Did you miss last week’s “new lovers”-tastic episode of Chuck? Check out a recap here.
“Chuck vs. the Role Models” opens with Morgan speaking over a Chuck and Sarah version of the title sequence to Hart to Hart. Cut to an eye opening Lost-style. It’s Morgan’s eye. It’s the middle of the night, but he awakes and heads to the kitchen. Seeing the refrigerator door open, he begins to greet Chuck, but it is Sarah who rises from behind the door, clad in just a negligee. Not noticing her sleepwear, Sarah asks Morgan if he’d like any orange juice. Morgan, unable to unlock his stare at her breasts, mentions the benefit of “Vitamin C, C, C, C, C’s” before accepting the “jug” of OJ. The next morning, Morgan is eating breakfast when Chuck bounds into the kitchen with a huge grin. Morgan knows Chuck is happy “having tons and tons of sex,” but he wishes Chuck would keep it to himself. Chuck apologizes, but he’s just so happy with his life right now. “Yeah, because you’re dating a leggy Valkyrie with an aversion to clothing,” Morgan retorts. Chuck informs his buddy that he’ll be seeing a lot more of Sarah as he’s going to ask her to move in with them. Morgan points out that Sarah is standing behind Chuck, and leaves. Chuck, the surprise now ruined, asks Sarah if she wants to move in. “Why would we want to do that?” Sarah asks. When Chuck points out that is what normal couples do when they love each other, Sarah responds that they are not a normal couple, so why would the live like one. They have to get to work, so Sarah goes to the couch, lifts a cushion, and removes one of a plethora of guns and other weapons. Chuck, obviously surprised there are guns in his couch, asks Sarah why she has hidden guns in his couch. She asks him if he knows the Thirty-Foot Rule. When Chuck replies in the negative, Sarah informs him that a spy should never be more than thirty feet from a weapon. The couple argue the merits of the Rule, but decide to solve the problem later.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ellie and Devon arrive to a camp in the pouring rain. This is the location of their Doctors Without Borders assignment. Ellie, long before she even arrived at camp, has been questioning their decision to come to Africa. When she sees the numerous men with guns, her fears have been confirmed. Devon tells Ellie that they were right to join the program, and that they can do a lot of good there. To calm her nerves, Devon offers to cook her a meal under the stars for a date night. Ellie, thankful, agrees. Back at Castle, General Beckman informs Sarah and Chuck that they have a mission. She tells them about Craig and Laura Turner, aka John and Suzy Smythe, aka any other number of aliases they have accumulated over the last thirty years. Chuck and Sarah’s mission is to observe this most successful couple the CIA has ever created. Casey, who has been present for the briefing, says that he’s going to go head to the firing range to clean his guns, but the General stops him. Colonel Casey does have a mission: he must get Morgan, a diamond in the rough, field ready. Casey is left simply muttering to himself.
Chuck and Sarah are at Chuck’s apartment, awaiting the Turners’ arrival. Chuck feverishly straightens out the room, causing Sarah to wonder what he is so nervous about. In fact, Sarah seems to be a little snippy with Chuck. Craig and Laura Turner walk through the courtyard towards Chuck’s apartment. Laura asks her husband what Chuck and Sarah’s names are. All Craig can come up with is, “Something ethnic.” Chuck and Sarah open the door as the Turners arrive. “Oh God. It’s us thirty years ago,” Craig whispers to his wife. “Look, Sarah. It’s us in thirty years,” Chuck happily says to Sarah. Sarah smile, but gives her boyfriend a sideways look. Over drinks, Craig regales the younger couple with Cold War-era spy stories. After Laura hushes her husband for telling such boring stories, Sarah asks if they would like their drinks refreshed. Laura responds that she doesn’t drink, and Craig goes on a diatribe about Chuck’s “serviceable Manhattan,” and how the ultimate Manhattan cherries are only available at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Chuck deflects the slight at his bartending skills by telling the veteran agents that he and Sarah are looking forward to watching and learning from them in the future. Well, the future is now, as they have a mission tonight. They are to attend a party being thrown by Otto von Vogel. Otto has in his possession a computer decryption program that the CIA’s classified files are helpless to withstand. They foursome will attend the party, access Otto’s master suite, and secure the software.
