Monday, May 03, 2010

Chuck, "Chuck vs. the Role Models": Lady or the tiger?

A review of tonight's "Chuck" coming up just as soon as I loosely translate your nickname from Bantu...
"Dear God, it's us 30 years ago." -Turner
"Sarah, that's us in 30 years!" -Chuck
In recent years, cable dramas like "The Shield" and "Breaking Bad" have suggested that the 13-episode model of a cable season makes better creative sense than the traditional 22-episode broadcast model. When you have only 13 hours to play with, the argument goes, everything is plotted more tightly, there's no filler, and the cast and crew don't burn themselves out two-thirds of the way through each season.

The odd construction of this season of "Chuck," though, is suggesting that tighter isn't always better.

Going into the year, Schwartz, Fedak and company thought they only had 13 episodes to work with, and nearly all of that was devoted to telling the story of Chuck becoming a real spy, the arrival of Shaw and the war with The Ring. There simply wasn't room for goofy, largely standalone episodes like last season's "Chuck vs. Tom Sawyer" or "Chuck vs. the Best Friend." So if you were on board with the Shaw/Ring story, you were okay, but if you weren't, it was largely that week after week. Now, I liked the Shaw stuff a lot more than some of you, but I was worried about the lack of one-offs even before the season began, and there absence was noticeable as the original 13 went along.

With this bonus mini-season, we're sort of getting those little palate cleansers we otherwise might have gotten earlier in a regularly-planned season, just at the end. Until Ellie's friendly Doctors Without Borders pal was revealed to be a Ring operative in the episode's closing moments, this was the second "Chuck" in a row whose only ongoing elements were largely internal (Chuck and Sarah's relationship, Morgan's assimilation into Team Bartowski).

That's been a nice change of pace, as has the lighter tone of these two, and I suspect the creative team recognized how much better the show is when there's more balance between silly and serious, and between arcs and episodics. And if the show comes back next season, for however many installments, I would hope we see more of that give and take, because I have been having a lot of fun watching these last two.

As I had suspected, Sarah and Chuck as a couple have so far provided plenty of story fodder, as well as plenty of humor. I had long ago accepted that Yvonne Strahovski brought so much else to the table that it didn't matter that Sarah rarely seemed to be funny, but for the second week in a row, Strahovski was bringing the laughs. Sometimes, it was more about the characters around Sarah (Morgan and Sarah living under the same roof already is and should continue to be splendid), but other moments like her withering delivery of "You're not asking me to move in with you again, are you?" were all her.

Beyond Sarah being funny - and in a less blissful situation than we got last week on the train - the episode also gave us a tiger (which Chuck refused to kill because "They are endangered, and majestic!"), plus Casey reluctantly teaching spycraft to Morgan, plus Fred Willard(*) and Swoosie Kurtz as the bickering Turners.

(*) I watched a screener of this episode back-to-back with last week's "Modern Family," also guest-starring Fred Willard. The man is everywhere, and his ubiquity gives me an excuse to once again link to "Wha happen?"

Sometimes, "Chuck" casts guest stars for the iconography of them. Sometimes, with John Larroquette last season and Willard and Kurtz here, it casts them because they're funny. I don't know that I look at those two and automatically think Levi+Strahovski+(30 years x 2), but the two old pros played off each other, and off our regulars, quite nicely. And whether writer Phil Klemmer intended it or not, I like how the Turners' staged bickering tied into the fear some had that Chuck and Sarah together would eventually become a bickering couple with no obvious chemistry. Assuming "Chuck" is still somehow on the air 30 years from now (and we'd have to get some really big flash mobs today for that long an extension, methinks), we can worry about them down the road. Right now, they're doing fine, and "Chuck" is doing fine with them together.

