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Review: Chuck - Chuck Versus First Class

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 26th 2010 12:45AM
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.]

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Dan H

How do you review the whole episode and not mention that the villain was Stone Cold Steve Austin!?!? He was one of the biggest pro-wrestlers of all time!

February 02 2010 at 9:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would like to see chuck get on well with Hannah in a normal relationship which would obviously make sarah jealous. This may change her view on letting chuck be so looked after. I really enjoyed Hannah's personality and it would be refreshing if everyone wasnt a spy. Another point of interest, how would chuck hide his spy ID from a girlfriend that wasnt a spy.... watch that space.

January 29 2010 at 4:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I usually don't comment on these things, but I was really bothered by the fencing scene. I've fenced for ten years, and cringe whenever I get wind of a scene featuring sport fencing. I don't expect proper technique or anything, because what makes for great TV swordplay does not make for great fencing, but that saber was ridiculous. No sport fencer would EVER have a weapon with a blade like that in their fencing bag. A saber blade is very thin, more akin to a steel whip than the military saber he found, and is in no way sharp. I would have bought an epee with the button removed to expose the blade itself, but that was absurd.

That being said, awesome episode. This season getting the green light made my year.

January 27 2010 at 12:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh I hope Hannah is not evil, I miss having a female member of the nerd herd and I like the idea of Chuck having a girl on the side. Normally I detest a competing love interest that foils the main love interest but this I think I can get behind. I too wondered about the easy elevator access to the cargo hold and suspect that in real life it's through a hatch in the floor somewhere...there has to be one as they'd need it if in an emergency they needed to extinguish a fire. Loved John helping Morgan, he lives to assist and kick ass and is so terrific at both.

January 27 2010 at 6:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I went to wikipedia because I was curious to see how close what Lester said matched the line in The Manchurian Candidate, and was reminded that the brainwashed assassin in the film is named Raymond Shaw. Are the writers tipping us off that Shaw is some sort of plant? (or am I reading too much into it?)

January 26 2010 at 1:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jaxtraw's comment
Just the Facts

Sinatra was in The Manchurian Candidate as well. Could the music have been a clue too?

February 05 2010 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hannah will probably turn out to be Evelyn. And evil.

January 26 2010 at 12:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I actually enjoyed Kristen Kruek on TV show. So I guess it was the Smallville writers who screwed up and not her. I apologize to bashing her on Smallville reviews.

January 26 2010 at 11:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I had been waiting for Casey to take charge of that group of noobs for two seasons now! I would not want to mess with a man who can put out a cigar into his own hand!

January 26 2010 at 9:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jon Fuller

Plus there was a part in the Castle where Shaw whips off a pair of thick black glasses. Total Superman moment there.

January 26 2010 at 9:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Barry Wilhelm

Does anyone else think that Chuck has seemed to learn to control the Intersect? The flashes on the fencing and the nunchuks appeared to occur at his will.

January 26 2010 at 9:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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