Oh, Chuck. After last night's episode, now I know that you're definitely heading somewhere. It's just that I'm not sure I like where that somewhere might be. Why must you torment me so? Spoilers!
I'll give the makers of Chuck this - They definitely zig when I'm expecting them to zag. The return of Cole Barker, British superspy who acknowledges his influence by telling his torturers that his name is "Bond, James Bond" when we first saw him this week, wasn't used for cheap "will they, won't they" soap operatics between Chuck and Sarah as I'd been expecting, but instead an excuse for Sarah to finally just come out and tell someone that she has feelings for Chuck.
Similarly, the "Chuck isn't moving in with Morgan after all" B-plot didn't give us the "Chuck lets Morgan down again" moment it seemed to be heading towards, but instead let Anna take over and move in with Morgan... giving him the life that Chuck wants with Sarah. Holy plot and character development that surprise, make sense and advance the overall character arcs of the season!
All of that, mind you, was secondary to the episode's main story, which saw Team Intersect discover that Fulcrum has hoodwinked scientist Howard Busgang (played by everyone's favorite, Robert Picardo) into thinking that he's working for the government instead of a shady bunch of terrorists who claim that they're patriots working for the good of America... All would be usual Chuckery, if it wasn't for the revelation that Busgang helped create the intersect, leading to an obsessed Chuck trying to save Busgang because he's convinced that he's the key to getting the intersect out of his head.
He fails, of course - and sadly, because I kind of wanted Picardo to stick around - but not before Busgang reveals that the mysterious "Orion" may be able to help Chuck, because Orion created the idea of the intersect in the first place and gathered all the other scientists together to make it happen. The episode ended - post Chuck telling Sarah that he was in love with her and her not saying anything because she is crazy and you can't have a Chuck without some soap operatic dumbness - with Chuck looking at a whiteboard of paranoia that he's made, trying to map out all the connections and people behind his current situation.
The introduction of Orion makes me a little nervous, I have to admit. On the one hand, I like that it feels as if we're definitely going to meet Orion (whoever he or she is) before the end of the season, if only to give closure to the question of whether Chuck is stuck like this forever that's been coming up with increasing regularity and urgency as the season goes on... But on the other, I can't quite shake the feeling that Orion suddenly being mentioned just before we're about to meet Chuck's father isn't exactly a coincidence, and that idea worries me greatly. While this show willingly gets fans like me to suspend disbelief on a lot of things, if we're going to be told that Chuck's dad invented the thing that "accidentally" ended up in Chuck's brain... Well, that's where we end up in Alias territory for real, and I think about checking out for awhile.
Of course, that may just be my own brand of paranoia, and even if it's not, we've got awhile before those episodes - two weeks before the next episode at all, in fact, and that's the one where Tricia Helfer shows up to replace Sarah and prove that there's life after BSG and Burn Notice. Personally, I can't wait.