‘Chuck’ 5.08 Recap: “You Know How Much I Love Surprises”

Have I been too hard on ‘Chuck’ lately? Last week, I was feeling pretty negative about the recent Christmas-themed episode, but honestly, it wasn’t really that bad. Maybe I was just in a sour mood when I watched it? Whatever the case, this past Friday’s follow-up episode wasn’t exactly a huge step up in quality or anything, but I found myself enjoying it a little more and remembering why I watch this show in the first place.

While the epilogue in the previous episode teased a ridiculous plot twist that Sarah had a secret baby with Shaw, fortunately that doesn’t turn out to be the case. ‘Chuck vs. the Baby’ opens with a flashback to “Five Years Ago,” where Sarah, prior to being assigned as Chuck’s handler, is sent on a mission to infiltrate a fancy mansion in Budapest. The owners of the house have been murdered, and a group of gangsters has taken up residence. Sarah is instructed by her own handler, a man named Kieran Ryker (Tim DeKay from ‘White Collar’) to take out all the baddies and retrieve a “package.” She charges the place with some utterly ridiculous but goofily amusing ‘Matrix’-style wirework stunts and single-handedly wipes out all the gangsters. When she finds it, Sarah then discovers that the package is a baby.

When Ryker orders Sarah to turn over the baby, she suddenly starts to distrust his motives. It turns out that the kid is the only surviving heir to a vast fortune, which Ryker wants to claim for himself. The mission in Budapest was never sanctioned by the CIA. Sarah absconds with the child, and eventually leaves the little girl in the care of her own mother, played by original Charlie’s Angel Cheryl Ladd, who looks damn good for 60.

In the present day, Ryker comes out of hiding and tricks Sarah into revealing where the girl is. This all culminates in a surprisingly brutal fight between Sarah and Ryker, until Sarah finally kills the man. Things turn kind of dark here for a minute. Sarah then reunites with her mother and her new “sister” Molly, and there are plenty of hugs and kisses to go around.

Throughout all this, Sarah has tried to keep Chuck and Casey out of the loop as much as possible. Of course, she ultimately needs their help to rescue her mother and defeat Ryker after all. The lesson learned here is that secrets are bad and that Sarah needs to be more trusting of her friends. I feel like this theme is a little old hat by now. Hasn’t Sarah been down this road a bunch of times already?

She’s still not too trusting, though. In the end, Sarah tells Chuck that she doesn’t want their team to rejoin the CIA. Unfortunately, this means that they won’t receive a promised signing bonus, and Chuck can’t afford to buy her the dream house he wanted. They agree that it’s worth waiting for.

This may not be a great episode, but regardless I liked it more than the last few. How do other ‘Chuck’ fans feel about this season? Have I been unfair to the show in recent weeks?


  1. Art0330

    The show is certainly not as strong as it has been in the past. Transitioning from the geeky reluctant intersect addled spy to the strong “hero” in my opinion, the show lost its balance between tongue in cheek and plot line. That being said, it remains entertaining in spite of lazy writing at times, and I will miss the show when it’s gone. I do miss the lunacy that was the Buy More, however.

  2. Scottie

    Did nobody else find it ridiculous that Sarah was fooled by Tyler with a tape recording of a crying baby? I mean, first of all, it was the exact same trick she used on him, duh! But more importantly–FIVE YEARS have passes! The kid isn’t a baby any more. Ridiculous. I know, it’s fiction, but that’s just insulting to the audience.

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