Roundtable Reactions – Fear of Death

Alright Readers, this is our first attempt at this format.  I put the split bar in due to length, but I think you will find it worth the read!  Ok, so I’m biased!  Follow along after the break!


Joe’s Immediate Reaction Is – WOW!

Okay, that was. Fun. As in, the Buy Morons meet Summer Glau was the best use of a Greta yet! In fact, tell me what guest star wasn’t absolutely great tonight? Rob Riggle as Rye? Richard Chamberlain as The Belgium? All superb.

It was still early when I realized that this wasn’t about Chuck’s fear of dying. It was about Sarah’s fear of Chuck dying. She has a lot to make up for now, especially in light of her statement that she “believes in” Chuck. Now Sarah has to prove it, and boy does she look willing to do that.

Our Ms. Strahovski is known for her non-verbal acting skills, but I must say, the job she did in tonight’s episode was, to me, on par with the best she’s done. For my money, the anxiety on her face was at least the equal to the emotions we saw at the end of The Break-Up, or Best Friend.

The promos for next week look exceptionally exciting. In fact, Sarah looks absolutely fearsome. Lioness is NOT the word to describe it this time. We’ll have to find a better one.

Take it away, friends!

Dave’s Thoughts

I had fun, no doubt. But this may have been this season’s weakest entry, yet it was still a lot of fun. I thought this was the best use of the Buy More and Greta so far this season (okay, except for Suitcase). Rob Riggle was very funny as Rye; but what a moron. Why does Beckman keep sending outsiders to mess with TeamB?  They always cause more problems than they fix! At least Rye had the decency to die in the end.

Some of drama of the episode was forced, Chuck knows Sarah doesn’t require him to be a spy; so is he really ready to risk everything because it’s better than working at Buy More? And it seems contrary to past lessons learned that getting Chuck terrified would in any way help the Intersect. And Sarah’s panicked slip about Chuck not being a spy seems soooo last season.

But man does this set up something awesome! The preview was the strongest 30 seconds of the night! Sarah the lioness indeed; I’ll go way out on a limb and predict some serious butt kicking in 4.09.

Ernie’s brief (heh) synopsis.

It’s all about the team.  You don’t break up the band Yoko Beckman, surely you’ve learned that by now?

I know, you want your Chuck.

OK, this was an incredibly rich episode.  I’m tempted to say the best of the season, in that EVERY dynamic that should have been explored in season 3 but got lost, and every dynamic in season 4 that has seemed to reach some denouement was brought right back into play, and brought into play well IMHO.  Season 4 is GENIUS.  Chuck Versus the Anniversary explored everything.  Can Chuck and Sarah be a couple outside the spy world.  Can Chuck leave the spy world, and can any of team B be good spies outside the team anymore?  Yeah, been there done that, but like much of this season they make a little more plain what they hinted at before.  Chuck Versus the Suitcase?  Sarah has unpacked, that changes things with Chuck.  Cubic Z and Coup d’Etat just reinforce that.  Sarah has invested in Chuck.  Sarah has invested everything in Chuck.  It may be a little unhealthy emotionally, but it’s Sarah, so it’s progress, and we root for her.  And there is a little fallout.  Sarah wants to protect her investment.  OK, previous angst, discussed at length.  But it is more than Chuck and Sarah angst, for those predisposed to see it as such.

So once again, with the team broken up and the intersect spotty the CIA decides the problem is the team, not the lack of the team.  Well, I work for the government, not too much of a stretch.  Once again someone tells Chuck that Sarah holds him back, and that he should embrace being a spy ’cause it’s really cool, when he needs to see and feel why it matters.  Yes, the CIA is clueless, and yes, we are doomed to some angst based on that.  But Chuck and Sarah both know better.  They are on the same page, but not the same paragraph.  Oh, and Casey finally gets it.  I think.

The itchy trigger finger is Casey not understanding what is going on.  He wants his team, he’s made friends, he knows he has people he can count on, and he wants to do something to preserve it, but he can’t.  It isn’t up to him.  He needs someone else.  It hurts.  Not just a someone else like Alex, but the spy someone else.  Why does it matter?

Oddly Gretta puts it in perspective.  Eliminate the threat?  Smart play.  But then what are you fighting for?  The ability to arbitrarily kill at will?  No, you are fighting for what Chuck has understood all along, the people who have’t a clue how much danger they’re in.  The people too clueless to save themselves.  That is a noble cause.  In the Casey-verse, it’s likely to produce a unique grunt, but it’s a worthy cause nonetheless.

So to the rest, Chuck was a spy, and a good one with intersect 1.0, with Sarah and Casey.  In season 3, neither Sarah, nor Casey were particularly good spies without Chuck, intersect or no.  Chuck on the other hand only seems to suffer because his “partner’s” agenda has nothing to do with helping people, but is willing to destroy all that Chuck holds dear for “the intersect”.  They still don’t get it.  Chuck and the intersect don’t exist separately.  If something is intrinsic to Chuck, who he is, what he values, it is intrinsic to the intersect.  The Intersect doesn’t exist without Chuck, but Chuck, well Chuck is a force of nature.  Intersect or no, Chuck matters.

So, the rock? as usual, the CIA is clueless, and counterproductive.  OK, to be fair, Sarah was less than awesome.  Perhaps she hears that siren song of the normal life again.  It took a lot for her to accept Chuck as who he was and how much she wanted to be a part of that, and it nearly destroyed her when she thought she’d been the cause of making Chuck like her.  Now, without the intersect, is she feeling like they may have their excuse, their way out?  That picture of her old Chuck, the Chuck that needed her above all else may hint at where Sarah is emotionally.

For a genius Rye was remarkably clueless.  Chuck’s every action was to protect Sarah and to get back to who he was for the team.  Chuck understands, Sarah will not protect herself when it comes to Chuck, and the team isn’t the team without him.  People depend on Chuck, and he knows it.  At his core Chuck is the hero because he will come through for the people who depend on him, regardless of the cost to himself.

Don’t be a hero?  Not gonna happen, it’s who Chuck is.  There is your drama.  Some may call it angst.  Not me.

– Ernie

Faith aka Jem’s long-winded trademark ;-).

While some things change, some stay the same. It’s fortuitous at this point in time to have Amy’s Identity and Balance post on an arc that seems to call that into question most of all. My initial impressions of this episode was one of unsettlement. It’s been said but Nicholas Wooten…the writer of Cubic Z wrote this episode and much like his first go around, this one had all the components of a fantastic episode (Genius as Ernie puts it) that just missed, but in his defense, this one ended with a bang. On second watch, I’m much more positive, and certainly emotionally yo-yo’d the way only Chuckcan.

It was in Predator when Sarah uttered these words:

Sarah: Your search for Orion was a rogue operation, do you know how dangerous that is?

Chuck: And I didn’t tell you.

Sarah: And you didn’t tell me…you should have trusted me.

And Subway when Shaw (sorry!) these words:

Shaw: It’s a shame, I remember when nothing affected you. Now you’re as emotional as your boyfriend.

And in the end both of these floated to the surface once more. Sarah didn’t disrespect his abilities lightly (but disrespect it she did!). She was always his champion from, “you’re good at your job too and not just here fixing computers, but the one that you were always supposed to have,” to “that’s not what a normal guy would do,” and the numerous times when she herself have painted him hero. But she’s not thinking as a spy, she’s thinking as a girlfriend, one whose entire world rests on the health and safety of “Chuck Bartowski.” And therein is where:

Sarah: Why does it make sense to risk your life?

Chuck: Because that’s what I do, I’m a spy.

Sarah: No Chuck, you’re not (a spy). At least not right now…I just can’t let you risk your own life.

We talked a lot about blindside last go around, and to me there isn’t a clearer representation of Sarah’s blindside than in this epi and it looks like the coming one (no spoilers! lol). But in the end keep in mind these words from Tooth:

Sarah: I need him to be ok.

And of course there’s the question of identity. Or should I say destiny? Is Chuck really a spy without the intersect? Perhaps not, but he was always a hero. He showed spy aptitude by being smart, and being who he is in preparing for the mission…he may not be able to flash but Chuck is a guy who will do the right thing, always…this is no different.

So why was I unsettled? Because while I appreciated the concepts, I shudder at the execution. Summer Glau was fantastic, don’t get me wrong, but Riggle was overbearing and the persistent issue of trust over the team is shades of First Class and that is never a good thing. I also didn’t understand how they came to the conclusion that Sarah is the rock holding down the intersect, she may have been wrong in her actions and harsh words in this episode but overall she has been the reason why Chuck is who he is.

