A nerd before the birth of TOS Red Shirts, I share my thoughts on genre media be it books, movies, TV shows, etc

Friday, October 22, 2010

ODONTV - Podcast 1 - A Chat With AOLTV Critic - Maureen Ryan

The first ODONTV podcast on the current state of TV!

And what a kickoff! Join me as I chat with AOLTV Critic Maureen Ryan who can be found online at StayTuned under the AOL TV Squad.

We talk about TV critiquing and what Maureen strives to do in her job. Fun stuff includes geeking out about various shows including the upcoming AMC - The Walking Dead, Terriers, Chuck, Sons of Anarchy.  We also discuss how the Internet and new Social Media are changing many aspects of how people interact with one another in regards to reporting on and being fans of TV.

Kick back and join us in our Grokside Chat:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

CNN - 4.05: Chuck Vs The Couch Lock

Welcome back gang!

Celebration Time! Woohoo! Join us and our guest - dokhnutty aka Shari from the SWFanGirls podcast as we celebrate NBC's order of a back 11 for Chuck and an excellent episode of Chuck this week!

Take a listen to our Audio Episode Review of Episode 4.05: Chuck Vs The Couch Lock:

Join Jan, Karen, Joe, and myself as we embark on our next Season 4 Audio Review.

Thanks to my fellow podcasters, Jan, Karen, and Joe. Also a special thanks to Shari! Hope you listeners will enjoy!

Miss any episodes? You can find them all at CNN - Chuck Nerdposium Netcast, and every time you watch it helps to support us!

Note: my written review for Chuck Vs The Couch Lock can be found at ChuckTV - here.

As always this podcast is family and office safe.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

That's The Way, Uhuh, Uhuh - Episode 4.05: Chuck Vs The Couch Lock

Written by Henry Alonso Meyers

Directed by Michael Schultz

'That's The Way, Uhuh, Uhuh! I like it! Uhuh. Uhuh.'

K.C. & The Sunshine Band


'Build A Solid Spy Story And Good Episodes Will Come.'

Field of Dreams Paraphrase

After three consecutive episodes of Chuck and Sarah relationship hand holding, and BuyMore resetting, the show returned to the spy story with The Couch Lock. In a big way too. This episode did so many things right that it made me giddy with joy.

In model, 'Show don't tell,' manner, this episode dramatized Chuck's realization that his quest to find his mother is putting his immediate loved ones in mortal danger. Casey, Morgan, and Sarah were placed in harm's way as a direct result of what Chuck set in motion. By using the supporting players to show this it is a win, win situation. Not only do we get to share with Chuck the experience of what he has caused to happen but Casey and Morgan get to grow as characters, interact with the leads more, and play off one another in both dramatic and humorous ways.

Why was this all possible? Because the episode had a solid story foundation to work from. The longevity of a series comes down to its characters. The strength of individual episodes come down to how strong the story engine is. With Chuck being a spy based show that equates to having solid missions. Those missions work even better when an emotional connection can be forged between it and the cast. The more characters with personal stakes in the mission the better. With Couch Lock the initial emotional hooks are with Casey and his former A-Team members. This one works even better because it ties in to the season arc for MamaB, Morgan's relationship with Casey and his daughter Alex, and the aforementioned Chuck episode arc of weighing the cost of the end goal versus the means he is using to get there.


Casey Unlocked!

With all that to work with the episode becomes a gold mine of character beats, action set pieces, comedy, heart felt moments, and just plain old fun. Riffing off of the A-Team, Charade, Weekend At Bernie's, and Entrapment to name a few there was very much to like about this one. This episode also makes the best use of Jeff and Lester since Dream Job and the American Hero where their unknowing participation in the spy storyline is seamless and as a result very funny. Another sign of a good episode is when the BuyMore supports the main storyline instead of detracting from it.

Episode Flashes: - so much to pick from this week! Too much. Add your own in the comments.

