Chuck vs The Sandworm (1.06)

Another average episode?  I think that’s a standard reaction to this episode.  The most lasting memories of this one may be Lazslo, a nightmare anti-Chuck character; and Sarah’s Halloween costume, which is almost an iconic image of Chuck, season one.

For some reason, the most lasting impression of “Sandworm”…

After the jump, let’s see if we can find a more enduring memory for the sixth episode of our favorite show.

Just like Sizzling Shrimp before, Sandworm is solid entertainment from beginning to end.  Chuck continues to struggle with balancing his new spy life with his normal life, and trust issues will rear their ugly head again, although perhaps with better cause than the last time.

The driving force of the story here is Lazslo.  There are some parallels with Chuck’s story; an unwitting CIA asset forced to do the government’s bidding.  Lazslo is also a genius, can be charming on occasion, and claims to want a normal life. But of course these parallels are false or misleading.  Lazslo has lived his adult life in a bunker for starters.  Later events may indicate Lazslo’s instability may have at least a little to do with him being locked away; of course we can never really know the cause and effect of that.

Just a normal, well adjusted weapon designer, off his meds…

But Chuck will feel strong compassion for the man; no doubt in part because he knows the bunker was also a threat in his case.  And when Lazslo proves to be completely correct about the level of surveillance Chuck is living under it raises immediate concerns.  It is true Chuck has precious little privacy; and much of the privacy Chuck thinks he has is false.  This will come up again in season two.

But Lazslo is not Chuck.  We will see he is manipulative, violent and a liar.  Chuck’s anxieties about surveillance will end abruptly when he realizes he needs Casey and especially Sarah.

We have interesting scenes for both agents in this episode.  Casey may be mostly comic and gives us the long remembered “Team Chuck’s fat kid” quip and the sandwiches on a desert island moment. Sarah will come across very well once again; she “handles” Chuck well as she explains and encourages, but I particularly like when she calms Chuck down and offers encouragement for his Buy More interview.

Chuck being handled

This is clearly outside of her job description.  Perhaps it could broadly be described as looking out for her asset’s well being, but I see it as something more personal.  She is helping Chuck deal with life like the friend she has become.

I think the various sub-plots work well in this episode too.  Morgan getting maturity lessons from Devon is very funny.  And they truly don’t seem to take; Morgan will do some serious growing up on this show, but not until later when he finds his own motivation for doing so.  Chuck’s job interview.  I know I was a little disappointed by the outcome; and I like to think if C.S. Lee hadn’t found another job that Harry Tang’s eventual downfall and self destruction would have been epic.  He was such a great character to hate.  Oh well, we all know that is part of the game for television.

What is the impact of “Sandworm” on the full series?  I think mostly not much, which is fine.  We learned a little about how the CIA treats bunkered assets and we learned some about the surveillance Chuck is under.  We saw trust issues come up again due to that surveillance; but I think we saw a more fitting reaction and resolution than we did last time (I’m still not a fan of Chuck’s snit from Wookie…)  This episode ends in a pretty comfortable place for Chuck, his friends, family and Sarah.  So even if its mostly “unremarkable”, it is an easy episode to just sit back and enjoy.

~ Dave

Joe’s Take – Every Little Piece Of Your Life Means Something To Someone

You’re right, Dave. Sandworm is an easy episode of Chuck – the word “gentle” comes to mind. I mean, the big concern is Ellie’s Halloween party and Chuck’s traditional (but disgusting) two-man “Sandworm” costume. Oh, there’s a bad guy beating up on Morgan. Lazslo Mahnovski absolutely destroys Morgan – in a game of “Guitar Shredder” at the pier, you remember, and then threatens Chuck with a water pistol, for Pete’s sake! How threatening is that? To paraphrase Casey, is he going to hurt Chuck with his mind or something? Harry Tang is a much bigger problem!

Seriously, there’s no existential crisis here. Chuck’s got things to worry about, certainly, like being promoted to assistant manager at the Buy More. It’s his big break, after all. And there’s the fake girlfriend situation.

I think we all simultaneously said “What’s up with this???” when Chuck found Sarah waiting for him in his bedroom. It was too soon. But maybe Carina was wrong when she said that Sarah didn’t know what she wanted yet? Yeah! That’s it! And was she – nervous? Maybe? Chuck was more than a little gratified when she presented him with a picture of the two of them at Comic-Con.

That was nice – sweet. And I did get a shove to try out Arcade Fire’s first album. ;). In actuality, Chuck never did play that for Sarah, but played The Weight of the World by The Editors instead. Good choice. The mood seems right. Maybe Chuck actually could get a little lucky.

There’s only one problem (you dreamer you). Chuck and Sarah had never been to Comic-Con. Chuck’s not close to “getting lucky” either. Ack! Not an existential crisis, but a disappointment for Chuck, none-the-less. I think it’s important to remember that, from the start, he’s always trying to tamp down his expectations as far as Sarah was concerned. Chuck is quite aware that nothing real was ever going to – to be – for them. You can just hear the inner monolog: “Too bad, Chuck. Pull up your big-boy pants and move on,” can’t you?

But back to Lazslo, something is not quite as it seems. Casey (and therefore, we) are shown what the prodigy is capable of doing with his mind – his CIA handlers found out too. The little demonstration in the Home Theater Room involving S.A.C. bombers sure convinced me that the man is dangerous (so props to Jonathan Sadowski). The man may be paranoid-insane.

Flies in the Ointment, Bugs in the Walls

Did you notice Chuck’s reaction? He’s scared, but trusts Casey and Sarah to get him out of that situation. They are the professional spies, after all. But what really affects Chuck down to his core is that Lazslo could be right when he raves about the CIA. It gets worse when he says “Trust your handlers exactly as much as they trust you.”. Those words have to echo in Chuck’s head like a bell of a medieval cathedral. Maybe they’re more like an alarm clock going off.

Chuck absolutely levels Casey with a verbal punch or three when he finds the bugs in his room. So much for trust; I don’t recall Chuck quite this angry before. Chuck’s next victim, after Casey, was his best friend. It’s time you grow up, Morgan. There are just some things in this world that are more important than “whale tails” and even more important than the Buy More.

Now it’s an existential crisis. As he’s telling Morgan to stop with the juvenile shenanigans, Chuck’s telling himself to stop being so naive and get with the program. It’s more of that inner monolog.

The tongue lashing sure has it’s effect on Morgan. Maybe it is time for him to grow up. It’s up to Devon to teach the little bearded man to tuck and to use “product”. But that’s superficial. Morgan trying to speak up on Chuck’s behalf (to corporate’s Mr. Mercer – this is the first of three times we meet him), even when Chuck appears to have abandoned everybody, is not. He’s not sure where his buddy has gone, but for all their history together, Morgan trusts Chuck to be where he needs to be.

Chuck’s no-where. He’s not a spy, he’s not the assistant manager, and he’s not going to let his feelings for Sarah get the better of him (again) either. Lazslo’s given Chuck a dose of reality and like Morgan, it’s time for him to grow up and be more hard-nosed. Funny that Sarah is much easier on Chuck than he is on himself.

Sarah: Hey. You look nice.
Chuck: Thanks. I feel like crap. I screwed up. I severely pooched the Lazslo situation last night.
Sarah: [Adjusting Chuck’s tie] Yeah, well, today you have a job interview.
Chuck: Do you – Do you think I care about making lower management at a Buy More? Are you kidding me? I aided and abetted the escape of the next Ted Kaczinski, Sarah. I just… I can’t believe that I – I was so wrong about that guy. No wonder you bugged my room. I’m an absolute idiot.
Sarah: You know – just because you trust people doesn’t make you an idiot.
Chuck: Yeah, well I should have trusted you guys a little more. I’m sorry.

Chuck’s verbal punches are aimed at himself this time, and Sarah knows it. Still, every time I see that scene, it hits me again that even while Chuck is saying the words, it’s Sarah who’s sorry for having planted the bug and for having broken his trust.

Casey and Sarah are off to get Lazslo, following the GPS in the herder that “somehow got turned back on.” But like the song said, every little piece of your life means something. The drawing Lazslo used to pay Chuck back for a midnight breakfast causes Chuck to flash on his real location, far from where Casey and Sarah can help. It’s such a little thing, but just like that, Chuck is the only one capable of doing something – anything – to stop the would-be terrorist.

What’s Really Important – Pancakes!

That drawing, the realization that Lazslo had lied about never having seen Goldfinger, Sarah adjusting Chuck’s tie – it’s surprising how the little things can be so important. It’s a roll of the dice sometimes. Chuck lost his chance to be the assistant manager at the Buy More. Unimportant. Chuck saving people (including Casey, Sarah and himself) by not believing Lazslo – important. Sarah bugging Chuck’s room – maybe less important than we thought. Sarah adjusting Chuck’s tie? Very important.

And what about Morgan? What about being there for his friends and family? Where does that fit in Chuck’s newly revised scale of importance? Chuck knows enough to make amends, and does by letting Morgan be the head in the Sandworm costume this time. When all is said and done, Chuck wants to save the world. He just isn’t going to let that come before his friends and family if he can help it.

Dave, you said (if I may paraphrase) that in the greater scheme of all things Chuck, this episode has no great impact. I understand that. But I think that’s because it doesn’t change the direction in which the show was headed. Instead, it’s more like it sets the course (appropriate for these early episodes). It establishes that in the face of his changing world, Chuck is not going to lose his head and chase after chimera (or Sarah, for that matter). He’s going to find a balance between “saving the world” – if he has to – and his friends and family – if he can.

What’s great about Sandworm is that, the moment Sarah tells Ellie that Chuck is “something of a hero”, we know she understands and admires that. Despite the sarcasm with which I wrote the first paragraph today, this is a gentle episode. They could have hit us over the head with danger and heroics and issues between Chuck and Sarah, all of which could have threatened to blow the whole thing up in a display of pyrotechnics. Instead, we get Sarah saying one word – “smile” – to give a real picture to Chuck.

That word again, Real. Chuck asked for something – anything – real in Wookiee, and we were all pretty sure that he didn’t get anything then. Sarah could barely whisper her real middle name when Chuck’s back was turned. Now, for the first time, she’s giving him something that is real freely, without reservation.

Perhaps it was another roll of the dice. If so, for such a small thing, it was an important one. Nothing can compare.

– joe

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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.
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141 Responses to Chuck vs The Sandworm (1.06)

  1. ref51907 says:

    -Great summary. I always just assumed that Sarah’s only role in actively planting the bugs Chuck found was the one in the picture of them at Comic Con. I assumed Casey planted the others because Casey’s apartment has audio set ups in it.
    -It’s the little things in the episode that matter, and those little things are extremely important to Sarah in regards to Chuck. I do believe that Sarah is lying to herself already about the relationship she has with Chuck. The first bedroom scene seems to indicate that she wants to give him more than she is allowed to. No one has ever asked her something that personal before, at least not any other spy or partner. The second scene indicates how she truly feels. She is not just playing the role of concerned, worried girlfriend, though I believe she would tell herself she is. If we look to the next episode ti informs us as to some of Sarah’s underlying motivations, and just how much she believes in Chuck, and how much she likes him, already.

    Erik

    • atcDave says:

      I agree with all of that Erik. I particularly liked Sarah;s pained/guilty look at seeing the picture she gave Chuck in the trash. She knew she was busted and she felt bad about it. She was already compromised, at least a little.

  2. ref51907 says:

    Sorry for double posting but I accidentally hit the post comment button. Anyway there was one more thing I always enjoy when watching this one. Morgan standing up for his best friend. Early Morgan was not one of my favorite characters but Morgan was awesome this episode. One of my favorite things about the entire show was when Morgan finally found out and we get to see more of Morgan and Chuck’s relationship while on missions as such. As for now, he’s just a little to whacky for me.

    Erik

    • atcDave says:

      In some ways, Morgan grew the most of any character on the show. The first season in particular, I didn’t like him very much. But as he grew, he grew on me too. The last couple seasons I mostly (mostly!) enjoyed his character.

  3. resaw says:

    Dave and Joe, thanks for your reflections. I’ve re-watched the Season 1 episodes multiple times and until now, I’ve always thought that Sandworm was among the better ones. This time, under the slightly more analytical gaze that this episode-by-episode review is inviting me to take, it came across, as you suggest, Dave, as average. My own reaction puzzles me. I even went to take a look at Alan Sepinwall’s old review from that period and he thought it was probably one of the best so far. I think my current response is because I’ve seen it so many times, it fails to provide anything substantially new. As you write, Joe, it is a gentler show, and one of its main roles this early in the series is to set the course for what lies ahead. We know what lies ahead already, so course-setting is no longer as exciting as it was in the fall of 2007. What it does do, though, is highlight issues of trust, the ambiguity in Chuck’s life, and the ambivalence he feels in response to it all.

    Joe, I appreciate the piece of dialogue between Sarah and Chuck that you inserted in your review. There it is again: Sarah finding an excuse to touch Chuck by adjusting his tie for his interview. But, the crucial part in that scene for me was the reaction in Sarah’s face when she hears that Chuck is aware that his room had been bugged, and in particular that he had discovered the bug she had planted in the fake Comic-Con photo.

