29 October, 2011

CHUCK Vs. the Zoom - 5.01: What's Up?

So CHUCK returned last night for its 5th and final season, and based on the horrendous ratings it got (1.0 in the all important 18-49 demo), the first of the LAST THIRTEEN EPISODES EVER!

But you are not here to read what I think about its future prospects (the show is done), but instead what I thought of the episode (seriously, it is over, enjoy the next 12 because there is no chance in hell there will be more). Oh and if you are not an adult, or a cool kid, don't read past this point because I am going to use language that will make Baby Jesus cry.

Let's start off with what I didn't think worked:

1. Morgan's opening fight sequence. The fuckin' stunt man is like 12 fuckyfeet taller than Josh Gomez! Plus, his profile is... thinner, or something. Oh, and the hair wasn't even correct. Whattheshit? Perhaps they should have just put the camera on the rest of Team B and toss in some noises of Morgan fighting, then turn the camera back to him to show that he had defeated his opponents. Because that would have worked better. It would have still been dumb as pudding-pie, but an improvement over what was delivered.

2. Morgan and Sarah's dance. Oh yes, it was funny because of the height difference but the scene wasn't played for direct laughs, instead it was used to showcase some incestuous feeling (after all, Morgan should always treat Sarah like his deadly assassin sister) cool-dance by the Intersect. But Morgan as the Intersect should be played for laughs, or tragedy (ruhroh), not for cool. The writers should have looked at what Morgan was like without the Intersect (crazy, suicidal brave) and added abilities. BUT HE SHOULD STILL BE A MASSIVE GOOF.

3. The near-ending scene with Chuck and Sarah and the house... while the discussion between them was only BURN NOTICE level cheesy (holy shit that show is fuckin' cheesy), the setup was ridiculous. So, if Chuck had only bought this dream house 20-seconds sooner! But now they are out of money so he has to make enough to buy it for her! You see, the dream house will still be there months from now because no one wants that piece of shit, plus it is on the Warner Brothers lot so that works out perfectly for Chuck.... for when he can finally buy it for his dearest love. Awwwwwww. Lame.

4. Decker. Still stupid. After months off, the writers didn't make this interesting in the least. Everything he says feels like the writers are trying to figure out what it will all mean in 4 or 10 episodes. His dialogue reminds me of when someone is making up a lie in front of you and struggling through it. It feels unnatural. You know something is wrong. But they keep talking even as you look at them cross-eyed and then STAB THEM IN THE FUCKIN' FACE!

What did I like? Pretty much everything else.

1. Usually season openers have actors trying to find their character again but everyone felt natural.

2. Character interactions in one-on-one scenes were actually really solid. Chuck and Morgan? Great. Chuck and Sarah? Very good. Chuck and Ellie? Best scene of the episode.

3. The Buy More, though not in much of the episode, was very lively and fun. Jeff and Lester up to their silly tricks and Chuck, the secret owner, and Morgan having to stop the madness. I realize some assholes who should die don't like the Buy More, but they are assholes and should die.

4. While the T.I.T.S. acronym thing was much funnier initially, before we saw it written out, Sarah's reaction to seeing it was killer. I love when she is annoyed, especially by Morgan. And that is part of the problem with the dancing scene between her and Morgan... they work best when he is intimidated by her, not when he is impressing her.

5. Chuck not having the Intersect 2.0 abilities was AWESOME! Sure, him being able to kick ass and shit was fun for two seasons, but the show has so much more personality when he is a danger to himself. Plus, it was a nice touch to have him lose the gun because his hands were slippery, as opposed to him just being incapable of handling a gun... you know, since he was very handy with a tranq gun PRIOR to the Intersect 2.0.

6. Chuck the man with the master plan is a big part of what made season 2 so great. And they utilized that well in this episode. From him briefing the team, to him recording the escape plan in the van, to him actually escaping... I loved it all.

