Last night's Chuck was, if not a game-changer, then at least a game-clarifier. Now we know exactly what this season is about, and it's something that may make a lot of the good guys into the bad guys. Spoilers!
Weirdly enough, the A-plot of "Chuck Versus Nacho Sampler" ended up seeming less important than everything surrounding it - which, considering that plot was "Chuck's MIT-dropout doppleganger is working for the bad guys and, oh snap, he's built his own Intersect," seems like it should've been a bigger deal. Yes, now we have brand new, non-faulty Intersect technology that makes uploading new skillsets as easy to as putting on a pair of shades (Take that, "Epitaph 2"'s thumbdrive keyrings!)... but apart from a couple of fight sequences, this was played like any other dangerous weapon/mission for the show (Even including a quick trip to Dubai and back, to visit Weap-Con, the world's biggest weapon convention, complete with booth babes and laser pens. I admit it, I kinda want this to be real). Doesn't this, you know, change the entire premise of the show? The episode finished with Manush, the inventor of the Intersect 3.0, in US custody, but - What's to stop the government pressuring him to make lots of Intersects and create an army of spies more capable than Chuck, and just deciding to get rid of the troublesome Mr. Bartowski after all? Hopefully, this'll get followed up sometime soon.
Chuck, meanwhile, is getting a lot more capable on his own, and that was what the episode is really all about: Being A Spy Is Bad. Or, at least, Chuck being a spy is bad. While Morgan and Ellie finally figure out that something is going on - Seriously, shouldn't Morgan, at least, have realized this a long time ago? - Sarah starts getting concerned that Chuck getting so good at all this "spies have no feelings and need to be able to lie and betray everyone" stuff isn't exactly a good thing. I'm not sure how I feel about this: On the one hand, yay for character development for both Chuck and Sarah that sees them swapping places, in terms of morality (and Casey seemingly on the "wrong side" by teaching Chuck bad habits). On the other hand, are we really only being offered the choice of bumbling Chuck who gets the job done by accident/with help and capable Chuck who has managed to suppress all of his sentiment and morals in order to get the job done? Where's the middle ground?
That said, I ended up liking last night's episode more than I'd expected, considering the last couple; outside of the main action, Kirsten Kreuk's Hannah is managing to mess up the BuyMore in just the right way that I'm unsure whether she is a spy or not, and Awesome's slow unraveling is a guilty pleasure to watch. Oh, and there was less Jeff and Lester, which is always a good thing. We're now a third of the way into the season, and know what the rest of it is going to be about. Let's see where everything goes from here.