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Fruit Punch Drunk: The Fat Lady Sings for Chuck and Jill on "Chuck"

I'm not entirely sure how NBC's Chuck became such a contentious, controversial series, but after my write-up of last week's episode ("Chuck Versus the Ex") garnered some vociferous responses on both sides (those who loved the episode versus, well, those who didn't), I wanted to be sure to see what everyone thought of this week's episode ("Chuck Versus the Fat Lady"), the second in a three-part storyline that featured the return of Chuck's ex-girlfriend Jill. (You can read my advance review of the entire three-episode story arc here.)

While Chuck and Jill grew closer--despite the disapproving glare of Casey and the more-than-slightly jealous shifty glances of Sarah--astute audiences were, of course, waiting for the other shoe to drop. And drop it did in last night's episode in which the team goes on the hunt for a computer file containing the identities of every single Fulcrum agent within the CIA, Chuck betrays Casey and Sarah to save the life of Jill after she's kidnapped by a lethal Fulcrum assassin, and the truth about Jill comes spilling out... but not before she and Chuck head off into the sunset for a romantic get-away.

While not as strong as last week's pitch-perfect installment, "Chuck Versus the Fat Lady," written by Matthew Lau (who last wrote Season One's "Chuck Versus the Marlin"), offered up a fantastic second act, one in which Chuck finally gets the girl of his dreams (seemingly, anyway) and makes a step towards having as normal a life as possible when one happens to be the Intersect. I absolutely loved the opening, in which James Bond-ian superspy Chuck manages to evade a number of security measures in order to gain access to... the Buy More roof, where he and Jill have a romantic picnic. It's a tongue-in-cheek reminder of the loopy charms of this fun series and it stands in stark contrast for the inevitable betrayal that lies ahead.

Jill, of course, is a Fulcrum agent, as Casey and Sarah learn to their horror at the end of last night's episode. Which should make you wonder just how coincidental it was that she ran into Chuck last week and what she's really after. Does she know that Chuck is the Intersect? You'll have to wait until next week to find out. What is for certain, however, is that Stanford is quite the hotbed of intelligence operative recruiting; after all, Chuck, Bryce, and Jill are all involved in espionage. But my question is this: does Bryce know about Jill's nefarious associations? Bryce himself has been after Fulcrum for quite some time now. Could it be another reason why Bryce got Chuck kicked out of Stanford? Hmmm.

While Chuck and Jill decipher numerous clues (loved the fact that LaFleur's Venetian music box clue was in fact "Rootin' Raspberry" Hi-C and led them to the opera) and play find-the-magic-flute (heh), there's a bit of a power play going on back at the Buy More as Emmett attempts to discover just what Chuck is up to on all of those off-site installs he frequently disappears on... and attempts to turn Morgan against Chuck in his quest for power over the mythical kingdom of BuyMoreia. ("What is he into? Uppers, glue? A baby mama?")

What worked for me? The subtle way that Yvonne Strahovski once again managed to convey jealousy, sadness, and want all in a single look or turn of her head and the way she effortlessly combined strength and femininity in Sarah's scene with Jordana Brewster's Jill, where Sarah tells her romantic rival that it's her job to protect Chuck from everything (including, it would seem, heartbreak). It's clear not only why Chuck is tearing himself up over the fact that he can't be with Sarah but also the extent of Sarah's feelings for him, even she can't act on them, all beautifully crystallized when she's ordered by Casey to take out Chuck when he steals the files and she can't bring herself to shoot him. The course of true love, as they say...

What else did I love about this week's installment? Casey the Human Pitch Pipe ("I wasn't hatched," he says in explanation); Jill revealing that Chuck played the flute; Sarah masterfully taking down the sharpshooter at the opera; Chuck using Morgan's game copier to copy the Fulcrum data; the poker game and Emmett's wine cooler-fueled rant of destruction at the Buy More; Chuck and Sarah's very cold shower complete with slo-mo when he realizes he's in the shower with Sarah; Jeff going into "prison mode" to explain that he's not a snitch; Chuck and Jill's "nerd code" conversation about the location for their next assignation; Jill peeling off her shirt and covering up the surveillance camera in Chuck's bedroom. (Wowza!)

Best line of the evening: "I have heard the loading dock is like a Five for Fighting concert." (And tied with "Tastes like high school.")

Next week on Chuck ("Chuck Versus the Gravitron"), Sarah and Casey rush to try to locate Chuck now that they know that Jill is an undercover Fulcrum agent in search of the Intersect; Chuck is forced to use his relationship with Jill to get to an agent known as Leader; Ellie tries to prepare for a Thanksgiving dinner with Captain Awesome's parents and disinvites Morgan from dinner.

Comments

This was a good episode but (in spite of the controversy!) last week's is still my favorite so far. "Chuck vs the Fat Lady" just felt a little more predictable.
Jon88 said…
Half a demerit for John Casey's "high C" which was actually an E.
Anonymous said…
It may not have been a high C, but it still made me fall off the couch laughing.
Anonymous said…
Darn good just not great episode. I still love vs The Cougars more.

