One Man’s Reaction to The Fake Name

Sympathy

I’m guessing that somewhat less than half the viewers whose reactions I saw last night were satisfied with lasts night’s episode, The Fake Name. Something like a little half were not. As is usual with samples of humanity, most were somewhere towards the middle, seeing things they liked and very pointedly, things they didn’t; if there is a needle on the meter, it’d be pointed high, slightly but clearly and significantly on the negative side. And a few were even out there on “the Gaussian tail”, vowing to not watch Chuck again. If anything was different about the reaction, it wasn’t where the needle of satisfaction was pointing last night. It was how strong the force driving it was.

[A tiny voice comes from the back of the room.] “Did anyone like it *that* much?”


Well um, me. I did.

Please don’t hate me now. I saw what you saw, and I know how you feel about how the characters are not who we thought, and how this entire season just hasn’t been fun, and about (very) sudden interests in People of the Opposite Sex who happen to be Cute and Available and Nothing More (formally known as PLIs)… Truly. But I really, really enjoyed last night’s episode.

How could that be? I think I can almost put it to words.

I keep going back to my reaction to Beefcake, the hands down choice for least-enjoyed of season 2. Like most, it took me a while to warm up to it, because I just didn’t like Chuck in that episode. I didn’t like the bumbling, insecure, whiny and even foolish person Chuck was then, more schmuck and more needy than I remember him being in any other episode. Neither did Sarah, it seemed. I liked seeing him act with some confidence (like with Colt in First Date) or be a hero (like in Tom Sawyer). I liked seeing him act as Carmichael. Sarah did too, and I could understand that.

And every episode of S3 has shown us more of Chuck being exactly that spy of whom I said I wanted to see more. His abilities have been growing, and he’s been acting with more confidence and precision until, in The Mask he succeeds precisely where Super Spy Shaw failed – catching the falling object. He’s become as good at lying as was Sarah under pentathol. He’s become as good at manipulating the truth as was Sarah when she advised Chuck to Just tell them we’re taking it slow, and whatever we have, we don’t feel the need to label it.”

You may remember Chuck’s immediate reaction to that – “But that’s just another lie, isn’t it? We’ll never really be together.” Congrats, Chuck. You made it. You’re as good a spy as Bryce and Cole and Shaw. You know, the guys you wanted to be? – The guys who are Sarah’s type? Oh, and by the way, Cole is gone, Bryce is dead and we hate Shaw.

Last night, I typed a few times in comments that I had never seen Chuck look so defeated. Know what? I’m glad about that. He’s succeeded in being that hero Sarah mentioned in The Ring, but you see, Sarah didn’t say “I want you to become a hero.” She told him that he, Chuck Bartowski, already was a hero. So why did he have to change?

And Sarah looks so lost. She’s acting so lost. For weeks now, Sarah’s not been the character we knew. She’s been careening off the rails, and we (or at least, I) kept making excuses for her. Sarah’s been impulsive, distracted, vengeful and even hateful (that is, full of hate) as she literally beats Chuck with a stick and even more hateful as she permits Shaw’s advances. Admit it! You hated it. I did. Sarah’s been off her game, to say the least, even in hand to hand combat, which is something we haven’t seen before. The truth of the matter is that Sarah’s not been a great spy since the beginning of the season. In fact, she’s been a lousy one, relying on Casey and The Intersect to save her when she gets into trouble. Where is our Sarah Walker? Even she doesn’t know. That’s how lost she is. What she does know is that Sam is not a spy.

So why did I enjoy The Fake Name? Besides laughing at the obvious tweaks to ‘shippers like me (sorry, ATCDave, I really didn’t take offence at the WTWT jab 😉 ) I saw Chuck reach his destination. Guess what. It was Teh Sux. I saw something new, something I had just missed before – Sarah is broken. Oh, you may have noticed Chuck stopped flashing last night, even when Sarah needed his help most. We knew that was coming, and saw it again in the promos. The Intersect is broken. Expected that! But I didn’t expect to see Sarah broken, and I certainly never expected Chuck to be the reason for that. Hey! Did someone say that Sarah was Chuck’s kryptonite? Looks like that works both ways.

I’ve mentioned before that for me, I want to feel something when I watch television. That states it poorly. What I mean is that, TV shows that are mildly amusing and/or get my pulse racing for five minutes are quite common. They’re easy to find, and of course, quite predictable. One that makes me care this much about the characters is rare indeed. It doesn’t fail when I stop laughing. It fails when I stop caring. By the end of last night’s episode, I wanted to cry for almost everybody, starting with non-awesome Devon, meddling Ellie, and finally with broken Chuck and lost Sarah. They have all hit rock bottom and I know this because I saw them broken at the bottom of the hole. All the strange niggles and glitches we saw this season are slips and stumbles marking the fall.

And now I am almost relieved. They can now start to find their way out. I don’t know yet if Chuck realizes what he’s done to Sarah, but I know that he’s going to see it soon. He will be the one to bring her up off her knees and not Shaw, not Casey, not some strange turn of events. I don’t know yet if Sarah realizes exactly what it is she has lost and where to find it. But despite her constant attempts to stay unencumbered by connections and emotions, for the first time since we met the character Sarah is going to realize that she *did* have something to lose. It was in her hands, already hers, and she let it go.

I know this because I saw Chuck poke his head up from the hole he’s in, and for the first time see what’s happened to his soul. For the first time in a while, I saw him look up to see some truth and start to look around to see how he’s hurt others. I saw Sarah groping in the dark to find a connection, any connection. She was groping to get back what she once had.

We never doubted that Chuck and Sarah would eventually get together. That was never the question. The question I asking was always who was going to get the girl? – The nerd or the hero? What did Sarah want? – to have a spy’s adventurous life, or to have connections and (yes) a family? Like usual for me, I was asking dumb questions. You see, now I know the answer to the above is “Yes”. You may feel that TPTB have been treating us, the fans, with disdain and ignoring what we know to be true and right about the characters we love. I know ’cause I felt that too. But I don’t see them laughing at us. I see them smiling – not broadly, but gently and with sympathy. A great deal of it.

I enjoyed discovering that. I enjoyed finding out that this was deeper and more meaningful than I imagined even last week. I am going to enjoy the rest of the season.

– joe

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About joe

In my life I've been a professor, martial artist, rock 'n roller, rocket scientist, lover, poet and brain surgeon. I'm lying about the brain surgery.
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358 Responses to One Man’s Reaction to The Fake Name

  1. BigCheese says:

    Very disapointed. They use the excuse about asset, spy, break up, they don’t talk, and now Sarah run to Shaw and do all of it? Wow. Ali is PRO.

    Nonsense. Unbelievable.

    They extended Shaw for what? CS will talk each other this season? Don’t think so.

    8 out of 13 and what WE got? Nothing from CS. Great. What can be better?

    They knew that this could be the last season when they planned this, right?

  2. PeterOinNj says:

    Well Joe, I thought we were kindred spirits and after reading your post, I know for sure we are. While I wish some (most?) of it didn’t happen (didn’t have to happen might be more appropriate), I can honestly say it was a great episode – Why? It left me feeling more for these characters than I have all season – than I have in a very long time. That’s great writing – thank you Ali Adler! That’s great acting – thank you ZL & YS. I saw how lost Sarah was this season and this episode crystallized it beyond a shadow of a doubt. The final act of giving Shaw her name wasn’t a gift, but really a desperate drowning woman grasping at anything to keep afloat. And the reveals to Chuck throughout the show were so telling – Devon, Casey, Sarah, Shaw and Hannah all told him the depths he had sunk to. And now, he knows that it’s up to him to climb out of that hole. A wise man once told me that the only person you can change is yourself – Chuck is about to change again and I for one am looking forward to his journey towards redemption.

    • joe says:

      Peter, I just realized how much I like that imagery.

      Sam’s name was indeed, not a gift, but an act of desperation.

      Perfect.

  3. Paul says:

    I liked it a lot as well. Be careful of your sample populations when conducting a “survey”. Sometimes you can inadvertantly skew the results…

  4. Hagit says:

    just one question Joe- will you marry me??????? i just love you man!!!!!!! i’ve been struggling for words myself, and i’m not even writing anything! but just thinking about it- i’m lost for words sometimes, and here you are, saying everything (well, almost everything) i was thinking… you’re awesome!!!
    by the way, regardless of what episode is being discussed, a major point for me is also the emotional factor in “Chuck”, feeling for the characters, feeling that pain and joy and the whole rainbow (can’t believe i’m using that word..” of human emotions.. in my opinion THAT is what makes “Chuck” well.. “Chuck”! there isn’t any other show like it! and i’m SURE that’s not going to change any time soon (or at all, really).. it’s gonna be like “friends” i think, decades from now people will look back and wonder what’s the greatest comedy of our time, and “friends” will be it! (i’m sorry “seinfeld” fans.. really- i am).. and when they’ll be looking for the greatest comedy/ drama/ action/ romance/ what not show- “Chuck” is definitely going to be it!
    love you, love all “Chuck” fans, and have a great week everybody!!!!!!!!
    Hagit, from Israel

  5. prechuck says:

    joe,

    I completely agree. It was the most enjoyable episode of the season. I laughed more in this episode than I have since last year. The Greek chorus was brillant by letting us the audience into the performance. If it worked for Aeschylus, it works for Ali Adler. Also, I found alot of people on other boards who enjoyed, or loved the episode so I would not say it was received negatively. Keep trucking!!

  6. OldDarth says:

    Can I at least be the best man? 😉 I really liked 3.08 too.

    Chuck and Sarah made mistakes last night. The characters have never felt more real. Or more human.

    I love that.

  7. Ernie Davis says:

    Hey Joe. I agree to a degree. Everything was pretty well written and acted. I guess my problem is that I don’t like the Hollywood habit of supersizing emotions. It kind of turns me off. I feel condescended to when they seem to be grabbing me by the collar shaking me screaming in my face “FEEL THIS EMOTION NOW!!!”

    • joe says:

      Yeah. You’re right. I HATE feeling emotionally manipulated, which is what happens when it’s done poorly (or at least with mediocrity), right?

      I’ll tell you honestly, Ernie. I’m very sensitive to that. I’ve seen too much of it, especially in TV land.

      It didn’t feel like manipulation to me last night. It felt much more like revelation.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        It’s not the manipulation per se, it is more about how they reflexively reach for epic when understated works just as well. I also think it risks permanent damage to the characters and the fans investment in them as they work to build them back up as the new Chuck and Sarah.

        Right now it strikes me that Chuck is just another of the many shows that eventually turn into cheap soap operas. And that’s usually where they lose me. I hope they can recover, but right now I care less than I used to if they do.

      • John says:

        Exactly Ernie. With each passing episode of season 3, Chuck is turning more and more teen soap opera-y. It pains me to see them butcher the show that I once loved.

  8. Jason says:

    With each little dent into the CS I lost a little respect for the show, BUT if you gave me 20 sec’s of editing (cutting), I think I could have been 100% with you on this episode – cut the name reveal, cut sarah’s smile over shaw cheap shotting the spy (like how would she react if chuck did that???), and then cut the sarah initiated kiss at the end – if I had time left, I would cut reference to ‘sleeping together’ by hannah, sort of a don’t ask, don’t tell policy?

    • Stef62 says:

      We have seen behaviour like that before from her. Think of the pre-credits sequence of ‘The Break Up’ with Bryce.

  9. JC says:

    I liked the episode, couple of things were off but nothing huge. Even the name reveal, which I’m seeing as more of a catalyst for C/S.

  10. eaglemmoomin says:

    Good post Joe. I enjoyed the episode too. Very funny and heartbreaking too. Sarah/Sam is so broken right now. It was just Chuck’s realisation what he had done and has become. I actually thought he finally understood what she’s been trying to tell him for 3 years. I think her emotional journey is going to be more interesting than Chuck’s to be honest. Change can be a good thing in my mind

  11. Waverly says:

    So this is the thread mostly for people who liked that show.

    I just watched it again, and found that I liked it better than the first time. In general, I thought that Chuck and Sarah are closer together now than before, despite their apparent behaviors at the end of the episode.

    • joe says:

      No, Waverly. I don’t mean to dissuade anybody from disagreeing with me. (But I have to admit, I certainly wasn’t expecting marriage proposals! 😉 )

      This thread is still about your reactions, for good and for bad.

      • Waverly says:

        Sorry, I wasn’t implying that you were trying to limit the kinds of responses.

        I was just noting the general difference in tone compared to last night.

      • joe says:

        Yeah. I almost always see the tone shifting over the course of a week or two. This time it’s a bit more important, though. It feels like the show is at a critical juncture (and lemme tell ya, I’m very glad to see the early reviews of 3.09 from the screeners).

  12. OldDarth says:

    You still got it you old rogue!

    I find it intriguing that ah, erm, older? more experienced? weathered etc… posters like Joe, Pete, and myself – not sure about the rest of the posters here – like this one a lot more than the less time riddled posters here. 😉

    • weaselone says:

      Define “time-riddled”? Besides, shouldn’t you geezers be up in arms over Chuck having sex with Hannah before a first real date and Sarah being a woman of loose morale virtue and worse wearing clothing that exposes her ankles? 😉

    • joe says:

      It ain’t the years. It’s the miles. 😉

      But I still wish I had written that better. Here’s one thought I completely left out…

      Remember the Sarah Walker who broke the thumb of the Russian in Undercover Lover who had the audacity to touch he inappropriately? She knocked him unconscious about five scenes later. Remember the Sarah Walker who slapped the high-school bully at the reunion in Cougars? There were two hits – Sarah hitting Biff, Biff hitting the ground.

      So where was Sarah Walker when the assassin was taunting her mercilessly last night? No where to be found. The person I saw didn’t do a thing about it. That was Sam.

      • weaselone says:

        I can see Sarah not giving into the taunts of the assassin. He was taunting her to provoke just that sort of reaction and by staying cool, she denied him that victory. The Sarah I have a problem with is the one who took out two armed guards with her fists (with an assist from her feet) just a few episodes ago, but now buckles under a single hit from a guy whose skill set should be more focused on hitting objects at half a mile with a bullet than hitting someone a foot away with a first.

      • Jason says:

        I was struck by how quickly the assassin dispatched with shaw, thought he was a super spy, cole would have not ever quit fighting, short of death.

      • weaselone says:

        Even Chuck lasted longer and he hadn’t flashed and had already been banged around and strangled by Shaw.

    • PeterOinNj says:

      Frankly, I prefer mature 😉

    • Faith says:

      I think I’ve just been insulted. But I’m too young to know for sure.

  13. Erin says:

    Great post! Since last night I’ve been reading all of these negative things about the episode which made me nervous because i really liked it. I was starting to think that maybe i was missing something so i watched it again but it only got better.
    A lot of things stuck out for me this episode, one of the best of which was that the reason why Shaw may seem less developed than some would hope is because he really doesn’t matter. Shaws character is really only there to push Chuck forward and to be the person that Sarah can go through her transformation with until she realizes what she really needs, chuck.
    I also have to say that although the name reveal wasn’t what i’ve been hoping for for months i really enjoyed it. It was heartbreaking, and Sarah’s face was incredible when Chuck called her Sam.

    What i’m kinda curious about now is how they’re going to use her name. Is Shaw going to keep calling her Sam, will Chuck?
    I just really hope that they don’t just drop the fact that Sarah didn’t actually tell Chuck her name. I feel that there needs to be some kind of conversation there, and since it has high angst potential my wish may be fulfilled.

    • weaselone says:

      I would guess that Chuck would either continue to call her Sarah or ask her which name she would prefer he call her. Shaw’s probably going to call her Sam unless she tells him to stop.

    • joe says:

      Yeah. We saw in the promo over the weekend that Chuck asks “Do you love me, Sarah?”

      • PeterOinNj says:

        So I was wondering about that too and I came to a moment of clarity (or insanity, take your pick).

        Let me preface this by saying that I believe the name issue needs to be addressed by these two. It is the proverbial elephant in the room. They also have to address the mantra from the beginning of the season – spy’s don’t fall in love. Based on the above it wasn’t Sarah the spy who was in the arms of Shaw but Sam the person.

        So, “Sarah do you love me?” ~ “No, but Sam does.”

        I know, sickly sweet ~ but simple and real.

      • Stef62 says:

        It doesn’t bother me if she doesn’t answer then.

        However I would like to see a similar question from Shaw answered with a ‘No, I love Chuck’

    • kg says:

      A lot of folks prior to the episode noted on various posts that to them she will always be Sarah.

      As for me she’ll always be Sarah Walker or even Jennifer Burton. I didn’t loathe the episode, either, perhaps because I was prepared for the worst it therefore allowed me to enjoy the many good parts and aspects. In the previous three weeks I just got sick of writing and reading about the negativity or about what wasn’t there, what should be there and I guess posts by Old Darth and Ernie started registering and I embraced this episode. It really didn’t offend me like the Mask did. However, I have will admit I have no use for Sam.

      And I’m thinking, while Sarah may need to reconnet with a semblance of the Chuck she first met, I’m also thinking, and I suppose hoping, that Chuck himself is in love with Sarah and not Sam and in his attempt to help/save her he will push her to become more like Sarah and not this Sam, who is currently a mess and totally lost, and as Joe pointed out, a less than stellar agent at the moment.

  14. weaselone says:

    I haven’t watched it a second time, and I know I probably need to given I was pretty critical and cynical for the first 10 minutes or so. By the end, I felt it was a decent episode and on reflection it certainly feels less ominous than the majority of the episodes we’ve been treated to this season.

    Like you, by the end of the episode I had feelings for pretty much the entire cast of characters. I felt sorry for Hannah, crushed, yet hopeful for Chuck, sorrow for Sarah, and appreciation for Casey. I also felt happy for Ellie because Chuck took the first few teetering steps out of the hole and found himself her door even as his next few resulted in the ending of a relationship in which he never should have indulged. Shaw, well the guy just keeps getting creepier, scarier and more conclusively psychotic.

    I think it’s interesting that Chuck hit the bottom first, while Sarah still appears to be in free fall. I can’t help but hope the reconciliation between the two doesn’t stem from any pursuit on his part, but rather Chuck’s attempts to help her out of her own person chasm. The parallels between Sarah and Chuck this season are quite amazing, not the least of which is that at this point in time both Sarah and Chuck are crippled emotionally and as spies.

    I’m looking forward to next week when Chuck has to deal with the furry gnome of fury, Ring agents invading the Castle and being subjected to the creepiest relationship ever, while continuing on his struggle to climb out of his pit and become a spy on his terms.

    • weaselone says:

      Another parallel is that just as Sarah is concerned about losing the Chuck she came to love, Sarah is herself in flux and no longer seemingly the Sarah that Chuck came to love. It’s nice that she’s starting to access her emotions and try to find the real her, but it seems she’s shedding a lot of the strengths she possessed as Sarah Walker in the process. When Shaw has his shirt off, Sarah’s reduces to a frazzled, awkward teenager, socially inept teenager. The strong, confident woman we all though we saw at the end of cougars seemed to have abandoned her.

  15. Chuckaddict says:

    To me, this was by far the best episode of the season. After the show I realized I’d been pretty pissed at Chuck for his behavior so far this season. I don’t care what the circumstances are, you don’t leave the woman you love standing on a train platform with her bags packed, you bring her back with you. I’m so glad to see Chuck starting to be himself again. Getting/saving Sarah should now be a mere formality.

    I’m not sold on the Sarah and Shaw relationship. I think she might be playing him to find out what he’s up to. I think she might find out that he’s actually Bryce, literally. I just can’t place why Bryce would be out to get Chuck, as Shaw clearly is. I’m also not sold on her real name being Sam. We already know her middle name is Lisa, Sam(antha) Lisa? Fishy… I think we were told Casey’s real name, not Sarah’s.

    I was skeptical of the direction the show was taking this season. Now I have full confidence that we’re being taken somewhere, I just don’t know where. I think Chuck’s realization of what he’s doing to those he loves is akin to last years Tron poster. These next 5 episodes should be outstanding. We don’t own these characters. Let’s trust the creators and enjoy the ride!

    • Viridis says:

      I read on another forum that Lisa could be short for Elizabeth. Sam(antha) Lisa is kinda weird, but Sam(antha) Elizabeth is slightly better.

  16. ReadySet says:

    I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but shouldn’t have Daniel Shaw have KNOWN Sarah’s “real name.” I mean, he knew that Sarah’s father was a con man, which means, as a CIA special agent, he would have known that Graham assigned Sarah the “phony” name of Walker. Besides, Sarah went out of her way to tell us in First Class that Shaw had read the files.

    It’s one of about a zillion plot holes in this episode and why it simply does not hold together.

