CHUCK: 'Chuck vs. The Aisle of Terror' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

CHUCK: ‘Chuck vs. The Aisle of Terror’

October 26, 2010 by  

Hey, CHUCK fans! Kath is traveling this week, so I’m covering the show in her absence, in addition to my usual SUPERNATURAL gig. And although I’m not on regular CHUCK duty, I’ve been religiously watching the show since day one, and bought five dollar footlongs along with everyone else at the end of season two, because I couldn’t bear to see one of my favorite series yanked from TV after that amazing “Chuck Fu” finale. So, now that I’ve established a bit of my history as a fan, let’s get into last night’s episode, shall we?

We open at Volkoff Industries, where a certain Dr. Wheelright has perfected a neurotoxin called Atroxium, which when inhaled, causes the victim to enter a waking nightmare state. How can you not love the casting of Robert Englund as a mad scientist for the Halloween episode? Right off the bat he was doing the Freddy Krueger thing, telling the security guard, “This is a nightmare you never wake up from” and cackling like a lunatic. Loved it.

As for Chuck himself, we pick up where we left off last week, with Chuck getting a phone call from his mom. I was listening to the TV Talk Podcast with GMMR and Ducky yesterday, and I heard Kath’s comment that she felt the initial meeting between Chuck and his mom lacked the emotional impact CHUCK fans are used to, and I have to agree.

We know Chuck, and Chuck can work himself into an emotional lather over just about anything. We also know that Chuck’s not shy about dealing with his emotions at inappropriate times –- just ask Sarah how many times she’s been asked about their relationship while she’s got a gun pointed at her, or when she’s trying to decide which wire to cut while disarming a bomb. Chuck is what some would call needy (and others might call a stage five clinger, if they were really annoyed). Now he sees his mom for the first time since he was nine-years-old and we don’t even get a single tear? Not buying it.

But Mama Bartowski has called Chuck because she’s deep undercover with Volkoff, and she wants Chuck to pose as a buyer for the Atroxium, so it doesn’t wind up in the wrong hands. My first thought when she pulled out her iPad to show the 3D image of the invention –- There’s an app for that?  Something tells me you can’t get it at the iTunes store. The question is, is Chuck’s mom for real? Sarah doesn’t seem so sure (maybe it was the gun pointing at her), but Chuck has a blind spot when it comes to his mom, and Sarah has a bit of one when it comes to Chuck, so they go with it.

Morgan Fairchild is back as Honey Woodcomb (I almost wrote Honey Awesome), who is staying with Ellie and Awesome to help them get ready for the baby — Did anyone catch her “cleaning” the countertop by waving the sponge just above the surface, and never actually touching it? Honey may be a star homemaker, but Morgan Fairchild clearly hasn’t cleaned a damn thing in her life, and it shows —  I was a little perturbed by Ellie and Devon’s disdain for the children’s dictionary she wanted to buy for Baby Awesome, because I bought the exact book for my Godson last year. Yeah, I’m THAT Godmother. I also make him listen to rock music though to make up for his parents’ adult contemporary influence, so I’m not a total buzzkill, right?

Chuck and Sarah arrange to meet Wheelright at a café to secure the Atroxium, and disguise themselves for the mission by posing as Lenscrafters models. I don’t know why they felt they both needed glasses that, while lovely, did nothing to disguise what they look like, but okay.

Things had barely begun when Mama Bartowski showed up, much to Chuck’s surprise.  Chuck’s reaction was pretty stellar – Zach Levi can always be counted on to give good face. Suddenly the tables are turned. Chuck’s mom exposes him as CIA and shoots him in the chest before fleeing with Wheelright. That was pretty hardcore – all I was thinking was did she know he was wearing a vest???

Apparently, she did. Later, she explained that when “Charles Carmichael” started looking into her life, it set off alarms with Volkoff. She needed Volkoff to think Carmichael was dead, so that Chuck and Ellie would be safe (presumably they would become liabilities if her true identity was exposed). Mind you, she explained this while pointing a gun at her son while they were alone in a car (just “keeping up appearances”), so forgive me for being suspicious.

So… I’m going to take a moment here to do a little assessment of my feelings towards Linda Hamilton as Frost/Mrs. Bartowski so far.  *Sigh*…I’m liking the casting a lot less than I thought I would and it kind of bums me out. I can’t tell yet if it’s the way she’s portraying the character or the way the scenes are written that are causing my issues, but I think it’s a combination. For most of the episode, we were supposed to think she was a good guy, or at least pretending to be one. So why not show some emotion with her son? Her lack of momitude made me question her motives right from the start.

I feel like we got a much better sense of that family connection and pining for lost time in past seasons in scenes with Chuck and his dad. Granted, those characters were together longer before spyworld took over and separated them, but isn’t that all the more reason for some tears and hugs last night? Given what the ending leads us to believe about Mrs. Bartowski and her rogue ways, this could explain the lack of emotion, but the ending would have come as more of a shock if she’d seemed like a loving, caring mom at the start.

