The final episode of the Morgansect arc. Morgan is in full blast jerk mode as he abandons Chuck for Verbanski. Chuck and Casey set out to get revenge, while Sarah tries to fix the situation.
After the jump, we’ll discuss Frosted Tips.
I think this is the strongest of the Morgansect episodes. And judging by our Chuck This poll I’m not alone in that assessment. Coming in at 67th overall it is by far the top rated of this arc. My first thought is to argue that ranking and say this is a much better episode than the numbers indicate. But the more I thought of it, 67 puts it at the low end of average. And I still consider any average episode of Chuck to be a wonderful thing. So maybe that’s about right.
Really I think this is a terrific episode. I’m not even going to say too much Morgan this time. Considering this whole arc is “Morgan-centric”, I think it comes out about right. Far less of him than I feared, and Morgan’s story here is a lot of fun. In the “big picture” I think its also an important story. But first the fun. As Morgan starts to lose memories he is losing control of himself. He is apparently losing his self control and restraint. Hard to believe Morgan had restraint, but seeing what little he had stripped away affirms that indeed, Morgan had restraint. As he loses touch with Chuck, and experiences power like he never has before, Morgan becomes a pretty big jerk. Maybe a bit of Napoleon Complex, maybe his inner super
villain hero is coming out, and he clearly isn’t up to it. And Morgan the jerk is so much fun. He has entitlement issues run amok, and now delights in terrorizing everyone in his sphere.
Of course there’s more to this story. Casey is also having some issues. After initially being interested in Gertrude, his reaction is, shall we say, complex when Gertrude poaches Team B’s pet idiot.
Chuck is also out of sorts due to Morgan’s betrayal. Unfortunately, Chuck has dealt with Morgan’s inner jerk before, and he has a hard time looking too deep for what is going on. And this is all kinds of funny. Chuck and Casey are bonding in righteous indignation over the wrongs they’ve suffered from Morgan and Gertrude. The mission to Verbanski’s headquarters is one of those perfect, laugh out loud, Chuck at its very best sort of moments. Casey and Gertrude do a very interesting tango, while Chuck goes one on one with Morgan. Ultimately that comes down to pantsing and a tranq dart. Just a typical Chuck mission…
This has all left Sarah as the only adult on the team. As funny as Chuck, Casey and Morgan are with their various malfunctions, Sarah keeps a level head and becomes Morgan’s advocate. Its the sort of role that always suits her well. Morgan is clearly family to her, and in this case, the history she doesn’t have with him works to her advantage. While Chuck writes off Morgan as just being 14 again, Sarah looks for a real answer. She has a long talk with Ellie that tells a lot of what’s wrong, and is hugely important for informing us about Sarah’s own outcome in the series’ finale. We learn that Morgan’s memories are still in there, and that hearing about his past will help him reconnect to it. This exactly foreshadows what will happen with Sarah at the very end. We saw it play out two different ways in two different people, but both are really the same. When Chuck, at Sarah’s urging, uses an emotional and formative event from Morgan’s past to help him rediscover himself we see the scales fall away from his eyes. Morgan remembers, barely, and reconnects with his friend and with himself. In two months we’ll see Sarah in this same place. But unlike Morgan, Sarah will want all of it back, she will ask for those memories from Chuck, and with laughter and tears she will reconnect with Chuck and herself just the same. Optimistic? Maybe. But I’m positive that’s what we were meant to see.
And I love where this episode ends up. Morgan, temporarily, back under the Bartowski’s roof when Sarah extends the invitation to the homeless traitor. I like that.
Like last week, the “B” plot here is mostly independent. I say “mostly” because there is some thematic similarity; the fog is lifted for Jeff about the same time it is lifted for Morgan. yeah, that’s weak. But this story is so much fun. Starting with Devon trying to fill his first full day with Clara, and failing miserably. When seeing his commercial convinces him a trip to Buy More is in order he ends up rescuing Jeff from one of his destructive behaviors. Apparently its enough for Jeff to turn over a new leaf. I would certainly call this one of the more unexpected “B” plots they did!
Frosted Tips was really a fun time. And I know that makes me a bit of a broken record. Chuck usually is a really fun time.
“An Interesting Tango?”
“Interesting”, Dave? You damn with faint praise! That was the hottest fight in which we’ve ever seen Casey! You know what was wrong with it, though? It’s the music. Oh, the version by The Morning Benders used in Chuck vs. The Frosted Tips is good. It’s just not Frank. So here; I’ll fix it for ya.
Now that’s music!
Other than that, I can’t agree with you more. Frosted Tips plays much better now than it did then, and it was lots of fun then, too. Morgan all snazzy and self-confident to the point of obnoxiousness, Chuck resorting to pantsing him just to bring Morgan back down to earth, Casey coming to grips with his inner self (just like Morgan has to) and Chuck&Sarah trying to make sense of it all is fun.
Add Jeff discovering that his life-path has been altered by something nearly as subtle as an e-mail attachment and the laughter can cause you to miss something really important.
What could that be? Sarah and Ellie are sisters-in-law who lunch and talk and have confidences. That’s what.
Ellie: What are you saying? Is there something wrong with Morgan?
Sarah: I just — I feel like he’s losing himself. I mean, why would the Intersect act so differently in Morgan’s head versus Chuck’s?
Ellie: It’s a different program. Somebody modified Dad’s original. If you think there’s something wrong, you should have the CIA remove it.
Sarah: I just don’t think he’s gonna go for that. Like I said, Morgan is not acting like Morgan at all.
Ellie: You need to try to get through to him.
Ellie: Well, you could try to appeal to his memory… You know, I’ve had temporal lobe patients who’ve responded to stories about who they were before the injury. It doesn’t return them to normal, but it helps them cut through the fog. In this case, The Intersect. It gives them a glimpse of who they used to be.
It’s exactly this perfectly understated bit of intel that makes Frosted Tips stand out for me. Take from it what you will, but here and in Morgan’s conversation with Casey near the end, where he explains that it wasn’t all The Intersect’s fault, I see reasons to remain hopeful when the show ends.
Even better, I continue seeing in Chuck and Sarah the power couple I wanted them to be. What is it? Is it Chuck’s growth as a spy, corporate captain and now as a mentor to the new Intersect that’s so invigorating? Is it Sarah’s growing ease at being both a super-spy and a wife? Is it in the way that she’s becoming “family”?
You bet. It’s all that and more. All the timidity we saw in Chuck during seasons 1 and 2 is gone. All the hesitation that we saw in Sarah’s eyes when Chuck asked her her middle name and took her hand (in Best Friends) is gone. They’ve grown up – both of them, and not a moment too soon because Morgan needs them. Not Chuck and not Sarah – Morgan needs both of them.
Zac plays one note perfectly in this episode, and I’m convinced it was an intentional, pre-planned accident. Near the end, after being reminded of who he is, Morgan asks Chuck if they’re still friends. Zac, not Chuck, laughs and answers “No.” then he immediately chides his pal – “Of course.” I’m convinced that it was an unscripted joke between real life buddies as well as between the characters and it had an unintended effect on me.
I realized that nearly everything we see in the show, all the emotion and affection and laughter, is genuine.
And This Word
I’d like to point you this new web-site entitled Music In The Dark. It’s a “life-style” blog but since good TV is clearly part of any life-style, Karen has provided a rather cool synopsis of many Chuck episodes. I encourage you to have a look-see!