Chuck vs The Broken Heart (2.18)

The plot here is clearly more of a stand alone.  But the emotional intensity is building in a straight line.  Chuck has done this sort of quasi-arc before, and will again.  We’ll look at Chuck vs The Broken Heart after the jump.

Oh the horror!

So where to start?  This episode is very intense.  As so often happens with Chuck, I think the set up is weak and a real stretch.  But the pay-off is just brilliant.  I guess you could say this is an episode of extremes for me; some extreme eye rolls and suspension of disbelief required.  And then an extremely satisfying resolution.

Let me get my problem out of the way first.  This is exactly what I mentioned I would want to get back to last week.  The whole set-up hinges on General Beckmen being a plot device.  Or a complete world class moron.  A moron who would have fit in better on “Get Smart” than Chuck.  She goes from telling Chuck last week that she needs him to be a spy because they’ve lost a lot of agents to this war on Fulcrum and Team Bartowski is the only one that has seen significant success, to worrying that they may like each other too much? So she’s going to re-assign one of the two professional agents on the team because there might be some feelings between her and Chuck.  Even better, all the “evidence” she has only indicates Chuck has feelings for Agent Walker, nothing the other way around.  Given that a big part of Sarah’s job is getting Chuck to do the government’s bidding, and she has so far been completely successful at it, Chuck having affection for her would be considered a good thing, right?  Apparently not on Planet Beckmen.  Now don’t get me wrong, if the General had even a partially functioning piece of brain in her skull she would know it would be foolish to ask Agent Walker to do anything plainly harmful to Chuck.  After all, her agent has worked closely with this asset for 18 months at this point, and been responsible for protecting him physically and emotionally.  Only a complete moron would think Agent Walker would be the ideal candidate to say, terminate the asset or lead him to a secure bunker for the rest of his life (but wait!  we’ll come back to that in a couple weeks!).  But Sarah has done an extraordinary job of keeping Chuck cooperative, happy and healthy.  Plus, Agent Walker is loyal to the government (not Fulcrum) and always gets the job done. And did I mention that the General knows Chuck is a sensitive, insecure sort who truly is attached to his handler.  And then is the closely related issue of Chuck’s response.  I would think, especially given the General’s discussion with him at the end of Predator, that Chuck actually does have enough influence to insist on the team of his choosing.  He tried to insist on only working with Sarah to Agent Forrest, but seriously, it shouldn’t be such a hard thing for him to barter his continued cooperation for the team of his choice.

Okay, rant over for now.  This episode does require a massive suspension of disbelief to get around to the main story.  But oh what a story.  What this episode does best it really does extremely well.  So many scenes are just extraordinary.  And I know I’ve already used that word, but Broken Heart deserves it on several levels.  We get several scenes that are either brilliantly funny, or powerful and sweet.  From the first visit to the hospital, with Agent Forrest tranquing a nurse’s aid and Chuck and his awkward conversation with Dr. Zamir.  Then we have a painfully funny bachelor party overlapping Sarah’s excruciating dismissal.  Yvonne’s performance is just perfect, as always.

When he finally gets around to it, Casey standing up for “the best partner he’s ever had” is satisfying too.  But I have to say, the highlight of this episode is Chuck in the vault.  As Chuck so often does, we get funny and exciting overlapping perfectly.  I love the laughing gas gag and Chuck still tricking Zamir into giving up the intelligence.

Best buddies!

And I love Sarah managing to save the day in spite of Forrest’s efforts to kill Chuck.  And who can resist this scene’s end; “both.”  They should have hugged.  I know I know.  It’s too early, it only would have made things look worse for Sarah, blah, blah, blah.  They should have hugged.

The debrief with the General yields great results.  Casey stands up for Chuck and Sarah all at once.  And Chuck’s appeal is finally heard and Sarah is reinstated. Perfect end.  Now I will say, there is an obvious consequence here that I’m very disappointed they never played with.  Sarah and Chuck’s feelings for each other clearly make them an excellent team.  And in particular, it makes Sarah a great bodyguard for Chuck.  But as I mentioned way back in Marlin, Sarah is not truly the government’s agent where this asset is concerned.  She can be trusted to always protect him and help him complete missions.  But a thinking General would know she shouldn’t be trusted with orders that are clearly not in Chuck’s best interest.  When this episode first ran I was very excited for where this might go.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the rest of this season, but I sure do wish we had seen Beckman act on her new found knowledge about Agent Walker’s conflicted interests.  Broken Heart isn’t the last time we’ll get some awesome drama derived from Beckman’s staggering stupidity.