    Sorry, Joe, know you liked it…

    • ReadySet says:

      And while we’re at it, Sarah Walker may have been in the Chuck assignment for three years, but she’s been Sarah Walker for TWELVE years. Does this mean on other assignments she has told people her real name?

      There goes another “truth” from Season 1. And there goes the value of Wookie…

    • joe says:

      Don’t be sorry, ReadySet. I’m encouraging discussion.

      And honestly, you’re the first to get off the emotional aspects and start to question the technical aspects of the episode! That’s pretty cool.

      Yeah. I’m wondering why Shaw didn’t know Sarah’s real name from the start, since he had “the file.” And what is this over-arching plot of his that had Beckman so worried in Pink Slip? I don’t see that Shaw has some master plan. At the moment, I see him as a bigger threat to Chuck than the Ring. There’s tons of unanswered questions.

      But compared to what Chuck went through at the end, and the brief talk with Ellie at the door, they seem far less important at the moment. There’s time enough for satisfactory answers, I think.

      • Chuckaddict says:

        We don’t know why Beckman was so worried in “3 words” and we don’t know why Beckman told Sarah she needs to “save the world from Chuck”? Is there something broked/incomplete/unstable in the Intersect? I think we’ll find out next week. Maybe the focus of arc #2 with Scott Bakula?

      • ReadySet says:

        But, see, Joe, this is the problem. If we are now forced to accept the “what you see is what you get” aspect of the storytelling rather than this being one gigantic con, you can’t have these kind of plot holes.

        Shaw should have had the name, Sarah would have known he had the name, thus the whole damn episode is rubbish.

        This is NOT a technical aspect. This goes to the heart of what Sarah did, what Chuck may have felt when Sarah did it, etc.

        A plot hole of this size destroys whatever emotional integrity the episode has and whatever storytelling value it has…

        IMHO…

      • weaselone says:

        Sarah’s patron saint in the CIA was Graham. Besides Graham, maybe he made sure their were no connections between Sarah Walker and Sam Lisa “Lastname” to guard against possible enemies determining the identity of her father using him against her. If that’s the case, the only link tying Sarah to Sam died in a fulcrum attack.

      • Mike B says:

        There is one huge technical hole. If the wise guys destroyed Chuck’s watch outside the Buymore how was Casey able to track him to the hotel?????

    • Big Kev says:

      Gotta agree with you here, ReadySet.
      I’ve had a problem with the name reveal going back to Delorean, for the simple reason that Chuck flashed on Jack Burton, so would know Sarah’s real surname, Burton or otherwise.
      Clearly Shaw would know the name, and Sarah would know that. There’s no getting around it, without holding your nose.
      I’m going to do that because I really want to see how all this plays out, but I shouldn’t have to. It’s a monster of a plot hole and there have been way too many of them this season.

  17. Viridis says:

    As a counter-theory, I’d like to offer that the Sarah/Shaw thing is brilliant.

    The lack of Sarah/Shaw chemistry is frustrating; she may as well be throwing herself into the arms of a wooden dummy. However, this ridiculously bad portrayal also reassures me that Sarah is only in a moment of weakness and hasn’t betrayed her feelings for Chuck.

    If she is in the arms of someone serious, someone like Bryce or Cole, then I’d wonder if that underlying love for Chuck is gone. After all, she has rejected them before, based on her dedication to Chuck. Instead, I can accept that Shaw is a psycho creepy jackass who dropped a few hints at having emotions so he can manipulate Sarah to force some nebulous intent on Chuck (speaking of which, Shaw called Chuck “The Intersect” again).

    • metajoke says:

      Viridis: I would counter that it doesn’t matter that Sarah is in a moment of weakness. The problem with this season is that they have taken the Chuck-Sarah doesn’t talk thing to ridiculous levels. NONE of this would have happened, to either of them, if they actually spent five second speaking with each other.

      It was cute in Season 1. It was kind of intriguing (if weird) in Season 2. Now Chuck and Sarah not talking is simply this big sinkhole of stupid plot twists. You can’t buy it because you cannot accept at this stage that these two have NEVER spoken.

      • Mike B says:

        Especially that she has known Shaw for all of a month and she totally opens up to him. TPTB claim it is because she has found an equal in Shaw, which absolutely makes no sense. Chuck is becoming more like Shaw and she doesn’t like it so that causes her to go running into the arms of Shaw. If this makes any sense to anyone out there please enlighten me.

      • joe says:

        Then respectfully, here’s my counter argument to you, Meta. Tons of words won’t do it. C&S could talk for hours and still not be any closer to the truth.

        If anything, in the course of S1 and S2, Chuck in particular has said too much, and most of what Sarah has said has been either a dodge or a cover for the truth.

        Wooden Shaw sure isn’t going to explain it to them. He doesn’t have the words.

        If Shaw has the right *actions* (and starting with shooting himself, he’s been all about actions), then I can agree with Viridis. It verges on brilliant.

      • Chuckaddict says:

        The only thing I come with is “nothing in the spy world is real.” Sarah keeps saying it this season. She could be playing Shaw.

      • Stef62 says:

        Or she’s just in classic rebound mode, with the first guy who’s shown her a bit of interest

      • Mike B says:

        To quote Roan Sarah/Sam is a sophisticated, intelligent women and Shaw’s lines ae so cheesy”my dessert is contained in your dessert” What is that? I much prefer the Bartowski eyebrow dance and him firing the guns.

      • Ofer says:

        Actually have Chuck and Sarah had any sort of conversation this season (apart from the fountain) that wasn’t one character surveilling the other?

      • weaselone says:

        In Shaw’s defense those abs (and Sarah’s for that matter) come at a price. He was just watching out for his and Sarah’s figures.

      • Jason says:

        impossible for chuck sarah to have any time together, shaw is impotent in this series without sarah, near 100% of his air time has been with sarah, nearly half of it alone, kind of like the guy who goes to a party and unless his girlfriend is holding his hand, he is standing there alone

      • weaselone says:

        Many mouths means lighter midsections after all!

      • Mike B says:

        Weaselone,

        Maybe BR should be doing an infomercial for the AbRocker instead of messing up Chuck.

    • Viridis says:

      Ofer:

      They’ve had a few “conversations” but nothing as in-depth or truthful as the ones they had in the first two seasons.

      There were two at the fountain in Pink Slip and Three Words, in order to break and re-establish the status quo.

      In Angel de la Muerte they had a “We’re friends” speech in Orange Orange.

      Nothing in Operation Awesome or First Class.

      In Nacho Sampler they have a few half-conversations on the nature of the spy-asset relationship, but Casey’s never far away.

      In The Mask, they had that argument right before stealing the mask, and the moment in the hallway.

      Nothing major in Fake Name either, not even one after the Sam reveal.

      Meta:

      I do agree with you in that I think the Giant Reset Button was unnecessary, and that they could’ve addressed the issue of Chuck turning into a lying spy and Sarah turning into an emotional mess without having to force them apart. TPTB have taken pains to make sure that minimal Chuck/Sarah interaction occurs this season, as opposed to their frequent semi-truth discussions around the fountain in previous episodes.

      Having said that, I don’t think that the current direction is a bad thing. It is easier to write about two characters coming together than to write about a couple fixing problems that come up. Now if they clearly and officially put them together at the end of this season and hit another Giant Reset for season 4 …

      • Viridis says:

        Addendum: In Angel de la Muerte they did also hug after Chuck learns of Devon’s capture.

  18. Jason says:

    joe – I really am no more or less numb after 3.8 than I was after 3.7, if I really trusted that the angst would end at 3.11 or 3.13, I think I might get thru it, but how can the % of the fans who really loved CS, ever trust the show again? The longer the SS dance goes on, the more I am afraid we are going to be dealing with a pregnant sarah in 3.19, and a who is the father cliffhanger?

    • joe says:

      [H]ow can the % of the fans who really loved CS, ever trust the show again?

      I can only encourage you to keep asking the question, Jason.

  19. Miette says:

    The fact that Sarah talking to Shaw of what she’s never been able to talk with Chuck, doesn’t make me happy, but it doesn’t really bother me.
    I find it understandable. As said Sarah is broken. She’s doing some soul-searching. The only people she could talk to are Chuck, Casey and Shaw. But she can’t talk to Chuck cause she’s hurt and he’s part of it. Casey isn’t exactly the confiding type, he’d tell her about duty and stuff, but wouldn’t really address the problem. And Shaw, well, he’s not part of it, althought he knows the situation and can understand it. Plus, he showed her sympathy. So she needs to talk, work it out, and Shaw is the easier choice.
    I personnaly also like sometimes to talk to something to somebody that is not really involved in the situation, but knows enough about it to be able to understand it. Is this crazy?

    So yeah she’s confiding in Shaw, and I think he oriented her well. He asked the good question. And I’m saying this even if he’s more and more weird (he wouldn’t stop punching Chuck!). Anyway, yes it’s unusual to see Sarah like this, yes it’s weird, but it’s good to finally hear her. And it’s good that Chuck heard her too.

    So now, I’m currious to see how Chuck is gonna go get her! He knows how he feels about Sarah, himself and who is becomming and he also knows how Sarah feels about it. So what is he gonna do about it?

    I’m sure Morgan will help next week. By the way, missed him in this ep!

    • joe says:

      Hi, Miette. It’s good to see you here.

      Much truth in what you said. The only thing I would say – a relatively minor point – is that I don’t think Sarah is unable to talk to Chuck any more because she’s hurt. I think she can’t because, up until the very end of last nights episode, Chuck has been A LYING TURD (as was so colorfully stated last night)!

      It’s not new that Chuck has seen the damage his situation has caused. Near the end of Broken Heart, just before Sarah hands him the envelope saying where Stephen is, he blamed the CIA for hurting his family. Now Chuck knows HE’S the one causing the damage.

      • Miette says:

        Thanks Joe!

        Yes very true, he already knew about damage on Ellie, Morgan or Awesome, but I don’t think thought it could happened to Sarah too. She knows both Regular-Chuck and Spy-Chuck so he didn’t she would be affected that way. But he didn’t realise he was affecting himself, so…

  20. sd says:

    ready set…

    I think the only one who knew her name was the guy who recruited her who blew himself up in season1

  21. Rick Holy says:

    You already know where I stand on this based on the previous thread of some 250 plus comments.

    But….. I wanted to repeat one of the things I mentioned in one of those comments. The episode was called “Chuck vs. The Fake Name.” What is “Sam” really ISN’T Sarah’s name? What if the FAKE name is actually “Sam.” (or Samantha – whatever).

    This was the “real/true reveal” of Sarah’s name will be (eventually) to Chuck – the way it should have been all along.

    Just a (hopeful) thought.

    Again, overall, I’m less than pleased with things, but since a number of you have said that the next episode (even episodes, PLURAL) are going to be excellent, I’ll check (make that Chuck) them out.

    Still critical in all of this will be the ratings. Glad to see the 2.4, which is about the norm for Chuck. Another 2.2 or lower and things would really be grim.

    I believe in redemption (Lord knows I need it) and I believe in resurrection. Hopefully some of the writing deficiencies that others have pointed out much more eloquently than I can be “corrected” and therefore redeemed in the coming episodes – and this show which I once looked forward to with such great anticipation every Monday night (but now find myself struggling to get through) will be resurrected to what it once was and still can be – GREAT entertainment!

    • Rick Holy says:

      too many typos in that second and third paragraphs above. Should have said, “What IF Sam…” in the second paragraph, and, “This WAY the TRUE reveal…

      Sorry.

    • Mike B says:

      Father Rick,

      Maybe we should all give up angst for Lent..lol

    • Chuckaddict says:

      Chuck vs. the FAKE NAME…

      Excellent obserevation. I stand by my theory that we know Casey’s real name and not Sarah’s.

    • joe says:

      Fr. Rick,
      Be assured, I saw your words. I had a very few people specifically in mind when I wrote this post. You were definitely one of them.

      You may be right about “Sam”. But here’s a thought for you. From what I saw of “Sam” in yesterday’s episode, I’m not very impressed with her. She let herself be abused by the assassin even when he was tied to a chair. She couldn’t defend herself from him when he was free, much less from Shaw.

      I don’t think that was the girl Chuck wanted to share a hamburger with.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Perhaps. But if I was “Sarah” or “Sam” or whoever, I don’t think I’d want to share a burger with Chuck, either. Not if after so soon after professing his love for me he winds up in the sack with another hottie who he barely knows. (Not that she knows this, but it happened).

        To me, that’s one of the major disappointments of this episode. Not that I’m some kind of prude (I do have my principles, however when it comes to this particular topic), but it make Chuck come off looking like a real heel and a major s**thead – and that’s not the Chuck I’ve been rooting for and trying to get other people to watch and like.

        You can say all you want about his “maturing into a spy” and having to deal with all that. But banging Hannah? After “Sarah I Love you” (this season) and after “Colonel/Ring” (Dad, I LOVE her)-(last season), it just makes him look like a snake sniffing around for the next thing to come along.

        Bottom line is that however screwed up she may be (and remember, her upbringing was a heck of a lot worse than his), at this point he doesn’t deserve her!

        What he needs now is not a shared cheesburger, but a kick in a certain part of his anatomy. Sorry to be blunt – but if we’re supposed to be enamored of this character (Chuck), then the writers better start writing him as a character that we CAN be enamored of. Right now they’re not even close.

      • Faith says:

        Fr, don’t know what to call you, Fr Rick? Fr? I’m catholic and I went to an all girls catholic school for awhile so it’s awkward haha.

        Ok anyways, I think making Chuck look like douche bag is the point. Hannah’s line of how he’s a liar and “I hope your lies keep you warm at night” was the point. This isn’t Chuck anymore, it’s a cardboard cut out of the Chuck we once knew. Joe is right, he needed to discover for himself that he is already a hero, not that he had to turn into one Shaw or Cole or Bryce. And in attempting to do so he went too far. But not far enough to redeem himself from himself and others around him.

      • Jason says:

        Rick, I was real mad at the end of 3.7, thinking WTF was that?, sort of thought about chuck, and at that point, I realized he had not really shown much affection for sarah since 3.4. then, I looked thru the sarah stuff, and she in lots of ways has been off and on po’d at chuck since 3.1. The moment shaw showed up, there simply is no air time available for CS, shaw is with her 100% of the time, so this ‘suddeness’ that I felt maybe isn’t as sudden as I first thought – I hit a point where I decided this just isn’t the story I wanted, so I now have to decide if I can tolerate the one I am getting. I can for now, but I am really suspicious of what is ahead, not anymore in 3.9 thru 3.13, as we are now thru the pain, the rest is downhill, I am talking about beyond.

      • Jason says:

        funny faith, 9 years of catholic school myself, I started with Father, then retyped it as rick, LOL

      • Rick Holy says:

        Faith (love the name) and Jason. Let’s compare apples and apples. When Chuck was “doin the do – or at least trying to with Jill,” Sarah cut him some slack, even though she was visibly hurt by it.

        So far what I can recall, Sarah’s been through some tough times, but up to this point she’s never sought affirmation or whatever word you want to use by jumping into the sack with anyone that I can recall (other than Chuck in Colonel), and it’s not like the opportunity wasn’t there for her.

        Truthfully, how many times has Chuck broken up with her (be they for legitimate reasons or not)? I’ve lost count. But she’s never – except for a kiss with Cole and now a kiss (or perhaps more?) with Cole II (I mean Shaw)”gone for broke” if you catch my drift.

        So NO, I’m not going to cut Chuck (or should I say the writers – any slack about this one). He can discover he’s a spy, discover that he hates what he’s become, etc., etc., etc., in all the different ways that he has. But that doesn’t give him sufficient reason or excuse to hop in the sack with Hannah. It doesn’t wash – at all!

      • weaselone says:

        Well, what would you recommend to Chuck if he sought your advice after the name reveal? If he came to you and basically confessed he’d been acting out of character and had been a complete A-hole for the last several weeks? He explained that he’d lost the love of his life and started dating and even had sex with a new girl, but came to the realization that although he liked her he wasn’t in love and was just using her to drown his misery. He then went on to explain that he was working a government job that required him to mislead and lie to his family and those lies were starting to tear him and his family apart. What would you recommend he do? I know this isn’t well phrased and you probably have deeper insight into Chuck’s problems than I, so if he came to you and laid everything out on the table as they stood, what would you suggest he do?

      • Rick Holy says:

        Of course, Weaselone, if this WASN’T “fiction” and it was truly “confessional material” I wouldn’t tell you anything about it as that would be breaking the seal of the confessional – SERIOUS BUSINESS – and I would lose my faculties as a priest. The seal of the confessional is sacred. Nothing said during confession is EVER, under ANY circumstances to be revealed. (O.K., just had to get that out of the way).

        My comments thus far regarding Chuck’s behavior has been from the perspective of a fan and a man, not primarily as a priest. But being that this is all fiction, if Charles Irving Bartowski was to come to confession my approach would be to show him understanding and God’s love and mercy. He’s obviuosly not in an easy situation. But my approach would also be to get him to understand the seriousness of his actions.

        All the things you said about his life were accurate and well-stated. However, in “real life” there are many people who have to make choices similar to Chuck’s for many different reasons – not just in order to protect this country. They’ve made those choices – and to make the necessary sacrifices that go along with them. Is it easy? No. But once the choices are made, the “life” and the necessary sacrifices go hand-in-hand.

        My advice to him would be that if the choice he made has resulted in his no longer being able to be the person he once was, that because of his “job” he was putting his spiritual well-being in jeopardy, then he should find a way to “chuck” the job, or at least find a different way of approaching it. (I know, easier said than done, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy).

        Bottom line – Chuck made a choice at the end of S2. He had “tasted” enough of the spy world to know what he would be getting into, but for noble reasons he made his choice. Now he has to live with that choice, despite the difficulties that come with it.

        It doesn’t give him license to “do whatever he wants” because he feels bad about having to lie to his family or because he lost the love of his life. Having bad things happen to us is sad, even tragic at times, but it doesn’t give us the freedom to do whatever helps us get over our plight, especially if it involves using/hurting another person.

        Again, I bring up the situation with Sarah. She had a MUCH more screwed up family situation than Chuck. She had been in the spy world MUCH longer than Chuck – yet look how she remained “faithful” to him (at lest up until this point, and we’re still not certain that she’s actually done anything with Shaw more than lock lips and reveal a name).

        Bottom line, Chuck would be shown God’s mercy and forgiveness, but he would also be told that he needs – within the realm of what is possible for him -(after all, God does not ask of us the impossible) – even if it is difficult – to make amends to those he has hurt. That’s where the “penance” comes in.

        One thing I would throw in (apart from the confessional aspect). If he’s so fed up with this “spy stuff” and if it’s causing him so much emotional angst by having to lie to his family and causing him to jump into bed with a woman who he was basically using, then why in the promo for the next episode is he all upset when he’s told that he’s being benched because he can’t flash? Sounds like he still wants the “spy world” to me (to get Sarah back, no doubt).

        And “flashback” to last night’s episode. After doing you-know-what with Hannah, he happily slides down the bannister into the castle happy as a clam. Doesn’t sound like someone who is feeling sorry for himself about his life and the choices he’s made and the difficulties that they’re causing him.

        When it comes to “confession” one thing that is absolutely necessary is CONTRITION – sorrow for sins – be they lies, using another person for one’s own gratification, or whatever. Didn’t look like a contrite Chuck to me at that point. Not until he “lost” Sarah does “contrition” suddenly seem to appear – and that’s not REAL contrition. REAL contrition is, “I’m sorry because what I did was wrong.” “I’m sorry for what I did because now I’m more miserable and I’ve lost my true love” ISN’T real contrition.

        Great post, Weaselone – and sorry to all of you that I got overly theological/religious in my answer, but I thought it was necessary based on Weaselone’s excellent question.

        We’ve got a few more episodes left. Let’s see if Chuck demonstrates some sincere contrition (not just because he’s feeling sorry for himself) but because he knows what he did in using another person (for whatever reason) was wrong.

        Talking as a man (who treats women with the utmost respect) and as a fan [and NOT as a priest], I want to be able to “like” Chuck again and I want him to do the “right” thing. At this point, I’m waiting for both. We’ll see what the next episodes bring.

      • joe says:

        I’m not sure we can interpret the promos for next week so easily, Fr. Rick. Especially after comparing what I actually saw last night to what I thought I saw in the earlier promos, they are really, really misleading. Intentionally so, I presume. I went for nearly a week thinking that Chuck took the rifle shot at Shaw.

        And wow! I really appreciate the thoughtfulness of your answer. But if it can draw this kind of response (from all of us!) isn’t that a testimony to the depth of what was presented? I, for one, think so.

