Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Chuck 3.14: "Chuck Versus the Honeymooners"

“Well, I may have a lot of stamps in my passport, but I think this is the first time I’m actually seeing the place.”


“Chuck Versus the Honeymooners” was a very nice balance of silliness and seriousness. Or comedy and drama if you want to get more articulate about it. Chuck and Sarah finally being together has given the show a much needed lightness. There are also important decisions to be made, though, and thankfully, all the decisionmaking is pretty much complete by the end of this episode. I like that with this extra order of episodes to cap off the season, the writers feel like they can step back and do lighter-hearted stories like this. So much of the first thirteen episodes were geared towards advancing the “Is Chuck a spy?” and Shaw plots that there wasn’t really a whole lot of time for fun. “Chuck” is at its best when it balances comedy, drama, and heart, and that was achieved here.

The episode opens with what seems like a menacing man with a knife walking down the corridor of a sleeper train car. He stops at a room, and Sarah opens the door. It turns out he’s the compartment service waiter. Chuck and Sarah are enjoying some alone time on a train in Europe, and they’ve been having too much fun in their compartment to venture to the dining room for food. It really is nice to see them so very happy. And the little waiter fake-out was fun, too. As they are happily lounging in bed, Sarah and Chuck agree that they’re going to run away and quit the spy life together. This might be easier said than done, though, as once they do eventually venture out to the dining car, Sarah sees that a man has a gun, and Chuck flashes on the man as a known Basque terrorist.

Both Sarah and chuck clearly still love the spy game, although they don’t want to admit that to each other for fear that a return to the spy game means an end to their relationship. One of my favorite parts of the episode is when both Sarah and Chuck make excuses to leave their compartment for a minute so they can do some quick reconnaissance on the terrorist. Chuck checks out the terrorist’s compartment and just barely escapes through the window before the terrorist returns. Sarah wasn’t quite as lucky. She hid in the bathroom when she heard someone enter the compartment (Chuck) and was still there when the terrorist arrived. Then she pretended to be a drunk Texas housewife who had accidentally entered the wrong compartment and got out of there quick as she could. I think I liked this sequence so much because it showed Chuck and Sarah actually enjoying and having fun with being a spy. It shows us why they do what they do. Soon enough, Chuck and Sarah each realize the other had been spying, and they agree to one last mission. They’re going to make sure this terrorist is apprehended by Interpol.

Chuck and Sarah’s decision to go AWOL has repercussions back home that Chuck and Sarah seem to be doing their best not to think about. First of all, General Beckman has ordered Casey to enlist Morgan’s help in bringing Chuck and Sarah back. Morgan’s borderline creepy knowledge of Chuck’s habits is just the ticket for finding the missing spy couple. Specifically, it’s Morgan’s knowledge that Chuck needed to refill his eczema cream prescription and that Chuck likes DC Comics that got the job done. Morgan’s all excited because he thinks going to Europe on the government’s dime means he’ll be traveling first class all the way. He was wrong, which I guess, as a taxpayer, I’d have to say is a good thing. The other homefront consequence is that Ellie and Awesome are having a going away party before they leave for Africa, and Ellie is upset that it looks like Chuck isn’t going to be there. A performance of “Leaving on a Jet Plane” by Jeffster and an unfortunate drunken speech by Ellie ensues.

Chuck and Sarah left all their spy equipment in Paris, so they have to get a little creative in their attempt to bring down the Basque terrorist. Sarah resumes her identity of the Texas housewife, and Chuck becomes her equally Southern husband. Chuck “accidentally” knocks over the drinks of the terrorist and his handlers and offers to get them new drinks. These new drinks have been liberally dosed with narcotics. Just as the mission is almost complete, Casey and Morgan arrive on the scene. It’s interesting that Morgan seems to be taking on the role that chuck filled in the earlier episodes of the series- that of the wide-eyed, enthusiastic newbie. He packed and dressed more like a youth hostel-frequenting backpacker than a CIA agent.

Casey finds Chuck and Sarah in the dining car and handcuffs them before they can fully explain themselves. At that moment, the terrorist’s handlers keel over from the drugs, and the terrorist makes a run for it. Sarah and Chuck punch Casey out and follow the terrorist. The terrorist is in the bathroom of a compartment, and just as Chuck and Sarah arrive at the compartment, Casey has caught up to him. When they open the door to the bathroom, Casey finally believes them and shoots the terrorist with tranq darts. The darts, however, hit a book instead of the terrorist, and he tries to run again. He doesn’t get very far before getting re-captured by Casey, Chuck, and Sarah, though.

General Beckman is not impressed with the team’s heroics, though. The terrorist wasn’t on the run, he was being transported to witness protection by Interpol. The team is instructed to stay put until another Interpol team can fetch the terrorist. The team plus the terrorist sit in two grops in a lovely Swiss café, and they chat to pass the time, mostly about Chuck and Sarah’s decision to quit the CIA. Casey tells Srah he’ll support her if running is what she really wants, and the terrorist suggests to Chuck that he make sure it’s what Sarah really wants, since life on the run is no picnic. Chuck doesn’t bother to get that confirmation, though, and they leave the café to begin life on the run with Casey’s blessing. Each thinks the other really wants to quit, and they love each other more than the spy life.

Soon after Chuck and Sarah leave, the supposed new Interpol agents arrive. Morgan figures out that they aren’t who they say they are thanks to his knowledge of Lake Cuomo, where the agents claim to be stationed. Although it’s really cool that Morgan is actually making a contribution, he makes the contribution a little too late. The faux agents and extra terrorist backup tie up Casey and Morgan and threaten the original terrorist who turned himself in. Meanwhile, the real backup Interpol agents find Chuck and Sarah by their train. When Chuck and Sarah find out that Casey and Morgan are in trouble, they knock out the Interpol agents (the agents were questioning Chuck and Sarah and were very suspicious) and head back to the café on a Vespa.

What happens when Chuck and Sarah arrive back at the café is quite the kickass fight scene, the likes of which we haven’t seen too often this season. First, Chuck runs the Vespa right through the café’s plate glass window. Then he and Sarah, still handcuffed courtesy of the Interpol agents, start fighting off the terrorists. Casey and Morgan use the distraction as an opportunity to get free as well, and they join in the fight. After all the hubbub has died, down, Chuck and Sarah finally have that much needed conversation about whether or not they really want to quit the spy life. The upshot of the conversation is that they don’t want to quit- they want to be together and be spies. Luckily for them, General Beckman unofficially approves of this. I love that she’s been a closet Chuck and Sarah shipper this whole time. Ellie is also thrilled that Chuck won’t be alone while she’s away, and when she realizes Chuck and Sarah are “back together,” it’s an extremely sweet moment.

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