My review of “Chuck” Episode 4.20 (“Chuck vs. the Family Volkoff”) (Spoiler Alert!)

When “Chuck vs. the Muuurder” aired two weeks ago, there seemed to be a good number of Chuck fans who were less than enthralled with that episode as a whole (as I said in my own review, I wasn’t wowed by it, but thought it was okay). I won’t go into depth about fan reaction to last week’s choice of “Chuck vs. First Class” as a re-run; anyone who has decent reading comprehension skills and was on Twitter at all for the weeks leading up to it knows what most people thought (once more for the record, I liked that episode :-)).

What a relief, then, that this week’s adventure with Team Bartowski, “Chuck vs. the Family Volkoff,” was such a fun, action-packed episode!

It really was fantastic to have Timothy Dalton return as Alexei Volkoff for this episode. His performance has truly been one of the best parts of this season of Chuck, if not for the series as a whole, and the way he showed Alexei trying to “go through the steps” and become a better person made for some very enjoyable comedic moments. I really enjoyed the way that the main spy story played out, with Chuck and Sarah getting Volkoff to help recover the weapon components so that the CIA could rescind the kill order against Vivian. And the whole time, Volkoff was scheming to join forces with Vivian and run Volkoff Industries side by side, but Vivian double-crossed the double-crosser and revealed that she had orchestrated the whole event so that she could exact vengeance against Team Bartowski and her father all in one fell swoop, leaving her free to run the company alone. I would have enjoyed this better, however, if more time had been spent elaborating on how Vivian came to the decision to betray both her father and Chuck. That’s not a comment on Lauren Cohan’s performance; I just think more time (and lines of dialogue) should have been spent on Vivian explaining her actions and how she came to that decision, so that it wouldn’t have felt quite as abrupt.

When I caught whispers about the pre-nup in spoilers leading up to this episode, I got a little nervous about how much angst would go along with that part of the story. It was definitely a relief to see it handled the way it was, with Chuck playing it cool and going along with Sarah’s wishes, which gave Sarah pause and forced her to stop and think about why she wanted to sign a pre-nup agreement. In the end, it was handled in a way that had Chuck and Sarah scrapping the pre-nup agreement without making it feel like the issue was resolved too quickly.

I thought it was hilarious to see how Morgan and Casey have fallen into sync with each other as a result of being roommates, down to drinking their orange juice in unison and bickering like an old married couple over bites of cereal. That scene also led into the very sweet sub-plot of Casey and Alex discussing arrangements to spend time with each other to celebrate Alex’s graduation, only to gradually come to the realization that the only way to be fair to each other is if they bite the bullet and tell Kathleen the truth: that Casey is the fiancé she thought was dead. I’m just sorry that we haven’t gotten to see Alex have a role in the spy stories, or at least for Mekenna Melvin to get more screen time than she has up to this point.

I thought the whole “Agent X” sub-plot continues to be very intriguing. Aside from the fact that it gives Ellie and Devon the motivation to take their own (very funny) rookie plunge into the spy world to find out what Mama B. is doing with the “Agent X” files and why (“Target’s on the move, Hot Mama!” “Copy that, Six Pack! I got the baby, you get the car!”), it also strongly suggests that Orion had something else going on with the Intersect project that no one knew about, including the CIA, NSA and even Mama B! Then again, it may just have been Orion’s private codename for Chuck as he studied Chuck’s experience with the Intersect, so that if the laptop fell into the wrong hands, Chuck’s identity as an Intersect agent would be protected. I have to admit that I’m getting a bit antsy about Chuck and Ellie keeping secrets from each other about the spy world…I think that the time is fast approaching when they’re going to have to reveal to each other what they’ve been up to. Hopefully, it’s sooner rather than later. 🙂

Looking forward to next week! Whatever happens, let’s have fun with these next four episodes! 🙂

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