Chuck 5.04 Episode Review

I don’t know about you, Chuck fans, but to me a Buy More convention sounds like fun. There’s one in Riverside this week, and it’s the start of more fun, action-packed shenanigans that resurrect just what makes Chuck tick.

Team Bartowski is determined to get the Intersect out of Morgan’s head in order to stop the CIA from having him killed. This briefly reunites them with General Beckman (Bonita Friederecy), but also brings Decker (Richard Burgi, who seems to have found a second wind in his career playing jerks) back to say that a top-flight assassin named “The Viper” is going to come after Morgan anyway. Chuck decides to draw out the hitman by sending Morgan to the convention – well, Chuck pretending to be Morgan.

As you can imagine, this is an eclectic little gathering. We meet the quirky master of ceremonies (Anchorman‘s David Koechner) and Jane (The Shield‘s Catherine Dent), who seems way too nice. (She’s already got a somber piano score behind her.) Which one of them is “The Viper”? Well, it’s not that hard to guess. Jane/The Viper plants a car bomb for Sarah and sets off to stalk Morgan, who is in the midst of trying to make up with Alex. Chuck and Sarah are able to defuse the bomb and take The Viper into custody, leaving Decker with egg on his face.

Casey later guns down The Viper and a couple of her associates in one of the most badass scenes in Chuck history. This promptly gets him arrested for murder, but like that’s going to stop him. This is John Casey, an awesome character played by Adam Baldwin, whose entire career has been constructed on the fact that he is a natural badass, a fact that I can personally vouch for. And this ominous note is where we leave Chuck until December, as it heads toward the January 27th series finale…

“Chuck Versus The Business Trip” is an example of how shows don’t have to be novel to be worthwhile. There’s a lot in it that can be deduced; it’s pretty obvious that Jane is The Viper, and we know the show isn’t going to have Sarah blow up. Does that deflate the suspense? Not really. The interest comes from watching how our heroes are going to get out of those situations. All too often, it’s something simple like slugging somebody and knocking them unconscious – giving the audience the satisfaction of “Why didn’t I think of that?” As Chuck himself says during the episode, sometimes it’s just good old fashioned effort that saves the day, not just tons of gadgets or kung fu.

In fact, that’s the core of what Chuck has always been about: that ordinary people can do some really cool stuff. That’s what’s made it so easy to embrace. Chuck could be you, or me, or our neighbor, or that guy down the block. This episode is just a nice reminder of one of the reasons why we love this show. It doesn’t need bells or whistles to be successful, and it reminds us that neither do we.


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