The Last American Hero

And In Conclusion…

This is my forth attempt to write something meaningful about The American Hero episode. Each try became trial pretty quickly. And before that, I could only think to repeat the same ideas and express the same reactions that I’ve seen expressed in comments. You guys are that good.

The only difference is that I was thinking about your reactions to The Pink Slip and The Mask, you know, the lowest points of the season.

It seemed that most of you are pretty happy with (or at least, upbeat about) what you saw. I couldn’t find that in myself. When I see Sarah enjoying herself on a date with Shaw, and when I see her kissing him, the writers are telling me that she has real feelings for him. When Shaw tells Chuck to take care of her, the writers are telling me that he’s a paragon. There’s no deception, or mis-direction or anything except these are not the characters I thought I understood before, and this is not the story I thought I was seeing up to now.

And I find myself using your words and your ideas, you “crazy-shippers”, you, to understand what’s going on. You were right all along.

So I’ve felt pretty down-cast all week, not because I should be facing a ringing chorus of “I told you so!” (really!). I’ve been saddened to think that Sarah is not the person I thought she was. She’s much diminished in my mind. To be charitable about it, Sarah has a habit of trying guys on “for size” (just to see if they fit). She did it with Cole Barker too, I think.

Shaw: I’m sorry.
Sarah: What could you possibly be sorry for? This is amazing.
Shaw: I’m sorry that we haven’t done this sooner.
Sarah: This is nice.
Shaw: No! This is perfect, being here with you.
They clink glasses.
To a new life, and a fresh start. No Burbank, no baggage.

No baggage.

Imagine there’s a bruise on my arm. It’s the last place I want to be poked by anybody. The writers have jabbed me right on that bruise, now, consciously, deliberately, and yes, they told me all season that this was coming. It’s a shame that this is happening right at the very core of the show, right where I’m the most sensitive.

I call it a shame because the rest of episode was fantastic!

Casey-Awesome-Morgan (the CAM team) had me in stitches; Morgan has been incredible and getting better.  And Ellie!  I could watch a season of Ellie and be happy (or a season of Casey, or a season of Morgan or a season of Jeffster…). They were at the top of their game, and every second the support team was on screen was precious.

Ellie: Jail? Seriously jail? Morgan. I would have expected this from you or even Casey now that we’ve all been privy to your public indecency problem. But Devon! I never expected this from you.
Devon: Babe, I’m so sorry…
Ellie: You know what? Save the apology. Okay? I want answers. I want the truth. I want you guys to tell me everything.
Devon: The truth?
Ellie: Yes.
Devon: The truth is…
Casey: We were, uh helping Chuck.
Ellie: Chuck is in DC, guys.
Morgan: No, he was. But he’s back – to win back Sarah.
Ellie: Hold on for a minute. You guys expect me to believe that the three of you got my husband beat up and tossed in jail to save my brother’s love life?
Devon: Yes
Morgan: Yes we did.
Casey: We’re as shocked as you are.
Ellie: And what’s more Chuck came to you three for advice before me?
Why am I not surprised this ended in jail?

Chuck Bartowski himself has just crossed into a whole new realm. Let me put it this way; Chuck didn’t seem like Bond to me. Bond is now Chuck, sans humor and humanity, a lesser character. “I’m just a normal guy.” Sure. That true. And I want to be normal like that. Sarah wants That Normal Guy.

And wasn’t the phrase about James Bond always “Men want to be him; women want to be with him.”? Hah! Given the choice of James or Chuck, Morgan is quite right to pick Chuck in the first round. Even Chuck knows now that his old insecurities were just not necessary (“Huh, didn’t even need to flash.”), and that alone, my friends, is a big, big reason to like him. Chuck’s realization that he has been “good enough” all along, not to mention good enough for Sarah, once again mirrors our own experiences (and if it hasn’t yet, trust me on this, it will).

Mr. Everyman? Nice to see you again. Oh yes, Chuck has changed. But the only difference that means anything is that now Chuck knows what he wants.

Chuck: Listen. I know that you think I’m not that same guy you met the first day at the buy more. And you know what? You’re right, okay? You’re right. The guy that I was back then hated himself for not knowing what he wanted to do with the rest of his life or who he wanted to spend it with, but now, finally now, I know. I want to be a spy. And I want to be with you.

That leaves Sarah.  Sarah, if I could talk to you, I’d have to ask – do you even know what the heck love is? Here. Let me help. M. Scott Peck said this:“Love is not a feeling. Love is an action, an activity. . .”. Forget the daddy-issues stuff and forget about the speeches. Think about what Chuck is doing. Think about what Shaw is doing. One of them has a mission to satisfy is own need to avenge and correct a painful past event. The other is taking every opportunity he has to help two people grow (and you are one of those two people). Here’s something else Peck said:

[L]ove is the will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth….

Sarah, that’s not poetic, and it’s not even easy to comprehend. But it’s true none-the-less. Chuck has been extending himself. He’s been doing that for himself. And as amazing as you are, Sarah Walker, he’s been helping you to grow too. That’s why he won’t lie to you, that’s why he stands up for his friends (even when it costs him), and that’s why he won’t use a gun. So now tell me; what have you been doing?

Perhaps the answer is Sarah’s digging herself out of a hole, all while helping Chuck reach his goal. If that’s the case (and it remains to be seen that it is), then all of a sudden, my spirits are lifting. When I think this is still possible, then the last few minutes of American Hero shows me a Sarah whose smile is as radiant as the one we saw in a suburban kitchen.

Three things have happened in these past couple of days to make me anticipate the coming episodes with excitement.  Faith’s marvellous post on the music we’ve heard said something key – that much of it applies to both Chuck and Sarah.  Blitzen Trapper’s God and Suicide could have been playing in the immediate aftermath of Rafe holding a gun to Sarah’s head.  I saw her relive her red test. Faith noted how the line “Take a chance on something.” from The Temper Trap’s Down River is what we hear when Chuck asks Sarah to run away with him. Those are the words we want her to hear. Chuck has already taken his chance – those are the words ringing in Sarah’s ears. The first thing that’s happened is that, like it often does, the music has made the story.

Second, we’ve seen promos for the upcoming episodes. ’nuff said.

Lastly, my friends, your optimism is showing. Over and over again I’ve seen signs that many of you seriously, honestly and truly believe that you’re going to enjoy what’s coming up next. Oh, there’s caution, and expectations have been appropriately tempered. But who’s been really deserving of the title “crazy”? Nobody I’ve seen lately. You – we! were asked to be patient and give everyone involved a fair chance, including show-runners and NBC. From where I sit, it looks like that’s exactly what happened. I can’t be sure that we’ll all be happy in these coming weeks, but just the fact that so many think it’s possible speaks volumes.

The seeds planted in the story have made that possible. It’s a coincidence, I’m sure that springtime warmth has come to my part of the country this week too.  It’s been a  long winter.

– joe


About joe

In my life I've been a professor, martial artist, rock 'n roller, rocket scientist, lover, poet and brain surgeon. I'm lying about the brain surgery.
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160 Responses to The Last American Hero

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  2. Josh says:

    Joe you are far more eloquent than I am. My view of the episode? They took it too far, tried to make Chuck overcome far too many obstacles and ended up taking some of the magic away. The Shaw/Sarah kiss wasn’t really necessary, especially on the back of the dinner scene and Chuck’s second attempt to talk to her. Nor did we need to have to analyze frames to determine when Sarah chose Chuck.Much like many things this season weren’t necessary, they were cheap angst devises.

    BUT I ‘ve said it before. My mind with regards to this arc was made up long before American Hero. What I liked about it was the sigh of relief I let out in the end, thank god this stupid arc is over so we can get back to Chuck the show.

    • joe says:

      Not sure I *am* more eloquent, Josh. You pretty much wrote exactly what I did in the second version of this post (and I wasn’t kidding that there were four).

      My immediate reaction to that kiss was exactly the same – it’s not necessary. Dave (and others) said it weeks ago that Shaw wasn’t necessary. Mostly, now I think they’ve been right. I’m still struggle to separate that out from my dislike of the character before I can put a stamp of certainty on that. And yes, even the one episode that remains of the original 13 could make Shaw indispensable to the story line. Emphasis on the word “could”. The writers have already proven their ability to make that jump conceivable (and I’ll be rooting for ’em).

      But, wow. I’ll be surprised.

      • JC says:


        I’m bought into what you and OD have said about how broken Sarah was and how she hated herself. But there’s been a few things I can’t get past. Her standing by as Shaw tries to choke Chuck out in Fake Name, doing nothing at the end of Beard when Shaw wants to blow up castle, being manipulated into using Chuck’s feelings for her to make him kill in Final Exam. And yet after each thing she runs back to Shaw. I know people are happy about the upcoming episodes, but I still have a bad taste in my mouth about the whole thing.

      • lizjames says:

        JC: Everything you mention that Sarah has done “bad” this year to Chuck is actually fairly easily explained. She was treating Chuck as the spy he wanted to be a spy.

        She didn’t intervene in the fight because it was spy-on-spy. She DID intervene at the end of Beard, asking Shaw to give Chuck more time “for me” and Shaw gave her five minutes. But she knew that’s all she’d get from another spy and had to accept that Chuck was going to die as the spy he wanted to be. As for the manipulation on the Red Test, well, she had no choice. She had to do it if she was going to help Chuck get what he wanted.

        Sarah’s failures this year were NOT in her relationship with Chuck the spy. They were in her relationship with Chuck the person she loves. Her abandonment of Chuck after Three Words and after burning Manoosh were the terrible things. Her EMOTIONAL involvement with Shaw (Fake Name), going to places with Shaw that she’s never gone with Chuck, were betrayals. Her rejecting Chuck after he “passed” the Red Test was despicable.

        That’s where she let her own dislike of herself get in the way of her feelings for Chuck. But the spy stuff? She treated Chuck like a spy because he wanted to be a spy and she knew it was important to him.

        I have no faith in TPTB to explore things this deep without being maudlin and cheap. But if there is a fourth season, it would be great if they could explore the Chuck and Sarah relationship on the two levels that now exist. How Chuck and Sarah interact with each other as spies and how Chuck and Sarah interact with each other as lovers.

        While Sarah knows less about love than Chuck, she has the ability to separate spy stuff from real stuff. Chuck knows more about love, but spy life and real life are a jumble to him. If they write the characters correctly, Sarah will always be able to interact with Chuck on two levels. Her task will be to remember (or learn) how to be a woman. Chuck’s emotions and actions have always been full-on and unstinting with Sarah. His task will be to remember (or learn) how to be a spy when they are spying together.

        It could be fun and deep. It’s where the show SHOULD have started this season.

      • amyabn says:

        Joe, great post. I didn’t realize where you were until you wrote this. I hope we can all move pass the maudlin crap this season churned up and get back to the fun. That is where I felt the last two episodes were getting us to.

        Liz, a heartfelt welcome back! I’ve missed your POV.

      • JC says:

        You know I never thought Sarah was actually treating him as a spy that’s probably why I had such a problem with those things. I guess it ties into into what you said about her opening up emotionally to Shaw and her dislike of herself. I didn’t think her opening up to Shaw bothered me that much but I guess it did.

