Chuck season 2 episode 5 review

Even the great Samuel Clements couldn’t have envisaged what happens when Chuck tackles his greatest literary hero, Tom Sawyer.

Jeff Barnes is one of those characters that could only appear on Chuck. At one time Lester’s best buddy and possibly the lowest life that Buy More employs, he makes Morgan look the pinnacle of sophistication. But a flashback reveals he was once a Missile Command World Champion, and had actual hair. Now he can’t even choose a snack from the vending machine. He’s not quite lived up his expectations, which is the overarching theme of this Chuck.

Things could be bad for Jeff and others at Buy More when the company unleashes an efficiency expert on them, ready to ‘trim the fat’ from this particular retail body.

That’s not Jeff’s only problem however, because Faran Tahir (Iron Man and 24) turns up as a heavy looking for him at the store, where Chuck ‘flashes’ on him. Now Chuck’s got to get close to Jeff and find out why they’re connected, regrettably. This could easily be Chuck’s toughest mission yet.

It turns out that Missile Command designer Morimoto has secretly hidden a code on the last level of the game that gives access to a real missile defence system orbiting the world, and only one man can get that code for them!

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As an official geek, fully paid-up and everything, I should of course point out that it was in fact Dave Theurer, he also of Tempest and I, Robot fame, that designed this Atari classic.

Can Jeff stay conscious long enough to come out of Missile Command retirement and save the world? Err…no, that’s an entirely stupid idea. But maybe Chuck can use his geek-powers to save the day and most of Southern California.

At first Chuck is rubbish at this game. But then he realises that the Tom Sawyer in the title refers to an old music track by Rush. Music that also happens to share an inherent rhythm with the game, thus taking him all the way to the ‘Kill screen’. Except in reality Missile Command has no ‘Kill screen’, doesn’t stop at 2,000,000 as the score only displays 6 characters and the world record, set in 1983 by Victor Ali, is 80,000,000. But everyone knows that.

It’s all typical Chuck fun, although it appears that Emmett Milbarge, efficiency expert, is now installed at Buy More and is a potent nemesis for Chuck.

I can’t wait for Anna to kick his butt!

In the meanwhile here is the finest selection of Chuck factoids distilled from this episode:

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  • Chuck was just twelve merits away from getting his Stanford diploma when he left
  • Jeff has a Ferret called Roscoe (is that a Dukes of Hazard reference?)
  • Morgan owns his own smoke machine
  • Jeff carries a card with him that reads ‘MY NAME IS JEFF AND I’M LOST’ on one side, and his address is printed on the other.
  • Morgan was once a roadie for Mama Mia for four straight summers
  • Anna is Jeff’s ‘muse’ in his mind
  • Atari HQ is full of Japanese early animation memorabilia
  • Morgan claims to have a Zune, but thankfully it’s actually an iPod


Check out Billy’s review of episode 4 here.