Jungle Fever Love and Reveals

Chuck, can you hear me?

In this rewatch I made a concerned effort to be far more critical than my embarrassingly gushing review after first watch (seen here), but I failed. Coup D’Etat was so good, an illustration of strong writing (Kristin Newman, once again) and a testament to Season four’s genius. It’s not just the focus on the relationships, but the light shined within those relationships, the reveals and the parallels. And because it’s so good, we couldn’t capture every brilliant event, but I think what we talked about was in its own fashion: genius (speaking as an unbiased entity ;-)).

Now onto the he-said, she-said review portion.

Ernie: Faith, there’s just no denying the sweet jungle love in this episode.  There has been this dynamic between Chuck and Sarah from the beginning, of coming from different worlds and each envying what the other had.  Chuck feels stuck in Burbank and directionless.  Sarah has a calling but little else.  Chuck seeks movement and change and Sarah, she wants a reason for what she does.  The genius I see this season is that the light shined on our characters gives us confirmation of the journey they’ve been on from the beginning, in turn giving us more fleshed out and real people who have both the heroic and the tragic within themselves.  It even helps me see some of season 3 in a better light, but I understand that’s a bit much for some fans.  This dynamic is very apt, because as we saw in Cubic Z Chuck’s instinct is always to move and reach for the next goal or take it to the next level.  Sarah’s whole life has been about movement and change, and it doesn’t seem to have brought her happiness.

Let’s start with Sarah Walker, butt kicking spy.  Brave, resourceful, intelligent and honorable  It is Sarah that saves Chuck from being dropped in a padded cell or shot.  Sarah sees something in Chuck that lets her know, or sense, that this is not a guy who betrays people.  That heroism is there from the beginning, and she wants to do the right thing, to find meaning for her calling.  But we soon come to see another side of Sarah.  The side that wants what Chuck has and she can’t have.  A life filled with family and friends, and love and trust.  It’s in Wookie that we first get Carina filling us in on spy life, and how it takes a toll, and at the end see Sarah, butt kicking take no prisoners Sarah, nearly brought to tears because she can’t tell a guy who is in love with her anything about herself.  We later see Sarah fantasizing about the life she could be living, asking Casey, her fellow spy if he’s ever done the same.  Notice he doesn’t answer the question, he just says we made the right choice, but at what cost.

Sarah has come a long way since then.  She’s finally admitted she isn’t and doesn’t want to be the person she used to be.  She is starting to see that some change is good.  But the dynamic is still there.  Chuck starts thinking about the next step, and Sarah clings to the status quo because she’s never been happier.  But from Suitcase through this episode a chain of events has been set in motion, and as the titular Cubic Z so aptly illustrated in its journey, that chain of events leads to the big question for Sarah.  Are you ready to take the plunge?

Faith: That’s very interesting. Very. We have this perception of Sarah in our heads as this kick ass spy, one who “doesn’t talk much,” and “is not so good at relationships.” Throughout the three years we’ve only seen her show her love through actions and less through words but it’s dawning on me just how reactive she is. I guess I have to gush here again, I love Sarah Walker; I don’t think there’s a character in television nearly rich as she is: insert oxymoron adjectives here. And the fact that she is reactive and Chuck is active is what makes them perfect for each other.

“Why can’t we talk and change things, why can’t we just be. What if we do I do, and it changes us…everything we love about us, can be destroyed!”

See right there, that’s Sarah living in the moment. She’s a person that lives in the moment while Chuck is a guy that always look for tomorrow. Which in itself (forgive the digression) is what they mean to each other: remember the Chuck that couldn’t even come up with a five-year plan? Now he’s Chuck again, and a better one at that (confident, assertive, the Chuck that Morgan and Ellie have always dreamed he could be). She gave him back himself, and in turn he made her wish for more from herself.

It’s not that Sarah doesn’t want a normal life (side note: normal is interchangeable with tradition in this case: being a wife, mother), it’s that she’s scared of it. She’s scared of failing, of dreaming and of uncharted territory.

Ernie: Yes, and in season 2 we see Sarah start to embrace that “normal” life as much as her situation allows.  We also see that this is a life Sarah has NEVER known as far as we can tell.  This makes her desire for normal almost tragic.  She doesn’t know that normal requires work and vulnerability.  She’s starting to learn, but still doesn’t quite understand till Best Friend that Chuck’s ability to love and connect with his friends and family comes with both a duty, don’t hurt them, and a cost, to truly experience love you have to open yourself to them hurting you.

Faith: But even though they’re different in a lot of ways, Chuck is really Sarah’s match in more ways than one. Sarah will always brave a dangerous situation, but Chuck is braver than he’s given credit. He’s not afraid to act, to risk. “Change is unavoidable, life is full of changes, constantly changing. But the real question is no matter what the changes are, is the love still there?” I think most guys would be just happy that Sarah Walker is living with them, in love with him, and all that jazz. But Chuck, he’s a guy that is brave enough to ask for more, to bring up more.

His bravery is no less crystallized than in his conversation with Ellie. While Ellie is comfortable leaving the past in the past, Chuck braves the unknown, “I think we should know the whole truth about why she left us.” Ellie: “what if our mother is exactly who we think she is,” “then we’ll find that out too.” Chuck isn’t afraid to get his heart-broken, he isn’t afraid to fight for his family, his love and that is who Sarah Walker has fallen for and is ready to marry, “if you ask me for real, then my answer would be yes.”

Ernie: For Chuck he had it all figured out.  Stanford, a software startup, wealthy and semi-retired by 27, married to Jill and starting a family at some point.  When he got knocked off that track he didn’t see a future.  In a way it was taken from him, and he had no idea how to get back to it.  He never saw that he was perhaps meant for greater things.  Sarah came along and gave him what he lacked.  A higher calling, a sense of purpose.  A way to matter.  With that his self-confidence grew and his sense of himself returned, slightly enlarged if you’ll pardon the parallel with Sarah.  He started to see possibilities for himself beyond his standard model future from Stanford or being a Buy More ass-man.

