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Chuck Versus the Pink Slip
Season 03, Episode 01
301 1
Air Date January 10, 2010
Writer Chris Fedak & Matt Miller
Director Robert Duncan McNeill
Previous Chuck Versus the Ring
Next Chuck Versus the Three Words
"I'm a lemon. I don't work."

Chuck Versus the Pink Slip is the third season premiere, which aired on January 10, 2010. It is the thirty-sixth episode overall and was the first part of a double bill.


With his new Intersect 2.0 abilities, Chuck is given the opportunity to become a real spy, but nobody said it would be easy. As the upgraded Intersect, Chuck trains to become a full-fledged spy but hits rock bottom when he flunks out of spy school and loses Sarah in the process.

Meanwhile, Morgan comes home from Benihana School and joins the effort to help Chuck get over Sarah.

Full Story[]

The episode starts six months after the events of Chuck Versus the Ring in Prague, where Chuck is shown to be apparently held captive by members of a Russian mob. Tied to a chair, a bag is pulled off Chuck's head and the leader of the mob, identified as Yuri, addresses Chuck as "Agent Carmichael." Chuck requests that Yuri return a case, but Yuri refuses, highlighting the fact that Chuck is unarmed, tied up, and surrounded. Through an earpiece, General Beckman advises Chuck that they have confirmed the case is in the room.

Chuck demands Yuri hand over the case, but Yuri draws his gun, causing Chuck to flash on advanced martial arts. Chuck manages to free himself and take a gun, before threatening all of the mob members. Yuri still refuses to hand over the case, and Beckman advises Chuck to shoot him. Yuri taunts Chuck, but instead Chuck does not fire, and uses his martial arts ability to dispatch Yuri and his goons, before escaping the building with the case on Beckman's orders.

Upon escaping the building, Beckman orders Chuck to get to a rooftop, as a helicopter is coming in to extract him. When Chuck manages to gain some height, however, Beckman informs him that the helicopter is too far away, and instead he should zip line across to safety using a power line. Chuck hesitates, but Beckman informs him that the ability to zip line is in the Intersect. Chuck does as he is told, and climbs to the roof of the building where the power line is located, removing his belt and wrapping it around the power line. Chuck stresses when he realizes how high he is, and is unable to flash on the zip line, despite Beckman's provocation. Yuri then shouts "You're dead" from below, and draws his pistol on Chuck, before being joined by several of his goons. Suddenly, a spotlight turns on and angles at Chuck's face, and Beckman appears, using a loud speaker to signal the end of the simulation. "Yuri", who by his true accent is clearly a US agent, puts his gun down and his men follow suit, before Beckman shouts to the rooftop: "Chuck, You can come down now."

Down in the street, Beckman demands to know why Chuck didn't shoot Yuri, and Chuck says he isn't comfortable shooting people. Beckman tells Chuck, "This isn't working out," and despite Chuck's argument, she informs Chuck that the problem "is not with the computer, it's with you." Chuck realizes she is about to fire him, and pleads with her, trying to persuade her about how much he gave up for this opportunity to become a spy. On Beckman's instruction, an agent tranquilizes Chuck, who collapses.

Flashback to six months earlier, and a montage of the Season Two finale plays, before Casey informs Chuck that he is going to a training facility. Chuck informs Sarah that he is going to become a "real spy". She tells him that if he goes to train to become an agent, he will change, become a different person. She suggests they run away together, abandon the spy life. She tells him to go to the training facility for now and meet her in three weeks. Chuck accepts, and the flashback ends, before the scene cuts to Chuck sitting on the sofa with Ellie and Devon standing over him, asking where Sarah is. Chuck tells them he lost her, and Ellie advises him to call her. Cut to Sarah emerging from a swimming pool with an unidentified man, and her phone rings. She sees it's Chuck, and she tosses the phone into the pool.

Chuck, an emotional wreck after losing Sarah and failing spy school, is shown getting out of bed and grabbing the cheese balls from kitchen, before lying down on the sofa and watching TV. He is uncommunicative with Ellie and Devon, who try and persuade him to do something...anything. A montage plays of many days of Chuck lying on the sofa, his beard growing, until finally he is lying asleep on the sofa, the tub of cheese balls empty, and he has a full beard. Ellie attempts to wake him and informs him that he has a visitor. Morgan appears, and Chuck cannot believe it at first. Morgan informs Chuck that he is doing well in Hawaii, before Chuck falls back asleep on the couch. Ellie forces Chuck to sit up and tells him he "is going to do something today." The others then leave, and Chuck notices his tub of cheese balls is empty. Reading the sticker on the bottom, he realizes they are from the Buy More and sets off to resupply.

