Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chuck-"Chuck vs the Last Details"

Sarah and Mary share a moment on "Chuck"
Credit: NBC

My thoughts on last night's possibly penultimate episode of Chuck are after the jump.

I'm going to get this out of the way first, Chuck's ratings haven't been good. To say that they were anything but marginal (at best) is a complete lie. And that means that next Monday is a huge day for the show. Next Monday is the day of NBC's upfront presentation and the day that the season (and possibly series) finale airs. My thinking is, at least we'll know before the episode airs if it's the end. But enough about this depressing stuff because we have an amazing penultimate episode to discuss.

I should begin by saying that this episode could have been called Chuck vs. the Cliffhanger. My notes on the episode had this bullet written at least three times in that final minute: "HOLY SHIT!" While I don't believe that they would actually kill Sarah, that was still an ingenious cliffhanger. Leaving her dying on the floor is the perfect way to end the penultimate episode. It might make me very worried for the state of her well being, or the state of the wedding, but that's exactly what it's designed to do. It's designed to have us wringing our hands, waiting for next week to see what happens. And that's exactly what it did. And it helps that everyone involved was giving a fantastic performance in those moments, especially Zachary Levi. 

It helps that the ending was completely earned, because the episode surrounding that ending was so damn awesome. Even if it was a largely self-contained storyline, I felt invested in what was going on in the episode. Sometimes the mission of the week doesn't quite land with me, but the initial mission of saving Mom from Vivian was a great way to integrate personal issues into the mission, which is something that the show has struggled a lot with over the course of the season. And it helps that that was one of the best missions of the week that I've seen this season. That is mostly because of all the Star Wars references that were (not quite) hidden in there (and also Linda Hamilton doing pull ups). It was a sequence that was fun to watch.

That was great, but the second part of the mission was even better. It was a great showcase for how well Team Bartowski works together. Sending Morgan into a dangerous mission was something that the show would inevitably do eventually but I'm glad they did it when the stakes were high. That sequence was a lot of fun because it brought all the members of the team together. Chuck helped Morgan psych up for being a bad guy by singing the Imperial March was so brilliant and so funny. That was a stroke of brilliance because it reminded me of what the show is and it was something that Chuck would do in this situation. (I also loved how it played as Morgan walked into the room). Casey also got to be really badass and shoot bad guys through a wall! that was a really cool scene, mostly because of Adam Baldwin's performance when he didn't hear from Morgan.

Some other thoughts:

  • I knew that Linda Hamilton was a great actress but her speech at the rehearsal dinner solidified that fact in my mind. That was a fantastic speech that almost moved me to tears.
  • A lot of people aren't convinced by Vivian as a villain, but she's really not a villain, she's just a really pissed off woman who happens to hate Chuck and want to kill people. If I think of her like that, I'm convinced of her role in the show.
  • If I have one regret about the Vivan plotline, it's that Ray Wise wasn't used to his potential.
  • Boy was that rehearsal scene amazing! It was a beautiful last ten minutes where every single thing the scene worked. Everything from the performances, to the video, to the speech, to the cliffhanger was amazing.
  • Some great emotional material for Adam Baldwin this week, he's being mean because he cares.
  • That is how you do a Jeffster plotline. That was a great plotline for Jeffster, amateur film-makers. 
  • Ellie kisses Jeff! Do I need to say anything more?
  • Josh Gomez killed it in this episode.
  • Favorite line of the episode: "Honey, it's a reference to Star Wars...oh I love you"
Chuck really knows how to do penultimate episodes, and this one was a doozie. Next week's finale should be epic.

What did everyone else think?

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