As silly as this sounds, I sometimes forget that Chuck is the central character of the show. The mistake of any show like this, and one Chuck made many a time early on, was putting the zippy spy missions front and center, the characters merely pawns in whatever sized budget thriller the station was putting on. Then there are times when the show aims to be an ensemble affair, with meaty parts doled out to Sarah and Casey of course, with a few scraps left for Morgan and the rest of the gang; Chuck is there, sure, but so is everyone else. Last week's excellent episode, for example, had a lot to do with the overarching mystery of the show, dealing in espionage and diagrams of old Apple computers. But episodes like tonight's remind me of what Adam Baldwin told me when I Random Roled him last year: Zachary Levi carries the show, and so too does Chuck.
See, the show is at its finest when everything mentioned before serves the man himself, as was the case tonight. Actually, most of what transpired was his fault, or rather the fault of his feelings for Sarah. The General has started to notice the way he looks at her, and the way she stands up for him, often jeopardizing missions as a result. Actually, she's compiled a sweet video montage of Chuck at his most vulnerable, confessing his innermost likings for Sarah. And it's this evidence that has forced her to bring in the big gun, ol' 49B herself—a prominently cheekboned, surprisingly super-articulatory agent named Alex Forest who is there to "assess" what the real deal is between Chuck and Sarah. (Though most of us know her by a differnet number…) Meanwhile, duty calls, and the team has learned that an evil man named Rashad Ahmad is going in for surgery, and what he really needs on his new pacemaker is a tracking device.
The events that transpire hit a little too close to home for Chuck. Turns out, the hospital where Ahmad is being stationed is the same place where Awesome and Ellie work, so 49B decides to swipe Awesome's key card for access to the pacemaker pre-op. And this is Chuck, after all, so she does this by infiltrating Awesome's bachelor party (held at the Buy More, overseen by the overly eager Morgan, Lester, and Jeff), donning a revealing cop uniform, and shoving her beauties right up in Awesome's face, to the audible joy of Battlestar Galactica fans across this great globe of ours.
Two problems with that. One, it doesn't work, so she has to tranq Awesome—therefore, now he thinks he got too wasted at the bachelor party and passed out. Ellie notices this, then stumbles upon pictures Lester took of Awesome being lady-handled by Forest, and flips out. Second, the plan to insert the homing device on the pacemaker works too well; Ahmad's private physician/handler finds said device, and tracks down the offending surgeon to make things right, under penalty of death. And that man's name? Captain Awesome.
(It should be noted now that while I enjoyed an episode with lots of Awesome, he wasn't as Awesome as he's been in the past. C'mon, Devon, "That's the taste of a healthy colon" was just the beginning!)
Chuck's getting it from both sides now: Ellie is pissed at Awesome, and Chuck can't tell her the truth, even though it will save their impending marriage. And there are men coming to the door, to cart Awesome away. So Chuck does the noblest thing possible, and throws on Awesome's coat and gets taken away by the goons.
Sarah, also, decides to step up. She's been booted off the case based on Forest's recommendation, but can't leave without saying goodbye to Chuck—or, for that matter, running his dad's name through the computer database and feeding him the results. She arrives at the house to find something amiss, and immediately runs back to the Orange Orange to alert Casey and 49B, even though she's disobeying all sorts of orders by doing so. And Casey, surprisingly, gets her back, this in lieu of the sexy gun montage he just shared with Forest. He even insists later on—after the team rescues Chuck and captures the private doctor—that Chuck be allowed to state his case to The General, and save Sarah's job.
It's about damn time. Maybe John Casey is starting to realize what the actor Adam Baldwin knew from the get-go: This is Chuck's show. Whatever it is about Sarah and Casey's questionable tactics and iffy relationship with the asset, it simply works. And as much as I like to think about why Chuck continues to be entertaining week after week, and how it's yet to fail me this season, sometimes it's not worth thinking about. It just works, all thanks to Chuck himself.
- "Astronomy snap!"