Chuck vs The Seduction (2.02)

Time for an epic seduction, and its Chuck’s turn.  Can even the legendary Roan Montgomery make this work?  The second episode of season two brings tons of comedy, and no shortage of drama as we’re treated to a great example of what makes Chuck so much fun.   Join us after the jump for this weeks discussion.

To me, the comedy is what really stands out in this episode.  There certainly is some drama, even some pretty important drama, but good laughs are the stand out.

As is often the case, I have a few complaints I’ll get out of the way first.  I really don’t care for either of the “B” plots in this episode.  Fortunately; Lester’s reign of terror at the Buy More and Devon’s inept seduction (pity Chuck didn’t remember his advice to Devon about getting romantic advice from Morgan!) are both brief sub plots.

I’m also not nuts about Chuck trying to bail out on the mission at the beginning; I won’t try to make any OOC claims or anything, just that I much prefer those moments when Chuck rises to the occasion over those where he tries to beg off.

Chuck, the master at work…

This also leads to the only time in the entire series I thought Sarah was deliberately “playing” Chuck.  Their brief discussion in the Orange Orange plays oddly to me; almost as if Sarah is doing a “rush job” on the manipulation and feels guilty about it.  And Chuck, for his part, sees right through her, but plays along anyway.  This one of my least favorite Sarah moments outside of the misery arc.

Fortunately the rest of the episode has a lot going for it.  Some of the dramatic moments are wonderful; I particularly like Sarah standing up for Chuck to Roan, then trying to back off when Roan calls her on it, Roan’s dead on observation “the lady doth protest too much…”, and Chuck’s determination that Sarah is worth dying for.  I particularly like the big kiss before Roan (and the first botched attempt!), fun and funny moment.  And I love the irony of Roan mocking Chuck’s ability to seduce a “woman like her”; when in fact, he has completely succeeded.  I suppose I should mention too that the Chuck/Sarah photo that was used throughout much of the remaining series was taken during the trip to find Roan, and another was taken at the pool in Roan’s backyard.  Perhaps we were never supposed to notice this detail.  But I like to imagine that Chuck and Sarah were enjoying themselves quite a lot while off on this errand.  Even with Casey taking the pictures.  I think this was a real moment that always meant a lot to Sarah.  Again, I know I’m likely making too much of it; the photo taking was likely coincidental to the scene being shot at the time and we likely were never meant to pay attention.  But I did pay attention, and I like it.

Chuck, the hero of the story!

Which leads to the comedy that plays so well in this episode. Roan is a fun character.  Chuck plays off him well.  And Casey gets several wonderful lines relevant to dealing with a seduction mission.  Chuck gets to execute another Chuck sort of plan to save the day; and thanks to Roan’s help it doesn’t work as well as the plan in First Date (!?).  But we still end up with Chuck swinging via banner from the roof of the Buy More to save the day in classic Hollywood fashion.  And we get another very nice Charah moment to wrap up.

Almost.  Bryce at the door doesn’t bother me at all, and really ticks me off all at once.  Sarah has already chosen Chuck and her mission.  Apart from the insecurity Bryce brings to Chuck’s life he doesn’t otherwise bother me as a plot device.  But I loath the stupidity of Bryce thinking he can crash Sarah’s long term cover.  I’ll have more to say about this next week.

So let’s end with saying fun episode overall.  A few gripes that keep it from being a very favorite of mine, but overall very fun.

~ Dave

Love It All

Dave, I almost have the sense that Chuck vs. The Seduction presents challenges. There’s challenges for Chuck, of course. In the course of his next adventure he has to seduce a sophisticated and hardened spy. But there’s a challenge to us here too – explain why Chuck didn’t want to take on the mission and explain Sarah’s flip-flops. Is she running for office or something? 😉

I’m up for that! Remember how we left her at the end of First Date. Sarah had just discovered that the new Intersect was a Trojan horse that exploded, killing Graham and Chuck’s chances of leaving the CIA any time soon. It also killed Chuck’s dreams of having his sedate, boring, comfortable old life back. And because she still had to protect him, it did a number on her dreams too. Sarah had dreams, didn’t she? I was convinced by the look in her eyes that she did.

Well, that’s gone now. At least Chuck and Sarah are still working together, and that’s not so bad, right? I mean, watch how Sarah enters the Buy More, does cartwheels (in his imagination, perhaps?) and kisses Chuck. Maybe Chuck’s still gotta chance with the hot super-spy.

Chuck: Is that, uh, a real kiss or a cover kiss? Because I’m confused right now.
Sarah: It’s a we-have-a-national-security-emergency and I-need-to-speak-to-you-privately kiss.

Well, that explains it. NOT!

Chuck is not giving up yet and pitches his traveling-around-the-globe with the girl of his dreams idea to Sarah, but it’s unprofessional. They can’t be together, she says. That didn’t stop her from being with Bryce, Chuck complains. But that was different, she retorts. Bryce was a spy and Chuck’s an asset. She has to protect him, but it doesn’t seem like much of a reason.

Chuck does not like this one bit, and I wouldn’t either. He rejects taking the mission and leaves the new CIA digs, Castle, wishing them well. But Sarah has one ace up her sleeve.

Sarah: Okay, look. The sooner we get the Cipher back, the sooner you can have the Intersect removed – and the sooner you can be free to live whatever life you choose with whomever you choose.
Chuck What are you saying?
Sarah I’m saying that you can have everything that you’ve always wanted.

Oooh! Dave, maybe you’re right. Maybe that’s Sarah at her most manipulative. It could be, unless she’s telling Chuck the truth. Then it plays differently. Then Sarah is just a girl who isn’t quite sure what the best course to follow is, yet. Then Sarah is just playing it by ear. Who’s to know?

There may be an answer to that question. Enter Roan Montomery as played by John Larroquette, master spy from the old school and master seducer. Just ask General Beckman about his ability to understand women. She’ll tell ya.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that Larroquette is fantastic in the role. Perhaps only after Scott Bakula, Timothy Dutton and maybe Chevy Chase, he becomes unforgettably charismatic, putting a light touch on a character that could easily have been a mere drunken clown. As it is, Roan becomes Chuck’s adviser, mentor and confidant, albeit a drunken one.

Roan has a different affect on Sarah; he succeeds in irritating her. How so? By seeing through her, that’s how.

Roan: So, how long have you and Charles been cavorting?
Sarah: You mean, how long have we been working together?
Roan: Oh, don’t play coy. You have feelings for him. I mean, real, non-spy emotions.
Sarah: Don’t be ridiculous. What, because I’m protective of him as an asset?
Roan: No. The way you kissed him.
Sarah: I think you’ve had too much to drink.

Sarah’s irritated because she’s conflicted. She’s got a reputation in the CIA, you know, and a problem. It’s not that Chuck is an asset. It’s that she has to keep Chuck at arms length, emotionally, or everyone will know her secret. Her cover will be blown. Sarah needs a cover for her emotions as much as Chuck needs a cover for his protection.

Poor Chuck isn’t just getting mixed messages from Sarah; messages with two possible interpretations. He’s getting two distinct messages that couldn’t be more clear, more different and more contradictory.

When Chuck overhears that conversation with Roan he’s not sure which message to believe. Roan is advising him to be anyone but himself in order to seduce Sarah Banacheck. That’s his advice about seducing Sarah, too. Maybe Chuck is thinking that the way to Sarah’s heart is to be a spy like Bryce. If so, Roan, Sasha and Casey are telling him he’s not much of a spy. What is Sarah telling him?

Sarah: Tonight will be fine. I wouldn’t take Roan’s advice too seriously. Just be yourself.
Chuck: I doubt Chuck Bartowski’s gonna be charming anyone.
Sarah: Why not? It worked on me.

It’s not surprising, then, that Chuck does succeed in his mission, retrieving the Cipher from Sasha and saving both Sarah and Casey by being Chuck and a great spy at the same time. Those two things are simply not incompatible. If we are still wondering about Sarah’s thoughts on the matter, we needn’t. Sarah seems to be impressed with Chuck’s work.

Sarah: I suppose I should thank you for saving my life.
Chuck: Oh, you’ve done it for me a time or two. I’m probably still in debt.
Sarah: I have to admit, that was pretty impressive.
Chuck: Right? I mean, come on. I know I’m just an asset. But between the two of us, I mean, have you ever seen anyone do something like that before?
Chuck: I think it’s safe to say, Chuck, that I’ve never seen anyone quite like you.

He is on a roll. Roan’s last piece of advice is for Chuck to show up at Sarah’s wearing a white dinner jacket, with a bottle of Château Margaux in hand and a single red rose. It’s known in several countries as the “Montomery.”

So life in the Bartowski household, for the moment, is good. Chuck has done his job well, Sarah is on his side and most importantly, he can survive in both the spy-world and in Lester’s Buy More. Right now there’s no reason for Chuck to not enjoy every moment, and perhaps that’s what I like best about this episode. Whether he wins or loses, has comfort or excitement, becomes a spy or stays a nerd, at this moment Chuck has the best of both worlds.

There’s only one small hitch in that plan and it’s really the start of the next episode. As we know, the hitch’s name is Bryce. We didn’t see that coming.

Glad to see me, lover boy?

One last thing, Dave. I do believe that this is our first mention of “The Wounded Gazelle.”

– joe

Dave Again

Joe we agree on pretty much all of this.  I do want to clarify that I think Sarah’s manipulation in the beginning is effective precisely because it has so much truth in it.  Perhaps this is something she learned from her dad?  But I think Sarah honestly has no plan for her future.  As late as Colonel she will tell Chuck “one mission at a time” after she has clearly chosen Chuck over mission!  As we were discussing last week, I suspect Sarah is already past the point of no return; that is, she is already at the point where she could never leave (or at least would decide to return quickly after doing so).  But she’s living in denial.  She is focusing on one mission at a time because she isn’t ready to think about what happens next.  We also know that in time Chuck will get everything he ever wanted, including a less dangerous life with exactly who he wanted.  But for Sarah, embracing that dream and that life will be a long and slow journey.  She will first choose to stay with Chuck apart from the mission at the end of season two; but Chuck and Sarah won’t completely embrace the same vision of the future until mid season four.

