The Last Word on Role Models

And The Word Is ‘Satisfaction’

Fear Facing in "Role Models"

Chuck & Sarah, Facing Their Fears?

Chuck and Sarah each fought their own biggest opponents to date in Chuck vs. The Role Models. Naw. It wasn’t Craig & Laura Turner. That was apparent pretty quickly. And it wasn’t even each other as they began to contemplate the realities of making a life together. May that fight never come!

More Fear Facing

Chuck & Sarah, Facing Their Fears!

No, with only Chuck’s support, Sarah bravely faced a fierce opponent on her own.  Sarah faced having a real home life, complete with an emotional reliance on somebody besides herself. And Chuck? The person who “…hated the loser he had been, who hated not knowing what he wanted to do with the rest of his life” faced his history, his ignorance and his naiveté. Both Chuck and Sarah struggled and battled mightily, fighting tooth and nail, looking straight into the teeth of their biggest fears until they lay nearly exhausted in bloody victory and…

Huh?? What??

Those particular battles were happily over almost before they had begun. Sarah wondered why she would consider moving in with Chuck – that is, allowing herself to depend on someone else for support – and defeated those fears with the power of a smile. Chuck saw his future, saw his own second-guessing, and took about two seconds to realize that, nope, he’s got it right this time. Ding-ding; fight over. Seldom in the annals of television have battles been won so decisively and with so much satisfaction, WWE excepted, possibly. Better yet, we saw this happen right in front of our eyes when Chuck and Sarah looked at each other and saw that without question, their partner would stand by what they had said before and be true to their natures. This is what they want. With each passing minute Chuck and Sarah are losing any fear that what they have found is an illusion or that they’re misleading themselves.

If that was self-evident to us, the audience, it may not have been to Chuck and Sarah. For weeks now, we’ve been shown that, despite everything that’s happened in two point five seasons, Chuck is still Sarah’s Chuck, caring, friends-and-family oriented, risk-avoiding, and a bit naive. And Sarah is still Sarah-who-can-do-anything, self-sufficient and professional enough to burn a mark when it is necessary. For good and for bad, those two people are still around. Can that Chuck actually believe the nerd gets the girl? Can that Sarah ever allow herself to really trust someone? Can they get past themselves and make this work?

Chuck: Maybe we’re going to end up like them – a couple of traitors.
Sarah: Do you really believe that?

In Chuck vs. The Role Models the answer was a loud “You bet this is gonna work!” No backsliding! I had so much fun watching this episode precisely because they were so decisive about it.

Oh, I loved that it was the ladies who held the guns on their dangerous opponents, until the gentlemen found the courage to talk everyone down. I love that for everyone it was the partner who came first and foremost, but only because they knew their partner could (still) be true to their natures. I love that it was Sarah who asked about integrity first when she asks if they could ever become traitors, and I loved it that it was (formally soft-spoken) Chuck who demandingly yelled “QUIET!!” to stop the Turner’s bickering and finger-pointing.  Yes, we have Sarah thinking about right and wrong, and Chuck showing a commanding presence, even while they are being true to themselves.  At the same time, Chuck is Sarah’s hero not only because he’s defused bombs with computer viruses, but because he also comes to the aid of ballerinas and their fathers.  To Chuck, Sarah can still do anything, from picking locks and being “an army” to making breakfast and simply caring that he not be bunkered or separated from his family.

The New Normal

The New Normal

But more than anything, I love that Chuck and Sarah walk up to a gun and tiger wielding Otto with their arms comfortably around each other’s waist because that’s simply the way it is now. No questions asked, no angst involved and no second guessing. Loud “discussions” about the precise implementation of the 30-foot rule will happen, and don’t mean a thing. The old Chuck and Sarah have met the new Chuck and Sarah, and I do believe that they all get along well!

Sarah: I know how to use a gun better than you do!

Uh, pretty well, anyway.

