The Minions Speak: Shoe — Chuck vs. the Business Trip

Hey y'all, it's Shoe again and I'm going to give my thoughts about Chuck Versus the Business Trip. I told Frea I would try to keep this short until I mentioned that there was a pool featured in this episode, and y'all know what that means...

Morgan needs the Infected Intersect out of his head and Team Bartowski enlists the help of General Beckman to remove the Morgansect. Also, there is a hit out on Morgan for blabbing about the Intersect to anyone that has been rescinded except for one assassin called The Viper. Morgan has now been "bunkerized" in Castle with Casey while Chuck and Sarah attend a Buy More convention to smoke out The Viper.

As Chuck mentioned to Morgan, "The Force is strong with this one." By this one, I mean Kristin Newman. I think Kristin Newman has a great knack for writing female characters on Chuck. She definitely does not make them wilting flowers. It was realistic that Alex would not take Morgan back after his apology towards her. Besides, it did make Morgan sound crazy and just making up excuses for being a complete ass. She handled the working mom Ellie well (except for the not saying good bye to Clara in that one scene) and she writes a great Sarah. In a way, she made an episode that would've been another Morgan-focused episode into a Sarah-centric one. Sarah yearns to have the normal friendships with others, and she wouldn't have any kinds of friends until she found Chuck. Chuck always has that effect on people since he's such a nice guy.

The running theme throughout this episode was being "normal." Jeff has now become an actual working human being, much to the dismay of his dysfunctional best friend Lester. Jeff is reading books and drinking tea! I would wonder if he was being taken over by a Pod Person too but I would not go to the lengths Lester did. Because of this new Jeff, I'm glad Lester got a kick in the pants for his histrionic actions but not sure if I would have had him arrested.

(Side note, I thought it was hilarious that Sarah ignored Lester with the van scene because it was "normal.")

Chuck makes an observation about how "normal" Ellie and Awesome are as couple, whereas Chuck and Sarah are not. Yet, Chuck and Sarah are a "happy and nice" couple - which led to a great Charah discussion about their life in general and some possible sexy couch action until Beckman texts them. Sometimes, I wonder if that woman has a sixth sense about when those two are trying to get it on...

Even Beckman is slightly normal, with her sensible heels and comment about why Carmichael Industries is running out of money due to the arcade game collection in Castle. Also, she was rather feisty in this episode with her one-liners and pulling rank over the Douchebag Decker. Decker is such a smug ass and he is not fooling anyone with his fake innocence which was noted by both Casey and Sarah at the end. It's uncanny how those two just communicated with their eyes about how to deal with The Viper and Company at the end.

While the normal couple seems to be happy, there are some unsaid things that the now-normal Jeff picks up on. It was clear that Ellie did miss being around baby Clara and I've heard that from mothers. Even though, Awesome may claim later he was just putting a front on for being glad he was a stay-at-home dad, I think he secretly liked it. He was even leading Baby Yoga classes and such a proud daddy of Clara and her breathing. Speaking of kids, I was wondering later, when Sarah overheard Jane on the phone talking to her "kid;" if the kids talk would come about again for Chuck and Sarah. It would be the "normal" progression for them as a couple.

Casey, of course was in fighting form in this episode. He protects anyone he considers family fiercely. He still hasn't forgiven Morgan entirely for breaking his little girl's heart but he still will begrudgingly make sure he is safe. I thought his messing with Morgan's head about Star Wars was hilarious. Plus, I do think when he took care of the assassins at the end, he was doing it to protect all of them. I'm angry that Decker is so quick to charge him with murder while he is a dirty scumbag himself, but I suspect it'll play out in the next couple of episodes.

