Chuck 4.7 Review (spoilers)

This week's Chuck was easily one of the best of the season, and laid out some great potential storylines for the newly expanded season.  I had one, non-show related complaint, though.

Hyperbole Gone Wrong

I follow Chuck co-creator Josh Schwartz on Twitter.  His lead up to this episode involved saying something along the lines of "the best episode of Chuck in two years."

You can probably imagine how excited I got at such a statement.  After all, the last two years would encompass the phenomenal finale to Season Two, and the episode before it, for that matter, perhaps two of the best episodes of Chuck in the show's relatively short history.  So I was expecting something of that magnitude.

I did not get it.



That's not to say I didn't really like the episode, it just didn't live up to the extreme hype.  Honestly, I really wish Schwartz hadn't made such a claim, as I think I would have enjoyed the episode more had I not had any expectations.

The Sound and the Fury

Perhaps the biggest problem in this episode wasn't story related, it was technical.  For whatever reason, the sound was messed up for a big portion of the episode.  Since my wife has more knowledge about these things, she was able to explain it to me.  Basically, they had to dub in the dialogue after the fact.  At some point they must have lost the original audio.  But it was painfully obvious that was the case.  Everyone sounded like they were talking in a cave and at various points their words came a split second before their mouths moved.

The sound problem completely kicked me out of the show.  It only became more noticeable when the sound returned to normal -- when Casey and Morgan entered the bank.  It was like my ears had just popped and I could hear everything clearly again.  I realize that on a weekly show, time is an issue, but I just couldn't get over how bad this was.

That Said...

It really was a good episode.  While Frost had come across as two dimensional last week, this week we started to get a feel for her character and, not surprisingly, she seemed more fleshed out.  Linda Hamilton can be disturbingly intense, but she did a fantastic job this week of taking even the smallest moments and loading them with meaning.  When she comes clean to Ellie, you know this means she's going to end up betraying her children.  You just know it, and you know it because you can tell that she's winning Ellie over.  But you also get a sense that this is a woman who knows how to tell a story, so while what she's saying might feel real, it makes you suspicious.

Every scene between Chuck and his mom was great.  The two established a rapport like nothing we've seen on this show and it made for great comedy.  Honestly, they are making great use of Frost so far and it seems like that will continue, given what happens in this episode.

This was another episode where I felt like they took a Morgan joke too far.  Dropping the ear piece into the glass of water was funny, but his bumbling in the bathroom was frustrating, particularly given that there was no reason for him to wash it off in the sink to begin with.  He'd dropped it in water; all he had to do was dry it off.

I also don't really buy that Casey's gung ho to take Morgan into a gun fight like that.  That's stretching things a bit far.

On the other hand, the writers handled our other couple extremely well.  I had concerns about how they were going to pick up after last week, but I shouldn't have worried.  The Chuck and Sarah fight played out nicely and wasn't as overblown as it easily could have been.  In fact, it ended up being less a fight and more both of them just feeling bad, which was nice.  The fight scene that marked the climax of their fight was also well done, a nice tip of the hat to how well they work together in the field as parallel to how they work off the field.

Really, it was the women of this show that had the best moments.  The scene when Sarah brings Frost to see Ellie was fantastic and it was great to see the three women in Chuck's life together like that, all coming at the situation from different angles, yet all sharing the same information.  In fact, kudos to the writers again for letting Ellie in on nearly everything.

Of course, it would be impossible to talk about the highlights of this episode without mention one Mr. Timothy Dalton.  He was brilliant.  I believed him as Tuttle and I believed him as Volkoff.  His appearance as Volkoff was appropriately triumphant.

If I have one problem with the final scenes it's that Chuck and Sarah let Frost roam the underground headquarters on her own.  That's just not something Sarah would have allowed and it was incredibly glaring.  There's a difference between showing Chuck she trusts him and being needless careless.

The Ending

So what happened at the end?  Do we really have to wait 2 weeks to find out, thanks to that d-bag W.?  Will we even find out then, or will this play out over many weeks?

I think it will play out over many weeks, yes.  And I'm going to throw out a few thoughts.

Frost says that what she shows Chuck is something his father never wanted him to see.  Since his father tried to help him get the Intersect out of his head, it would seem odd if that's what Frost did.  But maybe not...

A better theory, perhaps, is that Frost loaded him with all the secrets about his family, a theory that would hold with the letter Ellie got.  The implication at the end of this episode and in next week's episode is that Chuck is just too emotionally frazzled to get the Intersect to work, or perhaps he doesn't know how to trigger it with the new information in there.

Going with the first theory, however, would lead to Chuck's quest for an Intersect.  This would be interesting on a number of levels, not the least of which is the fact that, on paper, Chuck's probably not the guy the CIA/NSA/whoever would want to have the Intersect.  That being the case, would they really help him find another one?  Or would they help him to acquire one so they could load the supercomputer into other agents?

And where would they even find one?  Under Ellie's seat in the Mustang, perhaps?  And, if that's the case, could Ellie be the one to ultimately determine what happens to it and her brother?  Imagine a scenario in which things are bad -- really bad, and only an Intersect loaded Chuck can save the day and there's Ellie, torn between her desire to keep her brother safe and helping him save the day.  In many ways, this would bring the initial storyline full circle, as Ellie would now have a role in her brother being the Intersect and would, in theory, have to come to terms with what he does.

Still, that's all based upon the assumption that Chuck's dad never wanted him to have the Intersect out of his head for fear he'd try to become an agent on his own, which seems like a stretch.  Then again, perhaps we haven't learned the last of Stephen J. Bartowski's secrets...