Top 3 Chuck Episodes

Bring On The Awesome

Episodes So Awesome Even Casey Likes Them

So now we’re down to brass tacks.  All the sorting, all the evaluating, all the re-re-rewatching has lead us to this.  Pick three, and only three episodes of Chuck that you think represent the best the series has to offer.  The spy-action-drama-comedy-romance show distilled to it’s essence.  Can it really be done?  Will our heads explode in attempting such a feat?  Will any of it matter after the season 4 premier makes everyone’s list obsolete?  Find out, after the jump.

I know, who could ever narrow down all the awesome that is Chuck into three measly episodes without spraining something?  And why would you try?  That’s why we didn’t really try right off the bat.  We kind of had to train for it by picking the top three in a bunch of categories.  For those of you playing along with the home version of Chuck This here’s what we have so far.

Top Three Family Episodes

  1. Chuck Versus the Subway/Chuck Versus the Ring Part II (as one episode)
  2. Chuck Versus Santa Claus
  3. Chuck Versus the DeLorean

Honorable mention to Chuck Versus the Ring (which lost to Chuck Versus the DeLorean by one vote).

Top Three Drama Episodes

  1. Chuck Versus Santa Claus
  2. Chuck Versus the Final Exam
  3. Chuck Versus the Subway

Honorable mention to Chuck Versus the Nemesis.

Top Three Comedy Episodes

  1. Chuck Versus the Honeymooners
  2. Chuck Versus the Seduction
  3. Chuck Versus the Tango

Honorable mention to Chuck Versus Operation Awesome.

Top Three Romance Episodes

  1. Chuck Versus the Honeymooners
  2. Chuck Versus the Colonel
  3. Chuck Versus the First Date

Nobody else was even close.

Top Three Action Episodes

  1. Chuck Versus the First Date
  2. Chuck Versus the Tic Tac
  3. Chuck Versus the Ring

Honorable mention to Chuck Versus the Intersect in a very tight race.

Top Three Spy Episodes

  1. Chuck Versus the Subway/Chuck Versus the Ring Part II
  2. Chuck Versus the Predator
  3. Chuck Versus the Colonel

So there you have it dear readers, the results of a summer’s labor in the fandom of Chuck.  One last job before Chuck-mas, distill it all down and pick just three.  Then toss it all away after Monday night.

Ernie’s Picks

Just three… Ghah!  As usual I can pick one without hesitation, the second fairly quickly, and the third… Well this time it was actually easier when I thought about it.  Honorable mention to Chuck Versus The Fat Lady and Chuck Versus The Predator since I really love and re-watch those a lot.

Chuck Versus The Tango People are probably sick of hearing me talk about how this was the episode that hooked me or about how this episode set the structure for the first two seasons of the show.  Well, sorry, but it’s still true.  I love this episode and treasure it like my perfect episode.

Chuck Versus The First Date If Tango defined the show this opened up new territory and defined the second season.  The newly confident Chuck, Team B running on all cylinders, once you get that pesky Casey wanting to kill Chuck thing out of the way, and an acknowledged, but still forbidden romance bubbling just under the surface, threatening to boil over at a moment’s notice.

Chuck Versus The Honeymooners In keeping with new definitions and establishing Chuck’s new reality, I pretty much had to pick Honeymooners as my third.  It doesn’t hurt that it’s a really fun, funny and romantic episode with a decent bit of action and an awesome fight scene to boot.

Joe Picks Reluctantly!

Oh my. How to choose, how to choose. Sophie, help please!

What I am going to do is select one episode of Chuck that left me the most excited, one that left me happiest (as in, most joyful), and one that left me the most satisfied. And still, this is hard (but at least, I get to name three runners-up that way).

Chuck Versus The Predator – Most exciting! Chuck putting aside his mooning over Sarah for a moment to search for Orion, Vincent, Chuck taking charge of a mission “There will be no shooting, stabbing or tranq’ing on this mission!” Orion, explosions, Jeff wetting his pants… This episode has it all. And then the helicopter explodes, stopping your heart. And what really gets to me is the idea that, somewhere around the time Vincent says “Carmichael. I’ve heard of you.”, Chuck is in 100%. He’s not going back to anything like his old life. This is the point where I finally realized I could no longer turn away from this story.

Runner up for most exciting for me is Chuck Versus The Dream Job because of that wonderful scene of Chuck suiting up and slapping together the handles of his guns. I really want to combine these two episodes into one pick, but that would be too much cheating!

Chuck Versus The Colonel – Leaves me happiest! It’s hard not to nominate this episode for best everything, but it’s going to be a perennial favorite for more than just one scene. Okay, we can all sing it’s praises forever, but I want to point out just one more thing. This episode is one of the minority than don’t end with a cliff-hanger or a head-snapping teaser, but leaves us on a gentle up-note and warm feelings to bask in for a week. “It is real.”

