With Couch Lock, episode 4.05, we’re now up to the half-way point of the front half episodes. This is also the last episode before the start of the main arc, and the only Casey-centric episode of the season. So this is Faith and Dave’s conversation after a re-watch (after the jump!)
If I remember back two months ago to when Couch Lock first aired, I believe my first impression was pleased but not ecstatic. I was very happy with how Chuck and Sarah worked smoothly as a team from beginning to end in this episode. Even when Chuck had concerns (the trap in the warehouse) about his use of the team, Sarah teased and put him at ease. That was such a wonderful scene. Chuck is working as an agent and partner throughout, Chuck and Sarah are a good team both professionally and personally, and the tone is confident and fun. Casey and Morgan are funny as well. Morgan’s eulogy was cringe worthy, but coming from Morgan I suppose that’s how it ought to be. Jeffster coming to the rescue of Casey is easily the best moment those two have had all season; they actually manage to be good friends in a thoroughly creepy way. Morgan trying to awaken Casey is also a very fun scene. And Morgan and Alex manage to be awkward and sweet at the same time. The bad guys are even kind of goofy and sinister; love ordering pizza before mutilating a [not quite] corpse, and the bunker scene at the end is a blast.
So what kept this from being a favorite of mine? I bet everyone who’s ever read anything by me before can guess! Not enough Chuck and Sarah, too much Morgan. This is not a big problem. My affection for Morgan makes him my distant 5th favorite on the show (Chuck, Sarah, Casey, Devon all rank higher, not necessarily in that order). Not that I dislike him, but a little goes a long way. And he’s been getting 2nd or 3rd most screen time this season (possibly the most screen time in this episode). Again, not a huge problem, just a little bit of disconnect. The other minor issue being; I LOVE the way Chuck and Sarah work together in this episode, but are we to think the only way we’ll see this sort of flawless teamwork is when they are secondary to the story? I sure hope not. I WANT to see more of this spy couple; shoot I want the show to be all about the spy couple we see in this episode. I HOPE we have some episodes featuring them coming up. I know the way these writers work we will never get Nick and Nora Charles (sigh), but I hope to at least see that sort of team on occasion.
We talked about comparing this episode to Sensei. To me the most obvious connection is the theme of team work. Actually, this theme seems to play out in all the Casey centered episodes. But Sensei may the best comparison. In both episodes we have a villain from Casey’s past who has betrayed his trust, but Chuck and Sarah (and this time Morgan) will not abandon him. Tic Tac also has obvious similarities, but the Chuck/Sarah malfunction we see at the end damages the mood of that episode for many of us (yes, that means me!).
What are your first round of thoughts on this Faith?
“Partnership is trust,” remember that line? That was from one of my favorite epis of all 4 seasons: Best Friend. I second your enthusiasm for the team that is Chuck and Sarah in this episode. More so now more than ever because we have been shown this forward progression of the trust that was built, of a partnership that was solidified.
Last go around, Ernie and I spoke of how after Coup D’Etat, they’re a team. A solid, committed, team and a couple and it’s “about damn time,” well in Couch Lock we’re seeing the fruition of that. I was absolutely floored when Chuck and Sarah worked together to get him free, or not free and just how much affection and love there is between them in that scene. And even better, we had Sarah joking around to boot! Pure gold*.
You tie in Sensei and it’s absolutely amazing how far they have (all) come.
> Casey: “This from the agent that can’t keep her chocolate out of Bartowski’s peanut butter” (side note: that line? Also pure gold).
> Sarah: Whatever my feelings may be for Chuck, I have never knowingly endangered the asset. You let your emotions get you out of control.
> Casey: So you’re finally admitting you have feelings for the nerd.
> Sarah: No, all I will admit to is having feelings.
Back then, Sarah couldn’t even go as far as to acknowledge the presence of feelings–something we all knew she had, and Casey, the king of *grunt* lady feelings, could clearly see. Now we have Sarah more than just being supportive but loving too, “Chuck you’re being ridiculous…of course we’re going to help you, this is your mom.”
Casey isn’t immune to the emotional progression being around Chuck has brought Sarah. In fact in that same scene Sarah says, “Casey and I know the risks…” Remember this is the same guy who was perfectly willing to take out Chuck in Sensei, well that is if it wasn’t his job to protect him. Now Casey is not just putting his life on the line, but his job to boot. They’re hiding things from Beckman, he’s hiding things from Beckman. More than that, he’s risking his life to rescue them from captivity from his old A-team. But Casey is still Casey, as we see with his Couch Lock reawakening, to Morgan’s subsequent nightmare.
Speaking of Morgan, to your point he was certainly very involved in this episode but to me it’s not something that’s bothersome or is any way a negative. There’s this dynamic at play of Chuck and Sarah and Casey and Morgan and the more it’s in those groups, the more I enjoy the story. Like Chuck said (again in Coup D’Etat): “life is full of changes,” and Morgan’s role and his involvement with Casey is one of those changes. Let’s put it this way, I’d much rather the teams be Chuck and Sarah, Casey and Morgan than what we had for most of Anniversary with Chuck and Morgan and Casey and Sarah. Not that I mind that or the episode, an enjoyable episode for certain, but in terms of growth and relationships I prefer Chuck and Sarah be together, a team, growing.
