mxpw vs. Frea - Chuck vs. the Hack-Off

Chuck vs. the Hack-Off
Season 05, Episode 05, Original Air-Date 9 December, 2011
Chuck and Sarah infiltrate an unusual cult to find the designer of a computer virus. The Buy More gets a new employee.

If you pay attention to the graphic header, you’ll notice that Frea is the pessimist this week. Does this mean she hated the episode and mxpw loved it? Well, there was naked Sarah…but you might be surprised…

Frea: So what’d you think of Chuck vs. Naked Sarah?

mxpw: I thought it was a pretty good episode, actually. A few minor things that kind of bugged, but overall, very solid.

Frea: Same. I was really hyper afterward.

Frea: Probably because my DVR cut off the promo in the middle

mxpw: Heeeee

mxpw: I tried not to let my knowledge of Shaw’s return cloud my enjoyment of the episode.

mxpw: I thought Zac did a good job directing. His best yet.

Frea: Yes, he did.

Frea: ...dammit.*

mxpw: Mwuaha

mxpw: Victory is mine!

Frea: The least he could have done was a cheesy rack focus!

Frea: I mean, c’mon! Doesn’t he know how much I already have to write for quistie's and my awesomely insane and raving fans charity?

mxpw: Oh, I see those html tags. That must mean the review has started unannounced. In that case I might as well get into character: Naked Sarah. Naked Sarah. Naked Sarah.

mxpw: That works like Beetlejuice, right?

Frea: I think so. Or the Candyman. Seeing as he was, you know, her mentor.

mxpw: That just makes me want to sing “The Candyman can!”

Frea: I wonder how she is with a hook. I mean, I know she’s pretty handy with those knives...

mxpw: She must be pretty good, because I’m hooked on her.

Frea: Okay, this review is officially over.

Frea: Mostly out of sheer and total jealousy because I wish I’d come up with a pun that awesome!

Frea: No fair!

mxpw: *kicks back and relaxes* Oh yeah, I’m the king.

Frea: So what do you think Tebow’s chances are next week against the Pats?

mxpw: The Denver Broncos and Tim Tebow are like what Angels in the Outfield was, only with less Tony Danza, so I’d say pretty good.

Frea: Don’t say Angels right now. St. Louis has enough of a heartburn problem as it is.

mxpw: Ah yes, I heard about Albert Pulols leaving.

mxpw: It’s touching, your concern.

Frea: I heard a grown man sobbing on the radio.

Frea: It was disgusting

mxpw: Hey, people love their sports.

Frea: Yeah, I just don’t see what hockey has to do with anything, though. I mean, Pujols isn’t even that great of a quarterback.

mxpw: Plus, since he’s from St. Louis and it was recently declared one of the most depressing cities in the country, maybe he was just depressed.

Frea: I guess all of the Xanax or whatever they’ve been pumping into the water supply isn’t working.

mxpw: Are you sure? I mean, look at how excited you were after the end of this episode.

Frea: Very true. Oh, man. The episode. Did we review that already?

mxpw: I don’t think so.

mxpw:  Naked Sarah.

Frea: Oh, okay. Well, I’m not going to comment on Sarah’s naked form. I shall leave that to you.

mxpw: Naked Chuck.

Frea: What a happy day in my life.

mxpw: Apparently Sarah’s too, as she snuck two different looks down while they were preparing to infiltrate the cult.

Frea: I’m sure the Adorable Psycho has some great advice on how to make that state more permanent. I think it involves burning clothes.

mxpw: Yeah, but AP would have never been able to handle that mission. She either would have jumped Chuck as soon as his clothes came off or go on a murder spree that would be the stuff of legend.

Frea: All of the people looking at her man, yeah.

Frea: So...can we get the “Yay! Our favorite actors got naked!” part of the review over with?

mxpw: Do we have to?

Yay! Our favorite actors got naked!
Frea: I can go get a soda or something, let you have another ten minutes, but I do think we need to talk about other things in this episode. Like, for example, how much I love Gertrude Verbanski, and how I’m a little shocked that I liked the Lester storyline and ZOMG SHIRLEY WAS A GREEN SHIRT and I’m still laughing at Chuck and Sarah being referred to as June and Ward Cleaver.

mxpw: Oh alright, I guess we can move on. But we should do so in an entirely logical and linear manner, like we always do.