Alright, I mentioned in the beginning about the pool and now I will. Is it odd that the pool scene reminded me of Frea's Hallowhedon story? Of course, Sarah was not wearing a pink bra underneath the Nerd Herder uniform but it was still great to see both Chuck and Sarah in the pool. Now, it would've been nice to see Chuck wearing a white t-shirt, like how he did in Undercover Lover. I still like that they managed to get in another wet t-shirt scene for Chuck though in this series. Also, I am glad to say that at least Yvonne knows how to swim breastroke; it always bothers me when I see actors who cannot swim to save their lives in movies or on TV. (Y'all get your minds out of that gutter about breastroke, it's an actual swimming stroke and term. Quistie can back me up on this!) The uniform was a nice callback to when Sarah first wore the Nerd Herder uniform but it was a bit more tasteful this time around. And I do agree with that one Nerd Herder lady, how the heck does Sarah have such a great body and I'm jealous.

The Buy More convention is supposed to smoke out the assassin but all of these people seem average and normal for the most part. That is until the head honcho running this gig creeps on Sarah. This is where I will give Frea her Evil Bunny Quota. It was one frightening costume and the dude was a creep. Sarah was right to kick his ass.

Zac chills in the pool with his ridiculous sneakers. Awww, Zac!
In an interesting spy role reversal, Chuck is the one who is automatically suspicious of Jane but Sarah wants a normal friend. However, that lapse in judgment almost costs Sarah her life towards the end, but Chuck is still able to help her out of that situation without the Intersect. Chuck is showing more promise with having the Intersect and he's now defused a bomb in a normal way. I love having Chuck and Sarah work as a team and this episode showcases that.

They may not be a normal couple and parts of this episode for their relationship did seem to come from some various fanfics. This episode was not without its flaws, especially in the beginning scenes. It did provide for some humorous Casey banter, but I thought the ninja stars with the Intersect were a bit much. Yet, this episode felt more like a season two episode, which happens to be one of my favorite seasons. Overall, I'm now more of a fan of Newman episodes, especially once I realized she wrote Phase Three as well. I was entertained and it was great to have some of the focus put back on the original Team Bartowski.

Now that I've made this sufficiently long enough for y'all, what were your reactions to Chuck Versus the Business Trip?


  1. Anonymous19.11.11

    It really did seem like a season 2 episode, and I absolutely loved it.
    And I think mxpw will have a SWP-induced seizure.

  2. mjm073019.11.11

    Wonderful review of a truly amazing episode. As you said, it's great to see Chuck & Sarah working as a team. It's also great to see Chuck again proving what Casey pointed out in Season 4 "You were smart before you had the Intersect." And, to see him prove that he is capable & confident without the Intersect.

    Kristin Newman certainly can write. And her ability to write for Sarah, and for Chuck & Sarah as a couple, rivals Ali Adler. This episode is a great bridge from the awkwardness of the first three, with Morgan as the Intersect, to the final nine.

    I especially loved your comment about Sarah/Yvonne being able to swim. Obviously, someone with your training & skill would pick up on this.

    The one other point I would add was the great scene at the end, where everyone had gathered in Chuck & Sarah's apartment. I found Sarah's toast to be telling on so many fronts. Obviously, her realization that she didn't need to find new friends, she has both friends & family...and that they're all in this together...was a wonderful moment. But just having Sarah step up to offer a toast is quite telling. Sarah vocalizing her thoughts. Sarah exposing her emotions. Sarah standing up and putting herself out there. This is the new Sarah. And it bodes well for a wonderful finish to an incredible series.

  3. ladycat71319.11.11

    I absolutely loved Casey in this one. You have to consider how much nerd knowledge Casey basically had to admit to to get to Morgan about Star Wars and to reward him by giving him the first 3 Indiana Jones movies and pretend there wasn't a 4th. Plus his first reaction is usually to use violence on someone but here he used his head for a less lethal revenge.

    I think Decker definitely wanted Casey to kill them so that he could arrest him. In a way this also calls back to Chuck vs the Final Exam in that Chuck couldn't tell about Casey being the one who took the shot because Casey was a civilian and he's be arrested if it was told.