My runner up is Best Friend for the same reason. Chuck and Sarah clearly take a step in the right direction, and do it together. Can’t beat that!

Chuck Versus The Subway and Chuck Versus The Ring Pt. 2 – Most satisfying. Plain and simple, so many loose ends are tied up – Ellie is let in on Chuck’s secret life, Morgan is introduced to Alex, Sarah smiles when Casey tells her “You found a good one there, Walker.” and Shaw has his lights punched out by a formally insecure, formally nerdy, formally whiny and needy Chuck. Remember that guy? He got the girl. We may have lost Stephen, but we may have found Mary Elizabeth.

Although it seems very strange to put it in a second place position, my runner up for most satisfying has to be Chuck Versus The Honeymooners. I mean, really, in any other universe this has to be the most satisfying thing ever seen on TV. After 3 long years we finally get to see Chuck and Sarah where we wanted them to be (behind closed doors – yeah…) and working together professionally just as close as they are personally. Great music. A local and story exotic enough for a Bond script. Morgan showing Casey how to do the spy-work on Chuck. Can’t beat that with a stick. In fact, only Chuck has done that.

Dave’s Turn

I actually don’t find this as hard as some of our previous categories.  To me I had a clear favorite from each season so that’s how I’m going to do it.   Now if we were doing a top 5 I can think of one more from S1 (Marlin) and about 12 more from S2 I’d be considering.

  • Chuck vs, The Tango.  As I’ve said several times,  this is the first episode where I fell in love with this show.  I’d say they got everything right here;  great action and humor plus a little drama and romance.   The perfect for a fan like me!
  • Chuck vs. The Colonel. To me,  this is the best of the best.   My only complaint with the episode itself is I wish it was longer;  that’s always a good sign.   As for the show,  I’m less than pleased with how this episode was dismissed as meaningless by later events.   But even so,  I’ve never enjoyed a TV show more at the time it aired.
  • Chuck vs. The Honeymooners. And everyone who’s surprised this made my list raise your hand….   This was the first episode of S3 that I just enjoyed all the way through.   I won’t quite say they should do this every week,  but every other week would work for me!

We’ve been here before, but now you only get three choices instead of ten.  Have your vote, and then your say in the comments, and thanks for playing along at home.

Amy’s Input

Wow, this is so hard!  Ironically, with everything we’ve heard about Chuck vs. The Anniversary, I think it would make this list easily (please don’t let me eat these words, Schwedak!).  I am so excited for tomorrow night!  Squeee!

I guess I’ll go with:

Chuck vs. The Honeymooners.  Since I’m going last today, I will refrain from being redundant, but I truly enjoy the whole episode and still maintain that the Nina Simone ending is one of the sexiest scenes out there.

Chuck vs. The Subway/Ring II.  It tied up a lot of loose ends for me, and finally brought Ellie into Chuck and Sarah’s world.  I didn’t find Awesome annoying (sorry, that middle arc when he bailed on Chuck irritated me a lot), I loved Morgan Grimes, Beckman’s “Only Hope,” (who knew he was a lapsed vegetarian?) and Casey admitting to Alex he was her father.

My final choice would be Chuck vs. The Ring.  It had everything!  Two weddings, Jeffster, Bryce Larkin, and Chuck-Fu!

Honorable mentions to:  Wookie, Hard Salami, Seduction, and Colonel.


About Ernie Davis

I was born in 1998, the illegitimate brain child and pen name of a surly and reclusive misanthrope with a penchant for anonymity. My offline alter ego is a convicted bibliophile and causes rampant pognophobia whenever he goes out in public. He wants to be James Lileks when he grows up or Dave Barry if he doesn’t.  His hobbies are mopery, curling and watching and writing about Chuck.  Obsessively.  Really, the dude needs serious help.
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35 Responses to Top 3 Chuck Episodes

  1. jason says:

    intersect – #3 – I love the CS only aspect of ‘missions’ which really does not happen too often. Two of my all time fav scenes in the show, the beach and the ballerina scenes are in the intersect. The date although not top ten type scene was pretty wonderful, and gave me a glimpse of how this show was going to treat romance and wt/wt ‘different’, at least some of the time.

    Delorean – #2 – I think many of us have an episode of chuck that the light bulb went off, and said to ourselves this show is really pretty wonderful. For me that episode was delorean. Sarah’s back story earned a few sarah ‘get out of jail free’ cards as a character, as I really became sympathetic towards her. The stalking of sarah on her date could have been a disaster (at the time I watched, I did not know he was her dad, an example of how spoilers can ruin episodes), but turned out to be delightful. Sarah introduced chuck as her b/f – and did not hesitate to tell chuck about her dad when confronted with every opportunity to fake it – like her dad would have been surprised? Then, when the dad gave his stamp of approval, just awesome.

