Post Game: S03E04 Chuck Versus Operation Awesome

Post Game: CHUCK S3E02

It’s a rare week on Chuck when either the title character, or gorgeous superspy Sarah, isn’t the first face you see, but this week it was Devon “Awesome” Whitcomb, Chuck’s brother-in-law, who appeared first. Being dangled off a skyscraper roof while strapped to a chair by another pretty female spy, Awesome finds himself accused of being a “world-class spy,” and can’t convince his captor, guest-star Angie Harmon, otherwise.

Back at Castle, Chuck is freaking out while Casey and Sarah use their computers to look for Awesome and wait for news. Ellie is outside freaking out, and the team keeps telling Chuck that he has to go to the Buy More and calm down.

At the Buy More, Big Mike is meeting with Morgan and offering him the assistant managership of the store back (he had it when Milbarge was in charge and inadvertently was the one who got Big Mike fired, if you remember). Morgan was ready to blow it off until Mike told him that he believes in him.

When Jeff and Lester, in the middle of an argument between themselves, pawn a needy customer off on Chuck, he becomes distracted by the arrival of Sarah and she starts berating him in a foreign language; when he flashes and suddenly can speak the language, and tells her that if she doesn’t leave him alone he may have to hurt her, she runs away making panicked noises. With the customer gone, Jeff and Lester return to ask Chuck whether Jean-Claude Van Damme or Steven Seagal would win in a fight. When Lester starts playfully striking at Chuck with his faux-aikido maneuvers, Chuck flashes and kicks Lester in the face, sending him flying and knocking him out.

Sarah decides to steal Chuck away from the Buy More, telling him that the last patient Awesome saw at the hospital was a Ring operative. Just as Chuck becomes convinced that Awesome is either dead or being tortured, and starts to freak out, Awesome enters the Buy More…but when Chuck starts telling him that it’s great to see him, etc., etc., Awesome interrupts him to tell him that he’s in trouble—that The Ring think he’s Chuck, basically.

Back at Castle, Beckman is on the screen telling the team that the woman who had Awesome captive is the leader of a Los Angeles-based Ring cell. Awesome had been given a Ring communicator with which his captor said that she would contact him, and Beckman says that the NSA has experimental cracks to listen in on the device, which they’ll be using during the mission. They say that Awesome can’t go home yet, but that the only way to get he and Ellie out of it safely is to find and capture Sydney Price (Angie Harmon), as apparently it’s her usual m.o. not to compromise a potential recruit to her superiors until she knows whether or not they can be useful.

In other words, Price is the only one who knows who Awesome and Ellie are at this point and if Awesome pretends to be a spy who’s willing to work for The Ring, they can capture Price before she shares the information.

Back at the store, Morgan tells Chuck that he’s accepted the assistant manager position and while Chuck is telling him that he’s proud of him for stepping up, Jeff and Lester approach. Lester says that he got a rush from the sensation of being kicked unconscious, and hadn’t felt like such a man since his bar mitzvah. Jeff, who hasn’t ever had a bar mitzvah, says to Chuck, “I want you to hit me as hard as you can.” Chuck, declaring the pair insane, flees to go tend to see Awesome. In the background of the shot, you can see Lester punching Jeff in the face.

When they arrive at the apartment, Awesome tries to tell Ellie a simple lie about where he’s been missing the last day or so, but it begins to snowball out of control until Ellie doesn’t believe a word of it and thinks she’s being made a fool of. Chuck intercedes on Awesome’s behalf, changing the story so that Casey was arrested for being drunk and exposing himself, and Awesome had spent the morning dealing with some cop friends to try and get him out of jail. Just as Ellie decides she believes this version, Casey arrives and Ellie whisks Awesome inside.

Back at the store, several of the regular extras who play Buy More employees arrive at work bruised and/or wearing sunglasses; Morgan sighs and approaches Jeff, who starts to tell him that “The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club,” complete with a score that matches part of the Fight Club film; Lester cuts him off, forbidding him from talking to “management” about their extracurricular activities.

