Human Target “Pilot” (part 4 of 5)
Another shot of the Batwing in the air takes us to the real Palmer onboard the plane, once again bored out of his skull. This time, Disguise Guy is showing off photo albums of his movie work, which includes a fictional film titled The Mutants Are Among Us. But Palmer is just zoning out, thinking about his family, and wondering how long Chance will take to wrap up this case.
Disguise Guy says it could be “anywheres” from a few days to several weeks, and he even saw Chance “flush out a ninja assassin” in 42 minutes. And why wasn’t that case the pilot episode?
Next, Chance is on the project-o-phone in some sort of storeroom, talking to Token Chick. And here, we finally learn Token Chick’s name is “Libby”. Chance tells Libby that Palmer tried to take out a huge loan, even though his company doesn’t need the money.
He also went through Palmer’s books and found several appointments at “Greene’s Auto Upholstery Shop”. Chance wants Libby to go with him to investigate the place, and they’ll do the “kissing cousins routine”. Libby starts to joke with Chance about being at a “sporting goods store”, but he cuts off the transmission.
And now we’re at Greene’s Auto Upholstery Shop, and Rick is back in the role of Chance, and Libby is dressed like she’s Long Island Lolita in a belly shirt.
They’re here meeting with Mr. Greene himself, who just so happens to be played by very special guest star Richard Belzer. I’m guessing Belzer got the role because he was a regular on De Meo and Bilson’s other comic book-inspired series, The Flash. And I have nothing against Richard Belzer as an actor, but as we’re about to see, he doesn’t exactly make for the most convincing bad guy. Watching him, you have to wonder if maybe David Brenner asked for too much money.
And true to the “kissing cousins” routine, Chance and Libby are playing cousins who do seem a bit too close. Also, they’re both putting on bad hillbilly accents. For the record, Rick Springfield was born in Australia, and he seems to at least have a handle on doing a neutral, west coast American accent. But whenever he ventures beyond that comfort zone into Mexican accents or hillbilly accents, it’s excruciating.
While Libby distracts Belzer, Chance pulls out a floppy disk. But you see, it’s a special floppy disk, as evidenced by the random pieces of circuit board glued to one side.
He sticks it in Greene’s computer, and the monitor starts flashing random screens of text. A few minutes later, Libby somehow knows Chance is all done, so she gets into a fight with Belzer and they both storm out.
Next, Chance is back in his Palmer disguise, and he comes home to find Palmer’s wife getting off the phone with a family friend. Wifey says, “Terry says hello!” Chance asks how she’s doing, and wants to know what she’s up to, and finally Wifey has to explain that Terry is a guy. And also, he’s the “only Terry we know”. Well, maybe Terry is slightly effeminate? No? Not buying it?
She finally demands to know why he’s been acting so strange lately, and getting easily confused by all their conversations. She also notes that despite his bad knee, when they were getting attacked by the bulldozer, he “jumped off that trailer like Superman!” Does this show actually take place in the DC universe? Because maybe she’s actually seen the way Superman jumps off trailers.
Chance starts to reveal the truth, and begins with, “I think you and your kids are wonderful.” Wifey is totally confused, but before he can explain himself, all the lights in the house suddenly go out.
Chance tells Wifey to go upstairs with the kids. He heads out into the living room, and he’s suddenly in a fight with a goon carrying a silenced gun. Chance wants to know why he’s here, and the goon says, “You don’t pay your bills!” Oh, so that’s why the lights just went out. But usually, PG&E mails you a disconnect notice before sending over a guy with a gun.
Chance is able to judo toss the guy into a glass coffee table, but the guy recovers, and is soon pushing Chance’s face into the fireplace.
And then, in a completely surreal moment, Chance’s head turns into an obvious dummy head, and the goon looks freaked out. I guess the idea was to show the Palmer mask melting from the heat of the fireplace, but all I see is an obvious dummy head. In the next shot, we see the Palmer mask actually has melted away, but Chance is able to get the upper hand and knock the goon out anyway.
It turns out Palmer’s wife and kids are on the stairs, and they saw the whole thing. The daughter sees that Daddy’s face is melting, and the whole family is just a tiny bit terrified. Chance peels off the rest of the mask, and tells them he’s only here to protect them.
Wifey screams, “I don’t care who you are! You are a stranger in my house! In my bed!” ‘Cuz heeee wouldn’t touch me like that! And he wouldn’t treat me like you doooo! She screams at him to get out, and then the whole family retreats upstairs. And with that, we fade to a commercial break.
