S3 Revisited: The Beard (3.09)

Funny timing.   In our second look at S3,  we get to Chuck vs. The Beard exactly one day after it ran as a re-run.    We were told by critics,  before this episode ran,  it would be the strongest element of this part of the season (through 3.11).   The plotting break-down is a little different here as Chuck is separated from his team for most of the episode;  so we see “the team” sent out of town to run into Ellie and Devon,  while events at the Buy More and Castle become the main event.   A quick summary follows the jump.

This episode starts with Chuck at his all time low.   He is so down after recent events he can no longer flash and gets benched.   But he still has further to sink as even Morgan “fires” him as best friend.

Ellie and Devon retreat to a resort outside of town,  that happens to be the same place The Ring has lead the team to.   The main things we learn would seem to be:  The Ring wants to separate the team from Castle,   they now have other plans for Shaw apart from wanting him dead,  and Ellie looks good in a bikini.   This sub-plot really contributes little else to the story.

The “A” plot for this episode is very well done.  Easily the best we’ve seen since Operation Awesome if not all season.   In case everyone has forgotten,  Chuck used to be a comedy.   They do an excellent job of reminding us of that here.   Diedrich  Bader is particularly effective as a Ring heavy,   and makes this episode fun in almost every way.    I think I’ll skip the usual recap and just touch on some highlights.

Chuck’s friendship with Morgan is the main theme here;  and we see Chuck start his climb out of the pits as he rekindles the show’s primary bromance.   Its funny we see the recurring idea of Morgan and the other Buy Morons assuming Chuck is uniquely poorly qualified to spy;  and satisfying to see Morgan’s rapid and enthusiastic acceptance of his buddies double life.    Chuck’s relief is huge as he gets to unload his issues on a very receptive Morgan;  and by my count,  Morgan is now the gazillionth person to observe Chuck is clearly in love with Sarah,  yet this is never the theme of this episode.   Even though Morgan urges Chuck back into the pursuit of Sarah,  and she returns the favor by siding with Chuck that Morgan is no threat.     So Morgan has already proven to be a more useful asset for Chuck than Devon ever did;  and Morgan will continue to prove useful in the weeks ahead.   He almost takes the Chuck role from S1;   this is a development I relish.   Especially as it seems Morgan’s main partner will be John Casey.   I’m sure Casey will prove to be just as patient and supportive of Morgan’s eccentricities and rookie mistakes as Sarah was with Chuck.

I think this was the best integration of the Buy More in the main plot all season too.   Lester’s interview and later spying were fun;   of  course Morgan discovering Castle worked,  and Jeff having Casey’s back in a fight with two Ring baddies was priceless.    Chuck will show better control of the intersect from here on out;  although emotions still get the better of him on occasion,  I’m sure that will remain an occasional issue.  

The worst of the season is clearly over from this point.   Of the last 5 episodes of the main arc,  only Final Exam really hits a sour note;  and that one seems to generate more mixed feelings among fans compared to Mask and Fake Name’s widespread unpopularity   (yes,  I acknowledge these are generalizations,  I’m sure there are fans who have liked every single episode!).     Many of us have felt the handling of the Chuck and Sarah relationship (and the much reduced interaction of Levi and Strahovski on screen)  was the most fundamental flaw of this season.   This episode does nothing to fix that key problem;  but it manages to be a fun and uplifting episode on its own merits.



About atcDave

I'm 54 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 31 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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119 Responses to S3 Revisited: The Beard (3.09)

  1. BDaddydL says:

    I enjoyed the episode, especialy when they rembered that comedy was important. “sounds like liberty”
    The one part of contention I have is right before Chuck flashes, was it Morgan or Morgan reminding Chuck that he loves Sara that caused the flash? I think Chuck realized his feelings for Sara Causing the flash.
    No matter, you could see the light at the end of the tunnel at the end of the episode.

    • atcdave says:

      I think it was the combination BDaddydl. Unloading everything pent up, and being able to talk with Morgan was huge. Admitting he loved Sarah was supposed to be a revelation; even if he’s heard it or said a dozen times before, apparently he wasn’t paying attention earlier.

      But it sure was a light and the end of the tunnel sort of episode.

      • amyabn says:

        Kind of makes you wonder about the spinach and kryptonite thing again. I think the realization that he loves Sarah unfroze him (but hey, I’m a shipper). If it was those feelings, he should have been able to flash when Poochie was threatening her with the knife. He could flash in Pink Slip when the baddie threatened Sarah next. The uneven application of what does and doesn’t cause/prevent Chuck from flashing is a bit annoying and open to debate.

      • Merve says:

        I actually kind of like the idea that there are no set rules for when Chuck can and can’t flash, just general guidelines. If there were set rules, then I think it would be too predictable. Plus, then wouldn’t it make sense to try to create an environment in which Chuck would always be able to flash? I mean, Sarah could just follow him around everywhere and he’d be unstoppable.

        If there was one inconsistency about this episode, it was that I thought that information flashes weren’t linked to Chuck’s emotions. Maybe that was the case only in Intersect 1.0, but it kind of seemed like they made that the case only to make a silly flashcard gag.

      • atcdave says:

        I’m OK with the application being eneven as long as no one is drawing dire conclusions about it like “Chuck should never be emotional!” I do sort of like the theme that Sarah is the one person who can bring some consistancy to Chuck’s performance, but emotional overloads are always a problem (like hopeless situations, Sarah disabled, etc.)

        So Merve, are suggesting you’re shocked that they would use a gag with no particular point? Just Wondering!

      • Merve says:

        No, I’m not shocked. I’m just confused. Intersect 1.0 flashes were clearly not linked to Chuck’s emotional state. Intersect 2.0 flashes are linked to Chuck’s emotional state, but I was led to believe that that only applied to abilities flashes, not to information flashes. I guess I was wrong about that.

      • atcdave says:

        Its kind of the problem that led to all the con theories; some times we’re looking for things to be more logical than they are!

      • cas says:

        To me it was pretty clear when he can and cannot flash (with the 2.0) around Sarah. I’ve noticed that he flashes better when Sarah is there supporting him and beleiving in him regardless of whether She was in danger or not. Thats what happened in Pink slip (in jail), at the vault, and in ADLM. He stops flashing when she is in too grave of danger that he thinks there is no longer anything that he can do about it or when he feels that he has lost her. So to me, it looks like his self doubt and lack of confidence is his kryptonite and Sarah’s support is his spinach.

      • Merve says:

        Dave, I’d have a bit more support for those theories if they were any more logical than what actually happened.

  2. JC says:

    Second best episode of the season. The show really needed this episode after the previous two angst fests. Morgan how far you’ve come since season 1, he was the only character I was really rooting for at this point and in some ways is still. All his lines were absolutely great, when he fired Chuck as his best friend and pointed out how he wouldn’t fire Chuck from the Buymore. Electric knives and a Red Dawn shout out, be still my child of the eighties heart. Ellie in a bikini, oh my. Overall just a fun standalone episode that moved Chuck’s emotional turmoil forward.

    My biggest complaint at the time it really didn’t move the spy story forward at all. I thought maybe it would after mentioning those disks but nothing. Although looking back there wasn’t a spy story to move forward.

    I won’t comment on Sarah or Shaw because they were both in idiot mode this episode.

    • amyabn says:

      JC, I think Sarah redeemed herself (in my eyes anyway) when she backed Chuck with keeping Morgan out of witness protection. Just my 2 cents.

      • JC says:

        I don’t think she needed redeemed. I just found it amusing she thought Chuck would talk to her considering the events of Fake Name.

  3. Merve says:

    It was a good episode, but it was way over-hyped and way overrated. I don’t know, maybe my expectations were too high, but I honestly had the same reaction to it that I had to “Fake Name”: “Ehh…it was alright, but it wasn’t that great.”

    First off, this episode was a lot of fun. And there was certainly a lot to like about this episode: Chuck and Morgan repairing their friendship, Ellie in a bikini, Casey being badass, and the barricade of the Buy More, to name a few good things.

    But what I didn’t like was that the humour seemed to be hitting me over the head. Chuck is far from subtle, but this episode almost seemed like it was in need of a laugh track. The jokes just didn’t land as effortlessly and naturally as in most other episodes. To be frank, I laughed a lot more at “Fake Name.”

