October 11, 2010

Episode Review: CHUCK, "Chuck vs. the Coup d'Etat"

After a slow start to Season 4 of Chuck, tonight's "Chuck vs. the Coup d'Etat" threw a little bit of everything at us, and most of it worked. Don't get me wrong, there was still too much "Suck" stuff going on, but everyone else's role in the episode was a nice change of pace.

The main storyline brought back Premier Goya from Costa Gravas as he offered to bring Awesome, Ellie, Chuck, and Sarah to his homeland for a vacation. While on their couples getaway, Team Bartowski stumbled upon a hostile takeover orchestrated by Goya's wife, but they were able to get away thanks to Chuck's Ellie approved spy badassery. Our heroes made it back to the States where former enemies, now blood brothers, Casey and Goya became bunk buddies in order to protect the dictator. The action headed back to Costa Gravas where we found out that the entire plot to overthrow Goya was based on a lover's spat, which was a thinly veiled metaphor for Chuck and Sarah's relationship.

The Costa Gravas plot had so much jam packed in it, which led to a pretty fast-paced episode, but it didn't feel muddled. It was nice having Armand Assante back, and his over the top portrayal of Premier Goya was wacky without getting annoying. As usual, the Captain Awesome stuff was great and Ellie's mother hen routine was not as grating this time around, but the MVP on the night was General Casey. He's been on the sidelines since the latter part of Season 3, and it was good to see the Angel De La Muerte back in full force.

Like most of Season 4, the lowlight of "Coup d'Etat" was all of the "Suck" blahness, but at least time it was tolerable. It seems like the Mission of the Week has morphed from actual spy work to Chuck and Sarah getting over themselves, and the bit is starting to go sour. This week, the two had to address their inability to communicate which was prodded by Morgan who was shilling some romance self-help book. Seriously, if you have to take relationship advice from Morgan, then things are doomed. At least he got to mack on Casey's daughter, Alex.

Speaking of Morgan and Alex, their little tryst might be the only relationship that's more forced than Chuck and Sarah. I know we got a few hints about the two hooking up since last season, but I cannot for the life of me see what she'd find attractive about him. The only bright spot of their getting together is we'll get to see Casey get all upset about the whole thing.

OK, back to "Suck". I know that Schwartz and Fedak feel that they owe shippers something after making them wait for so long, and wouldn't mind watching Chuck and Sarah dealing with normal couple problems, but they don't need to dominate every episode. On a related note, every mission doesn't have to contain the answer to the specific issue they're working through. The writers probably think that tying the mission to the relationship is witty, but it's not. Try another storytelling device for once!

Other Odds and Ends:
  • The only thing more awesome than Devon...Devon etched in stone! The Captain Awesome statue was pretty great.
  • More Awesome and Casey, and no Jeffster makes for a better episode.
  • Seeing Sarah in so many bikinis was shameless fanboy baiting...not that I'm complaining.
  • Also shameless? Dropping product names in an episode, which was more distracting than watching Jeff eat an entire party sub. I know the show's working with a smaller budget, but c'mon!
  • I'm slowly, but surely getting on board with the Momma Bartowski/Frost/Volkoff arc.
"Coup d'Etat" was a combination of everything that makes Chuck great and what makes the show not so great, and luckily the good outweighed the bad. This week we got some better action scenes, more laughs, and more Casey, which gave it a Chuck Classic feel to it. That's something I haven't been able to say for the last three weeks, and I hope it's the start of a trend.


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