For the second week in a row, we got a lot of Chuck and Sarah in one group of scenes and a lot of Morgan and Casey in another. I don't want this to be a permanent state of affairs - Casey needs to be more present in future missions to show his disgust with Chuck and Sarah's new schmoopiness, and, again, Morgan and Sarah look like a comic combo with a lot of possibilities - but right now it's entertaining to see them have to work together. In the silly world of "Chuck," the idea that neither Chuck nor Morgan would ever have to undergo any kind of real spy/combat training is about middle of the pack on the implausibility meter. But in watching the scenes with General Beckman, I get the sense that she has no expectations of Morgan ever amounting to anything; she's just making Casey suffer for forcing her to ever have to deal with the little bearded one. And that's amusing to me - as is Casey's attempt to balance his growing respect for Morgan ("Semper Fi-Dizzle!") with his public persona and usual hatred of nerds, dorks and geeks.

With Awesome again crossing paths with someone from The Ring (is this the third time this season? fifth?), it looks like we're heading back to both more serialized and more serious storytelling in the weeks to come. And that's okay, as I've loved a lot of the darker moments of seasons two and three. I just want there to be a balance, which we're finally getting during this little victory lap of season three.

Some other thoughts:

• This week in "Chuck" pop culture references: Morgan's dream sequence at the beginning was a riff on the opening credits to "Hart to Hart," a late '70s/early '80s detective show about a super-suave married couple who were still sexy and sleuthy in middle age. (Chuck should aspire to be more like Robert Wagner and less like Fred Willard.) Morgan once again talks about learning about guns through "Call of Duty" (then turns out to be inept with the real thing), and I suppose you could call the bad guy (played by Hey, It's That Creep! Udo Kier) keeping a tiger with a fancy collar a riff on Blofeld (who had a much smaller cat) from the James Bond movies.

• This week in "Chuck" music: songs tonight included Mel Torme's "Comin' Home Baby," Barry White's "I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby" and Miike Snow's "Sans Soleil."

• Unexpected quasi-trend: last week's "Cougar Town" had a running gag about Courteney Cox and her friends gathering to watch her son sleep, and here Big Mike complains to Morgan that he doesn't like anyone watching him sleep. We need one more for a full trend, people!

• With Morgan essentially filling the role Chuck had two seasons ago, I liked seeing Morgan and Chuck's collar-stealing attempts intercut with one another.

• Awesome and Ellie's story in the Congo was largely about setting up whatever's coming next with The Ring, but I thought Ryan McPartlin did a great job of showing Devon being so charming and reassuring with Ellie as he promised her a date night under the stars. Truly, he is Dr. Super Fantastic White Person.

Finally, as mentioned several times (including this morning), this is the last review that's going to be posted to this site before I move to tomorrow. I'll be blogging about the rest of season 3, and a lot of other shows, and hopefully "Chuck" season 4, so please come early and come often. Though the timing was largely accidental, it feels kind of right to say goodbye to this home with "Chuck," doesn't it?

What did everybody else think?


Johnny T. said...

Another pop culture reference: Morgan waking up on a close-up of his left eye was clearly a nod to "Lost".

Andrew said...

Not a particularly subtle episode in any way, but it was fun.

I too hope they integrate the two halves of Team Bartowksi for the rest of the season. Casey is great with Morgan, but he's even better with Chuck and Sarah.

Nancy said...

If only the entire season could have been like the past 2. Chuck and Sarah as a spy team so so so works and is taking this show to the next level. It's hard to figure out whether you liked Shaw or didn't like Shaw Alan. I know you were sick of the WTWT. Agreed, YS is really getting to branch out and she's doing a wonderful job. The writers had many memorable lines in this one. Sarah's "this is how I deal with stress" as she cocked her gun was fantastic.

r1pvanw1nkl3 said...

fabulous episode, but the whole "who will replace you" thing from Beckman was horribly cheesy. Eek.

J said...

I love how they had to go all the way to the Congo to give three white people speaking parts.

Also, which of "The Bartowski's" is responsible for the apostrophe abuse? Chuck or Sarah?

