Chuck vs The Wookie (1.04)

Wookie is the first episode of Chuck that I have profoundly mixed feelings about.  The first three episodes had me gushing uncontrollably.  But Wookie leaves me thinking critically.  There are elements I love that are very special to me.  And there are elements that I really dislike and can hardly bear to watch again.

Perhaps some of my compatriots here at Chuck This will bring more clarity, or more strongly conflicted feelings to the discussion.  Join me after the jump as I try to sort out a very mixed reaction.

How to sort out the good and the bad of Wookie?  I suppose the easiest thing is to start with the four main characters.  I’ll say this was a dynamite episode for Sarah, mixed for Carina, and horrible for Chuck and Morgan.  I’ll start with Carina as I think discussing her is simplest and not horribly emotional to me.

Looks like trouble

She is fun and funny and brings a sort of unpredictable energy to the proceedings like a live grenade.  But her humor is often sleazy and trashy in a way I don’t actually enjoy watching.  I would have preferred if more of her humor was less overtly sexual in nature. It was bad enough I really didn’t enjoy this episode at all on initial viewing, but then I noticed what was good.

The one absolute good that comes from having Carina around is the contrast it provides to Sarah.  Now I must acknowledge Sarah has one clearly ugly moment at the beginning of the episode.  She suggests to Chuck he can ask her questions, and she then proceeds to lie in her answer.  She has previously been clear with Chuck that certain personal information is off limits, but then sets up a situation where it is hard, if not impossible, for Chuck to know when she’s being honest.  I’ll go into Chuck’s reaction more below.  But on a much brighter note, from the first scene Sarah and Carina share, Sarah really shines.  She comes across as stable and mature in comparison.  She is aware of things like duty and risk assessment.  She cares about Chuck’s feelings and even Morgan’s.  And to the end of the series one of my favorite moments will be when Carina explains to Chuck about the life of the spy, and Chuck is able to counter with “Sarah’s not like that.”  He already knows enough truth about her to know she isn’t motivated by the adrenaline rush or careerism that drives Carina.  He even knows enough to cite a specific mission that forces Carina agree.  And a lot of the good about Sarah will hang on Carina’s response.

And Sarah says she’s not funny…

We often talk about how much Sarah changed over the course of the series (and boy did she, I re-watched Baby right after Wookie!); but we need to remember most of that change was personal, relational and emotional.  Her character or moral fiber was already set.  Even if she was known as an enforcer, tough and uncompromising; it seems she also cared about her team-mates and mission.  She may have liked being independent and self-reliant, but we shouldn’t read that as selfish or self-serving.

I’ll deal with Morgan next as its simpler.  I never found Morgan more annoying and creepy than he was in this episode.  That doesn’t mean I don’t see any humor in his behavior, but he often comes too close to this nerd’s worst nightmares that I don’t really enjoy watching it.  He is awkward in the most painful ways imaginable and has no clue about what’s actually going on around him.  Later, his unexpected success with Carina may be a source of some humor at a bad time for other parts of the show.  But for now, he’s awkward in a way that can only be called cringe worthy.

Which leads to Chuck.  Keep in mind, whenever I am critical of Chuck, it starts with the fact I identified with him so strongly at the very start.  The character of Chuck can frustrate and annoy me in ways few other television characters can, simply because I have often identified with him so strongly.  So Wookie kind of breaks from anything I can relate to when we see Chuck getting jealous and petty where he has no rights.  We viewers may be pretty sure when Sarah says “I like you Chuck” in the Pilot that she is being honest.  But as far as Chuck is concerned; she was playing him on the first date, and is now posing as his girlfriend.  A fake girlfriend who has clearly told him he doesn’t even know her real name.  He simply has to know he has no sort of claim on her.  So although I get Chuck being hurt when he discovers Sarah has lied to him about her relationship with Bryce, it actually really angers me that Chuck would think he is entitled to anything more.  Perhaps the good part of Chuck is that he simply expects honesty from those he deals with; but it is a very bad part that he would act out so childishly when he discovers an ugly truth.  I would add to this strong visceral reaction of mine, that this is a return to the trust issues that should have been laid to rest just two episodes ago.  In particular, I don’t get how Chuck can not see Sarah is in his corner, even if she does occasionally act in ways he doesn’t understand.

This is one of those things that just presses all of my buttons exactly wrong.  It rings false to me, at least it rings false if I’m going to continue to relate to Chuck.  Now it does set up a couple of beautiful moments.  First the previously mentioned talk between Chuck and Carina.  This may be an “aha” moment for Chuck, and it reflects very strongly on Sarah when we see her character contrasted with Carina’s.  This will remain a touchstone moment of the entire series to me, it speaks so much to who Sarah was even before Chuck. The other moment it sets up is the very sweet end scene. Perhaps I should call it bittersweet, because although Chuck and Sarah make up and end in a good place, we see Sarah’s conflict raging and her current inability to let Chuck in any more personally than he already is.  I wish the writer (Alison Adler) had found a more elegant way of arriving at these significant moments, but both scenes are wonderful on their own merits.

So what can be said about Wookie in the greater context?  Well obviously, it introduced Carina and gave us an early glimpse into Sarah’s pre-Chuck character.  Those two things alone mean it will always be important. In fact, those issues are big enough that I like the episode considerably better than I did when  it first ran; I think it’s an important episode for Chuck mythology. I would also add a look at what makes Chuck a hero in the end; as I’ve said before, Chuck is a moral hero.

One is a hero. The other, just muscle.

He will always try to do the right thing.  So we know he will charge to Sarah’s rescue in the end, whether he has any realistic prospect of being able to help or not.

But the parts I don’t like, raunchy humor and stupid jealous Chuck will always keep it from being a favorite.

~ Dave

Ernie Opines

Chuck Versus The Wookie is an episode that has only gotten better for me on re-watch.   I remember on first viewing thinking it a bit of a letdown after Chuck Versus The Tango, but frankly for me that’s a ridiculous standard to hold most episodes to, at least for me.  The humor is far more subtle and the character interactions seem so innocent and casual, but Carina will turn both Chuck and Sarah’s still forming relationship upside down, even while she puts it on a far firmer foundation than was there before.

Where Chuck Versus The Tango established the parallel scenes and the montage as a big part of how the Chuck team wanted to tell their story Chuck Versus The Wookie established the unspoken context, the ominous background of one world intruding on another, and Sarah responding to it.  Family game night might seem all fun and games, and Sarah even seems to enjoy flirting with Chuck a bit, having fun with their shared secret, but she is also jumpy, on edge.  Something seems off, but she’s not sure what.

In the courtyard, the unknown menace looks on, and we see that the visual presentation once again tells more story than the dialog.  There are multiple things going on, ominous rumblings that what is about to happen will threaten the team.  Sarah is reacting to finding out that Chuck has a visceral reaction to Bryce, the nicest guy in the world hates Bryce Larkin, her former boyfriend.  This could be a problem for her.  How can Chuck trust someone who was perhaps in love with a man who he hates.  Certainly he’d lose some trust, if not respect, so as Dave mentions, Sarah overcompensates.  I’ll get into this later, but Sarah offers something she can’t and doesn’t intend to follow through on, mutual trust and respect.  She is offering to treat Chuck as her equal, and to allow him to get to know her.  Some unknown phantom menace looks on, and knows this will be useful.

Sarah was jumpy for a reason, and as we find even when the threat isn’t a lethal one, spies play rough.  Keep that in mind.  Also consider this.  This episode is the first of a series where Chuck starts to learn what spies are really like.  Carina is just the first wakeup call.

We also are treated to, for the first time, a window into who Sarah Walker is, and was.  Carina may be a friend, but that seems a loose term where spies are concerned.  Spies play rough, and Carina, though sympathetic to some extent clearly isn’t above letting  Sarah know she thinks her propensity for romantic entanglements at work make her sloppy.  And vulnerable.  And she isn’t above using that for her own purposes.

Sarah seems to think herself different, and she is in some ways, but one of the wonderful things Chuck does with their two worlds and parallel stories, is shed some light on that.  Carin is willing to use even her friends and their weaknesses for her own purposes.  So is Sarah.  She just tells herself it’s not her doing the using.

I was always curious about why Sarah thought Carina double dating Morgan was a good , no great idea, then it struck me.  Morgan was her way to (ahem) block Carina.  With an infatuated Morgan around Carina couldn’t get Chuck alone, and with an infatuated Morgan around, Chuck would never respond to any advances Carina might make.  Sarah uses people too.  She uses Morgan’s infatuation and Chuck’s loyalty to supposedly control the Carina wildcard.  But it ends up shedding an unflattering light on her, and who she is.

The double date, while a lot of fun and funny is a pretty interesting scene.  I think both Chuck and Sarah see a less flattering version of themselves, and each other, reflected in Carina and Morgan.  Carina treats Morgan as disposable and thinks nothing of the long-term impact her “thrill” might have on his life.  Morgan is far too willing and eager to believe his miraculous good luck.  Parallel conversations bear this out.  Chuck sees the obvious manipulation and can’t help but doubt, even while clearly experiencing real feelings (as evidenced by his response to Sarah caressing his neck).  Sarah, for her part, while she claims to be “good here” (a statement with so many potential levels of meaning) can’t help herself, and can’t avoid seeing what Carina does (and she mimics at a different level) as wrong.

And then Chuck sets himself up for the industrial strength version.  I’ve written about this before, but Chuck’s inadvertent disclosure of his level of knowledge about Carina starts an avalanche.  The looks exchanged, or more accurately, the reactions tell the story.  Carina’s reaction (kudos Mini Anden) is a sort of “I knew it” realization that Chuck is not what he seems, and is the key to the team.  Sarah’s reaction is multilayered.  She realizes immediately Chuck has slipped up, and that Carina has noticed.  As far as Carina is concerned, as we find out later, Chuck has put himself in play, and spies play rough.  Sarah must realize this at some level, but she also seems concerned that Chuck could know so much about a spy so effortlessly.

That knowledge, and the gaps she knows exist, are all Carina needs to launch her plan.  Doubt, the one thing a handler can’t allow in an asset, and Sarah inadvertantly confirms that Chuck is an asset, and that she is playing a cover for him, whatever his clearance, will be key.  Carina knows exactly how to use that.

