Episode Review: CHUCK: "Chuck vs. the Fake Name" (Season 3, Episode 7)

Sam White
Sam White's picture

If you are a fan of the series “Chuck” but didn’t see this episode, don’t read this review.  About all I can say that doesn’t spoil anything is to tell you that Big Mike ordered too many crock-pots.


It starts out with Ellie lamenting to Awesome that Chuck doesn’t talk to her like he used to.  Then, she accuses Awesome of lying to her because his pulse rate is elevated, for which his excuse is that he’s exercising at the time.  Then, Ellie goes over to Chuck’s place and—as she hears the water running in the bathroom—promises to not tell Sarah that Chuck is seeing someone else.  Out from the bathroom steps Hannah, wrapped in a towel, while (a dressed) Chuck comes in from outside carrying a box of donuts.  Why Chuck put on a tie to go get donuts, I have no idea.


Special agent Shaw assigns Chuck to impersonate an international assassin.  Chuck agrees, but only if he can get back by 5 because he’s got plans to have a dinner party with Hannah and the Awesomes.  Chuck slips amazingly well into character, until one of the mobsters who are supposed to act as the go-betweens between the assassin and The Ring recognizes Casey and calls him by a name … a name that makes Chuck flash.  To prove his bonafides, Chuck has to torture Casey and judo-chop an entire SWAT team (comprised of Sarah, Shaw and some red shirts).  The performance sells and Chuck has the admiration of the mobsters, and even a compliment from Casey.


When Chuck is finally given his target, it turns out to be Shaw.  And then, as he listens in on a conversation, he learns that a] Sarah is distressed that Chuck is becoming a “real spy” (lying, cheating, violent, etc.); b] she misses the person she used to be—who’s real name may or may not have been “Sam”; c] and she’s starting to have feelings for Shaw.  So Chuck decides to go take out Shaw in person, a plan that’s working pretty well until the real assassin shows up, kills the mobsters, and has Sarah in a headlock.  All seems lost until … Casey assassinates the assassin.


After talking to Ellie, Chuck decides he must tell Hannah some truth and tries to break up with her to protect her feelings and ends up getting the worst of her wrath.  When last we see him, he’s walking down the street with a depressed look; amidst cut scenes of Sarah giving Shaw a crock-pot she got cheap at the Buy More and then kissing him.


Observations: 1] this was the single best episode of this season, and one of the best episodes of the series.  The plot was excellent and Chuck’s turn as a wanna-be assassin was not overplayed (as I might have feared).  2]The relationship with Hannah was well-done in that it manipulated the audience without being cloyingly so.  We all know Chuck’s supposed to be with Sarah but a] you can’t do that on TV (see “Moonlighting” and “I Dream of Jeannie”) and b] they set the table so very well that we wouldn’t really have been disappointed if Chuck had wound up with Hannah.  [On a side note: “Smallville” magazine has a picture of Hannah and Chuck together in a scene that we haven’t seen, making me think we haven’t seen the last of Hannah.]  3]  The Buy More guys once again prove that they are best in small doses (and in small doses they’re hilarious!).  4]  I liked Chuck’s turn at being an assassin because it made it clear that he really has learned something and isn’t “just a nerd.”  Also, I liked that Chuck (and Sarah) are wondering whether this change is for the better.  Soul-searching can be overdone in a comedy/drama, but this was just the right tone.