While I don’t think it lived up to the hype, Chuck is back. I saw the first episode of my old favorite show I’ve seen in quite some time. Did it fix everything that has gone wrong this season? No, but the bleeding has stopped and now the healing can begin. My second reaction after the jump.
Wasn’t that fun? It feels good to be back. There is a part of me that wants to grab Schwartz and/or Fedak by the lapels, shake them violently and scream in their face “WAS THAT SO HARD?!?!?” OK, all of me wants to do that. Mostly I’m just grateful to have Chuck back. I think Zach more than anyone understands the show’s tone and strengths and in his directorial debut that comes out clearly (with a few minor quibbles I’ll get to). The lack of Chuck and Sarah time was still there but I think in this episode it was necessary for the bromance to be rekindled. At times I’d wondered if Morgan was necessary anymore, and if they’d considered writing him out with the Benihanas plotline last season, but once again we see him used as the perfect foil for Chuck and the perfect representation of where Chuck’s journey started.
We wondered how low Chuck would need to go before he could pick himself back up. This week we found out. He’s benched from team B, can’t talk to Sarah (but then that has been a season 3 problem in general), Awesome never was much of a confidant, but now the only person who knows Chuck’s real situation has turned his back. When Morgan Grimes tells you that you aren’t good enough to be his friend, you’ve pretty much cratered. Forget the not flashing, Chuck couldn’t even come up with a lie to tell Morgan, and we’ve seen that is definitely a part of his own skill set.
Time to step up. Chuck gets his first chance to make things right when he realizes that the Buy More, which he’s longed to leave ever since the spy life beckoned IS life to so many of his friends. Morgan is the new Chuck, the indispensable man of Buymoria, and he could lose it all with this new management coming it (ahem). Chuck steps up and defends his friend, starting the road back to being “that guy” everyone can count on.
Morgan, following in Chuck’s footsteps as he always does is about to get his chance to be “that guy”. After discovering that all is not as it seems Morgan engages in some excellent spy work to get the whole story, or so he believes. As a side note I don’t think I realized what an excellent physical comedian Josh Gomez is. The scenes where he is sneaking through Castle are, to me, pitch perfect. Just enough exaggeration for comedic effect without seeming farcical.
Meanwhile in the B story, yeah, the one with Sarah, Shaw, Casey, Ellie, and Awesome, interesting twist, we are starting to see that the Ring just might be scary after all. They’ve used Devon again to lure out Team B. This time away from Castle to allow their team to recover stolen intel from Shaw’s base. And here we have one of the previous plot holes sort of explained. Why did the Ring think Devon was Chuck? Answer, they didn’t. Go back to Angel of Death and watch as Chuck and Sarah are ejected from the party. The assassin sees Chuck looking at him and knows Chuck has made him. He then sees that Casey was called in for backup, but was accidentally thwarted by a seeming innocent bystander. A quick bit of research between poisoning the premier and going to kill Casey the next morning and the story emerges. Casey, Walker and Carmichael are spies sent to protect the premier. Woodcomb is a civilian, but given his attempt to save the premier from Casey apparently knows Carmichael is a spy and knew his mission. They can use Devon to draw out and infiltrate the CIA. Maybe even turn the whole team. We’ll leave the rest of this for later though. I’m sure it will be revisited.
With his discovery Morgan has a decision to make, he naturally goes to Buymoria’s other go to guy. In a priceless moment that I hope signals the end of either one of the in jokes or one of the most annoying crutches the writers use (depending on your POV) Morgan puts his hand over Chuck’s mouth to make sure he gets to go first. “Trust me, this is more important than anything you were going to say.” Morgan quickly becomes Chuck’s conscience, reminding him that it isn’t his powers that make him a hero, but his character. Get everyone safe, deal with the problem head on. Unfortunately the Buy More rebellion kind of puts a kink in Chuck and Morgan’s plans, and shortly thereafter Morgan and Chuck are spending some quality time together, other than the torture of course. We can only hope Chuck and Sarah get an opportunity soon, especially if the results are similar.
Freed of his need to lie to everyone, including himself Chuck is able to resolve the unresolved conflicts he tried to deny and compartmentalize. Chuck isn’t the compartmentalizing type. Just one big special free flowing brain that connects everything to everything else. Evildoers beware. Chuck is back, better than ever.
Which leaves one last question. Duck Hunt. Did Chuck Flash? I think so, and I’m hoping that what we just saw was a new direction TPTB may be taking. Where does the intersect end and Chuck begin? Are they perhaps now more fully integrated? With his mind at ease is it possible Chuck no longer fights flashes, but pulls them effortlessly at will? I like the idea that as time goes on we’ll know less and less when Chuck flashed or didn’t. Some will of course be obvious, but others will be sort of … hmmm was that Chuck or the intersect? I say, if we’re lucky yes, that’s the new Chuck.
While we’re on the topic, can we maybe retire a few things? I think after three years they’ve served their purpose and are wearing thin. Here’s my list.
Someone interrupts just as someone else is about to reveal something important, but then apparently can never revisit the conversation. Ever.
The phrase “a real spy”.
The flash graphic and the look on Chuck’s face (even Zach hates it)
Shaw (I know, too much to ask).
OLI, PLI, UST, triangles, trapezoids or rhomboids of any sort.
Looking forward to Mondays again.
While I wouldn’t put this in my top 10, I think it makes the top 3 this season easily. An impressive feat for a rookie director. My only quibble was the Jeffster montage. I think I understand. Zach is a nice guy and wanted to give all his friends who rarely are more than background a moment in the sun. I thought it was done really well with the Iwo Jima and Times Square shots, but the nerf gun cocking just got distracting and sort of killed Jeffster for me. Fear not however, spoilers indicate they will return.
So in conclusion I think this was the second Angel of Death this season. The show that reminded me, after the angst and serious tone of the opening, that this is a fun show, something to look forward to every week. From the previews I think we’re looking at another Operation Awesome to follow. It’s nice to have Monday night to look forward to again.