S3 Revisited: Chuck vs. The Tooth (3.16)

Is Sarah Becoming a REAL GIRL?

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.

– Ernie

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.
Sarah:

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.
Lester: Pathetic.
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.
[smoochies]
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.

– Joe

Transition Time

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.

– Dave

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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.

76 Responses to S3 Revisited: Chuck vs. The Tooth (3.16)

  1. Jen says:

    Is Zamibia playing in the world cup??? =P

    thanks for the artcle! I haven’t had a chance to rewatch any Chuck so the review felt great to read. I have to go sleep now… U all have good bight 🙂

  2. sd says:

    Funny—I just re-watched this episode yesterday. As you say it is a transition episode but I found so much to like about it.
    There was real, meaninful dialog from Sarah…and the juxtoposition between her “spilling” her thoughts and feelings and Chuck unable to in an effort to protect her. Anyone say role reversal?
    I have to say I tend to smile more than laugh at the comedy…but ZL’s gestures while saying what could have been a throw-a-way line “the truth is in the tooth”…and his brilliant physical comedy trying to do Kung Fu while drugged had me laughing out loud. That and the nice beat between the the CIA crazies getting ready to help only to be tranqued.
    Also…how many of us before the episode wondered whether the “doc” would be bad…I wasn’t sure one way or another until Sarah showed up at his door. I know some of us weren’t bowled over by his sober/deadpan performance but on second viewing I thought it was quite good.
    Also—Morgan!
    Bottom line for me—for those reasons and more, it rises above the role models for me in tone, dialog and spy stuff.

    • Merve says:

      I totally agree, sd. This episode was pretty funny. (Well, everything except for the Merlin bit, but I’ll let it slide.) Plus the drama and the spy stuff all came together quite nicely. The dream sequences were especially well edited and directed; I liked that they didn’t go for the standard hazy/foggy visual appearance. I also appreciated that Dr. Kowambe ended being important in the grand scheme of things, but I guess that credit goes to “Subway” for that.

      I find it strange that this was the probably the worst-received episode of the season among TV critics; I enjoyed it more than the episode that preceded it or the episode that followed it. Most of the complaints about the episode were related to its tone. I agree that “Tooth” didn’t handle the tonal shifts as deftly as “Nacho Sampler” or “Other Guy,” but I don’t think that that crippled the episode. Oh well, I guess that’s why I’m not a TV critic.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      It’s funny that you mention the role reversal. I noted above how Chuck-like I found Sarah’s ILY moment. And now Chuck is keeping secrets to protect Sarah. Liz predicted before the season even started that the show would go more for the traditional man in charge and sexy sidekick model, and it certainly seems that is the direction they’ve headed. I hope they don’t totally, for lack of a better word, emasculate Sarah. I think to an extent they’ve tried to preserve some of the Sarah as protector role with Chuck’s unwillingness to use deadly force. While it doesn’t totally preserve the original relationship it does provide for some good Sarah saves the day moments. I miss seeing Sarah go into full lioness mode

    • joe says:

      You said what I was trying to say better, SD!
      I’m not sure I’d actually put it above Role Models, but I have a hard time putting The Tooth lower on my enjoyment scale.

      • sd says:

        Aww, thanks, Joe–you are being too kind!
        I think my issue with Role Models may be reality not meeting high expectations. When I heard early, early in the season who was being cast…I figured it would likely be one of the best episodes of the season. It missed the mark for me…but again that may be an expectation that just couldn’t be realized.

    • jason says:

      I see 3 CS roles – emotional, fighting, and leading. IMO emotionally and physically, both chuck and sarah have to a certain degree moved toward each other in Season 3, but tactically Chuck is moving toward being the team leader with sarah as the sidekick, as early as 3.14 sarah asked chuck – what is the plan, by 3.19 shaw call the team – ‘your team’ to chuck.

      The episode’s climax reminded me of the other guy, in this case chuck being ‘paralyzed’, seemingly without hope, and sarah ‘saving’ chuck.

      TPTB probably could have made more epic use of sarah’s ILU at the end, but it seems like TPTB are trying to underplay the CS relationship – which believe it or not I sort of like, the best use of their love, is to use it as the foundation of the show, then to write A plots around that foundation.

