This review may contain spoilers.
4.11 Chuck Versus The Balcony
Very often on Chuck they have a special guest star who is allowed to ham it up or be exceptionally silly, but this week’s star doesn’t even act. That’s because the unaccredited supporting role in Chuck Versus The Balcony goes to Greenacres, an elegant property built in the twenties by silent star Harold Lloyd. If it seems vaguely familiar, it’s the same place that Ah-nuld assaulted in Commando, and a zillion other productions.
Here it’s playing a winery in the Loire Valley, France, although they CGIed some rolling vineyards to make it seem slightly more plausible. Except they did that in such an obvious way, that you’d have to be on medication to accept that they were in France.
How this location is woven into this adventure isn’t important, but they clearly wanted this to be the place where Chuck would finally pop the question to Sarah, in that overly mushy way that the show often deals with their romantic relationship.
The way this is presented throughout the story is built around the concept of a mission-within-a-mission, where they have a job to do, but Chuck also needs to deploy the ring and knee at an appropriate point. The ‘fun’, as is usually the case with this show, is, as simple as that seems, it proves to be an exceptionally elusive act to perform.
That part of the show has its highs, and lows, but the exceptionally funny parts are all back at the Buy More, where Lester has been informed that he’s had a marriage arranged for him, and is waiting to meet his future bride.
Having initially rejected the idea, he then embraces it once he sees her. How he manages to mess this up and the welcome return to the stage of Jeffster was probably the highlight of the show for me.
The parts with Chuck and Sarah were less satisfying, and there was a change of direction at the end that came over as painfully forced, and entirely out of sync with the rest of proceedings. Having started exceptionally well, with a sideways salute to the ‘Santa’ story from Gremlins, it sort of went downhill and became exceptionally fragmented in places.
I’ve also started to notice that it’s better when Morgan is centre stage, as he’s a much more interesting character than Chuck. The scenes that Morgan and Sarah had together flowed better than the ones she had with Chuck, but then I guess they were meant to be awkward.
In short, I’m still waiting for a knock-out Chuck episode in season 4, and we’ve crossed the halfway point in what is probably its final year. It’s about time Chuck manned up, and started delivering the sort of craziness we know it can.
Next week, both Linda Hamilton and Timothy Dalton are back when Sarah tries to infiltrate Alexei Volkoff’s organisation, while Ellie and Awesome argue over what to name their baby! It’s got possibilities, I hope.
Read our review of episode 10, Chuck Versus The Leftovers, here.
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