Top 10 Christmas Episodes

Christmas movies are a big part of the Season for all of us, but in my house, Christmas episodes of our favorite TV shows have always been just as important. Watching the characters you invite into your home every week navigate Christmas mishaps or simply celebrate in their own ways is a joy and something that makes you feel even closer to them. So, if you need some help choosing a lineup this year, here are my top 10 Christmas episodes of television, in chronological order (no need to play favorites at Christmas), and why I think they’re all special. I limited myself to one per show, and obviously, my bias runs towards the stuff I grew up watching. Enjoy!

*SPOILERS FOR EACH*

Honorable Mention

Sherlock: “A Scandal in Belgravia

“Merry Christmas, Molly Hooper.”

Several episodes of Sherlock have sections that take place at Christmas, and they’re all stellar, but the most heartwarming is this scene in “A Scandal in Belgravia” (a contender for my favorite episode of this incredible series). Sherlock and Watson’s friends gather at 221b Baker Street to celebrate Christmas, and Sherlock is being his usual arrogant jerk self, intent on ruining everyone’s evening. When Molly Hooper – the medical examiner infatuated with Sherlock – arrives, Sherlock puts her on the spot by deducing from her ornate present that she is seeing someone for whom she cares deeply, getting more cutting and degrading with each observation, until he sees that the gift is for him. Sherlock’s lesser qualities are even more glaring than usual in light of everyone else’s good spirits, but when he realizes how badly he’s hurt Molly, a true Christmas Miracle happens, and he actually apologizes and tries to make her feel better. One of the show’s central themes is Sherlock becoming a better man through his friendship with Watson, and perhaps it’s his biographer’s influence that allows him to get into the Christmas Spirit. It could also be the beautiful rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” he plays on his violin. 

Moonlighting: “Twas the Episode Before Christmas”

“Santa’s Hotline, Mary and Joseph story, the way the office is decorated. You think this could be the Christmas episode?”

Christmas just can’t get away from Bruce Willis. It’s common knowledge that before he was John McClane, Willis starred in zany detective show Moonlighting, where he and Cybil Shepherd were the king and queen of will-they-won’t-they TV couples, David Addison and Maddie Hayes. But most people my age and younger probably never experienced this landmark series. Luckily, my dad was a super fan, and one of our Yuletide staples was this Christmas episode.

A couple of days before Christmas, a newly released criminal murders the old business partner who sent him to prison, but the man’s wife takes their infant son and escapes. As luck would have it, she leaves the baby with Agnes DiPesto, Maddie and David’s rhyming secretary. Soon, the power couple of the 80s is looking for the mother — who is suspected of killing her husband – while the killer and his henchman want to silence her for good.

“Twas the Episode Before Christmas” is full of Christmas imagery, from a couple named Mary and Joseph with a baby, three federal agents all named King, and a proffered cigarette from a Camel pack, to Mary being unable to find room at an inn, David in a Santa suit, and a star leading the way to the missing child. Making it even more hilarious is Moonlighting’s delight in breaking the fourth wall (something they took too far once the third season rolled around, but early on they struck just the right balance of thriller, romance, and goofball comedy), with constant assurances that Maddie and David are in on the joke. Meanwhile, David’s latest get-rich-quick scheme is the Santa Hotline, where he takes toll calls from kids trying to reach the North Pole and one sultry lady he hopes will wait for him under his Tree. And it all ends with the cast and crew singing “The First Noel” and wishing their viewers a Merry Christmas. This episode is as comforting as a mug of hot chocolate.

Married With Children: “It’s A Bundyful Life” (1989)

“Christmas is not the time for regrets; that’s what anniversaries are for.”

In a break from Bundy standard operating procedure, Al has saved money in a Christmas Club bank account and plans to buy his family presents. But a pair of slow customers – and a drunken Marcy – keep him from getting to the bank before it closes on Christmas Eve. When a last-ditch babysitting attempt doesn’t pan out, and his family walks out on him for failing to keep his promise, Al makes a George Bailey-style wish that he’d never been born. Soon, Al’s guardian angel (Sam Kinison) shows him what the world would be like without him; but has it really been a wonderful life for Al Bundy?

