If you missed last week’s episode, “Chuck vs the Seduction Impossible,” find my recap here.
Fade in on a pair of beautiful, female eyes. The voice of an older, gruff man explains that he likes his martinis with gin, not vodka. As three other pairs of eyes fill the screen in turn, he says he prefers chocolate to vanilla. And while some people like dogs, he likes cats (not Cats). The women who own those eyes are revealed, under the banner of the CAT Squad: Clandestine Attack Team. The team was formed in 2003: cold-hearted Carina, Zondra, Amy the party girl, and the man’s pride and joy, Sarah Walker. He ends the introduction with “Go get ’em CATs!”
Cut to Morgan, lost in fantasy thinking about the CAT Squad. Chuck hopes that the CATs are tight enough that he can invite them to the engagement party. Morgan suggests asking Sarah for help, but Chuck says she’s being reluctant to help because she has no family or true friends; Chuck is trying to fix things by nudging her gently. Morgan wants to know how he can help. Chuck says that Carina, one of Sarah’s best friends back in the day, was one of the CATs so Chuck needs her contact information from Morgan, Carina’s one-time conquest. Morgan worries about inviting Carina because Alex will be at the party. Morgan doesn’t want the two ladies fighting over him; Carina is such a delicate girl after all. Cue Carina kicking some henchman ass when she receives a text message. Reading the invite to the engagement party, Carina relishes the idea of Sarah in a white dress. Carina calls Amy, informs her that Sarah is getting married, and asks how they get in touch with Zondra.
Over in Echo Park, Ellie sees Sarah in the courtyard. She is excited for the party, but Sarah doesn’t seem to share her enthusiasm. Sarah explains that she doesn’t have a list on invitees, and that Chuck is trying to help. Ellie knows her brother can be a bit over-anxious to help, so would Sarah like Ellie to talk to her brother? Sarah thanks Ellie, but declines; she needs to just get over it. Seeing that Sarah is going through a tough time, Ellie tells Sarah that she can talk to her about complicated family stuff any time. Ellie leaves to take Clara over to the Woodcombs, and Sarah enters her apartment. She sees that her place is decked out. “Are we having company?” she asks Chuck. “Not we. You,” Chuck explains. “I have two words: CAT Squad!” Sarah starts freaking out. She figured Chuck had some sort of surprise for her, but she didn’t see the CAT Squad coming. Chuck figures that if the CAT reunion goes well, maybe one of them can be a bridesmaid, or maybe Sarah’s Maid of Honor! Sarah worries that bringing the girls to their home could open a Pandora’s Box of problems. Chuck understands that she’s nervous, and tries to allay her fears. Sarah protests, saying that Chuck doesn’t know what to expect with her former team team. A ruckus sounds from outside. Is that a helicopter? A spotlight shines down on Morgan who has just arrived home. Is he having a Close Encounter? “Yoo-Hoooooo, Sarah Walker!” says a voice from above. Chuck and Sarah come out into the courtyard to see what the commotion is. Rappelling ropes fall, and the CATs drop down. “It’s Girls’ Night Out!!” cries Amy. Zondra promises to have Sarah back by 12. “Oh, midnight is a sensible time,” Chuck notes. “Try noon tomorrow,” Zondra scoffs. Carina circles Morgan; there is something different about him. They women slap a harness on Sarah and rappel out. “Sarah was right,” Chuck comments to Morgan, “I honestly wasn’t expecting that.”
The next morning, Chuck slowly wakes, and reaches out a hand toward Sarah…who is on top of the covers, awkwardly splayed out with her clothes still on. “Head hurts,” she mumbles. They went to L.A., Las Vegas, and a quick jaunt to Miami. Who knew Mikhail Gorbachev could dance so well? Chuck is excited that they had such a good time together; maybe they can get the band back together again! No, Sarah warns, because some of them don’t trust each other. When Chuck queries her on her meaning, Sarah explains that on an old mission, their target was always a step ahead of them. Suspecting a mole, Sarah found a bug in Zondra’s boot. Zondra passed a lie detector test, so they all agreed to look past the incident, but feelings were hurt. Well, maybe Zondra will be OK by the time the party comes around, Chuck insists. Engagement parties, Sarah replies, are not the CAT Squad’s cup of tea. When the girls wake up, they’ll leave. “They’re here?!?” Chuck wonders.