        Thanks for that Liz

      • joe says:

        JC, Liz pretty much channeled my thoughts on the scenes and problem-points that you mentioned.

        I just want to add that I wasn’t troubled so much by Sarah’s passivity when Shaw went all berserkers on Chuck, or when he wanted to bomb Castle. I took the first as stunned shock, and the second as submission to a superior officer. That’s easy enough for me to live with.

        What bothered me was how comfortable she seemed to be on a date with him.

        But you see, I have to be very careful here. When I see things like “comfort” in a TV show, it’s important to know that *I’m* interpreting things that way. Someone with a different history (that would be everyone) could have a different interpretation. They can certainly weigh it differently – make it more important or less important to the story in their minds.

        Great writers know how to control that. And when it’s ambiguous, that’s for effect too. Of course in the hands of lesser writers the ambiguity is not intentional and merely confusing. We’re in the process here, I think, of deciding which it is.

        Hey! That’s not bad! I just made us seem noble!

      • JC says:

        I get that Joe and I guess the things that bothered me can explained on a professional level. But there’s more to it, she loves Chuck so one would think those actions would drive her away from Shaw on a personal level. Yet each time she got closer to him. And then the events of the Red Test, I really thought that would be the end of it but like you said she seemed comfortable just a few days later. Maybe its like Liz says and it was all a cover. If so Sarah is a lot more messed up than I thought.

      • herder says:

        I guess what I found jarring about the date scene is that this is the first time that Sarah seemed happy with Shaw. This at a time after she had said to Chuck that it was different than it was with him, and also after Shaw had made her do something that clearly she didn’t want to do – get Chuck to do the Red Test.

        Also, the “no Burbank, no baggage” comment seemed a direct shot at Chuck which was a bit unsetteling.

      • atcdave says:

        So Joe, it seems your disillusionment with this episode just comes down to you being a little slow. I’m sure its not on purpose, probably genetic or something (please nobody, especially Joe, think I’m serious about this!). For myself, and I think many here, we were so horrified back in Fake Name as we realized this was for real. Sarah had fallin for a creep, and her character was diminished for many of us. By the time we get to American Hero, no new damage is done, and the cloud starts to lift at the end; so the episode strikes us as mostly good.

        See where your optimism gets you! The ending was terrific; not worth what they put us through, but terrific in context. As I’ve said elsewhere, they’re ending this season where they should have started it. But at least we’re finally getting there. Now, with a largely forgetable season behind us, we will see in the next few weeks if they can convince us we want to save this show. I was mostly optimistic until I read CF’s interview with Mo Ryan, now my alert status has been downgraded to “cautious”, but we’ll see.

      • HenryH says:

        I didn’t even HEAR the “no Burbank, no baggage” line even on a reviewing. But I think, honestly, to Sarah Burbank and baggage mean Chuck and HER baggage. In this stupid story arc, I mean. That line actually goes all the way back to the pilot when Chuck offered to be “her personal baggage handler.”

        SO when she says no Burbank and no baggage, she’s give up on Chuck and her own life. I actually DON’T think it should be taken as a shot at Chuck. She’s giving up on her life…

      • herder says:

        Henry, it’s said by Shaw, at the restaurant after he says that this is perfect, you hear it on the CAM surveillance. If Shaw is saying this then there is only one possible subject of the comment, Chuck.

      • amyabn says:

        I think Chuck needs to offer to be her personal baggage handler again. It would be a nice throw back to episode 1.1 as well as push the reset button on them moving forward together.

      • SWnerd says:

        I missed that line too. But who really listens when Poochie talks anyway? It’s like talking to a fence post.

      • joe says:

        Heh! Dave, substitute “stubborn” for “slow”, and then you got it! 😉

        And that’s definitely genetic!

      • Merve says:

        Liz, I think that you’ve written an excellent analysis of the situation, but I disagree with you on two key points.

        1) Sarah did fail in her relationship with Chuck the spy. In “Three Words,” she used a training session to vent her anger at him. In “Angel de la Muerte,” she stubbornly refused to let Chuck help her rescue Casey. In “First Class,” she didn’t show any confidence in his potential to conduct the mission. In “Nacho Sampler,” she didn’t give him any advice on how to deal with burning an asset. In “Beard,” she made no effort to figure out why he wasn’t flashing or to help him flash again. These are all things that she should have done differently, regardless of whether she was in love with him or not.

        2) I don’t think that season 3 should have started where you say it should have started. After the events of “Ring,” there is no conceivable scenario in my mind that would allow Chuck and Sarah to be in any sort of stable relationship. Heck, you don’t even need to throw in the romantic misunderstandings; Chuck’s re-intersection is enough to make any sort of romantic relationship between them seem implausible. I guess one could argue that if Chuck and Sarah had actually talked, then Chuck would never have re-intersected, but then we wouldn’t have a show. Another way out would be not to have Sarah wanting a “normal life,” but then her character would have had to have been rewritten.

      • HenryH says:

        I disagree with you.

        1) In Three Words, she actually only got personal when Chuck refused to work on the skills. She kept calling for the Intersect to flash. Chuck then made it personal by saying he wouldn’t do it by saying he didn’t want to hurt her. (Man, this sounds so cheesy now…)

        2) The Angel and First Class scenarios was about whether she thought he was ready. He clearly, by his own admission, was NOT ready in First Class.

        3) In Nacho Sampler, she went so far as to offer to do it for him. And she DID give him advice on how to do it…

        4) In Beard, she DID offer to talk to him, although, admittedly, it was an ambiguous “talk to us.”

        As for your claim that Chuck and Sarah couldn’t be together at the start of the season, well, I just disagree. And, remember, Merve, for those of us who had been with the show all through the series, we’d been told by Fedak that Colonel was the point of no return. We had a fair expectation that they had been coupled for the long term.

        As for how they could have done it, well, again, remember, if we’re going with canon, Sarah knows more about The Intersect than anyone still alive (Bryce being dead). She would have been the logical choice to train him. And, again, maybe I’m just a romantic. If you make a commitment to another person, it doesn’t change because your job situation changes.

        But, again, this becomes a business decision, doesn’t it. They decided to play the WT/WT card one more time and wrote a story around that.

        If they decided to play Chuck and Sarah together, they’d have written the story around that.

        They chose WT/WT, then doubled down by keeping Levi and Strahovski off the screen together beginning with First Class. And the ratings started declining beginning with Nacho Sampler and haven’t recovered.

        So they guessed wrong. Twice.

      • AngelTwo says:

        Merve: On the point about Chuck and Sarah not being together at the start of season 3, be careful. You’re veering dangerously close to Old Darth insane and inane theory that coupling them would have forced the show runners to kill one of them off.

        These aren’t real people, they are constructs and conceits and you could build them any way that makes some sort of sense within an acceptable range of suspension of disbelief.

        They made a BUSINESS decision to go with PLIs and wrote the post-Ring developments with that in mind. If they had wanted to keep Chuck and Sarah together as a business decision, they would have written the post-Ring developments this way:

        1) When Chuck is right with Sarah, he functions. Whenever they squabble about a mission or who forgot to put the toilet seat down, Chuck doesn’t flash. (Uh, you know what I mean…)
        2) Sarah was appointed head of the Intersect project in Ring by Beckman, so she knows about its inner workings. It would have been a benefit to have her emotionally tied to the Intersect-ee (so to speak) as well.
        3) Chuck and Sarah would have trouble with the coupling, but they fight their way through it.
        4) Being together causes them constant danger as they have trouble separating their spy lives from their real lives.
        5) Sarah tells Chuck she wants out and Chuck promises to make a decision after he finally becomes an agent.

        They risked the show on one more season of WT/WT Tweener angst. It looks like they guessed wrong, especially since they also inexplicable found no way to keep ZL and YS together on the screen for most of the shows between First Class and now.

        I guess I’m an uber-cynic. I can’t separate storyline from the business of TV. And based on the ratings, the further apart they kept the Chuck and Sarah characters, the faster the ratings fell.

        So what does it profit a showrunner if he follows his creative muse and the network cancels him?

      • Gabbo says:

        Merve/Henry/Angel: This is a fabulous debate. I have a side (they should have been together), but I find those who found a break-up plausible to be interesting. Well, not the OD “one of them would be killed” meme. That’s just silly. I mean, these are TV characters. Just two weeks ago we had Chuck misdirecting bullets. But, otherwise, interesting.

      • Merve says:

        AngelTwo, I’ve never heard of that “one of them would have to die” theory. What was that one about?

      • weaselone says:

        OD suggested that given Chuck and Sarah’s feelings for each other, their issues and their respective competence in the spy world that the two of them having a relationship this season was too risky and would have lead to the death of one of the characters.

      • Merve says:

        Henry, I think it comes down to how you interpret those scenes, and I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on those points.

        Weaselone, I don’t support that idea either. Chuck and Sarah have been emotionally entwined throughout the entire series and they’re not dead yet. Episodes like “Predator” and “Broken Heart” showed that that connection was an asset.

        I’m sorry, guys, but I don’t see how my perception of the consequences of the events of “The Ring” has anything to do with the “one of them would have to die” idea.

      • Faith says:

        I’m out for most of the day and you guys explode with good thoughts 🙂 Not that you don’t ever have good thoughts, but certainly more fervor than in times past lol. (Hi Liz! lol).

        Looking back on things…never do that…I’m starting to see the significance of “I’m the safest guy in the world.” Now before you all vomit (just like I feel like doing) think about it for a minute. Yes Shaw is a viable love interest, to my utter and complete dissatisfaction but he’s a “safe” love-interest. Just listen to her words: “it’s different, than with you,” “I’ve made a commitment and not just to Shaw” and the aforementioned “date.” Sarah can and have been able to separate job and life for most of her life (let’s face it, even with Jack Burton and her childhood) but where this skill fails is with Chuck, always with Chuck. With Chuck she can’t shoot a gun-woman because she might hit Chuck, with Chuck she disobeys orders and runs with him to Barstow, with Chuck she makes out with him during a stakeout duty (or at least almost made out with him), with Chuck she pleads with him to stay the guy she fell for (even though it would mean letting a traitor live). These aren’t Agent Walker actions, they’re genuinely and absolutely Sarah Walker (you know the one we loved, not the Sam that we hated).

        Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean she can’t and haven’t been able to do her job. On the contrary, she often has put the job, and in this case her perception of what Chuck wants over her own doubts…coaching Chuck to flash in the bar for example (that was moments from her talking about her doubts)…but wherein she falters is often Chuck-related. And if you add in the emotional component of believing she’s lost him, she’s lost Chuck (In my Sleep) it’s all the more powerful.

        Which is not to say I’ve liked her development, I think I’ve said it about 1000x now 😉 but that I can understand it…and for the first time in awhile I actually care again.

  3. Jason says:

    joe thx for all you do with the board and you continue to amaze with your ability to express an ‘everyman’ viewpoint, without imposing your will on ‘anyma’. I don’t know how you do it.

