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

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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”?

Comments (38)

  • Oh my God!!!! I am sooooo excited!!! Thanks Matt, as if I wasn’t excited enough to begin with when I found out Shaw was back!!!! Great article and I don’t know what I’m gonna do with the wait to see this ep!!!! :)

    Comment by Katy – December 23, 2011 08:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Can’t wait. Chuck is for the winter what Eureka/Warehouse 13 are for the summer. Fun, entertaining tv shows that are lighthearted, have humor and do a lot with less budget then other shows ***ugh Terra Nova ugh***

    Comment by wcm – December 23, 2011 08:50 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Let’s Twist Again… Oh goodie. :)

    Comment by Maggie – December 23, 2011 08:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Sooooo excited for this episode!!!!!!! Yay!

    Comment by Alicia – December 23, 2011 09:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I feel like I might need to rewatch some of the key Shaw episodes before this. I don’t remember that season well except for how epic the finale felt. Any suggestions?

    Comment by Matt – December 23, 2011 09:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I don’t look forward to watching Sarah get beaten and abused, sounds like kissed or worse by force, wow, merry xmas

    Comment by chuckfan – December 23, 2011 09:46 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m really excited for this episode! I feel like the Chuck execs are giving their final season some of the best episodes ever. I’m sad to see it go, but I can’t wait to see Shaw back and for Team Bartowski to once and for all kick his ass!!!

    Comment by Garnet_and_Gold47 – December 23, 2011 09:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Holy cow!!!! SO EXCITED!!!!!

    Comment by Ella – December 23, 2011 09:54 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Best show on TV that’s coming to an end. How stupid can NBC get? We’ve seen Leno get a primetime slot, but the execs are working to outdo themselves in keeping in 4th place in the ratings.

    Warner Bros. sell this show to a basic cable network already! Compare it’s ratings to the top basic cable shows and “Chuck” should sell itself.

    Comment by DN – December 23, 2011 09:59 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have a theory about the intersect. They’ve been trying to figure out what’s the purpose of the virus, could it be to destroy the intersect? maybe Shaw assumed Chuck still had it??

    Comment by Bonnie – December 23, 2011 10:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Thing is Shaw has the Intersect so doing that would destroy his intersect as well

      Comment by Chuckles – December 23, 2011 10:54 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I highly doubt the government would just let Shaw rot in Prison with the intersect in his head like a ticking time bomb. I expect that it would have been removed a long time ago, they’ve shown they have the capability to remove it like when they did with Chuck in last years finale.

        Comment by TheDude – December 23, 2011 01:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Woah! (said in Keanu’s voice) Can’t wait! Tonights episode sounds fantastic!

    Comment by Marianne – December 23, 2011 10:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am so very excited now!! Can’t wait for tonight!

    Comment by Stef – December 23, 2011 10:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This has made me even more excited about tonight’s episode if that was even possible! I LOVE CHUCK!!! I’M SO FREAKIN’ EXCITED!!!!!

    Comment by Jenny – December 23, 2011 10:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Curse you! Reading this at work and now can’t wait to watch…but I have 10 hours to go in my day! Must…hold…on…

    Comment by chrisj – December 23, 2011 11:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love this show. This episode sounds fantastic!

    Comment by Ariel – December 23, 2011 12:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am so excited for this, and I loved last week’s ep as well! Nice to see Chuck get back a little of the magic it had in the first seasons. Also, Brandon Routh is the most underrated actor…he’s really good at being a bad guy and he’s really good at comedy and he was great as Superman. I don’t know why he gets such a bad rap, but he does NOT deserve it. So glad to see him back on this show.

    Comment by Ruby – December 23, 2011 01:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • my theory.

    Chuck still has the intersect. During last years finale, right before Decker puts the glasses on chuck, he says that they are a supression device, not a removal device. I bet chuck still has the info in his noggin. He is going to find a way to access the intersect again tonight.

    Comment by Kevin – December 23, 2011 01:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • CANT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I watched the Brandon ROUTH episodes again on DVD and he is and was the BEST addition for this show, THat’s why season 3 was soooo good!! This sooo sweet!

    I love Chuck Twists, my mouth will be open in disbelief???

