The Zoom had the hardest job of any Chuck premier.
Chuck always resets itself at the end of each season, leaving the next season premier with some heavy lifting to do. The Zoom, however, had olympic lifting to do. It’s the biggest reboot since DOS gave way to Windows.
Chuck is sans Intersect, apparently for good. Chuck and Sarah are newly married, recently wealthy, and suddenly in business for themselves. No more CIA, except maybe as an enemy instead of an employer. Our heroes have become outlaws (albeit good ones), having to dodge the bad-guys and the good-guys. A shadow government is conspiring against them and manipulating their lives (more than even they know). Oh, and Morgan is the Intersect.
That is a lot of change … a lot of new plates to get spinning all at once. But even in all the changes, it’s still Chuck.
What happens between the bluff and the promise? There’s comedy, action, romance, family stuff, spy stuff, Buymore shenanigans … and absolutely nothing goes according to plan. I laughed and smiled a lot, and my heart warmed to spend an hour with my favorite characters again.
The Zoom opens on a sunny day, at a beautiful villa on a bluff with a gorgeous ocean view. Chuck and Sarah are dressed to the nines and discussing their dream home. The scene oozes romance. Gotcha. The whole scene is … a bluff. Turns out they’re about to die, but at least they look really nice.
When Casey rides to the rescue in handcuffs, Chuck pulls out the big bluff. We have another master spy. I can’t not laugh at the disparity between bluff and reality … a disparity the bluffers are all too aware of. Chuck starts the big bluff, and Sarah follows his lead. Casey has a little more trouble getting into the spirit of things.
This master spy gets mixed results. The Intersect puts up a good fight, but Morgan drops the 6 million dollar vase. (At least it wasn’t a detonator this time.) Things definitely did not go as planned.
Castle is restored to its former spy-splendor, and TeamB have settled into their new digs and post mission activities. Chuck is making sure the client gets what he wants. Sarah is supervising … er, husband gazing. (All new wives do this. I love the look on her face as she watches Chuck.)
After dropping the vase, Morgan fixes the vase … and shatters it again. Casey grumbles about … well, pick a topic. So, there are still a few kinks to work out. Here’s what we know so far.
When dealing with children and Morgan, the look-don’t-touch rule is probably best.
Apparently it takes a lot of money to start a Rent-a-Spy company … especially if you do it right, with rockets and satellites and fresh shrimp.
Casey may not the best PR man, and clients don’t respond well to gags and blindfolds.
Sarah is trying to hold the reins on the bank account, while Chuck is trying to boost morale and hold everything and everyone together, from the baby Intersect to the grumpy, growly (former) Colonel who hates working for dirt bags.
Missing the Intersect.
Chuck without the Intersect. It’s the 800 pound gorilla in the room, and it’s complicated.
Fans’ fears that the absence of the Intersect would produce a whiny, insecure Chuck should be put to rest. Zoom gave us an honest, mature Chuck, grappling with the burdens and responsibilities of running a spy business without the Intersect … finding his role and facing his limitations without it. Chuck really shines throughout: his character and courage, his selflessness and giving nature, his smarts and leadership. His struggle was poignant, sweet, cheer-worthy, and hilarious.
Even though he has lost his super power, the thing that leveled the battle field for him in the spy world, he can still be happy for Morgan, instead of bitter. He chooses to see the silver lining of working with his wife and his best friends.
Morgan’s sympathy for Chuck and his assumptions about how Chuck must be feeling reveal more about Morgan’s perspective on the Intersect than they do about how Chuck is feeling. For Morgan the Intersect is an end in itself. He doesn’t think much beyond the rush of the super-power. It has never been that for Chuck.
Chuck’s conversation with Ellie reveals his motivation for wishing he still had it. For Chuck it’s less about himself and more about his responsibility toward others and his determination to make the company succeed for their sake … and, of course, to give Sarah her dream house. To Chuck, the Intersect is a tool, a means to an end. Now he has to find another way to those ends, and he sees that it won’t be easy.
Chuck’s plan to get him and Sarah an invitation to Roger Bale’s big party is brilliant … all except for the part where he’s supposed to fill in for Bale’s squash opponent. In an awkward moment everybody (except Casey) tries to let him down easy about his less than stellar squash qualifications. Trust Casey to plow right through those awkward moments.
Chuck is only a marginally better masseuse than squash player. Laugh. Out. Loud. Funny. Kudos to Zac for his facial expressions and fantastic physical comedy in the massage scene. Guess he should have used the 10 (or 20) mg darts.
Things didn’t go exactly according to plan, mostly because Casey was detained by Bale’s bodyguard. Morgan adlibs pretty well, but it’s actually Sarah who gets the invite. Watching Morgan and Sarah together, as in pretending to be together, was really funny — the way she towers over him and feigns affection as she pats the towel around his neck … and lets him live, even though he called her … Bunny Doll? I loved her change in demeanor and the handshake after Bale left.
Married Life — Sweet Torture, Shy Confessions.
Being married to a super spy has its disadvantages. Chuck can never keep a secret from Sarah, especially with Morgan as his partner. (Of course with her methods for extracting secrets, Chuck may make it his job to manufacture secrets on a regular basis.)
She may have her ways of making him give up his secrets, but he opens her heart with a gentle reminder of his love.
Chuck gave Sarah a clean slate. Now he wants to give her the best dream house his dwindling millions can buy. He thinks big — a mansion on the bluff or a villa on the beach — the perfect house for the perfect woman.
Sarah’s confession, however, reveals her heart’s longing for the home, family, and house she never had as a child. Underneath the super-spy persona is a girl whose dreams are unsophisticated. She just wants a life with Chuck in a house that’s cozy, homey, and simple.
