4.6 Chuck Versus The Aisle Of Terror
It might seem churlish of me, but I wanted more out of this Chuck than I really felt I got.
Given that they had the a raft of sure-fire elements on hand, namely a Halloween theme, a horror movie star (Robert Englund), and they finally rolled out Linda Hamilton from behind the scenery, it should have been great.
But something was missing from Chuck Versus The Aisle Of Terror, like a birthday cake delivered to the celebration table without anyone noticing the candles aren’t on it.
I can always tell when a Chuck story isn’t firing on all cylinders, when I start to notice flaws I’d normally ignore. In this one, it was the transition from saying she’s pregnant to a massive bump appearing on Ellie. I think a more subtle development of her condition might have been less jarring.
The other thing that my attention was drawn to was that time hasn’t been as kind to Linda Hamilton as it has to Morgan Fairchild, who made a return appearance as Devon’s mother, Honey Woodcomb. Given that’s she’s six years older than Hamilton, Fairchild is looking distinctly younger, but then that’s Hollywood for you, I guess.
So, complaints over, what worked here?
Well Englund did his ham-laden best as Dr. Stanley Wheelwright, and was ably helped by some half decent effects to demonstrate how those under the influence of his nerve agent saw a very frightening drug-enhanced world. It smacked of Batman Begins, but it was fun in places.
And Jeff and Lester contributed their usual blend of insanity, creating the ‘Aisle of Terror’, where, based on the work of a rogue psychologist, they’ve created a multimedia presentation designed to turn people insane. I liked what they did, especially the list of images that send people mad that included otters, old people, public showers, interspecies relations, black liquorish and men’s feet. Just writing those down here made me twitch, so perhaps they have something there.
So, having held back Linda Hamilton like some thespian left hook, was her full appearance worth the ensuing haymaker? No, if I’m really honest.
While the convoluted nature of her character’s relationship with Chuck was pretty much what I’d expected, there seemed very little connection between the two, and they never mentioned the person who did connect them (Chuck’s father) once!
The only time it really sparked was the conversation after she’d shot him, where they bickered rather elegantly for a few lines each. When she was eventually bundled into the CIA snatch van, I was slightly relieved, because, in some respect, her entrance into the show wasn’t really working well.
I realise I’m being entirely unfair and that a performer should be given more of a chance to establish herself that I’ve offered here, but considering how she was held in reserve for so long, it wasn’t inspiring.
But hope is both eternal and on the horizon, because next week Timothy Dalton comes to the show, who can act when encouraged to do so. As he actually played James Bond, there might be a contribution worth seeing in there, especially if they let him drop to that Manchester accent he can’t avoid on occasions.
Chuck might have secured the extra episodes to complete season 4, but that doesn’t mean I want them to go on cruise control, which might have happened this week.
Read our review of episode 5, Chuck Versus The Couch Lock, here.