Chuck Gets His Walking Papers

After quenching my thirst for new Chuck episodes by re-watching the first three episodes, twice, I think my impressions are fixed enough to actually give some thoughts about where we are and where we seem to be headed.  To avoid spoilers for those overseas who haven’t seen things yet the rest can be found after the jump.

We open the new season with a new Chuck, confident and in control, even in the bad guys lair surrounded and unarmed.  It is clear very quickly that with this new intersect Chuck is more than a match for them.  But it also quickly becomes clear that there is one thing that hasn’t changed with Chuck.  He still doesn’t like guns.  We see this makes his job a bit tougher than it might be, but Chuck manages to overcome the odds, carry out his mission, and escape with the goods he’s been sent to recover.  Sadly, things just aren’t clicking with Chuck when he’s told he needs to flash.  Fortunately it was all a simulation for training Chuck.  Unfortunately it was his last.  Chuck is summarily dismissed by Beckman, tranq’ed and shipped home where we find he’s also lost Sarah.  We aren’t completely sure how this happens, but we see in flashback that Sarah was as keen to keep Chuck out of the spy world as she was to get out and have a normal life.  Kind of a tough one to pull off given he’s the intersect again.  All we know so far is that she wanted to take Chuck and run.  A few thoughts at this point.  First, this makes the big puppy kicking scene, the one that was supposed to reset the relationship, completely superfluous.  Within the limited timeline of the Ring we now have Sarah going from “I’m leaving in the morning with Bryce” to deciding on staying but never getting to tell him until after he re-intersects, to (and this sounds harsh) giving Chuck an ultimatum, run with me and we can be together.  She never says she loves him.  She still can’t bring herself to say that, just that they can be together, if they run.  So Chuck has gone from thinking Sarah was never more than his handler to hearing her say that she wants him to give up everything, family, life, everything that he spent two years trying to protect and get back to because she didn’t want him to become a spy and wants to be a normal person again, with him, on the run and hiding from the government.  More on that later.

In an odd way it has taken us till the third season to get some back story on Chuck.  He is an emotional guy, we get that.  What we get now however is a glimpse of what the most traumatic event in his life (previous to this of course), getting expelled from Stanford and losing Jill, both due to his best friend’s betrayal, must have looked like.  I didn’t hate this.  I thought in addition to the pathos we could identify with it told us something about Chuck’s character.  He can become emotionally paralyzed.  Unable to move on until he resolves his current emotional state, moving from crisis to resolution of some sort.  This is important for only one reason, Chuck’s annoying habit of always wanting to talk about his feelings in the middle of missions.  This makes Chuck look like all the evolution and growth we saw, especially in last season’s last 6 episodes has been reset.  This paralysis he suffers mitigates that somewhat.  I have a theory.  The only two living people with an intersect are both named Bartowski.  We know that Chuck and his dad share a very special brain.  Most people exposed to the Intersect images and information Chuck has gone through can apparently be killed or lobotomized.  The resiliency and special nature of Chuck’s brain apparently comes at a cost.  I wonder if this will be something that is further explored as the season progresses.

In the meantime we are treated to a montage of Chuck, slacker.  Well a bit beyond slacker; Chuck, basket case.  Even Morgan, who helped him through Stanford and Jill can’t seem to get him off the couch.  Only one thing can.  Cheese balls.  I guess you can get popcorn and snacks at Best Buy, so a few Large Mart size containers of Cheese Balls might not be out of place at Buy More.  Chuck obviously knows how far he’s fallen, not wanting his triumphal exit diminished by his return in the condition he’s in, but we see the Buy More has become a totalitarian state in his absence.  (And yes, it does appear Triumph of the Will is playing on the TVs in the background).  Emmet, the character we loved to hate is briefly re-introduced, mostly it seems to reinforce we hate him, and that he’s gotten worse.  Much worse.  The other purpose of Chuck’s visit, dramatically that is, not cheese balls, is to put him back in touch with Team B.  Chuck learns that the Orange Orange is still an operational base, and decides to sneak in to see if anyone is still there, like perhaps Sarah?  Chuck’s meeting with Casey is actually one of the better points in this episode for me.  We now see the fully developed older brother/coach/drill sergeant dynamic these two have grown into.  Most notably that Casey simply helps Chuck up and invites him back into castle.  Casey doesn’t sugar coat it though, this is pathetic, even for you.  And Chuck, hearing that from the man whose grudging respect he’d so painfully earned finally decides to do something about it.  Seeing his chance at redemption Chuck suits up to become a spy again.

This is not about us?

At first it sounds like his main goal is to fix things with Sarah, but oddly practically the first words to her out of his mouth are “this is not about us”.  Whether he means it or not it clearly wasn’t what Sarah wanted to hear, that he wants her help and encouragement so he can prove himself as a spy.  Still she does ask Casey to give him a second.  So why from “get him out of here” to “Just give him a second.”?  Why the kiss for that matter?  She could have just slapped him, and that kiss did linger a little longer than a kiss that earns a slap should have.  I may have a bit more on this later also.  When I first saw this scene in preview form I got the vibe that Sarah was mad at Chuck and the dance, while perhaps to distract her mark was also aimed at punishing Chuck.  We know Chuck hates seduction missions, and Sarah is going after this one with great gusto.  It also seems clear she knows how she will affect Chuck.

In any case Chuck appears to blow the mission in his eagerness to protect Sarah, we of course know better.  We don’t however know who the target was.  I think we are to suspect it was Sarah’s mark, to eliminate someone who had knowledge of the Ring and who had been found out and infiltrated by the CIA.  I’m not quite as sure.  Still more to consider later.

Chuck and Sarah’s apparent last goodbye of course needs to turn into something else.  A method of dispatching Emmet, a way to put them in danger, and a way for Chuck to save the day and prove himself, and the opportunity to finish the last flashback that fills in our back story on Chuck and Sarah.  All of these things are taking on a far darker tone for the first episode.  Emmet’s quick dispatch, Chuck taking a serious beating, last season even the torture was mostly implied, now it seems the violence and danger are being put right up front rather than implied or treated as, lets face it, almost comic relief at times.  Think First Kill & Uncle Bernie (or the guy out the window for that matter), Casey taking on Fulcrum with a radiator and Sarah resorting to biting at one point in the Colonel, and of course the reception hall shoot ’em up in the Ring, these were great action scenes, but they were pretty much blood free and almost lighthearted.

Now we get the payoff.  What happened with Chuck and Sarah.  Well I now have a new least favorite angst scene, replacing Chuck’s “proposal” scene in the Ring as the most incomprehensible, out of character moment in the series so far.  As others have said, I don’t want to put down the acting, or the writing to an extent.  It was a good idea.  Chuck turns toward duty, he’s been called to be a hero,and because of that calling, his answer of that calling he has to give up what he wants most, a “normal” life with Sarah.  He goes ready to make the sacrifice, knowing he will hurt her, and that she may never forgive him, but in a way he is doing it for her.  I think the execution sucks.  It isn’t because of the one scene, or even wholly the way the scene is written.  It is because of the way the characters and scenes are written as a whole.

