Chuck vs. the Last Details
Season 4, Episode 23, original air-date May 9, 2011
Chuck and Sarah's wedding planning includes one final detail: ensuring that the mother-of-the-groom makes it to the ceremony on time and alive. Meanwhile, Morgan's responsibilities as Best Man include his most dangerous mission yet, as he faces Vivian Volkoff. Elsewhere, Ellie tends to the last details of the rehearsal dinner and seeks help from an unlikely source.
Nearly a month late, here's what mxpw and Frea thought of Last Details. And yes, this episode was half-written by Frea's favorite Chuck writer. Did that save it? Click the link to find out.
Frea: Ellie was funny.
Frea: Morgan did the twinkle lights thing and oh, ho, ho, it's so funny because it's Morgan, that guy's so wacky, what a goofball.
mxpw: Well, Ellie was kinda scary there.
mxpw: I can understand why everybody jumped to follow her commands.
Frea: Yeah, that was fun. I was just busy rolling my eyes at Morgan's crazy antics, yet again
mxpw: It did provide a chance for Chuck to show off. It was nice seeing Sarah's proud smirk and "Impressive, huh?"
Frea: Not exactly a fortuitous start to the episode, given how big of a role Morgan had to play later on, if I was already less-than-amused by Morgan right at the beginning.
Frea: Oh, good. I think I'm the pessimist again.
mxpw: It's true that he did have a substantial role in the episode.
mxpw: He got to play the Magnet in a new and ridiculous way.
Frea: Ah, the Magnet.
Frea: It's now officially a move.
mxpw: It's so effective. They should really teach it in training to all the new spy recruits.
Frea: It makes me think of 10 Things I Hate About You where Kat is trying to get Patrick out of detention. "Misdirection!" "I taught you that?" "You..or Siegfried or Roy..."
mxpw: Haha. At least Morgan's involvement led to Casey getting to do something cool but completely impossible.
Frea: Be more badass than Sarah Connor?
mxpw: Yeah, but that's not that hard to do on Chuck.
mxpw: Since Mary is kind of like the worst spy ever.
mxpw: She's so bad, she makes He Who Shall Not Be Named seem almost competent.
Frea: Oh, burn! Speaking of Sarah Connor, did you see the Sarah Connor-esque shot on the surveillance cameras in the mine? It made my Terminator 2 heart go pitty-pat.
mxpw: Yeah, that was a nice touch. I appreciated her doing the pull ups.
I kept waiting for her to snap a broom in half during that scene but it never happened.
Frea: Good thing Big Mike wasn't around.
Frea: So I think we're getting ahead of ourselves a little bit. I enjoyed Last Details. I thought it was an okay episode, except that by the time it aired, I found myself warring with apathy and didn't even watch it until a week or so later anyway. I think Agent X completely broke me all over again, and nothing having to do with Volkoff will ever really stir my interest.
Frea: I mean, it took me quite a while to remember that it was important at all that they were even building some kind of DNA-based weapon. And naming it the Norseman? Seriously, show? As a green-blooded Viking, I am insulted you named something so lame after half of my heritage.
mxpw: Well, I really am the optimist this week. I quite liked the episode, even though it was full of ridiculousness. I choose just to ignore the fact that Vivian Volkoff was an absolutely terrible bad guy and that the Norseman is the dumbest thing ever. A DNA gun? Really? Ah well. So while yeah, that was not great, there was a lot of interactions between the characters that I quite enjoyed. Especially between Chuck and Sarah.
Frea: Yeah, that's what it really all came down to. I enjoyed the interactions. But man was I glad to see this whole plot go in Cliffhanger.
mxpw: The one big flaw this episode has, besides the Vivian stuff, is actually the end. Yeah, it was emotionally tense to see Sarah get struck by the Norseman (how did Vivian even get Sarah's DNA?), but it was completely absent of any real danger or alarm. We all knew that Sarah wasn't going to die. So not only was it ultimately an underwhelming cliffhanger, but by having Sarah not die, it undermined the whole drama of the Norseman plot. Yeah, it's a real dangerous weapon...until it's used to try and kill a main character and then suddenly, nothing.
Frea: With no explanation, ever, of why it wouldn't work. Good job, writers. Way to break a fundamental rule of writing...again.
