This review may contain spoilers.
4.10 Chuck Versus The Leftovers
There’s a joy to this show when it’s in full flood that’s hard to resist. And, Chuck Versus the Leftovers is a perfect example of the finer Chuck episode, where the creative team unleashes all manner of craziness like a paintball Gatling gun.
Chuck is at its very best when it heavily indulges itself in referencing movies and other shows, and this week they returned to one of this production’s favourites, Die Hard.The construction of a plot and scenario that has Morgan crawling through air-conditioning ducts in bare feet is both hilarious and clever. But it wouldn’t work without the quite brilliant Timothy Dalton, playing the Gruber-esque Alexei Volkoff.
How, after he tries to kill almost everyone, he then invites himself to a Thanksgiving leftovers dinner was masterful, as was the wonderfully convoluted dynamic which had Morgan attempting to save Casey, Lester and Jeff from certain death using a trick that would only ever work in a movie.
Linda Hamilton wasn’t wonderful, but with Dalton ranting in most of her scenes, it didn’t really seem to matter. The inclusion of the Awesomes in this story was also a positive aspect, with Devon providing a marvellous foil when he discovers who Volkoff really is.
Given how weak some of the earlier episodes in season 4 were, this was a dramatic shot in the arm that Chuck badly needed. But they also chose this as the point where they’d complete the loss of the Intersect arc. For good or bad Chuck now knows Kung Fu, again.
The Intersect 2.0 hasn’t always been a power for good in the development of Chuck, so it will be interesting to see if they find more imaginative ways for it not to be the answer to any problem he might have.
This is the second story this season by Henry Alonso Myers, who also penned the excellent Chuck Versus The Couch Lock. These are his only contributions to Chuck so far, although he has an impressive track record on shows like Ugly Betty, CSI and Charmed. Given that he’s created to the two stand-out Chucks of this year, I do hope they give him some more to do in the extended season (24 shows) to come.
If I have a frustration here it’s that this is the last new episode of 2010, with the show returning on the 17th of January. I’ll miss Chuck, but there’s a loss for the show too, because, while it’s off-air Tron: Legacy will be released.
Given the prominence of Tron in the world of Chuck, this is bitterly disappointing, because I was so looking forward to a Tron-themed episode, which presumably we’ll now not get! The ‘Dude’ needs to guest star, if the budget would handle that.
Oh, well. I’ll miss Chuck over Christmas, but I’ll be very keen to see it return the other side of 2011.
Read our review of episode 9, Chuck Versus Phase Three, here.
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