Frea: Right! Logical and linear. So I cared about the Decker storyline this week. Is that weird? Where has that guy been all season?

mxpw: I know what you mean, this was the first time since his introduction where I felt slightly interested in what happened. I did think he was a little mustache twirly this episode, but he’s been like that in every episode, so I guess they were at least consistent. His plan seemed a bit convoluted to me, but it was nice to see him actually establish some stakes for the team.

Frea: Kind of wish Sarah and Chuck had pulled a Walker’s Eleven, bugged the software, and turned it around on him

mxpw: Actually, that’s kind of what I was waiting for. I thought it was a bit shortsighted on their part to just hand over such an apparently dangerous weapon to somebody who on more than one occasion has vowed to destroy them. I know they wanted to free Casey, but you’d think they’d have been a little more cautious/proactive. It’s one of the minor things that bugged this episode. That and their shock that Decker betrayed them. Really, guys?

If Ward Cleaver wore a hoodie and June Cleaver wore leather...
Frea: In case you missed it: June and Ward Cleaver.

Frea: ...oh crap, now I’m thinking about Mrs. Cleaver naked!

mxpw: Hahaha

mxpw: Totally not my fault. You brought up the naked characters this time!

Frea: I know! Gaaaaaah.

Frea: Okay, anyway, I agree: it bugged me that Sarah and Chuck were so shocked that Decker would betray them again, too. Chuck, I can kind of see, but Sarah? C’mon, honey. You’re a spy. In this world, spying means lying, cheating, killin’ in true gang-style, and all without any true reason most of the time. That should not surprise you that the bad guy who has sworn time and again to destroy you, and who has put out a hit on the best man/minister of your wedding, is going to betray you.

mxpw: I am choosing to interpret Sarah’s surprise as another sign that it’s getting closer and closer to her hanging up the spy life. While I didn’t really quite agree with Verbanski (and would have preferred to see Sarah just outright shutting her down instead of staying quiet), I do think Verbanski had a point in a very general sense. Sarah has changed a lot since meeting Chuck, and you can see one of the central themes of this season will be her recognizing that and understanding what it means and accepting that maybe she actually does want more out life than being a spy.

mxpw: At least I hope so. I would be very disappointed if Sarah doesn’t reach that realization by the end of the season.

Frea: But there’s an inherent flaw there:

Frea: They’ve changed their minds again. Spying used to be The Eeeeeeevil. Then it was “Awesome!” And eeeeevil. Then Awesome. Then evilly awesome. Then awesomely evil.


mxpw: Well, the beginning of Season 3 notwithstanding, I think Chuck has always been fairly hesitant about the spy life. Even when he was all super gung ho about it, you could see there was always a part of him that went “Hey, wait a minute, this really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.” So in that sense, they’re consistent. The problem is that they ebb and flow his feelings on the matter too much. Chuck getting the Intersect was always supposed to be just a way for him to get his confidence up. Now that it is, and he’s married to Sarah, I don’t think it’s out of nowhere that he’s finally decided to leave.

mxpw: Sarah is the one they’ve really mishandled in this situation, I think.

Frea: Hm, I’ll agree to that begrudgingly, but I will maintain that there’s something to be said for ambiguity, but I will not be saying it about the way they’ve handled whether spying is a good thing or not because they’ve handled it poorly. Which ties into my mixed feelings about the fact that Chuck is an awesome hacker.

mxpw: Actually, I would argue the opposite.

mxpw: I think they’ve done an excellent job in establishing that the spy life sucks.

mxpw: They’ve just done it unintentionally. Haha.

Frea: I was sitting up, getting ready to argue with you, but I agree completely!

mxpw: Over the seasons, from the Red Test, to Chuck’s parents abandoning him and Ellie, to spies are not supposed to fall in love, to spies aren’t supposed to have friends or family and only be unthinking robots that follow orders, that the spy life is terrible. That’s why I hope they leave at the end. Maybe if they never wanted to have kids, I’d say it’s okay for them to stay, but if they want a family, the show has made a pretty convincing argument that the only way they can do that is if they’re not in the spy life anymore.