    The Halloween party has its moments, too: the despondent Morgan alone with the Sandworm costume, while Ellie looks on in sympathy, followed by Chuck racing through the crowd while “Dice” plays on in a parody of The O.C (a show I never watched, by the way, so I only learned of the parallel from Sepinwall’s review). I guess Josh Schwartz was willing to poke fun at his previous work…. In particular, Sarah saving Chuck from Ellie’s disappointment over the outcome of the job non-interview was a classic line. For those not in the know, to say that Chuck was “something of a hero” meant something innocuous, of no great consequence except that it was personally meaningful for Sarah, and therefore something that Ellie could accept about Chuck because he is the kind of guy who cares more about his friends and family than he cares about himself. For those in the know, only Chuck and Sarah herself in this case, Chuck was quite literally a hero. How many more times did Chuck need to hear that from Sarah before he began to really believe in himself? Is this the first time she says that of him?

    Retcon? In this episode, Big Mike appears to really want Chuck to get the Assistant Manager job. Is it just in the next episode where Big Mike confesses that he had no choice but to give Harry Tang the job because he was “diddling” with his wife? Or are we to reconcile the two scenarios by suggesting that Big Mike was just pretending to want Chuck to have the job? And why was the Corporate HR guy’s role considered crucial in this episode if Big Mike appeared to have the final say in the subsequent episode?

    And a final shout out to the debate about the relative merits of the type of sandwich to take on a desert island. That was a great payoff from the earlier Chuck-Casey dialogue.

    • atcDave says:

      Some really good comments there Resaw. Even calling it an average episode, I only meant that in a good way; I enjoy average episodes of Chuck enormously and re-watch them often. I hadn’t realized it got such positive critical review, I only knew it scored in the lower middle of the pack on our various surveys. It does score a bit better than that with me, but that’s partly because I don’t like a few episodes that otherwise seem to be popular.
      I noticed that too about Big Mike, the corporate guy, and hiring the assistant manager. In later episodes, the manager seemed to have complete freedom to choose his own ass-man, and Lester getting the job wasn’t by any rational process at all. It’s one of those things though, where I think we’re over thinking the comedy of it!

    • joe says:

      Resaw, there are certain bits of dialog that just stand out in my mind, and that’s certainly one of them. But you’re right – it’s the unspoken stuff that’s almost more important. Sarah’s half-smiles, adjusting Chuck’s tie, the tears we don’t see when Sarah had to tell Chuck something real about herself – because she wants to…

      Chuck has his silent moments too, but we’re barely aware of them. It’s when he gets it into gear, like when he’s forming a plan. We didn’t see him prepare and send messages to Volkoff to imitate his father, but it’s a brilliant and integral part of the plan. We didn’t see him create the video in the van that tells Casey, Sarah and Morgan to not leave him behind (even though he explicitly told them to) but to get under the window instead. We don’t see him set up the A/V equipment to expose Shaw in front of the CIA and NSA with his own words. It’s like he turns on the afterburners at those times.

      And in a way, that’s what Sarah does too, except she does it emotionally.

      • Yeah, sometimes its the small Charah moments that are the best. And it’s cool that in this episode, it’s Sarah who gets lost in the fake relationship a little. One of the things I’m liking about rewatching weekly is that I’m building up a sense of anticipation again – I can’t wait to see Chuck in season 2 mode, devising his nutty plans on the fly again. The Volkoff endeavor is really the culmination of that, and you can see the seeds of it in season one – like the fireworks in Wookie

  4. Bill says:

    I enjoyed your thoughtful write-ups. Thanks.

    One thing I distinctly recall about watching this episode when it first aired was how hard my daughter and I laughed during the ejection seat scene. Chuck’s “girlish screams in the face of danger” were perhaps at their funniest here. And, the several extra layers of rubber on the soles of his Chuck Taylors still crack me up.

    Looking back at this episode from the perspective of later seasons, Chuck’s interaction with Sarah in Sandworm seems to echo his conversation with Morgan in Beard that he couldn’t, wouldn’t, and shouldn’t love her. But he did. And we knew it.

    Oh, and the Princess Leia costume scene: early iconic moment for sure.

    • joe says:

      Ah, thanks, Bill.

      Yeah – I laugh at the ejection-seat scene every time too. You almost want the two kids from the Pilot to reappear and say “Whoa! Computer emergency!” again. 😉

      Here’s a ret-con for you – Sarah in the Princess Leia costume! As late as S4 (Last Details – I should check that to be sure, but I’m being lazy this morning) Sarah still has no concept of Star Wars. She doesn’t know why Chuck is calling Casey “Chewy” as they’re going into the cave entrance to find Chuck’s mother. But here she knows full well how geeks and nerds react to that costume. Ha!

      Not that I’m complaining ’bout that, mind you…

      When we get The Beard I’ll keep in mind what you said about the conversation between Chuck and Morgan. That’ll be one of those details that adds nuance.

      • Erik says:

        Joe- I take the Princess Leia costume as a sign that either she has dealt with some other person in the past, maybe, Bryce, who knew Star Wars and our lovely Princess Leia. While she wouldn’t remember all the Star Wars characters, Sarah would definately remember ones that were high on Bryce’s list, and I’m sure Leia is. We will never know for sure but that is where I would place my bet.

        Erik

      • joe says:

        Could be. Bryce is more of a “Bond” type character, but he did tell Chuck that’s the millennium of the geeks.

        I suspect that Sarah was able to look up appropriate costuming for Comic-Con denizens in the CIA database and went with that. 😉

      • Erik says:

        Could be Joe. I am smiling becuase I didn’t even think about that. I was doing the Bryce angle b/c he was the thorn in Chuck’s side for the first two seasons with regards to the Chuck/Sarah personal dynamic. It would also help set the stage for the very final scene in the next episode.

        As a side note, I love how this show tended to do that. Put enough in most episodes that the conflict was contained within the episode, yet have a deeper meaning, and feel if you have the watched the previous episodes. No other show did that as well as this one.

        Erik

      • Star Wars Special Editions were released in 1997, when Sarah was a junior in high school. There’s a chance she saw them or at least heard other people talking about them in school. If she saw them once, she’s more likely to remember the costumes of virtually the only female character (Mon Mothma and some random A-Wing pilot) than the names of the aliens. She could just tell the CIA she wanted to look like that girl from Star Wars, and they would know what to make.

      • joe says:

        Yeah??!! Well I *still* think roast beef is perfectly fine on a desert island!!!

        So there! Nyah! ;P

      • atcDave says:

        Of course it’s also possible the CIA made and supplied the costume and Sarah had no clue what it was.

    • thinkling says:

      I agree with all of that Bill. It had been so long since I had watched Sandworm that I had forgotten the ejection scene … and I laughed out loud … so funny.

      I especially like what you said that he couldn’t, wouldn’t shouldn’t love her. But he did. And we knew it. I would say that Sarah is in the same boat, but she may not know it, and definitely can’t admit it, even to herself … yet.

  5. joe says:

    Hey! I want everyone to know how hard it was to get the right spelling of Lazslo! I believe, traditionally, it’s Lazlo, and IMDB has it Laszlo everywhere.

    I had to pause the DVD at Chuck’s flash to get the definitive version. At least, I think it’s definitive. Chuck’s flashes are never wrong, right?

    • aerox says:

      Chuck’s flashes are only as accurate as the next episode. And even then it’s still sometimes touch and go with what is and what isn’t canon without the show’s history talking itself into a massive vortex of timey wimey stuff.

      • joe says:

        Oh, the vortex isn’t that massive, Aerox. We’re a blue-pill kinda group here, so I think we can trust Chuck’s flashes. 😉

  6. joe says:

    Eric said

    As a side note, I love how this show tended to do that. Put enough in most episodes that the conflict was contained within the episode, yet have a deeper meaning, and feel if you have the watched the previous episodes. No other show did that as well as this one.

    Oh yeah. That’s my mantra, exactly.

    Aerox above makes a good point, that Chuck played pretty fast and loose with the facts and even with the canon. That’s okay. From what I can tell, TPTB did a lot better that way than most shows. For instance, on NCIS, Gibbes has something like 50 rules, several of which they’ve given. But there are two rule #1s and two rule #3s. Now that‘s a continuity problem! 😉

    But with the emotional content and with the “deeper meanings”, it stays true. Sarah told Chuck in season 3 that she fell for him sometime after he fixed his phone and before he started disarming bombs with computer viruses. Watching the pilot again, you can tell she’s right.

    And then there’s the scene(s) on the beach.

    • ref51907 says:

      Especially Sarah. Yvonne did such a fantastic job portraying Sarah’s emotions with nothing more than a look, or wink, or a sudden hitch in her breathing, or some other form of body language. She is an immensely talented actress.

      Erik

  7. I think you guys are a little hard on this episode. One of the things that really stands out for me is that it really shows Chuck’s nerd side – something surprisingly few episodes do. That sweaty old sandworm costume is great, as is his refusal to listen to Ellie’s criticism of it. Then, Chuck finds a guy who’s been trapped in an underground bunker his whole life. If you were in that situation, what would you do? Disneyland? The Grand Canyon? Try to get laid? If you’re Chuck, you watch Bond movies.

    Plus, this is a standalone episode with a lot of great standalone scenes. Like Bill said, him getting ejected from the car was amazing, and one of the cooler effects they did (makes you wish they had money over the last three seasons). Lazlo sticking him up with a water gun was also good, and come on, what beats a Jessica Alba sandwich on a deserted island?

    But the most ridiculous scene is the slow run Morgan and Chuck do towards each other at the end. They ripped it right out of a romance make up/finding each other scene, and made it as over the top as they possibly could. It’s not a top-ten episode or anything, but it’s definitely in the upper half, and its one of the episodes where even if you’ve never watched the show before, you could step right into it and appreciate everything going on here.

    • atcDave says:

      I’m not sure what you mean by “hard on this episode”? I think we both liked it a lot. Average only means its middle of the pack quality-wise. For an outstanding show, average means outstanding. Just as I said for Sizzling Shrimp, Sandworm was by far my favorite thing on television the week it first ran, and I’ve enjoyed re-watching it many times. But it generates little buzz or discussion, polls middle of the pack when we do such things, and doesn’t have a great deal consequence in the grand scheme of things.

    • I would probably put Sandworm in my bottom 3 of season 1, every episode of season 1 is in my top half. It only looks lesser by comparison to the other great episodes of the season. It’s still a good, fun episode.

      This episode did two important things for me. It established that while Morgan might screw up and be a little weird sometimes, he is the type of loyal friend that everyone wants to have. Also, it made the bunker threat more real, which in turn strengthened the threat in Marlin at the end of the season.

      It seems like a lot of people who don’t like Morgan don’t like Sizzling Shrimp (top 20 for me) and this one. I guess some people don’t realize the importance of knowing the appropriateness of cold cuts in a tropical region.

      One parting factoid… Not that the show cared about the space time continuum, but Burbank to the Santa Monica Pier is over 24 miles. That’s one impressive bike run, under pressure with a ticking bomb.

      • joe says:

        Jeff, didn’t Chuck do the Kessel run in under 12 parsecs? (or somethin’ like that)

      • The incorrect units where retconned to be correct units in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Normally the Kessel Run is 18 parsecs to avoid Imperial patrols and a cluster of black holes. If a ship is fast enough or Chuck is pedaling Morgan’s bike powered by Iridium-6, it’s possible to travel closer to the black holes and shorten the distance: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Kessel_Run

      • atcDave says:

        Joe and Jeff are making my head hurt again…

      • Ernie Davis says:

        A parsec is a unit of distance, 3.26 light-years, not time. Lucas was plain old sloppy. Any astronomy or physics undergrad could have corrected him for the price of a two topping pizza. It bothers me to this day. Even the ability to warp time, or to cover distance faster than others should be expressed in time, not distance.

      • The idea is the that a fast ship can pull away when closer to the gravity wells of black holes. Slower ships would get caught and not be able to escape. By flying closer to the black holes and not detouring around them, the distance traveled is shorter. The shorter distance would make the trip take less time. However, time distortion effects would probably outweigh the benefits–time moves more slowly near black holes. I remember correctly, they ignore that effect.

        I think that sloppy attempt to cover the mistake using books written 17 years later (Kevin Anderson’s Jedi Academy series) is kind of funny. The special edition movies, DVD releases, and BluRays all made little changes here and there (Chuck didn’t kill somebody, I mean, Han didn’t fire first!), but they didn’t change 12 parsecs to something like 12 hours because a (silly) excuse had already been invented.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I suppose since we’re talking about faster than light travel anyway I shouldn’t be such a stickler, but it still strikes me as a relatively minor yet annoying lapse and a far more annoying and lame attempt to make it seem like it was intentional. And Darth Vader was always Luke’s father and we’re mistaken if we think Han ever shot first.

      • atcDave says:

        And Leia was always Luke’s sister too…

      • Ernie Davis says:

        At least Schwedak has the excuse that they were told Other Guy was the end, than had to scramble to find another villain for another finale or bring back Shaw. And they did follow the appropriate trope to do so… And I know opinions vary, but I thought Shaw worked well.

        With Lucas he actually lessened Han and retroactively made Luke and Leia creepy in both Star Wars and Empire. I’ll defer on the whole “I am your Father thing” since that sort of worked. “There is another”, meh.

        And don’t get me started on the freakin’ Ewoks.

