16 December, 2011

CHUCK Vs. the Curse - 5.06: What's in Bartowski's P.A.N.T.S.?

As we hit the literal halfway-point in the season (since we have 7 episode left that will run over six weeks), and the end of the series, the writers decided to give us small amount of progress, a setup for the next episode, and some fun side-character focus.

Instead of doing a play-by-play of the episode, like I have been, I am going to give a critique of the story. Also, I've been having computer problems and so one of the problems I have this time around is the ability, or inability, to rewatch the episode as I write this review. So, no "quotables" (sorry). Maybe I can squeeze them in later, if I have time.

One of the things many shows do is make our characters behave as if the past, promises, relationship development, and emotional growth never happened. So, you get an episode where Chuck decides not to trust his wife and to even doubt that she wouldn't want to exact same thing he wants with respect to his kidnapped family members. You know, because now they are her family too. In fact, they are literally the only family members she has around. And Chuck, being the introspective extrovert should KNOW that nothing would be more important to Sarah than to save his family. HER family.

Therefor, it is a cheap device to have Chuck go against his wife. And why do it at all? Simple. They needed to get the virus into the hands of the bad guys so it could be released upon the world so that we could get forward momentum on the bigger conspiracy story arc. But even that makes little sense. Chuck is a super tech. Why doesn't he just REPLACE THE VIRUS in the device? Or, not give them the device at all? Again, the answer is very simple. The writers don't feel like they need to deliver a better story. That's not to say most shows do any better (BURN NOTICE does stupid plot shit every episode, every season). But why take such little care with the show? I bet a few fan fiction writers (mind you, I find fan fic writers to be the most evil people in the universe) could come up with 20-ways to get the virus released in this episode that wouldn't be so stupid.

Having said all that, I actually enjoyed the side-character stuff. More Beckman. More Alex. Lots more Ellie and Awesome. Man, Sarah Lancaster is smokin'! I am sure Ryan McPartlin is hot too but I'm a dude. Even the totally pointless P.A.N.T.S. side mission had its fun moments, as the writers set up Morgan and Alex eventually getting back together (wanna bet it's next week?). I've also recently fallen madly in love with Mekenna Melvin so... I'm a total sucker for any scene with her in it.

I also rather liked Rebecca Romijn's characer. She was the right amount of bad while not being cartoonish. Also, I liked her reaction at the end when Casey and Beckman revealed her own device. I know it seemed like they tortured the information out of her, but my bet is that she revealed the information without being tortured. Having used the device on people before, she would know its effect and that everyone eventually talks. However, if she was tortured, that's pretty dark. I like it, but that's pretty dark since even dark shows don't like to suggest the good guys torture to get information. And this isn't one of those really dark shows (though, it should be... and hot... and sexy... all the time... like why can't Chuck and Sarah have hot and sexy moments like Ellie and Awesome?).

Ellie and Awesome on their own little spy mission, before realizing they were actually on one, and after was a blast. I also loved watching Casey and Sarah come in, guns blazing, and just killing everyone in the room. And the thing I loved most was angry Sarah. I love angry Sarah. Always have. Always will.

Nothing is better than angry Sarah, especially when she is mad at Chuck. Yvonne, who is a naturally fun, funny, joyful, and bubbly person in the really real world plays angry, moody, conflicted, and deadly better than just about anyone. And while I do enjoy the fun Sarah moments, tonight's episode reminded me of the old Sarah that I also love. Thankfully, I think we will get a bit more of angry Sarah next week too. Though, this time aimed at someone she really, super duper really wants to KILL!

If I had to rate this episode, I would give it:

88 out of 100

The logic bombs bring the score down but the good moments elevate it back up. I was both disappointed and very entertained. It won't go down in CHUCK history as either one of the worst or the best, but it also doesn't make me want to find a cute baby seal and club it.

UPDATE
Podcast for this episode uploaded. Only 12-minutes long. Check it out for a few mote comments. Adult language used, of course.

Click to listen:


Or here:


Or CLICK HERE to download and listen in the comfort of your own... something.


46 comments:

  1. Agreed. Sarah is super hot and sexy when she is mad but Chuck going against his wife? What the fuck is Fedak thinking? Is he asleep at the wheel?

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  2. Thanks for doing this despite your hardware troubles. I hope you can resolve them completely.

