This review contains spoilers.
2.6 The Other Side Of The Mall
This Christmas-themed episode opened with a family being driven off the road by a 4×4 and a slightly creepy man telling the driver to kill the family. Luckily, the cops show up. Back at the office the family show up asking for help, interrupting a Christmas argument. As the team takes the case, Ilsa tells Chance that she’s going to Uganda for the holiday, thankfully.
To protect the family, Chance starts work as a temp beside the father, Richard Applebaum (John Michael Higgins) with Guerrero working in the office as a janitor. Winston watches after Richard’s wife, Rachel (Rebecca McFarland), while Ames watches their son, Joel (Taylor Boggan), while he works at the mall.
Richard is convinced his boss, Nick Meachem (Chad Willet), is behind the attack, so when he is asked to go down to the file room, he expects the worst. Thankfully, Chance stops him attacking his boss.
While this is going on, however, the men behind the attack are at Richard’s house giving Winston a little bit of trouble. Later that night, after a little coercion from Ames, Joel sneaks out to a party down the street. At this point, Guerrero finds out that the guy behind the attacks is named Klemah Severenson and he’s actually after Joel and his laptop. Severenson’s men then turn up at the party, leading to a pretty good fight once Chance has gotten there.
With the novel use of a stapler, Guerrero helps Chance arrange an exchange so that Severenson can get the laptop and then leave the family alone. The exchange is to take place at the mall where Joel works. The team take their strategic posts around the meeting place, the best of which is Winston dressed as Santa. Once the meeting goes wrong, of course, a chase ensues during which Chance borrows Santa’s sleigh to catch Severenson.
Back at the office, the team have a little Christmas moment before they all have to leave and Ilsa comes back. Then we get a little sentimental scene between Ilsa and Chance.
The Christmas episode of Human Target was a very light-hearted affair with some very good action in it. The team dynamic seemed much more balanced without Ilsa being involved. Ames really seems to have fit in and the writers aren’t just using her as comic relief. A lot of the humour in this episode comes from Chance’s hatred of Christmas and how, on this job, he’s in ‘hell’.
John Michael Higgins always seems to play quite similar characters in shows and he’s always brilliant in them, with this being no exception. His slightly over the top character works really well with his wife. The highlight for me, though, was Guerrero’s use of a stapler to get information from Richard’s boss.
Overall, I thought the exclusion of Ilsa from this episode really benefited it and there was more humour here than we’ve seen in recent episodes, though I think that was to be expected from a Christmas episode. I had been warming to her slightly, but seeing an episode without her made me release how much her moral stance drags the team, and indeed, show down. Unfortunately, I’d imagine Ilsa will be back in the next episode, but we’ll just have to wait and see how much she interferes.
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