At the Buy More, Morgan is pursuing Casey through the store, questioning Casey, loudly, as to when Morgan is going to see some spy action. Casey grabs Morgan in a standing arm bar hold to keep him from saying something in public he shouldn’t be. Casey tells the bearded one that, indeed, his training is about to commence. Excited, Morgan asks if they’ll be heading down to Quantico for the training, but Casey informs him that whatever he needs to learn, Casey can teach him at the store. Meanwhile, Chuck, Sarah and the Turners arrive at Otto’s party. As hey enter and the Turners begin to schmooze, Chuck is awed by the Turners’ skill. Sarah again tut-tuts Chuck’s comment, adding, “What makes them so great?” Otto spies Chuck and Sarah and, noticing them out of place, moves toward them. The young agents freeze, trying to figure out what to do, but Craig and Laura swoop in and run interference, leading Otto away.
It is time for Morgan’s first spy test. Casey instructs his pupil to approach the hot girl in the audio department and secure her phone number. Morgan balks at the target subject, asking if he could maybe ask the pleasant-looking senior citizen instead, but Casey insists on the younger woman. “Engage!” Casey orders. With the strains of Barry White playing underneath the seduction, Morgan talks with the woman. Quickly, he gives her his business card so she can write down her number. He returns to Casey with a huge grin. Casey looks at the card, and tells Morgan that “Bartowski wasn’t this helpless.” Morgan picks up the card; it reads, “You disgust me.”
Back at Otto’s party, Chuck and Sarah see Laura downing drinks at the bar. When they ask her what’s wrong, she explains that Craig is making time with the young floozy across the room. Chuck suggests that maybe he’s just acting fatherly to her, but Laura turns on the speaker his microphone is feeding and they hear him flirting, telling the woman she’s being a “naughty, naughty girl.” “He’s nothing but a CIA-sanctioned gigolo,” Laura exclaims before making her way across the room to give him a piece of her mind. Drunk, Laura trips and falls. Craig rushes over to help his wife, but he throws out his back, and also ends up on the floor. Chuck offers that maybe they should leave before their cover is blown. Sarah has another idea, “Why don’t we show them how it’s done.” Chuck and Sarah make their way up to the master suite. When they enter, Chuck begins to sniffle as if to sneeze. He remarks that there must be a cat somewhere as his allergies are flaring up. As Sarah looks on the floor by the nightstand, Chuck finds a whip on the bed. Noting Otto’s possible “proclivities,” Chuck makes like Dr. Henry Jones, Jr., and cracks the whip a few times. Sarah turns toward Chuck, but is stopped dead in her tracks. “Chuck, Put. It. Down,” Sarah orders, looking petrified. Chuck, confused, turns around, and sees the head of a tiger peering out of the closet! Chuck notices that the tiger is wearing a collar and flashes. The collar, in addition to being associated with mushrooms(?!) by the Intersect, actually has the software written on it. As the tiger begins to creep into the room, Chuck and Sarah get past the beast and hide in the closet.
Casey is ready to administer Morgan’s second test: Morgan has to steal something. Although the object is not shown on screen, Morgan is not sure about following Casey’s order. When Casey insists, Morgan reluctantly agrees, “Target acquired.” In the closet, Chuck asks Sarah what would the Turners do in this situation? Sarah doesn’t particularly care what a drunk and a serial philanderer would do. She cocks her gun and prepares to reenter the room. Chuck doesn’t want her to shoot the tiger because it is “majestic,” but she opens the door anyway. Chuck stops her; he hears a rumbling sound coming from inside the room. “I’ve heard that sound before,” he says. Cut to Big Mike snoring away in his office. Morgan’s test is to steal Big Mike’s key card, which is currently around his neck. In the suite, Chuck slowly opens the door to find the tiger asleep on the bed. “He’s sleeping like Big Mike after a baker’s dozen,” Chuck notes. Sarah tells Chuck that he needs to grab the collar off of the tiger, but Chuck balks. Shouldn’t Sarah do it? Sarah says that she’s much better with the gun, so she’ll cover him. Both Chuck and Morgan make their moves toward their respective targets. As Chuck is about to reach the collar, he begins to sneeze, but is able to stifle it. The friends each grab their quarry and remove it from the necks of their subjects. When Chuck turns to show Sarah his success, his stifled sneeze is finally released. The tiger awakens and chases Chuck and Sarah out of the room. “You didn’t shoot it! It was about to eat me!” Chuck says to Sarah. “You said he was ‘majestic,'” she replies. In Burbank, Big Mike wakes up with Morgan peering over him. Morgan quickly covers, saying he thought Big Mike might be dead so he was just checking on the big guy’s breathing as the key card might have been cutting off his air. Big Mike buys the excuse, asks Morgan to never watch him sleep again, and to get him a donut.
