Couch Lock: Faith and Dave Re-Watch

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!)

Dave

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?

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.

Dave

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.

Faith

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.

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About atcDave

I'm 53 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 30 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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25 Responses to Couch Lock: Faith and Dave Re-Watch

  1. Faith says:

    *Bonus points to the person who gets my “pure gold” reference in terms of this episode. Come on… lol.

  2. Ernie Davis says:

    Wow, I get to be the first to comment. (It doesn’t count when you comment on your own post Faith).

    Well as usual, great job, and as usual this season I agree worth everyone. Faith and Dave too. I agree with Dave that while I thought this episode had some of this season’s great comedy moments for Jeffster and Morgan and featured some of Adam Baldwin’s best work (we talk about Yvonne, but seriously, with just his EYES we could see Casey’s whole thought process), but overall it didn’t impress me as much as the others. I also agree with Faith that the partnership, rather all the partnerships were so fully functional and great to see that it’s almost hard not to like the episode. Toss in a big step for Casey, now that he knows he has a daughter he is thinking of a lot of things he never considered before. Partners, he understood. But he really hasn’t realized till the end that he has friends too, whether he wants them or not. Only coming from a friend, like Morgan, could the remark about his funeral hurt enough to make John Casey react. And only the realization that while one team betrayed him by betraying everything they stood for, another never would, even when he seemed to turn his back on everything they stood for (i.e. Tic Tac). John Casey, despite the choices he made that seemed to foreswear them all, has friends, a family, and a legacy.

    So what’s not to love? Dave pointed to most of it. Despite the amazing work they had done with Sarah and Chuck, and at this point that was mostly a stable confident Chuck absent the worst of the mishegas and handwringing (or at least getting over them a lot quicker) with a more mature, yes, I said mature Sarah who finally seemed to understand how relationships work, and that declaring “no secrets, no lies” does not equal open and communicative, I was still worried that TPTB might have fallen again for the Brandon Routh trap with their next long term cast member. (I refuse to call someone like Routh who was in 11 or 12 of 19 episodes, as many as many other regular cast members, a “guest star”) I was worried that they thought it would be so cool to have butt kicking Sarah Connor in their show as Chuck’s mom (like it was cool Chuck had to win the girl from Superman) that they didn’t consider the fit with the established cast. It shouldn’t have lessened my enjoyment of this episode, but since it was pretty clear that they’d spent their front four establish the new normal episodes this was the transition where MEB would soon arrive and start messing with the new and stable dynamics. And as both Dave and Faith said, the new dynamics themselves could make for a great show in itself if handled right. I pretty much got that they would soon mess it up. It’s the Heroes Journey after all, and I really hoped they had a better handle on it this season.

    My fears were pretty much erased in the playground scene in Aisle of Terror, and my reputation aside if you look at the archives it was only after that episode, around my Deja Vu post, that I declared the season Genius. At this point season 4 was only brilliant. 😉 But that is another topic for another time.

    Oh, and “Pure Gold” … Duh, what was Casey’s old team after?

    • atcdave says:

      I guess I’m a little slow, my big sigh of relief came at First Fight. I’ve liked the whole season, but First Fight is when I started to feel confident even conflict would be handled well. Maybe I don’t say it as often, but I do agree about pure genius!

    • Faith says:

      +1 bonus points, score! 😀 Yes indeed it was gold they were after, and a golden bonus for us to see the love and the partnership at play.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Well Dave, As I recall Aisle of Terror merely alleviated my fears about Linda Hamilton’s fit to the rest of the cast. I think it was First Fight with Timothy Dalton that convinced me season 4 was GENIUS. Although as I recall the end of Aisle impressed me a lot more than some others. Still, we do agree on a lot more this season, and if TPTB agree with both of us it must be genius. 😉

      • atcdave says:

        I was pretty excited about that Aisle of Terror end too, but my optimism was still guarded. I fear we’re getting ahead of ourselves! That’s our next discussion.

      • Faith says:

        For some of us genius was already evident by Suitcase…but I suppose that’s the reason why women are more evolved. Ha! JK.

        In all seriousness though the level of attention and brilliance in Suitcase just reminded me so much of Break Up (but the humor of seduction) and as we all know, S2 was the bees knees. I’m not a big believer in determining entire seasons on the beginning but sometimes it could be a good barometer and in both S2 and S4 we started with a bang IMO so that should bode well for the season.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Well, again we’re getting ahead of ourselves a bit, but I’ll just say you’re talking to a guy who was still reserving judgement on and enjoying season 3 AFTER Chuck Versus The Mask. You can have genius episodes and still have an weak and uneven season, or you can have a few weak episodes and still have a genius season. The thing that impressed me about season 4 was no weak episodes, they all worked together, and aside from a few minor points no hanging threads or out of nowhere developments. This season they set up all the great dramatic confrontations and moments ahead of time rather than say in Fake Name hitting us over the head with the drama stick, telling us how incredibly dramatic this scene is, and then not telling us why for four more episodes.

        At this point in the season the first time through I had enjoyed every episode and was pretty enthusiastic about the direction, but I’m not immune to the battered fan syndrome others suffer from. So while I hoped for the best and didn’t really expect the worst, I was prepared for some decline in my enthusiasm when they entered the next part of the journey.

        Now, having seen where we are and re-watching the season I see the genius right off the bat. The way each episode has helped build to Phase 3 in Sarah’s journey was amazing. And while some complain about Chuck regressing, I haven’t seen it that way. I’ve seen him as a step or two behind Sarah this season as opposed to last where he was leading.