The show not only invites, but practically demands we fill in the gaps of the characters off camera time, and not with boring every day stuff either.  We are invited to speculate on everything from Sarah’s childhood , having grown up as a grifter and being continually disappointed by her father to exactly how did Chuck end up being dangled out the window by Colt holding on to the cipher at the very beginning of season 2.  We see by episode 3 this year that they have even seemed to up the ante, Chuck arriving home via helicopter in a harness and body armor, exhausted and describing in the most general terms his latest mission.  Yeah, let’s ignore that.

It believe this aspect of the show, the invitation to be a part of the show with our imaginations, is probably one of the things that makes it so good and so addictive to some of us.  We’re invited into Chuck’s world to be a part of it, not just watch it unfold.  Add in the fantastic cast and fully developed characters who make this world real, no matter how implausible, and make us care so deeply about these people we think we know, and I think you’ve got the makings of the best show on television.  It probably makes it awfully damned hard to write for.  Any writer is going to be faced with a hard core fan base that feels, and perhaps not without justification, that we know those characters better than they do.  And we’ll let them know it.  And so we’re left with the latest episode of puppy kicking.  Pretty much a reversal of roles for the Ring.  With Chuck being the one who can’t find any words other than “I can’t, I’m sorry”.  Well I guess its better than “I’m leaving in the morning with Bryce.”

Not the Kiss She was Expecting

So cool calculating agent walker has three weeks to prepare, and hasn’t realized that she is making not only a rash decision, but asking Chuck to give up everything for her, his family, any sense of purpose, any hope of anything other than a life on the run, apparently trusting in the kind nature of the NSA and CIA not to try to get to him through his many friends and family, all for her, when she can’t even bring herself to tell him that she loves him.    And Chuck, he has three weeks to contemplate the fact that Sarah has finally opened up to him like never before, and this might be tough for her, being ready to give up her life for him, and he’s going to have to hurt her, and it’s going to be bad no matter what.  I’d hope he would start with Sarah I love you, and everything will be alright, but…  Then there is the rest of it.  Apparently no other words are ever exchanged, no phone calls before or after, no letters or follow up, no request from Chuck to contact Sarah when things are going downhill for him, because she calms him and helps him.  I’m going to say right now, on its own, it is a beautifully written heartbreaking scene.  Everything from the photography, to the costumes and set and the music, not to mention the acting, was just top rate.  Each time I re-watch I hate it less, I guess that’s something.  I think I am starting to see where this problems crops up, and how to an extent it may be unavoidable.  And yes, I bought “Backwards Walk” on iTunes to add to my “slow Chuck music” playlist.  One more song and I’ll just buy the album.  It’ll be cheaper than buying them one at a time.

Keep Your Feelings to Yourself

This brings us, somewhat breathlessly, to the final few minutes of setting up for the rest of the season.  Chuck steps up and proves he can work, Casey helps save them, the return with a valuable clue, Team Bartowski is back together, Chuck is back at Buy More with the whole gang, Awsome and Ellie move, but not too far of course, and Chuck and Morgan are installed in their bachelor pad.  One final thread, Sarah is once again told to handle Chuck.  We’re given some hints that Chuck is more powerful or dangerous than we know.  I’ll touch on this a bit shortly.  Sarah goes to have a talk with Chuck by the fountain of doom (or fountain of youth, where previous season’s themes are re-born as new ones).  I thought it a very clever bit that neither could say anything till Chuck started.  Clearly they get their own foibles and can laugh at them.  The talk however is a return to season 1 territory.  Chuck starts to explain, but the moment he ventures in to the personal side of what happened, “It was never about you (and me?)”  Sarah stops him at “you”.  She doesn’t want to hear it, or at least is convinced she didn’t.  I acted impulsively, it won’t happen again could have come right out of Crown Vic, except for one thing.  Chuck had seen not just the mask slip, he’d seen Sarah, the real Sarah, wanting and needing Chuck to love her and come away with her.  She can try, but she knows she’ll never get that armor back on when it comes to Chuck.  Her last line, keep your feelings to yourself is an admission she can’t.  Sarah can’t be around Chuck if she has to hear being a spy was more important than her, no matter his reason.

The only way this episode ends on a high note is with something fun.  Casey and Chuck’s scene again highlights the change in their relationship.  Casey is actually enjoying this, and not just because he gets to lay a beating on the nerd.  He has wisdom to impart, and a willing student.   Great final shot, so to speak.

To spark a bit of discussion I wanted to mention a few things in passing.  First, I feel I was right about one thing, TPTB realized they could not show this episode alone as a premier, they had to get something hopeful and moderately upbeat out there quickly.  Episode 2 was better, and ended hopefully, but I think I now understand why they wanted Angel of Death to follow so quickly.  It wasn’t till Monday night that an old feeling came back.  Man this show is great.

Sarah’s first kiss with Chuck didn’t really make a lot of sense to me till later, and it absolutely convinced me of something I’ve thought about since the Jill episodes.  It actually started in Season 1.  If you recall Nemesis and the thanksgiving dinner, it was a test, stated explicitly for Morgan, the subtler meaning was that Chuck failed by not trusting Sarah with Bryce.  He passed the second test however.  Both of them I mean.  In season 2, the Graviton, Sarah is explaining to Chuck how a spy will test an emotionally vulnerable agent.  She starts to demonstrate the kiss, and at the last moment stops.  I got the feeling the secondary motivation was that Sarah was testing Chuck, to see if he still had feelings for her after Jill.  After the train station scene I became completely convinced Sarah’s first kiss in the bar was her test to see if things really where over with Chuck.  At the train station when Chuck seemed to be wavering Sarah kissed him, and didn’t get the kiss she expected.  Did she get the one she expected at El Bucho?  I guess time will tell.

Speaking of El Bucho, I think we’ll later come to find that The Ring is very interested in one Sarah Walker  It may be because she’s known about the intersect and his identity, or because as everyone in the spy world seems to know she has an affect on him.  I just thought that Javier was awfully interested in “the girl”.

I’ll leave you with one final thought to chew on.  Chuck flunked out of spy school BECAUSE he dumped Sarah.  She is the source of his strength and has been all along.  The weakness comes when he grows arrogant, or turns away from her, or tries to test her rather than accepting her.  This is classic Heroes Journey stuff.  The hero abandons the goddess figure, and loses his powers and her favor.  It’s in the playbook.  I’m afraid however that this little dustup is going to last a while. before we really see what the intersect and Chuck are capable of.

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About Ernie Davis

I was born in 1998, the illegitimate brain child and pen name of a surly and reclusive misanthrope with a penchant for anonymity. My offline alter ego is a convicted bibliophile and causes rampant pognophobia whenever he goes out in public. He wants to be James Lileks when he grows up or Dave Barry if he doesn’t.  His hobbies are mopery, curling and watching and writing about Chuck.  Obsessively.  Really, the dude needs serious help.
This entry was posted in Angst, Observations, Season 3. Bookmark the permalink.

