The Wife:

Finally, an episode that deals with how Chuck’s spy life affects his relationship with Morgan! I think we often look at Morgan as comic relief, and he does get to be the ringleader of the Buy More shenanigans most of the time, but rarely do we see Morgan as a fully-realized person (with feelings other than lust and humor), and to that end, this episode was a great success. It also answers my question about where the hell Anna has been for the past six episodes or so, because the answer is making out with another guy who is taller than Morgan and richer than Morgan.

Morgan convinces Chuck to help him spy on Anna, and in so doing, Chuck flashes on her new boyfriend’s car. Anna’s new boyfriend, Jason Wang, deals with an espionage group known as Triad, and the General orders Chuck to get close to Jason Wang so he can suss out his exactly level of involvement with the group and find out what their planning. Chuck refuses to do this, feeling that any association with Anna would betray Morgan’s trust.

“You want me to befriend my best friend’s ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend?”

To facilitate this, Chuck invites Anna and Jason to go on a double date with him and Sarah. Thrilled, Anna invites them to a party Jason is throwing that night to display the collector’s cars he’s lined up for auction. Uncomfortable with his betray-Morgan mission, Chuck proposes a sub-mission in which he and Sarah try to get Anna and Morgan back together. At the party, Sarah endears herself to Anna, telling her that she’s always thought of Anna and Morgan as a great couple and good friends, which instantly wins Anna’s trust and has her confessing to Sarah that she still loves Morgan even though she thinks Jason is a better catch. Morgan, spying from outside, catches Chuck talking to Jason and instantly thinks his friend has betrayed him.

Chuck then flashes on some of Jason’s friends, members of Triad, and follows them to the garage to plant a bug so Casey can survey them and find out what they’re up to. He knocks over a can in the process, leading him to almost get caught. When he hears Triad call for security, he assumes Casey is coming to rescue him, but then they both realize that the Triad gang members have caught Morgan and the only way Chuck believe he can save his friends life is to publicly shame him, telling the Triad folks that Morgan isn’t a spy, just a worthless, lowly stalker who can’t get over his ex. With a half-hearted plea to “grow up,” Chuck breaks Morgan’s heart and his trust, and undoes all the legwork Sarah had done to convince Anna to take Morgan back.

Meanwhile, Ellie is up to her neck in wedding plans and she asks Shirtless Awesome to help her with some of her to-do list. In a good-natured attempt to get Chuck involved, as well, Awesome asks him to help find a band for the wedding, which Jeff and Lester overhear and pitch themselves for. Chuck nixes this plan without even hearing their music, to which Jeff shoots back:

“Don’t be a musical bigot.”


When Ellie’s computer crashes, Jeff and Lester see it as an impromptu chance to audition, so they take the Nerd Herder and head over to Chez Bartowski to endear themselves to Awesome and Ellie, but once they set up shop, Lester gets stage fright and can’t bring himself to live out his dream of singing in the greatest rock band of all time, Jeffster. (He fears, by the way, that he will die of auto-erotic asphyxiation, which is always funny, because I think of Peter Boyle telling that to David Duchovny in The X-Files episode “Clive Bruckman’s Final Repose.”) Ellie then gets mad at Awesome for outsourcing his list to Chuck, as brides are want to do.

This is not what I ordered from Amazon!

This is not what I ordered from Amazon!

Chuck feels awful about hurting Morgan, but Sarah has little sympathy for him, putting the greater good of the mission into perspective. Chuck tries to make up with Morgan, but Morgan realizes he doesn’t want to be Chuck’s friend anymore because, ever since the flashback to 1992 that opened this episode, Chuck has always been stepping in to save that little bearded Alf-loving man’s ass and it’s about time Morgan learned to do things on his own. But then Chuck sees those Triad baddies enter the store, and he knocks out Morgan with some knock-out Binaca and tries to haul his buddy out of danger in a flat-screen TV box, until he gets distracted and flashes on Jason Wang on TV, leaving Triad to steal their boxed-up and incapacitated target all the more easily. While he loses Morgan, Chuck realizes through his flash that Triad plans to kill the Chinese ambassador at Jason’s auction by planting a bomb in his brand new Rolls Royce. Things only get worse when they arrive at the auction and find that Triad has put Morgan into the Ambassador’s trunk, killing two birds with one bomb, as Smooth Lau observed.

