Shaw’s Evil Plan, Part IV

Interesting thing is, I don’t think we learned a lot about Shaw, or anyone else for that matter in The Mask.   But in spite of the emotional downer this episode was, there may have been a few clues about what’s going on.  And its tempting to say the title itself represents nothing we saw was quite real.   We’ve been discussing what it all means across multiple threads, so I will try to summarize what many of us seem to be thinking here.  

 The only thing we can be sure of after this episode is that Shaw is manipulating Sarah.   We saw Shaw’s telling look in their last scene.    Its not clear if his plans are nefarious, or if it still has to do with separating Chuck and Sarah, or perhaps he still really wants to know about Lisbon,   or if there’s something else going on not yet revealed.

Previously, I have speculated both that Hannah is Shaw’s tool, or that she is an innocent Chuck will have to use.   I’m currently leaning more towards the tool argument.   Perhaps its all about separating Chuck and Sarah, but I suspect there’s something more we won’t learn ’til 3.08.    I think (let’s say 60% likelihood) that Chuck is playing her.    We know Chuck has a thing for pretty brunettes, and he’s gotten painfully little encouragement from Sarah (that we know of), so perhaps he really is trying to move on.   But I lean towards the possibility he’s suspicious of her for some reason, perhaps he flashed on something we haven’t heard about yet.   I expect we will know exactly in the next episode.

I am much more certain Sarah is playing Shaw (say 80%).   Her switch from brushing him off to warming up to him was so fast, it would be impossible to believe to anyone not thinking with their hormones; and she certainly did not seem happy to be with him in the final scene.   Possibly the best Sarah smile we’ve seen all season was when she and Chuck had chased Shaw out of the museum, and Chuck called her partner as they headed off on their mission together.   Its even possible their bickering was entirely for Shaw’s benefit, if that’s true, it probably means Casey isn’t in on the plan (he thought he was doing them a favor by killing the audio feed).    I’m not sure how much they’ve coordinated their actions, but I think its most likely Sarah and Chuck are both working their potential partners for similar reasons.    If Chuck is not involved in duplicity, Sarah is taking a huge gamble in letting him run around with Hannah, but she may feel its necessary to get close to Shaw.   Why is she so desperate to do this?   We can’t know for sure, she may just want him to think he has her distracted, she may still be trying to learn what makes him tick, or what his real agenda is where Chuck is concerned.

I still think 3.08 will be huge for the tone of the show this season, a continental divide of sorts.   I’m thinking it may take the form of a flashback, where we see Chuck and Sarah meeting to discuss their “plan” before, or in the middle of, the events of Mask.   I am still thinking Sarah’s name reveal will be the key to that epic moment.   My guess is, Chuck will flash when when she says it, and know she has finally told him something true about herself.   It may even lead to more specific information that will explain much of what’s happened this season; or here’s a radical thought, maybe they’ll actually talk about things.   We know the next couple episodes after (3.09 & 3.10) are non-arc episodes, so I think we’ll see some major game changers in 3.08.    I just hope they “fix” the sour taste of The Mask; our heroes are acting like selfish teens, I expect more.

I have to thank Faith and Liz James for their excellent posts last night, they really helped me get my head around this episode.   Especially when I didn’t really want to at first.

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About atcDave

I'm 53 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 30 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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74 Responses to Shaw’s Evil Plan, Part IV

  1. Stef62 says:

    My guess is they’ll show some scene of Sarah visiting Chuck after the whiskey scene at the end of the Nacho Sampler.

    Also reckon the ‘fake name’ of the title will belong to Hannah

  2. JC says:

    I’m not sure everything will be revealed but I think Chuck flashing on her name will give the views a big hint of what happening. Maybe even in regards to her past as a con artist.

  3. joe says:

    Some great theories being tossed around in all the relevant threads.

    Dave, I’m really surprised how quickly all of us (more or less) are coming around to variations of the same idea – that Chuck and Sarah have set their own agendas, and that Shaw and Hannah are still unknowns.

    Liz James and Faith, along with others, have been very persuasive.

    • atcdave says:

      Yeah, I think there are internal clues as to what’s going on, but they’re so subtle they almost aren’t there. I think us hard-core fans are the only ones who are processing it, so I’m really worried about ratings ahead.

  4. Faith says:

    Thanks but I have to say I was only able to think rationally because I knew coming in from you guys that it was awful. So it’s a team effort 🙂

    I’m actually not quite convinced that Chuck is as good a spy/liar as he was last night but I’m not ruling it out. The evidence are the evidence.

    Important too: at the end of the previous episode we have Sarah walking in to Shaw’s nook and asking “what’s in the envelope Shaw” after looks within the team. Oh and that episode started out with “have we got any more info on you know who down in Castle?”

  5. jason says:

    not a twitter expert, but an interview among sepinwall and schwartz and fedak is going to be posted here soon – hope this was an ok place to post this, sorry if someone posted it already

    http://twitter.com/sepinwall

    • Faith says:

      it’s up and it starts off with this:
      Did you guys expect anywhere near this kind of reaction to this episode?

      JS: It was not unexpected that people who are into Chuck/Sarah – I refuse to use the word ‘shippers,’ but you can, I just want my objection to that term duly noted on the record – would be not thrilled with the development. The one thing that we didn’t anticipate is that this would be the cliffhanger, and that there would be two more weeks required, three more weeks, until there was resolution to it.
      http://sepinwall.blogspot.com/2010/02/chuck-schwartz-and-fedak-vs-controversy.html

      Damage control much?

