Chuck vs The Best Friend (2.14)

No, we’re not missing anything.  The episode order was jumbled by NBC, so we’re setting it straight!  Suburbs will be up next week, join us this week, as we discuss Best Friend after the jump!

So often with Chuck, it these stand alone episodes that are the strongest.  And I think Best Friend follows that pattern nicely.  There are no particular ties to ongoing story here, although we do learn a little about Chuck and Morgan’s history as friends.  But this does manage to be an episode that finds that ideal balance between action, humor and drama.  Even the “B” plot, when we first meet Jeffster manages to do everything right.

I’m not going to do a recap here, that’s never my thing, and really don’t think there’s anything in this episode to criticize either.  Right from the start, the stalking/spy mission is funny (and Jeff’s history with the opposite sex!), as is Morgan’s confused self identity as a 49th level Gnome warrior, and Jeff’s question to Capt Awesome, “did you ever have a dream that didn’t come true?”  All of this is balanced nicely with good drama like Chuck sacrificing Morgan’s dignity to save his life, and a really excellent discussion between Chuck and Sarah about friendship.  Sarah nicely wins the argument by missing the point.

And this all leads to one of my favorite climaxes of the series.  We get Sarah fighting Smooth Lau in a car, while Casey rides the roof of the Nerd Herder in pursuit of the ambassador.  Just great fun all around, and really a first rate stunt sequence.  And of course the real climax of it is Sarah’s tearful look of horror as she thinks Chuck has just died before her eyes.  For those keeping score at home, we are only a month or so away form when Sarah will admit to her v-log that she is in love with Chuck, so no doubt she has some awareness of just how fully compromised she is at this point, and this could easily be the event that leads to her self confession.  It also leads to a very nice friendship moment for Chuck and Sarah as we listen to Jeffster’s mangling of “Africa”; Sarah lets Chuck offer some encouragement and friendship, of a sort she has little experience with.  And I think its precisely these sorts of moments that will give them the strong love they will need to survive the next year or so.

As I said, I’m not the long recap type.  And since I have no complaints about this episode I have little else to get into! Please, consider my brevity a good thing!

~ Dave

It’s Gonna Take A Lot To Keep Me Away From You

Well, you know me, Dave. I’m not one to be brief. Nevertheless, you’ve already stated what I felt compelled to point out. This is a strong episode. Moreover, when we saw it for the first time, we all began to realize (with a capital “Duh!”) that this was a strong series.

How good is Chuck? It’s this good. Chuck vs. The Best Friend is not only an episode you should recommend to any casual or first time viewer. I defy you to watch the episode again and not feel your heart race when the nerd-herder blows up and Sarah cringes in horror. I’d bet money that you want to pump your first into the air as Sarah apologizes to Chuck for not being sensitive to what Morgan’s friendship means to him, Chuck accepts the apology perfectly and Jeffster’s music morphs into Toto’s rendition of Africa.

"I don't really have anyone in my life like that who cares about me." "Yeah, you do."

“I don’t really have anyone in my life like that who cares about me.”

I just know that you can’t watch Chuck and Sarah take each other’s hand, hear his reassurance that someone does care for her and not know that they are more than just friends now. After countless re-watches, that’s still my reaction. It’s that good.

So how can I review an episode with which I want to find no flaws? The humor, especially Casey’s, is spot-on.

Chuck: You know what? I’ve been thinking…
Casey: Stop that!


Casey: You’re like the poster boy for friendly fire!

… are lines that will always make me smile. The action, especially Sarah’s fight in the car with Smooth Lau (Jennifer Jalene) (Hey! Don’t call it a “chick fight!”) while Pop Levi’s Wannamama provides the background music is thrilling. The back story, Anna’s new boyfriend, Jason Wang (Jack Yang), becoming involved with the Chinese Mafia – Triad – and their attempt to assassinate the Chinese ambassador is wonderful for a one-shot threat. Morgan’s dealing with Anna’s romantic threat at the same time is perfect counterpoint.

And, of course, we see the birth of Jeffster. Admit it. It’s even better than Spinal Tap!

His Best Friend’s Dignity

But hold that thought. This episode is about friendship, but there’s more than Chuck’s friendship with Morgan at stake here. Sarah shows surprising insight about relationships herself when she advises Anna at Jack’s auto-show/soiree.

Anna: I like Jason, and, you know, on paper he’s everything Morgan’s not. So that’s good.
Sarah: No, no. That’s bad.
Anna: Why?
Sarah: Because Morgan’s the guy you keep comparing him to.

On the surface, that’s about Anna and Morgan. However, if we were wondering about the direction of The Romance ™ after The Mauser Incident, then this was a big clue brick. You can partner Sarah with all the Bryce Larkins in the CIA, but Chuck is the one she keeps comparing them to. It’s also a peek into the future, as we shall see in just two weeks.

Yes, there’s a lot of good stuff, and it all takes place in the glory of Chuck and Sarah’s cover romance becoming very, very real. That is what makes the episode stand out for me. Not that it’s going to be smooth sailing for them. Not at all. In fact, in the course of this episode Chuck and Sarah have never been so far apart, philosophically.

In one of the very best speeches Chuck ever delivers to the girl he thought he knew, Chuck has to tell her exactly how he feels – not about her and not about Morgan, but about what he thinks is important.

Chuck: How could you just stand there and make me choose between Morgan’s life and his friendship?
Sarah: That wasn’t going to happen, because Anna vouched for him.
Chuck: You don’t get who he is to me.
Sarah: No, I get it. He’s your best friend.
Chuck: You know, you say that, but I don’t think you have a clue what it means. Look, Sarah. I don’t have parents. I mean, not really. I don’t talk about it, because that’s just the way that things are now. But it wasn’t always this way. Morgan was there the first day that my mom took off. He didn’t say much, because, honestly, what is a fifth-grader supposed to say? But we sat there and split a cherry cheesecake and played “Legend of Zelda” all night long. And my dad, well, that’s a whole other story. But Morgan was there for that too. Morgan is more than just my best friend. He’s my family. Before you got here, and long after you’ve gone, Morgan is my family.

