Monday, February 16, 2009

Chuck, "Chuck vs. the Suburbs": This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife.

Spoilers for tonight's "Chuck" coming up just as soon as I find out where Big Mike buys his suits...
"This place isn't real. Her feelings for you aren't real." -Sylvia
Here's the thing: we know by now that Sarah's feelings are real, that if circumstances were different -- if the fate of the world didn't depend on her maintaining a cool professional distance from her asset -- she would be strapping herself back into that Princess Leia costume and taking Chuck on the greatest date of his sad little life. But with circumstances being what they are, she has to act like she doesn't care, and Chuck has to let her. There are lies within lies -- Sarah to Chuck and vice versa, Chuck to Ellie, Sarah to Casey, etc. -- and everyone's far more miserable than they appear on the surface.

In that way, Chuck and Sarah's non-relationship relationship seems an ideal subject for a trip to suburbia, since movies and television are so fond of using the 'burbs as a symbol for romantic dysfunction and self-deception. This wasn't exactly the "Chuck" equivalent of "Revolutionary Road" -- no episode with a line like "Charles Carmichael always comes quickly" is taking itself all that seriously -- but it did feel right, pop culturally, to have Chuck finally confront the limits of his fake romance while spending time in a cul-de-sac.

And despite the presence of Andy Richter and Jenny McCarthy, this is one of the less overtly comic episodes of the season. It's "Chuck," so there are always going to be jokes -- and the Big Mike B-story had plenty, starting with Millbarge's toupee -- but there was a bittersweet quality to even the comic scenes, like Chuck's arrival at his fake new home, scored perfectly to Talking Heads' "Once In a Lifetime." Yes, it's funny that the dog scampers by at the exact moment Chuck realizes he has a dog, but there's a sense throughout the hour that this is a life he desperately wants, and one he's not likely to get -- certainly not with Sarah. Even if they solved the whole Intersect problem, I doubt Agent Sarah Walker's going to want to play full-time domestic goddess.

And speaking of the Intersect, the hour opens up a bunch of interesting arc possibilities with the revelation that Fulcrum is working on building its own Intersect, with the hopes of training a fleet of agents to get the full Chuck treatment. Now Chuck has an added database in his head (I hope the writers don't try to treat these red Fulcrum-sect flashes as a one-time thing), but there's also an even greater threat to his life -- wouldn't an Intersect-equipped Fulcrum agent figure out pretty damn quick that Bryce Larkin's ex-roommate works at the Buy More where Lt. Mauser disappeared, and that's all she wrote?

This storyline, and the danger of exposing an average brain to those images, doesn't quite track with the season premiere, where Tony Todd had a bunch of agents all prepped to download the Intersect 2.0, but it did lead to the very cool "Raiders of the Lost Ark" moment in the climax where Chuck made sure he and Sarah were the only ones in the room not looking at the monitors when Casey turned the sequence back on. (Was I the only one hoping to see Richter and/or McCarthy turn to dust on camera? Just me? Okay. That's just how my brain works, Intersect or no.)

The Big Mike story was the obligatory comic relief from the Buy More gang, but it was funny comic relief as usual -- I particularly liked Jeff dropping a "BSG" reference by comparing Big Mike to a skinjob, as well as Big Mike's confusion about Millbarge's "affiliation" -- and it incorporated Chuck slightly more than these stories have of late. Spy world and nerd world haven't been too closely tied together in either of the '09 episodes, but if we at least see Chuck having a conversation or three with Morgan, they feel like the two settings are both part of the larger "Chuck" universe.

I knew Big Mike would be hooking up with Morgan's mom based on the clip reel they showed at Comic-Con, and based on some of the upcoming footage from that storyline, it looks like a very smart -- and funny -- decision from the creative team.

Some other thoughts:

• This episode was always scheduled to air tonight. Despite last week's Obama-related pre-emption, NBC decided to keep this one on tonight, both because of the Valentine's Day theme and because they felt Richter, McCarthy and Chuck in suburbia were easier to promote than "Chuck vs. the Best Friend," which now airs next week. There may be some minor continuity issues, but you have one of the show's best fight sequences to date to look forward to.

• Also, in case you missed it because of the lack of a new episode last week, here's my account of the "Chuck" panel at Comic-Con.

