Couch Lock is more or less a Casey episode. And a very funny one at that. This is also the last stand alone episode for a while. After the jump, we’ll discuss this week’s episode from the fourth season.
When Couch Lock first ran it was pre-empted by my local NBC affiliate for an hour long Ford commercial. Made me want to trade in my Fusion…
But it did make for a memorable evening, staying up until 2:15 to watch Chuck. Now those of you who may have noticed my posting habits have likely noticed I’m routinely up until 2 am anyway. And Tuesday has long been a day off for me. So deciding to stay up a little late to watch Chuck was an easy decision. Staying off the discussion posts until then was a little tougher. And the memory of first watching this episode through drooping eyelids has stayed with me. Ironically, this would happen two more times, yet I don’t even remember the other episodes involved. I guess I got used to it.
The enduring legacy of this episode for me, is just that its still a ton of fun. That may make it another “average” Season Four episode. But the standard is very high this season. A few very funny moments here are Lester and Jeff trying to recruit Casey onto their “crew” (perfect nerd humor), Casey dialing the Buy More and getting Jeff when he wants Chuck, and the whole subsequent scene with Morgan trying to wake him. That is one of those just painfully funny scenes.
The Iran mission is almost as funny; and proves beyond a doubt Morgan is a completely fearless moron. Obviously a fearless moron is quite useful on occasion, but there’s a reason why he never runs a mission (!).
Even though the unofficial “Romance arc” is now over, there is still some wonderful Charah stuff in this episode. The real stand outs being the scene at the booby trap (“you couldn’t tell me that before I crawled over here?”) and the very end. But I just love seeing Chuck and Sarah working easily, and happily together as a team. Chuck proclaiming Sarah, and others, as more important to him than learning his mom’s fate is the “gee sweet” moment of the week.
Of course that comes from the most significant tidbit of information for this week, Chuck’s mom may not be an innocent victim or prisoner. And that sounds like the sort of reveal that comes right before events are about to overtake the decision. Maybe starting with a phone call…
Heh. My memories are similar, Dave, despite the fact that the episode wasn’t preempted in my area. Overwhelmingly, I was struck by clever use of characters based on a show that ran over 20 years earlier. I thought to myself; “Self? That’s the first time they’ve done that!”
Naw. It wasn’t the first time, and not the last. They had already done the equivalent of sampling audio tracks when they re-imagined Hart to Hart at the beginning of Role Models.
But this time, that bit of humor and nostalgia known as The A-Team was my biggest memory about the Chuck vs. The Couch Lock. Well, that, and the fact that 1) Eric Roberts plays a great George Peppard, 2) Joel David Moore is a great friend of Zac’s, and 3) that whomever casted for Chuck really, really likes the WWE.
Like you’ve heard me say before, it was different this time. What caught my attention was something else entirely. It was Sarah.
Think of it. No kisses, no (tasteful) bedroom innuendo, no “sexting” and no bikinis in this episode. But Sarah caught my attention anyway and did it for one very quiet, understated reason – family. That was, in fact, the undertone of the entire episode.
Ellie We have news. [To Devon] On the count of three. Ready? Okay? One…
Devon: [shouting] It’s a girl!
Heh! Wouldn’t have it any other way. Yup, it was a real joyous occasion, even if everyone was soon planning Casey’s “death” by Fakeadeathanol overdose and funeral.
Dave’s right, of course; this is a Casey episode. This is where Casey becomes officially and forever one of the family. Well, I suppose he was before this, but look at what happens the moment Casey’s body disappears. Sarah is on the phone scrambling a major tactical force to look for him.
Sarah: Call Tactical. I want a hundred men locked and loaded, ready to go on my command.
Make that commanding a tactical force to look for him. I’ll confess now that up to this point I hadn’t seen Sarah as any sort of “commander.” Lone wolf, yes. Brilliant spy, of course. But not commander. Here, her authority is unquestioned.
The women reading may hate to see me write this, but what I found even better was when one of her decisions was – let us say overruled – by Chuck when they were hot on Casey’s trail.
Chuck: Well, he can’t have gotten far. There’s gotta be a clue or something. Like an open window.
Sarah: He could be inside. I’ll call Tactical.
Chuck: No, no, no. We don’t have the time to waste. We’re here right now. Let’s go.
Sarah is smart and resourceful. Chuck is her equal. I love that, and I love that Sarah is willing to defer to his judgment this time. It signals, or at least emphasizes, that Chuck and Sarah are not bumbling, stumbling and accidentally making their way in the world. They are doing something far more impressive than that as a couple.
I also love the idea that they’re doing it to save the newest member of the family, Casey. Oh, wait. Chuck realizes that he put them on this mission for his own selfish reasons; to find his mom.
Chuck: Sarah, I’m so sorry. This is all my fault.
Sarah: What are you talking about?
Chuck: I was so set on trying to find my mom that I let my emotions take over. And now I’ve put everyone that I care about in danger. First Casey, now you.
Sarah: Oh, my God, this is complicated.
It is complicated, because families are complicated (and also because the booby trap is complicated 😉 ). In a line that’s pitched emotionally perfectly, Sarah reminds Chuck immediately that Casey knew the risks as well as she. They are doing it for family and yes, Chuck, you are being ridiculous!
When times go bad
When times go rough
Won’t you lay me down in tall grass
And let me do my stuff
C&S saving Casey and Morgan saving everybody is more fun than anxiety-building, which is always a nice thing in a show that tends to ramp-up emotional levels. No trauma here. Morgan’s difficulties facing Casey about his dating Alex is romantic-comedic frosting on the cake. If you haven’t seen it, here’s a bit of a spoiler – Morgan has to sacrifice his relationship with Alex in order to save her from Casey’s traitorous team, who are out to kill him. Casey returns the favor by putting Morgan back in Alex’s good graces. Ah, family. Isn’t it great?
It is. But I said that of all the characters in this episode, it was Sarah who stood out, and she stands out for the same reason. No, it’s not news that Sarah has been becoming part of the family all along. It’s that now we can see her adopted family has become much more important to her. Maybe we can even say that, just like for Chuck, nothing is more important. That’s how much her priorities have shifted.
Sarah: Is this the part where I’m supposed to ask you what you’re thinking about?
Chuck: My mom. I thought she was a prisoner who needed to be saved. And then I come to find out she’s just one of the bad guys.
Sarah: Chuck, we don’t know what side your mom’s on.
Chuck: Maybe not. But there’s one thing I do know. In order to find the one person who left me, I’ve endangered the lives of everyone who would never leave me. Morgan, Casey, you… I’m gonna stop looking for my mom.
Sarah: Oh, Chuck…
Chuck: No, it’s okay. I thought I had to bring my family back together, but I don’t. You guys, Awesome, Ellie, you’re my family. I love you.
Sarah: I love you. I’ll see you inside.
To my eyes, Chuck and Sarah never looked more like a couple before this, especially is that place, Echo Park, by the fountain, where they belong. They’re facing hard decisions together. Difficult? Yes. But is there anything missing from their lives?
That’s when the phone rings to leave us with the best cliffhanger since the end of First Kill.
Woman’s voice: Hello, Chuck? It’s – your mother.