Inane Chatter - Chuck 5.01 - Chuck vs. the Zoom

Here we have the very first review by one of our new Chuck contributors. You may know her as @ShoeLin_1685 on Twitter, but here on the blog, we just know her as Shoe. And Shoe has written us a wonderful review of Chuck vs. the Zoom.

Read more and find out what she thought of the episode after the jump.

Hey y'all! I'm Shoe and yes, I say y'all because I’m from Texas. Frea has asked me, as well as BdaddyDL, to give our reactions to this season’s Chuck episodes. I have a tendency to go lengthy on reviews, so here we go with my review of "Chuck versus the Zoom!"

After being kicked out of the CIA, Team Bartowski decided to form a fledgling spies-for-hire company called Carmichael Industries. Morgan accidentally downloaded the Intersect at the end of “Chuck versus the Cliffhanger” and now has to undergo some growing pains as he adjusts to his newly acquired abilities. Chuck must come to terms with Morgan being the new Intersect, and also wants to give Sarah her dream house.

Things have not been going according to plan for Carmichael Industries, which is shown at the beginning of the episode with Chuck and Sarah admiring a beach view and...a few bad guys and guns. Of course, Chuck & Sarah don't wear their wedding rings while on a mission, but Jean Claude picks up on them being a married couple, without really caring about who they are. It's interesting to see Mark Hamill as a bad guy—I cannot get Luke Skywalker out of my mind, and he was definitely using the darker side of the Force in his cameo. His role was small, you only see him in that one scene and they never went into what exactly Jean Claude was a "bad guy" for. I thought they would've done some flashback, but this opening scene was not the main spy hijinks of the episode.

Now onto the Morgansect, or at least the introduction of the Morgansect. It was a humorous montage of Chuck, Sarah and Casey (rather reluctantly) claiming they worked with a "master" spy to the actual Morgan actions. He is more klutzy than Chuck was, especially scaling over that monstrous hedge and breaking the valuable vase twice. I was wondering if Morgan going through the fish ponds was a callback to the pilot when Chuck ran through the pond in the hotel. At least, I liked Morgan's apology to disturbing the fishes.

Morgan is also much shorter than Chuck, so he kinda looked out of place when he fought with the Intersect, and while I get why Morgan decided to go with "zoom" instead of "flash", it's still flash to me. Also, Morgan hit the nail on the head of how Chuck was feeling internally, even though Chuck was trying to put on a brave façade about his best friend having the abilities he used to have. The conversation between Ellie and Chuck, when he asked her if there was only one upload left on the Intersect glasses, was a great brother/sister conversation. The line "I needed a good Ellie speech" from Chuck made me heart warmed. I missed those kinds of interactions between those two and I'm glad Chuck is no longer lying to Ellie so they can have those conversations. Ellie is often underutilized as well and though it was a short scene, it was a good scene for those two.

I am probably in the minority here, but I loved the scam Jeffster tried to pull off. Or more aptly, the tug-of-war between Chuck and Morgan with Jeffster over the money collection and sign. Lester has a point about how they have been lax with utilizing the business end of the Buy More. After all, as we will see later on in the episode, the Buy More will soon become one of their main means of making money.

Casey had some great one liners and was in top form when it came to their next "client.". Even though he is not in the military any more, his version of "wooing" clients hasn't dampened his gruffness, and Chuck is in the leadership position because he is definitely more of a pleasant negotiator than Casey. It cracked me up that Casey wouldn't care about Roger Bale stealing money from teacher's unions, but he wanted to get that "animal" after hearing he stole $2 million from Rush Limbaugh.

After Morgan had his "zoom" about the actual baddie of the episode, Chuck came up with the idea to find a way into the country club to clone Bale's Blackberry, but he was shot down after suggesting he be the one to play squash. Casey, Morgan and even his wife suggested that he stay in the van, or in this case, be a masseuse. I've had massages before and they are wonderful, but the gag of using so much massage oil was just for the laughs. Plus, I would let Chuck massage me any day, but I digress. I thought it was funny that he still wore his Chucks, just white Chucks, and his facial expressions were hilarious. That guy was huge too, so it was no surprise that tranqs wouldn't knock the guy out. Morgan's squash goggles looked like they kept fogging up, but at least he somehow managed to convince Bale to invite them to his party. And the "victory handshake" between Sarah & Morgan made me think of Gus & Shawn with the fist bump on Psych.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Sarah Walker Porn throughout this episode. I loved her dresses, the white one more so than the black one, but the black one showed off her long legs for miles. And Chuck should know by now that keeping secrets from Sarah or trying to argue with her otherwise will not work on his willpower. The lingerie scene was hilarious and the most Charah sexy time we've seen since earlyish season four. Of course, Sarah found out through Chuck that Morgan had been helping him try to find her perfect house—which we see at the end and looks an awful lot like the place where the Chuck writers are headquartered. The intimate conversation about Sarah's dream house showed us how far she has come to opening up and Chuck is now the husband who she can share these things with. Chuck has come a long way from his insecurities about having Sarah, or at least it seems that way when Sarah has to use her feminine wiles on Bale to get the key card. Morgan was protective of Chuck's wife and nearly had a "premature zoom" because Bale couldn't keep his hands off Sarah's derrière. Sarah had a great comeback about the slime ball as well.

