'Chuck vs. The Santa Suit': 7 Reasons Why It's a Most Wonderful Holiday Gift

The first time I cued up this Friday’s episode of Chuck (NBC, 8/7c),  I admittedly shrugged — after all, it was another instance of a bad guy laying siege to Castle. Been there, done that. But then something happened: The episode started to knock my socks off, again and again, ultimately leaving me with the biggest grin and, yes, damp eyes. (It elicited the same emotions even upon a second viewing.)

I won’t spoil the thoroughly thrilling, extremely emotional hour any more than the NBC promos have (meaning I am about to discuss the big baddie), but in the spirit of ensuring that you know just how fantastic the episode is, here are seven reasons to tune in.

THE BIG BAD IS VERY BIG, VERY BAD | If you’ve seen the aforementioned promos, you now know who’s been pulling the strings all along with CIA dirtbag Decker, the Omen virus, implicating Chuck in a conspiracy, etc. Yep, it’s disgraced CIA agent/Ring operative/Intersect host Daniel Shaw (played again by Brandon Routh, with abundant steely menace).

REAL STAKES, REAL PERIL | If Shaw’s past transgressions — including but not limited to killing Chuck and Ellie’s father — don’t preload you (and them) with enough hatred, just wait ’til you see what he does to one of the female characters. Not good. Also, someone gets shot, bad. Like, “Leaves a farewell message” bad.

KICK-ASS ASS-KICKING | “Chuck vs. The Santa Suit” boasts two great fight scenes (holy moly, Yvonne Strahovski has grown to sell a roundhouse kick incredibly well) and a final clash that I’d say borders on epic, for multiple reasons.

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NERDS HERDED | Lester and Jeff are offered the chance to help Team Bartowski, if somewhat unwittingly. The price for their efforts: A trip to the Bahamas and/or a 6-inch Subway classic BMT.

HEART ATTACK | From an early segment in which Sarah is revealed to be Ellie’s “Santa’s helper” in making baby Clara’s first Christmas memorable, to the recurring theme of avenging Stephen J. Bartowski’s death, to some movement on the Morgan/Alex front, emotions are running high as the holiday nears amidst all this mayhem.

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BECKMAN ROCKS | The General comes through for Team Bartowski in several ways — and “lets her hair down” more than once in doing so.

LET’S TWIST AGAIN… | This Yuletide edition of Chuck unwraps two big twists. One involves the Intersect. The other comes in the very final scene and it will leave your mouth agape as well as make crystal clear what the next arc of episodes will entail.

Will you be tuning in for “Chuck vs. The Santa Suit”?