After a weak start to this final season, I was pleased that "Chuck Versus The Frosted Tips" restored some quality by essentially having a lot more of interest going on. As someone whose love of Chuck has waned considerably over the past few years, I still don't feel particularly energized about this final season yet, but the conclusion of this unofficial "three-parter" about Morgan's (Joshua Gomez) handling of the Intersect wasn't half bad.
It helped that the story tapped into some good human drama to explore: first with Casey's (Adam Baldwin) comical attempts to woo rival Gertrude Verbanski (Carrie-Anne Moss) using the spy resources at his disposal, and secondly with Chuck (Zachary Levi) coming to realize that Morgan's unacceptable behaviour isn't because he's let his new powers go to his head, it's because the Intersect was secretly planted by an enemy who intended to corrupt Chuck's brain. This neatly explains two major concerns I was having throughout this episode: the improbable speed that Morgan turned traitor, and why his Intersect wasn't "malfunctioning" in the usual way (i.e. it always seemed to work exactly when he wanted it to, which Chuck always had issues with). It's always a nice surprise when this show's stupidity is excused by some intelligence we just hadn't reckoned on.
On a basic level, it was entertaining seeing Morgan's ego spiral out of control (dyeing his hair, wearing lifts), and the episode found plenty of humour from the Casey/Gertrude dynamic. Their sexually-charged encounter in her office, set to "Strangers In The Night", before putting each other into various holds to the music of an Argentine tango was a huge cliché, but knowingly so. I'm probably more interested in seeing what develops between Casey and Gertrude than I am any other element of season 5 so far, and that's partly down to how well Moss has slotted into this show. She's convincing on many levels, and I'm glad she's not being written as a broad cartoon.
|Second of Strahotness: phone a friend|
Overall, "... Versus The Frosted Tips" worked nicely and I enjoyed most of it. The episode took the time to set a few new things in motion, like the idea someone was trying to make Chuck go crazy (most likely CIA enemy Decker), and that the CIA are now under orders to kill Morgan because it's become well-known in the industry that his brain's full of the US government's top secrets. Maybe the show could have spun out Morgan's story for a few episodes longer, because it's felt quite rushed, but I'd rather Chuck rattle through as many ideas as it can in the time it has left. Fingers crossed for a worthwhile Casey/Gertrude storyline, and for Chuck to get the Intersect back soon.
- You just knew a Matrix-style "bullet time" sequence was coming, the moment Carrie-Anne Moss was announced as a recurring guest star, and here we got it.
- Shame that rooftop Carrie-Anne Moss versus Yvonne Strahovski was a damp squib, right?