Shaw’s Evil Plan, Part Deux

Or: How to recycle a Hot Shots reference joke that was only barely funny the first time. (um, sorry Ernie)

Another week, and another chance to discuss what Shaw may, or may not, be up to.    I have to admit my bias on this up front.   I love the buddy genre and the whole idea of a close knit team of friends.   So from the very start, I’m not going to like a character whose primary function is to completely mess with an established, and fun, group dynamic.    Add to that, we heard a stream of unpleasant spoilers for 6 months during Chuck’s off season.    So my goal in writing this is to gain some understanding of what’s really going on, and maybe even look forward to it a little more.   I will try to present theories I find palatable, or at least not be awful.   I do believe the writers think their show ought to be fun, so extreme worst case scenarios are probably unlikely.

I mentioned last week how Shaw was determined to wean Chuck from his overly protective handlers.   We clearly saw that to be true this week.   His statement that Casey and Sarah had been holding Chuck back for two years was pure idiocy; Casey called it exactly right.   Prior to intersect 2.0 and Chuck willingly embracing the career, their job was 100% about protecting the asset.    So we know beyond a shadow of a doubt, Shaw is either a blathering moron or a scheming manipulator.    The only person who could have been fooled by his comment was Chuck.   Casey sees plainly right through it, and Sarah seems to be mainly hurt;   especially when Chuck leaps at the opportunity to prove himself.    It would have been nice to see a more rational Chuck here, or at least if he’d stood up for his partners who have done so much to protect him for two years, but no luck.   To me, this is a massively character damaging scene.   Chuck will need to do a lot to redeem himself in my eyes.    Neither Casey nor Sarah seemed to hold much of a grudge though, which actually does speak well of their characters; perhaps they just know how much Chuck wants to prove himself.    Had Shaw simply judged Casey and Sarah had too much baggage with Chuck to give him a fair chance to show what he can do;    Shaw and Chuck both would have come across a little more favorably.

Shaw does then show some confidence, mixed with tough love, in preparing Chuck for his mission.   This part is believable and appropriate.   I like this part of Shaw’s character.    If he can get Chuck to trust in his own capabilities, both intersect and conventional, we may yet see real growth from him.

Next up we Shaw effectively putting Sarah on the defensive.   We learned a little about her three days off the grid; but perhaps not the full truth.   In fact, I’m not sure we learned anything true except for Lisbon.   Sarah may have handled Bryce’s remains, which may say a lot about her current attitude towards the spy world.   But did Shaw really buy this as the full explanation?   My guess is no.   Will the half-truth come back to haunt Sarah or will she simply divulge more info when the time seems right?   I do think Shaw knows the full story; and I think the wife story is presented carefully to weaken Sarah’s defenses.   She has indeed fallen in love with a spy, and this is likely a connection Shaw will exploit later.   I’m not really considering the option of this being sincere.   Even if the story is “true”; it was presented in a way to get a response from Sarah.

Last week I mentioned being quite sure Hannah was a tool of Shaw’s, being used to weaken Sarah’s influence.   While I must admit we saw no indication of that this week, that is certainly the role she will play, at least in the short run.   We may not learn more until 3.07.   But I stand by most of my previous prediction here; even if, in the end, she is just an agent doing a job; that job is all about Chuck and Sarah.   I am also fairly sure, when the dust settles, Chuck and Hannah will actually part as friends, and nothing more.   I’m not sure what her final impact on Chuck and Sarah will be, but I’m leaning towards Sarah realizing she may loose everything she wants, due to her reticence.

As I’ve mentioned all over the comment sections of this blog, this episode (Chuck vs. First Class) was not a favorite of mine.   There were some good moments; but there is much to be concerned about, with Chuck’s willingness to betray his team (I know, it wasn’t mean spirited, but I didn’t like it anyway!), and flirt with the next pretty girl he sees.    My perception could change a great deal depending on how things play out, but with ugly episodes like this, it makes the required pay-off that much higher.   The ratings this week were fairly good, hopefully this will continue; and hopefully Chuck will remain on the air long enough for us to get well past this arc.

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About atcDave

I'm 54 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 31 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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82 Responses to Shaw’s Evil Plan, Part Deux

  1. Ernie Davis says:

    We’re trying to be funny? 😉

    • Mike B says:

      I agree with your asessment regarding the team dynamic. This season doesn’t have the same feeling as S2. It feels like 3 individuals not working together and now they throw in a fourth. Then to call the team dysfunctional after all they accomplished in S2. Weren’t they considered Beckman’s best team.

      As much as I love this show, my biggest pet peeve has always been continuity. Season 3 is being written as if some of the major developements of the past 2 seasons never took place.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah, I forgot mention that, but you are on the money. Calling TeamB dysfunctional is a little like calling the Indianapolis Colts an underachieving franchise; the only possible response is, huh?!

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Well they are a little dysfunctional, just not in the way he was saying. That’s why we love them so.

      • Faith says:

        go saints! hehe.

        -ChuckNewbie8

    • Jen says:

      FYI guys… if you have Comcast as your cable provider, they have this season of Chuck available On Demand… even on HD.

  2. weaselone says:

    Sorry. I feel Chuck earned his moment of zeal here. Anyone remember Beefcake when he wanted to hack the chip? Anyone? Bueller? What transpired here was a heck of a lot lighter and less crushing than that event. Then there’s all the stay in the car, Chuck and we have the NSA’s best analysts working on it, Chuck comments.

    Having said that, Chuck’s first reaction to Shaw’s statement was complete and utter shock, much like Casey’s and Sarah. That lightens any statement he says afterword, as does the fact that he attributes the success and his survival to the team at the end of the episode.

