Episode: Human Target 2.06 – “The Other Side of the Mall”
Original Air Date: December 15, 2010
Screencaps from midnight_road.
It’s Christmastime for Chance and crew.
As Ilsa takes off to do charity work in Uganda, a family shows up on Chance’s doorstep needing protection. Seems the night before they were run off the road and Mr. Applebaum, the husband, believes it’s because of a whistleblower letter he sent to the FDA. The company had been hiding information about a new diet pill and Mr. Applebaum reported it, now he feels that the company is out to silence him.
The team then shows up at the Applebaums’ house, each one of them with a specific member of the family to protect. Chance stays with Mr. Applebaum, Winston protects Mrs. Applebaum, and Ames is assigned to the couple’s teenage son Joel. Chance goes undercover with Mr. Applebaum at the office, pretending to be a new temp, while Guerrero poses as the janitor, which isn’t a job that he likes (“‘Do you have something against an honest day’s work?’ ‘Actually, I do.'”).
Meanwhile, Ames stays with Joel at his hot dog stand job at the mall, when who shows up but a cute girl from Joel’s school. It’s clear our young man likes her the way he stumbles over asking “Can I get something for you?”. When she invites him to a party and he doesn’t pick up on it, Ames clues him into the girl’s intentions. Back at the office, Guerrero finds a mysterious business card in Applebaum’s boss’s desk, while Chance follows Applebaum down to the basement for a secret meeting with the boss.
There, Chance pretends to be protecting the boss from Applebaum, while the boss hands his employee a list of every person who could be fired because of the FDA letter. At the house, while Winston and Mrs. Applebaum talk about Christmas and her book club, the hitmen see that “the signal” has been activated and attack both Winston and the wife. The wife hides and Winston dispatches the attackers, but they get away, though one leaves his cell phone behind.
That night, Ames helps Joel sneak out of the house to go to the party. Joel decides to take his laptop with him since the girl, Jamie, likes his music. The two hitmen from earlier arrive at the party just as Joel is hitting it off with Jamie, and that’s when we learn the truth — it’s not Mr. Applebaum that they’re after, it’s Joel and his laptop. The hitmen are Swedish guns-for-hire who work for a game designer/hacker who developed a computer game that hacks your computer as you play. The developer sent it to people who work for Applebaum’s company to get their files. Joel downloaded the game and played it, but when he noticed the virus, he hacked the developer’s computer and erased his files. Now the developer wants payback.
Guerrero gains some information from the boss by his usual methods, and the gang sets up a drop-off with the Swedes. The Applebaums have reservations about sending Joel to do the drop off, but the Swedes won’t accept anyone else. When everything goes down at the mall, Jamie suddenly appears to talk to Joel about what happened at the party. The Swedes then make a move on Joel, taking not just the laptop, but him as well. The team then springs into action, Winston dressed as a Santa, Chance working on the decorations, and Guerrero as a janitor (again). In the best mall action scene since Paul Blart, the team takes down all the Swedes and saves both Joel and the laptop.
As the episode wraps up, the Applebaums are grateful for the team’s work, and the company acknowledges that the boss acted alone and it intends to fully cooperate with the FDA. Jamie also shows up again to talk to Joel, and with some prodding from Ames, he kisses Jamie under the mistletoe. The gang returns to the office, where Chance isn’t too happy about the Christmas tree. Everyone then takes off, leaving Chance to drink alone on the holiday until Ilsa comes back into the office. She confesses to Chance that she only left to bury herself in work and forget about her husband. She also admits that she doesn’t care for Christmas either, and they bond over the holiday.
This was a nice episode. It involved Christmas, but didn’t beat you over the head with the holiday or try to teach some cheesy lesson. This was simply another Human Target episode that happened to be set at Christmas. The twist was good, and until the hitmen show up at the house party, the audience can still believe that it’s the husband they’re after. Guest star John Michael Higgins as Mr. Applebaum was cool, and brings an anxiety to the character not unlike the various characters he’s portrayed in TV and film. It certainly feels like Human Target is finding its footing this season.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars