February 1st, 2011
01:15 PM ET
It looks like I owe "Chuck" an apology. After last week’s complaints about his ineptitude at being a spy, this week he proved that he just might know what he’s doing after all.
The fact that it happened in an almost entirely awesome episode just made it that much better.
So much took place last night that I want to mention. So, if you’ll indulge me, we’re going to cover the general plot points (and my reactions) in quick-hit fashion.
Chuck takes down Volkoff (Yeah!). Casey comes out of his coma (Woo!). Ellie and Awesome’s baby is born (That seemed fast). Linda Hamilton wasn’t killed off (Boo!). Chuck proposes (Finally!). Jeffster performs (Ugh!). Jeffster performs “Push It” in a maternity award (Aw yeah!).
Whew. I think that covers the broad strokes. Now, let’s dig into some detail.
Chuck’s plan to take down Volkoff was brilliant. Invoking his dead father’s code name, Orion, Chuck beautifully played on Volkoff’s affections for Mama Bartowski and his jealousy over her marriage. I knew a Chuck-Volkoff showdown was coming and realistically knew the messages from Orion were really from Chuck. But I still spent half the episode holding out hope that Orion might actually return (and trying to convince myself that we didn’t really see him die on camera).
More to the point, Chuck finally acted like a spy. He used secrecy and inside information to put his plan in motion, and he was willing to put himself and his loved ones in some modicum of danger in order to see his plan through. That’s quite the development for someone who often freaks out when anyone he’s close to (including other professional spies) are threatened in any way.
And the showdown with Volkoff was a true turning point, using physical force and mind games to walk the bad guy right into his trap. Aces, Charles.
Unfortunately, this probably means the end of Timothy Dalton’s run as Volkoff, at least for now. He has been far and away the best long-running villain on the show (Dear Brandon Routh/Shaw – Please stay away forever. Sincerely, Everyone.)
Dalton’s performance, and especially his delivery of some epic lines, has been a highlight this season. Last night, we got to see his “floating fortress of fun” (every evil lair should come with an ice cream parlor). But I just about lost it when he explained the origin of his secret password (death is the solution to all problems):
“It comes from my favorite poet and humanitarian: Joseph Stalin.”
There were still some minor annoyances in the episode. Some of Morgan’s spy work jumped right over the line from silly to slapstick. The idea that Awesome, who is a doctor, would freak out to that degree when Ellie went into labor rang hollow. And the Jeffster performance really seemed forced.
But overall, my faith in the show is renewed. Chuck is showing progress. He and Sarah are back together. And Sarah is back to being a blonde (and thank goodness for that; she looked awful with black hair).
This episode could have worked as a season or even series finale. The fact that it’s simply the midway point for this season makes me eager to see where the show will take us next.
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