Review: Chuck - Chuck Versus Operation Awesome
by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 19th 2010 2:00AM
(S03E04) Do you have the nerve? That was the question a few times this go-round. If you get off on the "I double dog dare you" kind of action, then you were right at home. Chuck was put in an impossibly emotional situation, a continuation of last week, with Awesome drawn into Chuck's web of espionage. Would he be able to keep it together and use the Intersect to help his bro-in-law? And what about the new guy in the mix, the off-camera character the General was talking to? All that and more after the jump.
There were a couple of guest stars, starting with Law & Order vet Angie Harmon as Sydney Prince, a Ring operative who abducted Devon to recruit him. Of course how smart can the Ring be if they think Devon is the real spy? Doesn't their intelligence indicate that he has been pretty much a home body? That was a major hole in the plot... But it allowed Awesome to taste the action and realize that it's not for him.
It seemed to me that once Devon returned with the intel about Sydney and the communication device, the General should have put him in a safe house instead of throwing him back into action. He's a civilian. Goodness knows the CIA pros bitch about Chuck being a hindrance, it didn't add up that they would put Devon in the forefront of the case.
The plus was that it got Chuck to step up in a serious way. It was especially cool when Chuck used his IT skills to get into the Ring cell phone. They should do that more often, have Chuck use his Stanford-educated brain and not just his Intersect flashing to solve problems.
Brandon Routh, who played Superman in Superman Returns, was Shaw, the Ring specialist working for the CIA. The first impression the character is that he's pretty super. A Superman. Routh looked good in the part, but he needs to be more dynamic. The hinting at a back story involving a family life lost is important. Right now he's just too much like an 8x10 glossy.
When faced with having to be a real spy -- an operative with a license to kill -- Chuck glitched. He couldn't pull the trigger with Shaw -- even when Shaw told him to shoot him -- and he couldn't pull the trigger with Sydney. While he hemmed and hawed with Sydney, she was pulling a knife to kill him. Chuck will probably never feel good about being a killer, but that was a crucial test and he failed it.
We had a return to the Buy More this week, but it was perhaps the dumbest side plot ever in my estimation. I never got the "fight club" business when it was a Brad Pitt movie or in some of the TV variations. I wasn't amused by Lester and Jeff finding their manhood by turning the cage into a boxing ring. I also didn't buy it. The only thing good about it that worked was that it prompted Morgan to respond to Lester's taunting by firing him for insubordination. That was funny. Morgan Grimes, man of action.
Other points of interest
-- Chuck still can't control the Intersect, a point made clear when he smacked Lester in the face with a kick and then couldn't attack when faced with goons Ian and Glen.
-- Big Mike said to Morgan, "You can wipe the concerned look off that hairy face" before promoting Morgan to assistant manager. Has Big Mike noticed that he also has a big hairy face?
-- Shaw's business with the Zippo lighter is tired. I've seen that bit in too many other movies.
-- Chuck running from the thugs reminded me of a cartoon character, "exit, stage right."
[For clips and episodes of Chuck, go to SlashControl.]