Chuck vs The Marlin (1.13)

The accidental finale.  Chuck vs The Marlin was never intended to end a season.  But a writers strike in 2007 meant this was the last episode of season one.  It aired one hour after Undercover Lover in January of 2008 (the Chuck sandwich), and left us with eight months to kill until season two started.

To me, this was the best finale until Cliffhanger.  After the jump we’ll look at an excellent episode that ended in a very satisfying spot for the long break.

Let me start by re-posting a couple paragraphs from when we discussed this episode just a few months ago in our “Reader’s Digest re-watch”.

Marlin was an unintended season finale, that I think actually worked out quite well.  There was no dire cliffhanger, but going into the long hiatus we knew that Sarah had crossed a line.  She still might be lying to Chuck and herself, but there was no question to us, the audience, that Sarah was compromised in the truest sense of the word.  This wasn’t just about stealing a kiss when she thought they were doomed; Sarah was willing to go against orders, and her agency’s best interests for Chuck.  In case there’s any confusion here, that is exactly what the CIA would want to avoid by re-assigning agents who grow too close to their assets or marks.  I know some have brought up the idea she couldn’t protect Chuck if she were involved with him, of course that is utter non-sense.  But the CIA doesn’t want her to just be a body guard, they want her to be their agent when Chuck’s and The Agencies interests conflict.  We see clearly at the end of Marlin that the CIA has already lost that fight, Sarah is now more Chuck’s agent than anyone else’s.  And what a beautiful finale that made.

Sarah’s hero pose

I hate to boil this review down to just the last 5 minutes; Marlin is funny from beginning to end with a cleaned out Buy More and a search for Big Mike’s fish.  But the ending is dynamite.  I love Sarah’s hero pose at the end; she may be on the outside looking in at the family, but she is also watching over them.  Casey warned that she won’t be able to keep Chuck in place for long, but Sarah remains firmly between Casey and the family; anyone coming for Chuck will have go through her first, and we know that isn’t easy!

Of course there is far more to Marlin than just an outstanding last few minutes.  The robbed Buy More is funny, and one of the better Buy More integrations with the “A plot” of the entire series.  There’s a number of excellent scenes involving Casey, Morgan, Big Mike, even Jeff and Lester.  And the “B plot” with Devon’s proposal to Ellie is sweet, and also seamlessly integrated with the spy story.

One of these is a force of pure evil…
And I don’t think its the pita girl

The way these different characters and worlds impact each other, without even knowing it, is never better managed than in Marlin.

How does Marlin fit in the whole picture of the complete series?  I think the view of compromised Sarah is the most significant thing.  The episode also has one of the most compelling “what ifs?” for all of season one; what if Chuck had been bunkered?  No doubt its a pretty dark what if.  But it has provided an outstanding jumping off point for some of the very best fan fiction.  And the whole rooftop scene may be the most written about moment of the entire season outside of the Pilot.

We’ve been mentioning firsts as we go, so maybe now is a time to add “lasts”.  I believe this was the first use of Big Mike’s last name (Tucker).  And it was the last appearance of the Weinerlicious.  Sure we’ll see a few flashbacks and photos, and a different Weinerlicious will appear in 5.13;

Round one

but Marlin is the last time the original Weinerlicious set will be used.  Pity I didn’t think to note Scooter’s last appearance.  Was it Truth?  I think he only appeared twice.  Too bad Sarah didn’t get to lock him in the freezer as she ran off…

This brings us to the end of Season one.  I think it was a wonderful start to the series.  I think for most of us season two is when we were really smitten with Chuck fever, at least I was.  But I already knew Chuck was my favorite show on television as season one came to an end.  And I can say that in spite of not being very enthused with a few episodes.

Rematch!

The very strong episodes of Chuck are among the best things I’ve ever seen on television; and the writers are able to deliver such quality at least 1/3 of the time.  And even the weaker episodes often had plenty of entertainment value.

Next week, we start season two!

~ Dave

Joe’s Take – Bring It On, Pita-Girl!

It’s hard to add to what you’ve said, Dave. This is such a remarkable episode, one that gets the humor, adventure and romance so right throughout that every little thing becomes memorable.

There’s Jeff and Lester’s perfect inappropriateness with Lizzy, The Pita Girl (Noureen DeWulf, last seen as a regular cast member of Charley Sheen’s latest vehicle, Anger Management) and Devon’s non-awesomeness as he asks Chuck’s permission to marry Ellie. There’s Chuck’s fumbling the gun in a futile attempt to free Sarah from the Weinerlicious freezer – is this the first time we see Chuck’s dislike-to-the-point-of-panic of guns? Or is this just the first time we see it writ large?

There’s Chuck’s growing panic over the idea of being torn from his family and friends, Sarah‘s growing panic over losing Chuck this way and Casey’s sardonic “I told you so!” attitude that changes with one phase after confirming his orders from Beckman by saying “We’re on it!”:

‘We’, meaning I go get Lizzy while you find Chuck.

One phrase? The writers and actors do better than that. When Lizzy has disarmed Sarah on the helipad and has Chuck at gunpoint, begging for a deal, she pointedly asks one hard question. “I have two guns. What do you have, Chuck?”, the answer comes with one word – one syllable – from Sarah. “Me.”

Unforgettable.

There’s more, of course; there’s Sarah’s tearful “Save you later.” instead of a good-bye, and her nervously telling Longshore (Mark Derwin), the CIA agent come to extract Chuck, “He’s my guy!”, a seemingly unconscious turn of phrase that we, and Chuck, notice immediately. And of course, there’s Sarah outside the window, looking in at Chuck, Ellie and Devon being a family, being happy.

You’re so right, Dave. Up to now, she’s been a hero, and a hero’s life is not about happiness. Sarah gets a long look at what she’s been missing. For an accidental finale, it’s an amazing ending to the season.

I’d like to point out one small thing in a key scene where my opinion has changed after several viewings. We all remember how Sarah starts to draw her gun as she faces Longshore on the helipad while bargaining for more time. Dave, you and others have said that this is where Sarah first shows she’s willing to go against the CIA for Chuck, and that’s true. That’s what we’re shown.

But this time as I watched, I realized that Sarah may not have done this consciously. Her shaking hand shows that Sarah’s defiance was a complete struggle; her emotions fighting against her training. I almost think Sarah herself is barely aware that her emotions are on the verge of winning! It’s very different from the end of First Kill, where Sarah is about to turn Chuck over to be put into Casey’s custody. There, with her whispered “Take off your watch,” there’s no doubt Sarah deliberately and consciously commits treason.

Here, because of Lizzy’s timely intervention, Sarah is let off the hook. She doesn’t have to choose treason even if she has decided to. But the question is clearly on the table for season 2, and I knew from the moment season 1 ended that I wanted to be there to see it all unfold.

– joe

Dave Again

This really is such a strong episode.  I agree entirely that Sarah has no idea how compromised she herself is.  That’s why I was careful to say we the audience know, she really doesn’t yet.  Next week, we’ll even look at the idea Sarah still thinks she could move on when the assignment ends.  Maybe she could, but I doubt it. But she won’t admit to herself until sometime around Broken Heart that she loves Chuck.  I’ve always maintained in First Kill That there was simply no way she ever could have delivered Chuck back to Casey’s tender care.  I think she tried to convince herself she could.  But it didn’t take much.  Just a little of Chuck being Chuck and Sarah goes rogue. But even at that, when Chuck asks her in the next episode why she did it, she falls back on it being her job to protect him.  No, it isn’t.  Its her job to follow orders; and she just abandoned her duty back at the Buy More.  She’s so compromised she doesn’t even know it.  Of course we know she was doing the right thing, at least by Chuck she was.  And I think by the end of Colonel she knew what she was doing too.

This very thing is possibly the most compelling and exciting aspect of the entire story to me.  Its Sarah’s fundamental conflict of interest, her inner struggle that she isn’t even aware of until quite late, and ultimately how her value system and reason for being will be completely rewritten.  We’ve seen hints of her inner struggle, really ever since the Pilot.  But this is the moment when our suspicions are confirmed.  When push comes to shove, Sarah is on Chuck’s side.

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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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153 Responses to Chuck vs The Marlin (1.13)

  1. Super fun episode. Great action. Funny bits and heart felt moments.

    Norman!

    • joe says:

      That should have been a movie – A Fish Called Norman. With Jamie Lee Curtis. 😉

      One heart felt moment that I meant to bring up was Sarah trying to dissuade Casey from bringing up the possibility of Chuck being bunkered. “He won’t process it!” she said. Then she wistfully states that “It’s like a life sentence for being a good guy.” It’s almost like Sarah’s having a hard time processing it too.

  2. joe says:

    Question: Is this the first time the Buy More duct work is featured in an episode? I think it is!

  3. anthropocene says:

    That helipad scene is among my all-time favorite Chuck moments—not just because of Sarah’s emotional turmoil but also because of Chuck’s surprising composure, even as he was on the brink of being bunkered. His “You’re Sarah—you can do anything” and quip about her coming to visit him in his cell were intended to cheer HER up.

    The helipad scenes in the Pilot and in Marlin bookend season 1 very nicely, and they have much in common. In the Pilot, Sarah argues with Casey to deflect his threat of arrest or worse for Chuck, and in Marlin she does the same against Longshore. And Chuck strikes unexpectedly heroic poses in both—in the Pilot he loses sight of his own dire situation to warn Sarah and Casey about the bomb threat, and in Marlin his principal concerns are for Ellie and for Sarah.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah Chuck comes across quite well in both of those scenes. Both are strong episodes too, but the helicopter pad in Marlin is just a dynamite scene. I almost suspect Chuck isn’t just comforting Sarah, he’s knows he’s keeping her from doing something stupid.

