A Guest Post By Jason
We all had our reasons for tuning in to Chuck when we did, and as similar as they are to each other’s, we all had our reasons for falling in love with the show. What’s more unique are our reasons for sticking with it when the going got tough. Frequent commenter Jason gives us his and (if I can speak for him this little bit) invites you to give yours.
I first watched Chuck on the SyFy channel in January of 2010. I quickly became a fan, a shipper for sure, and watched the first two seasons in rapid order right around or before the airing of 3.1. I was not wild about 2.22’s ending, it seemed a little off, but I had hope that things would quickly get resolved in season 3. Boy was I wrong.
The Pink Slip episode caught me totally off guard, and I spent much of the rest of the first eight episodes trying to figure out what hit me. Blogging on this board helped relieve some of the disappointment during those months, while I waited for some episode to fix everything. That episode finally came with 3.13 and even more so with 3.14 and beyond. Yet, nagging questions remained about season 3, about Sarah and Shaw, and about the show, at least for me and from reading our blog. Then, resolution was not helped by Shaw’s staring role in the final episodes, re-stirring up the hornet’s nest called ‘sham’. Read on for both my summary of season 3 and attempt at moving my eyes toward season 4.
Finish the Unfinished Business
The most likely conclusion I reached regarding Sarah’s relationship with Shaw is that she moved on from waiting for Chuck to returning Shaw’s advances in 3.7. When I say waiting, she not only needed Chuck to initiate the repair of their relationship, but to see that repair through, which early in the season, chuck was not up for. The show runners told me that Shaw was the perfect match for Sarah, many didn’t see it on screen, but I have to trust what the story’s intent was, regardless of what I saw.
She may have waited longer if Chuck was not exhibiting certain negative characteristics starting in 3.6 and beyond. These characteristics were different from the ‘old’ Chuck she fell for in the first place. She also may have responded had Chuck pursued her more aggressively as Shaw did in 3.7 through 3.12 or as Chuck finally did in 3.11 and 3.12, but Chuck instead pursued Hannah just as Shaw ramped up his pursuit of Sarah.
The first time Chuck did ramp up his game in 3.11’s stakedate, after which it took him two episodes to win her back (although he just about got in done right away in the stakedate), not all that far-fetched? Fedak said in an interview during that time frame that Shaw and Sarah are getting more serious, again, I can only assume that is right, so Sarah was dating (and responding to) a guy she was trying very hard to make things work with, while she still loved her ex. That happens a lot, both on TV and in real life.
The bottom line is the Shaw / Sarah love story fell flat on its face when told on screen, so much so that the show runners tried to convince fans of the story while they were still telling it, and even attempted to use humor to tell the story 5 episodes later. I think it is illogical to assume there is anything more (or less) there than what the show runners have told us. I’ve stopped trying to figure any more out and want to move on.
I coach, so often I see parents of all kinds of wonderfully talented, gifted kids continual focus on the bad, ignoring what amount to talents in the kids that others only dream of. Like those parents, I need to appreciate the gifts Chuck has given, and let go of my frustration with the bad stuff.
To Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz, thank you for allowing your show to move from a “will they / won’t they” story, to become a “they did / a lot”. The “will they / won’t they” ship entered the seas forever at the end of 3.13, but that ship definitely sailed in 3.14 and beyond, matter of fact, the ship sailed around the world many, many times from what I could tell. Just as Sarah appreciated the “tank”, I as a fan appreciated 3.14. I read where both McNeil and Fedak said they were concerned about ending the wt/wt, although to the average fan the choice seemed easy, my guess is the choice was not easy at all for the show runners. You gave an extraordinary gift to your fans by writing 3.13 through 3.19 like you did. Thanks again!
Sarah and Chuck Action Scenes
My hopes may have gotten too high when they slid down that rope together in 3.1, followed by the safe mission together in 3.2. Although the CS action definitely slowed in the season’s middle, when they were in exile from appearing on the screen together, they really made an epic comeback in 3.14. 3.14 alone may have had a half dozen great spy couple action scenes , highlighted by the swing dance kick boxing scene. If the show runners would grant me a suggestion, if you are wondering what to do in each episode to replace the CS angst, just fill in an extra ‘couples’ fight scene, or have them practice synchronized one punching (which should be an Olympic event), or have them handcuffed together or flying down a rope or skydiving or posing as a hot brunette and an old bearded German man and winking at each other, or throwing an axe to knock a flying knife away, any of hundreds of ‘spy teamwork’ moments. I can’t get enough of these.
The B Characters
Season 3 may have been rough on CS, but the B characters had a great season. I have not always been a fan of the B characters, except Casey and Ellie who I adore. But Morgan, Awesome, Beckman, Big Mike, and Jeffster all really had their moments this season. Morgan essentially became a superhero, blessed with some sort of intrinsic imaginary intersect that gave him near unlimited wisdom. Casey seemed to be channelling Sarah Walker and Chuck alternately this season, communicating with subtle nods and glances instead of grunts, while becoming the most popular and emotional guy ever. Ellie stayed on the sidelines way too long, but was left at season’s end with all sorts of intriguing possibilities (please lets have some Ellie and Sarah shipping time in season 4, ok not some, rather lots of it).
Awesome had an up and down season, but with Morgan’s near perfection, someone had to screw something up, Awesome flaws are part of what makes him “awesome”. Speaking of screwing something up, is Beckman’s only job to make the wrong decision on near everything she gets her hands on? I love her anyhow & she may have delivered the season’s most satisfying line “it was about damned time”. Big Mike has become a walking 30 second Subway commercial on the series, lets hope he gets a little something else to “sink his teeth into”, like a plot. And Jeffster, I used to not enjoy them, but they had a decent season, less seems to be more with them, if you know what I mean. They stalked Shaw very well to help Chuck. They were legitimately funny discussing Chuck’s women in 3.8. And they evolved as the house-band, I loved the ‘Jet Plane’ and its dual placement in 3.14’s Chuck Sarah and Ellie Awesome departures.
The Family Business
In the past, I also was not all that high on Scott Bakula. Sorry. But, he really nailed season 3. Perfect. Much as I hated to see him get shot, many comic book superhero’s lose their dads along the way, it may indeed have been appropriate for the show to have Chuck’s dad die. Scotty B is now my best guest star ever, replacing a three way tie among Roan, Jack Burton, and Carina. I don’t know if the mythology is heading toward Chuck becoming Orion, but if so, count me in, I love the concept. Chuck’s apprenticeship under Casey and Sarah has positioned him very well to assume his role running the family business. He has assembled a pretty good team to help him take over that family business, a couple of world class spies, a couple of world class doctors, a unique best friend, and a strong, gifted women who thinks the world of him, couldn’t have worked out any better if it had been scripted that way. Oh wait, it was!
I enjoyed posting this season, and enjoyed a chance to write an opinion piece. What do you guys think? – Jason