Recap – Chuck 3.16 “Chuck vs. the Tooth”

Did you miss last week’s “Chuck vs. the Role Models?” You know what to do (read a recap here!).

This week’s episode, “Chuck vs. the Tooth,” begins with Sarah and Chuck enjoying an evening flipping channels at home. After a brief stop on a news report about the arrival of President Kuti of Zumibiya and his attendance at a Beethoven concert, Sarah confirms that there is nothing on. “Yeah, Monday night has been a bit of a wasteland,” Chuck says (But, wait. Chuck is on Monday nights….OHHHHH!!! I get it!). Sarah lands on Spies Like Us, and Chuck extols the great skills of the spies portrayed therein. Sarah doesn’t think anythingcan be learned from Dan Akyroyd and Chevy Chase’s characters: they completely flout protocol and would end up dead in a matter of minutes. Chuck tells her that he was just kidding, but her silent smile lets Chuck know that she was kidding, too. Their shared laughter leads Chuck to look into Sarah’s eyes and say, “I love you.” Sarah continues her smile, but turns her gaze back to the television, without responding.

Chuck appears to fall asleep, but rises when the movie ends. Sarah turns to him and says, “Chuck, I love you.” Something, however, is wrong. Chuck sees a flash of Beethoven. He looks out the window, and sees General Beckman crashing cymbals together. There is then a knock at the door. Chuck opens it and reveals, Shaw! Shaw, bleeding, with Zamibiyan food!! Chuck pulls out two guns and starts pumping Shaw full of lead. Shaw falls into the courtyard fountain..and falls…and falls…and falls until Chuck wakes with a start. Sarah asks if he’s had another bad dream. Chuck explains that his dream means the Ring is going to try to kill President Kuti at the concert. Later, Casey comes over (although he is perturbed to be awake, as sleep is very important to him) so Chuck can relay his dream to General Beckman. Catching the General just out of bed (and with her hair down!), Chuck apologizes for bothering her while she is obviously “busy” with a man going to the refrigerator behind her. Chuck describes his dream, but the General informs him that she can’t move on just a dream. She knows that Chuck has been under a lot of stress recently, so she wants him to see a CIA therapist.

In the office of Dr. Dreyfus (played by Doc Brown himself, Christopher Lloyd), Chuck insists that he is fine. He knows that he ‘s supposed to talk about his father or something, but he’s really OK. “Do you want to talk about him?” Dr. Dreyfus asks Chuck. He doesn’t, but eventually, Chuck gives in. He tells the doctor about how Sarah just moved in, but she’s been a little distant, and that it would be nice if she said “I love you” to him, like he told her. But he knows Sarah loves him. “Do you?” the doctor asks in classic psychologist fashion. Dreyfus tells Chuck that he believes Chuck’s subconscious is beginning to merge with the Intersect. The CIA has always known that there could be side effects, and he is afraid the Intersect is beginning to overwhelm Chuck’s mind, which can lead to insanity. Until further notice, Chuck is benched.

Devon has returned home, and is resting on his couch when Morgan comes over. Morgan notes that Devon looks to be recovering well; in fact, he looks “awesome.” Devon tells Morgan that his illness has led him to a realization. “That good looks can get you anywhere?” Morgan jokingly asks. No, Devon tells him, but rather that one shouldn’t live his life scared. A person needs to be willing to go out and get what he or she wants. These words seem to register with Morgan. Ellie, on her way back home from the pharmacy and in the courtyard, runs into Casey. He tells Ellie that he heard about Devon’s malaria, and having had malaria five or six times, Casey tells her that a better remedy is African snake herbs. Should she want any, he has some in his apartment. Casey goes into his apartment, leaving Ellie with nothing to say but “crazy.” “You’re not crazy,” Chuck tells his mirror image. Sarah enters and asks how his appointment with Dr. Dreyfus was. When Chuck hesitates, Sarah reminds him that she’s not only his partner, but his girlfriend — he can tell her anything. Chuck assures her that he is fine, and takes her in an embrace. The look on his face belies how he feels about lying to the woman he loves.