      • weaselone says:

        Thank you for the thoughtful reply. It’s given me a fair amount to mull over. I still believe that Chuck’s turn about at the end of the episode isn’t simply due to the recognition that he still loves Sarah, but rather in seeing that even she is concerned about the changes serves as a catalyst by where he recognizes the extent, depth and darkness of the changes he’s undergone. I think this is the beginning of his penance. He’s not going to abandon his duty to his country, but rather embrace and elevate his duty to himself and his friends. Being as honest as he could with Ellie and breaking up with Hannah was the first step.

        Unfortunately, the writers have a general way of being fairly loose with a lot of these changes and I wonder how much of this process we’ll actually see. I think things will be squared away with Morgan by the episode end, but it seems that Chuck is going to have to suffer a bit.

      • lou federico says:

        Joe

        so now we have A Sarah character, an Agent Walker character and a Sam character.

        The Sam character was emotionally depended and weak and craved a Man to take charge.

        We all know the Agent Walker.. cold, heartless and emotionless

        We all love the Sarah character..

        Shaw can have Sam
        Bryce can have Agent Walker
        Chuck deserves Sarah.

        Lets hope Sarah shows up for the rest of the year.

      • joe says:

        That’s not bad, Lou!

        But Faith made a comment that I fear will get lost in this huge pile. It makes me think that Sam is not long for this world.

        What did you see when the assassin held a gun to Sam’s head? What did she do just before the shot rang out?

    • Jason says:

      lou – no wonder chuck’s going to need therapy

      • joe says:

        Heh. Yeah. I tried to make light of it just now with Lou and failed. Chuck’s not the only one who’s going to need therapy.

        Chuck will never be alone with a schizophrenic.
        And there may very well be something very dark going on here that I missed completely.

      • kg says:

        Rick

        First of, you may recall that you and I first corresponded on chucktv.net. And before I comment in an aside, I am glad that we found this wonderful forum in which to read and sometimes opine.

        I agree with you. Chuck skipped down the stairs of castle much too cheerily like a 16-year-old who had just lost his virginity. Big-time horses’s ass.

        I could be wrong, but re-watch the scene with Ellie. I think he did begin to show signs of contrition in his conversation with her.

        Of course what he saw and heard from that isolated room might have been the catalyst, but I believe he did begin to assess and re-evaluate, forcing him to seek out his sister. You can’t honestly say he lost Sarah in this episode. He had already lost her/let her go according to one’s own point of view.

        Breaking up with Hannah with her parents present and apparently only one night after sharing intercourse with her certainly made Chuck look worse, but I think he should be afforded some credit for falling on his sword and doing the right thing. He was honest.

        Her life would always be in danger (he saved her life once, but what if he couldn’t in the future?) because of his job and he would always have to lie to her. And recall his words. He said he liked her, he didn’t say he loved her.

        Yes, he’s a piece of crap for having sex with a woman who’s not his wife and who he’s not in love with.

        But in my estimation he did the correct thing, the hardest thing before the relationship progressed and the fallout would be worse.

        Anyway, I too appreciate your unique skill set and perspective not only as a fan but also as a redoubtable man of the cloth.

        Hannah

      • lou federico says:

        How about team chuck therapy where Casey can help both Shaw and Chuck address their “lady feelings”. Casey as a shrink would be priceless.

      • joe says:

        Doc Brown, anybody?

  22. lou federico says:

    ratings are in!! 2.4 not bad

    Time Net Show 18-49 Rating/Shr Viewers (Millons)

    8:00 ABC The Bachelor: On The Wings of Love (Finale) 4.9/13 14.29
    CBS How I Met Your Mother 3.9/11 10.48
    NBC Chuck 2.4/6 6.70
    FOX House (R) 2.1/6 6.70
    CW Life Unexpected (R) 0.6/2 1.44

  23. BDP says:

    I loved this episode right until the last 5 mins… Im sick of this Chuck/Sarah sh**

    Iv’e literally just now gave up on it…

    ill still watch… coz i seriously loved chuck being raiph(sp) and i seriously loved Chuck and Casey becoming more of a partners… but yeah… im getting just truely sick of this chuck and sarah crap…

    why cant i get an episode without the side order of the ****** up angst.

    • Miette says:

      In 3.10 Chuck and Sarah are gonna be partners too. I think it will be good to see.

      • BDP says:

        Eh – Im looking more forward to Chuck putting his arse on the line for Casey more than Chuck and Sarah maybe having a adult conversation during them playing prison break.

        i kinda want Chuck and Sarah to just completely stone wall each other next episode… maybe then i will come out a little less deflated.

        i was right about one scene though… That fight in the bar was bad arse… and i really liked the Gangsters

  24. Faith says:

    This was in essence a complete reversal of versus Truth from season 1, but far more real and emotional. I hate that I’m saying real so many times but that’s exactly what Chuck is now.

    Yesterday we were talking about songs and how they played that song on how too good to be true love is OVER, well it is. This show is no longer too good to be true either, it’s just is. It’s good on its own basis; it is not season 1, or 2. I loved season 2 I’m not gonna lie. It’s my heart’s desire, I used to watch it in lieu of the many, many crappy reality TV shows in primetime. This season? Haven’t seen a lick. Haven’t rewatched Chuck 3.0 either. Now this isn’t a statement on “Chuck is crappy,” but more “Chuck has changed.” It’s changed. The emotionality and the psychological depth appeals to me. Ali Adler’s writing of that depth and this story appealed to me. But I will not and cannot watch it with joy or anticipation like I once did season 2. I haven’t rewatched an episode this season. Not one, I ask myself why that is and the answer is always, it’s too heavy. I like all those things I mentioned but I can’t take it as a daily diet. Maybe someday I can replay the entire season and recapture that once in a lifetime feeling I had for season 2 but with season 3, but I doubt it.

    To get back to the reversal of Truth…remember that in that episode we learn just how awful the spy game can be? How good a spy Sarah is. Well that’s Chuck now. He’s becoming too good that he’s in danger of losing himself. Now this is in itself a sign of hope…Chuck will always be Chuck. He caught HIMSELF before he went all fully into the brink. Before I was worried that he would go so far as to burn Sarah (in essence he has what with Prague and Hannah) and shoot Casey (shoot anyone really)…but with the name reveal (think that could have been handled differently myself, but just like it matters to us, Adler’s painting Chuck as us, it rocked him) he saw who he was becoming and forcibly dragged his own ass out of the gutter.

    The reason he couldn’t flash wasn’t because Sarah hurt him, or that Shaw has won but because after having seen what the spy game and his spy-ness is doing to him and to those around him (namely Sarah) he has now associated it with something bad and something distasteful.

    • BDP says:

      when i got season 2 last october i actually watched it 2 times in a row, with only a week’s break… its when Chuck went from being a cool thing i could just put on, to being my fave show… this now… is yeah… heavy…

      But ive never been one for relationship angst… Chuck and Sarah wore me thin in season 2… season 3 is in over drive… which is a shame, coz i really liked 8 for everything but the ship-angst

    • John says:

      Exactly. with season 1 and 2, I can easily (and still do) watch the whole season multiple times. With season 3, I don’t even have the slightest urge to re-watch the episodes. It sad that the show I had such high hopes for heading into season 3 turned out to be a huge dud. I’m not even sure the epic back half of the season will be enough for me to change my mind. IMO, they have ruined the Chuck and Sarah characters and I can’t find myself caring for them like I did in season 1 and 2. To me, they already flatlined the “heart” of the show.

      • Mischievous says:

        Just as counterpoint, I actually find myself re-watching these episodes more often than anything from seasons 1 or 2. I guess I just find more to actually go back and pay attention to this season, whereas S1/2 were shows I just watched to enjoy.

  25. sd says:

    So who do you think Sarah was looking at right before she tried to slap the gun away? And who do you think she was looking at when she stood up from the gun shot>

    • joe says:

      I have my answer to that. And I have no doubt.

    • Faith says:

      Chuck.

      Actually and this is most definitely me reading into it, but I think she was getting ready to make the guy pull the trigger herself and take him down with her. She was so ready to die for Chuck and spare his life in that moment.

  26. Lucian says:

    n.

    A drama, such as a play, film, or television program, characterized by exaggerated emotions, stereotypical characters, and interpersonal conflicts.
    The dramatic genre characterized by this treatment.

    If you are a fan of melodrama, then Season 3 is outstanding, and 8 is as good as it gets.

  27. StrikerChuck says:

    Thanks for the perspective. I agree with most of what you said. Your perspective is very similar to my thoughts. The only problem I have with this season is that I tend to have to go back and watch the episodes 2-3 times before I am confident I caught everything and understand where they are going. Not sure if the random viewer will do so as they are not as invested as we are.

    • joe says:

      Hi, StrikerChuck. Not sure I’ve seen your handle before this (and wow, we’ve have tons of new names these past few days). Welcome.

      Yeah, I just haven’t felt confident that I understand but a fraction of any episode I haven’t seen two or three times. Then I go back and see old episodes for the 12th time and I swear I see something I missed before.
      Case in point: I forget which episode we first see Castle. It’s either the 2nd or 3rd of season 2. But in the episode that precedes it, Chuck walks into the O-O as Casey and Sarah walk out from the room behind the counter. Chuck says “What’s back there?” and Casey answers “Like the sign says, yogurt and fun.” What’s really back there is the new entrance to Castle. We won’t know it yet for a while and I MISSED THAT EACH TIME!!! Good thing it’s really not important to Joe Viewer-off-the-Streets. I however was amused. Imagine that – a new laugh the 12th time I saw the episode.

      There are always things that are buried deep. That’s for us, the non-random viewer. Joe off the Streets is going to pick up on general atmosphere, the spy-story, the Buy More insanity, maybe some of the music, and generally, Sarah. He will not pick up on the details that carry over and sometimes don’t reappear until much later. For us it adds coherence and richness, something the new viewers can only discover over time.

      As I type this, I realize that one thing we the seasoned viewers have seen that brand new viewers (those who started with S3) have not seen is the warmth between Chuck and Sarah. They’ve seen intensity and even passion (that’s the only way to describe the Bo training scene in Pink Slip). But compared to S1 and S2, relatively little of the warmth.

      In fact, we’ve seen so much pent up passion and intensity with 0 release, we may not see warmth at all. I won’t be surprised to see it go straight to inferno (“do not pass glow, do not collect $200”).

      • kg says:

        “So does that mean your invitation to the Bartowski Christmas is still good?”

        “See, I knew you could be heartwarmed, heh heh.”

        Joe, you mean something like that?

      • joe says:

        Yeah, kg. Good example.

        I’m sure those scenes are in there is S3. Certainly, the scene in the courtyard at the end of The Three Words comes close. As for the courtyard, you’re on your own! And the hug at the end of Angel when Sarah tells Chuck that Devon has been captured comes close.

        But the warmth of Sarah telling Chuck to “Make a wish. Anything you want – it’s yours.” or the warmth of Chuck putting his mother’s bracelet on Sarah’s wrist – we haven’t seen much of that.

        Or, have I just forgotten because I’ve been watching so intently for Chuck and Sarah to get together once more? I don’t think so.

        The moments for the expression of warmth have not been there – by design. It seems more than obvious that intensity is building to the exploding point. I may miss those tender moments, but I can’t wait to see what’s coming down the pike.

    • Mischievous says:

      That’s actually something I rather appreciate about this season. It means there’s some meat behind everything else going on. If the casual viewer misses it, that’s fine as there is still enough happening to make the show enjoyable. The fact that there are things to see and talk about should you look deeper is great to me.

  28. Yves says:

    I’ve doubted about Sarah and Chuck being starcrossed lovers from the beginning of the season. I think the Fake Name might be the climax of this plot line.

    You’re right, Sarah was doing soul searching while Chuck was turning into a spy. We could see that through the compliments Casey gave him ( In Nacho Sampler, it’s Casey who comforts Chuck, in his own way), and the way he tells his teeth is not a problem: Chuck got the job done and that’s the one thing Casey respects the most.

    I think there is something else, in the long term. Every time emotions are brought up, Chuck keeps babbling. He’s absolutely unable to let anyone speak. In 2×03, he goes first, stating the obvious (he loves Sarah, but he doesn’t know how they could be together, who knows what Sarah would have really said? He’s never been able to let her speak her heart out in the rare moments she would do so.

    On the other hand, Shaw (who I liked in this episode)asks for nothing but listening to what Sarah has to get off her chest. He felt, and cares about the fact that Sarah is holding back Chuck as a spy, and that Sarah is somehow disgusted by Chuck’s transformation.

    Sarah mentionned it in the Mask “At some point, I’m just gonna be standing in your way”. In my opinion, that’s part of the reason he lets Sarah go for Shaw, unable to see how much this is gonna cost.

    But… everything goes sideways when he has to face Shaw and Sam intimacy. He tries to make it right to Hannah, and she makes him realise he has crossed some of his own lines. He’s not himself anymore, and surely he’ll try go back. Can he?

    This leads to one of the best scenes of the show: when Chuck in his alias has to confront Shaw about Sarah/Sam. If he doesn’t like guns, Shaw knows how to use his fists, and when he says ” You had your chance and you blew it” then beat Chuck up, isn’t it too real to be just for the cover? Even Sam/Sarah, begs him to stop, and he doesn’t.

    I believe I’ve already written how Routh didn’t suggest that well all the dark places his character had in the previous episodes. At last, we saw him loose his temper when the killer pushed Sarah’s buttons (as well as his) and when he had a chance to take down Chuck. You have to remember how contort he seems when he looks at Sarah, more focused on Chuck’s dinner than on his presence.

    My guess? If Sam and Shaw are to break up, it will be upon one of Shaw’s displays of rage. He surely knows how to hold himself together, but Sarah seems to trigger Shaw’s warrior mode just as she triggered the Intersect flashes at the beginning of the season. And I truly think Sam’s tired enough of spy violence to make it a break up motive. Also… Let’s not rule out the death of Shaw by the end of the season.

    Given what happened to Chuck, It’s more than likely that his father, when he’ll come back, will try to get him out of it before his soul is definitely corrupt. Perhaps Chuck will even ask him to do so.

    • joe says:

      If Sam and Shaw are to break up, it will be upon one of Shaw’s displays of rage.

      Maybe, Yves. But I think I’d guess differently. Not that I’m confident in this, mind you. But I’d say that Sarah returns to Chuck because of a kindness he does, because the Chuck that Sarah fell in love with is still there. I don’t think it’ll be because Shaw loses it, or even because he pushes Chuck too far.

      If anything, it’ll be because Chuck pushes back, and does it his own way.

      • Yves says:

        Thanks for answering, Joe. Actually, we could both be right. It is my strong sense that, before the end of the season, We’ll see Shaw… flaming out in some ways. Why wouldn’t Chuck get a grip on his old self at the same time? Like, there is a life and death situation, impersonating tobloody path ou of it and Chuck a cleaner one?

        So far this season, when there was Shaw, Bartowski wasn’t. Shaw cares enough about Sarah to see when she needs support. When she said “We both know how dangerous this (dating)is” , he says exactly what she needs to hear: “Don’t worry Sarah, I’m the safest guy in the world”. Meaning: I’m not gonna hurt you like Bryce or Chuck did. Of course, it’s a lie. But the right one. The same in Fake name: He was the one next to Sarah to hear what she couln’t keep bottled up. Because of his mission, Because he is what he is, Chuck can’t hear it. IF ( I highlight the IF), Sam and Chuck are to end up together,

        Would you allow me to go ahead of my self?

        Shaw was introduced as THE agent who could take down the Ring. He had history with Vasilys, and he was known by the mobsters who hired Chuck’s alias to kill him. Very soon after he appeared, you suggested he had a secret agenda. What would it be? I think of revenge: the Ring killed his wife, nobody knows how. I’d like to see a confrontation between Shaw and the killer.

        Otherwise, it would mean that Routh is to stay on the show. That wouldn’t bother me either, but I don’t really figure it out this way.

        The real question is, Will Chuck be able to go back from the dark side of the spy? Maybe, but it will be very difficult: HE agreed to get this far more dangerous Intersect in his head, and he destroyed the Cube. My guess is his father would be the one to find his way out of it.

        Second, and crucial question, would Sarah give him another chance? I honnestly don’t know. She was bitten once by Bryce and go shy with him. Moreover, Chuck is not known to handle very well what he wants and what he believes is his duty. Last time he had to choose beteween Sarah and his job, he turned her down in a nasty way. He didn’t say “I don’t love you”, he said “the job comes first”. I’m not a womanizer but I’m prety sure this was the worst thing he could ha said.

        Shaw said it: “I’m always right”. Was he, when he told chuck “You had your chance and you blew it”?

      • joe says:

        So far this season, when there was Shaw, Bartowski wasn’t.

        Excellent point. The contrast between the two is stark.

        You got me thinking when you asked if Sarah will give Chuck another chance. Here’s something to add to that.
        Faith pointed out something I missed. She pointed out that when the assassin held the gun to Sam’s head she started to move. It was NOT an offensive move. Was she going to sacrifice herself? – for Chuck?

        If so, then, yes. We’ll hear more of that, and yes, Sarah will give Chuck a second chance, and the seeds are already planted.

    • kg says:

      Great points, Yves.

      That was my biggest problem with an otherwise excellent season two. Chuck never knows went to shut up (or like we say in Vegas – dummy up). There were times Sarah wanted to talk, open up and Chuck wouldn’t let her. Therefore, he made it so easy for her to slide back into shutdown mode.

      As much as I hate to admit that, Shaw does listen well. This is a viable explanation for why she does openly talk to him after knowing him for only a handful of weeks.

  29. Waverly says:

    One of the things I didn’t understand was the bit about Ellie being half a spy. I have some guesses, but none that I find satisfactory.

    Opinions?

    • weaselone says:

      I think she got half of the reason for Chuck’s coming out as a lying scumbag and he was hinting that there was more to his confession.

    • Miette says:

      I think he meant she sees things. Like a police officer or something. It was a way to say that she figured it out, and that she was right.
      But English isn’t my mother tongue so I might not have right!

    • Faith says:

      spy as in able to see what is otherwise secret or not so visible.

      I loved that line about “I used to be able to compartmentalize” because in essence by becoming the spy he’s no longer keeping it separate, he’s becoming it and it’s ugly. Ugllyyy (said in that voice Chuck used when under tranq and seeing Casey).

  30. BigCheese says:

    It still don’t make sense for me.

    That conversation with SS was an EPIC FAIL. Really frustrating.

    Sarah just go to Shaw, the “great” spy and do all what she should have done with Chuck.

    After all the excuses from past episodes and seasons. And what about CH? LOL. I will say it: all this was not necessary.

    They just keep throwing angst and more angst with with these ridiculous PLIs. I hope they know when stop because we are in 8 out of 13 and nothing with CS till now.

    • BigCheese says:

      I will make a bad joke style like Scott and Tony in 308:

      OFFCICIAL synopsis for 309

      Chuck vs Gossip Girl: They Shoot Humphreys, Don’t They?

      Not satisfied with just being Queen of Constance Billard, Jenny (Taylor Momsen) sets her sights on becoming the Queen of all the Upper East Side by landing the hottest escort for Cotillion. Nate (Chace Crawford) and Chuck (Ed Westwick) plot to help Serena (Blake Lively) and Blair (Leighton Meester) repair their damaged friendship. Dan (Penn Badgley) is upset when Olivia (guest star Hilary Duff) contemplates leaving school for a movie project. Jessica Szohr, Kelly Rutherford and Matthew Settle also star. Alison McLean directed the episode written by Amanda Lasher.

      Funny, huh?

  31. atcdave says:

    I do need to respond to Joe calling me out! I did laugh at both Jeff’s words of wisdom, and the WT/WT lines; and bristled at the dig at the same time! Its kind of like the (very rare) dirty joke that’s actually funny.

  32. Mischeivous says:

    Just wanted to say thanks Joe for putting into words what I’ve been struggling to get across in the reaction thread! The section you wrote about wanting to “care” about these characters pretty much nailed it for me.

    • joe says:

      Appreciate it, Mischeivous.

      Honestly, I have a major need to express myself and think through these things by conversing with others. You guys are the ones that make it possible for me to satisfy that need.

      And I *really* appreciate that!

  33. Zsjaer says:

    One thing is really bothering me a lot…That moment that Yvonne talked about between ep 6 and 10 that we were going love to watch….you guys think she was talking about Sarah telling her real name to Shaw?? i don t want to believe it but if it is what a disappointment it will be for me. I thought Yvonne had another idea of us fans.

