Why Our Stories Matter.

I’m a bit of a Jos Wedon fanboy, but I ‘ve seen only a few episodes of Buffy or Dollhouse.  I treasure every episode of Firefly, and while I can’t recall how much I’ve seen, I really liked Angel as I recall.  For a fanboy I’m a pretty irregular watcher.  So I guess it isn’t really about Wedon.  It is about something I think Wedon does well.  He tells a great story.  His themes are nothing less than epic.  What is evil, what is good?  How can we tell the difference?  Is redemption possible?  What is it that makes us human?  What is the human condition? Heady stuff for anyone, but he managed to pull it off quite often on shows that were, shall we say rather lighthearted in nature?  More on my thoughts about the stories that matter after the jump.

On our little corner of the Chuck-verse Joe has developed a great method to see what is going on in the most basic level of a story.  There are two questions.  Who are you, and what do you want, and at some level every character is answering, or seeking to answer one, the other, or both.  I like it and I use it often, and one of these days I’ll actually rent Babylon 5, about the time Joe rents Firefly. 😉  But Joe’s (and Babylon 5’s) questions are a reflection of something that has been going on a lot longer.  This post started some time ago as an examination of the artist and the audience and what they owe each other, but ATCDave has covered that far better than I was doing, so in thanks for removing that roadblock, I’m going to drop that part and cover the other idea this post dealt with.  Why our stories matter.

We often talk about Joseph Campbell’s theory of the Monomyth, also known as the Hero’s Journey.  It is a template often used by writers to construct a good action tale.  But it started out as something else.  Campbell was convinced that there was at some level a universality in all mythologies, that every culture and every myth spoke at some level to something intrinsic in humanity, or humans.  It is an appealing idea, and one that makes a lot of sense.  If we are evolved creatures, so is the culture that allows us to live as a cooperative species evolved from something more primitive.  When you look at many societies, you see that the basic outlines are remarkably similar.  At the lowest level we are organized around kinship; family, then extended family or village or tribe, up to larger structures like nations.  At each level there is both a responsibility and an expectation that works in each direction.  This seems at the most basic level to be the social model that man has evolved.  Now look at the Hero’s Journey stripped to its most basic elements.  A boy or man leaves the life he knows to venture out into the unknown.  In the unknown he is changed and returns to his home to enjoy new status for delivering a great boon for his people.  It’s pretty much an outline for the boy venturing out on his first hunt.   In that basic sense this is why our stories matter, and why they first mattered.  They are how society transmits its requirements and expectations to each new generation.  As societies have grown more complicated than villages of hunters and gatherers so have our myths.  New layers and stories have been grafted on the old, but the basis is still passing on a sense of who you are expected to become.

As complicated as it may get, the human condition does come down to those few questions of Joe’s, who am I and what do I want.  But it isn’t in asking us who we are that our stories matter, it is in the telling of who we are and who we can be that the social values have been passed along for centuries.  This is who you are, one of us, and this is what we aspire to be.  Even though starvation and social collapse aren’t necessarily as near as they were in centuries past, to an extent any civil society in any model still requires us to recognize what we have in common and how much we need each other.  This carries over to the individual when it comes to our stories.

We are directionless slackers coasting through life never utilizing our potential.  But we could be a hero if someone saw us in a new way and helped us discover a side of ourselves we didn’t know.  We are career focused emotionally walled off professionals, but someone could teach us to treasure what is truly precious in life.  These are the new stories that matter.  You are not limited to who you are now, you can be anything you want.  Sound familiar?  When these stories are told well, they touch something in the core of our humanity, hope.  While our lives may require compromise and disappointment, there is always hope for something more or something better.

Love conquers all, that’s another one of our stories.  Also known as sometimes the nerd gets the girl.  Last Monday, whether they intended or not, TPTB told us that no, he doesn’t, completing a process they started with Chuck Versus The Ring.  Because Chuck the nerd didn’t get the girl, much as they try to split the difference by showing Sarah was ready to stay at the end of the Ring.  Because they never ever acknowledged to each other that it happened they were pulled apart at the last minute again.  Sometimes you need to take a chance on someone, also known as exactly how long am I supposed to feel sorry for Sarah as opposed to suggesting serious psychiatric help?  Aside from the tiresome re-re-re-use of the same damn character trait we were supposed to see her growing out of again, this time they hit us with a double whammy.  When Chuck and Sarah get together, he’ll no longer be the nerd, he’ll be the spy.  And in the meantime it turns out that Sarah Walker actually does fall for every guy she works with.  That makes both her season 2 love for Chuck, and their eventual coupledom a bit cheaper.  Wether they intended or not the damage they did to the characters just made their story a lot less compelling.  There is the source of anger.  They didn’t just damage the characters, they took away season 2 from us, or at least what it meant to us.  We don’t have Barstow anymore, because it didn’t mean anything.  It wasn’t real apparently, just a momentary fantasy they both had before life intruded again.  It is going to be tough to scrub that one from the collective memory.  I have said it before, TPTB had the chance to do something unique, and decided to take the traditional route.  I’ll always think it was their biggest mistake, they didn’t believe in themselves enough to try it.  The rest is details.

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About Ernie Davis

I was born in 1998, the illegitimate brain child and pen name of a surly and reclusive misanthrope with a penchant for anonymity. My offline alter ego is a convicted bibliophile and causes rampant pognophobia whenever he goes out in public. He wants to be James Lileks when he grows up or Dave Barry if he doesn’t.  His hobbies are mopery, curling and watching and writing about Chuck.  Obsessively.  Really, the dude needs serious help.
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159 Responses to Why Our Stories Matter.

  1. joe says:

    Ernie, if TPTB read one thing on this blog, this should be it.

  2. Lucian says:

    Ernie – you need to publish this stuff. You accurately summarized the source of my disappointment with the first half of this season. They were so close…..

  3. Jen says:

    Wow Ernie, that was an amazing post. Thanks for putting into words exaclty how i feel.

    It breaks my heart that “the magic is gone”; at least it seems to be that way now, and that we are back on the emotional roller coaster w our favorite characters, where it appears neither has really grown up. I wish the show creators would have realized what a great job they did w S1 and S2 in making us care so deeply for this show, the C&S relationship and the characters themselves, to then have it all be treated like they did.

  4. Jason says:

    I love what you wrote – you describe S1/S2 as the show I fell for too, of course except, I think the nerd got the girl, chuck got ‘jenny’, sarah picked chuck at least 4 times at the end of S2, vs cole, then committing treason to find his dad, then vs bryce, then prague. The nerd won. But, the nerd said ‘no’ in prague. Although call him crazy, he understood chuck ‘was not man enough for ‘sarah’ for all kinds of reasons, season 3 is about ‘charles’ wooing ‘sarah’, chuck already has ‘jenny’ for life, the nerd won, now the real test is can charles outman daniel/bryce/cole/etc – knowing a punch is coming up, as well as a fake name, as well as an ali adler episode, well, just maybe we can all be in a better good spot after 3.8????????

  5. JC says:

    Whedon has two things that most writers on TV don’t, a willingness to take a huge risk and the knowledge that his audience isn’t stupid.

    On Buffy we had her and Angel, the C/S of that show. Once those two realized they couldn’t be together they moved on, sure there was angst but they knew. It was played out over the season, passion was there but in end it was to never be. Whedon realized this and he wrote Angel out of the show, drawing it out wouldn’t serve any purpose.

    When characters would do something stupid or act OOC, they would be called out about it by someone else on the show. He had a way on conveying why someone acted the way, it was never sudden without a reason. Even if something was done just to move a plot forward, it never felt forced or insulted the audience.

    I find it odd that a show about teenage vampire slayers, demons, magic, etc had its characters act more adult about love, life, heartache, death,etc then Chuck ever has.

  6. Faith says:

    I sort of kind of feel the need to defend Sarah Walker but eh, .that’s not really the point so…

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Well, I’ll defend Sarah Walker. In Pink Slip she was ordered to keep Chuck’s emotions in check so the intersect could work, essentially putting her back in the role of Chuck’s handler. It does kind of put a damper on professions of undying love… So I was perhaps a bit unfair, but I think I was accurately characterizing what we are seeing on the screen. They’re making her look pathetic.

  7. Hans says:

    This actually makes me sad 😦 (So I guess that means: kudos on the well-written article, Ernie! )
    I second Jen in saying “It breaks my heart…” that the magic is (for me: going to be) gone. I just finished watching Colonel and reading Joe’s review of it, so I’m a little apprehensive to go on from here because right now all is well in Chuckland, but apparently it all comes crashing down with an almighty roar in The Ring?
    I’m scared. Hahah.

    I’ve also got a list here of some comments by some of you that highlight the contrast between before, and after the Mood Whiplash that seems to have occurred here sometime in season 3. I don’t want to re-hash old discussions or ‘open old wounds’ as it were, by inadvertently rubbing some things in, but I am really interested to know what you, in retrospect and knowing what you know now, think of your at the time (and perhaps they still are) very astute and insightful predictions/statements/feelings/ponderings about how you all though season 3 would turn out. Have you had a change of heart since then? Still hopeful?
    Especially since this articles seems to be in part about something that has been lost from the show. I could of course wait until I have seen season 3 and answer these questions for myself, but the theme of this article really ‘compels’ me to ask you all, now.
    So indulge me if you will, (or don’t if you won’t), and here are some of the more beauiful/hopeful/exciting examples from my list ( I can’t remember who made which statement, by the way):

    – “Sarah will be pursuing Chuck, instead of the other way around like it was in seasons 1 and 2”

    – “We will see more of Sarah, and less of Agent Walker”

    – “It’s okay to feel angry over story developments that you aren’t happy with, but in the end we can only go where the writers lead us. (I put this one in because it presents an interesting contrast with my usual experience on tv-forums. More on that at the end of this post)”

    – “We know it will be sweet when Sarah finally chooses Chuck; Even if we have to endure an episode or two of her flirting with another Cole.”

