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Chuck: Chuck versus the Honeymooners

“But you’re a spy, man!”

You can take the boy out of Burbank, but you can’t take the Intersect out of the boy. The previous episode’s game-changer really did change the game: the will-they-or-won’t-they is gone. Kaput. Finis. But what can replace it? Well, Chuck has turned into the story of the Charleses: not Nick and Nora, but close enough. The bigger question is: Is Chuck still Chuck, without the longing?

It’s still hard to tell. This episode played with the idea of Chuck’s (and Sarah’s) longing, by replacing it with our longing for them to return to the spy life, and the LA contingent’s longing for Chuck. I never worried that Chuck and Sarah would stick to their pact to quit the spy life, and I’m glad they didn’t drag it out for more than one episode.

Ellie’s sadness was harder to take: she felt abandoned by her brother, but at least they got a meaty thirty seconds together. On the flip side, Morgan said goodbye to Chuck with a surprising lack of tears: if he really though Chuck was leaving him forever, would he have been okay with it? Then again, maybe he knew that Chuck would never actually go on the run.

But as the ETA separatist said, no matter how far you run, you can never run from yourself. I knew it, Morgan knew it—I’ll bet even Chuck and Sarah knew it. And it doesn’t have to be a choice: they can be together and be spies, three seasons of obstacles to the contrary. Now we’ve got a show about two spies in love. I’m cool with that.

The first half of this episode was just frantic. Funny, but frantic. It’s pretty amazing how much plot they crammed into this episode, spy-wise: Interpol, Basque separatists, more Interpol, separatists pretending they’re Interpol, Morgan and Casey, waiters, money pouches, handcuffs, drunk Ellie. Wow.


• General Beckman: “The Intersect and Mr. Grimes have an oddly co-dependent relationship.”

• Awesome: “Babe. [Points to his own chest.] This didn’t happen by accident.”

• Morgan: “He hasn’t updated his Facebook status in over a week!”

• Casey: “They’re having intercourse, idiot.”

• Chuck: “Yeah? Oui?” (At least, that’s how the close-captioning translated some of Chuck’s ramblings to the injured skier.)

• Morgan: “I’ve barely been south of Redondo Beach.”

• Morgan: “Trains and buses are hotbeds for gypsy activity.”

• Lester: “Prepare yourself to be wowed by a wall of sound…sound…sound.”

• Morgan: “Are you Canadian? Me too, eh.”

• Canadian: “Stay away from me, or I’ll cut you.”

• Casey: “Alright, let’s say I believe you now.”

• General Beckman: “Off the record, it’s about damn time.”

And Pieces:

• That opening was straight-up Alias. Until it wasn’t.

• Wow, that was a lot of southern accent.

• Jeffster’s turtlenecks are an improvement.

• That was Ray Charles at the end, right? Yet another Charles. What a strange sub-theme. [Edited to add: No. It was Nina Simone.]

• Ellie and Awesome aren’t gone for good, are they? I choose to believe that they’ll be back until I hear otherwise.

Three out of four fake Canadians/fausses Canadiennes.

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


  1. I enjoyed this one a lot. It made me smile so much more than I had with this show in awhile. It was just so much fun (except for the "longing" to be in and out of the spy game, which got a little tiring after awhile). Chuck and Sarah made a fantastic "spies in love" team, and Casey and Morgan were pretty funny, too. Morgan is bumbling, yet oddly resourceful.

    Jeffster's beatnik/coffeehouse vibe was cracking me up. Especially the turtlenecks and Jeff's glasses. Awesome's reactions were pretty darn funny, too.

    Overall, this episode was great fun and I'm looking forward to the next one.

  2. Oh, and that was Nina Simone's 'Feeling Good' at the end. Not Ray Charles.

  3. Season 3.1 was a letdown. Enjoyable in bits but unsatisfying as a whole. I’ve got higher hopes for 3.2, especially now that all the ‘will they/won’t they’ malarkey is out of the way. Chuck and Sarah are so much more fun as a super spy couple I amazed it took them this long to go there. Like the General said, it’s about damn time.

    Loved the 39 Steps-ish vibe of this one, what with the trains, Euro bad guys and Chuck and Sarah being handcuffed all the time. Plus Beatnik Jeffster was just priceless.

    And Jess is right, that was Nina Simone at the end. Although I’m surprised they didn’t use the Muse version instead.

  4. Hi, I've enjoyed your review, and of course this episode. Jeffster unplugged was a little tame, I found funnier the "plugged" version. The only thing I do not agree with is your definition of ETA. ETA isn't a separatist group, it is a terrorist group, because they use violence and kill people. Although the character of Arnaldo is very realistic, because he possibly is an "arrepentido", id est a repentant (former member of ETA).
    But I could't agree more with your definition of the episode as frantic.
    I look forward to your next review.

  5. Hi Anon,

    I really waffled on whether or not to call them terrorists of separatists, especially because I don't know much (beyond the obvious) about their claims or how their claims are viewed by Spain. But I went with separatist because he wasn't with them any more: I assumed, as you said, that he still wanted the pais vasco without all of the violence that turns desire into tragedy.

    Having said that, terrorists are terrorists, and freedom fighters are freedom fighters--it all depends which side of the line you stand on. As I don't stand on either side of the ETA/Spain line, I don't want it to sound like I'm apologizing for terrorist actions. But I also know that this show's politics are often a bit more black-and-white than my own. So I shied away from the dreaded "t" word--and wound up picking an equally weighty word instead. Oops. :-)

    Mark, maybe they're out-Mused with all of the homages they did in 3.1's score.

    And, to all, I've edited it to reflect that I cannot distinguish Ray Charles from Nina Simone. That's just embarrassing.

  6. This one was light and fun instead of frustrating; I liked it. I get so tired of the standard romance "you're never going to see them together" thing that it was a nice change of pace to see Chuck and Sarah truly together. It was nearly as much fun watching Casey and Morgan as a team, too. I've never been a fan of the Morgan character, but I've actually liked him in the past few. If he were totally incompetent as an agent and played entirely for laughs, I'd hate it. I'm so glad that's not what they're doing.

  7. I enjoyed this one too. It did feel like a bit of a digression before the new status quo, but there's nothing wrong with that. I do enjoy filler when it's filling.

    By the way, Josie, "fausse Canadienne" should be "fausses Canadiennes". In French, adjectives concord with the noun they modify... Can you tell I'm working on a grammar book?

  8. This is definitely qualifying as my most error-ridden review ever. I suck.

    Dimitri, I thought that was the case, and double-checked it online, and fully intended to pluralize my adjective, and then didn't. At least I didn't write faux.

  9. Josie,

    It's unforgivable that you couldn't tell the difference between Ray Charles and Nina Simone. It just points out your lack of culture.

    I thought it was Ray Charles too.

    As for the episode itself, I can't tell you much. Yvonne Strahovski is getting hotter by the episode and in this one they've used every excuse to show her legs. It has most surely clouded my judgement. I loved the episode, of course.
    Add that to the fact that Sarah looks a lot like my ex-girlfriend. (Now that I'm thinking about it, another ex of mine kind of looks like Jill, too. Should I bring this up in therapy?)

    And I long for more Casey/Morgan pairing too. It just works!

    And I hate this kind of will they/won't they. That's the reason I stopped watching Smallville. I agree with the Colonel: It was about damn time

  10. As all of you have said, "it's about damn time." And, boy howdy, was it fun to watch.


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