Those Were The Days — (Chuck Versus Bo)

Those Were the Days (I know, we’re singing again.)

Once upon a time there was a woman.
Spying was the only work she knew,
‘Til married life and thoughts of maybe babies
Made her think of something else to do.

Those were the days, my friend,
But now it’s time they end.
I’m tired of guns and bullets every day.
My old spy life it seems
Conflicts with my new dreams.
Let’s call it quits and find another way.

~Too young to remember the tune?

Whatever else happens in S5, the real story is Chuck and Sarah dealing with the compatibility (or lack therof) between the life they have and the life they want. Chuck vs Bo gives us a sneak peak at their future life that will have it all … unless, of course, it doesn’t.

As always, Chuck and Sarah’s story is driven by another story … a story that rocked my world* with laughter and surprises. It filled me with hope and happiness for Sarah’s plans for their future. Then it pulled the rug out from under all of that in the final minute … in a flash.

*Disclaimer: There were no rainbows, whatever that means. *eyeroll*

Sometimes you just know it’s gonna be one of those days. Other times it comes at you out of nowhere, and the day you end up with is different from the one you started out with. So it is for everybody in Chuck vs Bo.

Ground Hog Day

Poor Jeff and Lester are trapped in an endless cycle of snooping, discovery, and mind-wipe that lands them in a red convertible, in the middle of nowhere, guarded by vultures, one for each repetition of the cycle. From there, undeterred, they start all over again.

In a hilarious sort of Hercule-wannabe-Poirot-meets-Jacques-Clouseau, Jeff and Lester give TeamB all manor of grief … and me a stitch in my side. It’s great fun watching them recover from memory loss, get back on the scent, and show up at the worst time to interfere in the spy world they have set out to discover. This C plot (C for comedy) was a highlight of the episode. Loved Lester’s hat — the same as Morgan’s, too funny! Sarah’s reactions are Chuck dead-pan gold. (Is that panning for gold?)

As for the defective detectives, they begin their investigation energized by their theories, only to end up traumatized by the reality. (Reminds me of Lester asking Sarah out on a date in S1.) If not for the mercy of Casey and his x13 gas, they would indeed be scarred for life. But, all’s well that end’s well. Thanks to Big Mike, the trio finally get their trip to Vegas (and Subway sandwiches).


Sarah has been falling in love with normal ever since Business Trip, whose final act reminded us of the harsh reality of the spy world and foreshadowed that it would always be a constant threat to their normal.

Closing out the Baby mission and ending the threat to her mom and Molly brought Sarah full circle and freed her to pursue the normal life she has come to desire so completely.

Step One: kick the CIA to the curb, “I don’t want to go back.” Done. But they are still spying through CI.

An almost pregnancy (no such thing, but you know what I mean) followed by a dangerous mission made her realize that spying and parenting just don’t go together. “What if we had a baby relying on us to come home and something happened and we didn’t come home? Who would raise the kids?”

Sarah is no longer that spy who needed boxing-therapy to sort out her feelings about babies. She has come from wondering how kids would affect her spy life to worrying about how the spy life might affect her kids … the ones she doesn’t even have yet. Wow. Did we ever think we’d get to see this Sarah?

Step Two … uhhmmmm … One of the obstacles to her leaving the spy life is figuring out what else she could do. For example, if CI were a tech firm instead of a spy firm, “What would my job be at Carmichael Industries? What would I do?”

Step Two is keeping her up nights. This is where we find Sarah … nestled against her husband, finally sleeping, after being up all night thinking about Step Two. Sleep is an elusive thing for a spy, and Sarah is rousted from hers to respond to a threat. Gun in hand, she goes to the door to take down … the paper boy.

That does it.

D-Day– the first day of Sarah’s new mission. Sarah establishes her beachhead on the shores of normal, “I want to quit spying.”

I love married, communicative Sarah! She just blurts it out. All her thoughts and worries and plans tumble out, unfiltered, to Chuck. Her heart waits for his response. Perfect scene.

I also love the new side of Sarah we see in Bo: the planner in pursuit of her dream. Taking charge. Making it happen. Impressive. She figures out the Bartowski puzzle. She’s created one puzzle that exactly fits all the pieces from two very different lives: a spied up tech firm that counters cyber-terrorism … Chuck’s hackery and her experience in international bad-guy-ery. (Any body else wonder if she has a bad-guy-ery diary? … Sorry.) Perfect plan.

Pitching the idea to Casey is all win, complete with synchronized sipping, gun mugs for all, except Sarah (who has … a Nerd Herd mug?). Something about this warms my heart … seeing the four of them plan a new future, as a team — family.