• Casey's overkill with the spray cologne felt appropriate, given his tranq-dart overkill in "Chuck vs. the Third Dimension," and it led to Zachary Levi's hilarious delivery of "Why here?"

• On the more serious Casey tip, how bad-ass is he that he can casually break his own thumb to get out of handcuffs? Lando Calrissian's got nothing on that guy, and his rescue mission was so impressive I even applauded his latest cheesey kiss-off line, "Somebody call the cable guy?"

• Exactly how large is the operational budget for Operation: Chuck? I know the real estate market's depressed, but first they build the Castle underneath the mall, and now they're just randomly buying up suburban haciendas?

• This week's script is from regular staffer Phil Klemmer, whose last script was for the excellent "Chuck vs. Tom Sawyer," and it's the second episode of the season (after "Chuck vs. the Ex") to be directed by Broken Lizards vet Jay Chandrasekhar.

What did everybody else think?

61 comments:

Steve Ely said...

Man, I loved it. Loved it. More, more, more. I'll buy that, and then I'll buymore.

J said...

Surprised by the script credit as I loathed the Tom Sawyer ep and really enjoyed this one. I've always suspected Richter was a force of evil, and love him more for that.

But mostly I enjoyed it for the simple wish fulfillment, Sarah making breakfast, the golden retriever.

Myles said...

I'm right with you on how well this episode worked for their relationship, but I also noted in my own review that there are only so many other options for them to take them to the brink of a relationship before pulling it back again. It will continue working as long as Levy and Strahovski are working this well together, but there might come a point where they're going to have to shake things up in a more serious fashion.

I also felt that the Fulcrum stuff here was kind of oddly placed: I liked that we got a bit of a bigger picture, but was I the only one who found it somewhat problematic that Andy Richter and Jenny McCarthy were the ones giving this particular exposition of sorts? The setup was fine, but I felt we needed a more sinister guest star to get it across.

But in the end, it was all so enjoyable: some solid Buy More lines, some great lines here and there, and some strong pathos with Chuck and Sarah. I just hope the show knows when it eventually reaches the point where a new dimension to Chuck and Sarah's relationship might be necessary.

Ronnie said...

"Skinjob" originated in Blade Runner, right?

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm in the minority here, because I thought this was the weakest episode of the season. It just seemed a little "off" from the brilliant work the rest of this season. Maybe because it didn't seem like the main characters were directly interacting with each other as much as usual (except for Chuck and Sarah, which was more dramatic than funny for plot reasons). And I agree with the other poster about Richter. Andy's great, but that role didn't quite fit him as well as other guest stars have fit into their roles.

Loved the Raiders of the Lost Ark reference, and since I was expecting the blind date to end up being Big Mike's wife (and they rekindle their love and go back to normal) I was EXTREMELY happy with the direction they chose instead. Am I the only one surprised that you can say, "I always come quickly" on NBC in primetime? That seemed a bit risque to me (still funny, though).

Oh, and I wonder if Chuck is going through similar budget constraints as Scrubs. That might explain why Annie has been absent most of the season and why Captain Awesome wasn't in this episode, either.

Bobman said...

Not sure about Blade Runner (haven't seen that in years) but in Battlestar Galactica they refer to the humanoid cylons as "skinjobs."

Pamela Jaye said...

I loved the episode but I was seeing something else.
Is this a common story for a spy series to do? I don't see enough of them to know.

I was watching major parts of the ep (in suburbia - minus the FULCRUM and their special Intersect thing) and remembering Scott Bakula's 1996 CBS spy/romance/etc show Mr & Mrs Smith's third episode* - The Suburban Episode.

Right down to kissing hubby goodbye as he left for work, the backyard barbecue with the neighbors, photos of "the happy couple", Sarah making a meal, the horny neighbor lady (though in Chuck's case with other motives), the already set bugs, and all the wiring and high speed links.

They did leave out the midnight backyard helicopter lift, and no guns in the cookie jars :-( but they didn't miss the loss of pants.

Mr & Mrs Smith wasn't that great a show, but I still mourn it - mostly when I'm watching Zach and Yvonne.

*which aired second, which was silly, cause the real second episode was titled The Second Episode

I really hope that at the QL Con, someone thinks to ask Scott what it was like to guest on a show that was so similar (in a lot of aspects) to one of his own.

