Season 3 Episode 16

Chuck Versus the Tooth

Aired Friday 8:00 PM May 10, 2010 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
442 votes

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Episode Summary

When Chuck has a series of disturbing dreams about Beethoven and Zamibia just as the Zamibian President is about to visit a Beethoven concert, he thinks the Ring may be trying to kill the President. General Beckman thinks otherwise and sends Chuck to see a CIA therapist. Meanwhile, Devon and Ellie are back at home after Devon's supposed Malaria infection, and Anna Wu shows up unexpectedly at the Buy More.moreless

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    After a couple of the best episodes yet, 'Chuck Versus the Tooth' is not very satisfying. The story is unconvincing in two key regards. Firstly, as Chuck begins having nightmares about an assassination plot, Beckman fails to believe him and sends him to a psychoanalyst, which ultimately leads to his institutionalisation. Given that he has the intersect, it's seems likely that he WOULD have flashes both when he's awake and when he's asleep, and that during sleep they would manifest as nightmares. In that case, his intel would be taken seriously, and if it proved false, he would be assigned a team of CIA specialists to examine the effects of the intersect on his brain, NOT a psychoanalyst, who encourages Chuck to talk about his father (incidentally, his father also seems like an ideal candidate to fix Chuck's intersect glitch, but no one mentions the possibility of tracking him down). It's also hard to believe that both Sarah and Casey end up despairing over Chuck instead of believing him.

    Secondly, it's hard to believe that Ellie is so naive in this episode. When a creepy man pursues you from Africa, sneaks up on you in an electronics store and says "I'm actually here to see you. Can we go somewhere and talk for a bit? Somewhere private?" you say NO THANK YOU I WOULD NOT LIKE TO GO SOMEWHERE PRIVATE. When that man meets you on a park bench in the middle of the night, presents CIA credentials and tells you your father is in trouble AND he needs your help, but that you can't tell anyone about it, you go home and you TELL EVERYONE ABOUT IT. It's not plausible that Ellie would believe that this lone creepy stranger is a CIA agent, and happily accept that her brother's friend, neighbour and colleague John Casey is a bad guy. Nor is it plausible that a trained doctor would be so naive when it comes to meeting strange men in dark places and cooperating with them. All in all, this whole episode feels a bit like a nightmare, with Chuck - who was so happy in the last two episodes - suddenly schlepping around in a robe in a mental asylum, and Ellie unwittingly spoiling everything, handing over the secret location of her father to someone she meets in a darkened alley.

    There are some redeeming feature of this episode. The adorable Anna makes a reappearance; Sarah and Casey's ultimate loyalty is heartwarming; there's a great comic scene in the asylum, when inmate "Merlin" and his friends suddenly remember their spy skills; and the storyline segues into a new and exciting direction for the season, in which Shaw re-emerges as Chuck's nemesis and all of Chuck's friends and family are inspired to pull together and save the day.moreless
  • Spies Like Us

    As we speak I'm putting together a loop clip of Chuck shooting Shaw a billion times as he bloodily falls into the courtyard fountain. I think I'll make it my screensaver. Man, I hate Brandon Routh! This violent image was only just a dream, but it would trigger the events of this episode, where Chuck believes that an assassination will happen at a concert. My problem is we've seen this plot on Chuck before (several times), and even with the twist of his possible insanity, the way that his colleagues didn't believe him, and the way that he turned out in the end, to in fact be right, all just felt too cliched. Here's a basic summation of the episode:

    Chuck- "Someone is going to be killed, we have to stop it!"

    Friends- "We don't believe you, you're overstressed."

    Chuck- "Maybe you're right, I'm loosing it!"

    Chuck- "Aha! You were wrong! I was right! Whew!"

    This was just too easy a narrative, imo, and I can't help but wonder if this has to do with the tacked-on nature of these extra few episodes.

    But there was still a lot to enjoy, regardless. Morgan continues to entertain, as the only one who would stand by Chuck. Anna Wu returned, and though I would have liked them to give her more to do, I was pleased with the way Morgan maturely rejected her.

    Ellie is finally getting some spy action of her own! That Justin dude from Africa dropped by and claims to be CIA. He's got her wrapped up in her father's business, and she discovered guns at Casey's pad. Now Ellie needs to keep some secrets of her own from Devon and Chuck, and it's great to see her plotline stepping it up. All the buildup to leaving for Africa only to have them back home a week later is kind of funny to me, though.

