Chuck vs The Crown Victoria (1.11)

Arguably, the arc is over.  Crown Victoria is, in some ways, a stand alone episode.  But I’ve always considered it the end of the season one arc because the plot is secondary to the emotional fall out of the episodes we’ve just seen.  So let’s discuss this nominal Christmas episode from late in the first season.

I know I’m in a minority for not being a huge fan of this arc, and I’m very pleased that we are finally to the last episode of it.  True story, Crown Victoria is the closest my wife and I ever came to quitting the show.

Looks like the team is back together!

It was at about the 7 minute mark, as Chuck and Sarah are exiting the briefing from Casey’s apartment my wife said to me “pause it a second.”  She said she really hadn’t enjoyed the show at all for several weeks, and maybe it was time to delete it.  I agreed to not having enjoyed the show for a while, but I reminded her of how much we had liked most of the first few episodes, and suggested we give it until the end of this episode to make a final decision.  Honestly, the only longer down stretch of the show for me is the misery arc itself; which essentially plays like a threefold re-run of these episodes.  And by that point I was so invested in the show there was no chance of deleting it.  But all things considered, Crown Victoria is a pretty ideal ending for what we just sat through.  I really loath the first 30 minutes; but then I truly love the end, pretty much from Sarah’s “do you ever want a normal life?” to the end I love this episode.  At the flip of a switch it goes from doing everything wrong to doing everything right.

The contrasts in Crown Vic are far stronger than in the previous episodes to me.  I’m really not a fan of the seduction mission trope regardless, and the one we get in Crown Vic is particularly unappealing as Sarah rubs it in Chuck’s face, all in the name of “professionalism”.  (I get already the girl has some problems…)   And, I would say this episode may feature Morgan at his most unbearable.  I am very pleased with how his character grew later, but it is no wonder to me that many viewers developed a dislike for him that they never got over.  My favorite part of these first thirty minutes is the outrageous orange peal finish we see on Casey’s car, I’m sure its done regular work on the WB lot for 25 years and has probably been repainted 5 times! (at least I don’t remember factory finishes from the mid-80s looking so bad).

I would much rather talk about what goes right here in the final 15 minutes.  It all turns around the moment Sarah decides to trust Chuck.  And I would add, this is something S1 did far better than the later regurgitation of this story in S3.  I think the misery here was brief enough, and better conceived, better executed, and still novel enough that the pay-off is completely worth it.  Sarah is faced with a decision, and because she knowsChuck truly is trustworthy, she goes against orders to help him save Morgan’s life.

A lousy screencap of an awesome moment!

I cheered out loud when Sarah jumped over that counter, and in that instant all was right in the Chuck-verse.  And everything plays out perfectly from there.  Casey will not abandon his team, Chuck and Sarah create an awkward distraction, that funny round prop that was usually used as an explosive or detonator makes a cameo as a GPS locator, Casey’s Crown Vic goes boom, we get a very sweet Chuck and Sarah make-up scene, and just a bit of ominous as Casey’s imminent kill order is brought up again.

A couple of those things do require deeper comments.  We have another first here of Sarah going against orders to help Chuck.  This is a small breach, of the sort she could no doubt rationalize and compartmentalize.  She can tell herself its all about serving the greater good, catching a bad guy, and saving innocent lives. And we know from her actions in the Pilot and the flashback parts of Baby (hey, its all canon now!) that she has long been willing to bend or adapt orders to serve the mission and/or her conscience.  But this is a clear, if minor, incident of going rogue to help Chuck.  We will see a far stronger incident in just two more weeks.  So our strengthening suspicion Agent Walker is well compromised will soon be clearly confirmed.

This is completely one of my favorite parts of this show.  I love seeing Sarah deal with her own shifting loyalties over the course of the first two seasons.  Of course I never mean any disrespect for those individuals who make great sacrifice to serve the greater good; but I find it beautiful and inspiring to see one such hero find love and purpose in something more approachable.  And it pleases me all the way through to see Sarah grapple with understanding this change within herself for quite some time yet.

The make-up scene is a great example of what I always like best about Chuck; Chuck and Sarah are both basically decent people who care about each other.

A nerd proves his worth, again!

The depth and conditions of that affection will be more thoroughly explored in S2.  But here we have a perfect scene of reconciliation, and Sarah affirming her belief in Chuck’s character and abilities.  Then Chuck letting her off the hook as he wisely realizes a good friendship is the most he can expect from her for now.  I would say I think that decision is the foundation of how Chuck and Sarah can be so strong together once they sort out their stupidity in 3.13. Another true story, my wife and I were friends for six years before we started dating; but once we got together it was one year dating, nine months engaged, 15+ years married, really with no major hiccups.  I’m a big fan of the value of a good friendship!  And at the end of Crown Vic I was the happiest I’d been with this show since Alma Mater at least.

