We open the first half of this week’s Human Target event by being reminded that Ilsa still has issues from last week’s event. Also, she knows everyone. She’s meeting her sister-in-law Connie (Spooks‘ and All My Children‘s Olga Sosnovska, as great as ever, although I keep expecting her to jump into action because to me, she’ll always be Fiona Carter). The two of them walk into the warehouse to find Chance and Guerrero testing out some new firearms, much to Ilsa’s shock and Connie’s disapproval. It’s not just about that, but that Ilsa hasn’t been in touch since her husband’s funeral. “I’m fine,” she says and no one believes her.
The two women go out to the opera (about the last place you’d ever see me), only for Ilsa to lay eyes on Chance and Guerrero. She confronts Chance (who has obviously never been to the opera) and he tells her “I just got a bad feeling” based on information he got from Connie’s bodyguard about a ten-second breach in the opera house’s security firewall. Chance’s instincts are never wrong, so we’re treated to some bad guys who look like they’ve escaped from a Renaissance faire sneaking in and subsequently storming the lobby with large weapons. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have a situation. (And is it me, or does Ilsa know everyone, and do they always seem to get in trouble?)
“These guys are for real,” Chance tells everyone, but isn’t able to keep Connie’s bodyguard from getting smacked down. As everyone gasps, the lead bad guy named Eli (that’s 24‘s Morris O’Brian himself, Carlo Rota) has his minions herd everyone upstairs and into the theater proper where they can keep an eye on them. Ilsa tells Connie that “no one can do what [Chance] d0es,” just before Chance decides to throw up. According to Guerrero, he can do that on cue, for the purpose of getting a bad guy’s attention and disarming him. That done, he disarms another to arm his cohort. Connie assumes everything is fine, but Chance reminds her there are explosives and a roomful of other hostages. He calls Winston in the van, and asks what’s going on in the basement.
So what is going on in the basement? Something with power tools. Winston does not approve of lighting someone on fire to find out. Unfortunately, the FBI has found the van and believes that our man Laverne is in on the plan – because Connie called the cops. This means Chance has to go into the basement on his own. Ilsa volunteers to help him, but he refuses to let her given the events from last episode, leaving Guerrero to babysit the sisters. Meanwhile, Winston is pretending to be a Department of Homeland Security agent to get himself off the hook. Once he drops the name “Cheever,” all is once again well. (For some reason I want to say we’ve heard that name in season one, but I can’t find a concrete source to back me up.)
Upstairs, Ilsa and Connie are not really bonding. “They think you’ve lost sight of Marshall’s mission,” Connie tells Ilsa, referring to the board of directors of the Pucci Foundation. “You don’t honestly believe that,” Ilsa replies, but Connie wants her to sever all ties with Chance and his crew – which we know that she won’t do or she would be off the show.
Chance spies the bad guys drilling up to the surface east of the opera house. What’s above them? A CIA facility. The FBI guy Winston is working with balks at doing anything further, but Winston bullies him into allowing them to proceed – and they discover the facility is a safehouse that contains a high-profile prisoner, by which I mean Victor, Eli’s brother. At the same time they discover this, everything goes wrong simultaneously. Winston gets arrested, Guerrero is in a struggle for his life, and Eli leaves Chance to drown. It could not be worse for our heroes by the end of the first half-hour. This is enough to spring Ilsa into action (over Chance’s vehement objection). I have to hand it to her; she may be out of her element but she’s doing the right thing morally. She has really, really bad execution, and once he’s freed, Chance has a few choice words for her. “You’re not supposed to save my life,” he tells her. “I’m supposed to save yours.”
FBI Guy gets a phone call from Eli, who wants a helicopter and a safe escape, and is stupid enough to believe him. Eli is likewise ticked off that Guerrero manages to bite a bad guy while tied up, and decides to make an example of him…as well as apparently everyone else. He has the ingenious idea of baiting the FBI into shooting several hostages by having them involuntarily switch wardrobe with his minions. Chance decides to break this party up, even if it involves the phrase “Raise your hand if you’re a terrorist.” Surprisingly, that seems to tell several of them to attack. While he handles that, Guerrero gets a Morse code message to Winston, and to the FBI by association, saying not to shoot.
Eli gets one up on Chance by putting guns to Ilsa and Connie’s heads, but that doesn’t deter our hero. He decides to wreck the expensive chandelier to allow the women to escape, and puts down the bad guys. This would be awesome except he gets stuck in mid-air on the chandelier cable. I love that, though. It shows that Chance is falliable and human. With the day saved, however, Connie agrees to reconsider her ultimatum to Ilsa, and leaves her with one last letter from her late husband. After getting choked up at it, she tells Chance that she knows he’s been looking out for her, and he reminds her that killing someone isn’t easy. “You don’t have to face it alone,” he says, and I want to hug him.
I really enjoyed this episode from an action standpoint; Carlo Rota makes a much greater bad guy here than he did when he was on The Good Guys. If I have any disappointments, it’s that Olga Sosnovska only gets to play the shrinking violet, but that’s my Spooks fandom talking. The episode has some pretty ingenious plots on both sides of the proverbial ball, and it’s a lot of fun – although, really, do Chance and Ilsa have to argue even while he’s drowning? Shouldn’t they put that aside during a life-threatening moment? Not to mention, as I said before, does she know everyone? Beyond those little foibles though, it’s a fun ride and a nice change of past after last week’s character-heavy episode.