Recap – Chuck 3.12 “Chuck vs. The American Hero”

Did you miss last week’s episode of Chuck, “Chuck vs. the Final Exam”? Well, check out a recap here.

“Chuck vs. the American Hero” begins at the Department of National Intelligence in Washington, D.C. Chuck, having received his orders to come to D.C. for finalization of his spy credentials, reaches the elevator, but can’t seem to remember the floor General Beckman is on. When an agent (played by Roger Cross of 24 fame) gets out of the elevator, Chuck asks him where the General’s office is, but is ignored. Leaving Chuck to find his own way, the agent makes his way to the morgue, where he is met by a lab technician. The agent makes his way over to a body the tech is working on. It’s none other than CIA traitor Hunter Perry. The agent begins to scan Perry’s body, over the protests of the tech. When the tech gets in the agent’s face about needing proper authorization to work on the body, the agent asks her to step back a bit. She does, and the agent shoots her between the eyes. The tech falls onto a morgue slab and is closed in the freezer. The agent continues his scan up Perry’s body and pulls out of Perry’s mouth a capsule. “Package intact,” the agent reports to his boss, on a Ring communicator!

Chuck has finally made his way to General Beckman’s office. His nervousness shows when he sits down in the waiting area, but accidentally sits on his gun. Chuck is called into the General’s office where she informs him of his first assignment. Chuck is to move to Rome under the guise of a young, wealthy businessman. To maintain his cover, the government will provide him with a large villa, fancy cars, the finest clothes and a yearly stipend. Although he is intrigued by the toys he’ll receive, the idea that he will be gone for years stops Chuck cold. He tells the General that he’s not sure he’s ready for such a commitment, that it is all moving too fast and that he’s not ready to move. “I’m just becoming comfortable with the life I’m living right now. I’m sorry,” Chuck explains to the General. “I’m sorry is not an option,” the General cites back. Not wanting to lose a new agent that the government has invested three years in (and the Intersect. What about that?!), General Beckman offers Chuck a deal: one week off, anywhere in the world he wants to go, on the government’s dime. At the end of the week, he will return to D.C. to assemble his team for Rome. “Assemble my team?” Chuck asks incredulously. Affirmative. Chuck will have his pick of the finest agents the government has. Chuck’s eyes widen and he leaves the General’s office. The General’s assistant asks Chuck where he will be going for his week-long break. Bora Bora? Tahiti? “Burbank,” he resolutely says.

Back in Burbank, Ellie is on the phone. She excitedly finishes her call and says to Devon, “One word: Africa!” She has been offered a year-long sabbatical (presumably from her USC fellowship?), so they can go to Doctors Without Borders if Devon still wants. “What about Chuck?” he asks his wife. Ellie explains that Chuck has moved on, as is evidenced by his trip to the Buy More corporate offices Devon told her about. They have nothing keeping them in California, so it is an opportune time to go to Africa. They embrace, but Devon sees Chuck (who is supposed to be away) through the window. In his own apartment, Chuck, loaded with flowers and candy, explains to Morgan that he is on a mission to win Sarah back. Although, he has never tried to win a girl back, so he’s not sure how. Is he overdoing it with all of the gifts? Surprisingly wise, Morgan advises Chuck that Sarah is not the type of girl who can be bought. Devon enters in time to hear Chuck say that he only has a small window to win Sarah back before he leaves for Rome. Devon tells his brother-in-law that Ellie won’t leave Burbank if Chuck stays, so he is going to help Chuck woo Sarah. Devon and Morgan agree that it can’t be too hard to get Sarah away from Shaw. “Have you seen the stallion she’s dating?” Casey, entering out of nowhere, offers. Hearing that Chuck will be able to pick his team for Rome (even a civilian with military training? Casey wants to know), Casey is on on the men’s mission. This band of brothers are going to help Chuck win Sarah back. “So Ellie and I can go to Africa,” Devon says. “And I can get out of Burbank,” says Casey. “And I can finally see Rome,” dreams Morgan. Operation Bartowski is on!