Married With Children has a great string of Christmas episodes, but this is the best of the bunch. Anyone who knows this show knows that Al’s plan to give his family a Merry Christmas will crash and burn, and his hilarious scheme to remedy it – tying kids up in garland while their moms shop and telling them why his life sucks through a bastardized Christmas story – is something only Al could think would work. But once the angel shows up, this classic sitcom’s knack for subversion really kicks in. It turns out that, without Al, Peggy would be a happy, dutiful wife, Kelly would be a brilliant college student, and Bud would be a chivalrous nerd. Moreover, his replacement is a handsome, successful businessman who makes them happy (played by future Jefferson D’Arcy actor Ted McGinley!). Wouldn’t Al choose to be erased from existence so a better man could give his family the life any husband and father would want them to have? If you think so, you don’t know Al Bundy.

The Bundy’s are wonderful, as always; Al Bundy is a legend, one of the great TV characters of all time, and he has many excellent moments here, from his lamentation on Christmas shoppers to his twisted version of “Twas The Night Before Christmas.” Peg’s version of snow cones, Bud and Kelly’s ploys to get all the Christmas presents for themselves, Marcy’s drunken escapades to escape a lonely Christmas, and Kelly’s Christmas outfit (good God, Kelly’s outfit!) make “It’s a Bundyful Life” memorable. But what puts it over the top is Sam Kinison. His style of humor fits perfectly with the show, and his unlikely angel is exactly the sort heaven would assign Al. “It’s a Bundyful Life” is the perfect follow-up to your annual Christmas feast at Denny’s.

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman: “Twas the Night Before Mxymas” (1996)

“There is always a little bit of hope left in the human spirit, and I’ll find it.”

As the world prepares for an exceptionally Merry Christmas, an imp from another dimension traps Clark in a Groundhog Day loop, reliving the same twelve hours on Christmas Eve over and over. The hitch is, each new reset is just a little bit drearier than the last until the world is just drowning in misery. It’s up to Superman to restore peace on Earth and rid his dimension of the mystical menace.

It was a tough choice between this and season 2’s “Season’s Greedings,” which is full of Christmas cheer and features one of the sweetest moments in the early stages of Lois and Clark’s romance (and confirmation that Santa exists in this world). But I went with “Twas the Night Before Mxymas” because of how perfectly it encapsulates who Superman is, something this show always did well. It also had the only live-action appearance (to my knowledge) of one of Superman’s classic comic book villains, Mr. Mxyzptlk, played by Howie Mandel. (Lois & Clark loved stunt casting; “Season’s Greedings” had the Toyman and his partner in crime played by Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford, alias George and Weezy Jefferson.) And it’s a good representation of the character; he wants to rule our world and, recognizing Superman as the only one who could stop him, uses his magic to convince him to leave. Along the way, he annoys people and causes mischief that’s fun to him but harmful to his victims. And the way to send him back to the fifth dimension is straight out of the pages of DC, getting him to say his name backwards. (There are different ways to banish him in the comics, but this is the most famous.)

And Clark’s reaction to the impossible demand is defiance, choosing to work overtime to spread Christmas cheer and bring out the hope he knows humanity still has in it. It’s his belief in the ultimate goodness and resiliency of mankind that makes this so very like the Superman we all know and love. Instead of going the DCEU route and shrugging his shoulders at the world’s suffering while throwing a school bus into the sun, Dean Cain’s earnest, hopeful, inspiring Man of Steel gets involved in the lives of those who are suffering and helps them to find the hope that was taken from them. And the centerpiece of it is the love he and Lois share, with Clark’s rejection of Mxyzptlk’s no-win scenario snapping Lois out of the time loop. This works largely because of Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher’s unmatched chemistry; the plot point could easily be corny, but they sell it together. (And there will never be a Lois Lane half as perfect as Teri Hatcher’s.) Superman and Christmas go together like milk and cookies for Santa, and “Twas the Night Before Mxymas” is ample proof of why.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: “Amends” (1998)

“Am I a thing worth saving, huh? Am I a righteous man?”

Newly returned from hell – and having just regained his sanity – Angel is haunted by the ghosts of Christmas past, as he’s tormented by visions of some of Angelus’ old victims. To quell their spectral visits, he tries to figure out why he was cast out of hell, but the answer is more than he can bear. Buffy invites Faith over for Christmas, and Oz decides to try to make his relationship with Willow work after her betrayal.  Meanwhile, beneath a patch of dead Christmas Trees, a group of men with scars on their eyelids chant.

