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Chuck: Chuck versus the Nacho Sampler

“I’m a spy.”

Chuck’s gone Dark Knight. He’s not the flubby schmuck who drops stuff when a beautiful woman walks into the BuyMore and hasn’t had a date in a year. He’s a stone-cold liar who burns his assets and tranqs with impunity. Awesome—and even Sarah—are stunned, and not in a good way, by Chuck’s move towards the dark side of the force.

I absolutely loved this episode. Chuck sees what must be done, and he does it, even though he seems to regret it. He’s taking the spy games more seriously, and doesn’t even blink when he has to lie to Ellie. As a big sister myself, I wish he would tell Ellie what’s going on, but I see how he wants to keep her and Awesome safe from the perils of WitProSec. On the other hand, lying to Ellie is deception numero uno.

The second deception is Morgan, who, it turns out, has suspected something for a while now. When Morgan finally got confirmation that something was going on with his friend, he immediately lost sight of the pretty Anna-replacement to focus on his friend. Morgan and Ellie, with their Guys Friday Lester and Jeff, have a mission of their own: to figure out what’s going on. Given Jeffster’s rather remarkable data-retrieval and analysis skills, Chuck is in for a bumpy ride. (No Yikes! section this week, but it’s definitely creepy, what Jeffster is doing.)

Deception number three is Chuck’s burning of Minoush, who’s basically an even-geekier Chuck version 1.0. The key difference is that Minoush didn’t have anyone’s best interest in mind: he was out to make a not-so-honest buck via a cool pair of Intersect-glasses. At least Chuck was concerned about keeping Minoush from the Ring, but he more-or-less quickly sacrificed him to the purgatory of a secure containment facility. I hope Minoush comes back at some point, maybe to assist Chuck in an off-the-books op. And I hope he brings a new pair of glasses.

And the final deception is Chuck’s betrayal of who he is, or at least who he used to be—which is also a betrayal of Sarah. Sarah liked him because he was innocent, back in the day, but he has very little compunction about stomping his own attachments into the dirt for “the greater good.” Sarah kept telling Casey that Chuck wasn’t ready, but really she wasn’t ready for him to be a spy: she doesn’t want Bryce Larkin, she wants Chuck Bartowski. Chuck the nice guy, not Chuck the spy.

This week we went to Dubai, which fascinates me even when it’s not the host of Weap-Con. That convention is one I just might spend big bucks on, just to see the amoral glee of tyrants and small (and large) arms dealers at watching demonstrations of violence. Casey loves this stuff, and Chuck is starting to love it too: they both bought trinkets, and Chuck took Casey’s advice about the scotch. Casey even gave Chuck a pat on the back. That is dark.

Bytes (so many, it’s more like megabytes):

• Chuck: “Lester, Jeff: two of our finest members of the BuyMoron staff.”

• Lester: “May the best stalker win.”

• Casey: “One ‘mish’ does not an agent make.”

• Chuck: “Is that a Burbankian accent I detect? Your eyes are hypnotic. Chestnut, hazel? Call me!”

• Awesome: “I pulled a hammy, I’ll have you know.” Do people actually have nicknames for their muscles?

• Chuck: “Yogurt, most important meal of the day.”

• Jeff: “It’s my constitutional right to fornicate.”

• Lester: “Next hire, I want you to find me a wife. A woman of color, preferably Padma Lashki.”

• Lester: “Consider her stalked.”

• Casey: “You hadn’t had a date in over a year, and they don’t waste the blondes on just anyone.”

• Casey: “Great, two geeks in a pod.”

• Casey: “Nice job, Walker. Another geek bites the dust.”

• Minoush: “Ladies, gentlemen, warlords, sheiks, and Huns. I see some Huns back there, don’t I?”

• Minoush: “At this time yesterday I was a pathetic weakling.”

• Chuck: “Intercourse?”

• Salesman: “As you can see, many of our products are ideally suited for resolving these types of hostage situations.”

• Casey: “Just like Bartowski. Bring a knife to a gun fight.” That’s an homage to The Untouchables, one of the best lines in cinematic history.

• Awesome: “You have to obey me! I think that was in our vows!”

• Morgan: “Are you suggesting Chuck is caught in a big scary web of conspiracy and deception?...Because I couldn’t agree more.”

…And Pieces:

• No Superman this week. He was off-grid.

• But we did get some Y: The Last Man. Bryan K. Vaughn, you get more shout-outs than Alan Moore!

• I want that Frak Off t-shirt so very much.

• More pseudo-‘Knights of Cydonia’ score this week. Still weird.

