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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Chuck: "Chuck Vs. The Suitcase"

Illustration for article titled Chuck: "Chuck Vs. The Suitcase"
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Chuck is a stubborn guy. There could be a naked woman with a gun to his head, and he'll refuse to look at her because it would constitute some form of twisted cheating that only the most jealous girlfriend in the universe would hold him to. He also refuses to kill anyone. He's so gosh-darn stubborn!

In any case, this usually means that Chuck will refuse to let anything go, and the bulk of his emotional baggage will carry with him onto the mission at hand. It was one thing when it was him pining away for Sarah in isolation and futzing up his Intersect; it's another that he and Sarah are in a relationship that will never feel secure. The show spent so much time getting them together, only to thrust Chuck into this weird relationship limbo that feels more annoying because, like last week's episode, it's a step back in the grand scheme.

I otherwise thoroughly enjoyed "Chuck Vs. The Suitcase," an ass-kicking, ass-groping, ass-grazing episode of Chuck that felt like it was back to season three form. Chuck and Sarah are tasked with taking down an operative under cover as an international modeling sensation (some cover). She traverses the world, attends lavish parties, and makes shady weapons deals in the process. They track this woman to a highfalutin hotel, blowing their cover by trying to intercept a perceived deal in the lobby. Later they break into her room to steal the weapon, and they encounter a sopping-wet model and her Lou Ferrigno bodyguard. Then, when they realize the dress is the key to the whole honing-bullet technology, they go back to Milan where Sarah and Karolina Kurkova duke it out on the runway.

That scene escalated out of nowhere, and the previous scenes had a sense of danger building to a violent climax. It's just that along the way, Chuck and Sarah insisted on having relationship talks about why Sarah can't find it in her to unpack her suitcase. When the discussion is nuanced, like Sarah complaining that Chuck's last words were almost "I still love you," it makes for some unexpected comedy. But for the most part it gets brought up, then harped upon by the neurotic Chuck.

Personally I want to know more about the neurotic Sarah. We've learned so little about her since the show debuted, reserving bursts of information for special episodes involving her past. Now that Casey has a daughter in his life and Beckman is appearing each week in the flesh, Sarah is probably the character we know the least about. The wide-open eyes at the end of the episode—while Chuck somehow finds it in himself to resist ravaging Sarah's barely concealed body—hint at some secrets we've yet to learn, and given the predictability of last week's secrets, it'll be nice to have some fresh ones.

"Chuck Vs. The Suitcase," though, felt like less of a wind-up than last week's episode and contained a few other flourishes reminiscent of Chuck's heyday. For one, there were the guest stars, which included Bronson Pinchot saying one line in French and the mother fuckin' Old Spice guy being awesome as usual. This episode also marked the return of Jeff and Lester and the other gangly teenagers to the newly revamped Buy More, a brilliantly executed move by Morgan and the Chuck writing staff. (Basically the Buy More was operating so well under CIA guidance that Morgan worried people would get suspicious—and they were.) There were also moments when Chuck slapped The Hulk with a leather glove and uttered the phrase "quite fetching." Chuck is still a spy show trafficking in affable accessibility; it just needs to tinker with its underlying emotional track.


Stray observations:

  • With the addition of those crazy bullets this week, I'm kind of hoping season four becomes the season of wacky weapons.
  • One bad part of the "still love me?" part: That painful record scratch-like break. Retire, please.
  • "There's a rumor that you're pregnant. Is there room in that womb for two?"