Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Chuck v the Fake Name

After a three week break Chuck returned with episode eight of the third season. Chuck v the Fake Name revolved around the story of Chuck having to assume the identity of a hit-man hired by the Ring to assassinate an unknown person. What followed was a thoroughly entertaining episode that was on the whole more fun than angst.
  • Chuck's portrayal of hit-man Rafe Gruber was spot on. He managed to balance pretty well the sinister look of a professional hit-man with the typical Chuck goofiness - "Because I like cup-cakes that's why - who doesn't like a good cup-cake?". Zach Levi's acting skills are often overlooked but the breadth & depth of the character he has to produce is daunting. He's always managed to carry the comedy/lighter moments especially well but now he's equally adept at playing more dramatic scenes. And the two moments that showcased this best were the scene with Ellie (its a been a while since we've had one of these) & the breaking up with Hannah. Even without saying a great deal he conveyed the emotion of the situation.
  • Talking of which, I'm sure a lot of people will say that Chuck has turned into bit of a jerk following his dumping of Hannah. But the way I viewed it was Chuck being honest to a girl he cares about. He knows that he still has deep feelings for Sarah & trying to move on with Hannah was a mistake. Rather than stringing Hannah on he did the honourable thing. In addition as he well knew before he got involved with Hannah, trying to have a relationship with a civilian is extremely difficult. But more than that it means not being totally honest with the person he's with, which though he has become proficient in, it's not something he's really comfortable with. Also you would expect Chuck's character to evolve as he becomes more immersed in the spy world. It turns out Sarah's warning in Chuck v the Pink Slip was pretty prescient.
  • While Chuck was ending his relationship Sarah & Shaw were moving ever closer. Sarah is a bit of an emotional mess at the moment. Letting her feelings for Chuck out into the open has been like releasing the genie from the bottle. She's vulnerable at the moment & that's why I can see how the relationship with Shaw could happen. At the same time I feel Shaw is playing the whole scenario perfectly. Recognising her vulnerability he seems to say the right things at just the right time. This creates the impression that his intentions are not entirely honourable. Also his comment to Chuck - "You had your chance & you blew it" - could well have been taken at face value. Either way something just seems a little wrong about Shaw.
  • The name reveal of Sarah Walker as Sam wasn't a big deal for me. It is strange trying to associate a new name to a face & person we've known for 3 years but I guess that's par for the course in the spy world. Ultimately as Chuck so eloquently said in Chuck v the Cougars & I'm paraphrasing "I don't need to know more about who you were because I know who you are".
  • We had the usual Casey gems in this weeks episode. The look of pride on Casey's face after Chuck sold his alias so expertly was priceless. And only Casey could be happy about getting a tooth pulled out. Which led to the Casey emotional growth moment as witnessed by his "I'm proud of you" comment to Chuck, though he did say it a little bit begrudgingly. It's no surprise that he was a hot shot sniper & he clearly hasn't lost any skills as he took out Gruber twice & in the process saved Sarah's life. 
  • I'm not a huge Sopranos' fan but even I loved the reference to the show. The Matty & Scotty characters offered plenty of comedic moments. The best line of which was the joke about the shows ongoing will they won't they saga.
  • Pretty much a full compliment of the cast in the episode. For me the shows always worked best when it has used the full ensemble. From the Buy Morons we got the Chuck lady-killer angle. With the Lester delivering the super line "I'm so lonely" in response to Chuck's seemingly hypnotic powers over the opposite sex. As a big fan of Sarah Lancaster it's always good to see her given something to work with. I think it was one of the show-runners who said that the Ellie/ Chuck relationship was the heart of the show & I couldn't agree with that sentiment more. 
  • For a moment when Shaw was fiddling with his towel I thought he was going to try the infamous 'naked man' tactic used on How I Met Your Mother. Now that would be some reference. We also got two shirtless scenes courtesy of Captain Awesome & Shaw providing plenty of eye candy for those into that type of thing. Personally I've always thought muscles were overrated.
  • Lastly there was the usual mix of quality music in the episode with my favourite of an excellent the bunch "Faces in Dark" by The Generationals. Chuck has become one of my best resources for finding great new music.
I really loved this episode. There was lots of comedy, which in my mind is always a good thing. We got our usual dose of angst, which has become something of a series three trait, but overall I thought the episode balanced the different genres that Chuck straddles pretty well. The show has set up a lot of intriguing storylines heading into the climax of the season. So hopefully what's to come will be pretty spectacular.

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