81 Responses to Chuck Gets His Walking Papers

  1. Ernie Davis says:

    And if you have the time to read this monster you certainly have time to vote for Yvonne, a few times.

  2. weaselone says:

    Sorry Ernie, I don’t have time to leave anything approaching a full commentary, but I felt compelled to make a comment regarding the hero quest/goddess figure.

    Chuck was screwed either way. If he chose the goddess he abandons the quest and by the iron clad rules of the hero quest he’s going to get smacked down some point down the line. In this case he declines the goddess, embraces the quest and gets chewed up and spit out by both.

    Chuck makes the right choice here, the hard choice, the choice the goddess has been nudging him towards for the last two years. He resists the temptation,sticks to the path of destiny and in return the goddess and the quest abandon him! Then he gets to crawl back in shame and humiliation to subsist on crappy processed foods.

    In some hero’s quests this is where the goddess and those in need relize they’ve made a mistake and prostrate themselves before the hero, beg his forgiveness and seek his aid. Apparently, this doesn’t happen in Chuck’s world. Chuck has to win back the goddess and earn the right to return to his hero’s quest with a little more groveling.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I fully understand where you are coming from. I think the problem arises because Sarah is not just representing the goddess for Chuck, she’s also on her own journey. I think she accepted it right before Chuck re-intersected. She thinks she is trying to be a normal person again, and Chuck took that from her. I think her real journey is to love and trust someone so she can be like a normal person.

      As for Chuck being screwed, like I said there are a few problems with the scene to me. Most notably Sarah presenting essentially two choices, run away from everything or be a spy without me. You really think Chuck wouldn’t try to find some way for them to be together and for his life to be more spy and hers less if that was what they wanted?

    • lou federico says:

      I agree with you 100 percent. Excellent description. I think it was a no win situation for Chuck and he made the hard correct call. But also I believe that this was the same issue that Sarah was facing in the first two seasons that she was getting hammered for by most fans. Assuming that the term goddess is a nongenderspecific idea, it was a role reveral of both characters. Let’s see how they like walking in each others shoes for a while

  3. herder says:

    Excellent post Ernie, I sometiimes get the sense that this is sort of a seminar on Chuck. I’ll comment more on specific parts of this post later, but for now I’ll just say that my overall sense of this episode is one of sadness. Perhaps that is why I haven’t rewatched it yet. Chuck fails at spy school and I feel bad for him, he goes into a depression and I feel worse. He tries to come back, gets blamed for screwing things up, Emmitt gets killed all sad. Then the saddest thing of all, the train station and two broken hearts. The action livens things up a bit but overall a very sad episode, a bit shocking really for a show that needs to draw in more viewers, can you imagine the reaction if that was a stand alone episode after the Olympic promotion.

  4. Lucian says:

    Though it is said often, your posts bring meaning to the word “awesome”. Thanks.

    One point that I think needs to be made. When Sarah asks Chuck to run away, she is echoing what Chuck’s father and supposed friend have said – he is too weak for the spy world. He can’t cut it. Now he is hearing it from the woman he loves. For him to run away with Sarah would be to confirm that they are all right. Running away at this point is not an option.

  5. OldDarth says:

    Chuck never dumped Sarah. He just could not run away with her.

    Big difference.

    He obviously wanted to resume the relationship.

  6. Ernie Davis says:

    He certainly chose spy life over life with her. I’m guessing she felt dumped. Remember her words to Casey, “Trust me, Chuck is not in love with me.” Chuck certainly wanted to re-start a relationship after things didn’t pan out with spy school, just like he wanted to get back together after Lou and after he broke up with Sarah in Beefcake.

    • weaselone says:

      I agree with Old Darth on this one. Chuck was willing to sacrifice his relationship with Sarah if it came to that, but it certainly wasn’t his intent to abandon her. If he had finished spy school, he would have presumably also attempted to rekindle a relationship.

      Besides, pursuing the spy career was the only true option available to Chuck. Running away was a false choice as Chuck can never truly run away from the Intersect and who he his. Even if you ignore the whole destiny aspect, there was no life that he wanted with the woman he loved in either decision.

      • Lucian says:

        You’re getting at the fundamental problem with this episode. It is all about a false choice – life with Sarah or life as a spy. Even though Chuck has no intention of dumping Sarah, that is basically the choice she gives him – run away with me or we are done, because you are not going to be the man I love if you stay (but of course, she doesn’t use the L word). Not a particularly strong vote of confidence. The related problem is, Chuck is “an articulate shnook”. He has lots of time to think about his response. The only reasonable option for his curt response is that he knows she is giving him an ultimatum, so there is no point in discussing a third option. This is not what an articulate shnook in love would do. If Chuck would have given the response we were hoping for – “I love you, let’s find a way”, I am not sure Sarah’s response would have been any different, because she doesn’t seem to believe there is another way. But, they didn’t choose this approach because they wanted it to seem, once again, like a misunderstanding. As I have said before, there was a place TPTB needed to get to, and they were going to get there, no matter what it did to the characters. After this episode, I frankly lost hope for the season because it felt to me that TPTB didn’t care about the characters; it was setting us up for additional angst.

        Were it not for the comment that the relationship will be resolved this season, I would conclude that TPTB have no problem pushing the “reset” button once a season, just to keep things fun. Baldwin’s and Strahovski’s comments about episodes 6-10 also give me some hope they will handle the PLIs fairly well.

      • joe says:

        If Chuck would have given the response we were hoping for – “I love you, let’s find a way”, I am not sure Sarah’s response would have been any different, because she doesn’t seem to believe there is another way.

        You said very well what I was trying to get at with his, Lucian. There’s a kind of hopelessness in Chuck at that point that pervades the entire scene. Nothing he says will lessen the pain, and being articulate doesn’t change that.

  7. Gord says:

    I recall Bryce Larkin in the Break Up said to Chuck, “You will do the right thing, you always do”
    No matter how painful it is for him, he does the right thing, that is why he reintersected in the first place. So he could finally make a difference. Chuck is a paladin – he is willing to endure pain, sacrifice and suffering if that is what is necessary to help others. I think that is why Casey grudgingly learns to respect Chuck.
    I think I mentioned this somewhere else, but I thought Chuck rushing through the goodbye with Sarah at the train station was because he knew if he stayed any longer he would give in to his own desires and accept the ticket and passport from Sarah.
    It was a sad episode to watch, a painful episode to watch, but also one of the most powerful episodes of Chuck we have ever seen. I was on the edge of my seat for the whole hour.
    I am really happy they made the decision to put the first 2 episodes together, because I just would not want Chuck to end its first night in that dark place. The 3 Words episode brought hope back to the relationship.
    When you throw in the Angel de la morte on monday night, and I am thinking this is going to be a great season of Chuck.