“Amends” is Buffy’s only Christmas episode, unless you count an offhand mention of it in season 7’s “Bring on the Night.” A show like Buffy – heavily serialized, dark, full of pain and heartache – doesn’t readily lend itself to Yuletide cheer. And yet, here is “Amends,” a beautiful Christmas story that maintains the tone of the series while injecting a healthy dose of joy in the end. Angel’s return hadn’t been explained yet, and the answer is pure Whedon: the forces of evil want Angelus back, and they’re working overtime to get Angel to lose his soul. This is our introduction to the First Evil, the ancient entity that created the concept of evil and who would serve as the main villain of the final season. The First is creepy in each of its manifestations, coming to Angel as some of his old meals, making him feel guilt, grief, and – it hopes – enough despair to resign himself to being Angelus. Jenny Calendar is its chief form, and Robia La Morte has a ball being bad. When Angel decides to kill himself, it shows how patient and prepared the First is; while it wanted Angelus to help tip the world’s balance in favor of evil, it will settle for simply removing Angel, who it likely knows is slated to become one of Earth’s greatest champions. And on top of that, the First can’t be physically fought, and Buffy’s frustration at being powerless permeates the episode. There’s seemingly no way it can lose.

That is what makes the ending so satisfying. Angel is determined to let the sunrise kill him, and Buffy’s pleading falls on deaf ears. But then, they’re saved by a Christmas Miracle. After having several people comment on how hot and sunny Christmas in Sunnydale is, snowflakes start to fall just before dawn. Against all odds and weather forecasts, it snows in Sunnydale for the first time ever, making Angel’s suicide impossible. Aside from the local weatherman assuring us that the sun won’t be coming out at all this Christmas, no one speaks a single word, and that’s perfect. Everything we need to know is in their smiles as they hold hands, walking through the winter wonderland that their Southern California town has become. It’s one of the greatest images from a show with tons of them, and for one brief moment, even though we know it can’t end well, Buffy and Angel are happy. Watching “Amends” after having seen Angel, the spinoff series, it becomes even more impactful; Angel’s destiny, all the good he’ll do, the many lives he’ll save, is thanks to one perfect Christmas.

The subplot about Willow and Oz reconciling is a slight reflection of the main storyline. Like Angel, Willow is afraid she isn’t worthy of forgiveness, and she also prepares to do something she doesn’t want to do to make amends. But like Angel, she learns that one grand gesture isn’t what makes up for your misdeeds; it’s working every day to be a better person. Hers is on a much smaller scale, of course – kissing someone who isn’t your boyfriend vs. spending a century and a half torturing and murdering people for fun – but the principle is the same. Even Xander gets in on the theme by finally shutting up and helping Buffy instead of trying to demean her over caring about Angel. (Xander needed a good punch in the face on many different occasions.) If you want a little Dickensian darkness to go with your hall-decking, “Amends” has got you covered.

Frasier: “Merry Christmas, Mrs. Moskowitz (1998)

“The man who was supposed to do the number from Jesus Christ Superstar couldn’t go on; he slipped in the shower. Man who could walk on water, but…”

“Yes, yes, it’s dripping with irony.”

While Christmas shopping, a woman named Helen Moskowitz (the late Carole Shelley) suckers Frasier into a blind date with her daughter Faye. To Frasier’s surprise, he and Faye (Amy Brennamen) hit it off, and he invites her and her mother to Christmas Eve before they fly to Miami. But Faye – and, more importantly, her mother – were under the impression that Frasier was Jewish, so to spare her an awkward plane ride, he agrees to pretend. Soon, Niles and Martin are part of the ruse. Complicating matters is a subplot where Niles helps his unrequited love Daphne put on a Christmas pageant and agrees to fill in for an injured actor, who is, of course, playing Jesus Christ. Hilarity ensues.

Frasier is that rare show that doesn’t have a single subpar episode (off the top of my head, the only other one I can think of is Breaking Bad), meaning the best Christmas episode is just a matter of preference. A friend of mine swears by the first, “Miracle on Third or Fourth Street,” but my pick for the best of the bunch is “Merry Christmas, Mrs. Moskowitz.” Frasier’s attempts to keep up the lie are hilarious, especially as he and his family crank up the act until they’re full-blown caricatures. The secret to keeping it so good-natured is in the even-handed ribbing; Jewish and Christian traditions both take some lighthearted jabs, so instead of a religion and culture being mocked, everyone is just having fun with each other.  The stereotypical phrases and behaviors the Cranes adopt are funny not because they’re portrayed as true, but because they’re so obviously ridiculous that it’s only a matter of time till they blow their cover. (“Take it down a notch, Tevia.”)

