The start of the large Season Four back order. These episodes could be called an “Engagement Arc”, or maybe the Vivian Volkoff arc. But Seduction Impossible is clearly a stand alone sort of episode. After the jump, we’ll start this week’s discussion.
Roan Montgomery is a fun cad. Much of what works well in Seduction Impossible is thanks to his presence. But I think this is a pretty entertaining episode however you look at it. We get to see plenty of funny Sarah this week (“are you calling me a ball and chain?!”), Casey contemplating removing his arm, Beckman with a rocket launcher and dueling seductions that leave Chuck (and maybe some viewers) slack jawed.
I’m at a loss to find anything to criticize here. The two main stories involve Roan’s mission to seduce a warlord counterfieter, and Chuck and Sarah butting heads over the wedding or elopement discussion. Roan is apparently trying to avoid a prior commitment to Beckman, by doing the sort of mission he knows best. His story with Beckman is particularly entertaining, but I think the main focus of attention here is on Chuck and Sarah’s story (shocking but true!). I know there’s been some criticism of the continued use of “angst” in the central relationship, but honestly I think this is so funny it hardly merits any actual worries. It makes perfect sense Sarah would have little interest in a traditional “big” wedding. Perhaps she errors in not being immediately forthcoming with her reasoning, but Chuck manages to really gum things up. And I love how this starts with Morgan’s transparently selfish concerns about being left out of the wedding, and the practice “no”. Oh my, what a massively stupid idea. I love how Chuck starts by practicing on dumb stuff, stuff it turns out he actually meant to say yes to (“want some water?”), and escalates into being the worst spies in the world.
Casey’s botched seduction mission is another episode highlight (“Tranq and explode!”). I guess not everyone is cut out for such finesse work.
Roan forced to work at Buy More is good for a laugh. I guess that makes the store the government’s secret gulag. So now Chuck goes from getting really bad Morgan advice to seeking some really bad Roan advice. Because obviously Roan knows a lot about a long term stable relationship. Thankfully the result is hilarious. Did it not occur to Chuck that Sarah had Roan’s class too? He observes she’s much better at it than he is, but in the end Chuck will get his way. After much sit-com style comedy we finally get an honest discussion. It may be obvious to observe Chuck should have known better from the start, but I enjoyed this comedy of errors and I’m not going to worry about it.
The episode’s climax takes us back to Morocco to complete the impossible seduction, and rescue Casey from cutting off his own arm. I suppose its a good end for Roan and Beckman too, but I can’t help but be sad for two such empty lives. At least that’s how it looks to me.
I like the end scene here. Chuck and Sarah fully reconciled back at home. Sarah concerned over who will come to her wedding and Chuck acknowledging just how much she has done to bring his family back together. Really a sweet moment. Sadly, Sarah won’t actually be reconnected with her own Mom until some months after the wedding, but at least the CATs will be there!
There are both a “B” and “C” plot in this episode. For arguments sake, I’ll call the Mary/Ellie scenes the “B” plot. Some nice mother/daughter moments; that unfortunately really highlight Ellie’s selfishness towards her brother. It would have been nice to see a light bulb moment attached to the last Ellie/Mary scene. I still imagine it has something to do with how accepting Ellie is when she finds she’s been deceived about Chuck’s re-involvement with The Agency. But I would have preferred something more clear.
That makes the Morgan/Casey story the “C” plot. For me, the most significant part of this is Morgan talking with Casey while he’s trapped in the palace. And Casey being hurt to discover Alex doesn’t want him involved with her Mom again. In the end, he won’t be and Casey realizes that she has moved on. Not a huge moment, or even the last word, but a well played mile post.
I think this all makes Seduction Impossible a very strong episode. Of course this is Chuck, maybe that just means its average. Either way, it was a ton of fun!
Situation Hopeless, But Not Serious
Fatima: You bastard!
Roan: Yes, I answer to that.
Yeah, that could be Roan Montgomery’s (John Larroquette) opening line. The seduction master is a wonder, he is. Just like Push Mix was a dramatic, exciting spy adventure for a now very suave and mature spy named Chuck, Chuck vs. The Seduction Impossible is a comedic tour de force for Team B. And that’s good because I, for one, needed a break from all the dramatic tension of the past few weeks.
Things are changing. It’s true that C&S are having their first tiff as an engaged couple, General Beckman is a “hot mess” and Casey, is trapped behind a wall. That’s the hopeless part.
But Roan asking Chuck if it’s about performance issues, the idea of Casey about to gnaw off his own arm because he’s trapped behind a wall – again! – and, well, General Beckman being a hot mess, now, that’s the “not serious” part. In fact, it’s downright funny.
There’s more. No one here forgot about Sarah Walker’s outfit, I’m sure.
Sarah: By the way, for the record, I will not at any point during this mission be dressing as a belly dancer.
But I’ll bet you forgot that line. Right? So go on. Admit it. You laughed this time around too! I laughed enough to barely remember that the episode’s title misleads us to thinking that the impossible seduction is Roan trying to get information illicitly from Fatima Tazi (Lesley-Ann Brandt) by seducing her twice. No one could do that! But that’s not it. There are seductions happening all around.
The obvious ones include the engaged couple, trying to seduce each other to get what they want (Sarah’s a bit better at it than is Chuck, but he tries nonetheless). Sarah says she wants to elope and Chuck wants a somewhat more fancy wedding with the family attending.
The not so obvious seductions include Ellie’s entreaties to her mother to be a grandmother and to be herself (a spy and a hero) at the same time. They include Morgan trying to convince Casey to see Alex’s mother, Kathleen (Clare Carey) and Casey’s failed attempt to contact her again. These are the sweet, slightly sad moments that make Chuck much more than just a silly sit-com, even while the humor is firing on all cylinders.
How does it all work out? Well, it works out quietly for Chuck and Sarah, when they realize that their impasse isn’t about them at all. It’s about their families, especially, but not entirely, Sarah’s.
Sarah: So. Your family…
Chuck: Sorry. Sorry. They’re a little intense about the wedding, huh?
And it works out explosively, mostly. That’s okay. Mary is used to that.
Mary: Smooth and silent. Same technique I always used for moving live explosives.
It certainly works out for the biggest seduction of all – the climax of Diane Beckman’s decade’s long romance with Roan. They’ve had their time, but they’re not done with each other. And that makes it a romance for the ages.
Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away
In the wind of change
— The Scorpions – Wind of Change
Dave’s right. Seduction Impossible is not the most memorable, exciting and dramatic episode we’ve seen. It wasn’t meant to be. It may be the most sweetly humor-filled episode, though, and it may be the best way to remember the wonderful characters, like Roan Montgomery, that made Chuck’s journey spectacular.