5.07: Chuck vs. The Santa Suit – First Impressions

Return of The Jedi Shaw!

Sometime about 8:30 pm local time, we hit the season’s halfway mark. I have a feeling that it’s going to be a major highlight also.

No, I’m not talking about the virus threatening to wipe out all the Christmas X-Boxes, Wiis and Smartie-Phones the youngin’s are finding in their Christmas stockings this year. I’m not even talking about the person behind the plot to destroy Carmichael Industries or the “Ghost of Christmases Past returning to turn this season into a Pineapple and Martini situation combined. I’m talking about the Grinch who would take the Santa right out from under the Buy More!

Bah-humbug on him!

Look for the famous comic book creator, Stan Lee, to make a cameo appearance tonight, and then, come right back here to tell us what you thought!

– 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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156 Responses to 5.07: Chuck vs. The Santa Suit – First Impressions

  1. Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

    Is it wrong that all I want for Christmas is Sh**’s cold rotting corpse?

  2. The Grinch’s heart grew three sizes. I hope that doesn’t happen with Shaw.

    Pineapple Martini recipe from drinksmixer.com:
    1 oz Captain Morgan® Parrot Bay pineapple rum
    1 oz Tanqueray® Sterling vodka
    2 oz pineapple juice
    Pour into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes. Shake vigorously for a few seconds; strain into a martini cocktail glass, and serve.

    Or
    1 episode of Chuck
    1 Daniel Shaw

  3. Verkan_Vall says:

    I’m a bit curious to see what they will do with the return of Shaw (again). If they wanted to send a message to people who no longer watch the show, there are a couple of ways to do it.

    One would be to speak to former viewers outside the boundaries of the show, at the Comicons for example, or by one or more posts on YouTube. Another would be to work within the boundaries of the show itself: first, they would have to make a big splash; spectacular stuntcasting or the return of someone no one expected to see again might do it, like Bryce or Stephen or Shaw for example. Second, they would have to leak news of this return within a certain time frame: not too long before the episode airs, or the news would go stale. And not too soon before, in order to give the news time to percolate around the Net. About 2-4 weeks ahead of the show date might do it. Hmmm.

    If they wanted to get people’s attention focused on this episode, I think they have more or less succeeded. Now, let’s see what they do with it.

    Season 5 on Amazon:
    prices holding steady at $36.99 for blu-ray, $29.99 for dvd. No release date as of yet.

  4. Cenodoxus says:

    Very curious to see what they do with this episode: I have yet to see a critic who hasn’t gone crazy for it in their early peeks.

  5. ladycat713 says:

    First thought is that there’s no way Shaw came up with this plan using his own mind . It had to come from someone else or the Intersect because he’s a complete idiot. Second thought , I really wanted him to call Sarah Sam.

    3rd. Lester’s a cheap date.

  6. ladycat713 says:

    Since Mama B isn’t in this ep (and will we get her this season at all?) , I’d love to see Beckman or Sarah kick his ass.

  7. herder says:

    Already the best begining of the year, wanted to fist pump when Beckman signed on. Very tense start.

  8. ladycat713 says:

    Product placement!

    Lester’s actually right! Little does he know.

    Stan Lee!

  9. sniderman says:

    “We never speak of this again.”

  10. herder says:

    We never speak of this again, amazing!!!

  11. ladycat713 says:

    The Duck is much better than the Sham. But then it always was.

  12. ladycat713 says:

    all right Morgan. Slide in.

  13. ladycat713 says:

    Kick his Ass . Chuck!

  14. ladycat713 says:

    All right. Ellie! Hit him again!

  15. ladycat713 says:

    Shaw doesn’t seem to get that his anger over his wife’s death (which was Sarah following order’s so he should be mad at the one who gave the order) in no way justifies his murder of Papa B .

  16. ladycat713 says:

    I love that the news named Shaw as a terrorist. And then it said Duck and went to Beckman.

  17. ladycat713 says:

    Please tell me Sarah didn’t have Bryce’s babay? know it isn’t Shaw’s there wasn’t enough time for her to hide a pregnancy.

    • jason says:

      she had someone’s, better Bryce’s than Graham’s or the ultimate big bad’s or her handlers or one of her marks? – it is a little like s3, there isn’t anything any fan can do – FEdak obviously hates the character & hates some of his fans. The distasteful XMAS themed beating and humiliation he put her thru makes that apparent.

      • jason says:

        By the way, the episode was as advertised, very, very good, as long as you enjoy violence towards defenseless women, somewhat over, and over, and over again. Sort of reminds me of the other guy, parts of it were so good, parts were so bad.

      • ladycat713 says:

        At least we won’t have to wait long to find out . There are no gaps in the remaining eps. They are all a week apart with the finale (eps 12 and 13) being a 2 hour ep on Jan 27th according to Wikipedia.

        The angst won’t necessarily be about her having a child with Bryce (if that’s what happened) but about her keeping it secret from Chuck and about her abandoning a child for her job (if that’s what happened.)especially with the parallels with Mama B.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah ladycat I’m really glad there’s no holiday hiatus this season.

        Even the reason she kept the secret may not be a big deal. I don’t think the father is Bryce, I’m guessing it’s someone she thought represented a threat to the child. So she kept the secret to keep the kid safe. I’m more sure of that than I am of any parental issues. So she went to see Shaw purely because she’s worried if this secret gets out the child’s life is danger. Notice too, Shaw didn’t say “your child”, he said “the baby.”. So I’m 50% sure the child isn’t even hers (how’s that for saying I wouldn’t take bets either way?!)

      • joe says:

        I agree with you on that, Dave, right down to the odds!

        Woooo boy. I hope we’re not wrong!

    • ladycat713 says:

      Babay. I hate that I can’t edit when I make a mistake. Or maybe she had a babay with her first handler.

      • ladycat713 says:

        I did it again. Ok . I’m slightly drunk. I had to do some shopping today and even the grocery store were ridiculously crowded and made me feel like I couldn’t breathe.

    • Big Kev67 says:

      @Jason,
      Seriously?? If you like this episode, you somehow “like” violence against women?
      That’s a line of logic I’d like to see you defend against the many female posters both here and on twitter who seem to love the episode. You know I love our jousts, but you’re seriously off the reservation with that one.
      As for Fedak “hating” the character, you’ve been totally consistent that you hate the idea of Sarah getting beaten up, and I respect that completely – but to assign motives to a writer just because they’ve written something that you don’t happen to like is ridiculous. It cheapens the real and valid discussion -which is whether the beatdown of Sarah was appropriate to the show. Personally it pushed the limits of what I think is OK for this show – but in context I didn’t think it went over them. That’s a worthwhile discussion – but psycho babble assumptions shouldn’t be a part of it.

      • jason says:

        Kev – I liked the ep – other than the violence and all the Shaw and Sarah scenes – you can like the ep and not like he violence – I liked the other guy, other than every scene the other guy was in for example.

        I don’t like Fedak, this was an easy shot to take at him, since he brutalized Sarah in the ep, his only meaningful dramatic plays in this series has been to do something to Sarah, hence he hates her. Sorry, that is what he does.

        thank you for calling my positions ridiculous – cheap – and psycho babble. You must not have much to say about the ep, to have to insult me. If I were allowed to retaliate, I would, but I seem to get blamed when I do, so ….. thanks again, Merry Xmas

      • Big Kev67 says:

        Happy Xmas to you too Jason 🙂
        You know I call it like I see it. I’m not gonna lie – I think it is a ridiculous position. I’ve never met Fedak. I have no right and no grounds to make any assumptions about what he thinks about his characters. You’ve made generalisations about the people who liked the episode, and what their attitudes are towards violence against women – and you’ve done the same with a man you’ve never met. I’m not insulting you – but I am absolutely challenging your right to make those assumptions. If I didn’t do that respectfully enough, I apologise – but my point stands. You’ve said I can like the episode and not like violence against women – but that expressly contradicts the sentiment of your first post.
        I also don’t think doing things to Sarah has been the “only” source of drama in the series – but I will absolutely agree that they go to that well way too often.