Wow. … and long after you’re gone… I don’t think Sarah was thinking in terms of this – whatever it is – ending, but of course, she must assume it could, someday, whether she wants it to or not. The decision is not altogether hers to be made alone.

Besides, Chuck was right and Sarah knew it. Up to now, she didn’t fully understand how much family means to Chuck and how much his friends are his family. She didn’t understand the importance at all.

But what of her answer?

Sarah: Last night, we failed to learn the contents of the Triad’s container. And now we don’t know what drugs or weapons are floating around the city. And while I appreciate your friendship with Morgan, losing sight of that container endangers many people’s best friends. Not just yours, Chuck.

Sarah’s right too. Chuck doesn’t fully understand what being a hero means, what the sacrifices might be or the sacrifices Sarah’s already made. Never have Chuck and Sarah been so far apart, and never has the split between “normal life” and the spy-life been so wide.

Then she loses Chuck. For one split second, he’s gone forever and the expression on Sarah’s face tells us her real feelings about that, even as the sickening twisting in her gut tells Sarah. Because he sees it, it also tells Chuck that she understands after all.

There are times when one person is bigger and more important than the entire world.

Jeff: Have you ever had a dream that’s never come true?
Devon: Hummm. No.
Jeff: Okay. Have you ever had a best friend with a dream that’s never come true? Lester was scared to sing yesterday, but he has a voice that makes angels cry. Please give Jeffster another chance.

Sigh. Out of the mouths of babes Jeffster…

The herder exploded, and if Chuck had taken just a fraction longer to reappear, Sarah would have cried and I would have suffocated because I had stopped breathing. The timing would have been off. As it was, the timing of Chuck’s reappearance was perfect. Didn’t I say this episode was exceptional? I meant technically, too.

As it is, the explosion is a marker in the Chuck universe. It’s the moment that Sarah admits to herself something important, the thing Casey accused her of earlier. She has feelings for the nerd.

Sarah: I wanted to apologize. I could’ve been more sensitive before about your friendship with Morgan. It’s just — It’s difficult. I don’t really have anyone in my life like that who cares about me.
Chuck: Yeah, you do.

Were you surprised to hear Sarah say this? I was. But on reflection, it’s true. Sarah has been spending her adulthood avoiding having anyone care for her. For their sake as well as for her own, it’s been necessary.

But what to do with the guy who refuses to play that game? It becomes necessary to put something big in the way, for protection.

It’s clear that something big came between Chuck and Sarah the moment she shot Mauser. It was the gulf between their worlds. We asked the questions: Could Chuck accept what Sarah had been forced to do? Could Sarah understand Chuck’s putting his own needs (his family and friends) above the rest of the world? Can either see each other’s point of view without compromising or changing who they are? Once they take each other’s hand, we know the answer is yes. That’s why we come away from this episode smiling, no matter how many times we’ve seen it.

Why Do These Parties Always End the Same Way?

What do we do now?

What do we do now?

Right at the end of the episode as the screen fades to black, something unexpected happens. I’m not even sure that it’s “acting”, in the sense that we were supposed to see it. What I’m speaking of is, of course, the look on Sarah’s face as they hold hands and the fade begins. People have often commented on that solemn, unexpected look Yvonne gives, and what might be going on in Sarah’s head at that moment.

To me, it’s always looked like deep concern, or, at least, a look that shows she’s puzzled and perhaps even a little confused. For me, it’s not about the intimate touch or even about Chuck, but it’s about Sarah’s future. She’s thinking something like an exasperated “Oh Lord, what do we do now?” or maybe the sentiment we hear her say in the finale; I think I’m in love and I don’t know what to do about it! That protection I spoke of – as necessary as it is, Sarah realizes she doesn’t want it between her and Chuck now and he’s not deterred anyway.

I have a theory that Yvonne’s look of confused concern wasn’t actually intended at the conception of the story, but just sorta came out, perhaps because Yvonne was so much in character. In reviewing the scenes, someone, most likely Fedak, thought it worked well and decided to keep it, but it was never intended to be a dark and foreboding thing. For me, however, that look speaks volumes, even if the interpretation I give it is totally personal, something spurred on by my own history.

And truth be told, that’s how I relate to nearly everything in Chuck. Starting with this episode, I knew it in my bones, too. From this point on, it was gonna take a lot to keep me away from this show.

– joe


About atcDave

I'm 54 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 31 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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97 Responses to Chuck vs The Best Friend (2.14)

  1. Top 5 Chuck episode for sure with Yvonne giving one of her best performances of the series. It’s the classic example of Yvonne saying so much with almost zero dialogue. I’ll add more detailed comments later tomorrow.

  2. Mike says:

    Great summary. This was such a great episode. It was definitely one of my favorites. You hit almost all the key points. One more thing that could be noted, though, was Casey’s reaction when he thought Chuck was in the car that exploded. It was a look of terror — not over a failed mission (to protect Chuck), but over the prospect of losing a friend who had come to mean so much to him. Later in the series, Casey told memory-less Sarah that Bartowski had changed them all. His expression when he thought Chuck had died was the first thing I thought of when he made that statement to Sarah.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah Mike, I think this is about when it becomes obvious how Casey is a little compromised too. I’m thinking Beefcake (in two weeks) is when it really first became obvious to me.

    • joe says:

      Very much agreed, Mike. Calling Chuck an “heroic imbecile” was pretty much the perfect description coming from Casey’s lips. It was a bit inspired!

  3. CaptMediocre says:

    The hand holding final scene is 2nd only to the hamburger scene as best final scenes of the series.

  4. Robert says:

    I was always a bit puzzled by that look from Sarah; was she having regrets? Was she pissed off somehow about how Chuck always manage to bring her out of her comfort zone?

    But now, I understand better, and it never crossed my mind to correlate that look with her upcoming revelation; that she loves Chuck and doesn’t know what to do about it, and that THE look was perhaps Sarah starting to realize it.

