|Season 1, Episode 1|
|Air Date||September 24, 2007|
|Writer||Josh Schwartz & Chris Fedak|
|Next||"Chuck Versus the Helicopter"|
- "Mr. Bomb, meet Mr. Internet."
- ― Chuck
The episode originally aired on September 24, 2007.
Chuck receives an email from Bryce - his old college roommate - who is now, unbeknownst to him, a government agent. The email contains government secrets which are subconsciously transmitted into his brain. The CIA and the NSA both want to get this data back, and send their top agents Sarah Walker and John Casey to retrieve it.
Full StoryEditTwo voices, there seems to be a covert operation under way, until there is a knock on the door, which causes one of them to exclaim, "We've been compromised, I'm a ghost", leaving the other to plead "No, Morgan, don't do this, you can't leave me like this." When the lights come on, it is revealed that two young men were attempting escape from Chuck's own birthday party, where he feels that he does not fit in, given that Chuck's sister, Ellie, invited all her friends, who are all doctors. Ellie explains that she brought "real live women" for him, and makes him go to his birthday party, telling Morgan to stay behind.
At the party, Ellie's boyfriend, Devon points Chuck towards some "likely candidates and they are awesome" and through the fragments of small talk it is revealed Chuck works for the Nerd Herd of a Buy More, has no idea what he wants to do - "Working on a five-year plan, just need to choose a font" - and that he hasn't had a girlfriend since he was expelled from Stanford, and his girl, Jill, left him.
The girl asks about a "great guy" she knew at Stanford who was a gymnast and ran track, Chuck, flatly states that it was Bryce Larkin who was his roommate at Stanford. He thinks Bryce is now an accountant.The scene cuts and a person falls from the ceiling of a room, a caption explains that this is "Bryce Larkin" and clarifies matters with the text "(not an accountant)". Bryce proceeds to move towards a computer in the room and connects it to a handheld unit; the screen prompt explains that this larger unit is the "Intersect Computer". As soon as Bryce begins the data transfer, alarms are triggered and people outside yell at Larkin to open the door. When the transfer is completed he affixes an explosive to the Intersect and begins running towards the door; the blast that destroys the Intersect propels Larkin through the door knocking down those on the other side. Bryce proceeds to fight his way out of the building, pausing momentarily to open the email feature on his phone. He eventually makes it to the roof and climbs down to the ground, he is looking at his handheld moving away from the building when he is shot in the chest by John Casey. Bryce tells Casey that it is too late and the screen of his handheld shows that he has e-mailed "Chuck".
Back at the party, Chuck is droning on about his ex, and the girl he was talking to leaves without him realizing. After the party is over Ellie explains that no woman wants to hear about an old girlfriend and that "Stanford was five years ago, you need to move on," to which Chuck replies "Fine, I'll get over Jill tomorrow."Chuck goes back to his room, and he and Morgan play Gears of War when Morgan notices Chuck has received an e-mail from Bryce. When opened, it shows a line from the first encounter of the text-based computer fantasy game Zork. Chuck explains to Morgan that he and Bryce programmed their own version of Zork back at Stanford, Morgan exclaims "Wow, you guys were really cool." Chuck tells him it's time he heads home. After he is gone, Chuck enters the text, "attack troll with nasty knife." When he presses enter, a series of images begin displaying. This continues for what seems like hours, until Chuck's alarm goes off the next morning, at which point he collapses, having apparently been hypnotized by the database of images. He wakes up to Morgan looking over him and ghost-images of what he had seen on the computer flashing in front of him. He asks Morgan what happened, and accuses him of spiking the punch, which Morgan admits to doing.
Listening to the radio in the shower, a seemingly innocuous comment by the announcer causes Chuck to "flash", i.e. see a rapid stream of data from the e-mail, with certain images highlighted. This just confuses him. As he and Morgan head towards the Nerd Herder he tells Morgan to drive since he has a headache and tells him to "stay off the 5 as the police are in a phased ... deployment" not really realizing what he's saying, and with no clue where the words are coming from.At the Buy More, Chuck explains to the Nerd Herd that there is a new computer virus, the Irene Demova Virus, named after a porn star, and that "Lonely guy call volume will be high." Morgan turns on the TV display wall and there is a news report of General Stanfield landing in LA. Chuck flashes on the General and says that the report was a lie, the General had been in LA since the previous night, he says out loud, "He's already here, he landed last night," when Anna asks him "Who's here, Chuckles?" Chuck responds "I ... don't know ..." The scene cuts to Graham, Beckman, and Casey standing in the remains of the Intersect room. Beckman explains to Casey that the computer "did everything." After 9/11 the NSA and the CIA were told to play nice, share their information and the Intersect was how they did it. Graham goes on to clarify that "every scrap of information" they had went into the computer. Beckman tells Graham that Casey is leading the investigation into the incident and Casey explains that he got Larkin's handheld, and although the hard drive was damaged beyond repair they were able to trace the e-mail to Los Angeles. Back at the Buy More, Chuck is on the phone when Sarah walks in, and when he sees her he literally drops the phone. She hands him her cellphone telling him that it's broken, and Chuck explains that the model of phone has a screw that pops loose and promptly fixes it. Before Sarah and Chuck can begin talking a man and his daughter come in to the store. The man explains that he videoed her whole dance recital but it won't play back. To his dismay, Chuck explains to him that he didn't have any tape in the camera. Chuck then connects the TV display wall to a video camera and has the girl perform the dance, unconsciously demonstrating to Sarah what a genuinely nice guy he is.
