TV night at the Walker-Bartowski household. There is absolutely nothing on. Monday nights are a wasteland lately, but I must admit that this scene of domestic Sarah is slightly troubling. She might just be a real girl after all. In the past four episodes we’ve seen Sarah do some amazingly un-Sarah like things, like actually speak up when the CRM was crashing down on Chuck. Then we saw her open up enough to Chuck to have enough of a conversation to actually discuss what they want to do with their future. That’s just weird. Sarah stood up to Beckman too. Finally, Sarah and Chuck seem to be taking on each other’s personalities after the honeymoon. Chuck saw the value of a weapons cache and Sarah, if you can believe it, talked to Chuck about her feelings. Directly to him!
Sarah: I’m sorry that I freaked out when you asked me to move in with you. It’s just, 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.
And now Sarah sits on the couch in her socks channel surfing. Next thing you know she’ll grow a sense of humor. Oh, wait, playing on her well established reputation as not-funny Sarah actually manages to make a joke! Next thing you know Sarah will be telling Chuck she loves him. Oops, jumped the gun on that one just a bit. I guess there is still some of the old Sarah hanging around for angst sake. Let’s see how long that can last, after the jump.
For now however we can put the angst on the back burner. Chuck is busy with a very vivid dream that he interprets as the intersect telling him the Ring is about to assassinate the president of Zamibia. The Casey and Beckman are less than convinced, and you can see Sarah start to squirm a bit and do that thing with her hands she does when she’s been caught indulging Chuck a bit too much because she gets all mushy when he’s around but now that he’s explaining himself it actually does sound a bit… crazy? Casey and Beckman cherish their sleep so Chuck is assigned to see a therapist.
Dr Leo Dreyfus. The man has sparkling conversation skills. Well, when was the last time you saw Chuck Bartowski reluctant to talk about his feelings? Oh, right, season 3. But hand it to Dreyfus, he does manage to get Chuck to open up about his favorite topic, Sarah. Rock solid, as we’ve seen. But then this is Chuck we’re talking about. Poor insecure, neurotic Chuck. OK, angst later, spy stuff first.
It seems Chuck and the CIA are at an impasse. Chuck is convinced his dreams are the intersect telling him something. Dreyfus is convinced the intersect is overwhelming his brain. Well there’s your angst. Chuck can’t tell Sarah, poor freaked out Sarah who is just now finding that domestic bliss she’s longed for for three years. At least not yet, not until Chuck can prove he’s right. Of course Chuck goes directly for the A-team of Bartowski-Grimes. A plan is hatched to protect the president of Zanfiria-bi-ha… Zam.. Uh… Zamibia. Right. So Chuck is in a tux, and so is Morgan.
It is indeed her. It is Anna Wu. Wind machine and all Anna Wu is back, setting up probably the most hilarious sight gag this season. Morgan has changed, and the new debonair Morgan Grimes get the full wind machine treatment entrance. Anna is impressed, but duty calls and Chuck and Morgan, who apparently couldn’t get any weirder are off to the symphony.
Chuck is apparently not a classical music lover. One dream later Sarah and Casey arrive, whereupon all hell breaks loose. Tranq’s are fired teeth knocked out, and Chuck finds himself in his old bathrobe from Pink Slip in a psychiatric facility. But Chuck has a plan. When his team shows up Chuck has a secret. That’s right, the tooth. One of the funnier moments for Sarah, grossed out at exactly what it is the rather manic Chuck is determined to hand her, but playing along nonetheless. Sadly, the tooth is just a tooth and Sarah is left to wonder if she’s losing her Chuck after all.
We know better. Team B will never give up on their leader, so Sarah and Casey both end up at Dr Dreyfus’ house to see what can be done, setting up the thrilling conclusion where team B arrives just in time to save Chuck, secure the evidence, and thwart the Ring’s latest nefarious scheme. We hope. But the real import is that Sarah made a decision, aside from not leaving Chuck behind. No sense waiting or saving it for some other time, Sarah, in a very Chuck-like manner bowls Chuck over before he can mention the doctor’s concerns and tells him she loves him. Right to his face. And Sarah Walker’s transformation into that real girl is now complete. She has a home and a family and a future with the man she loves, with or without the spy life.
In other news Morgan seems to have outgrown Anna Wu, and while it’s sad to see her go, again, this guest stint, to me, highlights why Anna Wu was disposable. They never did figure out how to use her. The sexy nerd? The girlfriend? They all seemed to be attempts to find a role for a character rather than something that came out of the character itself.
Oh yeah, and Ellie has been recruited by a guy with a Ring phone who says he’s a CIA agent.
