First Class, All The Way


But that’s enough about Chuck and Sarah.

I pose a question to you, the reader. What’s more charming than Chuck realizing he’s not a loser? The answer is – Morgan.

Is Morgan in charge, in episode 3.05 of Chuck, First Class? No, but he is transformed. The single most consistently annoying character of the first two seasons of Chuck is now among the adults, and is, in a word, charming.  Well, okay. Maybe you found Jeff more annoying. Or Lester. But Carina knows, now. Ellie saw it before anyone. He has certainly come into his own, and everybody seems to know that he’s a force to be reckoned with. Everyone but Chuck, that is. Why is Chuck leaving him to his own devices, to face the Buy Moronic Insurrection all by himself, a challenge he would never have to face if he was “one of them”, a lowly green shirt?

Bond, or Jerry Lewis

Who’s more charming than Chuck? Well, Casey, when he’s occupying himself doing something other than saving the world from baddies, or saving Chuck from himself. See how busy he is – in the Buy More? Hey, wait! Is this a cover? Casey seems to have come to like moving heavy appliances, and occasionally moonlighting as Morgan’s enforcer. In fact, it was Chuck who said the Buy More is now a “ridiculous cover”! To Casey, it doesn’t seem quite so ridiculous.

Well, why is Chuck leaving Morgan to fend for himself? It’s because Morgan can handle it now, and Chuck knows that he’s not so helpless as he was, and will do more than just survive the Buy Moron’s pranks. He will thrive. Eventually. If Lester and his “muscle”, Jeff, don’t kill him first. Or pants him.

It’s also because Chuck has a first class ticket to Paris. Shaw, the new “man in charge”, thinks that the team is dysfunctional, and it’s all the fault of Casey and Sarah. They haven’t let him out of the car, you see. He’s ready to go to Paris, to prove (Chuck looks at Casey) that he is (Chuck looks to Sarah) a spy.

Chuck: Shaw, an honest to God, real life, special agent for the CIA thinks I’m ready. He thinks that I can do it, and I want to prove to him that he’s not wrong about me.
Sarah: I’m not saying that you can’t do this, but please – please, just don’t go now, okay?. You need more time.

Protective much, Sarah? The team needs to be broken up, and Chuck needs to fly solo. It’s his first class in being a spy.

Morgan and Casey were charming. There is more than a little charm in the way Charles and Hannah meet, playing “What’s Their Line” with the passengers on the plane. “Tell me about yourself, Charles-my-friends-call-me-Chuck.”, she asks him, charmingly. Well, Chuck isn’t completely without charm, himself. And Hannah (Kristen Kreuk) is taken by him. This is a lady with a lot of class.

Oh-oh! What’s this? Is Chuck’s head turned completely around so easily again by a petite brunette? “WHAT ABOUT SARAH???” the fans shout. But this is not about Chuck and Sarah.

What Chuck has not been getting from Casey and Sarah isn’t appreciation or friendship or protection or guidance. Right now, it’s professional respect he’s missing.

Morgan: See that? See that? How do you do that? You command respect!
Casey: I don’t. I take it!

Chuck meets Hannah as Sinatra is playing. Any show that plays Sinatra music is first class. But Chuck still lies to Hannah about who and what he is. Cute, how she sees through him, and lets him off the hook, though. That’s more than what Shaw is going to do. This may be a first class flight, but this is also Chuck’s first class on self-reliance.

Shaw seems to know everything; about the ring, about Chuck and about the team. He also seems to have set Chuck up. His mission is not in Paris after all; it’s on the plane, with the Ring operative, Hugo Panzer (Steve Austin). Just like Devon was ordered by The Ring to get past the security guards and kill the man in the office at the end of the hall, Shaw has tasked Chuck with getting a cypher key from the Ring Agent. We see Sarah’s reaction to Chuck’s first mission instantly. She gets angry; angry at Shaw, both for endangering Chuck, and for putting her in a position where she cannot help him. Worse, Shaw yanks her chain by bringing up her felonious father. On top of that insult, he has to twist the dagger by interrogating Sarah about the three days she went off grid, in Lisbon.

Sarah: It’s not what you think.
Shaw: I don’t know what to think. Are you a double agent? A ring operative? Or is this about Chuck?

Ooohhhh this just got personal. So is Sarah being overprotective towards her asset? Is she acting all “mommy” on his butt? Shaw doesn’t think so.

Shaw: I’m right, aren’t I? I should tell you, I’m always right. It’s annoying, but true.
Sarah: Why don’t you tell me what you’re right about, so I can tell you that you’re wrong.
Shaw: My theory, about you and Chuck. Most spies push their assets to perform. That’s what I do. You protect him. You care for him. You followed him to Lisbon.
Sarah: That’s not true.
Shaw: Come-on. I was right about this mission, and I’m right about you.

But this is not about Chuck and Sarah. This is about Chuck becoming a spy. We can see that if Sarah is no longer lying to herself about her feelings for Chuck, she’s still not going to tell anyone else about them. To admit to Shaw that she has feeling for him would be too “real”, especially for this outsider. And Shaw won’t even let her answer the phone when Chuck calls. “Just know that if you do, he’ll never be a spy. And one day, that will get him killed.” Hum… It’s hard to imagine anyone ordering Sarah around, but Shaw does. He can because she knows he’s right.

At least, I hope she knows he’s right, because Chuck is actually coming into his own, on the plane. Sarah’s been worried that he’s not ready, and still unable to control his emotions so he could flash at will. But despite his girlish screams in the cargo hold (well, okay, the scream was Casey’s suggestion this time), Chuck DOES flash at will. He also takes a couple of solid punches to the gut, hides in a casket with a corpse and gets a dose of poisoned wine.

Sarah (trying to identify the poison): Chuck! What does it tastes like??
Chuck: It was very complex, with hints of apple and A VERY SOUR FINISH!

