This review may contain spoilers.
The beauty of Chuck is that while there may be a few mysteries to be uncovered about the main characters, for the most part, we know them. We know what they are capable of and where their loyalties lie. They are the good guys. They can always be counted on to help each other. Chuck, Sarah, and Casey are a modern day Porthos, Athos and Aramis, and Morgan may just turn out to be dArtagnan.
The over the top, one damn thing after another action that we love is in abundance in this tale of derring do. The villainy of the evil Belgian, his evil scientist assistant and an evil Thai diplomat is unparalleled. These are the kinds of bad guys you love to hate and you love to see our good guys defeat.
Thailand has the reputation of being strange, exotic and dangerous. All of those qualities are exemplified in the location scenes. We truly get the feeling we have been transported to a frightening land far from our shores along with our four musketeers. If this episode doesnt get some art and set direction award nominations, it will be a surprise and a shame.
Sarahs love for Chuck has her doing some pretty crazy things and yet they make sense and they work. One of the things we like about the romance is that we dont get that two steps forward, one step back action that we see in so many television pairings. In Chuck Versus Phase Three, the events only further the relationship and thats good to see.
New takes on clichÃ©s make this a stand out episode.
Richard Chamberlain, James Lew, and Torsten Voges make an ideal axis of evil. They are so adept at working with the tropes of spy villainy that we want to see more of them, even if it means trouble for Chuck.
The remote control rolling up of the unconscious body of our evil Thai diplomat is a great 21st century turn on an old idea.
Chucks dreams while under the influence of the evil Belgians scientist assistant are funny and scary at once. They are not shot in the out of focus and distorted manner we so often see on television and in movies. They are as we usually see our dreams. They are in focus but things take wrong turns and are just that teensy bit odd.
Sarahs fight scenes are an homage to martial arts films and its great fun to see her go Jackie Chan on an evil crime lords champion.
What Didnt Work
The one thing that Chuck could do without is Chuck keeping his being a spy secret from his sister Ellie. This part of the story needs to be resolved. It was revisited briefly in Chuck Versus Phase Three and it is the one weak point in the episode. Chuck, we all know. Tell Ellie!
Giving Credit Where Credit is Due
Chuck Versus Phase Three was written by Kristin Newman and directed by Anton Cropper. Chuck stars Zachary Levi, Yvonne Stahovsky, Vic Sahay, Scott Krinsky, Joshua Gomez, Adam Baldwin, Bonita Friedericy, Mark Christopher Lawrence, Sarah Lancaster, Ryan McPartlin, James Lew, Torsten Voges, and Richard Chamberlain.