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Chuck Rundown: Episode 9, "Chuck Vs. the Imported Hard Salami"

Chuck Rundown: Episode 9, "Chuck Vs. the Imported Hard Salami"

So I'm sitting there watching Chuck, and everything seems pretty normal: There's a spy case. Chuck bumbles through a date. Casey says something funny. There's danger. Morgan's half-endearing, half-annoying. The usual.

And then, pow! Much like Heroes, Chuck whipped out a mostly surprising ending with the potential to shake everything up. Well played, show. To read my thoughts and chime in with yours, just

I'll start with the end: Bryce is alive! Others have said that NBC's promos over the past week made this revelation obvious — somehow, I didn't see them — and in any case, we've been discussing the possibility of Bryce returning. But dang if I didn't sit bolt upright on the couch when they opened that capsule to show everyone's favorite once-dead rogue agent strapped into some sort of breathing contraption. I'm with Casey: "Didn't I kill this guy?" And really: Didn't he kill that guy? What happened in between Bryce "not an accountant" Larkin getting shot nine weeks ago and his sudden reanimation? I love this development, and not just because I have a little thing for Matthew Bomer; the part Bryce played in Chuck's becoming an agent is one of my favorite parts of this story. I was disappointed when they dropped it after the Stanford episode, but this is better than I could have hoped: Bryce, alive again, interacting with lost lover Sarah and ex-roomie Chuck, and possibly (make that probably) being evil.

But some stuff happened in the other 42 minutes of this episode, too, most notably a tale of two romances. I'm glad Chuck stuck to his guns and enforced his very real breakup of his very fake relationship with Sarah. But he also got to see what life's like on the other side during his date with Lou — and, as it turns out, being a secret agent attempting to have a normal love life isn't so easy. The "take a number" scene in Lou's shop was full of cuteness ("this is a hot sandwich. In the reuben family"), and I was glad the writers didn't take the predictable, Karina-esque path of making Lou a rival spy. Instead, she's just a salami smuggler who got wrapped up with the wrong crowd and ended up questioning Chuck's motives — a familiar tune for Chuck these days. She's out of the story for now, but not in a way that she couldn't come back later. (Please, Josh Schwartz?) Meanwhile, Sarah kissing Chuck — and that was some kiss! — might have moved their relationship forward, if not for that pesky Bryce-back-from-the-dead issue.

A few more things:

  • Nice as it was to see Morgan getting some action, the story took a pretty predictable turn by having Morgan end things with Anna as soon as Chuck appeared to be single again. I think it's clear that Chuck will always be Morgan's No. 1.
  • Sarah scaring Lester off with her sexiness was hilarious. "Hey, how about that movie?" Also: "How's my breath?" "Like the ocean."
  • Speaking of breath: If the oxygen timer counted down to zero before the Chuck-Sarah kiss, then how was Bryce still alive when they finally opened the capsule?
  • Casey had some pretty stellar moments in this episode, including his snarking about the right to bear arms, his ahead-of-the-curve rejection of Sarah, "That's dating in LA," and giving Chuck a rose so he could get laid.

What's your take? Sad about losing Bilson — but happy about gaining Bryce? Did you love or loathe the "he had me at pastrami" line? And how rockin' was Chuck's guitar pin?

Photos courtesy of NBC

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