    • atcdave says:

      I do agree the situation was better than in the episode almost everyone hates. As I said, I understand it wasn’t mean spirited on his part, presumably that’s why it was forgotten so quickly. But for a character whose defining characteristic is his concern for how everyone else is doing, it seemed a pretty thoughtless response. I can accept that he, and everyone else was just shocked; but again, I don’t like the response.

    • Jen says:

      Thanks for reminding me that he does thank the team in the end. I think his decision to take the mission is a desperate measure to prove himself. I don’t think he really had the choice to say no here.

  3. Mike B says:

    When Shaw said the problem is with them and not Chuck. That was straight from the old Mary Tyler Moore Show. In the final episode a new station manger decides that the problem with the “Evening News” was the group behind the camera not in front of it so everyone was fired exceot for Ted Baxter. Well at least Casey and Sarah weren’t fired..lol

  4. Ernie Davis says:

    While I agree it wasn’t fun to see Chuck toss Team B under the bus, watch the scene again. When he’s saying “I’m sure certain things have been said about me and my performance” he’s looking at Sarah, he’s thinking she’s still punishing him, or still sees him as hers to run. The reason he jumps so quick, when he says he’s absolutely ready, while looking at Sarah, is that he wants to prove himself worthy. Just an opinion.

    • atcdave says:

      I’m sure that’s some of what’s going on, I did catch that nuance. But I had thought Chuck was a character who valued relationships and other’s feelings above his own. I know he isn’t completely out of character, he’s certainly had failings of this sort before. But of all the times he’s screwed up, this was certainly one of them. He had more than is usual share of mis-steps in this episode. That’s all.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I don’t disagree, totally. It was a screw up, but it comes out of, not base motives, but a desire to prove himself worthy. IMHO.

      • atcdave says:

        I thought I said that, sorry if I wasn’t clear. I was disappointed in his thoughtlessness (in the most literal sense of the term), not any ill-intent.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Actually you did, I seem to have glossed over that, sorry.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Oh, I actually forgot to mention what I disliked more about the scene. When Chuck looks directly at Sarah and says he’s ready and then Sarah looks up at Shaw and says no Shaw, he’s not. Not even the courtesy to include Chuck in the conversation.

      • atcdave says:

        Well, it did show she doesn’t quite consider him a full professional yet (I was in a similar conversation just today, with a couple of controllers discussing a trainees performance; it was all good so it didn’t feel rude to me; but we definitely talk with each other differently than we talk with “the trainee”, even if the trainee is only days away from being one of us).

        Her treating Chuck that way may have had exactly the opposite effect from what she wanted. But I would add, they have almost three years of history; Chuck is crazy if he doesn’t believe she has his best interests at heart. I think in the end, Chuck wants to prove himself so much he’s not completely rational. Similarly, Sarah wants to protect him so much she’s not completely rational either. (As I said, Casey was the only sane one in the room).

      • AngelTwo says:

        Chuck definitely does not have the flick yet…

  5. Jen says:

    This season so far feels a little strange… even though ive been enjoying the show so much. This episode had good moments to me. I like when an opportnity is given to CHuck to shine becuase he needs to come and gain his self-confidence, and this ep did this fro him, even if he was palyed and throuwn into it by Shaw, it will benefit him in the end. I liked Sarah’s emotions towards Chuck being sent on his own. I love Yvonne’s ability to portray so many emotions with her face and body language, but i didn’t catch anything from Chuck… he just took off. I understand he is trying really hard to prove himself, but it felt to me like he was a little disconnected from his team, while Sarah and Casey were really worried about him. Casey even calls Sarah to see if she knew anythign about Chuck. I’m gonna forgive Chuck this time just cause i know he’s deperate to prove himself, so for now i’ll let it slide. In regards to Hannah… he was a littel too into her for being in love with someone else. His smile in the last scene to me proves it. I also wonder that if Hannah is working with Shaw, why didn’t he flash on her? Is she a secret like Shaw? there are no coincidences here. why was she on that plane if she ends up being an agent? SHaw then must have put her there.

    I had the smae feelign Joe had about Shaw and his wive’s story… to me that was designed to show her the negative side of what she’s feeling towards Chuck to disuade her from pursuing it. I don’t think it’s a lie though. So while i like that he in the end is pushing Chuck to be his own man, he also has an Agenda. Maybe he’s testing them all.

    To me the biggest issue is the lack of communication… if Chuck and Sarah were for ONCE to sit down and talk things out i feel like the angst would vanish, at least some. I wish the writers would stop leaving us in the dark about so many things as if we aren’t going to wonder about them. Hopefully, eventually, things will clear up.

    • atcdave says:

      Good post Jen. I do agree Chuck’s disconnectedness from his team is part of what I don’t like here. I also agree things will work out fairly well; I think by the end of the season we’ll see a more confident and capable Chuck; and Chuck and Sarah finally communicating about the things that matter to them. But as we write about things on a week-to-week basis, sometimes the journey isn’t as much fun as others.

    • AngelTwo says:

      Jen and atcdave–
      Actually, look at the part of the scene where Sarah and Chuck are alone and she asks (begs) Chuck not to go. He clearly hesitates and was about to say something before Shaw comes in with another affirmation that he’s going.

