Episode Review: CHUCK: "Chuck vs. the Nacho Sampler" (Season 3, Episode 6)

Sam White
Sam White's picture

Now that he’s a “real spy” Chuck has to start acting like one.  He’s assigned to take befriend a nerdy computer genius (but I repeat myself) who appears to have reverse engineered a copy of the intersect.  This is a problem for Chuck because he—unlike Casey—genuinely likes people and doesn’t like faking friendship.  Once he gets to know the young man, the friendship isn’t faked, but …

 

Simultaneous to all this, Captain Awesome is having a crisis of conscience about keeping all of Chuck’s secrets from Ellie and it’s making him a nervous wreck.  Ellie, meanwhile, is suspicious of her husband’s behavior and her brother’s erratic lifestyle and flimsy excuses.  Morgan, as well, is starting to think (isn’t it about time?!?!) that Chuck is hiding something from him.  So, he pulls Jeff and Lester off their stalker duties of finding out everything they can about Buy More newcomer Hannah and assigns them to learn what they can about Chuck.

 

The storyline of this episode was good if not great, but what makes this a stand-out ep is the depth that was added to Chuck’s character.  When forced to [spoiler alert] “burn” the young man he has befriended, Chuck does what he has to do, but then the last thing we see of Chuck in this episode is him regretting his decision and trying to forget it through alcohol.  This is what makes “Chuck” so much better than other spy shows.  Chuck Bartowski is not just a machine with occasional flashes of humanity; he’s a very human person who reacts like a real person would in the face of the duplicity around him.  It will be interesting to see how they carry this forward.  Whether Chuck will succumb to the peer pressure and shut off his emotions, or embrace them and—somehow—be a better spy for it.

 

Last season, the character of Emmet seemed to be wondering why Chuck disappeared so often from his job.  That wonder was dropped from the storyline.  Now, we have Hannah bringing up the same questions.  I hope they address them.  As funny as the show is, I, too, have wondered how Chuck keeps his job when he’s always disappearing—for days on end, it would seem.  (And, doesn’t anyone in town wonder why the Orange Orange seems to close up so often?)

 

There is an issue, though, that I have wondered about for some time and was reminded of with this episode.  Captain Awesome knows Chuck’s secret.  Ellie and Morgan look like they might be on the verge of learning it.  In reality, the most logical thing would be for Chuck to be moved to another town, given a false identity, etc.  But this is a TV show with a cast of characters, each of which demand screen time to justify their being kept on the payroll.  So, how long can you keep said characters in the dark without making them buffoons?  Chuck is supposed to be a super-secret spy, but like on “Alf” and “I Dream of Jeannie”, the question eventually begs credulity if the number of people in on the secret increases but the secret never gets “out”.

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