Chuck Is on an Honor Roll

Chuck star Zachary Levi directed the show last night. The result? “Chuck vs. the Beard” was easily the best of the season. It incorporated all our favorite characters in a blend of action and comedy that will change the series as we know it. Or at least, seriously boost Morgan’s role. Let’s review.

Spy Training: Much to everyone’s concern, Chuck found himself unable to flash after last week’s Rafe Gruber incident. Kind of a big deal, especially given that Sarah, Casey, and Shaw were off on a Ring-created diversion while the bad guys captured Chuck and Morgan at Castle. Yep, Morgan. Guess who’s finally in on the secret. With Morgan by his side, Chuck proved he could have a heart and be a kick-ass spy. Finally!
Grade: A

The Handlers: Sarah, Casey, and Shaw were too busy being led on a wild goose chase to be of much assistance this week. I did, however, like Sarah pointing out that part of being a good spy means not killing someone who's given a couple years of his life to the U.S. government. Not cool, Agent Shaw. Not cool.
Grade: B

The Romance: You want romance? With Chuck’s performance anxiety, Morgan’s exciting new intel, the spies’ misguided mission, and the Buy More’s last stand (see below), there was hardly any time for smooches. We did get a brief but lovely admission from Agent Bartowski that yes, he still loves Sarah. Sweet, hopeful, and inspired by Morgan—what more could you ask for?
Grade: A-

Ellie and Awesome: It looked as though Awesome would be involved with this week’s mission, but he was actually a decoy to get the Ring access to Castle. No worries, except for the fact that Awesome found himself majorly freaked. At first, I was concerned that Awesome’s skittishness and terrible lying skills would only be played for comic relief. But then he suggested to Ellie that they join Doctors Without Borders (and basically get the hell outta Dodge). Could this mean a prolonged absence from the series?
Grade: A

Morgan: Yes, Morgan gets his own grade this week. Because Morgan is also awesome. When he learned there was a CIA base under the Buy More that'd been infiltrated by Ring operatives, he chose to stay and fight. More awesomely, when he finally learned Chuck’s big secret, he greeted the news with support and enthusiasm. Sometimes I feel like Morgan Grimes is my best friend, too.
Grade: A

Guest Stars: The usually funny Cedric Yarbrough (Reno 911!) and Diedrich Bader (The Drew Carey Show) were solid as undercover Ring agents posing as businessmen taking over the Buy More. But where were the laughs? If you’re going to bring in moderately well-known comedians, give them something to do.
Grade: B-

The Buy More: It was all about the Buy More this week, with the staff believing they were defending the store—and their jobs—against a corporate takeover. I enjoyed the barricade sequences, and Jeffster performing “Fortunate Son” was nearly as cool as Chuck using the Intersect to dominate at "Duck Hunt."
Grade: A

Overall Grade: A


Follow TV.com writer Louis Peitzman on Twitter: @LouisAtTVDotCom

Comments (39)
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Great episode! I loved how Chuck and Morgan stood up for each other. Also loved seeing Jeffster again.
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I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw Zach Levi directed this one! Is there anything that handsome devil CAN'T do?!
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I'm ready to see Sarah expose Shaw for being the Ring double agent she suspects him of being, and knock him off. He's just not doing it for me.
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Well, it looks to me like these actors showed up for rolls and they ended up giving them these cause it was all they had. Or the actors may have been given a choice between serious and comedic rolls and chose the more serious ones.
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I believe this was the best episode ever!! It was non-stop. The whole season has been great, but this one tops it off.
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Best episode in awhile (since season two, actually)!!
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Great, amazing, perfect episode! Loving this new season!
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Great Episode! It made me sad my bro moved away
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I loved it! I loved it! I loved it! Levi did an awesome job directing! can't wait to see more! GO Morgan!!!!
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I was hoping for some Office Space inspired humor with the idea of downsizing. I agree if you specifically bring in comedic actors to work together one should expect some humor. I liked that Morgan is now in the loop. He will take come of the agent out of water in trouble lines that Chuck used to get now that he is becoming "Da Man."
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I also really enjoyed this episode. Nice directing and nice writing. And you just gotta LOVE Morgan - the way he handles the situation; he is the kind of best friend everybody wants to have :D
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Zach's Directorial debut was a huge success. If Chuck makes it to season 4 he should seriously consider directing again.
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Good stuff. Now if they can just get rid of Shaw...
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totally agree, awesome episode!
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I'm going to comment about the fact that just when Chuck might find some happiness, it's jerked away from him. The breakup scene where he's made out to be a liar and a womanizer and then he gets that poor me look on his mug. I'm a little tired of the whole I'm a geek but also a kick ass spy plot line. I thought that the show was begining to grow a little bit but I guess I was wrong. Now Chuck can continue to pine away for Sam and be the victim for awhile longer, yawn.
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I'm so in love with this show, our country needs to broadcast it too
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this show just gets better and better im glad it got a third season cause if it didnt i dont know what id do
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this show just gets better and better im glad it got a third season cause if it didnt i dont know what id do
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very cool
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Yep, that definitely was one of the best. Levi's da man. Glad Morgan's in the know cause he really is a great part of the show. And if they are leaving, by all the gifts in her shop I will miss Ellie and Awesome...
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I LOVE that Chuck gets its own score card every week! So cheers for that!
And the episode was so awesome, i hope it keeps on this road. I loved the limited use of Shaw, its a shame they bought in a new charachter at the expense of the old ones :(
But go CHUCK and Jeffster!
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Am I the only one who things Jeffster needs to do a musical number at least once every two episodes? Maybe three, just to keep it special. (one every episode would be too much and would just get annoying)
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Chuck is a AWSOME show...so far i have loved all of it's episode and always excited for it's next episode...just wish they playing it's episode every day.
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I meant to say Monday's episode was incredible...you can tell where my head is...haha.
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Chuck is an incredible television show. I read in an article in Relevant Magazine (Zachary Levi was on the cover a couple of months ago) that even Steven Spielberg is a fan! Last week's episode was incredible. I can't wait for more!
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Loved it! Loved it!
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Yup!
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extremely entertaining episode. i have watched it twice since it aired, (tivo is the invention equal to sliced bread to the entertainment world), and morgan really played a great role in this episode in particular. props to mr. levi for directing such a great episode!
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Excellent episode! Levi did great!
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it was a very good episode i'm just sad to see awesome and ellie leaving, this only means that that writers are opening space for something big which is cool but still sad to see his go. and did anyone notice this was Zach Levi's [chuck's] DIRECTOR DEBUT!!!!!!!?
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I wondered the same thing too if Ellie and Awesome were leaving the show. With the budget cuts and lack of storyline it makes sense. They could be recurring guest stars. Whatever you need to do to get more awesome guest stars like Superman Shaw and keep Chuck alive another season!!!
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It was the best episode of the series. JEFFSTER!!!
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I think it was a good episode, but if you think its the best of the season ts just because in comparison to the last few episodes this recent one seems amazing. I think its a step forward but not better (especially not "easily" better) than some of the episodes that kicked off season 3
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Saying it was "easily" the best of the season is insane. This season has been AMAZING!
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it was a really good episode. but i miss C & S. Anyone?
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Thought it was a C grade at best..
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Unlike other shows that drag things out forever, it always feels like this show is somehow moving forward. Exception being the Chuck/Sarah thing. How long are they going to drag that out? Ross/Rachel anyone?
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wow well summed up :)
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yeah...you pretty much summed it up. You forgot Jeff saving Casey. Both incredibly weird and hilarious.
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