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Victory Smokes, Peter Pan Syndrome, and Daddy Issues: Just Another Day at the Office for "Chuck"

While I wasn't thrilled with last week's Casey-centric episode of Chuck, which felt a little subpar coming off of the superlative Jill story arc, last night's episode of Chuck ("Chuck Versus the DeLorean") was the exact opposite: utterly polished, poised, and positively overflowing with character development.

In the hands of writer Matt Miller, who previously scripted three episodes of Chuck including "Chuck Versus the Seduction" and Season One's "Chuck Versus the Imported Hard Salami" and "Chuck Versus the Tango" (and directed by frequent Office director Ken Whittingham), this week's installment conflated several episodes' worth of character development, including subplots about Sarah's upbringing with her con man father Jack Burton (ably played by go-to-casting guy Gary Cole) and her conflicted current dynamic with her law-breaking daddy (who has no idea about his beloved daughter's chosen profession) and Morgan being pushed--kicking and screaming--into adulthood by his girlfriend Anna, into one single brilliantly shiny episode that offered action, intrigue, and genuine emotion. (If that's not the very definition of a quintessential episode of Chuck, I don't know what is.)

All this and a beautifully resonant final scene with Yvonne Strahovski's Sarah and Zachary Levi's Chuck--set to one of my favorite songs of the year (Portland, Ore-based Blitzen Trapper's gorgeous "Furr")--as he comforts her after secretly promising her fugitive father that he'll look out for her that revealed not only the duo's depth of feeling for one another in a romantic sense but also displayed just how similar these two friends/co-workers/would-be lovers truly are, daddy issues and all? Perfect.

How thrilled was everyone that Anna *finally* turned up this week at the Buy More?

While the rest of the characters seem to act like our beloved Anna Woo has been around this entire time, it's driven me absolutely batty that she's been missing from all of the Buy More-set scenes since very early this season. I loved that she is attempting to push Morgan along on the perilous path to adulthood and he ends up stumbling over a less-than-mint 1981 DeLorean (sans plutonium) that can't get above 22 mph without stalling but now does have an iPod adapter installed. Apartment with a girlfriend or the car from Back to the Future? As if there was really a choice... Morgan's not too much of a manboy, now is he?

While I was initially surprised that Captain Awesome would simply loan Morgan the necessary $2500 for some start-up cash for Morgan and Anna's love nest, I was glad to see that Devon didn't just give him the money as an "investment in his future" but also wanted a 12% interest payment each week. After all, Devon's no dummy and he wouldn't just part with $2500 from his and Ellie's nest egg and give it to the most irresponsible person they know. Right?

I loved seeing Chuck be quick on his feet and saving Sarah and Jack from imminent shooting at the hands of the very angry Rajiv Amad by posing as Herr Lichtenstein, as well as the entire gang participating in the grift with Papa Jack at the office building he had conned the sheik into thinking he was buying. The entire Lichtenstein Enterprises con was hilarious from start to finish, from Casey's grunts of acceptance at playing the part of security (after all, he does have a "cop face"), to Chuck's god-awful Colonel Klink impersonation. It's moments like this that remind me why I love this series.

What else worked for me? The missing $10 million turning up in Chuck's account because Jack believed he would look out for Sarah; Jack and Chuck's mano-a-mano exchange in the bushes outside Sarah's hotel in which Jack acknowledges Chuck's love for his daughter; Sarah asking her dad to get her a double scoop of Rocky Road ice cream in order to get him away before the cops showed up; Chuck's face at seeing the "N" in Lichtenstein falling off the wall; the sheik attempting to escape in the DeLorean; Sarah shooting Jack in the shoulder; the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard tempting Morgan away from adulthood yet again; Anna wanting to decorate their place in "Shabby Chic"; seeing Young Jenny and Jack on the grift with that armored truck (very Paper Moon); Casey posing an agent from the Treasury Department; the sad way Jack asked Chuck if Sarah was "some sort of cop," even as he displayed paternal pride for his amazing daughter; the DEMORGAN license plate.

And, oh, Chuck not only saving the day but also managing to get the sheik's bank account information for the CIA. Good boy, Charlie. We don't think you're a shnook.

Next week on Chuck ("Chuck Versus Santa Claus"), an amateur criminal crashes into the Buy More on Christmas Eve and takes the staff, along with Ellie and Captain Awesome, hostage.


Anonymous said…
The writing and direction were spot on and Gary Cole brought an extra wonderful element to this already fantastic episode.

Chuck was hilarious as Lichtenstein and I also liked seeing a softer side to Sarah in her interaction with her father. It was great to see Anna back too! Her storyline with Morgan (and Awesome) was perfect.
Anonymous said…
LOVED Chuck last night. And Gossip Girl was fantastic too (especially as there was no Vanessa and very little of Nate and Raccoon Eyes...I mean, Jenny). And, is it just me, or is Ed Westwick the new James Spader? He was great in last night's episode, perfectly playing the mean drunk and the wounded, privileged son. And that moment he had with Blair was actually quite touching. Both Chucks were very impressive last night!
Anonymous said…
Gary Cole shone and is my favourite guest star so far on the show. He really brought layers to his character in such a limited screen time.

Yvonne rocked and the 80's callbacks were frequent and awesome.
Anonymous said…
Agreed. Cole was fantastic and Yvonne definitely rocked last night's ep. My heart melted when Chuck put his arm around Sarah and looked back to see if Jack was still there.
Anonymous said…
I have no knowledge of future storylines but my guess is that Chuck and Ellie's dad is in some way an analyst or a spy for one of the agencies. That is why he disappeared so may years ago. Think Lazslo from Chuck Versus the Sandworm. Maybe Mark Chandler (Ben Savage) from Chuck vs The Cougars. (Still my FAV episode)

It hit me as soon as Chuck said that his dad was/is an engineer. It would help explain how Chuck can remember so much and Ellie is a doctor. It runs in the family.

Chuck will probably ask Sarah (MAYBE Casey) to help find his dad for Ellie.

We know that Chuck and Ellie's mother left them early in life but we never hear about Sarah's mother. What happened?

Will we ever meet Casey's family??? Maybe a Morgan like brother? Even better a Chuck like brother! Casey's brother gets in some type of bad guy trouble and comes to Casey for help. Casey’s brother could pass for Chuck’s twin! Casey wouldn’t notice it, he would just think that he is his brother, Chuck won’t until someone at the Buy More mentions it, but Sarah sees it immediately! Now that would be a wonderful episode!

Loved the moment when Chuck's watch gives him away as he was spying on Sarah and her dad at the restaurant. Sarah looked like she was about to kick Chuck's butt.


AWWWWWW moment was when right at the end when Chuck takes off his Buy More jacket and puts it around Sarah to keep her warm.

I want to see an episode that is heavy with Chuck and Morgan together. Those two combined are GGGGRRRReat!

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