Monday, April 13, 2009

Chuck, "Chuck vs. the First Kill": Who can you trust? No, seriously, who can you trust? Have I asked you yet about who you can trust?

Spoilers for tonight's "Chuck" coming up just as soon as I enjoy the taste of a savory $5 Footlong...
"Chuck, you have to realize that there's some people you just cannot trust." -Sarah
Did you know that "Chuck vs. the First Kill" is about trust? About whom Chuck can and can't trust? About the difficulty of knowing whom to trust in a dangerous world? About whether Morgan can trust Millbarge? About the trustworthiness of mankind in general, and spies in particular?

I can trust that you understand this, I trust. Right?

Sigh... "Chuck vs. the First Kill" is, for the most part, another really strong episode as the show goes into the home stretch of season two. But for the first time since the start of the series -- when characters couldn't stop saying the word "secrets" over and over and over -- my teeth started to grind together as we kept hearing, ad nauseum, repetitions of that same question about whom to trust. It was almost like the writers didn't trust(*) the audience to understand the theme without spelling it out for them 17,000 times.

(*) Gah! I didn't actually realize what I was doing with that sentence until I went back to reread the paragraph. "Trust" now has a subliminal hook into my brain. I'm going to be using it in sentences for at least a week, dammit.

But if the theme for some reason had to be underlined and placed in yellow highlighter over and over, it's still a good theme, and an appropriate one for this point in the story arc. When nearly everyone in Chuck's life -- including his college roommate, the love of his life and, oh yeah, his father -- has turned out to be involved in the espionage, and when the people at the NSA have proven to not have his best interests at heart (and that's without him having the first clue how close Casey came to putting a bullet in his head in "Chuck vs. the First Date"), why wouldn't Chuck be a might confused about trust?

Despite Chuck's increasing (and increasingly-justified) paranoia as he attempted to find his dad and get the Intersect out of his head for good, "Chuck vs. the First Kill" was actually one of the lighter episodes in a while -- as you might expect from one guest-starring Ken Davitian (aka Azamat from "Borat"). Chuck actually gets his first two kills -- assuming we don't count the dead Fulcrum agents from "Chuck vs. the Suburbs," where Chuck set them up for the kill but Casey pulled the metaphorical trigger -- but they're both completely silly and Bartowski-style, thanks to his "move." First Uncle Bernie dies of a heart attack after a lengthy chase up too many staircases, scored, hysterically, to Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf"(**), and then Fulcrum muckity-muck Bill Bergey gets accidentally tai chi'd out the window when Chuck pulls The Morgan on him.

(**) This is as good an excuse as any to pimp Give Me My Remote's unofficial "Chuck" soundtrack -- and to ask the question of which songs you would put on your own DIY "Chuck" mix. Would you lean heavily on the ironic '80s songs? More on the contemporary indie rock? Both? And if there ever were to be an official soundtrack, what one song's presence -- other than the theme song -- would you consider most essential?

Beyond the funny deaths, we got the awkwardness (and occasional pathos) of Chuck suffering through a fake -- and hastily-assembled, it seems -- engagement party with Jill's family (including Boonton, NJ's own Hey! It's That Guy Peter Onorati as her dad), Casey's anger at doing so poorly on the Fulcrum test (and devoting one of his patented cheeseball kiss-off lines to it), and one of the season's most amusing Buy More subplots, with Millbarge tricking Morgan into assisting his palace coup, followed by Big Mike playing Michael Corleone to Morgan's Fredo.

But while Morgan makes a mistake in trusting Millbarge, Chuck's instincts are proven right on both the great loves of his life. Jill does help him, and even refuses to run away (and/or rejoin Fulcrum) when given the chance during Casey and Sarah's two-man siege on the Fulcrum office building, because she wants to help Chuck find his dad. And Sarah, of course, goes against orders by telling Chuck to run -- and running with him -- instead of taking him for permanent lockdown. Despite my irritation with how often the theme had to be restated, I thought Levi, Strahovski and even Jordana Brewster (and is she suddenly a movie star again thanks to "Fast & Furios" opening huge?) all brought it emotionally, even in the midst of a goofier hour.

Two more episodes left -- and that had better only be two more episodes left in the season, and not in the series. Because if "Chuck" dies because NBC decided to hand over five hours of primetime a week to Jay flippin' Leno... Well, I haven't let my heart get broken by the premature end of a TV show in a long time (even "Freaks and Geeks," I was braced for), but I feel like this one might.

Some other thoughts:

• Two links about the state of the show: 1)In case you missed it, last week I interviewed Chris Fedak about where things stand creatively, and with the network. 2)The folks at ChuckTV.net have their "Chuck" Watch/Buy/Share plan set up, which now includes suggesting that people try to buy Subway footlongs (like the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki that Big Mike enjoyed tonight) on the night of the finale (along with a letter to NBC saying you're going to do that). I don't know if this will be any more successful than other recent Save Our Show campaigns, but if you feel like you need to do something, the chicken teriyaki is quite tasty.