      • atcDave says:

        Ewoks are the only one of the Star Wars things that actually bothered me much (I’m fine with naturally cute; manufactured cute not so much…).

        I would sort of agree about Shaw; he worked better as a villain than he ever did as an ally. Two ways of improving his initial role; either make him more of a hero and less of a jerk (better mentor to Chuck; and no love triangle); or go with the total tool we saw but have Chuck, Casey and Sarah (especially Sarah) see him for exactly what he is (an unwanted burden sent from Washington that they need to work around not with).
        But all things considered, he was a more passable baddie than he ever was an ally. Except, bringing him back undermined the one time Chuck would use deadly force. Of course we all know (and knew) what will push Chuck to doing so, but it bothers me a bit that one of the biggest Chuck hero moments was later trivialized.

      • joe says:

        Dave, I realize that this is really not the point you wanted to make and *really* tangential to this conversation, but just today I had a passing thought and what you said just triggered it again.

        [Have] Casey and Sarah (especially Sarah) see him for exactly what he is (an unwanted burden sent from Washington that they need to work around not with).

        What hit me this morning is that we spent all of season 1 and 2 thinking (…making, really) Chuck and especially Sarah perfect people in our minds. This was despite all the flaws they (and Schwdak) showed us right from the start.

        I think it’s natural and even expected that we idealize the characters. But I wonder sometimes if the fandom (read – me!) overdid it. Then my mind jumps to wondering if Schwdak (okay, Fedak) realized that and intentionally made their flaws more visible, more in-our-face.

        Maybe that’s too clever by half, but it would sure account for Hannah’s last big speech to Chuck (“You are NOT a nice guy!”) and Sarah’s blindness wrt Shaw.

        Okay. That discussion will be had in the future, when we get to S3. Carry on.

      • atcDave says:

        Well the idealized hero conversation is always appropriate for Chuck. We all did see great things in Chuck and Sarah. To me, that’s what made the show fun and the characters so likable. I don’t care so much about realistic, I want to admire and respect my protagonists (My wife and I just decided to delete Covert Affairs because we no longer cared for the heroine). Now it may be true we all idealized the characters more than the writers wanted us to, or perhaps they thought they were providing great drama by suddenly breaking from the admirable characters we all fell in love with in the first two seasons. But I don’t give a rip about great drama, I watch to have a good time. And tearing down the characters I love will NEVER equate with good entertainment for me. So when Hannah says “You are not a nice guy…” I don’t disagree with her at all. I’m simply POed that the show and character I used to love have sunk to be such a skunk. And I don’t tune in to see a skunk, I tune in to see good people fighting long odds to do great things.
        I’m okay with the occasional set back. And I think we saw quite a few of those in the first two seasons. I usually complain about them, because I don’t like those moments. But as long as it all comes out in the end I can take in stride. Just like when we re-watched Wookie a couple weeks back. I wasn’t nuts about the moment Chuck was a jerk, and I said so. But overall I can like the episode because the good outweighs the bad. We will come, in a few months, to that series of episodes where there is no relief for several months on end. That is a lot harder for me to take. The show sunk to a depressing pit during that period. We end up with seven episodes in 13 weeks I can’t even bring myself to re-watch, ever. Whether that constitutes a realistic low point or not, I consider it lousy entertainment I won’t go through it again. Although I do seem to find bellyaching about it to be great fun!

      • jam says:

        “We will come, in a few months, to that series of episodes where there is no relief for several months on end.”

        Heh, yeah. I’m pretty sure I’ll stop checking out this site when the re-watch reaches S3. I have no desire to discuss that dark period, or read other people desperately trying to find something positive to say.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        We won’t even get into the pre-trilogy … Freakin’ Jar Jar Binks (sigh).

        Since we’re firmly into the final stages of Chuckwin’s Law (and I blame Sh@w) I’ll give you my take where they went wrong with Shaw. First, they needed to realize that this character was joining the cast for the season, not a guest star, so stunt casting Superman should be a nonstarter. To succeed Shaw had to be both sympathetic as a character and believable as a partner for Sarah. Brandon Routh has taken enough heat for wooden acting, so I’ll just say he had little chemistry with the rest of the cast, and this show ran on the chemistry of the cast. Chuck’s cast are all incredible with their ability to sell the subtle gestures and flesh out a scene or a character with just the expression on their face. Routh was a poor fit for such a cast. Compare with some of the other long-term guests like Timothy Dalton (which is hardly fair) or Carrie Ann Moss. They managed to enter that world rather seamlessly whereas Routh seemed to constantly be struggling. Not all of that was his fault, because I believe there is a conceptual flaw with Shaw.

        One of the cardinal rules of writing is that every character has to want something. What did Shaw want? They could have hung his motivations on revenge, which they sort of weakly did, but you needed to see it from the start. Why did he join Team B? Because they were the team that brought down Fulcrum, and he would use them to bring down the people who killed his wife. It had to be there, displayed, expounded on and driving his every action, so that when it is revealed Sarah was the instrument of his wife’s death his turn to the dark side makes sense. In this way he can push Chuck in ways that Sarah and Casey never would, having little of the sympathy and affection they’ve developed for him. That role was poorly executed, and then pretty much abandoned between First Class and Final Exam. It also allows him to drive the wedge between Chuck and Sarah that keeps them apart for the requisite time they wanted. But it becomes problematic because it makes his interest in Sarah almost impossible to sell.

        From the beginning they created a character that wanted two things, and sold each weakly, making him obvious for what he was, a plot device. So they had to dial back on how much Shaw could push Chuck, lest Sarah’s interest in Shaw make her even less sympathetic, and Shaw’s interest seems out of place if he is driven by avenging his dead wife. There was a way to possibly thread the needle. Make Sarah the pursuer, which is tough to do, but doable.

        First make it a lot more obvious that after First Class Sarah was scared off from trying to fix things with Chuck. She’s afraid of turning out like Shaw (who could be made a lot more sympathetic with a better sense of what he lost than one scene watching a Bartowski family dinner and another saying we made the same mistake). She also sees that Shaw will be pushing Chuck to toughen him up, and that she can’t do that if they’re trying to repair things. She gives up so Chuck can get the future she thinks he wants. If you lose Shaw’s initial pursuit in Mask, which came off as creepy to a lot of people, leave in Chuck and Sarah’s jealous tiff, take out the we’re going to die confessions of attraction, making it into a discussion of the toll the life takes on them, leave Chuck’s impression that they are somehow a couple and then go to Sarah’s I’ll be in your way/I don’t want to hold you back speech. Start Fake Name with a Sham talk about Chuck and how she’s holding up (maybe have Sarah admit she was in love with Chuck in the Castle lock down last week, she concedes it is taking a toll, he gives sympathetic support, admitting that being such a loner is tough on him too). So established as confidants and support when Sarah has her breakdown over Chuck both changing and taking up with another woman, Shaw’s initial support is just pure sympathy, but Sarah escalates it to something more. Shaw responds after mild resistance. Leave out the name reveal, it gains you nothing, even though I understand why they did it. Sarah’s need for someone in her life she can talk to leads her to confuse her feelings for Shaw, and her keeping Shaw attached to her hip prevents her from having to deal with a Chuck she finds harder and harder to face.

        The rest can go pretty much as written.

      • joe says:

        Heh, yeah. I’m pretty sure I’ll stop checking out this site when the re-watch reaches S3.

        Awww – Jam, we’ll miss you! Really.

        But desperate? Me??? Naw. But you’re right that I’m going to point out some positive things – I have no trouble finding those gems shining in the otherwise dark narrative. Seen ’em, even in the worst of it.

        Of course, I’m one of the strange ones who asked for something specific of the creators and writers – to feel something – and who recognized that I got exactly what I ask for.

        Gotta remember to be careful with that…

      • atcDave says:

        Jam if its any consolation I really won’t find much positive to say about most of S3. I remember well when the episodes ran, trying to make sense, give them the benefit of the doubt, and be optimistic for where it was heading. In spite of not liking what I was seeing each week. But now in hindsight I am far less sympathetic. They pretty much did the worst thing I could have imagined them doing. If anything, I loathe S3 more in hindsight than I did at the time. My interest in continuing these posts is mostly about completeness; but for several episodes my own commentary will be more about providing a space holder than anything we actually see on screen. Of course there are some things relevant to the series even in those dark episodes; particularly related to Casey and Morgan’s growth. So we will continue.

        Ernie you know the problem with all that you describe is that anything that continued Chuck and Sarah’s estrangement as long as the show did is of zero interest to me. It doesn’t matter if they could have done it “better.” It’s like arguing the best way of totaling your car. I could have been perfectly happy with either of the alternatives I suggested; that is making Shaw a real mentor to Chuck and eliminating any romantic pursuit of Sarah entirely. I think this would have been an excellent time to do a secret/real relationship sort of story. Chuck and Sarah trying to be together and have something real, while she helps him cope with training and work demands (gee, just like significant others really do for each other…) Could have been a fun story, and the bonus is we would have actually cared when Shaw went bad instead of breathing a sigh of relief.
        The other possibility is have Shaw be the total jerk. That could be played more for laughs. And the part and performance wouldn’t have been too much different from what we saw, except Chuck and especially Sarah are on to him the entire time. Basically make Casey’s initial judgement of Shaw the theme of the season. Its not like a difficult jerk of a character is that far out of the show’s normal style. And then it might have been very satisfying to have him pursuing Sarah while she constantly struggles with not killing him.
        But I firmly believe nothing keeping Chuck and Sarah apart as long as they were would ever work for a large number of us. There is no tweak that could make that story worth watching for me.
        Just to make the Chuckwin’s/Godwin’s parallel complete; there’s a Hitler quote that applies to S3 for me: “I’d rather have several teeth extracted than go through that again!” Although the tooth extraction might be necessary, S3 was not. And I would not choose to go through that again. And I don’t think I’d want to discuss politics with Francisco Franco either (the cause of the Hitler quote).

      • Mel says:

        I don’t think the Shaw/ Sarah thing can be excused or explained in any way. It was character destroying, and the only way to continue watching and still like Sarah was to act like it never happened. Pretty much every Chuck viewer I personally know (with whom I’ve talked about it) treat it like that.

        The same can be said about what Chuck went through, though it wasn’t quite as bad.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I mostly agree Mel. Except that I see Chuck and Sarah’s actions as being equally repugnant. They pretty much destroyed everything that was wonderful about both characters. I also just ignore it. The only thing of consequence in the main arc is Morgan learning Chuck’s secret. They even start Honeymooners with Chuck and Sarah running away together like Sarah wanted to do in Pink Slip. So I just figure we almost skip straight from Ring to Honeymooners. Works for me!

      • Don’t forget that Alex was introduced. The Generalissimo too.

      • atcDave says:

        Alex was introduced after Honeymooners (I usually refer to S3.5 as a separate entity).

        But yeah Goya was great. He was one of the few bright spots for me in S3. I really liked Angel of Death. Even with the overall direction of S3, that episode falls at a time when it was easy to believe the worst might already be past. Its hard for me to re-watch it now because of that back drop, otherwise it would be one of my all-time favorites.

      • You must have blanked it out, Dave, but Alex was in Chuck vs the Tic Tac, 3×10.

      • Completely agree with what Joe said. If Chuck and Sarah don’t have flaws, then they’re not people. They’re not even characters anymore so much as caricatures of stale archetypes. And Chuck’s flaws are part of what makes him an admirable hero in the first place – his naivete, his over-emotional though processes, his general clumsiness – his learning how to manage these flaws is part of what makes him special.

        And more importantly, the pairing of their flaws is what makes the Chuck and Sarah (and Casey) dynamic so special in the first place. Chuck isn’t an idealized hero. He’s a smart guy who’s a bit of a “dipshit” (Fedak’s words). And the tearing down of the characters wasn’t great in and of itself, but it serves to make the build up even more satisfying.

        I completely agree about the Hannah arc (much worse than Shaw’s), but I never thought that was the problem with season 3. I can see Sarah sleeping with the Superstiff after Chuck as a rebound attempt. The real issue of that season was that they simply broke the two up to stretch out the tension another half-season. And it broke the show. People complain about Shaw, but the show failed in its premise for the season. You can’t let us see the main characters get together, and then break them up through a flashback so badly they’re not on speaking terms. It’s just a crappy (and lazy) thing to do to your audience. Everything else was just collateral damage.

        But aside from the flawed premise, most of the episodes themselves are pretty good. And five of the top ten episodes of the show come from that season. There are lows too (I have a very hard time with the first two episodes). I don’t think the Shaw arc was bad at all, just placed in part of a bad sequence of events.

        Point being, one of the most special things about Chuck is that it could really successfully navigate a host of emotions. Chuck isn’t the greatest comedy, action show, romance, or drama around, but it did all of these things with remarkable dexterity. And yes, that means that sometimes, Chuck does bad things and makes mistakes. In Hannah’s case, that means that he accidentally hurt somebody because he wasn’t ready to be in a relationship yet. I’ve done it, and I’m sure a lot of others have too. But he never set out to hurt her or cheated on her. He made a mistake that was compounded by the life he lead (one where he sacrificed everything for something he believed in). He wasn’t being a jerk at all – he just got caught in an impossible situation (caused by weak plotting, Fedak!).

      • atcDave says:

        Oh yeah, my bad Jeff. Blanked it out might be exactly right! Although Tic Tac is mostly a good episode, but like Angel of Death it’s sort of undone by the greater context.

