Steve Heisler over at The A.V. Club had some beef with the most recent episode of Chuck, "Chuck vs. the American Hero." Mostly, those complaints centered on contrivances.
Other critics have discussed the many holes in the spy world Chuck inhabits, and they've all come to the same conclusion: Sometimes it's best not to think about this show too much, and just go along for the ride. It's like a video game spy world, not a real one, and the show is all the more entertaining for it.
I'm fine with that—have been the entire run—but sometimes there are episodes where I can't help but see the flimsy wires holding the show up.
There were two moments in last night's episode that make me think this, anyway. (I'm going to skip the exposition on the narrative, since I haven't ever blogged about this show; for now, I'll assume that you're at the same point in the show that I am.) In reverse chronological order, they are as follows.
1) The tranq gun
Chuck has, at this point, breached the outer defenses of The Ring's compound. He takes cover, steadies his tranquilizer gun, wheels blind around the corner and puts a dart right in the neck of the one gunman at the other end of the hall. "Huh," he soliliquizes, "no flash necessary!" He was able to pull off some nimble gunplay apparently on his own. I say "apparently" because of…
2) The Dr. Jibb machine
Immediate reaction on the Internets to Chuck's flash on the code sequence for the fake soda machine was uniformly negative. "How would the Intersect have had any intel on Ring operations?" Now, I don't have an encyclopedic understanding of Chuck lore, but it seems to me we're being led down a path with all these nuggets of information.
Sarah killed Shaw's wife. Sarah used to be partnered with Bryce. Bryce is the reason Chuck is the Intersect. Bryce wanted to protect Chuck from the government. Bryce was a recruitment target of Fulcrum, a part of The Ring.
I think Chuck is now what Sarah could never fully be: a Ring sleeper agent. The flash on the Dr. Jibb machine was triggered by a part of the Intersect unknown to Chuck and the CIA, and also led to his facility with the tranq gun (and knowing the state of The Ring's defenses) once inside the Ring facility. Sarah, on the other hand, was just used by The Ring back during her red test, when she killed Shaw's wife. Maybe Bryce misled her about her red test, maybe someone else did. But I bet she didnt' kill who the CIA wanted her to kill.
And I bet we're gonna see Chuck and Sarah on the run, but not for love's sake. They're going to be fugitives from both sides.