Recap: Chuck got kicked out of Stanford.
The show opens on a typical college classroom. The Professor is lecturing on the subconscious and how to penetrate the human mind (not literally, I hope!). The Prof asks the class to think about compressed images with special encoding. The kids claim to see only one image, but the Professor shows them that there are actually hundreds of images hidden inside the one! The image contains all sorts of hidden information. No way! ...Wait a minute. That seems strangely familiar. Where have we seen that before? Oh, right, in Chuck's head in every freaking episode. The kids are suitably impressed until the Prof mentions that he is including a section on subliminal image recognition on The Final; then, the kids look suitably chagrined. The Prof notices a creepy, lurking, angry Aryan dude in a leather jacket in the back of the classroom. The Professor immediately ends class, cuts off his eager-to-learn suck-ups, and makes a run to his office. He dials his phone as he scampers and says that a hostile has been encountered. He then confesses that he copied intel for himself onto a disk and they are after it. As the Angry Aryan approaches, the Professor locks himself in a closet. As the Angry Aryan pulls out a really big knife, the Professor disappears down a trap door. Ooh, a trap door! He must be CIA!
Back at the Buy More. Morgan interrupts Chuck on the phone by announcing that there are spies at the Buy More. This freaks Chuck out enough to hang up the phone and look around frantically. Morgan then launches into an elaborate analogy between Harry Tang and Sauron and needing Chuck's help to save the break room from the new Rules that Harry has laid down the way Frodo helped destroy the Ring. Which would be funny, except that Morgan looks so much like a hobbit I can't decide whether it's funny or just sad. Harry Tang interrupts them to get all managerial on their asses. Chuck notices that Harry Tang is wearing an assistant manager polo shirt that is monogrammed, and he realizes that Harry Tang must be stopped. But not this second, because Casey is beckoning. Chuck follows Casey into the screening room (which is apparently never used for Buy More purposes), where Sarah and the satellite-linked CIA and NSA heads are waiting. Chuck notes that the new hi-def TV really shows every wrinkle. Casey points out that they can hear him, and Chuck tries to cover by saying he meant every twinkle. In her eye. Which would be a nice save, but the lady ain't listening. They tell Chuck about the Professor and explain that he is a company man, and that he has gone missing and has contacts in L.A. They want Chuck's help because Chuck knows the Professor: he's the one who kicked Chuck out of Stanford. Chuck does not want to help save this guy at all. Everyone else wants him to help, though, because his personal connection to the Professor and Stanford will give them the insight they need to track him down. He really, really doesn't want to. Can you guess where this is going?
At the apartment, Captain Awesome and his cronies (does that sound like a band, or is that just me?) are playing football in the really small courtyard. Apparently, the UCLA frat boys are driving up to the football game at (can you guess?) Stanford! Captain Awesome throws the ball at Chuck's balls and totally hits 'em! What is this, The Three Stooges? To make up for the crippling injury, the so-called doctor offers Chuck two tickets to the game. Do they teach that in med school, "Doctor"? Chuck says he would rather get hit in the produce again than go back to Stanford. Ellie thinks Chuck should go. Which is really weird, in my opinion. Why does no one, not even Ellie, his supposed surrogate mother, realize that getting kicked out of hoity-toity Stanford and being forced to work at the Buy More might be kind of painful for Chuck? Why do they insist on bringing it up all the time and rubbing it in his face? Is it just my WASPy repression that makes it seem like bringing it up all the freakin' time is wrong? Whatever. Chuck still doesn't want to go.