  4. Nice review! There was so much to love in this episode and you did a great job highlighting them.

    It's truly amazing to see Sarah's growth from the emotionally constipated spy she was at the beginning of the series to the woman who openly talks about her feelings in front of a group. Wonderful.

    It might just be me, but I the smile on Sarah's face when she and Chuck walked in on Baby Yoga makes me think that her biological clock just started ticking.

    And, yes, absolutely, I can back you up on the breaststroke. We even just called it "breast" without giggling!

  5. Tenks711720.11.11

    Great review! Completely agree with you that the ninja throwing star scene was a bit too much and didn't work. Beckman clearly wasn't happy with them about the whole situation but was fine with sitting there so Morgan could do one last thing before they suppressed the Intersect. Right...

    I would also really like for the writers to drop the whole "Carmichael Industries is on the verge of bankruptcy angle" since it makes me die a little inside every time they bring it up. They just received a $2.1 million bounty for capturing Zorn and a few days later are already back to complaining about nearly being bankrupt? What exactly are they spending all this money on?

    Definitely agree with quistie64 that there was some foreshadowing going on in that Baby Yoga scene. It wasn't just the smile on Sarah's face but also the look that Chuck gave her: http://gifninja.com/animatedgifs/424969/joy.gif

    I had a few other minor issues with the episode but it was overall pretty solid. Looking forward to your next review.

  6. I didn’t like that episode very much. I didn’t hate it, but I don’t seem to have enjoyed it as much as many people.

    The Chuck and Sarah stuff felt contrived to me, and just convenient, and it mostly made me uncomfortable throughout the entire episode.

    Do I like to see Sarah opening up? Yes. Did I wish that Sarah would want something in her life to not revolve around Chuck or her job at some point? Sure. But why now? After Honeymooners, and all this fuss about having bridesmaids to their wedding, and having a “traditional” wedding, and also, making the decision of starting Carmichael Industries after being fired of the CIA... You’d think they would have thought about “normal” life before. Why now? And why wanting it so badly too? I felt like it was too much, too fast. Also, Chuck repeatedly chose the spy life in the past, so it’s just a little annoying that he still complains about this “normal” life idea. I thought they knew by now that CS normal wasn’t traditional normal. Even if they quit the spy life, Sarah Walker will never be normal. She's Sarah Walker. (Which doesn’t mean they can’t have their dream house and stuff, too.)

    To be honest, I’m not really sure why I felt so uneasy with this episode, but that’s just how I felt.

    Also, I didn’t find the episode that funny, which didn’t help. The convention was mostly “meh” and there weren’t hilarious moments for me. I did laugh, but not as loudly as in previous eps. It’s probably just personal taste on the humor.

    I did love the last 5 minutes or so. I liked that Alex didn’t take Morgan back, and that the Buy More plot paralleled the spy plot in a new way with Intuitive/Responsible Jeff. Sarah’s toast was great, and Ryan McGee wrote about an interesting aspect in his review in that everyone was actually lying/being lied to about something in the scene. And the Casey stuff was great too, even if I’m still not holding my breath about The Conspiracy. (It was interesting that Sarah wasn’t to be killed along with Chuck though, because it had seemed to be all about Chuck so far, so why keep Sarah alive too?)

    Completely agree with you Quistie about that biological clock ticking. That was exactly what I was thinking watching Chuck and Sarah with Clara. (When will we see them actually interact with her?)

    Anyway, not my favorite episode, but not bad either. Thanks for the review, Shoe! :-)

  7. Tenks711720.11.11


    "Also, Chuck repeatedly chose the spy life in the past, so it’s just a little annoying that he still complains about this “normal” life idea."

    To play devil's advocate a bit, what if Chuck never gave up on having a "normal" life? I agree with you that it is annoying that he is still complaining about a normal life since he repeatedly made the choice of the spy life instead, but I'm still not convinced that he didn’t make that choice solely because he thinks that Sarah wants to be a spy herself or wants him to be one. That is what I absolutely hated about Season 3. Chuck’s sudden desire to be a spy never made sense to me since it was a complete reversal of what he wanted in the previous two Seasons.