It only gets better, as Sarah finds their perfect office space, which has windows. Correction, it has glass walls, a glass ceiling, and an unobstructed view of sky and sunlight. No more underground spy base. She even finds the perfect gift/enticement for Casey … office space that once belonged to the Gipper. Sarah is so pleased with herself. Me too. And I’m getting really excited about all of this: dream house, dream job, dream digs … and maybe babies. Cannot wipe the smile off my face.

After the final trip to Vail, we find Sarah right back where she started … up all night, but not from worry. This time she’s excited, seated at a table in Castle with her future spread out in front of her: photos, detailed designs of their office space, and champaign for the inauguration of their new life.

Hold that thought.

Day of Wreckoning

Morgan’s frosted-tip phase was bound to come back to bite him sooner or later. Sure enough, just when Chuck and Sarah are about to walk away from guns and bullets and spies, Morgan’s day of reckoning wrecks Sarah’s day.

Ah, the video (it was kind of smart for a guy who was wasted). As painful as it is for Morgan to see his frosted tipped self the way everyone else did, that isn’t the worst part. They could laugh that off, but the discovery that there is a stolen Intersect out there puts quite a damper on things. Mr Frosted Tips hid it, and now TeamB must find it. So much for Sarah’s plan, which she insists is only postponed until after “one last mission.” *groan* (Nothing can go wrong, right?)

Reckoning Day is barely getting started. Topside, Morgan discovers that when he broke up with Alex, she slept with someone else. I’m not fond of the whole “rainbow” plot, except for the entertainment value of watching Morgan tell Alex about his affair with Bo Derick. Spot on! (But will she think they’re even, if she learns the truth?)

Like Jeff and Lester’s ground hog day, Morgan’s day of reckoning just keeps on giving wrecking. His braggadocio and lack of discretion bring the Intersect and the bad guys right to Chuck’s doorstep. Morgan acctually gets off kind of light, but it looks like Chuck and Sarah will continue to pay.

Independence Day

It just seems like no matter what, the Intersect keeps finding me. I keep trying to break free, and then the very thing that started this keeps hooking us back in.

Chuck’s love/hate relationship with the Intersect is in a hate cycle. He’s right about one thing, the Intersect has a knack for finding him. Sort of makes you think it’s not a coincidence.

The Intersect is a mixed bag for Chuck. It brought him Sarah and gave him an opportunity to become the man he was supposed to be. It allowed him to do great and noble things with Sarah. It made Charles Carmichael a reality, leading him to wealth, owning the Buymore, and running his own spy company. It also robbed him of his parents as a child and later took his father away again, through death. According to Decker, the Intersect was used to manipulate his entire life, and his parents before him. No wonder he feels like he can’t get away from it.

Now, Chuck no longer needs it. He’s married to Sarah. He is spy, CEO, hacker extraordinaire. He can be anything he wants to be, just like Sarah told him all those years ago. It’s time to live the life that he wants with the girl that he loves. The Intersect has completed the circle from intrusion, to opportunity, to crutch, to tool, and back to intrusion. What once helped him toward the life he was meant to live, now keeps him from it.

Chuck we’re going to finish this, and then we’re going to move on. I promise you.

From day one, Sarah has been the voice of encouragement in Chuck’s life. That hasn’t changed, except that now she is so much more. Now her encouragement flows from her heart to her husband and carries her promise (in Zoom, in Curse, in Baby, and now in Bo).

The Day of The Jackal Jackass

TeamB heads off to Vail, to get some information from BD on the night of the video and clues to lead them to the stolen Intersect. Aside from an appearance by Bo Derick and some good comedic scenes between her and Morgan, Casey summed up the trip succinctly, “the only thing I’ve been able to dig up is what we already know. Grimes was an a**.” Well, that and the discovery that Bo is one of the bad guys.

Further interviews with Bo turn up more useful Intel, like the spy firm she worked for had a gnarly list of familiar clients, and her boss (Quinn) was the most recent owner of the stolen Intersect. He only wanted to ask Morgan if the Intersect produced any side effects. Fortunately, Morgan made it a non-issue for Quinn, which unfortunately made it an issue for Chuck.

The rest of Bo’s information about that fateful evening only reveals that Morgan drank too much, talked too much, partied too much, … and spoke really terrible Portuguese.

Carpe Diem

Sieze the Day … or at least the Intersect glasses. Except for the real story — the wonderful Chuck and Sarah stuff — the trip to the Vail Buymore stole the episode. From the x-men (and woman) entrance to the final shoot-out, the whole thing is just tons of fun and all win.

Black suits? I mean at least Jeff and Lester tried to blend in. TeamB looks awfully spy-ish for people coming from Buymore corporate.

