Chuck vs The Predator (2.17)

I think of this as the start of the final arc for S2.  I guess that’s a pretty artificial designation, we could argue that Predator and Broken Heart are still mostly stand alone episodes.

No more pluming!

Orion makes his first appearance (but definitely not Scott Bakula!) as does the always professional Vincent (AKA Imhotep) But somehow, it just feels like we’re on a fast ride to the finale now.  After the jump, we’ll discuss “Chuck vs The Predator”.

Predator usually scores about middle of the pack for episode popularity.  That may say more about the excellence of season two than any shortcomings in this episode. At least speaking for myself, I completely enjoyed this episode.  And we can feel the tension ramping up as Chuck has a first near miss with Orion. Things start fun enough, the team is returning from a successful but filthy “plumbing” mission. But some tension starts early too, Chuck has been doing a private search for Orion, and Sarah is a little peeved to find out after he’s found trouble.  Perhaps Chuck is practicing the old “easier to get forgiveness…” strategy.  Unfortunately (or is it fortunate?), Sarah’s forgiveness is easier to get than some of the other interested parties.

At this point I think I’ll stop trying to do any sort of play by play, its not really my strength anyway.  In the best Chuck fashion we have a lot going on here.  Orion is fleeing and at war with Fulcrum (and the Ring?).  Fulcrum starts snooping around the Buy More again (and Vincent is compiling his shopping list…), Orion contacts Chuck, Beckman goes ballistic, Sarah’s feelings are hurt, and everyone decides to break into the store.  I love this part.  I think the Buy More heist is the sort of sequence this show does very well.

Chuck has some explainin’ to do…

We get a nearly perfect (and very funny) integration of the “A” and “B” plots.  So throw in Emmitt as the new sheriff in town and Jeff wetting himself and we get perfect chaos.

Amazing as it seems, this episode is also the first time Chuck meets Beckman in person.  This adds an interesting element to the story as Beckman admits Chuck’s value, and that she needs him to be a spy.  That may cause some issues later, but for now its a very exciting moment.

Of course for me as a major Charah ‘shipper, this ending is not quite ideal.  Chuck sees Sarah’s fundamental conflict of interest clearly for the first time.  He obviously thinks of Sarah as being all powerful and all capable (he even tries appealing to her to over-ride Beckman.  Clearly he doesn’t “get” the chain of command!); but here he sees first hand her inter-actions with the General and that her orders are clearly not in his best interest.  So how to read that ending?  On first viewing I was a little disappointed, but I think I saw it quite differently this time.  Sarah is a little insecure here, she may be worried about Chuck going rogue again and/or if her influence over him is slipping.  But for Chuck’s part I believe him when he says he trusts her.

What did Jeff do?

However, he did just see her conflict of interest first hand.  He may trust her, but he understands the different pressures on her better than he did before.  So perhaps he’s not sure how that trust might play out.  And for her part, Sarah is right to be worried.

I know this write up was a little jumbled (errr, more jumbled than usual?).

The General is really tiny!

I think that’s largely a reflection of how much was going on here.  Some of what was set up here will be discussed in much more detail in the coming weeks (I know at least one big issue from Predator I will be re-examining next week.)  And some of that jumble is just a reflection of how excited I was with this episode.  And I don’t feel the need to complain about too much…

~ Dave

Conflict of Interest

Dave mentions that this is the start of the final arc of season two, and that’s quite correct. But I must admit, every time I think about Chuck vs. The Predator, I realize that it’s much more pivotal.

Is it the start of something important? Yes, of course. But my mind immediately goes to the end of Lethal Weapon for that start – Chuck’s speech to Sarah at the fountain. You see, that’s where Chuck shows us something – he tells us that he’s not going to let “this thing”, the Intersect, deprive him of his normal life.

Chuck is becoming his own man. Even as I type the words, I realize that the word “normal” isn’t exactly what he’s talking about. Chuck is not going to let the Intersect deprive him of his life, the one he decides to live, whatever that might be. It is he who will make that decision, not the Intersect, not the General Beckman, and not the CIA. We’re told all this again, without words, when Chuck turns over the Tron poster. It’s an act that shows us exactly where his priorities lay now.

Sort of snuck up on us, didn’t it? When did that happen? When did Chuck make that decision? It’s pretty clear that Chuck’s been working on his Tron poster for a while now, even if we didn’t realize it and even if we weren’t told. Well, we did see something coming throughout those episodes that preceded Predator. We could see how Cole influenced Chuck to take charge, if only a bit, by not letting him rely on General Beckman for instructions. We noticed how Chuck was already rebelling even before then, when he hacked the chip in Beefcake. This change in him (and this arc) really has it roots at least as early as that.

