Chuck 5.04 Chuck vs the Business Trip

Yippee ki-yay…

I’m starting to think that every episode this season is going to be 2-3 episodes packed in one. While there was a lot going in all the episodes so far this season, Business Trip took the cake. It was a nonstop mix of witty dialogue, pop culture references, and life-threatening and life-altering plot twists. Kind of amazing that several major characters have a contract out on them and two major characters get arrested for murder or attempted murder in the same episode where a guy with a rabbit suit propositions Sarah and Chuck wears a lei and goes swimming with his clothes on after having a discussion about Champaign, IL and corn, but that’s Chuck for you! (BTW, we were back to “here’s a few things you need to know” to start out the episode.)

Chuck and Sarah’s preoccupation with being a “normal couple” this week of course demonstrated exactly how “non-normal” they actually are. After all, what’s more normal than going undercover at their store’s corporate convention looking for an assassin? There was an interesting role reversal between Chuck and Sarah this episode – Chuck is the rational spy where Sarah is the vulnerable one. While she’s delighting in being with “normal” people at the Buy More convention (c’mon, those are NOT normal people!), getting excited about making a new friend, and ignoring the fact that Lester is trying to asphyxiate everyone inside the Buy More, Chuck is defusing bombs and unraveling the tenuous assassin situation.

Once again Chuck picks out the right baddie right away and then dismisses his suspicions (the other was in CAT Squad), but he redeems himself later by figuring it out and saving Sarah from the car bomb. I’m not sure how I feel about how vulnerable (and not very smart) Sarah  seemed to be in much of this episode, but if you usually follow my recaps, you know that I love it when Chuck steps up and uses his natural skills. Thankfully, Sarah is back in full-blown spy mode by the end of the episode when her and Casey realize that Decker is not done with them and agree on Casey’s fateful mission.

As many fans have hoped, the Morgansect is no more! However, it’s left lingering effects as the part of Morgan’s brain that held much of his pop culture knowledge is apparently forever damaged. This Trojan Intersect sequelae led to some entertaining scenes (especially for those of us also pop culture obsessed) as the re-education of Morgan Grimes begins with a Star Wars marathon. Although Sarah and Chuck seem to have completely forgiven Morgan, Casey definitely has not put aside Morgan’s treatment of Alex or his betrayal of the group and he takes it out on Morgan by constantly needling him, threatening to kill him and spoiling his re-education (e.g. by telling him that Phantom Menace is everyone’s favorite Star Wars and then ruining the whole series for him by telling him Vader is Luke’s father and Leia is his sister). By the end of the episode, however, Casey offers to let Morgan move back in and gives him the Indiana Jones trilogy (while assuring him that another movie doesn’t exist – granted the Crystal Skull was not quite up to par, but still…) as a gift.

For anyone who had any doubts, Lester is NOT handling the loss of “old Jeff” well. As a matter of fact, he comes completely off his rocker and attempts to poison Jeff with carbon monoxide inside the Buy More break room so he can get him back. This scheme of course fails when Big Mike proves much less tolerant of carbon monoxide than Jeff and the Buy More has to be evacuated. This time, Lester’s antics have gone too far and Jeff calls the cops and he is arrested for attempted murder. It sounds really dark to recap it here and it wasn’t much funnier on-screen, proving too things: 1) carbon monoxide poisoning just isn’t very funny 2) there is a line over which Jeffster antics go from entertaining (think Push It and Saskatchewan Hin-Jew love nest) to downright horrifying.

Definitely a strange episode overall, but without a doubt it kept my attention even on the second viewing and sets up some interesting questions for the rest of the season. How will Casey beat a conviction for killing a half dozen agents in cold blood? (It’s not self defense just because they were *planning* to kill him.) Will Lester meet Jeff’s mom in prison (is she actually in prison?) Why does Decker want Chuck and Sarah alive? Are Morgan and Alex really done?

I’ll catch you later, I have to go settle an “unfortunate kill order mishap”. While I’m gone, tell us all what you thought of the episode!

