Chuck Review: “Chuck Vs. the Living Dead”

C: This episode begins with Ellie being stupid and Chuck lying to people.  Not two of my favorite things.

E: No, mine neither, but it’s always nice to see Mr. Bartowski (aka Scott Bakula), who eventually showed up.

M: I probably mentioned this when we discussed last season’s spectacular finale, but any time Scott Bakula is involved awesomeness ensues.  Cannot get enough of Quantum Dad, and I’d love him to be full-time cast.

C: He is pretty great.  And sort of like a high-tech McGyver in this episode!

E: Of course, we had to watch see Chuck and Ellie lie to him, which again, was not nice.  When Chuck insisted he was an analyst for the CIA and not an active agent, I channeled my inner genie/Robin Williams and yelled “tell the TRUTH!” at the TV.  Now, on the other hand, the moment when Chuck did tell his Dad about the Intersect 2.0?  And took out the bad guys using the arms he’d ripped off a chair?  That was fun.

M: To quote the late Chris Farley…  that was awesome.  Not as awesome as Sarah throwing an axe to deflect the knife thrown at Chuck’s face, and Chuck explaining to Quantum Dad that she’s not an intersect – “Nope, that’s all her” – but still awesome none the less.

C: This episode wasn’t without its moments but overall it frustrated me more than anything.  Ellie contacts her Dad on behalf of the “CIA” (really the Ring), supposedly because he’s in danger.  Okay, if a man showed up with a CIA badge and took me to what looked like a CIA office, I’d buy it too.  But why doesn’t it at least cross her mind that if she’s the only one who knows how to find her Dad, he’s doing a pretty darn good job of protecting himself?

E: Or the fact that they don’t want her to tell her Dad about them until after they’ve got his address?  Suspicious much?

M: Yeah, very annoying, but I’ve been going on the assumption that by the finale she’ll finally be in on the “secret,” so I’m been letting it go.

C: I’m looking forward to that moment, because keeping her out of the loop is making everyone dumb.  Mr. Bartowski shows up at her door, but doesn’t really seem to care why she asked to see him; neither does Chuck ask why Ellie got their Dad out of his safehouse.  Too much uncharacteristic behavior going unquestioned here.  At least Mr. B wrangled Chuck’s secret out of him pretty persistently, but at the expense of anyone caring what Ellie was up to.

M: Just tell yourself this plot thread will be over soon.

C: Speaking of plot lines that won’t die… I wasn’t sure the BuyMore stuff could get less integrated into the actual narrative of the show, but tonight reached a new low: a side-plot about Jeff seeking a solo career under Big Mike’s management didn’t even make a pretense of relevance to Chuck’s story.  It did have one good moment, though: when Big Mike revealed he used to be part of Earth, Wind, and Fire (when they were Earth, Wind, Fire and Rain) and passed on his lamé jumpsuit to Lester. “I can’t wear this anymore.  But you have the hips of a six-year-old girl.  Use ’em.”

E: I adored that.  One of the best lines of the night. But it pales in comparison to the whole sequence where Casey drafts Morgan to find out if there are problems in Ellie and Awesome’s marriage, and Morgan gets Awesome to describe a typical day for them.  “I’ll get up around 6 or 6:30, and throw her towel in the dryer so it’s warm when she uses it.  Then I’ll make her a Belgian waffle or maybe a goat cheese omelette for breakfast – something simple.”  Awesome is just – just – just  awesome.

C: And the daily foot-rub!  And watching her sleep! Morgan’s lovestruck gaze by the end of it was priceless. That scene was hands-down the greatest thing in the episode – and I’d say a highlight of the season.  I love when they self-consciously play up the myth that is Captain Awesome.  (It really is a damn shame they didn’t cast him as Captain America!)

E: I seriously don’t know what they could have been thinking.  The guy they cast is much less awesome.

M: The Morgan-Awesome scene was fabulous.  My guy Casey had a few great moments, too (though getting hit in the face with a frying pan was not one of them!).  When he, Chuck and Sarah were going over Shaw and Sarah’s time spent together, and they all grabbed a receipt away from each other, and he smugly took it at the end?  Fantastic.

C: His line of the night had to be when he caught Chuck looking up intel on Shaw: “Reviewing pictures of people you killed?  I do that sometimes.”

E: And of course, that leads us to Shaw.  The night ends with Shaw becoming a Ring intersect.  Youch!  That is all kinds of no good.

C: That was an exciting ending, I will say.  Does it mean Brandon Routh is back for more episodes?

M: It does, but we know he’s only on for this season, so I bet he gets dead for real in the finale.

E: Probably true.  Who else was disappointed that the radio speaker that was supposed to magically protect Ellie contained … a gun? Boo.

C: You expected something cooler from the Ring?  Pshh. I liked that, being a Bartowski, she opted for semi-lethal force with a frying pan instead.

E: Indeed.  She’s probably a greater adversary with the frying pan anyway, considering that she doesn’t know how to shoot. I kind of loved the fact that Casey tried to talk her out of thwacking him rather than just ducking, btw.

M: That stretched the bounds for me, even with my “letting it go” mentality of the moment.  That he didn’t hear her enter, and then allowed himself to be taken out by her?  Come on, it’s John Casey!  Or, uh, Andrew Coburn, or something.

C: I think Casey has a soft spot for Ellie.  If it weren’t for Awesome, I think it could have been love.

M: In all though, we had the return of Quantum Dad, him saving Chuck from falling to his death, Chuck saving him for getting blown up, Sarah giving Chuck her spy-will, Chuck writing his, Awesome and Morgan, Big Mike and Jeffster, the Ring stooge kidnapping Ellie, and the return of Evil Shaw…  what’s not to love?


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