Casey’s kill order makes a very effective sort of cliffie for me.  I like the idea of leaving something interesting and dire hanging before a short break (six weeks before Undercover Lover ran) but leaving the main characters in a happy place.  I will always imagine if the writer’s strike hadn’t shortened S1 that the story would have played out far differently than we saw in 2.01.  And there can be no doubt that there was a certain darkness to Chuck at times.  The balance of that darkness with adventure and fun in these first two seasons was often pitch perfect.  I will always say tipping that balance too far towards the dark in S3 was among their major story telling fubars, at least for my satisfaction.  While swinging too far the other way seems to have alienated a different group of viewers in S4.  But for right now, the writers are really hitting their stride.  This may not be an episode I’ll ever sit down and watch by itself, but as a finale to this first real arc I think it is very satisfactory.  And I’m ready to be very happy and well entertained by the next seven (!) episodes.

~ Dave

The Five Stages – Joe’s Take

Dave, I’m not going to write much this week, but let me say this. I too was surprised at how good this episode plays after so many viewings. In particular, the humor is spot on, like when Morgan echos Chuck’s inner voice.

Morgan: She’s a liar, not to be trusted!
Chuck: What’s that?
Morgan: Women! Man, they’re so elusive, so unknowable, okay? They wrap you in this wool sweater of lies, and it keeps you warm but it makes your neck all itchy.
Chuck: Who are we talking about exactly?
Morgan: Anna! By the way, never trust a woman who’s name is a palindrome.

Well, maybe not about the palindrome. But Morgan is speaking for Chuck here.

Did you notice what Agent Walker’s been doing? She’s been dying.

  • Stage 1: She denies feeling anything for Chuck in The Truth
  • Stage 2: She angrily fights with him about this kiss. “Stop saying ‘kiss,’ okay?… What happened was a mistake, one I will not make again!”
  • Stage 3: Out of nowhere, she bargains with Casey.

    Casey: Bang up job, Walker. And I’m gonna give you one last chance to come clean. Did you or did you not compromise yourself with the Intersect?
    Sarah: Do you ever just want to have a normal life? – have a family? Children?

I’m not sure we really see the grief part, but the way Sarah wakes up the morning after Bryce leaves, the way Sarah failed to decide which call to answer, that looks like something Agent Walker, that wild-card assassin, isn’t used to. Agent Walker looks emotionally hung over.

And then she does a reset on her relationship with Chuck. Nice try, Sarah. Treating Chuck like a business acquaintance, like someone she will treat only on a peer basis, isn’t going to cut it. Her deliberate attempt to treat Chuck unemotionally does only one thing. It drives her to brush off Casey’s question and think about the real heart of the matter. “Do you ever just want to have a normal life?” Sarah is actually thinking about ending Agent Walker.

But not yet. Chuck starts to be so incompetent as Charles Carmichael that Agent Walker is called on to save the day. Chuck even blows it as the Intersect, or so it seems.

No, Chuck, the useless spy was actually right. Moreover, he’s determined to go against orders to save his friends, even if Casey has to pay the price (uh, his Crown Vic pays the price…). Is that something Agent Walker would do?

Probably not. Orders are orders. Sarah, though, is another story. I do believe we just saw the first sign of acceptance, the fifth stage, timed perfectly for the end of the first season. There will be more signs, we know, but you called it, Dave. Sarah’s recognition, the one that leads directly to a reconciliation, is a key moment. I cheered too when Sarah jumped over that counter.

There’s an interesting B-story going on, with Anna and Morgan. He’s about to make a fool of himself in front of Anna’s parents as only Morgan can. This time, on Lester’s advice, he’s going to be someone different to impress them. That never works. What’s easily missed is Anna, also not being herself. Where are those outrageous heels, too-short skirts and garish make up??? They are no where to be seen while her parents are in town.

No, Anna and Morgan are not themselves, and that obscures the fact that Chuck and Sarah aren’t either. Like I said, Morgan’s been speaking for Chuck all the while.

Chuck is not Charles, and Sarah is not that cold, emotionless agent any longer. The Agent and Charles may be roles that they play, and in fact, both will become very good at it. But for the first time, both Chuck and Sarah know that it’s just a role they play; it’s not them. Not really.

– joe

Dave Again

Some really good points there Joe.  I did like Morgan’s “palindrome” scene, very funny, sort of a surreal viewpoint.  Really makes me wonder if Morgan is that odd or if he knows he’s being funny?!  I also really like how bent Anna is.  I missed her the last three seasons.  Objectively, I always consider Alex to be the better woman, and better for Morgan.  She’s better for Morgan’s growth too.  But Anna was much funnier.  Morgan’s maturing process, and settling in with a better, more mature (but younger!) woman seems to mirror the changes Chuck (and Sarah) go through in many ways and I think is another thing that leads to a more relaxed and happy feel for much of the last two seasons.

