Kate Ward
November 06, 2007 AT 07:42 PM EST

Well, it’s about time. After six episodes leaving us Chuck fans in the dark as to why the title character got kicked out of Stanford, we finally learned why the Nerd Herder happened upon such a stroke of bad luck back in college. And I don’t know about you, PopWatchers, but I certainly didn’t expect to see that Bryce — the character we had long vilified for being a traitor — actually had quite a big heart.

Turns out that Sarah’s ex, and Chuck’s former nemesis, planted the stolen tests in Chuck’s dorm room in order to keep him from being recruited from the CIA. Though I have a hard time believing that potential spies have no choice in the matter — and that the government hires several students per class to join the trade — the episode’s arc allowed us to see a different side of our main character. For the first time this season, Chuck made us wonder if the Nerd Herder was actually meant to be a spy, good heart and all. 

Not only was Chuck originally placed on the list of potential recruits at Stanford (thanks to abnormally high test scores in a symbolism class), but last night’s episode showed Chuck undertaking a mission for reasons other than his computer/brain. After Stanford professor George Fleming — who once taught Chuck and, more importantly, also happened to be a CIA asset — disappeared from the government’s watchful eye, our hero was called into action. Chuck was understandably more than reluctant to help at first, being that Fleming was the professor who kicked him out of school. But after glancing at his old Stanford ID, and immediately flashing for a still mysterious reason, Chuck decided that the only way to get answers as to why he was in the intersect was to confront Fleming himself. 

addCredit(“Chuck: Hopper Stone”)

Chuck and his two handlers discovered Fleming’s location, but anIcelandic enemy shot Fleming down with a crossbow after Chuck ran afterthe professor (Come on, Sarah and Casey! You should know better than toleave Chuck in the car!). Thus, Chuck was forced to return to hiswould-be alma mater — and face one mean library late fee — to locate adisc that the Icelandic archer was attempting to confiscate. AfterChuck found the disc — and realized, upon looking at its contents, thathe was meant to be recruited by the CIA his senior year — the gangfound trouble, and became part of a high-octane shootout in Stanford’slecture halls. But Chuck’s quick thinking led him to call for theassistance of several extremely good-looking student CIA spies and,naturally, the bad guys were vanquished. 

One last glance at the disc showed Chuck that Bryce had goodintentions for his roommate, and proved to viewers that Sarah has yetto completely let go of her ex. Though she seemed to have beeninfluenced by Chuck’s perception of Bryce over the past few episodes,her tearful exit after seeing Bryce’s generosity made her feelingsobvious: Sarah is not letting go, and though the teaser for next week’sepisode made it seem as though Sarah and Chuck will get quite (ahem!) close, I doubt she’ll be ready to forget Bryce anytime soon.

As for Chuck, it seems his dislike for his old roommate is destinedto wane, but I wonder if Ellie or Morgan will be at all suspicious ifthey notice his 180-degree turn when it comes to Bryce. And though itwas quite benevolent for Bryce to save Chuck from a life of deceptionand murder, how can he explain thrusting his ex-roommate back into sucha life by sending him the encrypted e-mail? Seems we’ll still have towait on that one.

But, of course, an episode of Chuck wouldn’t be completewithout its scene killer, Morgan. To the writers’ credit, Morgan didtone down his usual irritating nature just a bit, if only to make wayfor Harry Tang, a character that seems to be intent on stealingMorgan’s title of most annoying attempt at comic relief. This week,Harry — or Sauron, depending on who you talk to — began his reign asassistant manager at the Buy More and, as expected, abused his newpower to no end. Not only did he stagger lunch times for the store’semployees so none of them could eat together, but he also blockedeveryone’s ability to change channels on the big screen TVs by takingcontrol of a sole, universal remote (disappointing, considering how funthe employees’ television show-identification game seemed). But thanksto Morgan’s plan to impede Harry’s use of the remote, Chuck’s bestfriend was able to regain a sense of authority over the new boss. Andcan I commend Chuck for finally showcasing the sassy Anna Wu, acharacter that, until now, had been wrongfully cast in the background?Too long have the producers ignored the Buy More employees surroundingChuck and Morgan, and now that we know the previously pleasant Lesteris quite the traitor himself, it will be interesting to see how thecontinuously changing dynamics between the Nerd Herders will play out.

What about you, PopWatchers? Do you enjoy the character developmentwithin the Buy More? Are you happy with the explanation as to why Chuckgot expelled from Stanford? Upon learning this new information, do youhave any guesses as to why Bryce sent Chuck the encoded message? Did itseem accurate to have Oasis playing in the background during Chuck’spost-’90s college years? And, finally, were you happy to see thatCaptain Awesome was, once again, shirtless?

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