      Merve, you and I really like different things. I missed the CS banter and camaraderie of 3.15 except right at the start on the couch. This struck me as an episode right out of the shaw arc, with CS being kept apart for the majority of the show. I liked it, but CS mission and action screen time needs to be maximized for the show to be at its best – in the case of this episode, the opposite was true.

      That being said, 3.16 made my all time top ten, as I voted for all of the last 7 eps, my criteria for great CS shows is very narrow and specific, should CS continue on as a couple in season 4, my guess is 3.16 will fall out of my top ten, sometime around episode 4.3. The one old episode that will always be in my top ten, delorean.

      • joe says:

        TPTB probably could have made more epic use of sarah’s ILU at the end, but it seems like TPTB are trying to underplay the CS relationship[.]

        Yeah – I like that too. I’ve been dancing around that concept without putting my finger on it, but you just did. Thanks.

      • Jen says:

        I also picked up n this… even in the finale there was an underplay of the CS relationship. As i reember, there wasn’t much CS time in the last hour, the relationship in focus was more the Chuck and Ellie. I would still like to see it displayed, but it doesn’t have to be the main focus. For next season i’d like to see their trust strengthened, and no more lies, and yes, the occasional romantic moment that does not necessarily involve saving one or the other’s life.

      • jason says:

        jen and joe, one thing this show does VERY poorly is tell the story thru characters discussion of their feelings about other characters, a simple conversation between SArah and ? (Ellie, Casey, maybe even Morgan), 10-20 seconds, one of them asks sarah how is living together, an innocent ? – but sarah’s response could exude passion, like ‘somedays chuck and I don’t even leave the bedroom’ – the problem with sarah, is right now, she doesn’t have anyone to tell her story too, closest was in this episode, doc brown – pretty sad really – in 3 seasons, that should have been addressed?

      • Merve says:

        I agree with Jason – there are a lot of good reasons to underplay the Chuck/Sarah relationship. If they push it too hard too fast, then they won’t have anywhere to progress the relationship and it could get boring. In addition to that, keeping the relationship somewhat in the background allows a greater focus on the mythology. The show need not always emphasize the relationship; it can act as anchor while insanity happens all around it. That approach worked really well in the season finale. Heck, those episodes weren’t even about the Chuck/Sarah relationship, but the strength of the relationship kept the episodes from slipping into melodrama. And I emphasize the word “strength” because of how quickly the relationship progressed from “Other Guy” to “Living Dead.” Getting Chuck and Sarah to a place where there was no question about their commitment to each other was necessary before the events of the finale.

        That being said, Chuck and Sarah don’t necessarily need to be onscreen together for the show to work. But I think that having them work together or working towards a common goal is good for the show. Now that Chuck and Sarah are together, I hope that TPTB don’t emphasize that relationship at the expense of other important ones. The show is what it is because of all the relationships. If TPTB lose sight of that, then Chuck will turn into Bones. (Trust me, that’s not a good thing.) The show needs to continue to explore Chuck/Morgan, Sarah/Casey, Chuck/Ellie, Devon/Ellie, Chuck/Devon, Chuck/Casey, Morgan/Casey, etc. Mixing up the character dynamics will keep the show fresh.

      • Jen says:

        Well said Merve… the importnt thing about this show is the relationships, it’s why we love all the characters so much and identify ourselves w them. We love the spy stuff just as much, so the writers have the tough task of keeping all sides of the show balanced. I don’t neec C&S together in every scene they have, but just “knowing” they are together isn’t enough for me, i also need to see them working together, being partners on the field and at home.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I agree with everyone. I know, boring. As I’ve mentioned several times Chuck isn’t a particularly riveting drama or spy show, and thankfully, front 13 aside, it’s never gone particularly soapy. The one thing Chuck has always done well in the past is downplay, or underplay the relationships while keeping them central to the show. The show works (when it works) for one reason. Despite all the suspension of disbelief and overlooking of logical leaps and plot holes required of us we can understand and invest in the characters. It’s that grounding in a reality we all know and the characters we all love that make the rest worthwhile. Chuck and Sarah have always been the center of that, from the very beginning.

