PapaB’s laptop is confiscated for nefarious purposes. Next Gen Intersects threaten Chuck’s job security. Chuck and Sarah are benched, betrayed, and B-listed. Chuck and Sarah, Casey, and Ellie all deal with feelings of obsolescence and unimportance. They all take steps to recover their usefulness, but a suitcase nuke could make it all irrelevant.
You would expect an episode like that to be heavy, but Chuck Versus the A-Team is light and agile, a yarn of humor and twists, where everything is funny, and nothing is as it seems.
Chuck and Sarah … 4 words: Fantastic. Fun. Spy. Couple. The warmth of their relationship, their teamwork and resourcefulness as spies, and their trust carry the whole episode. And they are just plain funny.
Ellie is awesome. I am so grateful to the person responsible for turning on the Ellie tap again.
Then some things are just bizarre. I laughed out loud at Jeff and Lester; Morgan chooses loyalty to Casey over Chuck; gun-toting, super-spy Sarah is standing in Castle toting … Operation, Twister, and Clue(?); Chuck and Sarah go on a stake-out in a mini van full of baby paraphernalia and stuffed animals; Casey calls General Beckman warm and cuddly; and Chuck winds up being the team’s new fat kid.
There’s mythology, spy stuff, and a new bad guy to hate. Plus, thanks to the Turk, I think I figured out what GRETA stands for … Government Robotic Evil Terminator Asset.
Anybody besides me start freaking out for our woolly friend? Then I was kinda proud of him. Then I thought it’s gotta be a dream. When Casey turned on the light, I fell out laughing. They got me. Things are not as they seem.
Turns out Morgan is just trying out for Team Casey. The funniest part? Even though he knew all along that it was only Casey, he still couldn’t hold his water … the water he hadn’t drunk all day. Oh Morgan. I say let him keep his wings. He just made the C-Team. (That has two meanings.)
Where Have All the Missions Gone?
Meanwhile, Chuck and Sarah are working a delicate case. The clock is ticking down, and the pressure’s on as Chuck gently diffuses … a wishbone? Heh. Things are not as they seem.
Stir-crazy Sarah. So many layers to our enigmatic super spy, and this is such a funny one. Two weeks without a mission, stuck in Castle, and playing bored games; she is past her limit, in spite of Chuck’s valiant efforts to take her mind off their lack of missions. Chuck and Sarah’s relationship may carry the episode, but it’s Sarah’s mood that sets the tone and the pace.
It occurs to me that since Cat Squad, Chuck has indeed found his groove for helping Sarah. Watch for it. In FBoE, It was in the little everyday normal things that tend to freak her out. All those wedding conversations? That was Chuck helping Sarah. The best part is that Sarah no longer pushes it away. She relaxes into it, and life is just a little better because of it.
In A-Team, he distracts and cajoles, humors and sweet talks … and jumps on board with whatever secret mission she cooks up … to watch her back … to be with her, by her side … always. And to make sure she doesn’t get into too much trouble, like blasting Beckman or cutting off Casey’s hand. (And this is so mild compared to Phase 3.)
It cuts both ways, of course. If it weren’t for Sarah’s bull-by-the-horns gusto to fix things, they would be obsolete agents by now. Oh, no … that’s not right. They would be obliterated agents after the GRETA’s nuked California. This is the Chuck and Sarah that I love to watch. Five more seasons, please.
When Sarah suspects Casey is up to something, she is determined to get to the bottom of it. When Morgan lies to Chuck, they know Casey is up to something … solo missions from Beckman, no doubt.
Let the sleuthing begin.
I love how Chuck and Sarah, especially Sarah, rationalize tailing Casey. I really love their surveillance vehicle, especially the stuffed animals … unassuming indeed.
Where Have All the Missions Gone? Assigned to GRETA’s Every One.
Ha! Casey has gone lone wolf. What is he trying to do? Get himself killed? Not if Chuck and Sarah can help it.
