'Chuck' recap: The Handled Becomes the Handler

chuck-season-5.jpgDespite last week's pretty enticing cliffhanger, it's another mediocre (at best) episode of our formerly favorite spy series. There are at least three different storylines going on, so I'll start with what seems like the A plot. A blood diamond dealer seeks Carmichael Industry's help getting his brother back from some kidnappers. He pays $200,000 up front, which is great for Team Bartowski (or should it be Team Grimes now?), since it turns out the guy doesn't want to save his brother; he wants to kill him. So the gang saves him and takes him back to their supposedly safe and secret Castle (but, remember, that Decker and the whole U.S. government knows where it is. Plus, Karl walked in earlier in the episode, so he does too. But none of that matters, because Morgan goes rogue and heads to the diamond dealer's compound to ... I don't know, actually. Take him down? He drags Chuck -- who's been made Morgan's handler -- along with him, and they nearly get themselves killed, before Casey and Sarah hire a rival private spy operation to save the day, costing them pretty much all of the $200,000 they made this episode.

Which brings us to our B plot. Carrie-Anne Moss is the leader of a rival spy group called Verbanski Industries. She took down Casey in 1995 in Minsk, and then they had sex. So there's a lot of history and tension there, which Casey tries to play off as her interest in him. But when he's calling her up at the episode's end to ask her on a date (though he chickens out, adorably), it's pretty clear he's the one with the greater interest. Carrie-Anne (whose name is Gertrude Verbanksi, actually) does try to hire Sarah away from Carmichael Industries, which Sarah thinks is a ploy to really hire Casey. But neither of them budges ... though someone else does. That someone, of course, is Morgan. He's not taking too kindly to being "handled" by Chuck or second-guessed by Sarah and Casey, or ever given a bit of direction. He thinks he can handle anything (he can't), and he wants to advertise his Intersect-ness (he tells Verbanski). He's basically a whining baby, and it reaches a point where I do actually hope he stays with Verbanski and becomes one of the bad guys. But this is Chuck, so we know that won't happen. Anyway, the most unsettling part of it all is that Morgan doesn't get an Indiana Jones reference. Or care about "trilogy night" with Chuck. Or know who Luke Skywalker is.

The C plot is the most entertaining and -- despite it being the Buy More plot -- the most successful. See, Big Mike's back from his sex and snorkeling vacation in Hawaii, and has an idea to help get the Buy More back on its feet. He pulls out an old video of himself shilling old Buy More products (BetaMax, anyone?) with his sex appeal. Chuck and Morgan tell him the Buy More may need a fresh face to go with new technology for its new campaign. After auditioning the Buy More employees, Big Mike recruits Captain Awesome. And we all know how that will go, since it's right there in his name. Basically, the Buy More's packed with people lured in by the appeal of the creamy skin and unnaturally high cheekbones of the heart surgeon/natural athlete. Now maybe the team can complain a little less about money and focus on what matters: getting the Intersect out of Morgan's clearly inferior brain and back into Chuck's before this show loses its few remaining viewers.