And in a scene reminiscent of Raiders of the Lost Arc, Chuck never does get to use his nunchaku. All in a day’s work, you know.

Chuck was given a bigger mission than Shaw expected. Serina (Josie Davis), the stewardess, is also a Ring agent. In a spy-plot line that was so very close to what was used only one night later on NCIS, the second assassin on the plane is deadlier than the first, and it’s not clear at all that Shaw was aware of her presence in advance. That means he’s not infallible. The good news is that Shaw never sends his agents out alone. It’s a mistake he made once, and one he won’t make again. The new boss and Sarah are with Chuck through the magic of satellite com-links, Sarah’s pilot skills (we found out in Helicopter that she’s flown them) and a game-controller in Castle. Cool! The flight crew never knew we were there! he says. It may be the horsiest plot device seen this week (or maybe not), but it had me grinning with satisfaction.

Just how is it that Shaw knew Serina and her penchant for using poisons?

Chuck’s not so helpless as Sarah seems to think. All this mission, Sarah has been worrying, even begging him not to go. In fact, Chuck has to reassure her, several times. Why such a lack of confidence? Is Chuck too glitchy, or is it that she cares just too much? Shaw wants to know. I think Sarah wants to know too. Is there something else she’s worried about? – Like maybe the three days she went off grid?

Shaw demands to know about that.  But even as Sarah is worrying and fretting about “her” agent (yes, that’s what she calls Chuck at one point), Chuck is making a new friend on the plane, one who seems to enjoy his stories and one who gains his trust pretty quickly.  It’s a good thing that Chuck is able to stay on the plane and go back home when he’s called, even if he is understandably regretful about the might-have-beens.  When Chuck gets back, he’s appropriate grateful that Shaw and especially Sarah were there to save his life.  He’s not unmindful of what she’s done.  Sarah’s a pro, after all.

Chuck’s mission was to return a cypher key to a hi-tech lock-box in Shaw’s possession, and with his help, and with Sarah’s help, our boy has succeeded. So what’s in the box? The answer is, information, that was acquired by an agent, who lost her life in the process. He opens it with cryptic words: “With this, we might stand a chance that one of out best won’t have died in vain.” There is also a small envelope, containing a wedding ring. And as Shaw explains that the agent’s name was Evelyn Shaw, Eve, Sarah explains that she went to Lisbon, off grid, to the place where she and her first partner shared their first mission, in order to scatter his ashes. No, this was not about Chuck and Sarah, this was about Sarah and Shaw, and about their trust. It’s important to know that now, Shaw trusts her.

Shaw: We both made the same mistake, Sarah. We fell in love with spies.

Now it’s about Chuck and Sarah.

One small problem, though.  Hannah’s followed Chuck back to Burbank.

– joe

About joe

In my life I've been a professor, martial artist, rock 'n roller, rocket scientist, lover, poet and brain surgeon. I'm lying about the brain surgery.
This entry was posted in ChuckMeMondays, Observations, Season 3. Bookmark the permalink.

66 Responses to First Class, All The Way

  1. AngelTwo says:

    You know, a lot of Chuck fans complain that those of us who pay attention to the relationship miss the other great elements of the show.

    Well, how about this week’s “big” spy drama: Chuck has to steal a key to a box of discs. Big Whoop.

    And the OBVIOUS question: Why the hell didn’t the CIA or NSA or SOMEONE just steal the key from the coffin before it was loaded into the cargo hold?

    I mean, this isn’t exactly riveting spy drama. Which is why we care about Chuck and Sarah. That’s all there really IS to care about!

    • lou federico says:

      I completely agree. Burn Notice is a spy drama and that is why we love Burn Notice where Chuck is a Hybred between a comedy, drama, love story all rolled into one. Every person loves chuck for a different reason. The problem is they always seem to screw with Chuck and Sarah just for the sake for screwing with them. Still have a problem destroying all the work in the last two episodes. So maybe I will concentrate on the comedy and drama portion and wait for the merry-go-round to cycle back. Great job Joe

      • Anonymous says:

        I love Burn Notice. I love CHUCK. They’re definitely NOT the same – but love ’em both. One thing I’ll say for Burn Notice, the writer(s) do a much better job of handling the “relationship difficulties” between Michael and Fiona than do the writers of CHUCK in handling the “relationship difficulties” between Chuck and Sarah. Or should I say TPTB behind Burn Notice ALLOW the writer(s) to handle the relationship difficulties in a much better way?

        Is there relationship angst in Burn Notice? Yes. But I can watch Burn Notice without pulling my hair out of my head or wanting to puke when it comes to the relationship “struggles” between the two lead characters. Regretfully, I can’t say the same when it comes to CHUCK – but I still love the show! But then again, I love the CUBS, too, even though they often invoke the same hair pulling and wanting to vomit response in me!

        Anyway, another great article, Joe!

        Can’t wait for Monday!

      • Rick Holy says:

        “Anonymous” above was ME. Don’t know how that glitch happened.

      • weaselone says:

        Chuck, the Chicago Cubs of TV Shows.

        or maybe…

        Chuck and Sarah the Chicago Cubs of TV relationships.

      • joe says:

        Thanks, Fr. Rick. I do enjoy BN, but I have to say, I’m a little jaded these days about characters like Michael Westen. You know – perfect guys who always solve the puzzle, catch the bad guy and get the girl in 60 minutes. There’s never a doubt that they’ll succeed. Anyone here old enough to remember Gene Berry in Burke’s Law? I sorta like the hero to be a bit more human.

        I do enjoy Fiona’s feistiness, though.

        Hum… How about Chuck is more like the BoSox, before they won the Series in 2004? Longest dry spell in the majors.