All in all, while I enjoyed some of the antics this was more of a transition episode. After eight episodes exploring how Chuck changes as he becomes a spy and how it affects how Sarah sees him, and seven episodes exploring Sarah’s inexplicable romance with Shaw, and twelve episodes shoving the fact that Chuck and Sarah were broken up and all angsty to the forefront of the show, I’ll give them three episodes to set up the new dynamic of the spy couple and to introduce the concerns over the intersect. This was sort of the last episode before what I contend is a three part finale, and another possible reset of the show’s premise. So while it was enjoyable and fun it didn’t leave nearly as much impression on me as Honeymooners or Role Models concerning the show’s new direction.
Still, this is the episode where Sarah Walker, badass spy, became a real girl. That’s gotta be worth something.
It’s Official. There Is Absolutely Nothing On TV.
It’s hard to disagree with them. Monday nights especially are a wasteland now that the season has ended! But intentional ironic humor aside, I’m guessing this is the one episode of Chuck in the back 6 or 7 that fans find possible to forget. Well, that’s understandable. Most of us barely got over our extended shipper’s coma induced by The Honeymooners and The Role Models, and we were about to enjoy the extended excitement of the finale, with Subway and The Ring Pt. 2. There had to be a spot for us to catch our collective breaths, right?
So where are we in the all-important “A” story? You know – the Chuck-Sarah relationship? You can’t get much more domestic than those two at the beginning of this episode, where he’s laying with his head on her lap, and she’s playing with his hair as they relax watching Monday night TV. It’s very nice and sedate and quiet. In desperation reminiscent of me and my wife just last week, they flip through the channels and land on Spies Like Us.
Sarah: Look at those people! They’re breaking about 17 different rules of protocol.
Chuck: Sweetheart, I’m not actually implying that you could learn anything about being a spy from Chevy Chase or Dan Aykroyd. I was only making a joke – you remember – jokes?
TPTB are being very “meta” with us. Then the quite bomb goes off.
Chuck: I love you.
Oh Noooosss! She’s not quite ready to go there yet. Right here, before the credits are rolling the audience is convinced that this is what the “A” story is about. Chuck and Sarah are getting very close to the domestic bliss we all want for them, but something is holding them back. Oh the angst! The familiar angst!
But wait, maybe we were wrong! Sarah looks at Chuck, eyes wide and says “I love you!”. Beethoven plays, cymbals crash (courtesy of General Beckman), noise, fireworks, a knock at the door! It’s Shaw, bleeding and not quite zombiefied, and delivering Zamibian food. Chuck, the man who insists on foregoing guns, greets him with both barrels blazing. I count nine shots, seen or heard, but because Chuck is wearing a waiter’s uniform for one split second, one of those may be a gun blast in Paris…
This is not a dream; it’s a nightmare. What has just happened? Another bomb? I can tell you now. It’s not exactly what we think.
Chuck’s therapist is not the semi-crazy Doc. Brown (or wholly crazy Jim Ignatowski, for that matter), but the much more distinguished, serious and sedate Dr. Leo Dreyfus (Christopher Lloyd). His approach is professional; it takes him 20 seconds to get to the heart of the matter.
Chuck: (in rapid fire succession) Where do I start? Uh – okay.
My girlfriend just moved in with me. Best part of my life. Really, rock-solid relationship. Not a problem there.
You know, she’s a little distant – she could be more communicative, though. She doesn’t exactly say ‘I love you’ back…
– I’ve never really done this before…
– even though I know that she loves me I’m – you know – just kind of noting…
– because I know – I know that she loves me. I know that…
Dr. Dreyfus: Do you now?
The Intersect has the potential to overpower Chuck’s mind. Could it lead to insanity? It’s a possibility. Yes, this is heavy, heavy stuff, and even if she is “uncommunicative”, Sarah is not unobservant.
Sarah: I know I’m your partner, but I’m also your girlfriend and you can tell me anything.
Chuck: I know that.
Well, maybe Chuck is all right. According to the good doctor, this is a new science after all. But even as Chuck says “I know that,” he’s shaking his head “no.”
Chuck has no trouble telling Morgan what’s going on, both with his nightmares and with the Zamibian President Jakaya Kuti (played by Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs, aka Freddie “Boom-Boom” Washington to us old-timers). Chuck tells Morgan, and there are two things that give him pause when it comes to telling Sarah: He doesn’t want to get Sarah involved in case he’s wrong, and he doesn’t want her to say “stay in the car, Chuck”. The trouble is, neither is a very good reason.
It’s Full of Lumpy Housewives. My Favorite
Anna Wu (Julia Ling) never looked better. Sadly for her, that’s true for Morgan, too.
Lester: I hate to be the one to tell you this, but Morgan is in a very bad place.
Anna: Oh my God! Is he okay?
Jeff: No! He’s focused, responsible, driven… It pains me to see a man end up like that.
Anna: Nice try. He couldn’t have changed that much.
