Chuck vs the Beefcake

Double fisted Cole 

Originally this run of the last three episodes up to this point was meant to be;

1) Chuck vs the Best Friend

2) Chuck vs the Suburbs

3) Chuck vs the Beekcake

But because Chuck vs the Best Friend was preempted by a speech by President Obama in March 2009, and the producers wanted to have the Valentine’s Day themed Chuck vs the Suburbs run during Valentine’s Day week, they swapped Chuck vs the Suburbs to run first, and have Chuck vs the Best Friend run the following week leading into Chuck vs the Beekcake, resulting in the following succession;

1) Chuck vs the Suburbs

2) Chuck vs the Best Friend

3) Chuck vs the Beekcake

Unfortunately, this not only makes no chronological sense with the story arc started in Suburbs skipping a week, but it also detracts from the brilliance of the closing of Chuck vs the Best Friend with Chuck and Sarah holding hands in the Buy More, and opening of Chuck vs the Beefcake with Chuck inexplicably wanting to break up with Sarah.  If this seemed strange to you when watching it in sequential order as laid out by the network, now you know why.

This episode is part one of a two part series bringing another rival for Sarah’s affection as we are introduced to another manly-man super spy from the British spy agency, MI-6.  Like Bryce Larkin, he’s very good at his job, and very attractive.  However, unlike Bryce, he has not had the misfortune of previously burning Sarah.  Sarah’s reaction to him, to Chuck, and to her relationship with Chuck shows how much her feelings have evolved.


Main Plot 

The episode begins with an as yet unknown ruggedly handsome man digging up the shallow grave of Brad White, the neighbor/villain of Chuck and Sarah during their time in the suburbs, and retrieving the belt off his pants.

Digging up Brad White's grave.
Digging up Brad White’s grave.

Sarah and Casey get the briefing from General Beckman, who believes the afore mentioned handsome man to be an agent of Fulcrum, and whatever he took to be “game changing”.

We then cut to the Bartowski apartment during breakfast, in which Chuck is avoiding answering a call from Sarah.  Ellie begins to question him, and all but tells him to dump Sarah if it isn’t working out for fear of him getting stuck in yet another rut and not moving on with his life.

Ellie: “The other night you said some pretty heavy things about Sarah; about her not being ‘the one’ “

Chuck: “It’s not so easy breaking up with Sarah Walker. It’s a little complicated.”

As Chuck arrives at the Buy More, he is met by Morgan, who complains about the increasing success -and noise- of the relationship between his mother and Big Mike.

Morgan: “The man moans like a wounded sea lion.”

Morgan asks Chuck if he can crash on his couch for a few days until it calms down, and Chuck says he will speak to Ellie and Awesome about it.

Sarah calls Chuck again as he’s talking to Morgan, and again, he doesn’t answer. However, she walks up behind him, and catching him screening the call, invites him out for a yogurt to discuss whatever it is bothering him.

And of course, we have typical Casey playing the role of the proverbial older brother, annoyed with the sappiness of Chuck, and always looking for a way to tease him about it. Best line of the scene;

Casey: “It’s probably not a good idea to give the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ speech to a trained assassin wielding a knife”.

After they follow Casey into Castle, they attend a briefing with General Beckman. She explains that the assumed Fulcrum agent who robbed Brad White’s grave is Cole Barker.  He’s is arriving in Los Angeles to handover the intelligence he took from Brad White’s grave.

Casey: "He looks like a real ladies man."
Casey: “He looks like a real ladies man.”

The plan is to have Sarah retrieve whatever intelligence he may be carrying before he hands it off “by any means necessary”.

Chuck asks Casey to focus on Cole’s “groinal area”, and flashes on the belt buckle, thereby making Sarah intelligence gathering a little more hands-on (ahem!).

Chuck: “Can we get a close-up on this picture of Cole, maybe push in on his…groinal area?”

Casey: “You see something you like down there, Bartowski?”

Sarah will casually meet Cole in the hotel bar, try to seduce him, get him to his room, get the belt buckle and get out. Casey and Chuck would be providing back up, posing as bartender (Casey) and bar patron (Chuck).  Her “safe word” is Crystale champagne.

Casey, of course, is taking full advantage of the emotional mine field of the recent “break-up” and the seduction mission to rub salt in the wound. Chuck, as expected, is not taking it well, but surprisingly, neither is Sarah.  She is clearly uncomfortable with Casey teasing Chuck…and to some degree, herself.

Sarah annoyed
Casey: “Trust me, she’ll be fine. It’s not like it’s her first time.”

