S3 Revisited: Final Exams, Pass or Fail

It’s A Choice, Not A Test

Heroes are tested. Some tests they pass, some they fail, but pass or fail, this is where we finally get some answers. Will Chuck pull the trigger? Will Sarah put the gun in his hand? Can Sarah love a killer, can Chuck still be a normal guy and a naked spy? Yes, our heroes are put to the various tests.  But some of these tests aren’t about scores, they’re about choices.  The test is the choice, and if you really have one.  Some choices negate others, and some choices require more choices along the path you’re set upon.  If you choose to read on maybe we’ll get some answers, after the jump.

Chuck: Look, you were put in an impossible position, okay?  You had no choice.

Casey: It’s America, Chuck.  Everyone has a choice.

Remember those words.  They inform the entire episode and every character’s actions.  Right from the beginning Casey is laying down some truth.  Yes, he was in an impossible situation, but the choice was still his to make.  He’d made one choice years ago, to serve his country and let go of the woman he loved.  But that wasn’t the end of it, he had to make it again every day, and one day he wavered.  For whatever reason, the man who at one point was apparently ready to put a bullet into Chuck’s brain to protect the nation was given the same choice he thought he’d made, your country or the woman you love.  While with the help of his team he was able to save both he understood the consequences.

Casey: Listen up, Chuck. I disobeyed orders.  I put my team and my country in danger.  This is my job now.  I made my bunk, and I’ll lie in it.

And for Casey the consequences are apparent, he has to learn to live by a whole new set of rules.  Me, I’ll miss Casey bashing Buy Morons around.  Especially Jeff and Lester.

Sarah: Chuck, if you fail to complete the mission,  which you’ll undertake by yourself,  then you’ll go back to your old life.

Beckman: But if you succeed, you will be promoted.  No more Buy More, no more handlers.  Just real missions for a real spy.

So Chuck is about to be tested, and given a choice, again.  His old life, or the spy life he chose in Prague.  And he did choose the spy life.  He did choose it over Sarah.  We’ve discussed this before, but I still stick to my original position.  Chuck has never wavered in that choice since Prague.  He understood the consequences and was prepared to live with them.  In Pink Slip his first words to Sarah are “This isn’t about us…”  This is not a man trying to rekindle a romance, he knows he hurt Sarah and sacrificed that part of his life.  Sure, he seemed a bit neurotic and needy in Three Words, but that was because he didn’t realize how much he hurt Sarah.  He didn’t know she was in love with him.  With that revelation via Carina, Chuck needed to tell Sarah more than “I’m sorry” on a train platform as (he thought) she left the spy world and him behind.  She was leaving the spy world FOR him, and that required him to tell her why he made his choice.  All season, from Three Words to Tic Tac, Chuck has never shown any sign of trying to be more than friends and colleagues with Sarah.  Sure, he’s shown some jealousy, but like Sarah in season 2 he hasn’t interfered.  Chuck made his choice and he’s stuck with it.  But like Casey he starts to find that you re-make the choice every day.  It keeps coming back.  In The Beard Chuck realized he loved Sarah, no matter what he chose in Prague or afterward, he still loved Sarah, and he was going to keep loving Sarah despite his decision to be a spy.  He’s now having second thoughts after Casey’s challenge at the end of Tic Tac.  Which is the right choice for you Chuck?  If he thinks Sarah is a part of either choice there is a complication.  Sarah seems to have made her own choice, and it doesn’t appear to include him.  He may be getting what he chose, but not, as Sarah says, everything he wanted.

Alone At Last

Chuck and Sarah alone.  There’s a recipe for disaster.  Those two gab like little schoolgirls.  Sarah is at Chuck’s apartment to observe and report on his first mission, but Chuck and Sarah being Chuck and Sarah, well,  there’s bound to be some reminiscing and longing for the past involved.  For two years they’ve been the most important people in each others lives.  Good times and bad, they always had each other, outside a brief separation.  While they seem to have reconnected on some level it’s clear they are both looking at the end of the most important relationship of their adult lives.  Chuck of course needs to commemorate the occasion.

“I shouldn’t be falling for this”

Chuck has style.  Chuck has charm.  Chuck has game.  What does this Shaw guy have?  Sarah apparently.  At their last stake out Chuck has prepared not just a walk down memory lane, but a perfect date that reminds Sarah of everything she loved about Chuck.  He’s competent and can rise to the challenge, but he still has that wide eyed innocence that lets making a date out of a stake out somehow appropriate.  And he has charm and style.  Sarah has very little resistance, and Chuck is breaking what little there is quickly.  Is it serious with Shaw?  Well, it’s not like with you.  What if we didn’t have to choose?  Sure, we couldn’t be together before, but what about now?

Too Late

He couldn’t turn his back on the world with his talents, and he thought that cost him Sarah.  But now, what if they could have both, duty and love.  Maybe some choices are false choices.  Maybe they need to be revisited every so often.  Shaw manages to be enough of a wet blanket through the usual interruptions to keep things from getting out of hand.  Oh, yeah, and there is that whole national security thing going on.  But Chuck has made a decision.  This is not over.

Is This Sanitary?

The things a spy has to do.  A Hundred dollars in spa fees?  He can expense that, right?  And sanitation turns out to be the least of his steamroom worries, but two Russian thugs and a Rocky IV/Eastern Promises hat tip later Chuck is a bit underdressed for scaling tall buildings to identify CIA moles.  One untimely breeze later Chuck is a naked spy, or so he thinks.

Casey, new feathers and all has his own test.  He looks cool, can he be cool?  Jeff and Lester would challenge any man’s cool, but hey, Subway can sooth both the tummy and the soul.  And Casey is after all fearless.  Come on, you didn’t think he’d be scared by a potentially diseased tunaroni did you?  This is Casey.

Chuck: Buddy, I just passed my first solo spy test last night.  This is it. I’m going to the show.

Casey: You took your test last night, and you passed?

Chuck: Oh, yeah… with flying colors, man.  And I think we both know that I have you to thank for that…

Here’s the interesting thing about that exchange, aside from Chekhov’s gun. Until Chuck mentions he’s meeting Sarah for dinner Casey is ready to accept that Chuck could have passed the test, but is suspicious of what is to come.  Casey isn’t clueless.  He knew what it meant, Sarah staying late with Shaw at the end of The Mask, helping Chuck get laid, Sarah going to DC with Shaw.  And he knew Chuck didn’t know the real test was yet to come.
Shaw: If you give him the order,  if you tell him to kill Perry, he’ll do it.

The Red Test

Sarah is in an impossible situation, but she still has a choice.  How could Sarah agree to do this?  This is Sarah who has obsessed over every change and lie that Chuck has told as a sign that Chuck is disappearing before her eyes.  And now she’s going to push him over the edge?  She’s going to give him the order?  She knows he listens to her and respects her above all others.  She knows he wanted to be a spy because of her, and now she wants no part of making him a killer.  But she does take part.  Shaw tells her it’s not about her, it’s about Chuck, and so she agrees.

Chuck: I wouldn’t even be here right now if it wasn’t for you.

Sarah: Please don’t say that.

Chuck: But it’s true.

So here we are at the big quandary.  Sarah tells Chuck to kill Perry.  That’s the mission.  Sarah puts the gun in Chuck’s hand and tells him he has a choice.  Be a spy, or go back to being Chuck.  Chuck has re-evaluated his choices.  He wants to be with Sarah, and he wants to be a spy.  He doesn’t see it as either or.  Sarah tells him it’s unlikely the other way, them together and him not a spy will happen, but the choice is his and there is no going back once you make your decision.  And then Sarah leaves, waits and watches.  How can Sarah do that to Chuck?

Sarah is a spy again.  Sarah chose to give up what she loved to serve something greater.  At the end of Three Words, Sarah sees Chuck’s reason for becoming a spy, and sees that he couldn’t turn his back on duty to be with her.  And she sees that her sense of duty, her willingness to serve a higher purpose was part of what he loved about her.  She threw that part of herself away when she asked Chuck to run.  And she never said she loved him.  Sarah Walker made Chuck realize he was “that guy” and then asked him to turn his back on it all.  How could he and still be “that guy”?  And how could she ask him?  And how could she blame him?

Throughout Three Words Sarah is beating up on Chuck.  She was convinced it was about them, about him wanting to be together again after the spy thing didn’t work out the way he planned.  It was why she was good “for now”.  She’d endure as long as necessary, but Chuck was paying the price for what Sarah perceived as his selfishness.  And then in the end, watching the video she realized it wasn’t about her, it was about Chuck committing to his calling, the job he never asked for but was meant to have and the one she showed him, despite the fact that she was all he ever wanted from life.

Get over yourself Sarah Walker.  You’ve worked with the greatest spies in the world, and none of them can do what Chuck can do.  Chuck wants to help change the world, and you’re pouting over a broken heart.  Sarah Walker used to understand that sometimes what you want has to take a backseat, but Chuck reminded her.  It was time to be a spy again and to give up what she wanted, Chuck, and give the world what it needed.  Chuck.

Was she necessarily happy about it?  Probably not.  Did she fear what it would do to Chuck?  Most definitely.  To Sarah the best part of Chuck, and part of what made him “that guy” was that he wasn’t an emotionless cold blooded spy.  “Don’t give up on the things that make you great.”  She wants to make him a spy.  Chuck has dedicated himself to his calling and accepted the sacrifices continually but she hopes he can remain Chuck and not become just another cold blooded ruthless spy.  But her hopes aside he’s not her Chuck anymore.  He’s going to be the Chuck he decides to be.

Chuck is in an impossible situation.  He wants to be a spy, and he wants to be the guy he thinks Sarah wants him to be so that they can finally be together, but what he has to do goes against every fiber of his being.  Just because he’s in an impossible situation doesn’t mean he still doesn’t have to choose.  Everybody has a choice.  Casey understands that.  Chuck does soon.

I Will Never Be One Of Them

After subduing Perry in the men’s room, Chuck makes his choice.  He’ll never be like them.  He’ll never gun down a man in cold blood, but he will take him in.  Even in the train yard you get the feeling Chuck is ready to try to take Perry in.  This is what the fan in me wanted to see.  Chuck to march Perry into castle, cuff him to a chair, and in front of Sarah put the gun in Shaw’s hand, and walk away.  It would have been epic.  Chuck a spy on his terms, not Shaw’s, but it wasn’t to be.  Perry was of course not an unarmed man, and Casey, fearing that a no-win situation for Chuck was in the making makes his choice.  He may be a civilian, but it doesn’t mean he’ll abandon his team member when he needs him.  Casey takes the shot because Chuck isn’t a man who can gun someone down in cold blood, but he is a spy.  Casey knows the difference, as does Sarah.  Shaw is clueless.  Could Chuck have shot Perry had he seen Perry draw his gun?  It appears he was ready to.  Once again Chuck looks at his gun, almost believing that on instinct he did shoot.  Once again he finds out the shot came from elsewhere.  Who knows, he might have shot on time, or not.  Chuck’s red test isn’t canceled, just deferred by his real mentor, Casey.  Casey and Sarah in the end can train Chuck better than Shaw.  Shaw pushed Chuck, but he didn’t know Chuck, and didn’t know his strengths.  Shaw only saw Chuck’s perceived weaknesses and did his best to force Chuck to confront them.  In Shaw’s mind Chuck will never be a good spy unless he’s willing to shoot someone in the back.  In Sarah’s mind he’s a good spy because he isn’t willing, and in Casey’s mind, well, Chuck just isn’t a killer.  He’s a spy.  He has other strengths.

Chuck Is A Spy

To Sarah, her Chuck is gone.  She feared what Chuck was willing to do in Tic Tac to be a perfect spy, and thought he’d done it in Final Exam.  Chuck was a spy, but the Chuck she loved, her Chuck, was gone.  Was she still in love with Chuck?  What was the point?  No.  Not this Chuck, not the man he’d decided to be.  Why would she love him?  He’d become just another soulless Shaw clone, willing to lie and use people and blindly follow orders, as she’d done, and willing to engage in the casual brutality of the spy world, that wasn’t Chuck.  It wasn’t even Bryce.  That was Shaw.  Chuck would be a good spy, but he wasn’t her Chuck anymore.  Sarah had done her duty, again.  She gave up what she loved and did her duty, just like she’d taught Chuck.

Is Sarah hating herself right about now?  Yep.  She just repeated her red test.  She killed her Chuck.  If she felt like she’d finally burned Chuck in Nacho Sampler by seeing him go where she’d inadvertently encouraged him to get what she needed all those years ago, she’d just pulled the trigger herself by putting him in that impossible situation where he had to pull the trigger.  It isn’t surprising she couldn’t bear to hear his voice on the phone and to hear how much he needed and wanted to see her.

Chuck?  He needed his Sarah, the one he’d known for years and could be counted on to help him come to grips with the hardships he had to face as a spy, even if an unwitting or unwilling one.  He needed Sarah to tell him he could still be “that guy”.  But sadly, Chuck’s Sarah is as dead as Sarah thinks her Chuck is.  They’ll meet again, but for now Chuck is a spy, and Sarah is at rock bottom.


About Ernie Davis

I was born in 1998, the illegitimate brain child and pen name of a surly and reclusive misanthrope with a penchant for anonymity. My offline alter ego is a convicted bibliophile and causes rampant pognophobia whenever he goes out in public. He wants to be James Lileks when he grows up or Dave Barry if he doesn’t.  His hobbies are mopery, curling and watching and writing about Chuck.  Obsessively.  Really, the dude needs serious help.
This entry was posted in ChuckMeMondays, Observations, Season 3. Bookmark the permalink.

170 Responses to S3 Revisited: Final Exams, Pass or Fail

  1. Jason says:

    Nice – but glad this little rewatch project is near over, we need time to give us blog fans a chance to start playing with all the ‘new’ 3.14 stuff like a puppy with a favorite new ‘chew’ bone – LOL

    My take on the season is the creative team (including the actors) really struggled with the overall 12 episode WT/WT dance story being told 3.1’s prague scene thru 3.12’s missed train scene, causing inconsistencies with how things were written, directed, and acted – which overall caused the story to fall flat on screen.

    The the real fake date (stakedate) – the fake real date (prior to red test) – the actual red test – the sham hotel room scene – this story was WT/WT at it’s worst, if it had been maybe the 3rd episode of a 4 episode WT/WT it may have played well, really dramatic, but by the 11th episode of such drivel, it just fell absolutely flat – how many times can the show end with sarah in shaw’s clutches, romance for chuck sarah somehow eluding them and her looking miserable anyhow (I guess the answer is one more i.e. 3.12)?

    The truth for 3.11 is more simple in my eyes, the WT/WT dance by 3.11 was no longer beating a dead horse into the ground, TPTB by then had bombed the horse with a bunker buster, and were trying to find and then stomp each remaining piece of the dead horse into the ground.

    • atcdave says:

      I agree Jason, this episode was so hopelessly bleak in the end, it left me not even caring what happened next. American Hero does lift the mood quite a bit, but its no wonder ratings were then in the tank; only us die hards were left.

      And Sarah turning te Shaw in the end is the biggest WTF moment of the entire series. I would have been less surprised if she shot him.

      • John says:

        Really? I thought it was cool that Chuck was going to go to DC, I was looking forward to that, and it was obvious Chuck was a likeable guy again after 3.09 and I was able to root for him again. Come now he was pretty cool in this episode.

