Saving Agent Walker

And Other Private Thoughts

I don’t think it’s possible to find a group of intelligent human beings as large as we are here that have one, uniform opinion on any topic. Yet I see this group comes close to consensus about Chuck vs. The Final Exam. A glance at the dozens of comments posted in the 1st twenty four hours after the episode aired will leave you with no doubt that with very few exceptions, the opinions range from mild disappointment to “I’VE HAD IT!”.

Thus it is written. Every post (literally! – I’ve yet to find an exception) has been a well thought out, well written and impassioned statement, respectful and deserving of consideration. For that, I thank you all (and wish I could do that personally).

And like I quickly noted in comments yesterday, I disagree with the majority opinion. I thought the episode should be considered, as a whole, one of the best episodes of Chuck ever, if not the best.

And for my next trick, I’ll try to support this unsupportable opinion!


This time, I’ll start at the end. Many times this season – too many times, actually – I’ve very much enjoyed an episode only to be taken aback by the last 30 seconds or 1 minute (and in the case of The Mask, the last 10 minutes) by an unexpected or unexplained or seemingly unnecessary setback in (forgive me for reverting to the shorthand again) Charah relationship. The inevitable Charah relationship. You saw my cri de coeur when I penned my frustration at the ending of Tic Tac. Not this time. What we saw yesterday was the most promise filled, hopeful and positive ending we’ve had since First Kill ended and we all saw the promo for The Colonel.

“What do you mean, Buckley? Sarah said that she used to love Chuck, implying that she didn’t now.” Uh – huh. We’ll get to that. Promise.

First, the easy stuff. I’ve never been so impressed with the fight scenes (the choreography, actually) as I have been these last few episodes. Chuck’s fights in the steam room and in the men’s room, were as good as any I’ve seen on television, and I say this as a (former) martial artist who can get pretty picky about this stuff. Oh – I also can tell (easily, as it turns out) when someone is faking their guitar or piano playing, as Levi did in The Pink Slip. That was a tenth of a point deduction. Yesterday’s fight scenes gets 9.9s all around, as they did in Tic Tac.

Next, the humor, centered around Casey and the two biggest Buy Morons was as good as ever. For an episode that intentionally centered on the dramatic, I don’t think anyone could (or has) said that it was less than great-as-usual.

The spy drama was exceptional. Chuck’s mission in the hotel was easily the equal of anything you find in any other episode, and the climax, Chuck’s confrontation with a his choice between his old life and his new as he pointed his gun, had my heart racing. As much as I’ve tried to understand every episode and as much as I think I know Chuck, I did not know if he would pull that trigger.  I like the suspense.

But all that is mere technique. When you get right down to it, it’s very secondary.

Remember that I’ve written (more than once) about the question “What do you want, Chuck?” It’s often the case that it’s within our power to grasp and take what we want and make our dreams come true – more often than we want to admit, sometimes. Certainly, when Sarah told Chuck that he could have anything he wanted, we all said to ourselves “Take her, you fool.” What I didn’t say before is that too often, what people want is to be miserable. They seek it, they get it. That may not be true for Chuck, but much to my surprise, I realized this week that it’s true for Sarah.

Chuck flashed on Sarah early on, once in the pilot and once in helicopter. Each time, Chuck saw Sarah defending herself using lethal force, and of course, the idea that this ideal, transcendent person of whom he is not worthy could do something like that turned his world inside out. This is not just disorienting to Chuck; it absolutely challenges everything he thought he knew and believed. In Santa Claus the issue comes to a head.

But look at Sarah’s reaction when he confronts her about it. Chuck does this twice, the first time in Helicopter (1.02) when he says “I saw you poison those French diplomats.” Her reaction was to say she’d do it again, because they would have killed her if she hadn’t. Self-defence is a satisfactory explanation, at least, until Chuck sees her shoot an unarmed and surrendering Mauser. The second time Chuck confronts her is the next episode, 3-D, and no one, not even Chuck I think, is fully satisfied with Sarah’s non-response (“I did what I had to do.”)

As much as I tried, I could not understand myself why writers who have demonstrated time and time again that they can make anyone eloquent in 25 words or less (including Casey), tied Sarah’s tongue.

Now I have my answer. Sarah is fallen. Sarah lost her innocence as we saw in the flash-back to her test, and that innocence is something she cannot regain. Grant did not save her after all, but condemned her to this particular level of Dante’s Inferno, and to cope with that, Sarah became the frozen, emotional zombie we saw walking into the Buy More in the fall of 2008. Casey’s not the “killer, burn-out” Sarah describes; she is. And that’s not the worst of it.

Sarah dragged Chuck down with her. To say that she’s upset with him is wrong – he’s the one person who made her feel again, the one who woke her from her emotional coma. To say she’s upset with herself about the direction in which she’s led a (The!) person she cares for understates it tremendously. Sarah feels like she’s condemned Chuck to Hell itself and it’s. All. Her. Fault. It’s not that she doesn’t love Chuck any more. It’s that she can’t forgive herself and cannot be made worthy. She doesn’t even want Chuck to forgive her. At the end of Final Exam, Sarah wants to be miserable.

Have you ever spent time with a person who wants to be miserable? I have. I’d only say this about a fictional character, but Shaw deserves that.

Perhaps now you see why I’m smiling. It’s too easy for me to believe that, despite the trap that Chuck is in – Casey told him to not even tell Sarah about what really happened outside Union Station – Chuck’s soul is not lost. As close as he came, he is not a killer.

Sarah thinks her cause is beyond desperate; it is hopeless. In the scene in The Fake Name, when Rafe held the gun to her head and her right hand started move, Sarah gave up and was ready to die. For two years she might have thought that her mission was to save Chuck, but now it’s clear to me that until S3 began, Sarah had given up on saving herself, and put her hopes in Chuck to do that.  But if she had a glimmer of hope before (and I think she did), she does no longer.  Only we know that’s not true.  Chuck has a new mission. He has to save Sarah Walker.

In my opinion, it’s a worthy story.

– 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.
This entry was posted in Inside Chuck, Inside Sarah, Observations, Season 3. Bookmark the permalink.

240 Responses to Saving Agent Walker

  1. OldDarth says:

    Great minds think alike Joe.

    My review arrived at the same conclusions too.

    http://tinyurl.com/yj55zsf

    • Paul says:

      110% agree with both. The final piece of why Sarah is the way that she is this season was given. And it was AMAZING. Put me firmly in the camp that LOVED this episode. Yeah, it was dark and hard to take sometimes, but I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. This is probably the ONLY eps of Chuck where that has happened. It was simply amazing.

    • Zsjaer says:

      So Chuck now is for greater minds..i hope thats a good thing
      (:

    • Jen says:

      Joe… great take on Sarah and perfeclty explains her actions. She’s fallen and people in that state do not follow logical behavior, that’s why we can’t make sense of her actions. Unfortunately, i’ve seen this happen in real life.

      This line hits the nail on the head, in regards to wanting to feel miserable:

      “That may not be true for Chuck, but much to my surprise, I realized this week that it’s true for Sarah.”

      Understanding Sarah is the key right now to acepting her actions and that they don’t have to make sense to us, but we can se them as a symptom of what her life has been and the changes she’s facing and why she can’t deal with them any better.

      The problem i see with having to deeply understand a character to accept their actions is that i’m sure many, MANY, viewers won’t be up to it and end up walking away because they just can’t understand what’s happening. Even understandind Sarah doesn’t take away teh sadness i feel when i watch her mess up, and i udnerstand if someone decides they don’t want to keep feelining that same way.

      I for one don’t plan on going anywhere and i’m really excited about what’s coming in teh next eps. I WANT a season 4 and i’m encouraging as many as i can to watch. Right now is a good time since things are starting to look up and should be getting lighter. I even got my trainer watchign S1 and he’s loving it.

      So let’s sit tight and keep watching… if these coming eps are so good, as they say, and they are a preview of what S4 will be, i really want to have it. I’, holding on to that hope.

      OD, as i tweeted to you, i liked your review 🙂

      • joe says:

        I see that several have expressed that same growing sense of excitement, Jen. I know I’ve been feeling it!

    • Matt Simons says:

      I, too liked this episode. For the non-shippers, this was probably the perfect episode. I loved how it started and ended with Chuck doing the right thing with-in his character. He wouldn’t kill, even when his own life was in danger. He has “stretched” his views of right and wrong, but not so far at to kill a man laying on the ground. Whether or not he knew the man was going to shoot him, I don’t know. If the other guy would have had his gun out and pointed at Chuck, I’m not sure if Chuck would have shot him at this point or not. Casey made the decision for him, though. If this was season 4 or 5, I think Chuck pulls the trigger. I think it will be Chuck’s default to kill only when absolutely necessary.

      BTW, loved the way he gets the traitor to show his face. “Caw-Caw!” That is classic Chuck. I think Morgan has made that sound several times while trying to be covert.

      Thanks for the great post.

    • joe says:

      Lou – Great write-up. The idea of Sarah drawing the line in the sand (and hoping Chuck will cross it) is brilliant.

      • OldDarth says:

        Right back at you Joe. Your line – ‘Sarah feels like she’s condemned Chuck to Hell itself and it’s. All. Her. Fault. ‘

        – was even more so.

  2. John says:

    I am, despite everything, really excited about the next two episodes and I have to say Joe…that makes me even more excited.

    It is Chuck’s time to be a hero.

    • joe says:

      It’s great to see this reaction, John. I’m surprised how many wrote that today!

      • joe!I wrote a comment near the bottom that you need to read you might find it intersting. now to respond to your article.

        Sarah has drawn a line in the sand to see if Chuck will cross it? He will cross it,I beleive Sarah is testing him to see if the old Chuck is still there the man she fell in love with.

        It’s time for Chuck to be a hero.Not only as a spy but also a man as well.To save Sarah Walker well being. To lead by example for her to follow that what she wants.

        It’s not that she doesn’t love Chuck anymore because she still do.She doesn’t love her self and she Can’t forgive herself and cannot be made worhty. That how she is feeling right now.

        Sarah needs that emotinal achor from Chuck now like she had before when they were asset/handler her very exsitence depends on it. She is not getting ot from Shaw. Shaw is a spy 24/7 .

  3. weaselone says:

    Unless Christopher Lloyd is actually for Sarah, Chuck’s got two episodes to pull of a feat that would have made Hercules blanch and Perseus wet himself.

    • JLR says:

      LOL. That was more or less my jaded reaction as well. Joe, I LOVE how you have such a positive outlook on the show; it serves nicely as alternatives to consider. I’m hoping I’ll be able to let go of my disgust w/ S3, but I’m not sure yet. At least today I can consider it; I couldn’t only a couple days ago.

      • joe says:

        Heh! Glad to see you can have that reaction, JLR. You know by now that I don’t require agreement. But I gotta say, it’s nice to have my POV considered.

    • herder says:

      Wasn’t Perseus the nebbish guy who worked with Orion?

    • Paul says:

      Hmm interesting thought. Maybe the DYLM scene is more of a plea to go see a psychiatrist than a confirmation of love… ;oP

      • AngelTwo says:

        Paul-
        That is quite a Great surmise. Especially since the love stuff will be squared away in e12 and e13. So what you’re saying makes INCREDIBLY good sense.

        But the problem: That means the back six is no fun-fest romp and continues the show-destroying mojo than has depressed the ratings. Even IF Lloyd gives it his best Doc Brown/Jim Ignotowski spin.

      • HenryH says:

        Paul: If you’re right (and this is a very plausible guess), that means we get exactly ONE happy episode in the back six (Honeymooners, e14). By e15, where Chuck and Sarah see their future selves, Sarah is depressed again and has to go see, um, Doc Brown in e16. No wonder it seems that NBC and even the showrunners have basically given up now. They not only bet the original third season on this dark stuff, they DID carry it over into the back six.

        Man, this is astonishingly bad stuff…

      • Paul says:

        Not necessarily. That DYLM could be anything at this moment. Why is everyone jumping to conclusions already??? Geez…

      • amyabn says:

        Paul, what a great idea! Seriously. If we do a time jump between 12 and 13, I could accept Sarah coming out of the “fog” so quickly (chronologicaly speaking). Could leave us in a good place for 13 to close out and the back 6 with them where (at least from my foxhole) they should be.

  4. Mike B says:

    Joe I just hope/wish TPTB put as much thought into this as you do.

    • joe says:

      Well, thanks. But I really didn’t have to think about it too much. I just realized that I liked the episode (a lot) while I was watching it, and I sort of understood why. It was getting the words out that was hard! 😉

  5. Mischeivous says:

    See this is why I like to read multiple boards. While the majority here seem to dislike or outright hate this episode, the majority over on Chucktv.net love it! Not to mention a whole ton of people on various pop sites like E! seem to be really enjoying these last few eps.

    Having multiple sources of input makes it easier for me to see that the general fan reaction isn’t as grim as some people would have us believe. Then again I could just be selectively accepting info to try and justify my optimism and enjoyment of this season… who knows.

    • Merve says:

      General fan reaction really isn’t as negative as a lot of what’s posted here. I know that anecdotes mean nothing next to raw data, but all my friends who watch Chuck have really been enjoying this season. I’ll admit that fan reaction to season 3 has been more negative than to season 2, though.

      It’s a shame that this blog is gaining a reputation and being discounted as a bastion of negativity in the Chuck fandom. There are a lot of interesting discussions here, and while the negativity can be a bit grating, anyone with half a brain should be able to look past it and form his or her own opinions. (And hey, it’s not as if people who like season 3 are being dismissed as crazies here.)