        I have plenty to say about the episode – and virtually all of it was good. I was disappointed to see Sarah sidelined again, and I thought her attempt to talk Shaw down after everything that’s gone on with him over the years bordered on the ridiculous – but I loved everything else. You know I love the tense and twisty episodes, so that’s a given – but this one had so much more. All the cast were involved, the Casey testament scene nearly made me tear up, I loved the way Chuck told Ellie about Shaw (contrast to earlier scenarios) – and the callacks to the bracelet and Papa B.

        And Ellie taking out Shaw? Completely unexpected. And one of my favourite scenes of the series. Ellie and Chuck looking out for each other. Sarah being involved in the Xmas bash planning. Beckman. Morgan. Just so much to love 🙂

        And I thought the promo for next week is one of the best they’ve done. Obviously it’s not going to be Sarah’s baby – but the promo has made a lot of people think it might be. Job done by the promo department – for once! I can’t wait for next week’s episode.

        Is it Friday (or Saturday morning here) yet??

      • lappers84 says:

        Brandon Routh actually did a decent job showing us showing us just how detestable Shaw really is, and having to rely on the intersect to take on Sarah? Really? Lol. He may have been able to take out Sarah and Casey but he just couldn’t out do Chuck with his new found training and Nerd Herd skills and Ellie with arm power and her ability to hit people with kitchen objects. (though not sure what it is she used to knock Show out). As for the baby. Na, I very much doubt it’s actually her’s. Though it’s such a huge secret, who knows?

      • Jason says:

        Kev – to repeat – Kev – I liked the ep – other than the violence and all the Shaw and Sarah scenes. By the way, there is nothing wrong with my ‘logic’, it has more than held up under close scrutiny on these sites for a long time, often defending a very unpopular POV against some very mean spirited, but eloquent writers, some of whom even stooped to using multiple ID’s to attack me.

        I agree with your notion I should not post mean things about Fedak, I have not met him either. Funny though, you seem to be able to justify posting means things about me without compulsion or remorse however, how does that work, or is that you being LOGICAL?

      • BigKev67 says:

        @Jason,
        I don’t think that challenging your opinion is mean, although my use of the word ridiculous may be. I’m happy to apologise for that and say instead that I disagree very strongly with your viewpoint.
        I still don’t see how making assumptions about how Fedak “hates” Sarah because she sometimes gets beaten up is at all logical but I really don’t want to beat this to death. Let’s agree to disagree.

      • ladycat713 says:

        I think Routh did do very well in potraying Shaw as incredibly creepy. It was him trying to make Shaw come across as a romantic rival that just felt wrong and off.

  18. Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

    That might have been a good episode.

    IF SARAH WALKER WAS IN IT!!!!!

    • joe says:

      Oh, she most certainly was, Shep. I mean, I wanted to jump though the screen and save her myself at times!

      This was no “helpless female”, btw. This was the best agent in the world against The Intersect.

      And it had DUCKs! 😉

      • Sarah was doing fairly well in the first fight until she was thrown over a railing on to a concrete floor a couple stories down. Shaw has a significant weigh class advantage on Sarah, plus the Intersect. Remember Chuck with the Intersect still had problems against the really big guys like Hugo and Yuri. Sarah was on the wrong side of both parts of that unfair match-up.

        She still outsmarted him and escaped with her boot knife. She couldn’t escape because of the lock down. The second fight she was half frozen, had arms that were probably pulled out of their sockets from hanging, was unarmed, and suffering who knows what injuries from her fall. She did better than she should have.

        Chuck was beating de-Intersected Shaw with moves he learned from Sarah. Some of the kicks and disarming wrist locks looked like moves Sarah usually uses. She gets part of the credit for that take down in my book.

        I still wanted Sarah to limp over to Shaw’s unconscious body and put two in his head. I guess the new Sarah isn’t allowed to do that in cold blood anymore now that Chuck has rubbed off on her.

      • joe says:

        Tactically, Sarah’s beaten Casey a couple of times, but only when she had the element of surprise. In the Pilot, she more or less fought him to a draw, but given she surprised him with the wooden skewers (ah! The knife throwing skills!) he was hurt, but it was still a draw.

        For my money, Chuck’s fight was one of the best choreographed I’ve seen in a long time, since his last with Shaw, actually. I don’t know for a fact that it’s Zac, but the strikes and action were just exceptionally well done.

        This episode definitely had my pulse rate up.

      • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

        I hear what your both saying, and I get too.

        But it’s just as much as I don’t care for whiny Chuck, “damsel in distress” Sarah for a BDHM (for the umpteenth time) is a deal breaker for me.

        I didn’t mind Casey being taken out of the action because it was new and emotional (for Casey)

        Chuck obviously did something to GBecks because now she throwing money around all willy nilly.

      • jason says:

        Joe – I didn’t like it when Cole was beaten in his ep either, that type of action does not fit well with ‘my’ Chuck. Sarah being slapped around senseless, was perverted, world class spy or not, she still is a lady, she is a beloved character, and this is still a quirky, somewhat goofy show that didn’t have the guts to torture Chuck in the last ep, why bludgeon her?

        Additionally, this was a XMAS ep, why go emo violent in this ep, seems disrespectful to the holiday, and one of the reasons I felt the Mauser action was tasteless too. The entire exchanges between Sarah and Shaw was near endless, I kept wanting the ep to be over, rather than thinking time was flying by …. kind of like all of season 3 never ended, thanks to this episode it still is going on.

      • atcDave says:

        I had no problem with the violence in this episode. Bad guys do bad things, that’s the whole point. Sarah lives and works in a dangerous world, sometimes she’s going to come out on the wrong end of things. Yvonne is the best actor in the cast, so it makes some sense to have her character on the receiving end of the toughest situations. I’m also sure she is pleased to be given a variety of challenging scenes.
        I do prefer when Sarah is victorious and taking out bad guys. But it strikes me as fair enough, and good story telling to turn the tables on occasion.
        Presumably that will provide part of the motivation for Chuck and Sarah looking to make a new, safer life for themselves as the season/series winds down.

  19. Rick Holy says:

    Great episode. For some reason it made me think back to the pilot episode – and to think of how far “we’ve” come – especially to see Chuck and Ellie THEN and NOW. Also, PERFECT to have her be the one to knock Shaw out. LOVE also how the Buy More and the product placement fit in so well! And talk about ending with a cliffhanger. Absolutely salivating for the next episode! Sarah with a baby? Who’s the daddy?? Bryce? And of course Cheryl Ladd. Can’t wait!! MERRY CHRISTMAS, all – or Happy “Whatever seasonal holiday” it is that you may be celebrating!! It looks like we’re really going to end this CHUCK run in style! How many more twists and turns???

    • Rick Holy says:

      And yes there was alot of Shaw on Sarah violence, but that was to show how deranged Shaw was/is and so SINGULARLY focused on REVENGE for Eve’s death. And I don’t think Fedak hates the Sarah character. Heck, she’s shown the most positive growth IMHO of all the characters. This is just going “back” to somehow clear up her past completely – and maybe even make CHUCK a “daddy” (by adoption).

    • joe says:

      I kept flashing back to Santa Claus myself, especially when the braclet returned!

      And then there was Ellie, swinging her iron like she did on Casey. That’s the third time, really,including last week (well, almost, anyway).

  20. atcDave says:

    Very good episode. I wouldn’t call it an all time best, but very good (let’s say a 4 out of 5). It was one of the more taught episodes we’ve seen in a while, maybe since last season’s finale. But I would say not quite funny enough to be one of my favorites.

    But I did love Stan Lee, and the Duck moment. Also liked one of the funniest product placements we’ve seen in a while.
    Looks like they’re going with Sarah having a kid, still seems like a cheesy, poor choice to me. But we’ll see how it plays out. Next week looks very intense.

