First, Trust

Trusting The Person You Trust The Least

“Fro-Yo?” Sarah keeps pitching, but Chuck’s not having any. He’s much more interested in what Beckman and the CIA are doing about his father. “I know that you don’t trust them, but do you trust me?” The question will be asked again and again in Chuck vs. The First Kill.

Let me recap the trust issue. We’ll see a lot of it in this episode. Chuck doesn’t trust Jill (Jordana Brewster). Why should he? She’s betrayed him twice. Sarah asks Chuck if he trusts her, and he answers yes. But does she believe him? Do we?

The General trusts nobody, and nobody trusts her. But Casey is trustworthy. Right.

Morgan doesn’t trust Emmett for a second. But he has to. That’s just like Chuck, who doesn’t trust Jill, but has to. And that’s just like Sarah, who doesn’t trust Jill either, but has to. Have I used the word “trust” enough yet? Seems I stumbled into the Sipenwall trap!

It’s easy for Chuck to not trust Beckman, however.

Beckman: I’m sorry, Chuck. Fulcum’s kept a tight lid on your father’s where-abouts.
Chuck: That’s your update? Well, I’m sorry that’s a non-update. And you know what? That’s not good enough.

Wow! Standing up to the General is more than his handlers seem willing to do. In fact, Chuck’s willing to do whatever it takes, by any means necessary, and he says so.  Jill is the means of which he speaks.

Did you notice that Chuck’s relationship with Jill is different than it was? It’s honest, but different. He’s not pining any longer, but needs her help desperately to help find and rescue his father.

Sarah, however seems to have nothing but contempt for Jill, and she doesn’t like it one bit when Casey quips that Chuck now qualifies for conjugal visits. It’s almost like Chuck has to protect Jill from her. No trust is ever to be expected between the two of them.

Chuck vs. The First Kill

Hungry Like The Wolf

Jill is freed to aid Team B., Agent Walker is in “protect Chuck” mode, the bad guy, “Uncle” Bernie (Ken Davitian) (the man with his own theme song), is as funny as he is fearsome, and the Buy More is deep in Emmett’s reign of terror, forcing Morgan to face the same issues as Chuck. It’s very tempting to say that Verses the First Kill is at the start, structured as the archetypical Chuck episode, the way we’ve come to know it from season 1 and most of season 2, complete with Buy More humor that echos Chuck’s difficulties.

But. (That’s a big “but”). In the previous weeks I had been exclaiming about the runaway train of emotions we saw in Dream Job and Predator. It’s been thrilling.  This episode, on first viewing, was far funnier and campier.  It’s true that the thrills we had in Dream Job are not swamped or negated by the comedy here. They’re just calmed for a bit. The comedy plays through Chuck’s adventure when Bernie chases them through the house:

Bernie: Are you wired?
Chuck: That’s preposterous.
Bernie: Are. You. Wired?
Chuck: Why, yes. Yes we are.

It’s a running gag. Sarah, as Chuck’s cousin, married to Casey, needing to find the bathroom after a very long drive, The Morgan! It’s all funny and tense at the same time, if not the emotional runaway train we’ve seen.  Now – hold that thought.

Why does that issue of trust keep popping up? Did I mention that Sarah does not trust Jill?

Sarah (angry): You know Jill. She’s a Fulcrum agent!
Chuck: Exactly. That’s exactly why we need her. She knows Fulcrum, their procedures and secrets.

Sarah: Chuck you just have to realize that there are some people you just can’t trust.
Chuck: Sarah, I already know that. I don’t trust anyone, except for you. And right now, I need you to trust me.

But her answer to him is “no”. Watching the first time, we worry that despite his words, Chuck does not trust Sarah and she doesn’t fully trust him. I shout to the screen, “Thank you for that, Agent Walker! You don’t trust Jill? Don’t you trust Chuck? And Chuck? You said that you trust Sarah, but why is it that you don’t seem quite convincing?”

Exchanging ‘Sorries’

The mission goes all wrong. Chuck’s adventure and first recorded kill is all for naught, as the information about Orion’s whereabouts dies with Bernie. But we’re left with one important thread.

Chuck: I’m sorry about your uncle Bernie. I had no idea that The Morgan was so lethal.
Jill: I’m glad you haven’t lost your sense of humor. They changed me. Promise me that you won’t let them change you.
Chuck: I’ll do my best.
Jill: They were never going to let me go, even if we found your dad, would they? NSA, Fulcrum, CIA. They’re all the same. They all lie. They’ll never let you go either, Chuck. Watch your back.

