Going in Circles Gets You Nowhere

Our Favorite Couple

Once again our friend Lou over at ChuckTV has made an interesting argument for where Chuck and Sarah are and need to go.  As he very kindly lists one of my posts here as a jumping off point I thought I’d add a few more thoughts.  For the most part however I’m happy to let my original post stand as is.  I understand the argument.  I’m in agreement that this is what the writers and producers are doing.  I’ve written about it at some, OK, excessive length here, here, and here, so I can’t think there is much more for me to add to that part of the discussion.  Note that this is my take on what I see the writers as doing.  I’ll tolerate it, I don’t have much choice after all other than to tune out, but that is not the same as saying this is how I think the characters should progress.  Lou frames the question this way; “Why are Chuck and Sarah not together yet?”  That wasn’t the question I asked, and not the question many of those tired of the angst and the PLIs ask.  The question is why aren’t we past this?  By “this” I mean a story arc we are both still speculating on, how much interest will Chuck and Sarah show in the potential love interests?  My response to Lou’s response to my response after the jump.

In fairness to Lou, there are a few who do make the argument that Chuck and Sarah should be together now and characterize anyone in disagreement as cool aid drinkers willing to swallow whatever TPTB give them.  I’m not one of them.  In fact I’m having trouble thinking of any off the top of my head.  But then it depends on what you mean by together.  And this is where this PLI discussion crosses over in to the larger discussion of “angst”.  If you read the comments of my original post you see that I addressed what I thought was another overused storyline.

As I said, they should have been past this long ago. With the ending of the Ring I thought they played the card once too often. We saw Sarah decided to give up everything to be with Chuck. Are we now to swallow that between that decision and the traumatic event Sarah can’t find the words or time to tell Chuck she loves him and wants to be with him AGAIN? So now we have to swallow Sarah being unwilling to open up enough to Chuck to put his doubts to rest AGAIN, and Chuck getting mixed signals from Sarah AGAIN as the catalyst for some new traumatic event. I’ll need to see it before I can tell, but from the sound of it they are once again re-using the same old plot points, just in a new season. What you see is Fonzie in a leather jacket and water skis.

I saw it.  That my friends is exactly what they did.  They just made the mixed signals and trauma bigger, stretching our tolerance for the characters worst aspects to nearly intolerable levels.  I get it, Sarah doesn’t communicate well.  I get it, without that communication Chuck lacks confidence and makes mistakes.  It’s not as if we haven’t seen this before, and frankly, it’s old.  It might have been a compelling story if they hadn’t done it about every third episode for the last two seasons, with PLI’s sprinkled in for (not much) variety.  For a show that depends on the chemistry of it’s two leads and their ability to create like-able and compelling characters who are growing before our eyes, highlighting their lack of growth and least attractive qualities might not be the best way to build an audience.  Or keep the one you have.  It’s wearing thin.  Some say it’s worn out.  I say its going in circles and if I’m making a difficult journey I don’t want to have to cover the same ground twice.  But that’s not the main part of the argument, and here I will clarify my imperfect analogy of a straight line.  Again I’ll refer to my comments in the original post.

I guess my geometry analogy came about because to me it seemed Chuck and Sarah had both grown so close and evolved to the point that continuing to manufacture complications and detours was actually detracting from the characters and the story.

To me it seems that a much simpler and realistic story would be them simply gradually connecting in a very natural way as they take things to the next level and learn more about each other. A line from here to there without intervening polygons.

There can still be complications (so a straight line isn’t a perfect analogy, I just wanted it to stand apart from complicated polygons). The straight line doesn’t have to be down a church aisle right away, but as I’ve often said it seems pretty unoriginal and overused the way they’ve gone about it.

So the line I refer to is not a connection I’m seeking to see, but the very journey Lou talks about.  At the end of season 2 something wonderful happened.  From the end of Lethal Weapon to the end of the Colonel we saw that journey.  No angst, no PLIs, but a clearly deepening and progressing relationship between Chuck and Sarah.  It seemed almost organic to the story that they were on this journey together, and at some point that journey has two people who know they are on a journey together and know where they want to go.  They may not know exactly how to get there yet, and they may not know how long it will take, but they know they are in it together.  At that point other traveling companions need not apply.

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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, Inside Chuck, Inside Sarah, Observations. Bookmark the permalink.

119 Responses to Going in Circles Gets You Nowhere

  1. OldDarth says:

    Very nice and I’ll be talking about the S2 ending in my next piece!

  2. Rick Holy says:

    If we’re lucky, we’ll get to a Season 4 where they can actually explore all the complexities and story-telling possibilities involved with them “being together” (in whatever way, shape or form).

    Problem is….. will we get to a S4??

    I’ll be honest. I have no qualifications at all to be a critic of TV writing. But I do have an opinion as a devoted fan, and it echoes what was written above. When it comes to Chuck and Sarah, it just seems like they’re repeating the same stuff with some minor nuances. Sorry, but that just doesn’t cut it any more.

    These characters are flawed, yes. They’ve been wounded, yes. You can say they’re emotionally immature at some level. But to treat them/their relationship like they’re STILL sophomores in high school after three years of being together is beginning to border on travesty.

    Excuse my French, but move the dang thing forward already – while you still have the chance. It’s my hope that it will actually happen this season and the Hannah/Shaw stuff is merely a teasing of the devoted fans in the manner in which TPTB seem to derive their jollies.

    Simply put, they’re treating the two major characters like they’re sophomores in high school – and it’s to the point (or past the point) where they’re treating their fan base the same by telling the same story (in regard to their relationship) over and over again. Problem is, we AREN’T sophomores in high school (at least most of us aren’t) and this ISN’T the CW.

    I enjoy the show – mostly. Sad part is that it COULD be so much better.

  3. Gord says:

    It is interesting that the first time Sarah hears from Chuck “I Love You” was in Vs the 3 words.
    Chuck has always said to her things like you know how I feel about you, or when in Heartbreak the “We care about each other”. You could argue that he said at the end of lethal weapon “I will get this thing out of my head” “and be with the girl that I love”. But it has always been indirect. I think that a part of Chuck still feels that Sarah is way out of his league and that she is only pretending to have feelings.

    On the other hand, Sarah has never been able to share her feelings directly either. It was always implied by her actions and her expressions, but once again she has never said it directly to him. I think the writers have been very careful about this so that they can keep using the WT/WT and PLI stuff.

    However, from the comments we are getting from JS lately, I think he has finally realized that this is the last time he can do this. I agree that for some fans that see the Chuck/Sarah relationship as the most important element of the show, this one last time may be one time too many.
    I don’t share that opinion. I also do feel that this time around it is different – whether these PLI’s are true love interests or not.
    I still believe or want to believe that there is more to the Shaw/Hannah stories than the spoilers suggest. But even if their relationships to Chuck and Sarah are as bad as some suggest, I think that the stories will still advance the main characters and bring them to that resolution.

    I also think that the relationship angst this season is not as juvenile as it was in previous seasons.
    I could be wrong about all this (it wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong), but what I do know is so far I am enjoying this season. Each episode for me has been good in its own way. I have also found that each episode seems to be better than the previous episode.

    Lets all grin and bear it, I think in the end we will be satisfied with the results.

  4. AngelTwo says:

    In Season 2, TPTB chucked Chuck off a roof and asked us to believe that Casey saved him with a one-handed grab onto a fire escape.

    But Old Darth tells us that the reason TPTB can’t put Chuck and Sarah together is that they are still aren’t mature enough to be in a relationship and that immaturity would force TPTB to kill one or both of time.

    Got it: Throwing Chuck off a roof and keep him alive? No problem for TPTB. Writing an adult relationship about two characters? TPTB would have to go for an instant kill.

    Hilarious. Just hilarious.

    • OldDarth says:

      You are comparing a stunt to character relationships?

      Hilarious indeed.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        And here you hit on my pet peeve. Whether consciously or not you have stated my first postulate, Suspension of disbelief can not extend to the characters.

        I will buy the computer in the brain, the lack of shell casings and blood, the 120 pound Sarah holding her own against Colt in the rooftop fight, and Casey (a Marine apparently) due to some wild circumstance piloting an F117. I’ll even buy the one armed grab changing Chuck’s momentum long enough to drop him on the platform below before losing his grip. (Casey is a big guy after all, he can absorb a lot of geek before being pulled over a fire escape railing.)

        What I don’t buy is Chuck and Sarah’s entire relationship being based on 5 second snippets of conversation that are always interrupted or ambiguous, and can never take place again in any context other than the original 5 second exchange. You’d think they’d catch on after, oh say the 10th or 12th big angst moment caused by one of those that making the biggest decision of their lives the same way might be problematic? At the very least it has passed its sell-by date.

      • AngelTwo says:

        When TPTB treats the relationship as a series of stunts, yes.

      • OldDarth says:

        AngelTwo if you truly believed that then why are you still watching the show or care what happens to the characters?

        Ernie you are describing serialized story telling not suspension of disbelief.

        Also every instance of PLI has caused the characters to grow and make a realization either about themselves or the other.