As Morgan walks up, jazzed about his mission with Chuck that evening, grinning that Chuck has already told him that he’s “nailed it” (and looking good in a tux, too), a collective “Wanna bet?” can be heard answering the lovely Miss Wu.
Morgan: I’d love to catch up and talk. Why don’t you call me in the morning. And – uh – You look good.
Anna: (to herself) Wow!
Apparently, Charles Carmichael is not a person; he’s a state of mind. And he’s catching.
Did you notice? That was refreshing! A funny, relevant, and even impressive Buy More segment, which has been a little more rare in season three than in previous episodes. It’s almost as if the “C” story, Morgan in the Buy More, is a bit more important this time. It’s interesting, because I’m about to get really involved with the “B” story.
When Chuck and Morgan are at the concert to surreptitiously protect the Zamibian President, Chuck has another one of his nightmares. Or is it the Intersect telling him something? In either event, it looks like Chuck was a little bit right, and Sarah would try to keep him safe in the car.
Sarah: Chuck, stop. I can’t let you do this.
Chuck: Sarah – listen. I had another dream. The guy who’s going to kill Kuti is in the President’s box right now.
Sarah: Well, you should have told me, and I could have helped you.
Chuck: I’m sorry – I am. I didn’t want to get you mixed up in all this dream stuff until I had proof. Alright?
I love you, and right now I need you to believe I’m not crazy.
Count up all the good things in that speech. Chuck is telling Sarah about his nightmares, Sarah is not getting upset that he didn’t earlier, Sarah wants to help and believe in him, and Chuck wants to do more than sit and worry, but actually *do* something when he sees a problem. All in all, we actually have a pretty good spy story developing, even without mentioning Justin and The Ring.
Try To Keep Up, Casey
Justin is about to convince Ellie that she will seem crazy to Devon if she says anything. Chuck is convinced that he will seem crazy to Sarah if he says anything too, but being Bartowskis means that they don’t just sit there. Morgan is right: Fear is the mindkiller, and boy, are the Bartowskis afraid. Devon knows better about Casey, but Sarah’s faith is tested when the tooth proves to be just a tooth. After all we’ve seen since The Other Guy, do we still have to worry about Sarah?
There was a moment in Beefcake when Sarah was looking over Cole’s records. We see that he’s a hero, and the look on Sarah’s face made us all think that she was attracted to him. She may have been, but at best it was a fleeting attraction. Sarah’s face was a blank, and it’s easy for me to put my own interpretations on a blank (It’s a good thing I’m often mistaken!) For a second I thought I saw that same look on Sarah’s face when she realized that Chuck was wrong and may indeed be losing his mind. Don’t let me down, Sarah!
Sarah: Good evening.
Dr. Dreyfus: Let me guess. You’re here because of Chuck.
Sarah: Doctor, I know that there has to be something more to his condition. He just can’t be deteriorating in this way.
Dr. Dreyfus: Why? Because you care about him?
Sarah: You don’t understand. He’s not like other people. He is – incredibly special.
Dr. Dreyfus: Especially to you, I gather.
Sarah: He needs to be okay. I – I need him to be okay. I’d like to go to the hospital tonight and talk to him – try to figure this out and help him somehow… and – please?
– I love him.
Dr. Dreyfus: Ever tell him that?
Sarah: Please, doctor. I’m – I’m begging you.
Dr. Dreyfus: Well, you’re not the only one.
Casey appears and I started breathing again. Not to make too much of it, but that is what Catholics call a beautiful confession. For the first time that I can remember, Sarah’s admitted she can’t meet this challenge on her own and has surrendered to a higher authority (and I’m so glad that Dr. Dreyfus has decided to be Sarah’s councilor as well as Chuck’s). She’s bared her soul. I remember blinking my eyes and thinking “Did she say that? Play it back so I can hear it again!” For the second time in as many episodes, any worry I had about Sarah’s commitment to Chuck is made to seem, well, unjustified, if not downright foolish. It’s almost as if TPTB knew about those uncertainties, and were either jibbing me personally or addressing them generally (which is pretty cool when you think about it.)
Sarah’s speech had another interesting effect on me. By lessening my fears, that “A” story receded comfortably (and just a little) into the background.
Let Him Go, or Suffer The Wrath of Merlin!
Chuck faces a formidable (if conventional) foe, the evil Dr. Martin Kowambe (Allan Louis), seller and re-animator of body parts. And Chuck, while under the influence of his “tetra clydiide” (did I spell that right? 😉 ) isn’t exactly a kung-fu master, with or without the Intersect. But Chuck has already made friends “on the inside”, especially Merlin (Kevin West) who is quite willing and able to help – NOT! Ah – with Casey and Sarah, the 3 on 2 fight is clearly unfair. Sarah should have had one hand tied behind her back to make it more fair.
