Monday, September 28, 2015

S2Ep9 Vs The Sensei -- The Chuck Series Companion

This Episode of the Chuck Series Companion covers Season Two Episode Nine of the Television Series Chuck, Chuck Versus the Sensei - Watch the Episode, Listen to the Show! - Subscribe on iTunes!

S2Ep9 Vs The Sensei

Chuck Versus the Sensei

"You are damaging my calm, Chuck." John Casey says while taking a short time-out from getting his ass handed to him by his former Sensei, Ty Bennett. Now, while this is also a reference to Adam Baldwin's previous role as Jayne in Firefly and the film Serenity -- it's also exactly what John Casey needed. He needed his calm damaged, he needed to express himself in fact, he needed to explode. Just not at Chuck please, Casey.

This was another great Casey-centric episode following Versus the Undercover Lover in season one. John Casey is an obedient soldier that takes his orders and completes them but he wasn't just born that way or as he said in Versus the Fat Lady, he wasn't "Hatched". Casey was taught by Sensei Ty Bennett played by the great tv veteran Carl Lumbly. When Casey finds out that his former Sensei has now gone rogue and is a member of Fulcrum, he isn't quite sure what to do with those feelings. Bennett taught him how to remain calm but let's face it, Casey has been bottling up a lot of feelings lately. First of all, he can't stand this assignment, protecting Chuck in Burbank, working at the Buy More. It's driving him nuts, but he was taught to accept orders like a good soldier and remain calm.

Leave it to Chuck Bartowski to figure out that Casey needs to do the opposite of keeping cool and calm, he needs to express his rage. In a hilarious scene, Casey channels his anger toward Chuck and his whole situation in general, not to mention his feelings of being betrayed by his former Sensei to beat him in a one on one battle. It's pretty awesome, and I love the bit at the end when Casey says "Thank you" under his breath. Great stuff.

I love that we get to meet Devon's parents Woody and Honey played by forever beautfiul, Morgan Fairchild and the great Bruce Boxleitner. Tron is in the episode! Poor Ellie knows that they mean well, wanting to handle everything to do with her and Awesome's wedding but this isn't what Ellie wants and she just doesn't know how exactly to express her feelings. We've all been there, we've been in situations where we wanted to express our feelings to someone that means well but we're just not sure how to handle it. Ellie finally loses it and explodes her feelings out into the open in a very awkward Food Tasting. Poor Sarah is left all alone to talk about her career in the yogurt game.

                                                    "...I tried to be a jerk."

One of my favorite moments in the episode is the reveal of the Buy More Employee of the Month, Skip Johnson. Hilarious, not to mention the prizes! An 8 x 10 glossy of yourself next to a picture of the Founder and CEO of the Buy More -- Moses Finklestein! (not to mention a 65 inch Flat Screen!). Another great moment is when Jeff loses it when a customer gives him a four star rating on his comment card. But my most favorite moment is when Casey is on lock-down in Castle and he tricks Chuck into coming to free him by giving Chuck exactly what he wants -- Casey expresses his feelings, Chuck can't help but run to Castle to listen to more of Casey unloading his emotions.

Listen to the Podcast Episode: S2Ep9 Vs The Sensei

I love when Chuck tries to use the Force to free himself but he ends up using some of that patented Bartowski smarts or MacGuyver as Chuck credits to get out of the Orange Orange and help save the day. It's true that Chuck never stays put as ordered but Sarah and Casey would have been totally screwed if he hadn't. Who would have thought to coach Casey ringside if Chuck wasn't there?

This episode had some great tunes, The New Song by Datarock (I actually own their album!), Shake Your Blood by Probot (I thought it was Judas Priest when I first heard it.) and Don't Worry by Love as Laughter.

And here we are again with reviews, the first one is Alan Sepinwall's thoughts on Sensei. He's overly picky of the episode in my opinion and then we have Eric Goldman's review. Here also is a nice review by AV Club. Finally, here's a great article written by Maureen Ryan on why she is enjoying Chuck Season 2 so much.

As this episode ends, Chuck returns home to find a somber Ellie who is bummed out about the fact that their Dad will not be at her wedding to walk her down the aisle. Challenge accepted by Chuck, he is now a man on a mission and he is off to find their Dad. I love the way this episode sets up that future storyline because there are lots of great things that are going to happen along the way. I can't wait!