The next day, at the Buy More, Chuck is watching cable TV news reports on resident Kuti’s impending arrival. When Morgan notes that Chuck may be watching too much cable news, Chuck tells his best bud about his dream of Kuti’s murder. Morgan suggests that Chuck get Sarah’s help with Kuti, but Chuck doesn’t want to get her involved until he has more solid proof, lest she think he’s crazy. Morgan and Chuck will have to handle this on their own. Elsewhere in the store, Lester tells Jeff that he’s decided he is through with being alone. He is going to hit on every woman he sees in the store, save the Home Appliances department — that’s Jeff’s territory. With all of the larger, middle-age housewives present in that department, Jeff is very thankful. Then, the possible answer to Lester’s dreams walks in. The lovely lady walking in is none other than the very beautiful, very tan, Anna Wu! She asks Jeff and Lester is Morgan is around. Morgan is, in fact, around. He’s in the stockroom with Chuck, where he shows Chuck the symphony tickets and tuxes he’s secured for their mission. They’ll get changed, Chuck will get the car, and Morgan will meet him outside. Jeff and Lester tell Anna that Morgan has changed since she’s been gone. Anna insists he couldn’t have changed that much, but has to eat her words when she sees a tuxedo-clad Morgan walk onto the store floor, right through a very strong wind. Anna tells him that she is in town for a few days, and would like a chance to speak with him. Morgan demurs, telling her that he has to run, “Duty calls.” “Call of Duty?” Anna playfully asks. Morgan insists that he has to leave, but tells her that she looks good. Anna is left stunned, only mustering a “Wow.”

Later at the Buy More, Ellie is seeking the series DVD’s for ER for Devon. A man hidden beneath a baseball cap interrupts her. It’s Justin from the Doctors Without Borders camp, and secret Ring operative. Ellie asks if he contracted malaria, too, but he hasn’t. He’s actually there to speak to Ellie, and asks if hey can find someplace to do just that. Meanwhile, Chuck and Morgan arrive at the symphony. Chuck reminds Morgan that his code name is “Charles Carmichael.” Morgan tells Chuck that his code name is “Cobra.” Chuck eyes President Kuti in one of the boxes, and the two spies take their seats. During the concert, Morgan continues a conversation that likely started in the car. He believes Anna wants him back and wants Chuck’s advice as to what to do about it. Didn’t Anna break his heart and send him into a spiral that finally lead to him hitting rock-bottom, Chuck wonders. First, it was just the bottom, not the rock-bottom. Second, Anna is the love of Morgan’s life. They always talk about Sarah, so he figured it would be fair to talk about Anna. Chuck begins to reply that they don’t always talk about he and Sarah, but he is shushed by a fellow patron.

Outside the Buy More, Justin tells Ellie that he is a member of the CIA, showing her his badge to drive home the point. He tells Ellie that he is there because of her father. The man may be a little crazy, but he is brilliant, and if he is captured by the wrong people, it could be very bad. Further, he has reason to believe John Casey is an NSA double agent, who searching for Ellie’s father. Ellie can’t believe this — Casey works with Chuck at the Buy More. Justin insists his intelligence is good. He wants Ellie to watch Casey, and to try to keep her husband and brother safe They won’t believe her when she tells them about Casey, and they’ll likely call her crazy, but he swears he’s telling her the truth.

Sarah enters Castle, and finds Casey there. She asks if he has seen Chuck, but he thought Chuck was with her because he was in a tux. They quickly call up surveillance of the store, and see Chuck and Morgan preparing for their night at the symphony. Casey snarls that he is going to kill them both for going out on a mission without telling Sarah and him. At the symphony, Chuck has fallen asleep. Morgan asks him why he is on stage. Chuck, still sitting next to Morgan in the audience, tells him that he is noton the stage. But there he is: on the stage, alone, with no one in the audience. Then, Shaw appears amongst the seats, with two bullet wounds in his chest. Chuck asks him why he is there, to which Shaw responds, it is not about him, but rather President Kuti. Chuck looks up to the box where Kuti is sitting, and sees one of Kuti’s aides holding a machete to the President’s throat. Chuck awakens with the symphony still playing. He tells Morgan what he saw in his dream; his plan is to go up to Kuti’s box to protect him, Morgan is to stay in the seats. To assure Morgan he will be safe, Chuck gives him his back-up tranquilizer gun, which is only to be used in life and death situations. Chuck vacates his seat just as Sarah and Casey enter. Sarah goes after Chuck, while Casey finds Morgan.

