With Volkoff having been (for now) taken care of, “Chuck” gets to take a pause in its ongoing story and just focus on Team Bartowski doing its spy thing. And although the show is built on those bigger stories, it knows how to do a fun, lighthearted spy caper really well. Such was the case with “Chuck vs. the Seduction Impossible.”
For the outstanding Casey element alone — from both father and daughter, by the way — Monday’s (Feb. 7) episode would have been worth the tune-in. But the wholly unexpected Beckman story and Bartowski family wedding intensity on top of it, and then a couple of touching emotional scenes in the final act? Plus Sarah belly dancing? Gold stars all around.
“Seduction Impossible” brings back one of the show’s finest guest stars in John Larroquette as semi-retired spy Roan Montgomery (first seen in Season 2’s “Chuck vs. the Seduction”), who has gotten himself captured in Morocco while trying to crack a counterfeit ring run by a beautiful female terrorist, Fatima (Lesley-Ann Brandt of “Spartacus”). Or maybe not: He says he’s undercover and close to taking Fatima down, but Gen. Beckman isn’t interested in giving Roan more time and orders Chuck, Sarah and Casey to retrieve him.
And why is Beckman so invested in Roan’s well-being? Because they used to be lovers (“Berlin ’89, Iraq ’91, Florida 2000 …” Casey explains). Their relationship was hinted at in “vs. the Seduction,” but what that episode did not have and “Seduction Impossible” did was a brilliant flashback to Roan and Diane at the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Beckman wielding a rocket launcher, and the most hilariously perfect music cue in “Chuck” history: The godawful Scorpions power ballad “Wind of Change.”
A few twists and turns later — including Casey having been trapped after encasing himself in a wall (shades of “vs. the Coup d’Etat”), a very badly timed sneeze from Chuck and Casey taking out several henchwomen by shooting through a bullet hole in said wall — all is well, mostly. Because while this week’s episode didn’t deal with any big spy-world story, it did have the characters hit some very strong emotional beats, most prominently Chuck and Sarah’s disagreement over whether they should have a big traditional wedding (Chuck’s preference) or just elope (Sarah’s choice).
The look of terror in both their eyes (as well as Casey’s) at the beginning of the episode when Mom, Ellie and Awesome set in on them about wedding details was great comedy, as was the mutual attempted seduction after Chuck got a few pointers from Roan. (And also, we reiterate: Sarah belly dancing.) But it masked a bigger issue for Chuck — his lingering feelings of inadequacy — and a really big one for Sarah: the fact that her family life and past are such a mess that she doesn’t even know who to invite, let alone who would walk her down the aisle (may we suggest one John Casey?). Chuck is incredibly sweet in telling Sarah that he wants to work on her family stuff with her, but we suspect he’s going to have to come up with more than just kind words to really help her.
Other notes from “Chuck vs. the Seduction Impossible”:
- There are several candidates for the funniest line of the night, but we’re going with this post-flashback exchange: Chuck: “Beckman was a dirty blonde?” Roan: “It was the ’80s — everything was dirty blonde.”
- In addition to the Chuck and Sarah scene at the end, we also got really nice moments from Casey — who saw firsthand how Alex’s mom is now in a good place and knew not to disrupt that — and Ellie and Mary, with Ellie recognizing that if mom needs to go back to work, it doesn’t mean she won’t be part of baby Clara’s life.
- Alex certainly has the Casey family glower down, doesn’t she?
- Morgan was probably right when he told Chuck that he needed to be a little more assertive in his relationship with Sarah, but his logic is a little flawed: “You giving Sarah what she wants and me not getting what I want is not necessarily compromise.” And Chuck fits into the equation how?
- That Casey, he knows how to woo a woman: “That’s a lovely weapon you have there. … It must get awfully lonely down here, in a dungeon by yourself, with no one to talk to. … Cold too. But you can take it — you’re hardy. I can see why they didn’t put one of those skinny ones down here.”
Fun stuff tonight from team “Chuck.” What did you think of the episode?