Don’t let them change you, Chuck. That’s a promise made to the audience, isn’t it?

The remarkably unsecured call Fulcrum places to Bernie’s cell phone gives them Orion’s location, and Jill can still help. “Guys – we need her.” The set-up is complete. The person Team B. trusts least is the one Chuck needs to trust the most.

There are so many funny scenes packed into the segment where Chuck and Casey enter the Fulcrum testing facility. Chuck & Casey in horn-rimmed glasses is so cool. There is a well placed Subway ad for $5 Footlongs, used by Morgan to bribe Big Mike for Emmett. I’m amused by the way the term “Auditing” is used in the sense of testing. It seems cult-ish, which is perfect for Fulcrum. We see “Leadership First” posters, complete with Nazi-like salutes to set the mood in the facility.

Casey and Chuck take the test, and Chuck not letting Casey cheat is another hoot. But they are discovered. At the same time, Morgan discovers how he been manoeuvred into betraying Big Mike. Indeed, the sense of betrayal is everywhere, and Sarah is forced to trust Jill to save Chuck, despite knowing that Jill is quite capable of betraying Chuck’s trust again.

There’s that word again, but this time, we’ve come full circle. Everyone is trusting the person they trust the least. And one more time, Chuck is asked if he has any trust left.

Chuck: Look, Jill. There was no deal. I lied to you because at the time I was willing to do whatever it took to find my father, but not any more. You kept your side of the bargain. Now I’m going to keep mine. I told you I’m not going to let them change me, and I won’t.

When Jill asks if he can trust “them”, meaning Sarah and Casey, Chuck doesn’t answer. We don’t know what he’s decided. And neither does he.

The End

Chuck has had his first kill. With under five minutes left to go, the episode has been funny, adventurous, clever and a touch mystifying. However, Orion is still missing, Chuck and Sarah are as heartbreakingly far apart as we’ve seen them in quite some time, Emmett is in charge of the Buy More, and no one is happy, least of all, General Beckman.

Beckman: We have a Fulcrum agent who knows all our secrets running free.
Casey: Permission to drop the twerp into a deep dark hole, General.
Beckman: Granted.
Casey: Huh?
Beckman: It’s over. The human intersect project has become too hard to control. I can’t afford to wonder any more if this team or Chuck Bartowski is a liability.

Operation Moron is over.

In the darkest, most terrifying scene yet, Sarah is instructed to use Chuck’s trust in her to bring him back to Castle, where Casey will tranq him and put him in lock-down. In flash-forwards, we see her following her instructions, walking up to Chuck in the Buy More with an obviously fake smile on her lips. Sarah is about to betray Chuck and hurt him more than Jill ever could.

Sarah (to Casey): How can you just stand there and say nothing?”

Casey is silent and stoic. A frown comes to your forehead as you watch. Sarah is fighting this? Did she give in??? But we flash forward back to the Buy More suddenly.

Agent Walker starts to manipulate Chuck. Oh no, Sarah! Don’t do it! He accepts her lie and is relieved that his ordeal is over, even apologizing for not trusting her. Chuck! Don’t! Don’t believe her!

Chuck: I was beginning to think that Jill was right that the CIA was never going to let me go – that they would always put their bests interests ahead of mine. But not you. You’ve always looked out for me – thank you.

Agent Walker looks back, over her shoulder, to the camera Casey is monitoring. She hesitates – the smile is gone from her lips and she is deadly serious. Chuck does trust her. He has all along. She looks back again as if to see Casey’s reaction.

And Agent Walker, the woman who knows her duty, who knows how to manipulate and con men, and Sarah, who knows her heart and desperation, merge and becomes one whole person.  A hug and a whisper:

Sarah: Take off your watch.
Chuck: Why?
Sarah: Because It’s all a lie. Your dad is still out there. Beckman sent me to get you and take you back to the castle. They’ll take you underground. We have to run.

She trusted Chuck all along, but now she has to trust one more person.

Vs. The First Kill ends earlier than this scene.  It ends in Castle when Beckman dissolved the team. Those last moment are the start of a whole new episode, full of the tensions and thrills we had been experiencing for weeks.  I don’t know about you, but from that moment, my heart was racing with them, through the night.

