The Frosted Tips of the Iceberg

Let Us Speculate Then, You And I

Over the years, it’s been easy to root for Chuck to be “the hero”, hasn’t it? For Morgan, it’s not so easy. I mean, he’s a nice enough guy. He’s been loyal to Chuck (and now to Chuck&Sarah together), he’s been kind and thoughtful enough, even if he’s been a bit creepy at times to Ellie. He’s been a friend in need and a friend indeed. Don’t forget how he grabbed the electric wire and jumped into a puddle to stop Packard, T.I. and Mackintosh in Couch Lock, now – that was heroic!

But we still don’t exactly want to see him that way. We want to see Morgan as the side-kick, the man-servant, and the best friend. He’s been a little helpful, a little in the way.


We can’t forget that, all in all, Chuck has had good reason to keep Morgan as his best friend. But when you get right down to it, it’s been a little hard to understand why that is. Chuck has had to spell it out for us, slowly.

Look, Sarah? I don’t have parents. I mean, not really. I don’t talk about it because that’s just the way that things are now. But it wasn’t always this way. Morgan was there the first day that my mom took off. He didn’t say much, because, honestly, what is a fifth-grader supposed to say? But we sat there and split a cherry cheesecake and played “Legend of Zelda” all night long. And my dad, well, that’s a whole other story. But Morgan was there for that too. Morgan is more than just my best friend. He’s my family. Before you got here, and long after you’ve gone, Morgan is my family.

I have a growing feeling that something is different now. The previews and clips we’ve seen this week has shown me yet another side of Morgan; he’s grown annoyed at Jeff’s way with Scrabble, his attention is not on games but on adventure-for-real, and he’s increasingly unwilling to stay in the van. In Chuck, that’s a huge indication of change. It’s a bigger change than turning in a gray blazer for a manager’s suit.

Something is different about you. The confidence. The straight spine. It can’t be true, but…

Carina is very observant, more-so than Chuck, sometimes. There’s a feeling in the pit my stomach that this change is not a good one. The Intersect has a history of doing bad things to good people and we almost expect this to be another instance. Everyone’s got their demons, right? And when you think about it, the only character in the show who’s kept his a secret is Morgan.

But I’m not sure this is going to be about Morgan’s dark side, and I’m also not sure that whatever’s going on in Morgan’s head is a bad thing. That would be too simple, direct and repetitive, really, and the change coming over Morgan isn’t decreed by law to be a bad one. We know the Intersect has always been a catalyst for change and there’s definitely something serious going on with him that’s about to break through to the surface. I wonder if that something is not a new problem, though, caused by the machine but something that’s been there from the beginning.

Up to now, Morgan has been a dreamer and a schemer a bit of a clown. Like you do for your brother, Chuck has taken pains to fight for his dignity, and he always has. But things are different now. Morgan is The Intersect and may not want Chuck to look after him the way he’s done. It’s not about being asset and spy, or about being student and teacher, newbie and mentor. Chuck and Morgan can’t be that way any more; they are equals. This is about the saddest of all experiences, growing up.

It may be true that Morgan is in big trouble with that computer in his head – I’m sure he is, in fact. But that is only part of the story. The real darkness is the wall coming between Morgan and Chuck, the wall we didn’t see them building brick by brick.

There was a moment in Season 2 when things hit bottom for Chuck. As he and Sarah stood on a wind-swept desert, 100 miles east of Barstow, he knocked on the door to Stephen’s trailer and got no answer. Chuck was not pursuing Sarah at that moment – he had put that aside to search for his father. Now, even that was gone. Chuck was so discouraged that the only thing Sarah could do to help at that moment was to touch him.

This time, it will take more. Between Morgan and Chuck, no touch will help.

– joe

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About joe

In my life I've been a professor, martial artist, rock 'n roller, rocket scientist, lover, poet and brain surgeon. I'm lying about the brain surgery.
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22 Responses to The Frosted Tips of the Iceberg

  1. beti says:

    I insist maybe morgan is the new volkoff, or maybe the glasses haven’t been left by beckman, maybe the CIA plan was with chuck because we still waiting for their agenda !

    • thinkling says:

      That’s true Beti. We really don’t have the facts. What Decker said about “our superiors’ interference in Chuck Bartowski’s life has just begun” … we don’t really know what that means exactly, and the sunglasses could have been a part of that. Lots of mystery left. Morgan as the new Volkoff is intriguing.

