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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

'Chuck': Where can it go from here?

Now I'll admit it. For me, "Chuck" has always been a filler show. One of those shows that you watch if nothing else is on, or catch it on DVR when you have some extra time. Not so these last few weeks.

In the last month or so, "Chuck" has really gotten good. It's gone from "Well, it's not the greatest show, but hey, it's entertaining" to "Oh dear Lord, I can't wait until next week!" Especially after last night's 'sode. I honestly thought I was watching the final show in "Chuck" history and actually started wondering if I missed the announcement that this was the series finale. Not to mention, I have no clue where this could possibly go from here.

Let's recap, shall we?

Chuck's noggin complete with top secret government information, via the Intersect, has plagued the geeky Stanford-grad's life in more ways than one. No love life, only mild flirtation with asset Agent Sarah Walker, stuck at a dead-end job to protect his identity and having to keep a huge secret from his sister Ellie and her fiancé Captain Awesome. And for a while, this was Chuck's life. He dealt with it -- mission after mission, life-threatening situation after life-threatening situation. That is, until a few weeks ago.

Chuck has always searched for the father that left he and Ellie as children, but had little success tracking the old man down. When Agent Walker's job is jeopardized because the general believes she's getting too emotionally involved with Chuck, she acts out by using the government database to track Papa Bartowski's whereabouts. When she tells Chuck that she's found him, he decides it'll be a perfect surprise for big sister Ellie's wedding day -- a father to walk her down the aisle. What Walker and Chuck eventually find is a sketchy mobile home in the middle of nowhere. It's been 10 years since Charles saw his father and since that time, it's a known fact that his dad has gone a little nutty. Mr. Bartowski, played by Scott Bakula, is convinced to return home, even though he's paranoid the government is trying to get him. What's passed off as mumblings from the coo-coo's nest turns out to be the dreaded truth -- Chuck's father is actually a government mastermind and coincidentally, the inventor of the Intersect.

Chuck had been searching for a man he only knew as "Orion" for weeks, suspecting he was the one man who could possibly remove the Intersect from Chuck's brain and return him to his normal Nerd Herd life. Little did he know, Orion was none other than his own flesh and blood. Before Chuck and his dad have the chance to override Chuck's brain, Orion is captured by Fulcrum and sent to a top secret location where he's forced to build an Intersect for the international terrorist agency. If he succeeds and Fulcrum has a working Intersect with government secrets, Chuck becomes null and void and the mission is over. At the helm of Fulcrum is Orion's longtime rival, computer genius Ted Roark, played by Chevy Chase, who has a plan to install the Intersect in a new line of Fulcrum agents and create his own evil army.

Chuck tries everything to get to his father and stop this from happening. He even contacts ex-girlfriend Jill, whose locked in jail for her work with Fulcrum. While Jill helps Chuck as much as she can, Fulcrum is one step ahead and moves Chuck's father to an underground location. Chuck thanks Jill by letting her escape from prison, against Agent Walker and Major Casey's wishes. When the general finds out that Jill escaped, she shuts down Chuck's mission, stating it's too risky and orders Agent Walker to use Chuck's trust in her to capture him to be locked down in a cell until things quiet down.

Meanwhile back at the Buy More, Emmett approaches Morgan for a deal. If he can keep the crew well mannered while the corporate Gods are evaluating Emmett's work, then Emmett will be promoted to another store and out of Morgan's life for good. Seemingly too good to pass up, Morgan agrees. In doing so, he betrays Big Mike since he should've known Emmett was lying to Morgan and using him to get Big Mike's job. The entire thing plays out as a Jesus-Judas biblical reference and is all quite hilar. Especially when Big Mike plants a nice, juicy smooch on Morgan. He still has to play nice since he's still schtooping Morgan's mom.

Back to Chuck's chaos, Sarah heads into the Buy More to lie to Chuck and tell him his father has been rescued and she's going to take him to go see him. When Chuck tells Sarah he always knew he could trust her, Sarah has second thoughts and instead tells Chuck it's a lie and that they should escape. The two flee the Buy More, leaving Chuck's locator watch at the store, and embark on a journey to actually find Chuck's father, against Major Casey's orders, the general's orders and while committing treason. When the two find themselves alone and finally without government regulation, they finally, FINALLY get. it. on.

Of course, not for long. Major Casey tracks the two down, arrests them both and brings them back to a holding cell. When the general congratulates Casey, she informs him that he'll make general and that an air strike has been ordered to take down the Fulcrum hidden lair -- and unfortunately Chuck's father. After Casey had already promised Chuck that the government would save his father, he decides to do the right thing and join them to rescue him. When Chuck and the gang reach his father, they are too late. He has finished the Intersect and given it to Roark who unleashes it on his army. Chuck's father instructs Chuck to keep his eyes open while the Intersect is shown. For the common man, the Intersect fails ... but for Chuck it successfully wipes the current Intersect out completely. The group escapes before the air strike hits and head back home. Chuck returns to his good ol' self and Gen. Casey and Agent Walker are congratulated and told their mission is over.

And back at the Buy More ... Morgan takes the duty of becoming Emmett's "Ass Man" (short for Assistant Manager) to save Big Mike from a life of cleaning toilets and being the resident slave. After taking enough orders and having lost many of his Buy More buddies, he decides to leave and pursue his real dream: to become a hibachi chef in Hawaii. Yes, hibachi chef. Stripping himself of the Buy More name, and shirt, the hairy Morgan asks girlfriend Anna to leave with him, a la Jerry Maguire, and the two walk away into the sunset.

Just when I literally thought this was the end, no more "Chuck," -- I mean, really, where in the world could this go? -- you see the tattered and burnt thumb of Teddy Roark as he hitchhikes his way back to Burbank in the pursuit of Chuck, Papa Bartowski and the rest of the family. Oh thank goodness, here I thought everything was wrapped up with a nice big bow. The fact Mr. Roark could not survive a missile attack aside, I'm glad to see there's more drama a'brewin'.

Still, it's going to take some serious creative crafting to leave us with a cliffhanger for next week's season finale. Chuck no longer has the Intersect, so really, there's no reason he would need to deal with the government or resume his post as secret agent. Sarah and Casey are both done with this mission and cleared for reassignment, aka: there's no reason they need to hang around Chuck, or really, be on the show. Most of Fulcrum, minus Roark, has been destroyed. And Morgan's moving to Hawaii with Anna. Where does it go from here?! WHERE?!

I guess we'll just have to wait and find out at Ellie and Awesome's wedding next week. Here's hoping the photos from Awesome's bachelor party don't rear their ugly head.

Tune into "Chuck" at 7 p.m. Monday nights on NBC.

-- Sara Boyd,

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