Season Three Alternatives: Pink Slip

The main re-watch posts are now up to season three.  Given how many of us had different ideas for what we wanted from that season, we’re going to try to have a discussion of what would have worked better for us, what are interesting alternatives (maybe not even better?), or maybe even, what themes started on the show would we have liked to see explored more?  After the jump, let’s try something a little different.

This is sort of an experiment.  For many of us, the idea of actually re-watching much of season three is pretty distasteful.  But we’ve all complained until we’re blue in the face about it, and I’m pretty tired of it. So I’m hoping we’ll do something different that will be at least a little more positive than how this has gone before. Don’t get me wrong, if you feel compelled to complain about an episode once again, you will likely find a sympathetic ear here.  But I find the main discussions right now to be utterly depressing, so I’m hoping for something a little more upbeat here.

I think the outline for these next twelve weeks will be to look briefly at the episode and give general impressions, then any ideas from the week’s episode that might be worthy of further exploration, and finally any fan fiction that may have come from that episode.  Now I need to admit something that will be quickly obvious to many of you, I simply do not hold the canon story for season three in very high regard.  I was drawn to this show by affection for the main characters, combined with a mixture of comedy and action.  When I find the main characters unlikable it undermines my primary reason for watching.  My strongest connection to this show has to do more with the idea of the main characters and the performances than it does with the actual story.  And for me, that idea starts with a nerdy everyman I can completely relate to.  He’s scared of the same sorts of things (including certain types of social interaction) I am, but he tries to do right and ultimately proves to be both imaginative and brave.  At least that’s what I saw from the start of the series.  Almost as important is the exciting and heroic spy who has an easier time with going in harm’s way, but a harder time opening up and connecting on a personal level.  Add a supporting cast of likable, quirky and funny characters and the idea of Chuck is irresistible to me.  But I do occasionally find specific story-telling in this show to be much lacking.  In most cases, its not a terribly big deal.  One week Chuck might be a little more whiny than I would prefer to see, maybe the next week Sarah won’t be as encouraging as I thought she should have been.  But that’s mostly okay.  Real people occasionally disappoint too.  And as long as the problems are only occasional, and the characters mostly remain true to those ideals I was so drawn to, the show remained a completely enjoyable experience.

But what to do when the disappointment continues long term?  For me, a big part of the answer involved divorcing myself from attachment to what was actually on screen.  I have an idea of those characters that is actually more important to me than what the show runners might want to do.  Add to to that a lifetime of cynicism about the way television is written; especially romance and the all too tired game of will they/won’t they.  And the third season simply becomes one giant and painful roll of the eyes for me.  I once had such high hopes for this show…

For the record, I do want to put up my own impressions of Pink Slip.  Ewww.  I don’t need to say much more than that.  But I will go a little further.  This was simply not the show I fought to save.  Pink Slip in fact is unique as the only Chuck episode without a single funny moment.  And I find myself not liking this version of Chuck and Sarah at all.  Chuck starts as a broken loser, we learn he ran roughshod over Sarah’s plans and feelings in Prague (sure the plan needed work, that doesn’t excuse mistreatment of the woman he supposedly loved), and then he spends the rest of the episode trying to be a spy again.  While Sarah is the cold hearted CIA whore.  But at least Casey comes across well (you can’t see it, but I’m rolling my eyes again).

If Pink Slip had been a new show I would have been done there.  This is not what I find entertaining, and I still consider changing the mood of the show significantly after a “save the show” campaign to be a betrayal by the show runners.  Nothing can redeem it as a business decision.  And as a creative decision I think it can best be called brain freeze.  They took a sweet, fun and highly original show and tried very hard to make it very depressing while following every cliche in the book.  Amazingly, this isn’t my least favorite episode (I think that’s Final Exam), but it does have a place on that list of seven episodes I’ll never watch again.

So what could have been done better?  Apart from the obvious, anything, I do have a few thoughts I’ll put in a couple categories.  First up, our friend Liz James posed the question last week; if we want to treat Colonel as the actual end of Season Two, what could have been a different direction form there?  My first thought is just, well that could have been a nice place for the “happily ever after.”  But if we assume the story goes on it gets a little trickier.  And I think there was never a lot of fan speculating or fan fiction on this issue in part because we only had a week before Ring.  To me, the most intriguing possibility would have been Stephen being awarded several of Roark’s patents leading to a new Orion Computer Company.  Then let’s say Chuck becomes the liaison between OrionCC and the government, especially for all things Intersect related.  I really like the idea here of making Chuck a real computer wiz.  We never quite got there in canon, apart from his super hacking skills that were explained more in later seasons.  But if Chuck is treated as a real genius (like his father said he was), with maybe less emotional baggage than Orion, maybe he’s even the real brains behind the company.  Sarah might be assigned as the government contact into this situation; but I like even better the idea of Casey being the government agent.  Sarah would quit to be Chuck’s bodyguard and head of security.  That would leave Team B intact, while reflecting the new loyalties.  And it could have been a lot of fun.

But this is really a Pink Slip/start of Season Three alternate post.  So I think we should mostly assume Ring occurred as in canon.  Most of my thinking here will be about a completely different season three.  Pink Slip mostly heads in directions I have no interest in, but there was still much potential for a great story.  My first thought is just that Chuck has re-entered the government service he just escaped from.  I would structure the new season not completely unlike the previous ones, but with Chuck actually training to become a real agent now.  Some Intersect problems could be a lot of fun, but I would have preferred more creative malfunctions like we saw in Operation Awesome (yelling at a Thai customer in Thai and kicking Lester in the head) and less of the “C’mon flash, flash” whining that we saw in canon.  And making Sarah part of the problem just doesn’t fly for me.  Way too depressing.  Maybe when Chuck and Sarah are fighting he can’t focus on the Intersect; or just generally when his home life is messed up, so then Chuck gets a new balancing act of keeping friends and family he can’t be completely honest with, happy.

Obviously a big part of my alternate season three involves a completely different Chuck/Sarah story.  Things don’t have to be perfect, I don’t think any of us ever expected Chuck and Sarah to be a completely mature couple at the start of the season.  But if we’d seen some of the issues they dealt with early in Season Four used here; the sort of things that highlight their differences and insecurities without making either character a total flake, I think it would have been a lot of fun.  And I’m sorry, I mean no disrespect, but let’s avoid this ridiculous idea they were in some way “not ready” for an actual relationship.  No one is truly ready until they’re trying to make a relationship work.  “Ready” is a decision anyone can make anytime. Especially for two fictional characters, this can be written any way it can be imagined.  I reject any argument that some mystical level of “ready” or “had to be” has to be attained before the story can progress.  So let’s not even try that.

No doubt, I think the Charah component should have looked more like early S4.  But I can entertain a few variations that might have been fun.  My favorite thought here is the fake, fake relationship.  General Beckman wants to keep the team intact while she develops her new Intersect agent.  But given how much more powerful, and dangerous the 2.0 is she heightens security all around.  Sarah is ordered into 24 hour protection, surveillance is increased, and new agents are brought in.  Of course Chuck and Sarah are both happy about being together this time, but as the professional agent, Sarah’s expected to maintain professional distance.  She can’t actually do that, no repeats of season two here, but with increased surveillance they have real challenges selling their non-relationship to Beckman.  They likely only have real privacy in the bathroom.  It may make public and double dates more appealing because they can act affectionate and actually be themselves.  Although Ellie, and maybe Morgan (?) might be flustered a time or two as Chuck and Sarah get carried away.  Now might be a fun time for those PLIs.  I guess they could only be agents as other civilians would only see a happy couple.  But perhaps the new Ring specialist decides he really likes Sarah; now that could be awkward and funny. Especially since Sarah won’t have an easy time coming up with excuses when she and Chuck aren’t supposed to be a “real” item.  Time for that Spastic Colon.

One of the important things that Season Three did accomplish, in the most miserable way possible, was introduce Chuck to some of the uglier aspects of the spy world.  Things Sarah had shielded him from for two seasons.  This could still have been a source of real drama in the new season.  But I think we could have enjoyed a more edifying show with Sarah helping Chuck through those issues as his life partner instead of just abandoning him.  Let’s see Sarah help Chuck avoid some of the same pitfalls she found herself in.  This could still involve some serious concerns about how everything might change Chuck, but it shouldn’t be drawn out for twelve episodes!

As I’ve said many times, I can imagine scenarios where the wt/wt was drawn out longer, maybe all the way to 3.13, in ways that were less offensively horrible than canon.  Especially if more of the barriers were external, without the feeling of giving up on each other.  But I think Chuck and Sarah together at the start of season three will always be the most appealing to me, by far.

Most of what I just presented are things I’ve said before.  And I’m sure variations on those themes will come up again.  But I do look forward to other suggestions for season three variations.  As we’re just getting started here, the most appropriate things apart from actual Pink Slip alternatives or are complete changes of direction for the season.  We will continue this with (shorter) posts each week when we look at each episode in turn.

Fan Fiction

No doubt I’m a big fan fiction fan.  And that started leading up to season three, especially when I wasn’t liking the spoilers I was hearing.  Fan fiction was an outlet for me to enjoy the characters I loved, in more positive and satisfying stories than were actually being delivered by the “pros”.  Of course, the written word has certain advantages over television.  It can explore inner thoughts and motives.  It can describe things that really can’t be done on television (get your mind out of the gutter!  I’m thinking of lot’s of ‘splosions and heavy ordnance).  And it isn’t bound by 43 minutes or broadcast schedules.  Of course many amateur writers struggle to attain the level of polish a professional (with a professional editor) might achieve.  But the Chuck fandom has truly been blessed with some very talented and dedicated writers.  From graduate students to moonlighting journalists to technology writers to professional librarians we have a more than capable assortment of creative fans.  And season three really inspired some incredible fan fiction.  I think of this as a golden age of sorts.  New stories were coming out fast, and much of the quality was very high.

I think for this first “alternatives” post I’m going to focus on pre- and complete Season Three stories.  With one single Pink Slip inspired piece.  But these will be much faster “reviews” than what I normally do for a fan fiction post.  So with no further ado; the first pre-season three story I have is “Chuck vs Knowing” by ne71.  This is a simple one-shot that speculates on how the 2.0 might work and some interesting challenges it presents.  A much longer work is “It’s Hard to Say Goodbye” by mia2009.  This starts exactly at the end of Ring and goes into a speculative season three.