    I agree with analysis, but the bad parts weigh more for me than the fun bits. Ellie and Awesome were fantastic and I thought Alex was great as well. Beckman and Casey were also enjoyable. And I never thought they tortured the Rebecca Romjin character either.

    But all of the bad plot parts were thrown on Chuck as a character and that left me unable to root for him at all. He needed to either not be stupid for the tech knowledge/spy part or not be an insensitive bastard towards Sarah. Both was too much. And he was forgiven for both way way too easily.

    There should have been some lingering conflict for next week or Chuck at least trying to make it up to Sarah, because the way he treated her really sucked.

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  3. Great review. I agree. And, McKenna was terrific tonight. Oh agent provocateur, Thank you

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  4. Sepinwall has said that he has already seen next weeks and is very happy with it, I think he called it outstanding! So I suppose I can accept one weak episode in 7, that is a good run I think. As for this episode...I enjoyed everything but the Chuck and Sarah bits you eluded to, the writers are being a little to dumb with these scenarios and Chuck now would not do that and they kind of phoned in this episode on that particular part of the story.

    But based on other shows lately being sucky, apart from Homeland and community and parks and rec... and my hatred of Fringe and the fact that the Chuck season has been really good consistency wise for me, I can let that go.

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  5. "Sepinwall has said that he has already seen next weeks and is very happy with it, I think he called it outstanding!"

    My ninja also named 5.07 as one of the episodes he thought would be a fan favorite.

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  6. I think Robyn just gave up the info because having used The Toy on others, she knew exactly what it would do to her, and she knew that everybody talks in the end. She probably just decided to spare herself the pain.

    This one for me just kind of dragged a bit. It had its bright spots (Morgan/Alex, Casey + Beckman, Ellie/Awesome) but Chuck hitting the stupid button as hard as he did this week just killed it somewhat. Chuck really fucked up royally here with both Sarah and the virus, and it felt like it was treated too lightly.

    It's just that the good episodes so far this season have been pretty high marks so even the middling stuff looks worse in comparison. When I stack them against most of s4, it admittedly looks a bit better. (Nothing can save "Business Trip" though...)

    On the bright side, even if "Curse" didn't wow me, I'm looking forward to "Santa Suit" next week because the buzz I've seen is that it's awesome (and I want to see the crazy shippers explode at Shaw's return), and I just saw the synopsis for 5x09, "The Kept Man" and Gertrude's coming back! I really hope she's in the finale too?

    Cor

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  7. I think this season has had roughly 5 good episodes and 2 bad ones...for a show that has gone through 5 potential series finales in 3 years....I am impressed! I mean Fringe has had only 2 good episodes this season while the rest stunk and they actually get full seasons up front and their stories are a mess right now.

    I am actually impressed that the standards are quite good still this late in the game. I read fans bitching and moaning but people forget that Chuck basically keeps ending every 13 or so episodes since season 2, lol. Peeps...give the show a fucking break, ok! Argh...The consistency is still pretty good considering.

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  8. Although some aspects of the episode weren't great, I always love a good Ellie and Awesome storyline. :)

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  9. I liked 5.01 and 5.02. LOVED 5.03 and, to a lesser degree, 5.05. Didn't like most of 5.04. Thought 5.06 was good but with big flaws.

    So, this season has been pretty good overall. Sure, you will find people who love to shit on stuff who will proclaim this the worst episode and/or worst season and blahblahblah but they are just hyperbolic types. And the Internet needs a global ignore button for hyperbolic types.

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  10. Gina, of the six thus far I'd put it as 3 good (Bearded Bandit, Frosted Tips, and Hack Off), 2 middling (Zoom and Curse) and 1 lousy (Business Trip). Admittedly that's still a pretty damn good batting average for a five-year show.

    And I seem to remember HGF saying of the episodes that are left, his ninja(s) slated something like four of those as potential fan favorites? That's impressive.

    Cor

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  11. Sorry, amend that: 1 great (Frosted Tips), 2 good, 2 middling, 1 lousy.

    Definitely ahead of the first six of s4, where only two (Couch Lock and the parts of Coup D'Etat where Chuck and Sarah weren't excessively relationship wangsting) were ones I really wanted to rewatch when I got the DVDs.

    Cor

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  12. 5x07... the only way to have a satisfying ending for me personally would be for Sarah, not Chuck, to end Shaw. She deserves it more than him.

    SHE'S the trained killer after all.

