It’s all about Sarah & Her Friends – S on Chuck vs. The CAT Squad

It seems like it would be nearly impossible to top the action packed awesome-bomb that was Chuck vs. The Push Mix until we saw Beckman wielding a bazooka. Then we got Chuck vs. The C.A.T. Squad.

Amy: “Have her back by 12.”
Chuck: “Midnight is very sensible.”
Zondra: “Ha. Try noon tomorrow lover boy. Maybe.”

I’m pretty sure that there was nothing I didn’t like about Chuck vs The C.A.T. Squad, and there were certainly a lot of things to love in this non-Valentines Valentine’s Day episode of Chuck. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, this post is pretty much a lovefest for Chuck. It was everything I love about the show, nothing I don’t like about the show, and fixing the annoying communication problem between Chuck & Sarah that I think we were all so sick of.

This episode, as H informed me this morning, passed the Bechdel Test in at least two scenes, it was really about Sarah being a woman and having female friends. So of course Chuck, in its fantastically quirky and original style, celebrated Valentine’s Day not by romance as many of the episodes leading up to this have been. But by showcasing friendship, trust and family all things this show so clearly stands for. With my blog posts about Fringe I feel like my writing is getting pretty female focused as of late, but B will be around soon his thoughts on this ep that ought to round things out a bit.

So, Chuck let my love letter to Chuck vs. The C.A.T. Squad commence…

Let me begin at the beginning, the intro showcasing Sarah’s days in the C.A.T. Squad in a Charlie’s Angelsesque opening titles sequence with a fantastic voice over caught me off guard in a delightfully fun kind of way. The way we were brought back into our world of Chuck explaining the sequence as something out of Morgan’s imagination while Chuck was telling him about Sarah’s old friends was perfect, not only because it makes sense, but it’s nice to have continuity within the world of the show to explain away out of character sequences.

When another episode started with Chuck and Morgan making plans without Sarah about Sarah I was concerned. I was disappointed that Chuck had learned nothing from the whole proposal fiasco (and many others) that it’s always better to just talk to Sarah first instead of consulting solely with Morgan. Oh tricky show, how I love you – just moments after we saw Chuck actually talking to Sarah about his plan to bring in her old C.A.T. Squad gals for the engagement party, and deciding to communicate before being in the middle of a life or death situation on a mission.

Also fantastic, seeing Chuck increasing his communication with his sister, Morgan is great, but with a lot of things Ellie’s advice will probably be more on the mark. On that note, the Sarah-Ellie bonding this episode was amazing. Sarah is pretty isolated and with her upcoming nuptials and surrounding social events her lack of family and female friends is becoming more and more noticeable. We know that her team has become her family, and this episode was a great moment for Ellie to step up and become a good friend (and future sister-in-law) worthy of the maid of honour title bestowed upon her at the episode’s end. Ellie offered her advice to Sarah, and someone to talk to about her complicated relationship with her family (which we still have yet to hear about), friends and anything else.

Sarah’s friends flying in over the courtyard and zipping down from a helicopter was absolutely spot-on! We knew from her troubled expression when she heard they were coming (surprise!) that this wouldn’t be any ordinary bachelorette party. Even when hung-over Sarah rolled over in bed mumbling something about dancing with Mikhail Gorbachev we knew there was something much serious to come.

When cars started blowing up the next morning is when the ball really got rolling. It wasn’t difficult to suss out who the traitor was, Amy was just too dumb to be a real spy. So that’s where the case of the week went.

In continuing with the femme forward theme of this episode the men were very noticeably in the background for the entire episode. Chuck and Casey relegated to the van in Rio [where he got all sharey again about Alex’s mom, kind of weird but I’ll take it as long as it’s going somewhere]. Awesome was… somewhere packing for the overnight, and Morgan was on babysitting duty while trying to get Alex not to hate him before he told her that he loved her. [that’s where they were hiding the traditional Valentine’s Day plotline] The communication theme continued as I was very impressed with Chuck actually asking Sarah’s permission to look into the old files about her past instead of just trying to fix on his own.

I loved how Sarah and Zondra dropped any hint of cattiness once they understood they had been fooled and were grown up enough to admit they were wrong and forgive each other, and just in time to stop Gaez and Amy from escaping… almost. With Sarah still unwilling to forgive Chuck over the phone [hint, by episode’s end she does] he stalls them from escaping, until he loses the key. It would not be a proper feminist episode of Chuck unless it was a woman, in this case Zondra with the curling iron to take the final swing at evil and bring them in.

Good job ladies of the Cat Squad (minus the evil Amy of course).

The resolution with Zondra and Carina as bridesmaids (without machine guns under the taffeta), Sarah now having her friends back in her life, and accepting Ellie as someone she can really confide in was perfect.

Oh and Carina’s attempted apology to Alex… hilarious.

B- I’ll leave it to you to discuss the Gentle Arm and the Morgan/Alex fiasco.

Morgan: “And I know your dad…”
Alex: “I trust you.”
Morgan: “That made it sound like a threat…”

I may just be reading too much into this girl-centric episode. Did you find it to be as feminist an episode? or perhaps your Y chromosome can bring some other insight to the table.

So Chuck – thank you for being my lovely Valentine,

– S


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