Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Chuck 3.06: "Chuck Versus the Nacho Sampler"

“Classic geek tragedy. Sound familiar?”


“Chuck Versus the Nacho Sampler” was yet another very high quality episode of “Chuck.” It wasn’t bright and shiny like “Chuck Versus First Class,” but there was a lot of good stuff going on from a storytelling standpoint. We see just how much Chuck has changed since Bryce first sent him the Intersect, and we see what effect that change has on Sarah. We also see Chuck’s divide between spy world and “real life” come closer to unraveling than it ever has before. The episode sets up some very intriguing character-based conflicts that will likely continue throughout the rest of the season.

It’s Hannah’s first day of work as a Nerd Herder, and it’s going to cause more problems for Chuck than he could possibly imagine. Chuck is happy to have Hannah around, and he’s eager to show her the Buy More ropes. He doesn’t really have time for that, though, as the spy business calls. Every time he’s about to give Hanna the “Buy More Tutorial,” it ends up being “yogurt time” aka time to run over to Castle, hidden under the Orange Orange yogurt shop, for a briefing with Sarah and Casey. Chuck isn’t the only person who has taken an interest in Hannah. Many of the Buy More employees are like vultures circling around her, but Morgan is especially smitten. He enlists Jeff and Lester to stalk Hannah and find out her interests so Morgan can have a better shot with her.

After getting a taste of the spy life last week on his mission to Paris, Chuck is eager for more. General Beckman isn’t really impressed by Chuck’s bragging about the “mish,” though. Casey is kind of disgusted that Chuck used the word “mish,” which I found pretty hilarious. Chuck has a different type of assignment this go round. His job is to develop a potential asset, a computer genius named Manoosh who dropped out of MIT and is now doing some work for the Ring. Chuck needs to figure out just what it is that Manoosh is working on.

Chuck’s first attempt at befriending Manoosh fails pretty miserably. Manoosh has been lured to the Buy More by CIA/NSA machinations, and Chuck tries way too hard to make an impression on him right then and there. Hanna is in the middle of trying to sell something to Manoosh, and Chuck butts right in and takes over. He gives Manoosh his card, and he comes on so strong that it’s kind of creepy (but funny, too). Casey and Sarah think a new plan is in order. They set Chuck up at a bar that Manoosh frequents, and they make sure that Chuck lets Manoosh share in the last of the bar’s nacho sampler, Manoosh’s favorite meal. The Ring is closing in, though, and they have to take care of Manoosh quickly. Sarah goes in, wearing a “Frak Off” shirt (because all good nerds love Battlestar Galactica), and distracts Manoosh long enough that he can be tranqued and taken away just in time.

Manoosh wakes up in what he thinks is Sarah’s bedroom. Just as he tries to get a little too close to Sarah, a tiny door opens, and a tranq gun fires. And I laughed hysterically. In the next room, Chuck reminds me of the movie Men in Black when he asks Casey if tranquing a guy so many times is really safe. Manoosh calls Chuck asking if Chuck picked up his brief case from the bar after he left with Sarah, and Chuck arranges for Manoosh to meet him at the Buy More to return the brief case. Meanwhile, Casey and Chuck are going to be hard at work going through the contents of that brief case trying to find the weapon Manoosh was working on.

Chuck is working with what he thinks is the weapon, but when it shoots out shaving cream, he realizes he’s mistaken. The situation overall is pretty dicey. Chuck is worried that if the Ring finds Manoosh, and the weapon isn’t in Manoosh’s suit case, they will kill Manoosh. Chuck needn’t have worried, though. He looks on in shock as Manoosh dons some souped up sunglasses and promptly subdues all of the Ring agents who are after him. Manoosh has invented another Intersect. He himself is the weapon. Manoosh doesn’t want to just turn over his new tech to the Ring. He wants to sell it on the open market.

Casey instantly knows where Manoosh will be going to sell the new Intersect. He’ll be going to Dubai for “Weap Con.” Casey, a frequent attendee, finds Weap Con “relaxing,” and I find that hilarious. Soon enough, the gang is all on their way to Dubai. There’s a big showdown there involving Manoosh and the Ring operatives, and Chuck ends up having to reveal to Manoosh that he’s actually a spy. Sarah and Casey think that Manoosh now knows way too much. He’s going to have to be brought into protective custody. Chuck does the job himself, grabbing a state-of-the-art tranq gun from a vendor’s booth and shooting Manoosh with it. Chuck follows through with burning his asset, telling Manoosh that he’ll be spending the foreseeable future in a bunker.

What I enjoyed most about the main plot of this episode was the opportunity for character development it provided both Chuck and Sarah. Chuck is confronted with someone who is a lot like himself, and Chuck has to betray that person. Chuck was confronted with a similar situation back in season 1, and he kept trying to help the asset escape at every opportunity, even at the risk of his own safety. Now, he does what he has to do. It’s obvious that Sarah is wary of how Chuck has changed. She mentioned how when she first walked into the Buy More on that fateful day feigning cell phone problems, she liked Chuck because he seemed innocent. He certainly isn’t innocent anymore.

Other people in Chuck’s life are starting to notice the change as well, and that is why his cover is starting to unravel. Ellie found a baggage claim check from Chuck’s trip to Paris, and she’s upset that Chuck didn’t tell her about his travel plans. Awesome does a poor job covering for Chuck, but Chuck smoothes it all over easily. Awesome is kind of disgusted that Chuck is able to lie so easily to his sister. Morgan also starts to get suspicious when Hannah innocently mentions Chuck’s trip to Paris. Hannah figured that since Morgan is the assistant manager, he would know about Chuck’s Parisian install job. Morgan and Ellie decide to team up to figure out what’s going on, and they’re going to employ the exemplary stalking skills of Jeff and Lester. I am most definitely anxious to see how this is all going to play out.

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