Chuck vs The Beefcake (2.15)

Cole Barker is introduced as an MI-6 agent with some data on the Fulcrum Intersect in the middle episode of this season two arc.  After the jump, we’ll look at Chuck vs The Beefcake.

I believe this is generally the least popular episode of season two.  I know its my least favorite. Prior to this re-watch I sort of lumped it in with Ex, Sensei and Third Dimension as being generally weak; but after looking at all of them in the big picture, I think Beefcake stands out as very weak.  Obviously I can start with my usual disclaimer of not ever liking love triangles, but really, the love triangle is the least of the issues here.  For me things go wrong from the start with Ellie telling Chuck to dump Sarah, and Chuck actually doing so.  Yes, I know Ellie is more like Chuck’s mom, but I wouldn’t respect Chuck’s process any more if she was his parent.  I think this makes Chuck look weak-willed and foolish.  Especially since Chuck knows all the reasons why he and Sarah have a complicated relationship and why breaking up with her is a bad idea.  Even if the only reason is that it will make providing his security more difficult, that’s enough to make a bad idea.  Add to that, knowing that Sarah helps keep him out of the bunker, and that he will continue to work with her whether they are cover dating or not, and it all just seems very ill-advised.  Never mind it seems manipulative and contrived.  This is a complaint I will make often in season three; and in a way this episode is the mini-S3.  Its the prototype for everything that will be done wrong in a more epic fashion the following season.  When Chuck gets things right it is a wonderful and beautiful show; but its failings are often cringe-worthy.

Believe it or not, I have other objections to this episode.  I think Chuck looks whiny and weak in both the hotel bar scene and the later torture/interrogation scenes too.  And really not even in a funny way, mostly just annoying.  I also dislike that Chuck is given no respect by either Sarah or Casey when it comes to hacking the chip, they both should know better, this is what Chuck is actually good at and they know it (remember “The Bartowski Special” from Tom Sawyer?  Chuck was confidently better than Atari’s best). And then finally, I intensely dislike this “B” plot.  This is Jeff and Lester at their perverted creepy worst, it doesn’t amuse me at all.  I know, I’m too stiff/formal/conservative/old-fashioned/whatever.  But I really dislike this “B” plot.

So that’s a lot of dislike.  Beefcake doesn’t ever rise above it either, this is not only my least favorite episode of S2, its my least favorite episode outside of S3.  But there are a couple things here I do like.  Of course Sarah getting a little excited over another man doesn’t appeal to me; but it doesn’t bother me a lot, especially since she behaves herself except for a single kiss she doesn’t initiate, and in the end she seems to find Cole lacking in comparison to Chuck, I’ll call that a win.  Casey actually seems to be rooting for Charah in the latter part of this episode, perhaps he just prefers keeping it all within the team, but this strikes as a minor turning point in how Casey will relate to Chuck for the rest of the show.  Sure the name calling will continue, but friendship and respect seem to only grow from this point forward.

And finally, I do like the ending.  Perhaps I’m reading too much into it, but I always think Sarah is quite pleased with the outcome herself.  We know she already does love Chuck,  and as aware of the complexity and difficulty of her situation as she is, I think Sarah herself sees this end as letting her have it all.  But that discussion will be continued next week.

~ Dave

What Were You Thinking, Bro?

Everybody, maybe if we all get together, we can nicely ask Dave to tell us what he really thinks about Chuck vs. The Beefcake!

Sorry. I just couldn’t resist.

Okay, now that I’ve got that out of my system, I can disagree very little with what Dave said, except that I don’t consider Beefcake to be the weakest episode of S2 – that honor goes to 3-D, mostly for gratuitous gimmickry. But, I’ll confess; it comes close.

There’s a simple reason for my judgment – nobody likes a whiny Chuck. Put that one on my tombstone, will-ya? We, the fans, tend to hate it a lot when Chuck complains, and we really hate it when he gets awkward, clumsy and incompetent around Sarah. Here in Beefcake it’s a trifecta. He does it all!

Of course, there’s good news. The surprise this time, for me, is that it’s all in what Sarah does. And it’s a surprise because at the first viewing – and maybe through the fifth as well – Sarah seems to be all over the map emotionally. It took me a long time to understand Agent Walker at all, and this episode didn’t help me with that particular problem. I should have been looking at it through her eyes. Instead, I was looking at it through Chuck’s.

“What does Chuck see?” you ask? He sees Sarah smiling in the Suburbs, making him breakfast. He sees Sylvia telling him that it’s not real. He sees Sarah taking his hand as Jeffster does Africa, and he sees her take back the wedding ring as the mission comes to an end. What Chuck sees is that, no matter what he thinks Sarah is feeling about him, the mission always ends and he always goes back to the Buy More. What he doesn’t see is how hard all that is for her.

The Yogurt Pro.

The Yogurt Pro.

I know the first time I watched this episode I was confused as well. No, wait. That’s not right. Neither Chuck nor I are confused. We’re just plain wrong. Watch Sarah as Chuck breaks up with her – again. Besides the rather obvious joke of expertly slicing a banana like the yogurt-pro she is, Sarah’s also shifting her weight nervously, like she’s uncomfortable. His little “It’s not you, it’s me” speech is something she does not want to hear. It’s a moment that almost makes you wince, doesn’t it?

Trite and slightly juvenile, the scene starts off as one of those cheap sit-com moments that make me want to dump my TV. One line changes it all; Chuck asks what he should tell Ellie and Devon about their relationship.

Sarah: Look. Tell them we’re taking things slowly, and that, while we enjoy each others company, we don’t really feel the need to label it. And who knows what the future holds for us?

Chuck: But that’s – that’s just another lie, isn’t it?

Just another lie. If the fans don’t understand how much the cover and all the lies supporting it have been gnawing at Chuck’s heart, they should, now.

Does Sarah? The fact is, she’s known it for a while. But does she react with sympathy and understanding, the way she has for most of S2? No, not this time.

It takes a bit – the mission is introduced and the theme is played, but we finally see how Sarah reacts to Chuck’s speech when Team B sits in the hotel lobby and one Cole Barker (Jonathan Cake) appears. Sarah’s reaction to their second breakup – a very real one, this time – becomes clear. She stabs Chuck through the heart.

Sarah: Do you want some company?

Cole: Not really.

Sarah: Well, neither do I, but uh, the problem is, if I sit alone at the bar, then every guy in here is gonna think I’m lonely and desperate, and try and take a shot at a total stranger.

Cole: Isn’t that what you’re doing right now?

Sarah: Guilty as charged.

Cole: If we’re gonna continue this conversation, I think I should make one thing abundantly clear. I am not a very nice guy.

Sarah: Good. Because I’m not into nice guys.

Cole: Really? And why is that?

Sarah: Well, all they want to do is talk about their feelings and emotions. And sometimes what a woman really wants is a man who acts.

Ouch! Cruelty! Unnecessary roughness, 15 yard penalty, loss of down! As a reformed “nice guy” myself, my reaction was to scream bloody murder.

Checking out the competition

Checking out the competition

— which is a very Chuck-like reaction. You know. Whiny Chuck-like. Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on the episode, especially when in the very next scene, Chuck does a bit of “manning-up” as he leads Cole out of the hotel. Even better, Sarah makes it perfectly clear that Cole was “just a mark.” She treats him with disdain, verging on contempt.

Nervousness, anger, interest, passion, disdain, contempt… yes, Sarah’s been showing a lot of emotions clear as day. She’s been showing them to Chuck. It’s just hard for him to know which are real and which are an act.

It’s Complicated

Barker. Cole Barker

Barker. Cole Barker.

Do the fans know? The first time I saw Beefcake I thought Sarah had taken an interest in Cole and my take of the fans on the NBC message boards at the time was that they did too. Even when she discovers that Cole is really MI-6 and more than a bit of a hero, Sarah treats him with professional detachment, and it’s too bad Chuck doesn’t see that. I know I sort of missed the import. It almost looks like Chuck is holding his own in the comparison.

But no, Cole, the fans and even Sarah have to put up with more whiny and incompetent Chuck as he trips the signal in the chip that gets them all captured. He doesn’t exactly do himself proud when Fulcrum agent Alexis White (Katerina Law) captures them and demands to know who the Intersect is. Funny thing is, by the time it’s all over, Sarah doesn’t seem to mind so much.

Sarah: Keep the ice on that.

Chuck: Oh, I’m fine.

Sarah: I’m really proud of you, Chuck. It’s not easy to withstand torture.

Chuck: Well, they just didn’t know the right buttons to push. I have exceptionally ticklish toes, you know. As a child, Ellie was able to extract information from me at will.

Sarah: Well, that’s good to know. Besides. You’ve had a lot of practice enduring torture, with our fake relationship.

Yeah, the Chuck in me just perked up. It looks like Sarah really does understand and has been sympathetic to his plight after all. Maybe it wasn’t Chuck’s whining that bothered me. Maybe Sarah’s understanding was the one ingredient that had really been missing from this episode all along.

And now that I see it, maybe Chuck vs. The Beefcake isn’t so bad. No, wait. Dave, you’re right. We still have that ending to consider, and you hit it exactly. Chuck is in a difficult position – he loves Sarah – everybody knows that – but “it’s complicated” in a way that makes those words from the pilot seem like Biblical prophecy. If you just uttered a big “Who cares? We’ve known it’s complicated for Chuck from the beginning!”, well, so did I. We did. It’s not news.

Now I admit; I didn’t know what Sarah was feeling. I thought she had decided, like Chuck, to move on, to avoid the complicated situation like she had with Bryce. That’s why she left Washington, after all.

I was slow to realize it, but after one kiss from Cole, Sarah knows that it’s Chuck she’s comparing him to. Now she knows she’s feeling a lot more for Chuck than for the MI-6, James Bond hero. And, oh yes, it’s complicated. Sarah knows the dangers far better than her charge. Worse, the best thing for Chuck is to not let on how much she cares; he’s already suffered enough.

“Just when I thought I was out…”

We’ve seen low points in their relationship before. We saw the vast gulf between them in Crown Vic and in 3-D. We saw how Chuck attempted to move on with Lou and with Jill and now we’ve just witnessed Sarah’s attempt to move on. One thing that always happened before is that Chuck and Sarah got together, often at the fountain in Echo Park, and talked. That’s when they told each other the truth and made each other understand. Not so this time.

