Last night's Chuck seemed to have it all: A quiet new status quo for the series, new headquarters, Melinda Clarke camping it up as a Russian vamp and even some convincing character development. So why did it frustrate everyone by ending up back where it started? Spoilers await for those who followed Charlie's advice and have the show on TiVo.The main problem the show appears to be suffering from this season is being too aware of its format - For every sign that the characters are moving forward, some awkward circumstance will appear to pull them back into their pre-assigned roles; take Sarah and Chuck's relationship, for example - it's gotten to the point where it's obvious to the two of them that they should be together, and yet just when they're about to do something about it, Bryce reappears. It's obviously meant to be some kind of post-irony use of soap opera, but it just comes across as contrived. This isn't another Moonlighting where, if the two leads get together the show will be ruined, but coming up with more and more unlikely reasons to keep the two apart is going to get very tired, very quickly.
I really enjoyed the episode, I thought John Laroquette looked great and did a superb job...I'd like to see him come back.
I understand the one step forward, two step back frustration, but it is a reminder that this is exactly what Chuck's life is. He's stuck in a position where he can't be the spy (too valuable as Intel guy), he can't leave his job (easier to keep him there), and he can't get the girl.
I think they do need to focus a little more on the Buy-More and Morgan, though. Chuck's best friend has been wiped clean so far, and it's like Chuck doesn't work there anymore. Nerd Herd!