Chuck 4.23 “Chuck vs the Last Details” Recap

We’re in the home stretch of this (final??) season of Chuck. If you missed Chuck and Sarah’s bachelor and bachelorette parties, read about the goings on here.

This week’s episode begins with Mary Bartowski rappelling into a vault to snag Norseman killing device, but she shoots back up when Vivian Volkoff and Riley enter. A scientist tells them that he has finished construction of the device. Riley wants to test it, so he loads in the scientist’s DNA and kills him with a high pitch sound that melts the scientist’s brain. Vivian wants to use the device immediately to eliminate Agent X, but Riley says Volkoff Industries needs a public face to inspire fear; she shouldn’t get her hands dirty, yet. She thanks him for his guidance. After they leave, Mary rappels back in, but is stopped by Riley and Vivian. Riley introduces Vivian to Mary, aka Frost.

Over in Echo Park, Sarah wakes up and asks Chuck if he knows what they have to do today. Nothing. They have a day off from the CIA to focus on their wedding. She’s sorry they have so much left to do, but staging a coup is keeping her bridesmaids (the CAT Squad) from helping out. That’s OK, Chuck says, because Morgan, Ellie and Devon are picking up the slack. Sarah says everything is perfect and nothing could go wrong. “Why did you say that?!?” Chuck asks. Immediately, they hear a scream bellow from Morgan, who it turns out, is hanging upside down from a balcony. Devon tells him to go limp and fall into his arms. Instead, Chuck flashes, scales the building, saves Morgan and flips back down.

Morgan enters his apartment and finds Casey promising Alex he “will take care of it.” Morgan tells Alex he is very excited to have her as his very beautiful date to the wedding. Casey is thankfully saved from the shmoopiness by a text from General Beckman. “Oh no,” says Casey before knocking on Chuck’s door. Chuck recognizes Casey’s look when he opens the door. Chuck and Sarah have a wedding to prepare. “Your mom might not be able to make it,” Casey informs him, “because she’s been taken by Vivian Volkoff.

In Castle, Sarah and Chuck review files and try to figure out why Mary was going after Vivian. Chuck flashes on a mine in Colombia that could be where Vivian is hiding out. Sarah says she’s ready to go, but Chuck says he needs his Best Man, too. Chuck finds Morgan upstairs in the Buy More. Morgan wants to help save Chuck’s mom, but needs him to do something more important: create a wedding video of Chuck and Sarah. The problem is, Sarah has no childhood photos, so can Morgan Photoshop her in to some of the places she’s been? That should be no problem. After Chuck departs, Big Mike, Jeff and Lester approach Morgan. They have hours of Sarah footage. Morgan agrees to give the guys first cut in exchange for the footage.

Morgan enters Castle and tells Casey that he has taken care of his Best Man duties so he can go on the mission. Casey tells him he’s not coming. With that, the team heads for Colombia. Where do they start looking? They follow heavily-armed security toward the mine, and sit down at a cafe. With Casey providing watch, Chuck and Sarah follow some guards, take their clothes, then march Casey off in cuffs toward the mine. Chuck refers to him as Chewy, but Sarah misses the Star Wars reference. Chuck begins to explain, but cuts himself off by saying, “Oh, I love you, honey.” As they march into the mine, Casey says, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” completing the Star Wars references.

They try to put Casey in a cell, but the head guard says they don’t have the proper paperwork. In a nice Terminator: 2 reference, they see Mary doing pull ups on a security camera. Chuck tries to get in by saying he’s trying to impress Sarah, so the head guard tells him to beat up his prisoner, a trick that has worked for him with the ladies before. Chuck gives Casey a wide-eyed “Sorry buddy” look, and then punches Casey in the face…twice. The guard is impressed, but then insults Sarah, leading Chuck to knock him out to defend her honor.

The trio get into Mary’s cell, but she says she can’t leave yet because she needs the Norseman. Chuck and Sarah should head home and prepare for the wedding — she’ll just endure a couple rounds of torture and figure out a way to get free. Chuck tells Sarah to stay with his mom while he goes with Casey to find the Norseman. Casey finds it interesting that Chuck chose his mom over his fiancee. He tells Chuck to remember: Sarah is the one he’ll be waking up next to each day.

Chuck and Casey discover that the Norseman isn’t there: Vivian is planning a meet-up to sell the device. Vivian and Riley enter Mary’s cell. Riley wants Mary dead, but he wants Vivian to do it. When Vivian trains her gun on Mary, Sarah pulls her gun on them, allowing Mary to disarm Vivian. Chuck and Casey enter with word on the Norseman. Vivian realizes that the man who betrayed her, Chuck, is the son of the woman that betrayed her father. Chuck tries to tell her that he has much to explain about that, but she doesn’t believe him. Casey warns that the guards will be on to them soon, so he orders the team to leave, locking Vivian and Riley in the cell.

