It seems that, for this new season of ‘Chuck’, the producers have decided to load the show up to the gills with nerd fan service to pander to the audience. Remember the last episode’s appearances by Harry Dean Stanton (as a repo man!), Dolph Lundgren (“I must break you”), and (sadly) Olivia Munn? There’s a lot more of that sort of thing in the second episode, ‘Chuck vs. the Suitcase’. And, well, it seems to be working. I’m entertained.
First off, in a relief for me, Olivia Munn’s role was just a cameo. She’s not a regular. (I just hate her.) A running gag this season has it that a new CIA spy fills in for the role of “Greta” the Buy More assistant manager each episode. This weak, Greta is played by Old Spice spokesman Isaiah Mustafa. Absolutely no explanation is given for this. He’s very amusing while poking fun of his own image, which is already plenty cheeseball to begin with.
The “A” storyline this week has Chuck and Sarah chasing down a rogue spy posing as a fashion model, who’s trying to sell some high-tech smart bullets on the black market. She’s played by Karolina Kurkova. So, if I’ve got this right, we have a real model pretending to be an actress pretending to be a spy pretending to be a model. My head hurts a little. Kurkova acts about as well as most models-slash-actresses do, which is to say not well at all. But she sure is nice to look at.
Not as nice, I must say, as series star Yvonne Strahovski. We already know that Strahovski is the hottest woman on television at the moment, and the show regularly indulges in shameless fan service by throwing her into all sorts of skimpy outfits. Even so, she has one particularly Hummana Hummana Hummana moment this episode where she strips down to her skivvies and slinks into a stolen dress made up of microchips or something. Do the specifics of how they got to that point really matter? What’s important is that this scene is soon followed by Strahovski and Kurkova having a knock-down, drag-out catwalk catfight on the runway during Milan Fashion Week. And. It. Is. Sublime!
OK, I’ve got to snap out of this. Must remember that wife is reading. Moving on now…
The Hulk himself, Lou Ferrigno also has a role as Kurkova’s lovestruck henchman. He’s a lot of fun too. And, bizarrely, Bronson Pinchot (looking like hell) pops in very briefly for no reason at all. Does he even have a line? Weird.
The side-story to this (and the point of the episode title) is that Chuck is concerned that Sarah still hasn’t unpacked her suitcase even though technically she’s been living with him for six months. She of course explains that a spy must always be prepared to move out on a moment’s notice. While that seems to make sense rationally, Chuck feels like Sarah still isn’t ready to move their relationship to the next level. This of course all gets neatly resolved in the end when Sarah decides that she’s ready to unpack.
In the “B” storyline, Morgan convinces Gen. Beckman that the new Buy More is far too well-run and efficient. He argues that no one will believe that it’s actually a Buy More, and the cover will be blown. This is borne out when Awesome goes to the store to buy some baby monitors and immediately picks up that it’s a CIA front. Eventually, Beckman allows Morgan to re-hire all of the old Buy More slackers – even Jeff and Lester, who’ve been living out of a van. (Still no sign of Big Mike yet, though.) They drag the store back down to its old standards. CIA brass is so impressed at the thoroughness of the cover that Beckman promotes Morgan to be the new Buy More manager.
Other tidbits: Awesome is absolutely baby crazy (he buys two bassinets and a dozen baby monitors), and Casey is having problems connecting with his daughter.
Next episode, Nicole Richie and Steve Austin return to reprise characters they’d previously played. More importantly, the Greta role will be taken on by Stacy Keibler. I am so there.