Jealousy?  Sure, there is some of that.  But the truth is worse, for both Chuck and Sarah.  It is worse than Sarah lying about the extent of her relationship with Bryce, and it is worse than Chuck being jealous.  A diamond is tossed to Carina for one very simple reason.  It is the only way Chuck has to punish Sarah for her lies and manipulation, and he needs to punish her after her lies are exposed.  Jealousy is there as a part of it, but it is more about respect, about seeing reflected in Morgan and Carina, and by analogy he and Sarah another Jill situation, where a woman he loves, and respects, and whose friendship he cherishes, treats him cheaply.

It is a moment of growth for both our heroes.  Chuck foolishly trades one manipulator, who cares about him and his situation, for one who doesn’t.  Chuck learns trust might have to happen at another level, that he might need to see the woman Sarah is rather than listen to her, or ask her. Sarah, for her part, it is the first cracks in her defenses, where she sees that there are consequences to those rough games spies play, and not everyone is ready to play at their level.  And maybe, just maybe, it is nice to have someone see a real part of you, and know who you are.

No olives on the pizza.  Trivial.  Right?  But in any normal situation, with normal people, someone who hated olives would say so when the pizza was ordered, wouldn’t they?  But she’s a spy, and that would be something real.  They probably didn’t intend it that way, but it is remarkable to think about the characterization, and the interaction.  Sarah knows, at some level, what she likes and hates, even if it’s just olives at this point, but she can’t bring herself to articulate it.  Chuck learns who she is, and brings a bit of who Sarah really is into his world.

And we see, she wants that.

Chuck Firsts in Chuck Versus The Wookie

Chuck Meets Dianne … and Graham

Scooter, Sarah’s boss.

Sarah’s desire to physically hurt Scooter, her boss.

Introduction to Morgan’s Grape Soda addiction.

The first of many Chuck visits to Sarah’s apartment.  (Picking her up for a date in the pilot doesn’t count.)

Advertisements

About atcDave

I'm 53 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 30 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
This entry was posted in Season 1. Bookmark the permalink.

101 Responses to Chuck vs The Wookie (1.04)

  1. atcDave says:

    I just want to add a concluding thought here having read Ernie’s comments. I think this will be a recurring theme whenever we both write on the same episode, even when we completely agree on the good/bad of it. Ernie can be counted on to tear apart the story and examine what the writers were trying to do in the grand scheme.
    To me, its usually a simpler issue of like/dislike. Even with an episode like Wookie that gives completely mixed results in my own mind. My analysis consists of elements I like or don’t like. Why a story is constructed like it is matters much less to me. Don’t get me wrong, the meta-issues do matter. It matters a lot that each story feels faithful to the characters and setting, and that growth proceeds in a believable fashion. But the passion I have is a function of liking and relating to characters. No matter how logical or believable, rude/selfish/jealous/petty behavior from Chuck or Sarah (secondary characters truly don’t matter as much to me) will always be a huge strike against any episode or scene. On occasion such a moment can be laughed off. Even better, like here in Wookie, an ugly couple of scenes lead to something very nice. Sometimes that’s enough to make the ugliness all worth while. But even on repeated viewings, I still find Chuck’s jealous pique in this episode to be ridiculous. It isn’t enough to ruin the episode for me, but it is a strike against.
    You can be assured this difference in viewpoints will be a big part of the next 87 discussions!

    • I think Chuck’s jealousy was more about his issues with Bryce than about any claim he felt he had on Sarah.

      Carina can be a fun character because of the havoc she brings, and she is a good foil to Sarah, but I never really liked her. She had one redeeming moment in the series–giving Sarah the jump drive in Three Words. Other than that, she didn’t even seem like she was really Sarah’s friend. It’s one of the things that made me feel sorry for Sarah in S1. If Sarah’s best friend was Carina, her life wasn’t very full. It made me happy she found someone like Chuck and not just because I shipped them.

      I think this episode was the first time the show introduced the idea that the CIA, DEA, and NSA reward bad spy work. Casey said Carina would use the diamond to work her way up the DEA covert ranks. However if word got out that she put her partners lives unnecessarily at risk, no one would work with her, making it hard for future promotions. While Beckman and Graham were keeping a lid on the Intersect project for now, a word from either of them would sandbag Carina’s career. While it’s possible to argue that Carina leaving an NSA agent, a CIA agent, and an analyst with level 6 clearance to be killed for a chance at a promotion is a plot hole, it was more of a regular pattern in the show. Incompetence was a sure fire path for many spies like Bryce, Forrest, Shaw, and Rye.

      • atcDave says:

        Chuck treated Sarah awfully badly if his beef was just about Bryce. Obviously Bryce made everything worse for him, and may be why he acted with so little restraint. But he took it out in a completely inappropriate way on Sarah. That 10+ minutes of the show really irks me every time I re-watch. Again though, I like the make-up, I just think it was overplayed getting there.

        But I agree entirely about Carina. It’s no wonder Sarah was “good here”, in spite of his occasional failings (like previously mentioned in this episode!) Chuck treats her far better than her professional buddies do. I think we can guess Sarah has given little actual thought to the subject yet, but she seems to be generally happy with her assignment!

      • jam says:

        I always thought a good deal of Chuck’s issues in this episode came from his handlers (Sarah in this case) being less than truthful with him.

        That said, I really didn’t enjoy the jealousy… unfortunately the show often went too far with its jokes and made the characters look idiotic in the process. They never learned, it still happened in S5 (Kept Man).

      • I don’t think it was just Bryce. As others have pointed out, Chuck was getting his spy feet under himself, which is the reason for most of his actions. The mention of his arch nemesis pushed him into a bad place, and Sarah getting caught in a white-lie type of deception made her a victim for Chuck’s general flailing around. I wouldn’t have liked it if Chuck acted that way in season 2, but it seemed appropriate for the rookie spy and much in the same vein as Helicopter.

        A few things keep it out of my top 20 (or is it top 22). I wasn’t enamored with Carina as many were. I didn’t like how she treats people. I don’t like episodes as much when I feel sorry for everyone. Morgan might have acted unappealing, but he was completely used and didn’t deserve to be treated that way. Sarah was revealed as having no real friends, but desperately wanting Chuck to be one. And Chuck aimlessly reacted to the spy whiplash he suffered throughout the episode.

        Like many Chuck episodes, there was so much going on that there was plenty of good stuff to outweigh the bad. The episode had a lot of great moments: figuring out the pizza, playing relationship games with Morgan (who inserted himself as a 5th wheel), Sarah’s “I’m good here”, Sarah’s fish (showing she was trying to settle in), Sarah threatening Scooter (it’s fun whenever she threatens anyone), the FedEx package, Sarah taking a pic of Casey, and many more. I still like the Lisa moment as it’s one of the most bittersweet moments I’ve seen on TV.

      • atcDave says:

        Jam I think Chuck learned a lot and became less jealous and petty after he and Sarah were together. And I don’t think his problems in Kept Man are at all the same as what we saw here. That was more just oblivious (which I didn’t enjoy seeing either, but it didn’t reflect so negatively on his character).

        Thank you Jeff for highlighting all those positives about this episode again. There is a reason I called it “mixed” and not bad. Some of those good parts are very, very good. We are apparently in a minority for not really liking Carina all that much, and I may be in an even smaller minority for not liking Chuck’s behavior in part of this episode; but there was a lot of very good stuff here too.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        It is important to remember that Chuck giving Carina the diamond was mostly in his mind a symbolic gesture. I mean it’s not as if she wasn’t in the same pickle as the rest of the team or had another way out? Oh, wait, he didn’t realize an underwater jet-ski was an option.

        I think rather than say “bad” spy work or incompetence is rewarded it’d be more accurate to characterize their actions as ruthless and self-serving. Carina was using the fact that Sarah and Casey would be concentrating on getting out of trouble, which she was confident they could do, to make her getaway with the diamond. Remember also that we see the spy world as pretty much lawless, with various branches competing on occasion (like in the pilot) and rather violently at that. Carina would see her retrieving the diamond for the DEA as a coup for the DEA, as would those who could claim they foiled Peyman Alahi, i.e. the DEA.

      • I completely understand Ernie, but inter-agency competition was taken a little too far, especially from a “friend.” Here’s what could have happened…

        “DEA Director Smith. Thanks for coming.”
        “Mr. President.”
        “I heard about the recovery of that weapons diamond.”
        “Thank you, sir. We have the best agents on our team.”
        “I wasn’t congratulating you. I got a call from one ticked off CIA director about your agent not cooperating on a joint task force. One of their top agents and an extremely highly valued intelligence asset died on the beach as a result. Some kids found the Hummer wreckage and the bodies. The press is all over this mess.”
        “Sometimes things happen in the field–”
        “Maybe so, but I had another meeting this morning with Secretary Rice and a friend of hers. This NSA General friend took a statement from a highly decorated Marine major who might not survive from the multiple gunshot woulds and from the burn damage he received when his vehicle exploded on that beach. He says your agent selfishly and needlessly sacrificed the other three just to make herself look good. He didn’t know how your agent got the diamond, because the CIA asset had it originally. It doesn’t look good for her.”
        “I’m not sure you should believe him. Major Casey and Agent Miller have a history–”
        “I know about Prague. It looks like she has a history of putting herself above her partners and her country.”
        “Sir, I–”
        “You should have dealt with this before. Your encouragement of this type of behavior shows bad leadership and is unacceptable. I won’t stand for this kind of inter-agency squabbling. I’ll expect your resignation on my desk this afternoon. Dismissed.”
        ———————–
        “Agent Miller, here’s your new assignment. No one is willing to work with you, so we tried contacting the surviving CATS. Zondra said her current assignment has no room from you, whatever that means. We’re waiting to hear from Amy. She might have a lead on the Gentle Hand. If that pans out, and you survive this assignment, we’ll reassign you to work with her. Until then…”
        “Painting close range targets in the Afghan mountains! What did I do to deserve that?”
        “DEA’s been pulled in to assist because of our familiarity with Afghan drug trafficking. It’s a one person assignment and only for a few months. Just keep your head down, and I’m sure Amy will have something for your when you get back.”
        ———————–
        From some undisclosed location, Orion redirects a smart bomb. Amy never gets a chance to get even.
        ———————–
        Fortunately we got 87 more episodes of Chuck instead of that depressing take.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I get it Jeff, but it’s a bit too real-spy-world as opposed to Chuck-spy-world. I thought it set up the “you can’t trust a spy” meme pretty well, especially by using one nominally on the same side. You just need to accept that Carina is a bit too cavalier on some things. In the end even she seems to realize it when she goes to help Casey and Sarah.