Screening her calls?

Screening her calls?

This is different. They are not talking to each other in the way we’re used to. So what are the fans supposed to think? Despair. In all of S2 this is the lowest low point for Chuck and Sarah, and it’s no wonder Beefcake upset the fans. Chuck and Sarah are actively trying to get over each other.

At the start of this episode, Chuck really did dump Sarah. Oh yes, he did, and despite the banana, he meant it. As Ellie put it, why not? Maybe it’s just too hard. Maybe he didn’t think she was “the one.” Counterpoint:

Morgan: There are few precious things I know anything about in this world. Chuck’s one of them. Believe me, Sarah’s the one.

Funny how the writers, and I assume, Fedak, put those words into Morgan’s mouth. Even if he was the character we believed the least, the words were exactly what we wanted to hear.

Ellie: How do you know?

Morgan: It’s all over the kid’s face. When Chuck is around Sarah, he is the Chuck that we always dreamed of. Alright? – the Chuck that has the potential to do anything in the world.

Fate intervenes once more; Cole is captured, and because “everybody talks,” it’s only a matter of time before Fulcrum knows Chuck is the Intersect. He’s in extreme danger and must be put under ’round-the-clock surveillance, a job that falls to Sarah. This is not a “fountain scene,” where we can sit back and be satisfied that Chuck and Sarah are coming together. No, they will have to be in close proximity exactly at the time he needs to put her behind him.

I was thinking of Chuck’s position at first, his emotions and his feelings, and that makes sense; I’ve been there. A quote from The Godfather captures it at the end of this episode: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” Chuck will have to be close to the one person he cannot touch, but desires. That’s as painful as it gets.

When Sarah kissed Cole longer than I thought she should have, I too thought that maybe I had been fooled all along, just like Chuck was thinking about himself.

If Chuck’s love seems unrequited, Sarah’s is frustrated. Moving on may be the best way to protect Chuck, if she can do that. And it’s clear the cover has been hurting Sarah too. Chuck will not be the only one who must soon lay near someone who can’t be touched – and that’s not trite or juvenile at all.

By the time Beefcake ended I couldn’t wait to see how they could get past that hurt. The episode made me wince at Chuck’s many embarrassments, and I really want to say I disliked it. But there’s real pathos in that ending, the kind caused by real emotion between two people, and I love that idea. It’s the kind of thing that tells me it’s not over and makes me want to come back.

Just when I thought I was out…

– joe

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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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127 Responses to Chuck vs The Beefcake (2.15)

  1. CaptMediocre says:

    Like him or not (in the end I did) Cole Barker as a PLI is a big reason that Shaw as an LI didn’t work, in any way, shape or form.

    This episode is not a highlight reel for Chuck.

    • atcDave says:

      I agree exactly Capt. I liked Cole fine in Lethal Weapon, it’s funny how different my reaction to that episode is. But unlike Shaw, Cole did come across as a hero, he believed in Chuck, and he was gracious in defeat.

    • uplink2 says:

      I could not agree more Captain. By the end of his arc Cole had proven himself to be the only honorable man of the 3 suitors for Sarah. He is the only one that was really concerned about Chuck and genuinely tried to help him become a better spy and in a way a better man. His advice to him was real, honest and genuine. There was no ulterior motive like there was with Shaw and Bryce. He was a great spy AND a great man, that’s not something I can honestly say about either of the two others especially where Chuck is concerned.

      But as you said this arc, like Lou and to an extent Jill, for me at least completely destroyed any chance of making the trapezoid that was to follow believable. The lessons were already learned and it was clearly obvious that the geometry was completely contrived and redundant. It was never about putting them together at the end of a great lesson, it was about delaying them getting together after the lessons were already learned till the end.

      As far as this episode goes I agree with much of the posting though I’m probably more like Joe in that 3D was worse for me. Part of that is because 3D was such a missed opportunity. They had the biggest possible promotion for the show imaginable, promotion on a level they simply could never get otherwise and Fedak wrote and delivered a turkey. But in retrospect I don’t really separate this episode from Lethal Weapon and I loved that episode on many levels which we will discuss next week.

      Yes this episode was manipulative but that manipulation only lasted till the next week and the resolution and payoff was worth it. I can’t say that for the overly dragged out, poorly executed and poorly resolved manipulation that was to follow next season.

      • joe says:

        You make an important point, Uplink; one I failed to mention. The biggest reason that Cole doesn’t bug me too much as a PLI, as opposed to Bryce and Shaw, is that he’s pretty much over pretty quickly. It’s not dragged out.

        Well, I guess Bryce is sort of dragged out, in a way. But we don’t see him except very infrequently (and two of those appearances are in flash-backs).

        I must admit, though, I don’t think of Bryce as dishonorable (even if I do think of him as a bit self-centered, compared to Chuck). Maybe it’s Bomer’s vaunted charm, but I think of him as a pretty good fit for Sarah. And that’s okay – Lou’s a pretty good fit for Chuck too. That makes the decision for Chuck & Sarah difficult. – And would so we all had difficult decisions like that to make in our own lives, right?

      • uplink2 says:

        Joe, my point about Bryce not being honorable is related to more my view of him on a personal level towards Chuck mostly but Sarah as well. First in terms of Sarah, I think his lying, by omission, of his real role in stealing the Intersect data and destroying the Intersect room and cypher was a betrayal of her as his lover and as his partner. He put the spy world and his mission above all else including his partner and girlfriend. Now maybe she understands that on a professional level but on a personal one it’s a betrayal to her and we can see it in how she reacts to the idea of him being a traitor and going rogue. Bryce hurt Sarah deeply, almost as much as he hurt Chuck. Plus it was unimaginable to him that Sarah would ever pick Chuck over him until he finally saw it with his own eyes at Ellie’s wedding. No matter how many times he should have seen it before.

        In terms of Chuck, I have always found his sending Chuck the Intersect negates the “honorable intentions” of his betrayal of his best friend and getting him kicked out of Stanford. What makes it worse for me is we learned that he had never once followed up on Chuck after he did it. He never made sure the “best friend” he was protecting was ok. He had plenty of opportunity to do it in those 5 years. Yet with no idea of what Chuck’s life was all about he chose to destroy it once again by sending him the Intersect without any concern for the consequences of his actions. Chuck could have been married with a child but none of that mattered to him. He chose to put Chuck in incredible danger as well as everyone around him including Ellie and Morgan solely because his mission required it in his view. Then when he does come back each time he tries to take away the one person best suited to protect the “best friend” he betrayed. He felt his mission as well as his personal needs and desires for Sarah superseded anything that involved Chuck. It was only at the very end he finally realized he had lost Sarah to her love for Chuck. He never really knew the real woman at all because he never chose to. He assumed she was like him and would always chose the spy life ahead of everyone else just like he did.

        Bryce was a great and honorable spy but to me once he walked away from betraying Chuck at Stanford never to look back at the consequences of his actions, he stopped being an honorable man. Now Bomer did an incredible job in the role and Bryce is one of the most important characters ever in the series but he is extremely flawed and egotistical. He believed he had to right to do whatever he chose to no matter the consequences or who he hurt.

        Cole on the other hand saw things clearly and did the honorable thing when he realized he had lost to Chuck before anything even began. Plus he liked Chuck enough to try and help him no matter the impact it had on what he wanted simply because it was the right thing to do. That is an honorable man.

      • Wilf says:

        Bryce also sneeringly remarked about Chuck still living with his sister – with words to the effect “what happened to you?”, as if his action in getting Chuck expelled from Stanford might not have had something to do with that!

      • joe says:

        Uplink, you make a good argument. But the counterpoint is that for a good part of the time after he sent the e-mail to Chuck, Bryce was “dead”, right? Well, at least, he was recuperating under the tender ministrations of Tommy and Fulcrum… 😉

        There’s a lot of details about Bryce’s motivations that we’re filling in ourselves, and I think we were supposed to do that. After Nemesis, he leaves (leaves both CA and Sarah) for a mission. That’s what he’s supposed to do! Worse (for him), he realizes that Sarah has feelings for Chuck, which is why she failed to take a shot. He’s getting out of Chuck’s way every bit as much as he’s warning Chuck that emotions put Sarah in danger. It’s ambiguous.

        The ambiguity continues when you consider Bryce’s collusion with Orion. Not “Mr. Stephen Bartowski”, father to a friend, but Orion, master spy and possibly mentor. Bryce has got to be affected on many levels by that relationship, and we just don’t know everything that was said between them.

        So yeah, you may be absolutely correct that Bryce didn’t have Chuck’s best interest at heart all the time, especially when it came to Sarah. I’m sure that any character approaching real would be conflicted. But I don’t think we’re locked into thinking he was a cad by the writing we saw. Bryce was given a lot of wiggle-room to be worthy of Sarah.

      • atcDave says:

        Joe its more about the five year between Stanford and the Intersect than it is after the Intersect. Bryce was alive, working with the CIA, and partnered with Sarah for most of that time. And he never bothered to check up on Chuck.

        I’m not really anti-Bryce at all, but he is clearly a self-important flake as friends go. I think his absence was badly felt (as in horribly, staggeringly, total fubar mess up trashing of a story line) in season three when they tried to force Bryce’s role onto a new character. Not to say I think they had a great idea anyway, but it might not have been quite so ruinously bad with Bryce as it was with unwanted interloper guy.

      • joe says:

        Unwanted Interloper Guy? A UIG! I like it!

        Hummm… I was thinking about a different time interval, but yeah, the five years after Stanford was a hard time for Chuck. I just don’t know if it’s all Bryce’s fault. I mean, yeah, he clearly initiated the gambit of getting Chuck kicked out of Stanford on the spur of the moment (now hear Chuck saying “… at the cost of his dignity.” about Morgan). But I just don’t know how much his conscious is assuaged by the CIA and by Orion.

        And of course, if Sarah was around for a good part of that time, I know I wouldn’t be thinking too much about the past…

        I guess, for me, if Chuck can forgive him then I can.