The dance between Morgan and Sarah just looked strange because she is so tall. However, it shows that Sarah has legs for miles and makes Morgan look like one of those male stars on Dancing With the Stars who just go along with the ride, not really doing much dancing. I just had some misgivings about how well Bale would believe that Sarah was married to Michael Carmichael and though it was the alarm that the CIA tripped off to alert Bale to the ruse; I still feel like he knew something was up.

I was wondering when Decker would show up to spoil the party as well. Chuck was using his hacking skills to help reclaim all the money stolen by Bale for their client. I'm not sure if we ever got the name of said client either, but Decker, the weasel that he is, tracked Carmichael Industries and their payment to Bale. He froze all the accounts, including those of Carmichael Industries, and I still don't know what his issue is against Chuck, aside from him defying him and saving Sarah at the end of Season Four. Even the last round table at the end of the episode didn’t reveal any discernible clues.

Yet the Decker Diversion allows Chuck to use his greatest asset: his intellect and Nerd Herd skills to save the day. He saved his team and himself, even though his wife looked pissed to be leaving him "behind" at first. Chuck must have reflexes of a cat to make all these high story landings he has done throughout the series.

By unintentionally leading the CIA to Bale, they have essentially lost whatever millions they had left after starting up Carmichael Industries. I was with Chuck on this and felt so bad for him wanting to give Sarah the house she wanted. But at least it gave us another good Charah moment in front of Sarah’s dream house, and the love that they have for one another through the good and bad times.

Overall, I was surprised with this premiere. Aside from apprehensions about the Morgansect, the episode did focus on the title character more than it did throughout the last season. Decker is such a smarmy asshole and poses as big of a threat to Chuck as Fulcrum did in season two. I give this premiere an 8 out of 10, but not sure how the rest of y'all thought the episode went. Until next week!

So what did y'all think?


  1. Great review, Shoe. You pointed out so many wonderful things from this episode. I especially like your take on Morgan and Sarah's dance. So true. Oh, and the Rush Limbaugh line made us crack up, too. Well done.

    A couple of things I enjoyed that I would like to mention. I thought Zach's physical comedy as the masseuse, too much oil and trying to get the door knob turned was hilarious. It was fun to see goofy Chuck again.

    Morgan's rant against baseball was especially ironic given the situation the show was put in, it's season opener against game 7 of the World Series. The funny thing is, my husband and I had almost the exact same conversation about baseball the night before. Honestly, the statistics they come up with to spew during a game is mind-blowing.

    Finally, I loved the heroic "just leave me behind" Chuck in the building versus the "don't leave me behind" Chuck on the video in the van. I thought that was very clever and well thought out. I had to suspend my belief regarding jumping through the window, but hey, whatever. I can do that.

    One small quibble. I understand the sentiment of wanting to surprise Sarah with a house. It's a very sweet gesture. But, yeah, a wife is going to want to be in on such a big decision. I'm just saying.

    I hope we get more sweet Chuck and Sarah scenes where we see them supporting each other and navigating married life.

    Looking forward to next week.

  2. Tenks711729.10.11

    Great review. Hopefully you'll continue to write them throughout the season.

    As far as the episode was concerned, I felt it was a bit lackluster. It was very reminiscent to the majority of Season 4 for me: nothing terribly wrong with it but nothing special either. Like quistie64, I get bothered by minor details being off and this episode felt like it had a bunch of them.

    For example, apparently Chuck was dead wrong when he said, “and who better to handle a billion dollars than me” (*ahem*, that money was given to both you and Sarah, you twit!) since he blew through $835 million of it just getting Carmichael Industries up and running. By itself I wouldn’t have cared too much but they ended up having Decker freeze their accounts anyways making the whole “OMG, this client/case has to go well so that we can make ends meet” part of the plot worthless. IMO that story line would have worked far better in the next episode since it wouldn’t have been their fault that they were suddenly broke. On top of that, saying that the same Buy More that went bankrupt just a season ago would be able to not only run itself but make enough of a profit to fund the operation of Carmichael Industries as well tests my limits of believability a bit.