I do feel like, even though I didn’t really enjoy watching this arc, it did accomplish some good and important things for Chuck and Sarah.  As you mention Joe, Sarah is fully at conflict with herself over the changes taking place in her.  At the end of Crown Victoria, Sarah is still kidding herself about a reset, but she has made some peace with herself about it all while she is truly more compromised than ever.  I would add, I think something is off with Casey’s question about “compromising” yourself that he asks Sarah;  and for the record I believe I know exactly what’s off, the situation and dialogue is constructed like it is because the writers are more concerned with what they want to physically show than they are with the real issues. So the question is simply phrased wrong.  It should never be about any physical act that an agent can do.  Seriously, Sarah could have been sleeping with Chuck from the Pilot and no one with the government should care.  The issue should be in where her loyalties lie.  Casey (and the government) would want to be sure Sarah can be counted on to keep her primary loyalty and focus on the mission, and not on Chuck’s best interests.  Obviously, as long as Chuck is the only Intersect, those interests will overlap a lot, but not perfectly.  They need to keep him safe and cooperative, but not necessarily completely happy.  I think it speaks well of Sarah’s character that she has always treated Chuck with some measure of respect and doesn’t resort to manipulation (I believe early in Seduction is the only exception, at least professionally.  She clearly manipulates a little as a jealous “cover” girlfriend on occasion).  So I think the real question should have been “are you compromised with the asset?”  And I completely believe at this point in the story, Agent Walker would answer “no”, and she would believe it.  But she’s kidding herself.  She’s been at least a little compromised from the very start, and she even confessed to it much later in Other Guy.  But I think she comes out of this arc far more compromised than even she knows, and we will see proof of it in spectacular fashion in two episodes time.


About atcDave

I'm 54 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 31 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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67 Responses to Chuck vs The Crown Victoria (1.11)

  1. joe says:

    But I think she comes out of this arc far more compromised than even she knows, and we will see proof of it in spectacular fashion in two episodes time.

    Spot on, Dave. This is almost a forehead slapping moment for me. I would have thought, and Sarah thinks, that the kiss was the compromising moment. But you’re right – starting to break ranks with her superior officer (Beckman) and the group leader (Casey) to save Morgan and Anna is the real turning point, even if she only does that a little.

    From here Sarah’s on a path straight to a 49B! 😉

    • atcDave says:

      This is a fun journey to watch too, at least as far as Ring. I always figure, with no particular internal evidence, that Sarah may have convinced herself that no one could protect Chuck better than she could. She may be right about that, but of course it also proves again that she is compromised, she puts Chuck ahead of mission quite early on.

  2. ref51907 says:

    There is a lot to this episode. Every time I watch it I seem to find something else I wasn’t fully aware of.
    -For me I believe that she knew she was “comprised.” By that I mean, of course, she has strong emotions and feelings for Chuck. Truth was an eye opening mission for her. They might have been trained to withstand the effects of a truth serum but for Sarah it forced her to realize the depth of her feelings. Then in Imported Hard Salami she wanted to see if these feelings were true and legit, which I believe is why she kissed him. The uncomfortable moment for her was not that it happened, but that the kiss confirmed to her that her feelings for Chuck were true. Now her comments to Casey, I believe, have very little to do with Chuck and have more to do with what the emotional connection with Chuck has stirred up for her. The life she gave up joining the CIA. The life she gave up when she dropped the baby off at her mom’s house. I have always seen Sarah more a keen to Chuck, then Casey, or Bryce. The CIA was a choice she made as a young person fresh out of high school, or early in her college career. At her core she has always been an emotional person, with a longing for a normal, every day life. But her father and the CIA pushed that down almost to the point of eradicating it all together.
    -The most satisfying element of this episode for me was the handshake at the end with the agreement to be friends. If you watch you will notice that it was not a quick handshake. The camera shows that both of them held onto the handshake, and I can imagine that if the camera had panned up we would have gotten to see that they would looking at each other like the way they did at the restaurant in the pilot. But this the long held handshake told me that both were at an understanding that for the time being, friendship was all that either one of them could negotiate safely.
    -For some reason, the Morgan and Anna story didn’t do it for me. It wasn’t bad, but not go either.
    -I love the end with Casey. He seems to tell Beckman one thing, but his grunt said another. His kill order would not go over well with him. Simple, yet very Casey, and very effective.
    -I just wished we got have gotten some Ellie and Awesome in this episode.


    • atcDave says:

      Good catch on the lingering handshake. I figure they both said “friends”, and in a way meant it; but they both were wishing they could figure out how to be more. But for now, I think they’ve both decided its hopeless.

      • ref51907 says:

        Hopeless is a rather strong word with negative connotations in this case. More like each on trying to decide on their own if something else is worth the risk. Sarah more so then Chuck, given the Bryce situation. Which after Marlin and into First Date morphs into just a temporary impasse.

        As a side note, even this early in the series I have a suspicion that Chuck and Sarah are spending a lot more time together off screen. Probably in the form of “cover dates” or family dinners,and such.