• The tranq-gun sequence with Minoush was hilarious.

• Chuck’s cheesy thumbs-up, and Sarah’s look of ironic happiness, at Casey’s own joy about being able to write off Weap-Con as a business expense.

• As many of you detected in my review last week, I have never seen Smallville. But I’m liking this Hannah character, and I especially like that she’s not the only speed-bump on Chuck and Sarah’s current road.

• The French Legionnaires.

• Josh Schwartz, one of the creators of Chuck, invented Ultimate Frisbee when he was in college. So I saw that nacho-platter thing coming at least 30 seconds before it happened.

• Lester and Jeff thinking that Morgan had finally admitted his secret lust for Chuck.

Four out of four Vicky Vales. Vicky-vicky vale.

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)


  1. Terrific review of a terrific episode, Josie. "Weap-Con" had me in stitches; what a great parody. The idea of Morgan realizing something is wrong and spying on Chuck is inspired; the Buy More stuff doesn't feel as out of place this season.

    I feel like Sarah does; I'm looking at Chuck and feeling sad that he's no longer the innocent sweetie he used to be. But I'm also one who strongly believes that a show has to change and grow or it gets stale, and that means they can't just keep Chuck as an innocent bystander in the Nerd Herd forever.

    And okay, I'm not hating Kristin Kreuk in this part. I just have a hard time looking at her and not seeing uber-annoying Lana Lang, who constantly made me cringe.

  2. Yeah, I actually liked Kristin, too. Maybe it's because she wasn't so whiny. As long as the writers take care of the Hannah character and don't keep her around for no reason then it'll be good.

    At this point in the season I like only Awesome knowing about the secret. Maybe near the end of the season someone else can know but I like the slow build.

  3. It was very interesting to see the different places that Chuck and Sarah are at now. The change in both of them feels like a pretty organic stumbling block to their relationship. Much more so than Shaw and Hannah (although I don't mind having them around so far). I kind of miss old Chuck, too. But, I agree with Billie that he and the show have to grow.

    Weap-Con was, indeed, hilarious. It was so over-the-top ludicrous that I couldn't stop laughing. The scantily clad models with guns were too funny.

    I agree that the development with Morgan and Ellie should make for some entertaining events in the future. Especially with Jeff and Lester on the case. Oy!

    Great review, Josie. Just a couple of quibbles ...

    I actually prefer the whole "That's how you get Capone" monologue from 'The Untouchables.' The "bringing a knife to a gun fight" line wouldn't be nearly as potent without it. Of course, that movie is so full of awesome cinematic quotes and visuals, how can you choose just one as the best? :)

    Also, I think Chuck was saying "Vicky Vale" at the Nerd Herd desk. Not Vicky Vamp. I think it is a play on the line or song regarding Kim Bassinger's character from the original Batman movie.

  4. Thanks, Jess. I fixed the Vicky Vale thing.

    As for The Untouchables: true, true. But it's a quote that I manage to work into conversation about once every six months, so it holds a special place in my heart.

  5. We really need a review of "The Untouchables" on the site, don't we? It's one of my favorite non-sci-fi movies, too. And Jess, I think you get the title for "best memory for everything in the least bit geek-like and even ungeek-like." You remember everything. How do you do that? I used to be like that. And then I started getting older and everything started falling apart.

  6. We do need a review of the 'The Untouchables.' Such an awesome movie! I had the theme music running through my head all afternoon. It almost seems like it would be a challenge to give it anything but the Chris Farley treatment: "Remember when they had the big shootout in the train station? That was AWESOME!"

    I remember a lot of stuff about that movie because I've seen it so many times. As for other stuff, I just have a knack for retaining trivial knowledge. It comes in handy when watching Jeopardy (which I haven't done in forever) and playing Trivial Pursuit. Now, if only I could remember the important things ...

  7. i googled ultimate frisbee and didn't see anything about josh schwartz inventing ultimate frisbee. it was invented about a decade before he was born...

  8. Joits,

    What?! I'd heard that rumor back in my The OC-watching days.

    Hmmm. Well, I'm sorry to have perpetuated the lie. Even if the lie is cool.

  9. Yes, a show has to grow and its characters have to evolve but it made so sad that Chuck has lost that innocence from the beginning. Good character evolution and also natural.

    Great review to a great episode.

  10. This episode made me sad. Yes, characters have to grow and evolve, but I don't want Chuck to change too much. I like his love of family and friends and his general wide-eyed wonder of the world. This hard drinking guy who burns his assets? I'm not sure I want to go there.

    I still think a review of The Untouchables would be a good idea. One of the great movies of all time.


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