Chuck and Sarah walk out into the living room to find Amy and Zondra passed out on the couches. Where, however, is Carina? Cut to Morgan waking up. He looks next to him and sees, not Alex, but Carina! “What are you doing here?!?” he demands. She replies that there was no place to sleep besides the floor, but the floor can be fun, too. Carina notices the something different about Morgan she saw the previous night. He’s more confident. Standing up straight. “You’re behaving like you’re having regular sexual intercourse,” she states. Morgan rebuffs her advances; he is off the market. Carina then drops the sheets covering her unclad body. Morgan covers his eyes and bolts from the room.
As Morgan marches trough the living room, he announces to Chuck that Carina is an animal. He opens the door to leave, but is met by Alex! “What brings you by?” he wonders, but then remembers that they were supposed to have breakfast. He forgot because he’s been trying to help Chuck with the engagement party. Carina appears in the doorway in nothing but a teeny-tiny silk robe. She tells Morgan that Chuck said Morgan would make breakfast. With Carina’s hands all over him, Morgan asks Alex if they can have lunch together tomorrow. Of course, and in answer to Morgan’s assurances nothing happened with Carina, tells him not to worry — she trusts him.
Back inside, with everyone now awake, there are a number of sideways looks between the CATs during breakfast. Trying to break the tension, Chuck asks if they can share any top secret stories. Amy mentions Reykjavik, where they got some nice massages. Carina, gazing at Morgan, says that she likes working one on one. Chuck offers to talk about the time he disarmed a bomb with porn. Zondra dryly responds that Chuck appears to be quite the catch. Amy says that she likes him. Later that morning, the CATs prepare to leave. Amy gives Sarah a big hug and runs to jump on Zondra’s motorcycle. Chuck promises Sarah there will be no more surprises. Carina says good bye and grabs the keys to Sarah’s car, which she is borrowing. Carina disarms the alarm, but the car blows up! Everyone rushes to Carina’s side; she is stunned, but is unharmed, save a piece of shrapnel stuck in her thigh. She removes it, noting that it is part of the car bomb. Chuck looks at the bomb fragment and flashes. The bomb is one trafficked by noted Brazilian crime boss, Augusto Gaez (played by the inimitable Lou Diamond Phillips).
Gaez is the leader of The Gentle Hand, a crime syndicate, and the archnemesis of the CATs. Chuck suggests that The Gentle Hand sounds more like a massage parlor, but the CATs assure him that they are killers. Every time the CATs got close to Gaez, he got away. General Beckman tells the CATs that their mission is to capture Gaez in Rio de Jinero and bring him back to the States. Chuck and Casey will back up the CATs. Morgan will stay with Carina. After the CATs leave to prepare for their mission, Sarah tells Chuck that when she found the bug in Zondra’s boot, they were on a mission to capture Gaez.
Cut to a shady man receiving a phone call. It is Gaez. A disguised voice tells him that “the transport is on its way to Rio.” Gaez smiles and says, “The plan is going perfectly.” As the ladies pack for the mission, Chuck tells Casey he has an idea. He will run dossiers on the CATs and cross-reference them with information on Gaez while he and Casey are in the surveillance van. If he clears them, the CATs can come to wedding. It would be a way for Sarah to engage her past. This may, however, not be what Sarah wants. Zondra calls out Sarah for her constant suspicion of Zondra’s motives. “Keep your paws out of my boots this time,” she hisses at Sarah. “Cool it CATs!” Casey replies. When the CATs and Chuck leave, Morgan tells Casey that he can’t stay with Carina — she wants him too much, and it’s putting him in an awkward situation with Alex. “Yeah, and I’m hunting unicorns,” Casey retorts. “You’re baby sitting, get over it.”
