zachary levi chuck 320 'Chuck': The Olympics may be over, but NBC's still got plenty of action

We’ve known for a while that Chuck isn’t that same old loveable, helpless geek, but I definitely didn’t expect him to be able to pull off master assassin so successfully. Are there acting lessons in the Intersect 2.0? Because he’s kind of awesome.

Chuck vs. The Alias: Shaw tasks Chuck with impersonating Rafe Gruber, a deadly assassin they’ve captured, so that they can discover why the Ring hired him. And Chuck, it turns out, is very at home as “the world’s most dangerous assassin.” A little too at home for Sarah’s taste. Especially when he pulls out one of Casey’s teeth in an “interrogation” to prevent the Mafia-type fellas who hired Gruber from catching on that they’re CIA. It’s upsetting on a very visceral level, even though Casey heartily approves. Our little Chuckie really has grown up…and up, and up. I will say that it was pretty sweet when he impressed the Fellas by taking out the entire CIA backup squad (including Sarah and Shaw) thanks to good ‘ol Intersect 2.0. 

The surprisingly adorable Fellas take Chuck to a hotel room equipped with listening apparatus and a sniper rifle, confident that he’s one of the five guys on the world who can make a shot half a mile away. Through Chuck’s crosshairs half a mile away (!!), Shaw is talking to Sarah about Chuck (after putting on a shirt, since she was understandably distracted by his Greek God-like chest). Chuck hears the entire conversation – how hard it is for her to see him become a person who can lie and extract teeth without anesthetic, and “the further he gets from who he is, the more [she] wants to remember who [she] is.”

Shaw, red blooded man that he is, takes advantage of her vulnerable emotional state to nab a makeout session. And, more significantly, to learn her real name: Sam. Sam? Really? That seems anticlimactic. Though I’m not sure what name would actually be…climactic. I’m also going to point out that it’s super awkward for Chuck to be watching Sarah and Shaw suck face. Though I suppose it’s a refreshing twist that he’s invading her privacy for once. The Fellas explain to Chuck that the Ring thought Shaw was dead, but he’s actually just soon-to-be-dead…or “double dead,” as they put it once Chuck explains that he’s upset because Shaw is messing around with “his girl.”

When Chuck heads over to Shaw’s place to kill him face to face (an excuse the Fellas accept for not sniping him immediately), he “acts” out a whole scene about how he’s going to kill Shaw for taking “Sam.” Shaw, only sort of playing along, suggests that Chuck blew his chances with Sam. He receives a punch in the face for his troubles. Rafe, the assassin Chuck is impersonating, escapes from custody, kills the Fellas (no!!!), and bursts in on Chuck and Shaw’s fight, interrupting Shaw’s possibly (but not definitely) fictitious attempts to strangle Chuck. Even as Rafe holds a gun to Sarah’s head Chuck doesn’t flash, but when a shot is finally fired it’s Rafe who winds up on the ground with a hole in the head, thanks to Casey’s mad sniping skills. I really shouldn’t be surprised he’s one of the five.

Chuck vs. Chuck 2.0: Unfortunately, though Chuck 2.0 and Sarah 2.0 increasingly resemble Sarah 1.0 and Chuck 1.0 (in that order), they fail to meet in the middle, Benjamin Button-style. Sarah clearly isn’t ready to let Chuck go, first telling Shaw that they shouldn’t see each other in a “non-work capacity” in an attempt to divorce her personal life from her work, and then awkwardly and sadly watching Chuck share his life with Hannah. After many troubled looks as Chuck lies, tortures, and punches his way toward superspydom, she settles (yes, I’m using the word “settles” even though I gazed upon his naked chest) with Shaw, treating him to takeout and a makeout as he’s confined to the Castle (also a crockpot, but that doesn’t rhyme).

Chuck tries to make it work with Hannah, having her over for dinner with his family, where she toasts to being in the right job (really?), with the right guy, eating the right meal (actually cooked by Sarah and Shaw, an uncomfortable situation that doesn’t escape Casey). Between her decision to take the job and move to Burbank based on one plane flight, that toast, her comfort level answering Chuck’s phone, and her eagerness for Chuck to meet her parents, I’m going to go ahead and say that I wouldn’t blame Chuck for freaking out and breaking it off.

Chuck, though, doesn’t dump Hannah because she’s dragging their relationship toward the altar at breakneck speed when he’s not over Sarah yet, as Ellie (an “excellent half a spy”) guesses. Instead, he ends it because there are things in his life that she can’t know, and it’s unfair he’s been dishonest since “you deserve to be with someone who you can know completely.” Instead of questioning what exactly he’s referring to, Hannah calls him the best liar she’s ever seen, and she hopes his lies keep him warm at night. You know, instead of sex. That he was having with her. Before he dumped her. Because nice guys don’t sleep with girls and then dump them. Well, I can’t argue with that.

Chuck vs. The Gumbo: The Buy Morons are all aflutter over Chuck’s ability with the ladies. Popular theories include sorcery, mind-controlling LSD, and a deal with the devil. Adorably, they list all the ladies he’s been with (and for the record, “fine, miniature piece of woman” is NOT how petite women like to be described), but conclude that he “lights up” when he’s around Sarah. Aww. Big Mike even tears up…you know, because he’s chopping onions and all. (Which is SO “Flight of the Conchords” – he’s not crying, he’s making a lasagna…for one.)

Thanks to an accidental abundance of crockpots, Big Mike tasks Lester and Jeff with helping him make gumbo to lure customers into buying said crockpots. Pressed for input, Chuck says their gumbo needs Worcestershire sauce, and he complains about the frozen okra. Hey, my family’s from Louisiana and Worcestershire sauce definitely isn’t one of the ingredients in our gumbo. And frozen okra IS – you totally can’t tell the difference, and it’s way easier to work with in terms of non-sliminess. So THERE, Chuck.

Odds and Ends:

  • I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Awesome would be the worst spy ever! He’s legitimately terrible at lying, unlike Ellie, who’s managed to convince Chuck all these years that she’s liked his Chicken Pepperoni. (Side note: I’ve never heard of Chicken Pepperoni, and maybe it’s just my veganness talking here, but it sounds really weird.)
  • I hope we find out more about “Alex Coburn,” Casey’s Honduran sharpshooter alter-ego. I mean, if he’s in the Intersect, there must be a good story waiting to be told. And yes, this may or may not just be my excuse for asking for more Casey. But can you blame me?
  • Did anyone else feel the parallels between Rafe Gruber and Hannibal Lecter? The creepy focus on how people smell, the locked-up-ness, the deadliness, the escape via pen…
  • Chuck’s first crush was Mrs. Seaver, the mom from “Growing Pains.” Just let that soak in for a minute.
  • Chuck as Gruber: “Who doesn’t like a good cupcake?” Maybe it’s just because I really do like a good cupcake, but that little phone conversation was one of my favorite moments of the season. It so perfectly encapsulated Chuck’s status right now – still loves cupcakes, but is superspy enough to pull off playing a deadly assassin…who loves cupcakes. 

Are you happy to see Hannah go? Did you expect Sarah to go back to Shaw? Are you happy to see “Chuck” back, or are you going through curling withdrawal? (It’s surprisingly gripping!)

Posted by:Liz Pardue