As Chuck, Sarah, and the extended family are hoping to enjoy the last few days before the big wedding; Mary gets captured by Vivian and sets off a final sequence of events prior to the big day and season finale.
After the jump, we’ll discuss this late Season Four episode.
I think its safe to call Last Details a strong episode. The usual blend of elements that make Chuck great are all on display here; with a good adventure, lots of laughs, character interactions about perfect, and a frightening cliffhanger.
I find it amusing that right from the start Mary looks like a poor agent again. I don’t want to belabor that too much, the set-up, and story are a lot of fun here. Apparently, Frost has decided taking care of Chuck and Sarah’s failures would make a good wedding present, but she accomplishes the opposite. By getting captured she forces a last minute rescue mission. But that’s just fine, as the mission is a great adventure. With a disgusting meat platter (and I love the cut to Riley complaining about the local food a little later), a Star Wars inspired rescue mission (with Sarah missing the joke), a security guard with a twisted sense of romance (and Chuck defending Sarah’s honor), a call back to T2 with Linda Hamilton doing pull-ups on her cot frame, and just a dynamite confrontation between Sarah and Mary. The last part alone would have made it all worthwhile, but all told, this mission is a very entertaining 10 minutes.
Back home we see Chuck finally choose wisely between Sarah and his mom. But now I need to back up a step. Casey had earlier promised Alex he would protect Morgan. Unfortunately, Casey has a less comforting protective instinct than Agent Walker, and Morgan is quickly feeling severely underappreciated. Is it surprising that Casey’s idea of protecting involves insults and snarky comments? Naturally, Morgan will be needed on the next part of the mission. He will need to play an Italian arms dealer, with the worst possible accent, much to Casey’s extreme annoyance.
All too soon, the team is off to Moscow. And once again I must point out the sort of outrageous factual oversight that can shatter any suspension of disbelief; we get stock footage of an Air Alaska DC-9 for the flight. Well gee, the DC-9 is a short to medium range airliner, not used on long International flights, Air Alaska does not fly to Moscow (they fly to Asian Russia, but not European Russia), and Air Alaska retired their last DC-9 series aircraft (MD80s) in 2005. Geez. Watching television can be trying…
The Moscow mission is also much fun. Highlights being Chuck preparing Morgan with the Imperial March; Casey and Mary bonding over the trials of protecting their adult kids; Morgan playing tough by ordering a puppy shot; a really clueless MI6 agent who gets shot for his stupidity; and Casey shooting blind through… blinds… to rescue Morgan. This show is so much fun.
The mission ends with Chuck and Sarah stopping the baddies, Sarah saving Chuck, and sadly, another bit of annoying whining by Vivian.
The “B” plot this time was sort of a moving target. I guess we could say it was Chuck’s desire to make a video for Sarah. But it passed through Morgan, Lester, Jeff, (Big Mike), and Ellie before we arrive at the rehearsal dinner. But this leads to a really terrific end scene. Terrific on a couple levels. We get a great gathering of the whole cast, Mary’s heartfelt appreciation of Sarah, a really sweet video, Ellie’s brief panic and newfound appreciation of Jeff; and then the final terrible cliffhanger.
Interesting thing about our favorite show, we’ve seen a few really well done penultimate episodes. Last Details follows that pattern nicely. It certainly made for an exciting week before the finale!
The Good, The Bad And The Volkoff
Aaarrrggg!!! Once again, Dave has told you about all the good stuff! That’s it. What is my dueling pistol?
[Huff – huff!]
Oh, wait. No he didn’t. No need to get Dave up before dawn – this time… Here’s another smidgen of good stuff. Seeing Chuck and Sarah wake up together in the golden sunlight is always something special. But unlike the other places we’ve seen that golden morning light, Barstow and Paris, people are taking great pains to leave them be this time so that they can actually enjoy the serenity.
Sarah: Good morning. You know what we have to do today?
Chuck: Mm… Hunt someone?
Chuck: Blow something up?
Sarah: No again.
Chuck: Mm – crawl through sewers or rat holes or underground lairs filled with sewage and/or rats?
Sarah: No, no and no. Today we have a day off from the CIA. Today is about you and me and our wedding.
Chuck: God, that’s good.