      • joe says:

        You know, I’m starting to think that Dave’s posts should be renamed “Josh Schwartz’s Evil Plan” (Parts 1 through Z).

        I don’t want to cast aspersions on the guy. Not my style. But if he wanted to do nothing else but create a buzz, he succeeded fabulously.

        Case in point, even this modest little blog got a record number of hits yesterday.

        And today, we’ve already exceeded *that* number, with 5 hours left to go in the counting.

        The level of interest is stunning. We’ll see if it translates into ratings.

      • jason says:

        i just read it, sorry, I did not read real much hope for 3.8? you guys have read between the lines from these guys more than I, are you more hopeful?

      • joe says:

        I just read it too, Jason. Like you, I think he’s saying resolution isn’t being promised in 3.08, but in 3.09 and later.

      • SWnerd says:

        So yeah not looking like next episode is gonna do a whole lot to help this situation. They make it seem like it probably keeps threading through the rest of the original 13. Wonderful. How many people will be left by then? And seriously CF comment about Shaw saving Sarah’s life…um haven’t both Chuck and Casey done that multiple time? That doesn’t even make sense. Likewise JS’s comment about how Chuck couldn’t still be sitting in the car after 2 years. What show is he watching? Chuck never stayed in the car. He always got out to help and usually ended up being the hero for it. Just saying some of the stuff they said seemed weird.

      • Mike B says:

        I sometimes wonder if CF watches his own show. His comment”And I think so much of last night was that Shaw saved Sarah’s life. That’s another component to the Shaw/Sarah relationship” It was Chuck that saved her life. Shaw was the reason she got poisoned in the first place.

      • Faith says:

        Actually reading that article it’s pretty obvious to me now that Sarah is indeed playing Shaw…

        There’s just too many “we’re episode ahead of you, trust us blah blah.”—like my friend pointed out.

      • atcdave says:

        I really thought that interview did more harm than good. Schwartz seems arrogant and clueless. They clearly say 3.08 will resolve nothing; swell, so we have to deal with this crud a while longer. I really need to quit this show; it is no longer fun, and the ringmaster brags that it won’t be fun for the duration of the season (which is likely the last). At least Babylon 5 was good for 4 seasons before it tanked.

      • herder says:

        One of the things that I noticed in the interview is that CF said that Sarah and Shaw were both spies, the spoke the same language, they had gone through the same spy school as an explanation of why Sarah and Shaw would be together. Yvonne said almost the same thing in an interview a couple of weeks ago. Sound like the cast had the same questions that the fans are asking and apparantly got the same answers.

      • Faith says:

        with all due respect there’s a certain amount of you read into things what you want to see—

        This article could be one of them. Because personally I was more fixated on the “planned” and the “in any other show” part of that comment than any of all the usual BS JS puts out there. I was reading into things, the positive things I want to see, I suppose lol.

        Contrary to the NPR article, that actually didn’t piss me off, but it doesn’t necessarily make me feel roses and candy either.

    • joe says:

      I can’t tell myself if it’s already been linked, Jason. It’s getting hard to keep up with all the posts!

      Thanks for the link.

  6. JC says:

    Just read it. Couple of points, I’m no fan of Schwartz because when he’s off his game writing it can be painful. But he gets lots of respect from me for responding so quickly, even if its damage control.

    He mentions how this is nothing like the OC but that’s his problem. The show is following the same formula as that when comes to the romance. Even the PLIs are almost exactly the same when you compare the shows. It worked for that show because they’re teenagers but not with so called adults. So if he finally has decided to move on from that formula, maybe thats why this season feels uneven. He’s out of his comfort zone when it comes to romance.

    I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt until 3.13 but they need to move forward by then.

  7. Lucian says:

    To their credit, they have been very honest with the fans regarding what the show was going to be like this season. We just didn’t want to believe them. The only thing that has surprised me so far this season is that they kept tranqing Manoosh in Nacho Sampler. That was old style Chuck, not the new, real Chuck.

  8. Who Dat says:

    I don’t know the rule of spoilers so ill put it this way..the website http://www.imdb.com under chuck allow you too see the cast of individual episodes. If you pull that up it is pretty obvious when Shaw and Hannah leave for now.

    • joe says:

      Thanks for the link, Who Dat (and I forget if I’ve greeted you properly! If I haven’t, welcome to the blog.)

      I don’t mind spoilers. But as a general rule, it’s always good to give people a fighting chance to avoid them with a little warning, just in case. You done good!

      IMDB is a great resource, btw.

  9. Ofer says:

    I agree with most of the main post. However, the issue I have with Chuck playing anyone (or him and Sarah combined) is how torn up he was in the previous episode.

    If there is any manipulation, I would have to think it is between Shaw and Sarah…or both

    • atcdave says:

      Chuck can play someone he sees as a villain, he’s done it several times. The hard part is hurting someone he likes. That is a good arguement for thinking the feelings towards Hannah are real. That’s why I was suggesting he may know something about her we don’t know yet.