    • Could be Sarah finds a baby–maybe of someone she killed.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Interesting theory.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Jeff I hope it’s something like that. “Sarah has a kid” is a little too “Melrose Place” for my taste; it wouldn’t need to be a huge thing if the next episode is well written, but it’s just one of those story hooks that sounds really stupid initially. I have no qualms about Chuck being perfectly happy to love Sarah and a kid he just found out about whatever the circumstance. Maybe that’s why it’s such a huge eye-roll for me, it wouldn’t be an issue to Chuck, it’s purely about tweaking the audience.

        Again, I don’t want to make too big a thing of this. Next week’s preview looked great. I just hope they do something a little more creative than soap opera plots.

    • armysfc says:

      Dave i think it will surprise you. i did watch btw. my gut feeling is Sarah was in prague doing protection work for some diplomats. the place she was guarding them came under attack and she promised to keep the kid safe. she went to the only person she could, her mom. they can’t talk about the kid because the baddies are still looking for her.

      • That’s more refined and makes more sense than my quick theory, Army. That could even be why she is no longer secret service.

      • atcDave says:

        Funny I just said something similar above. That’s the idea that’s really starting to gel with me.

      • armysfc says:

        i just looked at the scenes in the flash back when she was leaving the building. it reminds me of the stairs you always see royalty coming down when they have those big affairs. why would a CIA agent with a kid be staying there? so palace came to mind. could mean it was a royal kid as well, but i doubt its hers.

      • atcDave says:

        That would be fun. Is it (next) Friday yet?!

      • jason says:

        For some reason, the building seemed to resemble the building / scene where Sarah executed all the diplomats at the party, might have been a Chuck flash from the Pilot? Maybe on her way out she rescued a baby?

      • ladycat713 says:

        I like your theory.

      • dkd says:

        In regards to observations about “it looks like this” and “it looks like that”, this is a show on a low budget. I did the WB Tour in November and they pointed out a lot of the places on the lot that they’ve used multiple times. For this upcoming episode, our tourguide pointed out a part of the lot that was in use for the Hungary scenes. It’s the same part of the lot they used to be Switzerland in “Honeymooners”.

        Unfortunately, for a low budget show, they have to re-use the same locations.

  21. jason says:

    Anyone notice an obsessive blogger or two who exhibit delusional shipper hate on the various sites, posting over and over and over again, just like the beating Fedak and Shaw dished out to Sarah over and over and over? There aren’t very many of them, I wonder if it is just one person with multiple ID’s? I thought most of those losers quit the show, when the experts made them look like fools mid season 3. Oh well, it takes all types I guess.

    I sort of liked the end, anyone who didn’t expect Fedak would use Sarah as much as he could this season to create drama hasn’t been paying attention the last 5 seasons. REgardless of how ep 5×8 plays out (I mean, maybe it isn’t her baby? who knows at this point, but I would not be shocked if it is?). Fedak cheaply used fans love of Sarah to ramp up the drama with the promo, no matter what he does with the actual story, the notion got the job done. That is the sort of ploy you use, when you got no story telling game.

    • Fedak edits the promos? I thought the networks did that. Some shows have different US and Canadian promos because different people are creating them.

      • jason says:

        good point jeff of course he doesn’t – i am still steamed at watching the distasteful multiple thrashings that was doled out to Sarah in a XMAS themed ep – a really good ep actually other than that – excellent ep really.

  22. herder says:

    I know that we all have different things that we look for in the show, but for my money that was one of the best episodes in a long time. Shaw was an unredeemed heel, Beckman and Chuck on a mission – a first, Casey finally tells Alex he loves her, Chuck saves the day by his smarts, fun product placement, very tense thoughout and Ellie – Eleanor Woodcombe no less – saves the day. The only down part for me was the promo, I only hope that it is misdirection sort of like the way it was implied in the last promo that Chuck had the intersect. Maybe her mother wanted a baby and Sarah stole one for her.

  23. dkd says:

    …and Chuck awakens from its slumber.

    Best episode in a long, long time. I really love that they defied expectations by having Chuck kick Shaw’s ass sans intersect. They’ve subtly hinted all season that he has been picking up some skills.

    Bringing Ellie in at the end was totally perfect. It’s just perfect to have brother and sister defeat their father’s murderer together.

    The cliffhanger was also great. For a 5th season show that so many people have written off to get people to suddenly say “What the f—?” again is miraculous.

    Bring on next week’s episode. I think a ton more surprises are in store.

    • joe says:

      Of all people, I’m most surprised that you enjoyed this one so much, dkd. I agree with you, but I would have guessed that you’d object to the way Sarah was treated in this episode.

      Yes, Ellie’s rescue was perfect! But didn’t you want to see Chuck rush off to Sarah right then, instead of assuming Morgan had taken care of things?

      Me neither. Chuck has always been the kind of guy who puts one foot in front of the other, hoping others (those of good will) will come through when needed. It’s his weakness. It’s his strength.

      • lappers84 says:

        I tell ya what Joe, the best thing in this episode was that almost everyone was involved with the effort to take down Shaw, even Jeffster.

      • Yep Joe, I agree completely – Chuck hangs around to have a long moment with his sister – when his wife – may or may not be dead???? are you kidding me?
        If you combine that with ” Dear” ~ as a give away that it was Shaw and not Sarah on the phone … hmmm, Are we right back to issues from Suitcase?
        Fans have complained all season about the obvious lack of Displays of Affection….
        – methinks there’s something we are suppose to notice here… just say’n

      • atcDave says:

        That lack of concern was among my issues with this episode. I guess we can assume that Chuck thinks he just spoke with Sarah; so although all is not well, he may conclude he has some time o make a plan.

        But otherwise, if we are to conclude this episode was Chuck’s Phase Three, he was severely lacking the passion and fire that drove Sarah in that episode.

  24. atcDave says:

    One thing no one has mentioned yet. The black listing has no been lifted for teamB with the CIA. Do any of them end up with the agency?

    My guesses would be; no to Chuck and Sarah, they will retire to run some less dangerous aspects of Carmichael Industries.
    Maybe Casey, he’s approaching retirement age from military/government service, so he might want to go out a fed.
    How about Morgan! (and Alex?). The next generation of super-spies…

    • armysfc says:

      Dave, i think they said yes to the agency. chuck says thank you then he made a comment about being back. at least i think he did. so i think they did.

    • armysfc says:

      opps forgot the big reason. if your running your own firm what better way than to have your name all over the press as the people who stopped the virus? talk about mega free advertising! they didn’t allow their name to be used. if they didn’t join they would be just plain stupid.

  25. The other day there was a side discussion about how our views might be different than the typical viewer because we are so active on the boards. I got a “typical viewer’s viewpoint” tonight from my parents, who finished Curse right before watching Santa Suit (However they are older than the Nielson key demographic). I would classify them as solid fans, but they don’t rewatch episodes, would never follow the boards, and only see spoilers if I forward them their way. Being older, they probably like the rom-com more than the drama. Here’s some quotes:
    Curse: “The actor that plays Chuck is really good at his delivery.” [When Sarah forgives Chuck at the end] “They’re cute.” “See, this shows they didn’t ruin the show by getting them together.” [Unprompted at the end] “That was a good show.”
    Santa Suit: [At last commercial break] “So what happened to Shaw. Is he supposed to be in jail? They should have killed him.”
    Based on their overall reactions, I would say they liked Curse better.

    • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

      Yet it wasn’t the same Chuck in Curse as in tonight’s episode. Nor the same Sarah.

      The, “your a good man …..” line was really bad.

      I did however, earlier in the ep, call Ellie doing away with Shaw. The frying pan of doom returns. (Although a beheading would’ve been better 😉 )

      • ladycat713 says:

        The good man line might have been either Sarah trying to play him to stop him or her wanting to think of him as a good man at heart because if he wasn’t what did that make her for dating him or a combo of the two.

  26. JC says:

    I had something really long written up before but one sums up my feelings, MEH.

    No more secrets or lies Chuck except about my family, past, feelings or possible secret love child. Those two have to be one of the worst written married couples in TV history.

