It’s been a couple weeks since Chuck was last in our lives, so catch up with my recap here. Starting with this week’s recap, I’m going to try something a little different. Instead of a complete blow-by-blow account of the episode, I’m going to highlight the main plot points, and add a little more commentary. If you’re reading this, you’ve likely just watched the episode anyway, so you don’t need a full rundown. So, let’s see how this works, and depending on your comments, we’ll forge ahead in this new fashion, or go back to the old way of doing things. On to “Chuck vs the A-Team.”
The episode begins with Morgan being interrogated by an individual disguising his voice. It’s no surprise that Colonel Casey is the one doing the interrogating. Fortunately, Morgan has (finally, after a few times peeing himself) passed his test and is deemed safe to trust with Casey’s secrets regarding his work in Sector 6 for the NCS. Whatever he does, for their own safety, Morgan can’t tell Chuck and Sarah what Casey is doing.
Speaking of Chuck and Sarah, these two desperately need a mission because playing Operation is not cutting it (pun intended) for at least Sarah’s spy tendencies. They see Casey bring a very large sniper rifle into Castle. After Casey rebuffs their inquiries as to Casey’s need for the sniper rifle, Sarah decides to follow him in order to discover what he has been hiding from them for the past couple weeks. Sarah and Chuck follow him to Sector 6, but can’t enter because the security system denies them access — even the “one and only Intersect.” Sarah thinks it’s time for a spy intervention, but Chuck has a better idea. He shows up at Morgan’s apartment, and through the door, questions Morgan about Casey’s activities. When Chuck asks why there haven’t been any missions (believing that Casey is taking them all without him and Sarah), Morgan repeats Casey’s line that perhaps the Intersect is just making the world a more peaceful place.
Chuck relays this lie to Sarah, who upon seeing Casey leaving for another mission, decides that she and Chuck are going to follow him. It’s not like they’re spying on their own partner, it’s that without the Intersect, Casey is in danger. They’re not spying on him, they’re just watching his back.
While extolling the virtues of the Toyota Siena (Blatant Product Placement!), Chuck and Sarah observe Casey on a meet with an international arms dealer. When two of the dealer’s guards pull their guns on Casey, Chuck and Sarah enter the fray with their guns drawn. This only results in the dealer’s many henchmen surrounding them. The two guards then spring into action, taking out the henchmen. They take off their masks to arrest the dealer. Chuck recognizes them: they’re two of the Gretas that had worked at the Buy More! “Chuck, Sarah…meet my new team,” Casey ruefully says.
Back in Burbank, Casey’s new agents, Captains Rick and Vicki, make themselves at home in Castle. “First they take over the Buy More, then our team, and then our spy lair, “Chuck exclaims to Sarah. Sarah tells Chuck not to worry because he still has the Intersect, so they can’t be replaced. Casey pulls Sarah aside to try to apologize, but she wants none of it. They were a team, and she can’t believe General Beckman would split them up. Casey informs Sarah that it wasn’t Beckman who created the new team. Enter Director Jane Bentley (played by Robin Givens, and previously seen in “Chuck vs the Masquerade”), someone Casey describes as “not as warm and cuddly as Beckman.” Chuck and Sarah call up The General to complain, but she explains that even she has to take orders. She has some good news though: she has a mission for them. They need to go to Tbilisi to extract Jana, the love of the arms dealer’s life, so he will give them the whereabouts of the man Casey supposedly worked for during the sting operation, Dragan Pshuskin.
Before Chuck leaves for Tbilisi, he runs into Devon, who is trying to calm himself before entering his apartment. Devon explains that he needs a baseline for coming home, because once he enters, Ellie is bouncing off the walls. She has been figuring out Clara’s sleep schedule, and running around like a crazy person. She needs a distraction, and thought that her father’s laptop would provide it. She asks Devon what he did with the computer. He calls Chuck and asks for the computer back, but Chuck says that it is locked away with the CIA somewhere. Devon comes up with the idea to say he brought it to the Buy More, where Ellie will assume Jeff and Lester lost it. The next morning, Ellie goes to the Buy More and finds Jeff and Lester reenacting the opening ESP testing scene from Ghostbusters. They have no record of the computer, but when Ellie tells them she and Devon made “a special movie” during med school that is saved on the computer. the guys get right on it.