Sarah and Chuck drive in silence. Chuck knows he messed up, but he was trying to keep everyone safe. Sarah says she knows, but she feels he always keeps her safe except from his mom. They get a text to come to Castle. General Beckman wants them to disrupt the Norseman sale. They will pose someone as a buyer who will purchase the device and just walk out with it. Chuck notes that Vivian knows all three of them, so they can’t do it. Fortunately, Interpol had detained potential buyer Ettore la Barba, a bearded, 5’6″ Italian arms dealer. Does la Barba remind them of anyone?

Mary and Sarah bicker over who will assist Morgan on the mission. Chuck asks if Mary knows about Agent X being Alexei Volkoff. Sarah insists she and Chuck will handle Morgan while Mary provides back-up. Mary begins to protest, but Chuck agrees with Sarah. As a fight begins to erupt, Morgan steps in to tell Chuck that there may be an issue with the wedding video he was supposed to create. Upstairs, Lester shows his Chuck and Sarah video to Ellie and Devon, who are horrified by Lester as a video auteur. Perhaps they were disturbed by the random shots of Lester in a nude body-stocking with large, red lips over his crotch floating over images of Chuck and Sarah.

Downstairs in Castle, Morgan perfects his Italian accent, and is insulted by Casey for trying. Morgan wonders why Casey has been so hard on him lately. The Colonel admits that it is because of Alex. He doesn’t want to see Morgan hurt as it will destroy her. If he can’t protect Morgan, that would break a promise to his daughter. Morgan says nothing will go wrong, and then immediately realizes he jinxed the mission.

Russia, outside Volkoff Industries. Casey, setting up a sniper position across the street (because, as Sarah notes, he loves to shoot things from long-distance) says Mary can go in with Morgan, but she decides to stay out of Sarah and Chuck’s way. In the van, Morgan worries he can’t be a bad guy. Chuck and Sarah reassure him, but Morgan remains unconvinced. Chuck sings the Imperial March, which psyches up Morgan, who enters the meeting. Once with the other do-badders, Morgan calls Casey to tell him to “shoot the puppy” to prove how much of a bad guy he is. “It’s so hard to get good henchmen these days,” he notes to an agreeable fellow evildoer.

Vivian enters with the Norseman. After describing its power, Riley uses the device to kill all those gathered, but Morgan is, obviously, unaffected. Casey quickly radios him that he has to fake his death or they really will kill him. Morgan grabs his head and falls to the floor. Chuck tells Morgan to not panic. Vivian blanches at Riley’s actions, but he says not to worry because every man in the room would have killed her without hesitating. He’s not trying to make her into someone she’s not, but someone she needs to be.

Riley knows that there is someone in the room who isn’t really dead. Chuck tells Morgan to stay still. When Riley gets to him, a man in a grey suit jumps up. He’s an MI:6 agent who begins to explain how he tracked Riley and Vivian, but Riley just kills him. When Vivian and Riley depart, Chuck and Sarah go after them and the Norseman, as does Mary. Morgan wants to escape, but men with acid come in to clean up the carnage. Morgan tries to run for it, but more men come in. Casey can’t see because the men had closed the blinds. Fortunately, Morgan has a video feed from his glasses to give Casey a clear view. Using the feed, Casey is able to take out the men, but accidentally shoots Morgan, too. It’s merely a flesh wound, so Morgan escapes.

Chuck and Sarah ram the car of a fleeing Vivian and Riley, and secure the Norseman. Vivian says she knows Chuck is Agent X, but Chuck tells her the truth about her father. Riley comes to and admits what Chuck says is true. But it was Stephen Bartowski who made Volkoff give up his identity. Chuck says that is a lie, but Riley raises his gun on Chuck’s back. He is about to fire as Mary runs onto the scene. Sarah is quicker on the trigger, however, and she kills Riley. In the women’s happiness that Chuck is alright, Vivian escapes. Should they go after her? No, Mary says, Chuck and Sarah have a wedding for which to prepare.

Ellie and Devon sit in the decorated courtyard. She feels terrible that she fell asleep cutting Chuck and Sarah’s video. Chuck and Sarah enter, saying how beautiful everything is for their rehearsal dinner. Ellie runs off crying, as Chuck asks if Sarah is ready for this. “Absolutely,” she replies. Morgan has his arm in a sling, which he, when Big Mike asks about it, chalks up to Wii Tennis. Morgan tells Casey that he realizes he doesn’t belong in the field. It’s not fair to Alex to put himself in harm’s way, but make Casey responsible for his safety. Casey says he should tell Alex himself, as she is standing behind him. They exchange “I love you’s” and a couple kisses.