        When the show didn’t work it was mostly because Chuck and Sarah didn’t work. They didn’t work together, agreed, but they plain didn’t work as themselves. I know I was saying the character death or the tearing them down to build them back up was part of the Hero’s Journey, and I’d still stipulate that’s true, but that isn’t an endorsement.

        The Chuck we saw was slightly foreign. We didn’t think the Chuck we knew was capable of leaving behind Sarah and his friends and family to fulfill his own ambitions, even if it was out of a sense of duty. And Sarah, we never wanted to believe Sarah would give up on Chuck. Especially for what? Shaw? It was bad enough that she gave up, but to have us swallow that she’d be charmed, or convinced that Shaw was “the perfect guy” for Sarah, I find it mind boggling. These weren’t the characters we thought we knew, and a lot of us didn’t like what we were being told about who these people really were. There were a lot of posts taking sides and criticizing Chuck or Sarah. I think that was all the proof you needed that they weren’t working, and without them working on some level TPTB were spending our good will with little or no return for the fans.

      • atcdave says:

        I’ll jump on the bandwagon here. I like the idea of Chuck/Sarah being the anchor no matter what craziness happens in the story, and I think that’s what 3.14-3.16 establish. I never want to see the show becoma a soap opera, and I do like the idea of Chuck and Sarah progressing as the backdrop to the A-plot. I suppose an engagement or wedding episode might have to be an exception, but otherwise I prefer the action and humor at the forefront.

      • jason says:

        I think we likely will see cole or bryce b4 the wedding, to showcase how sarah is no longer bothered by her ‘type’, it would be cute to see it thru cole or bryce’s eyes – something as simple as a comment like ‘sarah’s changed a great deal’ – say to casey or morgan – I could even live with a little self consciousness from the old handwringer himself, maybe have sarah thump him upside the head to knock some sense back into him

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Jason, I think they can now pull something like that off, some minor angst, now that it would likely be resolved within an episode and we’d trust Chuck or Sarah or both to speak up as opposed to going to the “they don’t talk” well one more time.

        What I really think could be funny is Sarah getting insecure and jealous the way Chuck used to, but dealing with the stress in her own way. Picture them running into Jill or Lou or even some new random petite brunette that misinterprets Chuck’s outgoing and friendly nature and watch Sarah mark her territory and go into lioness mode simultaneously.

      • jason says:

        yep – I could even see the writers having fun with jealous sarah dying her hair brown for Chuck, could even have a call back line ‘why would you do that?’ – the tears that followed would really give yvonne a chance to emote – would be kind of fun if the PLI was a bad guy, so at the end sarah could deal with her stress – as only she knows how

      • joe says:

        Contra Ernie, I want to say that I disagree with everybody.

        Well, I want to, but I can’t. 😉

        @Merve – The one relationship you didn’t list was Sarah/Morgan. They’ve been just a little, humorously antagonistic towards each other, and I think there’s the potential for much comedy gold there, assuming it’s done right. Even more, after a season or so of light confrontation between the two, a resolution into friendship towards the season’s end would be wonderful.

        In fact, a Morgan-centric episode where Gen. Beckman comes to terms with him at the same time would be sort of cool.

      • Merve says:

        I was just listing relationships that had thus far been explored on the show. But I agree – I would like to see the comedic possibilities of Sarah/Morgan. I’d also like to see more Casey/Ellie, Sarah/Ellie, Casey/Devon, and Sarah/Devon. Oh yeah, more Morgan/Devon too. In fact, the show should look at all the 15 possible two-character interactions in the main 6-person group. 🙂

    • OldDarth says:

      ‘I find it strange that this was the probably the worst-received episode of the season among TV critics; I enjoyed it more than the episode that preceded it’

      Same here Merve. Plus I totally loved Lloyd’s understated performance whereas I saw a lot of comments about disappointment with him.

      • sd says:

        Jason..