On the plus side I asked for a scene in reverse of Anniversary’s bed scene where Chuck misses her and I got that. She goes into their room and he’s not there. She looks at their picture…a simpler time and misses him. It should be mentioned (to echo Joe) fantastic acting by our very own Ms. Strahovski, gifted doesn’t begin to describe it but I digress lol…to add insult to injury he’s been abducted and she’s helpless. Sarah Walker, spy extraordinaire helpless. And she’s right, in some ways it is her fault. While he’s not proving this solely to be with her, he is doing it somewhat because of her…”you were the one that taught me that being a spy is about choosing something bigger, putting aside your own emotional feelings and that’s what I chose.” So to go full circle, “why does it make sense to risk your life?” Because this is who he’s become, with you.

(P.S. sorry that was long lol, I promise to be more concise in the future).

Thinkling’s First Thoughts … Fear of Death

First reaction, without looking at the others: Wow. This episode touched on all things “Chuck” and did it with enough humor to lend buoyancy to a weighty exploration of our favorite characters and themes of the show.

The Buymore. Overall I think the show has outgrown the Buymore, except for the occasional outing, like this one. I enjoyed the trip down memory lane … the return to the old Buymore with a new twist. How could I not smile at Chuck’s exchange with Jeffster as he sits at the Nerd Herd desk once again wondering if the Buymore is his lot in life. But of course the best was Sarah’s wind-machine, slow-mo entrance and Chuck’s megawatt smile. I much prefer this grown-up version of what was such a standard scene in s1&2. I don’t miss the cover outfits or … the cover at all actually. The long expected clash between the two worlds was well played, but need not be done again … at least not as a focus.

PDA. Don’t know where to put this, but since it’s been a recent topic of discussion, I’ll point out the hello at the Buymore, the two goodbyes in Castle, in front of Casey and GB. Then the scenes in the Bartowski home were quite nice, too.

Sarah. Lover/Protector/Lioness. I liked her support of Chuck during his chewing out (which was mild compared to what I expected). Her defense of her man: to Morgan and Casey, to Rye, and to any and all people willing to put him at real risk to restore the Intersect. Her smirk and “I think I know how to fix this.” Her letting him know that he’s great without the Intersect b/c he’s Chuck Bartowski. Her defense of “our home.” And maybe if Rye hadn’t interrupted her treatment … nuff said. Lioness Sarah off to find Chuck. She can’t do otherwise.

Chuck. Lots of being strapped to the dentist-chair-on-steroids. 31 days of Funniest Home Videos didn’t restore the Intersect. Where did they get these scientists. Bummer. He rather likes being a spy. He has embraced his destiny and doesn’t want to go back. In fact, he’s no longer sure who he is if he isn’t a spy. Two things are clear. 1) Chuck is a hero. Chuck has always been a hero. 2) Chuck is not a spy without the Intersect. He has the mind of a spy, but without the abilities of the Intersect to fight and defend himself, even to flash on Intel, he’s not the spy he needs to be; and the team loses its purpose for existing.

Casey. A great episode for Casey. Grunts with Chuck and a small smile over being his shadow. His itchy finger. He tries to go back to the old Casey, but he can’t, and Alex helps him realize that he shouldn’t. I love the way he solved the GRETA incident and spared Jeffster and how he defended his team to GRETA. His attempts to cheer up Sarah by affirming Chuck’s intelligence with our without the intersect. He knows Sarah well enough to know exactly what she will do and he’s willing to go rogue to help her and Chuck and his team. He’s come along way.

Morgan. We got mature Morgan this week. It was a good week for him, trying to diffuse the Buymore crisis, worried about Casey and the team, and fully integrating into the hunt for Chuck. I liked this Morgan.

Chuck & Sarah. Their relationship was part of every scene. Chuck & Sarah are together now, even when they’re not. Chuck wishing for Sarah in a non-official capacity to enjoy Switzerland together … too wonderful for words. The relationship at first glance … the most important thing I saw was their solid, unshakable love. Sarah knows who she loves, and it matters not to her if he is Agent Carmichael or Chuck Bartowski, she loves him unequivocally; and she will do anything for him. This is not news to anyone, but it was powerfully portrayed in this episode. Chuck’s realization was breathtaking, literally. Dangling 200 feet above a rocky Alp, risking his life to get back the Intersect and being told that letting go of Sarah is the key, he finally realizes how ridiculous Rye’s theory is. Rye has been trying to make Chuck whole in one area by crippling him in another. He needs Sarah b/c he loves her, and he would rather love Sarah than have the Intersect. That realization is a step toward getting it back. The episode raised some issues they yet need to iron out, but it also put their relationship on good ground to move forward. They need to know who they are without the Intersect, so they can be all they can be with it.

The biggest specter present everywhere, though absent, was the Intersect itself, a topic for further exploration in coming days.


Amy’s Take

I’ve rewatched and overall, I was satisfied with the episode.  I will try to not rehash the other’s summaries but I do feel, as many others do, that this was a re-hash.  While I found Rye more humorous than, say Shaw, he was yet another in a line of clueless people when it comes to Chuck, the Intersect, and Team dynamics.  Why hasn’t Beckman learned to lean on Casey and Sarah, or even Morgan (they have an oddly co-dependent relationship after all) to help Chuck out.  The concept that Sarah is holding him back flies in the face of everything we have learned.  Even Beckman has told Sarah as much in previous episodes.  And as much as Sarah’s outburst (note I didn’t say Agent Walker) was hurtful, it came from Sarah the girlfriend.  I hope they can really work through that when we see them together again.  I thought we were set to have the miracle cure on the gondola when Chuck realized Sarah’s importance, but I’m glad they are stretching it out a bit.

It was nice to see Casey admit that he has made friends.  I thought he was reverting for a milisecond when he started calling Sarah “Walker” again.  He seemed to really understand Sarah this go round, almost sympathetic.

I am anxiously awaiting next week and the following Thanksgiving episode.


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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111 Responses to Roundtable Reactions – Fear of Death

  1. jason says:

    just read the reviews, pretty over the top liking 4×8, I read the 1st 6 reviews this am that I googled, in no particular order, I don’t think any of them liked the A plot, but I thought 4 of the 6 liked the buymore plot this time.

    Yet another show of c or S being ordered by beckman to be split apart and having that not work out, seemed like a bad idea in the past, seems unexcusable this time.

    But, by and large, I found nothing repulsive about the episode, and I am pretty sure the second part to this ep (i.e. 4×9) is going to be great, so what the heck.

    I have trouble seeing why you all should be so giddy about 4×8 however, it was not that good, the nicest thing I could say is it was not gruesome.

    • Faith says:

      I think giddy is a bit much. I read a conflicting group of reviews up their with IMO mine being the one reaching for the most. I’ve come to the conclusion that what went wrong was how it was written and that’s pretty much where I had to dig deep and not criticize on the strength…well weakness of the performances.

      Also it’s important to note for most of us this is a second watch review…well it was for me. 🙂

      • jason says:

        yea – no big deal really, I was curious how you guys would react, as this ep was a little hard for me to decipher my own feelings, what is that blogger word for indifference – meh?

        I love how in love sarah is, and I am getting used to chuck acting 5 years old, but this whole thing of the CIA / Beckman being so incompetent, whatever, back to my new fav word – ‘meh’

        I don’t know who the fat ninja CIA guest star is – is he supposed to be a comedian in real life? He struggled mightyly, the problem for these guys, they are taking screen time that either would be Zach’s with Yvonne of Yvonne’s with Zach, and unless you are pretty good at acting (say tim dalton or linda h good), you are going to look bad by comparison.

    • herder says:

      Jason, I’ve read two “giddy reviews” (tvsquad and televisionwithoutpity), the rest seem to fall under either “I liked most of it” or “I’ll have to see the next episode to decide what I think of it”. I think I fall somewhere between the latter two, that may change on rewatching.

  2. Ernie Davis says:

    I think it bugs all of us to one degree or another that like the “they don’t talk” or the interrupted conversation gimmicks they beat to death in the process of keeping Chuck and Sarah apart they now are re-visiting the Sarah holds you back and the Chuck is useless without the intersect tropes. I think we’re always going to get some of that from the outsider guest stars. Beckman is another matter. But for the most part it doesn’t detract from my enjoyment because unlike the beaten to death angst the characters react differently this time, and it shows some real growth. I say in these cases re-visiting something is not just justified, but a good thing on occasion.

    Casey has finally come to the conclusion that the smart spy move isn’t always the best thing, or the right thing to do. Sarah’s protective nature was at first relaxed enough to allow Chuck to do things his way and to try to get the intersect back despite what it was doing to him, but when it became all-consuming and foolish she rightly tried to step in, as Beckman recognized. Unfortunately Sarah is less practiced in checking her emotions than a “normal girl” and she ends up exacerbating the problem. I think it’s going to be fun to see the lengths she’ll go to to fix it.

