A show like Chuck can go to preposterous lengths to convince audiences to suspend disbelief because it has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. The spy action and intrigue on the show often makes very little sense, but who cares as long as the comic sensibility keeps things humming along in an entertaining fashion?
That’s not quite the case with the third season, which abandons a good deal of humor in favor of more straightforward action sequences — especially as the season comes to a close. Much of the hole-riddled plot seems a bit underwhelming and without the requisite wink to the audience, things sometimes fall flat.
Still, Chuck remains a consistently entertaining show throughout its third season, and devoted fans will get to see a lot of pleasing wish fulfillment for Chuck (Zachary Levi) that makes the fantasy of the show so appealing. He becomes a full-on, mission-ready CIA spy — thanks to the nifty Intersect 2.0 in his brain — and he finally enters into a real relationship with Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski). These are the twin pillars of Chuck’s world, and both become reachable over the course of the season.
Not that the road to either is easily traversed, as Chuck has to deal with the demands of the new Intersect and the rivalry of Agent Shaw (guest star Brandon Routh), who takes an intense interest in Sarah. The secrecy that Chuck has been striving for is almost completely eradicated by the end of the season as well, with many key people in his life discovering his agent status.
For the most part, the show remains quite fun, which is due in no small part to the cast — Levi is a natural at awkward goofiness, and while it’s hard to ever take him that seriously as a CIA agent, that persona carries the show tonally. As his twin nerd Morgan, Joshua Gomez just furthers the lack of seriousness.
Unfortunately, it’s not hard to imagine Chuck continuing to pursue the path that the end of season three spelled out: action, intrigue and more action. It works in small doses, but if the action/comedy scales get tipped to the former’s side for too long, the show risks losing its unique charm.
The third season DVD set includes all 19 episodes spread across five discs. 12 episodes feature a selection of deleted scenes, which are paired with the respective episode on the same disc. The rest of the special features are on disc five, and include a pretty typical and underwhelming EPK-style featurette on the show, a mockumentary piece on the “band” created by the creepy Buy More associates Lester and Jeff (Vik Sahay and Scott Krinsky) and a short gag reel.