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Little Drummer Boy: Chuck Enters the Third Dimension on "Chuck"

3D or not 3D? That is the question.

I'm wondering what everyone thought of last night's special 3D episode of NBC's Chuck ("Chuck Versus the Third Dimension") and whether you opted to watch it with the special 3D glasses or went the old-school route and watched it in two-dimensions instead. (You can read my advance review of "Chuck Versus the Third Dimension" here.)

For me, the use of 3D was a novel conceit but it certainly wasn't necessary and at times distracted me from what was a fun and engaging episode that could have stood on its own two feet without the use of gimmicky glasses or swooping necklaces. But that's just me.

As for the episode itself, I thought it was a fun ride through the other side of LA that Chuck doesn't often get to see in either of his lines of work: the nightlife of the City of Angels through the eyes of a drunken rock god, played with delicious accuracy by Dominic Monaghan (Lost). I thought the boozy revelry and inexplicable camaraderie between Chuck and Tyler Martin added a nice sheen to a plot that was heady with bizarro twists like body tattoos that contained secret data about nuclear sites and thermite grenade assassination attempts... not to mention Chuck screaming like a girl after his nightmare about Sarah.

Speaking of which, I was glad to see that what Chuck saw at the end of "Chuck Versus Santa Claus" is still very much on his subconscious and conscious mind and the fact that Sarah killed an unarmed man to protect him (and then lied about it) is affecting his working relationship with his female handler (who, BTW, looked amazing in that black lingerie in the opening). And I was also happy that the tension between them won't be going on for several weeks as Chuck finally opened up at the end of the episode and told Sarah what was actually going on and why he was acting so strangely. While this resolution didn't need to be as neat and precise as it was, I'm pleased that we'll get to see this dynamic duo working closely together again and not experiencing some strange distance in their interactions.

(Aside: I loved having both Emmett's "No Touching!" and "The Final Countdown" together in one episode. If GOB Bluth could have showed up somehow, the Arrested Development homage would have been complete for me.)

What else worked for me? Casey and the hypodermic needles; Tyler waking up after a few minutes rather than 12 hours later; Tyler exclaiming how the ceiling of the restroom looks like the night sky as he pees into the courtyard fountain; Chuck's negotiation skills in dealing with the assassin; the Golden Ticket contest between Lester, Jeff, and Butterman... including the gross-out twist of Jeff eating the urinal cake; Captain Awesome and Ellie (even if only for a minute); Chuck jumping off the roof onto the elevator; Casey twisting the assassin's neck in the club and Sarah kicking some arse; Chuck's "Little Drummer Boy" line and his faux Cockney accent; the game of keep-away at the Buy More.

All in all, a fun episode of Chuck that had its fill of laughs, action, and intrigue. Personally, I wish NBC would have aired this rather than The Office in the post-Super Bowl spot as Chuck could definitely use a boost in viewership as it comes up for a third season renewal.

But I am curious to see what you all thought of this week's episode. Did you dig the 3D? Or was it unnecessary? What did you think of Monaghan's turn as Tyler Martin? And are you glad Chuck came clean to Sarah? Talk back here.

Next week on Chuck ("Chuck Versus the Best Friend"), Chuck helps a heartbroken Morgan spy on Anna; the team investigates Anna's boyfriend and his connection to a dangerous gang; Jeff and Lester try to convince Ellie and Captain Awesome to hire their band Jeffster for their wedding.


Anonymous said…
I enjoyed vs. the 3rd Dimension! Watched it twice. Once without and then I watched again on my dvr using it. I love the 2 AD references! I lol-ed when I heard the song used for Gob's magic tricks. The buymore B story was fun but I especially loved all of Dom's scenes! Didn't expect him to be that funny. I never got tired of seeing him passing out every time Casey shot him with tranqs. I was relieved that they resolved the Sarah-shooting-Mauser scene in the episode. I can't stand to much angst when it comes to Chuck/Sarah.

Do you know if vs. The Best Friend will be on next week? The promo didn't say. I hope it's shown next week so that Chuck will be able to keep their new viewers.
Anonymous said…
oops! I meant once w/o the *glasess
Anonymous said…
The "3D" was totally unnecessary. I had to keep fiddling with the glasses and they barely seemed to work and eventually, I just gave up and took them off.

