For the Thanksgiving weekend, Chuck gets to cross paths again with his duplicitous mom and his new nemesis Volkoff. It stands to be even worse than the Thanksgiving where someone threatened to kill me. (I’m not kidding.) Of course, any episode that sees Linda Hamilton invoke the classic Terminator line “Come with me if you want to live” automatically gets brownie points in my book. Terminator 2 has been one of my favorite films since its release in 1991.
I’ve spent a few episodes getting frustrated with Mama Bartowski’s back-and-forth allegiances, so I’m glad that the show finally had Chuck address that same issue. It’s the cynic in me, but I grow easily tired of people who can’t make up their mind. Her disappearance doesn’t go unnoticed, however. If you hadn’t yet picked up on the hints that Volkoff wants to be a little more than friends with Chuck’s mom, it becomes obvious when he brings a team to Burbank, intent on rescuing Mrs. Bartowski at any cost. What ensues is a fun post-holiday caper.
The big bombshell is that Mama Bartowski is forced to reveal to Volkoff that Chuck is her son, and a moment later, a badly-timed phone call from Ellie makes Volkoff aware of her existence as well. He’s stunned that the object of his affection never told him about her family despite that little thing about him being a psychopath. “Kids love me,” Volkoff tells Mrs. Bartowski, and invites himself over for the family post-Thanksgiving dinner. Timothy Dalton plays the whole scene, in which he turns from cruel bad guy to would-be surrogate father, so wonderfully. The rest of the show delights in playing with the hilarity that is having a crazy person over for dinner, especially when he’s still holding your friends hostage.
Unable to move from under Volkoff’s watchful eye, Chuck is forced to confess to Devon that he’s back in the spy game, and recruit his brother-in-law to help rescue the rest of Team Bartowski. It’s only a matter of time now until Ellie finds out, and that will no doubt have serious repercussions. The show had to go there at some point this season, and I’m glad that it finally is approaching the subject.
More delightful, however, is Morgan attempting his best John McClane (right down to McClane’s most famous line), and failing at it. The episode also gives us the reveal of a truly awesome gadget – a fearsome-looking machine gun that’s concealed in the lighting fixture above the Nerd Herd desk, which Casey can remotely operate from within Castle. It’s the kind of thing that makes MechWarrior players like myself geek out on sight.
I have only one qualm with the episode: it made me laugh out loud, and not in a good way, when Mama Bartowski turns sides again, then has the nerve to ask Chuck to trust her, and has him tell her that he already does. Yes, she just saved his life, but as he says, she’s also just betrayed him again. It’s getting to the point where I just expect that she’ll switch sides at least once each time she appears. The reveal of a double agent is interesting to play the first time, but it’s getting a bit overdone.
And what’s on that computer? It’s the Intersect. Chuck is back, just the way we like him. It’s a fitting way to leave the show as we approach the hiatus.
Chuck returns on January 17, so until then, happy holidays, Chuck fans!