Anybody else want to slap Morgan nine ways from Friday? Tear your hair out? Scream? Yeah, me too.
I think that’s the point.
When you first get into Chuck Versus the Bearded Bandit you hit the Morgan Motherload … fool’s gold (well in this arc anyway). If you dig a little deeper, you find some real gems and a vein of Chuck gold.
Drumming up Business
Things used to be so easy. Chuck was the Intersect. The CIA handed out missions and ammo and paychecks. Casey and Chuck and Sarah only had to worry about completing the mission, getting the bad guys, and staying alive. Oh, and keeping all of it a secret.
Now, they also have to find the missions, stock the ammo, and hope there’s enough left over for a paycheck. With their accounts frozen, compliments of Decker, Chuck and Sarah came up with a plan to get Carmichael Industries back in the black … get more clients and missions and make the Buymore turn a profit. No problem.
David vs Golieth Chuck vs Gertrude
Where does one advertise to find clients for a Security/Rent-a-Spy business? … The classifieds? Yellow pages? … Bilboards? Bulletin boards? … The Internet? Oh right … a Security Conference, where apparently a demonstration speaks louder than words, and tagging the audience with laser dots is more winsome than eye-contact. (That, and Chuck should wear his black suit next time.)
I loved the Verbanski rivalry setup. Casey has some history with Gertrude Verbanski, and he’s awfully growly about it. What that’s about? Great scene for Casey, Sarah’s subtle communication with Chuck was very couple-y/wife-ish. Anyway, getting clients might be harder than they thought … or not.
Meet the Client
Morgan has his own ideas about getting clients … just advertise that he is in fact the Intersect — a multi-billion dollar CIA asset turned super-weapon for hire. So much for that pesky little spy tradition of secrets and covers.
Well, I don’t know if it’s a great idea to send clients to the Buymore, either, but here comes Casey’s client. Morgan zooms on the guy, and without thinking or listening to Chuck, Morgan gives in to his own super-hero lust or the rush of the Intersect. At this point, it’s hard to tell which is the cause for Morgan’s behavior … Morgan or the Intersect. Given how he often thought Chuck should use the Intersect, I assume this is all Morgan.
The client comes bearing gifts — an offer of two payments of 200 large and a detached finger. After profuse apologies, a brief information exchange, and the offer and refusal of home-made bran muffins (which apparently only Casey and old women eat), TeamCI tentatively agrees to take the case, pending their investigative findings. (Am I the only one who suspects Karl chose C.I. because he thought they’d be easy … good enough to get the job done, but not a threat … because Verbanski scares him?)
Just one more thing: “Is your friend with the beard going to be a problem?”
Handlers and Heroes and Fools
Morgan needs a handler … and the sooner the better. Sarah is right that Chuck is a logical choice for the job. Morgan already trusts Chuck. Chuck is the only one who knows what it’s like to have the Intersect. Ergo, Chuck gets to be Morgan’s handler.
Good luck with that. It’s easier to nail Jello to the wall. Actually Chuck has been Morgan’s handler for years (and Morgan finally seemed to be growing up, some). So this will feel familiar, only way more complicated. It’s no longer just the misuse of a camcorder and a wall of TV’s. Morgan’s indiscretions won’t lead to a sexual harassment suit, but to treason, and he’ll need protection from far worse than fireworks.
The Intersect. Chuck finally describes it. From what he tells Sarah, it sounds frighteningly like male puberty … or pregnancy. No wonder Sarah has that look on her face. His description to Morgan identifies it as something surging through you that makes you feel like you can do anything. Illusions of invincibility. Not awesome.
What else do we know? Well, Orion said it was too dangerous for Bryce to upload. Beckman said it would make Chuck dangerous. Casey said laudenol would make Chuck the Intersect he was always supposed to be (yikes). We saw the debilitating effects of the Intersect on the brain in miscellaneous (now) dead people and on Chuck pre-governor. We saw psychologically altered Intersects: Hartley/Volkoff and the GRETA’s. We know Chuck knew its power and danger. He didn’t want to spar with Sarah, because he knew he might hurt her. He had to fight the Intersect with all his will power not to kill Emmett, and he kicked Lester across the Buymore when a flash snuck up on him.
Even when the Intersect is functioning perfectly, it’s very dangerous. It lowers inhibitions and maintains an electrical hum in the brain that, when triggered, produces a surge of power, an almost irresistible rush, along with auto-pilot instructions for various skills … including how to kill. The effects are neurological, physical, and psychological. Therefore, controlling the Intersect requires a unique brain and tremendous will power rooted in moral integrity and unusual character.
Power is intoxicating; it corrupts. The super-hero’s ultimate battle is always against his own lust for power, his own dark side. Super powers alone seduce people to the dark side. Add to that the Intersect’s programming for self preservation, the elimination of perceived threats, independent action, and domination … scary!
Sarah was lucky — she got Chuck. Chuck … gets Morgan. Be honest. Which assignment would you want? Thought so.
