First Fight – Joe & Ernie’s Rewatch and Review

An Enigma In A Riddle In A Mystery

With Chuck Versus The First Fight we start to get into the meat of season 4.  We’ve finally met Frost/Mary and found that while she does seem determined to protect Chuck, her methods and her agenda are…murky.  With evidence that Mary had gone rogue Sarah and Casey staged an intervention/abduction to grab her up before she could endanger Chuck or Ellie again, or go back to working for a dangerous arms dealer.  Problem was Chuck saw the whole thing, before they could tell him, and he’s feeling a bit betrayed by his team, and Sarah in particular.  Now we find that no good deed will go unpunished as we settle in for a few twists and turns in our latest episode.  After the jump.

Joe Spots the Mysteries

The mystery of Frost deepens, yes? We got a big introduction in the episode prior to Chuck vs. The First Fight; steel in her eyes, controlled and threatening as she pointed her gun and said calmly “…And who might you be?” It’s a good question. Who is this woman who shoots her son yet buys a teddy bear for an unborn grandchild, who easily resists the interrogations of two trained agents, but succumbs to the memory of a nine-year-old boy who liked Rice Krispie Treats? Who is this woman who absolutely must have one last emotional meeting with the daughter she hasn’t seen in 20 years, but subtly provides the one clue that only that child could know about? Frost blows ’em up, mamaB saves ’em. The phrase is often used in a totally different context, but yes, she’s all that.

Linda Hamilton totally dominates the screen every time she’s on it, and Timothy Dalton equals her performance every step of the way. Tuttle is an amazing comedic character (“Cool! A tiny weapons stand off!”), bungling and joking his way though assassination attempts, torture threats and parachute jumps from a jet. He’s totally ineffectual in the bank when Chuck and Sarah do their thing and is loath to threaten sheep with thoughts of mint jelly. Yet just like Mary Elizabeth transforms from Frost to mamaB, Tuttle straightens his shoulders, changes his accent from slightly British to slightly Russian and is transformed into – yet another mystery. And a daunting one at that.

As per the title of this episode, Chuck and Sarah are having their first fight as an official couple, but I must say it’s an odd one. Chuck shows from the first he’s capable of very passionate anger, but he can only bring it out in front of Morgan. Sarah knows that she’s done “the right thing” by arresting Frost and she’s even done it for the right reasons. But Sarah’s the one who gives in and gives Frost the keys to the cuffs. Chuck trusts his mother, and “That’s good enough for” her. I have the oddest feeling that Chuck and Sarah are not fighting each other.

And they certainly don’t look like they’re fighting each other. I love me a good fight scene, and the one in Chuck vs. The First Fight is one of the best. I like it even more than their scene in Paris in Honeymooners, mostly because the action is so well coordinated, looks so second-nature and so effortless.

Sarah: This is exhausting!
Chuck: Yeah, tell me about it. How do you always fight these big guys all the time?
Sarah: No! I mean fighting with you is exhausting. I hate it!
Chuck: Me too. I’ve been thinking about you all day.

That’s the way lover’s fight. At least, that’s the way they should fight. C&S work flawlessly as a team and the rest of the world can’t touch them.

Frost, Tuttle, the fight… Those are the big things, the things we noticed the first time. That and the meeting between Mary Elizabeth and Ellie. What an amazing scene! Frost melts away and the strong mother explains what she can to her strong daughter. Sarah looks on, awed by the strength of a family bond she’s only beginning to understand.

But we don’t hear all that’s said. Is Sarah seeing herself in 20 years? Does she fear becoming so lost in a mission that she loses everything she’s gained now? Does she think Chuck can become so lost – that it’s an inevitable part of being a spy, or an inevitable part of not trusting anybody?

Ernie, I’ve been spiraling around these questions for a couple of days now, and I think I have come to some answers. But for this round, what did you see?


Joe, I want to start small and build.  First things first.  Frost and Sarah.  That opening scene is amazing.  Frost stares at the camera.  She knows Sarah is looking.  Sarah is looking.  She knows Frost knows she is looking.  From the beginning these two women have seen themselves reflected when they look at each other.  It seems to scare Sarah a bit more than it does Frost, but it clearly has an affect on Frost, and Mary.

Then there’s Chuck.  What can you say about Chuck.  He has to practice being mad at Sarah.  He knows, intellectually, he’s been betrayed both personally and professionally.  Blind spots or no, Sarah took back the role of handler, deciding for Chuck what he could and couldn’t handle.  And while Chuck can’t seem to find it in himself to really be angry he knows that this is something important.  He’s trying to work through exactly how offended or how angry he should feel.  In truth he really isn’t ready for this fight, and I’m sorry to say little is resolved this episode.  Neither Chuck nor Sarah really wants to fight, but they both seem to know that the other has a point, and with their newfound communication skills they really should resolve this.

Enter Morgan Grimes to throw fuel on the fire.  I’d hardly call it a relationship crisis, both Chuck and Sarah realize it is a fight that should happen but hardly seem to think things could end over it.  Still, Morgan manages to set a lot of things in motion.   Chuck avoiding Sarah, talking to Ellie then to Mary/Frost, finding Tuttle/Volkoff.  It’s a busy day for Morgan the therapist/spy.

There’s Two of Everybody

That opening scene *is* amazing, Ernie. Sarah is watching Frost on the monitor, whose countenance is inscrutable. Even though she should be paying attention to Beckman, Sarah’s lost in thought. It’s the same when Mary Elizabeth is telling her side of the story to Ellie. What is Sarah thinking?

I believe she’s thinking she doesn’t trust Frost at all, but Chuck does. I don’t understand why he keeps trusting her. She just hurts him! No, Chuck trusts his mother. Sarah’s confident she’s right, yet with every interaction between her and Frost, in the interrogation room with Morgan, in Echo Park with Ellie, we see Sarah move towards Chuck’s point of view.

At the end of the episode we hear one of the best Chuck songs ever, Nico Stai’s One October Song. The lyrics are especially hard to pick out, but the last lines are relevant:

’cause you know that thing
that you say you sometimes dream of
well I think it’s happening to me

Chuck has been the naive trusting one and Sarah the cold hearted pragmatist, but we’ve watched them slowly changing since American Hero. By the end of this episode Chuck is the one who’s crying “You were right about her the whole time. I couldn’t see it. I didn’t want to see it.” His naiveté is shattered. Sarah comes back immediately with “Chuck – your mom gave us a way out.” If Chuck dreams that Sarah is becoming more trusting, and if Sarah dreams that Chuck becomes more realistic about what they’re doing, well, it’s happening.

I’m restating the obvious here, but everyone in the story has this dual nature; Frost the Volkoff operative and Mary Elizabeth the mother; Tuttle and Volkoff. Mary Elizabeth has put a complete wall between her two natures and Volkoff we come to see is certifiably “schizoid”. Chuck and Sarah feel that same divide between the two worlds they inhabit. At least we can hope (and we trust) that our heros can successfully navigate between them.

You mention Morgan arriving to throw fuel on the fire. He certainly does! But who shows up – the hero we saw in Couch Lock or “The Magnet”, aka Casey’s buffoon? Why, it’s 9 year old Morgan Grimes who gets through Frost’s well constructed wall, with the help of some Rice Krispie treats. Go figure. If there’s one character who’s comfortable with his dual nature, it’s Morgan, and it shows.

There’s one more character who plays a big part in this episode. He wouldn’t let himself be ripped apart by his two-worlds. It’s funny that he was more damaged than anyone else because of it.

Orion’s Legacy

I don’t understand why he keeps trusting her. She just hurts him! Chuck is very familiar with being hurt by those he loves and puts his trust in.  His father and mother both left, but both as it turns out to protect him.  Sarah has had to hurt Chuck more than once to keep him safe, including by arresting Frost.   I suppose that the question of trust and faith in each other is the last hurdle before they can move on the the impending engagement.  But in spite of the fight within the fight, little is settled, except as you say Joe, Chuck has lost some of his naiveté when it comes to his mother and Sarah has seen that Chuck has a way of picking the right people to trust.  Sometimes.

It was hard to see the OC (Orion Cave) go up in flames.  But I think that it brings home something that was set up in the finale of season 3.  Orion left Chuck and Ellie a legacy.  And it’s not always a happy one.  The song playing at the end, when Chuck and Sarah have been betrayed by Mary once again is fitting.  It is like watching his father die again for Chuck.  For now we don’t quite know what to think of Frost.  She’s still protecting Chuck, and we suspect that she is still on her mission, but her deception has exacted a terrible price.  The intersect disabled and Orion’s legacy destroyed, all because Sarah tried to protect Chuck’s blind spot.  Or to be more precise, all because of Orion’s last wish for his son, to find the woman he’d spent his life looking for and return her to the family he spent his life trying to protect.  Was Frost Orion’s blind spot also?  We hope not.  We want Linda Hamilton’s Mary Bartowski/Agent Frost to be one of the good guys in the end.  We don’t want Chuck played for a fool.

Stephen’s Legacy

At dawn I would watch the sun cut ribbons through the bay
I’d remember all the things my mother wrote

That we don’t eat until your father’s at the table
We don’t drink until the devil’s turned to dust
Never once has any man I’ve met been able to love
So if I were you, I’d have a little trust

That’s from the song being played when Ellie and Mary Elizabeth talk, We Don’t Eat by James Vincent McMorrow. It’s powerful stuff. Stephen is the unseen presence through the entire episode, though we don’t realize it until the very end, when Ellie read the note he left for her. Yeah, I heard some objections. It’s ridiculous and throw-up-your-hands nonsensical to have a ’68 Mustang with it’s top down, a letter and a laptop left inside for who knows how long. It may be a cheap way to move the plot along and leaves tons of unanswered questions, but you know what? From the instant I heard Scott Bakula’s voice, I DIDN’T CARE!

You know that I always put Orion in the role of Gandolf the Grey in my mind. He is now Gandolf the White, and I’ll gladly let him be the unseen force that pushes Ellie and Chuck in the right direction once again. I’m easy that way – can’t help it.

I failed to list all the mysteries earlier. Most of the remaining puzzles concern Stephen/Orion. Why did he not want Chuck to see that odd device (the “PSP”) that prevented Chuck from flashing? Is that the the only thing it did? Perhaps. But does it have anything to do with Orion foreseeing that all his data might be destroyed?

In his last message Stephen told his son “Chuck, it’s time you learned about your family. Because, I did it all for her.” But what was “it”? His spy work? His plans? Something beyond the Intersect that’s been in Chuck’s head? Finding and rescuing MamaB may have become Chuck’s mission, but it was Orion’s for 20 years. And “Doing the things governments are afraid to do” was part of that mission. That’s his legacy.