      • atcDave says:

        Ernie I think where we really break on this is the “what you need to accept…” part. Its one thing to get what they’re trying to do and the story they’re trying to tell, but that doesn’t mean understanding equates with finding it good. In fact, I usually think if I have to dig and parse out something to “get it” I have to consider it a failure.
        I’m willing to say Carina was a complete success at making Sarah look good. She even served very nicely for highlighting where Sarah was different from the spy world at large, which is really a nice trick when at the beginning of the episode we see Sarah acting in a very unappealing “spyish” manner. Then as the episode unfolds we get a full blast view of what real manipulation and deceit look like, and suddenly realize Sarah isn’t so bad at all…
        I would also say it makes Chuck look good in the end because he is able to coerce Carina, through an honest and moral argument BTW, into doing the right thing. This may show there is some quality to her character after all, but just a little. She still isn’t someone I would want on my team, but there might be hope for her. I thought she came across far better in her S3 appearance.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Yeah Dave, that is mostly about how they structured the plot. I didn’t mean anyone really has to accept it, let alone like it. It is in some sense meant to be dis-likable and distasteful. But it can lead to some awesome fun, like Sarah taking Casey’s picture for the CIA Christmas newsletter. 😉

      • jam says:

        I didn’t mean to suggest the problems were the same. In my opinion, both are just good examples of how the writers had the tendency to take the joke too far sometimes, to the detriment of the characters.

      • I agree that was sometimes a problem, jam. Also, sometimes the fact that the joke went too far made it even better. But I didn’t care when that hurt Jeff’s and Lester’s reputations. It was ok for them because their purpose was that kind of comic relief.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh yeah I agree with that Jam. I think they were too willing to make Chuck out to be a buffoon on occasion. For me that never worked well. I would always rather laugh with Chuck than at him. I think that’s a distinction the writers, and Zach, sometimes didn’t get. And variations on that seem to be a common complaint.

      • atcDave says:

        I think the Buy Morons existed mainly to be the butt of dumb jokes. And no growth allowed (well, except for the CO poisoning, and that was just played for laughs too). Anna changed more than the others; from trashy girl jokes, to smitten with Morgan, to flaky and sad in the end; but I’m not sure any of that constituted “growth”. Beckman arguably grew a lot, that may have been largely a function of getting to know her. Ellie and Devon are probably the biggest parts that didn’t significantly grow; but then, being normal was kind of their primary function from the start.

        Babylon Five also had significant character growth. Although Sheridan was a pretty mature character from the very start, he only grew in poise and stature as the show went.

      • Doh! Of course B5. Sinclair, Sheridan, Delenn, Ivanova, and Lochley didn’t have to grow much. They were strong leaders when they were introduced, simply taking on more responsibility as it was thrown their way. But Lennier, Garibaldi, Franklin, Londo, Vir, Lyta, and Zach grew and changed a lot. G’Kar grew more than almost any character in television history: S1 Midnight at the Firing Line vs. S2 The Long, Twilight Struggle vs. S3 Dust to Dust & Ceremonies of Light and Dark vs. S4 Falling Toward Apotheosis & Into the Fire vs S5 No Compromises & Objects in Motion. It’s the definition of how to transform a villain into a the hero that fades away. Hmm, maybe I need a mini-marathon.

      • joe says:

        Man, I need a B-5 marathon too, Jeff. Just this weekend I saw all five seasons available on DVD – $65 each! Too much.

        BTW, you’re absolutely right about G’Kar. He became a Christ-like figure by the middle of S4. But hey, it dawns on me that Kosh did not grow. If anything, he was diminished by the end of S4.

        Of course, “We are all Kosh now.”

      • Kosh had a growth arc if you consider the “In the Beginning” movie, his games in “Deathwalker”, his employment of Mr. Sebastian in “Comes the Inquistor”, his training of Sheridan, recognizing the potential of G’Kar in “Dust to Dust”, and sacrificing himself in “Interludes and Examinations”. Ulkesh (aka Mr. We Are All Kosh) showed zero growth. It was fun watching him die, though. Possibly more fun than watching Shaw get shot and fall into a river.

        I wish they didn’t screw up the DVD transfer so badly, but it was still better than the VHS collection I recorded off of TV. We’ll never get BluRay or hi-def, though.

        $65 per season? Amazon has them for 20, 19, 24, 29, and 15, plus 29 for the movies.

  2. anthropocene says:

    Both of your analyses made for enjoyable reading—thank you, Dave and Ernie.

  3. CaptMediocre says:

    Nice write ups. I liked Wookie at the time.

    I however find it very telling (perhaps it was on purpose) that neither write up mentioned “Lisa”.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah since the whole name situation was a squandered opportunity. Not much point getting excited about a nothing. Although perhaps I should have mentioned that Sarah did tell the truth, and Chuck did hear her.

      • resaw says:

        I don’t really believe Chuck heard Sarah. Yes, in a later episode we saw Chuck’s chart, but I think that is an instance of retcon, in my view. She spoke her name quietly for her own sake, not for Chuck’s, and it expressed the anguish and inner conflict she felt between her responsibility to maintain spy protocols and her yearning to be real to someone else in her life.

      • It probably was a retcon, but it could have been in the Intersect update glasses from Bryce.

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t think its at all fair to slap retcon on that one. It may be contrary to what we would have expected at the time, but bottom line is she said it while Chuck was right nearby, and a year later Chuck knew it. We have to at least give them some benefit of the doubt in their own story. Its fine if you don’t like a twist or a story line, but retcon suggests a level of dishonesty. No matter how we may have read the scene when it aired, I see no definitive grounds to call foul on that one.

      • I also like the theory that the Intersect improved Chuck’s natural hearing. Chuck got those ID pictures of Sarah and Casey too. Maybe he used an unguarded terminal in Castle to hack Sarah’s file and pull up her legal name. Maybe he snuck her driver’s license. It’s one that I don’t care if it was a retcon, if Chuck heard it, or if it was from somewhere else. I liked the tone of the scene in Wookiee, and I liked that the name appeared on the poster. Both scenes were among the best of the series for me.

      • atcDave says:

        I like all of that Jeff and agree its all possible. I just object to the Retcon term here. That is a continuity issue that contradicts previously established facts. While I would agree saying Chuck didn’t hear Sarah in Wookie is the most reasonable interpretation. But I think it falls short of a fact that has been undone. The scene from Lethal Weapon simply makes it likely Chuck did hear her in spite of what we thought at the time. I like the idea of Chuck learning Sarah’s middle name independently. Either way is supposition.

      • joe says:

        Speaking of squandered opportunities, what about Sarah’s sister? Are we supposed to think that the whole thing was just a story? Or was it that unimportant that we can just say she never came up again? Was it a real continuity slip-up???

        And why is it so important to Chuck fans anyway, hum? 😉

      • atcDave says:

        I think sister was a made up story. But there may have been a shred of truth behind it, like maybe Sarah wishfully making up stories for her and Molly, the “sister” she expected to never know.

      • joe says:

        Ah, if Chuck had been a novel, we’d know, Dave! We’d get that peek into Sarah’s thoughts to find out if there was a bit of wishful thinking or fantasy fulfillment going on in there. 😉

  4. resaw says:

    Chuck 1.04

    First of all, gentlemen, I believe that in titling of this episode the correct spelling is Wookiee, even though not true to the original spelling in the Star Wars realm. Second, thank you for your respective reviews. The two very different takes on the show were valuable in my own reflections.

    When I re-watched Chuck vs. the Wookiee, I found it simply enjoyable. Imagine my surprise when Dave announced mixed feelings (at best) about 1.04. For me, next to the Pilot, it was the best of the first four.

    As for Carina’s overt sexual aggressiveness, to me it was so over the top, it was not something I could take too seriously. It was where the absurdities of the entire Chuck premise were on display through a different character.

    The invitation and then the lie to Chuck was an interesting element to me. I wonder if Chuck had asked her about almost anything else “personal” at that time, if she would have been more forthcoming. But, knowing that Bryce was Chuck’s No. 1 enemy, she might have felt it was too damaging to their relationship to tell the truth, and given that Sarah is a spy, and the later dialogue between Chuck and Carina about how spies need to keep distance from people in their lives, her response was not surprising. The story of Sarah was very much about a con-man’s daughter turned spy learning to become vulnerable to another, and that vulnerability will be hard-won. I found this particular lie about Bryce to be very much in keeping with the larger character arc.

    Morgan’s awkwardness: My one thought about the cringe-worthiness of Morgan is, that is who we have in this character. He has a LOT of maturing to do over the next five years….

    Chuck’s bad behaviour: I think Chuck is still so full of mixed emotions and he remains full of those mixed emotions for, really, the first three seasons, I suppose, that he doesn’t know what to think or who to trust. I am surprised that your response, Dave, to Chuck’s actions is anger. In the same way that Sarah takes a long journey in allowing herself to be vulnerable to Chuck, with advances and setbacks along the way, Chuck is on a long journey of trust toward Sarah (and Casey, and the government agencies they represent), and that has its advances and setbacks as well. Considering that Casey is basically on assassination standby until given the signal to take him out, Chuck had every reason to be mistrustful. Plus on top of it, he is getting these signals from Sarah that she really does genuinely like him. I think first of Ellie’s observations in the previous episode of how Sarah acts around him, and second, of the instance when Chuck and Sarah are on a double date with Morgan and Carina. Sarah strokes the back of Chuck’s neck and Chuck just about has a stroke! Her touch was “electric” to him. Despite his mind telling him that this relationship is all a cover, the touch on the back of his neck is telling him something very different (In my view, anyway. I see that Ernie tends to agree.).