At Casey’s apartment, which seems to be getting a lot more mileage this season, the team is discussing what to do when and if Price calls Awesome, when Awesome comes to the door with a clutch purse, saying that she had called, that the purse is hers and that she’ll be calling again in five minutes. The team hustles Awesome inside and his Ring smartphone goes off; he answers and she instructs him to open the clutch and put on the Bluetooth earpiece and communicator watch, which he can use to communicate with Price and she can use to track him. He does so, completes the conversation, and is told that if he deviates from her instructions in any way, or tries to remove the headset, it will explode.

Outfitted with a watch that Chuck has marked “good guys,” (as opposed to Price’s, which he’s marked “bad guys”), Awesome can talk to Team Bartowski without being heard by The Ring; he’s told that they’re tracking his communications and once he’s opened a conversation with Price, they should be able to track her down, take her in and end the whole thing; he keeps looking to Chuck for confirmation and encouragement that the plan will work, which forces Casey and Sarah to remind Chuck that he has to be a spy on this one, and put his concerns aside so that Awesome hears that confidence and doesn’t melt down. Price comes on the line and tells Devon to enter a building and go to a penthouse on the 12th floor; she tells him that there’s pretty extensive security, but nothing he can’t handle. She hangs up, not giving the team enough time to trace the call, and so Chuck has to enter the building through the basement and help Awesome into the penthouse himself.

A burly security man comes to Awesome, introduces himself as Julius and asks him if he’s looking for someone. Some wires get crossed and Julius thinks that Awesome is there to meet Chuck for an affair; as he starts dispensing romance tips, Chuck tranqs him from behind, steals his ID and leads Awesome up the stairs. Using Julius’ card to get them through the building, the pair arrive on the 12th floor, where Chuck has to tranq another half-dozen security men before Awesome’s earpiece goes off again. This time, Price tells him to enter the penthouse by cutting out one of the security men’s eyes and using it to beat a retinal scan (probably makes more sense to a badguy who thinks he would have killed them all), but Chuck helps Awesome lug one of the giant men over to the machine and hold his eye open instead. Inside the room, there’s a bank of computers and a huge CIA logo on the floor. When Chuck tries to contact Sarah via his watch to ask what’s going on, the signal is jammed; Sarah and Casey can’t get in, either, but they’ve tracked Price’s signal—she’s walking along behind their vehicle in the parking garage. Before they can get out to apprehend her, though, the computers and doors in their vehicle all go into lockdown mode and Beckman comes onscreen to tell them they’re to stand down. When Sarah suggests that if it’s a CIA facility Chuck has penetrated, it must be some kind of setup, Beckman just confirms that opinion and signs off.

Price, moving through the building, tells Awesome that he’s to find a man at the end of the corridor he’s in, and kill him. Devon starts to freak out but Chuck tells him to stay calm, stay close and nobody will get killed. Chuck approaches the man (Brandon Routh, of “Superman Returns” and “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” fame, who’s signed on for five episodes this season), who easily identifies Chuck as Chuck and tells him that he’s a man who knows things—about the good guys, and the bad guys. Routh jams a gun into Chuck’s hands, swallows a red capsule and demands that Chuck kill him. He puts the gun to an exact spot on his chest and keeps telling Chuck it’s the only way, but Chuck won’t listen; finally he takes the gun, gives Chuck a note (which he’s to hide, and read after Price leaves) and shoots himself in the chest, telling him, “The truth is, I hate guns, too.” Hearing the gunshot, Awesome runs around the corner and checks the man’s pulse; there is none. Chuck hears Price coming, reminds Awesome that HE shot the man, and runs to hide in a corner.

Price enters, sees the dead man, and asks Awesome for the gun and his watch. She checks the corpse for the bullet and a pulse, and, satisfied, stands to take Awesome’s watch (which he’s still struggling to get off). She takes the watch, the gun, the earpiece off of his head, and welcomes him to the Ring. She tells him to keep the phone and they’ll be in touch. As she leaves, Chuck opens up the note, which says that the drug was Amiadrone (something that stops the heart temporarily), and to use a first-aid kit in the man’s desk to save him. Awesome does so, and when he wakes up, Routh’s character tells them his name is Shaw.

For those with a short memory, that’s the guy who was in Beckman’s office, making her whine like a little girl a couple episodes back.