    – “Shaw represents growth for Chuck.”

    – Dave referred to “the romantic in me”; considering your more recent posts… is he still there, Dave?

    – “The “love versus duty” challenge will be much greater for Sarah in season 3.”

    – “The characters will not lose their consistency due to PLI’s” Guess that one is answered for now…*sigh*

    – “I hope season 3 respects the relationship between Chuck and Sarah, as two human beings who are in a meaningful, loving relationship.”

    – “Season 3 will not end on a disappointing note; the writers are really in control of that for the best.”

    – “Chuck will only be cocky in the first half of season 3, as he is humble and selfless by nature.”

    – “Does Sarah love Chuck, or just the *idea* of ‘a normal guy’?”

    By the way, one last question: One big indicator of small moments between Sarah and Chuck was a very unique bit of soundtrack. It consists of a very simple series of piano chords and small arpeggios, and it’s brilliance lies in the fact that it suits any sort of romantic/sensitive moment imaginable. The music will overlay an immediate WAFF (Warm And Fuzzy Feeling) on every scene, if Chuck and Sarah get closer in that moment. If it is a more bittersweet, pensive or ‘saying-I-love-you-without-saying-it’ (did that make sense?) it’s Tear-jerk potential shoots through the roof. (Most recently for me: the scene in Colonel in the motel, right before they go to sleep and Chuck asks why Sarah ran away with him. “One mission at a time, Chuck.”)
    Right. The reason for that extensive description is because it will hopefully indicate better which piece of soundtrack I mean. Now my question is: perhaps one way to gauge where Chuck and Sarah ‘really’ stand in season 3 is to listen out for this piece of music. Maybe it’s because I have watched two seasons in quick succession, but the piece has become almost like a conditioned stimulus, telling me when a scene is really big on the development of the relationship between the two leads. So has it been playing much in season 3?

    I’ve also noticed that the mood on this blog is much more…I don’t know, mature? Thoughtful? Balanced? than on most of the forums I have experience with. It is almost inevitable that on a show like Chuck, the romance aspect of it all will get the most attention in fan-discussions. ( I know my posts are particularly romance-heavy as well.) But whereas ‘normal’ forums I am used to usually consist of a *lot* of the proverbial ‘screaming fangirls’ saying how cute everything was about every moment of that week’s episode, here, a small group of people really takes the time to completely analyse and deconstruct every possible aspect of an episode. And since characters are a real treasure trove when it comes to analysis, I have already gained more insight about the characters on this show than I would have if I had not found this blog. I like that.

    • atcdave says:

      All I can say for S3 is, if it were a new show I would have never made it past the premier.

      There is still a romantic inside me, but he is profoundly unhappy with this season. When I need a Chuck fix I go to fan fiction, the show itself isn’t cutting it for me.

      The tone of this blog is more mature than most because our average age is older than most! (I’m pretty sure Amy is an exception to that).

      • joe says:

        Hey! I resemble that remark!

        😉

      • amyabn says:

        I think I’m only 10 years younger than you and Ernie (1973). I think we are well represented!

      • joe says:

        You know – I’d love to hear from someone who’s 28 or 29 (say, born around 1981) to get their take on the character’s emotional maturity. I wonder if they feel well represented. I wonder how well they relate to C&S.

      • cholitau says:

        This is Jen,, btw, if you remember my other posets. I signed up w another username 😦

        I’m 31… not so far from the late 20’s and the lack of maturity in the characters is driving me insane. I think, taking into account the fears and insecurities of C&S, starting a relationship can be hard when they feel so strongly about each other but at the same time feel like they are not enough for the other. Everything has a breaking point though and i think that breaking point is long overdue; so seeing them now in S3 still being the same afraid, immature people still not communicating with each other, not expressing their own fears and insecurities w the other drives me nuts. And how easy it seems to be for them (if we take Mask at face value) to let go of that intesne love an go hookup w someone else… doesn’t your heart tell you how wrong that feel? (i too am a romantic!) Is Chuck just looking for any girl he can call his own Can that conversation about being friends have provided him w enough closure? i don’t get it. In Sarah’s case, i’m convinced she’s playing Shaw, but i hope we see Sarah Walker come out now as a woman that isnt’ afraid to express what she feels, and get over the things that have happened. She made many mistakes along the way giving Chuck so many mixed signals, and now apparently telling him that he is free to go… she needs to go talk to him now and tell him the truth.

        OK, got carried away and maybe went off topic! sorry, there is just so much in my head right now!

      • joe says:

        Not at all, Jen. I asked!

        Now I have to consider and digest what you just said.

      • Faith says:

        I’m 25 and I would probably be considered as emotionally constipated as Sarah Walker at this point.

        But even I think there’s a certain amount of emotional immaturity on both their parts. Still I understand where they’re both coming from.

  8. JLR says:

    Bravo Ernie…

  9. Faith says:

    There are spoilers all over these answers so be warned if you don’t want to hear them lol. Well early season 3 spoilers.

    “Sarah will be pursuing Chuck, instead of the other way around like it was in seasons 1 and 2”

    Still yet to be determined. There are indications that there’s so much more going on that just what they feel for each other that really the C/H and S/S is not the real story.

    “We will see more of Sarah, and less of Agent Walker”

    Of all the things I LOVE about this season (and they are few and far in between) the emergence of Sarah Walker versus Agent Walker this season has been tops. Granted things (namely Prague) happened where regression returned but it’s a perfectly plausible and understandable and un-upsetting development for me.

    “It’s okay to feel angry over story developments that you aren’t happy with, but in the end we can only go where the writers lead us. (I put this one in because it presents an interesting contrast with my usual experience on tv-forums. More on that at the end of this post)”

    Like it’s been said before, it’s not so much the developments or the WHAT as it were, it’s the HOW. But I guess some are unhappy about the what as well. In any case we’re all on the same boat now and that is the “hope this gets better quick” boat.

    “We know it will be sweet when Sarah finally chooses Chuck; Even if we have to endure an episode or two of her flirting with another Cole.”

    I have to be honest, the shipper in me (yes I am a flaming shipper) is more upset at the lack of loyalty that Sarah has always shown to Chuck and her feelings for Chuck than the fact that she’s with Shaw to begin with. Again if taken face value. It’s just completely OOC for her to act the way she did and does.

    “Shaw represents growth for Chuck.”

    Perhaps and it may come to pass I’ll thank the lucky stars for his appearance but as of now, as of today I cannot wait for him to be socked (punch) down.

    Dave referred to “the romantic in me”; considering your more recent posts… is he still there, Dave?

    LOL Dave can answer that.

    “The “love versus duty” challenge will be much greater for Sarah in season 3.”

    Season 3 is really very different in that specific aspect. There’s a sort of role reversal in a sense where now we have Sarah wanting the love instead of duty and we have Chuck wanting the duty because of love. The real conflict (if you take away the mess that Mask made) to me has been whether Sarah can live with the dangers and the consequences of Chuck’s new spy life (as well as forgive him for Prague) while working toward being equal in the spy sense.

    “The characters will not lose their consistency due to PLI’s” Guess that one is answered for now…*sigh*

    In spades. Again face value. I feel like I’m bringing that too much but really I can’t imagine it otherwise. But in the event I’m wrong, major bummer.

    “I hope season 3 respects the relationship between Chuck and Sarah, as two human beings who are in a meaningful, loving relationship.”

    Same. Mature.

    “Season 3 will not end on a disappointing note; the writers are really in control of that for the best.”

    Well technically the first 13 was supposed to be the end. The last 6 is really considered Chuck season 3.2 because instead of expanding/elongating the plot they’ve already planned they instead chose to tell a different story. So the last 6 is really a new season. It’s own season.

    “Chuck will only be cocky in the first half of season 3, as he is humble and selfless by nature.”

    One of my main issues earlier this year was Chuck’s cavalier attitude over Sarah’s concerns in First Class. But that’s not really cocky.

    “Does Sarah love Chuck, or just the *idea* of ‘a normal guy’?”

    I said one of the things I liked about this season was Sarah Walker drop kicking Agent Walker into submission? Well the 2nd best thing I like is the answer to this question. This was actually one of my main concerns over the summer…does Sarah want a normal life or does she want a normal life with Chuck? Well the answer is unequivocally yes. Sarah wants a normal life WITH Chuck. Anything else is unacceptable. In the first episode we have her being given an opportunity basically to take off, to have that normal life if she so desires but instead she chose to go back to the spy life. Granted she probably chose to go back to that because she’s emotionally overwrought and when you’re lost you return to what you know…but I find it interesting that she could very well have just taken off and created a normal life for herself and eventually find someone else to have that life with, she chose not to. Because a life without Chuck is no life at all, normal or not.

    – Lastly…the first song from the first scene or so of season 3 was Imogene Heap’s “Wait it out.” No truer words, no truer lyrics have ever been spoken/sang. But for the most part even that part of the show is gone…that’s actually one of the fan grumblings (my fan grumblings). We don’t get the fountain scenes (I remember 2 only) so we lost the window to our heart in a sense. But even that I could live with if Chuck and Sarah’s real relationship progressed without contrived plot tools towards the real deal.

    I agree about this blog. I am very appreciative of Joe and all the guys (gal) that created this foundation.

    • Faith says:

      oops posted it in the wrong reply area. Sorry Hans.

    • JC says:

      I want to go with something Faith said about whether C/S really want each or the idea of what it represents. And how I think the writers are unwilling to take risks.

      From what TPTB have said about this season, maturing, making choices and seeing each other from different perspective. Wouldn’t it have been better had the PLIs been reversed. The normal sweet everyday guy comes into Sarah’s no baggage about protecting him. Offers her the normal life she wants. And with Chuck a female spy who treats him as an equal but is willing to open up to him emotionally. That lets the audience see that C/S are choosing each other not just the idea of being together.