      • AngelTwo says:

        And why are YOU inviting everyone who doesn’t agree with your views to leave the fandom? As Readyset asked here yesterday or so, where are all those new viewers you promised? They never materialized. So maybe you should stop telling people to take a hike if they don’t agree with you. Some of them might actually be impressionable enough to listen to you.

      • Readyset says:

        AngelOne: In point of fact, Old Darth claimed that he wanted 16 percent of the fan base to go because he apparently didn’t find them sufficiently loyal to whatever TPTB decided. I stopped posting after he attacked me for challenging his absurd claim until it was clear to everyone that Old Darth had no idea at all about this stuff and that his fantasy of new viewers was just that, a fantasy.

        Don’t let him make you crazy. Just ignore his posts. That’s what I do now. Chuck’s too much fun, even when TPTB make these WTWY/PLI mistakes, to let the Old Darths of the world try to impose their version of “loyalty” on you.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Ernie you are describing serialized story telling not suspension of disbelief.

        No Lou, I am very specifically talking about character traits, Sarah’s inability to open up, firmly established as early as Nemesis, and Chuck’s insecurities about Sarah, established pretty much at the end of the pilot being used as the basis, and the interrupted conversation as the mechanism to reset the WTWT dance and the main source of “tension” pretty much unabated as late as Lethal weapon, whereupon the two, despite some bumps learned to trust each other completely to the point of going off grid together at the end of Dream Job. Wow, trust. That might even be a foundation you could begin a relationship with, or begin to begin a relationship with. Having progressed along on a journey to a certain point the exact same character traits we started to see them grow out of were employed again, in the exact same manner. Someone can’t open up at a crucial time, something interrupts a character moments before something important and critical to their future can be said causing a misunderstanding that resets the progress back basically to the beginning. Then if doing that in The Ring wasn’t enough, they employ the EXACT same thing in Pink Slip.

        That is not serial story telling, it is sloppy and lazy story telling and I’ve pretty much reached the limits of my tolerance to it.

        Oh, I know, they’re different people now, so using the exact same character traits, specifically the ones they need to grow out of most but are now seen in an extremely exaggerated form, in the exact same manner shows how much they’ve grown as characters.

        I’ll even go further. The absolute worst examples of this, where those traits are stretched to the breaking point of believability like Sarah standing for 20 seconds unable to say anything more than I’m leaving with Bryce in The Ring, or Chuck still being so insecure and unsure that even with Sarah’s offer to run away together for ever he still doesn’t quite know if she really loves him enough in Pink Slip, those worst examples are when Chris Fedak decides he needs to co-write an episode. Those worst examples require more than a suspension of disbelief to allow for the conventions of storytelling, they require a suspension of disbelief that any human could be so dense. These scenes make characters into caricatures.

        And now is the part where you usually tell me that if I feel that way I probably shouldn’t be watching. Lets skip that part this time. I’d rather you explain to me why those specific things I reference are actually really really clever and good things that add to the depth and texture of the characters and the story of their journey together and how those scenes are actually true to life and relatable so people can grasp the emotions the characters are feeling. Absent that I’m not really interested in being told the story HAS to be told in this way or that this is the BEST thing to get us to a certain part of the journey or the story or that I don’t understand what the writers are doing.

        Trust me, I understand, I just think that sometimes, specifically when Fedak is involved like in the Ring or Pink Slip they do it really REALLY poorly and that hurts the show.

        I’m sorry if this comes off harsh, but frankly I am a little angry. I’ve gone through this argument again and again and I think explained my position pretty well. Yet still you twist my statements into something else for the basis of making the argument you want to make rather than responding to mine. Make any argument you wish, but please, stop mis-characterizing mine and stop telling me that all of my objections come down to me not understanding this or that.

  5. herder says:

    I think I’m taking a wait and see attitude towards these PLI’s. I’ll try not to get too upset at what I fear may happen and save it until I actually know. Part of it is that I think Shaw and Hannah are different than the earlier versions and part of it is that I really can’t beleive that the TPTB are really that thick so as not to notice the reaction of the fans to these story lines that they have run in the past. Although I will point out this to those that say it is the journey not the destination – remember the Donner Party.

    • atcdave says:

      Great line Herder, hopefully it won’t come to eating our dead. But I think you are probably right about TPTB knowing they have to make it right, this time.

      I was just thinking about expectations versus reality last night. I’m sure I’m not the only one here who watches White Collar. They left us for the holiday break with the very strong suggestion Peter was Kate’s abductor (as in, has to be, ain’t no other way). I was thinking this show may be too dark for my taste, but we’ll see. We were treated to a pretty elaborate, and almost plausible, explanation of how nothing was as it seemed. I’m pretty sure (and even more hopeful), that that’s the sort of situation we’re looking at.

      • joe says:

        That exactly the way I felt too. But you sort of knew all along that they weren’t going to turn Peter into a bad guy now. Didn’t you?

        Lots of things in the episode stuck me as very Chuckie. #1 was the trust issue.

        The biggest difference was that I’m not so invested in Peter, Neil and Kate as I am Chuck & Sarah. It’s like I use a different measuring stick for Chuck.

        Great show, though. Ultimately, my gauge is the time I spend dwelling on episodes. As good as it is, I spend little time dwelling on White Collar. I suspect tonight’s Burn Notice to be very enjoyable, but forgotten by tomorrow morning, too. Same with NCIS and House.

        I hear The Bachelor is riveting…

        Hey – wait! My sarcasm key is stuck!!!

      • atcdave says:

        I agree Joe; except, I wasn’t completely sure Peter would stay a good guy. I’ve seen enough shows take really ugly turns, I was prepared to delete White Collar from my season pass manager. That’s sort of where I am with Chuck, even as I become more convinced things will work out nicely, there is still that lingering bit of doubt for two reasons 1) many shows I originally liked have taken turns that left them unwatchable for me and 2) Chuck itself has done stories I didn’t enjoy. I’m sure the writers want it that way.

  6. Ryan says:

    I actually like Shaw coming in, first off in all seasons i can not remember a time where we’ve witness Chuck throwing a punch because of Sarah and if the promo isn’t just showing a cut scene he’s knocking down freaking Superman it’s like a showing that he is willing to fight for her. One thing I would like to see and now with Awesome knowing his secret it could happen without to many repercussions is Chuck getting stabbed or something like that, not in critical condition but ending up in the hospital cause seeing a loved one in a hospital bed usually brings out the best in others, and I would like to see how Sarah would react, heck I’m even curious how Casey would react to that

    • joe says:

      Hi, Ryan.

      Yeah, I agree. I still haven’t seen that clip, with Chuck decking Shaw, but I have a feeling it’s a high point. The way you describe it brings to mind Sarah in Colonel fighting Casey to protect Chuck. To see him fight Shaw to protect Sarah is the kind of turnabout that is more than fair play. It would be incredible.

      There was a lot of chatter this summer and fall about either Chuck or Sarah being hurt enough to be a hospital, unconscious, and the other finally saying how they feel. After Three Words that’s a little “Overcome by Events” (ObE), but there’s plenty there that fans would love to see. Perhaps it’s a device that’s a little overused, though.

      • Ryan says:

        I do agree that hospital scene’s like i’m talking about are overused, however in the case of Chuck being the one in the hospital bed it would do wonders to him just to wake up and see Sarah asleep on a chair next to him.

        I hope I didn’t mislead you to much in the promo where Chuck decks Shaw, Shaw says: “You had you chance and you blew it” so more or less it’s not to protect Sarah, it’s cause he feels threatend that Shaw’s taking her away which the more I think about could either set Chuck and Sarah further back or bring new light.

        If you still haven’t seen it: http://www.spoilertv.com/2010/01/chuck-coming-this-season-promo.html

  7. Lucian says:

    Alas, it may be too late for our favorite couple. TPTB had one shot to bring in new fans and excite the current ones. They didn’t do it. When all the chatter is about how bad the angst is going to be, and how much we’ll need to endure, they have not set themselves up for success. At this point, it is almost irrelevant how bad it gets. The damage has been done. For some reason, they thought Routh was going to be a big draw. But, I’m still hopeful……

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I have a theory about the upcoming angst. I don’t think it will be as bad as people fear, but initially it will look bad. Then the big reveal will attempt to reset the entire season so far into another context. I think this is a big mistake, but wait and see. I think the fact that a lot of interviews and publicity lately seems aimed at practically begging the fan base to stick with them is an indicator that they shot themselves in the foot by playing WTWT one too many times. The summer/fall publicity about PLIs was aimed at attracting new fans, who frankly don’t care about another soap opera, but what they didn’t anticipate was how viscerally much of the base would react to what sounded like a rewind/replay of season 2. I don’t think it will be, but TPTB got stuck between trying the big tease and being spoiler-phobic.

      As far as Routh I think you are right, they thought they could bank on fan enthusiasm to carry them through the first few and Routh to bring in a new audience. Frankly I don’t think Routh is a big enough star to do what they were hoping.

      • Mike B says:

        I agree. I do not consider Routh a big draw. I was not a big fan of his in Superman Returns and he really hasn’t been in anything since.

      • joe says:

        Yeah, this does ring true, Ernie. But I can’t help but think that in the eyes of the new or the more casual viewer, it’s precisely what they wanted to do. The tension between the story-telling artistry you and I have come to expect and the realities of the show-biz world collide right here.