        Added: Hey! I just realized that a more important question to ask is “does Sarah forgive him?” That’s one I’d have to think about.

      • atcDave says:

        Joe I do think that’s exactly why Bryce doesn’t really bother me so much, Chuck forgave him.
        I think Sarah forgave him too, at least enough that she was upset at his death and played the part of executor (maybe, I’m only guessing she was doing what Bryce would have wanted with his remains).

        But I think for both of them, forgive and forget are two separate issues. Its one thing to not hold past offenses against someone, something else entirely to keep letting them mess with your life. It sure would have been interesting if Bryce had one more season. (not that I wanted that story either, but it would have been more interesting than canon S3)

      • uplink2 says:

        Joe, you are right. Bryce is given wiggle room in how he was written and there is a wide range of reactions from the fans. I guess I have some more absolutes than others and his lack of concern for the consequences of his actions and as Wilf says his dismissive response to Chucks’ reaction to the horrific thing that Bryce did to him makes him an incredibly insensitive and ego-centric “friend”.

        I take great issue with the idea that someone would think they had the right to take away my freedom to choose my own future because they thought they were protecting me. I would be especially offended if my own father who abandoned me were involved. That I find completely despicable and makes Orion a horrific father. Plus my so-called best friend being complicit with it would astound me for its arrogance and betrayal.

        But as you and Dave pointed out, Chuck is a more forgiving person than I am I guess. Though in this case I think that is more a minus than a plus. I just never got the feeling that Bryce was really all that remorseful about what he did. He sincerely believes he made the right decision both times. Plus no one will get me to believe that his motives in Breakup were entirely unselfish. I will always be of the opinion that he told Chuck what he did to encourage Chuck to “do the right thing” and back away from Sarah so he could have her again. He may have spoken the truth as he sees it but in the back of his mind he wanted her back and the only way he was going to get her back was by Chuck pushing her away.

        Back to Cole, I never got that impression from him. He met Sarah, thought he would make a play for her and when he saw she was interested in someone else, he backed off. He watched the same dynamic as Bryce did, but responded differently.

      • atcDave says:

        Uplink of course Bryce’s motives in Break-Up were selfish. It’s never occurred to me to see them in any other light. But that doesn’t present any problems with Chuck forgiving him; I don’t think forgiveness needs to earned or deserved to be valuable. In fact, I think that’s one of the things that makes Chuck most appealing, that he doesn’t carry a grudge. As I said above, forgiving Bryce doesn’t mean forgetting the past wrongs, Chuck would be a fool if he didn’t learn the lesson that Bryce was self serving and somewhat dangerous to be friends with. But it does mean not holding a grudge, honestly wishing the best for him, and being willing to help him and treat him with courtesy and respect (whether its deserved or not…)
        Again, that’s a very appealing part of Chuck’s character to me.

      • uplink2 says:

        Oh I see your point Dave and agree with a lot of it. But Chuck should be wary of anything involving Bryce. I have absolutely no doubt that faced with another decision to betray Chuck or Sarah to complete his mission, he would do it in a heartbeat. I hope that Chuck was aware of that fact. I know Sarah was.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh yeah, I agree completely with that.

  2. Wilf says:

    Beefcake sure wasn’t one of my favourite episodes either. However, I, too, liked the ending and there were some really funny lines. One of the best was Casey’s “Great. The most annoying romance of my life is finally over”. Love it!

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah, there is some good stuff. I like a lot of Casey in this episode, and surprisingly, a couple of the Chuck/Sarah scenes are pretty good. But overall it just isn’t much fun.

    • joe says:

      It’s also the one episode that isn’t represented in my mp3 player! No amazing, memorable tunes – a situation that’s going to be rectified in the very next episode.

      Can you say “Signs?” 😉

  3. Mel says:

    Beefcake is a pretty awful episode (relatively speaking, it’s still far less offensive than the first 11 episodes of S3). Cole was a likeable character, though.

  4. mr2686 says:

    I actually liked Beefcake very much, and as said before, the Cole character was very likeable. I’m not sure I agree with comments about nobody liking a whiny Chuck. Chuck has always been about the big fish in a little pond (at the Buy More) that also becomes the small fish in the big pond (the spy world). The fact that he can be the go to, know everything guy at one place, and an unsure, scared person at the other is one thing that endears him to the viewer. As for the lack of standout music in this episode, I must admit that I usually don’t take notice of the music most of the time, although I do understand how important music is to any show in setting a mood for a scene. Of course, songs like “Gold on the Ceiling” and “Rivers and Roads” in vs The Goodbye were very much out there in your face and couldn’t help be noticed, but something like “Don’t look back with anger” from vs The Alma Mater was a little more subtle, and after a few rewatches of that episode I went and looked up that song and Oasis as a band.

    • joe says:

      Great point about Chuck the big fish becoming a little one, Mike.

      But you didn’t know about Oasis and the album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory??? If you haven’t already, GET THAT ALBUM! Best album of the ’90s, IMHO. For me, when they played Don’t Look Back In Anger in S1 (in Alma Mater), that’s when I really got into the music. That was the moment!

      • mr2686 says:

        I was only familiar with “Wonderwall”, which I love, but kinda forgot about them until that episode. Of course, Noel Gallagher is singing on that song instead of brother Liam, so I found some great youtube video’s of Noel doing that song which lead me to a great semi-acoustic album (for download only) called The Dreams We Had As Children. That is a really great album…although Morning Glory is now next on my list to purchase.

    • I also thought Cole was very likable and made a big impression for being in only two episodes.

  5. mr2686 says:

    Wow…you guys are saying that the first 11 episodes of S3 are offensive? So First Class, Nacho Sampler, Tic Tac and Beard are all THAT bad? I must be watching a different show 🙂

    • joe says:

      Not me! We’ll have more that that fun mega-discussion when we get to S3, I’m sure. But I always find plenty of good episodes (and even more good things) in S3.

      Dave and I will be doing the ol’ “Point and Counterpoint” ala 60 Minutes AND SNL when we get there, I’m sure.

    • atcDave says:

      Yup. I loath First Class and Nacho Sampler. Tic Tac and Beard are more like near misses, they were mostly better episodes, but the whole backdrop of S3 is offensively bad to me. I consider it a bit of a story-telling betrayal, pulled the rug out from under me, and delivered a product I NEVER would have watched if it had been a new show. Angel of Death and Operation Awesome also were better episodes, and actually were very good in their own right, but I find the whole situation bleak and depressing. I always say if the story had delivered on the promise at the end of Three Words the season wouldn’t have been so bad, just the one horrible episode. Instead, the went about finding a new rock bottom about seven different times. Really I wouldn’t have even bought the S3 discs except for Honeymooners.

      And actually its more like the first twelve of S3. American Hero is still pretty awful.

      • uplink2 says:

        Dave, I agree that AH is pretty bad too. The complete dismissal of any aftermath for Sarah not trusting Chuck for the first time in the series and how incredibly pathetic spies Shaw and Sarah are in that episode makes for as you say a pretty awful episode.

      • mr2686 says:

        I won’t go in depth on this since I’ll wait till the discussion is on S3 but I just finished the rewatch of First Class and Nacho Sampler and they are both great. I look forward to the point – counterpoint during that season since I find it hard to believe anyone could actually loath any episode but especially those two.

      • atcDave says:

        Ultimately it’s all a matter of taste, you and I can like and dislike different things, I have no problem with that. But my dislike for S3 is very strong, and the passing of time has actually made it more so, not less. So I’m not really sure how to debate this, obviously we will all express our likes and dislikes, but I don’t expect any minds to be changed.

      • mr2686 says:

        I agree with you and have no problem liking or disliking different things, but I guess it’s the word loath I have problems with. Not sure I can wrap my mind around someone loathing several episodes that are not that different than the ones they like. Like less, sure, but loath? Anyway, glad you also like Castle.

      • atcDave says:

        By early S2 I had a pretty deep emotional investment in the show. As CF himself admitted, they reinvented the show for S3 (a new show on the bones of the old one is how I remember him describing it). The huge problem I had was they changed the exact things I liked best. So yeah, I hated the changes made to the show. I found myself actively disliking Chuck and Sarah for much of the season. And the romance, which I thought developed nicely over the course of the first two seasons, was effectively scrapped for much of the season. Even worse, Chuck and Sarah both made decisions related to each other that I could neither respect nor relate to. It was like I was watching a teen soap opera parody of my favorite show. Excruciating and practically unwatchable to me.

      • mr2686 says:

        CF may have said they reinvented the show in S3, but I think that was more of a change in the way the show was going based on the characters developement up to that point. Many of the things that made Chuck great in season 1 and 2 were continued on but probably morphed a bit more than you would have liked based on the developement of each character. I also think the characters developed a bit quicker then they wanted, probably due to the issues of the strike/possible cancellation but by the beginning of S3 it was too soon to have Sarah and Chuck together. Anyway, we all know that love is a long road with many hills and valleys and in the end you get where you’re supposed to go…but you can’t take out a major portion of the road and still get there

      • jam says:

        Yeah, I think “loathe” is probably too mild of a term to describe my feelings for season 3.0. Need something stronger.

      • mr2686 says:

        Ok, there’s two for loath. 🙂 I’m starting to wonder though…if we take away the Season 3 episodes and the episodes in season 2 that people don’t seem to like, and Morgansect, and possibly The Goodbye, if there’s more than 50 percent of the 91 episodes that “Fans” like.

      • uplink2 says:

        mr2686, for me and I don’t want to belabor this point too long here, we will get to a deeper discussion later on. I agree there were many issues related to putting Sarah and Chuck together after S2 that needed to be addressed first. I’m ok with that. It’s how they did it that I found loathsome. From the first moment in Prague its screamed contrivance. It was so blatantly a delay tactic and had nothing to do with honest character growth. No one argues with Chuck’s decision to become a spy, at least I don’t, but I do disagree that he would ever simply walk away from Sarah and not give one word of concern for how this impacted her. He without question should have known what a huge step this was for her and he ignored it. In order to make the delay work they had to turn their lead actor into an unfeeling and inconsiderate jerk. They had to make me hate him for his callousness and treatment of Sarah in order for their contrivance to work. I will wait till we are there to say anything more other than the season was doomed to failure from episode 1 for me and it only got worse. They refused to let them have just one honest adult conversation like they had many times before. They refused it because if they talked they might have actually resolved their issues without ever getting to the unwanted, unnecessary and poorly execute relationship geometry. I loved Chuck because it was different. It wasn’t formula TV. But that’s what S3 is. Formula teen angst. It was clearly a forced contrivance and after waiting 8 months for the show to return, I hated what I was seeing from the first moment it returned.

