Recap – Chuck 3.3 “Chuck vs. the Angel de la Muerte”

If you missed any of the action from the first two hours of the two-day, three-hour Chuck season premiere, check out recaps here and here.

Monday’s episode of Chuck is entitled “Chuck vs. the Angel de la Muerte.” For those with Spanish skills not as muy awesome as Captain Awesome’s, “Angel de la Muerte” is Spanish for the Angel of Death, and it refers to none other than our own Colonel Casey. But, first things first. The episode begins in a morgue, with doctors inquiring about a corpse. When the lead doctor asks a question of Mr. Woodcomb, and receives no reply, he turns to Ms. Bartowski. Cut to a storage closet where Captain Awesome and Ellie are going at it hot and heavy. The impulsive couple doesn’t even know each other’s names, but the animal magnetism cannot be denied! Clearly trying to even out the “gratuitous lingerie” scene from “Chuck vs. the Three Words,” we are treated to a hefty helping of Awesome abs. Then we are un-evened again when Awesome rips off Ellie’s shirt (sometimes I just love TV!). Is this an attempt by Awesome and Ellie at spicing up their sex life by pretending to be strangers? Unfortunately no, this is a flashback to their time as med students.

It is now nine years later and Awesome and Ellie are unpacking their new apartment. Ellie is upset that after the magic of their wedding, life has just gone back to the normal hustle and bustle. Further, she’s upset with Chuck for not being around, in general, and being late today to help set up their TV. It seems Ellie just can’t rely on Chuck like she used to. Ellie hears something and asks Awesome if he has been hearing a lot of helicopters lately. Why all the helicopters? Well, that is the reason Chuck has been late: helicopters have been dropping Chuck off after missions. When Chuck enters his bedroom clad in a tux and spy gear, he is met by a hidden Awesome, who is clearly impressed by Chuck’s new life as a CIA spy. Chuck insists that spy life is not that great, and when told that Ellie is upset he is late (again), Chuck hurries over to help with the TV. Chuck quickly and skillfully sets up the TV (he has “surgeon’s hands” according to Awesome). When the news comes on regarding a medical emergency for the Premier of Costa Gravas, Chuck flashes that the Premier had been ordered killed by no fewer than six U.S. Presidents. Chuck receives a text to get to Castle ASAP, and Awesome receives a similar text to get to the hospital (hospitals text their doctors now?!). Ellie will have to wait to have their wedding night recreated.

At Castle, Chuck is briefed by General Beckman that the Costa Gravan Premier has promised to hold free and fair elections in his country. He has been threatened by those who want to maintain the status quo, so it is the team’s mission to protect the Premier. Casey is almost apoplectic — after spending decades trying to kill the Premier, why would the U.S. want to protect him now? Perhaps Casey is just angry that he tried to kill the Premier three times and failed (“I thought you had a perfect record?” and amused Sarah asked). As the Premier has been taken to Westside Medical, the hospital where Ellie and Awesome work, the General wants Chuck to exploit his relationship with them to secure the Premier’s medical records. They need to know if his medical condition is the result of an assassination attempt. During this discussion, Awesome appears at a press conference on the Premier’s condition. In very adept Spanish, Awesome explains that the Premier suffered from a minor heart attack and will be fine. When approached by Chuck upon his arrival home (and clearly with a desire to help in whatever spy stuff he can), Awesome explains that the Premier did not suffer a heart attack. Rather, he had very high levels of potassium in his blood — a sign that the Premier was likely poisoned. Chuck thanks him, but when Awesome explains that he wants to be a spy too, that he needs a real adrenaline rush (because he can be an “adventure sports heart surgeon” in his sleep), Chuck tells him that he needs to take care of Ellie. Leave the spy stuff to the professionals.

