Entertainment Magazine

Review #3190: Chuck 5.6: “Chuck Vs. the Curse”

Posted on the 19 December 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Henry T.

Written by Alex Katsnelson
Directed by Michael Schultz

After a couple of solid episodes that addressed the show’s larger mythology, “Chuck” stumbles a bit here. It was amusing for a bit when it looked like the government mistook Ellie and Awesome for Chuck and Sarah. Yet, there was a general “off” feeling about the episode and I have been trying to figure out the cause. It may be the re-emergence of Chuck’s various neuroses and how it interfered with both the mission at hand and his relationship with Sarah. Both of Chuck’s parents are out of the picture so the “curse” that he thinks afflicts his family doesn’t quite have the impact that it should. “Chuck” has mined this kind of personal territory before with mixed results so it’s a bit discouraging to see the writers dip into that well once more in this final season.

Review #3190: Chuck 5.6: “Chuck vs. the Curse”

Ellie and Awesome are the only supporting characters on the show with regular civilian lives. The show spices this up a little by giving them a night out without the new baby to worry about. Ellie spitballs a scenario where they could imagine themselves as spies and live the lives of Chuck and Sarah for a night. It’s a fun showcase for the couple who is often sidelined and overlooked in favor of highlighting Chuck and Sarah. They invent code names and silent signals and gestures for one another that will prove crucial at a later time.

Given that the last time both Awesome and Ellie got into the spy game, the results haven’t been very favorable for either of them, Devon was very fearful of the things that Chuck and Sarah dealt with on a regular basis. Ellie has been in the dark about Chuck’s spy activities for so long that she often panics when faced with danger. That largely continues here after Agent Cunnings kidnaps the both of them. Ellie gives away her position by clanging a metal object on a pipe during an attempt at a surprise attack. Devon tries to take on some government agents with his shirt off, which was actually a very amusing conceit and image. It takes Casey and Sarah — trained, veteran spies — to save the Woodcombs from their created predicament in the end. I think that’s going to be the last time we see Ellie and Awesome try to copy Chuck and Sarah as a couple. It’s something that just doesn’t work for them.

As for Chuck, his personal issues hamper any character growth that has been achieved since the start of this final season. He believe there is the titular “curse” afflicting his family and that he’s going to fall prey to it no matter what he does to stop it. It’s a ludicrous argument because Chuck is not like his father (I feel that’s what last season was trying to say all the time), and Sarah makes the point of telling him this throughout the episode. The absence of both of his parents only serves to underline this so there’s no weight behind it.

Chuck has proven time and time again that he is a hero. I was of the thought that he had put all of these personal neurotic issues behind him. Obviously, that isn’t the case and for a brief time, it put Chuck in danger. Captain Awesome tries to save him and it gets both of them captured. The show’s under-usage of guest star Rebecca Romijn also contributed to the episode’s “off” feeling, in my opinion. Cunnings wants to be this villainous threat, but she doesn’t get to use the “Toy” to torture anyone. Classic “Chuck” by presenting a threat, then never following through on it. By the end, it was clear she was only cleaning up the mess left behind by Decker, yet we get no closer to finding out who’s really out to get Chuck. Perhaps the big villain will be revealed now that the Omen virus has been unleashed on the world. Then maybe there will be a good use for Chuck’s “P.A.N.T.S.” that Morgan was tasked to guard in a light little subplot of this episode.

We are at the midpoint of this final season of “Chuck.” It feels like a typical truncated season, in fact, with all of Casey’s crimes quickly swept away in a matter of only a few weeks’ time from the show’s standpoint. Chuck remarked at the end of last episode that they were going to have to be the best spies they can right now. The main threat on our group of heroes has been dispersed, replaced by a faceless one that doesn’t amp up the stakes. The previous episodes of “Chuck” had a sense of momentum, giving the characters some meaningful purpose. This one seemed to leave the audience wondering where the heroes will go from here on out. What will they do next?

Grade: 7/10

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