The Vail Buymore is SO different from the Burbank Buymore: virtual skiing, chairlifts to nowhere, a rock climbing wall; casts and collars and crutches (oh my).

Or not … This doppelganger/AU Buymore gives us: the exaggerated version of Morgan, complete with beard, untamed mane, and lime-green phone; an even creepier version of Jeff and Lester, if such is possible (the wink sealed the deal and totally creeped out Casey); and their very own Subway-lovin’ female version of Big MiKe. Big Michelle is every bit the managerial genius that Big Mike is. She (obviously) has to call corporate to get permission for a security check on a vault that contains … four doughnuts and two sandwiches. Gotta guard those doughnuts.

Turns out that Morgan stoned-out-of-his-frosted-tips Grimes stashed the planet’s most valuable intelligence apparatus in a cardboard vault. But hey, all’s well that end’s well. Charles Carmichael finds it, and they can all get the heck outa Dodge Vail.

Or not … “J’accuse. You two are spies.” Lester and Jeff have their proof (again) and find what they’ve been looking for.

Or not … The proof of their theory comes in a very real hail of bullets. In three short minutes they learn everything (Chuck used to be CIA — Casey is Rambo — Sarah is deadly — Morgan totes a machine gun — they are all spies) and want to remember nothing. I found this very gratifying.

Quinn’s conversation about the value of the Intersect is … thought provoking, enlightening.

“Take a good look at your wife. You think you could get that without the Intersect?”

Quinn is right in that the Intersect brought Sarah into Chuck’s life. Beyond that he is dead wrong. Chuck won Sarah’s heart without it. Sarah married Chuck for Chuck, independent of the Intersect. Quinn couldn’t get Sarah with ten Intersect’s.

Quinn’s words reveal much more about Quinn. He was always a loser. He couldn’t win without the Intersect (he tried). It’s unlikely he would have amounted to much with it. He stands in stark contrast to Chuck who was always a winner. The Intersect jolted Chuck out of a slump. Now, without the Intersect, Chuck is still a winner. Bottom line? If you can’t be a winner without the Intersect, you’ll never really be one with it.

We learn a few other things, too. Quinn was supposed to get the Intersect, but Bryce stole it for Chuck (bitter bad-guy lies or the truth?). Quinn is embittered toward Chuck and determined to get the Intersect, but he is not likely to be part of any big conspiracy. (Will there still be one? I say yes, but we’ll see.)

After the gun battle, Casey wants to go after Quinn, but Chuck wants to be done:

“Quinn didn’t get the Intersect. We did it. We took down his team. Call Beckman, but let’s be done. Can’t we just be done?”

Watch Sarah’s face. She doesn’t feel right about it (last time they let the bad guy get away, she was shot with the Norseman), but she wants to move on with Chuck, so she doesn’t say anything.

And they are done.

Die Another Day

Back to Sarah in Castle, with photos and detailed designs of their office space spread out in front of her. She calls Chuck and proposes a ceremony to toast their new life and destroy the Intersect glasses — a fitting way to end one chapter and begin a new one.

“I love you, Chuck.” Aww. Somehow Sarah’s ILY’s are still very special. (Was anyone else reminded of the wonderful, innocent scene at the end of Couch Lock, right before MamaB came back and turned everything upside down?)

Perfect. Turns out saying “last mission” wasn’t a jinx after all. All’s well that ends well.

Or not …

Quinn calls demanding the Intersect, or Chuck dies. Sarah leaves to rescue Chuck, future plans and champaign left … um, “on the table.”

When Sarah demands Chuck’s release before handing over the glasses, she’s told that Chuck will be needed. Why is a matter of speculation, but whatever the reason, this is not good. Not good at all. They will kill her and Casey, take the glasses, and then dispose of Chuck after he has outlived his usefulness. If Sarah and Casey don’t get out alive, Chuck dies, too.

Only one option. Casey fires the first shot in what feels a lot like the Alamo. Fantastic music!! Gives me chills.

Outnumbered, ammunition spent, there is no way out, no hope … save one. The Intersect. Sarah weighs the situation — all she knows about the Intersect, the odds of the fight, the ramifications of intersecting, all of it — against her love for Chuck. Nothing, but nothing, is heavy enough to tip those scales. Casey yells a warning … to no effect.

Chuck and Sarah will die another day. They will. Not. Die. Today.

In a flash, Sarah bursts from cover to take down the enemy.

Now remember, Sarah already fights like she has the Intersect (according to Stephen), so it was no small feat to make Sarahsect believable. But they did. Wow. Add this near the top of the list of Sarah’s best fight scenes.

What does tomorrow hold? Speculation rages like a fire across the fandom right now.