  8. NoWayOut says:

    Uh, folks, I would never want to be a spoilsport, but, frankly, I believe history will show that Pink Slip is the worst, least credible and most cynical episode of the show.

    It’s impossible to analyze because the plot holes are humungous. To name just three:
    1) Beckman in the past was willing to have Chuck killed or throw him in a hole to protect the Intersect and to make sure he wasn’t walking loose around Los Angeles. Yet with this supposedly super-sized 2.0 Intersect, he fails out of school and she merely sends him home with a “We’ll be in touch”? It’s silly and ridiculous, bad writing and beneath analysis.
    2) Regardless o
    f how Chuck turns Sarah down at the train station, Sarah is not getting on the train without him. So why didn’t they talk THEN and THERE? Hello, as someone said, this is not Rick taking the last train to Marseilles to escape the Nazis. There’s no time pressure if Chuck refuses to go with Sarah. They could have and should have hashed it out right there. This is an inescapable, unexplainable plot hole, right up there with ignoring what happened at and after the rehersal dinner at the end of Colonel. Analyzing this scene is a waste of effort because, even in the world of make-believe, it couldn’t have happened this way. It’s garbage writing, by far the worst this show has seen.

    3) Chuck has Sarah’s cell number. In fact, they went to great pain to show that in the scene where she ditches the iPhone in the pool. Yet in the three weeks in Prague before she arrives, he never once reaches out to her to warn her that he is having a change of heart. Even for two people who don’t talk, that’s insane. It’s another couldnt-happen-even-in-fantasyland thing.

    IMHO, Chuck fans have only two rational approaches to this episode:
    1) Walk away from the show because TPTB cynically broke faith their their own characters (and any semblence of logic) just to extend the WTWT crap some more episodes. And given that, you decide you no longer can trust the show’s logic.

    2) Stick with the show and simply ignore this episode as a horrific mistake.

    For the moment, I’m sticking with the show. But I think it is a waste of time to try to make sense of this episode because it makes no sense. And if you try to beat it into some shape that jibes with what we know about the characters, everything gets warped and bizarre.

    So I say let this episode die the ignominious death it deserves and never be spoken of again…

    • joe says:

      Oh, hardly, NoWay. (But I appreciate the ideas, really.)

      Beckman is not exactly doing nothing – she knows Chuck is a problem. This is going to be Shaw’s job, but we aren’t shown that in episode 1, and then, only briefly. From what I gather, she has more trepidation about what he’s going to do than she had about terminating Chuck. That may be “inconsistent”, but in a much lesser way, and maybe not at all. We can’t tell yet.

      And your point about Chuck speaking up and them having that discussion at the train station (no time pressure!) sort of misses the point. Give him all the time in the world and Chuck still won’t know what to say. And if you ask “Why not?” it doesn’t seem to me that you can automatically assume that he *would* know what to say to Sarah at that point. He may realize running away is the wrong answer, but having him be unable to articulate it at that point is something very human.

      We have a third alternative, btw – we can also watch to see if the questions are addressed satisfactorily later, or question our understanding of their actions now, or see if the character’s evolution makes it more acceptable down the road.

      • NoWayOut says:

        Joe,
        It’s your blog and you reign supreme. But I would suggest that you are trying to figure out what is unbalance-able and unreconcilable. Beckman would not have let him go free. She was ending the “show” and would have had him “protected” after he failed. Knowing how “dangerous” he is and his previous unpredictability, she would have locked him down on the spot.

        And Chuck not speaking at the train station is totally, completely cynical. HE was the one who was changing the plan. He wasn’t surprised by what Sarah was doing, he came to the station knowing he wasn’t going. He WOULD have had an alternate pitch of some kind ready because he didn’t want to lose Sarah. Since Chuck was NOT shocked by what happened at the train station because he precipitated the “crisis,” he would not have been speechless.

        I know it’s hard for fans to accept the show they love does a bad and wrong-headed episode, but sometimes you just have to bow to the reality. You’re an old Star Trek guy, right? I give you Turnabout Intruder. Pink Slip is Turnabout Intruder, just three times worse because real damaage has been done to the character’s cores…

      • joe says:

        Turnabout Intruder. Wow! Blast from the past. Dr. Janice Lester and Shatner over-acting at his best! What memories.

        But that episode was awful because they were just using the characters and situation to make a transparent and ultimately trivial political point, and they did it without the grace that Frank Gorshen gave them in Battlefield.

        Here, there’s an idea that Chuck and Sarah have switched goals, but not identities (or better, characteristics). And even then, I’m not sure that they have changed their goals, so much as revealed and clarified them (especially in Sarah’s case).

        It’s valid to be watching for and objecting to that if you see it, NoWay!

        I’m going to disagree with you, but I’m a pretty benevolent dictator. So please feel free to state your views as you see them!

    • weaselone says:

      1) Beckman indicated that he was still being watched by the LA team, so he wasn’t just walking around free. Their job wasn’t a tough one given he was either in bed or stuck to a couch the entire time. From Beckman’s little pleading episode with Shaw and Beckman’s quick reinstating of the team, my impression is that there was a plan B.

      2) The train station was the most contrived piece of writing ever shown on a Chuck episode. It is exactly the scene that at least a dozen fans including myself excoriated months before the premier even aired.

      Most fans have a visceral reaction because Chuck absolutely crushes Sarah and seems to lose his articulate schnook ability. I admit that I find this hard to swallow, but some fans have rightly pointed out that Chuck can’t stay and explain thoroughly because he loves Sarah so much he’d crumble and go with her.

      It’s Sarah that’s acting out of character here. She’s had weeks to plan and she still doesn’t realize running isn’t an option. Chuck’s the Intersect. The government and eventually the Ring will hunt them down and either kill or capture them even if it means killing and torturing Chuck’s family and friends to force them out of hiding. Even if the Chuckverse morphs into some universe where ruthless espionage factions are unwilling to harm third parties, they’d still be face with a life on the run with no normalcy in site.

      3)I think it’s safe to assume that Chuck’s access to his cell phone is probably limited and highly monitored while he’s at the highly secret Intersect training facility. Discussion of an escape plan, even to cancel it probably wouldn’t be wise.

      • NoWayOut says:

        Actually, I COULD make the case (should I care to analyze this silly episode) that Sarah WAS acting in character. She has VERY little experience dealing with her emotions and, if you wished, you could harken back to the kiss in Season 1 when she thought they were gonna die. She apologized for that and claimed she made a mistake–and you see her apologizing for the mistaken “let’s run away” scenario at the end of Pink Slip. So you COULD, if you wish, justify Sarah’s actions. The only two times she has acted on her love for Chuck has caused her pain and problems.

        Chuck’s actions are INEXPLICABLE. He knew for parts of three weeks that he wasn’t going. He LOVES Sarah. He just wouldn’t show up, say no, and go. That is NOT the Chuck we know. And the hooey that he would crumble if he stayed and talk is rationalization. And if you buy that line, you invalidate his speech on the thumb drive in Three Words. And, trust me, if you invalidate Three Words, the show is toast…

        And, please, can we not play with the “no cell phone” dodge? That’s trying to ret-con the silliness.