      • anthropocene says:

        That seems wholly possible—and it foreshadows Chuck’s greater emotional (and occasionally physical) care and protection of Sarah in season two.

      • garnet says:

        It seems to me that the best episodes of CHUCK are thoses that show Chuck’s strengths rather than weaknesses. We had previously discussed how Chuck is the moral center on the show, and how he changes those around him even the baddies. I think we see some of that here as well. Chuck is doing his best…looking out for Ellie (and Devon), and also Sarah. It also is part of the reason I think that Chuck had some growing up to do before he was ready to be the guy for Sarah. At this point, he still worships Sarah (“of course you can, you’re Sarah you can do anything”) and while it is great to have someone worship you, it isn’ the best basis for a long-term relationship…. A blond goddess walked into the nerd’s life, and he needs to see her as a person with her faults and flaws.

      • Mel says:

        I don’t think that scene shows Chuck worshiping Sarah, it shows he trusts her.

        Chuck isn’t a fool, he’s aware of Sarah’s flaws, her fear of commitment and all that. That’s why the arguments some people give for the necessity of S3 angst fail miserably. It wasn’t needed at all.

      • garnet says:

        No, but Chuck “lives on planet earth” and whether he worships or is just in awe of Sarah, he has a long way to go to feel worthy of her (just as we come to understand she has a long way to go to feel she is worthy of Chuck). This scene may not be the best example of his awe of Sarah’s awesomeness, but it does help show it.

    • uplink2 says:

      I would contend though that the helipad scene in the Pilot when Casey and Sarah are arguing, Chuck is actually trying to run. But he sees the hotel and flashes on it. He then warns them because Chuck being Chuck, he sees that as more important than him getting away from them. I even wrote about that in my latest chapter of LL&L. Taken to a more rigid approach to it, that is the first time Sarah disobeyed orders for Chuck. Graham ordered her to kill him if he ran, but when he does run she doesn’t, pull the trigger. She give him the chance to tell them what he flashed on. She already knew something was different about him and as we found out in OG she was already starting to fall for him. This sandwiches the season even better if you look at it from that standpoint. Sarah wasn’t prepared to blindly follow orders when it endangered Chuck’s life both times she was on that helipad. She knew he was different, special and her allegiances I think even she would say later on were teetering a bit even that far back.

      I will also say something beyond what Dave said about an agent compromising themselves being a problem for the CIA. In the ultimate sense it’s about whether an agent can terminate the asset if so ordered. That is what they are most concerned with. If they are ordered to pull the trigger can a compromised agent do it.

      • atcDave says:

        I think terminating assets would be so rarely done its not really the main issue. I would expect the main thing to be about keeping them cooperative even if it puts them in some risk, or endangers their job, fortune, loved ones… It may involve a combination of carrot or stick motivators, anything from encouragement to money to blackmail. We saw that Sarah always left out of the loop on Casey’s kill order (although she likely knew he could never be allowed to fall into enemy hands), and I’m thinking even in this dark situation, the CIA would always know its foolish to use a long term handler to kill an asset. Some degree of “being compromised” is completely normal and you can’t routinely expect agents to just eliminate someone they’ve worked closely with for months or years. That would require a specialist, a cleaner.

        But I agree entirely Sarah saw something special in Chuck from the very start. She kept overt manipulation to a minimum and played pretty fair with him. I think her rather transparent enticement to get his help in finding Roan is the only exception I can think of, and I think she was being more honest with Chuck than she even knew. Some of her later seduction efforts looked more like fun and games…

    • This has always been my favorite aspect of his character, and what I’m convinced is what Sarah likes most about him. In the end, other his loved one’s happiness is just more important to him than his own.

  4. Bill says:

    I like the way this episode portrays the relationships between the three members of Team Bartowski. To me the show was at its strongest when we see lots of interaction between Chuck, Sarah, and Casey. Along those lines, this episode flows very well into Season 2, when we got tons of great screen time from Team B.

    • atcDave says:

      Great point Bill. I agree about the team interaction, such a great part of the show.

      • Bill says:

        As I see it, there were so many compelling dynamics between the three of them:

        Chuck and Sarah’s thing under the undercover thing (to which Casey added a great mix of humor, disdain, and/or encouragement depending upojn the circumstances)

        Sarah and Casey’s journey from mutually-distrusting competitors to mutually-admiring partners

        Chuck and Casey’s tutor-apprentice relationship (which certainly became a two-way street as time passed, with Chuck mentoring Casey on his journey to becoming a more complete human being)

        Add to that the fact that the three actors played so well off one another, and you have a winning formula indeed.

        I think I just explained to myself why Season 2 is my favorite of the series. 🙂

  5. Robert says:

    I LOVE vs. the Marlin!

    In my top 3 of season 1.

    I love how the different stories fit within each other! One of those episodes where the Buy More didn’t feel irrelevant.

    I really like when Big Mike and Conway are interrogating the employees and how Jeff and Lester are freaking out!

    I like how Chuck is awesome while using the “mammary” cam to warn Sarah! And how Sarah is freaking out with the thought that Chuck will get bunkered. I love how Chuck calls her out on her feelings for him, and how she doesn’t deny it, and immediately put her hands into his. The girl is compromised, and both Chuck and Casey knows it.

    And for the first time of the show, her feelings are taking over her duty. Just think that Sarah kissed him in 1.09, but refused to even discuss it afterwards. Now, she’s willing to shoot Longshore to save Chuck; she disobeyed a direct order to see “her guy” one last time.

    One of my favourite parts is when Chuck is under the Pita Girl’s guns, and she tells him “I have two guns; what do you have?” And Sarah replies; “ME!” Love it! And it’s true! Chuck and Sarah are an almost undestructible team together, because they protect each others blind spots.

    And what about the last scene, when Chuck enters Eliie and Awesome’s house to congratulate them; she sooo wants to be with Chuck inside! She sooo wants to have a normal life with him! She has tears in her eyes because of it, but she thinks it’s impossible. Chuck will get her heartwarmed, but that’s another story!

    This is one of the episodes that I have no problems rewatching!!!

    • atcDave says:

      Ditto all Robert! I’m really sorry I didn’t mention the “What have you got” part in the body of the post, really an outstanding moment. And I agree entirely about top three, I never get tired of this one, just everything is perfect to my taste (well, you know I’d always prefer a bigger Sarah part. But quality over quantity!)

  6. Weird. I never much liked this episode. It’s completely solid, none of the bad parts of chuck, but none of the great stuff either. The whole Buy More staff is underwhelming, Casey doesn’t display any of the turmoil that makes 2.01 so compelling, and Sarah comes down on the wrong side of her decision in Colonel. Really, all my problems with Season 1 in a nutshell. The difference between Marlin and First Date is the difference between a show still in it’s growing pains and a show that’s completely found its niche.

    The best thing I can say about Marlin is that it sets up all the central questions for season 2: How is Chuck going to ultimately get out of this? Where are he and Sarah going? What’s Sarah’s final decision going to be? Where does Casey stand? And most importantly, what is up with Jeff and Lester? In that sense, it functions better as a finale than an episode.

  7. atcDave says:

    On a completely different subject…

    I have long loved the show Castle. Currently, it’s my favorite show on the air. Like Chuck, they ran the wt/wt game a season too long (which seems to be television SOP). But they are currently doing the “secret relationship” angle to very good effect, something I had always hoped we would see on Chuck. This week’s episode was one of their very best; just fun and funny all the way through. The moron twins trying to figure who Kate’s new guy is, very funny. The moment when Ryan figures it out, laugh out loud, fall on the floor gasping for air funny. And when he chooses to keep it quiet, really nice moment. Bravo, great show, great fun.

    • joe says:

      Oh yeah, it was fun, Dave. I agree with that completely.

      And there was just a touch of sexitime too (I hear their producers put that in just for Faith, because she asked for it ;D ).

      Much like Chuck, Castle has been hitting a wide range of dramatic notes, ranging from humor to pathos, dramatic intensity to excitement, and hitting them well.

      Oh gee. That sounded just like Castle’s mother!

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I’m just amazed that the Chuck/Castle fandom missed a Firefly Easter Egg (admittedly I only caught it on a re-watch). When Castle is showing Beckett around his Hampton’s retreat he talks about it as a getaway with the line “Ahh, the Serenity“.

    • What is this Castle show about? You guys keep bringing it up.

      • atcDave says:

        There tends to be a lot of overlap between Chuck and Castle fans. Similar mood in a lot of ways, although the humor on Castle is less zany.
        Short answer is its a murder mystery procedural. Rick Castle is a mystery writer who works as a consultant for NYPD, specifically with Kate Beckett, his “muse” for his current series of books.
        But like Chuck it could be described as a dramedy. Like Chuck it uses a mix of serial and episodic elements. And I think the shows make for interesting parallel discussion as they have some similar, and some radically different decisions on how they handle things. But even more than Chuck, Castle has always been about how the two leads relate to each other.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        What Dave said. It is pretty straightforward procedural and Castle and Beckett are a more traditional WT/WT in the mold of the Moonlighting love/hate/banter bad-boy versus uptight girl will they or won’t they.

