Yvonne Strahovski in CHUCK - Season 4 - "Vs. The Family Volkoff" | ©2011 NBC Universal/Michael Yarish

Yvonne Strahovski in CHUCK - Season 4 - "Vs. The Family Volkoff" | ©2011 NBC Universal/Michael Yarish

Stars: Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski, Adam Baldwin, Joshua Gomez, Vic Sahay, Scott Krinsky, Sarah Lancaster, Ryan McPartlin, Mark Christopher Lawrence, Bonita Friedericy
Writers: Amanda Kate Shuman, Nicholas Wootton
Director: Robert Duncan McNeill
Network: NBC, airs Monday nights
Original Telecast: April 11, 2011

Season four of CHUCK has been filled with so many double crosses and “are they bad or are they not bad” scenarios that “Vs. The Family Volkoff” is the final straw.

Just be rehashing these familiar themes, it comes off as incredibly annoying as it runs this familiar back and forth into the ground.

In the last first run episode “Vs. The Muuurder”, it was discovered that Vivian Vokoff (Lauren Cohan), the daughter of Season 4 Big Bad Alexei Volkoff (Timothy Dalton) was out to kill Chuck because he put her dad away.

Well, she’s up to her old tricks again in “Vs. The Family Volkoff”. There’s a hit out on her from the government, but Chuck still believes in her good nature. He wants to reason with her. She offers up a device of her father’s for immunity, which requires Alexei to be released for 48 hrs. from a high-tech security prison to help them find the missing pieces.

They travel the globe with one of the most ruthless criminals who should be in jail?!?

Only on TV. Sadly, only on TV.

Ultimately, Vivian double crosses both Chuck, Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) and Casey (Adam Baldwin) but also her father. She wants the Volkoff organization all to herself because now she’s EVIL.

There are HUGE problems with this episode, first and foremost Vivian’s about-face into Darth Vader territory. Frankly, the woman we saw a few episodes back is not the same one she’s become. And it’s impossible to believe she’s changed this much in such a short amount of time  just because Chuck put her father in jail. Remember this is a father she didn’t even know existed. It’s too preposterous. She was either evil from the beginning or not. No one would ever go off the deep end that fast unless they were already screwed up to begin with. If she really had that evil Volkoff gene – it’s not latent, she would have been a raging monster prior to that if she took after her father.

It also seems Volkoff has turned a new leaf in prison and is trying to make amends, especially with his daughter. Ugh!

Throw in Sarah trying to get Chuck to sign a pre-nup (another terribly lame “pre-marriage” subplot that goes nowhere) and what we’re left with are only two satisfactory elements in another otherwise dreadful episode.

The first is the possibility that Casey and his daughter Alex (Mekenna Melvin) may finally go to Alex’s mother and tell her the truth that her long-thought dead husband is still alive (that would be Casey). Finally some Casey stuff, and some meaty stuff too. Also, the morning breakfast with Morgan (Joshua Gomez) and Casey is one of the best little bits on CHUCK all season.

Meanwhile, Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) has cracked her father’s computer files and is on to the fact that her mom (Linda Hamilton) tried to erase the files off the hard drive. She’s getting close to the information about the Intersect, and if she finds out more, she’ll learn that Chuck IS the Intersect.

There’s also more rumblings of an Agent X, who Vivian Volkoff wants to kill. How much you want to make a bet that Ellie ends up being Agent X?

Should be interesting.

Otherwise though, “Vs. The Family Volkoff” is a painfully nonsense driven episode that’s now grasping at straws in an attempt to round out the last part of the season with an adequate storyline. I hated seeing Alexei neutered like this and I hate to see a character like Vivian so poorly put together with motivations that are as thin as a the plot of any of the SAW sequels.

Double ugh!

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