Yvonne Strahovski was particularly good this week. She played Sarah with a wonderful amount of conflict and conviction as Chuck came across his final spy test.
As I said last week, many of the recent episodes have been carrying a lot of impact and emotional weight. It's been a real treat for fans because most shows normally save this kind of material for the end of the year. But we viewers are being rewarded with the best kept secret on TV: Chuck is delivering season finales every week! Versus The Final Exam was no exception.
It was cute and admittedly standard fare seeing Chuck go undercover solo again. He got a fun fight scene in a sauna, and a humorous eavesdrop scene hanging off the edge of a building window. Basically naked. But the core of the episode was that Chuck needed to make his first kill (something the show has entertained before) and the second half of the show is where things really picked up.
If there's one thing Sarah appreciates about Chuck, it's his innocence, so to speak. She doesn't want him popping that kill cherry, because there's no turning back, you become a different person. Chuck did come on pretty strong in resuming his pursuit of her, (I did love the champagne in the spycase- pimpin) but Yvonne stayed strong, and really sold the emotional complexity of the situation. On the BuyMore front, Casey didn't have time for Jeff and Lester's b.s. and physically assaulted them. It was fun seeing the two boneheads try to fire back with a lawsuit and force Big Mike to do some Casey damage control (the two so few times get to work together). Chuck's Subway restaurant tie-in was all over the place, but I kind of liked it. If this means more tuna/peperoni sandwiches, I say bring it on!
Casey ended up taking Chuck's kill for him- discretely though, because Sarah needed to believe that Chuck pulled the trigger so he could be an official licensed spy. It was great staging to a great climax, and now Chuck has to deal with the phony lie, while Sarah has to believe the man she knew is gone forever. That's a great, character-driven storytelling combo.