Happy Holidays and Happy New Year fellow Chucksters!
The latest episode took me by surprise. It was a pleasant spooky kind of surprise, a fitting homage to an episode of “24” replete with twists and turns that would even make Jack Bauer proud with the return of a series “bad guy” and the addition of a special guest, Stan Lee as General Beckman’s aide “Stan”!
This reviewer very much enjoyed “Chuck Versus the Santa Suit”. A number of time honored comedic holiday routines were artfully blended into the story arc. There were also several reveals the fans have long waited for. We may be prejudiced here at WHR, but can only say positive things about the smooth presentation by a veteran cast and crew in “Santa Suit”.
These talented people at NBC and Warner Brothers have brought, and will continue to bring humor and fun to our households each week for a while longer. As season five winds to a conclusion, we say sincerely “Thanks Team Chuck” for the great five year ride!
Before continuing this review, courtesy of NBC, we include the promotional trailer of the next exciting episode “Chuck versus the Baby” featuring special guest star Cheryl Ladd. Enjoy!
In the previous episodes we learned that although Colonel Casey (Adam Baldwin) has been freed, the entirety of the Chuck Team had been wanted by the authorities. Obviously a setup by a powerful and evil adversary, Chuck (Zachary Levi) and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) will track down the perpetrators while fighting the “Omen” computer virus released by Robin Cunnings (Rebeca Romijn)! Could these events be connected?
Versus the Santa Suit:
The episode begins with Christmas Eve at the Buy More store. The staff are in elves and other holiday costumes. We observe the patrons in a state of anxiety. Why? Because evil is loose in the world seeking to destroy Christmas. Someone has released a computer virus which threatens to infect all the computers in the world!
A television reporter is interrupted by Big Mike (Mark Christopher Lawrence). Big Mike informs the crowd that the so-called virus is a joke, Buy More is unaffected.
Mike then goes on to inform the crowd to continue shopping to be ready for Christmas by purchasing at Buy More!
It turns out that Big Mike was wrong as we learn when Lester appears at the camera. Lester (Vik Sahay) is observed confessing to the crowd that the virus has also infested the computers at Buy More. Panic ripples through the crowd.
We segue to a view of two prison guards watching the newscast from the Buy More. They have a worried look on their faces since their prison cell locking mechanism is controlled by computers.
A prison cell clicks opens and a person of unknown identity has walked out of the cell that seemingly unlocked itself. Obviously part of the pending disaster, the two guards are quickly killed by the prisoner who escapes in one of their uniforms.
At this point in the story arc, I was unsure who the prisoner was because Team chuck has put many “bad players” in prison over the past four seasons.
I had a few ideas, however since I enjoy the “willing suspension of disbelief” I put my curiousness aside to enjoy the “Chuck Thrill Ride”!
Leaving the environs of the prison, Devon (Ryan McPartlin) and Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) are discussing the holidays and a planned party. The place is not ready and it is quite clear Ellie is anxious to have the party be a success. To the rescue comes Sarah when she calls Ellie about “Project Santa”.
Now having just related my enjoyment of the “willing suspension of disbelief”, I must confess I was a bit anxious myself. Why? Heck I wanted to know who would be in the “Santa Suit”? Would it be Big Mike, Jeffster (Scott Krinsky), Colonel Casey, Chuck or perhaps a visit by Mrs. Claus herself in the personage of General Beckman (Bonita Friedericy)? Could it be that more than one of the characters will be in a Santa Suit?
Chuck video calls Sarah informing her he has made no progress on finding who is actually responsible for the computer virus. Sarah wants to focus on Christmas and nothing will stop her from the holiday fun. Before ending the call, Sarah gleefully tells Chuck to tell Casey his “Mr. Peepers the Polar Bear” has arrived.
Morgan (Joshua Gomez) joins the call indicating that is one of his favorite childhood toys. He asks Casey when and why did he purchase “Mr. Peepers the Polar Bear”?