Memorable quotes and other thoughts (lots this week!):
“Leave it to the three friends you recently stabbed in the back” – Casey, assuring Morgan that they will protect him

“So shocked you people are running out of money” – Beckman, surveying all the video games in Castle

“Stop playing with government toys, you have plenty of your own” – Beckman, to Morgan

“…selling fine goods to the few people who haven’t discovered Amazon” – Big Mike, rallying the Buy Morians

“It’s just that my best friend is being hunted, his brain almost turned to mush, I haven’t slept in a week worrying about our family business that’s on the brink of bankruptcy…I just wonder what it would be like to be a normal couple…more taco nights, less evil cabals” – Chuck

“Good afternoon, I hear we are having the most unfortunate kill order mishap” – Decker (Richard Burgi does a fabulous job pulling off lines like this!)

“Sometimes I think you are a bad person…now undo what you’ve done!” – Jeff, to Lester

“You would need some serious hormone injections to get a beard like that” – Awesome to Chuck, hearing that he was impersonating Morgan

“My husband was the best human target a wife could ask for” – Sarah

Casey kills at least half a dozen people, but still shows up to the party with a bottle of wine (although he’s definitely rattled)

I loved that Jeff was the one to point out to Awesome that Ellie isn’t happy being away from the baby.

Still not clear if anyone knows that Chuck owns the Buy More – Jeff calls him to ask about the Buy More convention and he also addresses the group – is this his natural leadership with him stepping in for the absent Morgan, or do they know he has some sort of greater role than Nerd Herd?

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    There were too many great lines & scenes to mention, but I loved Casey telling Morgan about Darth Vader & Luke Skywalker (“Still Angry!”). And Beckman’s line about why they ran out of money upon seeing the pinball machines/video games in Castle. (And, seriously, shouldn’t Carmichael industries have contacted NBC and offered to underwrite another season or two before they spent everything?)

    I loved Sarah’s continuing evolution into a person craving a “normal” life with “normal” friends.

    I enjoyed the Jeffster part of the storyline, & Big Mike cracked me up when he said he was going to get his camera when he found Jeff reading a book (which Lester promptly swatted away). Did you all notice that when Lester gassed him, Big Mike was eating a bowl of Cheese Balls washed down with a can of Red Bull? I guess Subway’s product placement deal expired.

    Loved that the WHOLE cast was effectively used in the episode.

    I’m wondering if we got a clue into the mastermind of the whole plot when Decker told Viper that every but Carmichael and Walker are expendable. Why Sarah? Especially if the idea is for Chuck to fail, why not eliminate her? Is it somebody who cares about her, like her Mom, or Bryce?

    Only two little quibbles: Morgan’s last fling with the intersect felt gratuitous, especially since Beckman never would have stood for being kept waiting while he did it (and since the fans in general didn’t like Morgansect). And I didn’t like Alex & Morgan breaking up. I hope that’s fixed before the end.

    • And as for everything going so fast, remember that worked really well in season 3, when they thought they only had 13 episodes, which might be the final ones of the series. Starting mid-way through those 13, they started throwing in tons of developments in each episode, leading to great episodes such as Versus The Beard, Versus The Fake Name, Versus The Other Guy, Versus The Tic Tac, etc.

      It always surprises me when so many fans say they didn’t love that season, because I remember the episode reviews and fan reactions to be mostly uber-positive. And remember, that season extra six episodes ended with Versus The Subway & Versus The Ring, Part Deux.

      That was the season that changed me from a fan to a fanantic, and I’m hoping the last nine episodes are up to that standard.

  2. Agreed… finally a good episode this season. It’s the first one that actually “felt” like Chuck. Some crazy characters (frankly, who in their right mind would ever shop at a Buy More), wonderful one-liners from Casey, more Beckman, and finally, some actual passion between Chuck and Sarah. Although I agree with you, Cay, about Sarah’s “helplessness” and not being very “smart” — there’s be a deferential edge to Sarah’s character this season that doesn’t sit too well.

    A couple of glaring issues still: (1) Why is there still such amnesia among the writers about Chuck’s threat to expose Decker re the Agent-X cover-up? Once again, surely, this should have warranted its deployment. (2) Beckman’s comment about her being Decker’s superior doesn’t make sense, given what happened in “Cliffhanger” and so far this season.

    I also agree with you IrvingAndLisa about Decker’s wanting Chuck AND Sarah spared — I’ve suspected since “Cougars” that Sarah’s mother is a baddie (why else would the CIA have been responsible for arresting her father “in order to protect him”) and I suspect that she’s somehow involved in the conspiracy.

    I certainly think Kristin Newman is the best of the current writers. She showed that definitively in “Phase Three”, and reinforced it with this one. Let’s just hope she’s the one who’s written “vs The Baby”.

