'Chuck': Morgan steps up as the Ring storms the Castle

scott-krinsky-vic-sahay-chuck-vs-the-beard-320.jpgChuck's Buy More and CIA worlds are colliding, finally and inevitably, and you've gotta love the way they handled it. I've never found Morgan to be an especially appealing character compared to the rest of the "Chuck" roster, but he really shone in this episode.

Chuck vs. The Best Friend: Chuck is frustrated to find out that he's been benched until he can flash again, leaving him stuck minding the Castle while the rest of the team tries to intercept a CIA agent the Ring will supposedly try to turn. Shaw quickly discovers that not only is the supposed agent actually Captain Awesome, but that he's being used as a decoy while the Ring storms the Castle.

Back at the Buy More, Morgan confronts Chuck about his secretiveness lately, even to the point of dumping Hannah with no explanation. And (sniff) he fires Chuck ... as his best friend. You can tell it just kills Morgan to do this, but also that he's forcing himself to man up and take a stand. When a team of suits arrives to interview employees at the Buy More before deciding whether to purchase the store, Chuck sweetly talks Morgan up, still calling him his best friend.

Unfortunately, the potential buyers are not only played by Diedrich Bader and Cedric Yarbrough (cast in serious roles even though they're best known as comic actors, which threw me off momentarily), they're also Ring agents attempting to infiltrate the Castle and retrieve and destroy Shaw's files. And they're pretty sure Chuck is Agent Charmichael. What follows is pure, outstanding "Chuck"-ness.

Morgan spots the Ring agents breaking into the Castle and is obviously dumbfounded. As one would tend to be after seeing the Buy More break room lockers open into a secret CIA base. Not sure I'd follow the guys with explosives into the base, but then I'm not Morgan. Thank goodness. He describes what he thinks is an unbelievable situation to Chuck, begging him not to freak out. It's really cute until he insists on fighting, because the Buy Morons are "the store's -- no, America's last line of defense."

Sadly, his "Red Dawn"-style offensive, armed with what I believe to be electric carving knives, is immediately quashed when it turns out the Ring agents have weapons that aren't found in the home goods section of the Buy More. Darn. When the Ring agents threaten to torture Morgan, knowing he's Chuck's best friend, Chuck confesses to being a spy. But not before Morgan gives a big, impassioned speech about how Chuck could never possibly keep something like that from him, because they've been best friends forever and ever. Ouch.

But after briefly freaking out, Morgan is psyched that his best friend is a spy and just stopped hanging out with him because he was out saving the world. It's definitely pretty cool if you look at it that way. Interestingly, the Ring agents are concerned when Casey arrives at the Buy More, and more than in a "CIA help just arrived" way. They try to kill him, but he fights them off with the help of a dazed Jeff (and his chloroform). When Shaw decides to destroy the Castle rather than let the Ring get hold of his data, Sarah convinces him to hold off for five minutes to give Chuck a chance to save the day. 

Chuck, meanwhile, tells Morgan the whole story. After realizing that Sarah was Chuck's beard, Morgan sympathizes: "It's awful that you had to pretend to be in a relationship with someone you clearly love." I love that Morgan can just completely take you by surprise sometimes. Chuck reflects, and acknowledges the truth in that statement, even though he'd been trying to tell himself he didn't love her. After getting all this off his chest, he finally flashes!

And it's GREAT. Does anyone remember that scene from "Alias" where Sydney busts in to rescue Will, and after seeing her get all butt-kicky he's all, "WHAT?!?!" This reminded me of that. Morgan just can't believe it, and then pitches in and helps! The Castle is saved just as Shaw is readying the self-destruct orders, of course. Best part: Morgan emerging from the smoke as the door opens. "Bag 'em and tag 'em, Sarah. Excuse me: Agent Walker."

Even though Awesome is awesome and Morgan is "a moron," they agree to a similar scenario in which Morgan is entrusted with the secret and doesn't have to go into witness protection, after Chuck insists on his loyalty and Sarah backs him up. Chuck: "I'm a spy again because I have my best friend back." Casey: "God help us."  

We're left with a couple loose ends, though. The Ring agents never got a chance to tell their superiors what they found, but it's unclear why they didn't kill Shaw when they had the chance, which worries him. And more interestingly, Casey! We end with a Ring phone ringing in the Castle, and Casey answering it cautiously. Mysterious man: "Hello, Colonel Casey. It's been a while." Dun dun duuuuunnnnn! I can't wait to delve into the mystery that is John Casey next week!

The Buy Morons vs. The Man: When the Buy Morons hear that their store is being sold, and Lester misinterprets an overheard Ring order to "terminate" them, they stage a revolution to save their jobs, complete with an Iwo Jima-inspired flag-planting. Casey is only able to get into the store (after being attacked with a barrage of Nerf projectiles) when he asks to join the cause because "the only thing I hate more than hippie neo-liberal fascists and anarchists are the hypocrite fat-cat suits they eventually grow up to become." Could I love Casey any more? No, no I couldn't.

Equally awesome is Jeffster!'s inspiring performance of "Fortunate Son" to rally the troops. Outstanding. Jeffster! is totally filling the "Glee" void during its absence. After reclaiming control of the Castle, Shaw calls Big Mike, cutely pretending to be Buy More Corporate canceling the sale and lauding them for their incredible display of store loyalty. Man, every time I get steamed at Shaw, he lets a little of his soft side show and I just can't stay mad at the guy! 

Quotes and Odds and Ends:

  • Jeff can fit an entire apple in his mouth. Yes. That happened.
  • With Awesome freaking out and insisting he and Ellie join Doctors Without Borders, I wonder if we'll be seeing much less of them. It'd make sense, with the budget cuts and all. I'll miss them, though! Hopefully they'll pop in from time to time.
  • I love that Morgan accuses Chuck of flashing when he gets a perfect score on Duck Hunt. It says a lot about their friendship that things could go back to being that normal, with the spy world casually incorporated, after all that's happened.
  • Chuck: "I'm not a machine! Okay, I am a machine. But I'm also a person!"
  • Casey: "When we get back, I expect this place to be exactly as I left it."
  • Your director for this episode: None other than Chuck himself, Zachary Levi.

I really loved this episode...how about you? Are you excited to potentially find out more about "Alex Coburn" next week? How are you feeling about Shaw these days?