The final scenes of this episode are some very good Chuck and Sarah stuff.  And remember, the intel on Chuck’s Dad is another example of where Sarah’s loyalties do lie.  Chuck knows it too. Almost as a secondary issue, this end ties this episode back into the finale arc.  And I want to emphasize again how truly outstanding I thought the second half of this episode was.  Really an excellent example of how much fun this show can be when everything comes together just right.  Something less overtly “plot devicey” might have helped with getting the episode started, but I think it works far better when the rough spots are at the beginning than when they’re at the end!

~ Dave

Silly!

Oh yes. I’ll agree with Dave wholeheartedly about the eyebrow raising set-ups at the beginning of Chuck vs. The Broken Heart. Well, not so much that the General was worried that Sarah was compromised – I mean, everyone, including Beckman, knew that she was. It was only a question of how much was Agent Walker compromised. So the general is actually worried that Walker is sleeping with “the asset?” Doubtful. Maybe she should be worried that Agent Walker has convinced the asset that selling his talents on the open market so that they can run away to sunny Spain or something, might be a viable option? That’s doubtful too. That’s not Sarah. Not yet.

Oh Brother! So Unprofessional!

Oh Brother! So Unprofessional!

But Noooooooo! They have to do a 49-B, whatever that is. Apparently, it’s got something to do with Cylons. Bring on Tricia Helfer!

Okay. The first time I saw this episode, I was prepared for “teh silly.” And the opening with, first, Chuck being abducted by scary looking, hooded men dressed in black and second, Casey realizing that hosing down the Buy Moron miscreants on a mission was an adequate and appropriate response, confirmed that this was going to be ridiculously silly. So replacing Sarah with a Cylon seemed right in sync.

The mission itself is a one-off. No Fulcrum or Orion here. There’s a terrorist lurking in Burbank by the name of Rashad Ahmad who spends the entire episode in a comatose state, mostly in a hospital room. Nice role, if you can get it. Ahmad is best buds, though, with one Hassan Khalid, who’s hiding out somewhere in the Afghani mountains. Beckman wants to plant a bug into the pacemaker of the heart patient Ahmad so that they can get to Bin Ladin Khalid character. Agent Forrest, the “49-B” sent to evaluate and replace Sarah, and Casey are very much into this kind of op. “I’ve dreamed of finding that guy,” they say in unison. Two minds. Connected, professionally. She’s also there to “evaluate my performance,” says Sarah.

Khalid’s personal physician, Zamir (Shaun Toub), is the guy trying to stand between Team B and their objective.

Did I say, Team B? When Sarah is told to stay in the van, it’s no longer Team B. Much to my surprise, Sarah is the odd man out, not Chuck, and that didn’t make me laugh with the silliness. It wasn’t supposed to. Instead, I found myself watching Sarah’s face as she looked first surprised and then helpless as she was ordered to stay back. That’s a change. Is this the girl we saw threaten Chuck righteously in the second episode of season 1, saying that she’ll take the next plane back to Langley if he doesn’t listen to her?

The first time I saw this episode, I was watching Chuck. I knew that he was crazy about Sarah (his words), and I knew that Sarah was resisting emotional ties for some pretty good reasons. I thought she was the strong one and I thought they were going to walk that tightrope pretty much forever, even if she did “like” the nerd.

There’s more going on, of course, but not all of it is between Chuck and Sarah. The Buy Morons are throwing a bachelor party for Awesome, and for most of them, it’s their first time (yeah, double entendre intended). Devon’s got the key card that will get Casey into the hospital’s secure area, so that he can plant the bug. But it’s around his neck. That’s a good excuse for Agent Forrest to try to get Devon’s shirt off and an even better excuse to cause some little tension between Ellie and Devon weeks before their wedding.

That wasn’t silly at all. In fact, Sarah Lancaster gives one of her best performances, I think, as she goes from trusting Devon to being devastated at his implied dalliance. Things are not going well in the apartment.

Things are not going well for Chuck, either. He’s been stymied in his mission to find Orion, so instead, he puts his energies into finding his dad so that he can be there for Ellie’s wedding. No luck there, either. In joking desperation, he asks Sarah if she can use Castle’s main-frame computer to do the search. Uh, no. It’s that kind of thing that’s gotten Sarah in trouble with Beckman. It’s the kind of thing that could get her fired.

You're Fired!

You’re Fired!

Agent Forrest’s evaluation assures Sarah gets fired anyway.

And this is where I’d really like to begin. Sarah is forced out of Castle, and what’s the first thing she does? She commits a treasonous act to help Chuck find his dad. This is not only a transformation for her – I want to say a shocking transformation, because this was the first time, back in the spring of 2009, that I noticed Sarah Walker was no longer Agent Walker.

