A new season. Actually, the longest season of the show. And no doubt the mood of the show is much changed. Gone is much of the angst and heavy drama of Season Three; Season Four will be lighter, with more short arcs, and romantic comedy replacing much of the angst. I like to say this is always how I hoped the show would be, obviously there are some who feel exactly opposite. But for me, this is the best season of the show.
And fittingly I think, the arguments will mostly be less intense and less serious. But let’s see how it all holds up in the full context of the series. After the jump, we start Season Four.
Anniversary is an interesting episode. It certainly is plenty funny, has some good stunts and action, and a nice sweet ending. Yet it still manages to be (along with Gobbler) my least favorite episode of the season.
Perhaps, more than anything, that’s just a statement of how much I really do love S4. Because I end up with an episode I actually, mostly, like as my least favorite!
The reason I rank it fairly low is just that I find the first 20 minutes or so pretty depressing. That’s about how long it takes for Chuck’s promise to his sister to run out. It leads to the bleak situation of Chuck running off on adventures with Morgan instead of Sarah. Now no doubt, this is very funny in places. But it really isn’t what I’m tuning in to watch. On a related note, I find the decision to keep Ellie in the dark at the end to be just silly. Almost a Jeffster silly sort of decision. Ultimately its not really a big deal the way it plays out.
That may make it even sillier (!). In the end, I’m willing to write off my complaints with this episode as no big deal. Better things (much better things) lie ahead, and I’m not going to worry about a slow start to a strong season. This is a far cry from Pink Slip, and my complaints are minor.
So what goes well? Pretty much everything else. Financial problems, and a repossessed Pacer are good for a chuckle. Chuck may have one of the worst job search experiences I’ve ever seen.
And the shining beacon that is Buy More never looked better. Sarah also manages to come across well in a too small part; both bonding with Casey in a “missing Chuck” moment, a fun bit of stunt work, and encouraging Chuck even if it goes against her own best interests.
The final adventure, and the introduction of Volkoff Industries as the new big bad for S4 is the highlight for me. We finally get the band back together; Chuck is clever, Morgan is funny and Casey and Sarah are helpless. The “sexting” running gag is funny, even though Chuck really should kill Morgan.
Chuck taking out 10 villains, and the use of public transportation, like master spies, round out the exciting climax.
I like the final Chuck and Sarah scene, and I really like that this will become a recurring theme, the new fountain in a way, for the rest of the series. I think Mary’s introduction is particularly strong. I will have pretty major problems with her story later in the season, but I think her first few appearances go quite well.
I have mentioned before, my single favorite thing about this episode was I felt like Chris Fedak was listening to us. At the end of S3, a major complaint many of us had was Chuck’s habitual lying. And even if Chuck seemed to have been busted in the end, the finale set up a situation the suggested a whole new round of secrets Chuck could be keeping from Sarah. Although I wish the situation had been a resolved immediately, I’m really pretty happy with how it played out. Chuck did try to keep a secret, but once Sarah caught him, she demanded a “no secrets, no lies” pledge. That was mostly honored to the end of the series. That I find very satisfying.
Way back when we started this re-watch, I did mention that some episodes would likely just not get as much of a write-up as others. And that’s where we are now. I think, all things considered, Anniversary is a fairly unremarkable episode. And we at this site have all had difficult weeks; from computer problems, to busy work schedules to family emergencies. Perhaps it was good timing to have such issues on such an episode. I hope some of our more ambitious readers will find themselves with more to say than I did. But if not, that’s fine too. We’ll try this again next week with Suitcase, one of my very favorites.