I am a masochist. That’s the only possible explanation. There are a lot of people on this blog who don’t even want to watch this episode a second time, let alone the two-ish plus specific scenes it usually takes to get a good review. And this is my second review. I am a masochist. So lets go pick at scabs, after the jump. We can’t really talk about this episode without talking about two things. The Chuckopalypse and the apparent whiplash of the last few minutes. And we will. But first I want to talk about the first 30 minutes, and some of the things I picked up on with repeated watchings. I mentioned a few in my first review, written shortly after the episode aired. It’s available here. Shaw isn’t a very good spy in my opinion. Not knowing the load bearing capacity of a beam critical to the mission is a mistake one lovable nerd turned spy would never make. But then again, Shaw also thinks he and Sarah would make a convincing couple. Regardless, it seems Chuck has to bail out super-spy Daniel Shaw once again. This brings us into Buymoria, where Chuck seems to be enjoying a day of flirting with his newest petite brunette. Oddly, he isn’t particularly happy to see Sarah, and neither is Morgan. This is our first clue that the distance we saw starting in First Class, when Sarah went to Shaw at the end instead of Chuck has continued. Shaw got to Sarah. He convinced her that she had to let Chuck go, or she’d get him killed. Since her nearly tearful “please don’t go” in First Class to now, we’ve seen nothing but professional interaction between Chuck and Sarah, and that’s what this is. Sarah telling Chuck it’s mission time, and being somewhat aggravated about it. Hannah on the other hand is also on a mission. Spend more time with Chuck. Sure she’s saying it’s all about Nerd Herding, but we know better. One server restarted from a backup database later and we’ve got our double date set for the night. Chuck and Hannah, Sarah and Shaw. Sarah, despite her professional pullback from Chuck isn’t particularly happy about Chuck alone in a control room with a woman who is a) his type, as she well knows b) obviously infatuated with him and c) comes with no professional complications, and no painful history or emotional baggage. Civilians on missions? Yeah, that’s her problem. Well there is also Shaw. Sarah doesn’t seem to like Shaw. She’s a little testy. His questions and his actions are a bit forward. But here’s the thing. Sarah Walker, professional spy would not let it get to her, unless it was making her face something she didn’t want to face. Perhaps that once again she was enjoying the attentions of another super-spy hero type. I know there’s a lot of disagreement and angst over this, but watch again and you can not only see that Sarah’s reactions to Shaw’s seemingly creepy caresses and kisses is not just disgust, it’s something between resistance and tension. If it wasn’t having an affect she wouldn’t care. Remember, Sarah Walker has spent weeks with a mark, Giles, at the beginning of the season, and without going to places where people don’t like to go or venturing too deeply into how much and how quickly Sarah may be changing I think it’s safe to assume Sarah could handle a caress or two or a kiss for professional reasons. It isn’t done really well, it isn’t totally unambiguous, but this is the sort of WTWT sexual tension most shows play and Chuck always managed to avoid. The opposites attract or the equals spar rather than admit their attraction is pretty standard fare. I guess we often just expect more from Chuck. So on to the mission. Hannah and Chuck, Sarah and Shaw. We’ve already talked about how Shaw made his move, and now Hannah makes hers. Even on the first viewing this one seemed natural and unforced. On repeated viewings I almost root for them. Chuck obviously makes Hannah happy. And what Hannah gives to Chuck, well it’s something he’s been missing in his life lately. He likes being adored. He likes it when a woman looks at him with love in her eyes. Chuck likes feeling important, like he matters to someone, and Hannah gives Chuck that feeling. Plus a few kisses and an apparent dousing in her perfume. The Ring agents arrival and Chuck’s flash give Chuck something else, a reason to spend some time with Sarah. She’s obviously as pleased as he is, but apparently too little communication between these two takes it’s toll. Everything they haven’t talked about, all the signs the other is being pursued, signs that only Chuck and Sarah would notice about someone pursuing the other and the associated jealousies come out. Yes that’s right Hannah is pursuing Chuck and Shaw is pursuing Sarah, Chuck and Sarah are the quarry, not the pursuers. Their own denial that they still want to be with each other, and their unwillingness to admit it let alone discuss it once again dooms them, and us, to another round of angsty angsty love. So the setup is there. Well done? Not particularly. But as long as we’re on the topic I may as well cover the other trend I saw start in First Class. Production values were way down, and the writing, the continuity and the plot holes were getting worse. This was the episode where it started to get really annoying. They’ve been endlessly recorded and discussed, so I won’t rehash here, I’ll just say that to me it seems the one critical part