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'Chuck' fan recap: Shall we play a game?

Season 2 | Episode 5 | “Chuck Versus Tom Sawyer” | Aired Oct 27, 2008

In our last episode, we got a peek into Sarah’s past. This week we look back on Jeff’s. Yes, Jeff from the Buy More. Back in 1983, Jeff Barnes was rocking a serious mullet and mustache as the world champion of the arcade game Missile Command. He celebrated his 15 minutes with a bikini-clad babe on each arm and TV interviews. Twenty-five years later, oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Jeff Barnes, Missile Command Champion

At the Buy More, corporate has sent an efficiency expert, Emmett Milbarge (Tony Hale), to evaluate the store. Emmett interviews everyone individually to see why they belong at the Buy More. And when asked about who’s in charge, every single person says Chuck. And, of course, Chuck is late.

When Chuck finally arrives at work (after a late-night mission), he blows off his first meeting with Emmett when he flashes on a customer. Farrokh Bulsara (Faran Tahir) is a global terrorist, and he’s looking for Jeff.

Faran Tahir on Chuck

Beckman and Co. are understandably confused about why anyone—let alone a terrorist—would be looking for Jeff. It’s up to Chuck to gather some intel and find out about Jeff’s past, and that means they have to hang out.

After hours, Chuck and Jeff take over the home theater room. They crack open some beers, and Jeff turns on a music video he made using voyeuristic photos of Anna. When Chuck tells him that someone was asking for him, Jeff says it was probably one of his fans, and he shows Chuck a video of his big interview.

When the game designer, Morimoto, appears on screen, Chuck flashes. It turns out that Morimoto commanded actual missiles for the Japanese government. Farrokh and his men are after the codes to reactivate a dormant missile. And they’ve found Morimoto at his Atari offices.

Chuck plants a virus on the Atari computers, and they send Sarah in as a Nerd Herder for a diversion. Morimoto’s office is locked, so Casey looks for another way in. But while he’s gone, Farrokh opens the door and locks Chuck in the office before taking off.

Sarah disguised as part of the Nerd Herd

There, Chuck finds Morimoto playing the game. He tells Chuck the satellite code is on the kill screen—part of the final level that only Morimoto can access. Once Farrokh got the code, he strapped a bomb to the game, and Morimoto has to keep playing. Casey arrives and gets Chuck out safely before it goes off, but Morimoto is killed.

Without the code, Beckman plans on shooting down the satellite before the terrorists can take control. There will be some civilian casualties, but fewer than if they let Farrokh start World War III. Chuck suggests trying to get to the kill screen so they can take control of the satellite instead. And the only way to do that is to convince Jeff to come out of retirement.

Jeff thinks the kill screen in Missile Command is just a myth, but Chuck convinces him he has a gift. Jeff finally agrees, but with some demands: He wants his lucky game, Anna in a hula skirt, and an audience. Jeff’s old fans flock to the store, and there’s even news coverage—and then Chuck flashes. He figures out that Farrokh is controlling the satellite from the TV station. Sarah heads there while Casey waits at Castle to launch the counter-missile as a last resort.

The pressure and the crowds turn out to be too much for Jeff. He passes out, leaving Chuck as the only person good enough to try to reach the kill screen. He’s struggling until makes sense of something Morimoto said: The game is coded to a Rush CD. If Chuck plays “Tom Sawyer,” he can beat the game.

Chuck Versus Tom Sawyer

At the TV station, Sarah takes out Farrokh, but the code is already gone, and Casey is seconds from arming the counter-missile. Finally, Chuck makes it to the kill screen and gets the code to Sarah right under the wire.

The world is saved, but things are still dicey at the Buy More. After all of their shenanigans, Emmett decides that this Buy More needs his help. He is stepping in as assistant manager, and he has it in for Chuck.

Tony Hale on Chuck

While Jeff hogged the spotlight this episode, Ellie was worrying about her brother. She and Awesome want to know what happened to all of the big plans Chuck had been talking about—traveling and finishing school, and doing something with his life.

She doesn’t get an answer from Chuck, so Ellie stops by Orange Orange to talk to Sarah. They hang out later that night, and Ellie tells Sarah she’s worried that her brother is losing his confidence and slipping back into old Chuck mode. She just wants more for him. Maybe if he went back to school and finished, he could finally move on.

When Chuck comes home after the week’s mission, Ellie congratulates Chuck. His diploma came in the mail. Sarah told them that Chuck had been taking online courses to finish his degree, and that’s why he’s been acting so crazy the last year.

Chuck gets his diploma

Chuck goes to thank Sarah for his “fake” diploma, but Sarah says it’s real. The CIA thought his undercover work should count for something, and Stanford agreed. They counted his field work for his last 12 credits. Chuck finally earned his degree all on his own.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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