In the very first scene of Predator we can see that Sarah has changed too. Instead of patting the boy on the head and saying “Nice job on the plumbing…”, Sarah humorously sides against Casey and with Chuck’s general feeling about their just completed mission, including the idea of burning their jump suits. I second the motion. No more plumbing on future missions.” Then Sarah does something I don’t recall her doing before. She gets Chuck alone and asks him what his plans are. Chuck seems to put her off, [Hey, wait! He put her off? When did that happen???] implying that he intends to do nothing but shower and sleep. With that, Sarah asks if she’ll see him tomorrow.

This is better! Sarah’s acting very much like she wants Chuck to be comfortable in their relationship and confide in everything. For her, it’s almost, but not quite, like they’re a couple (or at the very least, that she would like to work towards that). What Sarah does for one moment is to get a tiny bit domestic again, like she did in Suburbs. She too has changed in a way we saw once before, in Best Friends. The roots of this arc go deep, indeed.

Everything seems to be getting better for Chuck. It’s been a continuous progression. Did you notice what happened when Jeff, Lester and Morgan send Orion’s predator drone off to destroy the Buy More? Yeah, it’s a hilarious scene. The moment the drone gets diverted to the Beverly Hills Buy More, Chuck takes charge. He knows who would do that, and it’s not Orion. More importantly, Casey and definitely Sarah know that Chuck is on top of the situation. Without questioning it this time, they both trust Chuck professionally (well, Sarah a bit more than Casey, but you know. It’s Casey).

By the evening Chuck is in charge of the mission, too. That’s different. Where Chuck was once the asset, he’s now acting like one of them, a full partner. You can see Sarah treat Chuck as a professional equal when Casey complains about Chuck’s dictum – no guns! “Well, you did put him in charge…”

With Chuck’s new standing, from this point on it looks like his relationship with Sarah will have to be different too.

I’ll pause here for just a moment to contemplate the laughs in the Buy More when Emmett is confronted by, not one but three sets of burglars, all after Orion’s computer. Buy Morons at their finest. And I still rank Arnold Vosloo’s Agent Imhotep Vincent Smith as one of the best villains of the series. And btw, I’ve enjoyed his performances in NCIS, Bones and 24 also. It would be unprofessional of me not to. 😉

Successful mission! Vincent is dead, the Buy More is saved, Chuck has found Orion, and everyone is happy.

NOT! There is conflict everywhere.

I mentioned that Chuck leaves Sarah in the opening scenes – not for sleep, but to search for Orion. In fact, Chuck is conducting a clandestine search, strictly verboten, as Casey, Sarah and General Beckman soon tell him. Chuck keeps on searching until Orion finds him, upsetting Sarah to no end.

Doesn’t he trust her? Of course. He trusts her with his life, Chuck assures her. Yet, why the tension? There’s a reason and I don’t think trust is the issue.

It’s because their relationship is different now. In Sarah’s mind Chuck doesn’t need the baby-sitting (oh, face it, Sarah. He doesn’t need the mothering!) that she used to provide in situations where Ellie couldn’t. It’s not a matter of trust and it isn’t a matter of protection. Chuck is striking out on his own, and Sarah is conflicted about that idea. After all, her orders are to protect him, not help him find Orion (or whatever it is he’s looking for).

Yeah, Chuck is maturing. Our boy is no longer a bumbling nerd-herder even when he looks like one. He certainly does look like one when Vincent rises from the dead in Castle to take Chuck hostage, stumbling into the computer stand. Yet, it’s Sarah who knows better. “Chuck is not a spy, and he knows it.” Sarah tells Beckman. But there he is, providing the clues he needs to give them.

So is Chuck a spy now, or what? Let’s get an unbiased opinion:

Vincent: You’re CIA, right?
Chuck: Sure. Name’s Carmichael.
Vincent: I’ve heard of you. Orion was coming out of the cold for you. That’s excellent work.

Great! Chuck has got his professional recognition! That’s wonderful, except that he’s about to fail in his mission and Vincent is about to kill him. Chuck has got to be feeling a bit conflicted about the praise. After all, he really didn’t want to be a spy.

Chuck wasn’t rebelling against Sarah when he went off on his own, and he wasn’t when he began his search for Orion. Chuck realizes, though, that she may not fully understand what he wants to do with his life and will make mistakes even if she’s trying to help. Chuck knows he still needs Sarah’s help and he knows that Sarah is on his side.

Not so, General Beckman.

We have a contest of wills between Chuck and Beckman – “He’s a spy until I say he isn’t!” Really? I’d say Chuck’s a little conflicted about that idea too.

No, Chuck isn’t rebelling against Sarah when he delays telling her about his search. And Chuck isn’t losing trust in her even when he hides Orion’s schematics behind his back. He knows Sarah has got her own conflict of interest when it comes to the CIA and General Beckman. There is something big and dangerous Sarah can’t ignore – Fulcrum.