    I think this arc was harder in a way on some non-shippers than shippers, as the non-Shippers kept thinking it all was going to work out & be an epic spy story, and it didn’t & wasn’t, which many first realized in 3.11 / 3.12. since my shark got jumped in 3.7/3.8, the 3.12 stuff was just a minor scratch, I started treatment in 3.9 already and am well on my way to recovery, now I am just waiting for the nonsense to end.

    thx again.

    • joe says:

      I’m just expressing my view, Jason. It feels good to know that people actually like to hear it!

      As for imposing my will… Heh! Couldn’t if I tried! 😉

  4. Jason says:

    joe, I reread what I wrote, just wanted to add, I liked 3.12, and really think I will like 3.13 thru 3.19, the nonsense I refer to is shaw and ‘crazy’ sarah – I hope that sort of story telling ends with 3.13

  5. lizjames says:

    Joe, my friend, only for you and to try to lift you from despair would I come back to post something publicly.

    You know where I stand on this season and the wreckage it has caused. But, truly, you’ve misunderstood Sarah in this episode. She wasn’t trying on Shaw. And while she cares about him, it wasn’t love or anything like it.

    She had given up on Chuck, and, most importantly, she had given up on herself. Shaw was her booby prize for a life badly lived and cold comfort it was going to be. She was in despair. Just as she thought in Seasons 1 and 2 that all she could ever have with Chuck was the cover relationship, she decided that all she could have for the rest of her life now was a Shaw. Sarah had given up on herself and on rebirth.

    You can see that because it took hardly any effort at all when Chuck finally got to her at the restaurant. All he had to do was ask for a pass on the perverted Red Test and she was going to give it to him. And watch Sarah’s face near the end of the episode, after Beckman says she looks forward to working with her in Washington. Her last look is one of disappointment in and distaste for the life she was about to settle for with Shaw.

    And then Chuck arrived and rescued her. Even when she first tried to deflect him (“Chuck, you don’t have to…”), she wanted him to continue. Even when she tried to turn him down (“I made a committment and not just to Shaw…”), she was telling Chuck not to give up on her just because she’d given up on herself. Then Chuck saved her, finally, by not taking no for an answer. By not running from her. By telling her what to do. Just as Chuck stood his ground in front of the “bomb” in Hard Salami, Chuck wouldn’t take no for an answer here. The one thing she wanted in a man–someone who won’t abandon her and believes she has worth–was once again evident in Chuck.

    Chuck came to the rescue. That’s the important thing. And it looks like in e13, Sarah comes to Chuck’s rescue. This time it is SHE who won’t settle for the misunderstanding. She’ll demand Chuck understand.

    TPTB beat Sarah to death for 11 episodes this year. They made us look at ugly things about a woman we loved and admired. I dare to say, even for a fictional character, they told lies about her. But they were smart enough to let Chuck–the Chuck who refused to abandon her in the face of the “bomb” in Hard Salami–come in and save her. And Sarah does it for Chuck next week.

    It is Easter season, Joe. It’s time for rebirth. Chuck and Sarah will be reborn. How long the powers that be will let them love each other, I don’t know. BUt don’t go to your Easter services on Sunday without knowing that Monday belongs to Chuck and Sarah.

    • herder says:

      Liz, only for you would I read this thread (or at least this part of it), thanks for the return, however long it may last. Still haven’t forgiven TPTB for this story, but I am looking forward to this Monday and I hope to be rewarded for putting up with this season. Incidentally great analysis of Sarah’s reactions in American Hero.

    • sd says:

      Great post, liz.

      For the most part, I have followed the advice of those who would say not to read too deeply into the construct of each episode. There is no Shaw-Chuck-Sarah conspiracy afoot. She truly thinks of Shaw and Shaw thinks of her as a love interest.

      And I agree with that…but for all the reasons you give. She was “settling” b/c that’s what she feels she is only capable of having.

      I listened to “Wait it Out” today as a bookend to Down River…and what a lovely lyrical bookend it is…it so very much spells out the arc of these two characters this season.

      In “Wait it Out” think about this portion: “A back up makeshift life in waiting”…we didn’t really know it then…but in my opinion, that makeshift life was Shaw for Sarah.

      Fast forward to Down River…and this feeling of going through the wars of a relationship…and surviving–and hopefully–thriving.

      My hope would be an arc moving forward that takes into account all the funny, human, deep issues that arrive when couples live and work together…without the cheap theatrical affect of agnst.

      • Paul says:

        SD, I think there is a goldmine of relationship issues to explore AFTER C/S get together. The angst won’t necessarily go away, it’s just going to be a different kind of angst… 🙂

    • Faith says:

      talk about your red letter day, Joe’s post and Liz’s return…

      I’ll second your perspective as it relates to Sarah. When I posted “In My Sleep” as a song from Sarah’s POV I meant it to be an explanation of what has since gone on with her. It’s not a matter of her trying on men for size, it’s a matter of escape, a matter of devastation. In her view she’s lost the Chuck she fell for, and Chuck doesn’t care enough to return to that guy, to choose her. So his speech? It’s more than just a plea to take a chance, it’s an awakening to reality.

      Chuck is and will always be the guy she fell for at the Buy More and I think the reason why she’s already made her choice before talking to Casey is because she realized that. Actions couldn’t do it, because she’s blinded by the fact that his actions co-exist with the spy life, but his words are power…they blasted through the reverie she’s been under ever since Pink Slip.

    • joe says:

      Liz, SD, Faith –

      I know that it’s not monolithic, but I really appreciate the female POV about Sarah’s relationship with Shaw.

      I really think it’s different from the male POV, which makes it fascinating to me (of course)!

      My wife seems to feel that Shaw just wasn’t that much of a threat to C&S. He was more of a nuisance. I think her unspoken line is that she thinks Sarah has been plain silly about it, but I may be wrong ’bout that.

      • sd says:

        Hi Joe…

        Wouldn’t that be an interesting post?

        Take a–or several–pivotal scenes and get a women’s pov and a man’s? Some might call that sexsist…I think it could be insightful.

        I think the comments would also be fun to read 🙂

    • atcdave says:

      Welcome back Liz, great insights as always. Its nice to see such a well thought out construction of how Sarah is “settling.” That is certainly a more positive way of looking at things. Although I’ll never like the way things unfolded this season, at least they did [unfold]; now maybe, back to our regular scheduled program.

      • Gabbo says:

        Dave, the powers that be continue to insist that Shaw was a logical option for Sarah. Even yesterday’s interview with Fedak has him claiming that.

        But it is simply not up there on the screen or in the dialogue (unless you consider the 30 seconds of “date”).

        So you have to reach other conclusions. And the only conclusion is that Sarah had given up on Chuck and given up on a “real” life, so it was back to the spy at hand.

        Of course, the problem with THAT tortured logic of “You’re not the guy I fell for because you killed on your Red Test so I’ll go with the piece of plywood here” can only be explained by the bad decisions people in love make.

        Or the bad decisions delusional writers make.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah Gabbo, nice summation of the various difficulties in how we should look at this season. In the end, it simply doesn’t look to us like the writers insist it was supposed to. That is a failure. You know my position, it was a flawed concept from the start; but the fact many people who felt differently at first, agree it didn’t work in the end; is a damning statement of the whole season on several levels.

    • Lucian says:

      I really enjoy reading your posts – please keep on writing!

    • kg says:


      Keen use of season one evidence to hammer home your point. Namely the wonderful Salami epispde.

      Remember when they argued about it in Crown Vic? You just basically proved that it had nothing to do with “Chuck’s lips being the most convenient ones available at the time.” Yeah, that’s really not Sarah, messed up or not.

      It really “was about Chuck.” Sarah, the top CIA agent, displays her frustration and anger for her inability to properly protect and save Chuck from what they believe is an explosive devise. Or to convince him to run.

      But, Sarah the woman, is overcome with admiration, joy and passion because Chuck didn’t abandon her in the face of the gravest danger. So, she kisses him with everything she’s got.

      Of course, she turtles back into her shell. Even calls it a mistake. One she says she’ll never make again. Right.

      • herder says:

        Hard Salami points out one of the reasons I am frustrated by Sarah’s reaction to Shaw’s forcing her to make Chuck take the red test. At the end of Hard Salami Sarah has to choose between going with Bryce or staying with Chuck, she chooses to stay with Chuck but in Crown Vic she takes out her anger at being put in that position on Chuck.

        In final exam Shaw puts her in the position of choosing to give Chuck the red test (what Shaw wants) or being true to herself. She chooses to do what Shaw wants but yet again she takes out the anger of that decision on Chuck, there is no anger towards Shaw for putting her in that position which is inconsistant with the person she was in Crown Vic. The character is changed to further the angst plotline.

      • Merve says:

        Herder, I think that she was angry at Shaw. That’s why she stormed off in tears at the end of the episode. But I do think that it’s a little incongruous with sharing the story of her Red Test with him. In retrospect, the sharing was kind of just a plot device.

    • lizjames good point about Sarah when it comes to abandonments issues.That’s been Sarah’s whole life in a nut shell.She done had so many people let her down through the years.Her father has been in and out of jail most of her life.Her so called friends let her down,maybe Bryce Larkin also abandoned her in some way and so did Chuck especially in Prague when he decided to remain a spy he didn,t mean to hurt but he did.

      Since Chuck decided to become a spy Sarah lost Chuck as her anchor that she was depending on to hang on to her own identity.

      Chuck became a man this episode he told Sarah how much he love her and he did not abandon her like he did in the past.Sarah was crying out for help and Chuck saved her and I believe Sarah in ep.13 will do the same for Chuck if his life is in danger.

    • lizjames! I read one of your earlier post comments about Sarah did not have a relationship with Chuck as bing a spy her relationship is with Chuck on a personal level the man she loves and you are right.

      First!Sarah treated Chuck like a spy because he wanted to be a spy.

      Second!Now on a perasonal level Sarah made some critical mistakes in that she abandon Chuck when he needed her the most THE THREE WORDS and when Chuck had to burn Mannosh in THE NANCHO SAMPLER.I did not have a problem of Chuck burning him becuse it was professional and he could not let Manoosh walk away knowing that he might get captured by the Ring to help them build their own Intersect Sarah would have done the same thing.

      It was after mission where I have a problem with her Chuck is hurting after he sent Manoosh underground he had bottle of jhonny walker and Sarah saw him on the video feed from Castle drinking his life away stood by and did nothing. Then Sarah went to Shaw’s apartment to talk to him about what a jerk Chuck has become by lying to his freinds,family,Hannah and how it is affecting their lives then she reveal her real name Sam to Shaw and not to Chuck really upset me because she done it on a personal level with someone she rarely knew and Chuck been her friend and partner for 3 years she betrayed him personally but she did regret making that mistake.

      That what happens when you dont love yourself and feel unworthy to be loveed.

  6. joe says:

    Liz! I’m not a shy guy by nature, but you make me blush! 🙂 I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

    Just to explain myself a bit more, I recognize that Sarah does not love Shaw, just like you said (that’s the purpose of my second M. Scott Peck quote). I think *she* doesn’t recognize that until the end. Maybe Sarah knows this when Chuck “won’t take no” for his answer. At least, she’s close at that point. I’m one of those who thinks that she indicates she’s going to Chuck when she tosses her gun on the bed.