      • HenryH says:

        Merve-
        I’m a relative newbie to this blog, but, unlike you, have been with Chuck since the pilot. So I can say this honestly: This blog is a bastion of sanity and intelligence.

        To be honest, who CARES what the Chuck fandom at large thinks?

        I read your negative comments on Final Exam on the other thread and by the definition of the Chuck fandom at large, you are now to be dismissed, too. Forget about the fact that you’ve loved Season 3. You have strayed and are no longer worthy.

        Ratings declined by one-third since Pink Slip? Well, the Chuck fandom at large KNOWS that those casual viewers are just nabobs of negativity.

        Critics like Mo Ryan claim the major plot device of Season 3–Shaw–was unnecessary? Well, the Chuck fandom at large knows that she’s not really a Chuck fan.

        Here, I have found, you can express your opinion and be respected for it even by those who disagree with it.

        It is a testament to Joe, who created this blog. He’s a hero and a REAL Chuck fan. Just like everyone here, who’s willing to debate good and bad points with all comers and assumes you have a voice to be considered and valued.

      • Merve says:

        Henry, I’d be careful about applying such broad brushstrokes to the rest of the Chuck fan base. There are a lot of intelligent comments made on other Chuck forums (yes – the NBC forums included). There are some very vocal fans who dismiss negative reactions as silly, but I don’t think that that’s reflective of the attitude that most of the fans who are currently enjoying the show have. I certainly don’t have that attitude, and I have loved most of season 3. I guess what I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t let the words of the most vocal fans affect your outlook on the show, the people behind it, or its fan base.

      • HenryH says:

        Merve-
        Up until a couple of weeks ago, I’d probably agree with you. But I think since Mask, insane battle lines have been drawn. The people running the fandom — and I use that term VERY loosely — are setting up this purity test. You’re either with the show and willing to die (I speak metaphorically) for it to get a season 4 or you are the enemy who is dragging the show down.

        What is ridiculous, of course, is that those of us who have been unhappy with Season 3 and express our displeasure are not the problem. We’re still watching. But since we (logically speaking) are giving voice to the viewers who have peeled off and stopped watching, we’re taking the flack.

        Without meaning to, of course, we speak for the third of the audience that stopped watching. Rather than being listened to, we’re being blamed.

        And it speaks badly to Chuck fandom at large, which, like most fandoms, tends to react badly to criticism of what they love blindly.

      • AngelTwo says:

        What I find hilarious about the Chuck fandom in its current see-no-evil state is the simpliest of facts: The ratings have gone from 3.0 for Pink Slip to a comfortable 2.5 or so for Angel and Awesome, to 1.9 since the love shapes started with First Class.

        And the Chuck fandom at large just can’t figure out why people have stopped watching. I mean, it just COULDN’T be what those whiny “shippers” or “crazy shippers” or “haters” say.

        It must be Daylight Savings Time or the competition in the time slot or the phases of the moon or Jay Leno or the unfair competition from The History Channel.

        The blindness and self-delusion is Titanic. Epic, even… 🙂

      • JC says:

        The only reason I can see that people would think this a negative blog is because we don’t shout down people who have problems with this season.

        I probably disagree with 90% posters here but I like reading what they have to say.

        Personally I had two experiences that made me post here only. One after Nacho Sampler when I said the show really hadn’t gone dark enough. And I was told go watch 24 and stop ruining Chuck. The other after Mask when I commented on Sepinwall’s blog that the ending felt completely rushed (my main complaint for the season) and I was a called a crazy shipper. After that I was more than happy to post here and talk with people even if I didn’t agree with them.

        And I’m sorry I hijacked your post Joe.

      • JLR says:

        I pretty much only post here now for the same reason as JC. I had some crazy Kool Aid drinkers jump down my throat in response to some pretty tame comments I made. On other forums, I’m very careful to say things like “IMO” “or YMMV” to make it clear that I’m not claiming to represent anyone other than me. NBC & ChuckTV got so bad that I haven’t been to either site since Fake Name aired.

      • Merve says:

        Henry, I’m not sure that what you’re saying negates what I’m saying. My point still stands. Unfortunately, it’s the most extreme voices that are usually the most heard.

        AngelTwo, I don’t think I’m being delusional when I say that it’s probably a combination of former fans not liking the show and the other factors that you listed that are causing the decline in viewership. To be quite frank, we don’t know and we’ll never know exactly what’s causing it. I also wouldn’t discount the fact that serialized shows tend to lose viewers as the season progresses.

      • atcdave says:

        What’s really sad about a fractured fandom is that in the end, we all love the same show and want more of it. Going back to my “Right to Complain” post; the whole reason for airing our complaints is that we love show and want it to improve and survive. If I didn’t like the show, or didn’t care; I sure wouldn’t be wasting my time reading and posting on a blog. This season has been an epic disappointment for me, but I’ve never doubted the end point, and expect to like whatever happens from here on out A LOT more than what I”ve seen so far.

    • AngelTwo says:

      Merve-
      Serializes shows do tend to trail off. Of course, you’re correct. But you really shouldn’t ignore the correllation of the pattern of ratings decline in Season 2 and 3. The big falloff starts when they begin messing with the Chuck-Sarah chemistry. It was lizjames who brought up the John Larrouquette analogy. That was a show somewhat like Chuck in structure that started dark, then tanked when it went happy. Chuck is the opposite: People embrace it as a happy show and reject it when it goes dark.

      • skibum says:

        Chuck was and will always be viewed as a comedy first and a drama second by the original fans of the show. When you start changing who you’re trying to appeal to after 2 seasons it doesn’t really make sense. The show is established and thus had a loyal fan base. Turning a feel good show into a deeper darker show alienates a certain percentage of your loyal viewers. Those viewers don’t like what they are watching anymore because it’s not what they came to expect of the show. It’s not rocket science people. Chuck did a 180 this season. How many feel good episode ending moments have we had this season? Not many. We had lots of those in the previous two. People that are coming to watch a comedy first aren’t going to survive the down endings and uber angst for an extended period of time. That’s why your seeing a bottoming in the ratings. When things start to turn you’ll see ratings increase. Probably not as much as we would like, but hopefully enough to justify a season 4. It has less to do with the S/S relationship and more to do with the feel. You correct the feel you get your viewers back.

      • atcdave says:

        I think you’re half right. The romance was a huge part of the appeal, to a lot of the same people who loved the lighter more comic tone. I hear that from my wife and several friends regularly. The two together are what I often think of as the “fun” element. This season has simply been a lot less fun.

    • joe says:

      “Having multiple sources of input makes it easier for me to see that the general fan reaction isn’t as grim as some people would have us believe.”

      That’s really good to hear too, Mischeivous.

  6. atcdave says:

    An excellent article Joe. I do believe you are right about most of your points regarding Sarah, and things will play out well in the next couple episodes exactly for the reasons you outline. But to me, it will never justify the journey they have taken us on. As I said on another thread; I like redemption stories, we already got a redemption story for Chuck this year; and it seems we have one coming for Sarah. But the season can not be redeemed. They took two characters we liked and respected through the first two seasons; basically, characters who didn’t need this sort of redemption; then violated in them in unpleasent ways to manufacture a crisis of character and require a redemption. In the process of doing this, they took a show that was fun and uplifting, and turned it into something that was often an ordeal to watch.

    I can get over it. I expect to be happy with the rest of this season, and even S4 if we are so fortunate to get one; but there are only 5 episodes out of the first 11 I might ever watch again. Ratings show I am not alone in my disappointment. It is good to understand what they hoped to accomplish this season, it would have been better if they had tried something else from the start.

    • joe says:

      I understand that, Dave. It’s surprising how much the story isn’t what I thought it was. Even after the first three episodes, I thought I was looking essentially at a continuation of S2, and Chuck & Sarah getting together. That could still happen this season (and will sooner or later), but it’s not the story they’re telling at all.

      And whether or not it’s a good story is still for us to decide.

      • hey hey says:

        Regardless of the big payoff in episode 13 it has been a stange, sometimes grueling ride this year. I don’t really see how two good episodes at the end of this arc will really make me look back and see justification in the first 11 episodes. It doesn’t mean I hate the show. I’ll lobby for a season 4 if it comes to that. If I buy a season 3 DVD it will be because of an amazing back 6. I wouldn’t touch a season 3 DVD with just the first 13 episodes for sale.

  7. Merve says:

    Joe, like you, I’m confident that I’m going to like what’s to come for Sarah, and that she’ll be “redeemed” or “saved” in an acceptable, emotionally-satisfying way. I just have two problems:

    1) I’m not confident that we’ll see Sarah develop into someone outside of a relationship with Chuck. While it was interesting to see her emotional problems outside of the context of the stability that Chuck provided for her, I hoped that the opportunity to show Sarah develop into a fully-formed person who decides that she wants Chuck in her life would be seized. Thus far, it hasn’t been, and I don’t think it will be. It wouldn’t be such a big deal, but there is an asymmetry. Chuck wants Sarah, but he doesn’t need her. Sarah needs Chuck. This makes the very nature of any future relationship unequal.

    2) If this were the real world, Sarah would be on antidepressants.

    • Paul says:

      If this was teh real world, Sarah would be in treatment for PTSD…

    • Jen says:

      And in therapy to deal with her issues.

    • joe says:

      Good points, Merve. Funny isn’t it? In the beginning I thought Chuck was the deficient one, and Sarah was the fully-realized adult. Doesn’t look that way now.

      And you’re absolutely right about the antidepressants. I worked in my dad’s pharmacy as a kid, so I know. Xanax all around, I’m sure.

  8. Faith says:

    You just had to be unique didn’t you Joe? 😉

    I don’t have a problem with what you said, in fact I agree. She’s really completely a mess right now. My problem is (and this is the kind of person I am that I have an answer to my own “problem”) that it just occurred to her, really? Just now, that she’s responsible.

    Think back to Ernie’s brilliant “disconnected” post…which by the way is as epic as the definition suggests—if you want to know what this place is, it’s that post—-Sarah is so far off the map that it’s really just sad now. It’s not even a “I feel for her sad,” just…something else

    • Crumby says:

      All the guilt she could have with taking him to the spy world (asking him to lie, to fake etc.) in Season 1 and 2 was compensated by the fact that she was protecting him, and his family and friends. “She did what she had to do.”

      This season it is different, because it is a choice. And at the end of 3 words she knows she’s responsible. In the vault he said :
      – “You’re the one that taught me that being a spy is about choosing something bigger. It’s about putting aside your own personal feelings for the greater good, and that’s what I chose.”
      – “I chose to be a spy for my friends and my family and you.”
      So she knows she’s responsible.

      In Angel de la muerte and Operation Awesome she doesn’t really ask him to do anything which would go against his Chuck-ness, except maybe when it came to protect his family.

      In both First Class and Nacho Sampler, he doesn’t care about her warnings and concerns, he wants to be a spy.

      At that point, she kind of let him go in Mask and let go of them. And Fake Name really illustrated it to me. She doesn’t object about the mission anymore. She let him do what he wanna do. She thought she lost him already. (If there was one deal breaker for me that would be it because to me she gave up at that point).

      But The Beard brought Chuck back and she could clearly see it in Tic Tac.

      So Final Exam brought back all that guilt, which is emphasizes by the red test. Especially when you think about Tic Tac, he told her he would always be the guy she met 3 years ago pushing back the gun, and know he’s killed someone (at least that what she thinks) because of her.

      I think she’s always felt responsible but now more than ever before. Especially because she thought he wouldn’t do it (and he didn’t).

      • Paul says:

        And now her tears at the end of 3.02 take on a whole new meaning…

      • Big Kev says:

        Paul…..absolutely. There are so many scenes that take on a new meaning after watching this episode.
        When you watch the vault scene from Chuck’s POV you think it’s a great romantic declaration – why does Sarah not respond to it?
        Now it’s clear. From Sarah’s POV, it’s a knife to the heart. It’s confirmation that she is responsible for all the awfulness that awaits Chuck down the road. I didn’t get that until this episode.
        To be fair to all of us, S3 is a new paradigm for Sarah in many ways. In seasons 1 and 2 we knew that Sarah wanted out of the spy life, we knew (Mauser) that she had had to make some unpalatable choices, and we knew that being with Chuck gave her an insight into a normal world that she’d decided she wanted. What we didn’t know – or at least what I didn’t know – was that she was completely repulsed by the spy life and what it had forced her to become.
        That sense of repulsion explains her pathological desire to keep Chuck out of that spy life – which in turn explains what, on the face of it, is the ill-conceived run scenario that led to Prague.
        It explains the depth of her sense of betrayal at Chuck’s choice to reintersect and to choose the spy life – and it explains Shaw. Shaw is all she feels that she deserves at this point.
        I’ve struggled to understand Sarah this season because we’ve usually only ever heard one side of her struggle – the fact that she’s worried about Chuck changing. We’ve never really had an insight into what Sarah feels about herself, and the choices she has made. Now we have, and it’s the missing piece of the jigsaw in many ways. It explains a lot that was previously unexplainable about her behaviour this season.

      • HenryH says:

        The problem with all of this talk–valid as it may be–is that it is horrific storytelling from a practical standpoint.

        You cannot drop a bombshell like Sarah not going to Chuck at the end of Three Words (and Nacho Sampler) and not explain it for 9 episodes. This isn’t a soap opera and viewers (and I mean casual ones) don’t expect it and aren’t adjusted to it. This is why the ratings have tanked.

        Even in serialized TV, things must at least SEEM to make sense on their face. Otherwise casual viewers are dismayed and disappointed and walk away.

        Let me give you a (happy) example of what can/did work. At the end of Hard Salami, Sarah impulsively grabs Chuck and kisses him when they are about to die. It works on its face. Two people about to die have a moment. Cool. Makes sense.

        If you don’t realize until a dozen episodes later (Cougars or DeLorean, your choice) that Sarah has gigantic abandonment issues and her kiss was ALSO about her finding a man who chose not to abandon her at a crucial moment, that’s a cherry on top.

        But what happened at the end of Three Words was illogical on its face, inexplicable on its face, and thus bad storytelling. You can’t come back to viewers nine (or in this case 11) weeks later and say, “Now do you understand that superficially inexplicable scene?”

        Because, as we have now seen, a third of your audience has walked away before they ever reached that point.

        It was Ernie Davis who said his viewing with Chuck, or any television show, was a weekly contract. A third of the audience has now decided their weekly contract is up.

        It is cold comfort 11 weeks later to find out there was a hidden clause you should have considered before you chose not to renew.

        And all of this is even assuming that you WANT to have this kind of pseudo-psychological stuff in your life on a one-hour TV show that originally presented itself as a fun, happy satirical romp.

        So it is extremely dicey as a story arc and horrifically bad storytelling for the form and, inevitably, a financial disaster because it has (probably) killed the show.

      • Big Kev says:

        Henry – agreed. Even though this episode explains a lot, I do think that Sarah’s character has been really badly handled this year. It’s my biggest problem with the whole season. Even though I’m glad that some light has finally been shed on Sarah’s true state, that light should have been shone gradually over the opening episodes of the season – preferably in conjunction with Chuck’s descent into the rabbit hole that is the spy life. That would absolutely have made more sense. Instead, they chose to waste precious parts of a short original season on pointless PLI’s and angst, and it appears people have tuned out.

      • JC says:

        My question is do they have enough time to save or redeem her? We’ve had three episodes of Chuck redemption. And from the look of the promo he’s going all out on the selfless actions. With Shaw and the Ring stories hopefully being resolved to a point, how much time is left for Sarah’s character.

        I know the show is called Chuck. But its obvious the show could be called Chuck & Sarah. I hope they give her equal treatment.

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        From a storytelling point of view, there is even a bigger problem: TPTB face a choice of sweeping all this detrius under the rug with a quick solution and a “happy ending” or extending this two-damaged-people meme on for the long term.

        If they sweep it all under the rug, we still can’t go back to loving Chuck and Sarah the way we used to because we KNOW how screwed up these people are: Sarah loathes herself, Chuck doesn’t know who he is because he hasn’t killed anybody.

        And if they deal with it in any kind of realistic way, we face really depressing storylines for a long, long time.

        So TPTB have written themselves into a corner. Either give us an unsatisfying happy ending or drag on a show-killing storyline.

        That’s not good business. And this IS a business.

      • JLR says:

        I’m GUESSING they’re counting on fans to forgive holes in the resolution as they have done for the multitude of plot holes in the past. I further guess that many fans WILL forgive the “incompleteness” of any such resolution either b/c all they actually care about is C/S being “together” OR, they are so worn down by the gloominess, they just want things to move forward.

      • JC says:

        I really like the speculation people are having about Chuck leaving at the end of episode and having some time pass between 3.12 and 3.13. Don’t know if it’ll happen but it sounds good.

      • John2010 says:

        excellent post Henry.

      • Crumby says:

        Yeah JC, could be a good thing so that the Sarah redemption thing would be more properly executed through time. Also it would allow Sarah to work on herself by herself, and not having Chuck doing all the job. Could also be a proof of love from her to do so.

      • Chris says:

        HenryH, excellent post. You really nailed what I have been feeling about the whole Sarah story and the story in general this season.

      • Crumby says:

        I tend to agree HenryH.
        But I’m thinking the problem really is in Mask and Fake Name.
        I don’t think after “cleaning the mess” thing, Sarah’s tears did bother casual viewers much. At that point, thinking she’s hurt of what happened is fine to explain that scene.
        Then we don’t really come back to that in Angel de la muerte, Operation Awesome,First Class and Nacho Sampler. I think seeing Chuck changing, wanting to protect him etc. is also fine to explain what’s happening to casual viewers… until the end of Nacho Sampler. It was there that something should had been done. Or in the beginning of Mask, having the promo promising an answer and keeping the drama in Nacho Sampler.
        Then in Mask and Fake Name, nobody understood what was going on. Drop Poochie into the mess and that was it.
        Those two episodes were the mistake IMO.

      • amyabn says:

        Henry, great post. I agree that the casual viewer can’t follow the emotional cues that we’ve been shown. Heck, look how long it has taken US to see it. Not our fault, really, imho, as the show runners chose the pacing and reveals. I think one of the problems of this season is that it is more serialized rather than a bottle show (I hope I’m using these terms correctly). What I’m trying to say is that you really have to follow each week to know what the heck is going on.

        As far as redeeming Sarah goes, I mentioned above that I hope there is a time jump between 12 and 13. This would “allow” Sarah time to get some help. I just hope it doesn’t mean that she leaves to get help. It strikes me odd that I just typed that-it isn’t like we’d see it, but that means she and Chuck aren’t together. I don’t know if it is better for her to get perspective on her own or if Chuck could/should be part of the process. I just hope we get her coming through this with some self awareness and clarity-like Sarah of old.

      • I’ll agree with you crumby! Sarah does think she feels responsible for Chuck for who he is and she’s right. Sarah open the door to the spy world for Chuck in enter over 2 years ago.A door she can’t close and I don’t know that if she wants to.

        Now Chuck has to take some responsability too for this situration.

        His desire to be a spy was so strong he did not to listen what Sarah had to say her warning and concerns so she let Chuck do what ever he won’t to do.

        As we all saw he paid a heavy price for his actions or ill actions because he didn’t listen to Sarah.The lies and Secrets that he used in spy world he it to the real world to his family and friends and their lives were affected by it including Hannah thats the first thing Sarah taught him as a spy never date a civilian that’s a no-no in the spy world.

        This what happens when don’t you listen to people.My mpther always told me a hard head makes a soft behind.That’s reality.

      • Jen says:

        Chuck also turned things on her. For 2 seasons all he wanted was to get the Intersect out if his head. By the end of season 2 she realizes she wants the normal life with Chuck, but fails to communicate this to him, and then by Ring and S3 he wants to be a spy.. to be with her, but this is not what she wants.

        Oh the pains of miscommunication!

        She hates herself, and doesn’t want Chuck to feel the same way about himself. In her state she’s blinding herself to the fact that Chuck loves her… self-sabotage, becuase she believes she’s not worthy.

      • John says:

        I do find it rather frustrating that she wants him to be normal…but he never will be mostly because he does not want to live without her.

        She encourages this by first not telling him she wanted to be with him at the end of season 2 and again directly last episode.

        But hey if he becomes normal we have no show so it is necessary. But man I wish they would do this plot point more elegantly because it just feels so contrived the way they do it.

      • Crumby says:

        John-

        I don’t think Sarah wants Chuck to be normal. She wants him to be Chuck.

    • joe says:

      “You just had to be unique didn’t you Joe?”

      You betcha! 😉

    • Jason says:

      if you want to read some non-biased reviews about chuck, try this guy, he has done the entire season each episode, http://poptimal.com/2010/03/chuck-aces-his-final-exam/

      He has really started liking the show of late – but his reviews pretty much follow my sentiments about the show since 3.7’s review “titled “chuck sucks”.

      here are 3 excerpts:

      Chuck continued its rebound this week with a focused and slickly-made episode that furthered the storyline and, even more importantly, the main character arcs. We open with Chuck chasing down a man through a train yard.

      Chuck has very little to do with the Buy More this week. He has other things on his mind, like Sarah’s recent jaunt to Washington D.C. with bland nimrod Shaw (played by bland nimrod Brandon Routh).

      The mission ends up being more complicated than Chuck initially thought, and it (seemingly) involves him making a drastic choice that may forever alter who he is and doom his chances with Sarah. Although, to be fair, it seems like everything Chuck does—whether right or wrong—somehow dooms his chances with Sarah. They sure don’t make it easy for this guy.

      • hey hey says:

        You also can’t label an arc or a season up to this point as being a rollercoaster ride. To me and probably many others when you say that a season is a rollercoaster ride there are ups and downs. I’m not saying there aren’t any ups, they are just outnumbered by the downs.

        We the viewers watch this show through Chuck’s eyes. As a result, we feel his pain. To an extent we feel Sarah’s as well, but she largely remains a mystery to us. Chuck is an open book and we are watching his struggle to balance his normal life with his spy life and hopefully win the girl.

        If your constantly kicking the character that many of the fans sympathize with, well, it tends to tick them off after awhile. We’ve all been waiting for Chuck to hit bottom. Many of us thought that was reached with Morgan when he was locked in castle. That obviously wasn’t the case and it looks like he has further to fall.

        The post about how they are going to end this WT/WT writing was the most interesting thing I’ve read on here. If it’s ended quickly the fans won’t be satisfied because of how long we’ve fallen. It would have made more sense to have a little healing in between the constant kicks to the groin. If it’s somewhat of a quick resolution it won’t appear genuine and your just waiting for the next horrible thing to happen. Whether it be Sarah having commitment issues or Chuck having trust issues.

        The other point made in that post is if you have a slower resolution over the course of the remaining 8 episodes it draws out this ever depressing storyline. However, it appears that the final resolution is more genuine and it’s a relationship that C&S and the fans can believe in. However, will other people be willing to wait around that long for resolution?

        I agree fully that with the first 11 episodes behind us that precious time has been wasted. The slow healing process after Prague should have started about 5 episodes ago. Much like Chuck was in a no win situation in vs. the final exam the writers may have set themselves up in a similar way. Please writers, I want you to prove me wrong.

  9. Crumby says:

    I love your post Joe and I love his title!
    I’m really looking forward the rest of the season!

    • joe says:

      I’ve generally enjoyed Tom Hanks movies. But then again, who hasn’t?

      Enjoyed your posts today, Crumby.

      • Crumby says:

        Thanks!

        I’ve only been around this blog for a few weeks now but I’m really enjoying it.

        The fact that all are listened and answered here, plus in a civil and argumentative way, is what makes me love the place.

  10. weaselone says:

    Sorry, I want to leave an in depth reply to this, but I don’t have the time at the moment. I did want to share a small inkling I got upon watching the episode a second time.

    Chuck passed the test to be a spy in everyone’s mind, but his own. My suspicion is that if Sarah had picked up the phone, Chuck would have indicated to her without implicating Casey that he wasn’t cut out to be a spy and offered to run.

    • Paul says:

      I think he would have rambled about not knowing what he was without giving any specifics…he also might have asked her if she had to do this too.

      • weaselone says:

        Right…but he also talks about considering what it would have been like if he’d made a different decision in Prague.

  11. Crumby says:

    I’ve recently discovered the song “The Modern Lepper” from Frightened Rabbit (heard the song before but never really turned my attention to it) and I kind of think of Sarah those days when I listen to it.

    She’s the “ill” one, she’s corrupted as a person, that’s how she sees herself anyway. And Chuck will keep coming back, and love her. Chuck the sweetest guy she’s met doesn’t think she’s a monster. And eventually she’s gonna accept that Chuck can save her and they will work through all of it together.

    “That is you, in front of me, and you are back for even more of exactly the same. Well, are you a masochist to love a modern leper on his last leg? You are not ill, and I’m not dead. Doesn’t that make us the perfect pair? Just you and me, we’ll start again. And you can tell me all about what you did today.”

    I especially like that the end of the song is “and you can tell me all about what you did today” because it’s such the normal thing to do in a this real life relationship Chuck and Sarah wanted together.

    Just wanted to share the tought. 😉

  12. sd says:

    So the question is…

    What if we learned what we learned about her in this last ep after three words or after 1st Class when she tries to convince him he’s not ready (emotionally as it turns out–not intellectually)?
    Perhaps the concrete clarification about the reasons Sarah so wants Chuck to “stand down” from spyworld would help us as viewers understand her distance…her sense of “giving up” on Chuck that the viewer finds so frustrating.
    My feeling is TPTB re-visited the wrong theme points again and again ie: Angst. What we really needed early on was a complete understanding of Sarah’s mindset…that way we could root for her instead of disparging her for her distance from Chuck.

    • Crumby says:

      Agreed.

      But then what about Sham?

    • herder says:

      I suspect that we were supposed to find out sooner (3.09?) but this explanation was delayed in favor of extra Shaw when his stay was extended. No proof, just my guess.

      • Crumby says:

        I’m confused about this extension. Was Shaw supposed to be leaving sooner? Or was he supposed to be in less episode but from 304 to 313 as well ?

      • sd says:

        I think it would actually have made the Sham scenario more plausable…we would understand she runs to a guy who does what she does…she doesn’t have the feeling she has “corrupted” him as she feels she has with Chuck

  13. Rochelle says:

    I am unceasingly amazed at the thought that goes into all of these posts and comments. I’ve mentioned before that I personally don’t like to dive into shows with any attempt to sort through things or try to figure things out. I enjoy relaxing, getting caught up in the story, and going with the flow of whatever ends up happening. {In some shows, such as Heroes this isn’t the case and I won’t be watching that show again even if it does return [albeit, unlikely].}

    In the case of Chuck, I can’t get enough of it no matter what they send my way. There are storylines I don’t like, but I LOVE the show as a whole. I’m enjoying these episodes and will relax & just watch what they give me.