Sarah: [Entering through the Morgan door] Hi.
Chuck: She was wrong, you know. I’m not a spy.
Sarah: Look, Beckman is a soldier, and she sees things in black and white. But she is right about one thing. We’re in the middle of a fight with Fulcrum.
Chuck: Yeah, uh, I get that. I do. But this is not my future. This is what I’m doing right now. But I will get my life back.
Sarah: Yeah, of course you will, Chuck. We’re still a good team, right? You still trust us?
Chuck: I trust you. [Chuck hides Orion’s schematics from Sarah’s view] Of course I do.
Sarah: I’m on your side, Chuck.
Chuck: I know.

Yes, Chuck trusts her. He’s just not sure that Sarah can help and remain true to her own duties and responsibilities. After this episode, I wasn’t sure either. It’s an incredible start to the adventure leading to Ellie’s wedding. The freight train is building up speed.

– joe

About atcDave

I'm 54 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 31 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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39 Responses to Chuck vs The Predator (2.17)

  1. resaw says:

    Dave, to me at least, this doesn’t feel like a stand-alone episode at all. It builds on what happened in the previous episode: the contents of his speech to Sarah, his search for Orion, the sense of determination that appears newly sparked in him; and is foundational to what follows: the re-emergence of Chuck’s father/Orion in his life, and the whole issue of trusting relationships. The conversation with Sarah implicitly builds on the scene at the end of the last episode, and also introduces the trust issues, which I think Joe delves into quite nicely.

    Chuck: “You want that too, right?”
    Sarah: “Of course I do, Chuck. Of course I do. You deserve that.”
    I think that Chuck asks this because he believes that if he can get this out of his head, he can live the life that he wants with the girl that he loves, and he wants to get some assurance from Sarah that she wants him to get to that point so that she too can be with him for real. The interesting thing, though, is that in the previous episode, I think that Sarah recognizes that “the girl that he loves” is herself, whereas here, at least, she is hedging her feelings about Chuck’s goal and limits herself to being supportive in the sense that any compassionate person would be.

    Having said that, when Chuck reveals to Sarah his “rogue” operation, Sarah goes all by-the-book on him, but he’s an emotionally sensitive guy, our Chuck:
    Sarah: “Why didn’t you tell me…;?”
    Chuck: “…And I didn’t tell you.”
    Sarah: “And you didn’t tell me…. You should have trusted me.”
    That is not (merely) a by-the-book response from Sarah. It seems to me to be a response from the heart, that the relationship she has with Chuck, odd and inadequate though it is, is on firm ground. Now she has doubts, and I don’t want to say that she has doubts about Chuck’s love of her, but that, despite their mutual love (even if she’s not quite able to admit it), the current state of their relationship is not sustainable. Sarah has indicated on at least a couple of occasions, in Suburbs and in Lethal Weapon, that she genuinely enjoyed those “pretend couple” situations but she seems willing to accept that as sufficient for the time being. Chuck, with his speeches and break-ups, finds them intolerable. They are mere shadows of the reality he hopes for, but as long as he remains the Intersect, he has no hope of attaining that reality.

    General Beckman, of course, will keep the asset in the shadows for as long as she finds it useful to do so. It is quite amazing to see how far Chuck has gone in her estimation. But still, there remains a contradiction. On the one hand, she says she wants Chuck to become a spy, but on the other, she still thinks of him as “the asset.” I wouldn’t call myself an expert on the espionage genre, but to me, a spy is an employee of the CIA, or some other spy agency, whereas an “asset” is a civilian who possesses some uniquely useful skill or knowledge. As Sarah and Casey remain Chuck’s handlers, Chuck remains an asset. To my mind, at least, that makes Chuck’s independent “mission” to find Orion perfectly legitimate. He’s not a spy so he has no obligation to limit his activities or to report to his handlers what he does. That doesn’t mean they like it, however.

    On the other hand, Sarah and Casey do defer to Chuck’s leadership quite a bit more than they ever have before, as you note, Joe.

    Some other observations:
    1. Sarah’s defence of Chuck’s situation before General Beckman is the beginning (I think) of the revelation to the General that Sarah may be “compromised.”
    2. The slogan on the Beverly Hills Buy More is hilarious: “Proud to help you spend your parents’ money.”
    3. Morgan is spending a sleepless night listening to Big Mike and his mother. I thought that at the end of the Beefcake/beginning of Lethal Weapon, Morgan was about to move in with Anna, because Chuck no longer was free to be Morgan’s roommate and also because Anna had discovered a copy of the lease agreement.

    I don’t have a personal ranking of episodes, but this one is among my favourites and strikes me as pivotal in the series.

