>TV Round-Up

>Chuck: Chuck vs the Beard, Chuck vs the Tic Tac
Three weeks back from the Olympics and we’ve had three solid “Chuck” installments. The last two may be among the best the show has done not only in season three, but in the three year run of the show. Both episodes have upped the ante for the show a great deal, seeing “Chuck” at a crossroads where he gets a glimpse of who and what he’s become now that he’s got the Intersect powers and he’s finally getting the life he always wanted.

“The Beard” finds Chuck unable to access his superpowers, thank to being bound up emotionally by breaking up with Hannah, Sarah’s new found relationship with Shaw, Awesome losing patience with the whole double-life the knowledge of Chuck’s spy life has created and the typical Buy More complications of leading a double life. Thankfully, the show finally brings Morgan in on the secret in a way that works and that allows Morgan to embrace the fact that Chuck is a spy. I loved seeing Morgan’s panic at the fact that there were a secret CIA base under the Buy More and then the reaction to finding out Chuck is really the spy the Ring is looking for. It’s nice that we didn’t have it create a rift between the two that would eventually be healed. That may be one of the benefits of a shorter season–less time to stretch things like this out and just have things go with the flow.

That news leads to “Tic Tac” where it appears that Casey may have gone rogue or joined the Ring. Instead, we get to see a bit more of Casey’s backstory and have a showcase for Adam Baldwin’s character, seeing how much and what he gave up to serve his country and become a spy. And we can see Chuck slowly going down that path this year, especially as he wins over the admiration of Casey–at least on a professional level. Also of interest is the new pill that removes the emotional element of Chuck’s accessing the Intersect. Will we see more of this or was it a one time thing to prove a point?

I have a feeling that we may see Chuck’s dad have to return and snap him back to reality before the season ends.

The only part I didn’t really care for was how quickly the decision of Awesome and Ellie moving to Africa to become part of Doctors Without Borders was brought up and then discarded. As much as I liked not dragging out a rift between Chuck and Morgan was necessitated by the original episode order, this felt like it needed more time to breath and might have had the initial episode order been more than 13.

24: Day Eight, 2 – 4 a.m.
Just as “24” appears to be headed for the exit and everyone’s talking about how the show has really lost its stride, season eight picks up a lot in the last two hours of the day. The scenes with Jack talking to the young terrorist inside the pressure chamber were classic Bauer–you don’t tell me what I want to know, I will make your mother pay. As were the scenes between said young terrorist and his mother. In those moments, the show reached back into the core of what the series is all about–Jack’s win at all costs mentality and the toll it can and will take on those around him.

Meanwhile, the final moments of the 3 a.m. hour were among the most interesting and had a nice twist to them–well, that was if you could avoid the relentless Fox marketing machine that gave it away. I had until the final seconds of “House” when I accidentally saw a promo. I have to admit, I guessed what was coming but I thought the terrorists would be blowing up CTU instead of using an EMP. Either way, CTU is disabled and Jack may be forced to play nice with another agency. And as we’ve seen the past, Jack doesn’t play well with others who aren’t CTU. The twist did rescue (a bit) the whole plotline of the allegiance of Tarin. Again, I say that it’s easy to tell when the writers are making up things as they go–that’s clearly been shown by the Tarin plotlines. He’s loyal, he’s in love with Kayla, he’s locked up, they’re running away together, he’s betrayed her and her father, he’s helped her escape, no wait it was all part of his master plan. For one thing, I can’t see how the terrorist cell would plan out that the rods would need to be transferred in to New York or that they’d need to take out CTU to do it. Given that the plan was to take the rods back to the country in question and jump start their nuclear program, this kind of advance planning seems a bit far fetched. But then again, this is “24.”

I will be interested to see how the show follows-up on the thread of Hassan having U.S. nuclear secrets and if that will impact his future negotiations with President Taylor.

As for the whole plotline with Dana, the sooner that one goes away the better. I knew it would come back to bite them, but the fact that it came back that quickly is a bit much. I swear that if Stephen Root’s character is somehow involved with the conspiracy, I will scream.

FlashForward: Revelation Zero
For the first ten or so episodes, all we heard from the producers of this show was that they were putting the groundwork in place for the final run of episodes and that we’d all be surprised and shocked by what they came up with.

Well it’s the final run and so far, I’m not overwhelmed.

I’m still with the show and will tune in until the season finale. But honestly, it needs some more payoffs than what we got there. Mark finally unlocks the rest of his flash and just in time to conveniently save Lloyd. A bit of a stretch of the willing suspension of disbelief.

It’s really about putting these two together for some kind of odd buddy comedy, I guess.

At least we know that the reason to investigate the flash so obsessively is that we’re trying to prevent another one. We’ve got some tension for the end of the season and a goal now. Maybe it will give the series some much needed focus.

Meanwhile, the more interesting storyline is about what Simon has been up to and what he was doing during the flash. Finding out that he was the one awake at the Detroit Tigers’ game was an interesting revelation as is the fact that he appears to be playing all the sides against each other for his own personal agenda. What that agenda is, I guess we’ll have to wait and find out, but that is keeping me intrigued.

What didn’t keep me there was the whole storyline about Nicole’s mom and the pennies. Yaaaaawn.

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