Underneath the comedy is the sweet theme of how far we’ll go to please the people we care about, like Frasier pretending to be Jewish for Faye, Helen recognizing her overbearing nature, and Frasier and Martin learning to compromise on their different tastes in Christmas decorations. Daphne’s pageant gets sillier the more it’s described as it tries to wed religious and secular Christmas iconography, but I find it endearing. The culmination, where Helen opens the bathroom door to see Niles dressed as Jesus and hugging a Christmas Tree, is the perfect capper to a sublime farce. 

The West Wing: “In Excelsis Deo” (1999)

“Well, nothing says Christmas like animal fables in iambic verse.”

When the body of a homeless man is discovered with his business card in the coat pocket, Toby learns the man was a veteran and tries to arrange a military funeral for him. Sam and Josh consider dirty tactics to protect Leo from a smear. A murdered teenager makes the senior staff – particularly CJ –debate hate crime legislation.

Among his many talents is Aaron Sorkin’s ability to write a terrific Christmas story (as will be reasserted further down this list). “In Excelsis Deo” is the first of several West Wing Christmas episodes and manages to stand out among its also-heartwarming brethren. Toby Zeigler is a miserable malcontent in general; early in the episode, he goes out of his way to ruin everyone else’s Christmas Spirit. So for him to be the one so driven to do right by a lost Veteran is even more touching than if it were one of the better-natured characters. And he ultimately draws in someone else when he breaks some rules to secure the funeral: Mrs. Landingham, whose sons died in Vietnam on Christmas Eve.  Elsewhere, nicer guys Sam and Josh try to help a friend and end up disregarding his wishes, insulting a friend of Sam’s, and bringing shame to the White House they serve. The dichotomy represents how there is good in the Grinchiest of us, and the capacity for evil in the noblest. CJ’s stance on hate crimes fits with this theme; is it okay to police people’s thoughts and beliefs if they are immoral? How far is too far in trying to change hearts and minds?

But, as always, there are a lot of laughs amid the politics and personal drama. CJ discovering her Secret Service code name, Mrs. LandIngham telling Charlie to “remind the President he’s allergic to eggnog,” Leo not knowing most of the people on his Christmas card list (“Who the hell is this guy and why do I care if he has a Merry Christmas?”), Sam getting tripped up in lies when he mistakenly thinks CJ is interrogating him, are all very funny. But the President’s visit to a rare book store for some Christmas shopping is the highlight. Like seemingly all Hollywood Presidents, Jed Bartlet is a bit of an eccentric, and one of his quirks is his enthusiasm for every field of history. As he gleefully peruses the texts, Leo is bored by his explanations while Josh contemplates all the things he’d rather do than read any of the dusty tomes. In places sad, cheerful, and hilarious, “In Excelsis Deo” runs the Christmas gamut.

South Park: “Red Sleigh Down” (2002)

“My children, you should know something… I’m packing!”

When Carman learns he’s been too naughty to get any presents for Christmas, he tries to do “the nicest, greatest thing anyone has ever done, ever,” to offset his bad behavior. That turns out to be getting Santa Claus to bring Christmas to children in Iraq. But it goes sour when Santa’s sleigh is shot down, and the Iraqi military captures and tortures St. Nick. In a desperate bid to save Christmas, the boys (minus Kenny) and Mr. Hanky go to Jesus Christ for help. What they get from him is the last thing anyone expects. Meanwhile, the lighting of the South Park Christmas Tree is delayed by Jimmy insisting on singing his favorite Christmas carol.

South Park has a bunch of great Christmas episodes (and a fantastic album!), introducing Mr. Hanky to the world and reminding those on all sides of the War on Christmas to take joy in the Season. But “Red Sleigh Down” is my favorite. Cartman’s craven, obtuse gambit to get himself a Haibo Robot Doll is funny and gets even funnier when it goes horribly wrong and he almost ruins Christmas forever. It’s a thinly-veiled commentary on the invasion of Iraq and the folly of bringing American values to people who don’t want them, with Christmas standing in for freedom. (“That’s a retarded idea that won’t work.”) Cartman’s desperation to turn the unmitigated disaster he created into a sweet Christmas story leads to some hysterical moments of him making up Christmas songs on the fly; there’s also a new Mr. Hanky song called “Poo-Choo Train,” on which Cartman joins in.

