February 14, 2011

Episode Review: CHUCK, "Chuck vs. The C.A.T. Squad"

Last week, we got an old-school episode of Chuck, and this week they gave us a show that would have fit in nicely ten to thirty years ago as Sarah did her best Charlie's Angel impersonation. While "Chuck vs. The C.A.T. Squad" was another lighter, standalone episode, it was a notch down from "Seduction Impossible".

After last week's episode, Chuck felt bad that Sarah wouldn't have family and friends to help her celebrate their nuptials, so he took it upon himself to find her old team known as the C.A.T. (Clandestine Attack Team) Squad. At first Sarah was none too happy with Chuck's meddling since she parted with the Cats on rocky terms because she felt that one of them, Zondra, was a mole. Her distrust didn't stop her from partaking in a cross-country girls' night out though. With the team back together, an old enemy known as Augusto Gaez (Lou Diamond Phillips) resurfaced to kill the Cats. This new threat prompted the C.I.A. to officially reactivate the C.A.T. Squad in order to take Gaez down once and for all. Of course the tension between Sarah and Zondra continued to exist until they found out that perky Amy was the traitor. By episode's end, Sarah made peace with her old teammate, as well as with Chuck, and was ready to make the next big step.

I honestly didn't mind that Chuck wanted to pay homage to Charlie's Angels, I'm surprised that it took them so long to do it, but the execution fell just a bit short of being awesome. The campiness of the intro, the repeated use of the word "pussy", and the obvious fan service was just a tad over the top, which pushed the episode from fun to absurd. Even the girl fight between Sarah and Zondra didn't click (why'd they feel the need to change their clothes), and don't even get me started on Amy AKA the Worst Double-Agent in the History of the World. Not only was it obvious that she was the turncoat, but she didn't even take Sarah's phone which was laying right next to her. C'mon!

While some of the plot devices were cheesy, "C.A.T. Squad" did give us more insight about Sarah, so in that regard the episode was a success. The audience has a better understanding of why she's so guarded, and we even got hints about her troubled family life (who doesn't have daddy and/or mommy issues nowadays). I'd be shocked if this is the last we hear about her family and friends, but at least she's warmed up to the idea of being welcomed into the Bartowski clan, and I'm excited to see her and Ellie bond over the next couple of weeks.

Sarah was not the only member of Team Bartowski who had to deal with their past because Morgan had to juggle his former lover, Carina, and Alex. Carina was sidelined after taking shrapnel from the car bomb that was meant for Sarah, so she was stuck in Castle with Morgan. She was determined to seduce our bearded friend, but he wasn't interested in messing up his relationship with Alex, which meant a misunderstanding was bound to happen. He had to constantly come up with reasons to cancel plans with Alex because of Carina and the mission, and she was fed up with it all until he said those three magic words.

I still can't believe that Morgan's become one of the highlights of the show, and his B-plot involving his lady friends became more interesting than the actual C.A.T. Squad mission. While I still don't buy that either Alex or Carina would actually be interested in him, his goofy charm makes up for the complete ridiculousness of his relationships.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • How many slow-mo, wind-blown, hair whip shots are too many?
  • Hollywood, Vegas, and Miami? Impressive.
  • Hung Over Sarah was kinda cute.
  • Star Wars sheets never looked so good.
  • What a waste of Lou Diamond Phillips.
  • They couldn't find that knife on Sarah's person? Worst criminal organization ever! Seriously, where was she hiding it?
  • Why does Chuck always pick the most inconvenient times to have serious conversations?
  • DVD Ninja Stars...now that was cool.
  • "Is it Close Encounters? Is it really happening?"
  • "The Gentle Hand? Are these bad guys or a massage parlor?"
  • "If you need anything else, you can go to Hell."
It was unfair to have "C.A.T. Squad" follow up "Seduction Impossible" because it just wasn't as successful at bringing the fun elements that its predecessor was able to, and it relied too much on action movie tropes from the 80's and 90's. Again, I'm all for Chuck honoring older shows and movies, but it needs to really hit the ball out of the park. While I can understand why some fans would've enjoyed "C.A.T. Squad", it just barely missed its mark.


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