Faith: This may be a tangent but I think one that’s important and fun. Chuck was always a hero, we know that. Sarah told Chuck and thereby us that in so many ways. Even when he was the Buy More loser, he exhibited many of the leadership qualities necessary for heroism. But did he always know that?

It seems as if the people in his life did. “When he’s with Sarah, Chuck’s the guy we’ve always envisioned” – Morgan from Beefcake. But they also recognize just how important Sarah has become to his development and confidence. One of the most humorous and on point lines regarding this was from Chuck himself, “you should know he (Morgan) was always supportive of our relationship. He never questioned how a guy like me can get a girl like you.” (First Date). Even in this episode, Ellie had firsthand view of the dynamic duo: “you just seem so alive, back there.”

But for Chuck, I don’t think he did. And I think apart from the glamour of the future he envisioned, there was no purpose to it. Sarah gave him purpose. And that purpose has served to make him whole as it were: one that is brave, heroic, intelligent and loving.

Ernie: Faith, you nailed that one.  As early as the pilot we saw the heroic take charge Chuck, and his innate leadership abilities and others faith in them and him are never on display more than in Santa Claus.  Everyone in his life looks to him.  He may not be the all-star starter when we start the series, but he’s the go-to guy on the bench.  When its falling apart, bring in Bartowski to settle things down and get back in the game.

But now that we’re about 1,500 words in, maybe we should talk about the episode in question specifically.  Again, I see genius in both the season, and individual episodes.  I’ll start us off with this thought.  You can see this episode as an encapsulation of the entire relationship.  From season 1, don’t talk about it.  Pretend it didn’t happen, run away, and move on.  From season 2, OK, it’s there, but what do we do about it?  From season 3 we get the what were you thinking vibe along with some of the Sarah understatement, and finally, we settle into season 4, find a way forward.

First the opening.  This is classic season 1 Chuck and Sarah.  The ring and the knee, the realization.  The bad news is that this is kind of an uncomfortable situation.  Pretend it didn’t happen.  In a world of awkward Chuck and Sarah moments, this is a moment “so awkward” …

In the van we get a classic season 2 moment.  They both acknowledge something is there, and it’s probably something that needs resolving, but the second they start to talk the hesitation takes over.  Chuck opens, Sarah, attempting to calm his fears overstates and makes Chuck a bit nervous.  He starts to overcompensate, Sarah starts to pull back.  They really are crap communicators.  Precious looks and whimsical makeups aren’t going to get the job done this time.

In Costa Gravas we get a tribute to Sarah in season 3 parts 1 and 2.  For part 1 we get the be a spy and stay on mission, but in a much nicer way than kicking his butt with a Bo this time.  As for season 3 part 2, she really needs to work on her adjectives.  Her description of Chuck is only slightly more romantic than an APB on a suspect.  Subject is a tall caucasian male with brown hair.

Faith: LOL, I thought we were doing a great job capturing the essence of the episode while encapsulating what we know from before and where we will be going in the future but ok, to your point: while most people argue that season 4 is just a rehash of what was done, I think you’ve pretty much illustrated why that is not so.

“You don’t know whether or not you proposed, or if you did, if you’re happy about it, or if she said yes or no to what may or may not been a proposal or if either of you ever want for you to ask her for real.”

In the past where we would have left off is exactly that. Morgan “the retail therapist” Grimes summed it best but what differs from now and whence we came is the attempt at something more. That purposeful action to develop a far deeper intimacy between two people who are not just crap communicators but walled in-emotionally-defensive individuals. She’s no longer beating his love with a stick (quite literally in S3) nor is she remaining reactive to the situation, but rather like Chuck she’s attempting (such a difficult step) to be far more intimate and far more open in a relationship where she is just as lost and as uncomfortable, but as earnest as he is. And therein is where Season 4 is genius.

I do have one criticism though and it’s almost like a dead horse from me at this point: steam. In particular steam from the passion between Chuck and Sarah. Chuck, your girlfriend is parading around in a bikini and all you can do is give her what is pretty much a peck? And in Costa Gravas, I find it appalling that Awesome and Ellie had more oomph in their relationship and “supply closet” scene (albeit hilarious on Chuck’s part: “Good Lord, get me out of here!”) than in Chuck and Sarah who are for the most part still on the honeymoon of their own courtship. Ugh. But I guess even genius has faults.

Ernie: Faith, exactly, on both points.  Season 4 is resolving the issues that have been stewing for years, and in a way that is natural to the progression of the story, while both preserving the story of the earlier seasons, and repairing a bit of season 3 that seemed to deny  the earlier seasons.  And they need a bit more heat.  They made a good start with Sarah rather playfully sexting and with Chuck tossing Sarah on the bed, but as my missing hours spec indicates, they aren’t quite selling the heat yet.

But back to the episode (yes, boring Ernie, I know).  I find it great that Chuck, when busted on the book, just lays out his case.  I know you said slow, but seriously, did you really not know where this conversation was headed?  Sarah, to her great credit just lets Chuck know she needs his help, she doesn’t feel ready to talk about it.  Luckily the seeds are planted.  Chuck let her know it’s OK to drag her feet a bit, as long as she can be honest with him and herself.  If she can’t say it out loud to him, say it in a whisper when he’s asleep.  At least she can take the step of admitting she wants it.  And Chuck, that clever boy, finds a way to move forward while not freaking out Sarah.

Faith: That’s a great point. She originally made fun of talking to him when he’s asleep but when it comes down to it, she needed to. At this point this is as far as she can go (which she’ll build on in later episodes).

Ernie: Overall this was another in a streak of fun episodes.  Great moments include much of the cast beyond just Chuck and Sarah.  The Awesome statue, Armande Assante serving up enough ham to feed a village, Ellie running a little caliente and then seeing Chuck-fu first hand (and kudos to Zach who seems to be getting a lot better at his fight scenes).  I loved seeing Beckman go nuclear and seeing Casey facing down the Costa Gravan secret police, in a wheelchair no less.  Just wonderful performances all around and enough fun and action to balance out all the relationshippery.  And on that note I think they did the right thing.  From this episode on Chuck and Sarah are a team and a couple.  This was the episode where they crossed that threshold and are all in.  Both of them.  They may still have to fight and struggle and they may fear loss and separation, but just as the intersect and the Bartowski family mythology are a part of the story that may play a more prominent or lesser role in an episode, Chuck and Sarah has entered the realm of permanence in the show.  To quote Dianne, “Off the record, it’s about damn time.”