* The Casey A-Team: Packard, T.I., MacIntosh,
* Clinton and his mouthy wife
* Casey smelling Jeff & Lester
* 'White Zin. Magic of the Gathering, If you have the manna.' Jeff &Lester riffing
* Morgan with Alex while staying under Casey's radar at the BuyMore
* great to see Chuck and Morgan talking openly at the BuyMore
* 'You know. The A-Team.' 'I was the A-Team.'
* 'Casey. We have to kill you.'
* Sarah's look of pride at Chuck's plan to draw out the A-Team
* Chuck's discomfort with Beckman congratulating him on putting duty above emotion
* Fakeadeathonol
* 'Little alone time before I die. Pay some bills.'
* Morgan's 'mish' callback quickly dismissed by Chuck
* Casey 'Charade' funeral scene done to Oingo Boingo's – 'Dead Man's Party'
* Casey freaking out Morgan when he opens his eyes
* Casey being stuck with American Flag pin and lit cigar
* 'Forgiveness. Big gun loving. Commie hating. Forgiveness.' Morgan's hilarious eulogy.
* A-Team stealing of Casey from church
* Casey's tracker on cat. Chuck's frantic, 'Don't shoot it,' to tactical squad
* Casey ordering his feet to move
* Jeff and Lester knowing the exact dumpster Casey is in.
* Red Batphone at the BuyMore!
* 'Strait laced ones.' 'Every one likes to get their freak on.' 'Sometimes I like to feel official too.'
* 'You don't say uh-oh!'
* Snarky Sarah – 'You could have told me that before I crawled under those lasers.' - should have been a hommage to Entrapment there though
* Casey couch locked with a StormTroopers helmet to boot
* Morgan getting Alex out of harm's way.
* Alex, like her father, prefers to be direct.
* Sarah's, 'Getting bored,' to Chuck.
* Morgan trying to break Casey's couch lock by slapping him, 'Like slapping a car!'
* Morgan breaking Casey's couch lock by telling him about Alex – great Casey reaction shots and loved the use of Russian themed music during this sequence
* 'Frost is our boss.' Volkoff's right hand clean up specialist.
* Casey and Morgan at the Iranian bunker door. Morgan with a battery hand-held fan.
* 'That's 3 to 1 Casey!' 'Just the way I like it.'
* Holy Goldfinger!
* 'Let there be darkness!
* 'Is that a little girl?'
* Name: Morgan. Expertise: None.
* Morgan waking up to Sarah
* 'I died?' 'Yeah. Just for 3 secs.'
* 'We wake up in some of the best dumpsters in the city.'
* Morgan party invitation to Casey made up like a top secret document.
* Casey covering for Morgan with Alex
* Alex to Morgan, 'You are brave.'
* 'Break her heart, I break your everything.'
* Chuck and Sarah fountain scene. Chuck deciding to give up search for MamaB as price is too high.
* MamaB calling Chuck.

With the exception of Big Mike, everyone puts in an appearance and none of it felt contrived. Especially nice was the family gathering at Morgan's party. Adam Baldwin really demonstrated a lot of acting range with even more minimal body movement because of his Weekend At Bernie's Couch Lockdown. The eye emotings he did, mostly with Morgan, were hilarious. But really the episode belonged to Morgan as he 'died' for three seconds and proved to Casey that he is indeed a good guy. Casey and Morgan scenes are gold and this episode gave us twenty-four carat ones. Morgan and Alex continued to show their chemistry from the previous episode was no fluke. Also very refreshing to see Alex being very open and direct in her talks with Morgan.

For an episode that had so many of Zac Levi's real life friends such as Joel David Moore and Eric Roberts in it, it was unfortunate that Chuck and Sarah were somewhat subordinate in the episode. All to the good mind you because that is what the story called for. It has been awhile since the Chuck that I really liked so much as a character has had a chance to come out but he did this episode. He learned a lesson and was willing to give up the search for his mother. Great to see his priorities back in proper order.

Fortunately, for dramatic purposes, Chuck's activities have caught Volkoff's attention and, no doubt, prompted him to bring in his cleaner. MamaB.