Oops. Things are not what they seem. After lots of flying bullets and falling dead guys, they see that he’s not alone after all. Meet my partner GRETA and my other partner GRETA … with their sparkling personalities.
Replaced. Sarah’s not stir-crazy any more. Nope, now she’s pouting. Chuck reassures her, “Let Casey have his new team. You’ve still got the Intersect … Baby.”
Before she can protest, Mr. Social Butterfly drags Mrs. Standoffish over to get to know the new neighbors. Mmm-hmm … that went well. Not.
In fact, it just gets wurser and wurser. Pouting becomes a blur in the rear-view mirror, as Sarah speeds toward hurt and angry. Casey betrayed her. Beckman helped, and she is in a royal snit. Understandably.
Enter Director Bentley. Now, Sarah can’t blame Beckman, maybe not even Casey. Maybe Bentley should be the object of her ire. Now what? Temporarily at a loss for words she passes the ball to Chuck, with a pointed look that says, Well aren’t you going to help? Chuck steps in and gets the lowdown. Dir. Jane Bentley plays cold and prickly to General Beckman’s warm and cuddly.
With that, Sarah storms off to FIX things. Oh boy.
Whatever is going on is above GB’s pay grade. That can’t be good. Think Subway. If you recall, some very decorated, important people were never satisfied with Chuck’s performance as the Intersect. Beckman staked her reputation on him and is probably still doing so. I don’t know what Bentley’s games is, but GB clearly doesn’t like it. She mollifies her whining children team by giving them a top priority extraction … Yana. Sarah’s mood clears like the morning fog. What a smile. Giddy Sarah! We’re going on a mission. All is right with the world.
Oops. Things are not as they seem. … You know you’re the B-Team when your BIG mission is to extract LITTLE dog with upset tummy and weak bladder.
GUNNING for the GRETA’s
That does it. They picked the wrong spy couple to mess with (à la Role Models). No more talking, no more moping. It’s time for action. Sarah has a plan to submarine the competition.
Operation competition keeps me laughing the whole way through. I love Chuck’s concern for Yana’s tummy, “I bet she’s got an upset tummy. Do you think they remembered to mix in the dry food?” Sarah suggesting chopping off Casey’s hand is perfect comic delivery. Chuck talks her off the ledge, and they are off to get a hand print. It’s devious; it’s a diversion; it’s delightful. I wonder if Sarah is living her favorite fantasy? Any bets on how many times she has wanted to tranque Morgan? The 10 mg darts … ooh, this is serious. Morgan takes it lying down, so to speak. Loved Chuck’s CBS remark. Sarah is on a roll with the comedy as she finds the child-size hand print … Oh, right. The victory smirks and the CSI glasses were a funny! sight gag for our high tech super spies.
Not bad for the B-Team. Not bad, indeed.
Down to business. Divide and conquer being the best plan, Chuck goes Turk hunting, while Sarah searches the computer for the file they need. A few key strokes later, and it’s no longer about A-Team/B-Team. Things are not as they seem. Sarah has the spy version of a Jurassic Park moment, only without the sun glasses.
Chuck? Chuck, I think you should look at this.
So he does. And it is not good. The implications are unbelievable and unthinkable. Sarah realizes that they have charged into something much bigger than a CIA status war. It’s dangerous. Worse, it has Chuck/Intersect/Bartowski implications. They need to retreat and regroup … now. Too late.
Suddenly the roles are reversed. As Sarah begins to panic a little, Chuck finds his calm, angry center. This is his family, his legacy … his laptop. No more Mr. Nice Spy.
The GRETA’s suck all the comedy out of the air, and things turn tense. Lots of important stuff happens in the blink of an eye.
There’s a Kung-fu contest, and Chuck fights a girl! Sarah doesn’t know what’s happening, but Chuck figures out that the GRETA’s are Intersects. He feels betrayed, gets mad at Casey, and retrieves his laptop. Then Girl GRETA points a gun in Chuck’s face. Sarah calls her a dog, and Casey tells her to put her gun down. For an attack dog, she doesn’t mind very well, though. Dir Bentley, who is supposed to be the “adult” in the room, pretty much gives her permission to pull the trigger. So that just makes Bentley top dog (that has two meanings). She takes diabolical pleasure in listing some of Chuck’s most admirable qualities as leprous limitations. … I knew I hated her.