Karen said...

My quibble with the house in the suburbs wasn't so much that it's costing the operation big bucks as....how was the Agency even ABLE to buy a house in a Fulcrum housing development.

I have to say that the layers of deception and self-deceit in Chuck and Sarah's relationship were incredibly moving in this episode. For some reason I don't mind the two steps forward, one step back of their time together...it doesn't feel like the endless tease of so many other series' relationships. They sell it to me.

The Raiders of the Lost Ark moment was also just...god, just amazing.

I love this show so much. SO VERY MUCH.

Anonymous said...

Could Chuck be anymore adorable?! This was a hilarious and bittersweet episode. Loved the part where Casey is trying to explain to Chuck how to get out of cuffs by breaking his thumb and CHuck being horrified by the whole thing.

I do wonder how Chuck and Casey explain their constant disapearances from the buymore :)

Ben said...

Very much enjoyed this episode, the writing, the story, acting, etc.

- As for the Chuck/Sarah status, I think the writers are setting up several straight episodes that will have them vibing like they are in a buddy cop movie. Then...something happens, like Chuck meets "someone" (Alan - any notable female guest stars coming up?) and it gets serious very quickly. Maybe she is a spy, maybe she isn't. Sarah tries to protect him, but he says "you had your chance". And then they ALMOST get together before the cliffhanger and...fade to black.

Of course, all of that happens with a "Chuck" sensability, so not nearly as boring as I just wrote.

- I think Yvoone Strahovski does not get nearly the credit for her performance. Not only do I think she does a solid job playing the FBI agent with a heart of gold (and lust) who is able to turn off her heart light (thanks Neil!). But - and sorry ladies - she is way hot. She can go from the yogurt store outfit to the suburban wife to the kick a$$ agent and always pull it off. And let's not forget, that IS what her role is (in the writers eyes); to be forbidden fruit, yet oh so tantilizing close that she makes Chuck/the viewers fall in lust-love.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone explain why there was NO sexual tension between Sarah and Chuck at the beginning of the episode? I know they've struggled with their feelings for each other, but when they were at the Buy More talking about Valentine's Day I just didn't follow. They seemed awkward about getting the other to commit to plans for V-Day, but then we find out it was because neither one was really interested in hanging out with the other? And then instead of sitting on the couch tense, awkward, and silent, they just seemed bored to have to spend time with each other for the sake of their cover. And then they rediscover their affection for each other in suburbia. It just threw me for a loop.

Anonymous said...

I think the writers are setting up several straight episodes that will have them vibing like they are in a buddy cop movie. Then...something happens, like Chuck meets "someone" (Alan - any notable female guest stars coming up?) and it gets serious very quickly. Maybe she is a spy, maybe she isn't. Sarah tries to protect him, but he says "you had your chance".

Wouldn't this just be a rehash of the Jill arc?

OldDarth said...

Absolutely I feel good. The show was well written, well paced, well acted, and had good storylines. I really appreciated this one tonight.

The tension is getting cranked up and a hint of a bigger story is on the horizon. That is awesome.

Sarah and Chuck and their story is ongoing. No where did I see, 'The End,' title card flashed anywhere. Their moment together is still coming. I expect with what they have yet to face, that moment is going to be all that much sweeter.

So yeah, I'm frakking pumped dude! Chuck rocked tonight!

Anonymous said...

Alan, maybe they didn't need to reduce Jenny and Andy to dust, but it does seem like the writers could have incorporated something in the room (not necessarily a person) melting away in cheesy 80s special effects fashion. But then my TV would probably explode from the awesomeness.

filmcricket said...

I doubt Agent Sarah Walker's going to want to play full-time domestic goddess.

Probably not full-time, but Sarah has expressed to Casey how much she'd like a normal life with a husband and kids. Whether or not the government would ever let her go is another question. But I think that last shot of her in the house showed how much she'd have liked this fantasy to be real.

Which brings up the first of the ... not exactly continuity errors, but weirdnesses in this episode. Chuck asks Sarah, while she's cooking, if she's enjoying playing house - are we to understand that her cooking skills have improved from her early days at the Weinerlicious?