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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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128 Responses to Chuck vs The Seduction (2.02)

  1. resaw says:

    Great reviews, guys. As has often been noted in this forum, season 2 was the year Chuck was firing on all cylinders and this episode is no exception. I even liked the B-plots. A classic line from Devon in response to Ellie’s lament about the lack of romanticism she is getting from her fiancé is the profoundly unenthusiastic: “Tank’s empty, babe.”

    Also having just returned from a 2-week vacation in Japan, with a “sub-mission” to research a revision of Chuck vs the Bullet Train (just kidding), I was delighted to note once again the shirt that Morgan was wearing: “I’m huge in Japan” with the characters 巨根 (usually written 大根 and pronounced daikon) meaning “giant radish.”

    When Chuck began, I was intrigued by the sci-fi-ish element combined with the comedic aspects. In light of all that came after, probably the main thing I look for now in these re-watches is the Chuck-and-Sarah relationship. For that reason, this show ranks as one of my all-time favourites. Maybe Chuck and Sarah are only “cover” going-out at this stage, but the kisses and actions of both characters tell such a different story. Speaking of kisses, how do people interpret Sarah’s look upon seeing the passionate kiss Sasha Banacheck is laying on Chuck in the elevator? I’m inclined to think that at the moment she is feeling that the woman in that passionate embrace should be Sarah, not Sasha.

    • atcDave says:

      I do agree with that Resaw! I also started watching for the genre, the action adventure, and the humor. But it didn’t take long for Chuck and Sarah to be the primary focus of my viewing. I guess that isn’t that uncommon for me, I seek out shows based on if the premise seems interesting or fun. But finding characters I like or can relate to is what really provides the emotional hook. Chuck succeeded perfectly at that emotional level, even when I sometimes found the story itself suspect. And it still amazes me how completely and deeply I bought into that main relationship.

    • joe says:

      Thanks, Resaw.

      And you just made me slap my forehead and do a Homer Simpson D’oh! I meant to bring up Sarah’s reaction to Sasha’s attack on Chuck’s face, and totally forgot. I think it was a meaningful scene, meant to convey something important to us.

      Like, SARAH IS UPSET!

      I don’t think that we can say it’s the first time Sarah’s shown a possessive streak (at least, when it comes to Chuck). We saw that when she interacted with Lou.

      But despite what she told Roan, Sarah does not think of Chuck as “just an asset” at this point – her look at that moment is the proof.

      I start to wonder why, the first time around, I convinced myself that Sarah really was not so deeply involved at this point in the story. I think it was because Chuck wasn’t convinced either. I’m sure Chuck decided he was indulging in some wishful thinking, and I picked up on that – I believed him.

      Should have believed my own lying eyes!

      • Robert says:

        This episode is good, one of my favourites from Season 2é

        Love Roan Montgommery (What is it?! You don’t find Agent Walker attractive?)! And what an entrance, with that funk tune.

        Love Chuck and Sarah’s kiss (totally unprofessional), no wonder Roan called Sarah out on her feelings!

        It’s also an episode full of Sarah’s mixed signal; her kiss, how she fixed his tie and touched him on the shoulder, ” Why not? It worked on me…”, the way she looked at Chuck being ravaged by Sasha Benechek; Sarah wasn’t happy at all. And when Chuck did his “Tarzan” trick from the Buy More’s roof, Sarah immediately rushed to him.

        And even if Sarah said she had no feelings for Chuck, Roan wasn’t fooled, and he said so to Chuck (The Lady protest too much). But even if Chuck is completely insecure about Sarah, still it didn’t stop him from going to her rescue, because he thought she was worth dying for. Without a hint of hesitation.

        A new level has been reached in their relationship; and an even more important will in the next episode (Old Darth, be ready!). In 2.01 and 2.02, we are seeing Sarah’s feelings transforming from affection to love.

      • Bill says:

        Another very good episode. The show was definitely rolling at this point.

        In re-watching it last week I was struck by Sarah’s rejection of Chuck’s vacation idea. It seems somehow out of line with her interaction with Chuck throughout the rest of the episode, both to that point and thereafter.

        @joe: I know what you mean. On first viewing I didn’t think Sarah was that into Chuck until much later in S2. I think her scream at the end of Best Friend was probably my ah-ha! moment.

        Also, is this the first time she tells Chuck they can’t be together because he’s an asset?

      • joe says:

        I think it is the first time, Bill. At least, I can’t recall that she was so direct about it before.
        In Truth Sarah told Chuck that she didn’t see a future for them, of course. But she never said then that it was because he was as asset. That kiss in Imported Hard Salami was a pretty big clue that this wasn’t the case at all, but then she said it was a mistake, again, with no explanation given.

        At this point in the story Chuck has every right to be confused about the issue!

  2. My favorite part of this episode is how, after Chuck saves the lives of two agents while getting the piece of the cypher, he knows he has enough leverage to get a favor from the CIA. A pay raise? A better cover job? Nope. He just wants his sister to have a great night with her fiance. Those little touches are what make me love the guy.

    • atcDave says:

      That sure is a big part of what makes the hero!

    • Wilf says:

      Yes, Chuck only thinking of others, rarely himself. That’s what makes him great (to borrow a later phrase from Sarah).

    • joe says:

      You got it, Arthur. In almost every episode there’s a moment that even the most cold-hearted have to just stare at the TV, blink, and go “Awwwww!”

      Well, maybe not Casey. He would just say Chuck’s lady-feelings are showing! 😉

  3. olddarth says:

    Another fun, solid episode. John Laroquette made a great guest star.

    Awesome to see Chuck finally get to step into the spotlight and come to the rescue – in requisite Chuck style.

    Up next, one of my favorite episodes!!

  4. Recently caught up on your articles and comments on recap on the show from day 1,hugely enjoyable and thought-provoking as ever,many thanks guys.Hence first post for a while.My wife and I bought our first new house in the UK and it has been an ongoing nightmare…………I wonder if any of you ever had a similar experience??
    But I digress.Ditto dave joe & old Darth,I totally agree-a wonderful comedic episode enhanced by the interplay between Team B and John Larroquette,later reprised of course in Seduction Impossible.I had the good fortune to enjoy my 60th birthday treat watching Mr. Larroquette perform on Broadway which I would probably never have done if it were not for Chuck and this site.He was superb!!!
    Which brings me to a sort of related matter.Anyone on this site likely to see Yvonne in Golden Boy.From her recent interview it appears it will be her most challenging role to date,so it would be great to read a review from someone on this site.Just a thought…………

    • atcDave says:

      Glad you’ve been enjoying our write ups Graham!
      My wife and I have been mostly fortunate with our home purchases, but I remember one my parents bought when I was a kid that was non-stop trouble. You have my complete sympathy!
      John Larroquette certainly brought a lot to the show with a fun character. I’ve enjoyed him in many television shows over the years (usually as some sort of difficult personality), but I’ve never seen him live on stage. That had to be fun. I don’t believe any of us have plans to see Golden Boy, but we would love to hear from anyone who does. I expect this to always be a Chuck site first and foremost, but I expect we will mention other projects by the Chuck cast whenever they come up.

    • joe says:

      Hi, Graham. We always appreciate new commenters here. You read all those posts from day 1? Wow! There’s a few even I haven’t read a second time!

      I’m constantly amused that Chuck viewers skew out of the so-called desired demographic and had a lot of Baby-Boomer fans like you and me and Dave. I have a suspicion that we were the ones who bought most of the Subway Sandwiches, too. Hope the networks and advertisers learned a lesson from that!

      I see from Twitter that Yvonne is in NYC right now doing Golden Boy, watching Dexter and wondering what she should do about the storm. Since she’s a visitor without a car and the NYC’s public transportation is shut down, I guess she’s staying put. She’s probably in some luxury apartment with amenities and wait-staff, and it’s own power generators but I may be thinking of Sarah’s apartment and Castle unconsciously. 😉

  5. joe says:

    And speaking of power generators, Ernie and I are just now feeling the first effects of Sandy. I don’t think it’ll get worse than a stiff wind here – We’re not near enough to the coast to worry about major flooding.

    But a week without power is something else entirely, and that’s a possibility. If you guys don’t hear from me for a bit, Mrs. Joe and I are probably all right, but eating cold food from the ‘fridge before it goes bad!

    … and going a little CRAZY without the ‘net. 😉

    • atcDave says:

      Just the size of this storm system…
      Here in Michigan we’re under grey clouds with wind and rain and its all apart of the same thing! My sister in Maryland may get hit pretty good.

      • joe says:

        Roger that, Dave. My folks in Buffalo are feeling it as bad as we are here right now.

        I have two brothers living in New England right now, one outside of Providence and one near Hartford. Between them, me, and that right hook the storm is supposed to be taking, it looks like it’s out to get everyone in my family!

        “This time, it’s personal!” 😉

    • anthropocene says:

      This North Jerseyite transplanted to the desert Southwest is keeping fingers crossed for you, Joe and Ernie, along with my family and friends.

      • garnet says:

        I echo that,well except the part about the North Jerseyite, and well the desert. I certainly do hope that the storm proves to be a forecasting overcall, and that everyone survives safe and sound. My thoughts are with you all

      • joe says:

        Thanks, guys.

        The lights flickered very briefly hours ago, but so far there’s been no problems. The wind is notable, but so far it’s nothing the area hasn’t seen before, even recently (that Derecho we had this summer was worse).

        The worst is yet to come, I hear. But I’m getting optimistic that we’ll get through this fine.

      • atcDave says:

        And Joe was never heard from again…

      • joe says:

        Can’t get rid of me that easily, Dave! The news of my demise is premature.

        So far! 😉

  6. ChuckFanForever says:

    Sarah’s imaginary and exaggerated entrance into the Buy More in this episode is one of my favourite moments in the show. =)

    • Yeah, that scene sort of sets the tone for the whole episode.

    • atcDave says:

      You guys think that entrance was imaginary? My wife often comes into my work strutting and cartwheeling and crawling on the floor…
      Oh wait sorry, I seem to have wandered off somewhere; what were we talking about?

      • ChuckFanForever says:

        atcDave, you got a keeper there! 😉

        I also love how Sarah was just standing tiptoe on one foot waiting until she saw Chuck before entering. Something about that pose that I find so incredibly sexy, and also “Do You Believe in Love” has become a staple on my iPhone because of that scene.

      • joe says:

        Your wife does that too, Dave? 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Maybe more often in my mind than in reality!

