In Ian Fleming’s James Bond novel “Goldfinger,” there’s this line: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is an enemy action.”
It remains to be seen if what’s going on with Morgan is, in fact, an enemy action, but by the end of Friday’s (Nov. 4) “Chuck,” it’s become pretty clear that Mr. Grimes is not quite himself.
Not recognizing Chuck’s Indiana Jones reference, you could chalk up to him not paying full attention in the heat of the moment. Not caring about Trilogy Night? Odd, but he’s obviously upset at the baby steps Chuck, Sarah and Casey are forcing him to take with the Intersect.
But betraying his best friend AND not knowing who Luke Skywalker is? This is not the Morgan Grimes we know.
“Chuck vs. the Bearded Bandit” felt like a more confident step in exploring the Morgan-as-Intersect story, even if where that step led is kind of disturbing. The introduction of Carrie-Anne Moss as rival spy-company leader Gertrude Verbanski worked very well, both for what she brings to the show and for what Gertrude Verbanski brings out in Casey, and the Buy More subplot with Capt. Awesome was good, frivolous fun.
But back to Morgan. Even before it became clear that something wasn’t right with the Intersect — whether it’s buggy because it wasn’t meant for him or deliberately messed up remains to be seen — his chafing at having Chuck as his handler and being sidelined isn’t surprising. Not only does it mirror Chuck’s experience with the first Intersect early in the show’s run, but also Morgan has always been a ready-fire-aim kind of guy, often enthusiastic to a fault.
So his vigilante move in the store makes sense, as does his storming of the safe house where their target/asset Wesley Sneijder (an underused Justin Hartley) is staying. Morgan’s attempt to take down their client/target Karl Sneijder (an appropriately menacing Jeff Fahey), though, is much more foolish and is a hint at what the glitch in his head will make him do.
Glitch-free, though, was Moss’ guest appearance. She’s utterly believable as the head of a much larger and more ruthlessly efficient spy firm, but what really clicked was Verbanski’s history with Casey. The big guy, as you might expect, is completely flustered at seeing her 16 years after whatever happened in Minsk, and it’s fantastic that Sarah sees Verbanski’s attempt to recruit her for what it really is — a chance to meet up with Casey once more.
It also gave us some very good light moments between Sarah and Casey (“Have you ever had sex with someone who just tried to kill you?”). Those two have had several good moments as peers and colleagues in the past, but “Chuck” hasn’t explored their friendship quite as much over the years. We’ll take more of that.
The C-story at the Buy More gave us the sight of Big Mike from back in the Betamax days and Awesome (“That is a pretty man”) helping out both the store and Carmichael Industries by starring in the new commercial. But the thing that’s sticking with me is Big Mike shutting down Lester’s audition by saying he’s over the Jeffster! thing, and Lester replying, “So am I.” Is there trouble in the world of Jeffster!? We shall see.
What did you think of “Chuck” this week? What do you think the problem with the Intersect is — bad software or deliberate sabotage?