And if Casey can get himself out of handcuffs, why didn't he when Karnia cuffed him to the bedspread in "Chuck vs. The Wookie"?

And finally, do we suppose that Big Mike's wife found out about "the lady Tang" and left him on that account?

Otherwise, I thought this episode was pretty great. The potential future storylines it sets up are exciting, and it goes a little way to explain why Fulcrum has both tried to blow up the government Intersect and kept chasing Bryce because they think he has it. I'm not fully clear on that contradiction yet, but it feels like this new development may clarify it eventually.

Anonymous said...

This week's script is from regular staffer Phil Klemmer, whose last script was for the excellent "Chuck vs. Tom Sawyer,"

How cool would it have been to have Tom Sawyer playing during Chuck's forced viewing of Fulcrum's Intersect (a la Clockwork Orange's use of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony).

Hoof Hearted said...

"skin job" was definitely used in Blade Runner (1982).

Anonymous said...

The blond seductive spy woman role would've been perfect for Taryn from The O.C. (the recurring newpsie cougar). Also, Josh Schwartz needs to give Autumn Reeser a role! She'd be a perfect real romance for Chuck like Rachel Bilson was.

Anonymous said...

Does it feel like people watched tonights' ep? Maybe because it took a while for Alan's recap but usually there is more comments. I hope people remember Chuck is on tonight. Did people see a lot of commercials for this week?

Loved it by the way.

jpop said...

For those wondering about what will shake up the Chuck/Sarah relationship...an ruggedly handsome MI6 agent will do the trick.

Anonymous said...

Does the fact that Chuck now has all these new fulcrum secrets solve the whole "Casey is supposed to shoot Chuck" problem? Even when they build a new intersect, only Chuck will have the bad guy intel, right?

Grace said...

I LOVE this episode. The episode might feel a bit dark, but there were certainly the pathos that I've always love. This is coming close to "DeLorean" and "Truth" as one of my favorites. The angst was there between Chuck and Sarah, but it doesn't feel contrived. Both wanted a life like that, but at the end they come to realize it's unattainable.

Kudos to Ms. Strahovski for again showing her versatility. Her mannerisms as Mrs. Carmichael (as well as other covers she has taken previously) were differentiable from the Agent Sarah Walker we all know, starting with that smile when she looked at Chuck during the BBQ party.

And also to Mr. Baldwin, he never fails to bring out the badass-ness of Casey.

...are we to understand that her cooking skills have improved from her early days at the Weinerlicious?...

I wouldn't necessarily call frying wieners as a cooking skill...LOL

Undercover Asian Man said...

No NBA tonight, so I actually caught this episode.

First, skin-job is definitely Blade Runner, and I'm happy to see so many BR fans. If you haven't seen the remastered Final Cut in HD-DVD, I highly recommend it. You will see things you've never seen before, especially in Deckard's apartment.

Second, Jenny McCarthy has had bad plastic surgery. She looks like she was wearing a mask. And Sarah Walker is good looking, but Chuck's sister is the real smoker by far. I wish she had more to do.

Once again, the Buy More was completely superfluous to this show, and should be cut. Judging by the comments (and lack of them re: Buy More), I don't think they will be missed at all. It's just filler, and in this case it killed the more serious relationship drama going on with it wacky "dook-itty-dook" slapstick soundtrack cutting in every 5 minutes. Who cares about any of them - certainly not Chuck, who can't wait to get away from the store. Get rid of them all.

In fact, the suburbs gave us a chance to see what a show would be like unhampered by the Buy More. And it was watchable, if still repetitive. At least they had some new neighborhood jokes to play on instead of Wacky Buy More One-note Repeats.

I wonder how many years can you hard core fans put up with the One-step-forward-two-steps-back love story between Chuck and Sarah. I'd understand it if you are relatively young and this is maybe only the 5th time you've seen this tired motif, but if you've seen Moonlighting, the X-Files, every Cop and Medical Drama of the 80's and 90's, Bones, and probably all the crap on TV I don't watch like Private Practice and Ugly Betty, how can you possibly stomach it? It's so tired, and you could make a drinking game out of that longing stare look from Sarah, or every time she is 'forced' to accidentally hear Chuck admit his feelings on some remote audio feed (radio, telephone, hidden camera, etc.). It's so cheesy by now.

