As I understand, the airing schedule for Chuck was supposed to be “Chuck versus the Best Friend,” “Chuck versus the Suburbs,” and then “Chuck versus the Beefcake.” But since “Chuck versus the Suburbs” had an explicit Valentine’s Day reference, they kept it in place, even after “Chuck versus the Best Friend” was preempted by an Obama address. If you were unaware of that, you were probably pretty confused as to why tensions that were seemingly resolved between Chuck and Sarah last week were back in the open again this week. Personally I think it would have been better to just have the Valentine’s Day stuff show up a week late.
As many of you may recall, I’ve been getting pretty tired of the endless Chuck/Sarah circles of angst that don’t really go anywhere. And for a while, it looked like that was exactly what “Chuck versus the Beefcake” was going to deliver. But, by the end of the episode, it looked like there might, just maybe, be some kind of non-circular development!
The setup for this episode felt really lazy. Apparently the CIA not only buries bodies in random places (rather than say, incinerating them), they also don’t bother searching the bodies, and are happy to leave behind all kinds of evidence for anyone who happens to find where they bury the bodies. Even if the CIA did bury corpses in unmarked graves, presumably they would strip the bodies first.
The whole new Fulcrum chip that can only be read by a special reader was a pretty lame plot device too. The CIA thought the technology was so secure they didn’t even bother trying to break it, and yet Chuck was able to crack it in a matter of hours, while at work! Sure, he set off a homing device in the process, but that wouldn’t really have been an issue had the CIA been the ones to try and decode the information.
Speaking of the chip, when Chuck did activate the beacon and Sarah and Barker were captured, Casey overheard one of the Fulcrum mean say that someone tried to hack into the real chip. Casey knew Chuck was in danger, yet he not only took longer than Fulcrum to get back to the store, he also made no attempt to contact Chuck. It’s a minor issue, but one that could have been easily avoided. If the Fulcrum agent hadn’t told Sarah and Barker that they almost fooled Fulcrum, Casey wouldn’t have overheard anything, and there would be no reason for him to think he had to warn Chuck.
I have to admit, for the first third of the episode, I was doing a lot of eye-rolling at the Chuck/Sarah angst. The whole bit where Chuck was listening in on Sarah’s conversation while she was saying things about why she doesn’t like nice guys just felt contrived. Not to mention the predictable bit where Chuck removed his ear piece so that he could miss Sarah asking for help.
And actually, all of Chuck’s mooning over Sarah as Barker was hitting on her was kind of eye-rolling as well. If the episode had ended ten minutes sooner, I wouldn’t be very happy with the episode. But the last ten minutes or so gave me hope that the show is finally going to move forward with the Chuck/Sarah story.
I’m okay with all the Chuck/Sarah angst as long as I feel like it’s going somewhere. I don’t really care where it goes, just as long as it doesn’t circle around back to where it started. Hell, I was satisfied with Chuck seeing Sarah kissing Agent Barker being the impetus for him to move out of his sister’s house and into a place with Morgan. So all this other stuff, with Barker being captured and Chuck and Sarah having to live together means further progress. At this point, I don’t care if it’s progress that leads to Sarah and Barker as a couple, or if it finally gets Sarah to admit her feelings for Chuck, or what. Any sort of plot development in the Chuck/Sarah relationship is welcome.
I think having Chuck and Sarah living together could be just the kick the show needs to keep the repetitive angst from overwhelming the show. Particularly if Chuck feels compelled to honor his original plan and Morgan is living with them as well. My fear is that the threat will be over with next week and Chuck and Sarah will have an almost moment but then something angsty will happen, Chuck will move back home and everything will be right back to exactly the way it was before this week’s episode started.
Setting aside the main plot, the results of the episode’s B and C stories were mixed. The Morgan moving in with Chuck stuff made for some humorous moments, and it ultimately helped set up Chuck and Morgan getting their own place, so it worked fairly well.
Morgan’s plot was kind of underdeveloped though, so as to leave time for the C plot, which seemed to exist solely so they could use the phrase “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models” in commercials hyping the episode. Lester and Jeff trying to use a Buy More job as a casting couch opportunity wasn’t bad per se, just predictable and pointless.
This certainly wasn’t the best episode of Chuck, but it does leave me with hope that we may finally have SOMETHING happen in the Chuck/Sarah story. Be sure to tune in next week for “Chuck versus the Lethal Weapon” to see if that hope is crushed into a tiny cube.
Trevor MacKay is the sci-fi/horror/fantasy/cheesy/random geeky stuff guy. If something is geeky and/or unbelievably cheesy, he’s there.