Thursday, April 30, 2015

S1Ep13 Vs The Marlin -- The Chuck Series Companion

Covering Season One Episode Thirteen of the Television Series Chuck, Chuck versus The Marlin - Watch the Episode, Listen to the Show! - Subscribe on iTunes!

Chuck versus The Marlin

There's a moment where Casey tells Sarah that it would be better to be blunt than to ease their way into telling Chuck that he is going to be shipped off to a facility due to Fulcrum possibly knowing that he is the Intersect. Sarah cares about Chuck's feelings and she's afraid that he won't be able to process such horrible news. When Chuck does indeed learn of this news, he immediately thinks of his family and friends and how they will deal with his disappearance from their lives. That's how Chuck is, he thinks of other people. Maybe that's why we love the guy so much.

Well gang, this is it, Season One is complete with this episode. Due to that darn Writer's Strike of '07, Chuck never got to complete its full season order and that is why Chuck versus The Marlin doesn't really feel like a true season finale. That's okay though because I really enjoy the episode, it has some great Buy More hijinx with Jeff and Lester breaking in at night to see if Big Mike has any liquor in his desk to inevitably stealing his prized Marlin. My favorite part of the episode has to be the way Casey handles interrogating these Buy Morons. John Casey has come a long way since the first episode of the series, he actually tells Sarah to get out there and look for Chuck to essentially save him from being shipped off.

See, Chuck grew on the big guy, Casey would never admit it but he did. There's another great moment in this episode when Chuck is on the roof of the building waiting for a chopper to whisk him away to his new home in a CIA bunker where he gets to say goodbye to Sarah. This was a great emotional moment where Sarah said the awesome line, "Save you later". When she said it, you knew it was true, we just didn't know it would be so quickly.

This episode also has Awesome proposing marriage to Ellie and it was done in such a great and effective way, with our point of view from outside the window to their apartment, We are there watching with Chuck and Sarah as Ellie says yes. It's a great moment of warmth and emotion that the Chuck series does so well.

Listen to the Podcast Episode: S1Ep13 Vs The Marlin

This episode had two really cool songs, Style by UR Penetrators which played at the beginning of the episode with Jeff and Lester's mammary cam footage and Get Away by Butcher the Bar closed out the episode to great effect. It's amazing how quickly Chuck established it's ability to have incredible songs in the background of every episode.

With the last episode, Alan Sepinwall reviewed both Undercover Lover and Marlin in the same few paragraphs, I linked it in my last post so with this episode I will link to something else. When the Chuck series ended. Sepinwall did a 5 part retrospective with Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz for each season, I am linking Part One here where they talk about Season One with a warning - They do actually spoil a few things for future seasons so DO NOT read it if you haven't watched the entire series already. I don't want to spoil anyone on any of the cool developments in future episodes. This interview contains interesting insights to the creation of Chuck and the first season. It's a good read if you are interested.

Check out Eric Goldman's recap of Marlin and since I don't have a Sepinwall recap, check out this Pop Sugar recap of Marlin. In each recap they are bummed out that this is last Chuck for the foreseeable future. As I read the recap I am reminded of just how much it sucked having to wait between seasons. Those were the good old days, when we had new Chuck episodes to look forward to. Oh well, we can always re-watch. Hey, isn't that what I'm doing? Heck yes I am. Also, when you read the Pop Sugar recap be sure and check out the comment section - I love seeing peoples enthusiasm for the series. I get a kick out of it.

Again, must I say it every single time I do a blog post about Chuck? I am loving doing this podcast. Season One is done and I'm ready for Season Two, a season with some of my favorite episodes of the entire series. I hope that you enjoy the ride, maybe it will shed a light on just why I love this damn series so much. So far I know that I love the characters, the music, the action and certainly the romance that is blooming between Chuck and Sarah but just what is it that draws me back? I can re-watch these episodes over and over and I never get tired of them. Perhaps I will learn when I finish the entire series, perhaps not. Maybe it's just something as simple as the fact that it brings me joy.

Until next time...