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About Ernie Davis

I was born in 1998, the illegitimate brain child and pen name of a surly and reclusive misanthrope with a penchant for anonymity. My offline alter ego is a convicted bibliophile and causes rampant pognophobia whenever he goes out in public. He wants to be James Lileks when he grows up or Dave Barry if he doesn’t.  His hobbies are mopery, curling and watching and writing about Chuck.  Obsessively.  Really, the dude needs serious help.
This entry was posted in Analysis, Observations, Season 4. Bookmark the permalink.

58 Responses to Jungle Fever Love and Reveals

  1. atcdave says:

    Great write-up you guys. Funny how it always comes back to the relationship. Even as funny as this episode is, there’s really only one thing that influences most of our reaction. Like you guys, I really enjoyed this one from beginning to end, and I love where things ended up; even if I was hoping for just a little bit more.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Dave, I think the thing that a re-watch sold me on is that this arc that ended was more about Sarah, but since Sarah’s journey is tied to connecting to Chuck it is nearly always played through the relationship. As I’ve said I think they did a LOT of repair on the Sarah Walker character. They’ve grown her deepened her and moved her till she nearly eclipses Chuck. I doubt I’d get the argument that Sarah Walker is a plot device this season. The funny thing is that in a sense people who argue that are right. Every character at some point is used as a plot device for another character. It’s all in the execution. In season 3 with so many of Sarah’s thoughts and motivations left murky for so long she seemed more like a plot device more of the time, though I tend to think the opposite was the intent.

      In any case I think it’s been a great season for all the characters, except Dianne, who is back to video only after such a promising start. And Jeffster, who I sort of ignore a lot of the time now.

      Oh, and thanks!

      • JC says:

        As one of those people who said Sarah was nothing but a plot device I have to agree. They’ve done a lot of to repair the damage to her character. I’ll even go one step further her personal arc this season has been handled much better than anyone else including Chuck who I think has regressed. Its been a fantastic season for Sarah so far.

        I still have some concerns on the way they addressed some things with her and how they’ll approach it moving forward. But those are just my guesses on what I think they’re going to do and I won’t pass judgment until I see it.

      • atcdave says:

        I’ll agree with all of that Ernie. I know we’ve been rehashing S3 (again!) on another thread, but S4 really has fixed most of what they did.

      • Faith says:

        I’m not quite convinced that her growth is independent of Chuck and really it shouldn’t be. Actually I should rephrase that…

        Unlike Chuck whose growth has more to do with becoming a hero, and embracing his destiny while opening himself up to love…Sarah’s is a bit more emotional and human.

        Mainly that her growth stems from opening up to and then embracing the “Sarah Walker: soulmate” that Chuck brings to her life. But it’s not one that is black and white, it has many, many grays…how to be that while still being a kick ass spy; retaining that which she herself has shown is her purpose: saving the world and how to grow from the dregs that was her childhood and become this open, loving, caring, earnest relationship person…to a point 😉 And so in a way, it goes back to Chuck again. Without Chuck, she has no growth, nor does she have motivation to do so.

      • joe says:

        Ooohhh! I love it. I want to whisper softly in your ear, Faith that “Your wrong!” 😉

        Small thing, really, and not your main point, which I agree with. But maybe it isn’t. Chuck’s growth is from Loser-Nerd to someone who has depth and whose actions have consequence.

        I wanted to be a super hero when I was 6; put on a cape and everything! Betchya most 6 yr. old boys do that. But it’s a dream we learn to give up early, and that’s not easy. Too many swing too far in the other direction, believing they will never be a person of consequence, someone with gravitas when that dream dies.

        But Chuck is growing past that, not because of the Intersect and some odd “superpower.” It’s because someone that he trusts believes in him. That’s his growth, to a fully realized adult.

        That’s no fairy tale. We believe in that story.

      • treecrab says:

        I still think Sarah is used as a plot device in S4. Is it nearly as bad as it was in S3? No, of course not, but she is still used in that way.

        The episodes off the top of my head where I think she was used as such are AoT and FOD. I’d want to say Leftovers too, but that was just her being regressed, not really her being a plot device. And if even some of the speculation about what she does in 4.11 and 4.12 is true, then I could see those episodes being added to this list as well.

        They’ve done a lot to repair the damage to her character this season, that’s true, but she still needs work.

        As for 4.04, I enjoyed the episode when I first watched it, but the more I thought about it, the more the episode lost some of its luster. Chuck was annoying with his pushiness (especially after he was so quietly understanding in 4.03, it was really frustrating to see him revert back to the neurotic boyfriend), Sarah was frustrating with her feet dragging, and they just beat the relationship issues to death in this episode. It was one episode too many. They never should have done the fake proposal. It was stupid and its resolution was cringe-worthy. The relationship angst should have ended after Cubic Z, at least for a while.

        That is not to say the episode wasn’t funny. I think it was one of the funnier episodes this season, what with Assante’s Goya, Awesome’s statue, drunk Ellie, Casey’s storyline (“That’s the smell of tyranny.”), and I’ll admit Sarah and Chuck had some good bantering at times. I did enjoy the episode, I just don’t think it’s one I’d ever re-watch much.

      • Kisku says:

        I disagree with that for a simple reason, because we can say that every character is used as a plot device, not only Sarah.

        So yes some character actions are used to move a plot forward, but if we get proper insight in what motivates them, i don’t mind it at all… So you used the AOT as a example, they showed us Sarah wasn’t trusting MamaB, she then find an evidence (well Casey does) and as a good spy she acts at the first opportunity to grab her. Yes you can say, Sarah could inform Chuck, but as Sarah said in First Fight, he would try to save her then and if you know Chuck he totally would try, even if it means betraying your country, so he not even denies it. And beside you could see in First Fight that Sarah knows that what she did may have hurt Chuck.

