She Said: Chuck 5.02 For Chuck vs the Bearded Bandit

One question: Who’s Luke Skywalker?

After a fun, but rather uneven premiere, today’s episode was fast and furious with quite a bit of advancement of both the Buy More and Carmichael Industry plots. Those who were upset that it seemed like others could handle the Intersect after we were told that Chuck was special, can take solace in the fact that Morgan, who by now has had the Intersect longer than anyone without the last name of Bartowski or Winterbottom, is clearly not handling it well. Unlike Chuck, where the Intersect usually brought out the best in him, it’s clearly bringing out the worst in Morgan. After several years of character growth, he’s regressing quickly. Not only that, but it seems to multiply his insecurities and paranoia and is clearly affecting his memory as well. I was struck by the parallels between Morgan’s behavior and Ron Weasley’s when he was wearing the Horcrux around his neck in Harry Potter and the Dealthy Hallows. Like Ron, I think it’s safe to assume that he will eventually find his way back to his friends, but it should be an interesting journey!

Morgan haters will no doubt see this episode as justification of their complaints; however, I think it’s a great plot development. There are few people who can hurt Chuck more emotionally and now professionally, than Morgan. Not to mention the fact that Morgan risked getting them both killed at the Circle K (starting place of many excellent adventures!) and at their client’s office fortress. Makes me think back to the conversation Chuck once had with Sarah when he told her that Morgan would be there for him long after she and everyone was gone. Very ironic after the events of this episode (and what appears to be coming next week!) Unlike many fans, though, Chuck will blame the Intersect and not Morgan for his recent actions. My prediction is that Ellie will eventually be the one to save Morgan from the Intersect.

The Buy More subplot fit much better into the big picture this week and was fun without being annoying. Big Mike’s 70s commercial was awesome and the new commercial outtakes were also funny. The choice of Awesome as their spokesperson was obvious, but no less enjoyable (if only he’d taken his shirt off!). It’s nice to see a guy get the wind machine treatment coming in the Buy More doors for a change!

The initial scene of Carmichael Industries trying to sell themselves at the convention was hilariously awkward and it only got worse when Verbanski Corp showed up in full swat team mode. The whole episode emphasized how different life in the private sector is from how things were back when they worked with the CIA. They no longer have the back-up that they used to have, nor the man power. Additionally, whereas before they could also generally trust that they were risking their lives for the greater good, now things are much more morally ambiguous as in the case of this weeks’ client who tricked them into finding his brother so he could kill him instead of protecting him.

So far, I’m very intrigued by the entrance of Gertrude Verbanski and her company. We haven’t seen anyone get Casey this hot and bothered in a long time (ever?). Her company is everything that I think Chuck, Sarah and Casey hoped Carmichael Industries would be, but instead they are forced to resort to Casey baking to try to seal the deal with prospective clients. Sarah having to hire Verbanski to save Chuck and Morgan just added salt to the wound…and then Morgan went for the ultimate betrayal.  I wonder if Verbanski will be any more effective at controlling him than Chuck was. I can see him becoming a pretty major liability quickly. The thought has crossed my mind that maybe he isn’t actually betraying Carmichael Industries and is going to bring Verbanski down from within… I can’t hazard a guess as to how this whole situation will be resolved, but I’m excited to watch and see!

Other thoughts and memorable quotes:

I bet Sarah and Chuck could buy the house with the red door if they sold the Lotus….just sayin’

Chuck’s definitely been taking some serious defense classes

“It made a nasty scar, right over one of my favorite scars” – Casey, describing an encounter with Gertrude

“scary, exciting, your hormones are all out of whack, you’re really discovering your body” – Chuck, apparently uploading the Intersect and learning to control it is very much like puberty!

“The Buy More seems empty. Are we observing International Pancake Day?” – Big Mike

“Do you even know what ‘bandit’ means?” – Chuck to Morgan at the Circle K

“Me and you are like Batman and Robin…unless you don’t want to be Robin…no one wants to be Robin…we’re Batman and Batman” – Morgan

“First of all, it’s ‘Mrs'” – Sarah correcting Gertrude on her marital status

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  1. I liked the episode overall, however there was one moment that really got me upset. As Sarah is climbing the rocks to reach the safehouse, she talks to Casey about how she went to Verbanski, and specifically says that she doesn’t want to tell Chuck. This, RIGHT AFTER the previous episode where she pries Chuck’s secret from him. Am I missing something, or did the “No lies, no secrets” agreement from S4 get altered? Given how they are both spies, communication and trust is paramount, so one would think they would want to keep to their agreement. E2 was a huge improvement from E1, but this was my one quibble about the writers from this episode.

