Summertime Top Ten: Chuck vs. The Truth

AGAIN!

Again!!!

Have you had a chance to re-watch the #12 episode in our list of the 13 “Ten Top Chuck Episodes of All Time (Seasons 1-3, Inclusive) yet??? That would be Chuck vs. The Truth. If not… DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!

And in case I’m being too subtle here, go ahead and re-watch. You will have no regrets. Promise.

[Awww, com’mon, Buckley. How can you make such a definitive statement? It’s pretty audacious to say that, bro.]

Well, to quote from the lyrics you’ll hear if you take my advice,

I’m here to tell you,
that it is good,
that it is true.


To explain the glory of this episode, I must start with a small recap. Did I say small? That’s hard. There’s too much I feel compelled to go over, mostly because it’s so enjoyable.

Start with the spy story. A good spy story has to be fast paced and it has to be rousing. There must be danger, excitement, thrills… Here we start with Sarah breathlessly asking Chuck if he’s ready, and they appear to be trapped in a small closet and Scooter is coming in – QUICK, SARAH! Do what you’re gonna do!

Scooter: Wow. Girl on top. Miss Walker, when Heir Wienerlicious signs your paycheck, I doubt he’s factoring in make-out breaks with your boy-toy.

Exciting enough for you yet? Yeah. I probably had the same grin on my face as Chuck, even after my umpteenth viewing.

But really, that’s not the good part, and it’s not even the spy story. CIA agent Mason Whitney (played by Sanjaya Chandani) is in a bad way, under the effects of a very poisonous and very effective truth serum administered by someone who looks very evil. We don’t know the bad guy’s name yet, but we’ll learn it’s Riordan Payne (played by Kevin Weisman). Whitney escapes with a microchip full of nuclear secrets and just happens to cross paths with Devon and Ellie, who are on a double-date with Chuck and Sarah. Devon, ever the frat boy, has started a peculiar ball in motion by wondering aloud (and speaking up for all the fandom) by asking Chuck when he’s going to “take it to the next level, bro.” Right there in front of Sarah, he has to ask!

Well, is he? – gonna take it to the next level, I mean? There’s a lot to consider. You may not remember in context, but the relationship between Chuck and Sarah has come some little distance since she walked into the Buy More. Playing boyfriend and girlfriend may have it’s occasional perks, but when Sarah took a picture of the two of them at the Halloween party to replace the CIA’s fake picture of them at ComicCon, we learned that they both want something that’s real.

I said that poorly. They’ve both discovered that it’s very important to have something that’s real, especially when it comes to their relationship.

Of course, this is Chuck, and that means it’s complicated. When Sarah accompanied Chuck on his trip back to Stanford, she discovered that her ex wasn’t a rogue spy (or an unspeakable jerk, for that matter) by getting Chuck kicked out of school and by sending him the Intersect. He was, in fact, protecting Chuck, and that makes her old flame a bit of a hero. Again. It’s complicated. Needless to say, Sarah’s also come to admire Chuck’s abilities and heart as much as Bryce did. She is, in a word, conflicted.

Lou, the Sandwich Girl with Licorice Hair

At the same time, Chuck knows that Sarah isn’t really available; she’s a spy. And even if she was available, he’s just a nerd-herder at the Buy More (and when she smiles at him, it’s just a bit of wishful thinking on his part, right?). Chuck has to keep saying the mantra “It’s just a cover! It’s just a cover!” The timely entrance of the new sandwich shop owner, Lou (the ever perky Rachael Bilson), serves to remind Chuck that there is a real world out there where he can have a normal life and a real relationship. Miiiiind Cheater! Really, he could do a lot worse than be with a girl who has licorice hair, loves her nana, is passionate about meats and cheeses and has a mouth like a truck driver.

So when Devon’s question about the cover keeps coming up, what’s a good spy to do? It’s time to take it to the next level. For the cover. Chuck and Sarah have to go under their covers even more (sigh). Well, Chuck’s becoming familiar with the concept of “faking it”, but doesn’t mean he has to like it, especially when Lou is waiting for him.

Despite Ellie’s best efforts at the scene and in the hospital, Agent Whitney dies of some weird, unknown poison, and Chuck is nervous that she’s in danger. Now it’s too real, and the cover is taking it’s toll on his psyche and his mojo. Sarah recognizes that Chuck is having a bit of an “existential spy crisis” (Hey – in some cases, pillow talk is as good as truth serum). I wonder if she knows that she’s having one too.

To find the microchip containing nuclear secrets that Whitney planted on Ellie, Riordan Payne has dosed her with the truth serum (and poisoned her to boot). I believe it was Aristotle who said “In truth, comedy.” Maybe it was Plato. (Of course, it sounded much more noble in the original Greek.)

Words taste like peaches!

Ellie: [Bursting in on Chuck & Sarah] I’ve known him since the day he was born, obviously. When people would ask him what he wanted to be when he grew up, it was always the same thing. He’d say “Big boy!” How cute is that!?
Chuck: Ellie, you’re killing me here.
Ellie: And now, he *is* a big boy. And I can tell that he is, because he’s with a big, BIG girl.
Devon: Sorry guys. Don’t mean to muck up your mo-jo. I tried to stop her.
Chuck: Is she drunk???
Ellie: Chuck, you need a hair cut. It’s starting to make funny animal shapes.
Devon: Let’s go, babe. These two need their privacy, huh?
Ellie: When you were seven, I told you that the burglar stole the money from your piggy bank. That was a lie. It was me. At the time, I felt it was very important for me to have a New Kids fanny pack.
Sarah: Ellie, are you okay? Have you done anything out of the ordinary?
Ellie: [making a face and licking her lips] Words taste like peaches.

Well, words do taste like peaches, don’t they? The funniest and most exciting chase scenes ever have to be in Chuck, and this one has Casey and Sarah (in a black wig) chasing Riodan Payne in the hospital, ending with Casey chucking a crutch, spear like, to catch the bad-guy. Unfortunately, this is not before Payne doses all of Team B with the poisonous truth serum.

Casey has no problem with the truth; he’s usually honest. It’s compliments he has trouble with.

Casey: You’re a good person, Chuck, and I respect that. But I gotta job to do. So take it BEFORE I SHOVE IT DOWN YOUR THROAT!
Chuck: Okay, okay, fine, fine. I’ll do it.
Sarah: Thank you!
Chuck: I’ll pretend to agree to take it, then I’ll run like hell to my sister’s room and make her take it. Why did I just say that out loud?
Sarah: It’s the poison. It makes you tell the truth.
Casey: You do that, I’ll give chase, put a gun to your head and threaten to pull the trigger if you don’t take it!
Chuck: Would you really shoot me?
Casey: No!
Chuck: Yeah? Don’t waste a bullet. We’re already dead. I’m saving my sister.

Now we’re getting to why I enjoy this episode so much. The spy story is exciting, the humor is top notch, right before Payne is nabbed there’s a wonderful homage to Raiders of the Lost Arc (did you catch it???)… and then there’s Chuck and Sarah.

The existential spy crisis.

Only four episodes earlier in the season we learned that Sarah wasn’t even aware that she wanted Chuck. That came from Carina, and we believed her, too. But now, after Sarah’s wordless reaction to seeing Chuck and Lou together, she’s aware, and we know it. I can guarantee you that every guy watching Chuck try to deal with Sarah’s purple lingerie (not to mention her attempt at detached professionalism) understood his frustration. It was much harder to see Sarah’s. She saw what Bryce sacrificed for Chuck back at Stanford – Chuck’s friendship. She knows she has a reputation – and a habit – of getting too involved with her partners, and she knows she’s been asking a lot from Chuck. When Chuck asks her if this thing they have, “under the cover thing – is it going anywhere?”, truth serum or no, she answers honestly.

