May 24, 2010

Episode Review: CHUCK, "Chuck vs. the Subway" and "Chuck vs. the Ring: Part II"

Once again Chuck gave us one of the best finales of the year with "Chuck vs. the Subway" and "Chuck vs. the Ring: Part II". The former was by far some of the best television to grace our screens in a while, and most of "Ring II" worked with the exception of a few minor quibbles.

Everything in the Chuck universe has been leading up "Subway" because pretty much everyone in Chuck's life now knows his secret, and it's about time because Ellie's being in the dark was getting annoying. Her finding out, and Team Bartowski on the run thanks to the return of Shaw, created some tense and riveting moments but they also maintained the classic Chuck humor (ex. Morgan & Awesome together are pretty priceless).

Also, watching Casey telling Alex that he is her father was both heart-warming and nerve-racking due to the danger that everyone was in. Shaw's attempt at taking over the C.I.A. was also a great plot point that really worked in the grand scheme of things. By the end of "Subway" everything was in disarray, we lost an important character, and our heroes were on the ropes. Pretty epic stuff.

"Ring, Part II" started off right where "Subway" left off. Team Bartowski have escaped Shaw's talons, were ready to go off the grid until Ellie became her old self by reminding everyone that normal people don't "live off the grid". I understand that she has a lot to process, but her mother hen routine was still annoying. We did get the chance to see Chuck and Ellie as kids, which shed a light on the siblings and the story as a whole. Everyone decided to take Shaw out once and for all, and this was where things started to go off the rails because Chuck started to morph into James Bond and Alias.

Chuck tricking Shaw to reveal the Five Elders at a meeting where all of the agencies were present reminded me too much of Quantum of Solace, and you would think that Shaw would be too smart to fall for a trick like that. Don't get me started on when Chuck caught Shaw's confession via webcam. I know that we're not supposed to like Shaw, but he shouldn't have been portrayed as an idiot because it made him less formidable as a baddie. I don't mind Chuck outsmarting Shaw; I just wish they could have thought of original ways to do so.

We finally got the Chuck vs. Shaw showdown in the Buy More, which was a pretty decent fight but it could have been a little bit longer. We've been working up to this brawl for a few weeks, and it felt like it was over in a matter of seconds. Also, the flashback to Chuck's original Intersect download and the subsequent "reboot" were kind of silly. Of course our hero won, and we got one of the classic family celebrations that have become commonplace on Chuck, but it was interrupted by a post-mortem transmission from Orion. The season ends with Chuck finding out more about his father, and more importantly his mother. This is where Chuck essentially became Alias.

Deep down inside I think I always knew there was more to Chuck's mother than we were being told, but part of me didn't want her to be apart of the spy world like his father. Again, this plot twist was already done by Alias, and I guess I wanted most of Chuck's family to be normal. Before you know it, Ellie is going to be donning catsuits and repelling down the sides of buildings while accompanying Chuck on missions to take down mommy dearest. Season 4 has the opportunity to be great, but I'm a little unsure about Chuck vs. the Mommy Issues story arc.

Other Odds and Ends: I don't which duo I'm liking more, Morgan + Awesome or Morgan + Casey. If you would've told me that I'd actually enjoy watching scenes involving Morgan, I would have laughed in your face, but here we are. The Subway integration and the Buy Morons were bothersome, and they almost took me out of "Ring II", but I was able to rebound. The Jeffster video would have been a funnier sight gag had it not been playing during such an important scene. It was kind of distracting. I'm glad that the Buy More is no more, but I was a little irked that it was Morgan's fault...just when I started to like the guy they had to make him a buffoon again.

This week's Chuck was damn near perfect up until the last 10 or 15 minutes. I would have preferred a more original cliffhanger than what we got, but I'm not going to write the show off. One thing I know for sure is Schwartz, Fedak, and the Chuck writers will give us an entertaining season 4 with another mind-blowing season (series?) finale.


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