CHUCK: CHUCK Versus the Cubic Z - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

CHUCK: CHUCK Versus the Cubic Z

October 5, 2010 by  

A cubic zirconia is like a Monet – from far away, it’s okay, but up close, it’s a big old mess (thanks, Cher Horowitz). That pretty much sums up my thoughts on last night’s “Chuck Versus the Cubic Z”. From a distance, it had all the makings of a great episode — Steve Austin and Nicole Richie returning as memorable baddies Hugo Panzer and Heather Chandler, the Buy Morons facing a video game crisis, Chuck and Sarah taking another step forward in their relationship — It should have all come together in a stellar hour, but some short cuts were taken in the storytelling and we ended up with an ep that felt like an imitation of the real thing.

Let’s discuss…

By now I think we all expect Sarah and Chuck’s romantic relationship to weave its way into the intersecting storylines. Dangerous missions be damned — if Chuck is feeling insecure about his lady, then you can count on him bringing it up at the most inappropriate times. Lately Sarah has had a hard time separating her spy life from her love life too. And just last week, I was applauding the humor that resulted from Sarah’s emotional reactions while on mission in Milan, so it’s not like I’m totally anti when it comes to the crossover. But sometimes the execution works and other times, like last night, it feels forced and all consuming.

Despite seeing familiar faces from the past and some really great action sequences, I couldn’t quite get past the dominance of Chuck and Sarah’s romantic woes. The writers tried to coerce the viewers into believing that Heather Chandler and Sarah Walker were one in the same when it comes to putting the job before love. Throughout the episode, Heather was used to poke and prod Sarah, pushing her to question whether or not she had really changed all the much. I guess we were supposed to wonder, along with Sarah, if in fact she was she ready for a real relationship with Chuck. But it never quite worked. We’ve already seen Sarah clear too many emotional hurdles in order to commit herself fully to Chuck, so for Heather to show up and rattle Sarah felt contrived and a bit lazy. If the writers insist on having Chuck and Sarah’s relationship at the forefront of the show, then it needs to be treated with a bit more respect. This two steps forward, one step back thing has been done.

As for that final scene — Chuck vs. the ring vs. Sarah — I actually thought it was well played. Yvonne Strahovski pulled off Sarah’s reaction beautifully. When Sarah saw Chuck, down on his knee, holding up a ring, it seemed as if her entire life flashed before her eyes (I guess now she knows what Chuck goes through all the time) and, although she was probably confused and overwhelmed, it seemed as if Sarah was almost a bit excited too. Am I the only one who saw that? Hello, cliffhanger.

Now, while the main story played itself out in the confines of Castle, the B-story was happening just above in the Buy More. Lester, Jeff, Big Mike and Morgan were all back at their rightful posts and ready to take on an excited mob of anxious gamers. Usually a Buy More-heavy storyline offers the comedic relief for the episode, but I don’t think it delivered tonight. It did however serve its purpose in reintroducing Big Mike back into the Buy More family. And with his tazer, no less. So now Morgan is the manager with his future step-dad, Big Mike, as his number two. It works, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss General Beckman in her grey BM suit.

Once again, Casey played second fiddle to Chuck and Sarah’s adventures. Here’s to hoping that Adam Baldwin has a big Casey-centric episode coming up soon because he deserves more screen time than he’s had these past two episodes.

Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the overarching quest to find Mama Bartowski moved a tiny bit forward this week. Heather Chandler revealed that Frost kept close to Volkoff. But whether it was by choice or by force has yet to be seen. Dropping these little hints along the way is a clever way to keep this particular storyline going in episodes where it’s not a dominating factor. Well done.

A few more thoughts while I try to get myself out of this CHUCK rut.

  • The brief appearance of Stacey Kiebler has confirmed my fears – the role of G.R.E.T.A. is being wasted. I thought it was just an oversight with Olivia Munn. At least Isaiah Mustafa had a little more to do last week. But now it seems like Greta only exists to facilitate random cameos. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed.
  • Nicole Richie was okay this episode. Not as good as she was during her first guest appearance, but she wasn’t distractingly bad, so I’ll take that as a win.
  • My favorite moment of the night? It’s a toss up… It’s either Chuck scaling the walls of the Buy More cage in order to escape Panzar or it’s the way he tossed himself down the ducts in pursuit of the bad guy. Whether he’s being fueled by the Intersect or not, I like confident Chuck.

But, yes, here’s to hoping that you all enjoyed this week’s CHUCK more than I did.  Though it was an off night for me, I’m not worried.  Every show has off episodes. So as long as they are back on track next week, we’re good. Until then, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Monday’s hour…

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9 Responses to “CHUCK: CHUCK Versus the Cubic Z”

  1. Sarah on October 6th, 2010 9:42 am

    I find, in hindsight, that I agree with you about this episode being a slight disappointment. That being said, I was on the edge of my seat screaming “Say yes!” in that final scene, so the writers must be doing something right.
    Kudos to the cage fight scene, reminiscent of the WWE, good shout to the two wrestling stars.

  2. Nina on October 6th, 2010 2:18 pm

    Yeah, that wasn’t the best episode … But it was nice anyway (I thought).

    The last scene, with the ring, was really great. Because Sarah’s freaking out, and you can see that at first Chuck wants to say “I just found it on the floor, don’t freak out”, but then … meh, he’s as curious to see what Sarah’s going to say as we are.

  3. Chuck Cuthbertson on October 7th, 2010 3:03 pm

    After watching it several times now, I have to say I really enjoyed this episode. Perhaps not quite as much as the first two but it had some great fight scenes in it and several funny lines.

    I think it’s time to order the back 9!!


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