The Wife:

For what I liked about “Chuck vs. The Best Friend,” it was definitely a mistake to place it in between “Chuck vs. The Suburbs” and “Chuck vs. The Beefcake.” It clearly wasn’t intended to go there, as some online commenters pointed out last week in regards to Morgan mentioning his having a girlfriend in “Suburbs,” which he didn’t, if the narrative timeline of “Best Friend” is to be believed. Regardless, splitting the arc created in  “Suburbs” and “Beefcake” definitely ruined some of that storyline’s momentum, despite the little “here’s some things you need to know in case you forgot” reminder they gave us at the beginning. Without that forward momentum, I liked this episode less than I would have had it come fresh off of “Suburbs.” It was fine, but, jeeze, dudes, don’t split your arcs. That’s way worse than splitting the infinitive.

So because of what happened in “Suburbs,” the General wants Chuck sequestered at the Castle, but knowing they can’t actually pull that off, Sarah and Casey instead keep Chuck out of the active parts of missions. Chuck has a serious talk with Sarah about their fake relationship and they agree to break up, allowing Sarah to operate independently on their next mission: to intercept the transfer of Fulcrum’s version of the Intersect from ladies’ man Cole Baker to another agent, by any means necessary. Those means? Seduction, especially considering that the information is hidden in a chip inside Baker’s belt buckle. So Sarah sets about seducing her target with Chuck listening in from the bar to see if he flashes on any audio clue (has he ever done that before?), as well as listening for the safe word, but he can’t bear to hear Sarah’s heavy breathing and starts quaffing martinis in order to dull the pain of hearing the woman he loves getting fake-hot-and-heavy with the poor man’s Clive Owen. (Whoever that actor is, he is the poor man’s Clive Owen and shall always be known as such to me.)

When Chuck decides to listen in again, he realizes Sarah may be in danger and sends Casey after her. Casey tries to stop some Fulcrum agents in the elevator, only to be fooled by the old fake-baby-in-a-stoller trick. Luckily, Chuck gets to the door just in time to distract Baker and give Sarah time to once again gain the upper hand. The team takes Baker into custody, and all the while he insists that they’ve got it all wrong, that he’s not who they think he is. As Sarah runs off to shoot down a Fulcrum helicopter, Baker admits to Chuck that he’s actually MI-6. Chuck lets him go help Sarah and he ends up saving the day by shooting out a gas can and making the copter go all explodey. Pretty sweetles, actually.

At the Castle, Baker explains that Fulcrum needed a playback device in order to read the contents of the chip he was carrying. He had planned to meet with a Fulcrum agent, obtain the playback device, and deliver the chip to MI-6, keeping whatever contents were on it away from Fulcrum’s evil hands. Sarah, Casey and Baker decide to continue this transaction at another location with a fake chip, and everything goes swimmingly until Chuck decides to take the real chip to the Buy More and hack into it, alerting the Fulcrum agents that the deal is Sarah and Baker is all a set-up. They take Sarah and Cole into custody and eventually, come for Chuck, who witnesses that the chip contains footage of the procedure he underwent at Meadow Branch in “Suburbs.”

I believe you've hacked my chip, Mr. Bartowski.

I believe you've hacked my chip, Mr. Bartowski.

When Alexis White and her team of agents show up looking for Chuck at the Buy More, Jeff and Lester assume they’re cops who’ve come to pinch Chuck for sexual harassment. While Chuck was busy being a spy, Big Mike left Morgan in charge of hiring a new green shirt (a great play on the Trekian “red shirts” that I really hadn’t noticed until now, only the expendability of the Buy More employees usually doesn’t end in death) so he can go bang Morgan’s mom. Seeing how distraught Morgan is, Jeff and Lester decide to take over the hiring, creating a ruse that will allow them to hire a model like Brooklyn Decker as the official Buy More Babe. Their greatest hope is that they can convince one of the model wannabes to sleep with them in order to get the job. What they get is numerous slaps across the face and threats of lawsuits. This is certainly one of the more contrived Buy More plots, but at least it melded with Chuck’s spy life and, in fact, served as yet another cover, as Jeff and Lester are totally willing to believe that people who aren’t at all dressed like cops are, in fact, cops. Why they didn’t assume Alexis was a lawyer there to slap Chuck with a lawsuit I will never know. Jeff and Lester really aren’t that smart, I guess.

So Chuck, too, gets taken into custody by Alexis. She’s holding a torture party in a warehouse and she starts with Cole. Unable to stand the thought of someone dying on his behalf, Chuck tells Alexis that he’s the Intersect, but Cole, a good agent not wanting to risk the thing he’s supposed to protect, also claims that he is the Intersect. Alexis continues to flog Baker, and threatens to drive a needle into Chuck’s eye or pump Sarah full of lethal drugs, but Casey arrives just in time and Alexis, refusing to talk, injects herself with the lethal cocktail. Sarah goes off with the injured MI-6 agent, leaving Chuck to Casey. Back at the Castle, Baker swears to protect Chuck’s identity, and tries to convince Sarah to go on a romantic vacation with him, but she insists she has to work. Sarah also tells Chuck that she recognizes how much torture he’s gone through by keeping up the charade of their fake relationship, so if he wants to be broken up, they’ll be broken up and will stay friends.

Throughout the episode, Ellie and Awesome grow worried about Chuck’s relationship with Sarah. Ellie encourages her brother to break up with Sarah if he doesn’t think she’s the one, which Morgan contradicts when he moves in to Chez Bartowski to avoid Big Mike’s relationship with his mom. According to Morgan, you can see all over Chuck’s face that he loves Sarah, and that he’s a better person when he’s around her. Ellie starts to wonder if she spoke to soon in encouraging her brother to break up with Sarah. By living at the Bartowskis and accidentally being caught naked on the couch, Morgan realizes it’s time to get his own place and Chuck, fresh off an official break up, decides to move in with Morgan. When they arrive to announce this to Ellie, she is less than thrilled, but then Sarah arrives, delivering news that Cole has been captured on his way back to London and the General has ordered that Chuck be under 24 hour protective detail, which means that they can’t break up and they have to move in together.

Every relationship has its ups and downs, but Chuck’s friends and family have to question the stability of his relationship with Sarah when they’re broken up one day and moving in together the next. I’m interested to see where this goes and if it escalates or eases the tension between Chuck and Sarah, as well as its effect on how much of a cover Chuck has to keep now that he’s going to be around his family less. I really don’t know how I feel about this episode, but I hope it’s a stepping stone to something truly great.