When it comes to Chuck, the NBC series served up five near-perfect seasons. You can choose almost any episode and know that you're in for a spy filled, pop culture-fueled hour of awesome (and Awesome, for that matter). But is there a best episode of Chuck? You bet there is, and that episode is Season 3's "Chuck Versus the Honeymooners."
Before the protests start rolling in, yes, there are episodes that better utilize the whole cast. There's "Chuck Versus Tom Sawyer" with its weirdly affecting focus on Jeff, and "Chuck Versus the Push Mix," which sees Ellie and Devon welcome their baby girl into the world while Chuck proposes to Sarah. Even "Chuck Versus the Beard" is a strong contender for the way it puts the friendship between Chuck and Morgan front and center. But ultimately, no other episode is quite as satisfying, emotional, and fun as "Chuck Versus the Honeymooners."
For the first time ever, Chuck and Sarah are truly together, and their joy propels this mischievous hour forward. At the time, there was some concern that actually allowing Chuck and Sarah to become a couple would negatively affect the show, but seeing these two together did the opposite — it reinvigorated Chuck at a time when it needed a creative boost. By finally having its two leads overcome all of the emotional and professional baggage that was keeping them apart, Chuck was given a fresh start.
To the show's credit, it didn't waste the opportunity to fully explore Chuck and Sarah's dynamic as a couple. "Chuck Versus the Honeymooners" begins with Chuck and Sarah blissfully happy. They're on a train outside of Paris, and they're giving room service a serious workout as they refuse to leave their compartment. After three seasons worth of pining, it's rewarding to see Chuck and Sarah finally together with nothing looming over their relationship. The opening moment of the episode is reason enough for it to land on a best of list, but that's not why it's the best Chuck episode of them all.
Ultimately, what makes this hour stand out the most is Chuck and Sarah's decision to give up their careers as spies for each other, only for them both to independently realize that they want it all. They love their jobs and they love each other, and TV foreplay has never been hotter than when Chuck and Sarah decide to go on one more mission after discovering a terrorist on their train.
When the series began, Sarah was Chuck's handler, and there was a serious power imbalance in their relationship. In the early days, Chuck's naivety made it difficult to imagine a relationship with Sarah every working out. However, in Season 3, Chuck is a spy in his own right, and he's a good one. He and Sarah are on equal footing and their train mission is the perfect tease of just how enjoyable watching them work together to take down bad guys as a couple could be.
"Chuck Versus the Honeymooners" spends most of its time on Sarah and Chuck's new normal, but it also includes two subplots that put it over the top, quality wise. When Chuck and Sarah go AWOL, Beckman sends Morgan and Casey to track the lovebirds down and they get caught up in Chuck and Sarah's impromptu mission as a result. And somehow, their antics are both hilarious and heartfelt as they individually give Chuck and Sarah advice on coming clean about wanting to stay in the spy business.
Then there's the kicker — back home, Ellie and Awesome are preparing to leave on a volunteer trip to Africa, and all Ellie wants to do is say goodbye to her little brother. After years of being Chuck's sister and parent, Ellie is terrified of leaving Chuck, but in the episode's final moments, she finally gets to see that Chuck is far more mature than he once was, and thanks to Sarah, he won't be alone while she's away.
The episode's closing moments show just how far Chuck — the character and the show — has come since the pilot, and the character growth is astonishing. That's why there's no episode better than "Chuck Versus the Honeymooners," because this beautiful hour shows all of Chuck's main characters at their best while also making it clear that the show could thrive with Chuck and Sarah as an official couple. If that's not TV perfection, then nothing is.