I've watched this episode of "Chuck" twice now, and I'm still not sure what exactly I watched. "Chuck Versus the Push Mix" seemed to resolve a season's worth of storylines in what can only be described as an incredibly neat package, but it's not a season finale, and I'm not sure it was good either.
The episode takes Chuck and Morgan into the heart of Volkoff Industries (thanks to the object that Sarah slipped Casey before throwing him off the building the previous episode), where they worked with Mama Bartowski and Sarah to take down Volkoff once and for all. This should have been amazing, but instead it all just felt too convenient. Morgan's turn in evading a killer laser grid was the moment when I realized this show has shed any pretense of these characters being normal people and is instead just going to treat them as if they all have super-spy skills, which is just sad.
Also, in the past, if "Chuck" was going to so blatantly rip off a plot point from a movie like "Sneakers" -- in this case, tricking Volkoff into saying the final word they needed him to say to record his voice password -- they would have had Chuck or Morgan or someone make a nerdy reference to it. Instead, they just let it sit there as if Chuck had come up with the plan on his own, which felt insulting to the show's hardcore audience.
I did like that Ellie got to have her mother present for the birth of her daughter, if only because she's had so much crap happen to her when she shouldn't have been involved at all. And Chuck's proposal to Sarah was perfect, in part because he didn't make a huge deal of it, and it was pretty much exactly what Casey had told him to do.
I really want to still like "Chuck", but this was another in a long line of episodes that has strayed from what the show used to be. Even the Jeffster performance felt more annoying than enjoyable; it's almost as if as all the other characters grow, they have to regress, becoming dumber by the week. Part of me wonders if this season was written thinking they'd only get the 13-episode order, and the back half won't feel quite as rushed, but if I don't see some improvement in the rest of the season, I'm not sure I'll be back for Season 5.
For more coverage of the 2010-11 television season, visit the AdamReisinger.com TV Reviews home page.