Chuck Versus the Tango

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"Chuck Versus the Tango"
Chuck episode
Chuck Bartowski tangos with La Ciudad, a lethal femme fatale
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 3
Directed byJason Ensler
Written byMatthew Miller
Featured music"Don't You Evah" by Spoon
Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048 by Johann Sebastian Bach
"Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre)" by Gotan Project
"Canzonetta Sull'aria" from The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
"The General Specific" by Band of Horses
"Slow Show" by The National
Production code3T6452
Original air dateOctober 8, 2007
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Chuck Versus the Helicopter"
Next →
"Chuck Versus the Wookiee"
List of Chuck episodes

"Chuck Versus the Tango" is the third episode of the TV series Chuck, airing on October 8, 2007. Chuck faces the prospect of his first mission, while Morgan motivates the Nerd Herd to help him out against Harry Tang.

Plot summary[edit]

Main Plot[edit]

A series of smugglers are murdered while moving a painting, each one complaining about the quality of the work shortly before they are killed. Casey and Sarah pull Chuck away to the Home Theater room to show him photographs of the slain men, but Chuck does not find anything. However they are interrupted by Jeff, and Chuck sees the newspaper he's carrying: the painting the smugglers were killed over has a bomb hidden inside its frame, and is to be picked up by a mysterious arms smuggler called "La Ciudad."

Over Sarah's objections, Beckman orders the team to put Chuck in the field at an art auction that night in hopes that he will identify "La Ciudad". Sarah briefs Chuck, and Casey wryly suggests Chuck should be fine...if he knows how to tango. Chuck takes Casey seriously, and takes a lesson from Awesome.

The team arrives at the art auction. Chuck wrongly identifies an attendee of the auction as La Ciudad. Sarah has Chuck remain at the bar, where he reconnects with an old college friend (and realizes he's involved with several illegal activities) while she follows up. However she is ambushed. Casey follows and confronts her captors on the roof, where they reveal they are actually MI6. They intercepted the painting and were attempting to flush out La Ciudad.

Meanwhile, Chuck encounters a woman named Malena (Lorena Bernal) by the painting, which Chuck notices has been reframed. They dance the tango, but Chuck only knows the women's part. Chuck sees a scar on her neck, and he realizes that Malena is La Ciudad, but he is taken prisoner. He manages to convince her he's just a computer repairman, but she still resolves to kill him since he can identify her. Casey and Sarah intervene, and force her to flee.

The next morning La Ciudad attempts to finish Chuck off, but Casey neutralizes her two henchmen, while Sarah defeats her in a fight on the roof of the Wienerlicious.

Buy More[edit]

Chuck is competing with Harry Tang for the Assistant Manager's position. Morgan convinces the Nerd Herd to cover for Chuck while he's with Sarah at the art auction by repairing the computers Big Mike left for them as a test. They believe they've finished the last one when Harry arrives with several more machines that he had been stockpiling. While urging on the team, Morgan accidentally locks himself in the storage. He's abandoned by the rest of the Herd until Chuck arrives after leaving the auction.


"Chuck Versus the Tango" is the first episode in the series to feature the separate main and Buy More stories, which becomes a staple for the rest of the show, particularly in Season 2 where the two story threads have less overlap.

Chuck also receives his watch, with its built-in GPS tracker, and creates his "Charles Carmichael" alias. The episode is also the first appearance of the back-room storage cage set. Additionally, "Chuck Versus the Tango" establishes Jeff's drinking habits, and implies that Anna may be bisexual.

This is the first appearance of the show's regular opening credits sequence, featuring a variation of "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" by Cake. The previous episodes displayed the credits over the action.


  • Flashing on a newspaper carried by Jeff confirms that the art smugglers were killed over a painting to be sold at auction, and that La Ciudad intends to buy it.
  • Chuck flashes on an MI6 agent and misidentifies him as La Ciudad.
  • Chuck flashes on Allan Watterman's business card and identifies him as being guilty of insider trading and having an offshore account in the Cayman Islands
  • A flash on the smuggled painting shows Chuck that plutonium was planted in the frame, which is different from the one in the newspaper.
  • Chuck flashes when he sees the scar on Malena's neck, and identifies her as La Ciudad


"Chuck Versus the Tango" was well-received, including an 8.8/10 from IGN.[1] The episode reported 7.7 million viewers.[2]

References to popular culture[edit]

  • Morgan calls Chuck a "Gelding," referring to the main character of the Jim Henson fantasy film The Dark Crystal. The character's actual race is called a "Gelfling." A gelding is a castrated male animal, particularly a horse.
  • The frequent references to the tango are a nod to the Arnold Schwarzenegger action-comedy True Lies. In the film, Schwarzenegger's character is distracted several times on missions while dancing the tango.
  • Chuck references the painting of interest as very "Bob Rossian." This is in reference to Bob Ross. He specialized in landscapes and had an afro.
  • When Morgan is locked in the storage cage, the opera music is a reference to The Shawshank Redemption when Andy Dufresne locks himself in the warden's office listening to a duet on a record of The Marriage of Figaro and broadcasting it over the prison sound system.


  1. ^ Review
  2. ^ "Your Entertainment Now Blog". Word Press.

External links[edit]