The pendulum of my feelings for this final season of ‘Chuck’ continues to swing. I don’t know if this Friday’s episode really saw a big increase in quality, or if I was just more receptive to being entertained by it that night. In either case, this one really clicked with me.
‘Chuck vs. the Kept Man’ features the return of Carrie-Anne Moss as Gertrude Verbanski, rival spy and Casey’s love interest. No longer on the run for Decker’s murder (Gen. Beckman wiped everyone’s slate clean), Verbanski returns to Burbank and makes an aggressive play to start a real relationship with Casey. Still uncomfortable with showing any emotion, Casey remains resistant. Expecting to win him over, Verbanski hires Carmichael Industries as a protection detail for an arms deal she wants to make in Miami. Basically, this is intended as a glorified vacation, which Chuck and Sarah are happy about but Casey not so much.
When the arms deal goes sour and the dealer tries to rip off Verbanski, she has a second team swoop in to clean up the mess before Casey, Sarah and Chuck can even react. Casey feels betrayed. She’d been using him as a decoy. However, when Verbanski gets kidnapped by another baddie looking to ransom her for $10 million, Casey races to the rescue and admits that he loves her.
Still stuck with babies on the brain after the previous episode, Sarah thinks that she might be pregnant. Oblivious Chuck fails to pick up on any of her signals. Ultimately, it turns out that she’s not pregnant, but the two of them start thinking about how they can reconcile their jet-setting spy lifestyle with starting a family.
The most surprising and amusing storyline happens at the Buy More. Newly-smart Jeff starts to pick up on clues that something is going on behind the scenes of the store. He even pieces together a theory that Sarah, Casey and Chuck are spies, and gets Lester to help him investigate. Morgan tries to throw them off the trail by enlisting Awesome to act like a spy and lure them to the tunnel under the Buy More where he has hidden… a secret gym room. He claims that some of the exercise techniques he does are not strictly legal, which seems like a pretty lame excuse, but would normally be enough to fool the addle-brained duo. Jeff is only mislead for a moment, however. He discovers the ruse and breaks through a wall to see Castle behind it. Morgan has to tranq the two boneheads, who now know the team’s secret. It could be interesting to see where this goes next week.
The episode has a lot of great banter, some nice character moments, very little abject stupidity, and just seems to pull together the show’s formula more successfully than usual. Sarah’s reaction to walking in on Casey and Verbanski during a romantic moment is hilarious. The high-tech gun that Verbanski wants to buy, which can’t shoot at anyone else holding the same type of gun to avoid friendly fire, is also a neat gimmick that the episode uses cleverly during the action scenes. Some fan-service with Sarah in a bikini doesn’t hurt, either.
The series only has a handful of episodes left before its finale. I hope they can stay at the same level as this one.