        And since you have me talking about an episode I don’t want to talk about, consider this real-world logic. The only purpose of Pink Slip is to reset the show in hopes of finding a new audience. We know that, this was TPTB creating Chuck 2.0 in hopes of finding a new episode.

        So why reset it this way? For newbies, the Chuck-Sarah dynamic has very little drama because, frankly, the characters are unknown to them. They aren’t invested in them yet so the emotions of the episode would be largely lost on them. And for fans, this was a sure way to infuriate them because it’s so off-kilter. The show could have been reset in a much more strategically intelligent way. This episode was simply sloppy, desperate and cynical.

        Or let’s try it this way: If this were a pilot for a show that had never been on the air before, would you care? Would you have stayed with the show to watch a second episode? I wouldn’t.

        Meanwhile, Joe, I knew I’d get you with the ST:TOS reference. So see if you grok this: Chuck-Sarah-Casey as Kirk-Spock-Bones. At least for the first two years, the triangles were VERY similar. Chuck as the fulcrum between two counterveiling forces. Sarah plays Spock–reserved, logical, but seething with emotions s/he can’t control underneath. Casey plays a McCoy type: dedicated, single-minded, and infuriated when people don’t see things exactly his way. I’ve thought a lot how these two triangles were so similar.

        The dynamic in Season 3 is already different, of course. Sarah and Casey are clearly equals now and Sarah is more Chuck’s boss than protector. But Seasons 1, 2 were stunning in their similarity to the original Star Trek triangle.

      • weaselone says:

        How was Sarah acting in character?

        She is a spy for heck’s sake. She’s told Chuck he can’t run from the government and was there when Casey caught them the last time they ran. So tell me, exactly how does she show up three weeks later thinking that running is still a good idea? She have her had up her ass the entire time? Did she think the government was going to just let them walk away and set up shop in some nice cozy cul-de-sac? That they wouldn’t move on Chuck’s family to flush them out of hiding? Sarah Walker is not portrayed as a dumb, naive flake. Is she Spock or not?

        As to Chuck crumbling. I’m not sure whether I buy into it either, but if you watch the scene when she grabs his hand and gives her little speech he gets a shadow of the dopey grin he had when she first asked him to run away. He was the breadth of a single hair from getting on that train with her.

        I do believe the my cell phone statement. If Chuck is even allowed access to his phone, his calls are certainly monitored.

      • NoWayOut says:

        I did NOT say Sarah was acting rationally, but IN CHARACTER. And it has been established that when she reacts to her emotions (the kiss in season 1, the runaway in First Kill/Colonel), she reacts impulsively and not always rationally. That is the point: She can’t control her emotions and she makes mistakes. It’s actually the only part of this wretched episode that does make any sense: Sarah acts on emotions and makes mistakes.

        Which, of course, is the justification for why she has yet to say, bluntly, to Chuck: I Love You. The writers have done a good job here in making that ingrained in her character. She can’t express her emotions and when she acts on them, she screws up…

      • NoWayOut says:

        Weaselone–
        I should say that your THREE WEEKS comment is well taken. In the writers room, there SHOULD have been discussion about whether Sarah could make a three-week-long mistake while acting on emotion. That’s a more serious judgment lapse than the on-the-fly decision she made to run with Chuck in Colonel.

        But that just reenforces my point that this is an episode you simply have to ignore if you want to stick with the show. It’s garbage and cynical and the reset should have happened differently.

        BTW, “burying” your emotions (a la Spock and Sarah) is not “controlling” them. In fact, it was a recurring theme with the Spock character over the years. He never got control as a good Vulcan is supposed to do until late in the series of movies. That’s why Sarah wants to have a “friend” cover. She’s gone back to burying the emotions rather than trying to control them. Although I think her journey toward controlling them will actually track with Chuck’s journey to controlling his.

        We have to assume TPTB are smart enough to wrap this storyline up by E13. They’ll have to get them together successfully and then write for a couple–or tear them asunder permanently and risk massive defections because they’ve jumped the shark…

      • atcdave says:

        Can’t we all just get along!

        Very interesting debate you two. To a large extant I agree with both of you, because; I think both characters behaved horribly out of character. Chuck, the articulate one, in not telling Sarah that he loves her, but they need a plan B. Even if she still storms off, it would have made reconnecting later easier. Chuck’s reticence is stupid and out of character.
        And Sarah is smarter than this. Running away will make for a difficult life avoiding all the world’s spy agencies; and wound Chuck to the core. Nobody knows this better than Sarah.

        This really is a cynical reset for the show. It badly damages the characters we have cared about for two seasons.

      • weaselone says:

        I don’t really think there’s much of a debate. I think NoWayOut and I are basically on the same page when it comes to the contrived scene they gave us in the first episode.

      • NoWayOut says:

        atcdave–
        Weaselone and I are likethis. We’re talking only about degrees of which we despise this episode and the contrivance. And we’re both on the same page with you. Pink Slip is the bottom of the barrel, unsalvagable, cruel, cynical and not worthy of the electrons Joe is so graciously hosting!

        Weaselone, it’s an honor to speak fine points with you! 🙂

      • atcdave says:

        OK, that’s good you guys; it just sure seemed like you were argueing over which character was more out of character!

  9. atcdave says:

    I tend to see this as a jumping the shark episode. It was all about mood and effect. It was well shot, produced, and wonderfully acted. But I really can’t reconcile it with the characters we’ve known for two years. The always talkative Chuck can’t manage to tell Sarah he loves her and they need a different plan? I really can’t figure how Sarah thought the Chuck she knew could live the rest of his life off the grid, with no contact with Ellie or Morgan. And I really can’t swallow the Sarah we’ve all known for two years just walking away and not talking to Chuck for 8-10 months.

    One of the concerns we’ve all mentioned during the long off season was that they were going to damage the main characters with the stuff they were planning. Well, they sure did. Especially Sarah, we may feel her pain on the train station, but her response is terrible. And Chuck is epically pathetic.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, I don’t believe the situation is beyond hope; and the next two episodes proved it. But I am very concerned about the dark tone. I don’t want it to come back. There is way too much dark on television these days; and there’s enough foreboding about what comes ahead for Chuck, I’m not real excited about the next few episodes.

    • lou federico says:

      Dave you will like this. Being you are the Public Enemy #1 on the chuck boards, you will get a laugh out of this. NBC is so worried about spoilers they put their hit squad on us poor posters. If you look really close at the trailer after the 2 hour season premire they will show you which person finds out about Chuck’s spy life next. I wonder if I posted that on the boards if they would suspend me. Oh just in case **** spoiler alert*** the answer is

      Morgan Grimes

  10. Lucian says:

    As much as I dislike the way they did it, the “reset” makes perfect sense. They need to build a new relationship as equals. Hopefully the second episode was the last appearance of puppy dog Chuck. In my mind, they did something like five steps back and then three steps forward in the first three episodes (moving them back a net two steps). Moving them three back and one forward would have gotten them to the same place, but without the character inconsistencies.