      • jam says:

        No need insult anyone by putting fans into quotation marks, questioning their devotion. I know plenty of people for whom the show was irrevocably damaged by S3, yet they’re as big fans of the characters as you are.

        I’m more forgiving since I enjoyed S4 a lot and some parts of S5 too, so I liked more than 50% of the episodes. Still, it’s easy to say CHUCK reached its creative highpoint during the second season.

      • uplink2 says:

        mr2686, I think you are misreading things here. I don’t think there are any for me at least episodes I hate outside of those in the first 13 of season 3. Even the weakest episodes of season 2, this one and 3D are far better than most for S3. There are actually only 3 I hate with a passion. Fake Name, Mask and Pink Slip. It’s just that the others are covered in the stench of those for me and it makes them unwatchable. So I am content to say I like or love 78 episodes. A bad S2 episode like Beefcake is still better than 95% of what’s out there on TV. Even Morgansect is ok, But the passion of hate lies in those first 13 of S3 we are discussing.

        Damn it’s going to be fun when we get there lol.

      • mr2686 says:

        Ok, well I understand what you’re saying, but here’s where we differ. The “teen angst” you speak of is no different in S3 than the other ones. You’re assuming that Chuck is this worldly, experienced person when in fact he hasn’t had a lot of experience with women and shedding the Buy More and living up to his potential is as much a part of him as wanting to be with Sarah. These “adult” conversations you mention were filled with “do you love me”, “will we be together”, “we need to breakup” etc etc. Sounds more teenage-ish to me than adult. But anyway, I agree that this should be tabled for several more weeks.

      • mr2686 says:

        Not trying to be insulting to the fans, but Jam, you yourself are talking about fans of the characters rather than fans of the episodes. To me you cannot seperate the two. You can’t say I love the characters but I hate what they did in so many shows. Maybe that’s why Fanfic is so popular, at least with a lot of people (I’m not one of them).

      • atcDave says:

        2686 I do think the argument the story HAD to unfold in any particular way is unreasonable. Certainly there is no need for couples to hurt or betray each other for a durable lasting love to develop. At least in my experience; I’ve known my wife 23 years, 16 of them happily married, no deep hurts or betrayals needed. The couples I know who do awful things, like Chuck and Sarah did in S3, tend to be less stable and more likely to not last. So I actually find such stories to be anti-romantic.
        They could have told S3 a million different ways, they happen to have chosen one I can’t tolerate. I could imagine a wide variety of things from running away together for an extended period from Colonel on or from the train station in Prague (and ending up with half a season more like Honeymooners, now THAT would have been fun); or reversing the realities of the “fake” relationship (where suddenly the relationship is real as Ellie and Morgan know it, while Chuck and Sarah are now trying to convince the CIA it is actually for cover only); or even doing some of the darker S3 themes as Chuck integrates into the spy world, but WITH Sarah by his side helping him work through the issues of becoming a spy while maintaining his moral center (just like she did in the first two seasons). Any of those would have worked far better for me than what we saw.

        In terms of what different fans like, there’s no doubt many are highly selective about it. A very large number of fans never liked the show again after S2. And a large number of those who did like the show in S3 were very disappointed with S4. At this point, I think most of those who had serious issues with the later seasons have long since moved on, and are no longer visiting this site, many never even finished watching the series. And that’s fine, I’ve seen any number of shows that pleased me early on later turned into disappointments. That’s simply a matter of knowing your own taste, and knowing when its time to cut your losses and move on. Chuck does a hold a fairly unique place in my affection, for a show to be so awesome for its first two, and last two seasons; and so utterly awful in the middle is pretty uncommon. I can’t think of anything else quite like it. But I think I was so massively invested in S2, and even as I despised S3 I never doubted it end “okay”. So I decided it was worth sticking it out. Of course I also never believed I would end up hating S3 as much as I did; even though I knew from Comic Con in 2009 (six months before Pink Slip ran) that I wasn’t liking what I was hearing about the coming season.
        But in the end, 3.01-3.12 are the only part of the show I completely reject. I pretend that we somehow arrive at Other Guy or Honeymooners without the ugly before, and enjoy how things play out from there. The smattering of other episodes that don’t appeal to me as much never sink to those same depths. There may be a few other dumb or whiny Chuck moments I don’t enjoy watching, but nothing else that makes me red-in-the-face angry like S3 does.
        And for the record, I loved Morgansect. Very fun stuff. I have reservations about the way the ending was told, but I accept it as canon. A few other stray episodes/arcs are not my “favorites”. But there are several long runs where Chuck was simply brilliant television. It may have a moderately high percentage of “dud” episodes; but what Chuck did right it did better than anything that has ever run. That combination of action-adventure, comedy and romance was often brilliant and perfect. Nothing can compete with Chuck at its best, and I think that’s in the neighborhood of 40-50 episodes I rank VERY highly.

      • uplink2 says:

        The difference is that Chuck always had heart. He always put the feelings of others before his own, especially Sarah. In Prague he shows no heart whatsoever to her, the woman he clearly was in love with. He callously threw her away like she didn’t matter for his own selfish desire to be something better. Not to share it with her, but for himself. That simply was something we had never seen before and is typical of formula teen angst but not the Chuck I knew. Turn the heroes into bastards to drive your story forward.

      • mr2686 says:

        Well written atcDave. See, that’s more in line with what I was looking for. I have to admit that I was a little concerned that people here were really not fans because of all the negative comments about each episode. When I look at any of my top 100 shows, it’s easy to come up with my top 5 because those are the ones, in my mind, I not only love but that have few if any weak spots. There are lots of shows that I like a lot, but calling me a fan would be probably a little extreame. Chuck is my number one show and I can say without a doubt that I love the characters and the episodes and the journey that it/they take us on. As for your point about how couples treat each other, I agree that the way they treated each other in some episodes might not lend itself, in the real world, to having a lasting relationship, but then again how many of us are spies or have a super computer in our heads. In weekly television many ideas and situations are goosed up on steroids to make them bigger than life. I certainly don’t think there are Jeff and Lester characters working at my local Best Buy…although there might be some that are toned down a notch. 🙂 I’ll just leave this whole conversation with “I hope that everyone that skips those episodes will come back to them in a couple of years and watch the whole series back to back, and hopefully enjoy them…if even just a little bit”.

      • mr2686 says:

        Uplink2, he wasn’t a bastard. After being told time and time again by Casey and Sarah that sometimes there are things that are bigger than you, he choses to help make the world better by becoming a spy…and then is lambasted for it. Also, I think he addresses why he did it on the video tape from vs The Three Words.

      • atcDave says:

        I’m really wishing we had the sort of “like/agree” functionality here that a lot of true forums do. I agree very much with Uplink and Jam on this. Chuck and Sarah were adults in their late twenties, I found it embarrassing and frustrating to watch them act like teenagers. I identified strongly with Chuck from the start; and that was including being socially awkward and bad with women. That may be part of why I get SOOOO frustrated with some of his stupid moments. I strongly suspect the writers themselves never knew quite what it meant to be a socially awkward young adult.

        There were many fans of this show that loved the characters and performances but disliked the actual writing and story telling. That may be part of why the Chuck fan fiction community is among the more active. And yeah I’m a huge fan of it myself. I firmly believe there is much fan fiction of vastly higher quality than the show itself. Of course much of that just reflects the different strengths of written story telling versus visual mediums. But I think its safe to say many fan fiction writers love the entirety of the show as much as anyone.
        Season three did have a profound impact on the fan fiction community in general. It did lead to an explosion of alternative stories. The down times for the show were a golden age for fan fiction (just like they were for this site; we had an explosion of traffic from mostly unhappy viewers). But quite a number of fan fiction writers left the scene too. Many were just as disappointed as other viewers and could no longer bring themselves to write (ERSK4, a favorite of mine, quit during S3).
        And make no mistake, S3 is broadly unpopular. I don’t mean to claim most viewers hated it, but no doubt MANY did. Our own poll here from right after Other Guy ran indicated upwards of 70% disliked the journey to get there. And among the more casual viewers I know who don’t visit Internet sites, EVERY SINGLE ONE disliked the season to one degree or another. Several continued watching only at my urging/encouraging that things would get better. And several others I know quit. MOST I was able to convince to come back. But I know many people who gave up during S3 and never watched again.
        My point is not that anyone should or should not like S3. Only that a significant number of those who fell in love with the show’s first two seasons were disappointed to one degree or another with the third. That includes many who bought footlong subs and wrote letters to advertisers to get S3 in the first place. There can be no doubt the season fractured the fan base in a lasting way.

      • uplink2 says:

        mr2686 again you are missing the point. I am not lambasting Chuck for deciding to become a spy. I think that was very much in line with the Chuck character. It wasn’t what was OOC about it. It was how he treated Sarah and how he told her or actually didn’t tell her. That was where the bastardly contrivance comes from. He never once showed any concern for her or the impact his decision had on her. It was they built that facility and brought those people there for him, to train him. Not that he was doing it for her and to be worthy of her or that he loved her. He simply said I’m not going and walked away completely disregarding the devastation he caused her. Never once did he ask how she felt or if she understood. It was simply they built this for me and I’m staying. Not even a have a nice life Sarah. That is the contrivance and that is why he was a bastard in Pink Slip.

        We do finally learn his motivations in Three Words but that was 6 months later after he had completely failed spy school. The devastation had already happened and it was too late to take back the hurt he caused her. Then of course they completely ignored that speech going forward because if they didn’t, they couldn’t have their beloved relationship geometry. Contrivance upon contrivance upon contrivance.

