CHUCK “Chuck Versus The Zoom” Review

CHUCK “Chuck Versus the Zoom” Season 5 Episode 1 – Chuck returns for its final season and this first episode mainly involves sorting out the three major storylines left dangling at the end of last season: Chuck and co leave the CIA and re-establish themselves as mercenaries; Volkoff leaves the Chuck gang a huge fortune and Morgan becomes the new Intersect.

Morgan becoming the new Intersect was obviously a way for the writers to give him the purpose he so sorely lacked every time they forced him to participate in a mission. After watching how the directors/writers and most of all Joshua Gomez dealt with the Intersect plot, I have a newfound respect for Zachary Levi given just how easy he made everything look, from the basic flashes to the fight sequences to the confidence he imbued in the various dances, he brought a charm and awkward elegance to Chuck under the influence of the Intersect which Gomez, unfortunately, does not. His big intro involved climbing through a pool and making Scarlett Johansson-in-Iron Man 2-esque beauty poses while the camera moved behind a pillar in order to hide his stunt double’s face. Later he had to dance, which really entailed looking gleeful while Sarah did all the work.

The more interesting aspect of the Intersect storyline is the sudden stirrings in Chuck. The Intersect, to Chuck, is like an addiction of the most amazing drug ever. The only side effects were some neurological damage and some assassination attempts, but other than that it was a superchip into all of human invention, from people to machines to kung fu. Watching him suddenly going cold turkey is far more interesting than watching Morgan rehash what we’ve already seen Chuck do, and better. Plus, anything that brings Ellie down into Castle to have a super-amazing emotional moment with Chuck is fan-freaking-tastic.

On the other hand, the financial woes of Carmichael Industries does give the series a bit of momentum, and it grounds it in a weird sort of way, providing very real stakes for the future of a team we’ve come to love. Plus, it ties in the Buy More with the spies so perhaps the Buy More will become more than product placement and Jeffster mania.

The reason why Chuck has kept me hooked for so long, despite so many flaws, is the central relationship between Chuck and Sarah. In my head, it always plays out in a far more egalitarian way than it does on screen. You’ll never see Chuck in boxers, flexing his abs, wind blowing in his face. Nor will you ever see Chuck leave a building full of goons, jump into a van and say, rather pathetically, “We can’t leave her!” after Sarah declares that she loves him as she’s captured/killed by the enemy. No. You’d see Chuck fight through a hallway of twenty guards, lose, but he’d still fight. Sarah, who, now that Chuck no longer has the Intersect must be the better fighter of the two, runs, because it’s what the writers need her character to do, and that kills me. When they’re at totally equal footing, they’re fantastic. Not when Chuck’s sneaking around trying to buy her a ridiculous house, but rather when she’s telling him about the dream house she had since she was a little girl.

For me, one of the more interesting questions Chuck‘s new design puts forth regards the ethical consequences of privatizing a team of elite spies, privy to information most security agencies working for nations do not have. Just something interesting to think about. Before, Chuck & Co could put their hands over their hearts and say “I’m doing this for America!” so they have the old patriotism motive behind them. Will the show address the moral issues arising from essentially turning its main characters into mercenaries? It’s not important to most, but for me it’s a particularly interesting quandary.

Nothing has made me want to pick up a hatchet and go all Carrie Nation on a show more than the scene with Sarah in the lingerie.

I know I’m not the biggest Morgan fan, but his little hand thing with Sarah was pretty awesome.

Speaking of Awesome, there was none today. So…hopefully that will be fixed and we’ll get a full episode devoted to Ellie and Awesome just being the best couple on television.

I’m glad that Chuck is back, though this wasn’t the best episode – it was less jumping into the deep end and more sliding your foot in, waiting for the water to get warm before you’re excited enough to jump.

What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments below.