    The Nerd Herder incident made it clear for all of us, though. Even Casey was shaken.

    With Vs Santa Claus, Best Friend really is an indicator that Chuck and Sarah’s Relationship is starting to get to the next level; less and less frienship, and more and more love.

    That’s why, although it’s not in my top 10 list, I really like that episode!

    • atcDave says:

      Another thing in Sarah’s look; as we learn in Broken Heart, she knows about how they are watched and what the consequences of her feelings could be. I think that has weighed heavily on her from the start. She may be thinking “this can’t possibly end well…”
      So its funny; she’s right about the problems and issues, but doesn’t realize how it will work out anyway!

    • joe says:

      I had a hard time finding the words to describe her look at the end. Maybe I should have used “somber” – that seems close. She certain shows no joy. I chose solemn, but that doesn’t bring out the idea that she seems distracted. Sarah’s definitely not listening to Jeffster at that moment (and it sure looks like Chuck is). Is she thinking about their hands? Maybe. I always believe that she’s thinking about what the handholding really means for them, in the spy world and outside the spy world.

      That’s a lot for about three seconds of screen time!

    • uplink2 says:

      See I always took that look from both of them really as Zac’s look is a bit odd as well, as them both feeling very bothered by lying in a way to Morgan and agreeing that it can’t get any better than this. They both know it CAN get better than this because it isn’t real. All the emotions are real, all the love and friendship, but the ‘relationship’ is just a cover. It’s one of the first times we clearly see that the ‘cover’ isn’t going to be enough for Sarah anymore either. All through season 1 we got the feeling that the ‘cover’ was enough for Sarah. It clearly wasn’t enough for Chuck but for her it was better than she had ever experienced in her life and I’ll include Bryce in that as well. Even that relationship that had been consummated for lack of a better term wasn’t as fulfilling as the cover was with Chuck. We see at the beginning of season 2 her wanting to act on it but it all comes crashing down on her. But post Jill in all seems to be headed to where the cover isn’t enough for Sarah anymore. She’s in too deep and she knows it. Shooting Mouser was to protect Chuck and his family, not just the Intersect. But here in this episode she has a flash of true loss and it devastates her because she reacted with pure honest emotion and couldn’t hide behind her agent facade.

      Then we get to the final moment and she knows that things could be incredible with a man that truly cares for her inside, the very first in her life and to realize it is all just a cover is almost as crushing as seeing Chuck blow up. I think there is a melancholy about that look because they both want it so badly and can’t really have it.

      • joe says:

        Uplink, you’re as big a romantic as I am. 😉

        It’s almost hard to remember that it was a year earlier – Jan. of ’08 – that Sarah “accidentally” called Chuck “her guy.” The twelve months in between had them get together and enduring the crushing reality of Bryce’s warning.

        You’re right. Sarah is definitely thinking that the cover isn’t doing it for her any more – we’ve got some major distractions coming up. Her despair over that won’t real the critical stage until the beginning of S3, though.

      • ChuckFanForever says:

        Agree, I recall when watching that scene for the first time, when Morgan says “this is as good as it gets”, looking at the expression on Chuck’s face, I felt very sorry for him at that moment. During this intimate moment with the two couples, Chuck is trying to express genuine happiness for his best friend’s real relationship, fake happiness for his cover relationship but I think he must be also feeling incredibly sad that if this is really as good as it gets, he’ll be very very unsatisfied!

  5. anthropocenesouthwest says:

    Count me in as considering this episode to be a special one, too—one of my favorites. I also have my personal list of favorite Chuck and Sarah moments, when their evolving feelings for each other come out at some challenge or peril (whether physical, legal, or emotional), and clearly identifiable by a classic snippet of dialogue: “Trust me, Chuck,” “Save you later,” “Nooooo!,” and so on. (For the kiss at the bomb, I guess it must have been the whole exchange between the two of them that just preceded it.) At any rate—there are two classic snippet moments here: “Where’s Chuck?” and “Yeah, you do” — and another one coming next episode, and others soon after…gotta love Season 2.

    • joe says:

      I really like the bit where they’re arguing in front of the bomb – “You bring out the worst in me!” “…and you, in me!” It’s quite a bit different from their wedding vows, especially Sarah’s.

  6. Joe,I have just returned from New York and you asked me to report back on my return,so if I may I will briefly interrupt these comments on such a brilliant episode.
    I saw Golden Boy on Tuesday and Yvonne was magnificent in the role of Lorna Moon,the “tramp from Newark”.I sat next to a couple actually from New Jersey who said she nailed the accent and could not believe it was her Broadway debut,they were so impressed.I must say the whole cast were fantastic and it is no surprise it has received rave reviews and is being talked about in terms of awards.
    I went to the stage door afterwards and noted 2 young ladies with Chuck items,one from France and another from Germany,who were as equally nervous as me.When Yvonne came out she looked so beautiful it was hard not to be totally distracted.She signed autogaphs for those at the front and launched into polish with another young lady.
    She then signed and took photos wiith the girls from Germany and France and the latter took a photo of me with Yvonne.I asked her if she would sign various items personally for my whole family and she graciously took the time and trouble to do this even though by now some of her fellow cast members were waitlng for her.I told her I had travelled from England just to see her in the play and thanked her for everything.
    She turned to leave but told her I had a message for her so she stopped. I said that all her fans on the Chuck this website wanted to wish her all the very best both personally and professionally for the future and she smiled and responded with her grateful thanks to all.And that was it ,or so I thought…….
    If I posted even a fraction of what happened during the rest of the week,no one would believe me except for my family and most would seriously doubt my sanity.Suffice to say I was given the unexpected opportunity to actually meet Yvonne and talk at length with her on more than one occasion.You will be pleased to know she is now aware of the 91 episode review on this site and we discussed briefly Chuck v.Santa Claus and the final two episodes.I also met some other cast members,notably Danny Mastrogiorgio who was so kind to me also.
    I know how well loved and respected Yvonne is on this site and I can only say that she is everything you might ever have believed her to be and so much more.She showed me so much exceptional kindness it was almost impossible to express the depth of my gratitude to her,although I tried my very best.A truly wonderful lady who has given me memories I will remember for the rest of my life.
    I can only add that the tears are streaming down my face whilst posting this…………

    • atcDave says:

      Wow Graham. Thanks for an awesome report. Sounds like a truly unforgettable trip!

