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Chuck Rundown: Episode 7, "Chuck Vs. the Alma Mater"

Chuck Rundown: Episode 7, "Chuck Vs. the Alma Mater"

I was so looking forward to this episode of Chuck, the one where he'd have to return to his alma mater and face his expulsion, his dashed romance, and his memories of the roommate that betrayed him and then stuck him with a big ol' computer brain. And yet, this episode left me cold. I thought I wanted Chuck to have some big emotional backstory, but now I think I like it better when it's just plain silly. To read the rest of my take, just

This episode set up a couple of forces to draw Chuck back to Stanford: His former professor, a CIA scientist, had gone missing. Ellie and Awesome were road-tripping north for the Stanford-UCLA game. And while Chuck was throwing out his sad little box of Stanford memorabilia, he "flashed" on his own college ID. Why did the CIA have a file on Chuck before he became the Intersect? Only one way to find out. Palo Alto, ahoy!

The trouble was, the reason the CIA had a file on Chuck wasn't all that interesting — or maybe it was an interesting twist that just played out in a duller-than-necessary way. Turns out, there's a CIA recruiting network at Stanford (wha?) that wooed Bryce; they wanted Chuck, too, but Bryce didn't want Chuck caught up in that mess and conspired with the professor to plant the answer key in his room so he'd get kicked out. There were a couple of good clues in there — the section of the test that Chuck aced was on image encoding, so apparently the Intersect business is playing to his strengths — but I was expecting something more compelling. And I didn't think Bryce would get off the hook so easily; he still stole Chuck's girlfriend, but for the most part, he's coming off as a nice guy now. I hope that's not the last we've seen of him, because I still have one big question: If Bryce didn't want Chuck tangling with the CIA, why'd he send him the e-mail later?

I'm beginning to think Chuck can't win with me when it comes to the Buy More plots. Too little, and I'm complaining about the lack of comic relief and Harry Tang; too much, and I wonder why we're spending all this time with characters I don't care about. This time around, I thought the episode dwelled far too long on a not-stellar store plot — but it did have its nice touches, including Harry Tang selling out Lester for a personalized yellow polo shirt, Morgan starting an employee revolution, and Anna wooing Tang and thrilling the rest of the nerds with her feminine charms ("that's curable, by the way"). I think I just like Buy More better when Chuck's there, not when Morgan's left to carry the whole story.

A few other thoughts:

  • I would have liked some better Casey lines last night, but "Take a shower, hippie!" wasn't bad. I also liked his disgust with Chuck when he forgot the numbers ("you have a computer for a brain...")
  • Chuck's best line: "Oh what, slingshot's too ineffective?"
  • Also, Chuck was in a frat?
  • Did they really drive to Stanford, go to the game, and drive back to LA all in the same day? That's 12 hours of driving! They must have spent the night and just not shown it, right?

Your thoughts? Were you let down like I was, or did you enjoy the episode? Do you want to see more Bryce? And are you ready for some Bilson?

