Vacuum Packed – Ep. 4.18 – Chuck Vs The A Team

Written by Phil Klemmer

Directed by Kevin Mock

Serialized vs Stand Alone.

As a series Chuck has flipped between these two types of story telling approaches with mixed results. Even the most ardent fan will recognize the inconsistencies that have cropped up over the past four seasons in the show’s mythos. These become even more pronounced when the stand alone episodes try to operate in a vacuum, ignoring or contradicting previously established show mythology and history.

That the Intersect was something so overwhelmingly complex that only a unique individual could withstand having it inserted into their brain has been long abandoned by the show. The number of people that can survive being Intersected increases with each season. What was once postulated being unique to Chuck, his brain’s ability to absorb being Intersected without harmful or fatal effects, is now commonplace. Now the show conceit has shrunk down to that it is Chuck himself that is special as a person. His personality and set of moral ethics is what makes him the only one that can handle having the Intersect in his head without losing his humanity. Time after time Chuck’s specialness is ignored by the Intelligence Agencies Power Brokers when new Intersects are desired.

It would seem that the recent economic downturn has also affected the available number of bad guys too. In the pilot the goal was to be able to produce an army of Intersected Agents to protect the free world. Now, contradicting that original goal, there are only enough bad guys to keep one Intersect team employed.

The A Team.

The setup of having Chuck and Sarah demoted to the Dog Walking Team does not bear up even under the most cursory examination. All the success history of Team Bartowski is also ignored so the new A Team can arise and replace them. Of course, all this suspect situational setup is irrelevant to the viewer if it leads to entertaining story results. I found the results mildly entertaining with the Hurt Locker Chuck bomb defusing scene at the climax the definite highlight.

Another problematic aspect of this episode is the muddied motivations of why Casey joined the new team. The show wants to set up tension between Casey and his old team mates but the show cannot make Casey out to be a bad guy. So they gloss over Casey’s motivations for dumping Chuck and Sarah. His third wheel laments make little sense when we find out he has left to helm a team of two Intersects. If he felt like a third wheel on Team Bartowski with one Intersect how does this move to the new team make any sense? So the whole exercise of having Casey sneaking off to lead the new team is to create pointless false drama.

Episode Flashes: Add your own in the comments.

  • Morgan almost gaining control over his torture peeing problem
  • Missionless Chuck and Sarah bored and playing board games
  • Morgan describing Casey as his domestic partner
  • the new A Team – Rick & Vicki
  • the Jana extraction assignment turns out to be a real ‘dog’ of a mission
  • stir crazy Ellie wants the Orion laptop
  • Ellie seduces Jeff and Lester…. again
  • Jeff the Psychic
  • CBS approved bio-residue scanning goggles
  • Lecter-like plexiglass jail cell in the new Castle wing
  • Hurt Locker Chuck and the Apple Juice solution
  • iPhone bomb detonator
  • Chuck is now Overseer of all Intersect Projects
  • the Gretas relief at having the Intersect removed
  • Ellie gets the Orion laptop as Bentley does an end run around Beckman and Chuck

Just Like Old Times

There was some interesting stuff at the end of this episode. Ellie being given the Orion laptop by Bentley certainly sets up some intriguing story possibilities. What was a throw away line by Captain Rick about feeling bad for Chuck having the Intersect in his head really grabbed my interest. It is doubtful the show will pursue that comment any further but an exploration of the burden of Chuck having an Intersect is one that I would find fascinating.

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