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Chuck Versus the Family Volkoff
Season 04, Episode 20
Air Date April 11, 2011
Writer Nicholas Wootton & Amanda Schuman
Director Robert Duncan McNeill
Previous Chuck Versus the Muuurder
Next Chuck Versus the Wedding Planner
"Really? No alarm bells ringing here for anyone else? Not getting the sense that we're being played for suckers?"

Chuck Versus the Family Volkoff is the twentieth episode in the fourth season of Chuck, which aired on April 11, 2011.


Chuck is thrown a curve ball when Sarah asks him to sign a prenup. The CIA orders Vivian Volkoff assassinated, and to save her, Chuck has to rely on her father, the infamous Alexei Volkoff.

Meanwhile, Ellie wonders why Mary is interfering with her research on the Intersect and Agent X.

Full Story[]

Chuck is eating breakfast when Sarah comes rushing out, asking if he's ready for work. He tells her yes just as she puts a manila envelope on the table and asks him to sign the papers inside when he gets a chance. Chuck opens the folder to discover Sarah wants him to sign a prenup. The idea boggles him, so he tells her he's actually not ready because he forgot to wash his hair in the shower.

As soon as she leaves, Chuck goes over to Morgan and Casey's Apartment to ask them what they think. While sitting there he gets weirded out by the fact that they are eating their meal in perfect sync with one another; when one takes a drink, a bite, or wipes their face with a napkin, the other does too at the exact same time. After a conversation with Casey and Morgan, who both tell him to be cool and sign it, he agrees. Casey also points out that Sarah is a spy and spies have secrets. As soon as Chuck leaves, Casey hands the mail to Morgan. He starts to go through and finds an invitation to Alex's graduation. Casey is upset, but Morgan explains that Alex wants him to go, but she doesn't want her mom to figure out who he is.


Team Bartowski asking General Beckman if they can meet with Vivan.

When Chuck gets to Castle, General Beckman tells them that the bombs planted in Castle in Chuck Versus the Muuurder, were made with Volkoff parts. Langly has officially labelled Vivian Volkoff as the responsible party and the CIA put out a hit on her. Chuck negotiates a meet to determine if Vivian has really become 'that person'.

After the General signs off, Sarah says she understands that she shocked Chuck with the prenup and assumes he wants to talk about it. Chuck says it was no problem and hands her the signed paperwork, much to her surprise. Sarah is speechless when he asks her if they're ready to gear up and go.

Meanwhile, Mary is helping Ellie with baby Clara and asks Ellie what she's been doing. Ellie tries to lie and say that there's nothing going on, but Mary points out that she is a spy and knows Ellie is lying. Ellie apologizes and brings out her father's intersect laptop, which shocks her mother as Mary was completely unaware, she even had it. Ellie explains that her father left it in the car for her and she's been going through it. She's found all kinds of files about Agent X and something called the Intersect. Mary feigns obliviousness to all of the things and wonders what Ellie has found. Ellie tells her she's still working on it and walks away. Mary says softly, "Oh Stephen, what have you done?"

Chuck and Sarah go to meet Vivian and Casey hides out within sharpshooter range so he can kill Vivian if she makes any wrong moves. While they are waiting, Sarah tries to explain the prenup, but Chuck says he understands, because all spies have secrets. Sarah says she doesn't have secrets from him, it's just family stuff. Chuck says he understands, and they don't need to talk about it, which visibly upsets Sarah. Just then Casey warns them that Vivian is there.

Vivian gets out and meets them, stating that they're in the middle of nowhere and wants to know what's going on. Chuck tells her that the bombs planted in Castle were made with Volkoff parts and that the CIA is holding her responsible. Vivian says she would never have done that, because she's just a businesswoman trying to turn Volkoff Industries into a legitimate enterprise. She goes over everything she has done, including giving Interpol all the information about nefarious contacts, and getting all the old operatives out of the place. She even brought them a gift. She opens a briefcase and shows them a part of a weapon and gives it to them. Vivian says she has no idea what it is though. She reiterates that she wants nothing to do with her father's world then asks if they trust her.

Before they can answer, a shot rings out and Vivian's bodyguards say there are snipers shooting. Sarah yells for Casey to stand down and he says it's not them. Shots continue to be fired and Vivian wants to know how they could trick her this way. One of her bodyguards gets shot and as the rest try to rush her to the SUV, she gets shot. Another guard gets shot, but the two remaining guards get her inside. The wounded bodyguard manages to drag himself into the truck before they drive away. Chuck watches as her truck departs.

