Alright everyone, October is finally here and that means it’s time to break out the Halloween episodes of all our favorite television shows. For some of us this list is quite long and it can be near impossible to pick a favorite. Since Chuck was not only the ultimate spy-comedy of the late 2000s/early 2010s, but it also stars the ever amazing Zachary Levi. It should come as no surprise that the show’s first season Halloween episode, “Chuck vs the Sandworm,” comes close to the top of my list.
While not the typical spooky Halloween episode you might be hoping for, “Chuck vs the Sandworm” is a great comic but heartfelt Halloween episode. An episode that centers around the friendship between Chuck and Morgan, it is a joy to watch from start to finish as it encapsulates the core of all great Chuck episodes: a balancing act between growing up and remaining true to yourself and those closest to you. In the case of this episode, Halloween acts as a chance for Chuck to have a normal night despite his new life as America’s greatest intelligence asset, but as usual, all Chuck wants is to celebrate Halloween like a normal person. But then, he has a run in with another intelligence asset like himself, Laszlo, who has gone rogue. Chuck spends much of the episode connecting with Laszlo over their shared experience being held under the CIA’s thumb. Unfortunately this connection comes at the expense of nearly every one of Chuck’s existing relationships. That being said, as with most of Chuck, the episode ultimately ends on a high note, but the journey is what makes the episode great, and the journey in this episode holds features that make this a standard Halloween episode in my house.
First off, we have the absolutely spectacular, and maybe a bit nerdy/cheesy, Halloween costumes worn both at the Buy More by the store’s staff and for the Halloween party in the final scene. Not only do we get to see Morgan and Chuck in what is described as their traditional Halloween costume, a sandworm from Dune — which is absolutely amazing and slightly touching as we see Chuck allow Morgan to be the front half of the worm for the first time — but we also get to see Ellie and Awesome in the ultimate couples costume: Adam and Eve. Plus, Sarah shows up as Princess Leia in her golden bikini to surprise Chuck, and at the Buy More we see Jeff and Lester dressed up as “American Gothic.” It is not often that you find a TV show that features such relatable, hilarious, and awesome costumes at a Halloween event, and I, for one, cannot get enough of it.
We also get to see a rare instance of Morgan standing up for Chuck, instead of the other way around. When Morgan thinks that Chuck’s promotion at the Buy More is at risk, he (in an act that seems completely out of character) sets out to convince the interviewer from corporate that Chuck is the right guy even though he disappears all the time, and their relationship as best friends is strained after Chuck tells Morgan to grow up. Really, this is one of Morgan’s strongest episodes in the early seasons as he does actually show some rare maturity in both his defense of Chuck and in his decision to follow Awesome’s advice to dress like an adult, even for a short time.
Beyond this, we also get to see Chuck relating to and even bonding with, Laszlo who ultimately ends up as the story’s villain. This causes Chuck to lose faith in both Casey and Sarah, as well as leading to some pretty severe paranoia. Granted, the paranoia ends up being validated by the multiple bugs Chuck finds planted around his home, but that’s not the point. Chuck is so easily swayed by what Laszlo has to say that he goes against everything Casey and Sarah have taught him and ends up dealing with the typical James Bond style spy situation of having to disarm a bomb by cutting the correct wire. Also, as an aside, the copious use of James Bond references is another high point of the episode. The whole episode really brings home to Chuck that all of this “spy stuff” really is his life now.
Finally, and most importantly, this is the first holiday we, as the viewers, get to spend with Chuck and the gang. It gives such a good picture of what holidays in the Bartowski household, as well as the Buy More, must typically be like: a dash of drama, some comedy, and a lot of heart. Given that this is only the sixth episode of the show overall, the mood it sets for holidays is key to the rest of the show, and this episode makes you look forward to future holiday celebrations with the gang. With a perfect balance of spy action and emotional drama all carried along by laugh out loud comedic moments, “Chuck vs The Sandworm” is one of my all-time favorite Halloween television episodes, and thankfully one that is available to watch on Amazon Prime. So do yourself a favor and go watch (or rewatch) this episode, because I assure you it is worth it.