Chuck: You’re disobeying orders for me? You’re committing treason, Sarah. You could go to jail.
Sarah: I know.

We have lovers on the run, and this might as well be Shakespeare. An episode that was fun and clever, but verging on middling for Chuck, ignites to join the final six of season 2 as some of the most thrilling television ever seen. Critics started to beg NBC to renew Chuck after this.

We have learned one big thing, and it changes everything we know about what’s coming up. Chuck and Sarah have learned not only to trust each other, but to trust themselves.

Addendum, Two Hours Later: One of the most exciting, amazing and well regarded moments of this episode wasn’t even part of it. At the end, we, the audience, were treated to a teaser for The Colonel that contained a two second segment which caused fans all over the world to jump up and cheer. It took us by surprise, and the fan-boards had an explosion of activity that lasted for  months.  Only the dead felt nothing after seeing that clip.

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About joe

In my life I've been a professor, martial artist, rock 'n roller, rocket scientist, lover, poet and brain surgeon. I'm lying about the brain surgery.
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23 Responses to First, Trust

  1. OldDarth says:

    A fun but ultimately disappointing episode.

    You have an excellent opportunity for Sarah and Jill head butting and/or note comparing here. Yet the show totally skirts away from it.

    The weakest of the final four.

  2. OldDarth says:

    Forgot to add – the last 5 minutes are indeed awesome.

  3. atcdave says:

    Wow, I think I only enjoyed Colonel more. The trust issue was maybe belabored a bit much, but in the end, everyone’s trust is rewarded or punished in the most fitting ways. “Take off your watch” gets my vote foremost electrifying line of the series, or all TV in 2009 I would say. I think I was holding my breath from the moment General B ended project moron until Chuck and Sarah exited the Buy More (is that even possible?).

    To me this episode is an example of everything going right. The humor is first rate, from “Uncle Bernie’s” exit from the engagement party to Chuck not letting Casey cheat. The shoot out at Fulcrum headquarters is one of the best action sequences of the series; from Casey’s quips about the test, to Sarah fighting with two guns and kicking through work stations. I love the moment with Chuck trying to save the Fulcrum agent by his sleeve; “that would be a horrible way to die” speaks volumes for Chuck’s character.

    There are a couple shortcomings. I agree with OD that an opportunity was lost to have Sarah and Jill “catch up”. I suppose too much hostility from Sarah would just scare Chuck off; but I suspect with the rapid pace of these last six episodes, timing had more to do with it. And the Buy More scenes (until the last one) were not my favorites, but at least Emmit finally showed his true colors.

    The question many of us have asked, including Joe in his excellent recap; is what was Sarah thinking when she first was lying to Chuck, per orders? Obviously, we’ll never really know, but the best I could sort out was, she just tried to be a good soldier and follow orders. But she could never pull that off. She has spent 2 years cultivating and earning Chuck’s trust. The General states, “for some reason he seems to trust you.” Well, we know the reason, because she’s earned it. Even though Chuck’s trust is at low ebb in much of this episode, in recent weeks he has learned Sarah answers to her superiors, and may not always place his interests first. But when directly ordered to betray Chuck, she can’t do it. She never could. Its a walk of some distance from Buy More back to Castle; after seeing Chuck and his gushing thanks, her resolve shatters before the first door, its not even close.
    To me, this is one of those epic TV moments on a par with Sheridan going rogue in S3 of Babylon 5. OK, I can breath again.

    • joe says:

      And you just stated my thoughts better than I did, Dave.

      Oh – it’s quite possible to hold your breath that long. I’ll testify to that. ;> One thing I failed to mention was the fantastic nod to The Godfather, one of my favorite movies of all time. Josh Gomez and Mark-Christopher Lawrence deserve kudos for that, as do the writers.

      And I forgot about Sheridan going rogue in B5. That is a great analogy! Absolutely epic.

      Finally, my sig. in the NBC boards still has that line – “Take off your watch.” for the very reason you state. It’s electrifying. And it’s not what she’s saying – it’s how Yvonne says it that’s so powerful – with the slightest catch in her voice at the start, yet perfectly clear and determined.

      Breathing? I think my heart stopped!

  4. ReadySet says:

    Gentlemen=
    If I may, a woman’s perspective.

    1) The difference between Jill and Sarah is simple: Jill loves Chuck, but betrays him anyway. Sarah loves Chuck, but would never betray him. Jill always follows orders, Sarah doesn’t. But I really do not see any overt hostility between the two.

