Thursday, March 3, 2011

What I’m Watching: Chuck

Chuck: Season 4, Episode 17 “Chuck Versus the First Bank of Evil” (B+)

There’s nothing like a great guest star to help a show bounce back from a bit of a slump. Having two in one episode also helps, and therefore it’s a thrill to see Ray Wise and Francois Chau joining the cast. I immediately recognized Wise’s voice before I saw his face, and it’s great to have him back in a role almost as meaty as the one he had on “Reaper,” pulling the strings of his selected puppet like it’s his business. Chau will be familiar to any “Lost” fans as Dr. Pierre Chang, also known as Dr. Marvin Candle, and it’s fun to have him simply for the use of his voice as the bank manager. One moment of this episode I didn’t quite buy was his falsely dramatic “you have….passed our test!” Fortunately, everything else worked well. Having Ellie help Sarah start to get excited for her wedding was a nice way of reincorporating the new mom back into the storyline, and I loved how Sarah turned into a monster bride-to-be. Morgan’s search for a new roommate was predictably wrought with difficulties mostly perpetrated by Jeff and Lester, and I enjoyed how a nervous Morgan managed to blackmail Casey into letting him stay with him. On a larger scale, it seems that we’re getting back to an overarching multi-episode thread just episodes after the takedown of Volkoff with his daughter, and I think it’s quite fascinating. Positioning Chuck as an agent required to lie to his asset helps to give this show an appropriate and compelling dramatic backbone.

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