Chuck 5.10 "Chuck Vs. Bo"A tv review article by: Samuel Salama Cohén, Kyle Garret
Morgan's past with the Intersect comes back to haunt the team when Bo Derek shows up. Sarah and Chuck discuss how to manage raising a family while living the spy life at the same time.
Chuck airs Friday nights at 8:00 on NBC.
Kyle Garret: Every once in a while, this show reminds me why I love it. This is one of those times.
When Chuck is at its best, it makes me obsess over it. It makes me want to write the show. It makes me come up with storylines in my head. And I have been in overdrive since this episode aired.
But one thing at a time. Let’s talk about the episode itself before we get into my wild speculation.
Sam Salama Cohén: Remember how I finished our last review? By telling you that, knowing Chuck, the show would address all our plot worries and make for a great episode. Man, am I glad to have been right. This was the standard set on the first Season, with the mix between crazy ideas, hilarious dialogues and a tight, told in one story that remained part of a thicker plot. And, let’s face it; it even had Bo Derek in it!
Kyle: This was a fantastically enjoyable episode of Chuck. These are the episodes that wash over you, where you have this stupid grin on your face the entire time, even when things get serious, because you just love the fact that this show even exists. I think there’s one common trait among all great episodes of Chuck: tight plotting. Idle hands may be the devil’s playground, but a Chuck episode that’s light on story is nearly as bad. A tightly plotted episode forces the writers to make every scene and every interaction count. It also prevents them from going overboard with bad jokes or just plain silliness.
Sam: That’s right, and this one had plot twists and story development in spades. All the major issues that have been on the table at some point or another of this Last season were put on the table (Chuck and Sarah’s parental future, Carmichael’s own future, the silliness and unneeded secrecy, Ellie, Morgan and Alex’s troublesome relationship, a.k.a. the Frost Tips make a retcon comeback…), and put to good use. Furthermore, I really loved the use of Jeff and Lester as a vehicle to advance the episode, even giving that particular plot thread a satisfying closure.
Kyle: This episode won me over right from the start. Sarah’s idea for how to change Carmichael Industries so they could quit putting themselves out there in the line of fire was perfect, and came about organically over the course of the season. It’s the perfect way to send these characters off when the show ends.
Sam: Couldn’t agree more! Actually we had predicted a similar outcome weeks ago, but it’s true that the build-up to Sarah’s realization hasn’t been forced at all, and gives past events like the search for a new house or the thought of having a baby more strength, coherence and timing. After the final cliffhanger I don’t know how the couple will reach their desired goal of living in peace (very Hulk-like), but man, did that last air-kick feel like Chuck’s writers’ collective kick to the critics people threw at them after the prior episode!
Kyle: I was also happy to see that this change lead to a vague acknowledgement of my rant from last week. It is, in fact, time to close the Buy More. I don’t think they’ll actually go through with it, though. I think they realize that the Buy More is a land of misfit toys, and that they have nowhere else to go. I would imagine they’ll decide to keep it open as an extra business.
Sam: And the Buy More makes for far too many hilarious situations, like the “other” Buy More we saw on this episode. Man, that couldn’t have been funnier. Big Michelle? Come on!
Kyle: While I still have huge issues with the “Morgan as the Intersect” storyline, but I am more than willing to admit that the premise of Morgan, with Intersect in his head, cutting loose and partying in Vail and then not remembering any of it, is a great one. It was really everything we love about Morgan, nicely connected to everything we love about this show.
Sam: True that. Pure Morgan jackassery but not so over the top as on the episodes where he was the Intersect. It was a great way, however, to factor in a failed and supposedly subplot and make for a very satisfying story. And man, how many Intersects are there anyway? However, I’ll say that it was a nice touch to bring things full circle by having us meet the CIA operative who was destined to get the Intersect in the first place. Me loveth full circles.
Kyle: Nicholas Quinn is a fantastic new villain. Angus Macfadyen does wonders with the few scenes that he’s in. He’s clearly unstable, but he conveys that without going over the top with it. This is a man that was supposed to get the Intersect, but instead ended up being tortured for over a year. That’s powerful motivation right there.