    2) Sarah will always, first, try to do her duty. Which is why the “I’m going” scene to come in The Ring is not a surprise. Her first instinct is to obey. She has so submerged her emotions over the years that duty is her defense against those emotions. We’ve seen that in Marlin, here and in Ring. But eventually she can’t hold out because, well, she loves Chuck. Or thinks she does. (She may just love the idea of a “normal” guy, which might be some of the rub to come in Season 3.)

    3) A woman does not do for a man as Sarah does for Chuck–kill, violate orders, commit treason–and give up. That’s why I am worried about Season 3. Not because Chuck and Sarah now must be together (I still can see some plausible alternatives, including the Chuck-as-superman not being appealing angle), but because I am not sure the writers (save Ali Adler) understand how they have written Sarah.

    With very few lines–but terrific acting by Strahovski–Sarah Walker has become a stupendously interesting character. In many ways, more interesting then Chuck, who is totally predictable both in his good traits and bad. There are so many more layers of Sarah than can be explored IF the writers are smart enough.

    Speaking of which, I am surprised how no one has ever really expounded on the fact that Chuck’s action (letting Jill go) not only negates the action he boldly took in S2E9, but also precipitates the very crisis he finds himself in.

    Chuck’s precipitous action to let Jill escape without considering the consequences for him when TPTB feel “the asset” is threatened is why this arc isn’t actually finished. I have a feeling that Jill will return, maybe as soon as the mini-arc at the end of the year. There’s too much good stuff still there, too…

    • joe says:

      +2 Insightful, ReadySet! Wow!

      Okay – You don’t see the enmity, verging on hostility, between Sarah and Jill? Well, on Sarah’s part, at least. Jill just looks afraid of Sarah. But in Graviton, when Jill is strapped to the polygraph and Sarah interrogating her with that deadly calm voice, I thought Sarah was terrifying. Here, when Sarah tells Chuck that “There are some people you just can’t trust!”, she seemed ready to commit homicide. At least, I thought so.

      Everything else you said I either agree with wholeheartedly, or is a revelation, especially the idea that the Jill Arc is not over. I felt that, and submerged the idea. And your #2, that Sarah first and foremost will try to do her duty is, believe it or not, something I had not considered in just that way (that’s the revelation!). Her duty as emotional armor goes a long way to explaining this complex character in S2.

      Has the armor come off, as of this episode and The Colonel? I hope so.

      Now I have to ask you to expand on the idea that Chuck’s actions negate what we saw in Graviton, and precipitates a crisis. The fact that this time he lets Jill escape is because he has come to trust her. He’s not different – She is. Yes? And there’s something that precedes that. Remember the scene as they’re leaving Jill’s parent’s home, with a deceased Bernie in tow, Jill says her goodbyes. Chuck looks back, and seems to realize how agonizing that must be for her, and how terrible it will be for him if and when he is em-bunkered.

      That’s one more instance of Zac being every bit as expressive with a look as Yvonne. Chuck must feel terrible for her.

      But which crisis are you referring to, please? – Beckman’s threats and Casey chasing them down in the Colonel? Chuck realizing that he must re-intersect in The Ring? Sarah deciding to be in charge of the new intersect project with Bryce? I’m not clear on which you mean.

      • ReadySet says:

        Joe-
        When I said “negate,” I meant the simple act of capturing Jill. He then turns around and lets her go…

        As for the crisis, well, if Chuck doesn’t let Jill go, the scene with Beckman ending Operation Bartowski doesn’t happen. That’s why there is a crisis because there is now an at-large Fulcrum agent who knows about Chuck and Castle.

        As for the Sarah/Jill thing, well, I think Sarah sees Jill as a pro. Doesn’t like her probably, but it’s business. This is part of the problem with Chuck, the show. Fulcrum is rather more a McGuffin than a really scary bunch of bad guys. In fact, excect for the Chevy Chase character, who claims to be part of a major group of bad guys, a lot of Fulcrum folks see themselves as heroes.

        Now, as for Sarah using duty as a shield for her emotions, well, LizJames said it before I did right here on this blog. And I think we both probably first heard it from Joe Brancatelli, the business journalist who is a big Chuck fan. If you look at Sarah’s actions, she always says yes immediately to duty, then often thinks of a better way. Or, in the case of Chuck, eventually puts her devotion to Chuck above duty.