But the showstopper, the element that truly makes “Red Sleigh Down” a classic, is when the boys reach Vatican City to ask Jesus for help, and the Savior opens a cabinet full of guns and says, “Lock and load, we’re going in!” The episode then becomes an action story, with Jesus gunning down Iraqi soldiers to get to his pal Stata Claus. The image of it is hilarious just because of how wrong it feels, which is vintage South Park, but there is some terrific dialogue mocking action movie tropes. To help this along, Santa’s capture references several big action/war movies, particularly Black Hawk Down, Three Kings, and Lethal Weapon (my yearly Christmas Day movie). The final gag about making Christmas about Jesus is the perfect culmination. Plus, Kenny finally returns from the dead, and I actually find Jimmy funny instead of just annoying. Talk about a Christmas Miracle.

Boston Legal: “Hired Guns” (2004)

“Americans, we’re homesteaders. We want a safe home, keep the money we make, and shoot bad guys. And, save the life of someone we love.”

Alan and Denny help out the firm’s cleaning lady, whose ex-husband repeatedly kidnaps her kids at Christmastime. But the ex-husband isn’t pleased to find that his actions have consequences, and soon a hostage situation erupts. Brad and Lori defend a woman accused of killing her husband but find themselves with a distinct lack of paths to victory. Alan and Tara grow closer.

Only Boston Legal could have three Christmas episodes in one season; “Hired Guns” is the third, and while “Loose Lips” (in which Alan defends a cross-dressing Santa who’s been fired) and season 4’s “Green Christmas” (where an environmentalist client demands the firm take down its energy-wasting Christmas lights and Denny shoots him with a paintball gun) are great, this my favorite. On a baser level, it’s got one of the most memorable scenes in the entire series: the father of the children holds Alan hostage at the firm, and it’s up to Denny to save him. The sequence goes from harrowing to hilarious as soon as Denny walks in from his balcony and ends in a John Wayne strut as Denny surveys the aftermath of his shooting. But the real juice in the episode, the part that gives it its Christmas Spirit, is the deeply damaged Alan Shore discovering that he is, in fact, loved. First, it’s Tara, who has been the object of his affection since they both first turned up during the last season of The Practice (of which Boston Legal is a spinoff). They’ve finally started to date, and after Alan almost dies, Tara tells him she loves him and that she wants him to know that he is loved. It’s a wonderful moment, built to over a year and a half of television, and that Alan gets a romantic payoff instead of something sleazy is satisfying character growth. But then, during the climactic balcony scene that slowly became a series staple, the stoic, masculine Denny Crane also confesses that he loves Alan. As emphatic as Tara’s declaration was, Denny’s is nonchalant, an offhand comment he slips into his Scotch-drenched musings without even looking at Alan. The heart of Boston Legal is a love story, but it’s not a romantic one; it’s the love between two best friends, two wildly different men who could never make it work with a woman, but in each other, they find their (platonic) soul mate. And, just like John and Holly McClane, it takes a Christmas hostage situation to get them to realize it.

The big trial in “Hired Guns” isn’t overly Christmassy, other than both the defense and prosecution trying to lay claim to the holiday in their opening statements, but it is an interesting look into how far talented lawyers will go to win a case when the evidence heavily favors the opposing side. What is Christmassy is the opening scene at the Crane, Poole and Schmidt office Christmas party, where Denny belts out Christmas songs with some sexy backup singers while Alan walks around with Mistletoe hanging from his head, looking for a smooch, either for himself or between some of the gorgeous women with whom he works (“Perhaps you two should kiss in the name of Christmas.”) When he does get one, it isn’t Tara, but Lori, whose outward loathing for Alan masks an attraction that’s clear to everyone but her; it was a shame the producers let Monica Potter go before they could fully explore this brewing infatuation. Later, Alan once again uses Mistletoe, this time a huge bush of it on his office ceiling, to entice Tara into a kiss; this leads to a knee-jellying scene where Tara uses her incomparable sensuality to turn on her mischievous paramour. Despite being a relatively recent series, Boston Legal’s Christmas episodes have already become chestnuts.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: “The Christmas Show” (2006)

“I’m the miracle on the Sunset Strip! And you’re, you know, two other guys.”

When Matt learns that Studio 60 hasn’t had a Christmas episode in years, he determines to do one but is met with resistance from the writers and cast.  Danny helps Jordan through her pregnancy and begins to realize his feelings for her. Matt has trouble reconciling his own feelings when Harriet asks for permission to film a movie with an old flame. Jack considers legal options when the FCC fines the network because a soldier under fire cursed during a live news feed. The show’s musicians keep calling in sick.

