Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Suitcase (4.02)

NBC Synopsis: CHUCK AND SARAH TRAVEL TO FASHION WEEK IN MILAN TO RETRIEVE A HIGH-TECH SECRET WEAPON — KAROLINA KURKOVA, LOU FERRIGNO, AND ISAIAH MUSTAFA GUEST STAR — When Chuck (Zachary Levi) and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) go undercover in Milan, Chuck realizes the “Achilles’ Heel” in their relationship, but must set personal issues aside for the mission. Meanwhile, Morgan (Joshua Gomez) recognizes a fatal flaw that compromises the new Buy More. Elsewhere, Casey struggles to put down roots in Burbank.

Chuck This Ranking: 43
Dave’s Ranking: A bit higher

First Impressions: Observation Post: Chuck vs The Suitcase

Arc Write Up: Skinny Fear by Faith

Full Write Ups: Chuck vs The Suitcase (4.02) by Dave and Joe
Suitcases and Baggage by Joe
Dave and Thinkling Unpack Suitcase by Dave and Thinkling

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About atcDave

I'm 53 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 30 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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29 Responses to Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Suitcase (4.02)

  1. Greg says:

    I really like this episode. The interactions between Chuck and Sarah were really well done – including the spiderman kiss, dealing with the naked model and defusing the bomb – and the ending of course.

    The fighting was also well done including the use of the environment – the curling iron as a weapon was a nice touch – as well as having a catfight on the catwalk.

    For me, this is one of those fun, entertaining episodes that Chuck did so well.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah I agree absolutely Greg. Fun, fun episode!

    • Justin says:

      Yeah, the things that you liked this episode for are what I like it for too especially the scene when Sarah had the deadly jealous look on her face when she thinks Chuck is checking out the model on the screen. Funny every time.

  2. Martin Traynor says:

    Agree, Greg. This is one of my favorites from season 4.

    Still not a fan of the contrived angst of Sarah’s seeming 2 steps forward, one step back as far as relationship Sarah goes (move in, says I love you, doesn’t unpack). But I’lll take that over ANY external angst, so I’m not really complaining.

    But this ep. had some real sweet moments. Like when Sarah scans the crowd to find Chuck after the catwalk catfight, and he supports her with applause…and of course, the line, “you’re my home, Chuck. You always will be,” or to that effect.

    A good, strong start for season 4 in my opinion…

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah the “suitcase” itself may be my least favorite part of this episode. But it is otherwise sweet and a lot of fun.

      • Justin says:

        Yeah, that part annoyed me. One would thought that would have been sorted out long before now. They’ve been dating for nearly a year at this point.

      • atcDave says:

        I guess they liked they liked the “moving in” idea so much they had to do it twice!

  3. Martin Traynor says:

    I think what disappointed me most about the start of the season was just how much time Chuck and Sarah had spent apart. The secret search for his mom wasn’t that great, but I could see it happening – I mean, while his girl is off saving the world, and his dad gives him this mission, what’s a boy to do?

    But the time apart – of course it was all off-camera, but just the idea of it doesn’t sit well with me. That and Chuck having to have given up the spy life for Ellie. But even that’s not as bad as Chuck and Sarah apart so much.

  4. oldresorter says:

    I found it odd that a week after no secrets no lies, that Chuck was not honest with Sarah about the suitcase not bothering him, I mean he flat out lied.

    Still, I loved this ep, in many ways, for me, this is Chuck at its finest. My fav scene was in the hotel room, so many great lines, like ‘put some clothes on’, or I can’t see – are you kidding me, etc. Sarah and Lew had a great little scene too. The ep had the same vib as the Mask ep while on the museum mission, before the show self imploded, and also of the Role Model missions, where Sarah had a little attitude toward Chuck, but in a light hearted portrayal. I think this formula also found success in the first two seasons off and on.

    The series could have ended with the final scene in their room and I’d have been a happy camper, until of course the final moments when the writing team drew the happiness back a notch. Strong / happy / crystal clear endings are essential for me to have strong episodes and strong series finals. Chuck’s writing team ruined some of their best work with their endings.

    I caught up with Last Ship last week. I was not sure about season 1, but season 2 so far has been really strong. It easily is my favorite summer show, of the Chuck alum – actors and writers included – Last Ship might be the strongest series any of them has landed on. Adam Baldwin’s character could just as well be called John Casey, he portrays Mike almost identical to Casey. And I for one love it.

    • atcDave says:

      Chuck’s “lie” about the suitcase never bothered me at all here, and it struck me as one of those things he honestly was trying not to let bother him!
      I guess about the end I would just say it made me laugh. I agree it’s a shame the writers so often seemed to pull back from offering a completely satisfying resolution, but in this case I thought it was all in good fun.

      I do agree about Last Ship completely. It’s been a fun ride, S2 being much better than S1. It is funny though that Adam Baldwin seems to be a career second fiddle. I had hoped his part would be bigger this time.

