Fortunate Sons – Episode 3.09: Chuck Vs The Beard

Written by Scott Rosenbaum
Directed by Zachary Levi

‘I’m firing you as my best friend.’
A relationship that has been crippled since the pilot and gone through a lot of ups and downs; mostly downs; has finally been repaired. No not that one. The Chuck and Morgan one. For almost three years now Morgan has been pushed off to the side ever since Bryce sent Chuck the Intersect. From that moment Chuck has been unable to be best buds with Morgan. But now Morgan knows everything that has happened to Chuck and has become paramount in Chuck’s ongoing ability to flash.
‘I’m tired of being a loser.’

Last Action Hero – Grimes Style!

It is good for Chuck to hear from someone else that their life is not what they want it to be either. Morgan was badass to the extreme in this episode. The character is severely flawed in several aspects but his fearlessness, or lack of looking before leaping perhaps, and his unfaltering loyalty to Chuck are admirable. While the benefits in the bromance between Morgan and Chuck may seemed heavily skewed to Morgan’s side, Morgan provides Chuck with a constant reality check.
‘Its awful you had to pretend to be in a relationship with someone you clearly loved.’
It has been pointed out that the previous episode had Chuck realize he still had feelings for Sarah. In the confessional scene where Chuck tells Morgan all, Chuck undergoes an emotional release that expunges all the things he kept secret since the Intersect first came into his life. The final beats where Chuck confesses out loud his love for Sarah are needed. It is one thing to realize something internally but to put those thoughts into words; to publicly profess something, takes those thoughts and turns them into something real. Something tangible. This is the power of spoken or written words. They turn thoughts into something with weight and heft. They capture feelings and thoughts. This was a catharsis for Chuck, and Morgan, and was not a repetition of beats from previous episodes.
Episode Flashes:

  • Chuck’s shifting looks at Sarah and Shaw when told he can talk to them about his problems
  • Morgan calling Chuck to the office for disciplinary action
  • Jeff’s snake jaw ability to place a whole apple in his mouth
  • Chuck practicing with flash cards to try and get his own flashing back
  • Morgan stumbling onto the locker entrance to the Castle
  • Morgan sneaking around the Castle and meowing when he bumps into a wall
  • Casey’s flashbomb scene
  • Morgan’s willingness to do what has to be done to defend the Castle
  • Chuck and Morgan bonding when held as prisoners
  • Morgan’s joyous reaction to finding out Chuck is a spy
  • Morgan allowing to Chuck to voice out loud that he does love Sarah
  • Jeffster rocking it to Creedence Clearwater Revival – aww yeah!
  • Chuck taking out the bad guys once he flashes
  • Morgan taking out the last bad guy with the requisite Hai-Yah!
  • Morgan giving the bad guy he knocked out the Star Wars Ewok confirmation poke
  • Morgan’s exit from the OOC and calling Sarah – Agent Walker
  • Casey’s dismayed reaction to the release of Morgan
  • Morgan ribbing Casey, ‘Colonel Casey. Always so angry. I knew you had a secret.’
  • Chuck owning the Duck Hunt level – foreshadowing of his reacquired confidence?

A very upbeat episode that harkens back to the lighter tone of the previous seasons that features the entire cast and the directing debut by Zachary Levi. He does some great work here with some nice shot compositions including not just the flash bomb sequence but several scenes of fight choreography too. He proves himself adept at character moments too and his scenes with Morgan are set up to highlight the emotional beats. Josh Gomez and Zac Levi have some great moments too, together and apart.
While the Morgan, Chuck/Morgan and BuyMore storylines ranged from awesome to very good the spy stuff was, at best, trying. If there is one area the show needs to tighten up it is the logic of the spy story. Most of the time I am more than willing to meet the show halfway on these points but increasingly it seems like my need to reach is going beyond the halfway point.
The hotel feint was suspect. In the spy game information is the gold standard so when we are told they received intel it should be explained. Also we are told no known spies are listed at the hotel but did anyone take a moment to look at the names? Devon and Ellie’s should have jumped out. Or did they only look under, Occupation for spy?
Then there is the Ring cell phone. We were told in 3.02 that the Ring phones operates on a closed system and that the system had been tapped for use by Team Bartowski. So it seems in 3.09 that the Ring knows that their cell phone system has been cracked. Rather than utilize that for tactical advantage as a tool for misinformation they use one of their cell phones as a trap and give up that advantage in the process.
The closing scene has the same Ring phone being used to put a call through to Casey. How did they know Casey was there to pick it up? If they really wanted to contact Casey, would they not have sent him a phone directly like they did with Devon in 3.04 or used other means?
As to jumping on a self-destruct plan to solve the Castle takeover, surely there must be other nonlethal contingencies in place? Not to mention the idea of blowing up a facility in an area with civilians present!
Going forward into an anticipated fourth season I petition the showrunners to step up their game when it comes to the future spy story plotting and logic.
‘You are rehired as my best friend!’

The Boys Are Back In Town!

Chuck has started his ascent. With Morgan at his side as Alfred to Chuck’s Batman, Chuck now has a sounding board to keep him grounded. Rather than turning inward towards himself, Morgan enables Chuck to focus outward and release his emotional insecurities.
It is fitting that the first relationship crippled by the Intersect has been repaired. Look for big things going forward for Chuck Bartowski. Including the resolution of that other relationship. There is no discussion of the Chuck and Sarah relationship in this review for good reason. This episode is about Chuck re-establishing himself through the life long bond of brotherhood with Morgan.
Chuck has rediscovered his old self. With this healing complete, we can expect to see a confident and more assured Chuck than we ever have to date.
Chuck has his wingman back. Someone who understands him, whose loyalty is unquestionable, and who will always have Chuck’s back. By any definition of the word they are brothers. Fortunate sons indeed.

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