    I also wasn’t a fan of Chuck and Morgan making these elaborate housing plans behind Sarah’s back. I thought that Chuck would have learned his lesson last season when he did the exact same thing with the proposal until Casey sat down with him and explained that there was no such thing as the perfect moment or spot and that the only thing that truly mattered was the girl. Is it too much to ask that lessons learned are remembered through the seasons? Or that Chuck would discuss things with his wife instead of his best friend?

    Anyways, that is enough of being a downer for me. I absolutely loved Ellie and Chuck’s moment in the episode and hope we have far more of those types of scenes in the future. Ellie’s speech was fantastic and stated my beliefs on the whole Chuck/Intersect situation perfectly so hopefully Chuck will take that to heart. I’m also not someone that hates that Morgan has the Intersect and think they did a good job with it this episode. I’m sure that things aren’t going to go that smoothly for him - and there are going to be some growing pains - but the end result should be a more mature, grown up Morgan which can't be a bad thing.

  3. Nervert29.10.11

    Really enjoyed this episode.

    I agree that the physical comedy with the massage was very enjoyable. It reminded me of first season.

    Of course I liked the Charah and Chuck/Ellie moments. Nothing gag inducing in the writing (not to me, anyway) and Yvonne, Zac, and Sarah always make those scenes great.

    Also, I think I'm one of the only people that enjoyed Yvonne and Josh dancing.

    They could have done with only one "Toes In The Sand" joke and I really have no interest in the Decker story line but otherwise, this one get's a thumbs up.

  4. Ayefah29.10.11


    /SABR nerdery

    Overall, I really, really enjoyed this premiere, too. Sarah and Morgan's special high-five was adorable, as was Sarah leaning her elbow on Morgan's shoulder because he's just that short. Oh, and Chuck and the doorknob. Hee hee hee. Sometimes I'm really easy to please.

    And by "sometimes" I mean "when the show creates a context that makes me generally content". Which it totally did this week by not making anyone or any storyline stupid or annoying. Chuck, especially, was treated as well as he has been in ages - he was smart and resourceful and most of all, responsible, bearing under a lot of stress and dealing with it like an adult, and I really liked that. By the end of "Zoom" he doesn't have the Intersect and he doesn't have unlimited money - there's no magical gift to pave the way for him. He's going to have to succeed on his own merits. Yay!

    Pretty much the only obnoxious thing he did in the whole episode was keeping his house-hunting secret from Sarah. Is the buying of a family home not something you might want to consult your wife on? But this time, the farce ended quite quickly and instead we got that sweet scene in which Chuck had to let go of his ridiculous fantasy of what he thought Sarah wanted and listen to what she actually wanted instead. Yay again!

    And Ellie was totally in on everything! No more needless, stupid secrecy! Oh, joy. The episode's biggest weakness was probably the Morgansect, since poor Josh Gomez clearly couldn't move well enough to do any of the fight or dance choreography. But they can work around that by having him flash on easier-to-fake skills. And the overall sensibility of the writing was just...gah, such a relief. Nothing was stupid. The jokes were funny. The Buy More actually feels relevant for the first time since S2. I just really, really hope this is a sign of how the rest of the season will go.

  5. Nervert29.10.11

    There's a few of us, Ayefah, who can appreciate baseball and baseball statistics but it sure does feel like we're getting closer and closer to hockey fans in number.

    Re: Chuck not telling Sarah about the house hunt, both my wife and I were yelling at the screen. You spend that much money, you consult your spouse.

  6. Chuck wasn't obnoxious for going behind Sarah's back about the house. He was trying to do something really special for her. Was it stupid of him? Yes, it was. But it was stupid out of the kindness of his heart.

    Honestly, I wasn't a fan of the episode. I get that CHUCK is supposed to be kind of hokey and good fun, but the masseuse bit didn't do it for me. Thought it was too over the top. And that guy would've been dead with seven tranq darts in him. You can suspend believability on things that profesionals still have long way to go in understanding (brain capacity and ability), but I can't suspend it for simple things like the tranq darts.

    Also, Chuck's pouting and lack of confidence from after the first scene to the climactic scene with Bale was just lazy, angsty writing. If we are to believe that Chuck has grown exponentially from Season 1 to Season 5, he would be much less worried about being without the Intersect and more worried about it being in Morgan's head. It just hit me as major regression in Chuck as a leader.

    The most glaring example of this was in his confrontation with Decker. He was pleading with a man who nonchalantly had every indication of letting Sarah, who was one of the CIA's best agents, die in the hospital. And Chuck knows this. A confident Chuck wouldn't have pleaded, he would've threatened.

    And the writers got really lazy with the whole bit about the money. Outfitting the entire Castle as well as buying the BuyMore, Gulfstream, and satellite usage wouldn't have cost $800 million. More like $100-120 million. Lazy research on the part of the writing staff. Secondly, most of that money would've been in various offshore accounts before Chuck and Sarah even returned from their honeymoon. There is no way in hell Decker would be able to freeze their assets. Basically, the writing staff just portrayed Casey, Sarah, and Chuck, three people who we are to believe to be three fantastic intelligence agents, as complete morons. It doesn't follow canon.

