'Chuck': Never, ever say 'one last mission'

chuck-vs-bo3.jpg"Chuck" on Friday (Jan. 13) was cruising along through a very amusing episode, with funny stuff from Morgan's lost Intersect weekend, Jeff and Lester's continually thwarted investigation and Bo Derek(!).

And then Chuck had to go and say "one last mission," which turned a mostly breezy (if thematically on-point) episode into something much darker. The last few minutes were among the tensest the show has ever done, and tone shift was a little jarring.

And also, awesome. Those final scenes in "Chuck vs. Bo" pretty definitively set up the endgame for the series, connected dots going back to the beginning of the show and introduced a formidable final bad guy in Angus Macfadyen's Nicholas Quinn. I was frankly a little worried, after the happy-ending feeling of "Chuck vs. the Baby" and the mostly stand-alone "Chuck vs. the Kept Man," about whether the show was dallying a little too much before bringing us to the finale. No more.

Like Chuck, Quinn has a history with the Intersect -- though not the one he wants. Turns out he was the one whose brain it was intended for when Bryce Larkin stole the original program, and he's spent five years trying to get it back -- and, by the way, he also had Fulcrum, the Ring and Volkoff Industries as clients of his shady private firm. So he really, really has a beef with young Mr. Bartowski.

And man -- that last sequence. I was with Casey in thinking "No!" when Sarah put on the Intersect glasses (which, apparently, were a spare set, and not necessarily the brain-melting ones Morgan donned), but her move was both A) the only option she could see to save Casey, herself and her husband and B) an undeniably provocative road to explore in the final couple episodes. What does the Intersect do to an already highly skilled operative like her? Were these glasses tainted with the same mind-erasing bug as Morgan's?

And -- gulp -- if the answer to the previous question is yes, will that mean we get to a place in the finale where Sarah has to re-remember who Chuck is? We'll see.

The end of the episode packed a whole heck of a lot in, but the rest of "Bo" leading up to that was "Chuck" operating on its comic A-game. Bo Derek proved surprisingly good in her role as Morgan's Vail hookup/globe-trotting spy, and the way the guys -- even Casey -- reacted to her seemed just about right for males between the age of 30 and 50. Sarah's reaction to their reaction may have been even better, particularly her acerbic digs at Chuck's inability to contain his excitement at meeting the object of his boyhood fantasies.

(There were, in fact, two moments of unity for the principal males in the cast. Casey was not only totally into Bo Derek, but joined Chuck and Morgan in chastising Sarah for saying "one last mission" the first time.)

The Jeff-Lester story has also played out very well over the last couple episodes. Sober Jeff's brain is able to overcome Casey's memory-erasing X-13 gas, but it's not quite up to seeing the real truth about what Chuck et al do for a living. Having him and Lester ask to forget what they saw in the Vail Buy More was a bit of an easy out, but it's also an easily forgivable one.

What did you think of "Chuck vs. Bo," and where do you think the show is headed in its final hours?

Photo/Video credit: NBC
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