Chuck – Episode 3-12, "Chuck Versus the American Hero"

I’m just going to say this – the episode title makes no sense in the two contexts I can think of. The first would obviously be Chuck vs. Shaw in the attempt to win Sarah’s heart, but it never really comes down to a Chuck vs. Shaw confrontation – more of a Chuck trying to win over Sarah simply by being Chuck. The other (and this is more cryptic) is the “American Hero” being his new role as an agent, and his struggle to accept that. Except that in most cases, an agent is never truly seen as the patriotic hero, because so much of what they do is covert and painted in shades of grey – not everyone’s idea of a hero.

So getting into the story, Chuck is called to Washington to discuss his new assignment in Italy with his own team. But Chuck needs some time to think about it (seeing as he JUST passed his “final exam”) so he heads back to Burbank for a week, with Beckman’s blessing.

The reason he’s back in Burbank is to convince Sarah to go with him to Italy instead of to Washington with Shaw. But Sarah can’t do it because Chuck killed a guy (well, Casey did but Chuck can’t very well tell anyone that) and she can’t accept this fundamental change. So somehow, it’s decided that the way to convince Sarah is to confront her at a restaurant. That this caper manages to involve Awesome, Casey, Morgan and Jeff’s stalker van should not be all that surprising.

What is surprising is that this almost works. “Almost”, because Morgan’s an idiot who distracts Shaw with a phone call, walks around and ends up being found out and tased by Ring agents…

…oh, right. Ring agents infiltrated the CIA, killed the nurse on duty (who I actually remember as being on the Friends episode where Ross gets hit with the hockey puck) and took a USB key from the Mole’s body. And now they’re trying to track down Shaw for Nefarious Purposes.

So once Shaw figures this out he uses the Ring communicator that Diedrich Bader left behind to get in contact with the Director, so that a Stealth Bomber can come in and blow the place up in what has to be a bit of overkill. Shaw’s tracking device gets tossed (but not destroyed because that would kill the plot) but fortunately Jeffster! decided to stalk Shaw for Chuck and that leads to an abandoned warehouse…

…where Shaw discovers that the USB stick contains footage of his wife’s assassination, performed by none other than Sarah as her Final Exam. Why they have footage of this, but not Chuck’s kill is very convenient for the purposes of plot. Shaw, obviously, is none too pleased about this turn of events, but no time for that, as Chuck rescues him just in time to escape the rather efficient warehouse bombing. And all is well and good… except for the fact that Chuck wants to elope with Sarah to Mexico, Casey tells Sarah who killed the Mole, and Shaw appears to have turned heel. I never liked the guy anyway.

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