7. Morgan coming to save the day in the opening sequence was very funny... up until his fight sequence.

8. Casey's handling of the client early in the episode. Classic pre-feelings Casey. Baldwin may have even pulled out a little Jayne in one of the scenes. I had FIREFLY flashbacks.

9. Morgan and Sarah had the spy high-five last season... this season, a spy whateverthatis. Made me laugh.

10. And finally, some fun dialogue:

Casey isn't happy about the client, dismissing him as an "ambulance chaser" but Sarah tries to sway him that the target is worth going after.
Sarah: Casey, Bale is worth infiltrating anyway, looks like he's stolen money from teacher's unions, families.
Casey is dismissive and unimpressed.
Client: He stole $2 million from Rush Limbaugh.
Casey's entire demeanor changes as he spins around.
Casey: Tell me EVERYTHING you know about this ANIMAL!

Ellie: The computer didn't make you a hero. It just gave you the opportunity to become one.

When Chuck tells the team he is going to play squash with the mark, everyone looks worried.
Chuck: Whaaat? What what what? What's the problem? What's up?
Casey: You're gonna play? Do you actually play any non-video game sports?

When Morgan meets the mark he introduces himself, still using his ridiculous cover name.
Morgan: I'm Michael Carmichael, of Michael Carmichael Industries, subsidiary of Michael.
Bale: That sounds like big money.
Morgan: Mmmmm, you have no idea. You know, if I was standing on my wallet, I'd be tall.

Sarah suspects Chuck is keeping a secret and confronts him about it in Castle. Chuck is evasive and refuses to give anything up.
Sarah: Casey and I are going to scout Bale's corporate headquarters so we'll talk about this later.
Chuck: Can't this be that one-time conversation? (deadly look from Sarah)

Morgan and Chuck see Jeff rolling around in a wheelchair looking crippled. Lester tells them how it happened.
Lester: He was trampled by a stampede of middle-aged secretaries for the midnight release of the talking Justin Bieber doll. His legs were crushed. He may never walk again.

As Chuck and Morgan observe Jeff scamming money for his disability out of unsuspecting customers, they are convinced something is afoot. Jeff rolls up to a customer.
Jeff: Please, help. I'm on Buy More insurance right now.
Chuck and Morgan are hunched over watching from a distance.
Chuck: The audacity! As the secret owner of this establishment I happen to know we have excellent insurance.

When Jeff idiotically exposes his own fraud, Lester comes over to see his friend standing up, looking fine, with Chuck and Morgan nearby.
Lester: It's a miracle! This is because of your donations!
This moment was a particular favorite since it reminded me of all the bullshitting that fans do, patting themselves on the back for "saving" shows by doing some useless thing they think important, that no network decision maker ever actually notices, or if they do, thinks remotely important.

So, you guys made the show walk, with your tweets! (that's sarcasm, mind you)

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

89 out of 100

Oh and if you want to experience our podcast for the episode...
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  1. Regarding Morgan as the intersect...as Clay Davis from The Wire would say....SHEEEEEEEEEEEEITTTTTTT!

  2. OR

    As Clay Davis would say..."You must be out of your damn mind!"

    Just finished watching The Wire, awesome series!

  3. Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeit.

    THE WIRE is awesome... but this is about CHUCK!

  4. Personally, I loved the Decker storyline and can't wait to see where it goes.

    But what do I know. I'll take your word for it, great one.

  5. Hey, Nick, let me ask you a question and please don't take this the wrong way:


    If not, then to each their own, I guess.



  6. I liked it, it was a decent episode, but I'm feeling nostalgic cause it feels like this is a whole new show I like, but nothing like the show I used to love... And the only reason Chuck is still my favorite is because i don't really love anything else...

    And I had no idea vans could cushion falls...

  7. How is it nothing like the show you used to love? Chuck is back to not having the Intersect super powers. That's the show we fell in love with. I prefer this latest episode to most of season 3 and 4.

