Changing Everything

“If you’re in a bad situation, don’t worry it’ll change.”

Why can't we just be?

There was a little “Easter Egg” embedded for me in Chuck vs. The Coup D’Etat. You know – one of those little surprises that you sometimes hear about (or even trip over) in some pretty sophisticated software. At first it seemed there was a bit of a flaw in the dialog, in the speech that Chuck gives to Ortensia and Alejandro Goya. I bet when you started out, just the two of you crazy kids cuddled up in your tropical cave, dreaming of revolution and having sweet, sweet jungle love, everything was perfect. I was thinking this was pretty much the speech that Chuck gave Karl Stromberg (Vinnie Jones) in The Three Words. In fact, watching Sarah’s face, I thought “That didn’t seem right.” This was NOT leading to something good, and in fact, it had me worried that someone had missed a beat in a very important part of the story.

But here’s the whole speech:

Chuck: I bet – I bet when you started out, just the two of you crazy kids cuddled up in your tropical cave, dreaming of revolution and having sweet, sweet jungle love, everything was perfect. No?
Ortensia: But then we moved into the palace, and he changed!
Sarah: So – change ruins things.
Chuck: But change is unavoidable. Unavoidable. Life is full of changes. Constantly changing. The question is, no matter what the changes are, is the love still there?

It’s much shorter and doesn’t seem to have as much impact – especially on Sarah – as the one we heard in S3. So what did I miss? It was that Sarah Walker, the girl who can do anything and seems to be without fear, was telling us she was afraid of change.

I’m not sure why it went over my head in this episode, and really, in every episode after The Honeymooners, because now it seems ridiculously obvious. There are certain things that Sarah likes the way they are, and she starts to panic a little when it seems they might change.

Sarah: [using her spy skills to find the book in the Buy More] “101 conversations before ‘I Do’?” That’s the book??? The one covered in wedding rings?
Chuck: [shaking his head ‘no’] Yeaaahh.
Sarah: I – I thought we talked about this. I thought we were going to take it slow.
Chuck: No. I know we did. And we are – going to take it slow. It’s just, you know, someday, maybe we can talk about that. And it takes a long time to have 101 conversations.
Sarah: Why do we always have to talk and, and, and push and change things? Why can’t we just be?
Chuck: [flashes on the pictures Sarah took in Costa Gravas] Uh, Sarah?
Sarah: Everything is great! What if we do “I do” and it changes us?
Chuck: It’s nuclear.
Sarah: Exactly. Everything we love about us could be destroyed!
Chuck: No, not us. The weapon!

Oh, that was such a humorous exchange! But my laughter caused me to miss Sarah’s clear statement of fear – Why can’t we just be?

“If you’re in a good situation, don’t worry it’ll change.”

Sarah’s got her reasons for being so extraordinarily cautious, but she’s not the only one who has to face big changes. Casey is temporarily transformed from being a spy to being an invalid. Drives him crazy too. Of course, that change may turn out to be the easy one for him to face, because he may be a real father soon, too. And Ellie is facing the transition that comes with letting go of her little brother. Her speech at the fountain-where-truth-is-told shows how hard it’s been for her to see Chuck as strong, effective and accomplished. That is indeed different for her.

Why do we always have to talk and, and, and push and change things? Why can’t we just be?

Morgan is no coward. He’ll talk and talk and push and push until he hits a wall. Yet, despite what he wrote in his book, facing Casey wasn’t what Morgan feared. I don’t think he feared a relationship with Alex, either. It was that change thing again. Change ruins things, especially when they’re going good. But Morgan did better than many of us. Just like Big Mike told him to, he grabbed his woman and kissed her on the lips and I’m guessing that for the first time, he “heard the jam.” That’s a change too.

We’ve said a hundred times how the characters have changed, you and I. The story has changed too. Like Chuck said, it’s unavoidable, and it’s something that is coming. I started to realize this week how much of the story, the way it was originally conceived, has been played out already. I suspect that the near cancellation of season two caused the creative team to compact things so that we saw a good part of what would have been in season 3 before Chuck re-intersected. And when Season 3 was given 6 more episodes, I would not be surprised to learn we had gotten to see much of what would have been in a fourth year, in the original conception, by the time the internal threat to the CIA and NSA had been stopped. With the budgetary realities of network TV programming in the 21st century, you will see the effects of change on the screen. But they don’t have to be bad.

Sarah needs one thing in her life to remain constant, a rock to cling to when the world swirls around her, and I don’t think I knew that before. Moments after Chuck’s speech to Ortensia and Alejandro Goya, Sarah turns to Ortentia and says “That love that you had in the caves – that doesn’t have to change.” Even at first, it felt like a corner had been turned when she said that. The more I reviewed those last few moments of the episode, the more important and perfect her words became. That’s my “Easter Egg.”

Something that doesn't change.

You see, Sarah had found that rock. She had something solid to hang on to, and a place of stability for her feet. With that, the rest is easy. No, when it comes to big questions (and, to be sure, there’s more than one) she can’t make up Chuck mind for him. But she’s made up hers.

Sarah: [softly] Are you awake? Can you hear me, Chuck? I love you, Chuck. Nothing’s ever gonna change that. And if you ask me for real, then my answer would be “yes.”

– joe

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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.
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81 Responses to Changing Everything

  1. atcdave says:

    That was a really nice post Joe. I hope when the time comes, we really won’t see any more hesitation from Sarah and that she has found her rock. But I have a feeling she’ll manage to find one more set of objections to voice before she finally says yes.