Chuck goes to Castle to find Sarah, but it is clear she doesn’t want to talk to Chuck. Despite Chuck’s entreaties to join him in Rome, Sarah insists that she is going to D.C. with Shaw. Chuck persists, offering that there is nothing stopping them from being together. He is a spy now; he passed his test. That’s the problem for Sarah. She saw Chuck kill the mole — he’s not the same guy with whom she fell in love. “It’s not what you think,” Chuck hesitatingly pleads with her (obviously trying to protect Casey), “I need you to believe in me.” “I don’t,” Sarah coldly tells him. Before Chuck can say anything more, Shaw enters, and offers his congratulations for Chuck’s promotion. Sarah covers their conversation by saying Chuck is there for some advice on his new mission. Lucky for Chuck, Shaw was stationed in Rome for two years. Shaw leads Chuck away to give him the rundown on the city.

Upstairs in the Buy More, Chuck tells Casey about Sarah’s reaction. Casey tells him that he needs to figure out some other way to win Sarah back. As Morgan joins the conversation, Chuck informs them that if he can’t be with Sarah, he’s going to quit the spy business. Chuck needs some air, so he leaves Casey ruing that he’s never getting out of the Buy More. Morgan is shockesd at Casey’s dismay. “Is that what they teach you in the Marine Corps? To roll over and die?” Morgan asks. Absolutely not, that’s why Morgan has a plan. But first, he needs to get some help…form Jeff and Lester. Before Morgan can explain why they need to help Chuck, the guys have already figured out that Chuck and his “fro-yo ho” have broken up. They’ve seen Shaw (although they don’t know his name) hanging around the Orange Orange. “The guy knows how to fill out a pair of slacks,” Jeff offers. Their disdain for hunky men who get the hot girls motivates them to help out Chuck. That’s great, because Morgan wants to borrow something. Meanwhile, Chuck is walking alone down the sidewalk, contemplating his next move. Headlights blaze and tires squeal as a van rushes at Chuck. The van stops, and two men in black jump out to grab Chuck. It’s Casey and Devon! With Morgan behind the wheel, they are going to take Chuck to Sarah. They give Chuck a suit to put on — he’s got a reservation in ten minutes.

The guys make their way to a restaurant where Sarah and Shaw are dining near the front window, and take a stakeout position across the street. But they aren’t the only ones watching. The Ring agent from the morgue is in his own van and is watching Shaw, too. When Shaw orders for both of them (a “power move” according to Morgan), Morgan thinks it’s time for Chuck to make his move. Chuck hesitates, but Morgan insists that he needs to lay his cards on the table. Use some of the Bartowski charm and win her back, he advises. Devon isn’t so sure that Chuck should be that open. Morgan tells Devon that his opinion is clouded by the fact that Devon lives in a “freakish bubble of handsomeness.” Devon has never had to work for a woman before; Morgan knows about trying to win a girl’s affection. Morgan tells Chuck that they will take care of Shaw, so he should go get Sarah. Chuck semi-reluctantly leaves the van, as Shaw is told by the maitre d’ that he has received a phone call. A disguised voice tells Shaw that if he wants to save everyone in the restaurant, Shaw must do everything the caller says.