      It’s subtle, but it’s there. Chuck clearly still hears Sarah when she talks

      • Jen says:

        Hi,
        I didn’t mean to imply that he doesn’t listen to her. We all know though that he can he hard headed when he feels he should go and do something he considers important… w/o thinking about it. Right now he feels the need to prove himslef, so he will dive in head first into that. Sarah is scared for him in this mission and she doesn’t trust Shaw, and loves him, so she tries to hold him back then (and i totally understand this reaction). She knows Shaw is up to something, but Chuck ate up all of Shaw’s words, he was being told what he wanted to hear. I think if he would have had a chance to continue talking with Saran he still would have try to make his point… right now all he can see if that he needs to validate himself as a spy. who knows if he would have listened. I just rewatched that part and you can see that he is moved by Sarah’s request, but he quickly gets over it.

      • AngelTwo says:

        Jen-
        I’m not sure that he would have agreed with Sarah or tried to talk take his own side. It’s just that that moment of hesitation was there and it’s important, I think.

        But, of course, I am weird. I think the best moment of this fairly dreary season is when Chuck is talking to Karl. They have Strahovski dipping her gun from a little tremble of emotion every time Chuck says something telling. It happens two or three times and you can see it because the gun is in the foreground.

        It’s tender and touching and sexy as hell. I’m not sure that stuff can survive when they run the two characters through the sausage grinder again. We’ll be cynical by then.

      • Jen says:

        I love those little moments of emotion and vulnerabilty… i’m a total sucker for those. That scene at the end of Ep 2 was a great one. Again, I love Yvonne Strahovski’s ability to show emotion, she’s awesome! In this ep we see it too when she’s scared for him, but Chuck is too focused on proving himself to pause long enough… it’s too important to him right now to show he is a real spy. I think though, he will end up gaining his confidence after all.

      • weaselone says:

        I think Chuck does notice that Sarah is scared for them. I think his statement that he is ready and can do this are as much for Sarah as they are for him. He doesn’t want her to worry.

        As for emotional scenes. My favorite is still the bo scene. Both actors shine their, and it may be the one scene where Zach out emotes Yvonne.

  6. herder says:

    At some point I would like to see a reveal like there was at the end of Leathal Weapon that shows Chuck isn’t as clueless about what is going on about him as he appears to be. Maybe this year on the back of the Tron poster is a chart entitled “Shaw’s Evil Plan”, showing that he is thinking about what Shaw is trying to do to him and his team.

    Of course this would make Ernie feel like some sort of genius but still that is no reason not to hope for it. It’s still a bit early, but I can see him starting it as he grows more disenchanted with the way that things are going if, as I suspect things start happening to the team. That being said if Chuck does such a thing it is more likely to be about the Ring rather than Shaw, but I can hope.

    • lizjames says:

      Eight’s the episode to watch. It’s then or never.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah Liz, its about suffering through til then! Bummer its after the Olympic break (too long). Hopefully, by having some good discussions here we can pass the time and have some fun with it.

      • Faith says:

        will the punch come before or after the break? I really hope before.

      • atcdave says:

        I think its in 3.08, so first episode after the Olympics.

      • herder says:

        Sorry Dave, I got the two part deux articles mixed up, I didn’t mean to attribute your post to Ernie.

    • atcdave says:

      I would like to see another reveal like that. I think we may see Chuck punching Shaw when he realizes he’s been played instead. Hopefully, the pay-off will be satisfying.

      • lizjames says:

        I wrote in my big blog post that Shaw is clearly the device they are using to make the show into the program that they sold NBC for Season 3. So I understand the finances and the mechanics of the Shaw character.

        But you know what really bugs me? There is NOTHING they can have Shaw do to catalyze the relationship that we loyal viewers will agree was needed to be shown AGAIN.

        If Shaw is trying to break Sarah and Chuck up, he’ll fail and we’ll say, “Well, we KNEW they’d find a way to be together.” And if Shaw is just trying to toughen up Sarah and Chuck for a life together, we’ll say, “But we KNEW their life together wouldn’t be easy.” And if he is somehow used to delay the coupling until S3.5, we’ll say, “We KNEW those bastards were lying to us again.”

        I think the use of such OBVIOUS retread character types (brunette for Chuck, super spy for Sarah) is TPTB’s way of signaling us that something that will be VERY OBVIOUS is coming.

        But whatever it is, we already know it. And that makes for very dreary storytelling and very repetitive stuff.

        And while I know Joe hates Friends references, I must. When a similar scenario to the end of Three Words appeared on that show (after hitting a low point in their WTWT phase, Rachel sees tape of Ross doing something selfless for her), the Friends showrunners didn’t reset the clock and start another round of WTWY. They had Rachel do the obvious thing: Find Ross and plant one on his kisser.

        But TPTB at Chuck have, for some unfathomable reason, decided to drag us through the relationship angst AGAIN.

        Silly rabbits.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Of course this would make Ernie feel like some sort of genius…

      Well I have my own prediction for a big reveal, and yes I will be completely insufferable if I’m even close to right.

      OK I’ll be MORE completely insufferable…

  7. kg says:

    Initially, I can see where actdave is coming from. But if he was a little cruel and rude, he more than made up for it after his return flight. As the gang pointed out, he sincerely thanked and acknowledged his team for helping him survive.

    I don’t like Shaw. But I will give him some credit “for not letting his people down.” He did shoot Sydney when Chuck was about to sink and he had a contingency plan when Hugo recovered and teamed up with the stewardess.

    He’s just not needed. The team was successful. They got results, even if they were unorthodox.

    Sarah is not acting like these are set-up missions for Chuck. She doesn’t appear to be working with Shaw on this. She looks genuinely scared and worrisome. And her strongest reactions are when Chuck is not in the room, where obviously she need not pretend.