    • JC says:

      It has to be MEB. Ellie and Devon are the idyllic vision of her future with Chuck. Stephen and Mary are the nightmare version and unfortunately the one that hits closest to home.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah that’s a good possibility. But really I was just being cynical. It doesn’t matter how many lessons we think Sarah has learned. When Chuck finally pops the question at the beginning of 4.13, she will find a reason to hesitate. After an important life lesson learned over the course of the episode, she will reconsider and happily say yes right before the credits roll.

        I hope I’m wrong and things are settled sooner, and in a less structured sort of way. I am confident we’ll have a good time this season. But I’m not as confident as I was that this crew will challenge convention. We’ll see.

      • JC says:

        Dave are you implying they would create tension just to drag out her saying yes to Chuck’s marriage proposal? Its not like they did that with her saying “I love you”.. oh wait.

        But seriously, part of me thinks if a marriage happens this season it’ll be spur of the moment type thing. It fits with both of their impulsive nature when comes to each other.

      • atcdave says:

        That would be more fun JC. We’ve kicked around a lot of ideas that have potential. I like Sarah doing the proposing, or both saying it at the same time. I like eloping, or even a whole family elopement (“hey everyone, we’re going to Vegas…”). I even like getting married under fire; or having to get married for a mission and they decide to just make it real.

        But my current suspicion is that they will wring every last bit of tension they can from it. And we won’t even know Sarah’s response for a moment; we’ll see panic or hurt start to flicker on Chuck’s face, before Sarah breaks into her trademark smile…

    • kg says:

      Yes, it was Dave. And Joe, thanks for the recognition in the Couch Lock thread. More than happy to unknowingly pinch hit for you.

  2. Gringo Chuck Fan says:

    As always – you’ve done waaayyy to much thinking over this – and not nearly enough watching College Football – or Baseball playoffs – or NASCAR races – or Hockey games – or… or … or…
    Well, I guess we can all count ourselves lucky for that!
    “If you’re in a bad situation, don’t worry it’ll change.”
    I’m guessing that you could also include, that, some good situations will also change, [even if only for a few episodes.]
    What I do appreciate in S4 – is the great lengths that TPTB have laid the foundation- no matter where the next few episodes take us… We must remember that Chuck and Sarah have reached a point in their relationship beyond the point of no return. No going back. Its at the stage of ; ’til death do us part’… if not fully official.

    • joe says:

      Heh! Not enough Football & Baseball Playoffs? Uncanny, Gringo! It’s like you’re living in my guest room! 😉

      In my defense, I can tell you that I really like Monday Nite Raw – well, not that I’ve been seeing it lately…

  3. Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

    A forum member named TheMBC posted the following in a discussion about Sarah at the ChuckTV.net forums which I thought summed it up nicely.

    “Except this time, more change actually means more stability, which is something new for Sarah.”

    I thought it a rather “deep” statement.

    I also agree that the rather constant fear of cancellation has caused the story to be accelerated. There have been a few hiccups because of this but generally I think it’s (if you can say) good in order to keep the story moving forward.

    • joe says:

      Certainly. My fascination with the first 4 seasons of Babylon 5 (Ernie will attest) was for the same reason. Its creator (Michael J. Straczynski) was put in an even more precarious position.

      He and Harlan Ellison (the famous Sci-Fi writer) wrote out the 5 year arc from the beginning and built it into the show. It was essentially canceled after 3 years, but the WB (I believe it was) picked it up at the last minute. That 4th year contained two seasons worth of action, and the effect was that I’ve never been more carried away by anything on TV, until the second half of Chuck‘s second season. Runaway freight train.

      Sadly, the story *was* over. The 5th year, which they got in a major surprise, had nothing left but to tie up an occasion loose end. They even had to contend with major cast changes (imagine a last season with C&S married, but without Devon and Casey or Morgan (pick any 2 of the 3). It was worse than that because the bad guys had all been defeated.)

      • jason says:

        joe don’t get mad – I would love it – CS married, devon and morgan gone, the show would be THE perfect spy couple show, with ellie available to be the magnet for PLI’s so sarah isn’t the only PLI eligible female character in the spy side of the show each week, perfect actually – how about ellie interesects and her and casey become partners and the wt/wt – I’m liking it even more – only thing better if jeff & lester left too – replace them with a couple of semi recurring bad guys, dolph lundren or vincent and angie harmon or jill

      • Paul says:

        But wasn’t that essentially the structure of Undercovers???? And we all know how that show is doing.

      • joe says:

        @Jason – Heh! Touché! (And mad? MAD YOU SAY??? I’ll show them! I’ll release my thermonuclear pronton-disintegrator ray and THEN they will make me KING! Bwa-ha-ha!!!)

        Oddly, I understand. But to my POV, it’s a totally brand new show that just happens to have the same name and some actors that I really enjoyed on another show. And this time I happen to recognize where the production crew came from, too! I’ll have to give it a fair shot and see if it’s a good show, but it’s got a clean slate and fails or succeeds on its own.

      • herder says:

        It may seem odd, considering some of the things that I have posted, but the thing that Undercovers seems to be missing is their own Buy More to leaven the spy stories. They have a sort of Morgan/Bryce partnership to play off the leads but they seem to miss the antithesis of the spy world that the Buy More crew provide.

      • atcdave says:

        I remember Babylon 5 exactly the same way Joe. The worst thing that ever happened to that show was getting its fifth season. The main story was completely over, so we got a full season long epilogue. It was anti-climactic and vaguely depressing.