    • thinkling says:

      I, too, didn’t mind some of the repeat lessons. Facing the same lesson in a new context is realistic. (I know you can’t do it over and over, like say all the times and ways Clark has lost his powers on Smallville. We’re no where near that yet.)

      C/S are in a very different place than before as far as the Intersect not working, and the cause is utterly different. It’s not emotional or relational; it’s external. That’s refreshing, different, and legitimate. Because Chuck & Sarah and TeamB are in a different place, the ramifications of no-Intersect are different and worth exploring. Before, the team had not gelled or received presidential notice. Now the team is threatened, and a national asset is on hold. And of course, this time, Chuck & Sarah have to address it as a couple. Overall it seems much more legitimate than the emotional route they took in s3. And it’s nice to see C/S dealing with it together … well, sort of.

      And, yes, we are about to see Sarah go farther than she ever has to fix things. Promises to be great to the googol power. 😉

  3. First Timer says:

    Like Jason, I don’t get your collective gushing over the episode. But, hey, whatever floats your intersect.

    One thing that struck me, though: Isn’t this the end of the GRETA concept? How could they logically introduce another GRETA now that Jeffster is on the prowl? Even for this show, it would strain credulity.

    So I think we’ve seen the last GRETA. And just as well, I think. I know nothing of Glau or her work, but her GRETA was incredibly severe, I thought. Carina Miller or Sarah would have taken care of Jeffster with something less startling: a faux seducition. This GRETA isn’t so smart if she felt pulling a knife on two buffoons was the good spy move…

    And, by the way, the budget cuts are really beginning to bite. Those green-screen effects are getting worse, not better.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      My first reaction, accurately recorded was that I really enjoyed the episode. I thought there was excellent drama and the performances from Zach, Yvonne and Adam were spot on. I thought the Gretta story was amusing and Jeff and Lester were only slightly over the top this week. I especially liked the ending scenes with Sarah and Casey.

      When I enjoy an episode I’m less bothered by the silly premises or paper thin plots or the standard tropes trotted out again that have always been a part of this show. The stupid stick is a regular feature now, so I’ve learned to live with it if I enjoy the episode overall.

    • patty says:

      Greta and Rye both represent pitfalls of the spy world. Greta is whaht Casey once was.

      Rye is different. he is open to jokes and really enjoys the perks of being a spy, like going to cool places like Switzerland. He is meant to be a little like Chuck.

      He decides that the key to getting Chuck flashing again is fear, which is probably right. After all Chuck manages several almost flashes when he is afraid.

      Where he fails is in his assumption that the scariest thing is fear of death. That may be true for Rye but not for Chuck.

      The closest Chuck comes to flashing properly is when the Belgian says that he wants to capture (not kill) him because he is the Intersect. This is scarier to Chuck than being killed. It is still not enough to make him flash though.

      Rye also holds with the spy idea in the Chuck ‘verse that depending on others is a weakness so he again misidentifies (is that even a word?) the cause of Chucks inability to flash as Sarah.

      The thing Chuck is most afraid of is Sarah getting killed. If she is threatened he will flash. So, far from being the rock holding the Intersect down Sarah is the thing that gives Chuck, and the Intersect, the most support.

      Oh since the Greta thing has played out maybe they should use the alphabetical Hurricane lists to name the agents assigned to the Buymore instead! 😉

      • herder says:

        My problem was more in the logic of the thing, Chuck is shown some wierd images on a PSP as a result of which he cannot flash. Because of this Agent Rye concludes that not only is Sarah the rock, sitting on his ability to flash but that he relies on her too much and finally that he has to get over her in order to flash (or what ever he said in the door to the Gondola while Chuck was dangleing). How does what Chuck feels for Sarah have anything to do with what was done to him by his mother. Aside from this central logical failure, I liked the episode.

      • luckygirl says:

        I think the Sarah thing might just be a bit of a red herring. Rye could be no more right than any of the other scientists that thought they knew how to fix him. I’m guessing there is still more to all of this.

      • thinkling says:

        I like the alphabet idea, Patty. Jeffster would never catch on.

        I agree that if the cause of the no-flash were internal, you’d be exactly right. But he is still pretty much flashing at will. But there’s nothing there, or almost nothing. I think that since the cause was external, the solution may be, as well. So, I kind of felt like they were barking up the wrong tree the whole time. But I still enjoyed it.

      • thinkling says:

        Great minds think alike … and post at the same time apparently 😉

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        @herder – Truth be told I was very disappointed that they flogged the old horse of Sarah being the emotional rock hampering the Intersect, whereas events at the end of 4×07 had demonstrated that Chuck lost his ability to flash because he was PSPed by Mama B. His flashing was suppressed due to a technical mess not by some emotional event concerning Sarah. As you say – logical failure in how two unrelated things were clubbed together to from a faulty opinion.

        I hope that by the end of 4×09,Chuck realizes that his flashless episodes are in no way related to Sarah.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        The thing Chuck is most afraid of is Sarah getting killed. If she is threatened he will flash. So, far from being the rock holding the Intersect down Sarah is the thing that gives Chuck, and the Intersect, the most support.

        True dat. If TPTB are not going for a red herring and sticking to the notion that Chuck cannot flash because of Sarah, then I hope he regains his flashing skills when/if he finds Sarah in danger. Two advantages – First, the Intersect will be up and running again and second, any doubts about Sarah being the rock that were planted in his head by Rye would disappear for ever.

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        genie, I get the Sarah is the Rock and the Chuck can’t “function” properly without her as well as Chuck flashing to likely save her – all cool.

        Chuck needs Sarah which is cool because she’s his girlfriend / (hopefully) solemate.

        My question is why does Sarah need Chuck?
        She’s willing to do what looks likes “anything” whether lawful or not to get Chuck back – again cool (shoulda donit last season, IMO. But why? Does she need him to function as well?

      • jason says:

        the reason I think sarah needs chuck is to complete her as a person, without chuck, she is season 3 sarah, a great spy, a cold blooded assassin, a seductress, a person who really does not like herself and dreams of being a normal girl – with chuck, she may not be normal exactly, but she can sure strive for it. I think the magic of the season 4 arc, will be how does spy sarah and normal chuck find that ground in the middle, where sarah inches toward normal and chuck inches toward spy, completing each other’s best way they see themselves as well as each other

        Of course, that is if TPTB ever decide to let them have episodes together, rather than hire guys name rod widdle to steal zach from half a show for no apparent reason whatsoever – geez

    • joe says:

      Hum… I think the gushing was a bit inevitable, FT (and Jason). Personally, I wrote minutes after the show, and was still on quite an emotional high. That’s normal for me. 😉

      But it’s 16 hours later, I’ve slept on it, and of course, the nuances have changed in my head.

      Here’s what I’d keep. Fear of Death had the best use of a Greta yet. My love of Summer Glau went up yet another notch, and Greta justified the expanded use of the Buy More crew this time. The few minutes of Alex with Casey were precious. Casey’s growth (like I tried to emphasis in my last post) continues like I hoped it would. About Sarah…

      This was my favorite Sarah episode in a long, long time. I’ve been fighting a feeling that the character has been “off” wrt Chuck by thinking that she’s still finding her sea-legs in the relationship and the awkwardness comes from that. When you’re wobbly you’re headed in no clear direction. Yesterday I saw a clear direction, and it was fantastic. Sarah’s commitment to (and belief in) Chuck is one of those things about which my evaluation (my gut!) will change until the very end – until it’s resolved. THEN (and only then) will I be able to go back to Anniversary, start again, and enjoy the details of what I saw. Yesterday I think I saw a glimpse of the Sarah I knew – not in S2, but in S1, when she was sure she knew what she wanted and sure she knew how to get it. The “what” and the “how” have changed drastically. But the girl is back.

      Okay – the down side. This was NOT anything like an episode that can stand on its own. Clearly, at best it was a foundation for the rest of the arc. When I woke up this morning I realized how completely I had forgotten about Mama B., Volkoff, Ellie and Stephen’s computer (and all his destroyed files). When that line meets this one it’s going to be great, but we’re not there yet.

      Chuck was a non-entity this time. We’ve seen him be heroic without the intersect before and it’s sort of a let down to see him regress. I’ll allow it this time because Fear of Death is still a building-block episode in my mind.

      Riggle surprised me. He was great in the role (I have to disagree with those who say having another specialist come in to “fix” Chuck was repetitive. Rye was not at all like Shaw). I’m also glad he’s gone. We had just enuf of Rye! I’m really looking forward to more Richard Chamberlain, though!

