Chuck 4.10 Review (spoilers)

I honestly never thought I'd ever say this, but: they were too subtle.

Last night's Chuck was enjoyable from start to finish.  It managed to walk that fine line between ridiculous and serious that the show often fails to navigate.  From stripper fight classes to a love sick weapons dealer, the show managed to make the comedic elements fit (more or less) into the dramatic narrative.

Sure, it was loaded with pop culture references (I'm kind of shocked that I've yet to see a review mention the "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" reference) and most of those references were either obvious ("Come with me if you want to live") or had been done before (albeit on a smaller scale), but the jokes still worked.

I was also amazed at how much ground they covered in a single hour.  It was a tightly packed episode, with the post-Thanksgiving dinner not coming until nearly 40 minutes in (including commercials).  I had expected a more traditional format in the Chuck and Josh Schwartz vein where the big gathering was either a part of the denouncement or set up for the episode.  But instead of going the more pedestrian route of having a big fight be the climax, it was the dinner that brought everything to a head.

So why am I complaining that they were too subtle?

Because they were.  Because the only real complaint that I or any of the number of reviewers online have had is that the return of the Intersect to Chuck's head was too easy and happened too soon.  But while the latter might be the case, I don't think the former is.

I think that Chuck getting the Intersect back -- and it apparently working fine -- overshadowed my initial response to what happened when Chuck first flashed again: it got blurry.  The camera zoomed in on him and got blurry, and effect we haven't seen before when Chuck flashes.

Also of note is the fact that Chuck willed himself to know kung-fu.  Up until now, the Intersect controlled when Chuck flashed depending upon the situation.  It would appear that Chuck now controls it, which is in keeping with what Ellie did to fix it -- the "memory problem" that Awesome mentioned.

The question, of course, is how this is going to impact the stories we get from here on out.  On one level, it will make Chuck a better spy, and potentially make his flashes less necessary: he will actually remember his abilities after he flashes, meaning he won't need to "get" kung-fu from the Intersect once he's already used it.  The potential problem there, however, is whether or not a human brain can know all the things that the Intersect does without putting that information back when it's done.  I would guess no.

Since they were so vague about the new Intersect, this also means that Frost's "Your father never wanted you to see this" is still in play.  I stand by my claim that there was more to Chuck's dad than we knew, and that perhaps his feelings about Chuck being a spy were a relatively new development.  Perhaps, after Chuck absorbed all that information when he was a little kid, Chuck's dad actually wanted Chuck to be a spy, only to change his mind as he learned more and more about his wife's activities.

Regardless, I don't believe the ending we got to this episode is as concrete as it seemed, and I would expect some interesting complications to arise from the Intersect 3.0.

I just can't believe I have to wait until January to find out what they are.