Casey tells them he bought “Mr. Peepers the Polar Bear” on eBay for Alex. Casey wonders he is being too sentimental. Chuck and Morgan think it is a nice thought. Morgan chimes back in letting Casey know he is beginning to show some signs of human emotions.
I could not help but think that Casey’s time with Gertrude Verbanski (Carrie-Anne Moss) has helped soften the colonel? Perhaps Gertrude appealed to Casey’s paternal instincts as a result of their recent conjugal bliss? Stay tuned because the answer is provided at the end of the episode?
Perfectly on cue (to break up the sentimental moment), General Beckman is seen on the video conference. She informs Team Chuck in her deadpan demeanor that she has made a discovery and now knows who is behind the computer virus!
We switch scenes to Sarah. She is loaded with Christmas gifts. The elevator door opens ahead of time. It was here that I was quite surprised. It is none other than former agent Daniel Shaw and he is Intersect enabled! Like me, Sarah is obviously flabbergasted but tries to defend herself.
With an intended note of sarcasm, Shaw says “Merry Christmas, Sarah. Did you miss me?” Sarah is quickly overpowered by Intersect enabled Shaw. We next see Sarah in a “24” like moment. She is hanging from a meat hook while Shaw gloats over what he has planned for Sarah and the world with the final stages of the computer virus.
Clearly shaken at seeing Sarah captured and apparently ready to be tortured to death by the dastardly Shaw, Chuck seemingly agrees with Shaw’s demand to obtain a device from Agent Decker’s CIA office called “Macau”. Shaw says Sarah has only three more hours to live unless they comply.
Casey and Morgan’s concern over Sarah and Chuck are visible on their faces. Chuck is paralyzed about Sarah being captured by Shaw. He breaks out of his funk instructing Morgan to have Jeff and Lester work on anti-virus to find out what will occur when the evil computer code activates.
They consult with General Beckman via video conference after being stumped on how to penetrate CIA headquarters to save Sarah without being caught. Beckman suggests the only safe way in to the CIA is if she escorts Chuck inside.
As we all know, Jeff and Lester, our two nerdy geeks are not a highly motivated pair. They want something for helping. In a typically hilarious sequence, Jeff demands a trip to the Caribbean while more immediately focus is Lester who asks for a Subway sandwich! Morgan agrees and the two computer nerds get to work.
In the meantime, Casey informs Morgan that he is planning on entering Castle through the air duct system. Morgan rolls his eyes but knows better than arguing with Casey.
Ellie and Devon are seen in the Buy More talking with Big Mike. They want him to where the store’s Santa Suit for taking a picture with Clara on his lap. And here is where the episodes name comes from. When the three look in the storage room, the Santa Suit is missing!
They look at each other dumfounded as Devon calls Chuck to report the Santa Suit theft. Chuck nonchalantly tells Devon him/ that is too bad. What is up with that? I knew then and there who we were going to see in the Santa Suit!
Yep you guessed it, Chuck is observed with Beckman in an elevator wearing the “stolen” Santa Suit as part of their plan to gain entrance to the CIA and get at Decker’s desk. The plan? Huck will be Santa at the CIA’s holiday party!
Back at Castle Shaw still has Sarah bound. She appears to be cold and shivering. For some reason Shaw has turned the air conditioning to maximum to keep the computer core circuits cool after he steals all the data in the world!
Shaw tells Sarah he has missed her and she is the best spy in the world (besides him). Shaw clearly wants revenge for what Sarah did to him: kill his wife!
As Shaw attends to other things, Sarah is able to retrieve her hidden knife. The scene ends with Sarah slicing into her restraints. Go Sarah!
In a scene that made me giggle as a geek, the next sequence with a Subway staffer feeding Jeff and Lester sandwiches reminded me of many a long night programming.
As my mouth watered for a Subway “Foot Long Sub”, I wondered if this development represented a return of the “old” Jeffster?
All this reviewer can say is that Lester looked mighty pleased to be working with Jeff again! Their results indicate everyone should be justifiably concerned that the computer virus may knock out everything electronic worldwide!