    • anthropocene says:

      I enjoyed the way that Sarah punctuated Chuck’s fantasy with a real, extended, tie-grabbing kiss, followed by the “national-security-emergency” line that (to me anyway) spoke to their growth into an effective team (and later, power couple).

  7. The thing that is so special about that first shot of Sarah standing at the store entrance is the rich symbolism created by what she’s wearing on her feet.

    • joe says:

      Orange Chucks? Gotcha, Angus. 😉

      • ChuckFanForever says:

        His & Her Chucks! I never noticed that (at least consciously) until now! Just another reason why I like that scene so much! =)

      • joe says:

        Heh! I never thought of it as richly symbolic, CFF, until Angus brought it up. I just thought it was just a standard-issue part of the O-O uniform.

        But I’ll take it as a symbol now! 😉

      • The shot starts at her feet wearing those orange Chucks in that adorable pose. I always figured she chose those shoes for reasons she wouldn’t have admitted if pointedly asked. It was just another way we were shown how much she identified with him, even if only unconsciously.

  8. ref51907 says:

    -I never noticed the orange Chucks before. Wow, I like that. And the kiss at the beginning I think was genuine on her part but she rationalized it away to him, which confused Chuck even more. I can almost see that it was an attempt on Sarah’s part to finish the almost kiss at the restaurant the previous episode.
    -I like the way Roan was spot on in his assessment of Sarah’s feelings. And the question to Chuck about if she is worth dying for. His answer at the time w/o the 2.0 is just another reason why we all were rooting for him but I immediately thought of vs. Sarah when he takes her to their dream home, gets beat up and yet still takes the bullet for her. His answer rings true until the very end.
    -I also think that his episode more then any other to this point shows us that when push comes to shove, he does have the necessary skills to be a very effective agent. He just needs training.
    -I can’t really put my finger on why but there is just something about Casey that makes me think that he is beginning to see him not only as an analyst, as he has mentioned to Beckman before.

    Erik

    • atcDave says:

      Casey’s growth is interesting, and hard to track. We get a lot more clues with Sarah. I think you’re right Erik about his growth being noticeable in this episode, really throughout early S2. By the time we get to Beefcake Casey seems to be a pretty good friend to Chuck, I base that mainly on how much he seems to be rooting for Chuck and Sarah. Of course that may just be that he doesn’t want to deal with a new man on the team, but we will see it come up again in Broken Heart; Casey likes his team the way it is, even with some lady feelings involved.

    • Robert says:

      Never noticed Sarah’s “Chucks” before either. Nice touch!

      I also believe that her kiss was genuine; she lingers just long enough to show us that it’s not a cover kiss. Even Chuck noticed.

      Chuck proved until the end that Sarah was everything to him, to the point of being ready to die for her/to protect her. There is no bigger love than that!

      Yeah, Chuck has the skill to be an excellent agent/analyst; what he was lacking was self-confidence. As soon as he became more confident (thanks in large part to Sarah, and some successful missions), he became more skillful, assertive, and an excellent leader.

      Casey is still (till the end) teasing, mocking Chuck, but while he was mostly annoyed with him in Season 1, beginning with Season 2, he was treating him more and more like a “little brother” that he could tease, even brutalize, but beware to the one who would mean harm to him (and Sarah)!

      Casey’s changes are beginning to be more apparent in season 2; think how he was in the Finale; he was leaving to have a relationship with Gertrude! He was on the same path Sarah took, thanks to Chuck!

    • Casey’s growth is definitely the most subtle of the show. Chuck and Sarah tend to have their huge moments, where his happen between the lines. Baldwin plays the character so gruff that moments that would be insignificant for others (“Thank you” in Samurai) become some of the most meaningful of the series.

      Notice here that while Sarah and Roan debate over whether and how Chuck should seduce, Casey doesn’t say a word. He simply believes Chuck can do it, even if Casey isn’t above ribbing him a few times. He’s already beginning to trust Chuck as a partner, a shift that started when he tried to tell Beckman how Chuck had potential in the CIA.

  9. Ben D says:

    Hey all! After being a reader for about a month now I finally decided to drop a comment. I’ve read almost everything on here I think and check back at least a couple times a day for more updates (I’ve been suffering from withdraw pretty heavily).

    In regards to this episode I absolutely love the kiss between Sarah and Chuck after Brian’s “desperately”. I just smile every time as the kiss lingers long beyond convincing Roan of Chuck’s competence. Definitely one of my favorite episodes from this season.

    In response to Graham, I am planning on going to Golden Boy. Not sure what date yet but it’s pretty accessible as a student at Columbia University living in New York City. I’m hoping I get to meet her sometime soon! I watched Chuck from day 1 and the only other TV show I watch is Dexter so you can imagine my excitement when it was announced she would be on.

    I love the site! Thanks for the great content, I’ll be back!

    • Ben D says:

      Roan’s* of course. Auto correct :/

    • atcDave says:

      I was guessing that was an auto-correct glitch! Gotta love it.

      Welcome to the site Ben, it’s always great to see another lurker de-cloak. I’m going through pretty bad Chuck withdrawal now too, there is really nothing else that compares.

      Let us know what you think of Golden Boy, sounds like fun.

      • Ben D says:

        So I introduced Chuck to a couple of teammates and over the past 60 days we’ve watched 4 seasons… its fun averaging over and episode a night. They love it, and I certainly dont mind rewatching them!

      • atcDave says:

        It’s always great to have an excuse to re-watch!

    • garnet says:

      Hard to believe that it has been 9 months 4 days. I too am suffering from significant withdrawal. I would have expected that I would have found something to fill the hole in my schedule by now, but there is, and was, and ever shall be nothing like CHUCK.

      Welcome to the land of the posters and good luck with Golden Boy. I hope you will post your thoughts after you see it.

      • Robert says:

        I know how you feel. I’m currently rewatching the series one episode each sunday, but I would so have loved to watch a Season 6 !!

        Can’t believe it’s close to a year since the show ended! I really miss it, and hope we’ll have that reunion in a near future!

        No other show comes close to “Chuck”. Heck, even the “average” episodes of Chuck are better than most shows on tv right now!!! That’s a strong testament to the overall quality of the show.

    • There really isn’t anything else like it. I’ve tried to pick up several shows, but nothing else compares to Chuck at its best – the cast just grew together so well.

      • ChuckFanForever says:

        Agree wholeheartedly! Even though I discovered Chuck after the TV show was over, it quickly became my favourite, surpassing the show that brought me to Chuck in the first place. I was catching up on Dexter over the summer and the announcement that a newcomer named Yvonne would be in Season 7 caught my eye. The article mentioned she was from a little show called “Chuck” and it sounded like something I would enjoy. I made a note to find the Pilot episode when I got home that night and watch it. And the rest is history. Now I can’t help but compare everything I watch to Chuck. Even watching Yvonne on Dexter isn’t the same.

      • Ben D says:

        For sure. I’m looking forward to seeing Hannah McKay (Yvonne) develop more in dexter but I think she was really in her niche for Chuck. The cast chemistry just seemed so good there.

  10. Thanks for your response,and welcome also Ben.I look forward to your “critique” on Yvonne’s performance in due course-good luck with meeting her!!
    The chemistry between the cast mirrored the show-unique and irreplaceable,hence all the continuing withdrawal symptons!
    I Just finished watching season 5 and the special features again last night and was still moved to tears-seeing their genuine feelings and emotions for each other and the fans,how could anyone feel otherwise?Glad to see you are enabling others to enjoy the experience.
    I will also be watching Dexter and as I know most of you have a “soft spot” for Yvonne,you will no doubt be pleased to learn that her co-star Jennifer Carpenter described Yvonne in an interview with TV Line yesterday as “an incredible human being and a brilliant actress.”
    What all Chuck fans have known for years,but still great to hear it from a fellow thespian.

  11. Ernie Davis says:

    I’ve been wanting to comment on our move into season 2 for a while, but work, weather, work related travel and life in general have been in the way for a bit. Still the show Chuck became in the opening of season 2 is something worth commenting on. While I was on-board from about Chuck Versus The Tango on, I didn’t become truly obsessive about Chuck till season 2 when we see it take on that organic feel we all talk about in the opening arc. One thing that stands out to me in these first episodes, aside from the amazing chemistry Zach and Yvonne are clearly building on from season one’s foundation, is how thoroughly integrated everything is. Chuck is gaining confidence as a spy, but still isn’t quite there yet. He’s gaining confidence with Sarah, but still has his doubts on occasion, and he’s seeing a future where he is free to pursue his own dreams, not be a CIA asset stuck in a cover job he’s outgrown. All of these stories are reflected in all of the various plots and subplots so seamlessly you hardly notice. The guest stars shine like never before, and even Lester seems to take on an integral role on where the show is headed.

    For a show about seduction there was one very surprising choice to me. Sarah is the incompetent one. She’s the mark, not the agent, and her nerd-love blinds her to what everyone else can still see about Chuck. He’s not quite there yet, but he’s on the right path. Sarah sees Chuck through smitten eyes (as he so obviously and hilariously sees her too), so to her his intentionally incompetent seduction is funny and charming and his passion and kindness trump his limited experience with women and the world. But what struck me most about Seduction is how frank everyone is about everything. More on that later.

    Chuck has realized that BuyMore middle management isn’t the future he wants, but his choice has impacted everyone by putting his opposite, Lester, in charge. Where Chuck is quietly competent and efficient, Lester loudly overcompensates and still needs Chuck to run things. Chuck is building on the progress he’s made with Sarah, or at least trying to after getting her to go on a real date, but she’s pulling the professional trump card even as she has obviously fallen for him. As a spy, Chuck is ready to start laying down the law occasionally, and standing up for himself and his team, but he still needs Sarah’s confidence in him or Roan’s guidance to carry the day. All these things blend seamlessly into what comes across as one story when there are really several in parallel. And at the center of them all is Chuck’s growth as a man and a spy, and the team’s growth into a well oiled machine because of it, despite some lady feelings and unprofessional attachments to assets.