      • atcDave says:

        Ditto all Uplink. And after suggesting in Pink Slip Chuck was dumping Sarah for the job, in American Hero he tries the “now we can have it all” gambit. It would have made perfect sense had they had that discussion way back in Pink Slip, but no…

        It all felt horribly contrived and manipulative to me too. Miserable and no fun to watch. I didn’t know, or WANT to know the lead characters of S3. They simply were not the couple I fell in love with the first two seasons.

      • Mel says:

        Sacrificing characters for the sake of plot is how bad writers tend to operate. Unfortunately, Fedak proved many times he was perfectly willing to do it.

      • ChuckFanForever says:

        I now know the true reason for Chuck’s erratic behaviour in S3. Find out for yourself by reading “The Depths of Love” on FF.net by LittleCandyMan. Advance warning, it’s an M-rated one.

    • uplink2 says:

      Well Nacho sampler isn’t so bad but that’s mainly because there is no Shaw in it. Tic Tac is a good episode except for the last 30 seconds, again no Shaw. Beard I did like a lot at first but after a lot of analysis Chuck’s epiphany wasn’t really an epiphany as he had already admitted that he loved Sarah twice. Once in Seduction and then in Three Words. Then I realized that I disliked Sarah more in that episode that at any time prior. Wimpy subservient Sarah is even more offensive than wimpy Chuck. First Class bothers me a great deal because of Shaw sending Chuck on his first mission without briefing him on all the known facts. It’s like he was trying to get him killed. Plus it is the introduction of the most pointless recurring character ever on the show. It begins the relationship geometry in earnest that I at least find so incredibly offensive.

      It gets back to a recurring theme for me. The unwanted, unnecessary, contrived relationship geometry spoils all the good stuff it comes in contact with. Add in the poorly cast, poorly executed Shaw character, especially in comparison to Cole here and yes the first 11 are rather damn offensive on many levels lol.

      • atcDave says:

        Funny, apart from the love triangles, I have a pretty different list of objections, but the end result is the same, I detest S3.

      • mr2686 says:

        Again…wow!!! It’s obvious that there’s some strong feelings here on some of these episodes, and since I don’t feel there are any terrible episodes, I’ll wait till we get to each one and just bring up the things I feel work for each one. I remember as a teenager reading A connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and thinking that each chapter was better than the next…until getting to one called “Sandy’s Tale” which was so bad that it had to be placed in the book as a filler. Just no place in that great book for that poor chapter, so I guess that’s how some of you feel about a few of these episodes.

      • uplink2 says:

        Dave it’s funny, I was reading some stuff about another show I’m a fan of, Smash which BTW looks much better this season, and there was discussion about the possible return of the character Ellis at some point later in the season. I was reading the comments and the hatred for Ellis in the fans of the show reminded me a lot of the hatred for Shaw. It is a visceral hatred that transcends the normal hatred for a villain like JR Ewing or Alexi Volkoff. Those characters you love to hate, but Shaw hate and Ellis hate goes way way beyond that. There is no love there whatsoever. It made me laugh reading it and the reaction to his possible return. A little bit of deja vu lol

      • uplink2 says:

        mr2686, yep I’m very happy to think of the Chuck series as being just 78 episodes! 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Uplink Shaw never achieved the “love to hate” status at all. Volkoff, Roark and a few others may have fit the bill, but Shaw was the one character I just never wanted to see at all. Although I will concede he was PASSABLE as a villain, but so much negative baggage from the misery arc, I would have been happiest to just never see him again. I also consider the show just 78 episodes. Other Guy is watchable, but of course it makes no sense without the twelve before it, so I rarely bother. Honeymooners, and occasionally Role Models is all I really re-watch from S3.

      • uplink2 says:

        Dave, not a fan of Subway? To me it is the only episode that I think Routh did a decent job in. Plus the pride on Sarah’s face when Casey says “she finally picked a good one” is priceless.

        Other Guy has 3 great scenes but damn everyone except Chuck are simply horrible spies to make that contrived ending work. Add in what I think is Routh’s weakest moment ever in the series, the cafe scene, and its cringe worthy at times. But we will discuss that at the proper time certainly.

      • atcDave says:

        Subway is only okay. I am so turned off by the idea Chuck would be so weak willed as to be convinced by his dad that running away was in any way acceptable (and note I dislike Curse largely for this same reason) that I really don’t enjoy the story so much. But I would agree the good moments ultimately outweigh the bad. I don’t consider it a BAD episode at all, it just isn’t a favorite.

      • uplink2 says:

        Interesting. To me it is my #2 episode from S3 and though it certainly isn’t a top 10 episode for me, it ranks in the top 20-25 probably.

      • Robert says:

        Had TPTB followed their first plan (having the misery arc with Shaw ended by 3.07), it would’ve been much less painful. In fact, it would’ve felt a bit like Beefcake with Cole.

        But the Shaw character was badly developed, especially compared to Bryce and Cole, but on the other hand, perhaps he was meant to be a incompetent spy, a false hero, and a dishonorable man. Which in a way would be more awful since it could only mean that they extended the misery arc to make sure it would take some time to put Chuck and Sarah together for good.

        I prefer much more Cole, because the guy was good at his job, because he was humble enough to understand that Sarah loved Chuck, and he backed away. A “good” Bryce, shall we say.

        As for the first half of Season 3, the only episode I can rewatch without wincing too much is Angel de la Muerte (3.03). I like 3.13 (especially for the DYLM scene and the Paris scene), then I like the back 6, especially the masterpiece Honeymooners.

        Season 4 and 5 I’m really happy with. I’m glad Fedak wanted to explore Chuck and Sarah as a couple, and didn’t want to stretch the WT/WT any more (some will say that he did it again in 5.13, but it’s a false WT/WT).

        Anyway, although Joe has good points about Beefcake, especially about how Chuck and Sarah are really feeling for each other, even at a low point, this is not an episode that I really like; I prefer Lethal Weapon much more!

      • uplink2 says:

        Robert I agree with virtually all of that. I think in the end extending Routh had very little to do with what they saw on screen or what their plan was to delay Chuck and Sarah, or as they say it put them together in 3.13. This is where I think the lack of money had an important impact. Extending Routh was probably cheaper than developing a more cohesive and well executed storyline with other guest stars. It was lazy story telling and many times lazy storytelling is cheaper.

      • Uplink, I thought Routh did a good job in Subway, Ring II, and Santa Claus (his best performance, mu-ha). Really, once he was a bad guy, he did a great job.

      • uplink2 says:

        We will talk about this later I’m sure but I agree with you Arthur. I did think he was better in Subway and in fact actually pretty ok. Not as good in the other 2 for me but still better than any of his other episodes. I’m just not a fan of Santa Suit as I think using Shaw as the one behind the conspiracy was a cheap cop out, lazy writing and simply just an excuse to bring him back. For it to work the CIA had to be terrible spies. We will go into all of those reasons later on as well.

        But what I think it does show is that he was incapable of handling a multi-layered complex character that TBH was badly fleshed out. He simply couldn’t connect with the audience or certainly with Yvonne on any real visible level. Once they created a simple, single layered character, the villain, he did ok. He was handed a mess and he made it worse. Once he was handed a more focused character his limited abilities as an actor were sufficient for the role.

      • Robert says:

        Uplink, you’re really hard on Routh…but I agree with you.

        And I also agree that making Shaw the head (origin) of the conspiracy was really cheap. It would’ve worked much better if it had been Quinn. Who else (as we discovered later) would’ve been so bend on exacting his revenge on Chuck, Sarah and their family/clan for (according to him) robbing him of “his” Intersect?

        Shaw as a good guy was a mess, Shaw as a bad guy was ok, Shaw as the head of the “conspiracy” was ridiculous. He would’ve worked better as a lieutenant than the boss…

      • atcDave says:

        I’ll ditto all that you guys. I liked Quinn as a villain (the “love to hate” thing…), I could have bought him as the head big bad pretty easily.

      • uplink2 says:

        True, the use of Quinn being the mastermind behind it all makes so much more sense on every level. He had access to intel, access to Decker, plus he had been after the Intersect before the series even started. He could easily have been involved with Fulcrum, The Ring, Shaw, everything that Decker talked about in the S4 finale. It makes for a much better overarching story for the season. Plus you didn’t have to make the CIA incompetent in dealing with a prisoner to pull it off. But writing that tighter story isn’t what Fedak wanted to do. He simply wanted to bring back Shaw for one last go round. He even teased that he knew many fans didn’t want him back ever. He wanted Shaw back and this was how he chose to do it. But the backstory behind it is so full of holes it looks like a pasta stainer. If there was only one episode left unwritten and he was given the choice of either bring Shaw back or reveal Sarah’s mom, he would have chosen Shaw.

      • joe says:

        Naw. I’m going to label that a gratuitous hit on Fedak, Uplink. Off the top of my head, I can think of half a dozen reasons that Quinn was not brought in that early, none of which require Fedak or any of TPTB to give us explanations.

        We can talk about alternate Chuck universes, but really, second guessing like that doesn’t gain us anything (even if it does feel good).

      • Robert says:

        Joe, I’d like to hear your reasons why Quinn didn’t appear earlier during Season 5, regarding the conspiracy.

        I must say I’m a bit surprised by what you said, caus’ I think it would’ve worked much better than having Shaw back for one last presence and making him the big baddie…

      • joe says:

        Well, I could *think* of several, Robert (like, actor availability), but the point is that I wasn’t privy to them (and I certainly wasn’t consulted – heh!). We’re all tempted to say “I could have done it better!” – and perhaps that’s true for one out of 10,000 of us. And certainly we can all imagine things we would have preferred to see as canon (all of which differ from each other’s best, I’m sure too). But that’s different from blanket accusations.

        Not that Uplink did that this time – it’s just a knee-jerk reaction to which I’ve become sensitive.

