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Wow, talk about mind games! We’re definitely in the homestretch! With two episodes (and one week) to go, we finally know what the endgame will be and I think it caught a lot of fans (including me) by surprise.
In the last seconds of last week’s episode, Sarah uploaded the (bugged) Intersect so she could save herself and Casey. This week’s story picks up with Chuck held captive by Quinn in a bullet train in Tokyo. Quinn is taking him to his base where he wants him to fix the Intersect for him. Quinn tells Chuck that Casey and Sarah have delivered the Intersect glasses to his henchmen and were then killed. When Quinn leaves the train compartment, Chuck attempts to escape, but is caught by Quinn’s henchmen.
As one would expect, Casey and Sarah are not, in fact, deceased. It turns out that it was Sarah, using the Intersect, who sent the message to Quinn reporting their deaths. They sneak aboard the train in the cargo car in some pretty fancy coffins (with their names on the outside?!) and show up right after Chuck is caught by Quinn’s henchmen. It should come as no surprise that Sarah is about as awesome as it is possible to be with the Intersect on board and she quickly apprehends the goons and tosses them from the train window. Chuck is impressed by her skills and she tells him she’s been working on some new moves.
Chuck and Sarah head back to the baggage car to get Casey. They try to get off the train but they can’t override the computer. Quinn shows up and Sarah quickly incapacitates him and they lock him in one of the coffins. Sarah slips and uses the word “flash” and has to come clean to Chuck about the Intersect. Yes, she did upload a faulty copy like Morgan’s, but she’s not worried, because it took a month before Morgan started to lose his social skills and memory.
Back in Burbank, Ellie, Devon, Alex and Morgan are in Castle. Ellie has Morgan hooked up to a bunch of electrodes and is trying to figure out what made the Intersect malfunction and how they can save Sarah from the same fate. Ellie eventually realizes that it’s the number of flashes, rather than the amount of time that the Intersect is uploaded, that really matters. Morgan is antsy because he wants to be in Japan with the team rather than stuck in Castle as a lab rat, so Alex offers to get him some of his favorite snacks to placate him. She heads up to the Buy More.
At the Buy More, the “flu bus” is in the parking lot and they are offering free flu shots to employees. Big Mike is not in the mood for a flu shot as he doesn’t believe in vaccines and he’s had about enough of dealing with Lester. Jeff and Lester get together after Big Mike tells Lester off and Jeff tries to get Lester to get back involved with their quest to get to the bottom of what’s been happening to them lately. He’s sure that someone has tried to wipe their memories. Meanwhile, Alex comes up for snacks and gets kidnapped by the “flu bus” people while Jeffster watches. Jeff is determined to save her and find the truth, even if they have to face “mortal danger”.
Back on the train, Chuck and Sarah decide to pass the time until the next station by “practicing making a family” in one of the train compartments. Afterward, they lay together in bed while Chuck draws a picture of the two of them together, in front of a house with a picket fence, with Sarah holding a baby. Their romantic moment is interrupted by a text from Casey – he needs a break from watching Quinn. Chuck and Sarah head back to the baggage car where they find an empty coffin and Casey, who pulls a gun on them.
Quinn has abducted Alex and is going to kill her if he doesn’t do what Quinn says. Casey manages to get a message to Chuck without alerting Quinn. Chuck texts Morgan and tells him to find Alex and save her. Morgan and Devon spring into action. Luckily for them, Jeffster is on the case and they have already sugared the gas tank of the “flu bus”, disabling it.
In the train dining car, Quinn tells Chuck and Sarah that he wants the Intersect. He has the glasses and he know that one of them has the Intersect. If he doesn’t call his men every half hour, Alex will be killed. Quinn wants them to obtain a “pristine” version of the Intersect from a government computer and reload the glasses for him. After they buy Alex another half hour, Sarah flashes and takes out Quinn, throwing him out the window of the train even as Chuck and Casey yell to her to stop because they may need him to find Alex. Turns out that Sarah can’t control the Intersect anymore. Even worse, seconds later, she falls to the floor as pain shoots through her head.
Chuck calls Ellie and she tells him that it is imperative that Sarah not flash anymore. It turns out that flashing 40 (!) times in 2 days is not healthy… Chuck needs to keep her from flashing until Beckman or Ellie can suppress the Intersect. The problem is that Sarah can’t stop from flashing. Ellie suggests that Chuck can try to make his own suppression device and Ellie can send him the program. Chuck steals a bunch of electronics (including a [easyazon-link asin="B001KMRN0M"]PSP[/easyazon-link], of course!) from the people on the train and goes to work. He’s almost done downloading the suppression program when the train Internet connection fails. At the same time, Chuck and Sarah realize that Sarah is starting to lose her memory – she doesn’t remember who Alex is!
Casey contacts Morgan and tells him that he needs to save Alex. Devon will help him and be “the magnet” and he is going to pick a fire fight with the agents in the bus. Devon and Morgan arm themselves from the arsenal in the back of Casey’s Crown Vic. Before they can mount their offensive, however, one of Quinn’s goons sneaks up on them and apprehends them. Morgan’s earpiece falls to the pavement where Jeffster finds it. Casey is forced to come mostly clean to Jeff and Lester, telling them that he, Sarah, and Chuck are government agents and their country (“Canada?”) needs them. It takes them a while to believe him, but they agree to help. They also [over]arm themselves from the Crown Vic trunk.
Back in Japan, apparently Quinn is NOT dead (surprise, surprise!) and has apparently just been hanging onto the train (REALLY? It’s going 200 mph!!!). He opens a maintenance hatch, scares a bunch of Japanese travelers, and re-enters the train.
