CHUCK “Chuck Versus the Anniversary” Review

Chuck - (NBC) - Season 4 Episode 1 "Chuck Versus the Anniversary"

CHUCK is back. Last season Chuck and Ellie witnessed the murder of their father; Chuck promised Ellie he would retire from the spy game, which was before he discovered his father’s underground lair dedicated to finding his mother who not only is alive: she is also a spy.

The fourth season premiere, ‘Chuck versus The Anniversary’ found Chuck and Morgan searching the globe for his mother whilst Sarah (who thinks Chuck has fully given up on spying) and Casey partner up to take down some of the usual baddies.

The main plot of the episode involved capturing an EMP generator which fries every electric circuit within three clicks (or something) from the Russians; this was done swiftly enough, but later Sarah and Casey themselves are captured by the Russians and it’s up to Chuck to save them. Russians make such good villains. They have the accent, the weather, the body and, well, the villainy. Remember Alexander Litvinenko? The Russians could barely muster up a “meh” in their defence of the poisoning accusations.

The humor was a hit and miss in this episode with some of it being much too quirky for its own good, like the repo man scenario or Sarah texting Morgan (who had Chuck’s phone) with her toe. If I can lift a phone off the floor with my toes, then it’s just stupid that Sarah could not, especially as it was clearly just a way to film Yvonne Strahovski’s outstretched leg which led to some awkward camera angles. There is an indefinable line between being sexy (Sarah’s opening scene in this episode, a hilarious parody of spy movies as she straps knives to her thigh) and being sexist and I fear Chuck flirted with the line, if not blatantly crossed it around the tight mini skirt.

Still, there was more to like than dislike in this episode. Linda Hamilton as Chuck’s mother was an interesting choice (she had little to do in this episode, though the opening flashback scene was a surprisingly warm moment from Frost) and Chuck’s confidence adds a welcome dimension to his character.

Less welcome and more irritating are Chuck’s secrets and his need to hold them. If Chuck’s trust issues were a character flaw I would be far more forgiving, but the fact that the writers feel the need to give him weak reasons to keep these important things hidden from his family and loved ones is just exasperating: Sarah and Casey will stop me, I promised Ellie, Ellie is pregnant and her happiness cannot be undone for the sake of the truth etc. If I were Ellie and I found out my brother did not disclose that not only was my mother alive and well, she was a spy and my father had spent his life-indeed, at the cost of spending time with his children-searching for her until he was murdered in front of these two children, there is no question about it, I would beat him senseless.

I know it sounds otherwise, but I actually did really enjoy this episode. A standard Chuck episode is an entertaining hour of television. But in truth, the premiere lacked some Awesome, and I’m not just talking about the character. The third season finale was epic; everything was turned on its head. Within the space of one episode, everything is back to normal. Chuck is lying to his loved ones (and if he tells Awesome about his mother before Ellie I’ll scream), he’s back working for the CIA, he’s working at the Buy More. Essentially the writers swapped the father with the mother and called it a day. Beckman’s appearance as the head of the newly repaired, spy-friendly Buy More was a bit of an eyebrow raiser. At least Sarah and Chuck are still together. Their relationship is one of the best parts of the show, and one of the most original. Countless shows have tanked by simply breaking the ‘will they won’t they get together’ plot. Chuck stands with a pretty small collection of shows that were successful (and better) after the main characters got together.

What did you think of this episode of Chuck? Leave your comments below!

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