Spoilers for "Chuck" coming up just as soon as I sharpen the knife in my shoe...
For a long time, the NBC promo department was unsurpassed at two things: 1)Getting better-than-expected (or sometimes deserved) tune-ins for shows, and 2)Ruining all the big surprises for the people who tuned into those shows. Based on NBC's perennial cellar-dwelling these days, they're not so good at the former anymore, but man do they still kick butt at the latter.
There was a major development (Chuck and Sarah kiss!) and a major surprise (Bryce lives!) at the end of "Chuck Versus the Hard Salami," and of course, the ads ruined both of them with overly-strong hints. Grr. Argh.
Fortunately, the episode's A-story was strong enough that it didn't need to rely on the "Holy crap!" factor, as the writers and actors had a lot of fun with the all-too-brief Chuck/Sarah/Lou love triangle. Among the many things Josh Schwartz proved with "O.C." season one is that he can give good triangle: the Seth/Summer/Anna trio were written well enough that, even though the audience had been geared up to root for Seth and Summer, I think most of us would have been okay had he stayed with Anna longer. Similarly, there were obvious pros and cons to Chuck being with either Lou (beautiful, normal, funny, overtly into him, but someone he'd have to lie to all the time) or Sarah (beautiful, in on the secret, but also scary and still hung up on Bryce) -- which oddly, makes Rachel Bilson the Anna, not the Summer, in this scenario.
I'm not sure what it is about sandwiches that makes them both so good and so funny, but making Lou a sandwich impresario remained an inspired choice -- not so much in the fake orgasm sound gag at the beginning (one of several predictable jokes in the episode; more on that when we get to the Morgan story) than for Chuck making his sandwich order sound like dirty talk. ("This is a hot sandwich, sweetheart. In the reuben family.") I'm going to miss Lou, but it's not like she could never resurface, what with her store being in the same strip mall and the break-up having been fairly amicable.
Meanwhile, I know there's been some debate about what value that Yvonne Strahovski brings to the show -- besides looking great in the Wienerlicious uniform, of course. I had recently concluded that she brought enough dramatically and in chemistry with Zachary Levi that it didn't much matter that she wasn't funny. Turns out, she can be -- at least, in a way that plays off of how good she looks in the Wienerlicious uniform, as her terrifying seduction of Lester may have been the episode's comic highlight. ("What about that movie?") Some actors are inherently funny, while others need material tailored to their strengths. Based on that scene and the "Out of Sight"-esque argument in the car trunk, it looks like the "Chuck" writers may be figuring out what Strahovski's strengths are.
I know there's also been a lot of debate about what value Morgan brings to the show. I've generally been agnostic to favorable about Morgan, with "Chuck Versus the Sandworm" being a symbol of all the good things he can add to the show. This episode was the flip side of that, the first time I actively disliked the Morgan/Buy More portions, which so telegraphed all their punchlines (Morgan wrongfully assumes Anna is telling the guys about the kiss and blabs it himself, Morgan dumps Anna way too soon) that even the NBC promo department couldn't have ruined them any more.
(Again, the A-story had some telegraphed jokes of its own -- see also Lou's crate of smuggled salamis -- but enough good things were going on around them that it didn't matter so much.)
We all figured Bryce would be back sooner or later, so I doubt my jaw would have been on the floor whenever he turned up, but it would have been nice to find out without any help. I wonder if it's a one-time-only return or if he'll be some kind of recurring nemesis.
What did everybody else think?