  10. Yeefiver says:

    Regarding Chuck playing anyone;
    Remember Chuck essentially saying to Shaw in “Operation Awesome” that there is nothing he would not do to save his family and friends?
    I don’t know if Hannah is an agent or not, but by having a relationship with Hannah, Chuck effectively stopped Morgan and Ellie from probing further into Chuck’s secret life (at least for now).
    If Morgan and Ellie found out about Chuck’s double life, there is a good possibility that they would be thrown into a deep dark CIA hole somewhere, never to be seen again.
    So I think Chuck would manipulate Hannah for the sake of his sister and best friend.

    • Lucian says:

      How are Ellie and Morgan any different than Cpt. Awesome? What criteria warrants the deep hole?

      • Yeefiver says:

        In regards to Devon not being taken away by the CIA;
        Devon was used by Shaw with the intent of making Devon a mole within the Ring. However, Chuck spoiled Shaw’s plan. But Devon is a doctor and may still be valuable as such. (How much easier would it have been to plant that device in the terrorist in “The Broken Heart” if Devon had been associated with the CIA at the time or as the dictator’s personel doctor in “The Angel of Death”?) In addition, Devon could still be valuable to Shaw as a mole in the future.

    • Faith says:

      I implied the other day that what it would take for Chuck to embrace the dark side…and thereby create the conflict that is in need of a resolution is to hurt the people important to him…his family/friends.

      Well he hurt Morgan. Mission accomplished.

      • Yeefiver says:

        I don’t think Chuck intentionally hurt Morgan because it seems that essentially Morgan has the same opinion about women that he considers hot. I mean, what female is Morgan not interested in? With this in mind, how could Chuck know that Hannah is any different than Carina or Anna to Morgan.
        Morgan is still creepy. Remember that Morgan stalked Anna and for Hannah, he bribed Jeffster to do the stalking for him. Do you really have compassion for a person like that?

      • Faith says:

        If you contrast Morgan versus say Jeffster…then you kind of have to view him as an adorable and likeable weirdo. But either way he doesn’t deserve to be forgotten and in this case, stepped on by his best pal.

        But I think that’s kind of the point too. Through it all Chuck has always had one focus in his life and that is to be there (at the risk of his own growth really) for Ellie and Morgan. By doing this, by hurting Morgan (even inadvertently) he’s basically showing that he’s moving away from him/them. And instead taking on more of the spy Chuck persona.

        I’m not even talking bro code here (I’m sort of somewhat offended by the bro code anyways, what happened to the woman’s right to choose?) just in general hurting a friend even inadvertently. Plus I’m not fully certain but I think he’s expressed a like of Hannah to Chuck.

  11. compromisedcover says:

    I’m worried that we’re putting too much weight to the name reveal situation, that it will not meet our expectation. But it would be awesome if 3.08(or extend to 3.09) will serve as the twist of it all.

    Regarding the whole Sarah/Shaw business, I think they’re playing each other. If that’s the case, Sarah’s indeed making a huge risk with letting Chuck wander off. With the Chuck/Hannah thing though, I’m looking at it as Lou 2.0, in that the attraction is real, i.e. rebound.

    • atcdave says:

      Of course there’s always the possibility the Hannah thing is for real; I hope not, but I’ve disappointed by pretty much everything this season anyway.
      I may be the main offender of putting too much on the name reveal, it just sounds epic to me. Now JS is hinting we won’t really see resolution until later, this is going to be a long season.

      • herder says:

        No Dave, I think things will get a bit better in 3.08 and subsequent episodes, but I don’t think Sarah finishes with Shaw until 3.09 ( she makes a choice between Chuck and Shaw, but as usual fails to let Chuck know). Futher I think they remain friends, which Chuck reacts to in a jealous/petulant way until at least 3.11. I really hope I’m wrong, because this season has really missed the gentle moments between Chuck and Sarah.

        Really they have missed them between all the characters, something like the short talk between Chuck and Ellie in Dream Job when he brings their father home or between Chuck and his dad in his bedroom in the same episode. It seems to ramp up the tension in all the relationships they have sucked out the heart of the characters that is the reason they care about each other and we care about them.

      • atcdave says:

        The first part is sort of what I was expecting, major development in 3.08, with lingering effects for a while longer.

        You’re right about the difference in character interactions. The end of 3.04 stands as the only good moment for the whole gang all season. The show is more tense, less fun.

    • kg says:

      I believe that Sarah knows exactly what she’s doing, and assuming she and Chuck aren’t working together on this, she’s calculated this risk of seemingly let Chuck go is not substantial.

      The one person in the spy world she can trust or knows is close to real – is Chuck. She’s seen his evolution.

      So, either Chuck is playing ball with her, or she knows Chuck is better equipped to handle Hannah is she’s a fraud. Or Sarah trusts that his relationship with Hannah is designed for something else, ie protecting Ellie and Morgan.

  12. Hans says:

    Hello everyone!

    I’m kinda new to this blog, and to [i]Chuck[/i] in general, as it was only this Sunday night that I decided to start watching it, because of all the good things I had heard about it.