    You are talking about a guy that spent the first two years of the show trying to do everything in his power to get the Intersect out of his head so that he could live a normal life. He was willing to risk destroying his relationship with Sarah by sneaking around behind her back and lying to her, risk bodily harm and losing Casey's friendship when he tranq'd him, and could have lost his life if he was lucky* - or cost thousands/millions of people their lives if he had been unlucky - by sneaking into a suspected Fulcrum base by himself. And he did all this because he wanted the Intersect out of his head and a normal life again. As late into the Season as “the Ring” he still showed that he wanted nothing to do with the government when he turned down Beckman’s job offer without a second thought and then told Sarah during their dance at the reception that he didn’t want to be “that guy”.

    And then Season 3 happened and Chuck decided that he did want to be a spy. But when exactly did he have this change of heart and what caused it? What if the only reason he wanted to be a spy was because he thought it was the only way for him to be with Sarah? If that was the case, then everything except for “the Honeymooners” was just Chuck trying to be the person he thought Sarah wanted him to be. That also explains his comment during his proposal about how he felt like he should be James Bond standing there in front of her, why he was putting the proposal on hold when he lost the Intersect because she was a “big fish” and intimidating for a regular guy without a supercomputer in his head, and then the overly elaborate proposal plans/homes he was looking at.

    What I’m getting at is that maybe the reason that Chuck is still holding on to this idea of a “normal” life is because he never truly wanted the spy life and he only said he did since he thought it was who/what Sarah wanted. Again though, that is just playing devil’s advocate a bit. I have no idea what the writers were thinking about with Season 3 and, unfortunately, haven’t really had a good read on Chuck since the end of Season 2. FWIW, I completely agree with you that the entire thing came out of nowhere and it frustrated me quite a bit.

    *Note: On that last one, I say that he would have been lucky to just lose his life because if Fulcrum had captured him, they might have tortured him, learned he was the Intersect, and then used the information in his head for whatever their evil plans were. I’m still not entirely sure what they were going to accomplish with the Intersect but it probably wasn’t good.

  8. I don’t really want to come back on S3, but I’ll just say that Chuck’s 180 about the spy life in Pink Slip didn’t make any sense to me either. I’m not sure that the “he wants to be a spy for Sarah” argument holds, because he left her in Prague after all. But it still could be part of it, maybe.

    However, since then they told us that Chuck had found purpose in being a spy, that he liked doing great things, helping people, that it was who he was, blah, blah, blah. And to be clear, I never thought he completely gave up on having a normal life as well.

    I just thought that by now, considering we spent an entire season talking about engagement and wedding, they had accepted that they were spies with friends and families. They’re neither regular people, nor regular spies.

    And I don’t understand why it’s still coming back. Chuck didn’t seem to have that problem after he saved his mother from Volkoff, although it was the reason he had come back to the spy life after quitting at the end of S3. In fact, both Chuck and Sarah were very anxious to go back on missions. And it happened again later in S4. They get bored every time they stop, and Chuck seems as eager as Sarah about the spy life. The first thing they chose to do with their money was becoming spies for hire, right away. They had plenty of occasion to think about those stuff.

    So having them out of the sudden wondering about normalcy was just weird, and a little annoying. Was it Clara? I sure hope it’s not the first time they saw their adorable niece since Seduction Impossible, even if we don’t have proof they did. ;-) Was it doubt about their business not working? Maybe. It just felt out of the blue. And they really went heavy handed on the issue, only to come back to a conclusion they were already supposed to know IMO.

    I think that maybe my problem was that Sarah’s evolution and her opening up is a big deal. Having it feeling false and forced and rushed annoyed me, because I really, really wanted to enjoy seeing it. Instead, it felt weird and a little flat to me honestly. I've appreciated to see her being awesome and more "out there" in the first three episodes, but here it was just too much, even if I loved to see her give that toast.


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