Season 5, Episode 2, Original Air-Date: November 4, 2011
The team takes on a missing persons case and have to establish themselves as Carmichael Industries in the face of a rival security firm led by Gertrude Verbanski. Meanwhile Morgan adjusts to being the intersect and Chuck being his handler.Also the Buy More finds a new and unlikely spokesperson who helps to drum up business.
Okay, so it's less than an hour to midnight in Central Time, but I want it noted that for me, it's still Monday! I didn't miss this deadline. *gasp, pant, whoosh* Click the break, where you'll join an mxpw vs. Frea already in progress!
mxpw: I thought Sarah was more awesome in this episode than last week.
mxpw: Her scene with Gertrude was great. I loved that scene. I watched it like four times.
Frea: All I need to be happy with an episode is Sarah being awesome, apparently.
Frea: I used to introduce myself as Gertrude.
Frea: Seriously. It's my so-bad-it's-gotta-be-fake-but-let's-sell-it-anyway name.
mxpw: Also, I think it's hilarious that tumblr has already taken Gertrude saying "I want you," to Sarah and running with it.
mxpw: Carrie-Ann Moss was surprisingly awesome. I was unsure about her but she did a great job.
Frea: Everybody keeps pointing out her little stumble upon seeing Casey
mxpw: As amusing as Casey and her were this episode, can I say how deeply disturbed I was hearing about Casey's sex life?
Frea: You and Sarah both.
Frea: Though honestly, I thought that bit was hilariously fantastic. It harkens back to Chuck's "Ken Doll" line from "Undercover Lover."
mxpw: Exactly. That's how I think of Casey. As a Ken doll. Heh.
Frea: Not as the grumbly, rumbly grizzly bear of love?
mxpw: No. No. No. Noooooo.
mxpw: I was amused at Chuck's comment about him being in middle school while Casey was in Russia.
Frea: Me too. Because that's honestly what I would say, too. "Oh, 97? I was in 7th grade then and...shutting up now."
mxpw: Speaking of ages, though, did you notice that they may have retconned Sarah?
Frea: I must have missed that?
mxpw: I am hoping it was just a prop mistake, though honestly, they should have caught it, but her Verbanski file said she was born in May of 1982.
Frea: Sounds like they've put her at Yvonne's age.
mxpw: Right. They made her 29 when she should be at least 31.
Frea: But that means she would've been a year ahead of me in high school, and I've got my ten-year reunion next year.
mxpw: Right. It doesn't make sense, I know. Her ten-year reunion was in 2008, and it has to have been at least three years since then, so she should be 31.
Frea: They need a Chuck bible.
mxpw: That really irked me. I realize it was probably a prop mistake, but seriously. You based a whole episode around her ten-year reunion. How can they not do simple math?
mxpw: I realize it's probably not a big deal for them. They probably just put down Yvonne's age without really thinking about it, but that's just sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.
Frea: I'm going to fully believe that her birthday is May 19th. Because even though Episode 1 sucked hardcore, May 19th was a day of hope for me, in that Star Wars was coming back.
mxpw: I am fine with that. That would completely redeem that day. The day we were blessed with Sarah Walker.
mxpw: Should be a national holiday. :P
Frea: Are we doing mxpw vs. Frea right now?
mxpw: Why not? Haha
mxpw: All this can go in the review.
Frea: Awesome. Um, so we should probably talk about the major issue in this episode, just to get it out of the way.
Frea: I'll start.
Frea: There was no Castle Slide.
mxpw: No Castle slide?
mxpw: Yes, there was no Castle slide. It was a shame.
mxpw: But we got another appearance by the wind machine, at least.
Frea: Awesome, welcome to the annals of the Buy More wind machine entrance. You deserve it, buddy.
Frea: Okay, and there was another major issue with this episode, of course. It might have even polarized the fans, Maximus. So I'm afraid we have to bring it up and we definitely have to talk about it.
Frea: At no point did Carrie Ann Moss don a skintight, leather black bodysuit and try to bend my mind with the force of her blue steel stare alone. This is very upsetting to me, Max.
mxpw: I know, I was most disappointed by the lack of leather as well.
Frea: My mind is twisty and it could use some bending!
mxpw: However, I did think Carrie-Ann Moss did a fine job. She has been a great addition so far. Her faceoff with Sarah was my favorite scene in the episode. There was great back-and-forth there and her bizarre relationship with Casey is funny and disturbing at the same time.
