October 18, 2010

Episode Review: CHUCK, "Chuck vs. the Couch Lock"

"Chuck vs. the Couch Lock" restored my faith in Chuck because it was by far one of the best episodes to date. I might even go as far as to say that "Couch Lock" was the best episode of Chuck ever. Bold words I know, but it had it all, and every element worked.

The episode started off with a flashback that focused on Casey and his team confiscating Iranian gold, and we quickly got to know every member thanks to classic action movie freeze frames. Of course, Casey's the only honorable one amongst the bunch which led to their sudden but inevitable betrayal. The Good Guy won, the baddies were sent to prison, but escaped. We also learned that they had ties to Frost, which prompted Chuck to hatch a mission where they faked Casey's death to lure them out. Things went to Hell, the baddies kidnapped Casey, and the rescue mission was on. When it's all said and done, Chuck and Sarah ended up prisoners which meant Casey and Morgan had to come to the rescue.

Of course, Casey was the man of the hour and he too was once again able to combine subtle humor with badassness. Seeing a little bit more of his past was a nice treat, but watching him interact with his new team, Morgan in particular, was even better. Heck, even watching him with Jeffster had its share of LOL moments, and I very rarely find Jeffster funny. That's how great Casey was tonight.

"Couch Lock" was so packed with Casey goodness that there really wasn't a B-plot, but rather a subplot that involved Morgan coming clean to Casey about his relationship with Alex. I'm not really on board with the whole Morgan/Alex pairing (mostly because I'm jealous of him and cannot imagine someone as gorgeous as Alex being into Morgan), but it added some well-timed humor, and it brought Morgan back into the spy world after being sequestered in the Buy More. The Bearded One's involvement can be hit or miss, but he was on fire tonight from him telling Casey the truth to free him from paralysis, to his personal fan, to him manning up to save the team.

My only minor gripe about tonight's Casey-centric episode was the fact that it followed the same formula as every Casey episode. When he's the main focus, we're going to find out that someone from his past turned on him and went bad. Even "Undercover Lover" had someone turn on Casey, but fortunately things ended up having a happier ending that time around. I kind of want one of his episodes to deal with something besides treachery.

With so much attention spent on Casey, Chuck and Sarah almost took a backseat but they were still an active part of the episode. Chuck was the catalyst for the entire mission/episode because he allowed his obsession with finding his mother to put his team in danger, and it was interesting watching him struggle with the ramifications. Sarah also played her supporting/supportive role superbly as she had to remind Chuck that they knew the risks going into the mission, and that they'll always be there for him. It was also great watching the two of them working together on a mission without focusing on any relationship angst. They just clicked without having to have any "talks" or fights, and they proved that they can seamlessly be lovers and partners. This was the version of "Suck" that I can get behind. I hope this a glimpse of things to come.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • Chuck's final speech about family was schmaltzy but great, and it wasn't ruined by the fact that his mom called seconds later. We all knew that one was coming.
  • I'm still shocked that Jeffster didn't annoy the heck out of me and were actually funny.
  • Even more shocking? I want to see more of Spy Morgan and less of Buy Morgan.
  • The Storm Trooper helmet was great, but had it been a homemade knitted cap with ear flaps, I would've died a happy man.
  • "I WAS the A-Team"
Last week I was torn because "Coup D'Etat" had classic Chuck moments with too much "Suck" melodrama. "Couch Lock" totally made up for it and the rest of the subpar Season 4 episodes because it was the perfect combination of Old and New School. Hopefully the tide has turned, and we're in store for more stellar episodes like "Couch Lock" and fewer duds like "Cubic Z".


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