Chuck Review: Worthy of the Hype?

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When the first set of episodes of season four were ordered, "Chuck Versus the Push Mix" was created to be the season and maybe series finale.  After NBC picked up Chuck for a full 24 episodes, this week's installment became just the 13th one of the season.

Creator Josh Schwartz Tweeted fans that this was "the episode you've been waiting for."  He said "the last 5 mins of episode 13 are the best 5 mins CHUCK has ever done." Needless to say, my expectations were extremely high. However, because of all the hype, I was a little disappointed.

Morgan Grimes Photo

If this had actually played out as the series finale, I would have been much happier with it.  Everything wrapped up nicely and all of our favorite characters finished the hour healthy and happy.   

Between Mama B being there for the birth of Baby Awesome, the emotionally stable new family of Casey, Alex and Morgan, and Chuck's quiet and successful proposal to Sarah, it should have been making me cry like a baby.  Regretfully, I wasn't nearly as Schwartz assumed I would be.  Here are a couple reasons why:

Although this hypothetical 13 episode season brought positives – like the lack of filler eps – it also did rush things a bit.  One of the main storylines of this stretch was saving Mama Bartowski from the clutches of the evil Volkoff, but I never got into it.  We only just met Mary 12 episodes ago, and I haven't had the chance to get to know her well enough to care about her well-being.

Then again, maybe the problem wasn't the fact that things went too quickly, but rather that I did not enjoy the character, or the way Linda Hamilton was playing her.  Hamilton sure has been a stoic figure since joining the show in this fourth season's premiere, but not once has she made me feel bad for the fact that Mary's been away from her family for all of these years. 

And I know that it's possible to be a hardcore spy with a hard exterior and still open up to your fellow characters and the audience.  Case and point: John Casey and Sarah Walker.

So when Mama B was the one chosen to join Ellie and Awesome in the delivery room for the birth of baby Claire, I didn't think "awww."  I kind of thought, "why does this lady deserve to even be around for this?"

Also not living up to the hype was the final moments with Chuck and Sarah.  While the audio of the floor buffer leading to pure silence at the end of the episode was truly fantastic, the video it was overlaying didn't do much in terms of heart.  Sure, it was nice to see Chuck finally propose to the woman he loves, but that isn't as big of a deal as some other milestones in this relationship.  When they first got together and we saw them smiling and in love; that was breathtaking.  Even when we first realized Sarah liked Chuck in that way; that was fantastic. 

These two adults moving their serious relationship into engagement?  Not so much.

A Sticky Situation

What did work extremely well at the end was the love that was going on between Casey, his daughter, and his daughter's boyfriend.  Since Alex first came on the scene, everything between her and Casey has been played beautifully by everyone involved.  The more time Casey has spent with her, the more in touch with his feelings he has become, and that growth has been fantastic to watch.  For Morgan to now be there every step of the way just makes it that much more glorious.

Of course, "Chuck Versus the Push Mix" wasn't all about the final act, so let's take a look at what else worked or didn't work from the episode.

Chuck's master plan to take down Volkoff was just great to watch.  From the early moments of him and Morgan plotting it out on the cork board with office supplies, to not thinking things were going his way in the middle of it, to him quietly waiting for the evil do-er in the dark cabin of his father... Chuck was certainly on his game. 

How much has this dude grown as a human being in four seasons?  In every facet of his life he has become a stud, and capturing Volkoff and the Hydra certainly make him worthy of some admiration. Oh, and a chopper!

I wasn't surprised, but a bit disappointed, that Volkoff hadn't suspected any wrong doing by Frost this entire time.  I wanted to respect this guy as an evil mastermind.  Instead, I will respect him as an aloof evil boss with a sensitive side and a love for ice cream.  Seriously, stealth weapons and an ice cream parlor?  What else could you ask for on a huge ship like the Contessa?  When the camera cut to him with his henchmen and he was chowing down on a double scoop of chocolate and vanilla, I absolutely lost it.

What didn't work was my favorite fictional band of all time. This was the first time that I was truly unimpressed by a Jeffster! performance.  Not only did I not enjoy the song choice (obvious and bad), but they didn't show nearly enough drama. Although it did get them kicked out of the hospital, I didn't feel it was the true essence of Jeffster!