  27. I have a question I was hoping someone could help me with (my DVR is 180 miles away). What was the name of the compression device Chuck had to steal? My brain is thinking “mueller device.” But that is from Alias: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mueller_device.

  28. Leigh says:

    I loved the intensity in this episode, and the action. But I was again let down by the quick resolution. Sarah was totally fine at the end, like she hadn’t almost died, much like Chuck was totally fine after having nearly been lobotomized last season.

    *sighs*

    It was still a great hour of tv, but I wish we’d gotten more alone time with Chuck and Sarah.

    As for next week’s episode, I’m calling a fake-out.

    • joe says:

      I rather enjoyed seeing Shaw’s bruised face at the end, though. 😉

      I’ll call fake-out with you. I’m going to enjoy seeing Tim DeKay (White Collar) and Cheryl Ladd (Charley’s Angels ~ sigh!) next week.

  29. Rick Holy says:

    I know I’m not replying in the “right” spot – but I’m kind of digging the idea of “the baby” not actually being Sarah’s biological child – but a baby she’s protecting. Let’s look at timetables here. The kid (unless the preview with Cheryl Ladd holding the baby was a “flashback”) looks to be about a year old. Sarah and Chuck have been “together” in one capacity or another for 4-5 years now. Nowhere was there a gap in time (to my recollection) in that period where she could have got pregnant and had the kid. So if “the kid” IS her biological child, it would have to be in the area of 5 years old now. So me thinks more and more that it’s NOT “hers.” We’ll see. Certainly leaves you guessing. Again, I thought it was a very good episode – especially for having to factor in Christmas. Bring on next Friday!! And again, Merry Christmas, everybody!

  30. Cenodoxus says:

    First few impressions:

    1. Shaw-on-Sarah violence: To be honest … I think Chuck had a lot of balls to do that. The show has always squirmed about showing Sarah getting hurt, just as it’s squirmed about showing the nastier parts of her job, but that’s really the whole point of the character. We see her in the pilot as someone who gunned down two men in cold blood and then shot out the surveillance camera, and not to reinforce this on occasion neuters the sense of menace the character otherwise deserves. The whole point of Sarah Walker is that she’s a dangerous person who turned out to be good at the spy life despite being shoved into it as an alternative to jail, and emphasizing this aspect of her character is what makes her redemption arc compelling in the first place.

    That took guts. I wish they’d gone even further with it, at least in the sense that she doesn’t actually look all that bruised or beaten at the end of the episode. Maybe it’s a television restriction, I dunno. But it is a double standard to show Casey getting the stuffing knocked out of him regularly while Sarah goes through the same fights with much less damage. People are very uncomfortable about seeing violence toward women (not that this isn’t a good thing, don’t get me wrong!), but it’s tough to sell that Sarah was ever in any real danger if she consistently emerges from these fights without a scratch on her.

    2. The tears of the shippers: Either one hell of a Chuck/Sarah reunion scene hit the editing room floor, or they just didn’t have the time to show it, which is kind of a pity.

    3. Jeff and Lester rock: Great integration of the Buy More and spy worlds again. As I wrote here earlier, I think Chuck is ultimately more interesting when it embraces its limitations, because this isn’t a show about a jet-setting James Bond who swills champagne and seduces women. It’s about a geek who works at a big-box chain and does the best he can with a weird set of resources and a lot of courage.

    I would actually point to that as the biggest ongoing issue with season 4: Chuck was a character was increasingly divorced from the set of circumstances that made him Chuck in the first place. But season 5 hasn’t suffered from this quite as much, if only because Chuck’s now obligated to involve himself in the running of the Buy More.

    4. Why Sarah and Shaw are so much alike: I would be remiss in not mentioning that the show managed to address (perfectly!) a complaint I’d had about season 3, which is that they’d shied away from an opportunity to ask what made Sarah and Shaw different. I’ve argued previously that the Shaw character could be considered a Sarah who loses her Chuck, and that begs the question: Why does Sarah deserve to be happy with Chuck when she’s denied Shaw the opportunity to be happy with his wife?

    I kind of love that the show raises the question but then leaves it to the audience to decide. Beneath it all, Sarah is a genuinely compassionate person, and you see little flashes of who she might have been if she and her father hadn’t had that fateful run-in with Langston Graham when she was 18. The sum total of her character arc is an argument that she does deserve to be happy with Chuck. But that’s not an argument that Shaw didn’t deserve the same thing, which is what makes him such a tragic character and Sarah such a disturbing one.

    Especially given the events of Phase Three, what — ultimately — is the difference between Sarah and Shaw? From where I’m sitting, it looks like a little bit of luck, which just increases Shaw’s agony. Lots of people hated the Shaw/Sarah relationship for understandable reasons (personally I always thought that the two of them just didn’t make much sense together), but he’s a great villain because he’s actually kind of right. What does he say to Sarah about what she did to him that wasn’t completely true?

    5. Chuck vs. the Baby preview: I want to say that the baby isn’t Sarah’s. While this might be reading into it too much, we don’t see a newborn or anything close to it in the previews — the kid is at least 6 months along from the brief shots I saw, possibly even a year. While this might just be a casting issue, Sarah’s timeline is already tight enough that squeezing a pregnancy into her life before she turns up in Chuck would be tough.

    Wild guessing here, but I think Sarah killed someone for the CIA, discovered that the person had a baby and felt responsible for him/her, and went to her mother because she had nowhere else to go. That behavior would be consistent with her characterization; I’m not so sure that abandoning her own child would be. But we’ll see.

    • Gord says:

      I am thinking along similar lines. I was thinking that an asset of hers or a colleague was killed in Hungary and had Sarah promise to keep her baby safe.

    • Big Kev67 says:

      Cenodoxus,
      Man, I’m seriously loving your posts. Agree with every word of this one.

      • lappers84 says:

        That’s actually interesting. What if it was another asset she was protecting and maybe they became friends or something, but ultimately failed and said asset dies. Sarah feeling responsible decides to look after the assets baby by letting her mother look after it. Might be a stretch but could be doable.

    • ladycat713 says:

      They did that in The Event (a show that they made a terrible mistake of pausing for 10 weeks right in the middle of a suspenseful bit and by the time they came back they had lost a large chunk of thier audience) . A female killer (who was apparantly and agent) did all sorts of evil thing for the bad guys and one of those was killing and entire family on orders except when she got to the babies room (she didn’t know about the baby and she had been told to kill everyone and set a fire) she took the baby instead and took him to her mother to raise as her grandchild.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Excellent commentary Cenodoxus. I’m just now getting around to reading a lot of the commentary, and it seems this episode wasn’t as popular as I first thought. Still, I think it is destined to be one of the top episodes of the series.

      I agree with most of your Sarah comments. Her character has been a bit too invincible for my taste since about Coup d’Etat (although the physical invincibility was appropriate to Phase 3, and I’ll admit the emotional vulnerability did help balance that in both Phase 3 and a few others like FoD and SI, so there is that caveat). In season 1 and 2 they used to have her face a bit marked up on occasion after a fight, which I thought was both appropriate and a bit funny. What would Ellie and the others say about how Sarah was regularly a bit cut up and bruised? I’m sure the super-spy had an excuse, but still, it fed into the whole incongruity of Sarah in that world.

      I may have something more to say about your Sarah/Shaw parallels in a longer piece I have coming up, so I hope you’ll check back every so often. I’d love to hear your take on it.

      Also, your handle tickled something in my brain, so I finally googled it. The virtuous man condemned to hell for excessive pride in his own virtue? The wonders of the medieval mind.

  31. SarahSam says:

    Shaw kicked Sarah around like a red-headed stepchild. Totally surprised by that. I thought Routh actually had a decent performance tonight. Sarah Walker still keeps secrets, despite some proclaiming she is telling Chuck “a ton” of stuff off camera. Dude still doesn’t know who he’s really married to, but the thing is…..I don’t think he cares and it’s always gonna come back to bite him in the ass. Shaw is still alive and he read Sarah’s file in S3 and flashed on it as an intersect. He know’s more about her than Chuck does. Too bad for Chuck.