    • NoWayOut says:

      Phil Klemmer, one of the show’s writers, said in a podcast that the writing team considers the relationship at the end of Three Words to be back where it was at the end of Colonel. Which would explain the new “cover” of friends at the end of Angel of Death.

      Of course, the cover is immediately blown in the next scene when Sarah tells Chuck about Devon. That is not how “friends” react. That’s two people in love. The camera sees that.

      It’s going to be interesting to see how they pay this off in the next few episodes. The camera LOVES Chuck and Sarah in love. TPTB have really gambled that they can get away with more WT/WT, which puts them in direct opposition to the “truth” the camera shows us. The last show that tried to deny the truth of the camera, Moonlighting, came crashing down because those powers that were played around too long. Let’s hope Chuck doesn’t suffer the same fate.

      • weaselone says:

        That’s actually really interesting. I certainly felt the handshake and the hug portrayed something more than friendship, but not necessarily that things are back to where they were at the end of colonel.

        And honestly, I’m not certain whether I agree with the hug having to show anything beyond close friendship. Certainly if I was relaying news to my best friend that a close family member was kidnapped and likely dead, I’d probably embrace him for comfort.

      • NoWayOut says:

        Weaselone-
        I agree with you: A hug can be just friendship. But just look at the scene the camera is showing you. That’s love.

        Besides, we actually don’t have to debate this. We know Chuck loves Sarah. We know Sarah loves Chuck. The game now (not one I think will be fun or particularly compelling, however) is for them to finally say it to each other, unambiguously. That’s the “magic” moment that has been withheld.

        This is the game TBTB are playing with us–and have been playing with since at least First Date. They keep inventing ways for Chuck and Sarah not to talk DIRECTLY to each other and honestly. It’s stupid and it’s why the show’s logic and survival are at risk. It’s gone on TOO long. Even the show’s biggest fans admit that.

      • joe says:

        Hum… I missed that Phil Klemmer said that, NoWay. Now I have to cogitate on what that might mean.

        My first reaction to the hug was like yours, Weaselone. It’s not friendship, but it didn’t register as like at the end of Colonel. But I think I see (much?) more in it than you.

        I once had a very good looking blonde neighbor. She had quite a few problems, and wine was one of them. She came over after work late one afternoon, half schnockered, and after a few moments literally broke down in tears in front of me. It turns out that it was the anniversary of her brother’s death, which she blamed on agent orange-induced leukaemia. It really was tragic, and sad for her.

        Her open-armed move towards me was reflexive, and so was my hug. But wouldn’t you know it, my (then) wife walked in from work at just that moment.

        Maybe it was her nature, but I think it was in the way I was hugging my neighbor, her immediate reaction was to ask “What’s wrong?” and join in the comforting. She understood that this was not a personal, relationship threatening thing. (Whew!)

        It was a lot different from what I saw Monday night! ;>

  11. NoWayOut says:

    Joe-
    Klemmer said it in the podcast with Gray Jones. At least I think it was Jones. It should be at chucktv.com…

    His comment actually convinced me to hang with the show. I thought when he said it, all we had to do was survive two episodes of the S2 rehash stuff. Now I see we’ve got to survive all this Shaw stuff (and Routh’s comments to TV Guide were blunt in his assessment that the fans are going to HATE his character’s interaction in “Charah”) and it makes me wonder if TPTB just don’t get it…

    • atcdave says:

      That actually is one of the more encouraging comments I’ve seen. I don’t entirely buy it; but I would agree the end of Three Words was powerful and undid much (not all mind you) of the damage from Pink Slip. And while I didn’t like the “friends” line at the end of Angel of Death; it seemed there was a lot of double meaning there in terms of cover vs. where do we really stand; I really did like the hug, it seemed intimate and sincere. To me it was the first really “feel good” moment of the new season. (kind of ironic considering the situation; but we knew Devon wasn’t actually dead!)

  12. Lucian says:

    Once they say clearly to each other “I love you and want to make this work” the “romantic tension” is done and they can’t be inserting PLIs when it feels convenient. Which is not to say that words are magic – we all know that relationships are hard and don’t move in a straight line.

    I think TPTB have been taking a crash course in the past four months to figure out if there are other ways to bring drama to the story without beating their long-dead horse.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I’d contend that for a while they were beating the spot where the horse died, then noticed the horse wasn’t there anymore, then went to where the horse was buried and are now trying beating that spot for a bit, but I think we will quickly see one type of angst traded for another.

  13. Lucian says:

    I would bet that Shaw is one of the “world’s best spies” that Sarah refers to in the jail in Mexico. There will be history.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      The kiss will be a flashback. Shaw will be Bryce 3.0, assuming he can re-kindle things from a few months back. Or he will figure he is the perfect guy to drive a wedge between Chuck and Sarah as soon as Chuck finds out Sarah went from the train station into the arms of another man while he went back to training, and then into a pit of despair over failing both her and as a spy.

      • herder says:

        Could be but my thought was that 3.12 or whenever Shaw’s last episode is and he has been won over by Chuck (it ususally happens) he lets them know there were 20 agents on the train and they would never have made it out of the station if Chuck had ran. Come on they have already run once, wouldn’t the CIA have an eye on them to see if they were going to do it again.

    • weaselone says:

      hmmm…I’m not watching the previews in an effort to avoid sucking out much of the fun as I experienced with episodes 1 and 2, but I can definitely see this being the case.

    • NoWayOut says:

      This is a VERY plausible assumption. TPTB might even be able to sell this to the unhappy fan base, that, bizarrely, forgives Chuck for his dalliance with Lou and his affair with the returned Jill, but expects Sarah to be virginal.

      Of course, it’s clear TPTB are in love with keeping Chuck and Sarah apart. So how about this for a scenario that they would pursue: Chuck pounds Shaw (I think we saw it in a preview) because he “preyed” on a post-Prague Sarah, then Sarah rejects Chuck because he’s a jealous crazy man.

      It’s probably the last WTWT trick they could pull to keep them apart at the end of the original 13-episode season…

      • weaselone says:

        It’s hard to blame Chuck for either of those given Sarah maintained everything was just a cover. It’s like being ticked at someone for cheating on a crush.

        If Chuck were to become involved with Hannah, I doubt the fans would be so forgiving.

      • NoWayOut says:

        WeaselOne: This might be the only difference between us. I don’t see how Chuck didn’t know Sarah didn’t love him. I mean, it was the SECOND time she ran away with him, or wanted to. Besides, Chuck has made it very clear it was HIS decision not to go, not any lack of faith that Sarah wanted him…

        But as I say (even as I keep writing about it), Pink Slip is beneath contempt and undeserving of the attention we’re paying to it…

      • NoWayOut says:

        forgive the mindless, off-topic post above. It was a slip of the copy key.

