Wow, this week's episode of Chuck was one geek-iriffic hour. At one point, I asked my boyfriend, "Is Missile Command a real game?" He responded by burying his head in his hands (and bringing up a Wikipedia entry about kill screens). So maybe this one tested the outer limits of my geek cred; I think it's a tribute to Chuck that it didn't matter one bit. To talk about it, just read more.
Of all the Buy More folks who have gotten a spotlight episode of Chuck, Jeff is definitely my favorite. Who knew he was once a mulleted videogame champ, surrounded by beautiful women (were they part of the prize package?) and with "so many tasty options" for the rest of his life. Of course, 20 years later, the not-so-tasty option he's taken is the one where he's a Nerd Herder with a stalkerish fondness for Anna. Buy More: where ambition goes to die.
Jeff's not the No. 1 person I'd choose to be in control of the fate of the world, but that's exactly what happens. Embedded within every game of Missile Command are the codes for controlling a satellite that could launch World War III — and nobody, not even Jeff, has gotten that far in the game. Chuck's mission, then, is to bond socially with Jeff ("Great, so it comes down to either torturing him or torturing me") and convince him to make a Missile Command comeback. Fueled by red cough syrup, M&Ms (but no brown ones), and Anna dressed as a hula girl, he decides to do it . . . until the pressure of being on stage surrounded by his paunchy, nerdy, very single fans gets to him and he passes out cold.
Not to despair: Chuck takes the controls, realizes that the rhythm of the game matches that of Rush's "Tom Sawyer", and plays all the way to the kill screen, getting the satellite code, averting mass global destruction, and becoming a geek hero. Chuck saves world! I loved the scene of him standing by the game console, beaming, as he gets applause from a room full of nerds who knew they'd just witnessed greatness — but didn't realize just how great it was. And there's another triumph to come: Sarah and Casey arrange for Chuck to receive a Stanford diploma. A college graduate and savior of the world? Everything really is coming up Bartowski.
Some other thoughts:
- For all the drama, this episode is also truly funny, from Awesome telling Chuck his special smoothie "does wonders for your wang energy" to Chuck getting out of a trip to Jeff's place by claiming an allergy to "every member of the polecat family."
- Tony Hale's here! He's Emmett, the new Buy More assistant manager, and he clearly has it out for Chuck. Loved him reporting a "lewd use of a musical montage."
- Jeff has drinking pants! And a "My name is Jeff and I'm lost" card.
- Lester and Morgan are hilarious as they mourn the potential loss of their best friends. Chuck would never really reject a guy who owns a smoke machine and was a roadie for Mamma Mia! though.
- Casey looks super awkward in his version of the Buy More uniform; Sarah just looks hot.
- Nice random Zune diss! "No, I'm kidding. I'll get my iPod."
- The episode ends on something of a wistful note, with Chuck making a wish on a burning-up satellite and Jeff approaching the Missile Command console, quarter in hand.
Are you looking forward to more Tony Hale? Surprised by anything in Jeff's past? Happy to learn that Chuck's middle name is Irving? Discuss!
Photos courtesy of NBC