Chuck: Chuck versus Phase Three

“I’m just a needy, love-crazed girl on a husband hunt who’s trained in over 200 ways to kill you.”

As a card-carrying feminist (yes, we have cards; no, they are not pink), former riot grrl, and reviewer preoccupied with the male gaze, I only have one thing to say about this adventure into the tougher side of femininity, this blatantly sexy portrayal of female power in short shorts and covered in water, this intermixing of female vengeance and an ass-kicking hottie:

Awesome.

This could have gone one of two ways. The bad way, in which I stared in dismay at my screen, feeling shut out of the near-pornographic representation of a woman fighting in skimpy clothes—the way, in other words, that was about Sarah as a visual pleasure for male viewers. The good way (the way it actually went down) made me want to be Sarah, kicking ass and not even bothering to take names.

That’s what all those she-male jokes were about: they represented the other point of view. But the Chuck powers that be managed to make this about a person with a nice rack and a great butt doing some serious damage—only a puerile mercenary would think this was a situation in which a woman was taking on a man’s role. We, and Casey, know that it’s just Sarah being incredibly cool.

In other news: Chuck’s dream sequences were touching, especially the scene of Sarah walking (Sarah Walker, see?) out on him with her rolly suitcase. But I’m glad that Chuck took a backseat this week, even though it meant that we didn’t get a chance to test the fan theory that Chuck’s love for Sarah will make him flash, even though his fear of death didn’t.

Morgan continued to play messenger boy between Chuck and Sarah. Morgan’s good at this, but Chuck and Sarah need to work on communicating honestly and openly—they are not in a threesome with Morgan, and the biggest hurdle to their relationship continues to be their inability to take the risks that honesty involves. C’mon, kids! You fight Baddie the Belgian, but are afraid of opening up?

Chuck and Sarah's reunion was sweet, and now Chuck knows that Sarah loves him, but it didn't resolve the question of what Sarah thinks of Chuck's spy abilities. Does that not matter?

Morgan and Casey’s romance, however, is doing well. Communication is no problem for them, and they both bring a lot of useful knowledge to the relationship: Morgan’s the heart and Casey is the brains (and the brawn) of the coupling. I think those two kids just might make it work.

The BuyMore plot didn’t jibe, at all, with the A-plot this week, but it continued to set up developments for later in the season. Awesome and Ellie—they didn’t just subject themselves to another Intersect download, did they? (No, surely not. Right?) Papa B seems to have anticipated Mama B’s moves; judging from the previews, we’ll find out more next week.

Bytes:

• Awesome: “Did your dad’s ride get five out of five stars in side-impact protection?” Product placement, yes. But still something that Awesome would say.

• Morgan: “I’ve had this awful taste in my mouth ever since Chuck disappeared. Which makes me think that, wherever he is, he’s eating something icky. It’s a strange twin thing.”

• Thai Guy: “It’s amazing what a woman will do to find a husband.”

• Jeff: “Four words: my abscess, Lester’s gout.”

• Morgan: “I overshare to connect. I’m a connector.”

• Sarah: “Anyone else wanna be my boyfriend?”

• Other Thai Guy: “The people have been talking much about the giant blond she-male.”

• Casey: “What’s with all the she-male jokes?”

• Morgan: “It’s okay now. Casey and I are here. Oh! Scary snake! Scary snake!”

• Morgan: “This is, like, a violation of my civil rights.”

And Pieces:

• So, losing the Intersect is like losing penis potency. Just remember, you heard it here first.

• When has the CIA ever cared about jurisdiction? We just saw them install a puppet government a few episodes ago!

• I loved Sarah walking into a Thai bar, speaking Thai, and then realizing that the entire bar was filled with white mercenaries.

• I also loved the BuyMorons trading medical advice for tech advice. I’m pretty sure that anyone who has ever lived without health insurance loved that, too.

• I’m going to leave it to all of you to note the numerous jungle-movie references in this episode. I know there were a lot, but I only caught the Apocalypse Now homage, which was equally well done in Hot Shots: Part Deux.

Four out of four scary snakes.

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

8 comments:

Jess Lynde said...

Very enjoyable episode. My inner feminist wanted to be annoyed that they used Chuck's situation as an excuse to throw Sarah into a fighting pit in a skimpy outfit, but, damn, was it entertaining. I love watching Sarah kick ass! And they actually made her look somewhat "butch" for her assault on Thailand, so I'm just gonna roll with it. I absolutely LOVED "Anybody else wanna be my boyfriend?" Spot on delivery.

Other favorite bit: When Casey tells Sarah this fight club is a hive of wretched villainy, where only the scummiest scumbags of the Earth hang, and then the waitress shows up with his "usual." Awesome!

Could have done without the B-plot, but I *am* curious what Ellie just saw on that computer.

Billie Doux said...

There was a lot to like about this one, and most of it was Sarah. She was awesome. But the ending just drove me nuts. It's not that I wanted anything to happen to Chuck's mind, because that would be a massive bummer, but it's like they set it up that Chuck would lose his memory of everything, or something, or anything -- and didn't pay it off.

Tom L said...

I agree, Billie. When the wiping began, I actually thought Chuck would only loose his memories of Sarah, and a fall-in-love-again story would begin. I'm glad the writers didn't go there (even though it would've been interesting to see Sarah trying to win Chuck's heart again), but the lack of a pay off was a bummer, indeed.

Apart from that, the episode kicked ass. I'm really enjoying the proposal arc, especially when compared to Sarah dating Shaw for no aparent reason last season.

And I usually hate "Oh, my God" cliffhangers, but I'm so curious to see what's on Orion's computer.

Dimitri A.C. Ly said...

Fun review, Josie. It's funny you should bring up Feminism when I was just thinking, as I was watching the episode, that Chuck has failed the Bechdel-Wallace test for four seasons straight.

I never noticed before because the early seasons were 100% Chuck-centric, meaning that every character only talked about Chuck, but now that the series has evolved into more of an ensemble show, it's a bit harder to explain away.

I just have one question: How come my card is pink?

Billie Doux said...

My card is somewhere between chartreuse and aquamarine. It clashes with my pink cell phone.

TVNerd said...

If it helps mine card is a crazy colored plaid with random pink polka dots. I hated the mind wipe plot, especially since there were no repercussions. I'm not sure what they would've done with a zombie (intersect only) Chuck, but it would've been interesting. Particularly when all he had left was his love with Sarah.

Anyway good review. From a hetero-male perspective, it was really nice to see Sarah do the Commando thing. It wonder what would happen if Chuck died at this point. Since he seems to be her whole moral anchor.

Looking forward to seeing if Elle gets an intersect too!

Gus Brunetti said...

I have no card because I belong to no club. I support the cause, though.

Anyway, loverd the ep, it worked in many levels, and Sarah rocks! Very hard. Chuck is even luckier than he thinks.

As for the mind wipe things, I think (hope, actually) it'll show something on the next eps. Such as Chuck forgetting his bank account PIN number, his own birthday, and something more serious in the long run.

Michelle said...

I too also loved the way that they handled the she-male thing, too funny :o)