Several regular commenters at this site have also taken stabs at their own season threes.  Fortunately, to avoid awkwardness, all three are very well done.  The first is the epic “Chuck and Sarah” series by NinjaVanish.  It is broken into three stories; “Chuck and Sarah vs The Bunker“, “Chuck and Sarah vs Themselves” and “Chuck and Sarah vs The Recruits“.  They are listed in the order they first appeared, and the “correct” order to read them; but as pure season three alternates go, “Themselves” is the most relevant to this discussion.  NV follows the early episodes of the season initially and gives us an almost canon (ish) retelling of Prague; but there is no mistake this will be a more fun story from the beginning.  I will mention this again in weeks ahead for other episodes; but the short spoiler would be that Sarah quickly realizes her running away together plan is half-baked, so the Prague train station scene is staged for the benefit of Chuck’s other CIA minders and to give them the breathing room of an official “break up”.  While the real escape plan is just getting started and will play out over a long and involved adventure.

Regular commenter here Marc Vun Kannon (AKA “authorguy”) has been writing a multi part season three re-write.  I linked his author’s page because each episode gets its own title, but the series starts with “nine2five“.  Marc has the team relocating to DC immediately after the 2.0 download, with new covers and a recently married Chuck and Sarah.  This is obviously completely AU from the start of season three.  Yet Marc will follow much of the episode structure, at least thematically, from canon.  Its a unique and interesting way of both following, and completely dumping the show’s story.

And Uplink2 has been working on the epic length “Chuck vs Life, Love & Lies“.  This starts with Chuck and Sarah talking things through the night of the 2.0 download.  There will be no silly misunderstandings at the train station here.  Even as Chuck heads off for his training program he and Sarah are on the same page, and they know they’re working to be together.  Although this story is very different from canon, many “favorite” characters will appear.  And for those who just can’t stand Daniel Shaw, this may be the most completely satisfying treatment of his character I’ve seen.  There’s so much more I could say, but I hate to spoil anything.  The story isn’t complete yet, but Uplink is writing this in three “Acts”.  The first two acts are done, and are complete stories in their own right.

Finally, the one and only story on my favorites list that really is a Pink Slip AU.  It’s a one-shot called “Life In Disguise” by Venillashiz.  This is the story of if Chuck had run with Sarah in Prague.  Yes, its the tale of Hector and Melissa Calderon.  Quick, but entertaining read.  This could have been so much longer!

There are others.  In the weeks ahead we’ll look at some more complete re-writes of season three, and a few shorter spin offs. Look for tales by Crumby and Kate McK coming up.

Now let’s see how this goes.  As always at this site, we will treat each other, plus cast and crew of the show with respect.  Obviously we can express strong opinions, I’m never shy about that; and season three kind of invites it.  Its a polarizing experience for many of us.  I’m not sure if any readers who actually liked the season are even still with me at this point.  Everyone is welcome to comment and argue and bicker; but let’s not get personal or disrespect each others taste.  Of course part of that means you have may have to accept that I loathed the misery arc as much I have to accept someone else loved it.  Remember the loving or loathing of it is not an intellectual or moral shortcoming.  Explaining why something “had to be” a certain way is not helping me, or anyone else.  At this point decisions have been made.  All are always welcome to participate, but I fully expect these posts will most appeal to those who did not like, or had major problems with show canon at the start of season three.

A Chuck Marathon

One last thing.  This is the follow up to a comment I posted last week.  To prove the Law of Unintended Consequences, I hosted a Season Three marathon this last Sunday.  It is an unintended consequence because, while I have faithfully purchased every Chuck season on Blu-Ray disc, I never bought a more “portable” DVD copy of season three.  I wasn’t going to be watching it as much, so why buy it, right?  Well I recently got a friend and his wife hooked on the show.  They borrowed the season one discs and asked for season two three days later.  They got to season three pretty quickly, but guess what, they don’t have a Blu-Ray player.  So rather than cause massive continuity problems I decided to host them for a day long viewing of the season.  Well, I’m not going to watch some episodes, and 19 is too many for a single day anyway!  We (I) settled on 10, the Awesome Arc (3.03 & 3.04), Tic Tac (3.10) and 3.13 to the end.

What a blast!  I narrated some of what we were skipping.  No doubt some of you would have hated my narration.  But we all had a great time.  They were thrilled and ready for Other Guy and Honeymooners (nobody complained about how much more they should have grown first…).   And that back arc is just so exciting.  I had truly forgotten how much fun some of it is.  I still don’t like Chuck’s lying late in the season (and my friend commented on what a lying weasel Chuck had become) and I cringed at the “interrogation”  scene of Living Dead, but there is so much that is fun and wonderful about those episodes.  I knew I had liked them all the first time around, but the re-watch just affirmed that.

Really a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon/evening.

~ Dave


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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121 Responses to Season Three Alternatives: Pink Slip

  1. FSL says:

    Sounds like an interesting venture. I’ll just say that Charah trying to fake a professional relationship is most appealing to me, leading in from the last 49B. I remember Stephen saying that the architecture of the 2.0 is different from his designs. I think that is a more plausible cause of all the intersect problems rather than Chuck’s emotions. Rather like your idea that the intersect fires off in all the wrong times.

    Shaw and Hannah works in this context for me. Shaw being the Ring expert takes a liking to Sarah thinking she’s not really dating Chuck. It will test Sarah’s lying skills as she fights off Shaw’s advances while still pretending not to be in a real relationship or risk reassignment. And Hannah could be a CIA intersect scientist sent secretly by Beckman to work out Chuck’s intersect problems.

    • FSL says:

      In that kind of universe, Pink Slip could be able how Charah conspires to bring Chuck back into the team after he failed spy training.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh nice thought about the failed spy training FSL! That one never occurred to me. The idea of Shaw’s unwanted advances just seems so appealing to me, and he just keeps getting more cranky and frustrated after every brush off.

        I also like the idea of pushing it all the way back to the 49b. You could argue, they got tacit approval from the General; but of course they would try to keep it quiet anyway, knowing she didn’t really mean it that way. But that means no one actually knows what’s going on. Well, except Casey. I think Casey should figure it out quickly, and maybe play co-conspirator, without Chuck and Sarah even knowing. Of course at some point that all goes wrong, maybe leading to a flight off grid.

      • FSL says:

        Off grid sounds fun. Certainly it will be a more mature version of Prague. and pushed much later, perhaps right before AH and OG.

      • lappers84 says:

        I always thought an alternate way was for the two of them to simply work together during the 3.0 arc – they could have left Shaw and Hannah in – but as characters merely attempting to come between them. Might have given Shaw a better arc.

      • atcDave says:

        Lappers I’ve definitely had that in mind as sort of the minimum change scenario. Chuck and Sarah actually work together and talk through things over the course of the season (“cleaning up their mess” after Three Words) and end up with a strong, mature relationship. While Shaw is a team leader and mentor to Chuck who leads the fight against the Ring. He may flirt with Sarah, could be played for laughs, and get frustrated at her rebuffs. But basically, there’s no real love triangle. That way when Shaw goes bad we might actaully care.

  2. uplink2 says:

    First of all Dave, thanks for doing this. I think this is a perfect way for many of us to handle this part of the story of our favorite season. I am never going to change my opinion of the canon story and when I started to discuss it again my anger, disappointment and feeling of betrayal all just came rushing back. No need to get into that debate because it will never be resolved.

    I have said many times that Chuck for me is about emotion. It is about how it makes me feel and how I respond to it on an emotional level that has driven my obsession with it and how I view it. I think back to a scene in Father of the Bride where the Alzheimers stricken grandmother talks about the men in her life to the girl getting married. One that took her on the Merry-go-Round and one that took her on the Roller Coaster. She married the Roller Coaster guy. It is a great metaphor for the emotional ride of life and that is what I saw in Chuck when I began watching the show with the Jill arc. The emotional bond between the characters and especially Chuck and Sarah was unlike anything I had ever seen. By DeLorean I was completely and totally hooked on the show.

    That emotional roller coaster ride brought us to an incredible climax, no pun intended, with “It is Real”. It was a perfectly executed payoff to a perfectly executed build up. My emotional connection with the show and these characters was never stronger. With the ending of Ring I was so excited about the possibilities for some really cool fun stuff built around “It is Real”, the 2.0 and Sarah’s decision to stay. I knew there were conflicts ahead and I was so looking forward to experience them. Again I had no idea of any spoilers, PR disasters, or bizarre videos by writers, Nothing till I sat down in front of my TV on Jan 10, 2010. God I don’t think I could have been more stunned and disappointed in what I saw there. It was like none of the buildup and character growth mattered from season 2. It was just another miscommunication troupe filled reset of the relationship for no other reason than to delay the payoff. BAW said in in the other thread. They didn’t even try to hide the manipulation of you couldn’t put your lead UST couple together in episode 36 of a series. It simply wasn’t done and it didn’t even matter if the reason made sense or not. They needed one more season of WTWT angst squeezed out of these characters, no matter how contrived the premise was for the reset.

    We have gone on and on about the train scene and Chuck’s decision to be a spy. The focus should never be on that decision. That was perfectly in character for me. The contrivance and manipulation and why I started screaming at my TV was because of the whole miscommunication troupe. Chuck is an unfeeling bastard to Sarah, something he never had been, not because it was his nature or in his character or in line with the decision to be a spy but because the contrivance depended on it. It really is that simple. No deep intent to “test the relationship” as Fedak said. It was just a way to split them up so they could put them together at the end. Nothing more. Oh and maybe throw in a little spy story along the way.

    But the funny thing is, I could have been ok with that contrivance IF they had actually had them “test the relationship”. Having them realize that in all the hurt, the love they felt and the attraction that made them so special drew them to fight to find some way back to each other. If that was the grand intent and they delivered on it I would have probably enjoyed it as dark angsty redemption stories are my favorites. The problem in season 3 is the redemption never happens. I posed the question in the other thread of asking someone to show me any part of season 3 where the relationship is made better, stronger, or more worthy of DYLM and the Paris hotel room. The kind of build up where they fight for each other like the run up to It is Real and the perfect payoff of that arc. If you are going to delay them getting together, how about you make them worthy of an even better payoff. But none of that ever happens. The final payoff of the first 13 simply reinforces my original realization of the contrivance for the sole purpose of another season of OLI angst. Nothing about Other Guy says that the Chuck and Sarah relationship grew stronger, more mature, or more deserving than it was after Colonel. It was simply episode 48 and not 36 so it was ok to put them together.

