Chuck season 5 episode 5 review: Chuck Versus The Hack Off

A hacking contest and a nudist colony visit in this week’s Chuck make Billy wonder, has the series run its course? Here’s his review of Chuck Versus The Hack Off…

Warning: this review contains spoilers.

5.5 Chuck Versus The Hack Off

I’m not really sure what to say about this week’s Chuck episode, except that apart from a few moments of inspiration, it failed comprehensively from beginning to end.

Last week left Casey in prison, with the silent understanding that he wouldn’t be there for long. And, unsurprisingly, he was out by the end. But where this story really had issues was in the entirely dumb story where Chuck and Sarah went to a nudist colony, or as this is NBC, went to a pixelation party. Even by Chuck‘s standards this was poor, as I’d at least expected a few visual gags, as in the opening sequence of the second Austin Powers movie. But no, this was played straight, and as such I’m not entirely sure why they put it in there.

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I can’t say comedies that don’t try to be funny aren’t great, but the sin that cannot be forgiven is that most of this episode was truly boring.  Each time Chuck and Sarah appeared I couldn’t wait for the show to return to Casey in prison, because at least some engaging moments played out there. The best scene came when, using a video link, Morgan and Jeff contrived to make Lester believe his personal contribution to the BuyMore was being usurped by someone of the same ethnic background as him. Yet this was a small chuckle in a stadium-sized arena of entertainment overflowing with tumbleweeds.

The silliest scene was by far the ‘hack off’, where Chuck went up against a pop-tart hardened geeks in a hacking competition. Why do all TV hackers have to originate from south east Asia? I’ve no idea, and I can’t fathom why drinking white wine would help you creatively code, either. None of this made much sense, though considering what came before it, I’m not sure why I was expecting any.

And then, just when I thought it could get no worse, it ended, and they showed a trailer of the upcoming episodes, with highlights from the next two Chuck outings. The first seemed like we’d seen it before, with the exception of the appearance of Rebecca Romijn as guest star. But it was actually the scenes for the Christmas special that entirely mortified me, in a way that made me just want to reach for the off button.

Brandon Routh sucked much warmth from this show during his previous outing as Daniel Shaw, but he’s dead, isn’t he? Well, it appears not. There are plenty of prior Chuck characters I’d have loved to have seen back, but Daniel Shaw wasn’t one of them. But then, with the show ending in January, how much damage can it do, given where we already are? In a couple of weeks, we get the answer to that.

I wanted Chuck to end with Harry Tang coming back as a super-villain with Anna as his henchwoman, but that’s a dream that I fear will remain as one. This episode made me feel like Chuck has run its course, and we both need to move on.

You can read our review of Chuck season five episode four here.

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