    The very sweet end scene, as you describe it: Yes. It conveyed tremendous emotion. And here is where I really admired Yvonne’s acting craft. One of the things that really drew me into the show and the character of Sarah was Yvonne’s ability to convey emotion in her face. Here it seemed she only had her eyes to work with, and yet it worked so well. She remained silent in the face of Chuck’s pleading for just a little bit of the truth about her, but her eyes told us so articulately about the conflict that she was working so hard to restrain. The small concession to her desire to connect and be vulnerable, the whispering of her middle name after Chuck walks away, was brilliant in its understatement and in her performance.

    So, overall, I follow Ernie on this one a lot more than I do Dave. Except that, I found this show to be even better than Tango. I liked the humor better in Wookiee than I did in Tango, and I liked that Sarah seemed directly involved in the humor a lot more.

    Ernie, I also appreciate your interpretation of why Sarah would want to have Morgan in on that double-date with Carina. I really had no idea why Sarah wanted that to happen other than as some sort of means of keeping an eye on Carina. I also like your idea of seeing Carina and Morgan as a less-flattering version of Sarah and Chuck.

    “It is a moment of growth for both our heroes.” Yes!

    Some other things I liked about this show compared to the first three. Sarah and Chuck seem very relaxed (despite her sensing something was going on outside). While the piano played in the background in the courtyard, the tone was much more conversational, even flirty. However, the conversation about Bryce suggests to me two possible things: 1. She’s keeping up the flirtation in order to keep him in a trusting relationship with her. 2. She’s still very much unprepared to share anything about her personal life, despite her invitation to Chuck to “just ask” her.

    Sarah does a fantastic job of playing the dumb blonde with Peyman.

    The beach scene and the jet-ski has very much of a James Bond feeling to it.

    All in all, a great show!

    • Wookiee? Got hate those trademark and copyright lawyers.

    • Bill says:

      Excellent recap, resaw. I am in complete agreement with you. Wookiee was and is one of my favorite S1 episodes. As to Chuck’s jealous behavior, I didn’t have a problem with it when the show first aired. As you put it, Chuck the person took one step forward and then two steps back (especially with Sarah) for the better part of three seasons. Plus, we know that he has only had one real relationship prior to Sarah, and so his immaturity, naivete, and the bad behavior they bring about, make sense (to me).

    • atcDave says:

      Wookie will never be better than mixed for me, in fact, that’s a huge improvement over how I saw it initially. I almost just skipped it on my first re-watch. I do appreciate that Morgan had a lot of growing to do, but that in no way helps me enjoy his early state. I would agree with not being terribly surprised about Sarah’s lie about Bryce; disappointed yes, surprised no. But then that does become a major area of growth for Sarah over the next few seasons, and it makes her “no secrets, no lies” declaration that much more satisfying.
      But it really is Chuck’s behavior that breaks this episode for me. He knows Sarah has his back and he knows she keeps secrets about her personal life. He also knows that although they seem to get along well together, that they have no future (at this point). So his sleazy inappropriate comments about Sarah wanting to find the bedroom if she were with Bryce, and then “punishing” her by giving Carina the diamond (moments after Sarah saved his hide during their escape I might add) go beyond rubbing me wrong, they make me angry. And they make me angry because I related to Chuck through the first three episodes; now all of a sudden he is acting like a petty jerk. For the first time in the series I don’t like Chuck and I wouldn’t want to be him. This will happen again on occasion (especially S3); and even though this instance is brief and ends well, it is significant to me as “another first”.

    • You know, we talk a lot about how far Sarah grows as a character, and she does. But what about Morgan. Dirty Uncle Morgan is one of my favorite characters to rewatch, because in many ways, he grew more than anybody else in the show, and the pacing of that growth (and that of all the characters) is really elegant.

      • atcDave says:

        Morgan really did grow nicely. As did Casey. Really all four main characters developed a lot over five seasons.

      • I can’t remember if I saw Sandworm before or after Wookiee. After Morgan stuck up for Chuck in the Sandworm interview, I would have had a lot more sympathy for him in Wookiee. I can always respect a loyal friend, even if they are a little weird.

        Name another show with at least four characters that developed over the course of the show as much as the main four did in Chuck. I’m curious about other shows that people here might think of.

        Another favorite of mine, Farscape, is one, although the main character developed less than those on Chuck. He was looking for the opportunity to be a hero from the very first scene. He just had to figure out how to survive so he could be that hero. Instead, at least eight of the supporting characters evolved significantly because of their interactions the main character. In Chuck, Chuck and Morgan evolved because of the opportunities presented by circumstances, while Casey and Sarah evolved because of their interactions with Chuck (and Morgan and Alex in Casey’s case). Most of the other characters didn’t change much (CO poisoning, notwithstanding.)

  5. uplink2 says:

    Great read guys. Interestingly enough on this one I’m more in line with Ernie that Dave here. First of all I loved Carina in this episode. I guess the sexual innuendo of her character enamored me to her. Maybe that’s a fault but I’m ok with it. I thought Mini was great in the role and she became my second favorite recurring guest behind Jack. She simply is a what you see is what you get kind of character and I love those both in real life and on screen.

    I love Ernie’s analysis of the diamond tossing. Sarah got caught in a lie and for someone like Chuck that can end someone’s trust. He may be new to the spy game of lying but he thought Sarah was different and she proved him wrong. It’s as much punishment for himself as for Sarah. He trusted someone who betrayed that trust and that is a hard thing for him to accept. Couple that with it being related to someone who betrayed his friendship, destroyed his life and slept with his girlfriend and that betrayal is only heightened. But as mentioned above, for Sarah to have been in a relationship with someone who was so untrustworthy, betrayed him and felt no remorse for it had to have lessened his opinion of her. She showed the pedestal he was building for her was too high.

    What I will also say that makes this one of my season 1 favorites is that I believe this is the episode where Yvonne really shows how incredibly talented she is for the first time. She was very good in the first three episodes but this is the episode where you stand up and take notice of just how great an actress she is. She steps it up another level and IMO she shows why she is simply the most gifted of all.

    • atcDave says:

      Hmmm, “what you see is what you get” strikes me as the complete opposite of Carina. She is all duplicity and manipulation. I think that core dishonesty is what I dislike even more than the sleaze factor. The very best part about Carina is how good Sarah looks in comparison. And in the end, that is what redeems this episode for me. Its that Carina represents certain characteristics of the spy world (and even flat out explains some of it to Chuck) that strike me as grotesquely unappealing, and in the end Sarah clearly stands in contrast to Carina on those counts. And even better, much of what Sarah keeps from Chuck she doesn’t seem so sure about any more. The ending works in part because we see Sarah thinking about breaking from her professional training and habits, and being even less like Carina and the government agent she represents.
      When Carina reappears in Three Words she will act a little more like a good friend ought to. But of course by then its the leads who are looking more like idiots….

      Now I do agree about Yvonne’s performance. This is one of her first more complex episodes and she is absolutely brilliant in it. I think right from the Pilot I was impressed at an actress who manage the switch from sweet to tough so easily; but a little in Helicopter, and a little more in Wookie we’re seeing that Yvonne is far more talented than just that. She can portray a broad range in ways both subtle and overt, sometimes all at once! Really I think the break out performer of the entire series.

      • uplink2 says:

        Dave, I guess what I mean is that her duplicity and manipulation is in a way honest, if that is even possible. She tells Chuck exactly what she, and in her mind all spies are all about. She let’s him know it right from the beginning. I guess I’m more ok with someone telling you she is lying to you and basically always will than someone who knows how important trust and honesty is to Chuck telling him something she knows is lie and expecting him to simply accept it as fact and not react when he finds out differently. I could care less about what Carina did to Morgan at that time as I hated the annoying little bearded man during this period. But what she said and did to Chuck was in her view of the world up front and honest. Basically “Chuck whatever answer a spy gives you is a lie so don’t expect anything different.” Sarah used his trust and naivete to manipulate him. Most times for the right reasons but in the case of her relationship with Bryce I think part of it was that his betrayal of Chuck as well as his betrayal of Sarah embarrassed her for the same reasons as Chuck may have felt.

        Even at this point she knew that Bryce didn’t hold a candle to Chuck as a man. As a spy he was certainly fantastic but as a man he was anything but. Her insecurities even at this point show the beginnings of “I don’t deserve a good man like Chuck, what I deserve is a somewhat less than good man like Bryce.” She lied to not hurt Chuck certainly and keep her personal life, personal but to also not have Chuck think anything less of her because she trusted and was betrayed by Bryce herself. Instead of using that shared pain to build her relationship with him, she used it to keep him at arms length and she paid for that. It is in part why the “no olive” scene is so important. She sees Chuck as a kind, wonderful man capable of great forgiveness and it makes her heart break even more to have to push him away once more.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh yeah Sarah definitely saw what was different and special about Chuck. And I think a big part of what’s appealing about Sarah is that she values it, and keeps her overt manipulations to a minimum. And when she does lie to Chuck like she does here, she feels remorse. Possibly more so that she disappointed Chuck than she does over the lie itself, but that still puts her her way beyond Carina.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I’d say WYSIWYG is part of who Carina is in some ways. She is very up-front that she is a manipulator, in it for herself first and a bit of a wildcard. She uses sex as a weapon and apparently has no shame about it. Casey’s barbs, the ones that sting Sarah so often, roll right off Carina. She is not in any way ashamed about who she is or what she does, except when it comes to owing Sarah more than “good luck escaping the badguys”. In that way I’d say with Carina WYSIWYG.

      Where Sarah hides a lot of herself and her personality behind her job, Carina’s personality virtually defines how she does her job.

  6. I didn’t see Chuck’s reaction as breaking character at all. Think about the context. He’s basically been in only one major relationship, and his roommate and close friend slept with his girlfriend, got him kicked out of college, and screwed him over so badly that it completely destroyed the past five years of his life. Then Bryce gives him the intersect, making his life even worse (he still wants the intersect gone). Chuck has been completely victimized by Bryce.