    So, there have been a few setbacks in the CIA’s intersect program, the least of which is that Chuck is choosing the wrong time to grow a backbone in front of Beckman, deciding against going on a mission to retrieve the cipher from the knife-weilding Sasha Banacheck. He’s still smarting from the whiplash Sarah seems to induce, first engaging in a (ahem) cover kiss that obviously crosses all sorts of professional boundaries, then laying it out so frankly, our professional relationship trumps any potential romance, and you are not my equal (or Bryce’s). It obviously hits home:

    Sarah, look. You’re right, okay? I’m not a real spy. I’m not cut out for this adrenaline pumping risk-life-and-limb daily existence.

    Sarah, to her credit, recognizes her mistake, and promptly overcompensates. Her clumsy honey trap appears to be deployed with equal parts shame for using it on Chuck (even as a part of her may actually mean it) and embarrassment that she is so transparent to him. Chuck, to his credit lets her off the hook, and they’re off to Palm Springs to find Roan Montgomery and see if they can get the intersect up and running outside of Chuck’s head.

    One high functioning alcoholic agent’s seduction lesson later and Chuck is off to seduce a worldly sophisticated woman other than Sarah. I loved these parallels where Roan stands in for the audience, asking the question directly, The exchange lays out their relationship at this point perfectly.

    Roan: Do you think a woman like this could ever fall for a guy like you?

    Chuck: I don’t know. Barring any national security emergency, I think I might have a shot.

    The parallel seductions, Chuck using Roan’s advice and Awesome using Morgan’s are equally disastrous, and hilarious. Chuck’s eventual “success” turns out to be Sasha’s trap for team B just as Morgan’s advice turns out to be a trap for Awesome. But we see a lot of light shed on Chuck and Sarah’s burgeoning relationship, and perhaps why Sarah finds the thought of it enticing. She obviously finds his honesty and genuine-ness for lack of a better word, enticing, but she also lets slip that perhaps it is partly the fact that he doesn’t push her, that he takes a back seat and lets her dictate the pace and the depth of the relationship that makes her believe it might have a shot. This certainly fits with what we’ll learn about Sarah in later episodes and seasons. For Chuck’s part Sarah’s inadvertent open mic comments strike at the very heart of his insecurities, she doesn’t consider him her equal, and she just might be playing him as a mark. And if we’re truthful, a part of Sarah is playing Chuck, she just tries not to cross too many lines. Her attraction is obviously real, and she is frank with Chuck about it, but where in season 1 she would scold and even occasionally laugh at Chuck’s naivete and lack of experience (mostly very early on for the later) Sarah’s seduction method now appeals to Chuck to fulfill the potential she sees in him, and uses his attraction as a motivating force. And at that, she is very successful motivating Chuck to repeatedly step up his game and prove himself worthy of a woman like her.

    But Chuck already has some spy potential, and makes good his escape with the cypher even as the rest of the team (minus Roan who beats a hasty retreat) are captured. As an observation about the show hitting it’s stride, the guest stars, both John Larroquette and Melinda Clarke were amazing in their respective roles, continuing the strong presence of Michael Clarke Duncan from the season premier. Larroquette in particular established himself as a part of the show with a single appearance as few other guest stars have. Mini Anden’s Carina and perhaps Bruce Boxleitner and Morgan Fairchild as the awesome Woocombs come to mind.

    One of the organic parts of season 2 is how fully fleshed out the world of Chuck is. If you recall in season 1 Chuck wasn’t even aware of Beckman or Graham’s existence till the fourth episode. In this episode Chuck learns of Castle, but when cut off from his handlers, is helpless to get in contact with the CIA or any reinforcements. Until Roan, having been guilted into action by Chuck’s harsh but true assessment shows up to help make a plan that doesn’t get everyone killed. By Chuck Versus the Ex we’ll see that the CIA has corrected that problem, giving Chuck access to Castle and credentials sufficient to take control of a bio-weapons release, and it all just seems to make perfect sense, like the picture taken in this episode showing up in Cougars, without exposition or dwelling on it. There is a whole world these characters inhabit, and we’re repeatedly given hints that we’re only seeing a fraction, engaging our imaginations and adding more depth and texture to that world with things that seem at first or to the casual viewer to be throw away shots or props.

    Without dwelling on it I’ll just add this final thought. Roan’s assessment of what women want, to be rescued, may or may not be true, but as we first see here with his death defying leap from the BuyMore roof, it does seem to be true of Sarah. We see clearly now what Sarah gives to Chuck, a purpose in life, a goal, confidence in himself and a sense that he matters and makes a difference. We don’t yet see what Chuck gives to Sarah, hope for a chance of redemption from the life of a spy, but it is being established already this season.

    With the final scene, a confident Chuck happily on his way to a surprise romantic evening with Sarah, we see Chuck’s confidence and growth reaching new levels, even as it’s about to be tested by his nemesis, and the guy Sarah inadvertently hinted Chuck doesn’t measure up to. Bryce Larkin, that magnificent bastard, once again tosses Chuck’s new-found confidence and hope aside just by his presence in his life. More on that next week perhaps.

    Overall, awesome episode that builds on an awesome season premier, and awesome recap and review guys.

    • resaw says:

      And some awesome comments from you, Ernie.

      • I completely agree with Robert about the numbers – the internet tends to give more credence to the most vocal minority rather than the majority of people who were OK with it, and never made the leap into the blogosphere – myself included. That’s not to say that most people liked it, per se, but that most people just didn’t react as strongly as the people we see on forums.

        “I might have accepted Prague; I never would have liked it, but I might not have rejected it outright by itself. But lying dirtball Chuck, Sham and Red Tests… no way.”

        I’m literally the opposite, although lying dirtball Chuck never existed. The real red line was Prague (and that episode made me stop watching the show). The whole notion of them splitting that way was utterly ridiculous. Without Prague happening the way it did, we simply don’t get all the contrived nonsense that followed it.

        However, I also think the WT/WT went on way too long in Season 2. One of the reasons season 3 was so frustrating, was because season 2 had already been a year of tease, which had gotten just as contrived by Beefcake. It’s the biggest problem with season 2, and it’s why I find seasons 4 and 5 so much more satisfying, even if they’re less tightly written. It’s agonizing to watch those two suffer without each other like that. It’s also why I HATE 2.03.

      • Whoops, posted that in the wrong place, sorry.

    • joe says:

      Awww – Ernie, this should have been a post! It’s too good to be buried in comments, you know.

      Brilliant observation about Sarah – when it comes to romance and even life, she’s no more competent than Chuck. They’re clearly learning the ropes together throughout the five years we have them.

      One thing that strikes me now is that they’ll be taking their lessons from everyone around them, even Jeff and Lester. It’s quite a commentary on life.

    • ref51907 says:

      You highlighted the seeming throw away shots, or props used for the background that give subtle indications that these characters actually do live in the world they created. One of the fun things I get to do now is look at the background, the props, and see what they have done. This isn’t the first picture we will see more of in future episodes, but it was definitely a good one. Sarah thought a lot of that particular one b/c that was the one she kept in her suitcase whenever she traveled. That means even after he left her at the train station in Prague, I believe, she always had that picture tucked away. I can even see her pull it out from time to time, in what she would probably call moments of weakness, and wonder about what went wrong between them. At that point she seemed to have lost her real home, her north star. And that makes the pain all the more real and something I can definitely relate to.

      Erik

      • Ernie Davis says:

        That picture makes a very notable and important appearance late in season 3. It is on Sarah’s bedside table as she is packing at the end of Chuck Versus The American Hero. A lot of people thought that scene ambiguous, that possibly Sarah had rejected Chuck’s plea and was packing for the trip to Washington with Shaw. I say that picture removes any ambiguity from that scene. It is there, and is lingered on in the shot quite purposefully. It is one of those subtle yet incredibly powerful storytelling tools Chuck uses to reward those who pay attention to details and are willing to let their imagination fill out the emotional implications of the story. I’m sure there is probably a fanfic, but you can imagine how that picture made its way back to her nightstand, because I doubt you could make the case it stayed there when Sarah was with Shaw. What Sarah must have been thinking as she packed is one of those fun introspective games that scenes like this set up so wonderfully.

        Sarah was definitely going with Chuck, I think that is pretty indisputable, but how she felt about it, still thinking she’d been at fault for Chuck’s decision to try to be a spy, that she’d in some sense ruined him, yet happy that he’d decided she was right, the life of lies and deceit and violence would ultimately tear them apart again, so they should leave it. The look on her face when Casey tells her Chuck didn’t pull the trigger for her, that he’d stayed true to himself was I think more about how Sarah felt about herself and all she’d done to Chuck, that she could live with him with a clean conscience, and that perhaps there was some redemption from that life for her too.

      • XavierLandsdale says:

        I totally disagree, Mr. Davis. The picture was there in American Hero to show that she loved Chuck. But she was NOT going with him. Pay attention to the music cue. The song Down River does not start playing until AFTER Casey tells Sarah that Chuck didn’t kill the mole. That is the moment she realizes that Chuck hasn’t changed, that he is still “her Chuck.” That’s why the music cue starts as she is taking in Casey’s confession.

        I don’t think much of Season 3, but one of the few things they did do in that season was clearly say that Sarah only wanted the unchanged Chuck, not Chuck-turned-Spy-type. They kept turning the Sarah character on a dime to accomplish that, but that was what they did. Sarah was going to Washington until she learns from Casey that he didn’t kill the mole.

        Moreover, if she were going with Chuck, the last scene of Other Guy wouldn’t have any tension at all. Chuck is frightened to tell Sarah that he killed Shaw because he thinks it will turn her against him. And the viewer is supposed to think that as well. That’s the tension in the big finale scene. If you convince yourself that Sarah was going with Chuck in American Hero no matter what, then the scene they set up in Other Guy has no emotional or dramatic power at all. And the key line of the scene, Sarah saying “You saved me,” is useless.

      • ref51907 says:

        -Well, I see everything, from the question she raises to Chuck when he crashes her date with Shaw, “If you didn’t kill the mole then who did?” to when she saw him come out of the warehouse with Shaw and he wasn’t carry a gun, but rather his tranq pistol.as a sublte clue that she was starting to think there was more to the story then just Chuck shot him. Also Yvonne did an excellent job of giving very subtle cues with her body language, from the almost involuntary nod of her head, to a slight move of her head to indicate that she wanted another kiss from him in Castle when he asked her to run away with him.
        -The bridge scene for me was about Chuck’s choice, and what Sarah’s reaction was going to be. And we are never told if her life was ever truly, legitimately in danger before. Remember, she was completely and utterly powerless to do anything. Personally I can see her giving him the benefit of the doubt only b/c deep down, she knew who he was. The “you saved me” was more of a realization that Chuck will kill, but only when it is absolutely necessary. We are also never really told how much of the scene she remembers, other then the vague and brief conversation with Chuck in the hotel room.
        -So many other cues going both ways that whatever people think, go with him or not, I can definitely see there point of view.

