Chuck: vs. the Alma Mater
October 2, 2014 5:00 PM - Season 1, Episode 7 - Subscribe

When Chuck's former Stanford teacher, who kicked him out of school, is kidnapped, Chuck must face his past by returning to Standford, and recover a disc with information about his past.

Like many genre shows (most notably The X-Files), Chuck seems to have "mystery of the week" episodes and the occasional "mythology" episode where the series' main plot is advanced. After the pilot, Chuck focused largely on "mystery of the week" style episodes, with varying degrees of success. This episode, however, was a mythology episode and it was by far and away the best episode of Chuck I've seen since the pilot.

And whereas sometimes mythology episodes can only advance the plotline by drips and drabs, this episode actually had a good smattering of plot development. We find out that Bryce, who has previously been referred to as "Chuck's most hated person" because he got him kicked out of Stanford, did so to protect Chuck from the CIA, who had wanted to recruit him for something called The Omaha Project (which I'm assuming may or may not be related to Lazlo, who was the previous episode's bad guy). That's a huge development, as after only 7 episodes it turns one of Chuck's most important conflict's on its head. I thought that was cool, especially given as it seemed Chuck and Bryce were once even better friends than even Chuck and Morgan seem to be.

Speaking of Morgan, things are going from bad to worse at the Buy More, with newly promoted Assistant Manager Tang implementing some almost dictatorial workplace policies. What was good here was that Morgan, who I've found to be ever increasingly annoying as each episode went by, managed to handle the problem almost entirely by himself, without Chuck's help. It managed to make him not entirely annoying this week as a result, and I get the sense that "Pudding" will end up being Tang's eventual downfall.

This episode also had a great action scene in which Chuck, not Sarah or Casey, gets to save the day by calling in other recruits from Stanford. This is a nice change from Chuck being a bumbling idiot who needs almost constant saving from Sarah and Casey.

Overall, this is an excellent episode. I'd almost suggest going straight from the pilot to this one if it weren't for the fact that you'd be robbed of some inter-character relationship building as a consequence.
posted by Effigy2000 1 user marked this as a favorite
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