  8. The Decker storyline is a hail fucking mary if I ever saw one! I do wonder what fedak was smoking when he was writing the season finale last year. I mean there is no way the show has the budget for Chuck and co to be billionaires, lol. Also there is no way in hell that Josh was going to be able to do what Zach does as the intersect. One day he might come out and say that he told the story he wanted to and was just writing bullshit because he thought they would be cancelled. OR funnier still...he wrote it to see if the WB would even notice, since they only renewed it to get past 88 episodes, lol. I mean unlike The Wire there is no way to reconcile the whole conspiracy bullshit. But I will give Fedak this...he did have Chuck call out Decker as being full of bullshit when he was in the van, so Magnus called it when doing his last season podcast. Magnus did say the best thing was for Decker to just have lied...lol, and they did that, hehehehe!

  9. LOST fans, or whatever you want to call them, used to bitch that the writers were just making it up as they went. Yet I only felt that way a few times with that show. However, with CHUCK, especially the Decker shit, I am sure of it.

  10. I don't like the conspiracy part either, is not interesting or intriguing or... man is just ANNOYING...

  11. They did leave a lot of mythology on the on the table...but I expect that from a network tv show. For shows like Lost and Chuck...characters are key. Ryan Magee said it best in his review...if Chuck can get Sarah the perfect house...who gives a fuck about the rest. If Chuck can reconcile who he is and how he always fits into the world...awesome. If Decker is just another wanker like those politicians on the wire who were victims of a corrupt and shitty system...who gives a fuck? lol. The season is only worth a shit if The Bartowski's find a deeper and more meaningful way to love each other more than they already do. Sounds fucking corny...but it is the best they can really hope for to be honest. Besides, I never gave a fuck about the CIA and the Government to be honest and that is even before I saw the wire and realised how pointless and futile it all really is in the end.

  12. I think the dance would have been funnier if everything started well, then when they started getting attention Morgan starts eating it up and eventually just sort of pushes Sarah away and starts dancing by himself.

  13. Er Yvonne carried that dance on her own, lol. Josh just stood there and let her do all the work, there is no way they were going to pay attention to his dance moves since he has none! lol. Yvonne actually did professional dance, I think and so is more than capable of doing that. If I am correct she also carried the Bryce and Sarah dance and more than half of the Chuck and Sarah dance in season 3, lol. This was the worst dance to be honest, I mean the girl is awesome, but even she has her limits on how much she can carry her dance partner.

  14. I definitely think it would have been better had they just called attention to the ridiculousness of it all. Instead, they tried to make Morgan cool on the dance floor, and it was just unintentionally funny.

  15. Maybe the final story arc with Decker will be better than everyone expects.

    I didn't find the dance scene with Yvonne and Morgan funny at all.

  16. And maybe CHUCK will score a 5.0 rating next week in the 18-49 demo. Though, that is 99.999999% not going to happen.

  17. I have a very interesting argument one of the Chuck forum about the Sarah and Morgan dance, and although the conversation is slipping out from my control. I became some Public Enemy, just because I did not like it XD.
    I watched couple times and I did not laught or smiled so to me it was not funny. for example the Chuck and La Ciudad dance in the chuck vs tango, was funny, becasue chuck learn the lady part of the tango. :). This one was not funny , Just because Sarah is taller than Morgan, it not make funny.

  18. Well, you can shit on it here and no one will mind... and if they do, we punch them in their balls!

  19. If you are going to be that pessimistic about the Decker arc then you definately won't like it.

  20. Don't tell me what to do, mother fucker!

  21. I didn't tell you what to do.

  22. I think I know now what Decker's final plan. :)
    He don't want that Chuck buy the House, because He wants to buy for his Grandma.

  23. That's a good plan.

    How could anyone dislike it.

  24. Calling someone a mother fucker even when joking is wrong.

    I could call Head Geek Furious a mother fucker but what would that accomplish.

  25. Depending on how much tv you watch...in The Wire everyone was calling someone a mother fucker...it was just an expression people threw around when cussing, lol. It is proabably like those "you mom" jokes from the 90's. I doubt it is as personal as you are taking it.

