Chuck Episode 3-11, "Check Versus the Final Exam"

Chuck is a precarious position right now. You can make excuses about Daylight Saving Time, Dancing With the Stars, or Steve Austin appearing on Raw, but the fact of the matter is, a 1.9 rating is not going to save this show, even when you consider that NBC has very few viable shows. A sandwich campaign is unlikely to work two years in a row, so fans of the show, if you know someone with a Nielsen ankle tracker, do whatever you need to to make sure they’re watching Chuck Bartowski instead of Chad Ochocino on Mondays. Assuming that the episode is better than this one, that is.

So if you’re the Chuck writing team, please don’t give us crap like this episode. This was about as by the numbers as an average episode of Star Trek: Voyager. You’d think that they’d know better.

Anyway, this episode centers around Chuck’s “final exam” to becoming a full-fledged spy. Shaw is back to suck the life out of the show, telling Chuck that this will be a solo mission to determine whether he’s fit to be a spy. If he fails, it’s back to civilian life. Which is patently ridiculous since Chuck still has the Intersect 2.0 in his head. If you think rationally about this, the only options should Chuck fail would be to: a) take another “exam”; b) get lobotomized (which I doubt the Intersect 2.0 would allow); or c) become a desk operative in the vein of Barbera Gordon in DC Comics.

Meanwhile, the secondary plot has Casey trying to adjust to civilian life, which everyone knows is Not Gonna Happen. Big Mike tries to help out as Jeffster! have threatened to sue Casey, but this is resolved through the purchase of some sandwiches (but not $5 footlongs). Chuck smuggles out Casey’s gun as a momento of his career, which all but spells out the episode end for us (given that we went from the penultimate moment to the past at the START OF THE SHOW).

Chuck’s “solo” assignment starts with he and Sarah doing a stakeout on a Russian guy and a CIA mole at a hotel and spa, whereupon Chuck tries to woo Sarah using items from the past. He then has to go into the spa to follow the Russian guy, and ends up doing some Sambo (I’m assuming it’s Sambo, since the bodyguards were Russian) in the process. The mole kills the Russian guy, and once Chuck is able to get a visual on the mole’s face, the assignment is over.

Or not, as a dinner with Sarah an Union Station turns into the final assignment – kill the mole. Which, of course, Chuck fails to do, but learns Krav Maga (I think). The chase leads to the railyard where Casey kills the mole for Chuck. And since the bullet comes from a government-issue pistol, noone will think that Chuck didn’t do it because they won’t check his gun for discharge, right? And how, exactly, did Casey KNOW that the chase would lead to the railyard? Clearly, Casey figured enough to go to Union Station, but there was no indication that things would wind up where they did.

But now we have a new status quo, where Chuck is a full-fledged agent, and Casey acts as his silent (well, more silent than usual) guardian angel -slash- killing machine. And Sarah goes to DC with Agent Suck, but presumably has a reason to stick around to keep the Team together. Hopefully that means ditching Shaw and letting him go back to ruining the Superman franchise.

…they don’t want him back? Crap.

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