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Chuck Versus Tom Sawyer
Season 2, Episode 5
Air Date October 27, 2008
Writer Phil Klemmer
Director Norman Buckley
Previous Chuck Versus the Cougars
Next Chuck Versus the Ex
"You know what? I'm actually allergic to any and every member of the polecat family. "

Chuck Versus Tom Sawyer is the fifth episode in Season Two, which aired on October 27, 2008. It is the eighteenth episode overall.


Jeff Barnes is the center of attention when he is sought use his video game skills to save the world by beating Missile Command, as terrorists try to find a hidden missile code through the game using Jeff. Chuck must get Jeff back on his feet as Jeff is no longer Missile Command World Champion.

Meanwhile, Big Mike introduces a corporate efficiency expert to the Buy More.

Full Story[]

Jeff Barnes is reminiscing about winning the Missile Command World Championship in San Fernando Valley, 1983. The announcer says that Jeff has raised the level of video gaming to an art form. When asked what's next, Jeff replies "How can I make up my mind when there are so many tasty options". We then see Jeff in the current time at the Buy More where he again says "I have so many tasty options" while looking at a vending machine.


Chuck and Jeff at the Buy More

Chuck is awakened by his alarm clock and notices he still has on last night's disguise. He almost forgets to remove the fake mustache, pulling it off surreptitiously as he is stopped when he rushes to exit the apartment. Ellie and Devon ask him to not miss the most important meal of the day (breakfast) by offering a ginseng protein shake, which, according to Devon, among other things does wonders for your 'wang energy.' Ellie noted that Chuck got in very late last night to which he explained that he was playing video games. Devon asked what happened to all of Chuck's big plans. Ellie added that Chuck should be moving on.

At the Buy More, Big Mike says it is time for things to get moving around here. Emmett Milbarge is introduced as an efficiency expert sent by Buy More corporate. Emmett announces that he will be interviewing the employees and evaluating their performance, "perhaps even trimming the fat" as he grabs and crushes the cheesy snack that Jeff had just purchased. The interviews don't go very well as Emmett writes his impressions in large, red letters across the evaluation forms, such as "untrainable" and "prostitute?" All employees answer that the one who holds everything together is Chuck. Lester refers him to the phrase: WWCD, What Would Chuck Do?

Chuck arrives late and Morgan warns him about Emmett. As Chuck meets Emmett, he flashes on a tough-looking bald man in the Buy More. Feigning sickness, Chuck tries to get away, but runs into the tough guy, who shows a picture of Jeff and asks Chuck if he knows him. Chuck says no and suggests that he check out the other 13 Southern California Buy Mores.

Casey identifies the tough guy as Farrokh Bulsara, a known terrorist. Chuck's assignment is to approach Jeff in a social capacity to find out why a terrorist is tracking him down; the other option is to grab Jeff and having a federal team interrogate him. Chuck caves.

Ellie stops by Sarah's shop to talk with her about Chuck. When told that Chuck may be hanging out with Jeff, she responds disbelievingly; "Nerd Herd, creepy, serial killer Jeff?" Her worry for her brother ramped up, Ellie says they really need to talk.

Chuck approaches Jeff and is cut off by Emmett. After a brief talk of Emmett's love life, Chuck ducks out of an interview, postponing it to the next day. Chuck catches up with Jeff and asks him out for a beer to which Jeff says, "No thanks", but he can be enticed by, say, a dozen beers. Instead of going to Jeff's place, they agree to meet at the Buy More Home Theatre Room.

Later that night, Emmett records his findings of the branch by saying there is "no sign of intelligent life." Jeff presents his Anna music video as the night's entertainment. Chuck frantically signals Casey, "Abort mission! Extraction required! The Intersect has been compromised!" When Casey informs him the perimeter is secure, Chuck clarifies, "I'm talking about the weirdo inside the Buy More!"

Ellie meets with Sarah at the apartment and says she is worried that Chuck is slipping back into old Chuck mode, no confidence and no direction. Ellie mentions that Chuck was only 12 credits short of graduating from Stanford.