        We kinda already got that with Shaw…remember in the finale he tells her something to the effect–love suits you…and/or love has made you go soft…

      • Merve says:

        The show is always going to use bad guys who can push Chuck’s or Sarah’s buttons, especially when it comes to their feelings for each other. They did it with Mr. Colt in “First Date.” They did it with Heather in “Cougars.” They did it with Brad in “Suburbs.” Heck, they even did with Otto in “Role Models” when he called Chuck and Sarah “not a real couple.” It worked particularly well with Shaw because of the fact that he knew Chuck and Sarah personally. It will be interesting to see how Chuck and Sarah will react to such taunts now that they’ve gotten over their insecurities.

    • kg says:

      Yeah SD, I was 50-50 with the Doc until he said, “Well, it’s a good thing we came.” And even then he seemed to say it with sarcasim like he was disappointed.

      I think it’s great that Sarah was unafraid to interrupt Chuck. And then of course utter those three little words. How many times in the first two seasons did we scream at Sarah for not interrupting Chuck?

      A lot of this stuff could have been settled before the emergence of that trouble-making Shaw.

      • joe says:

        There was a kind of quiet authority in Lloyds performance that I liked, though. He does zany so well (or used to in his younger days anyway), that “wise” was a nice change.

        Oh, btw, maybe we should declare that “Shaw” is a four letter s-word. Or something. 😉

  3. OldDarth says:

    Sarah’s big ILY moment came with the Doc not with Chuck. Saying it to Chuck was not the paramount issue. Saying it aloud to herself, and others, was.

    Solid and funny episode.

    Don’t see Chuck and Sarah’s relationship being underplayed rather seeing it put in line with the other aspects of the show.

    • Merve says:

      I think that both ILY moments were important but for different reasons. The one with the doc was important because she finally articulated what she had been feeling. The one with Chuck was important because she had never before allowed herself to be that vulnerable in front of Chuck.

    • joe says:

      Yeah – I agree with that, OD. I tried to express it in terms of “submission to something higher than herself” (in this case, Dreyfus, but that really makes it a very important event for her.

      And it’s a great scene, too. I can’t recall any other time that Sarah uses the words “Please – I’m begging you.” It’s wonderfully done.

      • sd says:

        You’re right, Joe…perhaps the only other time she may come close is vs. Marlin, correct? When Chuck is about to be bunkered?

      • joe says:

        Ooohhh! Good catch, SD. Almost forgot that scene!

        Even so, because she was reaching for her gun a moment later, Sarah’s not feeling that there’s nothing she can do but beg, the way she does in Tooth. It’s really a watershed moment.

      • atcdave says:

        She was begging Shaw on Chuck’s behalf in 3.09 too. I think Sarah is willing to use whatever approach is best for the job at hand. She’s never been a terribly proud character (I mean that in the seven deadly sins sense of the word, more like hubris; she has some professional pride, but not so much personal pride).

  4. OldDarth says:

    ‘The one with Chuck was important because she had never before allowed herself to be that vulnerable in front of Chuck.’

    I hear what you are saying. Open works better than vulnerable for me. The ILY with the doc was more important because Sarah was making a public admission.

    The Chuck ILY moment was not as much so IMHO because Chuck already knew Sarah was in love with him. It is always great to get confirmation though. 😉

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I thought the real significance of the ILY with Chuck was how Sarah talked about how much she wanted a future with Chuck. She’d finally achieved the “normal” she was looking for and was able to tell Chuck about it. She was very Chuck-like in that scene, reminiscent of Chuck at the end of Lethal Weapon, but without the necessity of speaking in code.

      • OldDarth says:

        Totally agree.

      • joe says:

        Good point, Ernie.
        Question: Did Sarah seem “off balance” to you? I’m not sure I’m expressing it just right, but in that scene, when she says that all she can think about is a future with Chuck, she also says that she never felt that way before. I truly got the impression that she was in a new place, emotionally. Sarah couldn’t help but watch her every step, if only to keep her balance.

        Every time I see this episode, she doesn’t seem like the same Sarah we knew. But that’s alright, because she isn’t, any more than Chuck is the same.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Joe, interesting you say off balance. One thing I like to watch is body language. You can see that after Sarah says her ILY and goes to kiss Chuck, she is quite literally off balance, relying on Chuck to support her. A nice touch I thought. In one sense Sarah is a little afraid I suppose. The last time she thought about a future with Chuck she got dumped in Prague. This time things turned out better.

