Review: Chuck - Chuck Versus First Class
by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 26th 2010 12:45AM
(S03E05) What a great episode! Forgive me if I gush, but this was -- for me -- the best Chuck of the third season. And I think it may well be a game-changer for Chuck Bartowski, fledgling spy and man with the Intersect in his brain. For the first time, Chuck really achieved altitude, which may coincide with the plot that had Chuck, as the title suggested, taking flight.
I approve wholeheartedly of Shaw's decision to put Chuck into the field and let him fly solo. After all the training in Prague, not to mention all the missions with Casey and Sarah, Chuck should be able to handle himself in most situations. And in this instance, he had contact with Shaw and Sarah to lend more than a little assistance. Getting Sarah to take over the controls of the 747 was a perfect way for the CIA to help Chuck while still letting him do the work.
Chuck didn't get to use the nunchucks, but he was pretty good with the sword play. What I liked about this episode is that it broke out of the formula. There was no party to infiltrate. No girl on girl fight between Sarah and some evil operative. No predictable commentary from the General to set up or wrap up the show. There was more time for character development with Shaw questioning Sarah's feelings for Chuck and revealing how he lost his wife, Evelyn, a spy like them. It was a cautionary tale, but Sarah may be too in love with Chuck to simply turn off her feelings.
One of the best things in the show was Kristin Kreuk as Hannah, the nice girl from first class. I don't know her from Smallville, but I thought she was great here. And, fortunately, Chuck did not flash when he met her. She didn't trigger any connection to evil, so I'm hoping that Hannah will be something Chuck hasn't had for a long time -- an attainable woman. The fact that she turned up at the Burbank Buy More at the close was very promising.
The Buy More subplot picked up where we left off before, with Lester hating Morgan for being management and the rest of the staff following his lead. With Chuck missing in action -- out on the longest install in Buy More history? -- Morgan turned to Casey. Kind of reminded me of My Bodyguard. Anyway, Casey's brainwashing technique was pure Manchurian Candidate. The perfect capper was when Lester said, "Morgan Grimes is the kindest, warmest, most understanding man I've ever known."
Other points of interest
-- I've been really disappointed with the props this season. The ring cell phone last week and the pen with the poison were pretty dull. Where are the cool gadgets I like?
-- How smart of Chuck to tell the truth about his cover on the plane, that he was doing a big time install for Buy More... If he had lied and done a Charles Carmichael thing, he would have blown the possible hook up with Hannah.
-- First class looked amazing. But is it really that easy to get down to the cargo hold?
-- Did you notice that Chuck's martini was shaken, not stirred? Another Bond tie.
-- Brandon Routh was better in this episode, but I'd like to see him get some action. It's great that he's so sure of everything and right all the time, but next week they should send him and Chuck on a mission together.
-- Loved the Sinatra-like music when Chuck got on the plane. Also "Respect" setting the tone for Morgan's need for Casey's help.
[For clips and episodes of Chuck, go to SlashControl.]