No, it’s not. Sarah can’t let it, and the fact it can never be real hurts her to say as much as it does Chuck to hear. It’s okay. Whiny loser-boys generally get over it as soon as the next girl comes along, and Lou’s already waiting in the wings for him.

Except Chuck isn’t the usual whiny loser-boy, is he? No, he does the hard thing – the right thing – and ends the cover himself for all the right reasons.

Chuck: I just can’t do this anymore, you know? The longer we go, the longer we keep trying to fool people into believing that we’re a real couple, the person I keep fooling the most – is me.

Not what Sarah was expecting, and you can see her resolve turn to a kind of sadness. Now the episode has gone from being action filled and humorous to being incredibly touching, sensitive and – truthful. Now, the lyrics aren’t Chuck’s. Much to my surprise, they’re Sarah’s.

You don’t have a clue,
what it is like
to be next to you.

I’m here to tell you,
that it is good,
that it is true.

You know, the very worst thing about this episode is that this is the last we’ll see of Harry Tang and of Scooter, and that’s not bad. That’s not bad at all. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I.

– joe

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About joe

In my life I've been a professor, martial artist, rock 'n roller, rocket scientist, lover, poet and brain surgeon. I'm lying about the brain surgery.
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77 Responses to Summertime Top Ten: Chuck vs. The Truth

  1. thinkling says:

    Oh, Joe. Truth has never been a favorite of mine. Maybe because it’s sad. Definitely because I just never liked the triangles (any of them). But you’ve made me want to rewatch it. *sigh* It has some great scenes. But I just never liked Lou, and I don’t like who Chuck is with Lou. So words may taste like peaches, but Truth always leaves a bad taste in my mouth. However, because of what you see in it, I’m gonna rewatch. Happy?

    I’ll report my findings.

    • joe says:

      You bet!

      The way I see it, this is the first time Chuck sees that he’s going to have a choice to make. He can choose between the normal life he wants and the exceptional life he could have. He’s going to be able to choose between Lou and Sarah. Both are available to him and both are solid choices.

      Chuck’s not quite at that decision point yet, but it’s coming.

      Sarah is in a different spot. She’s waking up to the fact that protecting him is not just “her job” and that she can’t always be passive about Chuck. He’s quite capable of leading his own life, with or without her. She’s not at her decision point yet either, but it’s coming and Sarah is just now getting the idea she can’t put it off forever.

      I just love the inner thought processes! 😉

    • atcDave says:

      Shocking though it may be, I totally agree with Thinkling on this. Truth is actually one of my least favorite S1 episodes; I’m really turned off by the triangle motif, Lou and her “mouth like a trucker” have zero appeal to me, and I’m just too much of a Sarah fan to like seeing her crushed and frustrated in the end. As I’ve said before, this sort of episode always just seems like a distraction, and a retrograde movement to me; and from here, the Chuck I love won’t really return until the end of Crown Vic.
      Now I will make some concessions on this episode. For starters, it may be the single funniest episode of S1. That is sort of a hard statement to make, since the show is so often very funny. And much like S4, there really wasn’t a single episode in S1 that I actually disliked. But from Truth until late Crown Vic I was consistently disappointed. I don’t need the show to always be ABOUT the Chuck/Sarah relationship, but I do require them to be in a good place before I can enjoy the end product. I really can’t think of a single exception to that rule.

      • thinkling says:

        Ha. You’re right Dave. It is one of the funniest … and one of the saddest. In fact it begins a sad arc, as you say until late CV when Sarah starts trusting Chuck again.

        Like you, I can’t completely enjoy the entire product w/ Chuck and Sarah not in a good place … with each other. That’s the difference in S4. Even the episodes with tension (First Fight, FOD, Gobbler), they are operating from a good place.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Thinkling, I agree exactly about S4. I think in S1 it isn’t as big a deal as some of the later malfunctions, because the Charah relationship is still at such an early undefined stage. But even so I don’t like the outside distractions.
        a big thing S1 and S4 have in common for me is that I can watch them straight through with no reservations, so the episodes I “don’t like as much” really are just that. There’s no “I really don’t like this one” sort of moments. Whereas S2 I often just skip Beefcake; and S3 I, well, you know.

      • Herder says:

        It’s funny, at the time of airing, the only episode that I wasn’t wild about was the first half of Crown Vic, at that time I liked the Lou arc, tolerated the Bryce arc and found that I loved almost all the rest ( although it didn’t make my top twenty in Ernie’s poll, for some reason I have a special fondness for Alma Mater). I do find on rewatch that I have less tolerance of the romantic triangles than the first time around.

        I don’t count Truth as a romantic triangle episode, I view it more as Chuck and Sarah trying to figure out how they feel about each other and how they stumble into and out of the right decisions both personally and professionally. When I watched it the first and second times ever in 2007 I remember thinking about the two very attractive people with the impossibly white smiles and realizing that this was one of my favorite shows ever.

        Like Fr. Rick, something about this episode struck me and has stuck with me ever since.

      • atcDave says:

        And Herder that may be exactly why it bothers me less here than in the other “triangular” plots. It is so early in the series, even a very serious relationship could be shaky just a couple months in; and Chuck and Sarah haven’t figured out much of anything between each other yet. So while I won’t consider this episode a favorite, I also don’t consider the malfunction a “big deal.” Although I would add, the repetitiveness of the building a relationship on lies and getting involved with a civilian aspects that came up again with Hannah further diminish any value this story might have had. While I currently rank this as a slightly below average episode, it might have gone up a notch or two in my ratings if the lessons learned here had kept Chuck from even thinking about Hannah.

      • thinkling says:

        Interesting discussion and comments, all. Ok, I rewatched. I agree that because it’s so early in the relationship, all aspects of it, the triangle (or whatever it is) is less bothersome than the other geometry.

        There’s obviously something real between Chuck and Sarah. Chuck feels it. Sarah admitted to Casey that she would have compromised herself if not for training to withstand pentathol, so basically she lied to Chuck, just like she would have without the poison, though he doesn’t know it.

        In Wookie, Chuck gets a glimpse into Sarah’s world and learns that Sarah she can’t tell him anything about herself — can’t tell him the truth. He just didn’t extend that aspect of Sarah to her feelings for him. So, in Truth, he gives up. I see him trading real love with someone he thinks he can’t have for something substantially less with someone he thinks he can have.

        Though Sarah is clearly smitten with Chuck all along, I agree that Truth is when she finally realizes consciously how she feels about him … and not just at the end when she sees him with Lou. That’s when she realizes that she’s just lost something she didn’t and couldn’t really have.

        They both watch Ellie and Devon and want what they have … with each other. But they both think it’s out of reach. Chuck is so self-absorbed that he doesn’t realize that Sarah is just as trapped as he is. He hasn’t figured out the game she has to play.

        Hard Salami’s “bomb” blasts their true feelings to the surface, but they still don’t know how to deal with them. Nemesis complicates things, but eventually defines them. I think by the middle of Crown Vic, Chuck gets his answer about Sarah’s feelings, even though it’s through a burst of anger. At the end of CV, Sarah still doesn’t know how to deal with her feelings and relationships, but I think Chuck has a pretty good handle on their situation. The love is there … boy is it there. But it can’t be acknowledged in traditional ways.

        By Marlin Chuck finally says it out loud, And hey, there’s a silver lining to this, too, you know, ’cause we’re not working together anymore, which means we can go on a date. You can come by my cell, and we can hang out, and you can tell me who the president is. And maybe we can say how we really feel. From then on things change between them. They still pretend, but they know what’s real.