        And to Mike B, welcome! Always glad to see new names.

      • kg says:

        Ernie

        Your analysis on most of your pieces is brilliant. I usually post on chucktv.net and so I’m very new to your stuff.

        I’m visibly impressed. Brilliant. Among other topics, you were articulate and on target with your response to Lou about serialized story telling and suspension of disbelief.

        Disbelief: We know Chuck is a brain and insecure, we know he’s not sure about Sarah’s true feelings. She doesn’t say much. There’s some trust issues.

        But after going off grid with him, after telling him it was real, after their encounter in the hotel room, and after imploring him to run with her, SERIOUSLY, how dense can Chuck be? LOL. What does he need? I guess those three little words. LOL.

        Carina is on the show again for five minutes and she has little troubling figuring out what’s transpired and the problem. Chuck allegedly went to Stanford? Everybody in the show can see Sarah loves him except Chuck.

        I’ll reluctantly agree with Lou that perhaps they aren’t quite ready to be a long-lasting couple. In their emotional states, more mistakes could be made. And in their line of work, it could be fatal. Yeah, we get that.

        But they should be progressing, right? Not regressing. Not adding additional doubt issues, lack of trust, communication, bringing anger into the equation. Turning to strangers. That’s not healthy.

        You’re correct Ernie. They just dumped all strides and progression made in The Colonel and The Ring. My personal favorite of season two was The Seduction.

        What caused this knew angst? Sarah imploring Chuck to run with her. Again. Didn’t Casey track them down in about 30 minutes after his hasty promotion?

        To reiterate, the disbelief. She knows better than that. You can’t run from the government for long. Certainly not forever.

        Yeah, it was messy and clumsy. Lou’s correct in assuming all of their problems would not have been solved, but Jesus, these two had apparently built up enormously strong feelings for each other over two seasons, perhaps even love; they had worked together, saved each other’s lives, grown to trust one another on some level.

        What was the rush to run away? I know Sarah is scared of the Intersect 2.0 and she’s afraid of losing the Chuck she fell in love with.

        But where was the honesty I’ve been told is so evident this season? Why couldn’t these two talk it out.

        Sarah: Simple and real is not enough. Chuck needed to hear those three words from you, a simple declaration. It didn’t have to come on a speeding train.

        Chuck: The spy school set up for you wasn’t going anywhere. Why couldn’t you make Sarah understand your motives. Why did it occur as you thought you might die from inhaling poisonous gas?

        This was the one time nobody interrupted either of you. Like you said Ernie, this project was handed to Sarah on silver platter.

  8. Rick Holy says:

    I think it would have been better to have Stone Cold Steve Austin around longer than Brandon Routh. “Stone Cold” has a following. I fear, however talented an actor and nice a fellow he may be, Routh does not.

    Kudos to TPTB for landing S.C. (and also K.K.). Will be interesting to see if that translates to an increase in numbers this coming Monday. I don’t watch “rasslin'” anymore, but I heard that Stone Cold’s appearance on Chuck was being plugged. A LOT of peeps watch wrestling – it’s one of the biggest draws on cable – and a lot of them love Austin – so hopefully we’ll get a little boost in the numbers!!

  9. Rick Holy says:

    Oh – forgot one thing. Going in circles not only gets you nowhere – it can also make you want to throw up!

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Ooooh. Wish I’d thought of that one. I may steal it in the future. I used something similar for the Roller coaster metaphor.

    • weaselone says:

      Ah, but it depends on the quality of the ride. Personally, I’m very fond of roller coasters, tiltawhirls, scramblers and various other similar rides. I still have hope that the writers will throw in a twist that will make the Hannah and Shaw arcs spectacular television.

      Despite my relative tolerance for those type of rides, I actually get sick on the basic swing ride. It’s something about just going around and around with comparatively slight variances in speed and elevation while staring off towards the horizon that messes with my sense of equilibrium and leads to a headache and eventual upset stomach. The Chuck and Sarah relationship is beginning to feel very much like that.

    • OldDarth says:

      Ah but if they were truly going in circles nothing would change. And things will change.

    • OldDarth says:

      Ah but if they were truly going in circles nothing would change. And things will change.

      Something at the end of Season Two did change. The worlds in which Chuck and Sarah inhabited their whole life. Each is now in the other’ shoes and the stakes of getting killed are even higher.

  10. weaselone says:

    You’re right again Ernie. If I’m interpreting you correctly you’ve nailed two of the key points of the anti-OLI faction. The writers have used the same general plot line too often and it’s getting decidedly stale, and they’ve developed the characters and relationship of Chuck and Sarah to the point where other love interests are no longer necessary, or reasonable vehicles for professional and emotional maturation. The other side has somehow managed to distill these points down to an unreasonable focus on the endpoint, when the reality is that these points speak nearly entirely to the journey.

    Those who fail to accept what the writers have done, or more accurately what they have suggested they will do are apparently long tailed tree dwellers, unable to overrule the need for instant gratification dictated by the reptilian portions of their brain. All we want is to have Chuck and Sarah together now, we fail to grasp all the barriers to them having a real union of equals and as a result we persist in throwing feces and other detritus at the writers and the evolved homo sapiens who grasp the truth. Having reduced their opponents to just not “getting it” and constructing a straw man, the enlightened thinkers proceed to demolish it.

    I’m willing to go out on a limb and claim by decree that most individuals lamenting over possibility of additional love interests for our characters, aren’t doing so because they feel Chuck and Sarah don’t have issues that need to be sorted out and should be together now. It’s generally a combination of a sense that the character’s should be past this point, OLI fatigue and disaffection with characters that seem a little fickle when it comes to love.

    JS and CF seem to be holding a hoof fragment, a couple of teeth, a right ear and a few strands of mane and claim they can beat the horse one more time. There’s a group of fans that disagree and more importantly think that even if they could, it’s no longer necessary now that faster forms of transportation are available.

    • weaselone says:

      Oh, and one small add. I can ride roller coasters all day long, but if I partake in a ride messes with me, I’m pretty much finished for the next few hours. One bad ride drains much of the pleasure from rides I would otherwise enjoy.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Thanks so much for that Weaselone. I sometimes feel like I’m shouting in the wilderness with this. You have very accurately summarized my feelings on the matter. I get what they are trying to do, and it might have worked if they hadn’t progressed the characters or used the same devices about every third show.

      I disagree on one thing however. I think they just noticed that the spot they are beating no longer contains the pulverized remains of a one trick pony, even it has moved on, so they’ve gone to where it is buried in hopes of one more good whack at it.

    • Ryan says:

      If i’m a writer the only thing that’s keeping me from putting Chuck and Sarah together is that I’m scared the show will “Jump the Shark”. But if i’m a viewer what good is delaying the Jumping of Sharks if you get cancelled. So for arguments sake I say new PLI’s is good for them both, cause they were on different routes Sarah wanting out of the spy game, and Chuck wanting in, you got to figure that they both know how each other feel however they both know that they were going different directions on the same highway, how do fix that throw in Superman and Superman’s old GF, have Chuck and Sarah apart for a little while and then boom goes the dynamite. But just to let you know Ernie I know exactly what your saying, so you don’t have to contend with this argument, I’d rather not be used to wipe the floor with and you are good at wiping the floor with every argument that has been made on this website.

      • joe says:

        Your “arguments” aren’t bad either, Ryan.

        Ernie and ATCDave are pretty sharp at pointing out the uses and abuses of writing conventions, and how that shows up in Chuck. But my money says that the emotional impact is going to trump the techniques every time. Of course, the problem is that everyone’s emotions are impacted differently.

        I can’t wait for C&S to get together, and really, really don’t want that to be an end to the story. Like it or not, that will be an end, with no guarantee of a new beginning. We know that. It looks like Shaw is a perfect vehicle for getting them there.

        The next question, coming sooner rather than later, I think, is can Shaw get them past that?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Ryan, Sorry if I sometimes come off as contentious. I’m really not, or try not to be, and I have no problem with your view. The reason I sometimes feel compelled to contend is that there is a history here and elsewhere of some people, as Weaselone points out, dismissing arguments about style, preferred direction or what we see as problems and weaknesses in the show as just uninformed or delusional shipper rantings.

        I hope that this isn’t (me being contentious) something that comes across too strongly when I advocate my position or preference. I admit I do have strong opinions at times and I don’t want to seem dismissive of other’s viewpoints given how much it irks me.

        By all means feel free to let me know if you think I’ve missed or dismissed something someone has argued in my enthusiasm to present my own view, that isn’t my intention.

      • Ryan says:

        You misunderstand me ernie, You are really good at contending your argument, it’s almost frustrating that your points are so spot on, I just was attempting an argument where your counterpoint wouldn’t make me look bad. Your arguments are excellent and makes for a really good read, it’s hard not to have your mind changed by your arguments, and you don’t really miss a whole lot. I’m not trying to shut you up or anything and I look forward to seeing what you come up with next

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Then I humbly thank you for your kind words and want to welcome you to please comment to your heart’s content without the proviso that you aren’t looking for an argument. I was perhaps a bit sensitive and read too much into your post due to a rather contentious post I’d made just prior to yours.