Segue to the CIA Christmas party, Beckman is with Chuck smuggled in by Santa Suit. She is approached by none other than “Stan” (Stan Lee) who makes a pass at the general by joining him at the punch bowl. Beckman rebuffs “Stan” for embarrassing himself.
Poor “Stan” (playing himself in the episode) walks away clearly with his tail between his legs. The lesson here is patently clear? Do not look for romance with with General Beckman at the annual Christmas party!
Beckman informs Chuck of CIA staffer Caroline who has the access code key, a serious career agent who gets a little “randy” at the yearly event after a few drinks.
Chuck seeks her out at the party. “Randy Carolyn”, who has been “nipping” at a flask of booze all night, soon offers Chuck a lap dance at which time Chuck grabs her entry code access card. General Beckman enters on cue for teh setup coming to married Chucks “rescue”. Beckman informs a now rather embarrassed Carolyn to control herself.
The scene shifts back to Castle. To his detriment, Shaw has returned to check up on Sarah only to find she has escaped (Go Sarah!). He is none too pleased by this development and sets out to find Sarah.
Colonel Casey is “on mission” inside the Castle air conditioning system. Shaw discovers Casey in the air ducts and blasts away above him. Casey has been shot falling injured to the ground.
Escaped Sarah tries to come to Casey’s rescue jumping Shaw from behind. Shaw goes “Intersect” proving to be too much of a match for Sarah. Shaw locks Casey in a Castle interrogation room.
In another fun “poke” at people getting “randy” at holiday parties, Chuck and General Beckman are caught in Decker’s office by security.
With a bit of quick thinking Beckman plants a wet kiss on Chuck’s lips telling the security staff “to leave or she will have them court-martialed”.
My thoughts are that Beckman has always wanted to have a fling with Chuck, so the series writers let ole’ General Beckman have her fling! On the use of the ageless Christmas party “romances” at the office, this reviewer enjoyed the slap stick comedy as an appropriate tactic to cover Chuck and General Beckman’s diversion.
Shaw, setting up a trap, accepts a call from Chuck using a voice duplication device pretending to be Sarah. Chuck does not catch on and says he will be at Castle soon to save her.
As Chuck arrives at the Buy More, a shopper’s riot is in progress. Morgan informs Chuck that angry shoppers are frustrated with the computer virus. In a smooth scene context switch, Chuck is called from Shaw pretending to be Sarah. Voice duplicated “Sarah” tells Chuck “Shaw” has been captured and to return to Castle.
“Sarah” Shaw makes an error. He refers to Chuck as “dear.” Chuck now figures out that it cannot be Sarah because she never calls him “dear” Chuck informs Morgan about the faked call, and asks him to close Buy More Early to protect the innocent civilian shoppers. Morgan agrees and the store is quickly emptied.
Chuck runs into Ellie in the process. Ellie is worried about Sarah because she is not answering her cell phone. Chuck feelings for his sister make him think hard.
In a touching moment between brother and sister, Chuck tells her about Shaw and what is happening. Ellie she wants to help, however Chuck demands she get out of the area so she is safe.
In a scene right out of “24” we next observe Shaw with has Sara tied up to a chair and chained to the floor. The place is freezing causing Sarah to slip in and out of consciousness. Evil pervert Shaw kisses helpless Sarah.
Sarah is disgusted calling him sick and obsessed with her past killing of his wife. To no avail Sarah begs Shaw that she did not know it was his wife, and that she was only following orders at the time.
Meanwhile Jeff and Lester explain to Chuck and Morgan they think the “Omen” computer virus is a worldwide hoax only infecting government computer systems. Chuck and Morgan surmise Shaw is using it all as a ruse to try to create an Intersect 3.0 putting all the CIA data in his head as the end reward. Shaw plans to force the CIA to reinstate him as an agent.
Chuck shares with Morgan a plan to stop Shaw. Chuck calls Shaw and surrenders. He places the “Macau” activation device in the elevator floor for Shaw to find.
Chuck begs for him to let Sarah go offering himself as a trade. Shaw uses the Macau device to upload the data into his Intersect glasses. He thinks he is invincible with Intersect 3.0.