        Well, I like all the humor in Truth. It does have some really funny scenes and lines. The Truth serum stuff is priceless! And I see its value to the progression of the story. They still have so much to figure out. When you think about how different they are and how different their worlds were, they have covered lot of ground to cover to get to where they are today. It’s always fun to look back a realize how far they’ve come.

        I like how Herder put it. That Truth is more about Chuck and Sarah trying to figure out how they feel about each other and how they stumble into and out of the right decisions. Looking at it that way makes me appreciate it more.

        But for all the reasons Dave mentioned, it’s still not a favorite.

      • atcDave says:

        Great summation Thinkling, thanks!

  2. Herder says:

    I rewatched all of season one this weekend, this and Wookie were my favorites, both written by Ali Adler. So much win in this episode, a bemused Sarah at the beginning looking to flick off the challenge of Lou “…his girfriend..” to the end and the anticipation then heartbreak on her face as he doesn’t profess his love but breaks up with her instead. Some really witty dialogue “who is it?…the CIA, NSA and me who’s more difficult to explain.”

    The other thing is the different perspectives of Chuck and Sarah, he senses something real but is unsure, she loves the situation and makes it as real as she can allow it to be given her restrictions.

    And the music, the Eels at the end, they even made Brittney Spears sound appropriate. I thought Wookie was when the show found it’s feet in season one this was an example of it hitting on all cylinders.

    • joe says:

      I did too, Herder! All of S1 in 3 days.

      My favorite, all in all, is the finale – Marlin. I’m taken by the way Sarah finally breaks and calls Chuck “my guy.” When Lizzy says “I have a gun. What do you have?” Sarah answers for him – “Me.” Great stuff. But I have individual scenes throughout the season that I will never get out of my head, and there are several in Wookie (like Carina telling Chuck that Sarah wants him and probably doesn’t even know it yet).

      Anyway, I’m not sure Sarah loved the situation, the cover, even before Truth. I know we usually say that the fake relationship was real for her, but the way she looks when deciding that they have to “sell the cover” more for Devon (and appear more intimate)… I start to think she’s getting frustrated with it too. It only gets worse when Bryce reappears later. Then, to my eyes, Sarah really looks like she doesn’t want to make that choice. She’s not happy choosing at all.

  3. patty says:

    I like the scene outside Ellie’s room after Chuck has given her the antidote. The three of them are apart from the happy scene in the room and dieing. Why are they apart? Because of the truth serum Chuck can not be allowed near anyone due to the fact that he could accidently divulge classified information. So he will die without saying goodbye to Ellie and with her never knowing what he gave up for her. Sarah apologizes to Chuck. Yet Chuck, the constantly hyper guy, is remarkably calm. He is able to face death calmly not only because he has saved Ellie but also because of the things he has accomplished since receiving the Intersect. I think that this is the first time we see the hero Chuck will become, not a guy reacting to events out of his control, but a person who made a conscious choice and is content that it was the right thing to do. We really get to see what Chuck is made of here.

    So I like this episode, But I willl confess I usually turn it off before Chuck “dumps” Sarah.

    • joe says:

      Chuck doesn’t have to worry about his five year plan any more, or choosing a font… 😉

      Great scene. I know what you mean about that end, but I can’t help but love the pathos, myself. Chuck forces himself to believe he’s not dumping Sarah; he’s dumping the cover. He can’t let himself believe that Sarah cares and she can’t let him know she does…

      Sorry! I get carried away every time, right there, at that ending!

    • thinkling says:

      Great points, Patty. I hadn’t really thought of why they were separate or the hero angle. Nice.

  4. Rick Holy says:

    Sorry to those who disagree, but I “HAVE TO” love this episode. It’s the one that introduced me to CHUCK and started me on this 4 (now going on 5) year crazy ride! “Truthfully” (no pun intended – well actually, I lied, pun INTENDED), on numberous re-watches I didn’t mind the dumping of Sarah so much (and I’m a pretty rock solid “shipper”). Let me tell ya’ why. (1) It happend early in the series. If they “hooked up” too early, it wouldn’t have been a good idea. You want some (yes I’m saying it), SOME relationship angst IN THE BEGINNING. The fact that it got played out for too long shouldn’t affect how this particular episode is evalutated – it should stand on its own. (2) What other choice did Chuck really have. He “dumped” Sarah because he was getting ripped apart inside – this “normal guy who just wanted a normal life – like having a normal girlfriend.” And SHE SHOT HIM DOWN. Yes, it wasn’t “real,” but for Chuck it was. How much more true can what Sarah told him be, especially when she’s under the effect of Truth Serum (at least as far as Chuck knows).

    And as far as the outside love interests went, I actually like Lou. She was cute, spunky, and also very straight with Chuck – as when she told him that a guy who cheats on his girlfriend is a ……….. (I forget her exact line, but it was good). It’s not like Lou stabbed Sarah in the back or anything.

    But again, I have to harken back to the fact that this was the episode – and I actually tuned into it near the end (when the dumping happened) – that made me a Chuckaholic. Kind of like that first cigarette (although I don’t smoke) for those who smoke. Once I “inhaled,” I was hooked!!!

    • patty says:

      True enough Father, Chuck’s reasons for “dumping” Sarah were completely valid and he did it as kindly as possible. I just hate to see Sarah’s crushed look and sadness. I like Lou too. (Actually the only PLI in the entire series I positively don’t like is you-know-who).

  5. Rick Holy says:

    On an unrelated note – Can anybody out there help me?! I have been downloading “Chuck” songs from iTunes based on some of the Season lists (and fan postings) that our friends at Chucktv.net have provided.

    Does anyone here keep a “master list” or something similar that they might be willing to share???

    I’ve listened to a number of songs that people have listed on posts at Chucktv.net and have come up with about 20 that I liked and downloaded.

    BUT – I can’t find the “Chuck and Sarah theme!!” And no CHUCK music collection would be complete without it! You know the one I mean. That romantic piano music they play during the tender moments between Chuck and Sarah. It’s got to be “out there” and downloadable somehow! Has anyone found it on iTunes or have any other suggestions. It HAS to be part of my “CHUCK” collection!

    Thanks, All!!!

    • atcDave says:

      I think that’s all Tim Jones original score. At one point, he said he was working on a Chuck score album for consumer release. I know I’d buy it, but I haven’t heard it mentioned in a long time now.

    • joe says:

      I think it’s a Tim Jones original too, Fr. Rick. On the right hand column is a link to T.J.’s music page, which has a lot of his mp3s from the show. With any luck you can find it there.

      But I gotta ask what piece your speaking about specifically. Can you give me an exact scene (or perhaps, an episode and time on any of the DVDs)? I’d love to know!

      • Rick Holy says:

        Joe, you’ve had to have heard it a dozen times by now! Chucktv.net once poseted it, but now I don’t know how to go back and find it. The “quickest” episode I can return to is 3.13, where the sobered up Chuck asks Sarah if she loves him. You start hearing that piano music in the background. When you hear it, you’ll KNOW that you’ve heard it before that episode – and since!

      • Rick Holy says:

        Joe. Here’s the link:

        Waith for about the 1 minute and 30 second mark. You’ll start hearing it then! ENJOY!

      • Rick Holy says:

        It won’t play direct when you click on the arrow. Click on “Watch on Youtube” and it will take you to it.

      • joe says:

        Oh, I’m sure I have! But with your clue now in 3.13, I can find it. Thanks!

        Added: Now that I saw the clip – OF COURSE! Love it. Yup, That tinkling piano has been with us from the first.