        Sarah was in a dark place still but I did not find it hopelessly bleak at all. But how was it a surprise she confided in Shaw she had been doing that for a couple episodes now…

      • cas says:

        I agree with dave because she pretty much turned to the exact same guy that she didn’t want Chuck to be. That’s why this whole love trio never made sense to me. Luckily I saw the preview fo 3:14 last night or I would have been depressed all over again

      • Jason says:

        going to post something very negative about sarahwalker – cia agent – the most credible source on the show who has spoken about sarah’s sexual history is casey – he has been pretty clear in describing her, much as I have tried to ignore

        hence, sarah and shaw probably have a loveless sexual relationship as of 3.8, heck possibly even as of 3.7, if she did not leave the castle when casey did, when did she? This is probably like dozens of others she has had. She has given chuck more or less every opportunity to do the same in S1 / S2, nice people might say he is too much a gentleman, I might say something else, but he did not either way.

        The fanfic, retcon, or psycho babble is coming now, maybe the point of the shaw arc, is to show how lost sam is without chuck, every bit as lost as chuck is / was without sarah and the cia life

        we heard 3D chess being spoke of, might be more to relate to chuck sarah, than hannah and shaw at all:

        look at it this way, sarah needs chuck (regular life, honest, loving, caring), sam needs charles (to protect her), chuck needs sarah (to protect him), charles needs sarah (to find his true calling in life)

        that is almost too cheesy to hit publish on, but what the heck

      • John says:

        Jason, I think you are right on the money actually.

        She sticks with Shaw because he can provide her the loveless sexual relationship she is comfortable in.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Well I thing the thing to remember is that Sarah went back to being a spy and gave up on Chuck and love. She could love Chuck because he wasn’t like all the other spies and if he became like them she didn’t think she could love him. Remember she specifically said that being with Shaw wasn’t like being with Chuck. I think it’s pretty clear that Shaw was another Bryce, probably even less serious, another Cole or one of Carina’s conquests. Fun and fulfilling at some level, but not love. That’s why this is Sarah’s rock bottom. She thought she could move on from Chuck, but she ends up back where she started before Chuck,and hating herself for being a spy and “killing” Chuck in addition.

      • Gabbo says:

        I’m a little confused by all of this supposed “negativity” about Sarah Walker. Did anyone think she was a virgin? Why is this important. And did anyone think she had pool privileges from Gillies without a relationship>

        This is a spy show. Sex is in the DNA of spy shows going all the way back to Ian Fleming (and maybe before).

        It’s EMOTIONAL intimacy that matters. Which is what was so distressing about Fake Name and her talking to Shaw about her Red Test in this episode.

        But maybe it’s time to grow up, folks. Sarah Walker has slept around a bit. So has Chuck. (Took him about 30 seconds to go back to Jill and he jumped Hannah’s bones the moment she expressed interest.) So has Casey. So have I. So has my girlfriend. (And, to my knowledge, neither one of us are spies.)


      • JC says:

        Its the so called Sarah rule and its stupid. Did she sleep with Shaw? Who knows, after watching Am Hero, I lean towards no. But honestly it doesn’t matter.

      • atcdave says:

        I don’t think its really a matter of growing up Gabbo; in fact, its a lot of us old farts who don’t like the implications of casual sexual relationships. I think our distaste for Chuck and Sarahy’s actions this season is a combination of more traditional values AND the life experience of knowing how damaging taking such things casually can be. I’m completely OK with knowing Sarah (and even Chuck to a lesser extant) have some sordid details in their pasts, but I’m not OK with watching them act like hormonal teenagers on screen. Typically I don’t watch shows like this. In the first two seasons there was only one occasion when they went too far, and I think all of us will concede things can get a little confusing when an ex is involved. S3 we’ve seen Chuck and Sarah behave stupidly.
        And I’ll say right here, there is no double standard, I’ve been profoundly disappointed in Chuck on both occasions of him playing around. Sarah doing the same is equally sad. At least with Sarah they left us the possibility of dismissing it, with Chuck we know the ugly truth.
        I’m not really interested in the “DNA” of any particular genre. I’m interested in two characters I previously had respected quite a bit. They still may be likeable, but not so much respectable. It can be fixed (people do grow up, wisdom does come with experience and age); but its high on the list of reasons why this season wasn’t much fun.

  2. JC says:

    Great Review

    Sarah believes she killed her Chuck, which is the first time she actually verbalized she loved him. Compelling stuff.

    My major gripe is so many of the major events are resolved in the next episode. It feels like it should have happened a little earlier in the season with some build up to the resolutions.

    And the major plot hole, Chuck would really go back to being a civilian? Why is the Intersect not that important this season.

    • Jason says:

      the sarah 3.11 admission was important – but given the circumstance it was given in, fell flat for me, info shared while being intimate with shaw about chuck was hard for many fans to enjoy

      plot holes run rampant in chuck, always have, as long as they don’t mess with the franchise, noone cares, CS together overpower any script / story issues that might exist – in fairness to TPTB, they write the CS together stuff remarkably well – they struggle to a certain extent with both the spy stuff as well as the angst

    • weaselone says:

      To be fair, we don’t know whether Chuck going back to being a civilian is the truth, or just a comforting lie. It may be something that Sarah believes, but might not be the plans which Shaw and Beckman have in store for Chuck should he fail.

      • Jason says:

        weasel – I have tended to back the notion that chuck and sarah have grown a great deal in S3, yet if casey gets caught taking chuck’s red test and chuck fails, and shaw / GB put the kill or bunker order out for chuck, I have little doubt sarah grabs ‘her chuck’ and runs with him again, not exactly a great deal of progress, although in fairness S3.11 chuck is more advanced as a spy & definitely has grown to appreciate sarah more, I am not sure what S3.11 sarah would think exactly of failed red test chuck, but I do think she would still run away with him, wonder why I think that, I guess she really has always ‘wanted’ to protect chuck on the outside, on the inside, I think she needs protecting herself – there I go fanfic’ing away..

      • atcdave says:

        I could actually see that as a great starting point for a fanfic AU. Chuck refusing to kill, Shaw getting the kill order on him, Sarah taking him on the run. Of couse, starting in the next episode things got a lot more fun anyway….

  3. Crumby says:

    I think in the restaurant scene Sarah also tries to give Chuck a real choice, and not make it about them or her.
    She doesn’t believe that because she tell him to do it he would. He has proved before that he could chose something over her.
    So she tried to give him his options without interfering and let him make his choice.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      That is a good point. She does make clear that as an agent he has a mission and clear orders, but the choice is his. She does not “order” him to do it.

      • sd says:

        The first time I saw the restaurant scene…I found the “impossible” choice Chuck had to make was made even more impossible by Sarah saying they probably wouldn’t be together if he didn’t proceed. She had to know how that would resonate with him…and when she said that she had to know she made that choice for him whether she wanted to or not.

        Your review has helped…but it was just a turn the knife moment for me…

      • Crumby says:

        She also said “then you’ll be Chuck and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

        I don’t think that when she said “no, probably not” she thought it would make his choice. And it didn’t since he didn’t kill the mole.

        Saying that they could be together if he didn’t do it, would have influenced Chuck more, considering he had already stated he couldn’t do it. Plus at that point, Chuck wants to be a spy, and Sarah isn’t as in love with the Chuck she’s seen since Prague than she was with the Chuck she wanted to run away with.

        But, she could have said “I don’t know”.

        I think she just said the truth, how she felt at that point, to let him make his choice.

        She said to Shaw, “I didn’t think he would do it”. She still believed in him, at least she still wanted to. She didn’t think Chuck would kill someone in cold blood just to have his girlfriend back, when it’s something that has always been against his nature, and he specifically reminded it to her in Tic Tac not so long ago.

        So if Chuck was still Chuck there was no way that he’d do it, just to be with her.
        And she was right about that.

        Maybe it’s selfish not to do anything to try to “save” him at that point, like using the red test as a test for Chuck still being Chuck, but she already tried to “save” him in Prague. So now she needed it to be his choice, because he chose to be a spy.

      • Big Kev says:

        Agreed, Crumby.
        All season, since she heard Chuck’s motivations from the vault, Sarah has stepped away from influencing Chuck, and left him to pursue what he has said he wants – to be a spy. She tries to do the same here – not entirely successfully.
        The subtext of course is that she needs Chuck to make his own decision about the Red Test – because only that way will she know if he really is still “her Chuck”. She needs him to reject the Red Test from his own moral compass – not because she may have influenced his decsision.

  4. Ernie Davis says:

    When Sarah says “Chuck, if you fail to complete the mission, which you’ll undertake by yourself, then you’ll go back to your old life.” I’m wondering if by “your old life” they meant a handled CIA asset as opposed to free and clear. As far as the CIA is concerned that is his old life. He would still be the intersect after all. Notice that Beckman gives the alternative as “No more Buy More, no more handlers.” perhaps implying that if he failed he was back to where he started, not to a civilian. As a civilian he would have a Stanford degree and no handlers, so staying at the Buy More would be an unlikely future given his character growth. That would make sense since he had a certain utility as the intersect 1.0. And that would make Sarah’s declaration that they probably couldn’t be together if he failed make more sense. He couldn’t fully leave the spy world and she probably couldn’t go back to being his handler. Just a thought.

    • sd says:

      True, Ernie…

      But I think at the end of that conversation what Chuck heard wasn’t implied…it wasn’t black and white…if he didn’t pass he couldn’t be with Sarah. I contend that sentence sealed it for him…even tho he hesitated in the train yard.

      • sd says:

        I should say it was black and white to him.

        Also…have a theory on whether Chuck would have pulled the trigger. I think he would have if he saw the guy draw his gun..

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I agree, since he did when Shaw drew on him.

      • Crumby says:

        I think he could have pulled the trigger to defend himself.

        Either way, he didn’t make it about being with Sarah or not, so that sort of attenuate her “probably not”.

      • John says:

        Oh yes he did. He decided to stay and try to do it entirely because of his belief if he does not he loses Sarah.

        You can see it all over his face the moment she says ‘probably not’. Besides that was why he asked the question in the first place.

      • Crumby says:

        I know her “probably not” has to have an effect on him of course.

        But he didn’t take the opportunity to kill Perry in the bathroom, or later.
        So being with Sarah at this cost wasn’t worth it to him.

        The only way he would have done it, was to defend himself or someone else, which doesn’t make it about Sarah.

        Plus he had other reasons to want to become a spy.

      • Jason says:

        I never felt like chuck was motivated by being together versus becoming a spy, the I gave up ‘everything’ for this line for example, I think he felt the opposite, he gave up the girl in order to become a spy, I can see why others would interpret the story opposite of me, again, shows how weakly the story was told, opposite interpretations of the same actions, each with some proof, the contrived nature of the WT/WT over 3 seasons is alot like getting caught in a web of lies, at some point you forget what the truth was in the first place

      • Crumby says:

        “He decided to stay and try to do it entirely because of his belief if he does not he loses Sarah.”

        I’d say he does not want to lose everything he’s been working for, and Sarah is part of it, but not all. He wants to be a spy, he’s afraid to fail, and come back to be the loser that hated himself 3 years ago.

      • John says:

        He WAS seriously thinking about killing Perry to be with Sarah until Perry says he is no different from the Ring, which was the perfect thing Perry could have said. Then Chuck starts looking for a way out.

        But it absolutely was about Sarah, you can see it on his face when she says it. I believe completely if she had said ‘yes we can be together’ he wouldn’t have tried to do it. His commitment was pretty obvious not only earlier in the episode in the stake date but at the end when all he is thinking of is talking to Sarah and in the next episode when he is ready to quit without her.

        How can you possibly conclude, Jason, with all that evidence and physical clues that Chuck was never motivated to be with Sarah? What about the end of 3.08, 3.09, and 3.10 when he comes to the realization what he wants is her three straight times? They bang you over the head with that repeatedly.

      • Jason says:

        john – great analysis – you sure are entitled to your opinion, as I mine, I base mine on “I gave up everything to be a spy’ from 3.9, although if you want more evidence, he said no to sarah in prague to be a spy – both things I reference were said on screen, your analysis is very valid and one I could argue that you are right all day long, I also could argue for the opposite, no big deal, think what you want, that really is the whole problem with the arc – most of the story was not told

      • Crumby says:


        I think that Chuck chose to be a spy and he felt that being a spy meant renouncing to Sarah, until the Beard and his “admission” that he loves Sarah.

        “I kept telling myself that I didn’t. That I wouldn’t, I couldn’t, but I do.”

        IMO the all point of this was to make him realized that even though that whatever choices he made he would always love Sarah. So after Tic Tac and both Casey’s and Ellie’s speeches, he decided he was going to get Sarah back and being a spy. From that point, he wanted both.

      • Crumby says:


        Yes he was seriously thinking about killing Perry. But I still don’t think it is just because of Sarah.

        I hear what you said about the look on his face when she said “probably not”, and that his first reaction was “but then we wouldn’t…” about him failing his test.

        But then he said “if I can’t do this, then what’ll I be?” which proves that it’s not all about Sarah. Being a spy gives him purpose. If you take Sarah out of the equation he’d still want it.

        Before he made the choice to be a spy, Chuck would not have considered burning an asset, he wouldn’t have done it. Yet he considered it in Nacho because it was part of being a spy. He had a choice there too. And he chose to do it.

        All the choices he made before Beard to become a spy had nothing to do with being with Sarah, as Jason said it was quite the opposite.

        Him realizing he loved her no matter what, and that he couldn’t give up on her, doesn’t make her suddenly the only reason to be a spy.

        Here, he considered the choice to kill Perry or not because he wants to be a spy, so this is a legitimate question. Am I ready to kill Perry in order to become a spy? And yes it would mean he could be with Sarah.

        But the fact that he wanted to get Sarah back since the beginning of the episode doesn’t mean she is the (only) reason for him wanting to be a spy.

        He wants both. Be a spy, and be with Sarah.

        So his look when she said “probably not”, could simply be “ok so first I wouldn’t be a spy and second I wouldn’t be with you either”, so basically he’d lose EVERYTHING not just her.

        But I totally get your point and respect it.

    • Crumby says:

      Yeah what is his old life?

      And we still don’t know what they were planning to do with Chuck after he got fired in Pink Slip.
      Beckman told him something along the line, “we’ll think about what we’re gonna do with you and let you know”, lol, I can’t remember what she said exactly. But anyway we don’t know what they were planning for him. Asset, civilian, bunker?

  5. John says:

    I guess the moment that stood out to me was Sarah saying how if he fails to pass his red test they will ‘probably not’ end up together. Interesting she says it as if that should not be a significant factor but that is entirely the reason Chuck decides to stay and do his best. You can just see it on his face once he understands that.

    She clearly had no idea how determined he was at that point despite the stake date the night before.

    This is also the last episode we see Chuck working at the Buy More. I wonder if he will ever return or if this will solely be a Morgan/Casey thing going forward.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      It’s going to be interesting. We haven’t seen Chuck quit the Buy More, and when Morgan was quitting in Other Guy the first thing Big Mike asked about was “is it Bartowski?”. When Morgan replied it wasn’t Big Mike said something to the effect of if it’s Jeff or Lester go ahead and fire them, he could care less. That would seem to indicate Chuck still works at Buy More as far as Big Mike knows. Obviously “as far as Big Mike knows” is going back to older themes rather than Big Mike’s brief career as a competent and motivated manager.

    • Crumby says:

      I think Chuck’s at the Buy More when he sees his dad coming back in the promo, no?

  6. Jan says:

    The “probably not” upset me…but not nearly as much as Sarah saying “trust me.” That was suppose to be special, from the Pilot on. By saying “trust me” and then going completely against her own beliefs related to Chuck and his red test was the low point for Sarah, to me.