      Give the characters a real choice and see where it goes. Maybe they recycle the same PLIs because they’re afraid fans just might like new people C/S are with. By having C/S fall into the same old relationship trouble every year, the show is becoming stale and predictable.

      • Jason says:

        next season’s PLI’s maybe jc – oh no

      • cholitau says:

        And that is my fear… more PLIs for season 4! Oh God!

      • cholitau says:

        on a MUCH MUCH lighter note… You know what i do wish for S4? i better haircut for Chuck!

      • Gord says:

        Interesting thought JC. I had mentioned the other night that having Sarah develop a relationship with a “normal” civilian would have made more sense to me than going for yet another super spy. Especially after she was turned off of Chuck because he was becoming a spy.

        I hadn’t thought about the reverse for Chuck because throughout S2 he always talked about wanting to be a normal guy with a normal girl and that Sarah would never be normal.

        It looked like in the first few episodes of this season, Sarah wanted a normal man who could turn her into a normal woman, because she had never known normal, but really wanted to be normal.

        It is not that I can’t live with Sarah hooking up with Shaw and Chuck hooking up with Hannah, but I think TPTB should have made that transition in Sarah and Chuck much more slowly. I think there should have been a fountainside chat a few episodes back where they agree that it was over and they needed to move on. Maybe I missed something along the way, maybe we were meant to see that with the “lets be cover friends” moment, but I didn’t get that sense from that scene and I just felt that transition was so abrupt.

        I have seen off and on again couples in my real life. It sometimes takes some people more than one try, but because of their deep love for each other they are willing to give their relationship one more try. I have seen a few succeed and a few fail. The one thing I have noted, at least as an outside observer looking in was that in every case, the transitions from off to on again or vice versa happened slowly. I know Chuck is a tv show and they have so little time to tell a story, but 10 minutes?

        Will this cheapin the Chuck/Sarah getting back together moment. I can’t say if it will or not. As much as we seem to be talking about that aspect of Chuck, probably because many of us have felt that they handled it so poorly; there are other aspects of the show I enjoy as much if not more than the Chuck/Sarah romance.

        There have been many aspects of the show within S3 that I have enjoyed. I am fairly confident when we see that big moment in 1, 2 or how ever many episodes from now, we will all love it. If they do not make that next get-together moment permanent though, I doubt the show could survive. I’m not demanding this because I feel that as a fan I’m entitled, I would probably still be willing to watch if the other aspects of the show remained strong. But, I doubt many others would stick with the show if at the beginning of S4 they introduced new PLI’s again.

        I’m not saying that they should make Chuck and Sarah a “Leave it to Beaver” couple, where there relationship is always rosey and they never fight with each other. I doubt even the most fanatical shipper expects that. Just make them a couple committed to their relationship, and bring back some of the fun Chuck/Sarah moments that have been sadly missing this season so far.

      • JLR says:

        They don’t have the guts to do that…and I agree, that would at least be interesting to watch. What happens if (gasp) C or S or both have “better” or equal chemistry w/ the new interest?

      • Faith says:

        Gord my hope is that all this painful transition is just that a transition to a Chuck+Sarah resolution. They’re going about it the most painful way possible but I think that’s what the plan is.

        I can only hope.

      • atcdave says:

        Faith, I’m actually quite sure that is their intent. What bothers me most is the violent damage they are doing to the characters in the name of “growth”. Sure, we’ll get to the end point the big story guys are all worried about; but ‘shippers, who of course are more concerned with the journey, will be disappointed. (sorry, little dig there!)

      • amyabn says:

        cholitau, the hair is much better than S2! I don’t miss the helmet hair AT ALL! LOL!

      • Jen says:

        Amyban, he needs a haircut like one in your profile pic. Hotness!

  10. kg says:

    I’m going to sound like a neanderthal at the bottom of the tribe.

    We were attracted to the chemistry exhibited by the Chuck and Sarah characters. We hoped they could be better than us. We thought they were better than us. We believed they were better than us.

    And when we found out that they were not better than us, we felt as if we were kicked in the onions.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      We always aspire to be better than us, that is part of what our stories are about. Chuck and Sarah were better than us, that’s the point. Would real people put in an analogous situation react similarly? Chuck making Sarah a part of his family and Sarah willing to commit treason to keep him out of a bunker? The stories are about how good and honorable we wish we could be and what we should aspire to, not reality. I have plenty of reality. Your take on the reaction is not inexplicable.

  11. kg says:

    Thanks Ernie. Absolutely. Up to our eye balls (in reality). You break things down so well.

    I understood and appreciated the other things you alluded to, but I also had this take as well.

    • joe says:

      Ernie is right, kg. JS (I think it was) did say that it was all about “wish fulfilment”, about our dreams for ourselves and our aspirations.

      Several of us are old enough to have Chuck and Sarah as our own children. We would wish that our sons find Sarahs, and our daughters, Chucks, I’d wager. Despite all the human flaws in these characters (and all the unlikely spy skills) they’re good human beings.

      • amyabn says:

        Where’s my Chuck, uncle Joe???

      • joe says:

        … your father’s much younger brother, right? 😉

        Amy, have you tried aisle 3 of your local Buy More?

      • Who Dat says:

        my daughter is 13 going on 26, and it is my ope that she can find someone with the good heart that Chuck has. I hope TPTB realize you can grow up and become an adult without ruining that heart.

        I am holding out hope that Chuck ends up with Sarah, AND keeps his heart.

      • atcdave says:

        Well put, I feel the same way Who Dat.

  12. John says:

    great article

  13. atcdave says:

    Really an outstanding post Ernie, Thank you. The last paragraph almost had me in tears. I am so overwhelmed by the sense of loss I feel with this season. The characters of Chuck and Sarah have been so badly damaged so far; and to a large extent, the show has lost its sense of humor too. Apparently Chuck must become superman to actually get the girl. So much for wish fulfillment!

    Just for the record, I’m a world class nerd, and man did I ever get the girl! It really is possible, just apparently not for Chuck.

  14. herder says:

    First of all, wonderful post Ernie. I do miss the nerd gets the girl vibe of the story, but I wondering if the change in tone, the absence of tender moments, not just between Chuck and Sarah, but between almost all the characters is intentional.

    Before the season many of us had thought that the conflict would be between over protective Sarah and over confident Chuck. He hasn’t been over confident but he has been too consumed about proving himself, she hasn’t been overprotective so much as ambivalent about the changes in him. I think the rest of the way will be about meeting some sort of middle.

    Even in the nerd gets the girl scenerio they were going to have to work towards the middle, a balance between the two personalities, that journey would take place after they get together. I get the idea that the writers want at least a big portion of that journey to take place before they get together. This means that over the next few episodes we will have Chuck rediscovering his inner Chuckness, mending things with Morgan, Awesome and Ellie. Also it will have him saving the day by his methods rather than spy methods and going the extra distance for his friends and family.

    Doing this and having Sarah see him doing it will let her realize that despite the changes he still is the person she fell in love with. In other words he still is the nerd and in the end the nerd gets the girl.

    What is the catalyst for this change I don’t know: a realization that Hannah, nice as she is isn’t what he wants now, a betrayal by Hannah, Shaw or both, losing Morgan’s or Awesome’s respect or something else entirely I don’t know, but I think it is almost time for the big change. Once we get to that point then things work back to what was so appealing in the first place. As I said I am a romantic.

    • kg says:

      The more times I watch the Mask, the less I feel terrible about it in it’s totality.

      I can’t watch it anymore though. It hurts like Pink Slip hurt. I suppose at the time, the way things unfolded, both Sarah and Hannah indeed needed Shaw and Chuck respectively.

      Still, for whatever reason, watching Shaw touch Sarah and Chuck likewise with Hannah, hurt me. It’s that simple.

      • herder says:

        I don’t like it either, I put it down to JS’s love of relationship triangles, I don’t think there is anything that I have written above that could not have been achieved without other love interests. The saving grace is that Chuck’s is going to end in the Fake Name and I suspect Sarah’s – at least at this point – is her way of releasing Chuck more than interest on her part. Incidentally maybe the fake name is Charles Carmichel and it is Morgan that finds out “dude, I feel I don’t know you anymore, you are always away doing God knows what, you snake my girl and now you are using some fake name, what is going on with you?”

      • Big Kev says:

        Agree completely KG. I’m sufficiently convinced (mostly by her body language around him)that Sarah is playing Shaw – but even knowing that, it still hurt to watch. Maybe I just need to get out more!
        I can’t be as sanguine as Ernie and take the Mask on face value. I’ve really tried – but I can’t. On face value, I think it’s a show killer, I really do….not just for the damage to Sarah’s character, but also Ellie’s too. At best, it’s a dull episode, with no humour, transparently cheap production and no traces of the Chuck characters that I love. At worst, as I said, a potential show killer.
        Either way, it’s left Ali Adler with a huge mess to start cleaning up in 3.8.

    • Mike B says:

      I think Hannah is who she is at face value. I think Chuck winds up calling it off because he finally realizes he hurt his best friend Morgan. That would be totally in character with Chuck.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I think you can enjoy Hannah as a character at face value, but I’m pretty sure there was a spoiler that she is not who she seems. Since so far she just seems to be a nice girl crushing on Chuck I’m pretty sure she’s going to wind up as a Jill, not a Lou.

      • atcdave says:

        I’m still thinking not necessarily a villain at all, but certainly she will be some sort of trouble. Which is too bad in a way, it would be nice to see Chuck choose Sarah, because he prefers her. (and vice versa, of course.)

