You folks remember where last season’s “Chuck” left off? Because someone should let the “Chuck” showrunners know. Chuck quit the CIA at the end of last season (as a promise to his sister, Ellie), and Morgan inadvertently blew up the “Buy More.” Then, we found out that Chuck’s now deceased father had been working in a secret organization to protect Chuck’s mother for the last 20 years. The implication, at the end of last season, was that Chuck would become the head of this organization; that Buy More would be no more; and that, presumably, the rest of the crew would eventually join this new spy organization, whose mission is to find Chuck’s mother and protect her from bad people. Why she needs protecting is still something of a mystery.
Unfortunately, at least in the opening episode of this season, things are more back to normal than perhaps they should be. Buy More has been rebuilt, and it’s now a fully-functioning CIA headquarters, which has Olivia Dumb as a member agent and member of the Nerd Herd cover. General Beckham is running the CIA and the Buy More, though, so far, Big Mike, The Jeffster, and Lester have not made an appearance (look for them next week when, dollars to donuts, they mistake the CIA headquarters for an actual Buy More and demand their jobs back). Sarah and Casey have returned to spy mission work, only now without Chuck, although that didn’t even last the entire episode. Indeed, not only are things quickly mostly returning to normal, but Ellie — who is now pregnant — again doesn’t know that Chuck has returned to being a spy, essentially resetting her entire storyline (plus a pregnancy), so that we have to spend another agonizing season with her worrying while Chuck is out secretly being a CIA spy, no doubt with Morgan as his sidekick.
Last night’s episode did not have an appearance from Awesome. That is decidedly not awesome.
The only real significant change to the show dynamic is the entrance of Chuck’s mom, Linda Hamilton, who knows that Chuck is looking for her. Chuck’s search not-so-coincidentally intersected with Sarah and Casey’s mission in Russia to recover an gadget that turns off the lights for a three mile radius (a giant fucking clapper), which is what brought Chuck back into the CIA fold (after a silly contrivance involving texting). In the end, however, after Chuck, Sarah, et. al., escaped from the bad guys in Russia, it was Linda Hamilton — sporting some serious Terminator action — who cold-bloodedly disposed of the villains, including one of whom was played by Dolph Lundgren.
In short: Linda Hamilton, Olivia Munn, and Dolph Lundgren made guest appearances, and most of last night’s episode worked the series arc backwards. This is apparently what happens when NBC pulls its finger off the cancellation button: The showrunners become content, comfortable to continue doing the same things over and over.
In other mysteries: Does Olivia Munn have more than one expression?