Hos N Bros

Hos N Bros
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Chuck vs. the Living Dead: Thoughts from a Ho

Entering the final stretch of the season, the stakes have been raised.  I skipped reviewing last week’s episode* and it worked out as the episode served as the stage setter for this episode as well as the season finale.  
So what did I think of LeFrankin’s (Rafe Judkins & Lauren LeFranc’s names combined – don’t worry, you’ll catch on) 3rd episode “Chuck versus the Living Dead?” Well I thought it was okay, I did not really love it nor did I think it was anywhere near the realm of the  pre-season finale episode that Colonel was (but really what can compare?), but it definitely threw me for a loop and got my blood pumping towards the end. 
* Few sentence review: Hysterical episode that was more of a set-up episode than anything and failed to do Anna justice.  Seriously that girl is kick-ass and should have been portrayed as such.

This episode was both a step forward and a step back,but it was hampered by other aspects that just didn’t work for me.  Let’s take a look at the steps forward first.

Papa B is back!  Scott Bakula returned as Chuck’s father and I don’t think anyone could play the role more perfectly.  Bakula has the neurotic and paranoid nature down so well while at the same time exuding the father’s love for his family.  It warmed by heart when the family was together and talking about old memories.

Also where the previous episodes have focused on how far Chuck and Sarah have come, this one gives a glimpse of how much change has occurred in other relationships.  Casey telling Chuck he’d watch over Ellie shows just how close these two have become and what they mean to each other.  It seems only a short while ago Casey was willing to kill Chuck and then go out for pancakes, or at least throw him in a bunker and then go out for pancakes.  Now it is Semper Fi all the way.  Morgan’s perspective on Ellie also has shifted.  Before he used to be the creeper who was one step away from building a shrine made out of Ellie’s hair.  Now, rather than continuing being delusional, Morgan supports Ellie’s marriage and acts as a person of support.  In general Morgan’s character has made giant strides (and Josh Gomez has been brilliant) and I could not be happier.

Another plus for me was the fact that it once again affirmed why Chuck decided to download the Intersect 2.0 in the first place.  We learned in Three Words why Chuck did it but as the season went on I felt that the initial noble reasons for becoming a spy were lost or forgotten.  Chuck was meant to be a spy because he is the hero, and it was nice to hear that again.

Jeffster, or should I say Jeff and -ster.  When are they not good?  I probably died a little with Jeff and the vocalizer (Is Jeff the next T-Pain?).  The comedic chemistry that Scott Krinsky and Vik Sahay have is just so great and they were cleverly used to not make the whole episode so dramatic.  I think I’d die if Jeffster ever really did break up, maybe even go on hunger strike.  I will say, Jeffster + “Rain” = Jeffster is going places.  JAlso I’d pay good money to see Lester wear that “Rain” outfit with those 6-year-old girl hips.

Also Papa B thinking Sarah has an intersect because she is so badass was awesome.  No Mr. Bartowski, being able to perfectly throw axes is just one of the reasons we love Sarah.

However, one of the problems with the episode was the lack of truth-telling that seemed to be a theme for the episode.  Sure I knew that Ellie still would be being tricked by the Ring* and continue sneaking around so that didn’t bother me. 

Chuck not telling Sarah about Shaw also didn’t bother me as I sort of get why he’d wait to tell her (and it gave me the Sarah/Morgan scene). What irked me was the fact that Chuck continued to lie to Sarah about his condition.  It bothers me because I had hoped by this point Chuck and Sarah would understand the importance of open communication.  They should have learned this from past events such as Mauser, etc. but recently, as in the past episode, they had a big lesson in telling each other things.  Why can they never learn!? 
Truly disappointing was the moment where Sarah gave Chuck her CIA will. Chuck told Sarah that nothing was going to happen to either of them. All I could think in the back on my mind was “Really?” 
I can get past all these aspects but still I’m disappointed as I thought Chuck as a character was better or more mature than this. 
* This has been a boring story line in terms of the characters.  In addition to not enjoying Ellie getting duped, Justin has been a pretty boring villain and Ellie has really done nothing with the storyline.  Yes, it is a means to an end and I am definitely a fan of Ellie finding out the truth.  Hopefully, that will be some good material for Sarah Lancaster. 

