Thursday, April 14, 2011

Who First?

In a comment in a previous blog post, Marie asked who I thought was attracted to the other first, Chance or Ilsa?  Ooo, that’s a hard one.  I think it’s pretty gradual. This isn’t cut and dried and this post became longer and longer the more I thought about it. (and this post has taken weeks to compose!)
Ilsa was enamored by the legend/mystique of Christopher Chance even before she met him. She spent 6 months learning about him and searching for him. She convinced herself she needed him.  So she was invested first, although she didn’t realize it.
And as I’ve said before, once she found him she couldn’t give him up, even when she learned up-close and personal about his past.  She is fascinated and puzzled by him (In The Wife’s Tale he didn’t stand up for himself to the wife whose husband he had killed years before, even though that husband was going to ditch his wife.  But that’s another topic… ).
I love this little coy look she gives after Chance has turned his back in The Return of Baptiste.  She often asks him point-blank if he’s worried about her.  And he always hedges.  Chance is a master at avoidance. Why is she toying with him? (sorry these Blogger uploads are such crappy quality)

from The Return of Baptiste, S2 E4

Marie mentioned the look on Ilsa’s face when Ilsa first sees Maria – and I hadn’t noticed (great catch Marie!), but oh, she has quite the expression.  For a change she doesn’t have Chance all to herself. Maybe she was expecting a 60 year old bald woman...  I think Ilsa is later mad at him because he continually backs Maria over and over even when Maria is so blatantly using him.  Is Ilsa jealous? or pragmatic?

 Of course the complication with Ilsa is her lasting loyalty to Marshall.  If they come back for another season, watch to see if her wedding rings come off.  They need to.  When she said goodbye to Winston and Ames at the end of Marshall Pucci, she seemed like a woman with a great weight lifted off her shoulders.
As for Chance, he is immediately intrigued by Ilsa – but maybe that has more to do with 6 months on an ashram without women.  The fact that he accepted her as a partner proves he is interested in more than a one episode stand.  All through Season 1 he seemed to be looking for a connection, for a soulmate.  He is our lonely hero.  Yet he has such a fight-or-flight response that it’s a miracle he doesn’t run away from Ilsa in the first episode of Season 2.
We know for sure by the time of The Trouble With Harry, he is invested.  Definitely off his A-game because Ilsa is in the thick of things.  But it’s this look after Harry accuses him of having feelings for Ilsa that is so amusing.  It’s just a subtle widening of his eyes but it’s saying volumes - of something.
from The Trouble With Harry, S2 E12

Is this a look of shock because
a)      He’s just realized, yes, he cares for Ilsa and that’s why he’s off his game?
b)      He knows he has feeling but is shocked he hasn’t covered them up well enough?
c)       He is shocked that even Harry has figured it out?
I’m leaning towards c)
Chance wouldn’t have let Ilsa kiss him if there wasn’t something there.   Of course, he is a *guy*, but he knows the difference between what’s right and wrong – after all he let Maria go and turned away from her kiss at the end of A Problem Like Maria.

Of course Winston and Guerrero have figured out there is something going on during Communication Breakdown…  Ames doesn’t get it till we see her sweet look of surprise and approval just before Chance climbs the outside of the building to go after Ilsa in Marshall Pucci.

Chance and Ilsa seem to sort out a lot in Communication Breakdown.  Ilsa knows Chance pretty well by the time they start fighting, so she knows exactly which buttons to push, but Chance learns a huge amount about Ilsa in this episode. Not that he doesn’t do his own button pushing…   He learns that she’ll tramp through the jungle in bare feet,  that she won’t accept help if she’s mad, that she’s not afraid of spiders, that she knows what it’s like to be shot, that she’s not a trophy wife and that she is perfectly capable of saving him if necessary.  She does not curl into a ball and need to be saved, even at the end of Communication Breakdown when she shoots Hector Lopez in self-defense.
I haven’t quite figured out why his anger at Ilsa over the Maria thing evaporated.  Ilsa was trying to control him – or rather she was trying to control the situation after he had failed.  But maybe she earned his respect (yet again) while they were out in the jungle.  She seems to have to do that every few episodes  – but that thought, too, is for another time.
So, I really don’t have an answer to Who First?  Chance is too enigmatic to pin down.   I may have missed something and will continue to watch for clues.
And none of this is addressing whether each of them realizes the other cares.  Of course Chance had an unfair advantage thanks to this exchange with Winston and Guerrero.

from Communication Breakdown, S2 E8

In general, the writing for these two was really good.  There wasn't a lot of on again/off again stuff the really annoys me in other shows.  So once again, thumbs up to Matt Miller for monitoring this so carefully.
So, what do you think?