    His reaction to Sarah isn’t so much one of jealousy as it is naive betrayal. He would already be paranoid about dealing with somebody Bryce was very close to (remember Sarah having to remind Chuch that she was “not Bryce Larkin” in The Helicopter?), and she compounded it by lying to him about it just as Chuck was beginning to trust her. Given the situation, I think it’s perfectly within Chuck’s character to have an immediate negative reaction to have a woman he likes lie to him about Bryce Larkin. And as always with Chuck, he reacts to his emotions impulsively and immediately, then has a more sympathetic and logical reaction once he calms down.

    • atcDave says:

      You know its funny, I knew when I criticized this episode I would take a lot of heat for it. Various polls I’ve seen suggest this is generally one of the more popular episodes of S1, along with another episode coming up in a few weeks that I also don’t like so much (let’s just say I’m not really an Allison Adler fan). But that was completely not my expectation when watching live, back in the days before I was discussing this show on-line. My wife and I were watching this series, as were two other couples we were close friends with. As things stand now, I would say we were all “casual viewers” at the time, I didn’t become very involved with the show and fandom until early S2. But I remember so well after Wookie ran discovering none of the six of us liked it very much. So I really just had a strong expectation for a while that Wookie was just the biggest dud of the season. It surprised me a lot when I saw a poll at NBC.com suggesting it was actually a favorite. Really left me scratching my head (but Chuck was such a jerk in that one!?!) I do see much of what’s good about it now, and certainly in the grand scheme of things I see a lot that is important here. But I still see what I first didn’t like too, and that’s unlikely to change.

      • I’m actually not a huge fan of this episode either; awkward Morgan and Chuck are really hard to watch. I just generally think people too often criticize Chuck’s stable of hoes being out of character, when really, the characters just have flaws we don’t always want to see.

  7. Oooh, forgot a first. It’s the first time Chuck brought somebody to the light side/ convinced them to do the right thing – his convincing Carina to go back for Sarah (this trend culminates with Vivian Volkoff

    • atcDave says:

      Good call!

    • thinkling says:

      Good one.

      I thought of a couple more firsts, too. I think we see a hint that Ellie and Devon are a role model for Chuck and Sarah. It’s much more overt in Truth, but they are the normal couple role model starting here.

      First game night, which as I think about it, sort of disappears until much later, but is highlighted in S4 as something Chuck and Sarah like to do. This is definitely a real part of Sarah surfacing, enjoying family game night.

      I think this is the first time Chuck sees the big picture and is actually proud of what they’re doing as a spy team. Look how pleased he is in the debriefing, when he learns what they thwarted. Here he begins to engage a little more with the spy world … take it seriously.

      • atcDave says:

        I’d forgotten that Chuck mentions game nights again in Gobbler. I just figured Chuck was a gamer and didn’t give it much thought; but it is intriguing to think its something Sarah has latched on to. Like its one of her first experiences with normal and means a lot to her.

  8. joe says:

    Dave, I love your take on the episode. Our views are ortho-normal!

    Let me apologize for being late to this party. I have dozens of comments to read now! But here’s my quick take.

    From the start, I see Carina someone who reminds Sarah of who she used to be – and therefore reminds her of how much she’s changed. But that’s a mixed bag. She used to be fun. She used to be a good spy, who didn’t get emotionally entangled because she might have to leave in five minutes (“… or shoot you in the head…”). The ugly truth is that Sarah’s letting herself be compromised. And she realizes it.

    No wonder she pushed back!

    You’re right about Chuck. Sarah tells him point blank that 1) he knows nothing about her and 2) he’s naive. Ugh. Slap him in the face, why don’t you, Sarah. Well, it is for Chuck’s own good, after all. Right?

    But like you said, Chuck’s not that kind of fool, and he’s definitely not stupid. So when he is able to tell Sarah’s long-time friend and professional equal “She’s not like that,” and say it with conviction, it’s Carina who’s taken aback. No, for all the necessary deceptions (especially the lies of omission – um, Bryce) and for all his nerdie ignorance, Chuck’s actually gets it right, eventually. He may have felt like he was on shaky ground (hence, the whiny churlishness). In fact, Carina convinced him he had gotten everything wrong, so of course he’s upset. But Chuck seldom gets things wrong twice.

    Dave, I suspect I react much like Chuck when my own naiveté is exposed – talk about identifying with the character! 😉

    You know, I always thought that we – and Chuck – learned more about Sarah’s character in Truth and especially in Cougars (Heather tells her point blank that they are very much alike, and repeats it in Cubic-Z). But we actually learn more about how she’s changed here, from Carina.

    And the fact that she’s changed so much is huge. It’s the difference between Bryce and Chuck. I remember the first time I saw the episode I couldn’t quite believe she actually accomplished that. It’s taken four more seasons and a second look at Sarah Walker like she was at this point in time. But now I believe it.

    • atcDave says:

      I agree with a lot of that Joe, although I don’t think Sarah was ever quite like Carina. She may have been wilder than what we see around Chuck, but the pre-series glimpses we get still show a focused agent with a moral center, quite different from Carina. I’m thinking of Sarah in Baby, who followed orders right up until she realized she’d been duped. So I don’t think she was ever quite the loose canon Carina can be. I’m also thinking of Casey’s comments at the end of 5.12; he saw her as by the book and uncompromising. And finally back to Chuck’s comments here in Wookie; even before Chuck entered into her life Sarah was the one who would go back for a team-mate in trouble just because it was the right thing to do.
      So I think the image we get of a younger Sarah is tough, possibly frighteningly so, but largely by the book and unquestioning of orders. But of course her older image is misleading in way. Like that moral center that WILL lead to her going against orders when she sees something she knows is wrong. Casey once called her “Graham’s wild card enforcer” which does suggest some measure of unpredictability, possibly indicating she’s taken unexpected actions before to fix broken missions. But I’m guessing the moral dimension to her decision making was not well indicated in her file, it sure escaped Riker’s notice! Although I like to think Graham had a clue; he was smart enough to know from the time the mission started to exclude Sarah from the kill order against Chuck. Perhaps he just feared that she was compromised to some measure after spending time as his handler. But Carina seemed blase about the possibility of just having to kill someone she was working with. I strongly suspect Graham knew that Sarah simply would not follow such an order; and then he’d have a good agent gone rogue and an asset full of classified information running around off-grid together. So Graham knew to keep such dirty secrets from Sarah entirely; she would not respond well.

      Sorry, I got distracted by that one issue. But I realized as I got going, that Graham is also a good indicator of Sarah’s character. As I said in the post, I think the biggest part of Sarah’s growth is relational and emotional. Morally she was already pretty mature.

      • joe says:

        Oh yes, all true!

        I don’t think that “moral maturity” quite describes what I’m thinking about young(er) Sarah, though. She was certainly straight arrow, always following orders to the letter, and that included making the hard decisions. She’d cut off the arm to save the patient without hesitation, and that’s a mature spy. Certainly, that’s a useful spy, which represents a kind of morality too.

        But the difference between then and now is that Chuck was always asking “is there another way so we don’t have to cut?” The Sarah we saw later learned that from him – she wasn’t so quick to accomplish her mission by killing, even if it was a table full of murderers, thieves and baby-kidnappers thanks to him.

        Did we ever see Sarah kill someone after Mauser and before Quinn? I may be mistaken, but I don’t think so.

      • I think I’ve said this before, but Casey called her Graham’s “wild CARD enforce” not his “wild enforcer.” Wild cards are the ones that can do and be anything. They help get you out of jams and are the most powerful cards available. That kind of wild is different than party girl wild. I don’t think Sarah was ever anything close to that. Before Chuck, the most fun she ever appeared to have was on her dad’s cons, and that seemed to be more about getting approval than the enjoying the con itself.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I think you’re right about Chuck pushing Sarah into some less radical solutions.

        And you ask a good question, she certainly didn’t perform any executions after Mauser. But given the degree of mayhem she often generated (like big shoot outs in First Kill and Cubic Z) I have to think she killed a few thugs along the way. But she does seem to have used less deadly force in later episodes.

      • atcDave says:

        Great, excellent point Jeff. Well put.

      • Also the thugs in Curse, but you might have blanked them out, Dave. Those seemed a big deal to me because they might have been rouge CIA but Sarah and Casey weren’t even agents anymore. They probably didn’t have a license to kill. Beckman probably had all sorts of fun with that paperwork.

        Least safe jobs on TV:
        1) Red shirt on ST:TOS
        2) Thug when Casey or Sarah walks into the room

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I’d say that we have indications at the beginning of Baby that Sarah is starting to tire of the spy life. By this point in her career she has gone through the CAT Squad and being betrayed by a partner. And as an aside given the events of that episode I’d have to conclude that a party-girl phase for Sarah is pretty much canon since they basically tell you that Sarah was a lot wilder and she herself says she has changed quite a lot – Carina was the mellow one – and then her state after a night out with the girls pretty much puts any doubt to rest. She’s had her Red Test, and has been partnered with Bryce for some time, developing a personal relationship that apparently outlasted their partnership. She has become Graham’s wildcard enforcer who apparently pulls other assignments occasionally. I guess wildcard enforcer isn’t a full time gig. At the start of Baby we see her either re-playing, or listening to a message from her mother, and perhaps considering something other than being a full-time spy.

        By this time she certainly has a well developed sense of right and wrong, but I don’t think there is any way we can conclude that was a part of her character all along. She was after all a career criminal before she was a teenager from what we know. Now granted, she was more interested in pleasing her father and being able to have adventures with him than the crime, but as late as Wedding Planner we see she maintains a certain pride at her unconventional upbringing, and isn’t above convincing Chuck to fake a flash under her dad’s influence. So at some level there was and remains a moral flexibility about “victimless” situations like using Tammy Katz’s Bat Mitzvah to capture the Klugh’s weapons secrets, even though I largely agree with Dave that she’s developed a pretty well defined moral core by the time we meet her.

        So I agree with everyone even while disagreeing. The “wild” in wildcard enforcer refers to the unpredictability and versatility Sarah introduced into the role, but she did have a wilder past. You just can’t ignore what we were told and shown in Cat Squad and how neatly it fits with Carina and Sarah’s conversation about how boring her new cover is and how she’s “good here”.