        And FOD was also an episode where we got good view of her character motivation, she was freaking out about Chuck and she had good reason to and blurted out something in a moment of great emotions. Also she knows she caused his behavior. And lets be honest here Chuck can’t be full blown field agent spy without the intersect, that is why when Beckman says to Chuck in Phase Three that he’s valuable to the agency even without an intersect certainly does not mean they will send him back to the field, more likely he would get some analysis job.

  2. thinkling says:

    We also see that [normal] is a life Sarah has NEVER known as far as we can tell. This makes her desire for normal almost tragic. She doesn’t know that normal requires work and vulnerability.

    First of all great article. I’ll comment little by little, as more time allows.

    Ernie you have explained why I don’t see Suitcases as the be all and end all of Sarah’s growth and declarations. It was the beginning. In Suitcase Sarah accepted normal for herself a giant! step. In subsequent episodes she begins to see the requirements (work and vulnerability), the duties and the costs. Learning to receive love is a big step for someone like Sarah. The next step is learning what and how to give back … and then giving it. That’s what I see in this 2-9 arc for Sarah.

    And in that way, Faith, you are so right that Sarah is reactive. But given the life she had led before Chuck, that’s pretty much the way it had to be. In the spy-life, hero world, Chuck was initially reactive. In the normal sphere, Chuck leads and Sarah responds. And wow, does she ever, once she is fully invested.

  3. joe says:

    You know me. I almost always enjoy episodes more the second time around. But I’m stunned at how much more I enjoyed Coup this time. I found myself laughing like every 5 seconds at the silly little jokes, Goya and Awesome.

    And then there’s the bikinis. [Joe tries to snap out of it…]

    Okay – where was I? Oh yes. IIRC, I gave this episode something like 8.5 “Aces, Charles” during Lou’s podcast, but now I can barely see why. It’s really much better and much more enjoyable than that.

    Oh, I know. It was the scene in the control room, with Chuck trying to save the day, and Goya’s marriage with a little speech about how change is inevitable, but the love remains. At the time it seemed a re-do of the fountain scene in Three Words, substitute Goya for Karl Stromberg. But it’s not. It left me a little cold the first time, but I was paying attention to the wrong things.

    You two (Ernie & Faith) found it perfectly (and thanks!) – this was not about Chuck&Sarah; it was about Sarah, the wall she’s trying to break through and what she’ll find on the other side when she does.

    And the other story going on was its echo – Morgan is doing the same. His wall is Casey, and that’s not so different from Sarah’s.

    I’ve said before how much I like Armand Assante, and I’m impressed every time I see him. He’s like a latter day Anthony Quinn, an actor who also had that amazing ability to put the audience right in the palm of his hand. But here, pay attention to Josh Gomez, Ryan McPartlin and Sarah Lancaster in particular. They are all superb in many tiny ways – SL is sexy-sweet when she gets a little caliente, then gets wide-eyed when her brother does his Chuck-Fu. That ending scene at the fountain is a masterpiece of timing.

    That’s all mechanics. I’m supposed to be transported when professionals do their thing like that. But there’s one other idea in here that’s become more meaningful in the past couple of days.

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

    Rumors and speculations mean nothing. That line was a rock-solid truth, a promise and a vow addressed to the fans from TPTB.

  4. jason says:

    I loved the ep and your write up – ernie, you may have met your ‘verbose-ishy’ match in thinkling, although based on my recent posting here, I am starting to go that route too – so many thoughts floating around

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I kind of infect people that way. I’m the verbose-virus. 😉

      • thinkling says:

        I wish I could give you the credit (or the blame, however you look at it) but I was infected before I met you, Ernie. I guess there’s more than one strain. Perhaps we should alert the CBC (centers for blog control). 😉

    • Faith says:

      I get no love? 😦

      Just kidding.

      In all seriousness though, there are times when you use a lot of words to make sense of something that doesn’t and probably never will but in this case so many words were used to illustrate genius. I like this way better.

      I still maintain Kristin Newman deserves a raise!

      • jason says:

        actually – you should be really mad as you caught me red handed – for some reason I did think thinkling wrote this with ernie as I read it then posted a little while later – sorry – and of course you are not verbose-ishy – more just right – did that buy me any forgiveness?

      • Faith says:

        Don’t worry about it…I obviously did not include enough squees not to mention my pleas for PDA fell short of my usual hahaha.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      It is funny, because on both this and the post I wrote with Thinkling when we’d be e-mailing back and forth I think both Faith and Thinkling e-mailed me that they thought we were done at least twice only to have me mail back that I’d written more and they should take a look and respond if they wanted. 😉

      • thinkling says:

        Hey, that’s funny, Ernie. On our post, I even chopped out a paragraph so as not to out-verbose you.

        And, Faith, I loved all your words! Sorry you got accused of being, ahem, someone else. 😉

        Seriously, you guys did a great job with the back and forth format.

  5. Rick Holy says:

    Years from now, when “CHUCK” is a thing of the past, this will be one of the episodes that I pop in the DVD player and just “soak in” again like a nice, warm bubblebath (not that I take bubblebaths anymore, but it was the best analogy I could come up with!).

    Coup D’Etat has so many of the great things that CHUCK is all about – and why it’s meant so much to all of us. The are a number of other shows on the tube which as we know draw millions more viewers than CHUCK does. But I doubt those many millions are getting anywhere near what we get from CHUCK.

    There’s still something about CHUCK that remains “our little secret,” and even though that translates into being on the bubble every year as to whether we get renewed or canceled, there’s also something special about “being in on the secret.”

    I found an 11 x 14 poster a few years ago that was part of NBC’s promo of CHUCK when it premiered. It featured Chuck and Sarah, and it said “HE’s the Secret, SHE’s the Agent.” It’s displayed PROUDLY in my room – and it will remain there long after Zach, Yvonne and all the cast go on to other things. It will remind me when I’ve had a crummy day to walk over to the book shelf, pull out one of my seasons of CHUCK on DVD (or Blu Ray), and play a GREAT episode – like this one.

