Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chuck-"Chuck vs the Push Mix"

Chuck tries to destroy Volkoff's Hydra computer. Credit: NBC
My review of the best episode of Chuck this season is after the jump.

"Awesome"-Captain Awesome

That word sums up this episode. The show was firing on all cylinders (as it normally does in finale-like episodes) and this episode (to put it lightly) was very, very good.

As most of you probably know, the episode was structured to be the season or series finale. The show was originally given an order for 13 episodes and the writers planned an arc for those episodes. (The order was since extended to 24, so there's 11 more episodes of Chuck this year.) Because of this the episode offered resolution to many of the ongoing arcs. We had Volkoff arrested, Casey and Alex connecting, and Clara Woodcomb's birth.

The major plotline of the episode was the conclusion to Alexi Volkoff's arc. The show has been boiling to this point for the season and the payoff in this episode was fantastic. The story was very well written by Rafe Judkins and Lauren LeFranc (who have, at this point, proven themselves as great writers for the show) and well performed by the cast of actors. 

Linda Hamilton continued to do great work as Mama Bartowski. She and the writers made the character who was very interesting. Her actions in the episode were convincing and realistic. And it was great to see the character at the birth of her granddaughter. She was very, very good playing her character and it will be great to (SPOILER) See her come back in future episodes as she bonds with her family. (End Spoiler)

The one person who has made the arc as good as it was Timothy Dalton. He made the story arc as Volkoff, giving a tour de force performance. He was the best villain that the show has ever had (and that's a high standard). He played the psychotic character so very well. His parts of episodes were the parts that I looked forward towards. The confrontation at the end of the episode was as good as it was because of the acting by Zachary Levi and Dalton (and of course, Judkins and LeFranc's writing). The tension was hyped up in that scene because of the two men in the room. It was great payoff for the arc.

It was also good that Volkoff was arrested, not killed. The show knew better then to kill off their best villain.

The episode also gave great material to Josh Gomez and his character Morgan. The character has grown from incompetent in the spy game to having the ability to avoid laser beams. This is a big step for the character and it was a big step that provided for a lot of laughs. The character is still being used as comic relief and it's working.

The episode also featured Casey and Alex bonding. This provided some very, very good moments. The talks that the two had were fantastic. Adam Baldwin has done a great job in the past couple of episodes in showing Casey's emotional growth during this storyline. Even though he has largely been sidelined and has given mostly motivational speeches he has been doing great work.

The episode also featured the birth of Ellie's baby, Clara Woodcomb. The plot originally provided comic relief with Awesome actions and reactions to what was happening but the comedy had a human center.  Even though Awesome part was used for comedy, its center was his fear of becoming a father, a fear that didn't seem to go away until he was holding Clara in his arms. Ellie showed no worry about becoming a mother (she even took a shower after her water broke). This did seem somewhat uncharacteristic and it didn't quite work but I still enjoyed this part of the episode. If for no other reason then the birth scene was fantastic. (*)

(*) The last ten minutes of the episode did live up to the promise form Josh Schwartz that they would be the best Chuck of all time. 

Part of what made it good was Jeffster! singing Push it during the birth scene. I was watching this in my math class and was getting looks from how hard I was laughing. The scene was predictable but very hysterical (although the hands-down best Jeffster! moment is still the wedding). 

The birth scene provided a great ending to a great episode. And at the very end we got a quiet, simple proposal. That was a great moment to end the episode on and good closure to the story arc.

Overall, an awesome episode of Chuck.

What did everyone else think?

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