Chuck: Chuck Versus the Undercover Lover
(S01E12) "If you want to go through life all emotionally constipated and alone, then suit yourself. I'll let you get back to protecting the greater good, you freaking robot." (Chuck to Casey)
Last night's first of two new Chucks was about learning that the supporting characters are human, too. Casey than just a cold-as-ice NSA Agent who would probably kill everyone in the room if he was ever the subject of a roast and has mastered the art of communicating with eye winces, grunts and scowls. Ellie and Devon/Captain Awesome actually have a relationship issue, which ... Morgan? ... diagnoses?! And we get nothing on the tired "is it or isn't it?," "does she or doesn't she?" non-romance between Chuck and Sarah (thank god!). In fact, they barely had any screen time together and I think it was, well, awesome!
Don't get me wrong, this is James Bond-lite, so a pretty girl like Sarah definitely gets her screen-time, and a gratuitous bra scene as she changed into her undercover outfit. Completely unnecessary and completely in line with the tongue-in-cheek tone of the show in general. And, of course, Yvonne Strahovski looks great in (and almost out) of anything, so it works on every level.
I liked that the creators shook things up this episode, with Sarah taking on the "straight man" role while it was Chuck and Casey going off-plan and consequently getting themselves in trouble. For a show like this to prove that it can sustain itself beyond one season, it needs to be more than Moonlighting with spies. Let's face it, the Sara/Chuck thing was already getting old. So to back-burner it completely like they did in this episode and start bringing more depth to the rest of the cast shows that the creators of Chuck are in it for the long run and I couldn't be happier because, as much as I like the show so far I was beginning to worry it's formula was getting stale.
I always knew there was more to Casey than the brooding guy in the background who grunts and kicks ass (never mind taking names), but I didn't know if we'd ever get to see it. So it was refreshing when this episode opened with a flashback to Chechnya 2002 where we see a Casey in love moments before an explosion kills his girl. And then, in the present, when Chuck flashes on a name and sees that same girl is booked at a hotel nearby, with a bunch of other Russians, and sees that she and Casey had been an item I knew it was on. Finally, a Casey-centric episode.
The gang gets called in to find out why all those Russian baddies are in town and all booked at the same hotel. It turns out they're here to celebrate the wedding nuptials of Russian criminal "kingpin" Victor Federov. But the bride to be turns out to be none other than Casey's long lost, literally, lover Ilsa. But how can she be the same woman he loved if she can marry a Russian mob boss? Well, as it turns out, just as she didn't know that Casey was really a spy for the NSA, he didn't know that she was a spy for the French government who'd been working the Federov case for years? Honestly, it's not about the plot but about the chance to give Casey some depth as a character.
The same goes for the B-story, in which Ellie and Devon/Captain Awesome get into a fight over what to buy for their anniversary gift; Ellie wants a TV while Devon wants a washer and dryer. This story serves to add depth to both Devon as a principal character and his relationship with Ellie. Of course, ultimately Devon does some growing and their relationship is strengthened thanks to ... again, Morgan?! It's nice to see these characters that have been fairly two-dimensional up to now getting some meat on their stories.
No contest, the Oh Snap Award for this episode goes to the hotel room fight scene with Casey and Chuck tied back-to-back facing two of Federov's big Russian brawlers. I can't even imagine what a pain it was to choreograph that, but when Casey swung Chuck around, thus using Chuck's flinging legs to knock down the bad guys, it's Bond-age at its best (I probably shouldn't use Bond-age like that. Bond-ism?). And the finale through the window into the pool below, where they broke up the wedding of Ilsa and Federov was great.
Other notable shenanigans:
- Casey slamming Chuck up against the wall, and about three inches off the ground for talking about Ilsa.
- Captain Awesome running away from the Buy More gang when he realized their all male poker game was a strip poker game.
- Morgan acting as a couples therapist for Ellie and Captain Awesome.
- Casey being a romantic, saying goodbye to his love: "Just so you know, I'm happy you're not dead."
- Sarah's discomfort at having to comfort Ellie, and her subsequent "escape."
|Devon/Captain Awesome||57 (8.3%)|
|Big Mike||8 (1.2%)|
|General Beckman||1 (0.1%)|