Chuck: Chuck versus the Living Dead

Chuck: “The mission’s over, Dad.”
Dad: “It’s never over.”

The camera pans over low-lying, woodsy mountains. We move towards Mammoth Lake. The viewer is disoriented—this is not how a usual Chuck episode starts. We zoom in to a rustic, dilapidated cabin. It’s out of the way, but there are signs of life. From inside, an ominous sawing noise. We enter through the door, and the camera focuses in on an unseen man sharpening an axe on a whetstone. A new villain? A Deliverance extra on the wrong set? The camera pans up… The big reveal… It’s Scott Bakula!

Must be a Chuck season finale—well, almost. Just one episode left until the big 3.2 season ender. But, in case you haven’t been reading Doux Reviews as devotedly as you should be, I do have some top-secret intel: Chuck has been renewed for 13 episodes next season. It premieres in the fall, too, so we can hope for an extension.

In the meantime, though, we have some business to wrap up. The Ring is still out there, Shaw is only nearly-dead, and Ellie might bring the whole house of cards tumbling down with her own desire to protect her brother. Even though the Ring/Ellie/Governor plot was probably the most important, arc-wise, I was most touched by Chuck’s conflict and resolution with his father.

Papa Bartowski went from being in the dark about Chuck downloading Intersect 2.0, to suspecting something was up, to anger, to winning the Dad of the Year award. He told Chuck that he would do everything he could to help Chuck be the man he wanted to be, even if he didn’t agree with his choices. Luckily for Chuck, Dad can help with the sudden neurological issues that Chuck started having last week.

I would have been okay with Papa B not having such a good reason to be in this episode. I would have been fine with him just showing up—or maybe suspecting something funny and coming to investigate. But if last week’s weird crazy-plot is what we need to deal with to get Scott Bakula, then I can handle it.

I feel bad for Ellie. She’s so very worried about the very wrong thing: she’s been snookered and doesn’t even know it yet. Plus, the Ring isn’t just gunning for the governor-Intersect-regulation device; it’s also gunning for Chuck and his dad. Why? Because they’ll need to regulate the Intersect now that Shaw has downloaded it into his brain.

That’s right: Shaw. Well, Shaw’s silhouette—Chuck skimped on the actual Brandon Routh, probably for financial reasons. Next week’s two-hour season finale is called “Chuck vs. The Ring: Part II,” and I think we can guess that it will wrap up all of the major threads from this season. (Well, that’s what the post-show promo promised.) For those of you who live spoiler-free, I won’t even list the threads that might get wrapped up—I’d forgotten about a few of them, and if you have, too, I want you to be surprised when they get tied into neat little bows.

Aside from Scott Bakula, I didn’t love this episode until the last few minutes—too much was crammed into too little space, and some of that stuff (the fight with the Ring baddies, for instance) I could have done without. But I’m really looking forward to next week. And seeing Ellie brain Casey with a frying pan was really cool.

Bytes:

• Casey: “Looking at pictures of people you’ve killed? I do that myself time to time.”

• Morgan: “Is that a bulletproof tie?”

• Chuck: “Everybody knows that you go to Tiffany to browse, not to buy.”

• Morgan: “I wish someone had told me. I’ve had to pee for hours.”
Casey: “I’m not here for that.”

• Chuck: “Dad! Knife! Face!”

• Chuck: “You taught me and Ellie to live life without you, and that’s what I’m doing.”

• Big Mike: “I can’t wear this anymore. But you have the hips of a six-year-old girl. Use them.” [Presents Lester with gold lamé onesie.]

And Pieces:

• Songs entitled “Love Hurts” (or covers of the Everly Brothers’ 1960 hit) are so popular that they required a Wikipedia disambiguation page.

• Papa Bartowski pointing out the evidence of Chuck’s spy life was very reminiscent of parents hunting for evidence that their kids are doing the drugs.

• Heat-sensing x-ray glasses!

• Jeff singing to the pretty BuyMore customers. I actually got “creepy guy” shivers.

• Awesome’s average day sounds, you guessed it, awesome.

• I really want a secret moving wall of spy gear. I wonder if my landlord would mind?

• If you think there’s someone in your house, don’t you run outside? Never take advice from a Ring agent.

Three out of four bulletproof ties.

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

2 comments:

Jess Lynde said...

I get so frustrated with plots that hinge on everyone lying to each other. Between Chuck's and Ellie's lies, I was getting fairly irritated with this episode. I just wanted to scream, "Tell your dad the truth!!!"

But aside from that, I thought this was a reasonably entertaining episode. Bakula is such a hoot as crazy, old codger dad. His body language is great. And it is so nice to just see Sarah and Chuck functioning as a couple (except for Chuck not being completely straight with her --- "Tell the truth!!!")

I actually got confused by the end and thought that Justin was Shaw with a different face (like Mission Impossible style). When none of the reviews I read mentioned this, I had to go back and watch the end again. Doh! Clearly Justin was talking to Shaw on the phone, then Shaw downloaded the Intersect. That's what I get for watching the episode after I should have gone to bed.

I'm jealous that you got a preview, Josie. I just got a teaser for the new season of Last Comic Standing. Bah! Oh well. At least next week's season finale will be all surprising to me. *Season* finale. Yea!

Billie Doux said...

I have to admit that this sort of plot frustrates me, too. I just wanted to shake Ellie. There were three really cool bits, though -- Sarah knocking the knife away from Chuck's face with an axe, Awesome describing his typical day with Ellie (including the goat cheese omelet and the twenty-minute foot massage), and Ellie whacking Casey with a frying pan.