  1. Wow, Suzanne I'm impressed! Now, that's a lot to think about... I can't say much right now; finals are catching up with me. I'll be back sometime in the start of May... with a lot to say :D


  2. I look forward to your thoughts! You see things that I don't, which is awesome!

  3. You missed off d) Chance doesn't like Ilsa or even have any romantic feelings for her and wishes people would get this and let her leave the show.

  4. Hi, I just found this site thanks to you posting it somewhere else and I saw it. Thank you, it's great!

    You are a great writer and if you haven't done it already, you should write a story at the Human Target Fanfiction site.

    Anyway, I think they both had a physical attraction to each other, but Ilsa was the first to realize there was more there. It's why she would get so cross with him when he didn't return phone calls, emails, didn't show up for meetings. She just longed for him to care enough to do that.

    Chance on the other hand, I think, does care and just hadn't admitted it to himself. He doesn't think he is worthy of returned human love so he doesn't even bother trying to figure it out. He just goes about doing the right thing, saving people, and in the meantime drives Ilsa crazy because she just wants him to show anything,to admit or acknowledge something is there.

    In the "Marshall Pucci" episode,even after the kiss, she practically begged Chance to admit he was worried about her. She asked the questions almost like, 'oh for once in your life, just admit it,' he still didn't....he said he was worried about everyone, the whole team....he took yet again the safe root.

    Also in "Return to Baptise" at the end when she is all dressed up. He is totally curious about where she's going. He wants to know, but again hasn't figured out why. Deep inside he knows but he hasn't allowed it to surface. She on the other hand take extreme delight in the fact he wants to know and she really enjoys telling him she has a date. She breaks into a smile as the elevator door closes and he is standing there confused. She's loving it. There is no doubt he is jealous even if he hasn't realized it himself yet.


  5. Oh Venezia, you brought up so many good points, that I honestly hadn't put into real consideration. In "Return to Baptise", yes Chance was 'silently' really wanting to know where the hell she was heading (lol)

    It does seem that Ilsa... well... 'liked' him first, but I blame this impression on (as Suzanne put it) Chance's enigmatic character. He's way more reserved than Ilsa and like you put it Venezia, he probably didn't allow himself to explore those feelings.

    I just do not think we have enough clues that could tell us for sure who fell in love with whom first. The gradualness of this love process, makes the answer quasi- impossible. That's where the fun part kicks in imo. Now, we are left to play around with the little clues we got, changing our theories every now and then :D If things were too obvious we wouldn't have anything to discuss...

    (more in the next comment)


  6. Ok, I'm dwelling on this too much. Let me go back to a couple of instances Suzanne mentioned:
    In "The Return of Baptiste", Ilsa asked Chance if he was worried about her. Right there, it was as if she was indirectly urging him to look inside and to face himself. Of course he's taken aback by the question. He flinches then gives a 'neutral' answer (lol). Idk, he's hesitation was definitely something. I mean, you can worry about somebody without having *those feelings* for the person.... So why the hesitation on Chance's part? If he wasn't worried about other possible implications he would of told her that yes he's worried about her. Where's the harm in that. Why would he concern himself about possible implications? Why actually THINK about those implications? Guess he's doesn't want to get caught,lol. Oh yeah, he dodged it good, didn't he.