  5. noblz says:

    This episode was in MY top 10 (29) even if it wasn’t in everyone else’s.

    My beef is, again too much Morgan at least it was useful to the story. By this point it doesn’t take much to peg my Morgan meter.

    Chuck’s reaction to Sarah’s reaction to Chuck’s reaction to Sofia in a bikini was priceless.

    Everything about breaking into Sofia’s hotel room was great (we’ve heard the closet reaction, but a couple of other things were great, “Can you see anything?” Sarah glares then “Who do you think I am, if we can’t see anything, she can’t either”, or “Is she naked?” “Who?” Sarah squints a little then “Yes, yes she is”) . The catfight on the catwalk and the aftermath was priceless.

    Sarah’s face when Chuck mentions getting married and having kids was adorable. (I’ll get into Sarah’s reaction in the next ep)

    This was just a good lighthearted episode and C&S together was as it should be.

  6. I have been binge watching Castle (nearing the end of S5) and am curious as to its ratings at this point and if its in good shape to make it another year or two; dare I say three? I’ve been very pleased with the show and have not met an episode that was poorly written; the staff clearly cares way more about what they have in their leads which is why its still on but the last thing i want to have happen is I start watching the show live the same year it ends…that’s what happened with CHUCK and I was left wishing i would have jumped on that bandwagon sooner because of all the discussions I missed out on…

    • atcDave says:

      Castle has had its rough spots too!

      But it’s ratings are pretty good. Down a little in the last couple years, but still acceptable. It does seem like the cast and crew are running out of steam (from actions and events more than the product). For now, we’re only assured one more season. I think it will just be a season by season decision from here on out.

      • Thanks for the info Dave; if there have been rough spots i’ve been blind to them. There have been “not my cup of tea” episodes (the sci-fi episode and the real housewives spoof come to mind) but as far as actual plot, story and the wt/wt period I think it’s been far better than CHUCK (I don’t know why I compare every show I watch to CHUCK now) At the rate i’m going i’ll be completely caught up by September anyway so i’ll probably hop on board until its run is over regardless of how much longer its got…besides Mondays have been rather dull in the TV department for me. Most shows are judged year by year anyway and at least I’ll get that weekly anticipation and will be able to root for another show to stick around!

      • atcDave says:

        What Castle has always done extremely well, even when Castle and Beckett were clearly not together, and were involved with other parties; is the SHOW stayed clearly and completely about Caslte and Beckett’s partnership. So in many cases, you could enjoy an episode all by itself even if the relationship was technically in a bad place. I vastly prefer that approach to how things were often handled on Chuck (way too much time with the main characters physically separated on screen).
        But where Castle really screwed up is something you’ll loose with the power watch approach, that is many very poor season finales. The original show runner seemed to like ending seasons on serious down notes. Wait ’til you get to the first wedding episode. It was a season finale! The show runner was fired as a result. That was the ONLY acceptable move for the network.

  7. Martin Traynor says:

    You know…I never understood the idea behind the “cliffhanger” type season finale. If I like a show, I’m coming back to watch, regardless of what situation the characters are or are not in. And if I don;t like it, I’m not watching anyway. So who is the cliffhanger designed to attract?

    And given the way shows just seem to fade away or not return the next year, I like what they did with Castle and Forever and a few other shows this season, in that they ended in a way that was up and satisfying should they not return. They didn’t end outright, mind you, but ended in a way that tidied things up and left us, the viewers/fans, on a positive note with positive potential.

    • atcDave says:

      I think the original idea was to KEEP viewers interested and excited. To get the wondering how things could work out and be excited for the resolution… next time.
      And on occasion it has worked very well. The textbook case being “Who shot JR”. It generated massive buzz and many water cooler discussions one summer.

      For myself, the best example was from Star Trek: TNG. The third season ended with a huge Star Fleet showdown against the Borg, and Picaird captured and turned into one of them. Among my friends it got exactly the reaction a studio wants; we were all talking and speculating for months. Any time summer cook outs contain eager discussion about the coming fall is a good thing for a television show.

      But I am beyond tired of the trope. Perhaps it comes with age. But as you mention Martin, I’ve seen so many shows disappear with no resolution. And I resent all these show runners suggesting I should have to remember all their little plot bunnies for four months or more. At this point the whole thing sort of pisses me off. I’m never more likely to quit a show than I am after a cliff hanger, especially a S1 cliff hanger. I just don’t need that; and if they’re doing it at S1 I figure that means they never intend to provide any resolution for anything, so I’m likely done.
      I vastly prefer a show that will leave me with a good feeling for the break. That’s something I’m more likely to remember and want to come back to. Perhaps because its become a rare thing. Castle’s season finale this year was perfect. Best of the whole series. Sort of like Chuck S4 (or the accidental finale for S1).

