, with Chance (Mark Valley) realizing the hitman is none other than his beautiful wife Angie (Lauren German). In shades of the recent Angelina Jolie action movie Salt, it transpired that Angie (named after Jolie?) is actually an undercover Russian spy called Natalia Petrovic, who has been ordered to kill her husband by her OSA handler Ivan (Richard Zeman), as he's outgrown his usefulness.

Human Target often takes a familiar idea and runs with it, which is exactly what happened here. Fortunately, "Kill Bob" wasn't a facsimile of Salt and, despite its title, also had little in common with Kill Bill, but it certainly amounted to a rather formulaic hour of entertainment. Chance simply played bodyguard to Bob; initially waiting to be sure Angie was the person responsible for the attempt on his client's life. The early scenes worked best, with the lurking doubts over Angie's guilt and Chance (rather weirdly) joining the Anderson's on a day trip to the country, and once the cat was out of the bag "Kill Bob" got added mileage by revealing Angie's actually trying to fake her husband's assassination to satisfy Ivan.

Unfortunately, the subplots this week were very poor -- especially in the case of Ames (Janet Montgomery), who arrived back from a trip to Las Vegas with Ilsa (Indira Varma) and announced she's married to a man she's only known a few weeks. This news irritated Winston (Chi McBride), who places a great deal of value in the institution of marriage, and there was the expected frosty atmosphere. Trouble is; who cares. Ames has been season 2's biggest misfire, mostly because she's so petulant and nowhere near as charismatic and sexy as the writers hope. Most of the time she just doesn't fit into the needs of the show itself, and she certainly hasn't managed to endear herself to the audience. The news of her irresponsible marriage didn't have the desired impact, and it was annulled by the end of the episode anyway.

Overall, "Kill Bob" was distinctly average and wasn't helped by the fact it spoils what's been a brilliant run of double-bill episodes that turned Human Target into must-see TV for much of January. When this show has a really exciting story and is pushing its characters into new territory, it's a great deal of fun. When it's riffing on lukewarm ideas and filling the gaps with pointless filler, it risks being a washout. Still, it was mildly interesting to see the show turn the spotlight back on Ilsa's dead husband Marshall Pucci, who was seeing a mysterious woman shortly before his death. I'm predicting he's not really dead and will re-enter Ilsa's life before the season's over -- probably coinciding with the moment Ilsa realizes she's falling in love with Chance. Anyone agree?


  • Human Target has pinballed around the schedules this season; from Wednesdays, through a run of double-bills on Fridays, to Monday. Interestingly, this Monday episode delivered season 2's best rating yet (7.7m), which is almost double its Friday performances (which were still good for that notoriously tough timeslot.) The Wednesday night ratings seem to hover around the 5m mark. It just goes to show how much scheduling can affect a show! But wherever you put Human Target, it seems to do quite well, which is a promising sign for the show's future.
  • You may recognize Lauren German from Hostel: Part II, making her the second actor from that movie to appear in Human Target, after Roger Bart. She also appeared in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre remake and the short-lived TV series Happy Town.
WRITERS: Brad Kern & Zev Borow
DIRECTOR: John Terlesky
TRANSMISSION: 31 January 2011, Fox, 9/8c