        Is the “duty armor” off? Well, it really depends on where the writers want to take this. I actually DID NOT think the ending of First Kill would lead to the almost-love-making in Colonel. And I would have dismissed it as a proximity/hormone thing but for the “it’s real” comment at the end of the episode (plus the repeat hand rubbing and reprise of Creature Fear as the music).

        So the writers WANT us to believe that Sarah is now in love with Chuck and has acted on that love. Yet they seem VERY reluctant to make it happen–or even acknowledge that they have taken the characters there.

        And that plays to something I was thinking about yesterday. The writers stated bluntly at the end of Wookie (with Carina doing the “narration”) that Sarah wanted Chuck. That was episode 4. We only have 35 episodes. That means 31 episodes of the 35 episodes have been will they/won’t they.

        That, I think, is as far as you can sell it and why the writers really risk a lot if they try to do still another season of will they/won’t they. The shippers will revolt, of course.

        But so will a lot of the rest of us because we will feel manipulated.

      • atcdave says:

        I certainly agree about the unintended consequences of Chuck letting Jill go, I don’t think that leads to an incomplete arc. Chuck has forgiven Jill and moved on, we don’t need more than that. My guess would be, any return of Jill will be a business decision more than a creative one. We could have some outrage/betrayal moments from Sarah if its revealed Chuck let Jill escape, but I hope they don’t go there, sounds dreadfully boring to me.
        And I disagree entirely about how Sarah views Jill, she hates her. I think Sarah felt tortured having to let go any claim she may have felt for Chuck in The Ex and Fat Lady. When she gave her grudging acceptance, that was a huge concession for her. Jill’s betrayal hit Sarah nearly as hard as Chuck; but when Chuck weeps, Sarah seethes. If male/female differences have any place in this equation, the roles are reversed; Chuck deals with his “lady feelings”, Sarah is a professional killer. She does contain herself because she is a good soldier, and she cares what Chuck would think if she acted; so Jill is safe.

        As we’ve been discussing over on ChuckMeOut, I think Sarah has actually been in love with Chuck for quite some time; I still say Break-Up, ErnieDavis makes a great case for Truth. I think the writers will try to backpedal some on their feelings, but not as much as they’ve been saying; and the end of S3 will see a very committed couple.

      • joe says:

        ReadySet, thanks for the expansion. I understand now, and see how you can say that if Jill is sent back to prison, then the whole chain starting with Beckman doesn’t happen.

        As for the reluctance of TPTB to let C&S be “together”, as it happens (and very coincidentally), I saw something today that gave me a little perspective. I’m hoping to have something written on it later in the week.

  5. ReadySet says:

    Dave-
    With all due respect, I just don’t see “hate” as part of Sarah’s modus operandi. Even in the two episodes that the writers drill down into her backstory, they write her as extraordinarily measured in her reactions to everything in her life. They even give her an apology line for knocking out the high-school creep after he feels her up.

    And I am not sure by what you mean by bringing the Jill character back would be a commercial decision. EVERYTHING on a television show is a commercial decision. Creatively, there’s plenty of juice in a first-love-turned-spy-turned-escapee. And she could be used, again, to keep Chuck and Sarah apart, which, of course, is another commercial decision. Just as putting them together would be a commercial decision.

    In television, creativity and commerce are literally inseparably. And that’s okay as long as logic is maintained. The Jill character can be brought back a lot easier than the tortured way that they brought the Bryce character back. Hell, he was dead. Jill is just on the run. With Chuck as a super-spy, there’s even some logic to her trying to reach out to him again in a moment of “need.” And, as I say, there are those back six that have to be done.

    As for Chuck and Sarah being together by the end of Season 3, well, if you mean the last episode of the season, I’ll probably be long gone if that is the case. Like LizJames and others, I’ve long suspected Season 3 is essentially being looked at as a new show. That means they may try to rerun season 2 with the same old angst masquerading as new stuff. OR they may (if they are creative and gutsy) try to flip season 2’s premise around and make Chuck and Sarah together underground and broken up as a cover couple. Most brave of all, they could try to break them up permanently–either Sarah is put off by the new Chuck or they agree to keep it professional while they work out the kinks.

    Sadly, I think TPTB (I’m looking at you, Schwartz) have a track record of cheap tweener will they/won’t they stuff. And if they play the game over a season 3 again, I’ll hit the bricks. As I said once before, I get enough of that stuff in real life from my real teenagers. I don’t need television for that!

