WHEN WE LAST LEFT OFF WITH CHUCK,
* Ellie and Awesome got married.
* Emmett took over the Buy More.
* Both Chuck and Morgan left the Buy More.
* Chuck and Sarah got THIS CLOSE to some actual progress in their relationship.
* Bryce died in action (fo realz this time).
* Chuck downloaded Intersect 2.0 into his brain, got some crazy new spy skills, and made one of the best Matrix references EVER.
The world of Chuck was changed forever more. More or less.
Welcome to Chuck Season Three, tagline: No More Mr. Nice Spy.
The two-hour Season 3 premiere has now come and gone. And...yeah. Wow.
As it turns out, Chuck did not actually get new skills. He sort of has access to them, but only when his head is in the right place (and we aren't really sure what the right place is quite yet). Sarah and Chuck are now back to Square Negative One thanks to Chuck being either noble or a jackass or both (take your pick). And Chuck and Morgan have both returned to the Buy More. What is this thing you call progress?
Now, I'm thrilled to have Chuck back just because it is one of the most damned entertaining things in the world. It's pure comedy delight with a soundtrack that includes some of my favorite rocking out music and a storyline that is 90% hijinks.
The thing about hijinks, though, is that they get kind of old if not intermingled with substance. And it's the substance of the series that's worrying me. I was one of those campaigning intensively for a third season, and I'm glad that came to pass. But now the show needs to step up and prove itself deserving. This season premiere was pretty one-step-forward-two-steps-back. Which is fine. That happens between seasons. But it is reeeeeally important that Chuck keeps on moving forward. And that the moving forward is real progress, not just a rehashing of what has already come to pass. (One incident of true progress: EMMETT IS GONE. I AM SO HAPPY.)
From the quick flashes of "This Season On Chuck" footage and hints from last night's two-hour premiere, it looks like Chuck has moved beyond Fulcrum and is now dealing with a larger criminal spy organization called The Ring (which has a really irritating name but awesome Borg phones). Beckman is no longer alone at the top - there's a mysterious individual called "Shaw" with even higher clearance and authority. Morgan and Chuck are living together with Ellie and Awesome moved across the courtyard, which could all go very well or very VERY poorly. And it seems that a new potential love interest for Sarah (and possibly one for Chuck?) is on the horizon.
I have some major concerns about this last thing. Because, a) It's Chuck-and-Sarah. You know what I mean. I have little-to-no expectation that either potential love interest is any real threat. I mean, not even Bryce (who was a substantial character I actually liked quite a lot) stood a chance of severing those ties. And the guy who they're showing as Sarah's new flame? He's no Matthew Bomer. If the guy looks like an enormous tool after five cumulative seconds of screen time, there is no hope for him. (He does, and there isn't. Also, I will be damned if I have to put up for multiple episodes of Kristin Kreuk.)
To sum up, I do have some concerns about the future of Chuck. As it stands, NBC has approved 16 episodes for Season 3. The show needs ratings, and it needs content. Continuation is definitely not a sure thing. But I am SO HAPPY to have it back, because there are few shows on air that I enjoy more.
The third episode of Season Three is tonight, Monday, at 8pm (which will be the show's timeslot henceforth). Watch it!
(This review is also posted on my blog at http://meltedbrain.wordpress.com.)