Back at Castle, Beckman explains to the team that Shaw is in complete charge of their group anytime there’s a Ring-centric operation happening, much to Casey’s dismay. Shaw has been briefed on all aspects of their mission, and so he knows about the Intersect. He starts handing out dossiers, but is interrupted by Chuck who’s worried about Awesome. The rest of the team gangs up on Chuck, saying that now that Awesome is a mole, his only chance is to keep playing spy until they kill Price; Chuck says that’s unacceptable, and Shaw asks him if he’s got a better idea…!

Back at the Buy More, Morgan can’t find employees on the floor. Neither can customers, as evidenced by the background extras. Cut to the storage cages, where there’s an employee Fight Club in session. Lester is using a car battery hooked up to the storage cage to zap anyone who tries to get out when it’s their turn to fight. Morgan enters and, after some shouting and persuasion, convinces them to break it up and head back into the store—but Lester, in a pair of big Tyler Durdenesque glasses, tells him it’s not over.

At Ellie and Awesome’s, Chuck takes Awesome’s Ring smartphone and takes it back to the storage cage, where he’s tampering with it when Morgan comes in to ask him for help. As he’s using a laptop to rebuild the smartphone’s operating system, he advises Morgan to ruminate on the Fight Club problem, find its weak points and not be afraid to attack it head-on. Morgan gets an idea, thanks Chuck and leaves; Chuck calls Price, and when she demands to know who he is and how he opened the circuit, Chuck tells her that he’s the spy who killed Agent Shaw. He says that Awesome was a decoy and that he’s in charge of the mission now.

Waiting for Price at the Buy More, Chuck calls Sarah and Casey for backup; as Price arrives, though, Shaw gets on the line and tells Chuck that he’s going to have to do it himself. Price enters with four goons, who flank him. Wanting to help, Casey and Sarah end up being held by Shaw at gunpoint, who won’t let them leave. When Price tells Chuck that she’ll only believe he was the spy who killed Shaw as long as he can take down two of her guys, Chuck has trouble flashing and runs. Seeing him in danger on their screens, Sarah tells Shaw she’s going in and he can shoot her if he wants; he moves to do so, but Casey is faster and forces him to drop his guns before following Sarah up the stairs.

While the cavalry is coming, Chuck heads for the storage cages with the bad guys in tow. Hiding out in the cage, Chuck hooks up the car battery and knocks out one of the thugs, while two others are engaging Casey in a gunfight and Sarah gets the jump on the last. This sets up roughly the show’s 500th girlfight between Sarah and whatever random hottie happens to be the bad guy this week (this time, Price). Price gets the drop on her, but when she runs back to the front of the room to find where she dropped her gun, Chuck has it trained on her. Being Chuck, of course, he doesn’t pull the trigger right away—so she runs. Ultimately he ends up stopping her out on the loading docks behind the store, and after a protracted argument during which she tells him she doesn’t think he can shoot her, she pulls a knife on Chuck and is about to throw it when Shaw shoots her from behind, reiterating his earlier “I hate guns, but it pays to know how to use one” speech.

Back at Castle, there’s a debate about whether families and friends make spies more vulnerable, or whether sometimes it helps to know you’ve got something to lose. Sarah surprises everyone in the room by siding with Chuck against Shaw, who storms out.

Back at the Buy More, the employees are hassling Morgan; Big Mike tells him that you can’t be afraid to pull the trigger. He goes out onto the floor and fires Lester, who then follows him around begging him to let him stay at the Buy More. Finally, Morgan rehires him but puts him on “double-secret probation,” which Big Mike approves of.

Back at Chuck and Morgan’s apartment, there’s finally furniture, and Morgan has made dinner; Awesome and Ellie have come over for a little housewarming, bringing a bottle of wine with them. Chuck uses the time to tell Awesome that his situation has been taken care of, and that Price is “caught.” There’s only a minor pause for awkwardness when Chuck tells Ellie that he invited Sarah and Casey, too, and Ellie snatches away the bottle of wine that Casey brought for dinner, telling him he’s had enough of it. Chuck and Sarah share an “I’m happy everyone’s here” moment, and as everyone sits down to dinner, the camera pans out to reveal Shaw watching them from Castle. Safely out of view from his subordinates, he takes a wedding ring out of his pocket and puts it on.

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