    There are several good ways they can put Chuck and Sarah together. There are several good ways they can keep Chuck and Sarah apart. But if I were a betting gal, I’d bet on Schwartz thinking he could sell another year of his angst baloney…

    • atcdave says:

      ReadySet, of course I overstated my case, Sarah is not a hate-filled person. I would actually say it is part of her complexity and charm, that in spite of her profession, she shows little malice or vindictiveness; I’d even go a step further and say she is remarkably patient and forgiving in most circumstances. But I still believe Jill is easily one of her least favorite people on the planet.
      My “commercial” quip merely meant I thought Jill’s story was logically spent. If they bring Jill back it will be because they think Jordana Brewster is big enough to draw some fans, but not so big they can’t afford her. That doesn’t mean they can’t come up with a good story; but as its sure to be angst filled, I just hope they don’t go there.
      I’m a big advocate of the television is commercial argument. But when dealing with the central relationship it does open a whole other can of worms. I know TV writers, producers, and network execs, are indoctrinated to believe that any fulfilled relationship is the end of the story. But as a lifelong TV viewer, I have more experience in my avocation, than most of them do in their jobs. So, like many posters, I’ve been attempting to enlighten them about what fans really want. I agree entirely that the last episode of S3 is far too late, I think many fans won’t stick around that long if there is no good progress; my “end of S3” comment only meant, I know it won’t be at the start; but ought to be by the end.
      My hope and fear for this season is exactly the same as yours. I would love to see a reverse of the cover situation, or almost any scenario that has Chuck and Sarah dealing with life together instead of hiding in separate corners. But, I too, am very concerned about both the intents and capabilities of JS and company.
      I’m not really even interested in good ways of keeping them apart, they’ve teased for two years, it is now time to deliver, or at least show something that looks like progress. I would not presume to offer a deadline or ultimatum, but my patience is not unlimited.

      • ReadySet says:

        Dave-
        I hear what you are saying. But I COULD accept Chuck and Sarah apart. I do see several logical approaches:
        1) Sarah gets put off by Chuck’s perceived arrogance.
        2) Sarah really doesn’t want another boyfriend in the “business”
        3) Sarah realizes that she really loved the IDEA of Chuck (i.e. normal guy with family, something she never had) more than Chuck himself.
        4) Chuck has legitimate issues with the new intersect and must avoid ALL emotional entanglements for a while. (They seem to be hinting at THIS one a lot…)
        5) Chuck decides Sarah wanting a “normal” life is suddenly holding him back.

        These are ALL commercial calculations, of course. The ultimate calculation, of course, could be that Zac Levi (hot) and Yvonne Strahovski (hot) can each bring in more viewers if they are unattached in the storyline.

        I’m truly, honestly, fine if the apart stuff is logically done. But my big fear is they play the apart card–yet continue to try to sell you the possibility of Chuck and Sarah. That’s when the show jumps the shark.

        On the flip side, putting Chuck and Sarah together (and relatively fast) has a real advantage, too: Not only could writers try writing for an adult relationship and all of THOSE pitfalls, an adult, committed relationship could allow so much more silliness in the other areas of the show. I mean, if an adult relationship grounds the storytelling, there are many flights of fantasy a viewer WOULD accept.

        A lot of TV types claim the “Moonlighting” precedence for keeping the main characters apart. But someone (and not in the Chuck sphere, I think) recently analyzed the episodes after David and Maddie had their tryst. Because the show was coming apart by that time (all that Willis-Shepard stuff), the two characters were almost NEVER together again. In fact, they married Maddie off to someone else almost immediately, too. So there is NO Moonlighting precedent.

        It’s just bias, fear, lazy writing and old white guys running networks who think writing about people in grown-up situations is bad for ratings.

      • ReadySet says:

        Dave-
        I don’t really, honestly believe the Jill story line is creatively spent. She’s positioned as out there, being hunted both by the government and (one assumes) whatever this Ring thing is. And depending on what the writers are doing with the “kryptonite” stuff (Is it Chuck’s emotions SPECIFIC to Sarah or to any emotional entanglement?), there could be an angle there, too.

        Frankly, first loves are hard to shake in the real world. I think most people (okay, at least most WOMEN) always have a spot for the first love. And I notice a lot of guys get moony about “the one that got away.”

