Chuck Versus the Suburbs
Season 02, Episode 13
Air Date February 16, 2009
Writer Phil Klemmer
Director Jay Chandrasekhar
Previous Chuck Versus the Third Dimension
Next Chuck Versus the Best Friend
"You better be careful, Sarah, one day you might actually turn into a real girl."
― Chuck

Chuck Versus the Suburbs is the thirteenth episode in season two, which aired on February 16, 2009. It is the twenty-sixth episode overall.

The episode was originally supposed to air after Chuck Versus the Best Friend. The airing order was swapped in the U.S. due to the show being preempted for a Presidential speech, and since "Suburbs" has a Valentine's Day theme, it was aired on the week of Valentine's Day.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Beckman sends Chuck, Sarah and Casey to an L.A. suburb, with Chuck and Sarah posing as a married couple.

Meanwhile, Big Mike is introduced to internet dating after his divorce drove him to became more angry than usual and forced them to actually work.

Full Story[edit | edit source]

At Buy More, the Valentine's Day spirit is high, but Big Mike is taking his anger out on everyone because his wife served him with divorce papers.

General Beckman provides the team with a gratefully received next mission - to go into the deep into the suburbs to discover what agent, Jim Yeager, had been doing that left him a mental wreck and confined to a hospital facility. Chuck and Sarah have to pose as a married couple for this mission, and set up housekeeping in a Meadow Branch suburb cul-de-sac. Chuck tells Ellie that he will be house-sitting with Sarah, and she responds with excitement.

Chuck enters the cover house to see his faked life in photos. There are wedding pictures, vacation pictures, and he even has a Golden Retriever. Sarah is in the kitchen mixing together salad and has apparently invited the neighbors over. There is a gregarious and apparently friendly bunch outside around the grill, about ten couples, all of whom play meet and greet with the new neighbors. One of the ladies, Sylvia Arculin, has her eye on Chuck. She invites him over any time.


The following morning, Chuck goes downstairs, and Sarah has cooked him breakfast, to his astonishment. She has his travel coffee, and even gives him grocery list. He later discovers there is a message on the back of his grocery list written in invisible ink. Sylvia's 'husband' was a former CIA agent, who planted a bug on them and had purchased specialty cabling enabling him to break into secure government websites. The mission is for Chuck to get close to the former CIA agent by pretending to want to have an affair with Sylvia.

When he presents himself at her house, Sylvia takes Chuck up to her bedroom and takes off his trousers then handcuffs him to the bed. Chuck grabs the cuff key with his toes and frees himself. In the next room he finds her husband's cabling. There is a computer that asks for a password. Chuck figures that it must be salamander, it was the only word that Yeager kept repeating, and he types it in. There is an Intersect type download, which leaves Chuck briefly incapacitated.

Cliff Arculin rushes home and asks if Chuck has been tested. As they head upstairs, Chuck comes back to his senses and gets out of the house across the roof. The Fulcrum agents note that he ran the test and are shocked Chuck was able to survive it.

Sarah watches Chuck's escape across the cul-de-sac and his arrival at 'their' house in his underwear. She slaps him for the benefit of all the witnesses. General Beckman pulls Chuck out of danger so that Sarah and Casey can focus on the Arculins; "The Carmichaels are getting a divorce." Chuck cannot make sense of the information that he received.

At Buy More, everyone tries to get Big Mike a date over the internet. After he sees some ladies online, he decides to go through with it. Morgan and Lester insist he lie in order to get good dates, and they fabricate a story that Big Mike is a wealthy shipping magnate.

Chuck finds a Meadow Branch brochure and flashes it. He sees that the entire cul-de-sac is Fulcrum. He tries to tell Sarah, but it is too late. The neighborhood has captured Sarah and Casey. Upon his return to the cul-de-sac, Chuck, too, is taken.


Chuck is strapped to a chair and Sarah is confined in another room. The Fulcrum agents try to get Chuck to join them and are planning to see if he can survive some experiments. They are trying to rebuild the Intersect program; apparently, they think that the government had given up on their own Intersect and have reverted to pre-existing methods to combat terrorism. None of the other agents tested had survived the experiment, it either killed them or drove them mad. Chuck tries to get them to let Sarah go; the agents guess that he has feelings for her and mock him.

Chuck is subjected to a full version of the Fulcrum Interest test, an apparently unpleasant experience, and he emerges as an apparent catatonic. After a moment's disappointment, they Fulcrum agents are startled when Chuck comes to and asks what just happened. They ask Chuck if he's okay with them running the experiment on his wife, he tells them he hasn't got a wife. Meanwhile, Casey has escaped and enters the control room. Chuck spots him and asks to have a few words with 'Agent Walker' after she is strapped in to the test chair. He quietly tells her to close her eyes, Casey then enables the same test to run, Sarah and Chuck keep their eyes tightly shut as they huddle together, but all the Fulcrum agents, all of whom are in the experiment room and unprotected from the test, collapse. The Fulcrum test incapacitates or kills everyone in the room except for Chuck and Sarah. Casey then supervises the capture of the three surviving Fulcrum agents.

At Buy More, Big Mike tells his internet date the truth about who he is. It turns out that the woman had lied as well and thought that he found out, and that is the reason why he wanted to meet at the Buy More. The Buy More is where her son works. Mike is heard to whisper a plea that it would be Bartowski. It is, however, Morgan.

Guest Stars[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Jeff uses the phrase "Skinjob" near the beginning of the episode when he, Morgan and Lester are discussing if Big Mike has been replaced by a robot double. This is a reference to the movie Blade Runner (1982), where the term is sometimes used instead of "replicants" when referring to androids.
  • The way Chuck is strapped to a chair and forced to keep his eyelids open is similar to the Ludovico Technique from A Clockwork Orange.
  • Chuck warning a restrained Sarah to protect herself from the Fulcrum Intersect by closing her eyes tightly, while the Fulcrum agents are all killed or incapacitated by it, is similar to the ending of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • The house used for filming the interior and exterior scenes of this episode can be found at 25673 Walker Place, Newhall, CA [1].
  • The computer used in the underground Fulcrum Intersect test facility runs Linux. Casey runs the program using the following commands:

usr/local/bin chmod +r+w-arun ts -als processrun init.fish_seq-a.*

  • Evidently the Fulcrum Intersect is a group of files under the name init.fish_seq.a
  • Interestingly enough, the command "chmod +r+w-a" is invalid since it takes read and write access from everybody. Doing so would have prevented Casey from even running the program in the first place. Unless, of course, chmod was modified from its original purpose and Casey knew beforehand to do so.

Quotes[edit | edit source]

Morgan: Did you ever think that the two of us would wind up with smart, beautiful, sexually adventuresome girls on Valentine's Day?
Big Mike: The answer is no. Two jackasses like you landing two hot pieces like Anna and Blondie? It's a cruel trick of nature.


Sylvia: Mr. Carmichael... I didn't expect you to come so quickly.
Chuck: Charles Carmichael always comes quickly.


Chuck: Look, Mike, I don't know, it's up to you, but do you really want to be part of a relationship that's founded on lies?
Morgan: [to Mike]: The answer's yes.
Lester: Yeah, absolutely.

Music[edit | edit source]

  • Talking Heads – “Once In A Lifetime”
  • Johnny Nash – “I Can See Clearly Now”
  • Cassettes Won’t Listen – “Freeze And Explode”
  • Peggy Lee – “Fever”
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