Photos courtesy of NBC

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pebby01 pebby01 8 years
i thought it was pretty good. i was bored w/ the buy more story line too, but i thought the story line w/ the professor was pretty good. it kept me interested to find out what was the big secret w/ bryce.
NadiaPotter NadiaPotter 8 years
yeah I loved this episode, and of course Chuck didn't cheat on his test, and of course Bryce (and his eyes) only frame him to get him out of danger. And I think is a sure that Bryce sent it to chuck because he knew of his ability. Go go! Captain Awesome! And, I kind of hate that guy (lester?) who sells out Morgan. Morgan it is not my favorite Character, but it sux that that guy do that to a, er.. colleague. I think Chuck's sister believes in Chuck and believes he didn't cheat on the test. That's why Chuck is still a good nice guy.
Deidre Deidre 8 years
My favorite episode thus far...but that may be because I'm a little biased. The filmed all the "Stanford" scenes at UCLA (oh, the irony), and I'm a former Bruin. So cute Zachery Levi + beautiful campus with good memories = happy me. Made me totally relate to Chuck's nostalgia over returning to his former stomping grounds.
Entertainment Entertainment 8 years
Wow, I'm totally watching this episode again. Maybe I was just in a bad mood? I guess I'm a little sad that Chuck's big character flaw (that he'd done something to get kicked out of school) is gone now and replaced with ... nothing, so he's just this super-nice, super-awesome guy. But, as bhilb pointed out, he's a super-nice guy who can't tell his family or friends that he's not a failure after all, so that is an interesting twist. Hmmmm ...
ptotheenguin ptotheenguin 8 years
I think this was my favorite episode so far!
yyam084 yyam084 8 years
there are so many sarcastic and ackwardness but they are delivered in a funny way, same as cohen does it. that's what interest me, finding quotes that are not too logical and hard. but funny and blured out like what chuck does.
yyam084 yyam084 8 years
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEX06UMDF_Y&eurl=http://savetheoc.wordpress.com/
yyam084 yyam084 8 years
i like the episode, and excited for bilson!whooo
ash_marisa ash_marisa 8 years
i have to disagree as well...i totally loved this entire episode
jenintx jenintx 8 years
yeah...totally loved this episode. i do find most of the buy more clan a little annoying, but it's overlook-able :) personally loved the oc shoutout ("season two. underrated") as well as casey telling chuck he would kill harry tang if he wanted him to (when anna said she knew someone who would take him out and then chuck asked casey if he offered to do it). the thing i love most about this show is that like the oc, it doesn't take itself too seriously (has no problem making fun of itself and the hidden shoutouts). it's just fun.
bhilb bhilb 8 years
I was definitely not let down by this episode. How heartbreaking that Chuck finally cleared his name, but can't tell anyone about it. I can't imagine having to tell my family that I was kicked out of school because of cheating on a test that I didn't cheat on. Also, Bryce being a "good" guy could totally change the dynamic between he and Sarah. Oh, and my guess as to why Bryce sent it to Chuck is because he knew that Chuck had the ability to remember the images.
Entertainment Entertainment 8 years
Ah, you guys are right — I totally forgot about the suitcases. Then again, Ellie seems to change clothes so often that maybe that was just her stash for one day! :) Just kidding.
BlairBear BlairBear 8 years
I liked this episode of Chuck, it could've been a little more but it was still good. Buzz, Ellie was packing a suitcase(s) so they must have stayed there and not shown it. I'm kind of sick of the whole Sarah?chuck dating thing, Chuck needs some action! I hope Bilson makes it happen, really starting to get annoyed by Sarah.
kstraw23 kstraw23 8 years
they had suitcases with them when they got back from the game, so i'm thinking they spent the night up there
Dr_NO Dr_NO 8 years
I thought it was a good episode! Bryce being a nice guy is def interesting. Chuck is so freakin' cute! And Harry Tang is HI-larious. I can't wait until next week when Sarah gets some competition from Bilson!
pixigirl31 pixigirl31 8 years
bryce is so hot
starturtle44 starturtle44 8 years
Totally happy with this episode. The twist with Bryce seemed more like a teaser for me so I wasn't let down by that at all. I also didn't mind the Buy More storyline. I do think we needed more Casey though.
cacannon cacannon 8 years
I agree with ElleJay! I was also happy that this episode didn't have to do with Chuck not trusting Sarah and Casey or Chuck disappointing his friends and family. It was a nice change. And I am so excited for Rachel Bilson next week! And they are saying a larger story arch will start to develop. Hopefully that will get more people tuned in. This is one of my new favorite shows, and I watch EVERYTHING!, so I would really hate for it to be cancelled too early. It has a lot of potential.
ElleJay ElleJay 8 years
i was NOT let down, i thought this was one of the more interesting episodes- and totally ready for Bilson !!
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