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December 20, 2014

Chuck: Chuck Versus Tom Sawyer

by Richard Keller, posted Oct 28th 2008 8:14AM

Chuck vs. Tom Sawyer(S02E05) I knew it! Others have thought video games were nothing but mind-numbing entertainment that produced a generation of nerds, dweebs, and creators of Red Bull. But they were more...much more. They were keys to, pardon the phrase, weapons of mass destruction. What dual roles have other video games had during their history? Space Invaders as the guide map for the invasion of Iraq? Pac-Man the secret plan to solve America's energy crisis? And...and...what about Grand Theft Auto? Okay, that's really mind-numbing entertainment. But, that's beside the point!

This is just further proof that you need to take your children's video game consoles and toss them into the deepest pit in the farthest land. Well, except for the Wii, because you can exercise and play games at the same time. Brilliant! And, hey, if your kids ask you where they should put their missile launch codes, tell them to place them in a shoe box under their beds. Just the way you did when you were their age.

Now you know, and knowing is half the battle. Let's get on with this week's review.

It's probably not stretching too much if I say that this installment of Chuck was one of the weaker of the season. Something was just missing. It was probably the loss of interaction between Chuck and his other CIA playmates that left that void. The connection between all of them has changed this season as Mr. Bartowski has grown into his role as super spy and world saver. So, his jump back down into the world of Buy More was somewhat of a let down.

This doesn't mean that a 'Buy More' episode wasn't warranted. Over the last four episodes the Nerd Herd have been demoted down to second story status with a number of Chuck-less plots. Having Chuck get back into the swing of things was a good idea, especially since this was sort of a break from the character's death-defying adventures. I just think the concept of was not the best.

It wasn't the idea of Atari's Missile Command being a vessel that stored launch commands that was bad. It was how it was played out. It felt awkward and, to be honest, kind of forced. It was hard to tell if the mention of Atari was a product placement or not. They're still a powerful player in the video game market, but to the point of name dropping on a 25-year-old game? It was just weird. That so many people would come out and see Jeff, the former Missile Command champion of the '80s, attempt to reach the kill screen was even weirder.

Speaking about Buy More -- we did at sometime in this piece, didn't we? -- why haven't Chuck and the rest of the gang been fired yet? Every time we turn around they're having a party, or Mad Max fights in the cage, or video game demonstrations. Luckily, Emmett Milbarge has been brought in to get the store in tip-top shape. It looks like he'll be staying for a bit as well in the role of assistant manager. While it may be a small role, it is good to see Tony Hale on a comedy show again. He exudes just enough weasel to have us both like and dislike him at the same time.

There were a few good things that took place this week. First, Chuck finally received his degree from Stanford, which closes at least that chapter in his life. This may have stopped his sister from worrying about all of the plans Chuck put on the back burner, but it doesn't stop him from contemplating his dual life on a daily basis and wondering when it will end. Another fine moment was Chuck's decimation of all of those missile during Missile Command. No one ever knew why video games and Rush's song 'Tom Sawyer' were interconnected. Now we know it involves mathematical equations.

That's it for Chuck this time around. Mr. Bartowski is taking some time off due to Saturday Night Live's election special next Monday. He'll be back in two weeks when he faces the greatest threat to his life since he became a super spy: his ex-girlfriend. See you then.

Was this episode of Chuck one of the weaker ones this season?
Yeah, it was not that great.90 (14.9%)
It was okay, just a bit forced when it came to product palcement221 (36.6%)
Best episode of the season!235 (38.9%)
Missle Command? Why not Zaxxon?58 (9.6%)

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Nola

Your poll is off because I thought it was a pretty good episode, so none of the options sufficed.

October 29 2008 at 9:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Doc

I like how he totally slaughters the phonetic alphabet when he reads Sarah the code, yet was smart enough to realize he needed to use something that was understandable in the first place.

October 29 2008 at 3:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Derek

I'm not sure which show you watched, Richard. I thought this episode was absolutely hilarious.

Unlike many movies and TV shows about geeks, these people know their stuff. The use of Missile Command, Atari, the "kill screen", Tom Sawyer, and the Atari techs laughing at the thought of needing Nerd Herders help. All great.

But the best joke of the night was Morgan's Zune joke. I had to pause the DVR for a full minute to stop laughing.

October 29 2008 at 2:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
burningchrom3

best show ever, two words,"The Professor".

October 28 2008 at 9:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BatZilla98

Yeah it seems like you didn't like this episode because you have something against video games.

October 28 2008 at 7:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
topajongbranth

I really liked this episode. This episode seems to be like an answered prayer. we wanted more Ellie and Sarah bonding moments, we did. We wanted a back story for the Nerd Herders not just be there to provide the tickles, and the writers did. We wanted to see Chuck graduate and get his diploma, our Chuck did. See even though it lacked in the romance department, it never lacked with heart and emotion. Chuck wanting Jeff to be that guy who seems to have a grip of life when he was playing that game was great. Ellie looking out for Chucks future was heartwarming. Sarah and Casey finally making the last stand to give credit to whom credit deserve, i loved how the writer's thought that this episode would seem to be at the same page as every other cast members. Plus I wouldn't mind someone like Yvonne wearing the Nerd Herd outfit to fix my computer problem.

Best Lines:
LESTER: WWCD- What Would Chuck Do

LESTER: WWCDN- Wondering What Chuck's Doing Now?

SARAH: Chuck's like a duck. He seems to just glide along. But underneath that surface his feet are paddling like crazy.

ELLIE: Is my brother doing drugs?
CAPT: That would explain a lot.

ELLIE: Jeff. Nerd Herd. Serial Killer. Creepy Jeff?

ELLIE: It's Morgan years revisited.


October 28 2008 at 4:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
alexmonty

Who would've thought? "ATARI" shares its building with "PINEHEARST" from Heroes.

I had the suspicion Atari was an evil company but not at this level.

October 28 2008 at 4:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kip

Nice detective work! Hopefully he ends up being a ninja for the bad guys.

October 28 2008 at 3:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan

What? Were you watching the same show as me? I thought this was possibly the best episode the show has had to date. Funny, touching, entertaining, suspenseful and exciting.

BTW, this was a terribly written "reviewcap" too.
Today's reviewcaps in general are quite terrible, a further sign of the deterioration of TVSQUAD. It amazes me how the same writers can see themselves go from being excellent TV reviewers to nothing better than any idiot writing comments. If I hadn't seen the show, I'd have no idea what happened. You mention Jeff in one throw-away sentence even though he is the driving point of the entire episode. It seems to me as if you were watching this while doing something else and you only saw bits and pieces.

Look at the "Chuck Vs The Marlin" reviewcap and you'll see why I came to this site in the first place. Detailed, well written, insightful...nothing like this one.

October 28 2008 at 2:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John Stewart

This was a great episode. You don't seem to like the show, so maybe you just shouldn't review it anymore.

October 28 2008 at 2:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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