[voice type=“Emily Litella”] A Mr. Chris Fedak of Fort Wayne N.J. writes “Where’s the fun in that?” [/voice]

The fun is in Morgan failing every spy-test miserably, and still passing wonderfully, and in him getting fired from “Underpants Etc!” The fun is in General Beckman ordering Casey to “make him – sparkle!” The fun is still about caring for the characters and their well being, and in realizing that now we care about Morgan’s future, and Casey’s past, and about Ellie and Devon every bit as much as we’ve cared about Chuck and Sarah.

In Chuck vs. The Role Models if all this were absent, we’d still find fun in Chuck and Sarah partnering the way they have. Well, at least, I would. Name your team; Nick and Nora, 86 and 99, Jonathan and Jennifer Hart. Chuck and Sarah as partners are easily as strong and engaging. Each team may have a characteristic that shines brighter, but now that we’ve begun to see the strength of Chuck and Sarah’s bond I can’t help but think that they are right up there in this pantheon.

[voice type=”Emily Litella”] Never Mind! [/voice]

Would You Please Sit Down? You’re Making Me Nervous!

From the moment Chuck grins “I’m really, really happy!” at a frustrated Morgan to the denouement showing Justin pulling out a trademark Ring smart-phone (not to mention the promos and previews we’ve seen) an amazing number of seeds have been planted. The drama was set in motion in Africa. Sarah Lancaster has already shown that she’s got the chops to carry the biggest tension baring moments on her shoulders; we got to see that again, and I want to see more! Devon showed a flash of “Mr. Super-fantastic-white-person”, and that portends good things. Yvonne Strahovski is wowing us with her comedic timing, but as soon as she says “I need him to be okay.”, I have a physical reaction! And was I so naive as to expect Christopher Lloyd to merely reprise “Doc. Brown” next week? Of course not. He’s much too accomplished an actor for that, even if he’s been often typecast as the quintessential mad-scientist. Add the return of Julia Ling as Anna and Scott Bakula as Stephen B. and you know what?  I can’t wait for next Monday.

Dear God, It’s Us, Thirty Years Ago

Chuck & Sarah in 30 Years

Looking Into The Mirror, 30 Years Later

But one thing happened that was even better then the promise of all the excitement we see coming.  Calmly, quietly, near the end, Sarah takes a moment to explain herself to Chuck. She reminds him about her background to explain her initial reluctance to move in with him, and actually talks to him in a way that should be totally unremarkable.

Sarah: I’m sorry that I freaked out when you asked me to move in with you. You know how I grew up – I spent my life living in hotel rooms under fake names. I’ve been trained to survive a thousand different situations in the field, but nobody ever taught me how to have a normal life.
Chuck: Well, I hate to break it to you, but I don’t think we’re ever going to live a normal life.
Sarah: Well, I’d like to have something to fall back on when our spy life is over.

For them, this talk isn’t unremarkable; it’s better than that.  It’s casual, comfortable and very, very satisfying.

— joe

PS: The music is Miike Snow; the song, which was played at the end of The Role Models is Sans Soleil. Once again, my thanks to Faith for the use of her space!


About joe

In my life I've been a professor, martial artist, rock 'n roller, rocket scientist, lover, poet and brain surgeon. I'm lying about the brain surgery.
This entry was posted in Music, Observations, Season 3. Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to The Last Word on Role Models

  1. jason says:

    a water fountain scene at the end for CS, even if in the apartment – WOW – when I first started posting on NBC I stated every episode should finish CS off with a moment when they connect and comment on what just happened and make things right, make things clearer, tell us what we just saw from their own perspective and tease us as to how good it might get in the future. I loved that in 3.15.

    I thought the 3.7 – like ralph cramdem’s honeymooners bickering might be a bit early, but this show is moving forward at light speed, and man, chuck and sarah are up to it, moving in and as you pointed out, sarah calming saying ‘sorry I freaked out, I didn’t grow up normal’ – I’ll see your fake name and raise you two very ‘real’ comments made comfortably without reservation or hesitation – I loved that.

