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TV Review: Chuck – “Chuck Versus the Broken Heart”

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Ever since he first gets the Intersect trapped in his head, Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) has grown close to his handlers. Major John Casey (Adam Baldwin), of NSA persuasion, teams up with CIA Agent Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski) every week in order to try and keep Chuck out of terrorists' hands. Why? The analytical skills Chuck has make him a valuable part of the team. He can put together the bigger puzzle out of a few individual pieces.

What he hasn't yet been able to do is figure out his relationship with Sarah. Normal? Hardly. Since so much of intelligence work is based on lies, he knows better than to believe everything she tells him. General Beckman (Bonita Friedericy) is concerned when she thinks their emotions compromise the mission. She sends Agent Alex Forrest (Tricia Helfer) in to evaluate the situation.

Anybody who has seen Helfer in Burn Notice knows she can play a strong character. In Chuck, she plays a character who is the mirror image of Baldwin's Casey. There is one big difference. One of the reasons Baldwin is so much fun to watch as an actor is that he takes on comedic roles so well. As Casey, Baldwin's best work can often come by being ticked off. Who else but Casey would get the terrible trio to leave the apartment patio by using a hose? Yes, he draws out a gun first. He has to, since he has no way of knowing Chuck's kidnappers were Morgan (Joshua Gomez), Lester (Vik Sahay), and Jeff (Scott Krinsky). They were only trying to get invited to the bachelor party of Captain Awesome (Ryan McPartlin), who should be marrying Chuck's sister Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) before too long. The finale is coming up fast. The terrible trio might not have meant harm, but Casey's job is to protect the Asset, aka Chuck. I did appreciate the notice he took in Alex simply because he's a man. The armor drops a bit, and everyone remembers he's human.

Having Casey speak up in defense of  Sarah's professionalism after Alex questions it is perfectly reasonable. These two depend on each other to remain alive, and so both have to be good. Besides, their skills come in handy when Chuck gets in over his head. For once, Casey stands up for Chuck. He knows Chuck is trying to get Sarah back on the team, even if her emotions are a little troublesome. The general agrees, and Sarah is reinstated.

I saw a lot of repetition this week as to the storyline. Some things work while others had problems. Chuck impersonating a doctor reminds me of his adventure with Roan Montgomery ("Chuck Versus the Seduction"). The white coat is problematic with his skin coloring. Helfer should have been wearing it. The twin dresses Sarah and Alex wore in the Castle had the same problem. Red is fine for Strahvoski ("Chuck Versus the Break Up"), but orange washes her right out.

Somehow, I'm not surprised Jeff's sister is a stripper. Mom is in prison ("Chuck Versus Santa Claus"), so it stands to reason that her daughter does not exactly have the best role model. Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) calling Casey nice also makes sense. She tends to see good in everyone, whether they deserve it or not. No wonder Awesome wants to marry her.

I have to hand it to the writers. Awesome got kidnapped for real when the spy team needed his badge for a key part of their mission,  which fit right in with the spy stuff this show is built around. Yes, it was done by Jeff, Lester, and Morgan. The one snafu with the plan was having Awesome overhear the discussion between Alex, Casey, and Chuck. Isn't a spy supposed to not let anybody know about  what his job entails? Oops! Tune in for more exploration of this storyline.

Awesome also nearly sees the secret behind his future brother-in-law. Twice! The computer has yet another function besides the obvious. It's how intelligence agents get in touch with him. Chuck manages to convince Awesome about a role playing game with Morgan, but who knows how long before somebody says the wrong thing entirely? Heart surgeons aren't exactly stupid people. At least one would hope, anyway.

Perhaps the biggest plot twist of all was Sarah finding out where Chuck's dad is. It leads them to a trailer out in the middle of nowhere. The door opens in response to Chuck's knock, although no person can be seen. Now, the guest star playing the part has been known for a while from Internet publicity. I won't ruin things for anyone who hasn't paid attention, but most people are going to recognize this man. Easily.

ORION was left out of the script entirely this week. Since the season is due to finish in April, the finale might just when viewers learn who this person is. Yes, he designed the computer Chuck downloaded into his brain. An agent? Maybe. Civillians work for the government too. This character could be anybody, but I'm guessing Casey and Sarah aren't. A good part of this plot is keeping an identity hidden, and those two are never in the shadows. Even in disguise, viewers know exactly who they are. Spies are experts at concealing their true selves, so there's a chance ORION is a woman. The General? It makes little sense, but sometimes things don't in television.

In the spy game, anybody or anything can happen. I wouldn't rule out a return appearance by Tricia Helfer sometime down the road. Whether or not it actually takes place remains to be seen.

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