This week, Chuck [NBC, Fridays, 9/8C] – aka The Little Show That Could – returns to the NBC schedule with a few minor changes: Team Bartkowski has gone private, Morgan has the Intersect and, oh, yeah, they’re nearly broke! [Start up costs, y’know…?]
Chuck vs. The Zoom opens with Chuck [Zachary Levi] and Sarah [Yvonne Strahovski] looking out over the ocean from a marble balcony, talking about whether this is the kind of place she’d like to live – if they survive. The camera pulls back and we see they are surrounded by gun-toting bad guys. It’s just another day on the job for Team Bartkowski [now Carmichael Industries].
The thugs are employees of Jean-Claude [Mark Hamill], a member of the 1% of the 1% – he can buy and sell countries. He’s also in possession of a stolen priceless Ming vase that Team Bartkowski’s client wants back. All that stands between Chuck and Sarah’s imminent demise is… Morgan [Joshua Gomez]?
Well, yeah – if he can get the Intersect to [as he calls it] zoom – and if the ultra competent Jon Casey [Adam Baldwin] can make his usual timely entrance.
Another problem? Jean-Claude is not the major villain we’re expecting [though he is definitely villainous!]. The real force for evil in the season premiere is an deeply crooked investor named Roger Bale [Craig Kilborn] – who makes Jean-Claude look the cameo-worthy second-rater that he is.
While the opening moments explain how Team Bartkowski used the assets of Volkoff Industries to purchase the Buy More – and everything beneath it – it becomes apparent that, without the resources of the CIA, they’ll need to be very mercenary. Which means working for less than savory clients on occasion. Also, Morgan needs to work on his Intersect zooming skills.
In the ep’s B-arc, Morgan attempts to help Chuck make an appropriately romantic gesture to his new wife – an operation that is, perhaps not wisely, code named Toes in the Sand. Not the most romantic of acronyms…
The fifth [and final] season premiere, written by Chris Fedak and Nicholas Wooton and written by Robert Duncan McNeil, is a fast-paced comedy of errors based on the complications of starting a new business; working for dirtbags and trying to find romance in distinctly unromantic situations. In other words, it’s Chuck Goes to the Dogs.
As the series has gone on, I’ve found myself less and less interested in the day-to-day workings of the Buy More, so I’m pleased that less time than usual is spent there – though Jeff [Scott Krinsky] and Lester [Vic Sahay] definitely outdo themselves with their better-than-usual money-making scheme.
Chuck vs. The Zoom is definitely a prime example of the fun to be had from this unorthodox one hour comedy. There’s action, romance and laughs – sometimes simultaneously. Though Chuck isn’t for everyone this ep more than does the job for its fans.
Final Score: B+
Photos by Chris Haston/courtesy of NBC