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Chuck Recap: Season Two, Episode Four, "Chuck vs. the Cougars"

Chuck Rundown: Episode Four, "Chuck vs. the Cougars"

When I first saw the title of this week's Chuck, I assumed it would have something to do with a hot older woman (the return of Melinda Clarke's character, perhaps?). Instead, this turned out to be the much-anticipated episode that sent Chuck and Sarah back to Sarah's high school, with a mission involving Sarah's teenage nemesis (Nicole Richie). It was a little Grosse Pointe Blank and a lot awesome, so to talk about it, just


So who is Sarah Walker, really? For a while in this episode, we (and Chuck) feel tantalizingly close to finding out, courtesy of Heather Chandler (hee!), the popular cheerleader to Sarah's high school nerd, who pops up in the Orange Orange one day and squeals with excitement over seeing "Jenny Burton." (Chuck: "Of all the tart, Asian-influenced frozen yogurt shops in all the towns in all the world, you walk into hers?") Chuck really thinks he's hit the jackpot when Heather's husband (played by Ben Savage — again, awesome) becomes the focus of their next mission, requiring a trip to Sarah's high school. I loved watching Chuck seize on the few bits of information he thought he now knew, asking Heather if "Jenny" grew up in the fun "house/condo/apartment" and saying he only has "364 and a quarter days to go" before figuring out her birthday.

Of course, things aren't that simple: Sarah is Jenny Burton . . . and Katie O'Connell, and Rebecca Franco, and probably more. She's the daughter of a con man and spent high school assuming alternate identities and being the kid whose dad was in prison. I give props to Yvonne Strahovski for how well she's playing Sarah's tender moments, and I appreciate the way this ties into Sarah's overall story, with the agent spotting Sarah's mad knife-throwing skills in the woods and suggesting she consider the CIA.

Meanwhile, the case is awfully convoluted, and I think my head will explode sorting out what led Heather to Sarah and resulted in their shower throwdown. So let's focus on the big things: Ben Savage's character thinking Chuck is a hardcore agent nicknamed Mad Dog is a great twist, and Casey really runs with it ("I parked in his spot once. This scar reminds me every day: Don't mess with Mad Dog."). And Nicole Richie not only holds her own in the acting department, but also proves to be a pretty competent fighter, getting knocked out only when Sarah finally dumps a big stone cougar on Heather's head — just in time to wander back into the auditorium, soaked and bloodied, and be named reunion queen. Also, "Smack My B*tch Up" is nothing short of an inspired musical choice.

Some other thoughts:

  • Lester's "make me an offer" method was destined to end badly (Morgan: "That's part of the fun!"), but it was a great setup for a high school-style kegger in the Buy More that just made me think of Empire Records.
  • I love that Casey's Buy More pricing gun is . . . a gun.
  • It's funny to watch everybody downplay their skills (Heather just happened to pick up some karate, Sarah can expertly fillet a fish thanks to all those knife skills classes) — except for Chuck, who claims he took out the baddies in the bathroom thanks to "a self-defense thingie I took at the Y."
  • I don't think I'm ever, ever going to get sick of jokes with Big Mike's marlin. Also, does this mean the assistant manager job is open?

What did you all think? Satisfied with your taste of Sarah's past? Still laughing at Casey dancing to "MMMBop"?