Chuck makes his way to Sarah’s table, and asks if he can sit down. Sarah asks what he is doing there, so he tells her, “I’m here for you.” Further, he will do anything he can to convince her to be with him. If that is so, she wants to know what happened on the train tracks with Perry. Chuck is anguished, torn between the woman he loves and the implications of outing Casey, so he asks Sarah if he can have just this one secret, he promises to never lie to her. Ever. Meanwhile, as Shaw traces the call outside the restaurant, the Ring agents trace the call as well. If the call isn’t coming from The Ring, who is it coming from? The agents see Morgan with a voice scrambler walking down the sidewalk, and decide to take him out. Before they can get there, though, Shaw grabs Morgan and pins him to a fence. “Don’t you know what [the Ring is] capable of?” he admonishes Morgan. Back in the restaurant, Chuck is trying to right the ship. He admits to Sarah that she is right, he’s not the same guy she met three years ago. That guy hated himself for not knowing what, or who, he wanted in his life, but now he does. “I want to be a spy, and I want to be with you.” The Ring agents finally come upon Morgan and Shaw, and aim a taser at them. Apologizing for what he is about to do, Shaw pulls Morgan in front of him so the bearded one will take the brunt of the taser. Shaw takes out the two agents with some hand-to-hand combat, and then runs back to the restaurant to protect Sarah. Devon and Casey, still in the van, see Shaw running back toward the restaurant. Devon tells Casey to stop Shaw, but as he is now a civilian, he can’t. Devon can, though, so he opens the door and starts to run across the street. By this time, the Ring agent from the morgue catches up with Shaw and points a gun to his back. Shaw asks that if he is just going to be killed, the agent should just do it. The Ring, however, has other plans for Shaw. “The Director wants to meet you face to face,” the agent tells Shaw. Oblivious to all of this just outside their window, Chuck looks deeply into Sarah’s eyes, and tells her, “I lo….” SMASH!! Devon tackles Shaw through the window and crashes onto Chuck and Sarah’s table. “Thanks,” Shaw tells Devon, “but next time, take out the guy with the gun.”

The next morning, Ellie is berating Devon, Morgan and Casey in the apartment courtyard. She doesn’t want an apology for having to bail out her husband, just some answers as to what the heck has been going on. They tell her that they were trying to help Chuck win back Sarah. Ellie is incredulous; she’s supposed to believe that Devon was thrown in jail for Chuck’s love life? “We’re as shocked as you are,” Casey meekly says. Ellie just can’t believe that Chuck went to them for advice before his own sister. She goes to Chuck’s apartment, where he immediately explains that the whole thing went too far. On the contrary, according to Ellie, Chuck didn’t go far enough! She knows how much he loves Sarah, so it’s time that he starts acting like a Bartowski and win her back.

Back at Castle, Shaw is videoconferencing with General Beckman. They have discovered that The Ring stole government files stored on the capsule drive Perry had ingested; Shaw is to retrieve them. Shaw offers another plan, however. He suggests he let The Ring take him, not as a double agent as the General thinks, but as a bulls-eye. If he wears a homing beacon, and can get close enough to the Director, the General can order an air-strike to take out one of The Ring’s major players. Sarah enters during this, and can’t believe what she is hearing. He explains to her that this is the moment he’s been waiting for, so the General OK’s the mission. “Are you trying to get yourself killed?” Sarah asks him. “If you are asking if I would trade my life for the man who killed my wife, I would,” he replies. Shaw makes his way to a tech cabinet, and removes a Ring communicator. He places the call, and tells The Ring that he is ready to come in. Sarah tells him that he’s not thinking this through. He insists that he has to do this, and kisses her. Chuck walks in, and is frozen in place. Shaw swallows a large capsule-shaped tracking device (without any water! an impressed Chuck wearily notes), and leaves. “Take care of her, Chuck,” Shaw says as he passes Chuck. Chuck asks Sarah what Shaw is doing. “He’s sacrificing himself, Chuck,” she heart-breakingly says. “Oh,” is all Chuck can muster in response.

Upstairs at the Buy More, Jeff and Lester are upset that they were left out of the spy gig for which Morgan borrowed their van. They have tons of stalker experience; Jeff is, in fact, thePicasso of creepiness. Their skills hould have been utilized. Lester sees Shaw jumping into his sports car outside the Buy More, and decides that he and Jeff will prove their skills and follow Shaw. Down in Castle, Sarah decides she is not going to let Shaw handle his mission alone. Chuck, seeing her determination, makes for a computer, and locks Sarah in Castle. She is right, Shaw isn’t going to handle the mission alone. Chuck is going to help him. “Why do you want to help him?” Sarah asks Chuck. “Because I know how much you care about him,” Chuck matter-of-factly replies.