    I am really sad that the numbers are down and that there’s a chance it won’t get renewed :(, but personally I’m enjoying it. 🙂

    Just my two cents….

    • joe says:

      Hi, Rochelle. I don’t recall seeing your handle here before. Welcome to the discussion.

      You’re not going to believe this, but I’m just like that too. I laugh when I’m watching The Big Bang Theory and enjoy NCIS and White Collar to no end! But 10 minutes after they’re over, I’m not thinking about them.

      I have no idea why I keep mulling over Chuck, except that often it gets so personal.

      Don’t worry too much about the show ending. Really, they all end sometime (except The Simpsons. That’s forever.) All you can do is enjoy it while it’s here.

      • Rochelle says:

        Heeheehee, Joe, you tell me that every time I pop in. 🙂 I’m here, I just don’t respond often since I’m not as deeply analytical as you all are [which you told me last time not to let that stop me from posting, but I can’t help it, I don’t have much to say]… 🙂 No biggie just had to tease you on that point, lol.

        You’re right in that there’s something about this show that seems so personal. I don’t know if it’s because we all fought to bring it back and now we feel some sense of ‘ownership’ over it or what. The only shows I watch over and over and over are Chuck and NCIS. I can’t help it, I feel like part of the family. Everything that happens, whether I like it or not, I ultimately love it because at the heart I just love the show. I identify to some degree with the characters, the humor, the romance, etc.

        I really hope the show sticks around… this is a show that just seems like it cannot possibly end so early. And I guess I just keep hoping they kill off Shaw, make the romance with Chuck and Sarah a little back to realistic/non-soap-opera like stuff and keep us holding on in suspense for dear life. But alas, until the final ‘curtain’ I will be deeply addicted to this show. No. matter. what. I feel like Chuck is my best friend or something.

        I need a life. lol 🙂

      • Joe!I’ll agree with you and Rochelle on that, it has gotten personal with the show Chuck. I think too personal in regards to the shippers critisizing this season because they can’t get what they want.

        They critisize every thing about this season from the story plots the introduction to the PLS again this season long as C/S are together to most of them that’s all they want and that’s the only reqason they watch the show.

        I enjoy whatching NCIS,NCIS-LOS ANGELOS WHITE COLLAR,LAW N ORDER,BONES AND IN PLAIN SIGHT.I don’t get caught up emotionally in stories like that and take it so personally because when you’re emotional like that you don’t think too clearly.

        Yvonne and Zachary told in August of 2009 us up front that the characters in S3 is going to change a little bit this season a little darker in regards to when you think you know people then come to find out that you really didn’t know them at all as far as secrets are concerned.

        As we all see right now from S3, there’s is lot more going on right now than just the C/S relationship based on you article that you wrote “SAVING AGENT WALKER”.She’s
        falling and need a life line.Chuck is her life line.

        I think most of these shippers think/feel that they fought to bring the show back for another season they think and feel that the producers and writers of the show owes them something now.The reality is nobody owes you nothing in this world, They owe because they want to owe.

        Me and some of the fans who love the show S3 is great as far as the emotonal spiral that Sarah,Casey,Chuck,Morgan,Eille,and Devon is going through that cause them all to hit rock bottom.Chuck and Morgan has come out from other side,Casey he’s slowly getting there,Ellie and Devon is working on theirs together which leaves Sarah.

        She’ll get there,it’s going to a little heroism from Chuck.

      • JLR says:

        [sigh] Again, not everyone has issues with S3 because of C/S; not everyone who has issues with S3 are “shippers.” I for one am not a shipper, yet I still dislike many things about this season. Are there things I like about the season? Sure, of course, but there’s also plenty to dislike. Please don’t throw the blanket term “shippers” on all of us who have voiced displeasure. Thanks.

      • weaselone says:

        Bernard, do you realize the non sequitor in your post when you say that shippers critique EVERYTHING about this season but only care about C/S? The problem isn’t the shippers. It’s the fanboys. They’ve taken a diverse group of individuals who pan different aspects of the show and lumped them all together as shippers.

        Personally, I think the shippers have far less explaining to do than the epic fanboys who have decided that any complaint about Chuck and the direction the show has taken this season stems solely from a deep and all consuming desire to see Chuck and Sarah do the nasty on the TV screen. Instead of defending the show on it’s merits and addressing the points brought up by various critics, they shout them down as crazy shippers and then disregard legitimate criticism.

        Sarah’s been drowning for eleven fricken episodes and unlike many I have basically understood that since episode 3.1 so 3.11 wasn’t exactly a mind blowing revelation for me. Now, I like Joe have enjoyed the lion’s share of this season, but this isn’t a series on Lifetime and Sarah’s prolonged emotional turmoil isn’t essential to the darker tone this season has taken. It’s getting old. As is Sarah’s lack of interaction with all the other cast members this season unless the worst guest star ever happens to be nearby.

        Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed episode 3.11 and I greatly appreciate all the other aspects of Chuck. I just feel that one particularly aspect of the show which they devote a fair amount of time to should have progressed to this point by 3.7. It’s a distraction and it chews up time and intrudes on scenes that should be devoted to the other aspects that make Chuck great. My suspicion is that the excessive focus on the C/S and S/S subplot by the writers might be partially responsible for some pretty glaring plot holes we’ve seen this season.

  14. DaveB says:

    I fully expect episode 3.19 to close with “The Spy Who Loved Me” playing…

  15. josh says:

    I m not liking the Chuck has to save Sarah idea, I realize that’s probably how it will play out but … for the sake of the Sarah character I ‘d much rather she saved herself.

    Otherwise, I agree, Sarah’s journey has been compelling even if IMO very badly executed at times. I just think fans in general would have been more open to it if it hadn’t been milked for every last drop of angst they could get out of it.

    • joe says:

      Oh gee! On the off chance that your last name is Schwartz, I won’t argue with that! 😉

      I guess there are three ways it could go, assuming that we can eliminate Sarah not being saved at all.
      1) Chuck saves her
      2) Sarah saves herself
      3) Sarah saves herself with a whole lot of help from Chuck.

      I had the first in mind, because right now I don’t think Sarah wants to be saved at all. But #3 works for me too. Sarah’s a strong character, so she could save herself without Chuck’s help.

      But I don’t know if I would like it as much as the other choices.

  16. kg says:

    Very interesting piece Joe. That’s why this blog is number one. You get several views and opinions, and whether or agree or not, the writers ALWAYS do a great job of making their point with evidence, analysis and insight.

    To those who have suggested that Chuck should give up on Sarah and run ASAP are not necessarily wrong. That’s what most guys would do despite her beauty. It makes perfect sense. But Chuck can’t.

    I understand because I’m the same way. Many times I’ve worked stayed in relationships longer than I should have, when common sense tells you to give up.

    Why wouldn’t Chuck be attracted to pretty brunette’s who show interest? But he’s the kind of guy who when he believes he’s in love, can never give up on that feeling no matter who she acts or treats him.

    Joe is correct. Chuck is going to save Sarah. Emotionally and maybe even heroically.

    Chuck’s far from perfect, but he’s OK and he has many allies. You can see from the preview how again Chuck demonstrates his, well, Chuckness.

    “Why are you helping him,” Sarah asks. Chuck’s retort is simple and direct. “Because YOU care about him so much,” he says with earnest.

    • atcdave says:

      I’m thinking Sarah will finally see Chuck is the sort of hero she no longer believes even exists. Just like how from the Pilot on she saw him as the sort of decent guy she didn’t think really existed.
      So while she may have long term psychological issues to deal with; the biggest change will happen quickly as a revelation.

      • amyabn says:

        I hope that she has her revelation and decides that a relationship with Chuck is worth fighting for. That fight includes learning to accept herself and the choices she has made. I don’t really recall Agent Graham giving Sarah/Jenny Burton a choice in recruiting her. What else would she have done? We know she didn’t like the choice she was faced with in her Red Test, but she made it. Now it is time to decide her future: can she be a spy anymore? Can she have a relationship with Chuck (she will realize that he is the same guy), whether she is a spy or not?

        Take another look at Ellie’s speech at the end of Tic Tac. To summarize (and badly), Ellie is willing to compromise because Devon is the best decision she has ever made. Chuck has taken this to heart and we see him declaring himself yet again in the next episode. Casey keeps reminding him that he has a choice. Now Sarah needs the speech. Who will giver her the wake up call?

    • metajoke says:

      The problem with this line of thinking is that even in her self-loathing state (and I assume she thinks the same of Casey and all other spies), Sarah HAS been able to do things for other people. So has Casey.

      So why would Sarah be shocked that Chuck, now also in hell, is incapable of doing something for someone else.

      It doesn’t track even as bathos. It horrible storytelling. Frankly, these showrunners are out of their depth with this pop-psych stuff and they are scarring the very characters they claim are the heart of the show.

  17. Chuckaddict says:

    Joe, I think you’re right on the money. Everything makes more sense when you look at this way. But, how does the story go forward form here?

    It’s clear that Sarah doesn’t want to be a spy anymore. She hates everything she thinks its done to Chuck and more importantly everything its done to her. Chuck can and will save her, but how does he make her want to be a spy again?

    Chuck showing her that he hasn’t changed doesn’t change the fact that she still hates herself also because of what she’s done to herself not just to Chuck. Chuck can even convince her that what she’s done is OK and was important to protect the safety of others. How does he make the jump and convince her that she needs to keep doing it?

    • Crumby says:

      I’m not sure she wants to quit. The only thing which made her want that was Chuck. She wanted a life with him. Without him it doesn’t make sense. I mean what is she gonna do if she quits?

    • joe says:

      You ask a good question, Addict. How does the story go forward?

      I really did smile at the ending of Final Exam, and that was odd because I have been very disappointed in every setback between C&S. When Sarah said that she used to love him, I laughed because I wasn’t freaking out.

      And that was because I realized right away that this was a hopeless trap for both of them. Only the hero gets out of those and we know who the hero is.

      Of course, I have no idea how Chuck can let Sarah know that he’s not a killer without destroying Casey, and I don’t know how he gets to stay a spy, regardless. There’s no obvious way for him to be a spy and have Sarah at the same time.

      But it’s clear that all this happens! I’m dying to find out how.

      I’m not so sure that Sarah doesn’t want to be a spy. She just doesn’t want to have to live a lie any more.

      • amyabn says:

        Joe, you strike a thought that chimes in with one I had last night-and why I find Sarah’s descent so hard to swallow. Sarah wanted a normal life. That is because she loves Chuck. Look at Suburbs again. She liked the whole Martha Stewart thing-but I would argue it was because she was with Chuck. I don’t see her pining for a normal life with Shaw (or anyone else for that matter).
        So why is it that the writers took a longing for a normal life to equate to “Sarah hates herself and being a spy?” I never got an inkling that Sarah hated being a spy in S1 and S2, other than the fact that as Chuck’s handler, they couldn’t be together. Am I missing something? To me they took Sarah in the wrong direction with this tactic.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Amy, my take has always been that as Sarah is leading Chuck down the same path she took years ago and seeing him give up more and more of who he was/is both her hatred of that world for all it has taken from her (e.g. Chuck) and her self loathing for doing to Chuck what was done to her are growing to the point where she can now say that her red test, the day she became (in the show’s vernacular) a “real spy” was the worst day of her life, with the unspoken caveat, until now.

        As far as how the story moves forward, there is a famous cartoon that has graced the bulletin boards of every grad school science department for decades…Miracle

      • josh says:

        Amy, I just think they are telling us that Chuck, in those 2 years awoke desires Sarah had been repressing. The gist of it is that Sarah doesn’t want nor does she think she can get a cul-de-sac life with Shaw, she wants it with Chuck, and every step Chuck takes into the spy world the further away Sarah gets from what she wants. Sarah said it pretty clearly, she doesn’t want to wake up in a different city every day on a different mission with no sense of belonging. She wants roots, which is what Chuck’s little circle provided her with, a place to belong. The spy life is the icon of the exact opposite of what she wants.

        Then came Chuck vs the Three Words and Sarah found out (through the little video Carina gave her) that Chuck got on that path because of her. Hence her spiral started. To put it in simple terms, Sarah feels she killed her (only) chance of achieving what she wants out of life, and every moment she’s with Chuck is a constant reminder of that. Everything Chuck did in the process of becoming a spy hurt her but She can’t really blame Chuck, she heard him say it, I did for you, so only thing she does is blame herself.

      • amyabn says:

        I get the whole different city/different name bit, but I guess I have taken it for granted since Sarah has been on this assignment for 3 years. That is a good chunk of her career thus far, if my tv math adds up.
        I know they will have the spy couple on in the back six. Hopefully Chuck and Sarah will have already figured out how to have their spy cake and eat it too.

  18. Ernie Davis says:

    Man I love this place. As I’ve posted lately I’ve felt kind of, meh about this season even though I continue to enjoy the show, and now I’m starting to understand why. Way back at the beginning I posted about the A-ha moments TPTB like to use, and how I was expecting a few this season that would put things in a whole new context. This was the genesis of my weekly contract theory. You can do that ONLY if you make the long term commitment worth it on a weekly basis. Eventually people will tire of the wait, or won’t even know that the context they are seeking is coming. So regardless of how epic and satisfying the big reveal will be, and I agree, this was a good one, the dragged out wait has obviously become too much for some viewers. I think it was HenryH who mentioned this above in an excellent post, but then excellent post is such a common thing on this blog, and especially this topic that our ordinary has become awesome.

