Chuck vs. the Suitcase
Season 4, Episode 02, air-date September 27, 2010
Summary: As the team tracks down a high-tech weapon in Milan during Fashion Week, Chuck discovers some issues in his relationship with Sarah. Morgan uncovers a flaw in Buy More's security, and Casey tries to acclimate himself to living in Burbank.
The truth? This episode is all about Sarah Walker. And mxpw and Frea couldn't be happier...or could they? See the review, after the break.
mxpw: Okay, so to start off, I want to make it clear that even though I am playing the critical one again today, I really did enjoy this episode. Even more than the premiere. It was funny, heartfelt, and Sarah was just fantastic. Everybody knows Yvonne owns me, this episode showed why.
Frea: And even though I’m the optimist, I had my own issues with the episode, too. Though I loved it. Yvonne doesn’t own me (Anna [Torv] does), but Sarah/Yvonne just rocked the episode so hard I will never look at a suitcase the same way again.
mxpw: Oh boy, the suitcase.
Frea: Which ought to make travel very interesting. To say the least.
mxpw: That’s actually one of my issues that I had with the episode. First, it’s ridiculous. Sarah’s whole wardrobe and everything she has in one suitcase? Please. But that’s just one of those Chuck things you have to handwave, so I did. Now the Role Models reset was a little more annoying.
mxpw: And now I’m humming a “Spoonful of Sugar.” THANKS A LOT.
Frea: It helps the medicine go down, Maximus. So what was your problem with the reset?
mxpw: Haha. The fact that there was a reset at all, of course. I object to resets just on general principle. Thankfully this one isn’t as bad as many others in the past, but it was still annoying that they went there at all. Plus, Sarah’s excuse to Chuck at the beginning of the episode, the whole, even though they’ve been dating for months, she’s hardly been around so it’s understandable why she hadn’t unpacked just made me facepalm that they made her all (as Frea told me) plot chameleony again.
Frea: I didn’t have as much of a problem with the reset. I figured, they were bound and determined to go there, so after the initial scene, I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. Maybe part of the reason I didn’t mind it is because Zac and Yvonne just sold every scene they were in together. Hell, Yvonne really got to spread her wings with this episode. She got to be a little bit of everything: jealous, trying not to laugh, happy, downright terrified, uncomfortable, kick-butt, annoyed. It was like a smorgasbord of awesome for Yvonne Strahovski! And! And! She got to wisecrack! We haven’t seen her really throw down a good wisecrack since “Go Cougars” two seasons ago! In the line of traditional kick-butt heroines, Sarah Walker can now officially consider herself in the league with Buffy. Not quite up to Buffy’s level, but she’s new, she’ll get there.
mxpw: Oh don’t get me wrong, I agree. I mean, compared to resets or retcons in this show’s past, this was nothing. Once I got past the annoyance of them going there, I thought they handled the issue of her not unpacking rather maturely. Well, once Chuck stopped being an idiot during the bomb scene. God, when are the writers going to learn that Chuck talking about his personal issues during a mission is not remotely funny or endearing? It just makes me want to punch him in the face.
Frea: Dang, I can’t disagree with that one at all. At one point I turned to my sister, the great Graceless O’Scanlin, and literally said, “It’s like he never wants to get laid again.” She agreed (the O’Scanlin crowd can be a bit crude). Did anybody else laugh at the irony of Sarah Walker telling somebody to put clothes on? Just me? Okay.
mxpw: Ironic, maybe, but definitely funny. Good on Sarah for getting a nice one-liner in. I loved that whole closet sequence, by the way. From Chuck’s passive aggressive ribbing, which I found hilarious just because of how they both reacted during that scene (and Chuck kinda had a point), to Chuck asking Sarah if she could see anything and her response of “Are you serious?” and the facial expression she made. Oh and the almost Spiderman kiss, which I thought was some great Charah interplay.
mxpw: Yeah, really, though, this episode was Yvonne Strahovski’s episode. My favorite Sarah episode since Honeymooners, but maybe even as far back as Delorean. From her absolutely hilarious facial expression when Beckman said Sophia was “fetching” (I about died laughing), her open jealousy and disbelief that Chuck could be so oblivious, to her stripping scene (my brain melted), and then the great catfight on the catwalk, this episode gave Yvonne/Sarah SO much to do and I loved every moment of it.
Frea: Wanna switch places?
mxpw: Haha, no, not yet. I still got things to say that are critical, I promise. We haven’t even talked about the pacing or the end or Morgan yet.