    The bickering always seemed to use a phrase the reviewers often use, ‘with a wink and a nod’, don’t know if written that way or if Zach and Yvonne just are so happy that they are in this part of the story, that they can’t help themselves, but there was an overriding sense of joy & as you pointed out as they turned to the bad guy with their arms around one another, a team.

    Since I think that will be the last episode of season 3 done in this lite breezy manner, the most negative thing I can say about 3.15, is the fun season of chuck is over in two episodes, I feel cheated since the ‘other guy’ got 13 episodes – I guess it takes more time to tell a bad story.

    • odysszeuss says:

      this can not be true, jason. you are still awake??? anyhow i missed your sleeping absent time. did i? don’t you sleep?!? 😉

      AND i’m looged in in follow-up comments via email 😉

    • joe says:

      Jason, I do admire people who are outspoken!

      I absolutely agree that the “bickering” thing was unavoidable. Given that, I thought they couldn’t have played it any better. Made me real happy.

      Now I have a question. What would your reaction be, do you think, if TPTB let Chuck & Sarah continue this way, and put the relationship angst (for lack of a better term) someplace else, like on Casey and his daughter, or on Morgan and Anna, or even on Ellie and Devon?

      I’d hate it if they stressed Ellie & Devon’s marriage more than a little (it’s sort of sacrosanct to me – they are C&S’s real role models, I think), and I’m not sure there’s more than one or two episodes worth of stories to be told about Casey and his daughter (but they could surprise me here). But Morgan and Anna… because of the character growth we’ve seen, this one intrigues me. Morgan had been a tissue thin character before. He couldn’t stand up to that. But now, I think it could be interesting.

      Sorry! Thinking out loud here!

      • jason says:

        If CS are left alone wihtout relational PLI’s or LI’s and left not only ‘in love’ but ‘in trust’, I’d be a happy. I really by and large don’t care about characters very often, that is why my rather strong rooting interest in chuck and sarah suprised me

        The only way angst works is if the audience is invested. I am invested to some extent in ellie & awesome, Morgan & anna, only if something is created. Casey and his ex, more of a stretch.

        My only clue would be budget related, if a female regular is not added, ellie is the only one left if it ain’t sarah. If awesome dies, really either casey or morgan could develop a 2 or 3 season long WT/WT, PLI, LI story with ellie without adding cast – or morgan, ellie, casey could even develop a triangle which probably could be somewhat funny – try ellie – likes casey – morgan likes ellie – casey is somewhat clueless, is both their friends?

        If awesome stays, I think the ellie angst story really would be forced and no fun to watch, but it is the B story, not the A story so somewhat I would not care.

        If a female character is added long term, everything is on the table, anna or casey’s ex or casey’s daughter or carina or sarah’s twin sister kara or whoever – I have little interest in that, some story telling would have to be done to get me ‘invested’

      • BDaddyDL says:

        I am getting wayyyy to addicted to the fan fiction, but 1 of the story lines in the one I read yesterday was that Corena joined the team, and it was revealed in Sarah’s wedding shower that all the women, Anna was there, along with some of Ellies friends had dreams about Casey. The only one that did not was Sarah.

        The fact that more than 1 women would be vying for Casey, and he not know it would be something fun, and a little angst.

        Of course this is all based on awesome not making it, and the more I play it out in my mind, the more I think he may be a casualty by the end of the season.

      • JAB says:

        @ BigDaddyDL,

        What fanfic is that? I’ve been looking for that one for quite some time. Thanks.
        (Also try thise by sdchuckfan)

      • BDaddyDL says:

        authors name is billatwork, its his first series, id start from the 1st one, very AU

      • JAB says:


  2. herder says:

    Great post Joe, I loved the episode too, that and it improves on (many) repeated viewings. One thing that nobody has commented on is the change in perspective of Chuck from the Break Up to this episode. In Break Up he tells Sarah that he wants a normal life and that as amazing as she is she will never be normal, this seems to be part of the reason he breaks it off with her. Now he says that they are never going to lead a normal life, that they both are not normal and it is Sarah who seems to be saying that despite that they can create something real for themselves both for their spy lives and beyond.

