Monday, November 15, 2010

Review - Chuck Season 4 Episode 8 Chuck Versus the Fear of Death

While I liked "Chuck Versus the Fear of Death," it's a flawed episode, to be sure. The main problem is that Chuck really doesn't do anything. He's essentially a pawn for characters to use, abuse, and fret about, and he never takes things into his own hands. Without the Intersect working properly, Chuck is reduced to a largely useless character and the message of the episode is ultimately unclear.

Is Chuck useless without the Intersect? From what we've seen in past seasons, no, but from his floundering in "Chuck Versus the Fear of Death," it would seem like he is useless. And moreover, is Chuck's tether to Sarah harmful? Again, from what we've seen in past seasons, not necessarily, but in this particular episode, Chuck calling Sarah constantly instead of figuring things out on his own is a detriment. A lot of Chuck's behavior in the episode flies in the face of what has already been established.

Built into that is the fact that the writers have used the Intersect as a plot lever so many times before and there's a pattern to what happens. The Intersect is uploaded into Chuck--he survives without kung fu skills. The Intersect is upgraded--he survives with kung fu skills. The Intersect malfunctions--he survives without kung fu skills. Now the Intersect once again doesn't work; however, Chuck is ineffectual and caught. Is Sarah the variable?

Aside from the disappointing stuff going on with Chuck, the Buy More business is gold, with better use of the "Greta" than the previous episode. Jeff and Lester start to notice something peculiar about their hot coworker and snoop a little too far, literally pushing Greta to kill them (or harm them in some way). The Firefly reunion which I'm sure many people looked forward to also serves as a way for Casey to connect with Morgan. With Jayne rebuking River's claim about the Buy More being a bad operation, Casey puts his backing behind, Morgan, Chuck, and Sarah, the people who he's gotten close to the past few years.

Score: 8.6/10
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