Sarah heads to the garage in the hopes on intersecting the vehicle before it’s driven away, but instead she gets into a knock-down drag-out girl battle with Smooth Lau, and they end up beating the shit out of one another using car parts and seatbelts in a BMW. Chuck chases after the Rolls with Casey hanging off the roof, begging to be let in. Chuck finally agrees and Casey takes over driving the car with his remote control, until he is able to corner the Rolls and stop it. As Casey distracts the Ambassador and his driver, Chuck pulls the bomb out of the car and puts in the Nerd Herder, appearing to drive away with it, and causing late-arrival Sarah to react in tears and horror when the Herder blows up. Apparently, Casey forgot Chuck knew about the remote control he had only told him about minutes before, because Casey seemed pretty upset to potentially lose Chuck, too. But you know who didn’t think Chuck was in that car at all? Me. Nonetheless, having Sarah and Casey believe Chuck had just died for Morgan made the scene worthwhile, providing the right note of drama on their horrified faces that I didn’t get from the Nerd Herder fake-out. (Note: I want to trick out my Matrix with a remote control, too.)

Apologizing for nearly giving Sarah and Casey heart attacks, Chuck gets Morgan out of the Ambassador’s trunk and wheels him back to the Buy More before he even knows what happened. Chuck tells him that he passed out before the Triad guys could even fight him, and Morgan is touched that someone he’d been mean to recently would have his back, always and forever. Awesome makes up with Ellie and convinces her to let Jeffster audition for them at the Buy More, where they rock out to some sweet sounds by Toto. At the show, Anna and Morgan get back together, and Sarah apologizes to Chuck for not understanding how important his friends are to him because she doesn’t have anyone who cares about her like that, to which Chuck replies, “Yes, you do.”

What I love about Chuck is that for all its coolness and geek humor, it always finds a way to make use of tender and heartbreaking moments. I was sad for Morgan when Chuck betrayed him in front of Anna, and wholly touched at the end when Chuck professed his devotion to Sarah as Morgan and Anna joined them at the Jeffster show. This was a solid episode, all around, and fused the three plots pretty neatly.

Stray observations:

  • I also like that this show realizes how much the female/gay male audience loves to see Captain Awesome shirtless. I will never say no to shirtless Captain Awesome.
  • Y: The Last Man makes two appearances in this episode! Awesome is reading “Volume 1: Unmanned” when he wakes Chuck up to ask for band advice, and Chuck also has a poster of some of the art on his wall. And no, I don’t think it’s sad that I can identify a graphic novel just by seeing a panel of a blonde girl in the Aussie outback and a glimpse of the back cover. You know what that makes me? Fucking awesome, is what.
  • Because I spent so much time last week reading the last four volumes of Y and thinking about how it interacts with Brian K. Vaughn’s work on Lost, I also realized that the graphic novel also makes sense in the Chuck-verse, on a surface level. Like Yorick Brown, Chuck Bartowski is a man thrown into a situation that he’s completely unprepared and unqualified for. They both hang out with monkeys, or men who are very monkey-like, and both narratives feature an awful lot of hot girl-on-girl fight scenes. I might even propose that Smooth Lau is an homage to Y‘s super-ninja bitch, Toyota. (For serious, they look alike.)
  • In short, all of you should read Y: The Last Man. It’s fucking amazing.

The Husband:

The best episode in some time, this was the Chuck that brought us back to the show’s original intention – to be a comedy/action show, and they should hold equal ground. The entire second-to-last segment was as good as anything s1 cooked up as far as tension was concerned, what with a surprisingly well-shot car chase sequence (it helps that both of the cars looked effin’ sweet), mixed with some old school Bondian gadgets and silly criminals. I think I like the show best when all of the main characters are acting in one reality (ours), while the spy story is something out of a comic book (alternate reality), finding the humor in the dichotomy. It’s what makes Monty Python so funny, applying logic to the silliest of situations, and it’s what makes Chuck special.

I will show you smooth, bitch.

I will show you smooth, bitch.

And yes, the Sarah-Smooth Lau combat inside the BMW was so well-choreographed that it felt like an early 90s Jackie Chan movie (one of the ones with Michelle Yeoh). Good stuff, Schwartz.

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