    • weaselone says:

      Who knows. The weakest link generally occurs during transport. Maybe the CIA and NSA didn’t know Hugo was transporting a coffin before it was too late and had no time to search it. Maybe the coffin had a Ring escort until it boarded the plane. Maybe Shaw just assumed that the most vulnerable time during transport would be on the plane.

      • Gord says:

        I think that you may be on to something, when you said that they could have easily intercepted his luggage at the airport.

        Perhaps Shaw decided to use this mission as a confidence builder for Chuck. He believed that it was an easy mission – knock out the spy, get his baggage ticket, get the key and when he woke up he would not even notice anything had happened.

        Also, he had one of his own agents planted on the plane as a last resort backup (Hannah).”My people are never alone”. We may learn in the future that if the taking control of the plane thing hadn’t worked, Shaw would have activated Hannah.

  2. atcdave says:

    I noticed NCIS was very similar the next night; even the Paris, flight attendant, and 747 elements.
    But I actually enjoyed NCIS more. I’m pretty much outraged by the idea of Chuck falling for another pretty face. I really don’t buy the idea Sarah hasn’t shown Chuck real friendship; their very warm and unlikely friendship has been the heart of this show since the beginning. Hannah seems like nothing more than a clumsy and unneeded obstacle between Chuck and Sarah. It irks me to no end that they can’t come up with some interesting issues for these two characters to deal with; and feel compelled to start their 5th and 6th triangles concurrently. ugh.

    • lou federico says:

      I not sure why i feel no stress in the NCIS Tony and Ziva relationship veres the Chuck and Sarah. Maybe its the fact that they were both equal agents working together instead of one agent protecting and almost mothering the other. I think in the first couple of seasons we all felt sorry and had pity for Chuck so we are more invested in his personal happiness. I do not have clue?

      • joe says:

        Yeah – Every time there’s the potential for them to get close, Tony reverts to being the clown. He needs other ways to escape her.

        And speaking of trite ways of keeping them apart, what’s with this “Gibbs’ 12th rule?” Couldn’t they do better than that?

      • atcdave says:

        One of the differences I see right off, is how many of us relate to Chuck personally. He’s the ordinary guy forced into an extraordinary life; so we root for him in a more personal way. Tony and Ziva are larger than life heroic characters. So, while we may still like and care about them; it never seems quite as personal.

        Gibbs rule number 12 is a joke. Gibbs has always had his lists of rules, learned from hard experience. I think Tony and Ziva were mostly laughing about it Tuesday, but I’m sure they’ll have cause to regret it, at least on occasion, later.

      • Mike B says:

        I think why so many people are invested in the Chuck and Sarah relationship goes back to a line from “Cougars”.”Sometimes the Nerd gets the girl”. That’s why this reset just doesn’t work. Season 3 is missing the warm one on one moments between Chuck ans Sarsh. That last one we had was back in episode 3 and that lasted all of 30 seconds and ended with lets be friends.

      • weaselone says:

        I’d say the last warm moment came at the end of Operation Awesome when they exchanged words and smiles before heading to the table and partaking in Morgan’s Chicken Teriyaki Surprise, although the moment at the end of 3.5 when Chuck credits his continued breathing to the team and they exchange heavy glances and Sarah smiles could technically count.

      • herder says:

        One of the things that I have missed this season is that neither Chuck nor Sarah and especially Sarah have been happy this year. I can think of only two occasions where they both have smiled at the same time, the “friends” talk and at dinner at the apartment. And unless I’m wrong, that is the only time that Sarah has smiled the whole five episodes. That’s a pretty grim indictment of what is supposed to be a “blue sky” show.

    • weaselone says:

      I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Chuck isn’t really going to fall for Hannah.

      As for Sarah showing friendship. She has, just not so much lately. Now, she’s apparently his surrogate mother, or work Ellie.

      • weaselone says:

        Oh, that doesn’t mean I like it, or what the writers decided to do. It just is so I’m trying to enjoy the other aspects of the show and the light-hearted banter between Hannah and Chuck was nice given the heavy, loaded conversations we’ve been treated to between Chuck and Sarah so far this season.

      • joe says:

        I don’t see it (yet) either. Chuck looked glad to see her, at the end. But he was just as happy to see Sarah, I think.

        Right now, she’s the one who’s stuck in place.

      • atcdave says:

        Joe, do you remember when you were starting this site and you “introduced” me as a contributor? I think part of what you said was I could be counted on to let TPTB hear about it every time Chuck even looked at another woman. I guess you were exactly right!
        To say that longing look rubbed me wrong would be an understatement. I agree entirely that something has been missing between Chuck and Sarah this season. I’d go as far as saying that currently, this show would not rank among my very favorites. I rate this season as having 2 excellent episodes, 2 mediocre episodes, and one total stinker. But the solution is NOT to introduce new distractions; for Chuck to return to being among my favorites, they have to get Chuck and Sarah back to a good place. I’m not going to give an exact timeline or ultimatum; but friendly/romantic moments, for Chuck and Sarah, are a required part of this show. And I am very greedy about it, they can’t simply return to where they’ve been; I insist on actual relationship growth. They must talk as friends, share their hopes, plans, and feelings; and eventually start planning for a life together.
        As I said, no specific timeline or ultimatum. I do believe we’ll get there. I expect not to like the next couple episodes much, but I expect things to get better after that. Perhaps Chuck will have no romantic feelings at all for Hannah, that would be good. But I don’t care for wasted screen time with her either. Some of this may be Smallville baggage too, Hannah seems a lot like Lana in her earlier episodes, so she’s immediately pushing the wrong buttons in me. I don’t think there’s ever been a pretty actress that I enjoyed seeing less than her.

      • joe says:

        Dave, you can be sure that when Hannah walked into the Buy More, I had two thoughts. One was “I wonder how Dave is going to react to this???” and the other was “I wonder what my wife thinks about this???” She’s still my barometer to gauge the reactions of new (or at least, non-addicted) viewers.

