Chuck season 4 episode 2 review: Chuck Versus The Suitcase

Why won’t Sarah unpack that suitcase? There’s plenty of angst and paranoia in the second episode of Chuck, season four…

Chuck Versus the Suitcase

4.2 Chuck Versus The Suitcase

After an exceptional start to Chuck last week, I’ll admit to some nerves about the second in this season. Would they be able to keep the standard so high? About halfway through Chuck Versus The Suitcase I realised that, while it didn’t quite have the firing on all cylinders panache of the season opener, it wasn’t chopped liver either.

If there’s a theme in this Chuck, it’s the paranoia of romantic relationships, where Chuck gets slightly hooked up on Sarah’s disinclination to unpack her suitcase. He sees this as part of a bigger issue with putting down roots, and she sees it as the normality of being a spy. As the story progresses, we come across a series of couples that have issues, not least the Awesomes, who are still coming to terms with Ellie’s pregnancy.

In the first third this introduced plenty of angst and whining from both Chuck and Captain Awesome, to the point where I was becoming annoyed with both characters. But then the mission to Milan (the one that looks much like Burbank) unravels, and I was much happier.

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In this, Chuck and Sarah took on a secret weapon stealing super model, played ironically by Karolina Kurkova. She certainly looks the part, and her fight with Sarah is nicely choreographed, but she’s not exactly a gift to the acting profession.

Yet, I’ll admit to enjoying the very small part that Lou Ferrigno contributes as her lovelorn bodyguard. It was touching, yet they should have given Lou more dialogue. They also entirely failed to get any Hulk references in there, which is pretty disappointing, considering the potential. Another complaint I have is some of the dialogue that they gave Sarah in places wasn’t great, and, frankly, made me cringe on occasion.

These and a few other bumpy parts made for a rather uneven Chuck, that seemed more about positioning people for later stories than actually progressing the presented narrative.

Without question, the highlight for me of this Chuck was undoubtedly the return of Jeffster, with the two of them found down-and-out by Morgan and Casey just a few miles from Burbank.

Morgan’s assertion that nobody will accept a BuyMore run with CIA efficiency, and its ultimate conclusion in the return of Jeff, Lester and other familiar faces to the store, is the source for the best gags here, as most of the Chuck and Sarah interaction is all about emotions. Morgan is at his best when he’s not being stupid, and in this story he’s brighter than a new penny.

The reappearance of Jeffster leaves only one person missing at the BuyMore, Big Mike. That’s the second time Mark Christopher Lawrence (Big Mike) has been credited on this show without actually appearing, so I’m really hoping that he’s back soon.

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Overall, this didn’t progress the Chuck’s mom subplot, but it was entertaining in places, and they managed to pack a substantial amount of content into the running time.

My wish list for next week is for them to put the geek references back, because this one was almost entirely devoid of them, and for Mark Christopher Lawrence’s waistline to necessitate widescreen viewing. Is it too much to ask?

Read our review of the season 4 premiere, Chuck Versus The Anniversary, here.