Friday, August 31, 2018

Chuck Versus First Class

Daniel Shaw thinks he's seen enough and now he thinks it's time for Chuck Bartowski to go on his first solo mission! Indeed, he's certainly been on enough missions this being the fortieth episode of Chuck but let's not forget to count the few episodes where Chuck and the gang were just getting home after some long difficult and messy mission so it could be the forty first or forty second mission -- but I digress. In Shaw's eyes Chuck's been on more missions than most other operatives and it's now time for him to get out there on his own without Casey and Sarah's help.

Naturally Sarah hates this idea, it's her job to keep Chuck in line and also keep him safe. We've also seen Casey warm up to Chuck over these several seasons. Shaw blames Casey and Sarah for not getting Chuck out there sooner. I think we'd all agree that Chuck is better with his team but this was a fun exercise seeing Chuck all on his own. Chuck is all for it, he thinks that if a bad ass Agent like Shaw thinks he's ready then he must really be ready. Sarah thinks that Chuck just wants to impress him.

I love the use of Stone Cold Steve Austin in the episode as Ring Operative Hugo Panzer. Zachary Levi's scenes with him were a lot of fun. I especially love when Chuck has to squirt the knock-out drug right into Hugo's mouth. Too funny. This episode also had special guest Kristin Kreuk as the kind-hearted Hannah. What's interesting about Hannah and Chuck's dynamic is that she can tell that Chuck is new to this First Class travel but Chuck keeps fibbing to her, she's kind enough to assume he has a good reason. Chuck is also able to seem reasonably charming even though he's completely distracted when it turns out his mission isn't actually in Paris but ON THE PLANE! That was a good reveal.

Chuck's mission is to retrieve a key from Hugo, sounds simple enough (they need it to open a doohickey). Sarah is furious that Shaw is putting Chuck into so much danger and without any back-up. Shaw blames Sarah for holding Chuck back -- is that because she cares for him or because she's a Ring spy? You see he knows she went to Lisbon when Chuck was there and he wants to know why. Meanwhile at the Buy More now that Morgan is the assistant manager he's been the target of constant pranks. Not only that but Lester refuses to even say a word to him after Morgan fired and re-hired him in the last episode. Morgan complains that he hasn't had untainted coffee in days and he needs his coffee dude. In this episode since Chuck is on a solo mission Casey gets some more Buy More time and when an unconscious Morgan is placed inside a Claw Machine, Morgan witnesses how frightened the rest of the Buy More crew is of him. Morgan says, Casey commands respect and I love when Casey says that no, he essentially, 'Takes their respect.'

In the belly of the plane Chuck finds the key but Hugo Panzer is actually awake thanks to an electric shock from his spy watch. I absolutely love the bit where Chuck hides in a casket with the dead body of an old man. My favorite part though would have to be when a panicked Chuck calls Casey and he recommends that Chuck screams like a Banshee so he could seem harmless. That scream. Hilarious. Hugo is ready to make Chuck bleed but Chuck flashes and we get a nice fencing match. I love when Chuck outsmarts the bad guys and here he dumps a load of baggage on Panzer's head. Nice. Sarah and Casey were worried about Chuck but he's seemed to have pulled off the mission. Don't you just love when you watch a show and you think it's all wrapped up nicely but then you realize that it's only half way over? Well folks, this episode ain't over yet. You see, Chuck didn't take into account that there was another Ring Operative on board. I remember thinking that it could possibly be Hannah, I mean she is being played by Smallville's Lana Lang. They didn't just hire her to play a pretty and kind flirtation for Chuck did they? Did they? Okay, maybe they did.

I love when Hannah calls Chuck out on his obvious lies and he admits that no he's never been to Paris and we also learn that it's a place that Chuck has always wanted to visit, he knows a lot about the place, his Dad even gave him a tiny Eiffel statue when he was a kid. He tells her he's there on a Buy More job which is sweet but it's also another lie. It's one thing that I think is an underlying theme in Season Three. Chucks lies, he lies constantly, he has to because of his cover but it's also going to take it's toll on him and it's interesting to see it playing out slowly.

This episode had quite a few songs, first we have Respect by Otis Redding, Dream Come True by Alen Ett, Ready, Aim, Fire by Unknown and we even get a repeat song in Wake Up by Mackintosh Braun, we last heard this song in Chuck Versus the Beefcake and finally we hear L'amoureuse by Carla Bruni.

Listen to the Podcast Episode: S3Ep5 Vs First Class
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For this episode I'm going to include three reviews, the first one Alan Sepinwall thought that this was the best episode of Season Three so far! Eric Goldman loved seeing Stone Cold on the show and AV Club loved seeing the Chuck plot formula turned on it's head. If you take the opportunity to read these old reviews be sure and check out the comment sections it's hilarious to see what viewers thought of the episode and how many still aren't sure of Hannah's agenda. This show has messed with viewers so many times it keeps the audience on guard.

It's so wrong and hilarious when John Casey agrees to help out Morgan and he essentially programs Lester Manchurian Candidate style, "Morgan is your boss, Morgan is a good boss..." It's so bizarre but at the same time it seems like something that Casey would not only know how to do but actually pull off. The best part though is the horror on Jeff's face when he asks Lester about how they are going to get Morgan. On the Plane Chuck has accidentally ingested some poison! That's because Hugo is loose and he's out to get him. Chuck runs off to the bathroom to call for help when it turns out that the Flight Attendant is also a Ring Agent! She wants the key and so does Hugo. It's funny how quickly that she assesses that this is Chuck's first solo mission. Chuck calls for help and somehow Shaw knows that the Flight Attendant is actually Serena, Ring Operative. Earlier Shaw reveals to Sarah that they can easily take control of Chuck's flight with a device and so they do, when he is sure that Chuck is about to be killed he gives Sarah the signal and she tilts the plane and all hell breaks loose. I think that it's safe to say that I absolutely love the whole Nunchuck bit, I mean c'mon of course Chuck is going to have Nunchucks! Too bad he didn't really get to use them and now that the day is won he doesn't get to go to Paris either. Hannah is bummed that she doesn't get to take him sight-seeing but Chuck gives her his Buy More card and says that if she's ever in the Burbank area to look him up.

Now that Morgan has seen that Lester now respects him he gives Casey a much deserved raise. I love the line about 'Plausible deniability' Morgan just let's that go over his head. Down in Castle Shaw uses the key to open the secret box doohickey and Sarah wants to know what was inside. Shaw shows her that it was his Wife's wedding ring. She died on the job and Shaw blames himself. Sarah confesses to Shaw that the reason she was in Lisbon was to spread Bryce's ashes. He believes her.  He then tells her that they have a lot in common, they've both fallen in love with spies. Now did he mean Chuck or Bryce Larkin when he said that?

Just when you think the episode is over Hannah arrives at the Buy More to greet Chuck, he seems to have made quite the impression on her. Well folks that's it until next time. Did you enjoy Chuck Versus First Class? I thought it was quite a fun episode and it was great seeing Chuck on his own. Zachary Levi is so great at playing scared and nervous Chuck and then he completely charms us in other scenes he really is a great physical actor. Thank you so much for reading my Chuck blog and listening to the Chuck Series Companion. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and watch some more Chuck and I'll see you next time!

The Jastrom

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