Chuck vs the Push Mix

3 Feb

Or, as I will be calling it, Chuck and the Yoga Seal. This episode had its flaws (really, Mama Bartowski? You were inside Volkoff’s organization for 20 years and couldn’t take it down and Chuck did it in one episode? Bad spy!) but it was mostly just awesome. The best part of the episode was that Chuck was finally Chuck again—ever since he got the intersect 2.0, he’s had less and less info flashes and less and less instances of actually using his brain to accomplish things, rather than just relying on getting kung fu flashes. But that finally changed tonight. He only had one flash and it was an info one, and then he proceeded to take down Volkoff using a plan that he and Morgan made up. And it was the fact that he didn’t even have a loaded gun when he finally got Volkoff to the last stage of the plan that really made it work. It was nice after Morgan becoming Chuck 2.0 in terms of being the new spy and Chuck sort of losing his place a little to see him reassert that he is actually a really smart, title-character-worthy guy.
And speaking of Morgan, it’s a little crazy how far he’s come from the often-annoying guy of the first season. He’s actually one of my favorite parts of the show now. His hopping around on the boat deck in his flippers and using yoga to get through the laser field were two of the best parts of the episode. And who would’ve thought in the pilot that he would one day turn into Casey’s protégé?

Two characters that have, sadly, not gotten any less annoying are Jeff and Lester. In small doses they’re ok, and their rendition of push it in the hospital was at least semi-amusing, but the show has long gotten past the point where the Buy More has seemed like a relevant plot point. Chuck rarely even shows up to work anymore, and Morgan seems to be moving in that direction. I kind of wish they’d just go the Alias route and give them cover jobs that we never actually have to see.

As for the other members of Team Bartowski, Sarah took a slight backseat in this episode, which was appropriate after the last few seeming like a pitch for the Sarah show (and what an awesome show it would be—Chuck vs. the Phase Three was definitely my favorite episode of the season). But her concern for Morgan and lending him her coat was very sweet. And it was nice to see Casey back in form, knocking out Volkoff’s guy with the bonsai tree that Alex put in his hospital room.

Other big things in this episode: Ellie and Awesome had their baby and Chuck and Sarah finally got engaged. I understand why they shot it like they did, with the words being drowned out by the floor waxer, which was also the most prominent thing in the shot, and then doing a fade to black as it was happening. After the whole episode of Chuck trying to do the whole perfect proposal thing, we didn’t really need to hear another proposal and it clearly showed that he’d gotten over his need for it to be in the perfect setting. But I personally just wish they’d gotten rid of the floor waxer and just muted their voices with the song that had been playing (kind of like on Alias when Sloane finally told Emily what SD-6 was), just because it was really weird to see these huge legs and a waxer as it was happening. But oh well, it was still a nice moment.

One concern: I hope that we weren’t actually supposed to think that the “Orion” contacting Volkoff was Chuck’s dad. I mean, this show does have a history of resurrecting dead-from-shot-wounds characters, but I still think it’s pretty unlikely they’ll do that in this case. But the way the shot was framed when Volkoff went into the cabin to kill who he thought was Chuck’s dad made it look like it was supposed to be a surprise when it was Chuck. If that’s the case, I feel very smart, because as soon as the message from Orion came up on Volkoff’s wall computer screen thing in the beginning of the episode I thought, “Oh look, Chuck’s copying his dad!”

This week’s episode was clearly written before the writers knew if they would get more episodes this season, or any more episodes at all, just like last season’s episode 13 and the season finale before that. Just like all the other episodes they’ve had to write under those circumstances, this one would have functioned well as a season or even series finale. It would have done a very good job if it had been the final finale, since it gave basically every character a happy ending, with the engagement and the baby and the Volkoff-taking-down and the freeing of Chuck and Ellie’s mother and the Morgan-Alex-Casey family unit acceptance. I’m not sure what the next eleven episodes of the season are really going to focus on now after all that wrapping up, but I’m very glad we get to find out.

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