        You’re needle moves like mine does, but is set about 15 deg. to the left. Somehow I expect both Chuck & Sarah to get distracted or frustrated – that’s a better word, I think – with their relationship, and I am much happier when they’re not distracted. I’m the one who’s distracted when they’re happy with each other – I dwell on those scenes for weeks at a time (Awwwww!). I see it essentially the way you describe, but not quite so concerned that those great moments will be too long in coming. Well, a little concerned. But not too much.

        My non-addicted wife, on the other hand, can’t wait to see what’s coming next. For her, the drama in their relationship seems just at the right pitch, and yes, she is on the verge of becoming addicted.

        It’ll be the second time for us. Our first TV addiction was indeed, The Sopranos. Essentially, through 7 (7.5, actually) seasons, there was half a season we didn’t care about, one episode we don’t care about never seeing again, and one season (season 3) that’s up there with the best entertainment ever.

        Okay, I lied. We also got addicted to Alfred Hitchcock Presents, on DVDs. 😉

      • Erin says:

        actdave, I totally agree with you on the fact that Sarah and Chuck need to have actual moments of significance, be them romantic in nature or just friendly banter, for the show to progress.
        My biggest worry is the synopsis that talk about Chuck and Hannah gettin’ physical in the Buy More. It annoys me because unless there’s a reason behind Chuck’s actions it’s a big jump. I mean, he was just confessing his love for Sarah, and it
        s not like they have really resolved anything in a concrete way.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah Joe, my wife is also my first sounding board for what a “normal” person will think of certain things. Did I mention she groaned and rolled her eyes at the last shot. It was a small moment, but on its own merits, I didn’t like it.

        Erin, I agree that part of the synopsis concerns me a lot. But, in spite of the irritation you’ve heard from me the last few days, I actually think things will work out nicely. My bet would be, Chuck is never really tempted by Hannah and views her in a mostly friendly the whole time. The home theater room we’ve seen will probably be for someone else’s benefit. I hope he isn’t just trying to make Sarah jealous; but maybe he is told to get some information from her by Shaw; or maybe Chuck and Hannah are just trying to convince the other nerds that she’s taken and they should back off. This we should know before the Olympics, Hopefully we won’t spend three weeks off thinking Chuck is a total jerk!

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Guys, and Dave in particular, you’re going to hate me for this, but I’ve decided Chuck gets a pass. Go all the way back to Three Words when Chuck, in the vault, confesses his love to Sarah. As far as Chuck knows she’s heard every word. What happens next? She asks for a transfer, then beats him with a stick and tells him to get over it. And Sarah knows that’s what happened.

        Now since then all we’ve seen is the rebuilding of a friendship. In First Class, Chuck’s glance across the table at Shaw’s meeting clearly indicates Chuck thinks Sarah is still ready to throw him under the bus. So to me, this one’s on Sarah every bit as much as Lou in Truth. He opened his heart, she slammed the door, and never did anything to make him think anything other than they were friends and it was professional.


      • atcdave says:

        I don’t give either of them any passes. As I said before, whatever Chuck thought Sarah’s response to his profession of love was; he doesn’t get to rebound in three weeks. That’s mental instability, we need to see more from Chuck than that. Besides, I never buy “just friends” for a second. He’s been in love with her, they’ve been close; even if it isn’t as close as he wants, I just don’t buy a wandering heart in that situation. At least not from anyone I’d consider a “good” guy.

        Sorry, my feelings on this aren’t very subtle.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Yes Dave, but it isn’t a three week rebound. It was seven months ago when Chuck “dumped” Sarah. His profession of love was to try to make her understand he didn’t try to hurt her, but he understood her hurt. She made her feelings on his “apology” very clear in his mind. Get over it. We were done months ago.

      • herder says:

        Nope, I agree with Dave, I don’t give either of them a pass. Sarah agreed, before she heard what Chuck had said in the vault, that maybe they could fix the mess they had made, Chuck said it. Before either of them go off for someone else they should be at a point where they realize that nothing can be fixed. Nothing either has done has indicated that that point has been reached. Chuck’s behavior in the plane didn’t bother me but his heartfelt reaction to Hannah showing up did. If there is a problem, this time I put it down to Chuck.

        He said he loved her, she wanted to run away with him and Carina told him she still loves him. Despite his insecurities, if he runs after someone else, it’s a pretty shallow love. Having said that there may be a conversation in the Natcho Platter that justifies things, but at least at this point the first wrong is his.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Yes, and in response to his telling Sarah that he now knows she loves him … Sarah asked for a transfer, beat him with a stick, told him to get over it and said he couldn’t hurt her (anymore). Clean it up could be taken any number of ways, the aforementioned is pretty clear if taken in context.

        Trust me, this doesn’t make sense because of just how much we’re being asked to swallow. Yes, Chuck is that clueless, yes, Sarah is that much of a basket case. This is what I meant about damaging the characters.

    • Zsjaer says:

      I think this Season with the exception of some moments is a failure. To me ofcourse. I don t recognize the show that i loved so much anymore. I lost the empathy about Chuck and Sarah relationship. I m not caring much anymore.
      That in a way is good because i can now watch Chuck more relaxed and i admit that i am curious to see how far the writers will go with this weak plot. The comedy isn t as good as it was before, the action actually is not what i expected so overall its a deception. Neverthless the ratings are good so its really just a personal opinion.
      I m also curious if i will be able to regain the same emotions and empathy towards Sarah/chuck romance.
      I think Shaw became the story, and for the first time i m not so interested in watching Chuck´s next episode..Shaw isn t there. And i am tired to see Chuck jealously.
      I was expecting a lot better.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Guys, I’ve been writing about this for months as the real Moonlighting scenario. What really happened to kill Moonlighting was that they hurriedly put their two charismatic leads with great chemistry together in an attempt to prop up sagging ratings*. What happened after that was that they immediately broke up the pair, and the bread and butter of their show, two charismatic leads with great chemistry, hardly shared any scenes for the entire next season. Sound familiar?

