Chuck 4.23 (spoilers)

You do have to wonder why this show can't be this good all the time.  Why is it that the show has these extended stretches of...well, mediocrity?  In some ways it's baffling that the same show can run so far to the extremes, sometimes in the course of the same season (honestly, sometimes in the course of a single episode).  But I suppose that has a lot to do with the fine line that chuck walks.  It's not a comedy.  It's not a drama.  It's not a romance.  It's not even about action or espionage.  Yet it steps in all of those worlds, and sometimes it leans too heavily in one direction and the show suffers for it.

This might seem like a bold statement, but this show should always concentrate on the spy aspects first and foremost -- or, more specifically, the spy elements need to be the essential A plot.  Yes, I know that, in theory, the spy stories are always the main plot, but they're not always essential -- they don't always matter.  And when they are insubstantial, the other aspects of the show are played up to compensate, and the balance is thrown off.

Here's the thing: the romance, the comedy, even the drama -- it can all be placed within the context of an important spy story line.  I probably laughed more tonight than I have in the majority of episodes this season and this was, for all intents and purposes, a heavy duty, super serious episode.  The romance was also really apparent, from simple moments between Chuck and Sarah to the rehearsal dinner.  And it hit home because it wasn't the sole focus, because it wasn't laid on really thick.  It worked because it was in contrast with something.

When I was in high school, my grade were always better in the fall because I played soccer.  This meant I didn't have time to slack off -- I had to keep to a rigid schedule.  Chuck is a lot like me in high school.  It needs the structure of a tightly plotted spy storyline to keep it on task and to make the other parts of the show shine.

We have one week left until we find out the fate of this show.  Like I said in my last post, I can't believe I'm back to being on the edge of my seat waiting for word about the fate of Chuck.  But tonight's episode just reiterated the fact that there's plenty of material left to be mined.

I love the move to get Morgan out of the spy game.  Honestly, I've had a hard time with the fact that he's been a part of the team for a while.  It really, really stretched the suspension of disbelief putting Morgan in the field.  It's possible to have believed him being back in Castle monitoring the missions, yes, but in the field?  That's a bit much.

We also haven't seen Casey's ex-wife since she found out the truth about him.  I was actually waiting to see her show up at the rehearsal dinner.  That's obviously not a story that's going to get dealt with this season and it would be a shame to see it fall away.

I think it's probably safe guess to say the "Chuck going rogue" story line isn't going to be completely resolved at the end of next week's finale (the title kind of gives that much away).  I also really like the idea of Chuck going rogue; it's pretty close to the finale I suggested many, many months ago.  I also wonder if he'll do so alone; will Casey go with him?  Will Sarah go on the run with him at the end of the episode after Chuck has saved her?

And then there's the twist that was suggested in the preview for next week.  I honestly have no idea what it is.  There as a point where I wondered if Vivian might actually be related to Chuck, as we've never really gotten a clear explanation as far as the relationship between Volkoff and Frost.  It would make a kind of terrifying sense, really, if Ray Wise (whatever his character's name was) was partially right, that Chuck's dad actually programmed Hartley to be Volkoff as a way of getting revenge on him for having an affair with Mary.  That seems kind of convoluted and intensely serious.  It was also require Frost to keep sleeping with Hartley after he becomes Volkoff, since he became Volkoff before Chuck was born.

Then again, maybe the multiple Star Wars jokes tonight were meant as clues that there's a brother and sister at play here.

For that matter, it's possible the reverse is true.  According to wikipedia, Chuck Bartowski was born on September 18th, 1981.  That's 10 months after Hartley was turned into Volkoff, but it's entirely possible for wikipedia to be wrong (I'm honestly not sure where that date came from).  The timing seems really close...

...could Volkoff be Chuck's father?  And is that why the Intersect worked on Chuck, because it worked on his dad originally? (Technically, it also worked for Orion)

Again, that's probably a stretch, and way too convoluted.  But the fact that I'm even considering such things is a good indication of how completely clueless I am, and how completely glued to my chair I'll be next week.

Next Monday could be a roller coaster for Chuck fans.  We could get bad news during the day, then a great and sad finale.  Or we could get good news and a finale that will energize for one, last season.

Fingers crossed.