      • atcDave says:

        Ref I always thought the same thing about them spending time together. Especially early in S2 they seem very comfortable together. But I do think hopeless is exactly the right word. Regardless of feelings, I think Chuck and Sarah are both assuming the mission will be over at some point and Sarah will move on. Sarah placing Chuck ahead of orders on occasion will be the first cracks in that wall, but it really won’t be until First Kill that Sarah is finally willing to put Chuck ahead of career (and she won’t admit it to herself until Ring). We know she was willing to admit to herself as early Broken Heart (or thereabouts according to her video log) that she loved Chuck, but even that was accompanied by a certain hopelessness of not knowing what to do about it.
        I do think, any number of crisis points could have forced the issue much earlier. In Marlin she will almost commit treason to keep Chuck from the bunker, and I think she would have if she had known a kill order was in the mix. But I think a major part of what was so much fun about S2 was that tension that came from Sarah assuming a real relationship with Chuck was impossible, and all of us watching wondering what it take to push her over the edge and take a chance.

    • resaw says:

      ref51907 says: -I love the end with Casey. He seems to tell Beckman one thing, but his grunt said another. His kill order would not go over well with him. Simple, yet very Casey, and very effective.

      Gotta agree with that observation. Earlier in the episode, Casey said, “Orders are orders.” I think that nicely sets up the implications of this conversation with Casey and Beckman. The quality of Casey’s grunt also suggests that Sarah is not the only one who is finding that this assignment with Chuck is having an effect.

      • Yeah, it’s the beginning of a huge change for Casey as a person. He’s put country and orders above everything else for his entire life – Chuck ends up changing who Casey is even more dramatically that Sarah, who’s always been a “wild card.” It’s a questioning that starts at Bryce’s funeral, and becomes much more profound in First Date and Colonel. It’s amazing to see the difference between Crown Vic or Colonel, and Cliffhanger, where Casey putting Chuck and Sarah over the CIA is so obvious Decker bets on it. One thing I’ve learned about this show is that the writers often have more subtlety than people give them credit for. Casey’s transition is paced beautifully.

    • resaw says:

      I really like the “friends” discussion here. I am fascinated by the way Sarah approaches Chuck in that scene. She’s wearing a bright, somewhat shy, smile on her face as she approaches Chuck. In the course of their conversation she observes that she’s “not so good at relationships.” Chuck concedes the same inadequacy, lamenting that he is therefore good at nothing at all. Sarah replies with some very supportive words about all that Chuck has done and is doing and there is a warmth in her eyes and voice that is anything but business-like. And then we have the agreement that they are friends, the refusal by Chuck to take advantage of Jeff’s mistletoe — because the last thing they need at this moment is a return to the “incident” by engaging in another kiss — and the choice to dance in a rather joyful and carefree manner. Of course they are much more than friends, but they just can’t go there yet.

  3. resaw says:

    A scene I’d like to discuss: As Chuck approaches Sarah’s room before the date on Lon Kirk’s boat, he is all wound up. He knows the tension between the two of them, knows he wants to have that relationship with Sarah, believes that down deep, she wants that relationship, too, but doesn’t know how to get there. It’s complicated….

    Inside Sarah’s hotel room:
    Chuck: Not a morning person I see.
    Sarah: Well, it depends on the morning.
    Chuck looks at Sarah. He is stunned at her beauty.
    Chuck: Should be pretty fun, right.
    Sarah: It’s work.
    She then goes to adjust his bowtie, and Chuck says,” It’s okay.”
    In light of Sarah’s previous acts of grooming and their current, very tense relationship, this is a very interesting exchange. I’ve understood these acts of “grooming” on Sarah’s part to be a manner in which she can touch this person with whom she wants a relationship but cannot, and I think Chuck has accepted it as behaviour as part of their cover relationship, at least when done in public, but here, in this private context, I’m wondering what’s going on. She’s clearly horribly conflicted. Speaking coldly to Chuck, but still wanting to do the “grooming” that will allow her to touch him. Does anyone care to offer an interpretation?

    Also, as a weekly singer of hymns and an annual singer of Christmas carols, I couldn’t help but notice the Christmas carol playing in the background. It signifies a time of joy and peace, while Chuck and Sarah are experiencing sadness and discord. I think Zach did a fine job here of expressing Chuck’s feelings at the end of this scene when Sarah walks out saying, “What happened was a mistake. One I will not make again.”

    Overall, another great season 1 episode, in my view.

    • atcDave says:

      I think conflicted is the best way of putting it. Sarah does actually love Chuck, but she’s a long way from admitting it to herself. And as I said above, I think she see’s the situation as hopeless. So she’s torn between loving Chuck and wanting to show it, and really not wanting to lead him on. In fact, I think she sort of wants to scare him off. She thinks that would be best for both of them. The “it’s work” line my also have to do with Sarah having some idea what she may have to do on this mission (with Lon Kirk) and really not looking forward to it. But once the seduction started she was maybe trying to hurt Chuck with it, to drive him away, for his own good.
      And that all means I can’t agree with calling it a great episode. That is all far too dark and conflicted for my taste. I did not enjoy that scene, or most of this episode on initial viewing or any re-watch. The ending is wonderful and beautiful, and ALMOST makes the whole episode (and arc) worthwhile for me. At least what we learn about the characters, and the growth we see, keeps it from being a complete waste of time.