    There were also some more intangible things that I didn’t like. I can’t quite put my finger on them, but I think that the directing was part of the problem. Don’t get me wrong: Levi did a great job for a first-time director, but he made a few missteps that took me out of the episode in a way that reminded me that I was watching television, if that makes any sense. The flashbang scene with Casey in the hotel room and the cuts to Jeffster posing with toy dart guns seemed unnecessary and out of place. (Also, the scene where Jeff accidentally took out the bad guys went on for way too long to the point where the joke just stopped being funny.)

    Speaking of things that felt unnecessary and out of place, the whole Jeffster! performance felt tacked on. There was no lead-up and no explanation; it just sort of happened. (And maybe my intense hatred of Creedence Clearwater Revival didn’t help matters.)

    Overall, this episode felt sort of like being at a carnival. Watching it made me feel like I was being yelled at for forty minutes. Everything about it was just so in-your-face. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I’ve come to expect a wider tonal range from Chuck.

    I did enjoy this episode, but it felt a little unfulfilling. To use another metaphor, it was like cotton candy: a lot of sugar and fluff. There was no meaty dramatic anchor, or any real substance. In a way, that’s fine; not every episode of Chuck has to be epic or deep. However, this episode was also demonstrative of my greatest fear about the back six: that Chuck will degenerate into fluff, i.e. now that Chuck and Sarah are together, there won’t be any drama on the show. I’m confident that TPTB have some good, meaty, non-angsty stuff up their sleeves, but I still can’t shake the feeling that they might abandon the dramatic component of the show entirely.

    Okay, I know that I’ve dumped on this episode and made it sound that I really didn’t like it. I did like it. I liked it a lot. I liked it more than “Pink Slip,” “Three Words,” “Mask,” “Fake Name,” or “Final Exam.” But that still places it in the bottom half of this season, in my estimation. Like I said, it’s fine for Chuck to do a fun, fluffy episode like this every once in a while; I just don’t think that it should become the norm or I might start to lose interest.

    • atcdave says:

      Funny, I agree with most of your specific examples, but not so much the overall impression. Jeffster didn’t work so well for me here, especially the silly pose shot. The flashbang effect was too stylized. But I thought overall it did hold together pretty well.

      I have some similar fears about the back six. I hope we see a mature, low maintenance relationship develop for them; But my fear since the reset has been, that TPTB really don’t know how to write an adult relationship. I think they did the reset because they didn’t know what else to do. There is little recent precedent for a stable adult relationship on television (outside of sit-coms, which Chuck clearly isn’t). I just hope their love of TV and cinema goes back well before the 1980s or they really may be working without a net.

      • Merve says:

        Dave, I’m not too worried about the Chuck/Sarah relationship, at least in the back six. What I’m worried about is that TPTB might forget that they have a lot of dramatic potential outside of the Chuck/Sarah relationship. Chuck still has to repair his relationship with Devon. Ellie still doesn’t know about Chuck’s secret but everyone else does. Casey still hasn’t reconnected with his daughter and ex-fiancée. Morgan hasn’t yet faced the harsher realities of the spy world. Chuck might start having problems with the Intersect, and it might begin affecting his brain. Sarah may still have some demons in her past to confront. There are a lot of dramatic possibilities for the series; there’s really no need to dip into the angst well, and I don’t think they will. My fear is that they won’t dip into any of the other dramatic wells at all.

        But to be fair, my fears about the show almost never come true, and whatever I don’t like about the show is something that I wouldn’t have predicted, so I’m probably worrying for nothing. 🙂

  4. aardvark7734 says:

    You know, when I think back on this episode, all I can think of is Morgan. He owned every great scene that I remember, from his amazed exploration of the Castle to his excitement at discovering his best friend was a spy to his triumphant and cocky reveal from the mist at the freezer door.

    Chuck who? Oh yeah, he was supposed to have some great scenes too. I guess his concerned reaction over Morgan’s Castle discovery could have been one, or maybe the moment the dam broke and he revealed his secret identity, or even the moment he realized (for the second straight episode) that he was still in love with Sarah (can I insert yet another WTF here just for emphasis?).

    Maybe if I watch 3.09 now, long after its original airing, I’ll be able to regain an empathy for Chuck’s character sufficient to be affected by his struggle in this episode. Because back then, it was right after ‘Fake Name’, and my dismay at the unconscionable act he had perpetrated on Hannah was still fresh in my mind. As I recall, by the end of *that* episode I had nearly concluded that both Chuck and Sarah pretty much deserved their respective miseries.

    • atcdave says:

      I think our initial reactions are very similar. But its 3.05-3.08 I refuse to re-watch, so 3.09 just gets better with time. I am sure if I were any less invested in this show, I would have never made it this far; 3.07 and 3.08 would have been total deal breakers for me if I weren’t all in. (I’ve deleted many TV series for lesser offences.)
      Morgan really did own this episode, and he has become a more fun character ever since.

  5. Chuckaddict says:

    Did anyone else notice the look on Devon’s face after Shaw told him “he didn’t know” if he and Ellie were in danger at the hotel? It seems even he could tell that Shaw is no super spy.

    • Warp says:

      This was exactly my thought, when I watched the scene again today.

    • Ofer says:

      I thought Devon was remembering what Chuck told him before (I think it was even in the previouslies), if you have to lie, just say you don’t know. So then Devon thinks Shaw is lying to him, and Ellie could be in danger. But the Shaw is incompetent idea works too.

  6. Warp says:

    Thanks again for a nice re-view.

    If there is one thing that season 3 clearly told us, it is that you can count on Morgan and Casey if it really counts:
    Not only as rescuer(s) and loyal friend(s) IC, but also OOC as those who bring fun and comedy in desperate times (and much less slapstick-like than Jeffster that’s for sure).

  7. sd says:

    I have to admit…I’ve never much cared for the Morgan Grimes character–he always just seemed so annoying….an unfortunate “pass through” as other plot points developed–or didn’t as the first 13 of S3 showed us. 🙂

    Even the backstory when they met and became friends didn’t “sell” me that this guy was anything more than someone Chuck should have “grown out of” a long time ago (something Ellie would keep reminding him).

    But this episode…it was great! And I really found myself caring for Morgan Grimes and feeling for him when he had to “fire” Chuck as his best friend.

    On second viewing, I also noticed “moments”…such as what Chuckaddict saw with Devon’s face….both with Shaw–and Chuck. In those looks Awesome realizes he can’t trust them to keep both he and Ellie safe….hence the “let’s go to Africa” moment.

    But for the most part—it was fun. The scene where Shaw wants to blow up Castle and Sarah practically begs Shaw to give Chuck time sets up Sarah’s look in ep 12 when Chuck rescues Shaw and tells Sarah Shaw would have done the same thing for him. Yeah, right.

    At the end of the ep…the most fun for me was Morgan. And on first and now second viewing, I’m looking forward to more Morgan which is something I never thougtht I would say.

    • atcdave says:

      I really agree about Morgan. Casey and Morgan working together really sounds like fun. I don’t think I would have ever been for more Morgan before now; I remember just rolling my eyes when I heard the bromance would get more attention this season, but so far its been a good thing.

      • herder says:

        I agree, Casey and Morgan have been the strongest characters this season, never thought I would say that about Morgan. I felt that his joy about Chuck being a spy was a return to the heart that the show seems to be missing for much of this season.

        In the back six there is a lot of potential for Morgan/Casey and Morgan/Beckman interactions. Also, if Morgan was feeling marginalized in Chuck’s life by fake girlfriend Sarah, how will real girlfriend Sarah rub him, especially as I can see Sarah pushing for him to either move in with Casey of watch Awesome and Ellie’s place while they are in Africa.

        Who knows, maybe Chuck and Sarah moan like a couple of beached sealions and he will want to move out like he did to escape Bolognia and Big Mike.

      • HenryH says:

        I actually think Morgan will be thrilled and supportive of Chuck and Sarah. I think he never felt marginalized by Sarah’s presence. He just (we now know) didn’t understand why Chuck was acting so weird. It wasn’t explicably simply by having a girlfriend.