        But that said, I agree with Jason. Chuck is not Babylon 5. B5’s main strength was an epic space saga. Chuck is much more episodic in nature, and its primary strength is the chemistry of the leads. I don’t mean to say the overarching stories don’t matter; or secondary characters wouldn’t be missed. But I think Chuck would easily survive the transition to “Chuck and Sarah vs. the World”. Shoot, I think that’s what a large number of us want to see anyway.

      • joe says:

        Oh, I agree, Dave. I think you understood (but I want to make sure everyone does) that I don’t think Chuck is headed in that direction. In fact, unless Harlan Ellison himself has secretly taken over the helm acting much like Volkoff, I’m as certain as I can be that it isn’t.

        But my point is that the story has already changed in many ways, and will continue to do so. It *will* be different, whether I like it or not.

        It’s always a sweet-sadness kind of thing, you know?. I’m one of those that really enjoys the Buy More, complete with the Buy Morons. But if the decision was made to get rid of that part of the show, I’d be okay with it.

      • atcdave says:

        yeah Joe, I agree even in the details. I love laughing at the Buy Morons and would always have good memories of some of their finer stupid moments. But I’d be fine with it if they went away. I think I’d actually prefer more attention being paid to the “A” plot/spy stories.

  4. Paul says:

    Fear of change is definately one theme, but I think for Sarah that fear is intertwined with a fear of loss. She fears change because of the potential for losing everything she loves yet again.

    • atcdave says:

      That is an ironic fear. To fear that promising to stand by someone and be with them until your dying breath before God and witnesses, will somehow CAUSE a loss of that relationship (or make it more likely in any way); is the very definition of irony. I do realize some people actually think that way, I’ve heard things said along those lines; its just a complete disconnect to my little brain.

      • thinkling says:

        Well said, Dave. It does seem the epitome of irony. My son was recently in cross-cultural discussion of this very topic with people (late twenties, early thirties) from various European and Scandinavian countries, most of them in cohabiting relationships. Without exception, each couple admitted that their relationship would benefit from the commitment that marriage offers. I found that stunning. (I couldn’t help thinking of some of the discussions on ChuckThis.)

        Sarah’s settling the question in her own mind and voicing it out loud, even to a sleeping Chuck, is a step in the right direction. The look on her face afterward, to me, speaks of happiness, satisfaction, and perhaps even relief to have definitely decided the issue in her own heart. And the strength of that decision will be her anchor in some of the challenges ahead.

      • Paul says:

        Not really ironic Dave, but cynical. If you look at it from someone who assumes the worst is always going to happen with change, then it actually is easy to understand.

      • atcdave says:

        Paul, I think it can be ironic and cynical!

    • R says:

      For Sarah, the big changes in her life had been related with the loss of something important to her: when she was young, she had to live running away with her father from state to sate, changing their names multiple times to avoid being captured, until she finally lose him when he went to prison. Then, when she became a spy, the situation remains almost the same: a new mission required changing to a new identity, being another person in a different situation each time, to the point that she thought she lost her own identity in the process.

      So, she finally found something real in her life, something that required a big process to understand and accept as real, a change that, in this particular situation, turned out to be positive for her and she don’t want to lose it. That’s when the fear of change becomes evident when she is presented with every step in their relationship: the risk of losing something important to her is big, based on her own experience, and because this is something new to her that she doesn’t want to ruin.

      • atcdave says:

        well R that is certainly the way the writers are trying to sell it. I admit some of my not getting it may have to do with being a happily married old fart (I see zero appeal in being single again). But Sarah should also realize as a federal employee there are significant advantages in getting married; like the fact they couldn’t be separated long term without their consent.

      • Waverly says:

        Part of the issue is that Sarah doesn’t have the experience to know how “normal” relationships develop. So she is only now realizing that a big part of any relationship is how it develops, and that that development can’t happen without a lot of changes in everyone involved.

        “If you’re in a good situation, don’t worry, it’ll change.” Obviously that’s what Sarah has been used to. But I think she is now learning that “if you’re in a good situation, don’t worry, it might get better”.

  5. Big Kev says:

    Joe,
    Interesting and insightful post, as always. It’s also one that, in its way, reflects one of the philosophies of the show in terms of the Chuck and Sarah relationship – and that is that all of the obstacles to that relationship are seen to be Sarah’s to overcome. Her fear of breaking protocols (the asset/handler thing), her fear of commitment, her fear of change. All understandable – but it continually fascinates me that Chuck is always seen as almost the finished article in terms of relationship readiness, when he’s clearly not.
    From my eyes, there has been next to no progress in 3 seasons plus in terms of Chuck’s relationship neuroses – his constant need for affirmation and to know “where he stands”, his consistent pattern of avoiding tough conversations, and a general “neediness” that seems undiminished despite all of Sarah’s actions that prove her love.
    Even this episode, which names some of those issues, is still framed in terms of Chuck being the healthy one (because he’s initiating these conversations) and Sarah having to be dragged along.
    I find myself consistently disappointed that we see such development of Sarah’s emotional strength of character, but no matching progression in Chuck’s.
    I understand that he has serious abandonment issues, and hopefully the return of Mama B will address some of those, so that we can see Chuck start to become emotionally secure. I think it’s a development that’s long overdue.

    • Paul says:

      Kev, one of the themes this season for me is “growing up”. Chuck and Sarah and not emotionally mature adults. And for them to get over their hang-ups requires them to mature a bit more in different directions than they have over the course of the series.

    • joe says:

      That’s very interesting, Big Kev! I’ll say up-front that I haven’t seen it (and Chuck!) that way, but you make a good case.