  32. Gord says:

    Wow another win for Chuck. How can NBC possibly think of cancelling this show?

    Some great call backs to Vs The Santa Clause

    The big showdown between Chuck/Shaw had the same haunting version of Silent Night that was playing for that final showdown between Sarah and Mauser.
    Then of course there was the bracelet and the end where Chuck gets to put it on Sarah’s wrist again.

    I didn’t think I would get to see this episode until after I got back from Christmas vacation but there was a minor Christmas miracle and Santa came early this year.

    It is obvious that all the Chuck fans were good boys and girls this year because we all got an amazing Christmas present.

    • Rick Holy says:

      Absolutely spot on about the “vs. Santa Claus” call backs. Loved the reappearance of the elf costumes – and even Big Mike as Santa! But by far, my favorite was the charm bracelet. The giving of tha bracelet to Sarah in season 2 remains one of my top 3 Chuck/Sarah scenes of the series.

  33. uplink2 says:

    Ok I had to go to a family party that was a blast and I just want to say thank god for Tivo! Now on to my thoughts about the episode.

    Actually it was a very good episode and probably the best of season 5 so far for .me. A few things stood out

    !. No mention at all of Sam. I guess the prenup really did retcon that out of existence. And I highly doubt we will near about it next week either. Emma knew she want by Sarah since high school so I bet she simply calls he Sarah. Tonight acknowledged again what a horrible mistake that was they are running away from. It will be completely ignored going forward.

    2. Shaw was even more disturbed. No mention of governor and if the CIA had devices that would suppress the Intersect why didn’t they give one to Shaw when he was in prison?

    3. Sarah getting beat up was because of the Intersect so maybe that’s ok.

    4. Chuck has been working out and Shaw without the Intersect really is a terrible spy.

    5. Beckman was great in this episode.

    6. Loved Sarah being honest then about Shaw kissing her. That was great.

    7. Shaw should have died but he was needed to set next story i motion.

    Now the promo. That is NOT Sarah’s baby IMO. My guess is she was the child of someone she was supposed to protect but failed and they died leaving the baby an orphan. Emma took her in to protect Sarah but Sarah had to break all ties so the child could have a normal life. She can’t tell Chuck because it is classified. There is no way she is lying to protect herself. The whole anyone who knows about the secret is in danger is because it was such a sensitive mission.

    Anyway though I wanted Shaw to die it was a pretty good episode.The whole Shaw was behind Decker was a bit of a stretch but I’m ok with it.

    Definitely looking forward to next week!.

    • atcDave says:

      Agree with all that Uplink. After thinking on it overnight I feel more confident than ever the child isn’t hers. They suggested it was in the preview probably to generate discussion and thought; it’s working. But I’ll say now my money is on the kid being mission related. But Sarah stashed her with her mother for safe keeping, even though it meant Sarah would have to stay apart from her mom to protect them both. She hasn’t told Chuck purely because she hasn’t told anyone and she’s worried about anything getting back to whoever it is that wants this child dead.
      I think we’re all going to like this next episode a lot. And I’m thinking we will see Sarah the lioness once again. And of course Chuck will be involved and helping by the end.

  34. mxpw says:

    Thought the episode was so-so. Would have been a solid, if average episode for me if not for the last five minutes. After that, the score began to tank.

    The Shaw plot was nonsensical, Sarah relegated to the Damsel in Distress role for the umpteenth time was beyond annoying, I really didn’t feel a sense of urgency all episode, mainly because Chuck didn’t seem all that concerned about what was going on either, and the Omen virus was stupid.

    But this was BR’s best performance on the show to-date, Casey was great, Jeffster were not bad, Ellie and Devon were cool, and Beckman was on fire. Hence so-so.

    Then the last five minutes. *shakes head* Sigh.

    Also, that promo was cheesy. I’m holding out hope that the baby is not Sarah’s, because if it is, I’m done with this show.

  35. Wilf says:

    I admit it was in many ways a very good/gripping episode. but I’m searching everywhere for that Christmas card from Mr. Fedak and wondering to whom, exactly, it might have been sent.

  36. Wilf says:

    Or Love Letter, or whatever

  37. Faith says:

    I made an oopsie! (post now transferred to new post, sorry!)

  38. Jason says:

    Just read the dozen of so reviews I came up with by googling. They were surprising consistent in likes and dislikes, with each other and with my own (other than most liked Shaw the villain, I don’t like anything about Shaw, his return has rekindled my dislike for S3 and those who are responsible for it). So I did not like any of the Shaw – Sarah scenes, but the rest of the ep was clever & the Shaw SArah scenes created the backdrop to make the rest of the ep work.

    I don’t think the B cast has been utilized as well for a long time, maybe ever in an ep of Chuck. And one of my big complaints in the past was when the show pushed limits, the rest of the show was still being played to an episode or season of ‘Get Smart’. That was not the case in this ep, in this ep the show took itself serious thru and thru, and it worked.

    The ending to create angst seemed great to me, I can’t understand why shipper haters thought shippers wouldn’t like the ending, I think the baby thing is sweet. The great thing about the ending on first review is it does not appear to be made up out of the clear blue, the ending explains many of Sarah’s reactions in the past, especially to Chuck, ON SCREEN, not requiring us to rationalize ‘why’. And so explains why her mom couldn’t come around, even to her daughter’s wedding. Usually these epic revelations & stories for the sake of drama do the opposite, so I loved the ending, maybe the most of anything about the episode. And that is saying something.

  39. Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

    This episode really doesn’t resolve very much about Sh**. It simply used him. Face it, he ends up exactly where he stated.

    I’ll be honest, the fight scene didn’t work for me because I found the end of it left me wanting. (It was good, but left me wanting) I was hoping to hear a gunshot and see Ellie there holding a smoking gun. Yes dark,  some would say too dark, but not for this episode. I have no problem believing Ellie could do that under the right circumstances. Now that would be a heavyweight scene.

    I get that Shaw didn’t die to set-up the next episode. But did they have give Sarah questionable judgement around Shaw – again, in order to set-up the next episode.  The whole Sarah goes to see Shaw in prison really pulls the episode down. Considering the fact that he could have told her about his supposed plan at anytime in Castle, allowing Ellie to “resolve” Shaw with finality.

    • Leigh says:

      I actually agree that they didn’t go far enough in terms of dealing with Shaw. Frying pan to the head? Funny. Great.

      But…god. Why wasn’t Chuck more pissed off? He seemed so frickin’ calm. I really wanted Chuck to unleash his inner Casey and just beat Shaw to death. You wanna talk dark? Let’s see Chuck with some blood on those knuckles…

      Unfortunately killing Shaw wouldn’t have gotten them invited back to the CIA and it would have made for a very dark Christmas party afterwards…*sigh* They never go far enough. They go just so far and then ease on back.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Hear ya on that one! The dude killed his father, almost killed his wife, “team,” and even him! Ya think they’d have slipped in a kick to the head or gut after Ellie whacked him – just to make sure! And maybe even a “here’s an EXTRA ONE from Sarah!” to go along with it! If you’re going to have a violence-centric episode, then “end it” right – at least with something that makes the pent up anger of those who disliked the Sarah beat-down so much say, YEAH! Take THAT you p.o.s!!! 😉 And NO, I’m not “into” violence for its own sake. 😉 In this case, a little something “extra” for Shaw would have been totally justifiable.

      • I was really expecting the end to be different… rather than a showdown with Chuck –
        – I’m OK to see Chuck lose to Shaw [ with the intersect or not].

        Actually – let me rephrase that:
        Rather than Chuck defeating Shaw –
        [ the Baby conversation could have happened much earlier down in Castle]
        I would have much preferred to see Shaw knock Chuck out – then just at the last second, when Shaw feels that he has won – Ellie steps in and knocks Shaw over the head…. when he’s down and out- she stand over him = [just like when we first met her mother]…. and then Ellie shoots Shaw.
        We’ve met the Frost Queen – I suspect there’s an Ice Princess in the family : )
        Ellie definitely has that edge that Chuck doesn’t…. She’s a Bartowski.
        … and nobody would ever have to know – or witnessed what happened.

