Chuck Versus the Couch Lock

Chuck Versus the Couch Lock
"Chuck Versus the Couch Lock"
Chuck episode
Jeff and Lester help Casey through his couch lock
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 5
Directed by Michael Schultz
Written by Henry Alonso Myers
Original air date October 18, 2010
Guest stars
Episode chronology
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List of Chuck episodes

"Chuck Versus the Couch Lock" is the fifth episode of the fourth season of Chuck. It originally aired October 18, 2010. When Colonel John Casey's Clinton-era team (Dave Bautista, Eric Roberts, and Joel Moore) returns looking for him, Chuck Bartowski must decide what he's willing to sacrifice in order to find his mother. Elsewhere, Morgan Grimes works up the nerve to reveal a potentially dangerous secret to Casey.



Main plot

In 1999, in the Zargos Mountains of Iran, Packard (Roberts), a special weapons expert, T.I. (Batista), a hand-to-hand combat expert, MacKintosh (Moore), an electronics expert, and Casey, a tactical expert, plant charges to seal a safe full of gold used to fund terrorists. The team tries to steal the gold, but Casey incapacitates them. He seals the vault, which can only be opened with his handprint identification, and drags his team back to base to have them court martialed. These men promptly escape from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground, and at some point they become involved with Volkoff Industries.

In 2010, Team Bartowski go through files received from Premier Alejandro Goya of Costa Gravas that detail all his dealings with Alexei Volkoff. Chuck Bartowski searches for a prisoner codenamed "Frost" (his mother, Mary Elizabeth Bartowski), leading him to a picture of Casey's old unit. He flashes on the picture, and Casey reveals to them what happened in 1999. Casey reveals that the only time the team would come together again would be at his funeral, to use his handprint to access the gold. Casey is administered a dose of modified tetrodotoxin that slows his breathing and heart rate; although he appears dead, he is alive and conscious, although paralyzed. Due to Casey's vast exposure to drugs such as tranquilizers and truth serums throughout his career, Chuck gives Casey an additional hypodermic needle to use if the drug wears off.

Chuck and Sarah, along with planted CIA agents, wait for Casey's former team to arrive while Morgan prepares the eulogy. MacKintosh is the first to arrive at Casey's military funeral. Uncertain Casey is dead, he tests Casey by puncturing his hand with an American flag pin. As Morgan Grimes delivers the eulogy, T.I. arrives and puts out a cigar on Casey's hand. Packard then arrives and appears to be crying. He turns around laughing and aims a gun at the agents, and he is soon joined by MacKintosh and T.I. After detonating an explosive to distract the agents, Packard blows charges under the floor, and the team escapes through a tunnel with Casey's body.

They remove Casey's tracker and prepare to remove his hand with a surgical saw, but a pizza delivery distracts them. Casey starts to crawl to safety, dropping his wallet and the hypodermic needle. When his old team returns, he fights them off and escapes through a window, but is injected with the additional needle in the process. Casey calls the Nerd Herd on his cell phone, and gives them his location before losing consciousness in a dumpster. Jeff Barnes and Lester Patel, the former of which answered the call, pick Casey up and drop him off at Morgan's apartment.

Meanwhile, Chuck and Sarah track Casey's phone to the dumpster where he left it. They enter the building where Casey was being held, but Chuck triggers a laser sensor that will detonate if he moves away from it. Sarah crawls under the lasers and begins disarming the explosive, ignoring Chuck's pleas to save herself. Packard disarms it remotely; he and MacKintosh kidnap Chuck and Sarah as bait for Casey. At his apartment, Morgan encounters T.I., who informs him that they will kill Chuck and Sarah if Casey doesn't arrive at the vault in Iran. With advice from Devon, Morgan is able to free Casey from his "couch lock".

Morgan and Casey travel to Iran, where, since there is no longer an American presence, they will not be rescued should they fail. They break into the control box of the bunker where Chuck and Sarah are being held, and hack into the security feed. Casey goes inside the bunker, ordering Morgan to cut the power when signalled. Meanwhile, Chuck learns that Frost was not a prisoner of Volkoff, but his "right hand". MacKintosh reveals that Volkoff sends her to make his problems disappear. Casey enters and is disarmed, but gives Morgan the signal to cut the power. Morgan is only able to pump water through a broken pipe and Casey is forced to open the vault before being chained with Chuck and Sarah. To make sure Casey is alone, MacKintosh fires a random shot through the door, which gives Morgan a flesh wound on the arm. Casey attempts to bluff, but Morgan quickly surrenders. When Packard, T.I., and MacKintosh enter the vault, Morgan grabs a power cord and electrocutes them and himself through the water on the ground. Although he goes into cardiac arrest, Team Bartowski manages to bring him back, and they return to the United States.