      • atcDave says:

        Wow Arthur, I don’t think we can watch the same things at all. I just wanted to smack Chuck for most of S3. I can deal with flaws, as I said before, I always see them as flaws and don’t like those moments, but such is life. But Chuck crossed the line into total toad for much of S3. I find Sarah no more sympathetic. And 5 of the ten best?! Honeymooners is the episode I’m still completely enthusiastic about, certainly the only one I would put on a top ten or top twenty list.

        Oof, S3 makes me angrier now than it did then!

      • atcDave says:

        BTW, I am all for characters with a realistic assortment of flaws and quirks. But I saw S3 as going into grotesque characature. You’re setting the bar pretty low if Chuck sleeping with Hannah on their first date, mere weeks after telling Sarah he loves her, constitutes a “realistic” flaw. I have had friends behave in similar contemptable fashion, but I would never consider those individuals admirable or role models of any sort. I also wouldn’t choose to watch a show about any of their lives. I’m far more impressed with those who can behave according to good principles and values. Not only are those the people I’d rather watch a show about; but I had been under the impression Chuck was such a respectable and principled individual through the first two seasons of the show. S3 broke Chuck for me. Although I was able to regain some affection for the show eventually, I never considered Chuck to be someone I could relate to like I did before.
        I was equally disappointed in Sarah. I had previously thought her quiet strength and loyalty were beautiful things. And although her actions were less overtly repellent to me than Chuck’s, she also got too involved for too long with a character she was actually not interested in. I know people who have made similar decisions. They always strike me as sad, broken people. Not the sort of person I want to watch a show about.

        As always. Part of what angers me about Chuck S3 is that I was already too invested in the show to just delete it. I do not normally watch such soap operas.

      • uplink2 says:

        Well surprise surprise I agree with Dave here. The set up in Pink Slip was so obviously forced and contrived that from that moment on I knew I was doomed to not enjoy the show I had been anxiously awaiting for 8 months. I’m with him in that I have no interest ever to revisit that period other than to bellyache about it. I also agree that in hindsight and upon further analysis it is even worse than I felt at the time. Because in the final analysis, with all that they went through, they, Chuck and Sarah, changed very little from all of it. So I like Dave chose to ignore it and think that the train station Sarah asked Chuck to meet her at was in Paris and not Prague.

        I do agree however with much of what Ernie said. There were things that could have been done to make it better like have Hannah be a Shaw plant, but what to me at least was absolutely necessary was to completely drop the pathetic trapezoid LI story. As long as that element was there it screamed contrivance and I wanted no part of it. As he said Routh simply could not pull off the character they wrote, admittedly poorly, for him. To me they failed him and the Shaw character right from the very first scene we even learn about him, the scene with Beckman in Three Words. By the director focusing on the lighter it immediately gave him a creepiness that he never lost. So if you are going to do that then make him creepy from that point on. Don’t try to change what you had established right at the beginning. He never came across as sympathetic in any way and Sham never once felt real or honest. We never knew his motivations for pursuing Sarah, outside the obvious, and could never ever see what Sarah saw in him. It all just screamed plot device and all I cared about was when would he be gone for good and how painful his death would be.

        I do differ with Dave in that I don’t think they had to put Chuck and Sarah together at the start of season 3 and there were many other reasons to keep them apart that would have made you feel they earned Honeymooners. But the LI part of the story doomed everything in what should have been a great story of Chuck trying to become a spy and Sarah struggling with helping Chuck face it and her own fears and dislike for the life he was choosing. Give us those great season 2 moments with Chuck and Sarah like when Chuck had to burn Manoosh instead of keeping her away to foster the absurd LI story. But you can’t have Sarah help Chuck if he is going to screw Hannah next episode and Sarah is going to screw Shaw an episode later.

        In the end the season was doomed because they chose to extend the WTWT with another round of pointless LI’s that it became so obvious that it was driving the characters instead of writing a believable story. There was a great darker story to tell in season 3 but any of the good we did get will always be overshadowed by the god awful we also got.

      • jam says:

        I don’t think they had to put Chuck and Sarah together at the beginning of S3, but bringing in other love interests was the biggest mistake the show ever made. Many fanfic writers have embarrassed Fedak by doing things so much better, my favorite S3 fixes are Crumby’s Rogue Spy and ninjaVanish’s C&S vs Themselves. Both have Chuck and Sarah wanting to be together, but the circumstances keep them apart for a little while longer.

      • atcDave says:

        I think they could have made some obstacles work in S3, but not internal ones so much. I think S2 spelt the end of those working for me. S3 could have worked with Chuck and Sarah fighting to be together, in fact some of that would have been a good thing. Because what we got was too much like them settling for each other.

        But any form of love triangles was doomed to failure. There is no way to tell such a story an keep the main characters sympathetic. They both looked like flakey teenagers. (I’m not slamming all teenagers! Just flakey ones).

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I just have to say that there is a very reasonable and legitimate reason to keep Chuck and Sarah apart until 3.13. That was the end of the show, and they lived happily ever after. In some ways it’s a no-brainer. Go out on a high note. Now, the mechanics of how that happens are another matter, which is what I was interested in and opining on.

        I know some people find no entertainment value in the personal failings and subsequent growth that I absolutely require in a story, but that’s not what I was trying to discuss.

        While season 3 may not be the best season (season 2 with season 5 only losing because of the failure to payoff on a grand conspiracy) or the most enjoyable (season 4 with season 2 possibly tying and only losing because I hadn’t really cracked the code on how to watch till season 4), I think it may be the most important season for the characters, where we really got to know them and why they actually needed to be together to be the best version of themselves. The groundwork was laid in season 2, season 3 was the growing pains and the painful transition, 4 and 5 were pure payoff for me, but they couldn’t happen without the front 13 of season 3 as far as I’m concerned.

        So I continue to find them an important topic, though I understand a lot of people don’t.

      • uplink2 says:

        Ernie, if I may ask you what lessons did either of them learn from the contrived LI storylines? What lessons did Hannah teach Chuck that he hadn’t already learned from Lou and Jill? Was his love for Sarah any different or more intense after Hannah than it was during Colonel and Ring 1? No it wasn’t. What lessons did Shaw teach Sarah that she hadn’t learned from Bryce and to a lesser degree Cole? To me at least in both cases, they learned absolutely nothing on a personal level from the season 3 LI’s. The growth of the characters only came from Chuck’s journey to becoming a spy and Sarah watching the man she loved change and deal with a life that she no longer wanted or was fulfilled by. There was a great story there that needed to be told and I agree that in many ways they shouldn’t have been fully together till they had that growth. But the misguided and contrived relationship trapezoid that all of this great story was wrapped up in and shrouded under for me at least and I believe a very large part of the fanbase, completely destroys any interest of mine in rewatching or looking for that necessary dramatic story.

        It’s not simply because I wanted them together, its more because it was so obviously false, poorly conceived, poorly cast and completely unnecessary. You may say the growth was all necessary and I agree but I can’t stand to look for that story underneath all of the garbage going on around it. The LI element of season 3 is the rotten apple that spoils the whole bunch. I refuse to look for the necessary story because the unnecessary one is so ugly. It was a dismal failure and it took down some enjoyable moments so much that I can simply never get myself to watch any of it again. It was all so obviously phoney and it took away any enjoyment for me of what could and should have been a fantastic story I had been waiting 8 months to see.

      • atcDave says:

        I think the love triangles are what will always make S3 such a sore spot. As I’ve said many times; there was the hint of a good idea there (Chuck’s growth into the spy world), had it been told in another way I might have bought into it. I don’t believe I would have enjoyed any romantic obstacles; but at this point we’ll truly never know. They told the story in a way that infuriates me as a manipulative, cynical cliche.
        Had they come up with obstacles that didn’t make both leads look like false hearted flakes I might have felt differently. Like maybe Chuck in a semi-bunkered high security life where Chuck and Sarah only had carefully regulated contact….
        Naw, that still sounds no fun.

        I think a significant impasse may be that some of us simply require completely different entertainment from others. Ernie when you talk about what you like and want it typically sounds awful to me.
        Although we do agree entirely about S4, beautiful season. S5 was in some ways even better; but in others… (too many darker episodes with inadequate pay-off in the end).

      • uplink2 says:

        I agree Dave, the LI story of season 3 is the equivalent of Jerry Seinfeld’s car BO. The stench gets on everything that it comes in contact with and never goes away. So the best thing is to sell the car and simply never ride in it again.

      • Bill says:

        Danger: toxic S3 outburst sighted on ChuckThis Blog!

        I propose that we make a pact NOT to discuss the many failings of S3 until we get there. I’m having too much fun with this re-watch to go there just yet.

      • joe says:

        Ooof – and at a Cat-3 level, too! Sigh.

        I *tried* to steer people away from that, Bill. I tried! (But it’s still my fault! I started it ;( )

        How about a safe topic? Who here thinks the Republicans should have nominated Sarah Palin?

        No NO! Wait wait wait! I’M JOKING!!!!!

      • Bill says:

        Run to the light, Joe! Run to the light!

      • So much Chuck discussion! I love it. But Dave, I don’t want to go in circles. I will say that the mid-season 3 finale is second only to the season 5 finale as my favorite television episode ever. The moment when they can finally admit that they love each other in spite of it all was simply what made the show special. It was not only the best moment of the series, it defined the unconditionally positive tone of the show going forward. That and the Beard are really what saved the show, quality-wise. And I think it was better after The Beard than it ever was before it.

        And as for Hannah, Sarah rejected him, and he slept with a beautiful woman who didn’t. They weren’t in a relationship, and they didn’t do anything wrong, let alone “repugnant,” unless you hold monogamy views from the 13th century.

        But I don’t see the problem with Shaw. He got assigned to Team B to carry out the revenge plot he’d dedicated his life to. Sarah’s hot, so he wants to go out with her. And newsflash, 99% of women in the world would’ve dated him, stiff or not. He’s an absurdly handsome, high-ranking CIA agent. Sarah never really fell in love with him or anything, because he had all the personality of polished leather. He was just a nice rebound from a guy she was trying to move on from, and convenient. And besides that, he was an awesome villain; the second-best of the series. I wish the endgame of season 5 had been written for him.

        I think uplink makes a good point: it was all unnecessary to begin with. Look, I don’t want to apologize for season 3 – I actually stopped watching the show after the first episode. The entire premise was a ridiculous attempt to stretch out a problem they’d already solved. But the characters themselves didn’t do anything wrong once that premise had been set up. Given the choices made at the beginning of the season, they acted like you’d expect people like them (emotionally bruised 20-somethings who’d hurt each other) to do in a situation like that.

        Five of the top ten episodes of the series (in order): The Other Guy, The Honeymooners, The Beard, The Ring Part II, and The Subway.

        Other great episodes: The Fake Name, Angel de la Muerte, Operation Awesome, Tic Tac, and American Hero (The defining moment of the Casey/Sarah relationship). And maybe even First Flight (for all the hate, he and Hannah had good chemistry in their first meeting, he beat Stone Cold, Morgan takes down Lester’s fight club, and he brought nunchucks.)

        The Bad: Pink Slip, Three Words, Final Exam, The Tooth, and the Mask. Pink Slip being the worst ever.

        And the rest was fairly meh.

        People get so caught up in a couple bad threads that they miss the great amount of awesomeness that season acheived. More of Chuck’s best (and worst) episodes come from season 3 than any other (I’ll admit, I’m not a huge season 2 fan).

      • atcDave says:

        Sorry, I just don’t see much awesomeness there. I did not, and do not enjoy most of S3. I don’t care to excuse or explain either character’s behavior, I simply don’t enjoy watching it. I know what I like, and S3 failed me on pretty much every level. Chuck generated four of the best seasons of television I’ve ever seen. But Honeymooners is the only real standout of S3 for me. I can skip the rest of it. There were some other good moments during the season, but they are mostly ruined by the depressing backdrop of the big picture. Even episodes like Angel of Death, Beard and Tic Tac that have some wonderful moments are undone by the big picture.

    • joe says:

      What they said, Authur! Every time I hear the music from this episode (especially “Dice”) I flash back (emotionally) to it.

      Great episode that stands in even greater company!

    • ChuckFanForever says:

      A Sarah Walker sandwich on a deserted island? 😉

  8. resaw says:

    I will not talk about season 3… I will not talk about season 3… I will not talk about season 3… So, instead I will just mention that, with Dave, I decided to stop watching Covert Affairs as well. Annie Walker is no Sarah Walker. Let me say just a little about season 3: I am looking forward to the reviews. I liked it. It was among my favourite seasons. I’ll even go so far as to say that the flaws and messed-up relationships are what made it great TV. I will now go hide under a rock….

    • I haven’t given up on Covert Affairs, but I’ve gotten close a couple of times. The episode in which Augie was kidnapped was exciting. However, I’m on ChuckThis right now instead of watching the episode that’s on right now. Hmm, maybe that means reading people vent about S3.0 is more fun that watching Annie Walker.

      resaw, there are some other people that like to find a few good things about season 3.0. I like most of it except for one episode and the last 3 minutes of 4 others. Today, I even Dave admitted to liking Angel of Death, Beard, and Tic Tac today, even if he said they were ruined by everything else surrounding them. (Sorry Dave, you are on the record 🙂 ).