    So now I get to the crux of my season of discontent. I knew something like this was coming, I kept posting about it and waiting for it, and now that it’s here I’m afraid it may be too late, because, again, as another poster so ably pointed out you can re-contextualize only if there is an original context to be overturned. We can understand Shaw now, but to be able to continue to enjoy the show until new context was available, we needed some thin premise to tide us over, especially if you’re going to drag it out this long.

    I may want to do a whole post on this, but think on this. We’ve now seen how damaged Casey is, Sarah is, and we’re about to see how damaged Shaw is. Chuck has come out the other side, for now, and Casey has started to unwind from combat ready at all times. Things are getting interesting.

    • Chuckaddict says:

      The big problem TPTB have is that most of the remaining viewers didn’t fully understand this A-ha moment. It took Joe to clarify it for me. I initially took it as “We’re still going to continue down this road?!?!”

      Even with all the troubles this season, I still can’t wait to see what happens next. That fact hasn’t changed over the course of the 2+ seasons. I hope us fans can network enough to bring the ratings back. There’s still amazing potential!

    • HenryH says:

      Ernie-
      Thanks for the shoutout. I do think your stuff is interesting because you came to Season 1/2 in bulk. (I think I read that.) My point is that you had full seasons to look at, if I’m correct?

      That changes the perspective. By 3.13, season 3 might not look so poor if you look at the entire arc and watch it on DVD. But they’ve forgotten the weekly viewers. I never felt confused in Seasons 1 or 2 as I watched it week to week. I laughed all through Season 1 and loved the tension of Season 2. I even liked the romantic angst because it was relatively new for the characters. It was a wonderful ride week to week last year.

      This year, not so much. Merve, a self-confessed fan of Season 3, did a wonderful job explaining the blows TPTB doled out in Final Exam’s 15 minutes. That’s very hard stuff to swallow.

      I’m still here, as Sondheim wrote in another context, but I suspect a couple of million viewers just like me have walked away. They were less committed, thus walked away becuase the story was nasty, dark and nonsensical.

      And, frankly, I think any hope of getting the casual viewers back is gone. Especially since we clearly will NOT have a unfettered fun ride in the back six if we’ve got to deal with shrinks and who knows what else they haven’t disclosed.

      While I’m at it, where is the “good” from the “traumatic and good” event that Schwartz promised Pink Slip would be? Is “good” that we got back to Colonel 13 episodes later? Jeesh… That’s the real mystery of Season 3: What WERE they thinking?

      • Merve says:

        HenryH, one of the issues that I had with “Final Exam” wasn’t that all those blows happened within the episode; it’s that they happened with no payoff. Every other episode this season has featured some sort of payoff, whether it be silly, dramatic or comedic.

        “Pink Slip” had the Rocky shoutout scene where Chuck was training with Casey.

        “Three Words” had the scene where Sarah found out about Chuck’s true feelings for her through the vault confession video.

        “Angel de la Muerte” had Chuck and Sarah agreeing to be “friends.”

        “Operation Awesome” had the dinner scene.

        “First Class” had Sarah and Shaw reconciling their personal differences. It also showed Chuck gaining confidence in his spy abilities.

        “Nacho Sampler” had Chuck hitting rock bottom, drinking Johnny Walker alone. This doesn’t sound like much of a payoff, but it worked on a dramatic level. It was the culmination of all that had transpired earlier in the episode, and for me, it worked as a “dramatic” payoff. On the positive side, Morgan and Ellie showed a new-found determination to figure out what was up with Chuck.

        “Mask” had Ellie regaining confidence in Chuck.

        “Fake Name” had Hannah getting dumped. That’s more of a plot payoff, I guess, but it also follows from Chuck’s realization that he didn’t want to lie to her.

        “Beard” had Chuck repairing his friendship with Morgan.

        “Tic Tac” had Casey endorsing Chuck’s pursuit of Sarah.

        Okay, I’ll admit: some of those are a stretch. But I’d have to stretch even further to find a suitable “payoff” for “Final Exam.” The entire second half felt like it was leading somewhere, but then it just led to more setup. This gripe has nothing to do with romantic angst or love triangles or “omg i hate shaw soo much hes such a douchebag!” It’s just about the structure of the episode.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Henry, you put everything so well I almost feel superfluous, but I wanted to weigh in. Having done S1/S2 in bulk, seeing how TPTB liked to, while not retcon at least re-contextualize wasn’t too tough, but as I said, the wait this season was just getting excruciating to the point where I was, as I mentioned in my last post, considering going back to bulk viewing just to be able to enjoy the show again.

      The thing is I’ve enjoyed each episode, with the exception of Pink Slip, they just haven’t seemed to mesh the way they used to. Now, over halfway through the season is finally starting to make sense to me, and I’ve been working overtime trying to make it work.

      It does seem the season is going to a darker place than they used to, and Paul’s insight into who needs the shrink looks great. It might actually be some good stuff. Not what I’d come to expect from Chuck, but good stuff.

      • HenryH says:

        Ernie: You honor me because I’ve gone to school on your posts and those of lizjames.

        But without sounding too pompous: What does it profit the showrunners to write for the DVD set if they lose the weekly TV viewer?

        And even if Season 3 (and I mean until e13) makes “sense” when all is revealed and we chew it over, how many people really wanted THIS story told? Was it BeCoolBoy on another thread who said he missed the Chuck and Sarah who adored each other as well as loved each other.

        The love, obviously, they’ll get back. But the adoration, not so much. And since we viewers are essentially meant to be Chuck and Sarah, how could we possibly go back to adoring the show?

        And that, it seems to me, is the difference between an energized fan base and a passive one. They’ve left us with very little to cheer for now.

        They claim Chuck and Sarah is the heart of the show. Okay, fine, they tore it out and I’m sure they’ll put it back in within the next two episodes.

        But I just don’t think it’ll tick again.

      • AngelTwo says:

        I sort of got hammered for suggesting a few weeks ago that the showrunners were arrogant and didn’t like us much. Well, this is my point: It’s extraordinarily arrogant to expect week-to-week viewers to stay loyal when the story is needlessly depressing and incomplete. It’s also arrogant to write a weekly television show that isn’t understandable until you see them 13 at a time.

        The not like us part? Well, assuming Season 3 is the last, what is the meme going to be: The viewers just weren’t smart enough to understand what we were doing because we didn’t give them what they wanted exactly when they wanted it.

        In fact, however, as season 3 is proving, they not only drove away the casual viewers, they drove a way a chunk of the hardcore fans. I mean, last year, we were convinced 6 million viewers were the hard core because Chuck never fell below that. Now from a much higher base to start season 3 (it was 7+ million for Pink Slip/Three Words), we’ve sunk below 6 million.

        That’s on the showrunners, not us.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        AngelTwo, as someone who probably was doing the hammering I’ll just say that I’ve done my share of calling TPTB idiots, and I’ll allow that a certain, lets call it cluelessness on their part seems apparent from some of the decisions this season. I think my biggest objection was that some people were attributing motive and emotion to very specifically named people associated with Chuck, which I don’t really care for, but it’s an open board and we won’t censor if at all possible. I think my biggest objection was that it seemed to me I was being asked to endorse that POV. In trying to distance myself from that I probably went too far and came off as a scold, so apologies for that.

      • atcdave says:

        I do think its been the fundamental flaw this season; creating a show that requires all 13 episodes to be understood. Those of us who are committed to the show will likely stick it out, but casual viewers are dropping like flys. Shows that do this typically only achieve “cult” status, which seems to be where we are heading.

      • Waverly says:

        Actually, it’s not too hard to enjoy the episodes — just enjoy some milk of amnesia with each one.

        Most of our complaints about illogical or out-of-character behavior go away when we ignore what happened in previous episodes or years.

    • AngelTwo says:

      Ernie-
      No, honest, wasn’t aiming it you or anyone. I dish it out OK, so I can take the heat in return. That’s only fair.

      That said, I think you have to TRY to attribute motive because they refuse to talk to anyone about this debacle. All they say is “How dare you stop watching in the middle of the arc!” or “We know more than you because we know the whole story and you’re all wrong.”

      That’s arrogant because they need WEEKLY viewers. And when viewers are peeling away, their resposne is: You’re dumb to peel away. Well, fine. Two million viewers have peeled away since Pink Slip.

      They’re all dumb. And the showrunners are out of a show.

    • ernie I saw it happening as well! First Chuck,Sarah,Casey,and Shaw all are damaged.Chuck came out of the other side.Casey is slowly coming out of the other side,in ep.12 and 13 we are getting ready to see Shaw’s self desturctive behavior as well that will get him killed.

      AS for Sarah maybe the worst is yet to come for her
      L believe that is was Sarah that kill Shaw’s wife 5 years ago as part of her red test to become a spy manipulaed by a Ring agent who is working for the CIA.
      If Shaw knows this all h*** is going to break loose in ep.13 This is part of Shaw’s revenge to get back at the Ring and back at Sarh. I see why she is with Shaw they are both miserable people and misery loves company.

      Chuck mission is to save Sarah Walker from her self destruction because he is the only one who can not even Shaw can Sarah if anything he’s the one is pulling her down with him. Chuck will not let that happen.He’ll save Sarah.Shaw is too far gone.Chuck will save her to let her know that worhty to be loved and to be cared for.That’s when his friends and family will come into play here.

    • Ernie I understand what you saying about some viewers think the plot was dragged out to long but if the plot was rushed to fast them same viewers would be complaining as well.

      In reality you can’t please everybody.

  19. DaveB says:

    It’s always tenuous psychoanalysing fictional characters, but here it goes:

    There are a couple things that need to be clarified between our lovers before they can come to some sort of denouement:

    First, Chuck has no idea how Sarah feels about the whole innocence thing. For Chuck to even have a coherent jumping off point, he’s got to know about the conflict within Sarah about her sense of ‘unclean’ and how it affects her view of Chuck.

    Second, Sarah does not know that the result of Chuck failing the “spy test” is Chuck’s death. This has been reiterated so many times (except in ‘Pink Slip’ which I found to be a glaring plot hole) that I find it a stretch that, had Chuck failed this time, he would be allowed to live with the intersect 2.0 in his head. That it is no longer Casey who would have the kill order makes Chucks position even more tenuous, and may have been the impetus for Casey to ice the mole when he saw Chuck wasn’t going to.

    I think when Sarah threw “now you’ll have everything you ever wanted” in Chuck’s face, it was the first time it occurred to him that he could lose Sarah forever, and that he wasn’t willing to allow that to happen. The issue that Chuck needs to face now is ‘why?’ What is so special about Sarah? His own sense of failure as a spy is tightly wound to that question. Sarah has always used that hook to keep Chuck on mission when he wanted to take a hike. She held herself out as bait, and reeled him in when he bit. The look on Chuck’s face was priceless because I think he suddenly realized how much his priorities had changed.

    I’m not sure that, in order to rescue Sarah, Chuck has to jump in the hole with her, or whether she will dig herself out when she realizes the position her self-loathing is putting Chuck in. I’m not exactly sure what brings Sarah to the point where she, like Agent Montgomery, is unwilling to put herself out to rescue Shaw, leaving it to Chuck to show his innate hero-ness.

    Something I’ve noticed about her relationships with other agents, and even her father: She has always been docile. When confronted with her own attitude, the men always say or act; “you know you love me.” Chuck, I think, is the first to say and act “I love you.” That will make her reaction to his question; “Sarah, do you love me?” all the more interesting.

    • Chuckaddict says:

      Chuck had the Intersect rtemoved once, it could conceivably be removed again. I’m not 100% sure his failure would have meant his death, just 75% sure. I think Shaw was probably tasked with the kill, if required. Hence Beckman’s “we need to tell them, they need to be prepared” speech.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Well stated. Sadly even now after the A-ha moment they need to talk more than before. Interestingly who seems to know the whole story? Casey.

      I think we’re headed to Casey revealing to Chuck and Sarah his first kill order and why Chuck had no option other than to become a spy from the moment he re-intersected.

    • amyabn says:

      Could be interesting if Shaw drops a line along the lines of: “it’s a good think Chuck passed his Red Test or you would have gotten his termination order, Sarah.” They glossed over the “Chuck goes back to his old life” business. They have threatened to bunker him, we know they were going to have Casey kill him, etc. Heck, Shaw wanted Morgan bunkered. That line, along with Casey telling Sarah the truth, would make Chuck’s choice even more poignant and heroic.

  20. metajoke says:

    So the guy over at Entertainment Weekly says e19 is named Chuck Versus The Ring, Part II.

    If they marry Chuck and Sarah off at the end of episode 19, I’d take it and walk away. I really DON’T want to be on the journey these showrunners have given us in Season 3.

    I wanted fun and joy and spoof and some simple stuff from Chuck. Seasons 1 and 2 were fun. That’s what I bought into and what I bought Subway sandwiches for. To smile after an hour of TV.

    I can only speak for myself. I’d happily walk away from Chuck at the end of season 3 with a “happy ending” and Jeffster singing the Wedding March.

    • BeCoolBoy says:

      I don’t even need the Wedding March. Chuck and Sarah together and not loathing each other and themselves would be okay for me. Oh, and Casey not bailing on his daughter would be nice.

      The BuyMore is getting silly (inevitable, I don’t blame the showrunners, but it’s a pitfall of the concept). Devon and Ellie? Meh. The spy stuff? Never compelling except as a McGuffin.

      So my fear is they’d return to OC-style angst somehow in Season 4. I don’t want it. Wouldn’t watch it.

