Chuck Bartowski - Zachari Levi
John Casey - Adam Baldwin
Sarah Walker - Yvonne Strahovski
Morgan Grimes - Joshua Gomez
Ellie Bartowski - Sarah Lancaster
Shaw - Brandon Routh
Chuck vs The Pink Slip
It's been months since the new version of the Intersect that was put in Chuck's head gave him a working knowledge of Kung Fu. In that time, a lot of effort has been put into turning him into a superspy capable of utilising the information now contained within his head. Unfortunately, the trick only works when the agent is calm and Chuck is very rarely calm in the face of danger. He is retired by the powers that be and takes his unemployment hard, but when he tries to put things right with Sarah following an unspecified falling out, he discovers that the courier they are trying to trap is in fact a top assassin for the Ring organisation. This makes him a target for the assassin himself.
It's a new series for CHUCK and the game has changed a bit, but this episode attempts to take things back to the way that they were. As a result, there is rather more plot to get through than usual, including the breakup between Chuck and Sarah and the reason for it, which provides the barrier to their will they/won't they relationship for the forthcoming season.
The big game changer, though, is in the extra information that Chuck can access from the Intersect. This gives him all the possibilities of suddenly having extra abilities. It's a bit like an unreliable JOE 90. In this episode, it allows him to become a mariachi player in a fun sequence.
Because of the extra story to be got through, there is less fun to be had with a script that isn't as fizzy as we are used to, but by the end the pieces are all back in place and the new season of CHUCK can begin properly.Top
Chuck vs Three Little Words
Chuck and Sarah have to pose as a happy couple in order to gain access to a secret weapon being held by an arms dealer. This proves to be harder than they thought since the events of Prague. The emotional turmoil also makes it difficult for Chuck to access the Intersect for the skills that he needs to outwit the laser beam defence mechanism.
The will they/won't they goes on as Chuck declares his love for Sarah once again, but she has to keep her demeanour cold since he hurt her so badly by rejecting her in Prague. The whole plot is built around this and feels a touch manufactured as a result and certainly doesn't give Adam Baldwin's Casey enough to do. Vinnie Jones pops up as the arms dealer and proves to be as unconvincing as he is in most of his roles.
There's also a scene where two attractive female agents wander around in their underwear for no readily apparent reason. They are tooling up with guns and knives, but the state of undress really isn't necessary. We thought that the show had grown beyond such things.Top
Chuck Versus the Angel de la Muerte
A dictator that the security services, and Casey in particular, have been trying to kill for decades is now a friend to the USA and visiting town to announce that he is going to be holding free elections. The Ring, however, don't want that and have sent an assassin after him. When Awesome saves the dictator's life it allows the team to protect him unobtrusively, but then Casey is taken prisoner and action has to be taken.
Be careful what you wish for, for you will surely receive it. That's the moral of the story as Captain Awesome wants in on the action and finds himself at the heart of it with Chuck struggling to keep both brother-in-law and sister safe. All this at the same time that Ellie and Awesome and telling Sarah and Chuck what a couple they ought to be.
Armand Assante plays the dictator, but it could quite easily have been anyone since he makes so little impact. Instead, it is up to the show regulars to work their magic, deliver their lines and look longingly at each other (OK not Casey) to the usual entertaining effect.
But beware because this episode has a sting in the tail that isn't seen coming because it is most out of character for the show.Top
Chuck Versus Operation Awesome
Devon is mistaken by the Ring operative who kidnapped him as a CIA superspy. He is tricked into putting an explosive earpiece on and Chuck has to help him through an assassination in order to keep him alive. He then takes matters into his own hands to keep his family safe, though keeping himself safe proves to be a bit tougher.
After leaving the definite impression last week that Captain Awesome had been murdered, the show backs off with this story of kidnapping and manipulation. It's designed to show how far Chuck has come by contrasting him with someone who is brand new to the spy world, ie Devon. The laughs and wit aren't as widely spread as usual, but there is a subplot about the existence of a fight club in the Buy More that is actually pretty good.
We're pleased that the show hasn't changed enough to kill off a major character since we love it pretty much the way that it is. And yes, that is Brandon Routh, one time SUPERMAN as the new agent on the block.Top
Chuck Versus First Class
Agent Shaw, now in charge of the team's operations decides that it is time for Chuck to prove whether or not he is capable of being a real spy. He goes on a solo mission to Paris, but learns whilst on the plane that his mission is really on board, a mission that is big and very well versed in martial arts in enclosed spaces.
Chuck's first solo mission lacks a lot of originality (didn't Harrison Ford already do a lot of this in AIR FORCE ONE?), but it is leavened with the usual amount of wit and the comic timing of Zachari Levi. He has certainly made the role his own and it is hard to see anyone else playing it.
The Buy More side story is so much less interesting and less funny and is back to being the distraction that drags the show down a bit. We love the characters there, but they need to do more to justify their presence.Top
Chuck Versus The Nacho Sampler
Chuck is given the job of befriending a geek not unlike himself in order to find out about the weapon that he is delivering to the Ring. Will Chuck be able to 'burn' the asset when the time comes?
