Chuck: Now With More Fighting Skills!

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It felt like the wait would never end, but Chuck finally returned last night with back-to-back episodes that quickly made up for lost time. Naysayers concerned about the show’s new direction need only look to the first two episodes, which proved that Chuck is still Chuck—even though he can now totally kick your ass. Maybe. Here’s what we learned in “Chuck vs. The Pink Slip” and “Chuck vs. The Three Words.”

The Intersect 2.0 gave Chuck assorted superpowers, but it’s glitchy.
In addition to knocking out bad guys with one punch, Chuck displayed skill in acrobatics, daring escape, and, yes, guitar. But as with the first Intersect, Chuck doesn’t know exactly what's been downloaded to his brain: These spy tricks popped up without warning as Chuck “flashed” on them (a smart move on the part of Chuck’s creative team, who must have realized we don’t want a standard superhero). It’s nice to know that Chuck can screw up a bit before his new powers kick in.

Chuck and Sarah are still not together.
And they may not be for some time. In a flashback, we saw that Sarah asked Chuck to leave the training facility in Prague and run away with her. Chuck—and I can’t believe I’m typing this—chose spying. The revelation was tough for me to accept. At the end of last season, we saw Sarah willing to give it all up when she helped Chuck against orders, so this wasn’t entirely out of the blue. But Chuck has always been all about Sarah. The second episode cleared things up a bit with Chuck’s confession that he continued his spy training because Sarah taught him about the greater good: “I chose to be a spy, because Sarah, I love you.” More believable, I’ll admit, but it didn’t make my heart hurt any less.

The Buy More remains the place to be.
Although they quit their jobs at the Buy More last season, Chuck and Morgan were back in its employ by the end of “Chuck vs. The Pink Slip.” Having government connections helped—as did Emmett’s murder at the hand of a Ring assassin. I wasn’t too sad to see Emmett go, but I will miss seeing Tony Hale on my TV every week. To tell the truth, I was more upset to learn that Anna broke up with Morgan while they were in Hawaii. And it looks like she’s gone for good, as Julia Ling was conspicuously absent from the opening credits.

The Chuck/Morgan bromance is intact.
Now that they’re both single, Chuck and Morgan can finally be (utterly inept) swinging bachelors again. At the end of “Chuck vs. The Pink Slip,” Ellie and Captain Awesome decided they needed more space and moved into a vacant apartment in their building. They were also hoping that giving Chuck a little distance might help him grow up—but they didn’t count on Morgan moving in with him. Can you blame the guy? Morgan was squatting in the Buy More before inviting himself into Chuck's place. I can’t wait to see more of the duo together: Their friendship has consistently been one of the show’s strong points.

Spies are seriously hot.
Not that we didn’t know that already. In addition to the always gorgeous Yvonne Strahovski (Sarah) and the strapping Adam Baldwin (Casey), “Chuck vs. The Three Words” brought back Mini Anden as Sarah’s spy pal Carina. I would love to see more of this character—and not only because she’s played by a stunning Swede. It’s nice to see a female spy who’s fully committed to spying. Because as much as I enjoy Sarah, she seems to crush on her partners suspiciously often. Carina reminded us that not falling in love is the cardinal rule in her profession. Of course, she ended up sleeping with Morgan—but something tells me there wasn’t a lot of love involved in that decision.

Chuck’s emotions are both a liability and an asset.
General Beckman repeatedly told Chuck that in order to be a good spy, he had to leave his emotions behind. (Sarah reiterated this, but she totally cried at the end of “Chuck vs. The Three Words,” so who is she to judge?) Indeed, there were moments when Chuck’s nerves got in the way of his flashing, but at other points—like while trapped in a Mexican prison in “Chuck vs. The Pink Slip”—his feelings for Sarah were what spurred him into action. As the season progresses, I’m sure Chuck will learn to balance his Chuck-ness with his skills. If we’ve learned anything from Star Wars and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it’s that emotions are important, too. Who wants to watch a show about a cold hard killer, anyway? Even Dexter has downtime.

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