  8. Martin Traynor says:

    Yeah, Dave. I see what you’re saying, and you cite some excellent examples. But even with all the water cooler conversations, is a cliffhanger really likely to generate NEW viewers? Maybe in some cases, but I doubt it’s very likely on average. Again, they may have had a further-reaching impact back when network TV was the only thing going, but with such diverse options nowadays, I just don’t see it.

    For me, Chuck ended every season pretty well, except for season 5. I thought seasons 1 and four had the most hope with the least amount of massive change, like season 2. And season three ended the Buy More, so that wasn’t too bad, either…Still not satisfied with how they ended the show with five, but I don’t want to start anything on THAT topic…:-)

    I agree with you, though, that cliffhangers, especially after the first season, are really nothing more than annoying.

    • atcDave says:

      I don’t think cliffhangers are really meant to reach NEW viewers, they’re there to keep current viewers excited (although the “who shot JR” example actually did draw new eyeballs). But yeah, doesn’t work for me anymore.

      For Chuck, well, they did do a good job of resolving current story lines and I was always glad for that. But there was also a hook for what comes next. And I thought the hook for both S2 and S3 was too much, too heavy handed. It was the sort that left me more anxious than excited. It may be a fine line, but I would rank those two as fails.

      • i don’t mind cliffhangers especially in dramas and it helps that i have a much higher.tolerance threshold for darker plots. While researching syndication for Castle i happen to skim the episodes list so i’m somewhat aware of that first wedding episode (though i didn’t know the original showrunner was fired for it) you mentioned Dave and fully bracing myself but i have seen a good deal of S6 thanks to off network syndication prior to finding a power watching resource…i’ll be most curious to see if the new show runners for Castle can do better than CF did for CHUCK…there i go comparing again but I can’t help it… CHUCK is my default comparison for anything i watch now:)

      • atcDave says:

        I think the comment I’ve made before about the most recent season was that I thought the major arcs were handled better, but the dialogue (banter) was less sharp.

  9. Martin Traynor says:

    I think it was easier for me, having come on-board after the series ended. I got to power through and didn’t have months or even days for my imagination and speculation to come into play. When I saw at the end of season 2 that Chuck now knew Kung-Fu, I had only positive thoughts that the action would be ramped up and the fun-factor multiplied. Oh boy, was I wrong.

    The only thing I remember about season 3’s finale was Shaw being defeated, the Ring basically over, and the Buy More blown up. I could certainly see how those events would lend themselves to expecting more potential angst. But then we got lucky with season 4.

    I think my favorite season finale was season 4, because Chuck and Sarah were together, they had all that money and their own company, and the team was together. That’s another thing I disliked about the season 5 finale, was that everyone (Team Bartowski, Ellie/Devon) were split up.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah no doubt being able to power through it all will change the effect of cliffhangers quite a lot!
      The worst part about the S2 finale was that at the time we didn’t even know if we would be renewed! So it was very frustrating to have to wait five weeks with *THAT* before we even knew if there would be ANY more. (Keep in mind I was only tepid towards “I know Kung Fu” anyway). When it was renewed, we were told it would be ten months, then we started getting ugly spoilers… What a fubar…
      The S3 finale was a little better, we at least knew it had been renewed. And the wt/wt had at least been resolved. But it looked like more secrets and lies. Ugh, not my thing.

      So I agree completely that S4 was the only completely acceptable finale; happy endings all around, and a hook that caused zero anxiety.

      • anthropocene says:

        Yes..except that at the time, I thought the “Morgansect” was very much a shark-jump, especially the way it was done (Intersect glasses lying around with a sticky note from Beckman? come on!). The reason for it became evident once S5 got underway, but perhaps the malevolent Decker and a looming conspiracy would have sufficed as the S4 finale cliffhanger, with the Morgansect coming in ep 5.01. That’s assuming, of course, that the writers would have made more of that conspiracy than they actually did!

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah you’re right Anthro, there was some concern about Morgansect. I guess I was willing to laugh at the gag, but there was a bit of concern about where things might be heading and I can see where some might call it a shark jumping moment.

  10. Martin Traynor says:

    Morgansect, in theory, didn’t bother me too much, especially as a way to end season 4. In practice, it wasn’t that bad to me, but not as good as it could have been. Would I have gone there? No. I liked Chuck being the only person who could handle the intersect. Turns out, even though it was a flawed version, he was the only person who could handle it (except for maybe his father). This just went another step in proving that, with a little humor and a lot of angst thrown in (memory loss, friendship loss, etc.).

    They sure did like their angst on Chuck, didn’t they?

    And speaking of angst, they were sure grasping at straws at this point in the C/S relationship to play up the angst for humor. I’ll say it again and again, though. At least it wasn’t external angst brought about by a third party suitor for the rest of the show.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah I agree with all of that. And some of the angst, like Sarah arresting mom, struck me as perfectly fitting the show and characters.

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