On to the third episode of the season one arc. We finally get to meet Bryce and get some answers, maybe. And Chuck and Sarah remain in an uncomfortable place. This episode certainly cranks up both drama and comedy, and leaves us all ready to shout Pineapple! This weeks discussion, after the jump.
Believe it or not, I like this episode much better than the previous two. at least now I do. It still ends up on my “weak” list, but just barely. And unlike the two before, this episode has gotten much better in retrospect for me. I still rank it as “weak” mainly on the grounds that I just don’t enjoy all the tension hanging in the air, frankly it bores me. I’ve always been more of a comedy and adventure sort, fortunately Nemisis is loaded with those too! And this episode is so important for the greater mythology of Chuck; this is where we first hear of Fulcrum and have Tommy as the main villain (after a brief intro to him the episode before). Somehow Nemesis seems to be very representative of season one.
At the risk of being redundant, Yvonne’s performance is brilliant, again. This is often the one outstanding feature of drama on Chuck. Although I think Zach also does a more than credible job with Chuck’s uncertainty and insecurity. But its Sarah’s dilemma at the very end that really stands out. I do like the multiple layers of it; Chuck and Bryce are the human faces of a duty versus adventure quandary. We may suspect that Sarah cares about Chuck more on a personal level, but that personal affection could be (and in time will be) her professional undoing. Could S1 Sarah have been convinced that in time she will welcome the change in values and circumstance Chuck will bring about? Not easily! This end almost makes the tension leading up to it worthwhile.
Where Nemesis really excels for me is comedy and action. The awkward Thanksgiving dinner makes me laugh every time; from Morgan’s obsessive food quirks, to Chuck’s oddly specific thanks, to Anna being Anna. And I think the Buy More antics are all wonderful here.
Which leads to my favorite scene of the entire S1 arc. The Buy More Black Friday sequence is brilliant. Very funny up through the evacuation, especially Morgan carrying Anna to safety; and Sarah and Bryce clearing the room of baddies. This is the moment that has most grown in retrospect for me.
Chuck watches in awe and says “they really are great together”. In a little over two years he and Sarah will be better. That may be getting ahead of things here, but taking in the big picture here is wonderful.
I’m sure others will have far more to say than I. This episode doesn’t quite rise the level of one I will sit down to watch outside of a full re-watch.
But I think it is the highlight of this arc, and I find it much easier to enjoy than the others.
Qach So’wIj wep? HIja’ ghobe’.
Joe here. And I’ve decided to write my review in Klingonese. No – wait. I’m not that much of a geek. Besides. Klingonese may be great for expressing rage, lust, displeasure and exhilaration, but it can’t come close to describing the complexity of emotions going on here.
Complex indeed. What you’re calling tension, Dave, I think of as confusion.
The only place to begin is the end of the previous episode, Imported Hard Salami, with “The Kiss” (reg. US Pat. Off.) and the bomb that didn’t explode and Bryce. How did that make you feel? Better question: How did that make Sarah feel? Confused, do you think? To say it’s complicated barely describes it.
If Sarah’s confused, Chuck doesn’t have a clue as to what’s going on; that’s typical Bartowski. At the very moment he’s semi-frantically trying to get Sarah on the phone in a futile attempt to understand what she’s thinking, she’s watching Bryce behind a one-way mirror. To make matters – uh – more confusing, Bryce is asking for – drum roll, please – Chuck. Not her, not Casey, but Chuck.
[Note to self: Even when he’s clueless, Bartowski is at the center of things.] It’s clear Sarah doesn’t know what’s going on either.
How about Bryce? Well, he’s foggy after waking up and he isn’t even willing to assume it’s Chuck who’s facing him until Chuck proves his identity. Even then he seems paranoid, if not confused. Bryce even takes Chuck hostage until my favorite Fulcrum agent, Tommy, shows up. Frankly, his paranoia seems like a good idea at that moment.
Ouch. Now my feelings are hurt.
Dave, you’re right about humor in this episode. The Buy More denizens preparing for “Black Friday”, the day after Thanksgiving – the timing is perfect and the set-up is integral for what’s about to happen. And that is, of course, the major fight between…
Anna and her Nemesis, Ellie. Heh! That’s typical of this episode. Even before we get to Jeff declaring a “Pineapple Situation”, we see so much confusion about people’s motives that I’m losing track!
Forget Sarah for the moment. What motive could Bryce possibly have for his actions? Bryce doesn’t understand why Chuck decided to live with his sister instead of becoming a software billionaire, Bill Gates style. Why would he do that???
Ellie is confused about Anna. Sarah is unsure Bryce isn’t a rogue spy. Bryce doesn’t ask but tells Sarah she’s still in love with him – Is he right? Sarah’s not sure! Chuck sees them kissing (oh boy!) and Casey kills/doesn’t kill Bryce – again! Pineapple!
It’s frenetic, frantic fun. And the things I just described are not the most important issues at all. Really. By the time the episode is over, we’ve been lead a long ways down the path where the only thing we care about is Sarah and her feelings towards Chuck. You can add us, the viewers to the list of people who don’t really know the full story.
What a mess. Mystery on top of intrigue on top of passion. Sarah has tried from the start to keep her feelings under wraps. Since the day she met Chuck, Sarah’s worked hard to build this edifice, this life, where she can protect Chuck without the complications and dangers that come with caring. Now, because of one kiss, the whole thing is about to come tumbling down. Bryce’s presence only serves to remind her that she may have to leave at a moment’s notice, just like he did.
The one thing Chuck knows for certain at this point is that Bryce and Sarah make a great team.
That Klingon phase spoken by Bryce in the Buy More, the one I quoted above, translates “Are you wearing a cloaking device-coat? Yes or no.” (yeah, there’s an app for that!) Not a bad way to find out if Chuck is wearing a bullet-proof vest. Another possible translation could be “Is your heart (core) shielded? Yes or no.” How apt.
And anything to make you smile
It is my better side of you to admire
But they should never take so long
Just to be over then back to another one
I once thought that the marvelous song at the end of the episode, “No One’s Gonna Love You” by Band of Horses, was meant to proxy Chuck singing to Sarah. But like the episode, it’s more complex than that. The very first lines are:
It’s looking like a limb torn off
Or altogether just taken apart
We’re reeling through an endless fall
We are the ever-living ghost of what once was
And no one is ever gonna love you more than I do
No one’s gonna love you more than I do
That makes me think this is much Bryce’s theme. Throughout, Sarah can’t or won’t say it, but everything here is painful for her. You’re right again about Yvonne’s acting here, Dave. We only see the pain in Sarah’s eyes. This wonderful, enjoyable, Pineapple romp and adventure comes down to a fork in the road where Sarah will soon have to make the decision she does not want to make and can’t face.
They could have warned you
When things start splitting at the seams and now
The whole thing’s tumbling down
Things start splitting at the seams and now
If things start splitting at the seams and now,
It’s tumbling down
More than for Chuck, things are falling apart for Sarah, making the haunting lyrics very much hers, too.
Two phone calls, Chuck on one, Bryce on the other. The ever-living ghost of what once was and an uncertain here and now. Which will she answer? We don’t know and I’m not sure even Sarah does.