Wednesday, October 17, 2007

“I’m feeling like a knife fight”: Chuck

Another fun episode, if more uneven than the last. I don’t think this is really what I like from Chuck, but I can appreciate its intention and what satisfaction it did provide.

The Corrina character was my main problem. Predictably written and kind of a dud, the only decent purpose served by her whole storyline was to tell us more about Sarah. Unfortunately, ‘Chuck Versus the Wookie’ had no B-plot – everything was about Corrina and practically every scene involved her. I rarely understand the need to build a whole episode around a guest star, especially this early in a show’s run, and this one was far too obvious a character to justify the focus she gets.

Corrina is a fellow government agent and former co-worker of Sarah’s. She appears on the scene and starts shaking things up, turning Chuck against Sarah (for a brief period of time) and revealing a big secret. I didn’t totally get why Chuck freaked out so much over the news that Sarah had dated Bryce – for starters, wasn’t it obvious? – but I still found it one of the more effective things about this episode, mostly because Chuck and Sarah do so well in scenes together. In past episodes I was frustrated by their material, but now they're starting to grow on me. The whole fake couple dynamic has created an interesting tension which Levi and Strzechowski play effectively. I would complain that the ‘will-they-won’t-they’ thing is going to get dull, but with the knowledge of Rachel Bilson’s imminent arrival that’s easy to let go.

The spy plot was pretty weak. I know there’s only so much this show can do on a budgetary level, but I’d expect something better than a diamond in a plain white room, endless pathetic goons and a hairy drug dealer. Obviously the writers are more concerned with the core characters than constant killer villains, which is only right. I’d just prefer the baddies to be vaguely menacing as well as sources of fun. Also, I like Beckman and Graham, Sarah and Casey’s superiors – could we have a bit more of them? I like the idea of them as an older version of Sarah and Casey. Perhaps they could show up outside of a computer screen? Just a thought.

But the biggest problem with ‘Chuck versus the Wookie’ has to be the lack of Casey and Ellie. Casey was around, and had a few funny moments, but in many scenes between Chuck and Sarah I couldn't help feeling he should be there, if only to undermine their drama with a sarcastic comment. Ellie, meanwhile, is the show’s human centre, and therefore not an episode should go by when she doesn’t get something to do. Her and Captain Awesome. (How amusing to think that those two are the only stable couple in the show!)

The weaknesses are somewhat made up for by the final scene. Chuck goes to see Sarah to apologise, but pleads almost desperately for her to tell him something, anything about herself that's true. It’s a touching scene and Levi’s finest moment yet. Then, as soon as he is out of earshot, Sarah whispers to herself that her middle name is Lisa. On a show that so far has been oriented more towards action and laughs than characters, it’s a disarmingly sweet moment that made me very hopeful for Chuck’s long-term future.

1 comment:

John said...

Who cares about the "B" plot? Corrina was so hot she deserved to be in every scene...who is that incredible woman, anyway?