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Chuck Versus the Beard
Season 03, Episode 09
Air Date March 8, 2010
Writer Scott Rosenbaum
Director Zachary Levi
Previous Chuck Versus the Fake Name
Next Chuck Versus the Tic Tac
"Chuck Bartowski has been my best friend... my brother... since we were six. Chuck Bartowski is not a spy."
― Morgan

Chuck Versus the Beard is the ninth episode in the third season of Chuck, which aired on the 8th of March, 2010.

Series star, Zachary Levi, made his directorial debut with this episode.


Chuck feels his life is falling apart, he can't talk to any one, he can't flash, and gets left behind for a mission. While Shaw, Sarah and Casey go on without him, Chuck finds himself in a sticky situation back at Castle.

Meanwhile, Morgan investigates the suspicious buyers of the Burbank Buy More store.

Full Story[]

As the episode begins, Chuck is benched by Shaw when he fails to flash for a whole week in the aftermath of the team's previous mission. He declines an offer by Sarah to talk through the emotional issues interfering with the Intersect, and is rebuffed by Devon, who has taken a vacation with Ellie to escape Chuck's spy life, and the secrets he can't handle. Back at the Buy More, Morgan calls him into his office for "disciplinary action." Morgan reveals that Hannah quit after Chuck broke up with her, and asks Chuck to talk to him about what's happening. Chuck tries to talk to Morgan, but is unable to since his desire to protect Morgan is greater than his need to open up. Morgan, fed up with being sidelined, "fires" Chuck as his best friend.

Meanwhile, Sarah, Shaw, and Casey head to a hotel where the Ring is supposed to be attempting to turn a CIA agent. With Chuck unable to flash on the target's identity, it is left to the rest of the team to stakeout the hotel and attempt to identify him before it's too late. While they're away, Big Mike announces to the Buy More staff that their store is being sold and that representatives from Cost-Less - Del and Neil - will be interviewing the employees while the building is inspected prior to the sale.

The Buy More staff agrees to a "blood oath" to support each other in the interviews, as Big Mike believes the corporate representatives will begin by firing the employees. But when Lester is called in first, he immediately attempts to make a deal to give up the "dirt" on his coworkers for immunity, while Big Mike attempts to protect Chuck as the store's best asset, Chuck, in turn, attempts to stand up for Morgan. As Chuck leaves the interview, Del confides in Neil that he believes Chuck is Agent Carmichael although Neil is doubtful, making it clear that they are Ring operatives and are attempting to locate Castle. Unaware of the danger, Chuck returns to the base and attempts to relax enough to flash, but without success.

Lester attempts to spy on the Ring agents during the interviews, and overhears Del giving them the order to "terminate everyone" but Morgan and Chuck, which leads him to believe that they are to be fired.

Meanwhile, Sarah and Shaw trace a Ring phone call to a room at the hotel. The mark is identified by the caller as a man wearing blue and white swim trunks at the pool. As they scan the guests they spot him, and Sarah is stunned to recognize Devon. They intercept him at the pool to warn him, and Devon is horrified, believing that he was supposed to be in the clear and free from the Ring. As Sarah and Shaw attempt to calm him, Casey breaks into the room where the call was placed from and finds it deserted except for a Ring phone set up to play back a message. Casey relays to Sarah and Shaw to stand down, and they release Devon, who is still shaken that Chuck's secret life has once again intruded on his own.

In the hotel room, they debrief with Casey, and begin to put the pieces together that the Ring set them up to draw Shaw into the open and leave Castle undefended. The team realizes that Chuck is on his own, and without the ability to flash, undefended.

At the Buy More, Jeff is being called into the interview when he begs Morgan to clear contraband from his locker before it can be discovered. As he does so, two of the Ring agents enter, and Morgan hides. He watches as their scanners pick up the hidden entrance to Castle behind the lockers. Morgan is astonished to learn that a CIA base is hidden under the Buy More and follows the group after they break in. Taking cover, he eavesdrops on them as they announce their intentions to steal all the data the team has on the Ring, and destroy Castle and the store with it.

Morgan tracks down Chuck and reveals everything he has learned. Chuck is stunned, but keeps his cover by playing along. Their attempts to call the police fail, as Castle and all communications in the store are now locked down — Sarah and Shaw are unable to even reach Chuck by phone as they race back from the hotel. Chuck tries to convince Morgan to stand down, but finally, to keep Morgan from revealing Castle's existence to everyone else, he agrees to help, provided Morgan keeps the secret between them and they get their coworkers out of the store first.

Big Mike, meanwhile, still believes they are to all be fired, has decided not to give up the store without a fight.


The employees barricade themselves inside and refuse to leave when Chuck advises them to do so. They hold a rally and party in the store where Jeffster! sings for the troops, while the Ring agents search Castle for Shaw's files. Chuck finally makes contact with the rest of the team via his watch, and is ordered to stand down. He attempts to warn Morgan, but his friend is determined to stop the Ring agents. Unfortunately his actions gets them both captured.