That wasn’t bad! The spy-story wasn’t about The Ring, and Dr. Kowambe certainly wasn’t Chuck’s most fearsome foe, but any time I see Casey and Sarah acting as a team like that it reminds me of the things we saw in Season 1. It has that same kind of balance. Fact of the matter is, this episode was very much in that vein, with Chuck helpless, relying on Morgan to do his share, hoping Sarah would open up to him, and Team B. coming to the rescue. Add in a colorful character like Merlin and despite all the changes we’ve seen, this felt familiar. I think it was meant to.
I Will Always Come Back For You
Things do change in the Chuckverse, though. These characters are not the same as they were in Season 2, and definitely different – grown – from Season 1. Morgan, for one, doesn’t need his games anymore.
Morgan: I think I’m okay without it.
Anna: Here’s something else you may have forgotten.
[Anna kisses Morgan passionately.]
I gotta hand it to you, Morgan. You really know how to play a girl.
Morgan: Well, you know… Some men have it.. and, uh, what are you talking about???
Anna: You know what they say about not knowing you want something until you can’t have it? Well it’s true. Youve changed, Morgan. I want you back.
Morgan: Wow – Really? It took me running from you to realize that I’m somebody you want? Then I don’t think you’re the person that I want.
So yeah, you’re right. I have changed.
See ya later.
And that is nothing compared to the change in Sarah.
Chuck: (bursting in) Hey Sarah, we need to talk.
Sarah: Sure, Chuck. But…
Chuck: No, look. This is very important…
Sarah: (interrupting) I love you. It shouldn’t have taken me this long to say it, but I’ve never felt this way.
Before you, the only future that I could think about was my next mission, and now all I can think about is a future with you. I love you, Chuck.
Chuck: I love you too.
Sarah: So what did you want to tell me? Is it about the doctor? What did he say?
Chuck: He said that I’m fine. So…
I’m sad that Anna seems to be written out of the story, and out of Morgan’s life. Every time I re-watch The Tooth I become more convinced that she’s got going to come back to challenge Alex. I’m happy beyond words that Sarah has finally said those three words to Chuck, though. I recognize that Chuck has left the angst-door open a crack by not telling her that he may have a serious problem, but honestly, I don’t blame him in this case.
Sorry! I just got in the temporarily last word on that topic, upon which we’ve had so much discussion already!
Chuck vs. The Tooth is probably not an episode that is going to make an all-time top 10 list. It servers to convince us that despite the changes, the joy and lightness we enjoyed during season 1 (when our characters weren’t dying inside, anyway) is still there. To my estimation, the season 1-like balance and Sarah’s surrender make this an episode I will always enjoy re-watching, because although they’ve changed, it’s been for the better.
To me this episode is all about transitions; and is a transition in its own right. We’ve just had two light and fluffy episodes, and are winding up for the season ending stretch; Chuck vs. the Tooth is a little of both. We get some good and sweet scenes between Chuck and Sarah while establishing the possible health risks of the Intersect, Chuck starts a bad trend of lying to Sarah, and we learn a little about the mechanism of Shaw’s return (although most of us were too dense to realize it until 3.18!)
There was so much good and funny in this episode, like the previous two episodes, this is fun and funny Chuck. The whole idea of Sarah Walker watching Spies Like Us is funny with nothing else said; and how you not love nightmare Sarah’s exuberance over a Zamibian food delivery place. Any time Morgan goes on a mission you know its going to be good, and Casey tranqing him with his own gun is perfect. The climax is wonderfully funny between Chuck flashing while drugged, and not quite connecting on his attacks, then being “saved” by Merlin and his army of lunatics. That is one of the all time best Chuck moments ever (top 100 at least, maybe even top 50!).
I’m always a sucker for the sweet moments; Tooth does deliver on these, basically all from Sarah. Starting with her determination to find something in the ill-gotten tooth, then her visit to Doc Dreyfuss house, her declaration she will always come back for Chuck (and Merlin’s equally firm promise!) , and of course her final (finally!) declaration of love.
We do get some angst here too though. New worries about Chuck’s health, the possibility Shaw is still alive, and Chuck’s disturbing inability to tell the truth about these things.
As I said at the start, this is an episode of transitions, and I think there are at least three that matter. First, Chuck and Sarah have completely become a real couple. They will still have issues and concerns, but I don’t think we need to worry about them coming apart at the seams any time soon. Second, through the eyes of Anna Wu, we see Morgan has become a man. I do believe we are now done with Anna, Morgan will move on to bigger and better girls (!?), but more importantly he found purpose and direction in his life. And a mentor he can really annoy! Third, we’ve now moved from a light and fun stretch of the show, to some more serious matters. We’re moving into another excellent season wrap up, and the stakes are increasing.