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Chuck: Chuck versus the Tic-Tac

“It’s Casey.”

But this episode turned out to be pretty awesome, wasn’t it? Oh, wait, you haven’t been participating in the conversation inside my head. It went something like: “Wow, Chuck has been uneven.” “Yeah, right?” “I wonder how they’ll pull off this [finally!] Casey-centric episode.” “Yeah, I’m sort of nervous.” All of my internal dithering aside, though, I loved this week’s edge, although I’m not sure every episode should be this suspenseful or this gloomy. Plus, Robert Patrick? How cool is that?

Last season, Casey risked his own career to save Chuck and Sarah. This season, Chuck and Sarah returned the favor. When Casey got shanghaied into committing treason by a delightfully grumbly Robert Patrick, I thought the plot would end there. Getting an emotional backstory was just happiness gravy. So Casey has loved and lost, but would never actually betray his own country—no surprise there. And he sacrificed everything to do what he thought was important for his country. Twice.

Casey doesn’t have a spy name, like Sarah and “Charles Carmichael.” I guess the idea is that he doesn’t have a “real” life to keep separate from his spy life—his entire identity is being a spy. and his former persona has been gone since 1989. He knows what he has sacrificed, and what he is still sacrificing. He is continuing to sacrifice his relationship with his former fiancée and his daughter because it’s his last link to serving his country, in his eyes, at least.

In Chuck and Sarah news, she said that she worried that he had changed. (Had she changed her mind at some point?) She also told him not to “give up on the things that make [him] great.” Chuck, though, gave up on fear (see below) with ill effects. We got a cliffhanger that hinges of Sarah’s choice this week…what will she decide?

In my obsession with structure news, Chuck answered the question of how to go dark without alienating viewers by going dark, but using Casey as the focal point instead of our cuddly hero. I’m so happy we finally got a Casey story, sad as it was.

But that story had some repercussions. Casey is no longer a spy, although I can’t believe that will last long (right?). And Chuck’s lack of fear—becoming “the Intersect he was always supposed to be”—had some truly lethal consequences. He really seemed to enjoy choking that guy. Is fear the only thing that keeps us moral? Is Chuck’s good-guy nature just a product of being a wimp? Is it his wimpiness that makes him great, like Sarah said? Can’t it just be that he’s a good man?


• Sarah was supposed to meet Shaw in DC? Like, for a date at the Reflecting Pool? Or for CIA stuff?

• The arrow pointing belowground to the secret CIA facility? Adorable.

• Fast-forwarding through 15 levels of security was funny, especially as Sarah’s hair-extension bun got very messy by the bottom level.

• Chuck’s obliviousness as he ratted Casey out was a great contrast to Sarah’s high-alert tension.

• Fitzroy was hilarious. He reminded me of that FBI accountant in one of the later seasons of the X-Files who was basically just a fangirl.

• Every time Awesome and Morgan said “Medicins sans frontieres,” it sounded dubbed. It also sounded like both actors were more comfortable speaking Spanish than French. I know, because that’s about what it sounds like when I try to speak French. Of course, my Spanish sounds Italian. And my Italian? Really just English with a funny accent and lots of hand gestures.

• Those were some hardcore fight scenes, with everything sped up to make it seem more intense. It worked.

…And Pieces:

• Morgan: “The answer is yes. I set the DVR to record the Mork and Mindy marathon.”

• Chuck: “All right, then. Time to save the day.” Splat!

• Casey: “How would you like to be a part of a very important, very secret mission?”
Morgan: “Yeah. Can I get a cool call name, like Condor or Ladyfingers?”

• Chuck: “That someone would have to be desperate, stupid, or just plain willing to do anything to impress him.”

Josie’s Tiny Soapbox:

• Chuck seemed shocked that Casey had been a part of CIA ops in Honduras in the eighties—the era of School of the Americas/CIA-backed death squads throughout Latin America. The thing is, it’s not like we don’t know that the US did terrible things then and there. Is Chuck just now realizing that the US government has done terrible things? Has he not yet realized that he’s working for the same organizations that did those terrible things?

• “They’re moving him to a black site in Thailand outside of US torture jurisdictions.” I don’t think that’s how the Geneva Convention is supposed to work.

Four out of four Cuban cigars.

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)


  1. Must be Tuesday. Chuck's in peril:





  2. I'm not sure what to think. Chuck seems to be a balancing act, and some of this season has tipped in a direction I'm not sure I want them to go. Some of it has been terrific, though, and I've enjoyed every episode. I certainly don't want it to be canceled.

  3. Just to add: the pill not only removes fear, but it removes all *emotions*. I think they're saying emotions are what keeps us *moral*, not fear. :)

  4. Great review, Josie, and good ear! Awesome's "Médecins sans frontières" was so removed from French pronunciation that I had to rewind it a couple times to figure out what he was saying (I'm from Québec where French is the first language).

    I think the pill was a placebo. Casey's too nice deep down to give Chuck the real one. Besides, I still argue this season of Chuck isn't about Chuck going dark but about Chuck thinking he's gone dark while he's negotiating the innocence that makes him so charming with his willingness to take on more responsibility.

    Sarah said she *thought* Chuck had changed, acknowledging that she had misjudged him when she was worried he was going dark.

    Maybe it's my different take on all these events this season that makes me feel so differently: I've thoroughly enjoyed every single episode this season, except for the two-hour premiere. I, for one, would be very sad if the show got cancelled.

    What gives me hope is the utter disaster that's been NBC programming this season, perhaps giving struggling shows a chance to get renewed just because there's only so many new shows the network will want to pick up for the next season.

    Truth be told, what I want most, though, is for the show runners to get enough advance warning, so Chuck and Sarah/Sam can find love onscreen before the end.

  5. Thanks, Dimitri! I had to listen a few times, myself, and I went for French as the language because 1) we know Awesome's Spanish, while not great, is very easy on my Anglo-ears (see vs. the Angel of Death), and 2) Most people call it either by the French name or the English name, right? At least in English-speaking countries?

    So Chuck isn't going dark, he just thinks he's going dark...I'm going to have to ponder that for a while. Because some episodes would bear that out, as Chuck doesn't seem as dark as the situation warrants; others, though, he does go a deep indigo, at least.

    Some article I read--it might have been the LA Times article I linked to above--mentions that NBC's woes might bode poorly for Chuck. Something about how NBC isn't producing the show, so they're basically renting it from someone else, which means something. Money confuses me, and entertainment-industry money confuses me even more.

  6. Finally getting caught up on Chuck - I gave up tv for Lent. This ep was awesome. My favorite: the arrow, Chuck going splat, and Sarah punching Fitzroy in the face so casually. Lol.

  7. Interesting take on this episode, Josie. I was worried that Chuck was going to go too dark, especially the juxtaposition of both Casey and him strangling someone.

    Casey's story is a sad one. The look on his face when he heard his daughter's name wrecked me.


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