    But still, I would have thought that Sarah would be more ambivalent towards Shaw during the dinner-date if she really was resigned to her fate. I was looking for some indication of that, and really didn’t see it. She looked – calm. Even happy.

    And I wish I could see that Sarah is encouraging Chuck to not give up on her. Of course, my inability to recognize that may explain a lot about my dating life 30 years ago… 😉

    When I rewatch, I’ll “read” it that way (and thank you)!

    It’s true that I’ve misunderstood Sarah. Because of her relief to find that Chuck is not a killer, I know it has to be. This is no sudden revelation for her; Sarah’s not being hit by a ton of bricks. She’s seeing what she always wanted in him, and knows (at least, at the end) that she doesn’t see it in Shaw.

    Now I just have to forget that she ever cared for Shaw at all. It really leaves a bad taste.

    I’m absolutely thrilled that the promos show us Sarah’s going to be as determined as Chuck is now to make this work. It’s going to be fun!

    I certainly believe in miracles, Liz, and Easter is definitely the season for them. Don’t know if a television show qualifies, but seeing so many people talk about these fictional characters as if they were real comes close.

    Well, they’re fictional, but the emotions they inspire are quite real. That’s pretty cool.

    • Paul says:

      Joe, nice insight. Something that I would like to bring up to your original essay is that I don’t think that Sarah knows what love is. Why would she? She’s never had an opporutunity to learn. Sarah may be an adult, but she’s hardly a grown-up.

      I like to look at Sarah in the same light as another “lost little girl” type character – Jenny from Forrest Gump. Jenny, like Sarah, came from a broken past, and her defense mechanisms was to build walls, indulge in low self-esteem relationships or simply run away. She feels that she doesn’t deserve love. And the irony was that she DID have someone who loved her unconditionally. She just never recognized what she had. “Forrest, you don’t know what love is.” She might as well have been talking about herself.

      But what was redeaming about both Chuck and Forrest is that they taught the women they love not only what love was about, but HOW to love. And that is what was magical about this arc.

      • joe says:

        Great insight, Paul. Jenny is the archetypical Little Girl Lost.

        That’s a facet of Sarah’s character that’s been there pretty much from the beginning. At least, we’ve glimpsed it from early on.

        Do you want it to be a diminishing part as much as I?

      • Paul says:

        Joe, I think moving forward into the back half of the season (and hopefully S4), I think is Sarah is going to be doing a lot of “growing up” emotionally. I don’t think we’ll necessarily see it play out on screen, but having a stable loving person in her life would do wonders for her. So yes I think the “little girl lost” is going to be less a factor in her personality. I think that may be one reason why they went heavy on the angst this season (others may disagree, but that is okay). Before you can rebuild something you gotta tear it down. And sometimes the tearing something down process is a painful.

    • lizjames says:

      After talking to Big Kev on another thread and with JC up above, I’ll post just this one other item and retire again. (Aside: Hi, Jem!)

      I really do think you misread what Sarah is doing during her date with Shaw. She’s playing the role of happy girl. If you would, she’s now got a cover for her own life. She hides from herself. It’s actually the thing she’s best at. Hiding from herself.

      Sarah was getting into a cover relationship with Shaw. And like so often with Sarah, she was using the cover to hide from herself.

      • joe says:

        Now you did it, Liz. Now I have to go back and watch all of S3 with this idea – Shaw as a cover relationship – in mind.

        That was a great way to put it!

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        Without putting too fine a point on it, I’d also say they dressed Strahovski a little too “cover hottie” in the restaurant scene. Look at the difference between how she was dressed in First Date for Chuck. That was beauty. The scene with Shaw, that was something else.

        The only problem with this whole line of thinking, though, is TPTB are sticking to the “Shaw was a viable love interest for Sarah and that’s what it is” meme. But it is NOT up there on the screen. On the screen, it’s transparently a “settle for this” Sarah.

      • HenryH says:

        As someone who came to this blog after lizjames stopped posting, I’m excited to see her back, even for a brief visit. M’am, you say smart things….

        Joe, as far as looking at Season 3 again and seeing Sarah in a “cover” relationship with Shaw as lizjames describes. As awful as Mask is, it’s all there if you look. That Chuck-Sarah conversation at the end is all about Chuck and Sarah essentially giving each other permission to give up on each other.

        Chuck, of course, is a fool. He’s going off to Hannah with high hopes because he’s a hopeless romantic. But Sarah knows the score. It’s not for nothing that the LAST shots of the scene are of her. And you can see the choice she’s made is not a happy one for her. She literally scowls. She’s settling for Shaw and she knows it.

        And I guess that is what tripped up lizjames when she was constructing the con meme based on the actions of Mask. She didn’t–none of us did–believe TPTB would debased Chuck and Sarah one more time by letting them fool each other.

        Lizjames thought based on Mask that Chuck and Sarah were conning Shaw. We all learned subsequently that Chuck and Sarah were conning themselves.

        That’s why Season 3 is so rotten. We honestly believed that Chuck and Sarah had forged an unbreakable bond in Colonel and even that the events in Ring and Pink Slip couldn’t permanently damage it.

        But TPTB had to play the game one more time.

        I have an odd feeling that if Chuck gets a Season 4 (and thus almost assuredly a Season 5), most of Season 3 will be looked at like Star Trek fans look at the cartoon show from the 1970s. It’s there, but it’s not canon.

        I look forward to the day when we can throw out Season 3, episodes 1-11, and say it’s not part of the canon of Chuck.

      • Big Kev says:

        I think the problem with Shaw, and the arc in general, is illustrated by Fedak’s comments to Mo Ryan today where he says the intent was to make Shaw a “classic spy – the broad shouldered hero/spy”. In that reality, in a world without Chuck, Shaw would be a prefectly viable love interest – as Cole and Bryce both were.
        Instead, Shaw has been written and acted as an incompetent spy/devoid of personality/borderline psycho. That’s the issue. I can see the idea in concept – but the execution has been woeful.
        DR makes a comment on his blog that Bryce didn’t die in the original planning of Season 3, and Bryce was supposed to be the Love Interest/mentor combination. The idea was nixed because Matt Bohmer wasn’t available, but I guess much of the writing was already done. And Routh’s stay was extended, so someone somewhere must have been telling them that things were working. I’d love to know who that person was!

      • Paul says:

        Big Kev you think the shippers had a cow with Shaw, imagine throwing Bryce back into the mix after Prague. You want to talk about angst potential! Chuck NEVER would have gotten Sarah back…!;)

      • JC says:

        That made me think of something. When Chuck carried Shaw out did they play the Bryce does something awesome theme? It sounded like it.

      • Big Kev says:

        I am the shipperiest of shippers, but I have to say I wasn’t expecting Chuck and Sarah to be together after he reintersected, and that basic assumption has made Season 3 a lot easier to watch for me than some.
        Chuck reintersecting essentially blew up the agreement that they had been gradually working towards for 2 years – both of them having “normal” lives. I didn’t see how the writers could finesse that into Chuck and Sarah being together at the start of S3, so to some extent the whole shipper controversy after Comic Con surprised me a little.
        That said, I didn’t expect them to drag the thing out for a whole season, and also to limit the time they spent together as partners. Those parts of the Season have really surprised me as both creative and commercial decisions.

      • Paul says:

        Big Kev, from a standard storytelling convention standpoint, it made sense that they would not get C/S back together again until the climax of the season…which is usually the last episode. So for me it wasn’t all that big of a deal as well. I knew where it was going.

        And I think you hit on another good point. Chuck re-intersecting with the 2.0 was a deal-breaker for those 2.

      • Jason says:

        paul – I think one’s frame of mind does have alot to do with how one perceived the show, if you knew 3.13 was going to be the time, it would have made it easier, for me, once 3.8 ended with sarah going to shaw and initiating a kiss, the show sort of ended in a way, but it allowed me to watch the show as a fan, not a zealot. many weeks I now watch 24 and castle on tape before chuck, I have not watched chuck live since 3.9. I will watch 3.13 live. These boards have become more fun than the show in some ways, the have their own type of drama seemingly. I post a little on NBC and a little bit other places, but this is by far the best place to be part of the chuck fandom.

      • Lucian says:

        I have some difficulty considering Chuck reintersecting a “deal breaker”. It seemed like pretty much the only way the three of them had a chance to get out alive. From a relationship perspective, this was the time for Chuck and Sarah to have a real conversation regarding what they both wanted out of life, and how they felt about each other. Season 3 would have been much, much stronger, if they would have decided that they wanted different things, and it wasn’t going to work between them. All the misunderstanding / run away stuff was angst for the sake of angst, and diminished the story and the characters. The season could have been the two of them figuring out if there was a way they could have the lives they wanted together. Instead, we got plywood boy (who, by the way, looks to be a psycho, so it is hard to consider him a “viable” love interest). A new manager at the Orange Orange (old Chuck) would have been a much more compelling, and logical, approach, but they were trying to make one character do double duty. There are just way too many problems with the approach they chose to take. It didn’t work on several levels.

      • Jason says:

        lucian – the great thing about plywood boy is he was so illogical, unsuited, and unfit for the job, it did not cause the same feeling had it been someone legit. I didn’t want any PLI, but I am sort of glad the most epic thing about S3 is what an epic failure routhwood was

      • Big Kev says:

        You are right, of course. I had just hoped that they would try to be true to the natural rhythm of the story, rather than being quite so cliched. That’ll teach me!

  7. HenryH says:

    Big Kev-
    1) On Bomer, true. I also hear he was the original idea for the Beefcake episodes, but wasn’t available then, either. Which puts the claims that TPTB have this all mapped out and planned to the lie. They have to live in the real world of casting decisions, budgets, etc. So they should NEVER put themselves in the position of claiming they they are infallible and have a master plan and everything is part of the big jigsaw puzzle that only they have the overview of.

    2) On TPTB’s claim that Shaw was a classic spy. Well, to me, the classic spy is Connery as James Bond. And he was never brawny. He was a Jon Cake/Cole type. And, as you say, Shaw has been written as creepy and incompetent. He’s more Siegfried from Get Smart! than 007.

    3) On the theory that Chuck and Sarah could not be together after the 2.0 Intersect, well, I disagree.

    For starters, I disagree for financial reasons. The Levi-Strahovski on-screen chemistry is the best thing this show has. So if you weren’t going to couple them, you needed to find a story arc that at least kept them on the screen together. Not doing so is awful business. And the ratings show it. They began to decline right after First Class when suddenly Chuck and Sarah stopped being together in any form on screen.

    Secondly, as for the storytelling conceits: Why does this show insist that two people who love each other judge each other based on their jobs? By their OWN admission, Colonel was the point of no return for these two as a couple. I have real trouble accepting this arc for that reason. Once you determine you love another person, what they do is not an impediment. It’s part of what you accept and try to help with.