        Obviously, I dunno what they have planned for Morgan, but a combination Norton from Honeymooners and Alfred the Butler might work nicely…

  8. Jason says:

    rewatching the ep – I am reminded of how much promise I put into 3.9 because of the screener’s comments, and again, how average I felt the ep was –

    Morgan is great in this episode, but even Yvonne would have trouble carrying an ep by herself – in ep’s like cougars or the delorean, she had very good guest stars to carry her story

    the spy plot – I to this day have no idea what was going on with the rings invasion of ‘shaws’ hideout, although I suppose it makes as much sense than trying to kill him the ep b4, given their goal of trying to turn him?

    Again, I can write fanfic to explain any of this as well as anyone, but the story tellers did not tell me on screen, if they told any of you I would be interested?

    jeff / lester – no real setup to the performance, just sort of happened, that had been such a big deal in the summer, could have easily given that a bit of a lead in setting it up – would have been great if chuck sarah had been part of it like the first time, even if on opposite ends of the room showing how goofed up this season was.

    Shaw wanting to kill chuck at the end, sarah saying don’t for me, shaw giving her 5 minutes, then calling again with casey and sarah present, we will never quite know, but all appearances were sarah was going to stand by and watch chuck die – because afterall – he was becoming a spy and was going to have to take a red test – of course, there I go writing fan fic, truth the story of why she was standing by watching was not told either.

    • SWnerd says:

      In Sarah’s defense, on re-watch, I watched her very closely in that scene. Her demeanor, her face, her body language all looked like she was on the verge of taking action. What action, I can’t say for sure but it seemed to me she was desperately planning or thinking of something. Anything. But then they instantly heard the freezer door opening.

      • Jason says:

        probably were going to do something – I agree – he was on the phone and they did nothing – that is all I know …. tey had what – maybe 5 seconds to act?

      • kg says:

        yeah SWnerd I picked up on that too. It’s like Shaw was her kryptonite. She bought just about every crappy BS explanation he came up with.

        She was freaking out, wanted to take action but knew she couldn’t convince/beat Shaw, so watch again. Right before the door opens, she looks to Casey to do something. Fortunately, he didn’t have to.

    • atcdave says:

      The spy plot of this episode is almost non-existant. And going from wanting to kill Shaw in 3.08, to not killing him in 3.09; you’re right, we can make up a reason, but we are told nothing. There have been other occasions when Sarah just stood by for no good reason, but for her character it never makes any sense.

      • JC says:

        One thing that has bothered me is the Intersects value to CIA/NSA. Season 1&2 made it out to be the holy grail. Now in season 3 its just not that important again, until Other Guy.

      • kg says:


        I agree with you first viewing.

        Last night I’m thinking they didn’t kill Shaw because, although we didn’t know yet, The Director decided to keep him alive to show him the intel he had of the CIA’s top agent and his new LI Sarah Walker shooting and killing his beloved wife Eve.

        The Director must have decided watching Shaw’s agony and using it to turn him and bury the CIA was infinitely more delicious than merely killing him.

      • Merve says:

        Though it isn’t really explained, I think that we’re supposed to believe that Hunter Perry acquired the data drive between “Fake Name” and “Beard,” and that he made the Director aware of its contents, but he wasn’t able to physically deliver the drive to the Director before Casey shot him.

      • drosejr says:

        If you look closely at the pictures Chuck is going through like flip cards when he is trying to flash again, I think one of the ones he turns up is Hunter Perry (maybe the third one he looks at?)

      • Merve says:

        Actually, the third one he looks at is some Chinese guy. I just checked; it’s “Chan Min Chi.”

      • drosejr says:

        I do remember seeing someone who looks Perry in those flash cards when I watched this episode last night. Maybe not.

  9. AngelTwo says:

    The episode is okay. Doesn’t slay me. And, uh, didn’t we see Fortunate Son used in Live Free or Die Hard, from which TPTB also stole the “You are that guy” dialogue? Really, at a certain point, Chuck the show should do less outright theft and more homage.

    All that said, I don’t understand the criticism of Sarah’s actions at the end. She bought Chuck five minutes–and she did it at a high cost to herself. She had to make it personal with Shaw, which is something you could tell she didn’t want to do.

    Contrast that with the end of Marlin, when she could only buy Chuck one minute with Long Shore and had accepted losing Chuck (the civilian) to incarceration. I think five minutes for Chuck (the spy) was above and beyond.

    Besides, the point WAS that she did it. I’m not sure why anyone thinks at this point that Sarah and Shaw are not in a relationship. But it is a knowing relationship. Shaw knows Sarah doesn’t love him; Sarah knows that Shaw is still obsessed with his wife. Sarah going personal like that to plead for Chuck is supposed to be fraught with significance.

    And I thought it was.

    • Jason says:

      since ernie does not want me quoting other sites, all I can say is one of the podcast’s pretty much unanimously agreed shaw and sarah were not in a relationship, that the 3.12 ‘first date’ scene was inserted by the writers to show us they were messing with us all along …. again, since the story was not told, we can fanfic or speculate all we want – you can have them poppin each other 6 times a day if that makes you feel good, the podcast people can say they shared a 3 minute makeout session and a kiss in the castle – based on the story told – I really don’t know?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Jason, like I said I don’t mind (and don’t think anyone else minds) bringing in some outside opinions for discussion, otherwise we become a bubble. I think your bringing up what some of the podcasts say is perfectly appropriate.

        The developing trend I objected to was criticizing someone specific who doesn’t post here and importing a personal argument from another board because comments were or would be moderated on another board. To me that’s taking unfair advantage of our leniency in allowing pretty much unmoderated commentary, and importing the type of thing a lot of us wanted to get away from. To hopefully clarify:

        Appropriate: I was listening to Podcaster on his Podcast and he thinks Casey will turn out to be a Terminator. I think he’s right/wrong because of this/that. What do you think?

        Inappropriate: That idiot Podcaster went and tried to piss everyone off again by saying Casey will turn out to be a Terminator. Clearly the blowhard knows nothing whatsoever since he’s been wrong about everything. The d-bag then had the temerity to mod me when I called him on it, so I figured I’d post here so I could let everyone know what an idiot the d-bag is. I like this site much better because I can call him a d-bag and not get moderated. The tone is so much more civilized.

      • AngelTwo says:

        I know the podcast to which you refer: The one where they spend all of their time criticizing the season that they previously defended within an inch of their lives. So their credibility is zero.

        The “first date” in 12 is just that. A first public outing. In fact, Shaw says “we should have done this long ago.” That is clearly about a public outing.

        I will pass on the name-reveal as sex thing because it’s too convoluted. But the end of Fake Name is irrefutable. Sarah makes a conscious decision there to be with Shaw. That’s specifically the point of the stakeout “date” in Beard: Sarah is trying to take back what happened by her “let’s keep it professional” line. (A callback to her “let’s keep it professional” line to Bryce in OO in Break-Up.)

        The point here is simple, really. Shaw and Sarah are unconventional people (hello!). Their relationship would be unconventional. They could be together before they ever had a “date.” Many professional people have that. They get into a relationship long before they do that official “first date” thing. Truth to tell, office romances are often like that. Things happen, you get involved, steal some available time. Then, almost as a celebration, you have the “first date.” That’s called modern romance, for better or worse.

        And, hello!, look at the dialog in Final Exam. Chuck asks Sarah if she is going to live with Shaw in DC. She doesn’t say to him, “Why would you think that?” She gives a non answer answer because she clearly hadn’t decided THAT. But there’s no question that Sarah for her own mind is in a relationship with Shaw.

        What seems to be eluding the brilliant minds on the podcast is that Sarah and Shaw’s relationship would never have been about “love” in the traditional sense. Sarah was choosing Shaw because she’d given up on Chuck. Shaw would be with Sarah because it was a warm body to replace his wife. They both knew the score.

        The ONE thing I think TPTB got right this year in the otherwise woebegone Sarah-Shaw relationship was the nature of it. While it WAS a clear choice for Sarah, it wasn’t a choice of equal options. Sarah was with Shaw because, in her mind, that’s what spies can have. Especially spies who think they’ve blown it with the man they really love…

        It’s really not all that complicated, except for the dullards on the podcast.

      • AngelTwo says:

        Your rules of engagement posted while I was writing my response. So I wasn’t trying to flaut your rules. But the podcast Jason raises was astonishing within the terms I describe in my post. And we do run into this problem about how to deal with the people who pounded on dissenters from the “show is great” meme only to become critics of the show themselves. It’s tricky what you are trying to do: Allow certain people to beat up folks, then rebuke the people who’ve beaten up for responding.

