Friday, April 24, 2015

Chuck vs The Undercover Lover

Hey look at that, We got a Casey-centric episode! It was very interesting to see that everyone's favorite NSA Agent wasn't just a mindless robot with no feelings, it turns out John Casey feels, as Chuck says later in the episode, "IT'S ALIVE!" And how could you not feel once you get a look at Ilsa Trinchina played by the lovely and talented Ivana Milicevic? You get the feeling after seeing Casey stare at the mangled camera after the bombing that it was this moment along with many others in his life as a spy that caused him to cut off feeling and emotion from his life. It's the way of the spy and something that Sarah Walker also seems to be dealing with.

                                                           It's Alive!

What is it about Chuck Bartowski that causes these professional spies to start to feel and long for a different type of life? Casey denies it of course, biting into what I think was a charred microwave burrito (who can be sure of such things?) but you know that he's lying. He may be drunk but he still races to the hotel to save Ilsa. It's a shame that Ilsa is off on another assignment after the mission is a success, again such is the life of a spy. One thing that Chuck the television series has shown us so far is that, while it's awesome to be a spy, it also has its negatives. You have nothing at home to tie you down, and no personal attachments and at the same time, you have nothing at home and no personal attachments, unless you count Casey's Ronald Reagan photo and his Bonsai Tree. 

This episode also had Devon 'Awesome' Woodcomb in the dog house after he buys himself a brand new Washer and Dryer but says he is doing it for Ellie after Ellie said she wanted a Big Screen HDTV (a woman after my own heart). Morgan intervenes with his Retail Therapy and drives Awesome away. I don't think this was his intention, I just think he wants Awesome to give Ellie what she needs after all Morgan IS in love with her. Sure, he has a girlfriend but Anna isn't around this episode. I love when Morgan says that Ellie is like a sister to him and then adds, "A sister I want to have sex with so bad." Hilarious. Another great moment is how the poker game at the Buy More slowly reveals itself as a horror show when the guys start to take their clothes off - Strip Poker, Run Awesome, Run!

Listen to the Podcast Episode: S1Ep12 Vs The Undercover Lover

When Casey's heart is broken finding out that Ilsa is an undercover spy he goes home to drink and listen to Love on the Rocks -- Neil Diamond, it's a great moment (and plays again when Casey emerges from the pool). I also love when right next door Ellie is getting sloshed and she just needs someone to talk to. You can tell that Sarah, while caring for Ellie, really wants to bolt and get the heck out of there. It's great when they put two characters together that usually have Chuck as a buffer, when Chuck is taken out of the equation, it becomes much more interesting. Another great moment is the fight scene with Casey and Chuck tied together in a Rocky and Bullwinkle fashion, the song that plays Ultimate by Gogol Bordello has a great punching and kicking vibe to it. 

On January 8th, 2008 Undercover Lover was aired with the 13th Chuck episode, Chuck versus The Marlin. They showed these bumper promos during commercial breaks with the cast that were a lot of fun. Watch it Here! It's kind of strange that they aired Undercover Lover and then an episode of The Apprentice and then Marlin but that's how they did it. The Writer's Strike was in full swing and these were the final two Chuck's we'd get until Season Two. 

Now, check out Alan Sepinwall's recap of Undercover Lover, talk about lazy, he made one recap for both episodes. He had a real hang-up about Yvonne Strahovski's fight scenes, it makes me want to punch him (I'll show you how to telegraph a punch buddy!). She does a great job as Sarah and she totally kicks ass. Eric Goldman gets a cookie for creating separate recaps, read his Undercover Lover recap

Okay guys, one more episode of Season One and then it's time for Season Two, which is one of my single favorite seasons of any series ever. I can't wait to get into it. Thanks for reading and most of all thanks for listening to The Chuck Series Companion!

Until then...

The Jastrom

1 comment:

  1. Season one was very good, but starting with vs the Truth (S1E8) or perhaps the closing moments of vs the Alma Mater (S1E7) I think the show kicked it into high gear with characters and relationships that were finding their stride and storylines that were becoming engrossing with solid writing and some great humor. Casey, who could have easily been a one note character with no depth (and the show probably would have worked fine with that), is perhaps exhibit A1 in why this show is so great. Obviously Chuck and Sarah should be fully fleshed out characters over the run of the series, but the depth that Casey was given and the evolution of the character over the run of the series is probably my second favorite thing after the relationship/chemistry between Chuck and Sarah/Zach and Yvonne.

    This episode is the first time you get to see a lot more of Casey and have reason to like him (for more than being a source of humor) and feel for him. In the prior episode when he told Sarah "the choice we made … is the right choice" it could have been simply that his ability to be passionate/have feelings didn't run to personal relationships so he poured it all into his love of country, but now in this episode you understand that he has perhaps made difficult sacrifices to be the agent he is. It's the start of great character development of Casey. Plus it is good to know that he is not "built like a Ken doll, downstairs." (Hah! Love that line.) The scene in the Buy More breakroom when Casey let's his guard down and tells Chuck about how he met Ilsa is wonderful for the character and nicely done by Adam and Zach. (Minor quibble: Chuck's "It's alive!" line is cute, but I think if I was calling the shots I would have kept the entire scene serious and ended it without that joke.) Later when Chuck finds Casey drowning his sorrow with booze and a burnt Hot Pocket/burrito is another good moment for giving Casey more depth and making him a much more interesting character.

    There are so, so many funny moments in this episode: Chuck calling Casey "Sugar Bear" resulting in Casey choking Chuck/"hurting the Intersect"; Ellie meeting Jeff and Lester; the aforementioned "Ken doll" line; the Russian dancing scene; Chuck's impersonation of Casey's gruff voice when Sarah calls the security room; Chuck under the bed when his phone rings; Casey then under the bed, cocking his pistol as he considers shooting the crime boss Victor through the mattress; Sarah with emotional wreck Ellie and then handing her off to Morgan; the "acceptable losses" conversation; the tied together Casey and Chuck fight scene with "How you like me now, sucka!" (with fun action and pool plunge stunt); and Ellie and Morgan the morning after including Devon having zero worry that anything happened and Morgan taking offense at that.

    A great episode all around.