Back in Casey’s apartment, Chuck tells the team that the Premier was poisoned. The General tells them that a gala is being held at the Costa Gravas consulate tonight. They are to attend and provide covert protection because U.S. agents are unwelcome in the country. Their mission is further complicated by the fact that Casey, having killed many Costa Gravans during his attempts on the Premier’s life, has been nicknamed “Angel de la Muerte,” the “Angel of Death.” Subsequently, he is a wanted man in Costa Gravas, and the consulate is technically Costa Gravan soil. If he enters, he will be arrested, or worse. Chuck teases Casey that he’s just being scared (“Oh no, eets theee Ahn-gel of Death!”), but at that moment, a cadre of Costa Gravan soldiers fans out across the apartment complex courtyard. Thinking they are after him, Casey arms himself and is ready to meet his destiny. However, the soldiers knock on Awesome and Ellie’s door. The Premier has come to personally thank the man that saved his life. He invites Awesome and Ellie to the gala. When Chuck approaches and explains that he is Ellie’s brother (“Yes, I can see the resemblance. A family of such delicate features. They usually look better on a woman,” the Premier stated), he is invited to the gala, too. The team now has their way in.

Chuck, Sarah (as Chuck’s date), Awesome and Ellie enter the gala. Chuck is to look out for any potential threats to the Premier. Of course, he sees a whole bunch: the guy with the carving knife, the guy with the ice pick, the guy with the flambe torch. Chuck doesn’t flash on any of them. Meanwhile, the Premier begins to woo Ellie. Sarah runs some interference and pulls her away. While apart, Ellie asks Sarah what Sarah and Chuck’s status is. Are they dating? Just friends? Despite her statements to the contrary, Ellie insists that Sarah loves Chuck. She can see it in Sarah’s eyes, the way she looks at Chuck. Simultaneously, Chuck and Awesome are having a similar conversation. Awesome asks if Chuck has ever, you know, done it with Sarah. When Chuck responds in the negative, Awesome asks, “How do you not fall for each other?” To this, Chuck has no response.

The Premier makes a speech, thanking his “new friends” for saving his life. Undeterred by the failure of his previous attempt, the Premier asks Ellie to dance. As they cut a rug (nice moves Sarah Lancaster!), Chuck and Sarah get word from Casey that a former freedom fighter is attending the gala on a fake passport. Chuck spots him across the dance floor headed for the Premier and Ellie. Chuck and Sarah need to get across the floor, but how? Hearing the music, Chuck flashes some serious dance moves. “Just follow my lead,” he tells Sarah as he dips, slides and shimmies his way across the floor. A well-placed exuberant dance move from Chuck knocks out the would-be assassin. However, he was only holding an egg; he wasn’t going to kill the Premier. As Chuck and Sarah are led to the kitchen to “sober up,” Chuck flashes on one of the Premier’s guards. The guard is the real assassin! Casey needs to get into the gala and protect the Premier. Thankfully for us, Casey begrudgingly agrees. We are thankful because we get a second consecutive episode with Casey in a fantastic mustache! (Between him and Ron Swanson on Parks & Recreation, the ‘stache is back!) Disguised as a guard, Casey converges on the assassin who himself is making his way toward the Premier with a needle full of poison. Awesome sees the disguised Casey pull a gun, so, thinking Casey is about to kill the Premier, he runs and tackles him. This does prevent the assassin’s attempt, but it also reveals to the Costa Gravans the Angel of Death!

Despite Chuck and Sarah’s pleas (by the way, how did they get out of the kitchen?), General Beckman does not want to send anyone in to save the now imprisoned Casey. The U.S. can’t risk the Premier pulling back from his proposed democratic reforms. Meanwhile, back in the Costa Gravan consulate, a bound Casey is visited by the Premier. While the Premier and Casey go back and forth about Casey’s own assassination attempts, the true assassin laces one of the Premier’s cigars with poison. When the Premier tries to smoke it, Casey kicks the Premier in the face. Undeterred, the Premier smokes the cigar, and promptly passes out.

