|Chuck, Sarah, and Casey discuss the mission at hand on "Chuck"|
Although parts of tonight's episode of Chuck were very, very silly, I loved this episode. It exemplified the reasons why I love Chuck, it can tell a fun story that has to do with the show's overall arc. This week the show took the story of the week as an opportunity to bring back Alexi Volkoff back to the show, while having him play into the arc with Vivian. I've been looking forward to this for the whole hiatus, so needless to say I had high expectations, and those expectations were met. This episode of Chuck was a lot of fun to watch, and mainly because it's a joy to see Timothy Dalton work on this show.
Timothy Dalton is awesome and he was the major reason why I loved this episode as much as I did. He was freaking awesome while getting to show the funny and the serious sides of the character. He got to kick ass at every single thing that he did, just like in the first half of the season. He was fantastic in everything from the opening scene in the prison, to the scene in Somalia, to the scene at the end with Linda Hamilton. I knew as soon as he said "I feel like I'm going to have some fun" that this would be very fun to watch, because of how amazing Timothy Dalton is.
Dalton was able to play up the fact that Alexi is actually being sincere, even if the writers didn't want us to believe it until the end. The strongest moments in the episode involved Dalton, like the scene in Somalia, where he runs into the compound shouting, and only asks for an apology in the end. Moments like that were both exciting and funny because of Dalton. The scene with him and Zachary Levi in the cave with the chess game was a fantastic. Volkoff questioning the necessity of living, with Chuck convincing him that he needed to live so that he won't get shot by the big guns over their heads worked really well and made a fantastic scene. He showed exactly how stiff Laura Cohan has been as Vivian(*) during the back half. The scene in the room with the killing compound was a great showcase for Dalton (he nailed Volkoff's reaction to his daughter not wanting him in his life), and only exemplified Cohan's lack of any type of inflection in this episode.
(*) I'll reserve more thoughts on Vivian until I see her arc played out. I see her as being a character like Shaw where she's not interesting until the payoff in the later episodes. I really want to like this arc, but right now I'm not into it, so I'm going to hold out and trust the writers that they've found a way to make it work.
I'm going to miss him in the future, it seems like the writers have wrapped up his arc completely. He got to make peace with Mary and them was wheeled off into the sunset. We'll miss you Alexi Volkoff.
A lot of the silliness in tonight's episode came from another plotline with Chuck and Sarah fighting about a pointless thing that gets resolved at the end. This week, Sarah wants a prenup and Chuck signs it, much to Sarah's chagrin. Quite honestly, I found this plotline to be too silly for its own good, but the scene at the end almost made it work. The scene with Chuck showing Sarah his own prenup was well done, even if I could smell the mozzarella cooking.
Another source of awesome material for the episode was the Morgan/Casey/Alex plotline. This was mainly there to set up (NBC promo spoiler) next week's meeting of Casey and Alex's mother (end NBC promo spoiler) but it was still fantastic in its own right. Adam Baldwin and Mekenna Melvin have proved that they work really well together and they had some great moments in the episode. The scene where they decide that Alex shouldn't have to lie anymore was absolutely fantastic.
Even if the Chuck/Vivian arc hasn't clicked for me yet, there's still a spy arc that's working really well right now: Ellie using Stephen Bartowski's computer. This week continued that arc well. I'm glad to see that Linda Hamilton was put to good use, trying to protect her daughter from the spy world. While she wasn't able to do this, the scenes that this brought on between Hamilton and Ellie, Beckman, and Chuck were fantastic. Although I'm not quite a fan of the continued lying between Chuck and Ellie, they did plant the seeds for what should be a strong conclusion. That seed was Ellie lying to Chuck for the first time. Hopefully this pays off very soon and isn't drawn out, because if it is, my interest could turn to anger very quickly.
Some other thoughts:
- The scene with Morgan and Casey at the breakfast table was absolutely hysterical. I would watch a bottle episode based around that scene.
- This week in Chuck product placement: Casey mentions direwolves at the breakfast table and the weapon is called "The Norseman" in reference to "Game of Thrones" and "Thor"
- I was happy to see that Robbert Duncan McNeill directed this episode, it's been awhile since he directed one.
- The Buy More crew was absent this week, but they weren't needed. There wasn't a place for them in the storyline this week.
- Loved that Chuck asked to play UNO in order to win the component, and that the Somalian compound actually had UNO. That was very funny.
Overall, Timothy Dalton and the continuation of non-Vivian story arcs make this episode of Chuck great.
What does everyone else think?