4.3 Chuck Versus The Cubic Z
The creative team behind Chuck really pulled one out of the hat with this latest episode, the strongest outing so far this season, because Chuck Versus The Cubic Z is a veritable tornado of craziness.
They took four ideas: Sarah’s desire to slow the march towards motherhood, a midnight game launch at the BuyMore, the return of Big Mike, and the holding of two enemy agents within Castle. Then they twisted them together like stands of a very odd rope.
Of those, by far the best component, and possibly overdue, was the return of Big Mike, now intent on marrying Mrs Grimes, and by definition becoming Morgan’s stepfather.
Their uneasy relationship, and the growing storm in the BuyMore over the game launch that’s pre-destined to be a disaster, creates some entirely magical moments. So far this season we’ve got much more Joshua Gomez’s Morgan, and I’m liking his bigger profile. How things start to get away from him, starting from the very point that Big Mike appears, was predictable, but hilarious in part. Example? How about him being entrusted with Mike’s cubic zirconium ring that he intends to give Morgan’s mother, and then mislaying it in a referential nod to the opening sequence of Indiana Jones And The Temple of Doom?
In fact, the other strength of this story was the number of references they managed to wedge in, with all manner of film and TV jibes, including Die Hard, Aliens, and a dozen others.
They also brought back two prior characters in the form of Stone Cold Steve Austin as hitman Hugo Panzer, and Nicole Richie as talkative spy Heather Chandler.
Austin, in particular, was given much more to do here than his first appearance on Chuck, and they even managed to get a sight gag in where he and Chuck end up fighting in a cage. Another professional wrestler, Stacy Keibler, also cameos as the lovely ‘Greta’.
The whole thing was chock full of exactly that type of insanity, including a poetry slam by Lester to a mob of angry gamers.
This is, bluntly, Chuck at its best.
There wasn’t time for the Awesomes, or any more of Chuck’s mum but, given what they did get in here, that wasn’t too heavy a price to pay.
With this being such a good episode, it seems sacrilege for me to use the ‘c’ word (cancellation, actually), but, for whatever reason, the show is struggling in the ratings. To the point, in fact, that the twelve shows they’ve been contracted for thus far in season four might be the end for this geek spy.
I do hope that people do tune in, because I really enjoy watching and reviewing this show, and it would be sad for Chuck to be retired. I can’t see those creating the show can do much more than they are doing. It’s all down to people making an effort to watch it, which, in some respects, is an issue for most TV shows these days.
Read our review of episode 2, Chuck Versus The Suitcase, here.