Frea: I want them to be friends. I want them to be friends SO BAD.
mxpw: Sarah and Gertrude?
Frea: Yes. Yes, please.
mxpw: Well, Gertrude did say she wanted Sarah, so who knows? It could happen.
Frea: JUST for the awesome awkward double-date scenarios I just came up with in my head. Each more deliciously uncomfortable than the last!
mxpw: Wow. Yeah...my mind is kind of breaking at the thought of Chuck and Sarah on a double date with Casey and Gertrude. It'd be like going out to dinner with your dad and his new girlfriend. Or something like that. I think my face would be like Sarah's in the car on the way to rescue Chuck and Morgan (Yvonne had awesome facial expressions in this episode as usual).
Frea: I know a lot of people have had problems with these last two episodes, but the introduction of Gertrude is one of those things that have made me love them. For once I've had two episodes where I've thought, "Wow. Characterization. They actually are showing us things instead of just telling us!"
Frea: And I realize it's not that way for everybody. I'm not saying you should love this episode because I love it. But for me, the things I enjoyed way outweighed the things that drove me nuts, so I was able to get enjoyment from that, which makes me content.
mxpw: I agree. I think that's maybe one of the reasons why I've been fairly fine with these first two episodes so far. I think they've done a decent job with Sarah's character. Well, okay, they did decent last week. This week I think they did awesome. Like I said, I thought Sarah's scene with Gertrude was wonderful. It was so awesome to see her be confident and to stand up for herself and Chuck and to shut down Gertrude. I loved that she was awesome with the rock climbing (and I know they put that in there just for Yvonne and she did and looked great). And the jogging scene, which was my second fave scene, was a truly great, genuine couple moment. That's something they haven't done in a while, I feel.
mxpw: Oh wait, you probably meant more than just Sarah's characterization, didn't you?
mxpw: Sorry, you know me, one-track mind and all.
Frea: Oh, I meant Chuck's characterization, too. For example: the jogging scene. Oh, man, how did I enjoy the jogging scene. One of the problems I've had since the Intersect 2.0 is how easily things came to Chuck with it. Seeing him work for something like this, figuring out how to go about this, and seeing others rely on him....it's just wonderful.
Frea: I will say that the jogging scene really hammered home one amusing thing for me. It took Sarah and Chuck getting married for me to actually see why they would want to spend time with each other. Seriously, sometimes that's puzzled me. The chemistry is one thing, but episodes like "A Team" made me scratch my head and say, "But why are they even together if they're boring each other?" Seeing them jog together and spend time together on not missions was marvelous. Thank you, LeJudkins.
mxpw: I absolutely agree. I loved jogging scene for that very reason. It showed an actual connection and willingness to be around each other that didn't seem artificial to me. In that scene, I understood why they were a couple, and it was just sweet to see them actually talk about an issue without any drama! That was so refreshing. It was wonderful, and yes, I think it happened because this was a LeJudkins episode.
Frea: You are aces, LeJudkins. You made me laugh so hard so many times.
mxpw: I thought this episode was funnier than last week too. And you know a big reason why? I can't believe I'm going to say this, but because of the Buy More plot.
Frea: What's even weirder: I agree with you!
Frea: That it's the Buy More plot, I mean, not that I'm agreeing with you. I do agree with you occasionally, like when minion morale is really, really low.
mxpw: Big Mike is awesome. Everybody loves him, both men and women. Which was not as common as it is now, you know.
Frea: He is a fine slab of man meat, I will grant you that.
Frea: Man, when they introduced the plotline, I thought for sure Morgan and Chuck were going to hurt his feelings by using Awesome instead, so to see the way it played out was even better. Thank you, writers, for not taking the obvious (read: melodramatic) route.
mxpw: But really, pairing Awesome up with the Buy Morons has always made for a good mix of comedy. And this plot worked for me. The commercial was great, the literal tumbleweed was surprisingly funny, and I loved the meta comment about being over Jeffster.
Frea: This review makes me wish we had a button that I could hit that says, "Seconded."
mxpw: Oh agreed. I loved that Big Mike spearheaded the whole thing and actually showed how he might have actually gotten the job of manager for once.
Frea: I found the button. It's CMD V. :)
mxpw: So we should talk about the actual spy plot now.