      I too feel the temptation to say that Chuck is the emotionally healthier one, especially in this episode. But I think that’s because Sarah is more opaque and mysterious to me (and to most fans). Chuck wears his heart on his sleeve, after all, so it’s easier to think we know the character.

      But I’m not sure that he’s always portrayed that way, though. Chuck started as unmotivated and underachieving after all, and Sarah as beautiful, accomplished and talented. Every time he actually did something right, it was a surprise. And even as late as the beginning of S3, Chuck quickly reverts to form despite everything.

      So yeah, we’ve been consistently shown Chuck’s progress, so now he seems healthy. At the same time, Sarah seems almost intransigent in her emotional constipation.

      And this, despite the fact that every time I turn around, she’s taking the next step! I’m buoyed by the notion that they’re moving ahead together this time.

    • Merve says:

      It honestly seems as if Chuck has backslidden a little on the relationship front. In the back 6 of last season, he handled his relationship issues with a lot more maturity. Now, he seems considerably more insecure. You’d think that he’d be more comfortable, considering that last season, Sarah gave him her spy will, but I guess that gesture wasn’t as significant as I thought it was. (You’d also think that Sarah would have unpacked when she moved in, but that’s an unrelated quibble.) Maybe it’s just a personal preference, but a more confident (but not cocky) Chuck is a more entertaining Chuck.

      • thinkling says:

        I agree that a more confident (but not cocky) Chuck is a more entertaining Chuck. I really hope we can move past some of these growing pains soon. Surely…

        However, I’m not sure Chuck has backslidden so much as sideways-slidden. The back 6 of s3 may not have been a good measuring stick. Honeymooners was a honeymoon, not really revealing of growth, only joy in the moment.

        He did well in Role Models, but from Tooth on, we had the mini arc of prevarication. Not awesome! He was totally insecure, in true Chuck neurosis form, about Sarah’s not saying ILY. And he confided in Morgan instead of Sarah at every turn. This season, he is learning to confide in her. (Now if he will only learn how to talk to her about them, instead of Morgan.)

        Then in Living Dead, Subway/Ring, the emphasis was more on the story/mythology. However, we do have the running away and promise to Ellie, without regard to his relationship with Sarah. Also not very awesome, but it was a plot contrivance, I know.

        I think Chuck is a 2-steps-forward-one-step-back kind of guy. He makes progress, but gets derailed by Sarah’s every hesitation. Her hesitation, as Herder pointed out, is part of her process. If he would realize that and hold steady, he would be better off. But his abandonment issues won’t let him.

        So, moving forward I second your request for a more secure, mature Chuck. I don’t mind some of the bumbling, live the van in Coup. But it needs to be momentary and accompanied by Chuck growth and not just Sarah growth.

      • Paul says:

        Well, Chuck has almost as much baggage as Sarah does. That plays into a lot of his neurosis when it comes to his relationship with Sarah…

      • joe says:

        Awwww – I’m gonna stand up (a little!) for the tall-guy-of-lanky-build here.

        Well, actually, I’m going to stand up for Sarah. She’s been reacting so well to Chuck’s residual insecurities. I mean, I know women IRL who would have been very upset about their man confiding at all with his best (male) friend, much less spending 5 hrs. a week playing Halo. But really, it’s not a good thing to separate a guy from all his friends, and Sarah understands that. Chuck *should* be able to continue to confide in Morgan too, so long as Sarah’s his #1 confidant.

        She called him on lying to Stephen (about being in the CIA), and that was the right thing to do. But I’m even happier that she didn’t embarrass Chuck in front of his dad. Chuck didn’t deserve that, so the way it played was a good thing.

        They *are* getting noticeably better at this relationship thing.

      • Merve says:

        @thinkling: True, Chuck did all those things last season, and since “Anniversary,” he’s learned to be more honest with Sarah. But I still can’t shake the feeling that Chuck seems whinier and needier this season. Even if he is acting more mature, it seems as if he’s acting less mature. Maybe it’s because he was facing bigger issues last season – impending insanity, his family being in danger, the collapse of the American espionage apparatus – so he had to step up to the plate. Now, he’s back to talking about his “lady feelings” all the time, and to be honest, I find it kind of annoying. (Maybe I’m more like Casey than I thought…)

      • jason says:

        merve – I like the show more like 3.14/15, and 4.1 thru 4.4, but I do think Chuck the character was a little all over the place in the first 4 eps – I am attributing it to the new writers, for example, while sarah was sort of annoyed over heather, chuck seemed fine, yet at other times, I fully agree with what you are saying (most of ep 4.4 for example Chuck was whiny, yet he took full control vs dolph lundren in the rescue mission)

        It still seems like chuck’s creative team struggles with a bond-like version vs lovable physical comic who is bumbling and stumbling all the way thru things.

        This physical comic portrayal is hard to believe in dramatic moments, which is I like chuck as “Get Smart 2010” rather than as james bond, but it has to be tricky to write either way, given how often he switches back and forth.

        I am hoping this season the drama is more over CS’s adventure, and not as result of chuck or sarah acting OOC or due to some personal shortcoming of one or the other towards each other. I have my fingers crossed.

      • Anonymous says:

        The problem here is that the showrunners keep harping on the old themes: Chuck’s insecurity and Sarah’s emotional wariness. That should have been OVER in the Season 3.5 arc. We should never have had the silliness of Suitcase.

        What we SHOULD have had is a Season 4 of Chuck and Sarah against the world. In other words, Chuck and Sarah having fought so hard to be together realizing that they and they alone have each other’s backs and best interests at heart.