      • atcDave says:

        Jeff we also loved the episode where Augie was kidnapped. But I think that was the only one this season. Our DVR messed up last week, and we decided it wasn’t worth tracking it down (for the record, we did purchase that week’s episode of White Collar that also messed up) and just dumped the whole series.
        And Jeff I would also add Operation Awesome as an episode I liked. Also, I liked Other Guy, but it was more relief than anything. More of a “phew, we made it” sort of liked it than anything. I could have liked Three Words if thing actually got better from that point. But it was a false hope, and in the end I have a special breed of dislike for that episode.

        Resaw, of course you claim to like the very exact thing I despise about that season. I might have bought all the rest of it; Chuck not knowing when to stop lying, getting sucked into ugly roles, and even the whole Red Test garbage. But the love triangles earn my eternal scorn. Blech.

      • joe says:

        Annie is no Sarah. Today’s episode was – let’s say – disappointing in many respects, not the least of which is that Annie is disappointing.

        I’ll watch the finale next week but I doubt that I’ll be watching next year.

      • atcDave says:

        Loved this week’s Grimm though, solid episode!

    • aerox says:

      I also really liked Season 3 (Most rewatched season!). The major flaw for me was the starting point for the angst. Seriously, raise your hand if you think that Chuck leaving without explaining his motives (which he incidentally has been doing since the first episode of the first season up until season 3 episode 1) is totally in character.

      But apart from that, the issues that are raised are well done and make sense. Sarah feeling betrayed, seeking comfort with someone else etc. Oh, and Chuck and Hannah. That one was iffy as well, but mostly because Chuck was just a massive dick in that episode.

      I think the only thing that Sarah does that I have issues with is the whole “Oh, I’m manipulating you into killing someone, but by doing so, we can’t be together because you’re not the man I fell for” routine. That one made me roll my eyes.

  9. joe says:

    Wow! Arthur posts a great continues to a very long thread, so please, if you want to add more, just to make it easier follow it up here.

    Arthur, I think you hit on the right note about S3 – once you get to episode 13 (and therefore, S3.5, which we all reflexively consider separate from S3) the season becomes just shy of fantastic. It’s like a great weight is lifted off and even D.Shaw is “fun” to watch again as a villain.

    I’m struck by the emphasis, though and your reaction. “It was not only the best moment of the series, it defined the unconditionally positive tone of the show going forward.”. I had nearly the same reaction.

    But I had a completely different reaction to my favorite segment of episodes, the final 6 or 7 of S2. To this day, I cannot watch just one of those without immediately watching the others. And every time, those episodes make my heart race (really, I’ve taken my pulse and it does!). The tone is not “positive”; the tone is one of desperation and intense focus. It must jibe with a childhood fantasy or something, because it gets to me viscerally.

    All of S4 comes down to one word for me, and the word is “satisfying.” It’s like watching your child grow up to become successful at their chosen endeavors. (I have a word for S5 too, but it’s too packed with personal shorthand and codes to mean much to anyone else just yet – I’ll work on it!).

    • Ha! “Satisfying” is literally how I always describe season 4. I’m hoping this re-watch thread keeps going into at least season 2. Objectively, it’s the best season of the show, but I’ve always liked each season better than the last. Although I do think Chuck vs. the Ring is probably the best showpiece episode of Chuck as a show. There’s not another TV show I know of that could’ve pulled off all of those elements so convincingly.

      • atcDave says:

        Arthur we agree about all of that except for S3’s place in it. Ring was an outstanding episode, especially the two wedding scene/montages. Simply some of the best television ever made. And I agree with Joe about that whole S2 ending arc. It is so intense and compelling, it’s hard to stop watching until Ring. I might rank S4 even better than satisfying, I think there were some really excellent exciting moments, and Volkoff is my favorite villain of the series. I will always say S4 is when the show became what I always hoped it would be. Much as I love S1 and S2, and even the occasional excellent moment in S3 (Other Guy did indeed have a couple of truly outstanding moments, but Honeymooners will always be the stand out episode to me) S4 is what I was waiting for since 1.03. It is safe to say part of my hostility towards S3 was the assumption at the time that the show would end at 3.13; which left me very concerned that the show would never get to be what I was hoping it would be. I remember well when NBC placed that six episode back order, not a single S3 episode had run yet, but I felt like a huge weight had been lifted; because we’d heard enough for me to be pretty sure I wasn’t going to like the main arc, and that back order meant there was hope. They sure did deliver from 3.14 (okay, maybe from 3.13) on!

      • joe says:

        … right from the moment Sarah says “Yes” the first of four times, Dave. 😉

        Added: I just remembered this post from 2.5 years ago. The Question, before we knew Sarah’s answer.

      • atcDave says:

        Joe it’s really a hoot to go back and re-read that post and comments. That was from the extended damage control preview released during the Olympic break. So we all knew the question was coming; but weren’t sure from 3.08 or later, and we didn’t know Sarah’s answer. But it was funny how desperately TPTB were scrambling to deal with a furious fan base after Mask. That preview was such an obvious “please hang in there” sort of plea, Schwedak knew they’d screwed up. Remember Fedak’s “you don’t stop reading a book at chapter seven” comment.

        But I would say, the moment was bigger and more decisive than most of us were thinking at the time.

      • We’ll just have to agree to disagree on Season 3. By “satisfying,” I don’t mean it in the sense of merely being competent. I mean it in the most complimentary way possible; season 4 satisfies like having a huge weight lifted off your chest, like you said. Seasons 1-3 built up this huge tension of expectation with Chuck and the gang, and seasons 4-5 are the pay-off for it. They fulfill all of the promise and potential Chuck (character and show), and keeps the comedy and action intact. You could say satisfying or fulfilling or “heart warming,” as Chuck would say. It’s rare that a TV show is comfortable enough in its own skin (although some would call it stale) to be able to carry that off for two seasons.

      • To use a sports metaphor, Morgan from seasons 4-5 was Chuck’s Scottie Pippen. Nobody would call him the star, but he just filled in every need the show had. Need to show Casey’s soft side? Have Morgan take care of him in Couch Lock. Need a nerd reference? Alex might spill pizza on his Back to the Future shirt! Chuck with the intersect gets monotonous – give it to Morgan. Chuck has a relationship problem, who does he go to? Somebody needs to convince Sarah to shed some of her baggage? Morgan shows her the proposal. He just did everything the show needed, and excelled at all of it. He was the connecting factor between every other character when their communication broke down. Maybe he wasn’t my favorite character (more of a five-way tie there), but he became the heart of the show as Chuck grew up.

        The author’s name escapes me, but I remember reading an article about how a work’s “fool” character (think the Genie and Abu from Aladdin; Zazu from the Lion King; R2D2, Chewbacca or even Hans Solo from star wars) is the most important character in smart literature. He defines the characters around him through their reaction towards him. We can see that Aladdin is good because of how well he treats Genie and Abu originally; when he betrays them later, it shows his downfall. We see the shallower characters in Star Wars dismiss R2D2, while he plays pivotal roles in the heroes’ journeys.

        That’s Morgan in Chuck. In Best Friend, Chuck’s loyalty towards Morgan is what helps him and Sarah get over the murder. In the Pilot, his escape defines Chuck’s character in less than a minute. In Phase 3, his inability to keep his mouth shut shows us how far Sarah’s ultimately willing to go for Chuck. In Chuck vs. Sarah, Casey turns to him in yellow rubber gloves and a green “Best Dad” apron, and a sponge, and he asks Morgan, “Do you really think I’ve changed?” It’s not just funny – it’s a statement that encapsulates how far all these characters have come, and how much they really have changed. The other stars shine brighter, but Morgan’s holding the flashlight.

      • Sorry for the double post here.

      • Good stuff, Arthur.

        While I might not agree with it, Scottie Pippen was named to the NBA’s 50 greatest players list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/50_Greatest_Players_in_NBA_History

      • atcDave says:

        Morgan was certainly a credible sidekick, and occasionally useful as a plot device. I’m only saying I don’t think many viewers would ever consider him their favorite character. I would not compare him to Scotty Pippen; but yes, he clearly filled the role of fool or sidekick quite well. But like most fool or sidekick characters he is fairly disposable. That is, most viewers will not feel an emotional attachment to the character, at least not a very strong one. I know very many viewers were pleased by the thought he might be leaving after S2, but in the end, having him come back was so far down most lists of “Pink Slip” disappointments it was quickly forgotten. And I think the growth he had in S3 was well done and satisfying, he was a vastly more likable character at the end of the series than he was at the start.
        Now as I said before, I actually enjoyed many Morgan scenes during the course of the series, but he is the only one of the major characters that I often felt like I’d seen as much as wanted to see. By comparison, I always wanted to see more Sarah scenes, and even Casey too often didn’t have enough to do. But I never wanted another Morgan scene more than what we got.

  10. Ah Joe, it’s from the moment after she says yes, when they’re so overcome with giddiness that they just start giggling at each other. Magical stuff. Although the three episodes after honeymooners were a bit of a letdown.

    • atcDave says:

      To me, I’m sure others will disagree, but some of the S3.5 episodes suffer from the same prevailing darkness that I disliked for the bulk of the season. Although I like 3.15-3.19 a lot more than most of the front arc, I wasn’t so pleased with Chuck’s continuing lying and secret keeping. I’d just call Role Models a weak episode, while Tooth and Living Dead had more serious problems. Subway and Ring II were mostly stronger episodes, but I have some serious complaints about both of those too. So I tend to put S3.5 in its own category; I like it far better than the front arc, but it’s not as purely fun as most of S4 was. Of course Honeymooners is in a class of its own!

      • Morgan was great in Honeymooners -> Living Dead, but like in Sizzling Shrimp and Sandworm (I’m trying to get back to the current rewatch episode here!), when Morgan shines, a lot of people don’t care or even resent it.

      • Now I’m dying to watch season 3. There’s no way I can keep this down to just one a week.

      • With Morgan (can you tell I’m bored at work?), I think it’s that people don’t really appreciate his serious moments early in the series because they’re so trivial – always part of the story’s C or D plots. In Sandworm, he does show us something more resolute about his character, but the issue is something Chuck has already dismiss. Compare that to when he kamikazes in A-Team or talks Casey down in the finale, and you can’t help but notice how far out of the show’s main plots he is.

      • atcDave says:

        You know I mostly like Morgan. I think he was often the funniest part of the show. I understand a little of the dislike though, right from the very beginning, Morgan scenes often ran pretty long, when I think a significant number of viewers would have preferred more Sarah or Chuck and Sarah. My feeling was always that TPTB were more enamored of Morgan/Josh than a large segment of the fandom was. But I don’t think it was really a problem until the Morgansect arc. Many fans reacted strongly to seeing more of Morgan at a time when Charah held all their interest (not that there ever was a time when Charah DIDN’T hold their interest!).
        I had concerns about it myself (I absolutely wanted to see more Charah, less Morgan), but for me, Morgansect proved to be a time when TPTB completely came through. I thought those episodes were dynamite.

      • atcDave says:

        And hey Arthur, if you want to watch ahead a little it’s okay! I like to encourage daily Chuck doses. It’s good for the soul.

      • jam says:

        “My feeling was always that TPTB were more enamored of Morgan/Josh than a large segment of the fandom was.”

        That’s pretty accurate, I think. I remember some Schwedak interviews supporting this theory.

      • Never understood the reaction to the Morgansect. I always thought it was an incredible, tantalizing way to end season 4 – I would have been devastated had that been the end of the series. Wasn’t the biggest fan of his downturn, but they nailed Bo Derek and the Zoom (think about baseball!), and it ended up being very important. I didn’t hate him before The Beard, it was just that he was kind of in a no-man’s land. Ellie did a better job of being his root to the real world, Jeff and Lester were goofier, Chuck was the nerd hero, and Sarah became the spy-life confidant. Until he found his niche as the Alfred/confidant of the group, he was kind of floating around without a real purpose.

        What’s TPTB?

      • The Powers That Be – sometimes referring to Schwartz and Fedak, sometimes the writers, sometimes the directors, sometimes the studio, sometimes all of the above.

      • atcDave says:

        We usually use “TPTB” when we aren’t quite sure who made an actual decision. Especially in the first three seasons, the show was a joint Schwartz/Fedak project (“Schwedak”). Apparently, in S4 and S5 Chris Fedak became the primary show runner so we more often refer just to him on the later episodes. But often, networks, studios, staff writers, directors, etc (!) get into the mix and it’s safest to go back to the TPTB acronym.

        I did occasionally get tired of Morgan, especially a couple times in S4 (the bar/bathroom in First Fight and yoga seal in Push Mix) when I was far more interested in the Chuck/Sarah story than a Morgan diversion. But we certainly had viewers/commenters visiting this site who just despised Morgan. Many of them were so angered by the whole Morgansect story that giving it a chance was not even a possibility for them. (yes, just like me and S3).
        But I thought the Morgansect story was clever, a lot of fun; and brilliant in the grand scheme of things. Particularly what it tells us about Sarah’s recovery in the post series period (emotional recovery was likely quite rapid, specific memories may have taken a while longer). I remember re-watching Frosted Tips shortly after the finale and I was strongly impressed by how clear that parallel had to be and how far out they were laying the ground work for that ending. But yes, I still strongly believe the ending needed just a little it more…

      • The yogaseal name was funny, but that’s about it. The laser thing was too much. However, the First Fight bar scene is one that gets me laughing out loud every single time. Maybe it’s because I can never get waiters to refill my drinks that fast, except for the time one topped off my glass of Sprite with water. Between that scene and the one in which Sarah attacked Morgan, I think Morgan outdid Volkoff in that episode.

