April 18, 2011

Episode Review: CHUCK, "Chuck vs. The Wedding Planner"

Something odds has happened during the fourth season of Chuck: I've enjoyed the show's stand-alone episodes far more than the over-arcing episodes this time around, and I never thought that would be possible. I've always been a heavy mythology kind of viewer. Sufficient to say, I thought that "Chuck vs. The Wedding Planner" was an improvement over last week's Valkoff-heavy episode.

The big day for Chuck and Sarah will quickly be upon us, so the main storyline revolved around the preparations for the blessed event. Unfortunately, the wedding planner they hired to put on their nuptials turned out to be a con-woman and took them for everything they had. The scorned couple decided to use government resources to hunt her down, but that ended up blowing up in their faces after a little lie went horribly wrong. While getting chewed out for their fake mission, Chuck realized that one of the fake weddings that the con set up involved real bad guys. In order to help take down the villains, Sarah decided to recruit her grifter father. After almost blowing the mission, and getting Morgan killed, the usually unreliable Jack saved the day.

The Mission of the Week was pretty standard, Team Bartowski had the thwart another international bad guys that had ties to weapons, but in all reality the Klugs, the Wedding Planner, and the actual wedding were all just excuses to allow the show to give us more insight about Sarah. Fans had the chance to see her growing up with a con-man father, and how that's had an effect on her adult life. The spy stuff was fun, but seeing the flashbacks of Sarah and her father, and how their current relationship has matured was what made the episode work.

"Wedding Planner" was also just a way to bring back Jack Burton (played by the great Gary Cole), which automatically added some points in the episode's favor. Jack's one of those side characters that just fit within the world of Chuck so naturally, and getting the chance to revisit him will always be a treat. Plus, I'm always up for a good con-man story.

The B-plot built off of last week's side story about Casey, Alex, and her mother. After Casey put off telling Kathleen that he was sill alive, Alex and Morgan decided to blindside him at the Buy More by setting up a chance meeting between the two. They decided to abort the plot, but not before Kathleen caught a glimpse of her former fiance. She ended up following Casey to the fake wedding, confronted him, and said that he needed to stop lying to Alex so she wouldn't think he was a hero (she thought he just left and became a screw-up). Of course, Kathleen was in the parking garage when Team Bartowski took down the baddie, and she realized that John Casey was in fact the hero Alex said he was.

The whole Casey/Morgan/Alex/Kathleen mini-arc has been one of the few true bright spots of Season 4, and I'm glad that the writers haven given it time to grow and have given it the right amount of heart, comedy, and respect. I do wish it had played a larger role in the season, and it may be given more of a spotlight in the upcoming weeks, but so far this storyline has not only brought the funny but also made the characters a lot more interesting.

Other Odds and Ends
  • Sarah's impression of Chuck's "Flash" face was epic.
  • Speaking of Sarah, Yvonne Strahovski can be a comic genius when she's not singing.
  • "Spy High-Five"
We're in the home stretch of Season 4, and I doubt the last three episodes (ever?) will be stand-alones or as fun as "Wedding Planner" because I'm sure the sub-par Volkoff arc will be wrapped up over the next couple of weeks. Maybe these next few Volkoff focused eps will surprise me, but we'll just have to wait and see.


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