Chuck vs. the Muuuurder
Season 4, Episode 19, air-date March 21, 2011
Chuck's leadership skills are tested when someone is found murdered in Castle. Ellie picks up a hobby that worries Awesome, and Morgan is stuck in the middle when the Buy Morons take on the neighboring Large Mart.
In this episode review, Frea discusses her girlcrush on Kristin Newman, she accuses Wepdiggy of murder, and I just try to keep up with her. Good news, everyone! This was an episode both Frea and I largely enjoyed. Want to see why?
Click the link and you'll find out.
Frea: So how do you want to do this?
mxpw: Uh...I don't know. Just start how we usually do?
mxpw: Maybe we open with a game of Clue.
Frea: Okay, Tim Curry. I'm going to say Wepdiggy in the Fringe Lab with a Lightsaber.
Frea: It's possible my games of Clue are not like others' games of Clue.
Frea: Seeing as the characters in my game of Clue are sometimes real (a la Sir Wep), and sometimes made up (Zaphod Beeblebrox!).
mxpw: Are we sure that Wepdiggy isn't a figment of your imagination as well?
Frea: I don't think my imagination could create such a complex and amazingly awesome individual, Maximus.
Frea: I'm not very creative.
mxpw: That's true. What Fates Impose is a startling display of hackery. What happens if Chuck doesn't get kicked out of Stanford? Please.
Frea: You're right. I'm a total hack. Just like the other writers writing the exact. same. story. Oh, wait, I hear there's one that went and made Sarah EEEEEVIL. Talk about hacks.
Frea: Speaking of words like EEEEEVIL, did you hear there's been a MUUUURDER?
mxpw: I did hear there had been a MUUUURDER, but I think in the case of Lewis, it was probably justifiable homicide.
Frea: Lewis? The guy who wrote Narnia?
Frea: I know you don't like Edmund very much, Maximus, but is that really reason to go after a beloved children's author?
Frea: Aside to the Audience: Poor Maximus. This is going to be one of those days where he can't get Frea to focus at all.
mxpw: Actually, Susan was the one who always got on my nerves a bit. Edmund was alright after The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
mxpw: But it's funny how similar the Wardrobe is to Sarah's TARDIS suitcase.
Frea: Both lead to magical, magical places. Sarah's underwear aside, I know I may be in the minority, but I freaking loved this episode.
mxpw: Sarah's underwear should never be relegated to an aside. But for the sake of this review, we can focus on the episode.
mxpw: I did not “freaking love” this episode, but I did enjoy it for the most part. It was funny. Probably funnier than last week's, at least at times.
Frea: I can't remember: did I like last week's? What WAS last week's?
mxpw: Chuck was worried about being replaced by Intersected Gretas.
Frea: Oh! A-Team. Right. Yeah. Okay, this episode was ten times funnier than last week's.
Frea: Possibly twenty times. I enjoyed the spy plot last week, but I enjoyed this week's tone so much more. The show does better, I think, when it forgoes the serious, because I don't think their strengths lie in the serious. So let's just go all out and pay homage to every great murder mystery ever, including an awesome shot of a person being stabbed with a knife, a blood-slip pratfall, and the very important scenes where everybody points fingers at everybody else. Did I mention I'm a Christie fan?
mxpw: This did have a pretty strong Agatha Christie vibe. Very Ten Little Indians. I wasn't crazy about the murder mystery as much as you were, Frea. I thought the interplay between the characters was more enjoyable than the actual mystery, which wasn't that compelling, I didn't think. And I was kind of disappointed Damian was the bad guy, as I thought he was funny. His plan was fairly elaborate, and I have to respect a man who uses a boombox that old to disguise a bomb. I kept expecting Chuck to raise it above his head in front of Sarah and play some Peter Gabriel.
Frea: Chris and I have decided that Damien's full name is Damien Arabopolis. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.
Frea: I'm just glad it wasn't the chick.
mxpw: You mean AU Sarah? Yeah, I agree.