Instead of laughing at her simple dream or replacing it with his grander one, he affirms it and vows to do whatever it takes to find her dream home. Perfect.
Chuck quarterbacks from the van, and everyone is looking good — Morgan, Chalmers, and especially Sarah. He can’t help telling her so. He would rather be inside on the mission than stuck in the van. Though I rather feel the same way, I can’t imagine anyone else quarterbacking this mission.
OK, I confess I would rather see Chuck with Sarah on this mission, but Morgan’s protective nature of “my/our/your” girl was cute, sweet, and very Morgan. The sight gag of Sarah dancing with Morgan was downright funny, even if it was somehow so … wrong. And that leg thing? … how does she do that?
Fantastic. Everything is going according to plan … until everything goes blank. That’s never a good sign. It seems Decker is using Chuck’s computer and Chuck’s brilliant plan for his purposes, before feeding Chuck’s team to the wolves. Decker is not content just to fire TeamB from the CIA; he wants to ruin their civilian lives, as well. Guess he didn’t really mean the see ya never part. I really do not like this guy.
Time for the bluff again … only this time it’s no bluff. I love the unadulterated pride on Sarah’s face and the confidence in her voice when she tells Bale,
Do anything to us and you’ll never have access to those accounts ever again. You see we work with somebody, a master spy who always has a plan.
Chuck is the man with the plan, and if he doesn’t have one, he comes up with one. Loved the tried and true computer emergency. Chuck shines again. He gets his team out and leaves himself a small window (OK it was a pretty big window) to make it out alive. I’m with Morgan. Hey Dude, that was awesome! Yeppers.
Chuck reviews the mission positives, and tries to cheer up his team. Uh-oh. He doesn’t know. Decker froze all their money. Did I mention I don’t like him … at all?!
Chuck looks utterly defeated. Well, forty-two million is still a lot to lose. Sarah’s assurance that they’ll bounce back doesn’t even register, and Chuck takes off. What is going on?
Sarah finds Chuck standing in front of their dream house. He is so close … but a day late and a dollar short. He failed where it mattered most to him … his promise to Sarah.
She swallows her disappointment and gives him perspective by reminding him of a higher promise.
“Well, so what. I mean we knew this wasn’t going to be easy, and we didn’t get married because we thought life was easy. We got married so that we could be there for each other when things got tough, so that we could work through things together, rich or poor.”
Sarah helps him find his silver lining in the most unlikely place … the Buymore. The store just has to turn a profit. She assures him, We can do that. She seems so calm, so certain. (She’s Sarah. She can do anything. But that’s not why she’s so certain.)
Chuck finally tells her what’s bothering him, What about me though? You and Casey are super spies. Morgan is the Intersect. Who am I? What’s my job?
That’s an easy one. It’s why she’s so certain. Doesn’t he know? He’s the one who makes it all work. Without him, they’d be just a couple of spies and a bearded computer.
Chuck you’re our leader.
And he is.
Morgansect. Morgansect gives us comedy and does what every other Intersect has always done … shows us how special Chuck is. Morgan is a loose cannon, and no Intersect will fix that. In fact the Intersect will probably only serve to further loosen the cannon. Morgan with the Intersect is still Morgan. Just like Chuck with the Intersect was still Chuck. Morgan will never be the Intersect Chuck was. You can give Morgan 9 Intersects, and he will never be a master spy (that was a bluff). You can take the Intersect away from Chuck, and he is still a master spy. Remember, Sarah wasn’t bluffing. That’s why Chuck is the Hero/Leader. Intersect or not, Chuck is still that guy: the leader, the guy with a plan, still always doing the right thing, always caring more about his team than himself, and still saving the day. Like Ellie said, the Intersect just gave Chuck the opportunity to develop his innate hero/leader skills. Now that the training wheels are off, he will stumble some, but he will make it. He is that guy, always has been, always will be. As time goes on, I predict that Morgansect will only serve to further highlight the differences between Chuck and Morgan. Chuck was a unique Intersect host, with his brain and his character. (Remember his brain is almost unique in its ability to process huge amounts of data.) I expect we will continue to see that play out more and more.
The Team. TeamB are getting their feet on solid ground. Chuck is finding his place without the Intersect. Sarah is finding her dreams. Morgan is finding his inner cowboy — reckless and clueless. Casey is trying to find honor in what he’s doing. How can he reconcile his priorities (God, country, duty, Corp) with his new civilian life, working cases with moral ambiguity? He wants to go back to how it was before, where the lines are clearly drawn, there are orders to follow, and the moral ambiguity is legalized. I think the new paradigm is hardest for him.
The Conspiracy. We’ve been teased and baited. The tension is ratcheted up a notch … or 3. My curiosity is peaked, to say the least.
Season 5. I haven’t seen the comments, but I know they have been mixed. I am just as enthusiastic and hopeful as ever for a great S5. For all it had to accomplish, I think The Zoom did a good job. I was entertained by the mission and the action. There were wonderful Chuck and Sarah moments, like only Chuck can do. And I laughed … a lot.
I believe in the love letter to fans. I don’t think Chuck will stay in the van. I don’t think Morgan will ever overshadow Chuck and Sarah or be the hero or the master spy. He will be the comic relief and the touchstone to show off Chuck’s brilliance. Morgansect being a master spy is the big bluff, remember.
Chuck and Sarah. The honeymoon is over … not between them (not at all, never, no way), but around them. They will have to fight Decker to hold on to the life they’ve finally achieved. I think we’ll see plenty of Chuck and Sarah greatness — the committed couple in love and awesome spy couple beating the bad guys and overcoming all obstacles together. Being there for each other in tough times and working through things together is the promise, remember. Whatever their business problems; whatever Decker throws at them; whatever battles surround them; that promise is the eye of their storm.
S5 … Bring. It. On.