    The biggest spin of the episode, is the idea that the intersect is starting screw with Chuck's mind. This is an AWESOME idea, but for now, I like the concept better than the execution. Chuck saw a shrink and guest star Christopher 'Doc Brown' Lloyd was pretty sweet. There were even nods to 'One Flew Over the Coo Coo's Nest', (which Lloyd was in) as Chuck was taken to a mental facility about his problem. The whole thing was Chuck flashed on a tooth of one of the African scientists, which was carrying tons of information. I think it would have been more interesting and more daring if he was actually WRONG, and that the intersect was throwing him mentally off. But this isn't about how I would make the epiosde. This is about how the episode, as is, works, and for what it is, it's standard Chuck fare that we've grown to know and love. Speaking of love, Sarah can't seem to say "I love you" back to Chuck, and once again, I think it would have been more interesting and daring, if she DIDN'T say it. At least not so soon. She gave in by episode's end, making that subplot also feel a bit easy. I would have liked if she saved her "I love you" for a bigger moment in the new finale. It would have more resonance. But again, it is what it is.moreless
  • The truth is on the tooth.

    Another great episode, but very strange at the same time. It leaves me with some serious doubts in the following episodes which concerns me a little bit.

    Let's see, where to start ... OK, starting with not principal stuff. What's wrong with Casey? He is being as human as we never have seen him. Lucky that he still has its moments of hard guy indeed.

    Then, Morgan ... he has matured, rejecting Anna twice, even three times. He needs to mature a little more and for sure he will become a CIA agent.

    And now, the main course, but I think we have two or three main courses being cooked right now, all three very interesting topics.

    1a- Chuck. He has me very worried. At least this time his dream was right, but what about Shaw? How can he be alive? Chuck shooted him in the chest and Shaw fell several feet into the river. If he is alive, what are we are going to see now?

    1b- Chuck. Serious-mental-deterioration? Time will tell, but he is starting to lie to Sarah and things could be heating up in this one, because he is in danger right now -as so the series-.

    3 - Ellie. She knows where her father is, as we figured out the intentions of the Ring, but what now: going for "Daddy" and...try to build a new intersect?

    Finally, just say good nod to the writers at Christopher Lloyd, mostly because Chuckhe kept telling him "Doc".

    Also, keep a close up to Devon and Ellie, because SHE thinks Casey is bad and HE knows Casey is good. This is going to explode someday.moreless
  • Everyone's going crazy.

    Suspicion emerges when Chuck starts having strange dreams, and he thinks those dream are warning signs for what's going to happen in the future. Everyone thinks that his brain is deteriorating from the intersect. Sarah stays on Chuck's side every step of the way even after he was wrong... twice. Chuck, of course ends up being right about these "visions" and Sarah & Casey come to save the day in the end. Meanwhile Ellie finds out that Casey is a spy from Justin. He warns her about him, which only means trouble since it's obviously a setup. You think everything is dandy, especially when Sarah says she loves Chuck. Then we find out Chuck is in danger, medically. His brain IS deteriorating because of intersect, he keeps it from Sarah when he has another dream warning that Shaw is still alive. Wow, a lot to take in with that cliffhanger. Anna returns to get Morgan back, but Morgan rejects her. I wanted Anna to stick around, oh well. Good episode with a great cliffhanger.moreless
  • In the verge of going boring

    The 3rd season is twofold: Ring non-linked episodes are great, Ring connected episodes are dull.

    Chuck Versus the Living Dead was brilliant - you know: that special mix of fun, drama, romance and action. Chuck Versus the Tooth falls flat - the Ring here, the Ring there, and the Ring again. Everyone run crazy in this episode. Rather boring.

    The writers seem looking for ideas, and the last one is to play with the Ellie-Awesome couple, with a real/false CIA agent telling Ellie to spy on John Casey and call her father. And Anna is doing a come-back!

