need to be funny to be good? I think that's the most important question facing Chuck
as it gets deeper into its first season. Chuck
has been billed as an action comedy, but I can't help but be disappointed by the comedic aspect of the show in its second and third episodes. Despite jokes falling flat a little too often, I've still enjoyed every episode and am starting to think that maybe that the comedy is just a bonus. If it makes you laugh, it makes you laugh, but it can stand on its own as a spy show. Tonight's episode, "Chuck vs. the Tango," was better than the second episode, though still not as good as the pilot. Chuck Bartowski goes on his first field mission as a government agent, encountering a dangerous arms dealer, an old college friend and the tango.
The beginning of tonight's episode sees anonymous evil people killing and getting killed for a crappy painting at various locales around the world. It ends up in Los Angeles. Back at the Buy More, Chuck's boss gives Chuck and his team a task: Fix a storage room full of broken computers in two days. If they can do it, it will go a long way in getting Chuck the open Assistant Manager position. If he does not complete this task, there's a good chance that rival Harry Tang will receive the promotion instead. It turns out that Morgan has a bizarre fear of old computers.
Chuck is taken to the back room of Buy More by Casey and Sarah. They show him pictures of the people who were killed for the painting. After seeing a newspaper article, Chuck's sees a flash: evil arms dealer La Ciudad has come to LA to steal that painting. It is unclear why. Casey explains that La Ciudad is extremely dangerous and that no one who has seen his identity has lived to tell about it. It is decided by the people back in DC that Chuck will make his first field excursion with Sarah and Casey at the art auction. In a little heart to heart moment, Chuck reveals why he was kicked out of Stanford: Bryce Larkin found stolen tests under Chuck's bed and brought them to the university. Chuck says that he absolutely did not steal those tests. Before Chuck goes home to get ready for the auction, Casey tells him that he'll need to learn how to tango. Morgan rallies the troops and assures Chuck that they can take care of the broken computers while he's out on his “date”.
Chuck asks his sister if she knows how to tango. She doesn't, but Captain Awesome does (he studied abroad in Buenos Aires). We get a funny scene of Chuck and Captain Awesome dancing together. Meanwhile, Morgan and team are making good time fixing the computers. They're about finished when Tang brings in another load of broken comps that need fixing. Morgan's team wants to leave and almost do, but he convinces them to stay by reminding them all that if they don't finish Harry Tang will be their boss. They get back to work.
Chuck and Sarah (who's wearing an incredibly hot red dress) arrive at the art auction in a limo driven by Casey. Sarah gives Chuck a watch that acts as a locater, so Sarah and Casey will know where he is at all times. They enter the auction house and almost immediately Chuck spills soy sauce on his tuxedo. While washing it off in the bathroom, Chuck looks at the evil-looking man standing next to him. Something in his brain triggers and Chuck now believes that this man is La Ciudad. Chuck alerts Sarah, who attempts to slyly buddy up with the man. This backfires and she is led by gunpoint up to the roof. Casey, who is working as a bartender, sees this happen and follows them to the roof. Chuck is told to stay.
On the roof, after guns are pulled and Casey joins the fracas, it becomes clear that everyone involved is on the same team. The man who Chuck thought was La Ciudad is actually an Interpol agent. They planted a decoy painting in the auction house, hoping to smoke out the real La Ciudad.
Back at Buy More, Morgan accidentally locks himself in the storage cage with the broken computers. The team leaves because Chuck and Harry Tang have the only keys. Morgan desperately tries to call Chuck, but he won't answer.
Downstairs, Chuck examines the painting. A beautiful Spanish woman approaches and strikes up a conversation. She asks if Chuck tangos. He does, now, sort of. Captain Awesome taught him the girl's part so the woman has to lead. As they finish their dance, Chuck sees a scar on the woman's neck. Something triggers and Chuck realizes that this woman is La Ciudad. He's freaking out. Then, a employee of the auction house approaches Chuck and blows his cover (he'd been going by the alias Charles Carmichael). It's Morgan on the phone. He doesn't get to answer because Chuck is taken upstairs to a hotel room by a couple of La Ciudad's goons.
Chuck is now tied up in La Ciudad's room being interrogated. When Chuck says he knows nothing and is working for no one, the goons pick him up and ready to throw him out the window. Chuck then surprises himself by realizing that the painting downstairs is a fake. He saw the picture of it in the newspaper and the frame was different. It turns out the real frame is super valuable, which is why La Ciudad wants it. La Ciudad is happy to have this information, but is going to kill Chuck anyway when Sarah and Casey show up. They tracked him using the watch locater.
There is a mildly entertaining shoot out. La Ciudad and her goons escape, but Chuck and everyone are OK.
Chuck goes back to Buy More to rescue Morgan. He sends Morgan home and gets to work on the remaining computers. Morning comes and Chuck's boss finds him in the storage cage, having finished every computer. The boss is impressed.
La Ciudad, having stolen Chuck's Buy More ID, wants to eliminate him. The two goons show up at Buy More. Through a series of mildly humorous incidents, Casey takes down both goons. He throws one into a display freezer and hits the other one in the face with a microwave. Sarah, walking through the Buy More parking lot, recognizes La Ciudad, who heads to the Buy More roof brandishing a sniper rifle. Sarah heads to the roof and a bad ass girl on girl fight occurs. Punches and kicks of varying effectiveness are thrown and landed, but Sarah comes out on top, finishing La Ciudad off with brutal bunch to the head, using her handcuffs and brass knuckles. Mission accomplished.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of NBC)