Chuck Versus the Final Exam
|"Chuck Versus the Final Exam"|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||Robert Duncan McNeill|
|Written by||Zev Borow|
|Featured music||"Private Eyes" by Hall & Oates
"Permalight" by Rogue Wave
"In My Sleep" by Austin Hartley-Leonard
|Original air date||March 22, 2010|
"Chuck Versus the Final Exam" is the eleventh episode of Chuck's third season. It originally aired on March 22, 2010. Chuck faces his final test as a spy, under the watchful eyes of Sarah and Shaw. Meanwhile, Casey must readjust to his life as a civilian.
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As the episode begins, Chuck corners a rogue agent fleeing through a train station and aims a gun on him. The man begs for his life but Chuck warns him that he had his chance, and a shot rings out.
Three days earlier, Chuck arrives in Castle after promising Casey to help him get reinstated, hoping to gain Sarah's support in strong-arming Beckman into doing so. However, as he arrives, Sarah, Shaw and Beckman advise him that he will be undergoing his final test - a last solo mission to determine if he is ready to be a spy. The morning after, Sarah briefs him at his apartment with a message from Beckman. Chuck is to find an ex-FSB agent-turned information broker named Anatoli Zevlovski, who is contacting a mole within the CIA providing information to the Ring. Chuck and Sarah meet to stakeout the hotel where Zevlovski is staying, and they nearly miss him when Chuck tries to talk with her about what happened in Prague (in "Chuck Versus the Pink Slip"), and asks her for a second chance to be together. Chuck and Sarah, who were just about to share a kiss, were interrupted by Shaw, who orders Chuck to infiltrate the hotel where Zevlovski is waiting in the steam room with two of his men.
A hotel clerk delivers a message to him, which Zevlovski crumples up and throws on the floor before leaving with his guards. As Chuck recovers it, the two goons spot him, but Chuck flashes and defeats them, before hurrying after Zevlovski. Chuck gains access to the hotel room next door to the mole's and slips out onto the balcony where he watches the mole dispatch Zevlovski. Chuck manages to get a glimpse of his face, and Shaw and Sarah (watching on a feed from Chuck's glasses) identify him as Hunter Perry.
The next morning, Chuck heads to Orange Orange to ask Sarah out on a celebratory date, but she asks him to dinner first. They arrange to meet at a restaurant later that evening. He then returns to the buy More and tells an uncertain Casey he passed his spy test, and thanks him for the help he's given him. In return, Chuck gives Casey back his gun, which he lifted (illegally) from Castle.
Shaw reveals to Sarah, Chuck must now complete his "red test", by killing Perry, against Sarah's objections. That night she tells Chuck they're not on a date but that he has one final test, and orders him to eliminate the mole, who will be meeting him shortly. Sarah leaves and Perry arrives. As Sarah had warned Chuck, he is suspicious and promptly excuses himself to go to the bathroom. Chuck follows and after being ambushed in the restroom, he flashes and disarms his opponent. Chuck is unable to kill Perry when he protests he has no choice but to work for the Ring, and arrests him instead. Perry attempts to flee and Chuck gives chase through the train station. The two end in a footrace in the station, as seen in the beginning of the episode, with Chuck eventually cornering Perry. He once again hesitates, and Perry attempts to use this as a chance to draw his gun on Chuck when Casey shoots Perry first from the shadows. Although Chuck saw him, Sarah arrives and is stunned, believing Chuck went through with the killing.
Later that evening, Casey warns Chuck not to tell anyone what happened. Without government sanction he has committed murder, and Chuck has "cheated" on his "red test." Chuck tries to call Sarah to follow up on their conversation from earlier, but she refuses the call. When Shaw asks if she still loves Chuck, she tells him not anymore, fearing that Chuck will never be the same again, and relates her own experiences on her "red test." At his apartment, Chuck receives orders from Beckman to fly to Washington D.C. to be inducted as an agent and receive his assignment, when a government contact arrives to take him to the airport.
Casey is experiencing difficulties readjusting to civilian life following his dismissal. He assaults Jeff and Lester when he catches the two goofing off at the store, and despite his threats, they intend to sue him and the store. Big Mike takes it upon himself to rein Casey in an attempt to help him smooth over his "jagged edges" with a new suit, and by apologizing to his coworkers. Big Mike mediates between them, and Jeff and Lester agree to drop the lawsuit after humiliating Casey by making him buy them lunch, and bonding with him by sharing a "tunaroni" sandwich with Jeff.
- Casey mentions that his killing of Perry on Chuck's behalf was unsanctioned murder, in reference to a "license to kill". Although popularized by the James Bond novels and films, the reality of such a concept is far more legally complicated.
- The stakeout scene with Chuck and Sarah references the first season episode "Chuck Versus the Sizzling Shrimp".
- Chuck flashes on grappling combat techniques when confronted by Zevlovski's two henchmen in the sauna.
- Chuck has another flash on knife combat when ambushed by Perry in the restroom, allowing Chuck to disarm and defeat him.
Alan Sepinwall of the Star-Ledger continued to praise the direction of the series after the post-Olympics break. He noted a number of moments requiring suspension of disbelief, but considered it worth the effort due to its blend of suspense, comedy, romance, and self-reference to the beginning of the series.
References to popular culture
- Zevlovski uses the alias Ivan Drago while staying at the hotel. Ivan Drago was the antagonist in the film, Rocky IV, and Chuck comments on the silliness of using such a name.
- The sauna fight, including the tattoos, is reminiscent of the famous fight scene in Eastern Promises.
- The fight between Chuck and Perry in the restroom when Chuck is given his "red test" is similar to that of James Bond's first kill assignment at the beginning of Casino Royale.
- The videos Chuck watches to obtain his missions self-destruct after viewing, similar to assignments in Mission: Impossible.
- The end scene in which chuck and Casey train is also in reference to Rocky 3
- "Chuck, 'Chuck Versus the Final Exam': The Kobayashi Maru". New Jersey Star-Ledger. March 22, 2010.