        And wouldn’t you know it? The tune is followed immediately (at about the 3:25 mark on the clip) with my favorite “pace” music from the show. It’s been with us from early on too.

    • Jake says:

      The Chuck and Sarah theme is called “A Question and An Answer”, and yes it’s compoes by Tim Jones. You’ll get the piece here:

      http://soundcloud.com/timjonescomposer/a-question-and-an-answer

    • AgentInWaiting says:

      Rick, the most complete and accurate list I can find is here: http://tvshowmusic.com/shows/chuck/season01.html

      If you’re on Spotify I can share my playlists with you – got all four seasons about as complete as I can get (missing a few unpublished songs). Also, a couple bonus ones (Chuck’s playlist for Sarah that NBC published after Honeymooners and the 49 songs in brickroad16’s excellent fanfic, Collide. Speaking of Collide, a song with a really good season 1/2 Chuck-Sarah vibe is Jason Brown’s “Someone to Fall Back On”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oeX9uvewx4

      • Rick Holy says:

        Thanks for the links, friends. I also checked back with Chucktv.net, and they have a “music” link which breaks down songs by season and episodes. I have to admit that I don’t like – OR WANT – every song, but there are a number that I really like – and which I so readily identify with CHUCK – that I want to have them on the iPad.

        Thanks again, all!!

      • Rick Holy says:

        Wish there was some way I could download this to my iTunes/iPad “Chuck” playlist. I don’t know anything about MP3’s – or even what you would load an “MP3” onto. Hopefully someday it will make its way onto iTunes!! 🙂

      • AgentInWaiting says:

        I’ve got it as an mp3. Got a way for me to send it to you along with directions on how to load it into iTunes?

  6. Amrit says:

    I think the thing about this episode is that it kind of showed Chucks (unknowing and innocent) ignorance and Sarah’s “complicated” personality. I think in the episode earlier (Sandworm) their relationship was real to Sarah. Chuck did not realise at that point that he needed to give her time….I mean she and he both needed time to work over their complicated paths and history that constituted their odd characters. Sarah was damaged…we all now know that every man in her life abandoned and (mentally) scarred her (including Bryce and her father), she had no childhood..her adulthood was that of being a cold blooded killer…I just think Chuck needed to give her time. I think Chuck was a little immature at this point…but as I said before he did not know…so it is hard to apportion any blame to him. I mean how was he supposed to know any of this? Sarah on the other hand should know that Chuck would not know this and be a little more fairer to him. I think it was good in the way how he dumped her…he did it in a polite and sincere way…that gave me hope….I respect Chuck for that….I really do…

    • atcDave says:

      I agree with much of this Amrit; although I would never classify Sarah as a “cold blooded killer”, she certainly is a complicated character with some serious issues. I even agree with being sympathetic about the things Chuck doesn’t know or get, and of course he was fair and decent in how he let down Sarah; he was completely clueless about the mind games she was playing with herself (and him by extension). My only complaint goes back to saying sympathizing with someone’s bad decision doesn’t make enjoyable entertainment to me. I’d rather see Chuck (and Sarah) make good decisions any day of the week. And no that doesn’t mean I always expect them to be right, only that I won’t enjoy it very much when they aren’t.
      As I said above, it doesn’t strike me as a huge issue. I still see much to enjoy in this episode, and it is VERY funny in several places. It just falls short of being one of my favorites for the reasons I mention. I think this was the only one of our top 10 episode winners that I don’t care for more as much as most fans seem to.

    • joe says:

      That’s a good way to look at it, Amrit.

      I know that Chuck’s breaking up the “fake” romance made me wonder, at first. At the time I wasn’t so invested in the story and the characters. But I remember wondering at that point if they were going to follow the usual TV-romance path, dithering about until the last scene went dark.

      But when I thought about it I came to the same conclusion you did. Chuck’s rejection was not only the best possible way to do that, it was also a chance for them to have something more real later. That’s exactly what happened, too.

      One of the reason’s the fan went through all that “Will They/Won’t They” angst back then, wasn’t because it too so long, I think. The fans show a lot of patience that way with a lot of shows. It was because C&S were so clearly growing and maturing in their relationship and coming together from the beginning. It was harder for us to wait because it was so obviously happening.

      I can’t say this is the only show where that’s happened, mostly ’cause I haven’t seen every show. But I struggle to think of any others.

      • atcDave says:

        We’ve had some of this discussion before Joe. I think every screen couple/romance sets its own pace. There is a delicate balance between what we see from the actors on screen and how the relationship is being written. As long as the tone and pacing of those are in sync the viewers will be mostly pleased (as we often compare the slower pacing on Castle that doesn’t seem to generate nearly as much anxiety as the comparatively faster paced Chuck/Sarah relationship). I think we viewers stayed mostly happy in S1 and S2 when the written and acted pacing was mostly in agreement. But it went off the rails in S3, where what was written seemed frankly dishonest compared to what had been shown. Starting in 3.13 they made up for lost time and the balance seems to have been completely repaired.

        To me, Truth was a bit of a disappointment and distraction because I would have bought Chuck and Sarah being ready for a serious and open talk any time after Wookie. And looking at the huge volume of Chuck and Sarah romances being written in Fan Fiction well before the end of S1 I know I wasn’t alone in that regard.
        But it wasn’t an urgent problem until S3. And some of the challenges Chuck and Sarah faced those first two seasons are easy to swallow even if they aren’t quite what I wanted. (hmmm, so the swallowing metaphor? The triangle episodes in S1 and S2 are like going to a restaurant and not getting exactly what I ordered. While the S3 triangles are more like getting something I’m allergic to or really don’t like!)

    • Madmax says:

      It is the doubel standard I have a problem with.

      For me, Chuck dumping Sarah had the exact opposite effect for me.I thought he was a douche. The reason Chuck was immature is because he only was thinking about himself.He did not think about Sarah, which I can forgive him for, because Sarah told him there was no hope. But most importantly , he did not think about the mission at hand, only how it was going to effect Lou.

      I never really hated the triangles, the only one I had a problem with was Hannah. Chuck says how much he loves Sarah and confesses to her, but then is dating two weeks later? He fell out of love that easily? Yes, I know that Sarah turned him down and rightfully so.But you do not go looking for a date when you are still in love with someone. I liked Hannah and had no problem with her. But I had a REALLY hard time believeing she would moved to Burbank and follow this guy who works at the Buymore? REALLY? Chuck is charming, but not THAT charming…I can get that it happened to Jill and maybe Sarah (lighting once in a blue moon strikes twice) but then Hannah? What? Does he have chocolate flavored nipples?

      The other thing that I find funny is that Chuck can have all these girls, but God forbid Sarah even looks at someone else, fans have a sissy (as does Chuck). So Chuck can date Lou, but Sarah can not date Bryce. Chuck can get back with Jill, but Sarah can’t just have a date or fun vacation with Cole Barker. Chuck can date Hannah a few minutes after he confesses his love to Sarah, but Sarah can not date Shaw After Chuck has been intimate with another. If I was Sarah, I would have been on a plane to an island with Cole Barker sooo fast it would have made your head spin! Yummy………..Ok, vent over….lol

      • luckygirl says:

        I agree about the double standard within the fandom. One ep that always bugged me is Delorean. Chuck basically stalks Sarah and its supposed to be cute. The smothering, jealous behavior he displayed at times was off-putting. Why is he allowed to act like that, and still be able to see other women, yet Sarah has to stand quietly by and pine and not dare even look at another guy? I’ve always chalked it up to the fandom being full of boys.

      • thinkling says:

        I’ve said more than a few times that I think Sarah is the more faithful of the two and that Chuck gets the lion’s share of blame for the relationship mess of S3.