        THAT would have been new ground. Instead, we’re seeing an endless repetitions of the same old character points and we’ll probably be force fed a steady diet of it right up until the last scene of e13 this year.

        I find it hilarious that the showrunners claim that it is the fans who resist growth and change when, in fact, it is the showrunners who keep harping on the same, tired themes. Really, we’re very close to getting an episode entitled Chuck Versus The Kitchen Cupboard where it is revealed that Sarah is freaked out by the fact that Chuck owns herbs and spices and Chuck is freaked out by the fact that Sarah’s preference for blueberries means his preference for strawberries might cause a rift in their relationship.

        More fools us if we keep trying to parse each of these little foibles because the showrunners are unwilling to let the characters bond, have some confidence in each other’s feelings and become the interesting fighting team that they should be by now.

      • thinkling says:

        @merve: I see your point. Coup d’Etat didn’t bother me as much as Suitcase, maybe b/c it didn’t seem to bother Sarah as much (except when she saw the book). One thing I’ve found refreshing is that his flashes are working seamlessly. I take that as a sign of more emotional stability. It’ll be interesting to see if that continues as things intensify. Personally I’d like to be done with flashing woes.

        @Jason: I agree it must be very hard to strike that balance. The Suitcase nagging got old, but the communication attempt in the van (Coup) was gold. At least I thought it was. There are a lot of ways for Chuck to be the bumbling spy, without being whiny or neurotic, like the grab for Sophia’s handbag, or the naked Sophia encounter, or the tranque glove incident w/ Lou Ferrigno. Or just Chuck being Chuck, like the Goya mediation. Or putting his foot in his mouth at embarrassing times.

        And I’m with you all the way on the C/S adventures: them against the world, not doubting each other.

      • thinkling says:

        @Joe: Yes they are getting better. And they are so much fun to watch (for the most part).

      • JC says:

        Other than the show constantly doing the same thing over and over I really don’t see what the big deal is about Chuck’s insecurities. It’s a staple of the show.

        The way Sarah grew up leads to some awkward situation between her and Chuck. It bothers him for most of the episode, he says or does something related it to it. Sarah hesitates and then resolves it. One them brings up her past ” You know how I grew up or I know how you grew up”. Hugs and Kisses.

      • atcdave says:

        The curse of not being a morning person, I miss some of the best conversations around here!
        I think we’ve seen sort of sideways development for Chuck. I really disliked lying Chuck last season, but Chuck wanting to talk relationship while on missions grates on me too. For the most part I like what they’re doing this season. I like Chuck being patient with Sarah, and both of them actually talking to each other about things. I don’t care for Chuck going to Morgan first, although I kind of see that as a device. IRL, while I never discuss marriage problems with anyone other than my wife, there have been times I needed a day or two to process something before talking to her. On TV its a real problem to show an internal process, so they add a confidante. This is one of those things that’s just easier to do with text than it is on screen. I would prefer that Morgan would loose his function as confidante, that should be Sarah’s role alone; but it may not ever quite work that way.

        I agree almost verbatim with todays comments by Jason and Thinkling; and I swear whoever Anonymous is, I almost could have written that post. I especially enjoyed the comments about fans resisting change. I’ve long taken it as a rule about serial television, show runners are far more resistant to any changes to their initial set-up than fans would prefer; especially where relationships are concerned. On SO many shows fans feel like “Oh c’mon, just get on with it already!” while show runners drag their feet and resist every change. Although, whoever you may be Anonymous, I’d say I’m a little less cynical about this than you. I’m OK with repeating certain themes that are a lot of fun. Suitcase’s moving in issues may have been a transparent repeat of the relationship issues we saw in Roll Models, but it was so much fun. And I think they actually did better the second time around, so I’m Okay with it.

  6. Judy says:

    There’s been a huge amount of change (maturity,confidence, competence) in Chuck from the spy standpoint. If Chuck didn’t retain some of his goofiness in the personal/relationship area, then the character would have changed almost completely, which I don’t think most viewers would want.

    Also, I think Chuck has matured quite a bit in the relationship area. In cubic z, he’s on a suprisingly even keel waiting for the “chat.” Further, the idea that he pushes Sarah about the suitcase and communication in this season’s episodes is actually fairly mature and not so neurotic.(although in both cases instigated by Morgan, so go figure).

    • Big Kev says:

      Judy – I agree completely that Chuck has grown hugely in insight, effectiveness and judgement as a spy. That’s precisely why his continuing emotional insecurities in relation to Sarah seem odd to me. I don’t think I’ve ever agreed with Sarah as much as I did when she said, “why can’t we just be?” – at least for a while anyway! Fear of change? Certainly. But also an acknowledgement that a relationship can only move at the speed of the slowest partner.
      Clearly the writers have decided that Sarah will move at Chuck’s pace in terms of the relationship, and that’s fine. But I do think it would make for a more interesting dynamic if Chuck’s own insecurities were called out in the same way that Sarah’s are. As I say, I’m hoping that will come with Mama B.

      • JC says:

        The thing is Chuck constantly has to do the emotional heavy lifting in the relationship. It seems perfectly normal that he would be insecure about Sarah especially considering what he’s seen of her. She never moves forward in the relationship of her own accord.

        I’m with you about the show addressing Chuck’s insecurities and Sarah is the one who needs to do it. We’ve seen that even though Sarah’s issues bother Chuck he understands it and reassures her. It would be nice if MEB made Sarah realize how Chuck has been constantly been abandoned and betrayed like her.