      • garnet says:

        It think that the 49B really brings out just Sarah’s awkward position at this point was. Whether it is reasonable or not, at this point (Crown Vic), Sarah knows that she wants to be around Chuck and almost certainly more. But if she allows her feelings to show, she will be reassigned. In other words if she shows her love she will lose Chuck, and if she doesn’t show it, she may lose Chuck. Although the 49B is still far in the future, in retrospect, it is quite clear that Sarah’s position was much more difficult than we (or Chuck) realized. Notice I am not even mentioning her awkward feelings regarding Bryce/Chuck. There was so much going on in Sarah’s mind that it is surprising she managed to function at all.

      • garnet says:

        I’ll try this again:
        It think that the 49B really brings out just how awkward Sarah’s position (in Crown Vic) was.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Garnet I think you’re exactly right. The 49b shows us something else Sarah knows that Chuck doesn’t, just how immediate her eventual reassignment could be. But in the meantime, she wants to stay on this assignment for as long as she can. Obviously she loves Chuck and wants to be there for him, which of course she won’t admit to herself yet. But I’m sure she’s convinced herself that no one can protect Chuck in all the ways she can, and of course she’s really right about that.

      • garnet says:

        That’s my take on it too. Roughly, she will do what it takes to stay even if it means that she can’t be a “real girlfriend”, and thoughshe may not, at this point realize how much she wants what Chuck has to offer, she clearly has been hooked. Tough situation and the video log suggests just how difficult she was finding the situation.

      • uplink2 says:

        Dave, I think the darkness you speak of was something of a concern even to TPTB. One of my most disliked scenes ever from Chuck is the deleted scene from this episode. It really makes Sarah look like a bitch and I don’t think there are many points in the show where she is as dismissive and obnoxious to Chuck as in that scene. I love that Casey caller her out on it saying basically “don’t screw Lon Kirk and mess with Chuck’s head.” She may have been apprehensive about what might happen on Kirk’s boat but in the deleted scene she was throwing it in Chuck’s face and basically telling him to f— off and treats him like a child. I am so glad that never made the episode as it is a really bad scene for Sarah.

  4. Robert says:

    Yeah, even General Beckman knew by then that Sarah was totally compromised (and in love)with Chuck. Just remember what she said to Casey, while Chuck and Sarah were dancing together; “I hope you’re not compromised with the Intersect” or something to that effect, and right after that, the camera pans on Chuck and Sarah.

    What brought the 49b on Sarah was that Beckman saw/heard Chuck and Sarah’s discussion, and she thought she had to act because it was now so obvious that she couldn’t let it pass. Just remember Beckman’s reaction in 3.14; “I didn’t ask! Release Agent Walker’s hand!”

    But already, Beckman could see that Chuck and Sarah were a great team because they loved each other. And in 1.11, Sarah was beginning to understand and admit it to herself.

    • My read on Sarah and her feelings for Chuck peg her as having strong feelings for Chuck at this point.

      True love comes later in Season 2.

      • Robert says:


        But yeah, her feelings are strong. My point is that she’s already compromised, that she’s already putting Chuck ahead of the CIA.

      • Robert says:

        By the way, OD; according to you, when in season 2 can you really say that Sarah loves Chuck (and I mean without taking into account the v-logs in 5.12)?

      • Love that question, so I’m gonna butt in. I’d say at the moment she sides with him in Colonel. That’s when she really makes the decision that it’s him (or at least them) over everything else.

      • Rob for me that moment happens with over the shoulder look Sarah gives Chuck after the Fountain Talk in 2.03 – Chuck Vs The BreakUp. That look says to me it is the first time in her adult life someone has altruistically sacrificed their own desires to help/protect her.

        The feeling maybe still subconscious at this point but to me that is the moment it happens.

        It’s that – if you love something you have to be willing to set you free – coda.

      • Oooh, what about in Best Friend? When the Buy More car blows up and she thinks Chuck dies. That’s one hell of a scene.

      • Robert says:

        I remember you saying it at chucktv, OD, but I still have some trouble to truly understand why, for you, it is THE moment where it was love for Sarah; why THAT moment in particular, in opposition to, say, her horrified and painful reaction to Chuck’s “death” in Best Friend, or her choice of going rogue for him in Colonel. Can you elaborate a little?

    • Sarah fell for Chuck when he helped a young ballerina. After that it was only an question of degrees.

      • atcDave says:

        That’s how I see it too! She admitted it to herself sometime around Broken Heart (the apparent time of the v-log). I think circumstances could have forced her to face up to it earlier; she might have even gone rogue to protect Chuck from a kill order by the end of the Pilot when she later claimed to have “fallen for” Chuck. But at this point we can only speculate how strong her various barriers were and what it would have taken to overcome them at different points in the story.

      • Agreed Angus.

        And for me, the degree when it turned from like/affection to love, was at the end of Chuck Vs the Breakup when Sarah looks back at Chuck and realizes that what he did was to protect her.

