Entertainment Magazine

Review #3149: Chuck 5.4: “Chuck Vs. the Business Trip”

Posted on the 22 November 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Henry T.

Written by Kristin Newman
Directed by Allan Kroeker

Being a non-traditional 13-episode season structure, “Chuck” has to position its stories in what looks like three mini-arcs of four episodes each. The first act of the story is now complete. The show has spent four episodes dealing with the fallout of Morgan receiving the Intersect. It was, by and large, a rather rough act, mainly because the audience never fully engaged with the idea of Morgan being the Intersect. In Chuck’s case, we had three full seasons to explore the full potential of the concept. By episode four of this season, it seemed the writers were grasping for straws on how to make Morgan superhuman without looking like a lesser version of Chuck when he had the Intersect in his head. It looks like they’ve disposed of that swiftly and moved on to the next act, which involves an intriguing, if a bit puzzling, conceit with Casey.

Review #3149: Chuck 5.4: “Chuck vs. the Business Trip”

Honestly, I enjoyed the CIA’s reintegration back into the story. Carmichael Industries was supposed to be an autonomous operation, but since they’re floundering and bleeding money, they don’t have the sufficient resources to deal with the breakdown of Morgan’s Intersect. So Beckman physically visits Castle, I believe, for the very first time here. Save for one assassin, Morgan has been spared from assassination by Decker and the CIA. This of course, leads to Chuck and Sarah embarking on a dangerous mission to get the lone contract killer out in the open by having Chuck impersonate Morgan on a Buy More retreat. They do a fairly decent job of hiding the reveal of the actual killer during the admittedly surreal scenes at the retreat. I had it down to the bartender, Big Bob, or Jane and it turned out that all three were in some way involved. Big Bob turned out to be a creepy, if ultimately harmless, advocate of big bunny mascot heads. The bartender was just a lackey for the real killer: Jane.

I only had my suspicions of Jane because an assassin whose face has never been seen meant a woman would engender the least scrutiny from Chuck or Sarah. That, and Jane’s whole befriending of Sarah highlighted the sad reality that Sarah has no non-spy friends to call her own. When Jane is revealed to be the assassin they’ve been looking for (they couldn’t have made it more obvious by having her change into a tight all-black outfit, a favorite for sexy female villains), Sarah briefly addresses that sad fact. I appreciated that since it made Sarah appear more human rather than just the empty eye candy the show sometimes throws in service to the fans.

In the end, I think Casey did what he did, killing Jane and her cohorts ruthlessly and obviously without authorization, to protect his friends. He may still have been upset at Morgan for how he mistreated Alex in “Chuck vs. The Frosted Tips” — and he seemed to take some measure of delight in messing with Morgan’s pop culture indoctrination by telling him to start at “The Phantom Menace” (or spoiling every huge revelation from the old Star Wars trilogy) — but ultimately, he considers Morgan a member of his family and worthy of his protection. It’s not as if Morgan didn’t suffer the consequences from the time he had the Intersect in his head. Note that Alex still won’t forgive him.

I don’t know if protecting Morgan is the justification that Casey will use to get out of the murder charge, but I don’t doubt that’s what Chuck and his team will say it is. This is something new and real that the team hasn’t really had to deal with before, which contributed to how surprising it all seemed. Not unlike how a reformed Jeff gets Lester arrested for attempted murder after he tried to get the old Jeff back by poisoning him with carbon monoxide fumes. Hopefully, the next act of the season will explore both of these arrest subplots to their fullest, and it comes without the baggage of the past that plagued the “Morgan as Intersect” arc.

“Chuck” is a light show for the most part. It’ll be interesting to see how the writers tackle these more serious issues and balance them with the comedic elements. It seemed like Casey was going to get a major story arc in his ongoing flirtation with Verbanski, but that seems to have been put on the backburner after the events of the previous episode. This unsanctioned murder subplot looks meatier and could finally put Adam Baldwin in the spotlight after spending much of the series being a (sometimes brilliant) supporting player. Whether this impacts what happens with Chuck and Sarah as they approach the end of their story is a question still left unanswered. There are nine more episodes left to find that out.

Grade: 7/10

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog