As some of my recent complaining probably makes clear, ‘Chuck’ doesn’t always come together as well as it should. However, when it does, it’s one of the most purely entertaining shows on TV. This past Friday gave us the penultimate episode before the series finale, and fortunately it was a really good one.
‘Chuck vs. the Bullet Train’ even opens with a special disaster-movie-themed opening credits sequence that’s goofily glorious.
As the previous episode left off, Chuck had been kidnapped by the evil ex-CIA agent Nicholas Quinn. We pick up with the two of them on a bullet train in Japan. Sarah and Casey have discovered their location and snuck onto the train as well. Sarah uses her special Intersect powers to quickly subdue Quinn, but not quickly enough to get off the train before it departs. The team gets stuck on board until the train hits its next stop over an hour away.
Sarah reveals to Chuck that she has the Intersect now. He’s a little worried about her, but they bond over the experience. “It’s the coolest thing in the world, isn’t it?” In fact, Sarah’s been having a lot of fun putting the Intersect through its paces whenever she has the opportunity. Since it took Morgan about a month before his started glitching out and wiping his memory, she figures that she has some time to play around.
Back in Burbank, however, Ellie and Awesome run some tests on Morgan and discover that the Intersect didn’t go glitchy after a time limit, but rather based on how many times it was used. Considering that Sarah’s been flashing away like crazy, she may not have long before hers turns defective too.
A couple of Quinn’s thugs turn up at the Buy More and kidnap Casey’s daughter Alex. Quinn uses this as leverage to make them release him. But then Sarah’s Intersect goes screwy, and she kicks him through a window off the train. (He manages to hang on and climb back on board, but the team doesn’t know that right away.)
Casey has to rely on Morgan and Awesome to rescue his daughter. Unfortunately, they get captured pretty quickly as well. With nowhere else to turn, Casey’s only hope is… Jeff and Lester?!
The two boneheads haven’t yet given up trying to figure out what’s going on behind the scenes at the Buy More. Snooping around after Morgan, they watch him get captured and pick up his comm device. Casey is forced to explain who he really is and what’s happening. The morons then use their special brand of mayhem, insanity and general incompetence to stage a rescue that somehow actually works. Yes, Lester and Jeff save the day.
Before anyone can celebrate, Quinn gets back on board the train, then tranqs and kidnaps Sarah. He escapes and brings her to a secret warehouse, where he uses some special cards to force her to flash again and again, destroying her memories in the process.
Sarah later wakes up in a hotel room. She thinks that she’s still in the CIA and Quinn is still her handler. He orders her on a new mission… to assassinate one Charles Bartowski!
‘Bullet Train’ is easily one of the best episodes of this season. While that may not sound like much of a challenge, it’s a lot of fun and has plenty of humor, suspense, some genuine emotional stakes and an exciting cliffhanger. If this Friday’s series finale is this good, the show will go out with a bang.