        There is a serialized storyline about Kate trying to solve her mother’s murder, and obviously their relationship has now moved through several phases, but aside from that you can practically set your watch ticking off the various weekly plot twists. Not usually the type of show I go for but Nathan and Stana have crazy chemistry and the Castle character is an intriguing mix of single dad-big kid-nerd-millionaire playboy that allows for a lot of great comedy.

        I found it the same way I found Chuck, by checking out a Firefly alum’s new show. Nathan actually wore the Captain Mal costume for a Halloween episode early on.

      • atcDave says:

        Hey Ernie it’s always good to find something to not argue about…

        Even the same initial selling point for me, the Firefly connection (although that wasn’t what caught my attention with Chuck).

        Errr, although this is exactly the sort of show I normally go for.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Heh. We were sooo close to total agreement. 😉

        I wonder what shows we’ll find in the future by following Chuck alumni? I’d give Dexter another chance if I had Showtime (I watched the first season years ago, and liked it, but I never followed up). I was planning on Zac’s sitcom had it been picked up, and I’ll likely try the new Schwedak project. I also checked out Adam Baldwin on SVU. Not much to see, he’s a pretty minor character as a pretty standard tough by-the-book cop, and again, not big on proceedurals.

        I’ll almost certainly see I Frankenstein and Thor 2 when they come out…on DVD.

        I haven’t tried 666 Park Ave. (I was never a big Zondra fan)

        Any I’ve missed?

        I know Joe is holding out for the Skip Johnson and Fernando spin-off from Chuck, but I think that’s a long-shot.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I wouldn’t wait for the spin off! I will certainly watch Thor 2, and I might watch I, Frankenstein (depending on rating and reviews, like Chuck I’m more of a PG-13 guy)). I don’t see any scenario where I would watch Dexter, way too dark for me.

        But I sure do hope to see more Chuck alums in the fun sort of projects I enjoy. I keep hoping for one of them to get a USA show or something.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Wow Dave, you surprise me. As a big FanFiction guy I’d have thought you’d jump at the chance to see Yvonne actually play an adorable psycho. 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah funny. I’m not such an Adorable Psycho fan anyway. I know you’re teasing, you know that’s not me!

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Had to get my clever comment in when I had an actual FanFiction reference I could use. Not to do so would be unprofessional. But you’re right, I think I’d check the weather report for Hades if you started watching Dexter.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah, the Devil would be ice skating to work…

      • My Chuck/Castle relationship comparison. Castle milked the WT/WT for 1 1/2 more seasons than Chuck did. Many people said it wasn’t as bad as Chuck 3.0, but I think it was worse. 14 PLIs and OLIs instead of six and pacing that made the post Mask break look quick. Oops. Ignore.Chuckwin’s Law. Move along. Move along.

        Castle is still my favorite show on TV now that Chuck is off the air. There’s also a lot of really good Castle fan fiction.

      • atcDave says:

        Its funny Jeff, I know the prolonged wt/wt on Castle always bothered you more than it did me. I think there are a couple of reasons I can see; for one, I never identified as strongly with Castle (as I did with Chuck) so his failings never struck me as personally. I also saw the “playing the field” as a big part of who Castle was, I didn’t expect to see anything like that with Chuck. I also think, from a pure story telling issue, Castle did a better job of keeping the focus on Rick and Kate working together even when there were other characters in their lives; while on Chuck it felt like Sarah was pushed off to the side for much of a season. Ultimately I think I was just far more invested with Chuck than I have been with Castle.
        So yeah, Chuckwin’s Law a little again, sorry. Now the really interesting thing will be what Castle does with it. Rick and Kate’s issues will likely be far different than Chuck and Sarah’s. For starters they’re actually a more traditional couple. And Rick in particular may have a harder time behaving himself than either Chuck or Sarah ever did.

      • jam says:

        “Many people said it wasn’t as bad as Chuck 3.0, but I think it was worse.”

        Can’t agree with that, Jeff. On Castle it was perhaps annoying and boring, but on Chuck it really hurt the characters… for many viewers it ruined the canon versions of Chuck and Sarah irrevocably.

      • Castle’s character wasn’t damaged because he didn’t have much “character” to begin with. So showing up to a crime scene with a flight attendant, ending up on the couch with a half naked weather girl while dating Beckett, or whatever is going to happen next week, is all fair game. Doesn’t mean I like it. Beckett got too much of a pass because of her gun shot wound and PTSD. In TV shows, characters have magical powers to come back from injuries like that instantaneously. (*just kidding*) Her scar is magically missing now. My problem was while Chuck’s WT/WT was extremely frustrating, it moved along quickly (for a TV show). Castle’s WT/WT was frustrating and a times boring. Chuck was never boring.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree with all of that Jeff. Although sometimes I prefer boring to infuriating!

    • ref51907 says:

      That is my wife and I’s current favorite. Castle is just flat out funny. We watch just to be entertained. We both don’t try to evaluate the episodes too much. Some things are obvious but the thing we both love is the playful banter that goes back and forth between them.

    • Rick Holy says:

      I’m back! Haven’t forgotten about CHUCK. still posting scenes with my usual “I MISS CHUCK”” comment on my Facebook page. Just wanted to comment that I thoroughly loved this episode, too. And DAve – I got hooked on Castle during Season 3. Always lovedNathon Filion. Great show. That, Fringe, and CHUCK reruns on DVD are about all I watch anymore.

      • atcDave says:

        Hey welcome back Rick. We’re still watching once a week, so don’t be a stranger!

      • joe says:

        Great to see your name come up here, Fr. Rick! We missed your input.

        Chuck? Castle? Fringe? and I presume, Firefly? Add Babylon 5 to that and you’re officially dubbed a geek, you know. 😉

  8. jam says:

    This week’s episode was the best one so far, but overall I haven’t been too happy with S5. Beckett returning to her job straight away was predictable, but slightly disappointing. I’m not too thrilled with the Castle and Beckett trying to hide their relationship sub-plot myself… in the second episode where Castle is apparently unable to stop the advances of his fake date I just wanted to stop watching. And in the latest episode Esposito and Ryan’s weird obsession over Beckett’s boyfriend seemed more like a Jeff&Lester thing to me.

    So yeah, I really hope that plotline is put to rest and soon, at least the promo for the next episode looked promising.

    Aside from Castle and the Office (which seems to have been somewhat rejuvenated this season) I haven’t watched any new or returning shows yet. I did put the first 3 eps of 666 Park Avenue on my phone and plan to watch those while traveling this weekend.

    • joe says:

      Esposito and Ryan’s weird obsession over Beckett’s boyfriend seemed more like a Jeff&Lester thing to me.

      You say this like it’s a bad thing, Jam. 😉

      As a slightly more “casual” viewer, I wasn’t quite so upset by Castle’s fake date. I just thought it was funny, which I guess is the common reaction when the investment made in the characters is only moderate. I can imagine that, for a viewer who follows Caskett the way I followed Charah, it would be an eye-brow raiser.

      You bring up a good point. I’ve been watching a lot TV lately (too much, perhaps), but not enjoying it as much. Sadly, none of the new shows have caught my interest at all, including 666 Park Ave. I wonder what it is that causes me to pick, or not pick, shows to watch when I know nothing about them but the title.

    • atcDave says:

      Predictably I also didn’t like Castle’s date, I was sort of staggered by his foolishness on the issue. But his character is well established as being foolish; kind of like of Chuck’s neurosis, I hated it and never wanted to see it, but I can’t really claim “out of character.”

      But I love the secret relationship angle, apart from the fact it really makes no sense (Beckett isn’t supposed to be involved with a non-employee?). I’m hoping we see people find out about them in a variety of ways with a variety of reactions, maybe a couple of folks Caskett will know are on to them, and a couple (like Ryan) they will not. Then one episode (mid-season break? Season finale?) it will all blow up in a comedy of misunderstandings, errors and revelations. Next episode looks darker than I generally care for, and I hope they don’t waste potential comic energy for mere drama, but I’m very excited for this story and its potential.
      Without getting too specific, there was a time when I seriously hoped Chuck would do a similar story. Chuck and Sarah getting more involved at a time when she wasn’t supposed to, trying to hide from surveillance, keeping secrets from Casey and Beckman (all while Casey is completely on to them and is actually helping cover their tracks), flipping two seasons of cover dating upside down with a real relationship they’re trying sell as a cover to the government, all while fending off outside parties with increasingly implausible excuses and evasions. Ahhhh, my favorite “what if…”

      • Now that could have made Season 3 so much better… then the struggle could have been between the importance of keeping their jobs vs. dating, instead of “we love each other, but refuse to talk about our decisions to break up, for no reason!” Ugh.

      • jam says:

        Joe, I don’t actually care too much about Caskett. I like both characters individually, but at this point I’m “eh, whatever” about their romance.

        Dave, if done well I wouldn’t have minded seeing Chuck & Sarah version of this story instead of what we got in s3 (ninjaVanish’s vs Themselves comes to my mind), on Chuck this storyline would have made more sense, imo.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Jam exactly. It is sort of forced on Castle (I think funny, but forced), but would have played perfectly on Chuck. What NinjaVanish did is one of the very best S3 AUs, certainly far better in my eyes than what we got. Although NinjaVanish doesn’t use a lot of humor; maybe that’s not the right way of putting it, he’s written some very funny stuff (think Jeff’s girlfriend… I’ll wait while you find the brain bleach…), but his humor is very different from the show. And of course he is far more explicit, very “R” rated, both in terms of sex and violence. A NinjaVanish story would need a lot of re-write before it could have worked on the show!

