Sunday, May 24, 2015

S2Ep3 Vs The Break-Up -- The Chuck Series Companion

This Episode of the Chuck Series Companion covers Season Two Episode Three of the Television Series Chuck, Chuck versus The Break-Up - Watch the Episode, Listen to the Show! - Subscribe on iTunes!

Chuck versus The Break-Up

"Take the shot, Sarah!" There's just one problem there Bryce. If Sarah were to miss, she might hit the man she has fallen in love with. That would be one Chuck Bartowski. The asset, her asset. It's her job to protect him and it's her job to make sure that the important information in his head stays a secret. In this episode of Chuck, Bryce Larkin has shown up just in time to notice that Sarah is acting funny. He can tell that there is something off between Chuck and Sarah. Where have you been Bryce? These crazy kids have fallen for each other and they want to be together but at the same time they can't quite come out and say it. Sarah has her duty and Chuck has the Intersect. Chuck doesn't want the Intersect, he wants the girl. Sarah wants to protect Chuck but she's also fighting her feelings.

So if having feelings for Chuck puts everyone in danger including Sarah herself, what is one to do? Break up of course. Yeah well we'll see how long that lasts. Part of the fun of Chuck is watching Chuck and Sarah pine for each other, but there is also so much more. We have Casey's grunting and repeatedly calling Chuck a moron, the Buy More gang and their shenanigans and the cool spy stuff. Basically this was the show tapping the breaks on the romance for a bit while they prepared to tell some more background story and set up the big baddies for the rest of the season. I'm okay with that.

I did love watching Bryce and Sarah dance to the tune of Guaglione by Machito (Which I somehow failed to mention in the podcast, D'oh!) while Chuck looked on in horror, so threatened with the presence of Bryce. Poor Chuck has no idea that he has nothing to fear in Bryce, except for maybe when he slips him an Intersect update unawares. Sarah hints this to Chuck as he wonders to himself, how he can possibly compete with a guy like Bryce? Sarah essentially says that Chuck has got him beat in some places. I'm thinking it's her heart Chuck!

I loved how John Casey had to get the job done himself in the episode while Chuck and Sarah were busy being distracted by their feelings. Casey gets the money back, he gets Von Hayes and he shoots the Fulcrum agent. Good work, Casey! How great was the Buy More stuff with those jerk Mighty Jocks? Michael Strahan plays Mitt, the biggest jerk of them all. It's a great moment when Morgan stands up to him by pouring grape soda over his head (Morgan's favorite drink btw). I also loved how Anna Wu also shows us her martial arts skills to the music of Heart -- Barracuda, fighting for her man. Great stuff!

Listen to the Podcast Episode: S2Ep3 Vs The Break-Up

This episode had some great tuneage, Fake Empire by The National (what would eventually be the name of Josh Schwartz's production company) and the great song, Skinny Love by Bon Iver. It made that scene with Chuck and Sarah by the fountain all that much more emotional. This show always does a great job picking the right songs for the right scenes.

First we have Alan Sepinwall's recap of Break-Up where he is pleased to see what happens when the Intersect needs an update. Then, Eric Goldman's Break-Up Recap talks about the dangers of the Will-They-Or-Won't-They Storyline.

I'm really excited about the Season Two Episodes that are coming up, they are some of my favorites. This is a really special season to me. It's funny how I have this inner debate with myself on why I am doing this podcast and blog. A lot of it has to do with the sense of accomplishment I get when I put an episode to bed. Taking the time to re-watch and then thinking about the episode, then putting my thoughts down. Once all is said and done, watching this show makes me happy and it also gives me sense of closure once I have the podcast episode posted and once I am done writing about said episode. Then I know that it's time for me to move on to the next one. I don't know how interesting that is to anyone else but it's the only explanation I have right now. I just hope that if I happened to get you to watch the show and you liked it, then my mission has been accomplished. Now, it's up to you to pass on your love for Chuck to the next person.

Until then...

The Jastrom

Saturday, May 16, 2015

S2Ep2 Vs The Seduction -- The Chuck Series Companion

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

Chuck versus The Seduction

"Be a bastard." Says the aging, dashing Super-Spy Roan Montgomery to the student in the art of seduction, Chuck Bartowski. Chuck is indeed a bastard in a hilarious scene that wins him a trip to the room of one notorious Ex-KGB Agent Sasha Banacheck. Two great guest stars in a fun season two episode. I've been a longtime fan of John Larroquette from his Night Court days and knew of Melinda Clarke from her Firefly episode. I also watched her on Nikita until I lost track of it during it's run on The CW. Chuck knows how to do guest stars and this is only the beginning. Good stuff.

