Chuck vs. The Tic Tac is this seasons only Casey centered episode. The pure bonus here is no Shaw, although his shadow does weigh heavily at times. But for most of the episode we get a return to the S2 team dynamic; and we get a nice reminder of how good this show used to be, and may be again in the future. More after the jump.
This may have been the most action intensive episode of the season as well; which seems right for being so much about Casey. We see Morgan immediately trying to get into the spirit of the spy life, he embraces it with far more gusto than either Chuck or Devon ever did; and hovers somewhere between total nuisance and somewhat useful. It is funny how much my impression of Morgan has changed in the last two episodes; I didn’t used to care for his presence so much, but he is seriously a fun part of the show from here on out. Robert Patrick makes a good and menacing villain (Colonel Keller), if anything he’s scarier than a T1000.
The teams initial mission is a simple security check, that is purely set-up for the episode and later humor. I really enjoy the follow up scene where Chuck accidentally rats out Casey. It manages to be funny, dramatic, and pure Chuck. Devon and Morgan are quite funny as they each discover what the other knows; and then we go into my favorite sequence of the episode. Its one of the few Chuck and Sarah missions of this whole ill-conceived season. Starting with Sarah being pleased that Chuck is ready to risk treason charges to rescue Casey. When they team up for the break out, we see a light hearted Sarah; something I never recall seeing for a spy mission before. Add a security specialist named Fitzroy, and this scene as a number of good belly laughs; right up to Sarah knocking Fitzroy out cold.
After the Colonel Keller beats Chuck and Sarah to the rescue, they get pinched by some of General Beckman’s goons and are tasked with getting Casey back. This leads to an almost sweet scene of Sarah expressing her concerns to Chuck about her fears of him changing. The scene plays well at the time, but will soon seem hollow; she obviously doesn’t believe in him yet (one of the glaring flaws to this season I would say).
A few things seem important now in the later part of the episode. We learn Casey has a fiance who thinks him dead. Casey and Sarah have a fun action scene where they eliminate Keller and his thugs; while Chuck tries to protect Kathleen, Casey’s ex. Chuck takes a pill to inhibit his emotions so he can calm down enough to flash, and save the day. This is an excellent fight scene; but leads to the sloppiest bit. We’ve been told this pill will suppress all emotion, and make the taker a calm and cold machine. But Chuck goes a step beyond and almost kills one of the attackers. Apparently, a lack of emotions equals a lack of conscience. And Sarah is horrified to discover she can talk Chuck down and the pill doesn’t last very long. OK, I guess that probably isn’t what upset her; but it rings false to me that she was so upset by this chain of events. Even with no emotions and murderous intent; Chuck listened to her and calmed down quickly (this is a problem because…?). Oh yeah, we also discover Casey has a daughter, but I’ve already devoted about as much time to the revelation as the show did, so let’s move on.
In the denouement we see Casey being dismissed from federal service, and Sarah jetting off to Washington; and get a good scene between Chuck and Casey. Casey talks about choices and sacrifice, things Chuck has become familiar with over the course of the series. Casey also offers a surprising bit of encouragement, saying what we all know; “Walker is a good woman.”
For a Casey centric episode, there is an awful lot about Chuck and Sarah here. This seems an encouraging episode in that department, yet the next one will end in a very dark place. Casey has been one of the real bright spots all season long. This episode serves him well, and with him being fired in the end, it puts Casey in a different position than we are used to seeing.