25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: CHUCK – CHUCK VERSUS THE SANTA CLAUS

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CAST

Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
Ryan McPartlin (J. Edgar)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Scott Krinsky (Transformers 3)
Vik Sahay (eXistenZ)
Bonita Friedericy (Veronica Mars)
Julia Ling (Love Sick Diaries)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Tony Hale (The Heat)
Jed Rees (Deadpool)
Reginald VelJohnson (Die Hard)
Michael Rooker (Guardians of The Galaxy)

The morning before Christmas, a high-speed chase occurs near a Burbank, California shopping center, ultimately ending with the fugitive crashing his car through the Buy More front doors. Nathan “Needlenose Ned” Rhyerson (Jed Rees) exits the car and, desperate to buy presents for his children, takes Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi), Ellie Bartowski (Sarah Lancaster), Devon Woodcomb (Ryan McPartlin), and all the Buy More employees hostage. Ned communicates with the police via Chuck, and LAPD Lieutenant Frank Mauser (Michael Rooker) negotiates the release of Emmett Milbarge (Tony Hale) as a sign of good faith.

Meanwhile, Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski) and John Casey (Adam Baldwin) watch news coverage of the situation and sneak into the store to rescue Chuck so that the media attention does not compromise his cover, only to be thwarted by Ned. Suddenly, Mauser exchanges himself for two hostages: Chuck’s handlers Casey and Sarah.


When Mauser enters, Chuck flashes on his watch, identifying him as a Fulcrum agent. Mauser tells Chuck that he knows that Casey and Sarah are CIA and that they are protecting an unknown asset. He reveals that Ned is a Fulcrum agent who caused the disturbance so Mauser could infiltrate the Buy More. At this point, it is revealed that Ned is far more competent than the hostages were led to believe, having intentionally shot Casey in the foot and separated Chuck from his handlers. Mauser threatens to shoot the hostages if Chuck does not reveal where Bryce Larkin and the government database the Intersect are. Chuck reveals to Mauser that the Intersect has been uploaded to his brain. As Mauser escorts him from the Buy More, Chuck urges Devon to disarm Ned. As Chuck is taken in an ambulance to a Fulcrum facility, Devon, Jeff Barnes (Scott Krinsky), Lester Patel (Vik Sahay), Big Mike (Mark Christopher Lawrence), and Morgan Grimes (Joshua Gomez) make a plan. Lester unsuccessfully tries to tackle Ned, but Morgan manages to distract Ned long for Big Mike and Devon to tackle him and end the hostage situation.

Meanwhile, Sarah and Casey learn that Ned is unmarried and had earlier called Mauser rather than his wife, as the hostages were led to believe. They follow the ambulance containing Chuck and Mauser and shoot its tires, sending the vehicle into a Christmas tree lot and allowing Chuck to escape. After a brief fight, Mauser surrenders, confident that Fulcrum will rescue him. To protect Chuck, Sarah executes Mauser. Unknown to Sarah, Chuck watches the entire confrontation in horror from afar. She lies to Chuck and tells him that Mauser has been arrested. At the Buy More, Ellie and Morgan’s girlfriend Anna Wu (Julia Ling) praise Lester for his act of bravery. Morgan watches as Lester grabs Anna and kisses her, turning away before Anna pulls away from Lester in disgust. The episode closes with both Morgan and Chuck heartbroken, Morgan believing Anna to be unfaithful, and Chuck believing Sarah to be a murderer.

Chuck vs. Santa Claus is a great episode. It’s got twists, turns, Fulcrum agents, and a heady does of sappy TV holiday spirit. Everyone in Chuck’s life is rounded up in one place in a hostage situation, bringing the peril ever closer (and personal) to the guy. And characteristic of the rest of the show, it’s got geeky shoutouts, too; I love that the hostage-taker is named Ned Ryerson. Which brings us to the gem in this crown: it’s the “Die Hard” episode. And it doesn’t take that lightly, either. It weaves the hostage scenario into the overall serialized plot, the humor therein is great, and they actually brought in Reginald VelJohnson to reprise his “Die Hard” role. That’s right, he’s actually Officer Al Powell! And they made him Big Mike’s cousin!