      • atcdave says:

        I think its actually a game the writers have played since the beginning, where Chuck is never totally sure if Sarah loves him. For many of us, that’s been the central argument since Colonel, Chuck’s doubts are tiresome and manipulative writing. The whole point of the vacation/proposal scene in The Ring was it pulled the rug out from under Chuck’s confidence, again.
        Sarah has had no excuse for a long time. And even if we buy into the train station scene, she has no excuse again since Three Words.

        So the writers have deliberately created a situation where Chuck may be given more slack than Sarah. Again, I’m way past tired of this stuff, but I think that is the intent.

  14. NoWayOut says:

    Or Sarah can use the Ross defense: We were on a break! Friends got two or three years from THAT angst… 🙂

    • joe says:

      Aaarrrrrggggg!!!! “WE WERE ON A BREAK!!!” Brrrrr.

      ;>

      Lessee, the Chuck excuses:
      1) “It’s complicated.”
      2) It’s just the cover.
      3) She’s very good at making people think they’re a couple.
      4) The Bryce Rational – It could get her killed.
      5) The Carina Ploy – She’d be a sap.
      6) The Casey Grunt – Love is for suckers.

      Any others?

  15. Lucian says:

    My only issue is sex as a part of spy work. I doubt it is a job requirement. It kind of puts a damper on the dinner table conversation – “honey, how was work today?”.

    Chuck gets no slack unless he is being set up.

    • NoWayOut says:

      I believe the answer to that is, “I killed the president of Paraguay with a fork.” It is a Grosse Point Blank line that Chuck stunningly used in the fountain speech of Break Up. (BTW, wasn’t that wonderful foreshadowing since the next episode, Cougars, was a Grosse Point Blank homage…

      • Lucian says:

        I better watch that movie since I grew up near Grosse Pointe.

      • lou federico says:

        That’s an all star pickup nowayout!! I never equated the two. Grosse Pointe and the Cougar!! Brilliant!! Lots of Michigan people on this site. Livonia in the house

    • joe says:

      That’s interesting!

      In real life I think I have issues with any job description that starts with “Do whatever it takes.” Always have. Sad to say, I’ve come to believe that in reality too many jobs have exactly that description.

      Chuck starts off completely naive, and has had a lot of that ripped away, sometimes painfully. One of the things I liked about Pink Slip, despite it’s brutality, was Sarah decking him in the bo training scene. It’s her saying “I’m not going to protect you from your naivety any longer.”

      That was physical, but emotional protection is even more important. Sarah needs to cut him no slack in Angel (and in fact, that makes Chuck seem more professional in his spy work). But I’ll bet she does in the coming episode. It’s going to be emotionally traumatic for him.

      I won’t be surprised if Chuck refuses that concession, though.

      • atcdave says:

        That was a great scene Joe; but of course it was in Three Words, not Pink Slip. And most of us agree Three Words was a pretty dynamite episode.

      • joe says:

        Oops. You’re quite right, and I stand corrected.

        Boy, I’ve really found it difficult to keep straight which scenes were in which episode this time. I assume it’s because we saw 3 in 2 nights, but I can’t rule out pre-mature senility.

  16. NoWayOut says:

    Joe-
    As master of this domain (heh!), may I make a suggestion. Since it is now obvious the only thing (or almost ONLY thing) anyone cares about is Chuck and Sarah, how about a thread that asks: Why does Chuck love Sarah? Why does Sarah love Chuck?

    I’ve had a creepy feeling (thanks to smart comments on this blog by RickHoly and LizJames) that Sarah could plausibly love the idea of “family” more than Chuck as a person. As for Chuck, well, you know, Sarah is kinda drop-dead gorgeous, which is great for a fling but not necessarily the stuff of love.

    I’d love to hear what dedicated fans think about why these two people love each other…

    • joe says:

      Hum! I would too! (and Seinfeld reference! 5 yard penalty!!!)

      This is a good idea, NoWay. I’m a little constrained in what can be done to facilitate this, though.

      Because this is set up as a blog and not as true discussion threats (like the NBC boards, for instance), I can do two things. One is to write a post on exactly that topic (which I think I’d like to try! It’s a great one), or hope that Ernie D, ATCDave or Amyabn start one. (DIBS!!!) We all have a tendency to write on things of importance to us, or topics on which we think we have something unique or worthy of reading. Don’t know about the others, but sometimes I start a topic and find out later that I really don’t have anything interesting to say.

      The second thing is to have an “open” thread started, where I/We suggest this as a main topic of discussion. Commenters can run wild! I’d like to keep open threads to a minimum, only because I’ve seen a few too many blogs that have waaayyyy too many open threads. I’d personally like to avoid that, but only a little. A good topic is a good topic.

      And thanks! Suggestions for topics are always welcome!

  17. weaselone says:

    Given all the Chuck and Sarah focus of my recent posts, I think I’m going to try to commit to at least one post about other aspects of the show for each I through out about their relationship.

  18. NoWayOut says:

    Joe-
    I think a post by one (or several) of your posters would get the discussion started. Doesn’t look like the commentators are relucant to chip in with commentary on posts… 🙂 I don’t think it takes more than that.

  19. Ernie Davis says:

    Guys, I hate to interrupt, but you really need to look at my Epiphany post before dragging down the train scene any more. It isn’t speculation. It is on the screen, albeit in a place practically designed so we wouldn’t notice. Look at the vault scene.

    Here is Chuck’s dialog while we’re concentrating on Sarah crawling through air vents and thugs laughing at how pathetic Chuck is while waiting to kill him. I’m posting it continuous rather than noting all the scene cuts. Watch. Trust me. It’s that good.

    Chuck: “Sarah I don’t want to regret not telling you everything I need to tell you. I’m not a normal spy, you know that, I know that. I’m a regular guy who works at a Buy More. And the decision that I made in Prague, I know what it looks like, I know that it looks like I chose being a spy over being with you but thats not what happened. How I felt about you is real, it’s very very real. And I know that you know how I’ve felt about you for a long time. You know, but when Carina told me what you said, those three words that I’ve been waiting to hear for so long… Look Sarah I know that you’re probably very hurt that I didn’t run away with you in Prague [see below]… [door opens] “Sarah I love you.”

    The part Sarah saw in Castle after Carina gave her the thumb drive.

    Chuck: “Look Sarah I know that you’re probably very hurt that I didn’t run away with you in Prague. You have to know that you were everything I ever wanted, but how could I do that, how could I be with you, knowing that what I’d turned my back on. Knowing that what I had in my head could help a lot of people. And you’re the one that[sic] taught me that being a spy is about something bigger, it’s about putting aside your own personal feelings for the greater good and that’s what I chose. I chose to be a spy for my friends and my family and you. I chose to be a spy because [door opens] Sarah, I love you

    • joe says:

      Wow! Thanks for posting this here, Ernie. In all the rush to 1) read all the comments and 2) understand the 3 episodes I really missed some very important things in that speech.

      I’ve got some re-thinking to do.