      • Hello – my name is Elenor Woodcomb… You killed my father – perpare to die…. HELLO, MY NAME IS ELENOR WOODCOMB – YOU KILLED MY FATHER – PREPARE TO DIE!!!

      • atcDave says:

        Too funny…

        Of course she knows that she is really not left handed…

      • joe says:

        AAAAASSSSSssssss YYYyyyOOOOooooUUUUuuuuu WWWwwiiiiiiiiiissssshhhhhhh!!!

        😉

  40. Rick Holy says:

    This is a real stretch, but here goes. Sarah’s red test was killing Eve. We see her walking up on Eve and taking her out. IS IT POSSIBLE that there was a baby buggy “out of sight” – and that the baby was EVE’s (and Shaws)? Sarah kills Eve, sees the kid, and takes it into hiding (with her mom). Maybe that’s another reason Shaw hates her so much and dishes it out to her so violently in this episode. He knows Sarah took the baby – but doesn’t know where. I know this is wild speculation, but cut me a break! Today is birthday number 48! And a long weekend of Christmas Masses ahead of me. No rest for the weary. Merry Christmas, one and all!! 🙂

  41. JC says:

    So Shaw was behind the whole conspiracy, really thats it? All that setup and it was the worst spy the ever created. I’m amazed that Fedak is still is trying to sell him as some mastermind super spy when he constantly fails at everything. How I wish Bomer would have been available for this episode.

    I understand that for the sake of story they needed to keep the Intersect in Shaw’s head bu tcome on thats just lazy writing. The same goes for his Intersect has Sarah’s whole life on it while Chuck’s had zero.

    • Faith says:

      I’m pretty sure we were supposed to assume that Sarah revealed all to Shaw during season 3. That was one of my most disdainful and groan-worthy moments of the episode.

      • armysfc says:

        Faith if that is the case, it really puts her in a bad light. she can or did tell shaw but we know she didn’t tell her husband? that could be a killer to some fans.

      • JC says:

        I could have sworn he said he flashed on her or something along those lines. Him knowing because she told me really doesn’t bother me anymore. I’ve just accepted the fact the show believes a marriage would work when one person reveals nothing about themselves to their spouse. No matter how unbelievable it is.

      • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

        The fact the they’re using Sh** to reveal something from Sarah’s past (that she should have probably told Chuck) – again, did not escape me either.

        Man they really do treat the Sarah character like an idiot in order to make Shaw work.

      • Faith says:

        I’ll do a rewatch to be sure but that’s what I remember and yes it is awful (if true).

      • atcDave says:

        Shaw said he flashed on it.

      • herder says:

        I took it to be like it was with Decker, Shaw said Decker tried to interrogate him but that he flashed on all his secrets and was blackmailing him, same with Sarah. I presume he flashed on Sarah and came up with ths secret and set his plan into motion.

      • JC says:

        Thanks Dave I thought that’s what I heard but i wasn’t paying attention.

    • ArmySFC says:

      JC i have long given up on making sense of how they use the intersect. even from the beginning it was messed up IMO. he doesn’t flash on her face but a ring does it? how long before he found out caseys real name? for something as intricate to the entire story, they never really got it down, even after 5 seasons.

      • ladycat713 says:

        I thihnk that the Intersect that Bryce sent Chuck really wasn’t designed to be downloaded to a human brain as part of it’s main purpose (he took it from the computer so no telling the alterations came from changing it from it’s original purpose to machine software ) so I can see it being glitchy. Plus we saw that Ellie realized that the Intersect had been designed by an engineer who really didn’t understand the human brain so he treated it like computer hardware and overclocked hardware at that.

        The second download (really the 3rd) was messed with by people other than Orion , had been designed to be put in Bryce and didn’t have Ellie’s perspective either.

      • My assumption has always been Chuck had some limited ability to control flashes, even with Intersect 1.0. Occasionally he tried to force a flash. Chuck would try to avoid flashes on Sarah and Casey. He only flashed on them through unexpected stimuli, such as Sarah’s French assassin alias, Sarah’s ring, and hearing Casey’s real name (the Casey/Coburn connection was redacted from the file). Shaw on the other hand would force flashes on them to find out everything he could.

        That is all guesswork, though.

        More relevant, in this case, is Shaw downloaded the Ring Intersect, not the CIA one. It would have some different data.

      • armysfc says:

        Jeff i agree with most of your points. everyone that watches the show rationalizes it in his or her own way. they each take scenes different ways to make it fit the way they view the show. one person may see a whiny chuck in one scene they thought he was past, another see’s it as being consistent to how he has been all along. we each take scenes and assign importance to them as well, depending on our views. this episode and the last are good examples of that. last week many complained about chuck’s character, others felt it was spot on, this week sarah’s treatment raised the most fuss and others felt it fit in with shaw very well.

        i suspect next week will be no different. in fact it’s there already. some folks are ready to jump ship if the kid turns out to be sarah’s. others are accepting it saying it will be great. time will see which side is larger. for a lot of fans it’s their personal views that cloud their judgment of a ep or season. i admit i am one of those fans. i dislike Morgan so any scene with him is already reduced and i switch off for a a few seconds. so yeah my personal views get in my way.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        My take was that there had to be a stimulus specific to the intersect that Chuck’s brain functions wouldn’t somehow over-ride. For instance Chuck didn’t flash on himself in the mirror, he sees himself in the mirror every day, but when he saw his old college ID, something specifically in the intersect, he flashed. He wouldn’t flash on Sarah once he met her, because he was familiar with her face and knew who she was. The combination of her face and the ring however keyed a very specific intersect image. So Chuck wouldn’t flash on someone he knew unless there were some other connection the intersect could make.

  42. Ernie Davis says:

    Remarkably I did get the chance to watch live last night by begging off making fudge and using the opportunity to sneak off to the living room. Though most of the final courtyard scene was drowned out by, we’ll call it the joyous enthusiasm, of my niece and nephew, I saw virtually everything including the promo.

    I haven’t really had a chance to read more than a few comments last night, but my impression was that most lined up with me. WOW. I started this as a first reactions comment, but when it passed 1400 words I thought I’d best make it a stand alone post. Then I thought again. I want to make it a post and a comment. The commentary part follows, the post will deal mostly with what I see as the story elements.

    This was the most dramatic episode of Chuck, perhaps ever, but certainly in a very long time. Those who miss season 3’s raised stakes and danger and more dramatic mood should be delighted. Even those who didn’t should appreciate one of the more dramatic and tense episodes in quite some time. The danger and consequences seemed greater and more real and immediate than anything since Phase 3, perhaps even longer, think Subway/Ring II.

    First about the production. First thank you Chris Fedak for having a pair. Bringing back Shaw was a gutsy move given how he was received the first and even the second time (which I thought was already a gutsy call). It shows Fedak believes in his story and his ability to give us something great, even when some of may think it’s something we don’t want. Fedak believes thoroughly that the most menacing villain is the one who knows you intimately, and Shaw can do that in a way that even Volkoff couldn’t. Shaw was part of team B (even if executed problematically) and can hit close to home in a cold blooded way Volkoff can’t. With Shaw it is personal in a way it never was with Volkoff.

