This review may contain spoilers.
4.13 Chuck Versus The Push Mix
In the original episode order this was meant to be the finale, but the ordering of the back 11 means it’s now in the middle of this year’s Chuck. Not wanting to make major changes to their narrative plan, those behind the show delivered a build-up last week and then executed their intended finale here.
The push mix of the title is the calming music that Chuck (who, working for the CIA, doesn’t consider copyright laws) has put on a CD for the birth of baby Grunka. Err, I mean Clara. It’s a minor point in this story, as most of it revolves around taking down Volkoff and his Hydra network, but the scenes with Ellie and Captain Awesome underline the heart this show has for me. They even manage to layer in a character who is dead, with the threat of bringing him back for a splash of genuine tension.
I’d accept that the way things unfold is a little uneven in places. Having four characters run into each other on the deck of a ship looked rather clumsy, but overall, this was a great episode and showcased what the cast and writers can do when inspired.
And for once in this season they even managed to illicit some decent acting from Linda Hamilton, having watched Timothy Dalton redefine crazy over the past weeks.
Dalton was marvellous again, especially when he realised that Mary Bartowski had been playing him for many years. He’s so watchable, I find it hard to believe that he’s not a major character on a mainstream drama in the US.
I’m not going to reveal how Chuck brings down Volkoff, but it’s much more classy than I’d expected, and not one of the usual cheesy methods borrowed from Scooby Doo.
Where the show really wins for me is the humour, the sort of anarchy that only Chuck can deliver. From the running gag about Morgan not dressing under his wetsuit, to the reaction of Awesome to impending fatherhood, it’s all very funny. To that we can add the sideways reference to FlashForward with their evidence wall, Morgan’s yoga, and the abduction of an entirely innocent person, who just looks like someone they’d like to interrogate.
It’s capped off with the very predictable, but no less hilarious arrival at the hospital of Jeffster for their very own push mix. The Buy More has had the thin end of the pizza for most of season 4, but at least Jeffster have had their moments in the light.
Yet, in true Hollywood style, baby Clara looks like no newborn I’ve ever seen, having arrived by a limo rather than via the birth canal. But I digress.
The only question unanswered is where the show can go from here for 11 more stories, as the majority of plot threads where neatly tied up as they needed to be, by Push Mix?
Okay, so Volkoff could come back, and so could a dozen other captured baddies, and Chuck and Sarah still need to marry at some point, but all new driving elements of the show need redefining. I do hope they can develop some narrative fast, as I don’t want the show to fizzle out from here, having come so far.
Next week we see the welcome return of Roan Montgomery (John Larroquette) when Chuck goes up against The Seduction Impossible.
Personally, I can’t wait.
Read our review of episode 12, Chuck Versus The Gobbler, here.
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