Chuck 3.8 "Chuck vs. the Fake Name" Review - Featured

Frmo io9:


Chuck Vs. The Sense Of Apathetic Repetition



Last night's return of Chuck brought a couple of the season's themes to the forefront, but not in the most believable way possible... And will Kristin Kreuk finally realize that falling for leading men is never a good idea?


If nothing else, kudos to "Chuck versus The Fake Name" for the metacommentary about how boring "Will They/Won't They" relationship drama is, even if it came during an episode that was all about the Chuck/Sarah Will They/Won't They relationship drama. Kudos, also, to Kreuk's Hannah for calling Chuck out for dumping her roughly two seconds after hooking up with her in the first place, and for unconvincing reasons, even to the viewer. But more than a few things about last night's episode just didn't hang together, and it felt more like an episode where things happened because the writers wanted them to, as opposed to having anything to do with the characters themselves.


It didn't help that the main plot was something we'd seen before; Chuck going undercover is, by this point, something everyone should be used to, and neither Zachary Levi's fun (and subtle) take on Chuck's new undercover persona and the idea that he was a little too good at being someone else offered enough spin to keep my interest, especially when the complications came in the unconvincing forms of "Chuck leaves the assassin's phone for someone at the BuyMore to answer" or "Sarah tells Shaw her real name even though she'd never told Chuck what it was, even when they were on the run together at the end of last season, which you'd think would've been a more likely time for her to lower her guard and be honest with him." Too much about this episode seemed like a rerun, with added characters failing to make it seem different enough from what we'd seen before.


The two lessons we were supposed to take from this episode were, apparently:


1) By being a better spy, Chuck has stopped being Chuck (Something that isn't necessarily true, given how he acted when he overheard Sarah reveal her real name), and


2) Sarah and Chuck have a special bond no matter how much they deny it, which they both react to in different ways - Sarah by denying it and getting herself a piece of that Shaw action, and Chuck by dumping Hannah so that he can be more honest and pout and probably listen to the whiny song that was playing in the background while he did it.


And, uh, okay? I feel like we knew both of those things already, which just added to the deja vu feeling of the episode. You know that, when Casey getting a tooth removed by a pretend-torturer Chuck doesn't even raise more than a smile, it's a weak week. But what did you think?


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Mar 2, 2010 7:28PM EST

Nice. I agree. It's getting old. They could have been together and broken up already, and that would be more interesting than drawing out the 'will they won't they' drama. I mean, if they'd wanted to move this slowly, the protagonists should have started out as coworkers, then moved onto being close friends, a-la Bones, who's 'will they won't they' drama hasn't managed to piss me off until this season, season 5! Ugh. Anyway, kudos to Hannah for not being a pushover and calling Chuck on the bullshit that he tried to pull.
I have to wonder though if this was one of the random non-story-arch-related episodes they had to plan and make on the fly to fill in those 6 extra episode slots NBC gave them. Was anyone else getting that vibe the entire time? That could account for the lameness.

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Mar 2, 2010 8:00PM EST

This season started out so good with the intersect 2.0 angle and Awesome finding out and becoming part of Chuck's secret life, but basically these last 3 to 4 episodes have sort of taken the air out of the 'fun' aspect of Chuck. It seems like the writers are trying too hard to make this show something its not. The show at its core is a fun,even maybe a little campy, comedy, the relationship stuff was always there, but it did not drive the show forward. Now they have made this a relationship show with little bits of comedy around it. I do not know how they have forgotten that this is a comedy. Sarah worried that Chuck is losing his Chuckness, Sarah and Chuck both being put into really forced feeling relationships, Awesome not wanting to be a part of Chuck's spy world, Ellie having nothing but worried dialogues about Chuck, these are all downer plotlines for a show that used to be a comedy. Plus we have Morgan, Lester, Jeff and Casey really getting nothing tangible to do anymore....What happened?

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Mar 2, 2010 8:05PM EST

I am just so freaking tired of the Sarah and Chucks relationship, honestly if they get back together again I think I will stop watching the show, it will just be more then I can handle at that point.
Sarah needs to be cut from the show NEEDS TO BE. Honestly she didn't have a single scene that didn't annoy the hell out of me and she had absolutely nothing to do with the mission, she is dead weight at this point.
I am still praying that they will kill Sarah's character, retire Shaw, let Chuck become the leader of the team and have Morgan join the team. If they do that it will make the show amazing for years to come. I mean Chuck, Casey and Morgan are 90% of all the best scenes and the other 10% is buy more stuff.
Also one of the reasons this show felt dry was the absence of Morgan.

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Mar 3, 2010 3:06AM EST

Sorry, but i don't agree that the show is getting a little dry actually i am getting more interested of the show right now. the transformation of chuck from being just a clumsy guy to a real spy(but still clumsy).
the writers are doing a good job i just think a show must evolve and not be stagnant for us viewers to be interested.

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Mar 3, 2010 10:38AM EST

i agree.....with JvG. i think this episode was pretty dang good because i felt the storyline actually progressing into something new. i didn't ever like Hannah but I also am tired of the whole Chuck/Sarah will they, won't they routine. If I was Sarah I would get me a piece of that Shaw action too!!
the best part was seriously getting to see Casey do his thing. he wasn't too antagonistic towards Chuck and I am hopeful that if he starts appreciating Chuck's skills that we could see a lot more 'man-team' missions without Sarah :)that would be badass :)
oh and getting his tooth pulled out was hilarious (i was much more than just smiling) and then having the set up for him to blast that guy in the head was awesome. Casey rules!
but where was MORGAN?!

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Mar 3, 2010 1:14PM EST

Yeah i am also tired of the will they/ won't they stuff, but maybe not for the same reasons. I think that the writers are doing a good job moving Chuck's character forward and all the stuff with Sarah is holding his character back, like they trying to hold onto the old seasons to much. Still love the show though.
Also a little off topic, but how can Chuck be so clumsy and yet have the only one knows his 3 year long secret be captain awesome?

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Mar 3, 2010 1:26PM EST

I completely disagree with your review.
Yes, this episode was a little less than exciting but not EVERY episode can be on-the-edge-of-your-seat-bursting-with-excitement.
Eventually, a show will NEED to have a few episodes in which the character is propelled forward so that the show can move on with something new. Sure, these episodes may not be our favourites, but they are still necessary.
I'm excited for Chuck because he truly has grown. I mean, for once, he dumped a beautiful girl instead of always being the dumpee. Yes, this is not our "Chuckie" from Season One but we're not in Season One anymore. This is Season Three and Chuck is expected to grow!
No doubt once he gets a hold of who he is and who he has become, he'll go back to bringing the laughs back to us.
Even so, if you didn't enjoy Zachary Levi's deep-er voice say "Who the hell is Chuck Bartowski?" you're insane. I enjoyed this episode because of Chuck's cover ID.
Yes, we love Chuck. But we also need to see other sides of Chuck because that is what makes a show more believable and long-lasting. And that's what we all want - for Chuck (the show) to last and never end. :)

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Mar 3, 2010 2:25PM EST

In the first 2 seasons I enjoyed having Sarah around, but now its just getting old. I think Sarah should really be cut from the show, so Chuck can move on with his life. I did enjoy this episode and I would have liked to see Chuck's relationship with Hannah grow deeper...Further more, I think it would be so great if Morgan finally discovered Chuck;s big secret! Morgan is great and I believe the show could benefit from more scenes with Morgan!

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Mar 3, 2010 10:03PM EST

Guys please don't hate sarah chuck hasn't scored yet remember? after that maybe sarah can leave the show.. does anyone agree????

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