Monday, October 18, 2010

FBI(Fringe Benefits Inc.)Ep Review - 3.04: Dreaming ShapeShifters

Join us in our temporarily constructed shared reality known as a podcast, as we discuss the latest episode of Fringe.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Superb, Sweet And Sexy! - Episode 4.04: Chuck Vs The Coup D'Etat

Written by Kristin Newman
    Directed by Robert Duncan McNeil
Everyone brings their own set of expectations to the things they indulge in during their leisure time. Even within a shared experience such as a TV show those expectations can vary widely. Even one as telegraphed as Chuck. So when I sit back, watch an episode that operates heavily in the areas which are not in my preferred pleasure zones and still come away with a big, sloppy grin on my ugly mug, it can only mean one thing; an exceptional episode.

Rookie Chuck writer, Kristen Newman of, 'That 70's Show,' and 'How I Met Your Mother,' background experience serves up a goldmine episode of character nugget rich moments. She displays a flair for the comedic with layered dialogue that leads, more often than not, from a character moment to another or even a scene transition in a skilled and seamless matter.

One of my favorite beats is when Chuck is talking relationships, Sarah is talking mission, Chuck flashes on one of Sarah's intel pictures of the Costa Gravas nuclear weapons panel, Chuck switches to talking mission and nuclear, and Sarah switches to relationship talk using the nuclear comment as her jumping off point before Chuck brings them both back in synch and talking about the mission.

Funny. Clever. Witty. Seamless. An awesome bit of writing.

Kristen gives each of the regular cast and the main guest stars great lines and beats to play. Armand Assante returns with zest and vigor and Tia Texada as his embittered spouse matches him beat for beat. Casey and Morgan continue to explore their relationship now becoming even more complicated and filled with even more comedic potential with the return Casey's long lost daughter, Alex. Mekanna Melvin makes a fetching return as Alex, made all the more so awesome that there is definite on screen chemistry between her and Josh Gomez's Morgan Grimes.

Morgan was back on track character wise after being somewhat sublimated in the last episode to facilitate the return of Big Mike. He channeled the audience's exasperation with Chuck and Sarah's communication issues, indirectly led to the closing scene with Sarah telling a 'sleeping' Chuck what her answer would be to the big question via the seemingly ill advised selfhelp relationship book , kivitzed with Casey, was wise and emboldened enough by Alex to follow Big Mike's advice, and went for the jam in his soul.

All this, and while we are all eager to see Casey and Morgan interaction, the little bearded one is not just entering into in-law situations with not just one powerful father figure, but two! Morgan navigating stormy patriarchal seas of not only Casey but Big Mike as well. Plus being in a romance. Plus managing a BuyMore. Plus being a spy! And we thought Chuck was doing a big juggling act back in the Season One and Two days. Talk about a busy guy!

The Chuck and Sarah dynamics were a lot of fun this week too. Especially as we got to see them played off of Ellie and Devon, the Communication All-Stars. From the awkward faux proposal opening to the still awkward surveillance van scene to the bikini decision and various types of communication scene to their shared fight scene right on to the final bedroom scene; each them of them, like real partners, had individual and shared moments to shine as they worked on being better communicators.