Sarah catches up to Chuck and tells him he should have told her about his mission. Chuck agrees, but regardless, he needs her to believe that he’s not crazy. Sarah considers thisrequest, and agrees to help Chuck. The couple heads up to Kuti’s box. Meanwhile, Casey sits down next to Morgan. The bearded one tries to get up, but Casey forces him to stay out of trouble. Morgan begins to reach for his jacket pocket, but Casey stops him, asking for what Morgan is reaching. Morgan says he has been authorized to use the tranq gun, but before he can “threaten” Casey with it, Casey grabs a hold of the weapon, and shoots Morgan with it, knocking the rookie spy out. Chuck and Sarah make their way to the President’s box. Chuck orders Kuti’s aide, Dr. Kowamba, to stand, telling President Kuti that Kowamba is going to kill him. Chuck pats down Kowamba but finds nothing. Kowamba remarks that Chuck could have at least had the pretty woman pat him down, and flashes a large, toothy smile. Seeing the smile, Chuck flashes that Kowamba has secret intelligence embedded in one of his teeth. Chuck rears back, and punches Kowmaba square in the mouth, sending one of his teeth flying out. Chuck is immediately gabbed and led away. The scene cuts to a hospital where Chuck is being led into a psychiatric unit by two orderlies. He yells, “I’m not crazy!” as the psych unit door is closed behind him, leaving Sarah looking forlornly through the window.

Back at Castle, General Beckman chews out Sarah and Casey, wondering how Chuck and super-agent Morgan Grimes were able to assault President Kuti. She informs them that Dr. Dreyfus thinks Chuck is getting worse, that the Intersect is overwhelming Chuck. Sarah tells the General that Chuck assured her that he is alright. The General promises to do everything possible to help Chuck, and then in the rarest of moments, shows some affection for Chuck, saying, “I care about him too.” When the General signs off, Casey tells Sarah she should go see Chuck in the hospital. She agrees, and heads out. In the hospital, Chuck is being shown around by Dr. Dreyfus. The doctor tells Chuck that he has to come to terms with being a psych patient — that is the only way to get better. A patient, who thinks he is Merlin, introduces himself to Chuck, and asks Chuck if he is in the hospital for something “sexual.” Chuck assures Merlin that he is notin for something sexual. When Merlin leaves, Dreyfus explains that Merlin is a former CIA agent. All of the patients in this hospital are CIA agents, like Chuck, that have cracked under the pressures of being a spy. “Spies like me?” Chuck wonders to himself as he begins to doubt his own sanity for the first time (nice callback to Spies Like Us here).

Ellie knocks on Casey’s door, which Casey opens with the chain lock still engaged. Ellie nervously asks for the snake herbs Casey mentioned earlier. When Casey steps away from the door to retrieve the herbs, Ellie peers inside his apartment. Inside, a trunk swings open, revealing a small arsenal of weapons. Freaked out, she tries to make a hasty getaway, but forgets the herbs. Casey calls her back to take the bag, tells her they go down best with goat’s milk, and Ellie hightails it for home. She tells Devon that she doesn’t trust Casey. Devon tells her she needs to get over the fact that Casey once was so drunk that he peed on himself (a story they guys had told Ellie to cover one of their missions in “Chuck vs. Operation Awesome“). No, it’s not that, Ellie insists — Casey has a whole bunch of guns in his apartment. Devon, of course knowing the reason Casey has all the guns, admits that yes, having all those guns is kind of creepy, but “illegal? Sadly, no.” The whole story just sounds a little crazy to Devon. “You think I’m crazy?” Ellie asks. “Uh….how about a cup of tea?” Devon asks, rising to end the conversation. Just as Justin said, no one is going to believe Ellie.

Sarah and Casey visit Chuck in the hospital. Chuck, in a bit of a more crazed state, again tells them that Kowambe is working for the Ring. Sarah and Casey seem to have their doubts of not only Chuck’s voracity, but his sanity as well. Chuck begins to cough into his hands. When he finishes, he immediately asks Sarah to take his hands. Sarah is a bit reluctant as, well, Chuck just coughed in his hands! Chuck insists that she take her boyfriend’s hand. She does, and into her hand Chuck passes her Kowambe’s tooth which he had recovered at the symphony. Chuck tells them with great certainty that there are plans and other hidden information embedded in the tooth. “The tooth is the key. The truth is in the tooth,” he tells the unbelieving pair of agents. Visiting hours are over, so Casey exits. Chuck pleads with Sarah to no give up on him. She promises she won’t, and will test the tooth. They kiss, and Chuck is led back to his room. Back at Castle, Sarah examines the tooth. Casey knows Sarah wants Chuck to be right, but warns her to not be disappointed if Chuck is wrong. Sarah is sure Chuck will be right, but the exam turns up nothing; the tooth is 100% tooth material. Upstairs in the Buy More, Morgan asks Casey where Chuck is. Casey informs his protege that Chuck is on lock down in a mental hospital. Upon hearing the news, Morgan says they need to do something to save Chuck. At that moment, Anna enters the store, searching for Morgan. Casey leaves, and Morgan wants to follow him, so he tells Anna he doesn’t have time to talk, and runs after Casey. “Wow, dissed twice by Morgan Grimes!” Anna, incredulously, exclaims.