        I admire your attempt to do it, mind you. But it does let the first offenders control the debate, which is unfortunate…

      • Jason says:

        angel – probably – but you still are inventing your own story – we were not told the story you just told regarding sham, nor the story on the podcast – that is the point I am making

      • Ernie Davis says:

        A2, I understand that happens, and while your post is close to a line, and mind you I’m suggesting a line for the sake of maintaining what I and many others like about this board, It does not mention anyone specific in regards to who is a dullard. I suppose we could guess. Saying someone has no credibility as far as your concerned is fair game IMHO.

        I don’t want to stifle debate, but I really don’t want this blog to turn into a forum for bashing other people. I’m just trying to remind people of what they liked about this blog and what drew them here.

      • AngelTwo says:

        Point taken. Although I must say it was dullardS, in the plural. It was an astonishing podcast, needless to say.

        No, honest, I am NOT inventing a story. I’m suggesting only that logic must suffice.

        At the end of the shooting scene in Fake Name, we’re not shown Chuck, Sarah and Shaw getting up off the floor. We make the logical assumption that they DID get off the floor because they are shown walking around in the next scene. So it’s not an invention if you say they got up, brushed themselves off and left the hotel room.

        The logical conclusion from the last scenes of Fake Name is that Sarah and Shaw began a relationship. You don’t do what Sarah did–get up from your paperwork, buy a crockpot, buy food, go back to the guy you’ve been flirting with and begin kissing him–without the LOGICAL conclusion.

      • Jason says:

        try this one out, end of 3.11, sarah tells shaw the gut wrenching worst day of her life story and cut …. logical conclusion they make passionate love after such a heartfelt moment, but instead, another 5 seconds of clip shows sarah getting up looking rather disgusted …. now the first conclusion is in doubt, you are making a guess – albeit a logical one, but it is in doubt.

        The example you gave about getting up off the floor – what then, did they all leave the room alone, together, shaw and sarah together, after suuposedly 99% of the fandom swears they saw sarah give chuck a farwell eyejob that was nearly x rated, I don’t know nor do you, we can only guess becasue that story was not told.

        have claimed elsewhere with 60 sec of editing, I could make sham disappear, with simply taking the last seconds of 3.8 away, at least 50% of your logical conclusion goes away – there are so many other illogical plot holes, just hard to know for sure what the intent was, unless they tell us, or unless they had told a story

      • AngelTwo says:

        I don’t think you CAN assume what happened in the hotel room at the end of the shooting in fake name. The only LOGICAL conclusion is that they left. That is as far as you can take it.

        Nor can you assume at the end of Fake Name that Sarah and Shaw flew a 747 to Tahiti. But begin a relationship? Of course, that is the logical conclusion.

        The problem people have with 12 is that THEY are jumping to conclusions. Shaw doesn’t say “We should have done this FIRST DATE a long time ago.” He says “this.” The big-deal, big-meal, fancy night out. I literally said “We should have done this a long time ago” to my wife three weeks ago in a restaurant in Rome. I was referring to the fact that this was a place we’d been meaning to get to for year and never had. We’ve been married 20 years. Honest, it was NOT our first date!

        I just don’t see why this is a problem for anyone. Sarah and Shaw were in a relationship. We didn’t want it. We would have preferred it not to happen. But it was a relationship.

      • Merve says:

        To add to the above discussion, ambiguity wins you awards in the movie industry, but in television, it’s just frustrating. We never know the depth of the Sarah-Shaw relationship, so we all just draw our own conclusions and fill in the details as we like. In my opinion, the hotel room scene in “Fake Name” wasn’t even the worst offender when it came to cutting a scene a little too early. Remember the Prague scene in “Pink Slip?” (Okay, how could you forget?) It ends as Chuck places the fake passport back in Sarah’s hand, and all we see is the devastated look on Sarah’s face before we jump back to the present. But after “Pink Slip” aired, the Chuck boards were filled with comments like, “I can’t believe that Chuck walked away in Prague!” as if Chuck walking away were something that we’d seen onscreen. But that was just a logical way of filling in the blanks. How do we know that Sarah didn’t get on the train, abandoning Chuck at the platform? How do we know that Chuck and Sarah didn’t argue further before they both walked away? We don’t.

        To get back to the nature of the Sarah-Shaw relationship, I’m not sure that it worked in the context of the show. The kind of quasi-relationship that I think that they had might work in a movie or in a more serious dramatic series than Chuck, but I don’t think that that sort of relationship fits the feel of this show. The show is just easier to watch when people are either together or not together, i.e. when ambiguity is taken out of the equation.

      • Gabbo says:

        Vis a vis the platform scene in Prague. You can (and MUST) draw the logical conclusion there that Chuck walked away from Sarah after pressing the material back in her hand. What TPTB were saying is that he was choosing the job over Sarah. In fact, Chuck says that in both Final Exam and American Hero. He made the choice. He walked away.

        That is AngelTwo’s point about the logical conclusion. You are supposed to know that Chuck walked away because the entire season was about Chuck’s choice.

        Now we can argue FOREVER about whether Chuck was acting out of character or would never really do that if TPTB weren’t being manipulative. But the entirety of Season 3 rests on your understanding that Chuck made a choice of job over Sarah on the train platform and left her.

      • Merve says:

        Gabbo, that’s certainly the logical conclusion that I came to, but it’s never explicitly confirmed, and quite frankly, I see no reason for it not to be explicitly confirmed unless there was a reason for leaving some ambiguity around exactly what happened. Well, actually I do see a reason. If they’d showed Chuck walking away, it would have made Chuck seem like the bad guy. If they’d showed Sarah walking away, it would have made her seem like the bad guy. If they’d showed Chuck and Sarah arguing, it would have trivialized the entire scene. So I think that TPTB left it a little open to interpretation on purpose so that nobody would be “blamed” for what happened. The problem with leaving that ambiguity is that it makes Chuck seems as if he’s apologizing for Sarah’s foolhardy plan rather than for actually walking away.

      • sd says:

        On the whole…”were they a couple or weren’t they” question….I think they became a couple the night Sarah came back to Castle with the Crockpot and Chinese food. If you watch closely…after they kiss…Shaw starts to stand up…as in…let me show you to my room…at least that’s how it was telegraphed to me.

        The reason, imo, why you see them on a date…and the “we should have done this a long time ago…” is because remember, Shaw had been “banished” to Castle because the Ring learned he was alive.

        Someone mentioned on another post the difference between sex and intimacy…and I think what you were seeing with Sarah and Shaw is the former not the latter…made perfectly clear, imo, when Sarah tells Chuck it was “different” with him during Final Exam. She had achieved a level of intimacy (or as much as she can muster at this point) with Chuck she couldn’t–or wouldn’t with Shaw.

      • JC says:

        Honestly if we had gotten more scenes like the end of Fake Name I could believe there was a relationship. But after that the only time it was mentioned or Sarah showed any feelings towards Shaw was when the story called for Chuck to step up. Even if it didn’t make sense, American Hero shows this in spades.

      • Jason says:

        since it is all different writers, it’s like some episodes were written from one ‘playbook’ others from another. I still do not think Yvonne did anything to pull Routh thru, she did not even bother ‘faking it’, and BR just did not have the chops to consumate the relationship on screen with no help. I would love to know if indeed that was the intent – if so – someone should bail BR out and let the fans know or better yet, even if it was not the intent, just lie to let BR off the hook – I wonder if Zach & he are still buddies?

  10. herder says:

    Weird thing about Shaw’s whole “I’m going to have to blow up Chuck” scene. First, in light of the fact that Chuck is in danger because Shaw screwed up and took the Ring bait, wouldn’t he have tried harder to fix his mistake rather than killing Chuck to cover up the mistake. Secondly isn’t he the guy that said in First Class that “my people are never without back up” yet Chuck is at risk precisely because there was no back up. Thirdly Sarah, only 5 minutes for Chuck to save himself in a locked bunker with it’s communication to the outside world shut off, why the rush.