Frea: Right. Dude's younger brother was seriously hot.
Frea: Shoe tells me he was the Green Arrow on Smallville.
mxpw: First, I want to say how nice it was to see the return of Sarah's inappropriately short business skirts again. How that alone was not enough to get CI business, I'll never know.
Frea: I tried, but they don't accept the caged souls of minions as payment.
Frea: It was going to be a Guy Fawkes Day present for you, Maximus. But apparently my evilness has depleted the souls' potential for awesomeness.
mxpw: It's the thought that counts, MBO.
mxpw: I did appreciate Verbanski's entrance at the conference. It was nice setup for later in the episode. Totally over the top, but what else is new for this show.
Frea: Yes. I loved Casey's reaction to her.
mxpw: Haha, so did I.
Frea: Though I will say my main complaint about this episode is lack of subtlety, but we can get into that later.
mxpw: I also loved Sarah trying to act all put out and unimpressed. I do love seeing her loyalty to the team. I have to admit, I was really worried that she was going to agree to join Verbanski at the end in payment for rescuing Chuck and Morgan and then there'd be angst over that. I'm so glad they didn't go there.
Frea: I'd be okay with her freelancing. Just so that Gertrude and Sarah can be friends.
mxpw: You'd be okay with her working for the competition?
Frea: You know, if money gets too tight or something.
mxpw: That would make for some seriously awkward home situations.
Frea: Sarah Walker, freelance spy for hire.
mxpw: Hmm...can't say I agree, to be honest.
Frea: Oh, I understand. I liked the loyalty, too. It's something that's always jarring when it's lacking.
mxpw: Yeah, definitely.
mxpw: I do want to know more about Gertrude and Casey's twisted relationship. I think. And it looks like we'll get that next week.
Frea: Always excellent.
Frea: I want to bring up a potential pet peeve: I really hope they don't always find out that the client they're working for is secretly evil.
Frea: Seriously, you guys have hacking tools at your disposal, and government contacts. Vet your clients!
Frea: But that's only a pet peeve if it becomes a pattern.
mxpw: I know. It was pretty dumb that they had no idea what was really going on with this case. It was all a setup so that they could reset the money situation again. Though I have to say, it was almost worth it just for Sarah's Lotus comment. That was really funny and great delivery by Yvonne.
Frea: Yes! That was one of my favorite parts!
Frea: In addition to obviously being a shout-out to the great quistie 64, it really let Sarah be something other than the straight man for a second. Which was marvelous.
mxpw: Yeah, definitely. It's always one of my favorite parts of the show when they allow Yvonne, and by extension Sarah, to be funny.
mxpw: Okay, so I think we need to finally touch on the Morgan issue, Frea.
Frea: He's like the bearded elephant in the room.
mxpw: I'd like to go first.
Frea: By all means.
mxpw: Okay, so here's the thing: this show has never had great spy plots. They were better in the first two seasons, but it's never been one of the show's strong suits. And LeJudkins, as much as I love them, their spy plots are generally not that great. Like the plot in this episode didn't really make much sense. But what I've always felt they do best is characterization and interpersonal relationships (unlike say Klemmer who does better spy stuff but is not very good with the characters, in my opinion). So what all this is leading up to is that the reason why I liked this episode more than probably many out there was because it was about characterization.
mxpw: I feel like this episode established how the characters would have really reacted to Morgan having the Intersect than what we got last week. It felt more real to me. Last week, we had everybody more or less acting like Morgan was great. Casey, of all people, even expressed gratitude that Morgan was there on the country club mission because he saved the day. It felt false to me. I couldn't believe that Sarah and Casey would act like that. And then we get this episode, where their reactions to Morgan having the Intersect felt more real and true to character. They were freaked out, annoyed, not happy, what have you.
Frea: Agree so far.
Frea: Though in one area, Klemmer does shine above all others: Jeffster.
mxpw: Now why I brought up the spy stuff is because while I feel like LeJudkins got the character stuff more or less right between the team, I felt like they screwed up on the spy stuff. I know what they wanted to do with Morgan. I think they wanted us to think that Morgan was becoming this dark character, who was being corrupted by the Intersect. Kind of like what Sarah thought was happening to Chuck in S3, but never did. Unfortunately, they didn't quite make it. Morgan came across as more a petulant, whiny child than some dark, corrupted spy. It's the one serious flaw of the episode, and I can understand why some people hated it. It wasn't the best writing. I know what they were trying to do, but the writing and Gomez were just not up to the task of delivering that message across.