Meanwhile, Chuck agreed to let Morgan move in with him (and Ellie and Awesome), but forgot to tell Ellie and Awesome. Knowing Ellie will object to the new arrangements, Morgan, is showing his gratitude by taking up the role of personal man-servant by making martinis, drawing bubble baths, and making dinner for Ellie and Awesome.

During dinner conversation, Morgan is told that Ellie convinced Chuck to break-up with Sarah.  Morgan, in a surprising point of clarity, says that Chuck is the Chuck they all know him to be when he’s with Sarah; confident and able to do anything in the world. He actually gives an opinion and advise that Ellie agrees with.

Morgan: “There are a precious few things I know anything about in this world, and Chuck is one of them”.

During the verbal foreplay between Sarah and Cole in the hotel bar, Cole warns Sarah he’s “not a nice man”. Sarah replies she’s not interested in nice men because they always want to talk about their feelings, when what she really wants is “a man who acts”.  Knowing full well Chuck is listening to the conversation via ear piece, this could be interpreted as a not-so-subtle message that Chuck needs to quit talking and waiting and doing something a bit more proactive. This brings up the question as to what angle Sarah is taking regarding the break-up; as a CIA handler, or as someone who is romantically invested in Chuck.

Soon after Sarah and Cole leave for Cole’s room, Chuck flashes on two Fulcrum agents, and Casey jumps in the elevator with them. By this time, Sarah and Cole are “making out” rather violently in the room as Sarah tries to get Cole to take his pants off to get the belt buckle.  Cole is able to tie Sarah up with the belt, and she says they should slow down and order some Crystale champagne, trying to send a message to Chuck and Casey she needs help.  However, Casey by this time is in a gun battle with the Fulcrum agents, and Chuck, uncomfortable listening to Sarah make out with another man, has taken out his ear piece and does not hear Sarah’s call the safe word.  Only when the room service attendant orders the champagne for Cole’s room to the bartender in front of Chuck does Chuck realize Sarah’s predicament.  By the time Chuck breaks down the door, Cole is on the ground with Sarah holding him at gunpoint.

Cole at gunpointAs the take Cole to the roof for extraction, they are met by a Fulcrum attack helicopter. Sarah calls  Casey for backup, and starts firing at the helicopter.  At this point, Cole reveals to Chuck he is not a Fulcrum agent, but works for MI-6 British intelligence.  Chuck takes off his handcuffs, and Cole, in a very manly display, proceeds to shoot at a gas tank next to the helicopter, blowing it up along with the helicopter.

Helicopter exploding

And Sarah is clearly impressed.

Sarah impressed

Back at Castle, General Beckman apologizes to Cole for not realizing he’s MI-6. Cole explains that although they have the computer chip, they don’t have the playback device, thereby requiring to let Cole complete his mission. Until General Beckman speaks with Cole’s superiors, she decides o keep Cole on lockdown in Castle for his protection, with Sarah as his babysitter.

Cole: “Well, I can think of worse ways to spend the night.

Sarah: “Funny, but I can’t think of any”

While Chuck is dealing with the uncomfortable predicament of Sarah babysitting Cole overnight at Castle, Ellie and Awesome have their own uncomfortable situation with Morgan in their own kitchen; Morgan enjoys sleeping in the nude, even in someone else’s living room.

The next morning, as Chuck meets Ellie and Awesome in the kitchen for breakfast, they let him know about Morgan’s peculiar sleeping habits. Ellie, eager to change the subject, asks Chuck how his talk with Sarah went, and Chuck says they are only going to be friends.  But as Ellie explains, it will be difficult to “get her back”, and Awesome states “a babe like that won’t stay on the market for long. Seriously, Chuck, what were you thinking?”  Considering Sarah has just spent an entire night with Cole unsupervised in Castle, this makes Chuck very worried.

Chuck arrives at Orange Orange looking for Sarah, and decides to eavesdrop on them via closed circuit surveillance, and sees Cole wearing only a bathrobe, telling Sarah her beauty is wasted being cooped up in Castle. However, he misses the part where Sarah says she’s not interested in Cole (even though she was researching his service record before he came in).  She tells Cole to get dressed, and as he walks away, tosses the bath towel on the desk.

Cole in towel

Cole out of towel

Casey: "Hmm...impressive!"
Casey: “Hmm…impressive!”

After discussing options, and consequences of getting caught by Fulcrum, they agree to keep the chip in Castle while Cole gets the playback device from Fulcrum, with backup from Casey and Sarah. Chuck offers to hack into the chip, but Cole dismisses it saying this is a bit more complicated than stealing video games with your friends.  Sarah tells Chuck just to go back to the Buy More and they will call him when it’s over while Casey, Cole and Sarah gear up.