Udo Kier looks more like Lorne Michaels every day.

boe said...

This episode felt kinda filler to me. Except for the part at the end with that justin character.

boe said...

This episode felt kinda filler to me. Except for the part at the end with that justin character.

Average Joe said...

Something sort of sad about there being no more posts on this blog, but, hey, always good to go out with Chuck.

Pretty good episode, but I think it sort of ran out of steam toward the end. Everything got resolved almost too nicely, and the moment Mr. Nice Doctor Justin showed up, I was waiting for him to pull out a Ring phone.

That said, it's good to see some character development with Sarah. Aside from family issues and the Yvonne's ability to emote, Sarah has felt like something of a blank slate that's been relegated to Chuck's nerd fantasy. I'm not so happy with the development of Chuck and Casey. Chuck really isn't a nerd at all anymore, and Casey is only barely hostile. I don't think he made a single grunt all episode.

So...we now have almost all the main characters living in one courtyard--if there's not some shootout/chase through all three apartments with Ring agents by the end of the season, I'll be disappointed.

See you on HitFix!

boe said...

This episode felt kinda filler to me. Except for the part at the end with that justin character.

J said...

Also, apparently Udo Kier and Adam Baldwin have a past.

boe said...

This episode felt kinda filler to me. Except for the part at the end with that justin character.

Lisa said...

Thank you, J for the grammatical note. That made me nuts as well.

Stephanie said...

First thought: What did that Ring agent mean by "taken care of the husband"?! Not dead, taken care of, right? I keep worrying that the show's shoestring budget means they might get rid of some of the regulars. They can't kill Dr. Super Fantastic White Person!

Second thought: Really enjoyed this episode, love Chuck & Sarah as a spy team. I guffawed at "they're endangered, and majestic". Casey and Morgan have great chemistry, but I miss Casey with Chuck and Sarah. I hope they bring the trio back together soon.

Anonymous said...

I was hooked from the dream sequence, but let's admit it, the Tiger made the episode.

Admit it Sepinwall, there was no better way to end your blog than an episode with a Tiger.

mizenkay said...

Thought it was fun and frothy, and while it did move some things along, mostly it was a delightful one-off. I think Sarah moving in with Chuck so soon is very TV-ish, in otherwords, not at all what someone would do in real life. Yay for fictional characters! I will kinda miss Sarah's hotel room set, only cause the furniture was so groovy and green.

Morgan and Casey were gold, but I along with the Colonel wish for Casey to be truly back on Team B, helping to save the world. I did love the intercutting between Chuck trying to get the collar and Morgan trying to get Big Mike's key card. I think the General was kinda messing with Casey, punishing him gently, which was hilarious.

Set up for next few eps happened super quick, but looks like we'll be going back to Ring-ville. Which is cool as long as they actually, you know, have the Ring DO SOMETHING.

Oh, and I absolutely LOVED Fred Willard and Swoozie Kurtz together, they were fantastic. They should have their own show.

As someone who has seen that Udo Keir/Adam Baldwin movie, I will warn you all - it is super cheezy in a not very good way.

Lev said...

It was fun, my only complaint was the Africa/Ellie/Awesome stuff seems from a different show. The ring phone at the end finally tied it I guess.

I laughed at the little Chuck/Sarah fight about the guns and thought the interplay with them and the tiger was a lot of fun too. The new dynamic is working well for me. In a way the moving in seems soon - but they have been dating in many senses for 3 years... plus the hotel room living has to be getting old for Sara ;)
Nice point about cutting chuck stealing the collar from the tiger in with Morgan getting the buy more card. Funny that Big Mike's reaction wasn't worse upon waking to find Morgan peering into his face and right on his desk. It was a good sequence.

And yes, it is a filler episode in many ways, but filler episodes can be light and funny and a nice break from the Ring.

Karen said...

Thanks to J from me, as well. I absolutely cringed at the "Bartowski's"--does that make me a bad person?

