Warning: This review contains spoilers.
5.8 Chuck Versus The Baby
If you’ve read my recent Chuck reviews, you’ll know that I’m less than impressed with how NBC have decided to bow out the show, which appears to be made on a minimal budget with the least effort possible.
Chuck Versus The Baby pretty much carries on with the same carefree plan that will see this show end in four weeks’ time with probably the lowest viewing audience of its entire run.
I think what’s beginning to annoy me most here is not the haste with which NBC obviously want to finish with Chuck, but the way the funny side of the show appears to have entirely evaporated, like it’s just too much trouble to make people laugh. The Chuck before this was like a poor Alias episode, and this one was like some other show that should have been cancelled at the pilot stage.
It started well enough, with a nice action sequence where Sarah takes out a bunch of wise guys before collecting the ‘package’, which is a baby. And then, just when I thought they’d got it together, they missed a really obvious visual gag when Sarah appeared with the baby and two machine guns.
My first reaction was that the child will have permanent hearing damage if she fires those guns, and my second was how funny it would have looked if she’s put ear defenders on the baby (a reference to John Woo’s Hard Boiled, perhaps?). Neither of these ideas occurred to the Chuck team, and frankly, Sarah’s ass-kicking sequence was the pinnacle of this episode.
From this point on, the story descended into a sickly sweet molasses of sentimentality where it could never escape, and died there after a brief struggle.
When I saw that they’d got original Charlie’s Angel, Cheryl Ladd to appear as Sarah’s mother, I was excited, but then I saw how they used her, and I was mortified. The bit where she sung the lullaby was excruciating, as where most of her other scenes.
The other stupid scene was the one where Sarah heard the baby crying (which was now at least five years old) and went running to it to discover a recording – the same trick she’d previously used. I couldn’t work out if she was being intentionally dim, or the writers just didn’t care anymore. But what really confused me was that this was effectively a Sarah backstory, when the whole show is a handful of episodes from the ending. How pointless is that?
The climactic sequence, where Sarah pretends to be her mum in the kitchen, was the most clichéd thing they’ve done for a while, so much so that I was hoping it was Casey when they turned around for the reveal. It wasn’t.
My frustrations with the final season of Chuck seem limitless. They’ve forgotten how to be funny, how to reference other media, how to develop the characters, and what made the show fun in the early seasons.
If the next story doesn’t make me chuckle at least once, I’m going to find Zachary Levi and Joshua Gomez online and try to find out what they’re playing at.
You can read our review of season five episode seven here.