Chuck Versus the Tooth

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"Chuck Versus the Tooth"
Chuck episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 16
Directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer
Written by Zev Borow
Max Denby
Featured music "Ode to Joy" by Beethoven
"Right Round" by Flo Rida
"Symphony No. 9" by Beethoven
"Jackie Wants A Black Eye" by Dr. Dog
"Here's Looking At You, Kid" by The Gaslight Anthem
Production code 3X5816
Original air date May 10, 2010
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Chuck Versus the Role Models"
Next →
"Chuck Versus the Living Dead"
List of Chuck episodes

"Chuck Versus the Tooth" is the 16th episode of Chuck's third season, and originally aired on May 10, 2010. When Chuck struggles with disturbing dreams, he believes his most recent one predicts danger for a visiting head of state. Beckman, however, is unconvinced and assigns Chuck to meet with a CIA psychiatrist Dr. Leo Dreyfus (Christopher Lloyd). Meanwhile, Ellie gets surprising news and Anna (Julia Ling) returns to the Buy More to talk to Morgan.

Plot summary[edit]

Main Plot[edit]

Chuck and Sarah are relaxing at home watching TV when Chuck dozes off and experiences a disturbing and surreal dream, which he interprets as indicating the president Jakaya Kuti of Zamibia (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs) is the target of an assassination plot by the Ring. Beckman, however, is unconvinced, so she orders Chuck to undergo evaluation by a CIA psychiatrist. Chuck meets with Dr. Leo Dreyfus, who reveals the government believes in the possibility of harmful side-effects caused by the Intersect which may now be affecting Chuck. Despite Chuck's insistence on the existence of a legitimate threat to Kuti, Dreyfus recommends Chuck be removed from active duty status. Chuck, however, remains convinced of a plot. He does not tell Sarah about Dr. Dreyfus's diagnosis, and taps Morgan for an unauthorized mission to the Beethoven concert where he believes the assassination attempt will take place.

Chuck and Morgan arrive at the concert and keep watch on the president's box. Chuck soon falls asleep and experiences another vivid dream implicating Zamibian scientist Dr. Martin Kowambe in the assassination plot. He orders Morgan to keep watch from the floor while he attempts to gain access to the presidential box. Meanwhile, Casey and Sarah discover Chuck's off-book mission and rush to the concert hall to intervene. Casey tranq's Morgan with his own tranq gun, while Sarah intercepts Chuck. However, he is able to convince her to investigate his theory, and they use their CIA credentials to enter the president's box. Chuck flashes on Kowambe indicating he is carrying Ring intelligence in his tooth, and attacks the scientist. Although unable to explain the situation before he is arrested, Chuck manages to secure the tooth as he is dragged away to be committed to a CIA psychiatric facility under Dreyfus's direction. The facility houses other spies who have succumbed to the stress of their jobs and are also in treatment, including "Merlin" (Kevin West).

The next morning Casey and Sarah visit Chuck in the hospital. Chuck turns over the tooth and asks Sarah to run an analysis. Sarah is still convinced Chuck is right, and runs the scans back at Castle, but they come back negative. Sarah visits Dr. Dreyfus at home to express her concerns over Chuck's mental state, and her insistence that she needs him to be okay and is willing to do anything to help him. Dreyfus reveals that Sarah is not the first person to come to him, and Casey emerges from inside the home. Dreyfus agrees to allow the two to visit Chuck despite being after hours. Meanwhile, Kowambe has grown concerned over Chuck's knowledge of the tooth, and breaks into the hospital. He interrogates Chuck, and reveals that his flash was correct after all and Chuck merely knocked out the wrong tooth. Chuck manages to briefly escape but, in his drugged state, is unable to effectively use the Intersect and is recaptured. Several other patients, led by Merlin, attempt to come to Chuck's defense but are all quickly tranq'ed by Kowambe and his men. However, before Chuck can be interrogated further, Sarah and Casey arrive and kill Kowambe's henchmen, and Sarah disables Kowambe as well.

In debriefing, it is revealed that the information in Kowambe's (correct) tooth contained scientific secrets he intended to sell to the Ring, and that he has been involved with illegal experimentation and organ harvesting. Dreyfus clears Chuck for return to duty, theorizing that the Intersect may be interacting with Chuck's subconscious mind and functioning while he sleeps. However he cautions him that the Intersect poses a very real threat to Chuck's continued mental health, and the system may eventually overwhelm his brain. Chuck returns home and before he can discuss Dreyfus's final diagnosis with Sarah, she tells him that she loves him, something she admits to having difficulty saying. Chuck decides not to disclose that the Intersect remains a danger to his mind, but that night has another dream in which Daniel Shaw reveals he is alive.

