Chuck vs. the A-Team
Season 4, Episode 18, air-date March 14, 2011
Chuck worries about his job as new agents are brought in. Chuck and Sarah suspect Casey is going on rogue missions. Morgan tries to make the best of things with his new roommate.
It's the return of Klemmer! One of us (Frea) has made her opinions of the work of Klemmer well-known on this blog, up to and including the DO NOT WANT meme dog when his return was announced. So with that in mind, how did this episode fare? Did Klemmer rightfully earn his place at the same table as LeJudkins and Newman?
You'll have to click the link to find out.
mxpw: So I want to start this review off right and mention that tumblr is currently all atwitter over the fact that Chuck (or more likely Zac being Zac) slaps Sarah on the ass during the credits while they’re in Castle. I wasn’t sure, so I went and checked for myself and yup, he does. That helped gain the episode some points in my favor. Heh.
mxpw: But I know you are not as easily swayed as I am. You’ve said repeatedly that you wish this episode didn’t exist, so why do you feel that way?
Frea: Because I spent the first half of it wishing I could fast forward through this weird alt version of Sarah and her odd restlessness that I didn’t like, and I don’t like the feeling of wanting to fast forward on this show. This isn’t Glee.
Frea: After we got through the stupid dog stuff, the episode was fine. But up until then, while things amused me, I just wanted the episode to be over.
mxpw: Yeah, I definitely understand that feeling. I can’t say I was as hopeful as you that it would just end soon, but the first half was pretty weak.
mxpw: I too was bothered by Sarah’s odd restlessness. It just seemed really over the top to me. I know that it was supposed to parallel Ellie’s similar feeling of restlessness, but Ellie had a good reason to feel confined: she actually was. Sarah had no restrictions on her, so her weird desperation to go on a mission just kinda came out of nowhere.
mxpw: It just made me think, does Sarah have no hobbies? Does she have no life beyond being a spy? If not, that makes her kinda pathetic.
Frea: Chuck’s not really helping out much with the “Let’s play Nintendo!” campaign. Though I did appreciate him blowing on the cartridge, as that took me back to my youth.
Frea: Oh, right, that was another thing that Klemmer brought back that I didn’t miss: the straight-on headshots from early Season One.
Frea: Well, that wasn’t necessarily Klemmer, per se. But the fact that that style returned and it was on his episode? I’ma blame him.
mxpw: Fair enough. I think this episode really highlighted what Klemmer’s strengths are on this show: the spy stuff and the male characters. I don’t think he really knows how to write Sarah. She’s either just kinda background in his episodes or he writes her very strangely (see: A-Team, Mask, American Hero for examples). But he does handle the comedy and spy stuff fairly well. I think that’s probably the biggest reason why they brought him back. I mean, he made Jeff likable. That’s no easy feat.
Frea: Yeah, it’s really weird when Jeffster is my favorite part of an episode.
mxpw: That’s one of the sure signs of the apocalypse.
Frea: That rumbling you hear is the oncoming apocalypse.
Frea: We typed that at the same time.
Frea: Because that’s how we roll.
mxpw: We are awesome like that.
mxpw: Next thing you’re going to say is that you love Morgan.
Frea: Seriously, Jeff/Lester/Ellie = favorite part of the episode. Robin Givens is going to make an interesting villain, I have issues with Chuck/Sarah/Casey, and no Excessive Morgan Syndrome, so you know, positives. But yeah, I don’t love Morgan. I did enjoy his exchange with Sarah about the tranq darts, and I’m going to pretend, like I pretend many times each week, that getting shot point-blank with a tranq dart doesn’t hurt OR leave a bruise. Ah, this show tests my new Suspension of Disbelief levels in new and fun ways.
mxpw: I liked that Sarah/Morgan/Chuck scene for two reasons: it was ridiculously over the top that Chuck and Sarah would have to resort to that to just get past Morgan, who apparently could teach the bridge guardian from Holy Grail a thing or two, and for the great Jurassic Park homage. Sarah is totally a scary velociraptor when she wants to be. Heh.
Frea: Are you saying that Sarah is scaly?
Frea: Or at her most dangerous in the kitchen?
mxpw: I’m not sure. I think she needs a careful inspection to clarify the issue.
Frea: I should assign a minion to that.
mxpw: I volunteer for that dangerous assignment.
Frea: No, I don’t think so. You were complaining today that both you and Olivia put up with continual abuse and you’re right, I should stop abusing you so much. I’ll get Crystal to do it.
mxpw: That’s okay, this is one assignment I don’t mind undertaking. Really.
