January 31, 2011

Episode Review: CHUCK, "Chuck vs. The Push Mix"

Word around the campfire was that "Chuck vs. The Push Mix" had the opportunity to be the best episode of Chuck ever. At least that was the impression I got when Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak talked with Alan Sepinwall and Daniel Feinberg on their podcast. I do have to admit that "Push Mix" was really good, but not perfect.

The majority to the episode was dedicated to the inevitable face-off between Chuck and Volkoff. After Ellie reminded our hero that you should do anything for family, Chuck and Morgan decided to come up with their own plan to take Volkoff down while saving Mary and Sarah. Said plan involved kidnapping the person who created Hydra, dressing up in wetsuits, and storming Volkoff's floating fortress of fun. Once on board, Team Bartowski reunited with Sarah and Frost just in time to be caught by the bad guys. Predictably, Momma B sacrificed herself to allow everyone to escape, but Volkoff was determined to get his revenge by finding Orion (who taunted him earlier). At Stephen's cabin in the woods, we found out that Chuck was posing as his father's alter-ego, and he tricked Alexi into giving up his voice-activated password, thus giving the C.I.A. his database. Chuck won, and Volkoff was arrested. All's right in the world.

For the most part, the A-plot fired on all cylinders. There was enough twists, turns, action, and a decent enough payoff to be entertaining. It was made even better by the fact that Chuck took Volkoff down with his smarts instead of relying on the Intersect. As a matter of fact, Chuck only flashed once and it was an old-school, intel type flash. No Chuck-Fu or anything. My only minor gripe about the main storyline was the fact that some of the comedy was too silly. Did they really need a spider-like robot, which has become a sci-fi cliché, to get into Volkoff's office? Oh, and Morgan was able to navigate his way through deadly lasers by just using yoga...what?!?! I know he's grown since season one, but he's no Parker. Small face-palm moments aside, "Push Mix" was a satisfying conclusion to the first 13-episodes of Season 4.

While Chuck was taking down one of the most dangerous bad guys, Ellie and Devon were on their own mission to bring Baby Awesome into the world. The B-plot was there just to remind us that there was going to be an addition to the Woodcomb clan and to wrap up loose ends. It was interesting seeing Devon be un-awesome at something as he wasn't prepared to become a dad. Luckily, Casey was there to kick him in the behind and to help him calm his nerves. Not so luckily, Jeffster took it upon themselves to welcome Clara by singing Salt-N-Peppa's "Push It".

Other Odds and Ends:
  • Timothy Dalton once again killed it as Volkoff because he was able to mix the right amount of menace, insanity, and creepiness. I'm glad he was just arrested and not killed because that means he can make a reappearance during the back-11.
  • Settlers of Catan...such painful memories.
  • I'm 100% sure Clara was born in Sacred Heart, which was appropriate since Sarah Lancaster was Gift Shop Girl.
  • Jeffster needs to have a farewell tour by the end of Season 4.
  • BTW, their version of "Push It" wasn't as good as New Directions'. Just saying.
  • I'm glad we didn't hear the proposal. That final shot was perfect.
  • "No, this is Hell!"
  • "Yoga Seal"
So, "Chuck vs. The Push Mix" may not rank up there with "Chuck vs. The Ring", "Chuck vs. The Other Guy", or "Chuck vs. The Ring: Pt. II", but it was still a pretty good episode. Sure, I could have done without some of the silliness, but everything else was so strong that I'll let it slide. On to the back-11!


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