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!
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.
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.
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.