    Josh Schwartz was wrong at Comicon. It wasn’t great. Even some of the biggest season 3 apologists would agree that there were big problems with it. Those of us that hated it, well you know how we feel.

    I love this comment Dave,

    ”Ready” is a decision anyone can make anytime. Especially for two fictional characters, this can be written any way it can be imagined. I reject any argument that some mystical level of “ready” or “had to be” has to be attained before the story can progress.

    That exact idea is what infuriated me when I first saw the Ali Adler video after season 3 was over. “Bear with us?” Really? “We want to get there but we don’t know if we will.” said in front of a wedding portrait. How demeaning is that. You are the damn writers, if you really want to get there just write it. That blows my mind because she is basically admitting that the story sucks and many are going to hate it. So please bear with us because we MIGHT get there in the end. If she really wanted to get there she could have written Chuck walking into Castle at the end of Three Words and Sarah runs into his arms crying and then kisses him deeply. But again that was episode 37 and that is still too soon. Please.

    There are so many great ways this show could have gone with lots of drama, even some UST and plenty of great BALANCED storytelling and action. I proposed the idea of Ellie and Awesome get captured on their honeymoon to lure out Orion. You could have the 2.0 malfunction. I’m sure we will get into more of that later. But the simplest fix is Chuck simply gets on the train for one stop, he talks to Sarah like the Chuck of First Kill would have and explains why he needs to go back. Then we have the secret relationship story many of us would have loved to have seen.

    Again thanks Dave for doing this and for mentioning my story. I’ve done 3 chapters of a different S3 AU of an AU but will be getting back to LL&L next. BTW if you ever decide to write that story you proposed, Damn I would be right up front to read it. Love that idea.

    Season 3 was a poorly executed, questionable story choice that divided the fanbase, lost the show over 2 million viewers, and took a once very special and epic romance unlike any I had ever seen and diminished it with no real justification other than simply delaying their moment to episode 48. It’s very unfortunate that they didn’t deserve it more or were more “ready” because of the journey they chose to take us on. I would have liked to have been able to say at the end it was worth it, but no way in hell was it. Far from it.

    Wow a rather long posting by Dave and here with not one mention of their biggest blunder. A mistake so large that even TPTB run away from any discussion of pre-villain plywood.

    • atcDave says:

      Wow Uplink, thanks for sharing all that! Of course I agree with most your major points. I think you went as long as I did. My disappointment on January 10 was just as great, I may have had 6 months of rumors and spoilers, but I was still clinging to the “it can’t be that bad” sort of idea. I even vaguely thought maybe the worst was behind us after Three Words, especially when the next two episodes were a lot of fun. But of course it was just the calm before the storm. They pretty much did the worst case scenario, that I was sure would never actually happen.

      I do appreciate the encouragement, but creative writing is truly not my forte. I can come up with ideas here and there, and I clearly know what I like or don’t, but I lack the patience and skills to bring it to life. I am content to be a fan fiction cheerleader. And my ideas are free for the taking, but I fear even that over-values them…

      I did decide to skip Shaw for now. We’ll get more into discussions about him when we get to Operation Awesome (when we first see him on screen). I had already written so much, and this arc is so long, I didn’t want to waste all my good material at once!

  3. lappers84 says:

    Will you be writing alternates for all of the misery arc episodes? I think I remember you mentioning something about that.

    • atcDave says:

      I think so. Some episodes aren’t particularly troublesome to me, but even so, I think I’ll just do this and stay clear of the main posts for a couple months. I think it will be fun and different. And hopefully therapeutic for many of us!

  4. authorguy says:

    Thanks for the mention, Dave. I’m sort of on the fence about S3, as you know. I don’t see it as a failure so much as broken, and my job as a fanfic author is to fix it. I actually find it funny to have my story called AU, since my intent is to stay within the show’s bounds as much as possible. In some ways I feel like the show itself is AU.
    I never did a nine2five version of Pink Slip. Maybe I can use some of the good parts in one of my stories to come.
    I would also slightly disagree as to their ‘readiness’. They could have gotten together after Barstow, sure, but I wouldn’t have been interested in watching that, unless they did something like the learning and growing they did in S3. I’m a fan of the concept, not the execution. I had a whole ‘iron and carbon may be great together, but they don’t make a sword until they’ve been pounded on a few hundred times’ metaphor, but I won’t bore you with that. Basically, a Chuck and Sarah having Cool Spy Adventures show would have bored me silly. That’s not Chuck any more than what we got was Chuck.
    It did have to be done, but there’s nothing that says they have to be apart while they do it.
    Finally, a point I made on the rewatch thread. I have no idea where you all got this whole CIA whore idea from. I never saw anything like that, and what they did show is perfectly explained by any of BillAtWork’s stories in which she controls her marks with their own lusts. I don’t see the need to make that leap..

    • atcDave says:

      Marc the “readiness” thing is a TV story telling convention, nothing more. Its possible as a viewer you weren’t ready yet; but as a viewer, I WAS. There is no right or wrong to it, it’s a story telling issue. And I believe they failed pretty badly for around 30% of us. I would have been fine with making it a more romantic-comedy adventure from the very start. I’m not particularly sold on the “need” for any one particular decision made. But the bottom line is, they put together a fun, exciting and surprisingly sweet show the first two seasons, and failed at the start of the third.
      The CIA whore comment has to do with Sarah’s mission we see on-going at the start of the episode. Because of my longer term affection for the character of Sarah, I will simply ignore or rationalize most of what happened at the start of the season; but I think there’s a pretty strong suggestion she is up to some pretty revolting undercover work. If the show had really made a big thing of this (or this type of thing) I never would have been watching. It turns my stomach.

  5. BillAtWork says:

    I think that one of the early decisions would have to be ‘can you put them together?’ Usually in these sort of discussions, I’ve assumed that there are business decisions that dictate not putting them together yet, at least not fully. So how do you tell the story honestly and yet keep some measure of ust?

    I would handle that by having them both know that they desperately wanted to be together, tell each other ILY, and both agree that the long range plan was to have a life outside the spy world with a home and family… But some things had to happen outside of their control before that could be realized. I like the idea of Shaw being the obsticle. Looking for any sign that Sarah was compromised and having the hots for her himself. I think you could have played the ust for a long time, at least another season, maybe two. Just make it romantic and semi frustrating instead of miserable. Have Sarah constantly plotting for missions that would allow them to steal some sexy time alone. We would have ached for them to be together. Show us a scene every third episode of them kissing in the dark somewhere, reaffirming their love and telling each other (and us) to hang in there.

    Intersect 2.0 — One of the most jarring things for me in Pink Slip was Chuck’s sudden zeal to be a spy. They had just spent an entire season selling us on his quest to get rid of the intersect so that he could ‘live the life that he wanted with the girl that he loved.” Clearly he was telling Sarah ILY. He downloaded 2.0 in desperation, it was the only way to save the team (includding Sarah). Then the next time we see him he is in Prague rejecting Sarah just when she finally overcame her own issues and was willing to be with him. It didn’t, and still doesn’t, make any sense whatsoever. It is a 180 departure from the character that they had sold us on.

    So I would have always made Chuck the reluctant hero. If he was going to learn to use 2.0, it would have to be because of some specific threat, Sarah would have had to be part of the decision and express serious concerns, and Chuck, even with his abilities, would never be a good enough spy to survive without Sarah and Casey protecting him.

    I think that Sarah would be looking for any sign that 2.0 was changing Chuck, and if she saw any, she would raise holy hell with him. If you really wanted a dark arc, you could have him show some signs that he was indeed changing, have Sarah frantically try to figure out why and fix it.

    I also like the idea that the intersect was glitchy. It only reliably worked when it was protecting Sarah. So even though Shaw would have loved to get Sarah off the team, he couldn’t. She was the spinich that made the intersect work.

    So much like S1, I would have Chuck thrive as much because of his brains and thinking outside the box as any intersect powers. I could see Chuck and Shaw constantly butting heads, Shaw wanting the cold spy way, and Chuck wearing his heart on his sleeve and always wantig to do the right thing.

    I also would have it so that Chuck was the only person who could effectively handle the intersect. If you wanted to turn Shaw into a bad guy, that’s the perfect way. He’s convinced that the only way to win Sarah away from Chuck is by being an intersect himself. He downloads it and it drive him insane. He becomes the ‘Dark Intersect’/ I could see him sticking around and become his Lex Luther type nemesis.

    • atcDave says:

      I like pretty much all of that Bill. Although I don’t think Shaw as an obstacle can really work past a single season. As television romances go, I think Charah was just screaming to be fulfilled. Two likable and appealing characters (even if TPTB tried to undo that in S3!) just had to be together. Of course in hindsight it’s even easier to say that, I think the show would have worked just fine with them together even earlier that S3.
      But for one season anyway, I think Shaw as an obstacle would have worked perfectly as you describe.
      I agree completely about Chuck the reluctant hero, I actually liked him significantly less due to his eagerness. Probably because, as you mention, he had been more about Sarah back in S2. When Chuck lost that focus, he lost my interest. I agree entirely he always should have needed Casey and Sarah as his spy protectors to some extent. I much prefer the idea of Chuck as a mastermind, super computer wiz, and moral leader. But I think the 2.0 added the wrong sort of skills to his portfolio and actually made both the character and the show less interesting. I liked the mid-S5 situation best of all, I wish they’d stayed at that place longer.

      • authorguy says:

        They should have thrown in a line from the comics: “With great power comes great responsibility.” I can see Chuck getting sucked into that. It would have explained his motivations very well.

      • BillAtWork says:

        I don’t disagree. But instead of constant reset, have it fulfilled, only do it slowly over time. Don’t have a question of ‘if’. That’s fulfilled. There is no question in either mind that they are going to spend the rest of their lives together. The only question is how soon and can they find that balance between being a real couple and doing the greater good thing that they both believe in. I would have it be Sarah who expresses the most frustration and is constantly looking for ways to hasten that process.

        One the things that bothered me (too far down the list to ever be discussed) in S3 was Casey’s reduced role. For several episodes Shaw did what Casey would have done. I particularly disliked Tic-Tac. Casey is a ‘death before dishonor’ guy. What is more dishonerable than allowing your fiance who you love to think you were killed so that you can do some secret mission?

        So I would treat Casey sort of like the end of S2. He would constantly make fun of C/S, but actually do things to help them. Maybe even divert Shaw at times so they could be alone. Of course he would never admit he was helping them.