      • Ryan says:

        I’m sorry that i refer to it as an argument it’s just a habit I got from one of my Professor’s, any time he wanted to make a point he refer to it as an argument, I guess just to make sure that other’s would at least try and contend with the point he was making, Old habit’s die hard

  11. AngelTwo says:

    The good news: We’re out of this by e8, that is now clear. For starters, it’s an Ali Adler episode, and she has always written the best relationship stuff, the things that have resonated the best and been the best grounded in reality.

    And since we know now that they reveal the Sarah character’s real name in the episode, we can intelligently speculate a few things, especially knowing that Adler uses everything she’s done before:

    1) Sarah could come after Chuck (let’s say after the Shaw thing) and use the reveal of her real name as a restoration of faith and a commitment to the future. It’s a flip of him asking for it in Wookie. (Plausible.)

    2) Chuck could replay the Wookie routine–tell me something real about you–and this time Sarah gives him her name. (Less plausible since Adler is clever and not so bluntly repetitive.)

    3) In a moment of genuine emotional turmoil, Sarah gives it to Chuck. Chuck flashes on the name and naturally gets Sarah’s entire backstory. He is taken aback by what he learns, finally realizes that’s it been MORE than just Sarah being cagey because she is a spy and says something insanely tender that gives the Sarah character a chance to fall into his arms and break through emotionally. Maybe even a full-on cry scene. (Don’t know how plausible, it’s my favorite. It has the advantage of giving Chuck what he needs to know about Sarah WITHOUT having to tell us or create a backstory they don’t have time to tell.)

    Somewhere in E8, with the name reveal, I think we will also harken back to Chuck’s line in Adler’s Cougars episode: “I don’t need to know who you were because I know who you are.” In point of fact, for storytelling plausibility, Chuck DOES need to know who the Sarah character was because he’ll never fully understand her actions until he learns what has made her so frightened about her emotions and so chaotic when she does act on them. (Think about Marlin, when Sarah was gonna cap Longshore to keep Chuck. Man, this character REALLY is a basket case when the emotions flow.)

    Sarah knows EVERYTHING about Chuck. (Which, BTW, is also why Pink Slip was bad, because Sarah DID know that a life on the run without Chuck being able to be with his family would have been impossible for him.) Chuck need to know everything about Sarah. Once that emotional balance is reached, the relationship WILL move forward.

    It moves forward, and in a straight line, from the end of E8 on… The writers have created two wounded, emotionally stunted characters who will still have immense challenges in the storyline going forward. The scars and wounds of the past will still be used by the writers to develop charater development. But from the end of e8 on, they’ll be writing for Chuck and Sarah together. And Chuck and Sarah together are stronger–and always have been.

    Of course, EXACTLY the same thing could have happened at the START of this season. But that is water under a very old bridge now. And I don’t think the Hannah/Shaw PLI stuff will be quite what it seems now, either. We’re learning AGAIN that what TPTB (and even stars like Levi) say is more inflammatory than what actually develops. Don’t know why they think that is good promotion, but it probably doesn’t matter much now.

    Come e8, we start a Chuck show that has a defined relationship and, I hope, some fabulous writing about a young couple facing life somewhat realistically…

    • atcdave says:

      Thanks for an excellent post AngelTwo. I think Sarah revealing her name to Chuck might also be a way of showing her affections and trust for Chuck are real, while anything going on with Shaw is not.
      And OD, I think Chuck and Sarah not being a couple for a while yet is fine, as long as we see there is a desire from both parties to reach that goal. In particular, the main thrust of the show is the adventure, so if it takes a while for them to find the opportunity to work things out, that is clearly acceptable.

  12. OldDarth says:

    Don’t get your hopes up. Shaw is around till 3.13. Sarah and Chuck will NOT be a couple while Shaw is around.

    • kg says:

      To hell with Shaw. LOL. I want to pound him myself.

      Lou, only you would care how long he’s around. Chuck needs to man up. Can’t wait.

  13. Readyset says:

    AngelOne: In point of fact, Old Darth claimed that he wanted 16 percent of the fan base to go because he apparently didn’t find them sufficiently loyal to whatever TPTB decided. I stopped posting after he attacked me for challenging his absurd claim until it was clear to everyone that Old Darth had no idea at all about this stuff and that his fantasy of new viewers was just that, a fantasy.

    Don’t let him make you crazy. Just ignore his posts. That’s what I do now. Chuck’s too much fun, even when TPTB make these WTWY/PLI mistakes, to let the Old Darths of the world try to impose their version of “loyalty” on you.

  14. Rick Holy says:

    I just hope all the – excuse me – B.S. – is resolved on the show (re: the Chuck and Sarah relationship) before we blow our chance for a Season 4 – which IF TPTB actually do decide to jettison the “going in circles” route, COULD actually turn out to be not only the show that we love, but an EVEN BETTER, HIGHER QUALITY show that will ACTUALLY have a shot at attracting new viewers.

    As far as S3, it seems that ship has already sailed. I’m still hopeful we’ll pick up some, however, especially with some of the other guest stars scheduled to appear (Steve Austin & Kristin Kreuk, among others).

    That being said, I’ll toss out another anology. “Blind” faith isn’t real faith. It doesn’t discern, struggle, challenge, or truly engage the intellect and the will. It merely says, “I believe it no matter what, and if you don’t believe like me, it’s YOU, not me, that has a problem.”

    “Blind” LOYALTY (i.e., to a television program) is similar. It says, “I believe in the program no matter what, and if you don’t belive like me, then it’s YOU that isn’t loyal.” REAL loyalty (to a TV show) causes you to engage your intellect – not just your feelings – and look at it not “nitpickingly,” but fairly and critically. It says the show has great promise, but also has areas that are weak and can be improved – for the better enjoyment of the devoted fans – and also for the future of the actors who may or may not be employed should the show crash under the weight of it’s own flaws.

    Personally, I’m hanging in there and consider myself EXTREMELY loyal – but not BLINDLY loyal. I’ve recruited more fans, bought more DVDs and NBCstore paraphenalia than I probably should have – and have Facebooked and emailed Chuck to death. But it’s not blind loyalty. It’s loyalty that looks at the show critically. Not with a microscope – that would be overkill – but just with an open mind and an open eye.

    O.K. I’ve blabbed on enough. Thank God it’s my “day off” for the week!! Agree with what I’ve said. Think what I’ve said is bunk. In the end it doesn’t really matter. We each have our own opinions and Joe has provided a great forum thorugh which we can express them. But what DOES matter – I think to all of us – is that this show succceds/survives/thrives! Let’s hope it does.

  15. Lucian says:

    Just like TPTB don’t owe the fans anything, the fans don’t owe TPTB anything either. It is basically a week to week agreement – produce a show that people look forward to and enjoy and build viewers or not. This idea that we need to be loyal, regardless of how well we are entertained, is absurd. There may be a large group of viewers who are really looking forward to the love geometry. I hope so, because I would like to see the show make it to next season. I hope the rest of the show is strong enough that I can stomach teen angst (assuming that is what we are going to get). The problem is, some of us are old enough to appreciate what moderately healthy adult relationships look like. When our favorite couple are so immature / damaged that they are incapable of this, it just isn’t a lot of fun watching again and again, and again. It would have worked to have Chuck and Sarah as “spy buddies” for a few seasons, and let the relationship develop organically. They chose a different path. Now they need to make it work. I hope they pull it off. The forward and back thing isn’t usually very entertaining for most adults.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Well stated. I have a theory about how this is going to go. OK, not so much a theory as a longshot in the dark. After ATCDave’s excellent Shaw’s Evil Plan I decided to write it up as a topic for discussion. I still need to re-watch some things (which would be a helluva lot easier if I could get Chuck on iTunes!!!) to make sure I remember and present my arguments properly, but the short version is that they will attempt to do a reset around eps. 7-8. There will be a big reveal that will attempt to change the context of everything we’ve seen so far. And many will cheer and gloat “See you were watching a great show all along, you were just too clueless to realize it.” I will disagree both a priori and after the fact, and be told I just don’t get it. This is a week to week contract. Disappoint me this week I may not bother to tune in next week to see how much more clever than me you were after all.

    • Readyset says:

      When it comes down to it, there are only two ways to go:
      1) Hannah is a tool of Shaw to mess with Chuck and Shaw uses himself as a tool to mess with Sarah. TPTB might even do it with a wink and a smile to the fact that the same physical types (brunette for Chuck, superhero spy type for Sarah) are being used again. And the game will be obvious to us by then.

      2) TBTB are simply out of touch. I think AngelTwo’s concept makes sense (the romantic part of the Shaw-Sarah thing ends in e8). Because if the Sarah-Shaw thing continues past that, it’ll be impossible for people to accept Chuck-Sarah together by e13. Think about it: e9 is a Morgan story; e10 is about Casey; e11 is probably Chuck passing spy school; and e12 is probably Shaw’s last big (if not final) appearance. If Chuck and Sarah aren’t at least on the same page (if not actually coupled) by the end of e8, it’ll all pretty much have to happen in e13. It’ll be awful and stupid scripting and seem as artificial as hell.