      • atcDave says:

        I think we’re blurring two different issues here. I don’t have to be a good writer to know what I like. More to the point, as a moderately engaged viewer I can easily watch shows or movies and discern what works and what doesn’t (for me). I can usually even tell why something works, or doesn’t for me. It may be I like or don’t like a story, a character, or something in the execution. And those things can be anything from minor (or even amusing) annoyances to huge, show ruining screw ups.
        That’s not quite the same as saying “I could do better”. In fact, as viewers, I think our function as critics is (or at least should be) valuable to those who do write. After all, professional writers are writing for the benifit of their audience. Sure, many of them are temperamental artistic types who don’t deal well with criticism. But most professionals, and this includes writers, producers, directors and studio execs SHOULD want to know what audiences actually want to see. So although our passions do sometimes get the better of us, and Chuck itself is now over and done with, there is still some value in expressing what works, and what does not for us as viewers. I think this blog is potentially a great resource for any would be writer. We have discussed many issues in depth, from analyzing characters to plot devices to continuity to cliches. And we’ve been both logical and passionate (not always at the same time!) Of course not everyone here agrees or is equally critical, but I still think a lot could be learned here by anyone who actually cares about viewers and fans. Especially since Chuck excelled at making people both very happy and very angry at different times (and occasionally at the same time!).

      • Robert says:

        Joe, I get what you mean…

        But you didn’t answer my question; according to you, what are the reasons they didn’t use Quinn earleier as head of the conspiracy instead of Shaw?

        Come on, take the plunge! 😉

      • uplink2 says:

        Joe, sure my comment was a bit of a dig and snarky and normally I’m not a fan of snark but as most comments like this go there is an element of truth here for me at least. From what we saw I think the Shaw story background for the conspiracy is so full of holes that it makes it impossible for me to believe it was anything more than Fedak wanted him back. There are plenty of ways that Quinn being behind the conspiracy works infinitely better and that could be done without even seeing him. That could have been a big reveal later in the story when Angus was available. Eliminate the creepy Morgan as 50 year old Bo Dereks boy toy story and develop Quinn as the man behind it in that episode he was already in and it easily could have worked much better.

        I just see no good storyline justification for Shaw’s return other than Fedak wanted him back. Couple that with his repeatedly saying they didn’t know if they could fit in Sarah’s mom and it just struck me in a very sensitive area.

      • JoeBuckley says:

        Robert, I’m saying I don’t KNOW the reason. But I could imagine some good ones based on externalities. I don’t imagine that the choice was made solely because someone liked the story line or something more capricious, that’s all.

        Of course, it COULD have been that too. But my imagination says it’s more likely that an NBCs executive forced the issue than Fedak! 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Joe I never blame NBC for Chuck story issues because I honestly don’t believe they cared. Chuck was just an emergency plug in the schedule for them that lasted as long as it did because they were in dire straits. They never even bothered to air re-runs or promote the show after S3 started. I can’t think of another show, ever, that followed such a policy.

        Uplink I do think its true Fedak’s taste was completely different from mine. That’s neither good nor bad, it’s just that while Fedak was all excited about Shaw and how he was going to bring the Intersect back, I couldn’t care less about either issue. To me, it was all about Chuck and Sarah. Everything else was just pllccgh (note, that word must be pronounced wet…)
        I pretty much lost interest in actual “story” issues after S2. I don’t mean that completely literally, but the Fulcrum/Orion story was the last time in the series it would really catch my interest with story. After that, story was just filler, I was watching for Charah (okay, I liked the action/stunts too. And I loved a lot of the humor. Oh and I liked some of the fun characters like Volkoff). I guess I’d add the usual comment that I think Sarah was far more important to me, and many fans, than she was to Fedak. Again, that’s neither good nor bad by itself. And the show was actually pretty darn satisfying to my interests in the last two seasons. But it’s very obvious at times that there was a bit of a disconnect. Oh well, it was his show, and ultimately he did quite well with it. And I certainly think I liked it better than if JS had still been involved (maybe, of course JS wanted a wedding at the end of 4.13, so maybe not…)

      • uplink2 says:

        Dave, its obvious that Fedak saw the show very differently than you or I. I wish that weren’t the case but it was and it was his baby after all. But I stand by my position above.

        One quick correction. They aired quite a few repeats after Season 3. There was that 3 episode Chuck monday, Christmas week of 2010, Plus Leftovers and Phase 3 were reaired in January of 2011. I also remember they surprisingly reaired First Class in March of 11. I specifically remember that it was the first and only time Chuck was on the air since I began watching in S2 and I didn’t watch. It did a pathetic 0.6 rating. During S4 I had no interest whatsoever in revisiting the start of the god awful trapezoid. Honeymooners was repeated in April of 11 and it did 50% better in the ratings with a 0.9. I thought when it was first announced that First Class was a mistake and it was going to be First Fight but it wasn’t. I took some grief on Twitter because I posed the question as to why that ep was chosen and how dare I question a decision TPTB made and not watch. It seems from the ratings many others agreed with me.

        But I agree that after S3 started NBC was hands off. WB had far more influence. I don’t think NBC had anything at all to do with S4 and S5 creatively.

      • Robert says:

        Dave, that’s pretty much how I feel about the season 3.0 aftermath. Except that, for me, the show has always been about Chuck and Sarah first and foremost, THEN, the story, and THEN, the Intersect.

        That’s precisely why Seasons 4 and 5 are my favorites (because it’s less about the spy game and more about Charah, and how they are getting closer to normal, and leaving the spy game behind bit by bit), closely followed by Season 2 (where Charah AND the story were firing on all cylinders).

      • atcDave says:

        Robert we do seem to be pretty much on the same page. I am certainly a bit of a romantic at heart, and how satisfying a romance is absolutely affects how I’ll feel about any show (it’s uncommon, not impossible but uncommon for me to get very excited about a show without an appealing romance). And with Chuck, how much I liked Chuck and Sarah BOTH as characters was a huge part of its hook from the very start. But I think I was mostly patient with the story, and letting things unfold at the writer’s pace those first two seasons. But S2 felt like it was building towards something huge. The story was epic, and the romance felt like it too. And Colonel really felt like something important had happened. Ring was a little confusing to me, I could see it unfolding either way, but then Pink Slip felt like a big fat raspberry. So I guess I responded partly by caring less. As I said elsewhere, their reconstruction of the show stripped it of my favorite part, so I disengaged in some ways. But dang I sure got hooked on fan fiction…

      • Robert says:

        Dave,

        You know how I felt about Season 3.0? I was waiting for it to pass, until we finally get to Chuck and Sarah becoming a real couple. I was not engaged, nor really interested about what was happening during those episodes (except 3.03, Angel de la Muerte, which I really liked, even with the dark overall context, because it showed there was some hope for Chuck and Sarah by the end of the episode, just like in Beefcake, and it was clear that they still loved each other).

        I was just waiting for that arc to end, until we get back to the normality of “Chuck”, a.k.a continuing their journey towards each other that was interrupted beginning, with “Pink Slip”. By 3.12, I had given up. It’s a friend who told me to watch the end of 3.12 (the “Sarah, I love you” part, and when Sarah’s clearly choosing Chuck); then 3.13 with the DYLM scene, and more particularly 3.14 “Honeymooners” restored my love and interest in my favorite series.

        It’s as if TPTB had stripped the show of its heart with the “Misery” arc, and because of it, the show wasn’t working; as soon as they reestablished it and brought Charah to the next logical step, everything began to click again.

        And that is something no one can deny, whether they think season 3 was pure genius or a piece of crap.

        And that’s what I found odd with Cole Barker; Chuck and Sarah were in the same kind of predicament than during the misery arc, but it didn’t suck the heart out of the show, because it was better constructed AND executed, and most of all, it didn’t last long!

      • Robert says:

        And lastly, Colonel WAS a major turning point; there was no going back now between Chuck and Sarah. And at every “Charah” montage during the show, that moment is always there, right with the Bracelet scene, then they show the betrothal, the wedding, etc.

      • atcDave says:

        Again I’m wishing we had an agree/like sort of feature here, that was all well put Robert. The misery arc did just the life right out of the show for me too. And words can not describe how happy Honeymooners made me, all was right.

        I would also agree Angel of Death was the strongest of the misery arc, and probably the only episode I’ve watched over just for the fun of it. Armand Assanti gave us one of the genius comic characters, and I really thought the worst might be over with that end. If only…
        Sadly, I think Colonel may have been a miscalculation on JS’ part (he was still primary show runner at the time); SO MANY of us read it as something important and epic. Yet it was obviously meant to be just another step of the wt/wt game. But emotionally, there was simply no conceivable way I could accept a return to wt/wt afterwards. To my mind it had ended. And to this day I just reject the misery arc, I can’t buy it after Colonel.

      • Robert says:

        Dave,

        I think that even for Josh Schwartz the Barstow Motel scene was a Charah major step, but that wasn’t enough to stop him doing the WT/WT. That’s his modus operandi; WT/WT, then a big step forward, more WT/WT, then the next big step forward.

        Playing the rollercoaster with our feelings/emotions, until the betrothal, and the wedding. Josh Schwartz apparently wanted the wedding in 4.13? Perhaps it would’ve happened, but Chuck and Sarah would’ve had much bigger bumps in their road with Schwartz than Fedak, methinks!

      • atcDave says:

        I suspect you’re exactly right Robert. But yeah, JS said that during a late S4 interview, that interview also when I first understood he wasn’t calling the shots anymore.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Here is the thing you need to keep in mind. To Joss Schwartz and a lot of Hollywood an engagement or wedding does not negate the possibility of a future PLI.

        How does Fedak look now?

      • atcDave says:

        No doubt that would have made me furious. As I said above, I’m pretty sure we were better off with Fedak.

      • Robert says:

        Ernie, all things considered, it could have been much worse!

        Overall, I’m really glad of the way things turned out with Fedak taking the helm of the show on Season 3.5!

  6. mr2686 says:

    Uplink2, I’m guessing you like season 5 then? I do, but I know there are some people that are quite happy with just 4 season! 🙂

    • atcDave says:

      Seasons three, four and five all have a significant number of detractors. Basically, after season two they never again achieved the sort of balance that appealed to the broad cross section of fans. For myself I loved season four, and its really my favorite. I also mostly liked S5, but I did dislike Curse (whiny Chuck again) and have some reservations about the finale arc that keep it from being a very favorite.

