Tuesday, August 25, 2015

S2Ep7 Vs The Fat Lady -- The Chuck Series Companion

This Episode of the Chuck Series Companion covers Season Two Episode Seven of the Television Series Chuck, Chuck versus The Fat Lady - Watch the Episode, Listen to the Show! - Subscribe on iTunes!

S2Ep7 Vs The Fat Lady

Chuck versus The Fat Lady

Viva Buymoria! Here we have part two of the Jill arc. Chuck and Jill can't seem to find any alone time because Chuck is being observed twenty four hours a day and Emmett Milbarge is now wondering what Chuck is up to on all of those off-site installs.

I would say that while Sarah is happy for Chuck she is also miserable, but at the same time she wants Casey to lighten up and give Chuck some space with his new girlfriend. That's very nice of her and we're totally happy for Chuck too. I mean, Jill seems like a nice girl. A smart girl. In fact Jill and Chuck work together beautifully figuring out Guy Lafleur's puzzles.

Chuck even tells Sarah that his life almost feels normal again. There's only one problem, Jill is a Fulcrum agent which is revealed in a really great sequence cutting between the list being deciphered and Chuck and Jill rolling around in his bed. The song Keep Yourself Warm by Frightened Rabbit plays to much effect as Sarah and Casey see Jill's face pop up on the monitor revealing her as a Fulcrum sleeper agent. The Asset, Chuck Bartowski is now in danger and they finally gave him the space he wanted to be left alone with Jill!

I can't remember if I suspected Jill all along or if I was genuinely surprised when this episode originally aired. I like to think that I was totally fooled. In the Chuck universe, everyone could possibly be a spy and I think the real tragedy is that Chuck will soon realize that nothing that he perceived as a part of his normal life versus the spy life is so cut and dried. He thought it was kinda neat working Jill into his life as a spy, he had no freaking clue that Jill could possibly already be a spy and an enemy spy at that.

I loved the Buy More stuff in this episode, Emmett wants to bust Chuck on some wrong doing so badly that he thinks he can get Morgan to turn on his best bud. There is a great moment when Morgan realizes that Chuck has indeed been lying to him about seeing Jill and if he's lying about that, what else could he be lying about? The question lingers for only a moment when Chuck owns up to his lie and he apologizes to Morgan. I think it's funny that Emmett was going to use the knowledge of Chuck cheating on Sarah with Jill somehow, I almost would have loved to have seen that scene but Morgan saves the day with good old fashioned blackmail. I loved how Emmett got drunk on two fuzzy navel wine coolers with 4% alcohol. Too funny.

It's interesting that the Fulcrum bad guy in this episode is played by Mark Pellegrino, a veteran of many television shows like Lost and Supernatural. Now what I mean by interesting is that he plays such a tiny role. I expected more from his character being that he's played such awesome heavies on other shows like Dexter and Supernatural. In fact, his character who's name we don't even know right now is not even seen again till gulp Season 5 Episode 13, the final episode of Chuck! How strange is that? I have some theories about his character but it is way too early in the Chuck story to talk about it, remind me to bring it up again on the final episode of The Chuck Series Companion. Wow, what a tease!

Listen to the Podcast Episode: S2Ep7 Vs The Fat Lady

This episode had a couple of songs and an opera and they were all quite effective, first there was Buildings and Mountains by Republic Tigers then we have the previously mentioned Keep Yourself Warm by Frightened Rabbit. Finally we have La Traviata by Verdi.

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There was a moment in this episode where Casey was a total cold bastard, Chuck is frantic and explains to Casey that Jill has been taken and he has to take the list to the bad guy. Chuck begs for Casey's help but Casey turns him down, he says no. Chuck in a desperate situation takes the list and Sarah doesn't take the opportunity to shoot Chuck like she should or so says Casey. Should she? He's the Intersect, Casey! He's very valuable, remember? I honestly think that if Chuck would have waited a few minutes that Casey would have helped him and if not, Sarah certainly would have but Chuck doesn't operate like that. He felt like he had to act immediately and do what he thought was right and usually it turns out okay.

Here's Alan Sepinwall's review of Fat Lady, feel free to read that just to get a feel on how audiences were taking the season so far. We also have Eric Goldman's thoughts. Here again is a nice review by AV CLUB.

I have to be honest, it was really hard not to try and record all three Chuck episodes of the Jill arc in one day because it feels like the story is just hanging in the air as I have to wait each week to re-watch, record, edit and then post the show. But, that would be so much work to crank out, it's just not possible. But why am I even talking about this? I'm still not done! I still have Chuck versus The Gravitron. I can't wait to wrap up this story arc, I just have to remember to be patient. One episode at a time, one at a time. Heck, I guess that's how it aired on television in the first place. Can you believe this is how we watched the series originally? Once again, thank you so much for listening and reading the blog and I'll see you at the next episode.

Until then...

