Saturday, November 12, 2011

"Chuck Versus the Frosted Tips" a high stakes game

     NBC's latest Chuck, "Chuck Versus the Frosted Tips," finds Morgan (Joshua Gomez) going off the deep end. He frosts his tips, quits the Buy More, dumps Alex (Mekenna Melvin) via text message, and steals a CIA freelance mission from Carmichael Industries to complete with Verbanski (Carrie-Anne Moss). Chuck (Zachary Levi) is ready to write off his best friend, but it's Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) that realizes this is more than an ego trip. Sure enough, the Intersect is damaging Morgan, and he doesn't even remember who he is. Which means it's up to Chuck, Sarah, and Casey (Adam Baldwin) to save Morgan.

     Given the Chuck and Morgan's love of geeky trilogies, perhaps it comes as no surprise that "Bad Morgan" is presented as a three-parter. Sure, the story about Morgan and the Intersect is not yet ended, though it may be next week, but now Morgan's behavior can come back under control. He realizes what is going on, and is no longer actively working against his friends. Thank goodness for that.

     It's interesting that Sarah is the one who figures things out, while Chuck is ready to write Morgan off. This is explained away because Morgan had a similar ego trip in middle school that Chuck remembers. But Morgan's actions are hard to explain away through sheer arrogance alone. Sarah even goes to Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) for help when Chuck doesn't believe her. Perhaps it's a testament to how Sarah has grown to care for Morgan, or at least be sympathetic to the role Morgan plays in Chuck's life. Unexpected, and nice.

     Casey is the only one unwilling to overlook Morgan's behavior. This can be attributed to Morgan hurting Casey's daughter, Alex. Even after Morgan apologizes and gets himself back under control, Casey kicks Morgan out of his house. The key here seems to be Alex, and if Morgan wants to be OK with Casey, he had best make things up to Alex. This should be accomplished relatively easily, given Morgan and Alex's deep affection for each other. But it's cool that Chuck doesn't just move past the incident with no consequences, even if said consequences are minor.

     Verbanski is never really a clear villain for Chuck and company, even though she is a competitor. In "Chuck Versus the Frosted Tips," she moves from enemy to ally in short order. The key to this switch is her connection with Casey. It may have taken five years, but giving Casey a love interest softens him up, and adds some depth. Plus, it's humorous when Casey tries to apply spy techniques to a dating life. Also, going with a character like Verbanski, who may just be Casey's equal in many ways, keeps the plot realistic, and allows Casey to stay true to his character. It will be interesting to see how things progress with the two of them from here.

     Beckman (Bonita Friedericy) is back! It may be just be a small part, with her hooking up Carmichael Industries with a mission, and valuable information regarding Morgan, but it's thrilling to see her again. Her presence is missed, and hopefully she will be more heavily involved in the end game than she has been in awhile.

     Finally, there is another story that may have lasting effects. Awesome (Ryan McPartlin), on paternity leave, wanders into the Buy More, where he diagnoses and treats Jeff (Scott Krinsky). Turns out, all of Jeff's sloppy behavior and poor decision making skills stem from carbon monoxide poisoning. It does feel too easy that Jeff is cured by the end of "Chuck Versus the Frosted Tips." However, seeing Jeff clean up his act, which will surely drive Lester (Vik Sahay) insane, is an exciting development that hopefully will stick, at least for an episode or two.

     Don't miss the final season of Chuck, Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

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