Chuck Versus the Sizzling Shrimp
|"Chuck Versus the Sizzling Shrimp"|
Mei-Ling Cho holds Chuck Bartowski hostage
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||David Solomon|
|Written by||Scott Rosenbaum|
|Featured music||"Women's Wear" by Daniel May
"Private Eyes" by Hall & Oates
"Sister In Love" by Enevelopes
"Lake Michigan" by Rogue Wave
|Original air date||October 22, 2007|
"Chuck Versus the Sizzling Shrimp" is the fifth episode of the first season of Chuck, airing on October 22, 2007. Chuck must help a rogue Chinese agent rescue her brother from elements of the Chinese Triad, while Morgan faces a sales competition at the Buy More.
The episode opens at the Chinese Consulate in California. As diplomat Lee Cho leaves, ignoring a phone call from his sister that he is in danger, Lee is ambushed and taken hostage. That night, while in Chinatown with Morgan and Sarah, Chuck flashes on a waitress at a restaurant where the three are waiting to pick up dinner (which includes, in particular, the eponymous sizzling shrimp dish) and identifies her as a Chinese agent named Mei-Ling. Chuck is forced to change his plans with Morgan and Ellie that night, and the team tails their mark to a club where a local business leader, the wheelchair-using Ben Lo Pan, is eating. Chuck believes Mei-Ling intends to assassinate Lo Pan. Casey and Sarah break into the club to rescue him, but are caught in the crossfire between Lo Pan's bodyguards and Mei-Ling. Lo Pan escapes, and Chuck helps him into his car, only to watch several of Lo Pan's men dump the bound and gagged Lee Cho in the back and drive off. Mei-Ling flees the club and angrily confronts Chuck: She wasn't there to kill Lo Pan, but rescue her brother, Lee.
The team realizes that Mei-Ling is in the US without authorization, and that Lo Pan has connections to the Chinese Triad. He kidnapped Lee Cho to force the Chinese government to release Triad members in custody. To avoid an incident as Mei-Ling is operating outside her authority, Casey, Sarah and Chuck are ordered to stand down and not get involved. However Mei-Ling tracks Chuck to the Buy More and demands he help her. Chuck warns his handlers she contacted him but a search of the store turns up nothing. Mei-Ling captures Chuck during a fake delivery and holds him hostage. Chuck brokers a deal: If Mei-Ling agrees to defect, Casey and Sarah will help her rescue her brother. With her government refusing to help her and no other options she agrees.
The four plan to break in to Lo Pan's mansion and liberate Lee. Chuck accompanies them due to his familiarity with the security system Lo Pan employs, and runs surveillance on the operation from Casey's van. All initially goes well, but the camera feed is lost, leaving Chuck and the team blind. They locate Lo Pan, but the group is taken captive. Lo Pan intends to deliver the two American agents to the Chinese. Casey warns Chuck to leave, but he instead tails Lo Pan and his men back to their restaurant.
Chuck arranges a distraction with fireworks outside and sneaks in to release the prisoners, making this the first time Chuck has independently planned and implemented a rescue operation. A fight breaks out between Lo Pan's men and Casey, Sarah and Mei-Ling while Chuck and Lee take cover. Lo Pan attempts to escape in the confusion but Chuck stops him. The following morning Mei-Ling and Lee say goodbye, and Mei-Ling thanks Chuck for his help. Before she leaves, Chuck asks her to sign a form stating that he was off-site and she was "satisfied with the level of customer service [Chuck] provided."
Throughout the episode Chuck's plans with his family are derailed by the mission and he misses "Mother's Day" with Ellie, an important family holiday. Frustrated by Chuck repeatedly breaking his promises and plans, Ellie and Morgan end up spending time together and even coming to something of an understanding with each other. After the mission when Chuck comes to apologize, Ellie acknowledges that Chuck has had a difficult time since being kicked out of Stanford, and that she believes he finally has a great girl and understands if Sarah takes up a lot of his time now. Chuck promises that they'll have Mother's Day the next night. Ellie agrees, and invites Morgan and Sarah. When questioned by Sarah why they celebrate Mother's Day in October, Chuck explains that "Mother's Day" was the anniversary of the day their mother left them, and that because their father was never "really here" he and Ellie had to learn to take care of themselves.
In order to flag falling sales, Big Mike institutes a 24-hour sales competition. First place is a free iPhone, while second prize is a free two-topping pizza. The loser of the contest will be fired. Morgan's ineptitude as a salesman quickly puts him in last place. He asks Chuck for help, but the mission leaves him without time. Jeff and Lester offer to help instead, and institute a strategy called "The Wounded Raccoon," attempting to drive up sales by making Morgan look even more pitiful; the strategy was only a theoretical idea and, once used, proved to be an unmitigated failure. Morgan finally resolves to quit before he's fired, but Ellie decides to help him out by making a large purchase to put him in second place. Big Mike reveals that the pizza was for HIM, and that he never intended to fire anyone after all (and that there wasn't even an iPhone).
"Chuck Versus the Sizzling Shrimp" establishes that Chuck and Ellie's mother left when they were younger, and that their father was never really around. Very little background on the Bartowskis' parents has been given since, however on January 16, 2009 it was announced that Scott Bakula would be appearing as Chuck and Ellie's father in a three-episode story alongside Chevy Chase to close out the second season.
Morgan was revealed to be Hispanic and fills a quota, making it close to impossible for Mike to fire him without hassle.
- The sound of Mei-Ling's pistols firing during the club shootout is that of a silencer, however no silencer is actually installed on either of her pistols.
- Chuck flashes at the restaurant when he sees Mei-Ling Cho working in the kitchen, and identifies her as a Chinese agent.
- A flash on Mei-Ling's pistols reveals she's not a spy on an intelligence-gathering mission, but a top agent of the Chinese military.
References to popular culture
- Mei-Ling is the name of the Chinese spy in Enter the Dragon, a movie referenced in this episode as well.
- Actor James Hong played David Lo Pan in the action film Big Trouble in Little China. His name in this episode, Ben Lo Pan, is in reference to his previous role as Hong had literally "been" Lo Pan.
- When Morgan says to Chuck, "Help me, Chuck Bartowski; you're my only hope," he references Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope when a hologram of Princess Leia appears, saying "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi; you're my only hope."
- Chuck mentions the films The Hunt for Red October and White Nights as examples of people defecting all the time.
- When attempting to arrest Lo Pan in his mansion, Casey calls him "Ironside," in reference to the Raymond Burr character. Ironside was a detective who used a wheelchair.
- Chuck tells Lo Pan; "Forget it Ben, it's Chinatown" when he's stopped while trying to escape. This is in reference to the last line of the film Chinatown, a film in which James Hong had a role.
- While waiting in the car, Chuck listens to a radio show featuring a "Dr. Stu," which is a reference to the L.A. based radio show Loveline.
- When Morgan is talking to Lester and Jeff about getting fired he says "Soup is not a meal." This is a reference to a line in a Seinfeld episode when Kenny Bania tells Jerry that soup is not a meal to get Jerry to go to dinner with him again.
- Cast Update: January 16, Zap2It.com
- "Chuck Versus the Sizzling Shrimp" at the Internet Movie Database
- "Chuck Versus the Sizzling Shrimp" at TV.com