Oh, there were plenty of signs to be seen before this. But it took me several viewings to realize their importance. There will be times coming in later episodes when Sarah taps deep into the emotional darkness that is Agent Walker, relying on the steel armor she had placed around her heart when we first met her. But when Sarah decides that her last act in Burbank will be to help Chuck find his dad, and again when Sarah realizes that the search succeeded and turns around, she’s crossed some sort of Rubicon. Maybe this is not so silly after all.

Sarah’s still the best, and proves it by solving the mystery of Chuck’s and Ahmad’s whereabouts in a remarkable – and surprisingly realistic – sequence of logical deduction. As if Agent Forrest doesn’t get it, Sarah all but challenges her tormentor to a fight, adding a shoulder-chuck for emphasis. It’s no contest.

Sarah’s not done. Chuck’s locked in a bank vault with the terrorist Zamir, being forced to perform surgery because of a case of mistaken identity. There’s two ways to get in, Forrest’s way (using a bit of nitro, which will probably kill terrorists and “the asset” too) and Sarah’s way (which will require a lot of skill). Casey’s the deciding vote, and he’s known for liking brute force methods. Which will he decide? He gave his answer a bit earlier in the episode.

Casey: Now, Forrest, I was gonna say earlier, I disagree with your assessment.
Forrest: About what?
Casey: Walker. She’s a pro. Not only that, she’s the best damn partner I ever had.

Casey’s transformed at least as much as Sarah, it seems.

Oh, we’re not done being silly. In fact, there’s quite a bit more coming. But it seems so much more gentle now and so much more welcome. In his laughing-gas induced stupor, Zamir becomes pals with Chuck, even advising him to stand his ground with the authorities to get his woman back “Like Hassan Khalid.” And where is that guy? Chuck asks. Why he’s in the Eastern Karakorum caves. Cool. Mission accomplished. Sarah saves the asset by getting the vault door open.

Chuck: Sarah? Is it really you or am I super stoned?
Sarah: Uh, both. Heh!

Beckman takes some convincing, but the contrivance we all found questionable, that spies should not be emotionally involved, is removed. This too is a transformation because now Chuck and Sarah’s future is very much up to them. It is not up to the authorities. You’d think Chuck would jump on that, wouldn’t you?

Broken Heart is full of things I find problematic. Why was Devon’s name on the forms indicating he performed surgery on Ahmad, when he obviously couldn’t? And why wasn’t he in trouble for that? I’m sure nitrous oxide could have been used as an anesthetic in the vault, but would Doctor Zamir really have chosen that in a confined space? And what ever happened to those other terrorists in the vault? They’re there one minute and gone the next without a shot being fired.

But by the time Bon-Iver’s Bloodbank starts playing, I don’t care. Chuck is not concerned about his future with Sarah – he’s not going to worry about a romance that may or may not happen right now, even if it’s with Sarah Walker. That’s too problematical. He’s worried about Ellie and he’s more than angry over what the government has done to his life and the lives of those around him. That’s today.

The song is well chosen. Having the Intersect in his head and being a spy has already cost Chuck too much. All lightheartedness aside, it may demand his very life’s blood.

What we see is that Sarah is not worried about her life at all. She’s only worried about Chuck. Sarah decides that, orders or no, this is about something bigger. And make no mistake, before all this, orders were the biggest thing for Agent Walker. This is not silly, and the mistakes I think I noticed while watching just don’t matter in comparison.

Disappointment

Disappointment

Symbolized by one touch of Sarah’s hand on the back of Chuck’s neck, this change in Sarah transfixed and amazed me the first time and continues to do so every time I see it. At that moment his life’s mission, no matter what that might be, seems to be hers.

Now look at Chuck’s eyes when she touches him.

...and strength

…and strength

It’s both disappointment that his father’s not there and a determination – and strength – that his life will go on that I see.

That’s not the nerd who was afraid to go to his own birthday party. No matter what happens from now on, that’s not the guy with the freakishly girlish screams any longer. He now recognizes all the changes that Sarah’s been going through.Of all the people I said were changed before, Chuck is transformed most of all.

But there’s one more thing. “Dad?”

– 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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47 Responses to Chuck vs The Broken Heart (2.18)

  1. Robert says:

    I agree that the plot was on the weak side, but how nice it was to see Sarah’s defiance, and how she put everything on the line to help (and save) Chuck.

    She really (and finally) crossed the line; her loyalty (and love) is for Chuck. She has begun to take the leap of faith and listen to her heart (we’re pretty much around that v-log entry time, right?).