        Wait. I was trying to get this back to season 1. At least it’s season 4 now.

      • atcDave says:

        I tricked you Jeff! I’m fine discussing the whole series. S3 discussions will always get heated, that’s fine. But we will use the weekly re-watch as the jumping off point each week. And actually this was the first time S3 came up, I’d say not bad.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        First Fight bathroom scene was hilarious, YogaSeal yoga, about a beat and a half too long, but the tightie whities and Sarah’s coat mitigated the excessive yoga. I always got a kick out of the fact that Morgan realized on multiple occasions he wasn’t half the man Chuck’s girlfriend was. 😉

        Addenda: While “we never talk” and “I am somebody deadly” really rank up there, “Clever Girl” tops them for me. Probably Morgan too. By Zoom, even with the intersect, Morgan merely handed over the T.I.T.S. without a fight.

      • I thought Morgan single-handedly kept the show afloat at the beginning of season 4, and was the best character on the show from then on (though you could convince me Casey was better). It was a total 180 flip once he found his niche. Any interaction between him and Sarah or Casey was absolute gold – him wearing her coat, and him and Casey synchronizing their eating habits; the moments went on and one

        Morgan just accomplishes so many things in the story – he ties the cast back to the buymore, he anchors Chuck in the real world, he softens Casey, he’s the arbiter of all in-group disagreements, he’s the in-mission comic relief and the funniest character, and he fills the nerd out of his comfort zone box that Chuck stopped being after season 2. I didn’t really love the Frosted Tips phase, but I thought Morgan saved the show.

      • atcDave says:

        Wow Arthur, we are so different on everything. Morgan was often funny, and his scenes with Sarah were often dynamite. But to me, the last two seasons were totally about Sarah. I thought she was the most fascinating and exciting character, not only on Chuck, but on television, bar none. Morgan was often a waste of time. Occasionally a lot of fun, but fun as a waste of time, like playing solitaire. I enjoyed his character as a fun part of the Chuck experience, from beginning to end; but I watched the first two season to see Chuck and Sarah, and the last two seasons mostly for Sarah (Casey and Morgan were my favorite part of S3, but that’s like saying my favorite part of a prime rib dinner was the mint after).

        There used to be character popularity polls at NBC.com. Morgan never faired very well. The last poll I saw indicated about 60% of viewers considered Sarah their favorite character and 30% chose Chuck. I think Casey also out scored Morgan. I think those polls disappeared in S3, so results might have been very different by the last couple seasons. But given that so many people were irate about Morgansect at the end of S4 that Robert Duncan McNeal felt compelled to beg viewers to give the show a chance anyway in S5; I think you may have an extreme minority view on that! (no shame in a minority view, I seem to have one just for liking the Morgansect episodes!)

      • As someone else who liked the Morgansect, how did we miss talking about it with the Helicopter rewatch? That episode foreshadowed 76 episodes later. That’s more than what even Babylon 5 did. In a show like Chuck, when the Beckman and Graham were watching Morgan do the magic trick and said at least the Intersect wasn’t sent to Chuck’s friend, everyone should have known it would happen eventually. Maybe the audience shouldn’t be expected to pick up on that in the second episode, but DVD owners shouldn’t have been surprised.

      • atcDave says:

        I actually thought about that on my re-watch! Very funny. There’s really too much in every episode to ever get it all down, but yeah, I sure wish I’d remembered to bring that up.

      • To use a sports metaphor, Morgan from seasons 4-5 was Chuck’s Scottie Pippen. Nobody would call him the star, but he just filled in every need the show had. Need to show Casey’s soft side? Have Morgan take care of him in Couch Lock. Need a nerd reference? Alex might spill pizza on his Back to the Future shirt! Chuck with the intersect gets monotonous – give it to Morgan. Chuck has a relationship problem, who does he go to? Somebody needs to convince Sarah to shed some of her baggage? Morgan shows her the proposal. He just did everything the show needed, and excelled at all of it. He was the connecting factor between every other character when their communication broke down. Maybe he wasn’t my favorite character (more of a five-way tie there), but he became the heart of the show as Chuck grew up.

        The author’s name escapes me, but I remember reading an article about how a work’s “fool” character (think the Genie and Abu from Aladdin; Zazu from the Lion King; R2D2, Chewbacca or even Hans Solo from star wars) is the most important character in smart literature. He defines the characters around him through their reaction towards him. We can see that Aladdin is good because of how well he treats Genie and Abu originally; when he betrays them later, it shows his downfall. We see the shallower characters in Star Wars dismiss R2D2, while he plays pivotal roles in the heroes’ journeys.

        That’s Morgan in Chuck. In Best Friend, Chuck’s loyalty towards Morgan is what helps him and Sarah get over the murder. In the Pilot, his escape defines Chuck’s character in less than a minute. In Phase 3, his inability to keep his mouth shut shows us how far Sarah’s ultimately willing to go for Chuck. In Chuck vs. Sarah, Casey turns to him in yellow rubber gloves and a green “Best Dad” apron, and a sponge, and he asks Morgan, “Do you really think I’ve changed?” It’s not just funny – it’s a statement that encapsulates how far all these characters have come, and how much they really have changed. The other stars shine brighter, but Morgan’s holding the flashlight.

      • joe says:

        +1 Insightful, Arthur.

    • uplink2 says:

      Interesting stuff about Morgansect. I made no bones about not liking it at all before it even aired. I was extremely bothered by the idea that if we weren’t going to get a season 5, which was extremely in doubt at the time, that the final words of the series would be spoken by Morgan. At the time I totally agreed with DR’s big Zero he gave the idea. My other issue was always that I believed it would take away valuable screen time from characters I was much more invested in. Especially Casey and Ellie. I think even think Schwedak would agree that the biggest failure of under using a character was their use of Ellie. I wanted so much more from her and never got it.

      I really believe that especially thinking about Dave and the polls he mentioned that if after season 2 Morgan stayed in Hawaii with Anna, not many fans would have been upset in the least. I know I wouldn’t have. I did grow to like Morgan finally in season 4 but that is as far as I wanted him to go. I had no interest in the big 3 becoming the big 4.

      In execution I still didn’t like the fact that one third of season 5 was about a character and story I had not much interest in. I’d also say that those first 3 episodes are 3 of the bottom 4 or 5 of season 5. Frosted tips and Bearded Bandit are in the bottom 10-15 of the entire series for me. But I will say that even though I didn’t like it, it did have a purpose, though in retrospect I don’t like the purpose of foreshadowing a story line I really never wanted to see anyway. OD and I don’t agree on a lot of things concerning Chuck but I do completely agree with him that you don’t end a series with a cliche memory loss story line. Maybe at the start of season 5 but not the end.

      Arthur there are so many elements of your discussion of season 3 I completely and totally disagree with but I’ll wait till another time to discuss more of them. But for me Other Guy is the absolute worst episode of the so called season, mid-season or possible series finales. The more I think about it the worse it gets. Never were Beckman and Sarah worse spies than they were there. There are so many plot holes, like no cell service all the way from downtown LA to the desert. Sarah never seeing Shaw wearing his wedding ring. Or Beckman sending Sarah alone, with no backup, to Paris with the man whose wife he just found out she assassinated. But it all comes crashing down even worse with Routh’s pathetic performance in the most important scene of his arc, the cafe scene. Even my favorite Yvonne gave a weak performance in that scene, one of her weakest in the series though playing someone who is drugged is difficult to do well. The only great performance in that scene was Mark Sheppard’s.

      Other Guy is viewed as a good episode simply because the agony was finally over and we got 2 and a half good Charah scenes. But the other 35 minutes were pretty dreadful and get worse with further analysis.

      • I wouldn’t have wanted Morgan to stay in Hawaii for the same principal reason I hated that Ellie and Devon went to Chicago (which I’ve discussed several times before). Also, I thought Anna never treated Morgan well, so running away with her was a bad idea in my book. Morgan quitting was my least favorite thing about Colonel, because it weakened the moment of Chuck quitting in Ring.

        Mark Sheppard has been great in a lot of different shows. However, I’d put his Chuck performances in the bottom half of those performances. I remember thinking at the time that his performance showed maybe he was spread too thin, with larger and better roles in (I think) Leverage and Warehouse 13 at the same time. I expected someone with more personality for the Ring Director (like Roark or how Volkoff was played the following season), which is something Sheppard has shown he can do in other roles.

        The cell service issue was actually American Hero. The two things about Other Guy that bothered me were Sarah’s clothing and hair style change from AmHero and the poison which crippled her but still allowed her to remain standing. The first happens all the time other a lot of shows. The second was an awkward plot device. I liked all of the Charah scenes (5ish, depending on how you count them), the Chuck/Morgan scenes, and the Morgan/Casey scenes enough that I can overlook how they were connected together. If I were writing the episode, I would have obsessed about the details more. As a viewer, I didn’t care because I liked the moments.

        Ignoring how they got there, the end of the WT/WT was far superior to what I’ve seen in most shows. For example, everyone in the Castle fandom has been going nuts about the end of the last season finale. That scene was done well, but everything up to it was a lot more painful than Chuck. Castle’s last episode was like taking the Chuck vs Sarah fountain scene without the excuse of memory loss, Sarah not believing Chuck really loved him, Sarah really never wanting to see him again, no DVD showing the audience that Sarah knew she what she felt before, and Sarah not showing up to see Chuck in Goodbye until Quinn escaped from the concert hall at the end.

      • atcDave says:

        I would partially agree with Uplink on some of that, at least to say if Morgan had been done at the end of S2 I never would have missed him. He was never who I was watching for. But I was okay with him (mostly) in S4 and S5. And I agree entirely about my lack of interest in a Morgan driven story-line going in to S5. But in the end, I liked what we got. Unlike S3, where I felt the actual show was even worse than my fears; I felt like S5 started as almost exactly the show I wanted. But that had nothing to do with Morgan (well, maybe a little to do with Morgan, he did make me laugh pretty hard a couple times!); but what I loved about S5 was seeing the fully mature Charah. They were now the power couple I had always wanted to see. I loved that they could be good at their jobs, in love with each other, and have a good time as they worked. That was the Chuck I always liked best and always wanted to see. I can name two or three scenes from each episode that make me happy all the way through, and they are all Charah scenes.
        I’m a little more hostile to the amnesia finale, but I’ve mellowed a lot on that too. I will always say a little more was needed to make it work for me. But that’s because I pointedly was NOT satisfied on initial viewing, which means I have to consider the story telling a failure (if its not clear on initial viewing, it’s not well told. And sorry for those of you who are far smarter or more perceptive than I, but I base that judgement on if I understand, not if you do…) But that said, I did eventually see it as a happy ending. I am 100% satisfied Chuck and Sarah left that beach together, started rebuilding their lives quickly, ran the less dangerous security company Sarah planned, and had 10 or so kids. I sure do wish they’d told us some of that in more conventional fashion, but it was there if you look for it. And both parts of the finale were superbly well acted and executed. So in the end, I’m content, if not quite ecstatic.

        Jeff I do agree, in hindsight, that I’m glad Morgan didn’t run away. He was the best part of S3 (remember the mint…) and often made me laugh to the end of the series. I kind of think Morgan could have been replaced with another goofy sidekick and it might have worked just as well (Fitzroy?), but I’m happy with what we ultimately got so there’s little point in going there.
        I thought Anna was the much funnier girlfriend than Alex. So although Alex might be a better “catch” and actually be better for Morgan… well…. I would have been okay with the comic sidekick having a more purely comic girlfriend too. I was never emotionally invested in Morgan, or Malex, or Manna (and I don’t mean that in a blasphemous way…). Alex works better for the warm and fuzzy parts, Anna was funnier.
        I mostly like Other Guy. Oh I would have been ticked beyond words if it had been a series finale. Not because of any failings with Other Guy, I thought it was a fine episode. But it would have been tragically little pay off after the misery arc.

      • olddarth says:

        Morgan’s growth came at Chuck’s expense and encapsulates the Robin Hood writing of the show – especially in Seasons 3 onwards. In order to build up one character, another had to suffer.

      • joe says:

        Not sure I understand this, Lou. The “Robin Hood” idea suggests some sort of zero-sum game (but instead of $, we’re talking about a constant and unchanging total supply of happiness or maybe maturity here).

        Does that really work? The total happiness at the end is the same as at the beginning? Maybe. I don’t happen to think so, but I don’t know how to measure that anyway!

        I suspect that from the POV of the TPPB (Ack! Acronym overload!) they only have a limited supply of characters that have some fan-investment anyway, and the drama part has to come from them. I really can’t see how they could avoid ever making Morgan seem to be gaining at Chuck’s expense over the five seasons. I generally don’t believe in zero-sum games (even IRL with real money, which is something I know people think is strange). So to me, what you’re seeing as “I’m up and you’re down.” is a bit of an unavoidable dynamic.