Tbilisi. A car pulls up, and four toughs get out, but there is no sight of Jana. One of the guys opens the trunk and pulls out a duffle bag. Chuck fears Jana is chopped up into pieces, but they quickly learn that Jana is a dog. Their fears have been realized — he and Sarah are the B-Team.
Back at Castle, Chuck bemoans that he and Sarah are not just glorified pet couriers. Sarah decides that the other team is their competition. She and Chuck are going to capture Dragan to prove their worth, but first they need to find the arms dealer, The Turk. They begin to hear Jana barking from Sector 6, but how will they get in. Chuck goes back to Morgan’s apartment and tried to get information from Morgan through the door. This distraction allows Sarah to break into the apartment and tranq Morgan. They scan the apartment for Casey’s handprint that they can lift and use to open Sector 6. After taking a nice dig at CBS for their plethora of crime procedurals they find a useful print on Casey’s adored picture of President Reagan.
Upon entering Sector 6, Chuck complains that “their Castle is so much better than ours!” Sarah opens a door and finds Chuck’s father’s laptop. The appearance of the laptop brings Chuck’s worries to the fore: Did Casey create more Intersects? “You’re not as special as you think,” Capt. Rick says as he grabs Chuck’s arm. Chuck flashes some Chuck Fu and the two fight to a draw. Capt. Vicki jumps in and when she grabs Chuck, he flashes some Chuck Judo, but again fights her to a draw. Sarah wants to know what is happening. “We’re following the same program,” Chuck replies, “Sarah, they’re Intersects!” Casey enters, and Chuck grabs the computer, causing Vicki to pull her gun. Casey tries to order Vicki to stand down, but she doesn’t. Director Bentley enters, noting that unlike Chuck, “My Intersects are unafraid to pull the trigger.” Chuck hands over the laptop.
Bentley explains that the government has been using the Buy More as field a test to find Intersect candidates, hence the different Gretas. Further, they have been studying Chuck to determine the Intersect’s weaknesses: emotionality and a reliance on his handlers. Bentley tells them that they have found Dragan’s plane. Chuck flashes upon seeing the plane, but the Captains answer first. The A-Team is being sent to intercept Dragan and grab his cargo. Casey tries to explain to Sarah, but she doesn’t want an explanation. He says that Chuck and Sarah don’t need him anymore; he was just backup. Sarah and Chuck are still good agents without him. “Yeah, but we used to be the best,” retorts Sarah.
Lester tries to get Jeff to use his ESP to figure out where the laptop is. With a rush of wind, Jeff writes down “CIA.” Who the hell is “see-ya?” Lester wonders. Upon reviewing some more pictures of Dragan boarding his plane, the Captains simultaneously flash on a suitcase of demolition explosives Dragan is carrying. Due to the danger of the mission, Casey wants Chuck and Sarah as backup, to which Bentley happily agrees, the better to prove her team is better. At the airport, Casey tells Chuck he will be responsible for bomb demolition, while the A-Team will take out Dragan’s guards.
Once Chuck is clad in his bomb suit, Casey warns him that it will be hard to move, and very hot. Chuck replies that he saw The Hurt Locker. Casey props up a juice box in Chuck’s suit in case Chuck gets thirsty, an old trick he learned in the Army. Chuck is rather appreciative of the gesture from his friend. When Dragan lands and deplanes, the A-Team takes out his guards. He hands over the suitcase he is carrying, but when the Captains see it, they flash. It’s a suitcase nuke! Dragan announces that he has the detonator, and runs off, with Sarah and Vicki in pursuit. When Sarah corners him, Dragan shows that he is the detonator — if his heart stops, the bomb starts. Vicki runs up behind Dragan and raises her guns. Sarah warns her to not shoot Dragan, but Vicki flashes her sharpshooting skills and kills Dragan. This starts a five minute countdown until detonation.