    I LOVED when Sarah touched Chuck’s neck; that simple gesture, coming from her, meant A LOT; of course, she touched him before, but it is the first time that it feel all real, and not just a furtive gesture to indulge in a kind of “guilty” pleasure; no, this time, she’s not afraid to show him that she loves him, that she’s there for him, it is full of love and kindness, something Sarah never showed him with such confidence, it even feels intimate in a way…

    She’s not afraid of her feelings anymore; she doesn’t know what the future will be, but she knows she loves him, and she’s less and less conflicted about it.

    And as it’s been underlined, the effect on Chuck is immediate, he comes from feeling disappointed to feeling confident right there; he’s beginning to understand that Sarah is by his side not simply out of duty anymore; but out of love. Of course, Chuck is the kind of person that needs to hear it, and it’ll take some time, but deep down, he feels it. And then we almost got the third real kiss between them…but we’ll get one heck of a real kiss between them very soon…

    Even if the plot is a bit weak, it’s an episode I really like, especially for the emotional payoffs we got regarding Chuck and Sarah, and how their romance is shifting gear fast!

    • atcDave says:

      I agree with all of that Robert. As we were discussing last week, I think Sarah’s admission to her v-log that she loved Chuck, and didn’t know what to do about it, occurred immediately prior to this episode. And I think it shows in Sarah’s behavior, in both ways. She clearly doesn’t know what she’s going to do when she gets fired, except that she WILL say goodbye to Chuck (at least via note) regardless of orders. And of course she defies orders for Chuck several times in the process; from the note, to rescuing Chuck her own way in spite of Forest’s meddling, to finally taking Chuck to see his dad. Really an awesome series of events. And I think it all shows some growing acceptance of her own feelings on Sarah’s part.

    • joe says:

      Well put, Robert. For me that emotional payoff came when I understood that now Chuck actually believes Sarah has feelings for him too. Before this, he was never quite sure.

      He has lots of questions left and he approaches them slowly – that’s the point of The Colonel, I think. And certainly Chuck still has other things pressing on his mind, like his dad and Ellie’s wedding.

      But if he asks himself the question “Does Sarah care?” he knows now the answer is yes and that the answer has been yes for a while.

      • atcDave says:

        I think Chuck has known for a long time that Sarah cares, but I think he can start to have more confidence about how much she cares, and that it really is personal. Although he will still have some doubts in the episodes ahead, I think he now has more cause to be encouraged than doubtful.

      • joe says:

        Yes! That’s what those two pictures from the end of the episode point out to me. It’s confidence.

        How Zac portrayed that so effectively is a mystery to me! Stagecraft and the magic of acting, I imagine.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah very good performance for the end of this one. Although I think the costuming and make-up played a big part too, but we got a very nice scene showing Chuck’s maturing and Sarah’s relaxing a little in her affection towards him.

      • Robert says:

        Yeah, this time, Chuck knows for sure that Sarah cares.

        And Casey, Beckman and Agent Forrest too. By the way, what do you make of Agent Forrest’s reaction to Chuck and Sarah confessing to Beckman that they care about each other? She disaproves?

      • atcDave says:

        Oh yeah she disapproves! We will hear the mantra many times that “Spies don’t fall in love”; well I think Forrest is passing judgment of sorts on Sarah. She tried to literally do that by having Sarah fired, but even when Beckman over-rules her to re-instate Agent Walker, Forrest can’t get over the dogma of her training.
        Of course by S4 we’ll start to see how ridiculous it is as Chuck and Sarah become a powerful and effective team.

      • joe says:

        That screen-snap I used of Forrest with her eyes closed? You can almost see her shaking her head saying “So unprofessional!” That’s the moment you’re thinking of right? Yeah. That’s when Chuck confesses that both he and Sarah care for each other and then convinces Beckman that for them, it works. Right then, the camera goes to Sarah. You can tell by her expression that she understands and agrees.

        I would think that Agent Forrest disapproves and is appalled that they just got away with it! 😉 But she’s a good soldier first, so she’ll go without complaining further.

  2. Wilf says:

    This is definitely one of my favourite episodes.

    The exchange with Beckman near the beginning –
    B: “Pardon the intrusion”
    C: “On this moment or my life in general?” is both very funny and extremely sad at the same time.

    The line near the end “I can’t believe how much the United States government has hurt the people that I love” is, for me, one of the most poignant of the entire series. I’m also surprised that they kept up the “not telling Ellie” pretence: even at this stage, to have Ellie “inside” would surely have stabilised Chuck immensely and the CIA would have benefited greatly from that. But “rules is rules” ruled supreme.

    • joe says:

      Interesting speculation on telling Ellie here, Wilf. We’re two episodes away from Devon finding out.

