Contributor: Henry T.
Written by Alex Katsnelson and Kristin Newman
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Finally, the story gets moving towards its destination at the end of the season. I had been wondering what “Chuck” was doing while it was stuck in this rut following “Chuck vs. The Push Mix.” This episode struck a good balance between the three storylines presented and steered Chuck and the gang to the inevitable showdown now against Volkoff’s daughter. Vivian was always a factor, it was just a matter of when she was going to start to show herself to everyone as a viable threat. She very nearly took out Chuck and his support system in one fell swoop so the events of this episode should demonstrate how dangerous Volkoff as a whole organization remains, even with its head in jail.
Much like “Chuck vs. The CAT Squad,” the murder plot within the walls of Castle was an exercise in figuring out who was behind everything that was going on. Unlike that episode, it isn’t fairly obvious who that person was until the end. Once I dismissed the candidates that the writers were really pushing (Director Bentley being example one), there were only a couple of people who would’ve been the true suspects. I did find it strange-looking for Damian to stand right behind the door as the first bomb went off, not knowing that it would factor in his exposure as a Volkoff agent later in the episode.
The plot also functioned as Chuck’s first test as a team leader, and it’s hard to say that he failed miserably. He wasn’t much of a success either, and as with his tests throughout the series at being a full-fledged agent, it was often a bumbling mess. Unlike his agent training however, this situation felt rushed and the only way for everyone to pile onto Chuck’s initial ineptitude as a leader. It’s his everyman nerdy status that makes Chuck so lovable so it feels awkward for the series to try and change his mindset on the fly so suddenly.
As for Ellie and Awesome, I applaud the fact that the writers are working characters normally reserved for the sidelines into the main story. Ellie is diving deeper into the Orion computer and partially neglecting her mothering duties to Clara. So it’s amusing to see Awesome freaking out at this development, then committing with Ellie to the route given by Stephen and his computer.
I see two possibilities coming out of this subplot: either Ellie (and perhaps Awesome) become Intersect agents or the research within the computer is designed to take out the Intersect permanently. The first possibility is highly likely, since it would perfectly dovetail into what Team Bartowski is doing in Castle now, which is to find people who can handle the Intersect being embedded in their brains. It would keep Ellie and Awesome in the storyline without having to sideline them for any number of future episodes. The latter possibility has been done on the series before to diminishing returns (look what happened to Chuck earlier this season without the Intersect in his head), but it would be a good cap to the series for the removal and/or transferral of the Intersect into someone else’s head so that Chuck and Sarah can start a life together as a married couple. I’m holding out on that one because I think the series will continue, but if it’s suddenly cancelled by the struggling network, it would be a fitting end for everyone involved.
The kidnapping of Big Mike by the rival Large Mart was a light plot this week, used to leaven everything else that was happening. It was really goofy, but I think it was also used to show how much Morgan has grown into a leader at his job as Buy More manager. He still needs Big Mike by his side, but he doesn’t freak out or run to Chuck for advice when Mike goes missing like he used to do. If anything, he’s arguably better under pressure here than Chuck! Granted, the stakes are different but the leadership styles couldn’t be more of a contrast. Morgan’s transformation over the course of the show has been nothing short of remarkable. He used to be the most annoying element of the series and now, he’s a steady and integral part that is missed whenever he is absent.
It’s only dealt with at the end of the episode, but the second showdown between Volkoff and Bartowski is now looming. The outcome is a little more in question than the first one, simply because Chuck is shocked that someone he used to help (albeit, inadvertently manipulate as well) is now out to get him. And that she had the gall to send a mole in to kill all of them. It was well-established that Alexei Volkoff was evil so he was easier to take down. That was Team Bartowski’s purpose from the get-go. Here, the situation is much more unclear. Let’s also not forget that Ellie and/or Awesome and the Orion computer will factor in the battle by the end. That’s just floating out there, waiting to help Team Bartowski in a pinch.