Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Chuck me Tuesdays: Chuck versus the Sizzling Shrimp

Score: A-

"This is the part where we hide," – Chuck.

Containing so many pop-culture references that I was forced to create a new section in this review called “The geekalicious”, Chuck versus the Sizzling Shrimp has Chuck’s spy life impacting on his real life for the first time. Chuck talks a (yet another young, hot) spy into defecting and is forced to break commitments to friends and family to help her out. Chuck disobeys orders to save the day and he gets to eat his sizzling shrimp as well.

The good
“An evening of Morgan”. I like the Chuck/Morgan interaction in this episode and I love how affectionately amused Sarah is by Morgan and Chuck geeking out on their evening together. Underneath it all, Sarah longs for a normal life and Yvonne Strahovski manages to constantly portray this without ever stating it out loud.

Sarah Lancaster’s Ellie was absolutely fantastic. Saving her brother’s best friend, despite her aversion to him, was lovely and her talk to Chuck at the end was emotionally perfect.

For the first time we see that, despite Chuck and Morgan’s friendship, their co-dependence has become so great that they’re actually better spending some time apart. Morgan starts to realise he can make his own way in life without relying on Chuck to take care of him all the time. Of course, it will take him nearly two years to make this transition completely but hey, that’s why it’s called character development, ain’t it?

The bad
Where was Awesome?

Chuck ordering food from the restaurant they were staking out and having it delivered to the stakeout vehicle was briefly funny but very out of character, as was his painful “tailing rules” conversation. Guess the writers were still working out just how nerdily clueless he’s supposed to be. What sells it of course is Zachary Levi’s delivery of, “Uh, hello? That's why I used an alias!”

Where was Casey in the Buy More sales competition? I love that in between defecting Chinese spies and Triad kidnappings he had time to be a good enough salesman he wasn’t even worried about being fired. Casey taking his Buy More job seriously is “champagne comedy” and they should have included at least a reference to it.

The Chuckalicious
“Spastic colon, what the f…” - Chuck

Casey: Stay in the car.
Chuck: That's my four favourite words.

Some great one-liners, poor Sarah’s spastic colon, and a fantastic kitchen implement fight scene that had Casey, Sarah and Mei-Ling kick some bad guy ass while Chuck…stopped a guy in a wheelchair.

But most of all, Mother’s Day. Sniff. It’s a Mother’s Day miracle.

The geekalicious
Actor James Hong was in both Chinatown and Big Trouble in Little China. He played a wheelchair-bound Chinese businessman in the first and David Lo Pan in the latter. And in this episode? A wheelchair-bound Chinese businessman named Ben Lo Pan (as in “been” Lo Pan). At the end, Chuck says, "Forget it Ben, it's Chinatown," - almost exactly the last line of the film Chinatown. And if that’s not meta enough for you, he follows it up with, “Did you ever see that movie?"

The Chinese operative Mei-Ling is named for the operative in Enter the Dragon. Enter the Dragon is mentioned as being part of an “Evening of Morgan”.

"Help me, Chuck Bartowski; you're my only hope”. The Hunt for Red October, White Nights and the detective Ironside all get references, along with the ongoing Star Wars meme.

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