Monday, November 29, 2010

Review - Chuck Season 4 Episode 10 Chuck Versus the Leftovers

Chuck is one of the few shows on television that can equally balance comedy and drama in an episode and still be very funny and compelling. In the same episode, Chuck can be as funny as the funniest comedies or as intense as the best dramas. The other show that immediately comes to mind is Supernatural, although there are more than a few out there, but none as consistent as Chuck.

That doesn't always happen, however, and "Chuck Versus the Leftovers" is one of those instances, when an episode is funny but without the dramatic umph to back it up. Like several previous episodes, the entire episode stems from the CIA being the most incompetent group ever. The Buy More became a huge CIA base during season four, but when Volkoff takes over the store, the CIA is nowhere to be seen. There's no CIA night guard, no cameras linking back to headquarters, no warning system--only the main characters to fend for themselves.

Okay, it's a plot hole, and the writers certainly don't shy away from them or even attempt to avoid them. The rest of the episode, however, turns into a showcase for Timothy Dalton to be an evil genius who has more than a few screw looses. The plot doesn't really have a hook other than that the characters are in trouble and held captive, a situation we've seen plenty of times. Volkoff loves Frost and Mary uses that to her advantage, making sure he doesn't completely snap. The episode lulls around as Casey is held captive while the awkward dinner goes on. Unlike previous episodes in which the characters were held captive, "Leftovers" ends without a splash of excitement, as Mary forces Volkoff to let everyone go. The agents at the Buy More leave, letting Casey and Morgan go unharmed. And to wrap up the "Chuck without Intersect" arc, the computer which Ellie retrieved earlier returns Chuck's Intersect power.

It's disappointing to see what was an Ellie and Awesome endeavor, figuring out the computer, largely disappear and become a way to resolve Chuck's plot. Once again, Elli gets the short straw and isn't really needed.

Being the last episode until January 17, "Chuck Versus the Leftovers" was a definite disappointment, neither ending on a big cliffhanger nor resolving anything major. It moved the story along, giving us a bit more insight into Volkoff and moving Mary squarely onto the good guy side, but for the most part, it was one of the more dull episodes in a while.

Score: 8.1/10
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