Frea: Man, I wish they’d set up Carmichael Industries back when they blew the first Buy More up because then I’d probably care about this storyline and feel like it wasn’t coming out of the blue.

mxpw: Personally, I think it’s kind of hilarious.

Frea: I think that’s probably my biggest problem with all of it, honestly. They’ve only just set up CI.

Frea: And so far they’re finding out that they’ve lost their money, their friend is in jail, and they’re the most gullible people on the planet. It’s really making them look bad, which makes me feel sad.

mxpw: Chuck and Sarah waste over 800 million dollars setting up CI and a few months later they’re like, “Eh, that’s not for us, let’s do something else.”

Frea: Exactly! While it’s hilarious, it also makes my stomach hurt.

mxpw: Oh I agree, but that’s about par for the course for this show.

mxpw: I do wonder what Sarah could do if they did leave the spy life. If Sarah is so worried about not having any skills she could do in the real world, I don’t know why nobody just suggests she go to school.

Frea: Not going to lie:

Frea: I thought for SURE Chuck was going to be like, “You could be my office manager.”

mxpw: Haha

mxpw: Speaking of...

mxpw: I know some people have apparently gotten upset over Chuck speculating on turning CI into a tech company without any care for what Sarah would do, but I would say that I don’t think that actually happened, he was more like just musing out loud and he did so where Sarah would be able to comment and counter if she wanted. I don’t think Chuck was being selfish there.

Frea: I agree with that. The minute Sarah asked what her part in it would be, he turned serious very quickly. He was definitely realizing something.

mxpw: Yeah. Sarah’s insecurities did bug me a bit in the second half, but mostly because I just want to shake Sarah and go “You are awesome and amazing! Why do you constantly think you have nothing to offer beyond being a spy!?” Also, I’m just waiting for some self-realization on her part that being a spy can’t last forever, and it’s taking her fooooooorever to get there. Haha.

Frea: But I kind of know how she feels. I’m also awesome and amazing, but if I had to give up being the MBO, I don’t know what I’d do.

Amusingly, Zachary Levi manages to get
his hand up Yvonne's shirt.
Also, it looks like she's crying here.
Guess she really does need that self-confidence.
mxpw: Doesn’t she remember her own wedding vows, about Chuck being the kind of man she deserves? Where is that self-confidence now?

Frea: She DID lose 800 million dollars.

mxpw: Haha

mxpw: But that was clearly Morgan’s fault. :P

Frea: Morgan can be a blow to anybody’s self-confidence.

mxpw: True, true. Oh well. I’m sure we all know what will happen. Sarah will resist and resist until Chuck wins her over somehow and pulls her forward, just like he’s done for just about every major decision/moment in their relationship since the beginning.

Frea: And what she’s doing to Gertrude Verbanski in return! But I feel like I have to talk about my mixed feelings about Chuck being a great hacker.

mxpw: I think I have an idea about what you’re going to say, but I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Frea: Okay. Let me gather them. Let’s see... Dr Pepper is awesome, how do they get those ships inside the bottles and... oh right.

Frea: So I love, love, LOVE the fact that Chuck can contribute to the team and be a great hacker and they’ve finally found a niche for him. And I know we’ve seen instances where he’s hacked into things like the Countess and the blast shield doors when Robin Givens was around and the like.

Frea: BUT...two things:

Frea: 1) It’s still too little, too late, honestly. Yes, I will probably always hold this grudge about the Nuclear Winter of Characterization created by Season Three.

Frea: 2) And because of my grudge, his being so great at hacking after being away for awhile? Don’t buy it. It trips into Mary Sue territories for me.

