It is hard, even difficult to believe, but it is true. I say this with a heavy heart, however in two short weeks from we will all experience the end of Chuck!
Originally brought to our attention by MeaganSue in 2009, and after members of our team (including Meagan and I) attended Comic-Con to watch and or cover the Chuck festivities in San Diego in 2009, 2010 and 2011, it is with a heavy heart we must all face that the adventures of our beloved Nerd Herd will come to an end after five seasons on Friday, January 27, 2012.
BUT Meagan promises to conclude the series. We shall see.
Before continuing our review we include a fun highlight from the episode courtesy of NBC. Enjoy!
Versus the Baby:
This episode pays homage to the roots of the Chuck series, the episode opens with a flashback from five years earlier in Budapest, Hungary. Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) is listening to a voice mail from an unidentified woman we later learn is Cheryl Ladd. The woman is informing Sarah if she ever needs a home, one ready for her. Who is this woman? Read on and find out!
Sarah’s thoughts about this circumstance end. We are back not yet back in the present. We find ourselves at a plush mansion in Budapest. Sarah tells the man we come to find out is named Kieran Ryker (Tim DeKay), who is keeping an eye on the mission progress in a van. Ryker orders Sarah to eliminate men who are sitting around a table drinking and making merry over their success in commandeering the mansion and killing all the occupants but one.
With this accomplished Sarah is told to go into the next room where the object of the mission, “the package” is.
“The package” turns out to be a little baby in swaddling clothes in a crib. Sarah is reluctant, ordered to take the child. Sarah does not like this development but nonetheless follows orders and leave the premises. The sequence from the past sets the tone and story arc. We are now back in the present in Burbank California at Castle.
We observe Sarah using a computer workstation reading an email about the baby from the past. The e-mail has apparently been sent by evil Shaw (Brandon Routh) to Kieran Ryker; “The baby is alive. Details to follow.” Sarah says to herself, “He knows.” Chuck (Zachary Levi) appears in the scene whereby Sarah quickly shutdown the computer to hide the e-mail from him.
A note from this reviewer: Kudos to the Chuck writers and creators for eloquently blending a secret from Sarah’s past (pre series) to establish where the saga will go in the present story arc. Moreover, the way in which the Chuck team has matured with such perfection in every episode is much appreciated by this reviewer.
Thanks Team Chuck!
We segue to Chuck who has a surprise for Sarah. When we see we he has taken her we are surprised ourselves, Chuck has led her into a romantic candle lit room. Our two Chuckster “love birds” are next seen in the living room of the house they had dreamed about. Sarah wonders what he did to make this all possible?
Chuck informs Sarah he is certain the real estate agent lent them the keys for the weekend so they could check it out, despite what Decker had done to sequester their bank accounts. Chuck let’s Sarah know that their CIA signing bonus will be used for a down payment, so the house will be their’s!. Sarah is at a loss for words. He tells her she doesn’t have to say anything. Just visualize them living there and sharing their lives together raising little Chuck’s and Sarah’s in the near future! Awwwwww!
In this moment of tenderness Sarah is about to confess to Chuck that something has been bothering her, but falters before she does so recalling the events in Budapest five years ago. In her mind Sarah has the baby while Ryker urges her to get out of the mansion before backup terrorists arrive.
Sarah whispers to the little waif, “It is going to be okay” as she is seen turning her automatic weapons fire on more bad guys. Bye bye bad guys!
We return to the present at Castle. Chuck is concerned about whatever is bothering and Sarah. Sarah is “saddling up” for a mission of some sort selecting various armaments. Sarah remains aloof about what she is up to telling Chuck to “trust her” instead of the truth.
Chuck wants to know what is happening and has enlisted Colonel Casey (Adam Baldwin) and Morgan (Joshua Gomez) to ask Sarah what she is planning to do. Sarah remains evasive when Chuck puts his foot down by telling her he will put the resources of Carmichael Industries at her disposal with no further questions.
Sarah finally gives in and reluctantly agrees to their help. She provides the team with a pre-mission “sit rep” about the Shaw to Ryker e-mail. Now an ex-CIA operative who is extremely dangerous, Casey nods in agreement. Everyone agrees to help Sarah with her mission.
Sarcastic Colonel Casey ribs Chuck wanting to know if he can keep his mouth shut this time. Chuck informs Casey: “Yes, you act as though I have not learned anything in the last four years.” We will soon find out that Chuck has learned much that will become invaluable to the mission to save the little “package” now five years old. The team prepares to head to Budapest, Hungary.
Pouting Morgan is disappointed about the timing of the Budapest mission because he is going to have to put off his planned night out with Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) , Devon (Ryan McPartlin) and Alex (Mekenna Melvin).