        With the BF/GF cover there was always a reason to have Chuck and Sarah together and interacting with each other outside missions, and on missions, well she had to protect him. Now that cover is gone and Chuck is out doing solo missions, and Chuck and Sarah (or Zach and Yvonne) get to share a few moments of interaction where invariably Sarah is scowling or brooding and Chuck seems oblivious. There is still time to fix it, but they have to have their two leads interacting with each other. When the heart of your show is the two leads their relationship and their onscreen chemistry DON’T “F” WITH IT!!!

        *(The ratings were already sagging because of production problems delaying episodes so that you never knew when a new episode would air, but that doesn’t apply here.)

    • Mike B says:

      I’m with you on this one Ernie. After she saw the the tape of what Chuck said in the vault the very least she could do was acknowledge it and talk to him about it. I know she was hurt but now she knows his reasons and knows that he loves her. But what do we get, in the next episode “Let’s be friends”. Major whole!

      • lizjames says:

        Well, I went back and looked at the last scene of Three Words again and there’s only one conclusion: TPTB are pulling our chain.

        Trust me on this, gentlemen. A woman sees that protestation of love and she loves him too, she goes and finds him and plants a gigantic kiss on his. Regardless of where they go from there, she acknowledges.

        So the bottom line is that TPTB are playing us, stringing this out.

        Bottom line: It’s impossible to analyze anything because they don’t feel they have to do it real… And if they don’t do it real, what’s the point of us trying to imbue anything we deeper meaning?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        So the bottom line is that TPTB are playing us, stringing this out.

        Liz, as Adam Baldwin would say, put that one in the D’Uh file. I’m just saying they are writing from a place where Chuck once again is doing the healthy thing by moving on, because Sarah is in serious need of professional mental health help the way they are writing her.

      • herder says:

        Oh of course TPTB are playing us, stringing it out, that is the most annoying part of it.

      • lizjames says:

        My point is that when TPTB are not dealing fair, why waste time trying to find the “real” meaning. There is no real anymore so ANY analysis is silly. Yours is silly. Mine is silly. Everyone else’s is silly. Because there’s no logic and trying to impose logic on manipulative, anything-goes storytelling is a waste of time…

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Liz, absolutely, agreed. My point about Chuck getting a free pass was about that, trying to forget everything and just figure our where TPTB want us to be. My point about Sarah needing mental health help was just a bit of snark pointed at TPTB about the damage they’ve done, not any in depth insight.

  3. Iseriouslydoubtthat says:

    While I don’t necessarily like the way we got here from season 2, given the current situation it makes sense that Chuck would be interested in Hannah.

    Sarah doesn’t believe in Chuck as a spy – she’s over-protective and stifling. Even if she is doing it out of affection, it has to be a source of irritation for Chuck that the woman he loves doesn’t regard him as a professional equal. So Chuck jumps at a chance to take a solo mission so he can show what he can do, and on that mission he happens to meet a charming, pretty woman who is interested in him as “Chuck, Nerd Herder.” For someone who has been trying and failing to meet Sarah’s expectations, that has to be intoxicating.

    Sorry this is getting long, but I view Hannah as Chuck’s “Cole.” To me, Cole represented Sarah’s ideal man – handsome, charming, rugged and excellent at his job. Everything she’s wants in a man, except for one thing, he’s not Chuck. Untimately she chooses Chuck over Cole, and Chuck will do the same with Hannah, who would have been his perfect match, if only he was the pre-intersect Chuck.

    • joe says:

      Nice! I like that, Seriously.

      For myself, I still can’t tell if either Hannah or Shaw are “for real”, in the sense that we know what there is to know about their respective character. Both of them seem almost too “pure” to be true, but we’ve see no indication that they don’t have Chuck’s best interests at heart.

      As far as the characters are concerned, that decision is not yet made, I think.

      Likewise, we’ve seen nothing that says either Chuck or Sarah have interests beyond friendship (in Chuck’s case)(Chuck’s smile not withstanding) or professionalism (in Sarah’s case)(Sarah’s anger, not withstanding).

      For my money, Chuck is closer to straying, but Hannah is gone, sooner.

      • atcdave says:

        I agree, Chuck seems closer to getting in trouble; but, as you said; that arc is more compressed, so its bound to start and end more quickly. If Sarah is going to get in trouble, it may be because of how Chuck did.

    • atcdave says:

      I certainly agree Chuck and Sarah’s relationship is a fairly dysfunctional place right now. But to me, the solution (whether we’re talking TV characters, writers, or a real person in real life); is to FIX the problem, not wander away from it. Sorry, just the thoughts of an old married guy who loves his wife, and tries to make things as close to perfect with her as I can, even if I know it will ALWAYS be a work in progress.

      • Iseriouslydoubtthat says:

        I’m still trying to figure out the Shaw angle in all of this, but I see Hannah as the figure that pushes Chuck back toward Sarah. If Chuck ultimately rejects Hannah because he wants a romantic relationship with Sarah, then his next step is going to be to actively pursue that relationship (i.e. tell or show Sarah he wants to be more than friends). Or maybe Sarah sees she’s starting to lose Chuck and that prompts her to let him know that there is the potential for a relationship with her if he cares to pursue it.

        Either way, I hope Hannah is just a “normal” person and not a spy or participant in Shaw’s game. I find it tiresome when every new character is a spy. The Jill unveiling was a shocker (to me at least), now it will be a surprise if a new character doesn’t turn out to be a spy.

      • joe says:

        I’m down with that, Seriously. The fact that Lou in S1 was not a spy made her far more likeable than say, Jill to the fans.

