After disappointments all throughout the season, the last three episodes of Chuck Season 3 surprised me by redeeming the whole season.
Starting in Chuck Versus the Living Dead, all of my doubts about the show (expressed in Boy Meets Reel: Chuck, the Ring, and Cardboard Villains) dried up. Motivation? Persistence? History? The return of Brandon Routh's Daniel Shaw provided all of that, with much more charisma and power than Mark Sheppard's 5 minutes of being Director could possibly have provided.
The last few episodes provided a far better fusion of action, comedy, and drama than most of the other episodes in season 3. Not only was the pacing just right, but the writers managed to tie together almost every outstanding storyline fluidly and smoothly. The supporting cast all got their time to shine, and even Casey resolved the situation with his ex-fiancee and daughter. Chuck vs. the Ring: Part 2 was easily my favorite episode of the series so far, and Chuck's Blaze of Glory-fueled fight scene with Shaw at the end made the rest of the journey so far worth it.
Most importantly, the episodes made it feel like the show had a direction and a purpose again. The Ring managed to solidify as a villainous organization through Shaw's ambitions and became a credible threat, which made it much more satisfying when Chuck and the team took it all down.
With a solid handle on where they're going, I'm really looking forward to season 4 later this year! With all the little hints they dropped at the end of the season, there's a much stronger sign that the next season will have a single, strong story to pull it along instead of the scattershot pacing that marked the third season until right at the end.
Is summer over yet?