    That’s what, from a storytelling angle, they missed. They couldn’t start season 3 making believe that Chuck and Sarah were strangers (a la the pilot) so they invent this awful scene on the train platform where the never-say-die, never-shut-up Chuck gives up and says nothing. It would not happen that way. It was a silly construct for a silly arc.

    Now, if they’d have had SARAH walk away when Chuck tried to say something serious to her on the platform, THAT might have worked. And THAT might have even given some validity to this “I can’t love you if you’re a spy” meme.

    Besides bad script editing and continuity this season, the problem is that the wrong person walked away mutely in Prague. Chuck is the guy who wants it all, not the guy who settles. That’s part of why this arc collapsed, IMHO.

    • atcdave says:

      I agree with much of this Henry. I’m certainly big on the “Colonel was the point of no return” arguement. I think there was a chemistry or “truth” on screen that the writers chose to ignore at their own peril. I do agree with Big Kev that some relationship fallout was inevitable after the decision to re-intersect. But I think that fallout was WAY overplayed. I would have accepted three or four episodes of Chuck and Sarah trying to figure out what this reality meant to them quite easily. But to squander THE ENTIRE season on this junk is inexcusable. I don’t like the theme in any case, but when you look at it from a ratings/business perspective it seems truly foolish. The Levi/Strahovski chemistry has always been the single greatest strength of this show, and the fading interest since Fake Name is proof of that. Even this Blog, which represents the lunatic fringe of fandom (hey, I resemble that remark…) has seen a steady decline in hits since Fake Name; until a sudden rebound after American Hero.

      • sd says:

        This is where I get lost on this argument…and I may be totally wrong about this….but Sarah never intimated to Chuck that she wanted a normal life…during the course of the first two seasons she would say something to Casey and get shot down…and maybe she said something to Carina…but never Chuck.

        In fact, up until he re-intersects, Chuck thinks she leaving him to spy with Bryce.

        It’s only after he re-intersects–and at the start of season three–that she gives him any indication at all she would rather be with him then be a spy.

        Much like the final exam ep…he was darned if he did….darned if he didn’t. At the end of season two…he thought being re-interestected was the only way to stay with Sarah…at the end of final exam…he thought passing the red test was the only to be with Sarah–which she essentially told him in the restaurant.

        Sorry if I’m off base or I’m late to the party on this analogy…

      • joe says:

        SD, I believe you’re right that not once does Sarah tell Chuck that she wants a normal life. Or anyone, for that matter. She merely hints to Casey and Carina (and maybe, if I think about it, Bryce) that she’d consider it. The closest we get is the famous interrupted “What I want is…” in The Ring episode when they’re dancing.

        There’s no doubt that Chuck wants to be with Sarah. But what we have to accept is that he also wants to be a spy.

        Chuck’s been torn all season by the certain knowledge that he can’t have both. Of course, he’s wrong! The best thing about Am. Hero is the fact that he decides he’s going to have both or neither (and I love the idea that Ellie’s “You’re a Bartowski! Act like it!” speech inspires him).

        So Sarah not telling Chuck what she wants is more than a little necessary to the story. It’s about Chuck reaching for his desires, and growing enough to succeed. That is, if she tells him outright, there’s no doubt the character we know will help her in her goal first, and never become a spy.

        Make sense?

      • Gabbo says:

        Except for the part in Pink Slip in Castle where Sarah asks Chuck to run away with him. She says she’s ready for a “real life…with you.”

        And the other part in Pink Slip, on the train platform where she says spy life isn’t real, but “this [you and I together] are real.”

        It may be indicitive of how much we all dislike Pink Slip that we’ve forgotten…

      • Crumby says:

        Yes she said in Pink Slip: “I’m saying I wanna be a real person again. With You.”

      • joe says:

        Gabbo, Crumby – You’re right. And yes, it was easily forgotten.

        But how about this? It’s new to Chuck (and presumably, us) at that point that he could actually be a spy. Before then, even with the intersect (and certainly, without it), Chuck keeps saying that he isn’t a spy (and things like “I’m not like you, Sarah.”) And really, if you could ask Casey if Chuck could be a spy, he’d laugh, right?

        In Pink Slip, especially in the flashbacks, Chuck is just coming to the realization it’s possible, and so is Sarah. Now it’s a problem. With the old Chuck, normal life was possible for Sarah. Not so if Chuck has to become a killer.

        My problem hasn’t been with that. My problem is with Sarah accepting Shaw. I’m on the verge of believing that we can say, instead, that she’s merely resigned to him. Makes it a whole lot more palatable.

      • atcdave says:

        I think that’s part of the problem though; they may have spent two seasons carefully setting up the idea that Sarah wanted a normal life too, but they really only gave a few vague hints. The Ring was the first time the audience could be sure (yes I know about the unfilmed script of the Pilot; but if it wasn’t filmed, its no more canon than any fan fiction!) she wanted a normal life (and she seemed to wrestle with it then), and Pink Slip was the first time Chuck had a clue. So add in two years of Chuck and Sarah getting very close, but apparently never really talking, and we have a pretty elaberate and artificial set up for a huge misunderstanding at the start of S3.

        It was a misunderstanding for Chuck, and the FANS. Only the most observant among us really saw what a big issue this was going to be (note: that doesn’t include me, I thought it was just the silliest idea when anyone brought it up). I know SO MANY fans and former fans who lost all or most interest as this season unfolded.

        So I would say not only did they make a huge thing of something most viewers didn’t really see coming, they made a huge thing of something virtually nobody wanted to see happen. That goes back to what my wife calls “sucking all the fun out of the show.”

      • atcdave says:

        I do agree with Joe; since none of our elaborate cons or set-ups bore out; Sarah “resigning” herself to Shaw is more palatable than thinking she was ever really in love with the stiff; very frustrating that CF still won’t give us even that satisfaction.

      • herder says:

        Not meaning to be an apologist for CF or anything like that but I can see some reason for his sticking to the idea that Shaw is a viable interest to Sarah.

        Look at the times that he has given interviews where he has said that, after the Mask with Sepinwall, that interview with TV guide after Tic Tac and now this one with Mo Ryan. The following episodes all had some major Sarah/Shaw developments that seemed to come out of nowhere, the interviews seemed to be his way of preparing the fans about what was to come. After the first interview we had Fake Name and Sarah telling him her real name and going to him in Castle. After the second we had her telling Chuck she was moving to Washington and would be with Shaw. Presumably in this episode we see that although she chooses Chuck there is a real connection between her and Shaw (my guess, no spoilers).

        After all CF wrote this episode, he isn’t going to say that the Shaw story was a failure before his ending to it airs. My hope is that once it is over that we will have a more honest and contrite JS and CF. Of course honest and contrite aren’t exactly their normal traits, but I can hope.

      • Jason says:

        herder, could that be a reason for a second part to the mo ryan interview? The show reviewers sure have no clue of such a logical sham connection, as they seemed as miffed over the 3.12 sham connection as anyone, I posted elsewhere, the shippers seemed to accept the 3.12 sham stuff better than others, I think the shippers have sort of moved on in to indifference by now, and can’t wait for shaw to be gone.

      • atcdave says:

        I’m at least hoping for something that can be taken as an admission they won’t try this again. I’m OK with clutching at straws.

    • Big Kev says:

      We may have different perceptions of the logical starting point of S3 – but I am in complete agreement with you on how the angst has been handled – and for how long.
      My thinking was that we might have 5 or 6 episodes of Chuck and Sarah working through this stuff, followed by a resolution.
      I expected a temporary separation – not the smashing to smithereeens that Pink Slip gave us. In retrospect, given Sarah’s later revelations about her loathing of certain parts of the spy life, Prague makes a bit more sense – but to have such a pivotal scene only begin to make sense after revelations 10 episodes later is bad storytelling, in my book. And as you say, Chuck’s response in Prague still makes no sense.

      • atcdave says:

        I mostly agree Kev. You know I wish they’d never even tried this story, but a half season arc of Chuck/Sarah difficulties would have been far easier to digest; and done less damage to the characters, and probably the ratings too.
        I never quite bought the idea that Chuck somehow “abandoned” Sarah by re-intersecting. Even if we accept that Sarah always wanted out; she never told him that, and Chuck basically chose to enter her world. So while she could have been annoyed by the developement; calling it “abandonment”, really just felt like a cheap writer’s trick to me. I just never bought it.
        I could accept Sarah being upset, and needing to sort some things out; but Chuck clearly took a step to join her in her world; I simply can not buy outside love interests being the result of this misunderstanding.

      • Paul says:

        Big Kev, Chuck’s response in Prague makes perfect sense if you consider a couple of things:

        1) There have been hints dropped throughout S1 and S2 that Chuck, no matter how much he protested, kind of liked the spy game (at least the superficial parts of it). It gave him purpose, direction and a sense of self-esteem. In Prague, he was enamoured by it, and didn’t see where it was leading him.

        2) Chuck was still pretty much an insecure guy. He wanted Sarah and this was the only way he could be worthy of her.

        3) He wasn’t aware of all of her issues that were going to be dreged up in S3.

      • Big Kev says:

        I absolutely see your point. I’ve always thought that Chuck’s desire to become a spy was more about thinking it was the right thing to do, and believing that it would win him Sarah, rather than actually “wanting” that life – but maybe this is semantics.
        I still believe though that if you’re Chuck, faced with the prospect of breaking the heart of the love of your life, given what we know of Chuck as a character, you would have a conversation based on feelings and emotions…..the 3 words speech, in effect. Chuck has never closed down his feelings in 2 seasons – to suddenly do so for the Prague conversation just struck me as awfully contrived.

      • Paul says:

        Big Kev, I think the biggest misunderstanding in Prague on Chuck’s part was he didn’t fully understand the spy world and why Sarah wanted to run (he does now) and that he thought that Sarah would understand why he was doing it (because it was right to be a part of something bigger). We can debate the finer points of whether it was a good idea or not to follow that premise, but seeds of taht decsion have been laid out in some form for 2 seasons.

      • Merve says:

        I agree with the premise behind the Prague scene; I just don’t think that it was well-executed. “I’m sorry, I can’t,” isn’t something that Chuck Bartowski would normally say. I think that if he’d said something along the lines of, “I’m doing this because it’s the right thing to do” or something like that, the scene might have been a bit easier to swallow.

      • atcdave says:

        I would say a big part of Chuck doing what he was; was Sarah herself. I mean both the person and the role model. So for Chuck to walk away leaving her with the impression he was rejecting her in some way staggers the imagination. To me, the “suspension of disbelief” was violated from 3.01; and there’s been no turning back.

  8. sd says:

    all interesting points…and yes, forgot Sarah’s speech on the platform…

    Perhaps what we–as viewers–needed was maybe more than a snippet here and there of Sarah’s true feelings about the spy world/normal life.

    Perhaps it could have been owning up to calling–or thinking Casey–a “burnout” (from season1, correct?) and turning that question on herself…

    for the more casual viewers…I think Sarah wanting to run away from spying is kinda like a hard right turn in some respects

    • weaselone says:

      Of course it is. A few hours before Chuck uploaded 2.0, Sarah still intended to run off with Bryce to head the Intersect project.