301 2

Emmett confronts Chuck at the Buy More

Upon entering the store, Chuck attempts to be inconspicuous, but his beard, robe, and sunglasses give off an poor impression, and he's spotted by Emmett. Jeff approaches Chuck, not recognizing him. Chuck attempts to alter his voice, and says he wants cheese balls, Jeff points to aisle three. Emmett, watching the security feed, believes Chuck might be a shoplifter and calls security, who approach Chuck and corner him at checkout. Chuck removes his sunglasses, revealing his identity. Emmett, clearly pleased at Chuck's misfortune, alerts the other workers, and they surround Chuck, the mere mention of his name igniting hope in them.

Emmett taunts Chuck, triggering a flash on kung fu, which Chuck attempts to suppress. Emmett continues to attack Chuck verbally, and Chuck finds it hard to hold the kung fu in. He pleads with Emmett to stop, finally, Chuck calms himself, and Lester approaches him, asking him if he has returned to save them from Emmett. He explains he can't help them, and Lester counters that Chuck doesn't care about them because he still has "blondie". Chuck is no longer in contact with Sarah and realizes that they must have seen her around. Jeff explains they see her going in and out of the Orange Orange.

Chuck goes to the yogurt shop, unlocking the door, he calls for Sarah, before an unknown person kicks him and knocks him down, spilling cheese balls everywhere. Casey stands over Chuck and calls him pathetic before helping him up and demanding to know why he is in the Orange Orange. Chuck claims he left a jacket behind in Castle, and Casey allows Chuck in. Chuck attempts to question Casey about Sarah, but Casey denies having seen her. Casey's phone rings, and it is Sarah. Chuck pleads with Casey to allow him to talk to her when he is done, and Casey tells Sarah "it's the lemon." Sarah, clearly unwilling to talk to Chuck, ends the conversation, and Casey hangs up. Chuck offers his help on Casey's next assignment, but Casey isn't convinced, so Chuck explains that Beckman fired him. Casey types on a laptop, and Chuck notices the location of their next mission is "El Bucho", unbeknownst to Casey. Chuck leaves, but Casey tries to ask him what happened between him and Sarah. Chuck simply replies, "Something I need to fix," before leaving Castle.


Infiltrating the mission

Chuck next shaves his beard, before putting on his Buy More uniform, and getting changed. That night, Chuck turns up at El Bucho, and when he is stopped by security, he claims that "somebody called about a computer emergency." He is allowed in, and spots Casey across the room, who is posing as a waiter. Casey notices him, too, and the two exchange glances, before Casey informs Sarah that they "have a situation". Sarah notices Chuck, Sarah gets up and walks over, asking why he is there. He tells her is there for nothing more than back up, but Sarah notices the mark entering the restaurant, and orders Chuck to kiss her. Chuck is startled, but obliges, before Sarah slaps Chuck across the face, and he collapses. The man approaches, revealing himself as her date. He asks who Chuck is, and Sarah explains it is her ex, who is having "trouble letting go". The pair walk off, leaving Chuck on the floor.

Chuck is then shown holding an ice bag to his cheek in a back room. Casey mocks Chuck for having a glass jaw, which Chuck puts down to an "empty stomach". Chuck apologizes for almost compromising the mission, explaining he wants to prove he can operate proficiently to Beckman. He pleads to Sarah to convince Casey, but Sarah remains cold, and tells Casey to throw him out. Chuck tries to talk to Casey, and Casey explains the man she is with is the mark, who is meeting with a member of The Ring later that evening, and they will strike at the Ring operatives when the time is right. he implores Chuck to leave before he spooks Javier. When Chuck asks who, Casey tells him: Javier Cruz, before heading back into the restaurant. Chuck flashes on the name, and realizes Javier is an international assassin. However, the agents Casey left behind force Chuck out of the restaurant, despite his pleas.

Casey informs Sarah that he "dumped the lemon", and Chuck is shown banging on the restaurant door. He attempts to break the door down but fails, and drops his Buy More ID, before flashing on kung fu. A man approaches Chuck, and Chuck accidentally knocks him out, which he then apologizes for. Realizing the man was supposed to play guitar that evening in the restaurant, Chuck takes his jacket and guitar and entering the restaurant disguised as the guitar player for the band. Quickly, he is rushed up onto the stage by the restaurant staff. When the keyboard player asks where the other guitar player is, Chuck claims he has a "spastic colon". Chuck then realizes he cannot play the guitar, and instead strums nervously, before looking down at the guitar and flashing.