  9. ref51907 says:

    I loved this episode. Like I read somewhere above, this sets up the first 4 episodes of season 2 perfectly. The he’s my guy line directly correlates to Sarah agreeing to go on a “real date” with Chuck as well as her obvious disgruntled (?) attitude when Bryce shows up again. He’s my guy, to me clearly indicates that she is done with Bryce and wants ;him to just go away. Well that and her response to Lizzy when she asks him, what do you have, Chuck. He certainly does have her, whether she is willing to admit it or not.
    -And Casey’s willingness to let Sarah do find Chuck makes his hesitation about his kill order all the more real, and believable.

    I guess it wasn’t supposed to be the season finale but I don’t think they could have wrote one any better.

    • atcDave says:

      I agree with all of that Erik!

    • joe says:

      I do too! There’s so much that seems very tightly written here – using the subtle (for television) clue that Lizzy had brought 29 deliveries to the Buy More, for instance, Sarah’s “He’s my guy!” for another, and also, the ways in which this episode leaves us set up for much of what’s coming with C&S emotionally.

      Gee! It’s almost like it’s well planned, or something.

      Is it me, or do you get the idea that these guys work best under pressure? I mean, the end of S2 was created with major uncertainties about the show’s renewal, they had to jury rig give us a satisfactory ending and hooks into an S3 that might not come. For my money, Colonel and The Ring together were an incredible finale too.

  10. I have one observation (well, maybe a few more later). This one is actually my wife’s. She’s offered this question to me on several occasions. “Why does Sarah always kick the big bad guys asses, but so often get her own ass handed to her by some petite little bad girl? It drives me nuts!” LOL, I love my wife (incidentally she’s a second degree Aikido black belt, so I don’t disagree with her too much about it).

    • atcDave says:

      I remember joking/complaining about that going way back. There are a few exceptions of guys who caused her grief; Mr. Colt, Shaw, Ryker, even Mauser until she got her gun.

    • Faith says:

      I would say it’s because in a lot of ways Chuck is a simple, almost traditional, good hearted show. You may be asking yourself “traditional?” This is crazy talk.

      No really in some ways it is. Why does Sarah often make mincemeat of men but gets beat up by women, maybe because in general it is accepted that women can hit other women, but a man and a woman well…That’s often reserved for the most distasteful and dare I say shock-inducing emotional scenes. But when Sarah almost makes Mr. Colt her b… (RIP MCD) well that’s girl power! Hehe. And really who doesn’t want to be her boyfriend?

    • anthropocene says:

      My wife and I just figured it was a kind of running gag or intentional quirk of the show: in a fight, Sarah will always make short work of male adversaries, but she has to work a lot harder to defeat the female ones (and is always bloodied afterward).

      • Jerry Kane says:

        …and in the case of Sarah’s fight with Sydney Prince in “Operation Awesome”, she didn’t even manage to get the upper hand.

      • It seems like most people didn’t like Op Awesome from when Shaw showed up. For me. it was the fight with Sydney. Sarah not winning that made no sense.

      • Faith says:

        She lost because everything about her was shaky after Prague and after Chuck. It’s the continuation of humanizing Sarah and contrasting who she is becoming with him versus without him. Which they then built on with “I’m different without Chuck.”

      • atcDave says:

        Funny, I had no major problems with that episode. Of course I’d always rather see Sarah win, but I can accept that sometimes things go wrong. No doubt, there’s things I wish had been a little different about it, but the girl fight is pretty low on the list.

    • Alias was often similar. Sydney Bristow took care of the male opponents but had trouble with Anna Espinosa. I think writers and producers in Hollywood are worried about the type of reaction some here had after Santa Suit and Baby. A lot of people here didn’t like seeing Sarah being hit by Shaw and Ryker. I didn’t either, but liked that in the end Sarah eliminated Ryker and Ellie finished off Shaw. Meanwhile, a large percentage of the audience gets immature about girl/girl fights.

      • Bill says:

        Shaw hitting Sarah in Santa Suit is the absolute low ebb of the series. I turned off my TV and didn’t watch Chuck again until the S5 DVDs arrived. TPTB’s decisions about Shaw after S3.0 continue to perplex and disturb me.

      • atcDave says:

        Jeff I agree entirely with that. I also found it a little disturbing on those occasions when some guy pounded on Sarah. And I’m perfectly aware this likely is an archaic double standard. But it bothers me. Santa Suit bothered me more, I didn’t really like the resolution of it; but I was we’ll pleased with end of Baby. At this point, I even like seeing Sarah’s toughness and persistence. I think we’re all pretty well conditioned at this point to know guys pounding on women is wrong, and it can be hard to see when there is a legitimate story reason for it.

    • joe says:

      Angus, I’ve wondered about this myself. Usually, I blame George Bush. But this time I think that It’s just because Casey is a real sucker when it comes to Sarah. She *always* beats him silly. When it comes to sparing, she’s his Bo-Ba Fett.

      • atcDave says:

        That’s it Joe! She always spars against Casey so she knows how handle guys. Women confuse her, she keeps swinging too high… (Yeah, I’m being silly)

      • joe says:

        True story:
        I met my first wife in the Karate studio. You know – she punched me in the face, I kicked her in the head and it was love. We used to spar, even in the basement, which made for some interesting noises for the neighbors to mull over.

        Can’t imagine what they thought!

      • I’m guessing you’re referring to this scene, Joe. It makes me chuckle every time I see it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O803iONs7AA

        Oh, yeah? What? Kids…with you? Hhh, Bartowski’s the king of cool, huh?”

        WHACK, SMACK, POW!

        “I can’t even process the idea of having kids right now, I need to say something to him before he runs away with the idea.”

        “He’s probably already measuring for drapes”

        WHACK!

        Ah, the ways Sarah deals with her emotional growth. 🙂

        Our neighbors have finally gotten used to us sparring on the back yard lawn.

    • aerox says:

      I have no issues with men hitting women if the women is clearly attacking the guy. Sure, you’re allowed to defend yourself. It shouldn’t be different just because someone’s a woman. It’s obviously a different story if the guy just starts pounding on a woman for no particular reason, but the same goes for a guy hitting a guy for no reason.

      So in that sense, Santa Suit didn’t bother me. The reason it bothered me was because it was like the fourth time that they chose Sarah as a punching bag. Don’t get me wrong, she can’t get hurt because it’s a wellknown fact that Bartowskis and their spouses/significant others are demigods (as observed through five seasons of Chuck and almost nary a scratch on Chuck, the fact that Sarah survives the Norseman, and the fact that Ellie and Awesome are, well… awesome), but I would’ve liked Chuck to be in more trouble than he was. Or Casey, or even Morgan. But it seems like S5 mostly consisted of Sarah getting the brunt of the damage, so Chuck could do his hero act. It’s okay for three episodes, but for what felt like an entire season? No thank you.

      • Great a scene as it was, Sarah kicking Chuck down a flight of stairs in Sarah was a lot more shocking to me than the Shaw scene. Shaw just generally kicked ass in Santa Suit – Casey ended up just as bad as Sarah. Season 5 in general was a lot more visceral than the others, especially in its second half. Honestly, that’s why it was my favorite season, but I can understand why it bothered some people.

      • aerox says:

        True, Casey did almost die in Santa Suit, fair point. But like I said, it feels like Sarah kept getting the shit kicked out of her, while the rest got through with minor scrapes. Whether or not she in turns destroys people is somewhat irrelevant. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the visceral stuff, but there’s a limit of how many times you can do it to one character and for me they crossed that line with the third or fourth time it happened. Variation is key and to me, they didn’t have it in terms of who they chose to be the victim.

      • uplink2 says:

        I’m going to suggest that part of that reason is simply Yvonne is the better physical actor. So they played to their strength. She pulls off the fight scenes and action far better than Zac or even Adam. She seems like she is a true athlete and you can see her skill evolve over the seasons. Look at the fight scenes in season one compared to Phase Three. Even in this episode with Lizzy she is better than the Carina fight scene but still nowhere near as good as Phase Three. Chuck’s fight scenes with Shaw don’t even come close for either Zac or Plywood.

        I think Zac’s best was TicTac but the stunt double is really obvious. Secodn for him is Honeymooners with Yvonne. The worst example of that was the Morgansect scenes. The stunt doubling there was god awful.

      • The ComicCon video about Joshua Gomez’s lack of physical skill was pretty funny though.

      • atcDave says:

        I thought the obvious stunt doubling was part of the joke. Especially given Morgan’s love of cheesy martial arts movies.

    • To be fair, Sarah kicks a lot of girl butt too. Honeymooners comes to mind, as well as the episode with the rock star.

      Perhaps in order to be a field agent, a female needs to be exceptionally well trained to overcome inherent strength advantages – giving Sarah a leg up on most brutes. Men are also likely to underestimate a skinny woman, where another woman would make no such judgments.

      • klara says:

        Does a woman – however well-trained – really stand a chance against a guy – particularly when her opponent has fighting experience, too, and the situation is serious? I was always wondering about that. It were encouraging for women – but I always thought it’s just fiction. Good to look at – but not to be taken for real.

      • Faith says:

        Cops and women in the military are trained to combat men who are bigger and stronger than they are. Most of the time the training involves not being stronger or more powerful but being faster or sneakier. In any case yes women can and have.