As a last minute consideration, Zondra asks how they will get in to Gaez’s hideout. “Duh,” Amy replies, “it’s a party! With the CATs all clad in white dresses, and the music thumping, Chuck wonders how Brazilian spies work with all that noise. Inside, Zondra tells Amy and Sarah that they’re splitting up to cover more ground. Sarah says that she’s not comfortable with Zondra on her own. Zondra doesn’t much care what Sarah thinks, and walks off. In the van, Chuck pores through CIA files on the CATs and Gaez. Casey tells Chuck to get over it — the CIA has been through that stuff a number of times and found nothing. Chuck says that he discovered Gaez was tipped off from a inside a CIA safe house in Italy the last time the CATs tried to capture him. If Zondra wasn’t there, she is in the clear. Casey tells Chuck it must be nice to be like him, always wanting to fix everything (paging Dr. Shephard. Dr. Jack Shephard). Morgan suggested he approach Kathleen, but she has moved on, so Casey just let it lie. Inside the party, Zondra sees Gaez with his henchmen going into the VIP room.
Back at Castle, Morgan brings Carina some food. Now that he has met her needs, he’s gone. Carina tells him to get over Alex, but he insists he loves her. Well, has he told her that? Morgan replies that he was going to, but then her dad got thrown off a roof. At that moment, Alex enters the Buy More. She calls Morgan, but he has to cancel on her again. He’s obviously very, very sorry, but he’s stuck on a mission, but to make it up to her, he will take her out and do whatever she wants. He owes her. She agrees, and Morgan makes some kissy noises into the phone to say goodbye. The Castle video screen jumps to live with General Beckman appearing and asking, Are you done slobbering, Grimes? We have a problem in Rio.”
Amy approaches the two guards outside the VIP room and starts to flirt with them. With the goons distracted, Sarah and Zondra knock them out from behind. Their guns drawn, the CATs enter the VIP room. Meanwhile, Carina calls Chuck and Casey video video and warns them that the CATs are walking into a trap! The CIA detected a call from Burbank to Gaez just before their mission. There is a mole in the CATs. Gaez appears and says, “Long time CATs.” A number of his henchmen circle the women. “Drop your weapons or die,” Gaez relishes.
With the CATs tied up, Gaez wonder why they have spent all of these years fighting against each other. “You’re the bad guy, that’s how it works,” spits Sarah. Gaez suggests that they all work together. Chuck, meanwhile, climbs along the roof. He is going to drop in and use the Intersect to disarm everyone and save the CATs. Casey says Chuck is just feeling guilty because Sarah’s car blew up. Inside, Zondra and Sarah accuse each other of being the mole. Since Gaez is just going to kill them anyway, Sarah wants to know who the mole is.
What Gaez doesn’t see is Sarah cutting through her ropes with a hidden knife. Sarah cuts herself free, and puts the knife to Gaez’s throat, demanding to know who the mole is. Gaez is about to reveal the traitor, but Chuck crashes through the skylight, and dangles just above the ground. Gaez uses the distraction to reverse Sarah’s hold. With Sarah in danger, Chuck flashes some targeting skills and shoots tranquilizer darts at the guards, taking them all down. In the melee, Gaez escapes, but he doesn’t get far as Casey punches him out. Sarah is upset that Chuck interfered; now she’ll never learn who the mole is. Chuck pleads that he was just trying to help. “I don’t need help with my job. I don’t need help with my past. I don’t need help!” she exclaims, before cutting Chuck down from his rope. He lands with a thud.