        The CIA whore thing. You have to read between the lines to ever believe that Sarah had sex with a mark. I assume that she didn’t with Giles. The closest they ever actually showed us was Lon Kirk. The most provocitive thing they showed us was with Cole in his hotel room. But she clearly wasn’t going to sleep with him, she wanted to get away. And it is an 8:00 show. They can’t show us Sarah hopping into bed with a mark anyway.

        But there are a couple of things where it is impossible to come to any other conclusion other than the Chuck female spies routinely used sex, my reviews be damned, lol. In Three Words, Carina is annoucing her engagement to a mark. They never showed us Carina hopping into his bed, but come on.

        The tip off was that Sarah firmly believed she was in a five year mission to get close to Chuck without questioning it (in spite of all the inconsistancies). Can you seriously be married to a mark for a year without some sex? Come to think about it, maybe my wife is a spy. Maybe not. 🙂 But even then they wanted it both ways. Why was Sarah so hesitent to allow her husband of a year give her a naked back rub? Doesn’t make sense.

      • authorguy says:

        Carina would likely go to bed with anybody, that doesn’t say anything about CIA or Sarah standard behavior.
        As for Sarah being reluctant to get a back rub, if you’re talking about the finale, she wasn’t married to him in her mind and had no reason to trust him.

      • BillAtWork says:

        But you can’t have it both ways. Sarah was either playing a mark, posing as his wife for the past year, or she wasn’t. If she was married to him in her mind is irrelevent. She was playing that role. That role required her to get naked with him. Why would it bother her? It must have happened hundreds of times.

        It was a classic example of poor storytelling. Depicting two things that are mutually exclusive in consecuitive scenes and expecting us to buy them both.

      • authorguy says:

        It also required her to lie down on her front while the mark sat on her hips, pinning her down.

      • BillAtWork says:

        But so what? She was pretending to be married to him. Isn’t that the kind of position what a wife would be expected to assume? How could you possibly sell to someone that you were in love and married to them without ever allowing youself to be put in vulnerable, intimate positions with them?

        That’s the problem with the Sarah character. At first they were very careful to present her as a reluctent spy, really longing for the home and family that was denied her. Later they told us that she was once exactly like Heather Chandler, she loved being a spy, lived for the next mission, and that Chuck changed her. So that’s what they were trying to show us in the finale, Sarah before Chuck. And it’s clear that Sarah before Chuck would have no problem marrying a mark, sleeping with him, etc. And I have no issue with that. I actually like the romance of the fact that she changed because of him. But they tried to sneak in that one ooc moment and have it both ways.

      • authorguy says:

        The problem is, I sort of reject the premise. I have trouble believing that Sarah would have ever fallen for Quinn’s line precisely because of your argument. I don’t see a flaw in Sarah’s morals so much as a flaw in the finale. If I have to choose between a morally dark Sarah and bad writing in one episode of a show that abounds in bad writing, I’ll just say the episode was badly written. He was constantly talking in her ear, confusing her until he no longer needed her, which suits me as an excuse for the whole thing.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Trust me, AG. I get that it is uncomfortable to think of Sarah, the sweet girl next door lovable spy that we are all so protective of, sleeping with a mark. And even though I’ve never written her actually sleeping with a mark, I have pages and pages of reviews where readers shout it at me, lol. It’s uncomfortable for me too.

        Canon is sort of like the Bible. It’s hard to only pick out the parts that you like. I think that when you look at the show as a whole, Sarah was a lot darker. They were just careful to only show us glimpses of that side of her.

        I happen to think that is the most romantic story they could tell. A flawed and dark Sarah, one who has been to hell and back, thinks love is for suckers, meeting the last person on earth she thought would change her… and being changed into a semi normal woman capible of loving and wanting family and a house with a red door.

        I don’t think the show made enough of that. Chuck told her, “you’re nothing like her.” And Sarah replied, “There was a time when I was EXACTLY like her.” And here is the part that is so powerful that they sold short. “… And I’m not anymore. And I don’t want to be. I’ve changed. You’ve changed me.” She was telling him that Agent Walker was no more. That now she was ready to leave that part of her life behind and start a new one as half of Chuck and Sarah. I think it was that night when she told him that if he asked her to marry him, she’d say yes.

        That’s how I would have ended Pink Slip (it probably would have to change it’s name, lol). Sarah gives him the speech that she’s changed, that love has changed her. And someday soon, she’ll be willing to prove it. But to survive, they’re going to have to stay apart for a while.

      • atcDave says:

        But not in a fun way Marc. I actually get the point, that is a part of his thought process. And to a large extent I agree with it. But not when it means loosing what had been so appealing about him for the first two seasons, specifically family and friends first. Sarah getting a special extra dose of attention. Serving the greater good is admirable and important, but loosing yourself to the greater good is tragic. Chuck (the show) worked when Chuck (the character) was teaching that lesson to two career spies. It failed when Chuck himself lost sight of priorities. That could have been a good story for a shorter arc, but loosing himself for a more extended period was no fun.

      • atcDave says:

        Bill great take on Casey. He actually was sort of an enabler for Charah from about mid S2 on, but yeah it would have been fun and satisfying to see that play out more in S3 too.

        Bill actually think you’re right about Sarah and Giles, and I really liked what we saw when Sarah thought the marriage was a mission. To me, it suggested she knew what a fake marriage meant, but she hated it, and didn’t want to have anything to do with it.
        They did construct a universe where agents did often use sex as a means to an end. But Sarah always seemed a bit conservative and uncomfortable with that role. Really, always. The only seductions she ever seemed to enjoy involved Chuck. And I’m completely willing to believe Sarah never went that far with a mark (even though in 5.12 she would have THOUGHT she had ruined her perfect record).
        But at the start of Pink Slip, no matter how involved you want to think she got with Giles, she seemed to have really thrown herself into an overtly trashy role, and I just hated seeing it.

      • atcDave says:

        Bill I disagree about having it both ways. I think it works nicely. Sarah has no recollection of the last five years, but she’s presented with a situation where she apparently got stuck in a fake marriage. Saying she likes that situation, and saying she knows what it entails, are two completely different things. Especially if we consider she had previously been able to escape sleeping with marks; finding herself trapped in a scenario where she had to, could quite reasonably make her VERY uncomfortable.

      • BillAtWork says:

        But her not liking it is not what I’m talking about. It was her trying to get out of it. Of her taking a knife with her. Why? If she was playing that role, she must have known that sex was required. Getting naked so that your husband can give you a back rub is part of what a pretend wife does, right? She slept with him that night without any issue. She cuddled with him and asked him to keep her feet warm. She was a spy on an undercover mission. It was what was required. Except they tried to stick in that ooc moment for angst’s sake.

        That is what they tried to have both ways.

      • uplink2 says:

        The biggest confirmation of the whole married to a mark sex thing isn’t the massage scene it’s the scene in the house when she asks him “This is real you really love me?” and then summarily dismisses him and takes the glasses because “she did her job too well and has a mission to complete.” That says this version of Sarah felt absolutely no remorse for marrying a mark and getting him to fall in love with her. It was simply part of her mission and now it was time to complete it by beating the crap out of him and taking the glasses. That five year ‘mission” had to include having sex with her mark and it didn’t bother her one bit. She did her job and now it was time to finish her mission of taking the glasses and killing her “husband”.

      • atcDave says:

        Uplink I think you’re reading way too much into it. She had been briefed that her mark was dangerous, and she’s seen some evidence to support it. Actually, when he switched the glasses he “verified” the briefing that he was a crafty enemy. It’s not an unreasonable extension for her to conclude he is also as dangerous as she’d been warned. I really have no problem with any of that, except of course, just not liking seeing things in that state.
        But absolutely none of that leads to her being happy with the situation. Actually her reactions from beginning to end looked like someone who completely hated the situation they were in. She was simply trying to complete a job, even though she knew there were things she was missing. And I thought it was perfect how everything clicked into place the moment Quinn shot at her. In spite of still not having all her memories back, she was instantly able to redefine the good and bad of it, and knew she’d been on the wrong side.

        So even though I still don’t really like where they chose to end the story, I think the execution of 5.12 and 5.13 was just perfect and beautiful. And I think it honored both main characters in the best possible way. If only we’d had a few moments after to celebrate with a completely healed Chuck and Sarah I would have considered it one of the best finales ever.

        These replies seem to be getting oddly jumbled in their sequence, I’m not sure what’s going on with that.

        But anyway, I do want to say I think I agree most with Marc up above on his 5.12 interpretation. Although I don’t have a huge problem with rejecting parts of show canon (it really isn’t holy writ…), but I do think its reasonable to make an effort to see if good sense CAN be made of the canon story. And it this case, I think it all works out quite well and actually does reflect well on the main characters if we think it all through. Sarah acts in a cautious but reasonable manner for dealing with a “mark” she knows nothing about apart from a briefing she just received. I can easily see her thinking the whole time that she’s been in an extremely dangerous and volatile situation for much of the last five years. Of course she knows she’s had to sleep with this mark, but she has no memory of doing so. She also knows everything is coming to a head and the mission is nearly complete, so whatever things have been like for the last year, this may be the most risky and dangerous part of the mission coming up.
        The situation is horrible. But the scenario is clever and well constructed (Quinn constantly confusing the matter through the earpiece is an excellent added detail), and after narrowly avoiding a tragedy of epic proportion, Sarah DOES sort out the truth of the matter.

      • Mel says:

        “And it’s clear that Sarah before Chuck would have no problem marrying a mark, sleeping with him, etc.”

        That is not clear at all, it’s far from a sure conclusion. In the final episodes she could have easily just assumed “huh, guess I really did it”… she didn’t really have much choice but to go with it there. She had bigger issues at the time.

        If she ever had to make a conscious decision with her memories intact, nah, I don’t think so.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Okay, Mel,

        There is no way to prove it one way or the other. Your position is prefectly defensible. I’m not going to try and talk you out of it, lol.

        But if you have that view, a couple of things you’d have to explain to convince me.

        What did Sarah mean when she told Chuck that she was once exactly like Heather Chandler, but she’s not anymore? Heather married a mark for his secret invention.

        Why were all the other female spies so willing to… umm… give it up for their country and not Sarah?

        What did Sarah learn in Seduction School?

        What was Sarah telling Chuck in the deleted scene after the Lon Kirk mission?

        If Sarah didn’t, she was virtually the only female spy on the show who didn’t. I don’t think badly of her if she did use sex for missions. It’s what she was taught to do. And I think the more flawed and dark that she was before Chuck, the more romantic the story.