        Erik

      • CaptMediocre says:

        “Sarah was definitely going with Chuck, I think that is pretty indisputable ….. ”

        Before or after Casey’s revelation is in fact very disputable. Since Sarah never talked, for most of the season, what she was thinking remained for the audience to decide. Just like the finale, it is unclear, ambiguous and can go either way.

        To hinge a character’s motivation on a prop, barely noticeable on first viewing, was just the tip of the subtlety iceberg that let fans finish the story as they saw (or didn’t see) fit.

        “and that perhaps there was some redemption from that life for her too.”

        The show never did character redemption. Not once that I can think of anyway.

        It simply did Chuck forgiving everyone for everything.

      • atcDave says:

        I’m totally with Ernie on this one, and I think the picture is proof. Casey’s revelation made the decision easier for her, or convinced her she had made the right choice. And I think it was of great long term benifit, otherwise the event would have hung over them, with Sarah always wondering and Chuck always keeping a secret; but in the short term it didn’t change her decision. And the drama at the end of Other Guy came from Chuck still not knowing what Sarah would think; whatever decision Sarah made at the end of American Hero she clearly didn’t like him using deadly force.
        But I would put this in the same sort of category as the series finale, too subtle by far. They often spent too much time teasing out dramatic moments at the cost of being clear. I don’t really care for such style decisions.

        BTW, Liz it’s nice to see you drop by again.

      • Robert says:

        At first, I was pissed off; not THAT question again; “Was Sarah leaving with Chuck or Shaw?” So sick of it! But I decided to post anywas, but only regarding that picture of Chuck and Sarah in 2.02.

        I totally agree with Ernie here.

        Sarah WAS leaving with Chuck, even if she was still unsure if he had killed the mole or not. If not, WHY PUTTING THEIR PICTURE ON HER DESK AGAIN? Casey’s intervention was about if Chuck had killed the mole or not, it was never about Sarah leaving with Chuck or Shaw.

        And by 4.02, we totally know how important and significative that picture is for Sarah, so if she put it back, it means she committed to Chuck again, and BEFORE Casey comes clean about the mole. And now knowing how much this picture means for her(it makes me feel at home, safe), can you sincerely picture Sarah going to DC, and leaving it right there in her hotel room, if she’s leaving with Shaw?

        Capt Mediocre; been a while. Still a lilttle bitter, heh? The whole “Chuck”s story for Sarah IS a redemption story. Its how Chuck helps her, bit by bit, to come back to who she was before she became a spy. In fact, deep down, Sarah is very much like Charles Irving Bartowski; the process has begun in Season 1, but it’s pretty apparent during Season 5.

        Dave, I know that many clues are very subtle, and that’s what caused “problems” for some during the Finale, but if you look for them, they are there, and the episodes deemed ambiguous are not as ambiguous as some thinks; it’s just in the eye of the beholder, and that picture of 2.02 in 3.12 is one of those subtle clues, that some overlooked because they were pissed off by the “discrepancies” of season 3.1

      • Robert says:

        “That’s the tension in the big finale scene. If you convince yourself that Sarah was going with Chuck in American Hero no matter what, then the scene they set up in Other Guy has no emotional or dramatic power at all. And the key line of the scene, Sarah saying “You saved me,” is useless.”

        No, mister Langsdale. The viewers knew that Sarah wasn’t going to leave Chuck after he killed Shaw, BUT CHUCK DIDN’T. Chuck saw how Sarah reacted while thinking he did it, and he thought that she would react the same way if he told her that he killed someone for real. But not this time, because Sarah understood he killed someone not on orders, but to save her life, and knowing him, because Chuck would have no other options.

        It has nothing to do with Sarah leaving with Chuck or not in 3.12. Chuck thought she was leaving with Shaw, because he hadn’t seen her since he kissed her in Castle. But the viewers saw that it wasn’t so.The drama was all about Chuck’s thoughts, not Sarah’s.

        What Sarah felt was clear. And the picture of 2.02 was a visual clue about what she felt.

      • atcDave says:

        Robert I completely agree the clues were there for the ending, just as they were there at the end of American Hero. I just think its poor story telling when the clues are so subtle as to be missed by 30+% of the audience (guessing at the ratio, based on reading commentary at the time on both events). I think it isn’t ultimately such a big deal for American Hero, Sarah’s decision is plain by the end of the episode, we’re splitting hairs over about 60 seconds of screen time that doesn’t affect the outcome. I do agree with you and Ernie, I just think the telling of it could have been more clear. Ditto for the finale, I do now see it as an unambiguously happy ending; but I think it’s poor story telling when a large part of the audience is uncertain and viewers are left either unhappy or doing research to discern the writer’s intent.

        I would also agree that Chuck did awesome redemption stories. Really, one of my favorite parts of the show, and it applied to every character. Chuck was saved by Sarah from a pointless, self pitying life. Sarah was saved by Chuck from a life of duty and honor that held no love or joy. Casey and Morgan both ended in better places than they began; and a number of secondary characters had their own redemption arcs. That Chuck accomplished this without being predictable or cheesy (most of the time!) is something writers and cast did extremely well.
        I love being able to respect the characters and enjoy their story. Chuck delivered four outstanding seasons of this.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh and Robert don’t get to excited over anything “Mr Landsdale” says. That’s just Liz, she likes to drop by under different names to lob grenades and argue with Ernie. We’ve asked her to choose one name and stick to it, but some people don’t play well with others.

      • joe says:

        Great discussion. I’ve been pondering on this detail – the picture and what it might have meant at the end of American Hero, and I think Ernie is right.

        But I have a slightly different emphasis on it. Sarah truly was going to go with Chuck, but until the moment Casey told her that Chuck had not changed, she actually didn’t know what she was going to do. In my mind it’s very much an echo of Carina’s words in Wookiee – “She may not know it it…” (but she’s in love with you).

        I can’t say I’ve ever known anyone who actually works that way, but it’s consistent with characters in Fedak’s universe.

        Another thing I’ve been thinking about is how Chuck’s (not) shooting the mole in Final Exam is so much like Sarah’s Mauser moment in Santa Claus, with the roles reversed. Chuck shooting Shaw at the bridge now seems like the final resolution to all that event (finally, finally, finally).

      • I agree with Ernie for the most part here. Sarah was going to leave with Chuck despite her doubts about him and what may or may not have happened in the train yard. She was finally coming to grips with his choices and motivations as he expressed them on the stakeout and in Castle after the ‘Final Exam’. However, the picture on the nightstand would have only been noticed by the most astute viewer, especially on the first viewing. I could see she had made that choice without seeing that picture sitting there.

        This all started when Sarah kept kept sending Chuck mixed signals about what it was going to take for the two of them to be together. The freezer scene in this episode where Sarah clearly says there’s no chance of it happening since he’s an asset and not a spy like Bryce – yikes, so nice throwing that in Chuck’s face – sends Chuck a clear message he needs to make that leap if he wants to have something real with her. This scene is one example of how she clearly influenced him to take that path.

        This next part should be saved for posting in post S3E12 discussions, but since we’ve already gone there…

        Then later when Chuck makes the decision to embrace being an agent he suddenly somehow becomes damaged goods? Shame on the writers for that. While he had changed and grown in many ways, deep down he was always Chuck, still holding on to his different way of seeing things and his own strong moral code and underpinnings. Why couldn’t Sarah Walker the ever vigilant and astute CIA officer see that? Clouded by her emotions you say? Clearly, Chuck wasn’t. Chuck always saw the good in Sarah through all she’d been through. Now because he grows into a role she’s encouraged he’s all of the sudden an unrecognizable monster to her? Oh, geez. What does that say about Sarah’s own self perception and her ability to rise above adversity? Not much good, and a really terrible thing to do to her (formerly strong) character, IMHO.

        When push came to shove and Chuck made his case and professed his love to her, Sarah finally started to see the light, whether he actually killed Perry in her eyes or not (and he was perfectly justified on that mission twice purely in self defense). He almost died not just because of his own qualms about deadly force and the moral justifications surrounding it, but also because of his concerns about how he would be perceived by Sarah if he’d killed someone, even if completely justified. Sarah’s double-standard endangered both of them on multiple occasions, but especially her, at that cafe, and on that bridge in Paris.

        The whole ‘hitman’ test to get your badge is so contrived anyway. It’s just awful, and shame on the writers for that, too. This is why in reality almost all SAD officers are selected from the ranks of combat experienced SOCOM operators. I have no doubts that there have been a great many field agents who have had to make the hard first time choice to use deadly force over the history of the agency, but assigned a ‘hit’ to become an agent? Nope. So damned wrong to make Chuck and Sarah have to go there for the sake of creating an angst arc and just as wrong to portray the CIA that way too.

      • atcDave says:

        Angus excellent critique, I agree with every bit of that. The “Red Test” is a bit of a spy story cliche in it’s own right, but I really loathe the way they made use of it here. It reminds me of the WWII story Japanese soldiers were told in their basic training, that US Marines were required to kill their own parents to pass training. Its so outrageous and gross its almost as shocking to think anyone could even believe such a myth as it is to imagine the deed itself.
        And in a story like Chuck, the “Red Test” just sort of shatters any belief we might have had in the story and characters. Really a poorly conceived plot device.

      • Robert says:

        Sorry Dave; contrived storyline? I can agree with that; I get what they were trying to do. But shattering any belief you had in the characters? I think you’re going too far.

        If you think so, how did you managed to continue watching the show?

        I know that that part of the story maybe hasn’t very well conceived, but I can certainly understand why Sarah acted so OOC; she was very emotional, in pain over her perceived loss of Chuck. When you’re in that state of mind, you can do very stupid things. But when she finally came back to her senses, when she realized that Chuck was still “her” Chuck, everything was back to how it should be.

        And that is the beauty of seeing that picture from 2.02; It was a subtle clue of showing that Chuck was still her home, that she could show her love for him again, that she committed to him emotionally again.