So, as the show moves forward to what we can only imagine will be a new chapter of Chuck, you have to wonder what is in store for our favorite Burbank natives.  What kind of bad guy will be around the corner for the CIA?  And what emotional problems will it cause for Chuck and the gang?  What are you most looking forward to seeing next on Chuck?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (67 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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I would say that I really enjoyed this episode and this arc overall. I believe that they might have done things differently if they had known from the start that they were going to get 24 episodes to tell their story.
I believe taht you are wrong in saying that Volkoff didn't suspect Frost. He does say when he captures Frost that he is "disapponted" in her, and then goes on to say that it was a good thing that he hadn't "told her all his secrets". Taken with what we know about him, that he loves to twist people and make them do things out of character, (Sarah's pushing Casey) it is quite possible to believe that he has kept Frost around because he enjoys making her do his bidding even though he suspected she was not on his side. After all what bigger thrill could a phychopath get than forcing someone else to be part of his twisted plans.

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I'm so tired of the music being so darn loud that it's never "background") music. I can't hear the dialogue and I'm sick and tired of it! I love this show, but this last season may be one I stop in the middle of. Who are these foolish people letting the music get so loud??

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I also enjoyed the episode pretty much. And I loved Jeffster, although the song really wasn't in my top five. And I am really glad that they finally put an end to the whole proposal and very well at that.

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I really love this episode! And I think every other commenters have said it all! Except for the proposal, I would had this was very well done. I explain: we've seen the episode where Chuck tried to propose so many times, so I feel that this time the quiet proposal was just what we needed. We already had other almost proposal and no need to see one more.
Sorry for my grammar, I usually write more understandable sentences, but it don't seems to do it tonight^^

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Yes, this was a great episode. And, for one, am glad the Volkoff story line is wrapped up because I thought it was stretched way way way way out many more episodes than it needed to be. I guess the reviewer has his own reasons for liking and thus reviewing this show -- and glad the reviews are here ... but think there are more/different reasons to like the show as comments suggest!

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Loved this episode, one of my favorites!! I thought everything wrapped up nicely, but still left me completely excited for next week. And I thought the proposal was simple and sweet, it didn't leave me disappointed at all. Chuck already gave the big speech on the balcony, and those two have had enough craziness in their relationship. A simple moment was perfect for them. :)

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I love this episode!! al I hope is that maybe next episode they flashback so that we can know what Chuck said to Sarah when he proposed..That would be awesome and they have done it before when Sarah though he was proposing.

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I have to say that this may not have been the best episode but I truly loved it! Considering that they were worried that this may be the end they didn't have much time to work with either Momma B or the Volkoff storyline. If they knew this wasn't the end of the show then yes it was rushed but what else could they do having the show in limbo. I think that it is easier to believe in someone than to see them as betraying you. I also think that deep down Alexi knows that Mrs. B has betrayed, more than once, but loves her in spite of it and that is why he hasn't killed her or something. He is intentionally being blinded by love. I don't think he is stupid but in love, eccentric, self-involved and prideful. I also love his eccentricities. I believe that we have seen a loving mother in Chuck's mother and we have seen things about her character and how she wishes things weren't the way they were for the past 20yrs. If she a bit emotionally aloof well she has been away from them for so long, it must be hard to connect with them even though she loves them. I was a bit disappointed with Jeffster but not because it was bad simply because there have been better Jeffster moments. Again this is not the fault of the writers in my opinion (except maybe the song choice) because there is only so much they could've done with that. I loved the Casey, Morgan and Alex storyline this season. I'm so happy to see the evolution of Casey's character and to see Morgan so happy. The last scene with Chuck and Sara was wonderful. It was of course expected and not as touching as other moments between them but again I don't think the writers fault. I think if the show continues and they end up getting married that would be the most touching moment between them. Just my thoughts...

Dr-toboggan

@lassyburma I agree Chuck and Morgan planning their attack wasn't the most exciting part of the episode but I have to defend the writers a little here. As a certified computer nerd myself I can tell you I use a whiteboard and post its to plan all my genius schemes. Computers are for deactivating lasers and hacking into Hydra.

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I loved it!!!!!

Chuck Season 4 Episode 13 Quotes

Hey, it'll be alright buddy. You know what, we'll go outside, we'll get some fresh air, we'll play some bocce.

Morgan

That's a grunt. That is a Casey grunt.

Morgan
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