      • joe says:

        It’s true that Chuck’s done the heavy emotional lifting, but I think Sarah’s had a different kind of burden to bear.

        When I re-watch S1 & S2 now, I feel really bad for her. This is different from the first time, when I could more easily empathize with Chuck and his seemingly un-requited love. She *did* love him, and mostly knew it, too. But she was in a bad position – her love/emotion was dangerous for Chuck, for everyone he cared about, and for the country. Sarah also knew that nobody was going to take better care of him than she. So she had to keep denying him (and herself) and still be close.

        Heh. THEN the fool decided he wanted to take part in the most dangerous activity she knew – being a spy.

        From her POV, that couldn’t have been easy, emotionally speaking.

      • JC says:

        I’m not saying Sarah hasn’t suffered but we’ve seen other characters in particular Chuck acknowledge them. Compare that to Chuck whose lady feelings are treated as a joke.

        Now Chuck isn’t perfect because unlike Sarah he’s never brought up his own issues and realized his flaws. But in his defense nobody else has either except for Morgan when it came to Bryce and Jill. A perfect example is at the end of Coup. Ellie realizes how much he gave up but it doesn’t matter because she got what she wanted.

      • herder says:

        I think that it is more of a setting out of the characteristics of the two leads. Sarah’s default is to say no then come around to what ever idea she was initially against, be it staying with Chuck, moving in or marriage, she has her process to go through inorder to get from no to yes.

        Chuck’s process is to say yes and then worry about it afterwards. His process involves doing something with his hands, be it wringing them (metaphorically as both Morgan and the General have pointed out) or washing dishes. He worries himself from yes to I’m ok with the decision that I made.

        Different processes but the same end result.

      • thinkling says:

        Great observation, Herder! I hadn’t thought of it like that, but you’re right. Maybe it’s b/c all the relationship stuff is so new to Sarah, her first response is no, until she realizes it really is OK. For Chuck family and relationships are “normal,” so his immediate response is yes … then it hits him what he may be in for. Too funny.

      • JC says:

        @Herder

        That’s a good point but I’d like to see the show change it up once in awhile. A lot of people including myself have speculated that MEB will make Sarah hesitate about marriage or her relationship with Chuck in general. It’d be great if we saw the opposite with MEB making Chuck question whether his relationship is doomed like his parents. And have Sarah be the one who moves things forward.

      • Joanna says:

        I remember how I was confused when Sarah was not ready for a change in role models. She was willing to abandon his life spy and flee, but was not ready to live with him. How? In tooth, she could not say love you, but in other guy she said yes when he asked… And at the end of the tooth, she has not spoken in a future with Chuck? … Chuck gave space for “future”, we saw how they were happy in “anniversary”, Chuck whant a future linear, those steps that ordinary people spend on their relationships, then the comes “suitcase”, and remember “role models” … they are learning to get along, he tries to enter the world of espionage and being a compatible partner (chuck is still muddled, as the glove at the scene or when the spy is naked), she tries to enter the real world (unpack). The difference is that Sarah has not a “Morgan”, pointing out the defects of Chuck constantly for her.
        … and ultimately, a return to the tooth, when she talk of the future, the problem is that the future is now very palpable. Who suggested the talk of the future she was initially in the tooth. They were in a good time at the end of the suitcase, Chuck seems to have lost their fears, so he wants to go to the next phase, just than Sarah goes mad with talk of marriage and children, so she brakes … well, ok, then it happens the situation of the ring and she has a reaction … confused? Yes .. she wants or does not want … poor chuck, with this “woman of phases”.
        So no wonder he does not know what to think, Sarah destabilizes anyone.
        For completeness, Chuck still has a confidant Morgan, who as a counselor is a great manager buy more … ie, makes it even more unsafe, with the best intentions of course, to our delight, because I gave a good laugh with the conversation in the van.
        The communication situation is resolved in the 4×04, not because Morgan intervened, but because Chuck and Sarah are willing to do it right, they are creating a normal reality for them, which is unusual for the real life and for life spy. I think the conversation is now at another level, doubts have been stopped, and how the songs are an extension of the story in Chuck, I can only assume that Sarah was yielded, not by a weapon or bad guys, but by love, owwww.

        I love this town, but I’m flying home
        You know I take a little on my way
        Well boys, it’s been sweet
        Love and death – we deal with Our shit in Our own ways
        She Brings Me The Music
        And I am slowly falling in her grace

        ‘Cause I’m falling in her sound
        And I am falling in her to-sound
        And I’m a-falling, falling, oh baby

        I’m just calling you calling you, all night

        Through the darkness, I’m a calling you calling you

        I’m calling you calling you to, bring me home

        Take me home, take me home …

  7. OldDarth says:

    If Chuck is captured and if Sarah breaks rank and goes off to save Chuck; how their reunion will be played should prove to be most illuminating.

    I suspect any doubts by either party will be completely removed.

    • ParsonsGirl says:

      Yeah, you know, something new. Maybe the dialog could go something like this…

      CHUCK: You came back for me!
      SARAH: I’ll always come back for you!

      Oh, wait…

      But I suppose that if we saw it a SECOND time, doubts would be completely removed because then TPTB wouldn’t want to repeat themselves.

      Oh, wait…

      • thinkling says:

        Can’t wait to see it, OD.

        Good one, PG.

        I guess the notion of her coming back again and again … and again doesn’t have to be new. It only proves she meant what she said the first time. And that’s fine with me, especially if the situations are sufficiently varied and exciting … and if they take turns coming back for each other. Looks like the stakes will be pretty high this time. Really s4 seems like a pretty high stakes games compared to earlier seasons.