The Jastrom

Friday, April 24, 2015

S1Ep12 Vs The Undercover Lover -- The Chuck Series Companion

This Episode of The Chuck Series Companion covers Season One Episode Twelve of the Television Series Chuck, Chuck versus The Undercover Lover - Watch the Episode, Listen to the Show! - Subscribe on iTunes!

S1Ep12 Vs The Undercover Lover

Chuck vs The Undercover Lover

Hey look at that, We got a Casey-centric episode! It was very interesting to see that everyone's favorite NSA Agent wasn't just a mindless robot with no feelings, it turns out John Casey feels, as Chuck says later in the episode, "IT'S ALIVE!" And how could you not feel once you get a look at Ilsa Trinchina played by the lovely and talented Ivana Milicevic? You get the feeling after seeing Casey stare at the mangled camera after the bombing that it was this moment along with many others in his life as a spy that caused him to cut off feeling and emotion from his life. It's the way of the spy and something that Sarah Walker also seems to be dealing with.

                                                           It's Alive!

What is it about Chuck Bartowski that causes these professional spies to start to feel and long for a different type of life? Casey denies it of course, biting into what I think was a charred microwave burrito (who can be sure of such things?) but you know that he's lying. He may be drunk but he still races to the hotel to save Ilsa. It's a shame that Ilsa is off on another assignment after the mission is a success, again such is the life of a spy. One thing that Chuck the television series has shown us so far is that, while it's awesome to be a spy, it also has its negatives. You have nothing at home to tie you down, and no personal attachments and at the same time, you have nothing at home and no personal attachments, unless you count Casey's Ronald Reagan photo and his Bonsai Tree. 

This episode also had Devon 'Awesome' Woodcomb in the dog house after he buys himself a brand new Washer and Dryer but says he is doing it for Ellie after Ellie said she wanted a Big Screen HDTV (a woman after my own heart). Morgan intervenes with his Retail Therapy and drives Awesome away. I don't think this was his intention, I just think he wants Awesome to give Ellie what she needs after all Morgan IS in love with her. Sure, he has a girlfriend but Anna isn't around this episode. I love when Morgan says that Ellie is like a sister to him and then adds, "A sister I want to have sex with so bad." Hilarious. Another great moment is how the poker game at the Buy More slowly reveals itself as a horror show when the guys start to take their clothes off - Strip Poker, Run Awesome, Run!

Listen to the Podcast Episode: S1Ep12 Vs The Undercover Lover

When Casey's heart is broken finding out that Ilsa is an undercover spy he goes home to drink and listen to Love on the Rocks -- Neil Diamond, it's a great moment (and plays again when Casey emerges from the pool). I also love when right next door Ellie is getting sloshed and she just needs someone to talk to. You can tell that Sarah, while caring for Ellie, really wants to bolt and get the heck out of there. It's great when they put two characters together that usually have Chuck as a buffer, when Chuck is taken out of the equation, it becomes much more interesting. Another great moment is the fight scene with Casey and Chuck tied together in a Rocky and Bullwinkle fashion, the song that plays Ultimate by Gogol Bordello has a great punching and kicking vibe to it. 

On January 8th, 2008 Undercover Lover was aired with the 13th Chuck episode, Chuck versus The Marlin. They showed these bumper promos during commercial breaks with the cast that were a lot of fun. Watch it Here! It's kind of strange that they aired Undercover Lover and then an episode of The Apprentice and then Marlin but that's how they did it. The Writer's Strike was in full swing and these were the final two Chuck's we'd get until Season Two. 

Now, check out Alan Sepinwall's recap of Undercover Lover, talk about lazy, he made one recap for both episodes. He had a real hang-up about Yvonne Strahovski's fight scenes, it makes me want to punch him (I'll show you how to telegraph a punch buddy!). She does a great job as Sarah and she totally kicks ass. Eric Goldman gets a cookie for creating separate recaps, read his Undercover Lover recap

Okay guys, one more episode of Season One and then it's time for Season Two, which is one of my single favorite seasons of any series ever. I can't wait to get into it. Thanks for reading and most of all thanks for listening to The Chuck Series Companion!

