December 26, 2011

Episode Review: CHUCK, "Chuck vs. The Santa Suit"

Chuck continued on its fast-paced final season with "Chuck vs. The Santa Suit," which was not only a holiday episode, but it also felt like an end to Carmichael Industries and its tiff with the government. It was also one of the better episodes of Season 5.

The Omen Virus has the world in a state of panic as it continued its assault on everyone's computers, including the mainframe that controlled the locks in the high-security prison that was holding Daniel Shaw. Apparently, he was the mastermind behind the entire thing.

Since Sarah killed his wife, and Chuck both tried to kill him and was responsible for him being sent to prison, Shaw had a bone to pick with the happy couple, and he decided to get his revenge by making it seem like Chuck was responsible for the release of the Omen. As for Sarah, he wanted to take a more personal approach with her, so he ambushed her at Castle and used her as leverage in order to force Chuck to steal a device from Decker's office in the C.I.A. that would allow Shaw to upgrade his Intersect to version 3.0.

The only way Chuck could get into the C.I.A. was with General Beckman, and he had to pose as a Santa since the agency was having its Christmas party. After fighting off a drunk colonel and stealing her key card, Chuck and Beckman went to Decker's office to retrieve the device. Unfortunately, their actions set off red flags, and they were about to get caught. Luckily, the general was quick on her feet and planted a kiss on Chuck so everyone would think that they were hooking up. While all of the holiday shenanigans were going down at the C.I.A., Morgan and Casey worked on figuring out how the Omen operated (with the help of Jeff and Lester) while also trying to save Sarah.

Once Chuck was back at the Buy More, he learned that the Omen was sucking information out of all government computers and realized that Shaw was planning on downloading a new Intersect into his brain, which would lead to him being reinstated by the C.I.A. Chuck came up with a plan to hack Shaw's Intersect 3.0 and wiping it from his brain, and he also decided to end it once and for all by having one final showdown with Shaw. With the help of Ellie, Chuck was able to take down his arch nemesis yet again.

While "Chuck vs. The Santa Suit" did have some questionable plot points (the C.I.A. didn't remove the Intersect from Shaw, Jeffster can figure out the complicated Omen in a few hours), it was still a very good episode of Chuck. I know most fans do not care for Shaw (his ill-advised fling with Sarah ddin't help matters), but I always thought that he was a decent adversary for Chuck, so I was glad to have him back. While Brandon Routh's acting hasn't significantly improved, his creepy and maniacal take on Shaw was effective enough this time around.

My only real gripe with "Santa Suit," and with the last couple of episodes for that matter, was how quickly it burned through story. When Season 5 started, I was excited by the idea of the government hunting down Team Bartowski, which they did, but what should have been a season-long arc has been wrapped up in a few episodes. Now, I know that they're are still six episodes left, and that the "Chuck vs. the C.I.A." storyline has spanned across multiple installments, but it's all felt rushed and I was hoping for something a little more developed.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • I'm not going to delve into Ellie's freak-out because it felt tacked on and like an excuse to remind everyone that this was the Christmas episode.
  • Casey's Christmas gift to Alex, Mr. Pippers the Preppy Polar Bear, has to be the best presents ever.
  • Aww man, the Subway product placement is back, and it was particularly blatant this time around. Merry Christmas to us.
  • Devon ear-muffing Clara was a small moment that had me rolling.
  • Stan Lee: C.I.A. Spy! Brilliant!
  • That was one of the best fights Chuck has ever been a part of. He's all grown up.
  • While I did like this episode a lot, we need a plot that doesn't involve the kidnapping of one of Chuck's family members. 
  • Big Mike: "I want customers to remember the true meaning of Christmas, and get back to what you're supposed to be dong. Buying stuff."
    Jeff: "Like this iPad, a bargain at $599. Honestly, it's overpriced. You can get all this stuff on the Internet."
  • Morgan: "We're going to nee a plan. A really good plan."
    Chuck: "I've got the plan. Daniel Shaw murdered my father, and now he has my wife. He's going to wish he never left that prison cell."
    Casey: "That plan's kind of vague."
  • General Beckman: "This is my team, and nobody, especially Shaw, is going to take us down."
  • Shaw: "Can you compete with the Intersect 3.0? I can practically catch a bullet in my teeth, but you did some push-ups, hit the heavy bag?"
Overall, "Chuck vs. The Santa Suit" was a solid effort from Chuck as it likely gave us some closure on the fugitive story arc while opening up some more mysteries for our heroes, especially Sarah, to deal with. I just wish we got some more of this particular plotline before moving on, but maybe the last couple of episodes will make it all worth it.

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