    Bringing in Shaw was probably Beckman’s call because despite their success Casey, Sarah and most definitely Chuck disobeyed orders, questioned the general openly and her two seasoned pros were more than influenced by Chuck’s character and methods. They often did things they never would have done before meeting Chuck.

    I no longer care in what context Chuck pounds Shaw. I just can’t wait for him to do deck him. Some of mentioned it’s a sign of him “manning up.” Fine. Whatever. Just bury him.

    Cole was atleast up front about his affection for Sarah. Chuck’s feelings for Sarah then was obvious. Once the mission was over and once he could see how she felt for Chuck, he respectfully left.

    • atcdave says:

      I’m assuming you meant Chuck was cruel and rude not me! But hey, I’ve been called worse.

      Shaw playing the team doesn’t exclude the probability the missions are real. Shaw’s agenda isn’t all bad; in fact, it may be mostly good. I think he really wants to make Chuck a better spy, and TeamB a more effective weapon. But his methods are outrageous. He wants to destroy the human aspects of their relationships. So the trick will be to take the good from his program; without loosing what was already good about the team.

      • kg says:

        LOL. That was poorly written. Yes, I was referring to Chuck.

        It is outrageous. The human qualities were what brought these three different folks together and helped pull them out of some tight spots.

        As you already know, Chuck’s unique skill set has been constructive at times. But unlike Cole, he doesn’t have the physique or training to withstand torture or hasn’t taken a live bullet for the one he loves.

        That’s why I love vs the Seduction so much. He told the cowardly Montgomery Sarah was worthy dying for and then he jumped off a roof to save her. I miss that stuff.

        A couple of other memorable heroic scenes included him shielding Sarah from the Fulcrum intersect images and then in a less tense sense refusing to listen to Forest until Sarah was brought back in.

  8. Faith says:

    Two things, well three.

    1. I totally get you Joe. I feel exactly the same way albeit a bit more forcefully lol. Coz parts of the epi really peeved me off lol.

    2. I feel in hindsight what this epi was missing was an ending scene with Chuck and Sarah. We often get those, it’s like expected and it serves not just to give the shippers something to sip like kool-aid in a barren tundra, it tends to tie in and further foster the relationship we all care about. We didn’t get that last night.

    3. Exploiting Sarah having fallen in love with a spy, and thereby all the danger that comes with it seems kind of weak to me. She’s fallen for a spy before, it’s not like she din’t know the risk and fear. I think if Shaw’s plan is to separate Chuck and Sarah…and it is, he’s better served changing Chuck and showing Sarah how much he’s changed. Because back in pink slip, what did she fear the most? What did she say before she asked him to run away with her? “If you do this, if you go you’re gonna be a spy for the rest of your life and every city is going to be a new mission and a new identity and you’re not gonna be the same person.”

    Ironically that “every city” bit kind of plays on the whole in Paris but can’t see the sights thing. This is what you signed up for Chuck.

    • atcdave says:

      Its Dave not Joe, but I’ll take the compliment!

      I’m trying to polite, my feelings are actually quite strong on the things I really didn’t like in this episode!
      I agree we missed the Chuck and Sarah moment at the end, those should be manditory. Its often the best part of the show, and leaves us a good moment to last the whole week.
      I kind of think the center-piece of Shaw’s plan where Sarah is concerned involves Hannah. But for now he’s playing on her sympathies, so when Chuck is caught with Hannah, Sarah will come running to Shaw. Dang, I wish I’d said that in the main body.

      • Faith says:

        my apologies. Dave it is!

        We’re totally on the same page then…even the vehemently stated opinions lol.

    • kg says:

      You’re right Faith. Chuck seems to believe that being a spy is glamorous, fun and black-tie dinners all the time, a la the Roger Moore version of 007.

      He doesn’t see that it’s hard work often filled with danger, peril, lies and misinformation.

      To reiterate, Chuck needs to pound Shaw ASAP. I’m more worried about Chuck than Sarah. As you say, while we’re waiting for our final scence to close the episode between Chuck and Sarah, Hannah’s entrance to the Buy More provokes a smile from Chuck that is too large for my liking.

      • weaselone says:

        Except he doesn’t. He says as much to Devon in 3.3. Chuck knows what he’s getting himself into. That doesn’t mean there aren’t perks to the spy world that Chuck is looking forward to, like actually seeing Paris.

        I mean Carina left on a mission to a tropical island, Sarah and Bryce vacationed in Cabo. It’s not like a single day to view the Eiffel Tower was a lot to ask, or being disappointed about not seeing Paris is unreasonable.

        Chuck’s given up a lot to train to become a spy and right now things are pretty miserable for him. He’s basically still where he was after Jill dumped him, he’s just keeping it together better. He lost the girl and gets to be reminded of it every day. He’s stuck at the Buy More. He’s regarded as something significantly less than equal by the coworkers at his other job. They don’t show much of it, but it’s probably safe to assume that time with his family including Morgan is limited. He nearly lost his brother-in-law. He finally gets the opportunity to do something new, and see Paris as a perk and he has to stay in the plane.

  9. lizjames says:

    I wrote in my big blog post that Shaw is clearly the device they are using to make the show into the program that they sold NBC for Season 3. So I understand the finances and the mechanics of the Shaw character.

    But you know what really bugs me? There is NOTHING they can have Shaw do to catalyze the relationship that we loyal viewers will agree was needed to be shown AGAIN.

    If Shaw is trying to break Sarah and Chuck up, he’ll fail and we’ll say, “Well, we KNEW they’d find a way to be together.” And if Shaw is just trying to toughen up Sarah and Chuck for a life together, we’ll say, “But we KNEW their life together wouldn’t be easy.” And if he is somehow used to delay the coupling until S3.5, we’ll say, “We KNEW those bastards were lying to us again.”

