On this week's Chuck, the CIA is ticked, Morgan thinks he's a ninja, and Rebecca Romijn ruins date night for Ellie and Awesome. "Chuck Versus The Curse" is a typical Chuck episode. It could also have been a lot more.
Devon and Ellie pick an unfortunate time to play spies, as the CIA confuses them with Chuck and Sarah (via Chuck's OpenTable account of all things?). Although this is eventually clarified, they believe Robyn Cunnings (Romijn) when she says that she works with Chuck, and get themselves abducted. Robyn wants The Omen (not the movie, the virus from "Chuck Versus The Hack Off") in exchange. This makes Chuck paranoid, convinced that he's going to end up having to abandon his family like both of his parents before him.
When he goes off book to rescue his sister and brother-in-law and gets himself captured instead, it's up to everyone else to step up to the plate. The show dangles the intriguing idea of Devon and Ellie coming to the rescue, but that is abandoned fairly quickly as Sarah and Casey arrive. It's a shame, because that would have been an interesting theme to revisit considering Chuck's concerns about his family, no matter how much I enjoy any time that Adam Baldwin gets to wield heavy weaponry.
According to General Beckman, Robyn's capture clears Team Bartowski, but that's an afterthought as The Omen is now on the loose and it's going to wreak all kinds of havoc on the world's computers. Cue dramatic music...
"Chuck Versus The Curse" stretches plausibility in a few places in order to make its plot work; it's true that Devon is not the brightest bulb at times, but both he and Ellie have their dense moments in the first half that seem like a little too much. Call me cynical, but if you've just escaped from the back of a limo, shouldn't you ask for a little more information from the complete stranger that then wants you to get into a car with them? It's clear that the script was reaching just a bit to set up its scenario; this kind of stuff would have possibly worked in the early seasons, but not now after all the characters have been through.
Romijn is fine but nothing exceptional as the villain; it's if she's channeling her role as Mystique from the X-Men franchise, without the body paint. In her defense, she's not asked to show a whole lot of range here. I remain impressed by the roster of big-screen action heroines Chuck has attracted over its run, including the likes of Romijn, Jordana Brewster (Fast & Furious), Linda Hamilton (Terminator), and Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix). It's cool and it's fitting for a show that's got a pretty strong geek factor.
The major issue with "Chuck Versus The Curse" is that nothing particularly revelatory or even too interesting happens in it. The most entertaining part of the episode is Beckman meeting Casey in a dive bar, where she's drinking booze straight from the bottle. The rest of the episode isn't bad, but it's not memorable; I felt as if I could have tuned in to the last five minutes and not missed much. It feels like an entertaining but ultimately filler installment designed to wrap up the first half of the season and move into the second half's plot.
That's a bit of a downer because it had the chance to revisit some interesting topics. With Chuck so worried about abandoning his family and/or causing them harm, wouldn't it have been a great time to show him yet again that his family can handle themselves? That Ellie is thus far an example the lack of a "Bartowski curse"? That was a definite missed opportunity.
Having said that, I am definitely intrigued by next week's promos, as Chuck's Christmas episodes are usually very good, and I'm one of the few who enjoyed Shaw (Brandon Routh) as a bad guy, so I definitely want to see him put in his place yet again. Until then, happy holidays!
(c)2011 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.