Vs the Fat Lady felt like the next logical step. Hopefully after next week's episodes the trio combined paints a masterpiece.

No doubt that Chuck thinks A LOT with his heart not his head.

I thought there were a few hints that there is a future for Chuck as Carmichael. He did make the copy of the "flash" drive with Morgan's Canadian game copier. If a Canadian game copier board can "bypass all forms of encryption" why did it take so long for the CIA computer to break the encryption?

He butt dialed Jill!!! HA!

Favorite scene...very 1st with Chuck playing Bond, then Casey turning the camera.

Favorite line... Hello, Casey's. "I wasn't hatched!"

Hey Doofus, (aka Chuck) pull your head out of your... scene... Chuck and Sarah in the shower. I wish they would have expanded on that a little more. Writers did throw the Chuck+Sarah fans a bone earlier when Sarah confronted Chuck "as a friend" in the Orange Orange. "Like the sign says Yogurt & Fun!"

Least favorite scene...Not the whole scene just the part with Chuck bringing Jill into the Orange Orange compound. That just felt very weird and very wrong.

Was that the first time Best Buy advertised during CHUCK?

Where was Ellie and Awesome? Why was Jill hanging out at Chuck’s while he was crawling around the hotel?

Read that Chuck ratings went up 500,000 to 600,000 viewers over last week! Spread the word!
Page48 said…
Satellite feed froze on Morgan's face for about 3 minutes at about the 53 minute mark.

When the feed came back, it was no longer "Chuck" but "Celebrity Fit Club" where some black guy was throwing F-Bombs just the way his Mama taught him. Who puts this crap on TV?
Unknown said…
I'm sorry. The ep didn't end after Sarah's wind-blown hair in the red dress appeared on-screen? Whoops.

No, this wasn't as good as last week's, but it was still quite enjoyable. I think this mini-arc will stand as one of the best sets. I missed Ellie though.

"Nerd code" was a great line, but Casey's high-C (or E, Jon) was the best. I think many more got lost in all the shirt-removing that was going on. I have to go take a cold shower now...

P.S. @Casey Fan, I interpreted the copier board as bypassing all forms of encryption on video games, not 512-bit AES encryption. But even though it can't decrypt the data, it can still make a copy of it.
Anonymous said…
CaseyFan, i have similar questions with you on the game copier thing and the whereabout of Ellie and Cpt.Awesome. my guess is that the writer give them a vacation so that Jill could get in Chuck's room easily. ABout Casey, man, he just keep getting better! And to be honest, I actually wish that he shoot Chuck in the Opera after all what Chuck did to Sarah and Morgan, mostly Sarah (sorry, I am a Morgan-Chuck-Sarah's fan)
Unknown said…
I loved that the flat screens at the Buy-Mor were all playing the classic Bugs Bunny cartoon, "What's Opera Doc?" during Morgan's flirt with the Dark Side.
Anonymous said…
Anyone catch the Sherlock Holmes bit?

Casey: "Yeah, nice going there, brainiac. But before you go getting all full of yourself -- if this is the key, where's the lock?"

Chuck: "The question, my dear Casey, is: 'Where's the opera?' "
Anonymous said…
My thought on the Canadian board was not about it decrypting the data but how could it bypass "all forms of encryption" to make a copy that quickly while the CIA/NSA computers could have taken "days or weeks" to decrypt it?

Why didn't Casey make a backup copy of the data???

If Morgan can get his hands on a board from Canada that can copy the data why doesn't the CIA or NSA have that technology?
Unknown said…
Now that's a valid point. Since encrypting data doesn't prevent people from copying it, you can copy a file with "jfifkzmcnf" in it as easily as one with "tall tree" in it. If the Canadian board could copy it, the CIA certainly could. Maybe their IT department was at lunch?

But of course, we don't watch Chuck because it's true-to-life. :-) After all, 512-bit AES would take billions (trillions?) of years to crack, not days.
CL said…
Remember when a jealous Chuck was in awe of how well Sarah and Bryce worked together kicking butt and taking names? Well, I thought this episode kind of reversed that. This time it was a jealous Sarah looking on as Jill and Chuck showed how great they could be when they put their heads together. Very nice touch, I thought.

Also loved Casey the choirboy, BuyMoria, and the "nerd code" bit. Simply brilliant.
Anonymous said…
LOVED this episode. Not as good as last week's as you said but still really good and the Jill arc is shaping up to be pretty damn great overall. I loved the nerd code, Casey as tuner (even if it is E or C) and the Chuck and Jill action/puzzle solving stuff while Sarah looks on. I don't understand why soem people aren't enjoying this story line.
Old Darth said…
I enjoyed this episode more than the 'Ex' even if this was more predictable. Casey was funnier and Sarah had much more to do this time and did it so well.

Also the Morgan BuyMore story was far superior to the one in the Ex.

The Ex seemed overstuffed with little breathing room. Dropping the BuyMore storyline would have given the rest of the episode much needed moments to set everything up better.

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