      • Paul says:

        I wouldn’t say that. We don’t know exactly when Sarah changed her mind. We can assume that the beach wedding was at least a couple of days after the the church wedding. And by the beach wedding, Sarah had already decided.

      • Gabbo says:

        No, actually, that is not correct. If you follow TPTB’s thinking, everything in Ring happens in one day. Remember in Castle, Sarah is told by Beckman that she is leaving for Zurich tomorrow with Bryce to lead Intersect 2.0. So Weaselone is correct that Sarah’s change of heart (actually TWO changes of heart since one assumes she started the day planning to be with Chuck) takes place over a few hours.

      • Paul says:

        See Gabbo, I don’t think the wedding on the beach occured on the same day. At the SOONEST the next day (and even then, to get the brides maid’s dresses, flowers, etc would have taken more than 24hrs). And Sarah not showing up at the airport would cause Bryce to go looking for her.

        And I think she WANTED to stay with Chuck, but recieved direct orders to leave that I don’t think she was expecting. So it wasn’t a change of heart as much as following orders in spite of what she wanted.

      • atcdave says:

        Both weddings were the same day, it was clearly spelled out as a last minute arrangement.

        And following orders always involves a choice. The CIA is not military, it is a civilian agency. People separate every day, it usually involves a non-disclosure agreement related to classified or sensitive work; but is a simple matter of bureaucratic routine

  9. Lucian says:

    I thought that Fedak’s comment in the Mo Ryan interview that Chuck was a guy who really could use some therapy was interesting. IMO, Sarah is the poster girl for someone in desperate need of therapy. Man, does she have issues.

    • weaselone says:

      I thought the same thing. Chuck needs therapy? What about Sarah? There’s enough material there for multiple papers. At this point Chuck seems to have become a reasonably well rounded individual who has adjusted to the competing pulls of the spy and real world as well as could be hoped for under the circumstances. He’s also figured out what he wants in life and has gained and improved his confidence, drive and sense of purpose. The guy might need a little therapy regarding the type of woman he dates, but we all have our quirks.

    • Gabbo says:

      Could we now logically assume that Chuck kills someone in e13 and that is what the therapy is about? After all, the season starts with Chuck NOT pulling the trigger, it could be that the last scene before the romance wrap-up is Chuck offing “the other guy.” Whoever that might be…

      • Zsjaer says:

        I hope that is the reason gabbo, i really hope.

      • Gabbo says:

        Zsjaer, I said it was logical, but I would prefer not to see it. Why can’t Chuck be the spy who won’t kill? Worked for Danger Man for all those years.

        Besides, Chuck can let Sarah do all the shooting (or knivings). Sarah can let Chuck do all the talking…

      • Lucian says:

        If Chuck pulls the trigger to save Sarah (or anyone), and somehow that means he is “not that guy”, then Chuck needs to RUN AWAY from this woman as fast as he possibly can.

        She would prefer a guy who watches while she dies??

      • joe says:

        If Sarah wasn’t bothered by the fact that she’s done that, I’d agree, Lucian. And I’m not sure she has! So far, except for her Red Test (and unless I’m forgetting something), Sarah’s shot in self-defence and to protect Chuck and those he loves (Mauser). The rest have been Tae-Kwon-Do’d into submission, I think. We’ll be learning more about her test Monday, I’m sure.

        Despite what Casey said, I don’t think she’s a killer either.

        Sarah perceives that her innocence is gone, and all of this seems to show that she’s having a hard time dealing – not only with Chuck being a killer, but herself, too. I’d love a good story about her innocence being restored, but even if that’s not the case, her running initially from Chuck-the-very-occasional-killer isn’t hard to accept, if she’s running from herself too, is it?

      • Lucian says:

        Joe – I can accept Sarah’s self-loathing, and I can accept her running from killer Chuck because she’s looking for a normal life outside of the spy world. You can’t put that togetheyr, however, with her seeing Shaw as an acceptable alternative. The fact that she was not responsible for Shaw being a spy only goes so far. This was all about taking a third pass at wtwt and it was a really bad decision, IMO, both from a storytelling perspective and from a ratings/business decision.

      • amyabn says:

        @Joe, so what gets her sense of self back? Will the writers give us a pass for her by finding out that Eve isn’t dead, making her Red Test invalid? I’ve always thought of Sarah as a woman who used violence as a last resort (see my old blog entries). It seems that most of the kills we’ve seen on screen were about something bigger-protecting Casey, protecting Chuck, protecting herself. The Red Test was in cold blood and she hates that moment. She said it herself: it was the worst day of her life. So do we absolve Sarah of that self loathing with one pen stroke? What does it take to get the Sarah that we recognize back?

      • joe says:

        Good question, Amy. Whatever it is I think will surprise me.

        The scene from Sarah’s Red test did seem deliberately ambiguous; there might be room for doubt about everything. But it always comes down to Sarah pulling the trigger when she didn’t have to. Did she or didn’t she?

        Chuck couldn’t. If Sarah could, the result hardly matters.

        What we saw was Sarah deciding to not go through with it, then thinking the woman was reaching for a weapon in her handbag. Chuck could make her forgive herself (I hope), if he could convince her that she was manipulated, and had acted to defend herself (which is morally permitted). I hope he tells her outright that she is not a killer. I hope he tells her that he even understands the Mauser incident now, but that may be too much to hope for.

        My gut says that once Chuck tells Sarah she is innocent, her sense of self is restored and the nightmare that Chuck had in 3-D is over too.

      • atcdave says:

        You are always the optimist Joe! I hope we get some of what you bring up; but my money is on most issues of killing and forgiveness being ignored. The only possible exception being Sarah’s Red Test.

      • joe says:

        @Dave – Born that way, you know 😉

      • Paul says:

        @Lucian, I am in the camp that Sarah had decided to run with Chuck BEFORE Casey admitted to killy Perry. So, in essence she had come to a compromise within herself that she wanted to be with Chuck even IF he killed the guy because he was still Chuck (just proved it by rescuing Shaw for selfless reasons). Him killing Shaw in self-defense or defense of her would not IMHO, equate to an execution, like the Red Test essentially is.

      • atcdave says:

        Strangly though, I do think Chuck killing Shaw could generate more angst than Sarah doing it. If Chuck takes the shot, Sarah could question his motives (I know, lame, but that’s what we’ve seen this season!); whereas if Sarah shoots Shaw, she will know exactly why. Of course she could be mad at Chuck for putting her in that position.

        Which would all lead to the next conclusion: we will all know why the show was cancelled….

      • Paul says:

        @Dave, I think any angst created by Chuck killing will be internal to him and not between him and Sarah (but only if the premise is true that Sarah chose Chuck BEFORE Casey told the truth), although his issues might cause some rough spots in their relationship. This may be the reason why Chuck goes to a therapist.

      • Crumby says:

        CF called Shaw “the other guy” in the Mo Ryan interview. Don’t know if it means anything, but I noticed it.

    • Who Dat says:

      Actually, in my mind she had decided to go with Chuck, But because she believed Chuck. He did not kill anyone, and that it would be the 1 secret between them.
      I still think Chuck killing someone would ruin it for Sarah.

  10. Brad says:

    Long time follower, first time commenter.
    I wanted to chime in on Sarah needing rescuing and not feeling worthy of happiness. I think this is reading too much into her character and misses the mark. IMO, until the very end of this episode when she changes her mind (at some point after the Castle scene and before the Casey reveal scene), she appears very content to be with Shaw – someone who is not the love of her life (which she knows Chuck to be), but is a compatible soul with whom she can be happy. Joe, I believe you are correct to feel betrayed by the dinner scene, as I do as well. She stares longingly into Shaw’s eyes, flashes a playful glance and smiles in a way has never done with Chuck. They are new expressions for a new relationship. While she will always love Chuck, at this point in the episode, she’s moved on. And objectively, it seems reasonable to want to avoid the person you feel responsible for ruining, maybe even more so if you love them.

    Later in Castle, when Chuck delivers what I believe to be his greatest speech, which certainly had the most riding on it, Sarah says “Chuck, you don’t have to…”, before she’s cut off. I think it’s reasonable to assume she would have said something like “…tell me how you feel. I know that you love me.” And she has for a long time (at least since Cougar, and probably way before then). Not once during the four times that Chuck says ILY does she seem surprised (though she does seem moved, and just a bit pained). Even the kiss, that felt completely flat for me, was hesitant. She certainly doesn’t put her back into it. After Chuck leaves, her expression can be read as, “Crap, what do I do now?” These are not expressions or actions of someone who feels they need to be saved – they’re of a conflicted woman, making a choice between a safe and reliable relationship and a uncertain, possibly more heart breaking, but also more fulfilling relationship. Chuck wins Sarah back from another man because he shows Sarah by being a hopeless romantic and by making the grand gesture of putting her desires above all but one of his, that perhaps he has not changed as much as she’s feared, and she’s gambling that unlike her, he won’t. She appears genuinely shocked to hear that Chuck did not kill the mole, but her expression shows that she’s thrilled that she decided to take this gamble. She is still a woman in control, making tough decisions.

    Just my humble read on the episode. Sorry for the long post. Reading all of your posts is one of my favorite procrastination pastimes (it certainly beats studying dermatology, which I should be doing now :p ). And on that note…

    – Brad

    • amyabn says:

      First, welcome Brad. With that, I have to say that I agree with those (sorry, so many posts, not sure who to credit at this point) that Sarah was faking the funk with Shaw. She had resigned herself to a relationship that, on paper, fit.

      I think she made her decision in Castle and there really needs to be a conversation on why. Chuck still doesn’t know where she stands, doesn’t know about her longing for a “real” life, and why she chose him (and why it took so !@# long!). yes, we see that Chuck is still Chuck, but was it his willngness to abandon it all, was it his declarations of love, was it his realization that he hated himself and now has a purpose, or all of the above?
      Sarah’s behavior needs an explanation because if TPTB were transmitting them (well, trying to), I think most of us missed it. I would like resolution.

      • Brad says:

        I completely agree for all the reasons you just stated that the writers need to have Sarah explain exactly why she’s chosen him. But doesn’t this seem like the making of a great speech for Sarah, one to bookend the season? I would like to think that this sort of resolution is within the writing talents of the TPTB. I’m certainly hoping so at least.

      • Gabbo says:

        Sarah made her decision because it was the first time Chuck ever told her what to do.

        Chuck has always let Sarah control how fast and how far the relationship would go. (That’s not me, I’m just channeling lizjames and Ernie Davis on that.) But all Chuck EVER had to do, from Hard Salami on, was tell Sarah, “I love you. You love me. We’ll do this…”

        Look at any other time Sarah turns Chuck away. Chuck accepts it. This was the first time Chuck didn’t take Sarah’s no for an answer.

        She’s been waiting to be told “Be with me” since Hard Salami…

      • amyabn says:

        @Gabbo, I had to chuckle a bit as I read your post because it took me back to the scene in Seduction with Roan and Sarah in the van, talking about what a woman wants.
        It makes me wonder if Chuck hearing Sarah say that sometimes a woman wants someone who will take a back seat means that he took it as the way to go with Sarah, rather than taking Roan’s advice that “she doth protest too much.” I’m going to have to go back and watch.

