CHUCK Recap: “Chuck Versus the Anniversary” (Season Four Premiere)

     September 20, 2010

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After giving up his spy life for his sister’s peace of mind, Chuck Bartowski suddenly found himself caught up in an all-new secret as he discovers that his departed mother had left behind her family because she too was in the secret agent business. Of course Chuck has no other choice but to succeed where his father couldn’t and try to track her down. With the help of his best friend and somewhat spy capable co-worker Morgan Grimes, the two venture around the country only to find themselves back in Los Angeles with an abandoned secret bunker and no new information. Meanwhile, Mrs. Bartowski (guest star Linda Hamilton) watches them through a surveillance system at some unknown (though snowy) location. If this is already too much to handle because you’re not caught up on Chuck, then go no further as the captain has activated the Spoiler Alert sign. Otherwise, continue after the jump!

This week’s episode comes from series supervising producer Robert Duncan McNeill who has previously directed several episodes including last season’s epic finale. The villain of the week this time sees Dolph Lundgren as Marko, an intimidating employee from a new organization known as Volkoff Industries. While traditional spy work brings Sarah and Casey to Volkoff Industries (albeit as hostages) Morgan and Chuck find themselves deliberately seeking out the Moscow headquarters of Volkoff as they follow a lead found in abandoned bunker in Los Angeles that once housed Chuck’s mother.

chuck_olivia_munn_zachary_levi_imageAn all-new Buy More has replaced the previously blown up store, but new management comes in the form of the CIA itself with General Beckman running the circus in person. She’s forcing Chuck back into the field, and thus we’re back at square one with the added despair of Chuck being forced to lie to his sister Ellie. I’m not too mad considering there would be no series without secret agent Chuck Bartowski, not to mention that Olivia Munn brings sexy back to the Buy More in the sexiest Nerd Herd outfit in the history of the series. And with the new above-ground digs comes a completely rebuilt Castle for the CIA’s underground lair.

After the standard action fare (which requires Chuck and Morgan to save Sarah and Casey as they unknowingly find themselves at Volkoff headquarters), Chuck has gotten ahold of some hopefully valuable information in the search for his mother. Before their heroics though, a moment of fear creates concern in the form of tears rolling down Sarah’s face and a genuine look of concern and sadness from the usually stone-cold Colonel Casey (but this is just another step in his developing emotions after finding out about his estranged daughter Alex last season).

chuck_linda_hamilton_imageChuck’s new intelligence on his mother allows him to link her childhood stories about “The Frost Queen” to her apparent codename. Back at Volkoff, Marko has Mrs. Bartowski right in front of them (yes, Chuck was that close) and threatens her with the knowledge of her family. Bad idea when you’re dealing with Linda Hamilton as Mrs. Bartowski escapes her captors and puts a bullet in Marko’s head. Back home Chuck gains some new intelligence from Ellie who reveals to him that she’s pregnant. Cue the stammering and hesitation from Chuck as he simply can’t bring himself to tell Ellie that he’s a spy again, no matter how badly he wants to. But Chuck’s always in good hands as Sarah and Casey decide to help Chuck’s pursuit of his mother.

The Status of Chuck and Sarah: Since the relationship is so integral to the series, we’ll update on the romance that was finally consummated last season. As Sarah continues her spy work and Chuck is left behind at home, distance between them begins to take a toll. But Morgan secretly spices things up a bit by taking suggestive pictures of Chuck waking up in the morning and sending them to Sarah for some “sexting” fun. Male viewers will get a treat as Sarah attempts to return the favor to Chuck, but their mobile sexual exploits end up creating a bit of a distraction on the job. No real harm is caused (physically or emotionally) so Chuck and Sarah’s love seems safe for now.

And so season four of Chuck kicks off with the search for Mrs. Bartowski in full swing and the exclusive relationship of Chuck and Sarah facing their first real obstacle as a couple. It wasn’t exactly the most thrilling episode, it’s good to see Linda Hamilton kicking some ass again and Dolph Lundgren and Olivia Munn certainly added to the fun. There’s plenty more on the way this season so stay tuned every week for our recaps of Chuck airing Mondays at 8/7c on NBC. What did you guys think of this week’s episode?

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