      • atcdave says:

        There has been talk about Kristen Kruek coming back. Which, apart from suggesting she won’t be killed off, also suggests to me she will be a part of the spy world. Obviously, too early to tell.

    • kg says:


      You’re correct. While Chuck and Sarah never formally got together in the first two season, the shows were generally upbeat, with tender and engaging moments.

      And even if something went wrong, or if a PLI was introduced, Sarah and Chuck would at least get together in the last couple of minutes of an episode and try and get to a good place.

      Although things might have been moving slowly between them, we could still exit the show with something positive, that these little flirts and moments would eventually add up to something real meaningful.

      These five episodes have been terribly frustrating. I have enough of that in my own life. Those tender moments I’ve generally alluded to have been few and far between this season; perhaps even non existent.

      We’ll just have to continue to trust that Chuck and Sarah know what they’re doing, or at the moment of truth will do the right thing.

      I remember Bryce telling Chuck that in addition to the former believing the latter could handle the intersect, he also warmly told Chuck “that he always does the right thing.”

      I Seriously Doubt That roughly describes a scenario in which Bruce Wayne/Batman found himself. A woman Wayne was interested in was infatuated by the Batman while Wayne wanted her to like and respect Bruce’s persona and not the alter ego.

      • atcdave says:

        I agree about the frustration. Even if (OK, When) they finally end up in a good place, we’ll have half a season worth of episodes that aren’t very re-watchable.

        As I said; so far, 2 out of 5. (of course, I’m exaggerating: assuming they make good from this mess, Pink Slip may be the only episode that’s irredeemable).

  4. lizjames says:

    I’m fairly confident in my post about the purpose of Shaw: He’s the device through which TPTB are pouring all of the changes that the show and characters must go through.

    That said, however, there’s something off with what is going on. Some of it is simply poor writing, but some of it is planned. What we’re seeing as the “reality” isn’t.

    There are a lot of possibilities and we’ve talked about some of them. But here’s one that could be the 800-pound gorilla in the room: The Intersect DOESN’T work.

    Think about some stuff that was said in Ring and Pink Slip, stuff that seems extraneous dialogue if everything is as it seems on the surface.
    1) Papa Bartowski says there were changes in his initial design.
    2) Bryce, who sent Chuck the first Intersect and several times said he trusted Chuck to handle it, urges Chuck to destroy Intersect 2.0. It was “too powerful,” he said.
    3) Beckman tells Sarah that Chuck is dangerous and the world must be protected from him, although he’s “worth the risk.” We’ve seen very little evidence to date that Chuck is dangerous.
    4) Beckman begs the off-screen Shaw to let let her tell the team something that they should know.

    So what if the big reveal (probably in e13) is that the Intersect really doesn’t work, which would then trigger the search for Orion (again!) in Europe in the mini-arc. It could also be the reason why Sarah went to Lisbon, to find Orion because she somehow knows that the Intersect doesn’t work. Remember, she was supposed to be in charge of 2.0 and at least twice so far has said to Chuck “it’s in the intersect.”

    So maybe while we have this clunky man-to-superman story going on, the big surprise is that Chuck isn’t the problem, the Intersect is… That would clear the field for Chuck and Sarah to be together as they search for the solution or (again!) to remove The Intersect.

    • AngelTwo says:

      That may also explain why Beckman was so willing send Chuck home rather than continue to work with him or immediately throw him in a hole. That certainly didn’t track with her previous solutions (kill Chuck or quarantine him). Despite her protestations to the contrary, Beckman knows The Intersect doesn’t work.

      And this opens another storyline resolution: If the Intersect is the problem than Chuck is NOT too emotional. Emotions are good, hence Chuck is good and that makes Chuck worthy of Sarah’s love of a good and normal everyman.

      Both on the mechanical level of the episodes and the bigger subtext of emotional man v. machine, this could work.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Liz, I like your idea, because it kind of reinforces something I’d been thinking. I wrote a post about retcon where I sort of hinted, but didn’t flesh it out, a theory that the big reveal might be something to do with Chuck. One thing that struck me was that the last thing Chuck said in training was that they should maybe contact his father for help, like it’d be no big deal for Chuck to do that. So, do we really believe Orion can’t or isn’t keeping in touch with Chuck, or at least keeping tabs, or that Chuck didn’t even think about trying to contact him all those depressing weeks after he flunked out? And where is that wrist computer?

      I like your theory too though.

    • atcdave says:

      That is an intriguing theory Liz. It begs the question, could we imagine this show without the intersect someday? It would be an interesting twist to end the season with Chuck getting a 1.0 downgrade, or even getting the intersect removed. Then maybe we’d have Chuck, the completely conventional spy (OK, still kind of a nerd); in many ways that could be more entertaining show than what we have now.

      • atcdave says:

        Hate to reply to myself, but I do want to add that I find this scenario unlikely. TPTB have consistantly refered to Chuck as Luke Skywalker, so I think something like “super-powers” is a core part of the show concept. Change would be likely only if that is among the things NBC wants changed.

    • joe says:

      Ooooo! Interesting!

      What came to my mind after reading your words, Liz, was that this would open the possibility of a great series concluding arc, too. The Intersect doesn’t work, and Chuck has been “doing the heavy lifting”. That’s a reference to his line in Sizzling Shrimp, btw.

      It may get to the point where he has to give himself some credit.

  5. Erin says:

    This isn’t directly related, but I think it needs to be addressed. So Ausiello just reported that Routh’s stay on Chuck was extended from 4 episodes to 8. This brings up a few things, to name a few: if they’re already filming past 13 then is he leaving and then coming back? or were they just hiding the actually number of episodes Shaw is going to be in? How is this going to affect Chuck and Sarah finally figuring their relationship out? (because, let’s face it, 8 episodes is a long time and if it’s all angst it’ll kill many of us fans)

    • atcdave says:

      I think his stay wraps up by 3.13. I strongly suspect it means the angst heavy part of his story will be done in his first four episodes. We’ve already seen the first two, and he apparently isn’t in 3.06; so the romantic conflict portion (whatever it actually amounts to), will probably be over in 3.08.

