Thank goodness NBC already ordered the full season of Chuck, because Monday night's have become a slow sinking ship anchored by the disappointing Heroes, dragging Chuck down with it. Thankfully, the series can concentrate on making great episodes like this week's ("Chuck vs. The Seduction",) knowing that Dancing with the Stars will run out eventually.
Now that we've gotten two episodes in (and finally can be done with reintroducing the series,) it's easier to see the Season 2 formula at work here. Bring in a name cameo for this week's baddie (Michael Clarke Duncan last week, The O.C.'s Melinda Clarke this week, NY Giants great Micheal Strahan next week) and figure out a way to weave the three universes (Buy More, Spy world, Chuck's home). This week's episode actually featured two guest stars, the second being John Larroquette playing the legendary and hopelessly drunk agent Roan Montgomery, who is supposedly based on Peter O'Toole's character Alan Swann in the great film My Favorite Year. Appropos for a show betting on guest stars that film was based upon a guest star, specifically Errol Flynn on Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows. If it wasn't apparent early on with all the martinis and witty one-liners ("this isn't happy hour at Chili's,") then the banner swing that Chuck pulls off at the end should seal the deal. Which lead to the funniest moment of the show, Big Mike looking at the repaired banner reading "New Ass Man" and exclaiming, "I'm not new!" Meanwhile, the ending has me wondering if it's a bit too early to be drawing the Bryce card?
Another part of the second season formula appears to be that a Huey Lewis hit (or two) is to be featured. Last week we got two ("Hip to be Square," "Power of Love,") and this week we got "Do You Believe in Love" twice (the first being the tasty slo-mo of Sarah's cover entrance, complete with cartwheel and cleavage-revealing crawl). We're a "The Heart of Rock and Roll" and "I Want a New Drug" away from knocking out their top five. Throw in Richard Marx ("Right Here Waiting,") and I'm not really feeling that nostalgiac for my high school days.
Playlist: Chuck - Episode 2.02
1. Huey Lewis - "Do You Believe in Love"
2. Richard Marx - "Right There Waiting For You"
3. As yet unidentified Italian opera song
4. The Kooks - "Love it All"
We've had two episodes from Life since we last checked in, and it's good and bad. Friday's episode seemed almost like a throwaway, providing little in plot development and a not very interesting steroid mystery, which was a total waste of guest star and former Barney Miller fave Max Gail.
Last night's episode, however, provided both the punch of the plot points explored towards the end of last season, along with an interesting mystery to solve. Both episodes featured some inspired music choices, including the haunting "Cue the Strings" from Low, the fun use of Sloan's "Emergency 911" and strange (and brief) inclusion of "Count Five or Six" from Cornelius in Friday's episode. Meanwhile, last night's episode ended with Cat Power's "Metal Heart," providing the kind of moment we began to expect by the end of last season's strike-shortened run. I still have a bad feeling about the series getting picked up, though, given Monday's bad numbers across the board for NBC, and the appearance that their burning off episodes (four in two weeks).
Playlist: Life Ep202-203
1. "Ghosts" - Ladytron
2. "Count Five Or Six" - Cornelius
3. "Cue the Strings" - Low
4. "Emergency 911" - Sloan
5. "The Box" - Eastern Conference Champions
6. "Metal Heart" - Cat Power
Previously: Chuck, Life: The Twist (Season 2 premieres)