In the Congo, Devon and Ellie are trying to enjoy their dinner. Ellie is still not convinced that she was made for this work. Devon insists that she is, having seen her work with the locals earlier that day. Ellie’s spirits begin to turn around when Devon freezes in fear. A snake is slithering between Ellie’s feet, unbeknownst to her. While Ellie explains that it has been hard for her to “shake the city girl thing,” the snake gets closer. With Devon frozen, the snake is about to coil around Ellie’s feet. Suddenly, someone jumps out of the jungle and stabs the snake with a knife. The hero is Justin, the head of camp security. He welcomes the “new guys, the husband and wife team,” and tells them how grateful they are to have Ellie and Devon’s expertise. They can do a lot of good.
Chuck and Sarah leave the building, but are met by the Turners, whom have quickly recovered from their maladies. Laura pulls a gun on the young agents and demands the software. When Chuck protests that they couldn’t possibly be double-crossing them, Craig gives Chuck some advice, “Trust no one, but your partner.” Chuck and Sarah hand over the collar and the Turners escape. Later, at Castle, Chuck and Sarah explain to the General that the Turners went rogue. General Beckman can’t believe that such a distinguished pair of agents would commit treason, so Chuck and Sarah are to find the Turners and discover why they committed this crime. Casey, excited to have a real mission, begins to suit up. The General informs him that his task is not complete; he still has to train Morgan. Back at home, Chuck feverishly washes the dishes. Sarah asks him why, at this moment, is he tending to such a task. “This is what Bartowskis do when they are stressed,” he explains. He is rather agitated, and Sarah can’t understand why he is so peeved. Chuck tells her that he feels betrayed by the Turners, that they were supposed to be the model for Sarah and him, and now that they went to the dark side, Sarah won’t likely move in with him for fear of what a lifetime together as spies and lovers might do to them. During this expression of feelings, Chuck grabs the glass Craig had been drinking from earlier in the evening. To emphasize his last point, Chuck plops the remaining cherry into the glass. This gives Sarah an idea as to where the Turners might be. Figuring that whomever the Turners are going to sell the software to is probably still in L.A., the Turners are likely at their favorite hotel, the Ambassador. Sarah tells Chuck that the Turners stabbed the wrong couple in the back. She grabs her gun, cocks it, and says, “This is what I do when I’m stressed.”
Ellie, in tears, calls Chuck via satellite phone. Getting his voicemail, she weepily tells him that Devon is doing great and that the people love him. They’ve even given him a Bantu name that translates, roughly, into “Doctor Super Fantastic White Person.” She, however, is very tired, and she doesn’t think she made a good decision to come to Africa. She would just love to hear her brother’s voice, and asks Chuck to call her back. Justin overhears the end of Ellie’s call, and tells her that if she ever needs to talk, she can with him. She says thanks, but no thanks, until she breaks down. Ellie tells Justin that she just doesn’t think she’s built for this work. Justin reassures her that she is; he’s seen her with patients, and she’s a natural. Yes, the surroundings take some getting used to, but she is doing a lot of good work. Ellie smiles, and thanks him for his words.
The Turners are relaxing in their hotel room, enjoying the best Manhattan cherries in the world. Craig mentions how the naive young agents are obviously in love, but have no future in the CIA as a result. Laura asks if they are still in love if they’ve survived thirty years in the Agency. Craig insists they are, but Laura counters with his flirtations with the woman earlier at Otto’s party. They bicker until there is a knock at the door. Craig peeks his head out into the hallway and sees a Manhattan with a note card. While the Turners are distracted by the door, a pair of Converse sneaks in through the room’s sliding balcony door. Craig reads the card, “Compliments of the Bartowskis.” He returns to the room, asking Laura who the Bartowskis are. His answer stands in front of him: With her gun drawn, Sarah and Chuck have found the Turners.
