Greeting from Park City, Utah, "Chuck" fans.

As much as I enjoy a good lengthy "Chuck" recap, my current Sundance Film Festival-based time crunch may make this week's recap a smidge less in-depth than usual. With that in mind, I invite y'all to delve into whichever aspects of "Chuck vs. First Class" that I happen to gloss over in an effort to get to an evening screening (and possible procure hot food of some sort).

Fortunately, "Chuck vs. First Class" is a good episode with lots of funny and exciting bits. And how could it not be, coming from the pen (or computer keyboard) of series co-creator Chris Fedak?

[Thoughts on Monday (Jan. 25) night's "Chuck" after the break...]

Monday's "Chuck" is initially about taking responsibility and going it alone. As Chuck embarks on his first solo mission (and his first time in first class), Morgan is still coping with the power (and hatred) that comes from being the new Ass Man at the Buy More.

This is another of those episodes in which Chuck is worried about his value to the team, only to be told by Brandon Routh's Shaw that he isn't holding Sarah and Casey back, they're holding him back, by coddling him.

"Let me out of the car. I'm ready!" Chuck declared.

So the solo mission found Chuck battling Steve Austin and an evil flight attendant on a plane that apparently hadn't changed the design of its first class section since a vintage 1961 feature film. Ultimately, of course, as capable as Chuck proved -- mostly fencing, but also at squealing like a girl -- he needed Shaw and Sarah's remote help.

And what of Casey?

Well, Casey was busy providing his assistance to Morgan, who was facing outright revolt at the Buy More, courtesy of Lester and Jeff. Facing electrified doorknobs, laxative-spiked coffee and super-glued seats, Morgan turned to Casey and drew him in by speaking his language.

"I can't fight them by myself anymore. They don't follow any rules," Morgan complained.

To which Casey responded, in true Casey fashion, "Insurgents. I hate insurgents."

Casey then kidnapped Lester and went all "Manchurian Candidate" on him, leading to a brainwashed Lester announcing, "Morgan Grimes is the kindest, warmest, most understanding human being I've ever known in my whole life."

Nice.

[In case you're curious, I keep running to a different part of the Sundance lodge where I'm waiting on my evening documentary screening. In one location, I have a power plug, but it's freezing. In the other location, I'm running low on batteries, but there's a woefully ineffective fireplace. Forgive the disconnected narrative.]

There were a few big things that happened on "Chuck" this week.

We introduced Kristin Kreuk's Hannah, sitting in first class with Chuck. While Hannah claimed to work for a wealthy investor and to have Buy More-ready tech skills, but we assume she's got a secret, right? Do we assume she's a Ring operative? Do we think she's part of a more benign intelligence organization? Or do we think she's not lying, but her former employer is somebody significant to the "Chuck" mythos? And when did Kristin Kreuk become this cute? She was not this cute on "Smallville." She fits very much into a Josh Schwartz type, coming across as nearly Rachel Bilson-esque (yes, I believe I used that description in my review of the season, but I'm too lazy to come up with new creative descriptors). This guest appearance is going to be a major boon for her career. [Even bigger than that "Street Fighter" movie? Yes. Even bigger than that "Street Fighter" movie.]

We also learned a little bit more about Shaw, that he fell in love with an operative who was killed by The Ring. I'm not sure I'm feeling any sparks yet between Sarah and Shaw, so if that's coming... I'm not there yet.

Other thoughts on Monday's "Chuck":

*** We went Buy More-free two weeks ago. This week, Ellie and Captain Awesome were missing. After going Ellie-and-Awesome-heavy in the previous weeks, I was OK with their absence for a brief period.

*** Also, somebody seemed to feel like Yvonne Strahovski needed a break after last week's brawl with Angie Harmon. She was mostly sitting in a room talking this week. No fighting. No slo-mo. No bikini or underwear scenes.

*** At the "Chuck" set last week, Fedak said that Bryce Larkin is unquestionable dead, so don't look for him to return. When I raised the issue of Bryce's identical twin brother Horatio Larkin, though, Fedak clammed up.

*** Why was the Yale Fencing Team taking a direct flight from Los Angeles to Paris? Just curious... I mean, I get that they could have been facing off against one of Southern California's traditional college fencing powers, but couldn't they have stopped in New Haven before going off to France to fence against Garcons of Paris A&M? Along those same lines, has the Buy More always had a Super Claw?

*** I would like to know more about the Volleyball Incident at last year's Employee Picnic and why the other Buy More employees remember Casey from it. I also liked the "Taken" reference with Casey telling Chuck how to handle being discovered by Steve Austin's character. In general, Casey's growing attachment to and concern for Chuck is become sweet. Plus, he got a raise!

*** This was the second TV episode of the week with on-plane intrigue and an evil flight attendant, following the second episode of "Human Target." There's something in the Warner Brothers TV water. On an unrelated note, "Human Target" is doing OK, but I think it'd be doing better if it were "Human Saget."

 

Were there other things from Monday's "Chuck" that I didn't get around to discussing? Sound off...