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  13. Eh, Shaw *did* cold-bloodedly kill Chuck's dad right in front of him as a pure total mindfuck. His trying to kill Sarah at least had a logical motive of personal revenge. I'd say both he and Sarah have about equal claim.

    Also, from the promo, are they seriously shooting Casey, AGAIN? Jesus Christ, you'd think the "Injure Casey" well would be running pretty low as often as they dip into it. This will be at least the fourth time he's gotten shot on this show, to say nothing of the whole "tossed off a building" bit last season.

    Cor

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  14. Shaw does plant one on Sarah and so that has to raise the level of hatred to like 1 billion and infinity!!!!!!!!!! LOL!!!!!! The shippers are going to die, which is only 5 people with millions of multiple web handles but still...fun times! Show will be one and done in the episode and this maybe the time Chuck gets the crappy intersect back or at least maybe those manoosh glasses that gave a temporary skill set.

    Chuck will be back at the end of the episode giving Sarah kisses...lol.

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  15. OMG NOOOOOO. Shaw will somehow steal Sarah from Chuck! I can just hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth already. ;)

    Cor

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  16. Shaw and Sarah are going to have sex because she misses his hotness!

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  17. I am NOT looking forward to this "disturbing kiss" that ****ing Shaw grossly plants on Sarah. It's...too sexually perverse for this show...

    No one should endure that torture.

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  18. I like that idea of Sarah being the one to kill Shaw.

    It would make sense with the established backstory of the show.

    I just wonder if the writers will go through with it though.

    probably not but i like the idea.

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  19. And they'll force Chuck to watch their hawt sex on video feed! And he thought The Toy was torture...

    Cor

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  20. Huh! One thing about what Sepinwall said gave away that this may not be a shipper meltdown. Now Sepinwall is the biggest fucking shipper and if he still thought the episode was outstanding then it probably will be not what the worst fans on this show think. I mean by all means if fans think it is bad then please think that you nut jobs but I just doubt it.

    Alan says he is not a shipper but during season 4 he admitted when reviewing Balcony that the writers had earned his trust back....also he had a mini rant at Fedak and Schwartz on his podcast about just leaving Chuck and Sarah happy, lol, that crazy shipper! hehehe.

    So it is what it is, Alan Sepinwall gave it away....

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  21. There is a .000069% chance that the writers will let Sarah's character have the chance to kill him.

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  22. Chuck was a little b**ch this whole episode. Ugh

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  23. Gina, Alan is a shipper. No doubt. He likes all the episodes shippers like, even the shitty ones like 5.04 where Chuck and Sarah look at each other funny and satisfy the shipper need to have nothing of substance happen ever, as long as Chuck and Sarah do cute shit.

    But he's not a crazy shipper... so he is able to enjoy episodes where things don't go Chuck and Sarah's way.

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  24. The finale will probably have Chuck and Sarah on the beach ala the pilot watching their child run playing in the sand (let's throw in the kid for the shippers) and Sarah will be like "Do you trust me Chuck?" Chuck will answer (because in this episode he did something huge that showed he finally does), "Completely"

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  25. Both Chuck and Sarah should get a piece of Shaw and let Casey dispose of him. HO! HO! HO! :-)

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  26. I want an episode where Sarah is not wearing panties :)

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  27. we've got lots of perverts over here..
    All i want is to get JILL back..and we will see what an Angry Jealous Sarah looks like...

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  28. Normally I would delete the overly perverted stuff about Sarah but... the writers did just have an episode where Ellie had no panties on so... blame them.

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  29. I agree with this review. OK episode, really loved the Awesomes. They are just adorable. My fav romantic couple on this show hands down, though Casey/Verbanski are cute too even if I feel they 'relationship' was too rushed.

    Promo for next week looks incredible.

    S.

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  30. S. = A Troll.

    The Awesomes are your favourite couple? and Casey and Verbanski from their 2 episode romance is now cute?

    I get it....everyone wants to take a dig at Chuck and Sarah these days...ahhhhh....Remember the days when people threatened to boycott the show if they did not put them together? People are so Fickle...The internet fans suck.

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  31. Well, the Awesomes do have the most stable of all the romantic relationships on this show. They've been together since the pilot episode. Also they're both really pretty. And in this episode they gave us a version of what the shippers seem to want from Chuck and Sarah. They're sweet and sexy at the same time, and they complement each others' strengths, even in the most stressful of situations. It's hard not to compare them to Chuck and Sarah, whose relationship these days seems to be largely driven by one petty conflict after the next. I still enjoy because of Zac and Yvonne's chemistry, but it does feel like there's something missing. They could be so much better.