By the way, have you counted the number of times that Chuck’s been ready to abandon his mission? He’s stated the reason he wants to – because his search endangered Sarah, Casey and Morgan in Anniversary and again in Couch Lock, and for Ellie peace of mind in nearly every episode this season. There’s been one reason he hasn’t, and that’s been the direct actions of Mary or Stephen or both.

At this point in our re-watch this looks very much like a chess game. Every little thing that Frost and Mary Elizabeth do look like moves on the board and Orion and Stephen look like their partner and “second”. All the pieces are moving and only the best players can tell if the pieces are about to work together in harmony or not. The rest of us watch and see only part of the game.

A Minor Ernie Rant

OK, just a bit of a rant about a pet peeve.  I don’t like plot holes and continuity problems either, but so often it seems we create them.  The car was sitting outside with the top down and the note on the steering wheel.  Is there any reason whatsoever to assume it’s been that way since Orion’s death?  Obviously someone had to place the ad, to store the car, to take responses to the add, and to make sure it didn’t get sold to the wrong person.  In short, clearly Orion/Stephen had someone looking after the car, and when the right person responded to the ad that same person obviously prepared it for them, as per his instructions.  Ellie even remarks that said person told her the car would be waiting for them.  Orion was nothing if not a planner, and as Joe hints I suspect that he and Frost have a few more surprises in store.  Intersect 3.0 being among them.  But that is a subject for later reviews.  For now I’ll put my last thoughts together.

Great episode.  Some heavy stuff to digest, but also a lot of fun.  Sarah nearly killing Morgan with a stiletto, Morgan’s … Morgan-ness, the fight within the fight, all great fun.  In addition some of the series best dramatic moments and a stunning montage with great music as Mary tells Ellie, and by extension Sarah a story.  We haven’t heard that story, yet.  But clearly it had an affect on Sarah.  I think the Mary and Sarah parallels are only beginning, and it’s great to watch.


I can agree with that, Ernie. Fully understanding that errors, breaks and discontinuities drive some fans nutz (and some more than others), I was never bothered by non-explanations. It’s enough for me to know that some explanation exists and I don’t always have to know the details to enjoy the rest. There comes a point when enough is enough, and holes become errors become distracting. For me, we’re not close to that.

But that’s not really what I’m seconding. It’s the little things in this episode that make it so enjoyable. The Sarah-Morgan-Stiletto interaction, MamaB gently asking her son “You want to talk about it?”, Morgan re-introducing himself to his best friends mother, and of course, Ellie finally getting to talk with Mary Elizabeth. Those are great scenes.

On top of that, the episode gave us great action, mystery and puzzles that seem much deeper now that we’ve travelled further into the depths of the enigma that is Frost. That part of the story has aged very well in the weeks since it aired. When I first watched I may have been impatient with the head-snapping changes in our interpretations of her actions, and maybe I even subconsciously considered Chuck’s inability to flash at the end too reminiscent of the plot at the end of S3.

Ultimately, it doesn’t seem so. Here’s a thought I’m going to post more on, perhaps soon. Chuck and Sarah are being portrayed very realistically as a couple, and I have been waaayyyy too impatient for them to take the next step. There are real issues, obstacles and considerations mature people should (and must) face when they become close, and the fact that these are two exceptionally fictional characters shouldn’t change that. I’m impatient, but they don’t have to be.

YMMV, but knowing what’s coming down the pike for these two has led me to reconsider any qualms I might have had about the pacing of their romance. I like it.


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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122 Responses to First Fight – Joe & Ernie’s Rewatch and Review

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  2. sd says:

    Hey there…

    For me, throw away the contrived C/S issues…the real issue (imho)) is the similarities–perceived or real–between Orion and Frost and C/S. Will the proverbial “history repeat itself” or will C/S find a way Chuck’s parent’s couldn’t?

    I think that issue would make an amazing arc…opening up back story revelations of all involved.

    • joe says:

      You like that parallel, huh. Me too.

      Forget Role Models. Parents are *always* role models, and Chuck is struggling with the idea that he’s receiving conflicting messages from all of them.

      I never wanted you to be a spy. from Stephen.
      Doing the things that governments are afraid to do. from Orion.
      I know all about Charles Carmichael! from Frost.
      Do you want to talk about it? from Mary Elizabeth.

      And there’s one more. We are NORMAL PEOPLE! Normal people don’t go “off-grid”! – Ellie.

      When Chuck asks himself “Who am I?”, he can’t put all that aside. He can’t not listen to those voices. The only people he knows that have navigated those shoals are his parents, but right now, at this point in the story, it doesn’t look to Chuck like they’ve done it successfully.

      Talk about ominous! I think it’s a great underlying story too.

      • Faith says:

        wait, you mean to tell me we’re doomed to be our parents? NAIEOUUUU!!!!

      • Sarge_87 says:

        I think at least one episode should be dedicated to that parallel. This subject would also be a great way for Hamilton to showcase the more personable side of Frost to the audience. She would act as Chuck/Sarah’s compass to guide them away from the pitfalls Mary and Stephen succumbed to in their relationship.

  3. JC says:

    At the time it was the strongest episode of the season. Like Armand Assante, you can just tell Timothy Dalton is loving his role. Just enough cheese in the portrayal of Tuttle/Volkoff that the show needs in its villains.

    Like Yvonne when Linda Hamilton and Sarah Lancaster are allowed to show their acting skills they steal the show. The scene with the three of them together was heartbreaking on many different levels. You could even tell it bothered Casey on some level at least when it came to Ellie. And like Joe I loved the scene with Chuck and Mary when she asks him if he wants to talk about his problems with Sarah. The scenes between those two are some of my favorite from the show. I can’t forget the little jab Mary makes at Sarah that maybe Chuck doesn’t want to talk to her. Yvonne has this subtle facial expression after that sells the scene.

    But I do have some issues with the episode especially since I know what’s coming. I still don’t like the fact that Chuck never gets mad. Right or wrong he has every reason to be angry at both Sarah and Casey. It’s great that he’s a forgiving guy but its gone into push over territory of late. And when it comes to the fight well it doesn’t seem like either of them learned anything. Sarah still treats Chuck like a child or asset and this was beginning of the arc that did Chuck no favors.

    Don’t get me started on the PSP and Mary’s comment about his father not wanting him to see it. I’ll withhold total judgement until the arc ends but if there’s nothing else man that’s a huge plot hole even for Chuck.

    Its still a strong episode but IMO not as much as I thought at the time. Now that could change again once the Mary/Volkoff arc plays out.

    • joe says:

      Chuck never gets mad.

      That’s interesting, JC! Chuck is supposed to be that proverbial “nice guy”, and the last thing the character should be doing is getting mad. But he has! Ask Shaw. 😉

      Actually, my favorite scene that showed Chuck’s anger was way back in Crown Vic: Did you kiss me that night because you thought we were going to die and mine were the most convenient lips around, or was in actually about me?

      Everyone probably realizes that my self-image is that of the “nice guy”. But I’ll tell ya, I’ve been called on the carpet more than once about that too, so I really understand what you mean. People don’t generally like “nice guys” 100% of the time. Crossing the line to “Milquetoast” is an easy explanation – nobody admires that. The one that surprised me though was being called in-human. I didn’t realize until that came out how off-putting it can be when someone contains justifiable rage.

      Still, you’re right. Despite the Intersect, Chuck’s no alpha-male. I’d love a debate about whether he’s crossed the line into beta-ness, but really, Sarah will be the one to determine that.

      Oh – her vote is already in. 😉

      • JC says:

        Its not that I want Chuck raging across the screen but his lack of anger stretches the limits of believability for me.

        Everyone calls him out when he screws or they think he did but Chuck doesn’t do anything. I don’t know if they fear crossing a line with him but its not working for me at the moment.

      • Crumby says:

        JC, when would you have want Chuck to get mad this season? Just curious.

      • JC says:

        He should have been angry at both Sarah and Casey after they grabbed his mother. And not because they did it but how they went behind his back.

        The same with Sarah’s comment about not being a spy in FOD which I think was the most unbelievable moment this season.

        Also it would have been nice to see him stand up or get angry at Volkoff when he was pointing a gun at Sarah.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Also it would have been nice to see him stand up or get angry at Volkoff when he was pointing a gun at Sarah

        Chuck’s inaction was a jarring scene. One you wouldn’t expect from the character.

      • I felt that he was angry at Sarah. Lines like “don’t just accuse her” or “you could at least have told me before you arrested her” and his tone, felt like mad Chuck to me.

        And in FOD, I think he was to disappointed to be angry and then he didn’t get the chance to be angry because Sarah’s point proved to be right: no safety meant no safety net! (I just loved the way she said it! 🙂 )

      • JC says:

        She was right to a certain point but it all comes back to the idea of no Kung Fu equals no spy. The whole scene was manipulative anyway the whole point of the line was to get him to do something stupid and get captured. Then to have Sarah feel bad and save him.


        It caught me off guard. What happened to the guy who swung off the BuyMore in season 2 to save Sarah? I’ve defended Chuck a lot on this blog but I’m struggling at this point.

      • atcdave says:

        Chuck was angry at the start of First Fight, he was also probably angry afterbSarah’s words in Fear of Death before he ran off on the mission. Why does it need to be bigger than we saw? I like how Chuck keeps things in a healthy perspective. I’d like to think my anger blows over quickly too, but I’m not sure I’m as good at it as Chuck.

      • JC says:

        He didn’t seem angry to me, like Joe said in the review it was almost like he had to convince himself. I don’t want him getting angry at everything because that forgiving nature is part of his character. But everyone has a point where they just snap or lose it. It all comes down to believability and even the nicest people on the planet get p***ed off once in awhile.

      • I guess we just saw it differently. 😉

        But I do agree that Chuck needs to “snap” at people from time to time. Like he did with his father in Dream Job. His “I don’t want to hear what you can’t do. I’ve seen what you can’t do.” was very powerful. And as much as it surprised me a little coming from Chuck at the time, it didn’t bother me because it highlighted how much their dad had hurt Ellie and Chuck.

        I don’t know if Chuck is capable of doing that with the people “who would never leave him” though.

      • thinkling says:

        @Crumby: 🙂

        Yes, Chuck, but then there’s no safety net.

        This is one of my favorite lines. Sarah was right, of course, but the delivery really made the line.

      • Yep, this line and how Yvonne said it was hilarious! 🙂

      • Tamara Burks says:

        I agree with you Crumby about Chuck needing to lose his temper once in a while. One of the things I love about Dream Job is that he gets mad . The other is even though Chuck immediately starts to apologize , his father tells him he has the right to be mad.

        They have a little cut scene on the season 2 dvd from the Ring where Bryce shows up in the courtyard and Chuck does get angry at him because whenever he shows up things go wrong . It reads as the beginning of a longer scene and I would have loved for that to be continued Bryce gave him plenty of reason to be angry and never showed remorse about it.

