CHUCK: 'Chuck Versus the Fear of Death' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

CHUCK: ‘Chuck Versus the Fear of Death’

November 15, 2010 by  

Despite lacking both in ‘cliff’ and ‘hanger’, this week’s hour of CHUCK did serve as the first installment of a two-part episode which leaves the audience wondering whether Chuck Bartowski will find a way out of a harrying situation before he is lobotomized or killed. I’m gonna stop you right here and serve up a big old SPOILER ALERT – Chuck makes it out of this situation just fine.  In case you were really concerned, the titular character is going to live.  I hope I didn’t ruin the suspense for you. I’m such a buzzkill sometimes.

Not sure “Chuck vs. the Fear of Death” will go down as one of my favorite episodes of the series, but parts of it were entertaining enough that I certainly wouldn’t count this ep as one of the worst.

Rob Riggle, who will forever be Captain Jack from THE OFFICE to me, almost nailed his role as CIA special agent Jim Rye. Almost. I never really bought that this guy was a CIA agent so it was hard to take his tactics seriously.  But strangely enough, I really liked his approach to extracting the Intersect from deep within the psyche of Chuck Bartowski. It didn’t make any sense, mind you, but it was fun to see Chuck put in such stressful circumstances.

I’m a little short on cash this week, otherwise I’d buy a few copies of CHUCK season 3 on DVD and send them over for the writers to watch.  Maybe my own Intersect is being suppressed by a boulder, but wasn’t there an entire storyline about how Chuck couldn’t access the Intersect properly if his emotions weren’t in check.  If he were stressed, scared, or otherwise distraught, the Intersect would become inoperable?  Now it seems that those extreme emotions are the only thing that will get the Intersect to work.  Huh?

What was a little tough for me to swallow this week was the idea that Chuck is nothing without the Intersect. Time and time again we’ve been told the exact opposite. Yes, that computer within his brain helps him kick ass in tough situations, but Chuck was doing spy work way before the Intersect 2.0 gave him the ability to access special skills on demand.  In fact, some of the best moments for Chuck were when he was able to help Team Bartowski get out of a sticky situation by relying on his own Intersect-less brain.  It was always a stretch to believe that Chuck could be a spy without the Intersect, but the show spent so much time trying to convince us that he was a real spy, that I believed it. Didn’t you? Maybe that’s why it was so disappointing to see those around Chuck – ok, let’s be honest, I’m talking about Sarah – completely dismiss his abilities as a spy, sans his programmed skills. I know her concern came from a place of love, but I think in that situation Chuck could have benefited from a little support from his girlfriend.

Despite the aforementioned issues I had with the show, there were some shining moments.  That ending, with Sarah, Casey and Morgan deciding to collectively find Chuck, was damn good. So good it stirred up all the dust in my house causing my eyes to get a little watery. It made the entire episode worthwhile.

I’m not going to go as far to say that I don’t think that Sarah loves Chuck, because I truly believe she does, but their relationship has always been a bit lopsided. Chuck is a guy that wears his heart on his sleeve, and Sarah has had to live her entire life hiding her emotions. I think that’s why I found it so refreshing to see Sarah fighting for Chuck tonight. She was desperate. It was warranted. I liked the reminder that Sarah loves Chuck just as much he loves her. I’m not sure she will ever love him as much as I do, but that’s just the way life works sometimes.

As for the Buy Morons, well they had a very busy days doing their own version of spy work. After wondering just why all the new Buy More employees were named Greta, Lester became suspicious of the latest hot Nerd Herder. It’s about time.  Just as Rob Riggle almost worked as Agent Rye, Summer Glau almost worked as Great.  She didn’t quite pull it off.

(Is it safe to come out? Have all the Browncoats put away their weapons?)

I’ve seen enough of Glau’s work to know that she is quirky, but her particular kind of quirk stood out and not in a good way. I’m sure FIREFLY fans loved seeing Glau and Adam Baldwin sharing the small screen again, so if nothing else, I’m glad there was that. And I guess I’m glad that this week’s Greta actually had something to do, but I’ve been so bummed by the misuse of the Greta guest stars, that I’m almost at the point where I want the writers to drop the character(s) all together.

Yeah, I’m definitely a buzzkill.

Not a terrible episode. I really needed a CHUCK fix and this ep did it’s job. But I think this episode missed the mark just a bit tonight. No?

A few more thoughts while I watch videos of adorable little kittens….

