Saturday, February 4, 2017

S2Ep22 Vs The Ring -- The Chuck Series Companion

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

S2Ep22 Vs The Ring

Chuck Versus The Ring

"Chuck me." Indeed. What a wonderful episode this finale of Season Two is. It may have taken me over a year to cover the entirety of the season but it was well worth it because this season ends on such a tremendous high note. When the episode begins Chuck no longer has the Intersect and he has his whole life ahead of him free of danger, or so he thinks. He quits the Buy More and alerts Ellie on her wedding day that he is free and she wants to know if he like her will make his dreams come true with Sarah. He hopes so. There's only one problem -- she's leaving. General Beckman has made Sarah in charge of the Intersect program and one Agent Bryce Larkin will be the recipient of their brand new Intersect.

After receiving a nice sum of back pay from the Government, Chuck asks Sarah to come with him somewhere, anywhere in the world for a vacation where they can spend some time together. When Sarah lets Chuck in on her new assignment he is crushed. Everyone around him may be buzzing about the wedding but all he wants to do is get buzzed on Champagne that is until he realizes that one Ted Roark is in the building. Roark threatens to kill his sister if he does not retrieve the Intersect Cube for him and Chuck is off and running but not before alerting Morgan that he forgot the rings and to please stall the wedding. Gulp, Chuck are you sure you want that to happen?

Chuck arrives at Castle to find the Intersect Cube gone and Bryce tells him that he will go in its place because Fulcrum has always believed that he had the Intersect in his head anyway. Bryce also informs Chuck that he has known about Orion for some time and that he knows that Orion is Chuck's Dad and that he promised him to keep Chuck safe. Back at the wedding Sarah realizes that something is wrong because she knew for a fact that Chuck had the rings on him and takes a peek into the reception area to see Roark and his Fulcrum goons. I love how Sarah starts opening wedding gifts looking for a proper weapon.

I absolutely love when Morgan introduces Jeffster to the wedding audience and all we hear is a loud gasp. Jeffster in an epic moment that will never be forgotten performs Mr. Roboto by Styx and even though they sound awesome, Devon wants to know why Morgan is ruining his wedding but Morgan quickly explains -- because Chuck told him to! Devon knows that Chuck is a spy and it must be for a good reason. So he goes along with it and the next big laugh comes from none other than Woody Woodcomb or Tron if you will, Bruce Boxleitner when he says, "Why are you letting Sam Kinison and an Indian Lesbian wreck your wedding?" We get hilarious reactions from Big Mike, Anna Wu and Morgan's Mom in the crowd.

With everyone distracted Chuck arrives to tell Roark that he could not get the Intersect and before he kills him he reveals that he brought Bryce Larkin with him who gets a kick ass orchestral Mr. Roboto entrance thanks to Tim Jones. Truly epic. A gunfight ensues and John Casey and his Marines come to the rescue saving the day but not before destroying the flowers, the centerpiece and the entire wedding reception. Then just when Ellie wants to know what the hell is going on, I mean why is Jeffster playing at her wedding? Jeff fires off some roman candles and the sprinklers come on. Wedding Cancelled.

Chuck blames himself for everything, he tells Ellie it wasn't Morgan's fault because he was the one who told him to stall the wedding but to please trust him because he has a trick up his sleeve. Chuck spends his hard earned spy dollars and with the help of Sarah, Casey and the Marines and probably everyone else for that matter. They put on the beach wedding that Ellie wanted in the first place. It's one of those moments that Chuck the series always does so well. It turns out that one of Casey's men is actually a rogue spy that works for a new enemy, The Ring. He kills Ted Roark and decides not to kill Casey because Casey once saved his life. Meanwhile at the new reception which is now located at the Bartowski apartment complex, Ellie thanks Chuck for the amazing wedding and suspects he may be a superhero. Chuck wishes. After a short exchange Orion flashes on the agent that comes to pick up Bryce to take him to the new Intersect. That's right Steven Bartowski has an Intersect in his head! Which he reveals to Chuck and Sarah right when Sarah is about to tell Chuck that she was going to stay. No time for that now Sarah because they have to go save Bryce but not before checking up on Casey. Steven gives his son his fancy Orion Arm Computer thing and they are off to the secret Intersect location.

