Chuck Review: “Chuck Vs. the Tooth”

E: Best twist ever: the Ring recruits Ellie!

Sure, there was other fun stuff, like Merlin’s army at the CIA psych ward, Morgan dissing Anna, and Chuck figuring out that Shaw’s not dead (duh).  But Ellie, tricked into thinking she’s saving her father from crazy double agent John Casey?  I love it.  It’s perfect.  That’s exactly what comes of their years of lying to her.  The rest of the season is going to kick ass!

M: I loved that the plot turned to bite them for not telling her, and that Chuck wasn’t the target.  I love that Scott Bakula is coming back.  I didn’t love the so overly telegraphed conversation where they had Awesome say she sounded crazy.  As we’ve seen in the earlier parts of this season, Awesome’s one weakness is lying to Ellie.

E: That’s true, he is entirely unawesome at the lying.  Which kind of makes him more Awesome, in the end.

M: He would have totally frozen up on the spot when she confronted him about Casey and gone off on some tangent that made him sound crazy. He would absolutely NOT have said she sounded crazy.

C: I agree, poorly handled and out of character.  In addition to being Capt. Awesome, he is always Mr. Supportive!

M: I just keep hoping that they finally let her know.  I’m hopeful, based on the plot and the previews, that in these last episodes of the season they’ll let her find out.  She’ll be so mad and proud at the same time.

C: Oh, they’ll have to.  I think that’s what this whole arc is about.  She’ll be pretty ticked that everyone knew but her – as I have been!

E: Wait, because we kept our identities a secret from you?  Or do you just mean you’re ticked on her behalf? 😉

C: The latter, as you very well know.

E: Pretty nearly everything this show films they have to think of as a series finale, so I’m expecting they have great stuff in store for us.  And I’m heartened by the news that it probably won’t be the end of the end; there’ll be great joy in Quibbling Land if that turns out to be the case.

C: This episode also featured the return of Anna, which was enjoyable.  Way to go, Morgan, for turning her down when she only wanted you because you ignored her!  His role in the back half of this season has been so vastly improved. He’s still there for comic relief, but now he has some dignity.

E: Agreed. And oh, yeah.  Sarah said she loved Chuck.  That was pretty nice, too.

C: Eh. When he asked if she loved him, and she said yes she did, that was enough for me.  I can see why it would matter to Chuck to hear her volunteer the sentence, but it didn’t matter to me.  It was cute, of course.

E: Ouch.

M: There was a lot to like in Vs. The Tooth, but there were also disappointments, like the Ellie/Awesome scene.  But seriously, did we really need the “Chuck may have potentially been wrong once, so we’re going to lock him up in a psych ward” plot?  Even for a show where we know we’re checking realism at the door on the way in, that was too much for me.  I think it was mostly because it was so forced.  It felt like a cop out on the writers’ part, and we didn’t need it.

E: Yes, it’s true.  I’m choosing to ignore that, since the end of the episode was so fantastic.

M: Then there was Christopher Lloyd.  He has been an iconic figure (or, if you are the mayor of Boston, an ionic figure) for years, and a spectacular comic actor.  Here he seemed completely wasted in a role that the kind of actors that usually play “CIA Psychiatrist #1” could have done just as well in.  No offense to those actors, but there was nothing for Lloyd to do, no good lines, no moments to use his talents.  I was very disappointed.

E: I do wish they’d given him more to do.  It was a puzzling use of such a wild and wacky talent.

C: Wasn’t it?  I kept thinking they were expanding the psychiatrist’s role way beyond necessary just to give him more lines, but they were boring lines.  Psych patient “Merlin” was far more memorable here than Doc Brown!

M: You know what didn’t disappoint me, though?  Casey.  We got a few more classic Casey lines this week.  I mean, how can you not love Adam Baldwin delivering “You know how I value my sleep” in deadpan?

C: It’s kind of adorable how they’re showing the Softer Side of Casey these days.  Playing nice with Morgan, going to see the psychiatrist to give (we assume) a plea for Chuck’s release before even Sarah did – this is the cuddliest Casey we’ve ever seen.  But he still can – and will – break a man.

E: Don’t forget providing special anti-malaria herbs (or was it snake skin?) to Devin.

C: Overall I found it a decent, though not amazing, episode.  So the Intersect + Chuck’s dreams = prophesies a la Eli Stone, basically?  Kind of a fun idea.  And I like that they’re getting back to using Chuck’s intel flashes, instead of just the Matrix flashes.  However, I was really annoyed that the final thing they locked him up over was the flash on the tooth, which happened while he was fully awake.  Suddenly we’re not trusting Chuck’s regular flashes?  That’s rather problematic for the entire premise of the show, folks.

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5 comments on “Chuck Review: “Chuck Vs. the Tooth”

  1. the presidentrix says:

    I had mixed feelings about this episode, too. The one thing I wanted to add: do we know for sure that Christopher Lloyd is done for the season? If the next few episodes are going to be about Chuck’s mind deteriorating/ head drying up and falling off, there could be ample reason for the psychiatrist to come back, but mainly I was thinking from the moment he turned up that he’d be this season’s Chevy Chase.

  2. M says:

    I haven’t heard either way about Lloyd coming back for more episodes, but unless they do some drastic character overhaul, I don’t think I want him to. I mean, if they just one someone to stoically drone physcobabble, Ben Stein would be a much better choice. Christopher Lloyd is (or at least was) hilarious. This character so didn’t fit. I would have rather seen him playing Merlin.

    • the presidentrix says:

      Ah, well, what I meant was: If Christopher Lloyd is, in fact, a villain (like Chevy Chase, last season), they might have him appear early and act normal/boring so that we won’t see it coming around the bend, y’know? Not that it’s an especially good idea, but frankly I think it’s about on par with many of the other creative decisions made on Chuck this season. Regarding Shaw’s inconsistent characterization, for example. Or the way they’re made Ellie and Awesome so much less fun.

      I still haven’t seen Monday night’s episode, but probably Christopher Lloyd is not going to turn out to be a secret villain (programming Chuck’s brain to splode or something), in which case it was just odd casting and uninspired acting.

      • E says:

        You really ought to be writing tv, you know that? That’s a far better use for this guest than the actual writers came up with. Of course, almost anything would.

        “Hey, guys, here’s an idea. How cool would it be if we got comedy genius Christopher Lloyd to guest star, and, get this – he isn’t funny! Isn’t that cool?”

        “Yeah, right. He barely even speaks!”

        “Yes!”

  3. otahyoni says:

    *catching up on TV after the last few crazy weeks*

    I was excited about the dreams, because that’s the first we’ve really seen of Chuck dealing with the fact that he killed someone. They made such a big deal of Chuck not killing people this whole season, and then after he does, they just drop it immediately? Oh, he’s fine, despite just shooting someone he’d thought was a friend (if also a rival) a few times in the chest?

    So the dreams made me happy in that respect.

    Less happy that Shaw is still alive, because it feels cheap, but also absolves Chuck of the guilt he’s apparently only subconsciously feeling.

    On one hand, yay, Chuck didn’t actually kill anyone! On the other hand, hello, wasted character development opportunity.

    Oh, well. Casey makes it all better. I love how much Casey loves Chuck (and Sarah).

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