SPP said...

I have to back up Chuck's reluctance to shoot the deadly tiger--I stopped playing the last Tomb Raider for that very reason. They're majestic!

Craig said...

I was waiting for Jim Carrey to pop out of the bathroom at the party and say do not go in there.

Also FINALLY the first Full Metal Jacket plug in a Casey scene. With Morgan replaying Gomer Pyle's famous quote, Seven-six-two millimeter. Full metal jacket.

Sam Hobart said...

Wait, did anyone else think this episode felt kinda like filler except for the part at the end?

Its pretty obvious that Strahovski is gonna be a start some point right? I mean, assuming she has movie presence there is nothing she can't do. I'm a particular fan of the small moments, like the split second look of concern in her eyes when Chuck says "That's us in 30 years."

Karen said...

I did love the Hart to Hart opening, with Morgan in the role of Lionel Stander--he even had the gruff NY accent down. And the whole thing was shot in the washed-out colors of the early 1980s. Beautiful.

YS was particularly funny this evening; there was a moment after Otto arrived chez Bartowski when she went from deadpan to fake smile that was just priceless.

Anonymous said...

Alternate episode title: "Crouching Morons, Snoring Tigers"

Kyle Rindfleisch said...

'Dr. Super Fantastic White Person' is Captain Awesome's new other nickname.

A very enjoyable episode but in one or two spots, the dialogue had me grimacing. Beckman's 'Who will take your place?' almost sounded sarcastic.

The Chuck stealing collar/Morgan stealing card scene was my favorite part.

Lisa said...

Well, I'm now a bit convinced Shaw's alive with the conclusion of the episode. Somebody with the Ring is after Chuck's family now. Who else could it be?

Mo Ryan said...

A recent Parenthood ep, "Wassup," had a whole running thread about parents watching their children sleep. So there's that for the trend.

I never get tired of watching Casey and Morgan. That is some kind of comedy gold.

Fun episode and I love how Yvonne brings the comedy so deftly. Totally agreed about the mix between lighter and darker eps being ideal. And I look forward to the first true Team Bartowski mission where Chuck and Sarah is just one part of the scenario, not the main course, if you will.

MATT said...

It really really pains me to say anything bad about 'Chuck' at this point because I want so badly for it to be renewed and I really do LOVE the show but... that was a purely BAD episode. It was sloppy, not funny, incoherent, and far from cohesive. Character motivations didn't make sense, plot developments were ill-explained and random. Fred Willard is a VERY funny guy, usually writers can just assume that anything he does will be inherently funny, but NOTHING he did in this episode was the least bit entertaining. And the Africa C-story was, quite simply, an unrealistic, incoherent disaster.

-the music throughout the episode was poorly incorporated, at times too loud or just plain excessive. A complaint I've never had before

-the Africa scenes were a mess with distracting "gritty" camera-work that just came off as amateur and crappy like a CW show trying to be edgy.

-Morgan's mission: to take Big Mike's key card. Really?

I say this after having LOVED pretty much every episode this season. I was even a Shaw fan. I just hope this was a minor detour.

Sonia said...

If we had only learned Captain Awesome's new nickname is Dr. Super Fantastic White Person, that would have been enough. Dai-aynu.

This was a great show to end your blog with!

See you on HitFix Alan!

Col Bat Guano said...

They could have fit these type of frothy filler episodes into the original 13 week run. They just would have had to end the Shaw story sooner which would have been fine.

Fun stuff tonight which is what they should be shooting for. The Ring Dr. couldn't have been a coincidence right?

dez said...

That was fun, especially after watching last night's "Breaking Bad" (I needed the breather!).

Dr. Super Fantastic White Person...hee hee hee!

MATT said...

By the way, despite my criticism of this episode 'Chuck' is a great show to end your blog with. I've loved reading your opinions for three years now (and catching up with the two that I missed). You are a great writer with great taste and even when we don't agree I love hearing your opinions.