• I really dug Sarah's last stand in the middle of the Fulcrum offices. No fancy fight choreography -- just her calmly gunning down wave after wave of bad guys. (And it was all nicely set up by Jill's warning that every single person in the building was Fulcrum, and by Chuck simul-flashing on everybody in the lobby.)

• "Obama Guava" - ha! Chuck's irritation that the CIA has time to come up with new fro-yo flavor names -- and, for that matter, to dream up the entire Orange-Orange (unless it's supposed to be a pre-existing franchise in the show's universe) -- was a nice touch.

• Getting back to the soundtrack question and this episode's musical choices: "Hungry Like the Wolf" or "We're Not Gonna Take It"?

• Every man has his weakness: Millbarge's is renaissance faires, Lester is his conversion to Judaism (he could work fast food if he didn't keep kosher), and Jeff's... well, I'm not even sure I can repeat it. Jeff has officially eclipsed any other contender for Most Hilariously Disturbing TV Character of '08-'09.

• Loved that Chuck wouldn't let Casey cheat off of him on the Fulcrum test. Serves Casey right for all the sarcastic congratulations (conjugal visits, first kills, etc.) Casey kept offering him tonight.

What did everybody else think?

82 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry you had issue with the episode, Alan. I loved every minute of this show! Loved the music. Loved Sarah being a badass. Loved Morgan's reference to Princess Bride when figuring out what Emmitt wanted from the employees. Loved the brief (and expected) reference to Weekend at Bernie's when Casey and Chuck are carrying Uncle Bernie out of the house and pretending he's not dead. Loved the Godfather 2 reference and (maybe I just wanted to see it) the "test scene" reference from Spies Like Us when Casey wanted to cheat off of Chuck. I didn't have a problem with the "trust" theme, because this episode was just way too fun to harp on. And I love how this is shaping up to be a kickass season finale!

Pamela Jaye said...

I interrupt this viewing of HIMYM to read this column - and to say that Chuck is so good that it good me at least half an hour to notice that I hadn't seen Scott yet.

That said, the intro was cute - and it's a good thing.
I have not yet looked to see the screaming of Scott fans, but I'm guessing it won't be pretty.

filmcricket said...

"Hungry Like the Wolf," for sure.

We saw last season that Sarah was willing to go off the reservation to keep Chuck from going into lockdown - now she's done it. It'll be interesting to see how the show paints itself out of that particular corner, but the last two episodes sure look like they're going to be awesome.

Speaking of - we got Anna back, but no Ellie or Awesome. Is Chuck on the Veronica Mars/Scrubs regulars plan where only so many stars can appear at once, or is it just that Chuck logically couldn't tell his family about the "engagement"?

Jack said...

It's Another Day for a White Wedding.....

Pamela Jaye said...

Huey Lewis songs - weren't they on a roll a while back?

Subway - honestly, I really thought it was going to be donuts, but hey, the last time I had Subway, it was... really recently (and also good)

Oh boy, I totally missed Weekend at Bernie's (and so many other things)
also the DVR is cutting off the beginning of HIMYM as it switches from BBT. sigh.

now I need to find the person who told me Scott was going to be on 4 eps (I think it was Scott, but it might have been Jay (his publicist, not my brother, and yes, that's confusing)
and...

Alyson said...

That is what I call a game-changer. I dunno what else Schwartz and Fedak have up their sleeves now that Chuck and Sarah have officially gone AWOL, but I am confident it will be good.

The lack of Bakula and Chase was a little disappointing but unsurprising given that we have two more weeks left and they only signed on for three eps each.

The biggest question now is, where does this leave Casey?

Dio said...

Good episode overall. I liked how Jill end up departing the show. As for the music, I would have to go with "We're Not Gonna Take It" eh!

I wish they didn't made Chuck do his little "your always been there for me Sarah" for her to choose to go away with him. I wish she would of decide before. It seemed like the 100000 time we hear him say this. It was less dramatic in my opinion then to have her choose the option to go with him right off the bat when she entered the BuyMore. Or maybe they tried to make it more dramatic and failed.

Poor Morgan, he got played by the evil Millbarge hehe! Let's hope he gets his chance to fight back!

Dio said...

"I wish they didn't made Chuck do his little "your always been there for me Sarah" for her to choose to go away with him. I wish she would of decide before. It seemed like the 100000 time we hear him say this. It was less dramatic in my opinion then to have her choose the option to go with him right off the bat when she entered the BuyMore. Or maybe they tried to make it more dramatic and failed."

Kinda quoting myself because I just thought about this after I published my comment eh.

