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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Chuck: "Chuck Vs. The Lethal Weapon"

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Big ups to Keith for filling in for me last week, and for coining the extremely accurate Chuck descriptive phrase, "the most predictably entertaining hour of television." It's the kind of show you don't really have to think about, but not in a mind-numbingly stupid kind of way (and certainly not in a "guilty pleasure" way)—even at its worst, Chuck still loads episodes with pop-culture references up the wazoo, and we can always count on Casey for a snappy one-liner or several.

But now, about three-fourths of the way through this energized second season, I'm starting to think the first part of Keith's sentiment, "predictable," is king, and this episode didn't help matters. Not unlike Bryce, Cole is now the beefcake du jour, and he's back against all odds—he escaped from Fulcrum's grasp by, essentially, sweeping the legs of nine henchmen. This, of course, is a mixed blessing for Chuck: He's back, which means the secret of the Intersect remains intact—but now he's going to be gettin' all up in Sarah's bid-ness, with all his sexy bruises and strangely well-combed beard. Regardless, this begins a not-so-friendly one-upsmanship between the two; Sarah and Casey go to a party to scope out potential Fultrummers, and the bros dictate directions on the horn, each trying to be the one in Sarah's ear.

Even though Chuck can't compete with Cole in spy stuff, good looks, bravery, or proper haircut, he's still the Intersect, and quickly identifies a Dr. Busgang. Sarah and Casey swoop in to intersect him themselves, but, as happens every time, they get taken in by Fulcrum. And, yet again, Chuck—aided this time by Cole—jumps to the inept rescue, and twists his foot in the process. But Cole, the ruggish hooligan he is, gets freakin' shot! Advantage: inexplicably weird accented man.

This continues for a while—Chuck later tails Busgang, who got away with an accidentally shot leg (courtesy of Chuck), but finds himself face-to-face with the same damn Fulcrum guy who's been tailing them all episode. Cole once again leaps to Chuck's rescue, and gets shot again in the process. And then Sarah shoots Fulcrum guy, and asks how the other two are doing. Cole thinks she's asking about him; Chuck thinks she's asking about him; she's asking about both. Oh, the misunderstanding!

Then we get to the ending, which is exactly like what we've been seeing every week. First, Chuck sees Morgan and Anna making out, and gets that "I wish I had that normalcy" pine in his eyes. (Oh yeah, side note on Buy More stuff: Morgan accidentally misleads Anna to think she's the one he wants to live with, so he, Lester, and Jeff try their best to repel Anna, in the hopes that she'll be the one to call it off. Not uncomfortably shirtless Wii Tennis, nor a ridiculous Morganuptual contract, can break Anna's resolve, so Morgan is forced to let Chuck down easy—a huge relief.) Then Cole gets ready to leave, and begs Sarah to come with him, but is not surprised when she turns him down; after all, he's seen the look in her eyes when she looks at Chuck—pretty much the exact same thing Roan Montgomery said to her earlier on. Then, predictably, Chuck and Sarah have a talk, wherein Chuck tells her that he's sick of the lies, and doesn't want to live with someone who doesn't have real feelings for him. ONLY SHE DOES!

Look, the show is still a lot of fun to watch (loved Jeff's sweaty almost-embrace of Anna, and Chuck's inadvertent dance when his leg gets caught in the window, among other things), and this new Orion angle—the creator of the Intersect, who might be able to get it out of Chuck's head—shows promise, particularly the fact that Chuck has been conducting his own little research in private (putting his findings on the back of his Tron poster). But please, enough with the repetition.

Grade: B-

Stray observations:

  • Chuck has been MIA for a lot of evenings with the Awesomes. I wonder what everyone thinks he does at night.
  • Cole [whispering]: "Sweep the leg."
  • Lester has really come a long way since his days as assistant manager, eh?

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