Chuck 4.6 Review (spoilers)

I suppose it should come as no surprise that a Halloween themed episode of Chuck would be so good.  What was surprising is how well they managed to balance each aspect of the show, even when they had such big guest stars and heavy plot points going on.  I find that a nice balance of spy stuff, Buy More stuff, and home life are what make the best Chuck episodes, and this one delivered on all fronts.

Litmus Test

I think it's probably clear that I'm fairly biased when it comes to this show, so it's hard for me to really look at it objectively when it comes to each episode.  I kind of use my wife's reactions as a litmus test for whether an episode appeals to those who don't come up with potential storylines in their head.

This was probably the first time all season that my wife laughed out loud at an episode of Chuck, or at least laughed out loud in a sustained way.  All because of "Otters!"

The Double Cross

This episode was loaded with ambiguity, yet the one clear double cross didn't come from Chuck's mom, but from his girlfriend.  I wasn't sold on this moment, but could be depending upon how it's handled in the next episode.

I think they need to make it clear that Sarah was at fault here or, more specifically, that she overreacted.  One of the points that was hammered home in the episode was how extraordinarily objective Chuck was, or at least realistic.  There really wasn't a lot of flying off the handle on Chuck's part.  Presented with the facts at hand after the set up went wrong, he admitted that his mom was one of the bad guys.  It didn't seem like Chuck would have a problem at least staying neutral if all the evidence was laid out before him.  The fact that Sarah was unwilling to even give him that chance, and instead resorted to a masked abduction, is an indication that she thinks he's far more emotional than he is -- or has been.

Then again, maybe it's what Sarah is hoping for, deep down inside.  She's still reacting as if he's the Chuck who felt overwhelmed by the spy world, not the Chuck who willingly took on the Intersect 2.0.

If that is the case and they play it like that next week, it could be really great.  We've already seen Chuck come up with a plan last week that was advanced for a spy of his experience.  Technically speaking, the Intersect 2.0 is supposed to turn its host into the ultimate spy...a better spy than Sarah.  That would create an interesting dynamic between the two of them as Chuck continues to get better and better.

If they are going that way with this season, they've done a nice job of setting it up.  In the premiere we see Chuck successfully infiltrate Volkoff Industries where Sarah and Casey fail -- and then he proceeds to beat up a bunch of armed men in the span of a few seconds.  In fact, the quest for his mom could turn Chuck into the spy he was meant to be, or at least the spy the Intersect was supposed to be in.

And perhaps Sarah knows this, which is why she wants to keep some semblance of control over the situation.  Deep down inside, she has to be worried about it.  Even Casey must know, perhaps evidenced by his seeming adoption of Morgan as his new apprentice.  Casey doesn't have anything to teach Chuck anymore, and whether the big guy admits it or not, he enjoyed it.  Enter the fearless Bearded One, who also happens to be dating Casey's daughter, and who can fill the pupil void that Chuck left.

The Missing Scene

The double cross wasn't the real cliffhanger of this episode; that was the final scene when Chuck tells Ellie that their mom isn't going to show because she's a spy.  And then Chuck fans everywhere tried to figure out what happened after that (which I'm sure we'll find out next week).

So how much does Chuck tell Ellie?  How does he explain how he knew their mom was a spy?  If he comes completely clean, does she get mad at him or accept that he went back on his word for a good reason?  Does he explain that their mom could be a double/triple/quadruple agent?  And that she's currently being held by the CIA?  And does she, in turn, tell Awesome all this?  I can't wait to find out.


How crazy is it to think that we've only reached the 25% mark of this season, when just a week ago I wondered if we had hit the midpoint of the show's last year?  Thanks to Chuck's hardcore following, the show has managed to hold steady in the ratings while everything else on TV (it is insane how bad it's gotten) has watched their number plummet each week.  Chuck now sits right around the middle of the pack for NBC, and between the fact that it's less expensive to produce than other hour long shows and it has an advertising deal with a major company (I do, indeed, love Subway), it could be the most cost efficient show on NBC, bringing in the highest return.  While holding steady might be enough, if we could just crack the 2.0 threshold in ratings for the rest of the year, I think Chuck might even have a decent shot at getting a 5th season, which is something I never expected to write.