    Finally the Shaw/Sarah date in American Hero makes no sense in light of the way that Shaw has treated Chuck, the man that she supposedly loved until the red test. Shaw left Chuck alone in a airplane with two Ring agents in First Class, was chokeing him in Fake Name, wanted to kill him in the Beard and sent him on the red test (kill or be killed) in Final Exam. As a result of this Sarah supposedly decides that this guy is safe and she should date him?

    • DaveB says:

      yeah, crappy writing on the Shaw/Sarah side, great on the Morgan side, half and half on the Chuck side…

    • atcdave says:

      Herder, I think you’ve nailed one of the biggest problems with the Sham. Shaw just seems the least likely person Sarah would have turned to. Casey even makes more sense, he shares some affection for Chuck and isn’t the one putting him danger and pushing him to change in unpleasent ways (of course, that would mainly be a platonic friendship; heaven forbid if they ever did something without romantic angst involved!)

    • Jason says:

      also, what happened to shaw’s first thing he almost said, “I never lose a man” or “was it I lost one, won’t ever happen again?” – he just about wiped out the whole team 3 of 3 as well as a bunch of civilians.

      .9 ratings repeat again last night, if someone hasn’t posted already …. I would think 3.14 will have to knock socks off the fan base for 3.15 to get back into the 2.3 to 2.5 range, I have a bad feeling ep 16 might not be real happy, which was the absolute wrong time for another bad episode, but maybe it is just my total lack of trust in TPTB.

      • Paul says:

        Unbfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), in the day and age of iTunes and other digital media, reruns on broadcast TV are pretty much obsolete. And I think the TV execs kind of know that.

      • atcdave says:

        I’m not sure Paul. I think keeping up the exposure and having the show on every week still has some value. Does anyone know how much reruns normally dip in the ratings? I remember as a kid growing up, my mom would never allow us to watch reruns; for the shows I really liked I had to play totally stupid to convince her I didn’t remember seeing the episode before. As a young adult I figured that was the deciding issue on if a show was a “favorite” or not; I mean if I watched the re-runs. But even in this day and age where everyone I know watches via DVR, re-runs are sort of place holders; if something is off the air for more than two weeks we can’t even search it out, but if its airing you can add it whether the episodes are new or not; which is useful for recruting viewers during the off season.

        I know a lot of younger viewers (I mean under 30) probably watch some or most TV via streaming video; but us old farts are still around, and I’ll always prefer to retire to the sofa for watching anything over about 30 minutes. I do know there many options for internet TV at the main viewing area, but as far as I know that would still comprise a niche market; growing, but not quite mainstream yet.

        Maybe I need to look into AppleTV or something, it just kills me not having S3 in Hi-Def until the discs come out…

  11. Chuckaddict says:

    After watching and reading the excellent reviews of both Fake Name and Beard, I’ve come to the conclusion that this whole arc is simply about Chuck and the consequence of his choice to download the new intersect and become a “real spy”. It seems that the writers are trying to show us that Chuck ultimately made the wrong choice in vs. the Ring. He can’t be a real spy, he doen’t have it in him.

    We were shown the things he would have to routinely be able to do on the job. He did all of them up until this point, but the emotional toll on him was too great. Sarah knew this already, hence her pleading with “You’re not ready” in First Class. She knows this is not him. She sees him apparently handling these situations and thinks the intersect has changed him.

    The thing is, it’s not Chuck. He’s trying too hard. He comes to this crashing realization when Morgan “fires” him and he’s left with no one to turn to. He can’t do it. He needs his freinds and family. He’s not a spy, at least not a traditional one, the kind Gen. Beckman wants. He made the wrong choice with the intersect and with Sarah.

    Chuck spends the next 4 episodes fixing his mistakes and we’re brought to the same point as the end of season 2. Not really. The difference is Chuck now knows who he is. He can’t be a real spy, at least not alone. He needs Sarah, Casey and Morgan. We’ve been shown that they need him too.

    Now the the team is back together, with the addition of Morgan. It’ will be intersting to see what Chuck’s new role is going to be. He can’t go back to sitting in the car and flashing. He can’t be a ruthless spy. What will he be?

    I also found it interseting that Chuck is suprised to see his Dad come into the Buy More in the previews. Chuck doesn’t seek him out, he comes to Chuck. Hopefully we’ll be told where Orion has been since the wedding. Any guesses on what his role will be?

    Forgive me if I’m slow on the uptake. I’ve been trying to make sense of the season’s direction for quite some time. This seems to help a little.

    • Merve says:

      I’m not sure that that’s exactly what the writers wanted to demonstrate. I do agree that they wanted to show that spies work better in teams. But I’m not sure that they wanted to show that Chuck’s decision to reintersect was a mistake in and of itself. Rather, I think that the mistakes made this season were about Chuck and Sarah misjudging each other. Chuck thought that Sarah wanted adventure and excitement, when all she wanted was a “real” life. Sarah thought that Chuck wanted to be a normal guy, when what he really wanted to serve some sort of higher purpose. A lot of the drama this season (e.g. Prague) follows from that.

      • Chuckaddict says:

        I guess maybe I should rephrase. Chuck’s mistake was wanting to become a “real spy”. He chose to download the intersect to try and accomplish this. Chuck can’t be a real spy, in the traditional sense anyway. Sarah knew this all along and Chuck now realizes it also (I think). We’re going to find out what king of non-traditional spy Chuck will become.

        Due to the premise of the show, he had to download the new version of the intersect. Without it, there is no show. This holds for season 4. I don’t think Orion/Dad will be re-introduced to remove it again. Maybe fix/update it. Maybe to explain some mythology and lend some gravity to the Ring.

        I 100% agree with the misjudging. I’m not convinced it was necessary to provide a compelling story line, but that’s water under the bridge at this point.

      • Merve says:

        Sorry, Chuckaddict, I misinterpreted what you said. I agree with you. I think that part of Chuck’s mistake was thinking that he had to be a traditional spy if were to become a spy, and forgetting that what made him a good spy was his unconventional methods. I think that he embraces this notion in “Other Guy.” Through quick thinking, he avoids a nasty situation in the elevator (at least until it’s revealed that the entire thing was a trap), and he is able to track down Shaw by using his ability to read expense reports and vacation logs.

      • Chuckaddict says:


        What I’m mainly trying to say is that this is the ONLY point of season 3. The whole preposterous Sarah/Shaw relationship makes absolutely no difference at all. It’s simply a by-product of Chuck’s mistake. It’s just fluff, and it came across as unbelievable fluff.

        Chuck had the power all along to fix it. Sarah even told him so at the end of Angel. Now it’s fixed, it’s over and it’s time to move on.

        I still blame budget cuts for the fiasco. There are so many things I missed this year (it could very well be just me) that I think came from the result of rushed storytelling. TPTB had lightning in a bottle last season. While I don’t think they fully realized what they did have, I don’t think it’s fair to fully fault the shows internal workings.

        Just like Charles Bartowski himself, the show needs the full support of everyone involved to be successfull. I hope a season 4 renewal will bring with it more network support (a full 23+ ep. run) AND a returned budget.

      • Gabbo says:

        I hate to break it to you. If TPTB had a full budget and an upfront commitment of 22 episodes, as a normal season is, they would have dragged the storyline you hate throughout all 22 episodes.

        So it’s actually better that they thought they only had 13. Otherwise we’d still be living the lie, er, fluff…

      • Chuckaddict says:


        I agree with you. I don’t think I would have liked the storyline any more with a full season run, but I think it would have been explained better.

        As it stands, without this blog, I would still be scratching my head and wondering what the hell happened this yaer?

        I think the way this season went down will turn out to be a blessing. If NBC had stuck with its original plan of airing 13 episodes starting sometime in March, we’d probably be heading into May sweeps at the low point (ratings wise) of the season, thus dooming the show for sure. Instead we’re heading in with the back 6 and the hope of something better. Coincidence?

      • Chuckaddict says:

        BTW, I’m hoping for 23 episodes for the next 2 seasons so they can hit 100 and get into syndication. Production staffs generally get substantial royalties if a show reaches syndication.