    Comment by Nick – December 23, 2011 02:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am praying that my daughter goes to bed early tonight and stays there so that I don’t have to wait a second longer than I have to, to watch this epic-ness!

    Comment by Sara – December 23, 2011 03:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i think chuck is going to get the intersect bck to kick SHAW’S ass!!!! :D

    Comment by TIGER T – December 23, 2011 03:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Still CANNOT believe that NBC was DUMB enough to show that Shaw was coming back. Talk about spoilers…..

    Comment by Torchwood68 – December 23, 2011 04:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I would like it noted that the Indiana affiliate, WHTR, is pre-empting this show tonight. It’s supposed to air instead on the SkyTrack Weather Network but for those of us who don’t have that, there doesn’t seem to be any way to see this episode since they are no longer being posted to iTunes or Hulu either. I find this extremely unsettling and wish someone would do something about it to make the episode available to us.

    Comment by Jake L – December 23, 2011 05:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • WTF JUST HAPPENED? What a classic Chuck way to end an already amazing episode. But I’m so confused – and totally pumped for next week! It’s things like this why I love Chuck and will miss it dearly. I’m also super psyched for Tim DeKay (a.k.a. “The Suit”)!!

    Comment by Noodley – December 23, 2011 06:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Holy freakin’ A!! Despite knowing about the baddie this episode, I tried to avoid most of the spoilers and wow, that was one of the best episode of Chuck! So intense! Matt you were so right about your 7 reasons!

    Comment by Joycee – December 23, 2011 06:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Just watched the episode. Oh geez, Matt, you weren’t kidding. I’m not coherent enough to type anymore stuff that makes sense but I just wanna say: OH MY GOSH. HOLY CRAP. WHAT IN THE WORLD.
    Amazing episode, and the next few weeks’ shall be nothing less than epic. Thank you, Chuck.

    Comment by Aiden – December 23, 2011 06:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am Chuck fan who has enjoyed the addition of Brandon Routh’s Shaw since Season 3. I think he has done a great job (and he’s not horrible to look at ;) I have to agree with Ruby, don’t know why the guy gets torn apart. I like him.

    Comment by Elizabeth – December 23, 2011 06:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • He was horrible as the conflicted love interest at the start. He was absolutely incredible as straight bad guy when they reboot him, as he was in this episode.

      Comment by Marc – December 26, 2011 01:57 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • That was so fricking AWESOME!!! Best episode this season! I can’t wait for next week.

    Comment by Rachael – December 23, 2011 06:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • yept my jaw still hummm pretty much on the floor, or even down the stairs with that ending and next episode preview!!amazing, superb episode!! everybody had a moment, we got bracelet mentioned and even Ellie again, with a frying pan!!hilarious moments with general beckman and chuck in the santas suit, the nerds helping without realizing, morgan sneaking and saving sarah, so many so many good moments, and damn Shaw just disappear come on!!! I seriously can’t imagine the show gone!! my weeks are just not gonna be the same!!

    Comment by onlyakb – December 23, 2011 06:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Was so happy to see Brandon Routh back on Chuck.
    Fantastic job, as usual, as Daniel Shaw.

    Comment by Eliza – December 23, 2011 09:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • A very heartfelt episode and will add the to the Christmas watch list for years to come. It’s bittersweet being the last season but they sure are going out on a very high note. I think we got the best Christmas gift ever this year.

    Comment by Steven – December 23, 2011 09:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • SO GLAD to see Chuck kick some ass without the Intersect! They’ve finally shown he’s capable without it! Great episode! I can’t believe there are only a few more :/

    Comment by Samantha – December 23, 2011 09:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Anyone else think that the final twist might involve Bryce and Sarah’s past?

    Comment by Kate – December 24, 2011 08:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I wondered about that. However it may not be Sarah is a mom, but a baby she grew attached to, or even accidentally killed, while on a misson.

      Comment by Scott – December 24, 2011 09:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • FINALLY watched it and I stand by my previous statement (first comment) – OH. MY. GOD!!! Lived up to Matt’s review and then some!!!!! Best episde of Season 5. Amazing! And the end. There are no words!!!!!!

    Comment by Katy – December 24, 2011 02:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am so disappointed in this final season. It is missing something.
    It feels very flat to me, with just moments of great.

    Comment by Lee Chen – December 31, 2011 03:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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