      • atcDave says:

        Bill I just think Sarah saw herself as being more like Heather, I never took it literally or thought she ever actually was, she just feared she was. She has done horrible things involving lying, manipulating, stealing and killing. I see no reason to add another to the list.
        Seduction school was about using her obvious assets to get information or exert control, which is NOT always the same thing as using sex, at least not to the ultimate degree. You yourself once stated that once the agent had given away too much they no longer had control of the situation. I believe Sarah was a master of not giving away too much.
        Requiring such a thing of agents is so completely illegal I can’t even fathom a fantasy spy story where it would be true. We clearly saw Sarah stop short on several occasions, I can easily imagine she prided herself In that. And yeah, that makes her different, better, than every other female agent on the show.
        And that’s my version of the story. It is huge in how I see Sarah.

      • authorguy says:

        Me too. And it’s the way BillAtWork portrays her himself, most of the time. Not sure why the sudden turnaround.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Really? I think I’ve always protrayed Sarah as I’m describing her here. That she had a dark side. It was the only way to survive in her world. But once she met Chuck she changed. And like an ex-smoker who is the most fanatical about being around smoke, she is protective of him and what they have to an almost unhealthy extreme. 🙂

        I think that Sarah had an epiphany in Cubic Z. She was talking to Chuck, but she was also talking to herself. It was her recognition that she liked herself now… with him.

        I also think that was reiterated in Phase Three. “I’m different without Chuck… and I don’t like it.” In fact I wrote a scene in Long Road Back that was inspired by Phase Three where Sarah is willing to do anything to find him. Long story short, she was willing to sleep with a man who turned out to be Orion because she misunderstood him and was desperate. I got 98 reviews, lol. Some from posters in this very thread. All were some variant of why didn’t I go hang myself. 🙂

      • uplink2 says:

        Well I will give TPTB credit here. They danced on the line with Sarah perfectly that either position is defensible and perfectly logical. I think it is all in how we personally want to see her. I will admit I hated the deleted scene, not really because of what she was telling Chuck but HOW she told him. She was still so angry with herself about the kiss that she took it out on Chuck. That is where the flash faker comes from. But she was a bitch in that scene and I loved how Casey called her out on it. In the end I’m glad they deleted it.

        My issue with it in Pink Slip is that it just adds to the misery and contrivance that was being shown. It was great eye candy wrapped around a pretty depressing story. But I’m with Bill on this, Carina went so far as to get engaged to her mark and I fully believe she would have married him if necessary. The finale to me at least clearly shows, well as clearly as an 8pm show could that Sarah under the right circumstances, like the fact that Chuck killed Bryce and Graham, marry him to get close enough to defeat him and ultimately kill him. If she was willing to commit murder, like in Santa Claus, is it really that big a stretch to think she would sleep with Giles to get access to his private residence?

      • aerox says:

        Just so we’re clear on things:

        Sarah: CIA
        Casey: NSA
        Carina: DEA

      • BillAtWork says:

        Except that the show (in one of those don’t sweat the details thing) never made much of those distinctions. In real life a DEA agent would never be allowed to work with a CIA agent. DEA is a domestic law enforcement agency, and the CIA is expressly prohibited from domentic law enforcement activity. Sarah was also in the Secret Service for a year (she was a busy gal).

      • aerox says:

        Bill, be honest here, in what story of yours does Sarah not go “Eh, guess I’ll have to have sex with this dude” at one point?

      • BillAtWork says:

        I’m not sure why this matters, but I’ve very rarely had Sarah thinking that she might actually have to to have sex with someone. The Orion misunderstanding in LRB is the only time I can think of. Mostly she just flirts and gives them the impression that it might happen. But she is never going to allow it to go that far, just like the show.

      • atcDave says:

        Sarah was never shown to go beyond flirting and teasing. And I’m fine with that. As far as we know, Mary Bartowski did not use seduction type tactics either. Alex Forest was obviously willing to tease, apparently with fewer inhibitions than Sarah, but we have no evidence she ever went further than that either. Obviously Roan was happy to do anything “required”. Yet Casey was not particularly proficient in those techniques.
        The only thing we know for sure is that Carina was happy to do about anything (and as Aerox points out, she wasn’t even CIA); and that Sarah thought, for part of a single episode, that she HAD been sleeping with a mark.

        But Bill I think one point we can draw, is that most of us just aren’t terribly interested in exploring Sarah’s sexual exploits. You’ve drawn a lot of heat for pushing it too far on occasion. Obviously, with your stories you can write them however you want. But I think it’s pretty clear many of us just aren’t interested in going along for that ride. It’s one potential aspect of an agent’s work (fictional agents anyway). It was really only touched on a few times in the entire series (four times for Sarah, once for Chuck, once for Casey); other tactics were far more frequently explored, for which I’m glad! The variety is far more interesting!
        And I’m not even sure why some find it so interesting or important. I think Sarah herself was more interested in the totality of the ways Chuck had changed her than anything related specifically to sexual morality. In Phase Three she resolved the “I’m different without Chuck” comment with “without you I’m nothing but a spy”. In Zoom she had talked about wanting to avoid unsavory work and in Baby expressed a dislike of lies of secrets. Adding in her reputation as the “Enforcer”, and I think a more complete picture of what Sarah finds distasteful involves lies, secrets, torture, violence and killing, manipulation and paranoia. I would think excessive flirting is way down the list. I’m glad the show never dwelt on it much, it just isn’t as interesting as the other issues.

      • BillAtWork says:

        But Dave, we’re not talking about my fanfic, are we? That’s not canon. I don’t claim that it is,. We’re talking about the show. And she did a hell of a lot more than flirt. In order (I think)

        She made out with Lon Kirk and was in the process of going below (nothing off color intended, lol) when Chuck flashed.

        She picked up Cole Barker in a bar, went to his room, necked with him, and got as naked as she possibly could on an 8:00 show.

        She put Giles’s hands on her ass,

        She was again as naked as an 8:00 show would allow, rolling around in bed with Manoosh in Nacho,

        She allowed the guy in Zoom to fondle her.

        She got naked and slept with her mark in Sarah.

        She was clearly willing to go quite far. Did she ever sleep with anybody (other than Chuck)? We don’t know. We can’t know. Sarah is fictional. That past doesn’t exist.

        But from where the show led us, is it reasonable to say that she very well might have? I think yes.

        You conclude no. That’s fine too. It’s hard to prove a negitive. and there is no way to know.

      • atcDave says:

        Bill I’m willing to dismiss all of that as heavy flirting because she did stop short, as far as we know, in every instance. And I mentioned your story because first, you brought it up, and second, I think it highlights a point. Taking it all too far is controversial, unappealing, and oddly boring all at once.

        At any rate, I’m not interested in debating the minutia. I think that part of the discussion is really pointless. We could bicker over the fine points endlessly and it proves nothing. I’m fine with her actions. I put it all in a similar category to the lying and use of deadly force. Every issue involves its own moral cost and case by case decision making. I have few problems with most of her professional decisions. But at the same time I celebrate her decision to leave it all behind in the end.

    • uplink2 says:

      Agree with all of this Bill. Though I think the decision to be a spy and “help people” is well within character but you are right the Chuck they had sold us on for 2 seasons was the reluctant hero and for him to suddenly chose to be a spy and embrace it above all else was surprising to say the least. Plus to do it in such a contemptible way was very OOC. But again it was all to sell the reset and the delay. From my view every decision made was based in that first and actual storytelling and character growth were secondary. As you said they didn’t event try to hide it. The goal was to put them together in ep 48. It wasn’t to “test the relationship” and challenge our couple to become better, stronger and more matured people. The primary “intent” was the reset for 13 more episodes of WTWT. And it didn’t matter what they had to do to the characters to do it.

      It’s funny that here at this point in the story without Shaw/Hannah the dye was cast and it wasn’t “going to be great”. As we move forward in these discussions we will talk more about them but even with all this manipulation the reaction could have been better to their “darker” story if the simply threw out the ridiculous relationship geometry. Hannah was pointless. Chuck learned nothing from that relationship that he didn’t already know. As long as he was connected to the spy life he would have to lie to someone he cared about and it was doomed to failure. The can dress it up anyway they wish but it was redundant and didn’t grow him or his relationship with Sarah. Hannah is a failure because there is no compelling story telling reason for her character. No “alternate Season 3” works with Hannah as she was constituted. It simply reinforces the chief “intent” of the season of delay till ep 48.

      Shaw on the other hand has some potential but the character as written, cast and his story were a huge mistake that Schwedak can’t run away fast enough from.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Uplink I do like the idea of Chuck rising to the challenge and doing what was needed, but becoming a jerk in the process was an unwanted diversion. Again, struggling with priorities could have made an interesting episode or short arc, but making the protagonist a jerk for most of a season didn’t work for me!

    • authorguy says:

      Is that why all the male CIA agents want to conquer the mighty Sarah Walker? “She only sleeps with the enemy, but not in a good way.” Sounds like a Ring recruiting poster to me.

      • aerox says:

        I don’t even get where this whole idea of everyone wanting to have a go at Sarah comes from. What enemy showed sexual interest in Sarah aside from Giles and Lon Kirk? If anything, Chuck gets way more interest than Sarah does in the run of the show.

      • BillAtWork says:


        I can think of several incidents without even thinking about it.

        Manoosh in Nacho

        The guys with the network problem in Dream Job

        The guy in Zoom who put his hands on her ass

        The guy with the diamond with Carina

        Giles in Pink Slip

        Cole Barker too many times to say.

      • BillAtWork says:

        I forgot some, lol.

        Does anybody else want to be my boyfriend?

        Quinn, “You don’t get that without an intersect.”

      • aerox says:

        As opposed to the fifty other people who didn’t?

      • uplink2 says:

        And I quote ” Do you know how many skimpy outfits I’ve had to put on for this team?”

      • BillAtWork says:

        The guy in Business Trip.

        The guy in Suburbs.

        Shaw in both Ring II and Santa Suit.

        To say that Sarah (and all the female spies) using her looks as a weapon wasn’t a fairly constant theme seems indefensible to me.

      • authorguy says:

        Of course they used their looks. It’s the claim that they used their bodies as sex toys that’s indefensible. There’s no scene in the show, just deduction, which to me says more about the deducer than the show.

      • BillAtWork says:

        But who is saying they used their bodies as sex toys? I’m not. She certainly went quite far down the sexual path several times for mission purposes. Why is that a bad thing?