Episode Flashes: - an embarrasment of riches in this episode, more than I can list
  • The real Morgan is back this week! Yippee!
  • Morgan channeling audience on Chuck & Sarah being crap communicators while being the masters of precious looks
  • Morgan nailing the heart of the awkward faux engagement – how would Chuck have reacted if Sarah had said yes
  • Devon talking to baby and sharing his fab workout jams
  • wheelchair Casey in Castle for 'fresh air'
  • Beckman back to monitor status - Boo!
  • Beckman's – 'Anyone who was not shot recently.'
  • Generalissmo's hilarious Costa Gravas travelogue video
  • Smooth product placement via Devon and Goya
  • Babymoon
  • Bikinis &'Yes. That. Both....all of them.' & 'There are many ways to communicate.'
  • Morgan trying to take care of Casey.
  • 'Dad.' 'Daughter.' 'Morgan, how'd the pot roast turn out?'
  • Roman Holiday movie
  • 'Grimes, give her a five minute head start.'
  • Chuck's cuddling needs versus Sarah's needs for thirty minutes of silence.
  • Awesome's awesome smile at seeing his statue
  • Generalissimo's wife, Hortencia
  • Generalissimo's senses immediately picking up on the fragrance of a ripe fruit aka Ellie's pregnancy
  • 'Way to go, marble me!'
  • 'Follow the stink of commie.'
  • Tall and brunette versus charming and handsome. Sarah and Chuck characters captured in dialogue.
  • Red door. 'Get me out of here!'
  • Alex & Morgan movie marathons
  • Big Mike on Casey, 'That's not a daddy you want to be giving you a spanking.'
  • Chuck shaking his head no but saying yes to Sarah's question about the 101 Questions book
  • Costa Gravas = Chuck and Sarah = nuclear
  • General Beckman's – 'Costa Gravas is nuclear!'
  • Casey nailing the full scope of those involved with the Coup
  • a red polka dotted, laser sighted Casey proclaiming, 'Cute. Too bad you didn't bring enough.'
  • 'The stench of tyranny.'
  • Big Mike talking the goods to Morgan about love via Bolognia singing like the happiest bird in the sky to knowing about being with the right one because you feel the sweet, smooth jams rise up from your soul
  • 'What rebel leader goes to a marriage counsellor?'
  • Alex and Morgan!
  • Sarah talking to Chuck in his 'sleep.' Best of all it is left open to our interpretation. Was Chuck awake or asleep? Either scenario works for me. And works well.

'Too bad you didn't bring enough.' - One good leg, seriously painted John Casey. Bad Ass!
Quibbles? Sure, but most of them are based on the way the season is being handled.

For this episode, the first half was stronger than the second. The resolution was cribbed far too much from 3.02 - Chuck Vs The Three Words where Chuck talked down Carina's supposed boyfriend in a similar manner. It was great to see Chuck tell Ellie about his quest to find their mother but a continuing disappointment that he is hiding his spy life from Ellie. At least Chuck is dropping hints to Ellie. It irks me though to see the show continually under use Sarah Lancaster as Ellie. The actress and the character deserve better. I do not see the purpose or plus side to keeping both of them on a short leash. They unleashed Morgan and look what happened. Why not do the same for Ellie?

Three episodes in a row where the Chuck and Sarah relationship shaped the mission. With the exceptions of the Cubic Z and the Anniversary there has been a paucity of tension and drama to the episodes. When an episode is a good as the Coup D'etat I can forego that requirement.

Really enjoyed this episode and hope for those of you who are into the show for primarily for the relationship are happy with the season to this point. Let me know in the comments section where you want to see the emphasis placed on the future direction of the show. Do you want the focus to continue to be on the relationship? Or would you like to see the spy mythology and MamaB storyline start to rev up?

I barely mentioned how awesome Casey and Awesome were this episode too.  Another sign of a great episode.

CNN - 4.04: Chuck Vs The Coup D'Etat

Welcome back gang!

Joe has a message at the beginning of the podcast about an effort - Chucktoberfest - to raise Chuck`s profile and renewal chances. Check out the article - here.

Take a listen to our Audio Episode Review of Episode 4.04: Chuck Vs The Coup D'Etat:

Join Jan, Karen, Joe, and myself as we embark on our next Season 4 Audio Review.

Thanks to my fellow podcasters, Jan, Karen, and Joe. Hope you listeners will enjoy!

Miss any episodes? You can find them all at CNN - Chuck Nerdposium Netcast, and every time you watch it helps to support us!

Note: my written review for Chuck Vs The Coup D'Etat can be found at ChuckTV - here.

As always this podcast is family and office safe.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

FBI(Fringe Benefits Inc.)Ep Review - 3.03: The Plateau

Join us in our temporarily constructed shared reality known as a podcast, as we discuss the latest episode of Fringe.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Giving The Past The Shaft - Episode 4.03: Chuck Vs The Cubic Z

Written by Nicholas Wootton

Directed by Norman Buckley

First time Chuck writer Nicholas Wootton sets up a Chuck episode that aims high but is undercut by execution factors outside his control and the restrictions of the world which the show has set upon itself. He has a solid grasp on the spy material but the world of BuyMore retail ridiculousness was flat.