Rick says that the bomb can’t be disarmed; it’s just to complicated. They can try to get it some place where casualties will only be in the thousands, but Chuck pleads with Casey to let him try to disarm it. Casey, having to choose between his former and current team, let’s Chuck have at it. Chuck opens the bomb and flashes that it was made from adapted nuclear submarine-stored nukes. As a safety precaution, the detonator will defuse in salt water, but where can they get salt water? The juice box! Chuck scans it to make sure there is sodium in the juice, which there is (Let’s not get into the salt content of sea water versus a juice box. Just go with it.) “Are you about to disarm a nuclear bomb with fruit juice?” Sarah asks in wonderment. Chuck squirts the juice on the bomb and it deactivates.
Back at Castle, Bentley pleads with General Beckman that they need one more mission to work the kinks out of the A-Team. The General, however, has seen enough. The A-Team killed the man they were supposed to protect, threatened Chuck, and acted to robotically. She orders that Chuck is to oversees the Intersect project from here on out. The first order of business? The former Gretas have their Intersect extracted, and are both relieved to have the computer out of their heads. “That poor sap, Bartowski,” Capt. Rick notes. Casey goes to leave, but Bentley didn’t dismiss him yet. She thinks Beckman is wrong; the new Intersect can be perfected. She orders Casey to help her fix Orion’s computer. What they need, however, is someone who thinks like a Bartowski.
Devon comes home to find Ellie sad because she doesn’t have her father’s laptop. She was hoping something on the computer would change her from being just a stay at home mom. Devon assures her that she’s more than that: she’s Mrs. Awesome. Across the way, Casey comes home to Morgan. Morgan apologizes for falling for Chuck and Sarah’s ruse, and tries to turn in his wings; he’s sorry for letting Casey down, but he just can’t lie to Chuck anymore. Casey says he doesn’t have to anymore — they’re all on the same team.
There is a knock on Ellie’s door. When she opens it, Bentley is there, with a Buy More bag. She explains that the store accidentally brought her Ellie’s computer. When Devon gets home, he finds Ellie plucking away on the laptop. “Great news! They found Dad’s computer!” Ellie exclaims, to Devon’s deep concern.
After a couple weeks off, I was very excited to have Chuck back, and “Chuck vs the A-Team” did not disappoint. I’m not sure if it was simply that I was able to actually watch more of the show because I was taking fewer notes (how do we like the more streamlined recap?), but I was laughing out loud through most of the episode, and having a generally great time. We have been conditioned to look for Chuck countering some big bad villain (Daniel Shaw, Volkoff, Ted Roark, etc.), but I am enjoying the idea of Chuck’s adversary being other “good guys.” It is often the well-intentioned that can be the most trouble, and I look forward to seeing how Bentley manipulates Casey to oppose Chuck and Sarah.
As far as the Greta payoff, I liked where they were going. the idea that the government was using the Buy More to find candidates for the Intersect program is intriguing, although I wish it wasn’t wrapped up so quickly. Obviously, the show is running into the problem that this season is coming to an end, and they are not sure if they are returning next season, so some plots need to run their course faster than is maybe desired. Still, I would have liked to see the Captains and their new Intersects conflict with Chuck and Sarah for a couple more missions.
On the Chuck and Sarah front, I thought this was a nice respite from the “stress about the wedding” stories they have been immersed in the past couple episodes. Their mutual disbelief and paranoia that they are being replaced was played very well by Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski, and shows another interesting side of both characters. Particularly, I really enjoyed Sarah’s scenes with Casey because it illustrated a vulnerability Sarah has only shown on rare occasions: she doesn’t like being abandoned. Rumor strongly has it that Sarah’s father will reappear this season, so this fear of abandonment by Casey nicely primes the pump for a confrontation with her father later.
So, what did you think of the episode? Were you as entertained as I was? Do you like Bentley and/or Casey posed as opposition to Chuck and Sarah? Would you have liked to see more of the Gretas? Please leave you questions, comments and theories below. I’ll be back next week with another recap. Until then, I’m off to make sure the gun doesn’t feel neglected.