    Second, thank you Brandon Routh. I was pretty critical of his ability to pull off his role in the initial part of season 3, as part of Team B. Part of that was a casting problem IMO. Routh was a poor fit with the established dynamic of both the fictional team and the actual cast as a good guy and LI. Little of that was Routh’s fault IMO, but he paid the price. The initial conception of Shaw was a bit too much of a plot device, plugged in at each juncture to push each character this way and that, effectively pushing him into the role of leading man in a show that already had two very popular leading men. Again, not Routh’s fault, but he paid the price. This second problem peaked in American Hero, where Routh was practically thrust into the role of leading man and the episode’s protagonist. There wasn’t the investment in Shaw for that to pay off. That said I thought once he’d turned to a villain his character finally found it’s stride (because he had a defined role as something other than a plot device), especially in the final arc of season 3. Given that, some criticism of his performance and his presence in the initial part of the season was inevitable, but the level of vitriol directed personally at Routh was un-called for. I wouldn’t have blamed him if he passed when Fedak called. I think it’s a testament to him and the rest of the Chuck crew, and their devotion to and connection to the fans, and I am immensely glad he was willing to reprise the role. Last night has earned Routh his standing as a part of Chuck’s family, regardless of what you think of his first incarnation as a love interest for Sarah and a “mentor” for Chuck.

    As for the story, I’ll probably forever think of this episode as Chuck’s Phase 3. I know I’m one of the few fans who finds Chuck a more compelling character than Sarah (I love Sarah and Casey, and even Morgan, don’t get me wrong) precisely because of episodes like the last where we see how difficult his heroism is for him. He is not, by nature, someone who should be a spy. He is a moral man in a land of compromise and ambiguity, an honest man in a world of lies and deceit, and a forgiving and merciful man in a community that lives by vendetta and brutality. To me it is precisely Chuck’s failure last episode, in a situation where there is that moral ambiguity, save his sister or protect the greater good and prevent the Omen foam being released seemingly in conflict, and his failure to resolve them that can set up an exceptional episode like this one. More on that in the post.

    As for the rest, when even Jeff and Lester are knocking it out of the park with their overcaffinated conspiracy theories and midnight runs, you’ve got a helluva episode on the way.

    Sarah was in no way a damsel, any more than Chuck was in Phase 3. She responded with the tools at hand, outmatched by her opponent, counting on Chuck to have a plan and to save her, but in the meantime doing everything in her power to hold on and resist till help could come.

    Casey was fantastic. I’m sure he’s faced his mortality many times, but we finally see the man who proposed to Kathleen all those years ago. He lost that man once when he “died” to serve his country, it took nearly dying again to re-establish his connection with life. Outstanding scene.

    Ellie? What can I say. I wanted to see Chuck defeat Shaw definitively, but she deserved her payback, and seeing Shaw back away from Chuck, relying on a gun to save himself once again (still delusional claiming some sort of victory) was sufficient.

    What can I say about Dianne. Pucker up Chuck, you’re about to become a man. Apparently Dianne is too much a woman for Chuck, and they’ll never talk of it again. Sigh, I’ll have to content myself with what could have been. In all seriousness I’ve always thought Bonita did a much better job and was a great fit when she got to interact directly with the cast as opposed to representing “the government”. These past few episodes have been great for her character and her place in the Chuck-verse.

    I think both story-wise and quality-wise this is going to be a top 5 episode for me. Everything clicked. While there were the usual plot holes (like the CIA not removing Shaw’s intersect when they apparently now do it on request for Morgan) but they are setup problems, not episode problems to me. Taken on it’s terms, an outstanding exciting and dramatic episode.

    Too bad I can’t watch again for a week (at least). Still having seen it I now can stick in for next week and hopefully see it live. I’m really looking forward to that, but more in the post part of my feelings on this episode. That could be delayed, I’m already pushing the limits of computer time vs. family time, but I wanted to share my initial thoughts on the episode at the very least.

    Final comment, I know we want more Chuck, but making episode numbers stand still isn’t going to do it Joe. I’ll edit the title to reflect the (sadly) approaching end of Chuck.

    • Faith says:

      Interesting that you saw it much like Phase Three but in reverse. As did I.

      • If its a reverse of Phase 3…. Why doesn’t Chuck try to rescue Sarah first – then take down Shaw once he knows Sarah is safe? – As it is – Chuck sends Morgan down to Castle, for all he knows – to collect the dead bodies of Casey and Sarah.
        Even after Ellie bashes Shaw on the head – what does Chuck do???? – has a nice touching moment with his sister… – sorry, this ain’t no phase 3 for Chuck.
        hmmm – and using ‘ DEAR’ as the give away word? Even though it was really obvious – what are they trying to tell us about the relationship between Chuck and Sarah?
        – just seems to go back to all those issues from Suitcase!

      • atcDave says:

        I just said something similar elsewhere gringo; I wouldn’t put it quite as harshly as you did, but the sentiment is the same; Chuck didn’t come at it with anywhere near the passion Sarah did in Phase Three.

      • joe says:

        Gringo, I just had the pleasure of re-watching 5.01, The Zoom. What a joy!

        One of the first things I noticed, in the opening scene with Mark Hamill, was the way Chuck and Sarah referred to each other. It makes the way “Dear” was used in Santa Suit seem exactly right.

        Just sayin’!

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Chuck is rescuing Sarah BY confronting Shaw. He draws Shaw away from Sarah to get him to download the anti-intersect and fight (so he can kill Chuck in front of Sarah) while Morgan goes to free Sarah.

        Chuck knows from the last time that Shaw wants to kill him in front of Sarah, so for the time being he can reasonably assume Sarah is alive. Chuck didn’t know about the impending hypothermia, true, but that was sort of dumb of Shaw if the goal was to make Sarah watch Chuck die.

        But then I suppose nothing Chuck does will ever be good enough because he isn’t Sarah and the show isn’t called Sarah.

      • Faith says:

        Whoa Ernie, relax buddy. I wouldn’t go that far.

        Gringo, it wasn’t exact, or even a parallel. It was mostly a feeling. A sense of danger and risk and a love’s desperate actions for one’s love. And to be honest most of my correlation comes from the fact that one is seemingly dormant and yet the other heroic. But in both cases the desperation is there. I do think Sarah would have slayed all dragons in her midst to get to Chuck. In this instance, Chuck’s dragon was Shaw.

    • dkd says:

      I agree a lot with what Ernie. I don’t think you were saying this was a “blow by blow” version of Phase Three, but there are similarities. Even in Phase Three, Sarah and team had to get by the guards before she could go directly into saving Chuck. They even sent Morgan as a “magnet”.

      In Chuck’s plan here, the guard was Shaw, and Chuck was the only “magnet” that could have gotten Shaw out of Castle so that someone else–Morgan’s turn this time–could slip in to get Sarah and Casey. It was a brilliant plan. If anything, I really admire Chuck’s strength to stick to it.

      I recalled a Beckman line from Pink Slip this when he got fired and she said something like a good spy has to be in control of his emotions like Bryce Larkin. I’m not going to say that Chuck IS Bryce Larkin now, but he’s the closest he’s ever been.

      For a large part of this series we’ve had an emotional Chuck who let those emotions impact his performance. Chuck’s journey on the way to becoming an incredible spy was to learn to control them. Sarah’s journey was in the other direction–to let some emotions come out. They meet in the middle.

      As I think about it, another person you can liken Chuck’s evolution to is his father’s. If you recall, Steven told Chuck at least once that he needed to “be smart” and not think with his emotions. That was the way Steven operated. You could see that, like Chuck, he could be an emotional guy, but had to adopt the Orion personna to keep himself and his family safe.

      Chuck doesn’t have to prove that he’s concerned for Sarah. Chuck doesn’t have to prove that he has a strong emotional core. We know that.

  43. Dale says:

    Is it me or is it very sweet how Sarah always likes too have constant touch with chuck, a www, she cannot help herself. When he was talking at the end she placed both her hands on his left hand and then when she is not touching him she is always very close to hm physically. When people say that chuck and Sarah are not hot they miss the intimacy and that is dissappointing. think back to season 1 and the difference is huge.

    • atcDave says:

      That I agree with that entirely Dale, I love the warmth and subtle intimacy. I think they’ve done that very well this season.

    • joe says:

      I agree too, Dale. I’m starting an S5 rewatch and already I can tell you I’m blown away by the little ways they’re showing intimacy.

      Oddly, one of them is the way Sarah is treating Morgan. She was so tentative before. Not now – they’re Friends, with a capitol F, and that’s because of her love for Chuck.