The spy storyline of a prisoner transfer of characters from Chuck and Sarah's past is a great idea but is hampered by the need to tie a BuyMore storyline to it. The Cubic Z gives some excellent emotional hooks for Sarah into the main storyline only to have them undercut by placing the burden of carrying those moments on Nicole Ritchie. The episode gives a triumphant return to Big Mike but at the expense of Morgan's character.

For Sarah, the reappearance of high school nemesis, Heather Chandler, could not come at a worse time. Having a romantic getaway canceled in the midst of relationship strain over commitment issues places Sarah in a vulnerable position. And like the true predator she is, Heather Chandler senses Sarah's weakness and exploits for pure enjoyment. It is this aspect of the Heather character which works so well and which Nicole Ritchie can carry off with relish.

The return of Steve Austin's Hugo Panzer clicked on all fronts. He was big, bad, crafty, powerful and engagingly evil. Everything you want in a bad guy. Hugo was plain fun to watch and his fight scenes with Chuck were great, especially the Cage Match. His eventual put down by Big Mike was good – though the Big Mike put down of Leader from Season Two is still Big Mike's signature take out in my books.

Automatic Evilness!

Episode Flashes:

  • Video game called Spy Attack
  • Morgan blogging about listening skills
  • 'Beyond DeNiro serious. That's Russell Crowe serious.'
  • 'Filter, filter!'
  • Chuck and Morgan taking a moment to enjoy angst free relationships
  • Sarah putting a beating on Casey, fighting like a pit bull
  • Sarah and Casey talking relationships!!!!!!!!
  • 'Jenny Burton, my old high school punching bag.'
  • 'I am Cobra!'
  • Hugo Panzer! Steve Austin rocked this episode.
  • Great to see Big Mike. Great to see him ask Morgan's blessing to marry his mom.
  • Supply closet shenanigans!
  • Tough cop. Silent cop.
  • Heather is very good at the needling. Not so much the emotional insights.
  • Sarah telling Chuck to not let Heather get under his skin. LOL
  • Volkoff engineered prison transfer? Intriguing
  • Hugo/Greta fight scene
  • Casey with flaky Voice Recognition Control Interface
  • Castle air ducts are big enough to handle Star Trek Enterprise turbolifts!
  • Heather chides with Jenny/Sarah name
  • Hehee - Sarah responds with head kick
  • four way melee between Chuck, Sarah, Hugo, and Heather
  • Sarah's, 'That felt good.'
  • Rooftop fight! Girls and automatic weapons!
  • 'Back up.' 'You back up.' 'No! You back up!'
  • Hugo/Chuck cage match
  • 'Mike. Big Mike.'
  • Casey and Sarah continue to give each other relationship advice!!!!!!!!
  • Operation Beacon: Frost and Volkoff seem very close. Hmmmm.
  • Chuck and Sarah agree to take things slow
  • Fate via a ring drop seems to counter them

The best character interchanges took place between Sarah and Casey this episode. Who would have thought that the two spies of the show would not only be having personal conversations but good ones at that two seasons ago? Sarah's pit bull aggression while fighting Casey was hilarious. Chuck, Intersect or no, do not make this female dynamo angry!

For the first time this season, an episode hit the ground running. The pacing of the episode was good even when certain elements were not working such as the whole BuyMore Spy Attack video game launch and the return of Big Mike. I love Big Mike as much as the next person and it was great to see him again. Unfortunately his return was at the expense of Morgan's character and to an extent Chuck's. Chuck should have taken down Hugo in the cage. And no way, would Hugo leave the cage without killing Chuck.

Also does this mean the end of Beckman's onsite presence? If so, that is a most unwelcome reversion.