Until then...

The Jastrom

Monday, September 21, 2015

S2Ep8 Vs The Gravitron -- The Chuck Series Companion

Covering Season Two Episode Eight of the Television Series Chuck, Chuck Versus the Gravitron - Watch the Episode, Listen to the Show! - Subscribe on iTunes!

S2Ep8 Vs The Gravitron

Chuck Versus the Gravitron

"Checkmate!" Chuck proclaimed who was then warned by Leader (Patrick Kilpatrick) to "Never say that." Because you never know who you are playing against. Well sir, you were playing against Chuck Bartowski and you lost. Here we have the third and final episode of the Jill Arc and it was a very exciting conclusion.

Chuck figured out rather quickly that Jill was working for Fulcrum thanks to a flash but he was still in denial until Casey uttered her Codename: Sandstorm. It was then that he knew for sure she was indeed a Fulcrum Agent, but did that mean she was all bad? We know by now that Chuck wants to trust everyone, he thinks the best in people, so in turn, he wanted answers from Jill.

When Jill takes Chuck back to the carnival from their past, He just wants to know how she could do this, how she could work for Fulcrum? She has all of the right answers and she even saves his life by not killing him as ordered by her boss, Leader. It was all a clever ruse though, just to get into Castle (Yes, I can refer to it as Castle now!). Leader wants information from their database and it turns out they are looking for Bryce Larkin who they think still has the Intersect.

Chuck starts out the episode confused and nervous but then when Leader shows up to Castle, Chuck is full of confidence because he read the manual and another thing we know about Chuck is that guy is good with computers, technology etc. Castle, with all of it electronic gadgetry is right in Chuck's wheelhouse. I love that Chuck saves the day and frees Sarah and Casey because he took the time to read the instructions.

As for Jill, she's playing Chuck. He wants to believe everything she's telling him, heck even I want to believe her, she's very convincing but dang it, she's a Fulcrum Agent! She's just telling Chuck what he wants to hear. He was her first love, they can still be together etc. I love that moment when Chuck walks up behind Jill right when she's about to shoot Sarah. It's right then he knows what he's going to do, he plays it cool, and he leads her right to her capture. Well done, Chuck.

This episode had some great moments with Ellie going insane with cleaning because The Awesomes were coming for Thanksgiving Dinner and Morgan, Lester and Jeff were stuck protecting the Buy More from thieves. It was all a fantastic set up with multiple pay offs. First Big Mike taking down Leader and then everyone gathering at the Bartowski's for Thanksgiving. Thanks Chuck, there's that warm feeling again!

Listen to the Podcast Episode: S2Ep8 Vs The Gravitron

This episode had some great music, Hot Mess by Sam Sparro, Knock Knock by The Accidental and finally Can You Tell by Ra Ra Riot.

Check out Alan Sepinwall's review of Gravitron and then read Eric Goldman's, they both really dug it. Also be sure and read AV Club's positive review.

Now while I have your attention I have a special treat for those of you that have finished the series Chuck in its entirety. For those of you that have watched all five seasons of Chuck, and have seen all 91 episodes. I have recorded a Chuck Series Companion Special just for you! Recently a friend of mine named Ross binge watched the entire series of Chuck on Netflix. I really wanted to talk to him about it and ask him what his favorite moments were and his thoughts on the series. So why not hit record and turn it into a special episode of the show? Well, we did just that and here it is for all to listen to. Again, if you have yet to watch all 5 seasons of Chuck, I implore you to set this episode aside until you do because this conversation is chock full of SPOILERS! You heard me, this special episode of the show is FULL OF CHUCK SERIES SPOILERS! You have been warned, it's out of my hands.

Download the Special Episode Here: Chuck Series Companion Special

Thank you so much for listening to the show and reading the blog, I continue having a blast re-visiting Chuck and sharing my love for the series. I love when a new Chuck fan is made like Ross and hopefully even more people will find the show on Netflix. If you're a new fan or old fan of Chuck I hope that you are enjoying the podcast because I plan to keep on going.

Until Then...

The Jastrom