    Thanks, as always, gentlemen, for your reflections.

    • atcDave says:

      Chuck, like many shows, is neither completely episodic nor completely serialized. And individual episodes often contain both episodic and serialized elements. So determining where “arcs” begin and end is often a complete judgement call unless a major story element clearly carries through from one episode to the next. I think good arguments can be made either way on Predator. Especially since Broken Heart is really a change of pace, and arguably breaks up the story. But we’re lumping everything from here to the end now as a single arc as the Orion/Fulcrum stories come to a climax together. I think the continuity is more emotional than thematic, but that works too. There’s no doubt I saw all these remaining episodes as closely related on initial viewing.

      The terms asset and handler are also not set in stone IRL. At least according the research I’ve done on Wikipedia. It’s even possible for a spy to be both, to different people, on the same mission. On Chuck, the key issues have to do with how it effects Chuck’s relationship to Sarah and later, his desire to become a real agent. But it’s funny, there is apparently no real world restrictions about American agents being involved with American civilians. And since asset is an amorphous term, the whole conflict is pretty much made up purely for the show.
      “Compromise” is a bigger issue. The government would wish to avoid a situation where an agent’s loyalties might be divided. This will be discussed in far more detail next week.

    • joe says:

      Heh! I totally missed the “… Proud to help you spend your parents’ money!” slogan. Great catch, Resaw! I noticed the one on the floor of the Beverly Hills Buy More that said “Buy More (because you can!)”.

      Your comment made me think that something important is going on in Chuck & Sarah’s minds throughout these episodes. Its’ almost like Chuck is screaming silently at Sarah the words “I don’t need or want you to save my life. I need and want you to help me help Ellie and help me get rid of the Intersect!” Sarah’s starting to hear – but only starting. Of course, she’d rather save his life.

      At the same time I can’t help but think that Chuck believes Sarah wants him to be a partner who can help her go out and save the world, something he can’t be. He’ll say as much later, regarding Bryce and later still, regarding Shaw. He’s wrong, of course. I had the hardest time understanding what she really wanted at this point when I watched the first time. And IIRC, I was thinking about it pretty obsessively back then, too. 😉

      • Robert says:

        Ok Joe, so at this point (2.17), what does Sarah really wants of Chuck?

      • joe says:

        Good question, Robert. I suspect neither she nor Fedak nor Schwartz know at this point, except…

        Sarah’s been showing us a little bit of her growing desire to have a normal family situation ever since Santa Claus. Actually, even earlier, in Wookie, when she tells Carina “I’m good here” we can tell that Sarah’s not all about exotic places and high-octane, adrenaline-pumping adventure.

        I’d guess that every brush with – not her death, but – Chuck’s demise (Luthur Colt, the exploding herder, Silvia and Brad’s Intersect), brings her a little closer to understanding Paul Simon’s words I don’t find this stuff amusing no more.

        But knowing what she doesn’t want is not the same as knowing what she does want. If she’s thinking “I want a life with Chuck,” she’s unclear yet on what that would look like. In just a few weeks, Sarah will think that running away and living on the lam is it, but it’s not. That’s just more of the same, only with him.

      • Robert says:

        I hear ya, Joe.

        Sarah wants more and more a life with Chuck (whatever it might be, but only with him), but she doesn’t know what it is, or how it will be. Heck, she still hasn’t acknowledged to herself (but it’s very soon) that what she feels for Chuck is love, but we can clearly see she’s getting there; one thing that is revealing is that it happened right after Chuck has begun to man up in 2.16.

        Sarah really seemed pissed off when she realized Chuck hid something from her (the origins of her “no secrets, no lies” future policy?) “You should’ve told me!”; that didn’t sound CIA-bookish to me…more like a disappointed girlfriend.

        More and more I think that what will culminate in Barstow in 2.21 is Sarah “telling” Chuck “I love you, Chuck, I wanna have a serious relationship with you, but how, I have no idea!”. She already feels that way, and she’s telling him (or the words escaped her) bit by bit, but Chuck doesn’t know what to think at this point…

        And I remember I didn’t back then…;)

      • joe says:

        More great points, Robert! I meant to include exactly the notion that you bring up – that Sarah seems (much!) more like a disappointed girlfriend when she confronts Chuck about his clandestine search for Orion. Contrast that with her reaction after Suburbs, at the very beginning of Beefcake when he screens her calls. There, she’s bemused, not angry.

        Dave brings up her v-log below, where she gives us a time frame for her understanding. I should wait for next week to mention it, but the moment she’s talking about [Oops – added – I think!] is the moment she touches the back of Chuck’s neck, when they think they failed to find Chuck’s dad (at the end of Broken Heart). Sarah’s led us – and herself – to that moment every time she’s touched Chuck’s lapel or straightened his tie.