Here’s what I know. Chuck and Sarah will face events and enemies that threaten everything.

Here’s what I believe. I believe in Chuck and Sarah. I believe in their journey. I believe in their future. And I believe in their love.

~ Thinkling


About thinkling

In my [younger] youth, I was a math teacher, basketball coach, and computer programmer. In 1984, we moved to Brazil, where we serve as missionaries. I like to design things and build things, read things and write things. We now live part-time in Brazil, part-time in the US. Love them both. Wife, 37 yrs; mom, 30 yrs. I am blessed.
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11 Responses to Those Were The Days — (Chuck Versus Bo)

  1. MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

    Great write-up, Think.

    Carmichael Industries was at the Veil Buy More as themselves. They were a third party security auditing firm that corporate had supposedly hired. They’d be in suits. They just wouldn’t be packing guns.

    I liked how a lot of the Tim Jones music seemed to be call back music: the music when Sarah was getting the newspaper and a Buy More theme were riffs I don’t remember hearing since S1 or S2. The Buy More fight was the often used “Hey” action music. In stark contrast, the Alamo music was, as you said, chilling. We really need a Tim Jones Chuck soundtrack.

    • thinkling says:

      Yeah, Jeff. I don’t notice music as much as some people (Joe, for example), but that last scene got me.

      The suits, yeah, I know, but would Buymore Corporate really hire an outfit that top-shelf? Anyway, their entrance was awfully spy-ish. No big deal, just kinda cool.

  2. atcDave says:

    Thanks again Thinkling for another fun review. I love your observation about how Sarah has changed from worried kids would interfere with the spy life, to being worried the spy life would interfere with kids. Beautiful symmetry.
    This was really one of the funniest episodes, and fun in many ways.

  3. lappers84 says:

    So basically we will likely get a sort of Sarah version of the Morgansect arc for these episodes. The amnesia thing – wasn’t really memory loss anyway was it? More like brain fog bought on by the effects of the intersect.

    • jam says:

      Well, the memory loss thingy hasn’t been confirmed yet.

      Not a fan of the idea myself, but I prefer it over other speculation I’ve seen (such as Sarah being a double agent, or Sarah actually being a Volkoff/Hartley kind of fake personality).

      • lappers84 says:

        If it does happen this way it doesn’t sound like it lasts very long – the majority of 5×12, before the final push of 13.

      • atcDave says:

        The fake personality thing is an interesting thought. I remember liking the way it was handled in Total Recall; in the end the fake personality fought for his own life and defeated the evil original personality by not letting himself be deleated.

        But I see no way of that happening with Sarah. For one, Yvonne was still talking about Baby as a big breakthrough episode for Sarah that explained so much about who she was and why she acted as she did at times; even after the shooting was done Yvonne was saying this. So if we were to find “Walker” was an artificial personality in the end, I don’t think “Baby” would still be seen as such a formative episode.
        Ditto for double agent.
        I don’t THINK we will learn anything horribly shocking about Sarah at this point. The biggest drama I expect will have to do with Sarah fighting the Intersect, possibly while the Intersect is fighting Chuck. I’m betting there will be some memory loss or personality change associated with that, but I’ll be fine with it as long as we know its mostly temporary by the end.

  4. joe says:

    Did we ever think we’d get to see this Sarah?

    Boxing therapy? I’m haunted now, by memories of Sarah when she’s really under stress. Not when she’s facing bullets or the Chinese Mafia assassins, but those times when she didn’t want to wake up to a new day (because she didn’t want to choose between Bryce and Chuck). I’m haunted by the times she had to work her frustrations out on a punching bag, because Chuck keeps asking questions about “the real Sarah Walker”.

    Then there’s the times she took them out on Casey (because she didn’t want to think about a big church wedding without her family there), and the times she took it out on Chuck (because being his handler wasn’t helping him master the Intersect, and it certainly wasn’t helping her master her own life).

    Boxing therapy indeed. Those were the times I thought we’d never get to see this Sarah. Sometimes I wasn’t even certain this Sarah existed.


    • thinkling says:

      S5 is awesome in the growth department. I’m really glad it didn’t end with the wedding.

      • atcDave says:

        I really wish the ratings had held up better. Because the growth of the Chuck/Sarah relationship has been completely wonderful these last two seasons. But with the ratings in a continuous skid (okay, not completely true; S5 has held steady at an abysmal level) I fear other shows will continue the dreadful wt/wt ad nauseum. That may mean Chuck will remain a beautiful oddity. Maybe we’ll get lucky and other show runners will see merit in writing an actual relationship and we’ll get better things in the future. Which brings me right back to: I wish the ratings were better…

  5. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs Bo (5.10) | Chuck This

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