      About the time these episodes were being filmed, I imagine that they (especially Schwartz and Fedak) were wondering if the show was going to be canceled or renewed. It certainly looks like, starting with the end of Lethal Weapon, they were trying hard to tie up all the loose ends. Certainly they were working to leave Chuck and Sarah in a good place for the fans.

      But then, what’s left if NBC renews the show? They needed hooks and Ellie’s ignorance about Chuck and the Intersect was a big one. I do wonder if they were going to let it hang out there if the worst happened.

      • Wilf says:

        Yes, Joe, that makes sense (re Ellie). Although, of course, they did draw that one out far too long (IMO) through most of Season 4 as well.

      • atcDave says:

        Ellie not knowing in S4 was truly a silly story, but at least in the end it was also harmless.

      • joe says:

        I like the way they had Ellie finding out (I’m a big fan of all the threads that concerned Scott Bakula’s character). But I too wish it had come sooner.

        I have a similar idea about that delay too. I’ll always wonder if that was because S3 got extended late to 19 episodes. My imagination says that the original concept had he who shall not be named threatening all of Chuck’s family at the end of S3, at episode 13. The padding and tweaking of the schedule put that are in the mini-season-last-6 of S3 instead.

        But that’s just idle speculation.

  3. resaw says:

    I think I agree with everything that was written here — this time. Actually, what I agree with is that Chuck is worth writing about any and every time. It was such a great series. But, as has been observed, this show managed to combine one of the worst premises with some of the most important events of the series. It’s just crazy to me that Agent Forrest, the 49B, is present to observe and assess Agent Walker’s performance, yet, when the assignment at the hospital begins, it is Sarah who is tasked to sit in the van and observe while Forrest joins Chuck on the mission.

    When Chuck flashed on Alex Forrest, I was particularly interested in the Canadian passport that he flashed on. I notice that the birthdate, 11 April 1974, is Helfer’s own (per Wikipedia). I notice as well her place of birth is listed as Harpervale. To my knowledge, there is no such place. I’m guessing they are riffing on our current Prime Minister’s name, Stephen Harper, which got them thinking about “Harper Valley PTA,” which led to Harpervale. Dare I confess that I’ve never watched Battlestar Galactica?

    So, I’ve never paid terribly much attention to the episode titles, but this time, I recognized that there were a lot of “broken hearts,” both physical and metaphorical: Rashad Ahmad’s need for physical heart surgery, Chuck’s broken heart over the loss of Sarah and the damage his involvement with the US gov’t has done to his sister’s relationship with her fiancé, Sarah’s broken heart over having to leave Chuck, and Ellie’s broken heart over the perceived breach of trust she placed in Devon. Have I covered everyone?

    I have to agree with Chuck’s assessment of the similar mindsets of Casey and Forrest: “You two are a match made in a very frightening part of heaven.” Speaking of double entendres, that weapon-cleaning session came close to being pornographic! It was great, however, to see Casey come to Sarah’s defence and also for him to give Chuck the room to speak up in Sarah’s defence in the reinstatement meeting before Beckman.

    Oh, speaking of Beckman, when she reaches Chuck through his TV in his bedroom, Chuck is in the midst of reviewing the schematics to the Fulcrum Intersect, pasted into his comic book. When she interrupts his study, he puts the comic book down, *open* to the pages where the schematics are taped in. Granted, at the angle from which Beckman is talking to Chuck, without paying close attention it’s unlikely that she would be able to see anything suspicious, but given the emphasis on trust in the previous episode, I would have thought Chuck would have been much more cautious.

    Yvonne has her moments once again. When Sarah is being officially terminated following the 49B report, her eyes appear red-rimmed and on the verge of tears. She’s just barely holding it together. And you believe that emotion is true. At least I did. Even the scene in the car on the highway, when she’s driving away from LA, sunglasses on, there is an expression on her face that captures the emotions that Sarah Walker is feeling. Most of all, there is that incredibly supportive, gentle, caring, loving gesture of putting her hand on Chuck’s neck. Like you mention above, Robert, it is not furtive, nor founded on the kind of pretence we have seen so often before. It is genuine.

    Despite its flaws, this was a very important episode, always worth a rewatch, and it gives us the tantalizing knowledge that Chuck’s father has been discovered, but not yet revealed (to us).

    • joe says:

      Nice, Resaw. That’s an excellent summary and review.

      Heh – Yeah. That gun-cleaning scene should have been R rated, but it was fun. We should ask Adam how he kept a straight face. You remind me that I should have mentioned how great a job Bonita Friedericy did here too. Between scowls at Devon’s frequent invocation Chuck’s verbal password, earnestness when she tells Chuck that they “…will have to do a 49-B” and forceful demeanor in the last episode (when she told Sarah exactly how long she’s been chasing Orion), General Beckman has been on a tear.

