Thursday, July 19, 2018

S3Ep4 Vs Operation Awesome -- The Chuck Series Companion

Covering Season Three Episode Four of the Television Series Chuck, Chuck Versus Operation Awesome - Watch the Episode, Listen to the Show! - Subscribe on iTunes!

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Chuck Versus Operation Awesome

Devon Woodcomb is missing and Chuck is freaking out. Devon has been taken by Sidney Prince a Ring Operative played by special guest villain Angie Harmon. The reason Devon has been taken by the Ring is because they think he's an Undercover Spy! And why wouldn't they? He's Captain Awesome after all. I'm thinking that he got the wrong kind of attention when he saved Goya's life in the previous episode, not only did he save him on the medical table twice but he also thwarted an assassin which also turned out to be John Casey the one and only Angel De La Muerte! The Poisoner who was so set on killing Goya must've been really annoyed he was foiled multiple times, He must've gone over it in his head and it all lead him back to Doctor Devon. Cut to the roof and Sidney has him dangling over the edge, she wants him to work for her -- for the Ring!

We know Chuck, he's frantic, he blames himself. How could this have happened. Most of all he can't get over the fact that he can't tell his Sister anything and it's killing him. This made me think about Ellie, and how throughout the series, she is the one person that never knows what the hell is going on. Chuck has to lie to her often but he doesn't know what to tell her at this point. I love when Chuck goes to the Buy More to take his mind off things and when he's emotional the Intersect is usually on the fritz. First he threatens a customer in her native language and then he kicks Lester in the face. It's all so hilarious. Just when Sarah arrives to tell Chuck about the Ring having Devon he actually shows up, Devon is alive and the Ring thinks he's Chuck! They think he's a Spy!

It makes sense, just look at him, even Casey thinks so. They have no choice but to let Devon work with Sidney and take her out. Chuck objects but there's really nothing he can do. Sidney won't just leave Devon alone -- they need him. Later when a mysterious package arrives it turns out to be a Ring Smartphone with a bluetooth explosive headset. Gulp. I love the whole bit with the friendly Security guy Julius, so understanding. I also love when Chuck tranq darts the bad guys to the tune of Got Nuffin by Spoon. I mean this is just what makes Chuck the show so great, the use of songs in this show is always spot on. How many times have you watched a TV show and the musical choices are just grating or distracting? Not on Chuck, they almost always heighten what you are seeing onscreen from action to even slow and quiet tender scenes. Another thing I love about this episode is the work of Ryan McPartlin, usually he gets to play Devon with this cocksure attitude a guy that is well, awesome but in this episode he gets to be scared, he gets to be nervous and most of all he gets to be completely unsure of what is going on and it's great.

Sidney wants Devon to go upstairs and kill a guy. A CIA Agent named Daniel Shaw played by Brandon Routh, he knows all about Chuck and he wants Chuck to kill him before Sidney gets to the room. We know our boy Chuck can't do that, he doesn't do guns so Shaw has to shoot himself but not before swallowing a pill. I love the bit with Devon freaking out over Shaw being dead, "Chuck, this isn't a tranq gun!" and Chuck protesting that he didn't do it. Sidney arrives and is pleased that Devon has killed Shaw and he's welcomed to the Ring and to stay near that Ring Smartphone, she'll be calling. Oh by the way, right before all of this happened Sarah and Casey were in the van on lock-down, Beckman ordered them to stand down much to their dismay. It turns out that Daniel Shaw is their new boss and he knows all about the Intersect. What?!?

After Devon gives him a shot of adrenaline to the heart Shaw explains that Sidney won't actually report Devon's identity to the Ring until she has officially recruited him. Chuck doesn't want to involve Awesome in anymore spy games but he has no choice that is unless he can think of any other ideas. It turns out he does have an idea but we'll get to that later. Morgan has been named the new Assistant Manager by Big Mike. That's right Morgan is the new Ass-Man. It turns out that after Chuck kicked Lester in the face Lester felt something he hadn't felt since his Bar Mitzvah. He felt like a man.