    As for the clip you shared with us from "The Trouble with Harry", yes yes I must agree he was definitely surprised that even Harry saw it. He was probably thinking "Damn it's THAT transparent"

    Bottom line is, Ilsa is more eager (in a sense), more willing to "go there". As for Chance, there's a constant conflict in him which prevents him from just accepting things the way they are :D


  7. I agree Marie, I'm glad it's not super obvious and there are just little clues here and there and if you weren't paying attention you might miss them. It adds to the intrigue. Anothe clue that Ilsa was starting to care for Chance and a small clue he is but not admitting it was when they were in the limo in "Trouble with Harry" EP. Ames starts asking why Chance hasn't dated since she's known him and Ilsa, listening to the conversation from the back seat turns her head with keen interest on his answer. Big tale-tell sign there. Possibly Chance having no interest in dating could have to do with his attraction and interest to Ilsa. Again, he might have not even realized that was why he wasn't seeking companion from other women.

    As far as Maria goes, just because he was kissing Marie and stood up Ilsa's meeting for her doesn't necessarily mean he wasn't starting to fall for Ilsa. Maria is an old flame. Ilsa is someone Chance feels would neve reciprocate any feelings anyway so why bother. Still moarning husbands death, too rich and proper, blah blah (of course he is wrong about this) In the "Problem like Maria" there was a another clue. It was already mentioned about the look Ilsa gave Maria, so true. But also, remember Chance's somewhat uncomfortable look when Maria told Ilsa, "Chance was just telling me LAST NIGHT all about you" something like that. The look could mean an number of things. 1. he kinda looked like a guys caught between two woman pining for his affection. 2. same as 1. but also, Ilsa now knows for sure he missed the meeting to because he was with Marie and did Chance and Marie spend the night together.(there is another topic) 3. or was it just the "boss" "partner" issue they were dealing with. Judging by Chance look, it was more no.1

    Wait, one more...was it because Chance didn't want Ilsa to know he was talking about her....hmmm

    I'm still going with Chance was attracted to both woman and cared for them both and it was awkward and strange having them face each other. for thought,


  8. @Venezia
    Thanks very much for commenting Venezia! I think I'm a better analyst than a writer. You sound like a great analyst!

    I love your comment that Chance doesn't think he is worth of human love. It's interesting that he is *so* confident of his abilities yet feels so undeserving of forgiveness or love.

    And you're right - in Marshall Pucci, she was practically begging him to admit he cares, then a minute later he is complaining she never listens to him! Talk about avoiding the elephant in the room.

    Oh, that was awesome in The Return of Baptiste when she's off for her date! I tried to catch that in my Where I Go vid, but it's so fast you might miss it. I think she might be feeling a bit weird because she probably hasn't been on a date since before she was married. lol - they had just been talking about missions staying with you afterwards! Too cute!

    I just love these two!

  9. @Marie
    Oh, please! Continue dwelling! I love to hear your thoughts.
    Most people, if they weren't *really* interested wouldn't worry about implications - just as you suggested. They would say - Yes, I am worried about you and wish you'd do such-and-such because I think _insert whatever here_. But his hedging is a huge "tell". Of course you might interpret that he hates her, but that is definitely not the case.

    I worry that Ilsa is rebounding on Chance.... Do you think he thinks that??? I don't think she'll ever get over Marshall, but I think she knows she can move on. She has survived the worst. (for some reason this makes me think of her telling Chance about she and Marshall pretending they're strangers and spending the night - I thought that was such lovely addition by the writers!)

  10. @Venezia and @Marie
    Yes, that limo scene was fun! Chance kept trying to shut Ames up! She's sooo clueless about them!

    Chance is really comfortable with Maria - they know each other well, so not surprising that Chance would blow off the meeting - mind you he was in a bar when he should have been at the meeting.
    But he was a big boy at the end of A Problem like Maria and let her go. Why? 1)He didn't want to break up the marriage? 2)Their relationship was mostly physical and fun? 3)He was looking for someone who needed him on many levels - and had found her?

    I think it's interesting how no one, except Chance, likes Maria, but they all like, and have learned to respect, Ilsa. Yes, even Guerrero!