        I think that says more about the protester than it does about the show.

      • authorguy says:

        “But who is saying they used their bodies as sex toys? I’m not. ” Ah, so all those times you said it was fair to assume that they were basically CIA whores (since it was a reasonable assumption they had sex with them), you were lying to us. Or is it enough to be called a CIA whore that they show some skin and tease the marks with their looks?

      • aerox says:

        – Manoosh was shell-shocked and if it wasn’t for a setup, he wouldn’t even have approached Sarah. Honestly, the same would go for the network dudes, though they tried to woo her with nerdish lines, so I’m sort of on the fence. Plus, since when are they considered enemies?
        – Shaw, when having sexual interest in Sarah, was still a good guy. When he became a bad guy, he completely lost interest in her. I found no interest from Shaw in Ring 2 (as a matter of fact, he bluntly states: “…however, I would like to kill Chuck. I wouldn’t mind killing [Sarah] either.”
        – Since when is Cole a bad guy? Plus, he waved her off at first glance. Only because Sarah kept whining on, did he take her upstairs.
        – Giles seemed perfectly content with things staying above the waist. Sarah pushed him.
        – About Quinn: Wasn’t he referring to Sarah being Chuck’s wife? How is that sexual interest in Sarah? To me that was just a comment about her being out of his league, something which the show keeps hammering on and on about.
        – Thailand: One dude out of an entire bar. The warlord could’ve gone the crude way, he didn’t.
        – What guy in Suburbs?

      • authorguy says:

        The guy in Suburbs who Sarah talking to his wife and asked Chuck if he’d like to trade, or some such.

      • uplink2 says:

        Sorry buddy. You really lost me there. Shaw was a good guy? Really? No, just no. He was a disturbed revenge driven psychopath that took advantage of a broken woman he knew was still in love with someone else to get his jollies and complete his mission of making Chuck the weapon of destruction he could use for his own personal vendetta against the Ring for killing his wife. He was as far from a “good guy” before he learned about Sarah’s Red Test than what he was after. And then kissing Sarah, a married woman who he had tied up so he could kill her? Yea that is one creepy lust filled psychopath.

      • authorguy says:

        And I thought I had problems with Shaw. The revenge-driven psychopath didn’t come out until after AH, after he saw the video (and I doubt the taser to the neck immediately after helped). Before that he was a good man in limbo, and his attempt to have a relationship with Sarah was an attempt to get out of it. Doomed, of course, since neither of them could support it, but real enough.

      • aerox says:

        You know he’s like this because of the exposition in AH/OG. Without it, he’d be a good guy.

        Also, the kiss in SS wasn’t sexual intention. More like mental torture (with a sexual undertone, granted)

      • uplink2 says:

        Sorry guys, don’t agree. His revenge driven vendetta against the Ring started long before he was assigned to Team B. So I don’t buy that at all but giving you that for the sake of argument prior to AH/OG he shot a woman in the back who was only armed with a knife instead of disabling her so she could be interrogated. Capturing a Ring Agent should have been one of his top priorities. Then he punches a man who was defensless and restrained so he can look like he is defending the honor of the woman he wants to get in her pants. A woman he knows is in love with someone else. She was supposed to get all hot because he was defending his honor. Please. That is NOT what a good guy does. He sends an ill prepared Agent on a solo mission with no backup and lied to him about what he would be facing. He also is perfectly willing to blow up the nations most important asset to protect some stupid disks that were worthless but contained 5 year old info from his wife. Disregarding that it was below a retail store filled with civilians.

        Name one moment when he was shown to be a good guy? And don’t say when he helped make the meal for Chuck and Hannah, that was about impressing Sarah so she would sleep with him as well as continue to break Team B apart so Chuck would be on his own to help him avenge his wifes death. All of that happened BEFORE AH/OG. So I’m sorry not buying Shaw the good guy one bit. They tried to tell us he was but everything they shows was the exact opposite.

      • authorguy says:

        His assault on Gruber when he was cuffed was one of the things I hated most about that episode, and there so many things I hated about that episode.

      • atcDave says:

        I think Shaw can be ranked somewhere in between. He is never a “good guy”, but he does align with the good guys at first. My guess would be, his character was weak to begin with, then he was shattered by his wife’s death. At that point, he is really completely broken and can be pushed any direction. Revenge becomes more important to him than any past loyalties or morality. He is fatally flawed.
        Now I could agree with saying theoretically if the Ring alone had been responsible for Eve’s death (instead of people who were supposed to be on “his side”) that he would have eventually found peace and healing. But at no time on the show was he healthy. He was a bomb waiting to go off.

        I do agree with no sexual tension in SS. Just pure creepy.

      • authorguy says:

        That was the route I took in nine2five, except that he found a guiding star in Charles Carmichael and found some measure of redemption. But he was never all that strong.

      • aerox says:

        Maybe he went after Sarah because he saw a kindred spirit? Someone who had lost someone important to her (or so she thought) and they could find comfort in one another? He sends Chuck on a solo mission because he thinks Sarah and Casey should stop coddling him and let him stand on his own two legs in the world that Chuck chose himself. Something that Beckman was vying for the entire time.

        You’re seeing it way too much from an insider perspective. Take a look at Shaw without biased (and the power of knowing what’s to come) goggles. The only course that you can blame him for is when his own emotions leak through and he’d rather keep the ring documents (including the details of his wife) safe than Chuck. Whatever.

        And before you go about saying he was actively trying to break the team/Charah up, when did he EVER try this? He made his purpose of trying to court Sarah clear to her, and she accepted of her own volition. He didn’t encourage Chuck with Hannah, but supported Chuck in his decision to pursue her.

        Besides, didn’t Sarah kill an unarmed man because she THOUGHT (mind you, there was NOTHING but Mauser’s word to back this theory up) that he might get freed by Fulcrum and tell them about the Intersect?

      • uplink2 says:

        But Aerox you are missing the point. Sending him on the solo mission isn’t the question, it’s that he lied to him and withheld critical information that he should have been given to complete his mission. He was testing him and he was rigging the test. That kind of deception put Chuck and hundreds of civilian lives in jeopardy. It is not an honorable way for a mentor to train his protege.

        So you are saying that shooting Sydney Prince in the back instead of capturing a Ring Agent for interrogation was what a good guy or a good Agent does? That punching a restrained prisoner to impress a girl is an honorable act? That hitting on someone who is in love with someone else is what a good guy does?

        Plus you didn’t answer my question, when did they ever show Shaw was truly a good guy? When did he do the honorable thing? He used Sarah against Chuck to create a Catch-22 for him to complete his Red Test. Maybe that makes him a good boss but it doesn’t make him a good man. That is why his character failed so miserably. They didn’t make the case for him being who they said he was. He came off as creepy, and absolutely no chemistry with Sarah and you couldn’t find one reason why she would be interested in him. As Mo Ryan said he dragged down every scene he was in and you prayed for the episodes he wasn’t.

      • authorguy says:

        I don’t think he would ever be what we call a ‘good’ guy, but he was supposed to be a good spy, not that I think he even that. His obsessions should have been caught long before this. Perhaps before he met Team B he was okay, but the weapon he saw in Chuck and the emotional connection he thought he found with Sarah perked him up just enough to destroy him.

      • aerox says:

        Maybe he gave him bad intel because he wanted to see how well Chuck could adapt to hairy situations, like you would expect from a spy. Because let’s face it, Chuck was expendable at this point in time. He wasn’t flashing, and he failed as a spy, so why would they give two shits about him?

        Furthermore, when was Shaw supposed to clue in on Sarah still being in love? She was making it a point to show people she wasn’t attached. Plus, I mean, wouldn’t this conflict horribly with that deleted scene? The one where Sarah is like: “Oh yeah, I can totally seduce Shaw.” What was the dude supposed to do? Sarah’s throwing herself at him (which still sorta happens) and he’s supposed to go: “Well, you’re trying to hook up with me, but I can see you still love this other guy, so I’m gonna pass.” Yeah, no. Besides, the shooting of Sidney Price… what about the shooting of Mauser? Same thing man, completely the same thing. Both people were unarmed and would’ve been better served if they had been interrogated. Both people were killed.

        Of course he created the catch 22 for Chuck. He knew Chuck wouldn’t go through with it, but still wanted him to be a spy, be it for his own reasons, or because of the government’s reasons. The fact is, he knew this was the only way of getting Chuck to cooperate, or well, with the most chance anyway. And I never said Shaw was morally good, but he was one of the good guys. At least, I’m still assuming the CIA are the good guys at this point in time. It’s kind of like in Sherlock, where Cumberbatch goes: “I may be fighting on the side of the angels, but don’t for one second mistake me for one.”

      • authorguy says:

        Or the operative in Serenity, who’s doing monstrous things to make a perfect world he knows he can never inhabit.

      • atcDave says:

        I think that duality in Shaw is accurate at the time we meet him. I like Marc’s comment, he is a badly damaged character, and this mission will undo him.

        The problem is more an entertainment one. Horrible story decisions were made that sucked all the fun out of the story. For example; when Shaw suggests the team is defective, Casey nails the response, Shaw’s analysis just proves Shaw is a moron. The fun thing would have been to play with that, instead it’s forgotten. Casey and Sarah are the ones who know, understand and care about Chuck. Unfortunately we only see Shaw’s ignorant arrogance vindicated. It could have been so much more fun to have Casey and Sarah win the day because they do know and care about Chuck.
        This also sets up a long term problem with the arc, Sarah apparently falls under Shaw’s spell, even though he is never sympathetic in any single scene during his entire tenure. I think if Sarah and Casey had been on to him, and working to help Chuck and salvage missions behind Shaw’s back it could have been much more satisfying. Maybe even had Chuck enamored of Shaw briefly because of the “confidence” Shaw seems to show in him. Perhaps his awakening could come when Shaw makes a (unwanted) move on Sarah.
        I think it’s very unfortunate that Shaw’s confidence never bites him in the butt. He basically gets away with it until he completely goes bad.

        And by the way, I do think Shaw is clueless about the feelings Sarah has for Chuck, at least for a while. He believes the love Sarah lost was Bryce. Of course it’s also not clear when he figured out she had feelings for Chuck. But that’s all part of the S3 fubar. Not only should the whole messy triangle never have been pursued, but. It was poorly executed too. I think the story would have worked better (as in far, far, far, far better) if Shaw was deliberately trying to break up the team to increase his own influence over the Intersect agent. Beckman supporting the idea Chuck needs to be a solo agent works too. But ultimately Chuck works best with the team he trusts and loves. This could have been fun see Shaw’s growing frustration with the situation. But the actual fractured team we did see in mid-S3 was profoundly unfun.

