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"Never Trust a Woman Whose Name is a Palindrome": Life Lessons on "Chuck"

I'm already missing NBC's Chuck, which wrapped its run of original episodes last night amid a strike that has grounded virtually all scripted programming now. I've grown to love this series after a string of fantastic installments that played up the series' underlying mythology and strengthened the character's shadings.

Last night's episode ("Chuck Vs. the Crown Vic") continued the trend, though it wasn't as strong an installment as I would have liked the series to go out on for now. Yes, I thought there were some great moments (the missile plowing into Casey's beloved Crown Victoria being one of them) but I selfishly wanted a little bit more to tide me over until the strike ends. We all knew that Sarah would choose responsibility over love (as though, as a federal agent, she has much choice), so it wasn't exactly a surprise there but it's clear that she's chafing from her decision.

I did miss Captain Awesome and Ellie in this holiday-themed episode but with the emphasis placed on Chuck and Sarah's undercover operation to nab a billionaire counterfeiter, Morgan's disastrous meeting with girlfriend Anna's parents, and holiday party at the Buy More, I am glad that writer Zev Borow didn't choose to divert our attentions to yet another storyline.

As it was, this episode provided that perfect blend of action and humor that we've come to know and love, i.e., things go boom and Casey makes wry comments about Chuck getting to choose a new handler from the CIA catalogue for Christmas. Loved that Lester claimed to be Jewish in order to rack up sizable wins from dradyl betting and then had to research what latkes were in order to make them for the Buy More holiday party. Even Morgan didn't irk as he did in the begining. In fact, things like him hiding in the bushes outside Anna's apartment with his "iPod and corned beef" sandwich and biking up to the yacht club to meet her parents were strangely endearing rather than irritating. Could there be hidden depth to Chuck's sidekick? (Let's hope so.)

What else worked? Casey loving soaping up his car, the missile zooming through Chuck's legs and then blowing up Casey's most prized possession in the world, Morgan referring to Lon Kirk as "some creepy Richard Branson meets Willem Dafoe looking dude," Sarah throwing the knife in order to silence the alarm clock. We've all had mornings like that but, after choosing to honor her job rather than be with the man she loves who recently rose from the dead, we'll say that her waking up on the wrong side of the bed takes the cake. I also liked how distant she was from Chuck afterwards, coolly placing their kiss and their history behind them in order to focus on just getting her job done. In this case, a mission in which the estranged duo posed as a couple in order to infiltrate Lon Kirk's yacht. Loved that Chuck tried to play Charles Carmichael as a suave James Bond-type, complete with tuxedo, martini, and accompanying instrumental score. I had a feeling he'd go all in with the $100K the agency fronted him, but it was still hilarious to see him realize (and nearly choke on his martini) that the money he'd placed on roulette was considerably more than he suspected.

I really liked the scene between Sarah and Chuck at his and Ellie's apartment... We know that Sarah did (or does?) have some feelings for Chuck but did she kiss him because of those feelings or because, as Chuck put it, his were the closest lips before the bomb went off? And who else wished that these two would just kiss under the mistletoe rather than just shake hands as they did? Still, at least there is some signs of thawing going on here.

And what was up with the reveal that the beta version of the Intersect 2.0 was nearly complete? Creepy General Beckman (Bonita Friedericy) then tells Casey that once this program is complete, he'll have to eliminate Chuck. Um, what? I like that there was a little bit of a surprise ending/cliffhanger but would the supremely annoying Beckham (whom I absolutely cannot stand) really give the order to kill Chuck now? I suppose he's outlived his usefulness to the agencies, but still... Will Casey follow his orders or his conscience? It's going to be a long time before this Chuck fan finds out.

Comments

Vance said…
Oh shoot. So that WAS the last new episode? I guess I miscounted. I thought there was one more in the new year... Okay. Im going to cry now.

I too already miss Chuck. Considering people are complaining it was the "worst new tv season", Chuck (along with Aliens in America and Pushing Daisies) have totally zoomed up to my favorites on TV.
Anonymous said…
I was going to comment on your goyim spelling of Dreidel, but further research has shown that in rare cases it is spelled that way (as well as dreidl or draydel). However, the commonly used spelling is above. All the main Jewish sites have it as Dreidel, as opposed to Hanukkah, which no one can agree on, as far as how it's spelled. ;)

But back to Chuck...yes, definitely not the best, considering the long run of awesome eps, but still good. I loved the Willem Defoe comment, as the first thing I thought when I saw the actor was that he could be Willem's brother. I missed Ellie. I'd rather have her on a holiday show than Anna and her family, but her family, of course, tied in to the story.
Anonymous said…
Was that really the last episode? I thought Josh Schwartz said they were gonna finish 13 episodes...
Anonymous said…
I thought this episode was kind of a let down. It just felt very bland after a string of great eps. There were times where I actually thought the Morgan storyline was more interesting than Chuck worrying about Sarah. Scary, I know!
Bill said…
"There I was, there I was, there I was, in... the Congo." I hadn't thought about that commercial in years.
Unknown said…
Great series. At the start of the season, I didn't expect that this would be the one I'm going to miss during the strike.

ally, ha! "[Y]our goyim spelling of Dreidel"! I was going to comment, too (my wife's Jewish), but you did better than I could've.
Shawn Anderson said…
I was revealed that Casey had standing orders to eliminate Chuck in an earlier episode (during Bryce's funeral).
Jace Lacob said…
Vance, there are two more episodes of Chuck left, but there is no airdate for either of them yet. Most likely NBC will save them until February sweeps time, but who knows...
Unknown said…
They shouldn't wait. By then, I'll probably have lost interest. Case in point: I've lost virtually all interest in Battlestar Galactica since it's been so long since we've seen a new episode. And, yes, I saw Razor, and it was good, but I was more "eh" about it than I would've been a few months ago.

Writers and actors may have to get used to working 52 weeks/year like the rest of us grinders.
Stair Gates said…
These are old but Chuck is awesome.
Still Lovin Chuck.
Towel Warmer said…
Chuck is da man.
Solar Attic Fan said…
I like Chuck.

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