Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chuck 3.03: "Chuck Versus the Angel de la Muerte"

“Your brother? Ah, the resemblance . . . I see. A family of such delicate feature. Much more suitable on a woman, though, huh?”

-Premier Allejandro Goya

My initial reaction to this episode? Huzzah! An Awesome and Ellie episode! Three episodes into the new season, it’s high time for some serious Awesome and Ellie action. They are adorable, clueless (for the most part) civilians in the craziness that is Chuck’s life, and it’s always fun when Chuck’s worlds collide. In “Chuck Versus the Angel de la Muerte,” Chuck’s home and spy life intersected more than they ever have before.

One of my favorite things about this episode, besides the fact that Awesome and Ellie were in it at all (they don’t appear in every episode due to budget issues), is that we got a flash back to their very first day of med school. Both Awesome and Ellie are missing from class, and it turns out they’re together in a supply closet. I thought there should have been a Grey’s Anatomy joke in there somewhere, but alas, there wasn’t.

Unfortunately for Awesome and Ellie, their lives don’t seem to be as interesting as they once were. It’s only taken them six months to feel that married life is a bit stale. Part of it is because since they’re both doctors (residents, I believe) they work crazy hours and don’t get to do things like date nights as often as they’d like. Their relationship is even more strained by the stress of trying to move into their new apartment. Ellie is especially upset because Chuck hasn’t shown up to set up their TV like he promised he would.

An interesting thread that runs through the episode is the parallel between the lives of Chuck and Awesome. Awesome escapes the new apartment and Ellie’s bad mood when he hears a helicopter outside. He figures it’s Chuck coming home from a mission, and he wants to find out what sort of cool stuff Chuck has been up to. Awesome gets Chuck to come across the courtyard to set up the TV and make Ellie happy, and when Chuck turns on the TV there’s a very interesting news story. The Premier of the country Costa Gravas (an analogue to our real-life Cuba, I believe) is visiting the United States, and he is having a health crisis. Both Awesome and Chuck’s pagers go off at the same time.

At Castle, Chuck is informed that the Premier was poisoned. Awesome arrives at the hospital to find out he’s going to be in charge of the premiere’s medical care. Both Chuck and Awesome are told that they will be responsible for the Premier. Chuck and the rest of Team Bartowski will be covertly protecting him at an upcoming gala to be held at the Costa Gravan consulate. Awesome is responsible for making sure the Premier survives the poisoning to make it to the gala.

The whole ordeal turns Awesome into a sort of temporary local celebrity. He gets to participate in a big press conference to update the media on the Premier’s condition. I found it especially funny when he starts speaking Spanish to one of the Costa Gravan reporters and just has to throw in an “awesome” to describe the Premier. He and Ellie also get invited to the big gala. I alternated between being amused and annoyed at the whole gala plotline, mostly because the Premier was being really creepy to Ellie.

Chuck hears what’s going on out in the courtyard when the Premier and his entourage are inviting Awesome to the gala, and he manages to secure an invite for himself and Sarah, too. The gala itself is a pretty fun action/comedy sequence of the type “Chuck” is known for. Casey, known as the “Angel de la Muerte” in Costa Gravas due to some of his previous NSA work, has to work from the van while Chuck and Sarah actually attend the gala. Most of the comedy in the sequence comes from Awesome, always the adrenaline junkie, wanting to get in on the spy action. Chuck wants Awesome to just concentrate on keeping Ellie safe, but Awesome can’t resist the urge to do more. That will have serious consequences, as we’ll soon see.

Team Bartowski thinks they know who wants to assassinate the Premier. He’s across the room, so Chuck (thanks to Intersect 2.0 dance skills) and Sarah have to dance their way across the dance floor to get to him. I’m kind of enjoying seeing all the different skills the Intersect 2.0 has stored in Chuck’s brain. It should make missions a lot more fun now that Chuck won’t always be admonished to “Stay in the car!” When they get closer to their target, Chuck and Sarah debate how to take him down. They’re especially worried about starting an international incident, since relations between the United States and Costa Gravas are so shaky. Chuck ends the debate by knocking the guy out with an elbow to the head.

The guy Chuck hit turned out to be a protester, not an assassin. As he and Sarah are being kicked out of the gala, Chuck flashes on one of the security guards. That would be the assassin. Chuck manages to warn Casey, who dresses up in a security guard uniform and moustache in the hopes that he won’t be recognized by Costa Gravan authorities. Casey is just about to take out the assassin when Awesome’s enthusiasm for the spy world causes everybody some trouble, to put it mildly. Thinking Casey is the assassin (the disguise worked too well, I guess), Awesome tackles him. Casey is brought into Costa Gravan custody, and the real assassin continues on as a security guard unnoticed. This ends up coming back to haunt the Premier, who is duped by the assassin into smoking a poisoned cigar, even as Casey tries to warn him that the cigar came from the assassin.

Chuck, unhappy with General Beckman’s orders to stay put for now and let Casey take care of himself, starts hatching his own plan to free Casey. This plan involves Awesome, of course, since the Primier still wants Awesome to provide his medical care. At first, General Beckman and Sarah aren’t thrilled that Chuck involved Awesome in their spy world, but Awesome can actually get the job done. Chuck and Sarah accompany Awesome on a visit to the Premier, disguised as a doctor and nurse.

The day is saved pretty much by both Sarah and Casey doing what they do best- using their fighting skills. Sarah knocks out all the guards by the Premier’s bedside so she and Chuck can go find Casey (earning some admiration from Awesome in the process), and Casey has to fight off the assassin, who has decided to poison him too. Oh, and by the way, the assassin is from The Ring, the overarching evil organization that was introduced late last season. Chuck and Sarah are able to rescue Casey eventually, after he gets shot in the leg by a real Costa Gravan guard. That’s not the end of the adventure, though, Awesome’s still trying to save the Premier’s life, so it’s up to Sarah and Chuck to treat Casey’s gun shot wound. After some words of encouragement from Awesome (and the Costa Gravan guards threatening to kill Chuck if he didn’t prove he was a doctor), Chuck flashes on some mad surgeon skills. To add insult to Casey’s injury, he ends up being a blood donor for the Premier.

Later, Awesome finds Chuck at the Orange Orange to ask how everything went. Chuck says there isn’t a new mission for Awesome, and Awesome is glad. He’s seen how hard it is for Chuck and Sarah, fighting their feelings for the sake of the job, and he doesn’t want to give up his real life. It looks, however, like he might not have a choice. At the hospital, he’s greeted by the Ring assassin with a syringe of poison. Sarah shows up at the door to Chuck’s apartment with bad news just as Ellie calls over from across the court asking if anyone has seen Awesome. It could have been a great cliffhanger, but the idiotic NBC promo monkeys already let slip Awesome’s fate. I won’t do the same here- you’ll have to wait until next week!

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