Chuck is ordered by Shaw on his first solo mission to Paris. It's simple enough, but the twist completely ruins any sense of reason involved with the episode. Chuck is on the plane to recover a CIA crypto key from a Ring agent named Hugo Panzer (Stone Cold Steve Austin). The key is in the cargo. Not with Hugo, but in the luggage where it is free to be taken. Apparently the characters wrestlers play aren't too sharp either.
If the information inside the lock box was so important and it appears it is, why would the CIA have Chuck steal the key when the plane is in the air? The CIA easily could have taken the key when the plane was still on the ground or when it was still going through airport security. They could either ask the TSA or have an agent pretend to be with the TSA. They even could have had Chuck go as a TSA worker. If Shaw was just testing Chuck, he at least could have had Chuck do something only he could do. Instead, he forces Chuck to do an unnecessary task that only utilizes Intersect 2.0's fighting abilities. Someone could interpret Shaw as testing Chuck, but that would mean Shaw is on the unstable side. It would mean he is willing to send Chuck on an important mission to retrieve important files in circumstances made intentionally more difficult because he wants Chuck to learn.
Plot holes aresomething you have to live with to be a Chuck fan and I acknowledge that, so I push everything illogical to the back of my mind. There are always the plot holes lingering there tempting you with implausibility. If the rest of the show wasn't so great, I would be hard pressed to continue watching. The plot holes also show the unwillingness of the writers to correct big problems with the show. The fans always clamor for Chuck and Sarah to get together and instead, they kept them further apart this season. I'm sure the writers see the numerous plot holes in their writing, but they choose to keep them there for convenience and assume the viewers will be fine. Chuck could have gone to Paris and complete a wild mission there, but the writers had to throw in the extra twist of a mission at thirty-thousand feet.
Since that's the case, the episode was lots of fun regardless of why Chuck was put into the situation in the first place. The entire situation was artificially made more difficult, but that meant Chuck had to be in a confined space with Steve Austin. Chuck's Intersect powers kicked into high gear without any hiccups and Chuck was able to fight effectively, using a more trickery than brute force. The Intersect gives Chuck the skills, but Chuck is still the one that has to implement them and he's a clever guy compared to Hugo Panzer.
Shaw reveals that his wife, Eveline, was undercover and inside the Ring and died. She was the one who stored the information in the lock box and also put her wedding ring in inside. It serves as a warning to him and Sarah that falling in love can be disastrous. I'm sure you read about this big love pentagon in season 3, and all the pieces are in place. Sarah is angry at Shaw the entire episode both for putting Chuck in danger and questioning her actions. By the end of the episode, she gets a better picture of who he is and the ring shows that he isn't completely cold-hearted. Sarah isn't cold-hearted either, so I wouldn't be surprised if something goes on in the next few episodes. Casey will never change, but Sarah can, so we'll see exactly where her feelings lead her.
We learn he is highly protective of his team and thinks letting Chuck off the leash will protect him in the long run. Now Chuck has an agent, like Cole in season 2, backing him and pushing him to become better. In the progression of Chuck's character, extra motivation isn't bad and unraveling new characters only makes the show better. Eventually Chuck will be a great spy all by himself, but the encouragement of Shaw helps that process.
While on the plane, Chuck meets Hannah (Kristin Kreuk) who seems like a normal, nice girl that likes Chuck. At the end of the episode, she shows up at the Buy More to get a job. I was never a fan of Kristin Kreuk in the first couple seasons of Smallville before I stopped watching and I don't think she's a good actress, so I'm much more tepid about her than Brandon Routh. Her character hasn't done anything notable yet other than gravitate to Chuck, so there's not much to say about her character or performance.
At the Buy More, Morgan still has a lot on his plate as the move to manager has changed his standing with the Buy More workers. He's no longer their friend, but simply another manager that will put his iron will on the underlings. They see him with a combination of fear, awe, and loathing. Lester manages pull several pranks on Morgan, showing that he hasn't learned much from last episode. What Morgan really needs to do is to fire Lester permanently. Instead, he sees that Casey commands respect at the Buy More, and rightfully so. Casey is tough and doesn't take crap from anyone. If someone does something to him, he's not afraid to retaliate. Morgan joins up with Casey who is all about following rules, to bring order to BuyMoria. They kidnap Lester and do a crazy treatment to him, making him completely subservient to Morgan. Control of the store is now in Morgan and Casey's hands.
Casey is by far the most awesome character on Chuck. Adam Baldwin deliverd "that means he's a moron," while eating perfectly. Then he goes and hypnotizes Lester after grabbing him from his own bed. If that isn't cool enough, he even shows some concern for Chuck.
The advances in the episode set a solid foundation for the rest of the arc. Shaw's mysterious background is coming into focus, Hannah is going to be working at the Buy More, Morgan is now the big man at the Buy More, and Chuck is growing as a spy. That looks like a formula for instant success, so I'm excited for what's coming up.
Random question: Why is the Buy More/show still promoting Fable 2?