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: CHUCK – CHUCK VERSUS THE CROWN VIC

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CAST

Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ryan McPartlin (J. Edgar)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Scott Krinsky (Transformers 3)
Vik Sahay (eXistenZ)
Bonita Friedericy (Veronica Mars)
Julia Ling (Love Sick Diaries)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
Michael Wiseman (Vegas)

chuck-vs-the-crown-vic-chuck-and-sarah-677994_400_225Chuck escorts Lester and Jeff to do an install on a private boat owned by philanthropist Lon Kirk (Michael Wiseman) to keep the two out of trouble. However Jeff and Lester still go below deck, where they find men counting a substantial amount of money. Chuck flashes on one of the bills and realizes that it’s counterfeit. Beckman begins to brief Chuck and Casey, but Sarah—who skipped work at the Wienerlicious—is absent. The two attempt to cover for her before she arrives late. Beckman orders Chuck and Sarah to infiltrate a charity casino being run by Kirk to investigate the counterfeiting operation. Chuck later remarks to Sarah how he expected her to be “halfway to Bryce,” but she tells him that this is her assignment. Regardless, the situation between them remains strained and is only made worse when, at the charity event that night, Chuck grows increasingly jealous while Sarah flirts with Kirk as part of the operation. He loses $100,000 at a roulette wheel as a result of trying to show up the philanthropist, but also flashes on an attache to the Taiwanese ambassador, whom he sees Kirk arguing with.
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The next morning Chuck watches Casey washing his prized 1985 Crown Vic, and asks what Beckman meant by Sarah using any means necessary to get close to Kirk as part of her investigation. Casey plays on Chuck’s jealousy by telling him Sarah will be seducing Kirk. Chuck goes back to work, where Morgan, who is having lunch with Anna and her parents, calls him to say he thinks he sees Sarah on someone’s boat. Chuck heads down to the marina to check up on things, while Casey angrily shows him a full team is in place keeping watch on things. Just as Kirk and Sarah are on their way below deck, one of Kirk’s men is bringing a crate on board which triggers a flash. Chuck believes the crate contains the counterfeit plates. The team moves in based on the Intersect intel, but discover medical supplies instead. Due to the humiliation of the botched op, Beckman benches the team.
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An angry Sarah, professing to believe that Chuck’s flash was faked out of jealousy, confronts him. He insists it was genuine. The heated discussion turns towards Bryce and their kiss,[1] and soon leads to an argument when Chuck asks if she had kissed him when they thought they were going to die because he just happened to be there, or if she actually felt something for him. Sarah angrily tells him it was a mistake that would not be repeated. During a briefing with Beckman and Graham, Casey and Sarah both appear suspicious that Chuck’s flash was fraudulent because of his jealousy. Afterward, an annoyed Casey demands to know if Sarah compromised herself with Chuck. Sarah somberly asks Casey if he’s ever wanted to have a normal life, to which he responds that sacrificing that to protect the nation and its people was the right choice. Sarah agrees to talk to Chuck, and if she cannot fix things, will request reassignment.
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Chuck returns to work where Morgan sends him a picture of himself taking a cruise with Anna and her parents, and catches a glimpse of one of Kirk’s crates. Chuck realizes Kirk put the counterfeit plates on the boat belonging to the attache whom Anna’s parents work for, but Casey refuses to act since Beckman has benched the team. Chuck then turns to Sarah, who initially tries to postpone the conversation. Chuck insists anyway, and after explaining and telling her Morgan and Anna are on the boat, she unhesitatingly jumps to help (against standing orders from Beckman and Graham). They are joined by Casey at the marina, who also decides to disregard his orders and join them in stopping Kirk. Chuck spots and flashes on a GPS transponder fixed to the Tawainese attache’s boat, and when he also flashes on a crate Kirk is loading onto his own boat, realizes that he’s going to destroy the plates and kill the attache, along with Morgan, Anna and her parents.
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While Sarah and Chuck use their cover to distract Kirk (Sarah wanting to go with Kirk, and Chuck as her jealous boyfriend), Casey sneaks aboard and disables the guards. A fight breaks out and Kirk disappears into the cabin. Chuck pursues him, but is nearly hit when Kirk fires off the missile (knocking himself unconscious from the blast at the same time). Casey and Sarah secure the boat, but the missile is now homing in on the GPS beacon. Chuck resets the missile’s homing device, but this sends it back to them. With no other choice, Chuck uses the GPS built into Casey’s Crown Vic and redirects the missile, destroying the car. Later at the Buy More holiday party, Chuck and Sarah reconcile their relationship and agree to remain friends. Meanwhile, Beckman calls Casey to inform him the new Intersect is nearly ready and that it would soon be time to “take care of Bartowski.”