I think it's interesting that Chuck doesn't even want to participate in the mission originally after Sarah explains to him that there will be no second date (third? who can keep track?) now that he is for sure the Intersect. The plans for the new Intersect failed once the Fake Cipher blew up the facility but now they know that Sasha Banacheck is in possession of the real Cipher (how many times can I say Cipher?). Chuck must flash on Roan and get him to help retrieve the Cipher from Banacheck. Chuck's not interested until, Sarah tells him that he can have anything he wants, once the new Intersect is finally online. Anything? Chuck knows what this means, it means he can have Sarah (if she is willing of course). What Sarah doesn't know is that once there is a new Intersect, Chuck is no longer useful and is now a threat and will be eliminated by the CIA. But, we'll worry about that later.

When I re-watch this episode I always find myself smiling at Sarah's entrance to the Buy More to Do You Believe in Love by Huey Lewis and the News (again with the Huey Lewis). Chuck sees Sarah enter and it's a mixture of fantasy and reality as she makes her way to him. I love the cartwheel that she does and then she crawls on the ground seductively (Sarah needs no lessons in seduction). It's silly, yes. But it also shows just how Chuck envisions Sarah. He thinks that she can do anything and that she is amazing. That scene says it all not to mention the kiss Chuck shares with Sarah to show Roan, that he knows passion!

"So who are your favorite bands?" That's the question Chuck asks when Roan and Sarah are off mic for a moment and Sasha is ready to bail. One of the best parts of this seduction scene is the way that Casey, behind the bar yet again, reacts to it all. I love his eye roll when Chuck bumps into several people after making a dashing entrance into the bar. Here's a question. Did Sasha invite Chuck up to her room because Chuck finally indeed seduced her with his sexy talk or did she realize already that he was a pupil of the great Roan Montgomery? I'm going to say, she knew it was Roan all along. The Martinis gave it away.

How cool is the new Spy Base below the Orange Orange? The reason I don't refer to it as Castle yet is because it wasn't referred to as Castle. It's funny after watching the series in its entirety I still can't recall when Castle becomes Castle (say Castle one more time, I dare you). I will definitely keep an eye out for it (or my ears peeled). I love the Wheel of Misfortune and boy was it (for Lester). Poor Lester, it looks like he grew up with one of these in his home. I honestly wonder what Big Mike was thinking by making Lester the new Ass Man (short for assistant manager) besides comic hijinks? Well, he did win Thunderdome in the previous episode, so I guess he earned it.

Listen to the Podcast Episode: S2Ep2 Vs The Seduction

I've already mentioned the music of Huey Lewis in this episode but we also got a great song Love it All by The Kooks, a song I wasn't quite familiar with until Chuck but I love it now. We also get a cool instrumental piece Desert Eagle by Ratatat. My favorite of the episode though, goes to the Roan Montgomery theme song, 65 Bars and a Taste of Soul by Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band. Here's a link to the rest of the tunes from this episode.

Here is Alan Sepinwall's Recap of Seduction, where he explains that the Roan Montgomery character was actually an homage to Peter O'Toole in the film, My Favorite Year. Very interesting, I've actually never seen that film, but now I am curious to see it. Eric Goldman had a blast with the episode, here is his Recap of Seduction.

Well that's Season Two, Episode Two in the bag and I think it's one of my favorites because I love the introduction of Roan and the moment he tells Chuck, "I can even teach you how to get her too." Meaning Sarah (I think Chuck would have pulled it off if not for you know who) it will be a long wait, but Roan will return, oh yes. As for Bryce, he did return at the end of the episode and we'll just have to wait until next time to talk about that. Thanks again guys, for reading and listening! Now go watch some more Chuck!

Until then...

The Jastrom

Saturday, May 9, 2015

S2Ep1 Vs The First Date -- The Chuck Series Companion

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

S2Ep1 Vs The First Date

Chuck versus The First Date

For a brief moment, Chuck Bartowski thinks that he is getting his life back. In that time he jumps around on his bed to Hip to be Square by Huey Lewis and the News and promptly asks Sarah Walker out on a date. She accepts and they are off to dinner. They have a wonderful moment together as Chuck throws many compliments her way (just look at her face as he talks, she eats it up). Sarah returns the favor agreeing with a self-mocking Chuck. Sarah tells Chuck that he can achieve anything and she believes in him. Not even Sarah knows that Casey has been tasked to eliminate Chuck once the new Intersect is activated.

