Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Chuck - The Complete Third Season DVD Review
Written by General Jabbo
Season three of Chuck finds Chuck (Zachary Levi) at a crossroads in his life. He now has the Intersect 2.0 downloaded in his brain, enabling him not only to be able to "flash" on subjects to gain information on them, but also to gain abilities. He may look at a sword and if he flashes, he becomes a master swordsman. The problem is he is unable to control these abilities when his emotions get the best of him, especially when he is around his partner Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) who he is madly in love with.
His inability to flash first manifests itself in the opening episode when, during a simulation, Chuck is unable to flash and would have been killed had it been a real mission. This gets Chuck suspended from the team by General Beckman (Bonita Friedericy). We also learn that six months earlier, Sarah met Chuck in Prague, wanting to leave with him and ditch the spy life and he turned her down — a decision that haunts Chuck throughout the season.
After Chuck's eventual reinstatement, NSA Agent Carina (Mini Anden) shows up, posing as the fiancé of an arms dealer the CIA is trying to get to. Carina is on to Sarah's feelings about Chuck and she discusses this with her while Chuck has the same conversation with his best friend Morgan (Joshua Gomez) about Sarah. This episode does a good job of showing the parallel of Chuck and Sarah's feelings toward each other. Morgan tries in vain to get Carina to show up at his party to impress his fellow Buy More coworkers and when she arrives with her "fiancé and his entourage Morgan, not realizing she was on a spy mission, kicks her out of the house. Morgan's tactics work though when Carina returns, turned on by the fact that a guy actually said no to her. She also shows her heart by giving Sarah a security camera video of Chuck professing his love for Sarah.
After Chuck's brother-in-law Devon (Ryan McPartlin) saves the life of premier Allejandro Goya (Armand Assante), a man the CIA is trying to protect after years of trying to kill him, he and his wife Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) get invited to a gala he is hosting at the consulate. The CIA learns Goya is the target of a hit and sends Chuck and his team to protect not only Goya, but Chuck's family as well. Chuck's teammate John Casey doesn't want to go as he had had tried to kill the premier on numerous occasions and had earned the nickname Angel de la Muerte, or Angel of Death. Chuck and Sarah pose as a couple at the gala, furthering the tension between the two and, in an amusing twist, Casey ends up donating blood to save Goya's life, with his reward a box of fine cigars.
Brandon Routh appears as Daniel Shaw in the episode "Chuck Versus Operation Awesome." Shaw is a CIA agent who has been trying to take down The Ring for five years and is something of a super spy. He feels deep regret for the shooting of his wife and has hardened himself to not show emotions to protect others. He falls for Sarah though, who initially resists his advances, but realizes she likes being close to someone. Both characters are similar in their "no feelings" stance as they are true spies unlike Chuck who is ruled by emotions. Sarah still has feelings for Chuck though, but thinks that's over after what happened in Prague. Chuck is, of course, devastated that Sarah would take an interest in Shaw whom he feels he has no chance against.
Chuck gets a love interest of his own in the form of Hannah (Kristin Kreuk), who he meets while on his first solo mission on a flight to Paris, a city he has always wanted to visit. Hannah is a down-on-her-luck computer programmer who had just lost her job and was flying to Paris to clean out her office there. The two hit it off and Chuck encourages her to come to the Buy More if she's ever in the area. Much to his surprise she not only does, but also joins the staff as a fellow Nerd Herder (a parody not only of Best Buy's Geek Squad, but of the Star Wars' insult Nerf Herder). Sarah is jealous of Hannah while Chuck, still having feelings for Sarah and not wanting to have to lie to Hannah about his double life, breaks up with her rather ruthlessly at a dinner with her family. The episode shows how Chuck has changed and that he is human and doesn't always do and say the right thing.
When they fear their store is about to be bought out and all but Chuck and Morgan will be fired, the Buy More employees stage a revolt, led by the creepy duo of Lester (Vic Sahay) and Jeff (Scott Barnes). Casey, whose cover is at the Buy More and who hates suits even more than he hates neo-liberal fascists, joins in the fray. The employees build a wall by the entrance and Lester leads them in the singing of "Fortunate Son" to great comedic effect.
Shaw believes that a Ring operative killed his wife, but later learns it was one of his own that did it, which has consequences for his team. Meanwhile, Chuck finally gets his chance to profess his love for Sarah, but does she accept this time? These are among the many questions posed during the show.
The DVD includes deleted scenes, the featurettes "Chuck Fu…and Dim Sum: Becoming a Spy Guy" and "The Jeffster Revolution: The Definitive Mocumentary" as well as a gag reel. Originally slated for 13 episodes, NBC decided to order six more. While episode 13 feels like a finale, the remaining six episodes are well written and lead into the forthcoming season four well. With its mix of good writing, a good ensemble cast and an excellent mix of drama and comedy, season three of Chuck is a winner.
Article first published as DVD Review: Chuck - The Complete Third Season on Blogcritics.