    • Graham,

      Thank you so much for the report. Yvonne really was sensational in the role of Lorna Moon and it didn’t even look/sound like her. She definitely nailed the accent and the character as well. I’m glad that she impressed the couple sitting next to you! It’s really hard to believe Sarah Walker and Lorna Moon were played by the same actress!

      She really is beautiful and IMO even more beautiful in person than she on TV. Seriously, the cameras do not do her justice! She truly is a genuine, sweet, and humble person. And she’s one of the few actors who truly appreciates their fans. She’s just wonderful.

      Thank you again for your wonderful report and I’m glad you had enjoyed the show and got to meet Yvonne. I’ll be seeing the show again next Sunday to be there for the final performance.

    • uplink2 says:

      Congratulations Graham. I think for me at least, my passion for Sarah Walker and the performance that Yvonne gave in it and in all her roles could only have developed because she is as you describe her in reality. I don’t think it would be possible to feel the way I do if the actress herself wasn’t as genuine as she appears to be. I would love to have the opportunity to meet her one day but I have at least had the pleasure of having her answer 2 questions from me. One for the Emmy4Yvonne interview and the other in her recent twitterview. Each of those answers were thoughtful and not the standard Hollywood response that a publicist would write. I got the feeling she actually thought about how best to answer them in a thoughtful and respectful manner.

      She really is something very special and I’d love to hear what she had to say about the final 2 episodes but you can keep that to yourself if that is what you choose to do. But congratulations and I’m so happy that you were blessed to have met such an amazing talent and person.

    • Robert says:

      Oh, I sooo envy you! I would’ve loved to see her in Golden Boy, and I’m thrilled to see that she is not phoney. I’m dying of curiosity regarding what she told you about Vs Santa, and the Finale, but I leave that to you, if you want to share (or not).

  7. resaw says:

    After Graham’s wonderful report of a once-in-a-lifetime (and probably not even once for most of us) experience, it feels a bit strange to go back to a discussion of this episode, but if you don’t mind…. First, I agree that this is one of the best episodes. I’ve never taken the time to rank them in order of quality or appeal, but I’m sure this one must rank up there. As much as the great Sarah scenes make this show for me, what struck me during this re-watch was that the writers for Casey’s one-liners were on fire: “See if the skin-covered robot flashes on anything…,” and “Cut the infomercial on the bearded loser” were two that jumped out at me. I absolutely agree with Mike’s observation on Casey’s reaction to Chuck’s apparent sacrificial death, too.

    But of course, it is Sarah’s look of horror as she sees the Nerd Herder explode into flames, and then the way she reacts when she sees him alive and well after that makes this episode for me. Although the end of 3.13 at the Paris hotel is one of my favourite end of the episode/season/series scenes, it is this scene, when Sarah thinks Chuck is dead that probably ranks as my favourite Chuck scenes of all time. Yvonne is an acting genius.

    I also appreciate all the discussion of the enigmatic final scene at the end of this episode. There is so much that can be read into their expressions. I would not want to settle on just one interpretation of what those expressions mean. Just before that when Chuck says, “Yeah, you do,” though… there is so much love and compassion in those three words. Despite their “fight” over the significance of friendship earlier, Chuck reaffirmed the depth of meaning in his gift of the charm bracelet to Sarah in vs. Santa Claus. If that didn’t just “slay” Sarah….

    I find it hard to believe that a TV show can continue to mean so much to me, but there are so many riches to be brought out of re-watching these episodes. Thanks, guys.

    • joe says:

      I’ll second the thought on Chuck’s Yeah, you do. Wonderful sentiment.

      This seems to be the day for confessing our continued infatuation with the show and the characters. I’ll second that notion too, but it must be said that it’s got more to do with us, the fans, than with any one story. As a group, we’re the kind of people who react to what Zac, Yvonne, Josh G., and especially Chris and Josh S. envisioned and provided. That catalyst will be there again someday.

  8. Wilf says:

    You know, I’m so thrilled that this re-watch is continuing to attract so much interesting comment. I would never have believed that I’d become so invested in a completed television series, but perhaps that is, at least in part, due to the fantastic acting on display by the cast. The way you guys always seems find another excellent interpretation of what has played before our eyes a number of times before, is just “awesome”!

    Graham … your experience in New York certainly sounds as if it was absolutely fantastic. I’m sure we’d all love to know how you were able to meet Yvonne later that week as well, but I’m just so happy for you that you had the experience you had and were able to report back to us here.

    • joe says:

      Thanks, Wilf.

      I’ve been looking around for another show to become so invested in, but so far, no luck. Castle comes close – I really like those characters, and I would hate to miss a single episode now. But it’ll be a while before I’ll care as if they were friends.

      Hum… I just realized, there’s a chance I find another show like that someday, because I’ve done it in the past too. I pretty much cared for the characters in The Wonder Years in a similar fashion (my memory spurred on by Danica McKellar’s tweet seconds ago…). I still have the capacity, I think.

      • The Wonder Years was a wonderful show and I think every guy in school had a crush on Danica McKeller.

      • jam says:

        For me, the X-Files is the only show that has caused similar attachment to its characters as Chuck.

        This season nothing on TV has quite grabbed me, even Castle has been pretty ho hum. I’m hoping Community (lack of Dan Harmon worries me) and Game of Thrones will rescue this year’s TV for me.

      • joe says:

        Heh! It’s worse than that for me, Jenny. Not only were they portraying kids within a year of my age, my first crush was on a long-haired brunette and my best friend’s first name was Paul!