The Buy More storyline had its moments. Jeff and Lester’s Aisle of Terror was…strange. I appreciated the creativity and effort to go above and beyond the typical Halloween trappings, so bonus points for that. Also, is it just me or did we learn that redheaded employee’s name for the first time? Did we already know that he’s a Fernando?

Of course, the spy world can’t spend any time in Castle without crashing the Buy More at some point. Through a series of events, Chuck and Wheelright end up stumbling through the store, both dosed with Atroxium, but only Chuck is affected. The toxin brings all of your biggest fears to life, and what does Chuck see? His mother, killing Sarah. Is this a bit of foreshadowing for later in the season? I think trying to kill the love of his life is just about the only thing that would make Chuck turn on his mom for good.

Jeffster’s creation of course ended up playing into the spy storyline in an awesome way. Wheelright may be immune to the toxin he created, but he IS a highly disturbed person, and so Jeff’s montage of images (hilariously narrated by Chuck) have the desired effect and incapacitate him. Who knew a picture of otters could be so helpful?

I can’t end this recap without discussing my current favorite duo on the show — Morgan and Casey. Casey needed to obtain Frost’s old CIA files from a shady source he knows to determine if she really was on a deep undercover mission as she claimed, and he brought Morgan along as “the magnet.” These two are just so fabulous together.  Morgan gets his own cool spy title, and gets his own pair of sunglasses to wear at night –- an accessory all spies should have. Of course, this leads to a minor David Caruso moment, accentuated with a jaunty hip jut in Morgan’s case. I’m starting to think that the wardrobe department got a huge shipment of glasses, but were told they had to use them all within seven days. It’s the only explanation for the plethora of eyewear this week.

Some of my favorite Morgan moments involve his accidental heroism, like taking the gun out of the bad guy’s hand while lecturing Casey on using him as bait. The casual manner in which he did it was almost as impressive as jumping into water with a cut power line to stop the bad guys last week.

Casey and Morgan manage to get the file without incident and Casey leads Morgan (and us) to believe that the story checks out, but later reveals to Sarah that Frost’s CIA mission ended twenty years earlier – around the time she disappeared.

Sarah and Casey manage to get a tactical team together in about three and a half minutes and intercept  Mama Bartowski just as she’s about to see Ellie, and bring her the teddy bear that Awesome wanted to buy at the baby store. Just when we finally see a hint of maternal feelings, she’s revealed as a bad guy (probably, maybe). As Chuck screamed at the masked people who were accosting his mother while Ellie sat hopefully in the cafe, he pulled off one of their masks to reveal Sarah. Looks like someone’s in for more relationship talk next week.

All in all, an entertaining hour, but a tad disappointing in the mom department (so far –- I have faith things will get better as we get deeper into the story and GMMR’s Korbi Ghosh was on set for the filming of next week’s episode and says she’s got much to report re: Mama B., so stay tuned for that). Here’s hoping that with the show recently guaranteed 24(!) eps for the season, the writers now have the freedom to properly map the rest of year four -– it must be really difficult writing story arcs when you don’t know how much time you have to tell them.

But, anyway, there were many great lines last night, which made me happy, so I had to make a list:

It’s gonna be good scary, like pumpkins and ghosts; not bad scary like war and bears.

Morgan Grimes – not just for the ladies anymore.

Get it off your plate, give it to other people.  –Big Mike, who is not a rhyming monkey.

I love our little give and take. Classic Ross and Rachel.

My mom shot me.

Two fugitives and a dangerous weapon on the loose. Go team.

You sir, are not very thoughtful. Not one bit!

Old people. Public showers. Interspecies relationships. Babies in costume. Black licorice. Man feet. Otters. – Just some of the things that terrify even the most disturbed individuals

What did you guys think of Chuck vs. The Aisle of Terror? How are you feeling about Mama Bartowski thus far? Any theories on what she’s up to? Hit the comments!

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3 Responses to “CHUCK: ‘Chuck vs. The Aisle of Terror’”

  1. Jaymie on October 26th, 2010 3:08 pm

    Did no one else watch Wheelright demonstrate his toxin and be automatically disappointed in this episode? Why did his product have to be the exact same thing used in Batman Begins?

  2. Nicole on October 26th, 2010 4:44 pm

    Hi Jaymie – I confess, I’ve never seen Batman Begins, so I would be totally clueless if the weapons were the same. Maybe it was homage to the movie? 🙂

  3. Sara on October 26th, 2010 10:56 pm

    As an old-school horror movie fan girl, I’ll say my biggest disappointment was how they never got the doctor to pull on a red & green striped sweater. I would have loved that.