At least this neighborhood had a little color in it (very little). Usually Josh Schwartz neighborhoods are whiter than a flashbulb going off in a snow storm with a bag of cocaine thrown up into the air simultaneously, like the OC or Gossip Girl.

drake lelane said...

"...so then the Greek guy says 'well, at least we know where the olive went.'"

I think that might be the third time we've walked in on that joke. For example, we joined Dominic Monahan's character telling the same punchline last episode.

Karen said...

@Undercover Asian Man: if you haven't been watching regularly (as your NBA comment implies), then perhaps you have no idea just how brilliantly the BuyMore crew (especially Jeff) has been used recently.

I, for one, would be devastated if they trashed that part of the show.

Jamm said...

Awesome ep! Also one of my faves this season. It's episodes like this that makes me addicted to this show even more. Can't wait for next week's episode!

Toby O'B said...

"(Was I the only one hoping to see Richter and/or McCarthy turn to dust on camera? Just me? Okay. That's just how my brain works, Intersect or no.)"

It might have been just you. As for me, I was expecting to see the back of Andy's head explode against that nice white wall. But then my brain was switched to evil.....

Toby O'B said...

I thought Andy was perfectly cast; the Big Bad doesn't have to telegraph its evil to be effective. And he has played a few 'dark' roles, although in some of the softer dramatic shows like 'Bones' (where he wasn't a bad guy as such) and 'Monk'.

What intrigued me was that his exposure to the Fulcrum program apparently killed him. And as he was zipped up in that body bag, Casey ordered that his body be shipped to headquarters; that they weren't done with him yet.

Could it be they may be using some Massive Dynamic technology on him to extract the info from his head, even though he's dead?

I wonder if that wasn't meant as an in-joke tip of the hat to 'Fringe'?

Anonymous said...

Anyone else notice the continuity error in this episode?

While Chuck is packing for his assignment and he and Ellie are in his bedroom, she comments about his "Tron" poster about being from the Eighth grade. "Tron" came out in 1982, meaning that if Chuck was in the Eighth grade when it came out, he would have to have been born in 1968/69, making him at least 39 years old.

To compound this gaff, at the end of the episode, Morgan's mother reveals that Morgan is 26 years old. With the assumption that Chuck and Morgan are the same age because they grew up together, that would mean that they would have been both born in 1983, a year after "Tron" came out... making it really a poor choice of poster for Chuck to have on his wall ;-)

Alan Sepinwall said...

While Chuck is packing for his assignment and he and Ellie are in his bedroom, she comments about his "Tron" poster about being from the Eighth grade. "Tron" came out in 1982, meaning that if Chuck was in the Eighth grade when it came out, he would have to have been born in 1968/69, making him at least 39 years old.

I had posters on my wall in eighth grade of stuff that happened before I was born, like the original Star Trek series.

Geeks aren't always into the most up-to-the-minute stuff.

Anonymous said...


I had posters on my wall in eighth grade of stuff that happened before I was born, like the original Star Trek series.

Geeks aren't always into the most up-to-the-minute stuff.


Fair enough... I guess I've always been more of a linear geek ;-)

Thanks for the great summary and blog Alan!

Eric said...

Two things about last night's episode:

1) Chuck and The Agents should have been tipped off by the fact that this perfect suburban cul-de-sac had no children. (Or am I misremembering?)

2) Fulcrum isn't just a criminal organization being run in the shadows of the Intelligence Agencies, which is what I had previously thought. Andy and Jenny talked about "fighting tomorrow's enemies" or some such. Which means that they've probably got some kind of Government support (even if it doesn't extend to keeping the CIA and NSA off of their backs.) What if the big shakeup at the end of the season has the Carmichael Three going to work for Fulcrum? They've employed a lot of unsavory characters, but on the other hand, the NSA had no problem with killing Chuck when he was no longer useful.
Far fetched I know the Fulcrum Intersect being all red is probably supposed to make it look Evil, but I play Horde, so it kind of got me rooting for them.

Steve B said...

I loved this episode so much. Especially at the beginning when Chuck steps out of his car and waves at all the neighbors. That was great. The only thing I didn't like was that the ENTIRE neighborhood was Fulcrum. That reveal was kind of dumb. They could have easily made Jenny McCarthy and her husband the only Fulcrum agents.

