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Chuck: Chuck vs. the Role Models

  Another enjoyable installment in the saga of our favourite geeky superspy, with the added bonus of some really famous guest stars. Add in some romance, some heartwarming buddy-bonding, and a nice little cliffhanger then you've got it just about right.

This is the second of the six “bonus” episodes that the network tacked on after what was supposed to be the season – possibly series – finale, and it continues in the vein of the previous episode by fleshing out the “happily ever after” that we have been presented with.
This is the first episode after Chuck and Sarah got together that actually takes place in Burbank. From the opening, with poor half-asleep Morgan coming face to face with a scantily clad Sarah in the kitchen, to the major clean-up job in Ellie and Devon's apartment. It is apparent that the team is back on familiar stomping grounds and they're exploring how their new relationship will affect their daily lives and long-term plans.

The introduction of CIA super-spies and long-term couple the Turners is meant to give Chuck and Sarah a chance to learn from the best, as well as find role models for doing their job in a professional manner despite their personal relationship. Unfortunately, the mirror of “this could be us in 30 years” is not very flattering, with the couple proving to be a classic case of bickering, slightly bitter, and slightly drunk spouses who appear to have passed their “best by” date.

After seeing the Turners fail to perform their mission, our intrepid duo decide to show the old timers how “real professionals” do it, only to be faced with the realization that they've been had. The rest of the episode is a scramble to sort things out with a minimum fallout. It ends on a happy note with Chuck and Sarah getting recognition and respect from the seniors, and the aging couple withdrawing gracefully into retirement.

The contrast and similarities between the two couples make up quite a bit of the story and it is interesting to see how the younger couple go from respect and admiration - via disappointment and distrust – to grudging recognition and the realization that they don't have to follow the same road; they can make their own story.

Some lovely tension early on between the young lovebirds which is – of course – resolved at the end of the episode; another clear example that we're already well into “happily ever after” land these days.

The side plots had their ups and downs. While Casey and Morgan's training session was amusing, it lacked a certain something. Ellie and Devon's trip to Africa left me partly confused, unhappy, and annoyed.

Morgan Grimes may be incredibly ill-suited for life as a spy, but as Casey is reminded him, he does have balls... and a very small brain. While Morgan's ineptitude is more annoying than amusing at times, he somehow brings out the big softy in Casey, with endearing results. Apparently, Casey's stint as a civilian changed him somewhat and that coupled with Morgan's unquestionable loyalty to his friends is winning our favourite grizzly bear over. Slowly.

Ellie and Awesome's stint in an African field clinic has a very different feel to it – the colours, the light, the feel of the setting were all very far from the usual fare. Also, we are used to seeing them as the ones who are secure in their place in the world – always fairly well-groomed, self-confident and capable. And while the natives may quickly start calling him “Doctor Super-fantastic White Person” in their native tongue, it is clear that Ellie feels like a fish out of water. Her not-so-well hidden tension and misery makes it clear that something has to change, and one wonders if she will tough it out or whether there is an early return to Burbank in the air.
The choice is taken from here, however, when Devon suddenly falls ill with what appears to be malaria. When the friendly colleague who arranges urgent transport back to the States ends the episode with a mysterious and menacing phone call, we are left with a nice cliffhanger for the upcoming episodes.

This episode, with well-known old timers Fred Willard and Swoosie Kurtz as special guest stars, had a lot of promise, and a good many fans were dying to see what might lie in store for our heroes further down the road. And while the first reaction was mild horror, it would seem that Chuck and Sarah took away the right insights from their “observations” of the role models: A lot of “do not”s, and a few “how to”s.

Not quite up to par with some of the dramatic, climactic, or breathtaking episodes lately, but all in all not a bad job.


Annika Malmø-Braaten




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