      • OldDarth says:

        How about along these lines?

        Chuck, ‘I knew you’d come for me.’

        Sarah, ‘Well you really didn’t think I’d let you get out of proposing to me that easily, did you?’

        ..beat..

        ‘Besides wouldn’t want all our communication lessons go to waste.’

      • joe says:

        You raise a (nother!) good point thinkling. OD brought a new promo to my attention minutes ago (see the speculation post!) and I’m starting to realize how exciting the MEB arc in getting. Much more exciting than “The Ring”.

        It’s not because they’re more powerful – it’s because Ellie is involved as much as Chuck. And now it looks like Morgan and Alex(!) have it all on the line, too.

      • thinkling says:

        OD, you’re out-doing yourself today. Great lines.

        Joe, it’s also more exciting because the relationship and Chuck’s destiny are no longer destinations. They have become departure points for the next C/S journey (to borrow from one of Ernie’s themes). The relationship, now established, adds strength and stability to the already awesome spy couple. Chuck has now embraced (mostly) his destiny; he’s no longer avoiding it, but is participating in it. This gives everything direction and focus.

      • atcdave says:

        Some great comments here this morning. I love OD’s suggested lines; and great way of looking at things Thinkling.

        I think its natural with this theme that Chuck and Sarah will rescue each other many times, and it never gets old. S4 is easily setting up to be my favorite yet; and as much as I loved S2 that is really saying a lot.

  8. Anonymous1 says:

    Chuck and Sarah.They are an intriguing couple and “not normal”. Maybe,that’s why i don’t get “turned off” by their soap opera.-except for some s3 ep.s-

    Both have abandonment issues and they need a “rock”.Sarah’s solution is having a partner but keeping at arm’s length. Chuck? He wants intimacy but can’t share his problems.

    Morgan at least tries to help Chuck but Sarah doesn’t really have that. Carina is usually absent and not interested in relationships. Casey is still out of his comfort zone and adjusting.

    Ellie? Well,she was always supportive but friends with Sarah after learning the truth ? They really need to talk.

    Change is inevitable for Chuck and Sarah. They have just managed to get close to a shared comfort zone. (“Marriage is gonna happen at some point.”) And even that wasn’t a real conversation. Now,Sarah gets to meet her ‘BF’s mother. Interesting times. Let’s just hope there’s laughter at some point unlike s3 5-8 .

    • Joanna says:

      You see how everything fits … Sarah could not have a mother-in-law most appropriate. Mama B is for Sarah, as well as Devon’s mother for Ellie. The mothers-in-law are really scary at some point.

      • thinkling says:

        Very interesting, Joanna. Both pairs have points of identification as well as irritation. But I do think that they could be good for each other. I hope the family dynamics get explored more, but I’m not holding my breath.

        Woodomb/Bartowski is certainly an interesting sort of oil & vinegar mix. The Woodcomb’s Sr. interacting with Chuck, Sarah, Papa B and now Mama B. They already think that the Bartowski’s are a really weird family. It would be fun to see the 4 women in the kitchen together. I don’t know if it would be more funny or more scary. Chuck and Devon would probably have to run interference at some point.

      • herder says:

        Maybe a point of contact for Ellie and Sarah, they could compare notes and strategies for dealing with -ahem- difficult mothers-in-law. Even better, if Mama B comes back where does she stay, with Chuck and Sarah or with Ellie and Awesome. Can you imagine Mama B’s reaction to Sarah’s aversion to clothing at night.

      • joe says:

        Honey, Ellie, Sarah and Mary Elizabeth in the same room together??? “Three hand grenades and a bottle of nitro-glycerin!! 😉

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, with ME staying at casa B and Honey at casa W, Sarah and Ellie could have some fountain talks. I like it.

      • thinkling says:

        @Joe: That is a recipe for laughter/disaster. I don’t know whether to cringe or laugh. Can you do both? I’m holding my sides here.

        Sarah and ME will stay out of the way chopping veggies and carving meats and turkeys and trying not to laugh or roll their eyes at Ellie and Honey constantly re-do what the other just did to suit her own taste.

      • herder says:

        Thinkling, what could possibly go wrong with Sarah and Mama B both having sharp knives in their hands in a small apartment with tension in the air.

      • thinkling says:

        No kidding, Herder. All we’re missing is Aunt Dianne. Hope before all that happens Chuck gets an advanced degree in mediation. The Goya’s were a cake walk.

        Oh, and the more I think about it, the more I’d like to see some Ellie/Sarah courtyard chats. What better place for them to begin a fledgling friendship.

      • atcdave says:

        This is gold you guys! I can tell already, if they put those four in a room together, my biggest complaint will be that they won’t spend enough time on it.

      • joe says:

        Heh! TV Overmind writes about “the strong women on tv” but completely misses all of ’em on Chuck.

        When a General is the weak link, you KNOW you have a strong bunch of women on hand.

        And about not having enough time on screen, seconded, Dave!

      • thinkling says:

        OK, Joe, who’s the 5-star? Who does Dianne salute?

      • JC says:

        To be fair Joe compared to the other women on that list Sarah is lacking. Now if she was written consistently like in Cougars, Best Friend or most of this season she’d be second only to Buffy.