  2. Nice review I concur with lot of your points but it still had some problems for me perhaps couple of Chuck/Sarah scenes but can understand focus on bromance The Chuck/Morgan relationship is one shows never shock things up before

    I am more concerned with the conspiracy story more than Morgansect though based upon episode ratings casual viewers may not be to tolerate of the story line Nice review thanks for sharing

  3. Hey Cay,
    Thanks for the review. I thought the same thing about the Morgan haters after I watched this ep. But, man I thought it was an awesome episode. It was an action packed episode, but also an emotional roller coaster!! Josh is doing a great job with the change up of character! And I absolutely loved the way Chuck saved Morgan a couple of times!!! My only complaint is why Chuck seems to get blamed for all of it. Casey should remember what it was like when he was Chuck’s handler. My husband says the intersect is only good in Chuck. Morgan will have to get rid of it. (And hopefully soon for the Morgan haters!) But you can’t be a fair weather fan of this show. We’ve stuck with it for five years. Let’s SEe where Chris wants to take the story this last year!!

  4. My question is where is Alex? It would be great to see Casey ask his daughter how to ask a woman out. Plus, wasn’t she dating Morgan? Or has that storyline been ditched?

    • When Chuck and Morgan are in the courtyard, before Chuck asks about “trilogy night” Morgan starts to walk off and says he’s going to meet Alex.

      Plus, one of the articles featuring spoilers from Chris Fedak stipulated that we will be seeing more of Alex. I’m pretty sure we’re going to have her reaction to this whole “Morgansect” thing!

  5. Thanks for the review Cay, I always appreciate the time and effort you put into these. It does concern me though that we’re fighting a little amongst ourselves with lines like ‘Morgan haters will no doubt see this episode as justification of their complaints’ I’m a massive Morgan hater (in the current sub plot) but personally I’m not seeking justification, I’m actually praying to be proven wrong and have his profile in the series reduced. To that effect, I was actually delighted with this episode which for the first time ever I was seriously considering skipping. Don’t get me wrong, I still wanted to harm Morgan on several occasions during this episode (the store scene in particular) but this episode of Chuck while not being a classic has light years ahead of 5.01. Unlike the season opener, this episode gelled together well and there were moments I really loved, Sarah and Casey in the car was great:

    Casey ‘ Have you ever had sex with someone who’s just tried to kill you’
    Sarah ‘ Oh God!’

    I also think you’re spot on Cay with regard to the Buy More subplot fitting in much better, if felt like a season one episode and was really fun. It also gave me great light bulb moment, Jeff does his pitch for the advert and Mike says ‘ you remind me of one of them Troll dolls’ suddenly after after over four years of thinking ‘where the hell have I seen him before?’ Mike nailed it 🙂
    Anyway, to cut a very long story short, this was a massive improvement and it felt like we’ve got Chuck back after a disaster of an opener, it may sound like I’m bitching a lot but I’m really happy.
    Cay, apologies if I’ve misinterpreted your meaning, I know you’re always pretty fair and sometimes we read things differently from the way they’re written.
    Ps. Did anyone else notice that in the final scene over Morgans right shoulder, Gertrude has the same picture of Ronald Reagan on the table as Casey has? I love that little detail.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Rob! I do put a lot of time, effort and thought into my posts but it’s a labor of love!

      I made that statement because there have been a lot of people really unhappy about the Morgansect and threatening not to watch and as I watched this episode, I kept thinking “oh boy, they are going to be really mad now”. Interestingly enough, so far, it seems like most people who aren’t Morgan fans liked the episode. Glad to be wrong!

  6. Why isn’t nbc making this ep available on line?

    • I know that CBS has stopped putting certain shows up online in an attempt to get people to watch it live in the past. Maybe NBC is making the same grotesque mistake. I say mistake since they still make money showing the episodes online with there ads through out the show for crying out loud. . .plus the added bonus of fans being able to watch episodes multiple times each week. Also it sends us fans to the alternate websites where NBC doesn’t make any money off of their creation with the link from Brandon and the plethora of other links that can be found on the web. (advertisement free I might add)

      A question for your contacts at the studio perhaps?

  7. Casey not getting hot and bothered before? How soon they forget!

    1. Chuck vs the Undercover Lover [Casey/Ilsa]

    2. Casey handcuffed to the bed by Carina [“Like Prague again, eh Casey”, said Sarah]

    • Philippa,
      I didn’t forget those instances, but he initially tried to avoid Ilsa until Chuck got involved and there wasn’t any chemistry with Carina – you knew it wasn’t going anywhere.

      Getrude, on the other hand, he got so wrapped up in thinking about her that he almost let Sarah fall when she was climbing and then later they had the discussion in the car, he was checking out her website, and then we see him role playing a phone call to ask her out. All of this despite the fact that she’s their biggest competitor and has so far given him the cold shoulder. That’s more hot and bothered than we’ve seen Casey. It’s more like what Chuck used to do over Sarah!