    I think the use of such OBVIOUS retread character types (brunette for Chuck, super spy for Sarah) is TPTB’s way of signaling us that something that will be VERY OBVIOUS is coming.

    But whatever it is, we already know it. And that makes for very dreary storytelling and very repetitive stuff.

    And while I know Joe hates Friends references, I must. When a similar scenario to the end of Three Words appeared on that show (after hitting a low point in their WTWT phase, Rachel sees tape of Ross doing something selfless for her), the Friends showrunners didn’t reset the clock and start another round of WTWY. They had Rachel do the obvious thing: Find Ross and plant one on his kisser.

    But TPTB at Chuck have, for some unfathomable reason, decided to drag us through the relationship angst AGAIN.

    • atcdave says:

      I think I agree with your main point; if you’re saying the whole reset is cynical, manipulative, and repetitive (oh, and repetitive) storytelling, we’re totally on the same page. No matter what function, or revelations come from the presence of Shaw; its nothing that couldn’t have been handled using other devices. Like say, something that would have been FUN, and not thoroughly ticked off 16% of the fan base.

      To me, the point of my post, and this thread, is just to understand what they’re doing, and where they’re heading enough so I don’t just through in the towel. I will NEVER like the reset. But if I understand what they’re up to I’m more likely to let them finish. And I liked this show enough for the first two seasons I want to give them the chance to make it right.

      • ND2488 says:

        I agree that using Shaw as the reset vehicle is unnecessary and queers the whole dynamic/chemistry of the group. It would have been better (IMO) to use S3 keep C/S together and show the struggle of Chuck trying to “earn his wings” while under the overprotective eye of Sarah. Instead they have Shaw try and force the issue of Chuck becoming a super-spy right away. I think there was an organic and logical growth opportunity with less angst and more comedy that TPTB missed. It is unfortunate.

      • atcdave says:

        I agree ND2488. Keeping the show fun has been my biggest concern all along. So far, this season, they’re off to a rough start. I’d say the Awesome episodes were the only completely fun ones we’ve seen; the others are too dark and too self important.
        And they’ve created a situation where most of us, who know what’s coming up, are completely dreading the next few episodes. How is that good?

      • Jen says:

        And i always have fun watching the show… like in this ep, for example… i enjoyed Casey taking the Buy More rebellion as dealing with Insurgents and goes all Marine on them. I think going through some drama is necessary for character growth, and it’s through tough times that Chuck can grow into the spy he is becoming. The way it’s all being done is forced (Shaw and Hanna) but i have to hope that in the end it all serves a purpose and hope it gets explained.

  10. weaselone says:

    I just watched the scene where Shaw calls the team dysfunctional, again. I think it’s telling that Chuck only speaks in the present tense. He doesn’t ever agree that the team was dysfunctional while he was an asset, he just comments that he is ready to be let out of the car.

    • atcdave says:

      That may all play into why Casey and Sarah didn’t seem to hold anything against Chuck. Casey especially with his comments and eye-rolling, sees exactly what’s going on; Chuck is eager to prove himself, and easy to manipulate into taking bold chances. Sarah may be too scared and worried to to take offense, for now. But this may be part of the wedge Shaw tries to drive between them (Hannah being the main component).

  11. Faith says:

    This isn’t really part of the topic per say but I must say it lol.

    I want to thank you all for keeping this community mature, stimulating and entertaining. We don’t all agree, we don’t even come to the same conclusions most of the time but the arguments are always civil while remaining spirited. I can’t tell you how fun it’s been for me (and hope to continue to do so lol).

    -ChuckNewbie8

    • atcdave says:

      Thanks Faith, it is nice to be able to discuss and argue in a friendly environment. It is funny sometimes, not only how differently we interpret things; but how different the things we want from the show are. Yet in the end, we all love the same program.

      I’d also say its fairly easy to be “mature” here, since at least the guys are all so darn old!

    • Jen says:

      Yep, i too appreciate everyone’s opinion su much and the chance to express myself on this site. I’ve been a die-hard Chuck fan from the beginning and only now have i ventured into this weblog. I think i’m driven by all the drama going on right now on the show and my need to vent =P

    • weaselone says:

      I think it’s great to have a site to come to where there’s a diverse and well reasoned difference of opinions. It adds something to the whole Chuck experience and is certainly a place for more constructive dialogue than the NBC boards.

    • lizjames says:

      Okay, what do we get for Joe as a tangible thank-you for creating the forum? When’s his birthday?

    • joe says:

      Oh my! No need, Liz (but thanks!)

      And thank you too, Faith. But lemme tell you something. Today I got a bit busy, and didn’t get a chance to add a comment to this post. And that means, I never got to check this little box that says “Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail”. What I see now is 73 comments!!!

      WoW!

      And I really feel like I’ve missed so much information and insight and just plain good stuff! Agreement is not going to happen when people are so insightful, intelligent and persuasive about something. But fun and enlightenment sure is.

  12. herder says:

    One of the things that I had been thinking about Hannah is a way for her not to be what she appears to be and yet do it in a way that we don’t see coming. I still think she is part of Shaw’s Evil Plan, but there is another theory, less threatening but still plausible.

    We know that the government wants Chuck as a spy and the Ring would presumably want him if they knew who he was, but there is a third party interested in him as well, Orion. Hannah works for a guy who sends her around the world on IT jobs, Orion is into computers, he has the ability to follow Chuck being given the mission and to hack the airline computer to put Hannah in the next seat. Hannah is based in Paris, Orion gave Chuck the Eiffel Tower model. He has had people working for him to watch Chuck in the past-Bryce, and presumably would want someone close by again, especially if he knows about the estrangement with Sarah or thinks her protection is being thwarted by Shaw.

