There was a lot of pressure on this episode -- in my head at least -- as the last season premiere of a fantastic cult show like Chuck. So I'm not going to focus on how underwhelming it was until the last eight or so minutes. I'll give it another chance when I rewatch for the weecap.
Here's what happened: Team Bartowski has successfully morphed into a private spy company called Carmichael Industries when this season picks up. Well, a private spy company, yes. Successful? Not so much. They've blown through almost all of Volkoff's fortune buying private jets and other super expensive supplies. Casey goes to far as to suggest they get in touch with Agent Redhead and see about going back to the government. Chuck reminds him about Decker, though, so they can't do that. Instead, they take on a client. He's out to get $20 million back from Bale (Craig Kilborn), a real sleazeball. They take the job, infiltrate their way into a party Bale throws himself and into his computer vault. Just as they're accessing his funds, though, Decker pops up on the screen in Chuck's van and tells him he's now freezing all of Bale's accounts, thankyouverymuch. Turns out he does even more than that, tracing the accounts back to the fake donation they made to get into the party and freezing their last $42 million.
But before they get the bad news about their money, Chuck breaks into the party and saves Casey, Sarah, and Morgan (the new Intersect, as you'll recall). He gives an impassioned plea to them to leave him to die, but he doesn't mean it. He just wants them back in the van, where's he's videoed a plan for them to save him. They do it -- complete with him jumping out a window onto a van (ouch!). The point this all proved is that Chuck matters with or without the Intersect. And with or without Volkoff's millions (though it's pretty disappointing we didn't even get to see them with the riches for more than an episode). With their money gone, the gang has to now run the Buy More so that it turns a profit. Then they'll use that money to spy until they get the spying business turning its own profit. When did this show become about accounting and financial planning, anyway?
The episode almost ends with Chuck and Sarah hugging after she tells him his role now is as their leader. But then we zoom out and realize someone's monitoring them. Cut to a darkened CIA boardroom (so we can't see anyone's face except Decker's), where Decker's introducing a bunch of suits gathered around a table to the importance of Chuck. He's crucial, folks. That's why, Decker says, he must fail. Even if the rest of the episode was a bit of a snooze, that cliffhanger ending -- along with the extended preview of what's to come this season -- left me ready for more.
So, here we are at the beginning of the final season. I sort of can't believe it's been around this long, honestly. Remember when we used to have to eat Subway sandwiches to try to keep it alive? I'd say we got pretty lucky to have this much of a (mostly) good thing. Even if this episode is a bit underwhelming. Anyway, here are some things Chuck thinks we might need to know (they're pretty much all from last season's finale): Decker told Chuck that all the bad guys have been connected somehow, and Chuck was just a pawn. And now he's fired. So the gang went into business on their own, buying the Buy More and everything below it. Morgan put on the sunglasses General Redhead left for Chuck and put the Intersect in his own brain. We're not supposed to wonder about that whole Chuck's brain is special stuff, I guess.
The show opens as it should, on Chuck and Sarah. Her hair's shoulder-length and wavy, quite adorable on her. Chuck looks pretty much the same. They're standing on a sunny veranda overlooking the ocean, and Chuck asks her if this view is something she could get used to. But she'd rather roll out onto the beach in the morning than live over the water on a cliff. It's almost sickeningly adorable until Chuck says they'll maybe look for a toes in the sand kind of place someday, if... Sarah finishes: "If we survive this." The camera pans back to reveal they're being pushed toward the ledge by some suited-up men, including an almost unrecognizable Mark Hamill. He tells them they sound like an old married couple, but when Chuck starts to explain, Hamill's like, "I'm sorry. I don't care." Sarah and Chuck tell Hamill that he's fallen right into their trap, since they work with a master spy who they can't see coming. "Right now, he's probably..." Some more of Hamill's men lead Casey out onto the veranda at gunpoint. So they pretend they have yet another master spy hiding, and Sarah pushes a button on her bracelet that wakes Morgan up from his van duties. There's a pretty silly and cute sequence where they describe how fearless and badass and slick he is as he stumbles, falls, apologizes to fishies in a pond, and sneaks his way toward them without taking out any of Hamill's men.
Hamill finally cuts them off, but wonders where the master spy is. Morgan comes out, tiny as always and now soaked from the pond. He tries to flash, as Hamill tells his guys to kill them all. He flashes just in time. Of course. Then he kung-fus all over the place and takes out a bunch of Hammil's guys. Because of his size, though, his stuntman is a lot harder to disguise than Chuck's always has been. It's pretty distracting, honestly. Hammil asks Chuck who they are, and Chuck says they're spies for hire, Carmichael Industries. As he's about to punch Hammil's lights out, we hear a shattering behind him. Morgan's broken the $6 million vase that a client sent them to recover. Chuck turns back to Hammil, says "We're still working out the kinks," and then punches his lights out.