      Besides, as AngelTwo pointed out, e8 is Ali Adler and her episodes have ALWAYS left Chuck and Sarah in a better place than they were.

      So the choices are simple: Chuck and Sarah are logically coupled by e13. Or they are thrown together in a slam-bang (no pun intended) method in e13 and that will largely kill the show because a lot of fans will have been exhausted by the long Sarah-Shaw arc and disgusted by what they see in e13. They’ll defect in droves.

    • atcdave says:

      Very well put Lucian. I like your “spy buddies” comment. It all comes down to pacing, if TPTB really didn’t want Chuck and Sarah together for a long time, they started WAY too fast. You look at show like Castle, its similar to Chuck in blending action/drama/humor. And it has a romance brewing in the background, but they’ve set a much slower pace. The leads are clearly not much beyond buddies half way into the second season. There has been very little use of angst, or painful misunderstandings; its shown as a more adult relationship (OK, they are ten years older if that matters), simply moving at a slower pace. Of course, I’m less invested in the show to begin with, but it seems to me to generate less heat in either a good or bad sense of the word.

      • joe says:

        “It all comes down to pacing.”

        That may get the award for most prescient line, Dave.

        I’ve stayed out of most of this discussion, mostly because I feel like it’s over my head! Readyset just gave an interesting layout of the next seven or so episodes (and you could very well be exactly right, Readyset). But I don’t have any sense of what it may mean if any little part doesn’t go that way, or if, as you say, the pacing is different. That would affect the mood of everything.

        Castle is not the only show with a slower pace. I use Bones as an example of a glacial paced romance. Mostly, it drives me nutz, and I would not find the show tolerable if the action wasn’t so good (it’s on my take-it-or-leave it list as it is). Yet, it’s a successful show, ratings wise.

        Some say they JS & CF never intended for Chuck & Sarah to get together this fast. Yet, we grow impatient for C&S to get together. The more I see it, the more I become convinced that Chuck & Sarah are not rushing through this relationship, and that’s certainly no accident due the the popularity of the characters. The whole thing looks much more planned out to my eyes.

        Caution, though. Once you accept that premise, then things look different. I start to use words like surprising and even clever, instead of “reset”.

        Either way, you’re very right. It’s all about the pacing.

      • NoWayOut says:

        Joe, I think you’re probably right on TPTB original plan. But the insane on-screen chemistry between Levi and Strahovski forces their hand. That is why I have always thought Colonel was the point of no return and why the episodes this year have been uncomfortable. The screen shows something other than what the writers have the characters say (or, as usual, don’t say).

        The bigger question, though, is why did Adler put this whole thing in motion back in Wookie? I thought the phony date in the pilot was largely played for laughs. Helicopter had nothing; in fact, it had Sarah scolding Chuck like a child and that heart-rending graveside scene, which sort of indicated that the two characters weren’t even on the same planet. I was surprised by the fountain dialog at the end of Tango, but thought it was the start of some mild, played-for-laughs flirting.

        When Carina tells Chuck that Sarah wants him in Wookie, I was floored.

      • joe says:

        All good points, NoWay. And I certainly agree that Colonel is is a point of no return for them. I argued that a lot this summer in the NBC boards.

        I do grok your statement that the screen shows something other than what the writers have the characters say. But the other side is that the viewers are projecting their own wishes on the screen. That’s the other side of what Ernie said this morning. It’s lead to some pretty intense arguments all summer and fall, and yes, even some hard feelings (mostly ’cause it seemed like the arguments were not being made in good faith). And before I go on, I have to say that I really do appreciate everyone’s efforts to discuss this in good faith here. It really helps.

        You’re question about Ali Adler’s intent is it’s own answer, though. She put it in motion intentionally; the chemistry is the result of two excellent actors and a story-line that gives them the opportunity to explore it.

        I think of it this way: If Levi & Strahovski didn’t have such chemistry, then my guess is the show would look much more like a cross between Bones and (this is going to seem odd, now) The Bob Newheart Show (the one without Suzanne Pleschette). It would be sorta weird and sorta okay, but not a winner. TPTB would have paced things and/or used the show’s other strengths in different proportions to end up with a different show.

        Starting from that premise, THEN I would have been floored by Carina’s line. As it was, not so much!

  16. herder says:

    Ernie, I just clicked on the picture that you used, I understand why you cropped it for your article but the full picture with Casey in it is a scream. I presume that it is a promotional photo, but really it captures so much, Chuck and Sarah’s closeness and Casey’s bewildered annoyance at that closeness. Also, on a related topic, I am really looking forward to the Casey bits this season, I get the impression that he steps up this year, that he gets in trouble, Chuck and Sarah go beyond ordinary risks to help him and in return he really starts to fight for “his” team. Look out Shaw.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Thanks Herder, I thought it funny that when you moused over the picture Casey pops up, so I left it that way for fun. I’m still learning WordPress.

      Casey has clearly stepped up and I love it too. I’m looking forward to the next Casey-centric episode. No angst, you know where Casey stands.

    • atcdave says:

      It is a great shot, I think it was done during the shooting of Marlin. I first saw it presented as a behind the scenes shot, but clearly there’s some in character mugging going on.

    • joe says:

      Heh! I just saw that too, and had the same reaction. Very clever, Ernie!

  17. AngelTwo says:

    Anyone think the show will make a moment of this: Chuck finally having to shoot someone to save Sarah?

    Besides the obvious meshing of the strands we’ve been discussing, it would call back to Santa Claus and Mauser…

    • atcdave says:

      I remember discussing this at length when we weren’t sure what First Kill would be about. I kind of like the idea, they certainly could have a great scene when Chuck finds something worth killing for, and of course, he might even gain some understanding of what Sarah sacrifices to keep him safe.
      But you have to balance that against keeping the tone more light and fun. I think they can explore what the profession involves, and how Chuck must change, without getting that serious. We saw Chuck lie to Devon about how they “caught” Sydney, his lie is more ambiguous than Sarah’s bald lie in Santa Claus, but its heading the same way. I would love to see Chuck wrestle with that more, or have Sarah call him out on it.

    • weaselone says:

      Actually, I hope Chuck will have to shoot someone to save Shaw. There’s good symmetry there.

    • AngelTwo says:

      You know, this isn’t new ground. The casual killing in TV series has been addressed before. McGoohan made his John Drake character in Danger Man repulsed by gunplay (and Bond-like sexual dalliances). He stretched that into the Prisoner.

      So a BRAVE thing for the writers to do is have Chuck refuse to kill. And it would maintain one of the original appeals of the relationship: The woman is the protector of the man. This is part of why the Sarah Walker character is so popular with women, too. She is the physically and intellectually strong one when it comes to this side of th equasion. (And there is a real-life cmparison here: Every hear Valarie Ashford talk about the widespread assumption that SHE is the lyricist and Nick Simpson writes the music? In fact, she is the composer of Ashford and Simpson and Nick is the lyricist yet the music industry is still uncomfortable with that flip.)

      But we can’t get to ANY of this, can we, until they get over the silly WTWT and put them together. And it is why writing for a couple is SOOOO much more compelling than a third season of the we-can’t-be-together-because routine.

    • kg says:

      Angel

      ABSOLUTELY. Either the scenario you described or something like Cole, where he took a bullet or manned up and endured some torture.

      The most heroic deed he has to date is jumping off the Buy More roof with the Ass Man banner holding him up.

  18. lizjames says:

    Want a window into the soul of TPTB in terms of this relationship? Go to the Two Beds scene in Colonel. They wouldn’t even give the characters, in THAT moment, a genuine, mutual kiss.

    And forget about a “real” or “mature” relationship or even saying I Love You. These two characters, in 39 episodes, have not been allowed a real kiss. It’s always been a “cover kiss” or Sarah surprising Chuck (Salami) or Sarah not being reciprocated (Pink Slip) or Chuck just missing (First Date). But in the Two Beds scene, TPTB decided not even to give the characters the kiss, instead playing the events-intervene game AGAIN.

    It’s silly, its destructive of character development and (as the lawyers say) goes to motive, your honor…

    • weaselone says:

      I’m fairly certain that they did actually kiss in the Colonel motel scene.

      • lizjames says:

        Yes, but I consider that about the coitus interruptus. I don’t mean to split hairs, honest, I was trying to point to a pattern of behavior of TPTB. They play games, even when it cannot logically (or even illogically) be supported by the narrative.

      • weaselone says:

        I generally find it more amusing that frustrating, but certainly see why many fans don’t find it particularly appealing. In a way it mimics the path taken with the verbal intimacy and acknowledgment of the relationship, except either Sarah or Chuck is generally the party that disrupts the process.

      • lizjames says:

        I was okay with the bad conversation skills (Sarah doesn’t talk, Chuck doesn’t listen) because that is actually part of any “real” relationship. But I cannot and will not accept that NOTHING happened–no talk, no love, no sex–happened during and after the rehersal dinner. They SPECIFICALLY pointed us there with the hand porn and Bon Iver rerun at the end of the episode.

        I will easily accept the no-sex part of that. I can see that, although it requires a stretch. But I can accept that they put it off.