  12. Ernie Davis says:

    Since we’re talking about the ambiguous scenes I think we need to understand something. There have always been ambiguous scenes, but the ambiguity was on the margins. Think back to the end of Nemesis. Sarah was packed and was clearly going to leave with Bryce until Chuck called. The next morning she woke up in a foul mood. Why the foul mood? Was it because she felt she made the wrong decision and now it was too late? Was it because she was upset at herself for getting to the point she couldn’t walk away? Was she upset at Chuck for reminding her of her commitment to him and protecting him? We didn’t know, but we did know she changed her mind, was upset about it, and was taking it out on Chuck. In the end we see that she comes to understand it wasn’t Chuck’s mistake or fault and it wasn’t fair to take it out on him and she tries to make amends. Again, unambiguous, it was about her and her mistakes and choices. Go to season 2 and the breakup. Chuck tells Sarah he now understands they can never have a future together. Is he lying? Has he come to that realization recently? Are they really done for good? We’re not totally sure, but what we do know is that Chuck is doing that because he understands that he and Sarah can’t be together the way he wants NOW, and so to protect her he breaks her heart. We also think she gets that in the end, and he is being “that guy” again. But the part that mattered, why he did it was unambiguous.

    Now come to this season. Why did Chuck not go with Sarah in Prague? We don’t find out until the end of Three Words. There are others that we’re still scratching our heads over. When and if they decided it was over between them or they weren’t going to be anything more than friends, professional colleagues? When did Chuck decide or try to tell himself he wasn’t in love anymore? Did he? What about Sarah? Did Sarah decide at the end of Pink Slip or Three Words (I’m good here, for now) that she was going to train Chuck and then leave? If so why the longing looks and cleaning up the mess and being Friends, and why the big change right after First Class where she never interacts other than professionally again until Final Exam. And these aren’t minor points, these are major motivations for the characters that are not only left ambiguous, but are often totally unexplored, at least on the screen. It leaves us looking for the answers that aren’t supplied and rejecting things that might give us a hint later if we hadn’t had to fill in the blanks.

    • joe says:

      Ernie? Did you finish your thought? Were you going to say that you find it – frustrating?

      That’s about right. AngelTwo above mentioned several times about the lack of logic – logical progression and internal logic – this season. I imagine that’s frustrating too.

      Imagine – nothing. I KNOW it is. You can examine Sarah’s eyes forever looking for clues, not to mention Chuck’s fountain speeches. The more I look for it, the less I find.

      If there’s logic, it’s a personal thing. When I took my walk today, the iPOD played an anthem from “my” era – CSN&Y’s Ohio. It’s an anti-Vietnam piece. Nobody near my age can hear it and not have specific memories. Today, they were different.
      What if you do her and
      find her dead on the ground?
      How can you run when you know?

      That’s now Sarah laying at Raif’s feet, not breathing. It’s Eve Shaw in black and white. It’s not logical for me to associate that at all; these are associations that only have weird, obscure meaning to me, alone. But I can’t deny that they say something. The heart has no logic, apparently. Mine certainly doesn’t.

      You listed a lot of good questions, Ernie. But I’m not sure the answers would tell me anything at all. I’m even less sure answers would make the story more enjoyable. And Dave’s been quite right to say that we shouldn’t have to work so hard regardless.

      So my question is, when all is said and done, how does it make you feel? And why is that?

    • lizjames says:

      Ah Season 1/2 stuff, when things almost made sense…

      Ernie, I think even contemporaneously (I know you came after Season 2), people understood that Sarah had chosen to stay but might not have been happy about it. Duty was the obvious answer then. But there was then the moment in Crown Vic. Sarah is barking at Chuck about the cover and he says, trying to ease the mood, “Should be exciting.” And she answers “It’s work.” But then she rushes to straighten his tie.

      So the ambiguity then was delicious because IT WAS NEW and fresh, not rehashed, warmed over and beyond the ken of what could be supported.

      But now, after the Season 3 retcon that Sarah have loved Chuck since the pilot, you have to look at it a different way: All it took for Chuck to keep Sarah was the slightest bit of interest. She didn’t even TAKE the call from him, but simply knowing that he cared enough to call was all it took to keep her in the game.

      And Sarah’s anger you see later in Crown Vic–and, by the way, several days have passed and I always wondered if Sarah went to Bryce and came back–is actually a much better play on what they were going for at the end of American Hero.

      Sarah was in love with Chuck, she chose to stay with him and she KNEW that would be the harder path for her. She knew it in Crown Vic and you saw it. In American Hero, you were foced to intuit it with a single Strahovski look before they cut away.

      Reason 4,756,554 why Season 3 can’t stack up to Seasons 1 or 2.

      That said, Ernie, I actually hope TPTB have the guts in the back six to show some of Sarah struggling with being in love. I mean, like everyone else, I want my “pay off” of a happy Chuck and Sarah together.

      But the Sarah character we came to know and love before this awful season was complex. Love is very hard for her. She clearly feels she’s never had any in her life. Not from her father. And Bryce, well, as TPTB like to say, it’s complicated.

      She loves Chuck. And, if they write her true, that should scare the living daylights out of her. It should make her unsure of how to show it, how to accept Chuck’s love, and how to move from moment to moment in a “spy life” with Chuck. It’s probably WAY beyond what these writers are capable of now. But that is the Sarah we should be seeing going forward.

      • aardvark7734 says:

        Awesome post, Liz. Scalpel sharp.

      • herder says:

        Liz, I think that we are going to get some of those difficulties from Sarah about her emotions and how she struggles with being in love.

        Sarah throughout has been a woman of action, it’s the words that come hard. I think that it was deliberate that she still hasn’t said “I love you to Chuck” and I think that it may be a bit before we hear her say it. Woman of action that she is she will have no problems with the physical side of being in love, especially once she has let herself go.

        Sarah isn’t a woman of words, that’s more Chuck’s suit, I think she will struggle with and gloss over her difficulties in expressing what being in love means to her. That and I think that she will continue to worry about the same things that she always has, will this person leave me, will this person change how they feel about me, that is what I guess the spy couple are meant to illustrate in 3.15, Sarah’s doubts.

      • Warp says:

        Liz: well said! I nearly completely agree, still I wouldn’t write season 3 off as a complete failure – Look at how our thoughts and words circle around it.

        I like the idea of the complex Sarah-love-thing myself very much, so I hope, that the writers and directors are capable of at least something…

      • amyabn says:

        Great post, Liz (as always). I think watching Sarah grapple with how to show her emotions will be interesting. From glimpses of the preview video, it seems that Chuck is high as a kite and will be quite enthusiastic about them being together. Sarah, in the train car, is very enthusiastic to dip her chocolate in Bartowski’s peanut butter. How they balance working together and being in a relationship should be fun to watch/analyze.
        As for Beckman, I don’t think she’ll be exactly shocked at the coupling, although she may question Sarah’s motives (she’s doing it to control Chuck’s emotions perhaps). I think she is the one who sends in the super spy couple to try and give them role models. Is it Monday yet?

  13. Jason says:

    *********spoiler – posted on the big tease, a ? and answer should put shippers in a bit of a better mood:

    When ‘Chuck’ returns next week, will Chuck and Sarah have done the deed? – Renee

    I don’t think it’s spoiling anything to say: “Uh-huh. And then some.” (’Risky Business’s Joel and Lana, consider yourself served.) Stay tuned for General Beckman’s take on the coupling.

    • Paul says:

      Uhm….thank you Captain Obvious???? 😉

      I guess it wasn’t apparent enough with C/S kissing and diving under the bedsheets, while the camera pans away (because it’s a PG show after all)….

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        Well, we THOUGHT it was obvious at the end of Colonel, too, Paul. TPTB even called it the “point of no return.”

        But Angel of Death tells us that Chuck and Sarah went to the Rehersal dinner, then afterwards pecked each other on the cheek and said, hey, let’s talk about being madly in love for two years in a couple of days, after all this Ellie-Awesome wedding stuff…

        So at this point, at little overt exposition is actually necessary…

      • SWnerd says:

        It did seem like a weird question but I did like the answer. The tiny redhead is gonna blow a gasket. I can’t wait for her reaction.

      • Paul says:

        Big difference between those two scenes IMHO. There was absolutely no queston in 3.13 that they did the nasty. If you want to infer that they got it on after the dinner in 2.21, go for it. I am of the camp that if it’s not shown or at least alluded to in scene (ie Hannah coming out of the shower, C/S diving under the covers wthout an interrupton ths time) it didn’t happen.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I bet Beckman’s reaction will be along the lines of seeing Morgan in Castle, only more so. After all, her scrupulously designed and maintained Love Bunker will now stay empty thanks once again to her nemesis Sarah Walker.

