I have been following it since its inception. While in winter hiatus, I was surprised to learn both that a) the show had been generally struggling to find an audience, and b) found its audience as recently as December as bloggers et al started playing up its praises.
So NBC uses the promotional vehicle of the Super Bowl to put Chuck into overdrive, since it seems worth their airtime investment now. So they slap on some 3-D hype to take it up a notch further. But there's something about Super Bowls that turn everything good into rubbish. To quote The Simpson's Comic Book guy: "Worst episode EVER."
The big problems were in the script. It was about as contrived as I have ever seen this show. And where there are often redeeming clever moments, almost none could be found in this episode.
Start with special guest star Dominic Monaghan exhuming his Charlie Hume rockstar persona (which was never that convincing to begin with) from "Lost". Add robotic interplay and dialog between the characters. Add forced mayhem on a hotel elevator, complete with a pretty routine stunt where the director could not be bothered to hide the black nylon knee straps securing the stunt man to the glass elevator. Even the supposed international incident of a rock star being blown up (by unconvincing bad guys, no less) lacked much of the usual mystique and intrigue behind a typical Chuck mission.
The show mostly came off as a bad self-parody. And even bad TV series really don't start this hard down the self-parody road until at least season 3.
Trying to think of anything redeeming, the writers did not drag out the usual "missed important personal conversation" routine (between Chuck and Sarah re: a certain shooting), though they came close. But when they did put an end to it at the conclusion of the show, it came off as a murky, less-than-meaningful, unresolving cop-out. The "revelation" seemed to change little between either character.
And the sophomoric stunts back at the Buy More were at some of their gross-out worst. The audience to show capable of being this clever deserves more than to be bludgeoned with eating contests and consuming urinal cakes.
This episode needed more of the rational influence of Chuck's sister, Ellie, and less self-indulgence as a second-rate nod to Tom Green. John (Adam Baldwin) was about the only character to escape from this show with some dignity in tact still.
Hopefully the producers of Chuck have not pulled an on-air Budd Dwyer in their first big chance at the spotlight. And hopefully with the Super Bowl dementia cleared away, it can get back to its old, good habits.