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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Chuck: "Chuck Vs. The Sandworm"

Illustration for article titled iChuck/i: Chuck Vs. The Sandworm
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Illustration for article titled iChuck/i: Chuck Vs. The Sandworm

Last night I was faced with a bona-fide television dilemma: do I watch my world-beating Green Bay Packers face off against the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football, or the middling one-hour action-comedy I'm forced to write about every week? It was a tough call, but thanks to the magic of DVR I had the privilege of listening to Tony Kornheiser sexually satisfy himself to the same tired gunslingin' mythology that engulfs Brett Favre every time the Packers play on national TV. (Not that I blame him–did you see that game-winning bomb? We're coming for you, Belichick! OK, not really!)

But, as Don Majkowski once sang (courtesy of his good friends in Poison), every rose has its thorn, and this morning I was shocked to find that my DVR let me down–last night's Chuck started taping 15 minutes into the episode. I gasped: Did I miss the first kiss between Chuck and Sarah? Or Morgan and Chuck's sister? Or Morgan and Chuck? Somebody needs to fill me on this one.

My DVR'ed episode started with Casey being de-briefed on a rogue Chuck-like agent named Lazlo. Then Morgan was sitting outside Ellie's ridiculous apartment making a sad face over Chuck not helping with his sandworm costume or something. OK, so Chuck is involved in a potentially interesting spy plot, and Morgan is being really annoying. I think I'm up to speed now! I'm actually sort of bummed that I didn't catch the first fourth of "Chuck Vs. The Sandworm," because it featured the best spy action of the series so far. Chuck was heavy on James Bond references this week, and it appeared to have learned the most important Bond lesson of all–you're only as good as your villain. Lazlo wasn't a great villain, but he's the best we've seen, and legitimately creepy at times. (I'm curious, comment nerds: Was Tetris ever an arcade game? It probably was, but a guy in his early 20s wouldn't have been playing it as a kid in the mid-'90s, would he? At any rate, I'm sure you guys are still jazzed over the WarGames reference.) He was hauled away by Casey at the end of the episode, but I'm guessing Lazlo will be back at some point.

Once again, the principal plot device of last night's episode was Chuck being totally wrong about the central premise, and having to make amends. This is a bad direction for the writers since it reminds us that Chuck has no business spending time outside a holding cell in a secret government hideout. But I still like how old fashioned Chuck is. Seriously, how many shows would have the nerve to end with the old "green wire or red wire" bomb trick in 2007? (And look at the pitcure above. It's like the Halloween episode of The Love Boat.) Clearly this is why my DVR is powerless against it—Betamax would have worked better.

Grade: B (last 45 minutes)

Stray observations

—I am so not interested in the "Morgan and Chuck's friendship being in trouble" storyline.

—Cute Asian co-worker made a re-appearance, and was looking fox-say!

—Morgan does not look as awesome as Gordon Gekko. Nobody looks as awesome as Gordon Gekko.

—Casey's Ronald Reagan picture made me laugh.

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