Frea: But that gets into Cliffhanger territory.
mxpw: But that's more a Cliffhanger thing, than Last Details, to be fair.
Frea: Great minds, Sir Maximus, great minds.
mxpw: But I don't want to focus too much on the negatives with this episode. Because it did have things I quite enjoyed. I don't know if you feel the same way, but I like how the Chuck and Sarah relationship was done in this episode. I liked the beginning with their morning conversation. We were SO close to actual sexytimes!
mxpw: Sarah seemed disappointed when it didn't pan out for her too. Heh.
Frea: Well, given the number of wacky antics Morgan has pulled this season, I imagine Morgan doing something silly and vaguely sitcommy has gotten in the way of sexytimes quite a lot. She probably thought it'd be over when he moved out.
mxpw: Yeah, but it was her own fault for jinxing it. Heh. I did chuckle at the visual image of Chuck being fully clothed and of course Sarah only wearing that tiny little robe of hers when they checked what was going on.
Frea: Very true. Dude sleeps in a lot of pajamas for southern California...unless, of course, Sarah's gone on a multi-month trip across the globe with Casey
Frea: There's possibly something wrong with that. What did you think about Alex talking to Casey about Morgan?
mxpw: It made sense to me. I mean, Casey is Morgan's life partner, right? Alex should talk to him.
Frea: Oh so many Elektra Complex jokes I just tossed out..
mxpw: Though I'm sure the whole storyline about Morgan not doing anything dangerous anymore will be tossed out the window come next season so that they can have their lying storyline again.
Frea: They do seem unable to function without at least one of those going around...
mxpw: But that's next season, and we are talking about Morgan's odd threeway relationship between daughter and father.
Frea: Man, we really cannot help getting ahead of ourselves, can we?
mxpw: Oh, did I forget to mention that was a S5 spoiler?
Frea: I found that that whole concept, of Alex going to Casey to ask Morgan to take it easy... on the one hand, it's an intriguing use of tension, etc. On the other hand, like a great deal of this season, it feels completely inorganic and out-of-nowhere, and I had a hard time caring, save that Adam Baldwin gave another good performance.
mxpw: Yeah, I agree.
mxpw: But like you said, there was a lot of that going around this season.
mxpw: Speaking of inorganic, we should mention the conflict between Sarah and Mary.
mxpw: That was completely artificial.
Frea: Oh, right, the OTHER thing that came completely out of nowhere and made both Sarah and Mary mouthpieces for the plot in true S3-fashion?
Frea: Since WHEN has Sarah ever cared about having backup?
mxpw: She never really has.
mxpw: Well, I think it was more about Mary being a crappy spy and mom than her needing backup.
mxpw: Though yes, that was a bit ironic coming from Sarah.
mxpw: The real absurdity of that scene was that during Gobbler and Push Mix, Sarah went undercover and was perfectly willing to stick with it for forever if need be, just to save Mary and then all of a sudden in Last Details she's at odds with Mary like she'd been fighting with her future mother-in-law for months. That's what made that ridiculous.
mxpw: Well, that and the supreme irony of Sarah getting upset with Chuck choosing his mother over her when just a few months ago she was the one choosing Mary and the mission over Chuck. Heh.
Frea: I mean, Sarah's points were incredibly valid in this episode, don't get me wrong. It's just that it's not in character for her to be the one saying them. Ellie, maybe. Chuck, a little. Sarah? You're right. Not so much.
mxpw: Yeah, really, Sarah is the last person who should be chastising a spy for doing what Mary did.
mxpw: Of course, Mary saying she had to clean up Sarah and Chuck's mistakes was ridiculous too. I did like Sarah's outrage and indignation there. Though even that felt a little artificial to me.
Frea: Season 4: All Standalones, Even When They Shouldn't Be!
mxpw: Mainly because Sarah had always been Mary's biggest supporter, it seemed, and now all of a sudden she's questioning her spy competency. It didn't ring true to me.
mxpw: Yeah, really this episode felt very much like a standalone.
Frea: Honestly, most of my problems with this episode are more based in my problems with this season, so I should probably cut Last Details a break.
mxpw: There was very little connection to Agent X.
Frea: Agent what?
Frea: I mean, they played the Imperial March in this episode.