Back at Castle, General Beckman tells them they did a good job. It is now confirmed that they have a mole. Chuck, Sarah and Casey are to keep the CATs in Castle so Casey can interrogate them. After the debrief, Sarah tells Chuck she has a job for him. Upstairs in the Buy More, Alex enters. Morgan, candy and flowers in hand, tells her that he has the perfect date planned. Alex is excited, but she notices something: lipstick on Morgan’s collar. She leaves; Morgan is heartbroken. Down in Castle, Sarah wants Chuck to go search the CATs bags at their apartment for bugs. Chuck protests and tells her about the Italian safe house, but she cuts him off — he’s still helping! Sarah places Chuck in the elevator to go back upstairs and locks him out of Castle.
Zondra finds Sarah and tells her that she’s not running anymore. It’s time to settle this old school. The two spies fight in Castle’s gym, with punches and accusations flying. Sarah lands a punch to the face. “You’ve still got that jab, Walker,” Zondra comments. Casey brings Amy in to interrogate Gaez as his “muscle,” who clocks Gaez across the face. Gaez doesn’t know anything about any illegal activities, he’s a business man. He’s never even heard of The Gentle Hand! Casey notices that Amy has been staring into a make-up compact for the last few minutes. “Are you just going to stand there primping?” he asks. Amy turns and blows powder in Casey’s face, knocking him out. Zondra and Sarah retrace the times Gaez has gotten away, and they realize that neither of them could be the mole, and Carina wasn’t in Italy at the safe house. That only leaves Amy! At her name, Amy arrives wielding a kendo stick, and knocks out Zondra. Yeah, she’s a traitor, but she spent so many years acting like the world’s biggest ditz that now she deserves a pay day. She asks Sarah to join her and Gaez. “Never,” Sarah retorts. Amy notes that they know where Sarah lives. “You. Chuck. His sister and her baby. Don’t follow or look for us,” she warns Sarah before knocking her out with the kendo stick.
In Echo Park, Chuck pulls the CATs’ bags out of his apartment. Ellie knocks on the window and comes out to the courtyard. Chuck rues his attempt to get Sarah’s friends back in her life. Doesn’t Ellie want friends and family at her wedding? Yeah, Ellie says, but Sarah’s a different person. She tells Chuck that sometimes he needs to step back and stop trying to help so much. “Did I blow it already?” he asks his big sister. Yeah, but Sarah still loves him.
At Castle, Morgan has had enough with Carina. “You’re really angry,” Carina says, with a smile. “Damn right I am!” Morgan replies. He loves Alex, and Carina messed that all up for him. Carina says she figured he didn’t love Alex because he never told her. Morgan relents, knowing he has been too scared. He needs to tell her, and he marches off to so do. Carina looks at the security feed in Castle and notices everyone knocked out. She tries to warn Morgan, but Amy punches him out. Gaez knocks out Carina, too. Sarah comes around, and calls Chuck, who is upstairs in the Buy More.
Chuck immediately starts to apologize for being the idiot of the century. Sarah warns Chuck that Amy and Gaez are in the elevator, coming up into the store. Chuck wants to apologize again and know that everything is OK between them, but Sarah tells him there is no real time for that. Chuck locks down the store so Amy and Gaez can’t escape. He starts to look though DVDs. Before he tries to take them on, he wants to take ten seconds to apologize for being a fool. He breaks the discs into sharp pieces. Sarah tells him that they are at the Nerd Herd desk. Chuck promises that he has no intention of opening up any more cans of worms in the future. He just wants her to be happy. “Just get out of this alive,” Sarah replies. Chuck looks at the pieces of DVD and flashes ninja stars! He throws the disc pieces, disarms Amy, and sends Gaez flying. He sees Gaez’s reflection and flashes some judo skills. He takes out Gaez, but Amy jumps on his back. “I don’t like fighting girls!” he exclaims. Chuck spills his keys during the fight. Amy lands some blows, grabs the keys and makes for the door. A cord whips through the air, and trips Amy up. There stands Zondra wielding a flat iron. “Going somewhere pussy?” Sarah taunts, as the three CATs stand over Amy with their guns drawn. Chuck shoots them an impressed smile.