        As a final point I think Mauser was about the only time we see Sarah preform what could be described as an assassination, and even that is stretching it given the fight and the threat that preceded it. But Sarah is clear, as is Casey, she was a trained assassin. And she was in fact ordered to kill Chuck (if he ran) in the pilot. While I agree she didn’t and we see pretty quickly she wouldn’t initially at least it is only Beckman who wants Chuck dead after the new intersect comes online. The first time we see Graham participate in the kill order discussion is the beginning of season 2. We can assume that Graham and Beckman both knew better than to include Sarah by then, but at least initially it is purely an NSA policy to get rid of Chuck once he isn’t needed.

      • atcDave says:

        Actually I just didn’t get that far! I was looking over an episode list to see where she might have been deadliest, and figured I had enough after Cubic Z. You know I think Sarah was great in Curse, and there’s a very good chance she killed a rogue CIA agent or four.
        No doubt Casey and Sarah filled a lot of body bags with baddies. But I like the thought that over time Sarah started sending more to the hospital instead of the morgue. Not sure if its really true, but it seems likely.
        Casey on the other hand continued to use his side-arm and sniper rifle as his main crowd control tools even after Sarah “went soft” (although I’m not sure if a thug beaten into unconsciousness would agree her techniques were “softer”).

      • joe says:

        Yeah, I feel like we’re fighting to find the right words (again) to define Sarah, and she refuses to be defined like that.

        Sarah seems softer after meeting Chuck – and the longer she knows him the softer she gets. Yet there’s no way Sarah is ever soft – she was right to tell Morgan that she is somebody deadly.

        Sarah’s not more constrained after coming to grips with Chuck’s reluctance to kill. She’s more imaginative in her approach. On a scale that ranges from Casey to Chuck, she clearly moves to the Chuck side on missions, ever more so as time goes on.

        But Casey reminds her that Chucks “…not like them. He’s not a killer.”, meaning that she is. It’s like an original sin she can’t ever whip clean. The good news is that Chuck succeeds in wiping the stain away, so even that’s gone somehow. That’s why the CIA no longer suits her, and Carmichael Ind. does.

      • atcDave says:

        Ernie I believe I acknowledged Sarah was apparently “wilder” in her past (second sentence, previous comment). And yeah I meant that in the common “party girl” sense of the word. But I think her professional character was what was always different; again, when Carina is lecturing Chuck about how ruthless and careerist spies are, Chuck challenges with “Sarah’s not like that” and Carina concedes the point. It is a mystery as to where Sarah developed such a conscience and ideals; it surely wasn’t her father or Graham. Perhaps her mother had more influence than we commonly assume. Or perhaps it was a combination of influences and experiences we never learned much about. But clearly by the time Sarah met Chuck in 2007 she had some sort of moral core . At least she was moral in the greater life/death good/evil patriot/traitor sort of issues. Her attitude on things like truthfulness remained a work in progress for quite some time.

        And I would say, a lot of this complicated value system is part of what makes her such an intriguing character. She can almost be appealing and revolting at the same time. Obviously, I think the appealing part is far stronger, but as Sarah herself admits, she comes with a lot of baggage. At least until about the time she unpacks her suitcase…

      • Mel says:

        I don’t buy that Sarah suddenly just developed a strong sense of right and wrong, a quality she definitely possesses. To me, that’s just something you always either have or not, and I’m not holding her adventures as an underaged kid with her dad against her.

        Also, I think fans have made too much of one line (“Wildcard Enforcer”) when thinking about how she used to do her work. As for CAT Squad days, while those must have had wilder moments, I don’t see how her being a “party girl” fits the character at all.

      • joe says:

        I sorta get that, Mel. And certainly, the word “suddenly” doesn’t apply. Really, she was angry – spitting mad – at the thought that Bryce had gone rogue, and she would never do that because it would be “wrong”.

        But I also think that she was motivated by the desire to not lose. In a fight, she would be the winner, or like we learned later, not a sucker (and maybe “Wildcard enforcer” was just their way of reminding us, the viewers, of that). The only question was how to do that; accomplish her mission, win the fight, not be a sucker.

        It always looked to me that Sarah slowly came upon the realization that “right and wrong” had to be a part of the calculations when she decided on a course of action too. I mean, you could see the wheels spinning when Mauser faced her down. “Which way out? What is the solution. I can’t find anything except – bang.”

        Much of her admiration for Chuck was precisely because he always *did* seem to find some other way, up until his red test. Sometime between Mauser and that red test, Sarah realized that she had changed, she was not what Graham had created.

        Hum… now that I see that in print, I just realized that there may have been an intent there – Sarah was the CIA’s useful tool; Chuck cut the strings. I hadn’t noticed the Pinocchio analogy before.

      • atcDave says:

        Except Joe I always do want to return the well established idea that Sarah was already pretty decent and moral before Chuck. Perhaps Chuck gave her more confidence in making independent decisions based on her own morals, but she did already have some track record of doing so. But certainly Chuck gave her the ultimate freedom to follow her own conscience and not have surrender any moral authority to someone else; that was part of the argument for staying independent contractors in S5. In fact, its interesting that in the end that was a key issue to Sarah, even more so than Chuck (of course even in S5, Chuck’s view of the CIA may have been more naive and idealistic than Sarah’s)

        I think Mauser was just a moral trap. Any decent person would struggle with that issue. Shooting a helpless prisoner vs likely death and destruction involved if that person is allowed to live. Its the sort of dilemma that I think is common in police/spy/crime/war drama. Its a trap because there really is no “right” answer. You have one solution that seems right in the short run, and a completely contrary solution that seems better in the long run.
        Sorry, I don’t mean to get into that discussion now, only want to point out that whatever Sarah decided in that case is not really a reflection on her “goodness”. A good and well meaning person could make either decision. And, a good and well meaning person could likely be haunted by either course of action.

      • Man, I really wish I’d found this site before the show went off air. Anyways, I agree with Mel here. I don’t think Chuck necessary developed Sarah’s sense of morality so much as her sense of trust, which is why “Baby” is such an important episode. The foundation of a good person is already there, but she’s a loner who can’t trust anyone. She was burned by her father and Bryce, and she’s learned to be fiercely independent, even with a team. She has to basically bury the person she wants to be because the spy life discourages it.

        Chuck presents an ideal that, to her, has always been a fantasy – the ability to trust completely in another person. It takes her years to move beyond the scars she’s accumulated, and it’s not until the Baby that she finally articulates that she is “not alone.” The Sarah we see in Season 1 is a prideful, loyal person who views Chuck as believing in a universe she unconsciously wishes was real. She wants to protect that sense of honest morality as much as she does Chuck, even as she thinks it naive.

        Before that, she fills the void by attaching herself to the CIA’s principles, and is as loyal as she can be to the organization. I think that leads to her being more ruthless before Chuck; she lets the CIA’s goals guide her moral compass. And as we saw in Phase Three, when she’s completely devoted to a mission, she doesn’t stop at anything to finish the job.

      • atcDave says:

        I think most of us are saying the same thing. Sarah had a good moral center before Chuck. Chuck may have affected some of her behavior and I think he gave her more consistent clarity than the CIA ever could.

      • joe says:

        We are, Dave. Sarah’s a bit of a Rorschach test for most of the viewers too – and certainly for us. It’s easy to project our own world-view on the undisclosed part of her psyche. Yes?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Rorschach test is a good way to put it Joe.

        I’ll just clarify/split hairs. There is a difference between understanding right and wrong, or having beliefs and a moral center and living by them. This can be, and in my view was, a big part of Sarah’s journey. Yes, she clearly had a deep sense of wrong and right, but all indications are that living by those principles was not something that came easily to Sarah, first with her father, then the CIA. She clearly acted imorally when she was a criminal and fugitive with her father, and from what we get of her backstory had also done many questionable things for the CIA. At the very least the CIA requires that she see the world rather amorally, bad things are OK if done in defense of a greater-good… To say that she is fully morally formed and living by her well established moral code when she meets Chuck just isn’t accurate in my view. I don’t want to go to far down this track since a lot of people are very sensitive about Sarah Walker being an imperfect person and how deep those imperfections may run, but as Thinkling has said elsewhere, a lot of the joy with her character is seeing those first baby-steps that lead to the fully mature Sarah of season 5. In season 1 she can’t bring herself to ask they leave the olives off the pizza. By season 5, Sarah has finally become honest and comfortable enough to say what she’s wanted to say all along, I want to quit spying, and to act on it and live by it.

      • atcDave says:

        Ernie I think a lot of us just object to the opposite extreme that exaggerates Sarah’s moral failings prior to Chuck. We know she occasionally used some pretty ugly tactics to achieve mission objectives, but I see plenty of evidence for saying she was a good agent and a hero long before Chuck. Her Red Test is the closest thing to a complete moral failing we know about her, and she describes that as the worst day of her life (and even then she thought she was acting in self defense when she pulled the trigger). So I’m completely comfortable with saying she always had a conscience and often acted on it. Chuck’s main contribution would seem to be giving her the confidence to stand by convictions she already had. That’s no small thing, and her growth is significant. But we have seen so many comments here vilifying her past actions and making her a far darker character than any show evidence would allow for.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Dave, I know there are those who paint a far darker Sarah. I don’t think I’m one of them, and I think I exhibited a pretty light touch talking about her past, but there simply is no basis in the show canon to say she was a very moral or good person “long before Chuck”. I’ll give you “good agent” and “hero” in the “does heroic things” sense as opposed to “paragon of our societies virtues” sense. In our earliest glimpses of Sarah she is helping rob armored cars and scam housewives. That type of behavior apparently continued up until she was recruited by the CIA as an alternative to jail with her father from the context of that scene in Cougars. She may have realized she deserved to be in jail like her father as she held out her arms to be cuffed, but that apparently hadn’t stopped her from doing the things that could have got her locked up. If we are to give any weight to that scene, to Graham’s offer to save Sarah, and her response, we have to conclude that she was headed for the same life her father lived, and eventually the same place. You can argue she was a juvenile, but we lock them up for crimes too. Simply put, from what we have been shown Sarah was a career criminal from late adolescence through her teen years until recruited by the CIA and given a new identity. I would contend that at that point, while recognizing right and wrong, there is no way she can be considered morally mature.

