Review: Chuck - Chuck Versus the Pink Slip (season premiere)/Chuck Versus the Three Words
by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 11th 2010 1:14AM
(S03E01/S03E02) Welcome back, Charles. Wasn't that fun? The return of Chuck Bartowski picks up the story where we left off at the end of last season. What we quickly learn is that this is not the same old Chuck. That Intersect thing is an ongoing issue, and as long as Chuck's the man with the data, he will be the man in the middle of the action. Unless General Beckman says otherwise ... more on that and the guitar playing fool after the jump.
Operation Bartowski had Chuck going to Prague for training. Of course, the opening sequence was a training session as I suspected -- and I imagine a lot of you did, too. But it did illustrate the problem with Chuck's "flash" drive. It's balky. It's obscured by Chuck's emotions and, therefore, unreliable. Beckman was quick to pull the trigger and shut down the operation ... but you knew that was just a plot device.
More concerning was the Sarah and Chuck development. First, I'm not sure I fully bought into Sarah's offer of "let's run away together." Chuck has been her puppy dog love for two years. Would she really want him for a life partner? I think she was fooling herself.
As for Chuck, his decision not to join Sarah didn't make sense. Oh yes, Chuck explained why he was committed to using the Intersect to help, that he was remaining in the spy business out of a sense of duty and patriotism. But those pesky emotions seemed to outweigh those altruistic thoughts. Seriously, it struck me as unrealistic that when presented the choice of spy stuff or Sarah, he went for the spy stuff.
But this is a drama, and that was the choice fraught with conflict, hence the right one for the TV show. Chuck's Intersect knows all kinds of things, but it's not prescient. When Beckman shut down the program, Chuck was left high and dry. Thanks for playing, sir, now go away.
The sight of Chuck back home in California and wallowing in despair was hilarious. The beard, the bathrobe, the cheese balls, being sucked into the couch ... How ironic that he was only motivated to move from his spot when the cheese balls ran out. (I think he should have also had a YooHoo or something to swig ... those cheese balls are salty!)
When Chuck went incognito to Buy More ("Sneaking back into the Buy More like some vagrant Serpico") -- for more cheese balls -- we saw how Emmett's management had sucked the life out of the place. Emmet, played with evil snarkiness by Tony Hale, was the perfect villain, but it was shocking that the show actually had him murdered in cold blood. That final shot of the bloody bullet hole in the eyeglasses was positive proof that he's dead, it was also a quote from Bonnie and Clyde (which was a lift from Eisenstein). Pretty tough stuff for Chuck, which is usually not a "real" violent show.
By the time Chuck had interjected himself back into the mission, which was all in his effort to reach out to Sarah, the on again off again Intersect 2.0 was starting to bug me. Considering that he's an IT guy, it's crazy that they can't figure out how to get a trigger for that thing! Intersect 2.0 did give him mad skills on the guitar and kung-fu kicks that are pretty impressive, too.
Javier, the assassin, got away from the Spanish restaurant, which only made Sarah -- not to mention Casey -- angrier at Chuck. I liked Casey's advice to Sarah -- put Chuck out of his misery. Of course, that was exactly when Javier struck. Don't know who he was out to assassinate because he only took Chuck and Sarah out of curiosity. He didn't even know who the heck Chuck Bartowski was.
In the end, after proving his worth in Mexico, Beckman reinstated Operation Bartowski, Chuck was returned to Buy More as a cover job -- so was Morgan and Big Mike -- and everything was basically back to normal.
By the way, wasn't the "Eye of the Tiger" enough of a cue to make you flash to Rocky? It did me.
The second episode wasn't as good as the earlier episode, but it was still a good exploration of what's going on with Chuck and Sarah.
However, doesn't Los Angeles have more than one club? How do Chuck and Morgan wind up at the same place where Sarah and Carina are hanging? Carina talked about the cardinal rule of spying -- spies don't fall in love -- which was clearly taught when Sarah was out of class. She's completely invested in Chuck, and it's screwing up her job.
Meanwhile, it was good to see that Big Mike is back. How weird is that the only mention of Emmett is that he's moved on to Large Mart in Alaska? What happened to the body? I can't imagine this won't come up in a future episode. Wouldn't it be something if Emmett had been undercover?
The mission, as usual, all depended on Chuck. However Chuck is still too hung up on Sarah to be effective. Somehow I thought Sarah would have been wise enough about Chuck to figure this out. Are we suppose to believe that she's as incapable of emotional control as Chuck? I think not.
Chuck didn't look as good as Cameron Diaz's double (Charlie's Angels) navigating the security beams, but somehow they made it work. And then Chuck went and spoiled it all by saying something stupid like "I love you." Now that Sarah has heard the words, thanks to the security tape, will she forgive Chuck?
Fortunately, amid all the emotional overload -- all those Smoochies -- Morgan came through ... sorta. He found the courage to say 'no' to Carina at the party, but also returned the gold cased weapon to Stromberg. More than a few Bond references there.
Finally, was that actual human emotion from General Beckman? That exchange with Shaw about telling "them" -- Team Bartowski -- what was happening was insightful. I think she really cares about them.
Other points of interest
-- Hooray for Morgan. He got to make love to Carina on the Star Wars sheets. Before he got lucky, I loved his theory: "Very tall girls have very short memories."
-- Carl's toast was hilarious -- "not never" and "may our first child be a masculine child." That was right out of the Luca Brasi handbook.
-- Chuck to Casey: "I think you have dungarees that are older than Carina."
-- Lester to Morgan re Carina: "That hot piece of tucchus wouldn't get anywhere near dirty traf like you." (That's a lot of Kosher talk there)
[Watch episodes of Chuck on SlashControl.]