      • SWnerd says:

        I don’t know, I never thought it was obvious what happened at the end of Colonel. Yes, the reasonable conclusion to the night would be them together, but there’s no way you leave that moment entirely up to interpretation (yes I know they leave a lot of ambiguity in the show but not this). Now kissing and diving under the covers: no decoding necessary.

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        I would argue that they have to do all the kissing-diving covers stuff–followed by blunt exposition–because they’ve retconned the stuff before.

        I know S3 has dulled a lot of our brains (mine, too, I admit), but there was no ambiguity in the last scene of Colonel when it happened. They replayed Creature Fear and the hand gestures from the motel scene and the magic word of season two–real–was used by Sarah to describe the state of affairs.

        Go back to the two big fountain scenes in Season 2–Break-Up and Lethal Weapon–and Chuck was trying to get a “real” relationship in a “real” life. So when Sarah asks Chuck at the end of Colonel “How does it feel?” he answers in his typical rambling way. And it is SARAH who says simply: “It IS real.” It was the season 2 equivalent of her four “yes” responses in Other Guy.

        So we weren’t guessing or inferring or making a conclusion. It was a real coupling–and TPTB confirmed it as such. That they subsequently ret-conned it is what it is.

        That’s why people see what LOOKS like a love scene and they have to ask “Did it really happen.” And TPTB have to give you exposition to confirm that Chuck had a condom and not an IOU from Morgan.

      • Chuck604 says:

        I’m a little confused. Are people saying they spent the night together after the rehearsal dinner in the Colonel? Or are they saying their relationship has become reality? Because I didn’t get that impression of the former statement. I can see the latter happened, but didn’t she tell Chuck she was going to leave with Bryce the day of the wedding. She only decided to stay when she was at the beach when Bryce realized she wasn’t going with him.

      • joe says:

        Hi, Chuck604.
        If I may speak for her, Liz James brought up months ago that, at the beginning of The Ring, Sarah is about to go off with Bryce to head up the new Intersect Program. What we saw at the end of Colonel was Chuck and Sarah looking lovingly into each other’s eyes, both of them assuring each other that “It’s” real, and the start of what looks like a very nice date at Ellie’s rehearsal dinner.

        Liz asked, reasonably, “What happened after the dinner???” She’s right. After all the romance and adventure in Colonel it doesn’t seem reasonable that they just went to their separate rooms afterwards. But it sure seems like we’re asked to believe that by the time the very next episode begins. It’s like there’s a whole episode missing in the story.

      • Yeefiver says:

        If you remember, in ‘Beard,’ Chuck tells Morgan that he and Sarah never had sex. Therefore, one can assume that Paris will be their first time together.

      • atcdave says:

        Chuck also reported that to Devon. I guess between being on the run for a couple days and dealing with a wedding, maybe everyone was just too tired after the rehearsal!

        I can buy that. But I can’t buy the claims they weren’t ready for a real relationship at that point.

      • Chuck604 says:

        Thanks for the explanation Joe. For me the thought never occurred that they would spend the night together after the rehearsal dinner. But now that you mention it, after all the events that occurred earlier it seems very counter-intuitive to have them go their separate ways. I guess I jumped to that conclusion because I watched all the episodes consecutively on Blu-ray. The fact they went from “it’s real” to I have to go with Bryce to head up the new intersect project is a definite head scratcher.

      • Chuck604 says:

        Yeah Dave. I was thinking the same thing. By that point Chuck and Sarah would have been willing to go hand in hand down a road, and tackle everything together. But as all of us already well know that didn’t happen.

      • Yeefiver says:

        As for the end of ‘Colonel,’ Istill believe Chuck’s “I can’t believe it’s real” is referring to not having the Intersect in his brain anymore. Sarah’s response can be either about the Intersect not being in Chuck anymore or about their personal relationship.
        Regardless, in the beginning of ‘The Ring’ it seems obvious that the two never talked about a future together because said no to being an analyst and Sarah was going to her next assignment in Zurich and at the wedding, it seemed the main reason that Chuck asked Sarah to vacation with him is because he received all his CIA backpay. So maybe the rehearsal dinner was a time for Chuck and Sarah (as well as Casey) to just celebrate the removal of the Intersect as well as destroying a Fulcrum base and freeing Orion.

      • Chuck604 says:

        Another plausible idea Yeefiver. But you’d think that Chuck and Sarah would talk about their relationship. With the strong feelings they have for one another, you would conclude they would at least talk about what the future holds for the two of them. But again, what you said holds water as well.

      • Merve says:

        I think that the important thing to remember about “Colonel” is that in that episode, Chuck and Sarah never speak about their feelings in anything more than vague terms. The closest they come to actually discussing their feelings is when Chuck says something along the lines of: “If I have to spend the rest of my days in a deep dark cell, I think of a better person to spend it with.” Earlier in the episode, when Chuck asks Sarah why she’s on the run with him, Sarah provides an answer to effect of it being the right thing to do; she takes her feelings for him out of the equation. Now, I’m perfectly fine with them not discussing their feelings in “Colonel.” There’s just so much going on in that episode; there’s no time to stop and worry about feelings. But I hope that you can see why I wasn’t left with the impression that Chuck and Sarah spent the night together after that. I took the “It is real” comment to mean that Sarah wasn’t accompanying Chuck to the rehearsal dinner for the sole purpose of maintaining their cover, but that it’s something that she would have done regardless of whether or not she had a cover to maintain.

      • Merve says:

        Sorry, that should read “I can’t think of a better person to spend it with.”

      • Chuck604 says:

        I agree Merve. I think that’s one of the reasons I don’t think it would have been possible for them to have spent the night together. Like you brought up, they didn’t really spend anytime at all talking about the feelings they had for one another.

    • bdaddydl says:

      Unfortunately, Sarah Walker has never been a huge conversationalist, but i was not surprised when Chuck said they did nothing. I give TPTB credit that they would have told us, 1 way or another, that the deed had been done.

  14. sd says:

    Also…if I may add, Joe…Chuck has said/admitted at least twice this season–to Awesome and to Morgan(in last night’s Beard) that he and Sarah haven’t sleep together.

    After Colonel, it strains credulity for two adults who are together—finally—to not do anything about it but hey, maybe that’s just me 🙂

    • Merve says:

      By the end of “Colonel,” Chuck and Sarah had eluded capture by Fulcrum, been captured by Casey, escaped from Castle, saved Devon, infiltrated a Ring base, rescued Orion, fought off more Fulcrum agents, and narrowly avoided being blown to smithereens by an air strike. If anything, it strains credulity that they had enough energy to attend the rehearsal dinner.

    • joe says:

      It’s so weird, or maybe it’s just my Catholic-school upbringing. But I never gave it a second thought, either way. Perhaps I just think of “what two adults who are together” would do as pretty much anything at all (or nothing).

      Most likely the writers were counting on my naiveté! 😉

    • Paul says:

      That is the thing, because it was expressly NOT shown or alluded to, to say that they did sleep together is injecting a lot of your own sense of what “would have happened”. Again, I am in the camp of if it’s not shown on screen, or alluded to on screen, it didn’t happen.

  15. sd says:

    —mean to say slept….

  16. amyabn says:

    I know this is completely random and off topic, but I found this video for BG Beckman. I couldn’t stop laughing!

  17. Dan says:

    OK let me start this with a couple questions. I have seen the terms fanfiction and PLI’s used b4 and i was wondering what the meaning of those terms were( i know that maybe these should be common knowledge, but i am lost as to what they mean). And secondly I am not nearly as qualified to speculate on the writers intentions as everyone else on this site, so take that to heart as you read this. But, I am a little curious as to if anyone of you have given any thought, as to maybe what is at first seen on the screen is exactly what the writers intended. I am not bashing any of you for your in depth analysis, but a couple times I will read a post and think that there was more thought put into that scene by the poster than the actual writers ever intended. Like I said before I am not nearly as gifted as some of you to pull out the hidden meanings, but I was curious as to if any of you just post for fun, or if you are serious.

