'Chuck': Costa Gravas calls once more

chuck-coup-detat1.jpgWow -- that was one filled-to-bursting "Chuck" on Monday (Oct. 11). Between the return of Generalissimo Goya, Chuck's big conversation with Ellie, Casey owning every scene he was in, the Awesome statue, Morgan and Alex ... you get the idea. Lots and lots of stuff going on.

All of it, though, came back to relationships, and all of them had significant developments. So let's break it down.

Chuck and Sarah: After the not-proposal of last week, Morgan tells Chuck that he and Sarah are "crap communicators" -- which, really, no argument here. Aided by self-help guru Dr. Fred's latest book (side note: Why would there be a book signing at the Buy More?), Chuck initiates a series of "useful" but occasionally very silly conversations, bringing up Sarah's defenses and her essential fear of commitment: "Why do we always have to talk and change things? Why can't we just be?"

They each end up giving a little bit, though, defusing a Costa Gravan coup in the process and getting to a very nice place at the end, when Sarah tells a sleeping (so she thinks) Chuck that whenever he does ask her to marry him, she'll say yes. The episode ends on the hint of a smile crossing Chuck's face. All together now: Awwww.

Awesome and Ellie: Awesome is continuing to over-baby Ellie ("My hot husband now drives a minivan." "An awesome minivan ..."). She wants a "baby-moon" before they get down to the parenthood business; fortunately, one drops in their lap thanks to the Generalissimo, who wants to thank Awesome once again for saving his life. They're present in Costa Gravas for the unveiling of Awesome's statue -- which turns Ellie on not a little bit -- and then there to witness Chuck and Sarah go to Spytown on the CG rebels when Mrs. Generalissimo stages a coup. They're shaken but OK, then off to Malibu to finish of the baby-moon.

Generalissimo and Mrs. Generalissimo: Hortencia Goya (played by Tia Texada) is feeling increasingly marginalized by her husband's turn away from their socialist revolutionary ideals, and also by the fact that he doesn't really listen to her anymore, so she and the head of his secret police stage a coup. Chuck and Sarah intervene, it goes sideways, there are nukes, and World War III is averted when Chuck and Sarah use Dr. Fred's teachings to spark a reconciliation. The reunion is a bit of a stretch, even for "Chuck," but we'll always take Armand Assante gleefully chewing scenery and singing "Besame Mucho."

Casey and Morgan and Alex and Big Mike: Casey is still laid up after being shot last week, so Morgan is taking care of him. Casey's daughter Alex is looking in on her dad too, and pops is growing ever more suspicious of what's going on with them. Morgan is torn between, as he puts it in his pro/con list "Dating Alex" and "Casey hurting me," but after some, uh, fatherly advice from Big Mike -- "kiss her on the lips, and if you hear sweet, smooth jams rise up from your soul, that's your answer" -- and a first move by Alex, he just goes for it. Sweet, smooth jams do indeed play, and for now at least, Morgan is alive. Mostly because Casey is in Costa Gravas reliving the two weeks he spent inside the walls of the Generalissimo's palace and helping Chuck and Sarah avert the coup.

Chuck and Ellie: After seeing Chuck go Intersect on the Costa Gravans, Ellie feels even more grateful to him for what he has (not) given up. What could have been a repeat of their conversation in the season premiere, though, takes a big turn when Chuck admits that he's looking for their mom (who, it turns out, may have had a hand in selling Goya his nuclear deployment system). Ellie isn't sure she wants or needs to know, but Chuck hints just enough at what he knows about Mary Elizabeth's disappearance to convince her that whether mom bailed or was forced to leave, they deserve the answer. "Chuck" seems really to have figured out how to make Sarah Lancaster fit in with the spy world, this season, and it's better for it.

chuck-coup-detat2.jpgA few other bits from "Chuck vs. the Coup d'Etat":

- If there's a funnier single visual this season than that of Casey's head glowering over the furry blanket Morgan places over him, I'll be a little bit surprised, because that was genius-level stuff.
- Unless it's Awesome flashing the biggest, dopiest grin in TV history when his statue is unveiled, pictured at right.
- We'll say it again: Armand Assante. "Besame Mucho." Brilliant.
- Chuck's reaction to Sarah's bikini show, in which he speaks for most of us: "Yes, that, both -- all of the above."
- Casey, describing the smell in the tunnel below the Generalissimo's palace: "That's the stench of tyranny."

What did you think of tonight's "Chuck"? The relationship talk fit quite nicely into the spy story, don't you think?

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Photo credits: NBC