It is time for Morgan’s next spy test: the firing range. Casey hands Morgan a pistol, for which Morgan quickly lists the specifications. Casey is impressed by Morgan’s knowledge of firearms. Morgan explains he learned everything from first-person shooter video games like Call of Duty. Morgan readies himself to fire at the target. He pulls the trigger, and the gun flips over his head and into Casey’s hands. Obviously failing the test, Morgan slumps into a chair. Casey tells him that he just doesn’t think this is going well. Morgan knows he’s being fired, that he blew his once chance to be a spy. Casey says not to worry; like how Morgan was there for him when Casey was relieved of his spy duties, so too is Casey there for Morgan. His spirits buoyed, Morgan asks if Casey is his friend. Casey admits that he is, but that Morgan has to keep that information on the down low.
Chuck and Sarah bring the Turners back to their apartment to question them. Craig tries to explain that they haven’t actually committed treason yet as they haven’t sold the software. This leads to more bickering between the veteran agents. Chuck tells them that they were supposed to teach Sarah and him how to be a spy couple. Craig replies, “Yeah, the CIA has a way of breaking young idealists.” There is a knock at the door. Thinking that it agents arriving to transport the Turners to jail, Chuck heads for the door. He looks out the peephole, and doesn’t see agents, but rather Otto, some goons and his “pussy cat.” How did Otto know where to find them, Chuck wonders. Sarah looks at the collar, and sees that they missed the tracking device on it. Laura asks where their guns are. Haven’t they heard of the Thirty Foot Rule, Craig asks. Chuck heads to the couch, but finds no guns. Where are the guns, he asks of Sarah. She explains, that per Chuck’s request, she removed them all. This leads them bickering just like the Turners. Sarah decides to handcuff the Turners to the bathtub, and upon her return, she and Chuck answer the door.
Otto and his tiger enter the apartment. Sarah tried to explain that Chuck just likes to crash big parties, and apologizes. Otto, cutting through the deception, says he knows the two of them are CIA agents. When asked why he believes this, Otto explains that the apartment is a CIA safe house and that he knows the Turners are there. He points his gun at the two of them and begins to count down — they have three seconds to give up the Turners, or he will kill them. Chuck asks for a sidebar with his girlfriend. The sidebar granted, Chuck asks Sarah if they should just hand over the Turners, as that is who Otto really wants. Sarah says she can’t do that, because then they would be no better than the Turners. “Well, maybe they’re right,a nd we;ll end up just like them: traitors,” Chuck says. Sarah looks at Chuck. “Do you really believe that?” she asks. Chuck pauses, looks into her eyes and smile smiles, “No.” Chuck informs Otto that they can’t help him. Otto prepares to kill them, but his tiger begins to paw at the bathroom door. Otto’s goon busts down the door, but the handcuffs are empty and the window is open. The Turners have escaped.
Casey and Morgan enter the courtyard after their training sessions. Morgan contemplates what he will if he is no longer a spy. Perhaps the competitive eating circuit. Casey isn’t listening though, as he spies a down agent. Inside the apartment, Otto and his men have their guns on Chuck and Sarah again. Chuck explains they all have a need to get the Turners back, so perhaps they should team up to get the double-crossers. The Turners enter through the back of the apartment, Laura with her gun drawn, and ask for Chuck and Sarah’s release. Back outside, Casey and Morgan see the tiger prowling around the courtyard. They hide behind the courtyard fountain. Morgan decides to take action to lure the tiger away. Casey tries to stop him, but Morgan explains that the country needs Casey. Morgan jumps out from behind the fountain and calls toward the tiger. When the tiger turns toward him, Morgan breaks for Ellie and Devon’s apartment. He unlocks the door (why, exactly does Morgan have the keys to their apartment?) and rushes in, with the tiger in hot pursuit. He runs up the stairs and, grabbing a hold of the curtains, jumps out the window. Fortunately, Casey is there to grab his sidekick. Otto hears the commotion outside and lowers his guard for a second. This is all Chuck needs to flash his Chuck Fu. Chuck takes out Otto, while Sarah takes out his goon. Grabbing their foes’ guns, Chuck and Sarah end up in a standoff with the Turners. Laura asks Chuck and Sarah to let them go, but Sarah is unrelenting. Chuck, however, lowers his gun, explaining what a shame it is that they got away, without the software. Hearing this, Craig lowers Laura’s gun. It’s over, they can’t run. The Turners will face the consequences.