        Robert – that is why that is the defining moment for me.

      • Ah. “After you fixed my phone and before you started diffusing bombs.” Now I have to watch breakup again.

      • In BreakUp the scenes by the courtyard fountain show Sarah’s hurt and pain at the things Chuck is saying to her. Once inside with Ellie and Devon, Sarah truly realizes what Chuck has done and hence that haunting – and somewhat awed to my mind – over the shoulder look she gives Chuck.

        That’s my read on those final scenes anyhow. The highlight moments of the series for me in terms of Yvonne’s nonverbal acting.

        The beauty of those moments are that they open to interpretation which I always find makes for the most compelling art.

        Stepping back and looking around that moment, there is a marked change in Sarah’s feelings and behaviours towards Chuck. And those behaviours afterwards equate to real love.

        To me.

      • joe says:

        Angus, I like the way you put it – “…it was only a question of degrees.” I see it almost exactly the same as you, Lou, Dave and others who’ve mentioned it in the past, and yes, that break-up scene is more than memorable.

        [Joe pauses to recall Sarah fighting off tears and looking back, over her shoulder, briefly at Chuck.]

        You know, I had a hard time coming up with scene that described the “grief” stage of that infamous Kübler-Ross five stage process of grief and loss. But that’s it.

        BTW, Lou, well said. You’re getting poetic in your old age! 😉

      • Robert says:

        OD, I understand better why you think this is THE scene where Sarah totaly fell in love with Chuck. After I thought about it, I can only agree that after that episode, Sarah’s behavior towards Chuck really changed, and it was more and more apparent as Season 2 progressed.

      • Robert says:

        OD, I’m a bit slow this week (too tired), but now I completely get why; it’s related to what Bryce pointed out to Chuck, right? That she couldn’t shoot the guy who held Chuck hostage, for fear of killing Chuck; she couldn’t protect Chuck as well as before, and she’d put herself in danger because of her strong feelings for Chuck, isn’t it?

        It resonated inside Chuck, and because he already loved her, and recognized that her feelings for him could be her undoing, he broke-up with her. And that’s what Sarah suddenly realized, that Chuck did it because he loved her and wanted to protect her, hence the look.

        Am I correct? Boy, I’m slow this week!

      • Rob, it is more likely I was not explaining myself clearly enough but yes that is very much it.

        That realization by Sarah when she looks back at Chuck is a clear dividing line IMO. Check her behaviour with Chuck before the BreakUp episode and after. There is a marked difference.

        It’s the dividing line between when Sarah was still in a fantasy phase in her feelings towards Chuck and when her feelings became real. Her – Chuck deserves a real girlfriend – is very telling during the Jill arc.

        Because of Chuck’s willingness to sacrifice his desires for Sarah’s safety. That is the true mark of love and why I find BreakUp an incredibly romantic episode.

      • Watched it again. Why do you think Chuck was doing it for Sarah? Chuck almost got killed because she was too conflicted to take the shot. And then he broke up with her because he thought he was fooling himself into a relationship. Do you mean he was protecting her emotionally?

      • uplink2 says:

        I agree with Lou here. Bryce’s comments about “doing the right thing, you always do” was because he knew Chuck would sacrifice his needs and desires to keep Sarah safe. That’s what Bryce was telling him. Sarah’s feelings for Chuck would get her killed. So Chuck sacrificed himself for her and Sarah knew it. Now when we get to that episode I think Bryce’s real motives for what he said will be an interesting topic for discussion as to me they were not noble in the least but I see Lou’s viewpoint here. When she looks back at him they both know how they feel and she knows why he did it. For that she loves him even more. It’s basically the same thing in a way he did in Hero. He sacrificed himself to save Shaw for her with no self interest in the least. He would give up everything to make her happy and safe.

      • ” Do you mean he was protecting her emotionally?”

        On every level.

        Emotionally, professionally, and physically.

        Chuck did not break up with her because he thought he was fooling himself into a relationship. He broke up with her because he was afraid having a relationship would harm her.

  5. Bill says:

    I’m with those who really enjoy the S1 arc. Crown Vic is very entertaining (no one has mentioned Chuck’s line about Charles Carmichael and martinis!) and very compelling (the apartment scene, during which Sarah loses the battle, albeit briefly, to keep her emotions in check).

    But the biggest moment, as you have pointed out, is Sarah choosing to trust Chuck when it mattered for the mission. That brings a smile to my face every time I re-watch this episode.

    @ref51907: I appreciate your thoughts on the lingering handshake. Nicely put.

    • ref51907 says:

      I hadn’t thought of the significance of the martini comment, but even here it seems they start to plant the seeds that begin the transition that gets Chuck from the get this thing out of my head it’s annoying idea, to the good yet reluctant spy/team member he was in parts of season 2.


    • Yeah, the apartment scene was pretty important.

      “Stop saying kiss, okay? It happened, what’s done is done. Can we just not talk about it, please!”

      The following conversation with Casey was also very significant when Sarah mentioned the ‘R’ word.