It was also a welcome sight to actually have Sarah's conflict over learning that she was no longer the person Heather claimed, to be visibly dramatized. This was done through Heather's character as well as during the decisive moment on the rooftop battle when Sarah frees Heather to help in the fight instead of giving her up. Unfortunate then that Heather's last speech to Sarah about Chuck and love and Sarah being able to change came out as an exposition infodump instead of a heartfelt moment.

To balance that though the episode had several terrific action scenes. The brief but violent fight between Greta and Hugo made an impact. Along with the rooftop fight, Chuck's cage match with Hugo, and Sarah's feel good putdown of Heather the episode earns top marks on the action front.

Another thing the episode did well was to show that Volkoff has far reaching power. To be able to arrange prisoner transfers and intercept and replace rescue teams keeps his presence in our minds. It also shows he holds a grudge. Heather's reveal about Operation Beacon and that Frost was never far from Volkoff's side continues to muddy the waters as to where MamaB's loyalties lie.

While the closing cliffhanger was not all that much, I did like the notion that even though Chuck and Sarah have agreed to take things slow, the timing of an engagement ring showing up at that very instance plants the seed of thought that Fate may have something else in mind for them as far as a timeline is involved.

CNN - 4.03: Chuck Vs The Cubic Z

Welcome back gang! Take a listen to our Audio Episode Review of Episode 4.03: Chuck Vs The Cubic Z: Join Jan, Karen, Joe, and myself as we embark on our next Season 4 Audio Review. Thanks to my fellow podcasters, Jan, Karen, and Joe. Hope you listeners will enjoy! Miss any episodes? You can find them all at CNN - Chuck Nerdposium Netcast, and every time you watch it helps to support us! Note: my written review for Chuck Vs The Cubic Z can be found at ChuckTV - here. As always this podcast is family and office safe.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

FBI(Fringe Benefits Inc.)Ep Review - 3.02: The Box

Join us in our temporarily constructed shared reality known as a podcast, as we discuss the latest episode of Fringe.

Friday, October 1, 2010

FBI(Fringe Benefits Inc.)Ep Review - 3.01: Fringe 3.01 - Olivia

CNN - 4.02: Chuck Vs The Suitcase

Welcome back gang!

Take a listen to our Audio Episode Review of Episode 4.02: Chuck Vs The Suitcase:

Join Jan, Karen, Joe, and myself as we embark on our second Season 4 Review.

Thanks to my fellow podcasters, Jan, Karen, and Joe. Hope you listeners will enjoy!

Miss any episodes? You can find them all at CNN - Chuck Nerdposium Netcast, and every time you watch it helps to support us!

Note: my written review for Chuck Vs The Suitcase can be found at ChuckTV - here.

As always this podcast is family and office safe.

Role Models Recycle – Episode 4.02: Chuck Vs The Suitcase

Written by Rafe Judkins & Lauren LeFranc

Directed by Gail Mancuso

Last season in Chuck Vs The Role Models we were led to believe that Sarah had overcome her commitment issues when she agreed to move in with Chuck. In Suitcase we learn that was a baby step. While Sarah has apparently been able to set up a few pictures on the living room mantelpiece that appears to be the extent of her initial move in. In the following eight months she has been unable to take the next step and unpack the rest of her personal belongings. This is dramatized by the starkly naked image of her half of the bedroom closet.

It would seem that an unwillingness to unpack translates into an Achilles Heel for missions, though what exactly that weakness is, is never made clear. In an episode that postulates a ‘Smart Bullet’ such answers are left to the viewer to decide. Or accept on faith.

Suitcase is an episode where the B Storyline outmatches the A Storyline in every department. Isiah Mustafah as this week’s Greta outmatches the combined talents of Karolina Kurchova, Lou Ferrigno, and a barely present Bronson Pinchot. The BuyMore storyline has Morgan pointing out to Beckman that the government run BuyMore is too efficient. Such a well run retail outlet can only lead to having its cover blown. Morgan’s solution? Bring back the original BuyMore crew. The B storyline was tighter, more believable and arguably a more entertaining one than the ‘Smart Bullet,’ one for the ‘A’ storyline.

