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Golden Ticket: An Advance Review of "Chuck Versus The Third Dimension"

If you're at all like me, you've been intent on finding 3D glasses not so you can watch Super Bowl commercials but so that you can check out the special 3D episode of NBC's Chuck, airing on Monday night.

Thanks to the good folks at NBC, I had the good fortune of screening Chuck's 3D episode ("Chuck Versus the Third Dimension"), written by series co-creator Chris Fedak, last night and it really is quite a lot of fun to see our favorite spies in box-busting 3D form.

I'll preface my thoughts on the episode's plot by saying that the three-dimensional effects (knives thrown through the air, doughnuts about to be chomped by Big Mike, a lingerie-clad Sarah, etc.) are enjoyable, but don't fret if you're not able to get to one of the many participating retailers to pick up 3D glasses. The glasses are not necessary to enjoy the episode itself, which can be viewed in plain old 2D just as easily. (And I'll admit that fumbling with the glasses at times distracted me from the genial atmosphere of the episode itself.)

So what should you expect from "Chuck Versus the Third Dimension" on Monday night? Let's discuss.

Fans worried that the tension between Chuck and Sarah, whom Chuck saw killed an unarmed Fulcrum agent in order to protect his identity in "Chuck Versus Santa Claus," would be swept under the rug have nothing to fear: the fallout from what Chuck saw is foremost on his mind and it's affecting not only his work with Sarah and Casey but his, er, subconscious as well.

Look for Sarah to ream Chuck about his duties to protecting the country and for Chuck to make a decision about the future of his professional relationship with Sarah. And, oh, for Chuck to take one giant leap for nerdkind.

As hinted above, Sarah does make her entrance in the 3D episode in some jaw-dropping black lingerie that must be seen to be believed. Just what is she doing vampishly seducing Chuck? Watch and find out.

Dominic Monaghan is absolutely fantastic as boozy rock star Tyler Martin; Tyler and Lost's Charlie Pace are anything but the same character. Tyler is prone to bedding multiple women, wearing way too much eyeliner, and peeing in public fountains and is generally a hell of a lot more fun than island-bound Charlie. The dance scene at the nightclub had me in hysterics, especially at the sight of poor Chuck in all his awkwardness. (Little Drummer Boy, anyone?)

Zachary Levi does a pretty decent if thoroughly fake British accent.

Avid Arrested Development fans should keep their ears atuned for not one but two references to the Bluth family, from Emmett Milbarge's "No Touching!" during the Tyler Martin signing at the Buy More to a particular tune that every Arrested fan knows extremely well.

The competition at the Buy More between ex-con Butterman (Jerome "The Bus" Bettis), Lester, and Jeff to be Morgan's plus-one backstage at Tyler's concert takes a turn for the truly disgusting, all the more for being in 3D. Yes, seriously, they do go there and the series proves that it definitely has a handle on male-driven gross-out humor as well as high-kicking spy intrigue and romantic drama.

All in all, "Chuck Versus the Third Dimension" is an entertaining episode that doesn't exactly advance the overarching plot or mythology of the series but offers viewers a lighthearted installment that allows Chuck Bartowski to step outside his comfort zone (and, er, his pants), proving that heroes come in all shapes, sizes, and, well, cool factors.

Chuck's 3D episode, entitled "Chuck Versus the Third Dimension," airs Monday at 8 pm ET/PT on NBC. For information about where to pickup your 3D glasses, click here.