Now let’s talk about Frost. We learned some new things about her in this episode. Now obviously we know a lot more post Leftovers than we did at the end of Couch Lock, but looking back, the knowledge is still somewhat unsettling. Not in a bad way, more in the intriguing and destabilizing way. We still don’t know if Frost is good or bad, not sure we’ll ever really know, but if we were paying attention here we would have noticed hints about her relationship with Volkoff. One of more than the boss-muscle variety.
I’ll start this round by correcting an oversight. First go around I mainly talked about first impressions and didn’t really talk about what has changed on repeat viewing. Short answer is, I found it a lot more fun than I remembered. I think, back in October, there was still a great deal of anxiety over how this season would go; even waiting for the other shoe to drop for Chuck and Sarah. Well, after five more episodes and meeting both Frost and Volkoff, I feel pretty comfortable with things. I’m pretty happy with how the team usually works, our favorite couple seems solid, and Linda Hamilton and Timothy Dalton have been brilliant. So a lot of those viewer anxieties have been laid to rest, and I find it easy to just kick back and enjoy the show.
I would agree with you that Sarah joking around is a wonderful thing. It feels like we’re seeing a favorite character actually relaxing and enjoying life in a new way. The “you could have told be that before I got over here” line is so dead-pan funny I love it. And the change since Sensei is breathtaking. We’ve gone from an Agent Walker who won’t even admit her feelings for Chuck are in any way personal; to Sarah who offers her support, encouragement and love with no reservation. Casey has also changed so much in the same stretch; the changes are more subtle, its not like Casey is going to become a hugger anytime soon. And we know that long before Sensei even, he would have given his life for Chuck. But what used to be a professional ethic, has taken on a more personal cast with time. As you observe Faith, he is now willing to go against orders and keep secrets from his superiors to support his team. Chuck has become the ultimate destroyer of government agents!
I would agree Morgan bothers me less on re-watch. I still would prefer some of his time go to more Chuck and Sarah, but Morgan can be quite funny on occasion. Trying to wake Casey was a fun scene; shooing off Alex not so much. Saving the day in the end, with no skills to speak of was a very well done scene. And I’d like to add, the way he woke up, to the acknowledgement he was briefly dead; well, I think he will spend many hours trying to recall those few moments before he came to (think about it).
I loved the Frost reveals in this episode. Both the ominous tidbit that she was no mere prisoner; and Chuck’s revelation that he didn’t want to risk those who would stand by him for someone who had left him. I almost wish we’d had a few more episodes before Frost’s return to see him live that pledge. I do think we will ultimately know Frost is one of the good guys, but that may not come for quite sometime yet.
Sounds like a good topic to unravel. Originally I had no problems with Chuck back-tracking on what Beckman considered mature spy-ish behavior, but after several rewatches and definitely after this last one, I do have a problem with it. Did it never really occur to Chuck that he’s putting Casey’s life at risk and that Casey knows full well those risks? Charming conversation between Chuck and Sarah aside, it was a concept that just doesn’t work for me on repeat watches.
While I love that he’s still “my Chuck,” and we know that the hand wringing and mishegas is his MO, I found it irksome that he takes one huge leadership step and then takes half a step back. He’s either a spy or he isn’t. Again I understand and love that he has a heart and has an almost unnatural fondness for his friends and family but when it come to this specific mission and situation, the hand-wringing bordered on whiny. I guess I also took exception to the implication that it had to take Beckman to point it out to him. I mean really, he didn’t consider the danger? I probably phrased that more harsh than I mean, but the irritation stands.
Having said that, this episode is one of many in recent memory that illustrates why Chuck is indeed a great spy. At the end of Phase three, Beckman says confidently that they’ll find a position for him with or without the intersect and this is one of the episodes that shows why she said that; what she sees in Chuck that made that happen. Chuck has Morgan’s almost suicidal bravery…but in a far more sane and heroic manner, he’s got Casey’s patriotism and like Sarah he can see into the “emotional nuances” of any given situation and make it work in his favor; even better he really cares about the people involved, good or bad. He’s also so smart to boot. His plans are often inventive and ingenious. These are qualities that I don’t think he’s as confident about as he should be hence the hand-wringing and low self-confidence that leads up to later episodes. I guess my point is he (or rather the writers) needs to find the balance between the Chuck that we love, and the hero that he’s destined and spy he has shown to be. This episode leaned a lot more towards doubt versus leadership in subsequent watch which makes sense as the beginning of Act 2 in what can be construed as a 5 Act “Chuck’s growth as a spy” process, this season.
I don’t know if I stressed as much about the tone the show has taken in light of the past, but I do see what you mean. For lack of a better way to sum it up: the fun is back and it shows. We have the fun back, we have some gravitas with the Mom thing and we have heart again. It’s definitely as Ernie puts it, a genius season 4.
As always, we look forward to everyone’s comments and input below. We hope everyone isn’t too bored with all the gushing enthusiasm this season, but it sure is great to have our favorite show be enjoyable again! This is our last planned post before Christmas; so we at ChuckThis wish you all a wonderful and blessed Christmas and holiday season.