        *ducks the rotten fruit*

      • joe says:

        @Thinkling, I’m thinking she salutes the daguerrotype of her dear, departed grandmother, who was a young, unheralded spy in the Civil War, and died at the ripe old age of 94. 😉

        @JC You’d better duck! INCOMING! 😉

      • thinkling says:

        @Joe: …who got all her high-tech 19th century spy gear from from Bartowski and Sons basement laboratory

      • herder says:

        One thing that I was wondering about, despite the fact that we’ll probably never know the truth, is about Undercovers. Yvonne has said in a number of interviews that once she got the job as Sarah Kent (later Sarah Walker) she got the DVDs of Alias to see how Jennifer Garner played the role of spy. I’m wondering if when Gugu M’Batha-Raw (sp?) got the job in Undercovers did she watch only Alias or did she also check out Yvonne to see how to play a female spy on TV.

        Although she was not on this list, Yvonne has been on numerous lists of strong female leads. I wonder if the competition looked at her to see if they could pick up any pointers.

      • thinkling says:

        the back-story thickens 😉

  9. thinkling says:

    I’m totally not sure where to put these thoughts, so I’m putting them here. (Could go post Coup, Couch spec, or here) But something in a scene from Coup just struck me

    In the arcs thread on the speculation page, I mentioned that the mom search is part of Chuck AND Sarah’s story. As soon as Sarah walked into the Buymore, she became as much a part of his story as he did of hers.

    Sarah is fully invested in the relationship. She has to discover, little by little what all that means, but I think during most moments, she is as invested as she knows how to be. It’s fun to watch her surrender new pieces of herself to the relationship as she discovers what they are and how to do it (and how pleased she is with herself after). I don’t really see her being “dragged” all that much.

    And that is just as true in Chuck’s search as it is in their couple life. OF COURSE (as she told Chuck in Anniversary) it is.

    It was one scene in Coup that made me realize this, and it seems to fit with you post, Joe. During the exchange with the Generalissimo, watch Sarah’s face. Then watch them exchange looks at the end.

    Her interest is as keen as his. She feels what he feels and questions what he questions. And on the statement that These are dangerous people, watch her. It strikes her even more than it does Chuck. She fears for him, physically and emotionally. He looks to her as his partner. He needs her. They are in it together. This is the next part of THEIR story.

    • joe says:

      I *did* notice that look on Sarah’s face, Thinkling! I absolutely agree; it shouted that she was “in” on the search for MEB, and his concerns were hers.

      From a technical and acting point of view, I was blown away by Yvonne’s reaction change. It went from “Why did Chuck bring ‘Frost’ into this?” to “Chuck flashed. This is Volcoff-related!” and “Danger, Will Robinson!” real quick, all the while, saying “This is OUR fight,” (not “This is about Chuck’s silly mission.”).

      Well, it was amazing by any standard measure for television. For Chuck and Yvonne in particular, par for the course!

      • thinkling says:

        Their shared look at the end is amazing, one of poignant empathy. Sarah is definitely worried about what Chuck is up against externally and internally.

        Remembering that may help us understand the upcoming dynamics.

  10. Godot says:

    I think we’re in for more Chuck-Sarah trivial angst if this promo for Chuck S4E10 is real… 🙂

    “CHUCK VERSUS THE PANTRY”

    CHUCK AND SARAH FACE A RELATIONSHIP CRISIS WHEN A CIA SUBSTATION KITCHEN EXPLODES – LINDA HAMILTON AND GIADA DI LAURENTIIS GUEST STAR — Chuck (Zachery Levi) goes missing because he’s afraid to tell Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) that he prefers strawberries to blueberries. Sarah frets about Chuck’s marital intentions after learning that he has a full cupboard of herbs and spices. Meanwhile, Casey, Morgan and Greta (guest star Giada De Laurentiis) enlist Jeff and Lester to investigate Mama Bartowski (guest star Linda Hamilton) after a microwave oven manufactured by Volkoff Industries explodes in the BuyMore break room. Joshua Gomez, Vic Sahay, Scott Krinsky. Bonita Friedericy and Adam Baldwin also star.

  11. ChuckNewbie8 says:

    I am a day late and a dollar short…but after a crazy week I purposely left the weekend for…well the weekend 😀

    So here goes…

    Joe, I like the thoughts but I don’t know if I’m either getting what you’re saying, or I just don’t see it like you see it. Hehe. It happens. First off, I think it’s imperative you qualify what change we’re talking about here. Sarah is trained to handle changes, that’s her M.O. New name, new mission, her oyster (does that saying still apply to today’s generation?). Wasn’t it her who always reassured Chuck about new missions? New challenges?

    But life, love? These are changes that she herself has expressed uncertainty with regards to. She didn’t unpack because it’s a risk. She didn’t tell Chuck she would go on vacation with him in Ring (Part 1) because it’s risk. She reacted defensively to Chuck asking her to move in…again because it’s a change that has more to do with life and love than what she is familiar with. Change is easy, risk is something else. When she asked Chuck to run away with her…not a lot of people were on board but I was jumping up and down. Finally a true risk for someone so fearful of commitment…not just commitment but an emotional leap. While I have since then argued that it wasn’t much of a risk BECAUSE it’s a life she’s known, it is still nonetheless a leap of faith for someone so hesitant to even just tell him they could have a future together.

    To add: awhile back people here were analyzing Sarah’s “fear” as it relates to marriage. Most I think came to the conclusion that it’s not a fear of marriage, so much as children. I argue it’s a fear of it all. In a lot of ways I think where Chuck has failed (harsh words) is reassuring her that she’s not alone in this…whatever she messes up, he’s there to help fix. That’s what a relationship is, it’s more than one person. It takes two people to make a marriage work, just like it takes two people to cause a relationship to fail.

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