Alright, it's time to put that last slice of bread on top of our Chuck sandwich. "Chuck Vs. The Marlin" was the last episode finished before the strike shut down production, and that's a bummer, because I adored this one. Normally, I like Chuck best when it's heavy on the goofiness and light on plot, as "Chuck Vs. The Undercover Lover" was earlier in the night. But "The Marlin" was all plot, and I absolutely loved it.
Rather than the normal Chuck-flashes-on-something-evil setup, this one was much more of a goofy caper. After the previous episode's anniversary debacle, Awesome decided it was time to prove to Ellie that he was ready to commit by proposing with his great-grandma's ring. In one of the worst decisions ever, Awesome decided to give Chuck the ring so Ellie wouldn't "smell diamond" in their apartment. That would have been dicey under any circumstances, but given what happened next, it was a true disaster, so
- Given all that happened with Bryce Larkin a few episodes back, I'm surprised the Buy More wasn't bugged earlier in an attempt to get to Chuck. It quickly became clear that Pita Girl had been dumping bugs with each of her deliveries, and lecherous Jeff and Lester were only making that easier by continuing to order her pitas ( . . . if you know what I mean. Mammary cam!).
- As a result, Sarah and Casey had to have their people strip the Buy More bare — from the video games to the appliances to the marlin on Big Mike's wall. I loved that the hundreds of thousands of dollars of missing electronics didn't seem to bother Big Mike, but the plastic fish he paid $200 for on eBay was a top priority. Too bad it had become the victim of a drunken Nerd Herd prank and ended up at Chuck's place before the robbery even occurred.
- Even so, the ring might have been fine if Morgan hadn't gone all snoopy in Chuck's locker, freaked out, showed it to Ellie, and then stashed it in the marlin. And that might have been fine if the marlin hadn't also contained the receiver for all the Buy More bugs. So basically, Chuck's entire existence came down to finding a plastic fish.
- Interesting that Casey disobeyed government orders by sending Sarah after Chuck. Someone has a heart!
- Some of my favorite moments in this episode came from Big Mike's interrogation scenes: shining a desk lamp in a suspect's eyes, literally turning the heat up on Chuck . . .
- The scenes where Chuck tried to say goodbye without explaining why were sweet, and they reminded me how much Zachary Levi makes this show work.
- Sarah seemed pretty overmatched by the Pita Girl, didn't she? It all worked out, but I was worried that Sarah might have finally met an opponent she couldn't out-ninja.
- Love that Chuck's priority after learning he wouldn't be sent to a dank hole underground was finding Ellie's ring — "even if it's covered in coffee grounds and miscellaneous DNA." Also, Awesome seemed remarkably cool about the whole situation, even though it was obviously not awesome.
- Despite the cuteness of Ellie accepting Awesome's proposal, we were left with an ominous ending: Casey telling Sarah she can't keep Chuck here forever as the music turned creepily dark.
And that's it for now — though NBC's promise of new Chuck soon seemed optimistic (if not overly so). Which part of the Chuck sandwich was your favorite?
Photos courtesy of NBC