Sarah calls Chuck to tell him that her examinations of the tooth were negative. She tells him to stat positive and that everything is going to be OK. Chuck thanks her for trying and hangs up. Outside in the hospital’s reception area, a man approaches the attending nurse. He is Dr. Kowambe, and he is there to see see Charles Bartowski. The nurse says Dr. Dreyfus has not authorized any visits for Chuck, and if he doesn’t leave, she will have to call security. Undeterred, Kowambe pulls out a tranquilizer gun and shoots both the nurse and a security guard who had entered the area. Sarah knocks on Dr. Dreyfus’ front door and begs for his help. She needs to know that Chuck is getting better. Dreyfus tells her that he fears his initial diagnosis was wrong: Chuck is actually getting worse than he previously thought. Sarah insists Chuck can’t be deteriorating this way because he is special — his mind can handle the Intersect. “Special to you?” Dreyfus asks, implying Sarah’s judgement might be clouded by her affection for Chuck. “I love him,” Sarah admits (man, I wish the first time we heard her say that was to Chuck himself). “Well, I’d tell him that,” Dreyfus states. Sarah begs for the opportunity to do just that; she wants to visit Chuck tonight. “You’re not the only one,” Dreyfus responds, as Casey reveals himself from behind the doctor. Though he doesn’t say anything, it’s clear that even heart-of-stone Casey cares about “Bartowski.”

Chuck is forced into an examination chair by a pair of Kowambe’s goons. Kowambe asks Chuck why he took his tooth, before amending his question, “Why did you take the wrong tooth?” Kowambe asks, pointing to another one of his teeth. “I was right! I’m not crazy!” Chuck exclaims. Chuck’s realization of his sanity may be for naught, as Kowambe is going to find out how Chuck got his information regarding Kowambe’s tooth, and then Chuck is going to die. Chuck notices the large needle with green fluid Kowambe is preparing. “Needles are bad. Colored liquids are worse,” Chuck notes. Kowambe agrees: the liquid is a powerful psychotropic truth serum. He sticks Chuck with the needle, saying that in ten minutes, Chuck will be very forthcoming. Already feeling the hazy effects of the drug, Chuck tries to create a diversion by pretending Dreyfus has arrived. When the goons look toward the door, Chuck punches them both in the face and runs into the rec room. He woozily tells the other patients that he needs their help. When they don’t responds in the slightest, Kowambe and his men catch up to and grab Chuck. Chuck flashes a blurry version of his kung fu and tries to attack his captors. Unfortunately, the drugs have taken their effect and he misses the men completely. Merlin jumps out and orders his “army” to attack. The patients begin to scream and prepare various weapons for attack, but Kowmabe pumps them all full of tranquilizer darts, while Merlin runs for cover. Chuck passes out on the floor, but sees a hazy vision entering the door behind Kowambe. It’s Sarah and Casey! Casey shoots Kowmabe’s goons while Sarah fights Kowambe. She eventually defeats him, and rushes to Chuck. “You came back for me,” Chuck woozily tells her. “I’ll always come back for you,” Sarah replies. Appearing over Sarah’s shoulder, Merling says he will, too.

In Castle, General Beckman tells Chuck he is owed an apology. They extracted Kowambe’s other tooth and, indeed, found plans for organ harvesting plans Kowambe was going to sell to The Ring. Sarah asks if that means Chuck is cleared to return to active duty. The General can’t clear Chuck, only Dr. Dreyfus can. So Chuck lays back down on Dreyfus’ couch. Chuck asks, “So where do we land here, Doc? That my dreams can possibly work in concert with the Intersect?” “Is that where you think we’ve landed, Chuck?” Dreyfus replies. “Oh come on! Am I cleared or not?” Chuck demands. Dreyfus will clear Chuck for duty, but he must understand that his dreams are showing the stress the Intersect is having on Chuck’s mind. It could lead to the serious deterioration of Chuck’s mind. Chuck wonders if he will be OK, but Dreyfus responds that the Intersect is new science, so only time will tell. Regardless, “this is something you should discuss with your partner.”

At the Buy More, Anna demands an audience with Morgan Guillermo Grimes. Morgan apologizes for avoiding her, but he’s been very busy with his work. Anna has a box of items Morgan had forgotten in Hawaii, and wants to know if he wants the items. Morgan looks at the gathered mementos, but decides he’s OK with out it. “Well, here’s something else you may have forgotten,” Anna says, before planting a huge kiss on him. Morgan has changed, so Anna wants him back now. Morgan, showing the growth Anna is talking about, tells her that if she only wants him because he’s changed, he doesn’t want her. He leaves Anna standing alone in the store, shocked.

