Chuck 1.06: Chuck versus the Sandworm

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Broadcast Date: 29 October 2007
Director: Robert Duncan McNeill
Writer: Phil Klemmer
Cast: Adam Baldwin, Joshua Gomez, Sarah Lancaster, Zachary Levi, and Yvonne Strahovski


© Copyright Warner Bros. Pictures

© Copyright Warner Bros. Pictures

Morgan: “Chuck’s not here because he’s probably off doing something really mature like singing opera or reading.”

Meet Laszlo. He’s a nerd on the run, a victim of his government, and the embodiment of everything Chuck fears the spy world might do to him. The guy also wants to blow up large chunks of the US, which leads to the whole chicken and egg thing: did the CIA recruit an unstable man to build weapons of mass destruction or drive a once beautiful mind to madness? On the one hand, Laszlo lies an awful lot, and his handler seems reasonable enough. On the other, his sob story’s consistent with General Beckman’s plan to execute Chuck once the Intersect 2.0 is operational.

Either way looks bad, so I’m unclear what we’re meant to get from this: that Chuck is lucky for having a caring handler like Sarah or that Sarah is lucky for having a caring asset like Chuck? The fake couple (or “different sort of couple”, according to Sarah’s mixed messages) spends most episodes bickering, then secretly longing, sometimes bickering while secretly longing, so I enjoyed the two showing a bit more warmth and tenderness this time around, like in their talk after Laszlo stole the Nerd Mobile. They care about each other. That’s for sure.

More importantly, they care about people in general. “Chuck versus the Sandworm” was all about the titular character’s boundless empathy, which remains his saving grace. That’s Chuck’s empathy, by the way, not the sandworm’s. Our hero may lack knowhow and maturity, but, unlike Laszlo a.k.a. Foil of the Week, he could never take out his frustrations on innocent bystanders, let alone the entire state of Texas. That’s what Sarah finds so attractive and why she’s dedicated to protecting him not just from runaway mad scientists but also, as we’ll see later in the series, from the Beckmans of the world.

Still, our favourite Nerd Herder is only human, and even a mid-level management position, the man’s first hint of success in years, can make him lose his good nature. Big Mike’s tirade must have really got to Chuck. His accusing Morgan of “dragging” him down was way out of line. Good or bad, Morgan’s life decisions are about Morgan, not Chuck, though ironically Morgan might disagree. Fortunately, our hero comes to his senses quick enough and realises “there are just some things in life that are more important than the Buy More.” Like fishing and Danishes.

Morgan versus Red Foreman

In fairness to Chuck, Morgan was at his most detestable this week: neglecting customers to eat perished foods, broadcasting a woman’s underwear on the display televisions, and going AWOL on a double shift to play arcade games. I know Josie and I disagree about this, but I just don’t approve of all that goofing around at the Buy More. Sure, the geeks are making the place their own. However, the way I see it, if they’re not going to do their job, they shouldn’t take the pay check. As Red Foreman used to say, “if it wasn’t work, they wouldn’t call it work. They’d call it super wonderful crazy fun time!”

Chuck versus My Dress Code

Mind you, I still quite like the Buy More B-plot. Like his best friend, Morgan gets back on track pretty fast, and I love his speech in Chuck’s defence:

“Chuck is brave. Chuck is loyal. You know, Chuck can quote Wrath of Khan word for word, and Chuck is courageous. Chuck’s got a wicked vinyl collection, and Chuck has the wisdom not to eat garbage from the break room crisper.”

The thread also leads to the single most awesome Awesome scene yet, in which Morgan learns the power of tucking. True story: I became a tucker right after I saw this episode (Devin makes a convincing argument), and, believe it or not, girls immediately started flirting with me at work. Of course, now I work from home, so that’s all over. I could pretty much write naked if I wanted. In fact, maybe I’m naked right now. I’m going to let that image simmer…

© Copyright Warner Bros. Pictures

© Copyright Warner Bros. Pictures


Bits and Pieces

  • Ellie in foliage underwear.
  • And for the ladies, Devin in foliage underwear.
  • Yeah, yeah, Sarah in a Return of the Jedi bikini is hot too, but I was distracted by the fact she and Chuck fake-went to a funny book convention wearing gear from Star Wars, which isn’t a comics property. It must have been the San Diego Comic-Con.
  • Chuck and Morgan’s sandworm costume was referred to as a sea cucumber, a space penis, and, of course, its real name, Shai-Hulud.
  • I love every Nerd Mobile sequence, but the car seat ride in this episode remains my favourite of all time.
  • Ellie in foliage underwear.

Quotes

This one’s chuck full of quoty goodness. See what I did there? It wasn’t impressive at all:

Sarah: “How long do you want me to stay?”
Chuck: “Forty-two minutes and fifteen seconds? Arcade Fire’s first album, it’s like an auditory aphrodisiac.”

Casey: “I’m starting to feel like the guy who always gets picked last. I don’t like feeling like Team Chuck’s little fat kid.”

Devin: “There comes a time in every man’s life when he reaches, well, a crossroads, a time when he must ask himself, ‘Am I a tucker’”?
[…]
Morgan: “I kind of feel like my junk’s out there for the whole world to see.”
Devin: “Maybe that’s the point, Morgan. Maybe that’s the point.”

Ellie: “I’m getting ready for our annual Halloween party.”
Which you’ve only celebrated once in three years.

Mike: “Tang’s got the charm of a prostate exam.”

Anna: “Morgan is so awesome! He can eat anything!”

Anna also did a double take when Morgan showed up as a tucker. I think somebody’s got a crush.

Chuck: “Is that a water gun?”
Laszlo: “No!”
Chuck: “I’m pretty sure it’s dripping on my face.”

Casey: “You feel violated? No, no, no, my ears feel violated because they have to listen to you and that moron, Morgan, yammering off for four hours about what sandwich you’re going to take if you were stranded on a deserted island.”
I love having those conversations. I think mine would be that truffles and foie gras burger I had in Las Vegas. What about you?

Morgan: “Define sandwich, because technically you could put anything between two slices of bread. For instance, could I bring a Jessica Alba sandwich?”
That’s a good point. I’m changing my answer to Jessica Alba sandwich.

Ellie in foliage underwear.

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Category: Chuck, Verdict: 4.0 | Tags:

          
Editor in Chief / Movie Critic: When he started this site, Dimitri never thought he'd be writing blurbs about himself in the third person. In his other life, he works as a writer, translator, and editor for various publications in print and online. His motto is, "Have pen, will travel."