      • atcDave says:

        I really like that too Joe. Just last season it was like she struggled sometimes and didn’t know quite how to be friends with the little bearded troll. No she embraces it with gusto. Loved Frosted Tips whenSarah was his champion even before Chuck!

  44. andyt says:

    Good Day folks, I felt a bit left out as this is the first time I could get to my computer since the episode. Oh well, I LOVED this episode. It was the BEST one of the S5 so far. Everything was fantastic.

    I agree with almost everything that Ernie said about “Santa Suit”. The Stan Lee cameo was fantastic.

    Jason I feel is dead wrong about his criticisms of the episode. The tension created by Shaw attacking and torturing Sarah gave the episode tremendous momentum and energy. It created a real threat. As I said last week, bad guys do evil things; it is why they are bad. That is necessary in a show about heroes, particularly spies. Overall the best yet this year, and only six to go.

    P.S. I don’t believe that it is Sarah’s baby. In fact, that is why she hasn’t seen her mother in over five years.

    • joe says:

      Hi, Andy. Hope you’ve been having a nice holiday.

      I’m sort of torn between The Business Trip and The Curse as my favorite of the season, so far. Actually, although it’s a familiar feeling, I’m rather amazed at how much better all of the episodes have been playing on re-watch. At a minimum, it’s got something to do with the DRVs ability to zap commercials (especially bad Christmas sales pitches), I think.

      At the max, it’s got more to do with the pacing and some of the cleverness I’ve just missed the first time through. At least, in my mind it does.

      The new promo (you can see it from the newest spoiler page) has got me convinced about the baby too. It’s not Sarah’s. Her attitude seems all wrong for that. I don’t think that’s a spoiler – just speculation. But my impression that way is growing.

      The new promo has got me wondering how the Tim DeKay character (Sarah’s former handler) fits into all of this.

      Added: Opps. Blew it. I was actually thinking of Santa Suit, not The Curse when I typed the above. Got the title wrong.

      [You know what they say. “Nobody’s human!” 😉 ]

      But that just goes to show how closely all these episodes have been ranking in my mind. To a large extent, my favorite has been the one I saw last!

      • andyt says:

        Thanks Joes, hope you and your family have had an enjoyable holiday. The more I think about Santa Suit, the more it ranks not only as the best of this season, but it is one of the best Chuck episodes of all for me. It is easily among the best the show has ever done. In this agree with Sepinwall.

    • atcDave says:

      I’m still ranking Santa Suit as very good; but Business Trip and Hack Off are my S5 favorites. I agree with Andy about bad guys needing to be bad; my only dings against Santa Suit being that I would have prefered not to see Shaw again (not a huge issue, just a preference) and I felt Chuck was not focused/passionate enough about his wife being in jeopardy. Again, not huge defects, just enough to keep from being among my very favorites.
      The more I see bout the Baby the more sure I am too that it is not Sarah’s. The only doubt I still have relates to the official spoiler line “changes the dynamic of their relationship forever…”. Although I suppose, even if the kid is not Sarah’s, if Chuck and Sarah end up with custody when all is said and done it would indeed change the dynamic of their relationship!

      • joe says:

        Oh yeah. I can co-sign all of that.

        Man, you’re right. Getting custody (or even deciding to try for that) of a baby would be a life-changer.

      • Jason says:

        I wonder why mom would not keep custody, assuming the baby is not Sarah’s. I do agree that I think Chuck and Sarah are going to be changed forever by the baby, but it seems like we are missing a few pieces required to put it all together.

        One other guess about Sarah’s relationship with the baby, Sarah may have been hired as the baby’s body guard and fell in love with the defenseless little thing, and kidnapped it to save its life? That would be one of the many reasons the old handler said to Sarah ‘You almost got away with keeping her safe.’ That still implies there might be something of value associated with the baby other than simply the big bad hates her parents?

      • andyt says:

        Totally agree Dave. I think the feel of the promo is clearly that Sarah saved the child who was part of the target mission in some way. I think her handler clearly wants the child or wants the child dead. If Sarah and Chuck take custody, or even become more involved in the child’s life as sort of “aunt and uncle” that would change their relationship dynamic.

        As a wrap-up, I know that we will always disagree about Shaw as a villian, but it is okay.

      • atcDave says:

        It might even count as changing the dynamic just if they decide its time to have kids themselves after the mission.

      • joe says:

        @Jason

        …it seems like we are missing a few pieces required to put it all together.

        I hope so, Jason! I mean if we knew the answers already, then “what’s the fun in that?”

        😉

  45. SarahSam says:

    I thought the episode was great. I thought a focused Chuck using his brains and his new found fighting skills to take down Shaw was awesome. Good call on the evolution of Chuck and the similarities to the Orion persona by dkd. You’re right again Ernie, by the middle of the Chuck/Shaw showdown Sarah had passed out from the cold so even if Shaw emerges victorious Sarah wouldn’t have seen it. Shaw can never get everything right even after plotting for two years. Sarah always commented that Shaw was a good spy and I guess he proved it to her in spades this time with his vicious physical abuse. This is a guy she pretty much revealed and gave everything to and as he proved in “Suit” he has never connected with her on an emotional level. His hatred for her has reverted back to his original vengeful desires. He will forever remain a threat and is her greatest enemy, because he knows everything about her and appears to manipulate her with ease. Why? She still feels a semblance of guilt for killing Eve and she still has a misplaced respect for him (you were a good man). I think she is afraid to admit what that would say about her, to call him the POS that he is. I wonder if she’s ever discussed her emotions about her red test with Chuck? Probably not and it won’t happen. Chuck called it about Shaw’s emotions in “Other Guy” yet she went traipsing off to Paris to finish the mission. What is it about Shaw that turns Sarah Walker into a moron? The fact that she went to see Shaw alone and will go off alone this week is wholly consistent behavior in my view. How classified could the info be not to tell Chuck? He was the Intersect for God’s sake. Supposedly, the most important tool in American Intelligence. This is a touch of S3 Sarah Walker , complete with secrets and emotional reveals to the wrong folks. It’s good storytelling for me though, Fridays don’t get here fast enough anymore and that’s saying something.

    • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

      And yet this episodes does absolutely nothing to resolve any of the things you bring up, not one.

      Shaw ends up exactly where he started the episode. No resolution, nothing.

      The cliffhanger, and Sarah’s truly bizarre behavior in having to see Shaw in prison, was more important than bringing any sort of closure for any character.

      Sorry, although I get what your saying, this episode was just a detour to stir up the fans, because story wise it does little for any character.

  46. SarahSam says:

    You’re right Shep, but they never resolved Shaw/Sarah the first time either IMO. They just threw Chuck and Sarah together. Sarah was about to run off with Chuck while her boyfriend Shaw was in a hospital bed. Nice breakup Sarah. This episode was just a continuation of Fedaks misguided view of Shaw. This thing with Shaw won’t be resolved as surely as you won’t hear the name Sam again, but I’m interested.

    • Jason says:

      I am sort of glad Shaw’s role in the episode was not any worse (he could have been more violent, maybe repeated blows to the head and stomach while Sarah’s hands were bound, or other types of abuse I won’t get into). Of the things they could have done with him, they could have really done a bad episode where he would have become part of the team, then betrayed them again or nearly anything else probably would have been worse.

      As it was, they turned what would have been a top 10’ish type episode for EVERYONE, into a pretty avg ep for some, and a top 3’ish type ep for others. I write the difference between top ten for everyone without Shaw to top 3 for some with him, because I will concede, that if Shaw being in the ep does not make you angry, his role does up the ante, making the ep better. I understand that and have no quarrel with that POV, I just do not share that view.

  47. SarahSam says:

    Damn. I see what you’re saying Jason but I would really would have hated to see him get more violent. That final slap to awaken an unconscious Sarah was particularly vicious and his constant utterances about the prior Sarah relationship and that it was all about her. Thanks Fedak. I got it the first time. I was really hoping for a different resolution.

  48. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Santa Suit (5.07) | Chuck This

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