    • Crumby says:

      She said it after asking him to stay calm, because she knows Perry could kill him.

      “Chuck, you’re going to want to stay calm right now, okay? I need you to trust me.”

      He need not to freak out or he’s dead. She said it to Shaw “Perry is a seasoned agent, and he is gonna do anything to save himself. And if Chuck freezes, then… we could lose him.”

      So she need him to listen to what she has to say, calmly make his choice and whatever choice he made, stay alive.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Nicely done Ernie, I don’t think you missed a beat.

  8. BeCoolBoy says:

    I admire the contortions you went through to try to make sense of this episode, and, by extension, the whole season.

    But your review simply doesn’t work becuase the episode, and the entire season, doesn’t work. It’s not your fault. It’s theirs.

    And, of course, the ridiculous part of this episode on the granular level is that Perry was armed. So there was no Kobayashi Maru for Chuck after all. He would have had to act or die.

    But it’s worse. When the cleaners came in, Perry’s gun would have been obvious and Sarah would have had to deal with that new information.

    So this is stupid television on its face, just as the entire season was stupid. It’s irredeemable because it is full of impossible-to-accept plot holes, logic deviations, phony angst and silliness.

    Oh, and about Chekov’s gun being a gun. Clever bit, but it doesn’t work either because the one guy who would have a PERSONAL arsenal is Casey. Chekov never said anything about putting a gun on stage with a man who is probably better armed than the Czar’s personal honor guard ever was.

    • Crumby says:

      The Kobayashi Maru for Chuck happened in the Bathroom. He chose not to kill Perry.

      The gun was brought then to make us believe Chuck wouldn’t be abble to kill Shaw in Other Guy.

      But they should have mentionned it somewhere that’s for sure.

    • John says:

      Just curious where did you get the idea Casey had a personal arsenal? It was made evidently clear the government took everything except a chair and a Bonsai bush in the last episode. All his weapons were government issue.

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        Logical, John. Casey is a “cold-school” killer (pilot) who, by his own claim, “always has a gun” (Graviton). There is no logic to assume John Casey doesn’t have a personal stash. Which, by the way, is legal in California. In fact, California is an open-carry state.

        My point only is that the Chekov’s gun reference falls flat because Casey is not a logical candidate for it. Just another plot point TPTB didn’t consider.

        Moreover, if you REALLY want to delve deep into this, when the cleaners came in, they would have a) known the bullet didn’t come from Chuck’s firearm; and b) Came from a piece missing from Castle inventory.

        Again, the point is when you are building an “epic” and “game-changing (sorry, can’t resist) plot around something like this, TPTB have a responsibility to get it right and think of the basics.

        Besides, without the Chekov’s gun reveal, would YOU have questioned Casey having a piece and shooting Perry? Of course not. You’d just assume Casey had guns.

        So the Chekov’s gun joke falls further flat (er, so to speak).

      • John says:

        But it is a plot point you are extrapolating that is not specified anywhere. They explicitely took away his gun and all his stuff in the last episode.

        Why would John Casey have a personal stash of weapons when everything he needed was always supplied by the government? Heck even his furniture was government supplied.

        It is one thing to spot plot holes but you are just making this one up and grasping on to it fiercely as something that MUST be true despite the show clearly saying it is not. I am not sure why.

        Also why would they have known what the bullet was simply by cleaning up the body and who exactly reported the weapon in Castle missing? They had not done the autopsy yet as they clearly would have found the data cartridge retrieved by the Ring agent in 3.10. Besides both Casey and Chuck are using SIG P229s.

    • Zsjaer says:

      I would add this all season was mediocre at a very low level.
      They have vulgarized (hope the spelling is correct) this show, they didn t had creativity to do what the show needed they have opted the easiest way just to add LI and destroying the characters.
      What made the difference with Chuck was the relationship between Sarah (the hot chick that was in love with the normal everyday guy and could see how great he was and do whatever she can to protect him) character and Chuck the normal everyday guy..they have destroyed completely that link and with that the only thing that was making this show different and special. The storyline with the reset thing was terrible, so mediocre that i think Chuck is very near of cancellation. What was supposed to be the “epic-est” episode of this season in a rerun got 0.9 I have the feeling that the next episode despite of being new will have very low ratings below 2.0
      My feelings is that even Scott Bakula and the actors can t save the show now. To much damage, to much mediocrity in this 13 episodes.

      • John says:

        Wow man I…guess I agree that it didn’t work but there was still alot of good stuff this season. I also fail to see how a few things that didn’t work completely destroyed everything and we should slash our wrists in melodramatic angst over it. Sarah still loves Chuck, some good stuff happened and good stuff looks to be coming.

        I think you are letting the angsty episodes get to you a bit too much. No reason to fall on your sword.

      • Zsjaer says:

        The problem John is that to me..they have vulgarized their relationship and the show..Sarah still loves Chuck but people will start not to care..at least it is my feeling. Personally i still care a bit i admit..because i can t forget the two previous seasons that i loved but my feelings and faith about the future of the show is very low.

      • cas says:

        I wouldn’t go that far.. I mean, take away the WT/WT, why cant’t they or why won’t they. This season was actually pretty funny after watching it the second time around. Granted I had to fast forward any Sarah and Shaw interaction but I would still say that it was a pretty good season.

      • JC says:

        I have had tons of problems with the season but its had some really good moments. Once Beard hit the show, the season really hit a stride minus the absurd middle of Am Hero and the completely forced Sarah/Shaw “romance”.

        This season probably had more missteps and turn off my brain moments than the last two. But we did get some good character growth with Chuck, Morgan and Casey. Sarah was kinda left hanging until Other Guy which is probably the most unforgivable thing this season.

      • atcdave says:

        I do agree much was lost. There was a sort of innocence in the ordinary guy, and beautiful super-spy who loves him. They’ve destroyed that angle this season, but we do still have two likeable characters who love each other and can have many adventures and a good life together. That still constitutes good entertainment to me, just not as special as it was.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Chuck has always had plot holes, all the way back to the pilot and Helicopter. It’s just easier to ignore them when it’s an enjoyable show.

      As for Perry, of course he was armed, and Sarah probably suspected he would be armed. He’s a seasoned field agent, why wouldn’t they assume he was armed? If it was to be fisticuffs Chuck could flash and he’d be in no real danger. The point was that Chuck had to SHOOT TO KILL, not just shoot, which he hadn’t been able to do so far, but shoot to kill, not arrest, wound, or detain, and Sarah thought he did that.

      The cleaners I’d thought of, but aren’t necessarily a big deal. It’s entirely plausible, based on the above, that they wouldn’t find a backup piece the mark never got to use unusual. After all Sarah shot in her red test because she thought, probably not without reason, that Eve Shaw was armed and reaching for a gun. Also, do you think it likely Sarah would want to read a final report on Chuck’s red test? It was Shaw who ordered it.

      As for Casey having a personal arsenal, why? He had access to all the guns he ever wanted, and it is also easy to believe that since Casey had been charged with treason, and there was some sort of second chance deal he’d have to give up personal weapons in addition to government issue. After all it looked as if they pretty much cleaned out his whole apartment without regard to what might have been a personal or government weapon. If they were disinclined to return personal items what was Casey going to do, sue? And have you ever tried to buy a handgun in California?

      The point is we can re-hash these things endlessly and come up with as many explanations as we can problems. Were there plot holes? Sure. But to say they make the entire season stupid and unacceptable on it’s face, that’s your opinion. I enjoyed most of the season once I realized it wasn’t going to be as good as S2 or a particularly light and happy story. It’s about two people in love who decided they couldn’t be together because of their duty and a guy dealing with how much he is willing to compromise who he is for the sake of that duty for gosh sakes. Of course it’s going to be angsty.

      Did I think the angst, leaps of logic, plot holes, and endless dragging out of the story were a bit much at times? Yep. But it just means it wasn’t as good as S2 as far as I’m concerned, and to expect it to be is a bit unfair considering the budget cuts and production schedule.

      • AngelTwo says:

        Ernie: I think the point BCB was making is largely valid. The entire season is bizarrely contorted and largely implausible. And very, very hard to analyze in the laudable way you have done with Chuck through the entire run of this blog. I honest-to-gosh admire your dogged determination to find a logical story here.

        That said, if you think Sarah would have believed that Perry was armed, that makes her disavowal of Chuck even dumber. And that’s what makes HER supposed hatred of herself for her Red Test actions equally silly. She WAS walking away from Eve without acting (as she said and they showed) until she felt she might be attacked. Which is why her guilt is implausible and her projecting onto Chuck is equally implausible. Regardless of the initial order to kill, both Chuck and Sarah resisted and were not going to do it. Sarah reacted to defend herself and Chuck was put in the same position.

        Like Season 3 in general, TPTB tried to be too clever here. One could have almost bought Sarah loathing herself because she assasinated someone. But that isn’t actually what she did. One could have understood Chuck’s unwillingness to shoot if Perry were unarmed and not dangerous. But they turned both incidents into self-defense. It’s too much soap opera layered on too fine a story point, IMHO.

        And, oddly, what I’ve found about Season 3 is that it gets WORSE the more you examine it. Season 2 gets better the more times you watch it because they sentiments are truer, the goals are clearer and the writing more logical. (Although there are still plot holes, of course). But the more you look at Season 3, either as an arc or as individual episodes, the less and less sense they make and the less and less coherent they are.

        As for the Chekov’s gun discussion, well, I thought it was a ham-fisted meta-joke in the first place. Hardly worth thinking twice about.

        But OF COURSE Casey has a personal stash. For starters, Casey is an assasin with a lot of enemies–an entire country, we were told in Angel of Death. Even if he had no personal weaponry BEFORE he was cashiered, he’d have acquired them afterwards (and FAST) for his own protection. Moreover, Casey is SPECIFICALLY drawn as a guy who loves weaponry (he even took holidays at WeaponsCon, as per Nacho Sampler). This is a guy who’s have guns for fun, weapons he’d want that the agency wouldn’t allow.

        It’s not THAT big a deal, but I think
        BCB’s point is valid here, too. If there was no Chekov’s gun moment reveal, would ANYONE question Casey shooting the mole in the climax? Of course not. We would have assumed someone like Casey still had guns. I don’t think anyone would have even asked, “Hey, where’d Casey get the gun?”

      • Crumby says:

        I agree on every point Ernie!

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I think there are a few things to remember. It was specifically shown on screen that the government totally cleaned out Casey’s apartment, placed him under arrest, and was about to ship him overseas to be tortured. The only reason he had a gun in Tic Tac was because he was busted out of prison by Keller and sent to get the Laudinol. Where was this stash and why would you assume there was one given what was shown? I agree, one would assume Casey would want to get a gun at some point, but if he had an armory why would Chuck make a point of giving him one gun as a gift? It is far easier to believe that the government cleaned him out. It was on the screen.

        Second, I guarantee if they hadn’t done Chekhov’s gun someone would have been absolutely incensed that Casey had a gun, after all they showed the government cleaning out his apartment on the screen, no way did Casey have a gun. Would it be logical that Beckman and the government would let him have a gun after he committed treason?

        Same with Perry. Someone would have screamed bloody murder at the plot hole that a seasoned CIA field agent like Perry was described wouldn’t have a gun.

        If you go looking for plot holes, IN ANY SHOW, you can find them no matter which way TPTB decide to go. Explain Casey has a gun, or don’t, somebody would have complained about the gaping plot hole.

      • AngelTwo says:

        A follow-on thought about what “logical” conclusions you can assume happened and what you cannot bring to Chuck (or any other TV show).

        It seems to me that THIS is another rerun of the journey/destination argument. We were told to savor the journey until we began hating the journey. Then we were told the “pay off” of the journey was the destination.

        Same thing here. When there are logical conclusions that you are SUPPOSED to reach so that the showrunners don’t have to do exposition (Sarah lived her real emotions through her cover relationship with Chuck, Chuck had a mission we didn’t see because he woke up one morning with a fake moustache), then it’s okay to draw logical conclusions. But when you draw logical conclusions that expose plot holes and explode silly conventions (the Sarah rule, for example), then it is not okay to draw logical conclusions.

        Unless a show demands you accept it strictly within the bounds of what is on the screen, you have to bring logic and logical conclusions to fully enjoy it. But a show like Chuck has SPECIFICALLY asked us to assume that things happen outside our hourly window. And once you do that, logic must be applied within the terms of willing suspension of disbelief.

      • AngelTwo says:

        Ernie, what I am suggesting is that this is simply ANOTHER case of the problems with Season 3. They are worried about the wrong things and seem to have forgotten the standards that they set for their own characters.

        As I say, I think the whole Chekov’s Gun thing was a bad meta-joke. I really do.

        But I suggest, knowing what we know about Casey, there’s no plausible reason to assume he wouldn’t have a stash no one knows about and/or wouldn’t acquire protection IMMEDIATELY after being stripped of his government-issued armaments.

        Explaining how Casey had a gun to off Perry is an insignificant plot point. It really is. But someone probably said, “Hey, let’s do a Chekov’s gun thing and use a gun!”

        That few seconds of airtime could have been put to MUCH better use.

        Just like he wouldn’t actually stay at BuyMore. Just like Sarah wouldn’t have gone back to Orange Orange after Prague even if she stayed a spy.

        The plot holes were unbearably, unsupportably huge this season. And the get worse as you inspect the season because you know the sentiments aren’t true or honest, either.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Which is more logical, that Perry would be armed, or unarmed?

        Which is more logical, that they would assume Perry to be armed, or assume him to be unarmed?

        Is it any more logical to assume Casey had a secret stash than it is to assume the government cleaned him out thoroughly, personal weapons and all?

        My point is that unless there is some compelling reason to go one way or the other, you go with what is on the screen. They showed Casey cleaned out, which is perfectly logical given he committed treason, why go through machinations to conclude otherwise.

        Yes, in some cases they’ve defied logic, and I’ve also been frustrated by the seeming double standard, fill in the blanks, or don’t. Read the scene from Sarah’s face, but don’t complain if you don’t come to the same conclusion TPTB wanted. It is one of the reasons this season hasn’t been as good.

        This just isn’t one of those cases IMHO.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Look, if you want to go to logic we’re doomed. The premise that the CIA and the NSA would have their top agents working at a Weinerliscious and a Buy More to protect an asset defies logic far more than Casey not getting around to arming himself immediately. Just about every single fight scene from S1 and S2 is a reason why the show is unwatchable on the standard you’re trying to apply to relatively minor things that really aren’t plot holes. Sarah regularly takes on guys two to three times her size. Nobody ever shoots before the gun can be kicked from their hand. Rourke lets three CIA agents walk away knowing he has Orion. Rourke waits in the reception hall while Chuck goes alone to fetch the intersect an nobody thinks to evacuate the church or get Ellie out. You can play this all day and make any episode you choose unwatchable by that standard. Or you can enjoy it, or not, for what it is instead of what it was or could be.

        Dear lord you guys have ME of all people defending Schwartz and Fedak for goodness sake. 😉

      • JC says:

        But then you had to go and make me imagine that awesome scene of Chuck marching Perry into castle and putting the gun in Shaw’s hand. Damn you 🙂

      • Jason says:

        ernie, if CS are together and having fun, this show is held to one of the lowest logical storytelling std’s imaginable, when they jumped the shark in 3.1 and then again in 3.8, the rage of the crowd has turned on TPTB, and the showruner’s feet are being held to the logic fire. That is why ratings are suffering, although it makes for great blog participation.