If everyone was Fulcrum, and they all knew that Chuck/Sarah were CIA, then why didn't anyone do anything when they saw Chuck escaping from the house in his underwear?

Besides that, it was great. I like that Chuck is coming to terms with his relationship with Sarah. I usually don't like Ellie's character, but I loved her final scene with Chuck. We also got to see Chuck's greatest moment as a spy. Fooling the Fulcrum agents into thinking he was brainwashed is not something the old Chuck would have been able to pull off.

Anonymous said...

I get your reference to Raiders of the Lost Ark, especially the "Close your eyes. Don't look" but I thought that scene referred more to Superman II where the bad guys get the tables turned on them by their own technology.

Puff

Mo Ryan said...

Ditch the Buy More stuff? whwhhwhahahhaaat? I love that stuff. I think the comic ensemble there is really top notch and I know it's just filler but it's filler that I *love*.

I would watch a show that is just Buy More hijinks. seriously. Even just the shot of the one staffer with the remains of a candy bar all over his face -- that sort of stuff makes me laugh.

Another small thing I really enjoyed -- Casey's perfect valentine's Day involves sitting down with a glass of Scotch and a documentary about a badass Marine mission. Now that I think about it, I think Casey is modeled after my father.

I think Yvonne's performance was really good in this episode. At the end, I so wanted her to grab one of the fake wedding photos and save it. But Sarah is so duty-bound that she would never do it. Definitely Zack and Yvonne sold all the interesting emotional levels/deceptions in this episode.

I totally want to see Andy Richter back. Wouldn't it be funny if they had some Walter Bishop-style mad scientist tap into his memories after he's dead? If they parodied Fringe even a little, I would love them for that.

drake lelane said...

Perhaps we just caught NBC/Universal bagging him up and carting him off for a post-humous appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

Marsha said...

If FULCRUM owns the whole development, how did the CIA buy a house in it? Was it a trap? Were they letting random people buy houses there and testing the intersect on them?

Enjoyable ep, but I could have used a little more exposition.

barefootjim said...

I've actually been hoping that Jenny McCarthy turns to dust for 15 years.

Also, I know that Chuck has an inferiority complex in that he's not a super-cool secret agent with special karate powers and the balls to break his thumb to escape handcuffs.

But, at the same time, its gotta mean something to him that he could stand the brain downloads that kill everybody else.

Rachel said...

Wait. Chuck just initiated a plan that killed eight or nine Fulcrum agents, something he knew would kill them, and in the next scene, his major source of sadness was that Sarah asked him to give back the fake wedding ring?

That last scene between Chuck and Sarah just felt wrong, and left me with a really bad taste in my mouth. It feels like Chuck is hyping up the show in a really significant, game-changing way, which is really exciting. But then they throw in the Chuck/Sarah tension, and it goes back into an angsty romance theme and honestly, doesn't Chuck have more things to worry about? Like, how he just KILLED THOSE FULCRUM AGENTS?!

Or is it okay because Casey was the one who entered the sequence, so Chuck has no worries whatsoever? Whatever.

(I was wondering as soon as I saw Andy Richter' name if it would be "the villain is the person who I actually recognize". Kind of subverted.)

Anonymous said...

I;m sorry, but Chuck stinks. There is no plausible explanation for why he still works at Buy More. And it's lame that every other week someone from his past also turns out to be a spy (like his ex-girlfriend). Also, the Sarah/Chuck stuff is confusing as to where they are in their relationship week to week. I give up on this show.

Toby O'B said...

And of course, being "Anonymous", we'll have no way of knowing when you come back next week to dis the show all over again.......

Robert said...

The episode was good, but I think it wasted a lot of drama. Having all this unfold in a single week seems rushed to me. An entire neighborhood of Fulcrum agents along with an extended time together for Chuck/Sarah offered a lot of possibilities that they just blew past.

drake lelane said...

After watching again, I think I figured out what was bothering me about the Chuck/Sarah relationship this time out. Didn't it seem like there was another mysterious wedge between the two on top of the already difficult relationship?

It felt like there was something missing, and I think it's because this episode is out of order (was originally numbered 2.14). Something (probably minor) must have happened between Chuck and Sarah in the episode we see next week (originally numbered 2.13,) which got bumped by Obama.