    • joe says:

      Oh, I’m sure we haven’t heard anything but the very beginning of the CIA’s involvement. They’ve messed with the Intersect before (as Bryce told Stephen), and I’m sure they’ll do it again.

      Hey! Maybe Manoosh has been helping them!

      Anyway, you’re right about that, Beti. But I don’t think Morgan has it in him to be the new Volkoff.

      Morgan doesn’t want to conquer the world, but I worry that he wants to hurt Chuck. He would know haw to do that, too, much more than Volkoff.

  2. uplink2 says:

    Joe, I know what you are trying to say here but I have to reiterate that what bothers me most is that we are 1/4 way through the final season of Chuck and all we are really talking about is Morgan. Chuck, Sarah and Casey, the reasons I watch this show have become second tier players to someone that at best I sort of got to like last season. But worst I find extremely annoying S1/S2 and S5 versions of.

    Why are great commentators like you having to spend the first 1/4 of the season focused on him? That is the big mistake of Morgansect to me. It’s a story that very very few people ever would have given the go ahead on and most simply are tolerating at best from both fans and critics alike. Yet we are getting at least 3 if not 4 episodes focused on it out of a precious 13.

    I understand why and what you are trying to do here, I just wish you didn’t have to and were writing articles about Ellie, Sarah, Chuck or Casey, not Morgan. 1 episode I could tolerate, 2 got annoying and 3 with a possible fourth I am actually hating. Just end it and lets get on to stories I actually care about please.

    • joe says:

      I understand, Uplink.

      But know what? We’ve ignored Morgan up to now. We’ve been doing this since S2 ended, and we’ve made categories for our getting inside the heads of Chuck, Sarah and even Casey. But until now, we really haven’t even tried to analyze Chuck’s best friend.

      Why is that? Why is it so easy to treat him like a second class citizen like we’ve been doing? (And wow, is it easy to do that!) The character is built that way, of course. Right now, the character is rebelling.

      Yes, we’ve been making up for that lately, Uplink. But all I can say is that it’s about time! 😉

  3. ArmySFC says:

    Joe nice thoughts and comments. since you said speculate i will. morgan will be acting the way he did at an earlier time in his life. mogan will hit bottom tonight and chuck will save him by using the powers granted to him by some deity. when morgan hits his low point chuck will be able to reach him just by talking, and stop him from doing something stupid, like killing. then chuck will save morgan’s butt from getting killed. when all is said and done chuck and morgan will be fine. morgan will still have the intersect and realize he still needs to grow up, that will take the time. chuck and co will be back with beckman as contractors. i look forward to seeing how well my speculation turns out.

    • joe says:

      Hum! That seems pretty straight forward, Army.

      But what if Chuck can’t reach him? What if Casey can’t even reach him? Will Sarah even try? The powers invested by the Intergalactic Federation are now wasted on Morgan, I fear.

      And that’s the point. Morgan, if he’s growing up like I think he is, is now beyond them. My guess is that Alex has a bigger role to play than we think. She’s more important to Morgan’s growth than the Intersect, by far.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Joe my speck is about tonight, except for the grow part, like you said it will take time. but all the bromance angst will fade after tonight and he will not be the focal point. to me this arc seems to be the big morgan arc. his growth will be subtle and missed by most except those that are looking for it just like it was in the past seasons.

  4. Amron says:

    First, let me praise you, this article is very beautiful (not the theme per se, but the way you wrote it). I agree with everything you said and, because of that, I’m feeling a little sad for Chuck and Morgan’s relationship. I care about this guys because their friendship, along with Ellie and Chuck’s bonding, it’s part of why we care about Chuck at the beginning. It’s part of the heart of the show. You know Chuck is a good guy not only by his actions but also by the people who cares for him. What is happening now with Morgan is the classical Revenge of the Sidekick: the person who knows all your secrets, all your weakness (and not only physical, but spiritual) is probably the best candidate to destroy you. No, I’m not talking about Morgan being the big baddie this last season, but the damage he will inflict on Chuck will felt, if it is well written, painfully real.

    • joe says:

      Thanks, Amron. I think you got what I was trying to say. This arc, like much of what we saw in S2, may not make us laugh. But it’s got the potential to be exactly as you said – painfully real.

      If it does that, I will be every bit at touched by the show as I was then.

      • Amron says:

        If they can accomplish that, I will be very, very pleased. So far, I liked the last two episodes as much as I used to do before. This felt like old Chuck and it makes me incredibly happy: the balance between mythology and fluffiness is being restored… or at least it feels like it.

