Monday, May 3, 2010

Review - Chuck Season 3 Episode 15 Chuck Versus the Role Models

Sometimes, Chuck could use a bit of subtlety and that definitely was the case with "Chuck Versus the Role Models." Like the pilot of Happy Town last week, the episode had a message and was louder and prouder of it than Morgan training to be a spy. The message, though executed in a funny way, was bashed in again and again as if we didn't get the idea of what was going on. There is no attempt to be sly about the parallels and the writers have taken this attitude for a larger part of the show, to me, an indication of laziness.

When Beckman directs Chuck and Sarah to follow the lead of an older, married CIA couple, the episode is titled "Role Models," and Chuck says "That's us in 30 years," it's much too obvious not to groan. That said, I loved seeing Laura (Swoosie Kurtz) and Craig Turner (Fred Willard) constantly squabble as Chuck and Sarah sort of took on these characteristics and also started squabbling. The obvious implication is that the small stuff now will compound for 30 years until Chuck and Sarah become the Turners, a couple disgruntled and disillusioned with their situation.

The plot was again (and I'm pretty sure I say this almost every week) largely irrelevant and filled with plotholes. By now, it's expected and almost an afterthought from a critical standpoint. I can understand the frustration from new viewers which is why is suspect the ratings haven't improved much this season from last season. Before acclimating to all the wonderful characters and jokes, new viewers will likely pay attention to the plot--usually the most important element of a show--and see how the plot is only thinly designed to provide ample situations from the characters to work in. Those who still watch have pretty much been numbed to what are, ostensibly, plotless episodes. At a quick glance from prospective viewers, before they reach the real core of the show, the individual plots of each episode are probably enough to turn them off.

This week, the couples have to steal software so "the nation's communications network will remain secure." The main draw to set everything in motion is that the software is on a tiger's collar. Yeah, I don't get it either. There are minor arguments and lots of funny fumbling around before the collar is stolen. Outside, the Turner's steal the collar and the software and Chuck and Sarah steal them back shortly after.

Casey and Morgan are fast becoming the coolest team on the show. They may even be better than Jeff and Lester, absent for another episode. In what would seem like a moment of insanity, Beckman wants Casey to train Morgan, yes Morgan, as a spy. Morgan proves to be a failure at every spy test, but he does have one redeeming quality: his bravery or perhaps more accurately, his foolhardiness. Morgan leads the tiger into the Awesomes' apartment, trapping it there while Chuck and Sarah take out everyone. The Turners turn themselves in and choose to retire from the spy business. Their replacements? Chuck and Sarah. Who could have guessed?

Ellie and Awesome were off in Africa saving people and it looks like the Ring is onto them. It looks like their stint in Africa will be much shorter than I had anticipated.

So far, I am very much enjoying the upbeat tone of the second half of the season. The teamwork between Chuck and Sarah works better than them always working out relationship problems. Despite the blunt overtness of the episode, the comedy worked very well and made the episode enjoyable.

Score: 8.7/10
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