A review of tonight’s “Chuck” coming up just as soon as I’m wearing a fake dreadlocked ski hat…
“Things never turn out well when you say ‘One last mission.'” -Chuck
“Is that just because of some stupid movie?” -Sarah
“Yes!” -Chuck & Morgan
“Never say ‘One last mission.'” -Casey
Well, so much for these final episodes being a bunch of self-contained, light adventures where everybody gets a happy ending, eh?
“Chuck vs. the Bo” actually started out in that vein, with Chuck and Sarah trying to refashion Carmichael Industries into a kinder, gentler operation focusing on cyber-terrorism and other computer crimes. Even the emergence of a bit of unfinished business from Morgan’s brief stint as the Intersect seemed a means of getting closure on a character – or, rather, an alternate version of a character(*) – and had a lot of comic material involving Bo Derek and the men all hilariously invoking the “one last mission” rule. And that was all well and good, particularly the joy Sarah took in making fun of Chuck’s childhood crush on the “10” star.
(*) And I should note that the flashbacks did a better job with Morgan’s Intersect’ed d-baggery than the show did while he had those abilities in the present tense. The scene where Morgan stole the glasses and escaped from Quinn, for instance, effectively shuffled between the stunt double and Josh Gomez to the point where I could believe it was Morgan doing all those things.
But then we came to the closing minutes, and things took a very dark turn, with Quinn abducting Chuck, Sarah and Casey badly outnumbered in an ambush that seemed destined to have them go down fighting like Butch and Sundance (easy to tell which is which in that analogy), until a desperate Sarah puts on the Intersect glasses…
… proving that while your everyday Sarah Walker may be awesome physically, a Sarah with the Intersect is super-mega-jumbo awesome.
Given how many ridiculous physical feats the show has let Sarah accomplish over the years (or even two weeks ago with her spotlight in “Chuck vs. the Baby”), it would seem like a hard thing to make her seem genuinely superhuman in that closing sequence, but damn if the stunt team and Yvonne Strahovski didn’t pull it off.
We all assumed that Chuck would get the Intersect back before the end of the series, and maybe he will – we’ve seen the thing turn out badly for everyone but Chuck so many times that it’s hard to imagine Sarah keeping it for very long – but Sarah getting it instead at the moment was an unexpected delight, a great capper to this episode, a strong set-up for the home stretch and just something I didn’t know I wanted to see and now want to see a whole lot of before the show ends.
Sarah + Intersect = win. Simple math.
Some other thoughts:
* For all that Casey wants to “kick the creepy cousin out of the family” and ditch the Buy More, Smart Jeff repeatedly outmaneuvered him, “Memento”-style for much of the episode. I do wonder if that final scene with Jeff, Lester and Big Mike heading off to Vegas (not to be confused with Vecas) was a farewell to those three characters while the final episodes focus on the spies (and the Awesomes), or if everyone will wind up back in Burbank for the end of the series. I suspect it’s the latter – can’t imagine Fedak and Schwartz not throwing in one last Jeffster! performance – but just in case, it’s been a pleasure to watch those three guys over the last five years.
* Funny Sarah only made occasional appearances in the show’s earlier years, but it feels like we’ve been getting a lot of her these last few weeks, and here the show had a lot of fun with Sarah making fun of Chuck’s feelings for Bo Derek – and, for that matter, with Chuck and Morgan’s reaction to the still-got-it Derek.
* Since I’m in town for press tour, I went over to the Warner Bros. lot to do a trip down memory lane interview with Fedak and Schwartz that will run, likely in a few pieces, the week of the finale. Midway through the afternoon, Fedak and I went over to Stage 17, which housed the Buy More set for the last five years. Filming wrapped weeks ago, and the entire set has been dismantled. Now it’s just a large, empty space where this is the only evidence it once housed a failing big box electronics store. Very strange.
* This week in “Chuck” music: “The Weight,” by The Band (Jeff and Lester wake up in the car, repeatedly), “Don’t Stop (Color On The Walls)” by Foster The People (Bo Derek hits on Morgan, to Chuck and Morgan’s amazement), “No Siesta” by MC Juan (Jeffster spy on Morgan and Bo Derek) and “Rock the House” by The Deekompressors (Bo Derek tells Morgan their tryst was meaningless).
What did everybody else think?
Alan Sepinwall may be reached at email@example.com