They are supposed to play “The Game of Life“. Chuck feels sorry for Morgan and says he can use Castle to both monitor the mission and enjoy game night with Alex at Castle because Devon and have been asking to spend more time there anyway. Morgan Is happy because every detail has been thought about by Chuck!
Sarah’s plan involves sending a fake e-mail from Shaw to Ryker to set the stage for the meeting. Sarah once again recalls the past again in Budapest five years ago. We observe Sarah delivering what appears to the “package” to Ryker. Sarah wants to know what is going to happen to the waif?
Ryker pulls rank but Sarah is suspicious that Ryker is operating as a lone wolf outside CIA policy. Ryker is reticent which confirms Sarah’s suspicions he has become a rogue agent.
Pressing Ryker, Sarah finds out that the baby is heir to a vast family fortune. Sarah is disgusted by what she has been manipulated to do but is powerless to take action to stop Ryker from using the little baby as a money machine.
Sly suspicious Sarah has tricked Ryker. There is no baby in the stroller! Always prepared Sarah has a gun stashed and shoots the corrupt Ryker making a clean get away. We see Sarah in an apartment in Budapest where the baby has been hidden. Good job Sarah!
Sarah’s memories fade to the present with the team now in Budapest. Always enjoying a woman with a gun, Sarah is getting a sniper rifle ready for the dangerous mission. Sarah admits that she will kill Ryker and wants them to monitor the situation and make sure no one else is watching her. \
In the meantime, Casey has been doing some research about Ryker finding his whole CIA record has been erased, not a good sign.
During this moment of distraction a waiter brings a glass of water to Sarah. She tells him she did not order any water. On the bottom of the glass is a spy note telling her to get on the next bus alone.
Sarah informs Chuck via COMS to track the waiter because he is likely working for Ryker. Chuck and Casey arrive at the cafe. They see boarding a bus, which drives away. Sarah informs Chuck she is sorry but has to do this on her own accord.
The scene switches to Castle; Devon, Morgan, Alex, and Ellie are observed playing “The Game of “Life”. Sarcastic Morgan uses the situation to the tension about his floundering relationship with Alex. Devon and Ellie quite annoyed by the ongoing tension between Alex and Morgan. They quickly finish the game.
Morgan and Alex are left undisturbed to explore their feelings. Alex feels the friction with Morgan asking him why he asked her to Castle? With a sad look on his face Alex tells Morgan there is no quick way to mend their relationship.
A melee ensues as Casey and Chuck tackle the waiter who left the water note for Sarah. A funny bit of humor ensues as the waiter says he cannot speak English, only Hungarian. Always ready for anything Chuck takes out a Hungarian translation book. He and Casey try Hungarian with the waiter but to no luck.
Casey, in his usual gruff manner threatens the waiter after a shopkeeper translates the waiter who tells he only knows some man paid him. Casey does not believe the waiter and puts a gun in his face and demands the truth.
We return to the mansion Sarah was in five years earlier were she confronts Ryker. The baby is in another room which causes to remember what she did five years earlier when she called her Mom (Cheryl Ladd) who had given her advice on how to calm the little waif.
This time Sarah has the upper hand holding Ryker at gunpoint. Sarah orders Ryker to the room where the baby is at. Ryker has tricked Sarah. There is no baby, only a recording of a baby crying. Not paying attention because of her need to save another child, Sarah is jumped and is knocked out and bound by Ryker’s minions. Yikes!
The trickery goes further, Ryker gloats that he sent the e-mail to lure Sarah into the trap. Sarah, defiant to the end head butts Ryker, a scene which this reviewer very much enjoyed. Ryker confesses his true agenda and why he selected her, she is a sap for certain causes and that she likes to operate alone rarely confiding in others. A bit over confident, Ryker does even consider that Sarah came with back-up.
Personally this reviewer does not believe his propaganda that it is not about the money. Ryker is scum, wanting the baby for the money. However it seems clear that Ryker will kill Sarah unless she reveals where the child is. Sarah pride-fully tells Ryler she came to Budapest for only one reason, to make sure he does not know where the now five year old child is.
The next scene is expected, but not entirely explained. The lack of explanation does not detract from the fun as the viewer is left to assume Casey must have “persuaded” the waiter to reveal the location of the mansion. Chuck and Casey baits Ryker with the waiter, dumping him in the entrance of the mansion. A minor plot hole is apparent, how did Chuck and Casey get him there? In any event, Chuck and Casey free Sarah and escape using the waiter to distract Ryker.
The episode focus shifts back to Castle where Ellie and Devon are having fun. We see them playing spy games using the environment of Castle to do so. Moreover, Ellie is flirting with Devon, in fact she is planning on seducing him based on the fact that Devon is being “held against his will”, a development he is enjoying.