      • joe says:

        Amy, I never had a doubt that Chuck took Sarah’s words to heart! At best, Roan could only temper the message.

      • Paul says:

        So are you saying that Sarah likes it in the back seat…? (badum-crash) ;oP

      • Gabbo says:

        Absolutely that van conversation between Sarah and Roan fighting for Chuck was telling. You can now plausibly say that Sarah was SPECIFICALLY lying to Chuck because she knew if he followed Roan’s advice, she’s yield. Which is why the end of the episode, with Chuck following Roan’s advice, only to end up meeting Bryce, continues to be heartbreaking…

    • joe says:

      Welcome to the discussion, Brad. Don’t deprive us of your insights! Well, make sure your studies are under control, and then don’t deprive us 😉

      Yeah, I said exactly that, and I certainly was seeing the flash of playful glances and smiles, as you put it. Didn’t like it. But I’m also inching away from that interpretation of the entire Sarah/Shaw relationship just a bit.

      I think Liz and SD and others have led me to think that it’s more accurate to say Sarah had resigned herself to the situation. That’s not incompatible with playful smiles and even a sense of comfort. But it does let me think that Sarah would not consider Shaw exactly as “permanent”, either. At the very least, she says herself that it’s different with Chuck.

      That line didn’t stand out for me before, but it starts to be more important now.

    • Paul says:

      Brad, I actually read PANIC in Sarah’s eyes when Chuck started with the ILY’s. She knows she still loves Chuck regardless of what she said in 3.11. And she KNOWS the only way to be able to go through with moving on is to shut Chuck out completely. With him taking a direct assault on her walls (and yes love is a battlefield), she knows that she wouldn’t be able to resist him for long and thus wouldn’t be able to go through with her intent of moving on. IMHO she was scrambling for excuses to shut him back out again, but Chuck wasn’t having any of it.

      • Brad says:

        Paul – You might be right, her expression might very well be panic. However, what I cannot get past are her expressions from then on during the scene. In response to the last ILY she shoots her sideways smirk, aka her: Chuck, I’m conflicted about something that just happened or something you just said (a la “We certainly made a mess of things,” “Let’s keep it simple, so how about friends,” “…and a little bubbly for you.”) (Btw, that expression is completely absent from seasons 1 and 2.) And as he leaves her expression is not exactly saying, I need to run home and pack. It’s far more ambiguous. All this is of course in sharp contrast to her expression after Casey says “You have a nice life, Walker”, where I’m left with the impression that she’s ready to burst out the door and drive through red lights to get to the train station hours early.

      • Paul says:

        Brad, I am in the camp that Sarah made up her mind to go to with Chuck before Casey showed up. So in my mind she had decided in Castle, but that she wasn’t 100% sure she was right about this decision.

      • JC says:

        See I read that look as in the days following the Red Test she made up her mind that Chuck had changed completely. And then she sees everything he did and what he says to her. It goes against everything she thought he had become. So she was conflicted that what she thought and what she was seeing were two different things. So it probably was a mixture of fear and being conflicted.

        As for the look after the Casey tells her truth about the mole. I saw that as the equivalent to Chuck’s conversation with Ellie. He gets a smile on his face when she says Sarah is special, just like she did when Casey said Chuck wasn’t a killer. Those last doubts they had about each other pushed aside.

        Hopefully tomorrow we get something out of her, so we don’t have to analyze her facial expressions for the next three weeks.

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        I think Sarah was conflicted by her choice of Chuck because she was, in a way, choosing the worst of both worlds. She’s be with someone she really loved, which would force her to be emotionally available, and he was flawed (at least by her logic…) Choosing Chuck at Castle was NOT easy for her. She’s much more adept at running away…

        And, by the way, could ANY of this analysis be possible if Strahovski weren’t such a terrific actress working with so little dialogue…

    • Brad! welcome aboard.I’ll agree with your comments about the Sarah moving on with Shaw as consolation prize on a professional level.

      The Sarah/Shaw relationship is what I called a”Superficial Relationship” meaning showing affections on the surface but no emotional love.

      Basically a false but happy life and you really not happy, it’s living a lie.(a sham.)

    • jack says:

      If you watch the kiss closely, yes perhaps she doesn’t put her back into it, but she RELAXES as Chuck kisses her. note the way her shoulders drop.

  11. Big Kev says:

    This has been a great thread to read. Full of passionate and informed views, all expressed from a basis of loving the show and wanting to add to people’s knowledge of the show and the characters. I thought we’d degenerated a bit into repetitive negativity over the last couple of weeks – but threads like this are why I love this blog.
    I don’t know where this fits exactly, but I wanted to share some views about Sarah.
    Now that we’re almost at the end of the original season, I think much of what Sarah has done (or not done) this season finally makes sense. It’s not all been handled well, because too much has been revealed too late for it to be good storytelling, but now that most of the pieces are visible, for me anyway, they add up to a character whose actions and motivations I can understand.
    I wanted to make an observation on the whole self-loathing Sarah thing.
    I don’t think the intent has been to set Sarah up as someone who has always been full of self-loathing over her life as a spy. In seasons 1 and 2, after all, she’s been someone who has incredible competence and quiet pride in her job – even while acknowledging that she has to do some awful things. I didn’t see a broken Sarah in seasons 1 and 2.
    I think the broken and self-loathing part surfaces only in relation to Chuck – once she perceives how responsible she is for what she (wrongly) views as the inevitable corrupting of his soul by the spy world. So to answer someone’s question from before about what it will take for Sarah to get her self-esteem back, I think it’s simple – merely the realisation that Chuck is still Chuck.
    She’ll still have the issues that she’s always had – the abandonment issues, the “you were never very good at talking about your feelings” issues – but I think the whole self-loathing and broken Sarah will disappear quickly.

    • joe says:

      “This has been a great thread to read. Full of passionate and informed views, all expressed from a basis of loving the show and wanting to add to people’s knowledge of the show and the characters.”

      You just penned my hopes and aspirations when I started this thing. What a great thing to read first thing on an Easter morning! Thanks, Kev.

      As for Sarah, the way you put it puts an emphasis on something I didn’t put to words, but should have. All this time it’s been easy to describe Chuck’s growth, but could we say the same about Sarah? Not easily.

      Except that now, she’s had to face herself in judgement instead of running away from the issue or “burying her emotions deep inside”, as she put it. Self-realization is always the first step.

      Sarah’s already come further than I realized.

      • Jason says:

        joe, happy easter, and this is a great board, although I think we are missing the boat this week by so fixating on sarah’s action’s this season, as we will have 3 weeks and the benefit of 3.13 to analyze her. We have one day to figure out the final confrontation plot, would be nice if someone posted a new topic to do such. For this season to be salvageable for me, I want sarah to be threatened by shaw at the end, near death, and chuck to unhesitatingly kill shaw, and then for chuck to say something along the lines ‘sarah, I don’t care if you don’t love me anymore, he was going to kill you & I will never let that happen, ever’ – it might even ‘cliffhang’ us at that point with no sarah answer????? geez – that would be something – not sure I even like my own spitball there, but it would be a cliffhanger, huh????

      • Paul says:

        Jason, I actually think that is pretty close to what is going to happen in the climax (except the Sarah being near death thing. I think she’ll be helpless though). I think Sarah will understand him shooting Shaw. After all, I think she chose to be with him before Casey spilled it, when she still thought Chuck killed Perry. And I think she will let him know that…but he will still have some psychologic fallout from it.

  12. AngelTwo says:

    A little Easter Sunday speculation on how the NEW love parallelogram — the Shaws, Chuck and Sarah — plays out on Monday.

    One logical storytelling approach to this might go something like:

    1) Shaw lures Sarah back to the street where she killed Eve Shaw. His intent, of course, is revenge.

    2) Chuck has followed Sarah there and kills Shaw to save her.

    3) The badly worded French spoilers are served this way: Sarah shedding a tear over Shaw is her tears of joy that Chuck saved her. Chuck’s continued connection to Shaw is that he’ll be haunted by what he’s done, even as Sarah was haunted by her Red Test kill of Eve.

    The Manchurian Candidate meme? (And I’ve always thought the name Shaw referred back to that OR George Bernard Shaw, whose Pygmalion was actually about molding minds…) I think there IS a Manchurian Candidate here. But it’s not Daniel Shaw, it’s Eve Shaw. SHE was the Manchurian candidate. She belonged to the Ring and was doing their bidding perhaps up to and including marrying Shaw. That’s why the CIA had her killed. (As someone VERY astutely noted here, Beckman told Chuck she didn’t know that Sarah killed Eve, not that she didn’t know the CIA killed Eve.

    But there are a few bits of storytelling detrius that need to be cleaned up for balance.

    The only way to ease Sarah’s mind is if they show that her killing of Eve actually saved someone specific. (In other words, the parallel to Chuck killing Daniel to save her.) That, I guess, would be the other guy. Given how deeply (and ludicrously) they’ve plotted this, there’s only one logical candidate: Daniel Shaw. It will be revealed that Sarah killed Eve as she was going to meet Daniel and assasinate him.

    It’s a theory, anyhow. I can’t see Sarah killing Daniel because that leaves Chuck, the star of the show and the new superhero, out of the key action in this episode. But this theory also leave the Ring Leader, a fairly major guest star, somewhat of a loose end. Dunno if that can be allowed. And I am not totally sure Daniel Shaw actually is offed in this episode. There are other ways they can go.

    But anyone want to bet that Shaw’s little revenge angle interrupts Chuck and Sarah’s impulsive wedding? After all, Chuck is wearing a tux in the scene where we see him with a gun. And since they have run out of ways to interrupt the Chuck-Sarah declarations of love, they might as well start interrupting their attempts to get married… 🙂

    Happy Easter everybody. And, Joe, as always, thanks for creating this unique forum. You’ve given us all a gift these very many months.

    • herder says:

      Hmm, impusive wedding, maybe that’s why Casey says get me my suit, he’s supposed to walk Sarah down the aisle.

      Shaw’s reaction depends on who ordered the hit on his wife, if it was the CIA going after a traitor then I can see him turning to the Ring to seek revenge on the orgaization that killed his wife. If the Ring manipulated the hit on Eve Shaw then he goes after the Ring. And if that revenge puts Sarah in danger, he sees it as an acceptable risk.

      I will make one prediction (I know they are like potato chips, you can never have only one) which ever side he concludes is at fault, he gets it wrong and makes a tragic mistake.

  13. Paul says:

    AngelTwo, Chuck’s tux suit looks more like a waiter’s outfit. I think Shaw set up something (maybe a supposed ambush for the Ring Director), but it ends up being a double-cross to take out C/S. Hence Sarah’s “something’s off” line in the promo.

    IIRC they stated that Ring Director could come back in future eps, so I don’t think he’s dead.

