Ken Tucker
December 28, 2009 AT 06:08 PM EST

With the third-season premiere of Chuck less than two weeks away (Jan. 10), it’s time for you Chuck fans to help convert the masses, to keep your show on the air until Chuck defeats The Ring and walks down the wedding aisle with Sarah to the music of Jeffster!. (That is what you want, isn’t it?)

In that spirit, I’m throwing it open to you in the Comments section. Which five episodes would you say are essential for a newcomer to the show, to understand the mythology and the charms of Chuck? I’m using five as an arbitrary figure — I don’t want this to seem like homework. You can skip the obvious, such as the pilot — I’ll list that one for you.

And feel free to give the newbies more than five if you like.

Okay, I’ll start. I would say that some essential Chuck episodes are:

• “Chuck Versus The Intersect” (Season 1, Episode 1) The pilot that set this spinning-top of a series started. Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) gets an email from an old friend (Matthew Bomer, now familiar to you on White Collar) that, when opened, downloads a massive amount of highly-classified CIA and NSA intel into Chuck’s brain… and we’re off!

• “Chuck Versus the Crown Vic” (S 1, E 11) Chuck goes undercover as the boyfriend of Sarah (Yvonna Strahovski) in a plot that also involves the possible destruction of the precious Crown Vic owned by fellow operative Casey (Adam Baldwin)

• “Chuck Versus The Gravitron” (S 2, E 8 ) Chuck learns that his ex-girlfriend, for whom he still had feelings, is not who she seems. This is one of co-creators’ Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak’s fave episodes

• “Chuck Versus the Ring” (S 2, E 22) The second-season finale sets up the upcoming season. His sister Ellie’s wedding gets thrown into chaos as all the villains converge, Chuck quits the Buy More, and the future is… open-ended.

Alright, that’s four to get you started.

What episodes would you recommend for a Chuck virgin, and why?

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