    It also leaves Hannah able to be a good person who can leave at the end of her arc because she is convinced that Sarah will never let anything happen to Chuck.

    As I said this is my back up theory, but I’ll keep an open mind about it over the next few episodes.

    • AngelTwo says:

      Herder-
      Not bad. But I think Sarah visited Orion in Lisbon in hopes of finding a way to get the Intersect out of Chuck. And I think the train ride in S3.5 is about finding Orion to fix/remove the Intersect again. I also think the Ring is after Orion since Sarah says toward the end of Pink Slip that she and Casey were going to Lisbon to track a Ring cell…
      jb

      • Faith says:

        totally interesting possibility.

        I could totally buy that! She did seem less jaded and a lot more likeable than you would presume to be someone keeping company with Shaw—of course she could just be very good at her job lol.

        Either way outside of the Sarah-Chuck-Hannah angst she brings about very interesting possibilities. Who is she? Where is she from? What’s her deal?

        As for Joe, I think we need to have a Joe appreciation day lol.

        -ChuckNewbie8

      • Mike B says:

        I think those pictures in Lisbon came after Chuck left her at the train station. She appears to be very sullen in those pictures, not that she wouldn’t be if she just scatterd Byrce’s ashes. But she seems to be deep in thought, probably shocked by what just happend and also deciding what to do with her future since she was prepared to run away from her CIA life.

      • Faith says:

        I had a momentary pause of that too. Mostly because she had a drink in her hand but upon further thought it wouldn’t make sense for her to be outside of her hotel room after such a tragic event. She’d probably be in her room in her underwear crying her eyes out.

      • AngelTwo says:

        Faith-
        We know she wasn’t on the bed in her underwear crying her eyes out. If she had been, we’d have seen the pictures. They never miss an opportunity to put Strahovski in her undies…

    • atcdave says:

      I really like this scenario. The Shaw connection still seems more likely to me, especially since they didn’t know until just recently that they could get Scott Bakula for a few episodes this year. But his presence isn’t actually required to make that work. As I said above, I am guessing Hannah and Chuck will part on good terms; I don’t believe she will actually be a villain, just an agent with an agenda we don’t quite know yet.

  13. AngelTwo says:

    Since we’re talking Shaw here, is the name a reference to Manchurian Candidate (the Shaw character is the Manchurian Candidate if you recall) or a reference to George Bernard Shaw, who adored Wagner’s Ring Cycle (hence the all the superhero stuff) and was known for pushing social change? And, of course, his Pygmalion was all about the struggles of the head and the heart, not to mention the main character (Henry Higgins) was all about changing Eliza from street urchin to princess.

  14. Lucian says:

    On a plane today to CA, I had a chance to rewatch “Seduction” from season 2. It reminded me how much I liked these characters and the show. Chuck and Sarah express all kinds of positive affection for each other; Chuck is a reluctant, but competent spy. I’m hoping they can get back to some of that again. It also reminds me how poorly they have done the reset and changed the tone of the show. Pretty much every episode from the first two seasons is better than most of this season, IMO. It also makes it clear that, unless TPTB are complete idiots, they won’t throw that away in order to inject this season’s PLIs.

    • ChuckNewbie8 says:

      we’re definitely missing out having the “cover” relationship as fun and light and shipper dreams and stuff. I remember Chuck waking up all covered up in blankets and uncomfortable in Lethal Weapon lol. Fun stuff.

      But I think they’re working the fake friendship, real relationship angle…any day now lol. And really I’d prefer that (something real) to the fake.

    • Jen says:

      Well, unfortunately we have all this angs right now, brought on by Chuck and Sarah not being on the same page and not expressing what they want clearly… and this whole reset, but while we get to the resolution, we have had some moments where you can see how they feel for each other, like at the end of operation Awesome, or when Sarah stood up for caring for others in that meeting with Shaw. I hope we keep seseing more of those little moments while wait for things to settle between them.

      BTW.. i love the seduction ep.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are exactly right. I recently rewatched “The Truth” and season 3 just doesn’t have the same heart as the first 2 seasons. You just don’t get the same vibe any more. Since the second episode Chuck and Sarah have had very little one on one interaction. CS said that the Chuck and Sarah relationship was the heart of the show, and he was right. Why on earth did they have to mess with it.

    • Mike B says:

      You are exactly right. I recently rewatched “The Truth”, and seasons 1 and 2 had so much heart. I just don’t get the same vibe from season 3. Since the second episode Chuck and Sarah have had very little one on one interaction. CS said that the Chuck and Sarah relationship was the heart of the show. He was right! So why are they now trying to drive a stake (Shaw/Hanah) through the heart. It makes absolutely no sense.

    • kg says:

      Sedection is my absolute favorite episode.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I think the thing TPTB missed was a lot of the appeal of the Chuck and Sarah interaction those first seasons was the great chemistry Zach and Yvonne share onscreen. Even in scenes like the Breakup you clearly know they still love and care for each other and enjoy being together in whatever way they can. The reset has killed a lot of that, not just because they don’t share screen time, but because we’ve seen them at their worst for nearly two full episodes. Their chemistry is a little off, and some of what made the show fun is gone. I think they can still recover, but it was a mistake. When the heart of the show is two charismatic and sympathetic leads and their chemistry you DON’T “F” WITH IT.