This season is seeing Chuck grow and change more as a character than any time before and Sarah is not the only one who doesn't necessarily like what she is seeing. It's good that the show is willing to keep the characters changing, except for Casey of course.
The Captain Awesome storyline really isn't going anywhere or isn't even that convincing, but the visit to Dubai's 'Weap Con' is a work of inspiration.Top
Chuck Versus The Mask
The Ring have been using a museum as a cover for smuggling items into the US. The latest in inside a golden mask that is about to go on display. Since the security system is fully automated, Chuck has a perfect cover, but when Hannah follows him her life is put at risk.
The perfect Kristin Kreuk moves further into Chuck's life in this episode, following a very similar path to that of Jordana Brewster's Jill last season. It is to be hoped that the same old ground isn't going to be gone over. Her presence does put another obstacle in the way of the relationship between Chuck and Sarah, Agent Shaw forming the final leg of the love quadrilateral.
The plot itself is pretty simple and much of it we have already seen, but it's all carried off with the usual aplomb so that it doesn't seem to overly stale.Top
Chuck Versus The Fake Name
When Chuck is required to take on the identity of a top assassin, he takes to the task like a duck to water, which worries Sarah, whose real name is revealed as she grows closer to Agent Shaw. Chuck takes a decision about his present relationship.
Chuck as a top assassin is a lot of fun and pretty much drives this episode. The relationship stuff is starting to get a bit over the top, but it is still on the right side of the line, just, and when Chuck does what he believes to be the right thing at the end it is genuinely touching, something that shows how much the character has gotten to us.
Most of the other trapping (the Buy More etc) are starting to look a bit thin, though.Top
Chuck Versus The Beard
Chuck is no longer flashing on information from the Intersect due to his inner emotional turmoil, so when intel comes in that the Ring is about to turn a CIA agent he is left behind as Shaw, Sarah and Casey go into action. It turns out to be a distraction, though, in order to allow the Ring to access the secret base and gain access to Shaw's files on them. Only Chuck and best mate Morgan can save the day.
Morgan finds out Chuck's secret at last and it is a moment that is worth the wait. The plot is a nice twist in that it fakes out the main players to leave Chuck operating on his own and it brings in both Morgan and the Buy More team more naturally than has been the case recently. There is even the return of the awesome Jeffster, so we can forgive it a lot, but for once there is nothing at all to forgive, just great entertainment.Top
Chuck Versus The Tic Tac
The team is given the task of breaking into a top security CIA vault as a test, but the Ring have an old mentor of Casey's who recruits him to steal a secret drug at the same time from the same vault. Chuck accidentally reveals the truth and Casey is arrested for treason. Both Chuck and Sarah decide to spring their colleague to find out why he has done what he has done in order to clear his name.
The show puts Adam Baldwin's John Casey at the very heart of a story for the first time in a while and benefits as a result. It also steps up the drama by giving the man real emotions and real motivation, allowing the actors something a bit more meaty to get to terms with. It also doesn't go down the route of a reset at the end where all the consequences are done away with. This could be a game changer of an episode because of that fall out. Certainly it is surprising, something that the show hasn't really been for a while.Top
Chuck Versus The Final Exam
It's decision time for Chuck. He is to face a final test, alone and on completing that test he will be a real spy. What neither he nor Sarah bargained for was that Chuck's final test will be his 'red' test, the day he has to kill someone.
After the events of last time, it's back to the central story of Chuck's wanting to be a spy and wanting to be with Sarah. He was forced to choose between the two in Prague and now he needs to make a choice between not killing a man and getting everything that he ever dreamed of. The thing is, if he kills someone he will no longer be Chuck, at least not the Chuck that Sarah is still in love with. It's a dark and complex heart to the essentially lightweight episode, the first half of which is pure Chuck comedy, but then takes a turn to the dark side.
The show continues to mature and is all the better for it. It is now becoming less predictable by the episode as well.Top
Chuck Versus The American Hero
Chuck's new assignment is in Rome and he can pick his own team. He goes back to Burbank to try and persuad Sarah to go with him, but when Shaw sacrifices himself to bag the head honcho of the Ring Chuck goes to save him and in doing so puts Sarah in more danger than he could possibly know.
The big twist in this episode was predictable from the moment that we saw the flashback to Sarah's 'red test' last week, but it is still introduced nicely and the whole plot plays out in the usual nicely balanced package of action, wit and heart. This is what CHUCK does so well and it continues to deliver.Top
Chuck Versus The Other Guy
Shaw now knows that Sarah killed his wife and sets about making her death mean something. Or does he? He might be working for the Ring, but then again he might not be. Either way, Chuck and his new team are on their to Paris to make sure that Sarah doesn't end up dead.
There's a definite sense that the makers of CHUCK weren't sure that they were going beyond this point since all of the stories get wrapped up to a satisfactory ending point. It's dramatic, but witty and exciting as well. The plot twists all over the place with Shaw's 'is he/isn't he' working for the Ring thing nicely handled and Brandon Routh does well with the demands of the role that finally needs some subtlety.
