State of the Show: “Chuck” Volume 1

Gonna try and start a new feature on the BTD: “State of the Show.” It’s an attempt to try and look and certain shows on a periodic basis rather than try and pump out recaps after every episode. If I had infinite time and energy, well, I’d recap everything, but with a full-time job and a wife who actually has the audacity to want to spend the odd moment with me now and then, we’re at this point. And shows like Chuck are perfect examples of how this new feature might work, as I like to look at shows thematically rather than narratively anyways.

chuckcast8032.jpgThe past two weeks have in many ways encapsulated what Chuck does best: get the titular character and Sarah THIS close to mucho smoochies only to throw a monkey wrench in the plans. And usually, by “monkey wrench” I mean “Bryce Larkin.” It’s in some ways an artificial plot point: “in case of imminent spooning, break for Bryce Larkin.” And it gives one deja vu coupled with concern, as the show’s dipped into the same bag twice in its first two years. So should we worry?

Not really, although my wife likes Bryce as much as Big Dig traffic. Inserting him occasionally into the narrative isn’t the worst thing in the world, although the show should really not use him in this spy-blocking way again for quite a while. I get it, you get it, and the general population gets it: Chuck and Sarah cannot be together. And perhaps for the rest of the season, the characters understand it. Using Sarah’s feelings to hinder her ability as a spy is as good a reason as I can think to keep them apart, as cliched as it is. It’s the Peter Parker mentality, oneĀ  with which Chuck would be intimately familiar: with great Intersect comes great responsibility.

The good news is that Sarah’s feelings don’t really mean she’s weakened as a character: her actions in the hospital show she’s far from a weak woman. And for the show to clearly demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that her feelings for Chuck supersede Bryce’s makes us as viewers want to see their eventual coupledom even more. (And bonus points to Captain Awesome: his scene with Bryce might have shown more intelligence in his character than any other to date. This is Fezzick moment: he finally got something right.)

What remains to be seen is what Chuck can do in this new, Intersect-updated landscape. Will they continue the “will they/won’t they” plots, or actually follow through with Chuck’s slow but inexorable rise as a spy? As long as they keep the hours as brisk and entertaining as this, I’m fine either way: but I do hope for progression over mere recycling.