Thursday, November 15, 2007

“Casey, your jaw was chiselled by Michelangelo himself.”: Chuck

I am more and more inclined to agree with Sepinwall's declaration that the saddest casualty of the writer’s strike is going to the increasingly fantastic Chuck. This week’s episode, ‘Chuck versus The Truth,’ continued the streak of really exemplary instalments this show has been producing. Also, Rachel Bilson! She alone would make even the worst of shows instantly perk up.

Bilson is playing Lou, a customer of Chuck’s who works at a nearby deli. She calms herself by thinking about sandwiches, and when Chuck fixes something for her she names a sandwich after him. So, yeah, she’s pretty much perfect for Chuck. Bilson and Levi have great chemistry right off the bat, if not quite on the same level as Summer and Seth (I know that’s a completely unfair comparison, but I can’t help making it). Lou presents a problem in Chuck’s fake relationship with Sarah, which is just beginning to fall apart at the seems. On an amusing double-date with Ellie and Awesome, they are questioned about their clearly non-existent sex life. In attempting to fix the predicament, Sarah oversteps some boundaries and Chuck (completely fairly) decides that he wants out of their fake relationship.

This storyline is cleverly resolved when Chuck, Sarah and Casey are all infected by a poison/truth serum, an otherwise hilarious sequence. Chuck takes the opportunity to ask if Sarah could ever truly like him, and she responds with a negative. Thus Chuck goes after Lou, and the story concludes with them getting together. Hold on though – Sarah was trained to resist the effects of the poison! Predictably it may be, but good drama it is too. I really like where this triangle is going.

This week Ellie gets caught up in Chuck’s spy business, which was bound to happen eventually – I expect Morgan’s next. When the evil Kevin Weisman off Alias (suitably creepy) sees her treating the guy he was using to get government codes, he doses her with the same poison/truth serum. This results in Ellie going on a rampage of truth-telling, first at poor Awesome (usually unflappable, but here very much flapped) and then briefly at Chuck (who kinda does need a haircut) before collapsing. The threat to Ellie’s life adds genuinely alarming stakes to the story, so I felt cheated when the villain turned out to be kind of a loser. It did provide that great moment between Chuck and Awesome when Chuck calls him by his real name, Devon.

There was also a sidelined Buy More sub-plot which seemed to exist entirely to get Harry Tang out of the picture, as presumably C.S. Lee was too busy on Dexter. I’m not too broken up about it really, as I never found the character very funny. Again though, it provided a great moment when Big Mike admitted he had been cheating with Tang’s wife for months: “I will forever dream about the Lady Tang.”

Finally, choice Casey moment of the week: in response to Chuck asking how many people can say they’ve said the lives of innocent people, Casey mutters to himself “Courageous and honourable members of the United States Military.” I’m not sure why, but that has me laughing just thinking about it.


Carrie said...

You know what I love about this show? Chuck is obviously a bit of a nerd, but he's being played by the definitely dreamy Zachary Levi. On most shows, they would insult the audience by making Chuck more unattractive than he is, or mentioning his nerdiness all of the time in a serious way as if to "tell" us how nerdy he was. Here, they allow a beautiful and quirky girl like Rachel Bilson to like him immediately and embrace that, while Chuck is definitely a nerd, he is a tall and dreamy nerd that girls would fall for. They're hitting just the right line there, and it's nice.

Also, Kevin Weisman as a former Olympic gymnast turned secret-seller who uses deadly truth serum in his quest? Awesome.

If this show dies because of the strike I am going to be very disappointed.

Myles said...

Have faith, Carrie: of all of NBC's shows, Chuck has the right combination of decent ratings, decent buzz and creative consistency. Journeyman lacks the ratings, Life lacks the buzz (Although I've heard enough good things I might view a catchup as a strike activity), and Bionic Woman lacks the creative consistency. Since I don't foresee NBC washing away their entire lineup, Chuck seems the likely victor.

Plus, I need more Rachel Bilson. Was able to see the commercials for next week (Which are way too spoilery, damnit), and am interested to see where they're headed.