Did you notice Sarah’s immediate concern when Bentley talked about adjusting for some of Chuck’s “limitations?” I take it that Sarah probably still worries about potential unknown effects of the Intersect on Chuck’s health. The last thing she wants is to find out, in a public forum (again), that the governor’s effect is temporary, and her future husband’s health is at risk because of the Intersect. After Bentley ticks off the list of limitations, Sarah’s tone goes from worry to anger.
Casey has changed because of Chuck … a lot. In the past, he made wise cracks about Chuck’s lady feelings, but his face shows nothing but contempt for Bentley and her seething meanness to Chuck. He knows that Chuck is a hero and that Sarah is a top agent. He knows they deserve better than they’re getting. So, he goes to bat for them with Bentley to include them in the next mission.
Bentley is only too happy to oblige. It’s her lucky day. She puts Chuck in a bomb disposal suit and hopes for the best. And by best, I mean worst. … I knew I hated her.
Bentley boasted that her team has corrected the Intersect software to compensate for “Mr.” Bartowski’s various limitations. What limitations? So glad you asked:
1. Emotional sensitivity
2. Over reliance on his handlers (hmm, I thought they were his partners)
3. Inability to terminate targets
In her haste to send Chuck to his death, she unwittingly sets up a field test. Mu-ahh. Let’s see how that works out for her.
In the pre-game warm up, insults are exchanged, before the GRETA’s take the field for their big debut. Casey on the other hand is about as nice as he has ever been to Chuck, encouraging him as part of the team, sharing some of his own experiences with bomb disposal suit, even making sure Chuck has his favorite juice. Chuck swallows his emotional sensitivity about his position on the team and accepts his assignment.
The GRETA’s take out the body guards and get the suitcase bomb. Uh, correction. Suitcase NUKE. Things are not as they seem.
As soon as Chuck finds out that Boy GRETA can’t disarm the nuclear bomb, our emotionally sensitive wimp immediately takes off running … toward the bomb. (A nice call back to the pilot.) Score one for Chuck.
Sarah, of course is pursuing Mr Detonator and has things more or less in hand when Girl GRETA, who has no trouble terminating targets, shows up to help. What happens when Agent Terminator meets Mr Detonator. Well, lets just say it is not good. Sarah, one — GRETA, zero.
Chuck enters the game in time for the final countdown. Apparently, Boy GRETA has no problem terminating targets, either, even people who aren’t targets. Chuck, on the other hand, operates under the assumption that no loss is acceptable (call back to Tom Sawyer). 100,000 as opposed to 1 million may be an acceptable loss to Boy GRETA, but not to Chuck. Another point for Chuck. (So it’s 3 to zero.)
About that other limitation — over reliance on handlers. Some people call that teamwork. Let Team Bartowski show you how it’s done.
I love this call back to the pilot. The similarities make me smile, but the differences make me smile bigger. Casey trusts Chuck, really trusts him. Before Sarah even shows up, Casey decides to let Chuck have a go at the bomb, the one that Boy GRETA can’t disarm, because it’s not in the Intersect. That must mean something. Wait, it’s on the tip of my brain. Yes. The Intersect is not the most important thing about Chuck. Hello!
Chuck’s team helps him kneel to the ground, because blimp-wear doesn’t allow for much flexibility. Then they work as one to prevent a nuclear disaster. Team GRETA watches while Team Bartowski disarms the bomb. As Chuck goes through the steps, nobody understands what he is doing. The difference is that Sarah and Casey trust him and follow his instructions, even though they don’t understand. The GRETA’s just roll their eyes with disdain. Even when Chuck asks for the juice box, Casey complies with an expectant grunt. Sarah’s trust is evident, “Chuck, are you about to disarm a nuclear bomb using fruit juice? … OK. Do it.” Another point for Chuck. (4 points total.)