      • jam says:

        “But shattering any belief you had in the characters? I think you’re going too far”

        Nah, Dave is far from being alone in that belief. Many people pretend season 3.1 never happened, that’s what it took to be able to keep on watching past that point.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I have to ignore most of 3.01-3.12. It just doesn’t compute with what I saw in the first two seasons. Several fan fiction writers did a far better job of honoring the characters I knew for that period of time, so I embrace those alternate versions and mostly ignore show canon.

      • Robert says:

        Nah, Jam; you’re not that many, you’re just more vocal about it! 😉

        But while I don’t go as far as pretending that season 3.1 never happened, I must say that these aren’t episodes I rewatch the most…

        Season 3.5 is much better, though; especially “Honeymooners”!

      • Faith says:

        When taken within the context and in hindsight season 3.0 is absolutely relevant. Dave is correct that they aren’t the characters we’ve become accustomed to…they were far from idealized but I’ve come to accept that that is done for a purpose. For Sarah in particular she has learned to trust, to anchor herself to Chuck in ways she has never allowed herself to do throughout her life on the run with her dad and as a chameleon for the CIA but Chuck is special. By a flick of a switch, she’s lost that. And her decision to run away with him was an easy way out. No matter how painful Prague was, I now believe it was essential. I now believe that her fears, though not elegantly executed were organic to the person we have learned to be. Trusting a predatory douchebag however, we’ll leave off the conversation. But we all do things we aren’t proud of, out of fear, out of loss, out of heartbreak. That’s what makes us human and season 3.0 was an attempt to humanize our idealized heroes. My 2 cents.

      • atcDave says:

        I might have accepted Prague; I never would have liked it, but I might not have rejected it outright by itself. But lying dirtball Chuck, Sham and Red Tests… no way. I can’t accept those episodes and continue to watch, so I reject them.

        I’m pretty sure when we get to 3.01-3.12 on this re-watch that I will simply drop out of the main body of discussion and put up some fan fiction posts appropriate to that period of time. I cannot stomach another analysis/discussion of that arc.

      • Robert says:

        Of course it doesn’t compute with what you saw in the first two seasons, Dave; that’s precisely the point!

        I can understand that you really dislike season 3.1, because it was not well developped, or it’s not what you were expecting, etc. But to say that their reactions didn’t make sense (especially with what they are going through at the time), I must disagree.

        I’m not saying that Season 3.1 was great to watch, no, far from it; these are episodes I’m not really interested to rewatch, but Chuck and Sarah’s reactions considering what they thought the other was thinking made sense at the time.

        But all that could’ve been avoided if only Sarah would’ve told Chuck plainly how she felt (and what she expected) about him, and if Chuck hadn’t interrupted her in the first place.

        And I don’t wanna talk about Season 3.1 just yet!😱

      • atcDave says:

        Robert its an entertainment failure even more than a believabity failure. I’ve known plenty of people who messed up their lives royally through staggeringly bad decision making (from adultery to drugs, I’ve seen plenty of stupidity). I know it happens. But I refuse to watch shows about such things. From 3.01-3.12 Chuck turned into another of Schwartz’ soap operas, and I will not give any benefit of the doubt on it. I watch to be entertained and spend time with personalities I enjoy. If a show fails me on that count; well, I recently started a book on the Battle of Cannae that is surely a better use of my time. And I simply don’t buy any arguments about what was “needed” for growth. For all those people I know who have messed up their lives, I know more who have made good decisions and avoided such extreme heartbreak. And THOSE are the people whose stories I want to see. Chuck delivered such a story in four (and 1/3!) of its seasons.

        I know that mine is not a majority opinion. But I do think a majority of viewers did not particularly enjoy S3 (again, our poll from right after the misery arc ended indicated over 70% of viewers did not enjoy the “journey”). And I know a sizable number feel nearly as strongly as I do. I remember commenting in a private exchange with a fan fiction writer some months ago about the surprising number of S3 defenders I encounter; and the writer responded with shock, asking how anyone could defend it!

      • jam says:

        “Nah, Jam; you’re not that many, you’re just more vocal about it!”

        People disliked it even before it started airing. There were big negative reactions to the storyline, the San Diego Comic-Con audience hated it, and from there things only got worse.

      • Robert says:

        Dave, I’m not defending season 3.0, I really disliked how they decided to do things ( in fact, I had stopped watching by 3.11, but a friend convinced me to watch again because of 3.12’s ending), but I understand what was TPTB’ intent; before getting together for real, Chuck and Sarah had to get down from the pedestals they put each other on, resolve their fears and differences (and communicate!!!), see each other at their worst, but also at their best, and then, knowing each other for real, get together. That was the plan.

        That’s what they did, but I didn’t find that very entertaining to watch either! There’s only 2 episodes that I still rewatch from that “arc”; 3.03 and 3.13; 3.03 because it’s a fun one, and you can clearly see Chuck and Sarah are still in love, and 3.13 because they finally have the long-delayed conversation (DYLM?), because Chuck gives Shaw what he deserves, and Chuck and Sarah finally get together. But the other episodes, I never rewatched them again since thay aired.

        But even if I don’t rewatch them, I do not pretend they never happened (actually, I don’t think about them very often), but hey, it’s me! If you do want to pretend, it’s your choice! After all, the last 2 seasons have plenty good stuff!

        Jam, I know; I was teasing, I put a little smile right after my comment…like this one 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Robert we’re really pretty much in the same place, even the episodes we tolerated best. And no matter how much I wish it, I know perfectly well what did happen. I really ignore it more than pretending it didn’t exist. And largely thanks to Ernie I do understand what they were trying to do. But I see no point to it. Chuck and Sarah both had pretty balanced views of each other over the first two seasons, full of their respective flaws and quirks. And they were both good and believable characters, I certainly have known people I liked and admired as much as Chuck. But S3 was a complete deconstruction. The characters we saw were radically different, especially Chuck. I compare his moment in Tango when he confessed to “having learned the woman’s part” to his non-stop lying in S3. I loved that Tango moment, I loathed what they turned him into. I simply don’t buy that it was ever necessary, or even a good idea to tear down such admirable characters so completely.

      • Oddly enough, I’ve found a way to take away many positive things from the whole ‘misery arc’ and I have few troubles watching it now, because I’ve found a way to complete the story in a way that works for me after a lot of careful thought about it. Yes, even Sarah’s relationship with a manipulative douche nozzle and the name reveal. It also took the completion of the whole series and a strong personal desire to take the story beyond the ending we were given to reach this point. I agree with Faith about how this arc humanized the characters and made us confront along with them some of the uglier issues they had created because of their misjudgments and misconceptions about each other; issues that were born and allowed to fester in seasons one and two. Some of them were never fully resolved or maybe only very slowly over the course of the rest of the series. Such fertile ground for fanfiction. 🙂

        Both Chuck and Sarah had these idealized ideas about where they really wanted to be, at first Chuck wanting to be ‘normal’ – when his vision of normal was a millionaire software developer, lol – and then slowly changing his concept of himself as he realized he was far from normal, and neither was Sarah, and that to expect them both to be happy in a plain vanilla life was not in the cards for them. Then there was Sarah thinking she really wanted everything Chuck thought he originally wanted and to step away from the spy life when the possibility of her being happy completely out of the espionage game was probably also very unrealistic (and something she mentioned more than just in passing with Gertrude very late in the series). They both came to their senses in a fashion on a train to Zurich. They made such a great team and they finally acknowledged it and embraced it. As time went on, of course, they both started to want some of the things ‘normal’ provided, like kids, a house in the burbs, and a less dangerous lifestyle a little more insulated from the major threats of losing each other forever. As their love for each other deepened as it does in all great relationships they realized more with each passing day what the loss of one of them would do to the other.

        Then there was that last mission and the reset, causing them and us to experience that loss without one of them actually dieing.

        Yeah, Robert, I hope there is still something to talk about when we get to season three…cough. 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        Angus I do agree that there was a need for lots of growth for the characters and relationship. But I still see no benefit to the destructive way it was handled. I do agree with all your specific points, except that I don’t ever buy it needed to be handled in such a destructive fashion. Everyone grows in their relationships, at least healthy ones. My wife and I know each other and communicate better than ever, even though we’re well past the infatuation phase. I don’t believe we needed to see each other lie, betray or manipulate to end up at the good place we’re at. I think that’s just normal growth. Sure it’s not exciting or dramatic, but I think there’s lots of middle ground that doesn’t involve character assassination and would still be a great story. In fact, I think the extremes we saw on the show were so unpleasant and offensive to so many of us it diminished the whole purpose of what they were trying to show. As I’ve said here many times, there was the kernel of some great stories in S3; but they were undone by several things that felt too much like television soap opera formula (especially the love triangles and manipulation over the “Red Test”).

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I have to observe that with this latest manifestation of Chuckwin’s law at least people are discussing the show rather than hurling invective at each other and TPTB. There may be hope for us come next March when we move into season 3 of the re-watch.

      • Well, Dave, I didn’t see a whole lot of benefit either as I originally suffered through it like the rest of you. The simple truth is many couples go through some rough patches created by these sorts of problems – many get through it intact and stronger, others fail and split up. I’m glad you avoided these pitfalls in your own relationship. Don’t know if I can honestly say that, but our marriage is still thriving through the trials we’ve experienced over the years.

        The thing I find compelling about the troubles Chuck and Sarah experienced was how most of them were so intimately linked to to the secrecy and deception of the life of a spy. It all started on that beach when Sarah said to Chuck, “tell them nothing to keep them safe.” It then grew into lies and deception to maintain those secrets behind the whole rationalization of ‘keeping them safe’. Often times both Chuck and Sarah used that excuse on each other after that ball got rolling to withhold information from each other and protect each other, save each others feelings, and avoid confrontation. It all exposed the unfortunate reality that compartmentalizing the truth and emotions can only lead to a very bad place on a very personal level. And while Chuck and Sarah eventually recognized the destructive nature of this and made a pact not to allow it to happen again, they never really addressed the root causes of why it happened in the first place.