    Another thing, I remember being 28 and going out with a girl who after two months was talking about moving in and flex time fitting in with having children. The long time frame and comittment freaked me out, yet both Chuck and Sarah are talking about them being together over the very long term and both are comfortable with that. Sarah’s initial unease isn’t OOC, it’s natural with someone that age and that early in a real relationship and she overcomes it as people do, well written.

    As for the rest of the episode, Joe hit all the main points and I can’t think of anything to add except to say well done.

  3. amyabn says:

    Joe has hit all the high notes! Well written and you capture my feelings. I will simply add my newfound joy whenever Beckman is on the screen. I must admit that previously I found her rather underdeveloped, but now we get more nuanced stuff from her.

    I remember listening to one of the podcasts that interviewed her and for season 1, they basically recorded each part separately-that is to say they didn’t act/riff/react off one another. They had to time their comments and then splice the scene together. For season 2, they found a way to tape so that the actors could interact. I think that has made a difference as well.

    I love her clapper, her going for cosmos with Condi, her infatuation with Roan, her sweet revenge with making Casey train Morgan. That “sparkle” line and her delivery crack me up every time. I also love that she is a closet shipper. I hope she makes it to town for the engagement party. Maybe Roan could be her date. Now that would be classic!

    • ChuckNewbie8 says:

      I completely agree. There’s a reveal and growth that’s gone on with all of the characters in Chuck. Even Tang had his own 3D reveal if you may and this is what makes the show great 🙂

      I love the piece Joe. Made all the more poignant considering the how hard it’s been and how great the show is now.

      But I get the feeling this isn’t the last, last word haha.

    • joe says:

      Awwww (See Joe Blush!)

      But you make me think… Someone needs to put up a tribute to General Beckman.

      Oh, wait!

  4. lucian says:

    In “Honeymooners” they foreshadowed some bumps in the road for Chuck and Sarah; this episode leaves you feeling though the road may not be a smooth one, they will figure out how to travel it together.

    • joe says:

      Exactly what I was thinking, Lucian. I more than expected to see ‘bickering’ in The Role Models, but I was really (pleasantly) surprised by how it was presented and resolved.

      I hope it continues that way. I’ll find anything less than that a bit disappointing.

      • lucian says:

        Nice to see them both, at long last, actually talking about and working through the issues they have. Romance is great, but I am a sucker for relationships that exhibit commitment and communication – my heart is warmed.

      • atcdave says:

        I completely agree Lucian. My favorite part of the episode is just that, Chuck and Sarah working as a trusting couple figuring things out together.

  5. Mcvolin says:

    Was writing tests this weekend so couldn’t post any comments. Thanks for the open discussion post. Im going back there now to post some comments hope u guys would comment on. Peace.

  6. Mcvolin says:

    Was writing tests this weekend so couldn’t post any comments. Thanks for the open discussion post joe. Im going back there now to post some comments hope u guys would comment on. Peace.

  7. Gord says:

    This episode was absolute heartwarming fun. I think my favourite part was the two of them bickering over the empty weapons stash. A real couples argument with a spy twist.

    • cas says:

      I liked that arguement too. I think its kinda cute that Chuck would tell her to do something but didn’t really believe that Sarah would listen and Sarah, while protesting Chucks suggestions actually ends up following. In a way it kind of shows how well they listen to one another and how each of their words affect their decision making.

    • joe says:

      Absolutely. ’twas an oddly realistic exchange, considering the source of the conflict. 😉

  8. Mcvolin says:

    Mcvolin joe. Lol.

  9. Mclovin says:

    spelt me own name wrong! lol.

  10. Mclovin says:

    By the way. HAPPY MOTHERS DAY to all the great mom’s out there. Hope you’ll had a fantastic day as well as a wonderful evening! And hope your kids spoiled you’ll for a change.