    So, good people, I’m a little premature here, but have a Blessed & Merry Christmas (or whatever December holiday you observe) and a Safe, Happy and Healthy New Year – knowing that you’ve got 14 more brand spankin’ new episodes – of what has been so far a great season – to look forward to.

    Bottom line. CHUCK ROCKS!! Peace, all!

  6. joe says:

    Best show in 2010, Round Two!.

    Cast your ballot at E! On-line. Please!

    • patty says:

      We are behind right now. Castle is winning. At least it is not messed up like the TV Guide one was, I had no trouble registering my vote.

      • Rick Holy says:

        We’re about 5 percentage points behind Castle. THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING AGAIN!! Vote, everybody!! Think of it as a Christmas present to the Cast & Crew of CHUCK!!

  7. Rick Holy says:

    FOLKS – POTENTIAL “GOOD NEWS!” But take it with a grain of salt for now. Remember a song back in the 80’s by the awful hair-band Ratt? I think it was called “Round and Round.”

    Well, it seems like we’re going “Round and Round” with the Chuck repeat “Will They/Wont They” thing. According to our friends and TVBYTHENUMBERS, the Dec. 27th marathon is back ON. I would assume the Dec. 20th “vs. Santa Claus” is still off, and that the Jan. 3rd re-runs would be “off” as well, since the 3-hour marathon on the 27th is supposedly back on.

    To quote another 80’s song – either by Phil Collins or by Phil Collins with Genesis, this is “The Land of Confusion.”

    Anyway, here’s the link from TVBTN: http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2010/12/18/nbc-nixes-repeat-of-a-walk-in-my-shoes-for-repeats-of-chuck/75967

    And KEEP VOTING at the link Joe listed above. Let’s PLEASE not lose to Castle. Losing to Supernatural and then to Castle would be way too much to take in just 2 short months!!

    Keep on Chuckin’ everybody!

  8. joe says:

    Sorry (again) for the OT comment, but this is news.

    It looks like the Chuck repeats are back on the schedule.

    NBC originally had three repeats of Chuck scheduled between 8-11p on Monday, December 27, but then nixed two of them between 8pm-10pm on to air a repeat of TV movie ‘A Walk in My Shoes.’ Now they’ve gone back to the original scheduled plans for three hours of Chuck repeats.

    Go figure!

  9. herder says:

    I wanted to take another look at the episode before commenting. First of all, I like the give and take in the format of the rewiew. I love Faith’s comment that Chuck is Sarah’s match in more that one way. She is brave as a spy but timid in a real relationship and he is not the bravest spy, hence the girlish screams, but he is brave in the relationship. I also like Ernie’s tracking of the earlier seasons in this episode.

    Watching this episode, even for the nth time, I had a grin on my face, the sign of a good effort by the cast and crew. First and foremost it was fun. In fact with the possible exception of John Larroquette I don’t think that there is a guest star that has as much fun with their role as Armand Assante, he is having a ball and it shows, even through the scenery chewing.

    Sarah wants the relationship to work, but hasn’t a clue how to go about doing it, from her volonteering to read the relationship book to trying on bikinis because Chuck wants her to be in one you can almost see the gears working trying to figure out how to do this. For all that she is incredibally reactionary, this is good so we must not change anything about this.

    It is also fun how they switch from spy life to personal life, Sarah pleading that things stay the same and Chuck the spy talking about things being nuclear. Chuck doing their communication exercises and Sarah the spy wanting to check out the corridor in Chuck’s flash.

    Then for Sarah the moment of enlightenment, it doesn’t matter what the changes are so long as the love is still there. This also applies to Ernie’s idea of this relating back to season three (not that I want to drag that into this discussion, I’m all talked out about that subject) in that it is not a zero sum game – either you are good together or you change – but that you can change and still be good together.

    I also stick to my view that the resolving the engagement issue without an engagement allows the writers to deal with the issue in a humerous way because the will she/won’t she say yes is off the table. She will say yes, the question is when and how will he ask, a topic much more suited to fun than the ws/ws angsty one.

    Really a very good episode that moves the story forward in a happy way.

    • Faith says:

      Very well said yourself there.

      Sarah wants the relationship to work, but hasn’t a clue how to go about doing it, from her volonteering to read the relationship book to trying on bikinis because Chuck wants her to be in one you can almost see the gears working trying to figure out how to do this. For all that she is incredibally reactionary, this is good so we must not change anything about this.

      I think one of the highlights of this season has to be Chuck making her understand that he gets it, it’s hard for her but that he gets that she’s trying. In years past he would probably consider that a sign of “she doesn’t love me” but maybe it’s because she’s done a better job of opening up or he’s become confident in her love but he gets it. And more than that, he’s shown her that what breaks, they can fix together.

      We didn’t talk about it much, but there’s all sorts of parallels in this episode and it’s kind of funny to think about that out of all the relationships, Chuck and Sarah are in the best place. The Generalissimo and his wife, Morgan and Alex, even Ellie and Awesome…they’re all trying to feel their way into the mess that their relationships have turned into but Chuck and Sarah, they’re proactively cleaning the mess before it ever really happens, and more they’re doing it a way that shows the intimacy that is so important to both of them. Though I do have to point out the inconsistency of her wanting at least 30 minutes of silent time and yet towards the end there she looked like she wanted to cuddle lol.

      Finally (sorry for the long reaction on what is already a long piece!), Armand Assante had to have improv that little feel up of Tia Texada. And it was freaking hilarious. He was so hilarious inappropriate but not in a creepy way, more like a crazy but adorable dictator way.

      • herder says:

        Somehow I think that somewhere there is a set of out-takes of all the odd things that Armande Assante did during the filming of this episode. I doubt there was a stage direction for him to grab the a** of his screen wife, yet there it was. That is what I meant when I said I think that he enjoyed his guest role more than most. That and the fact that he seemed to be a big ham in almost every scene he was in. And I mean that in the most complimentary manner possible.

      • atcdave says:

        “adorable dictator way”? Those are words that have rarely been used together!!!

