Bryce is alive, and not a traitor. Jill is Fulcrum and Chuck is her mark. Chuck has been studying everyone around him for months, diagramming the intersect project in an attempt to get it out of his head. Pappa B is Orion, and not crazy. All is not as it seems, nothing is real. This is the spy world and it’s what you don’t see coming that is often most important. While these aren’t all necessarily retroactive continuity they share something with the concept. They make you revisit the story you think you’ve seen and look at it in a new way. The big reveal, the a-ha moment when it all makes sense, or just goes down a little easier; the Chuck-verse is abuzz and everyone sees it coming, we’re in for a game changer some time this season. Will it change the story we’ve seen, or just fill in a few blanks. Confused? Me too, let’s try to make some sense of this after the jump.
Shaw has an evil plan, Chuck is on double secret probation and Hannah is not who she seems to be. It’s a delicate balance, between buying what you see on the screen as the story and obsessing over each minuscule discontinuity as the clue that reveals the game changer to come. In some instances TPTB seem absolutely contradictory on this. We’re supposed to believe that nothing happened between the end of Colonel and beginning or Ring, but then we’re also supposed to realize that what we see on the screen is not all there is when Chuck arrives home via helicopter wearing body armor and a rappelling harness. Most of us have come to the conclusion we haven’t seen the whole story yet, and last Monday it was confirmed that there is more to the story of Chuck and Sarah’s plan to run than Chuck’s cold feet and Sarah’s feelings of rejection. Sarah was spotted in Lisbon off grid when Beckman had ordered her to stay in touch. Like the re-appearance of the “weapon” we haven’t heard the last of this, guaranteed. Why Beckman’s order? Did she suspect Sarah was a loose cannon when it came to Chuck? She knows about their history, she called the 49B and dismissed Walker once. And Shaw seeming to accept Sarah’s explanation. If he read her file, and he has, he’d also know about the 49B. That makes his theory about Sarah and Chuck pretty obvious. And Sarah. Well she must have known that going off grid when under orders to stay in touch would raise some alarms.
And if you look at the photo Shaw confronts her with, she does seem to have what looks like a container of ashes, so she was either telling a partial truth or was prepared with a cover, which would mean she saw surveillance was a real possibility. This makes the initial episodes even more of a confusing mess, but don’t get me started, you know how I get.
So what are the possibilities? Well, someone obviously knows more than has been revealed, and there are distinct possibilities to be considered. Lets start with these. Shaw knows more than he has revealed. Sarah knows more than she has revealed. Chuck knows more than he has revealed.
The first is a no brainer. Shaw has an agenda and he’s playing it close to the vest with team B. Our good friend ATCDave has done yeoman’s work with this one, so we’ll leave his posts on Shaw’s Evil Plan as the place to discuss.
Second scenario, Sarah knows more than she has revealed. This is the basis of my double secret probation theory, but it could be in play in other equally interesting scenarios. Clearly Shaw’s arrival and use of Chuck for missions she doesn’t feel he’s ready for is taking an emotional toll on Sarah. Is it because she feels Chuck is being set up for failure? One of the later episodes is called Chuck Versus the Final Exam. Does it have something to do with pulling the trigger? Sadly we’ll have to wait till late March to find out. But consider this. What sort of missions has Chuck been given with Sarah as his handler? Retrieving a case from a vault with her by his side the entire time, protecting a head of state with her by his side, keeping Captain Awesome calm long enough for her and Casey to track and capture a Ring agent… Not high risk stuff, but something you could build confidence and a record of success on. What has Shaw given Chuck? High risk, high reward solo confrontations with multiple Ring operatives and no apparent backup. Into the deep end, sink or swim, no waterwings allowed. Is it just a matter of style or is one aware of something the other isn’t.
As Casey would say put that one in the D’uh file. Our first meeting with the mysterious and unseen Shaw showed us Beckman uncharacteristically pleading Team B’s case. Was this just about Operation Awesome and the involvement of Devon in the spy world, or is there more? Oh, there’s always more.
This brings us to the last possibility. Chuck knows more than he has revealed. This simultaneously brings up another question. How much retcon is too much retcon? Lets look at Chuck’s previous a-ha moment, the back of the Tron poster. It was a turning point for Chuck. This was no longer the directionless slacker waiting for someone or something to come along and fix his life, this was a smart and focused adult, taking charge and responsibility. The last vestiges of season 1 Chuck were gone in an instant. But from the detail on the poster, he’d been gone for a while. We saw a different Chuck right out of the gates in season 2, but this Chuck, well he was as much a player as we thought he was being played before. All of the sudden you have to ask how much he really bought into being handled as we’d seen. Was he playing a long game while his handlers were going mission to mission? Did he see through Beckman not wanting the intersect out before he confronted her? It set up the Chuck we needed to see for the last 6 fantastic episodes of season 2 in one great revealing moment.
Now to the present. Chuck seems more “handled” than he was in the final 6 of last year, yet we’re supposed to buy he is on the verge of being a world class spy? He is still as trusting and clueless about how to lie or what to beware of after 6 months of spy training? This is something that has been in the back of my head since the premier. Chuck seems to have regressed. The irregularly trained, but trained spy seems less competent than the inventive amateur who could think on his feet. Is it because Chuck is trying to be something he’s not, a traditional spy, or because he really has regressed, or is it because we have not seen the entire story when it comes to Chuck Bartowski, spy. TPTB love their retcon, but it’d be difficult in this case. Would it mean that everything we saw about Chuck so far was a lie? Not necessarily, the Tron poster was a shocker without being out of character. The punch. We’re all wondering about the punch. Is it the moment Chuck will change, or will it be the moment it is revealed how much Chuck already has changed?
At this point I think I’m just going to sit back and hope to enjoy the ride, but wild speculation is always fun, so here are my big unanswered questions.
1) Why wasn’t Chuck dropped in a padded cell?
2) Why wasn’t Orion contacted, by anyone? Or was he?
3) Why did Sarah say “Give him a second” when Chuck appeared onstage with a guitar?
4) Where is that Orion wrist computer?
Hopefully time will tell.