Frea: I was gonna offer to switch places to talk about Morgan because I seriously have a bone to pick with this episode.
Frea: I have two unpopular opinions about this episode. They involve Greta and Morgan.
mxpw: Well, we can play bad cop, slightly worse cop.
Frea: Awesome. My first opinion: I’m over Greta.
mxpw: Really? Haha. I kind of liked the Old Spice Guy in this episode.
Frea: This is partially my attention span coming in to play, I imagine, but the Old Spice guy got one laugh out of me (shooting the scan codes: “I can do better”). I was unimpressed with Olivia Munn last week, too. However, neither of them bugged as much as Morgan did.
mxpw: I can understand that. Morgan really does need to learn boundaries and it’s quickly approaching a time where it’s not funny anymore.
Frea: I mean, I know the bromance is important, but if I were Chuck, why would I be focusing on the bromance so much when there’s a possibility for romance with Sarah Walker? I mean, I’m not even gay and I think that! But seriously, Morgan’s doing too much. In this episode alone, he shoots off the spark that brings to light the issue between Chuck and Sarah, he gives Chuck bad advice, he gives Casey advice, he saves the Buy More, he’s everywhere and everything and I really just want him to butt out of the Chuck and Sarah romance already.
mxpw: Agreed. In Morgan’s defense, I will say his advice to Chuck about keeping his mouth shut was actually fairly good advice, it’s just he accompanied it with inserting negative and unneeded insidious thoughts in Chuck’s brain. He should know by now that Chuck is too neurotic to let stuff like that go. As for the rest of the stuff, I agree with you. They need to stop making Morgan seem so jack-of-all trades.
Frea: Seems like they had a character once who was supposed to be a jack-of-all-trades and good at everything he did...
Frea: (I say supposed to on purpose. I’m not saying that was actually the case)
mxpw: Skip Johnson? Now come on, Frea, we should all be happy just that he’s back.
Frea: I’m happy that Skip is back, yes. Jeffster? I’m good with the amount we’ve had. They can come back in, oh, let’s say eight episodes? Maybe nine, to be on the safe side?
mxpw: Aww, I thought Jeff getting tranqed a million times was funny and so was their very wrong stuff entrance, complete with fan blowing. But then I like Jeffster a lot more than you.
Frea: Oh, I laughed at Jeffster getting tranqed a million times (the show really seems to love that joke, doesn’t it? Casey...Tyler Martin...Jeff...), but they work best in small doses...like Morgan! Well, smaller doses than Morgan.
mxpw: So apropos of nothing in regard to our Morgan discussion, I want to talk about Ellie. The lying is in full force right now. And that’s annoying, but I was really struck by how much distance there seems to be between Ellie and Sarah in this episode. I’m struck by how unconcerned Ellie seems to be that Sarah is a spy. It’s why her comment to Devon that all she needed was him and Chuck for family really stood out to me. I’m wondering if Ellie doesn’t consider Sarah family because she doesn’t think Sarah will be around much longer. Or if because she doesn’t trust Sarah. Or if just because the writers just don’t care about Sarah and Ellie in any capacity. I don’t know, but I find all this talk of family and no mention of Sarah interesting.
Frea: Maybe Sarah is just dead to her? I’m not sure which it is, but I’m hoping that Sarah and Ellie do have some sort of plotline together that doesn’t fail the Bechdel test. I’m worried it might be the last option, which is a bit sad to me because Ellie was so adamant about pushing Chuck and Sarah together for so long. Now her brother is living with this woman, spy/liar or no, and Ellie doesn’t seem to be at all concerned or even acknowledging of the fact.
Frea: I’ve seen speculation that Ellie/Sarah/MamaB are going to be tied together, three women all facing the same decision (motherhood/commitment), and I’ve seen speculation that MamaB is going to serve as a role model for Sarah, but really, all that I would ask for is just Sarah and Ellie either airing out their issues or, if the writers don’t feel there are any issues, Ellie not randomly omitting Sarah at every chance. I mean, given the way she looks, it’s hard to ignore Sarah’s presence completely, and yet Ellie manages it. Her powers must be awesome, indeed. And ew, vegan baby food.
mxpw: That is not to say that the scene with Ellie looking in the photo album wasn’t a fantastic scene. Very pull on the heart-strings worthy and I actually liked Ellie more in this episode than I have in some time (Devon, he was kind of annoying during most of the episode). That was actually one of the most well done scenes in the episode.
mxpw: Yeah, it’s really weird how Ellie doesn’t A) meddle in Sarah’s life about being a spy, because you’d think if she cared about Sarah, she’d be just as interested in seeing Sarah out of the life as she did Chuck and B) that she would acknowledge Sarah’s presence every now and then. But there is just like this wall between them. I wonder if Morgan’s comment about Sarah not unpacking had any influence on Ellie’s not including her in family.