But I think I know why I said the thing above now. They seemed to make Sarah go for the option that she was going to go away with Chuck when she was in the Castle, but then in the BuyMore she didn't and then change her mind again. Maybe it's just that. Or maybe I'm reading it wrong eh!

J said...

The Subway campaign is shrewd, I guess. What amuses me most about the show's product integration is that twice now it's been closely followed by an advertisement for Quiznos. Like it's equal time, or something. They should trot out Bobby Jindal for Blimpie.

How this episode didn't feature Billy Joel's "A Matter of Trust," Prince's "Trust," (+etc, etc) is beyond me. TRUST. Trust. (Trust.)

Jennifer said...

In other "Hey, It's That Guy" news, did anyone recognize the actor playing the Buy More corporate rep who was sent to evaluate the store? He looked familiar, but I couldn't place his face.

Pamela Jaye said...

buy more guy, played a priest. possibly on Joan of Arcadia. will get back to you

Dio said...

"In other "Hey, It's That Guy" news, did anyone recognize the actor playing the Buy More corporate rep who was sent to evaluate the store? He looked familiar, but I couldn't place his face."

He's the same guy that evaluated Tang and was suppose to evaluate Chuck in Vs the Sandworm in season 1.

Anthony Strand said...

The Buy More assessment guy was David Burke, best known by me for playing Arthur on the live-action Tick series.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0121652/

Pamela Jaye said...

I think it's this guy

Pamela Jaye said...

I often get him confused with Tom (?) Verica (from American Dreams)

mjryan said...

I thought the episode was strong across the board, but I do have to agree with Dio about Chuck's speech to Sarah. They've mined that same conversation one too many times. Here's hoping their going rogue together will change their dynamic a bit, or at least end that redundant conversation.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else think of The Wire when Chuck mentioned that Fulcrum "evacuated" his father?

Also, I like the overt product placement if it gives the show a better chance of staying on air. I just hope NBC sees it, too.

Mark B said...

Buy More employees either sell stuff or go to people's houses to install or fix it.

I expected one of them to figure out those jobs couldn't be done very easily from India, and conclude it was an empty threat. (I guess the scene did work looking at it the other way, that they were so dumb they thought the employees would get sent to India.)

As for the "references," they've officially gone into overkill for me. At Big Mike's farewell, I was waiting less to hear what he would say as I was for what damn movie it would be from.

Grunt said...

Did anyone else notice that when Chuck flashed on Uncle Bernie, amongst the things he saw was a newspaper article of Uncle Burnie successfully eating a 96oz steak? Made me crack up.

55 said...

Best part: Jeff's librarian glasses. That dude has quickly become one of my favorite TV characters. A perfect blend of Kevin and Creed from The Office: slow, lovable, and extremely creepy.

Absolutely cannot wait to see how they end this season.

Pamela Jaye said...

Buy More employees either sell stuff or go to people's houses to install or fix it.

I expected one of them to figure out those jobs couldn't be done very easily from India,
the fixing and installing wouldn't work well from India, but I buy my computer equipment from newegg.com, almost everything else from Target (real Target), amazon.com. My brother buys all his stuff from either ebay(.com) or at pawn shops.

I think the Nerd Herd may be safe, but the BuyMorians should worry as much as the former Circuit City employees (good thing Schwartz picked the right store)

Pamela Jaye said...

I meant to add, but Dennis was talking to me, that this afternoon I took a quiz on "your favorite Nerd Herder"

and Morgan was on it.
I didn't vote for him, of course, as he's not a Nerd Herder.

I was fairly sure it was invested fans who set up this poll. maybe they are distracted...

mattb said...

I love Chuck, but the bigger than normal plot holes annoyed me this episode:

- They throw the engagement party for Jill, without expecting that a Fulcrum agent like Bernie wouldn't question how she got out of jail?
- They uncover a front business for Fulcrum, a building full of Fulcrum agents, and the CIA doesn't send it's riot squad in? Instead they send in the Human Intersect?

I know its meant to be cheesy at times and we're just supposed to have fun (and I do) but this episode just felt a little... sloppier than more recent episodes.

But if Chuck gets cancelled, NBC is dead to me. I truly can't think of any other show on the network, besides The Office and 30 Rock, that I actively tune in for anymore.

Dan said...

I absolutely loved the episode, Morgan's Vizzini speech had me laughing out loud.

Regarding the soundtrack, I omitted Britney, Huey, & Journey.

added
The Thermals: Returning to the Fold

Band of Horses: Nobody is Going to Love You

and the must have... The Kooks: Love It All

It should probably have Rush's Tom Sawyer

Joyeful said...

Quote: They throw the engagement party for Jill, without expecting that a Fulcrum agent like Bernie wouldn't question how she got out of jail? I think they did expect him to question her, that was the point.