This episode had an insane amount of songs in it, first we have Now We Can See by The Thermals when Chuck quits the Buy More. Then we hear Looking At The Sun by Gramercy Arms when Chuck goes to see Ellie in her dress. Then of course we hear Mr. Roboto performed by Jeffster! Christmas TV by Slow Club at the Beach Wedding and Friday I'm In Love by The Cure at the Wedding Reception and then 3 Rounds and a Sound by Blind Pilot.

Listen to the Podcast Episode: S2Ep22 Vs The Ring

I've decided to include lots of reactions to the finale for this episode. First we have Alan Sepinwall, Eric Goldman and AV Club's reviews and I've even included some thoughts from critic Maureen Ryan who does start to cover later episodes of Chuck, I just hope I can find them somewhere online to include here later.

When Chuck, Sarah and Casey arrive they are too late, Bryce has locked himself in the Intersect room and there are bad guys everywhere, Chuck finds a vent and goes to help Bryce only to find that he has been shot and he's not looking too good. Bryce tells Chuck that he must destroy the Intersect before The Ring get their hands on it. If they do, nothing will be able to stop them. Bryce dies and Chuck is all alone to decide for himself what to do. Does he destroy the Intersect or download it and become the hero that Sarah already believes him to be? Chuck downloads the new Intersect and quickly puts in the gadget that Bryce gave him and destroys the Intersect device. When the Bad Marine enters he is pissed and promises to kill Chuck last. Sarah is devastated to see Bryce dead and they are informed they are The Ring an unstoppable group of agents and that they're 'The Best', and when the bad guy points his gun at Sarah, Chuck flashes but this isn't like any flash he has had before, it's something else. Chuck quickly disarms the Ring agents, their guns go scattering to the ground and Chuck realizes that HE CAN FIGHT! And so he does and he kicks all of their collective asses and even Casey is speechless. Chuck then reveals, "Guys, I know Kung Fu." which is of course, FREAKING AWESOME! And TO BE CONTINUED...

Wow, what an episode, what a finale, what a way to end what was an amazing season of the series. I don't care how many times I have watched this episode, when you start from the beginning and work your way back to it, it is always just as amazing as the first viewing. I still get chills and I still laugh at the same moments, This is why I love this show. Just like when I finished season one I will include a cool interview that Alan Sepinwall did with Josh Schwarz and Chris Fedak all about each season of Chuck, if you have not seen every season of Chuck though don't skip ahead because there are definite spoilers -- Here's the Interview where they tell you all about their experience of working on Season Two.

Now another thing, when this episode first aired, no one knew if Chuck was coming back, everyone feared it was going to be cancelled by NBC. Many fans of the show came out of the shadows to show their support and Save Chuck and the result was that the show was indeed renewed -- read about it here. Also watch this amazing video of Zachary Levi leading a bunch of fans to Subway to help pledge their support! It turns out not only is the show special, so is the cast and so are the fans.

Now that I am finished with season two, it's so cool to have this block of episodes of the podcast for Chuck fans to listen to. I can't wait to get cracking on Season Three of Chuck! I would also like to thank my friend Adam Sexton for being a guest on the second hour of this special double-sized episode of the podcast and also give thanks to my friend Ross for giving his thoughts on the episode as well via voicemail. I would also like to thank you for reading this blog and listening to the show, When I hear about someone finding the podcast for the first time and re-living their love of Chuck, it makes me happy. Now, if you will excuse me, I'm going to go and prepare for season three.

Until then...

Watch more Chuck!