    • ReadySet says:

      I’d cut Strahovski a break. Unlike Levi, she clearly is NOT in on the plotting, writing or much of the promotional effort. She might actually be referring to some other episode, although Mo Ryan said on some podcast that Chuck and Sarah end up in a bathtub together in the screeners for e8-11 she saw.

      • Zsjaer says:

        I hope so..but if she isn t into the show enough to understand that to us fans that was a horrible moment then..i ll say i am very surprised and disappointed

    • Mischievous says:

      Actually considering most critics are pouring love on episode 9, I’m thinking we’ll see whatever it is there.

  34. ReadySet says:

    By the way, it’s worth watching for this little tidbit. If the name Chuck flashed on for Casey is his “real” name, you can throw out another piece of “truth” from seasons 1/2.

    In Santa Claus, when everyone is calling their loved ones, you hear Casey say: “Mom. It’s Johnny Boy.” Let’s hope Casey doesn’t lie to him mom, although it is well within the realm of possibility given how they are destroying this show.

    Besides, Casey is supposedly a Marine officer. Officers generally don’t have fake names.

    All that said, if they claim John Casey is a fake name, might as well trash one more part of the canon for the sake of…what?

  35. Jay says:

    Long time lurker here, hi! Joe, this post conveyed exactly what I was thinking. I see myself as a hardcore shipper, and I liked the episode. Granted, it’s not an episode I’ll rewatch over and over like I do with others (like Colonel, or Cougars) but it was a solid episode, and underneath everything, this episode had been the most shippery one besides Three Words this season.

    I know we were all gunning for Sarah to tell Chuck her real name, but I liked how it was done and the situation leading up to it. I’m just going to copy and paste what I’ve written on my LJ here for the sake of discussion, if that’s okay!

    “Sarah was vulnerable, and Shaw was there. I can see the name reveal (to Shaw) being a last-ditch effort to try and ground herself, because everything she’s known is slipping away – Chuck lying effortlessly to everyone, Chuck not being the person she fell in love with in seasons prior. Shaw just being there is him taking advantage of her vulnerability (also, how creepy is he?) – if she and say, Casey were having the same talk, I can see her doing the same thing. Afterall, she did once, in Crown Vic: “Do you ever just want to have a normal life? Have a family, children?”

    I can see what the writers are going with here; I’m just not sure Shaw should be the person Sarah’s rebounding with. Sarah’s always been someone who controls her emotions on a very tight leash (and fails like, 70% of the time), and remember, at this point, Sarah knows Chuck slept with Hannah (via video surveillance, occupation hazard! Then later, egged on by Casey), Sarah, with some help, set up the nice dinner for him to impress Hannah (the knife throw was A+), and for all intents and purposes, Sarah and Chuck had a clean break-up in Mask. Like I said, Shaw is just there and just being incredibly opportunistic and being at the right place at the right time. Even that last scene, when she brought takeout back to Castle for Shaw (sidebar, I really enjoy seeing Sarah trying to be a conventional tv girlfriend) – she had no idea that Chuck had broke it off with Hannah. And for what reason? Simple – Sarah’s near death shook him out of his little, carefully crafted world safe of anything real and thus potentially heartbreaking. It comes with the spy territory, doesn’t it?”

    And, like you, I am excited about the rest of the season. I think what we have to remember is that this is episode 8 out of an epic 13 episode arc. To get to that epic-ness from 9 onwards (for both the spy mythology and for the Chuck/Sarah relationship), we need to have something on the line. The heavier the stakes, the better the payoff. I think it’s safe to say that it’s firmly established that Chuck and Sarah will find their ways back to each other (to take the words from a critic, I forgot which – Alan Sepinwall, maybe?), they’ve walked past each other in the room and completely missed the other. Now, with all the build-up for that done, it’s time for them to retrace their steps and get on the right course.

    • joe says:

      Welcome, Jay. Glad to see you posting. And of course it’s fine to quote yourself here!

      I can see room for debate about Shaw just being “incredibly opportunistic.” Every time I replay the scene at the end of The Mask where he rubs Sarah’s shoulders and calls himself “safe” I hear the words “creepy” and see “oily”. You may have exactly the right take on Shaw, but becoming convinced he’s duplicitous.

      It’s only a matter of which side he’s on. *Who’s* side he’s on.

      As the day wears on I’m becoming more excited about episodes 9-13 also.

      • JC says:

        I don’t know if you watch Lost or not.
        But the debate over Shaw reminds of the one happening over Jacob and MIB. Is he good, bad or something inbetween?

        As for who’s side he’s on? At the moment, I’m leaning towards his own side. But that’ll probably change twenty times by the end of the season.

      • herder says:

        Joe, one of my pet theories is that Shaw knows all about what happened in Prague, he has from the start. With that in mind, and knowing how devastated Sarah was he then proceeds to isolate her from Chuck and insinuate himself into her life.

        I think Sarah has a physical resemblance to Shaw’s wife Eve (another theory is that the woman dining in the extended promo is Eve Shaw) and that he is going to take Sarah going back to Chuck as if Chuck has stolen his wife.

        I see major conflict between Shaw and Chuck – after all he told Chuck “you had your chance and you blew it” after he had kissed Sarah once, how is he going to react to Chuck winning her back.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I will say one thing I’ve seen on re-watching. Shaw does seem insanely jealous of Chuck and what he has or had with Sarah, not to mention his family.

      • atcdave says:

        That is an interesting theory Herder. That could keep him a very dangerous character to Chuck and Sarah even after she’s made a clear choice.

      • JC says:

        Herder

        I never thought about Sarah reminding him of his wife. That does explain his obsession with her in this episode. I like that theory alot.

        Although my g/f still swears that Sarah killed Shaw’s wife or at least he thinks she did. And a major part of his plan is to break her.

      • Faith says:

        I go back in forth from thinking Shaw is a ring agent, vigilant CIA agent or good guy that just wants love. I originally (still do to this day) believe his main purpose is to isolate Chuck. To make him lose all the things that are tying him in both spirit and sanity and guess what? Mission accomplished. Chuck is now both isolated and alone…not to mention conflicted. It’s far too easy to push him over the edge now…if he is a Ring Agent.

        In any case even if it’s none of the above one thing remains: he is a PSYCHO.

        Jay one thing, Chuck didn’t have his epiphany with Sarah near death. In fact that moment illustrated his epiphany IMO (couldn’t flash—Peter Parker syndrome) but the name reveal in itself was the culprit. That one revelation woke him out of his reverie: If we shadows have offended, Think but this, and all is mended, That you have but slumbered here, While these visions did appear.

      • joe says:

        Oh, you guys are good. But look at what we have about Shaw.

        Ernie described him as insanely jealous. I see that. But is he jealous or just deeply envious because of his loss?

        Herder? I agree Shaw seems omniscient, knowing about Sarah in Prague *and* in Lisbon. But why then why did he not know Sarah’s real name? Or did he?

        The man’s controlled enough to have Chuck shoot him/shoot himself, and can’t stop himself from a fist fight with Chuck over Sarah?

        Dave, I agree that he’s dangerous to Chuck. But face it, he seems “safe” to Sarah. Yeah. I don’t trust her judgement on that right now. But what a contradiction!

        And JC? Is Eve dead? Or did he say that he “lost an agent to the Ring”? I believe it was the latter. Could SHE be the ring agent?

        I tell ya, the guy is an enigma. He’s a walking contradiction. Built that way.

        We need a whole thread on Shaw, and yet we know nothing about him for real.

      • herder says:

        Joe, let him show that danger to Chuck in a way that Sarah sees and I think more than enough of her loyalty to Chuck will come to the surface for her to reign him in. In fact I think that will be the biggest brake on the Sarah/Shaw romance, his jealousy about Chuck, her asset/agent, his trainee.

        I can see her feeling that he left Chuck unprotected at Castle while they and Casey go on a mission (the feignt from Chucktv?). I suspect we will see that she calls an end to their romance, if not their friendship long before Chuck becomes aware of it.

        Whether he is a good guy or a bad guy in the end I don’t know, I suspect he will end out being an unpleasant good guy like Agent Forest last year. Not all bad guys hiss and twirl their mustache and not all good guys spend their spare time polishing their halos.

      • joe says:

        I’d like to think that Sarah will reign him in, Herder. But has Sarah been able to do that even once so far? Not that I recall. She only ran out of Castle to save Chuck from Sydney because Casey got the drop on Shaw.

        You know, that may be the scariest think about Shaw. No one seems to be able to reign him in. Not even Beckman.

        Of course, Casey has barely tried yet…

      • Waverly says:

        Basically, over the course of next several episodes, a power struggle is developing between Chuck and Shaw. It’s not just because of Sarah. It’s also due to Chuck’s development as a spy.

        If Chuck and Sarah work well together (not that either seems to be in such a state at the moment) they will determine what and how the team does. We saw that happening in the Mask, and I bet it happens in most of the future episodes.

        Ultimately it’s the success or failure of the team, and who contributes the most, that will determine who has the power.

        Shaw will be marginalized. That will happen no matter what his intentions are or whatever hidden agendas he has.

        Casey’s role really hasn’t changed over the years, oddly enough. Sometimes he’s a leader; sometimes he’s just helping Chuck develop.

      • joe says:

        Hum…
        I really like this, Waverly. Chuck and Sarah, with Casey, cutting the puppet strings? I like that a lot.

        It would be very – satisfying.

  36. Faith says:

    From Chuck’s spy notes. Remember those? Post from Lion King (good guy, should invite him over 🙂 )

    Here’s how Chuck thought about Hannah.
    “Hannah is a great girl. We clicked right away. There was so much that was right about her. But constantly hiding my spy life from her, that was very wrong. How do you ask someone to trust you when you have to constantly lie? I felt something for her, definitely. But there was always something missing. It was never… perfect. That’s why I had to do what I did.”

    And about Sarah revealing her real name.
    “What’s in a name? A lot. Sam? Her real name is Sam? After all this time, I finally know. Sitting there looking through a sniper scope, it wasn’t watching Sarah kiss Shaw that was the worst part, although that was deeply unpleasant. The worst of part, is that she told him her real name, before she told me. Watching her say those words to Shaw really hurt. But sometimes through pain comes clarity…”

    • atcdave says:

      Let’s hope he acts like he got some clarity! With only 5 episodes left in the main arc, it sure would be nice if we got to see Chuck as a decent guy again.

    • joe says:

      Faith, I know nothing of those “spy notes”. I did once see people (maybe just 1 someone?) complain ’bout them, though. I vague recall that they were found to be mis-leading.

      What’s your take on them? Are they a worth-while resource? Is there any info on who maintains them?

      Thanks!

      • herder says:

        Joe, I read them last week (maybe they got better this week) the impression I got was TPTB were trying to backfill some detail after the Mask. For instance the entry that corrosponded with the Awesome episode had Chuck speculation on a connection between Sarah and Shaw.

        There were other bits that didn’t fit what we had seen on the tv. My overall reaction was that some sort of douchy Chuck had written this and for Sarah’s sake I hoped Cole would come back and take her away from both this Chuck and Shaw.

      • Faith says:

        link

        I’m totally without reason or morals when it comes to them. I take the ones I like/agree with into account in terms of the big picture and chuck (ha) the rest.

        As for who is writing them, if I were to guess I’d say a staff website/writer who watches Chuck. But I don’t think it’s completely without input from the powers that be…but definitely not Ali Adler, Matt Miller, Chris Fedak. insert writer name here. It’s missing the emotional component and the depth that the real writers input (if they’re good) into the episodes.

      • joe says:

        Thanks for the report, both of you.

  37. sd says:

    Any best guesses when Chuck will ask Sarah if she loves him? Will it be in the 13 ep arc or after? Could it be during the ep when Chuck sees a therapist (I think that’s ep 16, right?)

    • Jay says:

      My best guess is between 3.10 and 3.13, and I’m really gunning for 3.10. The therapist he sees will be for another kind of occupational hazard, I’m sure. 🙂

    • atcdave says:

      Yeah, I’m thinking fairly soon. A little time must pass, simply so they can spend some time together again; but it seemed pretty uncertain in tone, I’m thinking there will be more confidence in the last couple episodes.

    • OldDarth says:

      My money is on 3.12.

      • atcdave says:

        Given that none of us really want to see her kick the puppy again; later is better. The longer it gets put off, the more likely she will answer positively.

      • joe says:

        I have a fear that the question will come at the very end of an episode. Then we wait a week for the answer.

        My prediction is that I will go nutz.

        Okay, for this pool, I’m saying the question is popped at the very end of 3.11 and answered in 3.12. Happily.

    • Gord says:

      My thinking is that he will ask Sarah the do you love me question in 3.11.

      Why, because I think the title: “Chuck Vs the Final Exam” says it all.

    • JC says:

      DR has said it’s in the back six.

      To quote

      “The “do you love me” scene is in the back 6 and really doesn’t mean what you guys think it means.”

  38. sd says:

    I bet you’re right, OldDarth…sets up the “finale” in ep 13. You wanna bet what we saw in the promo is how it plays out…the last scene in ep 12 without an answer from Sarah?

  39. John B says:

    Personally, I’m not of the opinion that just because Chuck decided to sleep with Hannah that it automatically makes him a bad person because it isn’t with the person he loves. Sure I don’t like it because I as a person have meta-level knowledge of the emotions between Chuck and Sarah. Nor for that matter would I think it would make Sarah (or Sam) a bad person if she slept with Shaw.

    I mean, isn’t it safe to assume that she has slept with other people anyway as part of her career after Chuck crushed her at prague (see the episode where she emerges from the swimming pool for example)? I mean, I may be alone here but I think it would make sense for her to use her sexuality as a weapon for whatever purpose in course with her chosen vocation because A) She’s a professional with higher priorities; i.e., national security B) She hasn’t been squeamish about it at all up to now, frequently using her appearance as a distraction or weapon regardless.

    If Chuck and Sarah love each other as much as everyone knows they do, then they can do so if Sarah is Sam, Lisa or if her name was actually Schmooples. She is emotionally hurt by the one person she loves, how is it possible for her not to seek some form of stability, even if that person is Shaw?

    Maybe Shaw does love Sarah, but I also think he’s a professional and as a professional, he’s more concerned with making Chuck more capable and he knows that Sarah is the one who can give him clarity of purpose. Despite him possibly loving Sarah, I think he still loves his deceased wife Evelyn more so, and he probably realises more than most that love between two spies can work better than an ‘enforced detachment.’

    I also think Chuck vs. The Fake Name was chosen more so because Chuck was acting as an assassin, rather than because she finally revealed her name. I think it was better than she revealed it to Shaw rather than Chuck because now Chuck is fully cognizant of the fact that he really does want Sarah and is perhaps now more prepared to fight for her than ever. Although, Chuck is probably worried with how exactly he can fight for her while remaining as ‘Chuck.’

    • joe says:

      Hi, John B.

      I have a suspicion that generally speaking, Chuck isn’t seen so much as a bad person for sleeping with Hannah, so much as a weak one. Hannah’s cute and friendly, but face it. In The Mask when he’s hanging from the lines stealing it from the museum and Sarah is fighting the bad guy, he’s should have other things on his mind. We expect him to have Sarah on his mind, actually. Could you really give up on Sarah for Hannah so quickly as he did, if you were in his shoes?

      Okay. That was a weird question! 😉 But you see the point.

      As for Sarah, Ernie wrote a great post about just that topic. I don’t mean to deflect the question, but it’s a good read and a good discussion.

      I’m getting more intrigued about Shaw. The writers have been excellent in making him seem creepy, yet keeping open the possibility that he’s exactly as you say – still in love with the (supposedly) deceased Evelyn.

      And I say (supposedly) deceased, because I’m still pretty sure that he said she was “lost” to the Ring. Plausible deniability is everything in the spy game!

  40. Gord says:

    Great post Joe, I felt pretty much the same about this episode.

    The one thing that I have tried to point out in various places, which was to me the greatest tell, was when Sarah thought she was about to die at the hands of Raif, she looks at Chuck, and the facial expression in my mind conveyed that she was saying good bye to the one she loved.
    I thought that Nacho Sampler was a watershed moment for Chuck the spy. I think this episode, is a watershed moment for both Chuck and Sarah the people.

    • joe says:

      Thanks, Gord.

      Yeah. This morning that look – that whole scene – completely slipped my mind, almost like I had only seen it subliminally.
      I think you’re right. Sarah *was* saying goodbye, and I think we’re not done with the effects of that moment. It may have been the most important moment of the night.

      And before I forget, congrats on that hockey game, Gord. Absolutely epic game! I, of course, had to tweet people immediately that MVP Miller tends goal for Buffalo 😉

      Great Olympics all around.

      • Gord says:

        Thanks Joe,
        It was an amazing game kept us on the edge of our seats.

        According to TV ratings here in Canada, half of our entire population watched that game.
        I’m trying to figure out what the other half was doing.

        As a side note, apparently Crosby’s stick and gloves have gone missing. Apparently they were headed for the hockey hall of fame, but disappeared after the game. Imagine they would fetch a pretty penny on ebay.

      • weaselone says:

        Actually, I think the stats are something like 80% of households were watching it at some time during the course of the game. The question is what were those 30% of Canadians doing while they weren’t watching the game?

      • atcdave says:

        Well, we now know weaselone wasn’t a math major….

      • joe says:

        I want you guys to check out maturity ward statistics in 9 months. Start building kindergartens NOW! 😉

      • Mike B says:

        And Joe doesn’t have spellcheck….

      • joe says:

        Ooops. Maternity! Maternity!!

    • Big Kev says:

      Absolutely Gord,
      That look, straight at Chuck…..oh my goodness. On top of the blazing look of love that she gives Chuck in Castle at the end of Mask – 2 episodes in a row where Yvonne has raised the emotional stakes, without saying a word.
      Most of the married people I know don’t look at each other like that!

      • joe says:

        Hum…
        Metajoke rails effectively below about the lack of communication between Chuck & Sarah. I’m not sure I can adequately refute what he says.

        But the scene is a perfect example of one of those “thousand word pictures”. There *is* communication going on between the two characters when nothing is said. And it’s often been far more honest than the words have been.

    • Jason says:

      I’m getting pretty sick of reading looks, wake up, she was just as likely looking at shaw, she just got done kissing him with more passion (yes – look at that kiss again – AN ACTION) than she ever did chuck, she LET shaw beat the living hell out of chuck without intervening, and she ended the episode by leaving the castle and getting shaw food and a GIFT (a very wife-like caring gift) and then essentially jumped his bones, without him doing anything to ask for it. I have fallen into this pattern all season long of LOOKING for reasons why chuck didn’t like hannah, why sarah still likes chuck, why chuck still likes sarah, it is total BS, the actions are pretty obvious if you loook at them from the other perspective – i.e. look for why they are real rather than why they are false

      • weaselone says:

        To be fair, they didn’t let us watch the h scene between Shaw and Sarah that left her hair disheveled, resulted in the removal of her vest, and caused her to be several moments behind Shaw when he answered the door. Me, I’m thinking they were playing scrabble. That or watching a tape of the US-Canada hockey game.

    • weaselone says:

      Sorry Dave, I wasn’t referring to the 20% that never turned the game, I was referring to the difference between the numbers watching the entire game and those who only watched part. What did they do, suddenly go “Oh, crap! Sudden death overtime, I hate sudden death overtime!” and opt to shovel snow?

  41. JLR says:

    Nice post Joe. I like reading yours b/c your view tends to diverge from mine; gives me an alternative POV to mull over. But, in this instance, I pretty much agree: Fake Name was actually pretty good. I’ve been critical all season. The only reason I even watched at all was b/c I pitched in to help for season 3 renewal like many did (letter writing, Subway, etc.)/

    I still disagree vehemently w/ how TPTB have decided to tell the story, but oh well, it’s theirs to wreck if they so desire. I just think they took unnecessary risks, and I haven’t felt entertained b/c of it. With that said, given the corner they painted themselves into, Fake Name was handled about as well as it could be. If nothing else, I could at least understand the characters for the most part this episode; much more than I can say for some other episodes.

    • JLR says:

      Oh, and entirely off0topic… I’m not sure if you guys have already done this, but I’d like to see an article where you, Ernie & Dave contribute discussing specifically, “what it means to be a fan.” I know many articles/posts touch on that tangentially, but I’d be curious to see your takes. I’ve never been part of any TV/movie fandom before (I loved Firefly, but never took part in the community), but am a huge Cubs fan. I’m a member of a Cubs discussion forum, and before the 2009 season, a huge thread/discussion was “what it means to be a ‘true’ fan.” It started b/c one group of posters took the view that you’re not a “true” fan if you complain about the team; others took the view that “true” fans care enough to scream foul & demand changes….