        Everyone involved with that show did a marvelous job of reconstructing the atmosphere around 1967-73 in a way that felt personal.

      • atcDave says:

        Castle is currently the closest thing for me. My other favorites over the years generally didn’t have the emotional investment Chuck seemed to encourage. I’m not sure what it would take for something else to come close.

      • ChuckFanForever says:

        Exactly, I find myself even more compelled to re-watch more episodes of Chuck again and again just so I can hope to become as good as most of you are at catching all the subtle messages and discussion points in each episode!

      • joe says:

        Really, CFF? You just noted something that I had missed – Chuck’s reaction to Morgan’s “This is as good as it gets!” Believe it or not, I don’t think I’ve ever paid enough attention to his reaction there.

        I think you’re right. He’s not exactly satisfied, but maybe he’s resigned to the idea that this is as good as it gets for him. He’s been honest with himself and honest with Sarah and what more can he do? She knows how he feels. From his POV, holding her hand may be as far as they can go, and he’ll be as happy as he can be with that.

        It sort of explains the semi-goofy look on his face, even as Sarah is showing something quite different!

        See? You just showed me something!

  9. Did anyone else like Smooth Lau? She’s one of my favorite one episode characters. I loved how she said, “shame I’m gonna have to mess up that face.” And her fight scene with Sarah in the car was pretty awesome.

    • joe says:

      Absolutely, Jenny. Jennifer Jalene has got on on-screen persona that I rather like. At least, she does as Smooth Lau. It’s sort of a Lucy Liu with athleticism and attitude.

    • resaw says:

      I meant to comment on her, too. Yes, Smooth Lau is a wonderful character. Has anyone ever seen Jennifer Jalene in other roles? IMDB says she has produced episodes of “Go On” recently.

  10. Wilf,as I was alone in New York I had simply discovered an excellent restaurant/bar where the staff had been most kind to me also.Yvonne happened to come in after the show with some of her fellow actors and a wonderful young lady member of staff said she would introduce me to her,at an appropriate moment,which she very kindly did.And the rest,as they say,is history…………………

  11. Dave,I have said this before but I will say it again-if I had never found this site in the first place,none of this would have happened,so you will all always have a special place in my heart.Who knows,after what happened last week,maybe one day I will meet up with one or other of you if you ever get to England……….??.

    • atcDave says:

      Hey we’re happy to help dreams come true…(!). England is definitely on the bucket list, it would be great to already have a friend when I get there!

    • joe says:

      What Dave said, Yoza! I really was hoping to make it to London for the Olympics last summer, but for about 27 reasons, that didn’t happen. I would still love to take you up on your invitation someday, though.

      In the meantime, would you mind if we live vicariously through your reports now? 😉

  12. Jenny,thank you also for your response.My family are all Chuck fans, my two grown-up boys who introduced me to the show.It was my wife who encouraged me to do something ‘spontaneous'(and I have to say a little crazy)in jumping on a last minute flight to NewYork.
    I should also thank you personally for your continuing posts elsewhere on Golden Boy which also played their part.I saw the show twice and it was even better the second time!!
    Have a wonderful time at the final performance.

  13. Uplink,thank you also for your response and kind sentiments.I can confirm what you already know,that she was surprised when she first received the script.I thought it was important to let her know ,that those fans who were not exactly enamoured with the final episodes ,were nonetheless very appreciative that she was the only member of the cast to give an early guarded warning that the ending might be different than anticipated.

  14. Bob says:

    Interesting, everyone’s take on Sarah’s facial expression during the final few seconds of this episode. It never really stood out to me the other couple of times I’ve watched this episode, and despite paying careful attention this time – and replaying a few times – I still don’t see anything of huge significance.

    Definitely not concern, or anything dark. Confusion… Maybe. But mostly she looks uncomfortable or even awkward to me – especially if you roll back a few more seconds and combine that look with the way her eyes momentarily flick down to their clasped hands.

    • joe says:

      You could be very right, Bob. The way you describe it hearkens back exactly to the bomb in Imported Hard Salami. He’s completely comfortable and she thinks it’s awkward.

      Sarah: Well, the good news is we’re alive. And the bad news is that this is kind of an uncomfortable moment right now.
      Chuck: It’s completely comfortable on my end… Just sayin’

    • Robert says:

      Hmm…could be confusion. And it is true that she seems to feel uncomfortable or awkward about having their hands clasped. But she didn’t release his hand, even if she was feeling like that. Perhaps it’s her “agent” side who’s warning her that it’s “getting out of hand”, and her “woman in love” side who’s telling her to hold on.

      Sarah’s emotions and feelings are boiling inside her, but she’s still not entirely ready to act on them; we’ll see it in Broken Heart, and in Colonel. And perhaps it is motivated by what she experienced in “Best Friend”; she thought she had lost him, and perhaps, faced with losing him again in “First Kill”, she didn’t hesitate to risk everything she had and was because she loves him, because she has acknowledged and accepted that Chuck is her guy.

      That would also explain why she was so in turmoil on the thought of losing him again the season after…but I won’t discuss it now.

  15. Bill says:

    We’re now in the midst of my favorite stretch of the entire series, and like so many others who have posted here, Best Friend is in my all time top five. Terrific balance between A and B plots, terrific pacing throughout the episode, and the two great moments between Chuck and Sarah. YS hit it out of the park in this ep!

    @ Graham: congratulations on your wonderful visit to NYC and your good fortune to have met Yvonne. Thanks for sharing.

