Wednesday, 9 February 2011

'CHUCK' 4.14 - "Chuck Versus The Seduction Impossible"

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

After the mishandled Mary/Volkoff storyline that choked Chuck of its former vitality, I was so relieved that "Chuck Versus The Seduction Impossible" was a return to the energetic, outlandish, jam-packed storylines I watch this show for. The only thing that spoiled it was the underlying problem I've had with season 4: the fact Chuck's done everything I ever wanted from this show (Chuck's a respected spy, he's won Sarah's heart, he doesn't have secrets from his family), so there's nothing left to explore beyond deliver births and marriages.

This week, suave veteran spook Roan Montgomery (John Larroquette) returned to the series, following his debut in season 2's "... Versus The Seduction", as we caught up with him in the middle of a Moroccan mission to seduce and capture Fatima Tazi (Lesley-Ann Brandt), the beautiful and skilled counterfeiter of a $100 "super-note". Roan's cover is unfortunately blown and he's taken hostage by Fatima, which prompted Roan's old flame General Beckman (Bonita Fiedericy) to assign Chuck (Zachary Levi), Sarah (Yvonne Strahovsk) and Casey (Adam Baldwin) to rescue her ex-boyfriend; a mission they're all relieved to be given, as a welcome distraction from the demands of Ellie's (Sarah Lancaster) newborn baby Clara.

"... Versus The Seduction Impossible" was a huge bundle of fast-paced fun, slinging all manner of amusements our way. It was great to see Larroquette reprise his super-spy character, especially because it also gave General Beckman an active role in an episode (with flashbacks to her with Roan as the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, later bettered by the hilarious moment tiny Beckman fired a bazooka that's almost as tall as she is.) I've always complained that Chuck keeps Beckman stuck on the other side of a monitor too often, only occasionally letting her come out to play, so it was a real treat to see her involved in the story to a bigger extent. And did anyone else get the impression black-haired Montgomery and dirty-blonde Diane were the '80s equivalent of Chuck and Sarah?

Second of Strahotness: belly beautiful

The episode once again chose to have some Chuck/Sarah relationship angst in the midst of their mission, which can sometimes be a pain, but worked quite well here; maybe because the characters referenced this fact, and it didn't overwhelm things. Sarah simply had her mind set on eloping to somewhere like Marrakesh, whereas Chuck would prefer a family wedding in California, and it was amusing to see them both try and persuade the other using Roan's surefire methods of seduction -- which led to the extra special treat of seeing Sarah in a belly-dancing costume, using her snake-hips to (almost) charm Chuck into submission.

The subplots weren't terribly substantial this week, but hinted at some interesting things to come. Mary (Linda Hamilton) became an over committed grandmother to baby Clara, trying to compensate for the years she missed watching Chuck and Ellie grow up. I haven't been fond of Hamilton's performances this year, but I must admit her scenes with Lancaster were pretty solid and she delivered some touching emotion. Maybe Hamilton is going to blossom now Mary's allegiance is undisputed and she's stepped out of Volkoff's shadow?

Elsewhere, Morgan (Joshua Gomez) used his initiative to suggest that Casey make himself known to Alex's (Mekenna Melvin) mother Kathleen (Clare Carey), who still thinks Casey's dead, only to realize that Alex would prefer her father keep his survival a secret. I'm sure we're headed in the direction of Casey reuniting with his old flame, as the show has always tended to revolve around the transformative power of family and friendship. Lone wolf Casey now has a circle of friends, but having him become a husband and father is the obvious final leg of the journey for his character.

Overall, "... Versus The Seduction Impossible" set out to entertain and it achieved its aim with aplomb. The only reason I'm not marking it higher is because the best Chuck episodes have a better connection to the characters and their emotional lives, but this was more about enjoying the mission and the humour created in the tangle.


  • You may recognize guest-star villain Lesley-Ann Brandt as slave girl Naevia in Spartacus: Blood & Sand and its prequel Gods Of The Arena.
  • Had anyone else completely forgotten that Ellie doesn't know Chuck's still spying? Is there any point keeping her in the dark like this?
  • Excellent use of The Scorpions' "Wind of Change" as the Montgomery/Beckman love ballad.
  • This was probably the best episode for Casey in ages, as he's been marginalized quite heavily this season. I loved his scene trying to seduce the butch female guard, his reference to 127 Hours in wanting to cut his arm off when it got stuck, and the nice moment when he realized Kathleen has another man in her life.
written by Chris Fedak & Kristin Newman / directed by Patrick Norris / 7 February 2011 / NBC