      • atcDave says:

        I think strength and size (especially reach) are always advantages. But speed, intelligence, skill, endurance, experience are all potential advantages too.
        What we saw on screen was certainly a bit fanciful at times. But as Faith said, women in certain professions are trained to be quite dangerous. And if we extend that to say Sarah was the best of the best (and we were actually told that on the show), it makes sense to say not many men could face her on equal terms.

      • Yep. My wife, who is over seventy-five pounds lighter than me regularly throws me around like a rag doll. It’s all about speed and technique. And it’s so much fun in the …never mind.

      • joe says:

        Hi, Klara. Is this your first time here? If so, welcome!

        Yeah, I spent a lot of years doing the martial arts, and I can tell you that size, weight and reach count for a lot. I was a very small fighter, so I know that more than most. The average woman is outmatched by the average man; the 125 lb man is outmatched by a 165 lb man the same way.

        But no one is average. Skill and speed can often overcome sheer strength, and a weapon can be a tremendous equalizer. I don’t care how much bigger you are, you have no chance against anyone who knows how to use a gun and almost no chance against someone skilled with a knife, if you are unarmed (but remember, if you have a gun or a knife, ignorance about their use can get you killed too).

        Sarah was skilled and often more clever than Casey. She used 2 by 4s a couple of times to his hear, IIRC, not to mention her knife-throwing skills in the Pilot (using skewers) to slow him down. Casey liked brute strength and microwave ovens at 20 feet 😉 But his real skill was sharp-shooting.

      • atcDave says:

        Funny, I keep thinking about Sarah’s relative success against men compared to women and I’m thinking of Fezik in Princess Bride justifying his loss to Wesley; “well I’ve been fighting mostly mobs recently, different moves, different techniques…”

  11. Faith says:

    Dave I love the outside looking in scene. It is one of the saddest yet biggest metaphor for Sarah’s growth that continues into the next finale and the one after that and the one after that. Each one building on the first.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah Faith, in some ways Sarah’s growth/journey is the biggest in the show, and I think that scene sums it all up.

      • Robert says:

        Yeah, by the beginning of season 4, Chuck’s growth is mostly done, though he still have some bouts of insecurity; the only thing he needed was a girl who believed in him and would give him her support and appreciation. Sarah had the most growth to do, and perhaps that’s why she became a little bit more interesting than Chuck during the last 2 seasons.

        She was like Chuck before she got tampered with by her father and the CIA. She felt like she was of no worth at all, after all she did. Suddenly a man comes into her life, a man just like who she was, able to connect with her, and to whom she realizes she is everything in the world; she believes in him, she learns to love him and to believe that she can be redeemed, even if it’s only in her own eyes, and that she’s worth fighting for.

        Because of that, she’s willing to try and finally become the normal girl she always wanted to be, with her Chuck, her house, her family. And with Chuck’s help, she did it.

        In a way, Chuck and Sarah had the same kind of emotional journey; it’s just that Sarah came from the other side of the spectrum. But they did it!

      • atcDave says:

        Well put Robert!

      • Robert, I agree with all of that except the first part. I don’t think Chuck was “mostly done” at all. Rather, his focus shifted. He didn’t become a fully realized agent until Push Mix, where he finally becomes the real leader of a successful team. After that, his growth certainly shifts, but it doesn’t stop. His journey in Season 5 is one of separating the hero from his powers.

        Separating Chuck from the intersect for an entire season was such a powerful statement. All hero journeys are really about the person, but you’d never see an entire Superman movie where he lived like a normal human. Chuck lost the crutch he’d been depending on for four years. His journey is not only learning how to walk on his own, but also where he ultimately wants to go.

        It’s like Ellie said. “You are not the person you were five years ago.”

      • Robert, I especially like the idea of Chuck and Sarah growing towards each other from opposite ends of the spectrum – Chuck learning to be special, Sarah learning to be normal. Other than Zach and Yvonne’s performances, it’s my favorite aspect of that relationship.

      • Robert says:

        Arthur, I always felt that Chuck and Sarah helped each other getting out of their respective hole they were stuck in, and evolved towards each other to become the best person they can ever be (like Sarah said).

        At one point, I was afraid that TPTB would splilt them up (“Thanx for helping me, I will always love you, but I have to move on with my life!” something of that kind) and have them live their lives on their separate ways, but they put them together for good (betrothal, wedding, and business partners), and nothing would separate them (not even amnesia) and stop them of fighting for each other. THAT is love!

        And I love what they did with their relationship!

      • anthropocene says:

        That series-long history of Chuck and Sarah always coming back together in spite of PLIs, deadly enemies, and all manner of physical and emotional trauma is key to interpreting the finale.

      • joe says:

        If only it was that simple, Anthro!

        TPTB and the talent spent five years trying to make us believe that this perfect couple, the two who were obviously made for each other (but after making us believe the nerd had no chance with the hot super-spy), had insurmountable obstacles between them.

        The question always put in front of us was: “Will their romance survive?” “How” was easy. The solutions were almost incidental – we were ready to believe anything about the mechanics of it, including Jeff and Lester being the answer.

        But would they really ever be that normal couple? We had to wonder, even to the last minute. And I think that’s why the ending was so emotional for so many – Even as we were allowed to believe the answer was yes, it was not 100% definitive.

      • anthropocene says:

        Joe, I see two separate questions here: will C & S be a happy couple? and will they become a normal couple (i.e., living an intrigue-free life)? Their history throughout the series doesn’t offer an easy answer to the second question, but I felt that it confidently predicted an affirmative answer to the first question.

      • anthropocene says:

        Lest my previous comment be seen as too cold and academic, I’ll add that I was pretty worked up over the finale too, and it took some cooling-off time, multiple rewatchings of the final scene on YouTube, and even trying my hand at fan fiction for the first time before I was able to feel confident that C & S were going to be all right.

      • joe says:

        Actually, that’s a pretty good way to look at it, Anthro. Normal? Happy? Both? Neither? Those were the questions all along.

        As I’ve been re-watching, I’ve noticed all the more how Chuck has dithered on his answer about what he wants. Does he want a normal life or does he want to be a spy? Do they want a normal life or to be spies? What stays constant is the question, not the answer.

        By the end, their answer is a big “I don’t care, so long as it’s together.” I think that tells me what I needed to know about the ending!

      • Robert says:

        Joe, I think that they are a happy couple, but not an entirely normal one. I think the spy world will always be a very distant, almost immaterial, but real threat.

        Especially since Chuck and Sarah decided to keep Carmichael Industries operational, while shifting somewhat what it does. Most of the time, their life will be normal, but I think, from time to time, they might get in trouble.

        There is no doubts in my mind that Chuck and Sarah are meant for each other, it has been shown time and again during the series, but normal? I don’t think so. And in the end, like you said, their answer is the right one; “We don’t care, as long as we’re together facing the future!”. That’s how TPTB ended it, and that’s how I see it too.

      • Robert says:

        “That series-long history of Chuck and Sarah always coming back together in spite of PLIs, deadly enemies, and all manner of physical and emotional trauma is key to interpreting the finale.”

        I totally agree with you, Anthro. If you take the finale by itself, yes, it might not look definitve, but if you consider it within the entire context of the series, I cannot even contemplate how Chuck and Sarah wouldn’t be living happily together as a couple after the beach scene.

        Through the entire series, as in Vs. The Marlin, Chuck and Sarah are always fighting for each other, and getting closer as “another” kind of couple, then as a real couple; till the end. Why would it suddenly be otherwise, simply because Sarah temporarily lost some memories, then regaining them, and emotionally reconnecting with her Chuck on the beach (at the latest)? It wouldn’t make sense, and TPTB would’ve gone against their own idea of their romance. And Fedak, clearly said that Chuck and Sarah made it (after the beach scene), and are a happy couple. The Finale might have been better, but as far as I’m concerned, case closed.

      • Robert says:

        ‘As I’ve been re-watching, I’ve noticed all the more how Chuck has dithered on his answer about what he wants. Does he want a normal life or does he want to be a spy? Do they want a normal life or to be spies? What stays constant is the question, not the answer.”

        Joe, for most of the series, it was true. In 5.04, Chuck clearly states his desire of a normal couple life. In 5.10, Sarah clearly states that she wants to quit spying. And in 5.11, Chuck clearly asked Sarah if she really want to stop spying, forgetting the adrenaline rush, and the parcours; she clearly answered that she was ready to retire and start a family with Chuck, and that it was exciting enough. And throughout the finale, Sarah is clearly realizing that she can no longer be the spy she was before knowing Chuck.

        In the end, the “Quinn incident” will just be a delay, a slight detour to their project of a life together out of the spy world. Something that Sarah and Chuck aspired to as early as Season 1.

      • joe says:

        Oh, absolutely, Robert. C&S really have decided to seek a normal life in S5, and reaffirm that decision several times.

        But the theme of S5, as it’s written on the box-covers of the DVDs, is “Never Say ‘One Last Mission'”. If there is ever a movie to be made (and boy, I hope we have one someday!), it’ll be because Mr. and Mrs. Charles Homemaker (possibly with baby in tow) have to save the world yet again – one more mission.

        Chuck was right from the start. Life with Sarah will never be normal, not in the way he imagined he wanted back in ’07 when this all started. Life with Sarah will always be extraordinary. That’s what he wants now.