    Honeymooners – wish the show had 50 episodes on the books just like this one I’d be real pleased, CS go off on the mission of action, romance, and comedy (they need no help for any of those 3 to occur in perfect proportions), the B characters screw around with 5-10 minutes of time wasting, and the other 30-35 minutes a CS fest. I doubt I will get real many more of these, I will consider myself lucky if I get 1 or 2 in the first thirteen of season 4.

    My guess is season 4 will have an ep or two that burst into the top 3, but I doubt if honeymooners will ever get replaced.

    • joe says:

      DeLorean is a great pick, Jason. If there’s one returning guest star I’m still hankering to see, it’s Gary Cole as Jack.

      • kg says:

        I agree guys

        Ultimately, I didn’t include Delorean in my top three, but liked it for many of the same reasons Jason does.

        Little things: Like Chuck forgiving Jack for lifting his wallet, telling Sarah it wasn’t her fault, and that she need not feel guilt for his sins. Partially praising Jack to Sarah for the way she turned out. Chuck putting his coat around Sarah when she was chilly at the end.

        I recall a few key lines. “I can read people,” Burton said. “It’s the only real talent I have. That kid (Chuck) would never betray you. I made a 10 million dollar bet that he loved you. Turns out, I was right.”

        “I’m starting to miss articulate schnook,” Chuck says to Jack. “Me too,” he replies.

    • atcdave says:

      Delorean is one of those S2 episodes I would have considered next. This was certainly from the period when I was most in love with the show.

  2. joe says:

    Vote Early, Vote Often!

  3. kg says:

    First, great idea with all the voting and different categories. It certainly helped drag us through the summer.

    I have enjoyed just about all of the episodes, even the few that caused me some discomfort. I guess you need a some bad ones to allow you to appreciate the good ones that much more.

    I appreciate all the different aspects of the show, but yeah I bought into the Chuck-Sarah chemistry along time ago and therefore, I have a good lean on the “shipper” episodes.

    3 – HONEYMOONERS. We as fans, as well as Chuck and Sarah, needed a fun, romping vacation from the angst of season three. Much to Beckman’s chagrin, it was a fun, light episode where Chuck and Sarah finally got to spend some quality time together after all the ups and downs of all three seasons. They even worked together so well to save Casey and Morgan.

    2 – SEDUCTION. Montgomery character was great. He correctly called out Sarah’s real feelings for Chuck, he got the usual passive Chuck to admit just how precious Sarah was to him. Not only was she worth dying for, it was the first time he put it on the line for her. Chuck stepped up and literally got in the action, jumping off the Bye More roof.

    1. OTHER GUY. What can you say? Sarah comes to Chuck’s rescue and finally admits she fell for him as early as the first episode. Morgan is the one who discovers that Shaw is indeed a big fraud. With prompting from Morgan, Casey steps up and remembers exactly who and what he is: The colonel. Chuck finds and saves Sarah. Displays the ability to efficiently fire a gun provided there is no other recourse – such as a maniacal fraud attempting to drop a paralyzed loved one into a European river. At the end, Chuck finally gets his girl.

    • ChuckNewbie8 says:


      shippers unite!

      Though I must say I think my top 3 (ok, seriously who can choose JUST 3?! This is insanity!!!!) might be slightly different. But only slightly. Those 3 are definite contenders.

      BTW still haven’t determined my Top 3, (too hard!) but I’m getting there!

  4. BDaddyDL says:

    Coming up with my top 3 episodes…in the ten minutes I have been thinking about this I have changed my mind. So at this moment my top 3 are

    1 Other guy is always at the top. Why? 1 word repeated 3 times. Yes!all the other stuff is just a fantastic bonus. “Thanks for the Tank”

    2. Pilot just amazing, I can watch this every day, and not get bored. Just amazing. Now that there together its even better.

    3. Honeymooners its just a great fun romp, and the smile from YS is simply amazing.

    fyi s2 hours 30 minutes are left

    3. Honeymooners

  5. BDaddyDL says:

    sorry my laptop is being wierd
    I love the honeymooners because it has so much fun all the way through. No angst and the YS smile at the end is awesome

    29 hrs 28 min left

    • atcdave says:

      Yeah, that smile is nuclear. The whole end scene may be the best of the entire series.

      • thinkling says:

        Uh, which one. Yvonne/Sarah got to smile more in that episode than any 5 others. It was great, and I imagine a great relief to both of them.

  6. OldDarth says:

    Dream Job

  7. Judy says:

    Other Guy

    • joe says:

      Ah, Nemesis! The Bryce fans have spoken up!