      • Ernie Davis says:

        By Jill I mean another spy, not necessarily a villain. I think she gets over-involved and spills it to Chuck that she works for Shaw, leading up to…The Punch.

      • atcdave says:

        I think that’s very likely.

      • kg says:

        Herder you could very well be right about Morgan.

        We did see him show some onions to Karl and his bulldogs. And then by saying know to Carina he actually got lucky. And precisely what he wanted in the first place.

        Yeah, why would he be afraid to confront Chuck? And at this point, he has to feel he has absolutely nothing to lose.

      • amyabn says:

        the more I think about it, go to the first time Chuck went undercover and invented Carmichael. Now look at Hannah. I”m guessing she is Beckman or Shaw’s clean up person, flown from place to place, cleaning up situations. Close to what she told Chuck, just with different details. I think she is an agent who has all the regular training, but specializes in computers.

  15. Lucian says:

    The message we thought we saw in Colonel was that these two wounded, imperfect adults had been able to overcome very significant challenges and make a decision to be with the other. They had said not I love you (which can be easy to say), but rather I choose you (which is often much, much harder to say). That is, I choose you over my career, my future, my whatever. They didn’t say it once, they said it three times, just so we didn’t miss it.

    Then in the Ring (and even more so in Pink Slip) they tell us that that was just a lie. They are too wounded, too immature to make an adult commitment. They need to grow up first. The problem is, it seemed like they already had.

    • JLR says:

      Nicely put… I thought the same after the Colonel, and the balloon was popped during the Ring. I can’t believe I allowed myself to care about this show; I know better, especially back when I noted Schwartz was one of the Execs (I have younger sisters who have watched his drivel). Guess I should’ve stayed in my comfy world of watching sports, History Channel & the occasional episode of a sterile procedural.

      • JC says:

        I think you might be little too harsh on Schwartz.

        He’s an extremely talented writer when it comes to everything but romantic tension. The settings and characters he creates are top notch. He did it with the OC and he’s done it with Chuck. The problem is when he goes beyond flirty type romance. That’s when his writing takes a tremendous dive in quality and becomes recycled drivel. And that tends to drag down the rest of the show.

        I will always thank him though for giving the world Rachel Bilson and Yvonne.

      • kg says:

        You know guys, forgetting for a minute how TPTB butchered our characters, and we do take all this at face value; cases have been made against Chuck, defending Chuck, against Sarah, defending Sarah, blaming them both.

        But for this discussion, and after Colonel and Ring, at first I thought Chuck (with or without Intersect 2.0 working completely) was going to be more of an assertive man. I thought this late spring and summer, even assuming Sarah basically stayed the same.

        I thought Chuck this season was going to be less impressionable, far less naive, not so easily convinced or influenced by suspect spy or government types.

        And unfortunately that has not happened. Beckman and/or other high-ups convinced him to go to Spy School and leave Sarah at the station (take it easy – I haven’t forgotten his speech to Sarah in Karl’s vault also explaining his reasons). But as we know, Beckman lost patience, fired him and that easily crushed his spirit. Maybe not the man, but Chuck has certainly embraced some of the BS and encouragement from Shaw. And I believe he gave in too easily to Sarah about the friend cover and most recently when he querierd her about Hannah, perhaps hoping the hot blonde had a problem with it before he acted.

        Perhaps I figured once he knew Kung Fu, he knew Kung Fu forever. So, even if he couldn’t always flash because of the emotional overload, it would have been almost irrelevant.

        Naturally, I thought he was going to man up and just take Sarah. He was going to let the world know she was his girl. I never once considered they would not be coupled.

        At worst I figured, they would stage a little mission inside the missions in order to conceal it from Beckman. Or whomever stood in their way.

        LOL. Perphaps I’m the naive one. And now I do see that the new intersect was like fool’s gold if you will. Chuck was never going to be Sarah’s equal, a true colleague and not just an asset, simply by gaining on-again, off-again super powers from a download.

        I now understand he had to go through the process of becoming a real spy as Chuck, HIMSELF, without the aid of the intersect – seeing, feeling and experiencing all the aspects of the spy realm, just as the members of his team had.

      • weaselone says:

        I think Chuck will eventually man up and make an attempt for Sarah. The punch is probably the beginning of that chapter for Chuck. I’m also crossing my fingers and hoping he realizes that Sarah’s the one for him and breaks it off with Hannah.

    • Big Kev says:

      But would you expect that commitmen to still stand after Chuck re-intersects? Thus denying the basis on which they had been moving towards each other over 2 seasons – ie both wanting a “normal” life? Chuck clearly does, but I can understand Sarah’s sense of betrayal, and the arc of S3 which is essentially that they have to make that decision again based on the new reality of them both being in the spy life.
      Even if you ignore Pink Slip and Prague completely, which I try to do because I think they were both a disaster, Chuck’s re-intersecting gives Sarah only the choice of Chuck as “spy” in “spy life” – which is the exact opposite of the choice that she wants to make. At that point, I don’t think the old rules apply any more.

      • Big Kev says:

        Sorry…meant to post that as a reply to Lucian’s post!

      • atcdave says:

        I’m withholding final judgement until we see how this season plays out; but I may skip S3 and later seasons, and just consider Colonel the Series finale in my own little brain.

      • Lucian says:

        Any adult I know would at least talk to their partner if they believed they had made a really bad decision, that they believed was a betrayal. Hopefully we are done with the “if only he /she understood” story line. It isn’t how real adults relate. As of the Mask, it still seems to define their relationship -Chuck believes Sarah really has moved on; she believes he is better without her (and I would love to see an episode without significant angst, but that is not likely through the end of 13).

      • Jason says:

        I am really holding out hope that the angst will pass in 3.8, not that what transpired in 3.7 will be any less madness, but if we are subjected to less than 60 minutes total of this LI story line, it may sort of go away, especially if 3.8 concludes well and if some portion of 3.7 makes more sense either in 3.8 or in the arc as it unfolds. I really only have 2 beefs with the season, Prague and the last 10-15 minutes of 3.7, both stories are on the table for me yet. I will say one thing, it is a shame that we may end at 60 episodes or so after S3, and never get a chance to see what Yvonne and Zach would do together, a couple, a team, it could be really great, might turn out to be the missed TV chemistry opportunity of a lifetime.

      • atcdave says:

        Jason, your missed chemistry opportunity has been my mantra since the start of this ill-conceived season. If S3 is the end for Chuck, it will surely go down as one of the great bone-head decisions in TV history.

        I can make a case either way for 3.08 being the end of the s-angst. JS flat-out denied 3.08 would resolve anything, and stated this story arc would continue to the end of 3.13 (swell). I really hope he’s scamming us, like I hope Sarah’s scamming Shaw.
        On the other hand, 3.08 was supposed to be the original end of Routh’s commitment. That and Sarah’s name reveal in an Adler written episode; makes an easy circumstantial case for the end of this particular story line.
        Of course, Routh’s contract was extended before filming ever started, so my bet is somewhere in between. I think we’ll see a glimmer of hope towards the end of 3.08, but full resolution won’t come 3.13.

      • Waverly says:

        I agree: don’t expect too much resolution in or satisfaction from episode 3.08.

  16. Stef62 says:

    My abiding feeling that I have had from this year is disappointment. Disappointment in the show, but mostly for the people here who have written much more eloquently than I ever will about it, and who’s thoughts on it are more joined up than mine.

    Since i started visiting here, i’ve seen you go from ‘it’ll be bumpy for the first 4 ep’s’, then ‘6’, then ‘8’, and now there is ‘hope’ that things will be better by the original seasons end.

    To me all the creators have done is ape season 1. The ‘fake name’ is this seasons ‘the ‘truth’, with a punch replacing the kiss.

    I suppose that by the start of the mini-arc things will be back to where they were at the start of season 2 for the leads. But that obviously is not going to last, if C is going to have ‘stress’ problems over his spy life. Combined with Fedaks ‘no comment’ on a question about whether we would ever see an ‘evil Chuck’, makes me hope we don’t get a season 4, and even more angst heaped on the show. ‘Bored now’

    • atcdave says:

      Its really amazing to me that this still mostly the same crew that gave us the first two seasons; who now can’t seem to do anything right. The humor is almost completely gone, and they’ve seperated the leads whose chemistry was the greatest strength of the show. I have never seen a show go from so good, to so bad, so fast.

      • Hans says:

        Well, as I understand it from you guys, Ali Adler is the most… “Sane” writer on the show, who always delivers the most believable character development?

        So, if she is writing e8 and e14, maybe things will look up from e8 for this arc, and the back 6 will start off really strong in the character development ( or maybe ‘character repair’ is a better term ) department?

        Told ya – I’m a wide-eyed naive kiddywink 😉

      • John says:

        Yeah, they really dropped the ball in season 3. While some may love this season…this is not the show that I came to love in season 1 and 2.

      • joe says:

        “…wide-eyed kiddywink.” Hans, I love it! That’s a new word for my lexicon. 🙂

    • amyabn says:

      Someone else had noted that this is Schwartz’s last year on his Exec Producer contract. I’ve also read that he has several other projects in the works. I wish him well with those (I really do), but hope he steps aside and Ali Adler takes his place along with Fedak to try bring a more balanced approach to future seasons.

      • Stef62 says:

        I’m like a lot you guys in that I started watching this show because unlike many things that are on tv today, this was actually a show that the ep finished you feeling better, than at the start.

        I haven’t felt that at all this season.

      • Stef62 says:

        Bad Grammer there…I meant to say *that when the ep finished you were..*

      • atcdave says:

        I think Fedak is a wild card, the episodes he’s written often don’t end well, but that may be more a reflection of his master’s outline. I would be excited about Adler taking the helm; but I think she’s involved in other projects too, she may actually be hard to retain for another season.