Chuck enters his apartment and sees Sarah. He has something important to tell her, but Sarah cuts him off. “I love you!” She shouldn’t have waited so long to say it, but before Chuck, she only thought about her future in terms of her job. Now, she only thinks about her future in terms of being with Chuck. “I love you, Chuck,” she repeats. “I love you, too,” Chuck responds. They kiss. Sarah asks what Chuck’s news was. He looks into her eyes and smile, and decides to lie to his love. Dr. Dreyfus cleared him for duty; he told Chuck he is fine. Excited, Sarah grabs Chuck into an embrace. Chuck’s expression belies his guilt for lying to Sarah.

Justin secretly meets up with Ellie. She tells him that he was right about everything. She wants to know what she can do to help. Justin asks if she has a way to contact her father so they can warn him about the danger he is in. Ellie explains that her father is paranoid, so he could be anywhere, but the last time she saw him, he did give her a way to contact him. Justin smiles. Meanwhile, Chuck and Sarah are asleep. Chuck “wakes” to find himself in a hospital bed, with Shaw standing over him. Shaw shows Chuck that he’s not bleeding. Chuck asks how that is possible. “Because I’m still alive,” Shaw says before lunging at Chuck’s neck. Chuck startles awake and lurches up out of bed. Sarah asks what’s wrong, but he assures her it is nothing. “Go back to sleep,” he tells her, clasping his beck.

Commentary

This was a decent episode of Chuck for me. It wasn’t a rip-roaring riot of laughs, but it introduced some some very interesting plot lines as the season moves comes to its conclusion, and heads into its likely renewal (fingers crossed! Send good vibes to Burbank this week as NBC is set to announce their schedule on Sunday afternoon!). First, we have Chuck’s Intersect/dream problem. This is an interesting choice because it complicates Chuck’s abilities at a time when he is finally becoming proficient with Intersect 2.0 and the skills that come with it. What all Chuck fans have always loved is that Chuck is an “accidental spy.” Some were worried that Chuck would no longer be a bit bumbling when he received the physical skills that came with Intersect 2.0, but the show did a good job earlier this season showing Chuck adapt and harness those skills. Now, he has another complication that will potentially leave him in a situation similar to his old bumbling ways. This is a good thing. However, if I have one fear, it’s that this device can become a crutch. It was perhaps a couple times too many that we saw Chuck not be able to keep his emotions in check and lose the 2.0 abilities during the early parts of this season. This became a bit frustrating and I worry that any time the creators don’t have some real tension in the plots of upcoming episodes, they’ll just decide Chuck is going to have a bad dream. I mean, I trust the folks that run Chuck, so this is just a small fear, but a fear nonetheless.

In other developments, we have Ellie becoming hip to the whole spy business going on around her. True, she’s unwittingly being used by The Ring, but I can only imagine that this season will end with Ellie discovering Chuck is a spy. This will only leave Big Mike, Jeff and Lester not knowing Chuck’s (not-s0-) secret identity. This is neither inherently good or bad, just something to watch. Also, I liked seeing Anna return, as another female presence is always nice to balance out all the dudes on the show. With Morgan shooting her down so directly, I’m not sure how Anna sticks around in the story, but Morgan did admit she’s the love of his life, so I’m sure they can come up with some way to keep her (pony up some extra bucks, NBC!). Next, it was great to see Chuck, Sarah and Casey working together, albeit in an attempt to free Chuck from Kowambe. This had a nice scent of Season One on it. More of this please! Lastly, including Christopher Lloyd as Dr. Dreyfus was just another of the great pop culture nods Chuck does so well. Literally, Back to the Future is my favorite movie of all time, so Chuck calling Lloyd’s character “Doc,” and the fact that Dreyfus was investigating Chuck’s sanity (Doc Brown was considered a quack in both 1955 and 1985) made me all giddy. Well done, Chuck!

Alright, that’s what I have for “Chuck vs. the Tooth.” What did you think? Did you enjoy the episode? Would you like to see more Anna Wu? How do you feel about Chuck’s new complication with the Intersect? How about Ellie unknowingly falling in with The Ring? Please leave your questions, comments and theories below. As soon as we here at TVOvermind get word about Chuck‘s fate, we’ll pass it on to you, so be sure to check out TVOvermind for this and all your TV news. I’ll be back next week with another recap. Until then, I’m off to have some chamomile tea — it has less caffeine, but it’s delicious.

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