    • jason says:

      @joe – I have read multiple comments about Chuck replacing Morgan is the character who people are grumbling about whenever he shows up on screen, I tend to agree, it is not so much I dislike Chuck, but he has not been written very well this season, much like Morgan was used in S1/S2 on purpose to annoy.

      eps 4.6 thru 4.10, contain two wonderful eps of chuck, most people I suspect would put 4×7 and 4×9 in their top ten, but the arc was pretty weak for the character ‘Chuck’

      Sarah’s love is great and all, but that is not the ‘end all’ to validate Chuck’s worth as a character, I fell in love with a show were the heroic character of the lead male won the girl’s heart – that hero has felt lacking since the early part of the arc, I hope it returns gangbusters soon.

      I sort of feel that chuck’s weakness has replaced shaw as the ‘wtf’ of season 4, but this story is not nearly as miserable or repulsive as the shaw show was, and much like season 3’s 13th episode neutered the shaw mistake, I am hoping we see the end of ‘maleshe’ chuck, and soon!

      • joe says:

        Gee! I hope he’s not *that* annoying. Chuck’s certainly more than the loveable character he was at the beginning, but the annoying part may be because helplessness is a bit loveable.

        Ohhhh – that was a cheat! What’s really loveable watching and helping somebody grow. It’s harder now to think Chuck has more growth left, I guess.

    • alladinsgenie4u says:


      -I find myself in agreement with all your thoughts. One more thing I would like to add with reference to the Mama B/Ellie and silent Sarah scene. That conversation was most probably Mama B telling Ellie about the decisions she made with her life – I am guessing that Sarah must have already learned some life lesson in there. What would be nice is that if further along there’s a Mama B and Sarah conversation where Sarah tells her that she would never make the mistakes Mama B did in her life.

  4. jason says:

    one more thing, and really, I don’t blame anyone for ripping me for saying this as I am saying something negative about both Yvonne and Zach, who in order are my 2 favorite actors and characters on the show – I love sarah lancaster the actor, but do not like ellie the character near as well for example.

    Last season, several bloggers have commented, and I sure thought it to the point I am almost sure I saw Yvonne snear at a line Routh delivered to another character in early 4×9 if I recall, but last season some of the fail seemed to be that Yvonne did not like the story at all.

    I sometimes wonder if this season, Zach is not sort of in that position, he just does not seem into S4 like he was in season 3, when several times he really amped it up on the screen, including ep 3×8, where I thought his Rafe stuff really was great.

    You could hardly blame him for feeling like ‘It doesn’t matter what we do, all the fans want is a little goofiness, 1 or 2 fights scenes involving scantily clothed hot guys and gals, and 1 or 2 warm chuck / sarah moments each episode’. I know many of the bloggers here want more, but it seems to me the show does best when it sticks to the above simple formula.

    Ok – let me have it, I deserve it, what would 2011 be without me stirring the pot a bit?

    • joe says:

      Oh, feel free to stir, Jason. I know what you mean.

      You’ve put your finger on an interesting dilemma that anyone who does critiques (which is really what we’re doing here) comes to. It shows up when you say that you love Sarah Lancaster, but Ellie, not so much.

      We try to find and draw out meaningful, universal experiences here, both good and bad. But no matter what we do our own individual preferences color what we see. We can’t get away from our own likes and dislikes, and from our own perceptions.

      Here’s mine. When I’m doing my jogging or lunch-time walks with my iPod playing my Chuck play-lists, the stuff that affects me most is the music from S3. Compared to the sweetness of S2 music (like Christmas TV) or the up-beat S1 music (Cobrastyle, Lust for Life), songs like Where Do We Go From Here and Hell of a Guy are maudlin and almost traumatic in their depressive outlook.

      But that says a lot more about me than about the show. It characterizes what *I* am about more than what anyone connected with the show is trying to say. It’s not universal at all.

      Good news, my moods change. What’s on the DVDs and on my DVR remains the same, so I can go back and see things fresh. Ultimately I get a sense of the real message that was more hidden than I want to realize under the gauze of my moods. Even better, I start to get that a lot of what I thought was in the actor’s minds was actually in mine. The “magic of the theater” occurs when I forget that Zac and Yvonne and the rest are playing roles and I start to see the characters they portray, of course.

      You may very well be a two steps ahead of that, Jason, so please don’t take that as a criticism. It’s just a general observation about myself, and I think about a lot of viewers. I’m guessing that the next step, the step taken by acting professionals, is to understand those nuances that make us believe the characters are real, and to understand when other professionals have slipped up. If Zac looks like he’s phoning it in to you on occasion, you may very well be right. In fact, you probably are. He’s only human too.

      Same goes for the writers and the rest of the creative team. They don’t always put out their best product. They can’t. And sometimes Yvonne has to disagree with what Sarah is saying or doing, and that can’t be easy for her!

      So that’s a dilemma. The yardstick that I have to use can’t always be my own likes and dislikes, but I can’t get away from them. So what I do is use other shows as yardsticks. That’s comparing Gala Apples to MacIntosh, but at least I can say Chuck has given me more entertainment and truth ™ than anything on TV that I can think of.” It keeps me from getting too cynical about it.

    • atcdave says:

      I think its safe to say actors don’t always like or understand the characters they play. I don’t know how much that’s ever been an issue on Chuck. You may remember me saying how Zach’s performance in the S2 episode “Sensei” really rubbed me wrong. He seemed manic in a way I didn’t care for at all. I don’t know what was going on; maybe he received some strange direction, maybe he was thinking something about his character I still don’t get, maybe he was on cold medicine. I don’t know but I didn’t like it.
      I’m likewise not sure if Yvonne actually disliked the S3 story, disliked Brandon Routh, or (and I think most likely) she just didn’t like being excluded from the main part of the story. But regardless of the reason, its obvious all was not well with Sarah and/or Yvonne in S3.
      My guess with Zach is just that he was playing a somewhat weakened Chuck in episodes 4.08-4.10. He may not have liked the situation any more than his character did. But I suspect things will feel more back to normal when the show returns. Look how strong he was in Anniversary; and he was a capable spy even in Couch Lock and Aisle of Terror. Even in Leftovers he wasn’t really that bad, its really just Fear of Death and Phase 3 where we see a mostly inept Chuck. I expect we’ll be mostly happy with the episodes ahead.

      • Judy says:

        I think you make a good point about isolating the inept Chuck to episodes 4-8 and 4-9. I think it was particularly amplifed in 4-9 because Sarah was over the top kick ass.

        There’s been a lot of comment about the wimpy Chuck this season. I think that’s mainly a result of timing. If we didn’t have the 7 week break, 4-8 and 4-9 wouldn’t have made such a lasting impression.

        I think it’s very unlikely that wimpy Chuck is a characterization that’s going to carry over to the rest of the season.

      • 409 Chuck didn’t bother me. He was tied to a chair the whole time.

        408 & 410 Chuck did bother me.

        But it’s not just this deintersected arc. From the beginning of the season, I have a hard time with some points. Chuck the character is just hard to get.

        If he had found his mom and everything was fine, would he still want to be a spy? Does he want the Intersect or not? Does he think he’s a spy without it or not?

      • joe says:

        Hi, Judy. You make a good point.

        Chuck’s a lot different than he was. Chuck always has been easy to startle, but the girlish screams are gone. He used to always avoid a fight. Well, he still does. But the difference is that when the fight is unavoidable (and it’s more unavoidable now that childhood is over) he has a larger arsenal of weapons to draw on.

        Crumby, I too love it when Chuck takes charge, like he did in Couch Lock, right along side Sarah. But I can’t fault him for not always being Charles Carmichael either.

        I mean, sometimes the physical, commanding stuff works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes the thinking-it-through stuff Chuck does is wrong too, and pulling the trigger is the answer. It’s a tough call for adults in this world, you know?

      • Oh I really don’t want him to be Charles Carmichael all the time! It’s not that I want him to take charge more. It’s just that I don’t get what he wants sometimes, and that bothers me.

        In Anniversary he was fine with being out of the CIA. He re-joined only because of his mom.

        Then it seems that he was back to S3 when he wanted to be a spy. And then he loses the Intersect and he wants it back because he wants to remain a spy.

        And then he doesn’t get it back and says he’s fine without it, but re-intersects the first opportunity he gets.

        So which is it?

        Phase Three stated that Sarah didn’t care if Chuck had the Intersect or not, but does that make him a spy without it?

        And did he re-intersected only to save his mom or would he want it back as well if his mom wasn’t in the picture? It’s all unclear to me.

      • patty says:

        I think the whole Mom thing gave Chuck the *excuse* to rejoin the CIA. He likes being a spy because he can make a difference and do great things.

        The problem is that being the Intersect seems to be tied up in Chuck’s feelings of self worth, not really his fault since that is the message everyone around him seems to give him. Although Sarah saying he was not a spy seemed more to be her wanting him back in one piece, not really a feeling that he is useless without the Intersect.

        In Fear of Death even Rye seems impressed by the preparation Chuck went through and his general non-Intersected competance and courage. He still is trying to get Chuck to flash constantly, but that was Rye’s assigned task.

        I still think that it should be noted that in Phase 3 Chuck was consistantly refusing to even *try* to flash, even when they threatened to “lobotomize” him. In Fear of Death he had been trying and seemed to be getting closer to a real flash as time went on so he probably could have at least stalled the Belgian by cooperating. The evil henchman seemed more competant than the NSA docs anyway! 😉

      • atcdave says:

        They aren’t consistent on what Chuck wants. I prefer to think he wants to be spy to good things and make a difference; doing those good things with Sarah is pure bonus. But the show truly is not consistent on that point, and Chuck seems to shift with the wind on his motives sometimes.

      • JC says:

        Even though I didn’t like how it was handled at least early in last season he wanted to be spy to help people and do good. But somewhere along the way his wants were portrayed as selfish. Even the quest for his mother wasn’t really his choice. His dead father’s will basically forced the hunt for his mother on him.

        What bothers me is when it comes to his choice of being a spy it depends on the approval of two certain characters. For me that takes away from his decision.

        And they really screwed up during this Intersect less arc when it comes to Chuck. The whole notion he’s helpless without it is garbage leftover from last season. Chuck was a hero without Kung Fu and what a wasted opportunity to show that again. The same with Sarah what happened to the woman who always told him he could do anything.

      • atcdave says:

        You know JC we’ve seen this sort of story telling before, think how many times we’ve seen Superman loose his powers and become worse than any mere mortal. They exaggerate the hero’s dependence on his power to the point he’s helpless without it. It’s even more bothersome with Chuck than the man of steel because we had previously seen Chuck do great things with a less powerful Intersect. I suspect if the powerless arc were longer we would have seen Chuck contribute more; as it is, I suspect Chuck will be more heroic again in short order and I wouldn’t worry about the heavy handed approach in these last few episodes.