    • joe says:

      Thanks, JLR. What you said – it works both ways.

      I have to speak my mind honestly when I write about the show, or it comes out stupid (not dishonest, but stupid). That means agreement is neither automatic nor required. But I find myself mulling over and considering the POVs I’ve seen here, including yours. They are expressed too well and are too heartfelt to ignore.

  42. Big Kev says:

    Finally got a chance to watch Fake Name a couple of times – somewhat behind the rest of you!

    Joe, you nailed it. It’s only by understanding how completely broken and bereft Sarah is that the whiplash of 3.07 becomes explainable.
    Now that I’ve got my head around it, I really don’t mind seeing Sarah unravel. It makes sense that someone who has kept things inside for so long would crumble once those walls started to crack. And the complete ungluing probably does more than anything else to illustrate the depth of her feelings for Chuck and what his rejection cost her.
    I would love to have seen that played out over a few episodes, as we have seen with Chuck. Instead, the writers have smashed us over the head with it in a couple of episodes – hence the whiplash. The pacing has been all wrong, as it has been so often this season. TPTB have absolutely attempted to tell too much story this season, and they haven’t given plot and character time to be fully realised.
    There has been a lot of great discussion about the heroes journey and the descent into hell, and the thing that I missed, until now, is that Sarah is on her own descent into hell – and she’s gone a lot lower even than Chuck. Chuck still has family and friends to call him out, to care about him, and to help him climb out of the pit. And he has the coping skills to do much of that for himself.
    As of now, Sarah has nothing. Without Chuck and that connection to “real” and family, she’s back at the end of Best Friend – “I don’t really have anyone who cares about me”. She doesn’t have the coping skills to handle it – and to all intents and purposes, she doesn’t even have her identity as a spy any more.
    And now, the person she has chosen to open up to is either going to be, at best, a fanatical psychopath, crazy for revenge, or at worst, a double agent. It’s a long road back from there.

    On first viewing I was disappointed with the nature of the name reveal – until I read an earlier post that described it as an act of desparation, rather than a gift. As you said – perfect.

    And I’m with you on the rest of the episode. Funny and emotional in equal measure.
    Bottom line for me – in spite of all the plot holes, the patchy execution and the writing inconsistencies, I am still in this season right up to my neck. I still care about these characters, and I can’t wait to see how the rest of this season plays out. I don’t know if that means I don’t watch the show critically enough, or whether the writers are geniuses for knowing how to push me to the absolute limit of my tolerance, and still bring me back, I don’t know. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, as it is in most things….but that’s where I am. This season has felt almost schizophrenic at times – the good has been very good and the bad has been very bad, with not much in the middle. But I think we can all be pretty sure that we’ve reached the bottom, and let’s hope the last 5 episodes of the arc are (to use an overused word) – epic.

    BTW – Listening to Chuck You Tuesday, Magnus mentioned that Shaw/Sarah was going to be resolved in a “unique” way, that he had never seen attempted before. Mel on ChuckTV has also referred to a “brilliant” plot twist that she never saw coming….

    • joe says:

      Kev, now you’re echoing my sentiments.

      Weeks ago I was wondering if I wasn’t caring less about the characters myself. You just woke me up to the fact that I do, more than ever. Sort up slipped up on me. After the look that Chuck had on his face at the end, after leaving Hannah, I want to see a mash-up of the end of Best Friends and Marlin with the roles reversed. Sarah trying to say she has no one who cares, a threat asking her what does she have, and Chuck answering this time “Yeah, you do…” but adding the all important “Me.”.

      Too early. It’s coming, soon.

      • Lucian says:

        That would be awesome (so I won’t hold my breath; I have learned to lower my expectation dramatically this season).

    • weaselone says:

      I’m thinking when push comes to shove, she still has Chuck and that eventually she’ll come to realize that.

  43. metajoke says:

    You know, my problem with all of the analysis now, pro or con, is that is is warped by this gigantic sinkhold called “Chuck and Sarah never talk.” If, in the third season of WTWT and angst, the writers can always fall back on the most bizarre or surprising plot twist or the most surprising life choice and then explain it by saying, “Well, since Chuck and Sarah never talk…”

    Three years in, Chuck and Sarah shouldn’t have to be trying to figure out each others’ looks, context and subtext. Not when they have NEVER ONCE even had a drink together and talked about something–anything.

    That’s why this show is losing me. In fact, has lost me. It’s not the conceits of spy vs. real, intersect vs normal, etc. It’s the conceit that since you never let the characters have any kind of real conversation, you can get away with anything.

    Is what world would Sarah, who has killed for Chuck, committed suicide for Chuck, loved Chuck and tried to run away with him twice, not at least go to him and try to help him deal with his spy morass? In what world would Chuck, seeing Sarah make the worst possible choices, not rush to Sarah and at least offer the “friend” assistance they said they’d established in episode 3.

    This is now beyond unbelieveable or credible. And, in my opinion, it is beneath the valiant attempts of Joe, Ernie, et. al, to make justifications about “choices.”

    I can live with a Chuck and Sarah who miscommunicate. I can live with a Chuck and Sarah who communicate badly. I can even live with a Chuck and Sarah who rarely talk.

    But I CANNOT live with a Chuck and Sarah who NEVER talk. That’s not real. That’s not even fake. That’s just idiotic and I don’t think we should dignify idiocy with analysis and commitment.

    It is clear to me that TPTB think we’ll swallow anything. Well, I won’t and don’t.

    Sorry to rant, but I think it needs to be said. And we only encourage TPTB by elevating their manipulations by trying to make their stupid no-talk storylines work in the “real” emotional sense.

    If they want to write cartoon characters, we should react to them as such, not treat them as “real” people trying to make “real” choices.

    Sarah’s plight no longer moves me. It seems like she’s Elmer Fudd chasing the rascaly rabbits of her “real emotions.” Chuck’s plight no longer moves me because he’s no smarter than Wily Coyote. He keeps running into or over the cliff in his vain attempt to catch the Road Runner.

    Where is the emotional angst in watching that? If I want cartoons, I’ll watch cartoons.

    • metajoke says:

      Sorry, I meant Sarah committed treason (not suicide) for Chuck…

      • Stef62 says:

        It may seem unbelievable to you, but talking from experience, it happens.

        I worked with a girl, got on great with her. What i didn’t know was that everyone that worked with us was waiting for something to happen between us. It never did. She left for another job, and I only ever saw her one more time two years in a mall with a guy who could’ve been my twin.

        So the whole never talking thing may seem unbelievable to you, but sorry it happens.

      • JC says:

        I don’t think anyone doesn’t believe it can’t happen. It’s just on this show, its such a blatant device to extend the WY/WY tension. And each time its used the believability shrinks more and more.

        Honestly I don’t believe your personal story is a valid comparison. C/S have long moved past the friendly coworker stage. I would say at the end of season 1, the feelings came out. Whether it was love, that’s debatable but strong romantic feelings for sure. So now we’re into almost 2 seasons of no adult conversation. I can understand how people have reached their limit. I’m nearing mine.

      • John B says:

        Maybe I’m just being naive here, but I continue to watch it because I think to myself: “it has to get better.”

        I do agree that the WTWT is starting to get tiresome, I can’t believe that them finally admitting and forming a relationship will necessarily kill the show though, but it will change it.

      • herder says:

        On the other hand they have bent it out of shape to fit these latest PLI’s. At least a change brought about by putting them together will be new, rather than seeing the same thing that has been in over a third (15 of 43 by my count) of all episodes since the start.

      • atcdave says:

        Excellent post. You know many of us old-timers have been screaming for a real conversation between these two since early S2. I suppose that’s part of the reason I find this season so dreary; they are WAY past beating a dead horse.

      • Rick Holy says:

        atcdave – At this point, we can’t really even say that they’re continuing to beat a dead horse, because it no longer even resembles a horse. That horse’s carcass has not only been beaten to a pulp, it’s been ground up, boiled and rendered into dog food and Elmer’s glue!

    • Chris says:

      Well said Metajoke. I have been having the same problem about Chuck and Sarah never talking this season. I certainly hope that they finally start talking to each other in these next “epic” episodes.

    • Lucian says:

      Well said! I have little sympathy for adults who would rather screw up their lives and the lives of others than have an adult conversation with a person they care about. It may happen, but it isn’t particularly entertaining or compelling.

    • Waverly says:

      I agree that that has been a serious weakness of the show since the beginning, not just this season.

      It’s related to the belief that only what is shown is what happens. In any good movie, even in action or spy kinds of movies, everything is fully explored to the limits of the circumstances that the characters find themselves in. Sure, each character has limits on their abilities and their knowledge, but the exposition doesn’t leave much cause for viewers to ask: “But why don’t they do XYZ?”.

      So to limit the pace of development, or just to drag it out over many episodes, many scenes are just cut off instead of allowed to finish naturally.

      For example, in Fake Name right after Casey shoots Rafe Gruber and Sarah gets up, instead of seeing what they say to each other, that scene is terminated and the next one involves Chuck talking with Ellie.

      I know that that’s their choice for how to tell their story. Many shows are done that way. But it’s not a good way of telling any story in a way that is believable. It just adds to the quantity of stuff about which we have to suspend disbelief.

      • Marvin says:

        Within the limits of the 42 minutes or so they have to tell a story, there has to be some choices made about dialog. In my opinion, a heart to heart with Sarah would have moved the story along better than the rehash with Ellie of what had already been said by the Greek chorus. Chuck loves Sarah, any other girl is going to miss the mark. Congratulations on re-stating the obvious.

        It comes back to what is frustrating the audience: The soap-opera quality of Chucks relationship with Sarah. It’s becoming more and more like the woman who goes up the stairs pregnant, and comes down the stairs three years later, still pregnant. We’re not going anywhere we haven’t gone before.

      • JC says:

        Well it really showed in this episode. Like metajoke said Sarah really wouldn’t have talked to Chuck about him changing even as friend. Nope because we need the Shaw and Sarah romance to the drag the angst out for a couple of more episodes.

    • JLR says:

      I must be hyper-impatient, because I tired of it in season 2. Colonel raised my hopes slightly at the end, but they were dashed in the Ring. I removed myself from caring about C/S as a sub-plot in & of itself. My criticisms both pre- & in-season arise from my disappointed over how the angst “drags down” (IMO) the rest of the show. C/S in a vacuum means nothing to me, and hasn’t for a while now. My real life has been dramatic enough; I don’t need that kind of drama on the only scripted TV show I watch.

  44. lou federico says:

    JOE, this web site is amazing. I am glad the the morons at NBC Forums kicked most of us out and your created this forum. Most of the topics are well over 250 posts. Reminds me of the days on the NBC board between Season 2 and Season 3. very impressive!!!

    I would like to make a request. If he is willing I would love to see Father Rick as a guest poster.

  45. lou federico says:

    I hate to go back to back but hey Baseball season is here!!! and golf is just around the corner. I have come to a conclusion. I really did not hate the last episode. My inital reaction indicated that Damn i guess i am a shipper. Hi, I am Lou and I am a shipperaholic.

    But, the one thing that I noticed is i see the dynamics of Chuck, sarah and Casey must like a sliding scale. Imagine Casey on one end and sarah on the other with Chuck in the middle.

    The closer Chuck becomes to Casey and a real spy (I am proud of you comment) he is moving further away from Sarah. It is almost a complete flip flop from the first two seasons so maybe that is why i am having issues with my enjoyment of the show.

    • joe says:

      Heh! That’s cute! I see almost the same thing, Lou. But I see Bryce/Cole/Shaw on the other side of the scale and Casey holding the balance.

  46. AgentChuck says:

    I think the reason why Sarah is not kicking ass and both Chuck and Sarah are OOC is because the writers want to portray that both Chuck and Sarah are trying to be people they are not. Sarah is trying to be Sam ? or whatever she thinks a real girl should be but she wants to be anybody but Sarah Walker. The problem is that Chuck is not there to guide her. Shaw is just manipulating Sarah and he is using the situation with Hannah and Chuck to do that. She gave the name reveal because she is desperately trying to be someone else. Being Sarah Walker is a painful memory because she feels she lost Chuck Bartowski and she doesn’t recongize Charles Carmichael. Her running to Shaw is her trying to burn that bridge to what she wanted with Chuck. Last episode her model home burned down. Shaw is only a temporary Shack shielding her from the rain.

    Now Chuck he tried to run into the arms of another brunette because he also has low self esteem and he thinks Sarah rejected Charles Bartowski after the Prague incident. He tried to be Charles Carmichael but that seemed to fail because he even said it last episode I did all this for her. What he did is change into something he is not and in the process he was grasping on to anyone who would show him so love. You don’t think Chuck is about to have an emotional breakdown like Sarah. He lost Sarah when he chose to be a spy, he lost the connection with his sister, he is losing his best friend, he barely has a connection with Sarah and now Devon doesn’t even want to know about his dual life. Chuck is also lost and so he runs to anyone who doesn’t know he is a spy, hence trying to start a relationship with Hannah. He is a hell of of a guy living a hell of a lie, Not flashing to save Sarah is a big sign that Chuck has lost it.

    The problem is only Chuck knows the real Sarah/Sam and only Sarah truly understands everything about Chuck Bartowski Real guy and Spy.

    When these two are together and clicking they are unstoppable but right now they are two fake names trying to live other people’s lives.

    Hopefully the beard they both realize that they both screwed up and they actually clean up this mess.

    I still don’t like the name reveal but I get that it is supposed to show us how broken these two people are. Sarah so broken she is willing to say screw it and for Chuck to see that she would confied in Shaw and that her love or lack there of is a rude awakening to Chuck. I don’t think Chuck finding out about sex with Shaw would have snapped him out, it had to be something so jarring that it would shake the very foundation of all he has believed. Hopefully his little bearded buddy helps him come out of the dark and Sarah sees that she really is Sarah Walker kick ass spy in love with Chuck Bartowski another kick ass spy. I am ready for this party to get started. The first 8 episodes were the set up now it’s time for the pay off.

    • joe says:

      Hi, AgentChuck. Are you AgentChuck003 on twiter, perhaps? If so, thank you for the kind words I’ve seen you put up there. It’s appreciated.

      If there’s one thing I’ve learned in writing about this show, it’s that I have to be very careful when I describe something to state precisely *when* it is I’m talking about. The relationships and dynamics change so rapidly.

      You reminded me that throughout this episode Chuck learns one BIG thing about himself. He’s become a liar. (the music we heard is spot-on, btw). So just as you said, he’s false, he’s living a major lie and everybody around him, Sarah, Morgan, Devon, Ellie, everybody but Hannah, could see it. Powerful stuff.

      Even Hannah called him a liar at the end. Isn’t it stunning how much damage he’s caused? Last episode I was feeling sorry for Morgan. The week before, Ellie and Devon. This week, Hannah, and poor Sarah.

      I’m very glad that Chuck has started to see it now as we begin 3.09. I just hope he sees enough of it soon enough and can do something to make a difference.

      Oh, what am I saying? Of course he will. I just don’t know how yet.

      What goes through my head is the music at the beginning of Lethal Weapon.

      • AgentChuck003 says:

        Yeah it’s me.

        Joe you are very welcome. It is a great blog and I love all the writers here. I love that everyone of us is passionate about Chuck in some way or the other. The conversations are mature and I find myself learning more about the show than I ever thought possible.

        I have been labeled a crazy shipper. I am stil one at heart but I am trying to reexamine things about this season and I am trying to understand why the showrunners are taking us down this dark path. Why they are destroying what made this show so successful and well loved to tell their story, to say this season has been painful to watch has been an understatement.

        I read some of the comments and I was really bummed that Liz quit the show. I mean that made me mad at Schwedak and I was not in a good frame of mind. I was starting to question myself why I love the show. It is not about Chuck and Sarah being a happy couple but it is the warmth and chemistry that is witnessed on screen between the two that keeps me coming back for more and fighting tooth and nail for this show.

        I had to beg my pregnant wife to stick with the show. She was ready to give up after Fake Name. She loves the show and I will call her a closet shipper but she could be called a general fan. I am quoting her here, I asked so what did you think of the new episode of Chuck. She said “ It is not the same show anymore. It is boring because nobody has any chemistry with anyone. Shaw and Sarah have no chemistry, Chuck and Sarah don’t even interact and Chuck and Hannah have no chemistry. The relationships seem forced. There is no more heart anymore and why should I watch, if I don’t care about the characters anymore.” “I can tell you this episode did not make me want to tune in next week”

        I am like oh crap my wife is ready to bail and all the points she made are valid and I kind of feel the same way. I begged her to stick with it and it will get much better. I hope for my sake they get better quick because I have learned never lie to a pregnant wife. 😀

        I am not quite where my wife is at in her thinking but I find that at this point I am watching out of loyalty and Sarah and Shaw are so bad that I will probably not buy the Bluray next year. I mean I was against the PLI’s to begin with and I am still trying to understand why they did this. I think this site gives me insight into what could be happening but as we have seen some great logical points that we think the show runners make are never realized and that frustrates us more. So much for 3D Chess. I have not seen anything but how it is played on the screen and that is an epic fail. They had so much potential but fumbled it with a trapezoid nobody wanted.

        So I hope that we have some semblance of any Charah spark in the next episode. I need that to convince my wife that Saw is not going to drag the show down for her and there is hope. If they wait until 3.12 to resolve it I would have lost my Chuck cred and I will be watching the season alone. That would be really tragic..

        I use my wife as a baraometer on how some general fans are feeling. She understands the WTWT and made fun of me when I told her season 3 will be different but she will not watch a show that lost it’s purpose. Hopefully this is a minor blip and the failed experiment ends and this show gets back to what it does best. Make us laugh, make us feel heart warmed and most importantly make us route for the characters.

      • atcdave says:

        I’d say excellent post, but I think that would be pretty transparent; apart from the “pregnant” detail your entire post could easily have been written by me. I think my wife’s additional burden is a co-worker recently talked her into reading the “Twilight” books; she is hating every page, and no longer even tries to hide her contempt for triangle based story-lines. I’ve heard her use language she’s never uttered before (no I’m not talking about Latin). Before 3.08 aired I told her what I knew about the next couple episodes, sort to lessen the blow; it seems to have helped, but Chuck is clearly not among her favorites anymore.

      • BigCheese says:

        It’s cool how shippers lie to themselves. Do not get me wrong I am crazy shipper.

        I found the jokes about CS very offensive. Could not find it funny. I was very upset.

        No wonder that some are leaving the show or thinking about.

      • AgentChuck003 says:

        You know if I wasn’t so spoiled I would be really depressed about the season. I mean I have been loyal, I have put up every promo I have seen online for fans to watch, I have watched all episodes online but I am having a hard time rewatching the episodes. I watched Nacho Sampler multiple times and Three Words but I cannot rewatch any Shaw episodes because his presence irritates me and he is a glaring reminder as the main reason for the Charah hiatus. So I wait it out which is exactly as I have been doing.

        In this past I have always loved the C&S central episodes or the one that left you feeling good at the end. When is the last time anyone felt good at the end of an episode. I have been feeling defeated lately. I understand Fake Name and I still love the show but it has been my least favorite season and the casting of Shaw as the PLI to eliminate all charah scenes has not been well recieved in my house.

        Thank god I am spoiled and I know epic things are ahead are way or man I would be in really bad shape.lol I wouldn’t call my current state indifference because I really care when Chuck and Sarah get together. I am just in a wait it out stage. And any trapezoid storyline just goes in a void where I am just like yup saw it, stayed faithful to the show now when is the good stuff going to happen.

        When my true season starts then I will really be boisterous about this show. Still waiting for that moment to arrive. Fake Name was not that moment but I feel with all the meta references to the shippers it is coming very soon. 😀

      • BigCheese says:

        AgentChuck003, your words left me with hope.

        I’m a crazy shipper (I’ve seen very few with a reaction like mine), not so informed, we are going through this depression. But the good news is that we are still around.

        Well, your comment was worth the day.

      • joe says:

        BC, AgentChuck, Fr. Rick called himself an optimist earlier. He’s got nothin’ on me.

        If you look back at the “This is a True Spoiler” thread, you’ll see I was worried – not about the show, but about the fan reaction.

        No, that’s wrong. I was worried about some specific people who have some specific opinions that aren’t dissimilar from yours.

        But look at the number of comments. The reaction has been huge. And although people have said “I liked this.” and “I (definitely!) didn’t like that.”, most everyone has said “Okay, what comes next? Show me more.”

        From a tv show production POV, that is fantastic. They have no right to expect more, and they probably didn’t! From a blogger’s POV (that’s mine 🙂 ) the number of comments, the number of hits, any metric you want to name – it’s been outrageous. My pixels overfloweth.

