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‘Chuck’ nostalgia recap: The season 3 finale

Season 3 | Episode 19 | “Chuck Versus the Ring: Part II” | Aired May 24, 2010

It’s the season 3 finale of Chuck, and we have a lot to talk about — that fight! That explosion! That cliffhanger! That Tony nomination! (Congrats, Zac!)

But before we get into the meat of the episode, let’s quickly discuss the Buy More subplot.

Big Mike is enjoying a delicious Subway breakfast sandwich with a side of product placement when his secret phone rings. The store needs a spike in sales fast, or they’re getting shut down.

Lester suggests a going-out-of-business sale: slash the prices, sell all the inventory, and save the store. But someone from corporate arrives in the midst of the sale to announce that the store is closed. This sale is illegal, and Mike is in trouble.

Jeff instigates a Code Pineapple as a diversion and prophetically suggests burning down the store. Big Mike nixes that plan, but … these things tend to happen.

Image Credit: NBC/screengrab

Image Credit: NBC/screengrab

Meanwhile, on the spy side of things, we pick up where we left off last episode: with Ellie, Morgan, and Awesome tailing Team Bartowski, who has been captured by Shaw. Chuck is grieving his dad and deteriorating with each flash, when Shaw stops the truck and orders them to unlock their cuffs. He’s going to shoot them as they “escape.”

But Shaw doesn’t get the chance. Devon and Morgan accidentally — but conveniently — set off one of the missiles in Casey’s car, allowing Team Bartowski to escape.

The whole gang — Ellie, Awesome, Chuck, Sarah, Morgan, and Casey — discuss their situation. If the Ring is looking for them, they have to drop off the grid. But Ellie disagrees. She wants to call the police. But that won’t work. So she and Chuck go for a drive to talk things through.

Image Credit: NBC

Image Credit: NBC

Ellie is hurt that everyone knew Chuck’s secret except her, even though he was lying to keep her safe. Chuck says the only way they can go back to their normal lives is if they take down the Ring once and for all. Ellie agrees — as long as Chuck promises to quit once he’s done.

The first thing Team Bartowski has to do is figure out the Ring’s master plan. Chuck hacks in to where General Beckman is being held. She tells them that Shaw is going to take her place at the Joint Security Summit (a spy convention) and discredit her. And the five Ring Elders will be there.

So Team Bartowski goes undercover. Chuck, posing as part of the Russian delegation, bumps into Shaw and slips a phone into his pocket. In the middle of Shaw’s presentation, he gets a call from Chuck. When Shaw answers, Chuck warns him that they know the elders are there, so Shaw texts them all to get out of there.

Chuck and Shaw rendezvous in Shaw’s office where Chuck explains his master plan (quite proudly). They had no idea who the elders were. Shaw just pointed them all out with his message.

But Shaw is still cocky. Chuck is on the outs with the government after all; who is going to believe him? The answer is everyone, because Chuck livestreamed their conversation to the entire spy conference.

Chuck can’t fight Shaw, though. The Intersect is getting worse and worse. Chuck needs the Governor back — fast. Chuck’s crippling flashes allow Shaw to escape, while Chuck and his brain are in serious trouble.

Later, Shaw strides into the Buy More and starts planting bombs. He wants Chuck, or he’ll blow it up. Luckily, Jeff’s Code Pineapple clears out the store, but it also lets Shaw get the drop on Sarah. No one threatens Chuck Bartowski’s girl — mental deterioration or no.

Chuck’s got one good flash left. It’s time for Shaw and Chuck to have that fight.

Image Credit: NBC/screengrab

Image Credit: NBC/screengrab

Chuck takes a nasty hit and remembers something from his childhood. He snuck into his dad’s office and played with his computer. He downloaded an Intersect when he was a little kid. That’s why Chuck is special. And this revelation gives Chuck his second wind.

Charah kicks Shaw’s ass together, and they return the Governor to Chuck just in time. With Shaw arrested, Chuck is out of the spy life. But is he really?

Chuck discovers a video his father left him before he died. Steven explains that he kept something about Orion from Chuck. He sends Chuck to a secret basement in his childhood home. With Steven gone, Chuck and Ellie aren’t safe anymore. Chuck needs to know the truth about Steven’s work, his enemies, and their family.

Because Chuck’s mom is a spy, y’all.


  • Alex gave Morgan her phone number, and Casey is taking his new role as intimidating father to heart. If you thought Morgan and Casey had a fun relationship before, just wait until one’s dating the other’s daughter.
  • Jeffster filmed their first music video, and it’s glorious.
  • I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: Chuck and Ellie have one of my favorite sibling relationships on TV.
  • Morgan accidentally blew up the Buy More. He dropped Shaw’s detonator because he broke his thumbs trying to save the Buy More. Only Morgan.
Image Credit: NBC

Image Credit: NBC

Classified Quotes
“Two Bartowskis, double the fun.” –Casey

“You finish it, and then you’re done.” –Ellie laying down the law for her little brother

“I’m sorry, are you asking me to make the classic villain mistake of explaining my dastardly plot to you? You know what, I’d love to.” –Chuck, relishing his takedown of Shaw

“Your singing voice is a vocal felony.” –Big Mike, to Lester

“Sorry, just had to reboot.” –Chuck

“Chuck, it’s time you learned about your family.” –Steven Bartowski setting us up for season 4

All 5 seasons of Chuck are streaming on Netflix.