    My opinion on the show is…let’s say that from the moment Sarah walked into the Buy More in the pilot (and the whole chemistry-hook kicked in)I have not been able to stop watching. (Within the limits of reason, obviously. You know, eating…studying, haha.)Luckily I’m an insomniac, because that allows me the time to watch three-and-a-half seasons of goodness in as short a timeframe as possible. And I tell ya…it’s like an emotional rollercoaster on hyperspeed. This *always* happens to me when I watch a show even remotely like Chuck, particularly in the “shipping” departmens. Comparisons with Psych and certain episodes of NCIS come to mind. But the great thing is that Chuck is really the only show to date where I can fully enjoy this whole experience of watching a great show with, this time, a truly great romantic subplot. @ ‘Joe’: Your analogy with ‘glasses’ a while back was really, really spot on I think! I don’t really know what it is that makes this show and it’s romance subplot stand out from all the others out there, but I do know that, for me, it’s a fact. Mabye it is because of the threat of cancellation that the writers decided to do away with the ‘slow burn’ approach and thus stumbled upon the perfect way to handle TV relationships. Truly, I wish more shows did things the way Chuck and Sarah are handled, but I didn’t know what was missing from those other shows until I started watching Chuck. (Does that make any sense whatsoever? If not, sorry. English is not my first language.)
    Or maybe it’s just the way the story and the characters are, inherently. The show, because of its premise, is, I think, ‘forced’ to examine issues like trust, love and duty in more detail than most other shows do, and because of that strikes a lot of the chords just right that a lot of other shows miss. Add to that the perfect mixture of drama and a vessel of humour to package that drama in, and you’ve got, in my opinion, a marvel of a show that really earned the right to be ‘saved’.

    So after a massive Archive Binge, I am now ready to start watching “Beefcake”. It’s 5.21 AM though, so I think I’m going to pass, haha.
    The point of this introduction (the reason I do this under this particular post is that it is the most recent) is that I want to say how much I admire this blog for doing what it does. I have been pacing my reading of these posts analogous to the episodes I am watching, so that after every episode I can look forward to some great analysis from the people here. It’s always so nice to find out you are not the only one who grinned at that one moment, or who interpreted that one look so-and-so. So…keep doing what you’re doing, and eventually I’ll catch up with the episodes and the posts (both here and on ChuckTV), so my experience of this whole community will fully come into it’s own. Nice work, all! 🙂

    Oh, and to ‘earn’ my admission to this blog, as it were (haha), I come bearing a gift (which probably has been seen by everyone already but hey, I can always try!):

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2010/02/the_doubleedged_sword_of_devot.html#commentBlocka

    Warm regards,

    Hans
    The Netherlands

    /rant

    • atcdave says:

      Great to have you with us Hans! The first two season of Chuck are certainly among the best television has ever seen. Season three, not so much; but there’s still time, maybe it won’t be a complete bust. It seems you’ve done a lot of reading, we have a good time discussing things here, and probably invest more time in it than is wise. Your English seems great, we look forward to seeing more posts from you. I think the “glasses analogy” you mentioned was mine (Dave); there’s four of us here, Joe isn’t schizophrenic.

    • joe says:

      Hi, Hans. Nice to have you on board!

      Dave is right; the “glasses” analogy was his. (If only I could get him to sign his posts then people could appropriately recognize his genius 🙂 )

      I have a question for you now. When you see the show, do they over-dub the voices? Do they use sub-titles? I really hope the jokes come across!

      Oh – your English is great. Infinitely better than my Dutch!

      • Hans says:

        Glad to be here! 🙂

        Ha, interesting question. I believe Chuck will start airing here in March or something, and then they’ll probably be subtitled.
        I download the episodes off the internet, though. Not the most moral thing to do, I know. I love the English language infinitely more than I do Dutch, and I refuse to watch any of ‘my’ TV-shows in anything else but un-subtitled English. And don’t worry, I’m frequently grinning and/or giggling like an idiot when watching Chuck; the jokes come across perfectly.

  13. lizjames says:

    Uuuuh (imitating Casey grunt), since i was first here to suggest that things last night were not as grim as they appeared, I will admit that the Schwartz-Fedak thing with Sepinwall shook me a little. I really do think what’s going on here is that they are playing stings within stings and cons within cons–and doing it with some of the totems of what we hate most about what’s happened to Chuck and Sarah over the previous years.

    But if I’m wrong, if these two are so reckless as to drive Chuck and Sarah into “real” relationships with others first because that is what the story is about, well, we’ll know soon and we can lick our wounds and promise each other never to watch a Fedak or Schwartz show again. What else CAN we do?

    That said, I still would suggest this: Assume the story is specifically being written to tweak us with stereotype games before doing the inevitable pairing. No matter what any of us say, we’re in for the ride until e13 (even my husband, NoWayOut, grudingly watched last night). We grit our teeth, bear it and, if we hate how it went, we simply refuse to help “save” Chuck when TPTB come back to us for assistance in securing a season 4.

    So how does the arc lay out? I think like this:

    E8–We see the contours of any real or imagined romances. I personally cannot see an Adler episode where the Chuck-Sarah relationship isn’t left in a better place. If Adler doesn’t deliver something really good in E8, well, start thinking about buying your sandwiches from Quiznos from now on…

    E9–Chuck has to clean up his relationship with Morgan based on Morgan’s current feeling of being betrayed over what he “saw” between Chuck and Hannah.

    E10–Here’s my current guess: We might find out that Casey is actually driving the insurgency against Shaw (perhaps with help from Beckman) and Sarah and Chuck have been somehow coordinating with Casey. After all, what else could possibly get Casey fired? Certainly not anything he did in the past. It has to be about what is going on now…

    E11–Chuck passes his final spy exam.