        And from a fan’s POV (that’s me, too) it’s pretty obvious that the level of interest is as high as it’s ever been. My good friends like ATCDave and Ernie worry about that interest dying out because of the decisions that have been made. Every indication that I see (including twitter, boards, fan sites and even ratings) tell me Chuck is ahead of last year, liable to stay there, and is much better situated than it was last year at this time.

        You’re right that it’s good news that you’re still around. It’s a good sign. I see signs all around.

  47. ReadySet says:

    By the way, it’s tiny in the totality of the the hash they’ve made of the show now, but there was one interesting note that otherwise would have generated huge commentary: Casey took the shot.

    You know, the shot Mrs. Anderson took in Bolivia when Bryce’s melon was on the line, the one Sarah couldn’t take when Chuck’s life was on the line in the train station in BreakUp.

    Casey took it without a second of hesitation. Again.

    Which is cool, but…

    If Casey doing what has to be done without regard to the consequences is what saves the day, then both Chuck AND Sarah are wrong now. Emotions suck in the spy game, according to this reality.

    So if TPTB want to be believed, Chuck and Sarah can NEVER win unless they get out. (And, oddly, isn’t that what they are setting up for Casey in e10?)

    That’s how TOTALLY screwed up they have made this show. The only “happy” resolution IS to have Chuck and Sarah run away. And, I guess, the show ends.

    The powers that be ARE idiots. Even Jeff sees it now.

    Metajoke is right. This is a cartoon show and my attention span is wavering. I may just go back to to Season 2 and make believe Chuck ended its run with Colonel.

    Of course, these are just my lady feelings.

    • Mike B says:

      Agreed. Also the whole story line that Sarah doesn’t like who Chuck is becoming so she goes running into the arms of the person he is turning into. Because according to TPTB they are equals. But wait isn’t she trying to get away from her spy persona. Can you say bi-polar.

      • atcdave says:

        Worse than just the person he is turning into; its the person who’s pushed more than anyone else to make him this way. I really hope Sarah’s wake up call is satisfying; somethinga little more sophisticated than just “gee, I think I prefer Chuck.”

    • ReadySet says:

      I have a very odd feeling that the big twist this year is going to be that Shaw is TOTALLY wrong about the Intersect. But so are Chuck and Sarah.

      I think we’re gonna see something like: It WAS meant for two. In other words, Bryce and Sarah. Now Chuck and Sarah.

      After all, in Ring, Sarah is put in charge of the Intersect 2.0 project. And then Bryce appears as her partner again. And Orion makes the omnious remark at the wedding about changes made to his initial designs and Bryce responds: You don’t want to know.

      Finally, when Chuck uses the Mac (heh,heh) to Intersect, he immediately destroys it. We don’t see if there was another (second person) option…

      I bring all of this up because everyone who has seen the next few episodes say big changes are coming and that the changes “prove” TPTB have thought this out.

      They’ve gone so far to destroy Chuck and Sarah as individuals–and used Shaw to do it–I wonder if their “master plan” is to show that Chuck and Sarah somehow have to share the Intersect to make it work properly. And, you know, make the point that these two broken people complete each other and become a working couple. It’s just cheesy enough for this year’s storyline.

      I mean, they’ve taken 8 episodes to tear down Chuck and Sarah. They’ve only got four to fix things before the happy ending in 13. They’re gonna need to pull one GIGANTIC rabbit out of the hat to make it work. This could be the rabbit.

      • Mike B says:

        So you think ep 13 ends with “You complete Me” or “You had me at hello”

      • atcdave says:

        I know Faith used to say he had her at “Vicky Vale.” This season has that optimism look painfull. But it may come back to something close.

  48. Jen says:

    I finally re-watched 3.08 last night. It it made me more sad for the characters than before because they made C&S be very messed up emotionally… i can argue this is real life, and people can be messed up emotionally, and i’ve seen people make similar bad choices, so i can understand C&S’s actions… but i know this is not the show we had all signed up for originally. With any reak-life analysis of people comes drama… and that’s what we are getting here. I’m glad we had some Buy More stuff to offset the angst.

    I still like th ep: for the amazing performances, for seeing Chuck realizing who he has become and the pain he’s causing (even though he still doesnt realize how deeply he has hurt Sarah), ’cause we see how deeply Sarah has been hurt and seeing her reaction… fight or flight, and she decided for flight and went for the safe choice, Shaw. This is why i was saying we need psych degrees this season to understand C&S… thank God for Jem and Mischievous!

    The S&S in the hotel room scene, where Sarah says that the more she sees Chuck changing the more she wants to find herself… that’s powerful. Chucks actions are making her re-discover herself, which i think in the end is something she needed to go through… hooking up w Shaw though… not good. The guy is a CREEP. I’m still very heartbroken by her look as she watches the dinner… her face tells us everything: She feels she lost Chuck and her family. This in the end drives her and pushes her to Shaw.
    The things that still dont’ make sense are why The Ring is working with clownish mobsters… cause as much as it was fun, i don’t get the connection. And if the Mobsters bring Chuck over to their room and they show him Shaw, how do they already know Sarah’s there???
    We are more than halfway through the first 13eps and we still don’t know what Shaw’s eveil plan, the one Beckman was so scared of, is…

    • Mike B says:

      Also as I mentioned previously how does Casey locate Chuck when his watch was destroyed back at the Buymore.

      I also agree about Shaw. He makes his move on Sarah by asking her about Chuck and Hannah. Which indicates he knows all about Chuck and Sarah’s relationship and uses it to his advantage, sleazy.

      • OldDarth says:

        Casey is tracking Rafe’s phone not the watch is how I took it.

      • Mike B says:

        That’s not the way I read it. Rafe track’s his own phone. Casey calls someone and asks for Chuck’s last known location, I guess it’s possible. But you would think that once his watch locator went off grid they would be freaking out.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Remember they have surveillance at the BuyMore. Casey could see Chuck leave with the mobsters and possibly track their car. That’s how he found Chuck and Sarah in Pink Slip.

      • Metajoke says:

        It’s the phone, clearly. Chuck takes his jacket off before he goes to “confront” Shaw and they cut to a shot of the phone sticking out of the jacket. Which is why Casey shows up at the room where the rifle is. That’s the location he tracked for the phone…

    • ReadySet says:

      Jen-
      The problem with the line about the more chuck changes, the more I (Sarah/Sam) want to find myself is that there is no MYSELF to Sarah. That has ALWAYS been the point. Sarah Walker isn’t real, she is a creation of the CIA since her senior year in high school. And before that, she was a con artist with her father.

      So there is no “Sam” to find. She only “exists” from the moment she walks into the BuyMore and sees Chuck helping the little ballerina. Everything before that–EVERYTHING–was a lie in her life. She literally only exists for/with Chuck. That was the amazing truth of Seasons 1/2.

      However, this is just another reset lie from TPTB. Just like their sudden claim that Chuck has wanted/been training to be a spy for three years.

      I don’t like the story they are telling. I might even found a way to have lived with it. But they are trashing the first two years of the story for no apparent reason at all.

      THAT is the ultimate insult Adler hurled at us in Fake Name. She told us we were fools to have cared about the Chuck and Sarah in years one/two.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Absolutely, positively RIGHT ON THE MONEY – and extremely insightful as well!

      • Jen says:

        Hey ReadySet 🙂
        Yes, you are right about Sarah existing only for/with CHuck… but if she considers she’s lost him, she has to figure out who she is “on her own”, w/o Chuck, to carry on, and that is how i’m taking her statement. She says that the more she sees him disappearing the more she needs to knwo who she is… she has lost who she was if she considers she has lost Chuck.

        this is all a little complicated, uh???

        In regards to how they tracked Chuck, i dont’ think it was Rafe’s watch. How would they havea way to identify it? unless they figured that out and didn’t show us.

    • Faith says:

      TPTB are straddling a VERY fine line between real and fiction. What I mean by that is they’re telling us these people are real emotionally, with real issues and human actions. They make mistakes, they fall down the rabbit hole and they will arise from that same rabbit hole through their own volition.

      The problem is while they’re doing that they’re also interjecting with obvious fallacy. So on the one hand a fan might say, wow this is heavy (me), I totally feel for what they’re going through emotionally and individually, on the other the fans are left holding the bag trying to explain all the things that are too silly to make sense (If Shaw is all about the game, why is he fostering a relationship with Sarah? Didn’t his wife just die? Psycho).

      I can’t blame them really. I may not like the product 100% but I understand where they’re coming from. The facts are these: they had to go into a different direction to get as many viewers (fail) as they could with a somewhat different approach to the story. But at the same time they can’t alienate the fan base that gave them life to begin with (fail) and so they’re really in a precarious position of trying to balance it all out. They’re like I said, walking a very fine line between real (remember that fairy tale, too good kind of love we talked about days ago?) and fiction (nerd herder as a spy).

      Time was they did a much better job of this but in fairness to them the Chuck and Sarah of old aren’t nearly as “real” or should I say subject to human frailty than they are now, but they also used to have heart and soul.

      • atcdave says:

        I would challenge the need to change. I had an easy time recruiting new viewers for the old Chuck; most people had simply never heard of it. Probably because NBCs total viewership is low and the name doesn’t really reveal much.
        I’m also not so sure the new versions of Chuck and Sarah are much more realistic. They were a little idealized before, but I don’t know anyone as messed up as they seem to be now.

      • Faith says:

        Idealized is perhaps the best phrase for it. They’re people we looked up to in a sense because they can do the things we can’t. They will make the sacrifices we can’t. This is what I mean by heart and soul that’s missing. The core of who they were, and who we looked up to have been replaced by these weak and for lack of a better phrase human people that we, more often than not despise.

        By making us hate the characters they’re illustrating how far off the rails they’ve gone and how far they will have to go to get back. Was this necessary? I vehemently answer, hell no. They had their off the rail moment with Pink Slip and Prague. They had their falling out and their moment of “clean up the mess.” This is like way worse and far deeper. But again, we don’t know the full picture so we don’t really see that maybe we’ll come to see this as, oh I see! Wow that’s awesome. We may never get that but who knows.

        As for needing to change, I can’t tell you how studios and producers/creators think lol. I just know that when it comes down to it, it’s a numbers thing where there is a correlation between what it was and the people they got weekly and so they felt they needed something more. But, and here’s the stick it to them point: the numbers are largely the same so the correlation is false…fans follow this show, up to a point.

  49. Rick Holy says:

    No sense in repeating anything I’ve previously posted on this and the prior thread, so I’m going to add something different to the conversation.

    As part of my Lenten penance, I re-watched “Vs. the Fake Name” yesterday evening. And what I found that I totally, thoroughly enjoyed was CASEY. And the more I think about it, the more it’s been CASEY who’s been the most entertaining part of this season. He’s consistent, rock solid, and always, always funny. Adam Baldwin does an outstanding job playing that character.

    As much as I (and others) have given the writers heck for what we’ve seen as deficiencies in how they’ve handled the primary characters and their relationship as well as the overall story arc thus far this season, we’ve got to give credit where credit is due. With Casey, they’ve been outstanding.

    I know you can say that Casey is easier to “write about” than the Chuck and Sarah relationship dynamic – and I would agree – but I would also say that if it WASN’T for Casey, this season (at least to this point) would be for me not a total bomb, but darn close to it.

    So….. Come Monday night…. BRING ON THE CASEY!!!

    • BigCheese says:

      Casey is always consistent. It’s early to say but, you know that 310 is about Casey?

      I hope they do not to kill him too.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Perhaps they’re thinking, “O.K., we’ve already screwed around enough with Chuck and Sarah, who’s NEXT on the list? Oh, yeah! CASEY!!”

        I hope they don’t screw him up, too. Now you’ve got me worried. I’m envisioning a crying, blubbering Casey completely falling apart. YUCK!

      • Stef62 says:

        I think they’re going re-visit his statement the ‘Crown Vic’ about family, and the like. Maybe show him a life that might have been, and not the path he did choose.

      • BigCheese says:

        I do not think they would do something like that with Casey, but that’s so unpredictable this season. I do not know what to think.

        Casey: “You want to kill my character? *grunts* No way!”

        What happened to the Awesom I thought was cool. Next target is the Morgan, then Casey.

    • atcdave says:

      I agree Casey has been one of the few highlights of this season, really right from Pink Slip. He managed to be the same old Casey (in love with his Mini-Gun) while at the same time showing more concern for Chuck’s feelings than Sarah. I do like Casey more than ever.

  50. Rick Holy says:

    One other thing before I run away from this computer. Don’t you think that the writers could have “told the story” of this season – however you might want to summarize it – WITHOUT the “other love interests?”

    I know others have if not said it outright, alluded to how “the journey” would have been so much more interesting if Chuck and Sarah went through it TOGETHER. If you really wanted to get into some deep, meaningful writing (which would include deep meaningful dialogue between the two characters THROUGHOUT THE SEASON – and not just in perhaps one or two upcoming episodes) you could do it. It would perhaps take more skill than resorting (AGAIN) to “other love interests,” but it COULD have been done.

    With the exception of “Cute little Bailey” (God bless her) and a small group of other kids, this is a show watched mostly by ADULTS. Unfortunatley, it doesn’t seem like it’s being written with adults in mind, and that’s what’s been extremely frustrating – and, again, as others have said previously, also insulting.

    It’s a shame, really. Oh, what COULD HAVE been. What COULD HAVE been.

    • BigCheese says:

      This is killing me too. COULD, of course. Still do not understand why. After the end of the 308 I took a stab in the heart.

      I am losing hope with CS. The resolution to their relationship will be somewhat frustrating, as that “friends” at the beginning of the season.

    • atcdave says:

      I worry a lot about if the writers are capable of writing an adult story. Given Schwartz previous shows, I wonder if we’re seeing a case of “a dog returns to its own vomit.” Perhaps he’ll surprise us. Hmmm; now I’m actually more concerned about a possible S4 again….

      • Jen says:

        If we were to have more of this in S4 i would go for that pitchfork that was mentioned some days ago. That would be suicide for the show.

    • Jen says:

      I agree… there were enough transitions and changes in the characters that could have been dealt with withough adding PLIs to the mix. Both C&S are still insecure people with fears and it would have been great to see them dealing with that and figuring themselves out in a clean way rather than drag them to through the mud as they are doing, cheapening things.

  51. Stef62 says:

    I actually really enjoyed the ep. The only thing that spoilled it was Sarah kissing Shaw. If they had only edited that out, and just having her turning, and walking away from us, it would then have mirrored Chuck walking back towards us. Back to being a likeable Chuck

    • ReadySet says:

      Stef62-
      In fairness to Adler, whose work I HATED here because it was so contemptuous of us, the point of Sarah and Shaw there was to mirror the mistake Chuck made with Hannah.

      If Sarah had just left him food and crockpots (wow! sounds like Janis Ian!), it wouldn’t have mattered. She would have ‘escaped’ the demons. The resonance of the scene is the fact that she went further than just being friends with Shaw. She went THERE…just like Chuck did with Hannah at the beginning of the episode.

      They are both in cartoon hell now. Chuck just reached it 42 minutes earlier than Sarah and got out. I suspect Sarah won’t get out of that part of hell with Shaw until the end of e9…

  52. Lucian says:

    In one of my particularly sarcastic posts several months ago on the NBC site, in a discussion on the lack of adult conversation between Sarah and Chuck, I suggested that Shaw would come in, ask Sarah her real name, and Sarah would respond with something like “at last, someone who cares about me – will you marry me?”

    Little did I know then, I was not too far off the mark. There is nothing epic about what is going on between these two; at this point, it is so repetitive, it’s not particularly funny or entertaining.

    • ReadySet says:

      Lucian-
      I posted this up the thread a bit, that’s what so callous about this season: Sarah has no “me” without Chuck. She spent the first 18 years of her life on the con with her dad, then the next 9 as Sarah Walker. Her “life” begins when she sees Chuck help the ballerina.

      That’s why it’s so cyncial. Sarah has always known–apparently until e8–that she’s had NO life. Up until this episodes, she always wanted one, but wasn’t pining for something she had and lost.

      “Sam” is 27 years (+/-) of lies. Her only real life has been the Sarah Walker with Chuck. Even the “gifts” she brings Shaw–a Crockpot from Buy More and food from a Chinese restaurant Chuck (and Morgan) brought her to–are from her life with Chuck.

      It’s all so offensive to any THINKING viewer. But I guess they don’t want thinking viewers. They made THAT clear on Monday…

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I actually thought that was one of the saving graces of that scene. She probably didn’t realize it but in her quest to be “real” and to remember who she was she was totally relying on her past with Chuck, not anything she may have thought she had before she met Chuck. I think when she finally realizes that everything she considers real, like the family she was longingly looking at, came about because of Chuck and her three years with him she’ll realize that it’s not the three years undercover that she’s freaking out about, it’s the possibility they’ll be ending soon.

      • ReadySet says:

        Yeah, just ONE MORE lesson they learned last year. This season is a waste. And it’s more of a dung heap the more we look at it…

      • ReadySet says:

        And more to the point, she hasn’t been Sarah Walker for 3 years, but for 12. Are we to assume she’s told other people her name is Sam in those other 9 years. That then makes the name reveal even LESS useful and poignent.

        I’m beginning to get metajoke’s point about the futility of trying to make sense of ANYTHING this year. It’s all crap.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I’m less down on it than you, but I think what happened to me was that I just reached the saturation point on the replay. The only difference seems to be that they decided to play it as a melodrama or soap opera this season rather than with the subtlety they’d employed so skillfully in season 2.

        The thing that struck me was watching all these emotional scenes designed to kick me in the gut or whatever, none of them had nearly the dramatic or emotional impact of the Breakup or Best Friend or Marlin, or half a dozen others STILL have when I re-watch them. As early as Pink Slip this year my reaction to a lot of the big emotional scenes, even the ones between Chuck and Sarah has been “Oh, we’re doing this again…” Because of that, the fact that they’ve got nothing surprising or new so far I’m losing interest.

      • ReadySet says:

        Actually, this season has had an emotional impact on me: I am amazed at how cynical the writers are and how determined TPTB are to spit on the fans. I truly feel Klemmer and Adler are good writers and they have warped their skills for no reason other to let TPTB jab at fans.

        For that reason, I want this show to end THIS YEAR. I don’t want a season 4 because it is clear these creators actually loathe the fans’ devotion. There is no reason to think that a fourth season wouldn’t be specifically designed to hit out at us again.

        I am ALWAYS amazed, as someone who works in the commercial creative sphere, how much creators hate it when people LIKE their work. So many of them think commercial success is a failure and you can only achieve “greatness” by loathing your followers and being loathed.

        I blame it on Van Gogh and never selling a painting in his lifetime. Too many idiot creative people think his is the template for “ultimate” success…

      • Mike B says:

        What I find amazing is the total lack of respect TPTB show the fans with this constant PLI angst dance. JS clearly got the message at Comic Con on what the fans thought of more PLI’s. That was in July, shooting did not start for a few weeks. I understand that most of the episodes were already written but since they weren’t shot they could have at least toned it down. I can’t imagine who they think likes this sort of story telling especially since they went to that well already 2 seasons in a row. I wish someone would have the courage to ask the question.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        The horrifying thought had occurred to me, what if this is the toned down version. Can’t wait for S3 deleted scenes.

      • herder says:

        Ernie, that is exactly what I was thinking while reading this thread, that they gave this episode to Ali Adler to tone down the angst that another writer might have used.

  53. Jason says:

    3.8 did not suprise me very much, except for how weak sarah was, and for how deeply she fell for shaw, I did not expect that, I was waiting for her to call him ‘sweety’ (suburbs style) either while they were cooking or while sarah was attacking his tonsils as the show ended.

    3.9 is supposed to have major twists, one of the screeners said something like these writers really gave this some thought …. this has to be far more than the very predictable morgan finds out about chuck???? Most vet show screeners are saying close to the best ever, almost has to take major steps in addressing CS, as well as give the fan most of the S1/S2 fun back – would you not think? But major thought provoking twist? Anyone have an opinion on what that might be?

    • atcdave says:

      I don’t have a clue, but at this point I’m so beat down I’m not really that optimistic. I do think we’ll see the end of Sarah/Shaw, but probably not until the very end of the episode. I think the best part might be Morgan actually being more useful to Chuck than Awesome has ever been, that would be a surprise all by itself. The bearded troll may be small, lacking skills, cowardly, and not terribly bright; but I don’t think he’ll freak out over making up stories like Devon does. (Can you tell, I usually think of myself as Morgan in the story!)

