Chuck – Chuck Versus The Living Dead (S03E17) – Episode review

With the surprise news that NBC have renewed Chuck for a 13-episode fourth season, the onus was on Chuck Versus The Living Dead to be pretty damned good.

My reviews of the show in recent weeks have been less than enthusiastic as it felt like the series was spinning its wheels. Yet this latest episode raised the stakes and drew me back in again.

Quick recap: Chuck’s sister Ellie is still being played by Justin The Ring Agent, and on his advice contacts her father thinking she’s keeping him safe but is actually leading the bad guys straight to him. Chuck decides to find out if his dream about Shaw being alive is correct, but hides this from Sarah. Well, until she extracts the information from a guilty Morgan.

In the Buy More, Jeffster face their biggest threat yet – a management deal. Big Mike offers to represent the duo, but Lester inexplicably decides to walk away rather then “bow to the man”. Jeff goes solo. It’s a bizarre little distraction that offers a some light humour, but I think people are getting increasingly tired of the sideshow that is the Buy More.

Oh, yeah, and Chuck Versus The Living Dead sees the return of Scott Bakula as Chuck’s father, Stephen Bartowski. I think his very presence lends weight to the episode, as Chuck is forced to hide the knowledge that Intersect 2.0 is inside his head. However, the clues soon start mounting up, and he confronts Chuck by throwing a knife at his face and watching the Intersect take care of catching it with lightning-fast reflexes.

Where the show gets exciting is in Ellie putting a tracking bug on her own father. She’s clearly going to be mortified at her own hand in this. Or – what would make it really interesting – what if the Ring manage to continue to dupe Ellie, but to convince her that her father and Chuck are terrorists and to pit her up against them? She’s clearly got a knack for deception! Just a thought, although I expect credit, OK producers?

Certainly, there’s a lot of scope in the storyline with Ellie. Peter Brown on If Magazine is convinced that someone in Ellie’s sphere is going to get offed at some point in the next episode. Now, with Ellie unwittingly locked in a Ring office, Shaw absorbing the Intersect, and the spy team seemingly out of the loop, the stage is set for a fantastic follow-on episode.

Chuck Versus The Living Dead was a major improvement on the previous few weeks, and I find myself already thinking forward to how the series might evolve for next year. Let’s talk about that in a separate post though!

Quotes from Chuck Versus The Living Dead

  • Morgan: “He fell into a river? Well of course Shaw’s alive – haven’t you ever seen a John Carpenter movie?”
  • Casey: “Reviewing pictures of people you’ve killed? I do that myself from time to time.”
  • Chuck’s Dad sees Sarah’s martial arts skills: “Does she have the Intersect too?” Chuck: “No Dad, that’s just her.”
  • Big Mike passes on his stage costume: “I can’t wear this anymore, but you have the hips of a 6 year old girl. Wear it.”

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