      • atcDave says:

        Robert, Joe I agree exactly with all of this. I think they both had decided (and for Sarah, I believe it would be a pretty short journey after the finale to rediscover, she was already most of the way there), that they wanted something more settled and “ordinary” to have a home and family together. But both are the sorts who will rise to the challenge if they must. So their lives will probably look mostly normal after the beach, but with occasional bursts of danger and excitement. At least that’s how I see it.

      • ref51907 says:

        What a great discussion about Chuck and Sarah’s magnetic journey towards each other. -As I was watching Marlin again and another thought occurred to me. In Season 5 they set up what a memory loss bug can do to a person with Morgan. Even all the way up to the finale we now that Morgan’s loss, as he put it, was cultural, film related. Those things are all stuff he learned. He lost the knowledge of them and it seemed as though he also lost the emotions that we tied to them. What we don’t know is after he re-watched them whether or not he liked them. Morgan was still Morgan with the same core values that he had. I believe it is the answer to that question that holds to key to the answer with Sarah and Chuck.
        -If we can fast forward to Sarah’s memory loss then we know that the lessons she learned about Chuck, his nature, how he treats people, both friends and foe, are going to be gone. What’s not clearly stated are if the emotions are completely gone. We also know that she still believes that Bryce is her partner. If you believe that statement then she hasn’t been betrayed by Bryce, and she still has feelings for him. Also she hasn’t been contacted by Ryker yet, so she hasn’t been betrayed by him yet either. Which also then means she has no recollection of her sister, Molly, and still thinks that she can’t contact her mom. For my money, it was the culmination of all of these betrayals and significant events that really primed her to be ready to meet someone like Chuck. If you take those events away, then you also take away the emotional pain that was tied to those events.She has lost not only her memories, but the context for why she was so enthralled with Chuck in the first place. Sarah then meets Chuck within a new context, someone with 5 years worth of experience. He seems like a calm, cool, collected individual that has it all together. Is it any wonder why Sarah acted the way she did. She was extremely confused but let’s also remember that at her very core, she was like Chuck when she was a girl,(At least that is what I believe.)
        -I’ve already taken up enough space about the finale but there are a lot more this to think on and mull over and for me I have just scratched the surface of the subtlety and the nuances I saw and am still considering.
        -When all is said and done, I believe the same things that drew her to him in the first place, pulled her back. Moving from different end of the spectrum from their personal experience I can definitely see. Completing each other and helping the other person, definately.

        Erik

      • My theory on this is that Chuck in Season 1 wasn’t quite worthy of Sarah yet. It’s borne in her actions: she likes him a lot, but she’s not going to sacrifice everything in her life to go start a life with him. Part of that is because she has some growing still to do as well, but still, I don’t think Chuck had grown into himself as a hero or a man yet. He’s still reluctant even into Season 2.

        What was brilliant about the Finale was how it used all those callbacks to highlight how much they had all changed, especially Chuck and Casey (Casey’s pointed “Do you really think I’ve changed?” while wearing a green “World’s Greatest Dad” apron and scrubbing Morgan’s burrito juice remains a top five moment of the series). It’s stated blatantly when Ellie sternly tells Chuck he is not the same person he was five years ago. And it’s borne out in the way the whole episode plays out vs how the Pilot played.

        The Pilot has Chuck constantly in the dark, unaware of his actions, and running away from his problems (understandably).Sarah establishes herself as his guardian. He shows a glimmer of real potential and courage by stopping the bomb, and he does so without the Intersect. It’s the recurring theme – Chuck’s most heroic moments come without the intersect’s help.

        In Goodbye, Chuck Sarah comes to him for help. and when they go out, they do so as peers. Nothing is hidden, and she’s a partner in his mission. When they go into the Orchestra, it’s Chuck’s team, Chuck’s mission, and Chuck is taking the lead. Instead of having it forced upon him, he chooses the Intersect, even though it goes against his own better nature. And when they go back to the bomb, once again it’s not the Intersect that stops it. But this time, Sarah remembers the solution.

        That’s when I knew it was going to be OK for them. Not because she regained a memory. Because Sarah states the core theme of Chuck’s journey. She regained her other memories from stimulus. This was the same – she saw Chuck against the wall, and it forced a realization out of her – the hero of this story was going to be Chuck, not the Intersect. The significance has nothing to do with the actual memory, but in her realization that Chuck, and not anything else, is going to be the hero of his story.

        They were going to end up fine, because Chuck had grown into being somebody worthy of a woman as amazing as Sarah. And even when the worst tragedy hit them, nothing could change that core fact.

      • joe says:

        Erik, Arthur, both of you have great insights and express them well!

        I’ve seen the finale, oh, half a dozen times now. But I have to admit, because of what you guys have written (both here and in fan-fiction), I’ll be seeing it again with new eyes. It’s going to be a treat.

        Thank you both.

      • Mel says:

        “My theory on this is that Chuck in Season 1 wasn’t quite worthy of Sarah yet. ”

        Can’t agree with that at all. If anything, Sarah didn’t see herself worthy of someone like Chuck, but Chuck himself even early on was perfectly capable of having a healthy relationship. Mostly it was the situation they were in, the often contrived asset/handler relationship that kept them apart.

      • atcDave says:

        Mel I would say Sarah also had some emotional and commitment problems in the first two seasons. I believe she often used the asset/handler circumstance as an excuse to avoid thinking about things she didn’t want to deal with.
        Now I also would say, any point from Marlin on, the point could have been forced through some combination of bunker or kill orders. That is, Sarah might have made a “commitment” to run away with Chuck if she believed he was in imminent danger from the government. Even as late as Colonel she was twisting up her duty and emotional issues. But from Ring on, I think they would have been fine; to me that’s when the separation issues cross the line into manipulation.

        But that’s also why I see her stated desire to “find herself” apart from the CIA so huge in the finale. Even without her memories she has the emotional maturity that she grew into over the course of those first 2+ seasons. At that point, finding herself meant being with Chuck. We can only guess about the memories, but we know she rediscovered her love for her husband.

      • Robert says:

        Arthur, could you elaborate on knowing that Sarah stating the core theme of Chuck’s journey told you that Chuck and Sarah would be ok? I have some trouble to follow, something escapes me…

        I agree with the fact that while Chuck wasn’t entirely worthy of Sarah in Season 1, Sarah wasn’t entirely worthy of Chuck either. They both still had some growing to do.

      • Robert says:

        “But that’s also why I see her stated desire to “find herself” apart from the CIA so huge in the finale. Even without her memories she has the emotional maturity that she grew into over the course of those first 2+ seasons. At that point, finding herself meant being with Chuck. We can only guess about the memories, but we know she rediscovered her love for her husband.”

        I agree with you Dave, and that’s what I get from the beach scene, that she doesn’t have all her memories back, but Sarah’s love for Chuck is back. But can you elaborate on how you came to that conclusion?

      • atcDave says:

        Robert I base that largely just on five years of Sarah watching; she was open and vulnerable with Chuck in the last couple scenes, which is something we saw very little of in the first two years. She was acting more like S5 Sarah than S1 Sarah. Also, in the last Scene at Castle, the woman who had claimed to be “only a spy” without Chuck, turned down a job with the CIA to “find herself”. That simply is not the same woman we knew in the first two seasons anymore.
        I also think we can, and should, draw some lessons from the Morgansect episodes. Even with missing memories, Morgan was able to get back to being the more mature Morgan, who could take responsibility for his actions and valued his relationships. The recovery of his more mature personality was not dependent on the recovery of all his memories. I think this was meant to parallel Sarah’s recovery, so we can know Sarah’s personality and emotions were recovering even if the actual memories take a little longer.
        Add to that Fedak’s own comments about Sarah having “caught up” to Chuck emotionally at the beach, and I’m satisfied that’s exactly what we were supposed to see. I will always wish they had shown that recovery more explicitly, but I am now satisfied we were supposed to have seen it.

      • ref51907 says:

        I would like to make one comment on the “worthiness” of the characters to each other. Being worthy of something or in this case someone is how one views one’s self in relation to that something or someone. My personal take on love, I can never do anything to really be worthy of my wife’s love. Her love for me is a personal feeling and decision on her part towards me that I either accept or reject. If I apply that to what we have going on through season 1 is that both Chuck and Sarah don’t feel worthy of the other person, but they like each other a lot. Sarah is drawn to him, and he to her. What I believe we see in the first half of season 2 is the acceptance that they have feelings for each other but the nature of their relationship prevents them both from taking the next step and seeing if it would work out between them. (They might even be starting to accept that they themselves aren’t perfect and don’t need to be. They start to feel “worthy” of the other ones affection.)The last half of season 2 I see each one, especially Sarah with her straight out rejection of Bryce and Cole, moving from accepting to really truly wanting to be together, which culminates with the finale and what we learn both of them did to try to make it so they could be together.
        -In the end they just accept each other for who they are and don’t really try to change each other that much. By the time he proposes they have been together for about one year and they are very much feeling worthy of the other one, though doubts do creep back in from time to time.

        Erik

      • Erik, I think that’s right on the nose.

        Robert, Throughout the series, Chuck almost never uses the Intersect to complete his mission. The Intersect gets Chuck in the right place, and then Chuck uses his own deductions to save the day. This starts in the Pilot, when the Intersect gets him to the bomb, and then he has the idea to override the system and use the virus. And it happens in every episode – the Intersect gets him where he needs to go, and then Chuck solves the mission without it. Think about First Date, when he bluffs MCK and then calls the CIA team. It’s literally in every episode.