  8. I think It’s wierd Morgan is a spy because In season 4 he told Alex he wouldn’t be a spy and now he Is…..

  9. I actually really enjoyed the episode and I love how the intersect is effecting Morgan, especially at the end where he asked who Luke Skywalker – didnt see that coming! Haha
    And Chuck is definitely doing good without the intersect, clearly able to defend himself when the time comes.
    Plus I love the fact that Casey is getting a love interest….bout time they spiced up his love life!
    As great as the episode was however, I had hoped there would have been more Chuck/Sarah moments but the last scene together did suffice 🙂
    Thanks for the review!

  10. I don’t quite get why Chuck has to get the Intersect back. Having images programming the neurons in his brain, to trigger certain impulses (a.k.a. Flashes/Zooms), is not very impressive.

    Even though Chuck might have a brain, with more connections than the other person, allowing the Intersect affected functions to bypass the personality parts of his brain, thus not changing his character, doesn’t make him impressive. Having him train, the long and hard way, to try to regain something that was easy for him before, would be a feat worthy of recognition. Though my view is heavily biased, as I would like to se a training sequence/montage with Sarah and Casey.

    The episode was pretty good, I don’t know much about the science of pacing, editing and other stuff, but I felt that it drove itself forward instead of my loyalty to the show, as some episodes have.

    The rock climbing scene was cool, but they should have included Captain Awesome. He apparently knows one or two things about rock climbing, maybe he would have chiseled his face in the rocks while the others were infiltrating the base. Morgan still kicks ass and is very funny, I guess I can thank him for training my abs once a week. If I get a six-pack by the end of the season, I’m buying the S5 box-set immediately, as opposed to waiting one year for a cheaper price.

  11. Seems to be very good episode. And this whole storyline about Morgan going bad is very intresting and nice to see that Chuck is still special 🙂

  12. As a person who isn’t fond of Morgansect, I LOVED this episode!! Better written, better paced and funny!! Just fun, fun, fun!! And I was a bit worried I wouldn’t watch because of my disdain for all things Morgan, but I am glad I stayed around!

  13. Loved it. Even better on rewatch, I picked up things I didn’t b4. Loving the Morgan storyline, loving how they r handling chuck without the intersect, looking forward to the rest of the season.

  14. I often love Morgan, but when I don’t I find him very irritating, and that’s what’s happening this season. With only 13 episodes to wrap up the series, why’d they have to waste time with a repetition of the “Intersect takes over the personality” plot of Hartley Winterbottom/Alexi Volkoff?

    I also dislike the first 2 episodes of season 3, then would up loving that season immensely, o I’m willing to give the writers some leeway, but they’re running out of time.

  15. I hate to be a downer here but my wife and I both HATED this episode. I don’t hate Morgan but I loath the Mogansect story line and based on viewership, I’m not alone. I also hate seeing the team as bumbling idiots. The best team the CIA had can’t get any clients or complete simple missions now. I’m trying to hang in there but I don’t even recognize the show the last two weeks.

    • I have to be honest and say that I think your characterisation of them as bumbling is wrong andd i will tell you why. You say that they were the CIAs best but thatt was easy they just did what they were told by Beckman etc now they have to get clients. They all have a conscience and unlike Verbanski they would not do things that they know are wrong. Chuck esecially wants to do what is right to help people and we know he is against killing so now they are for hire it jst makes sense to me that they would have to turn down customers, The fact is that they completed the mission succesfully they got into the house and would have got the guy out without even seeing the guards so they are hardly portrayed as bumbling there.
      There presenation at the begining was basic (but as they have no employees what would you expect) and I could have done without the problem with the button but as ex CIA, NSA they are not the type of people that would talk in detail about things they had to do as a: not in there character and b: illegal.

    • Best CIA team had CIA and military intelligence agencies helping them set up missions. Don’t have those contacts anymore and it only going to be Beckman off record to get anything close. Even Decker and his supporting group are going to do what they can to prevent it from happening even more.

      Someone put a virus in the Intersect code that Morgan accidentally downloaded, an intersect download meet for Chuck . A way to destroy him and perhaps control him by Decker. Who knows Morgan may have actually done Chuck a favor…ironic?

      • I’d wondered the same thing – is the Intersect compromised, or can Morgan just not handle it. Obviously it was meant for Chuck and I wonder if Decker is involved. It’s an intriguing plot idea.

  16. Some fans look at Morgansect and see a wasted storyline and a waste of time so close to the end of the series. I thought Morgan wouldn’t have intersect problems until the mid way point, so if you look at it that way…it could have been much worse…lol.

