December 30, 2011

Episode Review: CHUCK, "Chuck vs. The Baby"

It's hard to believe that there are only a handful of Chuck episodes left, and the show's going to go out on a high note if the last couple weeks are any indicator. While "Chuck vs. The Baby" had its share of hiccups, it was still full of the action and character moments that make this show special.

At the end of "Santa Suit," Shaw dropped a bomb about a baby, and that had people wondering about Sarah's past. As it turned out, the aforementioned child was not Sarah's, but she was the orphan of some rich Hungarians. Sarah's handler, Kieran Ryker, used her to get his hands on the child because she was the heir to her family's fortunes, and he was planning on getting a piece of the pie. Instead of giving the baby to Ryker, Sarah went rouge and asked her mother to watch over her even though that meant she would never get to see them ever again.

Before Shaw was taken down, he got a message to Ryker telling him that the baby was still alive, and Sarah took it upon herself to make sure that the child remained safe, but it order to do so she was not able to share any information with Chuck or Casey. Despite the fact that Sarah was not sharing too many details, they agreed to help her on a mission to meet Ryker so she could kill him once and for all. After getting separated from her team, Sarah ended up getting captured by Ryker and his men, but of course Chuck and Casey were able to save the day.

Back in the States, Sarah gave in and told Chuck everything about the baby and how she asked her mother to look after her. While Chuck was appreciative that Sarah trusted him enough to divulge her secret, he also found a bug that was planted in her hair which meant Ryker knew everything. Luckily, Sarah was able to warn her family and get to her mother's house just in time to have a final showdown with Ryker which of course she won.

I know that I've said this a few times before, but I'm always a fan when Chuck gives us some more insight into Sarah and Casey's lives before they were assigned to Team Bartowski, so I was predetermined to enjoy this episode. While Sarah's character wasn't given any earth-shattering origin details (spies cutting off ties with family members is action writing 101), Yvonne Strahovski was great with what she was given, and it was nice seeing her do more than get captured in order to lure Chuck into a trap.

The only downside of Sarah's story was all of the secret-keeping. I understood why she felt that she had to withhold the information about her mother and the child, but having her keep things from Chuck was nothing more than fabricated drama that this show has been utilizing since day one. You'd think after all this time, and after all of the arguments the couple has had about not being honest with one another, we'd be past all of this nonsense yet here we are.

While Sarah, Chuck, and Casey were taking on Ryker in Hungary, Morgan was back in Castle to make sure things ran smoothly, but he did have plans to have a game night with Alex and the Awesomes, and for some reason everyone thought it would be OK that he move the party to their TOP SECRET headquarters. Once in Castle, Ellie and Devon continued their spy role-playing, but all of the fun was cut short when they noticed that things were still icy between Alex and Morgan. The super couple decided to hand out some relationship advice by sharing a story about how Devon became a jerk during his A&F modeling days, and how Ellie dumped him but took him back once she remembered why she loved him in the first place. This anecdote would've have felt out of place, but Alex was also reminded of why she loved Morgan at a family gathering that included Sarah's mother and adopted sister.

For a while there I wasn't sure where this one was going, but it was incorporated nicely with the main plot which cannot always be said about the B-stories. That being said, I've never been a huge fan of Morgan and Alex, so I wasn't invested in their reunion, but I thought it was fun that the Awesomes obsession with the spy life was brought back in spite of the fact that their fun and games almost got them killed.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • White Collar's Tim DeKay was great as Ryker, but I was expecting more talk about Bryce Larkin due to his connection with Matthew Bomer. Ah well, I'm still hoping that Zac Levi shows up on WC before it ends its run.
  • This episode felt like the most action-packed thanks to all of the stunts and fights that they threw at the audience.
  • Was anyone else relieved when it was revealed that the baby wasn't Sarah's?
  • I love it that Sarah kept the baby in a gun case. For some reason, that felt very in character.
  • Man, these friends and family scenes are getting longer and longer. At this rate, half of the series finale will be everyone laughing around the dinner table.
  • So, if Carmichael Industries doesn't go back to the C.I.A. where do we go from here?
  • Chuck: "Do you speak Hungarian?"
    Casey: "No, do you Mr. I Don't Need the Intersect?"
I think I've finally figured out how to watch the last season of Chuck. To me, it seems like the showrunners are breaking the final 13 episodes into mini-arcs like Intersect Morgan and Chuck vs. the C.I.A. with a few standalones like "Chuck vs. The Baby" thrown in for good measure. If that is what they're doing, I'm interested to see how these final few episodes are gong to go. Regardless, I'm sure they'll be entertaining enough and Chuck will take the victory lap that it deserves.


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