      • JC says:

        I see what you’re getting at and I agree somewhat. But part of it is they haven’t really integrated action hero and smart Chuck. Since the 2.0 it feels like the only way he can be a hero is if he beats people up. So what makes him different from Bryce or Cole then? I’m not saying bring back the Chuck from S1 and 2 completely but part of what made him special and different has been lost.

        That’s why I bring up the Batman comparison. He’s a living weapon like Chuck but what makes him dangerous is how smart he is. That’s what I want to see from Chuck, sure he can kick the crap out of you but why do it when he can outsmart someone.

      • Yep I agree completely JC.

        I thought they were going to show smart Chuck with his mom search, the tranq gloves, and he seemed to flash less and less, but… No. That was one of the problems in S3, and it still is. The much disapointing de-intersected arc showed it.

        Chuck still thinks what makes him special is his ability to have the Intersect. And it’s everybody’s fault really. Chuck’s insecure and people in his life don’t reassure him enough. What happened to “Before all of this you were smart.”

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        @Dave, patty, JC, Crumby – thanks for this nice discussion going on. 🙂

      • JC says:


        Whats worse is this worthless without the Intersect idea never existed until last season. I thought Other Guy had put it to rest but they went right back to it in FOD. And you’re right , I really can’t blame Chuck for feeling like that with the way people have acted the last two seasons. Sarah has become the worst offender, when she used to be the one who always told him he was a hero without it.

      • Yep.

        I can understand her not wanting him to go on missions without back up in FOD, because it is dangerous.

        But they should have had her say in First Fight that she didn’t care that Chuck had the Intersect or not, BECAUSE he’s hero with or without it. That’s what was missing.

        They failed to have it stated. They kind of implied it when Beckman said he what an still an asset to the team and Sarah agreeing but it wasn’t enough. They really should have had her saying it.

      • atcdave says:

        I like smart Chuck too. We actually have seen him on occasion this season, like in Couch Lock and Anniversary. I do wish they would rely less on the Intersect in general.

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        It’s not Chuck whose dependant on the Intersect 2.0, it’s TPTB.

        Somewhere along the way they lost S1/S2 “smart” Chuck and replaced him with (let’s face it) kung fu only Chuck.

        With any luck Papa B’s laptop will bring “smart” Chuck back.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        I can understand why Chuck was left with the impression that he would be worthless to the CIA and NSA without it because he was treated that way. Being constantly referred to as the Intersect alone will do that especially if your non Intersect skills are dismissed (in the Barker arc Sarah and casey dismeissed those skills and Barker made him feel as if his Intersect skills were worthless too. Sarah’s fawning (and it was fawning) over Barker the grandstander (he saved Sarah from being shot but it was his grandstanding that nearly got her shot) so quickly after rejecting him when he felt they had gotten close (which is why he broke up with her) and making out with him) was just one of the times Chuck was made to feel either completely useless or a piece of office machinery . He wasn’t even paid until the Intersect was out of his head and that could have been because they were afraid of Orion finding out and retaliating if they didn’t pay him.

        Also there were many times where Chuck was treated like his opinion on his own life didn’t matter. They wanted him to move in with Sarah after Barker was captured even though the security leak in him knowing Chuck was the Intersect wasn’t his fault.

    • Faith says:

      I’m still trying to figure out the whole PDA/steam bit Jason 😉

      • Sarge_87 says:

        What I gather here from this whole conversation, everybody wants back the “smart” Chuck from S1/S2. The “smart” Chuck from S1/S2 also had armed backup in the form of Casey and Sarah to pull his butt out the fire when “smart” had run its course and a big stick had to be deployed.

        It seems to me everyone wants to have it both ways when the reality is they can’t.

        “Smart” Chuck w/o the Intersect is an analyst who sits behind a desk somewhere discerning gathered intelligence, because he can’t take care of himself in the field. In other words, he’s relegated to sitting in the car again.

        “Smart” Chuck with the Intersect 2.0 is a fully capable field agent, who can think on the fly and protect himself or his partner if need be. The Intersect has nothing to do with Chuck’s self-worth or his ability to beat someone up. It’s the ability to keep himself from getting dead in a hostile situation since he has an aversion to carrying a sidearm.

        I saw someone was drawing a Batman analogy up above…Sure, Batman was “smart”. Remove the Kevlar suit, utility belt, the gadgets, and his knowledge of the martial arts, all you’re left with a “smart” Bruce Wayne who is vulnerable in every way to someone who wants to do him harm. The Intersect has become a part of Chuck in much the same way as what makes up the persona of Batman.

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        I agree “smart” Chuck with the Intersect 2.0 is a fully capable field agent, who can think on the fly and protect himself or his partner if need be.

        The thing is that S1 / S2 Chuck managed to keep himself from getting dead and overcome the challenge of the week using his wits and intelligence. This “smart” aspect of Chuck has mostly disappeared and he (and TPTB) seem to solely rely on the Intersect 2.0.

        Think about Leftovers, Sarah and Casey are trying to keep the Volkov’s hacker out of Castle’s systems when the computer geek (Chuck) is WATCHING. Puh-lease.

        Honestly the whole “I’m useless without the intersect” arc never bothered me too much until the laptop “magically” cured Chuck and it’s a happy ending because things have returned to how they were before therefore highlighting the fact, that without the intersect, Chuck is not even Batman without his armour.

      • JC says:

        Chuck with the 2.0 who uses his brains is a fully capable agent, unfortunately that version doesn’t show his face that often. Instead we have a Chuck who just beats people up and turns into cowardly moron without the 2.0.

        He survived those first two seasons without the 2.0. It wasn’t the Intersect that disarmed bombs, swung off the roof of the BuyMore or stormed Roarke Industries.

        Yes take away Batman’s gadgets,training,etc and he’s just Bruce Wayne. And I’ve seen that before, the strange thing he was still smart and heroic unlike how Chuck is written in the same situations. My comparison to Batman is how Chuck should be written with the 2.0. Instead he’s just another spy, why not just make Cole the lead of the show.

      • thinkling says:

        Joseph, the Castle hacker didn’t bother me, for several reasons.

        First, they didn’t really know there was a hacker until he had stopped them from bringing their weapons on line. There was no hacking contest in progress. Casey and Sarah were initializing Castle’s state of the art weapon system … something they were specifically trained to do.

        Chuck knows computers and hacking, but he doesn’t know anything about weapons systems. It’s not his area of expertise. The right people were manning the Castle computers … the ones who had been trained in how to use them and had extensive weapons training and experience. It’s not logical to expect Chuck to do what they were doing. Hacking was not required.

        Chuck does not know the ins and outs of the new Castle. When it was designed, he was not a spy. Since he has been back in the CIA, he hasn’t had time to “read the manual” like S2, because very little time has passed.

        Suitcase through Coup were back to back. Not long after that, Couch through FOD were back to back. Add 30 days with Chuck strapped to a chair going through all kinds of stuff to recover the Intersect. Then it’s off on a suicide mission with captain crazy. Phase 3 begins immediately after the Belgian takes Chuck. Not long after Sarah saves him from a near electronic lobotomy, MamaB shows up for Leftovers. When would he have had time to read the New-and-Improved-Castle manual?

        That said, it will be nice when smart Chuck returns, and he will. He was smart Chuck up until his mom came back. She is the one pushing his buttons. He will work through the mom issues and come back strong.

      • joe says:

        I’m with you on this one, Thinkling. I always thought that Casey was the go-to guy for anything dealing with weapons.
        Besides, the real absurdity isn’t that Chuck wasn’t acting-hacker. It’s that K.K. (yeah – the hacker had a name!) could break into the system of a CIA substation and then into the weapons protocol at all, much less that quickly.

      • thinkling says:

        That did strain credulity. Of course Volkoff may have sold them the system 😉

      • treecrab says:

        Uh, Chuck read and mastered the previous Castle system in a matter of only a few days (at most), to the point where he could seemingly run the whole system from a simple security console. How much time would he actually need to learn how the new Castle runs?

        And it can’t be THAT hard to learn, since Hugo Panzer in Cubic Z was able to access the mainframe, navigate it, and manipulate the entire system to his will, and the man had been in prison for months long before Castle was even upgraded. So when did he have time to study the manual?

        I really don’t think it takes extensive training.

        When did Casey and Sarah learn how the new Castle was ran? I doubt it was while they were searching for Volkoff before the season started, since they seemed pretty busy then (hell, it wasn’t even really *online* yet completely by the time Anniversary rolled around). They’ve had just as little time as Chuck has.

        I find the excuse that Chuck didn’t know how Castle operates to be pretty weak, especially when all evidence previous to Leftovers showed that Chuck takes to technology like a duck does to water. I mean, hell, he hacked an apparently unhackable chip in Beefcake in a matter of seconds. I really don’t think learning how Castle is operated would be that hard for him.

      • atcDave says:

        I really think we’re worrying too much over small details. This sort of continuity has always been a little weak on Chuck, the show runners are far more interested in characters and relationships than they are in actual plot. I’m not at all saying that’s good; but we could spend all day picking over these sorts of inconsistencies. They really put major effort into comedy which makes the show fun, but does detract from the time for plot (and I mean energy that goes into crafting the plot, not just screen time). On occasion Chuck and Sarah both have been made to look bad or stupid because of these moments, its probably best not to make too big a thing of it.
        Many fan fiction writers make the extra effort on more involved stories than anything we’ll ever get from the show.
        I’m not saying we shouldn’t pick nits, its kind of what we hard core fans do; I’m just saying it isn’t really worth getting too worked up over.

      • JC says:

        If the hacker scene hadn’t been in the middle of this current Chuck feels and acts worthless without the Intersect arc I doubt it would have bothered people. But to do nothing when that was a perfect chance to show the audience and himself his skills as a spy go beyond flashing boggles my mind.

    • I personnaly wasn’t asking for Chuck to get rid of the Intersect. My problem is since the 2.0, Chuck the spy is more often the Human Intersect than Charles Carmichael! The Kung Fu helps, but they made it look like he couldn’t do anything without it!

      I want “smart” Chuck to use the Intersect as his “special weapon”, I don’t want the Intersect to define what kind of spy Chuck is.

  5. Ernie Davis says:

    I understand the frustration when they regress a character, especially when it is Chuck, or Sarah last season. I think however it is somewhat intentional and integral to the story. This season’s journey is about finding and making a family. At the beginning of the season Chuck was the confident and competent spy and boyfriend, even if there were some insecurities. By being there he managed to bring Sarah along, to essentially finish the job of saving her last season. But if family is what the story is about then it is bound to be family that both causes the crisis in the middle acts and is eventually the thing that saves our heroes. Chuck started to make a lot of bad decisions and to regress when his mother showed up, challenging his view of himself, the world, his notion of family, and his self confidence. Sarah also seemed in peril of losing her home and family, but this season where we had to wait for Chuck to save himself and become the man he was destined to be before he could save Sarah last season, Chuck is in need of saving both from and by his family. The Ellie thing and his mother are both going to figure in this IMHO, in addition to Sarah. Sarah has pretty much saved herself by rescuing Chuck, though there is a bit of co-dependance still there, so I expect the women in Chuck’s life to start to give him back a better sense of himself and his place in the world.

