'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”?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Katy says:

    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!!!! :)

  2. wcm says:

    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***

  3. Maggie says:

    Let’s Twist Again… Oh goodie. :)

  4. Alicia says:

    Sooooo excited for this episode!!!!!!! Yay!

  5. Matt says:

    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?

  6. chuckfan says:

    I don’t look forward to watching Sarah get beaten and abused, sounds like kissed or worse by force, wow, merry xmas

  7. Garnet_and_Gold47 says:

    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!!!

  8. Ella says:

    Holy cow!!!! SO EXCITED!!!!!

  9. DN says:

    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.

  10. Bonnie says:

    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??

    • Chuckles says:

      Thing is Shaw has the Intersect so doing that would destroy his intersect as well

      • TheDude says:

        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.

  11. Marianne says:

    Woah! (said in Keanu’s voice) Can’t wait! Tonights episode sounds fantastic!

  12. Stef says:

    I am so very excited now!! Can’t wait for tonight!

  13. Jenny says:

    This has made me even more excited about tonight’s episode if that was even possible! I LOVE CHUCK!!! I’M SO FREAKIN’ EXCITED!!!!!

  14. chrisj says:

    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…

  15. Ariel says:

    I love this show. This episode sounds fantastic!

  16. Ruby says:

    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.

  17. Kevin says:

    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.

  18. Nick says:

    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???

  19. Sara says:

    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!

  20. TIGER T says:

    i think chuck is going to get the intersect bck to kick SHAW’S ass!!!! :D

  21. Torchwood68 says:

    Still CANNOT believe that NBC was DUMB enough to show that Shaw was coming back. Talk about spoilers…..

  22. Jake L says:

    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.

  23. Noodley says:

    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”)!!

  24. Joycee says:

    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!

  25. Aiden says:

    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.

  26. Elizabeth says:

    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.

    • Marc says:

      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.

  27. Rachael says:

    That was so fricking AWESOME!!! Best episode this season! I can’t wait for next week.

  28. onlyakb says:

    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!!

  29. Eliza says:

    Was so happy to see Brandon Routh back on Chuck.
    Fantastic job, as usual, as Daniel Shaw.

  30. Steven says:

    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.

  31. Samantha says:

    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 :/

  32. Kate says:

    Anyone else think that the final twist might involve Bryce and Sarah’s past?

  33. Katy says:

    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!!!!!!

  34. Lee Chen says:

    I am so disappointed in this final season. It is missing something.
    It feels very flat to me, with just moments of great.