        But I agree with the point. Armand Assante was my favorite guest star bar none in S3; and he’s right up there with Timothy Dalton and Linda Hamilton in S4. Season four is genius (I think I’ve heard that somewhere before…)

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      Herder, I really love the way you eloquently describe the C/S relationship. I was going to quote you, but I see that Faith has quoted the exact same paragraph in her reply to you.

  10. Amrit says:

    I think the best thing this season with chuck and sarah is that no matter how much of a super hero chuck becomes, how better looking he gets from season to season, how many awesome suits they put him in, how many intersect versions he gets, how many times he saves the day….when it comes down to it sarah is in charge and the show is better for it! Sarah being assertive and ass kicking is great for the show, you take season 3 where she was with shaw and she just let him make all these decisions : I am going to blow up castle with chuck and morgan inside, you have to make chuck do his red test, I will order your food, I am going to sacrifice myself and you just have to accept that …she just stood there each time impotently accepting it and that is not the sarah we all love, not by a long shot, and so you see the journey from that point onto honeymooners she speaks up and says I want a home in Burbank with you and your family, to going to the DR in tooth, to snatching papa b’s wallet, to telling chuck in anniversary that he should have told her about his search for his mom to fear of death and phase three where she is unwilling to let chuck get himself killed….having sarah refuse to let anyone even agent rye or general beckman tell her to let things play out and stand up for what is hers – being my chuck – this really has made her journey all the more enjoyable.

    I know some fans will say that she can be too much into chuck’s business and should at times let him just make these decisions but I am reminded of everybody loves raymond and an episode when robert leaves amy on ray’s ranting and he say’s this about marriage “you go to sleep she is there, eat she is there, wake up …there and I know it sounds like a bad thing…but it is not, not if it is the right person” and one thing we know from this show, sarah is the right person for chuck, that we do know…….

    • Rick Holy says:

      Great post! Sarah is who Sarah is. She’s “growing” as a person, but there are still parts of her that we don’t want her to “grow out of,” and taking charge is one of them.

      Loved the analysis of S3 in relation to that aspect (or the LACK of that aspect) of Sarah. Spot on, my friend. Spot on. And I also remember that episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. You can watch those reruns 100 times, and they never stop being funny.

      • Amrit says:

        Thanks guy’s the everybody loves raymond nostalga came from sarah’s actions in fear of death. If you think about it in the dojo she was there, bedroom with rye there, pre-mission briefing there, when chuck was in switzerland she rang him at least 6 times (casey) there, during mission there and then physically there when she flew to switzerland. Sometimes fans say it is wrong and that chuck has no guts to tell her to back off but that is simply wrong. At times even during first class when her and chuck were apart she still did the same and voiced her concerns to chuck about him going on his first solo mission, but that is because she loves him and cannot help herself. For all those fans who say that chuck should argue with her and tell her to not do that I disagree, the one thing I am a fan of is the way chuck lets her be her, sarah can do these things because she knows chuck will never leave her and will always love her and that makes it great for the show because we get sarah walker unplugged and that is just awesome I would have it no other way. If chuck and sarah did fight because of the way she acted in aisle of terror or first fight and he threw in her face the bad things she did or the fact she still has not opened up about personal stuff then that would mean she would withdraw like season 3 and that just does not sit well with me (I really did not like who season 3.0 sarah was) so I can let that go and am happy for chuck to be like he was in fear of death when she voiced her concerns he smiled and kissed her or he always answered the phone and tried to reassure her and let know it is ok to worry and be there for him. It is great I think!

    • atcdave says:

      Really great comments Amrit. I agree entirely.

      • Amrit says:

        I think the same can be applied to chuck, last season he tried to have it all and it cost him a little of his soul….He burnt manoosh, he extracted casey’s tooth, he lied a lot and treated Hannah terribly, he lost himself very quickly trying to be rafe and succeeding and I just think he hit real low point last season after final exam. I feel he has rediscovered who he is as well and that is to want to do good but never comprimise his principles at the same time and that is why him and sarah are perfect together, she will never let him do that and also by having her by his side he will never have to either and that is ok I think even if some fans feel that it is a double standard for chuck to be a spy yet not want to do what casey and sarah do, but in a way it is not because casey and sarah never want him to do it so if they are happy for him to be him then that should be fine for fans too, did I mess that up or did I make sense?

      • atcdave says:

        I think its great that Chuck has values that go against the grain a little. I particularly like that Chuck’s values have made Sarah (and Casey too, just not as much) better; while Sarah’s belief in him has made Chuck stronger and better. Its perfect synergy.

    • thinkling says:

      Fantastic comments Amrit. 🙂 Love the quote from Raymond. So true.

    • JC says:

      While I agree in principal I do they think they go too far sometimes. Sarah’s need to protect and keep Chuck innocent sometimes borders on creepy/ condescending. And Chuck’s completely forgiving nature about everything is unbelievable. I’m not saying they should change these qualities but there’s times when Chuck should get angry and Sarah should realize that by doing some dirty spy work doesn’t change who Chuck is. If they don’t the characters almost become a parody.

      For some reason the show wants Chuck to be the pure one and the savior, while Sarah by default becomes the dirty one in need of redemption.

      • treecrab says:

        Borders on? I’ll go one step farther and say it IS creepy/condescending. Though I’ve always found it more condescending and patronizing than outright creepy (the way Sarah treated Chuck wanting to talk to his mother in Leftovers is a good example of her being patronizing while trying to “protect” him).

        What they need to do is find a balance. Sarah needs to let Chuck be his own man sometimes and make his own choices, and if necessary, face the consequences for those choices instead of trying to shield him and “protect” him and keep him safe above all things. There is more to being alive than just, you know, breathing and having a beating heart. Chuck, for his part, needs to stand up for himself more and be more independent and have more self-confidence and not always fall back on Sarah to keep him safe. It’s not Sarah’s fault for treating Chuck this way, it’s Chuck’s fault for letting Sarah treat him this way (this is true of Chuck’s relationship with Ellie as well).