        Then Sarah becomes a spy, and we know little of her moral code in those spy years before she met Chuck other than she seemed to lose herself for a while in the sort of hedonism Carina hints at (I’m not saying it was to the same extent or that she was ever like Carina). We are given brief glimpses of her career with flashbacks to Bryce and the CAT Squad. Her Red Test is the first time we know of that she questioned carrying out an order, but we aren’t shown that she definitively saw assassination as morally wrong, she did after all embark on a mission to kill someone she’d never seen before on orders, just that she couldn’t bring herself to do it at first. We are shown that she has done it successfully more than once since that Red Test with the flashes in the pilot and helicopter. We have to wait for Baby, immediately before she is introduced to Chuck before we see her intentionally go off mission out of a sense of right and wrong. She was obviously right to do so given Ryker’s rogue mission, but she had left the Baby in a safe place and disobeyed orders before she confirmed Ryker was rogue.

        Now to me, the clear implication that runs through the series is that Sarah is a woman with a very troubling childhood that left her emotionally immature and damaged, and in an attempt at redemption led her into a very morally compromising world that left her questioning herself as capable of being anything other than a good spy. It is this characterization that allows us to see why Chuck might doubt her ability to lead a normal life, and why she might doubt that she is a good influence in Chuck’s life and might, in the end, need to leave for his own good. Or allow the occasional brunette into his life. Sarah herself confirms this more than once. For example saying that she was once very much like Heather Chandler. I know people like to dismiss this line, but you can’t. It is Sarah’s view of who she was and you can’t completely dismiss that self evaluation without also dismissing Sarah’s ability to be self-aware and see the changes she also talks about. Changes she attributes on several occasions to Chuck and his influence. A big part of that climactic scene on the rooftop shootout is Sarah doing the right thing rather than the spy-move Heather expects. They are showing us and talking about moral growth, and highlighting Sarah’s, in addition to the emotional connections she now is able to handle and the change she is able to accept in herself.

        At some point just before she meets Chuck we see that she seems to have doubts about the life she is living and where her choices have taken her, but again, that is just before her arrival in Burbank. I would agree that Sarah is apparently developing more of a conscience and acting on it more than some other spies even before she met Chuck, but we don’t get any indication that this process is nearly complete or very long-running from the show. To me the implication is pretty clear, Sarah is looking for another shot at redemption from a set of bad choices. Her last apparent shot, life with her mother as a normal person vanishes when she finally makes a very real sacrifice to do the right thing. Then she meets Chuck, and he is the catalyst that allows her to see herself differently and actually have the courage to make those changes.

        While yes, there are those who go too far in painting Sarah’s past in dark colors, those who dismiss that there was real darkness with a lasting and ongoing effect and a moral flexibility on many matters within the time-frame of the 5 seasons dismiss a large part of the story where Chuck can be right to not trust Sarah or her motives or methods on occasion. If you insist that Sarah is an emotionally and morally mature fully formed hero from the outset, very little that Chuck does to change her or resist her can be justified. It is because Chuck is able to challenge what she accepts about her world and herself that he is able to see someone who wants more and wants to do the right thing (as opposed to a by the book Casey) rather than just an emotionally distant career woman who has all she wants in life.

        Yes, she is one of the good guys and yes, she does try to do the right thing, but a big part of her story is figuring out how to recognize the right thing and how to communicate that to Chuck, who doesn’t always understand the sacrifices people need to make. But she also learns that asking, or forcing those sacrifices on innocents is wrong, no matter how “right” the outcome. She learns to stop taking the easy, yet morally compromising way out.

        “Take off your watch” has power because we finally see Sarah cross the line and do what she knows to be right as opposed to what’s safe. It also has power because like it or not, we still doubted which way she’d go.

      • joe says:

        Great analysis, Ernie.

        I’m struck by the number of times that Sarah is supposed to be “just like” someone else. She’s supposed to be a con-man like her father, a party-girl like Carina, a shrewd manipulator (and climber) like Heather, a cold-school spy like Casey. Yet, when she describes herself, it’s “I’m nothing but a spy.” To her, “there’s no there, there.”

        It’s easy for me to believe that was intentional on the part of TPTB. Add to that Yvonne’s cryptic half smiles when Sarah is pleased and frowns when she’s angry, and you get a powerful incentive to let your imagination roam. Mine certainly did.

        It’s part of the magic, I think.

      • atcDave says:

        I think most of what you just wrote does paint too dark a picture. It’s true I am not terribly worried about her record as juvenile, at least not in any sense of accountability. Only to say it was very sad and left her badly damaged. but I think you’re drawing too many conclusions from a period we know little about. Sarah clearly does carry much guilt and has a poor self image. But I believe the only similarity she shares with Heather is as a thrill seeker; the fact Sarah feels guilt about that period of her life is to her credit and actually heightens the differences between them not the similarities. I would put more stock in comments from allies than enemies; we know both Bryce and Carina consider her good agent and partner, Casey considered her tough and uncompromising by reputation, his “best partner” in S2 and a “good woman” mid-S3.
        And for all that I think you mis-understand my position some too. I have clearly said, many, many times that Sarah was emotionally damaged at the start and Chuck was largely responsible for her healing over the course of the series. I would also agree she is morally not fully formed at the start, but I still aver she is a hero and one of the good guys regardless. I don’t know, and I don’t believe we were ever given sufficient information to know when and how she developed the moral strength and courage she did have prior to Chuck. But I think she was clearly on the right path before Chuck regardless. Perhaps she was already disillusioned with her father’s immoral life as a teen, perhaps things clicked into place for her when the agency provided meaning and purpose, perhaps she was affected by some of the dark things she was required to do as a young agent, or maybe the opposite and she found moral strength as a result of some of the good things she had done and saw how she could help make the world a better place. Or maybe it was a combination of all those. We are not given enough information to know what formed Sarah as she went from teen to adult. But what I maintain is that she saw herself as one of the good guys by 2007 and conducted herself accordingly. Chuck certainly helped her define herself further and made her a better and stronger person. But she was a hero and good guy long before “take off your watch.” That was only the first time doing right put her at odds with the government. That was a new sort of sacrifice and decision for her; previously she was used to risking life and limb to do right. She even sacrificed her relationship with her mom to do right, and even at that time showed some ability to make moral decisions apart from agency directives.
        Sarah could never be called an innocent. But I think there is more to admire in her character than scorn from the very start (of the show).

  9. thinkling says:

    So late to the party … sorry. Great discussion on Sarah and Wookiee. I’m just going to jump in somewhere.

    So far, we have a collision (the Pilot) followed by chaos (Helicopter), and then things settle into a rhythm of sorts (Tango), or a dance as Ernie drew out the metaphor. Now what? Well, some of the dance steps are complicated and unfamiliar to both of our protagonists, depending on the dance floor.

    This particular dance is all about knowing and being known. And about trust. It’s what the game in the beginning is all about, and to Sarah it’s a game. It’s also something she wants and thinks she’ll never have. I think her apparent enjoyment of the game is real, and it’s fun and comfortable because it is just a game, after all. Perhaps it emboldens her to make the foolish offer to answer Chuck’s questions. But his question wasn’t drawn from a stack of cards, and it wasn’t a safe question about sunburn or her favorite color. It was about the one thing that could jeopardize the entire mission.

    To Chuck, this is what people do. It’s what life and love and relationships are about … getting to know someone (and not by reading their file or planting bugs) and being know by them (gulp). To Sarah and any spy that is exactly what you don’t want, at least the being known part. Family and relationships are built on trust. The spy world runs on deceit, and survival depends on avoiding being known.

    I like how Ernie put it Chuck learns trust might have to happen at another level, that he might need to see the woman Sarah is rather than listen to her, or ask her. So Chuck has his mission cut out for him. Carina catalyzes a huge epiphany for him about the spy world and about Sarah … how she’s “not like that,” but even so, that is the world she has to survive in. So he sest about getting to know her, mostly through observation and friendship. Just by being himself he draws her in and gets behind her defenses, though he doesn’t know it until Cougars, the episode that bookends this one, at least with regard to the “knowing and being known” dance. In Cougars that part of their relationship turns a corner and gets better.

    Sarah gets a taste of how families and friends really work, but once it’s no longer a game, she’s out of her depth. She’s totally on the outside looking in. It’s poignant. We see that part of her wants this so badly … and with Chuck. Then there’s the other part of her that can’t have this a) because she never learned how (because of her dad and the CIA) and b) because she’s stuck in the spy world. So she begins doing her own observing. She watches Chuck and his family and friends … and Chuck with Lou. By watching them and responding, however subtly, to Chuck, she begins to learn about love and trust.

    Again, thinking of S5 and seeing how much she grew is stunning.

  10. joe says:

    This is clearly OT (for several months, at least!). But I can’t resist showing everyone the latest tweet from Mars – from Curiosity Rover.

    As Faith said, there are Chuck fans everywhere (or at least, Matrix fans).

  11. resaw says:

    Nobody has to play by my rules on this forum, but I am trying to watch the show with “fresh eyes” so to speak, and I’m more inclined to try to look at Sarah and Chuck as we see them four episodes into a new show. We know nothing of Sarah’s background, but we are learning some things about her along the way. We know as much about her as Chuck does at this stage. I don’t know that there is much we can say about her sense of personal morality at this point. She’s a CIA agent. She’s certainly been trained in the ethos of serving one’s country, even to the extreme of taking another’s life if necessary, or giving up one’s own life if it comes to that. We don’t yet know at this stage that she is a con-man’s daughter, do we? So far I see a determined person, but not a “follow orders, no questions asked” kind of operative. I also see someone who is in a quandary about her relationship with Chuck. I’m convinced that she wants to treat this decent guy fairly, and she finds his decency and relative innocence (naivete) endearing and attractive. But he’s the civilian asset and she’s the CIA handler, so although she can use the sexual attractiveness between them to control him, she must restrain the genuine feelings she is developing for him as a man. My take on it, anyway.