Frea: Too late, I just called her and she agreed. Besides, you have a review to finish.
mxpw: But fine.
mxpw: So what issues did you have with Casey/Sarah/Chuck?
mxpw: I mean, besides the fact that Sarah acted like a crazed, jealous girlfriend for the first half of the episode and Casey was kinda...I don’t want to say jerkish, but he certainly didn’t earn any points with me.
Frea: This show needs to pick a side.
Frea: And I’m not talking A Team vs. B Team. I couldn’t care less what team Chuck/Sarah/Casey are, as long as they’re working together. But I am talking about this:
Frea: Is Chuck an idiot? Is Chuck a renaissance man? Is Chuck GOOD at his job or not? Because I’ll believe whatever you want me to believe, but not when, just like everything else, the stance on this changes every week. If the government is evil, then fine. I’ll go with that. But I’ve gone with that several times, show, only to have you do a complete reversal on me. QUIT JERKING ME AROUND!
mxpw: I agree with this. It is getting ridiculous how many times Chuck’s ability and position as an agent is questioned on this show. This is the guy that has taken down the Ring and Volkoff and yet there are still people out there who don’t think he’s an effective agent and his method of doing things gets the job done? Really? This is the government, since when do they care about doing things better?
mxpw: I do have to say that I appreciated the fact that Chuck didn’t freak out as much as he could have in this episode. I thought Sarah was actually handling being sidelined much worse than he was. Which was odd, considered how he acted just ten or so episodes ago when he lost the Intersect. Chuck was portrayed as likable and fairly competent here, even if they did get the usual digs in. It would have been nice to see Sarah stand up for Chuck more and worry about not being part of the A-team less, but it’s a Klemmer episode, so what are ya gonna do?
Frea: As usual, you put my thoughts better than I could.
mxpw: That’s the job of a minion.
Frea: I can handle spying on somebody about little, stupid things. But Sarah kept making me cringe this episode with her determination to get to the bottom of this situation. Apparently, this is in character for her, since Casey knew her well enough to leave the handprint for both of them on Reagan. Such a considerate guy, that Casey.
mxpw: Heh, yeah. I really wish they had shown Sarah caring more about being Casey’s partner before this episode, because she hasn’t shown the slightest bit of interest in their partnership since...Tic-tac, probably. So her reaction in this episode was just weird. I don’t know, it’s not like I disliked Sarah in this episode, it’s just that she confused me and her reactions made little sense to me.
Frea: Heh, that was exactly what I was saying to myself during the episode!
Frea: “Uh, since when have you cared about being Casey’s partner?”
mxpw: Seriously. Before this, she seemed to be quite happy that she was paired up with Chuck. I mean, just look at the last episode and all the bank stuff. Where was Sarah’s concern that Casey wasn’t coming with them then?
mxpw: She didn’t even seem to notice.
Frea: I think I may have to counterpoint you here.
mxpw: But meh, Klemmer. Heh. I am using that as an excuse to explain a lot of things this episode, I think.
mxpw: Go ahead.
Frea: As we did see, in the last episode, that really nice Casey and Sarah scene where neither of them were freaked out by the Wedding Dress of Death. So there is some form of partnership there, I guess. But I don’t know, I feel like they could have played it out a different way. Sarah and Chuck realize they’re losing Casey and realize they’ve been taking advantage of him, for example, and then do everything they can to make up for that, only to run into interference with Casey’s new team -- a subject we’ll have to talk about in a moment.
mxpw: Oh no, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there wasn’t a partnership there, just that Sarah hasn’t shown any concern over it not being like it was in say the first two seasons for a long time. Not since she basically became Chuck’s partner.
mxpw: But yeah, we definitely need to talk about Casey and his new team. That was just too underdeveloped for me. His switch, I mean.
Frea: I think that’s a casualty of telling a full season in eleven episodes, so that didn’t actually bother me too much. I would’ve liked to see him being threatened maybe a little more by Robin Givens -- did her character have a name? Because I’m okay with calling her Robin Givens -- but I’m glad this storyline isn’t sticking around. You may want to smell like him, but I’m not all that impressed with the acting of the Old Spice Guy.