    I'm afraid there'll be no more material for the next season.moreless
Zachary Levi

Zachary Levi

Charles "Chuck" Irving Bartowski

Yvonne Strahovski

Yvonne Strahovski

Sarah Walker

Joshua Gomez

Joshua Gomez

Morgan Grimes

Ryan McPartlin

Ryan McPartlin

Devon "Captain Awesome" Christian Woodcomb

Scott Krinsky

Scott Krinsky

Jefferson Barnes

Vik Sahay

Vik Sahay

Lester Patel

Christopher Lloyd

Christopher Lloyd

Dr. Leo Dreyfus

Guest Star

Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs

Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs

President Jakaya Kuti

Guest Star

Allan Louis

Allan Louis

Dr. Martin Kowambe

Guest Star

Bonita Friedericy

Bonita Friedericy

General Diane Beckman

Recurring Role

Julia Ling

Julia Ling

Anna Melinda Wu

Recurring Role

Scott Holroyd

Scott Holroyd

Justin Sullivan

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • Beethoven's "Symphony #9 In D Minor" and "Ode to Joy" are the same piece of music, "Ode to Joy" being the name of Schiller's poems, whose words became the lyrics in the final movement of the 9th Symphony. So Chuck's dream was accurate.

    • This is the first time that we see possible side-effects of the Intersect. It'll remain one of the main focuses of the next seasons.

    • Goof: When the orchestra is performing and the camera focuses on two violin players it is clearly visible that the violin bows are not touching the strings.

    • Ellie: (On the phone) Are you sure you want the box set of ER? (Giggles slightly) Right, but all 15 seasons? (Pause) Yeah, I know Devon, it's the best show ever.
      The box set Ellie is holding only contains 12 seasons. In the United States, at the time of the airing of this episode, only seasons 1 through 12 of ER had been released on DVD. Season 13 was released on July 6, 2010. The DVD release dates of seasons 14 and 15 had not even been announced yet.

    • President Zuti's country Zamibia is fictional, but its name appears to be a combination of the names of two real African countries: Zambia and Namibia.

    • Featured Music:
      "Ode To Joy" by Ludwig van Beethoven (Chuck's dream)
      "Right Round" by Flo Rida (Anna shows up)
      "Symphony #9 In D Minor" by Ludwig van Beethoven (At the concert)
      "Jackie Wants A Black Eye" by Dr. Dog (Morgan wants to know about Chuck)
      "Here's Looking At You, Kid" by The Gaslight Anthem (Closing scenes)

  • QUOTES (17)

    • Chuck: I've been having these very, very vivid dreams, okay? First, I saw the news report on Kuti, the president of Zamibia, but then in my dream, I saw Beethoven. And then Shaw was there, and he was delivering Zamibian food. And then he tried to kill everyone! (confidently) So, obviously, the Zamibian president is going to be assassinated by the Ring at the Beethoven concert.
      Casey: General, permission to slap Bartowski? He had a bad dream.

    • Sarah: I love you. It shouldn't have taken me this long to say it but I've never felt this way. Before you, the only future that I could think about was my next mission but now, all I can think about is a future with you. I love you, Chuck.
      Chuck: I love you, too.

    • Sarah: You don't understand. He's not like other people. He is... incredibly special.
      Dr. Dreyfus: Especially to you, I gather.
      Sarah: He needs to be ok. I... I need him to be ok. I'd like to go to the hospital tonight and talk to him. Try and figure this out and help him somehow, you know? Please? I love him.
      Dr. Dreyfus: Ever tell him that?
      Sarah: Please, Doctor, I'm begging you.
      Dr. Dreyfus: You are not the only one. (He opens the door to reveal Casey)

    • Chuck: God, I can't believe this is happening.
      Dr. Dreyfus: It's happening, Chuck. Disturbing as it may be, you're currently a patient in a psychiatric institution. Best come to terms with that sooner than later.
      Chuck: Wow. You really know how to make a guy feel better about his situation, Doc.

    • Lester: I'm just gonna say it: I need a woman. It's been far too long, Jeffrey. A man has needs.
      Jeff: So what's the plan?
      Lester: I will be hitting on all the applicable women in Electronics, DVDs, and all around the entrances, and the emergency exits.
      Jeff: You're leaving me Home Appliances? It's full of lumpy housewives. My favorite.
      Lester: You're welcome.

    • Anna: Hi, guys. Long time, no smell.
      Jeff: She remembered our smell.

    • Lester: Well, I hate to be the one to tell you this--I don't really--but Morgan is in, a, umm...a very bad place.
      Anna: Oh, my God, is he okay?
      Jeff: No. He's focused, responsible, driven. Pains me to see a man end up like that.
      Lester: It's pathetic.