    • uplink2 says:

      Yes I did. Not a big fan of Morgansect but at least it did have a purpose. There are some weak episodes in S5 but nothing that I would find offensive like so much of S3. My issues with the finale are first the entire story choice of a memory loss storyline at the end of a series and that I found the ending incomplete. But the performances were fantastic and I do see what many say they like about it. It’s just my emotional response was more of melancholy and despair that the most important character on the show for me probably never remembers the journey she took to get there. That I never got to say goodbye to who I had witnessed her become. But overall there are some great moments in season 5 and TBH if there is any episode from S5 I will never rewatch it is probably Santa Suit.

      • mr2686 says:

        Ah Cmon…you don’t want to rewatch an episode where Beckman plants a big wet one on Chuck? Still makes me laugh out loud.

      • atcDave says:

        Shaw is a VERY sore spot for many viewers. And Sarah as a victim is also not a terribly popular theme.
        I consider that episode okay. A few very good moments, like Beckman and Chuck, but overall weak and not really a favorite.

      • uplink2 says:

        That was a fun moment, though the Stan Lee scene was lame. Its just the whole Shaw being behind the conspiracy is such a cop out. Simply an excuse to bring back Fedak’s beloved villain. Plus watching Shaw spend 42 minutes beating up on Sarah and then having Chuck run to Ellie instead of his wife who may have been dying at the end was pretty bad.

      • Robert says:

        The “probably never remembers the journey she took to get there” is up to you, really, Uplink.

        Because there’s enough clues/hints telling us that Sarah IS starting to remember. And the fact that she decided to trust Chuck and accept his help on the beach, and that she reconnected with him emotionally, to the point of asking him to kiss her (she wants to remember everything and she wants to be with Chuck) really points out to a positive outcome; not a matter of IF, it’s a matter of WHEN.

        But where I agree with you, it’s that it’s not really how I expected the series to end; I would’ve loved to see them having a last “Bartowski Clan” supper all together in Chuck and Sarah’s dream house, before going their separate ways, and Chuck and Sarah having a sweet loving scene, then fade out. But I’m ok with what we got, because what Fedak was (trying to?) telling us with the Finale is that Sarah and Chuck are together again; all we had to do was imagining what would happen to them next.

      • Robert says:

        I also agree with you that Chuck should’ve run to Sarah, and leave Ellie in Morgan’s good care…it felt really odd, and off.

      • atcDave says:

        I’m still somewhere in between you guys. I completely agree with Robert that the memories were coming back, and Chuck and Sarah were fine. I think the clues all point to that, and I can see how it was meant to be a completely happy ending.
        But it felt horribly incomplete. More than just expecting an “all is well” scene at the end, I needed it. What I saw just looked somewhere in between lazy and mean spirited (denying us a final happy moment). It was an S3 sort of ending (angst for angst’s sake), and I did not appreciate it.

      • Robert says:

        Dave, I have some trouble to understand you; I mean, you (and pretty much everyone else) agree with me that Chuck and Sarah are back together and fine, and that Sarah has started to remember.

        It’s a happy ending, the clues are there (something you agree with); then why do you feel it’s incomplete? That’s what I don’t understand; would you care to explain? Is it because we didn’t have a last scene with C/S in their home? Or a Bartowski clan supper, like I mentioned?

      • uplink2 says:

        Robert, I see you point and I agree with you. It is my choice in many ways. And I am getting there believe me. I actually rewatched my second episode since the finale on sunday when I joined in on the Push Mix Twitter thing. Someday I hope to actually want to retake that journey but I’m still not fully there yet.

        If I can indulge everyone here for a bit I’ve come to some new realizations about it for me. First when you talk about memories coming back and what we learned from Morgan that’s where I have some of my problem. Morgan never did get his memories back fully. He simply remembered the importance of Chuck in his life from long ago and that is something Sarah doesn’t have. She doesn’t have those years of deep long term memory to fall back on that Morgan did. Plus the memories that did come back for Sarah were insignificant things in a way and none of them related to who Chuck was or what he meant to her. The cups, the carving, Irene DeMova were things or objects. They weren’t tied to feelings and they don’t give any context about who Chuck was to her or who she was for that matter. She never once remembered anything about Chuck himself other than what she saw in the video logs. Those weren’t memories for her. It was as if a different person was telling her a story about a complete stranger. Sure she felt something when she watched them but she didn’t remember them or feel them specifically. When she danced with him at the ball that was an instinctive physical reaction her body made because it was a familiar feeling to her. it was unconscious but it wasn’t a memory of Chuck himself.

        Then we get to Ernie’s point about the facial expressions on Sarah at the beach meaning Sarah Bartowski was back. But what I have trouble reconciling is the fact that in the prior scene in Castle when she says goodbye to Casey and tells Chuck she needs time to think, she isn’t Sarah Bartowski at all. She is exactly the same Sarah that walked back into the BuyMore at the beginning of the episode. She is cold, conflicted and definitely not what we see probably as a few hours later on the beach. That jump is simply too big a jump for me to make without more setup. It’s why it feels so incomplete to me. It’s something Fedak did many times. In a way they didn’t earn that moment. It was simply the end and we need to put them together even if it has to be based on a huge leap of faith by the viewer. I needed to see Sarah remember something specifically about Chuck himself and how he made her feel about him. Maybe that’s the importance of the beach itself but it’s a place, its not him and she has no idea why its important.

        I do believe they leave the beach together and that Sarah is falling for Chuck again but I see no evidence that she will remember the fountain scene at the end of Lethal Weapon, the hotel in Paris, the dingy motel in Barstow or the hallway of a late night hospital visit. Those are the things I want to believe she will remember so that I can enjoy reliving them with her and I’m simply not there yet. If they mean nothing to Sarah, they mean nothing to me and I grapple with that every time I think about that ending. I don’t know if I will ever get there but I do want to someday. I’ve felt too passionately about this couple and Sarah in particular to give up hope I will even a year later.

        Thank you for indulging me. And now back to your regularly scheduled Beefcake discussion 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Robert it’s because it I wasn’t sure when the credits first rolled. It left me feeling empty and unsatisfied. I thought back over things, and read some Fedak interviews on line, and finally thought “okay, I get it, Chuck and Sarah were fine, Sarah will get her memories back sooner or later, and they’re back together now.” That took about 30 minutes from the end of the show. So I can live with that. But I will never feel it the way I wanted to, and the way I was used to for the last two seasons of the show. That uncertainty and pain I felt the first time I saw it will always be there.

      • uplink2 says:

        Dave I agree. No matter if or when I come to terms with it all, I can never experience that moment as a moment of joy because it is lost forever. That ache of that loss can never fully be exorcised no matter how rational or enlightened I become. It’s a moment that would have meant a great deal to me but its something I’ll never have.

      • Wilf says:

        I’m with you Uplink, and others, on this. I’ve just been doing some Season 5 re-watching and, right now, I just cannot bring myself to go beyond Bullet Train, even if I know what was in Chris Fedak’s mind.

      • ChuckFanForever says:

        I would have preferred a happier ending for Chuck also if given a choice. But I’m also fine with the ending they gave us. If Sarah losing her memories and not remembering the first 89 episodes of Chuck keeps you up at night, just know this: Yvonne didn’t really lose her memory, and she remembers all 91 episodes, there’s no leap of faith required to believe that!

  7. mr2686 says:

    Although I’m not a big fan of Shaw when he was “a good guy”, I think that helps me hate the character and root for Chuck that much more when he’s a bad guy…which makes it work in my warped little mind. Anyway, getting back to this episode and the Cole Barker arc…he sure gets shot a lot 🙂 Reminds me of the gang telling Casey in S5 that he gets shot a lot and Casey says something like “not for as much as I’m shot at”. Totally classic.

    • atcDave says:

      Agree about Cole and Casey. I loved that whole scene with Casey.

    • joe says:

      I’m not sure Shaw was ever meant to be “a good guy”, Mike. Like Robert said above, in the original conception he wasn’t supposed to be in as many episodes. And every time I see his introduction (just his nervous cigarette lighter-flipping, no face) with the menacing music in the background, I think that he was meant to be notorious all along.

      THEN they grafted on the good-guy stuff. For me that was the mistake, even more than Sarah falling for him (but I’ll get to that when we finally do S3). It doesn’t play well.

      • atcDave says:

        I largely agree Joe. Although the triangle is the most upsetting and unwelcome part of it, Shaw was completely unpalatable as a “good” guy right from his introduction. He exudes arrogant self importance in a way that makes him contemptible. The love triangle was just a slap in the face. Ugh. We will have many discussions ahead that I’m not looking forward to.

      • aerox says:

        I feel like they completely misused Routh and Bomer and their skills. Routh comes across as one of the most likeable persons in film, yet they put him in a bad-guy role (further enhanced by the fact that they sort of go: “This is Shaw, you have to like him now” which is then followed by one of the dodgiest romances the show has ever tried to pull off (that is to say, speed wise. I could see why they put Sarah and Shaw in a relationship, but that’s reserved for S3)).

        And Bomer is amazing in comedy (White Collar is a prime example of this) and drama, yet they have to make him the standard action hero and barely allow him time to develop. I get that it was impossible in S3 (what with WC) but like I said, Bomer is a magician with the material he gets on WC, so why don’t we ever get to see this on Chuck?

        Then again, I really liked Cake. What I especially liked is the first scene between him and Yvonne, where Cole brushes Sarah off. So rarely do we get to see that (in the show, OR fanfic) that I thought it was a nice touch. Plus, he was a mentor in a way that I wish they had written Shaw. But then again, I genuinely like this episode (and Lethal Weapon) a lot, though I’m aware that people are of very different opinions than I am. But I’ve gotten used to being the odd one out, so it’s no big deal 😉

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I’m with you aerox, so don’t feel too much like an outsider. I just haven’t had the chance to organize my thoughts (which are many) and get them posted in a coherent manner.

      • joe says:

        Yeah, you’re not really so odd in that, Aerox. Although I understand the complaints surrounding this episode (and have, for years!), I’ve always enjoyed it.

    • Speaking of that Casey, that who.e deal with everybody drinking coffee at the same time whenever he’s around is one of my favorite little details of the series. Love it!

  8. mr2686 says:

    Whether it be a lower budget, threats of cancellation, late orders for more episodes, etc, I think several seasons were put under the gun and I’m sure played hell with where the writers wanted the show to go. With that said, I think they did a darn good job and gave us a wonderful story. I really don’t believe there are any episodes where I “wince”, and I’d like to think that Routh is a fine actor to make me dislike him so much.,,but I’m sure glad Chuck kicked his ass!!