        The hit of this blog, is as an outlet for all of the pent up rage over how this show was ruined in 3.1 thru 3.12, that was 12 episodes that could have been done like 3.14 and 3.15, or about 20% of the total show’s life.

        NBC’s decision will be interesting – I wonder who will make the big bucks if chuck gets to syndication – I can’t help but think it will be a huge hit there, I think a new generation of 20 something nerds comes of age nearly every 3-5 years, so chuck could keep on giving to fans for years?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Jason, I absolutely agree, that’s my point. I predict not a single plot hole in 3.14. 😉 But I do want to point out a few things. What TPTB have done exceptionally well in the past was characters. What seemed to be suffering this season was the characters. And I’ve vented my share. But I think there is a way to look at Sarah and Chuck both this season that makes both a little easier to take. By the end of Three Words, both had decided they needed to give up on the other and love to serve a higher calling. There was no romance, nor did either seek it out with the other until this episode. Chuck was focused on becoming a spy and Sarah was focused on helping him, despite not wanting to see the transformation she feared. From First Class on Sarah never expressed doubt or fear to Chuck, though we saw her do so privately and Chuck saw her do so in Fake name, which started his redemption. Chuck never showed himself as still wanting to be with Sarah until this episode, and unwilling to cross certain boundaries, until American Hero, which is why at the end of this episode, Chuck still loving her, she still loving Chuck, but him apparently compromised, Sarah is at her low point.

      • Gabbo says:

        This point makes some sense and would even be bolstered by the friends “cover” toward the end of Angel of Death. But it simply isn’t clean.

        Moments after the let’s be friends moment, you have Sarah doing a way-beyond-friends moment when she comes to talk to Chuck about Devon. You have Chuck inviting Sarah to the family dinner, which becomes important because they want you to understand Sarah’s anguish when Hannah is sitting in her place. You have the jealousy scene in Mask. And several others.

        So while your point makes sense, it is pretty clear that TPTB really do WANT you to bring romance to virtually every moment of the season. It’s what overhangs everything.

      • atcdave says:

        I think Ernie and Gabbo are both mostly right here. We’re supposed to believe Chuck and Sarah are trying to be professional or friends or something; but it just doesn’t ring true. I think TPTB underestimate the strength of what we saw onscreen in S1 and S2. Many viewers can’t accept splitting them no matter how its explained. And when they try to have it both ways by showing their ongoing “friendship”, even if its in the background, it just leaves many of us unsatisfied (very!) with the season.

      • HenryH says:

        I raise this simply as a technical argument concerning where we are supposed to believe Chuck and Sarah are emotionally. If both have decided NOT to pursue each other, how can we have the love shape (was it officially declared a trapezoid?) that TPTB set up. I mean, if Chuck was okay to get Hannah and Sarah was free to be with Shaw, it ain’t much of a love shape, is it?

        It’s fail if they did and fail if they didn’t. In other words, Season 3 was just like Chuck’s Final Exam. There were only impossibly bad choices…

      • Crumby says:

        I do think they failed in execution, but renouncing to be together, doesn’t mean you stop caring.

        So Sarah hugging Chuck about Awesome isn’t that surprising, the family diner well shows that they still care, the jealousy scene showed that it’s not that easy to let go, but they eventually did.

        Plus they’re seeing each other every day and have high emotional moments together through missions, so it can’t be easy, even if “you keep telling yourself” that you have to let go.

        I mean if they hadn’t had difficulties to let go then, we wouldn’t have understand it either.

      • atcdave says:

        As always, I think the most fundamental problem is as entertainment. Its one thing to say I can be convinced they broke up; its another thing entirely to send them in opposite directions and expect us to watch all season. Most people I know who watch Chuck do it to have fun. I don’t know anyone (outside of this blog), who claimed to enjoy the show this season. It doesn’t matter if I can explain to them why Chuck and Sarah would have split up; what matters is they don’t like and half of them stopped watching. Most of those who quit won’t come back. Even those who stayed will have limited patience with future issues.

    • Crumby says:

      I don’t know anything about gun but doesn’t the fact that Casey’s gun comes from Castle, and not from his personal arsenal, make it more plausible that nobody questionned the bullet that killed Perry.

      • drosejr says:

        Completely agree. Remember, Chuck gave Casey the gun; where do you think Chuck would get guns other than from Castle? TPTB are actually working to cover up a potential plot hole that you’ve tried to identify, since each of Casey and Chuck have the same gun. Easy to swap guns and fingerprints, I would think.

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        Wait, drosejr. We’re not allowed to assume Casey has a personal arsenal because we didn’t see it on the screen, but you want us to assume that Casey and Chuck may have swapped guns to change fingerprint evidence?

        Kill me now…

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Would the CIA bother with ballistics and a CSI-like analysis of the scene? Why? They had an “eyewitness” who was a seasoned agent who “saw” the agent assigned cary out his mission. Perry was being autopsied because they were looking for information that The Ring had to steal back.

      • Merve says:

        There’s a difference between noticing plot holes and fishing for plot holes. I think we’re closer to the latter here.

      • Yeefiver says:

        I’m surprised that no one has asked why after Chuck’s final exam there was no de-briefing at castle? I would think that Sarah and Shaw would want a full report from Chuck about what happened, and compare Chuck’s story with what Sarah witnessed, especially since it was a red test.
        I would assume that Chuck would also turn his gun back in to castle. Eventually someone (poissibly Sarah) would examine/clean the gun and discover that only one round was fired from Chuck’s gun. I am sure Sarah would remember that two shots were fired. So naturally she would wonder where the second shot she heard came from and start her own private investigation.
        But in so doing, this would change major parts of ‘American Hero’ and ‘The Other Guy.’

  9. Lucian says:

    I won’t repeat some of my issues with Sarah’s standards for Chuck vs. herself. The resolution here – Casey doing the dirty work – is a cheat. This was the point where Chuck needed to decide what he really wanted. Casey taking the test for Chuck simply avoided the issue. But, if Chuck simply would have said “I am not a killer, I can’t do this”, we couldn’t have the next episode. This was a poor way, IMO, for Chuck to be both a spy and still “her Chuck”.

    • John says:

      Sort of but it is supposed to also show how much Casey is Chuck’s teammate. You know he is going to follow Chuck to the trainstation after the conversation they have in the Buy More and it was always Casey’s job to do the “dirty work”.

      It fulfills two goals: it allows him to remain “her Chuck” and it also sets you up to question whether he will be able to do it later in Other Guy.

      It may not be super successful on a dramatic level but at least it was not some gaping plothole. Even if they had to have the Mole have a gun just to make it realistic Casey would shoot him…but him having that gun sorta takes away the whole idea that Chuck had to shoot him in cold blood.

  10. odysszeuss says:

    neue kommentare im minutentakt. ich bin dabei…
    häkchen gesetzt 😉

  11. cas says:

    From the interview
    ” production’s always been kind of well ahead of our episodes airing. So the episodes have either been written or shot by the time we’ve gotten feedback.”
    I guess it safe to say that they made a mistake and by the time they realized it, it was to0 late to do anything about it. The additional 6 ep might just be their way of apologizing and making things right

  12. Jen says:

    Hello GUys,
    I’ve been out of it with so much work, i’ve had no chance to read or write anything here. I still wanted to take the opportunity to share these links with you guys:



    Wish you all a great day!

    Ed: So sorry, Jen. The filter is being picky again and put you in the bucket. I think it’s something about the length of links measured in characters vs. the length of text! Whatever it is, it’s obnoxious! – joe

  13. BDaddyDl says:

    I did not know where else to put this, so this is the latest topic here goes: There is a 9 year old Chuck fan out there who used twitter, and even I do believe a mention on this site about a fund raiser. With the help of Chuck fans over $2,000. have been raised.
    Due to this, her teacher will be wearing a Chuck shirt Monday in Spread the Nerd day on the 26th.

    I almost referred to her as a little girl at the beginning of the post, but I did not because she is not a little girl. Ya see, she was on the set of episode 3.13 and 3.14, and she saw the final scene of the other guy. She also saw some important parts of 3.14. After all that, she did not say a word about it. Who among us “adults” can say we could do that.
    I am telling you all that because I am proud of my daughter, she has done some great things, but I will not say much about it because its just not something I do, but I fell no guilt about letting everyone know how awesome “littlechuckgirl” (her twitter name)is.

    • PeterOinNj says:

      You have every right to be proud dad! She was able to raise money for a great cause and awareness for our favorite show. You ad Mom did a great job!

    • BDaddyDl says:

      I am sorry if i did not make this clear, she is not my daughter, that is why I am saying something.

  14. AngelTwo says:

    Ernie: I wanted to pull this out of the other thread up there because I think there is a bigger issue (or ten):

    1) In a season with bad episodes with badly told story, what is the purpose of trying to find an overarching logic in an episode like Final Exam if you dismiss any logical flaw from critics? And I don’t mean “you” Ernie, but the generic plural “you.” I honestly do not mean to suggest anything other than this: It might be a mistake to try to rationalize an episode (or an entire arc) if every objection to the logic of the episode/arc must be dismissed with, “You have to give TPTB that…” It’s a real problem for someone like you, especially, who DOES think about what we’re seeing on the screen. And for us as commentators on your reviews. These episodes either invite rigorous and engaged review or then are just hopeless and should be left alone. It’s hard to find a middle ground that works, frankly.

    2) Isn’t there a GOOD discussion to be had about what and where we can be expected to suspend disbelief. I mean, this supersedes Chuck. It is the question every TV show that has engaged fans must answer. What do we “buy” to get to the premise of the show and at what point can you begin to examine an episode or a scene and apply logical standards within the overarching suspension of disbelief?

    3) A good subset of 2) is the issue that Chuck seems to have raised: At some points, TPTB want you to think independently (Chuck awakes with the fake mustache, etc.). At other points you are told don’t think independently (what happened at and after the rehersal dinner). They probably cannot have it both ways. Either things happen between the lines ONLY or TPTB can raise off-screen issues, which then allows us to offer logic to fill in the blanks. Again, a very tricky matter.

    4) The issue of canon may become a big one if Chuck gets a fourth season. Just as the Star Trek fans have banished the cartoon show and most of the officially sanctioned novels from the canon, Chuck fans may have to banish most of season 3 from the canon for their own sanity. I mean, we won’t know until Monday night, of course, but it looks like e14 could almost START at the point in Pink Slip where Sarah wants Chuck to run away with him. And it apparently ends with Chuck and Sarah as an officially sanctioned team in Beckman’s eye. The temptation will be gigantic to simply jump from Ring to Honeymooners…

    One final point, and this is strictly an opinion: I get the feeling TPTB still don’t fully understand the nature of the fandom that Chuck has spawned. Fedak made a comment in the Mo Ryan interview that seemed to indicate that he has been shocked to find out that there are folks out there discussing the characters and their motivations, et. al. You’d think that three seasons into it that TPTB would understand that there is an invested commited fanbase that THINKS about things. Not just buys sandwiches on command…

    • Ernie Davis says:

      1) I saw this happen to me early in the season. I was focused on what I thought SHOULD happen at a certain point based on the characters and what I knew about them that I ignored what did happen, calling it out of character and thus I was unreceptive to what that scene told me about how the character was changing.

      Chuck SHOULDN’T have broken Sarah’s heart with “I’m sorry” in Prague. But he did, and it wasn’t until the end of Three words we saw why. Sarah had awakened something in him, a sense of purpose, that he couldn’t turn his back on, even for her. Was it especially well done? No, but it made sense unless you rejected outright Chuck’s being able to put anything ahead of Sarah, even, as he thought, for her own good.

      Now as for the logic of an episode or an arc I think you miss a certain point I’ve made repeatedly. The logic should reside in the characters and their actions. And it feeds both ways. If an action seems out of character, how does that action inform you about how the character may be changing. If you see a character changing, how does that inform your expectations for that character?

      Does Casey have guns or not, is Perry armed or not, these aren’t major points to hang the logic of an episode on. The important part is that Casey didn’t abandon Chuck and that Chuck couldn’t shoot to kill in cold blood, but Sarah thought he could. Casey is still Chuck’s friend and protector. Chuck still will not cross certain ethical boundaries. Sarah believes he will. How does that change things? That is the story and how the characters are maintained or changed. Whether they explain where Casey got the gun or don’t is absolutely incidental to those points and as I mentioned either way somebody is likely to complain.

      2) I think I’ve covered above and in many posts on this board. The one place they can’t ask for suspension of disbelief is characters, which is why I struggle to put actions into new context. Where Casey got a gun or if he needed someone to give him one isn’t anywhere on this list.

      3) I think thinking independently is great to add color and texture, and most of what you need to know should be on the screen. In general if it isn’t on the screen and it is a major part of the plot, you should assume you are reading into things. Now that said, I think they often, too often push this to the limits, especially this season. The famous example is in Fake Name after Sarah get’s up off the floor. Expecting us to believe NOTHING important happened after that is asking too much, and frankly it hurts the show. A dramatic moment is supposed to lead to some resolution. Drama for the sake of drama that leads to no plot progress or change is just angst. Liz and I have a favorite on this count, the reception dinner. By not addressing anything beyond “It is real” they rob that scene of any meaning, and it was a great scene.

      I don’t think I’ve ever argued you need to defer to TPTB on every character development or plot twist, but you need to at least be receptive and allow you might need to re-look without your own preconceptions.

      • Crumby says:

        Agreed again! You have such a great way to put into words thoughts that are just rambling into my mind, and more!

        I’m so glad I found this blog!

  15. AngelTwo says:

    Wow, Ernie, I think you missed just about everything I was going for here. I wasn’t CHALLENGING you. I was raising points I thought were valid for FUTURE discussion. Honest. That’s why I wanted to take it out of the thread. Truly.

    But since you raised a couple of specific points:
    1) Chuck’s decision in Prague was out of character and I’ll tell you why: He’s a talker. He’d have talked and talked and talked and talked and talked until Sarah either walked away from him or gave in and stayed with him. And that’s why we didn’t see the in-character move from Chuck. TPTB wanted Chuck walking away to set up the arc for the season. And that’s why the season is all wrong. Chuck wouldn’t have walked silently away and Sarah would not have done nothing at the end of Three Words, especially now knowing what TPTB now claim was her disgust about the spy life. She’d have acted to try to save the man she loves and the man who loves her from a fate she apparently thinks is worse than death. So those are the twin out-of-character moments that doomed the season.

    2) If you say TPTB can’t ask for suspension of disbelief in the characters (and I agree), then Casey doesn’t need a Chekov’s gun. As you position it, then Casey needing a gun given to him by Chuck is insanely out of character for Casey. Remember, this is the ONE guy on the show who has actually said, “I always have a gun.” Casey without a gun is like Sarah without a knife or Chuck without technology. It’s in the DNA of the characters, the small points that DEFINE the characters as we know them.

    3) I wasn’t bothered by the end of the Fake Name scene because, honestly, I didn’t care anymore. The episode made no sense. But don’t get me started on the Rehersal Dinner thing because it’s actually WORSE after season 3. Having Chuck say (twice) that he and Sarah were never together sexually just raises MORE question about what happened at the end of Colonel. Did they fall asleep from exhaustion at the dinner table? Sit at the fountain all night and talk about the weather? Defer any discussion of themselves until after the wedding ceremonies? But you know the Season 3 claims are simply ret-con because we KNOW what TPTB wanted us to think with the re-use of Creature Fear and the hand gestures. Of course, as you’ve said, why do that (and break up Chuck and Sarah at the beginning of Ring) when you know what you’ve written next?