I came across your blog early in 2007 thanks to your wonderful interview with Josh Schwartz about 'The O.C.' and was hooked ever since. I also happen to be a proud owner of "Stop Being a Hater and Learn to Love 'The O.C.'"

I'm actually writing a college paper about "The O.C." right now and you've already been referenced in it.

Unknown said...

I had to admit that I enjoyed this episode. Was squealing at Hart to Hart, and god knows a bitter booze-swilling Swoosie Kurtz is always fun for me.

I really feel like the show has relaxed since now we don't have to play the Moonlighting Game crap any more (yes, I know that getting D&M together didn't kill the show, I'm just using the example). It's so nice to just have them as a couple and show them working together like it in all senses of the word. Huzzah, show.

I am kinda disappointed not to see Team Bartowski going to Africa later to help Ellie and Awesome, though.

And thus ends my final post here. *sniffle* Kinda doubt I'll register at HitFix unless I'm totally compelled to (plus as a West Coaster, everyone's long since said it about Lost before I got to see it). So have fun, y'all, I'll just be lurking.

Chrissy said...

Felt pretty eh about this one. Watching people bicker non-stop almost never makes for fun TV, I think, and watching two couples bicker makes for double eh. I did enjoy all of the Casey/Morgan stuff, though, and Chuck's description of tigers and why it's bad to shoot them.

I'm sort of sad that my last post on Alan's blog is negative. Hmm. I liked that song at the end, that was pretty.

steph said...

what's the etiquette on having your girlfriend move into your apartment when you also have a roommate? yeah, probably a waste of screen space, but as awesome as sarah is, don't you kinda have to ask first? haha.

i didnt know it was possible to be any more charmed by chuck bartowski - then he stepped up and defended bengal tigers.

here's to hoping we'll see the turners again next season!! i had higher hopes for their mentorship but it could happen. also, i enjoy how sarah isn't impressed by anyone. tough cookie.

[goodbye blogspot!]

Michael said...

The fact that you had to explain "Hart to Hart" makes me feel very old.

WV: "Palin". For reals.

Unknown said...

I LOVED "Dr. Super Fantastic White Person", especially because it rings true for anyone who's ever known someone who's done volunteer work in Africa.

Anonymous said...

Most heavy-handed hour in the history of television.

Anonymous said...

Just so I can salute your last column on this site:

Make it 4.

Big Bang Theory had Leonard and Penny watching Sheldon sleep, after doing the whole child of divorce riff.....



belinda said...

Especially since this "Dr. Super Fantastic White Person" is Awesome. I hope they'd actually reference it on the show - that Awesome keeps getting tangled with Ring stuff - because otherwise it feels like they're taking the easy way out (to get him and Ellie back home) or something.

I also miss Casey hanging out with Sarah and Chuck - as much as I love seeing Morgan with Casey, the misgivings I had about Shaw in the first half of the season had nothing to do with the character himself (I liked the whole Shaw subplot, actually) but more because him being there made for less Casey-Chuck-Sarah spy team time. So it's a shame we have yet to see the dream spy team work together again (but now with Sarah and Chuck as a couple).

The Big Bang Theory had Penny and Leonard watching Sheldon sleep, so that makes another "watching people sleep" on tv.

nfieldr said...

• Unexpected quasi-trend: last week's "Cougar Town" had a running gag about Courteney Cox and her friends gathering to watch her son sleep, and here Big Mike complains to Morgan that he doesn't like anyone watching him sleep. We need one more for a full trend, people!

Tonight's Big Bang Theory repeat had Sheldon watching Leonard and Penny sleep. It may be a stretch, but I think we have the trifecta.

nfieldr said...

Wow.. belinda... you beat me to it. :-)

Caz said...

Maybe I'm just in a bad mood this evening, but I have to agree with MATT - all filler, no thriller. I'm amazed that the show can go from such a beautiful hole-in-one (Honeymooners) with pep, sass and laughs to the flattest ep of its entire run - in the space of one week.