Frea: Whose name I never picked up, actually. I'm trying to figure out who the actress reminds me of. It's not the woman from The Wonder Years, but it's somebody...an older sister of a main character of some show or other that I watch. And yes, this has been driving me nuts since I saw the episode. Anyway, back on subject: I called it being Damien when he didn't get blown up fully. But first, let's talk about the AU Team B. :)
Frea: I think we need to talk about how Brody looked like the unholy mating of Chuck and Bryce.
mxpw: It wouldn't surprise me. Bryce was clearly in love with Chuck.
mxpw: But I did like that they named him Brody, which I thought was a pretty clear nod to Adam Brody. I remember before Chuck first started and how everybody compared Chuck to Adam Brody's character on The O.C..
Frea: So Bryce stole some of Chuck's DNA before he didn't get him kicked out of Stanford, grew a test tube baby, and accelerated the growth of this baby, named after their favorite actor from The OC? I could see it happening.
mxpw: On this show, it's entirely plausible.
mxpw: I did think it was funny how Chuck was fawning over Brody, but it also kind of made me roll my eyes a bit. Chuck actually kind of bugged until about 20 minutes into the episode. I had flashes of First Class there for a while because he was acting cocky and ridiculous like he did in that episode. But thankfully, he mellowed out about a third of the way through the episode.
Frea: I liked him pretty well all throughout it. The one that bugged in the beginning was...wait for it...Morgan. The gloating to Robin Givens just made me want to have Sarah grab his ear and drag him away for being completely unprofessional.
Frea: The rest of the episode, I liked Morgan. I really enjoyed the training montage and the bit where AU Sarah basically put them all in their places, hilariously.
mxpw: That was annoying, but thankfully, Morgan got sent upstairs and wasn't involved in the main part of the Castle story.
mxpw: Oh, do you mean when she asked what the questions had to do with anything?
Frea: Yeah, and when she talked about manipulating her partner into doing what she wants.
mxpw: I thought that AU Sarah provided some interesting contrasts with Sarah. That scene in particular was one, and also the scene where she breaks down and confesses that her boyfriend dumped her.
Frea: "How did you get the Intersect to commit?" "Well, funny story. Actually, parts of it really aren't funny..."
Frea: Heh, isn't it funny that the AU Morgan is the one we're glad was killed off? That's Lewis, right?
mxpw: I guess we were supposed to see AU Sarah as a cautionary tale. Kind of what might have happened to Sarah if she hadn't met Chuck.
mxpw: And yeah, I'd say it's fair to name Lewis as the AU Morgan.
mxpw: Probably why I wanted him to be the killer.
Frea: I can see it. Morgan does everything else, after all. Oh, burn. Moving on. I liked the teamwork aspect of it, and I was literally falling off of my chair with laughter when Chuck was defending Casey and Sarah. "Casey never killed anyone." *beat* "That didn't deserve it."
mxpw: That was one of my favorite scenes too, because I thought it was funny. But mainly, I liked it because of Sarah's reaction to what Josie was insinuating about her and Chuck. It was such a contrast to last week's episode. Last week, when the Gretas threatened Chuck and mocked their relationship, she did nothing. Here, she gets upset and moves to stand up for herself. The difference between Newman and Klemmer, right there.
Frea: And that's why I have a new girlcrush on Newman.
mxpw: I like her too.
Frea: Well, it's not exactly new. Phase Three really did win me over, even if I had to be the pessimist on that episode because Sarah was in tiny shorts, dumping water over her head.
mxpw: And I guess I have to be the pessimist for this episode because Sarah's NOT in tiny shorts, dumping water over her head.
Frea: This episode went down two points for you just now, didn't it?
mxpw: Quite possibly.
mxpw: I have a very rigid grading system.
Frea: Uh-huh. I have another what-may-be-unpopular opinion.
Frea: I really enjoyed the Buy More/Large Mart plot.
mxpw: Not just potentially unpopular, but practically unheard of. For us, I mean.
Frea: I know!
Frea: We're branching out, Maximus.
mxpw: I think that may be the first time you've uttered those words this season, Frea.
