'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring -- except the two CIA agents coming in the rear, in standard cover formation.
The Christmas Eve hostage-taking popularized by the first two Die Hard films is reborn for the mid-season finale of Chuck, and even Sgt. (now Captain) Al Powell (Reginald VelJohnson) is on board with Twinkie in hand to cement the homage to the action classic. It was the perfect episode to end the first half of a solid season, with just the right mix of comedy, emotion and cultural references for the geek in all of us.
Besides Captain Powell, other nods to Die Hard included the subtle focusing in on the broken glass on the floor and the use of the same version of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" as in the original Die Hard when cousins Big Al and Big Mike run to embrace.
Take the Twinkie out of your mouth and grab a pencil, will ya?
When you get down to it, though, just having VelJohnson's Twinkie-eating mug show up every few minutes or so was all that was needed. They didn't even really have anything much for the Family Matters star to say in the episode, but it still might be the best guest appearance so far in a season marked by its guest star appearances.
Just once, I'd like a regular, normal Christmas.
The music choices for the episode were for the most part normal holiday standards. That is until the last song, a new one from the New York-by-way-of Leeds, England, band Your Vegas. Their song "Christmas and Me are Through" aptly backs the conflicting feelings that Chuck and Morgan run through after (believing) they witnessed their respective ladies go to a dark, dark place.
Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs.
What do we make of the fact that Chuck is exposed now? While Michael Rooker's Mauser (a Police Academy 2 reference) was taken out by Sarah, it's obvious Fulcrum has figured out that the Buy More is more than just a place to buy electronics. Meanwhile our not-so-hapless hostage-taker Ned Ryerson also knows that Chuck is the link, and you have to think that Fulcrum will try to spring Ned for some information gathering. How much longer can the Buy More serve as cover for Chuck?
On the naming front, Ned Ryerson comes from Groundhog Day, which is a clever segue from Schwartz and company, reminding us that Chuck will be hibernating for the next six weeks with no new episodes until Groundhog Day (February 2nd). They come back with a 3-D episode the day after the Super Bowl, which NBC has this year, guaranteeing Chuck some high profile promotion for its return. Six weeks is a long time to for fans to find something else to watch, and the break comes at a time when Chuck has really hit its stride.
Chuck - Episode 2.11
2. "Joy to the World"
4. "Carol of the Bells"
6. "Silent Night"
7. "Ode to Joy" - London Symphony (from Die Hard soundtrack)
Previously: It's Personal (Episode 2.10)