        Any change in leadership would actually be a little scary; so much of the TV SOP with romances involves the silly WT/WT dance, I’m not sure there are many producers/writers out there who would be able to run a stable adult relationship in a way most of us would find rewarding; but dang a sure want to see them try!

  17. JC says:

    Not that I’m doubting you but is there any evidence about his being true? It wouldn’t surprise me since he’s doing the new X-men movie.

    • atcdave says:

      This has all been pure speculation. We know Schwartz’ contract is up this year, and he’s doing a lot of other projects. But I think the most likely scenario is, if the show gets renewed, he gets a new contract.
      I don’t think we need to consider that bad news (well, not entirely anyway). I seriously believe his master outline has Chuck and Sarah together in S4 anyway; and if he’s busy with other projects he may not micromanage too much. Now if they can just resist the urge to give Chuck a final fling with a cute brunette bridesmaid at his own wedding….

  18. lizjames says:

    Folks-
    Again, I say this without endorsing what TPTB have done…and knowing that Ernie, whose post this is, does not agree.

    But I’ve just finished rescreening Beefcake and Lethal Weapon again. And if you compare it to Mask, you can only come to one of two conclusions:
    1) TPTB are SO lazy or SO cynical that they are stealing lines, situations, scene framing and even the colors, displays and actions that the Castle “computers” take. Considering that these three episodes were done by different writers and directors, you would have to accept that they are consciously ripping off Beefcake/Lethal Weapon with extraordinary care to detail because they are out of ideas or cynical to a nearly unprecedented degree.
    2) They have written S3 as a massive and deep, deep game about the spy life.

    It’s a long weekend coming up. If you’re doing nothing and the Olympics get dull, watch Beefcake, Lethal Weapon and Mask in succession. When you realize all the callbacks and repeats going on, you have to come to a conclusion about this season we’re watch.

    It’s either totally trash because it’s all a ripoff or it’s a gigantic con and the reveals in e13 are going to be huge, epic, monumental.

    Ever since they set the fountain on fire in Three Words, I had a feeling that they were literally making fun of the conventions, situations and storylines of Season 2. You all may decide otherwise. But the level to which they are revisiting things is truly unprecedented.

    Oh, by the way, one tip for watching e8 and the name reveal: If anyone still had any question whether Chuck heard Sarah say her middle name was Lisa, the answer is: He DID hear her. I did a slo-mo on the chart on the back of the Tron poster. He has “Middle Name: Lisa. Or is it?” next to Sarah’s picture.

    • Jason says:

      liz – are you saying we are going to live with the SS relationship based on your theory thru e13?

      I will take a look this weekend, thx, I love that sort of crytic look at a show.

      do these writers have a history of it????

      thx

      • lizjames says:

        Jason-
        I am convinced the Sarah/Shaw thing is a con. They are both playing each other. I believed that just on the evidence in Mask alone.

        But when you review Beefcake/Lethal Weapon, you will see what I mean about the track of S/S–and Chuck’s reactions to same. And watch how the Castle computers sound the alarm at the beginning of Lethal Weapon. It is EXACTLY how they act in Mask.

        When you go to THAT degree of attention to continuity, I have to assume TPTB are going somewhere, not just ripping things off. But that is my opinion.

      • lizjames says:

        Jason-
        BTW, these writers are very self-referential. The mythology is deep and a lot of attention is paid to detail in framing shots, the lines repeated, etc.

    • cholitau says:

      LIz,
      You are a genius! i will make time this weekend to watch these 3 eps in succession. I haven’t rewatched Mask caus eit just hurts to watch it, but i will do it.

      I’m leaning towards option 2. Seems to me like the main focus of this season is Chucks transition into being a spy and that comes attached to that, wich is not something pretty. I wish, though, that they would have gotten decided to show emotional growthin regards to C&S, and not show the same PLI (or LI) situation again. There is plenty of angst to be played with in the spy transition alone w/o having to go back on everything they showed us up to Colonel.

      Unless, C&S are just that messed up! I wonder who will be the first to get over ALL OF IT and make the first move.

      • lizjames says:

        Chuck makes the move this year. That’s the overall point that NBC wanted: a more traditional hero at the center of the show. Hence Chuck becomes superspy. So no matter how they resolve all the stuff, it has to be Chuck “mastering” Sarah and/or winning Sarah. It can’t be Sarah choosing Chuck. Charles has to be in charge…

      • cholitau says:

        So this is wehre the need for the reset came. Reset the characters, reset the relationship… pretty much a “start over”.

      • Stef62 says:

        I would love you to be right, but my gut reaction is that Shaw goads Chuck into punching him, after all he has said that he, (Shaw), knows her real name. after all he knows everything about them, which would include that.

        We have yet another moment of misunderstanding the writers like to put in, of Chuck thinking that Sarah has given up to Shaw one of the things Chuck has wanted from Sarah

    • kg says:

      Liz I believe you make a good case that it was both a con and a ripoff.

      Yeah, I did the same thing with the Tron poster several weeks ago and saw the same thing. I didn’t know that folks didn’t know he had heard her.

      That’s pretty good hearing Bartowski. Didn’t she whisper “Lisa?”

  19. Jason says:

    liz, but if SS lasts the whole arc, and the SS reveal does not occur until ep 13, how will the relational part of the show be enjoyable, that cloud has already hung over the fun for 7 episodes now, in particular the endings of the last two have been downright morbid????

    • lizjames says:

      Jason-
      Well, I’m pretty sure whatever “romantic” relation they set up with Sarah/Shaw actually ends in e8. What I’m suggesting you watch about Sarah/Cole/Chuck/Shaw is the dialogue and situations, how and why theyt is repeated from s2 to s3, etc. When you watch it, you can conclude only one of the two options: massive ripoff due to cynicism or laziness or con/sting. In other words, TPTB think we are too stupid to notice that they are stealing from themselves–or they are specifically using S2 touchpoints because they think we are watching as closely as some of us do. Either they think we’re stupid or they are signaling.

      Again, my personal believe is that we will learn Chuck and Sarah have been working subrosa on a lot of things in Season 3. This season has, IMHO, been about how unreal the spy world is and the storytelling has been nonlinear. But that’s just my opinion. A lot of us folks think TPTB believe we’re stupid. I’m saying we’ll know for sure by e13…

      • joe says:

        I’m forced to declare this entire train of thought
        +1 insightful!, Liz.

        🙂

      • lizjames says:

        Joe-
        It was truly, truly revealing to watch Beefcake/Lethal Weapon/Mask in succession. If something clever is not going on and TPTB are just doing a ripoff, I’ll simply stop watching scripted TV ever again…

      • atcdave says:

        I am mostly convinced you’re right, at least as far as Sarah goes. We will know by the end of 3.08 she has never been interested in Shaw. I’m not quite as sure about Chuck, in fact, my confidence in Chuck is heading the other direction. I think its more likely he is trying to move on (which, as I’ve said before, truly diminishes his character in my eyes.
        But since Hannah is done in 3.08 (I think), Chuck should be moving back towards Sarah at the end of that episode. I think the various spy issues/conflicted loyalties/character and relationship growth will continue to play out until the end of 3.13.
        So, even if 3.08 isn’t a completely warm and fuzzy episode, it should be the light at the end of the tunnel episode.

      • cholitau says:

        And this is what i’m hoping this season is doing. Thanks Liz!

      • Faith says:

        To add to what Liz is saying, watch everytime she says, “I’m just his fake girlfriend, Chuck deserves a real one.” Everytime I hear that my heart breaks because she wants so bad to be his real one but life, job, psychology prevents her. Yvonne also delivers that line so brilliantly. It adds to the emotional punch.

      • joe says:

        Yeah, Gem. It does. Have you noticed how we’re all still caught up in those lines?

        I’m sure many will say that S3 so far has been lacking in exactly that emotional punch. I understand that.

        But Chuck socking away that Johnny Walker Black at the end of Nacho Sampler hit me just as hard – in a different spot. Sarah hugging Chuck at the end of Angel when she told him about Devon did too.

        We’ve been waiting for that emotional chord we felt in S1 & S2, but this time it’s been different. The “what if” games we’ve been playing with the possibility of Sarah & Chuck playing Shaw and maybe Hannah have given me hope that the old chord isn’t forever gone. We’re just into a different part of the story.

    • lizjames says:

      BTW, just one more thought about Beefcake/Lethal Weapon and Mask. It is clear to me that, at the end of Lethal Weapon, Sarah is waiting for Chuck at the fountain to see him that she wants to be with him. But Chuck, as he so often does, goes off on a rant and Sarah then is give no futher lines of dialogue, except a very poignent “I do.”

      I think e8 will be more of a callback to Wookie and Cougars concerning the name reveal. But for those folks who believe Sarah was a totally emotional cripple in S1/S2 (I’m looking at YOU weaselone 🙂 ), the fountain scene at the end of Lethal Weapon is telling. The writers clearly wanted you to conclude that Sarah had told Cole of her choice and was going to tell Chuck something similar…

      • Lawrynce says:

        Great post, Ernie! After reading it and the heart-wrenching mind-bending responses, I no longer feel alone.

      • Faith says:

        This time around I hope she brought masking tape and interrupt him herself!

      • lizjames says:

        Faith-
        Chuck has blown several opportunities with Sarah by running off at the mouth. He also never understood that, to Sarah, the cover relationship was “real” because that is all she felt she could have at that point in her life. That’s why Sarah is such a wonderful character. She hugs the “fake” relationship with such tenacity that it is almost painful to watch. I mean, if nothing else, the writers were brilliant there: Sarah NEVER gave up on the fake relationship and defended it with astonishing passion. It was really brilliantly played by the writers.

        But the Lethal Weapon fountain scene is truly astonishing. Sarah is there, after telling Cole of her choice, to tell Chuck she wants to be with him. And Chuck can’t shut up. And the “I do” line was a brilliant bit of writing. I mean, in a way, the best of the show. To have her say “I do!” after Chuck is inadvertantly blowing her off again is extraordinarily passionate.

