This review contains spoilers.
5.3 Chuck Versus The Frosted Tips
What a difference a week makes. Last week I didn’t have much love for Chuck, as I was left cold by a singularly disjointed episode where many of the dead ends the writers have driven the show down were hung up in Neon. Many people asked if the show had run its course a couple of years ago, and the answer provided by episode two was: perhaps they had a point. By comparison, some parts of Chuck Versus The Frosted Tips were inspired.
When I was formulating my thoughts before writing this, it struck me just how much content they’d managed to pack into the running time. Because this story not only delivered a complete mini-arc where Morgan goes to the dark side, only to be coaxed back in to the light, but it also developed the Casey/Gertrude romance, brought back Beckman and Alex, and even managed to make Jeff funny again.
And, for good measure, it threw in some visual gags referencing the Matrix, offers some nicely observed stuff about fatherhood with Devon and Clara, and confronts the age-old problem of when your best friend changes into someone you no longer recognise.
Okay, it might not have been the best Chuck ever, but it didn’t have much competition in being the best of season five, and it certainly turned things away from the comic abyss it appeared to be heading.I was slightly disappointed that the title’s frosted tips were in Morgan’s hair, symbolising the new Intersect altered personality that Morgan has taken on, but then, this is a family show I guess.
They also managed, even without showing him, to progress the Decker arc, by revealing that it was probably him that sent the glasses containing the malfunctioning Intersect, in an attempt to undermine Chuck.
But for all these good things, and some very nice comic timing, the scene that entirely had me incapacitated was the return of Jeff to the Buy More after following Devon’s instructions not to sleep in his carbon monoxide-filled van. The steady-cam circle on the groomed Jeff smiling with the upbeat music was entirely brilliant, and delivered in an instant on the previous complete history of the character. I still fondly think back to the amazing Chuck episode where Jeff’s legendary arcade skills were explored, but his born-again persona was an entirely unexpected twist, and most welcome.
The bottom line is that if we can have nine more Chucks of this quality, and no more like the previous outing, then this could easily be the best season yet. That might seem a big ask, but they’re demonstrated now that they still have some imaginative fuel left in the tank. I just hope they didn’t blow it all this week.
Next week, Chuck gets back to his retail roots in a very Buy More-centric story, where he represents his franchise at a convention, and runs into ultimate sales person, Crazy Bob. I’d buy that for a dollar!
You can read our review of Chuck season five episode two here.