Chuck Official Site

The Time:
Mondays, 8:00 PM, NBC

The Show:

Bartowski is just an average guy who works at the local Burbank,
California Buy More (think Best Buy) store and lives with his sister,
Ellie and her fiance, Captain Awesome.  Chuck’s life has
stagnated since his best friend Bryce Larkin framed him for cheating,
resulting in his getting kicked out of Stanford.  However,
Chuck’s life changes when Bryce, who’s actually a rogue CIA agent,
chooses Chuck into which to download the only copy of the CIA / NSA
computer database called The Intersect.  Now, until the
government can find a way to get the Intersect out of his head, Chuck
is an unwilling secret agent, able to access the data whenever he sees
or hears something that causes a mnemonic “flash” of the Intersect in
his mind.  Chuck is protected by CIA Agent Sarah Walker, a hot
and lethal CIA agent on whom he has a crush, and NSA Agent John Casey,
of whom he’s constantly afraid.

The Stars:

•  Zachary Levi – Chuck Bartowski
•  Yvonne Strahovski – CIA Agent Sarah Walker
•  Adam Baldwin – NSA Agent John Casey
•  Joshua Gomez – Morgan Grimes
•  Sarah Lancaster – Ellie Bartowski
•  Ryan McPartlin – Captain Awesome
•  Vik Sahay – Lester Patel
•  Mark Christopher Lawrence – Big Mike
•  Julia Ling – Anna Wu
•  Scott Krinsky – Jeff

The Episode: “Chuck vs. the Colonel”

Chuck and Sarah are on the run when they go AWOL in order to try to track down Chuck’s father (Scott Bakula), who’s being held by Fulcrum honcho, Ted Roark (Chevy Chase).  And it’s not just the fact that he’s Chuck’s father, but also Orion, the inventor of the Intersect and the only person who’s capable of getting the Intersect out of Chuck’s head permanently.  Chuck and Sarah’s proximity lead to some much needed – but not completed – physical action.  And their relationship with Casey, who’s been promoted to the titular Colonel, is tested as he has to track them down an bring them back.  Meanwhile, Morgan has to deal with being Emmett’s Ass. Man. (in more ways than one) at the Buy More after Emmett pulled off the coup that saw Big Mike demoted and Emmett take his place as store manager.  And also, Awesome gets let in on the big secret.

The Lowdown:

Considering Chuck’s current renewal situation, let me just begin by putting this right out there:


I want another season of Chuck more than I want another season of 24.  And I love 24.  This is a show doing stuff that few if any other shows are managing: mixing action and comedy with fun and engaging characters put in highly unusual situations, all of which are based on a very original concept.  Of all the shows that are considered to be borderline for renewal, this is at the top of the list.  And if the unique situation that NBC is facing by giving Jay Leno an unheard-of five primetime slots (Seriously, what dumbfuck thought that scenario up?) for his new fall variety / interview show causes this show to be canceled, then they deserve the scorn that fans of this show will surely heap on them.  I for one can attest that Chuck is the only show I watch on that channel.  I’ve never campaigned to save a show before, but Chuck is certainly worthy of being brought back.  Heroes has only marginally better ratings, but I haven’t seen it mentioned on any b#&ble reports.  And does anyone honestly know of fans of that show who are as fiercely loyal as fans of Chuck are?  Especially lately? 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, but at the end of the day, ratings are king, I know.  And Chuck is fourth in its timeslot out of five.  All I’m saying are two things: 1. NBC needs to be able to recognize quality when they see it (my hopes aren’t high on that one) and 2. If you, the audience aren’t watching this show, you need to.  It’s (Captain) Awesome. 

With that being said, this week’s episode was another solid outing, with a number of things occurring, not the least of which was Chuck and Sarah being one pilfered condom away from going undercover…in the biblical sense.  For those of you not aware, Chuck’s father, Steve Bartowski, who seemingly abandoned Chuck and his sister Ellie years before, has been revealed to be Orion, the creator of the government computer system called the Intersect that’s been downloaded into Chuck’s head.  In order to rescue him, Chuck and Sarah have gone AWOL to save him.  This put Casey into a somewhat awkward spot, as he feels that they betrayed the U.S. government and thus him.  He has the responsibility to track them down and arrest him.

Steve is being held by his old rival, Ted Roark, who is a key figure in the rogue government organization, Fulcrum.  In exchange for Steve perfecting the next generation of the Intersect, Chuck is being allowed to live.  But Chuck, who’s desperate to get the Intersect out of his head so he can resume a normal life (preferably with Sarah).  Chuck, Sarah and Casey eventually find Steve, but in the midst of it all, there’s tension between the three team members, because of their being on opposite sides of the government’s good graces. Nevertheless, when Steve is found, he succeeds in getting the Intersect out of Chuck’s head.  And in the process, a Fulcrum drive-in is firebombed by US jets rather spectacularly.  This means that Chuck is seemingly finally free, and he gets his father back in time for Ellie and Awesome’s rehearsal dinner.  Meanwhile, at the Buy More, Morgan is dealing with the guilt and the scorn of unwittingly helping corporate kiss-ass and schemer, Emmett, ascending to Big Mike’s spot as manager.  And Awesome stumbles upon Chuck’s secret.

What worked this week was Chuck and Sarah realizing that there’s nothing standing between them getting mutually naked and finally going for it…almost.  Casey’s conflicted feelings on the situation were also handled nicely.  He’s fiercely loyal to the government, but he also can’t deny his loyalty to Chuck and Sarah when he discovers that they were right about the location of Chuck’s father.  Honor is key to him, and in a strange way, he can see that in what they were trying to do, although he cuts them no slack before coming to that conclusion. 

Awesome finally finding out about Chuck was a welcome addition, as he thinks it’s simply, well, awesome that Chuck isn’t really a loser.  I liked his trying to play it cool although he’s still dealing with the shock and responsibility of keeping it from Ellie.  Her reaction to his spazzing was also funny.  And who would have known that Morgan’s dream would be to be a Benihana chef in Hawaii?  I hope that his leaving the Buy More with Anna isn’t a long-term thing.  I wonder – if the show does come back – how much longer they can keep the Buy More b-story going.  I have no desire to see that go any time soon, as I think it’s typically the comedic backbone of the show.  What would Chuck truly be without Morgan, Lester and Jeff?  Not as funny, that’s for damn sure.  I don’t know if I’ve ever cared for supporting characters as much as I do on this show.

The season finale is set for next week, and there are supposed to be some show-changing events taking place.  if the Buy More does start to be phased out (and I almost think that’s inevitable for the show to grow), I can think of an interesting replacement: bring Scott Bakula on a full-time cast member.  Work him into Chuck’s new situation, whatever that may be. 

Chuck is worthy of renewal.  The cast, writing and premise are all top notch.  I hope NBC is wise enough to realize that.  Or they can just greenlight another shitty remake like Knight Rider or Bionic Woman.  Or give Leno the 8 to 11 slot every weeknight.

8.7 out of 10