Inevitable. After several episodes with the emotional content cranked up, plus the payoff episode last week with the HoneyMooners, the show had to come back to earth. Not unexpected and it occurs with every show and story. After hitting the heights for so long, a coming back to earth type of reckoning is as inevitable as the force of gravity. This is a transitional episode which is necessary to start laying the groundwork for the next big storyline.
Chuck Versus the Role Models is a stand alone episode that does little to advance the show mythology and dishes out a generic mission which leaves it hobbled out of the gate. Stand alone episodes can be good episodes just as much as mythology ones. Especially if an episode directly impacts or involves one of the Team Bartowski members in a personal manner. Best Friend and Tic Tac are examples of stand alones that do a great job. Sizzling Shrimp is one that never did and now it has company with the Role Models.
Role Models, like the previous three episodes, starts out of the gate very strong with a hilarious Morgan dream induced send up of the 80s, ‘Hart to Hart’ TV show intro with Chuck and Sarah taking over the Wagner and Powers roles plus Morgan doing his best to invoke Lionel Standish. The next scene with Morgan at the fridge bumping into a scantily clad Sarah is also fun. Chuck and Sarah continue to dispel any issues about the two of them being together hurting the show.
Everything is played for laughs in this episode; a no fuss, no muss approach. So Sarah’s hidden gun cache and her initial reluctance to move in stir no dramatic interest as they are both casually dealt with. Too bad about the gun issue. Right now Team Bartowski has been left with a situation where Casey and Sarah handle all the dirty work. This could be a good source of ongoing conflict between Chuck and Sarah but it for now it looks like the show is going to steer clear of it.
The concept of Fred Willard and Swoosie Kurtz playing a mature version of Chuck and Sarah; with Udo Keir and a tiger thrown in, reads like a gold mine on paper. Sadly, the execution did not have that same gold sheen. Willard and Kurtz have their moments, but their storyline never engaged or surprised or brought the amount of humor that was anticipated.
The Casey and Morgan moments thankfully do. Morgan’s failures at all his training exercises were well done. However Casey’s, ‘heart to heart,’ with Morgan and approval of Morgan’s training were too much even in a light episode like this one. Morgan may indeed be a diamond in the rough but it would have been preferable to find a honest way to have him pass his training. At this rate of concession, can Jeff and Lester be far behind in joining the team? ( I kid! I kid.)
Another bit of a head scratcher was the sending off of Ellie and Devon to Africa via the Doctor Without Borders program only to have them come back in the same episode. It must be surmised that this storyline was originally envisioned to kick off the Fourth Season when the initial thirteen Season Three episodes were ordered. Whatever is going to happen in the next four episodes must require their immediate return.
- Third great opening sequence in a row – Morgan’s Hart to Hart dream with Chuck and Sarah
- Morgan’s bedroom decor – including sparkly alarm clock
- Pyjama wearing Morgan – a concession on his part – bumping into a scantily clad Sarah by the fridge – Vitamin Ds!
- Congratulations Warren Beatty!
- 30 Foot Rule Versus the Bartowski Rule
- Craig/Laura Turner aka George/Bitsy Witherspoon aka John/Suzie Smythe
- Diamond in the rough. Very, very rough. I’m sure you’ll make him sparkle.
- Chuck channelling Ellie as he cleans up waiting for the Turners to arrive
- Morgan being trained in the BuyMore by Casey
- Udo Kier! – as Otto Von Vogel
- This is how I deal with stress.
- Doctor, super fantastic, white person.
- Morgan’s gun training – video game knowledge vs reality
- Morgan’s ‘bravery’ with the tiger
- Sarah stepping in to ‘explain’ the Turners’s mission plan to Beckman
- The handing off of the spy couple baton from the Turners to the Bartowskis
‘Chuck Versus The Role Models’ is a solid, albeit inconsequential, episode. It has the misfortune of following the superior efforts from The Other Guy and The HoneyMooners. For those that prefer lighter episodes and enjoy the relational aspects of the show they are sure to find much to be happy with this one. There is continuing proof that putting show leads together is not the kiss of death. Plus the opening of acting manuveuring room for Yvonne Strahovski continues to reap benefits for the Sarah Walker character.
For those that prefer the mythology based episodes or ones that tackle character issues in a more grounded manner, take heart, more engrossing times are ahead based on the preview for the next episode. Things should start revving up once again.