EPISODE REVIEW: CHUCK: "Chuck Vs. the Tooth" (Season 3, Episode 16)

Sam White
Sam White's picture
About this time last year, "Chuck" was on the bubble. Would it be back for a third season? No one--including the producers (and, most definitely including the network, who should have known)--knew. Then the fans kicked in and bought a whole lot of Subway sandwiches and it dawned on someone at NBC that they didn't have any good shows on. So they decided to replace a whole hour's worth of viewing with a tired comedian and announced that "Chuck" would be coming back ... after the Oleolympics, and only for fourteen episodes. Lo and behold, not enough people wanted to watch a late night show during prime time, so NBC started scrambling and brought back "Chuck" for a few weeks before the Winter Games. The only problem with that was that they had only contracted for fourteen episodes. So they approached the producers of "Chuck" and asked them to come back early and asked them to do eighteen episodes. Monday night's episode (broadcast May 10, 2010) was a fantastic episode, but--for "Chuck", anyway--it was more of a stand-alone episode than we've been used to this year. I kinda got the feeling that they had the arc for the season written--if not completely, at least mostly--and then had to slip four more eps in somewhere and this was one of the four. Because ... Awesome is amazingly recovered (or, at least, 90%) from life-threatening and Ring-induced malaria. Ellie is approached by a CIA guy (who we know to be part of the Ring) who wants to warn her about Casey and find out where her father is. Chuck, meanwhile has two problems going on: Sarah won't tell him she loves him and--less importantly--the Intersect is starting to interfere with his dreams and what he sees in his dreams may or may not be prescient. Said dreams lead him to take Morgan to the symphony and knock a tooth out of the head of "Africa's most distinguished doctor", which then lands him in an insane asylum for ex-CIA agents where he is tended to by Doc Brown (or, possibly, Reverend Jim). Sarah decides she believes in Chuck and tries to get him out, learning in the process that Casey believes in Chuck, too, and is willing to help. As Ellie gets co-opted by the Ring, Morgan finds that Anna has returned and wants him back. [Spoiler alert] Morgan says no! Yay for Morgan. Nothing against Anna (she's ditched the weird make-up and, IMHO, is much more attractive than she used to be) but it was nice to see Morgan act like a grown up. At the end [another spoiler alert] Sarah finally tells Chuck that she loves him. Chuck is elated, but can't bring himself to tell her that the problems between his brain and the Intersect may not be over--and might get worse. It could be argued that this was done by the powers-that-be to keep some tension in the Chuck/Sarah relationship, but I think it also showed to good affect the problem that arises when one gets too used to keeping secrets and lying: you do it even when you don't want to. Apropos to nothing else in this article, I loved Chuck's comment to Sarah that there isn't anything good on TV on Monday nights. It's that self-awareness that has always been a part of what's made "Chuck" so good.