I guess Wifey came around during the break, because now she’s standing out in the middle of an open field with Chance, waiting for the Batwing to arrive. Chance keenly notes, “You’re still upset,” but Wifey says she’ll come around, seeing as how Chance saved her husband’s life.
But she doesn’t understand why she couldn’t know what was going on. Chance says it’s “too risky” for anyone else to know when he’s “stepped in for a target”. She points out he was about to reveal himself back at the house, so he explains that what he told her was true. “I do care about you and your children!” And somehow, continuing to keep them in the dark would have been “dangerous”. I mean, the daughter might have wanted to hear the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, and then we’d all be fucked.
And now the soft music plays, and Wifey asks how Chance got into this line of work, seeing as how it’s “not your average job”. He goes into a whole spiel about being in a “special unit in Vietnam”. He actually says, “We’d go into an enemy village, and we’d… Well, I’m sure you get the picture.” Wait, what? No, I don’t get the picture at all! I guess I need to go rent Full Metal Jacket or Born on the Fourth of July or Platoon or something to get what he’s talking about. The point is, he was in the shit.
He says that after he was discharged from the military, he spent “18 months in a VA hospital”, and after he got out, he knew that to stay “sane” he would have to do this kind of job to “somehow balance it all out”. He says, “I still have a hard time feelin’ like I’m part of this world!”
Wifey keenly notes that “when you go into someone else’s life, you… are in this world!” Lady, I think you should be more concerned that you were sleeping next to a strange guy with PTSD and didn’t even know it. But now that this revelation has been revealed, here’s the Batwing, right on time. As it lands, Wifey goes to her car and wakes up the kids, who somehow slept through the whining engines and blinding lights.
Up on the plane, Chance meets with Libby. She reviewed the contents of the Magic Floppy, and figured out that Belzer paid Palmer a million dollars. Also, he’s paid that same kind of money to other people. She thinks the auto upholstery business is a front, and he’s “dealing dirty money all over this city”.
Thankfully, Chance is here to put it in layman’s terms. “Loan shark!” And luckily for Chance, he’s a loan shark who keeps meticulous spreadsheets.
And now, Wifey is coming up the spiral staircase with Palmer, yelling at him for not telling her some strange man would be impersonating him. Chance comes in, saying he has to speak with Palmer alone, and he tells Wifey to “wait in the crew quarters”. I’m not sure how she knows where the “crew quarters” are, since she just came aboard, but she leaves anyway.
And then Chance grabs Palmer by the arm and tugs on him. You know, like, he tugs on him forcefully. It’s a manly tug. That’s how you know things are about to get serious.
Chance yells at Palmer for not telling him he borrowed money from a loan shark, and for claiming that his construction business was “too successful”. Palmer yells back that it was, but they somehow “went in the hole” anyway, and that’s when he heard about Belzer.
Chance asks why Belzer wants to kill him, seeing as how a dead guy pays back no loans. Palmer reveals he signed some sort of paper that says if he dies, Belzer gets his company. Wait… there’s some sort of paper that dictates who gets Palmer’s company after he dies? Just out of curiosity, how is that any different from the piece of paper they usually call a “will”?
Palmer says he hoped Chance could somehow get Belzer locked up, and then the whole thing would just go away. So Rick Springfield starts doing some serious acting. You know it’s serious because he sounds like he’s passing a kidney stone. “Don’t you realize you put your family in danger?!? How was I supposed to protect them with the wrong information?!?” Hey, at least all those years on General Hospital weren’t for nothing.
Chance says the police can’t link the hitman to Belzer, so on the “getting Belzer locked up” front, they’re kind of screwed. Palmer wonders what they’ll do next.
Cut to Chance putting the Palmer mask back on, and this time we see some of the process, which involves a face mold, and Scott Paulin in a bald cap.
Chance quips that it’ll look better with hair, and then the wig machine is lowered. Bring down the wig machine, fellas! It’s some sort of crazy contraption that surrounds his head, causing him to yelp in pain. The contraption comes off, and Chance now has a rich, full head of hair, but he’ll “never get used to that!”
Disguise Guy combs his hair and wonders why he still wants to go through with this job, given that Palmer lied to him. Chance says in Rick’s voice, “I’m not doin’ it for him!” I’m still tryin’ to bone his wife!