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Chuck: Chuck versus the Cubic Z

“I wouldn’t call that lining silver so much as copper, or zinc, or manganese.”

Sometimes, you want a delicate French wine with floral hints and a robust finish—you can drink in on a romantic spyventure to Monaco with your superhot sweetie. Instead, life hands you lemons (Nicole Richie and Stone Cold Steven Austin). Do you get all puckery and upset, or learn to deal with Splenda-flavored lemonade? Have you lost my metaphor? What I’m really asking is: can Chuck and Sarah deal with possibly wanting slightly different things? Can they deal with compromise, and the difficult realities of a functioning, realistic relationship?

Morgan highlighted the perils of answering the will-they-or-won’t-they question: Where’s the hand-wringing? Chuck attempts to answer the question by inserting new hand-wringing into the Sarah-and-Chuck equation. To wit: Sarah might not be cut out for an adult relationship, and Chuck might not have the adult patience to wait for her to be ready. It’s slightly less compelling than previous seasons’ romantic entanglements, but it’s still interesting, and I’m curious to see how the accidental proposal has some very unintentional effects in next week’s episode.

But in the meantime, I should probably say something about the stunt casting. At times, it’s hilarious: I really enjoyed Bronson Pinchot’s two-second cameo. Other times, it’s a bit irksome. I appreciate a dollop of Steven Austin as much as the next 20-something female feline aficionado. (That is, I’m a woman and I like cats. I don’t much care if the cats are male or female.) But I’m not sure Nicole Richie adds much… of anything. Many of her lines had great potential, but they required a bit more punch in the delivery. Even the thrill of watching Nicole Richie throw actual punches faded by the end of “Chuck versus the Cougars.”

From the stunt casting to the pre-fabricated ingredients (duct chase, riot, retinal scan), this episode felt like the writers were desperately trying to bring more energy to a script that really wasn’t working. When my favorite part is the use of a cool song (four times!), I know something’s not hitting the mark. Then again, there were some strong moments. The accidental proposal. Casey learning to emote, awkwardly. Jeff’s and Lester’s poetry-slam-kung-fu. The return of Big Mike and his disco stick of death.

In that sense, I’m just like Chuck. I wanted this to be an episode of a lifetime, with Monaco and that pricey wine. Instead, I got the some lemons, which included some emotional exposition by Nicole Richie. But I can like lemonade, too.


• Morgan: “I’m De Niro serious.”
Chuck: “You’re beyond De Niro. This is Russell Crowe serious.”

• Big Mike: “I love to see you in that suit. I wouldn’t want anyone else to wear it.” I love the implication that it’s the same suit that shrinks or grows to fit the wearer, like the “traveling pants” of that sisterhood I’ve heard so much about from the tweens I know.

• Sarah: “How ‘bout tough cop, silent cop?”
Chuck: “Okay-dokey. Which one am I?”

• Chuck: “You know, I was thinking about how some of my favorite movies wound up in air ducts. Aliens, Die Hard—although generally speaking, it doesn’t end up well for the duct crawlers.”

• Lester: “They want me to read you this trash. But you deserve better. We as a people deserve better. So, brace yourselves for a free-form, no-holds-barred poetry slam.”

And Pieces:

• The new Greta is very pretty. Watching Steven Austin stone-cold-cock her was fun, too.

• Morgan’s mother’s name is Bologna Garcia Bougainvillea Grimes?

• Poor, injured Casey. Are we not going to see him next week? I’ll miss him!

2.75 out of four full half-caret pear-cut cubic zirconiums. Zirconia. Stupid Latin.

(Screencap courtesy of chucktv.net. Thanks!)

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


  1. The new Greta was played by Stacy Kiebler who ALSO used to be a wrestler in the WWE. :)

  2. I did not like this one. I found myself getting bored half way through. Can't we just have Chuck and Sarah in a functioning relationship without all the extra hand-wringing? I don't miss the hand-wringing. Why do the writers insist on bringing it back?

    I did enjoy Lester's "What monkey flung this?" line about Morgan's sale prep binder.

  3. I wasn’t that fond of this episode either. I’m with you Jess, no more Chuck/Sarah relationship angst. Three seasons worth was enough thank you very much.

  4. Yay! I'm so glad I can comment again!

    No yay on this episode, though. I didn't laugh once. ONCE. And this is Chuck we're talking about, so come on, show!

    The episode started pretty well, but halfway through it got so boring. The storyline was so dull it made the fight scenes look like fillers.

    And there is the Buy More. I understand why the writers wanted to bring back Jeffster AND Big Mike. The Buy More is one of the "original elements" of this show, and letting it go could make the audience fell like something was missing. It happened on ALIAS when, because of the many twists in season 2, Sidney was left with no social nor double life. Even the show's attempt at remaking itself on season 4 didn't work.

    Chuck's situation is not the same. Maybe I'm wrong, but if this episode serves as an indication, Chuck writers need to let the Buy More go. As it is right now, it only holds the show from growing and exploring new possibilities.

    Seriously, why did we have to sit through unfunny and pointless scenes of Jeffster and Big Mike, while Ellie, Awesome and Beckman weren't even mentioned (if they were, I missed it)?

    Apart from some cool moments, the little advance on the main plot and the little cliffhanger, this episode was pretty poor.

  5. Too much of this episode was people trying to exchange lines while crawling too slowly through ductwork that was absurdly large. And how could there be so many huge ducts attached to a spy facility, anyway?


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