Chuck always does the right thing. That’s why Bryce sent him the Intersect to begin with. Chuck is a true hero … a good guy who wants to help people. He saw the Intersect as a trust, an ability that comes with a duty and the responsibility to use it to help people. His actions were and are self-sacrificing, not self-aggrandizing.
Morgan exhibits the characteristics of a fool. We can already see (before the Intersect becomes invasive) that there are a number of things that he doesn’t understand, from the obvious fact that there are a lot of very dangerous people who would kill to have what he has (or sell him to the highest bidder) to the more subtle things like using the Intersect responsibly and protecting national security. Left to his own devices, Morgan might go to … I don’t know, Weapcon, maybe, and get clients by showing off his skills. Chuck knows how that ends, but like Manoosh, Morgan doesn’t get it.
The Intersect’s repetoire of super-powers appeals to Morgan’s comic book view of heroism, and that’s a problem. Chuck relied on his handlers, the government’s two best spies. Together they became spy team numero uno. Chuck had an entire facility and specialists to train him how to use the Intersect. He has 4 years experience with the Intersect (two with the 2.0). The combined years of spy experience among Casey, Sarah, and Chuck add up to more than Morgan’s age. Rather than learning from them, though, Morgan’s chosen reference point is the whole week it took Peter Parker to harness his powers.
Morgan is losing his interest in being part of the team. He resists counsel and only reluctantly accepts Chuck as his handler, probably because he thinks his friend won’t really handle him. In this we see the first fruits of seduction … the Intersect’s power pulling Morgan to his own dark side.
My spidy sense tells me this can’t be good. Meahwhile …
Recon I — Duck Hunt
Sarah confirms that the owner of the finger is Karl’s brother, while Casey gathers Intel on the target location. Hilarious throw away scene. Casey finally gets to do an accent … and crack a joke. After meeting the guards, I’m not convinced that TeamCI couldn’t go in through the front, but then we wouldn’t get the fantastic rock climbing scene. Great episode for Casey.
Recon II — Testostrogen Haze
Sarah gets a call from Gertrude. A friendly cooperation between business associates, perhaps? Coffee and nut cake, no doubt. Sarah being a trained spy, doesn’t drop her guard.
The tigress walks into the lion’s den. Our girl is observant: Casey’s mounted gun, her file, the other file. I wonder if she noticed Reagan’s picure. (I can’t quite figure that one out since Verbanski was KGB, unless she stole the picture from Casey, too.)
As she did with Volkoff, Sarah declines the invitation to sit. The conversation confrontation that follows crackles with … testostrogen. Getrude Verbanski exudes confidence as one accustomed to having the upper hand. Sarah doesn’t budge. She makes her loyalties clear as well as her disdain for Verbanski’s methods, going so far as to call her tacky. The lioness had better watch her back, indeed. Fantastic work from both CAM and YS. Can’t wait for more.
The Bearded Bandit at the Circle K.
I finally get it, though. For the first time in my life, I sort of feel as cool as you. Obviously, and not surprisingly, Morgan doesn’t get it at all. I guess we also shouldn’t be surprised that he has already researched his super-hero persona and is only waiting for his big debut. Ignoring Chuck, he charges into a dangerous situation. If it weren’t for Chuck, Morgan would have been killed.
Handler Woes. Morgan is a disaster. He’s dangerous to himself, Chuck, TeamCI, and the public at large. Casey and Sarah and Chuck are all frustrated. Chuck knows something must be done, and as Morgan’s handler, it’s his job to do it. The courtyard conversation doesn’t go well. It’s hard to “handle” your best friend, and Morgan makes it infinitely harder. He is blind to the danger he poses to everyone, and he won’t listen. And (tell me you didn’t see this one coming) he plays the “friend” card. When Chuck emphasizes his dual role, you can see Morgan withdrawing. He now rejects Chuck as “handler.”
Yes! First, I like Casey’s acknowledgment of Chuck as one of the “real” spies. Like I said after Zoom, 9 Intersects couldn’t transform Morgan into a master spy. Chuck is an equal spy and member of the team. He climbs the cliff and picks the lock. I like seeing his skills at work, unaided by the Intersect.
The climb itself was fantastic. (Is there anything Yvonne can’t do?) Sarah fields a potential problem with Verbanski, getting the facts before she goes to Chuck about it. So far this season, we see Sarah actively shouldering her share of the partnership. It’s obvious that C.I. is a CS endeavor and that Chuck and Sarah’s gifts are complementary. It’s been fun to watch.
The mission goes sideways. Karl is really the bad guy, and TeamCI could be aiding and abetting kidnapping and murder. I didn’t see that one coming. They immediately switch sides.
Meanwhile back in the van, Morgan shows utter contempt for his team. His indignation and super-hero lust finally become too much. He abandons his post, leaves his team without backup, and nearly submarines the mission.