Afterwards, Chuck tells Sarah that he has decided to end his search for his mother, as he has ignored everyone who would never leave him in search of the one person who left him. Immediately afterwards, he receives a phone call from his mother.

Morgan and Alex

Morgan has waited to reveal to Casey that he is dating Casey's daughter Alex because his fear of Casey's reaction to the news. However, Alex visits Morgan at the Buy More and begs him to tell Casey the truth.

When Morgan delivers the eulogy at Casey’s funeral, he sees it as an opportunity to tell Casey the truth. However, he hesitates, and Casey is taken by his old team. Later, Alex arrives at Morgan’s apartment, where he reveals that he never actually told Casey the truth. She asks to come in, but Morgan doesn’t want her to see her father in a "couch lock" (see main plot). When Morgan sees T.I. approaching, he asks Alex to leave and she breaks up with him. Taking advice from Captain Awesome, Morgan tells Casey about his relationship with Alex, raising Casey's blood pressure and waking him from his paralysis. He grabs Morgan by the throat and lifts him off the ground; although he refuses to allow the relationship to continue and stops being Morgan's "friend", they still must work together to save Sarah and Chuck.

Casey tells Alex that he told Morgan to dump her, but Morgan stood up to him. Alex reveals this to Morgan at a party he throws to prove to Casey that he would have friends at his real funeral. Morgan and Alex reconcile, and Casey changes his mind and approves of their relationship, although he cautions Morgan not to break Alex's heart, lest he break Morgan's "everything".

Chuck and Ellie

After revealing his search for their mother to Ellie in "Chuck Versus the Coup d'Etat", Chuck feels pressured to finish the search quickly. Later, Ellie and Devon learn that their unborn child is a girl. When they come to Chuck and Morgan's apartment with champagne to celebrate, Ellie reveals that she now approves of his search for their mother.


Production details



  • Chuck flashes on a picture of Casey’s team, revealing them to have escaped from prison.

Cultural references

  • Casey's unit is compared to The A-Team repeatedly, and when Casey mentions that they "promply escaped from a maximum security stockade," Chuck paraphrases the next line of John Ashley's voiceover introduction from the original series, "... to the Los Angeles underground, where they survive as soldiers of fortune."
  • Morgan and Alex reference Halo multiple times, and Morgan even has a Spartan helmet.
  • Morgan has various Star Wars items around his apartment, and he puts an Imperial stormtrooper helmet on Casey.
  • Casey has a neighbor by the name of Bauer, a reference to Jack Bauer of 24.
  • The funeral scene was inspired by a similar one from Charade. In both cases, three men in search of something valuable, two of whom verified the death, entered the sparsely attended services individually, one after another. MacKintosh stabbing Casey's left hand with a pin while the latter was lying in an open casket matched Herman Scobie (George Kennedy) doing exactly the same thing to the corpse of Charles Lampert. The differences were Scobie using a standard pin and being the last of the three to arrive. Another similarity was Chuck and Sarah occupying the two seats immediately to the right of the aisle in the front row, exactly like Regina Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) and her best friend Sylvie Gaudel (Dominique Minot) in the movie.
  • Three special forces soldiers wanting to steal gold is a reference to the film Three Kings.
  • During Casey's funeral, Morgan suggests Casey is "somewhere out there, beneath the pale moonlight," in reference to the Don Bluth animated film, An American Tail.
  • Casey attempting to move his toes while paralyzed is a reference to Beatrix Kiddo in Kill Bill: Vol. I.
  • MacKintosh stating that he would have been "sitting on a beach, earning twenty percent" is a reference to the same line stated by terrorist Hans Gruber in the film Die Hard.
  • The names of Casey's former teams are from electronics manufacturers "Packard" from Hewlett-Packard, "T.I." from Texas Instruments, and "MacKintosh" from Apple Macintosh.


  • "Dead Man’s Party" by Oingo Boingo (Casey’s funeral & when his x-teammates kidnap his body)
  • "Day Like This" by Time Again (Casey takes down his former team and escapes)
  • "Second Hand News" by Mates of State (Morgan gives Casey an invitation to his party; again played at the party)
  • "On Sale Now (as Heard On Chuck)" by Daniel May (Jeff answers the phone when Casey calls in a Code Red)
  • “Shop Till You Drop (As Heard On Chuck)” by Billy Martin (Morgan tells Casey he and Alex were together but are pretty much over now)

Critical response

IGN gave this episode a score of 9 out of 10.[1]


External links

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