    • joe says:

      I wonder how they count this. Does the scene where they show only the back of his head as Gen. Beckman says that Team B should be told count as 1 episode? Could be.

  6. lizjames says:

    I’ve been doting on what we’ll see Ali Adler do in E8. She is the best of the writers, especially on relationship stuff, and has a lovely balance to her work. One example: Chuck asks Sarah for something real about her in Wookie, Sarah offers something real about herself in Cougars. Another example: Carina tells Chuck that Sarah wants him in Wookie and Carina tells Chuck that Sarah loves him in Three Words.

    So the question is what from Three Words will Adler offer as balance in Fake Name:

    1) Chuck and Sarah make love because someone’s core belief is challenged (a la Carina bedding Morgan because he said no). This is awful clunky and unlikely although it could happen as the start of a brief “undercover romance,” which is a flip of the fake boyfriend-girlfriend relationship of S1/S2

    2) Sarah makes some sort of comments about love and spys to Chuck (a la Chuck talking Sarah via Karl). Possible. And I would think that it would be Sarah somehow affirming that the two can mix. The obverse, Sarah saying Chuck was wrong when he talked to Karl, would be awfully sour and not in Adler’s previous work.

    3) Chuck finds some protestation of Sarah’s love without Sarah’s knowledge (a la Sarah seeing the video on the thumb drive). Difficult to pull off, but possible, because then both Chuck and Sarah have seen the other say it.

    Obviously, we also have the name reveal, which probably will be the catalyst for one of those scenarios.

    And there is Chuck’s claim in Cougars that he knows Sarah is someone he wants to share a cheeseburger with. Adler could balance that with Chuck saying he wants more now–or Sarah saying she wants more.

    I’m working on this assumption: Chuck and Sarah take the positive and inevitable turn to coupledom by the end of E8. Adler’s the only writer on the staff with enough grace to do it. And if TPTB don’t allow the beginning of positive, emotional coupling in 8, episodes 9-12 are gonna be very ugly and 13 (where they will couple, I assume) will be a travesty that destroys the show’s workings…

    • AngelTwo says:

      It would be nice if Sarah said something like: I want to share more than just a cheeseburger with you, Chuck. I want to share a life together.

      I mean, enough of the constipation already.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Liz, Ali does seem to have the touch. My only worry is that she co-wrote the Ring with Fedak, and you know my opinion of a lot of that. That’s why I blame Fedak and excuse Ali for not being able to rein him in. Is this a solo effort on her part?

    • herder says:

      Well considering that Wookie is where Chuck begs for something real from Sarah and she whispers that her middle name is Lisa, the obvious connection is that this is where she tells him her real name as both something real and an indication of her trust in him.

      But I am guessing that this may be the episode that we get a big reveal such that it changes our ideas of how we view some past event, probably the train station scene in Prague or Shaw’s wife is really alive and captive or we find out that Papa B is not as disinterested as we have thought. Maybe Sarah’s past, revealed by her name changes how we view her or her role in the spy world, but I definitely expect some big change.

  7. Big Kev says:

    Hi all,

    Firstly….congrats on this blog. I’m not new to Chuck, but I am new to the serious addiction for the show that I now have – and it’s wonderful to find somewhere I can come and get my Chuck fix with some intelligent and thought-provoking discussion. And to discover that I’m not the only one hopelessly, helplessly hooked on this show.

    They are currently re-running seasons 1 and 2 back to back here in Australia, so I’ve been mainlining my Chuck for about 3 weeks – while using “other methods” to get hold of season 3. But I’ll be a good boy and watch it when it comes out on Fox 8, and buy the DVD’s – promise!!

    This is my first post here – so feel free to edit!!

    But I have a serious problem with Episode 5. We’ve spent season 3 so far watching the reset of the show, and everything that the writers are telling us is that the stakes are higher, the protagonists have more to lose and are going to be dealing with real emotions, as opposed to the maybe idealised ones that coursed through season 2. And I get that. I bought Chuck re-intersecting in the S2 finale, and deciding to step up and be “that guy” immediately after Sarah told him that he was. Chuck does the right thing after all – that’s one of the many reasons why we love him so.
    And Sarah’s incandescant rage at both his refusal, and her own realisation of her role in that refusal is completely believable and in character to me – no matter how heartbreaking and tough it is to watch. The reset over the first 2 episodes was absolutely necessary. Chuck would never abandon his family, and Sarah will never be able to have a real relationship, with Chuck or anyone, unless she learns to trust her feelings and her judgement rather than running away from both.

    But now…..having put Chuck and Sarah finally on the same page of each beginning to understand what the other wants, and what it will cost, and pairing that with Morgan beginning to take responsibility for himself, and Casey showing (yet again) how much his emotional arc has changed, and how much he really does value his team (and how he may come to value another team at the Buy More)….after all that, I’m being asked to believe that Chuck’s eyes would light up like that as Hannah walks into the Buy More?? Or even that he would offer a job to someone in his “ridiculous cover” store, with the girl he loves next door? The girl who nearly committed treason for him, who (thanks to Carina) he knows loves him, and has said is prepared to hang around and try and sort things out?? It’s just one more thing we’re being asked to believe that just defies credulity – on top of the rehearsal dinner non-events, the lack of talking at the train station……it’s a pattern of substituting the emotional truth of what we know we are seeing with a pattern of plot twists and behaviour that just don’t fit. It’s been talked about before, particularly by Ernie and the always excellent Liz James……but this episode is where they may have just stretched it a little bit too far for me, like a rubber band, and once it’s gone too far, you can’t get it back.