Back in his apartment, Awesome is texted by the consulate (does no one make calls anymore?!?) to come help the Premier. He sees Chuck and tells him that he has a way to get into the consulate and save Casey. Chuck brings an awed Awesome to Castle to prep their rescue mission. Sarah is there, though, and says she is one step ahead of them. Chuck and Sarah, dressed as doctors, pose as Awesome’s assistants and go to the consulate. Casey, still being held in the basement, is approached by the assassin with another needle full of poison. Responding to Casey’s request for “professional courtesy,” the (British!) assassin explains that he is a member of The Ring. And while he would love to take the time to explain The Ring’s overarching goals (something I was wondering in my preview if we would get), suffice it to say The Ring wants to preserve the Costa Gravas status quo. Casey is able to kick the assassin away and fights for his freedom. The assassin sticks the needle in Casey’s leg, but is unable to push the plunger. Casey whups the assassin, but is then shot in the leg by another Costa Gravan soldier. With Awesome attending to the Premier, Sarah has taken out the guards (“That’s some woman, bro,” Awesome tells Chuck. “You have no idea.”). Sarah takes out the guard who shot Casey,a nd bring shim upstairs to be helped by Awesome.

The head guard is not so sure. He wants proof that Chuck and Sarah aren’t assassins themselves. He wants Chuck to remove the bullet from Casey’s leg, with no help from Awesome. Sara tells Chuck to just relax and try to flash. “You have surgeon’s hands,” Awesome tells Chuck. Chuck does flash on some anatomy knowledge and is able to expertly remove the bullet. While Casey is safe, the Premier takes a turn for the worse. He needs blood immediately. Awesome asks the soldiers if they know the Premier’s blood type. Casey answers, “AB negative. You learn a lot about a guy you’re trying to kill.” Chuck notices on Casey’s dog tags that he is AB negative. No way in hell is Casey going to give that commie despot his blood. Chuck puts the anesthesia over Casey’s face so he won’t have a choice.

Casey wakes up in Castle, and is greeted by pre-revolution cigars from the Premier — a gift for the “Angel of Life.” Awesome meets up with Chuck in the Orange Orange and tells him that he no longer wants to be a spy. “If having a double life means giving up half of your real life, it’s not worth it.” This is something for Chuck to think about. He doesn’t have time to ruminate long because Sarah enters. They discuss what their cover should be going forward. They agree that they should be friends. Cut to Ellie on the phone with Awesome, telling him what a great time she had at the gala and how much she loves him. Awesome has one more patient to see and then he’ll be coming home. That patient is the Ring assassin and he has a vial of poison waiting for Awesome. Back to Chuck’s apartment where Sarah is knocking on the door. She is visibly shaken and whispers something in Chuck’s ear. His stupor is broken by Ellie’s inquiry, “Has anyone seen Devon?” And scene!

This was another great episode of Chuck. If this is the quality of episodes we’re going to get this season, I am quite stoked. Funny thing, but I didn’t even notice until I was writing this that no one associated with the Buy More appeared in this episode. Not even Morgan! I don’t think that means they are superfluous to the show. Far from it. Rather, that the show can be successful without the counterbalance of Chuck’s “real” life. Specifically in this episode, there were some great directorial moments: Chuck mimicking Awesome when he spun around in the lawn chair to interrogate Awesome about the Premier’s condition; the dance sequences; the fight to push the plunger of the needle in Casey’s leg. Really good stuff. If I have one complaint, it is on the NBC promo department. We were left with an amazingcliffhanger: is Awesome dead? I know that it is doubtful, but when I saw Sarah and Chuck’s faces at the endof the episode, I really thought Awesome was dead. Then a few seconds later…there is Awesome in the preview of next week’s episode! I mean, come on, NBC! Yes, he’s still in danger, but wouldn’t Awesome’s possible demise be a better way to get people to come back and watch next week? Wake up NBC!

Anyway, please leave any comments, questions or theories below. Thank you for reading, and come back next week for “Chuck vs. Operation Awesome.” (Yes, they shouldn’t release the episode titles either!)

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