    I think it is also in this light that I interpreted the closing scene in what I think is the reasonable conclusion that Chuck did not hear Sarah say her middle name, nor did Sarah intend for Chuck to hear it.

    • joe says:

      Good strategy, Resaw. Look at it with fresh eyes.
      But Chuck (and therefore, we) know a little more than that – from Carina. Chuck found out that Sarah knew how to “love ’em and leave ’em”, as all spies must. Chuck knows by now about Bryce, and that this was something important for Sarah. He also knows that he doesn’t know everything.

      What we do know also, because we’ve been down this road before, is that Chuck will soon have to come to some conclusions about what he really, really wants. And that’s a biggie.

    • atcDave says:

      Resaw I agree with most of the first part of that completely. Although our re-watch here will absolutely be about evaluating things in the complete context of the series; in fact that’s part of the whole point. So although I see the appeal of watching with fresh eyes, the main perspective here will be a little different.
      As far as what we (or Chuck) know about Sarah I would mostly agree. We haven’t heard any backstory apart from tiny bits about her involvement with Bryce and what we got from Carina. Although I think from Carina we learned more about how Sarah may be different from other spies than like them.

      For what Chuck heard, your supposition was reasonable at the time, and probably what most viewers thought. In the greater context, it now looks likely Chuck did hear her, or as Jeff pointed out yesterday he may have acquired the information elsewhere. That may be one of those rare details that actually becomes less clear in the big picture.

    • Resaw, as much as I like looking at the early episodes in contrast to the later episodes, I also like the idea of at least one fresh eyed perspective. Just like it’s interesting to see Dave, Ernie, Joe, Thinkling, Faith, and everyone else’s take, it’s interesting to see that non-future omniscient take.

      (Chuckwin Law disclaimer) I’ll really like it when looking at the pre-Shaw episodes of season 3, which I don’t think should be tainted by what happened later.

      • atcDave says:

        You know I hated Pink Slip too…

        Part of the problem with that plan is we had heard so much about love triangles, Shaw and Hannah before a single episode ran that there really never was an unspoiled viewing for many of us (like me!)
        We didn’t know how deep it might go, and I remember trying to stay optimistic until Mask made it impossible. My “big picture” experience will be even more unpleasent than it originally was.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      While in principle I applaud your effort and strategy, it is a virtual impossibility for me. I try to remember and reflect on “fresh eyes” or try to imagine and convey what I think that perspective might be, but I’ve spent far too much time watching, thinking about, and writing about the overall themes, arcs and story to completely lose, ignore or be uninfluenced by what comes later.

      • resaw says:

        That’s probably where we differ, Ernie. Although I’ve watched the series from 1.01 to the latest episode (I think the systematic rewatching began at the end of season 3 when during the summer between seasons 3 and 4 I watched all 3 seasons on at least an episode-a-day “schedule”), I haven’t really watched them as reflectively or analytically as you have, Ernie, or Dave, or the other principals of this blog. This episode-by-episode review is in fact the first time I have tried to go beyond simple enjoyment of the story. I would not go so far as to say I am “pure” in my rewatching with fresh eyes, but I think I’m being reasonably successful in my goal.

        Jeff, I’ve seen the term “Chuckwin’s Law” used here before. Perhaps I haven’t looked hard enough but I have yet to come across a definition. Would you, or anyone else on this august blog care to elaborate, or point me in the right direction?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        And as memory serves, I’d agree, my first time through it was all about “wow, that was fun!” And even the second time it was just about recapturing the fun, but it started to sink in that I just really wanted to spend time in this world with these people. I already knew everything that was going to happen, I just wanted to get to know these people and share their triumphs and tragedies, and that’s when it really started to sink in that this show operated on more than one level.

      • atcDave says:

        “Chuckwin’s Law” is derived from “Godwin’s Law” about Internet discussions and Nazis (or Hitler). In this case we’ve adapted it to say any discussion about Chuck will end up being an S3 discussion with a probability nearing 1 the longer it goes.

        I’m pretty sure its mostly my fault.

      • I’m to blame for the name. Godwin’s Law is explained on Wikipedia and comes up on slashdot a lot. Congress doesn’t seem to know about it because they like comparing things to Hilter or the Nazis to sensationalize them. Citing it is supposed to end the discussion as it is getting absurb or out of line, but that doesn’t work with Chuckwin’s Law. Chuckwin is more of a disclaimer for people sick of S3 discussions. XKCD did a cartoon of the problem the WWII generals would have had if they had to stop when someone cited Godwin’s Law. Not talking about a significant chunk of Chuck would have similar problems.

        Some of other possible Chuck related laws were discussed here, but they didn’t catch on. Sarah’s Law hasn’t been sited by name, but it does come up occasionally. I didn’t even realize it, but chapter 7 of my current story comes close to Sarah’s Law.

      • atcDave says:

        I didn’t mean to take credit for its conception, only blame for most often providing the trigger…

      • I know. And we’re all a little bit to blame.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Personally, I blame Shaw.

      • atcDave says:

        Or Hitler…

      • Remember, even Hitler didn’t like the direction of season 3 or Shaw:

        [Edit: put in-line. Thanks, Jeff. – joe]

      • joe says:

        I was wondering when that video would show up here.

        😉

      • atcDave says:

        It does seem fitting just now. And it’s funny every time.

  12. resaw says:

    LOL. Well, in that case, Dave, I hereby reiterate my resolve to not discuss any episodes that we have not yet addressed in this particular series of episode-by-episode rewatches, and I will furthermore resist all temptations to analyze a show we are discussing in the context of a later episode that we have not yet reviewed. Once again, this is my personal rule that binds no one else but me.

  13. First Impression says:

    Had a little trouble with this one. My first impression of Carina was not good – too brash, too manipulative, too conniving. Coming just after Tango, it was unexpected. I also didn’t like that Chuck trusted this stranger over Sarah either.

    I know I’m showing my age, but I had a flashback while watching the scenes at Peyman’s beach house. It was straight out of Miami Vice! First the flyover with water rushing by, then Chuck at the pool party dressed as Crockett in the t-shirt and jacket, and Peyman (aka Mr. Speedo) with an uncanny resemblance to Izzy Moreno. Peyman even had the thick accent and ladies man act that was Izzy’s trademark. Of course Chuck made this funny with his various names for Peyman, i.e. the Wookie, the guy in the fuzzy sweater and the wooly mammoth.

    After reading the posts and watching it again, I’ve adjusted to the episode. I really appreciate what you guys have done to point out the good things I can take away because it really did help. But of the first four, it sits dead last with me.

    • joe says:

      Heh! I’ve been diving deep into season 5 for our re-watch, FI. But I have to admit, the comments about the S1 episodes make me wanna see them all over again.

      “Hello. My name is Joe and I’m a Chuck addict.”

    • atcDave says:

      I’d agree with calling both the episode and Carina an acquired taste. Chuck’s loss of confidence in Sarah really irked me. As I said above, I’ve come to most appreciate the character as a good bad example (!). More specifically I like how she stands in contrast to Sarah, and I really like earnest discussion Carina and Chuck have late in the episode. We will see her a couple more times, my favorite is her S4 appearance.

      The Miami Vice look is so funny. I think those sort of call backs are something they will consistently have fun with over the course of the series. So many call backs to old movies and TV shows.

      I am really enjoying this re-watch with you! And I like that you’re taking it a little slower than some, so we can actually talk our way through. I’m trying not to spoil anything (well, beyond what we do spoil in our posts!), but let us know if anything causes you concerns with continuing (I did have a couple friends I had to talk off the ledge!).

      • Christopher says:

        Dave,
        I disagree with you here, there are two things that come out of this episode. 1. Chuck is not afraid to tell Sarah how it is, we see something similar in Crown Vic 2. In the first two seasons, the relationship between Sarah and Chuck is built on lies. Let me explain,

        In the beginning of he episode, Sarah lies to chuck about her relationship with Bryce, which Carina heard this too. I understand that Sarah just found out that Chuck hated Bryce, but wouldn’t of it been less of a problem if she was just up front in the beginning rather than Chuck finding out from Carina. Remember Sarah did say to Chuck “trust me”
        This won’t be the last time either that Sarah lies to Chuck. The whole Mauser situation, which to be fair to First Impressions I wont divulge here about that.

        The other part is when the two are talking at the Wienerlicious, He calls her out on it when she attempted to cover up some more. “I thought you were suppose to be good at lying” I like this about Chuck, and this is why Chuck grows on Sarah so much so quickly. He sees through the B.S.
        We both know what he did in Crown Vic that makes me even more prouder of him. Much like Chuck needs to be set straight like in helicopter, Sarah needs it to in Crown Vic.
        Some of the other things I like about this episode is the flirting from Carina really bothers Sarah two scenes to prove my point. 1. at Peyman’s house: Carina puts her hand on Chuck’s shoulder and in the back ground you see Sarah’s expression of disapproval. 2. The scene were they are looking at the diamond and peyman takes Sarah to the painting. Sarah’s expression on her face was priceless/ wonder what Carina and Chuck were doing. I know the easy thing is Carina’s improvising was on her mind, but the eyes say otherwise. This is the first time in the series that you see how Sarah can’t stand other women getting all warm and cozy with him. I feel bad for Chuck too because lets play it straight here.
        There really was never going to be a chance for another woman to be involve with Chuck. Sarah’s feelings and jealousy would always be an issue, and Chuck may have liked Sarah, but he did not have feelings for her yet.
        What I also like is the scene where Sarah and Chuck are on a double date with Carina and Morgan and we get the first romantic touch from Sarah. Where she gentle rubs Chuck’s neck, which caught Chuck by surprise, and then the end when Chuck was trying to get Sarah to reveal something about herself.—Remember this is Day 21 of the mission log.

      • First Impression says:

        Thanks Dave! So far, so good. What I’m doing is watching an episode, reading the re-watch posts, then watching it again. I’ve decided not to follow all of the “Chuck This” blog posts until I have gotten through the series. Who knows how long it may take, but I do believe that it will be a great journey. (And maybe someday I’ll even be a true Chuck addict too!)

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah FI that’s probably a good idea. Should be fun!

  14. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Wookiee (1.04) | Chuck This

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s