      • joe says:

        As in, echoing marriage vows, Liz? I “heard” that when I first saw LW, then immediately dismissed the thought as wishful thinking on my part.

        You’re saying it was a deliberate plant (uh – seed planted in our collective brains) by the show runners?

      • Jason says:

        since we are all adults here, how many hot blonds chase nerdy guys around, chuck really is afraid to man up with sarah, he has been petrified of her, really, if not he would have swept her off her feet in 1.1, or 2.15 or 2.21, thing is, that is why season 3 was required for him to man up, much as many nerds won’t want to admit, that is pretty darned real life, I think the lester sarah in the OJ shoppe seduction scene nailed that point?

      • weaselone says:

        I have to disagree, but you knew that because I’ve maintained in the past that the idea that Sarah is going to spill anything of relevance is merely wishful thinking on the part of the fan base. Putting aside Sarah being an emotional cripple, there’s a couple of clear reasons to doubt Sarah would have confessed feelings for Chuck.

        First, even though Chuck speaks first, nothing prevents Sarah from telling Chuck something after he finishes, nor does anything he says seem like it would push her to silence. He basically told her that he cares to much for her to live with her if it isn’t real. This would have been a good time for Sarah to chime in that she does indeed have genuine feelings for Chuck.

        Second, Sarah knows the fountain is under surveillance. She’s the one that brings the fountain up on camera when Chuck disappears in Broken Hearth. No way, no how is Sarah confessing feelings for Chuck that could reach Beckman’s eyes and ears.

      • amyabn says:

        I am off today and am rewatching episodes. One of the things that has been made abundantly clear is that neither Casey or Beckman care what happens between Chuck and Sarah. As long as the team is “working,” all is good. Hopefully after the con is revealed (and I now more than ever think it is a con being pulled by C&S), they can have the honest conversation-acknowleging that they couldn’t before because Shaw was listening.

      • lizjames says:

        Joe-
        No, I’m just suggesting that “I do” is powerful shorthand. Sarah was ready to commit in some way. Chuck derailed it. Her “I do!” and the way Strahovski plays the line is powerful stuff. Very poignent. She’s agreeing with Chuck, who is blowing her off. But she was preparing to be with him in the cover live together arrangement, which, to her would have been “real.” Sarah always treated the fake relation as real. Watch all the time she uses the fake relation as an excuse to kiss Chuck, caress him, etc. All in the guise of “selling the cover.”

      • joe says:

        I see. Wow. That really is way of looking at Sarah that is different from the way I’ve been looking at her.

        I have a lot to reconsider now, and this one will take some effort.

        The POV of most guys (certainly the ones I grew up with, and the one I’ve been) tells them “when it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” And that’s Chuck’s first reaction. In fact, I’ve been sure that Chuck will never completely trust his own eyes when it comes to Sarah. It’s never real until she tells him it is. And “it” better be very clearly defined.

        Now I have to consider that the one thing Sarah told Chuck wasn’t real, their cover, *was* real to her. And it makes a big difference.

      • lizjames says:

        Oh, Joe, this is the absolute key to Sarah in season 2 and even season 1. To her, the cover is as close to real as she feels she can have.

        She is ALWAYS the one trying to keep Chuck in the fake relationship. She always tries to stop him from breaking up the “fake” relationship. She invents reasons to kiss, embrace and caress him, all under the guise of “selling it.”

        And Suburbs is the ultimate in that. Sarah is blissful making Chuck breakfast. Then you get the shot of Chuck holding her hand with the rings on her fingers. And they hold on the shot.

        Then it all comes crashing down as she watches the fake life being disassembled. It’s just brutal for her, as Strahovski shows you.

        Then comes the move-in-together ruse at the end of Lethal Weapon. There she sits at the fountain, waiting for Chuck after dispatching Cole with the “I don’t cheat on my cover boyfriend line.” She has visions of a “fake” cohabitation dancing in her head. And Chuck (inadvertantly) crushes her.

        In Season 2, Sarah lives out her dream of a real life through her “cover” relationship with Chuck.

      • Mike B says:

        You can go back to every episode and find something that supports the agrument either way. But one thing they have done consistantly is show Sarah’s reaction when Chuck would say he wanted his old life back or to be normal. Now she could have looked upset because she feels bad for Chuck or because she is thinking to herself that…Hey if you weren’t the intersect we would have never met and I wouldn’t be part of your life. Only TPTB knoe for sure.

      • lizjames says:

        MikeB: Actually, I disagree. Sarah’s commitment to Chuck via the “cover” relationship is unambiguous. She ALWAYS tries to stop him from breaking up the “fake” relationship, argues with him whenever he brings it up and is always bargaining with him to take just incremental steps backward when he insists on breaking it up.

        And you MUST accept that about her otherwise Sarah’s willingness to help Chuck get the intersect out has less emotional resonance. She goes so far as to commit treason for him fully knowing that if she is successful and he gets the intersect out she could lose him. Forever.

        Remember, she has warned Chuck that she is a CIA agent and not in control of her life or next assignment. She risks EVERYTHING for Chuck’s desire to get the intersect out. And everything includes the “real” relationship she has contructed via the “cover” with Chuck.

        That’s what makes Sarah heroic. Her willingness to sacrafice everything–her life, her career, even her relationship with him–to help him.

      • Mike B says:

        Liz, I agree with everything you just wrote. But then I ask you..What is the signifigance of showing Sarah’s reaction, which is that she’s upset, everytime Chuck talked of wanting a normal life? Particularly in 3D when he is talking to the rockstar.

    • lizjames says:

      Weaselone: The beauty of that scene is that Sarah wouldn’t have to “real” commit. It could have been done under the “cover” arrangemene, which, as you recall was going to be the fake live-together arrangement. For her, it was the perfect moment. She could have declared and STILL kept up the “cover” and not be discovered by Casey or Beckman.

      • amyabn says:

        Liz you are brilliant. You and I are so in sync with the way we see Sarah. The cover relationship was real and Sarah was always protective of it. I can’t say anything else that is as good as your post, so I’ll stop, but well done!

      • joe says:

        Well, I’ll add one more observation – a scene I never understood, but can, now.

        It’s Sarah’s discomfort at the beginning of Beefcake, after Chuck announces that he wants to “cover break-up”. Sarah sort of bounces nervously and says “Is that what you really want?”

        A mere cover wouldn’t be that important. Unless it was real to her. Then it’s that important.

      • cholitau says:

        If she only where to be able to put her feelings into words…

        Yvonne is briliant at displaying emotions with her face, so we can read exactly what Sarah is feeling… i guess Chuck is the only one that can’t.

        I’m with all of you. Sarah’s feelings are pretty evident and her commitment to CHuck has been shown in many different occasions.

      • Jason says:

        liz – watched the scenes right b4 beefcake in best friend, which morgan is placed in a situation somewhat akin to manoosh. last 3 things to happen, chuck morgan discuss the day aka 3.6 chuck manoosh, and jeffster plays and CS have that famous scene while holding hands, s-‘i don’t have anyone like that’ c – yea you do’, but the real interesting thing is an identical line, awesome to ellie, and jeff to lester, ‘parternship is trust’, both said it – – funny thing, chucks says ‘partners’ to S in 3.7, elicits the biggest smile of the show – a decent fanfic writer could have a field day with that material.

      • kg says:

        Liz is right. Which is why I’ve argued on the other site that Chuck, despite being a genius from Stanford, is a dope (which is a chagrin to some).

        He CAN’T see the cover is real and special to Sarah.

        He NEVER shuts up.

        Liz, I have the specific examples you basically allude to back up your excellent theory, in addition to your takes at the fountain.

        Correct me if I’m wrong, Chuck breaks up with Sarah for the first time in the Weinerlicious at the very end of the Truth. The awesome song “That Fresh Feeling” by the Eels plays in the background.

        So, it had to be in the Imported Hard Salami, inside the Buy More that Sarah says before walking out, “I just want you to know that I never once thought that our relationship felt like work.” WOW. I could never forget that line.

        Then, I believe it was in the Orange Orange in Beefcake after some dopey conversation over breakfast with Ellie that Chuck tried again. I think Sarah was listening and therefore somewhat prepared.

        However, she got real stewed anyway and barked, “Is that what you REALLY want?”

      • weaselone says:

        Liz, I agree that Sarah reveled in the cover relationship and found it as real as anything she’s experienced. You can clearly see that when you compare Sarah waking up in Lethal Weapon to Chuck waking up in Lethal Weapon. One of them wakes up happy and bright-eyed. The other peels himself out of his blanket cocoon.

        The reality is that Chuck never got that. Sarah kept him so off balance that he never knew exactly where the cover ended and any real relationship with her began because every time he got the inkling it was real and got up the nerve to seek out verbal, or other confirmation she hauled off and kicked him in the groin.

        So was Sarah looking forward to moving in with Chuck for both personal and professional reasons, you bet. Was Sarah adverse to Chuck breaking up the relationship for both personal and profession reasons, most certainly. Could Chuck ever be certain all of this wasn’t just for the cover and to control him until she ran with him in Colonel, nope. Was Sarah actually going to say anything to Chuck that would confirm she was genuinely as attracted to him as he was to her, well I wouldn’t wager a wooden nickel on it.