    E12–We get the final contours of what we know about Shaw and what most of is motivations have been.

    E13–“Happy ending.” At least happy ending within the context of what TPTB will allow and what could happen with potentially fatally damaged characters. I would be careful with this next part, of course, but… The videos Zack Levi put on UStream last week have Strahovski in costume with a ring on her finger as they are shooting e14. Most logically, they are playing at being a married couple again. But could the big reveal in e13 be that it is Chuck and Sarah getting hitched for “real,” which would be the counterpoint for last year’s wedding finale?

    That’s what I got now, fingers crossed. Pray if you got ’em, Father Rick…

    • lizjames says:

      I should add this here: It simply IS NOT logical that TBTB would absolutely replay Chuck and Sarah’s previous relationships. For Chuck, Lou was fleeting and Jill had been real. For Sarah, Cole was fleeting and Bryce had been real. So logical storywriting suggestions one of two choices: a) both Chuck and Sarah find simultaneously “real” (if brief) relationships with Hannah and Shaw; or b) both Chuck and Sarah are playing Hannah and Shaw while Hannah and Shaw are trying to play them.

      In other words, simultanously real or simultaneously phony. I cannot believe these guys would be so reckless as to go for real and then expect us to accept a “happy ending” in 13, so I’m betting on cons-within-cons.

    • atcdave says:

      Interesting summation. I’ve already made that decision about anything else by the JS/CF group. Ironic to say I loved a show, but will never do that again! I agree with your reservations on 3.13; as good as possible with the now badly damaged leads may be the best we can hope for. I hope we see the mood lighten a great deal in the back six, but have no real reason for hope. For me (separate issue from the show’s renewal or not), everything is staked on two key issues; will the payoff be big enough to excuse the miserable season, and can they recapture the light, fun spirit that was such a great part of the first two seasons.

      A related thought, from looking at your synopsis above; ‘shippers are accused (yes I’m considering myself a ‘shipper for this point) of caring only about the destination and not the journey. But the whole basis of current ‘shipper criticism is not based on any doubts of the final destination; its that the journey is no longer fun!

      • Faith says:

        I have to be honest I felt a backlash against the shippers these past 2 nights…as a unabashed shipper I really, really felt the pain lol.

        But in a way I only have myself to blame. I did post in Ali Adler’s twitter: Shippers are p’od. Inadvertently.

        Anyways as for the journey argument I can completely agree. What’s the point of the destination if the journey not only sucks balls, it’s also completely implausible, not to mention unworthy of the characters we have grown to love?—that more than anything why I felt last night’s epi had more things than meets the eye. Because they couldn’t possibly be that stupid LOL.

    • joe says:

      Liz, Had a small light-bulb moment late last night, yet another clue that things are not as they seem.

      Consider the scene where Chuck is talking to Hannah, and Sarah walks in to tell Chuck that Shaw’s about to die. Hannah sees their conversation from a distance, and totally mis-construes it as a tift between ex’s, as does Morgan.

      The more I think on it, the more it seems that the idea of mis-construing events is an underlying theme of the episode.

      • lizjames says:

        Joe-
        I’m just glad you have electricity to HAVE a light-bulb moment. 🙂 And I’m not sure I wanted this snow day today to mope some more about the unfairness of Chuck just now. And THAT is what is so sad about Season 3. While TPTB are busy doing what they are doing–bad or good–the “journey” hasn’t been fun. That’s what’s wrong with the show. Not a lot of fun.

        I got enough “dark” in my life. I didn’t need Schwartz and Fedak to feed me more in my entertainment. Whatever happened to fun and yogurt 🙂

      • kg says:

        It’s a little insulting, don’t you think?

        Fedak, Schwartz, reviewers, et. al. simply are not listening to us.

        Everybody who has demonstrated any semblance of shipper qualities, is lumped into one, big unfair pile. And that is we want Chuck and Sarah together. Yesterday. Last Spring.

        These people not only don’t listen, or read what we write, they’re condesending and believe they are more clever than us and that we’re entitlists.

        Most from this blog have eventually admitted that Chuck and Sarah do not have to necessarily be a couple at this point. We didn’t like the reset, but have grudingly accepted it. They’re telling a story, their’s a journey and it’s too soon to reach the destination. blah, blah blah.

        All we’ve said is that the fun has been sucked out of the show. It’s true. And all we said was that the last 15 minutes of 3-7 were hideous. Which they were. Acting out of character. Too forced and contrived.

        Hell, the lovely and talented actors, with their seemingly boundless chemistry, looked lost and confused acting out the crap they were presented.

        Just because one clown suggested a national boycott, we’re all idiots. It’s not right and it’s not fair.

  14. John says:

    Sure, Chuck and Sarah will get together by 3.13, but will it be too little to late? In the eyes of many, the Chuck and Sarah characters are already butchered…rooting for Charah has turned to apathy.

    • John says:

      In addition to apathy, some has even grown to dislike the new Chuck and Sarah.

      • atcdave says:

        I agree, Chuck has already crossed the line into unlikable; and the only reason
        Sarah hasn’t, is most of us believe she’s faking it with Shaw. If it turns out we’re wrong, Chuck and Sarah are no longer worthy of the esteem we’ve held for them these last 2 1/2 years.

      • weaselone says:

        Personally, I think Chuck is fine although apparently as dumb as a post. Sarah’s the one that’s irritating me.