  9. resaw says:

    I have no interest in discussing season 3 at this point, nor in discussing Bryce for that matter. I do want to reference this paragraph from Joe, though:
    “This is different. They are not talking to each other in the way we’re used to. So what are the fans supposed to think? Despair. In all of S2 this is the lowest low point for Chuck and Sarah, and it’s no wonder Beefcake upset the fans. Chuck and Sarah are actively trying to get over each other.”

    On the one hand, after all that Chuck and Sarah have been through, after the symbolically significant present of his mother’s charm bracelet in Santa Claus, after reminding Sarah that there is someone who actually cares for her in Best Friend, it just can’t make sense that Chuck would want to break up again. I keep on wondering if, despite Sarah’s protestations that their relationship has no real future, her real hope is to have the “fake” relationship carry on long enough so that the opportunity might present itself for their relationship to become real. But there is the other side: there is this fundamental conflict between what they have and what they want, and Chuck just cannot stand the ongoing tension. I’m sure he would have loved to have heard Sarah say anything but that nice convenient lie that would be palatable to Ellie. What if she had said, “Chuck, I want this relationship to be as real as you do, but we just cannot go there yet. Please hang in there with me”? I imagine that wouldn’t have been very spy-like, but wouldn’t that have been a more honest statement and request than what Chuck did get?

    I enjoyed this episode, despite the skuzziness (sp?) of Jeff and Lester. Ah, speaking of which, did everyone see tonight’s episode of Bones, in which one of the guest stars was none other than Vik Sahay? He played a very different character, to say the least.

    • mr2686 says:

      Thanks for the head’s up. It just started here on the West Coast and although I hate David Boreanaz, I’ll watch Bones to see Vik.

      • mr2686 says:

        Vik’s hair is making Chuck like animal figures. I kinda feel sorry for him because he’s coming from Chuck where I feel the actors all had great chemistry and timing, and Bones is just painful to watch with Deschanel and Boreanaz with no timing at all and it reall shows and Vik’s performance is suffering for it.

      • Other than Yvonne and Zach, I think Vik got the most out of Chuck as an actor. Lester’s range grew more than any character’s in the show.

      • joe says:

        Last night’s NCIS showed a promo for next week, and – here’s another Vic heads-up – he’s going to be in that one too. Looks like a non-comedic/serious role!.

    • joe says:

      Ack! I didn’t realize. I recorded it, so I’ve got to check it out.

      But hey, guys! Be careful what you say ’bout my homie, David Boreanaz. Actually, his father was someone me and my cohorts sort of grew up with. He was Dave Thomas to us, a local weatherman, but more importantly, the star of a local kids show known as “Rocketship 7”, that featured his sidekick, Promo the Robot.

      Ah, good times.

      Don’t laugh! I grew up on that stuff. Anyway, the year I left home for college, Dave Thomas left for Philly and became more famous as Dave Roberts. He retired not too many years ago.

      • mr2686 says:

        Joe, this is something we’re just never going to agree on. I’ve tried and tried to like Bones but find myself sitting in front of the TV trying to push along the dialog…it just plain ‘ol hurts to watch, especially when a show like Castle is on where the dialog and timing is crisp and snappy…much like Chuck.

      • atcDave says:

        I do agree with that, Castle is currently my favorite show on the air. The closest to a Chuck replacement there is!

      • joe says:

        I’ll tell you, Mike. Bones has really disappointed me this past year. The new season has not resonated at all.

    • JoeBuckley says:

      Resaw, I saved what you wrote above so that I could address it. You said:

      after all that Chuck and Sarah have been through, after the symbolically significant present of his mother’s charm bracelet in Santa Claus, after reminding Sarah that there is someone who actually cares for her in Best Friend, it just can’t make sense that Chuck would want to break up again. I keep on wondering if, despite Sarah’s protestations that their relationship has no real future, her real hope is to have the “fake” relationship carry on long enough so that the opportunity might present itself for their relationship to become real.

      Yeah. I just finished rewatching Lethal Weapon, and let me tell you, every time I see that episode, and Beefcake (because I know it’s coming) I too want to shout “DON’T BREAK UP WITH SARAH! THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE!”

      But really, it does, and I knew it then too. Look at it from Chuck’s POV. Chuck is a whiny nerd and a klutz. He knows it too. Chuck is convinced he’s never going to be a spy, and if there’s one thing Chuck knows about Sarah, it’s that she deserves the very best. She deserves someone who can give her everything, someone who is not afraid of anything, and most of all, she deserves someone who is, yes, a hero. As far as Chuck is concerned, that’s her type. It’s not him.

      So yes, even after the bracelet, and even after the hand-holding, when push comes to shove Chuck has to return the wedding band. It’s a fake, just like their relationship.

      Chuck has always known that he’s quite capable of fooling himself into believing there’s something real. So he always has to resort to telling himself there isn’t. If he thinks there is, it’s a nice mirage. But it’s not because Sarah doesn’t have affection for him. He knows she does.

      Before, Chuck just thought that he wasn’t the guy to capture Sarah’s heart. Now it’s different. Now he knows that it’s not him – it’s the both of them together. Sarah cannot let herself be emotionally involved, not because of what Bryce said, but because she can’t. It’s not her heart. It’s her head.

      So no, neither one of them wants to carry on the fake relationship long enough to make it “real”. It hurts too much and it might take forever. I’m about to write the first lines of my take on Lethal Weapon and I think it will begin with a reference to God and Suicide for that reason.

      Oh, and I just saw the episode I recorded of Bones with Vik Sahay. He was great! I kept expecting Lester to pop out, but he really didn’t, even with the scene where he hangs onto Temperance’s hand too long.

      And I hope people noticed David Boreanaz’ nod to Buffalo! Booth said that he grew up loving Canadian Beer and Hockey. That’s true of all of us who grew up in Western New York, so I’m sure that was the actor talking even more than the character!

  10. mr2686 says:

    Chuck: Hey, can we… can we get a little closer on this picture of Cole, maybe push in on his… groinal area?
    Casey: What, you seeing something you like down there, Bartowski?

  11. mr2686 says:

    I was really hoping there would have been an actress in this episode with the name of Edith so that we could have discussed which character you liked best….leading of course to the joke that you can’t have your Cake and Edith too.

  12. Erik says:

    I read Sarah completely different then a lot of others here it seems. When she was reviewing Cole’s record of service I got a sense that she was impressed professionally by what she saw, which inevitable led her to compare herself to him, and compare him to Chuck. He has an impeccable record on paper and she saw his actions on the rooftop and I probably reminded her of why she got into the CIA in the first place, to help people. I can see Sarah accepting Graham’s offer as a way to soothe of conscience and make recompense for all the cons she had a hand in with her dad. Couple those things with her flat out denial and refusal to give in to Cole’s advances made it pretty clear to me what she wanted. More so with the next episode but it almost reminded me of her attitude when Bryce came back earlier this season.

    Erik

  13. ChuckFanForever says:

    This is probably not the right place to post this, but i just saw an ad on IMDB for “Dallas” (the next gen?) featuring our very own “Jill Roberts” (Jordana Brewster).

  14. Although not one of my top 10 episodes i liked most of this one. Unfortantely the parts I did not like are both about Chuck. I really did not like/understand Chuck decision to break up with Sarah, it makes no sense. There is no benefit to him in doing it, he does not seem to be the person that would go out trying to find the right girl, partly because he does not have time, but also because we think we know how he feels about Sarah. (I say think because I still hate how after breaking up with Sarah so she can do her job properly he very quickly got back together with Jill and showed apparently no concern for Sarah indeed even rubbing her nose in it.)
    The other is when Chuck is whiny and not doing his part for the team. Particularly hat that he removed his earwig when Sarah was in a dangerous situation, he gets a bit of slack as Casey was supposedly listening too but still.
    I liked Cole firstly as he did ask if there was anything going on between Chuck and Sarah and only started going for Sarah after. He was always supportive of Chuck and was a great Mentor, he did not point out how lame Chuck was, and even mentioned that Chuck had been injured it was Casey that told Beckman how that happened. It almost ceratinly helps that he only lasted 2 episodes as I was getting tired of hearing his lines but Loved Sarahs ‘Do any of these ever work’ comment.

    • I apologise some of my thoughts from Lethal Weapon leaked into my brain when typing that.

      • atcDave says:

        We all jump around between episodes here, never worry about that! Especially since part of the point of this re-watch is big picture stuff; fitting an episode into the whole series is always appropriate.
        You just named exactly the two things I like least here too. Except for me, its enough to push it over that edge say this really isn’t a favorite of mine. There are so many episodes where they got everything mostly right, and Beefcake really rubs me wrong sometimes.

  15. First Impression says:

    Casey’s lines were sharp during Chuck’s latest break-up with Sarah: “Probably not the best idea to give the ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ speech to a trained assassin wielding a knife.”  Followed quickly by, “Great! The most annoying romance of my life is finally over.” and “Well you’re gonna have to get his pants off, huh Walker? Good thing Bartowski dumped ya.” 

    I wasn’t impressed with Sarah and Cole Barker’s rough and tumble in the hotel room, but Chuck’s kicking down the door to rescue her was a plus.  

    Everyone talks.  Who said it?  Fulcrum agent Alexis White, Casey, Sarah and even Jeff.  The most effective response?  Alexis White’s “I know” to Casey’s “Trust me babe, everyone talks” as she plunged a syringe of ricin into her neck.  Yikes, that still makes me cringe!

    After Cole left his undercover persona behind, I began to like him.  He was kind to Chuck, he was a team player and he told Sarah she was breathtakingly beautiful – something she hasn’t heard in a while, even from Chuck.

    • atcDave says:

      It was definitely a good episode for Casey! Of course that really isn’t what I’m watching for. And Casey and Sarah both I think showed too little confidence in Chuck’s hacking skills. But this was the point I finally started believing that Casey had become a friend to Chuck, and in spite of his protests, was really rooting for Charah.

  16. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Beefcake (2.15) | Chuck This

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