      Also, when this episode first aired people were commenting a lot on Sarah’s “softer” look. I’m not particularly sensitive to that stuff, but I must admit, I like the way Yvonne is wearing her hair throughout this episode. I can’t recall others where she looked quite like this. It’s exemplified in that picture I used in the post, from the moment she’s been dismissed.

    • anthropocene says:

      Perhaps there were two other “broken hearts” alluded to—the ones that predated all the others: Chuck’s and Ellie’s hearts broken by their father’s departure, now to be addressed in the coming episodes.

      Another thing I liked about Sarah in this episode was the way she gently deflected all of Chuck’s concerns about her doing an illegal search for his dad—”maybe it’s time for the US government to help you,” “C’mon, knock,” “it’ll be good to see him.”. He knows she did something risky for him, but she doesn’t want him to worry or dwell on that, because she did it out of love. Then the hand on his neck, which was pretty close to a caress—it was sweet to see her so clearly signal her feelings, and to see Chuck get it.

      As folks have already discussed, the romantic tension through this arc was so well done, playing moments like this off others like Sarah’s response when Beckman insists that the Intersect stay in Chuck’s brain. Chuck now knows that Sarah cares for him, but he also knows that she’s still that consummate professional….

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I really like that part too.

      • joe says:

        Beckett and Castle are one of the best TV couples of all time. But Chuck and Sarah are at least as good together. On top of that they have a kind of youthful innocence that makes you root for them as if the characters were friends or even, if you’re older, your own children. It’s gentle manipulation of the best kind!

        “Fedak you magnificent bastard! I read your book!”

      • “Beckett and Castle are one of the best TV couples of all time.”
        They have great chemistry, sometimes. But too often the relationship is ignored in filler episodes. Charah chemistry is just as good, and while the pacing was sometimes hurried because of cancellation threats, at least it wasn’t artificially slowed to a ridiculous crawl. The manipulation on Chuck was far gentler.

        Castle’s season 3 to parter Setup/Countdown is on TNT right now. Beckett and Castle almost die four times in this story, sometimes literally in each others arms, and it still took them another 30 episodes for them to get together. Two episodes after The Other Guy, Chuck and Sarah had moved in together. Fourteen episodes after Castle’s Always, Castle got a drawer. Nineteen episodes after The Other Guy, a proposal. Nineteen after Always is Castle’s 100th episode. We’ll see what happens…

      • atcDave says:

        I think Castle will just always move things at a slower pace. I’m mostly fine with that, I’ve never felt quite the intensity with Castle that I did on Chuck. I do think they make a mistake when they have no romance at all on a particular episode, but at least they haven’t gone the lame break-up route (yet!).

      • Mel says:

        While Fillion and Katic are good actors, I don’t think their chemistry comes even close to what Zac and Yvonne had. This season in particular their relationship has been pretty boring (though I haven’t seen the 2 latest eps yet), I think the writers waited for too long to put the leads together, and now they don’t know what to do with them. A pretty common problem for a tv show.

      • joe says:

        The last two Castles were much better relationship wise, Mel. Of course, that included the obligatory Valentine’s Day episode… 😉

        The pacing is definitely different in Castle. I came to it late (right after Kate was shot), so I still spend DVR space recording episodes and watching out of order. (As an aside, I can usually tell the approximate ordering by Stana’s hair-length. 😉 ) What I see is that, yes, although many of the episodes don’t have much romantic tension as the primary arc (uh, most?), it’s the rare exception where it isn’t worked in somehow. Usually it’s just a grimace or a line from one or the other, but there’s always something to be seen.

        As opposed to Bones, where the romance was handled at even a slower pace. Too slow for me.

        The one that surprises me is still TBBT. They kept Leonard and Penny apart (more or less) for nearly two seasons, which seems ridiculously long. Now I keep waiting for them to break up again, which is also ridiculous.

        Yet, I keep rooting for them. They have pretty good chemistry too, especially considering Cuoco and Galecki got together and then broke up IRL too. Must have been difficult.

      • Mel, sorry I should have “spoiler alerted” my post. The V-day episode was far better than the previous two, which could have taken place anytime during the season. Castle clearly has filler episodes that are standard procedural fare. My guess is only certain writers are allowed to do anything with the relationship, and they are clearly aiming for certain high and lows around finales and season breaks. Castle was recently extended by an episode from 23 to 24. I’m not enthused by that, however because I know it will just be a filler.

        While they didn’t have the break-up routine, PLIs were at an obnoxious level. Castle had 8 PLIs and Beckett had 6. Chuck had 3 (not counting Beckman in Santa Suit) and Sarah had 3.