Frea: Yeah, I definitely agree. I love Josh Gomez to pieces, but I don't feel dark and angry is really in his wheelhouse.
mxpw: It was too over the top and not very subtle. They should have taken the time to properly lay out Morgan's heel turn, but they didn't. With only 13 episodes, and probably a realization in the back of their minds at how unpopular this storyline was going to be, I think they rushed things far too much.
Frea: And that ties into my complaint about the subtlety. It was like watching a snowball go on and on and gather more as the episode went on. It started off okay and by the end of the episode I was like, "Hm, do you think they wanted us to see that the Intersect is Affecting Morgan? Because I'm kind of getting the feeling that the Intersect might be Affecting Morgan, you know. But just a little bit."
Frea: BUT, but but but but...
Frea: Your explanation is perfect and I agree with everything, but I have to point out the positive side of all of this.
Frea: Ready for it???
Frea: It's going to blow your mind.
Frea: WE FINALLY HAVE AN EXPLANATION FOR PRAGUE!
mxpw: The Intersect makes you a crazy douche?
Frea: And Chuck avoided that partly in S3 because he has the ability to reboot, occasionally. Dude was in serious need of more reboots, but LeJudkins, you are my HERO(es).
mxpw: Absolutely. They are my favorite writers on the staff.
Frea: And because you don't realize that you're being a crazy douche, there was no need for Chuck and Sarah to ever talk about Prague. Sarah because she was replaced with a robot in S3 as a joke by Fedak and Schwartz, and Chuck because of the aforementioned Not Knowing of the Douchiness Theory.
mxpw: I get why people hated this episode. I really do. They don't like that Morgan has the Intersect and Chuck doesn't. Or they hate that Morgan is so front and center instead of Chuck and Sarah and that the writers are wasting part of the last thirteen episodes of the series on this storyline. I don't buy the idea that they are just getting Morgan out of the way so that the rest of the season can focus on others. That may be why, but A) I don't think he deserves a whole plot dedicated to him no matter how much the crew loves him and B) this plot is stupid. I get that people who like Morgan are upset that they've turned him into a douche. I get it. But I liked this episode despite the flaws in the Morgansect story because I felt like the characterization was just stronger.
mxpw: Also, Sarah was awesome. And really, that's all I need. Heh.
mxpw: And I also liked it for the small hope that maybe, just maybe, this storyline will finally establish, once and for all, why Chuck is special. That's my hope, at least.
mxpw: So then the Morgansect won't be a total waste.
Frea: Man, I love that button.
Frea: For me, the Morgansect stuff is just annoying because I don't see Morgan as part of being the main trio, and never will. I'll tolerate him because Chuck likes him, and I've made peace with the fact that the writers believe this is a quartet and not a trio. But like Max, this episode was a favorite because of the other things. The trio's interactions without Morgan, Chuck's own character arc, Sarah's sheer awesomeness, Casey's awesomeness, Awesome's awesomeness.
Frea: And for that commercial. For that commercial, a thousand times.
mxpw: Oh, one last thing. I know some people have said they didn't like Chuck's characterization in this episode and I just wanted to say, I thought he was better here than last week. Yes, he wasn't the best handler in the world (I really wanted him to punch Morgan multiple times in the episode), but then Sarah and Casey weren't exactly great and getting Chuck to do what he was told either. His little bout of insecurity at the end was nipped quickly and I didn't think it was as bad as it was next week. Also, he fought fairly well. I liked that. So...yeah.
mxpw: Sarah looked amazing all episode. Even better than last week, I thought, even with no SWP. I just want that stated for the record.
mxpw: And I'm done. Sorry for dragging it out.
Frea: No, no, I agree with you about Chuck's characterization. I wanted to high-five Morgan so many times. In the face. With a chair.
Frea: So, ratings?
mxpw: Ratings... Well, I am retroactively docking Zoom so that the scores are more reflective of their actual quality. I will score Bearded Bandit at 4 Rock Climbing Sarahs out of 5.
Frea: I will give Bearded Bandit an 8 out of 10 Castle Slides.
mxpw: You know what? I don't think our scores are actually posted on our Zoom review. Haha.
Frea: Hehe, they aren't.
Frea: I forgot.
mxpw: Ah well.