While walking back towards Sarah, Harry Tang blocks his way and tells to Chuck that there is an open assistant-manager position. When Harry finally moves off Sarah is gone, but has left a card with her number on it.
As Chuck and Morgan are heading home, they have the following exchange:
Morgan: "Why wouldn't you call this girl?!"
Chuck: "Oh, I don't know, did you see her?"
Morgan: "Yes, oh, man, yes! Which begs the question; why would you not call this girl?"
Chuck: "Because I live on planet Earth, Morgan."
The next day, Chuck goes to Large Mart to buy new locks. While looking for a person to help him, he flashes on a man in the store; the flash shows bombs and buildings exploding, identifying him as a Serbian demolitions expert. Chuck promptly freaks out, and tries to escape what he believes to be imminent death.
Sarah, meanwhile, tells Graham that the computer was destroyed, and Graham tells her that is over, the NSA is stepping in. Sarah asks for more time, to see if Chuck had an external drive. She returns to the Buy More, where Chuck, at the Nerd Herd desk, is muttering to himself that he's losing his mind. She tells Chuck that she thinks her phone is still broken since she never received a call from him. She tells him she just moved into the area and wants someone to show her around, Morgan tells her the Chuck's schedule is wide open, and they arrange to meet. As Sarah walks out of the Buy More, Casey spots her.Chuck and Morgan return home to tell Ellie the good news; Chuck has a date. She is very excited, and gets him prepared. Meanwhile, in Sarah's apartment, she straps on knives and a Kevlar vest. As she is on the phone with Graham, she tells him her belief that Chuck is a good guy. Graham replies that "nice guys aren't sent government secrets." As Chuck knocks on the door, Sarah is instructed to kill him if he attempts to run.
Chuck takes Sarah to a Mexican restaurant where she tells him she moved from Washington DC after coming out of a long relationship with a guy named "Bruce." Chuck tells her that he had a girlfriend at Stanford but that's all over now and jokes that her "restraining orders are very specific." They then go to a club since Chuck feels her musical education is lacking, and she needs to see the band Foreign Born play.Outside, Casey and his men pull up. Sarah spots them as they enter the club and she gets Chuck to dance as a distraction. While dancing, she attacks the approaching NSA agents with knives hidden around her ankles and the chopsticks she used in her hair. When she sees Casey, she drags Chuck out of the building and breaks into the Herder. Sarah reverses blind and tells Chuck to tell her when to turn. He says "Left in five seconds," which leaves Sarah to ask "My left or your left?" Chuck had no idea how to answer. She guesses and turns down a set of steps, past a group of stoned teenagers. Chuck asks her what is going on and she explains that they are being pursued by the NSA and they're after him, which leaves Chuck even more confused. Casey crashes into the side of the Herder, but while he's backing up, Sarah and Chuck make a run for it, Chuck trips over a part of the car that had fallen in the street. Casey drives straight towards Sarah, who throws a knife at a switch to put a set of barriers up. Kneeling to protect herself, Casey's SUV crashes into the barrier and Sarah and Chuck run to the roof of a building. On the roof, Sarah explains to Chuck that Bryce was a spy and wants to know if he has contacted Chuck. Chuck tells her about the e-mail. Sarah then asks if he backed it up on an external drive. Chuck says that it crashed a week ago and asks if he wasn't suppose to look at those pictures. She then tells him "I may have to aim my gun at you so just... don't freak out." At that point Casey arrives and tells Sarah that Chuck belongs to the NSA. Sarah points her gun at Chuck and tells Casey the CIA gets him first, and that if Casey goes any closer she will shoot Chuck. Casey points his gun at Sarah and tells her that if she shoots Chuck he will shoot her, leave both their bodies there and go and get a late night snack, "I'm thinking maybe pancakes." Chuck breaks and runs, but when he sees the hotel that General Stanfield is giving his speech in, he flashes. Turning around he tells Casey and Sarah that "Something is wrong with me, okay? I don't know what it is but something is very, very wrong with me, and I'm remembering things I shouldn't know." Sarah asks him for details, so he explains that there was a Serbian demolitions expert at the Large Mart, that the NSA intercepted blueprints of a nearby hotel and that the CIA intercepted schematics for a bomb in Prague and that the bomb is in the hotel. Casey points his gun at Chuck, convinced that since he knows this, he was working with Bryce. Sarah explains that he opened Bryce's e-mail and as a result, Chuck is now the Intersect.
