By Kate Ward
October 02, 2007 at 04:00 PM EDT

Chuck was back this week, playing every bit the awkward hero we saw on last Monday’s premiere. Though largely expository — and thus, a bit slower than we’d like — this week’s episode still delivered everything that Chuck has promised so far: comedy, drama, and action.

We saw CIA agent Sarah Walker, in her new identity as Chuck’s girlfriend, land a job at a fast-food joint that, naturally, requires her to wear pigtails, a figure-accentuating bodice, and a short skirt. Also, in case you didn’t catch it, this eatery happens to specialize in hot dogs, and is called Wienerlicious. (Insert raunchy junior-high-level joke here). Ridiculous? Yes. Offensive? Kinda. Funny? Jury’s still out on that one.

It would have been far more sensible for Sarah to do what NSA agent Major Casey did: become a new employee at Buy More. Thankfully, Casey’s new post places the character in a new position that will hopefully allow viewers to look past the tough, over-dramatic caricature that many of you found irritating last week. Though lines like, “If it screamed out loud, I’d be right at home” — in which he is referring to the beeps emitted by price-scanning guns — are certainly not helping that cause.

Either way, besides getting to better know our NSA and CIA officers, we also learned that you can’t always trust medical professionals. And that cell phones can be dangerous, even outside of Naomi Campbell’s grasp. (Seriously, why did anyone in this episode get into a car after the first one exploded?) Dr. Jonas Zarnow, a top NSA scientist, was given the assignment to erase the government secrets from Chuck’s brain, but not before giving viewers a taste of what some of those secrets are. We now know, thanks to the humorous picture-association scene, that there was a plot to assassinate President Carter, that there is a Russian spy in the White House,and that an Oceanic Flight 815 was shot down out of the sky (Lost, anyone?).

addCredit(“Chuck: Michael Yarish”)

Chuck’s new talent impressed Dr. Zarnow, who said he could eraseChuck’s knowledge, but apparently not before the his car blew up. Thisnew development, beyond instigating a Jason Bourne-esque fight pittingSarah against Casey — with corndog spokes, plastic forks, and a mop handle— also forced Chuck to be caught in a tug-of-war between the NSA andthe CIA. The waffling continued well into a dinner scene, where CaptainAwesome delivered the best line of the night when asking Chuck’s”girlfriend” Sarah to tell the family about herself: “Turn this up anotch — personal-style.” (Don’t you just want do some extreme sportswith this guy?).

We soon find out that Dr. Zarnow is not only alive and a pretty goodshot with a tranquilizer gun, but is also a victim in the crime ofover-acting (“The hell with honor!”). Sarah is captured and Chuck,along with Casey (who doesn’t kid about quiche), correctly assume thatthe doctor has plans to chopper her away to an undisclosed torturelocation. The pair find the helicopter dock, and Chuck tries to rescueSarah, but not before recognizing Dr. Zarnow as a scientist who sellsU.S. science to North Korea. In the manner of a good Bond villain, thedoctor discloses his plans to sell Chuck to another country, and, tomake a long story short, the whole thing ends with Chuck defeating thebad guy and successfully landing a pilot-less helicopter, thanks toSarah and his experience playing flight simulator. And girl unloadedsome serious ex-boyfriend baggage upon Chuck’s landing, telling him”How could you think I was the double? You know, I’m not Bryce. Brycebetrayed everything I believed in, and if you ever accuse me of thatagain, I will walk away.” Perhaps Chuck is catching on to Sarah andBryce’s former romance — how could he not, after seeing her cry at his funeral?

Overall, the episode was fairly good, but after two episodes spent setting up the story, it’s about time that Chuckfocuses on a plotline not directly related to the title character’snewly established computer-brain. Let’s see Chuck help save the worldwith his knowledge, not just himself. After all, he’s already toldSarah he’s ready to be a hero. Hopefully, next week we’ll begin to seeChuck summoning his inner spy, rather than playing a befuddled sidekickgeek. 

What do you think, PopWatchers? Do you think Chuck needs tovary its plot devices? Did the last few minutes of the show lead you tobelieve that Casey is indeed steppin’ to the bad side? How many of youare Mac people, and thus “It artists”? And were any of you as confusedas I was with the bizarre exchange between Dr. Zarnow and Chuck aboutthe tranquilizer gun: Wide-eyed Dr. Zarnow: “It’s heavier than youthought.” Chuck: “What?” Dr. Zarnow: “The gun. It’s heavy.” Silence.Cue fight.