  15. Hans says:

    It’s really interesting to see the contrast between the comments on “Suburbs” and the comments in this thread. Has the show really gone *this* sour? Will it be worth it to continue watching beyond “The Ring”?
    It’s starting to feel a bit like Smallville, where I gave up after a season and a half of catch-up because I went on the forums and saw that, further down the line, a lot of people weren’t happy with the show anymore.
    Apparently there is something keeping you all here, then. Is it hope (Dave says he has no real reason for hope, but may I ask why you are hopeful anyway?) or a feeling that the Chuckiness of Chuck hasn’t been completely lost under the current story-arc and will leak back out once that is wrapped up?
    Or maybe I should just wait until I have caught up until I try to make sense of the Mood Whiplash that (from my perspective) has occurred. MAybe I’ll feel the same way, maybe I’ll be the token big-eyed naive kiddywink who still thinks everything is or will be allright. We’ll see; I’m looking forward to it whatever happens. Another unique thing about watching Chuck, right there.

    • atcdave says:

      I think the Smallville analogy is perfect. It was a fun take on a young Clark Kent initially, that became the worst sort of cheezy soap opera. Exactly where Chuck seems to be heading. For myself, the main reason I’m still sticking it out is I’m pretty sure things will be in a good place by 3.13 at the latest; so I will stick it out at least that long to see if they can make me believe again. Unless they really screw it up bad I will probably continue to the end of the season and see if they can get some sense of fun back. But they talk about another big game changer for 3.19; if we even get a S4, I will re-evaluate my viewership at that point.

      • Hans says:

        Ah I’m sorry to hear about your potential total disillusionment.

        May I ask, by the way, why this episode 13 seems to be so important as a sort of milestone or something? I know the original season 3 was ordered with only 13 eps with 6 more ordered later, so it can’t be because it will be the finale. Is it because Shaw will leave in that episode so this whole mess apparently created by Hannah and Shaw can finally be cleared up? Sarah and Chuck growing towards each other again?

      • atcdave says:

        Actually, you hit on it right there. The initial order of 13 held for quite a while into production; so when the final 6 came along, they did announce it would be a seperate story arc. So most of the themes and stories being explored now should be resolved by 3.13. Later announcements have specifically said the back six would be lighter in tone. That’s something I wanted to hear.

      • Hans says:

        It makes sense for episode 13 to end the whole Shaw thing; Wikipedia sez it’s called “Chuck vs. The Other Guy”. Seems a bit too blatant to have no relation whatsoever to the romantic subplots of the show. With a little luck it’ll satisfy both those who consider themselves shippers, and those who (arguably rightly so) think the show’s current problems are caused by the Paolo Parade that is going on right now. (Because let’s face it; these PLI’s are nothing more than The Paolo.)

        Also, episode 16 will feature a therapist character for Chuck. Perhaps this will be an opportunity to give us, the viewers, an extra frank bit of insight into Chuck’s mind and/or heart? You know, if this therapist will be the sort of chap that asks all the right questions to make the lead character(s) confront those things that need confronting. A bit like Stephen Fry’s character on Bones, perhaps?

  16. JC says:

    I don’t know if J/S and C/F really understand why people were upset about this episode. As writers you can only drag WTWT tension for so long before people get sick of it. They’ve acknowledged that in this interview and in previous ones, whether they know what the limit is hasn’t been established. I do sympathize with them to a degree. They probably did write that last arc of season 2 thinking it was the last and they gave fans what they wanted with C/S relationship. If they knew there was going to be a season three, I’m sure it wouldn’t have ended so happy on the C/S front. But it did end up that way and they let the “I love you” cat out of bag. Once you cross that line there’s no going back unless you hit a reset button, which they did. And thats where the problems lies it was insulting and lazy writing. It assumes your audience isn’t smart enough to see a strained relationship unless you introduce sexy new guest stars every year.

    Another thing they addressed was the C/S relationship wasn’t the only factor driving the show forward. Well I’d like to know what the other factors are because they haven’t shown it. The major plot about the Ring up till now has been they killed Shaw’s wife which now we know is what “connects” Shaw and Sarah. Chuck becoming more of as spy. Hannah is she a plant,working for the Ring or just crushing on Chuck? Ellie and Morgan team up to see why Chuck and Awesome are acting weird. It all leads right back to the C/S relationship. The fans didn’t just focus on that,its been forced down our throats this season. What I loved about the show was it was a geeky, more comedic version of Burn Notice and I’m just not seeing that now. I will admit I do have a little spot in my heart to see them hook-up. Its hard to deny the chemistry between Zach and Yvonne. But I’m nearing the point of hating seeing them on screen together.

    Just to finish up they talk about amazing things coming up and this is all part of something bigger. Well they better hurry up because at this point the whole season seems like once last chance for them to do the WTWT drama. And I’m guessing thats not what most viewers want out of this show.

    • atcdave says:

      I think you’re exactly right about it being a lighter version of Burn Notice for the first two seasons. But now most of the humor is gone, and they’re leaning VERY heavily on relationship angst, its morphed into a different sort of show; one that many of the old fans aren’t interested in.