Frea: But for one episode, I can forgive that. Finally, a better Intersect 3.0 than Sh**!
mxpw: Well, once I got past the fact that Casey’s switch behind Chuck and Sarah’s back wasn’t going to get much development, I was able to roll with the story. It’s one of the reasons why the second half of the episode is a huge improvement over the first. The main problem I had with Casey’s storyline this episode, though, is that there was no resolution. He switched because he felt like he was no longer needed on Team B, yet by the end of the episode, nothing had really happened to change that or assuage that feeling of his.
mxpw: So it felt like the whole thing was pointless. Unless they’re going to come back to it later, but what are the odds of that happening on this show?
Frea: He was the one that gave Chuck his juice box! He is not pointless.
Frea: Proper Care and Feeding of the Intersect saved the day.
mxpw: Somehow I knew you were going to mention that. Methinks that’s not Casey’s idea of being utilized properly.
Frea: Yeah, but that’s the casualty of his character. I mean, he’s not going to be utilized properly until he gets out of Los Angeles because they’re going to keep pairing him with Morgan.
mxpw: Though it did help make that my favorite sequence of the episode. Everything from the airport on was great, from Chuck in the bomb suit and his talk with Casey, with some of the best Chuck/Casey stuff in a long time. Casey standing by Chuck when it came to the bomb, the great callback to the Pilot, Sarah’s faith in Chuck and her encouragement. That was such a good scene! It reminded me of the gold old days.
Frea: Which, to me, is the wore insult to a Marine with a full career of service and medal-worthy deeds behind him, but you’ve heard this rant before, so I’m not going to go over it again.
Frea: Yeah, any scene that has me shouting, “Cry on it!” is probably a good scene.
Frea: Oh, wait, that’s just me. I like making people cry. The tears of innocents fuel my improbability drive.
mxpw: I liked that Chuck used his head to solve a problem. Thank God.
Frea: Hey, you know when it would have been nice to see that? When dude lost the Intersect!
mxpw: Sigh. I know. But you take what you can get on this show and I’m not going to lament too much because that really was a fun and awesome scene.
Frea: Fiiiiiine, win me over with logic, why don’t you?
mxpw: I wish they would settle on a consistent bit of Intersect mythology, but it was nice seeing the Orion laptop back.
mxpw: Yeah, curse my Vulcan brain!
Frea: you start talking in a gravelly voice because my dog just rang the bell to let me know she wants to go outside, we will have issues, Maximus.
Frea: But back to Chuck -- I enjoyed the airport scene. Though Ayefah put it best to me when we were discussing the Intersect:
1. Only give Intersects to people with an IQ over 7.mxpw: You talked about the episode with Ayefah before you discussed it with me? I am hurt!
2. Ellie Bartowski pwns all.
Frea: She’s my favorite.
mxpw: Fine, then she can check Sarah for scales!
Frea: I’ll let her know.
mxpw: I did like that the Gretas got their humanity back after they lost the Intersect.
Frea: Yeah, that was a nice touch.
Frea: Hopefully this development means that Chuck will be continuing to combine his own smarts with the Intersect as a tool rather than just Kung Fuing his way through L.A. My fingers are crossed!
mxpw: Though one wonders how the government suddenly became so adept at inserting and extracting the Intersect, considering they were supposed to have no clue how it worked not too long ago. Why again was it necessary for Ellie to have the laptop so she could fix things for Chuck if the government could just figure it out on its own?
Frea: Well, I think they got the fix from the laptop?
mxpw: But they obviously reprogrammed part of it.
Frea: Can I go into shallow territory for a moment?
mxpw: It’s me.
mxpw: I live in the shallow end.
Frea: I think Stacy Keibler’s legs are longer than all of me.
mxpw: Yes, and they are glorious, every inch of them. She could give Mini a run for her money in the legs department.
Frea: And she’s pretty. Just for the record. As is the Old Spice Guy. So that was nice, to see so much prettiness contained on one screen.
Frea: Now that I’m done harping on the show, I have something I noticed that I want to bring up.
mxpw: What’s that?
Frea: Everybody buckle in, I’m about to pay the show a compliment.
mxpw: This is a banner day.
mxpw: You must still be half-asleep. Heh.
Frea: We’re about to head into Season Two territory here. And not in the nostalgia sense, but in the, “Did this episode just establish two concurrent storylines and TWO villains?” sense.
mxpw: I think so.
Frea: We haven’t seen that since Roark/the Bunker were legitimate villains!
mxpw: That is a very good point.
mxpw: It’s good to get back to the show’s roots.
Frea: I mean, Roark and the Bunker were tied together, whereas Robin Givens and Vivian don’t seem to be, so this may be new territory altogether.