  11. Jen says:

    Joe, I’m so glad u posted this cause I’ve been thinking along these same lines all week. I think the moment that reassured Sarah was when she asked the question u posted above, asking Chuck if he really believes they will turn out like the Turners, and his response of “no”. She said it herself, she would rather be eaten alive by a tiger than end up like them. This episode highlghted the trust they have in each other… N their long term commitment. We saw them do vows with each other in Honeymooners, and here hey are projecting themselves 30 yrs in the future, still together.

    Something that cracked me up is when they are coming out of the closet, Sarah shushes Chuck, he shushes back, and then she shushes him again. I loved it. Then Chuck gets attacked by the palm tree leaves…

    I’m looking fwd to Monday’s ep.

    • ChuckNewbie8 says:


    • joe says:

      Oh no! I missed the shushing! Now I have to go watch again, Jen. 😉

      I agree that Sarah’s question (about turning out like the Turners) and Chuck’s one word answer is key. It was a scene I wish I could have captured with video, because it’s the way they look at each other that’s so important.

      The single line of dialog is only an aid to conjure the scene up in our minds (and I’m glad it worked)!

    • amyabn says:

      CAS, that is AWESOME! Ok everyone, if you didn’t take a minute to see what Cas posted, there is a way to go do a survey (you have to do it Tuesday-the day after Chuck) to show Nielsen what you watched the night before.

      Come on folks, jot down the commercials during tomorrow nights episode (even if you DVR it and watch it later) and take the survey on Tuesday.

      I WILL be pestering all of you to do the survey-and for our friends out of the country, I will list the commercials on our site so you can do the quiz. Let’s face it, the Nielsen system is broken, let’s take advantage of what we can before we run out of time!

      Hello, my name is Amy and I’m a chuckaholic.

      • tu says:

        Site disclaimer Cheating and Disqualification:


      • amyabn says:

        Thanks, tu. As I stated below, I certainly don’t want to cheat, I just want to be counted, and I think most of us feel that way!

        I also realized this morning on my morning commute that folks will have to see what commercials play in their markets. I’m in North Carolina and my commercials are going to be different than, say, Faith’s out west.
        Sorry, my excitement overclouded my judgement.

    • joe says:

      Thanks, Cas.
      I just tried this with last nights SNL. It seems legit to me. The only personal info required is your gender, income bracket, month and year of birth and an e-mail address. It’s what you’d expect.

      They ask about 5 minutes worth of questions about both the show (not a problem!) and about commercials. If you tune them out like I do, you won’t get points towards the prize. (Hey! I never remember if it was a Sprint, AT&T or T-Mobile commercial I just saw!)

      • cas says:

        Anything to help the show.

      • amyabn says:

        I just hit up all the various Chuck FB sites and sent the info to I asked Faith to do the same on the NBC boards. If you know other places Chuck fans congregate, please help spread the word! I for one am tired of not being counted! I’m not advocating spamming them by using multiple accounts, etc, but I don’t know anyone who is a Nielsen family and I want NBC to know I’m watching!

    • Jen says:

      Thanks Cas… i too will be spreading the word about this and will cross ALL my fingers in hope that we get a S4.
      I signed up at the site last night and will go on it first thing tomorrow morning.

  12. JC says:

    Joe great point about Chuck getting mad. When was the last time that happened? I can’t remember actually. Its nice to see once in awhile.

    Hopefully Ellie’s story is more than damsel in distress, she’s been wasted so much this season.

    • joe says:

      I just heard the SarahWalkerFanGirls Podcast, and they sort of brought this up. I love them all (especially on twitter), but when one of them (sorry, not sure who!) said that Sarah definitely “wears the pants” (in the relationship, I’m sure she meant) my eyebrows went up.

      From what I saw, Chuck has been pretty good about giving about as good as he’s been taking lately, and asserting himself when necessary. I thought of the scene where he tells the Turners to stop fighting, and also the seen in Stephen’s camper (at the beginning of Dream Job when he his father that he’s “…seen what you can’t do.”

      Chuck’s been portrayed as having little self-confidence, at least, up to the point that he re-intersected. It’s nice to see him exhibit some in Sarah’s presence!

