Chuck season 4 episode 7 review: Chuck Versus The First Fight

Chuck tries to copy a successful spy show, and does it so successfully that Billy forgot to laugh…

This review contains spoilers.

4.7 Chuck Versus The First Fight

Spy shows, even if like Chuck, they’re light hearted, all want to be taken seriously at times, and remind us that espionage isn’t all fun (if in reality it’s ever really ‘fun’).

The problem with this episode was from the outset they appear to have set themselves the objective of emulating Alias, which, as I recall, wasn’t exactly brimming over with chuckles. Okay, I accept that they did have some very funny scenes with Marshall, but Alias wasn’t consistently a light hearted experience.

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As such, the deeper they got into recreating the wonderful bad to good, back to bad, and possibly good flip-flops that Alias did so well, all the comedy elements that make this show Chuck went promptly out of the window.

That said, it wasn’t without virtue entirely. Linda Hamilton was much better this week than last, and the scene where she finally talked to Ellie was handled with a degree of finesse I wasn’t really expecting. The introduction of Brit thespian Timothy Dalton was also pretty successful, in that he has the equipment in his acting toolbox to do hammy and coldly calculating, which were the most basic requirements for his character. As ‘Gregory Tuttle’ he even got to mention Alias, and how much he loved the show, as if we didn’t actually get the source material they wanted to pay most homage.

What was missing here were the residents of the BuyMore, Big Mike, Jeff and Lester, all of whom get to be credited but not appear to lighten the comedy load mostly dumped onto Morgan Grimes. Joshua Gomez is great, but he’s been worked very hard by this production, I’ve noticed.

Oddly, I’m also starting to detect that Adam Baldwin is being pushed to the back of most stories, like he’s busy and they can only have limited time from him. Some of the very best Chuck stories involved Casey, so I’m not keen that he gets rested as much as they’re doing to that character now.

Yet, for these limitations and omissions, and a rather staccato narrative where Chuck and Sarah spent far too long bickering (again), there was one spoilerific event in this story that could entirely change the course of the entire rest of the series.

That twist came in the pivotal scene where Chuck’s mother uses the inherent brainwashing powers of a Sony PSP to deactivate the Intersect in his head, or that’s what Chuck concludes when he loses the power to ‘flash’. Even since Intersect 2.0, the show has battled with the power of the Intersect in that it can be used to solve almost any problem that Chuck has. Before he had that power, the character was more interesting, and frankly, so was the show.

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It will be interesting to see if the writers have decided the Intersect had to go, or if this is a temporary banishment of flashing that will undone before the season or even the next episode is done.

Despite my reservations about where Chuck went this week, I’m actually really excited about the next one that airs in two weeks’ time. It’s something of a Firefly reunion, with Summer Glau coming onboard to play ‘Greta’. But alongside her they’ve also enticed Richard Chamberlain, of all people, to play ‘The Belgian’. As Dr. Kildare was fifty years ago, I just hope they’ve gone easy on him.

I’m expecting more laughs then, as Jeff and Lester are also destined to be in that story, and that, I’ve come to realise, is rarely a bad thing on this show.

Read our review of episode 6, Chuck Versus The Aisle Of Terror, here.

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