Chuck: Chuck versus the First Fight

“It’s just so thrilling. It reminds me of that great episode of Alias. I love that show.”

So many crosses and double-crosses that I can hardly keep track, but Mama B continues to delight, and I’m so happy that Ellie got some closure, not to mention a great car. And, hey: Sheep! (What episode of Alias featured sheep?)

We’ve all noticed and been mildly annoyed by Chuck’s tendency to bring his relationship baggage on a mission like it’s spy luggage. Likely, the writers are just uncomfortable letting Chuck and Sarah just be, and don’t want to bog the rhythm of the show down with lots of moody conversations on couches. But the Chuck and Sarah relationship drama took a back seat to the heavier question of Mama B’s loyalties, and that emphasis made the reveal of Timothy Dalton as Volkoff a mild surprise (emphasis on the mild).

It’s the getting there that’s half the fun, though. I know that Timothy Dalton is a former Bond, but I kept thinking of his spell as Ringleader of the Time Lords on Doctor Who, which made his John Le CarrĂ© sad-sack spy even more amusing. All former Bond heroes should be forced to wear comfy sweaters and cuddle baby lambs. And all Time Lords should be forced to listen to Chuck talk about his girlfriend for 123 miles. I’ve expressed my discontent with the indiscriminate use of guest stars before, but Timothy Dalton was great for this role, both as good guy and bad, father figure and evil Russian.

I’m sticking to my theory that parent-child relationships are the secret theme of this season: just as Chuck connected with a father figure, Ellie got a chance to see her mom. I certainly hoped that Ellie told her about the baby: I assume that happened off-screen. I wonder how much Mama B revealed to Ellie, about Chuck. I also hope that Ellie got closure, as I’m starting to suspect that the only way for Mama B’s story to end is for her to slip under the radar, only to be seen in the occasional season finale.

Speaking of being off someone’s radar: Mama B never told Volkoff about Chuck’s parentage, which would seem to indicate that she’s playing some game of her own devising. Maybe she really is trying to work from within the belly of the beast, but it’s hard to countenance a 20-year mission that has, thus far, yielded zero results. Surely, we’ll find out more soon.

Hopefully we’ll also find out more about what happened to Chuck. Was he un-Intersected? Is the glowy thing under the car yet another Intersect? Or was last week’s episode, in which Chuck didn’t flash, a foreshadowing of the show’s new direction?

Either way, I hope that one prediction doesn’t come true: I really don’t want this first fight to prefigure all other fights. I want Chuck and Sarah to enjoy some serious couch time to talk about their feelings over a bottle of wine. They shouldn’t have to constantly re-assess their relationship while engaged in strenuous, non-sexual physical activity.

Bytes

• Sarah: “Morgan, please don’t touch my chest.”

• Morgan: “Do I get to parachute out of a plane on a wild horse?”
Chuck: “No, you do not, because nobody ever does. But you do get to wear an earpiece.”

• Timothy Dalton: “I’d like to apologize for questioning you in such a harsh tone, and of course for threatening to rip out your throat.”

• Timothy Dalton: “...and I had my first sexual experience watching Lawrence of Arabia. I come from a broken home.”

• Timothy Dalton: “Oh, cool! A tiny weapons stand-off!”

• Indestructible Woman: “Keep your pants on. You are not my type.”

And Pieces

• Great rant from Chuck at the beginning. I plan out my rants, too. I’m very eloquent when alone.

Per fas et ne fas is “for good or bad” or “through good and bad,” right? I should have paid more attention in Latin class. (I wonder if it’s from the Latin wedding service, translated as “in sickness and in health.” Too much?)

• Did Mama B intentionally describe the car to lead Ellie towards a clue of some kind?

A lot happened this week: Mama B and Volkoff are now officially quest objects. Scott Bakula’s work has been destroyed, but Ellie holds the key to... something. Chuck may not be the Intersect, which would be fascinating. Morgan continues to improve his spy-capabilities. Everything feels turned up to eleven, which makes next week’s break even more difficult to bear. Chuck will return on Monday the 15th.

Four out of four Phalanx XR-12 computers. (Are those real? With the triangle discs?)

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

7 comments:

Billie Doux said...

I totally agree on all counts. Great episode. And Timothy Dalton can play anything. Loved the fuzzy sweater and the sheep. Even though I knew there was something off about him, I still cringed when he threw himself in front of the bullet.