Just as they are about to get “down and dirty”, their romantic moment fades when Alex and Morgan are overheard fighting. The two obviously love each other and will need a little help from Devon and Ellie.
Devon and Ellie each intercept the member of the opposite sex sharing their own past mistakes that nearly ended their own relationship. Alex is being stubborn while Morgan is suffering from a lack of self esteem which is deflating his efforts to regain Alex’s heart.
We observe that both Alex and Morgan consider the inputs and will in all likelihood the two will reconcile.
This reviewer enjoys the interplay between new couple on Chuck and suspect that the series finale will feature a touching bit about the “couples of Chuck”. The only question is what about Jeffster and Lester?
From this point as the episode seemingly begins to wind down, we find our main character couple Sarah and Chuck in the bedroom at home. Sarah feels guilty about being less than truthful, in fact circumspect with Chuck who chastises her for doing so.
Graham reveals that the CIA is too porous with leaks and cannot guarantee the safety of the baby like Sarah desires. Upon hearing this Sarah tells a falsehood to the Director that she does not have the little waif.
Still in the past, Sarah instead takes the threatened little waif to her mother who shares with her daughter “It does not have to be like this.” Nearly in tears Sarah tell her mother she will never see them again.
Cheryl Ladd is a nice choice for Sarah’s mother, quite believable in the role. Several tender moments are revealed about Sarah’s past and the fun as a child she missed out on because of her mother running away from Sarah’s father to protect the children. In a mother daughter “hug” moment Sarah asks her mom to provide a wonderful life for the child that she never had.
“Total Recall” moment over, Chuck and Sarah are shocked to learn that diabolical Ryker has tapped in to the conversation because of an electronic listening device hidden in Sarah’s hair! Yikes! This means that Ryker knows about the baby AND her mother whom makes plans to kill the little tyke and Sarah’s mother!
We next observe the now five year old child playing with a baby toy Sarah had given her mother. Ominously the toy opens and a screen inside displays “coordinates sent” the little girl calls out for her mom. One can only hope that the signal is not being intercepted by Ryker!
Not to worry. In the final action scene, Sarah had taken the place of her mother and is waiting for Ryker posing as her mother in a kitchen. Casey and Chuck are outside and are seen killing Ryker’s minions.
True to series form in a well choreographed fight scene Sarah kicks Ryker’s butt after a close call. I cannot speak for others, however the fight scenes in Chuck have always been one of the shows best parts. This reviewer is certainly going to miss these fun action scenes and of course Chuck too!
In the second of two final sequences the gang is with Sarah’s mom and the child. We learn the now five year old is named Molly. Much like every such gathering everyone wants to hold the little tyke, except Morgan!
We observe him geeking out with Molly playing a video game while Alex looks on. It is clear she has softened her opinion of Morgan to the delight of this reviewer! Alex plants a big smooch on Alex who is pleased he has broken through to Alex once again.
Devon and Ellie look pleased their mission to bring these two back together has succeeded! Did I mention that we suspect wedding bells in the season finale for these two lovebirds? We shall see.
More tender moments occur when Chuck finally meets Sarah’s mom. He looks a little nervous but appears to be happy that he is meeting Sarah’s mom whom he never knew existed. “Mom” confides that she is also happy for him and Sarah and she has never seen her daughter so happy either.
This evokes another memory in Sarah that fills in the five year run and back story of Chuck . We observe her with the CIA Director who is pleased with her performance against Ryker. Sarah is surprised that she is being promoted to “CIA Handler”. Tony Todd the CIA Director hands Sarah a case file. We learn that her assignment will be none other than Chuck completing this arc within the adventures of Chuck that began so long ago!
No doubt the tender moments with Molly and her mother have had a lasting effect on Sarah. Chuck says that if they leave the CIA they will not be able to afford the new house. To our delight Sarah has definitely changed and is willing to forgo the new house but that they will someday be able to afford it without the CIA signing bonus.
The episode ends with Sarah carving their names in the frame of a door. Even though they can no longer afford the house, Sarah says they will have the home they both want in the future.
This reviewer enjoyed the plot switch that the Chuck creators employed. When I first saw the promos I believed that Sarah had a baby from a past life which would be a central part of the plot. The creators did a good job of “bait and switch” in more ways than one! Bravo!
Lastly, Ms. Ladd did fine job in her performance as Sarah’s mom. I enjoyed seeing the former “Charlie’s Angel” Cheryl Ladd who has been featured in a number of movies and television series in recent history. Like Carrie-Anne Moss who returns in the “Versus the Kept Man” episode, this reviewer suspects we will see Ms. Ladd one more time in the series finale on January 27, 2012!
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