The Wife:

As we’ve mentioned before on this blog, Chuck is really turning it out this season. There hasn’t been a single episode this season that didn’t progress the main arc and the show has done an admirable job of putting Chuck in high-stakes positions with either his Buy More job, his home life or his spy work – sometimes all three at once. That said, this final (?) chapter of the Jill arc was an incredibly satisfying end to this November Sweeps story.

Chuck realizes pretty quickly that Jill is not who he thought she was when he picks up her cell phone and sees a note from her “mom” asking if she has met “Uncle Tobias.” Chuck flashes on the note and realizes that Jill is with Fulcrum and works with an agent called Leader. Chuck tries to run, but is caught by Sarah and Casey who tell him to return to Jill and to not let her know that he’s onto her. The General backs up Sarah and Casey’s decision and asks Chuck to continue his relationship with Jill to get as much information as possible on Leader.

Meanwhile, at Casa Bartowski, Ellie is freaking out about Captain Awesome’s parents coming over for Thanksgiving dinner. In an effort to make a good impression on her future in-laws, she has to un-invite Morgan from his favorite holiday, which leads to Morgan, Lester and Jeff being locked in the Buy More as part of Big Mike’s anti-Black Friday theft plan while he heads off to the lake to spend his holiday fishing.

Jill convinces Chuck to let her take him on a date without his bodyguards. Thinking that they’re going to a concert due to a recent purchase on Jill’s credit card, Sarah and Casey send Chuck off, assuring him that they’ll be waiting for him at the venue. However, Jill actually takes Chuck to a carnival and recreates the Ferris wheel kiss with which acrophobic Chuck first asked Jill out all those years ago . . . until she shoves a gun in his belly and tells him to come quietly into Fulcrum custody.

Zachary Levi has never looked more like John Krasinski than in this shot.

Zachary Levi has never looked more like John Krasinski than in this shot.

Leader tells Jill to eliminate Chuck in the middle of the fairgrounds, but she refuses to do it, so Leader punches her out and corners Chuck in the Gravitron carnival ride, leading to one of the most amusingly awkward fight/chase scenes I’ve ever encountered. After sufficiently disorienting Leader, Chuck escapes to the funhouse, where he tries to find Jill among the distorted mirrors, a nice device to let us know that nothing in this scene is quite what it seems. Leader follows Chuck into the funhouse, and Jill helps Chuck escape by shooting her boss through one of the mirrors.

By the time Jill and Chuck exit the funhouse, Sarah and Casey are there to take Jill into custody. Back at the Castle, they hook her up to a lie detector and make her play Moment of Truth, where she reveals that Leader is recovering in a mobile medical unit located in an office building in downtown L.A. Sarah and Casey head off to capture Leader, leaving Jill in Chuck’s custody. He can’t resist opening her cell to ask her the questions he’s always wanted answers to: if she ever loved him and if she ever loved Bryce. Jill’s answers reveal that she does indeed love Chuck, and, more importantly, that she never slept with Bryce. It was just what her Fulcrum advisor asked her to say when Chuck was expelled from Stanford. After building up his confidence with truths, Jill asks Chuck to let her out of her restraints, which he does, only to have her turn the tables on him and take him into her custody.

Jill Roberts, this is your Moment of Truth.

Jill Roberts, this is your Moment of Truth.

At the Buy More, Jeff participates in his Turkey Day tradition of setting traps for Black Friday shoppers while Lester noshes on frozen turkey dinners. Morgan takes pity on the boys, who have not experienced a real Thanksgiving in years, and escapes the Buy More to dig through Ellie’s trash and get one of her “practice turkeys,” tripping the Buy More alarm in the process which abruptly ends Big Mike’s fishing trip. Ellie and Awesome catch Morgan in the trash just moments after hearing that the Awesomes have to cancel Thanksgiving, so Ellie apologizes to Morgan and re-invites him to dinner. In accepting the invitation for himself and the other citizens of Buymoria, he accidentally tells Ellie about Chuck and Jill.

At the medical center, Leader was prepped to capture Sarah and Casey and force them to lead him back to the Castle, where he immediately locks them in a holding cell and demands that Chuck give him access to the access screen for the security database before locking Chuck himself in a cell. Fortunately, Chuck is locked in with the Castle manual, and he shuts off the power systems to the computer grid from inside, as well as calls in CIA backup. Leader threatens to kill Sarah and Casey if Chuck doesn’t help him escape, so Chuck leads Jill and Leader into the Buy More and sends a message through the Castle’s security system to let Casey and Sarah know where he’s taken the Fulcrum agents and that their door is actually unlocked. Casey heads over to the Buy More to take out Leader just as Big Mike returns from his fishing trip to body slam any intruders. Mike congratulates Casey for his fast response to the alarm.

“Grimes put you in charge? Smart boy.” – Big Mike

Sarah tries to hunt down Jill, but Chuck helps her escape into a Nerd Herder (which I never realized was a Toyota Matrix until Chuck pointed it out tonight) and both arrests and breaks up with her. (I drive a Matrix, so it’s nice to know that I can outfit them with remote control handcuffs if I pay a props guy at NBC enough money.)

At Bartowski Thanksgiving, Ellie and Morgan worry about Sarah and Chuck’s relationship, but Morgan assures Ellie that a Thanksgiving miracle will happen and Chuck and Sarah will walk through that door as happy as they’ve ever been. Outside, the Intersect and his handler realize that they make a great team together and walk in the door all smiles. This Thanksgiving miracle leads Morgan to immediately pray for others (including a flying Delorean), while Ellie takes her brother aside to ask about Jill. He tells her that she came back to town and tried to make things work, but that they just weren’t going to because Jill and Stanford were a part of Chuck’s past, not his present.

I’m seriously impressed with the way Chuck has reinvigorated its storytelling this season, and I can only hope that people keep watching and giving this show the attention it deserves.

The Husband:

I have to say…I’m actually a little disappointed. Not in the actual episode, because it was a great finale to the three-episode Jill arc, and definitely not with the whole carnival setting. (If you want me to pay attention to anything, set it at a carnival. I am that easy to please.)

Easy to please, but much harder to kill.

Easy to please, but much harder to kill.

What I’m disappointed in is how the show stayed strictly in its pre-established settings, including the Buy More, the Castle and Chez Bartowski. At the end of the last episode, Jill and Chuck were driving out-of-town, so I was ready this week for a major battle, both intellectually and physically, between Sarah/Casey and Jill/Fulcrum, in a brand new setting. It seemed like a natural progression of the story, a third-act free-for-all, a step outside the show’s comfort zone in order to see if they are capable of doing it. (They are capable. Remember the Stanford-set episode from s1?) It’s always nice to shake things up every once in a while – not too often, because then you have this year’s pain-in-the-ass season of Heroes – and it would have really upped the stakes.

So by returning to the Chuck world almost immediately, the tension was lowered by a certain amount, tension that they could have really cooked into something even better. Thank God that the actual episode kept twisting and turning, and that the Buy More was included in the spy plot. (My only real gripe with Chuck is that sometimes the Buy More feels unnecessary and superfluous.)

Now let’s get a series of three-episode arcs, and not just ones created for sweeps.