    I pick 2 and 3 and 4 from your choices! I think Maria precipitated a lot of issues coming to a head between Chance and Ilsa. But that statement by Maria ("Chance was just telling me LAST NIGHT all about you") left Chance completely out of controling the situation. I don't think he's often in that position and really didn't like it! He'd much rather be dodging a bullet than stuck between two feisty women he cares about!! It's fun to see - well written and acted or we wouldn't be talking about it!

    Thanks for "playing" Venezia!

    Oh, and do you think Ilsa's wealth interferes with his perception of her? That's why I liked them stuck together in the jungle (ya, right, in the British Columbia lower mainland rainforest). It was a great equalizer.

  11. Dear Qietfire,
    I stumbled upon your "Chances" vid some months ago and thought it was fantastic. I love action flicks, and found HT in season 2. I was hooked! Of course, it was hard knowing when the show was aired and eventually I just began recording it. I now have many season1 and season 2 episodes from Amazon. I watched it for the action and humor, but as the season progressed I found the romance really well woven in. These two look gorgeous together and are such good actors. The scene in the car in "communication breakdown" when Chance asks Ilsa about the bullet scars is my favorite -- their acting is superb. It bothers me how Matt Miller is criticised -- he made this show so much broader, added so many neat subtleties, and I think his pick for Ilsa and Ames was really good -- he is really talented. I think it was really brave and smart to have them kiss once in the 2nd season rather than wait and wait, until you have gotten bored of the sexual tension -- kinda like what they did in Bones or House.
    Season 2 ended well too -- you thought it was going to end romantically, but instead it did with some of its characteristic cheeky humor.
    This is a brilliant show -- I wished it had been aired somewhere other than FOX. I hope Warner Bros tries to renew it elsewhere, or I hope I see valley and Varma together in a movie or something.

  12. @Saturn
    Hi! Thanks for commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed Chances!

    The scene in the car in Communication Breakdown is a lovely scene. So intimate and it seemed like neither of them wanted to break the moment - I guess as soon as she stepped out of the limo, that whole "episode" of crashing and surviving together in the jungle would be over. Very sweet moment.

    I think Matt Miller is brilliant. He did a great job. You won't hear any complaints about him from here!

    That's so interesting that you bring up House and Bones. Maybe now I know why I don't anticipate those shows like I used to! I think it's more than the sexual tension that gets boring, too... The writers need a kick in the....

    Oh, yes, that ending was so perfect. I can't get over it. I have to admit when the episode ended, I threw my arms in the air and yelled "Whoopeee! They didn't screw it up!!!" I was soooo pleased. For a change, I won.

    Thanks again for commenting!

  13. Going back to the discussion here -- there are many little spots where you see the romance blooming and I think you have many of them clearly chronicled in "Chances". The chemistry was there from the start:

    S2E1: the scene where Ilsa thanks Chance for saving her life and telling him he must have a lot to be redeemed for -- when he leaves she has that look of admiration quite clearly
    E2: last scene - the phone rings asking for help; she smiles up at Chance as she decides she is part of the team, even tho she was horrified just a little while ago.
    E3:Ames: When she agrees to let Ames take the diamonds to rescue Cody(?), she asks for the 2 of them to come back alive. Of course in the ending scene of that episode they both seem to be pretty happy with each other.
    E4: In Baptise like you said she starts teasing him a bit.
    E5:In Deadhead the two have barely any interaction
    E6: Last scene by the Xmas tree -- too cute
    E7 and E8: said above
    E9: they talk about his concern for her safety at the end of the episode. I wish the two would do that more often -- chat on the stairs. i thnk at this point I knew something was going to happen between them.
    E10: Ilsa and Ames were barely there in the Guerrero episode. In the few scenes that they were there , they had this horrendous dark nailpolish and way too much makeup. I dont know who was responsible for that!
    E11: I didn't think Ilsa's part was written well here -- she kind of gets too upset at Chance and rants about his lack of understanding of a relationship. Maybe they were trying to show that she was torn by many emotions at that time, but it didn't convey well to me. Altho to prove his point Chance correctly predicts that Bob's wife was not planning to kill Bob.
    E12: Tony spills the beans and of course the kiss! It was great but I was as suprised by it as I was when they showed that Hector Lopez was the one shot and not Ilsa. this show had some jaw droppping ending, be it for the action or romance.
    As Valley mentioned on Wondercon, the love story gradually developed and wasn't all a suprise.

