When we left Chuck about a month and a half ago, it was one awkward Thanksgiving. It's no wonder that Chuck is taking stock of his life and wanting to propose to Sarah. Fortunately, just after he finds out she has "major proposal issues," Team Bartowski is shipped to a French chateau to recover a nanochip before a terrorist. This would seem the perfect opportunity to accomplish two things at once, but of course it wouldn't be that easy or we'd have a very short episode.
Recovering the nanochip requires going to the chateau and retrieving it from a bottle of wine, but not before said bottle is uncorked and distributed amongst the guests at a wine tasting. It's straightforward enough, and accomplished within the first half hour. Yet Chuck and Sarah are promptly sent back to France in order to sell the terrorist a fake nanochip that is in reality a tracking device. It's not a particularly complicated mission, but that's okay, because it's not really the point. In my eyes, this is more of a character development episode than an action episode, as it's more about what our heroes are going through.
At the Buy More, Lester is angry when he finds out that his parents have arranged a marriage for him, but changes his tune when his bride-to-be is more than he expected. He, of course, manages to run her off once he breaks out into song yet again. This is no surprise, but it's funny nonetheless.
As for the proposal? When Sarah finds out about it, she puts Morgan to work for her, meaning he's stuck between the two of them. It's something I can relate with; being the only child in my family, I always found myself helping both my parents with their Christmas shopping and trying not to tell either of them anything. It's a legitimate shocker to see Sarah arrested for treason just as Chuck is about to pop the question, and a true stab in the heart to find out that it's just an act so she can go undercover to bring down Volkoff for the two of them. It's simultaneously heartbreaking and romantic at the same time, and doesn't feel like an excuse to string along the fans of the Chuck/Sarah relationship. It will be interesting to see if they ever legitimately get engaged, and what that might do to the show (anyone remember Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman?)
"Chuck Versus The Balcony" is a nice return episode, one that brings viewers back without making us need to recall all the facts we may have forgotten over the last month and a half. It's good to see that while the Volkoff storyline is important, the show doesn't make every single episode about that, unlike several shows that got obsessed with their own mythology to the point of drowning out standalone plots. That also makes the show's return accessible to more casual viewers. While it's not the best individual episode of the season, it's a nice reminder that Chuck is still the most fun one can have at 8 PM on a Monday night.
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