      • Jen says:

        Ernie, i agree 100%… we need more Chuck and Sarah interaction. Unfortunately, things will have to be weird beteween them for a bit,i think, while they got over the whole “traumatic event” and the dramam that now unfolds with Chuck wanting to be a real spy, so the writers need to write a away for them to be able to reconnect and communicate and stop the angst that is killing us all!

        I re-watched ANgel de la Muerte last night and i see the reset so clearly! At the Gala, when Ellie questions Sarah about her feelings for CHuck and ends up telling her that sometimes you go through a rough patch, but then, you start over even better… i think we are being reset there. This is a new beginning for Chuck and Sarah, with a different dynamic and roles, and they both need to adapt. At teh end of the ep we have a sweet moment where they decide to be friends again. I like it when Sarah says “and i don’t find you completely revolting”. You can still see the chemistry and connection there. I want see more of that… no more angst!

  15. Gord says:

    It is interesting how many of us have mixed feelings about this episode. Personally, I thought it was good. Not the best, but still a good episode.

    I wonder if some of us are so wrapped up in the characters and certain aspects of the show, that we have become hypercritical of all things Chuck and have lost sight of what a great show it is.

    There is a guy I know at work, who I have been trying to get to watch Chuck for almost a year now and he was never interested. When I mentioned that Stone Cold Steve Austin would be a guest star this week, he finally watched it.

    Guess what he loved the show. He liked the action, the humour and he thought Sarah was “smokin hot” (Adam Baldwin would say that belongs in the Da file). He also thought Kristin was gorgeous as well.
    He started asking me all sorts of questions about the show. He said he usually watches How I Met Your Mother, but now he will record it for later.

    I lent him my S1 DVD set today and he plans to watch it this weekend. I told him in my opinion, there were even better action scenes than the ones he saw in First Class and he will be amazed by Sarah’s fight scenes.

    My point in sharing this, is that if as a new viewer he could jump into an episode in the middle of the third season and love the show without knowing much of the Chuck background story, there is hope for this show.

    I think that maybe some of us have to step back and perhaps try to look at Chuck like we are seeing it for the first time and not take every little detail so seriously.

    By the way for those who love Shaw, I have to disagree. I hate Shaw. I think he is a big jerk. But I do think he has the teams best interest in mind, and I am enjoying his impact on the team. At least the thing with his wife makes him seem a little more human and gives me some degree of empathy.

    I do believe Shaw is one of the good guys and not a double agent for the ring. I just couldn’t imagine leading a team like that. On the otherhand it makes for an entertaining story. I am sure that in the end (or in hindsight) he will have a very positive effect on the team.

    Just let me enjoy hating him a little while longer.

    • atcdave says:

      It is a cool thing how many different aspects of the show appeal to different people. But I do think the relationship is the most emotionally loaded element. Meaning its the one element that people may get really passionate about. If we have a couple episodes without so much action, but plenty of humor; most people won’t get cranky about it. But if the relationship is in a bad place for long, fans will scream bloody murder. I think the writers know that; but if they were really smart, they never would have done this reset.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Gord, Good post, I’ve thought much the same thing at times. The problem is that we aren’t new to the show. Some others have mentioned re-watching older episodes like Truth and Seduction or First Date and the warmth and friendship between Chuck and Sarah, whether in a relationship or not. A lot of this was Chuck opening up a door into his world for Sarah and her first tentative steps into experiencing a normal life with a normal guy, and then falling in love, perhaps for the first time. The reset damaged a lot of that. We’ve now seen these characters who (Crown Vic aside) enjoy beig around each other no matter the situation, literally in Sarah’s case, beat up on each other for practically two episodes. It takes away a lot of what was fun and endearing about the show for those of us well acquainted with it. I’d be interested in your friends opinion of the first season versus this one so far, or more importantly Pink Slip and Three Words.

      I also have a lot of hope for the show. When you think about it so far they made one really bad decision, executed it poorly, and basically (for me) ruined two episodes. I think they still can recover, and some more episodes like Operation Awesome and Angel of Death would go a long way. This one was probably either my second or third favorite. I’ve only watched it twice, so hard to tell yet.

  16. Gord says:

    When Shaw said to Sarah that they both made the same mistake and fell in love with spies, I wondered was he talking about Bryce (but eluding to Chuck) or was he talking directly about Chuck?

    Does Sarah think that her feelings for Chuck are hidden from Shaw?
    You would have to assume that he knows about the 49B. You would have to also assume that he knows about the train station in Prague. After all if Sarah was under surveillance in Lisbon, they probably were watching her in Prague as well.
    I think it will be interesting to see if Shaw will directly confront her about all of this.
    I really don’t think her Bryce deflection fooled him.

    • atcdave says:

      Yeah, I don’t think Shaw was fooled either. But I think its likely Sarah will come clean with him later. My guess is they will get far too chummy with each other in 3.08. But of course it will be a bit of a betrayal; I think Shaw’s real interest is just in seperating Chuck and Sarah, not specifically in Sarah. My hope is; that Sarah is doing a bit of her own manipulation and is trying to figure out what his real agenda is. I’m still clinging to the hope that her name reveal has to do with convincing Chuck she’s being completely honest with him. But in the mean time, she may have to admit to her past schemes to get into Shaw’s confidence.

  17. Yves says:

    I have not read every comment on this note, but there are a few things that ring my bell in your point of view, Joe.
    First of all, I’m french. Sorry if I make any english mistakes.
    “Chuck” is not only a love story between a blonde spy angel & the Geek next door. It’s about a little boy growning up, and Sarah is only impersonating one of all the aspects of that matter.