    I love the characters, the cast is one of my favorites, but this writing crew better step it up, or they are going to create a major let down of a season.

  7. ladycat71330.10.11

    I think that Chuck wasn't obnoxious about finding a house Sarah would like. It could be the reason he hadn't already bought the house when he had the money was because he anted to show it to her first. Actually buying the house would have been obnoxious but he didn't do that while he had the chance because she hadn't seen it.

  8. Great write up, Shoe! :)

    Overall, I liked the episode, but I didn't love it. It was still a good season opener, though. I liked seeing the whole gang working together and they even included Ellie on it, which was really great.

    Morgansect didn't bother me, I thought they did a great job with it, as well as Josh Gomez. (I didn't expect them to address it in the season premiere, but I hope they will mention the fact that Morgan told Alex he was out of spy missions last year in future episodes.) I particularly appreciated Sarah and Casey about it. Sarah and Morgan were great together, that handshake was complete win, and Casey saying "zoom"? Hilarious! I'm not a fan of over the top physical comedy like the massage scene, I'm generally just waiting for it to end, but it didn't necessarily bother me either. I didn't find the Buy More stuff really funny, but I appreciated that they actually pointed out the fact that they aren't spending any time at the store anymore.

    The buying a house thing however bothered me. Chuck wanting to get Sarah her dream house is sweet, and if he had just been wanting to find the house and surprise Sarah about it, I would have been fine with it. But actually buy the house without consulting her? No, just no. Not to mention that the whole huge house thing with two bowling alleys and stuff, seems just very "unChuckish" to me. What happened to the simple guy, who knows how to appreciate little things, that Sarah fell in love with. I did like the fact that Sarah actually shared personal information with Chuck, and Chuck actually listening was awesome, but... Chuck's "I can't afford it" at the end? That *really* bothers me. Does Chuck and Sarah being married mean Chuck, the husband, is supporting Sarah, the wife? WTH? Isn't the money theirs, and can't they take decisions together for a change? I really could do with less "I" and more "we" in the future.

    Anyway, one thing that didn't work for me is Decker. I'm not sold at all on the conspiracy storyline. I don't understand why Chuck and Sarah aren't more curious about it either. Decker told Chuck all that's been happening to him was part of a plan, and they just ignore it? It seems really strange to me. I don't know were they're going with this, but I'm not excited about it at all.

    I liked that Chuck was handling his new Intersectless status, while his best friend has it now, in a mature way. That was really great, and I also appreciated that in the end they *resolved* it, for once, by showing Chuck working without it just fine, and WITH the team. Awesome! However, they went really heavy on the subject in the episode. I mean, Sarah tells Chuck is handling it well, then Morgan, then the Ellie speech, then Casey's teasing about the Intersect, then Morgan's withdrawal comment, then Chuck laments about it in the van, and finally Sarah reassures Chuck at the end. Well, that was a bit much IMO.

    Add the ridiculous fact that they spent practically all the money into starting up, or the poor exposition they did about the missions (Chuck explaining the vase wasn't what they wanted, but the microship inside was, and Chuck summing up the mission when they were already there, that just seemed weird to me), all those "details" separate the episode from good to great for me.

    I still had a good time watching the episode, Yvonne was awesome in everything, Josh Gomez was good as Morgansect, but I do hope it gets better.

  9. Tenks711730.10.11

    Jake Simpson, I was also disappointed with the way that Chuck handled the Decker situation and not just because Chuck was begging him to let them go.

    If you remember correctly, at the end of "the Cliffhanger", Chuck tells Decker that he has "a file that contains all of Agent X, the cover-up, and your involvement in all of it" and that if anything happens to Sarah, or his friends and family, he would send it out to the media across the country. Are we supposed to assume that Chuck was bluffing or did the writers just forget about it?

    Or maybe I'm speaking too soon and we'll see the file come into play the next episode. I just really hope that the writers don't ignore it though because it gives Chuck leverage against Decker and a way to start fighting back.

  10. Ayefah31.10.11

    I haven't rewatched "Cliffhanger", so I don't remember the details, but did Chuck make that threat before or after he took all of Volkoff's money? Because he can't exactly make a big scandal about how the government created an evil arms dealer while spending that arms dealer's ill-gotten money on a private business venture of his own. That file implicates Chuck now as surely as it does Decker, no?

  11. Tenks711731.10.11

    It was before he received the money so that is a really good point. I am a bit curious how exactly Volkoff left them all the money but that speaks more to my general inquisitive nature than anything else.

  12. Ayefah1.11.11

    Stick it in a Swiss bank account and give Chuck the info?


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