There was a lot going on in this week's "Chuck", so much so that I had to watch it twice to feel like I got everything, and I'm still not sure I did. This show does this a lot, cramming too many parallel stories into a single episode, but "Chuck Versus the First Bank of Evil" might have been one of the worst offenders yet, with a two-tiered primary mission, a completely separate Morgan and Casey plot, which tied into a Morgan/Big Mike/Jeffster story, all while Ellie was helping Sarah get into a wedding state of mind.
Still, I wasn't entirely down on the episode for one major reason: Ray Wise.
Ever since I fell in love with the short-lived CW series "Reaper", I've realized that if Ray Wise shows up on a show as a guest star, he's going to make that episode kick ass. In the two years since the end of that show, he's appeared on "Dollhouse", "Castle", "Mad Men", "How I Met Your Mother", "Hawaii Five-0" and now "Chuck", and that's just among the shows I watch.
In this episode he shows up as Volkoff's lawyer, relaying his clients wishes to his daughter, who we were introduced to in the previous episode. Along the way, he gets Vivian to switch sides, with some help from some broken promises by the CIA (promises made by Chuck, who really had no way of backing them up and should know better by now). Wise at times seemed to be channeling his Devil character from "Reaper", being evil without being obvious about it.
This episode really nailed it when it came to guest stars, at least as far as I was concerned. In addition to Wise and Lauren Cohan (returning as Vivian), there was a nice role for François Chau, better known as Dr. Pierre Chang from "Lost" -- though I still think of him as Dr. Marvin Candle, which was the first name we saw him use on "Lost" and the name I shouted out when he showed up on "Chuck."
To be entirely fair to the episode as a whole, it had more good than bad in it. Sarah's initial wedding reluctance, then its morphing into Bridezilla territory, was funny. And the scene with Chuck and Sarah robbing the bank was great. I just think the episode would have been significantly better if they'd pulled one or two things out and held them for a future episode.
For more coverage of the 2010-11 television season, visit the AdamReisinger.com TV Reviews home page.