Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Onward if Not Exactly Upward - Chuck season 3

With three episodes of the new season aired so far, I'm glad Chuck is back, but I have to admit I'm a little disappointed.

Season 2 left off with our intrepid geek having been loaded with version 2 of the intercept, endowing him (Matrix-like, if temporarily) with an astounding array of new abilities and knowledge with the potential of making him the uber-spy.

The problem is all of the qualifications the writers have put on Chuck's ability to use intercept.2. He has the potential for an increadible change of life, but it doesn't happen because frequently he can't make the thing work. Because of this, the addition of abilities like kung fu to his storehouse of secrets, doesn't much change his character. The only real difference is that now the others have added "Come on, Chuck, you can do it!" to their mantra of "Flash on it, Chuck!". It's like he's the Greatest American Hero doing well enough with the magic jammies, rather than excelling as much as he would if he hadn't lost the manual.

The consequence is that he flunks out of spy school and has to go back to his Nerd Herd double-life. His role in the team dynamic and in the field is pretty much the same as before too.

Moreover, his relationship with Sarah is, ultimately unchanged, with the two of them pining for one-another while pretending they're just friends and work associates who are pretending to be lovers.

So, at this point at least, season 3 is pretty much the same as seasons 1 & 2. There's been no significant character or plot development.

Which is too bad, because these things are possible in a geek-struggling-to-deal-with-being-thrown-into-a-big-dangerous-strange-life show like this. Look at Reaper. Sam's life got thrown into deep water, but he (and other characters) changed over the course of its two seasons. Sam got the girl, grew into his powers, and started to take the offensive in getting out of his contract with the devil. There were signs that had the show continued (and maybe it will, I'm not up on the latest gossip about whether it'll get renewed) he would have continued to adapt as a character and change his role.

Chuck hasn't done that.

That being said, Chuck is one of the most entertaining shows on the tube right now, and I'll certainly keep watching. I just hope that instead of serving us the same-old-same-old, the writers will allow Chuck to evolve a little.

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