It's telling that my strongest reaction throughout was "are you kidding me with this?" on seeing *that* apostrophe. It just added to the feeling of amateur hour. I do, however want to stress two things a) this is the first time I have ever felt actively negative about a Chuck episode, and b) Fred Willard was brilliant and charming.

Caz said...

Hole-in-one to own goal. Dammit. Why couldn't I have thought of that ten minutes ago?

Anonymous said...

hmmm..i'm thinking now that sarah and chuck live in the same house, morgan will get his own 'my eyes, i'm blind i'm blind' moment

OldDarth said...

Stand alone episodes like Best Friend or The HoneyMooners where the mission directly impacts the characters can be awesome.

Stand alone episodes where the mission does not, gives you episodes like Sizzling Shrimp and...... Role Models.

Not a terrible episode. Just a pedestrian one.

The Myth of Madness said...

Yet again, I'm left satisfied with this episode of Chuck, even though it was a one-off (and a much needed one too).

I have to say that the exchange between Chuck and Sarah about the "weapons cache" being empty was hilarious, and it barely beat out the Morgan/Sarah kitchen encounter that left Morgan mumbling "I hate you Chuck." Kinda brings back the same moment at the end of Season 2 when Morgan left the I.O.U. in Chuck's wallet....

Good luck at HitFix Alan, and I'll keep a readin!

vitaminaChuck said...

good luck in your new home :)
but don´t worry, you won´t be alone, watch chuck and dont´read a word of you ain´t the same, so... :))
all the best,

vitaminaChuck, the first portuguese blog abou chuck :)

Viv said...

Loved Sarah "shussing" Chuck, Chuck giving it back to her, and her doing it back once again as they approached the sleeping tiger. Funny little moments between the two of them.

And Morgan wanting to try to get the older lady's number rather than the young hottie? Too funny.

Schmoker said...

Did you really say that Chuck should aspire to be more like Robert Wagner than Fred Willard? From shame, Alan.

Stellar Drift said...

I generally agree, but am not looking forward to "more serious storytelling" since that usually equates to "bad", I don't buy that "13 episode" rule, its just like the Moonlighting rule: An excuse.
And I'm not enamored with guest stars, on this show they are a problem - thankfully not as bad as Shaw, but those two were just an annoyance to me - taking away the focus from the regulars. So fewer guests more regulars - even the mediocre episodes improve when Sarah smiles.
And clearly Sarah and Chuck should aim to be like the Harts.

rss said...

A little off topic, but if they made such a big deal about the reveal of Sarah's real name, why, in her REAL relationship with Chuck, is she not Sam?

spengler said...


Chuck knows, but Casey and Morgan don't. To them, she's Sarah.

Anyway... "big jugs" :D

Baylink said...

"I think this ep's mostly filler."

But that's ok. We're entitled to a little filler after 12 episodes of mediocre writing.

I dunno, perhaps my taste for professional television writing is going in the toilet, but I didn't have anything in this ep that just made me sit up and spill my drink.

The scene where tiger-boy showed up at the end was a *little* forced, but I didn't think it was horrible.

I *do* think that the writers have, happily, realized that they have to *illustrate* that things won't be all Mercy and Goodness and Sweetness and Light now that we've let Chuck and Sarah get together.

In point of fact, it's easier for them, because this provides them with a go-to source of drama whenever they're not smart enough to think of their own.

Fanfic authors must be tearing their hair out, though.

One for whom I edit saw 3x12... and had to rewrite a scene where he had Chuck saying

"You're Sarah. You're *my* Sarah."

He was *pissed*. :-)

Best of luck over at HitFix, Alan, and I'll be forwarding along the List Of Things that make it a PITA to read on my Blackberry, shortly.

Just *don't* let them turn off unauthenticated commenting unless they have no other choice.

Bethany said...