The other controversial (and bigger) issue for me was Shaw.  After last week when Shaw being alive became a possibility, I rolled my eyes.  It is hard for me to believe that the CIA would not retrieve Shaw’s body and check it. (Really? Just leaving it in the river for a Frenchman to find?)*.  In the beginning of the episode we see the even the possibility of Shaw being alive cause a stir and results in various situations, the biggest being Casey’s interrogation.  It once again brought to surface the flawed and unsuccessful pairing of Shaw and Sarah.  They were never truly believable as couple to me, they weren’t well portrayed and this scene tried to sell it a little too hard.  Couples massages, really?   The subject of Sarah wearing the earrings is also thorny; I’m in the camp of “Why would she wear the earrings of a guy who tried to kill her and make her relive her worst memory ever?”  And there in lies my biggest issue.  The whole scene carried on as if Shaw had never done these things but instead was just an ex of Sarah’s.  Personally, you replace Shaw with Bryce and the scenario would have worked perfectly, but with Shaw it just didn’t make sense to me.
*My belief is that had Season 3 ended with the “Other Guy” Shaw wouldn’t be back in Season 4 and hence remained dead.  Don’t know if this is true or not.

The end to me was the shocker.  The episode had convinced me that Shaw really wasn’t alive and I could rest easy.  However, the end comes and who do you see uploading an Intersect, Shaw himself. *  I’m torn about this. On one hand, it really doesn’t make sense that he’d be alive and I sort of hate him.  However, I really liked Shaw (and Brandon Routh) as a villain.  I would have been so much happier with him as the villain over the Ring.  Sarah killing Shaw’s wife thus making Shaw seek revenge and go from hero to villain could have been explored more and happened sooner.  This was a missed opportunity; it should have been the focus.  In this scenario you don’t even need Sarah to be dating Shaw, just trust him.  However, that is neither here nor there and I suppose I’ll just have to wait to see how it all goes down.  It’ll be interesting to see how the Intersect affects Shaw, the complete opposite of Chuck

Some final thoughts:

·      Sarah interrogating Morgan was a great scene.  You don’t see these two paired together too often and I love it when they are.  Their dynamic is great, the girlfriend and the best friend and I really wish they “square off” for more comedic scenes in the future.

·      Could Awesome be more awesome?  I’m thinking no as he seems to be the perfect guy.  I’m wondering if he’ll think Ellie is cheating on him in the finale and get depressed.  I say this because of a certain photo that was tweeted so long ago.  I guess we’ll find out.

·      Although he doesn’t have as fancy of tools, Papa B is right up there with Tony Stark with his inventions.  I’m a fan of them teaming up to make an Iron Man Intersect, think about it.

·      Sarah must have special powers, as no one she has been with seems to die the first time around.  Good news for Chuck.

·      What happened to the Orange Orange?  I feel like I never see Sarah in her OO outfit anymore.  Though I have to say Yvonne did look fantastic in that skirt, I’m sure everyone else (especially the boys) agrees.

·      Best Line: “Dad! Knife. Face. What if you were wrong?” “I’m never wrong” – Not only did this scene crack me up but I just love squeamish, freaked out Chuck.  All that was missing was a girlish scream.

So what did you think of the episode?  Were you happy with the setup for the finale or hoping for something else?

Rules of Commenting:
  1.  Be Nice.
  2. No throwing knives at faces.


  1. "Sarah must have special powers,
    as no one she has been with
    seems to die the first time
    around. Good news for Chuck."

    totally made me LOL!

    I have been wondering about the orange2x too...Haven't seen that for a while...

  2. My thoughts:
    1. Completely agree on the awesomeness of Bakula and also how the relationships have been transformed. Well said. Also, the Sarah having the Intersect scene was great. That's all her lol.

    2. Jeffster was awesome. I loved the b plot and where that's potentially going.

    3. On the lying, I'll slightly disagree. On the whole I agree with you. The lying is getting old and is really not helpful and mainly serves to make me disappointed in the characters. Actually one of my biggest problems with this episode was Chuck's lying to his dad. He's potentially dying and he's lying to the one person that is most likely able to save him. Why in the world would you do that??? This also leads into my second comment on the lying. Chuck is lying to Sarah about his condition, I think, so he can find a fix without worrying her. That I get. But, again, why lie to Papa B when he's likely the source of said fix?!? I'll disagree with you on the will scene. I thought that was done very well. He's being a protective boyfriend. What he said is exactly what he needs to say. Does he know they'll be ok? No. We never do. But it's not really lying as much as reassurance to a loved one.