        It’s the no-talking part that is infuriating to me at that point post-Colonel. It could NOT have happened that way. This is horrific storytelling and, frankly, blows any of these “TBTB know what they are doing” defenses out of the water.

        They made a TERRIBLE continuity error, thought we wouldn’t notice and have consistently refused to address this key plot point. That’s why I no longer really care. We’re watching stunt relationship work, not any real commitment to keeping it real, which, as Ernie Davis so wisely noted, MUST be real even in the worlds created by suspension of disbelief.

      • atcdave says:

        Liz, I would agree with most of what you say. I think that’s why so many of us have been a little cranky since Comic-Con. Everything since has been a bit of a breach of trust between TPTB and the audience. Even though 3 of the 4 episodes this season have actually been quite good, the handling of the central relationship has become a bit of a joke. (but not the funny kind!) Most spoilers are indicating that will change by the end of the season; as I said before, it seems the season my end where it should have begun.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Liz, good to hear some of your input. I agree that for the most part the communication problems didn’t bother me. Some of the writers knew how to handle that. What bothered me most in Ring and Pink Slip was that they (Fedak I suspect) took one aspect of their problems, magnified it to unbelievable proportions, and made a major plot point turn on something so out of character. The thing is that Chuck and Sarah DO talk. Sometimes they shout like in Hard Salami or Crown Vic, sometimes they talk like in Breakup or the end of Lethal weapon or Predator, but they do talk, and they talk about important things. “Sarah, you could go to jail.” “I know.” at the end of Dream Job, or “Sarah why are you doing this?” in Colonel. And the most maddening aspect to me is that after doing something so stupid in the Ring rather than fixing it they doubled down on the same device in Pink Slip.

    • lizjames says:

      I have to disagree with you. Chuck and Sarah have NEVER talked, not really. Oh, there are lines you cite, but they are, literally, just lines.

      I’m mad about the Sarah Walker character, I think it’s the best thing created for a woman in a while on TV. I like that (frankly) she’s a lot like real women: strong outside, emotional basket case inside.

      And Chuck is sort of endearing as a babbler, heart-on-sleeve, crushed-mojo type.

      But the moment for a boffo character-to-character conversation was that part after Colonel. What was said in the car on the way (I assume it was the Crown Vic because, well, three can’t fit in the Porsche…)? Maybe not too much because Casey was there?

      What was said during dinner? What was said on the dance floor (in my head, the song playing is Patti LaBelle’s If Only You Knew even though I know TBTB hate those kind of ballads)? And lord, what was said afterwards? I accept as a plausibility that Chuck and Sarah didn’t sleep together. But they would have talked afterwards. Maybe even stayed up all night talking. Had THAT moment.

      This poor, emotionally battered woman finally admits to herself that she loves someone and there he is, her allegedly perfect normal guy, now in love with her and available. And she says NOTHING? Even for the Sarah Walker character, it couldn’t happen that way. There’s no Intersect in the way, no agent-asset thing and, hell, she just barely avoided a treason rap for this man. She would say SOMETHING. Even watch-what-I-do-not-what-I-say Sarah would say SOMETHING.

      And Chuck, geez, you wouldn’t be able to shut him up.

      Worst of all, there is NO WAY that TPTB can claim that we have no right to think about this because it was off camera and thus not canon. They have told us that things happen off camera. They did it AGAIN just in E3 with Chuck coming in via chopper from a misson we don’t see.

      Soclose. We were soclose to some brilliant storytelling…and the start of a fraught, challenging relationship.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Liz, I guess I should clarify. No, they never have an important back and forth conversation, but Chuck has never had any problem expressing doubts and fears to Sarah and Sarah has often sought to allay his fears or reassure or encourage him, depending on which part of the relationship arc they are. Which is pretty much what you say above if I read you properly. My point was that the complete shutdown took one character trait, exaggerated it beyond belief, and ignored all the others that had been so carefully developed and shown throughout the series, especially the last arc from Predator to Colonel.

        And I agree. The anger I have over these few scenes in two episodes is that it damages the characters and the story. The problem is that the damage leaks into other episodes. They were still cleaning up the mess Fedak made of the Ring and Pink Slip in the Three Words. What should have been a fun and moving episode, the two of them finally getting on the same page, feelings-wise and putting the past trauma behind them was at points tedious in an effort to maintain continuity with the mess they’d made of things.

      • kg says:

        Liz

        You are so right. Sarah is stunning in that dress. She tells Chuck he looks dapper. There is endless chemistry, love and eye undressing from each character.

        “How do you feel,” she asks. “Like it’s real,” he responds. “It is real,” she finally admits. There IT IS. That moment. For two years that is exactly what Chuck WANTED to hear.

        As you so crudely convey, next is the hand and wrist porn so tender and steamy and uncomfortable Casey tells them he’s going to “warm up the vic.”

        So, what the hell happened? Even if we believe the absense of some kind of sexual action, YES, there had to be some kind of warm, intimacy between these two either during or after the dinner.

        Apparently not. Appalling. Insulting. Ridiculous. Chuck tells Beckman that “I think my country has the wrong number,” and Sarah infuriatingly freezes when Beckman assigns her to the new intersect project, although we can gather she’s conflicted wehn her lips tremble.

        Chuck wants to talk to Sarah before the wedding. Of course, it’s urgent. He didn’t ask her the night before?

        Her lip trembles again, and I’m thinking Oh My God, and maybe she’s thinking the same – he’s going to propose. Hell no. Just wigging out and merely asking her to be in his life and take some lame vacation.

        In addition to all the other reasons alluded(family, etc.) the woman had to know right there Chuck would never run.

        The whole disconnect between the Colonel and the Ring was painful, discourteous and disengenous.

  19. lizjames says:

    BTW, I am surprised no one has justified the runaway scenario in Pink Slip based on Sarah’s previous actions. She was going to have to run with Chuck if she had shot LongShore in Marlin at the end of Season 1. She DID run with Chuck in First Kill/Colonel. And neither time did she have a plan. So the defense of the indefensible in Pink Slip is that Sarah did what she does: Run, and run in a panic, whenever her chance to be with Chuck is truly threatened.

    I hated Pink Slip. But I know that TPTB will FOREVER defend the plotline as consistent with what they previously showed you about Sarah. They are right about that. But it was still shoddy storytelling for a zillion OTHER reasons.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Liz, I didn’t have too much problem with the running scenario. As you’ve pointed out Sarah has always had some impulse control issues when it comes to Chuck, and not just the running.

      If you think about it pretty much all the angst comes down to having to swallow some very over-exaggerated character traits in three or four REALLY poorly written scenes in the Ring and Pink Slip as a crucial plot turn that resets the entire series. Given how well written most of the rest of the series was and is these clunkers just weren’t up to par as even regular season relationship resets, let alone the setup for an entire season. Also note that Fedak was a writer on both. He needs to turn over the heavy lifting to Phil Klemmer, Ali Adler, Matt Miller and Scott Rosenbaum for stuff this important to the series.

    • weaselone says:

      There’s one problem with the Prague scene. Unlike the other examples, this one can’t be excused by impulse control. She had three weeks both to plan and consider the viability of her choice. Sarah asking Chuck to run away with her right after he uploaded 2.0 was in character, sticking to that position 3 weeks later, not so much.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I agree, a three week impulse is a bit much. Obviously Chuck had time for some reflection. I am not as worried or upset by this though, I can forgive it if you consider that Sarah has never been in love or ever admitted to it. She’s on new turf here.

      • Ready Set says:

        Sarah in love–or in “real” as NoWayOut just tipped us to realize–is a woman totally out of control. I didn’t like Pink Slip, but Sarah’s actions could be marginally defended. A woman (a person) who could shoot a CIA agent colleague for no offense greater than being a courier could possibly not think about consequences of an action even after three weeks. A woman who could commit treason and only think enough to switch cars (cool old Challenger, by the way) could not think about consequences for three weeks. I actually love the fact that Sarah in love (er, “real’) is a chaotic basket case. She’s as crazy in love (er, “real”) as she is cool and calculated in her job.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        LOL, yes, Sarah’s most endearing qualities are her willingness to commit treason, kidnap high level government assets and turn her gun on other agents doing their duty.

  20. Lucian says:

    It is interesting that no one seems to accept that Hannah and Shaw are exactly what they seem to be – good people who are sincerely attracted to Chuck and Sarah. Chuck and Sarah are just friends, so what is the big deal? They are both long overdue for a real relationship with someone. Where’s the angst in that?

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Actually I think they are both going to turn out to be pretty much nothing on the PLI front. The Shaw/Sarah Chuck/Hannah moments everyone dreads are probably going to be mission related on both sides, but TPTB love to tweak us repeatedly, releasing spoilerish stuff and clips that play on our worst fears and point to the plotline we don’t want to think about and then show something completely different and have a good laugh over how worked up we all got.

      I don’t mind having some fun speculating about what the various scenarios would mean or do to the characters or the show, but its just that, some fun speculation.

      • NoWayOut says:

        SOMETHING TO LOOK FOR IN THE EPISODE ON MONDAY: The arrival of Hannah is also the episode that Shaw reveals to Sarah that he knew about her plan in Prague.