    • Yeah Bill, that scene with Sarah trusting Chuck is awesome; something I didn’t really think about until now. Also, notice that as much as Casey says he doubts Chuck, he’s actually waiting for them at the scene. He had to have left the Buy More as soon as his conversation with Chuck ended.

      • atcDave says:

        That’s a really awesome thought Arthur. So Casey was doing a bit of relationship therapy…

    • uplink2 says:

      I agree that is a critical moment in this episode and story. No matter what their difficulty had been, Sarah still believed in Chuck and trusted him when he needed her to. It is one of the things that make the scene at the beginning of Hero so disturbing. It was the first time she ever didn’t trust him. This moment in this episode was huge but that moment in Hero was even bigger and it was never dealt with, resolved or even discussed. It became just another dangling plot device to ramp up the angst. Each moment Sarah trusts Chuck was a pivotal moment in their story. This episode, Tom Sawyer, even Three Words at the fountain all were important moments. But the first time she doesn’t, it basically gets ignored and left unresolved. Another example where the writing in the first two seasons was so much tighter.

  6. anthropocene says:

    I have an unrelated question for all the Chuckologists on this blog. Was the actual location of the house with the red door and the picket fence ever specified? Does anybody know where that house is supposed to be located? I can’t recall. (I’m doing research for my next fic.)

    • joe says:

      That’s a great question, Anthro. I’m not the details expert here (made far too many mistakes to make that claim!), but my quick answer is no, it was never specified. At least, not directly.

      We’re never given a minute by minute time line, of course. But Chuck seemed to get to the house in reasonable drive time, and Sarah sussed it out to get to him nearly as quickly. So I think the intent was to make it seem “local” to Echo Park, reasonably close to the apartment without being right next door.

      When we get to rewatching S5, I’ll definitely pay attention to see if any subtle clues were dropped.

    • atcDave says:

      I never remember it being mentioned either. But I agree with Joe’s thinking, very close to Castle seems likely.

    • anthropocene says:

      Thanks, joe and Dave—somewhere close in the east Valley is perfect!

      • BigKev67 says:

        For all you Chuck trivia buffs I believe the house was actually the Chuck writer’s room on the WB lot – but in terms of the show it was never specified. I’m with Joe and Dave though. I always assumed it was somewhere near Echo Park.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      You can check out the house here, along with other Chuck locations.

  7. uplink2 says:

    Off topic but here is a new Schwedak project sold to Fox for a script committment.

    Nope, not again for me.

    • Just looked up the book series (aren’t books always supposed to be better). It looks like The WB got the rights originally. The producer of Charmed tried to adapte it, but the story author, Scott Westerfeld, didn’t like what they were doing by aging the leads to their twenties, and the project was dumped. The books are about teenagers, which fits with typical CW programming and is not my demographic.

    • Robert says:

      Oh boy! I won’t watch it; not because it’s a Schwedak project, but because the topic soooo doesn’t interest me!!!!

      Give me back “Chuck”, not some teen fantasy crap!!!

      Nope; not interested at all.

  8. First Impression says:

    I’ve watched this one twice now and found myself skipping the scenes with Morgan and Anna. The first time through it was needed for the story, but then I found these scenes just slow patches to get through. Chuck and Sarah at odds is not fun, but I was glad they settled on being friends by the end of the episode. I most enjoyed watching Casey. From the shiny Crown Vic to the explosion, his facial expressions were perfect.

    • atcDave says:

      This may be (?) the most annoying Morgan is in the entire series. And there’s no doubt he will mature; slowly in S2, then more dramatically in S3 and beyond. Not completely mind you, but he does grow pretty dramatically over the course of the series.

      Chuck and Sarah at odds is truly an unpleasant part of this episode. The first 20 minutes or so is just excruciating. But I do love the end. Great make up, and it will lead to a very strong run of episodes. I think the next seven are just as good as television can be. And Chuck won two Emmys in that time too (stunt work for Undercover Lover and again for First Date).

      • candm3407 says:

        In the first season, i kind of turn deaf to Morgan because of his annoying whining he does when Chuck can’t help him with things. At one time he was almost on the level with Ellie for me, and you know how much I can’t stand Ellie. However, Morgan in season 4 proved to be a worthy member of TB, which is why the group went from three to becoming four.
        I think if I have to place it in order the list of characters for me is the following
        1. Sarah 8. Shaw
        2. Chuck 9. Roan Montgomery ( I think the funniest episode is Seductive Impossible)
        3. Casey 10. Roark
        4. Orion
        5. Devon
        6. Jeffster
        7. Volkoff

        The reason I love Sarah so much is she brought stability to Chuck life more than anyone else. A complete stranger comes in and takes him under her wing like a mother figure and when feelings get involved it was almost like poetry in motion, and the truth is no matter how many times I watch now. I can’t get tired of see Yvonne on the screen with those amazing facial expressions. Especially when Chuck’s life was in danger because without him she was just a spy and for him without her he was just a nerd

    • anthropocene says:

      The part of this episode that annoyed me the most was Chuck’s petulant play at the roulette wheel. Given how much math he would have had to take as an engineering major at Stanford (before expulsion), he would have known full well how incredibly stupid it was to put everything on one spin. He would have known it was much more likely to backfire and anger Sarah than to upstage the baddie on his own turf. I thought it was OOC for him; the only thing worse than whiny Chuck is stupid Chuck! (It bothered me so much I even had Chuck belatedly make up for it in ‘season 6.’)

