In a word - wow!
This is the best episode of the season yet. Very good story line, plenty of screen time for the key characters (despite it being a "solo" mission) and even the Buy More portion of the episode was actually quite good for the first time this season (in my opinion).
Some notable things here:
1. Sarah's feelings for Chuck are clearly as strong as ever, despite her trying to conceal it from Shaw (who seems to really know almost everything). With this in mind, I have a hard time believing that any thing of substance will develop between Sarah and Shaw.
2. Shaw is shaping up as a good guy, although his methods do create a certain amount of stress for the team and for us viewers. His confidence in Chuck was quite strong, and I think after the mission his trust was proven to be well founded.
3. Worried about the Lisbon excuse - if it is the truth then there is nothing to worry about. If it is a lie, and Shaw knows, or finds out, it will cause further trouble for Sarah. I do question how/why she got the ashes, unless Bryce had no family to claim the remains. Then again, thinking back, he was already dead in ep 1x01 (the newspaper article) so maybe his family had no way of knowing the truth.
4. Casey's genuine concern for Chuck's well being and safety seems more evident than ever, a good thing for sure.
5. Casey working with Morgan is a nice change, after his general disgust with him the past two seasons. I love the way he handled the pow-wow in the home theater room, and how he brainwashed Lester. I think this interaction with Morgan and Casey's apparent growing respect for him will be parlayed into bigger things yet to come this season. Morgan referring to him as the "Lt. Asst. Manager" was great, as were the fighter jets on the TV wall as the meeting took place.
6. Kristen Kreuk worked well in this ep, was both believable and likable as a character. While I am no Chuck/Sarah fan, I am a bit concerned about what this portends for the next few episodes. Please Chuck, don't screw it up w/Sarah again.
7. Shaw's revelation of his Wife being killed by the Ring, and the fact that he was open about it with Sarah was interesting to me. He seems to be very forthright about some things, yet he kept her in the dark about the various tricks in his hat during the course of the mission.
All in all, an outstanding episode that did what the show does best, balanced comedy, drama and action in a great story in near perfect proportions. MIA was the whiny, confidence lacking Chuck of recent weeks and he actually did quite well on his own, even though he had some guidance from the team by phone.
Man it's gonna be a long 7 days till the next ep.