And speaking of which, Quinn says something really interesting when he first confronts Chuck. He says that he was supposed to be the one to get the Intersect until “Larkin stole it for you.” That is a huge statement that connects with Decker telling Chuck at the end of last season that it wasn’t coincidence that Chuck got the Intersect.
Sam: Good one! Chuck got it because his friend stole it for him, knowing his scores in the University’s CIA tests and his nerdy-brain made him the perfect man for the job. But if we remember how Larkin confronted the CIA about sending Chuck into the field, why did he think of Chuck at the end? Did he prefer him over Quinn?
Kyle: The other major tease from this episode comes towards the end, and no, I’m not talking about Sarah getting the Intersect. Sarah is jumped by a bunch of people who don’t look like Quinn’s men – in fact, they look like soldiers. And when Sarah says that they have Chuck, one of them tells her that “The situation’s changed. He’ll be needed.”
Sam: I liked the final confrontation, and how it played out. Yeah, our guys are always outnumbered and all that, but this time there was like this ticking time-bomb…They were just seconds away of starting their new life! It was all going to be easy! I believe that’s what made this confrontation pretty different than others we’ve seen on this show a dozen times before. Life always will get in the way.
Kyle: Who are these guys? What’s the situation? Why is Chuck needed? Something bigger is obviously at work here and it will encompass the last few episodes of this show and honestly, I find that to be absolutely thrilling.
And, as if they hadn’t addressed enough of my issues with this season, we get glimpses of what is going to happen to Sarah post-Intersect upload. They actually address the fact that the Intersect overwhelms pretty much everyone but Chuck. It’s a great angle, having Sarah use it with the full knowledge that it could be the end of her, and it will only work if they actually follow through with it and show how traumatic it is for most people. It only works if they don’t gloss over it like they did with Morgan.
Sam: Sarah is bad-ass with the Intersect, but as my clever better-half points out, the viewer doesn’t feel as impacted by seeing her in action with it as it would were it Chuck, the ever nerd, fighting and kicking major ass. However, I’m excited to see what happens to her. I’m betting General Beckman will jump back on scene on the next episodes to help “her” team fight the good fight.
Kyle: But perhaps the greatest thing this episode did was also the smartest thing. They dangled the “Chuck gets the Intersect back” bit in front of us. They also established that Chuck’s life is tied to the Intersect whether he likes it or not. At this point, I think he’s going to get it back at some point over the last few episodes. Actually, “get it back” is probably the wrong way to phrase it…
Sam: Being this show the way it is (comedy-drama-spy genre), we know that eventually everything will turn out right. Anything different than that would be a huge let-down, similar to LOST’s ending. But as they say, it is not the outcome that counts, it is the way we get there. And I’m betting it will rock.
Kyle: One of the things that has been stuck in my head for a while now is the fact that when Chuck “lost” the Intersect, he didn’t really lose it. The glasses that Decker put on him were a “suppressor.” The Intersect is suppressed in his head, the key part of that being “in his head.” The question is, what will it take for Chuck to break through that suppression?
I have a feeling we’ll find out.
Sam: Chuck becoming a Neo of sorts and finding his place in all this mess to end this big hunt for the Intersect that has been going on for 5 years? Seems plausible, and not only would it be very cool, but I encourage the writers to go for it, in case they have two alternative endings of something like that.
Now more than ever, Team Bartowski needs Chuck.
Kyle: We all do, my friend – we all do!
Sam is a passionate comic lover, who since an early age, found himself into the grasp of Marvel titles such as Conan the Barbarian, Captain America, Spider-Man, and, of course, his true love (after his girlfriend Natalia, that is), The Avengers.
As Comics Bulletin's Community Manager, right now a lot of his time is devoted to managing and improving the site's presence on social networks, and on building an active and interesting Community. Currently living in Madrid, he loves travelling around the world -- and getting comics wherever he goes. You can find him as @SamSalama on Twitter, and as Samuel Salama on Facebook.
Kyle Garret is the author of I Pray Hardest When I'm Being Shot At, available now from Hellgate Press. His short fiction has been published in the Ginosko Literary Journal, Literary Town Hall, Children, Churches, & Daddies and Falling Into Place. He writes comic book reviews here at Comic Bulletin and blogs for PopMatters. He can be found at KyleGarret.com and on Twitter as @kylegarret.