Chuck and Morgan are interrogated in Castle's dojo. When Del threatens to cut out Morgan's eye, Chuck finally acknowledges that he is, indeed, Agent Carmichael: "The truth is... I am a member of a joint NSA-CIA black ops team that is stationed here in Burbank. I have a level six clearance, and my code name is Charles Carmichael." The Ring operatives then leave them alone to deal with Shaw, Sarah and Casey, who have returned, during that time, Chuck explains everything to Morgan, from the e-mail from Bryce to the present, including the fact that he is the Intersect. Chuck is relieved that he finally had the chance to explain everything that was happening in his life to his best friend, he feels as if a weight has lifted. Morgan points out that regardless of whether his relationship with Sarah was a cover, that his love for her was genuine, there was no way he could lie to Morgan about that, and Chuck finally acknowledges that as well. The Ring agents successfully locate Shaw's files, and Del orders Neil to have Casey killed when he tries to access Castle from the Buy More, while Sarah and Shaw attempt to get in from the Orange Orange. After gaining entry into the store by voicing his "support" for the revolt, Casey attempts to use the Buy More entrance into Castle, but is locked out. He is ambushed by two Ring agents sent by Neil, but is unwittingly saved by Jeff who, while high, knocks out one while Casey disables the other.

Back in Castle, Del, Neil and the remainder of their team return to finish off Chuck and Morgan. After Chuck and Morgan's talk, however, and with his emotions back under control, Chuck is able to flash on advanced martial arts skills and quickly defeats the intruders, to Morgan's delight. He even aides Chuck by knocking out Del from behind with a bo staff. Unaware of these events, Casey returns to the Orange Orange after failing to gain access to the facility, where Shaw is preparing to invoke its self-destruct over Sarah's objections. Just as he's about to activate the self-destruct, the entrance in the freezer opens and to the astonishment of the team, Morgan struts out, greeting Sarah as "Agent Walker" as Chuck emerges behind him looking sheepish.


Shaw insists that Morgan be placed into witness protection, despite Chuck's objections. Casey is also unconvinced when Chuck points out Devon knows his secret as well - Devon is "Awesome" and Morgan is a moron. Chuck counters that Morgan's loyalty matters, and that without his help, he would have been unable to flash. Sarah throws her support behind Chuck, and Shaw relents, releasing Morgan. Back at home, Chuck and Morgan relax over a game of Duck Hunt where Chuck's perfect score has Morgan accusing him of cheating with the Intersect.

To further distance himself from Chuck's spy life, a freaked out Devon suggests to Ellie that they join Doctors Without Borders and make a trip to Africa, Ellie is unsure how to respond. The Buy More revolt ends when Shaw, masquerading as a senior Buy More executive, tells Big Mike that they have decided not to sell the store due to the staff's dedication. Sarah and Shaw are concerned that Castle is compromised, though the Ring agents were blocked from reporting the details of the infiltration by their own communications blackout. Shaw estimates that they have enough time to launch a final offensive against the Ring before having to shut down Castle. He muses on why the Ring didn't take the opportunity to assassinate him, as their ruse successfully drew him out into the open.

As the episode ends, a Ring phone captured by the team rings while Casey is stowing their gear. When he answers it, a voice greets him by name,saying it's been a long time.

Guest Stars[]


  • Casey claims to hate "hippie Neo-liberal fascists and anarchists [and] hypocrite fat-cat suits"
  • Emmet's and Morgan's concept of Buy-Moria, the idea of the Buy More as a country, reappears within this episode.
  • There are multiple references in the scene when the Buy More employees block the entrance to the store in protest: the barricade comes from Les Miserables; Big Mike's speech draws from the famous "They may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom!" speech in Braveheart; and the planting of the flag at the top of the mound is a parody of the famous photo of the flag being raised on Iwo Jima during WWII. When Lester later sings Fortunate Son, as the employees prepare for war, is both a reference to the song's historical use as a protest anthem against those in power, and a satire of the militarism the song also criticizes. Finally, while celebrating their victory, a male and female employee recreate the famous photo from V-J day in New York where a sailor kissed a nurse.
  • When Chuck is trying to flash at pictures of criminals, one of the cards has a spelling mistake, "Portugese" instead of "Portuguese".
  • Devon is described in this episode as 6'2” but Ryan McPartlin is actually 6'4½" (1.94m). This was the second time writers underplayed the above average height of the lead actors (see: Chuck Versus the Tango) three of whom are 6'4" or better.


Morgan: I cannot believe I am saying this. But you're fired!
Chuck: What? You're firing me from the Buy More?
Morgan: Buy More? No. You kidding me? You're the best Nerd Herder we have. I need you here. I'm firing you as my best friend.


Chuck: I do love Sarah. I kept telling myself that I didn’t, that I wouldn’t, I couldn’t, but I do.... Morgan, you have no idea how badly I needed to get all this off my chest!


Shaw: We have no reason to believe we can trust him.
Chuck: Yes, we do. We have 22 reasons why we can trust him. That's the number of years Morgan has been my best friend. And yes, he has his faults, granted, but one thing he is is loyal, and he will never betray me or my secret.
Sarah: He's right.


  • Jesus Alejandro El Nino – “Bululu”
  • Daniel May – “On Sale Now”
  • Billy Idol – “Dancing With Myself”
  • Latin Mambo Orchestra – “Arroz Con Pollo”
  • Credence Clear Water Revival – “Fortunate Son”
  • Dawes – “Bedside manner”