We’ve said before that the delights of Chuck can be found in the sizzle rather than the steak. The sizzle is even more fun than usual this week, which suggests they should work harder to get all the main characters in the same room more often. From Casey being told an electronics store isn’t Basra and growling about a lost toe being his first war wound to an inept bad guy being named Ned R(h)yerson, Santa’s Workshop was filled with little treasures. Our favorite was the jaw-dropping Die Hard homage with Reginald VelJohnson reprising his role as Sgt. Al Powell…who just happens to be BuyMore manager Big Mike’s cousin. They even throw in snippets of “Ode to Joy” to complete the effect. We just want to know if the same Twinkies from the movie are reprising their roles, too.
What’s different about Chuck this week is that the steak is as good as any of the sizzle. Chuck’s shock at Sarah’s execution of a Fulcrum agent isn’t just another obstacle to stretch out their love story: it’s both a fundamental wedge that separates Chuck’s two lives and new glue that cements Sarah’s two lives. Chuck’s the one who introduced the idea that when it comes to family and friends, there are time when you should break the rules, but Sarah’s decision show that not only does she place Chuck squarely in that rarified company, but that Chuck may still think there are rules that shouldn’t be broken (whether that special rule is “don’t shoot an unarmed man in cold blood” or “don’t lie to me about shooting unarmed men in cold blood” remains to be seen). In addition, they’ve planted the seeds to blow up the format of the show. We kind of doubt they will–the BuyMore set can’t be cheap, and we’d miss Ellie, Awesome, Morgan, Anna, Lester, Jeff, Big Mike, and Big Mike’s fish–but the fact that Fulcrum has noticed John Casey and the CIA “yogurt girl” protecting someone or something at the BuyMore suggests the Intersect can’t stay there forever. In one fell swoop, Chuck has reintroduced genuine tension to the show’s central relationship and injected genuine uneasiness and questions into the overall structure. Obviously, the titular Santa Claus thinks we Chuck fans have been very good girls and boys this year.