      • atcDave says:

        I completely disagree about the double standard. I’ve been annoyed or upset Chuck every time he stepped out on Sarah, and my position is hardly unique. The NBC forums went nuts with irate fans over the Jill episodes; and even if Hannah was a more likable character, Chuck treated both her and Sarah poorly and I saw a lot of outrage over it. I know I went ballistic right from First Class when Chuck was even just flirting a little (really, go back to our first impressions posts the night the episode ran, I was POed!); I have zero sympathy for that, and I think a majority of fans felt the same way. The ONLY reason Sarah catches more flak is because her straying lasted longer and ended last. But otherwise I agree with Thinkling that Sarah has generally been the more steady and faithful of the two; but that is at least partly her own fault! Sarah was in the driver’s seat from the start, and she’s the one who typically pushed Chuck away.

        I just don’t see how one can say “Chuck can date Hannah a few minutes after…” ??? How he can do it by pissing off everyone who cares about the show!

      • luckygirl says:

        It may not be here or even on the NBC boards but there is a very real, vocal, visceral part of the fandom that goes from zero to derogatory anytime Sarah/other is hinted at in the show or even speculated about when discussing spoilers. I’ve seen quite a bit of hateful language and names spewed towards Sarah that haven’t been applied to Chuck. The double standard may not be here but it is out there.

      • luckygirl says:

        Also what gets brought up more when discussing hatred of Mask? The Chuck/Hannah making out or the neck kiss/shoulder rub of Sarah/Shaw. I would say at least 2 to 1 Sarah/Shaw. If it had just contained the kissing of Chuck and Hannah I would wager there wouldn’t have been nearly the outrage that occured.

      • atcDave says:

        Again disagree about the double standard, some may be guilty, and there is an anti-Sarah faction in the community, but I don’t believe it is prevalent. I’d also point out that most of those who who seem the most anti-Sarah, also want to see a radically different Chuck who is some sort of super spy. They really don’t seem to be watching the same show the rest of us are. Chuck received thousands of words of angry writing for his treatment of Hannah. Anger towards Sarah only lasted longer because the relationship lasted longer (and was later inflamed by the very ill-advised interrogation scene from Living Dead). In general, people were equally angry with both characters for the duration of their idiocy. And even more than that, people were POed at the writers who chose this path.

      • joe says:

        I’m not sure what I think about the (alleged) double standard (but it’s an interesting topic, Madmax). Well, I think it’s there, but it’s sort of compensated by the fact that Sarah is also the best loved character.

        There is something real and more or less universal going on with that double standard though. Ever visit any of the so-called PUA sites? Besides being a hoot if you’re no longer in that stage of your life, it’s pretty clear that men are generally given a lot more lea-way than women that way. The general fan reaction is just mirroring the more universal human reaction, it seems.

        Our own individual ability to cut ’em a break (or not), however, says a lot more about us than about the characters or the story.

        So with that in mind, I’ll put myself down as saying C&S both acted relatively poorly when others came along. – that’s relative to what I had come to expect from them. I’m not going to equate that with acting out of character – I think it was quite within their characters, and was almost understandable (more in Chuck’s case than in Sarah’s, because Shaw was a jerk, but mitigated by the fact that she was so lost). They just were not being their best best selves (not by a long shot).

        S3 wasn’t the first time they acted less than stellar, either. Chuck & Sarah squabble in Truth, too. He’s whiny and frustrated, and she’s insensitive. It gets worse, and by Crown Vic they’re yelling at each other, shouting “You bring out the worst in me!” That’s probably true. Chuck is insecure and jealous by nature, and Sarah takes forever to say what she’s feeling, even to herself. How many weeks was it before she finally said “I love you”?

        Ah, but we love those guys anyway! 😉

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        @Joe

        I couldn’t disagree with you more when you say that

        “I’m not going to equate that with acting out of character – I think it was quite within their characters, and was almost understandable (more in Chuck’s case than in Sarah’s, because Shaw was a jerk, but mitigated by the fact that she was so lost). They just were not being their best best selves (not by a long shot).”

        I watched season 1 & 2 on DVD just before S3 aired, so my impressions of the characters were telescoped, but I watched the show with 7 good friends, all die hard fans right from the beginning of S1, and NONE of us thought that Chuck and Sarah were the same two people from the first 2 seasons. I lost track of how many times I heard someone say:

        “He wouldn’t say that”
        “She wouldn’t do that”
        “That wouldn’t happen”
        “That wouldn’t work”

        To us, the differences were so jarring, it was almost like it was Bizarro world Chuck.

  7. joe says:

    Yeah, it’s certainly true that every romance is different (as it should be!), Dave. Ultimately, it will come down to our own tastes, I’m sure.

    It may be that what you see in the larger fandom is quite accurate, and not really in contradiction to my experience. Chuck’s numbers have never been all that great, so I suspect that it has an appeal that’s unique. What we have here (and the people I’ve communicated with the most over the years), is a core of fans that are more intensely motivated (duh!) and relate more intensely to what we’ve seen.

    The number of poles that Chuck has won these past few years tells me the same thing. Fewer, but more rabid fans. Well, dedicated.

    I’m thankful enough got through S3 to return for S4 and give us an S5.

  8. Faith says:

    No surprise here, I loved this episode. I consider Truth one of Chuck’s finest. It’s not so much the laughs, or the mission, or even the revelation of the depth of these characters, it’s that we were given an awakening, or rather Sarah was. Agent Walker in season 1 is a closed vessel, she only lets out what she can, and she acts as she should. Then there are moments like in Truth (and Wookie) when she unmasks a bit of the facade and show her true feelings. For Agent Walker the relationship was always “real” on some level. “If it’s any consolation I never thought of our relationship as work.” And this after being dumped and devastated by Chuck.

    This episode, more than most in season 1 showed us why and how Sarah Walker started to emerge and dream a little, “do you ever want a normal life, have a family, children?” Because for a moment there after breaking Chuck’s heart, she thought she would be getting hers, a dream she didn’t even know she wanted only to see it walk across the street and make a date. It’s a sad story, but it’s an important story, it told her that if she wanted Chuck she could no longer stand behind the sidelines and just watch life and people pass her by. Here’s this “great guy” (fact) who is heroic, chivalrous, caring and he loves his sister, would put her above everything, and cares for her but she’s unwilling to even give him a sliver of hope, it’s something she needed to experience. We’re always led to believe that Chuck’s fallen on a lucky star because he “got” Sarah, but in this one, we see the other side. Sarah was lucky to have held on to Chuck if for a little while, and him being with Lou means she’s lost him (for now). To get him back she’s going to have to give more of herself than she’s ready for, than she’s capable of, to give him hope. No more whispering of, “Lisa, my middle name is Lisa.” It’s now about facing herself and what she’s increasingly feeling for him. And what she’s willing to do about it.

    And on the plus side I totally adored Lou. I found her endearing and her upfront attitude was refreshing. She didn’t shy away from the fact that there was an undercurrent of emotion between Chuck and his “girlfriend” (LMAO That scene is win!) but that she was unwilling to live a life of deception for him, for them. She wasn’t going to let him lie the way he has grown accustomed to his life of lies (though she obviously didn’t know just how deep a life of a lie it was). Although she was the “other” woman, in this one she was the better one. Because she could and did put herself out there for Chuck the way Sarah couldn’t. And in doing so taught Sarah a thing or two about what she needed to do/be.

    Lastly it’s just so quotable. “Minnndd cheater” as Joe quoted, “words taste like peaches;” “wouldn’t her intention be love?” “Ideally but you’re a very important piece of asset so you must be handled with extreme care.” Oh and bonus points, Awesome talking about sex, LMAO. So much win!