        This works for storytelling purposes because it maximizes the number of episodes they can play the four-sided love shape. The Hannah character only appears in three episodes, so they only have three episodes to play it for maximum effect. So Sarah and Shaw have to start getting close pretty much at the same time Chuck and Hannah begin whatever dance they have.

        How does Shaw know about Prague? Here’s where I think we are in for an honestly clever bit of text and subtext from TPTB: The Castle computers automatically record any data played on them. In other words, when Sarah played the thumb drive she was given by Carina, the Castle computers captured the video and Shaw found it. This would set up a VERY NICE bit: Even when someone simply says I Love You, it’s dangerous because someone else in the spy world can use it against you. Shaw could use this as a lesson for Chuck, or, more likely, as a way into Sarah’s confidence.

        Consider: In Monday’s episode, we know Sarah begins pushing back at Shaw. There’s that reveal on the “Who ARE you Agent Shaw?” line.

        Shaw then explains to Sarah that she should trust him because he knows about the spy life. He uses his knowledge of Prague to say he knows specifically how hard all of this has been for her. He does it in a way that convinces Sarah that he’s a sympathetic guy and she develops a bond with him because they are both pros who know how difficult it is to balance spying and emotions. He may also talk about his own past and a potentially dead spouse. This would legitimately affect Sarah because of her own inability to truly balance her emotions (and “real” lives) with her job. This may explain Strahovski’s comments in interviews that the Sarah character feels she can talk to Shaw on a level that she cannot with anyone else (specifically Chuck, I suppose).

        It may also lead to the Chuck-Sarah crisis in e8: He sees a genuinely tender kiss between Shaw and Shaw, goes goofy and decks Shaw. It also shatters his trust (again) in Sarah and Chuck whines about nothing being real, even love, in the spy world. Sarah mollifies him with the name reveal. (By the way, I think we now must accept that TBTB have the Sarah character uses the word “real” when she means “love.”)

        This would be the culmination of three years of this spys-and-love storyline from TBTB–and it allows the Shaw to fulfill his character’s purpose in the mythology they are building.

        I don’t like that they are using Pink Slip this way (I know you don’t want to hear me rail about THAT episode again), but they’ve reset the show around the Prague scene, so I think we’ll start seeing that used as early as E5.

      • atcdave says:

        WeaselOne was suggesting the other day Shaw may even be Sarah’s new cover boyfriend for some or most of this season. Apart from disliking the idea, it actually makes a lot of sense. Zach had even said earlier that the 3.07 scene in the home theater room was “about Chuck acting like a spoiled brat” (OK, that’s more of a paraphrase than a real quote, but still). Perhaps Chuck is (over-)reacting, or even misinterpreting (gosh, that would never happen) to Sarah’s new cover situation. Hopefully, if this is true, it is a very short term thing. It seems like it could suck some of the fun right out of the show if we lost the whole Chuck/Sarah and extended friends and family situation for long.

      • lizjames says:

        Wow, NoWayOut. The Sarah characters uses “real” when she means “love.” That is an astonishingly good pick up and a wonderful bit of writing from TPTB.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Some good points here. Someone else did find out about Prague, Carina. She now knows not just the nature of what happened between Chuck and Sarah, but precisely what happened. Shaw finding out now isn’t totally implausible.

        I guess I should add that I think of the two PLI’s I agree, Chuck is the more worrisome one. TPTB, I think and hope, know that they can’t really “go there” with Sarah. As emotionally damaged as they portray her, and as in love with Chuck as she is portrayed her falling for someone else in any real way would ruin her character.

        Chuck on the other hand, well they’ve never had any problem showing him display the emotional maturity of a 13 year old boy, even though he also is an articulate schnook and supposed to be the one with a healthy grasp on his feelings, despite his self confidence issues. Unfortunately I don’t think TPTB realize yet the damage “going there” does to the Chuck character.

      • NoWayOut says:

        Well, looks like I have to withdraw (or at least delay) my prediction of a big Prague/Shaw/Sarah thing for E5. The summary for e7 is out and Sarah is teamed with Shaw, apparently unhappily. So apparently they will condense the four-sided shape into just 7 and 8. Which leads me to wonder what they are doing with the name reveal. If Sarah gives it to Chuck as a sign of good faith and Chuck is STILL sniping at Shaw in e9-12, well, that’s not particularly mature. It would be very hard to make an e13 chuck-sarah coupling of some kind palatable.

        I’ve been working on the assumption that “the other” guy in e13’s title was the old Chuck. If the other guy, as late as 13, is still Shaw, icky. More snark and insecurity than I think will be much fun…

      • weaselone says:

        The episode descriptions through the end of Hannah’s arc don’t suggest the existence of actual love interests, which makes me even more confident that the whole PLI issue was nothing but a nonsensical effort to rile up the fan base.

        I suspect we might see some chemistry and flirting between Chuck and Hannah leading up to the kiss, although there is almost certainly a deeper story behind that moment in the home theater room.

        I’m hoping that episode 7 is the one which prompts him to realize that he’s given Sarah enough time, and actually needs to step up. She may like nice guys, but she also needs her men to step up, take action and occasionally be a phallus every once in awhile. This eventually leads to his depriving Shaw of consciousness and the illusion that he ever had a chance with Sarah.

      • kg says:

        Carina’s very sharp. Therefore, she must also realize that Chuck is the human intersect.

        Remember their exchange at the dance club? Carina can’t understand why her friend would “still be protecting some dork from an electronics store.”

        And then in Karl’s vault Chuck alludes to “having all these secrets in his head.”

        Carina has to add all this up. She knows Walker would never simply fall for some dufus or better yet, spend so much time protecting someone unless he was a very important government asset.

      • weaselone says:

        It depends on whether Carina knows anything about the Intersect project to begin with. She certainly won’t connect the dots if there’s nothing to connect them to. Carina was already aware that Chuck’s brain was his important attribute, it’s unknown if she knows exactly how important.

      • herder says:

        Carina knows there is something about Chuck, she seems to trust him “give the case to Chuck”. Why the trust, is it she knows that Chuck is the intersect or she simply trusts Sarah’s faith is debatable. In any event I would like to see more of her as things happen when she is around.

        As to the whole PLI thing lets let it play out for a bit before we start running for the torches and pitchforks, I would rather be ranting about what has happened as opposed to what may happen or what I fear may happen. Not to say that I won’t have harsh things to say if the worst fears come true but there is enough uncertainty about the path of these romantic subplots to warrant a pause until they actually occur before condemning the show.

      • atcdave says:

        I think its fair to object to the way TPTB handled their fans, and PR in general during the off season. I know I’ve long advocated the position of judge by what’s on screen first; the quality and tone of the show, long suggested to me that things would never get as sordid as the worst case scenarios many were presenting. But, interviews from July forward, made it very difficult for hard-core shippers to stay optimistic. I think its getting more obvious every week that the worst case scenarios won’t happen, but we may still get a couple of downbeat episodes.

      • herder says:

        Dave, bashing TPTB over the way they handled the promotion last summer is spot on. As a result of their comments I stopped rewatching seasons 1 & 2 until the new year. I can still get angry if I think about it.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah, I feel exactly the same way. Comic-Con was like a giant buzz-kill. I stopped watching old episodes until just recently. But due to the reset, they just aren’t as much fun as they were.

    • joe says:

      I wouldn’t say “No one”, Lucian. I’ve tried to make a point of taking them at face value! To do otherwise would be un – makes me dizzy!

    • Ready Set says:

      The angst in that comes from the fact that TBTB continue to introduce people sincerely attracted to Chuck (Lou, Jill) and Sarah (Bryce, Cole) when they deny Chuck and Sarah a shot at a real relationship.

      Besides, in Season 3, what’s new to be learned from the fact that both Chuck and Sarah are nice people others find attractive? Regardless of what people think of Jill and Bryce and what they did, they loved Chuck and Sarah respectively. And both Lou and Cole were respectively genuinely attracted to Chuck and Sarah.

      So making Hannah and Shaw another two people truly attracted to Chuck and Sarah is repetitive. And infuriating when they find reasons to keep the central characters apart.

    • weaselone says:

      I think numerous people acknowledge that Hannah and Shaw could have honest interests in Chuck and Sarah. Chuck and Sarah are also officially “friends” although that’s been thoroughly exposed as a lie by Chuck’s near death confession and both Ellie and Carina’s reading of Sarah. Technically they can date other people, but most individuals don’t take that route when they still love another person and are hoping to reconcile. Going that route brings into question exactly how much the two characters actually care about each other. Are Chuck and Sarah genuinely in love and committed to one another, or are their feelings the superficial product of extended proximity?

      • Lucian says:

        I think we are supposed to believe that Chuck and Sarah are just too immature / damaged to be in a “real” relationship (at least with each other). If we think of Hannah and Shaw as their “starter real relationships”, then we can rejoice when Chuck and Sarah are ready to upgrade to each other. I am having a little trouble understanding, however, how Sarah getting slammed again by another guy is going to help her growth and development (which is why we need to believe he must be good).
        🙂

      • Ready Set says:

        Lucian, I actually don’t think it’s gonna go like that. Chuck has had some relationships, such as they’ve been. And since we know with the E7 synopsis that Hannah gets spy work, we can assume the relationship stuff isn’t what it seems. And since we know Morgan has feeling of some kind for Hannah, too, it’d be ugly to see Chuck competing with his friend.