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  32. Yeah...the writers are fucking up a little lately. I think it will improve though.

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  33. I'm not really complaining. Aside from "Zoom", I've been enjoying this season much more than I thought I would. Each episode has been a little better than the last, and "Curse" in particular felt genuinely suspenseful throughout. It seems like they're really building toward something cool, even beyond the Shaw stuff. The only quibble I have with the episode is how poorly Chuck himself was written. But hopefully he'll get to make up for it next week by kicking massive amounts of ass.

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  34. Gina, I don't think that is a troll. You are assigning the wants of some people to everyone.

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  35. oh god, i have the same thought about the virus..
    i thought he would've make a fake virus, he is super nerd for god's sake...i thought he had a better idea than giving a real virus..:p
    aaand i agree about chuck and sarah moments..they seemed so distance sometimes..i dunno, the way they're kissing is just not enough, hahaha...

    (*sorry for grammar error :p)
    dont get me wrong but i do love the chemistry of them..
    by the way, the promo video is freaking me out...poor sarah :((

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  36. Yeah, an uninspiring episode.

    Like pissed off Sarah, a couple of funny Ellie/Awesome moments, Alex was interesting, but the rest not so much. Chuck was stupid and I hate how the show constantly has to hammer on a word to make a point. We are subjected to the word "spy" all the time and in this episode "curse" was said by Chuck so many times and so unnaturally it was silly. Seems like they could have figured out a better way to make it plausible why Chuck would go by himself.

    Ellie and Awesome have a nice ease about them and are believable. It is a certain kind of chemistry that is appealing, but to me is in no way of a "hot" kind of chemistry. The producers have been intent to kill the "hot" chemistry that I think Chuck and Sarah do have, although I have no idea why. We get a few moments now and then, but they could do so much more (a la vs. Honeymooners)

    I do think all indications from your insider, critic's comments, etc. is that next episode is a winner, so looking forward to that. Wonder if it will get an all-time low because it is showing right before Christmas. On one hand, not much on, so maybe more will watch, but my instinct says not many will be watching TV at all.

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  37. There better be some more scenes of Sarah in lingerie before the show ends.

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  38. Thanks, Magnus

    @Gina: Yes, the awesomes are my fav couple on the show, always have been. I also like Chuck and Sarah but they are too corny to my tastes. I mostly just tolerate them now.

    S.

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  39. I agree with pretty much everything Lev has said.

    Chuck was an idiot this episode, it's like we went back to Season 1 when Chuck wasn't sure if he could trust Sarah or not. The whole curse thing was super stupid. If this wasn't TV, their marriage would be over in a week. I LOVE Chuck but he's always doing dumb things to Sarah and yet she just magically forgives him.

    YES, why can we not have more hot Sarah/Chuck moments??!!

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  40. Oh and despite the name of this article, not much was said about the P.A.N.T.S.

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  41. "Oh and despite the name of this article, not much was said about the P.A.N.T.S."

    THE TRAVESTY!

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  42. The travesty indeed, lol. I was just saying, Magnus.

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  43. Excited for 5x07--between Shaw, Makenna Melvin, and who knows what else, it looks awesome. Looks like my trend this season of generally liking the odd-numbered episodes far more than the evens (5x02 being the exception) might well continue.

    I'm agreed with Lev; this episode rebooted Chuck to an earlier version of himself where he'd do stupid things behind Sarah and/or Casey's backs. It's the same problem I had with Sarah's "normal life!" angst in 5x04; it just doesn't make sense with the way they've all grown since then.

    I suppose old writers leaving and getting new writers who don't "get" the characters has something to do with it. Lefranc and Judkins seem to be the exception in that with "TicTac" they hit the ground running and fit right in to the Chuck-verse. The fact Kristen Newman ("Business Trip") and Alex Katsnelson ("Curse") are responsible for my two least episodes of s5 thus far AND the stupidity of "Muuurder" last season makes me kinda hope like hell those two aren't writing more episodes this season.

    Cor

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  44. Though, it is the same show runner/head writer. So, no excuses for stupid character moments like that.

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  45. Very true, HGF. Good point there. Still hope we don't get more Newman or Katsnelson. ;)

    Cor

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  46. What's in Bartowski's P.A.N.T.S.? Only Sarah knows ? Or does she ? Muhahaha

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