  3. Are there any other U of I students/Alumn who were super happy at the “i’m from Champaign-Urbana!” reference? It made me smile!

    also, It did feel like everything’s going super fast, but i’m ok with the quick resolutions of everything because i’d rather they pack in as much as they can (while still making it work and not feel like TOO much, like in season 4’s finale). And I have a feeling Alex and Morgan will get back together at some point.

  4. Getting Casey off is going to be tricky. I’m going with Decker overstepped his bounds on the kill order he made to Viper just before Casey demonstrated what a terrific short-range marksman he is (!) and Beckman (who made a point of telling Decker she’s his boss) shuts him down.

    Also all the prisoners in the local jail took a vote and decided the last person they would want incarcerated with them is John Casey! 😉

    Thanks for the great review (again), Cay. And I loved the “Chuck” roller-coaster too. Glad it’s back.

  5. Hooray indeed! This episode harkened back to the greatness of seasons 2 and 3. For me personally, it had all the things I believe made the characters on this show great. A great but modest/unassuming Chuck, a genuinely conflicted Sarah, an angry and badass Casey, the loveable goofy sidekick Morgan (sans intersect), and side stories with Ellie, Devon, and the Buy Morons that fit perfectly. Capped by a great suspenseful ending, Kristen Newman has made me a believer again (since I was not a big fan of the previous 13 episodes). We even had a little bit of a passionate scene between Chuck and Sarah when they were discussing their non-normal life in the apartment. Only critique I would have is the Mogansect montage, seemed unnecessary and forced.

    It was made up for though by one of the funniest moments in the entire series, which was in the 48th minute of the episode (tv time). Sarah calls Jane (aka viper) while having one foot on the car’s brake and the other on the rear view mirror (impressive, apparently baby Clara isn’t the only one doing yoga) all while wearing a miniskirt of course. This is happening as Chuck is working on the bomb attached to the brake pedal, which places his head in an interesting position. Comedy Gold is then created by Zach as he first stares at Yvonne’s face and then his eyes transition to umm… “somewhere else,” and Zach’s facial expression, followed then with him snapping out of his stare was hilarious. I obviously don’t do it justice in my explanation. Had me on the floor laughing, and thanks to my DVR re-watching it 10 times. I’m sure I’m not the only one who caught it, Great Ep!

  6. did anyone notice that viper used the bond gun the walther ppk

  7. Screencaps… Any chance of having Season 5 ‘done’ and added to the gallery, please?

    • Since the episodes aren’t available on Amazon or iTunes, I don’t have “clean” (e.g. no network IDs or show promos along the bottom) copies to screencap from yet.

  8. One (tongue-in-cheek) thought about who should be behind it all:

    William Bell and Nina Sharpe from FRINGE. They’d actually be perfect choices, along with Walter Bishop.

  9. Great episode!
    I love Jeff’s new vocabulary (“repercussions”…)
    The only thing I didn’t like was Alex’s reason for breaking up (“you’re my hero, not my boyfriend”) and her not saying “I love you” back when they were in a life-threatening situation. It seems inconsistent to me, compared to last week when she was all “I love him!” But let’s see what will happen in the next episodes.

  10. I don’t have a way to re-watch the episode, but I thought Viper said — just before Casey fired — something along the lines of “Say goodbye to your life, John Casey.” That, I would think, would constitute a threat of immediate death or grievous bodily harm, and given that the Viper folks were pointing guns and clearly intent on doing the deed immediately, give Casey a self-defense defense. My guess is that Decker and Beckman have a conversation to that effect, along with her stating that Decker has gone rogue and that it would end bad for him if he presses it, and Casey’s let go. (My guess is that also that if it went to a DA, he’d have a decent chance at avoiding prosecution, although there would be a question of “who initiated” that could affect that.)

    What was the Firefly reference at the end? Missed it.

  11. i think morgan and alex are meant to be together and if they stay broken up due to the intersect screw up that will be really dumb and very disappointing

    • NO! I was rooting for them to break up since season 4, I hope it stays that way

      • why? they’re supposed to be together…

      • I agree with you dudaress. Alex has been a far less interesting character since she hooked up with Morgan. I liked her in Ring Pt II, but not really since. I mean, a martial artist, criminal psych AND Casey’s daughter relegated to Morgan’s love interest.