    4. On Shaw…did you really doubt he was alive? I mean he fell into a river! Even Morgan picked up on that lol. I'll definitely agree that this episode highlighted how poorly the Shaw/Sarah story was written. It's almost Lauren Reed in Alias bad. I think this episode shows the indecision and fear in the writer's room. Notice that they only tried to give real definition to the S/S pairing after Chuck and Sarah were solidly together. The writers needed to commit one way or the other on what S/S were going to be from the beginning instead of giving mixed signals. The results were bad writing and a bad character. Also, I'd agree the creepiness factor with the earrings is one point of contention I have with that bit, though a lot of it is going to be a guys/girls issue on how we see things.

    4b. One positive for giving more definition to the Shaw/Sarah pairing? Well for one we know it wasn't an emotional connection from Sarah, so, I think it serves to give a little bit of explanation of Sarah's motivations through the course of the season. The only issue I had with Honeymooners was Sarah's wanting to be a spy. At the time that seemed to come out of nowhere. All season she'd been wrestling with wanting to be normal, and that really started in Ring. At the beginning of the season my spec had been that the PLIs would serve to help balance Chuck and Sarah out, help Chuck embrace normality more, and Sarah embrace spylife more. This could be an effort by LeFranc and Judkins to try and get back to that. Even though the relationship meant nothing emotionally, the fact it was there helped Sarah become more invested in the spylife once again. And it's somewhat of a callback to her response in the "I love you Sarah Walker" scene in American Hero. A noble effort on L and J's part, but they're hampered by the poor mapping of Shaw and Sarah in previous episodes.

    5. I definitely hate Shaw…but to say it doesn't make sense that he's alive? That's a stretch for any spy show, let alone Chuck.

    6. Loved the Morgan/Sarah scene. She looked fantastic. No wonder Morgan broke.

    7. Awesome is awesome. And he drinks Shiner. Just when you think he can't get more awesome…

    8. Papa B and Tony Stark? That's a mind-blowing proposition!

  3. Andrew - To the point of the lying for reassurance sake I totally get it just a little tired of it. I know he is just looking out for her but keeping things never works out in TV. I do really like the scene when I look at it from the boyfriend perspective and it was very tender. I sound like I hate it in my review a lot more than I actually do, I swear!

    As for Shaw, I said realistically it didn't make sense that Shaw was alive, in the world of Chuck I get it could happen... I mean Bryce shouldn't have technically come back either lol. I do love Shaw as a villain as he plays it so well.

    I really like your perspective on the S/S. I can see the attempts made and the benefits of that scene (and I did like it for comedy purposes) in terms of closure. Chuck banging his head on the table was worth it but as we both agree there was still the fallout from S/S affecting it. That is why I said that scene happening with someone like Bryce would have gone smoother for the audience.

    Also I had the same issue with Honeymooners as you did, Sarah wanting to be a spy was confusing to me. Glad someone else felt the same way :)

  4. Emily,
    Yeah I think we're pretty much in agreement on the lying. Definitely old and serves no purpose but to create tension and annoy the audience :). I just didn't think that one scene was lying.

    lol...yeah I'm hopeful that Shaw's rebirth can redeem him, in an evil, conniving villain sort of way.

    I didn't like that scene at all. Yes the head banging was funny. Still didn't enjoy it. It broke down my rationalizations of the reality of Shaw/Sarah lol. I'm just attempting now to give it a higher purpose and some redemption in my eyes lol. With Bryce I wouldn't have minded the scene, but it also might not have explained Sarah's motivations like I'm proposing.

    No you're definitely not alone. One of my first rewatches was specifically to figure out if I missed something that would hint at her desire to be a spy.

  5. Given the big deal they made of it in this episode, could Chuck's lying be a side effect of the Intersect? And if Shaw isn't 'Shaw', who could it be? I hope they haven't decided to revive a long dead idea for that one.