Thursday, April 9, 2015

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

1 comment:

  1. Nice job by the show in prior episode with the intrigue around the sniper Tommy who we then learn in this episode is part of Fulcrum. The Fulcrum story line is set up very nicely in this episode to get the viewer drawn in. Overall this is a great episode for the big story arcs (Bryce and whether he can be trusted or not, Chuck and Sarah, Fulcrum).

    "Because that's what you tell everybody!" --Great delivery of that line by Zach when Chuck and Morgan are discussing Morgan's love of Ellie. A fun exchange between Chuck and Morgan.

    The phrase "it's complicated" and close variants gets used several times in this episode, was used many times before and many times after. It's like the catch phrase of the show in some ways. (I might start keep a running count of it just for kicks).

    I've watched this episode at least four times and Jeff's line about pineapples being fun, his dad used to throw them at him I think made me laugh out loud each time. That line and the bits of physical comedy from Jeff are some of the big chuckle moments in this episode.

    Jastrom, to echo your sentiment, the Thanksgiving dinner scene with a large chunk of the cast around the table is fantastic and nicely switches between humor, the drama of Chuck seeing Bryce an Sarah kiss, back to comedy (Casey passing on saying what he is thankful for and then Chuck's “dark” and “very specific” thankful line). Sepinwall’s disdain is baffling. And this seems to be a breakout episode for the Morgan character. A lot of funny moments throughout and especially at the dinner scene (choking down the green bean casserole while describing it as “devastating…, devastatingly good” cracks me up each time I see it) and without the unsavory side of the character that dogs Morgan in earlier episodes.

    Bryce: So he's not the traitorous rogue spy we’re led to believe initially, but neither is he a great friend of Chuck's even though Bryce may think he is. He has little sympathy for how Chuck’s life was derailed and there is never an explanation that I recall as to why he stole Jill from a Chuck that suggests it was to help or protect Chuck (but maybe I need to rewatch the Jill episodes). He seems self-centered, a strong contrast to Chuck's unselfishness.

    Tommy and "pineapple" and then later the Klingon speak between Bryce and Chuck are examples of my willingness to give the spy/action story leeway. Why would Tommy, ruthless and seemingly smart, not react to Chuck’s cryptic statement of “Pineapple” or to Bryce and Chuck having a conversation that Tommy can’t understand? Chuck’s plan to determine whether the CIA agents picking up Bryce are Fulcrum or not based on whether he flashes has holes in it, too. But over the course of the series I am really only very demanding about the relationship drama elements. They were done so well and are what I most cherish about the show that my bar was very high for that stuff (and the show mostly didn't let me down over the five seasons, and thus I’m here commenting on the show). The spy stuff is sometimes campy and implausible and that's fine with me.

    -- LetsGoRed