      • atcDave says:

        Angus I think if the main story of S3 had been about learning when the lying was a good idea, and when it was destructive, it really might have been a great and dramatic story. Just like, if Shaw had actually been a mentor and friend to Chuck, his betrayal could have been quite powerful. Or Chuck learning the ugly side of the spy life WHILE he was romantically involved with one, wow that could have been something special.
        But really that’s not the main thing we got. The wt/wt and love triangles were the source of most of the dramatic tension and the vast majority of fan reaction and commentary. What a waste!
        If they had left the silly triangles behind, there was potentially a great story to tell. But they really didn’t. Virtually all the emotional energy of the story came from Chuck and Sarah heading off into doomed relationships with guest stars.
        I think the utter waste of an opportunity is the legacy of S3.

      • ChuckFanForever says:

        In my mind, there was no doubt in American Hero, she was packing up to meet with Chuck. When Casey showed up to tell her the truth about Chuck’s red test, that just removed all doubts that she had already made the right choice. I interrupted the scene that way because right before Casey explains, Sarah says “If you came to plead his [Chuck’s] case, then it’s really not necessary…”, then Casey interrupts her. But it sure sounds like she was about to say “it’s really not necessary because I’ve already decided to run off with him!”

      • ChuckFanForever says:

        interrupted=interpreted

    • Jerry Kane says:

      She’s the mark, not the agent, and her nerd-love blinds her to what everyone else can still see about Chuck. He’s not quite there yet, but he’s on the right path. Sarah sees Chuck through smitten eyes (as he so obviously and hilariously sees her too), so to her his intentionally incompetent seduction is funny and charming and his passion and kindness trump his limited experience with women and the world.

      …and a few episodes later:

      Heather: You should’ve been suspicious of me right off. I mean, why would a girl like me fall in love with a dorky nerd like him?
      “Jenny”: You’d be surprised.

      So, yeah… 🙂

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Just an FYI, if you go to our Blog Episodes Guide you can see some of our past reviews linked by episode, and as we roll into season 3 we’ll have links to our first reactions posts for a contemporaneous take (or maybe not). This is a work in progress, and may lack links or complete information on occasion, but we’re trying to update as we go at the very least.

      • “There may be hope for us come next March when we move into season 3 of the re-watch.”

        Such an optimist. 🙂

  12. Chuck’s choice here to deliberately put his life at risk for Sarah and Casey is a big step for him. It’s not him putting his life on the line in a mission he has to go on, or not abandoning them – he’s deliberately walking into a situation where he could die, with no pressure in the other direction. I always thought Roan’s question, “Would you die for her?” Was a huge turning point: I’d even say that’s the moment Chuck realizes he’s in love with Sarah.

    But it also continues Chuck’s progression into a full-fledged member of the team. Season 1 cast Chuck as a liability to be protected. What makes season 2 so special is that Chuck changes from somebody whose inexperience in the field makes him a victim, to somebody who’s inexperience gives him a new and useful perspective in solving the missions.It’s really when he changes from victim to hero – from somebody to whom things happen to somebody who takes charge of his life.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Apologies Arthur, your comment got caught by our spam filter. Not sure why. We’ve been getting spammed pretty hard lately, and sometimes we can’t check all of the hundreds of messages in the filter for legit posts that were tagged as spam, so let us know if a comment you made doesn’t seem to show up.

  13. ref51907 says:

    One of the reasons I continued watching this show once I found out about it was the fact that it was never stale. The characters were always moving, changing, evolving. Subtly, and slowly at first, but in tv land it was rather quick. I love at other shows I am watching right now like Bones, and Castle, and wonder what if we got a full season 5, and a season 6. What new areas could they have delved into. When watching these other shows I often think of Chuck and wonder if some of those producers and writers took note of what Chuck did, continually change things up. I agree with what has been said here many times, it will be a long time before we see another show like Chuck, if we ever do.

    Erik

  14. atcDave says:

    Just a funny sighting. After five years of episodes, it’s not uncommon to see Chuck stars and guest stars doing other work. But I just now saw the little girl who played Molly on an All State commercial. I guess I don’t normally think of the kids as actors too…

  15. 30 comments since I last checked the site? Season 3 strikes again.

    • atcDave says:

      S3 discussion ALWAYS causes our hits and comments to go way up.

      • I’m beginning to notice that. It’s sad because everybody agrees that it’s the show’s lowest moment; the entire argument is just about degrees of dislike. I much prefer discussions of the finale, or season 2 vs 4 vs 5. Season 3 discussions just put me in a bad mood. I hate going back to Prague.

      • atcDave says:

        Actually I do too. I much prefer discussing the things I enjoy watching. But so often, what works for me is in contrast to what doesn’t. And even when I mention the good and bad of an episode or scene, its the bad that draws attention and leads me to defend my stance.
        Historically, our busiest period by far was from Mask through Other Guy. And it was overwhelmingly negative.

        I do want to address the earlier assertion about those with negative opinions simply being more vocal too. It is impossible to prove, especially now, so long after the fact. But I really do believe a majority of viewers did not like the misery arc. Our surveys here showed 70% were mostly unhappy with it (again, I know it proves nothing, this is purely anecdotal) and among the casual viewers I know personally, not a single one enjoyed that arc. Several households I know of dropped the show (most later returned at my urging), those who continued watching described it as “no fun” (the exact words of one co-worker), and several viewers continued watching only at my assurance they were not “writing out” Sarah.
        I do agree my own views are harsh and extreme, I’ve never denied that, but I will always maintain the misery arc was fatally flawed at conception, poorly executed, and poorly received.

      • BigKev67 says:

        Not true Arthur. I really enjoyed S3 in spite of its obvious flaws. There are plenty of us who did although I accept we’re a minority on this blog. Other sites are different, for whatever that’s worth. I know S3 marked the absolute height of my emotional investment in the show – even though S2 is clearly better in terms of quality IMO. What I think is undoubtedly true is that S3 split the fanbase in a way that it never recovered from – but don’t assume that S3 is just “degrees of dislike” for all of us. It’s not.

      • Sorry Kev; I’ve yet to see somebody frame their argument in terms of season 3 being actually good. The arguments I’ve seen have been mostly between people who think it was badly flawed (myself included), and people (like Dave) who think it destroys the show and characters if accepted as cannon

      • Like I said, Dave, I’m sure most people disliked it, in context to the show overall. I just don’t think the opinions are as extremely negative as espoused frequently here and in other places.

      • joe says:

        Actually, Arthur, the same has been said about every season of Chuck. Historically the fans complained about too much angst for S1, too much Buy More for S2 and S4, too much Shaw for S3 and too much Sarah-torment for S5. YMMV, of course.

        Perhaps I’ve tended to rank the seasons (half-seasons, actually) by their high points. S3.0 comes off well by that measure, but only because I loved the rocket ride that started at the very end of Final Exam to Paris, and the train ride beyond.

        In honesty, I can’t say you’re wrong to dislike Prague and what it represents. I wouldn’t think of trying to change your mind or Dave’s about anything in S3 at this point. But Kev just did a pretty good job of capturing my take on it and the way I saw the fan-base reacting.

      • atcDave says:

        Ernie also seems to mostly like S3, although like Kev he acknowledges many of its shortcomings. There are others, including many who posted here regularly during the actual run of the show, who are vocal defenders of the S3 arc.

        I do think Kev is completely right about it causing a permanent fracture in the fan base. I think it also brought in some new viewers who mostly liked that season, and loathed the lighter, funnier style of S4.
        The first two seasons had brought together viewers with pretty diverse taste who probably couldn’t find common ground on any other show on television; yet they all loved the specific balance that was Chuck. When S3 swung dark, and S4 swung back light, it shook off, and/or alienated a significant number of viewers. I would guess, a VAST majority of viewers disliked one season or the other. (well, you know I believe a majority already disliked S3;add in those who disliked S4 and most of the fandom was pretty unhappy at one point or another)

      • BigKev67 says:

        That may just be semantics then Arthur. I thought S3 was flawed – but I also thought it was good. They’re not mutually exclusive. I loved the majority of it – but there were parts that were horribly cliched and manipulative.
        You will find plenty of people prepared to argue that S3 was good – but you won’t find many of them here.

      • atcDave says:

        Kev you Ernie and Joe all defend S3. Even many viewers like Faith who didn’t like S3 at the time will now defend most of it.
        Actually I’m pretty sure I’m an outlyer, even at this site. My most vocal “allies” are pretty much all gone.

      • Faith says:

        The farther away we get from “Chuck,” the more I come to appreciate and embrace all things Chuck I may not have done before. It’s not that I’m no longer impartial or critical, it’s that with a view of the whole 5 year journey, and what those years have made me feel, I have an appreciation and a love for the show that is quite frankly a unheard of. I would much rather argue about the merits or demerits or season 3 rather than argue about the quality of “fluff” (I disagree vehemently) of season 4 or the devastation of a really strong ending season (personal opinion) in season 5 where most see no merit whatsoever. After a while you just embrace the dissent and love the show for what it was and not despair over what it wasn’t. Yes including season 3 and 5. *tries to stomp on the pandora box I may have just left ajar*

      • Faith says:

        Also Dave there’s a difference in tastes that still pervades for me. Though I may logically argue and structurally examine season 3’s merits, I think one thing remains: and that is we all have our own personal tastes and the dark tone of season 3.0 is definitely not mine. So no, you’re not completely alone. But I also tend to agree that we don’t get the rest without the growth and devastation of season 3 and in that my preference largely takes a back seat. Now if we were talking music, I think season 3 is unparalleled, without caveats 😉

      • BigKev67 says:

        Fair point Dave. Given how numbers have (naturally) declined it’s probably more even now. At the time though, the anti’s were clearly ascendant.
        My take has always been that this site skews slightly older and more shippery than most of the others. So more anti-S3 and pro-S4 than most. That’s purely a personal observation. My preferences were probably more aligned to other sites but the quality of posts and insights here was always much better.

      • That’s interesting, Dave. Season 4 was pretty much what I’d been waiting for the show to become. But I suppose if you’re more for Chuck’s growth and moral dilemmas, there wouldn’t be much to watch. I do think that in seasons 3 and 3.5, Chuck’s character began to reflect the questions the show was going through at the time. What was Chuck? Was it a romance, a comedy, a drama, or an action show? They were struggling to maintain all of those aspects without the same budget in that season, and they waned to raise the tension while their fanbase wanted them to eliminate their main source of dramatic tension. And for all that I love season 4, the show did get really lazy that year when it came to raising the stakes. Season 5 rectified that, but in so doing, it broke the pattern the show had fallen into, shaking the fanbase again.