  20. Ernie Davis says:

    And now for the angst. Chuck thought Sarah was outside the door the entire time and heard everything. Sarah, so far as we know, only ever heard the second part. Much later. After saying after Chuck’s long bit about loving and learning to love in the courtyard (with some satisfaction), that spies don’t fall in love.

    Oh, but the next scene? Right after Chuck’s heartfelt “I’m about to die” confession? Sarah asks for re-assignment, then kick’s Chuck’s ass, and tells him he can’t hurt her. Yeah, kind of changes the Bo scene.

    Yeah.

    • joe says:

      Oh gee. They did make a mess of things.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Joe, the thing that struck me is how appropriate that line about making a mess of things would have been had she heard it, since it was Sarah sort of admitting she shares some of the blame by not speaking up sooner about her feelings, but signaling there are still some issues between them.

  21. weaselone says:

    This sounds like fun. I think I just threw up a little.

    http://tv.ign.com/articles/106/1061442p1.html

    • atcdave says:

      Yeah, that’s the sort of garbage that kills me. Everytime I start to feel better about the show, we get back to that. I will never understand why some people (mainly writers) find this stuff “fun.”
      To me, fun is Chuck and Sarah as a team (in every sense); damage the team, damage the show. period.
      Even if things play out well, they have taken sadistic pleasure in how they’ve treated their fans. I’m pretty sure this the last JS show I will ever watch.

      • weaselone says:

        My problem is that while the interpretation is left open on the extent of the relationship Sarah allows to develop with Shaw, you’ve got Zach saying Chuck acts like a spoiled child and then falls for Hannah.

        I’d been thinking this was all a setup by Shaw, and it might still be, but it’s hard to feel sympathy for Chuck if he once more gives up his quest for Sarah and jumps the nearest brunette within a three week period.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah, I agree. When the lead actor admits his character is a jerk, it makes it hard for the rest of us to root for him.

    • Lucian says:

      I am sure there are some who find this all if not fun, at least entertaining. I am not among that number.

    • NoWayOut says:

      Gentlefolk-
      It’s even worse than that. This will they won’t they / potential love interest stuff isn’t just juvenile soap opera writing. It’s show killing.

      The “problem” the powers that be have is that Levi and Strahovski have insanely great chemistry together on screen. And when they write something that fights the “truth” we see on the screen, the show collapses.

      I don’t have a stake, intellectually, in whether they put the Chuck and Sarah characters together. But, emotionally, I react to what I see on the screen. The screen says, “These two characters have to be together.” Only an arrogant showrunner tries to outwrite or contradict what the camera is showing.

      Which, when you come to think about it, is why The OC tanked so quickly. Schwartz kept writing stupid stuff that the screen wasn’t supporting.

      They are perilously close to doing it to Chuck. Another round of this silliness will probably kill the show. Especially since it is ANOTHER round of the same thing: Chuck and a brunette geekette and Sarah with a hunky spy. We’e seen that TWICE before already. Now they are going for a third round for both of them?

      Show killing nonsense.

      • atcdave says:

        As I was saying elsewhere; I still hold some hope there is a missing element to this, and things will play out in a satisfying way. Sadly, every new interview seems to make that less likely.

      • NoWayOut says:

        atcdave-
        That’s why, I think, they put out an overly explicit, happy-seeming (and perhaps bogus) casting call sheet for E14. You NEVER put that kind of episode detail in a casting call sheet–unless you’re a showrunner who is trying to mollify fans who are about to get a sockful of poo in the face.

      • atcdave says:

        One thing though about Zach’s quote in that interview; it was a print interview, Zach is a funny guy; its very hard to tell if was just joking around. Either way, it was a really stupid thing to say; I’m just saying its still hard to say how things will really play out.

      • NoWayOut says:

        atcdave-
        You are a smart fellow–all traffic controllers ARE!-and I know by your posts that you think about this stuff.

        So you DO know how this is gonna work out: More angst. More annoyance. More WTWT. And the episode 13 thing is gonna be something like the intersect is killing Chuck. Hence the need to search for Papa B… And Chuck and Sarah won’t be resolved because, after Chuck dispatches Shaw, she’ll be back to helping him find his dad before he dies…

      • atcdave says:

        NoWayOut, its obvious you’re not a pilot!

        I’m not quite as pessimistic. I do think we’ll get something like a good outcome for Chuck and Sarah this season, but they will torture us for at least half the front 13 first. I really am confident we’ll get a good outcome.
        But, of course, they will have some major hooks by the end of the season. They will try to leave us frantic for S4. I don’t think it will be that the intersect is killing Chuck though, since we know Orion will appear somewhere in the back 6; if there are physical complications it will probably be dealt with then.

        I do understand cynicism. So often on TV, they are afraid to make any changes that will alter the starting premise in major ways. And we’ve seen so many shows strain primary relationships and plot elements way past the viewers breaking point. But Chuck has shown a willingness to break certain rules. And Larry Gaspin, at NBC, has made it clear he wants fun programming, not dark (Southland was canceled for being too dark while its S2 was in production, but hadn’t even aired any episodes yet!). So I really do think they will try to make us happy this season.

    • herder says:

      I’m not happy and if I stop watching the show it will be because of stuff like this, but it hasn’t happened yet. What I do know is that the next two episodes are supposed to be the best of the first five. I’ll watch them and enjoy them.

      The article is full of weasel words “..what seems to be occuring between…”. The part that bothers me is Yvonne’s comment “…she feels more comfortable going there with him, as opposed to Chuck…”

      If it hadn’t said that the filming took place last month, I would think that this is the team meeting after Chuck decks Shaw, maybe they were reshooting a scene. If they run the Chuck jealousy thing from 3.06 to 3.11 then put Chuck and Sarah together as if they were pulling a rabbit out of a hat then that is just unsatisfying.

      I’ll wait until I see it to make my decision about it, but TPTB can’t really think that this is the best way to sell a show can they. I just keep thinking back to Comic-con JS saying that something emotional and traumatic would happen between Chuck and Sarah but that it would be great. I watched that scene, it was emotional and traumatic, I accept it as the reset for the season but I don’t think that it was great and I suspect that there are not many fans who do.

  22. Lucian says:

    I feel like Chuck standing at the entrance to the roller coaster as Sarah gives me one of those killer smiles. “I can’t go with you” I mumble. I must choose a higher way.

    We were so close…….

  23. herder says:

    I finally watched these episodes for a second time and one thing that struck me is the whole idea of “we have to save the world from Chuck”. Where does the General get this idea from. Of what we have seen the only instance where someone is in danger of Chuck’s abilities is Emmitt when Chuck refrains from snapping his neck.

    Is there something that we don’t know yet from spy school, or does the General know something from experience (another intersect agent that went bad). Is this the thing that she wants the team to know that Shaw won’t let her tell.

    The other thing that struck me is that Chuck says he doesn’t know what went wrong in his training, if it was supposed to be six weeks and lasted six months surely he would have some idea of the problem.

  24. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs Angel de la Muerte (3.03) | Chuck This

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