        Castle is also doing the secret plot line, with the Castkett relationship instead of spying. I keep hoping Captain Gates has a similar reaction to Ellie’s second reaction in season 4, something along the lines of “Of course you two are together. Why did you bother trying to hide it?”

        Meanwhile, on TNT right now, Castle and Beckett are in front of a bomb, and they don’t do this:

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I agree with most of that Mel. Zach/Yvonne were kind of off the charts for chemistry, I’ve truly never seen anything else quite like it.
        But I like Castle and Beckett a lot too. Agree entirely that they waited too long though. That is clearly television formula; drag things out until your audience is on the verge of grabbing torches and pitchforks and hunting you down before actually uniting your featured couple. And that may be because of the next rule; Hollywood writers have no clue what a happy couple actually looks like. Possibly because they such a rare thing in Hollywood.
        I will always be thankful that the writers for Chuck managed to (mostly) break the second rule. Too bad the first rule was applied with all the subtlety of a locomotive…
        So far I’ve been mostly happy with how Castle has handled things. Let’s just hope if they do an amnesia arc they don’t save it for the end!

      • atcDave says:

        Jeff I do have to say about that Castle V-Day episode; Castle and Gates were off the charts funny! Does Gates qualify as another PLI? Oh my was I laughing hard…

      • joe says:

        @Jeff

        I keep hoping Captain Gates has a similar reaction to Ellie’s second reaction in season 4…

        I’m hoping more for something like Beckman’s “It’s about damn time!” to come out of Gate’s mouth. 😉

      • Mel says:

        “Castle clearly has filler episodes that are standard procedural fare. My guess is only certain writers are allowed to do anything with the relationship, and they are clearly aiming for certain high and lows around finales and season breaks. ”

        That’s another thing that bothers me about the show, it often seems absolutely nothing of consequence ever happens unless it’s a “mythology” episode focusing on the murder of Beckett’s mother.

        It’s another common tv problem, I suppose, Chuck managed to avoid it, mostly.

      • Dave, I hadn’t thought of Gates as another PLI. I’ve added it to http://mynameisjeffnimlost.tumblr.com/post/22632533556/charah-vs-caskett
        Beckett and Castle needed someone like Sarah to drop in from the ceiling and steal the earrings back.

        Joe, that would be a great response too. It just doesn’t work the longer they drag out the secret. If she doesn’t know, Gates isn’t going to like looking like a fool. I like the idea of the show pointing out the secret that was such a big deal was really kind of pointless.

        The second half of that episode was the best Castle has been since the Hamptons episode. Chuck was good at fun couple antics. So is Castle, when they do that. The show just needs more of it.

        Mel, I think Castle has four types: mythology, ho-hum fillers, dramatic two-parters, and fun one-shots (like Nikki Heat, the Hamptons episode, the Nebula 9 episode, and this recent V-day episode.) If the Castle seasons were shortened to 13 episodes like Chuck or BBC seasons, Castle would be a very high quality show on average.

      • atcDave says:

        But I enjoy a lot of the filler episodes! Really. I don’t need, or even want “important” things to happen every week. To me it builds the “reality” of the setting to have a number of status quo episodes. And on Castle (like Chuck), I think those mundane status quo episodes often manage to be a lot of fun.

        Although Jeff I do completely agree that the “couple” sort of stuff is always tons of fun, and I always wish they would do more of it.

      • joe says:

        Oh, face it, Dave. Those “couple” episodes are what Chuck fans are made of. That’s our thing – we live off that stuff. Mythology episodes too.

        Stand-alones like The Hamptons relieve the tension build up. We need that too or our brains would explode. The fun stuff is essential for our mental health!

        Besides. Who can resist the notion of Beckett actually wanting to go skinny dipping? Hum? That’ll keep you young. 😉

        So the only thing in question is the mix! How much of each and the timing.

      • authorguy says:

        I didn’t see alot of romantic tension in the first 2 seasons of Castle, which are all I’ve seen so far. Maybe I should see more when I get the chance. Right now the chemistry of David Boreanaz and Emilie Deschanel in Bones is making us plow through the series, up to season 4 already, even though it eats into my fanfic time.

      • atcDave says:

        I think the low intensity of romantic tension at the start of Castle is why it was easier for me to be patient. The tempo is just slower. Chuck had more romantic tension right from the Pilot. It was tons of fun, on occasion (!), but it started the timer running fast and early. While Castle’s timer just felt like it was at a slower tempo from the outset (If Chuck was a microwave, Castle was a calender!)

      • Caskett chemistry relies heavily on banter and little glances and gestures–things like how Castle brings coffee as a daily symbolic kiss and how Beckett quickly looks at Castle’s mouth when he talks. The dynamic changes once they start throwing the word ‘partner’ around, because it means Castle has grown up a little and Beckett knows it.