        Overall, I think the writers did a really good job for about 9/10’s of the show, but that putting Sarah and Chuck together scared them at first.

      • Alas, I have drawn myself into a season 3 debate by talking about season 3 debates. I’m just excited I finally get the chance to stop defending it now that the argument has swung further to the other side.

        Kev, you’re right that flawed and good aren’t mutually exclusive. and there’s a great number of things I love about season 3 – Chuck’s growth as an agent and his entrapment in the spy world(his scene lying to Ellie remains a favorite), Morgan entering the spy world, Casey’s transition from bodyguard, to mentor, to partner, The Other Guy, the first episode where he meets Hannah, and Awesome’s entrance into the spy world are all great developments.

        But, when the flaws are as bad as they were in season 3, it taints the rest of it. Pink Slip and Three Words were so unbearable that I had to stop watching the show, it just hurt. Hannah and Shaw largely just served to stretch out a problem Chuck and Sarah had already solved in earlier seasons.A lot of episodes that were great otherwise (Fake Name, Nacho Sampler, and Final Exam), were ruined by this bogus narrative they’d set up for the season.

        Most importantly, if you cared about the core relationship of this show (what Fedak called it’s heart), then season 3 was an exercise in sadism on the part of the writers. It still had unbelievable episodes (Other Guy, Beard, Angel de la Muerte, American Hero, Operation Awesome, First Class), and I’ll definitely rewatch them all. But even now, it’s hard to watch these characters go through all that pain, because of a premise that is completely unacceptable – the idea that Prague simply happened and Chuck (CHUCK! Mr. C.A.R.E. himself!) never thought, “Hey, maybe I should try talking to the woman of my dreams instead of dumping her at a train station.”

        It had great moments and, but I find it hard to call a show good when it fails it’s most important element so badly. It would be like if a whole season of a sitcom forgot to make jokes. It wouldn’t matter if the show was cute and well plotted (and season 3 was neither). It would still be a sitcom with no jokes. That’s what Chuck did for half a season.

      • But with all that said, and even acknowledging that it would have been cooler if season 3 had just opened with honeymooners (they take the train together at Prague), it was all worth it, just for The Other Guy. The DYLM scene is the best they ever did, and Kiss Me set the stage perfectly for Goodbye’s parallelism.

        Abrupt shift, but thinking about the DYLM scene, I just realized that Chuck and Sarah’s best moments never come in Chuck’s pre-planned, organized events, but in the most stripped-down environments, where it’s just the two of them juxtaposed against a barebones environment. For example, Chuck busts into Shaw’s dinner in American Hero, but the real moment is when he’s drunk and wearing a plastic guitar and no pants. The proposal comes not in France, but in the hospital while a janitor cleans. Sarah says she wants to marry him while he’s in a torture chamber (Push Mix), etc. Even in goodbye, they don’t make progress in the house, but on the beach by themselves.

        It’s a really cool statement from the writers, that what brings them together is never the things Chuck can do for her, but simply the two of them together.

      • atcDave says:

        Arthur I agree with all of that. even to say I think S4 is my favorite. Well, really S5 when its good, except that there are more S5 episodes I consider weaker; while S4 only had two I consider weak(ish) and about 10 I think are dynamite, very good ratio!

        edit: This was in reply to your comment three up. But I do mostly agree with the good and bad of your S3 comments too (oh, except that I intensely dislike First Class). Except for feeling that the good we finally arrived at did not make the bad of it more bearable; it was more like reaching the end of a detour, a very long and rough detour. No matter how much I loved the destination (and I did), nothing can ever make that journey enjoyable to me.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I’ll just add, while keeping my powder dry for future discussion, that I find season 3 perhaps the most engaging season, and you can take that for what you will.

        Very important questions, glossed over in previous seasons, are raised in season 3, even if they aren’t yet answered. Some of those questions linger to the final moments of the series, leading me to conclude that season 3 was perhaps the most important, or at least the pivotal season of Chuck.

        Structurally speaking, from a storytelling POV (sorry for the Hero’s Journey bias, which I feel is a warranted bias) season 3 did what it needed to do, and did it for the right reasons. From a commercial or popular view, I see its … problems. But I feel in the end what it gave us, what it set up for future seasons, outweighs its flaws, both in structure and execution.

        In the end, what I feel season 3 did, was take us through a part of the story that the storytellers felt necessary to the overall journey. That some of us rejected, or at the least didn’t enjoy that story, or at least that part, doesn’t, to me, lessen its impact, its importance, or its necessity.

        And as a final note, the pure stones of Schwedak to stick to a 5 season structure, mentioned numerous times by Chris Fedak, when cancellation was always imminent, deserves at the very least, respect, for his vision, given the current climate.

        If you didn’t enjoy parts, that’s fine, that’s natural. Delegitimizing those parts, the creators and their vision or those who see or seek to explain them is what causes problems.

        Those defending season 3 aren’t necessarily asking for your enjoyment, just your respect, or at the least your recognition that your enjoyment aside, TPTB did what they thought they had to do and made a lot of fans very happy in the process of getting to where you wanted them to go.

      • Robert says:

        Arthur, I really like what you said about Chuck and Sarah making relationship progress in minimalist environments. So true!

        Chuck is always trying to make things big, by himself, but it always happen when they’re together, with no plans. I also noticed the parallels between 3.13 and 5.13 (“Shut up and kiss me” and “Kiss me”), and how it happened in two important locations for them (Paris and Cabrillo Beach).

        My favorite seasons are 4 and 5. And I also agree that it’s the direction the show had to take. My interest was mainly about Chuck and Sarah’s relationship since the beginning, but I can understand it could be boring for someone else’s interest was the spy game or Chuck’ dilemmas.

        Season 4 was about Chuck and Sarah overcoming the obstacles to their relationship, something that should’ve been at the beginning of Season 3 (yeah, Honeymooners starting in Prague would’ve been nice!).

        I also agree with the fact that TPTB confused the fans by veering from the pattern of Seasons 1 and 2, by going dark with season 3, then coming back in season 4 to the logical follow-up of Season 2.

        Was it Fedak or Schwartz who said that they did one last round of WT/WT because they were scared of putting Chuck and Sarah together at the beginning of Season 3? I really liked what LeJudkins did with Chuck and Sarah as a couple, but I’m really curious to see what Alli Adler would’ve done (Honeymooners was her idea)…

      • atcDave says:

        Robert I don’t recall Schwedak saying they were worried about putting them together; but that is strongly the feeling I got from watching, like they’d lost the nerve to finish what they’d started in S2.
        Robert Duncan McNeil did say how “relieved” they were when Honeymooners worked as well as it did, which is kind of the closest I remember to them admitting their fears. And yeah, you know I agree entirely that’s where the season should have started all along. Oh well. I really enjoyed 4 1/3 seasons of the show!

      • anthropocene says:

        There are plenty of things I didn’t like about S3, but for me the bottom line is that—even in the lowest points of the misery arc—I don’t recall ever doubting that Chuck and Sarah would be back together again before season’s end.

      • anthropocene says:

        And wow…that look in drugged, helpless Sarah’s eyes when Chuck appeared at the café in Paris…that erased a lot of misery really quickly….

    • Robert says:

      I know; we should stop as soon as it talks about Season 3. But it gets the better of us. And it’s not funny, because we aren’t really discussing about the episode of the week.

  16. Faith says:

    Better late than never!

    Chuck vs. Seduction Fun Facts courtesy of @SDUB07 (a Chuck crew member)
    – The episode opens at the Los Feliz shopping center where the exterior of the BM, Weinerlicious and OO were filmed. Fallbrook Mall in Canoga Park was used for the most part, and locations changed in the later seasons…
    – Yvonne’s entrance was written into the script, so probably a combination of people… writers, producers, director… with Y’s blessing, of course.
    – Even though the Castle “moves” from under the OO to under the BM, the actual staircase you see stayed the same. It actually led to the 2nd floor of dressing rooms on Stage 10.
    – All of the larger boxed product were empty… If you ever see an actor that looks pained to carry one…They are acting lol
    – The exterior of the “hotel” was actually in front of one of the office buildings at WB… right next to gate 7.
    – The only “regular” BM employees other than obvious actors in the Wheel of Misfortune scene was Nerd Herder “Skip Johnson.”
    – The “sign” hung outside the BM was added to the building in post. That’s a digital addition.
    – #Chuck climbing up to the roof was filmed at the fake Buy More in Los Feliz.
    – Also, the whole stunt was done there… and the “New Ass Man” sign was real.
    – The #Chuck swinging from the roof to the ground was a stunt #Chuck. Real #Chuck only swung a few feet off the ground.
    – Right behind the wall of monitors in the Castle is the hallway that had our #ChuckFamily photo board.

  17. First Impression says:

    Well The Seduction was just fun to watch!  John Larroquette was so perfectly cast as Roan Montgomery that I wonder if they cast him first then wrote the part.  Diane and Roan?  Not going there.  But here is my favorite dialogue.

    Roan: Is she worth dying for?  
    Chuck: Yes.  
    Roan: Poor boy.  Lesson #1 in being a spy.  Never fall in love. 
    Chuck: Well, I guess I’m not much of a spy.  And you’re not much of a legend.

    That seemed to be the point that pulled Roan out of retirement and gave him some respect for Chuck and perhaps for himself, as he didn’t drink for the remainder of the show.

    Hmm.  Bryce is back a little sooner than I expected.

    • atcDave says:

      Roan is definitely a favorite. He will make a return visit in S4, Diane and Roan, believe it…

      Bryce can always be counted on to shake things up.

      • Chris Byrnes says:

        Dave,
        The episode in Season 4 is the funniest show of the series from beginning to the end. The whole sequence in the beginning of the episode is something I rewind several times before continue the episode.

        As much as we complain about who played a character. Roan Montgomery was perfectly pick

    • revdr says:

      Yeah F.I.; Roan had a penchant for getting to the heart of the matter. He recognized early on the sexual and, the emotional tension that permeated the air around both Sarah and Chuck. He saw what Casey had seen, but he had no problem in voicing it. As for Bryce, in regards to Chuck, he was the gift that kept on giving. Every time Chuck felt in any way empowered, there was Bryce to bring in back to his own little virtual reality prison. The rivalry that couldn’t seem to die.

  18. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Seduction (2.02) | Chuck This

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