    For the record, I actually liked Chuck and Hannah together. KK looked radiant, and Chuck charming. I really hope Hannah doesn’t turn out to be Ring…..although I’m with the majority in seeing her as some sort of a plant of Shaw’s. But an innocent flirtation on a plane is one thing……an “eyes light up” moment is another, at this point, and after everything that has gone before.

    There are lots of reasons I love this show. But the reason I care about this show, and what happens to the people in it, more than I do for most TV shows I watch, is because the strength of the emotional bonds between the characters is real, and when they are done well, they give this show a real depth. It works because (with a few exceptions) they explore those deepening emotional ties honestly, and in ways that make for wonderful, touching, poignant TV. Without that, the show would be an enjoyable piece of confectionery to me – still worth a watch, but just a light, pop culture comedy, forgotten after a couple of bites. That’s why I’m a Shipper, and proud of it!….but episodes like this damage that heart, and to me they damage the main thing that makes this show so special.

    Of course, it’s always possible that some of the gaps that currently jar so will be filled in. I hope so. The writers have earned the benefit of any doubt that I might have, on the back of seasons 1 and (especially) 2…….and it would be appropriate if the higher stakes theme of the season extended to the quality of the reveals and the pay off still to come. But much like Sarah, Episode 5 might be where I decide to put away my real feelings for this show, to avoid disappointment (at least for a while)……and just treat myself to some weekly confectionery.

    • atcdave says:

      Excellent first post Big Kev, and welcome aboard! I do agree with most of your post, especially your concerns about this episode. I don’t buy into the need for a reset, but I would be the first to agree; there is no way a life on the run would work for Chuck. But I challenge the whole premise; Sarah Walker knows Chuck could never leave his friends and family; he couldn’t even handle one night on the run (in Colonel) without calling Ellie. So, while I can accept Sarah being annoyed with Chuck’s decision to re-intersect; the whole running away scenario strikes me as cynical manipulation by the writers. I think it comes down to them being afraid to write a real adult relationship, and I’m daring them to prove me wrong!
      Actually, must buzz indicates we will get there this season; but certain parts of First Class (like the ending) make that hard to believe.
      As you said, perhaps as holes get filled in, it will all make more sense. We may find nothing is really going through Chuck’s mind at all about Hannah, and he’s still pretty focused on Sarah. The next couple episodes could do great good, or great harm to how I view the main characters.
      It is funny how emotionally engaging many people (especially many guys) find this show. I would guess most of us were sucked in by the mix of action and humor. But Chuck and Sarah give this show a better hook than anything I’ve seen elsewhere.

    • joe says:

      Great to see you here, Kev. For someone who claims to be only recently addicted, you’ve already shown amazing insight and clarity.

      Keep that up and I’ll have to consider retiring my pen to you! 😉

      I have only one thought. You’re right about the innocent flirting on the plane vs. the intensity of emotions between Chuck & Sarah. By itself, that’s nothing. Ah – but that look in his eye at the end…

      I can only keep in mind that we put it there. It’s the thought bubble behind Chuck that’s troublesome, but we are the ones writing the words there, not Fedac.

      We’ve been manipulated (some say with a sledge hammer, others say adroitly), to do that – to see once again more than has been put on the screen. And it wouldn’t be the first time in this show. That “eyes light up” effect is precisely how we are manipulated. By itself, it means – something. We just don’t know what. Yet.

      • weaselone says:

        Look at it this way. With Anna gone, Chuck is the only Nerd Herder that actually does any work. The prospect of getting a hard working, competent employee more than justifies any reaction that Chuck would have at that time. He could leap up and start jumping around on the Nerd Herd service counter and it would be a completly reasonable response.

      • atcdave says:

        Hah! Excellent take Weaselone. Hopefully that’s exactly his thought.

        And Joe, I’m not as inclined to give Fedak a pass; He loves those conflicted, ambiguous endings, and I really don’t. (I guess I’m in the “sledgehammer” camp!)

      • joe says:

        Dave, I don’t mind the ambiguity, so long as we eventually have the ambiguities resolved! In Fedak’s case, I admit that they’re often resolved waaaayyyy too late, and sometimes, not at all.

        What the heck happened with the RIOS trojan anyway?

        Hum… I don’t think we qualify for “Short Attention Span Theatre” – we’ve been patient. Right? We’re just addicts and into the minutiae.

  8. Big Kev says:

    Ha!! Love your take, weaselone. Although it looks like Morgan is about to discover a work ethic. Maybe that’s the basis of his attraction to Hannah? A genuine labour of love 🙂

    Joe/atcdave – Thanks for the kind words. Joe’s pen is in no danger, I promise you.
    I’m not so sure that we’re seeing more than has been put on the screen – and that’s my problem. I’m responding to what I see on the screen, which is a look from Chuck that needs no second guessing….and seems wildly out of character and context with what has gone before.

    But here’s a case of maybe seeing more than is on the screen.
    Did anyone else pick up Hannah’s little clue in her first scene with Chuck? When they are playing “what’s my line” and Chuck guesses the passengers are the Yale Fencing Team. Hannah’s reply is “spot on” – as if she is confirming that Chuck is right. Seems like an odd reply in a guessing game – until it proves to be correct. I think Hannah knows who is on the plane – and that the other guys probably really were Syrian Intelligence and Nuclear Physicists.
    Chuck remembers that they really are the Yale Fencing Team – but doesn’t seem to make the other connection about Hannah’s earlier confirmation of that fact.
    My theory of the day is that Hannah deliberately pointed out Hugo Panzer….probably undeer orders from Shaw, who then tells Chuck his real mission.
    I’ll probably have another theory tomorrow – which is why this show is so much fun!

  9. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs First Class (3.05) | Chuck This

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