    • AngelTwo says:

      Could be, Paul. As I say, I’m not even sure they kill Shaw. He could escape. And I’m still clinging to the hope that Chuck won’t kill someone because he’s taken a moral stand and he finds a different way to stop Shaw. But the logic of Pink Slip–the first scene of the season shows him seizing up on the test and not “killing”–probably has to be be resolved in the next-to-last scene of this episode.

      • Jason says:

        I’m thinking chuck will shoot and shaw will fall off of the bridge – I would not do it that way – but I think that is how Fedak will – my way – chuck empties his gun, sarah empties hers from 6 feet away then kicks him in the groin, then casey decapitates him and then burns his body, grunts, says he ain’t coming back any time soon

      • AngelTwo says:

        And mightn’t Chuck letting Shaw escape by refusing to kill him bring Sarah’s tears of joy? One more affirmation that he’s still the old Chuck, after all.

        Really depends on which way they want to go. It would be great if TPTB try to stick it out with Chuck not killing. And THAT could be what leads him to the shrink in 16. He keeps refusing to kill and it’s getting dangerous.

        It wouldn’t redeem this awful season for me (I know you LIKE the season, Paul), but I would like it if they took the path of having Chuck refuse to kill…

      • Jason says:

        sorry, that was not very easter-like, I apologize, the decapitating was way overboard, setting on fire would have probably been sufficient

      • AngelTwo says:

        I alternately love and hate your angles because they are full of the games that TPTB love to play and I fear they may read and steal them… 🙂

        But I think you have to accept that TPTB really like Shaw. If he dies, it will be a tragic death. Neither Chuck nor Sarah will be thrilled by it…

      • Jason says:

        the manchrian daniel shaw plot would imply he saves the day (or at least fails to kill his target, who I assume is either chuck or sarah) even though he ‘could’, then turns the gun on himself, which would indeed cause both sarah and chuck to be sad for him, since I think someone is falling off the bridge, he still could fall over the edge, allowing his miraculous return should fedak so choose

      • Gabbo says:

        You mean Daniel Shaw as quite literally the Manchurian Candidate? That he’s been prepped to work for the bad guys all along and then, when finally discovering that, kills himself?

        That’s not bad. Hadn’t thought of that. But that would probably require him to kill the bad guys first (i.e. Ring Director).

        And it wouldn’t explain several attempts by the Ring to kill him. And it that Ring Council scene where the supposed bosses say they were going to kill him…

      • Gabbo says:

        FWIW, Shaw as literally the Manchurian Candidate could be another TPTB defense of Sarah legitimately being attracted to him. The blonde in the Manchurian Candidate legitimately loved Raymond Shaw. Everyone else was creeped out by Raymond (sound familiar?) but the Jocelyn Jordan character did love him.

        I hope this won’t happen. I can’t imagine us fans having to accept that Sarah was plausibly into Daniel. But if the Manchurian Candidate scenario plays out that closely, we’d have to.

      • Jason says:

        gabbo – I will have to relisten later to the ring conversation, they did kill they guy who knew he was alive – which might imply he was a double agent. Plus, remember shaw himself asked in 3.9 I wonder why they didn’t kill me? In the movie, raymond shaw did not know he was a double agent. Also note in the movie a phone call set shaw on his final mission (end of 3.12) and in the movie, the queen of diamonds was a device (diamond wedding ring in the show) Also, everyone thought raymond shaw was a hero (brainwashed) even though he was a coward and incompetent – but most importantly, raymond shaw walked around like a robot for most of the movie, maybe routh is ‘nailing’ his role as a manchurian candidate rather than sucking??????

      • amyabn says:

        @Jason-I would find a glowing chunk of green rock and tape it to him too, just to be sure…:-)

      • HenryH says:

        I really don’t want to play into this Manchurian Candidate thing (at least not Daniel Shaw as the Manchurian Candidate) for the reason Gabbo stated: It would force us to accept that Sarah really saw something in Shaw that no one else did. Ick. Just ick.

        That said, however, you could make the case that Fake Name was foreshadowing this scenario. The high-powered rifle scope and framing shots through the scope would be homages to the key scenes where Raymond Shaw assasinates his mother and Iselin. You see their assasinations through the scope, too. And, of course, Casey does an assasination.

        One other, admittedly far-out thought: There is a recent line of thinking that Janet Leigh’s conversation with Sinatra on the train was so odd that Leigh’s character was actually a Communist, too, and she was trying to “activate” Marco, Sinatra’s character. You COULD make the case that Daniel Shaw’s questioning of Sarah’s motives for going off the grid in First Class was his fear that Sarah was a Ring agent trying to control Chuck.

        It’s out there, but so’s this whole Manchurian Candidate thing. Not because it’s terribly implausible, but because it has been SO badly set up by TPTB.

      • joe says:

        @Jason – Your restraint wrt Shaw is admirable.


      • Jason says:

        thx joe, and jen, some of those glowing green rocks have very jagged edges, that would be ideal, henry, I spec’d an early version of the manchurian candidate to magnus, his response was ‘well played’, in that spec, I guessed sarah may have been ‘brainwashed’ by the gas in the castle, told to admire shaw (straight from the movie), which essentially would give her a free pass for this season, and might even explain how hard it was for her to say ‘yes’ at the end of 3.12 even, essentially chuck’s love overcame the ‘brainwashing’??????

      • Merve says:

        This whole Manchurian candidate thing is just ridiculous. “Oh, by the way, half this season was a giant movie reference. Get it?” TV shows don’t do that kind of stuff.

      • AngelTwo says:

        I tend to agree, although this speculation is inevitable (and has been for months) when you introduce a shadowy, off-kilter, unlikeable character named Shaw.

        It’s also why I think it’s more likely, if they are going for Manchurian Candidate, it’s Eve Shaw, not Daniel Shaw. It’s there, but limited to 11-13, and almost totally a McGuffin of a movie reference. It’s in my spec post just above.

    • AngelTwo says:

      Also meant to post this yesterday: In truth, it does look like this whole season IS a big movie reference. But the movie reference is The Spy Who Loved Me. Starting from Three Words, where the bad guy was named Stromberg, to the Sarah Red Test revelation that she killed Shaw’s wife, they’re all retreads of (er, homages to) The Spy Who Loved Me.

  14. Jason says:

    gabbo – sarah may not be the Jocelyn character, it may be eve, although eve may be the mrs iselman character too, which would imply shaw may kill eve at the end of 3.13, which would really be something???????

  15. JC says:

    Does anyone know if the rumor about showing 3.13 at Wondercon is true? Seems odd they would show it but that’s what I’m hearing.

    • joe says:

      It appears to be true, JC (Twitter wouldn’t lie to me, right?)

      Oh, I wish I could do some live-blogging of WC. That would be so cool! As it is, I can only suggest that those of you with twitter accounts check (I keep typing Chuck for that word and needing to correct it!) out your #Chuck friends. @SerendipityWAF (Wendy Farrington) and @LittleChuckFan (Bailey) are there.

      And if you can get to your twitter home page, search on #wondercon for continual updates.

      Added: Just heard that @adamsbaldwin could be twittering too.

      • JC says:

        I guess the next couple of hours will be spoiler city.

      • joe says:

        Oh, I hope not. People have been asking for spoilers, others saying “NO! DON’T SPOIL ME!!!”

        I will try to be strong and stay away from twitter for the evening! 😉

    • Josh says:

      I heard they are showing 3.13 right now so henceforth I am avoiding everything Chuck related on the internet until tomorrow night 🙂

  16. Warp says:

    After reading this and other great threads on this blog and watching s3 again, one thought about Sarah’s possible way to “salvation” crossed my mind:
    A lot of people assume that Chuck will kill Shaw in e13 (or later on) to end this part of the story (and get finally rid of Mr plywood), but I think there might be a more paragon (& Chuck-like) solution:
    Chuck and/or Sarah get cornered by Shaw, leaving Sarah to kill him the seemingly only way out, but Chuck talks her (them ?) down to show her that she does not need to kill (I know, I’m an incurable pacifist – but hey I’m a doctor). Possibly Shaw will escape afterwards to return later (in 3.19 ?) or fall on his own sword (in a way).
    This might not be as probable as the either-of-them-kills-Shaw solution but let’s see…

    Another thing that hit me is a nice thread on IMDB: “No way does Sarah deserve Chuck”
    It’s not the typical dumb IMDB talk, It rather reminds me of the discussions here (maybe some of you already took part there??), so I recommend to read it!

    • joe says:

      Warp, I don’t recall seeing your handle before. Nice to see you here.

      And that’s a great comment. I’m not sure where I stand myself, but there seems to be differing opinions on the necessity of Chuck pulling the trigger. I guess, if you forced me to predict, I think Chuck will never do that.

      And that makes your scenario – Chuck talking down Shaw – seem like a good bet to me.

      Thanks for the heads-up on the IMDB discussion.

      • Lucian says:

        It’s always better when the “articulate schnook” uses his innate abilities rather than the Intersect. We have seen too little of that, IMO, this season.

      • Warp says:

        Thanks for the welcome Joe!

        Lucian, you are right.
        Chuck was always at his best when he was “himself”, e.g. e3.11 when he arrested the mole and made his statement about not being one of _them_ (That would be something for Sarah to listen to).
        Unfortunately a rarity in s3 – would that will certainly change now (…please…).

        Considering this, I hope that Chuck realizes that for him the spy thing is just a kind of game and a means to get (to) Sarah (as I posted last week).
        Actually, _that_ being something which in fact brought him further away from her than anything ever before…

      • Josh says:

        In some ways it was a game, it was a cool thing to spend his time doing considering his alternative was the buymore, and it kept him close to Sarah.

        But I m pretty sure at some point it ceased being just a cool thing to do and it became Chuck’s version of a purpose. But Chuck being a flaky guy he just doesn’t seem to grasp that he can’t just always wing it on a smile and a tranq dart, at some point in time there will come a moment where a clear choice will be there. Kill or be killed (or suffer someone you love being killed), and I m pretty sure that will come in 13, it’s the natural progression from where we are.

      • weaselone says:

        I think Chuck realizes how serious the spy game is. If he didn’t realize it at the beginning of season 3, he certainly realized it by the end of 3.06.

  17. Who Dat says:

    I downloaded American hero on Wednesday. I have seen it 3 times since then. Last night I decided I wanted to download the beard, but this time i used my desktop. It showed that most of the episodes this season were not showing huge “popularity” but Hero was off the chats, I am hoping the word got out and we will see a HUGE number this week.
    I know I have not been the most prolific poster, but the board is so much easier to read this week. People are so much more positive, and as a reflection of the show, hitting its stride again..
    24 hours 35 minutes till chuck..nt that I am counting

    • Who Dat says:

      Wow spell check cant even help me chat=charts

    • joe says:

      I know what you mean.

      But someone (sorry! I forget who!) said that even when posts have called out the negative things this season, they’ve still been from the perspective of fans who really love the show. He’s right. Granted, it’s been easier to see this week (and especially in all the comments to this post). But really, it’s always there.

      I try to remember that, Who Dat.

  18. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The American Hero (3.12) | Chuck This

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