      • Who Dat says:

        According to twitter Ali Adler says Sarah is her favorite charachter to write because” Its what she’s not saying that’s most important”

  20. Lucian says:

    I’m sorry, but I don’t find a big reveal in ep 13 “it was all a con – you can now enjoy the journey in hindsight – see, it really was fun” a very compelling approach. Maybe its my lack of imagination, but I actually want to be entertained in real time as I watch; and I don’t want to have to watch old episodes three times to convince myself that it really is outstanding writing. This isn’t supposed to be “Finnegan’s Wake”.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      While I think there is something to what Liz proposes, just to a lesser degree, you’ve just nailed the reason for my new approach to watching. I want to enjoy the show in real time in addition to when I re-watch it. Thus I will accept the story on the screen as the story they are telling until they tell me otherwise. I’m also trying to put aside the show I wish they’d written and watch the one they are writing. I’ve found it remarkably effective in getting me through the low points this season and letting me enjoy what I still find to be an enjoyable show.

      Or the short version. I’ve lowered my expectations and been pleasantly surprised.

    • lizjames says:

      Lucian-
      As I said, I didn’t say I endorsed what TPTB are doing. I note it.

      And how about this as a devil’s advocate defense of what they are doing: They got a renewal for S3 from NBC by slashing the budget and delivering a show about a superhero spy. The idea, obviously, was that there would be a whole new crew of viewers for the new show.

      If you’re fighting a tough budget (and there are far fewer writers and producers this year) and having to entertain new viewers, what do you do? In 13 episodes, you retell all of the 35 episodes that have gone before, obviously at high speed and hitting on the highlights.

      But if you simply rerun all of the scenarios, you alienate the existing base. So how do you retell the story for newbies without alienating the existing fans? On the surface, for the newbies, you tell the tale. Underneath, however, you try to entertain the fans by letting them in on cons and stings. You take the conventions of the first two seasons and turn them on their heads. I mean, they LITERALLY blew up the fountain, the holiest of holy.

      Why bring in another brunette as a PLI? I mean, why not a blonde or a redhead, just to change the type? I mean, the newbies wouldn’t care either way and the fans would absolutely hate brunette 3.0. So you bring in the brunette and wink at the fans and say, “We know that you know this is a convention, so watch us play with it.”

      Why bring in another superspy type for Sarah’s PLI? The newbie won’t care and the fans would hate to see superspy 3.0. So you bring in the superhero and wink at the fans and say, “We know that you know that is is a convention, so watch us play with it.” Hell, they even had Sarah say, “I have a type.”

      Then, to make it obvious to the fans what you’re doing, you overlay the “nothing is real in the spyworld” angle starting with Pink Slip–Sarah tells us nothing is real–and reinforce it in e2 with Carina’s return. Carina, of course, is also the bluntest character on the show to date and has specialized is in the “nothing is real” and exposition of the “real” love interests.

      I think this is supposed to be what TPTB are doing. That’s my take, anyway. We can argue whether it was successful. Or we can take the other view: TPTB are cynical and lazy and think we’re stupid and won’t notice that everything looks to be a rerun of S1 and S2.

      If it turns out to be that TPTB are that cynical and think we’re that stupid, then, well, time to stop watching scripted TV…

      • Jason says:

        want to laugh at something, when I did my tell look early this week, another one, when chuck says how perfect SS are and uses the word disgusting – one of them nods yes, I think sarah, when chuck asks sarah if she is ok with hanah, sarah again I think says yes, but shakes her head, no, did not write down the specifics, but it is pretty funny for those hunting for clues, coincidence, maybe?????

      • joe says:

        Jason, you may be onto something here. I keep feeling like clue-bricks are being thrown at us.

        Of course, many fans were hoping for life-buoys instead of bricks…

      • ReadySet says:

        I’ve told my lifelong friend Liz James that our friendship is over if she is wrong. She’s perfectly convinced now that Season 3 is about what Sarah warned Chuck about on the train platform. She’s also perfectly convinced that Chuck and Sarah are working together on some level.

        But I will pose to you all what I told Liz the other night on Skype: When it’s all revealed and TPTB tell us, “See, you should have trusted us. We knew what you wanted!” will we feel better?

        I’m not sure we will. It’s not that we’ll feeel tricked. After all, we’re beginning to see what Liz says are the “contours.”

        But come e13, when we have the happy ending, won’t we still miss having had as many as a dozen episodes when all the joy and tenderness between Chuck and Sarah was so obviously missing.

        This is where I part with Liz: She sees what she thinks is the story arc. Even if she’s right, I will rue all of the Shaw and Hannah we’ve seen when we could have had Chuck and Sarah…

      • Mike B says:

        But it’s the destination not the journey..no wait it’s the journey not the destination…I’m confused..what day is today?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        It’s about the journey to the destination where we were going to journey, but we had to circle back around because we thought we forgot the tickets, but we found them halfway there but then weren’t sure if we left the coffee pot on and it was driving us nuts so we went back and started over again, but now we were really in a rush to catch the flight so we took what was supposed to be a shortcut on the GPS but it turns out there was construction and the kids are all “ARE WE THERE YET”? and then Suzie gets car sick and we had to pull over, and what time was that flight again? So right now it’s the journey to the destination which is the airport where we’ll start on the journey to the cruise ship, where we’ll start the journey to the destination which is right where we started, ’cause, you know, cruise ships… and then we’ll be right where we were at the end of Colonel.

      • ReadySet says:

        Ernie–
        I SOOOOOOO want to be back at the end of Colonel. I even volunteer to get on the I-5 to shut off the coffee pot at Castle if that is what it takes…

      • joe says:

        Ernie, stop holding back like that and tell us what you really feel…

      • Ernie Davis says:

        ReadySet, I’ll settle for the end of Seduction, except this time It should be Sarah waiting in Chucks room to deliver “The Montgomery” (and wearing only the white dinner jacket) when Chuck walks in with Morgan or his sister or someone. Hilarity ensues and Yvonne gets to play some comedy.

      • joe says:

        Oh gee…
        Did it just get warm in here?

      • atcdave says:

        I’m a little behind here, but I wanted to reply to Readyset. I agree a simple “happy ending” is not enough. That does seem to be the best we can really hope for at this point (at least through 3.13), and that is a dirty shame. This season will NEVER have the replay value, and the pure fun factor that S1 and 2 had. It is less funny, darker, and bitter. I may not even buy this season on disc (hows that for a direct business impact). So far, there are only two episodes I would care to rewatch. That certainly may change, but what a loss compared to what came before. If we get to a really, really good ending, it might make me interested in rewatching some episodes to see how some things unfolded. But I don’t see myself ever settling down for a nights relaxation saying, “I really want to re-watch Mask tonight.”

        Sorry, long way of getting to, Readyset is exactly right about the loss of something warm and comfortable. We may get back there, but so far this season is more loss than gain.

    • JLR says:

      I agree. That would be more lame than anything we’ve witnessed thus far, IMHO. Giving us a 5 minute reveal at end of season to “make up” for the OOC behavior, lack of fun, character degradation? Yeah, that’s not NEARLY enough… As always, just my 2 cents, YMMV.

      • Lucian says:

        Regarding journey vs. destination. To maximize viewing pleasure, whenever you like what you see on the screen, it is the journey; whenever you think it is getting lame, it is the destination. Take this approach, and you can enjoy all 43 minutes of evey episode (works for me).

    • kg says:

      Lucian, no disrespect to Liz or Faith (crap I can’t remember which one, but you don’t have to watch the aformentioned episodes from season two again to see the con.

      It’s there. We’ve discussed ad nauseum the inconsistencies, character assassinations, laziness, poor writing, etc. found in Mask.

      You know better. Sarah has been at odds with Shaw from the outset, and then all of sudden she’s with him? Finding themselves trapped in castle gave her an opening to play her con. Probably quicker than she had hoped.

      • lizjames says:

        kg-
        It was me and no disrepect. But I tell you, Beefstake-Lethal Weapon-Mask in succession will get you a real idea of the depth and care they are taking with this. I admit, I am impressed. Besides, Season 2 episodes are GREAT FUN to watch…

      • Faith says:

        Maybe it’s just me but I actually can no longer watch S2 or 1 for that matter. There’s just too much that has gone on that it almost feels like I’m watching the courtship/wedding video of a divorce. There’s just too many references to “normal life” and all that goes with that that I often feel like I’m watching a different show. I tend to find myself yelling, “you idiot” at the tv a lot lol.

        I don’t know…but I do know I felt like this even before the mask.

        On a sidenote, I just finished watching Valentine’s Day (great movie) and one of the previews is a movie called, “She’s out of my league” —eerily Chuck-like (the girl is also blond) but without the charm and I’m sure the prolonged angst lol. Makes me wonder if the screenwriter was/is a Chuck fan and just plagiarized lol.

      • JLR says:

        No Faith, you’re not alone. I’ll even go further. The other day, on another board, I opined, “Well, no matter how the series may be massacred I’ll at least always have the first 2 seasons.” However, I’ve experienced what you describe and more. In some small way at least, I actually now feel that this whole reset HAS taken previous seasons from me in some way. I can still enjoy those episodes on their own merit, but given what’s happened, it feels so fake. I can’t trust that anything I saw the first 2 seasons really, truly “matters.” Maybe this feeling will go away, but yeah, to me, season 2 Chuck is a memory.

      • herder says:

        Faith, I’ve felt the same way about season two since the events of comic-con and the various interviews and spoilers about season three. Somehow I got the impression that they were going to reset things in such a way that it was as if season two hadn’t happened and if it hadn’t happened why rewatch what was no longer relevant.

        I know it is a childish and silly reaction, but I haven’t rewatched Colonel or the Ring since last September even though I did buy the season two DVD, if there had been more time between it’s release and the start of season two I might have. But the way that things have worked out this season is so different it’s as if it is a different show and season two doesn’t have much to do with this new show. Sad, but that’s the way I feel.

      • atcdave says:

        Faith, I do understand the feeling the earlier seasons have been damaged. After Comic-Con I went several months before I could watch any Chuck again, it had all turned bitter. But I do think, once we see the resolution, we won’t be so down on it. Some of the damage we are currently seeing will be shown to be false (I’m positive some will be false), and some just won’t be such a big deal.