  2. atcDave says:

    One thing I failed to mention in the body of the post, but I believe Sarah’s “I love Chuck Bartowski…” confession to her v-log probably occurred during this episode (maybe the next morning after the pluming mission, or after the last scene). Our good friend MyNameIsJeffNImLost did the math based on the log we saw and the air dates of episodes and concluded it was likely during Broken Heart. But I don’t see a likely spot during that episode for it to have happened. So I think immediately before or after is most likely. That makes it either here or during Dream Job. Both have potential. But I like it before Broken Heart. It makes most sense to me as we have Sarah stewing over trust issues and possible changes in their relationship that have come up the last two weeks at this point. It could also bring a real point to Sarah’s reaction to being relieved in the next episode, and both the little things she does to fight back (searching out Stephen regardless of orders, and trying to say goodbye to Chuck) and her intensity as she realizes Chuck has been put in danger by his idiot new handler (not that Sarah ever needs an excuse for intensity…)
    I also think this earlier episode works better as the pace of events accelerates from here on out, and the v-log entry started with the declaration things had been quiet. I can imagine a couple of quiet days either right at the start or right after this episode. But really, that won’t be true again for a long time!

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I have an alternate theory, because it kind of depends on what you use as the zero point. MyNameIsJeffandImLost uses September 19, 2007 as the start because the show starts on Chuck’s Birthday, referenced in a flash he has on himself as the 18th of September and Sarah makes first contact the next day, the 19th, leading to the date of April 5th, just before Chuck Versus the Dream Job. If however you follow the convention the show used in the initial entries of each episodes events being a week apart (even when an episode takes place over several days) and use the start date as the premier of the show, September 24th, you end up with day 564 being April 10, just before Sarah takes Chuck on the run to find his father and keep him out of a bunker at the end of Chuck Versus the First Kill. Either seems valid, but while Jeff’s date seems more likely to fit the “everything is calm” part of the entry I think the later sticks better to what the writers established as the timeline and fits Sarah’s character and emotional state at the beginning of First Kill better. Remember that even though Chuck is freaking out about his dad’s capture Sarah walks into the BuyMore with a frozen yogurt acting very girlfriendish. I always took the “everything is calm, no mission to report” as both a little meta-joke along the lines of “they save my life on a weekly basis” and a plot device to show that as things progressed Sarah, having nobody she could talk to came to depend on her vlog to unburden herself.

      The only way we’ll know for sure is if TPTB give up that tidbit (episode was written by LeJudkins, so next time someone gets the chance, ask.) In any case the number makes it clear that it intentionally does not fall within an episode.

      • atcDave says:

        I think First Kill is way too late, mainly because of the all is calm assertion. I think the end of Predator is really the last time that claim can be made this season, and Stephen’s kidnapping certainly would disallow that later time. But clearly we can’t really know for sure, and its even possible (likely?) that the writers didn’t really think it through in as much detail as we already have.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I agree it seems a bit too late for things to be calm, but I think it fits best just before First Kill when Sarah is acting all girlfriendy and the decidedly not-calm events of that episode force her to make a choice between loving Chuck and her job.

        Chuck has often suffered from iffy timelines. This is in part because scenes aren’t necessarily shown chronologically. They are instead linked thematically. Think of the pilot and the scene in the destroyed intersect room. That would have happened immediately after Bryce was shot and while Chuck was being intersected for the first time. Instead we go from Bryce’s death to what is happening in Echo Park all the way up to mid-day the next day when Chuck is experiencing flashes. We then step back to the night before where agents are being dispatched to track down the intersect. We’d already been given a hint this was the case with Chuck’s first flash on the tactics the police were using to aid in the search.

        My guess is that the “everything is calm” was just to signify that this wasn’t an ordinary mission related entry but something she needed to get off her chest. Beyond that I don’t think they likely put too much thought into it.

      • joe says:

        True enough, Ernie. Those kinds of time-line discontinuities (I think of them as micro-discontinuities, for no good reason) occur throughout. They do in physical-space too. I’m just not sure how far the apartment is from the Buy More, but the miracle of television shows is always that the hero arrives just in the nick of time. [And as an aside, for my money, NCIS relies on that artificial device much more than Chuck did.]

        I sort of allow it in my mind. But I think it’s quite intentional on the part of TPTB. It gives them enough space and ambiguity to maneuver later, when they need it for other reasons (like time, budget, change of cast…). – a necessary evil. How adroit they are in using that built-in ambiguity – well, that’s up for grabs. A lot of viewers just love to tear into ’em when they spot ’em.