  • Classic Jeff line tonight: “My life would be a never ending Cialis commercial if I had her.”
  • I might need to change out the batteries in my hearing aid, but then again, maybe Alex is in fact that soft spoken. Speak up girl…I can’t hear you! But I’d like to see more of you. Here’s to hoping she and The Bearded One get some screen time together soon.
  • I missed Ellie and Awesome tonight. I was really anxious to see what the deal was with the convertible her Dad left her. Or was it her Mom?  Perhaps some answers next week?
  • Anyone else notice that while Chuck was freezing in the -150 degree weather, Agent Rye didn’t seem affected by it at all. Then again, he did have a pair of gloves on. Still those must have been some heavy duty warm gloves.
  • Subway is great product placement. Love it.  But if they really want me to buy a product, they should consider selling a CHUCKsicle.
  • Jayne to River: “I don’t know what crew you worked for before…” – I’m sure there were other FIREFLY references, but I short of Casey wearing a strange knit hat, I’m not sure I would be the one to pick up on them.
  • PFOD = Pure Fear of Death. I challenge you all to use it three times in a conversation tomorrow.

Thoughts on tonight’s episode?  Love it? Hate it? Somewhere in between? Time to hear from all you CHUCK fans!

Filed under #1 featured, Chuck


13 Responses to “CHUCK: ‘Chuck Versus the Fear of Death’”

  1. GoZags on November 16th, 2010 12:15 am

    I’m going to have to agree with you on this episode. Coming off the episode from last week, it had to be an amazing episode to beat it. I loved the ending scene with Sarah fighting for Chuck. As a result I can’t wait for Sarah’s episode next week!

  2. chuckster54 on November 16th, 2010 12:31 am

    I took that unlike last season Chuck emotions were preventing Chuck from controlling the Intersect His mom has know exposed Chuck to something that is blocking his ability other means. The CIA convinced Chuck it emotional but their wrong. Tied into the computer that is in Ellie’s car Papa B left her. Ellie has the key.
    I also felt that last episode Chuck wants to be convinced Sarah does believe in him and this episode continued that question, Does Sarah believe Chuck can’t be her spy equal without the intersect. She fears for his safety and having the intersect has helped but does she believe he can continue as her partner without it. The early episodes addressed issues that brought them equal footing personal relationship can they now reach the same for their professional relationship especially since now they have a personal one.

    I like a lot of the points you bring up some good thoughts thanks for sharing

  3. Rachael on November 16th, 2010 2:28 am

    I liked this one more than you did. Not my fave of the season or anything but I thought it was pretty decent. And actually the stuff about Sarah “not believing in Chuck” didn’t bug me at all. The reason is because, while they did spend two full seasons of this show with Chuck going on missions sans “Chuck Fu Intersect”, he was WITH Sarah and Casey on ALL those missions. So they could watch over him the whole time. This time it was much different, because they were sending him off with some other random guy, without the use of Chuck Fu. I can totally understand why Sarah would be freaked out in that situation. Now yes it was a little harsh when she blurted out something along the lines of him not being a real spy without the use of Chuck Fu (I forget the exact words), but I took that more so as her just going a bit overboard with her wording because she was so freaked out about Chuck doing this stuff without their supervision and getting hurt or killed. It was motherly overprotectiveness which I can see would DEFINITELY be emasculating and annoying for Chuck, but I don’t blame Sarah for feeling that way either.

    In terms of this thought: “If he were stressed, scared, or otherwise distraught, the Intersect would become inoperable? Now it seems that those extreme emotions are the only thing that will get the Intersect to work. Huh?” Yeah, that was a little funky. I don’t like when writers forget major storylines from previous seasons. BUT this actually didn’t annoy me that much though, because they were clearly trying every tactic in the book to get the thing to work before they resorted to the “scare tactics”. I looked at it more so as them just being totally desperate and willing to try anything.

    Anyway I can’t WAIT for next week when Sarah goes all badass. The end of tonight’s ep brought a little mist to my eyes too. 😉

    Oh p.s. the one thing I DID hate about this ep was the AWFUL green screen stuff on the ski lift … SOO distracting!! Sadly there seems to be a lot of that these days though, with the lack of budget. 🙁

  4. Rachael on November 16th, 2010 2:31 am

    Err … the gondola. Whatever those things are called. 😉

  5. Ville on November 16th, 2010 1:42 pm

    Awesome episode imo. That emotion thingy with intersect kinda bugs me too.

  6. afro on November 16th, 2010 2:02 pm

    after reading your review over this episode i think i have to agree that it wasn’t a blast but by not having an episode of chuck for 2weeks i could say it was awesome..(they should never do this again by the way..)
    in my opinion the intersect will work again only if they put Sarah on danger and Chuck has to save we have seen in the past episodes chuck can only work when he feels that someone threatens his loved ones even if he has the “kung fu” intersect or not.anyway i think that next weeks episode with Sarah in a so kick-ass mood will repay us..!!!

  7. Alex on November 16th, 2010 2:18 pm

    Ok this first part you were saying about chuck gets out alive…. now in the previews for next week episode “chuck Versus phase three” it showed that they were going to erase his memory so that the intersect can work. So when you say that he comes out live… do you mean with his memory intact or he forgets everybody or just sarah

  8. kendims on November 16th, 2010 3:24 pm

    I liked this episode, I thought it was just quirky enough with Summer Glau and Rob Riggle, and thought the way their characters were used made what could have been an almost too-serious episode funnier. Plus, as a Firefly and Daily Show fan, I’m totally biased.