Frea: This is not to say that I didn’t giggle like a lunatic, but the fact that Sarah has been married to Chuck for a couple months, engaged for longer than that, and in his life for four years, and has never seen The Routine? This means it has been a long time since Chuck has done serious hacking like that.

mxpw: #1 doesn’t bother me as much as you, but I do agree with you about #2.

mxpw: I quite enjoyed that the show remembered that Chuck was a nerd first and foremost and that’s what his background was in. I quite enjoyed that he had a rep and that his nickname was the “Piranha”. I found the fact that he drank chardonnay and called it his “Thinking Juice” to be one of the funniest things of the episode. I liked that he could show off and be a bit arrogant, but finally have an acceptable reason to be. But despite loving all the little bits, you’re right that it did ring hollow because they haven’t kept it as a through-thread throughout the series. Sarah had no idea, so like you said, how often could it be? And to be top hacker, you have to stay up-to-date on that kind of stuff and if he’d been out of the game for years? Yeah right.

Frea: But hey, he got them all HDTVs with extended warranties from the Buy More. So it’s all good. It’s not? Here, let me hit the lights.

mxpw: HOWEVER, Sarah calling it cute and that smile she got while she watched his antics, all like “Awwww, my husband is so adorable”, made it just about worthwhile for me. Yes, I guess I’m a sap.

See? Hackers are d'awwroble.

mxpw: AND, it totally reminded me of Fates Sarah. :)

Frea: Haha, I wasn’t going to say anything, but I was thinking the same thing! Though I don’t think Fates Chuck uses the headphones. Heh. That’s what many years in a bunker does to you, I guess.

mxpw: I do have to say I really enjoyed the scene in the warehouse, though. It was probably my favorite of the episode. I loved Chuck really only being there to hack the security, doing what he’s best at, while Sarah and Verbanksi kick serious ass, doing what they’re best at, and it was just a really well executed scene. Plus, Sarah’s proud “That’s my man” was just the cherry on top.

Frea: And Gertrude’s confession in the middle of it

mxpw: Oh yeah, and Verbanski’s confession!

Frea: Just had me cracking up like nothing else. I adore you, Carrie-Ann Moss.

mxpw: Haha, yeah.

mxpw: I do have to say I kind of blinked in shock a bit when she said she loved Casey, because I thought it was a little fast, but the whole confession sequence was so well done that it didn’t take me out of the scene but for a second or two. Her just blurting it out, like it had been gnawing its way out of her ever since Sarah brought it up, was very funny.

mxpw: One thing I’ll say for this season, they’ve done a pretty good job of getting Sarah to engage in actual conversations with people. Not only that, but conversations about feelings!

Frea: I thought it was fast, too, honestly. But then I remembered we’re doing a full season in 13 episodes, and I was okay with that. I mean, if they’re up to conjugal visits already, that’s like they’re married already, so it makes sense to me.

Frea: And hear, hear! Sarah’s talking about feelings and there’s not a duck to be found anywhere.

mxpw: Unless you count the promo for the Christmas episode. :P

Frea: I set it up, you knocked it down. Excellent. Duck shippers, unite! Anyway, Sarah’s conversation where she was needling Gertrude was fantastic. Sarah gave as good as she got. And I adored her in every scene this episode. “We’re in a nudist colony? Okay! I’ll strip. You’re just like John Casey, so the best way I can torture you is to talk about feelings? Okay, FEELINGS. Chuck’s being a hacker, so I should shoot things and let him escape from bad guys by hiding behind me? Okay, he’s adorable.”

mxpw: And Gertrude rolling her eyes at every bit of affection between Chuck and Sarah, her grunting and growls, her calling them Ward and June Cleaver, really did make her out to be a female Casey.

Frea: Which I was perfectly fine with. Either she’s got to be his exact opposite or she’s got to really get him and that grunt? That grunt was PERFECT.

mxpw: I thought it was perfect too. Carrie-Ann Moss did an excellent job. I hope she comes back before the end of the season.

Trinity and Sarah Walker. You'll be frightened AND turned on.
Frea: Me too. Although I’m intrigued that her being gone means Casey has some stakes outside of himself, too

mxpw: That’s a good point. He has a personal investment beyond Chuck and Sarah in stopping this conspiracy.

mxpw: Okay.

Frea: Okay?

mxpw: I have been good.

Frea: All right, let it rip.

mxpw: I want to talk about the nudist colony stuff now.

mxpw: At least some of it!

Frea: Raise your hand if you thought it was dumb! *raises hand*

mxpw: *raises hand*

mxpw: But, we did get to finally see Sarah fight a chick and not get her ass kicked, so it was totally worth it. Heh.