      • atcDave says:

        Sarah is also acting all girlfriendy in Predator when she gets personally peeved over his rogue search. And again when she tries to defend him several times before Beckman, and finally when she talks to Chuck in his bedroom in the end. She is also willing to go against orders twice for him the following week in Broken Heart. While not taking his call and getting ready to move on may be consistent with the not knowing what to do about it… part.
        Actually, the more I write, the more comfortable I’m getting with that. I don’t even think Dream Job is such a good candidate anymore, and I still don’t think First Kill works at all. I think it was somewhere undefined between Predator and Broken Heart.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I don’t think you can move it to before Broken Heart. Neither of the timelines work out to that. I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on the “Everything is calm” statement. I think that refers to the fact that it doesn’t take place in an episode, but a lull between, hence “no mission”. That and to highlight that this entry is different than the others that are about big events that happen during a mission. Those were about things that could be seen in the context of her job. The unique aspect of the last is that we see it has nothing whatsoever to do with the job or job related events.

        TPTB did take the effort to set up a timescale, one designed to put us into late season 2 and to not correspond to a particular episode, in this case, one that puts you on either April 5th or April 10th. The April 5th adheres to the show’s internal timeline if you take Chuck’s flash on himself as canon (unfortunately he was also from Connecticut and only moved to California his senior year in the same flash, so I don’t think we can assume that). If you go with an external time-frame set so that every 7 days references the events of an episode you get April 10th.

      • atcDave says:

        hmmm, nope, not working Ernie…

      • Ernie Davis says:

        And here I thought I was all logical and convincing. 😉

        Well I follow both Yvonne and Rafe Judkins on twitter, so I asked. We’ll see if there is a definitive answer or if it’s left purposefully ambiguous. (If I get an answer.) I suspect the later is the case and even Jeff and my attempts to apply the timescale accurately are for naught, so your date probably works as well as any.

      • authorguy says:

        I did the math when I was writing Not This Time, don’t remember why. Day 564, referenced in the mission logs, is in between First Kill, and Colonel, at the end of season 2. I divided by 7 to get the number of weeks, counted forward from the Pilot, and ended up there based on the first air dates.

      • atcDave says:

        I already made my logical arguments, did I need to repeat everything? Bottom line is, I don’t see any break that could logically be considered calm from Broken Heart on. In fact, I think its only like two weeks elapsed for five episodes.

        Aren’t we arguing about the combination to Kirk’s safe….

      • Robert says:

        I’m not sure, Authorguy; I mean, in her v-log entry, Sarah is clearly in her hotel room; so it cannot be between First Kill and Colonel, Sarah and Chuck are on the run by then…

        But it’s certainly around those episodes; 2.18, 2.19, because it’s consistent with Sarah’s recent behavior…

    • My Thunderbird RSS feed only gave me the last 10, but fortunately if gave me part of this thread.

      My opinion: It was after most of Broken Heart, before she brought him the address to Stephen’s trailer.

      For those not as good (or as patient) with a search engine, here’s the original discussion:
      Yes, that post is from January 28, 2012 at 2:58 am, but I’m in the central time zone, so it was only 1:58am. And my math was still good because I was on post-Chuck finale adrenaline. The start date is the big question. September 18 is Chuck’s birthday on wikipedia and wikia. Sarah dropped in the next day, the 19th. Her “Day 1” was before they met. The oriiginal air date was September 24, making Day 1 the 25th. I don’t think it’s a good idea to let NBC schedulers determine the time-line though. The 24th’s is still within a week of the 18th, so if you want to stick to the airing schedule, think of the 24th as the end of the episode when Chuck flashed on Sarah at the Buy More.

      It’s hard slotting episodes every seven days, especially with to-be-continueds. The Chuckapocalypse was three weeks, but the next episode was the next day. All of it is approximate anyway. Ignoring the calendar, I think it makes sense for Sarah to admit her fealings to a CIA mission log right after getting a pass for a 49-B and after breaking the rules and using the CIA database to find Chuck’s dad. She would have kissed him at the end of Broken Heart if Stephen wasn’t home.

      • atcDave says:

        That is another possibility I was kicking around, maybe right before Chuck showed up at her place at the end of Broken Heart. You could be right she may have felt liberated by the outcome of that episode. But given some of her earlier entries, I think she was under the impression it was confidential. I wonder what she really made of both Quinn and Casey getting a hold of them!

        I would emphasize again though how speculative this is. Many episodes clearly are less than a week apart, and some suggest longer. We can only approximate any correlation to reality.

    • Frankly, I’m tempted to say we should avoid any clever machinations and stick with the idea that the writers took a more direct tack by simply using the release dates of the episodes for a timeline when they decided to use the idea of the video log in the story and put it in the calendar. Unfortunately, if strictly applied, that would place the time period somewhere during the Dream Job. It just doesn’t work for me there. It seems obvious from the story Sarah figured it probably at least a month before that using the release dates.