    • Rick Holy says:

      I’m with ya, sista – totally!

    • joe says:

      We’re always led to believe that Chuck’s fallen on a lucky star because he “got” Sarah, but in this one, we see the other side. Sarah was lucky to have held on to Chuck if for a little while…

      That’s another way to understand Sarah’s words when she tries to explain to Chuck why Frost would stay on her mission with Volkoff for 20 years. “I got lucky. I got you.”

    • BigKev67 says:

      Faith,
      Complete word to you on this. Hard Salami and Truth were my first 2 episodes and what great ones they were. I’d never seen a show that managed to be so light hearted, quickfire and humorous but still manage to have so much depth. Yes, a WT/WT with a third party but much more than that – elements of sacrifice, loyalty, nobility and heart. Laugh out loud funny but poignant, light with shade – Chuck at it’s best.

  9. Amrit says:

    I know fans hate a lot of season 3 because of the darkness and angst. But I am of the mind that Chuck needed to finish his path to a hero…as Chris Fedak said at comic con, being a hero does not happen in a day or an episode and in reality I know that fans will hate me saying this but I still think that it was too early to bring them together in a way in Other Guy. I mean when Sarah said to Chuck you have not changed and you are still my Chuck…beautiful moment…but was it justified? I mean if he had not changed simply because he never killed anyone..then why was Sarah so emotional and upset when he was going on his solo missions, burning manoosh, lying, become darker? I think we needed to learn more about Sarah and why this upset her and why she suddenly did not think the other parts mattered? I mean at that point had Chuck not changed? I think he did and simply saying that the only thing that mattered was the killing aspect was a contentious point to say the least… and then put them together. I think fans forget that Sarah has lived her whole life of cover identities, she has hurt a lot of people as a child (conning) and as an adult (more conning and killing). Chuck versus the truth was in a way an indicator of how someone like Chuck was getting that same treatment from Sarah and not accepting it and that made him different. For me season 3 from a story telling view failed because they never set up why he wanted to go on this journey in prague and never finished it off properly…it failed and the story never matched up…beginning and end were poorly written even if I agreed with the idea….

    • jason says:

      It is interesting how many of our episode analysis’s take us to season 3. I was looking for season 3 to end the sort of stupid, 2 steps forward, 1 step back (or 1 forward, 2 back) type thing that chuck vs truth set the table for. S3 did fix this, only about 8 or 10 episodes too late for me – and maybe for many I would guess.

      In ‘Truth’, twice the ep got me amped up, the freezer girl on top scene, as well as the spend the night scene …. at the end, was I the only one who thought chuck was going to grab sarah and kiss her as something to take off his ‘bucket’ list rather than break up with her. Heck, he could have even done both, either way, he would have gotten the girl.

      When chuck finally did go for it and kiss her, in hero, and sarah did not respond, especially after shaw essentially had given sarah back to chuck like a frat boy gives a sorority girl to one of his buddies at a kegger …. yikes that was the final straw …. red test and hero were poorly written, over time, possibly as bad as mask, fake name, and beard.

      As far as the double standard, I think most tv has it, but I think it is not as much a male / female thing as a dominant / submissive thing – and sarah really is in charge 90% of the time in all 4 seasons really. To me, that is why seduction impossible was so cool, sarah is not used to chuck saying ‘no’ – the prague train station’s ‘no’ & subsequent consequences were not so cool. As an example of a show many of us watchi, on castle, I LOVE the fact beckett has a LI this season, it is awesome to watch the alpha Rick Castle character struggle with this, just as it always has been fun to watch alpha sarah struggle with hapless, clueless chuck getting a girl. But when the powerful one has a lover, it is pityful to watch the loser character wallow in defeat, especially for 6 episodes, especially when the other guy is portrayed as such a loser with little interest in the love affair, and is on screen near as much as the two main stars, keeping any on screen action from going on with the co-stars alone, which the show was built on. Ok, end of rant.

    • atcDave says:

      You know I disagree completely with that Amrit. While I do agree Chuck’s transition to the spy world could have been a source of tension and drama, I think it was a huge mistake to link it to the Chuck/Sarah relationship the way they did, because the romance completely dominated the other story for most fans and they completely wasted a potentially good source of drama. I’ve recently been re-reading “Chuck vs the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Really Bad Day” by The Author’s Intersect (it’s on my favorites list under the fan fiction header); the did an extraordinary job of showing how Chuck could have grown more into the job, gained control of the Intersect 2.0, and dealt with issues of lying and killing WITH Sarah by his side. It is both a satisfying and well thought way of dealing with the important issues that were totally fumbled in S3. It is also not unique in that regard. Many fan fiction writers have come up with far more satisfying stories than what the pros did for S3; and a consistent theme is that Chuck and Sarah dealing with life together just ALWAYS works better than those stories that tried to keep them apart.

      • jason says:

        dave – I would guess ANY fan fic story made up that started with no at prague and ended up in a bed in Paris would be better than what we got – but …. all the fanfic writers had the benefit of learning from the misery season’s mistakes – LOL

        also, I would guess near 100% that if chuck and sarah were brought together in season 3 early without LI’s, a real LI for each would have been introduced at some point later in season 3 or in season 4 – I like the show better for having had honeymooners, role models, and all of season 4 as they were, if the misery season was the price, well, so be it.

      • atcDave says:

        Jason I’ll never buy the idea that S3 was the penance we had to pay to get to Honeymooners. That episode would have been a wonderful 3.01 with very few changes from what aired. And not all fan fiction writers are “fixing” what aired either; the story I previously mentioned was written before S3 ever even ran, so it owes nothing to S3 revisionism. It was simply several writer’s attempt to tell the next story after 2.22. And it is clearly and utterly better than what we got in canon. Some stories, like “Chuck and Sarah vs. Themselves (NinjaVanish), Chuck vs. The Pacific Northwest (Nervert), and Chuck vs. The Fight (Kate McK) would more properly be called revisionism, and those stories are often very satisfying as well. They all address what was seen as an unsatisfying job by the show’s writers and come up with stories that honor the main characters far more faithfully than what we got on screen. I would also point out they don’t always just throw Chuck and Sarah together at the start, but they do all deal with their coming together in ways that are more fun and satisfying. Those writings are the very thing that convinces me S3 could have been handled so much better on so many levels. Its not just a simple case of I didn’t like what I saw; I’ve SEEN better.

      • luckygirl says:

        I think what happened in season 3 is just what happens on shows in general, something all writers fall back on when dealing with a lead couple. They are either going to screw with them before they get together or after, and in some unfortunate cases both. I can’t think of a single couple on tv where it isn’t sturm and drang getting them together to prolong the inevitable til’ the last possible minute or break-ups and obstacles after they are together. If they had gotten together early in season 3 they wouldn’t have written it as the strong bond it is, and was this season. They would have quite probably made the relationship just as angsty as keeping them apart was, maybe even broke them up for a time. It’s just the nature of the television beast to drag out the angst past the point of viewers patience. Is it neccessary? Of course not, but its something that should be expected.

        Of course the only reason I started watching this show in the first place is because I loved “The O.C.” and Zac Levi kind of looked liked Seth Cohen. So maybe my first hand knowledge of Josh Schwartz’s love of angst left me permanently desensitized.:)

      • atcDave says:

        Lucky Girl I agree you are right and it POs me to no end. It is how writers are taught, it is THE formula for writing television, and it is tragic for us the victims (gee, I mean viewers!). I think many of us were particularly miffed with Chuck because for two seasons we had thought the show was something different and special; then they went out of their way in S3 to show that they were not.
        It has seriously damaged my hope for future television too that ratings slipped so badly this season. The shows I want to see are unlikely to ever be made.