I *think* Chuck told his mother that Ellie was pregnant, but I might be wrong.

Jess Lynde said...

Mama B definitely knows Ellie is pregnant. She got the teddy bear for her last week. I don't know if the two of them talked about it, but it isn't a secret.

Despite my complete loathing of the "talking it out during a mission" stuff and Chuck oversharing private business with virtual strangers who are part of the spy world, I really enjoyed this episode. Especially schlubby Timothy Dalton and the Alias shout out.

BUT, I'm having trouble believing Volkoff's people wouldn't know that Chuck and Ellie are Mary's children. They seem to know she's Mary Bartowski and that Stephen Bartowski was the husband searching for her for 20 years. So why wouldn't they know about the kids? Or do Volkoff's peeps just know them as Frost and Orion? Seems strange to me.

I like how you referred to Tuttle as a father figure, Josie. I kept thinking that with the Grandpa sweater that Tuttle was very reminiscent of Bakula's Papa B.

Josie Kafka said...

D'oh! The bear. Of course.

Mark Greig said...

I loved this episode. Timothy Dalton was brilliant as Tuttle it’s almost a shame he turned out to be the new big bad.

Anonymous said...

Ain't no such thang. I know my old computers pretty damn well, and I'll swear on a stack of bibles that there's no Phalanx XR-12, nor triangle floppies.

Sorry...

-Ken

Tom L said...

This episode was awesome. After watching it, I went back and rewatched the final scenes from last season's finale in search of a clue. Well, Papa B. said he had been a spy for twenty years, working for himself. And Mama B. claimed she was working from within the belly of the beast, as Josie put it. So what if they kept in touch, shared intell and envisioned a long-term mission to bring down not only Volkoff, but other big bads?

Orion said he did it all for Mary. Ha was too smart a man to waste his time looking for a woman that didn't care for him. He also said that, with him gone, Chuck and Ellie wouldn't be safe anymore. Maybe the reason why BOTH parents left their children behind was to keep them away from the dangerous misson they were embracing. Orion just kept an eye on his kids to make sure they were safe.

So I'm hoping Papa and Mama B. were working together. It would make parfect sense and make us all happy.

Ok, on to the episode itself, it was fun, emotional, twisted and action packed. What more can you ask from a TV show?

My eyes filled with tears when Mama B. tenderly touched Ellie's face. She can't be evil! She can't! Great acting by both actresses, BTW.

I didn't see the Tuttle/Volkoff twist coming, but it totally echoed the Alpha reveal from Dollhouse's "Briar Rose", didn't it? Timothy Dalton was terrific and it's great he will play a bigger role this season. The powers that be do know how to delight us, don't they?

Cesar said...

Only got to this episode today (yeah, I know how late I am, but I'll watch the second half as it airs)

Completely agree with Tom L, I was thinking the same thing about Orion and Frost working together, and now that you mentioned that's exactly the Alpha twist from Dollhouse.

I think I remember sheep in an episode of Alias, but I'm not sure. Anyway, Tuttle was probably referring to the airplane scene from "that great episode of Alias" "Phase One" (2x13) (digression: searching wikipedia for the episode's name I just found out it was directed by Jack Bender, who would later direct some of the best and most important episodes of Lost)

My only complaint is that I really liked the secret base set and was sad to see it exploded so soon... It was never *really* explored in an episode (at the end of season 3 my theory was that Chuck (and friends) would spend season 4 exploring cases from Orion's archive.

Regarding Chuck and Sarah fights, I am usually annoyed too, but this time I thought the scenes of them arguing while being shot at and with Mary and Tuttle following them with an unconfortable look were just great! (although I was really surprised this was their first official fight..)

About the triangular disk, there is no such thing as far as I know, and it doesn't make any sense computer-wisely (if anyone cares, the solid and square floppy disks do have a floppy (flexible) disk (circular) inside them - hence the name - and the square thing just serves as a protection from the exterior environment and a way to fix the disk in place / make it in a useful shape for handling. Besides the lack of sense in making a triangular disk that couldn't be read elsewhere, from the position of the hole, the actual disk would have to be very small).
So, yeah, I immediately knew there would be a very important (I was wrong about that) disk in the near future.

Btw, what was the status of the Bartowski's house? Who owns it? Why didn't Chuck and/or Ellie lived there? I had totally forgotten about it until now (for some reason I was under the idea the base was below Chuck's current house until it exploded)