      Unfortunately, timeline seemed to be something we saw the writers continuously hash up and not pay close enough attention to with Chuck. It seemed to me they became very lazy about it, especially later in the series. Some might say that’s not particularly important, but when it comes to narrating the journey from the broader perspective of the monomyth it becomes very important, if that’s the story you’re ultimately trying to tell. There was a definite lack of discipline there in my opinion.

      Purely from the perspective of events I see it happening around the time period between Lethal Weapon and Predator. It is very easy to picture a lull in the action, as it were, around this period in time (there was also a two week break in the show at this time). It’s also a very plausible period in time based on what has happened to Chuck and Sarah up to this point and for Sarah to start to see and confront the fact that she’s in love with Chuck because of what they’ve recently experienced. And from this point on we start to see her also express it more and more. Wow, do ever see it in Broken Heart. She’s already there and acting on it everywhere in that episode and in particular when she comforts Chuck outside his dad’s trailer, Joe.

      We’re starting to see her see herself in this particular episode we’re discussing here as part of a couple. Chuck is also starting to step up into his role and see the need for his own decisive action and self-actualization, and we know this is a quality that Sarah admires very much. His actions are pulling her in.

  3. anthropocene says:

    Dave—though I agree that it wasn’t a great ending from a Chuck/Sarah shipper perspective, in hindsight it was necessary to set up the stunning payback at the end of “vs. First Kill.” I remember the whole Orion arc causing me to wonder about Sarah’s divided loyalties, right up to the instant when she whispered “Take off your watch.” Sarah’s conflict in these prior episodes set up that scene magnificently and (imho) made it one of the very best Chuck-Sarah moments of the entire series.

    • joe says:

      One thing I’ll never understand about ‘shippers, even tho I R one, is their allergy to that kind of romantic tension. I thought it was great from the first and just couldn’t wait for the next Monday to roll around. Of course, I always had this confidence that Chuck and Sarah were soon to be Chuck&Sarah.

      In fact, wasn’t the pet watchword about then “Is it Monday yet???” Maybe I wasn’t the only one!

      • anthropocene says:

        I’m with you guys on this. I enjoyed the romantic tension as long as it was believable, not contrived, nor regressive. Late S2 was great for that. But even through the first half of S3 I was sure it would eventually work out well for Chuck and Sarah.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah exactly Anthro. This is the core of the legitimate obstacles Chuck and Sarah do face. And this arc is the end of wt/wt to me. Its just silly after. But I would add, they did occasionally do an excellent job with Chuck/Sarah conflict once they were a couple. They were usually smart about showing us valid differences in character or goals and resolving them quickly, like in First Fight or Seduction Impossible.

    • atcDave says:

      Well I believe I said I had no real problems with it. I certainly meant to. I think Chuck understanding some of Sarah’s conflict between professional and personal issues is key here. No matter how much Sarah may LIKE Chuck (and he isn’t completely sure on that count anyway), she clearly has ORDERS he doesn’t like. So yeah, there’s going to be a little tension. And I think that’s great, especially as the very next week she will make a couple of smaller choices favoring Chuck over orders; and of course, at the end of First Kill will be the biggie.

      And for the record, I don’t remember ANY ‘shipper angst over this ending. I think we all saw the tension for exactly what it was.

      • joe says:

        Yeah, I guess that’s true. The ‘shipper angst really happened later, over the summer. ComicCon and all that. The overwhelming reaction that I recall about this time was “OMG! THIS IS AMAZING!” and a sort of collective holding of the breath, waiting for what seemed to be inevitable and maybe hoping it would never end.

        And btw, have we forgiven Morgan, yet? 😉

  4. Slightly off topic, here’s some recent Chuck awards and misses. First the misses:
    Neither Pro Football hall of fame finalist, Jerome Bettis and Michael Strahan passed the final round of voting. It was Bettis’ 3rd miss and Strahan’s 1st. Both were considered significant snubs. Bettis is #6 is career rushing yardage and #10 in rushing TDs, with the top 12 elidgible in both categories already in. Strahan is #5 in career sacks and has the single season record.

    The hit: “We Are Young” might have been launched on Glee, but fun.’s version was on Chuck in the fantastic Chuck vs. the Baby dinner scene (and the controversial Sarah/Graham flashback) over a month before it was popularized by the Chevy Sonic Super Bowl commercial. “We Are Young” won the “Song of the Year” Grammy for the songwriters and was nominated for “Record of the Year.” With Bon Iver winning last year and fun. this year, this is the second year in a row that a Chuck alum won Best New Artist. (Although Bon Iver and fun. both had prior albums. Don’t ask, I don’t get it.)