    Again, though, honestly, my goal with the post above was to suggest FURTHER discussions of interest, not any further discussion about THIS episode. Honest. Truly.

    • weaselone says:

      I’m not even certain why we need to assume that Casey doesn’t have a gun until Chuck gifts him with one from Castle. Maybe he has personal stockpiles hidden all over LA, the country and the planet. He obviously manages to lay his hands on weaponry in Paris.

      Why not just assume that a government issued firearm, from Castle, gifted to him by Chuck would have some sort of sentimental value which caused it to be his firearm of choice the night of Chuck’s red test? Casey has exhibited a fondness and sentiment for guns and Crown Vics that he doesn’t display for people.

      • AngelTwo says:

        Chekhov’s Sentimental Gun? Very, uh, sorry I got nothing. Off to The Cherry Orchard for me…

      • weaselone says:

        The gun was placed and it was shot. It need not be Casey’s sole source of fire power in order to be utilized. He could have an entire arsenal rivaling Castles stashed away and still shown up with Chuck’s thoughtful felony.

      • AngelTwo says:

        Splitting the storytelling baby is Biblical, not Chekhov. Just saying…

    • Chuck604 says:


      I agree strongly with your first point. Actually if I was Chuck, I would like explain right then and there my reasons for not running off with Sarah; like using his gifts for the a greater good, higher purpose. I would even go as far as to speculate that he would ask her to help him with respect to his development in becoming a spy. And Sarah, would try to insulate him from the pitfalls of that career choice, because like many have stated she doesn’t want to lose the man she fell for; from a basic nature stand point.

      But I don’t necessarily jump to the same conclusion at the end of the Colonel, that it could have been implied that they shared the night together. Well, mostly because of what happened in the next episode and the fact that you already mentioned; chuck mentioning he never slept with Sarah this season.

    • Ernie Davis says:


      I’ll try this one more time. I did not miss your point, I addressed things you raised and started a discussion based on my views, and what I have posted on this blog for some time.

      1) In a season with bad episodes with badly told story, what is the purpose of trying to find an overarching logic in an episode like Final Exam if you dismiss any logical flaw from critics?

      I disagree with both your premise and conclusion, and you start the argument assuming a conclusion. This is a logical flaw, specifically begging the question. The larger discussion is was this a good story? You start by concluding no argument was necessary, it is bad. Second you immediately characterize any argument as a dismissal. This is not a serious argument.

      Yes, I dismiss the whole idea of where Casey got the gun as important to the story or the character because again, as I have stated, I reject your premise that logic demands that Casey have a large cache of weapons or the story and the character are deeply flawed. If I am forced to accept your every premise as a given no argument is possible, especially if you characterize my every argument as a dismissal rather than a different point of view. This was a discussion. I am countering your contention that it is absolutely essential for the character Casey to have a weapons cache.

      And I don’t mean “you” Ernie, but the generic plural “you.” I honestly do not mean to suggest anything other than this: It might be a mistake to try to rationalize an episode (or an entire arc) if every objection to the logic of the episode/arc must be dismissed with, “You have to give TPTB that…” It’s a real problem for someone like you, especially, who DOES think about what we’re seeing on the screen. And for us as commentators on your reviews.

      Well I can answer only for myself and my own arguments. If you don’t wish to argue with me or my viewpoints you shouldn’t address your argument to me specifically or you should address my arguments not those made by some plural entity you call “you” whose arguments I did not make and haven’t seen. Sorry, I cant help you (the singular pronoun).

      And again I reject your premise as re-stated here. I did not reject every argument to the logic of the episode with “Well you have to give TPTB…” I rejected specific ones for specific reasons. When you respond to specifics by making them a generalization of your own construction and dismissing them it’s called a straw man.

      These episodes either invite rigorous and engaged review or then are just hopeless and should be left alone. It’s hard to find a middle ground that works, frankly.

      Again I disagree with your premise. I think I can and do have quite a few rigorous and engaged reviews and discussions based on what I consider important to the show and the story, the characters, not the things I believe and have argued are incidental. If you disagree, fine, but starting with your premise there can be no meaningful discussion because I see it as a conclusion, not a premise to be argued. It is not an argument. You assume a conclusion as a given and call any argument a dismissal. There is no way to have any meaningful discussion on that basis.

      2) Isn’t there a GOOD discussion to be had about what and where we can be expected to suspend disbelief. I mean, this supersedes Chuck. It is the question every TV show that has engaged fans must answer. What do we “buy” to get to the premise of the show and at what point can you begin to examine an episode or a scene and apply logical standards within the overarching suspension of disbelief?

      I believe I tried to do specifically that: “The logic should reside in the characters and their actions. And it feeds both ways. If an action seems out of character, how does that action inform you about how the character may be changing. If you see a character changing, how does that inform your expectations for that character?” Outside that it is in my opinion a matter of personal taste, each person will define their limits and each person’s limits will be different. So no, there probably isn’t a good discussion to be had if you mean reach some sort of universal standard as a conclusion of what each person should be willing to accept.

      4) The issue of canon may become a big one if Chuck gets a fourth season. Just as the Star Trek fans have banished the cartoon show and most of the officially sanctioned novels from the canon, Chuck fans may have to banish most of season 3 from the canon for their own sanity. I mean, we won’t know until Monday night, of course, but it looks like e14 could almost START at the point in Pink Slip where Sarah wants Chuck to run away with him. And it apparently ends with Chuck and Sarah as an officially sanctioned team in Beckman’s eye. The temptation will be gigantic to simply jump from Ring to Honeymooners…

      I disagree. A lot happened this season while Chuck and Sarah were on angst hold trying to not be in love.

      1) Chuck became a much better spy.

      2) Sarah tried to move on but was clearly unable, agonizing from afar over Chuck. This could be important.

      3) Chuck realized that without Sarah the spy world held little appeal for him.

      4) Morgan grew tremendously as a character. He’s to the point where you can see him trying to follow in Chuck’s footsteps, even if comically.

      5) Casey grew tremendously. He’s not wound nearly so tight. It is now plausible that he’ll show impatience and frustration with Morgan rather than just kill him.

      One final point, and this is strictly an opinion: I get the feeling TPTB still don’t fully understand the nature of the fandom that Chuck has spawned. Fedak made a comment in the Mo Ryan interview that seemed to indicate that he has been shocked to find out that there are folks out there discussing the characters and their motivations, et. al. You’d think that three seasons into it that TPTB would understand that there is an invested commited fanbase that THINKS about things. Not just buys sandwiches on command…

      I think you mischaracterize Fedak, if it is the interview I am thinking of. Fedak and Schwartz have both stated that they are surprised by the depth, detail and passion with which fans discuss the characters and their motivations, and as I recall he/they were flattered by it. If I’m wrong post the quote and the link, but I think you are characterizing a statement that you should provide unfairly or out of context. That said I don’t think it necessary for me to explain, defend, or comment on Chris Fedak’s thoughts or state of mind, and you’re welcome to your opinion. I don’t share it.

      As for your second post:

      Wow, Ernie, I think you missed just about everything I was going for here. I wasn’t CHALLENGING you. I was raising points I thought were valid for FUTURE discussion. Honest. That’s why I wanted to take it out of the thread. Truly.

      And I was attempting to have that discussion, so I think you may have missed my point. Unless your point was to set some future time for the discussion, not to discuss in the future after your post by responding to and addressing it.

      1) Chuck’s decision in Prague was out of character and I’ll tell you why: He’s a talker. He’d have talked and talked and talked and talked and talked until Sarah either walked away from him or gave in and stayed with him. And that’s why we didn’t see the in-character move from Chuck. TPTB wanted Chuck walking away to set up the arc for the season. And that’s why the season is all wrong. Chuck wouldn’t have walked silently away and Sarah would not have done nothing at the end of Three Words, especially now knowing what TPTB now claim was her disgust about the spy life. She’d have acted to try to save the man she loves and the man who loves her from a fate she apparently thinks is worse than death. So those are the twin out-of-character moments that doomed the season.

      And here you have specifically made my point for me. You lay out a scenario and call it the only plausible one based on how you see the character and believe he should act. You conclude, based on the failure of the story to follow your story and characterizations that TPTB have failed, because no other outcome was possible or believable. I don’t know how much more clear I can be. I did the same thing, and am saying there are alternatives. I told you specifically the alternatives I saw that explained how and why that scene came about. Chuck has changed and the purpose of the scene is to inform you of that change. If you want to apply your standard then the season opener of season 2 is also impossible to believe. Chuck asked Sarah out on a real date and was about to kiss her. Season 1 Chuck never would have done that, therefore season 2 was doomed.

      2) If you say TPTB can’t ask for suspension of disbelief in the characters (and I agree), then Casey doesn’t need a Chekov’s gun. As you position it, then Casey needing a gun given to him by Chuck is insanely out of character for Casey. Remember, this is the ONE guy on the show who has actually said, “I always have a gun.” Casey without a gun is like Sarah without a knife or Chuck without technology. It’s in the DNA of the characters, the small points that DEFINE the characters as we know them.

      Again, you are concluding that the character Casey cannot exist without a cache of guns. I disagree. Casey likes guns because he is a warrior and they are his tools. Not having a gun does not change who he is as we saw as early as Undercover Lover and Sansei. You’ve elevated a rather funny (IMO) but utterly trivial gag into a episode and character killing event. And Sarah was without knife or gun in the restaurant in First date. So I suppose the fact that she tried to use Chopsticks to defend Chuck was another season killing flaw for season 2.

      3) I wasn’t bothered by the end of the Fake Name scene because, honestly, I didn’t care anymore. The episode made no sense. But don’t get me started on the Rehersal Dinner thing because it’s actually WORSE after season 3. Having Chuck say (twice) that he and Sarah were never together sexually just raises MORE question about what happened at the end of Colonel. Did they fall asleep from exhaustion at the dinner table? Sit at the fountain all night and talk about the weather? Defer any discussion of themselves until after the wedding ceremonies? But you know the Season 3 claims are simply ret-con because we KNOW what TPTB wanted us to think with the re-use of Creature Fear and the hand gestures. Of course, as you’ve said, why do that (and break up Chuck and Sarah at the beginning of Ring) when you know what you’ve written next?

      Again, my point was and is that if what happened after the rehearsal dinner was a major plot point it should have been on the screen, but I agree that it is difficult to accept that nothing important happened. It tends to trivialize the moment and much of what lead to it. The problem I have is that the next day we have a major decision that SEEMS to contradict that scene, and I have trouble explaining or understanding the characters actions. To me that means the story wasn’t told particularly well in that instance, and when that instance is a major portion of the plot it needs to be.

      Again, though, honestly, my goal with the post above was to suggest FURTHER discussions of interest, not any further discussion about THIS episode. Honest. Truly.

      And as I said I was engaging in a FURTHER discussion of the points you raised based on other episodes in addition to this one, i.e. Prague, and in more general terms. I guess I missed the part where you didn’t want to discuss THIS further, so I’ll honor your wish not to discuss THIS FURTHER.

      • Jason says:

        ernie – remind me never to get you going, wow, I read it all, you and angel probably could be on a tv show, chuck point and counter point, good stuff, I enjoyed it.

        since you are on a roll, I have a ?, in your opinion, did Fedak come to understand what happened with the unaired episode ‘chuck versus the shipper fan base’? I am afraid I might be reading too much into some comments ‘like js and cf are flattered fans care that much’, like we were too far ahead to consider feedback’ and ‘like we were surprised how good 3.14 was when we put CS together’ – but I have to admit, I am stoked about what he has said – or is my shipper eye seeing what I want to see in these interviews????

  16. John says:

    Sources say: renewal is looking good


    I guess this means Chuck can stay at 2.1 or above we should be alright…not that we should stop campaigning for it to the extent we are.

    • atcdave says:

      Well, I’m cautiously optimistic then! Hopefully we’ll hear something certain soon. Upfronts are what, 3 weeks out, we should know at least by then.

    • Crumby says:

      Hope people will watch next Monday, if it is as good as it seems, then it could launch a good spiral for the ratings of the end of the season.

    • Rick Holy says:

      One piece of hopefully “helpful” news re: the ratings. Kate, the mother of the 8 kids who as fake “celebrities” go had a huge following, got booted off DWTS last week. Not to say she was necessarily drawing viewers away from CHUCK, but it’s my understanding (I read it somewhere on line) that this season of DWTS has been it’s highest rated yet. If that’s true, then it’s understandable that it would have SOME KIND of effect on the ratings of everything else (including CHUCK) in its timeslot.

      Let’s hope for a boost Monday night. If it’s a 2.0 or below, I’m going to be depressed! I hope at least SOMEWHERE that NBC is giving a little promo that Monday starts a run of NEW episodes for CHUCK. No more re-runs.

      And I have something that I want to throw out at ya’ll – and tell me what you think. When you look at shows like many of the shows that are highly rated, they’re kind of what I believe the “TV experts” called “self-contained” programs. Meaning, each episode kind of tells a story that starts and ends within the one episode. People can therefore miss an episode and then just pick up where they left off with the next episode.

      CHUCK is a little different, at least IMHO. There are multiple episode “story arcs,” and if someone misses an episode, then they might not be so willing to “pick it up again,” because when they do they find out they’ve missed something. I’ll use LOST as an obvious example of this. Now CHUCK is nowhere near the situation with LOST, but do you see what I’m getting at?

      If CHUCK does return for an S4, would it be better served by having more “self-contained” one episode story arcs as opposed to the multiple episode story arcs?

      • Josh says:

        There’s a hopeful “soundbite” from Bromstad here -> http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3i9d00b780a7553c213df79ad6e7e04239

        relevant part is:
        “NBC still has a couple major titles on the bubble for renewal — namely “Chuck” and “Heroes” — but sources indicate both will probably return, with “Heroes” likely receiving a 13-episode “final season” order.

        “It is all yet to be debated,” Bromstad said. “Both of those shows make sense with the new shows we’ll be bringing on.”

      • Josh says:

        yeah just realized the link was presented 5 posts up. Sorry. Serves me right for not reading carefully enough 😦

      • atcdave says:

        I hope they do return to a more episodic format; it sure makes getting new vieweres involved easier! But I do like the way some details carry over, I just think they went too far this season. It was sort of an all or nothing gamble, and as viewers lost interest in the over-arching story, they gave up.

  17. nycfan says:

    “Sarah tells him it’s unlikely the other way, them together and him not a spy will happen, but the choice is his and there is no going back once you make your decision. And then Sarah leaves, waits and watches. How can Sarah do that to Chuck?”

    I don’t know if someone else mentioned this already (93 comments is a lot to go through), but you misrepresented the Chuck and Sarah exchange in the train station. The exchange between Chuck and Sarah is as follows:

    S:”The final part of your mission is to kill him.”
    C:”Are you being serious right now? Are you kidding me? Kill him here, now. I can’t do that.”
    S:”Then you can’t become a spy.”
    C:”But then we couldn’t…”
    S:”No, probably not.”

    You have a lot of valid points in your article, but in my mind Chuck’s real choice is to violate his moral code, kill Perry and have a chance at a relationship with Sarah, or adhere to his moral code, walk away and loose the girl. She goes on to tell him that “if he doesn’t do it he will still be Chuck, and that’s OK.”

    Sarah sets Chuck up in an seemingly no-win situation. If she wasn’t involved in this equation he would certainly walk away. If anything, in deciding to arrest Perry he chose himself over a relationship with Sarah.

