'Chuck': Brotherhood of the traveling pants

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chuck-vs-frosted-tips.jpg "Chuck" is trying to cover a lot of ground in the 13 episodes it has for its final season, and because the season is short a lot of people were wondering why the show would choose to begin the season with Morgan having the Intersect.

I submit that "Chuck vs. the Frosted Tips" is why. It's easily the best of the first three episodes that have aired in Season 5, and it pays off the Morgan-Intersect story in a way that also makes the logic of the previous two hours easier to understand, while giving us a deeper exploration of Chuck and Morgan's relationship than we've had in some time.

And we'll get to that in a minute. First, we have got to talk about the sexiest fight/foreplay scene on television in recent memory, between Casey and Gertrude Verbanski.

We saw a little bit last week of the very un-Casey-like feelings Verbanski brings out in the colonel. The show pushed the idea further this week, to great effect, from Chuck and Sarah both commenting on his "weird move" in planting a bug on her to their rooftop kiss after he carries her away from the wreckage of the helicopter.

But the scene in Verbanski's office as she's trying to reclaim the flash drive he swiped from her safe was among the sexiest things "Chuck" has ever done (up to and including any number of skimpy Sarah outfits), and Adam Baldwin and Carrie-Anne Moss clearly had a blast filming it. That Casey was able to keep his wits about him to walk away -- and take back his gun from Minsk -- was a fantastic cherry on top of that awesome scene.

Great as that was, though, the central story of "Frosted Tips" was nearly as good. As Josh Gomez told reporters earlier this week, the malfunctioning/sabotaged Intersect is obviously making Morgan into something he's not, but it's also brought out some latent aspects of his personality. Chuck's anecdote about Morgan's brief time as a middle-school cool kid was both A) very funny and B) a deft piece of explanation for why Morgan's acting the way he is.

Gomez and Zachary Levi played those emotions very well, including the less-than-pleasant feelings Chuck has about not being the Intersect anymore. They've also been through enough together -- from the middle-school pantsing incident on -- that once Chuck realizes what's happening to Morgan, and helps Morgan see it to, that there's not a question of whether their friendship can survive.

(Casey, not surprisingly, is a different story. Morgan will have to make amends with Alex before he and his "Star Wars" sheets can bunk with Casey again.)

There is the little matter of Morgan surviving, though, now that Beckman (yay! Beckman's back!) has informed them that Morgan's oversharing of the fact that he's the Intersect has resulted in a kill order. "We have to help Morgan" is about to become "We have to save Morgan," which means we're likely due for another visit from Clyde Decker and his evil cabal in the near future.

A couple other notes on "Chuck vs. the Frosted Tips":

  • Ellie and Awesome were mostly bit players again this week, with Ellie just providing some exposition about the malfunctioning Intersect (although at this point in filming, Sarah Lancaster wasn't more than a couple months removed from giving birth to her son). Awesome once again had an amusing turn at the Buy More, where a trip to replace his back-up juicer results in him essentially fixing Jeff by telling him to stop sleeping in his van while the engine's running. Sober Jeff also has no time for Lester's shenanigans -- could this be the rift that breaks up Jeffster!?
  • "Chuck" location fact: The headquarters of Verbanski Corp. is in real life the campus of a visual and performing arts high school in downtown Los Angeles.
  • Of all the un-Morgan-like things the Intersect made Morgan do, "Yo! Becky!" is by far the funniest.
  • Although Carrie-Anne Moss wasn't in the scene where Morgan avoids Sarah's tranquilizer darts, I have to wonder if the show would have done that little "Matrix" homage if someone else were playing Verbanski.

What did you think of "Chuck" this week?

Photo/Video credit: NBC