  26. dont think the Morgan dance with Sarah was designed to be funny i think it was supposed to be a sexy moment for the male audience along with Sarah in panties and bra trying to find out Chuck secret

  27. I am really apprehensive about the conspiracy plot for many reasons, including the feeling that they are just pulling it out of their asses and will continue to do so.

    But, I do kinda like the Decker character as a nemesis for Chuck. I just wish it wasn't in association with a conspiracy plot that I doubt will make any sense and may very well taint the entire show.

    I guess we disagree on the character.

    Everything else I generally agree with. The dance may very well be one of the show's worst scenes ever. I find I've averted my eyes the three times I've skimmed through the episode since recording it.

    Your thoughts on the house--hilarious. Especially the part about it still being for sale at the end of the season. I guess we should be prepared for a cheesy ending for this show.

  28. "Calling someone a mother fucker even when joking is wrong."

    No, killing someone is wrong. Calling someone a mother fucker is freedom of speech, protected by the mother fuckin' constitution of the United mother fuckin' states of America.

    Also, if you have fucked a mother, then that is what you are.

    Also, remove the stick from your ass. This is not a site for pussies.

  29. "Your thoughts on the house--hilarious. Especially the part about it still being for sale at the end of the season. I guess we should be prepared for a cheesy ending for this show."

    I don't mind the house storyline, I just mind the way they set it up. The conversation between Chuck and Sarah was fine, but that setup could have been handled so much better. Chuck is just gawking at the house like some stalking ex boyfriend and his wife finds him there. The only reason you even do that is to implant the house in the memory of the viewers, and them standing in front of it.

    It just wasn't arrived at, in the story, naturally.

  30. Sarah calling Chuck honey on a mission just for that old married couple joke was stupid.

  31. I liked the dance scene, but maybe because i didn't think when i was watching, that it was suppose to demontrate how good Morgan is with an intersect, i was just watching her and Sarah/Yvonne was indeed great, while he was just there not doing anything in particular. Also i found it quite amusing how much taller she is and how her legs go way above his head.


  32. One good thing about the Decker storyline is that everyone expects it to be bad so when it is people won't be as disappointed.

    I see the very final scene being Chuck finally buys Sarah her dream house.

    Then the end credits role.

  33. One thing I picked up that no one else seems to mention.

    That Chuck began with a cold open which i don't think this show has ever done before.

    I think if Decker is going to go after all of them he should do it more discreetly since last season Chuck threatened to blow the whistle on the Agent X thing.

  34. Doesn't the episode always start before the credits or am I wrong about what I think a cold open is?

  35. CHUCK has only done a "cold open" for 79 straight episodes.

  36. oh right.

    Sorry for the poor english.

    I meant Chuck opens the show by starting off with a mission already in progress.

    I don't remember Chuck ever doing that before because usually it's Beckman telling them where to go.

    It reminds me of what Macguyver use to do.

  37. 2.01 starts with a mission in progress. I am sure there have been others.

  38. The Decker storyline = Decker is a fan of the show "Chuck" but hates what the writers did in Season 3 so he's out to destroy the entire thing. He is a crazy ex-fan. Very meta.

  39. YES! That's it! Decker is a crazy shipper who is seeking revenge!

  40. Other cold opens: 3.01, Chuck vs. Final Exam (can't remember ep #). Even 102 was sort of a cold open with Chuck seen running at full speed.

    On dialogue:
    One odd bit of dialogue that was thrown in the mix was when Chuck said his wife had been talking to him about waxing while he was massaging that guy.

  41. I noticed the random waxing line too. It confused me because the one or two times they have shown shirtless-Chuck over the seasons he doesn't seem like he would need waxing(at least to me), but maybe Sarah is picky about it.

  42. I'm just trying to imagine that conversation, but can't.

  43. I didn't take it to be anything but Chuck trying to stall.

  44. Yeah, can't think of how it would have gone. It just seemed weird the writers tossed it in there.

  45. I thought about that too, but I wasn't sure if I should take it as him fake stalling or him using his own life which happened to be relevant to stall. If that makes any sense.