Mary stands up to give a toast. She compliments Sarah for being so strong and amazing. “May you always keep each other safe,” she wishes upon the happy couple. Now it’s time for Chuck’s surprise for Sarah. Ellie tells Chuck there is something she needs to tell him about the video, but what is shown is rather sweet and perfect. Jeff sidles up next to Ellie and tells her that Lester never let them see his version of the video. It’s so perfect that Ellie plants a huge kiss on Jeff’s lips.

Chuck gets a phone call on an encrypted line. It’s Vivian. She wants to make him feel pain as she has lost everyone that meant anything to her. She tells him to look around the room at his family and friends: which one will she take from him? See, Vivian has another Norseman device, and she is going to kill someone close to Chuck. Chuck thinks she is going to kill Mary, so he runs for her, but it is Sarah whose head begins to pound. She calls for Chuck as her nose begins to bleed. Sarah falls into Chuck’s arms as the episode ends.

Commentary

Wow. Chuck has always delivered at the end of each season, but this was one spectacular outing. Everything about this episode worked for me: from the sentimentality of Mary’s toast and the Casey/Morgan exchanges, to the hilarity of the Star Wars references; from Vivian’s cruelty to Jeff’s sweetness. Everything about this episode was firing on all cylinders, making this one of the best episodes of the season.

But let’s get to the elephant in the room: Sarah’s apparent death. OK, first off, we all know Sarah’s not going to die. For God’s sake, she’s the lead actress on the show, so she’s not going anywhere. Further, I know Chuck doesn’t always have the most bulletproof plots (Alan Sepinwall often notes the Chuck Plot Hole of the Week), but we have been told for weeks now about how lethal the Norseman device is. Riley wiped out an entire room full of people in mere seconds. We were also told that the Norseman can kill with the same efficiency no matter where the target is in the world. So, how the heck is Sarah going to survive. Sure, the show will come up with some reason (probably because there are two surgeons right there, Devon and Ellie), but this might be too far, even for Chuck.

Now, I love the whole idea of Vivian trying to kill Sarah. It illustrates the depth to which Vivian has sunk, it gives Chuck a reason to take out Vivian, and it sets up the return of Alexei Volkoff (other than the need to “fix” Agent X) for the finale. This was all well done. It’s just that the fact that Sarah is going to survive what no one else is able to survive really irked me. And I want Sarah to survive!

My irked state then almost morphed into full-out anger when I saw the preview for the finale episode. Not only does it show Sarah alive, but it shows Chuck and Sarah’s wedding. I don’t know what it is about promo departments (because the promos are not cut by the shows themselves), and NBC’s promo department in particular, but they jut love spoiling their own shows. Again, no one really believes Sarah is going to die, but they could have left whether Chuck and Sarah actually get married as a surprise. Granted, maybe the image of the two of them at the altar will turn out to be a dream Sarah has while in surgery or something, and if so, I’ll gladly eat these digital words, but for the love of Pete, can networks please stop spoiling their shows? It’s not like there are casual viewers of Chuck that are saying at the end of the episode, “Wow, I really wasn’t sure I was going to watch the next episode because what’s the point if Sarah is dead, but then I saw that awesome promo that told me Sarah will live and that she and Chuck will get married, so see you next week!”

OK, everything above makes me seem like I only want to write about negative things, which I don’t. It was just that the episode was so faultless up until that last moment (and even that wasn’t faulty, it was just a little nibble of “Huh?!?”), that this one thing really stood out. Otherwise, Chuck was at its best this week, and it has me completely jazzed for the season finale next Monday.

So, what did you think of “Chuck vs the Last Details”? Did you like Vivian’s despicable attempt on Sarah’s life? Do you really think Morgan will be out of the spy game if there’s a fifth season? What do you think Chuck and Sarah’s wedding will be like? What will be the “major twist you won’t see coming,” as offered in the promo? Please leave your comments, questions and theories below. Note: Next week is the NBC upfront where they will announce what the fall season will look like. I wouldn’t be surprised if we find out Chuck’s fate this week so if (God forbid) the finale is the last episode, Chuck fans can get together to celebrate the series’ end. Let’s hope we’ll be celebrating a renewal instead. I’ll be back next week to recap the finale and wrap up the season. Until then, I’m off to make it magical with twinkle lights.

Follow: twitter.com/tvovermind
Follow: twitter.com/MikeNJD
Email: [email protected]


One Response

  1. Erwin May 10, 2011

Add Comment