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Chuck: Chuck versus the Coup d’Etat

“You both are, without a doubt, crap communicators. Precious looks and whimsical little make-ups after big misunderstandings, you guys are fantastic. But actual real, live day-to-day communication about your feelings?”

The first few episodes of this season have been rather divisive. Some of us love some, some of us love others, and some of us just love Chuck all the time. Last week’s episode felt wrong to me: not funny enough, a bit too cliché, and too reliant on Nicole Richie. After reading the comments on another site, though, which pretty roundly agreed that I was dead wrong, I started to think that I was being too harsh. Was I expecting too much? Or, more precisely: Was I expecting the wrong thing?

I don’t think I was, because this episode had everything that I love about Chuck, in spades: a compelling spy story that interlaced with Chuck and Sarah’s personal and relationship dilemma, which was, in turn, paralleled the BuyMore b-plot. It was funny, touching, and had a healthy dose of Ellie and Awesome. Plus, Sarah in a bikini for those who enjoy such things. (Although our only man-meat was rather statuesque for my taste.)

Chuck and Sarah are terrible communicators, perhaps because they don’t really get to spend much time alone together. But when they are honest, they say exactly what the other person wants to hear, which is how we know they’re going to work out. They’re not quite certain, though, and they’re still afraid. When Chuck asked Sarah to list five things about him, we cut to the Generalissimo singing “Que tengo miedo”—that I’m scared. That could apply to Sarah and Chuck equally. They’re not scared of commitment, though. They’re scared of screwing things up, and Sarah’s sacred of opening herself up and vulnerably admitting how much she feels for our hero.

The Generalissimo and his wife are an example of just where that fear of communication can lead: if only they’d been more open and honest about their feelings, the world would be a safer place. (Ellie and Awesome, obviously, are examples of how communication can lead to bliss.) Morgan, on the other hand, risks bamboo shoots under the nails if he’s open and honest about his feelings for Casey’s daughter. And that’s a risk he took. Way to go, Morgan!

Way to go, writers, too! This episode was extremely fast-paced, with a small nation’s future being written and re-written in every act. I love that they went from LA to Costa Gravas to LA and back to Costa Gravas. I love that they had the Generalissimo briefly room with Casey, and that Casey predicted a betrayal 19 years in the future back in his military days.

In conclusion: this was a great episode, and it reminded me of how delightful this show can be.


• Beckman: “I want everyone who wasn’t shot recently to stake out the embassy to see if he turns up. Everyone else should be in bed.”

• Torini: “Actually, Costa Gravas is very stable. We have peace now. And Subway sandwich franchises.” Sort of like Chuck.

• Chuck: “Yes, that, both, all of the above.” I almost expected him to say “I want to go to there.”

• Generalissimo: “That is an unmistakable fragrance…There is nothing more attractive than a ripe fruit.”

• Awesome: “Babe, is the nine-foot statue of me making you a little caliente? Way to go, marble me.”

• Casey: “Just follow the stink of commie.”

• Generalissimo: “A coup d’etat? We used to finish each other’s sentences.”

• Generalissimo: “I have a nuclear weapons control panel in my basement.”

• Casey: “That’s the stench of tyranny.”

• Big Mike: “If you hear sweet, smooth jams rising up from your soul, that’s your answer.”

And Pieces:

• In the spirit of not expecting the wrong thing, I will not talk about socialism, communism, capitalism, imperialism, how the Generalissimo’s marriage might be an allegory of American policy in Latin America, or what subaltern studies can tell us about that allegory.

• Did you notice the odd way Sarah’s face was framed when she and Chuck were having their conversation about conversations in the van? We saw her from Chuck’s perspective, but Chuck from the perspective of a third party. There was lots of screen symbolism, too, which might be a metaphor for not communicating.

• I wish Beckman was still in Burbank.

3.80 out of 4 cuddling needs.

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


  1. Hmmm ... I liked this one much better than last week's, but the Chuck and Sarah dynamic is still rubbing me the wrong way. And quite frankly, the over-reliance on manufactured relationship drama for those two is starting to turn me off on the whole show. I want more spy adventures and fun with Casey and Morgan, and WAY less "Chuck is *still* insecure about his relationship with Sarah." Especially in the middle of a mission for crying out loud! Be professional! Can't we just get a run of episodes where those two can "just be" (to quote Sarah)?

    And along those same lines, I want the "Chuck lies to Ellie about being a spy" business to end. It makes her into a very unsympathetic and annoying character. Especially after this week when she tells Chuck that she can see how much being a spy meant to him and how good he was at it, but instead of saying, "You should go back to being a spy, Chuck" she says, "Now that I've seen how much joy it gave you, it makes me that much happier that you gave it up for my sake." What?! Bitch much? Too bad Ellie can't be the kind of selfless person she seems to think Chuck is. Aargh!

    OK. Enough negative. I really did like this one better than last week's, and Casey's assorted "commie stink" comments were hilarious. Plus, I kind of want to see how the whole Morgan-Alex-Casey dynamic develops.

  2. They definately should do Costa Gravas more. :) The Generalissimo is fun.


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