        So the core theme of his hero journey is that it’s the person, not the power, that makes the hero. That’s a little true of all hero journey’s but the split is far more emphasized in Chuck than, say, Spiderman. Like I said, you’d never see an entire Spiderman movie where Spiderman has no powers, like Chuck season 5. In that way, season 5 is kind of the fulfillment of the promise the show has always made – that Chuck is a hero without a computer in his brain.

        Fast forward to Goodbye, and we see Chuck needing the Intersect to get the computer open. At that point, the Intersect can’t help him anymore. And what does Sarah do? She remembers that the solution to the problem never was the Intersect, it was Chuck’s own intuition.

        She says she didn’t “know what it meant.” But it’s only after that remembrance that she stops running away, and starts turning back to him.

      • Robert says:

        Thanks for elaborating, Arthur!

        So, if I understand correctly, the fact that Sarah acknowleged that Chuck is a hero because of who he is, and not because of the Intersect, shows us that she’s back in love with him, right?

        Because it’s the same thing that made Sarah fall in love with Chuck in the first place, right? And that’s what she realized at the Orchestra in the Finale, and remembered.

        And it’s true that she stopped running away from Chuck from that point on. And when she said that she wanted to find herself, she just needed to process everything she’d realized; that she was falling in love with Chuck again. And that the only direction she could go was forward, with Chuck.

        You know, it just proves to me that the “Will Sarah regain all her memories” is just a red herring; first, because she was clearly drawn to Chuck even in 5.12, and that she was already remembering some things. But your angle shows me that she was already falling in love with Chuck all over again, and that, with the beach scene, she can trust that man and love him again, whether she gets her memories back at once or gradually.

        Am I correct? At least, I think I get what you mean…

      • That’s it exactly. They do a lot of things to show us it will be ok, even if they’re not all obvious.

      • Although I don’t know if she’s already back in love with him. More like she’s starting to rediscover the things that made her fall in love with him in the first place.

      • Robert says:

        “Although I don’t know if she’s already back in love with him. More like she’s starting to rediscover the things that made her fall in love with him in the first place.”

        Yeah, the fact she’s slowly falling in love with Chuck again is perhaps more obvious (or related) with the beach scene. But even if she’s not in love yet, well…she trusts him, she wants him to help her remember, she kissed him, so…it’s just a matter of time (and the memories coming back quickly or not are irrelevant); she will quickly fall back in love with him again,for the exact same reasons she fell in love with him the first time, because of who he is.

        I think I got it! lol

      • Robert says:

        Arthur;

        After thinking about it; when Chuck decided to have the Intersect back (on the roof), and when they defused the bomb, I agree with you; Sarah was rediscovering the reasons she fell in love with him.

        But I think that, in the beach scene, things were more developped than just that; I mean, why kissing him if she doesn’t have at least some of her feelings for him back? She decided to trust him, she reconnected emotionally with him (their story), and she commits emotionally by asking him to kiss her (but SHE kissed him first).

        In a way, Sarah is back to her 1.09 version of herself; she kissed him because she had real feelings for him, because she was falling in love with Chuck because of who he is, except that this time, there is no spy world and growth obstacles to hold them back.

      • No doubt. I think she definitely starts feeling things for him throughout both episodes. Remember how close she lets him get in vs Sarah, when he steels the glasses? Or when she starts remembering their names on the wall? It’s a process of recovery for her.

        I think we’re having a semantic argument. “Love” is a really important term to me, it’s not one I take lightly. I don’t think she’s all the way back to that point yet. I think by the time she says kiss me, she’s back to trusting him and really liking him again. But I don’t think she’s back at Phase 3 level yet.

        The Irene Demova moment isn’t the only sign that they’re going to be fine. There’s quite a few, and the home scene is big too. It’s all part of the puzzle, and I like that they gave us a bunch of subtle statements, instead of a big, obvious “I remember” type of revelation.

      • garnet says:

        Not sure after all where this will show up, but I agree that they gave use the broad strokes that tell us things will be ok. The finale was, in a sense, the reliving of the early part of their relationships. We had their first date at the mexican diner, working at the old Weiner shop, and the Demova Virus. I don’t think that it is coincidence that these events played out in order, nor that the beach scene was the culmination. They really relived the series origins, and without the obstacles, there is no reason they won’t make it. Sarah was in love with Chuck before he defused the bomb (according to season 3) and she has already reached that point in the finale, it is just a bit fast/hard for her to assimilate.

      • Robert says:

        Arthur, I agree. By the Finale, Sarah is not at “Phase 3” level of “love”, but I think she’s already at late Season 2, maybe even at the “Other Guy” level; that would be fitting, since Sarah uses almost the same words in both OG and the Finale…

        Garnet, I think you’re right in saying that it’s no coincidence that they revisited the same places that had a strong impact for their relationship, as well as remembering very specific memories. It was clearly a kind of rebirth of their couple.

      • Jerry Kane says:

        Probably not so coincidentally, there’s been this series of posts over at The Nerd Machine about the “salvation of Sarah”. From this instalment:

        …the salvation Sarah participates in cannot be lost even though she loses her memory. Her entire being has been altered by her participation in the life of Chuck Bartowski, and this alteration, this change, is more than just her memories. It is real and part of her very being.

        …Sarah has been marked by Chuck’s love. She is more human than she was 5 years ago, whether she remembers that or not.

        (emphasis mine)

      • garnet says:

        Nice find!
        I’d suggest it for anyone who has difficult with the ending. It would likely help to read all the posts in order as the author makes a powerful case for Chuck and Sarah throughout.

      • Robert says:

        Jerry, thanks for the link!

        These are excellent articles, and it just comforts me more, by showing another angle, in the idea that Chuck and Sarah are ok!

      • Faith says:

        I am heartbroken that we weren’t enough for you. Now you’re cheating on us with a more beautiful partner–er post. Just kidding.

      • Robert says:

        Faith, don’t be jealous!

        If it comforts you, you must know that it is your article that changed my mind about the Finale…

      • Faith says:

        Aww I appreciate that. I love the blog again! Hehe.

    • anthropocene says:

      She went from outside looking in to bridesmaid in one season.

      • Faith says:

        Love it! And in another year she was next to him at a family gathering comforting him after his dad has passed/been avenged, fully entrenched into family Bartowski. And she never leaves his side since; he, hers.

    • ref51907 says:

      I hadn’t quite thought about the full meaning of that scene but I believe you are right.

      Erik

  12. klara says:

    “Marlin” is certainly one of the strong episodes and my favourite for season 1. I love it
    – for all the endearing moments, that have already been mentioned above;
    – for the fact that everyone seems to pursue his own goal(?) [f.i. Big Mike: “Where is my FISH?”] and yet all sub-stories are so nicely interwoven with one another and make sense; but most of all
    – for the zen-like plot: What happens when your routines are suddenly harshly (?) interrupted – cause everything you daily deal with – is just gone?
    What a great idea to let the Buy More get robbed! And the reaction of the employees of the emptied Buy More so well played – and such a fun to watch.

  13. Tom says:

    ABC ordered an extra episode of Castle to make 23 which looks very promising for a season 6. The show is proving a worthy replacement for Chuck.

    • atcDave says:

      Tom are there any details? So often “extra” episodes end up just being clips episodes or something.

      But obviously the likely renewal, and Castle’s strong ratings are all good news. It’s not quite a real a Chuck replacement for me, but it is my favorite show currently on the air.

      • ABC often does this for scheduling reasons. Season 2 & 3 of Castle had 22 episodes extended to 24. Season 4 was extended to 23. Early notification is good because it means the episode will less likely be filler. For example in season 3, one of the extra episodes was generally assumed to be Pretty Dead, the second to last of the season. It was less well received than the LA episode and season finale that bookended it. It also could have taken place almost any time in season 2 or 3, making it look like an insert. I believe season 4 had more notice for the extra episode, so the last five episodes had better continuity.

      • Robert says:

        I agree with you, Dave; it’s good, but it’s not Chuck-good.

  14. joe says:

    I just read the article at the Nerd Machine to which Jerry referred us up-thread, and it is excellent. Very insightful. I recommend it to everyone. And…

    I’m off to read the earlier installments now!

    Thank you, Jerry.

  15. Bob says:

    First-up, only recently discovered this blog and have been enjoying following along with the “re-watch reviews” and discussions that follow as I re-watch Chuck myself (from beginning to end!) – kudos!

    Now, to my actual comment:

    I’m guessing that the following was quite obvious to most viewers (at least on re-watch, if not initial viewing) and I was being a bit daft, but it was only after my recent (5th time? who knows) re-watch of this episode that I picked up on the significance of the juxtaposition between the start of Awesome’s “dry run” proposal speech to a sleeping Ellie, and Chuck and Sarah digging through the dumpster looking for Awesome’s granny’s ring:

    Awesome: This was an amazing night, as it always is with you… but sometimes, I know that life isn’t always… awesome. What I’m trying to say is that, when things get rough…

    (cut to visuals of Sarah helping Chuck dig through the dumpster looking for the ring, with Awesome’s audio continuing)

    Awesome: …I want to face them together, both the goods times and the bad.

    …or maybe I’m just over-thinking it 🙂

    • joe says:

      Hi, Bob. Always glad to have new readers join in the discussions!

