Chuck: Chuck Versus the Wookie
(S01E04) "I thought you were supposed to be good at lying" - Chuck
So it was another satisfying episode of Chuck, funny, hip, referential. They still haven't worked out all the kinks in the show yet, but for the most part the structure and humor of the show is beginning to really solidify, giving us something that might last beyond a season.
"Chuck Versus the Wookie" introduced us to red-haired, blue-eyed bombshell Karina -- I can't seem to find the name of the actress who played her on any websites or press releases, so if you recognize her please tell me; I would like to see more of her ... work.
The basic story is that Karina, a character from Sarah and Casey's past, has returned to retrieve a diamond believed to be connected to drug cartel money. Or is it? Dun dun dun ... cue ominous music.
Speaking of ominous music, great use of the creepy background noise that eventually led up to the fight scene in the beginning of the episode. These fight scene outfits that Sarah wears are getting more and more wonderfully ridiculous. Fighting in a bath robe?
I would swear that by episode ten she would be fighting naked, if this show wasn't on network primetime. How does this not sound like a Cinemax softcore, after-midnight special? Two women start fighting, one in a silk bathrobe, the other a dominant ninja, the wrestle on the ground and then ... I will let you fill in whatever necessary gaps you need to fulfill that fantasy.
The big fight led to the intro sequence, which I haven't totally decided how I feel about yet. The pro-Chuck side of me thinks that it is a perfect homage to the James Bond semi-animated intros and is a good spoof on the spy-genre. My cautious half thinks it is slightly lame and is a bit overplayed. Unfortunately for you Chuck-haters out there, my positive side usually wins out.
The thing that really made this episode for me was how Morgan-heavy it was, or, if you are Karina, Martin-heavy. It is hard not to love Joshua Gomez as he darts between adorably kind-hearted and unbelievably nerdy. I was really rooting for Karina to fall for him by the end of the episode, but alas he shall remain woman-less for the foreseeable future.
It really seemed like Karina was into Chuck. I mean she attempted to seduce him with a red bra-and-panties number that I am surprised got past NBC's standards bureaucrats. Her character provided a great hottie contrast to Sarah Walker, but I don't see her returning to the series on a regular basis. If the show makes it to the second season, she will probably come back in a different DEA-related episode. Her real importance came toward the very end of the episode when she asserted that Miss Walker, whether she knew it or not, wanted Chuck.
Sarah, who seems at the very least to want to not hurt Chuck, was very vulnerable through out the episode. She had to risk losing her friend/Intersect to a new agent and was cornered by Karina revealing to Chuck that Sarah and Bryce were an item. We are beginning to see the walls that "Lisa" has put up slowly break down, which may complicate the relationship between her friendship with Chuck and her CIA job. They gave Sarah a nerdy boss, which I thought I was expected and necessary. I seriously sat through the first three episodes wondering what kind of horrible business structure does this wiener place have that lets its only worker take half-day breaks, even if it is to save the world.
Moving on to our simply-named hero, I feel that Chuck is really starting to flesh out as an individual and get all of his quirks into place. His stuttering when he gets nervous (watching Sarah change in the backseat of a Hummer) or his word-projection and awkwardness when things go wrong (Sarah not saying "No" to introducing Karina to Morgan) are pretty priceless. Also he is really becoming useful as an agent. Although he kind of fumbled the situation by giving the diamond to Karina, he eventually was the one to save the day (via FedEx no less).
The writers have also managed to show that Chuck is very useful, beyond having a supercomputer database in his head. When he used the Intersect info to learn about the electric field surrounding the diamond (which turned out to be terrorist and not drug related), it was his previously developed intelligence that helped him solve the problem. It would have personally taken me a while to come up with compressed air as the best method to nab the diamond, but for Chuck the problem-solving is natural. I guess that is what you can expect from a Stanford man.
There were some great uses of spy-genre conventions this episode. A couple of worthy notice include the slow motion bikini shot as Karina hops on her Jet Ski, Casey's classic chauffeur outfit, the hot, untrustworthy spy, the list goes on as usual. More important than the subtle tricks-of-the-trade was this week's other guest star, Iqbal Theba as Peyman Alahi aka The Wookie. First of all (as a hairy man) it takes a lot of guts for Theba to appear on-screen in a Speedo, covered in body hair (real or not). I loved Theba as Joey's doctor from that one episode of Friends:
Joey's Doctor: Mr. Tribbiani, I'm afraid you've got kidney stones.
Joey: Umm, well, what else could it be?
Joey's Doctor: It's kidney stones.
Joey: Or?Joey's Doctor: Kidney stones!
It was great to see an actor that is so widely used as an extra, check out his IMDb for a full list of all the shows he's been on, take on a different role. Theba as a serious thug, rather than the comic relief, was fun and refreshing.
Oh Snap Award Winner
As I stated in last week's review, I will be nominating a recipient of a weekly "Oh Snap" award for the person who creates the best moment that simply makes me say "Oh Snap." This weeks award goes, again, to John Casey, who was not very central to the episode. I knew something crazy was going to happen when he broke the bed frame, but I could feel that slam to Random Thug #3's face. Casey sealed his ownership of the award when he followed it up with a fabulously cheesy one-liner: "I told you smoking could be hazardous to your health."
The close runner-up was Sarah Walker with a fruit plate to a muscleman's face. As the frisbee-like plate sailed across the pool and into that man's forehead, I thought she had won for the week, but Casey pulled off the upset in the last half of the show.
|John Casey||148 (11.8%)|