    • BigCheese says:

      I can’t believe it’s true. Ring part 2.

      Season 3 MUST be Chuck’s DREAM. Never happen.

      EPIC FAIL… LOL.

    • BigCheese says:

      I’ll talk a little more about this, example:

      Stargate Atlantis:
      119: The Siege, part 1
      120: The Siege, part 2 <- Season 1 finale
      201: The Siege, part 3 <- Season 2 premiere

      It's ok. Back to back.

      Now we have Chuck:
      222: The Ring
      Dark Hole in the middle…
      319: The Ring, part, 2

      Next will be:
      221: Colonel
      Dark Hole in the middle…
      413: Colonel, part 2.

  21. BDP says:

    Hmmmm a really in-depth insightful review that i genuinly enjoyed reading…

    I liked last night ep.. thats about as much as my mind will stretch to. 🙂

  22. Ernie Davis says:

    So with all the great discussion here’s the interesting question. Will Sarah fall further before starting to recover. We know she’s in a pretty dark place, having put the gun in Chuck’s hand, but we’ve seen in the previews Chuck is going to be very Chuck-like and tell her he loves her rather than beat her up for (she thinks) putting him in a position where he had to kill. I’m wondering how she reacts. Will her ideal, though now somewhat tarnished in her eyes, guy telling her she’s still worth loving and is loved start to turn her around, or will it make her run away again because she can’t bear to be forgiven?

    • herder says:

      I think that we are going to see something similar to the last two episodes last year, but running from back to front. What I mean, and I haven’t thought this all the way through, is that the end of Other Guy will be like the beginning of Colonel, the end of Colonel will be the beginning of Other Guy.

      The same for the Ring and All American Hero, there will be good will and good intentions bad timing and misunderstandings as well as life changing decisions. I haven’t decided if they will swap the genders too, but I think not. Think of all that happened in the Ring, Sarah apparantly going with Bryce, her crushing Chuck, she decides to stay with him but never tells him, he decides to reintersect. I think we see a replay of a lot of these ideas in the next episode.

    • JLR says:

      I kind of feel like I’m jumping on the angst wagon, but I actually like the spec circulating that Chuck leaves after dropping Shaw off at Sarah’s feet. I don’t want that to “punish” Sarah…I just figure, in this season of angst, might as well have one more shot of it. At least this one would make sense; Chuck thinks Sarah still wants to be w/ Shaw, so he does the stand-up thing & exits stage left. I think that would bring Sarah to her lowest point. She now may think she’s lost Chuck’s love. I know, lots of holes in that, but I’m taking my cues from certain people related to the show.

      • JC says:

        Here’s something, obviously Chuck has already saved Shaw by the time the missile hits.

        Maybe they give Chuck his Bryce Larkin moment. He sees Sarah after the explosion tells Shaw to look after her and leaves.

      • JLR says:

        [nods]

    • Mike B says:

      Or is she so messed up that she thinks that anyone who loves her must be messed up too and therefore not someone she can love.

    • Crumby says:

      I guess it also depends on when the ILY line from Chuck is told in the episode.

    • josh says:

      I m not sure she can go any lower to be honest. It’s already stretching credibility that she can bounce back from where she is in the space of a couple of episodes.

      I m pretty sure they will ahem delay resolution until 3.13, any ol trick will do, interrupted conversations etc, but Sarah should be on an upward trend in 12.

      • JLR says:

        “They” can make her go down further…easily. Recoveries of all kinds happen quickly on Chuck, so it’s something most of us should be used to. I just want to to make sense, not by some tortured logic either.

    • Faith says:

      You haven’t seen the promo yet as I understand it correct? So I’ll answer conservatively…it depends. It depends on whether certain events occur in certain orders and if it does and I’m right, no she hasn’t dipped far enough into a hell-pit.

      • amyabn says:

        Do you have the link to that promo? I have been poking around Chucktv, Zachary-levi.com, youtube, etc, but haven’t been able to find it. The search will continue, but I thought I’d ask!

      • JC says:

        Here you go

      • Faith says:

        3.12? Yeah…

        http://www.nbc.com/chuck/video/its-decision-time/1211367/

        For the overarching post Chuckapocalypse promo here it is

      • amyabn says:

        Thanks! and I must admit that I realized Joe did a piece on it (and Faith helped him embed it) so I shouldn’t have strayed so far from “home.” Ooops! I was thinking of the one with the “superman” intro.
        I just watched it, and I think the only scenes we haven’t covered are:
        -the tiger
        -the Do You love me? moment
        -the dinner date
        -the Chuck/Sarah butt kicking tandem
        -Casey strong arming Morgan at the BuyMore.
        -Sarah in her underwear with a southern accent

        A lot of good stuff to go, although I’m not sure some of it isn’t in 14-19.

      • Waverly says:

        Any guesses as to who is shown in the background on the repeated TV screens?

        I didn’t recognize her. Might that be Eve?

      • herder says:

        At first I thought it was an intersect room, but on further viewing it is the scene of Sarah’s red test and they are showing it to Shaw, so draw your own conclusions.

  23. Jason says:

    ernie, I have been biting my tongue in lurking rather than posting, but almost 6 weeks ago, I claimed i, you, anyone really could postscriptively rationalize any behavior on the show, all I am seeing with the well written fanfic revelations of old darth, joe, and and others is that, now that the story is near played out, indeed we can rationalize, sarah in 3.12 starting to climb back, I think probably yes, but if she doesn’t that works too, it all will make sense when explained later … liz got it right, quit trying to use logic to explain it ahead of time, such logic died with this show some time ago.

  24. kg says:

    Somebody on this board once wrote that Season Three is a brand new show. The originial Chuck ended at Colonel in season Two.

    And the more I think about, attempting to view it independently, this season hasn’t been that bad. There’s plenty of drama and the a-ha moments are beginning to become clearer.

    The problem is we all seemed to get completely hooked with Season Two. We’re constantly comparing this season to Season Two. All the analysis, insight, criticism and compliments seem solely based on that lovely, wonderful phenomenon called “Chuck – Season Two.”

    In the past, I had always watched this show by myself. Between seasons two and three I talked incessantly how awesome this show was to all my friends and acquaitances and implored them to watch the new upcoming season.

    My efforting managed to convince two to watch and we get together each Monday and of course one Sunday with footlongs.

    They seem to like the show the way it is. One has only watched season three. The other has seen the majority of season one. The point is neither has seen any episodes of season two.

    • metajoke says:

      It was the redoubtable lizjames who made that comment first, I think…

      But even granting that, it doesn’t explain the rapid drop in the ratings from 3.0 to 1.9 for Season 3. And, even more specifically, from 2.5 (Awesome), the last of the non-PLI episodes, to 1.9 now.

      Independent of what we fans are saying (love or hate it), one-third of all viewers who started with the show beginning with Pink Slip are gone.

      That’s a fairly telling indictment on a) the quality of the show; b) the arc; 3) the PLI angst; or some combination of all of that and the natural erosion of viewership as the season goes on…

    • Ernie Davis says:

      It had always been my contention that The Ring was really the beginning episode of season 3. Liz took that and pointed out that since this new show shares nothing with the old that was when Chuck ended, the end of Colonel.

      • kg says:

        Yes, Ernie that’s how I recalled it, but I went with “somebody” because I wasn’t completely positive.

        You most definitely said in one of your long pieces that the Ring was 3-1 and not Pink Slip. Liz was the one who said the original show died/ended after Colonel when she gave up completely.

  25. IHateInsurgents says:

    Joe,

    Again, I completely agree with your opinion about this episode. I thought it was excellent, and really well done as a whole.

    We’ve had really good plot movement and very difficult emotional scenes and issues to deal with the last 4 or 5 or 6… hell the whole season, that I’ve liked. I agree wholeheartedly about your views regarding Sarah and how broken she is, as well as how much Chuck was helping her feel redeemed.

    Great summary. I’m so excited for the next few episodes – as they were originally the last 2 of the season I think we’re gonna get some exceptional pay-off as fans and I’m anxious to hear your thoughts come next week.

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  27. Joe!great article you nail it on the head this time especially about Sarah is at very dark place mentally and emotionally.

    When you wrote an article “The Fake Name” I knew that sarah was broken in the beginning of season 3 but wow! she’s been broken since the pilot episode.Her innocence is gone since her Red Test to become a spy. It might get worse for her.

    Picture this joe! there is a senario out there now that in ep.13 that it was Sarah who killed Shaw’s wife 5 years ago as part of a Red Test manipulated by a Ring Agent who was working for the CIA whne Eve who was a Ring Agent at the time had compromise her cover.

    Of course Sarah who did not know it was shaw’s wife a the time she did this and if this true all H*** is going to break loose in ep.13 especially if Shaw’s finds out from a Ring Agent or he already knows.

    Ep.12 will start the beginning of Chuck’s mission to save Sarah Walker from her self mentally and emotionallly.Shaw can’t do it because he’s miserable inside and heading for self destruction and in the process taking Sarah down with him.Chuck can’t save Shaw he’s too far gone.He’s been dead for five years now since Eve died.

    Chuck is the only one emotionally and mentally that save Save Sarah from that same fate that could be waiting for Shaw.

    • joe says:

      I’m starting to get wind of that scenario too, Bernard. The timing is certainly right.

      But I must say, I’m much happier when I ignore those kinds of spoilers. It’s almost too much to process! 😉

      • Joe! this is not a spoiler I thought up this senario myself by the of the FINAL EXAM when Sarah talks about her red test to Shaw then I just came up a logical speculation.

      • joe says:

        Oh! Then I think it could be a fascinating path for them to take. The idea scares me a bit, because it keeps Shaw pretty involved for a long while (unless he gets killed off, which seems pretty dark).

        But the writers are always imaginative about that.

      • joe! I need you to ask a question for me.These so called shippers/fans who been complaining about season 3 of Chuck on how bad the writers misplace the characters this season compared to seasons 1&2 yvonne and zachary said it when they was starting to film season 3
        that the character’s is going to change a little darker this season compared when they left off of the end of season 2. and I saw it the moment that Chuck downloaded the new 2.0 Intersect to become as spy C/S realationship as they know it has changed.

        I beginning to see why NBC was thinking about cancelling the show based on poor ratings after season 2. question! if these are the same right-wing shippers that was critisizing S2 as well as far as the C/S relationship why there not together as a couple,the PLS,S, and the story plots.I think for most of these shippers/fans they just whatch Chuck to see if C/S get together and forget about everything else that’s going on around them this season.

        I need a response from you as soon as possible.

        By the way joe I believe Shaw will get kill off in ep.13

      • atcdave says:

        Bernard, you need to realize ‘shipper is a very broad term. I am sure many people consider me hard core, yet my initial interest in the show had nothing to do with the relationship; I like action, adventure, and humor. It is true I simply dispise triangles as a story telling device, I always have. Some are pretty logical (Bryce, maybe Jill) ; others strike me as a waste of time (Lou); but I’ve liked Chuck and Sarah together as a team and a couple from pretty early on, so I’ve basically never liked the soap opera episodes. Overall, I thought S2 was television masterpiece, with only a few flaws (I disliked The Ex, Sensai, and Beefcake). In hindsight, I see how the current problems were started in The Ring; but at the time I simply thought they were problems to work on next season; I never thought they would consume the whole season with them.

        Also, I don’t mind the idea of a slightly darker take on the missions, but I do want to see the light, uplifting moments we get from Chuck with his friends and family too. And for the record, those moments must include Sarah in both capacities.

        I’m on record from way back, as saying I’d prefer to see Chuck and Sarah in a committed, low maintenance relationship, so the bulk of the show would be about the spy missions and adventures, not the soap opera aspects. Other ‘shippers may prioritize differently, but I’m thinking few care only about the relationship. S & F themselves have admitted Chuck and Sarah are the heart of the show; many of us can not enjoy a situation where the heart is diseased. I do expect they will fix this, and the back six will be a good time for me and other ‘shippers, but the front part of the season cannot be mended; it is hopelessly broken (Actually, I thought Angel of Death and Operation Awesome were excellent episodes; and Beard and Tic Tac were pretty good; but the main arc is not).

      • JC says:

        So wait only crazy shippers dislike this season?

        Not recycled plots? Not the tired interrupted conversions? Not the fact they used the laziest tactic in writing a reset. Not the gigantic plot holes? See these things never bothered me when the show didn’t take itself serious, but now since the show has gone “darker” these things stand out more.

        Its very easy to say people who don’t like this season is because C/S aren’t together. I could careless what happens to them.

        But that’s not to say I haven’t liked episodes themselves but as a overall arc it’s been terrible so far.

      • atcdave says:

        Thanks JC, its good to see someone who doesn’t carry the “‘shipper” stigma weighing in on this too.

      • JC says:

        No problem Dave

        And you know what who cares if you’re a shipper. I’m sure not going to judge someone on how they enjoy something.

      • atcdave says:

        Right, no matter how wrong I might be! I guess I’m still in denial having only recently come to grips with this unpleasent bit of self-discovery.

      • JC says:

        This show made me realize that I’ve been a closet nerd my whole life. I giggle like a schoolgirl when I hear characters mention Red Dawn, Ivan Drago, etc.

      • Faith says:

        those damn shippers are ruining the show! 😛

    • herder says:

      I’m beginning to think that it is Casey who gets Sarah on the track to get back to Chuck. Not only in the sense that he tells her that Chuck didn’t pull the trigger, but in the sense that he tells her that Chuck is a spy, just not one like them, that he is his own kind of spy, a one of a kind, a spy who hasn’t lost his own ideas of what he will and will not do. That Chuck can be a spy and be the person that she fell in love with, that if she won’t beleive that then she can stick with Shaw and be miserable.