      • amyabn says:

        Joe, I think it is a dance right now. Look at Chuck buckling with the tiger and getting the collar. Sarah was pretty darn assertive. She followed Chuck’s lead when he told her to shut the laptop on Beckman, then retook it with the “shut up and kiss me” line. I think they are learning to deal with one another and I agree it is nice to see Chuck step up a bit.

      • joe says:

        “Dance” is exactly right. I don’t think I could ever make the call about “who’s on top” now, because they really seem to be co-equal. Anything like that seems to be flowing between them like water.

        It’s sort of cool to watch!

      • JC says:

        I love that Podcast, seriously those ladies are crazy and fun to listen to.

        You’ll get no argument from me about Chuck being more assertive. But Chuck’s portrayed as an emotional guy but we hardly see him get mad or angry. Those first thirteen everybody was angry at him and Chuck sat back and took it. So seeing him angry was a welcome change.

      • jason says:

        I thought the ladies were a little off their game in the podcast – they were real hung up about sarah changing her mind about moving in, and about moving in too soon, sarah is the one bringing up the moving in twice after chuck asks, both in somewhat positive ways – if you want to live with a spy …. deal with the guns, and ‘you are going to ask me again …. then she kisses him’ & if she was willing to run with him 3 different times, I would assume living together is ok, plus they might be married or engaged in another 4 eps?

        And chuck seems more than capable of holding his own with sarah in 3.14 / 3.15 – I wonder how that will all develop as this writing team gets their hands on their relationship over time – I’d be more than pleased if the current tone continues, a give and take, equal partnership. Lets hope we get another 50-100 episodes worth to find out?

      • Merve says:

        I like the give-and-take/dance sort of vibe that Chuck and Sarah have got going on right now. I like that they take turns being in charge, and it is reflective of their respective strengths. In “Honeymooners,” we saw that Chuck and Sarah work well in unison, and in this episode, we saw that Chuck and Sarah complement each other very well. Chuck takes the lead when it comes to stalling for time or talking people down. When it comes to using firearms, Sarah is the one in charge. The debriefing with Beckman is a key scene. The way I interpreted it, Sarah interrupted Chuck to prevent him from lying to Beckman about the Turners; Sarah doesn’t want her Chuck to lie. That might be an idea that will get explored later in the series. We know that Chuck and Sarah don’t want or need to lie to each other anymore, but what happens when they need to tell lies to other people, say Casey or Morgan? Would Sarah be able to let Chuck lie to them?

      • joe says:

        I like what you say here, Merve. But I have a different interpretation of that scene with Gen. Beckman. I don’t think Sarah thought that Chuck was about to lie to the General.

        I think she stepped in to explain about the Turners precisely because Chuck has done that kind of thing so many times. We expect it, right? – that he comes out with a “truthful” explanation that satisfies the aggrieved party. When she cuts off Chuck, Sarah gets to show that she can use a “higher truth” to smooth over the situation like he does.

      • Merve says:

        Joe, I like your interpretation better. It’s certainly more positive than mine!

      • Jen says:

        Chuck starts his attempt to explain about the TUrners with “if i may say something in favor of the Turners” or something of the sort. They had already gone to Beckman on the situation with them and their betrayal, but Beckman didn’t believe them. I take that scene as Chuck trying to smooth things over, but Sarah stops him and actually leaves the whole betrayal part out and made the Turners look good. THey are not without their charm after all.

      • jason says:

        another podcast issue was a fear that sarah’s only role is as chuck’s girl – I think the coupling will only do the opposite, once together, I think she will be able to do some really fun stuff apart (some with ellie I hope), my nomination for a future episode, jeffster is under threat by the badguys, chuck, casey, morgan go off to get the bad guys, sarah stays back to protect jeffster (has to be someone who could shoot, eliminating morgan and chuck?) – could you imagine sarah making up some reason that jeff, lester and her need to ‘share’ a hotel room????

  13. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Role Models (3.15) | Chuck This

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