Did anyone else notice that "Hungry Like A Wolf" started playing during Chuck's flash on Uncle Bernie? As hilarious as that is, I don't think it's ever happened before. I wonder when the images got music encoded in them...

I totally didn't see Sarah running off with Chuck coming. Didn't see that at all. I had already figured Sarah would tip him off and get HIM to run, didn't see her joining him.

(sigh) What will I do if they cancel this show?

Anonymous said...

The second guy that Chuck did the "Morgan" on was the husband that died on Lipstick Jungle. It's like the second or third time I've seen him killed off since dying on LJ. I loved it.

Jeff is so creepily funny. This show is so Awesome. Hope the chuckle heads at NBC don't cancel it.

Now that "Life" is gone I'm down to Chuck if it goes no more NBC for me.

Joyeful said...

quote: Jeff has officially eclipsed any other contender for Most Hilariously Disturbing TV Character of '08-'09 HAHAHA...that made me laugh out. That really should be an award, Jeff is certifiable.

KevinR said...

In "hey, it's that guy!" world, I think the first Fulcrum guy to get shot (carrying mail) was Joe McCoy from FNL..?

-kevin

Number Five said...

If they're going to go overkill on references, they might as well take directly from a great movie, The Parallax View, for the Fulcrum video and test, which I've been waiting for ever since the first time Chuck flashed. I also liked the fascist poster art in the Fulcrum building and an attempt to flesh them out a little bit, although they're still pretty incomprehensible.

I liked seeing the natural trust issues between Chuck and the government finally coming into the open. Chuck's realization that Beckmann didn't have his interests at heart and Beckmann's attempt to bring him in were a long time coming. But yeah, the on the nose dialogue about trust, plot holes, and mixed up character motivations aren't helping things.

It'll be cool to see Chuck and Sarah operating on their own, maybe even getting to team up with his dad. If they're renewed, though, I hope they don't return to the status quo, because that would cheapen the running away in this episode. But that's not something to worry about now.

Anonymous said...

I know SPIES LIKE US is an influence of this show, but I thought the test scene reminded me more of FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH (another obvious influence of the show). When Casey tried to cheat off Chuck, he covered his test with the same arm and manner as Arnold covered his test when one of the Pat Benators tried to cheat off him.

Hoosier Paul said...

Maybe instead of offering to put Jill in Witness Protection, they could have offered to make her a prison -- wait for it -- trustee. Eh? Eh? See what I did there? Er ... yeah, forget I said anything.

Crystal said...

Trust No One.

Karen said...

I felt so bad for Morgan. He and Chuck both chose who to trust, but--as always--Chuck chose better than Morgan.

The Princess Bride homage had me dying.

I thought it was a great episode. The trust anvil didn't bother me so much.

I love this job more than I can say.

Oh, and "Hungry Like the Wolf" FTW.

Karen said...

@Number Five--I actually just saw The Parallax View last week for the first time, and the film they run for Beatty blew my mind. That was absolutely the first thing I thought of during the Fulcrum video!

I also loved the Soviet-style Constructivist poster art. One of them was captioned "Let's Put a Dent in the World!"

JackiWhitford said...

Alan -

Thanks for posting your recap so quickly. I love Chuck, no matter how many plot holes this episode has. But I was disappointed that Scott Bakula was in the teaser but not in the episode. That is just wrong.

And like mattb said, NBC is dead to me if they kill off Chuck.

I want the Chuck soundtrack to include music by Jeff and Lester.

Here is the link to find music played on Chuck from the first season.

http://chucktv.net/2008/07/10/complete-listing-of-chuck-songs-from-season-one/

and another link to find music played on just about any tv show.

http://www.tvshowmusic.com/

Enjoy!

dhleach said...

Love how after Chuck/Casey passed/failed the Fulcrum test, Chuck suggested that they reconsider Casey for some type of brawny job in manual labor... and minutes later Casey saves Chuck as a window washer.

I appreciated that after Casey and Sarah were ordered to take Chuck "underground," instead of reverting to his cold "orders are orders" mentality of earlier, Casey appealed to Sarah on the basis that it really would be the safest (can you argue?) for Chuck to put him into hiding. What will be interesting to see is how Casey will treat his orders, now that Chuck and Sarah are officially traitors. If FNL can get two more seasons, hopefully we can get at least one more out of Chuck!

Teri B. said...

It was a great episode, but as we see Chuck fully come into the spy world at last (negotiating openly with the General, trip to interrogate captured Fulcrum agents, personally led missions, etc) the Buy More/real life cover is just... not working anymore, and that really REALLY needs to be dealt with already. It was really distracting in this episode. He's never even AT the Buy More anymore! How does he keep his job when he takes day-long field trips (sometimes to other cities) half the time, and then runs out on his shifts even when he IS there? How does that possibly work with Ellie? And actually, what's up with the current state of the "fake" relationship? He's been dating Sarah for over a year, they've broken up and got together a number of times, he's told Ellie and Awesome that he can't see it "moving forward" but they're still nominally together, and yet we almost never see them doing cover-couple stuff anymore... shouldn't everyone who knows Chuck wonder what's up with that? It should just be dropped already; at this point they could break up and remain friends as an excuse to have Sarah involved in his life.