  16. ref51907 says:

    There are a number of things that I love about this episode, some of which has already been mentioned.
    -First I loved the Morgan and Chuck interactions. Brilliant. I believe it sets up vs. The Beard in season 3 really well in regards to that friendship.
    -I am surprised that no one has mentioned this yet, though I believed it is assumed. Chuck’s decision to save Morgan by sacrificing his dignity vs. Bryce’s decision to do the same to Chuck. Obviously not identically but it shouldn’t be ignored anyway. I never saw Bryce as a bad guy, or even a bad good guy. I have always seen Bryce as someone that was a lot more like Chuck before Bryce got worked on by the CIA, which always makes me wonder if Bryce’s decision to do what he did was made with great pain. I think, personally that it tore Bryce up to have to do that and I think that at times of personal weakness we probably wished he could go back and change his decision. Of course we will never know because he wasn’t the focus of the show.
    -I’d never thought about Casey’s reaction to seeing the car explode b/c Sarah’s was just so emotion that it stole the scene, but that point was a good one and one I have to chew on for a while.
    -And as far as the taking of the hand let’s also remember the song that it playing in the background. Go back and listen to the part of the song that you actually hear while the camera is focused on them. Very interesting.


    • Robert says:

      Perhaps Bryce had that kind of regret regarding Chuck, but he marks me as a less “good” Chuck, even if they were probably very similar, personality-wise. Chuck managed to maintain his “goodness”, while Bryce Larkin embraced and lost himself in the spy world, to the point of dying because of it, although, to his defence, he had no one to ground him, but he separated himself from the only friend who would have. Exactly the opposite of what Sarah did.

      That’s probably the main reason why Sarah was freaking out during Season 3.0; she was seeing Chuck (her Chuck) turning into Bryce, and it’s not what she was expecting and wanting of “her” man anymore.

      You’re right in saying that Sarah’s reaction stole the scene (with good reason, because then we could clearly see that Sarah’s feelings for Chuck were much stronger than even she anticipated), but Casey’s reaction is also very strong, considering how he generally reacts to Chuck in Season 2. He seemed shocked, in complete disbelief that Chuck had apparently died. Not as strongly as Sarah (who’s in love with Chuck), but you can see that, deep down, he really (with his gruff manner) likes and respect the nerd.

      • joe says:

        Robert, you hit on a very important idea – that, in S3, Sarah thinks Chuck is turning into Bryce. It’s a little premature, but we see the start of it as early as Beefcake, I think, when Sarah takes a long look at Cole Barker, a long look at Chuck, and makes a considered decision by the end of Lethal Weapon.

        And doesn’t that harken back to Sarah’s words to Anna, when she says that Morgan is the guy she keeps comparing Jack to?

      • Robert says:

        I love how the show keeps delivering ideas and point of views even after it ended a year ago!

        Joe, like you said, it is true that Sarah keeps comparing every man she meets with Chuck (her ex, Bryce Larkin; the suave Cole Barker; Special Agent Daniel Shaw) until she realizes, stop fighting, and accepts the fact that Chuck IS the man she wants, the right one for her.

        And that’s why she so freaked out in Season 3.0. She thought he was losing “all that makes him great” and makes him “incredibly special” to her. And since she thought he became just another spy, like the others, she wasn’t really caring about whom she ended up with, something akin to “If Chuck is no longer “My Chuck”, I don’t really care anymore, any spy will do!”. Her heart was not engaged anymore. But as soon as she realized that Chuck was still “Her Chuck”, Shaw, like Cole and Bryce, was no match in Sarah’s eyes.

      • uplink2 says:

        I’m actually looking forward to the Beefcake/Lethal Weapon discussions. Cole was always my favorite of the other Sarah suitors. I guess mainly because he was only in 2 eps lol, seemed to like Chuck, and was the only honorable man among them. He saw what was obviously in front of him and walked away like a gentleman.

      • joe says:

        I like the way you think, Robert.

        It’s easy for me to connect Sarah’s little speech to Anna (about Morgan) to the scenes in Beefcake and Lethal Weapon when she seems to be thinking a lot about Cole Barker. The fans didn’t like that too much, but it’s easy for me to think now that she’s taking her own words seriously. I suspect the writers and Yvonne are telling us tacitly that it was never an easy or automatic decision for her, but she comes to the right decision none the less.

        You’re connecting it to S3, Shaw, everything we saw leading up to Final Exam and even in Fake Name, stuff that I confess I haven’t fully understood. You make have given me some intel here that I was lacking!

        (and thanks!)

      • joe says:

        I agree Uplink. We’ll discuss it, I’m sure. But Beefcake deserved a little more love than it got, IMHO. Chuck was at his whiny and dweeby worst in it, though. And that’s what turned off some of the fans.

        But that ending, the one we have to wait ’till the end of Lethal Weapon to see, that ending saves it all (again, in my opinion). I’m looking forward to that discussion myself.

      • atcDave says:

        Sorry, Beefcake gets the utmost loathing of anything in S2 from me! Lethal Weapon is a good one though.

      • uplink2 says:

        I’m really curious to read your thoughts when we get there Dave.

      • Robert says:

        As Dave, I didn’t really like “Beefcake” but I did like “Lethal Weapon”, especially the ending; it was the first time in Season 2 that we heard Sarah saying plainly and honestly that she cares for Chuck, to the point of pushing back other men competing for her attention. What I also liked is that Cole took it like a man (he understood that she loved Chuck and that she had made her choice), contrary to Bryce, who took her for granted as HIS girlfriend, and Shaw, who simply had fun with her for a while, tried to break her bond with Chuck, to finally simply drop her afterwards to go on his crusade of revenge.

        Another thought has crossed my mind about Sarah’s face in 2.14; we can clearly see that she’s moved and happy with Chuck’s “yeah, you do!”, she’s feeling it very strongly, but as if it was going too fast, or was suddenly scared of what it means, she kind of closed her heart.

        Old defense mechanism? After all, throughout most of the series, Sarah has always been reluctant to open herself, make herself more vulnerable and take the next emotional step in their relationship, but everytime, when she finally decided to take it, she was a happier woman, even if some growing pain was accompanying the said step.

        The step she takes, starting with “Best Friend”, continuing in “Lethal Weapon” to get to it’s fulfillment in “Colonel”, (and to a lesser degree in “The Ring”) brings a lot of joy, marred with some strong pain, but it brought them to where they would be at their best; together.