  46. My thought process was the same as OldPandaDayz.

    Yeah, he was trying to stall, but that doesn't mean he made up the content of the conversation out of nowhere.

    Maybe it was a bit of an insider joke, too.

  47. I had some deep reflection over the last couple of days and came to the self realization that I am a fucking retard. Not only this, but I also came to understand that I am chauvinistic pig.

    Thanks for helping me with this epiphany.

  48. Yay! Nick is saved! Welcome to the... something.

    I hadn't thought this through before I started typing.

  49. In regards to the Decker storyline, I feel like everyone keeps forgetting something that has made Chuck great over the years: storylines that hang around and don't do a whole lot, but by the last 3 episodes, tie everything together and make it all make sense. It was the same way last year with Volkoff (even though I didn't particularly like Vivian), it was the same way with The Ring in season 3, and Fulcrum in season 2. They weren't always major parts of the story, and sometimes it felt like they were just tagged in there because they were supposed to be, but by the final episodes, everything has always gotten tied together perfectly. I have faith in the Decker storyline.

  50. Season 3, The Ring is taken out in a stairwell. Lame. Shaw is taken down in a meh fight inside the BM. Lame. Season 4, the Volkoff story is resolved when Volkoff's daughter stops her menstrual period. Super lame. Season 1 finale wasn't a finale so we can't even count it. Season 2 was the only finale that had an actual worthwhile pay-off to the long story arc build-up. And most of that was done in the previous episode.

    No, the writers on CHUCK almost NEVER pay off these arcs well. And perfectly? You sure have a weird definition for that word.

  51. There is a great pattern there...the only season to have a great payoff is the only season that was given a full order early, lol. Imagine how awesome Chuck would have been for the other 4 seasons if it was given full season orders up front. Ryan Magee said (and I agree with what he said) that with as many series finales Chuck has almost had it is amazing that they still can create any new episodes worth watching. I mean we had end of season 2, mid season 3, end season 3, mid season 4, end season 4 and now season 5...So we have had 6!!!!!!!! 6 potentially series finales!!!!! WAY TO GO CHUCK PEOPLE! If people actually are going to give them a fucking hard time then.....LA DE DAH!

  52. Oh and I forgot, they do these post season 2 episodes on a budget that is equivalant to a 22 minute sitcom on a basic cable channel. I mean Zachary Levi gets paid 60k and Hugh Laurie gets like 400k per episode, so unfair.

  53. Sure, the fact that they have always been on the verge of cancellation has hurt their ability to tell their stories as well as they would have liked. However, the lame resolutions to their big bad story arcs in seasons 3 and 4 are about running out of ideas/steam, not because the network made it difficult for them to tell their stories.

    And I will point out yet again that their penultimate episodes in seasons 2, 3, and 4 were all far superior to the finales. In other words, they are great at almost telling the big arc. They just can't close it well.

  54. I found that Chuck is not the only one to suffer that fate of late. Fringe's finales have been kind of lame too. Mad Men's finale was good and Breaking Bads was awesome. The Killing just sucked. I wonder if on Network TV shows are told to kind of use the last episodes to restart adventures for the next season as well as wrap up the current seasons arc also. On Cable the shows tend to wrap everything up and then the next season starts again. OR maybe I am just full of shit and do not know my ass from my elbow....there she goes walking down the street saying do da dee dum day doo, she looked good, looked fine had me out of my mind...there she goes walking down the street....hehehehehe!