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, Joe. Richard Chamberlain makes a good bad guy. Sorry, but my first thought was that Dr Kildare had aged well. Too bad he’s a baddie. He and TD are baddies of the same feather: smooth, sophisticated … evil. Good choice.

        Something else I liked in Sarah was her open vulnerability in front of Casey and Morgan at the end. She wasn’t crying, but she was teary and emotional … very Sarah … very un-Walker. She is more open with Casey this season, which I like. But this is the first time she has been teary with anyone besides Chuck. She was also a little more open about her Chuck feelings in front of Beckman, not intentionally, but they did show through.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Joe, I’m going to disagree a bit with you on Chuck. While it seemed he was just getting pushed around I thought the beating he took spoke well of his growth from the guy with the low threshold for pain and an aversion to needles.

      • joe says:

        Ernie, that’s true. I thought it was interesting that despite the fact that Chuck was supposed to getting frightened to death he kept facing up to each situation bravely. Chuck is no coward, and even the girlish screams are gone!

        So if Chuck’s not going to be frightened, then what’s going to remove that rock from the Intersect? That rock can’t be Sarah – she’s always been there, Intersect or no. Whatever Stephen’s device did to Chuck, it’s not going to be un-done by anything internal to his brain, I think.

        Like I said, I decided the title isn’t about Chuck at all. That was a Red Herring. It’s about Sarah. She’s the one who’s got the co-dependency, and she’s the one with inhibitions that’s preventing her from (get this!) believing in Chuck.

        Isn’t that weird? Not really. Agent Walker’s big problem all along is that she has a hard time thinking about something beyond herself. Now that she’s found Chuck and Family, she can see what she’s been missing, and is almost there. But her instinct to protect him is getting in the way. It’s getting in HIS way.

        Chuck will have that blocked removed – I’m sure that’s what Stephen’s lap-top is about. But Sarah is a whole ‘nother problem. Chuck has complained several times about how he doesn’t believe in himself. Sarah has to demonstrate that she believes in him too.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Joe, we pretty much agree on this.  The Fear of Death was Sarah’s fear of Chuck’s death.  I’ve sort of danced around this in several posts but after re-watching I think I may be on the right track.  It once again comes down to the characters only having part of the story.

        Rye has a theory about PFOD, and Chuck gives it some credence at first since he starts to flash each time, but by the end he’s discounted it basically because he has faced death and not flashed.  Guys with guns and dangling from a great height are not new experiences for our boy.  Neither is a solo mission.

        All Sarah knows is that Rye is determined to put Chuck in a life or death situation with no backup, and Chuck isn’t flashing.  When Sarah asks Casey if he thinks Chuck can handle himself if necessary Casey gives the honest truth, the one that Sarah knows but is afraid to say.  We don’t know if he can, but he’ll try.  Chuck is a hero and will put his life on the line for his team or the mission, and he has done it time and again both with the 1.0 and the 2.0.  Fear is not an issue with Chuck, he does overcome it, even when there were girlish screams involved.  Sarah knows this.  He took on three ninjas and allowed himself to be beaten to a pulp for his team.  And she knows that no matter how many times she says don’t be a hero, don’t risk it if you can’t flash, that is precisely what he will do.  She also knows the hard truth, on his own without the intersect and without his team he doesn’t stand a chance because he won’t shoot someone in the back, or even shoot to kill unless someone else, like her, is threatened.

        Chuck knows Sarah will do anything to protect him, including get herself killed, which as we know is Chuck’s real greatest fear.  Without the intersect in the field he now feels like a liability to her and the team, even though he possesses other spy skills, which are not glossed over in this episode, he lacks confidence.  The loss of confidence on Chuck’s part however t isn’t his real issue.  Sarah almost seems to prefer he didn’t get the intersect back, and Chuck must at least suspect he knows the reason.  He wouldn’t be out there risking his life, he’d be safe.  Chuck’s safety is Sarah’s main, perhaps only, concern.  Chuck actually refers to this when Rye thinks he’s identified Sarah as the problem for Chuck. Chuck doesn’t call for Sarah in his bedroom to come and save him, he calls to warn her, then tries to flash and handle the situation.  Rye thinks Chuck couldn’t flash because he knew Sarah would save him.  Hello stupid stick. Chuck took on three Ninjas and endured 31 days of experimentation, and took a beating without complaint. Chuck only turned to Sarah in the vault when he thought he needed his team, his natural reaction to having no way to solve the problem and a partner who looks to him to solve the problem. The problem is Rye keeps putting Chuck in no-win situations where only a flash can save them (in his opinion) and then criticizes Chuck for looking for a solution when he can’t flash. That is Chuck being a hero, not Chuck expecting momma Sarah to save him. But Chuck also knows that were Sarah there he’d just as likely cause her death and capture as his own, so when Rye says let’s be heroes, Chuck agrees, because the mission and Sarah’s safety are more likely achieved if he puts himself on the line again.

        Sarah knows Chuck is a hero, and will sacrifice himself for others without hesitation. And she knows that while he isn’t flashing and Rye is his partner Chuck making that sacrifice is a virtual certainty. Chuck knows that Sarah will do anything to protect him, up to and including treason, or sacrificing her life. Do they still have some issues about being a spy couple. Oh yeah, but they’re real and dramatic, and show us both the tragic and heroic parts of our heroes while keeping them both who they are, and people we can root for.

        Season 4 is GENIUS.

      • JC says:

        Sarah is going to have come to terms that being a spy is a part of who Chuck is just like her and Casey. Intersect or not being a spy has always been a part of him whether he knew or not.

        She’s making the exact same mistakes that Orion did in 3.5. Sarah’s trying to shelter and protect Chuck when he needs her to support and believe in him. And just like Orion had his wake up call, Sarah needs hers.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Bryce also made that mistake at Stanford.

        Chuck doesn’t need someone standing in front of him or making the decisions fo rhim, he needs a partner to stand by his side.

        Casey seems more willing than Sarah to see Chuck as an equal or better in spying (he repeated about Chuck being smart) but it’s Sarah Chuck needs to stand by him.

      • JC says:

        Yep that’s why I hoping that Chuck gets himself out of the situation with no help. Because if Sarah saves him then nothing will change.

  4. JC says:

    I guess I’m the most vocal person here in my dislike of the episode.

    I don’t mind the show revisiting certain themes. The not unpacking in Suitcase and the idea that Sarah and Heather were the same in Cubic Z was just as stupid as Sarah’s gut shot in this episode. I understand what they were trying to do even though it was executed terribly. The difference between those two and what happened last night is how they were played. The first two were played for laughs and were resolved by the end of the episode. Last night it was completely different and that’s part of my dislike.

    Now both Suitcase and Cubic Z led to some great character growth for Sarah in regards to her issues and I expect the same in Phase Three. My biggest problem with the episode is this notion of Chuck is worthless without the 2.0 is garbage created and left over from S3. That issue was created solely in S3 which contradicted the first two seasons. This feels like a retcon of a retcon.

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      One way this could have flowed better was if TPTB had Sarah trying to convince Chuck to stay away from danger because his physical skills were compromised at that time – and not outright tell him that he wasn’t a spy (granted that it was Sarah, the girlfriend talking).

      As for those who are saying that Chuck is not a spy without the Intersect – IMHO, physical skills are not compulsory for someone to be classified as a spy. Spies come in all shapes and sizes and attributes. It’s what they do best with their given abilities that brings diversity and creativity to the table. Chuck has been a spy for the last 3 years ( a more accomplished one in the past one year) using his natural skills – instinct and smartness and acquired ones like the Intersect. Now that he has lost the Intersect, he is indeed limited in his physical skills,but not so in his other abilities. And that is why I feel that a stinging judgment that he is not a spy is a tad bit unfair.

      And coming to the part about Sarah being the emotional rock hampering the Intersect – I fully agree with Faith when she says that “isn’t Chuck who he is due to Sarah ( for a large part). So, the notion that she is holding back the Intersect is total BS. I hope that the scene where Chuck says to Rye that he needs Sarah more than the Intersect translates into the very trigger that shoots the Intersect back into action.

      • thinkling says:

        Chuck and Sarah are both who they are b/c of each other. They need to re-apprise themselves of that fact, delight in it, soak it in and live it out. It’s the only way they can be who they are meant to be as a couple and a spy couple.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        I believe JC has said this before about Chuck and Sarah both realizing that they cannot live/function without each other. It’s a very powerful notion nay fact that hopefully gets explored more on the show. Throw them apart or plant doubts in their minds about each other and you get two very lost disjointed individuals. Put them together – emotionally, physically and professionally and watch as both reach new heights in their personal and professional lives. Can we hope to see this? I am confident that we will.