      • atcdave says:

        Well you know I mainly disagree. I love the way the Chuck/Sarah dynamic normally works. They both are so patient and forgiving of each other, it seems inspiring to me. There have been a few exceptions; in Fear of Death, Sarah’s blurted out line about Chuck not being a spy crossed the line. But even then it registered as healthy to me, since Sarah quickly regretted the line and Chuck clearly forgave her (of course it did damage his self-esteem, but that is a separate issue that I thought was well addressed by the end of Phase 3).

        There will always be a fundamental role reversal at work; Sarah is the protector in both personality and professional function. While Chuck is the outside the box thinker and moral anchor. I find that relationship exciting and wonderful.

      • JC says:

        Agree with you about the balance. With Sarah on a few occasions it’s come off motherly in her need to protect him and that’s where it came off creepy to me. I really don’t think it’s the intention of the writers or at least I hope not. But they need to dial back everyone wants to protect Chuck from the world theme they have going.

        One of my favorite quotes they need to think about when writing.

        “And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up”

      • thinkling says:

        Well said, Dave. The dynamic does usually work. And the fact that an outside-of-the-box relationship works … well, I find that hopeful for all relationships.

        As for the interrogation in Leftovers, I thought what Casey and Sarah did had nothing to do with relationship issues, but with the need to find out why Volkoff’s agents attacked Chuck & Sarah, why MEB shot them, what MEB knew about it. If Chuck had been acting even remotely professionally, he would have been included in the interrogation. In fact he started out in the room but couldn’t get past his personal issues, all of which Sarah cares deeply about, but she knows those issues need to wait until after the immediate threat was analyzed and dealt with.

      • Amrit says:

        That line sarah blurted out was out of desperation, she knew all along that Rye was a nut job, that he was crazy and that ultimately Rye would go to far and it could cost chuck his life ….. and you know what …..sarah was right, Rye left him hanging off a Gondolla about to die! So that line needed to be said because Rye and Chuck were both out of control and only sarah was thinking of the consequences!

      • atcdave says:

        I agree JC that they need to dial it back on occasion. Especially Ellie just goes too far in a role that by rights, isn’t hers.

        Thanks Thinkling for tying it back to the issue at hand. The interview scene was funny; Chuck was acting like an impulsive child so Sarah treated him like one (although Casey delivered the hurtful line, which of course, is his function). Even then Sarah considered Chuck’s input (phone calls), he was never just dismissed. I do get a little tired of Chuck’s childish behavior sometimes; but as long as its played for laughs it not that big a deal (its not like he’s totally dysfunctional like Shawn Spenser!)

      • Amrit says:

        On reflection I think the main issue with the show is that due to how it paces it’s episodes they are filler episodes or there are episodes that advance the plot at a geometric rate. Now by doing that your characters have two gears and that is it. So when they want to advance the plot they have chuck and the rest of the cast being awesome and competent and then when they have filler episodes like cubic z or the buymore part of fear of death then characters like morgan suffer because they have to pull back on some character development and that comes across as frustrating but it is the way it is. Now for sarah she has had like the other characters two gears, she is either a) season 1, 2, 3.5 and 4 an ass kicking protective of chuck and awesome loving character who loves chuck or b) season 3.0 where she just let chuck do what he wanted and sat in the background and was miserable and let shaw dictate how she should do things. Now I know which sarah I prefer. Yeah I will never find how sarah shows chuck her love as creepy, never but that is just me. Chuck I want to be competent but as the titular character his actions are the ones that move the plot the most, so most of the time they have to keep him static until they make the moves in the later episodes and that can be annoying but it is what it is.

      • thinkling says:

        Agreed Amrit, about FOD. Sarah was the only one thinking straight. She was very supportive of all Chuck wanted to do until the scales tipped toward Chuck getting killed. The way the remark came out was unfortunate, but everyone had kept ignoring her concerns until she was desperate. All she wanted was for Chuck to have adequate back-up (not Agent Nut-job), what any spy should have, on a seriously dangerous mission. And let’s face it, Chuck without the Intersect (on that kind of mission) is like Evel Knievel without a helmet.

      • atcdave says:

        Good comments about Sarah, Amrit. I agree entirely. You are right about Chuck; he will never be completely professional. Too much of the mood and humor of the show comes from the idea of Chuck being an ordinary nerd forced into an extraordinary life. So sometimes they will exaggerate his insecurities and girlish screams to maintain the mood. I like that Morgan is now the bigger nerd, and it makes Chuck look more professional by comparison.

      • Amrit says:

        The one thing I would like is chuck, sarah and casey on a mission with morgan in the van directing them through a building or something like that. I know that the writers clearly have their favourite parts of the story, I mean I can already see from a mile away that lejudkins and kristen newman are the combined legend that is Ali Adler, and deggrigoria, meyers and wooten are rosemboum, miller, zev borow and klemmer. So we will get a little variety in the episodes. Like sarah cannot help herself at times neither can rafe, laurent and kristen because they love chuck and sarah and so will write stories that focus on them (I can accept that) but I do hope the other writers unite team b more often.

      • JC says:

        I’m not saying they need to change the dynamic of the relationship but it needs to be balanced out. I love that Sarah wants to protect Chuck but when they constantly push it becomes condescending. He’s a grown man and most everyone on show treats him like child or asset still. Everyone on the show needs to wake up and realize that. I thought that was part of S3’s point but I guess that didn’t stick.

        The same goes with Chuck I don’t want him to become a dark anti hero but I do want him to stand up for himself and stop letting everyone else make his life decisions. And I don’t want him to constantly be a push over either. If someone does or says something hurtful he shouldn’t let it go all the time. Let the man vent once and awhile.

        And I have to totally disagree about FOD, it was a totally false statement by Sarah. Its sole purpose was to make Chuck get kidnapped and to give her something to be guilty about. The same with Leftovers Chuck was no more emotional than Sarah in Phase Three. He only acted immature after Sarah shut the door in his face.

        That’s another problem facing the show, nobody else is held to the same standards as Chuck when it comes to being a spy. He screws up once and everyone questions his competence.