        I truly do feel the same disappointment, but hang in there, I’m sure it will get better.

      • Jason says:

        I watched just the last few minutes of all 7 season 3 episodes, I did so because 6&7 left me sad. I was curious about the other 5 – so here is my count, sad 1, ok 2, sad 3, 4 ok, very sad 5 (PLI’s with both at end) – so far, my count, no times was I happy, twice ok, 3 times sad, twice maybe distrurbed even (6&7) – that is not fun tv. I was wondering, 12 episodes left, how many fun endings, how many ok, how many sad???? might only be 12 left forever, that too is sad.

  21. Lucian says:

    Ernie – I am right there with you. The problem is, given this new approach, I’ll be upset when Hannah leaves. They make a cute couple. It’s funny, TPTB say don’t just focus on the relationship, but a steady diet of relationship angst seems to be pretty much all we’ve gotten this season.

    • amyabn says:

      I’m sorry to disagree, Lucian, but I think Hannah is a little too perfect, a little too into Chuck right off the bat. I think Shaw has her looking after Chuck and wanting to split Chuck and Sarah up.

      I’m rewatching episodes right now, and we haven’t discussed the kryptonite/spinach concept in a while. Chuck is fine when he is good with Sarah-they are going to talk after the get the case, he calms down after she tells him to not freak out, he flashes after Sarah is threatened. I also see that Chuck is doing more as Chuck, not the Intersect. I think Chuck (and Sarah too) will resent the interference, but it will be a tool to show Chuck is a spy with or w/out the Intersect. Thoughts?

      • Lucian says:

        I agree with the “too perfect” element; moving to Burbank for a guy you met on a plane? Chuck is a nice guy, but come on. I’m fine if she is a complete innocent, or not. I just want no more tortured looks between Chuck and Sarah because they really haven’t moved on. I’d rather watch reruns of season 1 and 2 if they can’t move the story forward.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Lucian, you have a knack for saying what I’m thinking. If I wanted to watch Season 2 again I’d watch season 2. It was better the first time, so far. I am however kind of enjoying the new Chuck in new spy situations even if the romance is kind of a replay.

      • kg says:

        Yes Amy

        Talk about TYPE. If you believe in this premise, who better than the mysterious, cryptic, “I’m always right” Shaw to know Chuck’s type – petite, sweet, apparently innocent, brunette who knows so much about computers.

        He wants him to forget Sarah. He doesn’t recruit another knockout blonde.

  22. cholitau says:

    There are so many possibilities of how things will unfold in the next few episodes. It’s true that i’m not happy by the looks of this season, if all is to be taken at face value, but if it isn’t and nothing in fact “is real”, watching the story unfold from here on is starting to sound very exciting to me… and this is great, considering i was feeling so down and broken hearted.
    Ernie, this comment you made about Hannah: “By Jill I mean another spy, not necessarily a villain. I think she gets over-involved and spills it to Chuck that she works for Shaw, leading up to…The Punch.” for some reason made me all excited about 3.08… i can’t wait to see what leads to the punch!

    • Ernie Davis says:

      That is why I think Chuck is an innocent in the trapezoid, not one of the players. I think Shaw is probably playing Sarah, and I’m on the fence as to how much Sarah is being played or is playing along. I wish I didn’t have to wait three weeks to find out, but I think 8-10 are going to be really, really good and most of the a-ha moments will be done by then, setting up the big spy finish to the front 13.

      • Mike B says:

        Spoiler Alter*****

        ChuckTV just posted 5 vague spoilers one of which is:

        A feint and a double-cross keep our heroes on their toes

      • cholitau says:

        I also seems to me that Chuck has nothing to do w the con (if there is a con after all). I hope he is in on it though, cause it’s too painful to see him move on so easily and act so OOC.

      • weaselone says:

        In Chuck’s defense, Chuck’s moving on involved 6 months, a significant period of time glued to a couch, a large container of Cheeze balls, a huge beard, a near death confession followed by getting knocked on his butt by the object of his affection. He even asked and received Sarah’s permission to move on. Chuck’s technically taken the lumps required to justify moving on.

        Of course, we all know he really hasn’t.

    • Big Kev says:

      Cholitau…..Agreed, and I’m going to stick up for Season 3 here. I completely get why people are missing the fun, sweet, slightly ridiculous series that Chuck was in Seasons 1 and 2. It’s a bit like falling in love with the B52’s, then buying the third album and finding out they’ve turned into Rage Against the Machine. I’ve missed the Chuck and Sarah goodness, and I’ve missed the bumbling but always sweet computer nerd.
      But I gotta say, I think some of the setups here are potentially epic, if they do them right. It makes sense to me that if Chuck chooses to be “in” the Spy world, then the deceptions, the emotional cost and the possible repercussions have to be more “in his face”. They can’t be inferred, or hidden, as they were in previous seasons. Don’t get me wrong – I think some of the execution has been dreadful. I consider Pink Slip and the Mask to be comfortably the 2 worst episodes of Chuck yet made – but I love the fact that I have no idea how all this is going to play out. I’m enjoying the whole concerpt of “3D Chess Games” even while it infuriates me, and I’m going to give kudos to the writers and producers for attempting something different and more challenging than Seasons 1 and 2.
      That said, of course, it depends on the execution. If they drive away the fans, or the payoff doesn’t match the incredibly layered setup, then history will judge them harshly, and there will go our Season 4. The stakes have been raised not just for Chuck, Sarah and the characters, but for the writers and the fans as well.

  23. olddarth says:

    Great article Ernie! Well written. Not saying I agree with everything in it but in no way should that be taken as a detraction to the effort and quality you put into it. You are to be commended.

    Once I finish my current set of articles my next one wlll tackle the ‘reset’ at the end of S2.

    Angst and PLIs are the sore point for many. For me it is dishonest story telling.

    The last 10 minutes of 3.07 are the result of dishonest story telling and stand as a low point for me next to the Hauser non-resolution.

    If Sarah’s actions at the end of 3.07 are part of a con then I will be severely angered. For that is storytelling based on withholding information from the audience to elicit a false reaction. Retconning if you will. Which I dislike with severe hostile passion.

    More than likely 3.08 will play out with Sarah kissing Shaw with anticipation, as we have seen in the promo, to realize that such superficial couplings no longer hold interest for her. At least I hope so. I hope so vehemently.

    Anything else will be dishonesty heaped unpon dishonesty.

    • Anonymous says:

      So that would mean you can’t like The Sting, any one of dozens of episodes of The Rockford Files or, for that matter, Casablanca.

      • OldDarth says:

        What?

        Obviously not because in those instances it is know ahead that all is not as it seems.

        Chuck has never ever tried to employ such a device.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      OD, I think if you and I were ever in total agreement the universe its own self would end, but I think we often are more in agreement than we let on. To you it’s the story, to me it’s the characters who the story is told through. But we both hate when people cheapen what we find important. Thanks for the kind words. And I kind of agree with you, just not enough to risk the end of the universe 😉

      • Big Kev says:

        Not sure I agree there, OD. One of the recurring themes of the first 2 seasons was the difference between “real” and “not real”. Chuck wasn’t really “in” the spy world in the first 2 seasons, so the real/not real debate was only really about his relationship with Sarah. Now he’s in the spy world, real/not real applies to everything. Sarah spelled it out in Prague in case we missed it.
        The depth of the exploration of real/not real may have syrprised us, but I don’t think we can argue that the writers didn’t tell us it was coming.

    • Big Kev says:

      I think if the character deception is not revealed until after many episodes, then I would agree. But if I have to sit through 10 minutes of bizarre behaviour from Sarah, and it’s addressed fairly quickly in the next episode (as I suspect it will be) – then I’m fine with it.

      • atcdave says:

        I totally agree; Sarah’s alarming change of behavior at the end Mask is sufficient cause to know something is wrong. I would cautiously say the same for Chuck; as others have pointed out, he may have justification for trying to move on, but he has never handled seeing Sarah with another guy well before.
        So to me, bottom line is; Sarah’s behavior demands an explanation, Chuck’s behavior might get one too.

  24. Lucian says:

    I have to say, the next episode is really going to be entertaining, as we should get some clarity (it would seem) on the fake vs. flake controversy. In all honesty, I have a very real respect for the opinions of both camps.

    My problem is, I really don’t like the “con” theory, for all the reasons OldDarth provides. It is crappy storytelling. I really don’t like the “flake” theory, because I have always thought better than that of Chuck and Sarah. Amazing character regression.

    It sounds like I’ll need to just repeat my new mantra “when the story is lame, remember – it’s the destination”. Hopefully it will be about the journey starting in episode 9.

    • JLR says:

      Heh, I’ve been on NBC boards (different handle) trying to shoot-down any con theories precisely b/c of what OD said… I think it’s a cheap device, and is like saying “see, we can do whatever we want to the characters because in the end, none of it ever really happened.” I do NOT think it is clever, nor do I think it is entertaining. Deeper than that, I think it’s a cop-out, and cheap story-telling. Some people think the con theory is so cool,,,and I guess I don’t understand why… Obviously they’re free to feel that way; I just don’t get it.

      • kg says:

        I don’t feel it is cool. For me, it was the only way I could rationalize and cope with such a crappy, and lack of a better term, depressing episode.

        How and why could Chuck and Sarah give up on each other so easily, so capriciously?

        I’m not as clever as OD. The con theory was an initial reaction for me, long before Liz James spelled out specific details.

      • atcdave says:

        I think I’m looking at it the same way KG is. I don’t really like the idea of a con, at least not one we’ve been completely left out of the loop on; but I really hate the violence done to two established characters. At this point, I’ll clutch at any lame explanation that restores some respectability (again, Sarah being far more damaged than Chuck.)

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