      Actually, you know who never gets enough credit? Anthony Ruivivar, the actor who played Tommy (I think). That was a great bad-guy.

      And you can’t beat dialog like:
      Bryce: Qach So’wIj wep? HIja’ ghobe’.
      Chuck: HIja’.


      • Merve says:

        I’m not a huge fan of “Imported Hard Salami” or “Nemesis.” (Okay, admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of the back half of season 1.) But I must say, I absolutely love Tommy’s sardonic wit. Anthony Ruivivar was a brilliant casting choice.

  8. JC says:

    Alma Mater
    First Kill

  9. atcdave says:

    Wow, Nemesis getting a lot of love here. Some good moments, but not one I’d ever choose (raise your hand if that surprises you!)

    First Kill might have made my top 5 (best ending of S2), but not quite a top 3.

    • thinkling says:

      / \

    • JC says:

      Bryce is favorite character so I admit I’m biased.

    • thinkling says:

      I misinterpreted. I was surprised by the Nemesis love.

      You meant surprised that *you* wouldn’t pick it. I put my hand back down.

    • atcdave says:

      Sorry JC, I wasn’t trying to be rude. I love much of the humor in Nemesis; dark and specific; Klingon dialog; pineapple; Bryce/Sarah cleaning out the Buy More. Some great stuff there. But I’m on the record as hating triangles because, well, I do. I hate jealous Chuck and cold Sarah that we see for most of the episode. Everything is well written and VERY well acted, it just won’t make my favorite list is all. It is interesting that Chuck does so much well and shows us such different looks at times; and we all have such different perceptions of those things. Makes for a very diverse fandom.

      • JC says:

        No worries Dave I didn’t think you were. I’m not a fan of romantic triangles either but something clicked with me with that one. Even as a romantic foil Bryce worked, he really did care about both Chuck and Sarah so it was hard to hate him. Plus Bomer played him as smug, charming and likable which is tough to pull off.

      • atcdave says:

        I would agree Bryce is the most “valid” outside love interest of the entire series to me. And I didn’t mind him at all in Break-Up or Ring (of course, by then he isn’t actually a rival anymore, just takes Chuck and Bryce a little while to realize it).

      • JC says:

        Technically Chuck stole Sarah from Bryce. 🙂

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah I do sort of like it that way.

      • thinkling says:

        @JC “Technically Chuck stole Sarah from Bryce.” Well, technically maybe. But Bryce was dead at the time. So does that count?

  10. thinkling says:

    I’ll do one from each season. Somehow it makes it easier. My criteria? Probably the ones I tend to re-watch the most, since there are no limiting criteria such as categories.

    S1 Pilot. I never get tired of Chuck and Sarah’s first encounter: ballerina, first date, knives, the beach, Sarah’s relief/pleasure that Chuck disarmed the bomb.

    S2 Cougars. Maybe it’s just me, but this seemed like such a milestone in their real relationship and a nice outing for both of them. Chuck was the man. As Carmichael, he was Ratner’s handler, and he got to play bad cop. As Chuck Bartowski, he was Sarah’s handler for the evening. For the first time, Sarah let him into her real life, begrudgingly at first, but she let him in none-the-less and discovered how nice it was. It’s the first episode that Chuck realized, on some level, that their relationship was real and he got the girl.

    S3 Honeymooners. It’s all been said before.

    As I look back on my choices, I see another criteria bubbling to the surface … Sarah’s smile. All of my favorite episodes seem to feature some of Sarah’s best smiles. What can I say … I like to see her happy.

  11. ChuckNewbie8 says:

    my heart says honeymooners, colonel, other guy (/seduction/wookie/lethal weapon/cougars lol) but my brain says Subway, Break Up, Delorean. These 3 (subway, break up, delorean) in my opinion are the best written episodes we’ve ever had in Chuck.

    The first 3 are feel good…Colonel especially is like a big gift box that says “this is what you’ve been waiting so long for!) but the latter 3 stands alone in brilliance of prose.

    My .2 cents 😀

  12. the shrink says:

    Its all about casey for me. Give me undercover lover, colonel, and the Angel of Death.

  13. Merve says:

    My top 3 (which were admittedly a little different until I rewatched the series recently):

    3. Marlin – BIG MIKE. A crazy, convoluted plot with flashbacks galore. Way too many jokes to count.

    2. Subway/Ring: Part II – Obviously.

    1. Tom Sawyer – Rush, Missile Command, using Jeff to save the world, “Chuck is like a duck,” iPods vs. Zunes, “You suck, Bartowski!” The only things that could have made this episode better are explosions and scantily-clad women….oh wait, it did have those things.

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