      • You’re a 100% right Herder! I believe that it will be Casey that’s tells Sarah he’s the one who pulls the trigger not Chuck.

        Casey will tell her that Chuck is his own man, not like one of them, a one of a kind spy who has not lost his ideas or principle’s of what he will and will not do. Chuck can be a spy and be the person that she fell in love with.

        Believe me Herder, Sarah will take route because She’s miserable right now. Sarah was partnered with Bryce miserable cuase of his darkside and his number of killings,if she got involve with cole Sarah knows that he would choose duty over her and we all know he has done his fair of killing, and now Shaw, he’s miserable as well from his past deed’s
        especially if it was Sarah that killed his wife 5 yrs ago.

        Sarah has drawn a line in the to see if Chuck will cross it to see if the man she fell in love with emotionally is still there?He will cross that line.

      • kg says:

        As usual, the Herder making sense.

      • herder says:

        Wow, thank you for the compliment. I really hope for some sort of blunt casy assesment being voiced to Sarah because while Chuck gets reality checks from his friends, Sarah gets none of that.

      • amyabn says:

        They will have to convince Beckman to bring Casey back, and then the Casey can convince Beckman to let Chuck be, well, Chuck. They were the best team she had. Shaw came in and completely busted that chemistry up (also why I am not enamored with this season). Shaw is an inept and unbalanced spy-hopefully they can use all of this to convince her.
        Sarah may be able to reach her own personal compromise to stay on as Chuck’s partner and they make Chuck an analyst, thereby getting around that whole stupid handler/asset rule.
        Chuck agrees to the compromise with the caveat that they are based in Burbank. They take over Perseus’ old company (Constellation Science) as the cover, and this also could be tied in to Orion’s return. He was pretty unstable with his version of the Intersect, so I am predicting that the shocking death at the end of 19 will be his. Ellie gets brought into the fold as a doctor to work on preventing that from happening to Chuck.

        What can I say, I’m full of speculation this morning!

  28. Pat says:

    Hi, I was just wondering if anyone thinks that the person Sarah killed on her red test was Chuck’s mom? The piece of jewelry she dropped kind of looked like the charm bracelet Chuck gave Sarah that was his mother’s. Now, I’m not sure how his father would have gotten it back and she didn’t look quite old enough. However, the fact that so many people seem to think Sarah killed Shaw’s wife makes me a little skeptical of that: it seems like conventional wisdom about what might happen this season has been consistently wrong. Plus, we know that Chuck goes to therapy in the back six, and that sure is something that would send him there.

    • JLR says:

      The woman didn’t look much older than Sarah to me. Shaw’s wife remains the lead horse, IMO.

      • Pat says:

        Yeah you’re probably right. It’s just that the camera is focused on the piece of jewelry rather than say, the expression on the woman’s face. I’m probably just reading too much into it.

      • JC says:

        Watch the background during 3.12 promo very interesting things can be seen.

      • herder says:

        Yeah JC, very interesting things, might even explain “the Other Guy”

      • Crumby says:

        I agree the woman didn’t look old enough to me to be Mama Bartowski. But could Sarah’s red test have been 5 years ago? I tough she had been a spy for a while. She was recruited in High School, so it’s been pretty much 10 years. 5 years before her Red Test seems a really long time.

        Anyway, I wonder if Sarah’s red test being in France and the final being partly in Paris are linked somehow. Probably not.

      • Paul says:

        Crumby, it is very possible that Sarah killed Eve. Let’s do the math: Sarah graduated HS in 1998, it’s now 2010, so Sarah is either 29 or 30 and has had 12 years with the CIA in one form or another. Backtrack 3 years she was with Chuck and 2 more to the time she was partnered with Bryce. That leaves a 7 year window for formal education (college), a year with Secret Service and focused spy training. Further, she would not have been on ops for 4 during school. So that really narrows it down to a 2yr window where she could have had her Red Test. That window is from 2003-2005…right about the time that Eve died. IF she did the Red Test in 2005, Bryce would have been her first partner.

      • Chuckaddict says:

        It seemed to me that Sarah was suprised that Shaw was giving Chuck his red test so soon. Like she had more training before she took hers. Casey was also suprised that Chuck had his test the night before. Then he was even more surprised at Chuck’s reaction to passing.

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        I haven’t gone back to this, but what was the date they had Bryce and Sarah in flashback on the “take the shot” mission from Break-Up? Wasn’t that 2003 or 2004? That would mitigate AGAINST Sarah killing Eve because it’s claimed she died is five years ago, or 2005.

        Of course, it’s not like TPTB care about canon anymore.

        Still, the e13 synopsis says they find the RING agent who killed Shaw’s wife. So if anything, they will claim that Sarah and maybe Shaw just THOUGHT they killed the woman. In other words, Sarah failed her Red Test, too… I can see them going there…

        As for Paris, well, somehow Chuck is going to have to cure Sarah’s demons about Paris during e13 as well as finally getting his first visit.

        There is probably some tenuous relationship here. The Bracelet, too. It’s all a mishmash, frankly.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        BCB, It’s all explained in my reply upthread.

      • josh says:

        BeCoolBoy it was Bogota, Columbia 2005, so presumably same year as Sarah taking her red test and shaw’s wife dying. Supports the Bryce was her first partner theory

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        Ernie/Josh-Thanks.

        Still, if they have Sarah killing Shaw’s wife, to be honest, it might end this show for me. It’s all so hokey.

        I assume and can accept that this stuff is all related somehow. After all, we wouldn’t have SEEN Sarah’s red test and it wouldn’t have been in Paris, the scene of e13, if it weren’t. But a direct line–Sarah kills Shaw’s wife Sarah’s handler was a turncoat Ring Agent–would be a show killer for me.

        On the other hand, Orion was Chuck’s father. Outlandish enough, but if you go to this kind of well AGAIN, I am probably done.

        By the way, I notice we no longer hear Old Darth claim that ridiculous stuff he was claiming around Mask/Fake Name. You know, about the showrunners never resorting to backward reveals, unseen plot twists, etc. How’s his “what you see is what you get” meme working out now?

      • Crumby says:

        So Bogota his the same year that Eve was killed. So if Sarah’s red test was in 2005, she would have gotten over it quickly, to become the spy she was in the flashback with Bryce. She didn’t show any emotions about killing the guy in it.

        But yeah I guess the timing can be.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Well my take was that the red test was more about assassination than killing. It’s one thing to defend your life or the life of another person, most people probably would find it a conceivable act. However walking up behind someone who is unaware and defenseless and shooting them in the back is a bit different. I also got the impression that one could be an agent without having the red test, but at some elite level you needed to demonstrate the ability to be cold blooded about the whole thing. That was Just Shaw pushing Chuck and Sarah’s surprise was that he felt compelled to do so so quickly.

      • Crumby says:

        Yeah, you(re right Ernie. Especially giving that she didn’t seem to know much about the woman or why she had to be killed.
        “A street name and a time to be there. No name, just a photo.”
        It is different than killing in the action.

      • Faith says:

        BCB let’s not go there. I have on several ocassions been so far off the reservation it’s ridiculous. We all have…Con Theory for me lol.

      • JC says:

        Something else, the guy behind Shaw when Awesome tackles him he’s one the guys Chuck is fighting in the promo.

  29. JC says:

    Maybe someone here can answer a question my g/f asked me. Why should I be rooting for Chuck to get Sarah back? Obviously she has feelings or cares about Shaw, the same guy who manipulated her into getting Chuck to kill, the guy who went psycho on Chuck in front of her, the guy who wants to Chuck to be what she hates.

    I really couldn’t answer, I even had her read what Joe wrote.

    • Paul says:

      Well here is the thing: What ARE the feelings she has for Shaw? I don’t think it’s love. Attraction for sure, maybe affection, but definately not love. And how are we to know that in 3.12 Sarah is not starting to distance herself from Shaw for those very reasons you noted. Not all is as it seems on the promos.

      • kg says:

        Well, making the brash assumption that Sarah did kill Eve, or at least that’s what omnipotent D Shaw believes, what if his phscho revenge plan indirectly involves Sarah?

        Mere death for Sarah Walker is not enough for him perhaps. What if his plan has been to dismantle and destroy team Bartowski and then kill Chuck, so she herself can feel the pain and misery of a lost loved one?

      • herder says:

        If, and I say if Shaw knows that Sarah was the trigger person that killed his wife, then I can see him taking this type of revenge. Then it would make sense that Casey, who I think is suspicious of Shaw would realize that this was way too early for Chuck to have a red test would follow him to protect Chuck. Sarah being too messed up to realize what is going on might not pick up on this.

        But I really think that Shaw dislikes Chuck for some other reasons that will become apparant in the next episode.

      • atcdave says:

        I think Shaw’s dislike for Chuck is recent and purely a function of the Sarah factor. We over thought this stuff before, that was a mistake. I bet Shaw has no idea Sarah might have some involvement with his wife, he is simply making a move on a hot agent and jealous of her ex. More may unfold later, but for now that is all.

      • herder says:

        What I mean by some other reason is that he may feel that Chuck is a good agent by the fortunate (to Shaw) circumstance of Chuck being the intersect, that he hasn’t had to work to be the top agent that he is. Envy that it seems to come easy to Chuck to be as good as he is.

        Resentment is a very powerful emotion. I don’t think that he has the appreciation of what Chuck has gone through that someone like Bryce might have had. Think of the way that Shaw has almost always called Chuck the intersect except when he is talking to Sarah. Sort of depersonalization of who Chuck is which is the complete opposite to anyone who knows Chuck.

        I think that there is a sense of envy about Shaw, that he would like to be the intersect so that he would have the ability to do to the Ring what he thinks that Chuck can. I think that this makes him more likely to put Chuck into dangerous situations and that Casey has picked up on this and is what has made him stick around, duty despite no longer being on the mission.

      • JC says:

        Does anyone remember if they said where Sarah’s Red Test took place? I could have sworn I saw a street sign in French.

      • herder says:

        Look at the benches in her flashback and at the benches in the promo for the next episode where they are in the AV room.

      • JC says:

        Yep I saw that. The flashback and promo give it away.

        I’m just trying to confirm the city where her test happened, I’m assuming it was Paris.

      • josh says:

        It’s definitely Paris, there was a sign in French, I think a give way sign or something, and you could definitely see those French advertising kiosks in the background

      • Jason says:

        what if sarah tells chuck her real name in 3.13 – but it is mission related – chuck flashes on her red test (which is why she refused to tell him in the past), but chuck then flashes on sarah killed eve in her red test – which tells C/S why shaw is trying to kill them all of a sudden – making the title chuck vs the other guy?

      • Crumby says:

        Sarah doesn’t say where it was.
        But the “Cédez le passage” sign is indeed a french give way sign josh.

      • JC says:

        Crazy speculation time

        Sarah killed Eve Shaw in Paris.
        Shaw finds out in 3.12.
        Other Guy is supposed to take place in Paris.
        Shaw leads C/S or maybe just Sarah to where Red Test took place.
        Sarah figures it out, Shaw wants vengeance.
        Chuck ends up shooting Shaw to protect Sarah in the same place as her first kill.

      • Paul and JC There is a big difference between having feelings and loving some one.Sarah has reverted back to falling for these James Bond wanna-bee types on a professional level that she’s been partners with like Bryce,Cole,and now Shaw.

        These types of relationships is called “Superfical Relationships”.meaning showing affections on the surface but no emotional love.That’s a false life which end up in misery and that the state that Sarah is in for sometime now and she’s miserable because of it.

        There a difference between loving the idea of someone than loving the person for who they really are. Sarah will figure it out staring in ep.12

    • Big Kev says:

      JC,
      As much as I’m willing to forgive Sarah some of her behaviour in S3 based on what’s been revealed in Final Exam, I think we just have to accept that there’s a serious amount of artificiality in the Shaw/Sarah setup. The writers decided they were going to have a love quadrangle this season. Interviews were given saying that they were determined to give Sarah a genuine “choice” this season – and come hell or high water, that’s what they have written.
      Joe’s post means that you have some more information which may help you to view Sarah through a more sympathetic lens this season – it’s certainly helped me do that – but she’s still crossed the line at which any normal, rational person would say, “why would I want her back?” That line is the result of the writers either pushing Sarah too far down this road, or not being able to tell the story well enough to have us believe it. It’s sad. For all the fact that this episode filled in many of the gaps in Sarah’s psyche, I think the handling of her character has been the biggest weakness of this season. I’d love to hear Yvonne’s views on what’s been done to Sarah this season.

      • weaselone says:

        My guess would be that Yvonne enjoys playing the Sarah character this season as it challenges her as an actress. The more appropriate question might be to ask her whether Sarah as she played her this season would be someone that any sane person would want a committed relationship with.

    • JC says:

      Thanks both of you

      Paul…

      I’ve tried to tell her they’re misleading, we all remember how the punch played out. But I am interested myself in what she feels about Shaw.

      Big Kev..

      That’s been a worry of mine if a C/S reunion happens how believable will it be? Final Exam did explain some things but I have say its hard to forget the others.

      • Big Kev says:

        My natural instinct is to try and cut the show as much slack as possible, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to be happy enough regardless of how it plays out – but damn, they’ve made the journey a lot harder than it needed to be.