Was anyone else reminded of Bringing Up Baby with the tiger running around?

Yes, this episode was a filler, but it was a fun one. My only complaint is that Morgan's training seemed a bit too easy. (Also, you mentioned that Chuck never got any real spy training, but one of the first scenes was a very elaborate mission at the facility in Prague).

Anyways, I enjoyed the episode, always enjoy Swoosie Kurtz, even though I was a bit disappointed with the Turners. The exchanges between Sarah and Chuck, whether about shooting tigers, weapons caches or angry habits, was lighthearted and fun. It was good to see Ellie and Awesome out of their element, and see Ellie struggle with being so far away and the elements.

Alan Sepinwall said...

(Also, you mentioned that Chuck never got any real spy training, but one of the first scenes was a very elaborate mission at the facility in Prague).

That was post-Chuck Fu. I meant that nobody bothered to teach him how to shoot a gun, or fight, or anything else for the first two years of his stint on Team Bartowski, even long after it became clear that he never could/would stay in the car.

Anonymous said...

I loved this episode. These are the kind of episodes I am looking for when I watch Chuck...light-hearted and funny. The dark, serious episodes do not work for me on a show like Chuck.


justjoan123 said...

Although there are many who would gladly forget that Roger Moore once inhabited the role of James Bond, I can forgive him much for one scene, filmed during the era when everyone was using The Barbara Woodhouse System to train their pups. Trapped in an enclosed space with a large Bengal tiger, Bond took a beat, raised a forefinger and carefully intoned, "SiTTTTT!" It worked.

debry said...

Is it just me, or the first appearance of the tiger could be a Hangover reference? Cause I immediatelly thought of it, when I saw the scene.

policywonk said...

I've enjoyed the last two episodes; the two before with Shaw felt like marking time, tho I have no particular objection to the Shaw arc per se. And the Udo Kier = Lorne Michaels observation is spot on! Hahahahahahaha!!!!!

That said, I've always hated Fred Willard: I find him irritating and tiresome in virtually everything I've ever seen him in (but then I don't like Bruce Campbell, either; both are noxious to intelligent women) -- which is precisely why I loved Swoosie Kurtz giving Fred the what-for and was waiting for her to really deck him. Enjoyed that quite a bit.

And Awesome has revealed yet one more reason he's ... well, awesome. Lucky sis! But did they REALLY HAVE to run into the Ring again? Aw, c'mon -- that was hopelessly contrived, and I was really hoping that at least one end of the family would finally get some relief from the spy biz and deal with, oh gee, I don't know -- local revolutionaries and terrorists of an entirely different sort, of which there are already plenty to choose from? Or having to make friends with/rely on WHO/CDC people and other NGOs in the area, like Oxfam, CARE, etc. That would have made complete sense and yet might have provided episode plots that would eventually lead back to Chuck through longer, more tangential arcs. Besides, haven't Ellie and Awesome earned a rest from Chuck's world by now? I blame the writers for taking the easy way out on this.

But I do love Chuck and Sarah's new gumption amid all the kissyface. One wants to see them succeed. And I **absolutely LOVE** that Chuck has the presence of mind to make a Nina Simone tune 'their' song: finally, a sign that Chuck's geekiness has a tasteful, jazzy side. There's hope for the boy yet!!

Ed said...

I really loved the riff on the "Hart to Hart" opening credits. I bet a lot of people didn't get that reference. "Hart to Hart" was a pretty good show in its day, I think. What do I know? I was 9 or so when it aired, but the rare occasions when I was able to stay up late to watch it are fond memories.

Anonymous said...

The whole Chuck-whip-tiger scene reminded me of another scene in a movie also involving a guy, a whip and a really big pissed-off cat.

Yes, I'm talking about "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"...

And re: Craig's comment: Casey has already repeated a line of his from FMJ in Chuck vs the Crown Vic, IIRC. The whole "Flush out your headgear, new guy" line.