  17. jason says:

    I got this idea from this forum, can’t recall who wrote it, but here goes, sorry for the length:

    at somepoint we will get a flashback to sarah going to chuck after the johnny walker black slam in the nacho episode, and they essentially will have not have ‘the’ talk, but they will talk about being a spy and about something not adding up with current events and the team, they will agree on a ‘con’, casey is not in on it, the ‘tell’ will be if chuck is never ‘freaked out’ again over anything, sarah toward him, sarah toward others, missions, playing marks, up to that moment in nacho, everything affected him – once nacho was over, nothing will bother him and sarah will 100% stop coddling chuck, he is her ‘partner’, he is a ‘superspy’, her equal

    now, back to 3.7’s tells

    from the end of 3.6’s sarah looking freaked out over dark chuck and chuck chugging whisky to ten minutes into 3.7, CS exchange one of the happiest smiles of the season when the say ‘partner’ not asset – handler and move together to take the mask

    within 3 minutes of that, fully knowing they are on tape, they engage in an exchange, that jackie gleason would have been proud of on the ‘honeymooners’ – don’t know if any of you are old enough to have seen that – pure comic pleasure

    then within another 35 minutes of tv viewing time, they blow 100% apart, have a rather happy goodbye, glad you found another hot brunette, yea glad you found a hero spy, ‘what can I say, I have a type’ – not he is my type

    chuck essentially saw sarah in shaw’s arms for the first time minutes before that, at the same point he had to assume she was dead, all we got was a nod and a smile
    the nod in fanfic code, OK, she has shaw marked

    don’t forget the eye contact, long eye contact, when she was trapped in the castle and chuck was leaving, that was abnormal, even for CS, and that was ‘steamy’ CS communication at its finest

    within minutes of that exchange, sarah starts flirting with shaw near as much as any mark she has been with

    3.7 either was the most inconceivable 60 minutes of tv, or a cleaver con of a con of a con of a con, well you get the point

    this is probably just crazy shipper talk, truth is chuck found a hot brunette, and sarah a mindless chippendale dancer that each can bang the living daylights out of

    • joe says:

      Oh, I remember The Honeymooners alright!

      The ideas you put out here are growing on me, Jason. And the more people talk about the possible clues, the more obvious they seem. Or at least they don’t seem as subtle.

  18. Lucian says:

    IMO it is all about good storytelling. For two seasons, they were telling a really good story. This season, they have lost their way in an effort to be more real. A lot of the character development of the last two years has been thrown away. Personally, I’d rather see Chuck with Hannah and Sarah with Shaw if those were moderately healthy adult relationships. Several more weeks of love geometry ahead. And, the ratings would support that most viewers would agree that their story is not particularly compelling. They haven’t jump the shark; they have become less entertaining.

  19. OldDarth says:

    If Sarah is playing Shaw and we are told this via some form of retcon in the next episodes that is just another form of dishonest story telling. That stuff does not truck well with me at all because THAT would be a clear and concrete case of emotional manipulation.

    What seems more likely to me is that after Hannah leaves – because Chuck realizes it is Sarah that he wants – in 3.08, something happens mission wise that makes Sarah realize Shaw is manipulating Team Bartowski. Chuck may realize this too – hence the punch.

    At this point Sarah does the name reveal and then tells Chuck she needs to play Shaw to find out what his end game is. So the rest of the season she stays with Shaw to determine what his goal is.

    Something along those lines would sit better with me than a retcon. I would much rather chalk the last 10 minutes up to rushed story telling and move on.

    • weaselone says:

      Which reminds me. Are your writing a critique of this article for ChuckTV and when can we expect to see it?

    • joe says:

      Hum…

      With apologies to Ernie, I start to dislike the term “Ret-Con”. I think it was originally meant to denote the use of something really, really contrived to re-write the meaning of scenes post-hoc. The classic and defining example; the dream in Dallas. But now the term has sort of morphed into meaning any plot device that makes us consider past scenes in a new light. That should be okay for the sake of story-telling (so long as the other rules of good story-telling are followed, of course). It would be limiting to not have it available as a device, yes?

      So I don’t think I’d feel so manipulated if Sarah is playing Shaw, Lou. I tend to feel manipulated when they bring out the puppies and children to make me feel something.

      I like the scenario you’re proposing, though. Chuck is seldom more than one scene away from realizing that Sarah is the one he wants.

    • Michael says:

      I think Sarah is playing Shaw. I think Casey is too. We know that they’ve been trying to figure out who Shaw is and that he’s manipulating Chuck by playing on his need to prove himself.

      I’m not sure that they’ll need to ret-con – they are a lot of significant little clues already planted. Like, who know that Casey could crash a server? If he can, could he also trigger a contamination alert in Castle? If his partner is dying back at Castle, why is he basically nonplussed in the van on the way to the museum. And again at the museum, when he’s telling Chuck not to worry about Shaw and Sarah. For that matter, why is he looking for Shaw’s reaction before he turns off the mike during the mission?

      Sarah’s turn around is very sudden. Unless, of course, she needs to capitalize on the fact Shaw’s death-bed confession that he has feelings for her (she identifies his need and fills it).

      Sarah’s expressions have always been critical to this show – they’re very interesting all the way through the contamination scene, through to the point where she “passes out”, and again during the entire last scene in Castle with Shaw, but especially when they’re sitting across from one another at the table.