Until then...

The Jastrom

Friday, April 17, 2015

S1Ep11 Vs The Crown Vic -- The Chuck Series Companion

Covering Season One Episode Eleven of The Television Series Chuck, Chuck versus The Crown Vic - Watch the Episode, Listen to the Show! - Subscribe and Listen to the Show on iTunes!

Chuck versus The Crown Vic

Apparently way back in 2007 this was the last episode of Chuck for the year. Many people hoped that Chuck would return with 12 more episodes but no one knew if that was to be because of the looming Writer's Strike. It turns out that it wasn't meant to be as there were only two more episodes after this. I don't remember knowing any of this back then but now I know that when all is said and done that it doesn't really matter much because we did indeed get a Chuck Season 2. Thank God.

But first, let's talk about Crown Vic. Casey's dream car. I loved the car washing sequence to the tune of Giving My Love Up To You -- Henry Turner's Crystal Band, such a great moment. We know that John Casey loves his job, he loves shooting people, he loves guns, he loves serving his Country, trimming his Bonsai Tree and he loves his car. It's a shame that he had to lose it but it was totally necessary to save the day. I think Casey understood but still wanted to kill Chuck, but understood.

In this episode we have a bedridden Sarah, she has chosen to stay and do her job. She did not run off with Bryce and I'm really not sure how hard it was to stay, but I do know that she knew that if she did stay she needed to figure out how to handle the asset, Chuck. Her feelings for Chuck were totally screwing up her head and she needed to get everything back in order. Her first action was to tell Chuck that she was here to do the job that she was assigned. That explanation might work for some people, but not for Chuck. He poked and prodded more asking her if kissing him had anything to do with actual feelings for him. She didn't answer only saying, it would never happen again. Chuck still didn't have an answer and it was frustrating him. It was funny to see him so jealous of Sarah's flirting with their target, Lon Kirk though.

There's a great moment when Morgan is embarrassing himself meeting Anna's parents at the Marina where he sees Sarah with Kirk, he is applying lotion to her bikini-clad body and Morgan immediately calls Chuck. As Chuck hears Morgan's description as to what is transpiring on Kirk's boat, Chuck can't help but picture Sarah flipping her hair, laughing at everything that Kirk says. This drives him nuts and he has to get to the Marina quickly. We of course know that this Schlub Kirk is putty in the hands of a professional Spy like Sarah and that Lon Kirk means nothing to her, he's just her mark but Chuck's feelings for Sarah have indeed made him a tad crazy jealous. That's what love can do to people. Lester, earlier in the episode points out that who indeed would want to be in love? Just look at poor sad sack Morgan. Morgan at the time believed that Anna Wu was cheating on him. Chuck nodded at Lester's assessment, who indeed would choose to feel like this? Chuck, that's who.

                                                "Always bet on black."

Listen to the Podcast Episode: S1Ep11 Vs The Crown Vic

This episode also has one of my favorite things that Chuck the tv show always does right, Christmas. How awesome does that Buy More Christmas, excuse me, Holiday Party look? I totally want to go! Seeing Chuck do the robot for a moment to Christmas in Hollis -- Run DMC was totally worth the price of admission. Just be sure and don't drink Jeff's Eggnog, okay? Also, I cannot fail to mention seeing Chuck and Sarah make up at the end and agree to be friends (for now?) dancing to I Melt With You -- Modern English, what a delight that was cut short when we hear that soon it will be time for Casey to 'take care' of Chuck. Gulp. What a great way to end the episode, both happy with warm feelings and dread in the pits of our stomachs.

Check out Alan Sepinwall's recap of Crown Vic, also be sure and read the comments section as quite a few people were beginning to really fall for Chuck, although they still had problems with Morgan. Poor Morgan. He will win them over eventually, I predict. I am really enjoying reading Eric Goldman's recaps for each episode. Check out his recap of Crown Vic.

That's it for this episode, thanks again for reading and listening to the podcast and letting me share my love of this TV Show with you. Up next is the penultimate episode of the season and soon we will be wrapping up season one. It's hard to believe how fast I've blown through this season. I hope that you stick around for more.