      • Big Kev says:

        @Dave,
        I pretty much agree with you about the whole PLI thing. I think the idea that Chuck’s decision to become a willing spy and torpedo the “real” life that Sarah was about to commit herself to, and the resulting conflict had some legs, but not for 13 episodes, and absolutely not with such an awful cliched set of PLI’s thrown in.
        But….here’s the problem.
        Putting Chuck and Sarah basically removes the dramatic hook from the show. For any serialised story there has to be a hook, some major part of the story that you don’t know the answer to. That’s why PLI’s are such a cliche – they’re the easiest way for writers to provide that hook. I completely agree that it was time for that hook to be taken away – but you need to replace it with something else that makes the viewer go “what part of this story don’t I know? Why am I coming back next week?” For the first 3 seasons, the answer was simple – “I want to see what’s going to happen with Chuck and Sarah!”
        What I thought would happen with S4, with the way Ring II ended, was that they would beef up the spy plots and the mythology to provide that hook. They didn’t do that. They foreshadowed the MamaB plot in the very first scene with the Frost reference, and everyone knew the proposal (the other major arc) was coming. The result was that the first 13 was almost entirely without suspense, or a sense that you didn’t know exactly where the story was going – and I think it really suffered for that.
        The back half was better – and I get that some people don’t need a dramatic hook at all – but I honestly think the show has suffered since the only real unknowable of the story was removed. I’m not for one minute saying they should put it back btw!! (just to be clear) – but I do think they should have replaced it with something else.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Kev I do understand and agree with much of that. It just remains maddening for those few reasons like; I had honestly expected better from this show, and was bitterly let down by the recycled cliche they delivered for S3. And I’ve seen vastly better dramatic hooks, many times over, in fan fiction.
        So a huge part of the S3 let down is from having thought too highly of TPTB. I thought I was watching something imaginative and daring, and then suddenly I wasn’t. Makes me so mad I could use really harsh language…

      • luckygirl says:

        I don’t think its fair to compare the show to fanfiction. The show has to appeal to millions, and try and cater to as many fanbases as possible: Casey fans, Morgan fans, people who love the Buy More idiots, mythology lovers, shippers, fans of drama and comedy. They have to try every week to at least partially satisfy all these different factions on a weekly basis. How many fanfics try to cater to all those people with a pretty decent success rate, on a weekly basis? Its easy to find a particular fic that fits a persons particular tastes but its probably not going to appeal the masses because they don’t have to. They can write whatever they want with no real need to please anyone. The writers don’t have that luxury.

        I’m in no way defending the missteps of the writers but I can’t agree with comparing the two.

      • joe says:

        You have a point, LuckyGirl. A direct comparison really isn’t fair for just the reasons you said. It’s a different animal with different goals and motivations.

        But there’s another way to look at it too. The very existence of such a vibrant fan-fic community is in indication of how successfully the show has sparked the public imagination. I know that Star Trek did that; they got flooded with fan-written scripts, even.

        The original Star Trek was about as close as you can get to being a failure. It lasted 3 seasons, the third season was awful, it never had good production values and was rife with terrible behind the scenes cast problems. But it sparked the imagination like nothing else. The fan written stories it generated were almost dwarfed by the real things we live with today that were inspired by the show. Today it’s hard to say Star Trek wasn’t a great success.

        The stories written by Chuck fans tell me that they are just as inspired. They don’t compete with the show, but they do tell me that something great was created and spread out from that beginning. I consider it a healthy sign!

      • luckygirl says:

        Oh, I definitely agree the inspiration and imagination the show sparks is a wonderful thing. And there is certainly a number of talented writers with some great ideas and I am in no way trying to disparage their work. I just think using it to critique the show is holding it to standards its never going to meet.

      • atcDave says:

        I think the comparison is completely fair. I’m not saying any particular fan fiction is completely tele-play ready; but I can name a dozen writers who came up with far less cliched stories of what could have come after 2.22. The point is, the S3 product was a huge let down to a huge portion of the fan base, and it didn’t need to be so. That is the whole issue. Dozens of fans DID HAVE better ideas on how to proceed.
        I know far too many people with post-graduate degrees and professional job titles to hold either in very high regard. So the fact one set of writers was professionally employed, and the other set was writing for pure love of the subject; does not particularly lead me to favor the pros, beyond the fact they know more about the nuts and bolts of getting a show made. I think Chuck, and many other TV shows would benefit greatly by bringing in more creative outsiders to shake up the standard way of writing and making TV.

      • jason says:

        @kev – once chuck and sarah became a couple they needed to replace the wt/wt with something to create drama if indeed they are trying for drama – yes – I do agree

        the attempt was to do the same thing as during the wt/wt – hurt chuck thru sarah – either feigning her going away, or physically harming her – so in a sense – they tried to replace the wt/wt with something else chuck / sarah –

        what they need – is to generate interest and drama thru another character – I have told you for near a year now – the cast is lacking for those types of characters, other than sarah and casey, and any guest stars. Even guest stars that get too dramatic really seem to fall flat – Volkov, Roark, and Orion all had quirky parody surrounding their menace – shaw, his helper Jason, and even to a certain extent Mary all were too serious for their roles, and fell flatter in comparison to those around them. Another one, serious vivian not so good, quirky lawyer better.

        I would guess the drama in season 5 might come from the same place as b4 (i.e. hurting chuck thru sarah somehow). But for my dollar, drama from Morgan getting sort of the sarah damsel in distress role would be great. If you think about it, ellie, alex, casey, sarah and chuck would all be affected if morgan was in trouble & it would be something new and fresh. Also, I am really hoping beckman or Graham are the big bad, it would allow the show to come full circle.

      • thinkling says:

        @Big Kev: I know you won’t agree with me on this, but I liked the Mary story and the underlying spy story and the mythology of S4. I find it on a par, or superior, to the spy/mythology of previous seasons.

        To me the dramatic element the show lost and didn’t replace is the danger to Chuck as the Intersect. THAT, imo, was the danger and mystery in S1&2 … not the wt/wt. It disappeared in S3, and nothing replaced it. It returned a little bit in S4 in FOD and Phase 3, but it had been so long absent, I went, Oh, where did that come from. However, the danger to Chuck and his family did return in S4 through Mary’s story, and I liked it. Leftovers, come on, that was like Santa Claus on steroids. Then of course Vivian and the Norseman became the threat, Agent X was the mystery, and I loved the final arc of the season.

        I know the mythology/spy purists in our midst don’t agree with me, but I’m totally satisfied with everything about S4. Yes, the bottom line for me is CS in a good place, but even so, I think S4 stacks up very well to S2, even for its story and mythology.

      • jason says:

        think – thanks for writing that – you captured my feelings too – although sometimes reading stuff on the forums here I sort of forget – the spy story / mythology was pretty good in season 4 for me too – still, I would like to see a serialized drama arc generated by a mystery / thriller that chuck and sarah solved as a team the entire way – one or two last chances at that I guess

      • atcDave says:

        You know I also agree S4 was completely effective for me. But it is a good point that the direct menace to Chuck was reduced in many ways, especially with regard to the government. Since the end of S2 there has been no talk of kill or bunker orders. And in a way that’s good, I mean clearly Sarah would never obey an order that hurt Chuck; and increasingly it was obvious Casey wouldn’t either, and now it even seems unlikely Beckman would even issue such an order.
        So perhaps that will be regained by the whole “rogue operation” for S5. The government threat will be personified by new faces, but it may succeed in bringing back a little of that S1 menace.