    • nycfan says:

      I should also mention that Shaw puts Sarah in a no-win situation as well. If she gives Chuck the assignment, she is aiding the destruction of someone she holds dear. If Shaw goes to the meet to give the order there is a risk that Chuck may freeze and be killed by Perry, the more seasoned agent. Shaw tells her if she gives the order, Chuck will do it.

      The only one who isn’t compromised in this situation is Shaw.

      • Jason says:

        I think several of the blog reviewers and screeners finally jumped the party line ship after 3.11, I read at least two of them who said essentially chuck was losing sarah regardless of what he did in 3.11 – since they all knew chuck was winning sarah back in 3.13, this last bit of WT/WT for some reason really riled them up – for me – 3.7 & 3.8 riled me up, I was sort of indifferent about 3.11’s WT/WT, I just wanted it to be over

    • Josh says:

      Chuck wanted to be an agent. Sarah told him what that entailed, he chose (perhaps without thinking things through) to follow on that path in Prague.

      Red Test was Sarah in agent mode telling another agent how it was. Matter of fact style. That’s the life Chuck had chosen, Sarah had no business comforting him in the train station, if Chuck wants to be an agent he has to make a choice and be one and deal with the circumstances. What was is Bryce said? Emotions get us killed. And she had no business dangling herself as the prize for Chuck deciding to fail his red test. So she didn’t. Why? Cause she tried that once before and failed

      • Chuck604 says:

        Yeah not only did she fail, but she felt rejection on a level she wasn’t willing to risk again. Until chuck’s actions slowly convinced her otherwise in the following episodes, in addition to professing his love for her.

  18. Robert H says:

    You know what? I’m just sick and tired of hearing
    about character analysis within Season 3, period.

    Nothing personal…

    This season has simply been a disaster from the word
    GO and is now on the ratings ropes, just waiting to
    be knocked out. TV by the numbers has just indicated
    in its most recent post the series has probably 1 or 2
    weeks to get its numbers up or face cancellation.

    And why are we here now at this point in time?

    We are here primarily because the producers and to
    some extent NBC badly misjudged their audience or
    at worst arrogantly ignored what was wanted and not
    wanted with plenty of time to plan before the episodes were shot and aired. What they gave the
    audience was a separation of the main characters,
    the destruction of the team, and plenty of agnst
    with the introduction of new characters nobody,
    for the most part wanted.

    Even in 3.13 when the Chuck/Sarah characters were
    finally brought together in what should have been a
    romantic, tender, reconciliation with some somber
    reflection on Shaw’s tragic demise with some sort of
    a vow or promise nver to take each other for granted
    again and communicate better emotionally, the producers JF/CF still couldn’t resist interrupting
    them again with Beckman’s call which was supposed to
    be “humor”. All that did was to break up the drama
    the whole episode was built on and was totally out of sync. As usual the producers just couldn’t leave
    well enough alone. They had to get cute and “fix”
    it. Their arrogance and stupidity is simply astounding. This is why the ratings have died a slow
    but sure death and the series is facing cancellation. People are just sick of it and they
    have a right to be after the fans saved the show
    last year. That will not happen this time. The audience does not consist of teenagers and 20 somethings watching the CW. The viewers have other
    options and have amply demonstrated that with the
    drop in the ratings.

    The show has may be 3-5 weeks at most to boost the
    ratings, which at this point will be very hard to
    do. Season 3.2 better do a 180 degree turn or the
    series is done.

    Sorry to be so negative but that’s how I see it.
    What’s so sad about all of this is that it didn’t have to happen but it did. The blame lies mostly
    with the producers. They appear to have killed their
    own show, absolutely incredible…

    • Rick Holy says:

      Can’t say that I’d disagree with that assessment.

    • aardvark7734 says:

      But not unprecedented. One need look no further than “Heroes” on the same network to see failure in the creative team bring a once hit show down to ruin.

      There are few things as frustrating as watching ready opportunity squandered for seemingly senseless reasons. It sounds like you’re still seething with it, from the tone of your post.

      I hope the upcoming episodes bring some measure of peace.

    • ChuckNewbie8 says:

      What’s in the past is in the past. I chose to look at the future with new light and focus on that instead. And based on the promo I’ve just seen some of the disaster has been left largely in the past as well. Yay.

      I think for our part we analyze to strive to get some semblance of understanding of what went on. In all honesty Chuck is far more than meets the eye that you almost have to, but in this situation it’s almost a necessity. Because what was and was is is far more distasteful at first glance than you can imagine. So we talk and we analyze to give comfort to each other and meaning of what we can’t grasp. Reinforce the belief that that which we fell in love with isn’t completely gone. Ironically that’s largely what Sarah went through and did too.

      • herder says:

        I tend to agree with Faith, haven’t agreed with this season too much, but the arc is over, Other Guy left me in a good place and I’m really looking forward to Honeymooners. NBC seems to be giving it decent promotion, as an aside I really like the bit with Chuck and Sarah on the couch watching tv.

        When I left for work this morning there were two comments, when I come back there are 124, wow. I didn’t have the dislike for this episode that many others seem to have, except for the very end where it seems to be continuing the trend of downer endings, hopefully that has come to an end.

        No great insight about this one except that it seems to be a part of a theme, Chuck bringing the band back together, better than before. In the Beard he got Morgan, Tic Tac and this one he got Casey, those three and American Hero he got the hold out, Sarah to rejoin and in Other Guy they all started to play, better than before.

      • herder says:

        Oh yeah, to continue the theme, he also got rid of that wooden Sammy Haggar (or for the older ones, Pete Best).

    • atcdave says:

      Robert, I do agree with most your analysis. Our examination of characters and motives isn’t an attempt to make a botched season and opportunity better; its just to understand. I know Ernie wrote this post, on an episode he didn’t like, and tried to figure out what its all about. Understanding and liking are two different things. I think most of us were frustrated with a depressing story arc that dragged on too long, even Joe, the Energizer Bunny of upbeat optimists, was worn down and frustrated by the time it was over. But it is over now; and we have good reason to believer better things lay ahead. Whether you decide its worth a fan campaign for an S4 or not, you can enjoy the coming six episodes.

  19. Josh says:

    CityTV Promo is with us

    Less Spoilery than usual, includes what I think is the much talked about “vows”


    • aardvark7734 says:

      Thanks for the link, Josh!

      Looks like Ellie’s getting loaded, which makes me even more curious as to the state of the siblings’ relationship when they part company at the end of the episode.

      • Merve says:

        If I remember “Undercover Lover” correctly, Drunk Ellie is really funny, so I hope we get to see that again.

  20. lizjames says:

    It’s not often I disagree with you, but I will on both the Prague and the Three Words–and probably the Fake Name–moments. Knowing what we knew about the characters up until that point (and what was reenforced by the dialogue in 12/13) none of those events are anything but OOC plot devices. I’d also have to say that guns ARE part of Casey’s DNA. No way he’d not have several stashes.

    But that leads to why I am dipping in here: I think everyone has missed what you’re SUPPOSED to get from the alleged Chekhov’s gun moment. It’s not about whether Casey had other weapons or that you see Casey getting a weapon.

    It’s about CHUCK giving the gun to Casey and that gun being used to kill the mole.

    In other words, either way, Chuck killed the mole. He either did it directly by killing him or indirectly by giving Casey the gun he used to shoot the mole.

    You’re supposed to get that it’s deep. And it is. Just about as deep as Sarah assasinating Mauser. But like that incident, it was swept under the storytelling rug.

    • HenryH says:

      Uh, liz, I hate to admit it: Totally missed and it is probably what they were going for. Chuck did what he very often does, even unwittingly: Have other people do his dirty work. Casey killing the mole with a gun Chuck gave him is pretty heavy stuff.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Liz, Yes, Chuck seemed OOC in Prague, but how different was that from when Chuck said to Manoosh I’m not your friend, I’m a spy. Chuck had changed a lot in the first episode of S2, but we accepted it largely because it was a more fun and charming Chuck. Chuck in Prague was a more serious and darker Chuck, which was the tone of the season so far. It didn’t however fit what we expected, I agree, but based on this season, was that totally out of character? Chuck is far less of talker this season, especially with Sarah (after trying to unburden himself in Three Words). Look at the end of Three Words. Sarah basically goes to Chuck and gives him a platform. “I’m listening if there’s something you want to say.” Chuck’s response; “I’m sure there’s somewhere you’d rather be.” Sarah has to encourage him to talk, and even then, it’s about two sentences that come to you’re right, I’m not a spy. I’m a liability. That is it.

      As for Chekhov’s gun, all I ever thought was isn’t that clever, and dismissed it from my mind. I didn’t think about whether Casey had caches of weapons or Chuck gave him his only gun, because frankly I didn’t see either as that important to the plot. Plain and simple it was a way to set up Sarah believing Chuck had changed when we knew he hadn’t. In other words, angst.

      • lizjames says:

        As you know, I’d stopped doing the analysis stuff because the characters no longer acted in any way I could figure out. And I thought, well, I’m just dense.

        But … they were SO firm in taking everything back in 11/12/13–even having Beckman talk about Chuck’s hand-wringing process–that it really does put 1/2 back in play.

        I got that Chuck wanted to be a spy this year. That was tne underlying point of the season. I got that he had to be in charge by the end of the season and a more traditional hero.

        But nothing about the Prague scene works. He WOULD have tried to have it all. He’s STILL trying to have it all now. And since HE didn’t know what we also didn’t know until 11 about Sarah, there was no impedement to him doing his typical Chuck word torrent (exactly what he admitted he was doing in 12, by the way).

        As for Sarah, well, you know, for once her logical course of action would have been clear: She has loved Chuck since the pilot we are now told (13). Her red test was the worst day of her life (11). So there, in 2, you have Chuck confessing that he was becoming a spy because he loved her. And (present tense) loves her now.

        Ernie, women react to that. Someone you love says they love you and are doing something you hate because of it, you move. You DO try to stop it. More than once. In fact, you do desperate things sometime. And, once upon a time, TPTB understood that, hence Sarah threatening to shoot Chuck if he didn’t run from the “bomb” in Hard Salami.

        So it boils down to the fact that TPTB literally changed the characters in 1/2 to drive the story they wanted to tell. But now that it’s convenient for them to change the characters back to drive the story, they’ve done it again.

        It’s bad storytelling, dishonest storytelling and, in my opinion, is beneath serious analysis. I’ve actually chosen to reject it, as I say in a post I sent to Joe.

        But we all have to make our peace with things as we see fit.

      • Josh says:

        I don’t really agree Liz. Chuck always talked, yeah that’s true …well to be honest, babbled is more accurate. But Chuck never had the confidence to get what he wants, especially from Sarah. His talks, all of them, have a fatalistic penchant, he’s never tried to convince Sarah, he’s always either whining or concluding he can’t have her. The first time Chuck showed actual confidence when talking with Sarah about “it” was this season, in Final Exam. “This is not over”. And that carried through to American Hero and ultimately won Sarah over.

        IMO the Prague scene was similar to Break Up. Chuck was seeing the (agreed distorted) bigger picture and was trying to do what he thought was right. And I m sure in the back of his mind he thought he could approach Sarah at the end of it all as an equal (like you say, have it all). But at that point I really don’t think he had the confidence to demand it all.

      • Gabbo says:

        You’re violating your own rule about taking what you see. Chuck not being a talker six episodes later doesn’t play by your own standards. You can’t retcon it back to Pink Slip. More to the point, though, he babbled incessantly to Sarah in 2 when he wanted to talk during the mission–and gave a long speech to Sarah, in fact. He was largely the picture of command and confidence with her in 3. As Casey said, they chattered like schoolgirls in 7.

        And as many of us have said so many times, the show is simply not consistent from episode to episode throughout the year. And I do think that is liz’s point. They tailored the characters’ behavior to story points they tried to make. Every episode Chuck and Sarah were different, depending on what TPTB wanted to do.

        That isn’t good story telling and it’s certainly no way to build an arc. If you don’t have characters whose behavior is predictable, shows like Chuck make no sense.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Liz, Lets take what you say as given. Chuck, knowing he was breaking Sarah’s heart would babble on about it incessantly. Did we ever see that before? No. He knew he was hurting her in Breakup to a much lesser degree, and he was pretty straightforward. Here he knew he was going to be the villain and never see her again (so he thought). So a new Chuck who is making sacrifices for the greater good babbles on so he feels better about himself for breaking Sarah’s heart? Move on to Sarah. What is she going to do, knock Chuck over the head and drag him away? Or is she going to start babbling like people accuse Chuck of doing. That’s in character for Sarah, right? It’s you who convinced me Sarah’s default is shut down emotions and go with duty. And that is what was on the screen.

        Gabbo, You don’t need to retcon a more taciturn Chuck back to pink slip. By the end of Three Words you understand his babbling at Sarah and his not doing anything in Prague. He’d made a decision. Later in the season, as the story goes, Chuck realizes being a spy has little appeal if he has to be like Shaw and do it his way, but with Sarah, he can find some meaning in the calling she showed him. It’s his realization. Sarah has a few of those too. It’s part of the story that the characters change and act differently in different situations as they change.

        Am I saying this season was some grand epic achievement? No, a lot seemed rushed and a bit confusing at times, but frankly the criticism is getting ridiculous.

        I brought up a Simpson’s episode, the one with Poochie. There is another portion where fans are at a convention asking questions and one brings up that Itchy was playing Scratchy’s ribs like a xylophone and clearly hit the same rib twice but produced a different tone each time. Clearly someone must have lost their job over that outrage. Right? Frankly some of the criticism is approaching that level.

      • lizjames says:

        If Sarah had walked away after Chuck babbled in Prague, that makes sense and is in context. Although I would contend that once she committed to running away (largely to protect Chuck), I actually am a bit surprised she didn’t do something drastic. I really am. We have MANY examples of crazy in love Sarah.

        As for Chuck, well, again, what do we know at this point? He was INVITED by Sarah to run away with him. He left for Prague expecting to run away with her. Three weeks pass. Sarah is waiting for him at the platform.

        Does he know Sarah won’t change her mind if he asks? Does he know Sarah won’t stay with him if he asks? No and no. Is he conflicted in any way? Apparently, for the first time ever, eternally conflicted Chuck is not.

        He’s decided to abandon Sarah without conversation, compromise or a stream of self-involved babble.

        All he does is walk up to her, doesn’t respond to her kiss, says, yeah, well, sorry, there’s a facility here to train me for a life of adventure. So, sorry about that love of my life, gotta go.

        Hand-wringing, talkative Chuck is suddenly steely-eyed, uber-determined and utterly uncommunicative.

        Never happened before. Hasn’t happened since. Wouldn’t have happened then.

        It was a storytelling device TPTB used to tell the drive the arc they wanted to unfold. And it’s a lie.

      • lizjames says:

        The xylophone line in the Simpsons episode is the equivalent in Chuck of people complaining the quality of the kisses in E13.

        The fundamental argument of Season 3–how Chuck acted in Prague, how Sarah didn’t act at the end of Three Words–is not nit-picking. It’s at the heart of the season’s arc. Everything that happens in the 13 episodees are based on those two points, and especially the Prague scene.

        You KNOW that. If you want to buy what TPTB are selling, that is your right. But you should not demean people who point out the obvious fault in both scenes.

      • Gabbo says:

        Uh, you’re simply incorrect. He couldn’t shut up in Three Words, so much so that a lot of fans hated what he was doing, especially during the mission.

        And his babbling in Three Words was all about Carina telling him Sarah loves him. He wants to patch it up with Sarah. So, as so many have said, he wants it all. He wants the spy life AND Sarah. And, in fact, he tried to do the same in Pink Slip, but got hit on the head.