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Another entertaining episode of “Chuck”. Loved hearing an approximation (to avoid copyright infringement) of the “James Bond Theme” as we see Chuck enter a casino with Sarah and say his alias like James Bond would say his own name when introducing himself. Morgan himself was hilarious when trying to impress Anna’s parents especially when he smokes a pipe and mentions Popeye as the person he idolized when he did that! The Buy More Christmas…uh, Holiday party was also pretty funny with the dreidel gambling and Run-DMC’s Christmas song playing in the background.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: CHUCK – CHUCK VERSUS THE SANDWORM

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CHUCK VERSUS THE SANDWORM

CAST
Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
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GUEST CAST

Jonathan Sadowski (She’s The Man)
C.S. Lee (Dexter)
Bonita Friedericy (Next)
David Burke (The Tick)
Ryan McPartin (Fuller House)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Terminator 2)
Vik Sahay (eXistenZ)
Scott Krinsky (Transformers 3)
Julia Ling (Undoing)
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As the episode begins, a secret bunker out in the desert explodes and a disheveled young man fights his way past an armed agent to escape. In Burbank Chuck is approached by Big Mike regarding the pending interviews for the store’s Assistant Manager position, and warns him Morgan is a liability to him. Morgan is supposed to be working a double-shift, so Chuck is asked to track him down. He finds him playing video games out at an arcade built at the Santa Monica Pier, where he flashes on Morgan’s opponent: the young man from the opening, who Chuck identifies as Laszlo Mahnovski. Laszlo recognizes Chuck’s watch and flees.
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Chuck checks in with Sarah, and she confirms they are looking into the situation and gives him a picture of them cosplaying as Han Solo and Princess Leia at Comic-Con, which Chuck laments makes them almost look like a real couple. The next morning Casey angrily confronts Chuck about not being contacted. During a briefing Beckman confirms that Laszlo is a government technology wizard who recently killed and escaped from the team handling him, and is believed to be highly dangerous. Laszlo tracks Chuck to the Buy More and claims he was framed. Laszlo’s situation mirrors Chuck’s own, so he begins to trust the rogue asset and takes him to get something to eat. Laszlo reveals he was recruited at the pier where Chuck first identified him, and that he was responsible for any technology the government needed, including Chuck’s watch. Laszlo is so sheltered he doesn’t even understand the reference Chuck makes to him being like Q. Laszlo then warns him he shouldn’t even trust his own handlers.
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Chuck returns home to find that, as Laszlo predicted, his home has been bugged, even the picture Sarah gave him. Chuck angrily confronts Casey, who acknowledges the bugs are there for Chuck’s protection. Casey asks how he knew, and Chuck admits to having spoken with Laszlo. Chuck returns home again to find Laszlo in his room, and despite Chuck’s continued protests that his handlers can help, the rogue doesn’t believe him. Instead, Chuck agrees to hide Laszlo at the Buy More, where they watch A View to a Kill, as Laszlo has never seen a Bond movie. However, Laszlo interprets Max Zorin as the real hero, as he relates to his being the subject of government experimentation. He then reveals that he designed the Home Theater room and that it’s capable of tapping into military computers. Laszlo upgrades a nuclear-armed B-2 bomber to active status and sends it to bomb San Francisco, in honor of Max Zorin who attempted to destroy Silicon Valley (and inadvertently, San Francisco) in “A View to a Kill”, but relents when Chuck suggests he might enjoy Goldfinger. Meanwhile, Sarah is contacted by Agent Ben Katz, Laszlo’s chief handler, who warns her that Laszlo is dangerous and may be building a bomb.
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She leaves Chuck a voicemail warning him to get to his car and stay there. Chuck complies after checking his mail when Laszlo’s instability was revealed and he ran to get a copy of Goldfinger to distract him, but Laszlo is already there and takes control of the Herder. After a short chase with Casey, Laszlo ejects Chuck from the vehicle. At home, Chuck apologizes to Sarah for not trusting them and she sees that he threw away the fake picture of them together. The Herder’s tracking device reactivates, but when Sarah and Casey track it down they discover that Laszlo had removed it and thrown in onto another vehicle. Chuck flashes on a drawing Laszlo gave him and realizes that he intends to blow up the pier. Chuck arrives in time for Laszlo to activate the Herder’s amplified self-destruct device and begins to taunt Chuck on which wire to cut. When Laszlo makes a reference to Goldfinger—a film that he claimed to have never seen—Chuck realizes Laszlo had been lying to him all along, so he ignores Laszlo’s suggestion to cut the red wire, and cuts the green wire instead. The bomb is disarmed, and Laszlo is taken into custody.
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Chuck was a great series and will always remain a highlight for me, the first Halloween was great and seeing Sarah dresses Princess Leia was an extra highlight.