Back at the Buy More, Chuck is pounding a beer which is observed by Emmett, who records various observations in his recorder. Chuck asks Jeff about the guy who was looking for him. Jeff thinks it is one of his fans and reveals a video to Chuck that he has not shown to anyone else. It is the 25-year-old news video of Jeff being the Missile Command world champion. The prize was $100 in quarters and a year's supply of Slim Jims. A trophy and the prizes were awarded by Mr. Morimoto who Chuck flashes on. While watching the video, a van pulls up to Buy More, carrying the terrorist and his cohorts. Casey notices on the Castle monitors and goes to the Buy More to warn Chuck. As Jeff has passed out, Chuck is forced to carry him out the back door; Casey told him that he's dead weight and Chuck finds out that he's not kidding.

Ellie worries about Chuck, but Sarah says, "You know, Chuck is like a duck. Sometimes it seems like he is just gliding along, but beneath the surface his little feet are just paddling away like crazy." Sarah says that deep down Chuck is mature and responsible. Just then he bursts in carrying the drunken Jeff. In the morning Jeff wakes and scares Ellie. Chuck hurries him to a waiting cab. Ellie tells Chuck he should go back to school and Chuck responds by saying that he still has all the goals he used to have.


Back at Buy More, Sarah takes Chuck away for a briefing. Morimoto worked for the Japanese military and was in charge of actual missiles, loaded into a satellite that is maintaining dormancy in orbit. Chuck is able to attack Atari headquarters with a computer virus as a cover for them to gain access to Morimoto. Chuck and Casey are not successful trying to enter as computer nerds in the computer nerd headquarters of Atari. Sarah, however, is a much more successful distraction. Chuck and Casey run up the stairs while all of the employee's fawn over her. Chuck encounters Farrokh who locks him in with Morimoto.

In the room, playing Missile Command, is Mr. Morimoto, the video game developer of Missile Command. He relates he hid secret codes to a deadly satellite on the secret final Kill screen of every Missile Command game. He says that the complex math to get to the kill screen is based on the "music of the universe." Chuck notes Rush's Tom Sawyer is playing. Casey breaks in and they wonder why Morimoto is still playing when he said the bad guys have the code all ready. It turns out that there is a bomb attached to the game console. Morimoto urges them to run. Chuck refuses to leave him behind, but Casey doesn't give him a choice. They are able to escape before the bomb explodes, which incinerates Morimoto.

In Castle, Beckman says they will have to shoot down the satellite with the probability of 'acceptable' civilian casualties. With the possibility that those he loves would number among them, Chuck puts forth an alternate plan to have someone play Missile Command to the final screen: specifically, Jeff. Chuck is able to convince Jeff to play for that final screen but only under certain conditions. Grape cough syrup, M&Ms without any brown, his lucky game console from the Gas 'N Sip in Tarzana, Anna in a hula skirt, and his fans to come watch; Casey tries arguing that Jeff's fans have already moved on; Chuck, who knows the various shades of nerd, shakes his head. When word spreads about Jeff, his fans immediately flock to him.

While the media is covering the event, Chuck notices some static on the TVs and flashes on a local news station, where Farrokh plans to control the satellite. Sarah goes to the station as Casey prepares to order that the satellite be shot down. Jeff prepares to play for the kill screen but collapses under the pressure. Morgan says that someone must play the game and Chuck is introduced as the challenger, but his first attempt fails. He then notes a bystander's Rush jersey. The Intersect correlates the Rush music to the game. Remembering Morimoto's words about "music of the universe" being the key to win, he sends Morgan to find Rush's 'Tom Sawyer' and coordinates with the song and is then able to play to the Kill screen in front of the crowd.

Chuck diploma

Chuck's reward

Sarah finds and defeats the terrorists at the local TV station to gain control of the satellite controls. When Chuck unlocks the final screen and reveals the secret codes, he relays them to Sarah who can then control the missile satellite and avert World War III.