      • jason says:

        When she said ‘I never felt this way’ I thought she was going to say ‘I never said ILU to anyone’?

        In the poker sense, I think in prague, sarah may have been all in with chuck, but she was holding a pair of 3 threes, her all in this time, in paris, the honeymooners, role models, and now the ILU in the tooth, she is holding a spade royal flush, no flighty angst is going to knock her out of the game this time.

      • ArticulateSchnook (aka lizjames) says:

        Ernie/Joe/Jason-
        I’ve been thinking about this a lot, too. There is actually no template for in-a-real-relationship Sarah. We’ve known Sarah the spy, crazy-in-love Sarah, and even Sarah-in-spy-relationship. But Relationship Sarah? Not a clue about who that character might be. It’s as much Seinfeld as Chuck! 🙂

        More to the point, TBTB don’t seem to know, and Strahovski may not be sure of, how to play her. I was stunned with what we saw in Living Dead: Sarah as Chuck’s “assistant,” eagerly stealing Orion’s driver’s license and doing research. Then–gasp!–Sarah literally waiting in the car! And in Subway, we see a Sarah who apparently shops Farmer’s Markets and has a “spy off” mode. These are not Sarahs that we have ever seen before. And none of it meshes with the domestic goddess they showed in Suburbs.

        Season 4 could be interesting on the relationship front.

      • 904 says:

        Some of those traits kind of mesh with “domestic Goddess Sarah,” don’t they?

        Domestic goddess would certainly be a farmer’s market denizen. Sarah was proactive and blissful in prepping breakfast for Chuck; she showed the same dedication in procuring the driver’s license (though obviously in spy mode. She is a spy, after all).

        A lot of this is due to Chuck’s growth. She trusts his abilities. He’s proven himself in every way through their tortuous journey after Intersect 2.0. She’s lulled into a sense of comfort with Chuck. Good thing she recognizes a useful hatchet when she needs it.

        Look at me, jumping ahead to the next episode…

        The Tooth > Role Models, though both enjoyable.
        The dream sequences were really well done and avoided cliche territory while also telling a lot of story.

      • atcdave says:

        It seems whatever Sarah sets her mind to she will be very good at. It will be interesting if that holds up, but so far, I’d say Sarah is doing better on the relationship front than our relationship guy Chuck is doing. I hope Chuck just knocks off the lying and stuff, I think it would very old, very fast if they spend much time lying or running of on private “secret” missions or something; I want to see “the team” back together!

      • joe says:

        Ernie/Jason/Liz aka A.S. 😉

        Maybe this Sarah (let’s call her ‘girlfriend Sarah’, since she labeled herself that way) is predicated on the domestic goddess we saw in Suburbs. Chuck did say something like “If you’re not careful, you’re gonna turn into a real woman,” IIRC.

        Perhaps that’s it. This is Sarah being “a real woman” or “a real girlfriend.” Being Chuck’s assistant and staying calmly in the car (good catch, Liz!) could be the ways they chose to portray that. It is new to us and to the character.

        BTW, the fight scene in the hospital? I’m 100% convinced that was Strahovski doing her own stunts. Without studying it too closely, it looked like pretty decent Martial Arts.

    • jason says:

      darth – I think they tried to parallel chuck telling morgan in 3.9, sort of surprising himself with his own words when ‘pushed’ by an expert psychologist, although doc brown is no morgan, he was savy enough to get sarah to fess up to her feelings, in the front 13, we lived with several more episodes b4 chuck told sarah, in 3.16 that was reduced to a few minutes, a nice trend for a problem resolution IMO

      • OldDarth says:

        It took Chuck a long time to realize he was in love with Sarah ie in 3.09 but once he does, he commits fully and tells Sarah ILY easily.

        Contrast that with Sarah, whom we can safely surmise, has been in love with Chuck for a long time, knew it, and needed time to process it before being able to vocalize it.

        Intriguing.