    As for the Intersect problems: in season 3 the issue had to do with emotions like concern and anxiety and love blocking its abilities. However, it was always triggered by fear, it’s just that last season the other emotions were clouding the fear. I think the problem tonight held to that idea and therefore is more consistent than you suggested. But I also think there must be more to the device Mama B. used on him, so I’m not giving all of the credit to emotion just yet.

  9. tjmack on November 16th, 2010 3:39 pm

    I thought this episode was amazing…then again Chuck has never disappointed me. There are episodes that have their boring parts (that when I do my rewatch of them, I skim past those parts), but never disappointed.

    Now, with the whole “his emotions make the interesct not work” the thing is…we don’t know what his mom exposed him to. All we know is that after she played that “thing” for Chuck that “his dad never wanted him to see”, that the intersect stopped working. Maybe this thing fixed the whole emotions thing or made it so that being emotional makes it work? Who knows…Mary Bartowski does!

    As far as the whole “Chuck is still a spy without the intersect” thing…If I’m remembering correctly (which i hope I am…I’m currently rewatching season 1 with my bro, cuz he’s never seen it) they never technically called him a spy…Beckman once said that he needed to BE a spy, but they never called him one. Sarah always told him that he’s a hero, and that he is THAT guy, but spy never came out of her mouth, and it definitely never came out of Casey’s (until the season 3 finale–one of my all time fav scenes) So my assumption on this is that, none of them technically seen Chuck as a spy without the intersect because in order to be a spy you have got to be able to protect yourself…if you can’t protect yourself then you’re not a spy. If Sarah couldn’t protect herself anymore, and was constantly putting herself and her team in danger, would she still be considered a spy?

    Over all I thought this episode was fantastic, and I LOVED the bickering between Chuck and Sarah. They kind of switched places in this episode. It’s usually Chuck throwing his emotions out there and Sarah trying to keep him in check…and this time Sarah was being all kinds of emotional.

    The ending was my absolute favorite (even if the scene where Sarah blurts out that chuck isn’t spy was good…Chuck’s facial expression was amazing…and Sarah realized almost immediately that she made a boo-boo)

  10. Katie Zack on November 16th, 2010 5:32 pm

    Thank God I’m not the only one who got a little choked up at the ending. Sarah was willing to blindly go on a rogue suicide mission just to get Chuck back. (Has Yvonne seriously not won an Emmy yet??) I appreciated the season 1 shout-out with the fake Comic Con photo. I do wish they had used the real one they took later on in Sandworm, but it was nice to see nonetheless.
    I actually think that Casey’s arc is being a little overlooked. Can you even imagine the conversation with Alex ever existing back in season 1? I love how the characters have grown throughout the show. Beckman, too, looking at how she dealt with Sarah’s breakdown. Is it just me or is she turning into their mother more and more?
    The Greta plotline was finally at least substantial. And Firefly or no, I enjoy when a Greta interacts with Casey as their superior (Stacey Keibler had a quick phone call).
    I hope Chuck isn’t left in the hands of The Belgian until the very last minute in the next episode. Unless something ground-shaking happens, I can’t imagine being intrigued by Chuck being strapped to a chair for an hour. Also Morgan working with Sarah and Casey instead of Chuck should be interesting. Especially when Sarah is so tightly wound.

  11. Patrick on November 16th, 2010 6:34 pm

    I was happy with this episode for three reasons. 1. Summer Glau. 2. The curiosity of what new kickassery will become of the intersect now that it has been zapped by a psp. 3. The fact that Chuck behaved more like a real spy in this episode than he ever has. He knew what he was going after and even with the concern of the Intersect not functioning, he thought to sudy up on gemology while in transit. That was the mom3nt I said to myself, ‘Wait, Chuck IS a spy.’

  12. Me on November 17th, 2010 8:58 am

    Well, I think I enjoyed the episode more than you did as well. But for me, Chuck is my stress release from grad school, so I think I come into it from a different perspective. I don’t look for flaws when I watch it. So, while this episode may not be the best, I did find it really funny. I have an answer to the Agent Rye question for you. He had a beard and while there’s probably still a better answer to that question, I like that one. And I thought Glau did fine, mostly I think she was trying to play a female Casey and the character ended up lacking a bit of realism because of it. You’re right though, they need to learn how to use GRETA more efficiently. I do like the random guest stars and would like to keep them if they can manage it, but I think they’re still trying to learn to balance story lines with Chuck being more heavily involved with the spy life. While I love Chuck, their writing does have its flaws. Oh, and yeah, the ski lift thing was distracting, but I ended up just laughing at it.

  13. David on November 17th, 2010 10:38 am

    Nobody mentioned the part when Riggle did the neck pinch and actually, at first, claimed he learned it on Star Trek