        Sarah, on the other hand, well, a case could be made that she does need to at least TALK to someone. After all, she doesn’t even talk honestly to Carina and Carina is her friend. They may feel they can/must give Sarah and Shaw some “we connect as pros and talk about spying honestly” moments. Then Sarah does her name reveal to reassure Chuck that her love interests are with him…

        So I think Sarah is more likely to have a “relationship” (make of that word what you will) this time and not Chuck.

      • joe says:

        Technically they can date other people, but most individuals don’t take that route when they still love another person and are hoping to reconcile.

        It’s good that you didn’t try to make this axiomatic or a universally true statement, Weaselone, ’cause I can tell you from personal experience that it just isn’t.

        For most, perhaps.

        Then again, as much as we want to see Chuck as “everyman”, he isn’t. And we know Sarah is not “normal”. I think it’s one of those things we have to allow them.

      • weaselone says:

        The problem is that Shaw is her boss. In no world is talking with your boss about your feelings and heartfelt desires, particularly ones that could get you fired a good idea.

      • Ready Set says:

        Would would spies talk to except other spies? I mean, I think you gotta suspend your disbelieve on that. The scene with Ellie and Sarah in Angel of Death proved that. Would COULD Sarah say except, “I don’t think you understand our situation.”

        Of course, I suppose they COULD introduce a spy shrink in a future episode.

      • weaselone says:

        You’re definitely correct. It’s not like she could walk up to Ellie and say. I love Chuck, but our respective careers just keep getting in the way, although I suppose Sarah could speak in code.

        Ellie, I love Chuck and I don’t know what to do. I know you think he’s just spinning his wheel’s at the Buy More, but Chuck is still like a duck. He’s been devoting a lot of time and effort to changing careers, it’s just not working out like he planned. It feels like I haven’t seen him in months and Ellie, I miss him.

        As for me. You know I’ve been trying to make a name for myself and get out of the food service industry, but right now I don’t know if I really want the excitement, and glamor. It’s been my dream and my life, but right now I just want something simple. Just me and Chuck together with no exciting, high stress jobs keeping us apart. I just don’t think he wants that anymore, or if it’s even possible.

      • joe says:

        Weaselone, those are well written lines, and a professional way of having C&S proceed. I’ve no doubt that most everyone here wants to go back and have exactly that happen.

        But it’s also very nearly every other discussion I’ve seen between Angela and Temperance on Bones. I saw it more than a few times on Friends, too, between Rachael and Monica. It also echoes what Adrian and Natalie discuss often in Monk, in a different manner.

        Sorry, but the day they go that route that’s the day Chuck has come down a few notches, at least to the level of “just another TV show” in my book.

      • weaselone says:

        Sorry, I don’t really watch Bones or Monk often enough to realize I was parroting. I’ll assume that it means that nothing ever develops out of these statements, hence why they are repeated every other episode.

        If those words were actually spoken, and real progress came out of them then they wouldn’t be repeated on Chuck two episodes later. That would still place it on a higher level than the shows you mentioned.

  21. Lucian says:

    My apologies – 87% of what I have said is sarcasm. In truth, I am not looking forward to round three of PLIs and I hope it is all basically a smokescreen / mission related. I wanted to see if I could reasonably take the other perspective. It just doesn’t work.

  22. Lucian says:

    There are several directions they could go with all of this that would be plausible, given the characters. Let’s face it, Shaw and Sarah, and Chuck and Hannah probably are better suited for each other. The issue is, they have spent two seasons showing us that these two characters really do love each other, and we have all accepted that as “true”.

    I persuaded my sister to watch the Pink Slip. After seeing that episode, she had no interest in sticking around for the season. It all felt too predictable (her words, not mine).

    • NoWayOut says:

      Lucian: I would say Pink Slip is an awful episode for newbies, since I think it’s an awful episodes for fans. I think Angel of Death would be okay. And First Date from S2 is perfect…

      As for Chuck and Sarah, I think there IS a plausible case for them together. I think the writers have done a good job positioning Chuck as a brilliant and intuitive person whose life has been disproportiately affected by a one-two blow to his confidence in college. He’s knocked out by Sarah’s confidence and her fearlessness. And Sarah, well, they have fairly and honestly written her as a person absolutely seduced by a man who helps others without expectation of reward. SHe’s never had that person in her life, apparently didn’t even know they existed. She loves Chuck’s sense of humor, too.

      Chuck and Sarah are actually great together. To use the hoary old line, they complete each other–and they are so much more than the sum of their parts. Which is why this will they/won’t they/when they stuff is SOOOOOO tiring.

      It’s why I hang in with Chuck. The Buy More is absurd now. The spy stuff always was middling to silly. But the relationship could be so charming to watch.

      There is so much better stuff to write for these two as a couple. The lows of the relationship will be so much more complicated and resonant and the highs will be so tremendous and glorious, if TPTB don’t ruin it before it starts…

    • NoWayOut says:

      All the above said, I could have made the case for Chuck and Sarah as spy buddies. That would have worked, too, as each of them helped the other cope with their respective worlds while respecting obvious boundaries.

      On the other hand, I will also admit that TPTB have bungled some aspects of the Chuck-Sarah thing that could cause to to have doubts. Chuck hitting on Jill without a moment’s thought to his feelings for Sarah or the harm he might have been causing was ugly even if you accept that Chuck was seduced by a chance to have the life he lost once before. And TPTB constantly suggesting that Sarah simply falls in love with anyone proximate to her is cheap. (How come Bryce wasn’t accused of that?) These are writing flubs I wish had been better handled…

      • Lucian says:

        “Chuck” has one more opportunity to build an audience – immediately following the Olympics (assuming they promote it during the Olympics). If episode 8 is the end of major angst, I think they can build viewers. If it’s not, they are looking at the bubble again.

      • AngelTwo says:

        Actually, look at the ratings. As bad as they are, Chuck is now NBC’s third highest rated show. That means it’s the second highest rated scripted show on the network since Biggest Loser is NBC’s best show.

        Right now, barring Comcast coming in and cleaning house, Chuck actually looks good for a fourth season if the ratings even stay stable…

        Shocking, but true.

      • atcdave says:

        I do agree with this, Lucian. Especially if they can show extended previews during the Olympics of some actual Chuck fun stuff. If all we get are repeated shots of Sarah kissing Shaw, and Chuck punching Shaw, I might even have to skip the episode on general principle!

    • atcdave says:

      Sorry Lucian, But I’d have to say too, that Pink Slip is a bad episode for getting newcomers interested. Its not typical of Chuck, and just generally not good entertainment (neither lead is likeable). My current choice, for getting someone up to speed fast would be Angel of Death and Operation Awesome back-to-back. Now if the ever come available on iTunes I’ll be all set….

  23. Lucian says:

    Being highly rated on NBC is a little bit of an oxymoron. But, it does make season 4 more probable.

    • atcdave says:

      Yeah, kind of like the old joke; you don’t have to outrun the bear, you just have to outrun one of your friends!

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I decapitated the bear babe. I’m glad you weren’t there, it was grizzly. I still laugh out loud just reading it.

    • AngelTwo says:

      Forgive me, but i think the Honda commercials are funnier than anything on Chuck so far this year.

      Well, maybe the performance issues joke from Shaw, which worked because of what Strahovski was able to do with the look in response. That was a nice bit. It was like that bit in Oceans 13 when Clooney is looking at the dapperly dressed Andy Garcia and says, “Are you ready?” And Garcia says, “I was born ready!” And the next frame has Clooney rolling his eyes in the mirror in response.

  24. Lucian says:

    It seems pretty apparent that the tone of Chuck this season is supposed to be more “real” and “dramatic”. I won’t say “epic” because I believe that would be a misuse of the word. Personally, I much prefer the tone in seasons 1 and 2. It sounds like the PLI stuff has to go through at least episode 10 (given it only starts at the end of 7). I think they are shooting themselves in the foot big time, if that is how this plays out. The old Chuck used to make me feel good about life -incredibly hopeful message. This Chuck, not so much. Time will tell.

    • atcdave says:

      I agree S2 in particular was generally more upbeat, but its still early in S3, and we’ve really only had one bad episode (by bad, I mean uncharacteristically dark, and unappealing behavior from the leads). I think the PLIs will not be such a big deal, and we may know as early 3.08 that Chuck and Sarah are clearly on the same page as far as getting together (you HAVE to be optimistic about Sarah Walker divulging her real name). If it takes a little longer for them to realize their dreams, that’s OK by me. (I mean by a couple more episodes, not a whole season!)
      I agree about the shooting themselves in the foot part, especially if NBC runs too many promos during the Olympics of Sarah and Shaw in a lip-lock; I think that would turn off many casual viewers. But if they focus on general action and humor, and find a good Chuck/Sarah scene or two, I think many casual viewers will get excited to tune in.

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