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With November quickly approaching and many Fall shows inching closer to double digits in their season, it is about time that Chuck finally joins NBC’s schedule. Pushed to Friday nights and beginning its final season, the show may be winding down, but with the record of great story lines, characters and nerd culture wrapped up nicely, one can only assume that the show will go out with a bang. After all, Morgan has the intersect now, so he’s bound to at least loudly knock something over.
A lot of stuff happened in last season’s finale. Sarah almost died, Decker removed the intersect from Chuck’s head, Chuck and Sarah got married, Volkoff gave them a cool billion (for those rounding up) as a wedding present, and the team has been fired from the CIA. Oh yeah, and one minor detail, Morgan now knows kung fu.
For the final season of Chuck it all goes back to the source, but this time around it is Morgan who has to get used to having the supercomputer in his head. It may have been a few years back, but I remember Chuck being a little more graceful in the beginning. Sure he stopped a computer bomb with porn and almost crashed a helicopter due to freaking out as he constantly forgot to stay in the car, but Morgan is a whole new style of recently birthed giraffe on his first mission. And this is exactly as it should be. Morgan has always been a little special when it comes to his work on the team, and it is a relief to see that he hasn’t lost this, even possibly taking a tip from the Hitman games by distracting guards with a thrown coin.
But enough about how Morgan is taking on the new role, let’s get to the flash face. Or rather, his “zoom” face. If one were to describe Morgan’s first zoom face, it might go a little something like this: “He starts out with the strained expression of a person with a fart that somehow manages to be difficult in its release, followed by the realization that more than just gas is now in his boxers.” This I can deal with for its hilarity alone, but I don’t know if I can support the new name. “Zoom” may be another option for an action word in the pages of a Flash comic, but let’s hope he can come up with something a little better than this. Granted Casey has already used it in a sentence without scowling at its stupidity, so it might be here to stay.
Even with his troubles on the first mission, Morgan quickly develops into a decent spy come attempt number two, going so far as to improvising a way to get the desired outcome after Chuck’s plan starts unraveling. He even has a secret handshake with Sarah, for crying out loud. Poor, useless Chuck. Throughout the episode Chuck suffers from bouts of normal man syndrome, watching the team operate from the van as he had to do in times past. It is hard to believe that the whole last season of the show will go without the title character teaming up with his brain computer once more, but for now he is going to have to find a way to operate without his superpowers. If Batman can do it, so can he. And Chuck also has the money to buy snazzy gadgets to help him do so (at least he did for the majority of the episode).
As Chuck struggles with watching from the sidelines, it is good to see that he has found his part in the group come episode’s end. Sarah calls him their leader, and as long as he works his way into the missions I am fine with this new position. And luckily enough, he does just this in the episode. As the team is captured while attempting to hack into their target's accounts thanks to the interference of Decker, Chuck is able to use the skills he came to the table with pre brain computer, getting to say the classic “computer emergency?” line to work his way in. Sure this has been used numerous times, but it works perfectly to get Chuck out of his funk and pays tribute to where the show started.
As the team works to keep Carmichael Industries afloat by taking on clients in need of some freelance spies, the audience needs to be reminded of the importance of the Buy More to the show. Technically Morgan and Chuck, the new secret owner, still work there (and I am assuming Casey does as well), but for now its inclusion seems rather forced just so that this staple location gets its due this season. Jeff and Lester have a subplot of scheming people out of money in order to support Jeff’s fake injuries, but as soon as this subplot is introduced it is already solved, giving the Buy More employees far less screen time than they are used to. A weak point of the episode, it is understandable that a lot of story points had to be focused on in this premiere, so I am sure that this will be improved upon in episodes to come.
Operation Unfortunate Acronym
One of the less spy driven aspects of the show that takes time away from the Buy More is the married life of Chuck and Sarah. Just in case you forgot they were newlyweds, there are plenty of reminders worked into the dialog, as well as attention drawn to the wedding rings. While overdoing it slightly in this aspect, the married life suits the couple. Plus it will continue to bring about more storylines for episodes to come. Some time down the road they may get to babies (we’re talking finale type reveals), but for now Chuck has Operation T.I.T.S. (Toes in the Sand).
Trying to surprise Sarah by taking the initiative to find a house, Chuck and Morgan compile information, pictures, and what not into a binder that would put a psychotic bridezilla’s bridal book to shame. Not to waste a moment to put Yvonne Strahovski’s body front and center, Sarah tries to seduce the secrets Chuck is hiding from her out, to which she obviously succeeds at. Though these moments don’t quite work on me as a female viewer, the hopeless romantic girl of me was also kept in mind post slow-motion lingerie seduction. As a child, Sarah’s con artist father kept them on the move, so now as an adult she only has dreams of a cute little house with a red door and white picket fence. The red door seems a little M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense to me, but I will give her the fence because of how honest and touching these moments are between the two. Unfortunately, before Chuck can buy a house for her that fits these parameters, Decker steps in to ruin the day again.
At the end of last season, Chuck bested this CIA agent with an army of Russians, so Decker might be holding a slight grudge against our hero. In actuality it is far more than a slight grudge, and to end the season he tells Chuck that he is a part of some master plan that has included The Ring, Shaw, the intersect, and all he has come up against since day one. Though practically nothing of this plan is revealed in this episode, we do get a glimpse of Decker talking to a table of men in shadows about the importance of Chuck: “As you can see, our superiors interference in Chuck Bartowski’s life has only just begun. But now you understand how important he is and why he must fail.” So far this group has been able to freeze Chuck’s bank accounts (he just can’t get a break when he gets a big pay day, with the first going to fund Ellie’s wedding), but something tells me that they have far more in mind than simply keeping him from purchasing some property. For now it remains a mystery.
With a strong start to the final season of Chuck, “Chuck vs. the Zoom” is full of all the things that have made this show great. There are action bits that don’t get too full of themselves as the comedy paints them in a way that this show has mastered throughout the years, and as the mysteries develop the characters and heartfelt moments are not lost to the excitement. So what did you guys think of the premiere? Are you liking Morgan as the intersect, zoom face and all, or are you hoping that Chuck will get the computer back? What do you think the master plan is that Decker is acting on and why do they want to keep Chuck from succeeding? Post your thoughts below!