Back in Castle, TeamCI are in a tight spot. They have a fingerless guy sitting in the game room (game room?), and his psychopath brother is threatening to come after them. The team brainstorms for a solution. Morgan wants to storm Karl’s lair and take on his army. (Because the Intersect is invincible, right?) Bad idea. Sarah suggests calling Beckman to put Wesley into protective custody. Better idea.
Morgan will have none of it; which leads to a hilarious, albeit somewhat disturbing, Casey/Morgan growl-off; which leads to another great Sarah face and more wife/husband wordless communication; which leads to Chuck dragging Morgan off on a burrito run.
Something is wrong. Something is very, very wrong. Morgan tries to drive a wedge between Chuck and his team … no, between Chuck and his wife, by needling scars of old insecurities. (Can anybody say Heather Chandler?) Chuck teeters just a bit but stands firm on what he knows … his trust in Sarah and his team.
Morgan has gone from being Alfred to Chuck’s Batman to asking Chuck to be Robin to his Batman. Morgan abuses Chuck’s friendship and manipulates him in order to fulfill his own super-hero fantasy. Morgan, now completely rogue, charges into danger (again), presuming on Chuck to have his back. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Indeed.
Chuck calls Sarah … of course. Then Chuck goes after Morgan to protect him. It’s his duty as Morgan’s handler and his obligation as Morgan’s friend. It’s like Morgan said … even without the Intersect Chuck is a hero
Rescue With a Side of Crow
Sarah and Casey are off to save Batman and Handler. Casey knows they can never breech Karl’s fortress and get out alive. The cowboys are on their own. That’s not good enough for Sarah, though. As in Subway … everything Sarah cares about is in that building, and she will do whatever it takes to get in and get Chuck out.
Verbanski Corp gets in and gets the job done. Casey is watching ogling the competition. Sarah doesn’t like what she had to do, but would do it again if that’s what it took to save Chuck. (I agree with Verbanski, it takes a lot of guts to ask the competition for help.) Chuck is glad to see Sarah … grateful she and Casey came. They are a team. Well, all but Morgan, who storms off. Instead of thanking them or apologizing for his colossal, costly, almost-fatal blunder, he is mad because they don’t trust him. Actually I think it’s not trust that he wants, but hero worship. He deserves neither.
Business Ends. Getting more clients and making the Buymore turn a profit. That was the challenge. The client brought in enough to pay for the expense of the mission (except for the gas for Sarah’s car). The Buymore is … well, something must be wrong. It’s full of … people. Chuck and Sarah race into their store to sort out the problem. Maybe Jeff is bathing in the washing machine again. (I have to un-see that.) False alarm. It’s all good. Devon (Pretty-Man) is the new poster child for the Buymore, and his commercial is … awesome. I love the expessions on Chuck and Sarah’s faces, and Casey’s, not to mention the rest of the Buymore crew. Looks like the Buymore is back on track, and TeamCI can operate in the black for another week.
Loose Romance. Earlier, at 90 mph, we got the low down on Casey’s history with Gertrude as he talked about his lady feelings to Sarah. (She has to un-hear that.) So, now Casey is crushing on an old flame explosion. Another sweet/funny throwaway scene for Casey. I loved the practice call and the abrupt hang-up. How old is he?
The End of Doubt. I loved everything about the jogging scene. Chuck is actually training. It’s about time! I hope that continues. This simple Chuck and Sarah moment is a brief window into their relationship and how far they’ve come as a couple. I love Sarah’s casual affirmation of Chuck as just one of the spies, who like her (and all spies without the Intersect, which is all spies) must find time to exercise. Chuck brings up his lingering doubt, the one Morgan planted. It’s not the middle of a mission, and there’s no hand ringing. He simply asks if she is handling him, and indicates that he would defer to her judgment, if she doesn’t think he should be in the field — very mature. No. That wasn’t the reason at all. She asked him to be Morgan’s handler, because he is the best example Morgan can have, because of her confidence in him. One more time, just so he’ll never doubt again … (a) you dont’need a handler any more, and (b) a handler can’t do this [the kiss]. Favorite scene (though there were a lot of good ones).
The Loose Cannon. (that would be Morgan and his Intersect) is getting looser. Morgan, Chuck observes, is not acting like himself. Either Morgan has yielded to the power of Intersect and his own dark side, or the Intersect is overpowering Morgan. He is way off the reservation, even for Morgan. Other tell-tale signs that he is losing himself … he doesn’t remember Indiana Jones or Luke Skywalker, or care about movie night. Yep. Something is very, very wrong.
Things are so wrong, in fact, that Morgan betrays his friends, and sells out to the competition. He exposes the Intersect for personal gain and gratification.
Whether the Intersect in Morgan was sabotaged or not, the potential for disaster is the same. Morgansect is going sideways, and Chuck and Sarah need to stop it before Morgan becomes their Hartley … if he hasn’t already.
Next week will be about saving Morgan from himself and from the Intersect. Oh, and from his hair stylist.