      • JC says:


        See that’s a perfectly valid concern for her to have and would have been the normal Sarah response. But they had to make her say something hurtful to get Chuck to do something stupid so he would be captured.

        You’ll get no argument from me about Chuck being a spy without the Intersect. Somewhere along the way in the show spy and assassin got lumped together.

        Honestly I hope Sarah or his emotions have nothing to do with the Intersect troubles. Its like they completely forgot about the PSP. Now I’m hoping it was misdirect and the solution is in the Orion computer and partly comes when The Belgian starts messing with the Intersect.

      • JC says:


        Of course Chuck and Sarah are they are now because of each. They were both broken people at the beginning of the series. Sarah pushed and shaped Chuck into the man he was always destined to be. Chuck gave Sarah back the humanity she had been hiding from the world and herself.

        And I agree they need both need another wake up call of sorts. Chuck needs to realize that Sarah’s fears aren’t about his abilities but about losing the one person she cares about above everything. Sarah needs to see that being a spy is part of Chuck’s DNA. Its in his blood and keeping it from him is like going against nature.

      • amyabn says:

        alladin, I agree with your comments. I thought Casey’s comments about “before the Intersect, you were smart” along with Sarah’s support would have laid the foundation for a more confident Chuck. His completely ignoring his other skills to rely on the Intersect is a giant step backwards for Chuck.

        I was glad about his declaration regarding Sarah (while dangling from the Gondola). I too thought the Intersect would fire back up, but maybe Sarah needs to be in danger for it to truly kick in. We shall see!

      • Faith says:

        Here’s a somewhat different take from K (kaaskop15 for those that participate on the boards):

        “Chuck is more Sarahs safety net than she is his; its counter to what weve seen.”

        Good stuff.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        @Faith – Interesting scenario from K. So, is it safe to assume that Sarah was worried about something happening to Chuck because, deep down she feared that she will lose her safety net in life.

      • Faith says:

        Yes. And not just that but her home. ♥

    • patty says:

      Even Rye was impressed by Chuck when he pulled out a loupe and found the microdot. It is obvious that Chuck brings more to the spy world than just the Intersect. I think maybe Casey is the only person in Chuck’s world to see this though.

      To be fair Sarah is a little overwhelmed by her fear that Chuck is going to get himself killed, she’ll probably get it eventually.

      • amyabn says:

        I was waiting for a comment about the loupe and diamond shopping for a certain leggy valkyrie with an aversion to clothing 😉

        I know, I’m a romantic sucker, but that loupe may make another appearance soon. Here’s to hoping!

  5. odysszeuss says:

    Congrat Mods. This roundtable format is really good. I really like reading all your POV’s this short after an episode.

  6. jason says:

    I am so envious of those who love the show castle the way we do chuck, because each and every episode, rick and kate are on screen together alot, the showrunner fullfills his weekly contract with his fans. 4×8 Bob Wiggle was hired to consume chuck for 20 minutes, I just find nothing fun or funny about bob wiggle (or josh gomez) and zach levi on tv for 20 minutes of a 40 minute episode, when I know the substitute is yvonne strahovski with zach. How can TPTB expect to get and retain fans, what new fan would want to watch bob wiggle for 20 minutes, goodness sakes, ok end of rant, end of my meh mood too, geez!

  7. Anonymous says:

    ‘So to go full circle, “why does it make sense to risk your life?” Because this is who he’s become, with you.’

    I don’t think Sarah would like that answer 🙂 At least,not in this episode but i agree.

    • Faith says:

      I think I’m safe for now. She’s too busy looking for Chuck. Or am I?

      If you don’t hear from me you know what happened. Haha.


      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        If Sarah comes asking for you, then we will have no trouble giving her directions to reach you. Better an endangered Queen than helpless subjects blown away by Hurricane Walker. 😉 🙂

  8. Matt says:

    Wow, this format seriously slows down comments. I’m not sure if its from all the extra reading, or if the normal responders (not sure if there is a better word for the people who leave comments) to the article already got their say in. I am usually responder number 50 or higher; feels like I am really on the ball today.

    I liked the fact that Sarah openly told Chuck he wasn’t a spy and shouldn’t be going on the mission, but would have preferred her do it privately. Chuck doesn’t need protection from the group and/or Beckman. I think it would have been more courteous to have the discussion without everyone else there. I realize the mission was not known ahead of time, but telling Chuck he’s not a spy in front of everyone seemed a little harsh whether Sarah was protecting Chuck or not. In the end she was right, but sometimes being right isn’t everything.

    • weaselone says:

      How was Sarah right?

      • Kisku says:

        Sarah was right in a way, that when he found himself in a situation where his smarts weren’t any help and just brute force was required, he couldn’t do anything and got quickly overpowered.

        Chuck maybe is smart guy, he has some good experience now, but his actual skill, especially fighting ones are limited…and lets remember Chuck is an field agent now, he might be brilliant analist without an intersect help, but it’s not the same as being there in the field…yeah ppl say in season 1/2 Chuck got himself out of trouble because of his smarts, but lets be serious here, plots were constructed in such a way that Chuck could be of use even without skills. So lets say that in 50% of the situation Chuck would be able to get out of trouble, but in rest cases if on his own he’s dead meat without an intersect….and if ppl say so he should get real training….ok, so then lets make an flash forward two years into the future, because that’s how much time it would require Chuck to get those skills.

      • JC says:

        Or it should have happened the minute he decided to become a spy. They spent millions of dollars on training him and had a facility built solely for him but he never got any real training? And its not like he doesn’t have everyday contact with to highly trained spies oh wait yes he does.

      • weaselone says:

        True, but on the flip side the first episode of the season saw Casey and Sarah easily captured by Volkoff’s men. Does that mean they’re not real spies because they lacked the wits to extract themselves when brawn was insufficient?

  9. Judy says:

    Is it possible that Frost is in the diamond CIA info?

  10. weaselone says:

    First, I’m with Ernie in that I really enjoyed this episode. I felt this was finally a strong use of Greta, the drama didn’t bother me and while the A plot may have been less than perfectly constructed, the actual spy mission itself was realistic.

    I think one huge difference between those who liked and did not like this episode is the interpretation of Chuck’s actions. My impression was that Chuck never bought the “Sarah as load stone” thesis. He was willing to do whatever it took to regain the use of the Intersect and preserve the team. Sarah was far less willing to see Chuck suffer and expose himself to risk. This created a conflict and Chuck comes to see that while Sarah is not the cause of his impairment, her protectiveness and his dependency on her may be a barrier to his overcoming the Intersect difficulties.

  11. odysszeuss says:

    Hey Mods. Is it OK to but that here???

    RT @JoshSchwartz76 Why #Chuck is unstoppable. Definitely worth a read.

  12. Rick Holy says:

    Definitely not one of the better Chuck episodes, but there were some “golden” moments. First the negative. I know I’m not up on all the latest “pop culture” and everything that’s on TV, but am I supposed to know who Rob Ribble is?? I have to be honest. He may be a great fellow and a good actor (?), but I don’t think he was well suited for this role. If he’s a “name” that is familiar to people, I think they could have found a “no name” that could have fit that particular part a little better. There were a couple of moments when he shined, but most of the time he was kind of annoying. Maybe it wasn’t Rob Riggle’s fault – maybe it was a little weakness in the writing for his character.

    Another negative – waaaaay to much Jeff and Lester. They should just be in the background and occasionally provide some sophomoric comic fodder – but please, this IS a story about CHUCK and Sarah (and Casey and “Team Bartowski). A little Jeff and Lester on occasion is more than enough.

    Positives. Actually I liked Sarah’s line, “You’re not a spy.” She still sees him as the nice “normal” guy she fell in love with – and continues to see himself as her protector. I think it was a good moment in the Chuck and Sarah relationship and we’ll see how it plays out.

    Another positive. Summer Glau. Yes, she had to interact with the silliness of Jeff and Lester – but, HEY, she’s Summer Glau! I did catch the line (and I was hoping there would be at least a subtle hint between Adam Baldwin and Summer at least a tiny bit alluding to the Firefly days) when Casey said to Great, “I don’t know whose CREW you were on…..” THAT was the little “Firefly” link. How many times did Nathan Filion talke about those on board being part of “his crew.”

    And to be completely honest, the old softie kicked in at the end when Sarah was all emotional. A little embarassed to admit it, but there was a little lump in my throat and a little moisture in my eyes during that scene. Having Casey and Morgan agree to join her was a great touch.

    Richard Chamberlain was great in his role – hope there is more of him next episode. Not enough of him in this one.

    I’m really looking forward to the next episode. I think “the big issue” that this episode brought up will get resolved. And who DOESN’T think that the Intersect will come back when it is SARAH that is in danger of death? THAT’S when Chuck will truly encounter the “Fear of Death.”

