Whether it was Daniel Shaw in season three or Alexei Volkoff in season four, Chuck has had some of its more memorable moments in recent history when Team Bartowski is challenged by a charismatic and interesting villain.
That's the one thing that this final season of Chuck had been missing... up until "Chuck vs. The Santa Suit," when Shaw made his triumphant return. Equal parts ruthless and charming, Daniel Shaw made it as difficult for our heroes to succeed as he made it entertaining for the audience to watch.
Shaw complimenting himself through the Sarah-sounding voice box, as well as making out with a passed out Sarah Walker to see if there was any fire left between them, was certainly reason enough to bring back the fantastic Brandon Routh for this episode. The fact that it was also an explanation for why all of these random bad guys were out to get Chuck made it that much better.
It wasn't just that some new guy in Decker was against Chuck for all that had happened over the first four seasons. Shaw, the man who Chuck almost murdered, stole Sarah back from, and eventually put in prison, was back for revenge. It brought a lot of the missing pieces together, and as well will get to at the end of this post, it seemingly put something else important to the future of our favorite characters into motion.
For now, don't let water dilute your feelings, and take a look at this week's Chuck Triple Threat...
Scott Krinsky told me in my interview with him less than two weeks ago that the new Jeffrey "definitely creates a different dynamic, because Jeff was always Lester's minion." That was evident this week, as Jeff and Lester first attempted to turn Chuck's offer down in an effort to not do more work than necessary, and then put their minds together to actually help Team Bartowski save the day in figuring out The Omen. It was refreshing to watch and full of hilarious moments, like Lester telling Jeff to choose "fresh fit" meals, and their combined hatred of water.
Other than the Buy Morons, and everything to do with Shaw's arrogance, the funniest moments came from Chuckles himself and his stint as Kris Kringle. It was pretty difficult not to crack up as Chuck attempted to flirt with the CIA lush in that ridiculous Santa Claus voice. The kicker, though, was the big smooch between him and Beckman and the awkward conversation that followed. "I typically brush my teeth before..."
There were a lot of great action moments in this one, beginning with Shaw's prison escape in which he simply snapped a bunch of his necks on his way out the door. Intersect Shaw vs. Sarah, and Casey climbing through the ducts, held us over before the big showdown between Shaw and Chuck.
What a move it was by our man Charles to reprogram the shades in order to remove the intersect from Shaw's brain instead of downloading the intersect 3.0. It then became about the two guys battling it out with no advantages... well, except Shaw's superior abilities and decades of experience that seemed to go to waste for a while in this one. Thankfully, once Shaw got the advantage, Ellie was there to save the day!
Ellie saving the day led to some of the sweetest moments of the episode. It was nice to see her shine in that knocking out of Shaw, but it was better watching brother and sister profess their love for each other, and claim they would be there for each other no matter what.
The most heartwarming material, as always, went to Adam Baldwin. Casey's hard exterior makes his emotional moments that much better than everyone else's. The fact that he finally told Alex he loved her was awesome, but as a HUGE Masey fan, the good word he put in for Morgan might have been even better.
Now that Shaw and everyone he had doing his dirty work are out of the picture, Beckman welcomed everyone at Carmichael Industries a position at the CIA. Is this the right move for Chuck and company? Just pack it in, and go back to the CIA?
And what about the a-bomb Shaw dropped on Sarah at the very end? Do you remember Hungary? Does Chuck know about the baby? What on earth is that about? Any theories, TV Fanatics?
I greatly enjoyed "Chuck vs. the Santa Suit," and can't wait to see what the next step is in this final season of Chuck. What did you think?
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.