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, Dave, you’re right. I forgot about the bunker/kill threat from the CIA itself. But that seems to have returned in the form of Decker and a years-old CIA conspiracy that has threatened Chuck’s family for a long time. I think that whole scenario rings true and could be a great spy/mythology story.

        For me the villains and spy stuff keep getting amped up, not dialed back. Best of all Chuck and Sarah are facing them together. Squeee.

      • thinkling says:

        @Jason: we can always hope for great CS teamwork in S5. The potential is there, for sure. H2H/AT(!)

  10. patty says:

    I liked seeing Chuck happy for a change so I wasn’t that upset when he went with Jill and Lou.

    I actually didn’t mind Bryce at all. He and Sarah had had a relationship before she met Chuck which never really ended. When she found him alive she would have been horribly confused and filled with pain about the whole situation. She had a right to take some time to sort out her lady feelings!! It did make me mad that she took the situation out on Chuck, who was clearly innocent, he couldn’t help that he loved her. To be honest Crown Vic is the only episode I almost never rewatch and even then I hit fast foward a lot. ( I like the part where Chuck yells at Sarah, you really have to work at it to make Chuck yell at you!)

    As far as Cole is concerned, I have no idea why folks get so mad. Sarah never seriously considered him, he actually checked with Chuck before pursuing her, and he backed off when he realized that she really wanted Chuck. In many ways he helped make her realize how much she wanted Chuck. Yeah he was a little over the top in the “James Bond Spy seduction” methods but all in all he seemed to be a decent guy who genuinely liked and respected both Chuck and Sarah.

    In the case of Shaw, I stopped liking him at Mask, and, no it wasn’t because he had the nerve to go after Chuck’s girl!! It was because he was very egotistical and obviously a somewhat unstable. I never felt that he really cared about Sarah, even in Fake Name when he was upset that Gruber was going to kill her. I felt that Sarah was with him because he represented a “safe” alternative relationship. Friendship and sex, but no need to offer the sort of deep commitment that a relationship with Chuck would demand. Like the one she had with Bryce. Ultimately she realized that she could not find that sort of relationship satisfying anymore. Shaw could not offer her more because his thirst for revenge made it impossible for him to heal after his wife’s death. When he found out that Sarah had pulled the trigger he was unable to see anything else and he ruthlessly supressed whatever feelings he may have had for her before. This is what makes Chuck better, he was able to see the good in Vivian, even after she tried to kill Sarah.

    • joe says:

      Ya know, something you just wrote struck a cord, Patty, about Sarah and her actions with Shaw.

      All of a sudden I get the feeling that with him she was reverting back to form, to what she had been before, and pretty much a version of what she had been with Bryce. The saving grace is that much later, in Phase 3 Sarah recognizes that she doesn’t like who she used to be. I hadn’t made that connection before.

      There’s a lot of time between those two points and there’s a lot of fans who can’t forgive Sarah for that, but I’m a little more impressed than I was with her self-awareness.

    • thinkling says:

      I can see your points Patty and actually agree with a lot of it. I always prefer Chuck and Sarah in a good place, so from that standpoint alone, geometry is never my favorite subject. However, I also realize that Chuck and Sarah did have some things to overcome and grow through to get to where they are today, and some OLI’s are bound to be in the mix. Arghhh.

      Truth is an honest episode. 😉 It was inevitable that a guy like Chuck would want something real. Sarah wanted it, or because of Chuck was beginning to realize she did, but a) couldn’t have it and be his handler and b) didn’t have a clue how to begin or the emotional readiness for it … at that time. Chuck was probably the first mark to ever dump her (or anyone). From that standpoint, it didn’t seem contrived at all and had value to their growth. She would have been content to enjoy all of her real feelings within the context of their fake relationship. Obviously her story is to draw her out of that life and into a real one, so this is the first hard step. Her face as she watches Chuck with Lou, from the outside looking in (always) just breaks my heart. Still, like Faith said, she needed that growth. So, I didn’t care much for Lou or the way Chuck was when he was with her, but it was honest exploration and growth.

      Again, even though I see all these people as obstacles to what I like the best — CS in a good place — I object to some more than others. I agree that she would need time to sort out her feelings over Bryce, especially since he wasn’t quite the traitor she thought he was. But his return (multiple times) seemed a wee bit contrived, maybe even for the sake of keeping Chuck and Sarah apart a little longer (would they do that?). Meh. It was good for Sarah to have to choose, and each time she chose Chuck, she was more and more certain about it. Even though Chuck’s security always took a nose dive any time Bryce showed up, maybe it was even good for him to deal with all that.

      The more Chuck and Sarah’s relationship grew, the less honest the OLI’s seemed. Making Jill Fulcrum was interesting and added to the mythology just enough for them to justify bringing her back, but I’m not particularly fond of the Jill arc and find Chuck’s running after her to be the worst sort of regression. I’m with Ellie, “Jill? No, absolutely not. There is no scenario in which you should be going to dinner with the woman who dumped you, broke your heart, and slept with your best friend.” By this time in the Chuck and Sarah relationship it seemed much less honest for Chuck to pursue Jill. However, with the return of Jill, Sarah becomes fully aware of the difference between a real and cover relationship and knows Chuck deserves a real one. So maybe there was some benefit for both of them in the Jill arc.

      Totally agree with you on Cole. Though I didn’t care for Beefcake, it wasn’t just because of Cole. I liked Lethal Weapon so much more.

      And I agree with you on Shaw … so many reasons not to like him. I was ticked off at TPTB for ripping Chuck and Sarah apart and for the trapezoid. But with CS “broken up” who could blame Sarah’s partner, whoever he turned out to be, for trying to date her. But Shaw was never a likable suitor for her … at all. Hannah was at least likable. Of course, the wt/wt had played out and all OLI’s were unwelcome. But if they had to go there, they could have at least had someone likable and suitable for her. (I mean to hear them talk, they thought he was. Boy were they wrong, in my book). You’re right, he never really cared about Sarah, and I don’t think she ever loved him. In the state she was in, she reverted back to the only thing she knew, apart from Chuck. Shaw was, as you say, just a spy relationship, like the one she had had with Bryce, that neither offered nor demanded as much as a relationship with Chuck.

      Now I am just super grateful for the last 30 episodes! And I look forward to the next 13.

      • atcDave says:

        You know I agree with all of this. Its nice being able to split writing duty with Thinkling…

        It is funny to think if the show ends at 5.13, there will be 43 episodes with CS as a couple, very nearly half the series. But I predict as long as Chuck fans talk, S3 will be the most contentious topic.

      • thinkling says:

        You know the exercise of thinking all that through, made me look at ALL the geometry as more for Sarah’s growth than Chuck’s. With Lou, Bryce, Bryce, Jill, Cole, and Bryce … Sarah is the one who really learned the most through the experiences.

        I left out the S3 geometry. I’m not sure anyone learned from those, except Schwedak. 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Hah! I hope you are right!

  11. Verkan_Vall says:

    @Thinkling: I think you put your finger on what has always been the fly in the ointment for me with this episode.

    @atcDave:

    In what I think is the proper order:

    yes, yes, yes, agreed, yes, ditto, yes, yep, roger that, yes indeed, couldn’t agree more and Lord, I certainly hope so.

    Now, could you turn up the AC a little? It’s getting a little warm in the Amen Corner.

    • atcDave says:

      Hey VV your enthusiastic support is always appreciated!
      (now I just need to go back and figure out which got the “Lord, I certainly hope so…”)

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        When you said “Hah, I hope you’re right” in reply to Thinkling’s statement that the only ones who learned something from S3 were Schwarz and Fedak.

  12. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Truth (1.08) | Chuck This

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