  14. Saturn,
    All great points and moments.
    I'm sickened by the cancellation. Fox is so impatient. And they didn't even try to help this show. I've written emails to Warner Brothers asking them to give it to a network that will show it some respect.

    There are some great stories on the "Human Target Fanfiction" site. Some good Ilsa and Chance ones too.

    I've said this before, Quietfire, would be great at writing a story there.

    I hope people continue to write stories there as it helps Chance and Ilsa live on.

    Quietfire, thanks again for the wonderful work.

  15. Your work in fantastic!! Glad to find another person who enjoyed the developing Chance/Ilsa relationship.

  16. @jennbee62
    Thanks! I'm cooking up another big post about them. lol! Stay tuned!

  17. I know I'm a day late and a dollar short on this discussion, but I just found this great conversation. I started watching this show from the very first episode and loved every one of them. Smart, funny and just plain fun. (Yes, FOX execs should be burned at the stake. Just wanted to make that clear.)

    The slow growing relationship between Chance and Ilsa was so subtle and so very well done, I wouldn't have wanted to see it written any other way. For all of the points mentioned in the comments above, I was impatiently anticipating where they were going to take them in Season 3.

    But no one has yet said anything about what I believe to be the most crucial line in the entire discussion. After the kiss, Ilsa stands, Chance stands and then he says, "It's under control." That one line tells me it's something he's thought long and hard about. If not, why would there be any reason to control something? Control implies a measure of weakness or fascination. Both of which I think he has towards her. I could go on for pages about his reluctance to pursue more than a working relationship with her, but that's for another time and my upcoming series of stories.

    If you don't remember the moment, go back to the beginning of "Marshall Pucci" and watch it. It's a brilliant moment of writing and a very subtle bit of acting from Mark Valley.

    Thanks for letting me tag in with my two cents. Until someone gets smart and brings HT back to us on the screen, I'll live in the world of fanfic and fan discussion.

    Happy reading!

  18. Thanks so much for your thoughts, Eleri! I completely agree about burning the FOX execs. I was a bit concerned they'd wreck the beautiful progression they had created in S2, but you know I would have been glued to the set for S3.

    I love your insight into "It's under control". It was certainly his favourite line there for a while - 3 times over the 2 episodes. I only looked at the obvious in that moment!!! It seemed to me, the more he said it, the more he felt he was losing control and he said it to reassure himself. Everything falls apart if he doesn't have confidence in himself.

    Please feel free to comment anytime. Sometimes I feel like I'm sitting out here talking to myself!!!

  19. You know what...its over a year but I'm making a comment anyway. I am a fan of the Chance/Ilsa relationship simply because I write fanfic, and its a big component. I am STILL and will always be stuck on the look she gave Maria when she first offered herself up to trade her life for Diego. It was a mountain moving look. And here's why. Ilsa doesn't really need chance in her life. Don't get me wrong, he's the type of man I would want...but in reality she doesn't even need a man to rely on. However I think she wants a man to love and take care of and one who would love her back. She is very much an independent. At first, I think she tried to make Chance her go to man while still wanting to be attracted to him. You can't have it both ways. Now on to Chance. Hes a stubborn man. Like Ilsa, he wanted to be a protector yet still wear his heart on his sleeve. Exactly why he let her break the kiss. He doesn't want to hurt her but he wants her to admit the truth about the attraction. It wasn't going to happen. final thought is simply this: Ilsa doesnt need a man. She needs Christopher chance because he is the man that will allow her to be herself. Marshall kept her on the high horse...but she was just as comfortable getting dirty. I think ILsa was attracted first at his nature..then she fell for him...BUT would have NEVER made the first move. Eventually I would see Chance sweeping her off of her feet in an intense close situation. There would be lots of arguing and tense moments until he would finally tell her to admit her feelings. At that point...she's incapable of lying the truth would come out. Wow...I've never been this dedicated :)