John Casey puts up with Chuck because it's his assignment but after many missions, Chuck has also shown him that he is worthy of his respect and that he has served his country with honor. Director Graham tells Casey that Chuck will also have to die for his country. Ouch.

Fortunately those pesky guys at Fulcrum planted a bomb in the Cipher causing the new intersect to explode along with Graham. Chuck is now safe and he never knew his life was even in danger. With Chuck still the Intersect, he knows that Sarah goes back to being his Handler and the possibilities of being his real girlfriend and backpacking across Europe are now a distant pipe dream. Sigh.

What a great premiere episode for Season Two. I have said it before that Season Two is perhaps my favorite season of Chuck, but I am also a Chuck apologist, I could easily fight for each season and win that argument with myself that Season Three, Four and Five have their moments too. I think I love how Chuck starts to gain confidence in this season, you even see it in this very episode, when Chuck stalls Colt (played by the late and great Michael Clark Duncan), when he wants to snap Chuck's neck. Chuck as he's done in the past, thinks fast on his feet when he needs to and pretends that Morgan's Call of Duty plans are in fact, a team outside ready to storm the hideout and take Colt and his men down. At the end of the episode, Chuck commands the bad guys to drop their weapons and they comply. Look at Sarah's face, not only is she very surprised to find him alive after being dropped off the roof (in a spectacular sequence that is sold with Sarah's reaction) but also at his command of the situation. He is taking what she told him earlier to heart. Chuck can do anything if he puts his mind to it.

I love when a distracted Chuck puts Morgan in charge of finding a new assistant manager, Morgan is as shocked as we are. His idea to have the candidates fight it out in a Thunderdome is both hilarious and ridiculous in a way that only the tv show that is Chuck can get away with. Anything can happen in the Buy More and that's why we love the Buy More. God bless the Buy Morons. I also love Jeff's creepy resume'. Hilarious.

Listen to the Podcast Episode: S2Ep1 Vs The First Date

This first episode of Season Two was jam packed with songs, The Power of Love -- Huey Lewis and the News, Returning to the Fold -- The Thermals, Dropped -- Phantom Planet, Foux Du Fafa -- Flight of the Conchords and The Twist -- Frightened Rabbit. Lots of fantastic songs, I especially loved the way they used Huey Lewis songs to show both pure joy and pure sadness for Chuck.

With recaps of this episode the first one I want to show you is written by Writer, Maureen Ryan. She had already seen the first three episodes of season two and was very excited to report that she was pleased with the Chuck momentum out of the gate. Here is Alan Sepinwall's Recap of First Date and you can see that he's pleased with the fight choreography in this episode. This guy is really obsessed with fight choreography. Finally, here is Eric Goldman's Recap, he admired the way the episode reintroduced the series to potential new viewers and viewers who could have possibly forgotten after such a long hiatus. I've said it before, it's not necessary to read any of these recaps but I found them to be fun when I was re-watching Chuck (the first and second and third times). I also got a kick out of the comment sections, seeing what viewers thought of the episodes. Usually I would get annoyed after awhile at the nitpicky ones and close my browser in disgust.

I think part of the excitement I am getting out of re-living this series is the nostalgia of when it first aired. In 2007, 2008 my daughter was three and four years old. I was still learning to be a stay at home Dad and it was a very happy time in my life that I look back on fondly. Chuck was there for me at that same time that I was learning to be a Father and I think that is part of where my love for this series comes from. Wow, right as I typed that, I literally hadn't thought of that before. Maybe doing this blog really is helping me understand not just more about myself but about why I love this show so much. When I was looking for videos to remind me of my excitement of Season Two, I found this video on Youtube by Kristin of the E! Network. This was a video she shot, no doubt on her phone at the Chuck Comicon Panel where they previewed Season Two. I love hearing the audience reactions and I find the cheering to be infectious. Check it out HERE!

Well that's it for now, this is only the beginning. Thank you so much for reading this post and I hope that you continue to follow me on my journey in re-watching and podcasting every episode of Chuck.

Until then...

The Jastrom