“Look, I don’t want to be a hero, but sometimes, you need to be.”
– Chuck

This is Chuck’s first big watershed episode, the first episode that flips the series’ premise on its head (albeit more subtly than subsequent watershed episodes). For the past year and a half, Chuck has been a passive acceptor of his circumstances, getting tossed around by the CIA and the NSA. Now he’s about to become the architect of his own destiny.

If you haven’t already, make sure to read the disclaimer.

Cole has gotten close to coming into contact with Perseus, a man who helped create the Intersect. Upon finding out about this, Chuck surmises that Perseus could take the Intersect out of his head. In a somewhat botched rescue attempt, Chuck accidentally shoots Perseus in the leg. He later runs into Perseus at the hospital, and follows the Intersect scientist to the offices of a company known as Constellation Science. Chuck confronts Perseus and asks him about the Intersect and the potential for its removal. Perseus tells Chuck that the only person who could help Chuck with his quandary is a man known as Orion.

Now Chuck has a quest. He has a purpose. He must find Orion. That is the only way that he can get the Intersect out of his head and return to his normal life.

“Oh, and just so you know, I am going to get this thing out of my head, I will, and when I do, I’m going to live the life that I want with the girl that I love, because I’m not going to let this thing rob me of that, I won’t.”
– Chuck

The episode concludes with one of my favourite scenes from the entire series, set to “Signs” by Bloc Party. (It’s an awesome song.) After his confession to Sarah that he can’t move in with her, he walks into his apartment, takes the Tron poster off the wall, and reveals to the audience that he’s been keeping track of every bit of spy stuff on the back of the poster all along. He has photos, names, notes, and lines linking everything in a sort of flowchart. He isn’t just letting things happen to him; he’s taking control. He adds a single word in red marker to the back of the poster: Orion. His quest is clear: find Orion, get the Intersect out of his head. Chuck is no longer just a loser working at a Buy More. Like Morgan in the previous episode, he has now become a man.