Sarah: Chuck, the pictures that you saw were encoded with secrets, government secrets. If you saw them, then you know them.
Chuck: There were thousands of them.
Casey: Wait a minute, you're telling me all of our secrets [shifting pistol's laser sight to Chuck's forehead] are in his head?
Sarah: Chuck is the computer.
Later, Sarah and Casey are arguing over what is going to happen to Chuck. Casey wants to take him - forcibly - to Washington, Sarah is convinced he could be of use to them in the field. Chuck tells Casey that "you need me" and that he's going home. At dawn, Chuck is still sitting on the beach, and Sarah joins him, revealing that he has been there all night watching him. He asks if there is any where he can run and she says no, and he shouldn't tell his family or friends anything, to keep them safe, but that he will be working for the CIA and NSA. She also asks him to trust her.The next day at the Buy More, Big Mike tells Chuck to train the new guy. The new guy turns out to be Casey, then Sarah comes in, posing as a customer. Chuck spots a ring she's wearing and flashes on it. The flash includes a video recording of her fighting a group of people off single-handed before shooting out the video camera. The episode ends with the static from the disabled video camera and Chuck whispering "Don't freak out," to himself.
The Gallery for Chuck Versus the Intersect can be found here.
- In an early draft, Kayla Hart appeared as a romantic interest for Chuck but was eventually cut. Morgan's surname was changed from Morgan Pace to "Grimes" and Sarah's surname was changed to "Walker" from "Kent".
- When Morgan first sees Sarah, he says, "Stop the presses, who is that? Vicki Vale!" Chuck, distracted and on the phone, sings, "Vicki Vale! Vick- V- Vicki Vale!" Then he catches Sarah's eye, stunned and embarrassed, he drops the phone. "That's from Batman," he explains. "Cause that makes it better," Sarah says. The reference is to "Batdance", a single from Prince's soundtrack to the 1989 Batman movie. The song uses samples from the movie's dialogue, including the phrases "Stop the presses, who is that?" and "Vicki Vale".
- The scene at the hotel which shows Chuck, Sarah, and Casey running through the fountain is taken from TV series "The O.C.", which is also produced by Josh Schwartz.
- The line from Zork is the first encounter with a hostile enemy in the game. The correct way to defeat the terrible troll is to use the elvish sword, not the nasty knife. However, Chuck may have used the knife as it was Chuck and Bryce's own version of the game. It would make sense for Bryce to do this, as an outsider who received the email would be inclined to "attack troll with elvish sword", theoretically this would not have opened the Intersect images as only Chuck would know that in this version of Zork the correct weapon to use is the nasty knife.
- The "IRENE DEMOVA" adult website containing a virus is a reference to the stereotype of internet porn containing viruses.
- A Post-it on Chuck's computer monitor reads, "I'm a professional nerd."
- In literary terms, Chuck might be seen as the successor to Mycroft Holmes, whom Sherlock describes thus in 'The Bruce-Partington Plans', "He has the tidiest and most orderly brain, with the greatest capacity for storing facts, of any man living. The same great powers which I have turned to the detection of crime he has used for this particular business. The conclusions of every department are passed to him, and he is the central exchange, the clearinghouse, which makes out the balance. All other men are specialists, but his specialism is omniscience."
Chuck: I'm uncomfortable with the plan.
Morgan: Plan? What plan? This is survival.
Morgan: [knock at the door] That's her. We've been compromised. I'm a ghost.
Chuck: [Ellie enters and turns on light] Morgan, you can't leave me like this. You can't do this to me, man.
Ellie: Chuck, what are you doing?
Chuck: Uh, escaping.
Ellie: From your own birthday party?
Sarah: That's funny.
Chuck: Well, I'm a funny guy.
Sarah: Clearly. Which is good, because I am not funny.
Chuck: Is that your big secret, by the way? 'Cause I've been sitting here trying to figure out what's wrong with you....
Sarah: Plenty, believe me.
Chuck: I was thinking either she's a cannibal or she's not that funny, and I was pulling for cannibal because I've never met one before.
Sarah: Not a cannibal.
Sarah: Everything about Washington reminded me of...Bruce. I need a change, a big one.
Chuck: Bruce. You give me crap about being Chuck and you went out with a Bruce. That's nice, that's real good.
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- Jet - Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
- Gomez - See The World
- The Shins - A Comet Appears
- Beck - Cellphone’s Dead
- Foreign Born - Into Your Dream
- Journey - Any Way You Want It
- Ennio Morricone - A Fist Full of Dollars
- Martin Brothers - The Missionary