        And come to think of it, I’m having a hard time coming up with a show that avoided it. Andy Griffith/Taylor had Barney Fife, after all! 😉

  11. Won’t start on Season 3 again, but Uplink, I feel like you’re ignoring the glory of the moon to focus on the imperfections of the finger pointing at it. You might as well say Chuck is a bad show because its handling of the Intersect is implausible.

    The “Yes” scene is the second-best scene in the show’s cannon, and the happiest moment of the show by far. I started watching Chuck for that scene, and they pulled it off better than I thought possible. It’s the single best “I love you” moment I’ve seen in TV or Film. It single-handedly changed a cute show I liked into a favorite (then Goodbye changed it to THE favorite). Really, the moments are too numerous to name, but just between the “Yes” and “kiss me” scenes (with all the parallels between American Hero/Sarah and Other Guy/Goodbye, how people could think the finale ambiguous is beyond me), and all the other great scenes in the episode, and the show achieved everything I ever wanted or expected from it. It went on to have better moments, but this was the foundation for everything that followed.

    To ignore the happiest moment of TV’s most special relationship because you think Sarah and Beckman could have been more perceptive in an unrelated regard… for somebody who I’m assuming loves the show as much as I do, that just seems depressing.

    I guess that’s my real difference of opinion with most of you. As good and Colonel and Ring were, I hated the resolution they gave Chuck and Sarah – especially their faux-sex scene. It felt flimsy and unfulfilling. The Other Guy was exactly what I always wanted from them, so I can put up with any amount of “misery” to get there. And since The Other Guy did its job so freaking well, I don’t have any hard feelings left over anything that leads to it.

    I agree with Dave that it would’ve been devastating to simply end there, but that’s only because it gave what followed so much promise. And I never cared about Morgan’s relationships at all. I also thought the additions of Alex, Momma B, and Vivian were all terrible, flat, and boring.

    • joe says:

      What a post, Arthur! You write amazingly and with passion, and that’s something we always appreciate here.

      Uplink is a long-timer here. For all the disagreements we’ve had, he also writes intelligently and – I’m going to use a word you may not like – honestly. He also consistently represents a POV that is shared by a sizable number of fans. We here at Chuck This! have discussed exactly the points you and he bring up many time (and frankly, I hope the discussion continues).

      My feelings about the show run close to yours – not exactly, mind you. I enjoy it thoroughly, but that “Yes” scene is topped in my mind by several others, not just one. 😉 But there’s no way we’re going to convince every fan (much less every viewer) that the show is perfect in some metaphysical sense. Ain’t gonna happen.

      So, instead, to save ourselves from that depression you talked about, we honestly write those instances where we have questions, worries and concerns that something might have been done better, in the limited sense that it might have made more fans happier.

      Me, I’m just amazed at the number of times I’ve seen new things on review that I missed the first six times I saw an episode, things that I enjoy and things that make later scenes more clever or emotionally vibrant. Often, those things also address the exact concerns we once had. It feeds my tendency to create a separate universe that may or may not be what we were shown on the screen, to see things that may not have been there.

      Frankly, I need commenters like Uplink to give me his POV, if only to keep me grounded!

      So don’t get depressed about what Uplink has written. You may instead let it point you to things that others have seen and you may have missed. It’s precisely where you may find a new gem.

    • aerox says:

      I personally see both points of view regarding the finale. I get why people think it’s ambiguous (After all, no matter the amount of hints, we never see /the/ conclusion of the pair) but I can also plainly see that it’s evidently a happy-ish ending.

      Regarding season 3, it’s obviously a point of contentment. But I don’t get the argument that Sarah and Beckman were incompetent. Well, I do get it, but I don’t get the criticism directed at it. All the spies in this show were incompetent. To like borderline ridiculousness. Bryce? Incompetent. Casey? Started out as a bad ass, became incompetent. Sarah? Same story. Mary? Please. Beckman and Graham were incompetent as well (Zarnow, anybody? I mean, where did this data come from (the one where they KNEW he was selling secrets to North Korea, including a fancy picture) and why didn’t he get nabbed?) But all this is simply a plot device to boost Chuck’s status. Which is all fine, but if you’re going to moan about people being incompetent, draw a straight line. The entire show is based on incompetence.

      I see things different than you on the Motel scene though. To me, it felt like the natural conclusion of the road that the both of them had been traversing up until then. And of course, after that, the questions once again rise. What happened after the rehearsal dinner (it’s all real?). And of course, my least favourite trope in the world, the one where ‘I’m about to make a ground-breaking statement, but we get interrupted and now I am physically unable to tell you what I was going to say because the moment was broken.’ But it didn’t feel flimsy to me.

      As for Shaw, well, I won’t make any excuses, I really liked the guy. I know that’s an uncommon opinion, but well, I just do. I loved him as a villain and as a mentor that Devon never became, and Sarah and Casey refused to be. I didn’t much buy him as a romantic interest–despite getting the storyline–but that had more to do with the fact that he went from mentor to potential suitor within the space of 40 minutes. It kind of left me scratching my head and wondering what the heck had just happened. But in the mean time, that god awful plot with Hannah happened, so it was no wonder that I had to frown. And of course, the biggest amount of help was that I could watch it in one go. I didn’t have to wait another five weeks for the conclusion, but rather maybe three and a half hours.

    • atcDave says:

      Arthur we have been over this ground many times. Much of the S3 discussion centered around a “journey vs destination” discussion. That is, if a wonderful destination makes a miserable journey worthwhile. At least, that is what the issue often boiled down to in our discussion back in early 2010. The poll we did right after showed some 18% of respondents enjoyed both journey and destination. Another 36% disliked the journey but felt the destination had made it all worthwhile. While 42% were happy with the destination but still completely disliked the journey taken to get there. Obviously the usual disclaimers apply; that was respondents at this site, which may not be representative of the greater fan community, and the 156 responses we got are not a large enough sample to prove anything even if our site is typical.*
      But there are some conclusions we can draw. Mainly, a significant portion of the audience did not enjoy the bulk of the season. Granted, some of those felt the journey’s end made it all worthwhile, but very many did not.
      I am among those who did never make peace with the “journey”. I can’t deny Other Guy was a good episode, and Sarah’s yes was a nice moment. But I found the journey getting there to be too shattering for the main characters. I was pleased in the end that they worked things out, but I will never have any desire to revisit those dark days when the characters I loved behaved like idiots. The fact of the happy ending cannot ever make THAT journey enjoyable to me. It is not worth revisiting.
      And for me, Sarah’s yes is not the most wonderful moment in the Charah relationship by a longshot. I’m more partial to weddings, proposals, “take off your watch” and “Feeling Good”. Especially Feeling Good, that is the most romantic moment I’ve ever seen on television, and I can’t imagine anything usurping it.

      * also note that this was by far the busiest period in our site’s history. We peaked at almost 6000 hits a day between Mask and Fake Name. The discussions of that time covered many angles and opinions. There is no way to reproduce those discussions and arguments (and poll!) now, we simply don’t have enough visitors to this site anymore. But if you re-read posts and comments from February-April of 2010 you will surely find many people who agree with you exactly, and many who were completely outraged, and many who were somewhere in between.

      • joe says:

        Also, much of the discussion took place in the “spoiler” pages. Newcomers may not know about that treasure trove of comments, but the link is in the tool bar at the top of the page.

    • uplink2 says:

      Arthur, I agree that the DYLM scene is one of the best of the series, But I won’t let the rest of the huge flaws with that episode get a pass simply because I loved that moment so much. Much of my criticism of Other Guy is based on a storytelling viewpoint. So much of it is so blatantly forced and contrived to get us there. There was absolutely no resolution to Sarah betraying Chuck by not trusting him for the first time ever in the series at the beginning of American Hero. No discussion of the Catch-22 she willingly forced on him because of Shaw’s using her and Chuck’s love and trust of her. It was just simply it’s episode 13 and we have to put them together and as long as we write a sweet romantic moment no one will care that in many ways they didn’t earn it. Huge issues were simply swept under the rug just so they could get them that moment and everyone will be happy. To me Ring 1, Push Mix and Goodbye are far far better episodes from a story telling perspective.

      The whole Paris mission story is wrought with so many beats on the head with the stupid stick for everyone involved. Blindly accepting that “Shaw is a good spy” and would have no reaction to at last finding his wife’s assassin is totally absurd. Now I know to watch this show we have to accept a lot of absurdities and I could have if we got a payoff that was worth it. But the payoff scene in the cafe is just so poorly done in particular by Routh that it just fails miserably. He gave me nothing, no emotion, no evil, no sense of fulfillment of his life’s greatest mission of killing his wife’s assassin. It was the quintessential example of his stiff wooden acting style. I didn’t feel the kind of joy that I should have because Chuck had protected Sarah from this complex evil threat to her and our country because he never made me feel anything from his transformation. I hated him just the same as I had since the beginning. My satisfaction came not from the story itself but simply from the fact that the misery arc was finally over and he was gone or so I thought. I was very happy that Chuck and Sarah were together but the payoff simply wasn’t enough to wash away the disaster that had preceded it. It was all so forced, contrived and never felt like the natural and I hate to say this word, organic story that the prior 2 seasons had been. In order to stretch out the WTWT they made me hate these characters I loved so much and in the end gave me too little payoff. Now Honeymooners was a fantastic payoff however.but based on the original plan we never would have gotten it except for the failure of Jay Leno.

      BTW thanks for the kind words Ernie.

      • uplink2 says:

        Sorry I went back and found it was Joe who posted those kind words. But thanks to both you guys.

      • joe says:

        Welcome, Uplink.

        I think your comment above highlights where I *really* disagree with you, though. Looks to me like the weaknesses you find (and have always emphasized) about the show (or, the storytelling, as you put it) are the kind of things that resister on the right side of my brain.

        You know – the part that I used exclusively as a programmer for NASA, where I had to tediously construct flawlessly logical, step by incremental step instructions to perform some mundane task remotely by a representation of a digital avatar… It would have been easier to go to the Hubble myself and flip the damn switch myself than write that C++ code. Lousy job. But someone had to do it. 😉

        You get the point, I’m sure. Chuck, like most romances in story and song, is not for the left side of the brain. Ya gotta feel it, and that’s a very personal thing. The hard part, which is the real point of contention here, is making that feeling universal. Just how universally true is Chuck anyway? You say “not universal enough” and most (if not all) of the fans say “universal enough that it got to me”.

        Well, it’s not 100% universal, certainly. You don’t feel it, there are parts where Dave doesn’t feel it, and despite my acclamations over the years now, there are parts that I don’t feel either. I take comfort in knowing that 100% is not attainable, and that it’s because I’m a unique individual. I’ve experienced things that are unique and I have unique emotional triggers that this show did not trip.

        It just got to me more than any other show I can remember.

      • uplink2 says:

        Oh Joe, I absolutely agree that this show got to me on an emotional level far more than any other I have ever seen. The fact that I’m here and have also taken to writing FF and became deeply involoved with #Emmy4Yvonne speaks to that clearly. But that is where so much of my passion and dissatisfaction come from when the show falls short of what its capable of on so many occasions, namely season 3 and the final few minutes of the finale.The fact that season 3 in particular fell so flat for me on an emotional level just highlights its failings in a storytelling manner so much more. We have discussed many times that if you like the story they are telling , the flaws don’t matter as much. That can be seen in my love for season 4. It’s full of flaws but I just didn’t care as much because I thoroughly enjoyed the story they were telling on the interpersonal level. The Mary story was hugely flawed but I was ok with it because the C/S story was so enjoyable.

        Season 3 is just the opposite. I hated the central relationship story as it was so unnecessary, contrived and simply felt like the changed the characters to people I hated to tell a story I didn’t want to see .As Dave said, I wanted so desperately for them to get to the destination in Other Guy but the journey getting them there wasn’t worth it then and one I never want to re-experience. But as in the mirror of season 4 the spy journey of Chuck that was good in season 3 gets clouded over by the contrived relationship story. So for me I can’t enjoy what was good because what was bad was so bad. I think that is the exact opposite for folks like Big Kev and OD. when it comes to season 3 and 4 So yes it isn’t universal.

        Believe me I love the DYLM scene as well as the Paris hotel room scene. It was something I had waited for since I started watching the series. But it was a journey to get there I wish they hadn’t taken. As Arthur said so well they dragged out a question they had already answered for no good storytelling reason other than possibly fear of the Moonlighting curse. But there was still a great story to be told in keeping them apart at the beginning of season 3 but they chose to take the easy way out of pointless additional LI’s. instead of a story that I would have loved to have seen.Dramatic, real tension between Chuck and Sarah as they both evolved with the new element of Chuck becoming a spy and Sarah wanting the normal life and fear she would lose him to it. Instead we got her losing him to a pointless LI in order to force her to fall into an even more offensive and pointless LI story. Keep the LI element out of it and maybe I enjoy Shaw’s transformation to evil as the only time I really felt Routh gave a good performance was in Subway. That to me was the second best episode of season 3 and in large part it was because of Routh finally giving me something I could emotionally connect with.

        I just guess that it all comes down to I was very disappointed in something I loved with a passion and when that happens it just hurts so much more. The Chuck Sarah relationship is something extremely unique and precious. Add that to the fact that it is wrapped up in a scenario of a nerd in the spy life that so many of us nerds can relate to and fantasize about. Add in a gorgeous female lead who is a brilliant actress and you have something that grabbed me and touched me like no other show I have ever seen. I just hated it when the shows creators don’t live up to its potential like they did with season 3.0.

