Chuck: Chuck versus the Dream Job

“I’m sorry for the technical delay. Must be my rock star magnetism.”

Chuck dipped its toe in darker waters this week. Chuck’s dad has some issues: not quite the crazy kind, but certainly the tragic spygame kind. Ellie’s confusion at the prospect of dealing with a father she doesn’t know anymore, and who abandoned her, was well-played and felt authentic. Chuck’s own conflicted issues about how to deal with his dad focused more on his desire to please him—Chuck’s face lit up when his dad praised him, and especially when his dad put into words all the angst Chuck has been feeling about the Intersect.

The big reveal that Mr. Bartowski is a spy—and the creator of the Intersect (well, the cool parts)—wasn’t much of a surprise, especially given the promos we saw last week. Chevy Chase as evil is, of course, never a surprise. But watching it play out, and watching the writers play with the fine line between Crazy Person and Super Spy, was worth it.

They played with another fine line, between comedy and drama, with impressive skill: Chuck’s flashbacks to all the intel that Orion sent him was hackneyed and clich├ęd, but that only made its tongue-in-cheek necessity even funnier. Chuck threatening Casey with the tranq gun is a great example of tension and humor playing well together. The score really helped create just the right tone for this episode—comic and touching and emotionally powerful.

I do wish they’d just ignored the BuyMore staff this week (see below if that sounds grumpy). Funny as they are, this episode didn’t need comic relief, and the B-plot just took away from the main story.

Bytes and Pieces:

The comic book hiding the Intersect information that Orion sent is called Ex Machina, and created by Bryan K. Vaughn, who’s been getting quite a lot shout-outs on TV lately.

I had a huge crush on Scott Bakula when I was younger. He’s still superfine. Even if Chevy Chase claimed that he’s the one who’s always had a way with the girls.

100 miles east of Barstow is a national preserve.

“Maybe we should wait ‘til dark: they’re tracking my every move.”

“Guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from the crazy tree.”

“Is that a tranq gun? You don’t even have the common courtesy to threaten me with an actual firearm…I’ll kill you when I wake up.”

[As an irrelevant side note, I’m typing this review on my shiny new laptop (can’t you tell? Isn’t it prettier?) I spent the whole laptop-buying adventure desperately wishing that Chuck was real person—or even Morgan. Or Lester. Nope: he really is overqualified for that BuyMore job.]

Looks like next week is a resolution to the cliffhanger and the return of an old friend. It’s also the antepenultimate episode of the season, if not the show.

Four out of four Quantum Leaps.

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Actually, according to Spoilerfix, there's still three more episodes left, two after next week, so... it's not exactly "antepenultimate". Just saying. :)

Gustavo Brunetti said...

If there are three left, the next IS the antepenultimate. The next after it will be the penultimate and after it, the last one

Anonymous said...

Oh. My bad, heh. Sorry. Go on. :)

Billie Doux said...

Scott Bakula is *my* Captain Awesome. I knew he had to be Orion, but it was still a fun reveal.

I was sad that Chuck would never get his *real* dream job, when he so clearly deserves it.

ChrisB said...

By far, my favorite episode yet. Watching this on Netflix, I don't have the coming up next week stuff, so I didn't see the Orion thing coming.

As soon as Mr. B started talking about computers, I wondered if maybe, but then dismissed the idea out of hand as my having seen too many spy shows. Oh well!

The emotion in this episode was perfectly played. My heart was aching for everyone.