Under the watchful, and creepy, eyes of Jeff and Lester, Shaw meets up with the Ring under an overpass. The Ring agent scans and finds Shaw’s tracker. The scanner has a magnet in it as the agent pulls the capsule, painfully, up through Shaw’s throat and out of his mouth. The tracker is discarded on the ground, and Shaw is thrown in a van. Sarah, still locked inside Castle, finds Casey on the Buy More security cameras. She is able to hot wire some of the electrical wires in Castle to blink the lights around a Buy More audio display; signalling Casey in Morse code to rescue her. Meanwhile, Chuck follows the tracker signal in his Nerdmobile to the overpass. He finds the tracker, but not Shaw. Fortunately, he receives a call from Lester; he and Jeff have followed Shaw to a warehouse where he and some “frat buddies” have gone inside. Chuck gets the address from Lester and hurries off to find Shaw, not in the Nerdmobile, but in Shaw’s sports car instead.

Casey gets into Castle, and lets Sarah out. She explains what Shaw is planning, and Casey notes that Shaw will die an American hero. “Not if I can help it,” Sarah responds. Chuck arrives at the warehouse, and thanks Jeff and Lester by telling them what great stalkers they are. “I’ll be telling my grandkids about you two.” Afraid of violence, Jeff and Lester leave Chuck to take on Shaw. Although Chuck protested to violence as well, he reveals a vest full of weapons, and makes his way into the warehouse. Inside, he sees nothing but a Dr. Jibb soda machine. When he approaches it, he flashes a button sequence. He enters the code and is whooshed downwards via elevator. Arriving at the bottom, he is left in a bright, white hallway. Shaw, on the other hand, makes his way into a dark room. When the Director appears before him, Shaw says that if he wants to kill Shaw, he should just go ahead and do it. The Director doesn’t want to kill Shaw, instead, he actually has a gift for Shaw. A video of Shaw’s wife is played on a plethora of screens around the room, culminating in footage of Shaw’s wife being shot dead. The assailant, a blonde woman, spins around. It’s Sarah! Sarah killed Shaw’s wife for her Red Test! “Nooooooooo!!!!!!” Shaw bellows as he lunges for The Director. Unfortunately for Shaw, all he grabbed was a hologram. A hand reaches out of nowhere and tasers Shaw to he ground.

General Beckman, noting that the tracker has headed underground and has stopped, orders a stealth bomber to the tracker’s location. Chuck begins to make his way down the hallway. He shoots a good with a tranquilizer dart, noting, surprisingly, “No flash necessary!” Two more goons approach, but Chuck flashes his kung fu. He takes one out, but the guy grabs and releases one of Chuck’s flash-bang grenades. It goes off, leaving Chuck and the other goon temporarily deaf and blinded. Chuck recovers first, and lays out the guy with one punch. Chuck finds Shaw on the floor of the dark room (The Ring didn’t take Shaw with them?), as Sarah arrives in her Porche at the warehouse. The bomber strafes overhead, and drops a single “bunker-buster” bomb on the building. Sarah is shocked and grief-stricken, but not for long as Chuck, with Shaw on his shoulders, emerges safe and sound.

At Castle, General Beckman congratulates Sarah on keeping Shaw safe and taking out a major Ring compound. Sarah tells the General that it was all Chuck; he saved Shaw by himself. Noting that she is looking forward to working with Sarah face-to-face in D.C., signs off. Chuck enters, and gets right to the point. He doesn’t want to be a nuisance, and has already given her his fancy speech. He just wants to be blunt and honest with her. As Sarah smiles, Chuck says, “I love you….I’m going to say it one more time because it feels so good. I love you.” He believes they are perfect for each other, and he wants to build a life with her, away from all of the spy stuff. He is willing to give it all up for her, so if she is too, he wants her to meet him at 7:00 at Union Station, where they’ll hop on a train for Mexico. Sarah tells him that she’s made a commitment, not just to Shaw, but to the country as well. He insists that it doesn’t matter — he wants to see the Eiffel Tower some day, and he wants to see it with her. Chuck tells Sarah that he doesn’t want an answer now as he doesn’t want to have to convince her. She should think about his offer. She knows where he will be at 7:00. “I’m going to kiss you now, if that’s OK,” he tells Sarah. He does. They do. “I love you , Sarah Walker, and I always have,” Chuck tells her, and leaves. In the Castle recovery room, meanwhile, Shaw regains consciousness with an angry start. He rips out his IV lines and grabs his wedding ring. His phone rings, and he answers, “This is Shaw.”