      • josh says:

        Honestly? The portion of the fanbase that just wants the angst to be over so that the show can move on will be satisfied. (I fall in this category)

        Also, the portion of the fanbase that will enjoy seeing the loveable nerdy guy triumph over the dominant alpha male will also be satisfied.

        I think however that the portion of the fanbase that is heavily invested in the Chuck/Sarah are an epic romantic couple that were always together even when they are apart idea will not be satisfied.

        TPTB obviously sacrificed that to come up with a story that has Sarah choosing Chuck. The latter part of the fanbase will never be satisfied with that because they don’t feel it was ever a choice. Does it look artificial? Most definitely, but there’s nothing we can do about it now, we can’t rewrite history.

        Now with regards to your original question, why should you be rooting for Chuck to get Sarah back. Well the obvious answer is because Chuck wants her back. And also because from what we ‘ve seen in the show Chuck is the only person that can help Sarah save herself. Sarah is very very lost, kinda like Chuck was in Fake Name just to a much higher degree. Shaw, as is evident, can’t really help her find herself, he can just help her forget herself. So you should definitely root for Chuck if you like Sarah.

        PS apologies if anybody gets offended by me trying to lump up together the fanbase. I realize there are infinite variations to the cliches I listed above, it was just an attempt to explain the basic concept.

      • JC says:

        Thanks for answers again.

        I’ve been over the C/S relationship for awhile myself so it’s hard for me to answer her question. And honestly I doubt any answer will be good enough for her.

    • weaselone says:

      That depends on whether we consider Sarah as she was in the previous two seasons or simply the Sarah of this season. If we consider the previous two seasons, then like Morgan we should want Chuck to get Sarah back because with Sarah he’s the Chuck we always knew he could be. If we only consider season three, then we obviously shouldn’t because Sarah’s emotional and psychological issues render her toxic. She’s the type of girl that any decent friend would strongly encourage a man to dump. She just has too much baggage to date simply because she’s hot in a manic depressive sort of way.

      • HenryH says:

        Weaselone-
        Well, Chuck DID offer to be her personal baggage handler in Season 1 🙂

        Plus, as you say, the best Chuck can be is with Sarah. And, undoubtedly, Sarah will realize (and should have known even thought all this pop-psych crap) that the best she can be is with Chuck. The writers have always made THAT clear, even thought all the horrific diversions.

        Besides, since when is love logical?

        As much as I’ve disliked this season, and as much as they already ret-conned Three Words, the Chuck and Sarah you saw at the fountain in that episode was simply breathtaking. Chuck talking about love and Sarah responding (Has any actress EVER gotten more effect out of a few dips of a gun as Strahovski got?) was astonishing.

        I would hope for a few moments of that again in e11-19. In fact, this whole cursed season could be redeemed if TPTB gave Levi and Strahovski just ONE scene to play genuine love, no matter how tortured. Just ONE scene. I want to see it acted with some good dialogue.

      • Crumby says:

        Yes but Chuck hasn’t been the perfect guy to date in season 3 either.
        First he « rejected » Sarah in Prague. Then he’s been a lemon on a couch. Then he came back as a spy apprentice. Focusing on his objective, he didn’t listen to anything Sarah would say as warnings. Put his best friend and sister aside. He hasn’t been a good brother-in-law either. He went for Hannah the first minute he could, and went all PDA, dancing and singing « I had sex last night! », to finally crush her. Hannah have said it… He wasn’t a good guy back then.
        The difference is : Chuck has family and friends to support him even when he’s a jerk, and they helped him to go back on track.

      • weaselone says:

        1. Chuck declined to run away with Sarah. He didn’t reject her. In fact, the rejection occurred when Sarah refused to answer his phone calls. I think the writers have pretty clearly established that part of Chuck’s motivation in becoming a spy is having a relationship with Sarah without forcing her to sacrifice everything and go on the run from the government with him.

        2. He lost his job and the girl. What did you expect him to do, sing and dance? When he finally saw a chance to get back into the game he seized it.

        3. Sarah’s been acting like his overprotective mother this season. It’s not as though she’s had deep conversations with him regarding the emotional toll being a spy takes, or her concerns about him changing into another person, and her doubts about loving Chuck the spy. Her objections have mainly been along the lines of things being too dangerous, or Chuck being incapable of performing a task at this time.

        4. He’s training to be a spy so he hasn’t had as much time for him and he’s lied about his activities out of necessity. On the flip side, they’ve been insufferable snoops whose feathers get ruffled whenever Chuck doesn’t share every aspect of his life with them. Chuck’s willing to let Ellie go to Africa and was willing to let Morgan go to Hawaii which would have cut into face time by necessity, but they seem unable to cut him the same slack.

        5. Let’s see, he’s saved Awesome’s life on multiple occasions, assumed the full burden of lying to his sister, and pushed Awesome away from the spy world when Devon was gung ho about being a secret agent to get an adrenaline Rush. I’d say Chuck’s been a pretty good brother in law. Devon on the other hand, has been kind of a whiny jerk much of the season.

        6. No. Chuck didn’t pursue Hannah until the very end of her penultimate episode. Even then he asked Sarah point blank whether she was OK with him pursuing something with her.

        7. Chuck was happy and showed it while bringing down donuts. Casey’s the one who brought up that Chuck had sex.

        8. Chuck crushed Hannah because he realized that living a relationship based on lies was a pretty crappy thing to do. Drawing things out with further lies in order to spare her feelings just would have compounded the problem.

        9. Sarah does have a family, she just isn’t utilizing it. Chuck tried to reach out a few times earlier in the season. Casey will listen to girly feelings, although he’ll complain the entire time, and Ellie has demonstrated a willingness to reach out even though Sarah and Chuck aren’t dating.

      • metajoke says:

        You know what REALLY scares me? Now that TPTB are pop psychologists, it wouldn’t surprise me that they set up an awful conclusion like this:
        1) Chuck “loves” Sarah but he’s with her because he feels he can’t abandon her in the spy world after he denied her the “real” life she wanted.
        2) Sarah “loves Chuck but she’s with him because she feels he she can’t abandon him in the spy world after she dragged him into it.

        It’s an angstfest for season 3.5 and 4, folks.

        We can’t just have a resolution where Chuck and Sarah realize they actually LOVE each other for themselves….

      • atcdave says:

        You’re right metajoke, that would be a dreadful resolution.

      • Crumby says:

        Weaselone-

        I agree with all your points. Especially after seeing the last 3 episodes. But that’s not where I was with Chuck before that. I felt bad for Morgan, for Ellie, for Awesome before his all whiny thing, for Hannah, for Sarah even if she’s to blame too. I’m not saying he didn’t had reason to be how he was but he wasn’t this awesome guy weknew. Not to me.

        But you did really made well your points. 😉

    • atcdave says:

      JC, I think one of the main flaws of this season is, you can only answer that question by looking at the first two seasons. You would never root for Chuck to get together with such a messed up woman in season three; but we see in the first two, her faith in Chuck, her self sacrificing character, and the easy report they had. For those of us still rooting for them, its on the strength of what came before, not what’s going on now.

      • John says:

        Indeed, and I doubt the casual viewer will take the time to go back and watch the first 2 seasons.

      • JC says:

        Dave..

        That might be the right answer at this point. I’m willing to give the writers the next two episodes to explain it further. I’m just looking for something to keep her watching because she did really love the show. I’m just hoping this doesn’t get dragged into the back six which is more likely.

    • Faith says:

      JC, normally I’d answer and it would be this big convoluted piece that draws on everything from subtle nuances to script. But I just can’t sum up the energy to do so. I find myself no longer caring about her motivation, because when it comes down to it, enough is enough.

  30. DaveB says:

    I think I finally know who Shaw is: He’s ‘the king’s stinking son’!

    • sniderman says:

      Thank you for bringing up such a painful memory. While we’re at it, why don’t you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice in it?

      Loves me some Princess Bride. 🙂

    • BeCoolBoy says:

      You know what’s worse? We’re 46 hours into this and we’re STILL waiting for a perfect Chuck-Sarah kiss…

      By the standards of Princess Bride, Fred Savage would now be 327 years old and he hasn’t reached the end of the damned story yet….

      Meanwhile:

      Hello, my name is Daniel Shaw. You killed my wife. Prepare for me to stare at you vacant-eyed and red-rimmed…

    • herder says:

      “Sarah, I love you.”

      “Chuck, it’s complicated”

      “you say that word a lot, I don’t think that word means what you think it does”

      Still my favorite line from that movie.

      • HenryH says:

        I’d have to go with “Good Luck storming the Castle!”

        Which, oddly, could work in the context of Chuck. But we CAN hold out hope. It looks like Chuck will at least TRY to, um, storm the Castle on Monday.

    • amyabn says:

      I’ll take the lisping bishop: “marriage..marriage is what bwings us togevah today”

  31. Bea says:

    Yes! Yes! Thank you! You definitely took all the words out of my mouth, and very eloquently too. Given the background info in the past about Sarah (although they are limited) she never have an ideal lifestyle. Sarah Walker is an emotion troubled person. It is Chuck who made her realize that it is possible for her to a different, living a less lonely life. Thus, she is in turmoil at the sight of seeing Chuck presumably turning into another person – the kind of person in herself that she is trying to escape from.

    As you noted in “Fake Name,” there was a reason for why Sarah was reaching for the trigger. Superspy Sarah Walker could’ve easily escape the assassin’s hold, IMO, but the problem is that maybe she didn’t want to. Maybe she’s just tired of everything that is going around because she realizes how much of a mess she is in.

    • joe says:

      Thank you, Bea. But since I’m still discovering typos in my post, I admit that I could still use an editor!

      That scene in Fake Name still haunts me. I really, really hope TPTB revisit it.

  32. Robert H says:

    A great article Joe, thanks. It cleared up a lot of my frustration with season 3. I only wish a lot of
    angry viewers knew this earlier. Hopefully many people will read your article and go back to watching the show. There another article on chucktv.net by Lou W. Sytsma under the heading
    “A Fistful of Catch 22’s which also sheds further
    light on the Sarah character. I hope people who are
    frustrated with the last episode will read as well and continue to watch the show, thanks.

    • joe says:

      Welcome, Robert. Lou is a regular commenter here. I read his article and agree with much that he wrote (and like usual, got enlightened, too 😉 ).

      I hope you’re not too frustrated with S3. I’m a little sad (but not despondent) that many are. We’ll always have this running debate between the two sides; those who say that this is not the story we wanted and those who say we should enjoy (or not) the story we have on the merits (or lack thereof). Even though I have my doubts that the frustration has always been directed at the right people, I honestly see virtue in both.

  33. KG and Herder!You two make some very good points on this.Shaw putting Chuck through a red test so soon was a surprise to Sarah but to Casey as well,that is why he told Chuck to be careful out there.

    Casey always been very suspicous of Shaw,remember in the beginning of the first THE FIRST CLASS when he told Chuck that shaw is a special agent with the CIA meaning he can do anything he wants to good or bad.

    If Shaw finds out at the end of ep.12 that it was Sarah who killed his wife Eve in France 5 years ago, what no better way to get back at someone by coming into Castle,take over Team B,manipulate and use Sarah who controls Chuck/Intersect for his on agenda as far as sending Chuck on these dangerous solo missions which Caaey have notice.

    Shaw is not only taking out his revenge against the Ring for turning his wife but also to get revenge on Sarah by making her life just as miserable or more miserable than him is to kill Chuck.

    By the end of “THE FINAL EXAM” Sarah was telling Shaw about killing a woman as part of her red test in France 5yrs.ago.Did anyone see the look in Shaw’s
    eyes and the expression on his face like it was you who kill assassinated my wife.

    Shaw envys Chuck because he’s can be a better spy than Shaw because Chuck is not like Shaw.He wants Chuck to be cold blooded killer spy just like him by in return pushing him closer to Sarah

    Don’t worry fans better days are ahead for C/S.Ep12 is going to reveal a lot of things going into ep.13. It’s going to exciting.

    • Stef62 says:

      I’ve just watched the trailer from citytv, that puts a completely different slant on the dinner date from ep12, and its sarah, and shaw having it, not chuck.

      She’s not happy with him crashing the date. It’s not going to end well, especially after devon puts shaw through the window.

      • Crumby says:

        I felt the same way after seeing the promo for the first time. But there’s been some discussion on this blog about it that have given me some hope.

        https://chuckthisblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/26/what-condition-is-your-condition-in/#comment-9645

      • Stef62 i’ll agree with you Shaw is everywere Chuck and Sarah is.they can’t talk to each other in Castle and now even on a date they can’t talk to each other because he’s following them around.

        I’m telling you Shaw got some serious issues he is a pychopath and he’s envy of Chuck especially when C/S are together.

        we saw in THE MASK when C/S retieved the mask and he was the there when C/S are about to kiss in THE FINAL EXAM.

        It starting to annoy Sarah and Chuck and something that isn’t right with Shaw and it’s going to come out.

      • JC says:

        You should really watch that trailer, its Shaw and Sarah on a date. Whether its a mission or not we don’t know. Its Chuck who crashes it not Shaw.

  34. Paul says:

    Yup, S/S are out, and Chuck crashes it. Whether it’s a real date or a mission, Sarah is gonna be PISSED! I really think she’s going to tell Chuck off and this is the reason why Chuck thinks he’s lost Sarah for good, and also the reason why he goes to rescue shaw “for her.”

    BTW, even if it’s a real date, I think there are multiple things going on. Particularly, I think the Ring is closing in on S/S and Awesome tackling Shaw inadvertantly saves him…temporarily.

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