Oh yeah, it is. But you knew it couldn’t last. Leave it to Morgan to pull a Morgan. In this show, something must always happen to delay inevitable; it’s the law. Of course, Chuck and Sarah getting married was inevitable too, as was their finding each other, becoming intimate, getting engaged and learning to live together despite all the quirkiness, each step followed by the next in (modern) succession. So why did I feel so much apprehension and why was my confidence in their inevitability so shaky?
When there’s a doubt in your mind
‘Cause you think it all the time
Framin’ rights into wrongs
Move along Move along
When there’s a doubt within your mind
But enough of that for now. Have we ever played the game of finding all the movie references? I don’t think we have, and I have a suspicion that we’d never get them all. Everyone gets the obvious Star Wars references in Chuck vs. The Last Details, except Sarah, of course.
Chuck: Move it along, Chewy.
Sarah: Chewie? Why are you calling him Chewie? He didn’t even eat anything off that disgusting platter.
Chuck: Honey, it’s a reference to Star… Oh, I love you!
Zing! Darth Vader’s theme, The Imperial March, didn’t quite make it into my mp3 player, but that’s only because John William’s music is so familiar that it’s already everywhere from the Sunday morning news shows to the Olympics.
Almost as obvious a reference was Linda Hamilton, who’s two years younger than I am (that’s right. She’s 29, same age as Mrs. Joe), doing pull-ups on an upturned cot in a cell. [Hey wait! Can she really do more pull-ups than I can these days? I’ve to check on that!] It’s a movie reference we all get.
But I’m going to add that Morgan is spoofing The Godfather with his miserable Italian accent, but mostly spoofing it with his suit. My fav. though, is even more subtle. The scene with Casey shooting blind, using Morgan’s spy-glasses to locate his target, is straight out of the third book of the Dune trilogy and the Dune movies in their various incarnations. Well, okay. That one was a TV movie, but I like the reference. And it takes a great show like Chuck to get me to even think about that much over-rated, interminable series of books without spitting over my left shoulder.
Like usual, much fun is to be had. What weighs most on my mind, though, when all is said and done, is the interaction between soon to be mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, and how Chuck is caught in the middle. Guys, raise your hand if you haven’t been there, or are at least inexperienced in trying to find the common ground between two strong women. I count – gee! Very few.
Mary does not come off well in this episode. She’s stubborn, a bit arrogant and very much single-minded throughout. It’s like she’s got blinkers on about the mission into which she’s inserted herself and the act of considering Chuck and Sarah is an intrusion.
Well, it’s true! Mary becomes Frost once again, and Frost is not a lovable character. But one thing you can’t say is that this is OOC for her. Like it or not, it’s totally in keeping and totally in sync with her daily, ongoing judgment that staying away from her family was the best possible thing she could do.
Sarah judges otherwise, of course. And that in itself is quite an audacious thing for this young upstart spy to do, you know. So who does Chuck side with?
Casey: Interesting choice. Choosing your mom over your fiancée.
Chuck: Oh, com’mon. I was just trying to make everyone feel — Wait a minute. Is that really how it looked?
Casey: Yeah. Just remember, Bartowski. Sarah is the one you’re gonna be sleeping next to at the end of every day. She’s the one you protect.
That’s good advice. Chuck follows it at the next available opportunity and not a moment too soon. I guess that too was one of the hurdles Chuck had to face before marriage. It would be silly if it wasn’t so true to life.
Casey: You can wait in the van if you want.
Mary: No, it’s all right. I think I’ll give Chuck and Sarah a little space on this one. It’s hard to have kids. Can’t always protect them.
Casey: Yeah. Or their idiot boyfriends.
No more mama’s boy. That little conflict was indeed, the last detail, the last thing Chuck had to do before committing everything to Sarah.
There’s nothing left standing between Chuck and Sarah, then. Mary gives a near-amazing toast to her about-to-be daughter-in-law and Jeff comes through with a video the way only Jeff can.
There’s nothing left to go wrong, except neither Dave nor I have mentioned the one last piece of rotten fruit at the bottom of the basket. No, it’s not Vivian. Even if she’s a tremendously capable, intelligent and resourceful woman, Vivian is still just a poor, misguided girl driven to vengeance by a poorly chosen adviser.
Chuck: Mom, it’s time to go.
Vivian: Mom? The woman who betrayed my father is the mother of the man who betrayed me? Oh, that makes sense.
What’s gone wrong is 30 years of history. Now Vivian has a vendetta to organize against the entire Bartowski family, and she has just the right weapon to do it with, too.
Oh, move slow.
Oh, move slow.
Everything falls apart after you go.