Sarah packs a bag in her hotel room. Is she packing for D.C., or Mexico? There is knock on her door. It’s Casey. He has something to tell Sarah about the night of Chuck’s Red Test. She says that if Casey is there to help Chuck win her back, there is no need. No, Chuck doesn’t know that he’s there. Casey continues, telling her that heactually killed Perry. “Chuck is not a killer. He’s not wired that way,” Casey tells her. “Casey, thank you,” she replies with a smile. Noting her smile and her suitcase, Casey leaves, saying “Have a nice life, Walker.” With Chuck waiting at the train station, Sarah starts to leave her room. She sees her gun, and making her decision, tosses it back on the bed. She turns for the door, but Shaw busts in. He needs Sarah to come with him immediately — he’s tracking The Director and he’s getting away. Sarah reluctantly agrees to go with him. Chuck, having been abandoned at the train station, returns to Castle where he is informed by General Beckman that a video transmission was recovered from the Ring warehouse before it was destroyed. She plays the video of Sahw’s wife and Sarah’s Red Test for Chuck. Chuck immediately realizes that if The Ring played the video for Shaw, it could have turned Shaw against Sarah. Where is Sarah now, he asks the General. “With Shaw,” the General replies. Shaw and Sarah speed along a deserted highway. Sarah wants to know where they are going. “To settle and old score,” Shaw replies as they speed off to the horizon.

Commentary

Yes. All I can say is, Yes! Despite some obvious flaws (Really? Just one bomb form one plane as opposed to the armada that took out Roark’s drive-in last season? Chuck only fights two guys? Really??), I though this was such a great episode. First and foremost, Chuck bluntly told Sarah how much he loves her. I will admit, it was getting a little dusty in my apartment during this scene. No longer, does the show have to worry about Chuck’s timidity in telling Sarah how he feels, nor Sarah’s desire to nothear the truth in fear of how it may complicate their work relationship. It’s all out there in the open now. Further, I hope this admission, lets Sarah be a more “activated” character again. During this season, as she’s been batted back and forth between Chuck and Shaw, Sarah lost a lot of her motivation as a character (this has nothing to do with Yvonne Strahovski’s performance at all. She’s been fantastic, even when told to give the “Chuck-isn’t-the-same-guy-anymore” face over and over again). It is time again for Sarah to guide and move the action again, as opposed to being moved by it.

Secondly, I really liked the idea of the Intersect abilities starting to seep into Chuck’s actual make-up. It was very brief, but Chuck’s noting that he was able to shoot the tranq gun without flashing was huge. One problem in the story this season has been the question of why the heck would the General allow Chuck into harm’s way if he still has the only Intersect in his head. The idea that some of the skills and knowledge are making their way into Chuck’s brain and muscles themselves (instead of just a reflex caused by the Intersect), will allow Chuck to be rid of the Intersect at some point in the future, but still remain a spy. This is a much more workable formula from a plot hole standpoint. Lastly, it was great seeing most of the cast in one episode (only Big Mike was missing). I understand the financial restraints the show is under, which causes some actors to not be used in every episode, but when they can get everyone together, the energy of the episode picks up. More of this please, and NBC, give them some more money for next season! (There will be a next season, right? RIGHT?!?)

Alright, that’s what I have for “Chuck vs. the American Hero.” What did you think of the episode? Did you enjoy it as much as I did? Are you happy Chuck finally told Sarah that he loves her? Are there any cold, heartless people out there who don’t want them together? (I kid, I kid!) Please leave your thoughts, questions and theories below in the Comments section. Please be sure to come back next week for “Chuck vs. the Other Guy.” Remember, the original order for this season was thirteen episodes, so next week’s episode was designed to be a season finale, so it should be a rip-roaring good time. Until then, be sure to check out TVOverMind for all of your TV news and needs. I’m off to learn to know my way around a menu.

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