Aaron Sorkin returns. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip had the misfortune of premiering in the same year as the other faux Saturday Night Live backstage series, 30 Rock, and was canceled after one season despite being way better than the more successful sitcom. (It actually works as a single season, so please don’t be discouraged from checking it out.) But it managed to fit in a wonderful Christmas episode, aptly titled “The Christmas Show.” The main romances are front and center, and “The Christmas Show” has key developments in both. Matt and Danny are in the same boat, namely that everyone knows they’re in love with their respective ladies, including each other. Each finds joy in finally seeing his best friend take the first step towards making himself happy, and their bond is cemented as much as their romantic feelings for Harriet and Jordan are. Few declarations of love have been more affecting or well-written than Danny’s, and Matt finally kissing Harriet (and tongue-tying her during her Weekend Update segment) is a payoff worthy of Christmas.

Also affecting and cheer-worthy is network chairman Wilson White’s resolve to defy the FCC and its contemptible decision to fine them for a soldier saying “fuck” while facing an RPG. Studio 60 could get political, even though it was about a sketch comedy series, but this episode showcases two of Sorkin’s best qualities: his ability to be non-partisan (when he chooses) and his willingness to point out the shortcomings of his own side. The musicians are calling in sick so that their colleagues whose lives were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina can get some work around Christmas; no fingers are pointed at any politicians, and the show focuses solely on the way regular people were displaced, as well as the kindness of their fellow Americans in trying to help any way they could. And in the writers’ room, Matt meets universal resistance while trying to put together a Christmas show, with the others pointing out historical inaccuracies with the Nativity or scientific refutations of  Santa visiting the whole world in one night. These are portrayed as exactly what they are: a bunch of miserable Hollywood snobs trying to ruin everyone’s fun. Matt pointing out that he’s a Jewish man defending Christmas from a bunch of Protestants is the grand slam on the message, which is, “For the love of God, lighten up!” Matt’s unflinching Christmas Spirit in the face of relentless L.A. misery warms your heart and shows the indomitability of the Season.

Chuck: “Chuck Versus Santa Claus” (2008)

“You owe me a toe, Bartowski.”

As the Buy More crew gear up for a lucrative Christmas Eve, a fleeing felon crashes his car through the storefront and takes everyone hostage

One of the many pleasures of Chuck is the steady stream of pop culture references (the gunman’s name is Ned Ryerson!), and “Chuck vs. The Santa Claus” has maybe the best one of all: the head cop outside the Buy More is played by Reginald VelJohnson of Die Hard (and Family Matters) fame. On its own, that would be a great Easter egg, but Chuck goes one step further; when the hostage negotiator, Mauser (played by Michael Rooker), asks his name, VelJohnson says, “Al Powell.” And once he’s done filling in Mauser, Powell pulls out a Twinkie and chows down. He also reveals that he’s Big Mike’s cousin, asking the Buy More manager, “How you holding up in there, partner?” Aside from the joy of seeing Al Powell again, the logical conclusion is that Chuck takes place in the same universe as Die Hard. Conceivably, John McClane could show up at any time and save the day. It never happened, but we live in an era where everything gets brought back; maybe Chuck will get a chance to leave its fans with a lasting impression to make up for that lousy final season, and maybe Bruce Willis could be coaxed into showing up in a dirty undershirt. Stranger things have happened.

In more serious terms, “Chuck vs. The Santa Claus” develops Chuck and Sarah’s relationship, with Chuck first wanting to cheer up the morose Sarah at Christmas, inviting her over to celebrate with his family while she just wants to be alone. Chuck believes that beneath her harsh exterior is a sweet girl with whom he could spend his life, and proves it by giving Sarah a bracelet that belonged to his mother. But when the trouble starts, Sarah becomes protective of Chuck, and while it’s her job to keep him safe, her feelings for him are clearly driving her actions more than her mission. When Mauser and Ryerson are revealed as agents of Fulcrum, the evil organization hunting for the intersect (long story), and Mauser finds out that it’s Chuck, Sarah executes him to keep Chuck safe. But Chuck only sees the murder, and he now wonders if Sarah isn’t just the remorseless spy she insists she is. Sarah’s killing of Mauser is set to a haunting rendition of “Silent Night,” amplifying the fear and uncertainty Chuck feels watching Sarah at her most lethal. There are plenty of laughs throughout “Chuck vs. The Santa Claus,” but Sarah proving her love for Chuck by risking losing his is the heart of the episode and symbolic of the Season of Giving.

***

What are your favorite Christmas episodes? Let us know in the comments, and from all of us at Geeks + Gamers, Merry Christmas!

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to our mailing list to get the new updates!

SIGN UP FOR UPDATES!