        Joe, as for what we were saying regarding Sarah’s mindset and evaluating even during season 3; what we saw between Sarah and Shaw is clearly akin to what was going on between her and Bryce before she met Chuck; partners with benefits, but her heart was not involved. Everything changed when she met Chuck.

        Chuck was touching her heart, and not only touching her; he wasn’t using her, he treated her like a person worthy of his respect and love, and he was allowing her to be herself, her real self. That’s what we saw more and more, but especially since Season 3.5. And she discovered that by being love, she could love in return, something that Chuck thought her, and that he made her remember in the Finale.

        That’s why for Sarah every single suave spy she met during the course of the series couldn’t hold up a candle next to Chuck.

      • atcDave says:

        Robert I had thought to put more of this conversation off for another week, but it is all coming even closer for me than the rest of you. I start this re-watch a week ahead of when we post; and as I’m already done with Suburbs, I am pondering over Beefcake presently. So a lot of what I post now may seem like a re-run next Sunday night.
        But to me, Beefcake fails badly as entertainment. There is some good stuff to explore there, like Sarah being mildly taken with Cole, but I think she finds him lacking when compared to Chuck. As we’ve said, Cole is the typical sort of spy partner relationship she’s pursued before. But Beefcake remains weak overall with Chuck looking like an idiot for dumping Sarah at Ellie’s urging (they’ll have a similar story-line with Chuck quitting the spy life in Ring II; both times I think very little of Chuck’s actions). There are a couple other nits I’ll pick next week, but the balance is I don’t care for Beefcake. But ironically, I love Lethal Weapon. I think the story and character study are valuable here, its just one, single episode that fails as an entertainment product. This will stand in contrast to the later misery arc that I regard as outright betrayal of the story-teller’s duty. Its a difference possibly between a failure to execute; and a fundamental flaw in an entire story concept.

      • Robert says:


        I know how you feel! I HATED “Beefcake” when I watched Season 2, and even now, I don’t find it very entertaining, and I don’t feel inclined to rewatch it (just like the Misery arc, in fact).

        But I LOVED “Lethal Weapon”, especially the ending, it’s just that Joe and I were discussing about Sarah’s mindset regarding Chuck, and how she keeps comparing the other guys who were trying to get her with him. It really started here, with Cole, and it continued with Shaw during the misery arc. Though while she was tempted, or simply erred, ultimately, she (always) made the right choice; our favorite Nerd, Charles Irving “Chuck” Bartowski a.k.a “Her Chuck”.

  17. ChuckFanForever says:

    “I bless the rains down in Africa?”

    • ref51907 says:

      Of course looking back on it in hindsight I thought it was interesting the words of the song in that moment as it relates to the context of the song and the context of what just happened for Chuck and Sarah. Rain in Africa usually isn’t gentle. Comes in during the wet season and usually in the form of monsoons and then drought. Just a thought.
      “…bless the rains down if Africa.” Hmmm.


      • jam says:

        I like the song, but Toto’s nonsensical lyrics are rightfully mocked. I think it’s not too wise to try to find any deeper meaning in the song. In other words, it was a good song for Jeff and Lester to perform.

  18. Bill says:

    I kid you not: I went to Subway for lunch today, and Africa was playing! Cosmic unity.

    • joe says:

      Heh – I love coincidences like that, Bill. Lately I’ve been happily freaking out over the number of tunes from my Chuck playlists that have appeared in commercials on TV lately.

      And by the way – has anyone besides me noticed Jesse Heiman (Fernando) on a commercial? It’s rather fun to pick up on things like that.

      • Good afternoon Joe. This is Bernard,I wrote my comments on the episode’s of the “SANTA CLAUS” and the “THIRD DEMINSION” under the title of the Third Demision. See what u think!

        I’ll post my comments on the “BEST FRIEND tonight!

      • joe says:

        Great to see your posts again, Bernard. Those were good comments!

      • anthropocene says:

        I saw him—the middle bachelor, representing a woman’s past mistake, right? Made me proud to have given Fernando a cameo in my post-series fic!

      • joe says:

        Yes, that’s it, Anthro. IIRC, it’s for Prego spaghetti sauce.

        I was watching an old episode of King of Queens last week (a so-so comedy with Kevin James) and happened to catch Jesse in that also. He was a guy in the car ahead of “Doug” (played by James) in line at a fast food place. You’d have to be really familiar; it was half a second through the car wind shield and no lines (like usual). But it was our nerd.

        Oh, and he had a much bigger role in an NCIS episode too. Jesse actually got to scream at a dead body in that one. 😉

  19. anthropocene says:

    Maybe a bit of a non sequitur, but I just got back home from a work trip to Charleston, SC, where I saw numerous students at the College of Charleston walking around in “Chucktown” T-shirts.

  20. I always thought this was a terrific Sarah episode, much in the same way Cougars was. The end scene isn’t just gorgeous, it’s a thematic resolution that leads directly to Colonel. Morgan’s purpose here isn’t so much to show off his relationship with Chuck to us as it is showing it to Sarah – Chuck spends the entire episode compromising the mission to save his best friend. When Sarah accepts that she shares a similar relationship, it leads to her doing exactly what Chuck would do. It’s one of the major shifts in her character’s priorities, and it links this episode not only to Colonel, but to Phase 3 as well.

    Casey was quietly gold here as well. He was nearly as horrified as Sarah was watching Chuck drive away, and he had his own hilarious car scene. Perfect in a support role.

    But this is also the beginning of the Buy Morons becoming good characters. I’d always hated them , even Morgan, because they were such a stupid, one dimensional element of the show. But this episode is when Morgan and Jeffster really start to take on their own personalities. Jeffster really establish their personality here, and the song choice was unbelievably ridiculous. It’s a B+ episode – not in my top ten, but always in that conversation.

  21. lappers84 says:

    Just finished watching this one again. And going back to the whole Sarah’s expression during the hand holding scene at the very end, I’m more inclined to believe her look is more of contemplation. Perhaps realising that it feels right, but at the same time knowing it could end badly. Although just as it fades out I can definitely see a slight smile on her face.

