October 25, 2010

Episode Review: CHUCK, "Chuck vs. the Aisle of Terror"

This week's Chuck was supposed to be this grand event since it was the first extended look at Momma B, and while "Aisle of Terror" was a good episode, I left feeling lukewarm towards the whole Marina Bartevko storyline.

I don't like taking swipes at Chuck, but so far this season's arc is too reminiscent of Alias that it's almost cliche. Honestly, I wanted the rest of Chuck's family to have zero ties to the spy world because it's all been done before, yet here we are trying to figure out if Mary's a double, triple, or quadruple spy instead of a regular person with normal issues. I know that normal can be dry, but with all of the other craziness going on in Chuck's life, it'd be nice to have some saneness every once in a while. I've said it before, the day Ellie becomes a spy will probably be the last episode of Chuck I ever watch.

OK, enough ranting and on to the actual episode. At the end of "Couch Lock", Chuck received a call from his mother and we find out that she wanted to meet him alone, so of course he brought Sarah along to back him up. After a pretty intense, yet somehow awkwardly funny, standoff between Mary and Sarah, we learned that Momma B needed Chuck's help to take a dangerous fear toxin off of the black market. Team Bartowski agreed to help, but Mary shot Chuck during the mission, thus kicking off the "which side is she on" debate. Casey didn't trust Mary, so he used his connections to learn about if she's on the up and up, and he got Sarah involved by having Chuck's mom kidnapped in front of his eyes.

As you can see, there was a lot of Mary Bartowski in "Aisle of Terror", but her storyarc was just a fraction of what was going on. While Team Bartowski was trying to figure out whether Mary's a good guy or a bad guy, Ellie and Awesome had to deal with Devon's mom, and Jeffster was in charge of decorating the Buy More for Halloween. Oh yeah, and Freddy Krueger was the baddie responsible for the fear toxin, and had a substantial role during the whole Momma B plot. Whew.

One of the flaws of the episode was the fact that it had too much going on. I could have done with out the Ellie/Awesome parts or the Buy More subplot because they only added marginally to the overall storyline. That being said, the pacing of "Aisle of Terror" didn't feel rushed, and it flowed for the most part, but a little room to breathe would've been nice.

While I'm not 100% on board with the Mary arc, I do have to admit that it has let Zachary Levi to bring his A-game back to Chuck. This time around, Levi was able to seamlessly combine his comedic talents with the more dramatic/serious elements of the episode. We've seen Chuck the character evolve from bumbling slacker to a real spy, but he's been able to hold on to his ability to see the best in others, which can be a curse. It will be interesting watching Chuck come to terms with who is mother is throughout the season, that's for sure.

I've been pretty honest about how I feel that all of the Sarah and Chuck drama has been dragging Season 4 down, but after "Terror" they have some legitimate issues since Sarah was in on the abduction of Mary. We all know that Sarah was only looking out for Chuck, but seeing your girlfriend kidnap your mother will cause some trust issues. This may sound twisted, but the "you apprehended my mom" fight will be more interesting to watch than the "you won't unpack your suitcase" fight, and I can't wait to see the fallout.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • I don't quite buy Linda Hamilton as Chuck's mom. Yes, she has geek cred, but something about her performance just didn't click.
  • When is the show going to be just about Casey and Morgan?
  • "Otters!"
"Chuck vs. the Aisle of Terror" wasn't as good as last week's "Couch Lock" (few episodes are), but it was able to finally get the Momma B story rolling and it had some good moments. All in all, it was a win for Chuck; just not a decisive one.


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