Frea: It's the first time they're true since Season Two, Maximus.
mxpw: I was kinda iffy on the BM plot. I thought Big Mike was great. Nobody can sell sandwiches like Mark Christopher Lawrence. The man knows what he's doing. And I actually enjoyed a lot of the Jeffster stuff and the Large Mart having a peace summit in Morgan's office. Oh, and Skip Johnson has a beard! Totally shocking. But at the same time, it got a little tedious by the end for me.
Frea: I think if it had gone on even a minute longer, it would have been tedious for me, too. But I enjoyed, as you said, the peace summit (a whole heck of a lot), I laughed so freaking hard over the fact that the pig's name was Kevin Bacon, Jeff and Lester's interrogation in Morgan's office was just funny as all get out, and I liked the pay-off with Kevin Bacon wandering around Castle's impressive duct system. But are we sure he didn't end up in Thailand?
mxpw: I have to say I quite enjoyed the pig stuff too, even if it was totally absurd. That Casey grunted after Kevin Bacon grunts at him was the highlight. And as bad as the CGI was, it was nice to see a pig fly. I guess I enjoyed a lot of individual aspects of the Buy More Plot, but for some reason the storyline was off for me. Still, Kevin Bacon got the last word.
Frea: Yes. Funny story: I have Boston Terriers, two of them. They're...well, they're pig-shaped, with fat bodies and short legs, and my fat one (her name is Nikki) is about the size of Kevin Bacon. So watching Kevin Bacon fly was probably the funniest thing I've seen on TV in a long, long time.
mxpw: The alien space puppet could probably get some decent air if she was properly motivated.
Frea: Yes. Properly motivated=Frea wants to write Fates (she stands on my desk when she wants attention), Frea wants to sleep (she gets her revenge then), or ANYBODY within 50 miles has food.
mxpw: Am I the only one who thought when they couldn't find Kevin Bacon that Jeff had just eaten him?
Frea: I don't know. I haven't felt anything in years.
mxpw: That was a very Jeff line.
Frea: There's a joke somewhere here about six degrees of Kevin Bacon becoming 350 degrees... But I can't find it, so let's move on! Ellie!
mxpw: There have been some who say that the Ellie plot was actually the A plot this episode. I don't know if I agree, though it did have the most forward momentum of the three episode plots.
mxpw: What do you think of where they are taking her this season?
Frea: Yeah, I don't think I'd call it the A plot at all.
Frea: It's nice. It's nice to see that Ellie is actually getting some development, that there's SOME kind of reaction to the stuff happening with her parents. Chuck seems to have forgotten all about all of it, all the time. Orion who? But Ellie's doing this because she wants to feel close to her dad, after she got her mom back. And I loved that. I liked how her conclusions seemed natural rather than "the plot demanded I think this way, so I'm going to think this way." I really wish somebody would tell her what the frak is going on because that makes Chuck really unlikable, and I love Awesome's hair.
mxpw: Eh, I have to disagree with at least one aspect of what you just said. I don't think it makes Chuck unlikable. Or, I should say, I can’t call Chuck unlikable without calling Ellie unlikable too. Mainly because Ellie is being just as unreasonable and lying as much as he is. Despite essentially giving her blessing to Mary about still being a spy, she's still insisting on doing all she can to keep Chuck out of the life. I think it makes her hypocritical. And I don't know, I feel like Chuck still wanting her to stay out of the spy life despite how it makes her feel closer to her dad, is the same thing as what she's doing. They are both acting like idiots and it's really straining my suspension of disbelief on the show.
mxpw: I did appreciate the fact that they are becoming their opposite parent. Who would have thought when we learned about Orion that it would be Ellie that became like him and not Chuck?
Frea: I kind of saw it coming the minute Ellie talked about a neurology fellowship, actually, but I'm weird like that. If they're not going to use Chuck's computer expertise at all anymore, might as well be Ellie as Orion Jr.
Frea: Okay, that was unfair. I apologize. Chuck did hack the automatic door in Castle this episode.
mxpw: Which was kinda dumb, but I went with it because it was a nice contrast to Bentley's version of leadership. Speaking of, we should discuss Bentley now.
