Firefly fans who've heard that Adam Baldwin rocks the house on Chuck but haven't yet investigated for themselves should really check out last night's Baldwin-tastic episode. Seldom has the Hero of Canton been in such awesome comedy form. Spoilers ahead!
I had high hopes when I realized that last night's "Chuck Vs. The Couch Lock" was going to be a Casey-centric episode. Especially after a couple of really underwhelming episodes in which we basically sat through couples therapy with Chuck and Sarah, we needed an extra helping of Casey bouncing off Morgan, Jeff and Lester. Casey's usual attitude when faced with the idiocy of the Buy-More's resident trio of dweebs is to become immobile with rage, so making him actually immobile was a stroke of genius. But Casey also got some great comic scenes during the parts of the episode where he could move.
So the episode starts with an incredible flashback to the waning days of the Clinton Administration, when Casey is leading a crack team on a raid of a bunker in Iran. It's a beautifully set up homage to the A-Team, which all goes awry when Casey's team all decide they want to steal the terrorist gold in that bunker instead of following orders and sealing it up. (You know that Casey's team is going to go bad when you see that Eric Roberts is one of the team-members. Why Casey ever trusted Eric Roberts is a mystery beyond fathoming.) The bit where Casey cuts out the lights with his knife and then takes out all three guys is pure beauty. So Casey's old team eventually completes the A-Team origin story (without Casey) by busting out of a military stockade and disappearing into the L.A. underground.
Back in the present day, Chuck is still obsessing about finding his mom, and realizes that Casey's old team are now working for this season's big bad, Volkoff, running his prisons. (Side note: I wonder which classic TV/movie actor is going to wind up playing Volkoff.) So Chuck hatches a plan to get Casey's former team-mates to show up: fake Casey's death, and nab them at the funeral. Of course, it all goes horribly wrong, as funeral-based plans so often do, and the paralyzed Casey is taken prisoner by his former team.
All of which sets up the hilarious scene above, as Jeff and Lester rescue Casey, who they assume has done some "O.G. Kush" on one of his "installs." Not only do Jeff and Lester enjoy sharing some white zin and playing Magic the Gathering, they sometimes get even wilder than that, going out on "installs" that end up with them in some of the finest dumpsters in the city.
It's all an excuse for the couple we care about most on this show — Morgan and Casey — to work out their relationship, including Morgan finally admitting he's dating Casey's daughter Alex. (Will Alex progress beyond being a human trophy at some point? Stay tuned!) Morgan tries to win over Casey by delivering a lovely, if oddly hand- and foot-centric, eulogy at Casey's funeral, then has to "dump" Alex to keep her away from the most intimidating member of the "A-Team":
Finally, Morgan comes clean with Casey, partly as a way to shock him out of his paralysis, and they're off to Iran to rescue Chuck and Sarah, who've gotten themselves captured trying to rescue Casey. (The bit where Casey tells Morgan, "We ain't talkin'," was the most Jayne-esque Casey moment I can remember seeing on this show. Morgan and Casey going off a rescue mission together was the final layer of awesomeness this episode needed to cap everything off.
Also very welcome, this time around: The lack of a random guest star as "Greta." Not that we're not excited for Summer Glau's turn in the spotlight, whenever that happens, but a week off from the Greta thing was pretty welcome.
What else could this episode possibly need to make the perfection complete? Oh, how about Chuck finally confronting the fact that he's kind of self-centered and puts his friends into danger to deal with his personal issues, like looking for his mom. It's great that his first inklings of this come from being congratulated by General Beckman on his willingness to put Casey in mortal danger, since that's the hallmark of a really cold-blooded spy.
And of course, you know that the moment Chuck realizes his mom probably isn't really a prisoner, or a shining paragon of paragonitude, and decides to stop looking for her, she'll find him. Anybody who didn't see that twist coming deserves to have Eric Roberts on their squad.
All in all, a welcome to return to top form from Chuck, and now we can't wait for next week's Robert Englund guest spot, not to mention the return of Linda Hamilton!
What did you think?