        So I do believe the character has life. And, you know, Jill’s silly family was sort of fun, too. Not only do first loves have a long life, first love’s families are sort of interesting stuff, too. I mean, in real life…

      • atcdave says:

        I think really separating Chuck and Sarah would be dark and depressing in a way Chuck just normally isn’t. Especially since, from the beginning, Chuck is presented as a normal, relatable sort of guy; and while Sarah is not quite “normal”, somehow my wife identifies with her more than any other heroine. So fracturing the relationship would hurt the viewers directly. That could work, and has worked in many other shows; but given the overall tone of this show, and expectations of the viewers, I think it would disastrous here.
        I do agree that your five points are plausible, I just don’t think they are a good idea. I agree the emotional distancing (your point 4) is likely to be an issue to some extant, and I think we’ll get a little point 1 also; but I think rapid resolutions are mandatory.

        Funny, we were discussing the Moonlighting issue just yesterday on the NBC boards, and I’ve long advocated the “does not apply” argument. I know we are battling professional indoctrination on this one; which is especially sad since prior to the mid-1980s many shows, even in this and similar genres, depicted adult relationships quite successfully (Thin Man, MacMillan and Wife, Hart to Hart all come to mind). I would also agree, putting the couple together opens up so many more possibilities for the story telling; not least is the fact they could explore many different and difficult situations, that would logically come up in this business, with an enthusiastic fan base, if the central relationship was on solid ground.
        I also agree about the first loves situation, and was also writing about that yesterday on the NBC forums. I can give them a pass for the first Jill story for that very reason. I didn’t like it, but I understand why they felt they had to go there. But I think Chuck has officially gotten over her now, its time to drop it. I do agree, and said so above, the story can logically be pursued if they really want. But the immediate result would be more angst (especially assuming Sarah finds out Chuck let her go). That is actually fine with me if Chuck and Sarah in a more secure place. But given the constant talk about so much more angst in S3, I hope they just drop it for now. I may feel differently after Chuck and Sarah are actually married.

        Finally, sorry I called you Liz (I did fix it); but you do bring up similar points!

  6. ReadySet says:

    Joe-
    I can’t wait to see what you picked up, assuming it is something you saw in a Chuck episode. These writers are VERY self-referential and those of us who go hunting for clues are often well rewarded.

    I think my moment of, “Hey, got to pay real attention” was in the brutal Skinny Love scene at the end of S2E3. As just is unintentionally hammering Sarah, he says something like: I want to come home and tell you Morgan did but you’re off in Paraguay quelling a revolution with a fork.

    I did a double-take right there because that was clearly a nod to a great line in Grosse Point Blank where Cusack, practicing for his high-school reunion, looks in the mirror and answers his own “What do you do?” query with: “I assasinated the president of Paraguay with a fork.”

    Nice shout out, I thought. And then the next week came and there was their own version of Grosse Point Blank in Chuck versus the Cougars. I was shocked because it was clear that the creators were tipping their hands and signaling to careful viewers.

    So diving for clues in the most obscure references and lines in Chuck has a payoff, I think. Which is what makes these kinds of exercises fun. Can we divine where TPTB are taking us…and are they taking us there in a way we can understand. (Sorry, I just watched the final two episodes of the Prisoner last night and felt sorry that the writer had some interesting ideas, but couldn’t write them in a way the viewer could understand…)

  7. Ernie Davis says:

    I have to admit that this episode didn’t hold up as well for me on repeated viewings even though the first time I saw it it was one of my favorites. I think that is mostly because of the way I found and first saw Chuck. I rented the first season 1 DVD on a lark after it popped up in my Netflix “People who like this also like this” suggestions. I had barely heard of the show before then. I knew it was some sort of spy thing and got great reviews, and one night I flipped past it channel surfing and wondered what the hot blond chick was doing in the ridiculous Oktoberfest outfit. I watched the entire first disk in one sitting. The next day I couldn’t wait for the second disk to arrive, so I bought the season 1 DVDs and season 2 on iTunes and watched 3-4 episodes a night till I was done. Then I re-watched the entire thing from the beginning…but only 2 or 3 episodes a night this time. I’ve recently been able to cut back to sometimes just watching a few parts of a few episodes if I’m writing something and want to check, so there is hope for you Joe!