I guess they didn't want to wait another week to build on their post-Superbowl mini-bump, and it was a sort of Valentine's Day episode. Also, I'm sure unintentional, there was the NBC Monday night Talking Heads link ("Psycho Killer" plays on the radio, Sylar smiling at it's appropriateness).

Mayhem said...

While it wasn't the greatest episode in terms of action I think what this episode did was set up a lot of possible twists and turns that should direct the rest of the season.

One of the biggest things I got from this episode was the growing working chemistry between Casey and Chuck. There was a time where Casey wouldn't have a.) trusted Chuck b.) working with him and c.) Chuck and Casey carrying the team. As much as the Sarah/Chuck bond has always been there the growing bond between Casey/Chuck could lead to many turns.

Somebody said that Jenny McCarthy looks like she had work done, I just think it is age and lots of makeup. She just looks older. But with that said I just didn't find the McCarthy/Richter characters believable.

The rest of the season should be interesting.

On a un-related note, Chuck in the early ratings finished 4th again behind House, The Bachelor, and the Monday Comedies on CBS with a 4.0/6. That is better then what they had been getting but still not very good.

Alan, I was hoping you could track this rumor down for its validity. My Sister's brother in law is dating a woman named Emily, who is going to be in some USA show in the fall. Well the rumor is that they are considering moving Chuck to the USA network to pair it with this new show and another current USA show to air on Wednesday nights from August to December and then this group of 3 will re-run their seasons Sunday Nights after the NFL season. It seems far fetched but I figured I would ask.

drake lelane said...

Mayhem - Is it possible that the show you're thinking of is the new Matthew Bomer (Bryce on Chuck) series coming soon to USA called White Collar?

The series will also feature Mr. Everywhere Mark Sheppard... which begs the question, when is he going to be on Chuck? He's already got a multiple episode arc coming up on Dollhouse, so all that's left for him is Chuck and he'll have pretty much cornered the market on shows I watch ;)

Alan Sepinwall said...

Probably not full-time, but Sarah has expressed to Casey how much she'd like a normal life with a husband and kids. Whether or not the government would ever let her go is another question. But I think that last shot of her in the house showed how much she'd have liked this fantasy to be real.

I think she'd like it for a little while, and then she'd get incredibly bored and want to go overthrow a South American dictatorship with a spork. That's the less practical, more philosophical obstacle to the Chuck/Sarah romance: he can't wait for his life as a spy to be over, while it's the only life Sarah knows, and most of the time the only life she seems to want.

Jason S said...

One of the many reasons I love my wife... as Chuck and Sarah are hiding their eyes, she turns to me and says, "So everyone else's faces are melting?"

Mayhem said...

Drake-I can't remember the exact name of the show but it has to do with a military hospital and is kinda a ER spinoff.

Either way...cable stinks. ha

WWWeaves said...

Did nobody notice that jenny McCarthy's husband was played by someone from the X-files. Weren't he and Baldwin co-stars?
Am I wrong?

Joe said...

I couldn't agree more with you, I need that suit.
Great episode. I really think we are going to see the season ending with Chuck and Sarah getting together, and then we will deal with the aftermath next season.

Buzz said...

McCarthy's husband was played by Brian Thompson, who played the Alien Bounty Hunter, a being of few words.

Adam Baldwin played Knowle Rohrer, a Marine converted into a "supersoldier". If I recall correctly these characters did not appear together, so they weren't co-stars in that sense.

Seeing Thompson definitely warmed my old X-Phile heart.

Anonymous said...

chuck is a total bore. there is a reason why its ratings flatout stink

Anonymous said...

The rift between Chuck and Sarah might be explained by whatever happens next week, which would be the episode that should have aired last week.

More importantly though, I think they established early on that the two of them are growing quite bored with their pretend relationship. Not frustrated that it can't be real, but tired of the "going through the motions"

For those wondering how the CIA was able to buy a house in the Fulcrum neighborhood, remember that the agent that went all crazy early on had been living there, too. Some sort of lead had gotten him to move into that neighborhood, just like Chuck and Sarah, so clearly the whole subdivision was built as both an operations center and a trap.

