Spoilers for tonight's "Chuck" coming up just as soon as I find the instruction manual for my house...
"You're under arrest, Jill -- and I'm breaking up with you." -Chuck
As we come to the end of the three-episode Jill arc, it becomes clear that the entire thing was the greatest revenge fantasy ever over the ex who dumped you and broke your heart. Okay, maybe "ever" is hyperbole, but you have to admit that over the course of these three hours, and particularly throughout the second half of "Chuck vs. the Gravitron," Chuck showed Jill that she made a very, very poor choice in breaking up with such an obvious badass.
And the beauty of the episode (written by "Chuck" co-creator Chris Fedak) was that Chuck got to be a badass in a very Chuck way. He can't fight, he's a horrible liar and still prone to panic attacks, but damn if the boy can't read and comprehend an instruction manual like nobody's business. In his mastery of both The Castle and the Nerd Herder, Chuck showed he's not a man you mess with if there are electronics with remote controls within reach.
(In fact, Chuck's domination of Jill and "Leader" in The Castle was so wonderful that I must once again choose to ignore one of the usual "Chuck" plotholes: who designs a super-secret government installation that can be entirely controlled from inside one of the detention cells? Did Michael Scofield draw up the plans?)
In addition to Chuck owning everyone in the closing minutes, this episode also gave us maybe my favorite "Chuck" action sequence to date: Leader chasing Chuck through the titular Gravitron. That is the kind of thing that Fedak, Schwartz and company should be doing as often as they can: action that's likely not that expensive or complicated to produce, but that feels both unique and appropriate to this world. (And is also really funny.) Leave the neck-breaking to Jack Bauer and Sayid Jarrah; Chuck'll do just fine trying to get away from the bad guy while both of them are resisting the powers of centrifugal force.
After doing my best a few weeks ago to explain the nuances of who can know about the various levels of Chuck's secret identity, I have to admit I'm at a loss with all the Fulcrum stuff. I get that Jill wasn't a CIA agent recruited to join Fulcrum, or else General Beckman and the others would have known about her from the start, so that means Fulcrume is more than just an in-house splinter group. And I get that Jill only lied about sleeping with Bryce on orders of her Fulcrum handler (though shouldn't this have come up in one of the season one Bryce episodes?). But how, after all these intersections between Fulcrum, Bryce, Jill and Chuck has it not occurred to anyone yet in Fulcrum that maybe it's not Bryce who has the Intersect, but his nerdy buddy who keeps winding up in CIA/NSA cases? I'm assuming there's a master plan at work here, and given how well everything else on the show is going, I'm putting my trust in the creative team that the Fulcrum story will eventually make sense and be cool, but parts of the last two episodes made my brain hurt.
Some other thoughts on "Chuck vs. the Gravitron":
• The Nerd Herd b-story provided not only an opportunity for '80s pop culture references galore -- Morgan and company doing the slo-mo, side-by-side strut ala "The Right Stuff," Morgan and Lester touching hands through the glass like Kirk and Spcok at the end of "Wrath of Khan" -- but it gave us one of the better "Seinfeld"-ian mergers of A-story and B-story when Big Mike returned from his aborted fishing trip in time to forearm tackle Leader. (As I nerd-quoted when he vaulted the counter last season, how can anything that big move that fast?)
• The powers of product integration: now I want to buy a Nerd Herder. Did you hear? It has iPod capability!
• Captain Awesome's parents don't show up until next week, but their potential arrival did provide Ellie with the line of the episode: "The Very Awesomes are coming here, who make their son look mildly impressive."
• I also liked the pause Lester gave before saying the word "turkey," as if the whole concept was alien to him.
What did everybody else think?