After a much needed break to weaken the residual disappointment to the first few episodes of the show’s final season, Chuck is back once more to throw everything it has left at the audience. The slew of cameos continue with a much deserved nod to another NBC show as situation after ridiculously comedic situation brings this season to a high point that will hopefully continue in the weeks to come.

The Big House
Only in the Chuck universe would the pretty one find himself at the top of the hierarchy in a prison, yet Lester defies the odds within the walls that both he and Casey find themselves confined in. Whereas Chuck had to fight a monolith of a man to assert himself among the orange clad criminals before, and as it appeared Casey was about to do against a rather unfortunate looking man, turns out all these bad men crave is a connection to the outside world. No, not calls to their loved ones, but Internet and cable, duh. You know, the true necessities of life.

Technically Casey opts for the “connecting with a loved one” option in the form of a conjugal visit with Verbanski, but Lester steals the show in this subplot. Though there was no attempt at a big man/little man team up as we had in episodes past with Casey and Morgan, we still have a connecting factor that serves these characters well. As Lester refuses to promise to stop his attempt to get his best friend back through lethal doses of toxic gas, Jeff and Morgan (who makes the wise choice of sticking mostly to the Buy More this episode) decide to draw Lester back by taking him up on his challenge to find a cooler Canadian Hinju.

In what may feel like an unintentional stab to the gut, Danny Pudi jumps from his set on Community, the same week it is shelved, to Chuck in order to play Lester’s “potential” replacement. This may be no Abed (though he did “pew”), but there is still plenty of amusement to be had as he joins Jeff and Morgan in messing with Lester’s sense of self-worth, as Pudi equals Lester in the heritage and singing department. Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley on Community) also makes an appearance at the tail end of this scene to put some icing on the cake.

Casey is a Girl’s Name
With Casey locked up, the team is set at a disadvantage and in need of a replacement. Bring in the female version of Casey (bonus points for recognizing the Firefly reference in this topic’s title); and yes, she even growls like him. She may be no Casey, but Verbanski makes a great solo-ep replacement for our beloved tough guy as a reminder of how he used to be prior to becoming a tad bit softer on the inside of that hard exterior thanks to being teamed with Chuck and Sarah.

Though Verbanski adds some muscle and firepower to the team, her shining moment comes from within her growing feelings for Casey. After joining the team to help get Casey free, Sarah’s occasional attempts at girl talk finally chips away at her as she rather abruptly blurts out that she loves Casey. Quite the hilarious outburst on her part, making Verbanski’s departure from the show sadder than expected. With that said, it is probably a wise choice to keep the focus on the group of characters that started it all, and the last scene between Verbanski and Casey shows that after he is the man he needs to be for the remainder of the episodes, there may be a happy ending between the two somewhere down the road.

Baring It All
Tonight’s episode of the spy life takes Sarah and Chuck to some pretty interesting places, and they are definitely not afraid to let it all hang out for the last season. Thanks to the help of pixelation, the audience gets quite a number of laughs at Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski as they bare all at the Church of Eternal Wind (don’t make a fart joke… Don’t make a fart joke!). That’s right, nudity is the price of admission for the cult, but I may have actually laughed more at Levi running around in a thigh length robe, as well as because of the strategic camera placement and editing to make sure we didn’t get a glimpse at the spirit’s entryway into the body.

The Piranha
Not that the cult’s attire wasn’t funny enough, but Chuck furthers our ability to laugh at him thanks to the emergence of his alias, “The Piranha.” As a skilled (and mildly infamous) hacker with a craving for the power endowed by chardonnay, or “thinking juice,” Chuck once again becomes a man to be feared when placed behind a keyboard. As if he couldn’t get any nerdier, he proves why he was the head of the herd at the Buy More as he puts his skills to the test against yet another cameo (Freddie Wong of YouTube glory). He dazzles, he amazes, and then after what could be one of his smoothest moments, his quick getaway culminates with his phenomenal running away skill set.

Deck the Halls
Or more appropriately, “Deck the parking lot with blood and gore,” but that seems far less festive in this holiday season. After being tranqed and forced into a partnership with Decker with the hopes of freeing Casey from jail through legal means, the holiday cheer still abounds as we get that smug face of Decker’s removed from our screens. With a threat of pegging Chuck as a terrorist and the admission that he had no real intention of letting Casey free, Verbanski goes crazy girlfriend on him by replacing the computer virus in his pocket with a bomb. No, they won’t blow up Decker. He’s this season’s bad guy. Well you are wrong, thoughts. He is dead. I rewound 3 times to check.

Final Thoughts
As glad as I am to see Decker gone, the episodes to come will prove to be quite the challenge for our team. Morgan and Verbanski helped Casey escape, but apparently it came with a price. In order to get a good guy back we have to take a bad guy with him, and the previews show that I will once again have to begrudgingly break out my “Kill Superman!” cheers with the return of Brandon Routh (Daniel Shaw in the Chuckverse).

So what did you guys think of tonight’s episode? Sad Casey didn’t use the tiny blueprints of the prison to escape? Curious as to how safe a razor blade could be on a necklace? Agree with Morgan likening Lester to Posh Spice? Disgusted by Davis’ taste in buttered popcorn flavored jellybeans? Shocked, all the while overjoyed, to see Decker go boom? Any idea what the big plan against Chuck is? Leave your thoughts below!

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