And it’s a shut out. Team GRETA scores zero. Team Chuck scores 100,004 … that’s the four points we added up, plus one for each of those hundred thousand people who, thanks to Chuck, aren’t the reported death toll on the evening news.
Is it just me, or did General Beckman really enjoy ticking off Team GRETA’s list of “limitations:”
1. Threatened Agent Bartowski’s life
2. Killed the man they were supposed to capture
3. Accidentally armed a nuclear bomb.
After all that, Bentley still expected to be King of the Castle? Unbelievable. … I knew I hated her.
And her GRETA’s? De-intersecting as we speak. What a relief … to all of us. I did like Captain Rick’s sympathetic nod to Chuck, “What a relief to have that out of my head. That poor guy Bartowski.” Chuck deserves admiration, not insults from people like Bentley, who just don’t have a clue which is the sharp end of the CIA stick.
Yep. Things are not as they seem. And don’t forget it.
Happy Trails Blue Skies
So, what will become of the GRETA’s? I hear there are openings at Large Mart.
As for Chuck and Sarah, they are the A-Team again, with their own private jet and lots to do to pass the time as they fly to far-off, exciting, and dangerous places.
It’s nice to be needed. Nobody likes to be sidelined.
Ellie Bartowski Woodcomb: PhD, MD, smart, beautiful … “just” a stay-at-home mom. Ellie mirrors her mother in her approach to keeping up with Clare, but from a different point of reference. Instead of sit reps, there are charts and bio-statistics and computer modeling. As Devon pointed out Ellie is not “just” anything. She is Mrs/Dr. Awesome. But she needed a little something more. Her efforts to motivate Jeff and Lester to find her father’s laptop were hilarious. She parallels Sarah in her determination and ability to carry out a mission. I love Ellie using her espionage genes in the real world to get what she wants … it’s a mirror to Chuck using his nerd brain and out-of-the-box thinking in the spy world. The Ellie/Jeffster combination is comedy gold. With the return of PapaB’s laptop, she gets back her sense of usefulness … and Team Bartowski gets an “inside man” in the evil machinations of Dir. Jane Bentley.
Casey wasn’t part of the team anymore. Chuck and Sarah were the team. He was “just” backup. Or that’s what he thought. Bentley’s offer was too good to pass up. He didn’t want to hurt Chuck and Sarah. That much is clear from the way he treats them. They are his friends, but friends aren’t enough. He needs something he can sink his teeth into professionally. He’s a Marine Colonel, not a life guard. Something tells me, though, that very soon he will rediscover his importance to Team Bartowski, especially now that Sarah knows how he feels.
Chuck and Sarah were “just” the B-Team. Ouch. Chuck is more or less used to his importance being questioned. He went through all of this in FOD. It’s new territory for Sarah, though. I doubt she’s ever been on a CIA B-Team. It was wildly entertaining to watch her plot their secret mission to recover their status. They more than earned it, though I doubt she expected they’d have to disarm a nuclear bomb to get it back.
The episode made me fall in love with our favorite couple/spy-couple all over again. Now that they have found their couple feet; now that Chuck has put on his Orion mantle, and Sarah has settled into the wedding and relaxed into Chuck’s 1000 ways to help her, a new comfort has crept into their spy life. It’s just fun to watch, and A-Team showed us a delightful new side of Chuck and Sarah.
Sarah Lancaster did a fabulous job this week. Ellie was hilarious … absolutely perfect. Keep the Ellie tap flowing, please. Devon was perfect, too, for that matter. They make excellent new parents, and the Woodcomb antics are always a fun part of the episode for me. I hope this trend continues.
I can’t wait to see what Ellie does with the laptop, how Bentley will manipulate her, when Casey will come to his senses. The next 6 episodes look fantastic.
Season 4 is Genius, and I’m loving it. A-Team is no exception.