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Chucking the Summer Away: The belated Chuck Versus the Wookie recap


It’s lame that it’s two days late, but this recap of “Chuck Versus the Wookie” is inspired by my being reminded what an awesome episode this was.

You had surprisingly little Casey for all the funny moments he had, and you had Morgan daring to aspire to a woman light years out of his league. You also had that moment, at the very end, when we learned one true thing about Sarah.

And that’s where I have to jump in, because I’d never realized that Chuck never heard her whisper “Lisa.” It’s really obvious that he’s out of earshot, so I don’t know why I thought he heard it. Anyway, the build-up to that scene came earlier in the episode in the two scenes where, while eating pizza, Chuck noticed Sarah picking the olives off.

I wondered who keeps ordering pizza with toppings they don’t like, but why question it? It was all he knew about her to that point, and the theme of the episode was the idea that she can never give him any more.

I’d even forgotten that Sarah Walker is a cover in itself, as we’re reminded from her reintroduction to Carina (guest star Mini Anden) after they gratuitously (i.e. awesomely) fought in Sarah’s apartment. The theme of this season is that Chuck has to learn to trust Sarah, and that becomes really difficult for him in this episode, mainly by Carina’s manipulation.

The episode all but starts with Sarah lying to Chuck about her past relationship with Bryce Larkin, and Carina blows the lid off that when she summons Chuck for a late-night rendezvous via the Nerd Herd hotline.

So in a goofy episode about a diamond heist and a shockingly hairy guy (who reminded me of Eugene Levy in Armed and Dangerous), you had some fairly significant emotional tension and deeper themes of trust and identity. Impressive stuff. Sarah’s Weinerlicious quick-change in the backseat was cool too.

What jumped out at me after it was over was how Sarah had told Chuck in the beginning that when you’re undercover you’re still yourself. It seemed like a throwaway line until later, when Carina talked about how your undercover identity is almost meaningless and how you can never get close to anyone.

Chuck: So you don’t let anyone know who you really are?

Carina: Can’t. Might have to leave them in five minutes or shoot them in the head. Trust me, the spy doesn’t want you to know anything about who they really are, no matter who you are.

So Chuck fails to trust Sarah at the key moment that he should, and that lets Carina get away with the diamond. Ultimately, though, he convinces Carina to care enough about Sarah to come to her rescue, bringing things full circle.

There was fairly little Buy More action in this episode, and I wonder if it’s a good template for Season 3 if they do in fact plan to scale the scenes there back a bit. You got a little Lester and Jeff (funny stuff, too) and most of the Morgan action took place back at the Awesome’s apartment.

I did love Morgan’s appeal to Carina from the elevator right before she “dumps” him.

Morgan: “Do you want to talk about it, over coffee? One for each of us. I’ll treat.

I was a little unclear at the end about how the diamond arrived in Beckman’s office. I got the impression he really didn’t know where it was headed when he dropped it in the chute. And how would he know the address there anyway? I must have missed something there, so feel free to set me straight there. Either way, it was a funny twist.

Carina’s fairwell scene was a little to Love Boat-ish for me, the way she said her goodbyes to Casey, then Sarah, then Chuck, then Gopher, Isaac, Julie McCoy… But there was a method to it because it’s where she tells Chuck the reason she made a move on him is that she loves taking what Sarah wants.

He didn’t understand to that point the extent of Sarah’s feelings for him, but Carina picked up on it right away. That was a good tidbit to lead into the final scene in Sarah’s apartment, and of course it feeds the overarching storyline as the series progresses.

A few observations:

  • The opening scene playing relationship trivia had to be fun for the cast to shoot. It had to be hard to keep from breaking every time Morgan displayed some creepy personal knowledge about Chuck.
  • When Chuck flashes on Carina and goes to tell Sarah and Casey, that must be the first time he sees Graham and Beckman in a briefing. Graham said Chuck’s name like it’s a disease.
  • Whatever happened to Casey in Prague, it had something to do with pantslessness.
  • Did anyone ever eat at the Wienerlicious? And couldn’t Sarah have gotten out of her shift there after the Wookie’s party?
  • Excellent line: Oh come on, this place is like if a yawn could yawn. How do you stand it?
  • Another excellent line: “Eyes up front, soldier.”

And on a totally separate note, this tweet from Sepinwall is worth bookmarking.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 25th, 2009 at 12:22 pm by Brian Howard. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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