      No, you aren’t over-thinking it. In fact, you make a great observation, and I think you found a conjunction between scenes that no one has pointed out yet. I know that the show has a lot of those “cookies” for us to find, but it’s always fun to spot a new one.

      See? Many of us are watching again “for the first time!”

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah I think those things are often carefully constructed and quite clever. They’re also the sort of thing I usually miss on the first few watches too Bob!

    • Bob says:

      @joe: Glad I wasn’t just being daft. What do I win? 😉

      @joe, @atcDave: I must admit I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about how many of these sorts of “cookies” are actually intended, versus purely coincidental / a case of over-thinking / just side-effects of cinematography and/or directorial decisions. Not just in Chuck, but in TV and movies in general. Personally I reckon quite a few more of them are coincidence or similar than the audience thinks are. But who really knows… it would be fascinating to get a very detailed director’s / writer’s / etc commentary alongside just one episode of a show like Chuck, to see where the line actually is.

      • atcDave says:

        I do think, at least on Chuck, a lot of effort was made to parallel the various story-lines, exactly for this reason. So we can get themes and lines that reinforce each other through the different stories.

  16. First Impression says:

    Nice way to end S1. The gang is all here and each has a part in the story. It had love (Devon’s proposal to Ellie), lust (the Jeffster’s mammary-cam), jealousy (Morgan thinking Chuck was proposing), a wild goose chase (Chuck and Casey searching for the Marlin), ‘chills’ (Sarah locked in the freezer), greed (The Fulcrum’s Lizzy trying to get Chuck before reporting who the Intersect really was), fear (Chuck never seeing his family and friends again), acceptance (Sarah tearfully realizing she would have to let Chuck go – just before Lizzy shot the CIA agent), and desperation (Chuck and Sarah searching for the engagement ring). I am still amazed by how well the writers weave together the minutiae that make this thing work!

    My favorite line in The Marlin is spoken by Sarah to the CIA transfer agent: “Chuck is my asset. He’s my guy.” Yes, he is!

    • atcDave says:

      This is definitely a very strong episode. The first five of S2 are all dynamite too, so you’ve really got a strong run ahead of you!

    • joe says:

      Nicely put, FI! You know, if you took any one of those elements alone, none of them would rank particularly high compared to similar scenes from other shows. But when they’re put all together in one 60 minute (43, sans commercials) episode, the effect is incredible. Just your describing it the way you did makes me want to break out my S1 DVD and watch again.

      And normally, I DON’T DO THAT!!! 😉

    • revdr says:

      Dave is right F.I……season two shapes everything that is to come for Chuck and Sarah. That longing that you see in Sarah’s eyes at the end of Marlin really manifests itself in the first 4 episodes. Enjoy the ride!!!

  17. candm3407 says:

    As rev dr said. My favorite two scenes in this episode and what is really telling about both Yvonne and Sarah. I am currently finishing up a blog that I will publish soon that will take you on the journey of the two sides of Sarah. I call it Sarah vs Agent Walker. In this episode, I find the two interlocked. What i mean is you have Sarah, who has spend the last year with Chuck, and in that time has developed feelings for him, and we have Agent Walker trying to be professional. The problem is she slips into Sarah the girlfriend once she hears from Langston and Beckmann that she should not worry about Chuck anymore. Her eyes clearly show shock and despair causing Langston to make sure she was on board with the agency, and than we get to the end. the final scene.

    The scene where you see Sarah looking into the window. This to me is her transformation. From this point on the apartment, Chuck and his family are her home remember what she said in Chuck vs the suitcase in season 4.

    Sarah: I know its taken me longer than a normal girl…but you should know you are my home Chuck…you always have been.

    no one is going to get between her and them and that includes the agency. F.I. you will see another episode in which Sarah goes against orders in order to keep Chuck in her life this is the single fundamental focus of Sarah the girlfriend without him she is just a spy. However, it is still fun to watch the battle between Sarah the girlfriend and Agent Walker.

    • revdr says:

      candm; I totally agree that with Yvonne, you can get so much from her with her facial expressions. The range of emotions; from confusion to longing, from anger to fear, to love…she gives you all of that. Sarah’s journey can be seen through Yvonne’s eyes, or a sigh, or a turn of her mouth. I certainly don’t was to take anything away from F.I.’s enjoyment of what’s to come in season 2, but in First Date alone you get a wide range of emotions from her. I also agree that her transformation certainly is heightened in Marlin, but she still has a way yet to go before there’s no turning back for her. Her idea of family and friendship, and love, are all still very new and very foreign to her so she still has to put all of this into so sort of perspective. Her journey was always going to be the more complex, because she was dealing with things on a emotional level, so every thing for her was brand new. Sarah had never allowed herself to hope, or have real friends, or trust. She had no real sense of family, or roots, or love. All of what’s happening to her gave her something she had never been presented with before….a choice.

      • candm3407 says:

        Revdr,
        I finished my article on Sarah Walker vs Agent Walker. I published it. Let me know what you think. I did a lot of research and analysed every season. However, the article is all about the first three seasons. I hope you enjoy it.

        All are welcome to read my articles. When it comes to the transformation process for Sarah in Marlin it is more about the fear of being reassigned and Chuck being put away. However, sometimes its not what is said that works so well for Sarah. Sarah doesn’t always need to express herself through words, but her actions speak for themselves. Remember Langston caught Sarah the girlfriend making a brief appearance, and quickly derailed it in order to stay professional.

        is she ready for a relationship? No…either is Chuck for that matter. They are both not ready to pursue it. However, that does not change the fact that they need each other. Sarah sees Chuck, his family and the apartment as a form of Stability that she was seeking since she was a child. She didn’t want to give it up and she won’t even in the episode Goodbye. She always knew that Burbank was home, and most importantly so was Chuck,

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah we used that Sarah vs Agent Walker device pretty extensively through S2, I think it sums up her duality pretty nicely. Although it really isn’t until S4 when she really starts to make peace it’s herself, and late S4 when Sarah seems more clearly dominant.
      Although I don’t think that’s really the main issue with the end scene here, I think this is more of a heroic Agent Walker moment. She sees Chuck and his family as something beautiful and special, and she WILL protect it. Although it’s safe to say a part of her, the Sarah part of her, wanted this life for herself early on; it isn’t until late S3 when she cautiously starts trying to get it.

      • candm3407 says:

        Dave,

        I think after Phase Three, Sarah the girlfriend took over the reigns. The fact that she lost him and lived life without him for 5 days was really tough for Sarah. Much like Devon saw what life was like without Ellie.

        It is very similar to the exchange that Charah have in the Imported Hard Salami. if we take in account the mission log. She had not seen Chuck for 7 days, which is why when she says Look, Chuck I;ve been thinking about our break up. if you look at her face expression its of pain, anguish and of missing him, and that was no were near as bad as phase three was, but its all the same in the end.

        Think of this and it didn’t dawn on me until after Leftovers. Up until Phase three Chuck has been in her life everyday for 4 years, and when he was kidnapped, she witnessed all those fears she had in season one and two of him being bunkered or worse come to life. It was nothing but emptiness., and once she found out that Chuck was going to propose. Agent Walker was no longer an issue.

    • revdr says:

      Candm; Thank you so much for the invitation. It will be an honor to read your works!!!

  18. bubbasuess says:

    Like everyone else has said, this is a fantastic episode and a great set up for season 2’s amazing run. All the components that make Chuck, Chuck are now finely tuned and running at peak performance. When I think of Chuck, this is the stuff I think of, as opposed to the later seasons, which are, admittedly, still very, very good.

    The hook that initially got me interested in Chuck was not the action or romance but the great pop culture references. I loved watching for the subtle things or the deeply embedded allusions to things that I had grown up with. So, that having been said, there was something about the helipad scene at the end of Marlin that nagged at me and I could not figure out what it was. It seemed familiar to me, but I could not put my finger on it. Having watched it a second time, I finally figured out what it is. It seems to me that the whole set up of Chuck about to be taken and hidden away while Sarah is there, watching and wanting to free him, is a subtle homage to that great scene in Empire Strikes Back with Han about to be encased in carbonite. Leia is emotional, really confronting her feelings for Han for the first time. She is watching the man she loves about to be hurt by menacing forces. Han, on the other hand is calm and protective and concerned with everyone else’s well-being. This fits perfectly with Chuck and Sarah’s encounter. She is emotional and facing similar circumstances as Leia, having to confront her feelings for Chuck in the face of his imminent imprisonment. Chuck is confident and more concerned for her and his family’s well-being.

    OK, am I seeing things here or could this have been done intentionally? What do y’all think?

    • atcDave says:

      It could have been the inspiration for the scene, but it’s too subtle to be sure.

      The humor, pop culture references, and action all guaranteed I would like this show; but the romance is what made it special to me. “Chuck and Sarah” is why it’s better than Psych or Sledge Hammer or Get Smart or SG-1 or even Rockford Files. Charah is the difference between very good and one for the ages. To me.

      • bubbasuess says:

        It is definitely subtle, that is for sure. It is probably nothing. It just kind of caught my eye. I certainly do not want to read too much into stuff too.

  19. bubbasuess says:

    I don’t know why I never really thought about this before but Fulcrum is a bunch of cheapskates. If Jeff and Lester have to make 30 orders from the Pita Palace to get a free baba ghanoush, they are getting seriously taken advantage of…which, of course, they are.

  20. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Marlin (1.13) | Chuck This

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