  5. JC says:

    I absolutely loved Morgan..Cobra in this episode. The bromance was in full bloom. Chuck’s got a mission, Morgan’s on board, Anna’s back sorry Chuck needs him. He even finishes Chuck’s answer on why he didn’t tell Sarah about it.

    • joe says:

      It’s true, JC! And it’s a great thing that the kind of childishness the characters exuded in S1 (Morgan especially) has morphed into a kind of intelligence and even wisdom.

      It came through in that last scene with Anna.

      • sd says:

        Dare I say it…but Morgan has shown more relationship emotional intelligence during separate episodes–honeymooners and now tooth when he asks Chuck if he’s talked various issues over with Sarah?

      • joe says:

        Go ahead, sd. Dare!

    • jason says:

      of the 3 possible spy 2 man teams, I like chuck – morgan, and sarah – casey the least, I think in S4, casey – chuck as the A team, sarah – morgan in support has big time fun in it, since the support team always gets in the most trouble. Plus, you know it is going to happen, soomeone says to morgan, ‘stay in the car’ – of course the real A team will be chuck – sarah with casey – morgan in support.

      • atcdave says:

        I’m really excited about the way we’ve seen the teams used so far, and I agree mixing it up on occasion has potential. I think Chuck/Morgan and Sarah/Casey has the least potential because its the most “normal”; two spies and two novices (even if Chuck isn’t any more). Other combinations have more promise, especially if Devon and Ellie are added to the mix.

      • joe says:

        The other combinations have more chemistry too, Dave!

        I mean, how can you beat Casey & Morgan, together at last? 😉

      • Merve says:

        Speaking of Casey and Morgan, they’re up for best HoYay! couple in the Tubeys.

  6. Cas says:

    The Tooth to me was the honeymoon for everyone. It had just the right amount of fluff IMO.

    • joe says:

      It certainly had a balance I enjoyed, Cas. The goings-on in the Buy More has been so downplayed this year (of necessity, we all believe). But with Julia Ling back in the mix it seemed to get back to it’s proper level. At least, for me it did. That’s something I was trying to say in the post. With C&S a solid couple and a decent spy-story, everything was in balance in this episode.

      I really liked the Anna Wu character, especially in season 2 because of the balance she helped create.

      • atcdave says:

        I’ll miss Anna, although I prefer the slightly unhinged Anna of S1. But I think Alex has more potential, I hope she’s more than just a one (or two) shot character.

      • Merve says:

        Who doesn’t love a character who wouldn’t hesitate to have Harry Tang assassinated?

      • joe says:

        Hey! I forgot about that! What if Morgan was *already* on assignment at the end of Colonel, and was in Hawaii to complete his Red Test – Tang?

        Uh – What?

        It’s time for me to say G’night, Gracie.

      • atcdave says:

        My favorite psycho Anna bit was the Thanksgiving meal in Nemisis, but yeah, offering to have Tang assassinated over the scheduled lunches was pretty awesome.

        Joe, I’m pretty sure that was Anna’s red test, not Morgan’s!

      • joe says:

        Once again, I stand corrected! 😉

    • sd says:

      I love the moment when Casey looks at Anna Wu’s martial arts ability in the cage and says…hey…she would be…and Chuck talks him down.

      It would–maybe?–seriously “jump the nerd herder” but I always wondered before the finale that Anna would have turned into a spy.

      • joe says:

        Okay, SD. What does it mean when a TV show “jumps the nerd herder?” Media critics everywhere have been wanting to know! 😉

        Wait – maybe not!

      • atcdave says:

        Joe, I don’t think that should be discussed on a “family” blog.

      • sd says:

        It’s my Chuck mash up of jumping the shark…which, we all know is related to Happy Days and the Fonz waterskiing

  7. OldDarth says:

    Morgan, who has been awesome all season, really came into his own in this episode.

  8. amyabn says:

    Thought I’d finally get around to chiming in! I thought Sarah’s delivery of her ILY to Chuck was interesting in that it is the way Chuck would do it. She spits it out, cuts him off! Love it, it is about time.

    As for the off balance comments, I notice she wasn’t wearing shoes. It is only interesting (at least to me) because she is several inches shorter than Zach. But that lent itself to the full body contact and implied intimacy they share, as well as the sheer joy on Sarah’s face when she admitted her feelings. I half expected her to say she had never told anyone that before (ie. Bryce).