        The Bones/Booth relationship is about trust of too damaged people who have trouble trusting. It really was extended a season and a half too long, and I sometimes feel like the chemistry is lost, even now.

        Charah chemistry was more electric from the start because they clearly want to be together but aren’t allowed to be and don’t know what the other wants. It’s a highwire act in the most delicious way. Actually, trying to explain Charah chemistry is a topic unto itself.

      • joe says:

        For me, the main story for Chuck was always about C&S finding themselves and finding a way to be together. For Castle, first and foremost, it’s the murder mystery and then the romance a close second. Rick may be boyish, but Castle is more about adults who already know themselves.

        I’d say Bones is first the adventure/mystery and then a story about everyone’s unusual psychology. It’s the most “adult” of the three, in a way, with two people who not only know themselves, but have already established themselves at the top of their fields.

        TBBT is all about the comedy, of course.

      • atcDave says:

        Joe I agree completely about Chuck vs Castle.

  4. jam says:

    This is somewhat interesting, and has been talked about here before: “Nielsen Agrees to Expand Definition of TV Viewing”.
    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/nielsen-agrees-expand-definition-tv-422795

    Too late, but it’s something, I guess.

  5. First Impression says:

    I liked the opening scene.  The BuyMorons ‘kidnap’ Chuck and once they explained their antics, Casey sprayed them away like dirt off the Crown Vic … and Chuck let him, ambling off to his room.  For once they were in agreement on how the Morons should be handled.  

    Broken hearts littered the show:  Sarah being ordered away from Chuck, Chuck being told Sarah was relieved of duty, Ellie believing Devon had gone too far at the Bachelor party, not to mention the bad guy with the bad heart and a scalpel through a chest x-ray during the vault scene.

    And I might have enjoyed the freakish female Casey in another context, but I disliked what Agent Forrest represented so much that I found only minimal humor in their identical responses to planning the various stages of the mission.  It was a joy watching her ‘protocol’ make a shambles of the mission.  On a positive note, with the contrast we witnessed Sarah’s beauty and intelligence, which surpassed Agent Forrest’s by far. 

    Being released from duty and having little else to lose, Sarah searched for Chuck’s dad, possibly the last honorable thing she could do for him.  I wondered if she would share the intel after Team B was reinstated, and I was relieved she did when Chuck came, desperate for help with Ellie.

    I LOVED the closing scene: the Porsche, the Airstream, the second thoughts, the gentle encouragement, the knock, the defeat, the caress, the open door.  Dad.  It was all I could do to not press play for the next episode.  However, I did wonder something when Sarah saw his Dad.  Did she recognize him?  

    • atcDave says:

      The only thing I loved about Forest was watching her go down in flames at the bank. That whole sequence is one of my very favorites.

      I remember a lot of speculation about if Sarah knew dad back when this first ran, but no. Sarah definitely does not know dad.

      • First Impression says:

        That was priceless, seeing her fail and Sarah rise victorious.

        Glad I’m not the only one who thought Sarah might have recognized his dad. There was just something about the way she looked at him, paused like she was processing it, and looked again.

      • atcDave says:

        I think the moment was “I suddenly understand so much….”

      • atcDave says:

        Sorry if that’s too obtuse. I mean that in the anyone meeting their future in-laws sense.

      • First Impression says:

        🙂

  6. Christopher says:

    out of 91 episodes this one ranks last for me. Grant it the end of this episode is great Charah moment, but Alex Forrest was a very bad character that had no use to the story. She was a cyborg that kept using the word protocol. it was annoying that she refused to listen to Chuck and even Forrest made Casey defend Walker. Forrest didn’t come in with loving arms and was basically kicked out of the door.

    Why do shows like to add characters like Forest to the show is beyond me. One scene does not save an episode for me for example, Chuck vs Helicopter was such a bad episode despite the dinner scene I just find it to be lacking a lot of main story quality and not one of Chuck’s best episodes. I put it in the category of 3D, Helicopter and Broken Heart. Just episodes that don’t do anything for me but be a skip in my rewatches

    • anthropocene says:

      I don’t think Agent Forrest was intended to be anything other than an anti-Sarah, and she fit that role perfectly! And she served a very important purpose: to convince General Beckman that Sarah was the best handler for Chuck.

      • Christopher says:

        I understand the character but it is kne that I can careless for I prfer Heather Chandler in Cubic z than Forrest here both were anti Sarahs obnoxious and overbaring at times just writing it makes me antsy to quote Harry Tang
        .
        I rather take a potato peeler to my groin than to watch this episode

  7. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Broken Heart (2.18) | Chuck This

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