        The only time he didn’t want to talk to Sarah, apparently, was when he decided, with no input from Sarah, that he’d take the spy life without her.

        It’s what TPTB wrote and it’s what they showed. It’s the canon. But it isn’t the truth.

      • Merve says:

        I think I’ve written this elsewhere, but the trouble with the Prague scene is that pretty much any interpretation of it is valid because it ends before it “ends,” if you know what I mean. We flash back to the present as soon as we see Sarah’s reaction to the passport being put back in her hand. You can assume pretty much whatever you want happened after that, and quite frankly, it’s not that different from imagining some epic rehearsal dinner after “Colonel” or some big dramatic scene after everybody almost dies in “Fake Name.”

        Did Chuck just walk away after putting the passport back in Sarah’s hand? Did Chuck try to reason with Sarah but get shut out, and then decide to leave? Did Sarah get on the train before Chuck had a chance to explain further? Did Chuck and Sarah just stand there in silence for a few minutes before both walking away simultaneously? Did Chuck open his mouth to say something, but then get abducted by aliens who wiped Sarah’s memory of the experience? You can rationalize and interpret it however you want and you can assume whatever you want. If it makes sense to you one way, great. If it makes sense to you the other way, also great. If it doesn’t make sense to you at all, then blame TPTB. Although, if you want to blame them for anything, maybe you should blame them for leaving the scene so open-ended.

      • HenryH says:

        I think this part of the thread did start with the quick cutaways from the very controversial scenes. And I think there is a persuasive line of argument that if they CONTINUED the scenes, the (mostly agreed) logical result would run counter to the story arc.

        But for the Prague scene, I think there is general agreement that Chuck decided to walk away. And no one disagrees that TPTB wanted you to think Chuck decided to be a spy and leave Sarah. Chuck has said as much and his comments (in e11 and e12) were phrased so that they were his decisions. To wit, in Final Exam he says “If I made a different decision.” And in American Hero he says to Sarah “You were right in Prague.”

        But I like your abducted by aliens idea. Would explain a lot, frankly… 🙂

      • Merve says:

        That’s the problem, Henry. They left it open until “Final Exam.” (I guess you could argue that it was no longer open by “Three Words,” but the vault confession was an incoherent drug-induced jumble, so I don’t put much stock in it.) So, it was left open to interpretation at the time that “Pink Slip” aired, only to put more weight on a certain interpretation 11 episodes later.

      • Crumby says:

        I felt awful when I watched the Prague train station scene, and I still do everytime I’m watching it. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I just found it painful.

        But IMO Three Words explained it. We didn’t have to wait Final Exam, even though it helped that they finally talked about it.

        First Chuck said: “The decision that I made in Prague… I know what it looks like. I know that it looks like I chose being a spy over being with you.”
        So clearly nothing meaningful happened after the scene was cut. We saw exactly what we needed to see to believe (the same way that Sarah did) that Chuck chose to be a spy over being with Sarah.

        Then he said: “but that’s not what happened.”
        It’s a little more complicated than what we’ve seen. We all knew it but still, he needs to explain.

        1/ He didn’t chose to be a spy over being with her because he didn’t love her enough. He did love her and what he felt was « very real ».

        2/ He couldn’t turn his back on helping people considering what he has in his head. Which means, he had to become a spy.

        3/ “And you’re the one that taught me that being a spy is about choosing something bigger. It’s about putting aside your own personal feelings for the greater good, and that’s what I choose.”
        He believed then that being a spy meant no real life. He’s heard it enough, « feelings get you killed », « spy don’t fall in love » etc. He completely understood it in Season 2, we saw that in Break Up. That’s also why he said no to be an analyst in Ring, he wanted more, he wanted a real life and he knew that the spy life couldn’t give him that.

        –> So as much as he loved her, what he had in his head forced him to become a spy because that was the right thing to do. And becoming a spy meant no real life, no personal feelings, no Sarah. I believe that’s why he didn’t try to have it all.

        I am not saying that Prague was a good scene, but I don’t think it is completely out of character. There is explanation for him not saying anything in Prague. Ernie explained them well IMO.
        I would just add that when he previously felt the need to explain himself, and talk, and talk, and talk… Sarah and him had to see each other everyday, and fake a relationship. Everytime they let things unsaid, like in Crown Vic or in 3-D, it was dangerous. Here they wouldn’t see each other again, or at least not soon. There wasn’t a need to talk, and talk, and talk about a decision he’s already made.

        And after Prague Sarah and Chuck haven’t seen each other for 5 months. And once back on spy business after Pink Slip, he’s realizing that is in better shape than Sarah emotionally. He’s “good”, because he’s in peace with his decision. He made a choice and he’s focusing on becoming a spy. But Sarah is hurt. He can see that something’s wrong and try to fix it. He still loves Sarah so it makes sense that he would want thing to be “good” between them, it doesn’t mean he wants her back.
        Considering his reaction to Carina telling him Sarah loved him, he probably believed that even though she may have loved him, she didn’t anymore and that after Prague she would have moved on. But 5 months later, she’s still very hurt, and he needs to make things right with her, he needs to explain, and that’s why he talked in the vault IMO. It wasn’t about getting her back, it was about make her understand, so that she would feel better.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Liz, Gabbo, Merve, anyone else. I’ve written about this before, Prague and Three Words and taken the vault scene apart, and put it together. The context of Chuck’s babbling is important as is what he says. I first realized what was happening here, and then wrote about the problem getting over your own story here, and then again about the meaning of the first episodes at excessive length, as is my habit, here, but I’ll do the quick synopsis.

        Chuck was in love with Sarah, Sarah was in love with Chuck. Chuck re-intersected to become a hero. Sarah tells Chuck she is ready to be normal again, with Chuck, and invites him to run with her, giving up what he had just decided, to serve a higher calling. Sarah does NOT tell Chuck she is running FOR him because she loves him. Chuck has never told Sarah he loves her. Chuck goes to Prague. Weeks pass as Chuck starts to find his purpose in life. Sarah shows up in Prague. Chuck is under the impression Sarah is leaving the spy life. He can’t go with her because it means turning his back on his calling. He can’t ask her to stay because she deserves a normal life if that is what she wants, so he doesn’t babble on, he sucks it up and says goodbye. The scene ends somehow, it isn’t important, the decision was made, they both leave. Sarah goes back to immersing herself in the spy world, as we see, and Chuck to fail his training, probably because of Sarah and what he did to her.

        Go to Pink Slip. Chuck realizes Sarah hasn’t left the spy world and it breaks him out of his funk. He realizes she was running for him, to protect him, we can speculate on his understanding of her motives or his conclusions, but he realizes he needs to get out of his funk and be a spy to show her she hadn’t failed to protect him, that he was able to become “that guy”.

        Go to Three Words. Carina tells Chuck Sarah is in love with him, and yes, watch the scene, he did not understand that before. It comes as a shock to him. This is why Chuck babbles in three words, he finally realizes the depth of the hurt he inflicted and why Sarah is so cold and distant. She was ready to give up everything for him and he cluelessly threw it in her face. That is done and can’t be repaired, he’d made his decision, but he babbles on in three words because he finally realizes what happened in Prague, so in the vault, thinking he’s about to die, he makes the speech everyone feels he would have made in Prague. If he’d been aware of what was going on and still made the same decision this is what would have happened on the platform, Chuck rambling on, but here it was to let her know that he didn’t understand and was sorry for how he hurt her so deeply. That is why he couldn’t shut up IN THE VAULT. Also note that as far as Chuck knows Sarah heard everything. Later, having said his piece, heard Sarah ask for a transfer, been beaten with a stick and told to get over it and bury his emotions, Chuck’s only reply to Sarah, who is willing to listen is “I’m sure there’s somewhere you’d rather be.” No more Chuck speeches till nearly the end of the season when Chuck starts to suspect he’d made the wrong decision and that he and Sarah could be together. Why so convoluted? Because as people have said, if Chuck knew Sarah loved him how would he not run away with her?

        Was it expertly crafted, tightly scripted, etc? No. It was well acted and the elements were broken up and spread over two episodes in a rather confusing mishmash. Unless you are invested in making sense of the characters motivations you probably wouldn’t find it, but it is there. Most people don’t care. Chuck broke Sarah’s heart, etc. Move on with the story. But it is there, on the screen if you are open to a few things that I think TPTB stretched far too far and flogged once too often.

        1) Chuck is that clueless and insecure about Sarah.
        2) Sarah is that uncommunicative.
        3) The scant seconds they shared were the only chance to talk, and the misunderstanding once again leads to tragedy since they were unable to communicate effectively enough to realize they wanted the same things.

        As for the Simpson’s comparison that wasn’t about the Prague discussion, that was more about Chekhov’s gun and how the episode dissolved into a mass of illogical goo and Casey was destroyed as a character because of it.

        So I’ve written about this enough, I’ve made my case, you can agree or not, but Prague and Three Words do make sense if you’re willing to let them and not apply the Chuck would do this not that and Sarah would not do that filter.

      • Anonymous says:

        You wrote:
        So I’ve written about this enough, I’ve made my case, you can agree or not, but Prague and Three Words do make sense if you’re willing to let them and not apply the Chuck would do this not that and Sarah would not do that filter.

        I say:
        I’ve writen about this enough, I’ve made my case, you can agree or not, but Prague and Three Words do not make sense no matter how much you try to let them when you try to understand the characters, how they acted elsewhere even in those two episodes, what they knew at the time and what we are later told they felt going into the moments in questions.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Well, since you are anonymous with no e-mail to identify who you may be if you forgot to sign in, I’m not sure who you are, what you wrote, or the nature of your case, but you are right, I will not be convinced by some arguments made here, and you seem to be of a similar disposition. I guess I’ve tried to make this argument one too many times mostly because I continually see the counter-argument framed in terms of Chuck could not feel this, or do this and Sarah could not let this happen. To me that is a dead giveaway that the filter works one way, the characters will inform the story, but the story cannot inform how the characters change, or that the filter is too restrictive, Sarah and Chuck have to be a couple or have to be trying to be a couple. The filter has to work both ways if there is no third person narrative to provide new information and it has to allow enough latitude for the characters to develop. That is pretty much the sum of my argument, agree or not, the characters cannot change otherwise. If the filter is too restrictive you limit the amount the characters can develop or the story that can be told.

        Liz had a great theory about the Mask being a con. I liked the thought process and the creativity, but I never agreed, because it depended on one premise. Chuck and Sarah were together despite everything on the screen we’d seen saying otherwise. I wrote a piece about it here, and as one of the first commenters said, Occam’s razor burns.

        The other part, and I am not accusing you of this since I have no idea of who you are or whether this fits, but much as people on this board have criticized some podcasters and posters on other sites as shills so invested in the success of the season, and so invested in proving their adversaries wrong and themselves right, that they twisted themselves in knots to make it so there is another side. Among the shippers there is a contingent so invested in the failure of this season, and being right about how evil and clueless TPTB and those who criticized the shippers are they will not allow that the story could be anything other than a failure on every level. I’m sick to death of both of those groups, and I am especially sick of the latter because many of them seem to consider me a fellow traveler based on some of my criticism. Every time I see the phrase “come on Ernie you have to admit…” or “Ernie you must admit…” or “Surely Ernie you agree…” followed by an argument that seems a distortion or an extreme application of something I’ve written it damages my calm.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry, anonymous up there is me, liz. I was trying to END the discussion, just conclude it as you were. For some reason, my email is not registering… It’s lizjames.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Oh, hey Liz, Sorry if it came off harsh. You certainly aren’t among the group of extreme shippers who damage my calm.

        Yes, you’ve made your case as I’ve made mine. I still think you’re applying to strict a filter, but then I have lower standards and expectations. 😉 And as I said above I think if you have to work too hard you’re probably rejecting something that is there in favor of what you want to be there. But it is a personal decision, whether you’re willing to buy what they’re selling, so I’ll agree you and I have different views on this and leave it at that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ernie, Yes, absolutely, my con theory was wrong because I thought we were going to get backward reveals that at some point Chuck and Sarah had some private lines of communications. I misunderstood. Who knew, as you determined, that Shaw had been turned into the star of the show and the backward reveals would be about him. It’s Liz again…

  21. Merve says:

    “Final Exam” is a funny beast. It is, to date, the only episode of the series I dislike. And since it’s so much easier to write about what we dislike than what we like – just read this blog for evidence of that – this is going to be lengthy, so I apologize.

    I don’t often criticize Chuck. That’s not because I’m an apologist for TPTB or because I get paid to say nice things about the show. I honestly, genuinely approve of most of what the show does. But this episode is a crucial one, and as such, it merits special scrutiny.

    First off, this episode had one of the worst B-plots of the series. The problem wasn’t product placement; the B-plot just wasn’t that funny to me, and it didn’t really lead anywhere. It was kind of half-baked. It should have had some sort of resolution.

    Secondly, I don’t think that the massive tonal shift from the first half to the second half worked. In general, Chuck does tonal shifts well. It makes the show feel like a roller coaster, and I mean that in a good way. Just rewatch “Sandworm” or “Nacho Sampler,” two of the darkest and funniest episodes of the series. But those tonal shifts work well because of their roller coaster-like nature. The up and down is what makes the show fun. But a roller coaster with a single massive drop isn’t fun. Watching this episode was kind of like playing mini-golf with a bunch of magical fairies, but then one of the fairies turns evil and smacks you in the groin with your golf club thirty-two times. I understand that the five minutes or so of this episode when Chuck was acting like a cocky jackass were supposed to serve as some sort of transition, but it didn’t work because I was too busy hating Chuck for being a cocky jackass. So instead, we’re left with two episode halves that are pretty good by themselves, but when taken together, don’t really fit. To date, “Final Exam” is the only Chuck episode that I think is less than the sum of its parts.

    To understand my final and biggest problem with this episode (which is actually a series of related problems), I need to give some context. When the first couple of previews for the season came out (back in November I think), I was left with the impression that Chuck and Sarah’s relationship was going to be a lot more complicated than it turned out to be. I imagined them in some sort of on-again-off-again situation but for real, practically cheating on each other, and alternating between being wildly in love and hating each other’s guts, all the while attempting to maintain some sort of cover relationship. Now imagine how relieved I was to see that Chuck and Sarah had, for all intents and purposes, broken up, even on a cover level. They would rediscover themselves and each other, and come together in the end stronger, without any messy “Is this an actual relationship?” crap. And slice it however you like, that’s more or less what happened. But I say “more or less” for a reason. Enter “Final Exam.”

    Things are messy sometimes. I get it. But the good thing about Chuck and Sarah being legitimately apart is that it allowed for some great stories that couldn’t have otherwise been told in the same way. “Nacho Sampler” couldn’t have otherwise been told at all. “Fake Name,” “Beard,” and “First Class” would have been completely different, and I think much less effective. But, barring the Sarah-Shaw scene in “Fake Name,” none of those stories were really driven by the fact that Chuck and Sarah were apart; they merely evolved the way they did because of that fact. “Final Exam” is entirely driven by Chuck and Sarah’s non-relationship. That’s not the problem in and of itself. It’s that the episode is driven by the messier aspects of that non-relationship. The stakedate scene happens the way it does because of some weird mix of feelings and sexual tension. The ending of the episode is fuelled by the fact that Sarah shuts Chuck out. (Take note that throughout most of this season, the miscommunication isn’t caused by unwillingness to listen, but more by unwillingness to share, which is a lot easier to swallow, in my opinion.) In short, the entire Chuck-Sarah situation in this episode is a mess, and it can’t be succinctly summed up as “Chuck and Sarah are broken up but still love each other,” unlike most of the rest of this season.