      • authorguy says:

        It would have been fun to see them crush Shaw underfoot that first night, when he pulled his guns to keep Casey and Sarah from helping Chuck. Maybe that’s why Shaw sent Chuck on the plane, so they couldn’t help him even if they wanted to, except when Shaw decided to let them.
        I agree Shaw’s a killjoy in every sense. He even killed the joy in my chapters, much more work to keep them as light as I did when he was around.
        But I don’t think he was confident. I think he was nuts, which looks a lot like confidence until you start getting near the cliff and the driver still won’t stop.

      • uplink2 says:

        Sorry my buddy Aerox. Chuck WAS flashing at the time of First Class. He most definitely wasn’t expendable. He flashed in Angel when he did the surgery on Devon and he flashed in OA as well. The not flashing thing happened only after that god awful Fake Name episode. So Shaw risks the most valuable piece of government intelligence because you said he was expendable? They had invested millions of dollars in him yet Shaw risks that on a mission he wasn’t prepared for with inaccurate intelligence that he in fact lied to him about. Great spy there. The reason he did it was because the mission was personal for him. It was about getting the 5 year old intel and his wife’s spy will and Ring back. So he risks Chuck and hundreds of civilians in a 747 over the Atlantic for a personal mission. Again not a great spy and not a good guy.

        Plus you’ve got the deleted scene wrong as well. Sarah didn’t say that in fact she told Casey the idea of seducing Shaw was a terrible one as he would see right through it. It was Casey’s idea to seduce him not Sarah’s.

        In the case of Mauser vs Sydney Prince, Sarah had been shown on countless times to be a good person. With real moral character that did terrible things because that is what the job entailed to protect this country. But morally she had great problems with it. And in her case she stood in front of a man and shot him. Whereas Shaw shot a woman in the back and it was shown later on that Chuck was in no danger from anyone throwing a knife at him when he had the 2.0. Shaw just wanted to kill a Ring Agent. And yes I have a real moral problem with shooting anyone in the back and shooting a woman. To me there is a huge difference in the morally troublesome but courageous act that Sarah did knowing what she was doing was wrong but justified it to protect Chuck and the cowardly act of Shaw shooting Prince in the back.

        And finally you didn’t say Shaw was one of the good guys, you said he WAS a good guy and there is a big difference. Those two things have very different meanings. I agree with Marc here. He was a walking time bomb set on a personal vendetta that would sacrifice anybody and anything to reek vengeance. He never should have been allowed in the field and least of all as the head of Team Intersect. But again they had to make all of them terrible spies at some point, in this case Beckman, to tell this story.

        Again it’s a case of the failures of the storytelling that everything they told us about him, they showed us the exact opposite. We are supposed to feel sympathy for him when he looks at his wedding ring while Sarah, Casey and Chuck are all at dinner with the Awesomes. But all you feel is he is one creepy dude and the faster he is gone the better. Plus add in that Routh simply was clueless in much of his performance and it makes him incredibly unlikable and unsympathetic.

        Shaw wasn’t a good guy and wasn’t even shown to be a good spy. He was a poorly constructed, poorly written, poorly cast character that almost ruined the show or at least took all of the fun and enjoyment out of it until they made him a villain. That’s why Schwedak will only talk about villain Shaw and never “good guy” Shaw.

      • uplink2 says:

        Sorry brain fart, surgery on Casey in Angel.

      • atcDave says:

        Uplink I agree with most of that, except about Shaw being allowed in the field. The show was a comedy, and I’m fine with the idea of Shaw fooling the consistently clueless Beckman to get a spot on the team. I just wish Team B had been in on the joke; that is, Casey and Sarah saw him for the creep and looser he was and took appropriate action. Like never trusting his judgments or turning their backs on him until they could figure out how to get him removed. Treat him like a male Agent Forest; dangerous and stupid. Deserving of respect only as long as he has the General’s ear.
        I think that could have been a fun story, even with Routh.

      • uplink2 says:

        Dave, it’s kind of funny. One of the few redeeming things about Season 3.0 is that deleted scene. If it had been included it would have changed the entire tenor of the season. But it would have meant that Sarah would have had to continue to not trust him and that wasn’t what they wanted. It was one of the few times they allowed her to be a good spy concerning Shaw in that arc and they deleted it. That’s why I had to include it in LL&L.

        For me Shaw was never a well done character or actor in the role. But it was the romance that really kills him and is so pathetic. I was rereading Mo Ryan’s review of Fake Name and it’s great. She even says there was no chemistry there and what the hell did Sarah see in him was beyond her. It does such a disservice to the Sarah character.

        The whole telling us one thing and showing us the exact opposite just doomed that character from the very beginning.

      • FSL says:

        That was sort of the unexplored dynamic. Would have been fun if all three of them were watching Shaw all the time.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah FSL, I think that could have been fun.

      • uplink2 says:

        It’s like they forgot to be good spies and not accept things at face value. I think it would make the switch to villain much more believable. But they clearly had no idea what to do with him. There was never an overall story about what his character was. His first mention shows him as very creepy in Three Words and almost Beckman’s superior. Then we are supposed to believe he is some great mysterious expert spy but show him otherwise, then they write the deleted scene where his motives are questioned and then he is supposed to be sympathetic because he lost his wife and was alone. But again he comes off as creepy. None of it plays well together. Then add in that type of complex multi layered character is beyond Routh’s ability and the fact he has absolutely zero chemistry with Yvonne and it all falls flat on his plywood face.

        But if you had the kind of the good spy story of this guy with a mysterious past that seems to be trying to break the tight bonds of the team and seems to have something driving him to be singularly focused on the Ring with no real allowance for any other concerns driving his decision, like getting the Intersect killed if it meant protecting some meaningless disks, it could have bee a great story. The whole flip to a villain simply because he learns Sarah and the CIA killed his wife just feels phoney. Then why is he so focused on killing Sarah when he can do far more damage to the CIA by killing Chuck? They seem to realize that in the back six but in AH/OG they are trying to have it both ways. Threaten Sarah but don’t threaten Chuck because he wasn’t part of it. It makes for a very awkward story that could have been good. Plus making them skeptical of his motives keeps them great spies and eliminates the whole stupid relationship geometry that was so incredibly unnecessary and destructive.

  6. Ruthiesw says:

    I would also have loved a secret relationship story. Imagine them trying to work out some of their relationship issues when they have to be so secretive about even being in a relationship. I’m sure it would have delivered romance, comedy, excitement and tension.

    I’m also surprised at how fully Chuck throws himself into the spy life in season three. Towards the end of season two he learnt that the government (NSA/CIA) couldn’t necessarily be trusted when he overheard Beckman’s intentions for him and the intersect. I would have expected him to be a little more cautious about his involvement and to certainly have more questions about whether sacrifices are made for the greater good or because they are convenient to the government.

    Bringing in this element of duty, yet reluctance could have been interesting. Sarah would have had a legitimate role in helping Chuck adjust to his new life, but I’d still expect there to be some conflict at times.

    • BillAtWork says:

      I don’t think there would be any less conflict. I just see them overcomming the obsticles as a couple. There would absolutely have to be conflict. Any story without conflict is boring. And there are plently of opportunities here for real angst.

      Imagine the team getting an assignment that fall outside Chuck’s morals. What does Sarah do? Does she put pressure on this sweet guy that she loves and is afraid of changing to do things he doesn’t want to do? Does Sarah’s view of right and wrong change over time? Does she find herself agreeing with Shaw and Casey less and less and agreeing with Chuck more and more? Does making compromises get them into trouble on a mission?

      Imagine Sarah getting an order to get close to a Lon Kirk type mark in the context of C/S having a very real yet secret relationship. What does she do? She has no way to refuse the order.

      Those conflicts, having to balance being a spy and surviving, with being a loving couple that are eventually going to raise a family, seem much more realistic to me than Sarah being afraid to unpack. 🙂

    • authorguy says:

      Then you should read the NinjaVanish stories, which are quite good.

    • atcDave says:

      Great point about the trustworthiness of the government Ruthie. I agree with all of that. As Marc mentions below, NinjaVanish’s “Chuck and Sarah” stories do play around with those very ideas. Although his stories are heavy on violent action/adventure, and his Sarah is even more of a tough chick than canon; but the stores are extremely well written, you might want to give them a try.

      Bill I think we actually did see some of that in S2, where Sarah did often side with Chuck over Beckman or Casey. Part of what was so frustrating about S3 for me was how badly she regressed in her thinking, sense and initiative.
      I love the idea of Chuck and Sarah working together as a “secret” team within a team to make sure the RIGHT thing is done on their missions. That could involve both the way they do things, and what their final objectives are. I could see Casey grunting, but understanding every time a TeamB mission goes a little sideways as Chuck and Sarah do things their own way, often regardless of orders. While Shaw could be dangerous and a real threat as he realizes just how little control he has over “his” team. Every time Chuck and Sarah modify a plan, apparently improvising (although the audience should know they are actually planning their actions most of the time), Shaw gets a little more threatening. Obviously that eventually would come to an ugly head.

    • uplink2 says:

      Dave, you know that one of my biggest pet peaves about season 3 was “stupid Sarah”. How they had to make her such a lousy spy to sell this story. How she could kill in cold blood an unarmed man simply because he threatened that he knew who Chuck was and eventually that information would get back to Fulcrum but then stand there and pleaed with her boss/lover like a little girl to simply not kill him “for me” and when he was about to do it anyway she did nothing. We will discuss how terrible she was in AH and OG later. Hell they made everyone except maybe Casey terrible spies to seel this story from Beckman on down.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Sarah’s comparative weakness in much of S3 is a huge sore spot for me. So much of the whole misunderstanding at the start is centered on her acting contrary what we saw in the first two seasons. And clearly a lot of stupid decisions are made to support a story; to support a story I don’t even like. Really not a good situation.

  7. Arya's Prayers says:

    One of the most interesting things to me about Chuck ‘canon’ is how malleable it is. We all have different impressions of what characters motivations may have been and what actually happened in some cases. It works so well because it is just a FUN show.

    But, like Dave, I see a world that isn’t necessarily fully portrayed on screen. I also can relate to the IDEA of Chuck but there is also an underlying IDEA of Sarah that in many ways is even more malleable because she plays things so close to the vest.