    • atcdave says:

      Dan, we all do this for fun, including the wild speculation. We certainly put more thought into some of these things than the writers ever intended. Sometimes its very frustrating to see plot and continuity holes, or just poorly conceived devices. But we’re all here because we love this show. I know it doesn’t seem like it sometimes; but whether its characters, setting, or genre; there’s something here we all find irresistible. I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of us less pleased with this season than in the past; but it really does come back to fun. I never had a better time with a TV show than the first two seasons of Chuck, and the third season did finish well, so I’m optimistic I can enjoy the show again.

      The term fanfiction is just stories written by fans about the show and characters we all love so much. FanFiction.net is the largest source of such stories I know of, with over 1700 titles based on the show Chuck (the various Star Trek franchises have tens of thousands of titles). 1700 is a good number for a show just in its third season! You’ll see a link on the right for Billatwork’s homepage; he has been a visitor to this site and is one of my favorite fan writers.

      PLI stands for “Potential Love Interest.” Given the way the writers handle this show, you can usually delete the “P”.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Dan, I understand what you are saying, and I’ve argued much the same, what you see is what you get, with the occasional twist thrown in that on occasion says what you saw wasn’t ALL there was. Chuck had the intersect project diagramed out and was studying it for quite some time before we knew and Chuck’s dad was Orion before we knew, and back to the first big one Bryce was alive and not rogue. So there is some legitimacy to some of the speculation. These things do happen. For the most part however they don’t change the story, the characters and their interactions or the meaning of those. In fact we often know more than the characters know. We knew the new intersect early in S2 meant Chuck would be killed, as did Beckman, Casey, and Graham. Chuck and Sarah, they were busy having a date. So yes, for the most part, watching and trying to understand what you see is about all you need. But we’re fans. We practically live these characters. We certainly feel we know them. And as I stated above so much of what we’ve seen this season seems too ambiguous to understand the characters state of mind and motivations. To us, that drives the story. When we see seemingly contradictory material, or characters acting in uncharacteristic ways we delve deep to try to understand. For the most part we are looking for characters who we can understand and identify with, and hopefully like, and a coherent narrative that overlays the season and tells a story we enjoy without doing damage to what we love about the show.

      That said, there is something else you need to keep in mind. What is up on the screen is not wholly the creation of the writers. The overall season narrative is storyboarded out by the top levels of TPTB, scripted by the writers with input from stunt coordinators, location scouts, costumers and makeup artists and special effects about what is possible on time and in budget. Then the directors and the actors add their input, and while they may be informed about what other levels of production like the producers and writers feel about the characters motivations and actions, the actors live the characters, and their portrayal will give the character life. The director will also have some input, hopefully overlaying and modifying each individual actor’s interpretation into a coherent scene, along with the camera operators editors, costumers, special effects, and all the rest. There is no guarantee that what is on the screen plays exactly as the producers or writers intended, especially since each viewer is different and will bring their perspective to understanding what they see. There is always some ambiguity, and looking for clues and other perspectives helps us enjoy the show.

      One final point. As fans we often obsess over interviews, spoilers and all the rest. I sometimes think that’s a mistake. What Chris Fedak says he intended to portray might not be exactly what Yvonne did, or Ali wrote. I think it’s better to be willing to let go of everything TPTB say, or at least just take it as a very well informed opinion, like us, but with insider knowledge. That’s what I try to do.

      Now, in closing, along the lines of what you say Dan with the proviso of what I said, finding a coherent narrative for the season that ties the episodes together into one story with consistent, yet evolving characters is what we’re all looking for.

      On my re-watch I think I finally found it in the scene where Sarah declares she doesn’t love Chuck anymore. It is simple, it ties the episodes together with almost only what is on the screen. The slightest bit of reading motivations is required, but once you do that a lot falls into place. All the way to the end of the front 13. In that light everything I see on the screen suddenly makes a lot more sense. There are still some issues, but I think they go down a lot easier. And I think they would have if TPTB (if I’m reading their intentions right) had made it a little more clear that this is what was happening.

      So, I’m going to incorporate a lot of this into my reviews of Final Exam and Other Guy which will be out tomorrow (I hope) and Saturday. How’s that for a teaser.

      • Josh says:

        looking forward to the reviews Ernie, I admit, parts of Sarah’s “journey” still dumbfound me.

      • Jason says:

        Ernie – If you are saying what I think you are, end of 3.11 when sarah says she no longer loves chuck, isn’t that some thing that she decides watching his red test and starts to ? as soon as chuck shows up on sham’s first date???

        Or are you interpreting this happens way back in 3.7 or 3.8 or even 3.1 or 3.2? If so, that seems a mighty big stretch vs what we saw on the screen – although might make as much sense as anything.

        I have been really surprised by how, on rewatch, I like this season less than I thought I would, going into the rewatch project, I thought I was going to enjoy it more knowing where it was headed, that was true of the first couple of ep’s, once shaw showed up in 3.4, I have despised the show, even though I freely admit 80% of it is just as good as ever, the great stuff from S1/S2 got replaced by sad, depressing, dramatic sarah, confused, unstable chuck, and creepy, cheesy, sterile shaw.

        Last night I watched for the second time ep 1 & 2 of wonderfalls instead of chuck reruns, I have started watching each ep in order, but have shut them off or FF’d thru most, the way this season was done is plain and simple wretched to my eye.

      • Gabbo says:

        How can you claim Sarah at ANY point didn’t love Chuck when TPTB give Sarah the line in 13 that she fell for Chuck in the pilot?

        Because THAT is now the canon, any earlier claim that she didn’t love Chuck has to be viewed as a lie (to herself or us) or just another mistake of Season 3.

        And that IS the problem with Season 3. There IS no coherent narrative. Depending on the week, The Ring was trying to kill or turn Shaw; Chuck rediscovered he loved Sarah several weeks in a row; Chuck was being trained to work autonomously or to head a team; he was a risk to the world or a liability who had to be left behind; Sarah no longer loved Chuck (Final Exam) or she loved him since the pilot (Other Guy); and on and on…

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I didn’t say Sarah didn’t love Chuck. I said she said she didn’t (anymore). I was quoting her line on the screen not divining motives.

        And yes, there are still plenty of problems with season 3.

      • Gabbo says:

        I wasn’t challenging you. Honest. I was just suggesting the impossibility of trying to make sense of the season based SOLELY on what we saw or what characters said because it is clear that Season 3, more than any other, was about expedient commentary and scenes.

        In fact, maybe the best way to deal with Season 3 is assume it adopted The Simpsons mentality: Homer can have the job of the week and still work at the power plant the next episode as if it never happened.

      • joe says:

        Gabbo, I hear what you’re saying, and trust me on this, I understand the frustration.

        But oddly, the things above that you bring up – the discontinuities, the lack of consistency (especially between words and actions from one moment to the next), the abrupt shifts in attitudes those seems the most realistic things of all.

        I’ll never, ever be sure I fully understand the characters, especially Sarah. But what is true is that they seem very human to me, sometimes because of their inconsistencies.

    • joe says:

      Dan, I agree with what ATCDave and Ernie said, but only about 110% 😉

      The only thing I want to add is that for most of us (I struggle to find an exception), these words are an expression of our love of the characters. The time we spent thinking about them is not exactly wasted or frivolous (though it must seem that way sometimes). We’re thinking about our own lives and histories, our own failures and triumphs and how they’re reflected in Chuck and Sarah, and sometimes in Casey and Morgan. It gets pretty personal pretty quickly.

      At least, for me it does.

      It’s stunning how universal that is. Isn’t it? 😉

      Hey! I just realized that the reactions I see to the show actually make me feel good about people. That’s quite a feat for something that’s merely a diversion on a mass-entertainment medium.

  18. Dan says:

    Wow I appreciate all of the responding posts and daves answers to my questions.@ ernie good lord man that was one hello of a post. Thanks for explianing in such detail I am certainly looking foward to your reviews.
    P.s. i aplogize for the poor spelling and grammer I am writing this on my droid so it is messy.

    • atcdave says:

      You should see Ernie when he actually has something to say!

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I’ll have you know that I’ve only had one 3,500 word post in the last month and my last three reviews were all under 3,000 words. I feel I’m getting almost terse lately.

  19. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Beard (3.09) | Chuck This

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