Chuck, NBC, Airs Mondays 8/7c

Episode: “Chuck vs. the Third Dimension” (Season 2, Episode 12)

The world has learned a very important lesson this weekend — 3D does not work well when applied to television viewing. On Sunday night we watched as a series of commercials flash in front of our blurry blue and red eyes, hinting briefly at and failing to achieve that coveted third dimension. It was a clear sign that the medium just isn’t ready for in-home viewing, and should probably stay where it belongs for now, in theaters. So by Monday night it was clear that NBC’s ambitious 3D episode of Chuck was already at a disadvantage. I knew going in that it was going to be a painful experience, quite literally. And though my eyes were burning five minutes into the episode and my better judgment was telling me to take the glasses off, I kept them on. I was hell-bent on giving Chuck a fair shot in 3D.

Unfortunately, the distraction of 3D almost caused me to miss another great episode of the show I’ve come to love. We meet Chuck (Zachary Levi) where we found him, newly paranoid about the intentions of his pseudo girlfriend Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) after witnessing her own private version of the Christmas Eve massacre. In this next episode though, there is no time for the sorting out of “feelings,” as a hotshot Brit punk Billy Idol wannabe named Tyler Martin, played by Lost star Dominic Monaghan, has come to town with a mysterious and deadly following. And as Casey (Adam Baldwin) and Sarah try and unravel the plot around the rocker, Chuck of course gets stuck right in the middle of the action. Meanwhile back at the Buy More, former NFL star Jerome Bettis guest stars as an ex-con who has recently been hired on by Big Mike. And unbeknownst to Lester, Morgan and Jeff, this new employee may be a lot more trouble than they planned for.

Despite being completely weighed down by the gimmick of 3D, this was actually another well-written episode of Chuck. Even though these episodes seem to match a clear formula — Chuck whines about being the Intersect, Chuck’s whining leads to him getting into trouble, Sarah saves the day — they win with genuinely fun performances from one of the best casts on television and a wit that is in the upper-echelon of today’s TV world. Season two has also found great success, as it does in this episode, with mixing in some great celebrity cameos. As well, the ebb and flow of the relationship between Chuck and Sarah continues to be interesting where it should be getting tired. It is hard to say how much longer the show’s creative team can keep that up without having to go in a new direction. But with only a few more episodes left in this season, I have a feeling that they will do just fine for themselves. Just no more 3D episodes, seriously. It simply doesn’t work.

Up Next Week: While helping a depressed Morgan spy on Anna, Chuck flashes on her boyfriend; Jeff and Lester beg Ellie to hire them to play at her wedding.

Read More: Chuck Recaps

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