Until then,

The Jastrom

Thursday, April 9, 2015

S1Ep10 Vs The Nemesis -- The Chuck Series Companion

This Episode of The Chuck Series Companion covers Season One Episode Ten of the Television Series Chuck, Chuck versus The Nemesis - Watch the Episode, Listen to the Show! - Subscribe on iTunes!

S1Ep10 Vs The Nemesis

Chuck versus The Nemesis

Pineapple! There I said it, how great is it to have a word that you can speak and all hell unleashes? Fantastic! That is such a great moment that gets the show pumping on all cylinders. We have the hilarity of Morgan dropping a box on Jeff's head, not to mention the Buy More is completely filled with crazed Black Friday shoppers. We also have the deadly Tommy and his team of Fulcrum Assassins. Add Casey, Bryce and Sarah to the equation and we have an awesome action set-piece to go with it. What a great way to wrap up the episode.

As I write this blog post I am listening to the Chuck Television Series Soundtrack by Tim Jones and it is just phenomenal. So many great memories from the series are evoked as I listen. I find myself grinning like an idiot as I listen and at times getting emotional as certain Chuck and Sarah themes play. I have waited so long for a chance to hear this music from my favorite series that I cannot express how grateful I am to now have a chance to own it. Thank you, Tim Jones!

When this episode begins all poor Chuck can think about is talking to Sarah about their shared kiss. He has no idea that Bryce is alive and now more than ever Sarah is completely confused about the whole situation. Can we blame her? It turns out that Bryce needs Chuck's help. Fulcrum is after the Intersect and they think Bryce has it in his head. Bryce was never rogue, he was working to keep Fulcrum from getting the Intersect. Sounds simple enough.

I simply love the entire Thanksgiving Dinner sequence in this episode. Every single time I watch it, it cracks me up. I love Anna's jealousy at Morgan's love for Ellie and her cooking. Her imagination goes wild at Morgan's orgasmic appreciation of Ellie's Sweet Potato Casserole with Melted Marshmallows - "You can have him, Ellie!" too funny.

One interesting aspect of this episode is that you find out that Bryce really has no clue how he has affected Chuck's life. He got Chuck thrown out of Stanford to save him from the CIA but he didn't take into account at all how it all would make Chuck feel. Betrayed for sure but it also robbed him of his life at Stanford. Chuck was prospering there, He had a girlfriend (That Bryce also stole) and he wanted to be the next Bill Gates (with style as Bryce says) but when he was kicked out of school, Chuck didn't brush himself off and keep going. He didn't transfer to another school. He moved in with his sister and got a job with his best friend at the Buy More. That's what I love about the series, when we meet Chuck, he is at his lowest. He felt like he had it all and he lost it, but the truth is, He is wrong. That was just the beginning of his journey and there is so much more to go. Chuck will learn that he is capable of so much more and as he learns we get to see it happen along the way. Damn, I love this show!

Listen to the Podcast Episode: S1Ep10 Vs The Nemesis

When Chuck says "Pineapple" the song, Sugar Assault Me Now -- Pop Levi cues up, I have never heard of this artist before Chuck (like many artists I've heard on the series) but I am glad that I did, because it rocks! That's another great thing about this show, we get introduced to so many fantastic bands. We also get, No One's Gonna Love You -- Band of Horses. Another great band that Chuck introduced me to. Thanks Chuck!

With every episode of Chuck that I have covered I have provided a link to an Alan Sepinwall recap - I usually dig what the guy has to say, I don't always agree but he has an enthusiasm for Chuck that I can certainly appreciate but his recap of Nemesis is just plain baffling. Did someone pee in this guy's cornflakes? Just read it, I don't get his description of the 'Thanksgiving dinner' as 'labored'. Can't please everyone, right? Here is also Eric Goldman's recap of Nemesis, I had never read Goldman's recaps before starting this podcast but I am glad that I found them, because I find his take very enjoyable, he's quickly winning me over. One cool thing of note, When this episode first aired on November 26th, 2007 - The news had just hit that Chuck had been given a Full Season Order! Unfortunately, The Writer's Strike hit and Season One only had 13 episodes produced. But fear not gang, Chuck was renewed for Season Two, but that's getting a little ahead or ourselves, we will talk more about that later.