Photos courtesy of NBC

Join The Conversation
aimala aimala 8 years
For those who missed the episode, you can see the full episode on
tiabia tiabia 8 years
I totally squealed with glee when I saw Ben Savage (old crushes die NEVER). Great show...and my sister-in-law has taken a loving to it, as well!!!
topajongbranth topajongbranth 8 years
finally!! I have been waiting for this episode since last week, it didn't disappoint me. It was even better. First I never thought making Yvonne look bad was possible. The hair, the braces (though at the end of the episode it made me think this might have to do with changing her name and looks). 2nd. Nicole Richie and Ben Savage was the perfect cast. Nicole Richie made me believe a girl like her can simply be too much for Sarah. never did we see Sarah this tensed and all bruised in a fight. 3rd. The music was just perfect. Hanson, Chambawamba, Paula Cole, Prodigy? It totally rings 90's. THe whole identity was played out pretty well, all along we thought finally we know what's Sarah'a real name, just to let us know that Jenny Burton is just one of her other names. Chuck was funnier and romantic at the same time, Casey? Still the best with having too much fun being the DJ. Overall it was the episode not to be missed. Maybe.. BUt I'm looking forward for JIll next week.
smorzalli smorzalli 8 years
Definitely enjoyed this episode a lot- especially the music! Totally brought me back to my own high school days....
spacebear spacebear 8 years
gotta agree that casey as the DJ made me laugh out loud. i love how he's warming up to chuck. oh and chuck not asking her a sweet.
yeokr yeokr 8 years
i love chuck and was excited about this episode to see nicole richie, who i am a little obsessed with but i could not get over ben savage. my boyfriend and i kept reacting to all his funny lines with "oh, corey mattews!!" it was great!!
nonmr nonmr 8 years
Love this episode of Chuck! I loved all the HS reunion scenes, especially the one where Ben Savage's character tells Chuck something about him just a guy who likes math and somehow he gets a beautiful girl to fall in love with him; that he has to pitch himself sometimes; it's like he's dreaming (cue Sarah slowly walking and "I Don't Want To Wait" by Paula Cole). Maybe it's just me 'coz the scene (or just the song) has a Dawson's Creek vibe into it =) Last note: Why no Captain Awesome and Ellie scene (except on the surveillance video (where Chuck would only describe as AWKWARD).
Jammi Jammi 8 years
Ben Savage = Cory from Boy Meets World right? Sadly, I only managed to get clips of this since I was watching Gossip Girl but it comes on again on Space on Thursday so it's Supernatural and definitely this, looks like a really fun episode.
Allyace Allyace 8 years
Chuck is being really good this season and I think this episode is my favorite. Casey had some good moments in this episode -- esp the part about being beaten up for taking Chuck's space. Seeing Ben Savage was fun too!
shafiii shafiii 8 years
Ben Savage =] he made my day!
smileet147 smileet147 8 years
I can sum this episode up in one word..."MMMBop." (and that's a good thing!)
MissyB1984 MissyB1984 8 years
This was the first episode I've ever watched and it was excellent!! I've been missing out big time . . I'm going to have to scour the web for season 1 and the beginning of season 2
Phasekitty Phasekitty 8 years
This season of Chuck has been so awesome! I find myself watching this first now instead of Gossip Girl, which I would have considered an impossibility last season. Casey as the DJ made me laugh out loud for a good 5 minutes!
ayanaphil ayanaphil 8 years
I'm loving Chuck more and more as the weeks go by. I love the play on names... Heather's husband's name comes from Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
TheEnchantedOne TheEnchantedOne 8 years
Same here renee, watching Chuck also always makes me happy. Hehee.
sunny1intucson sunny1intucson 8 years
I loved this episode! I was waiting all day for your recap, Buzz! I seriously can't help but smile while watching this show - love it. This episode did not disappoint.
TheEnchantedOne TheEnchantedOne 8 years
Argh, will we ever know Sarah's real name? :( Anyway, I had a great time watching this episode! I couldn't help but go awww when Chuck told Mark that the nerd sometimes gets the girl. It was so funny when Chuck asked Sarah if she attended Bad Guy High because of all of the people he was flashing on in the reunion! Haha.
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
This was a great one! I'm more curious about Sarah's past now. Also I think they've opened it up so maybe they'll keep coming back to it and we'll get some answers. I LOVE how Casey played along with the Mad Dog thing and how he made an excited sound about the fighter jets when they were being briefed. Seriously, this show makes me smile and I'm always happy when I watch it!
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