Frea: I know! I was watching with Graceless and I looked at her opponent and was like, “Oh, damn, she’s shorter than Sarah, Sarah’s about to get her ass handed to her.”

mxpw: I kept watching that fight and thinking, “Okay, now is when Sarah gets knocked down and Gertrude saves her. Okay, now. Okay, now. What is going on!? Sarah is winning!?”

mxpw: Also, I couldn’t figure out why Tron chick’s pendant was a razor. Did it mean she used to do a lot of coke?

Frea: I thought she was a banker? Cutting edge loans?

mxpw: I like my reason better. :P

mxpw: It would better explain why she was randomly running a nudist cult.

Frea: True. Let’s go with your explanation, then.

mxpw: I do have to say I thought Chuck getting naked was totally OOC. Haha.

Yay for short robes!
Frea: Yeah, I thought him, you know, not trying to cover up more was OOC, but I will give him this: he’s got the dedication for the spy life.

mxpw: Sarah we know has no shame or modesty, so that made sense, but Chuck?

mxpw: The dude sleeps next to Sarah Walker every night and yet wears pants to bed.

Frea: I enjoyed the hacker. Colin, or Moon Pie or whatever his name was.

mxpw: I think it was Moon-meadow.

Frea: Ah, yes. Moon Meadow. What a great name.

Frea: I think I’ll refer to every Colin that I know by that name.

mxpw: I thought he was funny. Though he has terrible taste in jelly beans. I never liked those ones that tasted like popcorn.

Frea: Why not? They’re like little popcorn pills!

mxpw: I think they taste funny. I much prefer the Dr. Pepper ones or citrus or fire ones.

Frea: Very good point. The Dr Pepper ones ARE like little Dr Pepper pills. And now I want some. But anyway. I liked that Gertrude and Chuck worked well together. Sure, she was pushy, but usually when they have a strong, domineering woman trying to lord it over Chuck, she has to look idiotic in the end for Chuck to prove himself right (think Robin Givens and Alex Forrest). Here, Gertrude managed to do both (she did hurry along the mission, but she also got the hacker to, um, hack up the chip) without being declawed.

Frea: Declawed by CHUCK, that is. Gertrude and Casey, I was a little more wary about. My first instinct was to be annoyed that they’ve made Gertrude so weak-kneed over Casey that she would give in to his request to go help out Chuck and Sarah. But then I thought about it and if they’re speeding things up this year to condense, it doesn’t bother me as much. Especially since she killed Decker at the end and you could tell the choice was all hers

Frea: All of that aside, I really wish they’d chosen to play it as Sarah and Chuck weren’t gullible, they were just really, really, really over a barrel and hoping for the best.

mxpw: I would like to quickly point out that Alex Forrest was competing against Sarah, and not Chuck. :)

mxpw: But to your greater point, I agree, I liked Gertrude’s interaction with the team. After this episode, I think I can almost guess at how the series will end: Chuck and Sarah will either leave the spy life completely or have a very reduced role in it, and Casey and Gertrude will take over the running of Carmichael Industries/Verbanski Corp.

Frea: Carmiski? Vermichael? There really is no great way to combine those names.

Frea: Maybe they’ll have a third partner buy in and then they can call it the Trinity Corporation. Gertrude can run things.


mxpw: Hahaha. That is a brilliant idea.

mxpw: And I appreciated them putting her leather. It was a nice nod to Trinity.

mxpw: But we should talk about the Buy More stuff and then wrap this review up.

Frea: Right. This is really weird, but I’m still loving the Buy More stuff.

mxpw: I enjoyed this BM stuff more than any other time this season, I think. This is the role Morgan should be doing.

Frea: Agreed. 100% agreed.

Frea: I was going to comment earlier that I thought he was well-used and used just enough in the episode.

mxpw: New-Jeff continues to be suitably strange, Lester was actually funny and interesting, and Danny Pudi’s cameo was perfect.

Frea: But then I got distracted by something shiny.

mxpw: Haha

mxpw: Danny Pudi singing “Oh, Canada” in French was a highlight for me, as was Lester freaking out about them finding another HinJew to replace him.