Ellie and Justin[edit]

While at the Buy More, Ellie is approached by Justin Sullivan, whom she and Devon met while in Africa. Justin poses as a CIA agent and warns her that he is attempting to protect her father from dangerous men, and that Casey may be one of them. Ellie grows suspicious of Casey's closeness to the family, particularly when Casey offers his help in treating Devon's Ring-inflicted case of "malaria." As Ellie takes him up on his offer, she catches a glimpse of his personal arsenal. Ellie takes her concerns to Devon, who brushes them off. Unaware that Devon is fully aware of Casey's true identity, Ellie returns to Justin and agrees to help contact her father under the belief she will be helping to protect him.

Anna and Morgan[edit]

Anna Wu returns to the Buy More, looking for Morgan. She is intercepted by Jeff and Lester, who lament on how much Morgan has changed and his increasing maturity since Anna left. Anna is doubtful, until she sees Morgan leave the back room dressed in a tuxedo on his way to stake out the symphony with Chuck. Anna attempts to talk to him, but Morgan casually brushes her off. However, at the concert hall, Morgan discusses with Chuck how he still has feelings for her. The next morning Anna attempts to speak with him again, but Morgan runs out on her a second time. She finally manages to corner him later to return a box of things he left in Hawaii. Morgan thanks her, but allows her to do what she will with his belongings. Impressed by his newly developed confidence and maturity, Anna kisses him and admits she realizes now she wants him back. Morgan chooses instead to break things off with her, though, decisively telling her that if it took leaving him to make her realize that he's who she really wanted, then she's not the woman Morgan wants to be with.

Chuck and Sarah[edit]

In the beginning of the episode, Chuck tells Sarah that he loves her, but Sarah looks on unsure about how to express her emotions. When Chuck is admitted into a CIA psychiatric facility, Sarah figures out that Chuck's flash was wrong. She goes over to the "Doc's" house where she asks him if there is something that she can do and then begs to see Chuck, she loves him (Casey also tried to persuade the Doc to help Chuck and is behind the door when this is happening). Fortunately, the Doc listens to Sarah and Casey because when they arrive, they are just in time to save Chuck from Dr. Kowambe and his men. Although Chuck is cleared for duty, Dr. Dreyfus expresses concerns that the Intersect may cause mental deterioration, and suggests that it is something that Chuck should discuss with Sarah. At the end of the episode, Sarah openly tells Chuck that she loves him before Chuck can tell her about his diagnosis. Chuck, not wanting to spoil the moment, lies, telling Sarah that the doctor said he was fine.


Production Details[edit]

  • The episode introduces the potential of side-effects caused by the Intersect, particularly possible damage to Chuck's mind, which becomes part of the focus of the final three episodes of the season.
  • Chuck says to the CIA psychiatrist that he's never been in therapy before (describing his only experience as what is depicted in movies) but in "Chuck Versus the DeLorean" he tells Sarah that he went to therapy after his father left him and Ellie.


  • Chuck flashes on Kowambe's tooth, identifying that it contains Ring intel.
  • While drugged, Chuck is able to successfully flash on martial arts. However in his impaired state, Chuck is unable to effectively utilize the flash.

References to popular culture[edit]

  • Devon sends Ellie to the Buy More to purchase ER: The Complete Series, which he claims is "the best show ever."
  • Christopher Lloyd plays Dr. Leo Dreyfus. This references the names of the character Dr. Leo Marvin played by actor Richard Dreyfuss in the film, What About Bob.
  • Chuck frequently refers to Dr. Dreyfus as simply "Doc." In the Back to the Future films, Lloyd played Dr. Emmett Brown, who was frequently referred to as "Doc" by Marty McFly.
  • The CIA asylum common room is very similar to the one depicted in the film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, complete with a long-haired Native American pushing a broom. Christopher Lloyd depicted an asylum patient, Max Taber, in this film.
  • Chuck and Sarah watch Chevy Chase in the film Spies Like Us at the beginning of the episode. Chase portrayed Ted Roark, the leader of Fulcrum's Intersect development project in the final episodes of Season 2. Spies Like Us has been frequently referenced in prior episodes of the series.
  • Also while watching TV, Chuck describes Monday nights on television as being a "wasteland." Chuck airs on Monday nights at 8pm on NBC. Monday primetime is a highly-competitive night, with House, Dancing with the Stars, and How I Met Your Mother all competing in Chuck's timeslot.
  • When Chuck reminds Morgan his cover name is "Charles Carmichael" Morgan asks Chuck to call him "Cobra," in reference to the title character of the 1986 film Cobra, played by Sylvester Stallone.
  • Dune is referenced twice in the episode: the false tooth which conceals something else and the famous line "Fear is the mind-killer", said to Devon by Morgan in this episode.
  • A pattern similar to an inkblot on the Rorschach test is playing on the Buymore television displays, possibly referencing Chuck's mental breakdown, as well as the video for the famous Gnarls Barkley song "Crazy".

External links[edit]


  • Jordanna's Mind circa 2011