Anthony Foglia said...

Alan, how could miss my favorite joke this week? One of the headlines when Chuck flashed on Uncle Bernie was "Outsider Eats 96 Ounce Steak". Great throwaway gag.

So, the NBC promo/ident before the show had Scott Bakula saying he was going to be on Chuck--Bad promo for possibly ruining the episode, or good promo for screwing up ruining the episode?

mattb said...
They uncover a front business for Fulcrum, a building full of Fulcrum agents, and the CIA doesn't send it's riot squad in? Instead they send in the Human Intersect?No stranger than the CIA had no apparent knowledge of an office building where any random person can come in, be evaluated by Fulcrm, and watch their recruitment video.

Mark B said...

So, the NBC promo/ident before the show had Scott Bakula saying he was going to be on Chuck--Bad promo for possibly ruining the episode, or good promo for screwing up ruining the episodeHe said he was going to be on one of the 3 shows (Chuck, Heroes, Medium) but wouldn't say which.

Kathryn said...

Speaking of the awesome music this week, this has got to be the first time anyone's used the Brahms German Requiem as TV soundtrack. It can't get better than Morgan realizing Emmett has taken over the Buy More and hearing a chorus sing "Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras" (for all flesh is as grass).

Zachary said...

One quick and you'll miss it reference that I caught at the very beginning was Goodfellas when Chuck was asking Jill if the sauces were being made extra special.

Jeff saying "I'm an institutionalized man now." made me think of Red in The Shawshank Redemption.

Casey and Chuck watching the video made me think of Parallax View.

Chuck preventing Casey from cheating on the test also reminded me of Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Elena said...

I didn't mind the trust references. Things moved too fast for me to be annoyed by the repetition. And I liked how the Chuck and Buy More plots were separate, but linked as they both had to do with trust. Poor Morgan, Millbarge had better pay, and soon. I thought Sarah wasn't going to tell Chuck the truth, and he would realize she was lying --thought she'd mention where his dad had been held and he'd know it was wrong--as he knew, and hadn't told her. But its better that they're on the run--what fun!

Oh, and definitely "We're not gonna take it".

reen426 said...

@ Mark B

"So, the NBC promo/ident before the show had Scott Bakula saying he was going to be on Chuck--Bad promo for possibly ruining the episode, or good promo for screwing up ruining the episodeHe said he was going to be on one of the 3 shows (Chuck, Heroes, Medium) but wouldn't say which."
---------------------------------
at the end of the line-up he mutters CHUCK and then he said "huh"...either this was a mistake on NBC's part for using this on a non-bakula episode...but i hope the bakula fans don't get piss that they were led on to believe he was in it...even though he technically was "in" the episode...lol...just in the recap part ;)

cgeye said...

Still thinking about it.

Chuck has the craaziest luck of any human-computer hybrid this side of Caprica.

Two hot babes committing their own forms of treason, to save his ass?

Chuck still with the removable watch and the untraceable Intersect, in the midst of a spy war?

Beckman, yes, trusted an operative who was questioned about her attachment to the Intersect to bring said Intersect into custody?

And Jill couldn't see a way back into the arms of Fulcrum by bringing them the Intersect -- Chuck flashed right in front of her, so she could have come back in from the cold, after a bit of mindsifting?

[Trying not to gag over the 'great day for America' jingoism on the late shows -- if it's not Spector, it's Somalia.]

The one thing Chuck selfishly does not consider: He has loved ones the government could imprison or frame in order to blackmail him into compliance. If he's finally gotten wise that no one in SpyWorld wants him free or alive (if he's useless), why does he assume his running away will make anything better? It's as quaint as Casey saying the new Administration has stopped waterboarding.

Anonymous said...

Good episode, quite entertaining, as Chuck seems to reliably be these days. Loved the soundtrack to this one even more than usual, like most people did.

As I read this before watching the episode (not really a show where I care much about spoilers), I set out to count the instances of the word "trust": 21.

How they didn't think that emphasizing the theme that much wouldn't be stupid, I don't know, but the rest of the episode was good enough for me to ignore it.

Ben said...

Bill Bergey = former Eagles linebacker

benson.m said...

I didn't mind the music here -- it was mixed a little less deftly than normal, but I thought it was pretty decent, and overall better than a few of the mid-season episodes. I'd definitely pick We're Not Gonna Take It.

