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"You're not a nice guy." - my dream girl

It still gets me that Chuck can have an entire episode about a wuss pretending to be the country's most deadly assassin and forcing him to punch a lot of people and pull out his friend's tooth and lie to his entire family—plus some extras died—and that's the most poignant line of the night. "The Fake Name" was fittingly about just how far Chuck has fallen into the spy world; he's barely recognizable to Ellie, to Sarah, and finally to himself. Nice guys like Chuck don't do well in the spy biz, and as it turns out, he's doing just fine. Hmm.


But in case you're just reading this to see how the pre-Olympics Chuckpocalypse is shaping up, let's get that out of the way: As Chuck is a television show, it behaves like a television show would, and decided to cause a bit of tension in an episode by having Chuck get with Hannah, while Sarah starts shackin' up with Shaw. Well, you can imagine that people went nuts on Twitter and other Twitter-like sites, calling for a boycott of the show unless Chuck and Sarah finally get together. These were probably the same people who rallied behind the show during season two to get it renewed. It was all very silly. It's over now, though, because resolution is a thing that exists. Let's all go outside and remember what trees look like.

Aside from that bit of housekeeping and emotional heft, "The Fake Name" was pretty standard Chuck fare—formulaic at worst, entertaining at best. Chuck uses his acting prowess to take on the persona of gruff assassin Raef, and he goes to deal with informants who like to do things "old fashioned," so that means Italian mobster-types hanging out in a bar. He plays his new badass persona to the hilt, even when it intersects with his Chuck-ness—"I like cupcakes" he snarls at one point—and is forced to rough up Casey while the other guys egg him on. He opens his eyes wide at Casey at one point, betraying the fact that he really doesn't want to do what he's about to do; it's a well-worn Chuck trick, but still gave me a chuckle. There's also a bit of silliness when Devon tries to lie to Ellie, first mid-workout and later by repeating the helpful mantra "I don't know" as she asks about the moistness of the chicken. At this point, I can see where the jokes are going before they get there, especially the Buy More stuff; it's still enjoyable, just wearing a little. (Though when Lester mumbles under his breath "I am so lonely," it's a nice break in the routine.)

Things don't really get going till near the end, when Chuck finally discovers the person Raef was going to kill: Shaw. And in scoping him out from afar under the watchful eye of those eager mobsters (why didn't he just tell them to leave?), he overhears Sarah confess that her real name is Sam, then she and Shaw make out. It wasn't too surprising that Sarah drama was the one thing that would snap Chuck out of his persona and betray who he really is, but it was amazing how quickly the rest of the episode played out. Chuck realizes that he just can't be with anyone else, and he dumps Hannah, the sweetest girl ever, in front of her parents. After he slept with her. Even in the super covert spy world, it seems love has the power to show who people really are—Shaw punching out the real Raef, for example, showing feelings he wasn't supposed to feel—and makes Chuck do dickish things in dickish ways. I'd feel worse for the guy, if it wasn't so apparent that this new Chuck is partially his own doing.

Stray observations:

  • The bit with Shaw stealing Sarah's dessert reminded me a lot of this one Scrubs episode where Turk gets angry that Carla doesn't order fries because she wants some of his. That's it. I just wanted an excuse to bring up Scrubs.
  • Chuck downing the hot coffee and reacting in pain = Zachary Levi still can mug like a pro.
  • So this Alex Coburn guy was quite the killer, eh?
  • "It's like our taste buds are fist-bumping each other."
  • Chuck's usually about the ladies in lingerie, but there was some serious dude fodder tonight, with shirtless Awesome and Shaw.

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