    Also, of the unofficial online type, here’s a series of 22 polls that ran over the last couple weeks for the anniversary of the finale: Chuck Awards (Despite the website name, it’s clean.) To see more categories, be sure to click the little, hard to see “1/3 >>” on the right side. Even if you don’t agree with all of the winners, the animated gifs are fun.

  5. ChuckFanForever says:

    I was a little surprised how easily Lester was able to access Orion’s laptop, and then get Orion to launch a Predator Drone without actually confirming the identity of the user. I suppose that the security question of the future Orion laptops were born before of this incident? (1 or 11, Knock Knock).

  6. ChuckFanForever says:

    Oops! Replace “before” in the last line with “because”…

  7. Christopher says:

    I really love this episode, there area lot of revelations when it comes to the overall story.We meet Orion for the first time, We also begin to see what Bryce was talking about when it comes to the agency and Chuck. We also see the technical capabilities of Chuck.

    He also went rogue and started his own search for Orion. Something that really bothers Sarah that he didn’t tell her. The reason being is Sarah is very near the Day 564 of her mission log, Sarah expression after saying to chuck why didn’t you tell me. IS not the face of agent walker. It is a face that states that her boyfriend didn’t tell. it is the face that she gave when Chuck didn’t tell her about his brain. We also see her defend Chuck in front of both GB and Casey, Sarah is clearly beginning to show her loyalty to Chuck something an Agent wouldn’t do especially in the first season.

    When I mentioned Bryce, I think back to what he said in Ala ma tar when telling Flemming that he wouldn’t survive as a field op. and also why Sarah was hesitant on pursuing a relationship with Chuck because the end was telling especially when a 49B is issued next episode.

    The best part is the mall scene. I love the action comedy and seeing Jeffster run into Casey while both were trying to get Orion’s computer.

    He is also where Sarah’s Feelings for Chuck begin to over take her from the beginning to the end she sides with Chuck including the end when coming to check up Chuck. and tells him she is on his side. something she also wouldn’t have done in the beginning of season one.

    Sarah from the beginning is starting to act different. She even waits til Casey leaves before asking Chuck if he wanted to shower at Casey, and saying it in a flirting kind of way. maybe she was hoping he would say yes. and her I will see you tomorrow was very tender in its offering.

    It almost seems like since she admitted to Cole that she doesn’t cheat on her cover boyfriend she was really speaking to the both of them especially when cole said to chuck when you want something so bad don’t take no for an answer. even Sarah took that advise to heart because her reaction was one of it was also directed to her as well.

    Predator is really a fun and even better funny episode it ranks high with me. I often always watch this episode on binge watching

    • Ernie Davis says:

      This is definitely one of my top ten episodes, and that is probably true even if my top 10 didn’t have about 30 episodes.

      I absolutely love the duel break-ins at the BuyMore. Priceless how Sarah reacts to Jeff’s confession that he might have pee’d himself, a little and Casey obviously relishing getting to knock out Emmett (What? I had to do that.).

      This is also the first of a string of great episodes only rivaled by the opening 7 of season 2.


      • Christopher says:

        Ernie, I feel like this episode is the beginning of Sarah’s recognizing that her feelings for Chuck are taking over she sees Chuck working on his own and without her which leads to a hurt reaction just think about Anniversary what her reaction was when he went on his own even in the curse as a girlfriend a spy girlfriend no less what do you think

  8. First Impression says:

    I really enjoyed this episode.  I didn’t expect the Orion storyline to be immediately used, so Orion contacting Chuck was a delight.  The three sets of burglars going after Orion’s computer at the Buy More was well done, with just enough craziness to make it fun.

    My favorite visual was of Chuck’s solemn look out the window as Vincent held a gun to his head.  It really stood out as a heartbreaking sight.  He didn’t look his usual scared, but rather resigned to his fate after witnessing Orion’s capture.

    Later when Beckman insisted that Chuck would keep the Intersect, Sarah said she understood but never that she agreed.  Meanwhile Casey attested to Sarah’s allegiance to the mission.  At this point of the series, I believe both she and Casey will help Chuck in his quest to remove the Intersect.

    Finally, Chuck studying the Intersect charts in a magazine under the watchful eyes of his handlers made me wonder.  Under constant surveillance, why didn’t they see him working on the giant TRON poster?  It doesn’t seem quite so easy to hide.

    • atcDave says:

      Or that they didn’t notice him working on his Orion search…

      I would guess, Casey doesn’t really care what Chuck is up to, so long as he’s safe. He probably just assumes it’s some nerd hobby or another. Obviously Chuck wouldn’t rub it in his face or draw attention to “hey I’m doing something here you wouldn’t want me to…”

      I completely agree this is a strong episode. It’s fun all the way through. And be warned, the rest of the whole season is awesome all the way through.

  9. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs the Predator (2.17) | Chuck This

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