The Jastrom

Friday, January 27, 2017

S2Ep21 Vs The Colonel -- The Chuck Series Companion

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

S2Ep21 Vs The Colonel

Chuck Versus The Colonel

Anyone could have easily mistaken this as the season finale of Chuck but it was the penultimate episode jam packed as it was with awesome moments. Chuck and Sarah are on the run but they didn't simply hop a plane to Paris, they went to investigate Black Rock, the secret hidden Fulcrum base where Chuck's Dad is being held but all they find is an abandoned Drive-in. Meanwhile John Casey has been promoted to Colonel and he's been given the order to bring Chuck and Sarah in -- Dead or Alive. Gulp.

I love the moment when John Casey shoots the Chuck target in his fireplace -- Bullseye! Casey means business and he immediately goes snooping in Chuck's room looking for clues but not before Devon finds him and wants to know what's going on. Casey says he's worried about Chuck but Devon is suspicious, we'll get back to that later. Casey eventually tracks Chuck and Sarah to a Motel where they have spent the night. One of the things this show always does right is the music and it's so effective the way Bon Iver's Creature Fear highlights Chuck and Sarah's mad make-out session. It's like this huge wave of 'FINALLY!' washes over them and the audience. Chuck and Sarah fully intend to do more but unfortunately Morgan kind of screws that up. I still laugh every single time at this moment.

Casey's not the only one that has tracked them down, Fulcrum Agent Vincent is outside watching their every move. Casey handily catches Chuck only to be easily dispatched by Sarah Walker armed with a 2x4. It's hilarious. When they are about to leave, Chuck flashes on Vincent's car. He refuses to leave without Casey, what a guy, that Chuck! Chuck doesn't realize that Casey has already escaped still cuffed to the radiator. This episode has a great fight scene when Chuck runs over Vincent and the shooting begins. Unfortunately this time Casey gets the drop on Sarah and they are on their way back to Castle in cuffs.

Meanwhile at the Buy More, Emmett Milbarge is now the manager and he wants Morgan to be his Ass-Man (that's assistant manager to you). Morgan wants Big Mike to forgive him but he informs him that he needs to clean up his own mess. Emmett makes Big Mike clean toilets and the only way he will let up on him is if Morgan complies. Casey locks up Chuck and Sarah and he promises Chuck that if he finds his Father he will save him. He gives him his word. Casey is then alerted to the fact that Devon has entered his house after getting keys from Jeff and Lester, you see they have rooted through Casey's locker and they think he's some kind of sick stalker keeping a diary of Chuck's bathroom breaks. Casey shows up to greet Devon and begins to put a silencer on his pistol, it's pretty menacing, we never know just how far Casey will go to do his duty. Surely he won't kill Captain Awesome, right?

He won't get the chance though because Chuck and Sarah have been freed, in a moment of sheer luck, Jeff and Lester have decided to put one of Casey's explosives in the power transformer outside, knocking out the power and opening their cell door. Chuck and Sarah save Devon, well it is mostly Sarah doing the saving and the only way Chuck can explain just what the hell is going on to Devon is to tell him the truth. Chuck is a spy, kinda. Now Devon knows the truth, how cool is that? My favorite episodes of this show are when people find out secrets that have been going on right under their noses. It's well, awesome that Awesome now knows. And it's hilarious when Devon has to lie to Ellie about Chuck and he's just got nuthin'. Luckily Ellie thinks he's wigging out over their soon to be nuptials.

Earlier Chuck was given a sign that his Dad was indeed hidden somewhere at the Drive-in when he sees that Tron is showing at midnight so Chuck and Sarah head back while Casey follows, only he knows that General Beckman has ordered an airstrike at their location. Truthfully it kinda sucks having Casey not being part of the team, I love when Chuck apologizes and asks Casey if he'd like to help them and he agrees, as long as Chuck stays in the car. Deal. Soon Stephen Bartowski is freed but Chuck tries to stop Ted Roark when he finds out that he is using the Intersect 2.0 to build an army of Intersect Agents. What he doesn't realize though is that his Father has been working on the Intersect for Chuck not for Ted Roark and when he fires up the new intersect it removes the Intersect from Chuck's brain. Chuck is free! After the place is carpet bombed and they escape, Chuck can't believe his good fortune,

This episode has two great songs, first we have Creature Fear by Bon Iver and then Answering Machine by Malbec.