Frea: I screamed. I literally screamed when Shirley popped up.

Frea: It was just this sheer onrush of pure happiness in a I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING AND YAAAAY sort of way

mxpw: I was completely surprised. That was totally unexpected and appreciated.

mxpw: Nice meta humor there.

mxpw: Plus, Casey now actually owes Lester a debt.

Frea: Lester using his Buy More skills to get ahead in prison was something I really appreciated

mxpw: As did I.

Frea: I love the idea that even though Jeff and Lester don’t actually work--or didn’t, I suppose--they are actually very smart. This goes all the way back to Tango, where they were fixing computers blindfolded with noise cancellation headphones.

mxpw: Hahaha. Right. I do think that’s one of the funniest things about them, that if they actually just applied themselves, they might accomplish something.

Frea: It speaks back to one of the greatest themes of this show: people can surprise you.

mxpw: So true.

mxpw: So any final thoughts?

Frea: Pacing felt off.

mxpw: Agreed. Back half was much stronger than front half, I thought.

Frea: Yeah, but that seems to be a habit with this writer, I think. We had the same criticisms about his episodes in Season Four.

mxpw: Yeah, I believe so.

Frea: But final thoughts? I know I came across as really pessimistic, but this was just a strong, solid, enjoyable hour of TV. I kind of forgot that earlier, actually, given the bomb the promo dropped, but while it’s not my favorite episode of Season Five, I liked Hack-Off enough to watch it again. I’m intrigued by all of the things they’ve set up, curious about the Decker storyline for once, and I can’t wait for next week. Granted, I will be bringing my chainsaw and my Dexter shirt, but that’s a different story. Wait, did we ever find out: does wood bleed?

mxpw: The 2x4 shows up in the Christmas episode, Frea, which is the episode after next. :)

Frea: He’ll be in the promo.

Frea: I like to get an early start.

mxpw: True, but then he was in this promo too.

Frea: Yeah, and it was only through my shock and the fact that my chainsaw is now 50 miles away that I haven’t already solved that problem.

mxpw: Should we comment on the issue at all or let it be?

Frea: If we comment, then all anybody will be able to do in the comments is slam Shaw or defend him. Let’s leave it until he’s actually in the episode.

mxpw: Alright, sounds like a good call.

mxpw: My final thoughts are pretty similar to yours. I appreciated Naked Sarah, but that whole sequence was kind of pointless. Unless they wanted us to see how quickly Sarah is willing to take her clothes off. Haha. I think that was the biggest misstep of the episode, and it wasn’t too bad at that. Very solid episode.

Frea: 7.9 Castle Slides!

mxpw: I’ll give it 3.5 Naked Sarahs out of 5.

So what'd you think of the episode? Please try to keep comments about Shaw's return to a minimum and focus on the episode itself. You'll be much happier that way.

* Max and Frea had a bet going. Frea lost. Frea lost hard.


  1. Crumby12.12.11

    Loved the episode! I agree with every issues you've pointed at, but Gertrude's awesomeness just won me over.

    I want to add that I loved Adam Baldwin in that episode too. It was fairly new to see Casey like this, and it worked well.

    I really liked that every characters were enjoyable, and funny this week. I mean, I shook my head a few times, and I did think Chuck was a bit insensitive at the end with Sarah, but really everyone was fun, and brought something. I appreciated that.

  2. Anonymous12.12.11

    I'm apparently in the minority but I didn't enjoy the episode at all. In fact, I thought the most entertaining part of the episode was the Buy More/Lester parts… which says a lot about the rest of the episode.

    You already touched on it but Decker's double cross was visible from a mile away. So for Chuck and Sarah to not only fall for it - but to be shocked that it happened - frustrated the hell out of me. On top of that, you had Decker give them this mission because all of the CIA's best tech people couldn't crack the virus or figure out its creator supposedly, correct? But when Chuck managed to figure out the creators name, birth place, phone number, and alma mater in ~30 seconds of "hacking", it didn't raise any red flags for Chuck or Sarah? WTH! The characters are not that stupid.