    • atcDave says:

      I think your right on lappers. I think Sarah is happy in the moment, but knows that so much trouble could lie ahead.

    • lappers84 says:

      I think it adds to the scene that she’s also still wearing the charm bracelet (you can’t see it very well during that last scene – but she’s definitely wearing it during the scene in Castle)

  22. candm3407 says:

    This episode ranks very high for me in fact its in my top 15 episodes. The best part about this episode is something I have mentioned before. The think I love about Chuck is his abilitiy to speak his mind even if he knows it will spark a problem between him and Sarah. When he confronts Sarah about knowing what Friendship means was really who Chuck is. He doesn’t hold back even if its Sarah.

    I read the comment from Joe about the Bryces and shaws that were in Sarah’s life. Well here is something to think about for you guys. What Chuck offers is different than the others. Bryce, Shaw they all wanted something from Sarah. Whether it was sex, partnership, lust whatever the case may be. However, Chuck never had made a romantic pass at her. Came on to her. He treated Sarah like lady. He never ask for anything from her except to go on dates. Remember Sarah was the one that initiated the first real kiss not Chuck. It was refreshing for Sarah because she could be herself.

    In this episode though she learned for a few seconds that her life would be miserable without Chuck in it, and interestingly enough even for Casey. This was more than just Chuck and Sarah. This was about Team Bartowski as a whole. Casey’s reaction to the car exploding was just as in misery as was Sarah, which showed me that Casey was not a complete robot

    When Chuck said Yeah you do to Sarah when she explained to him about not having anyone in her life care for her like Chuck did with Morgan was very good by Chuck because much like Chuck likes to hear these things, so does Sarah. Remember she was able to get Chuck to complement her on First Date. While Chuck and Sarah have ways to go in their journey. This episode goes down as one of the best episodes in the series. Chuck vs the Beard is another Chugan episode i like

  23. First Impression says:

    It was nice to bounce back from 3D with such an excellent episode.  Casey lines were hilarious!  My favorite scenes were the montage of Sarah’s fight with Smooth Lau and Casey’s ride on the Nerd Herder.  The whole show was fabulous, but from that point until they realized Chuck was ok, the show was phenomenal! 

    And who would’ve thought that mint-flavored knock out spray would ever be needed?

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah this is a favorite! They got everything about perfect, even Jeffster!

    • Christopher says:

      First Impressions,

      This episode would go into the best of Chuck. The one thing I love about this episode and it really dates back to Crown Vic. Chuck is not afraid to let Sarah know how he feels, and for a nerd hero its refreshing. I think back to steve Urkel and every time Laura would yell at him. he would just take it. Not Chuck. It also showed how Chuck won’t allow the spy life to alter his belief that his friends and family are the most important thing to him.

      We also get one of the top scenes of Chuck and Sarah at the end with them holding hands in public after Chuck says “Yes, you do” great episode

      Dave, would you agree that this episode marks the beginning of what I like to call a struggle for Charah. The mauser situation took a lot out of them and they still have to figure out who each other are. Think back to pilot and helicopter with the flash of the ring and flashing on her mission and poisoning the diplomats he was bother but not to the extent of mauser because he saw it. from this point on until broken heart we get a chuck that is very hesitant with Sarah.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Mauser definitely chilled things a little! But I think things re-build nicely until the end of the season.

      • Christopher says:

        Your right about that but there are a few episides coming up that become tests for them I actually like Cole does he offer anything to the story no but he was one ciol cat

        Btw on a side bar Dave Richard Burgi has to be one of the best bad guy actors because it was like watching Decker on 24 today I am trying to catch up on 24 before may our favorite lady Sarah Walker v Jack Bauer great stuff she should do ok she dealt with Casey right

  24. bubbasuess says:

    I am really late to the party here but I reckon there is nothing wrong with chipping in at this point. This was certainly one of the better episodes from a season that set the bar really, really high. I think the editing was fantastic, especially in the whole section running from to the fight between Sarah and Smooth to the end, where Chuck opens the truck to reveal Morgan and also at the end, with the Jeffster performance. The former is top-notch action from the staging of the fight to the pacing and editing. The latter scene really hit all the right notes, building to a real emotional crescendo. In both cases the acting was top notch.

    A couple things I did not see mentioned earlier. First, I think that Chuck’s actions with the bomb and the herder were the real beginning of Casey’s respect for his nerdy ward. He recognizes Chuck’s heroism and the look he gives when taking the remote away is fantastic. It seems like it is pregnant with both disbelief that Chuck is alive and surprise at his heroic conduct.

    Also, during the Jeffster performance, I thought it was telling that when Chuck and Sarah approach, she is smiling and amused by Lester and Jeff’s antics. Contrast that with Casey’s response and it really seems like Sarah is starting to be comfortable in Chuck’s world rather than not understanding the nerd world or holding it in disdain. This fits nicely with Chuck starting to really thrive in the spy world.

    As for the infamous look that Sarah gives at the fade out, I get the sense that it is one of awkwardness. It is obvious that they have feelings for each other and the cover is slowly becoming a reality but she is unsure how to proceed from this point. Obviously the v-log from S5 is still a little bit in the future but the sense of not knowing what to do must already be present. It manifests itself in the next episode, when both Chuck and Sarah are unsure how to approach Valentine’s day.

    Again, a fantastic episode that hit all the right points.

    • atcDave says:

      Thanks for speaking up bubbasuess. It’s always great to hear from someone new, and there’s no problem at all with weighing on an older thread. Especially now with the re-watch complete, I hope everyone feels free to comment wherever seems fitting.
      And some really good comments too! The last 15 minutes of this episode are just terrific. I love Sarah’s fight, and Chuck’s rescue, Sarah’s anguished reaction, and then the happy moment with a terrible band.
      I think you’re right about Sarah getting more comfortable in Chuck’s world. And I like how we see this progress, look at how comfortable she is by late Season Four. I think Sarah’s growth was the most consistent over the course of the full series.

  25. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Best Friend (2.14) | Chuck This

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