Chuck Versus the Taking Things For Granted

The newly committed Chuck and Sarah couple meet the CIA's most successful married spies: Fred Willard and Swoozie Kurtz. Oh, and there's a tiger, the Awesomes' African adventure, and Morgan posting up on Big Mike.

There's an old saw that goes something like, "Take a good look at your girlfriend's mother, because that's who you're gonna be sleeping with in 30 years." Of course, you should feel free to insert the appropriate pronoun — and ignore me as I just made that up. But I think there's a kernel of truth there: that looking back to our elders can show us something of a road map for our futures. And that was the crux of "Chuck vs. the Role Models": What might Chuck and Sarah look like 30 years from today?

They probably won't be quite as cool as the retro-‘80s version of themselves that the episode opened with, complete with all the Scarecrow and Mrs. King hair. Nor will they do quite as much intra-sheetual bonding — as Morgan put it, after being flustered by a nightie-clad Sarah, "You're having tons and tons of sex. Congratulations, Warren Beatty." They might, however, look a bit like Craig and Laura Turner (Fred Willard and Swoozie Kurtz) — the best agent-couple the CIA has ever produced. Gen. Beckman has assigned Chuck and Sarah to observe the legendary Turners in action, swiping some computer gizamawho from a cocktail party. Meanwhile, Casey's gotta put Morgan through an insanely truncated version of basic training. In the Buy More. Because that's totally where you'd train agents with advanced lessons in spycraft like getting a phone number from a pretty girl.

Meanwhile, the the Awesomes are in the Congo — or, rather, the Congo part of the Warner backlot — doing their Doctors Without Borders thing. I'm not gonna talk about that any more until we get to the very end of this, as this whole plot strand was a long, arduous, boring set up for just one twist. A good twist, to be sure, but the walk up was painfully dull. And the whole Morgan-Casey training schtick was only interesting because it's Morgan and Casey, and those two characters together are fun to watch. But not so fun that we'll watch them lollygag around the Buy More. We get it: Morgan's not spy material, and no amount of training will make his intersect-less ass become one.

Chuck Versus the Taking Things For Granted

So, back to the main plot — following the Turners on their party crashing mission. Hey, it's Udo Kier, playing the party host and owner of the target computer gizamawho. He's been in so many genre productions, he's like the creepy-European Mark Sheppard. Once on site, the Turners careen off the rails: She starts drinking heavily, he can't keep it in his pants, and together they end up writhing in pain on the floor. As such, Chuck and Sarah are forced to take on the mission themselves. Which would've gone fine if not for the tiger.

The tiger, by the way, made for the most entertaining part of the episode — and I suppose if you're gonna spring for a tiger, it'd better be entertaining — because the computer gizamawho is around the tiger's neck. And Chuck is allergic to cats. I do so love it when complications ensue. "I'm not letting you shoot a tiger, They are both endangered and majestic."

Chuck Versus the Taking Things For Granted

And just as Chuck and Sarah leave with the gizamawho, the Turners ambush them and swipe the goods. Ever the skilled agents, their previous shenanigans were just a cover: They were stealing the gizamawho for sale on the black market. Luckily, Chuck and Sarah followed the Turners' trail of expensive booze to their hotel — the only one that makes a good drink with the right cherries — and get the drop on them. Drop achieved, Chuck and Sarah bring them back to the apartment — why did they bring the Turners back to Chuck's pad when the Grand Ambassador would've been a perfectly satisfactory place to hand the Turners over to the US Marshalls? — but just in time for EuroSheppard and his pet tiger to crash the party.

A quick flash of fisticuffs, and Morgan trapping Sasha in the Awesomes' vacated pad, saw a quick resolution of the EuroSheppard affair. The Turners got to retire with their dignity intact, and Chuck and Sarah officially moved in together, so they could share all of that beautiful backlighting.

As for the Awesomes and that cool twist, the dewy-soft handsome interloper MD — the one that looked as if he was gonna be a romantic rival for Ellie's affections — turned out to be a Ring agent who doped Devon with something malarialy lethal. That, and the fact that the natives refer to Devon as "Dr. Super Fantastic White Person," was almost worth the screen time spent setting it up. Almost. But not quite.

Chuck Versus the Taking Things For Granted

Chuck has become a comfortable pleasure, one that I'm more than happy to roll with on a weekly basis. I like the characters, enjoy the stabs at action. But it kinda feels like Chuck is taking us for granted, just a little. It earned our love, and has decided it doesn't need to work all that hard to keep it. Remember all the things Chuck did to woo us in the beginning? Chuck's constant battles with his dead-end life, the intersect he wanted out of his head, the girl he could never have — plus people trying to kill him every week? That was crackerjack stuff, filled with energy and drive. But now Chuck is cool with the intersect, is moving in with the girl of his dreams, has a career he loves — watching a show in which the main character already has everything he ever wanted is kinda boring. Like a really stale marriage.

Like I said, it's comfortable and easy and so I'll keep watching — especially if Yvonne Strahovsky continues to be clad all scantily — but I want to feel the way I did in the beginning. When Chuck was trying so damned hard to make me fall in love.