Frea: You mean, Robin Givens?
mxpw: Yes, Frea, Robin Givens. Robin Givens Bentley.
Frea: Because to me, Bentley is David Alan Grier in Jumanji.
mxpw: That was a totally random reference.
mxpw: Ten points.
mxpw: Okay, so what did you think of the alleged resolution to Robin Givens this episode?
Frea: I thought that was a really quick turnaround and she was ushered out of the way for Vivian Volkoff to come back as the baddie. On the one hand, I enjoyed the fact that Chuck's chuckness won yet another person over, but on the other hand, wow, that's a really strange definition of good leadership and like I said, quick about-face. Can't people just not like Chuck?
mxpw: What is a strange definition of good leadership?
mxpw: Well, it's like Robin Givens said, Chuck is a people pleaser. He hates when people don't like him and he becomes an annoying puppy when he's trying to win people over. It's one of his biggest character flaws, I think.
Frea: I don't know, I've just always thought of a good leader as somebody who leads by example, and who is a good follower when he or she needs to be. But that's just me. Your mileage, as the phrase goes, may vary.
mxpw: I think that is a pretty decent definition of leadership, and I think Chuck has always kinda been that way. It's one of the reasons why this episode didn't thrill me like it did you. I've always felt like Chuck was a leader and so all this emphasis on him needing to lead and then acting like a bit of a buffoon in the beginning was played out for me.
Frea: Well, I see him as a natural leader. But if you point that out to him, he gets too big for his britches. It's pretty par for the course with him, actually.
Frea: And he did better once Morgan was out of there whispering doubts in his ear.
Frea: For once, Sarah was being more supportive than Morgan, and that was nice.
mxpw: Yeah, that's true.
mxpw: Heh, that was one of the few things I really, truly liked about this episode: the return of supportive Sarah. So often lately she has not been very supportive of Chuck professionally and so it was nice to see a return to the Sarah who would calm Chuck down and help him concentrate, the return of a Sarah that seemed to actually understand how Chuck works and knows how to be there for him. Plus, she did a lot of laughing off to the side. She was back to more of a S2 Sarah dynamic, and it was refreshing.
Frea: Where can I propose to Newman for that alone?
mxpw: I hope you invite me to the wedding. Yvonne might be there.
mxpw: But yeah, Newman had some good stuff in this episode. I really like how she writes Sarah. I would like to petition that she writes Sarah forever from now on.
Frea: Invite you to the wedding? I'll need an army of minions there to keep whatever "fight to the aisle" these writers have planned from happening to me.
mxpw: Heh, oh boy, I don't want to think about that.
mxpw: So final thoughts on the episode?
Frea: I know a lot of people have called it boring, but I find it preferable to stuff like A-Team and Masquerade. Kevin Bacon was fantastic, I liked that Big Mike's captivity was over when his shift ended, Sarah's secret smiles were back and YAY for that, the AU Team was hilarious, we got a Brian Vaughn nod (Chuck vs. the Predator, anyone?), a Pilot nod (Journey!), there are stakes, I'm curious about Agent X Files and sure it's going to be foxy and fun, and again, I really do heart Kristin Newman.
mxpw: I pretty much want to say ditto to all of that. I didn't find it boring and I appreciated all of the team dynamics at play. The end scene with Team B was especially great. I loved the little display of intimacy between Chuck and Sarah (him massaging her feet) and him praising Casey and Sarah for their contributions to the team. It helped to mitigate a lot of his cockiness earlier in the episode. I liked Kevin Bacon and the Large Mart stuff and I did appreciate that they tied Damian's plot into Vivian. I'm speculating that Agent X Files has got to be Chuck, so it looks like Ellie may finally figure out what her brother has been up to. Thank God for that.
Frea: One can only hope.
Frea: I give it an 8.7 Castle Slides out of 10.
mxpw: And I give it 3.5 Secretly Smiling Sarahs out of 5.
Frea: I give it an 8.7 Castle Slides out of 10.
mxpw: And I give it 3.5 Secretly Smiling Sarahs out of 5.