of the plot they had to make work, the relationship setups, perhaps didn’t get the attention it needed on the Sarah side since they thought (again, perhaps) that since they were using the obvious TV code, the attractive woman getting ostentatiously annoyed at the attractive man’s advances, we’d all see it coming. Apparently they assumed too much, hence the Chuckopalypse. And for the record, amid all the hype and sturm und drang in the media, there was exactly one poster who in a single post proposed a boycott. That was it, everyone else, while they might have expressed displeasure and disappointment, or as in the case of a few said they were done with the show, everyone else ignored that post. It was only Sepinwall’s apparently taking it seriously that set things off. Back to the formulaic TV that we all apparently missed setting off the Chuckopalypse, there was one final scene in the setup. When Sarah tells off Shaw for bringing her coffee. This was supposed to be Sarah humiliating herself for betraying her true feelings, that she feels Shaw is hitting on her and it’s working. This is also standard fare, the lady doth protest too much, as is his alibi. But we now are to know that Shaw is hitting on her, and it is having an affect. Cue the confessions of true feelings. OK, not quite yet. We get to see a bit of our favorite couple working together, just for old times sake before we nail the coffin shut. The mission is a simple yet fun one. Chuck comes through sans intersect and Sarah kicks ass. Sarah takes out the first baddie with one punch then after a brief struggle ends up running around the wall to escape a garrote and deliver a few well placed elbows and kicks. It’s about the best we’ve seen since she took out two guards with machine guns in a nurses uniform. Chuck and Sarah come through where Daniel Shaw, superspy couldn’t. Shaw isn’t a very good spy, despite what they keep telling us. Casey had a full containment unit for an unidentified can of shaving cream after Chuck jumped the gun. Before that he’d set up for a team of specialists to make sure the briefcase wasn’t booby trapped and the weapon was safe to handle. Shaw sees a hole so he pokes a stick in it, setting off the deadly gas. Shaw is not a very good spy, but then we had to have the gas. How else do you get Shaw and Sarah locked alone in a room, apparently about to die, to confess their true feelings? Chuck of course comes through, with a minor assist from Shaw. It’s not often Chuck has to save two damsels in distress, cut the guy a break. I’ll leave all the previously mentioned plot holes alone, having acknowledged there are many and they are bad. The next scenes in Castle are the real plot turn. Having established Shaw and Hannah’s pursuit, and Chuck having already largely succumbed, we get the nail in the Charah coffin for the next six episodes. First Chuck is faced with Shaw and Sarah, working in tandem and looking very much like a team and a couple telling him they’d be leaving soon. Sarah chases after Chuck in the corridor, to make sure he’s OK. I’m not sure what she hoped, obviously for some sort of Chuck save. Emotionally unequipped and unwilling to really open up, and with no cover relationship as a crutch, Sarah has no way of pulling Chuck back to her. The time and distance, and her apparent new relationship, which she does not deny, have sealed the deal for Chuck. Sarah is gone. Sarah, once again, watches events unfold unable and unwilling to stop the train wreck. She says goodbye to Chuck. Chuck, he’d already started to move on. Hannah is no surprise. Shaw, however much we want to believe isn’t either. Sarah basically surrenders to another possibly somewhat satisfying but ultimately loveless relationship with the latest ridiculously handsome and available spy who pursues her. Both Chuck and Sarah are descending into the abyss. Sarah back to her old ways, before she met Chuck, and Chuck into new territory. Sarah’s old territory. A relationship that may be satisfying on some level, but is ultimately loveless and undertaken out of convenience. In Chuck’s case, it’s also a lie because he’ll never be able to tell Hannah who he really is. Chuck is treating Hannah no better than Sarah treated Giles in the end, but for a while you could still root for them. They made a cute couple, and they made each other happy for a while. And for a while that’s going to have to be enough for our heroes. Chuck can have a little happiness and Sarah can feel safe from feelings she apparently fears more than a life without love. Hannah and Shaw are now unmasked as the pursuers they were. Chuck and Sarah have put on their happy faces and pretended to move on. Their masks will stay on a while longer. – Ernie
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- Ernie Davis
Luke on Open Comment Thread atcDave on Open Comment Thread Josh Zdanowicz on Open Comment Thread atcDave on Open Comment Thread Josh Zdanowicz on Open Comment Thread thinkling on Open Comment Thread atcDave on Open Comment Thread atcDave on Open Comment Thread joe on Open Comment Thread Charah on Open Comment Thread Charah on Open Comment Thread atcDave on Open Comment Thread Ernie Davis on Open Comment Thread atcDave on Open Comment Thread Josh Zdanowicz on Open Comment Thread
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