Mariachi Chuck

Immediately, he begins to play professionally, much to Sarah and Casey's surprise. Chuck tries to warn Casey that the courier, Javier Cruz, is an assassin, but when Casey asks where, Chuck shrugs. The guitar player Chuck knocked out earlier then wakes up, pulling his fake mustache and hair off, revealing that he is in fact the assassin. The mark offers Sarah his bodyguards to get rid of Chuck, but Sarah refuses, instead asking the mark to dance. When the mark questions Chuck's appearance again, Sarah explains that Chuck is trying to make him jealous. Casey suggests his agents to tranquilize Chuck. As one of the agents fires, Chuck ducks and the tranquilizer dart hits the keyboard player, who collapses. Sarah assures the mark he has nothing to worry about, but Javier appears from backstage, and aims a gun at the mark without anyone's knowledge. As they dance, the laser sight dodges between Sarah and the mark, and Chuck notices, flinging himself at Sarah to get her out of the shot.

Javier quickly leaves, and several of the guests draw guns. Sarah demands to know what Chuck is doing, and Chuck explains that an assassin almost killed her. Sarah asks where he is, and Chuck, realizing Javier has gone, cannot answer. Sarah explains that half the guests in the restaurant are undercover, and Casey threatens Chuck for ruining the operation. Sarah angrily says to Chuck: "You don't work for the CIA anymore, Chuck. It's over." The assassin is then shown picking up Chuck's Buy More ID behind the restaurant.

Chuck returns to the sofa with the cheese balls once again. Ellie comments on the fact that Chuck has shaved, and Chuck explains: "It was a rash decision." Ellie says that watching him wallow all day is pathetic, and Devon privately approaches Chuck, asking if all this is some elaborate cover for an operation. Chuck explains that he was fired, for real, and Devon asks if they don't kill ex spies. Chuck laughs and says he's seen too many movies. Later, when Chuck is sleeping on the sofa, he hears someone approaching him from behind. In fright, Chuck screams "don't kill me," only to realize it's Morgan. Morgan tries to find out what's wrong, and Chuck explains that he blew the best job he would ever have. Morgan takes Chuck to the Buy More and explains that Anna left him in Hawaii for the prep chef, and he "lost his mojo, couldn't flip the shrimp." So, he moved back to Burbank, and now lives in the Home Theater Room. Emmett sees Morgan there on the security feed and tells himself he will have "the authorities deal with him tomorrow."

In Castle, Sarah and Casey are packing up to leave. Sarah turns off a CCTV camera monitoring Chuck in the store, and Casey says, "poor bastard", showing a degree of compassion. Casey tells Sarah that Chuck still loves her, which Sarah denies, and Casey says that whilst he doesn't know what happened between them, he has seen "men have their fingernails pulled out treated more humanely than you did that kid." Sarah explains she was doing her job, and Casey retorts that her job is over, and that she should "put him out of his misery, he deserves that much."

301 Chuck Emmett's death

Cruz kills Emmett

Back at the Buy More, Emmett is just leaving, and sees a man at the loading dock. Emmett gets out of his car and approaches Javier Cruz. When Emmett threatens him with mace if he doesn't leave, then insults him, Cruz shoots Emmett dead. Inside the Buy More, Chuck and Morgan are leaving when Sarah approaches, and Morgan leaves them. Sarah explains she wanted to say a proper goodbye, when Chuck tries to apologize, Sarah realizes that several armed men are approaching him from behind, Cruz knocks Chuck out with the butt of his pistol. Sarah, surrounded, surrenders.

Chuck wakes up in a cell. The cell door opens, and Cruz walks in, asking who Chuck is. He takes a Ring Communicator and puts it in his coat, before threatening Chuck. When Chuck attempts to flash, he fails, and Cruz beats Chuck, before explaining that Chuck will reveal all the secrets he knows and who he works for. A dazed Chuck flashes back to the Prague train station, and Chuck approaches a waiting Sarah. Sarah sees him and smiles, tells him his cover and tries to hand him a ticket. Chuck hesitates, explaining that he can't run away with her, before waking up in the cell.

Casey is shown attempting to locate Sarah at Castle and checks the Buy More security cameras before noticing Emmett's body in the Buy More loading bay. Casey requests satellite images of every car entering the Buy More over the last six hours, before taking the mini-gun case off the table and leaving.

Chuck is again attempting to flash in order to escape. But is once more unable to do so, due to his emotional turmoil. Sarah calls to him through the wall from her cell. She tells Chuck to break out of his cell and rescue her as she was unable to pick the lock. Chuck explains he is unable to flash, but Sarah says he can, "Chuck, don't freak out." This taste of normal relations is enough to settle him as Javier returns to his cell. When Javier threatens to hurt Sarah, Chuck finally flashes and knocks Javier out in one punch, before taking his keys and Ring Communicator. He unlocks Sarah's cell, and the pair leave, to find they are being held in Mexico. From the top of a tower, they observe their surroundings, and duck as an enemy agent fires at them. Sarah returns fire, before more agents emerge, and Sarah explains they need to run as she is running out of ammunition. Chuck notices a power line leaving the building, and flashes on it, learning the ability to zip line. He wraps his belt around the wire and Sarah clings onto him, before the pair zip line to the ground, only to encounter more agents at their landing point, including Cruz, who points a gun at the pair. A helicopter appears, with Casey and his 34m mini-gun in hand. He sprays the goons and Cruz with bullets, before landing and picking up Chuck and Sarah.