Anonymous said…
Thanks for the advance info, Jace. It sounds like this episode will have a little post-Santa Claus payoff for regular viewers as well as be appealing to the millions (!) of new viewers tuning in post-Super Bowl.
Anonymous said…
Whew. I'm so glad to hear that it's a good episode. I was worried that all of the 3-D stuff would get in the way of just telling a good story. I look forward to seeing it and especially to seeing Dominic Monaghan as Tyler (and to the Arrested Development references too)!
The CineManiac said…
I Can't Wait!!! I was already looking forward to Sarah in 3-D But now I'm anticipating it even more!
I got my 3D Glasses at Dollar General, so for those who are looking check there. (I just went in picked up to sheets, or 8 pairs of glasses) and walked out without buying anything)

And I'm glad to hear there's not only a great episode to look forward to but some AD love!
I can't wait!
Anonymous said…

One question some of us wondered about is:

How much time seems to have elapsed between the end of Santa Claus and the beginning of 3D? How much time has Chuck spent simmering about the Mauser shooting. Does Chuck time follow real time -- so, something like 7 weeks?
Jace Lacob said…
It's mentioned in the episode that a few weeks have gone by since the shooting and Sarah says that Chuck has been "acting strangely" since the holidays.
Anonymous said…
It's been a few weeks, and he's been "acting strangely"? So basically he hasn't had it in him to ask Sarah about why she lied. Hopefully the two of them have a serious discussion about it and the writers eschew any more plot contrivances for tension's sake. Too many interesting story lines out there for them to waste it away hanging Chuck and Sarah's relationship problems on Chuck only seeing half the shooting. This show is better than that.
Anonymous said…
Thanks goodness the 6 week break is almost over. Really miss watching these guys.

Sounds great - thanks Jace.


Anonymous said…
Please be talking about "Afternoon Delight" from the Bluth company's infamous Christmas party. I really cannot wait for this episode.
Anonymous said…
BTW, is Sarah's reason for reaming Chuck personally or professionally motivated?

I'm guessing she's hiding behind the job to express personal feelings.
joy said…
Hmmm. For the Miley concert on Disney (shut it), I discovered that I had four different 3D sets of glasses scattered about the house.

Much to my dismay, none of them worked. I'll try again with this eppy of Chuck, but thank goodness for the DVR, so that I can keep looking for glasses that work, if necessary.

Can't wait for this episode.
Anonymous said…
Jace does the episode end on a good or bad note between chuck and sarah?
Anonymous said…
@Anonymous Why would he tell you? Wait until Monday and watch the ep with the rest of us. Don't get spoiler lovers at all.

Sounds like a good episode even if there's not much plot advancement. Got my 3-d glasses and ready to rock out with Monaghan!!!!
The CineManiac said…
The 3D glasses for Chuck are not the typical red & Blue they are more Orangeish and Purple.

I've seen the glasses at Target, Dollar General, and a few other stores, Dollar General they were right there as soon as you walked in, so it might be the easiest.
joy said…
Awwww, thanks so much, Cinemaniac, and thanks for tracking me down at my site. (Heh, I think I might up a creek, since I'm in a town where Target *likes* to advertise, but hasn't yet opened up a handy location near me. Bah.)

However, thanks for letting me know, because I *think* one of the other 3Ds might work, the non red/blue ones. I tried them out last night during that SB preview, and it might have worked. (Or, I just really, really wanted them too.) We shall see. :-)
Anonymous said…
Wow! The show cut to the quick tonight. Surprise! Surprise! Chuck got the goods of his chest right away with Sarah.

My only caveat was that the whole issue just kind of got swept under the rug. You killed an unarmed person and oh I lied about it. That’s it? Disappointed in the moment myself. A wonderful opportunity for the characters to explore some fertile dramatic territory squandered. Sad.

The main thing about that scene was just how false it was for Chuck to accept Sarah’s spy rationalizations and for Sarah to be so unaffected. Especially when we saw her conflict after shooting Mauser. They might as well have talking about the weather.

The first truly, totally false moment in the series.

But its done and over with and the show can move on.

Dom was hilarious. Cheesy As was Casey with his darts.

The scene with Chuck convincing Dom to go onstage was nicely done too.

The BuyMore stuff after the opening act was weak IMHO.

Entertaining but a middling episode.

The 3D stuff was rather hit and miss to me. Expect that it needs to be seen in HD with the appropriate calibration and better glasses.

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