Frea: By all means, I should love it just for that alone!
mxpw: Which was one of my favorite scenes!
mxpw: Chuck and Morgan were great there.
Frea: I got some flashbacks to Walker's Eleven in that scene.
mxpw: That's how they should write nerdy Chuck. He is being a good friend, his nerdiness actually has a purpose, he's not being made to look ridiculous. Sure, Sarah clearly was a little weirded out, but at the same time it was like, "You are SO weird and I'm marrying you anyway."
Frea: So I have a nitpick...
mxpw: What? We do not allow nitpicks in mxpw vs. Frea!
Frea: Why wouldn't Vivian know about Morgan?
mxpw: Because she's Vivian?
Frea: I mean, he's the manager of the-obviously-CIA-Base-Buy-More that Chuck works at, that was infiltrated by Damien Arabopolis in Muuurder. Even if Vivian doesn't recognize Morgan, the Devil should.
mxpw: All good points. She seemed to know enough about the rest of his family.
Frea: This, for the record, didn't actually bother me while watching the episode.
Frea: But I would be remiss if I didn't at least point it out in our review.
mxpw: Duly noted.
Frea: So this episode had one of my all-time favorite gags ever
Frea: Sebastian Carlyle, MI:6.
mxpw: Ha! I was just about to bring him up!
mxpw: Poor MI: 6. They weren't exactly represented well in this episode.
Frea: Not at all. However, I cackled for a good five minutes when the Devil shot him and then was like, 'Oh, that's okay, you can get the next one' to Vivian.
Frea: This episode did make me laugh a bit more than usual.
mxpw: Same here. I laughed quite a bit during the rescue of Mary. The Star Wars bit (though I'm genuinely perplexed at how Sarah has not seen SW yet), Chuck punching the guard, Casey getting into the guard's pants, etc.
Frea: I once dated a guy for three years that had not seen Star Wars.
Frea: So that wasn't actually all that perplexing to me.
Frea: True story.
mxpw: I guess, though I'd say you're not nearly as big a nerd as Chuck is.
Frea: Yeah, I guess not. Now excuse me, I have to go work on my over-300,000-word-long fanfiction.
mxpw: Hey, I have a pretty good idea of the extent of your nerdery. :P
Frea: Uh-huh. Sure you do. Anyway, did Chuck punching Casey feel like Fake Name remixed?
mxpw: I do!
mxpw: And yeah, a little bit, though this time with no melodramatic freaking out by Sarah.
Frea: I mean, Sarah's reaction got a laugh, but I was like, "Oh, they're hurting Casey for laughs again. Greeeeat."
Frea: How dare you say Sarah was melodramatic in S3!
Frea: S3 was PERFECT.
mxpw: Haha. She was totally emo in S3.
Frea: *sticks fingers in ears and sings really loudly* Shaw wasn't real and the drama wasn't horribly manufactured and Prague never happened and it's all a bad dream, lalala.
mxpw: And unicorns are in every forest and SWP is in every episode and Morgan is a mute mime. Yeah, I know, we all have our fantasy worlds.
Frea: You mean my magical Dr. Pepper fountain is a fantasy?
mxpw: No, that's sort of real, it just requires a constant stream of minions dumping Dr. Pepper into the fountain to keep it flowing.
Frea: I love having minions.
Frea: So funny story:
Frea: I must have gotten up to go fetch more Dr. Pepper or something during this episode because I completely missed Jeff's version of the Charah fanvideo the first time through.
mxpw: That's a shame, because I liked it.
Frea: And as great as the video was, it will never beat my favorite on-show fanvideo, which is from Broken Heart.
mxpw: Some may have found it corny, but I did like it.
mxpw: What video was that?
Frea: The "Chuck and Sarah are horrible at pretending this just a cover" video Beckman shows them in Castle in the beginning.
mxpw: Oh right.
mxpw: Every time I see a montage like that, I think of Community now.
Frea: I don't think I stopped laughing for nearly five minutes after the first time I saw that one.
mxpw: I remember watching it now and being like, "Uh, how did they get video of that scene!?"
Frea: It's possible I have a sadistic streak.
Frea: Ninjas, Maximus. Ninjas.
Frea: Perhaps they contract Jeff for that job.
mxpw: It wouldn't surprise me. Why could Jeff had gotten the Intersect instead? Then I could finally claim the writers stole something from one of MY fanfics.