Feeling helpless, humiliated and ridiculous, Chuck decides to hack the computer chip to get the info off it and upstaging Cole in front of Sarah.

hacking the chip

Chuck as the Intersect

Hacking into the chip, he is able to view the data on the chip and discovers footage of when he was captured in “Chuck vs the Suburbs”, meaning Fulcrum knows he is the Intersect.

However, a tracking device within the chip alerts Fulcrum. Sarah and Cole are captured by Fulcrum agents at the drop site, and Chuck is captured when Fulcrum track him back to the Buy More.

Cole, Sarah, and Chuck are taken to the Fulcrum base and hung by their wrists awaiting torture. Cole is concerned how much torture Chuck can take, and Sarah states his pain tolerance is at about a 1. Chuck claims it’s at about an 8, but say is he can’t take anymore.  When Sarah informs him they haven’t even started the torture yet, Chuck agrees his tolerance is at 1.

Once the torture begins, Chuck, as yet unhurt, cannot stand the sight of Cole being tortured, and begs them to stop. He finally tells the Fulcrum agent, Alexis White, he’s the Intersect. Sarah flashes a look of terror to Cole, knowing Chuck has put himself in extreme danger.


Cole picks up on the signal, and explains to Alexis there’s no way the CIA would put all their secrets into such a weakling. Chuck in order to prove he’s the Intersect, and to show off in front of Cole and Sarah, offer to let Alexis put a large needle in his eye, at which point, he faints.

After reviving Chuck, Alexis threatens Sarah “with enough ricin to kill an army”. Just as Alexis moves to Sarah with the needle, Casey arrives with back up.   Alexis, chased by Casey, is caught in a deadend, and injects herself with the poison to avoid being interrogated.

Casey: “Our turn now. We get to find out everything you know about Fulcrum.”

Alexis: “No, you won’t!”

Casey: “Trust me, babe, everyone talks”.

Alexis: “I know.”

Back at Castle, Sarah tries to make Chuck feel better saying he was very brave. Even though he didn’t last long under Fulcrum torture, he has been enduring the torture of their fake relationship admirably.

Sarah going to miss the relationship
Sarah: “Even though it wasn’t real, I’m really going to miss it”

Just as Chuck is starting to tell Sarah he perhaps acted impulsively in breaking up with her, Cole walks in to say goodbye, and Chuck gives them a few minutes.

Sarah begins by telling Cole that he poses a security risk know that Chuck is the Intersect, and that he is someone she “will have to handle”. Cole tries to convince Sarah to leave with him, but Sarah declines the offer, saying she has work to do.  Just as she starts to leave, Cole grabs her arm and kisses her, and  Chuck turns on the surveillance camera in Orange Orange just in time to see it.

Sarah kissing Cole

With this image in his head, Chuck goes back to the Buy More, where he’s met by Morgan. Morgan says the nudity incident in Ellie’s and Awesome’s kitchen has convinced him he needs to get a place of his own.  Chuck realizes they both need to move on with their lives, and asks him to get a place with him.

As Morgan and Chuck make the announcement to Ellie and Awesome, Sarah interrupts to tell Chuck something “very important”. She tells Chuck that Cole has been captured by Fulcrum on his way to the airport, and since he knows Chuck is the Intersect, he has to be placed under 24-hour protective detail.  Unfortunately for Chuck’s plans of “moving on” with his life, this means they can’t “break-up” and have to move in together.

Sarah and Chuck back together

Sarah: “Ellie’s watching, we better sell it.”

Chuck: “Are you sure about this? I mean, he’s a really tough guy, maybe he won’t talk.”

Sarah: “Chuck, everyone talks….”

Buy More story

Big Mike tells Morgan that he needs to spend some more time at home with Bolonia because “things” have been neglected with no man in the house and he leaves Morgan in charge of hiring a new green shirt.

Big Mike: "The 'plumbing's' a mess.  I got to get over there and lay down some pipe, I gotta snake the drain!"
Big Mike: “The ‘plumbing’s’ a mess. I got to get over there and lay down some pipe, I gotta snake the drain!”

Lester asks Morgan if he can help out the hiring process since he is so upset, and he hatches an idea with Jeff to hold “casting couch” auditions of babes who think they are interviewing for a modeling job.

The Buy More babes.
The Buy More babes.

The interviews get out of hand, and some of the girls threaten legal action.