As for other songs, I really think of the first couple episodes this season as some of the best for music -- Returning to the Fold and Do You Believe in Love were both strong contenders, but if I have to pick the one that must make it, I think Dropped wins.

Wait, maybe Tom Sawyer, or ...

Gah! I can't pick just one!

ap said...

I like the indie music they've playing on "Chuck" so I'd have to pick The Republic Tigers' "Buildings and Mountains" for inclusion on the Chuck soundtrack. The song was playing during "Chuck versus the Fat Lady" when Jill and Chuck drive off on a road trip and it's just an awesome song, with some meaningful lyrics:
"We've been waiting all our lives
For things we've always had
But have no eyes to see
Somethin' new is going to happen
The most natural thing
But nothin' we'd expect."

LoopyChew said...

My love for all things Franz Ferdinand caused me to pick up on the B-Side Shopping for Blood when they were entering the Strength Leadership building immediately.

And Jill couldn't see a way back into the arms of Fulcrum by bringing them the Intersect -- Chuck flashed right in front of her, so she could have come back in from the cold, after a bit of mindsifting?I was thinking the exact same thing: Dropping Jill the slightest hint that he might be the Intersect? It would've been in both his and her best interest that she didn't know (even if she was on the up-and-up, they could always track her down and interrogate her or something). I was actually half-expecting the episode to end with Jill going to a Fulcrum post with information on the identity of the Intersect.

My other thought was that maybe Uncle Bernie's death was a red herring, and Chuck's first (deliberate) kill was going to be Jill. While that might be a tad on the dark side, I thought it could be possible.

Oh, and Hungry Like the Wolf.

Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

Anthony Strand said... The Buy More assessment guy was David Burke, best known by me for playing Arthur on the live-action Tick series.Arthur! From The Tick! That was it. A thousand thanks, Anthony.

Ingrid said...

After reading your column, I am more pissed off at NBC than ever. I was not interested at all in watching Leno's show, and now I will actively avoid it.

Rather than cancel Chuck, maybe NBC needs to consider moving it to USA.

Sonia said...

"Hip to be Square" by Huey Lewis and the News MUST be on the Chuck soundtrack!

And for me, any TV show that references The Princess Bride AND GF2 is a national treasure and should NOT EVER be cancelled! LOL

nams said...

I think you're right about how annoying the trust issue got. This kind of thing can work really well, but I reckon they harped on about it a little too much.

As a whole I think the show is so much fun to watch that little blunders like that don't make much of a difference. I really look forward to Chuck every week. It's such a pleasure to watch.

I've even warmed up to Jordana Brewster and I've seen DEBS, which makes it almost impossible to take her seriously as an actress.

I can't wait for the final two episodes of the season and am dreading a whole summer sans Chuck. I refuse to acknowledge the possibility of there never being any Chuck again, that would just be inhumane.

Jenn. said...

Do you mean that we have to rely on NBC's intelligence, taste, and programming acumen to save Chuck? I hadn't thought of it that way, but damn.

As needed, I'll eat a Subway footlong while downloading songs featured in this show from itunes on my iphone. Will that save this show? Please?

Dave said...

It's as quaint as Casey saying the new Administration has stopped waterboarding.I rolled my eyes at Casey's waterboarding comment. It makes it sound like the Bush Administration would waterboard every witness it suspected of ungood thought.

As for the episode itself, I'm glad they stopped putting off the inevitable "Chuck and Sarah go on the run" phase of the show, though I hope it lasts more than a couple episodes and becomes the staple for next season.

It looks like Millbarge is going to raise hell at the Buy More, and without Chuck and Sarah, Beckman will quickly be in over her head against Fulcrum, so after some period of time (again, hopefully more than an episode or two), Chuck and Sarah will jump out and save the day, both for Morgan and Buy Moria and the government. It seems like that's the only way Chuck and Sarah are going to be able to come out of hiding (and interact with Morgan, Ellie, and Awesome).

Anonymous said...

The 80s items rules- the Old 96er from Great Outdoors and the soundtrack was all big hair 80s.

Jayme said...

I haven't finished reading all the comments, but I wanted to respond to some before I forget what I have to say. Does anyone else find it highly amusing that David Burke's most recent work on IMDB is in "Trust Me?"

Also, Mattb, I don't think they cared that Uncle Bernie would question why she was out of jail, so much as they would just want him to be there. Even if he questions them, they would assume that Casey and Sarah could capture him before he got to Chuck. Although, I would argue that if Jill really were evil, she and Bernie could have teamed up and capture Chuck, but whatever.

Secondly, they probably wouldn't want to send an entire squadron in. Many Fulcrum agents are part of the NSA and CIA, so there's a high probability that they would intercept any communications and be able to get Orion out of the building before anyone arrived. The most likely scenario would be to send in a few of your top agents, who, I believe, has already been stated to be Team Intersect, to perform a stealthy extraction. After that was successful, they could call in the troops to take over the building.