    This episode was in the home stretch so I think I recall I watched it with Dream Job and Colonel. I think at the time it was the perfect lighter episode to put between the two. Even the gun battle in Fulcrum HQ was almost amusing. I liked seeing Sarah go in to full lioness mode when Jill was around and Casey tweaking her in the van. The end of course speaks for itself. On its own it doesn’t seem to hold up as well, but it still has great moments. I think the thing that bothers me most is that this almost seems like a detour. I agree Jill still has possibilities, how many guys jail their first love, but this seemed a bit contrived. Fulcrum’s most closely guarded secret and they think Jill can get her Uncle Bernie to disclose it? On later viewings it seemed more like a contrivance to bring Jill back so they could make Sarah jealous again rather than moving the story forward in any way. They spent a lot of time and energy just to get Chuck to flash on Blackrock. The only thing it seems to have added was a tenuous reason for Chuck to need to be bunkered so he and Sarah could run. But if Jill knew that Chuck was Orion’s son and a CIA agent so did Rourk and Vincent and there didn’t seem to be any need to put Chuck into the bunker then. It just doesn’t really ring true to me. But it moved the story forward.

    I think Sarah has actually been in love with Chuck for quite some time; I still say Break-Up, ErnieDavis makes a great case for Truth. I think the writers will try to backpedal some on their feelings, but not as much as they’ve been saying; and the end of S3 will see a very committed couple.

    Dave, fun as that argument is I’m going to concede a point to you on Breakup. I still think Sarah was in love in Truth and realized it when she had to resist the pentathol (and then tried to run away in Nemesis because of it, but couldn’t, enter the angst). I will however say that I think the Breakup, when the both paused at the door and looked at each other was the first time they were sure about not only their feelings, but each others. The more I re-watch Season 2 the more I feel that there really wasn’t that much doubt about how they felt about each other, the doubt was that since they both seemed to know they couldn’t “be together” even though they were together, would one or the other move on from what they perceived as an impossible romance. Of the two Sarah seemed to be far more patient and satisfied enough with the limited relationship under the relationship. I know I said it over on the NBC boards, but I think Sarah’s description in Beefcake that rolled off her tongue so easily was really where she was happy and wanted things for the time being. Chuck has been less patient.

    So diving for clues in the most obscure references and lines in Chuck has a payoff, I think. Which is what makes these kinds of exercises fun. Can we divine where TPTB are taking us…and are they taking us there in a way we can understand.

    You are speaking to the choir here. At first I liked to catch obscure references and things in the background (Like What’s Opera Doc playing on the BuyMore screens in the background of a scene in Fat Lady). Then I looked for more movie and TV references, but not having watched a lot of recent TV I think I still miss a lot of those. Now I am on a recent kick of connecting scenes from different episodes. One I’ve been thinking of was in Undercover Lover where Ellie is complaining to Jill about how she had both feet in and Devon only had one foot in… I have to look at that one again. Anyway, a lot of fun, and passes the Chuckless days till January 10th.

    And it gives me an excuse to write really long epic posts… 😉

    • Ernie Davis says:

      And once again I seemed to have forgotten to properly close my italics in html after quoting someone.

    • atcdave says:

      I think my love of this episode is mainly from the strength of the ending. I agree about Sarah’s “patience” with the cover. I’d take it even a step further and say, in a way, she really likes the situation; it keeps her close to Chuck without having to deal with any messy emotions. Looking again at the opening scene of Lethal Weapon, its almost Sarah’s perfect scenario, she has everything she wants and still gets to be superwoman. There have been suggestions the cover relationship will be missing in some or all of S3 (I avoid spoilers, don’t tell me how sure this is!); its been a fun part of the show, I think Sarah would miss it even more than the fans.

  8. Ernie Davis says:

    Oh, and a couple of links to articles about how wrong the whole Moonlighting theory is are

    here

    and

    here

    • atcdave says:

      It always makes me happy to see the Moonlighting thing debunked. Its one of those great non-wisdom things like “the winners write the history” or “cold weather causes colds.” People have drawn so many wrong conclusions from improperly examining a precedent its not even funny.

  9. Gord says:

    For this episode we could have created a drinking game. You take a drink every time the word trust is used. You just better make sure you have nowhere you need to be for at least 36 hours, because you are going to be so wasted by the end of the episode.
    The one thing I noticed in the beginning when Sarah asked Chuck if he trusted her, was how hesitant Chuck was to respond. There have been too many times when Chuck has perceived that Sarah has violated his trust. He may love her, but he is not sure he trusts her. Interesting conundrum.

  10. Pingback: Chuck vs The First Kill (2.20) | Chuck This

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