Since this isn't the end of the season it will be interesting to see where it all goes now having wrapped up everything so nicely.Top
Chuck Versus The Honeymooners
Chuck and Sarah are together again and planning a future away from the spy business on a long train journey, posing as newly weds. Chuck flashes on an ETA terrorist and they both decide to take on one last mission, but since they don't have the usual back up, their reading of the situation is incomplete. Fortunately, Casey and Grimes are on the case.
Following the wrapping up of everything last week, the show starts setting up its new format. Chuck and Sarah and together, Morgan is now one of the team and Chuck's sister and brother-in-law are leaving for Africa. It is going to be interesting to see how that this develops.
In the meantime, this is a bright and frothy piece of nonsense with a lot of fun to be had and nothing to strain the brain too hard.Top
Chuck Versus The Role Models
Now that Chuck and Sarah are together as a couple, even though she is reticent about actually moving in, the General decides that they need to be shown how to do it properly and are put on observation detail of the CIA's greatest spy couple. The Turners, however, turn out to be a philanderer and a drunk who can't get along at all. They are also traitors, tricking Chuck and Sarah into stealing some software from a tiger's collar to sell to the highest bidder.
This episode of CHUCK is entertaining without being anything out of the ordinary. The inclusion of a tiger as the main threat is fun, but nothing more than that. The fact that the CIA's top spy couple is a mess is not unexpected, and the bickering between them is nothing new and not nearly funny enough to really add to the episode. The fact that the Turners are played by Swoosie Kurtz and Fred Willard should have led to them being provided with better material.
Casey ‘training' Morgan is a distraction that adds nothing, but Ellie and Captain Awesome's trip to Africa comes up with a twist that is certainly going to move the story forward.Top
Chuck Versus The Tooth
Chuck is having nightmares. These nightmares involve the President of Zamibia and he is certain that they mean the man is going to be assassinated. Nobody else believes it and Chuck is taken off duty, but a flash reveals that the man he thought was the assassin is working for the Ring and has a false tooth with all the data in it. When he tries to take the tooth, he is confined to a CIA mental facility.
This episode of CHUCK goes a bit darker with Chuck's nightmares leading to fears that the intersect is slowly eroding his mind. This leads to a ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST riff, but the serious undertone doesn't sit well with the more usual light banter.
Christopher Lloyd plays the psychiatrist trying to diagnose Chuck, but he plays it completely straight, as though it was actually a drama and he is not too far off the mark.
There is also Ellie being manipulated into betraying her father and the hint that Shaw might not be dead to contend with.Top
Chuck Versus The Living Dead
Chuck is still having dreams about Shaw being still alive and won't tell Sarah about it. She, however, has very persuasive ways to find out what's going on. Chuck, however, has other problems when Ellie, now being manipulated by a Ring agent, contacts their father and brings him out of hiding.
It's a welcome return to Scott Bakula as Chuck and Ellie's dad, a man whose tics and paranoia hide the fact that he is very, very smart. His performance wipes away the not inconsiderable shadow of the others that he is familiar for and is very entertaining even though he isn't given too much to do.
In fact, nobody is given that much to do as the plot seems to be mainly setting up events for further down the line, leaving this episode feeling a bit flat. That said there is a big twist moment at the end and Jeffster are teetering on the brink of something bigger.Top
Chuck Versus The Subway
Agent Shaw returns from the dead with a report that will shut down the intersect project once and for all. His intersect has the same problems as Chuck's, which means he wants the watch that Chuck's dad has invented. Can Chuck, Sarah and Casey stay ahead of the entire CIA?
This is a twisty-turny storyline that plays with expectations, throws in enough twists for an entire rock and roll dance contest and still manages to find time for some character development (mainly with the minor characters finally finding out what is going on). As a penultimate episode, its main function is to set up the big finale, but it does so much more with a shock towards the end that shows how much this show has grown up.
So a plot that most shows would die for, characters to care about, some whizzy banter, kick ass action and a set up for the final act? This delivers it all and is one of the show's best.Top
Chuck Versus The Ring Part 2
Devon, Ellie and Morgan rescue the real spies from Shaw. Figuring out that Shaw is planning to meet with the top Ring leaders at a conference in town that night, Chuck comes up with a plan to rescue their careers and end the Ring once and for all. Agent Shaw, however, isn't going to go down easily, especially since Chuck's intersect is destroying his mind.
The final episode of the third season and a big finale should be expected, but this episode brings several of them. There's the freeing of the spies in true CHUCK manner (ie by accident), there's the revealing and arresting of the Ring leaders ('borrowing' a technique from one Mr Bond) and there is the final smackdown between Shaw and Chuck. Any one of these would have been good enough for the show's finale, but all three are spectacular.
On top of that there is the emotional jolt of Ellie and Chuck facing their father's death and a postscript that sets up the whole next season.Top
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