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Chuck Rundown: Episode 5, "Chuck Vs. the Sizzling Shrimp"

Chuck Rundown: Episode 5, "Chuck Vs. the Sizzling Shrimp"

Ever since Chuck Bartowski accidentally became a tool of government spies, we've seen little snippets of how his new spy gig gets in the way of his day job and his home life. But on last night's Chuck, the demands of his regular life and his secret life collided in the biggest way yet — and it left me wondering how long Chuck will be able to keep his powers a secret. To read the rest of my thoughts on the episode and share your own, just

Frankly, the spy case this week didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, but I think that's OK, as it mainly served as a vehicle for a boatload of references to old-school kung fu movies and Chinatown. It was just bad luck for Chuck to spot Chinese spy Mei Ling during his Evening of Morgan; turns out, she was in town trying to help her brother, who had been kidnapped by Chinese thugs. What followed was what could, by now, be considered pretty standard Chuck fare: some fight scenes, some goofy lines, one brilliant move by Chuck that saves the day, and a happy resolution.

What interested me more was how the case really threatened Chuck's relationships with Ellie and Morgan. Both of them needed Chuck in this episode: Morgan because only Chuck's sales moxie could keep him from getting fired, Ellie because she and Chuck had a special date for Mother's Day, aka the day their mother left. Chuck has been more about goofy spy sendups than character development so far, so I'm glad we're finally getting more out of the Ellie and Chuck relationship. Plus, how cute was it when Ellie made her mondo electronics purchase just to help out pesky Morgan?

Some other thoughts:

  • Chuck on the stakeout was one of my favorite bits of the series so far, from the first line — "What do I need to bring? Sweater, light jacket?" — to Chuck talking to his sizzling shrimp and singing along to "Private Eyes."
  • Also loved the "my four favorite words" sequence: "Stay in the car," "Chuck's not here, Morgan," "I'll let myself out."
  • Speaking of which, is every episode going to have a bit where Chuck's told to stay in the car, doesn't, and then screws things up? It's a nice way to show us how he's still way too innocent for this work, but I hope the writers find a new gimmick soon.
  • I've been enjoying Chuck's fight scenes, but something seemed off about the editing in this episode, like there were freeze-frames right before any big action. Or was that just my Comcast?
  • It seems that Chuck is dribbling out the characters' emotional back stories drop by drop — last week we learned about all of Sarah's lies, this week we learned that Chuck and Ellie were basically orphaned. I'm enjoying the formula, but I'm also ready for something big to happen — say, for Chuck to have to tell Ellie and Morgan what happened to him, or for the CIA to look into Bryce and why he chose Chuck to become the intersect.

Your thoughts? Did this episode redeem Morgan and/or Ellie for you? And who else is missing Captain Awesome?

Photos courtesy of NBC

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