Obviously, since the first mission failed, the second one would no longer be an option.

mjryan said...

I've been thinking about Jill. The fact that Chuck is the Intersect is such a part of the show that I forget every character doesn't know it, too. So, Jill's reaction surprised me. Letting Jill go is going to come back to bite Chuck. She's going to figure out his secret and tell Fulcrum. That could be a good thing: maybe it will be the event that finally makes Chuck shed his naivete.

Gillian said...

Has anybody else noticed the number on Jill's cell door? Room 101? Great George Orwell 1984 reference.

On a side note, I am a little bit bothered by the "inconsistency" of Casey's title. I know it's less than noticeable, but I somehow feel like saying Agent Casey instead of Major Casey is sort of a demotion. Nominally of course.

Dave said...

Speaking of cell doors, were the guys looking out at Chuck people he had put in prison? Because one of the pairs of eyes looked a lot like Richard Dean Anderson.

Jennifer said...

I wasn't too into this episode until the end. 'Bout time they went on the run.

I bet Casey expected Sarah to book it, even if they didn't say anything about it to each other. I wonder what he'll do next episode?

Chuck didn't tell Ellie he was "engaged" to Jill because (a) the point was to ferret Uncle Bernie out by having a Jill-family gathering, and (b) it's not REAL, and (c) Ellie would freak out if he announced that one. And yes, I think the point was to get Bernie over there even if he was going to think, "Hey, wait, isn't she in jail?" Hard to sidestep that one anyway.

Loved the 80's songs in this one. I still have "Hungry Like The Wolf" in my head.

Lyson said...

Love the show- given NBC's plight and the strong fan base of committed viewers it must be renewed - FWIW I like the indie songs e.g. in Chuck vs the Break-up use of The National's "Fake Empire" in the opening and closing scenes where Bryce tells Sarah to take the shot -
Now that the operational triangle is broken how will Casey handle being the odd person out. Also, looking forward to Chuck & Sarah on hte run from the NSA/CIA, Fulcrum etc. - hoping they don't burn through this storyline as fast as every other one this season.

OldDarth said...

Good episode that squandered the opportunity for some real emotional beats between the three leads. The BuyMore was far too long and robbed the main storyline of precious time to allow breathing space.

Sarah and Jill in van together - no dramatic beats between them either. Big miss.

Detouring away from the PapaB/Intersect storyline without an appearance by PapaB or Roark did not help either.

On the positive side the engagement party and Uncle Bernie was funny. Chuck not letting Casey cheat on the test hilarious too.

Back to the big storyline next week.WooT!

Elena said...

"Speaking of cell doors, were the guys looking out at Chuck people he had put in prison? Because one of the pairs of eyes looked a lot like Richard Dean Anderson."

Dave--I thought that too! Sure looked like McGyver eyes staring out through the slit of the cell door to me.

And on Uncle Bernie, I think they didn't tell him it was about Jill. When he comes to the door they say something like-What's the big family news. Think they just told him it was something major, but not what. That's why his first words to Jill were the predictable -I thought you were in prison.

Jayme said...

So, curious thought here. What happens if that ring that Chuck gave Jill isn't just a normal ring, but, in fact, a spy ring of some sort? Maybe Chuck was just carrying out an order by freeing her and giving her the ring in the hopes that Jill would go back to Fulcrum. They could then follow her and find Fulcrum's base of operations. If Jill was trustworthy (or smart) and went ahead and sold the ring, they could just steal it back. They're spies, that's what they do.

John said...

Chuck seems to be convinced that Beckman doesn't want to get the information out of his head and that she doesn't have any incentive to find Orion.

But that track doesn't square with the download of Fulcrum data he got in "vs. The Suburbs" and the Fulcrum flashes he had this episode. He's not only carrying the Intersect, but also all Fulcrum data. Beckman for sure would want to get that information out of his head and would be looking for Orion to do it.

Plot holes abound, but it's still my favorite show currently on. I don't own a TV, but I watch every week on Hulu. I'm hoping NBC considers those numbers when evaluating renewal.

Toby O'B said...

Do you think this was another episode that had deliberate nods to 'Lost'? (Remember Chuck's mention of how Flight 815 went down?)

Two of the floors mentioned at the Center were the 8th floor (the prison floor) and the 15th floor (where Chuck was taken to meet Bergey).

Andrew said...

Do they normally throw in jokes like Bernie eating the 96oz steak when Chuck flashes? I've never noticed one quite like that.

Eric said...

I think any Chuck soundtrack has to include the song Cobrastyle by the Teddybears that appeared twice in the pilot (and I think a couple times since then). It's a favorite of mine, and I bought the Teddybears CD as a result of hearing that song on Chuck.