    • jason says:

      ernie, that is a good way to look at the regressions, if the weaker chuck is dealt with swiftly and well, it probably will be considered about right this season, last season, sarah faltered way too long, when either of them go off the main script or theme for too long, the show suffers, as the two of them on team B seems to be the staple of the show, time to reel chuck back in

    • thinkling says:

      You explained something I’ve just begun to see looking back. In fact I commented the same before I read this. That is, I see his regression as a mom issue.

      He doesn’t start regressing until MamaB shows up, when he vacillates the entire episode of AOT. Then, he makes it through the Intersect-less arc and emerges feeling better than he has in a long time … ready to put the past behind him … until mom shows up again. I think his regression has much more to do with mom than the Intersect or Sarah.

      Now, you have explained why I’m not crazy. Thank you. 😉

  6. I loved the episode, it was my favorite at the time.

    The episode made me laugh, a lot. From Chuck’s “Tom, Jerry” to Mary awkardly asking Chuck if he wants to talk to Morgan trying to retreave his earpiece 🙂 to Tuttle’s Alias reference and so on.

    And that wasn’t just comedy. What I liked was that we had it all, sweet moments, emotional moments, funny moments, action moments, and everything was well executed IMO.

    You pointed all of the great stuff, Linda Hamilton and Timothy Dalton’s performance’s, Morgan, Casey was great too, the fight scene, the Mary-Ellie-Sarah scene, Orion’s presence without being there, the music, etc.

    Having said that, the CS story didn’t convinced me. I loved the fight scene between Chuck and Sarah but the resolution… not so much.

    Chuck should be mad that Sarah went behind his back? Sure, but can we really blame Sarah? I didn’t see progression in Chuck like you did, Joe and Ernie.

    He trusted blindly his mother, when everybody was telling him Sarah had a point for being reserved (Morgan and Ellie said it). Progression for Chuck to me isn’t to say afterward “Oh I shouldn’t have trusted her!” It would be to be cautious. Arrest her and then prove her innocence. I always say “I should be less trusting” when it’s too late.

    And the line that proves my point is:
    Chuck: You could have at least told me before you arrested her.”
    Sarah: And watched you commit treason?!

    Sarah doesn’t think Chuck would have made the right decision if she had let him know. And that’s where my problem is. Sarah didn’t progress either. Because of Chuck’s lack of progression, I can understand why she would have act the way she did. But a Sarah that had progressed would have trust Chuck to do the right thing, or at least give him a shot to do so. Instead, she didn’t trust him, she didn’t try to prove Frost’s innocence either, and when she realised she didn’t like fighting with Chuck she just followed him blindly.

    I didn’t like Chuck’s line: “I mean really believe in me, even if you think I’m wrong.” What was that? Did he believe in Sarah even if he thought she was wrong?

    They should counterbalance Chuck’s trust in people and Sarah’s cold hearted pragmatism and come up with an intermediary position instead of choosing one or the other. That would be progression to me.

    • atcdave says:

      Crumby I didn’t like Chuck’s line about the sort of trust he was looking for either. But I do think Sarah finally showed some growth in the end, she trusted Chuck’s judgement about releasing Frost and going to the Orion Cave rather than reporting right in to Beckman as she was ordered. Her trust was partially rewarded too; even if the mission itself was botched, she mended her relationship with Chuck and found a glimmer of hope in the Frost situation.

      • jason says:

        i thought maybe chuck was referring to the 3×12 incident with his trust line(s), hence the sarah reply at one point ‘that isn’t fair’ – I sort of liked that entire scene, it is sort of ‘my’ favorite chuck conflict – played for laughs

        chuck tv has posted the short synopsis for 4×12 if anyone is interested

      • I see your point Dave and I kinda agree. But what I don’t like is that she basically chose Chuck’s position, instead of compromising.

        A compromise would have been to not report to Beckman but keep Frost in custody. That way, we would have seen that they both understood their respective position and work trough it together.

      • joe says:

        Hum… I think I want to disagree just a bit about the idea of Sarah compromising, Crumby. But I must admit, what I have in mind doesn’t seem quite right either.

        But it goes like this: When Sarah and Casey said at the end of Anniversary “OF COURSE we’ll help you!, compromise went out the window. They hadn’t committed treason yet, but they’ve been a little bit rogue ever since.

        That’s like being a little bit pregnant, isn’t it? Beckman’s sidelong glances remind us that she trusts nobody, and I suspect that she’s on to them already, even if that bit about the Thai ambassador was played for laughs.

        I’m going to predict that this “little bit rogue” thing, and Chuck’s realization of what he’s done to Sarah, Casey and even Morgan with that promise is THE crises of rest of the season.

      • Well Chuck ask them if they should tell Beckman and they said no in Anniversary. Casey and Sarah chose, Chuck didn’t ask them to do so.

        I still think freeing Frost to make the point that Sarah trusted Chuck was too much. And then they let her walk in the OC… They could have go there with Frost in handcuffs.

      • Faith says:

        Crumby, I kind of feel that they felt that Sarah went too far that it required full “trust” as it were to make up for it. No compromise, but full acquiesce and I don’t disagree. I think she went pretty far, to the tune of putting their future in question. So I liked how it went in the end there with Frost.

    • thinkling says:

      I agree that the whole “believe me even when you think I’m wrong” is a dumb line (on a par with the famous line from Love Story), and as you point out, it goes both ways. Chuck didn’t believe in Sarah, either. But by then, regardless of the flawed logic, she gave Chuck what he asked for, because she loves him and knew that’s what he needed. The right/wrong of it wasn’t as important as ending the fight and restoring the relationship.

      Sarah doesn’t think Chuck would have made the right decision if she had let him know.

      She was in a very tough spot. Chuck had asked her to help him with his “huge blind spot.” I think she did just that … protect his blind spot. In her mind she was honoring his trust, not betraying it, hence her utter dismay when he said he wanted her to believe in him. She has always believed in him. Her protecting him is not in conflict with that, but in concert with it. (At this point, very few people agree with me. OK, none, maybe. … do I hear one?) Every conversation in Aisle revealed Chuck’s vacillating feelings about his mom. Based on all that had happened, Chuck’s words, and the new info she had, her decision is defensible … though not popular.

      Whether or not he would have done the right thing is up for grabs. Would he have let his mom escape and committed treason? Probably. The other alternative was for Chuck to “do the right thing” and thus be complicit in his mother getting arrested in front of his sister. Telling Chuck would give him the hideous choice (not quite as bad as “Sophie’s,” but utterly unenviable) … to commit treason or arrest his mom in front of his sister.

      We can come up with satisfying compromises, but then there would have been no conflict. And it was a pretty interesting scenario. It also sets up a dynamic that plays over the next few episodes … that of protection. There’s a lot of protecting going on in AOT through Leftovers, and it’s not all Sarah protecting Chuck, though that’s the most evident. This is an issue that they will probably always struggle to balance.

      Is it interesting or what (this just occurred to me) that Stephen asks Chuck to find Mary, and Mary asks Sarah to protect Chuck?

      • She gave Chuck what he asked for, because she loves him and knew that’s what he needed.

        I agree to a degree. It’s one thing to let someone touch a hot plate, because he needs to see by himself how hot it is, even though everybody had told him, but it’s a completely different thing when your life is on the line. Chuck may need Sarah to believe in him, but he also needs to stay alive!

        I just would have liked them to come up with something that could satisfy both of them.

        We can come up with satisfying compromises, but then there would have been no conflict.

        I agree conflict make the story. Sarah not telling Chuck she was going to arrest his mother didn’t bother me. Chuck avoiding Sarah until their fight didn’t bother me. It was part of the conflict. What bothered me was the resolution. So I disagree, they could have had a more satisfying resolution, with compromises, and keep the story going. I’m sure Frost could still PSP’ed Chuck with handcuffs! 😉

        But I guess you have a point, Chuck’s “I mean really believe in me even if you think I’m wrong” affects directly FOD. Sarah tells him he’s a spy without the Intersect because he needs to here it, and that’s what makes even harder to hear her “No, not right now, you’re not” later, which launches Phase Three…

        I guess the question is at what point they need to give us a satisfying resolution, one without conflict? I don’t have an answer but one thing is sure, my two favorite episodes of the season, “Phase Three “ and “First Fight”, were great episode, but I’m missing something in the resolution, and I just think it’s a shame.

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, I certainly see your viewpoint. But I’m OK with things for now, because it’s believable from a character stand point. If it continues long-term unresolved, it will begin to chafe.

        I think it’s a believable point of conflict that they can work on resolving. I just hope they do progress toward resolution. I guess we won’t know until it’s tested again.

      • joe says:

        I agree that the whole “believe me even when you think I’m wrong” is a dumb line (on a par with the famous line from Love Story), and as you point out, it goes both ways.

        It is. And it does. It popped into my head that Sarah has not yet put out the equally dumb “But you are *not* a spy!”, yet. She will, which goes a long way to justifying Chuck’s touchiness.

        It’s a tough one, isn’t it? Sometimes concern becomes “mothering” and demeaning, but sometimes it’s completely reflexive and completely warranted. I don’t think there’s a universal law here, like “Always trust that your partner is right.” or “Always act on your own beliefs, even when your partner has other ideas.” From what I’ve experienced IRL, married couples sometimes completely trust their partner, sometimes demand complete trust and sometimes talk it out completely before acting together.

        I’m talking myself into thinking their fight had much more to do with them “getting there” (closer to marriage) as a couple than with any real conflict between them.

        Frost is such a troublemaker! 😉

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, Joe, or maybe it’s both. Here they begin to explore what will probably always be, to one extent or another, an issue for them. They are learning give and take … and how to fight. This time they did it the exhausting way. Hopefully they’ll get better at it.

        Yup, MamaB is a troublemaker. That’s the arc for Chuck … how to overcome the trouble his mother stirs up. And Sarah is learning how to help him do that. But then the personal bleeds into the spy stuff, and then they have two sets of issues to deal with. He wants to multi task, and she compartmentalizes. (Another gender reversal)

        Chuck has trouble laying aside personal issues. Sarah has to keep them on track in the mission, so they can survive. Dead people can’t have quality personal time, now, can they? So she compartmentalizes. Once it’s safe to be personal, she does pretty well.

