In this second half of its fourth season, ‘Chuck’ has been really uneven in quality. From week-to-week, the show bounces from really fun to kind of disappointing and back again. Fortunately, last Monday’s new episode fell on the better side of that spectrum. Although hardly one of the show’s best, it’s at least a solid episode all around.
In ‘Chuck vs. the Muuurder’, Gen. Beckman has put Chuck in charge of the Intersect project, much to the annoyance of Director Bentley (Robin Givens). After Bentley’s failure with the Gretas, Beckman orders Team Bartowski to find a new suitable Intersect candidate – one whose brain activity matches Chuck’s as closely as possible. “We need you to find more Chucks,” she says.
Thus begins the recruitment and testing and four CIA agents who seem like potentially good fits. They’re all pretty sketchily drawn personalities. One is a priss with a British accent (but who isn’t actually British). One’s a girl who turns ridiculously emotional on the drop of a dime. One hairy guy looks so much like a terrorist that people run screaming at the sight of him. Finally, there’s a nerd who looks and acts like a perfect clone of Chuck in every way. It should be pretty clear which one Chuck likes best.
When Chuck’s favorite gets bumped off and someone plants a bomb in Castle, the team goes into lockdown mode. The episode then turns into an Agatha Christie parlor room mystery (hence the title). Chuck has to deduce the killer as the body count rises. At first, all signs point to Bentley as the culprit, then to the not-really-British guy. In the end, it turns out that the terrorist-looking dude really is a terrorist. This isn’t all that difficult to guess. When interrogated, he confesses that Vivian Volkoff paid him to get revenge on the CIA for arresting her father.
The outcome of all this is that Chuck learns some valuable lessons about leadership. He and Bentley also make peace after she valiantly locks herself in a sealed room with a bomb, and Chuck pulls her out at the last second. The bomb causes the destruction of Bentley’s wing in Castle. Beckman cancels the new Intersect project.
Upstairs, the Buy More staff gets caught up in a pranking competition with rival LargeMart. Jeff and Lester kidnap the LargeMart mascot, a teacup pig named Kevin Bacon. In retaliation, LargeMart goons kidnap Big Mike, who’s been wearing a “BM” costume. (The episode is filled with bowel movement puns.) The pig gets loose into the Castle duct system and must be rescued by Chuck. Big Mike pretty easily saves himself.
In the other side story, Ellie has been working to decipher her father’s research on the laptop. Awesome is freaked out by this, and asks Chuck what to do. Chuck instructs him to swap out the laptop’s hard drive with a blank one and tell her that the computer must have gone defective again. Awesome tells Chuck that he did this, but really couldn’t bear to disappoint Ellie, who seems to have found some purpose in the work.
As I said, this isn’t quite up there with the show’s best episodes, but it’s pretty entertaining and well put together. The show just really needs to work on its consistency at this point.
[Banner image screen cap from ChuckTV.net.]