Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Chuck: "Chuck Vs. The Couch Lock"

Illustration for article titled Chuck: "Chuck Vs. The Couch Lock"

Ah yes, there's only one surefire way to snap Chuck out of its fourth season funk: An episode centered around John fuckin' Casey. Hell yeah. More on that in a second.

In order to watch Chuck, you have to suspend some disbelief. Like, okay, you're telling me the CIA would secure all the exits at a funeral, but forget to check around the casket? The bad guys would order a pizza to their secret lair on the day they vow to cut off a dead guy's arm, and then decide it's better to eat the pizza before they do it so their stomach is full of potential vomit? That's all just crazy talk, my friends. None of this ever really bothered me, though, because Chuck is a show that a) doesn't take itself very seriously, and b) requires a fair amount of forward momentum so those watching don't have time to care/nitpick.

It's funny that what does bother me is when I'm asked to suspend disbelief that the most emotionally needy and insecure guy, bordering on creepy, could maintain a functional relationship with someone who, surprisingly, seems very comfortable in that department. (Because that's crazy.) Chuck and Sarah's relationship trials and tribulations—or as Hannibal Buress would call them, tribulations—did not follow the rules of a) and b) up there, and were becoming a major distraction.

But, thankfully, that stuff took a backseat this week, and instead we were all treated to an hour of Casey awesomeness, starting with his fake death. Chuck wants to get another lead on his mom, and realizes the best way to do this is to lure three of Casey's former partners out of hiding: There's Avatar guy, badass from The Dark Knight, and the other one. They need Casey to let them into a bunker full of gold bricks, but can't really convince the badass to do it for them while he's alive. Thus realizing they would literally only stick their necks out to taunt Casey at his funeral (plus find a way to use the dead body to steal the gold), Chuck doses Casey with a near-death-replicating toxin, loads a church full of agents, and enlists Morgan to do the eulogy. Of course, Morgan is dating Casey's daughter Alex and hasn't yet worked up the courage to tell dear ol' dad; so he's set to use this time, when Casey is unable to move, to do just that. Cue Morgan starting in on the topic, Casey raising his eyes in anger (the only motion he can do), and Morgan freaking out like a scared puppy. I could have watched this all day.

The three amigos do capture Casey, and back at the lair, Casey's massively drugged up self makes with the physical comedy. First he attempts to will himself to move—a fine homage to Kill Bill. Then, once he finally does, he flops onto the floor, drags himself away, and fights his way through the goons by the skin of his teeth. One injects him with yet another dose, though, and thus Casey lurches his way out a window and into a dumpster. Oh, and later Morgan has to make Casey angry—to break him out of the freeze—and he finally talks about his relationship with Alex; Casey, furious, freakin' snaps to attention and hoists Morgan into the air. There's pretty much no way scenes like this could flop, and given it's the big lunk Adam Baldwin, things were that much funnier/awkward.

"Chuck Vs. The Couch Lock" also had an ease with integrating everyone. Chuck and Sarah don't have the bulk of the screen time, but each get some nice moments. Chuck's comes early, when he's telling his plan to Beckman, practically beaming at how proud he is for coming up with everything. Later he stumbles into a motion sensor laser while he and Sarah are trying to rescue Casey, and Sarah gets her chance to chat as she's disarming the possible explosive. Plus, where there's Casey there's obviously Morgan, who balanced his fumbling Alex-secret-keeping scenes with a moment of pure courage—he electrocutes himself in order to stop the bad guys and save the day. Even Jeff and Lester got some screen time, and this go-round they distracted from what else was happening in a good way. (They intercept Casey's call for help, then confuse his curious predicament—paralyzed and wearing a uniform—with a weird fetish.)


Chuck spends so much time making Chuck (and I suppose Morgan) look suave, it's always refreshing when it goes the other way: taking normally strong and cool characters, making them look like total losers. It's a way to demonstrate that Chuck is good, clean campy fun. There will always be a few things treated with the utmost importance, but the more outlandish, the better. "Chuck Vs. The Couch Lock" was about keeping three goons from stealing secret gold bricks, plus letting Morgan finally be happy with a lady he likes. If only this breeziness could translate to the Chuck/Sarah relationship, this show would be totally back on track. And "Chuck Vs. The Couch Lock" is a great model for returning to the Chuck golden days.

Stray observations:

  • "You break her heart, I break your everything."
  • "We got keys."
  • Ellie and Awesome had very little to do in this episode. In cases like this, I'd almost rather the characters not appear so we can give screen time to the others, but no big whoop.