301 3

Chuck and Sarah's zip line escape

Back at Castle, Beckman debriefs the team, explaining the importance of Chuck's find of the Ring Communicator - it is the first ever captured by the NSA or CIA. When Sarah explains she is departing with Casey to go to Lisbon to destroy another Ring cell, Beckman says no, she is re-initializing Operation Bartowski. Chuck is delighted.

Chuck hopes his new cover to be something grand, but it is then revealed he has been reinstated at the Buy More. Casey lied to Chuck about Emmett's death - Chuck believes Emmett took a Large Mart job in Anchorage. Chuck thanks Casey for rehiring Morgan as well.

In Castle, Beckman instructs Sarah to keep Chuck's emotions in check because he is an "unstable element" dangerous but worth the risk. At Chuck's apartment, Ellie and Devon are seen moving into the empty apartment across the courtyard, leaving Chuck alone. Morgan immediately steps up as his roommate, and rushes into the apartment, with 'dibbs' on Ellie's old room, leaving Chuck alone in the courtyard. Sarah approaches, and invites him to talk. He explains that he didn't go with Sarah in Prague because a job as a real spy gave him direction, a chance to change the world, to help people, and to make something of himself, that it had nothing to do with her. She interrupts, stating that she acted impulsively, and it would not happen again. She tells Chuck that as a spy, he has to keep his feelings to himself.

Sarah leaves, and Chuck realizes he hasn't managed to heal the breach. Casey leaves his apartment, calling to Chuck to get ready for his training. In Castle, Chuck and Casey in boxing gloves, circle one another, Casey asks if he's flashed yet, and then he does, the episode ending just as Chuck and Casey move to punch each other.

Guest Stars[]


  • At the end of Season Two, the future of Chuck was uncertain due to the low ratings. Without the fan-initiated Save Chuck campaign, Season Three may never have happened.
  • The capital city of the Czech Republic, Prague, is supposedly seen in this episode. But there are some flaws:
    • Sarah tells Chuck: For now, go to the training facility in Prague, then meet me at the Nadrazi train station… but the word "nadrazi" has in Czech meaning of "station". The name of this particular train station is "Praha hlavní nádraží", which means "Prague - main station". Sarah should have said for example: "meet me at the Hlavni nadrazi station".
    • Although the Czech texts on the station are correct, there is a window with a sign "Letenky" which means "airline tickets". Maybe there should have been "Jízdenky" which means "train tickets".
    • There is no such view from the main railway station in Prague as is portrayed in the show.
  • The freeze frame at the end of the episode of Chuck and Casey about to punch each other is nearly identical to the freeze frame at the end of Rocky III with Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed. "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor, from the Rocky series, plays over the scene.
  • The first Intersect 2.0 flash seen in the flashback is different from the one shown at the end of the season 2 finale, showing the new one seen from season 3 onward.
  • The scene right after the opening credits that shows Chuck lying around wearing a beige bathrobe, is a reference to Jeff Bridges' character The Dude from The Big Lebowski. The song played during that scene, "Just Dropped In" by Kenny Rogers was also used in the film. Additionally, the scene where Chuck goes to the Buy More wearing the bathrobe and sunglasses is similar to the opening scene of the film.
  • When Casey tells Chuck, "You have much to learn, Grasshopper," it is a reference to the television series, Kung Fu (1972-1975).


Chuck: I wish everyone would just leave me alone because I'm fine.
Morgan: No, you're not. Dude, c'mon, I've known you a long time, pal. You're slightly unmotivated, a bit of an underachiever, but a loser? Not your turf.


Beckman: Sarah, I need you to keep Chuck's emotions in check so the Intersect can work. He listens to you, but he's also an unstable element.
Sarah: Do you think he's dangerous?
Beckman. Very. But he's worth the risk.


Javier: I wanna know who you are.
Chuck: Nobody! I'm nobody. In fact, I think I have documentation somewhere that proves that I'm an official nobody.


  • Sam Sparro – “Black and Gold”
  • Wilson Philips – “Hold On”
  • Frightened Rabbit – “Backwards Walk”
  • Imogen Heap – “Wait It Out”
  • Survivor – “Eye of The Tiger”
  • Kenny Rogers – “Just Dropped In”