  12. Loved the episode!

    Food for thought: when the police arrested Lester they had gold badges, when the police arrested Casey they had silver badges. Either the show is just really inconsistent (which unfortunately is a possibility) or somebody got taken by people that aren’t actually the police.

    • I didn’t pick up on that. But I’m assuming that Casey is not going to get due process. He killed federal agents, so it’s a federal offense. Also, everything about the situation would likely be classified and we all know that he’s dangerous as hell. At best, he’ll go to a high security federal pen in isolation. More likely, they’ll throw him a black ops CIA detention facility never to be heard from again (until Sarah and Chuck save him in some way!)

      • Casey killed Federal Agents!? Where in the ep. did it say that The Viper and her men were Federal Agents? I got the distinct impression that they are mercinaries and have no letters in the alphabet soup to consider them Feds.

    • Or Decker used LAPD and Lester was arrested by Burbank PD.

  13. I am squee’ing with delight with this episode. It had its flaws though. But Casey was great; Lester got his comuppance, and I would’ve loved to have seen more of David Koetchner. But I loved the C/S moments, and this Charah shipper was one VERY happy lady!!

  14. One of my favorite spots in this episodes ( and there were many) was when the Buy More people were jumping into the pool. They all looked like they were having so much fun…..and in real life too.
    Oh and one favorite and made me laugh out loud lines was when the Buy More lady, Linda (not the Viper) says to Sarah, ” So seriously, how do you look like this? Ten years at the Buy More, I can’t keep my face out of the cheese balls”. That lady was a hoot. Was hilarious when she jumped into the pool too.
    Ok, I am going to have to watch this episode again tonight

  15. I loved this episode and thought it was the most complete and balanced since Colonel or Ring. All of the cast (including Beckman) having a plotline. The BuyMore and Spy stories in parallel. Humor, tension, passion, mythology…

    But mostly this episode worked because it restored the balance that made Chuck great in season 1 and brilliant in season 2: Chuck is, at best, a reluctant spy. Sarah is longing for something she can’t have. And Casey is the wiseacre cold-school killer.

    Seasons 3 and 4, regardless of what you think of them, simply did not have that balance between the Big 3. Besides, Chuck is ALWAYS better when we know the “big bad” is actually ourselves (or our government.)

    • I even enjoyed the Buy More plot in this episode. This is rare for me, I don’t think I have enjoyed the Buy More stuff this much since S1.

      How great was it to hear PINEAPPLE !!!

      • YESS!!! i LOVE how they keep bringing back small things, like Pineapple! I laughed out loud for that one (:

  16. Let the show end with a pregnant Sara, a Morgan Alex wedding, but in the next episode or 2 let Chuck get the intersect back. Let him be in a situation where it just flashes back. Give us the Chuck that uses his smarts, but also makes use of the intersect too!

    • I agree, give Chuck the intersect back. It is true that he doesn’t need it to be a spy, but as Chuck said himself – the intersect is fun.

  17. I personally love how shaken Casey was after killing the agents, pre-chuck he wouldn’t have cared now he was like shaking. Great character development

    • One thing I’ve seen twice in the comments was a comment about Casey killing Federal Agents. They weren’t agents they were contract killers hired by Decker. That was clearly specified when they were tracking down Viper, and when Chuck was talking to the decoy Viper in Castle.

      • I assumed that some of them were agents, because of the way Viper was talking to them, but you’re right, they could have all been contract killers hired by Decker. Regardless, a man accused of killing a half dozen contract killers hired by a CIA agent to kill him is not going to end up in the regular criminal justice system…

      • I though Viper said to Decker I need to protect my cover. To it sounds like she was CIA.

  18. I think this is by far the best episode of the season.
    I disagree with your statement that it wasn’t self defence. He heard Decker give the kill order, and they all had their guns drawn on him.

    If he had not fired himself he would have been a dead man. You are a fool to wait for the other guy to shoot first before firing yourself.

    He is going to get off because he has a recording of Decker ordering them to kill everyone but Walker and Bartowski. Of course not before Lester and Casey become cell mates for a while.

    Any of you remember in Beefcake, Lester stating that he wouldn’t want to share a cell with Casey. I think now he is going to find out first hand what that is like and it is going to be worse than anything he imagined. LOL

    • Again, not sure our criminal justice system has too much precedent for these types of cases 🙂

      I like the idea of a recording, though. He’ll need something to prove that they were actually a threat to him.