        But again, getting ahead of the discussion.

      • jason says:

        ernie – staying ahead for a moment, I thought chuck was going along just fine until the end of 4×6, since then he has regressed in what I would call the ‘lost intersect’ arc. I’d be curious of your and other’s thoughts, was the purpose of this arc to show sarah loved chuck as much with or without the intersect, hence chuck’s regression was a plot device, and not meant to drive the story or be cannon, or even be remarkably explained or dealt with again?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Jason, with all due respect I am going to defer for now. I do have some thoughts on the subject but I think they a best saved for later reviews. Ill be reviewing Fear of Death with Faith in early January, and rather than hi-jack her and Dave’s post I think that’s a better place for me to pontificate. 😉

        Short version, I think there was more than one purpose, and yes, at some level it was/is a plot device. I also think there is a possibility that there is more to the story.

      • jason says:

        thx ernie – looking forward to the read – using your words, almost seems like sarah is on her own hero’s journey in S4? 2 hero’s journey’s, each with the same prize at the end, sort of fun, even if fanfic-ishy????

  3. Michael says:

    @Faith @all the hosts
    > This is our last planned post before Christmas; so we at ChuckThis wish you all a wonderful and blessed Christmas and holiday season.

    Merry Christmas to you all and thanks for having this site.

  4. joe says:

    You guys are so good.

    It’s hard to find things to argue about any more! I know, I’ll mention Daniel Shaw!…

    [Stop that, Buckley!]

    Okay. I won’t. Dave, I too found much more humor in this episode on re-watch. But you know who I absolutely loved every bit as much again? Mekenna Melvin. Say what you want about Morgan, Alex brings out the best in him. Together are just a great romantic counter weight to Chuck & Sarah.

    Oh, when Morgan woke up to Sarah leaning over him, I had flash backs to the scene where she woke up a groggy Chuck the same way. “Pretty!” he said. Then Casey butted in and loomed like only Casey can. AHHH! NOT PRETTY!!!” he screamed. 😉

    • atcdave says:

      I do like Morgan and Alex. I really don’t mean to sound like a Morgan hater, I’m not that. He is often fun and funny. But to me the main draw is Chuck and Sarah, so even at his best Morgan is a bit of a distraction. Perhaps that makes me a harsh judge where the little bearded man is concerned, he has to be at his best to make it seem worth missing Chuck and Sarah time. But he does succeed on occasion.

      Great catch on the wake up parallel. But you know this was a little different; Chuck just woke up on his own. We were told Morgan was briefly dead, which suggests he needed some help…

  5. Faith says:

    Some scheduling update in terms of Chuck in the coming days and weeks:

    12/27:
    – 8pm: Chuck vs. the Anniversary
    – 9pm: Chuck vs. the Aisle of Terror
    – 10pm: Chuck vs. the First Fight

    1/3:
    Chuck vs. the Fear of Death

    1/10:
    Chuck vs. the Phase Three

    1/15 (Saturday)
    Chuck vs. the Leftovers

    Now I wouldn’t go as far to say as NBC is doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, but I do think they’re hoping to get some new people hooked and caught up on some fan favorites. I assume so because they’re also showing the Office wedding episode that same week of the 10th. Seems like either a fan thank you kind of showing (it was from last season) and a feel good, get new viewers if poss. kind of thing to do.

    • atcdave says:

      Hopefully that means we’ll see more promotion coming up too. I don’t know which NFL play-off games NBC has, but that would be a perfect time(starting 1/15, right before Chuck returns), with a larger audience, to run some promos!

  6. thinkling says:

    I LOVE the way Chuck and Sarah work together in this episode. … 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 totally agree, Dave. Chuck & Sarah were wonderful in this episode. Like Faith said, the fruition of the couple growth of 2-4. I also think a little of Morgan goes a long way. But in this episode it didn’t bother me too much. The eulogy worked for me. I would expect nothing less than cringe-worthy from the bearded gnome.

    The episode was solid, not my favorite, but very good. I would be happy with more episodes like this with C/S a solid team in a decent spy romp, learning and growing as they go.

    This episode brought us some fun Chuck moments. The bomb diffusion and playful Sarah. Jeff waking up in the best dumpsters in town. Gun-loving, commie-hating forgiveness, really? Morgan waking Casey.

    It was an episode of really rather wonderful epiphanies. Casey, the man who said, “Twenty years in the business has taught me one thing, that people let you down in the end,” realized he has real friends. Ellie, who swore she didn’t need her mom, realized she’d like to find her after all. Chuck, the man with life long abandonment issues, realized that he has people who will never leave him. And Sarah, who has never enjoyed home or family, realizes that not only is Chuck her home, but she is his family.

    So Faith I totally agree We have the fun back, we have some gravitas with the Mom thing and we have heart again.

    Season 4 is GENIUS.

  7. thinkling says:

    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.

    Great insight, Faith. He is a composite of the team and brings out the best in them.

  8. DignityRLI says:

    I don’t usually focus on the Buymore crowd, but this episode demonstrated why Jeff and Lester have survived the wrath of Casey and their workmates.
    One cryptic phone call, and they are in motion, successfully retrieving a ‘man down.’
    They do it with out thoughts of gaining leverage (Sarah photographing Casey in his clover boxers [Wookie]) and they don’t tease Casey in the store when all is said and done; they just had his back, no questions asked. Friends/associates/Nerd Herders like that are hard to find. The viewer learns why Casey hasn’t actually killed them yet, and why anyone would come to their rescue in Leftovers.

  9. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs the Couch Lock (4.05) | Chuck This

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