Anonymous said...

This episode should have been titled "Sarah and Casey vs. Kills 29-58". I can't recall another episode where so many people are killed. It wouldn't surprise me if the body count from this episode equaled the total from all the others.

Anonymous said...

When Uncle Bernie arrives at the house, they mention how they were saving the announcement of Jill's engagement as a surprise for when he got there-- so he didn't even know about Jill being there beforehand. This show may have its share of plotholes, but to be fair, they did cover themselves on this one.

JustJoan said...

The bad guy falling because his sleeve rips? Hop in the Wayback Machine and dial it to Alfred Hitchcock's classic, Sabotage.

Brian said...

I also immediately thought of the excellent The Parallax View (part of Alan J Pakula's paranoia trilogy of the early 70s), when they showed the Fulcrum video and test scene. The video in the original film was quite scary and I still can't get its imagery out of my head, years after last seeing it.

Felipe said...

At the end of the episode, when Sarah tells Chuck that the CIA found his father, don't you think he might have been suspicious since he already knew he was in 'Black Rock' (Bastow, CA)... when I saw it for the first time I thought Chuck somehow knew Sarah might be lying and that's why he started his 'speech'... but now I don't think so...

Chip said...

Can Chuck ever go on a mission again? Now that Orion is his dad and Fulcrum has Orion and Arnold Vosloo KNOWS their father-son isn't Chuck's cover perpetually blown. I was really mad that they were seemingly ignoring this but then Bergey came along and Beckman decided Chuck be put underground, but where does this leave the show in the long run (hopefully assuming that it has one)?

James said...

Like many viewers, I occassionally "notice" plot holes, but since I usually watch a new episode a couple of times, the holes aren't really there.

As said, Bernie didn't know what the big news was, hence why he is shocked to find out Jill is even there.

the CIA has no idea who is Fulcrum (even in their own team), so sending in a squad would be suicide. Fulcrum would probably be tipped off, and who knows which of the agents in the squad are actually Fulcrum? That's why so much of the major war against Fulcrum is in Chuck's hands--his team can actually be trusted by Beckman.

And I felt there are a lot of character interactions that aren't readily noticed--such as Sarah's reaction to Chuck and Jill at their fake wedding announcement (and Casey's derisive laugh at her). Even in the last scene, if you pay attention to Casey, he seems to know exactly what Sarah is doing and doesn't try to stop her.

Like many of you, I will never, in any way, support NBC again if they drop Chuck. I'm also extending that to NBC's parent company, General Electric--if Chuck is canceled, I'm never buying a GE product for as long as I live.

Paul said...

"the CIA has no idea who is Fulcrum (even in their own team), so sending in a squad would be suicide."

Wasn't there an episode (Chuck v. the Fat Lady?) where they found a list of all fulcrum agents?

What ever happened to that list? It has bothered me because I assumed that, since then, Beckman et al. knew everyone who was fulcrum.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else think the reference to Uncle Bernie not liking Jill's previous boyfriend, and his subsequent disappearance, refer to Bryce?

Gillian said...

Wasn't there an episode (Chuck v. the Fat Lady?) where they found a list of all fulcrum agents?

What ever happened to that list? It has bothered me because I assumed that, since then, Beckman et al. knew everyone who was fulcrum.
That USB only contains a list of all Fulcrum agents whom Guy LaFleur had been in contact with, so anyone not on the list are still safe. As for those on the list, I'd imagine them either captured or on the run. Plus Fulcrum agents are terrific at faking their deaths, so the CIA must be having a hard time tracking them down.

Speaking of faking deaths Juliet style, I thought that was pretty stupid not to shoot the Vincent guy right after he consumed the poison (Chuck Versus the Predator). Shouldn't they make sure the villain stays dead? At least in other movies they do (or was it the Nazis only?).

And it's always a mistake to trust a woman carrying a baby, especially when she seems well past post-birth weight.

The biggest plothole for me though, is that Chuck hasn't been taken into CIA facility after the pilot. If there's a human Intersect wondering around Burbank, I would have put him in an air tight cell right from the start, let alone having him on missions. If anything happens to Chuck, all the information would be gone forever. The second biggest hole for me is that Chuck still has yet to received any training or firearm protection. Seriously? Not even teaching the guy how to use a gun?

Giant plothole aside, I still love this show to death. I'm willing to accept the flawed premises and enjoy the show.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else notice how the Fulcrum test video ended with the phrase, "Good luck, comrades."? Besides the Soviet propaganda inspired posters on the walls?

dez said...

What ever happened to that list? It has bothered me because I assumed that, since then, Beckman et al. knew everyone who was fulcrum.
Sometimes I wonder if Beckman is Fulcrum and is testing out how Chuck's intersect works for her nefarious overlords. Or, you know, not.