        Occasionally she can multi task, like parts of Coup, the surveillance in the van and the conversation/intervention. In Phase 3 she realizes the extreme importance of dealing with the personal side of things with Chuck, and not just the spy side.

        In Leftovers, she does a pretty good job of multitasking … for her.

        I may have strayed from your original thought, Joe. Sorry.

      • joe says:

        You haven’t strayed nearly so far as I have, Thinkling!

        I should resolve never to expound on male-female relationships. The best I do is go ’round and ’round and ’round and ’round…

        Are we wondering if there’s a story here that’s as much fun as we’ve had in the past? I start to think so. There was a time in S2 and S3 when I was imploring everyone to just have faith that the writers knew what they were doing. We can argue about the details, about timing and about our preferences, but things have worked out pretty much as we (or at least, I) hoped. No reason to think this won’t be great, again!

        Less than two weeks left.

      • thinkling says:

        Joe: I don’t think there’s a universal law here, like “Always trust that your partner is right.” or “Always act on your own beliefs, even when your partner has other ideas.”

        Just another thought to our conversation. For what it’s worth, here’s my universal rule: part1) Always trust your partner’s motivation. part2) When your emotions are crazy, stand firm on what you know to be true (in this case what they know about each other and their shared love/commitment).

        Within that framework, they can work out the details. I think they have part1 down. That’s part of the reason Chuck has to work up an anger. He’s hurt, yes; angry, yes. But he does trust Sarah’s motivation, and that softens the anger.

        Both of them have yet to grasp the depth and reciprocity of their love and to understand the ramifications of the kind of commitment they’re undertaking. That has created some misunderstanding and unintended consequences from well-intended actions.

        Ernie explains it really well in a thread below.

        I add my two cents here.

  7. Faith says:

    Great piece you guys, I’ll respond in chronological order and then maybe get to the comments…
    Joe: Chuck and Sarah feel that same divide between the two worlds they inhabit.
    Ernie: I suppose that the question of trust and faith in each other is the last hurdle before they can move on the the impending engagement…Chuck has lost some of his naiveté when it comes to his mother and Sarah has seen that Chuck has a way of picking the right people to trust. Sometimes.

    Ok so it’s not quite chronological, I just felt like these two tied in together and I felt the need to respond as such so here goes…It’s amazing isn’t it? It wasn’t that long ago that Sarah told Chuck the harsh reality of being a spy/of living a life as a spy, “It’s not that simple, you don’t know who you’re working for, it’s complicated, nothing is real. This…this is real.” And Chuck thought he learned all he could learn about trust and deception but no, it’s never quite so simple, never quite finished because in comes MamaB to deal the ultimate blow…is she good or is she bad? What is real?

    There is definitely this divide between what is real and what isn’t, what is love and what is the job and I’m loving ALL OF IT. And I have to disagree with you Ernie about the path to engagement here…it’s not the issue of trust and faith per say, more of an issue of vulnerability. Does that makes sense? Let me clarify. I think trust is one of those issues that will remain; it’s a fundamental spy issue and it’s one that although it might be absolute (some day) in part of Chuck and Sarah, it’s never unquestionable with all the things that cross their path. But faith? That’s different. Does Sarah have faith in Chuck to be able to handle himself in times of danger. Or does she have more faith in her own role of protecting him? Chuck said it best, “no really believe in me, even when you think I’m wrong.” At some point they have to reach equal status or the relationship is doomed to fail.

    But again it’s never that simple right? Because as we get into later…it was never an issue of lack of faith in Chuck but a surge of vulnerability in Sarah. More on this later I’m sure. I got Phase Three and FOD coming up.

    Joe: Why, it’s 9 year old Morgan Grimes who gets through Frost’s well constructed wall, with the help of some Rice Krispie treats.

    The question has to be asked, who was playing whom?

    Joe: In his last message Stephen told his son “Chuck, it’s time you learned about your family. Because, I did it all for her.” But what was “it”? His spy work? His plans? Something beyond the Intersect that’s been in Chuck’s head? Finding and rescuing MamaB may have become Chuck’s mission, but it was Orion’s for 20 years. And “Doing the things governments are afraid to do” was part of that mission. That’s his legacy.

    Or maybe it’s something as simple as he became a hero for her. Not all that far off when you consider part of the reason Chuck is the hero and spy that he is is because of Sarah. I don’t consider these two things mutually exclusive, per say. He could have been searching for her but “did it all for her” could encompass everything from trying to unite his fragmented family to becoming Orion.

    Ernie: OK, just a bit of a rant about a pet peeve. I don’t like plot holes and continuity problems either, but so often it seems we create them.

    Of late I’ve been on this “well where will conflict come” schtick. I think we can all agree that conflict has to occur for there to be a story but the manner at which conflict is sold to us the viewers makes a world of difference. To me this whole thing about the car and such, is not even an entity. That’s not a conflict, that’s fans nitpicking. But to each his own.

    Joe Ernie: I think the Mary and Sarah parallels are only beginning, and it’s great to watch.


    One thing I didn’t get into: the Sallie talk. It’s one of the most emotionally punched scenes in Chuck and in television I can remember. it’s really just, wow. I felt like all three women sold the scene without dialogue and that’s often the hardest to do.

    • joe says:

      All credit to Ernie for I think the Mary and Sarah parallels are only beginning, Faith. I certainly agree, though.

      All throughout the series I’ve been amazed at how much the characters sometimes say with so few words. The Sallie talk is easily among the best, even with – what is it? – two words between them?

      Faith, you brighten my spirits today!

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Faith, as you say a lot more of this discussion will come up in the reviews of FOD and Phase 3, but I wanted to address a few things.

      And I have to disagree with you Ernie about the path to engagement here…it’s not the issue of trust and faith per say, more of an issue of vulnerability. Does that makes sense? Let me clarify. I think trust is one of those issues that will remain; it’s a fundamental spy issue and it’s one that although it might be absolute (some day) in part of Chuck and Sarah, it’s never unquestionable with all the things that cross their path. But faith? That’s different. Does Sarah have faith in Chuck to be able to handle himself in times of danger. Or does she have more faith in her own role of protecting him? Chuck said it best, “no really believe in me, even when you think I’m wrong.” At some point they have to reach equal status or the relationship is doomed to fail.

      I think we are actually talking about the same thing, but we’re using different words. You may recognize some of this from our upcoming FOD revisit, but I thought I’d say it here since it applies. The big thing we see in FOD and Phase 3 is that both Chuck and Sarah are all in, but they really haven’t resolved a few things about what that means. Sarah has invested everything in having a life with Chuck, and the possibility of losing that, and him, is her greatest fear. When Chuck seems to take needless risks he is abusing the trust that Sarah has put in him, trusting that he’ll do everything he can to be there for her, that he won’t leave her alone after she’s bet everything on him. Chuck has made himself the man he is and the man he’s destined to be largely because of Sarah. She has been his inspiration, his source of confidence, his guide and his partner. When Sarah over-rules or keeps Chuck out of the loop she strikes at his core insecurity, that he’s good enough for her. He has worked to make himself a suitable partner for a world class spy while retaining enough of himself to still be the guy Sarah needs.

      The dynamic here and in FOD is that Sarah wants to not only physically protect Chuck, but she wants to protect HER Chuck. The guy who wouldn’t arrest his mother in front of his sister. She doesn’t want him to have to face that choice, so she makes the choice for him. For Chuck, Sarah taking the choice away from him puts him back to being her asset and makes him feel unequal and not worthy to be her partner, in any sense. Both have hardened their positions a bit too far from where they need to be. Chuck needs to trust that Sarah respects and believes in him even while allowing her to be right or to protect him sometimes. Sarah needs to understand that Chuck is not as fragile as that nerd she fell in love with, and that she needs to avoid the Ellie trap by loosening the apron strings a bit, lest she end up shut out (again) of Chuck’s life, fears, and concerns.

      • Ernie that’s very well said. But that’s kind of the problem of the de-intersected arc isn’t it?

        Chuck knows Sarah loves him and believes in him, Chuck the guy. But what about Chuck the spy?

        Two things were missing to the resolution of this arc IMO. (1) Sarah should have said that she wanted to marry Chuck with or without the Intersect, because is a hero with or without it. (2) They shouldn’t have had Chuck seemed so helpless without the Intersect, especially in Leftovers. The way they played it, it just make you think that Sarah’s right to be over-protective.

      • atcdave says:

        Really excellent comment Ernie. I think you’ve summed up the issues for both Chuck and Sarah quite well. I will ditto Crumby’s comment a little and say I wish they had shown Chuck as being a little more useful during the time the Intersect was down; but that likely would have involved another full episode in this arc, and I’m perfectly happy to get back to Chuck as we know it.

      • thinkling says:

        Ernie, great point about Chuck abusing Sarah’s trust. He is still trying to earn something that she has already given him and ends up abusing the very thing he is trying to earn.

        We’re back to the point that neither thinks he/she deserves the other.

        Sarah CANNOT lose Chuck, and he can’t fathom that. He thinks he doesn’t deserve her. How could she love/respect/need him? He still has a few things to learn about love … especially Sarah Walker’s love. (And learn them he finally did.)

        Sarah is floored that Chuck thinks he needs anything more than he is, including the Intersect, to deserve her. She views herself as nobody, just a spy, without him. She can’t fathom such a love, for someone like her, that compels him to always strive to be the man he thinks she deserves. No one has ever loved her like that.

        She doesn’t realize how specific she must be about it. (This is part of the gender reversal thing. Chuck needs to hear it explicitly. Sarah thinks he should know.)

        To her credit, Crumby, I think that’s exactly what she was trying to get across during the massage. He doesn’t need the Intersect to do great things. He’s great on his own, because he’s Chuck Bartowski. She … they … don’t need the Intersect. But Chuck is a show-me-don’t-just-tell-me guy, and it took Phase 3 to convince him.

        I agree, Crumby, about Chuck in Leftovers, during the attack … a bit overplayed.

        Sorry to trample on the next episodes, but this arc intertwines a lot, especially after you’ve seen it all. The whole arc, AOT through Leftovers, plays like one continuous episode.

      • joe says:

        Wow, you guys are good.

        When this is over, the bunch of us should open a marriage counseling blog! 😉

      • Big Kev says:

        Chuck is a show me don’t tell me kind of guy?
        Gotta say I don’t agree with that. I think he’s the opposite. He doesn’t pick up on what he’s shown – he has to be told. Sarah has “shown” Chuck the depth of her love almost from Day 1 by her actions, both big and small. All the while Chuck doesn’t see the significance of that and needs to talk and be “told”. That’s the crux of the ongoing lack of communication issue – Sarah doesn’t talk, she shows, whereas Chuck talks and needs to be talked to.

      • thinkling says:

        Big Kev, uhhh, you’re right. I even contradicted myself from the previous paragraph. So, I amend my statement here, that it was Sarah finally saying the things she said in Phase 3 more than her actions.