    Anyway, that’s my take on it.

    • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

      RC was great and did portray “creepy villain dude” really well with next to lines. His eyes made my skin crawl (in a good way).

      I thought SG was OK, but wasted. Too much time the BuyMore and more showing Casey “journey” from cold school to now, IMO.

    • atcdave says:

      Mostly agree Rick; I enjoyed the episode, even though I rank it as the weakest of the season so far. I did enjoy Agent Rye a little. I thought he was funny. But the plot was transparent, separate Chuck and Sarah by challenging Chuck into thinking he has to prove himself to Sarah yet again. Of course, the pay-off of the separation comes next week; that excites me!

    • Rick Holy says:

      Lots of typos in my post – jet lag from returning from Mexico! I MEANT, “HERself as HIS protector!” Sorry, or as they say in Espanol, “Lo Siento!” And speaking of Spanish, I wouldn’t object to a return of “La Ciudad!” Sarah clocking here with a nice punch (assisted by the handcuff she was gripping) was one of the best cat fights in Chuck history. One thing about Yvonne, she is a master at facial expression. She captures all the range of emotions – even in the fight scenes. She never looks phony or like she’s overplaying it. One of the many reasons we love her!!

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah Rick, La Ciudad and “Tango” remain my favorites of S1; great baddie in a five star episode!

      • joe says:

        Mexico??? Cool! Real Tequila with real worms! It’s a shame spring break hadn’t been invented when I was in college, or I would have done Cancun! 😉

  13. kg says:

    I thought the episode was very good. For those who didn’t like it, well, it was not so much a re-hash of issues and plots, but some issues still evident and not completely resolved and now in a very sound season four being properly dealt with the way they were suppposed to be explored in season three. Except they weren’t in the mostly hideous season.

    I thought Sarah was wonderful and outstanding as both a girlfriend and agent. I was so proud of her to finally stand up to Beckman and mostly because of the reason why. “I’m not going anywhere.” As I stated on the other thread, I’m giving her a pass for the “You’re not a spy, not now,” line to Chuck. She apologized for the off-hand remark seconds after uttering it and mainly for how it was interpreted, but in NO WAY was she apologizing for her intentions and genuine loving feelings for Chuck.

    Yeah, this was Sarah’s biggest fear – she could not prevent Chuck’s capture and despite all her protestations and phone calls was rendered helpless. She’s frightened, frustrated, sad and even feels some guilt.

    And I might add this is a fear that has existed for her in all of the first three seasons, but finally played out in 4-8, but amped up times 10 because she has finally admitted what we’ve known all along. She loves Chuck. Unconditionally and with everything she has. Chuck is her life, her rock, her family, her home.

    And watching a couple of times, I got the sense this is why she tried so hard not to give in to her obvious feelings for Chuck, not to succumb to his charm and advances. Losing him would make her an emotional mess. It was never about the crap she used to feed him to keep him at bay. This was the day she feared the most. It was hard enough for her to bear protecting him when it was her job. It was impossible to fail and lose him as the GF.

  14. kg says:

    Sorry. Posted sooner than I wanted.

    Anyway, before his mission to Switzerland, she attempted to convey to him how special he was in general and to her with or without the intersect.

    “Promise me you’re not doing this for me or us. You don’t need the intersect to do great things. You’re great on your own. You’re Chuck Bartowski and you do that all on your own.” And Chuck. “I do need her (Sarah). I love her. I’d rather love Sarah than have the intersect.” Now, only if he had said that before getting into this mess. But, that’s

    Casey was cool after getting worked on by Morgan and Alex. “This is the best spy team (station). Greta don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.”

    Jeff’s line was funny. “I’d be doing 24-hour cialus commercials,” as sexy Sarah came sauntering through the Buy More.

    Oh, and before I forget I like the Belgian. Finally, for the first time since 1-2, a bad guy has actually figured out who Chuck really is and hia relative importance.

  15. Bellatrix says:

    About this episode
    Cons: I feel like this episode kinda let me down. (maybe it was because of the two week wait) but i was expecting to see something surprising and this episode became predictable when we were introduced to Rye (exept for the ending and other details)
    Pros: we were able to see Chuck acting like a real spy (the microdot and stuff) and the episode was mainly fun. The whole buymorons-greta thing was great (I specially loved the greta/casey grunt). I feel like this episode showed us Chuck can be brave at the same time he is freaking out.
    All in all it was a nice episode (but it could have been better). I missed Ellie and Awsome (and i wished they had shown us what happened with orion’s computer, i doubt that they didn’t notice it for more than a month)
    Well thats about it. Now we have to wait for 4×9.
    Off topic: we dont celebrate thanksgiving in Argentina so its always intresting to see it on tv (although it might not be exactly accurate). Also its fun to see the snowy settings when its almost 30 degrees celsius outside (its almost summer in south america and we usually have heat waves, storms and then longer heat waves)

  16. Merve says:

    I try to be positive, I really do, but this episode was just a gigantic season 3 rehash done poorly. Even worse, in this instance, Rye was less interesting than Shaw, Sarah’s lack of faith in Chuck was less justified, and Chuck’s flash impotence was more predictable. This was, hands down, one of the most boring episodes of the series.

  17. Amrit says:

    Agent Rye was awesome, he smiled all the time, he was fun and he had a really great chemistry with Zach. I mean he was fun, fun, fun. Also were any of you not a little pumped up on adrenaline when he said “you scared, me too” the stakes were high and this guy was crazy! I loved it! I think some fans just want to complain about anything, chuck and sarah are too lovey dovey in episodes 1-5, then when sarah does give her heart completely to chuck and starts to worry and argue that he cannot risk his life or basically “her chuck” people complain that it is too much angst. Come on just enjoy the ride.

    • atcdave says:

      Well, they can never be too “lovey dovey”; but I sure agree about Rye. I thought he was very funny; a total moron but very funny!

  18. jason says:

    I rewatched for the first time last night, took about 10 minutes, the FF button started smoking it was held down so much.

    Rick Ripple did even less for me on rewatch.

    Sarah seems very confident that Chuck loves her, doesn’t she? Chuck on the other hand, geez. I wonder if the story tellers will get around to telling us why chuck is acting this way?

    1 – has chuck not forgiven sarah for season 3?
    2 – does sarah’s complete studliness (the fact she can walk into a crowded biker bar with chuck, and leave without a scratch, chuck is a kept women in that sense) intimidate chuck’s manhood?
    3 – does sarah’s knowledge that chuck won’t kill hence he really does needs protection on ‘kill’ missions make chuck doubt sarah?
    4 – does chuck’s non-intersect lack of ability to defend himself make him doubt sarah?

    In some ways, this whole thing seems to be boiling down to chuck having to save himself and sarah saying and believing chuck can defend himself – but the truth is, in a real sense, he cannot, when a real fight breaks out, he still has to hide in the corner or hand the guns to cole so cole can save sarah if he does not flash.

    I am interested to see how TPTB get themselves out of this box, the place chuck was at in the anniversary episode, I liked much more, since then, it seems like we are slowly going back to season 2’s chuck.

    I wonder if TPTB told the writers to ignore 3 and and study s2 for ideas or something?

    This is not meant to be negative, I am expecting this to get resolved in a meaningful way.

    But, it is too bad such a bad guest star and premise for a mission had to kick it off, ripple, beckman, and the mission in fear of death really sucked.

    • atcdave says:

      I don’t know Jason, I really kind of liked Rye; just as a one off, I was glad he won’t be coming back, but I found him funny enough. And I thought Chuck had been plenty useful most of this season, I’d even go so far as to say he’s a good partner for Sarah even in the field. But it is all Intersect dependent; and I do find it a little tiresome that he is so helpless and useless without it. I’d at least like him to show his intelligence; so he could be useful as a planner/puzzle solver even if he is useless in a fight (even at that, he’s used the tranq guns without flashing; so he shouldn’t be completely useless). To me, that was the only real shortcoming of the episode; I think Chuck should have been a little more confident in his utility to the team without the Intersect. Okay, actually second major complaint, too many stupid stick moments; from Sarah going on missions while Casey babysits (you’d think both characters would have been happier with roles reversed, especially since Sarah had apparently been coming and going all month, maybe they could have alternated), to even thinking the Intersect might work better if Chuck was scared (didn’t we learn that lesson last season?), to sending Chuck on a potentially dangerous mission without his partners.

