TV REVIEW: Chuck Season 3

written by David Steffen

Chuck was an action spy action/drama/comedy show, starring Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi), who started as a down-on-his-luck geek working at the BuyMore fixing computers, when he ended up with a supercomputer with government secrets downloaded into his brain, as he has been used as an intelligence asset.  Season 3 ran from January to May of 2010.

Season 2 ended with a major change as Chuck ended up downloading a brand new version of the Intersect computer into his brain which not only lets him suddenly remember government secrets at convenient times, but gives him a wide range of physical skills, especially martial arts.  No longer is Chuck just “the asset”, forever told to wait in the car and stay out of trouble.  Now he has the combat skills (without actually having earned them through training) to be able to take danger head on.  It had also ended with Chuck, Casey (Adam Baldwin), and Morgan (Joshua Gomez) all quitting the BuyMore, with Morgan moving to Hawaii with Anna.

Season 3 begins with much of that being rolled back–Chuck has taken some time off to try to become a full-time spy, even turning down an offer from Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) to quit and run away, but it has not worked out well, so he ends up returning to work for the BuyMore.  Morgan’s dream to become a chef in Hawaii does not go well and Anna leaves him.  Team Bartowski ends up reuniting, albeit with a much more awkward mood because some drama happened between them that you don’t know about yet.  So, Season 2 felt like it was written as a series finale, and meant to give some sense of closure by ending an era in various ways, but when the writers began writing Season 3 realized they didn’t know how to write Chuck without the BuyMore, without Morgan, etc.  So the first several episodes the season were very awkward and felt off, I think because they were trying to put everything back together without it seeming ridiculous.  And especially with the relationship between Chuck and Sarah being kindof tense and bitter, I was starting to consider giving up on it, but it finally turned around became good again.

Despite the “putting everything back together again” feel, the season 2 finale did have a big permanent change in that Chuck does still have the upgraded intersection that lets him be an action hero.  This changes the dynamic of the show quite a bit because he’s no longer the helpless one, and also that he has to learn to control his emotions for this part of the Intersect to work properly. Which, I have mixed feelings about, because part of the appeal of the show was that the male lead is not macho, is not aggressive, is prone to talking about his feelings at inopportune times during the middle of missions.  After the first few episodes I think they made it work, and it felt like a solid show again, albeit a quite different show, it still had the parallel BuyMore hijinks, still had the comedy with the action, still had the relationship stuff between Chuck and Sarah.

And while the season is slow to start, some of the reveals and happenings later in the season are the best in the series yet.  So, I’d still highly recommend watching, just trying to push through the first 3 or 4 episodes if it’s seeming dull.

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David Steffen

David Steffen is an editor, publisher, and writer. If you like what he does you can visit the Support page or buy him a coffee! He is probably best known for being co-founder and administrator of The Submission Grinder, a donation-supported tool to help writers track their submissions and find publishers for their work . David is also the editor-in-chief here at Diabolical Plots. He is also the editor and publisher of The Long List Anthology: More Stories From the Hugo Award Nomination List series. David also (sometimes) writes fiction, and you can follow on BlueSky for updates on cross-stitch projects and occasionally other things.

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