Jeff and Lester and the rest of the Buy Morons have got themselves a Fight Club and they won't listen to Morgan. I think it's hilarious how many times they have set up some ridiculous thing in the Buy More stockroom cage. Remember Thunderdome? Remember when Anna Wu fought Michael Strahan in there? I mean they've set off bombs in refrigerators back there! There have been shoot outs! And now there is a Fight Club. This is all silly but it's the Buy More, of course it's ridiculous and that's why we love it. This is all about Morgan getting some respect, for him to realize that they aren't just his friends anymore they are his employees and besides it's not okay to electrocute a fellow employee.

This Episode has some great songs, first as I mentioned before we have Got Nuffin by Spoon. This song plays during the Crystal Towers infiltration and later on when Chuck runs from Sidney's goons. I love when Chuck plays a song twice. If you pay attention this happens quite a bit in the run of the show. We'll get a song early and then later on we'll hear it again at an opportune time and the second time it has even more punch. During the Buy More Fight Club shenanigans we hear Space Moneys by the Dust Brothers and finally we hear Bears by Sam Isaac.

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This time I'll include three reviews of Operation Awesome, first we have Alan Sepinwall who just couldn't buy the fact that the Ring would believe Devon could be a Spy. Okay... Eric Goldman really liked the introduction of Brandon Routh and AV Club didn't like the scene where Devon had to lie to Ellie in what they called atrocious slapstick. Ouch! You can't please everyone. Let's talk about that scene. Devon can't lie it's not in his nature. It shouldn't be in Chuck's nature either because he's a good guy, he's a nice guy in fact but he's gotten good at it. He lies to Ellie on a regular basis. just watch how Devon fumbles through the lies, he's terrible at it. Chuck pick's up Devon's fumble and races it to the end zone. He says Casey is a drunk basically and it's hilarious but it's also something that needs to be re-visited later. Chuck's lying and he's lying to people he loves and it will have a cost.

Chuck decides to take matters into his own hands, he takes the Ring Smartphone from Devon and he reverse engineers it to see how it works (at least that's what I think he's doing). After a bit of helpful advice to Morgan he takes that very same advice and calls up Sidney and tells her he's the real spy, he killed Agent Shaw and he's in the Buy More. When Chuck tells Sarah that Sidney is there Shaw is not happy and he tells Chuck that he is on his own. Chuck's idea is to hide in the Nerd Herd booth but they find him quickly, when he can't flash he runs. Earlier when Sarah and Casey tried to help Chuck, Shaw pulled a gun on them and told them to stand down but Sarah isn't about to do that now. I love the call back to the Car Jumper cables in the Stock Room when Chuck uses them to shock a bad guy, Sarah's fight with Sidney is pretty bad ass too but Sarah gets knocked down for the count and Chuck gives chase with a gun. Sidney isn't scared though, she can tell just by looking at Chuck that he's not a killer.

Finally Daniel Shaw shoots Sidney, he doesn't like guns either but it pays to know how to use one. Chuck and Sarah and Casey still don't know how to take this guy. Chuck tells Shaw that there's nothing more important to him than friends and family. Shaw warns that caring about someone or something gives a spy a weakness. Sarah disagrees saying that it helps to know there's something worth fighting for. Big Mike tells Morgan that he can't be afraid to be the boss, to pull the trigger (I love the parallel here with Chuck as Chuck could not pull the trigger in a manner of speaking).  Morgan fires Lester and Lester immediately apologizes and begs for his job back. It seems he actually fears Morgan now but the battle for respect from the Buy More Employees isn't over just yet, we'll get to that in the next episode.

Back at Chuck and Morgan's Apartment Awesome and Ellie arrive and Chuck lets Devon in on the good news, he's in the clear. They caught Sidney, he has nothing to worry about. Notice how Chuck didn't bother to tell Devon that Sidney was actually dead. He doesn't need to know the graphic details I guess. Sarah and Casey arrive and we get one of those scenes that I absolutely love in an episode of Chuck -- a gathering. As the song Bears by Sam Issac plays in the background (remember what I said about the show perfectly punctuating a scene with a song?) we see Daniel Shaw watching them, he's on the outside looking in on what Chuck said earlier was most important to him. Family.

Thank you guys so much for your patience, I know it's taking me forever to do these episodes of the Chuck Series Companion but I do them when I can. I emphasized at the beginning of this podcast that no matter how long it takes me and no matter how long a gap there is between episodes I will be back with another episode until I finish the entire series. So I promise you, fear not for I shall return with an all-new Chuck Series Companion episode and until then watch some more Chuck as it's on Amazon Prime now!

The Jastrom