        But I do think she was trying to tell him during the massage that he was great without the Intersect and not to try to recover it for her, or them.

        Does he not hear what she is really saying, or can he not believe it?

      • Big Kev says:

        I just hope the story moves past the emphasis on various insecurities to tell the story, especially in regard to Chuck. Parts of this season have been a little like watching various-angle replays of a touchdown pass. It is interesting to see different perspectives, but at the end of the day it’s still the same pass.
        I do take Ernie’s point about the insecurity being a device to show the restorative qualities of family, but I’d be happy if they used a different device for a while.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Chuck needs to see and hear it because while Sarah did show him in little ways from the beginning she would then counteract that in big ways. For instance there was a convo where he wanted her to go out with him and she said she couldn’t because of protocol or something and then he brought up that she dated Bryce and she responded with Bryce was an agent.

        No wonder Chuck has felt at various times that he had to be an agent, have the Intersect or give up his family, friends, future and live on the run to be with her. At different times she’s indicated that’s what would work.

        When he didn’t have the Intersect she was leaving with Bryce (and I maintain he has no reason to believe she wasn’t , a fan fiction had where Sarah showed Chuck her resignation letter dated the day of Ellie’s wedding and that was a good way to clear that up.)

        When he wouldn’t run off with her she froze him out completely and when he had the Intersect but wasn’t an agent she spent most of time on missions so it must have felt like he was losing her.

        And with all the Sarah/Mama B parallels , he’s going to wonder if he’s headed down the same path his father took.

      • Big Kev says:

        Your point is well made, and Sarah’s mixed messages were certainly an issue all the way through to the 3.13. I think Sarah has been consistent since Honeymooners though. She loves Chuck, and not only that, but she “fell in love with a regular guy”.
        I’m not expecting a lifetimes worth of trust and abandonment issues not to impact his relationship with Sarah either – my issue is that I don’t see any evidence that he’s moving past them with regards to Sarah. Contrast this with Sarah who is being shown as explicitly moving through her issues, and her character’s journey has been much more compelling this season as a result.
        Chuck’s relationship with his mother has been the only part of his character that has moved this season. He’s still stuck in the same cycles with Sarah and Ellie – neurotically insecure with one and reluctant to tell the truth with the other. Hesitation and neurosis is completely understandable with MamaB – but no longer with anyone else.

        Sorry all – I’m sounding like a broken record with my Chuck-bashing! I find that there seems to be one character each season that I don’t understand, while I love the rest of the season. This season, it’s Chuck himself, at least so far.

      • JC says:

        Honestly can you really blame Chuck? Both Sarah and Ellie basically have to sign off any major decisions Chuck makes or they tear into him.

        But I do agree that his insecurities about how Sarah feels about him personally are getting old. I was wondering why they haven’t had Sarah say to him directly “I’m not your mother, I won’t leave you”. Then I saw the short synopsis for 4.12 so they might be saving it for after her mission with Mary.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        It could be they have a storyline where it looks like Sarah is in the same spot as Mary and instead of caving in and trying to finish the mission like Mary did, Sarah shoots Volkoff (or her Volkoff equivalent) and when mary asks what are you doing, Sarah’s response is what you should have done 20 years age. I have my priorities straight.

      • thinkling says:

        Good one, Tamara!

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        Ok, you’re right, we’re talking about the same thing but with different diction. Though I won’t get into it, I’ll only say that I’ll keep your thoughts in mind when I get into FOD.

        And I absolutely love the idea of “protecting HER Chuck,” love it. It’s true, but it’s so wrong at the same time.

      • Faith says:

        JC with all due respect I think you’re overstating things there. Like with all relationships that are complicated with love and caring it’s not a matter of having to check in through every action, it’s a matter of caring enough to take their opinions in consideration. Whatever that may be. Just like they have to do the same for him. The problem is with Chuck it’s as ZL said in the interview with Mel over at ChuckTV: “(Paraphrased) Sarah wants Chuck to be completely open and honest with her but Chuck doesn’t because it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.” Though I don’t necessarily agree with the phrasing “permission,” like I said it’s not permission per say, but “a conscious decision to include those you care about in big sweeping life changing decisions in your life because they’re affected too, and they care about you…” there isn’t a single word for that.

      • jason says:

        well, Human target’s wt/wt female lead, Mrs Pucci already has more confirmed kills than maleshe chuck, Mrs Pucci is an aristocratic widow, who is probably 50 years old and has been in the spy business about a half dozen episodes … the actor that played emmit made a guest appearance tonight (at least I think that was him) – he essentially played emmit as a private eye – I like human target

      • JC says:

        I understand that Faith and I’m not saying he should go behind their back but look at this way. During the first two seasons of the show both of them told Chuck he could do anything. So for the first time maybe in his whole life he does that in Ring PT1 and chooses to be a spy. And what does that get him? With Sarah he had to quit until she gave her blessing. Then he had to do the same with Ellie but instead of her blessing he’s back to lying to her.

        I also take issue with the idea that people want Chuck to be open and honest with them but they don’t show him the same respect. Sarah wasn’t open and honest at the end Aisle and neither was Ellie in Leftovers.

      • Big Kev says:

        Point taken about the reactions to Chuck’s reintersection in Ring 1 – but whose fault was Sarah’s reaction and resistance? At no point did Chuck did Chuck explain his actions to Sarah, and his motivations, over a several month period – until a rushed explanation in the vault in 3 Words. The whole start of S3 is a mess from a character and writing viewpoint, so I’m happy to give Chuck a pass there
        and put it down to bad writing.
        AoT is less defensible for Chuck. By his own admission Chuck doesnt have good judgement when it comes to his mother, and he then proves that by his ridiculous and unprofessional conduct in the Castle
        interview. If it looks like Sarah and Casey are treating him like a junior, it’s because he keeps acting like one.
        I have some sympathy for Ellie’s position and motivations, but even there, a firm chat from Chuck and an instruction to respect his decision would address the problem. It’s a conversation that Chuck chooses not to have – so if Ellie has sign off in Chuck’s life it is only because Chuck lets her do so. His motivations are understandable, but he’s the one responsible for the position he’s in.

      • JC says:

        @Big Kev

        I agree with you on the start of S3 but once you move past that to the end of that whole arc. It has Chuck giving up what he wants because of Sarah and he doesn’t choose to become a spy again until she gives her OK. Something about that just rubbed me the wrong way. Of course that probably wasn’t the intention of the writers but like you said it was a mess.

        Now I was more than willing to cut Ellie some slack at the end of Ring PT2 in fact I think she took unnecessary heat from the fans. Her fear was justified but it was the ending of Coup that changed it for me. Its been dragged out too long and they’re making the same mistakes they made with Sarah last year. Her over-protectiveness is coming off selfish, its less about Chuck and more about her.

        I have to disagree with you about Chuck in Aisle. I saw him less trusting of his mother than he’s been of anyone else. The fact he recognized and pointed out he might have a blind spot is telling. Not once did he just trust her after she double crossed him, Mary had to convince him she was telling the truth. I don’t buy the idea he would have let his mother go if he was told she’s rogue if for no other reason than Ellie’s safety.
        If anything Aisle showed me Sarah’s massive blind spot towards Chuck.

        The same about his conduct in Castle, he was asking the right questions. Was he emotional sure, but we’ve seen both Sarah and Casey act like that. The difference is how they’re treated in those situations, neither one shows Chuck the same respect professionally.

        Now I’m with you about Chuck needing to talk to Ellie and IMO Sarah. I just don’t see that happening. For some reasons the writers just don’t want him standing up to either of those characters. And that’s where it comes back to my original problem. They won’t write that scene so it comes off like he has to have permission before he does anything major in his life.

      • jason says:

        @jc / everyone – reading JC struggle with the writing for chuck the character, reminds me of how I struggled with parts of season 3 and leads me to a general conclusion about the show, most of us agree when the show is great, which is pretty often, but when the show is off, it makes some of us grumble and some of us passionately angry, back to jc’s points, I agree with most all of them, but they do not really make me mad, just sort of meh, now season 3’s misery arc, that isn’t ever going to be right for me, ever,

        so the good in the show is great, the bad is miserable for some, tolerable for others. Chuck is very different than a show like castle, where I like near each episode, but I have watched every ep, every season, would have trouble giving you a description of any plot.

        I would say, right now the writers of chuck again have the shipper part of the fanbase right in the palm of their hands, much like s2’s end, going to be interesting what they do with the shipper’s hearts this time?

      • First Timer says:

        What do the showrunners have in store for the shippers next? Actually, that’s easy. Essentially, a rerun of S3E11-13.

        Assume Chuck’s romantic intentions in E11 are disrupted by the mission. Then Sarah “leaves” him to go on a mission for Frost in E12. Sarah, of course, doesn’t tell him that she has been in touch with his mother. So Chuck totally misunderstands and that is the parallel to Lester’s romantic crisis and Jeffster’s “Is This Love” cover. Early in E12, Chuck sees Sarah seducing someone (let’s say Yuri the Gobbler) for the mission. (A rerun of the Sarah-Shaw meal that Joe hated so much in American Hero.) But by the end of E12 or early in E13, there’s a rerun of the “Thank you for the tank” moment.

        E13 is where Frost saves Castle and is back in the CIA’s good graces. The Baby Awesome is born. Volkoff is either definitively defeated, or, if they had time to rewrite the arc, there’s enough grey area so he can be returned in the back 11. (We probably won’t know this part of it because the writers would need to get Dalton back on board in the back 11.) Chuck and Sarah are happy at the end of E13, but not engaged because that, too, has been kicked to the back of E11.

        Like this entire season, it’s showrunning by the numbers. The only thing that will be surprising is the passion of the unhappy shippers who don’t realize that the showrunners always make it look darkest (remember how Final Exam ended, with Sarah claiming she didn’t love Chuck?) before the “miraculous” turnaround.

      • Chuck should just talk to Ellie. This is becoming just ridiculous. It makes both of them look bad.

        Chuck can take a decision without asking for Sarah’s blessing beforehand. Prague is an example but Season 3.0 was so messed up… But Ring 2 is another example, he told Ellie he’d quit before talking to Sarah about it.

        The thing is Sarah would be pretty much be ok with everything Chuck wants as long as he doesn’t endanger himself (not just staying alive but staying Chuck) and can explain it to her. In the past, he often chose not to tell her, or didn’t explain himself well.

      • @First Timer

        I hope the seduction stuff is in the John Laroquette episode. Sarah as to seduce a girl, and Chuck can believe how easy it is for her! That could be funny and not to angsty.

      • jason says:

        @ft – I tend to agree, it is sort of funny how much the entire season is tending toward s3 in structure, not content, but structure. I could go thru ep by ep and show what I mean, but I doubt anyone really cares.