      I was mostly okay with Chuck trying to get himself operational again, and I get his sudden need to prove himself after Sarah’s poorly chosen words. I could see where Sarah could be an intimidating partner; normally Chuck doesn’t define himself as the “macho” type so it probably doesn’t bother him too much to hide behind her at said biker bar, but I think Sarah telling he isn’t a spy at the worst time, in front of colleagues probably raised a challenge where one is normally absent. And of course, she did regret those words and blame herself for Chuck’s predicament for the rest of the episode.
      I am very excited to see this play out. Obviously Sarah kicking butt and saving the day never gets old to me; but in this case I really want to see Chuck regain his confidence too. He has to make himself useful next week, whether he gains important intel while a prisoner or does something to facilitate his own rescue; Sarah needs to affirm that Chuck was indispensable when all is said and done. We know Sarah loves and needs Chuck for his non-spy qualities, they both just need to know his spy qualities are useful too. Hopefully they figure this out without the Intersect helping; I suppose the shortcut would be, he regains the Intersect as a prisoner and becomes super spy. But I would much prefer he be useful on his own, and maybe the Intersect is restored with Ellie’s help or something in 4.10.

      I don’t think they’re ignoring S3, but rather they’re telling the story they should have in S3. They did burn some bridges in that we won’t tolerate any more wt/wt type games AT ALL, and they seem very aware of that (perhaps that is one good consequence of the misery arc). They are certainly returning to an S2 sort of feel for the show. They may be ignoring S3 as far as bringing up certain plot points, perhaps that’s for the best. Although there are things I’d like to see them address and fix, they have always been quite stubborn about actually acknowledging their mistakes (Sarah could permanently dismantle the Sham with one line of denial, but TPTB are determined not to do it) and as such I prefer them ignoring it.

      I really don’t see your comments as negative anyway Jason. Although it is funny Rye rubbed you so wrong. I do find morons funny on occasion; so my only real objection is that I’d always prefer to see Chuck and Sarah together, even if he isn’t 100%.

      • Anon says:

        They didn’t even have Shaw taunt Sarah in front of Chuck about Sham or vice versa. Clearly left to our interpretation.

      • atcdave says:

        Exactly. They STRONGLY insinuated what was going on, but never specifically stated it. So a denial could still work. But again, my guess is, they meant for the relationship to be sexual and they won’t back away from that. That makes ignoring it the best option; just to leave us the very remote possibility nothing happened.

      • JC says:

        I have to agree with Dave.

        I loved Riggle’s character, unlike other third parties brought in he seemed genuine in wanting to help Chuck. He was quick to praise all Chuck’s abilities without the Intersect. And one point that’s been missed he told Chuck he was afraid too. To me that’s huge, that might be the first time a spy has admitted fear and that its normal. So when Chuck is afraid he has nothing to be ashamed of. Of course his methods weren’t the most brilliant.

        What I hated is this notion that Chuck is helpless with the Intersect. That never existed until last season and Other Guy seemed to be the episode that put it to rest. For some reason they want to resurrect it but for me it reeks of lazy writing.

        Sarah’s comment was her being used as a plot device once again to make Chuck jump into action. I guess they forgot about the whole “I need you to believe in me” line from First Fight.

        Then you have everyone’s amnesia when it came to the PSP. Maybe instead of water boarding Chuck, the scientists should have been coming up with a technical solution. And then you have the idea that Chuck’s emotions will get the Intersect working again. So last season his emotions are the problem but now they’re the solution. Make up your mind.

      • atcdave says:

        “…his methods weren’t the most brilliant.” Perfectly (under)stated JC. He was almost like an enthusiastic puppy, always ready to go without giving anything a second thought.

      • JC says:

        In some ways he was like Morgan. His plans and methods might not be the best but his heart is in the right place. Maybe that’s why Chuck was on board with him.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Watching Rye’s antics, I was wondering how he had survived this long as a field agent. His recklessness caught up to him at last – too bad it left Chuck in trouble.

      • Anon says:

        They hinted at it with Shaw/Sarah spending time together and with the book.

        But the whole reaching out to Chuck in 3×10 or 3×11 while getting that close with Shaw doesn’t make sense. Or how quickly she dropped Shaw and went back to Chuck.

        This is one of the reasons i don’t like to speculate. We have conflicting evidence,writers were going for full throttle angst.

        And they showed us Hannah/Chuck relationship progress.

        Yet on Sham front,we have jokes and get Chuck jealous situations. No break-up talk with Sham,no relationship talk,no taunts,nothing.

        It would also make sense: Shaw and Sarah saved each other’s life,emotionally Sarah feels more at ease because it’s familiar ground.

        Straight answers would be nice on this topic. Even if just to flesh out Sarah’s character more.

    • joe says:

      Jason, we’re not that far apart on Rye. I thought Riggle was great in the part. He was a nice shade of maniacal! But I’ll tell ya, I was really glad to see him take that dive out of the gondola at the end! 😉

      • herder says:

        Well for plot purposes he had to die because his life expectancy would be very short once he met up with Sarah after losing Chuck, especially after hanging up on her phone call.

      • atcdave says:

        Do you think that might have led to an actual Adorable Psycho moment if the Belgian hadn’t done the deed for her?!

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Adorable Psycho vs Crazy Rye 🙂

  19. jason says:

    I would guess most of you have gotten this as obvious, I’m having trouble taking the show serious right now, but it just struck me that phase 3 is probably intersect 3.0? In medicine, phase 3 is the final release before going public, with the final product, a final test.

    If ellie has phase 3 in the back seat of her car, I wonder how / if she gets involved in chuck’s rescue – as it seems like chuck is not getting to burbank anytime soon in ep 4.9?

    Would you guys think it would be lame if chuck just rebooted in 4×9 the way he did in 3×19 to save himself or to save sarah depending on how you look at it? That has never really been explained has it?

    But how would that relate to mama B’s little intersect ‘wiper’ ploy? My theory with that is mama B wiped out 2.0 so chuck would have to look for 3.0, and mama b provided the answer with the mustang.

    • atcdave says:

      I think another cold reboot would be pretty lame. I don’t have a strong idea or opinion about what is going on, but I HOPE Ellie and the Orion computer play directly into restoring/upgrading the Intersect (actually I’ve never cared for the 2.0 stuff anyway, maybe he’ll get some features permanently disabled! kidding, I don’t expect that).

      And what do you mean you’re not taking Chuck seriously?! This is important stuff! Get that straight or we’ll be asking you to return your membership card!

      • jason says:

        dave – as u know, around 4.4 I pretty well spec’d out thru 4.9 to you in private. I now think intersect 3.0, the one your father did not think you were ready for, will make chuck carmicheal, no need for flashing, sarah foreshadowed it with her kick boxing stunt with Rickles.

        I think mama b put a patch in, and ellie has the real deal, thee patch needs a jump start, just as mr wiggles said, and that jump start will occur in 4×9.

        The keys to understanding the rest of the arc were all 3 in 4×8.

        #1 -Casey’s behaviour – the team is important, burbank is important, alex is important, chuck and sarah are important, morgan is tolerable, heck, jeff and lester are even worth savin, yep casey, times they are a changin, ching, ching

        #2 – Chuck’s message table thoughts – sarah asks chuck if he is doing his for her, for them, and his answer (not a quote) but I want to be a spy with you.

        #3 – Sarah’s many protestations of chuck risking his life and declarations of her love, possibly too many to count – sarah’s fear of chuck’s death if you will

        I think the faux of this whole thing is chuck changing to become sarah, I think sarah, casey, the missions, are gooing to change to become like chuck.

        I predict that for most of 4.10 thru 4.13 chuck is intersect 3.0, and is too cool for school, cole like, bryce like, only much, much better.

        I predict that 4×13’s end, ellie has the intersect booted up, 3.0 is ready to go in for life, and chuck walks away, asks sarah if she would marry chuck bartkowski & break up with charles carmicheal for life, sarah says yes, yes, and yes, I love u chuck, and they walk away, arm and arm with sarah, casey looks at morgan and says what are you waiting for moron – there are plenty of jobs the 4 of us can do, and the two of them quickly follow.

        Of course, now with more eps, I think forced angst will be in play, for 13 more eps, as somehow, something will have to get thrown in the works in 4×12 to move things off path.

      • jason says:

        don’t know if many of you are happy days fans, old enough to be, but I have always thought the warmth of the cast to be very much similar, and that casey and sarah are hybrids of fonz, chuck is sooooo richie cunningham like, morgan is ralph, awesome is potzie, both have an annoying sister, but anyhow … note as the show matured, how much fonzie became richie, polar opposites to start with, near identical in nature by the end – that is how I think chuck – sarah – and ehhhhh fonzie i mean casey will end up.

      • atcdave says:

        I like your three keys. I think those are the things I liked most about this episode.

        And most importantly; should we be keeping score of the number of ways you can mutilate Rob Riggle’s name?

