Talk about overachieving: Monday night’s Chuck was another knock-out, with fast-paced action, ample laughs, and some of the series’ best character moments. Once again, Zachary Levi took on a more supporting role to give his co-star a chance to shine. And Adam Baldwin came through in an episode that was all about John Casey—or should I call him Alex Coburn?
Spy Training: We’ve been saying it for weeks, but it bears repeating—Chuck is getting pretty damn good at this spy stuff. This week, Chuck’s mission was a trace cell mission, which means testing CIA security by, well, proving how ineffective it is. His second mission was slightly less pleasant: Recover Casey, dead or alive. There was plenty of flashing—we’ve rarely seen Chuck this bad-ass—but it was great to know he’s still a good guy. Note how quickly he decided to risk treason in order to save a friend.
The Handlers: Casey, Casey, Casey. I’ve always liked the character, but he’s often seemed a bit two-dimensional. As much as I abhor flashbacks, it was a rare treat seeing the old Casey, a man formerly known as Alex Coburn. Who woulda thought that Casey faced the same dilemma of choosing between love and spying? And as for his demotion to civilian status, I’m (wishfully) thinking it won’t last long.
The Romance: Agent Shaw was absent, but his presence was still felt as Sarah planned an off-screen rendezvous. Although I’m not a rabid Chuck/Sarah shipper, I can’t help but wonder how long they’re going to drag this out—especially with Chuck’s admission last week that he’s still in love with Agent Walker. (Duh.) Great moment between the star-crossed pair, with Sarah telling Chuck she’s afraid of losing the Chuck from three years ago (read: the one she fell in love with). So, hey, can we get on with this already?
Ellie and Awesome: Let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief—it looks as though Ellie and Awesome are here to stay. Great Awesome moments throughout: The scene in which he and Morgan realized they both know Chuck’s secret was an instant classic. I’ll admit I was concerned when Awesome tempted Ellie away from her fellowship in favor of Doctors Without Borders. Sure, his reasons were noble, but stealing your wife away from her dream job? Un-Awesome. Good thing he came around in the end.
Morgan: No Buy More this week, which means Morgan gets his own grade again. I’m sure he’d be thrilled. He had some of this week’s funniest moments, including the aforementioned Awesome scene and his hapless spying on Casey. He was even able to help a little, but in the future, I’d like to see Morgan in a more competent role. He doesn’t have to become a super spy—in fact, please no—but it wouldn’t hurt to have a bit more of the stalwart Morgan we saw last week.
Guest Stars: Robert Patrick is really good at being scary (Terminator 2) and really good at kicking ass (The X-Files). On Monday night’s Chuck, he got to do both as Casey’s former mentor and current Ring baddie James Keller. A memorable performance from an actor we just don’t see enough of. Here’s hoping he’ll be back.
Overall Grade: A
Follow TV.com writer Louis Peitzman on Twitter: @LouisAtTVDotCom