After the rally, Big Mike announces that Emmett will be staying as assistant manager.

When Chuck gets home, Ellie greets him excitedly and gives him a Stanford diploma which had arrived in the mail. Sarah had told her that Chuck had been working online to complete his degree. He graduated in electrical engineering, his final 12 credits based on his "practical studies." working with the CIA. He thanks Sarah for the fake diploma, but she tells him it is real, earned with all of his field work, and Stanford agreed.

Back at Buy More, Jeff wakes up for one more round of Missile Command.

Guest Stars[]


  • Emmett becomes the new Buy More “Ass Man” (assistant manager).
  • Jeff was once competent enough to be a champion gamer.


  • The name of the efficiency expert, Emmett Milbarge, is an homage to the 1980s cold-war comedy "Spies Like Us", where the two well-intentioned but incompetent spies are named Emmett Fitz-Hume and Austin Milbarge.
  • Farrokh Bulsara, the name of the villain, is the original name of Queen vocalist, Freddie Mercury.
  • Missile Command was originally released in July 1980, it's therefore not possible that the game is programmed to match the Tom Sawyer song pattern, because the song was first released in February 1981.
  • This is the first time you get to see how Chuck appears to others when he is Flashing, when Chuck hangs out with Jeff. Jeff says "Dude, you are so wasted," when Chuck Flashes.
  • One of Jeff's fans gets a text message from someone called Normal Buckley, which is the name of the editor of Chuck Versus the Intersect.
  • Emmett declares that he has a girlfriend. It's Henrietta in accounts payable at the Ontario Branch.
    Tom Sawyer
  • The reason it's called Chuck Versus Tom Sawyer is because the song Chuck and Mr. Morimoto play Missile Command to is "Tom Sawyer" by Rush, the "music of the universe."
  • The hands used to double for Zachary Levi's when Chuck is playing the game clearly belong to a man much older than him.
  • Morgan introducing Chuck as the "Master of Disaster, The King of Sting, The Dancing Destroyer" is a reference to Apollo Creed's nicknames in the Rocky film series.


Lester: What would I do? I'd just ask W-W-C-D? "What would Chuck do?"
Emmett: Chuck?
Anna: The chain of command? Well, there's, like, Chuck, and then there's, like, the rest of us. Oh, and then there's Jeff.
Lester: Sometimes I... W-W-C-D-N? "Wonder what Chuck's doing now?"
Emmett: Who represents the Buy More ideal? Who makes the trains run on time? Who provides your moral compass? Who holds the team together?
Jeff: Chuck.
Anna: Chuck.
Lester: Lester... no, Chuck.
Morgan: Chuck.

Chuck: It's just like Mr. Morimoto said, the music of the Universe.


  • Air Supply – “All Out of Love”
  • Daniel May – “On Sale Now”
  • Rush – “Tom Sawyer”
  • Tricky – “Council Estate”
  • Billy Martin – “At the Checkout Counter”
  • Stan Bush – “The Touch”
  • Grand Archives – “SleepDriving”

previous: Chuck Versus the Cougars Chuck vs. Tom Sawyer next: Chuck Versus the Ex
Season Two
Season Two

Chuck Versus the First DateChuck Versus the SeductionChuck Versus the Break-UpChuck Versus the CougarsChuck Versus Tom SawyerChuck Versus the ExChuck Versus the Fat LadyChuck Versus the GravitronChuck Versus the SenseiChuck Versus the DeLoreanChuck Versus Santa ClausChuck Versus the Third DimensionChuck Versus the SuburbsChuck Versus the Best FriendChuck Versus the BeefcakeChuck Versus the Lethal WeaponChuck Versus the PredatorChuck Versus the Broken HeartChuck Versus the Dream JobChuck Versus the First KillChuck Versus the ColonelChuck Versus the Ring

See Also: Season One EpisodesSeason Two EpisodesSeason Three EpisodesAll Episodes

QuotesMusicTrivia, Notes, Allusions and Pop/Geek Culture References