    I’d like to see Sarah and Morgan have to team up, with Casey in the surveillance van. Start Morgan off slowly, with an observation mission. It could be very funny to see a very nervous Morgan having to play Sarah’s boyfriend without crossing the best friend line. They could really play that up for laughs. I too like responsible Morgan, er, Cobra. Too funny!

    I felt pretty “blah” about Christopher Lloyd’s performance. I would rate it as deadpan at best. I guess one could chalk it up to his artistic choice.

    • atcdave says:

      That’s such a fun idea Amy; Morgan having to play Sarah’s boyfriend on a mission. Can you see Morgan having to play the alpha male to her? That would be hysterical!

      • amyabn says:

        Play it up like Carina did (in Wookie) on their fake date at Chuck’s. Sarah gets all touchy, stroking his beard. I think Morgan’s head would explode.
        Or she dresses up like a hooker again, and Morgan is her john. Can you imagine Ellie watching them “transform” into their roles before leaving the house. Sarah kisses Chuck goodbye, then has to “turn it on” to get into her character. Ellie’s eyes would be the size of saucers, I think! So much comedy potential, mixing the teams up.

        Plus I hope Morgan and Sarah really can become friends. We saw Sarah back the friendship in Beard, and Morgan has clearly given them space, as well as making the painful concession of wearing PJs.

      • jason says:

        amy – I agree, sarah and morgan is one of maybe 3 or 4 untapped potential great directions for the show, also, morgan is essentially an asset requiring protection and training, the Sarah the lioness character could be brought out again and would indeed be great with morgan

      • herder says:

        It’s a bit funny as until this past year I had seen the Morgan character as a drain on other, better stories. With the character development I’m now looking forward to more Morgan stories, although I still think that a little Morgan goes a long way.

      • atcdave says:

        Its funny herder but I feel the same way. Morgan time was maybe funny once and while, but he was my least favorite of the major characters. I actually enjoy his screen time since Beard.

  9. andyt says:

    Hello all, I thought that I would comment for this week. While I also thought that this was in some ways a more subdued episode than the preceding and succeeding episodes, it served to set up important elements of the last three.

    More interestingly is where the episode leaves us for S4. The concern of the Lloyd’s psychologist about the impact of the Intersect on Chuck’s brain can not be minimized. Yes the governor will prevent Chuck from dying, but it doesn’t take away some of the concerns about what the Intersect might do to his psyche. The government clearly knows this, and that is why I do not believe that they are done with him. While he might not be an “official” agent, I think that they want to keep tabs on him. Although, my pet theory is that unlike his father who was totally rogue, Chuck will work with the government as a totally “black” operative. He could even get an “Avengers” status where he is an agent of the government just not with any agency. Oh will Ellie be angry about this.

  10. BDaddyDL says:

    I just finished watching an older movie. It has some of the flair of Chuck. Its a Walter Mathow flick. Its about a spy who wont use a gun who gets demoted. Instead of going away quietly he writes a tell all book, and keeps one step ahead of the cia, while at the same time embarrassing his jerk of a boss. It is called hopscotch.

  11. Crumby says:

    I really liked that episode. More than Role Models in fact, which was a little too light for me.

    I liked how Sarah doesn’t abandon Chuck, I liked how they showed that abandonment is a huge issue for Chuck which will played in Orion returns, I liked Casey and Sarah’s relationship, I liked Morgan (isn’t that the season 3 trend?!), I liked the “crazy” theme in almost every scene via the dialogue, everybody is connected somehow when we had 3 stories apart in Role Models, I liked the “truth is in the tooth” scene Zach was impressive in that one, I liked Merlin, I liked Chuck in therapy with Doc Dreyfus (this “Do you?” was hilarious), I liked the “normal life” scene, well I liked a lot of stuff really.

    The lying thing wouldn’t have bothered me that much if it hadn’t been so much exploited in the last 3 episodes. I could understood the point of doing that but the repetition, again, and again, and again was tiresome in this arc.

  12. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Tooth (3.16) | Chuck This

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