    When it comes down to it, a lot of this season has focused on choices. Chuck made a choice to be a spy. Sarah made a choice help Chuck become a real spy (although arguably, she kind of half-assed that one). They made a choice not to be together. And that’s one of the great things about this season that has stopped it from devolving into a confusing mess. It’s driven by choices and their consequences. But “Final Exam” took choice out of the equation for our hero. He spends most of the episode being told what to do, and for the most part, he does it, while the other characters make their choices and live with the consequences. Shaw makes the choice to give Chuck his red test. Sarah makes the choice to go along with the plan but also to make it clear to Chuck that he has a choice (which is robbed from him, but I’m getting ahead of myself). Casey makes a choice to look out for Chuck. Finally, Chuck is ostensibly given a choice: to kill or not to kill. He is given his red test (which, by the way, is one of the most sickening concepts that I have ever seen on television). And for a while, it seems as if he’s not going to kill the mole, but then we all know what happens: that messy scene on the train tracks, filled with misunderstandings and incorrect perceptions. Casey shoots Hunter. Casey plays God. Casey robs Chuck of the choice. Chuck isn’t robbed of the choice only because of indecision or circumstance, which would have been fine in my books; he’s robbed of the choice by his own supposed friend. Casey later tells Chuck, “You’re not a killer.” Isn’t up to Chuck to decide whether he’s a killer or not? When did Casey become Chuck’s conscience? And why is Casey allowed to be a killer without being viewed as some sort of amoral psychopath?

    The fact that Hunter pulled a weapon out just adds to the mess. Does it partially justify what Casey did? To a point. But it would have also justified Chuck killing in self-defence, which makes the whole morality issue moot for Chuck. If we look at it that way, Chuck just froze, plain and simple, and Sarah misinterpreted what she saw. If we lend importance to Hunter’s firearm, then instead of a messy story about morality and character, we have an even messier, sillier story about misunderstandings. On a more practical level, shouldn’t Chuck have taken care to disarm Hunter before taking him in? If we argue that Casey wouldn’t have shot Hunter if Hunter hadn’t pulled out the gun (because otherwise the killing would have been morally indefensible), then we can conclude that the only reason that Chuck is now a spy is because he made a mistake, which completely goes against the notion that Chuck passed his earlier spy test with “flying colours.” See what I mean about the two halves of the episode not fitting together?

    The final instances of Chuck being robbed of a choice are due more or less to budget cuts. Ellie, Awesome, and Morgan are all absent for this episode. (Seriously, how many management seminars does Morgan have to attend?) Chuck can’t seek the comfort of family with Ellie or Awesome. He can’t speak to his best friend, his closest confidant, about what happened. (He can’t speak to Sarah because she robs him of that choice, but I’ve sort of already touched on that.) And notice that I say “he can’t,” not “he chooses not to.” If any of them had been there, and he had chosen not to speak to them, it would have said volumes about how Chuck felt about his red test, and I would have been fine with that. Instead, we see a helpless Chuck, robbed of choice, only to be robbed of choice yet again when he is picked up to go to Washington D.C.

    So, for a large portion of this episode, Chuck faces the consequences of and the mess left behind by other people’s choices, whereas he is robbed of the opportunity to make a choice at every turn. Eventually, it gets frustrating to see the protagonist so helpless and without agency.

    I said that “Final Exam” is a funny beast. Taken by itself, I don’t like it. But as just another component of the season, it works pretty well. It follows naturally from “Tic Tac,” and it sets up “American Hero,” (which happens to be one of my favourite episodes of any television series ever) very nicely. But it isn’t enough for an episode of Chuck to be a good setup. It has to entertaining by itself. Honestly (and I apologize for delving into psychology here), I think that I would have felt much better about this episode had I viewed it back-to-back with “American Hero.”

    Perhaps I’ve been a bit too harsh. It’s not like I had the urge to throw rocks at my television after I saw this episode. And so I don’t get turned into an example of yet another person who is frustrated with season 3, because I’m not, I should say this: my problems with this episode are limited to episode alone and aren’t indicative, in my opinion, of any larger problems with this season. As I said earlier, things that made other episodes work well worked this one’s detriment. And that’s maybe the harshest condemnation of this episode: it took the season’s strengths and turned them into weaknesses.

    tl;dr – bad B-plot, weird tonal shift, Casey shouldn’t play God, Chuck was robbed of choice.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Merve, I get a lot of what you are saying, but I have another way to look at it. Casey just postponed Chuck’s red test. When Chuck confronts Shaw in Paris he has a real gun. Shaw says, so the gun was Casey’s idea. In other words Casey deferred Chuck’s red test till he knew Chuck would pass, when it was to save someone else’s life. It also cured Sarah of the silly notion that Chuck has to be unable to kill to be Chuck. He’s not unable, he’s unwilling to do it for no reason and reluctant unless it is a last resort. He’s just never been in a situation where he had to find out. I take Casey’s you’re not a killer as a recognition of that in Chuck. No, he’s not a killer, but he is capable of killing.

      • Merve says:

        Ernie, I agree with you. That’s why I said that “Final Exam” didn’t work by itself, but that it fit very nicely into the season as a whole.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Well, I see your point, but IMHO Chuck had already made his decision in the men’s room. The pursuit to the tracks was Chuck not letting Perry get away, and he wasn’t going to pull the trigger. Just my reading. In that sense Casey was acting as backup, like Sarah was supposed to do.

      • Josh says:

        I don’t really agree with that. The premise of the Red Test was to assassinate a target, to put it bluntly. Not randomly kill somebody to defend your life or your girlfriend’s. These are two completely different concepts. So I wouldn’t call it deferring, Casey just recognized Chuck couldn’t pull off that kind of mission. Much like Casey himself couldn’t (probably) pull off a seduction mission.

        What Shaw (and Beckman) are “missing” in a sense, and what Casey understands is that Chuck is excellent at what he does, he’s just not excellent at everything. He has limits within which he can operate, Casey recognizes those limits, Shaw and Beckman don’t.

      • Merve says:

        Ernie, that’s certainly a very valid interpretation of events. I guess one’s interpretation depends on how much weight one puts on the image of Chuck on the verge of squeezing the trigger, but then slightly relaxing his grip.

    • Chuck604 says:

      Like the analysis Merve. Though I agree a little bit with Ernie on the postponement of Chuck actually taking someone’s life deliberately. Like you said it was a good setup for American Hero, and Other guy. But I really didn’t have a problem with the episode overall, except for the fact that Chuck had nobody to talk with, but that’s just my opinion.

  22. Faith says:

    Not as funny as the previous one I posted but pretty funny nonetheless…the wrath of the Chuck fans!

  23. Crumby says:

    I just thought of something, and wanted to share.

    In Best Friend, there is an interesting exchange between Anna and Sarah:
    “- I like Jason and, you know, on paper, he’s everything Morgan’s not, so that’s good.
    – No, no, that’s bad.
    – Why?
    – Because Morgan’s the guy you keep comparing him to.”

    We can see when Chuck asked Sarah about Shaw during the stakate, that she did the same thing that Anna did, she kept Chuck has a standard.
    “- It’s different
    – Different how?
    – Than with you.”

  24. Pingback: Chuck Versus The Final Exam (3.11) | Chuck This

  25. Martin Traynor says:

    Not directed to anyone in particular, but why is everyone so sure she slept with Shaw at the end of Final Exam? I saw a distraught woman who most likely would have only wanted to be held, if at all. I did not see her ad being amorous in any way.

    • atcDave says:

      Because of the interrogation sequence in Living Dead. It still doesn’t prove anything, but suggests it pretty strongly.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I take my cue on the subject from the writers.

      Buddy, buddy, I know you’re upset, but I don’t think knowing all the gory rainbowed details is going to make you feel any better about it.

  26. Martin Traynor says:

    I’ll need to re-watch it, but I thought the interrogation scene referenced a time in DC that happened after. From the comments above, I got that folks here thought Sarah and Shaw slept together in her hotel room, which I just don’t see happening. I just see a very hurt, despondent woman who basically looks like she feels as though her true love has just died. IF she and Shaw did sleep together then, I would say it was Shaw who took total advantage of a woman in mourning. But I simply don’t see them doing anything other than him consoling her (and not for lack of his trying).

    Joe, as for your quote re: Morgan and Alex, it looks like TPTB did NOT learn from C/S/ “retro angst” and decided that Morgan and Alex needed to have some as well. Did they really need to sleep with other people as well? I know they were broken up, but come on!

    • atcDave says:

      During the interrogation it was clearly stated Sarah spent the day after Chuck’s Red Test at Shaw’s place. And that just infuriates me on so many levels…

      The only pass I can give them is that when the scene was written, they didn’t know the extent of the Chuckpocalypse yet. They presumably thought we might all still be in the mood to laugh about it. The whole thing just ticks me off so much; it makes a joke of Sarah being a pathetic wreck and a total moron. These characters deserved so much better.

      • Martin Traynor says:

        Forgive me, I’m not being difficult, but how do you know that? Was Chuck’s red test on March 21st? That’s the only date I heard given. Sorry, it all kind of jumbles together for me, so I’m not sure when they went to DC,and for how long Sarah and Shaw were together there…

        But again, and maybe I’m misunderstanding, it seems to me that most everyone thinks Sarah and Shaw were “together” the night of Chuck’s red test, and that I don’t see. I could see them together the next day, maybe, but again, that could have been a day of nothing more than pampering for Sarah’s broken heart. If I was moving in on a girl and she was hurt like Sarah clearly was, I’d give her some space but make darn sure she knew I was there for her when she needed someone.

        One note about that interrogation scene. I did not like it, but there is one positive from it. Chuck displays an incredible amount of maturity. I don’t think I would have handled those details, and especially her still wearing the earrings, with the class and restraint he showed. Due to Zach’s great acting, we see that he is bothered by it all, but not troubled, and that’s a big boy attitude…

      • atcDave says:

        We are drawing inferences, it was never stated what had or hadn’t happened. Except that later Shaw was referred to as Sarah’s former lover, and she never refuted it. I am certain we were MEANT to conclude they’d been intimate at that time. There does remain a very slim margin for deniability. But the fact it was never denied by Sarah when she she had the chance leaves me to conclude the worst.
        And as I’ve stated before, it is unappealing in part because Shaw is such thoroughly despicable character. And yes, that is the date of Chuck’s Red Test. I believe it was stated as such, but barring that, it is the air date of the episode.

  27. Martin Traynor says:

    I mean, Ernie. Sorry about that. You guys are all so well versed and express your thoughts so well. Beside, I find myself agreeing you you all on many, many points…

  28. Martin Traynor says:

    And can I just say thank you for still being here and responding to me. I’ve been reading this blog for a while now, and feel like I know you all and that this is all more recent than it actually is. I just discovered Chuck this past summer and have re-watched the entire series a couple of times and re-watch favorites often, even on my lunch break at work.

    So again, thank you.

    • atcDave says:

      It is still fun for us to have new Chuck fans to talk with. So no apologies needed!

    • Ernie Davis says:

      You are literally the reason we are doing this. As people discover the show we want them to have a community where they can come and share what they love. We’re nowhere near the traffic in our heyday when we would get several thousand hits a day and hundreds of comments to the point it got hard for us to keep up, but we want to keep an active Chuck fandom so when we get that movie deal we’ll be here with all the new Chuck fans.

  29. Martin Traynor says:

    Well, I certainly appreciate it, and you all, very much. By the way, not to go off subject, but have you seen that Routh is now on Arrow and is playing someone who looks to break up another relationship between the leads? He actually has some range on Arrow and comes off as interesting, at least. But he’s still Shaw to me…(Argh!).

    Switching gears one more time, are either of you watching “Forever”? Fedak exec. produces and has written an episode. I like the female cop – she reminds me of Sarah in that she seems support the M.E. with the kind of faith that Sarah put into Chuck. She supports her guy, goes to bat for him with the boss, and relies on his expertise. And the supporting characters are likable, too.

    Coming back to Chuck…I am not a fan at all of the first half of season three, but I can reason myself into accepting most of what happens between the characters, if only because they act stupid, petty and immature in a lot of ways that I can relate to. If the show was called Martin and was about me as a spy…One word from Sarah about us not being able to have a real relationship and I’m through with her. My philosophy is, you don’t want me, I don’t want you. At least Chuck was a fighter, and came back for a lot more “punishment” than I would have. And I’m glad that he did, because I love Chuck and Sarah together. But I can see both of them giving more time and power to their own insecurities, demons and irrationalities once certain arcs were put into motion (arcs that never should have been put into motion in the first place, but you all have covered that expertly already).

    • atcDave says:

      I am liking Forever a lot. Fun show.

      But part of why I dislike S3 so much is precisely the opposite of what you said; it’s the longest period of the show when I COMPLETELY do not relate to Chuck.

      • Martin Traynor says:

        Dave, Yeah, it’s kind of scary that I can relate to their behavior, in as much as I see it as self destructive. They both kind of cut off their noses to spite their faces, and I tend to do that. Not sure if that’s what the writers were going for or what they intended, but that’s how I choose to see it to give me those few extra episodes of Chuck to watch. 91 just ain’t enough of that show, so anything I can do to increase that to the maximum number of watchable episodes, and I’m gonna try. But I completely see your side and really do agree with you on just about everything.

        And you’re right – it went on for WAAAAAYY too long.

    • oldresorter says:

      Martin I like Routh in Arrow. For those who post often here, that’s saying something, as I abhored him in Chuck. In many ways, Felicity is Chuck, she sort of has (or at least started off with) shallow, physical, infactuation feelings for Oliver, much like Chuck originally did for Sarah. Oliver, like Sarah, has learned how great Felicity is over time. In many ways, Felicity can and should do better than Oliver and I was proud of her when she told him so this season, so I’m sort of glad to see her move on. That also leaves lots of ground for the two of them to meet in the future, all the wiser. I’m skeptical it’ll be done well, but it could be, there is room for it, they are not boxed in any corner. Routh almost had a manical look on his face at the end of this week’s ep, like the end of Mask. So far he’s been a perfectly great guy, kind of how Shaw was described by writers and characters on chuck, even though he wasn’t. What guest star ever is that?

      I think Forever is doing an OK job of keeping the couple at arms length, him afraid to ever commit again and she still grieving for her late husband. Somehow, I think his ex love, now an elderly lady will show up, and knowing these shows, so will her husband, so they have plenty of ways to keep them apart for a pretty long time. I don’t know if the show will make it b4 the WT/WT becomes they did. The characters on the show are complex and rich, fun to watch.

  30. Martin Traynor says:


    Excellent observation on Arrow/Chuck. Now that you mention it, I see it just as you say. I’m not a big Felicity/Oliver fan, though I like both characters immensely, so if Routh comes between them, no big deal. And I, too, think that he’s pretty cool on this, much like I saw him in his first appearance or two on Chuck (not counting the time we only saw his hand with the lighter). In the beginning, he was a pretty good guy who seemed to believe in Chuck and want for him to succeed. Not sure when that changed, but it certainly did (probably when he first laid eyes on Sarah).

    But I’m still pulling for Oliver/Laurel, which I understand from other sites they may end up together anyway, as she becomes the Canary. And I’m really, really curious to see how Oliver’s sister (Thea) uses her new found skills now that she’s back home…Exciting times ahead…

  31. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Final Exam (3.11) | Chuck This

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