    You said Shaw is wrong when he accuses Casey and Sarah to be overprotective. It’s true that, in the first two seasons, the hero has no active ability to make him a legitimate spy, he’s hardly a random database. However, we do see Chuck taking more responsibility throughout season 2.

    The scene when he tells Sarah he’s ready by leaning on Shaw’s appreciation reminds me of the Gravitron. When Beckmann orders him to manipulate Jill in order to get intel, Sarah is the first one to say that he can’t, due to the Asset being a terrible liar, all the more in a sentimental context. Althought she may be right, Chuck is actually willing to corner Jill as a revenge. Maybe he overestimated himself, Maybe Sarah’s assesment was the trigger he needed. Both can be true at the same time.

    On the other hand, I do think you’re right about Shaw trying to break the B-team dynamic. I don’t know how to translate this phrase, but I’d try “In order to reign, you have to divide”. Casey is hardly part of the mission, while Shaw fullfills two objectives. Firstly, He wants to try and raise Chuck’s spy skills. Secondly, he plans to get a face to face confrontation with Sarah, which allows him to reach out to her weak spot and thus, to get closer to her, by showing her they share the same scar (Their loved spies killed on the field).

    Why keep Casey away? Because he’s the strongest one. He’s nearly a machine. That’s what makes him a good spy. Of the three members of Team Bartowski, he struggles the less with “Spies don’t fall in love. No sincere emotions in business”. He hasn’t that many obvious strings to pull, unlike Chuck or Sarah. Besides, He IS the protective one. Constantly warning Sarah (even if it’s on a bickering mode) about getting close enough to get hurt, protecting the asset when Sarah’s away or busy elsewhere. He’s the one who covered both of them after they went awol. Had he been down in Castle near Sarah, he’d have said “Be careful Walker, Shaw is trying to push your buttons. Don’t let him get under your skin”.

    From my point of view, I’d imagine that the team would reunite after the last and biggest of Shaw’s attempts to manipulate them. The enemies of my enemies are… What a surprise! They’re the partners I’ve always had with me! I almost forgot!

    While I’m here, one word about romances. On the french Chuck forum I come from, the twist about Chuck & Sarah in 3×01 is almost seen like a treason. In my opinion, the idea of Chuck and Sarah as a sincere couple came WAY too soon in the series. In my eyes, Sarah should have remained Chuck’s friend and/or Queenbee for at least the first two seasons. I’m deeply convinced that Spy Angel & Geek next door getting clearly together would be the signal for the series finale. That’s why they had to fall apart very hard in season 3’s premiere.

    Something else than my personnal feeling? As I said, “Chuck” is a formative story, and Sarah is the (charming) sentimental aspect of this. So far, Each one of Chuck’s girlfriends taught him something about himself. With Lou, he learned it was impossible to date someone from the normal world without admitting who he is, and what he does when away from the Buy More. Jill was meant to put forth the idea that Chuck always was a fingernail away from the spy world. It was his destiny, postponed by Bryce Larkin. It also symbolyzed the end of the teenage chapter, opening a new one.

    Sarah… Having seen the beginning of season 3, I’m not so sure anymore about Sarah and Chuck being starcrossed lovers. What I am sure about is that their story and most of all their breakup taught Chuck the sense of sacrifice. He was fully aware he couldn’t be a spy and Sarah’s boyfriend, and he made up his mind. What is important in 3×02 is not the “I love you” when the door opens, it’s what is said before: He wants to be a spy in order to protect the ones he loves, including Sarah. He probably believed that Sarah would be able to understand that kind of gesture. So bad she’s too hurt to think about it.

    To conclude, I’d like to say, thank you Joe. Your blog is really fun, with all your hypothesis and conspiracy theories. I like it.

    • atcdave says:

      Your writing is excellent, you have nothing to apologize for. We’re always happy to have another fan aboard!
      But I really do disagree with your take on the relationship. I understand the tension, break-up, and learning through adversity are all the sort of things taught in drama schools. But serial television is largely about establishing a reality that people will want to visit once a week. For the theme of an ordinary guy being drawn into a world of danger and adventure, there are many avenues of conflict and growth. For two seasons, Chuck and Sarah were kind of the happy spot in the midst of a crazy world; and many (very many!) fans look forward to that happy spot more than any other aspect of the show. So in damaging it, they undermine the major draw for many of their viewers.
      In life, people grow from a variety of challenges and influences, and usually do better for it when they have friends, companions, and partners. So I would call the reset unnecessary too.

  18. Yves says:

    Thank you, ATCDave, for replying. I fully understand your point of view, but I stand by my opinion. It’s true, though: considering what they’ve been through, maybe the break up was too harsh. It happens quite fast, without any clue, even for fans like Joe, to see it coming. The “Cloak and Dagger scene” deserved better than just a flashback. The point is too fondamental to be treated in so little time.

    Nevertheless, I do think Sarah & Chuck as a couple appeared way too soon. I’d have enjoyed Chuck’s struggle to keep Lou or Jill close to him. As a matter of fact, I’d have enjoyed more new characters in the main cast, and less guest stars. It would have given the show more material to work on before highlighting a bound that all viewers could see from a galaxy far far away.

    Besides, I didn’t say they weren’t meant to be together in the end (OK, I said I doubted it, and I do). From what we saw in Nacho Sampler, I think next missions will give Chuck more reason to loath himself. Furthermore, I bet he won’t be given the usual rest he gets from his family and friends, as they all become suspiscious of his strange routine and lies. Being slowly cut away from his family will finally undermine Chuck’s efficiency as a CIA agent. Who is he going to turn to, once his familly don’t (can’t) support him? The whisky getaway might work once, but… You see where I’m going.

    See you on anotther entry?

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