The Jastrom

Friday, August 7, 2015

S2Ep6 Vs The Ex -- The Chuck Series Companion

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

S2Ep6 Vs The Ex

Chuck versus The Ex

Chuck may have feelings for Sarah but that doesn't mean he isn't haunted by unfinished business or closure to certain chapters in his life. Namely, the Jill chapter. When this episode begins Chuck is doing something that we have all done, we torture ourselves by listening to a certain song that we know will spark a certain memory, an awful memory. Why do we do this? Are we feeling down on ourselves or do we just sometimes miss the misery? It's hard to say why Chuck decides on this day to cue up the Jill Mix 03'. If I do my math right, that mix shouldn't even be on his iPhone unless he recently placed it on his phone so I believe he's in the midst of an inner crisis of wanting to know how the Jill chapter went all wrong. He already knows, based on the flashback at the beginning of the episode that Jill dumped him because she thought he was cheating and that's why he was kicked out of Stanford, but why run to the arms of his accuser Bryce like that? That must have really stung.

This is the episode where we get answers. Chuck runs into Jill played by Jordana Brewster while doing a Nerd Herd job at the Bio-Science Conference and flashes on her boss Guy Lafleur. Now Chuck must go out on a date with Jill and figure out what she knows. I love that Sarah and Casey go out of their way with the CIA to help make Chuck look good. He looks like a successful guy with a Ferrari no less, too bad Chuck can't drive it. There is some great pathos there when Chuck makes Jill feel bad for not believing in him back in college but Sarah quickly snaps him out of it and he turns back on the Chuck charm. There you go, Chucky Charms Cereal, that would sell real well.

I have several favorite moments in this episode, the first one is when Jeff and Lester totally destroy Chuck's game on his date with Jill. It's so embarrassing to witness. What a train wreck. I love that every time Chuck tries to fix things with Jill he screws it all up again. The moment when Chuck is listening in on Jill's conversation with Shari is one of those fantastic moments of comedy when Chuck realizes he's on a mic and they hear him on the line (does it make sense that there is a mic set up at all? No, but who cares, it's hilarious!). Watching him try to explain his way out of it is also a wonderful moment. There's no way out Chuck, you are busted! Zachary Levi is so good in those situations. It's funny when I re-watch an episode I am often pleasantly reminded of just how funny an episode of Chuck can be. Jeff choking on a Pen cap, Chuck kissing Casey because it's a plan so crazy it just might work and then Jill telling Chuck just how ridiculous that is.

The idea of Awesome teaching the hopeless employees of the Buy More CPR is funny stuff but Jeff, Lester and Morgan's idea to just steal the test from Awesome's bag is hilarious. I love Jeff thinking quick on his feet, trying to explain to Ellie that they think that Chuck has Rabies. I also love Morgan trying to explain that while he is a thief trying to steal the test, he is not a perv trying to steal Ellie's underpants. Thank goodness.

Now, how does Sarah feel about all of this? She encourages a reluctant Chuck to go out with Jill in the first place. It's her job to hear Chuck out and let him know things will be okay, and just like Ellie albeit later after the date, tell Chuck that perhaps he will get some closure on this Jill business. Closure that he desperately needs if he's still listening to Jill Song mixes after all. For now, we have to let Sarah's face tell us the story. She certainly doesn't look happy but she also seems happy for Chuck. I mean, I know it's silly trying to figure out how she feels based on her facial expressions but Yvonne Strahovski is so great at this that it makes sense.

Listen to the Podcast Episode: S2Ep6 Vs The Ex

This episode had some great songs, first we have Pumpin' for Jill by Iggy Pop, then we get a great song that we've seen in a million movies and tv shows, Papa loves Mambo by Perry Como. There's another song that plays for only a few moments but it's very effective - Chuck is telling Jill that she should have believed him when he said he didn't steal any tests while they were at Stanford - we hear the song, It Makes My Heart Break by Your Vegas. Then there's Time and Space by The Accidental at the very end of the episode and it's one of those songs that I was first introduced to by Chuck and I am forever grateful because it's a great song.

I have been calling Alan Sepinwall's Chuck write-ups, Recaps but they aren't really recaps, a recap is going over the entire episode, plot beat at a time. I realized I should have been calling them reviews, so here is Alan Sepinwall's review of The Ex and while I'm at it, here's Eric Goldman's review. Also let's check out what AV Club has been saying about Chuck.

The Ex is the beginning of The Jill arc and it's a great beginning. It's funny, while recording the show I realized that I was playing dumb as to what happens next and I wondered if that would annoy anyone. I think that it's necessary because of the way that I'm doing the show. I only want to talk about the episode that I am covering on that particular episode. I feel like jumping ahead will only confuse things, especially if someone is watching the series and listening to the podcast for the first time. So I hope that all of you Chuck veterans will bear with me. I will give the occasional wink at the audience though, like 'Gee, I wonder what's gonna happen next?'

Again, I say it every time but it's been a blast doing the Chuck Series Companion, visiting one episode at a time and taking the time to cover it in detail. It's a joy and I thank you for reading this and listening to the podcast. Well, what are you waiting for? Go watch some more Chuck and encourage friends and family to do the same.

Until then...

The Jastrom