My review of “Chuck” Episode 4.12 (“Chuck vs. The Gobbler”) (Spoiler Alert!)

“Perhaps some of us have to go through dark and devious ways before we can find the river of peace or the highroad to the soul’s destination.”
–Frederick Pierce, Dreams and Personality

In my earlier blog entry reviewing “Chuck vs. Phase Three,” I discussed the issue of how Sarah’s relationship with Chuck provides her with a moral beacon after all of the morally questionable actions she has had to take in her career with the CIA. As we’ve all become well aware these last few years, Chuck is able to be that beacon for Sarah because of his kind, compassionate, loyal, optimistic and righteous nature. Another facet of Chuck’s personality which goes hand-in-hand with those qualities is Chuck’s strong though not totally unshakable faith in people, especially his friends and loved ones. The times when we see Chuck’s faith in others shaken–the most notable examples to date being the times when he has doubted his father and mother–seem to happen when the actions of those people are not easily reconciled with his own optimistic and idealistic worldview.

And therein lies the reason Chuck needs to do a bit of soul searching after the events of this episode, not only in terms of his and Sarah’s relationship but also in terms of his role as a spy. I don’t think that Chuck truly believes that Sarah is a traitor, but he is nevertheless horrified by the fact that she could throw Casey–not only her partner but also her friend–out of that 9th floor window to his possible death, even if it was for the sake of maintaining her cover with Volkoff so that she could take him down. In spite of the fact that this is an issue Chuck has faced before, going as far back as “Chuck vs. Santa Claus,” Chuck’s kind and good nature still makes it hard for him to accept that sometimes, the nature of a spy’s job makes it impossible to always take the totally virtuous course of action.

I’ve noticed some folks saying on Twitter that this episode “telegraphed” the problem Chuck would have with what Sarah had to do to remain undercover, and that he’s naive to not realize that sometimes even a hero has to get his or her hands dirty to get the job done. These are both valid points, but I believe that re-emphasizing Chuck’s emotional conflict regarding these issues provides a good jump-off point for his eventual reconciliation with Sarah and Mama B. over what they had to do, and possibly even for him to at some point gain the ability to temporarily set aside his idealism for the sake of the greater good.

The secondary stories with Morgan, Alex, Devon & Ellie were a nice offset to the tone of the main plot this week. In particular, I liked how Morgan had the opportunity to have typically amusing “man to man” talks with Casey, and to be a source of support for Alex as she came into Casey’s hospital room to stand by his side. Devon & Ellie’s playful sparring match over the name for Baby Awesome (Side note: I think Clara is a good choice) was entertaining, and I got a kick out of how Big Mike, Jeff and Lester got in on the act. Having said that, the brevity of that bit highlights for me why I think it’s necessary that those five characters be brought into the fold of the spy world as soon as possible, so they can have more prominent roles in the stories.

Though I can understand why some folks might not have been totally thrilled with this episode, I genuinely enjoyed it and I think it provided good setup for Episode 4.13 without being excessively “angst-y.” See ya next week, fellow Chucksters! 🙂

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2 Responses to My review of “Chuck” Episode 4.12 (“Chuck vs. The Gobbler”) (Spoiler Alert!)

  1. Glory says:

    Good review. I’m less satisfied with last night’s episode than you but I don’t think it was an overall bad one. I think they did good with certain aspects… for instance, the fight between Casey and Sarah was awesome. I think I would have preferred an entire episode revolving around Sarah having to prove her loyalty to Volkoff by taking down Casey instead of just a 15 minute little arc. But I understand that it’s not the writers’ fault that they had to rush the storyline. I care less about the drama they tried to inject into the Chuck and Sarah relationship… it seems too contrived for me. Plus, we’ve dealt with these issues too many times in the past (in terms of Chuck not trusting his team, Chuck being disillusioned by the “bad” deeds spies have to carry out, etc.). I know Chuck and Sarah will end up together and happy so this isn’t exciting for me.

    And totally agree that they need to start bringing the other 4 into the spy world!

    • Matt says:

      Yep, we have definitely dealt with the whole “waffling over the morally gray stuff” deal before, and I’m ready for that issue to be resolved somehow, too. However, like I said on Twitter, I think the re-emphasis on Chuck’s moral conflicts about being a spy provides good opportunity to further develop his character.

      I’m definitely anxious to see Big Mike, Jeff and Lester brought into the spy fold, if for no other reason than to see how they all react when they see Chuck’s true capabilities! I also think it’s time for Devon and Ellie to come to at least some degree of acceptance that Chuck is a spy, especially Ellie. She took care of him for a long time, but now it’s his turn to be the protector. 🙂

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