Frea: If it did, I have only one thing to say: “MORGAN!!!!”
mxpw: Haha. Which leads me to one of my biggest pet peeves of the episode, beside the weird and out of whack pacing in the beginning. And that is the very end. First, that Charah scene was absolutely fantastic. Not only did they communicate and do so maturely, but it felt very natural. Everything about them felt natural in that scene (plus, the making out and rolling around on the bed was both very hot and kind of racy for this show). It was romantic and I kinda went "D'awww" through the whole scene, especially when Sarah talks about the picture. One of the best Charah scenes in some time.
mxpw: And then BAM! That end was just contrived. It came across as so artificial to me, and done only so that we could have angst/conflict in the Charah relationship. I give Chuck a lot of crap for being an oblivious dolt a lot of the time, but I don't believe even Chuck would have said what he did there. The only thing that saved that scene from just complete facepalmery was Sarah's hilarious facial expression.
Frea: Yeah, my sister and I missed the first ten minutes of *dramatic voice* The Event because we were laughing so hard at the sheer terror on Sarah's face. The very ending bothered me a lot too. The scene leading up to it was amazing, even if at one point I turned to my sister and went, "Does he not get that if he keeps talking there will be no sex?" (and two seconds later, Sarah rolled over). That was one of the issues I had. Chuck kept saying he was okay with all of these things about Sarah and then he cluelessly goes and makes that comment. The guy has a longer learning curve than Casey and Sarah did with the "Stay in the car routine!" about how to be in a relationship.
Frea: I'm a little nervous for what the future holds because we're already seen tried and true ingrained sexism clichés from the writers ("Sarah's the man in the relationship! She can't commit!" Like, WTF? Is this 2010 or not?) and I'm a little gun-shy about trusting them after S3 because I don't think any of them could handle this potential story arc with the nuance necessary to make it work. That being said, Nicole Richie is back next week and not only is she an old rival of Sarah's, she's a brunette now, too. Unleash the Adorable Psycho!
mxpw: Heee. She was kind of APish already in this episode. I thought all her reactions to and her beatdown of Sophia was pretty damn funny. But yeah, I'm just really worried about how these writers are going to handle the committment issue. I don't trust them to handle it deftly and not make both Chuck AND Sarah look like idiots or tools. Plus, I think they may be depending too much on traditional gender roles to really make this conflict in the relationship work.
Frea: Maximus, I have to be honest.
Frea: You know what the worst thing about the episode was?
mxpw: That Sarah wasn't in her underwear longer?
Frea: No Castle Slide!!
mxpw: I like my answer better.
Frea: Here's a fun exercise: imagine S1 Chuck in the scene with Sarah in the dressing room. It gets even funnier. "Zip?" "Ahhh...ah...ahhh..."
mxpw: Yeah, his brain would have probably melted. Especially when she takes off the bra.
Frea: How's your brain? Have you collected all the melty bits?
mxpw: No, I'm still searching. This could take a while. It's like I finally get all collected and then the next episode airs and then bam, the SWP sends me back to square one.
Frea: Ain't it always the way.
Frea: So to wrap up for me since I'll let you have the last word this time, I enjoyed the episode quite a lot. It made me laugh, I liked the scene with Ellie looking at the photo album, Sarah Walker kicked butt, Chuck got his act together in the second half, no Castle Slide but then...they can't all be perfect, right?
mxpw: No, they can't, and while this episode wasn't perfect, I found it more entertaining than the premiere. Chuck really worked for me from the Spiderman kiss on (except for the very end). Despite too much Morgan, the Buy More stuff was pretty amusing, General Beckman is still awesome, Casey made me smile with calling Alex, and best of all, Sarah Walker was just fantastic in like every scene. God, Yvonne can be so funny when they let her. Hopefully this episode is a sign of good things to come.
mxpw: 4 Sarahs Stripping out of 5
Frea: 8 Castle Slides out of 10, plus Skip Johnson.
As a courtesy, we ask that you please don't post spoilers in the replies, as others who read this blog might not like to be spoiled! Thanks - Frea