Back in Castle, Zondra throws out the flat iron. Sarah admits it’s a small price to pay to find the traitor. Zondra and Sarah apologize to each other. Sarah wonders if they could try to make up the lost years. “Well, there is this engagement party,” Zondra replies. Carina wants to come, too, as she has someone to whom she owes an apology. Sarah goes one step further, and asks if they want to be her bridesmaids. They agree.
Sarah sees Chuck at home and says there will be no more apologies. She thanks Chuck for contacting the girls. She’s just not ready to dive into her past now. Chuck agrees; family is complicated and he is done helping. “No, don’t stop helping,” Sarah tells Chuck. She needs his help a thousand ways every day. “You’re perfect,” she assures him. “Well, I’ll stick to that then.”
They enter the party out in the courtyard. Morgan is sad, and drinking his troubles away with a Dos Equis beer. Alex arrives and tells Morgan that they’re done. it’s not that she thinks he’s unfaithful, she just doesn’t fit into the spy world. Morgan assures her that she is special, but she doesn’t feel special, just lied to. Alex tries to go, but Morgan pleads to hear him out. He was so uncomfortable because he didn’t know how to deal with her running into someone else he had a relationship with. He’s been in so few relationships that the chance she ran into an ex was a statistical impossibility. Morgan promises nothing happened with Carina. He loves Alex. He’s in love with her. She smiles and says she loves him, too. Carina arrives and tells Alex she owes Alex an apology. “Its ok,” Alex replies, “he loves me.”
Sarah finds Ellie. The latter admits that the whole wedding must be hard without family around. Sarah says that she doesn’t know where her dad is, and she has a strained relationship with her mom. Ellie knows that it is complicated, so they’ll talk and bring in Chuck later. Sarah agrees, and asks Ellie if she will be Sarah’s Maid of Honor. Of course she will! With that, the gruff voiceover returns. “Aw, who says cats can’t play nice? Maybe we will add another member to this squad.”
Now, that was a fun little episode Chuck, wasn’t it? I really did nothing but smile the entire time. Yes, the Charlie’s Angels homage was obvious, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was clear from last week’s episode that the second half of this season is going to investigate Sarah’s pre-spy life in preparation for her wedding, and I thought this was a nice entree into that story. Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak could have immediately moved into a situation with Sarah’s parents, but coming off of the drama surrounding Chuck and his mother, that may have been too much emotion too quickly. Having a couple lighter episodes, without so much angst, was the better way to go.
So, we are introduced to the CAT Squad instead: three of Sarah’s former co-spies and friends. We get a bit of Sarah’s backstory, but nothing truly deep was revealed about her. It felt like this was outlining the sketch that is Sarah’s history, with the more important shading and coloring being provided at a later date by Sarah’s parents. I like this approach. A television season is a marathon, not a sprint, so I don’t mind having fun for a few episodes, and avoiding having my heart knocked about every episode.
Of course, there were some nice emotional moments: Sarah telling Chuck at the end that he’s perfect and she needs his help every day; Casey smarting over seeing Kathleen with another man; and definitely Morgan and Alex’s “I love Yous.” Overall though, it was a nice continued segue (along with last week’s “Chuck vs the Seduction Impossible” from the quite dramatic story of Chuck, Mary and Volkoff into the exploration of Sarah’s former life.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Are you looking forward to seeing Carina and Zondra at the wedding? Maybe a bachelorette party episode? Were you rooting for those crazy kids, Morgan and Alex? Did you miss Jeff and Lester? (I didn’t, not at all. Though I do love having them when they are there.) Did you miss Devon? (I always find Captain Awesome to be…Awesome). What did you think of Lou Diamon Phillips as Gaez? Please leave your questions, comments and theories below. For another take on the episode, check out Emma’s review. I’ll be back next week with a look at Chuck‘s Valentine’s Day episode. Until then, I’m off to be sultry over here.