Back at Castle they are meeting with Beckman again. Casey tells her that they couldn't figure out where the sniper shots were coming from, but it wasn't them. Beckman asks about the weapon, and Chuck says it's not in the intersect and they have no idea what it is. Beckman states that this proves nothing and the kill order against Vivian still stands. Chuck asks if that will change if they can prove what's in the briefcase is actually a weapon. Beckman says there is no one who can do that, but Chuck points out that Volkoff would know. All they need to do is meet with him and they'll be able to find out the truth. Beckman doesn't like the idea but agrees for them to visit Volkoff.

At the moment, Volkoff is currently in a group therapy meeting. He apologizes for cutting in line in front of another prisoner and then states he owes amends. The therapist asks him to describe how he feels, and an announcement comes over the loudspeaker stating he has a visitor. He turns around, sees Sarah and Chuck and says he feels like he's "about to have some fun."

Chuck and Sarah explain to Volkoff that there is a hit out on his daughter. After verifying that the device they got from Vivian is one of three components of the "Norseman", a DNA tracker that could instantly kill a target or all family members with their DNA from anywhere in the world. Volkoff asserts that he is a changed man and agrees to lead the team to the missing components in exchange for a meeting with his daughter.

At the Buy More, Alex shows up and apologizes to Casey. Her mother sent out the invitations. She does want him there, but she's worried her mother will figure out who he is. However, she told her mother that she had a get together with friends between the graduation ceremony and dinner. She plans on meeting him and showing him video of the ceremony. He tells her he understands and says it's okay. He also says he doesn't want to intrude on her family time, and she says he's her dad, so it's not an intrusion.

Back at Castle, Volkoff is brought in on a dolly, completely chained up. The whole team is skeptic about Volkoff's information. However, Beckman tells them that the "Norseman" weapon is too dangerous, and Washington wants it taken care of now. So, they have to work with Volkoff. To get the first component, the targeting device, has the team travelling to Mogadishu, Somalia. Volkoff lost it in a bet to the pirate Ellyas Abshir. Beckman tells them that Volkoff is their responsibility for the next 48 hours.

In Somalia, Chuck is going into a gambling den as Volkoff's agent. Volkoff says it should be him, but the team all scoff at the idea. He tells Chuck to make sure he says Volkoff sent him, that way they'll be afraid. Before Chuck goes in, Sarah again tries to talk to Chuck about the prenup. She wants to know why Chuck doesn't have any questions and he states that he's sure she'll tell him when she's ready for him to know.

Back in Burbank, Ellie soon discovers that her mother, Mary, has been removing files about Agent X from the laptop. When she tells Devon, he thinks she's overreacting. However, Ellie says that the files were there before she left the house to run some errands, leaving Mary to watch Clair, but now they're gone. Ellie calls her mother and leaves a message to call her back as soon as she gets the message.

In Somalia, Chuck goes into the gambling den and says he works for Volkoff. Everyone in the place aims their guns towards him. Abshir approaches and says Volkoff is a powerless worm in a US penitentiary. Chuck states that he still has power, because Volkoff sent him there to get the tracking device for the "Norseman". Abshir tells him it's not for sale. Chuck tells them that they're prepared to pay, and Abshir cuts in and says Chuck will pay with his life. Sarah and Casey start to gather their weapons to go in and rescue Chuck, but Volkoff says that their appearance will cause a bloodbath. The only way to assure Chuck survives is if Volkoff goes in there himself. However, they are going to have to unchain him and give him something to wear that isn't a prison outfit. In the gambling den, Abshir tells Chuck to pick a game (i.e., dice, roulette, poker); if Chuck wins, the tracking device is his, if Chuck loses, Abshir will kill him. Chuck asks if they have Uno.

Back in Burbank, Mary tells Ellie that she only copied one file to cross reference with the CIA database. However, when she removed the flash drive, the file just disappeared. Ellie asks Mary why she didn't tell her, and her mother says she felt stupid for it happening. Especially since she knows how important Ellie feels working with her dad's computer. Ellie says it's okay because the computer automatically backs up everything to the embedded hard drive, so she didn't actually lose anything. Mary appears to be happy about it. Just before her and Devon leave for dinner, Ellie surreptitiously turns the nanny cam towards the table where the laptop is sitting. As soon as they leave, Mary goes to the computer and starts looking for the file. Devon and Ellie haven't left and are actually just spying on Mary.

In Somalia, Chuck and Abshir are playing Uno and the tracking device is brought to the table. After Chuck lays down a card, Abshir brings his hand below the table. Chuck looks under the table to see Abshir pull a card out of his sleeve. When he plays it, Chuck points out that he cheated. Abshir pulls a gun. Just as he's about to shoot Chuck, Volkoff shows up. They get the tracking device and are able to leave.

Volkoff tells them that the killing agent is incredibly rare. He begins to stall, and they give him a memo from Volkoff Industries that's been redacted, but still holds enough proof to show its authenticity. Once Volkoff sees it, he tells them that they have to travel to the Swiss Alps to obtain the killing agent, thorium.