      • weaselone says:

        Morgan’s more like Chuck, just not as gifted in height or the technical skills department so it makes sense he would be more useful than Awesome at this point.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Notice also that Morgan has stepped into Chuck’s old role in the BuyMore. Both the straight man for the comedy and the one worker who keeps it running. Chuck is pretty much only there for cover anymore from the looks of it.

      • weaselone says:

        To some extent I get the feel that he’s probably still shouldering more than his fair share of the on site repairs and trying to get Jeff and Lester to do some work while he’s actually around.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Oh, I’m sure you’re right, but notice how all the scenes of Buymorons looking to Chuck for the answer (other than Hannah of course) have been replaced by them more or less looking at him as an object of admiration from afar. Chuck is now the nerd-god and Morgan the alpha-nerd.

    • SWnerd says:

      I completely agree with the weak Sarah comment. I understand she’s struggling with her emotions but I really enjoyed the strong female character she presented but this Sam person is kinda like a needy damsel in distress type and I hate that.

    • JLR says:

      I’m sorry to repeat something I’ve said in several threads already, but it is REALLY annoying to me when I see the term “pay-off.” I get that its a fundamental device. However, in this season of Chuck, it’s like some sort of coercive cudgel (yeah, redundant, I know). All this misery, and lack of fun is gonna be explained away by a few “reveals” & “pay-off” moments? Ugh…given what I’ve seen from Schwedak, I’m not sure what to think. I also wish they’d quit saying “epic”, as I’m not sure they know what that means anymore than what “3D chess” means.

      • Rick Holy says:

        On WTH does “pay-off” really mean anyway? To THEM it probably is something completely different than what it means to us!

        And you’re exactly right – sit through 10 episodes of B.S. for some kind of “pay-off” during the last 2 or 3 episodes.

        WAY LAME. And somewhat of a repeat of last season’s formula as well.

        Hypothetically, let’s say the “pay off” is actually something legit. Now if there was a Season 4, we’d have to have a lottery where we would pick what episode and what would be the occasions where the “pay off” would disintegrate and we’d be back to “let’s be friends and try to clean up this mess” AGAIN!

        NO THANKS!

      • Rick Holy says:

        Sorry, I meant “AND WTH ….. (in the post above).

      • Ernie Davis says:

        That’s been a pet peeve of mine as well. Some time this season the cool aid drinkers and TPTB will shout TA-DA, you’ve been enjoying the show all along, you just didn’t know it silly shipper! Now help us save the show again! But I’ve heard from so many people who have watched S1&S2 multiple times but can’t bear to re-watch any of the S3 episodes. A great upbeat season ending arc with a payoff would be great, but it won’t change the episodes we have, except by a new way of seeing them, and it certainly does nothing to make them more enjoyable NOW.

        I know I beat this dead horse often, but it is a week to week contract. We tune in each week, they give us something to enjoy. When they stop doing that, they lose viewers, NBC loses advertisers and revenue, and Zach and Yvonne and Adam and a lot of other cast and crew lose their jobs.

      • atcdave says:

        “Payoff” is just another word for destination. Its funny to me to see how consistantly its the so-called ‘shippers who are all about “journey”; and the “epic” crowd is now talking “Destination” or “payoff.” No matter how great the conclusion is, we will have a large chunk of the season that is no fun at all. As Ernie said, I eagerly rewatched S1 and S2 more times than I can count. Most of S3 I’ve only watched once. I’m still hopeful that will change with the later episodes; but those lost are lost forever.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Dave, I agree that a lot of payoff refers to the destination, but in this case I think there is another meaning. As I’ve tried to show I believe TPTB are working from a playbook. That playbook, to them requires certain things to happen, both highs and lows. My belief is that once we start to see fun episodes we like they will claim that it is only the depressing lame episodes they were forced to write and we needed to watch that make the fun upbeat episode possible. It’s a viewpoint I very obviously find lacking. Even Crown Vic managed to be enjoyable and end on an up note after 42 minutes of puppy kicking and with Casey being told he’d need to kill Chuck soon.

      • atcdave says:

        I good point about Crown Vic; which kind of leads to a follow up, in seasons past these low points rarely lasted long. I’m thinking the Jill arc might have been the longest; things weren’t right from the start of The Ex, until late in Gravitron. But there, we had more range of tension; The Ex ended with Sarah’s angst, while Fat Lady was a more traditional action cliffhanger. This season we’ve had fairly monotone angst going for several weeks, which, I think, magnifies the problem.

      • Merve says:

        Gah! “Crown Vic.” Possibly my least favourite episode of the series. In fact, I almost stopped watching the series after seeing that episode. (I’m not a fan of the Lou-Bryce arc. Luckily “Undercover Lover” and “Marlin” redeemed the series for me.) Why do I dislike “Crown Vic” so much? Other than the really bad B plot, I have never wanted to punch Sarah Walker in the face as much as I wanted to during that episode. Her actions and words don’t make much sense. Why was she mad at Chuck? Was she still mad at him for making her develop feelings for him? If so, why was she ready to run away with Bryce at the end of “Nemesis?” Was she mad at Chuck for making her choose her duty to him over Bryce? If so, why did Chuck wanting to save Anna and Morgan fix that? Furthermore, her question to Casey about wanting a normal life came out of nowhere. At least, that’s how I see it. The only other previous inkling we had that Sarah might want a normal life was in “Wookiee” when Sarah told Carina that she was “good here,” but in that context, it seemed that Sarah didn’t mind hanging around with Chuck, not that it’s what she wanted for herself. In fact, Sarah not understanding how important Chuck’s normal life is to him in “Sizzling Shrimp” ruined any notion that Sarah wanted a normal life. Then came her infamous scene with Casey, when Casey reminded her about what the “right choice” was. And I didn’t get it. I still don’t get it. If there was something under the surface that I was supposed to see, I didn’t see it.

        What does this any of this have to do with “Fake Name?” If it weren’t for the sheer awesomeness of Chuck impersonating the assassin, “Fake Name” would have been another “Crown Vic” for me. (Actually, the non-Sarah parts of the episode were really, really good. That’s why I enjoyed the episode.) Again, I had some trouble understanding going on with Sarah. Why was she so open with Shaw? Why did she not even try to confide in Casey? But more than that, I didn’t like what I saw with Sarah, and no, it didn’t have much to do with Shaw. I can accept that Sarah has emotional issues. But I just don’t like seeing her as an emotional basket case. (I’d like to emphasize that I don’t mean that it’s out of character for her; it’s just not where I enjoy seeing her character taken.) The worst part was that making her an emotional wreck just seemed like a way to hit the audience over the head with the fact that Sarah was uncomfortable with Chuck’s changing personality. We saw that in “Nacho Sampler,” and it was done beautifully; we didn’t need to see her spell it out for Shaw. The other problem with turning Sarah into a broken shell of a woman is that it cheapens the Chuck/Sarah love story. Now it’s no longer about two people who want to be together, it’s about two people who need to be together. That’s not necessarily love; that’s co-dependence.

        I know that we were talking about payoffs within episodes and payoffs after arcs, so I feel it necessary to address what Ernie said about “Crown Vic.” I’m sorry, but I’ll have to respectfully disagree with you on this one. A good ending doesn’t save a bad episode. The upbeat ending of “Crown Vic” couldn’t save the episode for me. The downbeat ending of “Fake Name” couldn’t ruin the episode for me. But if they continue to turn Sarah’s character into something I don’t like, then Chuck is going to have to impersonate a lot of awesome assassins in order to keep the series enjoyable.

      • JLR says:

        Wow Merve, I actually had similar feelings about Crown Vic, but thought it was just me b/c I didn’t see the universal outcry over it…keep in mind I wasn’t part of the online community (fan boards, I mean) until after season 2 ended. You’ve hit nail on the head w/ my concerns about this season. It’s not about WTWT, angst, whatever. It’s about making the characters unsympathetic. I do believe in redemption, but man, it’s gonna take a lot for me to like them again. Frankly, I don’t think it’s doable.

      • JLR says:

        Oh, forgot to add: yeah, the way the C/S “love affair” seems to have been reconnoitered, it’s hardly a “love for the ages” shippers should root for, IMHO.

      • atcdave says:

        Merve, you and I are not on the same page often; but I do agree about Crown Vic. That was the closest I came to dropping the show. My wife and I consider most shows trial runs through their first seasons; we also didn’t care for the Lou or Bryce stories. And then Crown Vic. About 20 minutes in we paused for a discusion about if it was time to drop the show. We almost did, but decided to give it to the end of the episode. I’m glad we did; I thought the scene where Sarah decides to help Chuck was awesome, the episode left me with a smile on my face. But I hardly ever re-watch it, too much garbage to sit through.

        I also hate when they make Sarah pathetic or unlikeable. At her best, she is one of the best characters on television, man or woman. But Sarah turning to Shaw is turning my stomach.

      • Merve says:

        @JLR: I agree with you. For me, the problems that I’ve had with season 3 are the same problems that I had with season 1. I just didn’t like the characters that much in the first season. But they fixed that in the 2nd season. They made Chuck less whiny. They gave Sarah more depth. And they made Morgan half as annoying and ten times more awesome. Until “Fake Name,” I didn’t really dislike anything that the characters had done in the 3rd season. But in “Fake Name,” I found it hard to identify with Sarah. There’s a fine line between making the audience feel empathy/sympathy for a character and making them feel pity. I never wanted to pity Sarah. But now I kind of do. It’s hard to relate to a character that you pity.

        JLR, I’d also like to emphasize the point that you made that a lot of complaints about this season aren’t about WT/WT and angst. Mine certainly aren’t. I wholeheartedly support the idea of the tragic Prague scene (though I think that it wasn’t well-executed; that scene could have had much better dialogue). I’m enjoying seeing Chuck and Sarah figure out who they are apart from each other, so that they’ll be the people that they want to be when they finally do get together. My problem with the way they’ve taken the characters in “Fake Name” is that now Sarah is a shell of a woman, asking herself, “Who is Sarah Walker?” It’s a cheap storytelling device for her not to have the answer before she gets together with Chuck, because she is something independent of Chuck. It’s alright for Chuck to help her discover who she is, but I’d like to see that happen before they actually get together. Otherwise, Sarah wouldn’t be consciously choosing Chuck; she’d end up with Chuck out of necessity.

        @atcdave: Wow, we actually agreed on something! I think I saw a pig fly by my window. 🙂 All jokes aside, I think that we actually agree more than it would appear; it’s just that I’m usually so entertained by this show that I tend to overlook its faults. I’m with you on Sarah’s relationship with Shaw. I think that Shaw would have been more interesting as a friend to Sarah and not as a romantic interest, because as far as I can tell, the audience has been led to believe that Sarah has never really had a true friend, unlike Chuck (or even Casey, who I’m assuming had friends in the army). It’s sort of interesting that Sarah is so messed up that she automatically equates an emotional connection either with family or romance, but it’s not that much fun to watch.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah Merve, I agree with your last too. As a friend and colleague Shaw could have been an interesting character. But by naking him a LI, they make Sarah and Shaw both out to be pathetic. Its possible, we’ll see that as important and intentinal, but I think Fake Name is going to be another episode this season I choose to never watch again (hey, we can’t agree on everything now, I have a reputation to uphold!)

  54. Rick Holy says:

    I don’t know. Call me a closet optimist. I STILL have a feeling that somehow Sarah KNOWS what Shaw is up to – and is “playing him” just as much as he is playing her.

    Put it into one of the following categories:

    (a) Sarah/”Sam” falling into the arms of this guy Shaw who she knows so little about AND SO QUICKLY – I believe it went from a “get away from me” attitude to an “Oh, yeah! That neck massage feels GREAT” attitude in one episode – ONE EPISODE! Whatever Sarah/”Sam’s” faults may be she’s no dunce – she’s a “professional” spy – the “best partner” that Casey has ever had. It just doesn’t fit. I think she’s playing him – not actually trusting him – trying to see what he’s REALLY up to be “getting close” (something she has likely had to do numerous times in her spy career – just like she was doing during the premiere episode of this season where her “new boyfriend” was actually her mark). Plus, I still don’t think “Sam” is her real name. I think that’s part of how she’s playing Shaw. (The fact that she reacted to Chuck calling her by that name was I think more of a surprise that he actually heard their conversation – and would obviously be negatively affected by it – than the fact that he “now knows her REAL name.” Because if I remmember right, she didn’t have a clue that Chuck was in the other building monitoring what was taking place between her and Shaw).

    (b) The writing IS actually even worse than we thought and she IS actually “falling” for this Shaw person who she knows so little about. That’s just NOT SMART – and Sarah ISN’T stupid. Chuck she KNOWS – even if she’s struggling with what he’s “becoming.” Shaw she knows about as well as a week old pair of sox. It would be just completely out of character for this seasoned spy to fall for Shaw. Possibly be intrigued by or attracted to him? Yes, possibly. But not to the level that she’s presently falling for him. But then again, with the writing this season…..

    I still think SAM isn’t her real name. Maybe I’m just being an optimist. But unless the writers are just total (excuse me) sh*ts and just completely loathe the “shippers” for having the gall of telling them what to do with THEIR program, I would think that “reveal” would be a Chuck and Sarah moment. How could it NOT be? But then again, with the writing this season…..

    That’s all from me on this episode. I’ll still hang in there to see what happens this season, but I won’t be writing any letters to NBC executives pleading with them to renew the show by extolling its merits; signing numerous on line petitions to renew the show; purchasing dozens of copies of DVDs to give as gifts to promote the show; or buying as much crap (hats, tee shirts, mugs, etc) from the NBC on line shop to show them all of the “unseen” fan support for the show. Not this year. Not this time.

    • Jason says:

      the major hope for a sarah con going on is her nacho ep 6 commment telling chuck ‘make the mark feel in total control’ because indeed shaw pretty much has sarah beaten down into a submissive wench right now. Nothing is season 3 would be more rewarding than seeing sarah ‘burn’ shaw.

      I just do not think she is playing shaw, but my ‘Faith’ may simply not be strong enough. Hope you are right.

    • Mike B says:

      I don’t recall but up until Fake Name does Chuck have any reason to believe that Jenny Burton is not her real name. After all her father was imprisoned under the name Burton.

    • Mike B says:

      I don’t recall but up until Fake Name does Chuck have any reason to believe that Jenny Burton is not her real name. After all her father was imprisoned under the name Burton. We all know it’s not but does Chuck.

      • SWnerd says:

        He didn’t have any reason to believe that wasn’t her real name, but it was revealed to us that he was suspicious because there was a question mark by that name on the back of his Tron poster.

    • Jason says:

      well, maybe some things would be more rewarding, but top 10 for sure

    • atcdave says:

      I think Chuck was still under the impression Jenny was her real name. It would be great if Sarah knew exactly what she was doing, setting Shaw up. But various reviewer comments have led to believe she probably isn’t.

    • Chuckaddict says:

      My feelings are the same as yours. Maybe I too am the eternal optimist (my wife would question this however). I refuse to give up hope yet that a major reveal is going to fix this. It will have to be “epic” to make it worth while, but after how excellent last season was I’m willing to ride it out. I’m going on faith.

      The only thing that nags me is Sarah’s seeming willingness to take the bullet in the head without a fight. Was she waiting for Chuck to flash? She has demonstrated patience and trust in Chuck’s abilities in the past.

      I think post further up is on the right track and we’re going to find out that Sarah is integral to the performance of the Intersect. It seems she is almost always present when Chuck flashes, at least when it’s important.

      • joe says:

        Chuckaddict, Sarah’s willingness to take that bullet in the head is, I think, the most overlooked aspect of the episode, maybe of the entire season.

        I know nothing of what’s coming next, but I don’t think it’s importance can be overstated.

      • Waverly says:

        Whoa! I didn’t get any inkling of an idea that she was willing to sacrifice herself in that scene. I just watched it again, and I still don’t see it.

        I think the natural reaction for her would be to try to save herself.

        If Sarah were hoping for intervention, it wouldn’t (rationally) be from Chuck flashing, because that would take too long and he’s too far away from her. It would be from Chuck coming up with some words that would magically talk Rafe down enough for her to take action, just as Carina did in Three Words.

  55. Mike B says:

    sorry for the duplicate post.

  56. JLR says:

    It’s now clear to me why Imogen Heap’s “Wait It Out” was used in the season premiere. It has nothing to do with C/S; it was meant as a foreboding to fans that a rough ride was in store, and it was a plaintive cry for “patience.”

  57. Faith says:

    “Good riddance, Olympics, and welcome back, ‘Chuck‘! Got scoop? – Dave
    If you liked last night’s return, you will love next week’s episode, “Chuck Versus The Beard.” It is, in my opinion, one of the show’s very best episodes ever, rewarding in multiple ways and on several levels. Laughs, romance, intrigue, mythology, action…. Damn, it’s a great hour.”

    Source

  58. JC says:

    My g/f pointed something out to me last night.

    In regards to Sarah confessing her feelings about Chuck changing to Shaw and starting a relationship with him. Why would it be with the guy thats the driving factor behind his change. Shouldn’t she hate him? Even if she’s broken emotionally, it still doesn’t make any sense.

    I don’t know if this was brought up before, its hard to get through all the posts.

    • Jen says:

      I dont think it’s Shaw making Chuck change… it’s the job, and Chuck decided to be the job.

      If she’s not playing him, which i hope she is (but probably isn’t), i can’t find not even 1 good reason why she would, in her right mind, go for Shaw. Unless she’s not in her right mind right now and is just grasping out for anything.

      • JC says:

        But who keeps pushing him that direction? Its Shaw.

        I hate to use this analogy but Chuck is an addict and Shaw’s his dealer. Yet his worried relative gets involved with the dealer instead of stopping him.

      • Waverly says:

        Interesting analogy. And what is Chuck addicted to? An exciting life of action making the world a better place?

        Sarah hasn’t quite overdosed on that yet, and probably won’t. But she is looking for her fix of “real” life. And maybe Shaw is the closest convenient mechanism at hand. No romance, but understanding talk and superman-y sex.

      • JLR says:

        And Shaw’s a spy, so he’s no more real than Sarah Walker

  59. JC says:

    He’s addicted to his idealized version of the spy world. And now he’s realizing the real consequences of the real spy world. That was his overdose.

    With Sarah she sees Chuck changing into a darker, ruthless version of himself. Losing everything she loved about him. Yet she decides to confess her fears and start a relationship with the Shaw. The man that’s been encouraging these changes more than anyone. The guy who said his purpose was to make Chuck a spy.

    I just can’t wrap my brain around it.

    • JLR says:

      Nor I…I keep hearing the exhortations of “Sarah’s a mess right now!”, but it just doesn’t wash with me either. Makes me dislike how the writers are portraying Sarah.

      • Faith says:

        Honestly I think that’s the point. And you know what they’ve succeeded. They made me hate Chuck and they’re perilously close to making me hate Sarah but that’s the thing…we’re supposed to. It’s to illustrate how far off the grid they’ve gotten and how much healing they’ll have to go through.

      • JC says:

        I did kinda accept that explanation at first. But it was my g/f who pointed out these other points to me. Now I understand why she called this her “Marissa Cooper” episode.

      • JLR says:

        No matter the redemptive act(s) undertaken by the characters, it’s gonna be very difficult (probably impossible, actually) for me to get back “that lovin’ feeling” for C/S individually. Throwing them together as couple will have zero impact for me as long as I dislike them as much as I do right now. I hope the writers are up to the task of winning over people like me. Guess I’m just a judgmental SOB….

      • JC says:

        I find it easier to forgive Chuck honestly. And not just because I’m a guy. From the beginning Sarah’s always had the power. Even after Prague and her ridiculous plan Chuck comes crawling back to her. He tells her that he loves her. Her response nothing. Tries to move on, acts like a jerk. Realizes he still loves her and goes crawling back to her again. She got hurt in Prague but how many times has she done the same to Chuck.

      • Faith says:

        the bloom is definitely off the rose. We had a tendency to kind of put these characters on a pedestal because they were more fairy tale than real…but their intention this year was to make them more human (faulty) and real so I understand where you’re coming from JLR. But you know they just might surprise you. It’s the hero’s journey after all. You go through crap, hit rock bottom and you arise from the ashes and become that hero and it’s snorts and giggles of greatness.

      • Faith says:

        *more heroic than human

        add it to the comparison 🙂

      • JLR says:

        Chuck acting whiny & needy AGAIN will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, I swear. I really hope they don’t do that…AGAIN. I know this smacks of chauvinism, but I don’t care, I’m throwing caution to the wind! 🙂 Be a man Chuck; you made choices; said choices had consequences. If you wanna make another run at Sarah, so be it, but try to resolve it once & for all. Thankfully, I THINK we’ll get the resolution part..though DR implies it’s not what we think.