And there is a very good reason why Chuck still works at the Buy More: He wants too. He works as a spy, but he refuses to give up his own life entirely. He is not going to give up his friends and his sister so the NSA can shove him in a room somewhere analysing data. And he is too valuable an asset to try to strongarm into something he refuses to do.

jpop said...

Chuck also still works at Buy More because Beckman would be pissed if her perfect set up was ruined just cuz Chuck felt like leaving his cover job.

Just look at how pissed she gets when he won't cooperate (v. Seduction) or when he breaks up with Sarah (v. Imported Hard Salami).

Beckman's got everybody under her control, even though I don't think she ever knows what's really going on.

Big Yellow Joint said...

..."Another small thing I really enjoyed -- Casey's perfect valentine's Day involves sitting down with a glass of Scotch and a documentary about a badass Marine mission. Now that I think about it, I think Casey is modeled after my father."

Hoo doggie, sometimes just reading these comments is almost as funny as watching the actual show. That was my main laugh out loud moment too. Then when his boss appears on his widescreen, he hides the scotch under the coffee table.

Hmm, now that you mention it, has Casey ever "gotten any"? I don't think he has...Poor guy.

dez said...

Hmm, now that you mention it, has Casey ever "gotten any"? I don't think he has...Poor guy.

I think Casey gets plenty--when he feels like it. He seems pretty content to drink scotch and polish his gun, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

This was one of my favorite eps of the series. I didn't have a problem buying Jenny McCarthy as evil as much as I did buying her as intelligent, but I loved Andy Richter as the creepy FULCRUM neighbor. I wonder if he's really dead, or in some sort of suspended animation from the effects of the evil Intersect?

Jesse said...

Oh, and I wonder if Chuck is going through similar budget constraints as Scrubs. That might explain why Annie has been absent most of the season and why Captain Awesome wasn't in this episode, either.

I'm assuming here you mean Anna, Morgan's girlfriend? If so, both Julia Ling (Anna) and Ryan McPartlin (Awesome) have been doing film work recently, which might be why they're not in as many episodes.

electricia said...

Karen - I think they were able to buy the house in the Fulcrum housing development because Fulcrum was looking for people to test the Intersect on. So they had this house that they sold to someone planning to use them as lab rats. At least that's what I got out of it.

Ben - there IS a notable guest star coming up, especially notable if you watch another show that is much-discussed around this blog. I won't say who it is for fear of being spoilery, but as far as I know, she's not actually going to be a love interest for Chuck. I could be wrong on that bit, but we'll see.

I loved this episode. The BuyMore stuff was excellent. (Someone mentioned they'd watch a show that was just BuyMore - I think there are actually webisodes that are all BuyMore stuff.) The main plot was excellent. I thought the Valentine's Day tension was just a result of the fact that it's really, really awkward because they both know there are feelings there, and it's a strain to be in a pretend relationship with someone you want to be in a real relationship with.

Also, I don't know about whether or not this is a common episode to have in spy shows, but they did it in Alias, too. The twist there was that they were pretending to be Russian agents who were pretending to be Americans, and they were in a training camp of sorts. But still, they were in a perfect little suburban neighborhood pretending to be married. Of course, they already knew that everyone around them was an eeeeeevil apy.

Stef said...

Hmm, now that you mention it, has Casey ever "gotten any"? I don't think he has...Poor guy.

I laughed out loud when he offered that Chuck could tag out when he was with Jenny McCarthy.

And I would never live in a suburb that had an alien bounty hunter. Way too creepy.

Sharon Weekley said...

Hi, I'm in England and the show only aired tonight but I thought it was excellent! The only problem was that the channel cut the bit with the bodies being taken away and Sarah asking for the ring back so I couldn't understand why Chuck told Ellie he and Sarah would never be anything else. I just hope that the writers find a way round that someday!! My TV only goes on for a couple of hours a week but Chuck is definitely a 'don't miss' show, love it!!!

Sharon Weekley said...

Ooh, forgot to say that the spies in Suburbia thing was also in Scarecrow and Mrs King back in the 80's and they had a whole Chuck/Sarah thing going. Obviously they got over the 'having to hide how you feel' thing and got married though that was pretty much the end of the series so maybe Chuck shouldn't go exactly the same way (though I think it was because Kate - Mrs King - was seriously ill rather than script problems).