Throw in a Chuck that all but wolf whistled at an Intel photo of an enemy agent in a bikini, an overzealous Daddy Devon that marred a long awaited family scene, a Casey reset that has him reluctant to contact Alex, and the character manipulations to service the ‘A’ storyline show up in stark relief. The saving grace between the two storylines was, again, Morgan. A Morgan who notes Sarah’s reluctance to use the closet and at the same time susses out the weakness at the too efficient BuyMore all the while doling out sound relationship advice to Casey. Keep this up and the show should be renamed, ‘Morgan.’

The return of the original BuyMore gang is living proof for two conflicting adages; absence makes the heart grow fonder and some things work better in small doses.

Episode Flashes:
* bullet shot around corner. Cool. Impossible but cool
* Morgan noting Sarah still has not unpacked
* Isiah Mustafah as the next Greta. Funny and cool at the same time
* Milan scenes use same stairway from Chuck Vs The Tango
* ‘Have you been watching Project Runway?’
* Chuck and Sarah nod to upside down SpiderMan kissing scene
* Morgan aping Casey at the BuyMore
* Morgan telling Beckman about the BuyMore flaw – ‘Two minutes. Walk with me.’
* Greta demonstrating his shooting skills with a price gun
* Jeff & Lester living on the lam aka out in the wild a full seven minutes, in traffic, from Burbank; hiding from the, ‘Popo.’
* ‘These are not the boys you are looking for.’
* Jeff’s, ‘I think my water just broke,’ when hit with the first tranq dart.
* Casey emptying the tranq gun clip in disgust into Jeff
* Tranq Gloves!
* Chuck closing door on Sarah with an ILY before taking on the bad guys
* Sarah’s fight through dressing room and out into catwalk
* ‘You’re my home Chuck. You always have been.’
* Ellie looking through photo album.
* Closing shot of Sarah’s reaction look to thoughts of marriage and family Sometimes a closet is just a closet.

Like Chuck Vs The Anniversary the episode wobbles until the second half. When Chuck and Sarah are separated and Chuck tells Sarah he loves her before closing the door to face the bad guys it finally felt like the characters I knew and love had emerged. The scenes following that were all strong from Chuck’s fight against the baddies to Sarah’s catwalk fight to Sarah’s finally, truly moving in to Ellie taking out an old family album to Sarah’s panicked look at Chuck’s statement about possible marriage and family down the road for them.

Much like Role Models, Sarah’s forward progress is all internal. There is no moment in this episode where one can see any growth on Sarah’s part that led to her character evolution. All it seemed to take was Sarah seeing a well stocked closet of another spy. If it were that simple Chuck should have arranged for Sarah to visit such a closet before Sarah moved in.

Stand alone episodes work well if the mission involves or affects the characters in a personal way. Beyond a little closet window shopping there was no such personal involvement. Neither was there any progress made in the search for MamaB. In many ways this episode is the antithesis of the best episodes of Season 3.

In Season 3 a good episode would often end on a dark note. In Suitcase a dubious spy mission storyline is protected by having a strong, upbeat ending. Take your pick. My preference is the former.

If you are looking for an episode that has lots of Chuck and Sarah interplay then Chuck Vs The Suitcase will definitely fill the bill. It is great to see the return of the kick ass Sarah Walker. Too bad the storyline and the opponent do not allow for that return to feel more triumphant and noteworthy.

One final thing to ponder, if Morgan’s statements are so stupid, why is everyone always so shook up by them?

CNN - 4.01: Chuck Vs The Anniversary

Here it is folks!

Our inaugural Audio Episode Review of Episode 4.01: Chuck Vs The Anniversary:
Join Jan, Karen, Joe, and myself as we embark on our first Season 4 Review.

Bear with us as we shakedown the format and streamline the flow as the show as best we can. We aimed a little high here ending up with 90 minutes of audio. It has been cut down to a more listenable 45 minutes but as a result it may seem disjointed at times.

Thanks to my fellow podcasters and hope you all enjoy the premiere of this new feature.
Miss any episodes? You can find them all at CNN – Chuck Nerdposium Netcast, and every time you watch it helps to support us!