Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Chuck 3.15: "Chuck Versus the Role Models"

“How many Marines you know’d go up against a Bengal tiger unarmed? You’d have to be a complete idiot.”


“Chuck Versus the Role Models” was quite an enjoyable episode. There was wacky spy hijinks and a touch of Sarah and Chuck tension that was well resolved by the end. This was mostly a standalone episode with just a hint of the overall season Ring arc without that arc dominating yet another episode. Normally I like big season-long arc plots, but this season’s wasn’t as compelling as others, so I’m glad to see it put on the back burner for a little while, at least. This episode for the most part really felt like everybody was having fun, and I like episodes of “Chuck” that feel that way, at least every once in a while. “Chuck” seems to work better as a spy spoof than when it tries to go too dark for too long.

I think this was a very important episode for “Chuck” because it was our first chance to get a good look at how the show can work with Chuck and Sarah in a relationship. Figuring out how their relationship and careers are going to work is actually a major focus of this episode, and I liked that. I get the sense that like Ned and Chuck in “Pushing Daisies,” now that they’re together, Chuck and Sarah are staying together. It won’t be easy, and there will be problems, but they’ll work through them. At least I hope this is the case, and it seems to be supported by what we’ve seen thus far. Although I thought that could be the case on “Greek” as well, and we know how that turned out.

I enjoyed the opening of this episode. It was Chuck, Sarah, and Morgan it what looked like the opening sequence to a very retro spy show, and it was highly amusing. It turned out to be Morgan having a dream, but it was entertaining nonetheless. Later that morning, Sarah walks in on Chuck and Morgan discussing the possibility of Sarah moving in. Sarah doesn’t seem thrilled about the idea. She thinks things are just fine the way they are and has no inclination to change them. Chuck isn’t thrilled, but he’s willing to let it go for now. That’s a good thing, because General Beckman has kind of an odd mission for them this week. Chuck and Sarah will be shadowing the Turners, a legendary super-spy CIA married couple. Casey also has an assignment that will prove to be amusing- training Morgan to be field ready.

Chuck is super excited to meet the Turners, and Sarah is more luke-warm about the whole thing. Chuck’s enthusiasm starts to take a downturn (although he still acts more excited by the whole thing than Sarah) when he actually meets the Turners. They really don’t seem at all happy together, always bickering. It also doesn’t help that Mr. Turner shamelessly flirts with any woman he sees. Despite their unpleasantness, the casting of the Turners was excellent. Mr. Turner is played by Fred Willard, and Mrs. Turner, to continue the “Pushing Daisies” theme going on in this post, is played by Swoosie Kurtz (Aunt Lily on “Daisies”). Mrs. Turner is actually not all that unlike Aunt Lily in the sense that she displays a very harsh exterior and may indeed be more soft and emotional inside (Aunt Lily moreso than Mrs. Turner, but I think the comparison still stands).

The mission the Turners will be conducting and Chuck and Sarah will be watching is to steal some fancy software from a creepy guy named Otto. The heist (do you call it a heist if it’s not criminals taking something?) takes place at a big party being held by Otto. At the party, the Turners appear to be falling apart. Mr. Turner is flirting shamelessly with a much younger woman, and Mrs. Turner, who had previously claimed she didn’t drink, was downing shots with the best of them. Sarah and Chuck think they need to take over the mission, so they head up to Otto’s bedroom, thinking they’ll show the Turners how a real spy couple conducts business. It’s not going to be as easy as they think, though. Inside Otto’s bedroom is a tiger, and the software is hidden on the tiger’s collar.

After some typically wacky antics, Chuck and Sarah do end up with the software. Their triumph doesn’t last for long, though. It turns out that the Turners were just faking their implosion. They are very much in control when they take away the software from Chuck and Sarah at gunpoint. Sarah and Chuck, after a bit of a freak out, decide that they’re going to beat the Turners at their own game. Nobody else believes the Turners could possibly be traitors, so Chuck and Sarah are kind of on their own with this one. They use their knowledge of Mr. Turner’s love for a particular Manhattan to beat the Turners at their own game and get the software back. Chuck and Sarah take the Turners back to Chuck’s place, which turns out to not be such a good idea.

It’s not a good idea because the collar has a tracking device in it, and Otto (and his tiger) want the software back. Chuck and Sarah try to play clueless, but Otto thinks he’s won. While Chuck and Sarah were unknowingly providing a distraction, the Turners escape. For a moment, Chuck thinks the Turners have betrayed them again, but they show up at the front door and save Chuck and Sarah from Otto. There’s still the not-so-tiny problem of the tiger, though. Morgan, who up until this point had utterly failed every test Casey threw at him, finally shows some courage and lures the Tiger into Awesome and Ellie’s apartment. The tiger ends up trashing the place, but at least nobody got hurt. Casey decides to report that Morgan passed his tests because Morgan showed such courage. The Turners get off easy, too. Sarah and Chuck cover for them with General Beckman. The Turners decide to retire and pass on the awesome spy couple mantle to Chuck and Sarah.

While all this is going on in Burbank, Awesome and Ellie are in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with Doctors Without Borders. Awesome has taken to it right away, but Ellie is kind of freaking out. She’s never been an outdoorsy type. Justin the camp security guy cheers her up by telling her he’s noticed what a great doctor she is when she’s working with the patients. I instantly didn’t trust the guy, and my suspicions were confirmed. At the end of the episode, Awesome is very sick, and he and Ellie are leaving camp to get medical attention (there was a rather obvious mosquito buzzing around Awesome earlier in the episode to provide foreshadowing). As the truck transporting Awesome and Ellie pulls away, Justin pulls out a Ring phone.

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