  55. Zzzzzzz... I thought BREAKING BAD was lame too. It was just too obvious. You can ask Greek Geek, I called that shit.

  56. Breaking Bad's finale was lame? What the Fuck! The predictability I think may just be a Vince Gilligan thing, listening to his podcasts or reading his interviews whenever someone asks a question or 2 at the same time he will answer one in great detail and then he will always go back and thoroughly answer the second, lol, the guy never forgets. The guy is fucking insanely meticulous. Nothing he does ever goes without thought of how something will be answered. It does make his show predictable as shit and kind of simple at times but I kind of appreciate that kind of discipline. Also what that does for me at least is leave some things on the table that we know will be answered but not when..like Janes death and now Brock's poisoning, those have to be answered but not knowing when gives a great dramatic edge to all the episodes along with the other shit that is set up. Fringe and Chuck and to an extent my beloved Lost just throw out question after question and never bother to answer most of them, lol. It does keep things fresh and unpredictable but I suppose it also keeps them from being called the greatest tv dramas to ever exist...like Breaking Bad. Man I wish I knew why the fuck Shaws wife was ordered to be killed, lol. I would love to know some of the mythology of Lost like who was shooting out from the outrigger or why Fringe just plain old sucks lately. Ce La Vie....

  57. He is so meticulous that he didn't know an explosion like that would instantly kill someone?

    You are a BREAKING BAD fanboy, so you will excuse whatever they do. Plus, you are totally on Gilligan's cock. So everything he does is INCREDIBLEOMG!!!!

    And I prefer not to have questions answered over getting too many answers. I find that people who need things constantly answered are insecure and project that onto the shows they watch.

  58. Zing! Kow Pow! Slam!

    Nice one!

    Oh you mean Gus walking out after the explosion with half his face off. I think he said in the podcast that unless some fans actually so Gus die then they would not believe it, I think he said that if Gus was just laying there or was not show in the room then fans might think that Gus survived. I think he wanted to show definitviely that Gus was fucked, plus showing Gus with half his face off was kind of haunting. He did go a little OTT on Gus is death, I mean sitting in the car for over a minute, the long walk, the hero music, and one final standing straight and straightening of the tie...it must be like one of the greatest death of a villian on tv ever...maybe it was too much.

    I think he got a little burned last season with Gales death, with the way he shot it, moving the camera around to face Jesse looked like Jesse did not shoot Gale, perhaps he did not want to make that same mistake twice.

    Or I am an insecure fan boy who will excuse anything he does.

  59. There you go... he over-explains things that don't need to be explained. I find that worse than not explaining something.

    Gales death was done perfectly.

    And you are a hyperbolic passive-aggressive and need meds.

  60. Now, enough of fuckin' BREAKING BAD in the CHUCK comments section.

    Someone should just write a review of the series so we can discuss it there.

  61. Here here! Enough of drug dealers and drug manufactures and all that depressing albeit awesome shit that goes on over in Alber....whatever. As for the Premier I have something positive to say: The Chuck and Sarah part worked the most for me (apart from the way Chuck saved the day). Right at the start of the episode, she stands next to him and then moves right up close and brushes his hand and he brushes it back...vety sweet and adorable. I like the way she talked to him when he was down...very season 2ish. I love the way she looks at him especially just before she kissed him and did the well known cusping of his face...very sweet and organic and natural...bravo actors.

    Everything was sweet and natural and did not feel false at all (to be fair after doing this for 5 years I guess it would not be, lol)...So I loved all that...more please.

  62. Thanks for the page of links to these articles, Magnus!

    Uh I think it was point 6 above about Chuck's leader skills. This is what makes this episode great to me. He had a plan and he executed it awesomely. He maybe doesn't have the Intersect, but he's still in charge and the smart guy we've always known.

    Chuck's hands being too slippery to hold the gun or open the doorknob had me in stitches. Zachary's desperate surprised face is just priceless.

    I didn't find the dancing scene funny or appealing in any way. It makes me cringe. It's just so wrong on so many levels. Also - and I love Sarah and all and think she's gorgeous, but - I did not like the way she looked for this party. So her sexiness couldn't save the scene and therefore it sucked so bad.

    I do have to be all girly now and say that the dress she was wearing at the beginning blew my mind. Did wonder about what their cover was supposed to be, though, because it looked like a wedding dress.