      • atcdave says:

        I do agree with some of that JC. There is a balancing act of sorts. To some extent you have expect Chuck to be closely scrutinized, he’s the newest agent and his training was non-standard to say the least. In addition, his own insecurities draw attention to his mistakes. I’ve seen this happen many times in my field; young and nervous controllers invite doubts and are more often questioned by pilots. Maybe not fair, but it is certainly believable. And remember, in spite of all of that, Sarah’s confidence in Chuck was shown as a major source of Chuck’s maturing process the first two seasons. Like you, I would like to see Chuck receive a consistent level of respect from everyone; and I would like to see him stand up for himself when appropriate. But to me, Ellie is the main culprit on this issue. For a variety of reasons, I’m usually okay with how Sarah treats Chuck.

      • thinkling says:

        JC, I do agree about the need for balance. I think this is part of what they have to work on in the balance of their relationship. And I think we can see that Sarah is trying.

        But with FOD, her statement wasn’t false at all. Sarah was the only honest one. The way it came out was unfortunate, but in the context of dangerous missions, what she said was true. Nobody really thinks of Chuck as [that kind of] a spy without the Intersect. That’s why Captain Crazy was assigned the job in the first place. Rye said at the outset, “If you’re serious about restoring the Intersect, then I promise you at the end of this process, you will be a spy again.” Ergo, without the Intersect Chuck is not ready for dangerous missions.

        In Leftovers, Chuck was ranting about his mom shooting him and blowing up his childhood home from the moment they walked into castle, at a time when other issues urgently needed to be addressed. That can only be classified as immature. Sarah did a good job balancing patience with Chuck and doing the job that needed to be done. Obviously the whole thing was played for laughs, so dissecting it too seriously is pointless; but the way they played it, she wasn’t off-base, and Chuck took no offense. Chuck was almost a self-parody in that scene, which could have been handled better by having him calm down and re-enter the interrogation. Volkoff’s arrival sort of cut the process short.

        The comparison of Phase 3 and Leftovers doesn’t work, b/c Sarah’s emotions were driving the mission of getting Chuck back. In Leftovers, Chuck’s emotions were getting in the way of the mission.

      • JC says:

        @Thinkling

        I’m not talking about the development of the relationship on screen but how they go about it.

        We’ve seen great growth in Chuck but the show wants to keep him pure and innocent at all costs. And unfortunately Sarah becomes their instrument to achieve this no matter how it makes her look. Both Orion and Ellie have been used this way too.

        The whole Intersect less arc didn’t his character any favors. In fact there were certain times that it looked like Sarah and Casey thought of Morgan as more of spy than Chuck. You can’t have him be the hero and the butt of jokes.

        And still disagree about FOD that line was false because it was done just to get Chuck to do something stupid which would lead to his capture nothing more. The writers could have had her say anything else but that line was needed to push the story forward.

        With Leftovers Chuck was asking the right questions. This where the conflict of Chuck being the hero and joke come rears its ugly head. When he gets emotional its considered unprofessional or a joke but not Sarah or even Casey. And of course Chuck took no offense he never does to anything.

      • thinkling says:

        OK, JC, I understand where you’re coming from on FOD. And I agree that Chuck’s growth has been too erratic. I would have wished for a more grown up Chuck during the intersect-less arc as well.

        The Intersect, in some ways, is the principle character in the show, so they will never let Chuck be a full spy without it. I mean that’s the story: computer-in-brain makes regular-guy a spy. So our wish for training for Chuck will probably never happen.

        It’s a balancing act. Spy-Chuck must maintain his regular-guy persona. Really his integrity and innocence would be sufficient, but he is supposed to be a regular guy. But in fact, he hasn’t been a regular guy in quite some time. He is a hero. When the Intersect malfunctions, they’ve tried to make him seem even more regular, and it comes off all wrong. They’ve basically made Intersect-less Chuck wimpy. They have to find a way to leave Chuck as still a hero with his maturity, his wits, and some skills even if the Intersect is AWOL. The difference shouldn’t be so exaggerated. They won’t really let Chuck be Chuck without the Intersect, and that’s wrong. The whole point of Chuck is that he is always Chuck. Subtle differences with/without the Intersect would be a better approach. Without achieving that balance, all the other characters suffer in the process, b/c all other characters are portrayed as they relate to Chuck. So, if Chuck is all over the place …

        That’s my take on it after thinking about it a while. So, JC, you and I agree on a lot of things. Our views of Sarah may differ a bit, but we both want to see a more balanced Chuck.

      • jason says:

        I use cole as the gold std for Chuck’s growth:

        in s2, chuck had to hand the guns over to cole to protect sarah, and chuck was terrified of sarah spending time alone with cole (i.e. running away with him)

        IMO, Carmicheal in 4×1, would neither have to hand the guns over, nor would he have been insecure around sarah and cole – heck, sarah went away for 90 days – that is a long time – he seemed to cope better than most?

        I was hoping the taking the intersect away in 4×8 thru 4×10, would have allowed for Chuck to grown in such a manner, that he would not need the intersect in order to use the guns & that he would start to feel more secure around other men and sarah, but that is not how this arc feels mid season point.

        If the purpose of this arc is for chuck to grow, the knocking him down part is covered, I am waiting for the growing part. If you think of s3, the CS relationship got beat to heck in 3×11 and 3×12 (and in 3×6 thru 3×10 too?), before things came around, might be the same for Chuck’s manhood in S4, i.e. a rough 4×11 and 4×12 ahead??????? Just guessin of course.

  11. Amrit says:

    Chuck does not lose his cool and get angry and that is who he is, shaw killed his dad, chuck had every right to kill him but chose to try and keep perspective. Should he have killed shaw, I find it difficult anyone in the same situation not ending shaw but it is the way it is. In his mind if he did do that then he would not be any better then shaw and in a way by letting shaw live, shaw now will live a life of pain without the governor and will die alone in a dungeon somewhere, that is a punishment far worse then death.

    Should chuck vent? well yeah and he did he vented at his mom in leftovers and he vented at sarah in first fight, he does say what he has to say, but ultimately will give sarah leeway because he knows that she loved him.

  12. herder says:

    Only five more sleeps until the Chuck marathon.

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