Job applicant: "Are you not wearing any underwear?"
Job applicant: “Are you not wearing any underwear?”
Jeff: "I don't know.  Am I?"
Jeff: “I don’t know. Am I?”


Job Applicant: “Who’s in charge here?”

Jeff and Lester: “Chuck!”

When Big Mike returns, he asks Chuck why there are so many calls from Human Resources.

Chuck in my office

Chuck: "Oh, I may have a couple of ideas, sir"
Chuck: “Oh, I may have a couple of ideas, sir”

Lester: “Do you think he’ll talk?

Jeff: “Everyone talks.”


This episode, coupled with the second part of the story arc in the next episode, Chuck vs the Lethal Weapon, is important for a couple of reasons.  First, Sarah makes a small, but very important step in her relationship with Chuck and how she represents it to third parties.  Secondly, and most people miss this because it’s really a side story, the maturity of Morgan.  When we get to the next seasons, it’s much more obvious, and really picks up speed, but Morgan’s relationship with Ellie, with Chuck, and even with himself, starts to mature right around this time.


  1. Great Debut Article,

    Chuck vs Beefcake is one of the episodes that is by definition a average episode. The season that stands out to me was the break up scene. for the third time in two years, she is hearing a break up speech, and this time Sarah is showing signs of annoyance the way she cut the banana she spoke a bit of a truth when she said we enjoy each other’s company and don’t want to label it.

    and this time Sarah did speak up about the break up with her comments to Cole. In essence, telling Chuck how she feels to Cole

    good article.

    • Thanks, Christopher! I think I mentioned before, season 1 was all about her discovering she had feelings for Chuck. She knew “something” was different, but as Carina said, “she probably doesn’t even know it yet”. Season 2 is all about the light bulb coming on in Sarah’s head. This episode, with the next one, Sarah finally admits (or rather doesn’t deny) to a third party (someone other than herself or Chuck) that she has feelings for Chuck. You recall in Chuck vs Sensei, Casey tells her point blank “you finally admit you have feelings for the nerd”, Sarah says “No, I only admit to having feelings”. She’s taken a step further in Beefcake. And from this point on, the floodgates open.

  2. Good job on the synopsis. These were tough episodes to watch for me. I liked the fact that someone else was coming into Sarah’s life as a foil for Chuck. Cole was a good character, but what I didn’t like was how they made Chuck even more of a wuss than usual, just to highlight the manliness of Cole. We had been seeing Chuck man up a bit this season, and this was a huge step back in his development.

      • The gun thing was especially bad…I mean, Chuck has played enough FPS games to know how to hold a gun. And even though Cole may not have known about Chuck’s computer skills, Sarah and Casey certainly have seen them, so hacking a piece of electronics would have been( and was ) easy.

        The most obvious question we should be asking, though, is how Brad White was able to get video of Chuck having the Fulcrum Intersect downloaded into him, into a chip on his belt. Shortly after the download, Chuck and Casey were able to kill him before he was able to do much of anything except get Sarah into the chair…

    • Thank you!

      I agree about Chuck’s performance. There were many cringe-worthy scenes that made me want to reach in and “Jethro Leroy Gibbs” him in the back of the head! Says a lot about Sarah’s resolve if she still doesn’t run away with Cole. Ha, ha!

  3. I think this is the episode where I said Chuck and Sarah are 100% going to end up together. i say this because Cole could swoon anyone, most people watching this episode were swooned by him a little haha but Sarah resisted.

      • Yeah, but Sarah was in a different place mentally when she met Cole. She understood that she was in a “relationship” with Chuck when Cole came around. When Chuck “broke up” with her, all he was doing was letting Sarah know that the fake relationship was making him want her more, and Sarah kept pushing him away from expecting anything long term. Sarah realized Chuck’s feelings for her …he told her often. But Sarah felt she couldn’t reciprocate due to her job. The song and dance about breaking up the fake relationship may have stung Sarah a bit, but she had to realize that Chuck never broke up with her because he lost interest in her. When Shaw came along, she was in a different headspace. I’m sure if Cole had come back in Season 3, he would have represented a much bigger threat to Chuck than even Shaw, since Sarah was actually attracted to him. It took her a bit of time to warm up to Shaw…. we never really understood the attraction since it was a sudden turnaround for Sarah. It seemed to be more of a reaction to whatever Chuck was doing at the time.

    • ” i say this because Cole could swoon anyone, most people watching this episode were swooned by him a little”

      did you want Casey to focus a bit on the groinal area, too? Haha! (I kid because I care…!)

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