    But seriously, I don’t see this as a waste of time at all. What I see is that Chuck is now in a new situation. He is in a postion to help another intersected person, and use all his past expeirience as the intersect and as a spy to do so. It just so happens that this intersected person is Morgan. In addition, it brings the plotline full cirlce, in that now Chuck is the one protecting an “asset”. Granted, it didn’t go very well, but he has now got to learn how to be a “handler” , he even acknowledged as much in the episode.

    I think this is where the writers wanted to take the show once they found out this would be the last season. They wanted Chuck in this new situation to show how far Chuck has come and grown from the beginning of the series to now. (Smallville did something very similar in their last season as well). However, they also had to have the intersect mess with Morgans brain, because this is established in the mythology of the show.

    So right now there are two (what should be seperate storlines) being interwoven between each other, and I for one am quite interseted to see what happens.

    ps. For those of you still not happy with Morgansect, if the writers want Chuck in a mentor/handler type of postition this year or at least the first few eps, (and I think they do because it just makes sense from a storytelling perspective with this being the last season and all) would you have rather them: a) Put the intersect in a new character? b) Introduce a new character but, with no intersect? Or c) Have Chuck “handle” an itersectless Morgan? O, and in all these options Chuck does not have an intersect.

  17. Hi, I wonder if it really will air 2 episodes of Chuck November 18 because i’ve seen it posted on numerous sights.

  18. I think these episodes with Morgan and the intersect are quite interesting, it brings tension to the group and viewers.
    I don’t see why people hate it and want stories with Chuck as the intersect saving the day. As much as I love it, we’ve seen two seasons of this, I welcome the Morgansect, its as Fedak says a “Game Changer”. It changes the dynamics and perspectives.
    Also Chuck needs to lead, and what better way than having him use his smarts and his brain without the Intersect.
    You don’t see close characters turning on each other, especially people as close as Chuck and Morgan.

    Also I agree with your review Cay 🙂

    • I, too, agree with your review Cay and I agree with you Jake…things needed to be shaken up a bit and I love the tension between Chuck and Morgan and the whole team for that matter. They are all going through growing pains because their whole spy world was basically shaken up when Chuck had the intersect suppressed and they were fired from the CIA. It is too bad that some viewers are having such a hard time with this.
      I just watched this episode again and I ALWAYS get more out of the episodes the second and third times around. There is so much to take in from each episode that it is hard to catch it all the first time.
      I thoroughly enjoyed Big Mikes’ part in helping to get the Buy More more customers…perfect spokesman in Awesome.
      I will say it again…I LOVE THIS SHOW.

  19. Was I the only one that was hoping that Morgan would get blown away by that shotgun? Does that make me a bad person?

    • I was in the same boat. I’ve always liked Morgan but at some point I wanted someone to at least sail one past his head to get the point across. I’m truely glad your all enjoy this season but I am not. Furthermore I feel the Morgansect story line is dumb. The writters set up so many great story lines over the years that were never developed. We still know very little about Sarah or Casey’s pasts. They could have explored Papa and Mama B’s backgrounds more too and it would have allowed them to bring SB back. All of these story lines would be more interesting to me than Morgansect. In the end I feel the show failed to thrive because the writters kept rehashing versions of the same storyline. Chuck has the intersect, then Papa B gets it out, then he gets it back oops…lost it again, oh now its back , nope gone again, oh now Morgan has it. ….plus how many love triangles did we really need? Don’t get me wrong, I love the show but there is so much more I’d have loved to see that I’ll never get to experience now. Oh well…I still plan on watching the rest of the season and am glad for a really fun show.

  20. I liked the episode much better than the first one. The buy more scenes were funny, Morgan wont have the intersect for long. Thank you writers for moving that along fast. The only thing I didn’t like was how does chuck not know Sarah runs in the Morning. Isn’t he married to her. Also the full episode is on NBC website, now.

  21. Why is it that this eposiode (5.2) is not available on… or anywhere else for that matter? If NBC wants to put the nail in this series’ coffin, that’s the way to do it. It worked beautifully for V.

  22. this is kind of remarkable. Not on NBC.COM, not on Hulu and not for sale in iTunes. Some of us didn’t have power Friday (thanks CL&P) and would love to catch up before this Friday. Not to mention as others noted this is a great way to drive viewership even further down.

    • Yep, still not up on NBC. . .major fail NBC. Not to mention the power issues that some had, others have to work at the same time as it’s showing. . .and not everyone has TEVO.

  23. E2 better than E1, BUT I still feel like the Chuck and Sarah relationship is still missing and when they actually interact it is like they barely know one another. Let alone married. The first four years of their relationship was probably the best I have seen for a couple on TV (me=67yrs old too). And it is the primary reason I watch Chuck. As another viewer said- their chemistry is so great to watch. They are beautiful together. Remember- voted hottest, or best, couple on TV series. Am I overreacting here?