When I heard that this week’s episode of Chuck would try something that the series hasn’t done before–a murder mystery–I was a bit skeptical, but I was willing to give the show the benefit of the doubt, as I always have been.
Now that I’ve watched it, I have to say that while “Chuck vs. the Muuurder” was a fun, enjoyable episode, I wasn’t “wowed” by it for the most part. The murder mystery itself kept me guessing, since Bentley was too obvious a choice and I wasn’t sure which of the three remaining Intersect candidates would have had the most motive to attack everyone else, but the candidate characters themselves weren’t that interesting to me, and were a bit outlandish in terms of their personalities. Granted, I know that because they were supposed to be similar to Chuck in some way, their personality traits would need to be exaggerated for comedic effect, but I feel like it was a tad overdone, particularly with the candidate who spoke with a British accent.
The other problem I had with this episode was the fact that it felt like a tiny bit of a step back for Chuck in terms of his character growth. During “Chuck vs. the Masquerade,” Chuck showed clear strength as a leader and field agent, even remaining mostly calm when Sarah was in danger. In this episode, he was much more nervous and unsure of himself, up until the moment when he realized the true identity of the killer. I can forgive this to a certain extent, given that Chuck had been put in charge of a major long-term project rather than just one mission, but hopefully the development of Chuck’s confidence as an agent and a leader will be more consistent from this point on.
The comic sub-plot involving “the big BM” and “Kevin Bacon” was definitely funny (my one sister would have been having a fit at the explosion/flying pig gag had she been watching), but because it wasn’t integrated into the main spy story, it didn’t feel like it had as much to it as past comic sub-plots, in my opinion. I really hope that soon, we get to see some juicier comic material for Mark Christopher Lawrence, Vik Sahay, Scott Krinsky and the rest of the Buy More gang to sink their teeth into.
The ending of this episode was very satisfying in how it set up the stories we’ll see in the upcoming episodes, with Devon and Ellie deciding to keep Ellie’s continued research into Papa B.’s plans for the Intersect a secret from Chuck, and with the reveal that at least for the time being, Vivian Volkoff has indeed decided to throw in her lot with her father and actively work against Chuck and the rest of Team Bartowski. I was especially psyched by the fact that the Orion computer unlocked the “Agent X” data by scanning the room and locking in on Ellie’s face!
I think this is definitely foreshadowing Ellie entering the spy world in a big way…Exactly how that happens, we’ll all just have to wait and see! 🙂