      I doubt Lester and Casey will end up sharing a cell, but it would likely be amusing.

  19. Did anyone notice when John Casey hugged his daughter in the kitchen, that he handed something to Sarah. Could it be the recording of the kill demand btwn Decker and the Viper.

    • I didn’t notice that until I went back to watch it. when he walked in, he was carrying a wine bottle and a black gift bag, but I would love if it was actually something of significance. good eye

  20. I really enjoyed this episode all around. Still Love my Chuck & Sarah scenes & I loved, that they finally seemed to show some of the Romance & Passion that a newlywed couple would truly have for each other.

    Loved Casey, not only protecting himself but the friends he now truly cares about again.

    Loved how they are showing how Gen Beckman really does seem to care about all of them.

    Also, while as I said, I did not like Morgan having the Intersect, I think that they just have to get Morgan & Alex back together. They just fit.

    I really like them together as a couple on screen & “The Bearded One” certainly deserves to be happy.

    Give the man his girl back! LOL!

    Great Episode!


  21. Cay–very good episode,but perhhaps you can enlighten me about the end when Sarah and Casey realize the Decker problem and Casey resolves it. Did Chuck not pick up on this (Sarah and Casey being the more experienced spies), and did neither Sarah or Casey let Chuck in on what was happening? I do not remember Sarah saying anything to Chuck, and I find that mysterious given their closeness. Is she, as in the past, trying to protect Chuck? Could you, or anyone else help me with this? Thank you.

    • Sarah and Casey waited until they were alone to exchange that look that sent Casey out to find Viper. It sure didn’t look like Chuck was in on it, but obviously we can’t be sure. Might be helpful to re-watch the party scene when Casey gets arrested. He didn’t seem particularly surprised and neither did Sarah, but I don’t remember Chuck’s reaction.

      I did notice that Casey handed Sarah stuff, but it looked more like documents to me than a recording. I kind of wondered if it were intel or his spy will or something, after the fact.

  22. There is one overlooked quote when Sarah caught Lester connecting a hose into the van’s exhaust, “keep walking, normal thoughts”. I think it’s epic coming from Sarah!

  23. Anyone find it interesting that Casey is up enough on Star Wars to suggest “Phantom Menace as the “Best””, and tell Morgan about Vader/Luke/Leia and also make an editorial comment about Indianna Jones and the Crystal Skull. Seems like we have a closet nerd here!

  24. Did anyone notice that Jeff was reading “Flowers for Algernon”? Is it a sign we’ll be seeing the old Jeff someday soon as he regresses like the character Charlie?

  25. Help! I missed this episode and was horrified to not be able to watch it through the NBC website – is it available anywhere?

  26. Help – I missed this episode and can’t find it online!

  27. _How will Casey beat a conviction for killing a half dozen agents in cold blood? (It’s not self defense just because they were *planning* to kill him.) _

    Cold blood!? Casey had one come up on him from behind. . .and the others had guns and were coming towards him right?. . .if Casey hadn’t have acted the way he did he’d be pushing up dasies instead of them. That’s my two cents worth anyways.

    Perhaps I should rewatch the scene.

  28. Yep, just rewatched the Casey kills 6 part of the episode. . .and my official assessment is that Col. John Casey was defending his own life killing all 6 of them.

    Kill 1: Man comes up behind Casey, has gun pointed at Casey. The Col. turns and shoots the man point blank.

    Kills 2-6: Hearing the first kill, the other five, including The Viper, come out of the shadows with guns drawn. The Viper states: “John Casey. . .Your life is over.” (pointing gun at him). Rapid fire Casey eliminates the other five threats.

    All kills were to save his own life. Not Murder. Clearly self defence.

    • Moe,
      Yeah, I re-watched too and I agree… that said, I don’t think it will be that simple as him just explaining that it was self defense as it doesn’t seem at this point that Casey has proof that that is what happened. Assuming he ends up in a normal prison with a normal DA, who is going to believe “the CIA is trying to kill me and my friends, so I killed 6 of them singlehandedly in self-defense”.

      Plus, Decker is out to get him and it’s not like the CIA is going to own up to hiring contract killers to off civilians… I think the normal rules of justice don’t necessarily apply here (plus the normal rules often don’t apply on Chuck anyway!)

      I can’t wait to see how it is resolved!

  29. u guys r lucky u r watching chuck.we in africa r still waiting for sn 5.