        @JC: I get your POV, Re: Sarah’s “power”, but I’m equal opportunity. Chuck needs to man up, and quit being the doormat. Refusing to be in limbo doesn’t equate w/ being a jerk, or being too dark. And by “limbo” I mean knowing where they stand w/ each other. Before seeing DR’s comment, I thought the promo showed Chuck’s DYLM as that moment when he was gonna make it quite simple: Sarah, yes or no. Now, based on his comment, not so sure…

      • JC says:

        I agree Chuck needs to stand up for himself and be a man. And I hope like you JLR we don’t see jealous and whiny Chuck ever again. I wish they’d bring up the name reveal again but not as some smartass comment by Chuck. More along the lines of “You know what, you always told me to trust you, well its good to know you never trusted me.”

        He needs to remember Cole’s advice.
        “If you want something bad enough. Don’t ever take “No” for an answer.”

  60. Lucian says:

    Assuming Chuck and Sarah get to some point of commitment this season, I am thinking that the reset they do next season will truly be epic. If you think this year is angst-packed, I can’t even imagine the level of angst they might move to if there is something like a “real” relationship with our favorite couple.

    • Viridis says:

      My prediction and guideline for an angsty and reset Season 4:

      Sarah let Ellie get hurt and put in critical condition while completing a mission, and Chuck is too angry to forgive her. Chuck pours that anger into being a super-spy hunting down spy that hurt Ellie, shutting himself off from everyone. Bryce/Cole/Shaw v4 tells Sarah she did the right thing, while Sarah is trying to get Chuck’s forgiveness. Chuck and Sarah still operate as a couple for cover and on missions, but tension abound.

  61. sd says:

    From what I can figure…and from some of the actors comments about these eps (pre-season stuff) I think that the writers want us to believe that Sarah feels as if she has no one to confide in…and she–for once–wants to confide in someone. The Shaw character is meant to be an equal..someone who has loved and lost and who is there to listen..someone who understands the journey of a spy.

    I, frankly, don’t think Shaw is meant to be sinister…just a writer’s foil to help them tell Sarah’s emotional evolution. He may have an “agenda” but I don’t think it is based on scamming Sarah or anyone on the team.

    I think the 13 ep order made it difficult to tell that story in a way that pleases most of us…which is why many of us feel as if we (as viewers) are on a bullet train (no pun intended) instead of a steam engine.

    • JLR says:

      I don’t mind a train ride in & of itself. However, TPTB made the choice to cram all of this into 13 episodes; they’re supposed to be the pros. “We” are constantly reminded TPTB are artists that need to be allowed to tell their story. Well, they need better logistics to tell as much story as they insist. I’d rather have less story w/ more exposition/development/believable character interactions. I see the “only 13 ep.” excuse, but it’s not like they didn’t know they only had 13 episodes prior to shooting. They ask us as viewers to make compromises, perhaps they should do the same & re-configure their story timelines so it can be a “better” (yeah, loaded term) journey for us.

  62. sd says:

    JLR–

    Trust me…I am not the writers “apologist”…I couldn’t believe writing pros would take us on the journey that was the last ten minutes of The Mask.

    As for the 13 eps…I may be wrong but I think the early episodes–at least– were already written when they learned of the additional order.

    Having said that…too much is trying to be told in too little time.

    It will be interesting how the additional episodes will “look” compared with the front 13…

    Maybe I am a masochist….I’m willing to take the ride..

    • JLR says:

      Sorry if my “enthusiasm” seemed misdirected at you. That wasn’t the intent. And I may be misinformed regarding the 13 ep. order. Oh well, at least I still care enough to post. I didn’t think that would be the case at this point of the season, and I thought that before the premiere when we had a decent idea of all the angst to come.

  63. sd says:

    No worries, JLR…

    It’s interesting how many “care enough” to post…I have certainly never posted over any other show before this one.

    Cheers….

  64. Sarah Bartowski says:

    Shaw just won 1/3 of the battle…he got the first name.

    Chuck will win the other 2/3rds, which are arguably more important, especially the last name.

    • joe says:

      Heh! Interesting way of looking at it.
      Chuck gets 1 pt. for Lisa,
      Shaw gets 1 pt. for Sam
      and the tie breaker is her last name?

    • BeCoolBoy says:

      I think her real last name is Bartowski. At least I think that’s what they are leading up to: Chuck and Sarah getting married in e13. It would fit the slam-bang nature of this season.

      We were hoping for sweetness and emotion and what we know growing couples are about. Instead we got nasty and dark and despair. They’ll pay off with marriage because they think that’ll be the balance. It would also have a balance with Ring, the season 2 finale.

      IMHO…

      • JLR says:

        Talk about whiplash given what we know about the next couple episodes (or what we think we know). I hope they don’t do that.

      • atcdave says:

        What a brave soul to bring up the “M” word with an episode number! I’ve seen that mentioned elsewhere too. I truly don’t know where things are heading this season, but I do occasionally think that for 3.19 (I mean Orion is back!). After all the grief we’ve had this season, it seems like the only “payoff” that would make me completely happy (and the only way I would promise to buy the S3 discs!). But I’m still thinking its a long shot. An engagement is more likely. A marriage would certainly be a dramatic turn of events.

      • Merve says:

        My bet is also on a marriage in episode 13, which sounds kind of ridiculous, but we know that both Chuck and Sarah can be kind of impulsive. My bet is that they elope in episode 13, and go on a honeymoon in episode 14, only to have it ruined by some spy-related complication.

        If nothing else, having them married might be an additional source of comedy. They might then be trying to convince Devon and Morgan that they’re married for real and not just for cover. Or maybe Sarah would then be living in Chuck’s apartment. With Morgan around, hilarity would surely ensue.

      • BigCheese says:

        I’m rooting for it Merve. But it’s very unlikely. If CS talk, seriously, will be a victory.

        Chuck will need Doc Brown to return in the past to rescue Sarah’s brain from seasons 1 and 2. Or he could stay there. What a great idea!

      • joe says:

        Marriage? In 3.13? Well, that certainly would account for the amazing secrecy imposed by TPTB.

        I have a question, though. What would that do to the ratings?
        Okay, now consider the demographics, and ask the question again. And what happens to the ratings after that? – down the road?

        Everyone can probably hear my answer ringing out. But maybe I’m wrong. What’s your opinion?

      • Jason says:

        joe, I think we maybe have exactly two CS intimate moments in the entire arc (by intimate I mean alone kissing or shoulder rubbing – lol). one at the end of 3.12 and one at the end of 3.13, so yes, it makes sense they get married.

        Seriously, no way, end of season 4, maybe, but more than likely season 5 or 6. would not doubt they end the show with it.

        does anyone realize how good season 3 would have been if shaw sarah did not couple up, but if all these scenes stayed the same without sarah letting him in, i.e. cut the last shaw 30sec in both 3.7 and 3.8 and the kiss part of 3.8’s name reveal (she could have still told him her name) followed by her saying ‘no shaw, we are not that kind of friends’ – it would have been a hoot & absolutely nothing would have changed?

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        Since I started this little sub-thread, let me answer Joe’s question about marriage and the ratings: No difference at all. Maybe a plus.

        In three years, TPTB have shoveled up an endless stream of WTWT, teen angst, PLIs and all kinds of other trash to foil the obvious on-screen chemistry between Levi and Strahovski.

        The result? From a pilot that drew almost 10 million viewers, the show has settled into a nearly unbreakable pattern of 6-6.5 million viewers. In other words, it’s only us diehards out there, who’ve stuck out all of the decisions they have made, good and bad.

        So why would the ratings get worse when Levi and Strahovski are allowed to dazzle us with their chemistry? The ratings might even improve a bit.

        It is pretty clear that Season 3 has been a bust in terms of finding new viewers. So it IS time to try bowing to the reality of the chemistry and stop the hogwash of the story they “have” to tell because they are following their Muse.

        There is no Muse in television. Only ratings and what works. And by that standard what TPTB have done this year is epic fail. Regardless of whether you like the storyline (I know you do, Joe) or hate it (like me). The ratings decide. And the ratings are identical to last year, give or take .1 and a 100,000 viewers or so.

        Time to try something different now.

      • joe says:

        BCB, that’s so weird! *I’m* not sure I like the storyline. Yet. It’s not played out. ATCDave has expressed how I feel about it pretty well – A major part of the show has been frustrating to watch, and I’d rather the tension be over too. (I tend to ascribe that less to the writer’s arrogance than Dave, though, and more to the dictates of the story.)

        But the difference between what I hear you saying and what I’m trying to say is that to me, the story is far from over and it has tremendous chances to be great. In the face of a lot of cries saying “No more of the same old same-old. Change things!” I hear you saying “Turn it around 180 and make them what they were! Now!”

        And honestly, it seems you have a majority opinion (so of course, you should have no fear that you can keep saying it).

        As for the number of intimate moments, yeah, they’ve been few and far between. I was rather stunned to realize that C&S have not had even a cover relationship (much less a real one) since The Three Words, which was seen two months ago this weekend. As the episodes unfolded, I was not seeing that – too much wishful thinking on my part. As Ernie said, it’s hard to see what’s on the screen when you’re so involved with the characters.

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        Joe: I take your point about the storyline not being played out. But that really doesn’t matter because TV is a weekly contract (h/t Ernie Davis). You have to entertain us week to week as well as telling an overarching story. I don’t think they’ve done that this year. You can’t say episode 9 is fantastic so go back and watch episode 7. It’s NOT how the Neilsen works…

        And it STILL does not answer why TPTB did not concoct a storyline that maximized their best asset. I don’t think they had to be coupled or even romantically involved. But to write a story that ignores your best weapon is stupid…

        As for this year’s story, well, I can’t judge it overall, of course, because it is not played out. But a respected critic like Mo Ryan, who also loves the show, has seen it through e11 and she questions the need for the Shaw character. That’s a pretty damning indictment of the storyline when 6 of the 8 episodes of a key guest star has been seen and she doesn’t even think the character was necessary…

      • atcdave says:

        For starters, I need to say, Joe I’m shocked. You’re forcing me to rethink this whole friendly rivalry thing; I mean if we agree, I have no one left to argue with!

        But seriously, I guess my 2 cents worth would be, I doubt the ratings would be negatively impacted. There is so much humorous potential in Chuck and Sarah trying to act like a normal couple; combine that with their obvious chemistry, and it blows my mind what an epic fumble this season has been. That isn’t to say the ending (episode 12-13) won’t be awesome, but they flushed most of the season down the toilet to get there. I have never claimed I’ll stop watching this season, but if the ending is too much of a let down I won’t be buying discs (unless they include an apology to all the fans who say “we told you so!”)
        I seriously think a marriage would help the ratings, long term. Just today we had lunch with a couple who commented on how much they hated 3.08; that’s at least four different sets of casual viewers I know of who have said similar things. I know, that is anecdotal and not a statistically significant sampling; but every one of those viewers would, I guarantee, be happier if this season had been about a spy couple instead of what we’ve seen.
        As far as an actual wedding episode, I’m on record as saying I predict S4; I have said that since mid-S1. Doesn’t mean it couldn’t come sooner, I could easily see an elopement or fast engagement late this season, but I think a proposal (possibly including a yes answer) is a strong possibility for 3.19. That might qualify as a “game changer” for this seasons finale; and it would leave most fans very happy for the off-season.

        And BeCoolBoy, I am inspired by your confidence! But I can’t attach an episode number to a wedding, way too many unknown variables just now. Perhaps in another week or two I’ll agree!

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        Oh, I’m not confident there’ll be a wedding in e13, just that a wedding would NOT hurt the ratings.

        As for when, well, why not e13? Wouldn’t that set up a “family” (i.e. Sarah or Ellie pregnant) scenario for Papa B’s return at the end of the mini-arc? And a wedding in e13 would balance Ring. It’s pretty clear that, actually or in intent, they are going to have Chuck ask the “Will you do the honor of…” question again. It’ll either be a vacation again (lame) or marry me (less lame). But who knows what they are thinking.

        As for what is good, right, etc. TPTB said they’d never reveal Sarah’s “real” name–and they have. There was an unwritten rule that Sarah would never sleep with anyone but Chuck. Well, I think logic dictates that’s out the window, too. They also rewrote the pilot from their original intent because Sarah never saw Chuck as a mark. It was clearly the original intent that she knew of Chuck from Bryce. That the dialogue about that didn’t make the pilot doesn’t change the fact that they NEVER had Chuck-as-mark in mind. That was an invention to serve Nacho Sampler.

        My point being is that nothing TPTB have said in the past, nothing they have written in the past in the show, nothing in the original intent or canon seems sacred now. So I think all bets are off.

      • atcdave says:

        I do think with all the garbage they felt they “had” to do this season; a wedding in 3.13 just seems like too much, too fast to me. 3.19 being slightly more likely.

        But I do agree with your major point, it would help the show, and the sooner the better. The “mark” scenario in Nacho Sampler was among my “epic” disappointments of this season. I do think they will revisit it, at least to clarify that Sarah liked Chuck for real, very quickly. All the situations you mention are jump the shark moments to me. They have clearly chosen shock effect over story/character consistancy this season.

      • herder says:

        Dave, I have posted elsewhere my theory of a marriage of convenience for 3.13. I think that this is too soon for a real marriage, but one where they have to convince the general that their relationship is real is a neat flip on the first two seasons where they had to convince Morgan, Ellie and others that their relationship was real.

      • atcdave says:

        herder, I do agree that could be an interesting scenario. But I think if you want anything that sophisticated you need to look to the fanfics; they will never do anything that subtle.

        But you know, I have to ask. Why would it be advantageous for the General to think they are married? I could see them getting married so the General can’t break up the team, but then we’re talking about a real, if rushed, marriage. I would like that, and I think it would be good for the show; but I will be more stunned than Joe agreeing with me about something if you are right!

      • herder says:

        Dave, my idea was that Chuck refuses to shoot in the final exam, fails and is targeted for assasination, but there is a rule against killing agent’s spouses, thus the fake marriage.

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        I’ve actually been trying to figure out what the other beard is in Monday’s episode. I refuse to believe that Sarah would set up Chuck for Shaw. But I COULD believe that at the end of the episode, Sarah goes to Chuck and says she’s found out something bad about Shaw. They agree to let Sarah be with Shaw for a while to figure out his game, which is played out in 11.

        Otherwise, what’s the dual meaning of beard? The spied coming in under the guise of being Buy More bosses. Even for this show, that’s a thin double entendre…

      • Merve says:

        BeCoolBoy, I think that you missed one of the crucial points of “Nacho Sampler.” The audience knows that Sarah never really saw Chuck as a mark beyond the pilot episode, but Chuck doesn’t know that. While he understands that Sarah definitely doesn’t seem him as a mark anymore, that doesn’t change the fact that he fears that he was manipulated by Sarah in the past.

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        Merve-
        I think you missed my point. In the 12/06 pilot, there was specific dialog of Sarah talking to Graham about how she knew of Chuck because she and Bryce had discussed him and how Bryce had said he was the nicest guy in the world. That dialog, and later dialouge having Sarah specifically comment on how great it was that Chuck had family, was cut.

        Now they’re retconned it. The stuff filmed for Nacho Sampler have Sarah walking in to the BuyMore, getting her first intell on Chuck by phone and deciding he’s a mark. I DO understand that it was done to make Nacho Sampler more effective. But that was NOT what they had originally planned for the show.

        Contrary to what TPTB would have you believe, they don’t have a master plan for five years or so. They’ve constantly rethought, rejiggered, reassessed.

        Which IS okay, but it makes you wary of believing anything they say is the “truth” and wary of anything in the canon being, well, canon.

      • atcdave says:

        I believe them as much as I believe Lucas intended Leia to be Luke’s sister in the original Star Wars!

      • Faith says:

        I have to second that, I had a huge problem with the Sarah Retcon in Nacho Sampler. They made her seem more like Carina than Sarah. Talk about your OOC.

        Plus they took the situation out of context. Around that time she was aimless and hurting and puzzled from Bryce’s betrayal and his “death.”

      • Merve says:

        BeCoolBoy, I know that that dialogue was cut from the pilot. I’m basing my interpretation on what was actually in the episodes, not what was cut.

        In fact, if that dialogue had remained in the pilot, a lot of “Helicopter” wouldn’t make sense.

  65. BeCoolBoy says:

    And, by the way, what happened to the mantra that NBC only wants “light” shows. Tell me what’s “light” about Chuck right now? The two lead characters loathe the decisions they have made. The secondary characters are all miserably unhappy, burn-out drunks, failures or psycho types like Shaw. And the one character that “never” changes–the rock Casey–is about to get rocked, too.

    The show went “dark” and the ratings went nowhere. We can only guess about what the ratings could have been this year if they played a storyline that was lighter. They still could have done what they needed to do to satisfy their supposed Muse, but they’d have moments of lightness and moments to allow the Levi-Strahovski chemistry to shine.

    That, in the long run, is what is wrong with Season 3. Not that the stories are weak (they are) and poorly written (they are). Not that the budget cuts hurt. Not that the fans are split. But that TPTB stubbornly decided they would ignore the obvious–the Levi-Strahovski on-screen chemistry–and try to write past it, over it, around it.

    Television is a visual medium. What you see on the screen is what you get. So TPTB picked the ONE and ONLY storyline that would minimize their best asset (Levi and Strahovski on-screen together) for a purpose known only to themselves.

    If NBC wants to give the show a season 4, I would suggest their condition should be the removal of Schwartz and maybe even Fedak as showrunners. Schwartz has PROVEN he doesn’t understand and can’t write anything but teen angst even long after it stopped being effective (I give you the OC after season 2). And Fedak may be SOOOO wedded to his initial story and so inexperienced as a showrunner that he literally doesn’t understand you can’t outwrite the screen.

    No matter, though. Season 3 has been a waste in terms of building the Chuck franchise. It hasn’t brought in new fans and it split the existing fan base. I once, honest to goodness, thought Chuck could be a Star Trek kind of things: spinoffs, movies, etc. It had that kind of mythology, fan passion behind it and quality ensemble cast.

    But I don’t think that anymore.

    • Zsjaer says:

      For the first time i m going to write the names that are responsable for a show to make sure i don t watch anything made by them in the future.
      I think its the best way for not having such a dissapointment like i am with this show

    • Jason says:

      die hard shippers like me are the least of the show’s worries, I will watch it to the end – what the show has to worry about is this show is whatever caused me to be a crazy shipper has created some element of ‘shipper’ in many of its casual fans, and if it does not right the ‘ship’ soon, these casual fans might be lost forever

      what they need to adhere to is a CS rule – 6 minutes (2 scenes) of alone time and 15 minutes together with the rest of the cast on average, or 50% of the show with CS in the same scene.

      shaw has only been in one scene this season without sarah, 3.7’s museum heist with casey – it has sucked the blood right out of the show

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        I’m actually MOST ANGRY this morning because, literally by accident on YouTube, I came across the “It’s real!” moment at the end of Colonel.

        What were these idiots thinking? If they weren’t going to pay that off, they should have NEVER done it. Not because the “shippers” would be unhappy (I’m not actually a shipper), but because it is the marker for electric, magnetic TV between two characters.

        The showrunners looked at that scene and said, “Whoa! Let’s ignore or bury that chemistry cause we have a story to tell.”

        Idiots. Fools. And, in the long run, failures.

      • BigCheese says:

        I agree to most of what you say, but verbal abuse is not one of them.

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        Fine. The DECISIONS were idiotic and foolish and, in the long run, failures.

        Happy?

      • Faith says:

        I’ve recently been re-watching (forcing myself) the last 8 epis and right in the Tragic Prague scene where she says, “this, this is real” I’m harked back to Colonel and her saying those exact same words.

        I think it was completely intentional. They’re trying to show just how much she has come to want that real, how scared she is that Chuck is changing and no longer wants the same.

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        Faith-
        That’s why I think lizjames got tripped up. (Sorry I arrived after she left, she seemed brilliant…) Sarah keeps warning chuck that nothing is real in the spy world. Yet things apparently are…

        As for Sarah being scared of what’s happening to Chuck and her wanting NOT to be a spy, well, forgetting that that was ALREADY established in Seasons 1/2, you’d think she’d talk to Chuck, her only real friend, about this.

        Oh, wait, I forgot again. Chuck and Sarah don’t talk. Amazing how that crappy plot hole makes everything so amazingly silly…

    • atcdave says:

      I do believe JS has intended for Chuck and Sarah to be together in S4 all along. So while I’m very unhappy with S3 to date, I do believe leaving Schwartz in his current position may be the best option (um, just in case anybody asked me!)

  66. Pingback: Chuck This

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