      I’m not sure Chuck is in the know on this. It would undo a lot of the confidence he’s developing to know that Shaw was playing him. At the same time, this mission was a spectacular success – he saved Hannah and, as far as he knows, Sarah too, as well as containing a chemical weapon (when was the last time Casey gave him credit where credit was due?). This is a much more effective training scenario – for Chuck -than Shaw’s solo mish – people he cared about were (or were they?) in harm’s way.

  20. weaselone says:

    That’s pretty much how I feel. I’d much rather it turn out that we’ve been subject to a few minutes of rushed story telling, or just chalk everything up to Chuck and Sarah momentarily devolving into complete flakes at the end of the episode. I mean their is some merit to the idea that the two of them are just so self sacrificing and clueless that they’d both just fall on their swords so as not to make the other guilty about pursuing a new love interest.

    Having said that, I’m suspicious that we’re in for emotional manipulation and retcon. They gave it to us in Nacho Sampler in spades. The most egregious was the complete disharmony between how Chuck was actually reacting and feeling about the darker aspects of the spy world and the reactions of the people around him. Chuck spends the entire episode conflicted and in pain about the actions he’s forced to take and the lies he needs to tell while the other characters react and comment as if he is becoming a cold-hearted spy. They thew in the artificial and false parallel between Manoosh and Chuck.

  21. Mike B says:

    Does anyone else find it odd that there are no previews for 3.08 posted and that JS said that Chuck would not be heavily promoted during the Olympics.

    • weaselone says:

      There is sort of a preview. There was a promo that included scenes from the first half of the season up through episode 8. If we look at that and omit the scenes we’ve already witness we can be fairly certain what remains will be in episode 8.

      I’m not sure why they didn’t give us a full preview after the episode. Maybe their won’t be much Olympic advertising for the show, but there will be some and their saving some of the best scenes for use in a handful of adds during the Olympics and the final week before the new episode of Chuck.

      • Stef62 says:

        Or maybe they,(the network),just used up the aloted budget on the season launch.

        They could be thinking it’s not given them the returns they’re looking for, so why waste more money

    • herder says:

      I think it is intentional, I think that they knew that the Mask would be poorly received but a segment of their fans, just not how poorly. My guess is that upon learning about the Olympic break in november they planned a series of leaks and stories in the media to be released over the next few weeks. JS and CF’s interview with Sepinwal was a last minute thing thrown together to avoid pushing up the timing of their proposed campaign. There is no preview because they can either preview the set up for next week which will make people angrier or spoil the ending which they won’t do.

      Incidentally there is an article on Zap2it that is entitled Chuck and Sarah: couples we don’t care about anymore. It basically says that in previous seasons they rooted for Chuck and Sarah to get together, but this year not so much. It then goes on to a gallery of 16 couples on tv that they just don’t care about. This sort of ties into what a number of posters (myself included) have said, that based on the story so far this year there is no reason to root for Chuck and Sarah to get together. If you have told over half your initial story and people are saying that story doesn’t set up ehat you intend to be a significant part of your big finish then I think you are telling the story wrong.

      The other interesting part is that this is media saying this not just “crazy shippers” who by definition are easy to dismiss.

      • Mike B says:

        I totally agree. The one thing you hear from any new viewers (if there are any left)is that they don’t see why Chuck and Sarah should be together. If TPTB plan was to kill the chemistry between the two leads, then mission accomplished.Sometimes in tv shows when the chemistry is lost it doesn’t come back. I hope this isn’t the case only time will tell.

      • weaselone says:

        Well, the number of shippers should steadily be declining. It’s hard to imagine people remaining heavily invested in a relationship between two people that you just can’t bring yourself to care about.

  22. Hans says:

    I’m watching the Yvonne Strahovski interview from November right now, and I just had a brainwave (doesnt happen often so I’m not going to let it go to waste..)
    Maybe it has been said before and if so, I’ll probably chance upon it soon, but because it applies to this apparent mess the ‘Mask’ episode has left, Im going to post it anyway.
    Something I have picked up from some s3 spoilers and now, this interview, is that one of the themes in s3 is going to be that Sarah is afraid of losing Chuck to the super-spy-life. Where in season 1 and 2, Agent Walker was slowly moving baby-steps in the direction of Chuck’s world, hence becoming more of Sarah with Chuck (at least between missions – does that distinction make sense, by the way?) in s3 apparently Chuck is moving more into the direction of Agent Walker’s world, losing the very traits that appeal to Sarah and swapping them for more and more parts of Agent Carmichael. Yes?

    So might it be conceivable that Sarah is perhaps genuinely…not interested, but at least involved with Shaw because this way she can try and force herself not to think about Chuck, or force Chuck to let her go because she is already ‘taken’? What I mean by that is that maybe Sarah is so scared of losing ‘her’ Chuck, the Chuck of season 1 and 2, that she would be willing give up any potential of real love with him by going out with someone else. My reasoning: if Sarah is going out with Shaw, Chuck will be forced to keep pursuing his relationship with Hannah since his twue wuv is no longer available. As far as we know (despite any suspicions) Hannah is a completely normal girl. Perhaps Sarah hopes that the changes in Chuck can be reversed if he has a fulfilling relationship with a normal girl instead of with her, and she is willing to go to great lenghts to do this for Chuck?

    That was incoherent. I hope someone is able to glean from it what I want to convey and put it in more eloquent terms, haha. Also, remember that I say this without having seen any of s3’s episodes.

    Thoughts?

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