      • atcDave says:

        I think I would lump both whiney and stupid Chuck under the heading of buffoonish. But yeah, the one spin thing was pretty stupid! There were times when it seemed pretty obvious that the writers just didn’t quite “get” nerd; and having Chuck do stupid things like that or panicking over a “family curse” make me cringe.

      • bubbasuess says:

        Could it be that betting all the money on one spin in roulette had more to do with him trying to be like James Bond? He was already not acting like himself when he drank the martini. He was doing things he thought Bond would be doing. This even flashes forward to Balcony and Seduction Impossible, where Chuck feels inadequate that he is not Bond or poses as a Bond type to please Sarah. Perhaps the drinking of the martini and the way he bets has at least a little bit to do with him trying to impress Sarah while she is distant from him rather than just him impressing Lon Kirk.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh yeah I would agree he was trying to play Bond and impress Sarah. My objection (and this is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things!) is just as a gamer and a nerd, I would expect him to be a smarter gamer.
        There are a few little things that look like the writers (maybe just one or two of them?) don’t understand nerd. I mean an ordinary guy on a date with Sarah Walker might be driven to do really stupid things to impress her. But I’m thinking a nerd, especially since he’s already past the stunned senseless “I can’t believe I’m on a date with Sarah Walker” stage, is more likely to be thinking about probabilities and gaming strategy. He might think he can dazzle her with his prowess and brilliance and babble on at length about how to play roulette.
        This is not a big deal. Just a little thing I probably would have written differently.

  9. revdr says:

    You can tell that Sarah is clearly angry; with herself for bowing to temptation with “the incident”(even if she initially thought it was a goodbye kiss) and angry with Chuck because her feelings forced her make the decision the stay and because being around him scares the heck out of her. So again she leans on her professionalism to help her maintain some kind of decorum. That she focuses her anger at Chuck is just a carry over from the fight they had in the trunk in Hard Salami and the realization that those feelings for him just wont go away. And yes, Morgan is at his most annoying, but he’s still looking out for his friend.

    • candm3407 says:

      Your right, which brings me back to my original argument about the whole pilot scenario. Bryce is still a factor at this point like it or not. I have never been a big fan of Nemesis because of how brash Bryce is in the episode. He total insulted Chuck and than kissed Sarah in his bedroom. It almost seems its how Bryce was in Stanford. Grant it he was looking out for Chuck, but there are ways to handle it. I also feel that if Chuck didn’t call Sarah she would of left with Bryce. She was packed and ready to go. I felt more like she was going to leave with Bryce than Shaw.

      There are three parts in Crown vic that i enjoy. Its 2 man up moment for me from Chuck. In the hotel room, Sarah tells Chuck its work about the mission, and than she tries to fix his tie. and Chuck denies her. I was proud of him for it, especially on the coldness she was giving him all day. I was thinking don’t blame Chuck for your choice of staying. The second was when they first get to the event, and Sarah says since when do you drink Martinis and Chuck says oh. I don’t but Carmichael does. The third was the exchange post flash of the plates.

      One of the things that stands out about Cuck he is not afraid of telling Sarah off especially when she is accusing him of flash faking. She said you let your emotions get in the way today. Chuck says “My emotions” and than does his speech about the incident. it was really a maturing moment for Chuck in my view. Overall the episode is an average episode nothing major came of it storyline wise, but we did have our annual dysfunctional team bartowski moments.

      • revdr says:

        I think that there was a rivalry between Chuck and Bryce, albeit a friendly one, before the cheating scandal and the Jill thing ever happened. Just look at the flashbacks of the competitiveness between them in Alma Mater. Hey, they created their own game for goodness sakes. Then there’s Jill. Bryce introduced them; and although I have a lot of questions about all of that; the fact that Bryce sleeps with Jill (supposedly) after he gets Chuck kicked out of school is a huge point of contention. So, it wouldn’t be all that surprising that they would still be rivals, especially now, with all of those unresolved issues, and, with Sarah in the middle. Bryce always said that he was protecting Chuck, but if that was the case, then why would he put his life in jeopardy, breaking a promise to Orion? Yes, he was rude, brash and insulting, but given the fact that he had been shot and left for dead, and then brought back to life by a rouge spy organization, I’ll cut him a little slack. Plus, he actually helped to bring out the heroic side of Chuck (something he say that he knew Chuck handle) by sending him the intersect. So, no doubt Bryce is a huge factor in Chuck’s development, because without him there is no Sarah in his life.

  10. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Crown Victoria (1.11) | Chuck This

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