      • jason says:

        @dave – my 3rd rewatch I ignored my irritation that a illogical order and a bad B comic ruined the show, my goodness is sarah the lioness ever in love with chuck, those last few minutes, yikes.

        I really don’t know the guys name, bunch of R’s and a double middle letter in the last name ROR RIRRLE maybe – I don’t know?

        If I were an male actor, I would not want a role as a CIA guest star on Chuck, they essentially ruin the episode, because they take time away from casey, as well as time away from CS working together.

        But, if I just ignore that, this ep rocked,

        That is what sucked about 4×8, if RRR RRRRRRR just had been there, not overwrittnely ruining things by defying all logic with his arc and actions, this ep may have been near epic.

      • jason says:

        @DAVE – one last thing, what is tough about being a chuck fan, sometimes scenes, eps, arc are ‘magically’ good, the best tv I maybe have watched.

        But muddled up in the middle of all that is an ocasional really illogical or OOC or cringe worthy moment, scene, episode or arc.

        Bad chuck is really bad, I honestly thing that is why it never took off with a larger fan base. Most non – fans would have turned the channel on 4×8 – the bad was just idiotic.

        The bad in 4×8 reduces or even insults the epicness of a near broken Yvonne packing for a mission – casey walking in – then Morgan – my goodness – did any of you see the look on Morgan’s face – grade A+ facial expressions – good for him.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah Jason, the regular cast is as good as they come, and the show is truly awesome when they let them take the lead. Two recurring problems; first is occasional very stupid moments, often starting with Beckmen mishandling her team. Second, guest stars being over used and disrupting the chemistry of the regular cast.
        I can’t really speak for if either problem was big enough to scare anyone off from Fear of Death, but I am SO excited for where things are heading right now I have a pretty easy time overlooking any shortcomings.

  20. Anon says:

    It would be a disaster if Chuck forgot Sarah. But i can’t help but be curious about that particular plotline.

    Nah,make Chuck break the brainwashing by remembering Sarah. That would be better.

    • atcdave says:

      That would be a great way of dealing with. I don’t see anyway Chuck would forget Sarah for long, maybe she is his rock that will help him keep his sanity.

      • Anon says:

        But imagine the angst!

        Season 3 writers,see this? You should have then, maybe,snuck Shaw and Hannah in!

        Have Chuck forget Sarah after Prague or toss out Prague all together,have Casey mention or make fun of Chuck about his “relationship” with Sarah. Have Chuck try to learn about it from Sarah.


      • thinkling says:

        I wonder if the Belgian’s tinkering could actually restores the Intersect, at least partially. That would be a twist.

    • Faith says:

      I am not ashamed to say I dream about Chuck (don’t judge me lol) and this morning I dreamed about just that.

      In my dream Chuck isn’t with anyone else (no, not Jill or Lou) but he doesn’t remember Sarah and thats enough of a sucker punch to devastate her. Needless to say it was a very powerful scene in my subconscious.

      Kinda hoped it finished with Sarah proposing but alas, I woke up too soon haha.

      • Anon says:

        Wow. At this point Sarah would really be devastated.

        Sarah Walker doesn’t do things in moderation,either she puts up a wall or she doesn’t want to let go.

        And the proposal talk is intriguing.After season 3,i would figure that the creators would be more than happy portraying a couple but not anything more serious.

        And they themselves made it a big issue for 2 episodes. Is there gonna be a proposal? With these producers,who knows 😛

      • thinkling says:

        That would be a huge sucker punch.

        Of course Sarah would do anything to help him get his memories back. He could trust her on some visceral level and then remember her, but only her, after some, I dunno, hot oil massage therapy.

        After that it could be somewhat comic, with Sarah helping cover for him around everybody else.

        Enter the mustang laptop … just in time.

  21. JC says:

    Some random questions and musings?

    Does Ellie know that Chuck rejoined the CIA? At this point I’m leaning towards no.

    If Ellie doesn’t know, how does she find out? I’m thinking they’ll be information on the Orion Computer.

    Were Orion and Frost in contact the whole time? The evidence seems to lean towards they were. Mary knew exactly where the PSP was and she subtlety pushed Ellie towards the Mustang. Then you had Orion’s statement in the finale last season. He said he did it all for her not that he was looking for her. We also know from Orion that he did missions the government was unable or unwilling to do. Was Frost part of this too? Was her mission one of those things.

    Why can’t Chuck flash? Sarah and his emotions seem like a total misdirect to me. It seems like a technical or software issue that’s the cause of the problem.

    So what did the PSP do? Mary told Chuck his father didn’t want him to see this and he was wrong. So the idea that it suppresses the Intersect doesn’t make sense. The obvious explanation is that it uploaded all of Orion’s files from his base. That the PSP was an emergency plan created in case Volkoff got too close to Chuck and Ellie.

    Then you have the idea that the PSP is the Intersect version 3.0 (phase three) At the time Orion and Frost didn’t know that Chuck uploaded the 2.0 so it’s clashing with it. But once Orion found out that Chuck uploaded the 2.0 he left a fix with the most logical candidate, Ellie. So what does the 3.0 do? If we go back to the finale again Orion said that with him gone the people he was protecting Chuck and Ellie from would come after them. I’m thinking it’s an upgraded version of the 2.0, that certain skills like Kung Fu and basic spy craft will be permanently imprinted on Chuck’s brain. It also has the same information from government, Orion’s files and maybe some information about the Bartowski family. Personally I’m hoping for this one.

  22. sd says:

    I re-watched the ep today and I keep remembering last season in Castle when Sarah backs up Chuck when she says to Shaw something to the effect “sometimes it’s good to know why you are fighting…”

    I think by that point–b/c of her time spent with Chuck–she “got it”– but not at the emotional level she gets it now. And that deeper understanding utterly terrifies her. The reason: She is fighting for Chuck.

    What I find an interesting is the “I need you to believe in me” ( Chuck in Chuck vs. First Fight) arc that I think is going on here.

    Perhaps in Chuck’s mind—Sarah is paying lip service to him…telling him she believes in him “You can do anything…I’ve seen you in action” and bolstering his confidence but when push comes to shove the truth is she doesn’t…and it’s based on fear…the fear of realizing what happens should you lose the very person you are fighting with and for.

    • thinkling says:

      Really great point SD. Nice catch. Sarah now gets it on a personal, rather than theoretical level. And terrified is the word!

      As for the “believe in me” theme, I’m not sure I buy Chuck’s definition, but I’ll give him some leeway. And Sarah did just that in First Fight. As far as we know, she never threw it in his face where it got them.

      I think Sarah believes in Chuck as much, or more, than she believes in anything or anyone. She believes in his character, his heart, who he is. She believes in Chuck Bartowski, the Hero, whether or not he is a spy or has the Intersect. And this season, she has shown a great deal of pride and confidence in his spy abilities.

      In Fear of Death, though, with the Intersect gone-missing and Chuck’s life at real risk, bringing that argument to the table is like trying to spend Costa Gravan Pesos in Germany. Even while believing in him with every fiber of her being, she’s realistic about the fact that he is defenseless without the Intersect or weapons or backup.

      Believing in someone must also take into consideration the reality of their limitations. If not, it’s a cruel sort of belief, if you ask me.

      But I totally agree with you on the fear aspect. She is terrified of losing Chuck.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah the “believe in me” line is sort of tricky. Obviously it’s an important idea, but it can’t be taken too literally or too far. But at the very least, what Chuck thinks should be given an extra weight in Sarah’s considerations just because he is Chuck.

      • thinkling says:

        Agreed. During their fight, her reaction to his statement about needing her to believe in him, etc, showed a bit of hurt and bewilderment. “I do believe in you.” Then he added the really believe in me part, and that appeared to stun her, too. But immediately she showed him that she was willing to believe in him on his terms. She has come a l-o-n-g way.

        I guess we are really discussing where the line is between giving his opinions and instincts extra weight b/c he’s Chuck and disagreeing with him for a really good reason, like saving his life or keeping him from committing treason or having to arrest his mother.

        Obviously the way that disagreement is handled is also important.

        In both episodes she showed (I think fairly generous) degrees of deference to Chuck’s opinions, instincts, and desires. She obviously drew the line sooner than Chuck wanted her to.

        Both the characters and fans have boundary disputes over the same line. But I haven’t really heard much questioning of Sarah’s motives.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah honestly I think Sarah shows Chuck plenty of respect. The only real issue was if she should have handled the arrest differently; and once Chuck actually talked to her I thought her rationale was pretty bullet proof (we all know Chuck would have committed treason for his mom). So the only issue I saw had to do with what sort of communication she actually owed him, and I think Sarah was somewhat deficient in that regard. So her peace offering struck me as beautiful.

  23. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs the Fear of Death (4.08) | Chuck This

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