Frea: This may actually convince me to care about Vivian Volkoff as an actual threat if it means we get two problems running at the same time Team B to deal with!
mxpw: I will keep my fingers crossed.
mxpw: I bet we’ll find out that Bentley was working for Volkoff at some point. Though it would be awesome if she was just a regular old, incompetent bureaucrat.
Frea: Oh, is that her name?
Frea: Bentley? Bah. I like Robin Givens more.
mxpw: I can’t remember her first name, but I believe that’s her last name.
Frea: Her first name is Robin Givens. Robin Givens Bentley
mxpw: Works for me.
Frea: And no, I don’t have a bet going with Wepdiggy to see how many times I can type “Robin Givens” in this review...Robin Givens.
mxpw: Well, bets aside, have anything more you want to say about the episode before we wrap things up?
Frea: Whole bunch. I’m going to list things I liked. Feel free to join in.
Frea: 1) Jeff’s Clairvoyance. Yay Ghostbusters! Boo, no attaching Jeff to electrical probes and shocking him, though he’d probably enjoy that, so maybe it’s for the best.
mxpw: Seconded. That was a very funny scene.
mxpw: 2) Sarah looked very pretty all episode.
Frea: She did! As Yvonne Strahovski didn’t mysteriously turn into Peter Falk over the weeks we didn’t see her, that makes things easier.
mxpw: Hey, you said talk about things I liked. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my favorite thing.
Frea: Point, Maximus, point.
mxpw: 3) Chuck referenced The Hurt Locker and Morgan had a funny line about the Intersect making the world a more peaceful place.
Frea: 4) Ellie! Her chattering on and on and on was fantastic and hilarious. Though really, if Sarah’s so bored, why isn’t she going over and hanging out to give Ellie more adult company?
mxpw: Precisely! I’d like an answer to that question too. It’s what I was thinking of while watching the episode.
mxpw: Do Chuck and Sarah have no other hobbies but playing board games?
mxpw: I’m not sure joining the Mile High club counts as a hobby.
Frea: I think Fates Sarah thinks it does.
mxpw: Canon Sarah would seem to agree with her.
Frea: As does Themselves Sarah.
mxpw: Nice to see that they do still have occasional sexytimes.
Frea: That was going to be my number 5!
mxpw: There we go. If Sarah was so bored, why wasn’t she making sure Chuck would need a walker to get around? Man, I can’t imagine Fates Sarah letting such a valuable opportunity go to waste like that.
Frea: Ha, point. Assuming this is past the point where she’s broken Chuck’s brain. Anyway, where was I?
Frea: Oh right:
Frea: 5) Ellie! Damn if that woman doesn’t know how to get what she wants.
mxpw: She is clearly the actual smart one of the whole extended family. And her scene in the Buy More was pretty funny. Great to see Sarah Lancaster get some good material for once.
Frea: 6) Casey’s leaving them the handprint on the Ronald Reagan picture. I just liked that a whole bunch, is all. And I don’t think the other Castle is cooler than theirs. I miss old-school Castle as it didn’t look like an early 90s production company tag.
mxpw: Though I have to say, that’s a pretty nice contract she has with her hospital to get this much maternity leave.
mxpw: New-Castle was all dark and foreboding, subtly indicating that bad stuff was going on. It was very subtle.
Frea: Whereas Team-B-Castle matches Sarah’s wardrobe.
mxpw: Flashy and not always there?
Frea: *laughing* Uh, I was going for “purply.” But that works.
mxpw: Let’s get some CP!
Frea: Final thoughts: I need to reiterate that it wasn’t a terrible episode. But, like Tom Sawyer, I don’t really ever want to watch it again. Interesting things set in motion and next week we get to see all the
mxpw: I spotted what looked like at least one female “Chuck” so I am all for her awkwardly and adorably flirting with Sarah. :P
mxpw: But yeah... Look, I know it may seem like I wasn’t crazy about the episode, but I actually thought it was fairly funny and mostly entertaining. I view this episode like Dream Job, really. Which was an okay episode that didn’t really pick up until the second half and then had some pretty awesome scenes. That was A-Team for me. So yeah, I thought it was good but definitely flawed and lacking in depth.
mxpw: I am looking forward to next week, as always, and I’m very curious what they’re going to do with this very different episode they have planned.
Frea: Robin Givens.
Frea: 6.8 Castle Slides out of 10
mxpw: 3.5 Nerd Herd Sarahs in Honor of Klemmer's Return out of 5.