Listen to the Podcast Episode: S2Ep21 Vs The Colonel

Now for reviews and recaps -- Alan Sepinwall, Eric Goldman and AV Club really dug the episode.

Everyone is treating Morgan like crap because he's Emmett's little pet and he screwed Big Mike over, Anna tells Morgan that there is more to life than the Buy More and Morgan informs her that he's always wanted to be a Benihana Chef. She laughs but she believes in him, When Emmett finally demands that Morgan fire Jeff and Lester, he does the only thing he can, He quits the Buy More and takes Anna with him and he even exits to the Slow Clap. Great stuff.

General Beckman tells Chuck that he's free to live his life and I assume she won't send Casey to kill him since he no longer has government secrets in his brain. It's so funny and sad when Chuck tries to thank Beckman and tell her how much this has all meant to him only for her to hang up. A little rude. Back at Casa De Bartowski, Ellie is totally freaking out that Chuck is missing, Devon is trying to comfort her now that he knows the secret that Chuck is out there fighting for his country when Chuck shows up with Dad in tow and everything is happy again. Chuck invites Casey to the rehearsal dinner and Sarah shows up looking stunning, neither one of them has forgotten about their morning kiss. Well that's it, everything is wrapped up. Nothing but happiness and sunshine for our heroes. Record Scratch, hold the phone, just one more thing, Ted Roark is on his way to Burbank and he's pissed, He's got a wedding to catch. This can't be good.

This episode had everything, Chuck no longer has the Intersect in his head, Devon knows Chuck is a spy, Chuck got his Dad back and Fulcrum got blown up real good. Oh and Sarah isn't in trouble with Beckman because they come up with a decent enough story to keep her job intact. I can't wait to see what happens next. Of course I already know what happens next but there is such a momentum heading into the finale it took all of my will not to just keep going after watching this episode but no, I must cover each episode one at a time, It is my mission and so I will be back soon with the season finale of season two of Chuck.

Until then...

Watch more Chuck.

The Jastrom

Thursday, January 5, 2017

S2Ep20 Vs The First Kill -- The Chuck Series Companion

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

S2Ep20 Vs The First Kill

Chuck Versus The First Kill

I can't believe that I am almost to the finale of season two of Chuck! Fulcrum has Chuck's Father and General Beckman's apologies aren't enough for Chuck Bartowski so he has the idea to use a captured Fulcrum agent to find him. That Fulcrum agent just happens to be one Jill Roberts (Jordana Brewster), the former girlfriend that Chuck put behind bars! Of course Jill isn't so willing to help, not without a deal to go free, Chuck promises it knowing full well that it's total baloney but he will do anything to get his Dad back.

This episode is all about 'Who do you trust?' Chuck doesn't really trust Jill but he doesn't have any other choice because he doesn't fully trust the CIA or General Beckman either, the only person he truly trusts is Sarah Walker. After viewing this episode multiple times over the years since it aired, the scene where Chuck and Jill pretend to be engaged to her family in order to lure Uncle Bernie out in the open I couldn't help but feel bad for Jill's predicament and her entire family as well. Not to mention the fact that her own father's best friend Bernie lured his little girl into the clutches of evil Fulcrum. Some friend. I think it's hilarious that Chuck's 'First Kill' is actually the result of making an out of shape killer climb too many stairs and we also get to see Chuck do 'The Morgan' which is Morgan's self defense move from elementary school when he was getting beat up by girls. Wow, poor Morgan.

Speaking of Morgan, The Buy Morons rebel against Emmett's wishes to behave while he gets his corporate review but after meeting with him he has decided to help Emmett because he thinks that if Emmett gets a great review from Corporate he will be sent away, job completed. I do believe that I had no idea what Emmett was up to upon my first viewing of this episode although it's hard to remember.