      • aerox says:

        I like how you use the word organic, uplink. I think that they never quite captured that same feeling after S2 ended. The characterizations became completely absurd. There was a distinct nuance during S2, where Chuck was starting to find his spot (see Third Dimension, where he foregoes a free night to go spying with Sarah and Casey) within the team, Sarah was getting better in expressing emotions–or at least, being willing to act on them like she does in, for example, Broken Heart, where she goes against regulation and uses the CIA computer to find Stephen. And Casey was thawing to Chuck as a person, and started to realize that the ideas of an untrained idiot may not have been that stupid. See Colonel where he’s upset that Chuck didn’t invite Casey over to help bust out Stephen.

        And then we get the travesty of Chuck becoming a massive douche in Season 3. Then, in season 4, Chuck continues to suffer from the occasional bout of stupidity and we get the introduction of Mary who as a character is–and excuse the term–plain retarded. Literally one of the stupidest characters ever invented, but alas, it’s all done for shits and giggles, so we’re supposed to take it. And then one of the things I’ve often had issues with. Season 5. Suddenly, the Sarah which we’ve seen grow over the years takes the biggest leap I’ve ever seen someone take and completely reinvents herself to be this relationship guru. That’s not organic. Like, at all. And again, I’m sure there are plenty of people who will take this at face value, or even cheer it on, but to me, that’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen. From someone who had to have the truth slammed in her face (First Fight all the way to Phase Three) to giving out free relationship advice to Casey. Ugh. And at this point, Chuck was pretty much swaying between normal and self-absorbed (Curse/Kept Man) so he was too far gone to really have any influence. Since season four and onwards, my favourite characters have without a shadow of a doubt been Casey (who had always had a kind of dark humour which he simply expanded on with some more light material) and Morgan (who’s growth actually made sense considering it only really started after vs the Beard when he found out about Chuck and wanted to pitch in on his own). That’s a far cry from the olden days where I was more than content watching Chuck and Sarah for an hour. That’s not to say that Sarah’s role was bad per sé, but I just had a lot of issues with believing her as a character. And I guess what bummed me out most was how Chuck was behaving, but I’ve already written that particular sentiment out a couple of times, so I’m content to let it lie.

      • joe says:

        @Uplink

        [W]here so much of my passion and dissatisfaction come from when the show falls short of what its capable of on so many occasions, namely season 3 and the final few minutes of the finale.

        I hear ya.

        Now, if I may indulge in a “left-brain” kind of argument… The example you site to bolster this is, of all characters, Mary! I suspect that if we were to actually conduct a scientifically valid pole, we’d find that Mary is not described as “hugely flawed”, but as hugely beloved. Both may be true (hell, I’ve been arguing for years that Sarah herself is hugely flawed!), but which is the greater truth? Hum?

        Ultimately, all I’m saying, Uplink, is that it’s subjective, and what people react to (and what we most often write about here) is as subjective and personal as it gets. Rational analysis is great, but it only goes so far when we’re talking about matters of the heart.

        Chuck is all about matters of the heart.

      • atcDave says:

        Some really great stuff here. I think the passionate feelings towards S3 are partly a by-product of how loved S2 was. So many of us became completely invested in these characters that season, and every poll I’ve seen indicates S2 continues to be the most popular season by a wide margin. So no surprise, those who liked S3 tend to feel it continued the story of their beloved characters; while those of us who disliked S3 often feel like it dishonored that very thing.
        I like Aerox’ comments about how natural the growth felt through S2. We saw satisfying progress on multiple levels for Chuck, Sarah, Casey and even Morgan. And then S3 seemed like it flushed much of that down the toilet.
        Although I do feel S4 got things back on track, some of that was clearly back to the rule of liking where they were at and consequently feeling less critical. But I felt we did see growth for Sarah that season. From a relationship neophyte at the start of the season, to a fearless and fully committed partner by the end. In fact, part of what I liked so much about S5 was seeing Sarah as the confident relationship guru. Is it any surprise Sarah would be bold and confident once she had a little confidence about something? This strikes me as completely consistent with the woman who would take on a room full of armed terrorists. Once she knows she can do a thing, there is no stopping her.

  12. Sam Carter says:

    Also for perspective, this site may not have lots of love and appreciation for season 3.. but other sites do. Check out this poll: http://www.tvedge.net/?p=28718

    I think it was aerox who said that Season 3 was the one he watched the most. I’m the same. It’s just so fun and intense. Oh and Other Guy >>>> honeymooners. The only scene I really like from honeymooners is ‘feeling good’, the rest of the ep is just.. fluff which is just boring for me.

    • aerox says:

      This, so much. I liked Honeymooners for its diversity from s3.0, but it never truly resonated as much within me as it seems to do for you guys here. I thought Other Guy was the superior episode. But then again, I really, really liked the whole Tooth >>> Ring 2 arc, despite Chuck being a moron. I think I subconsciously accepted the fact that they had screwed up his character beyond belief at this point in time and simply took what I could get. Maybe that’s also why I was fine with season 4 as a whole. The only other moment of amazing f*cked-up-ness was of course, vs the Curse, but in my eyes, Season 5 barely happened at all, so that’s cool.

      • Sam Carter says:

        I don’t think they screw up Chuck’s character in S3. I’m very happy how that season played out overall, no matter what anyone says.

    • joe says:

      I’m with you, Sam. But I have to admit, it’s because of my own personal quirks.

      In fact, I’m on record as saying (on a pod-cast) that I wouldn’t be surprised if, after all is said and done, that S3 would become my favorite season. Said that after S3 ended.

      I can’t say now that it’s true – On the strength of those last 6 episodes, I think I still love S2 the best. To make matters more complex, I think I like S4 and S5 even more, but in an entirely different way, for entirely different reasons.

      Oh gee. I remember my mother facing the question “Which one of your (six) children do you like the best?”.

      Right!

    • aerox says:

      It can be debated, Sam. But for me it was definitely the beginning of the end of Chuck as a relate-able character.

      • atcDave says:

        That is exactly what the end result of S3 was for me. In the first two seasons I could relate to Chuck most of the time. His bad traits were traits I have or fear I have; and his good traits I have or want to have.. In S3, right from Pink Slip, all that changed, he became someone I would never want to be and never understand. By the end of S3 they had corrected that some, in S4 they corrected it even more (especially with the end of lies and secrets). But in a way, the damage was done, and I didn’t relate to Chuck like I used to. He was often still likable, but he was less relate-able.

      • Sam Carter says:

        He was still a likeable character to me, plus now he could kick ass. He finally became a man and a spy (like Casey said in Subway). The lying to Sarah and his dad felt justified; he saw Sarah in love and happy so he didn’t want to ruin it, plus he probably thought he’d fine a solution to his Intersect problems. And his dad didn’t really know him well, so Chuck couldn’t trust him completely at the time. Very understandable, IMO.

      • garnet says:

        Chuck’s behaviour with Hannah was something that I will never be able to justify to myself. As said above, up to that point, Chuck was a character I could relate to, admire even, but with his treatment of Hannah, I can only echo “Chuck, you are not a nice guy!!!”

        I think that part of my own perception of season 3 was coloured by my fear that while Shaw was a guest star, and by any likely combination of factors extremely unlikely to “get the girl”, TPTB seemed to be creating a show that would/could run 5 seasons, but be cancelled after 3. That being the case, I (and a significant number of others) felt that there was a significant chance that we would see Chuck end BEFORE Chuck and Sarah were undeniably together. One could argue that with “Goodbye” that is STILL what happened.

        What I think tends to be overlooked is the lack of foreknowledge we had at the time ( I can’t be the only one that thought that there was better than even odds that at the end of season 3 we would still have Chuck and Sarah apart and a cancellation notice to go with it). The Olympic break also turned Mask into a Major issue, something that also tends to be forgotten.
        Can I watch season 3 now? Yes. Do I enjoy it? Meh! Do I like where it ended taking us? Definitely.

      • atcDave says:

        Agree with all of that Garnet except for being able to watch S3 now. In the big picture, it makes me even angrier than it did in the short run. I would also say about Hannah’s “…not a nice guy” comment; I do believe my heroes are allowed to make mistakes and move past them, and I’m okay with saying Chuck made a mistake with Hannah, its in the past, and will never happen again.
        But I have zero interest in re-watching it. I hate revisiting and wallowing in failure. I would much rather watch/re-watch success. Which is what the other four seasons look like to me.

  13. garnet says:

    My problem waith Chuck’s behaviour was that it was really unnecessary and unfortunate. I blame the writers more than Chuck. I have no great problem with his “thing” with Lou (although their relationship doesn’t explicitly suggest a sexual encounter) or even trying to get back together with Jill, but to run to Hannah only a few episodes after telling Sarah that he loved her, and trying to work things out, that really bothers me. Yes I can overlook mistakes, and had to to continue watching, but I really felt that it was OOC. Even if TPTB were trying to show that he had reached “rock bottom” I don’t think Hannah was necessary.

    I find it interesting that many of my sons’ friends who were introduced to CHUCK were enthusiastic for the first two seasons but dropped the show somewhere in the third season never to return.

    • atcDave says:

      I agree with all that too Garnet, and I had similar experience with other casual Chuck fans. More than half of them quit or considered quitting during S3. I was able to get most of them back AFTER the misery arc, but it was a tough time for the fandom.

  14. Gord says:

    Three things I wil always remember from this episode
    1. How important sandwiches are to Chuck and Morgan
    2. Sarah in that Princess Leah outfit.
    3. Sarah in that Princess Leah outfit (I had to say it twice it was that good LOL)

    Overall I found this a really fun episode.
    It’s too bad my own rewatch schedule is so out of synch with the rest of you. I’m in early S4 now.
    Although thanks to all of you at this blog I am now spending a lot of time in the Chuck fan fiction. So who knows you may all catch up to me.

    • atcDave says:

      I think that Princess Leia costume can cause brain damage Gord!

      You know you can always do several re-watches. I do watch more than just our scheduled episode each week!

    • joe says:

      Heh. That’s pretty much my list of memories too, Gord.

      And man, it’s good to see you here again. We all miss your comments, so don’t be such a stranger, ‘k? 😉

  15. First Impression says:

    Lazslo was an interesting character. He’s the unspoken possibility of what could happen to Chuck if Sarah were not there to prevent the government from locking him away. Scary.

    Like Chuck, it never occurred to me that protecting him would involve spying on him with the bugs in his house, but it makes sense. (I wonder if he would have only blamed Casey had he not found the bug in Sarah’s photo frame.) I don’t mind that he gets angry in this episode. It seems justified and later it just reinforces what a great guy he is when he apologizes.

    When Chuck checked his 34 phone messages after getting away from Lazslo in the Home Theater Room, I loved how he skipped any message from Casey getting to Sarah’s message and doing just what she said. Sarah is definitely his lifeline.

    Having Chuck save the day at the pier then return to his ‘normal’ life at the Halloween party is nice. He adjusts quickly making sure everyone is ok. And Sarah makes sure he is ok by showing up in her fabulous costume and taking their first real photo together.

    Btw, what’s with wanting pancakes? First Casey in the Pilot and now Lazslo. Hmmm.

    • atcDave says:

      Well you know, pancakes are the real unifying theme of the show! I can safely say pancakes will be important at least one more time.

      Great observations about Chuck and Sarah. Definitely some nice moments in this one. Laszlo is an interesting character!

  16. Chris Byrnes says:

    The line that you said that Sarah is Chuck life line is pretty accurate because even in Wookie, when He was alone with Carina he wanted to call Sarah, and to be honest it won’t be the last time. It will be a recurring thing. There is three scenes in sand worm that stands out about Chuck and Sarah.

    The first is the bedroom scene: Throughout the series Chuck and Sarah have many memorable scenes both at the fountain and in the bedroom. A lot of truths are revealed in these areas. Chuck comes home and finds Sarah in his bedroom, which is nice but Chuck questioned its intentions when she was waiting there without him and when he sees the picture and knows that its not real has questions in his mind. Sarah admits they have a real relationships just a different kind of relationship, which this will come a few times The second was also in the bedroom where she fixes his tie and couches him up. and finally she takes the picture. She knew she messed up giving a fake photo, but keep an eye on that picture it comes up again a few times and not just in Chuck’s room.

  17. Chris Byrnes says:

    While watching this episode this morning I noticed something during the scene when Chuck was telling Sarah how he screwed up the Lazlslo situation. After he tells Sarah about the bug in his room and sees the picture in the garbage I noticed that while couching up Chuck she glances over to the pail twice. It almost seems like she feels bothered that the picture is in the trash. Does anyone notice this ?

    Its Classic Sarah staying agent walker but with a normal Sarah feel to it

  18. bubbasuess says:

    The sandworm was one of Chuck’s greatest comedic nerd triumphs. It was awesome when Chuck corrects Ellie that the worm is shai-hulud specifically. I am a little surprised no one brought up the running gag of mis-identifying the sandworm too. Whether it was Ellie’s sea cucumber or Tang’s space penis, I could easily see how such conclusions were drawn. Also, any party where everyone is demanding and cheering on the sandworm is a party I want to be at!

  19. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Sandworm (1.06) | Chuck This

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