Frea: Yeah because they've never used the word Chucksickle or anything.
mxpw: Which YOU got credit for!
Frea: Well, yeah.
Frea: That's how minionhood works.
mxpw: I don't think that counts.
mxpw: Minionhood sucks.
Frea: Oh, good! You really are getting it
mxpw: Yeah, I may be slow, but I pick up on things eventually.
mxpw: Like Vivian Volkoff. Oh burn!
Frea: Oh, man. Vivian Volkoff, such a pretty face, such an empty head.
mxpw: Yes on both accounts. So pretty, yet so dumb.
Frea: But I will say this for her: I still adore her accent.
mxpw: And Last Details really neutered her plot. I mean, it was ridiculous before, but at least one could think that Vivian was turning into an evil overlord all on her own. Nope, actually, the Devil made her do it.
Frea: Great. Now Flip Wilson is going to charge us royalties for that.
mxpw: Good thing I'm a minion, then, eh?
mxpw: That's your problem, not mine!
Frea: I don't understand why Vivan couldn't have just been evil, and twisted.
mxpw: Because they wanted to tell a Darth Vader story.
mxpw: The problem was, Darth Vader was actually cool.
Frea: Sort of.
Frea: Darth Vader was cool.
Frea: UNTIL THEY TOLD HIS FREAKING STORY.
mxpw: Huh? What are you talking about?
Frea: Episodes I, II, and III were awful, mythology-breaking cesspools of bad storytelling that effectively neutered Darth Vader.
mxpw: I'm sorry, Episodes I, II, and III?
Frea: Yeah, I pretend they don't exist either.
Frea: Seriously, Darth Vader was so badass. Until they went back and told his story. Of course they would think telling a Vader story from the beginning would be a good idea. Just create an evil bad guy, keep him evil for once, and let him be bad.
mxpw: Well, that's not how bad guys work in today's world.
Frea: We don't secretly need every evil overlord that's going to suffocate his superior officers to secretly love hugging puppies.
Frea: Yeah, but nothing else on this show really applies to today's world. They don't have regular reactions to situations, after all. Why do their bad guys?
mxpw: Good point.
mxpw: I'm just saying, they were never going to make Vivian like that.
mxpw: Unfortunately, they failed in telling an alternative story as well.
Frea: Yeah. Vivian depresses me. Unicorn.
Frea: Wow. Somebody else earned our Morgan safeword. That must have been some awful writing. Hm, anything else we need to talk about?
mxpw: I don't know, the end? I mean, I thought the rehearsal scene was probably the best scene of the night until the end. Just seeing Chuck and Sarah being happy and having a good time was some great relationship stuff that they hadn't really delivered much this season.
Frea: You may have to carry this part of the conversation. I wasn't paying much attention by this point.
mxpw: Alright. Well, I think I said what I wanted to say up above. I liked it and I liked seeing them as a happy couple.
Frea: I don't remember why. I do remember liking the bits I saw. Did Mary give a speech?
mxpw: She did, where she was basically handing over the baton of being Chuck's protector over to Sarah.
Frea: Which she did in First Fight... excellent callback, I suppose. The courtyard looked really pretty, so Ellie's call for the twinkle lights was clearly a good one.
Frea: And then...that ending hit.
Frea: Clearly, Vivian has not read the Evil Overlord List.
mxpw: Yeah. Though to be fair to Vivian, and I can't believe I'm going to be fair to her, she seemed genuinely surprised that Sarah was alive in Cliffhanger. So she at least fully expected the weapon to work. She just didn't take into account Sarah's plot shield.
But yeah, she would make an awful Evil Overlord.
mxpw: And I think that's all I have to say about this episode.
Frea: 57. Before employing any captured artifacts or machinery, I will carefully read the owner's manual.
mxpw: Heh. Well, it's Vivian. That was probably too much for her.
Frea: Oh, most likely. Thanks for making me laugh, writers, but I'm regarding this episode in the bottom half of my Chuck viewing list. One last thing: hasn't Chuck seen Spaceballs? You never order the special.
mxpw: So very true.
Frea: Much to learn in the ways of the nerd, Sarah has.
mxpw: And with that, I am done.