    Which brings me to Chuck and his ideas for the future of Carmichael Industries. You mentioned it a bit but it annoyed me more than it did either of you I guess. Early on in the episode he mentions how it was his decision to start up CI as a spy business and that he talked Sarah and Casey into doing it with him. Then, he remembers how much he enjoys hacking and starts thinking about transitioning CI into a tech company instead. Yes, I understand that he didn’t actually just decide to change the company without consulting with Sarah first – which is good - but he still should have put some thought into what Sarah (and even Casey) would like to do instead of only thinking of himself. Or did he forget (again) that the money used to start the company was given to both of them as a wedding gift?

    It just seems like he only focuses on what he wants when considering their careers and just expects Sarah will follow along. He had clearly given it some consideration when he told Sarah about his thoughts but was clueless when she asked what her job would be. That tells me that he didn’t even think about her in the plans and that is unacceptable to me. You’re married now. Start acting like it.

    Which brings me to a larger issue that I've had all season now which is the way that CI has been handled. When I first saw the season 4 finale, it was the first episode I had watched since early on in season 3 and I was pretty excited about them opening their own spy business. I thought that we would get some really fun story lines for the season that couldn't have happened when they were official spies and that CI was just going to be sort of in the background.

    Instead they made it one of the focal parts of the story so that everything has to revolve around it and every episode has part of its plot about how they need more money or are questioning what they want to do with their lives. It just feels like the writers have no idea what to do now that the characters are no longer working for the CIA and are just making everything up as they go along instead. So they give them (virtually) unlimited funds and then take it all away. When they receive millions of dollars for completing a mission, it is gone in the next episode and they are back to complaining about how they are almost bankrupt. They get depressed about not having normal lives, seem to come to the realization that they don’t need normal and that it isn’t a bad thing to be spies, and then are right back to questioning it again in the next episode. For Tebow’s sake, please just make a decision and stick with it.

    Finally, I’m really curious how Casey’s escape from prison is going to be handled. We already know that the prison was incredibly bad with security since no one seemed to have any idea who actually worked there, but are they just going to not realize that one of their inmates is missing? I’ll be interested to see whether they just pretend like the whole prison thing never happened (a la the Norseman and lobotomy) or if it continues to be part of the story for the remainder of the season.

  3. Nervert12.12.11

    How about that. I read your review while ticking off points on my list as you mentioned them, and when I got to the end you'd covered them all.

    Well, okay, there were two small moments I liked that you didn't mention.

    1) Morgan saying "aaahhhh" and sticking the candy bar in Chuck's mouth. The whole "Routine" scene established the friendship the two have and that it goes back quite a ways. They've done that in the past but this just felt more natural.

    2) Also, Sarah/Yvonne reacting to Lester/Vik touching her while she and Chuck were visiting Casey. I wonder if that was an unscripted moment because Yvonne reacted like Vik's hand was on fire.

  4. Casey + Gertrude = HOT! [and funny!]

  5. So I have this theory.

    Post S4, but before the writers gathered to hash out the arcs for S5, Fedak called Kristin Newman into his office and said, "Kristin, take the next few days and read all the fan blogs. Write down everything that the fans want to see in the show, and we'll try to cram them in before the end as kind of a 'thank you' for them sticking with us."

    The Nudist colony visit feels like one of those things. It's completely extraneous. However, it was executed well enough to be fun, so on that basis alone I'm okay with it. This is S5, after all, and it would have been much easier for them to cover the same material instead of stripping things down to their bare essentials. wince Sorry. :)

    As to the whole episode, I pretty much agree with you guys in general. Good, but not great. I liked last week's episode better. They did finally crack open the door to the final major long arc, Chuck, Sarah and CI's future. Yeah, last week they teased it with the apartment convo, but this week Sarah realizes Chuck's really thinking seriously about it.

    And in the totally predictable way the series story has gone, it seems inevitable to me that projecting along the path they've laid C&S will exit the spy business by season's end.

  6. 'And in the totally predictable way the series story has gone, it seems inevitable to me that projecting along the path they've laid C&S will exit the spy business by season's end.'

    And is that a satisfactory end to the series?

    The show has had Chuck and Sarah vacillate on that idea so often. Does it retain any power or import or merely elicit a whatever shrug?


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