REVIEW: CHUCK – SEASON 1

CAST
Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS
Ryan McPartlin (J. Edgar)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Scott Krinsky (Transformers 3)
Vik Sahay (eXistenZ)
Julia Ling (Undoing)
Bonita Friedericy (Veronica Mars)
Tony Todd (The Flash)
C.S. Lee (Dexter)
Matthew Bomer (Tru Calling)
Rachel Bilson (Jumper)
Anthony Ruivivar (Beauty and The Beast 2012)
Mini Anden (The Proposal)
Jim Pirri (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Matthew Willig (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Gwendoline Yeo (American Crime)
James Hong (Blade Runner)
Jonathan Sadowski (She’s The Man)
Kevin Weisman (Alias)
Odessa Rae (Movie 43)
David Burke (The Tick)
Ivana Milicevic (Casino Royale)
Noureen DeWulf (Anger Management)
Chuck Bartowski’s (Zachary Levi) life was going no where fast. True, he is head of the Nerd Herd at his local Buy More. But he lives with his sister Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) and her boyfriend Devon (aka Captain Awesome, played by Ryan McPartlin). His best friend is Morgan (Joshua Gomez), a fellow nerd who also works at Buy More.

But things change drastically when Chuck gets an e-mail from former friend Bryce Larkin. The e-mail contains all the files of the intersect, the complete intelligence files of both the CIA and the NSA. And, to make things more exciting, Bryce has destroyed the original files.

All the information gets downloaded into Chuck’s brain, making him a highly valuable government secret. So valuable that he has two bodyguards, Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski), a CIA agent who pretends to be Chuck’s girlfriend, and John Casey (Adam Baldwin), a NSA who moves in next door to Chuck and takes a job at Buy More.

Whenever Chuck sees something from the intersect, he flashes on more information. Unfortunately, these flashes are at random and uncontrollable. And Los Angeles seems to be a hot bed of activity. Even with two agents guarding him, Chuck finds himself in over his head with his new life as a spy. Can he survive and keep his secret?

Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking. The premise sounds unbelievable. And if you stop and think about it, it is. Fortunately, the show never gives you time to think. They cram everything into these episodes. There’s action and intrigue, developing storylines involving the intersect and Chuck’s past, romance with Sarah that she is not willing to admit is there, and plenty of laughs. Many of the laughs come from the sub-plots focused on the Buy More. But we also get laughs from Chuck’s reaction to his new world. But in case this all sounds disjointed, let me assure you it works beautifully. Everything is balanced and blended so that it seamlessly flows from one event to the next. And the characters are outstanding. Honestly, that is what holds all of this together. Even gruff Casey is fun when it comes down to it.