This review may contain spoilers.
4.12 Chuck Versus The Gobbler
I’ve been generally disappointed with season four so far, but The Gobbler episode was really good on a number of important levels. A good Chuck episode can either go for a degree of insanity, or, as in this case, actually plug together a tight dramatic narrative, and inject some dry humour along the way.
Very early on this story impressed me with some of the character dialogue and interaction, a major notch up from some of the low points we’ve seen so far this season. Well scripted characters make the whole thing much more interesting, and it certainly made Timothy Dalton seem less hammy than his previous outings on the show.
But some of the Morgan pieces were also excellent, like he’s running an inner monologue on events, without realising he’s speaking it out loud.
The Gobbler of the piece is Volkoff’s top bodyguard, infamous for eating his victims, and the man Sarah is sent to extract from prison to prove her allegiances have changed.
The whole prison sequence is played heavily for laughs, and for the most part, they pull it off. The only bit that seemed very odd was the part where Sarah, dressed in a catsuit and boots, enters the canteen and manages to make fifty-plus hardened criminals walk away by asking them what they’re looking at! Really. Only on TV.
But the best laughs, for my mind, went to the Awesomes this week, with the conundrum of naming their unborn child. The name Ellie comes up with is incredible, as are Devon’s attempts to dissuade her from using it. The Buy More scenes surrounding this plot element were incredibly brief this week, but no less exceptionally funny.
Their ultimate choice of name has plenty to do with the TV shirt of Mogan’s that Alex is wearing when she appears, if you get the reference.
But what made it a stand-out exercise was the dramatic twist, that I’m not going to spoil, in latter part of the show, where things moved smoothly from the light hearted Chuck mode into a much darker spy narrative. I loved this Alias-style addendum, as it made you wonder how close they got to actually killing a main character in what’s essentially a comedy.
Overall, this was prime Chuck, cut from the choicest sections, and forgetting the prison sequences, it was all glued together reasonably seamlessly.
While Linda Hamilton hasn’t proven to be someone I’m eager to see each week, Timothy Dalton has been excellent, and underpins a level of performance that the show can appreciate.
Last week, I alluded to the idea that this season of Chuck might be the last one, which, given that it wasn’t a certainty that it would be back after the first season, seemed not an unreasonable thing to say. Yet, since then, show co-creator Chris Fedek gave an interview that he’s “optimistic” that it will happen should NBC agree. Given what little else this channel has to offer currently, it’s certainly not beyond the bounds of possibility.
Next week, we get what was originally planned to be the season (and show) finale, before NBC asked for the back 11 episodes, so I’d expect some real fireworks in Chuck Versus Push Mix.
Read our review of episode 11, Chuck Versus The Balcony, here.
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