At Castle, General Beckman thanks Chuck and Sarah for their work in securing the software and apprehending the Turners. Chuck begins to tell the General how she should be lenient on the Turners, but Sarah interrupts him. She explains to the General how the Turners were actually running a triple-cross to root out Otto. General Beckman says she expected nothing less of the CIA’s greatest agents. She hopes that Chuck and Sarah have learned something from the veterans. Chuck admits “working with the Turners was enlightening.” Thankful that they aren’t going to be arrested, Craig announces that after thirty years in the spy game, they are retiring. The General is bewildered. Who could possibly take their place? The Turners simply look at Chuck and Sarah. Grateful, the young agents say thank you.
Upstairs in the Buy More, Morgan finds Casey and asks if he is going to have to be sent off to boot camp. Casey tells him, no, Morgan has passed his tests. When Morgan gives him a quizzical look, Casey explains that, yes, Morgan is probably the worst agent ever, and makes Chuck look like a seasoned pro, but Morgan’s got balls. How many marines would face down a tiger? Not many. Morgan will be OK. That night, Morgan and Chuck enter Ellie and Devon’s destroyed apartment; it seems that the tiger did quite a number on it. They are about to start cleaning it when Sarah shows up in the doorway. She says she’ll help clean, but she’s going to start with “our apartment.” “Our?” Chuck asks. Sarah apologizes for flipping out earlier about moving in with Chuck, but she’s never been taught how to have a “normal” life. Chuck says they will likely never have a normal life, but Sarah doesn’t mind as long as she has Chuck.
Back in Africa, Ellie is looking for Devon. She enters their tent to find him shivering under a blanket. He has a raging fever and must be evacuated immediately. As Devon is loaded onto the back of a truck, Justin tells Ellie that he has made some calls and has cleared customs for the couple. There is a plane waiting to take them back to the States immediately. Ellie thanks him as the truck pulls out. With them gone, Justin turns and retrieves a Ring phone! He makes a call, telling the person on the other end that everything is in place. He made Devon’s illness look like malaria. “The wife doesn’t suspect a thing.”
Alright, well that was a pleasant episode of Chuck. After the excellence of the last couple episodes, I am not surprised to see a….I don’t know how to describe it….simpler episode. Until the last few seconds when Justin was revealed to be a Ring agent, the episode was mostly just filler, which is fine. Not every episode has to be a mythology-bending one. There were some great moments, especially with Casey training Morgan, and it’s always nice to see Fred Willard and Swoozie Kurtz on screen, but there wasn’t much therethere in this episode. If anything, I may have been a little disappointed in the episode from nearly the beginning (after the awesome Hart to Hart-style dream sequence), when Sarah was acting rather whiny. It was a totally new note for Yvonne Strahovski to play, and not that she did it poorly, but it was so jarring coming off of last week’s love-fest. Personally, I didn’t really want to see Chuck and Sarah, finally together after all these years, sniping so much with each other so quickly. It felt very manufactured, and a bit clumsy. I mean, I understand why they did it, and I was glad to see the characters realize that they don’t want to end up like the bickering Turners, but it was still rang a bit dissonant to me. Again, even a not-as-good episode of Chuck is still better than most of the stuff out there, but I didn’t think this was one of their best installments.
What did you think about “Chuck vs. the Role Models”? Were you slightly disappointed like me, or was this another of the great episodes of the series? What game do you think the Ring is playing with Ellie and Devon? Do you think the Ring knows Chuck is officially a spy now (have we ever had confirmation that they know this for a fact?)? Please leave your comments, questions and theories below. Please be sure to check out TVOvermind for all the latest TV news, especially with pilot pick-up season heating up. I’ll be back next week with a recap of “Chuck vs. the Tooth.” Until then, I’m off to get under my black, velour tiger blanket.