Back in Burbank, Jeff and Lester break into the bus intercom system and lure one of the Quinn’s men outside where he sees Lester dressed as a cross between [easyazon-link asin="B0015XHP2W"]Rambo[/easyazon-link] and [easyazon-link asin="B000F9RB9Y"]The Terminator[/easyazon-link], complete with a rocket launcher, body armor, his Nerd Herd tie as a headband, and a large cigar. The flu bus guy isn’t buying it, though, until Jeff shows up behind him with a flamethrower and he surrenders. They rescue Morgan, Devon, and Alex and tie up the flu bus agents. In repayment, Jeffster wants the truth and so Morgan takes them to Castle where they pretty much have to touch everything.
Back in Japan, Chuck goes to repair the train’s internet connection and is attacked by Quinn. Turns out Quinn’s been a bit obsessed with the Intersect’s programming, so we have the battle of the “used to have Intersect” with the “want to have Intersect”. They fight and eventually Quinn seems to have the upper hand over Chuck until Casey shows up. Quinn takes a train crewmember hostage and escapes. Sarah leaves the compartment to go after him and Quinn locks the doors between the cars so that Chuck and Casey can’t get to Sarah. Sarah tries not to flash and Quinn quickly tranqs her. He then separates the baggage car from the rest of the train and Chuck and Casey watch as Sarah and Quinn move away at 200 mph.
We next see Sarah in a warehouse, tied to a chair (apparently back in the LA area). Quinn is going to suppress the Intersect, but he’s going to do it by suppressing her memories entirely. Then he’ll use her to get a clean version of the Intersect. He shows her “flash cards” with images that he knows are in the Intersect and with each flash, she loses another memory.
Chuck and Morgan are in Castle and Chuck is frantic, trying to figure out where Sarah could be. They get a signal from Sarah’s emergency beacon and realize that she’s close by. Chuck, Casey, and Morgan go to save her, but when they get to the warehouse, it’s empty. All they find is a note that says “nice try” next to her emergency beacon. Casey assures Chuck that they will find her.
In the next scene, it’s morning and Sarah wakes up in bed wearing familiar PJs, in a familiar place – her hotel room/apartment from S1 and 2 (deja vu). There’s a knock at the door (more deja vu!) and she answers it with her gun in hand. Quinn’s at the door. She doesn’t recognize him. He tells her that he’s been her handler for 5 years and that she is recovering from a head injury and just spent a week in the hospital. She doesn’t remember about Japan or the bullet train. He shows her a picture of Chuck and she doesn’t recognize him. He tells her that Chuck is the reason that her last mission failed and gives her a new mission – kill Chuck Bartowski!!!
I knew that we were in for a tense episode, but I didn’t foresee where the story was going to end up at all this time. Overall, I really liked the episode. We got more [initial] closure in the Chuck and Sarah relationship, more Bartowski family togetherness, and more excellent use of Jeffster as comic relief. I take back every thought I had and comment I may have made during seasons 3 and 4 that might have suggested that they were past their prime. Their involvement in the past few episodes has been hilarious!
The only thing I wasn’t fond of in the episode was the whole Quinn character. I reserved judgement on him last week, but now I have to say that for him to have such an important role in the series, I’m just not impressed with the character. Chuck has had so many great villains over the seasons – Roark, Shaw, Volkoff, Decker, etc – that Quinn seems very one-dimensional in comparison. Not sure if it’s the acting or writing, but the character is just not as believable as I would like, even though I’m okay with the motivations that he’s been given. On paper it seems okay, but it just isn’t working for me on screen. The major leap of faith required to believe that Quinn managed to hang onto the side of a speeding bullet train for a half hour or more certainly did nothing to add to the credibility of the character, either.
That said, I loved the twist of Sarah losing her memory and starting over again, thinking she needs to kill Chuck. I’m sure this idea has been used before in other stories, but all I could think of was the similar “hijacking” of a character in the [easyazon-link asin="0545265355"]The Hunger Games Trilogy[/easyazon-link], another obsession of mine. Just like in that series, this revelation is going to make for an exciting, emotional episode next week and brings a lot more meaning to episode 5.12′s title: Chuck vs Sarah. For all of you who couldn’t sleep last night worrying that Chuck or Sarah is going to die or not end up together, take a deep breath. I’m confident that they will get their happily ever after, even if the path there isn’t as smooth as they had hoped. Whatever happens, one thing is for certain: by this time next week, we’ll all know how it ends!
Memorable quotes and other notables:
Chuck’s wedding ring is a lock pick!
Retro opening credits! (although I missed Short Skirt, Long Jacket)
…hey guys, it was stuffy in here, so I thought I’d open a window…try to escape – Chuck
That was some major ass whooping, honey! What have you been taking? Strip kick? – Chuck
Did anything different happen on missions? – Ellie
Yeah, I started wearing tight slacks – Morgan
I don’t want to live my life in danger anymore! I’m ready to retire and start a family – Sarah
Is it really your destiny to be a complete moron? – Big Mike to Lester
The newly unimpaired you is a master…of the obvious! – Lester to Jeff
We should be keen and clever, utilizing our unique talents. – Jeff
Do we have any of those? – Lester
I think you are uniquely wasteful and destructive! – Jeff
Leave the heavy stuff, you’ll just blow yourself up! – Casey to Morgan and Devon
They may seem like botulism victims, but they are loyal – Chuck (funny line, but I’m thinking the writer knew nothing about botulism!)
You are out-manned, out-gunned and out…side. And it’s a lovely day, so put down your gun and no one gets hurt! – Lester (he needs to work on his bad ass routine!)
What did you think of the episode? Be sure to watch the finale next Friday, Jan 27th, from 8-10pm on NBC! (sniff, sniff, blink, blink)