  5. jason says:

    Joe – I would have guessed that this will not be the tip of the iceberg, but the Morgansect arc will conclude tonight. I would have guessed at the end of the night, Chuck and Morgan will be closer, no wall whatsoever. I also would have guessed Alex is not in the episode.

    But, you got me to thinking, what if the ep concludes with Morgan working for Verbanski. As far as I know, there is no mention of Morgan on team missions all the way thru Sarah’s vs the baby episode.

    To use s3 terminology, with eps 5×1 and 5×2 reminding many of mask / fake name, I kind of thought tonight was going to be the showdown, the other guy ep. But what instead, if this is the ep where Sarah takes Morgan’s role as Chuck’s sounding board ON SCREEN, while Morgan and Chuck part ways. I don’t think so, but you did make me think? Is that what you have in mind (not making me think, but the analysis part), or am I missing something ?

    Either way, I laugh because this ep seems to have both the drama fans excited, as well as the shippers, I think it is going to be a great ep, Phase 3’ish in popularity.

    • joe says:

      Whoa! What a great spec., Jason.

      I can’t quite imaging Chuck without Morgan, but if that were to happen, that’s the way – Morgan joins Verbanski, and Sarah takes on the role of “Best Friend” too. However, IF it comes out that way then the Morgansect arc is far from over. There’s just too much of that story left to tell.

      But either way – yup. This is going to be a great episode.

    • thinkling says:

      Jason, from the synopsis for 5.04 (on our spoiler page), it sound like Morgan is back with the team, probably still has the Intersect, but isn’t with Chuck and Sarah on the mission.

    • atcDave says:

      I do agree this will likely be an important and good episode Jason. I think we’ve already seen Sarah supplant Morgan as Chuck’s number one friend; but of course I’d be happy to see that strengthen.
      But I do suspect Morgan will be back with CI by night’s end. For the record, I’d be perfectly pleased to be wrong about that. But I think somehow the friendship will be restored, but that Morgan will step back a little from operations for some reason (possibly horrified by his own actions?)

  6. DKD says:

    “This time, it will take more. Between Morgan and Chuck, no touch will help.”

    I speculate that when this is resolved it will be with a lot less angst than that sentence implies to me. There’s a lot going on in this episode and maybe we should gear up for a quickie solution. I’m remembering how I was building up to Ellie finding out about Chuck spying again and then it happened and got resolved with no angst at all.

    • joe says:

      I didn’t mean to imply angst the way we thought of it back then, when it seemed like everything hinged on Chuck and Sarah finally “getting together”. (Hum… I wonder what the fans meant by “getting together” then, too!)

      But perhaps “concern” is a better word for what I was getting at, DKD. But even that doesn’t convey the idea in my head, that this will be dramatic in the best sense.

  7. herder says:

    Speculation, hmm… ok, there was something added to the intersect and it was placed there by Dekker to incapacitate Chuck, but the intersect isn’t acting the way that Dekker anticipated. One of the constants of the whole series is that the intersect never functions the way that the CIA expects it to. Casey starts things up with Gertude (let’s just call her Trudy) but Morgan comes between them, specifically how she treats Morgan crosses a line for Casey and he has to choose between Morgan and Trudy and he ends out choosing Morgan. Sarah helps Chuck deal with Morgan, in the past it has been Chuck who helps Sarah emotionally this time it’s the other way around. Finally, it is Chuck’s knowlege of who Morgan is that enables him to break through the hold that the intersect has on him. Four predictions, I expect at least two of them to be correct.

  8. Hola Amigos – I’m just a wee bit worried…. not nearly about Morgan – but the fans?!!???
    Where did everybody go?
    Usually by this time on “Chuck-Night” – twitter is packed with all kinds of Chuck chatter….
    ~ only tonight is just kinda flat…………………………………………
    Anyways – I read Mo Ryans preview for tonight Vs. the Frosted Tips: [Good read if you didn’t catch it already] – but I was struck with the thought about our new found BADASS – sporting an 80’s band hairdo….. hmmm – not sure it’s really going to find its mark.
    I had kinda hoped the bearded bandit would try the Wolverine look – now that would be truly BADASS! ~ just say’n.
    Either way – I think that tonight is going to be the big pivotal episode in the season so far.
    We’ve had enough of setting the pieces – its time to make the first daring move!
    Let the games begin – this outta be GREAT!

  9. So far this has probably been the best episode. Good start covering a lot of ground yet getting the right points in the right place. And I love the foreplay with casey and verbanski.

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