I could have never predicted how starting this Chuck Series Companion would kick my love for Chuck into overdrive but doing this show has been so rewarding, exploring each episode, one at a time I am no longer simply binge-watching Chuck episodes one after another but taking the time to think about each one individually, little details, moments etc. I am glad that I started this and I can't wait to continue. I hope that you guys are enjoying it too, each step of the way. Thanks.

Until Then,

The Jastrom

Friday, April 3, 2015

S1Ep9 Vs The Imported Hard Salami -- The Chuck Series Companion

Covering Season One Episode Nine of the Television Series Chuck, Chuck versus The Imported Hard Salami - Watch the Episode, Listen to the Show! Subscribe and Review the Show on iTunes!

Chuck vs The Imported Hard Salami

You know after re-watching this episode I realized that the Clock counting down on the Mysterious Object in the shipping crate wasn't just telling us the audience that there was imminent danger on the horizon but that before this episode was over something big was going to happen. When the clock was nearing zero, Chuck and Sarah thought it was the end, that this sucker was nuclear and they only had a few brief seconds left on earth. Chuck closes his eyes and Sarah grabs him and plants a whopping kiss on him and then they continue to kiss and wait...they're alive! That thing wasn't a bomb at all, it is something else. When the counter reached zero, Chuck and Sarah kissed. Indeed something BIG did happen.

Poor Chuck, when the episode began he had moved on from his fantasy that there was something more between him and Sarah, he ran to the welcoming arms of the Sandwich girl, Lou. He knew that Lou did like him, she said as much. Everything is great, it's a shame that her ex is a smuggler that Chuck flashes on. After Chuck and Sarah kiss he now knows that Sarah does indeed have feelings for him and he promptly calls her to ask her out on a real date, no bugs, no supervision, just the two of them. At the same exact time Sarah and Casey are at the site of the once-thought-to-be-a-bomb, and once it opens it contains Bryce Larkin -- And he's ALIVE!

Things just got more complicated.

What a great episode, it had everything, Funny situations with Lester asking Sarah out, Morgan hitting on Anna Wu, Sarah's jealousy at the new Chuck and Lou dynamic and great one-liners by John Casey. Oh and one more thing, that Guitar Pin that Chuck wore as a bug for Casey and Sarah to listen in on Stavros -- looks awesome! I'm going to order one on Amazon!

One of the strongest elements of this series is the music, not just the songs that are featured every episode by different artists but also by composer Tim Jones. Right now you can Order the Chuck Original Soundtrack, Fans of Chuck have been waiting for this for a long, long time and I can't wait to get  my hands on it! Speaking of Music, here are the two songs that are featured in this episode: My Absent Will -- Meredith Bragg and Let's Get It Crackin' -- Deetown Allstars.      

Listen to the podcast episode: S1Ep9 Vs The Imported Hard Salami

Here is the link to Alan Sepinwall's take on Salami and it's interesting to read that NBC totally spoiled not only that Chuck and Sarah kiss but that Bryce was alive (although I didn't see that in the promo), wow what a bunch of jerks. I wonder if it was spoiled for me as well as I watched the episode when it first aired. I can't remember that far back but like Sepinwall, I believe that the episode is so good that it doesn't even matter if it was spoiled as the way it plays out is still very effective. I do hate spoilers though. Also here is Eric Goldman's take on Salami where he thought with this episode that Chuck was hitting its stride.

That's it for this week, I can't wait to dive into Chuck versus The Nemesis next week. I am trying to stick to the weekly format and not bite off more than I can chew again trying not to think about how many episodes there are to cover. I must savor each one on their own and try not to look too far ahead. I hope that you guys are digging the show and the blog and I hope that you get a chance to rate the show and review it on iTunes, it's much appreciated.

Until Then,

The Jastrom