In Burbank, Mary leaves the apartment and Ellie and Devon rush to follow her. At the buy more, Casey opens his locker to find a blank envelope with an invitation to Alex's graduation inside. Mary meets Chuck in Castle and tells her about the computer and what Ellie is up to. Chuck is shocked because Devon never changed the hard drive. Mary explains that she's taken out the dangerous files, but Ellie is incredibly suspicious and onto Mary's tactic and following her. Mary says that it's time for Chuck to explain to Ellie what he does for the CIA. Chuck argues against it, but Mary points out that Ellie is already finding out on her own. Casey comes in and tells Mary that Beckman wants her.

Mary tells the general that she doesn't want to keep getting files from the computer because her daughter is becoming aware of her activities. Beckman tells her that Washingtom is demanding that Ellie keep working because she's getting files they never even knew about. They'd never heard of Agent X until she found the files. Mary points out that Ellie isn't a spy. Beckman tells her sorry, but Ellie has to keep going and hangs up. Mary hears someone singing. Chuck appears and she admonishes him for having Volkoff in Castle and wants to know what's going on. Chuck explains and she tells him that Volkoff is twisted; never let him out of his sight, and never believe a word he says.

In the Swiss Alps, Casey and Sarah watch outside while Volkoff and Chuck go in. Chuck finds out that Volkoff can only access the vault by winning a game of computer chess before a 5-minute timer expires and triggers several gun turrets. During the match, Casey and Sarah discuss the prenup and it is revealed that Sarah has money saved up in case her father is arrested again.

Outside, Casey and Sarah pick up Russian chatter and rush to Chuck's aid, only for all of them to be trapped by Vivian, who was never injured, but played Chuck. When Volkoff asks his daughter to release him, she refuses, citing being lied to and abandoned. She takes the thorium and leaves everyone in the vault and armed plasma bombs, but Volkoff deactivates them with a portable EMP. Back at Castle, Volkoff says goodbye to Mary Bartowski before being returned to custody.

At dinner that night, Casey tells Alex that he can't be at her graduation. He doesn't like her having to be between him and her mother. They are going to have to come up with a compromise. Alex says he could be there, and Casey says that the only way would to be tell her mom that he's alive. Alex agrees.

After her conversation with Casey, Sarah tears up her prenup. However, Chuck pulls out an envelope labeled 'Prenup' and hands it to her. She's a little disappointed until he tells her to read it. "I, Sarah Walker, promise to always love Chuck Bartowski. In return, he will always love me. I promise Chuck that I will not even contemplate the word 'divorce' and I will never use my prenup." Sarah signs it.

Chuck goes to tell Ellie the truth about his place in the CIA. However, the moment Chuck mentions their father's computer, Ellie lies to him before Chuck could tell her about his position with the CIA, "My sister just lied to me. She's never lied to me. Not Cool."

At Volkoff Industries, Vivian is determined to find Agent X, the only person her father was ever afraid of. She's going to track him down and kill him with the weapon so that nothing can stop her.



Guest Stars[]


  • The book Chuck is reading at the beginning of the episode is A Game of Thrones, the first book of the series A Song of Ice and Fire, By George R. R. Martin
  • The wine bottle seen at the end of the episode is the same bottle that was featured in Chuck Versus the Balcony.
  • When Chuck suggests that he possibly mispronounced "Volkoff" and suggests that, with a Russian accent, it might be pronounced "Wolkoff", he is likely referring to Pavel Chekov from Star Trek who was Russian and made 'v's sound like 'w's.
  • Morgan describes Casey as "mostly dead" to his former fiancée; this is a reference to The Princess Bride, where Miracle Max describes Westley in the same terms.
  • Volkoff jests about having to wage war against the natives of a far off land and destroy their home tree to obtain the thorium for the Norseman, a reference to the plot of Avatar.


[Casey and Morgan eating breakfast in perfect tandem.]
Casey: Spies have secrets. If you're going to take it to the next level with Walker, you have to understand that. Sign the papers. Be cool.
[Morgan and Casey take a drink of coffee.]
Morgan: Yeah, Chuck, be cool.
[They both wipe their faces with napkins.]
Chuck: Be cool. That's kind of new territory for me, honestly. Cool. Good advice. Well, I'm just gonna get out of here before I'm scarred for life.


Ellyas Abshir: Pick a game. Dice, roulette, cards. You win, the tracking device is yours. I win, you die.
Chuck: Do you have Uno?


  • "A City Without Seasons" by The One AM Radio
  • "UK Jamaican" by Tricky
  • "Distant Sures" by The Cave Singers

External Links[]