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CHUCK: “Chuck Versus the Kept Man” – RECAP
Compared to last week’s utterly insulting hour of Chuck, “Chuck Versus the Kept Man” felt like a breath of fresh air. Last week tried very hard to create a sense of doom and drama, but it never really clicked for me. “Kept Man” was the polar opposite, downplaying the drama and upping the comedy, making a sillier type of episode that didn’t necessarily feel like a “final season” episode but was incredibly fun to just sit down and enjoy. At this point in the show’s run it feels like it’s running through a list of ideas it’s always wanted to do but never felt the need to until the (actual) last season came around. So jammed into a singe episode is: Casey debating settling down with Gertrude Verbanski (returning guest star Carrie-Anne Moss), Sarah having a pregnancy scare, and Jeff and Lester figuring out Casey and Sarah are spies.
That does seem like a lot to handle in a single episode, but “Kept Man” does a good job of balancing those stories, effortlessly turning them into the A, B and C plots. There wasn’t a fourth story to make everything feel crowded, though I like to imagine the absent Ellie was out there having one crazy week. What was important for me was that each story felt real while still remaining largely funny. Casey’s was by far the best, hence it being the A plot, and Moss continued having a ball playing the sex-driven Verbanski. Her constant harassment of Casey led to some the best reactions from both him and, in one unfortunate scenario, Sarah. In fact, the entire episode had some fantastic facial reactions from everyone. With the lighter nature of the episode it felt like the actors were enjoying themselves a lot more. They seemed looser and up for anything.
At first I was bothered by Sarah’s supposed pregnancy. It was immediately made apparent she would spend the majority of the episode believing she was pregnant and I wasn’t sure I liked how obvious it was. But as the episode went along, the unmistakable signs of pregnancy were to emphasis Chuck’s cluelessness of the situation. We, the audience, likely figured it out before the title sequence came on, but it took Chuck much longer (and again, ended with a superb facial expression). Once the cat was out of the bag, Chuck did his very Chuck-like thing of over analyzing the situation, even after it was quickly decided Sarah wasn’t actually pregnant. He was spiraling (Sarah’s words. I would’ve said Goldbluming), and soon afterwards, so was Sarah. The two are now seriously looking at the future to see if having kids would be safe for them. I just hope Sarah doesn’t get pregnant until the last episode.
The final storyline involving Jeff and Lester wouldn’t have been possible with the previously dumb version of Jeff. His increased intelligence this season has allowed him to see things he otherwise would have overlooked. His conclusion is Sarah and Casey are secret agents working out of the Buy More, and there’s likely a third member on their team. Morgan attempts to diffuse the situation by agreeing with them and suggestion Awesome as the third spy. What follows is a hilarious mini-spy operation as Jeff and Lester tail Awesome (who’s aware of what they’re doing) and observes him doing various spy-like things. When they at last confront him, it appears all his suspicious activities were to procure a fancy knew exercise machine, not a nuclear bomb as Jeff thought. But you can’t fool a former mental patient. Jeff soon realizes it’s all a set up and throws a dumbbell at the allegedly cement wall, breaking through it, revealing Chuck, Morgan and Sarah staring at a hole in their carefully painted wall, Jeff’s triumphant face peering in.
I’m not sure where Chuck hopes to go with Jeff and Lester discovering the spy base, but it is an interesting conundrum. In fact, I’m not sure where Chuck is going at all anymore. The lack of a bad guy to hunt is apparent, but for now I’m content just seeing where things go from here.