>TV Round-Up

>Chuck: Chuck vs. Operation Awesome
The third season continues to hit its stride with another solid episode that once again demonstrates how well “Chuck” uses its guest stars–you cast them based on what types of characters they’ve played in the past and allow the actors to play on that. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of how certain old radio series used to work with various people taking on a fictional persona for the sake of their character and the show. For example, any time Jack Benny guest starred on another show, you were sure to get a mention of Jack’s frugal ways.

Same thing here with Angie Harmon and Brandon Routh. Routh is cast as the all-American good guy, along the lines of his role in the Man of Steel in “Superman: Returns.” It’s interesting to see Shaw come into Team Chuck and immediately begin to try and shake things up a bit. Knowing that Routh will be around for a few episodes should be interesting, though I hope they do more with the character than throw him in as some kind of stumbling block to the Chuck and Sarah relationship. I think we’ve seen enough outsiders come in and do that–unless they can actually do something interesting or different with it. At this point, I’m not sure and it may end up being a case of treading the same ground again.

The episode had me consistently chuckling and enjoying it even though there were some glaring weak points and one plot hole. I don’t quite buy that the Ring would assume that Captain Awesome is the spy and that Chuck isn’t. It was nice to see that Awesome wasn’t killed, but wouldn’t the guy who likes to poison people from last week have clued them in a bit about Awesome’s role only as a doctor and to watch out for Chuck and Sarah? Or maybe it’s because the Ring has only seen the crew in such limited action that they’re operating on a false tip from last week’s events that led to this assumption. It’s one of those things you have to buy in order to get to the story going and get the hilarity ensuing, but it seemed a bit much to swallow.

Also, I have to admit that for long stretches of time I wasn’t thrilled by events at the Buy More. It felt like they were trying to stretch things a bit and having a “Fight Club” homage just didn’t really click for me. At least they were able to have that plot intersect with the Chuck plot in a nice way, though again it felt like they were working a bit too hard to get from point A to point B. We needed some way to get Chuck out of trouble late in the story, so the early joke of the electric fence was put in there to get us there.

But beyond that, I enjoyed what I saw here. I really liked Chuck coming up with his own plan and the scenes with Awesome when Chuck was able to fully utilize his new abilities as the Intersect 2.0.

I’m also glad that the series didn’t make the move of killing off Awesome. It seems like too dark a twist for the show to take.

Dollhouse: The Hollow Men
With “Dollhouse” headed toward the finish line, Joss Whedon and company barely have a chance to let us catch our breath and let the big revelation from last week really sink in. That’s a shame because I think an episode or two of our knowing about Boyd and seeing the characters come to grips with it would have been a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I’m betting Whedon and company found out the show was canceled too late to really have much more than we got here.

The story pushes forward with the implications of the Rossum technology really having an impact. The concept of creating a way to wipe out a person’s personality and then imprint it with another is fascinating and chilling–especially the handheld device that Topher has invented. Also interesting is that no matter how hard they try, they can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. You get the feeling that no matter how hard our heroes work, they can’t take back the fact that such a thing can and did exist. It made me want to dust off the DVD set of season one and look at “Epipath 1” again, but I haven’t had time yet. Hopefully before the finale.

This one felt like it had to wrap up all the present day stories before we jump ten years ahead to see what goes wrong and if there’s any hope for the future. Along the way, we lose another character and get to see Echo take on Whiskey in an epic battle. The pace was rushed at times (I could easily see this week and last week’s stories expanded to a trilogy) but at least we’re getting resolution and some closure. I can also see why Whedon says that once this show is done, it’s done. He’s not leaving much to come back and play with…..

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