Lusting for revenge, Shaw slaps Sarah telling her to watch the monitor. He gleefully tells her to watch as he kills Chuck as retribution for Sarah killing his wife.
Using an eloquent emotional switch in the story arc, we then move back to Casey in the interrogation room where he has discovered the “Mr. Peepers the Polar Bear” gift Sarah had stashed there.
Casey uses the electronic bear to record a last message for Alex to hear in case he dies. In a traditional confession, Casey apologizes for being a bad dad and that he is also sorry he is an electronic bear to send his last message.
The moment ends when he finishes the recording and then realizes he can probably cannibalize the electronics of the bear to try and disengage the door and get out. He gets to work taking Mr. Peepers apart.
Chuck confronts Shaw in the Buy More. Meanwhile our other hero, Morgan, sneaks into the elevator to save Sarah. Chuck taunts Shaw to get a reaction. Shaw conforms to Chuck’s plan putting the Intersect glasses on to download the Intersect 3.0 and become all powerful.
Shaw brags to Chuck that he has been thinking about his day for revenge for a very long time. Just when we think it is the end of Chuck, instead he quickly punches Shaw in the face! Shaw is very surprised and concerned by this development.
Chuck had downloaded the Omen virus on the Macau device which Shaw has now load into his brain. YAY! Chuck!
A well choreographed kick some ass non Intersect style fight scene ensues with a “to the death” style match between the two.
Morgan finds Sarah nearly dead from being frozen chained to the chair. He seeks a way to free her, but Shaw has locked her to the chair.
Casey escapes using components from the electronic talking Polar Bear doll. Casey appears weapons in hand, shoots the lock and freeing Sarah.
During the battle between Chuck and Shaw, Shaw grabs a gun. As our hearts fall Shaw aims the gun at Chuck and tells him, “You’re good Chuck, but you’re not lucky”. Is this the end of Chuck?
Nope! A stubborn Ellie who did not follow Chucks instructions, whacks Shaw on the back of the head, knocking him out. The rescue is completed when brother and sister Ellie and Chuck gratefully hug each other in the Buy More aisles.
As the episode winds down Team Chuck is watching a newscast about the Omen virus no longer being a threat. As she wishes Team Chuck a nice holiday, General Beckman praises the team with an open invitation to rejoin the CIA. YAY!
Sarah is touched and asks General Beckman if she has somewhere to go for the holiday inviting her to Ellie’s party. Ellie reminds everyone that her party is ruined. Chuck asks General Beckman if she would help?
Beckman resists citing inappropriate use of “taxpayer dollars”. In the end however the Christmas spirit wins and she agrees. At the party Ellie Is happy with Beckman’s help. Chuck and Ellie talk about their parents not being there but how they would both be proud about defeating the evil Shaw.
Ole’ softy, Colonel Casey, gives Alex the “Mr. Peepers the Polar Bear” and tells her not to listen to the last wishes recording he made, that he loves her, but knows that the gift cannot make up for him being gone from her life so much.
Alex gives him a loving look and thinks the gift is perfect. As this reviewer has long waited for, Casey finally forgives Morgan telling Alex he is not such a bad guy. Awwwww.
The final sequences begin with Sarah and Chuck confessing to each other about their marital dalliances when Shaw kissed her while Chuck tells her that he had to kiss Beckman. Such a faithful and cute couple!
General Beckman interrupts Chuck and Sarah indicating that she needs to speak with Sarah privately about “company” (CIA) business. Beckman informs Sarah that Shaw has asked for her to visit him in prison. General Beckman says she does not have to go, but being that it could lead to further information, Sarah decides she should go.
We end with Sarah In the prison visitors room. Shaw is gloating gleefully when he tells her that, “in Hungary, he set something in motion she cannot do anything about”. It is clear this evil character remains obsessed in a lust for revenge.
As the scene fades to black Shaw asks Sarah, “Does Chuck know about the baby?” in a perfect set up the next great episode in the series, “Chuck Versus the Baby” featuring a special guest star Cheryl Ladd.
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