Monday, February 1, 2010

Review - Chuck Season 3 Episode 6 Chuck Versus the Nacho Sampler

After next week's episode, there won't be any new episodes until March 1. I'll be disappointed, but be happy at how the writers started off the season. So far this season, I am loving the character development, and "Nacho Sampler" was a great example of why. Chuck has new powers, a supportive CIA, and a new determination for his purpose in life. He's still fun, has a sense of humor, and isn't totally unfeeling like other spies. Those two facets of Chuck's life come into conflict which leads to better character development than before. He also sees into the spy world which he had previously only seen as an asset. On the other side of the game, he sees how real spies operate and he remembers the way Sarah treated him in the beginning.

Chuck befriends a guy named Manoosh (Fahim Anwar) who is receiving money from the Ring. This is Chuck's first asset and Sarah doesn't think he's up to it. She's been protective of Chuck the past couple episodes, but Chuck hasn't been tested in totally destroying someone's life (Laszlo doesn't count). He's done the action stuff and the undercover stuff, but never the role traditionally played by Sarah or Casey.

Chuck is now in the position Sarah was three years ago, and both of them realize that. Sarah is apprehensive as she sees Chuck lying with ease to Ellie and becoming friends with Manoosh through deceit. Everyone including Chuck knows he is a spy now, but Chuck may not yet realize what he is becoming. He still thinks he is the same guy with slight changes, and that's the nature introspection. Large changes aren't as evident to the person experiencing them. Sarah on the other hand is a bystander who sees Chuck tumbling down this path where all spies go, and that scares her. At the beginning of the episode, she tells Chuck she liked how he was sweet and naive when she first met him. That has changed. At his core, Chuck is still the same guy, but the position the CIA places him and his great responsibility to the world has pushed him to become a different person. At the end of the episode, we see Sarah three years ago thinking how easy of a target Chuck is. Now Chuck is the one thinking how easy targets are. How Sarah reconciles this with her feelings for Chuck will determine where they go from here.

Manoosh has a cool pair of sunglasses imbuing him with Intersect powers. Naturally he goes to Weap-Con to sell them. Weap-Con personifies the shows views of weapons. They're awesome. Casey already has a pamphlet and can now write off the trip. He revels in the latest generation in guns and gadgets which comes in handy once the Ring minions arrive. I love how all the convention attendees wrote off every display of arms as just a demonstration. Chuck uses his cool new powers to stop the Ring agents. There is still one thing to be done though. Manoosh had already destroyed the sunglasses to prevent the Ring from taking them, but he still has the knowledge inside his head on how to build them. Chuck lets him go and can't seem to pull the trigger on the tranq gun, but does so in the end. It's the crucial point where Chuck determines he isn't going to be Manoosh's friend. He will be the cold-hearted bastard who essentially ends Manoosh's life.

The Buy More guys quickly latch onto Hannah, but Morgan is the first to make a move on her. He orders Lester and Jeff, the professional stalkers, to find out all they can on her. It turns out she likes classical music, French movies, and sushi--nothing Morgan likes. Nonetheless, he is prepared and makes an instant impression with her so they hit it off. I like Hannah and Kristin Kreuk is surprisingly good, but I don't think it'll last. She's far too naive to be simply There has to be something up with her like there was with Lou and Jill though I'm guessing the malignancy of Hannah will be somewhere between the two.

Ellie is slowly closing onto Chuck and his spy world. She finds Chuck's plane tickets to Paris (Chuck the spy is still as careless as ever.) and her inquiry begins first with Awesome who is clearly not in Chuck's league of lying and his face tells her exactly what she needs to know. Chuck and Devin are hiding something big from her. At the same time, Hannah lets slip to Morgan that Chuck went to Paris. His investigation begins and intersects with Ellie's. Ellie can't be much by herself, but with Morgan and his stalkers, he could potentially uncover Chuck's secret and completely turn the show on its back. I'm guessing they will think Chuck is doing something else shameful and Chuck will feed that lie. Awesome learning about Chuck's real life is fine, but Morgan and Ellie is too much for now.

Every week the story seems to revolve around the Ring, but we learn virtually nothing about them. Fulcrum is only one part of the Ring, but what is the Ring? A bigger version of Fulcrum? The various missions seem to have no connection to each other and could be interchanged with international arms dealer, mob boss, etc. I get that the Ring is the main villain now, but there's no point in a new villain if it is as generic as the other bad guys.

The episode had its share of jokes, but it was focused on Chuck and his mission. It wasn't dark though on another show the exact same plot could have been made into something very dark. Chuck is growing up and Sarah doesn't like it, but it'll happen no matter what.

Score: 9.2/10

Random thoughts/observations:

Did anyone catch Scott Rosenbaum's name on one of Morgan's posters? I'm guessing it was for his departure from Chuck to V.

What does Shaw do that doesn't involve Team Bartowski?

Sarah's shirt with the words "Frak Off" was awesome.

Was anyone wondering if Veridian Dynamics from Better Off Ted was at Weapons-Con?

Budget cuts=no Big Mike


C K said...

What is Hannah doing at Buy More? She is grossly over qualified. I suspect her meeting Chuck on the flight to Paris was no accident. I am waiting to find out what she really doing there.

matthelm75 said...

Anyone know what was the name of the sunglasses Manoosh was wearing? Oakley yes, but the model name?

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