    • Devon: Okay. Okay, Casey has some serious guns. Is that creepy, yes? Is that illegal...sadly, no.

    • Chuck: I was right. I was right. Well, I was, I--I was wrong, clearly I was wrong, but I was right! This is great news! This is great news! That means I'm not crazy!
      Kowambe: Yes. It also means, as soon as you tell me where you got your information--and rest assured, you will tell me--you are going to die.
      Chuck: No, that's not great news at all. That's a giant needle--bad, bad. Colored liquid even worse.

    • (Chuck talking to the therapist)
      Chuck: My girlfriend just moved in with me. Best part of my life. Really, rock solid relationship. Not a problem there. (A moment later) You know, she's a little distant...she could be more communicative though...but she doesn't exactly say "I love you" back...I've never really done this before...even though I know that she loves me, I'm just, you know, just kind of noting it. Because I know. I know that she loves me. I know that.

    • (Chuck talking to the therapist)
      Chuck: This wasn't my idea, you know. So no, I don't really want to talk about anything to be perfectly honest. (Pause) Despite your sparkling conversation skill. (Pause) That was a joke. I was just...just going to town on that pad, aren't you? Just a little joke. Okay fine, I'll talk.

    • Chuck: General, the Ring is going to try and kill the president of Zamibia at the Beethoven concert tomorrow night.
      Casey: Tomorrow night? You couldn't have done this in the morning? You know how dear my sleep is to me, Bartowski.

    • (Chuck and Sarah are watching TV)
      Chuck: Hey, jackpot!
      Sarah: Oh no, no, no. You've made me watch this before. This is ridiculous.
      Chuck: Sarah, please, you could learn a lot from spies like these.
      Sarah: Are you kidding me? Look at these people, they're breaking about seventeen different rules of protocol.
      Chuck: Sweetheart, I'm not actually implying that you could learn anything about being a spy from Chevy Chase or Dan Akroyd, I was just simply making a joke. Remember? Jokes?

    • Chuck: You came back for me.
      Sarah: I'll always come back for you.

    • Anna Wu: You've changed, Morgan. I want you back.
      Morgan: Wow. Really? If it took me running from you to realize that I'm somebody you want, then I don't really think that you're the person that I want. So, yeah, you're right. I have changed.

    • Chuck: Now remember, Morgan, my code name is Charles Carmichael.
      Morgan: Yeah. Yeah. I got it. I got it. Mine's Cobra. Okay, let's do this.
      Chuck: Great. I'm on a mission with Cobra. Maybe I am going crazy.

    • Jeff: It is Anna Wu. I knew the day she left to break Morgan's heart, she'd come back to break mine.

  • NOTES (3)


    • Christopher Lloyd's character name of "Leo Dreyfuss" is most likely a reference to the film What About Bob? where Richard Dreyfuss played psychiatrist Dr. Leo Marvin.

    • There is a large Native American man pushing a broom behind Chuck and Doctor when Chuck is first brought into the psychiatric ward.

      This is a reference to Chief Bromden from One Flew Over the Cuckcoo's Nest by Ken Kesey. Bromden, a patient in a psychiatric ward, is nicknamed Chief Broom because of his tendency to sweep.

    • Morgan: Listen. Fear is the mind killer.

      This is a fragment of the Litany Against Fear from the Dune book series by Frank Herbert.

    • Sarah: It's official, there is absolutely nothing on TV.
      Chuck: Yeah, Monday nights can be a bit of a wasteland.

      This quote is really a bit of an inside joke referring to the difficulties this show has had to succeed. Some argue that if the show were aired on a different day, it would be more successful. At the end of the second season, this show was actually set to be canceled, but a rally of support from fans and a publicity event held by cast members and a primary sponsor, Subway, proved to be enough to keep the show on the air for this third season.

    • Chuck (Zachary Levi) continually refers to Dr. Leo Dreyfus (Christopher Lloyd) as simply "Doc" throughout the episode.

      Christopher Lloyd is very well known for his role as Dr. Emmett Brown in the Back to the Future trilogy (1985, 1989, 1990). In these movies, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) regularly refers to Dr. Emmett Brown as just "Doc".