Listen, Chuck (and Chuck’s writers), we need to talk. I love your show, I really do, but do you honestly need to make every other episode some variation on "Chuck is convinced his new spy friends don’t have his best interests at heart, Chuck decides to trust someone else, Chuck is wrong and sees the error of his ways"? Because seriously, we get it. Lucky for you, I’m willing to overlook that because the peripheral action was so awesome. A mad genius who wants to blow up the world! The Buy More crowd in Halloween finery! Captain Awesome trying to teach Morgan to be a man! And the glorious return of Harry Tang! Huzzah!
Do you expect me to talk? No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to spoil!
Do you ever wonder where spies get all the cool toys, like remote-control jet-skis and ejector seats and locator watches? Now we know: They get them from their cadre of repressed genius kids who were recruited for their Tetris skills and who are now bent on making things go boom. All righty then.
Our Bad Guy of the Week is Laszlo, the above repressed genius, who escapes from captivity and starts hanging out at the arcade, where he runs into Morgan (of course) and where Chuck recognizes him. Laszlo spins a tale of youth lost, a life wasted when he was secreted in the bowels of a secret lab and forces to come up with cool stuff for spies. He just wants a normal life, one where he can kick back and watch all the James Bond movies he’s missed! He warns Chuck that his "friends" in the secret spy business are just using him, and are not to be trusted, and zzzz … oh, sorry, I just napped through that bit, as it’s the same damn storyline they use every other week. Sarah and Casey, their bosses, the government, etc., they all see Chuck as an asset, not as the adorable, cuddly, geekeriffic person that he is. We get it. Move on.
On Laszlo’s prompting, Chuck finds a bunch of bugs that Casey and Sarah have secreted around his room — how unexpected! This confirms for him that he’s just as abused and persecuted as poor wee Laszlo, so they bond over Bond — until Laszlo reveals that he identifies with the bad guy and tries to channel a little War Games with our nation’s nuclear fighter pilots in Guam. Hey… that guy’s crazy! Just like Sarah and Casey said! How utterly unexpected!
Long story short, Chuck figures out Laszlo wants to blow up the Santa Monica pier, where he was recruited way back when he was a little bitty evil genius in training, and Chuck uses his fine grasp of the obvious — Laszlo lies! — to disarm the bomb that Laszlo had built into the Herder. Chuck’s a hero!
And hey, that’s great and all, but it’s much more fun to watch the civilians. Highlights include:
- The entire staff of Buy More gathered in the break room to watch Morgan challenge the Mystery Crisper — the break room fridge where employee food goes to die. It’s like Christopher Walken in Deer Hunter, but instead of Russian Roulette, he’s playing Find the E. Coli.
- The Halloween costumes! Oh, the costumes made my little heart go pitter-pat. First off, Captain Awesome in a fig leaf (and now I know why he and Ellie are together — Rowr!) as Adam, offering to show Chuck his snake. Then there’s Big Mike as a pimp, Anna as a goth catwoman (as opposed to all those perky catwomen out there…), Les and Jeff as American Gothic (hee!), and Harry Tang as Woody the cowboy from Toy Story.
- And then there’s Chuck and Morgan’s perennial costume, variously described as a "two-man sea cucumber thing" (Ellie) and a" stupid space penis costume" (Harry Tang). It’s a Sandworm, thank you very much — a Shai-Hulud from Dune, to be specific. And it’s utterly awesome. (But it does look like a space penis.)
- Did you catch the Sergio Leone-esque music in the background every time Cowboy Harry Tang came on screen? Bliss! Plus, Harry is described as having "the charm of a prostate exam" by Big Mike. And as an extra bonus, we find out his full name: Harold Tiberius Tang. And the geek shout-outs just keep coming….
- Speaking of geek shout-outs — did anyone else cheer when Casey sarcastically asked if Laszlo was going to hurt him with his mind? You got the line wrong, though, Casey — you meant "kill you with his brain."
- More Casey goodness: "I do not like feeling like Team Chuck’s little fat kid!" And then there was the look on his face when he proves that yes, Chuck and Morgan really did spend four hours talking about the proper sandwich to take on a desert island — and the look at his end when Chuck wreaks his revenge. Priceless.
- Captain Awesome emerged as not only fun to look at, but also rather awesome. First, he congratulates Chuck’s potential promotion as "outstanding" — although he has to stop himself from using his go-to word. Then, he takes Morgan under his wing and tries to teach him to be a man — starting with teaching him to tuck in his shirt. Hee!
- Chuck finally, finally losing his cool at Morgan. I’ll quote it in full: "I used to be cool? When was that, when we were 13? Well I’m sorry to go changing on you, buddy, but in case you haven’t noticed, we are now, chronologically speaking, adults. Also, unless you want to work retail for the rest of your life, and, by the way, drag me down with you in the process, I would suggest that you grow up!" Yes, it was harsh, but Chuck’s not wrong. But that blow-up made the scene where Morgan and Chuck’s eyes meet across the crowded room and they run to each other to make up all the more sweet — and hysterical.