Since Uncle Bernie dropped dead, they have to send Jill back to prison. Chuck thinks that's a bad idea, they still need Jill because of her knowledge of Fulcrum. Luckily Fulcrum calls Bernie's phone and they trace the call back to their Strength and Leadership Building. I love when Chuck and Casey do their 'Auditing' session after watching a creepy Fulcrum video. Chuck aces the test and Casey flunks it. It turns out that Fulcrum knows exactly who Chuck is, he's the son of Orion. Looks like their files have been updated recently. How cool is the scene where Casey saves Chuck blasting through the office window with his shotgun? Totally awesome. Sarah also gets to kick some ass blasting Fulcrum agents left and right. I think it's interesting that Jill was indeed going to escape until she heard Chuck call for help. Chuck again does 'The Morgan' with lethal results and poor Bill Bergey Head of Recruiting is a stain on the concrete down below.

This episode of Chuck was jam packed full of music, I wonder what their music budget was for season two? It had to be huge, right? First we hear the song HERE by Mackintosh Braun then We're Not Gonna Take It by Twisted Sister as the Buy More Workers rebel. Today I Met The Boy I'm Gonna Marry by The Crystals when Chuck and Jill announce their fake engagement and Hungry Like The Wolf by Duran Duran when Uncle Bernie gives chase. The Earth Has Lost Its Hold by Calhoun when it's time to send Jill back to prison and Shopping For Blood by Franz Ferdinand when Chuck and Casey infiltrate Fulcrum.

Listen to the Podcast Episode: S2Ep20 Vs The First Kill

Now for the links to reviews of this episode, first as always we have Alan Sepinwall's take and then we have Eric Goldman's at IGN. I've also decided to include AV Club's review because I really dig how much they like the show and I love reading the old comments section seeing what the viewers were thinking and that people like me at the time, were really afraid that Chuck was going to get cancelled.

When Chuck realizes that his Dad is no longer in the building, Jill tells him she overheard that he'd been taken to a place called Black Rock. Chuck flashes on the location and decides that he isn't going to be cold and heartless like Fulcrum and the CIA, he's going to keep his word and let Jill go. When Beckman finds out that Jill escaped she doesn't take it well, she orders Casey that it's time to shut down Operation Chuck. Sarah is to lure Chuck to Castle and Casey is to Tranq him. Then he will be shipped off to an underground facility where they can keep an eye on him. Remember that almost happened to Chuck before in the season one episode Chuck Versus the Marlin? Luckily Chuck was saved in time but this time it looks like there is nothing that can save him. Back at the Buy More it turns out that Emmett was indeed not to be trusted, he steals Big Mike's job out from under him. The funny thing is, it looks like Big Mike really had gotten incredibly lazy running the store since he had Emmett to fall back on. But we like Big Mike and Emmett is a weasel so we root for Big Mike. Like Michael Corleone knew it was Fredo, Big Mike knew it was Morgan who betrayed him. Poor Morgan now knows he trusted the wrong person. Will the same thing happen to Chuck?

Sarah nearly does it, in an epic scene she tells Chuck a lie about his Dad being found but she can't go through with it, She's not going to betray Chuck. She tells him to take off his watch and that they are going to run. Yes! It's a very exciting cliff hanger ending. It motivated me to get this episode of the podcast done double-time because I wanted to watch the next episode. My personal rule is that I can't watch the next episode until I have recorded a podcast first. So now you know what I will be doing right after I publish this blog post. Of course I know that I have seen these episodes multiple times before but none of that matters when you get sucked into the storyline again. Season two of Chuck is fantastic and these final episodes are building to an incredible finale. I can't wait to get there. Two more episodes.

Again, I thank you for reading this blog and for listening to the Chuck Series Companion. There are times when I think about how many episodes are in front of me and I get overwhelmed a bit. I have to take a step back and just remember that there is no rush. I just need to take it one episode at a time.

Watch more Chuck!

Until then...

The Jastrom