        I had an off the wall spec that sarah has to seduce a team B member rather than a bad guy, to prove to yuri the gobbler that she can be trusted as a member of frost / the gobbler’s team. That would leave chuck, casey, morgan or cough, et er ‘could it be love’ lester who somehow is mistaken as a team b member??????

      • First Timer says:

        If I didn’t know better, I’d say the showrunnres were quantum physicists. They have made Prague the inflection point of the many world theory. Season 3 (E1-13) is one option: Chuck doesn’t go away with Sarah. Season 3.5 (starting with Honeymooners) Chuck DOES doe away with Sarah. It’s rather startling how the last two seasons have tracked in that manner.

        In reality, though, I think I’ve adopted lizjames’ original idea: The original Chuck show ended at Colonel. Everything from Ring onward is a new show.

        And, at least for me, the budget cuts (and really, the budget cuts are at the heart of everything) have made everything since Ring not nearly as good. The actors are literally working too long and hard, the writers don’t have the time to think things through, edit and refine, the show itself doesn’t look as classy and the showrunners made that initial mistake with the original Season 3 story arc.

        Actually, without opening an old wound, it’s what I meant we were discussion priorities anad what’s important a few weeks ago. This version of the Chuck show simply isn’t worth the passion too many fans invest in it. Nothing is really surprising. The great inventions of the original Chuck show (average guy wants his average life back, unique girl lives her life through a fantasy relationship) are gone and nothing great has taken their place.

        Original Chuck, Pilot through Colonel? Brilliant. New Chuck, Ring through today? Good, but not particularly deep or inventive…

      • jason says:

        this article by mo ryan has a few lines about chuck that sums things up pretty well:

        ”Chuck,’ NBC: Oh, ‘Chuck.’ The NBC show is capable of sensational episodes like ‘Chuck versus the Beard’ and ‘Chuck versus Phase Three’ (how I loved both of those episodes), but it’s also, at times, sloppy, repetitive and frustrating. Yet the good outweighs the bad, so I’ll never quit the Buy More. When this show is cooking, it’s very tasty indeed. ‘

      • JC says:


        The way Chuck is being handled doesn’t make me mad just frustrated and somewhat apathetic towards the show.

        I think the First Timer pretty much nailed what’s coming up concerning these last couple of episodes. The parallel between Chuck & Sarah and Stephen & Mary will be in full force. And that’s my issue when you can see something coming miles away it’s loses it’s charm.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Crumby I hope they don’t have Sarah do the girl on girl not only because that seems to be the go to fanboy attraction move with things (and they never reciprocate with guy on guy for those of us who have no interest in girl on girl plus it got to be a boring cliche and a sign of weak writing to just throw that in there) but it would bring up whether or not Chuck has to worry about Sarah around female agents as well as male ones given her history .

        Added to that it would bring up whether or not Carina is more than a friend and it is a better storyline for Sarah to have a non sexual female spy friend that she can talk to about things she wouldn’t be able to tell Ellie about (including Chuck talk cause that could be awkward) . Plus it would be sad that Sarah never had any kind of friend that didn’t involve sexual feeling until Burbank.

      • treecrab says:

        @Tamara – Not that I really care either way, but we’ve already had a guy/guy kiss on Chuck (when Chuck kisses Casey in Ex) and at least one instance of them playing a gay male relationship for a joke (Guard Julius in Operation Awesome). And there has never been any kind of girl/girl innuendo on this show (which is really kind of surprising considering these writers). So I really don’t think that’s all that fair a comment.

        As for whether Chuck would have to worry about Sarah around women, well, that only becomes a problem if A) Sarah is actually bisexual and B) Sarah is actually into the seduction mission, otherwise it’s a non-issue and no different from any situation where she has to seduce a man. And surely we’re not supposed to think Sarah is attracted to or coming onto every woman she meets so even if she were into women, that doesn’t mean anything.

        Honestly, anything would be better than the seduction merry-go-round we’ve gotten with this show. It could be pretty funny.

      • Faith says:

        Again that’s an oversimplification. TV shows by design have to go on an up and down; that’s kind of the point of storytelling…how it sells that conflict is what makes the world of difference. I seem to recall people having the same anxiety about Anniversary, etc. but the end result was less angst and more entertainment. I have no doubt that the future will be equally genius.

      • Yep treecab, I agree with all of your points.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Quite frankly I think the Buffy season 8 where they had Buffy use a girl who loved her for sex and then promoted her and ignored her existence (where a lot of people thought that poor girl getting her hopes up to be crushed was sexy) plus the Heroes girl goes to college starts kissing her roommate which is definitely a cliche and was such an obvious ratings grab attempt that they actually announced it onths before and said they would withdraw it if people didn’t like it made me hypersensitive to ridiculous gay or lesbian plotlines since unfortunately the ridiculaous ones outnumber the good ones and the good ones seemed to get tossed too easily (check the soaps if you don’t believe me) . Part of the sensistivity is if my brother were in one of the plotlines they have for gay people I would be embarassed for him.

        And Chuck knows so little about Sarah that for all he knows she could be bi. And she wouldn’t be coming on to all women if she was any more than she comes on to all men. Sarah’s particular weak spots for attraction seems to be scumbags and coworkers and Carina is definitely a coworker.

        The spoiler for the Impossible Seduction brings up the possibility of girl on girl though given that in an army of mercenary women the odds are that some are gay.

        And the kiss between Casey and Chuck was to save Casey’s life nobody was enjoying themselves(and it was way awkward) . The playing gay to get past the guard was similar.

        If Sarah was seducing a woman though (and looked like she had practice) the mark would be enjoying herself and that would make it different from those instances.

        Quite frankly though I hope that the Impossible Seduction is a case of Sarah having to watch Chuck seduce someone after what has been hinted at for the Gobbler and she has blown off his fears from that and she realizes what he feels because of that.

  8. Tamara Burks says:

    When Sarah says I don’t understand why he keeps trusting her. She just hurts him! watch Morgan’s face. because just for a split second his expression says people could ask the same thing about you. That plays into the parallels between the two.

    I agree with Ernie about the car. I never once thought it and the note had been sitting out in the elements any more than I thought Casey called his mother during Santa Claus.

    The line Chuck had about Sarah only trusted people Beckman ordered her to (clearly a dig about Shaw) made me happy because like the line about daddy issues in Cubic Z it makes me think that they will talk things out and move past it .

    I really wish they had shown more of Chuck’s reaction to his childhood home and his father’s life work in the next ep but it was ignored in favor of the parade of scientists.

    • thinkling says:

      Tamara: When Sarah says I don’t understand why he keeps trusting her. She just hurts him! watch Morgan’s face because just for a split second his expression says people could ask the same thing about you….

      I did, and I don’t see it. Right after Sarah says that, the camera pans to Casey who continues the conversation about Morgan staying out of things. Morgan doesn’t look at Sarah at all, certainly not so you can read those kinds of thoughts into it.

      Morgan does exchange meaningful looks with Casey, though. Morgan is in a fight with Casey, and his looks are consistent with the Morgan/Casey subplot. Besides, it goes against the grain of what he said to Sarah earlier about her heart of gold, his initial defense of Sarah’s decision, and his general support of C/S throughout the series.

      • JC says:

        I didn’t see Morgan’s reaction either but I do see the parallel in the line between Sarah and Mary. Someone who knew the history between Chuck and Sarah could have said the same thing.

        I do think the conversation between Chuck and Mary in Aisle of Terror is a bit of foreshadowing about Sarah’s upcoming arc.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        It might go against what he said earlier but Morgan does know the pain that Sarah caused Chuck and he knows that Chuck kept giving her chances far beyond when any other person would have given up on her.

        And since Chuck gave her that many chances , Sarah really shouldn’t be surprised that he’s giving his mother the same chances.

      • thinkling says:

        I guess my point, Tamara, was just to avoid inferring things from scenes that aren’t actually there or projecting views and opinions onto characters that are inconsistent with what they have said or demonstrated.

        In the scene you cite, there’s no look from which to infer the thoughts you describe; and Morgan has never expressed the negative view of Sarah that you attribute to him.

        Even your assertion that “Morgan does know the pain that Sarah caused Chuck and he knows that Chuck kept giving her chances far beyond when any other person would have given up on her” can’t be inferred from anything Morgan has said or demonstrated.

        We can’t know what a character “knows” unless he tells us or demonstrates it (or another character on his behalf). We can hold our own views of characters, relationships, actions, etc; but we can’t project those back onto the characters without basis.

        We all, me included, have a tendency to do that, but it’s not really fair to the story or the characters when we do.

      • Yeah Morgan never demonstrated that kind of thoughts.

        Besides the CS relationship and the Mary-Chuck relationship can’t really be compared to: Sarah never left Chuck and always got his back. Even in S3 when her behavior towards Chuck was hurtful, there were reasons that Chuck could understand. It’s nothing compared to being abandoned for no good reason, lie to, shoot at, etc.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Actually in season 3 Morgan referred to Sarah as an ice queen (maybe a hint for the uipcoming Frost Queen/Sarah parallel or where they got the idea to call her Frost) to Hannah and Chuck told Morgan everything in the Beard while waiting to die. He’s the one who told Chuck it was alright to love Sarah . He was the only one to say that since there were so many saying that he shouldn’t. While he does seem to think Sarah is the best thing for Chuck that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how much pain she’s caused.

      • thinkling says:

        Still a huge stretch and way out of context.

  9. Tamara Burks says:

    I shouldn’t read spoilers during a long hiatus. The longer the hiatus the more pessimistic I get. I think we can call it the Chuck season 3 effect where we hoped things would get better during the Olympics hiatus and they only got worse.

    So I’m gonna ignore my migraine and focus on the following good points.

    Chuck was reintersected this time it was not only his choice but it was a real choice unlike the Ring where if he hadn”t they would have been killed and it was the only available thing to do since he was trapped in the Intersect room.

    Ellie reworked the Intersect so that it works more like natural memory and possibly will end up teaching Chuck the physical parts of the Intersect so that he doesn’t have to call it up every time (which is dangerous for him because there is a slight pause when he does that).

    Roan will be back (hopefully clean and sober).

    Carina will be back and I hope giving her opinion of what happened after she gave Sarah that video of Chuck (with the best of intentions) not to mention her opinion of Casey having a daughter who’s dating Morgan . It should be intersting.

    The birth of Baby Awesome (who I hope will named Stephanie)

    Hopefully watching Mama B try to be a part of her children’s lives without manipulating them in any way.

    The whole Mama B storyline would also be a great time to find out about Sarah’s mother and I hope they use this chance. There are so many questions to ask , is she alive, did she leave, did her father leave and take her , is there a milk carton with Sarah face on it because of that?

  10. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The First Fight (4.07) | Chuck This

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