Chuck season 2 episode 9 review

Can Chuck find his calm centre, and beat the Sensei?

In Chuck versus the Sensei, a man from Casey’s past comes back to haunt him and reveal the inner calm centre that all great martial arts exponents strive for.

Ty Bennett, Casey’s Sensei in 1994, turns up in a mission and awakens memories of previous failure, plus some anger that he’s now turned ‘rogue’. Ty Bennett is played ably by Carl Lumbly, previously Alias spy Marcus Dixon for five years.

But actually, this main plot is rather thin in places, and I enjoyed the two counter stories this week more. One is the unusual tales of BuyMorea adventure, where Emmett Milbarge tries to motivate the employees by reintroducing ‘Employee of the Month’. Unsurprisingly, Morgan, Jeff and Lester take this as a challenge to see who can get the lowest customer approval rating. This is mildly funny, but the cherry on this week’s Chuck pie is certainly the appearance of Captain Awesome’s parents in the Bartowski household. They’d been threatened last week, but they arrive unexpectedly to help with Elle and Awesome’s wedding plans.

Bruce Boxleitner is ‘Woody’ Woodcomb, and Morgan Fairchild is his perfect wife, ‘Honey’. They’re just wonderful, and take virtually no time to start railroading the wedding like it’s a military operation. This eventually pushes Elle over the edge, when they suggest that Woody walks her up the aisle. There’s a minor story here about the missing Mr. Bartowski senior, and Chuck’s intention to locate him for his sister’s wedding that looks set to become an important future plot strand.

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Getting back to the ‘Sensei’, he creates a trap to kill Casey and Sarah in which they narrowly avoid being blown up, and then kidnaps Chuck. Casey catches up with them, but Bennett escapes.

It’s decided that Casey is too emotionally involved and is restricted to the ‘castle’. But he convinces Chuck to visit him and escapes, handcuffing Chuck in Orange Orange, and going after Bennett. Everyone converges on Sensei Bennett’s dojo for the big showdown.

The ironic twist at the end is when finally confronted with a chance to stop his Sensei, at first Casey fails horribly. The key to unlocking his calm centre is that he doesn’t have one to unlock. Chuck’s inspiration is to unlock Casey’s inner rage, which is substantial, by telling him that he’s a deeply sensitive person who loves him! Incensed by the suggestion that he’s ‘warm and mushy’, Casey beats the pulp out of Ty Bennett, just before tens of armed FBI agents arrive and arrest him and his people.

If I’m honest, it’s possibly the weakest episode this year, but still tons of fun. I think the disappearance of characters from the Buy More is worrying me a little (where is Anna?), and Morgan needs more screen time.

It only remains for me to deliver the roll of geekness presented in this story…

  • In Chuck’s bedroom is a poster from Tron, which featured Bruce Boxleitner.
  • The fact that Pluto isn’t officially a planet any more really bums Chuck out.
  • An address for Buy More is printed on their pens. It’s 9000 Burbank Blvd.
  • Chuck sleeps with his Xbox 360 controller.
  • Captain Awesome has two brothers, Elle mentions.
  • On the Buy More picture wall this week are old Hong Kong kung fu movies.
  • Chuck uses a MacGyver trick to escape the handcuffs in Orange Orange, and acknowledges it.
  • Elle drinks Moët & Chandon champagne in times of stress.
  • Another poster on Chuck’s wall is for Yakuza Prep, which was a fake Yakuza movie referenced as being liked by Seth Cohen in The O.C., TV show which creator Josh Schwartz previously worked on.


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Check out Billy’s review of episode 8 here.