Luckily, the episode was much, much better than the 3D technology. Dominic Monaghan was wonderful and hilarious as Tyler and he completely exceeded my expectations. Tyler and Chuck together were a great comedic duo!
Anonymous said…
They definitely should have shown this after the Super Bowl instead of that lukewarm episode of The Office. It was a great episode - funny and action-packed!
The CineManiac said…
While the 3D was completely unneccesary I did enjoy it. And I had no problems with it (although I had to rest my eyes a bit while zooming through the commercials)
But for the most part I really enjoyed the 3D (or course I've loved 3D since I was a little kid so I'm biased)
But yes the episode definetly stood up with ot without 3D.
I'm so glad that Sarah and Chuck aired out their grievances about Sarahs' shooting (although I wished she'd have emphasized more that she did it to protect her precious Chuck)
And I too loved Casey breaking that guys neck in the club. I was a little surprised by it and was curious if I saw it right at first.
Overall another great episode.
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.
Anonymous said…
I watched this w/o benefit of the 3D glasses. I wear ye old regular glasses, so I never can get the stupid 3D glasses to work properly. I thought the episode worked just fine in 2D (although the 3D coloring is annoying in 2D).

While it did seem like the Chuck-Sarah issue was resolved quickly, I have to wonder if the resolution will stick. I mean, don't we all do that? Deal with something quickly rather than thoroughly, so that the issue we think we've dealt with keeps bubbling up again and again.

Anyhoo, fun episode. Dom was fantastic. I loved Chuck's little drummer boy and Casey's indiscriminate use of darts.
CL said…
I think the 3D element will make an excellent addition to the DVD box set. As it was, I wore my glasses for about five minutes and then set them quietly aside. I found that I was always looking for cool 3D stuff to happen instead of paying attention to the story.
Anonymous said…
The only time I saw the bracelet was during Chuck’s nightmare. I wasn’t surprised since this episode was spy action heavy and that I don’t really expect Sarah to wear the bracelet 24/7. She is waiting to wear it in situations where it is good for their cover and when it can’t get lost or damaged. Wearing something like that around a bunch of spies wouldn’t be a good idea either.

When did Casey, Chuck, & Sarah start wearing ear wigs all the time so that the “Team” can communicate constantly?

Why did Casey seem so friendly towards Chuck. Even the interaction between Casey and Sarah seemed almost friendly. It felt like the three of them throughout the episode were actually a TEAM and friendly. Beyond the normal friendship between Chuck & Sarah.

Maybe it was just this one episode because it was a big deal with the 3D and Big Game promotion…Will have wait until Monday to figure it out.
Why was Chuck so comfortable around Casey’s apartment when he was eating a bowl of cereal?
Little drummer boy was Great!
What happened to never leaving your Wing Man?
Anybody else notice when Chuck goes on his rant in Casey’s apartment that Sarah says “Where ‘I’ can’t protect you.”
“one night of bravery for an entire life or normalcy. I can’t tell you what I’d give for that.”
In the heart to heart between Sarah and Chuck she starts with a much warmer tone in her voice.
You do see a reaction out of her, raised eyebrows, mouth opens…surprise…Then Chuck mentions that he asked her about it and she cut him off to say that she lied. She isn’t looking at Chuck, and with a pained face.
No Casey, no surveillance, and no me (Sarah), that would have been Chuck’s opportunity to say something like “I’m OK with you around.”
The little smile on Sarah’s face just after Chuck jumps into Casey’s Crown Vic to join them on the mission at the end is great.

This was a strong facial expressions episode where more is said with a look than with words. More than some other episodes.
Unknown said…
I agree, Casey Fan. I've said before that Ms. Strahovski is awesome at conveying complex emotions with the smallest of gestures.

However. The 3D was ridiculous. Not only did we all have to get glasses which will go immediately into a landfill, but the red/blue 3D "effects" were horrible. My eyes felt like I'd sandpapered them. Yes, I could've stopped wearing them, but I found the red/blue tint on everything made the 2D version look bad as well. What's the network going to do when/if Chuck reaches syndication? Release 3D glasses every time this ep airs? Stupid gimmick.

After the Xmas ep, I commented that Chuck should simply talk with Sarah about what he saw, and I'm shocked to see that's what the writers did. Granted, in real life, it'd be a more emotional discussion, but who wants to see all that. I think it's likely (and realistic) if there's still some fallout over this, but at least it didn't go on for weeks with Chuck not saying anything and Sarah wondering what's going on.

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