Stars: Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski, Joshua Gomez, Adam Baldwin, Vik Sahay, Scott Krinsky, Mark Christopher Lawrence, Ryan McPartlin
Writer: Rafe Judkins and Lauren LeFranc
Director: Matt Barber
Network: NBC, airs Friday nights
Original Telecast: December 30, 2011
For its fifth and final season CHUCK has been firing on all cylinders, wrapping up loose plot threads, bringing back important characters and essentially building up a place where our characters (we hope) will live in some sort of form of happily ever after once the finale is over.
This week with “Vs. The Baby”, we’re into a very Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) centered episode. At the end of last week, Shaw (Brandon Routh) mentioned something about “the baby” and we were unsure if this was Sarah’s baby, Sarah and Shaw’s baby or something entirely different.
That pay-off is finally here as we learn what went down in Budapest five years ago. Essentially, Sarah’s former handler Kieran Ryker (Tim DeKay) sent her on a rogue mission for his own gain. It involved killing a bunch of bad guys and nabbing the “package” which turned out to be an innocent baby. The baby was an heir to tons of money and Shaw was going to exploit that and Sarah, realizing she’s been duped, wouldn’t let that happen. She hid the baby with her mom (Cheryl Ladd, in a great bit of casting) and never saw either of them again (in order to protect them).
Now her former handler realizes the baby is still out there and Sarah knows where it is. She brings Chuck (Zachary Levi) and Casey (Adam Baldwin) into the mix, but doesn’t reveal the whole story (secrets, you know).
By episode’s end, Sarah fixes everything, reveals the truth to Chuck and comes to her own revelation – that she doesn’t want to rejoin the CIA (they were asked back last week). She likes what Chuck has done to change her for the better and in many ways, she’s ready to have the family she never thought she would have.
There’s some reconciliation between Morgan (Joshua Gomez) and former girlfriend Alex (Mekenna Melvin) as they work through their troubles. And Sarah finally reunites with her mom and her new five-year old “sister.”
Wonderfully written and filled with a ton of emotional punch, “Vs. The Baby” is CHUCK at its best. Even though it’s heavy on the character moments, it also offers up two really phenomenal action sequences. The opening teaser set in Budapest with Sarah storming the lion’s den by herself and kicking major action ass provides some movie-caliber gunplay. It’s really well directed by CHUCK editor Matt Barber who takes the directorial reigns for the first time. There’s also a fabulous fight between Sarah and Ryker at the end that starts in a kitchen (using everyday kitchen items as weapons) and ends up with them slamming through a wall.
I love Ladd as Sarah’s mom. It’s nice to have a CHARLIE’S ANGELS shout-out, even if her mom is more mild-mannered than Ladd could have played it.
I’m also impressed with how this season has handled the Chuck/Sarah relationship issues. Last year, things were way too clunky on that front – almost to a point of frustration at how the writers were hitting home a theme so hard that it started to hurt the core Chuck/Sarah relationship, not help it.
It’s also refreshing to see that the writers are refraining from giving Chuck the Intersect again – and instead, allowing him to truly grow into a spy all on his own. It’s been a gradual adjustment, but there are no easy way outs here with this. In order for the show to retain its credibility, Chuck needs to remain Intersect-less until the very last frame of Season 5. The series is about him growing up, having a family and a real job and in order to do that, he needs to continue to do that on his own terms, with his own brain and own puny powers (even though he’s proving to be a pretty good match in a fist fight).
Next week, we get a Casey-centric episode and the tease that Sarah may be pregnant. Can’t wait.
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Article: TV Review: CHUCK – Season 5 – “Vs. The Baby”