HUMAN TARGET “Ilsa Pucci” Season 2 Premiere Advance Review

HUMAN TARGET (Fox)--"Ilsa Pucci"

HUMAN TARGET “Ilsa Pucci” Season 2, Episode 1 – I was lucky enough to see the “Ilsa Pucci” season 2 premiere of HUMAN TARGET early, and I have to say, the season definitely starts strong. Picking up just two days after the Winston’s abduction in the season one finale, we find Chance and Guerrero preparing to rescue him. I love it when shows jump right in and resolve a cliffhanger, and Human Target does it in spectacular fashion.

The big news about Human Target over the summer was the addition of Indira Varma (Luther) and Janet Montgomery (Entourage) to the cast. Varma plays Ilsa Pucci, a supremely wealthy widow who goes to great lengths to hire Chance because she fears for her life while Montgomery is Ames, a thief who takes the wrong job, attracting the attention of the team. It’s much too early to tell what kind of effect Ilsa and Ames will have long term, but I think–despite Ames’s too over-done sexy entrance (changing in an elevator–really?)–there’s reason to be optimistic. Ilsa is a bit more sarcastic and fun than I expected, while Ames has shades of Leverage‘s Parker and Warehouse 13‘s Claudia and gives Guerrero my favorite moment of the night when he first meets/catches her. Actually, all of their time together is full of win, but that’s because it’s Guerrero.

Mark Valley, Chi McBride, and Jackie Earle Haley are all in top form, their chemistry as potent as ever. That is a remarkable amount of talent there. Chance’s rash decision early on in the episode leads to an almost heartfelt (and nicely done) exchange between Chance and Winston, and the banter between them is as entertaining as ever. Guerrero is also as scarily awesome as ever. “I believe in every human being’s right to be tortured democratically;” “Uncle Andy? Cool. We’ll need more firepower.”

Human Target really is a visual treat and this episode looks great. As for the actual plot, don’t worry if you guess the villain early, it’s still a great ride with terrific action sequences. Even Ilsa gets in on that. I like that “Ilsa Pucci” simply feels like a solid episode. It’s not a crazy over-the top season premiere trying to out-cool itself; instead it’s your normal fast-paced Human Target episode with writing that plays up the show’s strengths and sets a good course for the season ahead.

On a shallow note, I don’t love the new opening from Tim Jones (Chuck). It looks over-produced and I’m not sure it fits Human Target‘s tone. Also, the last shot of the episode is a bit too cutely on the nose for me. I’m a fan of the rawer aspects of the show and don’t want them prettied up with ribbons and bows.

Favorite lines: “We’ll be sure to check the end of the earth;” “I’ve got to move a few things around;” “Good news. Someone here wants to kill you;” “I hate it when they make me run;” “Of course, dude;” “well, I’m not very bright”

Despite the changes made to Human Target, it remains the same fun show. Chance is and will always be front and center and he is solidly backed by Winston and Guerrero. The new characters don’t and–I think–can’t detract from that. Fans should be happy with the episode while newbies can jump in without feeling lost, so hopefully Human Target can grow despite its Friday time slot.

The season premiere of Human Target airs on Fox Friday, October 1 at 8pm/7 central. Once you’ve seen it, come back and tell me what you thought. What are your first impressions of Ilsa and Ames?

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