Thursday, 8 April 2010

Chuck v the Other Guy

Chuck v the Other Guy wrapped up the original season order of Chuck season 3 before NBC ordered an additional 6 episodes. The 6 new episodes will air in 3 weeks time culminating in a two hour finally to end what the show-runners have described as "Season 3.5". As a finale Chuck v the Other Guy was short of the excellence that was Chuck v the Ring but in it's own right it was strong episode in what has been a patchy season. The episode focused on Shaw & finding the Ring operative behind his wife's death.

  • Despite the pre-show talk of a 'game changer' this episode didn't really deliver anything significantly different to a typical Chuck episode. There definitely wasn't the type of change we saw at the end of season 2. However it did tie up several storylines including Chuck & Sarah; Casey's situation; Shaw's arc & Morgan's promotion to Team Bartowski. All of which offer interesting directions for the show to take into the next 6 episodes as well as, hopefully, a season 4. It will be interesting to see if the show continues the move to more darker territory or whether it returns to the mix of comedy, drama, action & romance that has been its staple over the first 2 seasons.
  • On to the Chuck & Sarah issue that has become a millstone around the neck of season 3. The level of comments tied to this storyline has become so prominent to relegate pretty much all other aspects of the show. And while the Chuck/Sarah romance has always been at the heart of the show it has almost become the show this season. So I think its fair to say all fans will be happy that we got a resolution to that particular question. In terms of how it was done I am pretty happy. The scene between Chuck & Sarah at his apartment was classic Chuck, a heart-felt moment between our two protagonists (and we've had quite a few of those this year) inter-mixed with a bit of comedy. The other thing I loved about that the scene was the call back to perhaps my favourite Chuck & Sarah moment of all, when Chuck asks Sarah her middle name from Chuck v the Wookie. I think it's great when we see interlinks within a show & this one bookends their relationship. I also thought that writers were trying to get message across to the fans  when Sarah said "You're still Chuck. You're still my Chuck." 
  • Shaw's role in this episode was very predictable. It would have been more of a surprise if he had turned out to be a hero rather than a Ring agent. Having said that there was an intensity to Shaw's performance that demonstrated what Brandon Routh was capable of given the right material to work with. He portrayed the depth of hurt that Shaw would be feeling while playing the whole situation at just the right tempo. We also got an obvious Die Hard reference in Shaw's death scene.
  • As always there was great enjoyment to be had from Morgan's antics. His confusion in knowing whether to address General Beckman as 'Sir' or 'Ma'am' was amusing. Also liked the reference to him being 'Alfred' to Chuck's 'Batman', which may well be the path the show take his character going forward. And he demonstrated his ability to help out the mission by picking up on the fake fight scene between Shaw & some Ring henchmen.
  • Bringing Casey back into the fold was perhaps inevitable, though I definitely felt there was more mileage in him playing a civilian. I loved how Shaw recognised Casey was in Paris after hearing machine gun fire, as well as the fact that Casey still has direct access to General Beckman. Which leads onto him asking for Morgan's promotion to Team Bartowski, & combined with him being complimentary to Chuck shows that our 'cold school' NSA Agent has definitely mellowed. 
  • Not a lot of involvement from the Buy More crew in this episode while Ellie & Awesome were entirely absent. As this was the season finale that is understandable but it will be interesting to see how the show balances the supporting cast during the upcoming 6 episodes. 
I will have some further thoughts on season 3.0 in general in another posting. In the meantime I look forward to any comments you have on this episode.

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