I'm almost tempted to skip this episode when I rewatch. Though I don't hate Kristin Kreuk, she's supremely annoying in the role of Hannah. She follows Chuck everywhere, trotting around in her 4 inch heels and loosely knotted tie, gazing adoringly at him, grinning and batting her eyelashes. She's a merciless flirt, and it's pretty nauseating to watch. Chuck seems pretty oblivious, although he doesn't mind her throwing herself at him. She's not only pretty superfluous as a plot device, she literally gets in the way. She demands to know why Chuck is always heading out for frozen yoghurt, when frankly it's none of her business, and when Chuck heads off on an install (a cover for a mission), without asking if she can come along, she simply hops in her own car and follows him, announcing "surprise!" She physically corners him in order to kiss him, and then freaks out when his ex-girlfriend turns up, demanding an explanation she's not really owed. She almost ruins the mission by tapping away at her little computer (she's not convincing as a hacker), and is then furious with Chuck for "abandoning" her on her first install, the one she wasn't invited on. She's like a tiny, angry stalker. As if that's not bad enough, it's obvious that Morgan is interested in her, but Chuck ignores this and hooks up with her, purely because she's THERE. She doesn't seem Chuck's type, and she doesn't move the story forward in any way. In fact, you could remove her from this episode altogether and not lose anything.
The burgeoning Shaw/Sarah romance is equally lame ("I have to kiss your neck Sarah - it's part of the job!") but at least that relationship serves a purpose in the rest of the season. The final scene of this episode, in which both couples (Hannah and Chuck, Sarah and Shaw) embrace within a few metres of each other is melodramatic and silly. Suddenly both girls, including the usually kick-*ss Sarah, are damsels in distress dropping in the arms of their big brave boyfriends. Hannah gazes at Chuck and whispers "you saved my life, Chuck!" She looks thrilled to finally have him in her clutches.
I never felt the introduction of these romances was an effective move on the producer's part. Unlike the shipper's who demanded Sarah and Chuck be reunited, I always knew they'd end up together eventually, and I understand that the writers had to spin out the story, throw a few obstacles in the lovers' way and build towards an exciting climax at the end of the season, but I don't find it plausible that Sarah was seduced by Shaw, that she was so cold towards Chuck, or that Hannah, who appeared out of nowhere, was so eager.
None of Chuck's girlfriends are particularly likeable. Jill, Lou and Hannah were all slightly nasty, possessive, jealous and high maintenance. They all went out of their way to throw themselves at Chuck, and then berated him for not being the boyfriend they wanted. Fortunately, Chuck's relationship with Hannah ends as abruptly as it started, but not before she has slept with him and attempted to introduce him to her parents. Shaw and Sarah's relationship would end more colourfully, but it's still nauseating to watch Shaw massaging Sarah's shoulders at the end of the episode, and Chuck and Hannah making out like newly-weds in the media room. Chuck's hasty conversation with Sarah, in which they effectively release each other from their relationship and he wishes her all the best with her new man, is disingenuous and unconvincing.
All in all, I'm glad when this block of poorly written episodes is passed and we can get back to the good stuff.