    At the risk of tainting some things I’ve always agreed with the perception of those pre-credits scenes of Pink Slip that I know uplink shares and it seems Dave does as well with reservations but AG and Bill do not.

    I won’t belabor an argument over the pieces of the puzzle (Lon Kirk, Ilsa, Carina, twilight darts, etc.) but the Chuck production team actually does a really good job of allowing for multiple interpretations and I won’t tell anyone that theirs is ‘wrong’.

    But when it comes to the white bikini – undoubtedly one of the best eye candy moments of the entire series – for me it was one of two things that changed the tone of the series (even retroactively) forever. Maybe this is part of the loss of the ‘fun, sweet show’ Dave points out – at least for me. (The other was Chuck’s murky motivation for becoming a spy and not running with Sarah – which I think was a combination of many things, never clearly articulated and something I pondered long and hard to arrive at a complete set of explanations I found acceptable.)

    That pool scene was never over explained and each person can create a compelling argument for any explanation along the spectrum. But for me it was my ‘Oh My God – They Did NOT Just Take THIS Character THERE?!?’ moment.

    I won’t lie – at first I hated it.
    I had waited for months to be siting dutifully in front of my TV at 8 on Monday night to see where Chuck and Sarah were in their journey together and was shocked for all the reasons we’ve discussed ad nauseum. And I still kinda wish they had gone another way so I’m interested to see some of the alternate possibilities proposed.

    But the more I’ve thought about the IDEA of Sarah over the years the more I’ve come to appreciate these probable elements of her past. Not just tolerate or accept, I personally think she’s actually a BETTER character (at least an even more interesting one) if you can accept these things about this interpretation of her character.

    Not because of those elements but because she was able to overcome those elements and learn to love and to love herself.

    It also puts most of the show in a different light. She was afraid Chuck would learn about her past as a spy and think less of her from the beginning. We now know she had fallen for him right away and, based on her history, it was probably the first time in her life she had felt that way about a man.

    By this point in the show, Sarah had decided she wanted to be more like Chuck but she’s horrified that he’s made the opposite decision to be more like her. And she’s acutely aware that he doesn’t fully appreciate what that means yet. She both doesn’t want him to become like her and doesn’t want him to come to realize what that means and start to make all the things she’s done that much more real to him. She especially doesn’t want to be the reason for him making those changes.

    As far as the impact on interpretations within ‘Pink Slip’:
    If she were on THAT type of mission it implies just how devastated she was in Prague and how far she’s reverted because of it (they never did delve deep enough for me into how utterly devastated Sarah was other than her final expression in the flashback at the train station but I have a vision of it in my own mind and think that the misery we DID see pales in comparison – not that anyone had an appetite for seeing that on screen)…

    Throwing the phone in the pool can be as much disgust with herself as anger at Chuck…

    She doesn’t want to take his calls and is trying to get away from Burbank as fast as she can so she doesn’t have to face him, etc., etc.

    But they shy away from all that in an attempt to not alienate us any further and, as Bill said, often try to have it both ways. I could go on and on with examples of how such motivations modify the interpretation of certain scenes. And, for better or worse, that’s how I process those scenes in my own mind now.

    We’re getting ready to tackle all the harsh realities of the spy world and, if they were going to reboot anyway part of me wishes they would have done it head on.

    I just don’t know if any one other than me would have watched.

    I’m not sure I would have watched at the time.

    There is a fantastic story of rebirth and redemption in there if you adopt that IDEA of Sarah. Bill and I have talked about this ‘hell and back’ Sarah and how powerful a story it could be if done well.

    But it’s not the story many S1&2 fans wanted to see or fought to keep and I can appreciate why many fans don’t want to go that route.

    But, in the spirit of alternative story lines I think it’s fascinating that, apparently, multiple alternatives were provided to us based on your own interpretation of the Chuck universe.

    • authorguy says:

      Even if she had been a ‘CIA whore’ in the past, an interpretation of her actions I see no need to make, there is nothing in that scene to indicate that she is one at that time. As for the finale, from her point of view she never even met this guy and she has no memory of sleeping with him, so there’s no reason to think she would have to deal with that view of herself. It’s an obvious deduction, but she may not have bothered to think about it that much. I know a lot of people who fail to make what to me are obvious deductions. And for some reason they get mad at me when I point out how obvious the deduction is, don’t know why…

    • atcDave says:

      AP I certainly don’t want to take that journey of that darker Sarah. I’m okay with saying there are things in her past she isn’t proud of, but I have no desire to see the uglier parts played out. I did leap to the worst possible conclusions the night Pink Slip first ran, but I’ve since made a point of retreating from that position. I am now willing to say Sarah is skilled enough to not ever go as far as we feared that night; but whether she does or not, she isn’t happy with what that type mission does to her. My conclusion is LIKELY, not what the writers really intended. But I have so little respect for many decisions they made during S3, I am content to not quite accept it as having happened anyway. And of course my position isn’t really defendable. Canon is canon, and I’ve willfully decided to play loose with it (I guess that would make me a bit of a Chuck heretic). Some of this attitude is undoubtably a consequence of my affection for fan fiction; I simply feel like there are far better stories out there for these characters I love, than what the show runners delivered.

    • uplink2 says:

      Let’s face it, the simpler “intent” is IMO usually the far more likely, especially in season 3. I see no evidence of a grand plan of character growth or the attempt to tell a deep, dark story of redemption. It is simply stick some stuff in their way till we get to ep 48. As long as we put them together then no one will really care what we did and all will be forgiven.

      In the case of the bikini scene I think it is simply to get Yvonne in another skimpy outfit and then tread ever so lightly at the edges of a sex with a mark story. What better way to hint at it than put her in a bikini with her mark. That’s what they did with Lon Kirk. I don’t think they even thought of the consequences to her character as long as they got the eye candy they wanted. How she got into that position of free access to her marks private residence is irrelevant because once she is there we get an incredibly erotic moment for an 8pm show out of it. Afterall many times it seems Sarah is the biggest plot device on the show for Fedak and Schwartz.

      And that is the case of them wanting it both ways.

      • atcDave says:

        That I agree with completely Uplink.

      • Robert says:

        One question, Uplink; have you ever considered that putting Yvonne in that white bikini was simply to put some eye candy in the episode, without even thinking about stories implications?

        Sometimes I think we put too much intentions in TPTB’s minds…

      • authorguy says:

        You didn’t see the whole redemption plot? What show were you watching?

      • BillAtWork says:

        I’m with UpLink. There ws no redemption story in S3. In fact in AH they were right back to where they were at the end of Ring, ready to run off on a train together and leave the spy life.. Except it was Chuck who got stood up this time. Delete the entire first 11 episodes and you’ve missed nothing character wise.

      • uplink2 says:

        Robert that is exactly my point. The simplest solution is the most likely. It was simply to put Yvonne in another skimpy outfit and the story implications be damned.

        Marc, where is Sarah redeemed? How do you get from Sarah manipulating Chuck using herself as the prize, putting him in a Catch-22 where he will NEVER get the prize, then not trust him for the first time ever in the series with “I don’t”, and then tell him she loves him 42 minutes of screen time later? How was she redeemed? How was she redeemed from the disaster of Shaw and her being the terrible spy that she has to be to set up Chuck’s big hero moment?

        How was Chuck redeemed after his completely insensitive treatment of both Sarah and Hannah in this arc to be deserving of DYLM?

        And most egregious, where was the relationship redeemed by them fighting to save it or grow within it? Other Guy is simply an inverse reset of Pink Slip. It is just as manipulative and unearned. It just feels good because the misery is over and Shaw is dead. But it simply reset it back to almost what it was at the end of Colonel though I wold contend that the journey didn’t redeem the relationship, it diminished it and both characters.

      • authorguy says:

        I feel another fanfic coming on.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I completely agree with Bill and Uplink on this one. I think the misery arc was a pointless character destroying exercise. And yes, I’ve read many attempted apologetics of that season, I just don’t buy it. They chose their end point (Paris Hotel room) and concocted a story to get them there. It was not an entertaining or satisfying way to tell a story, and it diminished both main characters. The end was great, because it was the end. The running away together plan was exactly where the season started, except they left from Paris instead of Prague.

      • uplink2 says:

        Dave I agree with you. To me it seems the story was written backwards. They chose the destination first and then tried to concoct a way to send them as far off field as they could and then bring them back. As I’ve said OG is just as contrived and manipulative as Pink Slip. It is simply the reverse reset back to, they hoped, where they started. Though I think it damaged the characters and relationship that they never fully recovered from. Hell in AH Chuck doesn’t even know what he wants. He tells Sarah 2 completely different things. When he is “eloquent” he wants to be a spy and he wants to be with her. When he is “blunt and honest” he wants to be with her away from the spy life. Which is it Chuck? You start the contrivance by saying you can’t run because you can help a lot of people but then you ask Sarah to do the same thing you spit back in her face? It simply isn’t a coherent story because it didn’t evolve from where it began. It was reverse engineered from the chosen ending.

    • BillAtWork says:

      Yeah, AP,

      Except that Hell and Back Sarah is much better in the past. It’s not fun seeing her in real time. Baby was the perfect vehicle, IMO. Show Dark Sarah in flashback and contrast her to what we see today.

      I can see how you can draw a conclusion that she was on a fullbore long term seduction mission with Giles. But I can also see that she maybe just met him and her mission had just begun.. Their conversation at the bar made me feel like it was the latter. She intentionally used Chuck to get Giles close to her. If they had an intimate relationship already, why do that? So I’m choosing to believe that she’s innocent in this one, lol.

      But having said all that, I agree that the redemption story of two flawed people, each providing what the other lacks, is the story I would have told. They flushed that in Prague. Chuck didn’t provide what Sarah needed. Just when she decided to take a chance and make herself vulnerable, he handed her heart back to her in a million pieces.

      It was unforgivable and changed forever how I felt about him… and the show for that matter.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree with all of that again Bill. Including the later conversation with Giles; but most importantly the damage done by the story.

  8. Robert says:

    You know, it’s as if Chuck and Sarah exchanged places during 3.01 to 3.12, got all mixed up about their ideas of each other (and erring with the temptations); they were still in love, but completely mixed up and lost. Then in 3.12, they realized they hadn’t changed, that they still wanted each other, and what they wanted in each other, came back to their senses, hence the DYLM scene (which was great, by the way, admit it!), and spy life consequences be damned.

    Then in 3.14 (one of my favorites), they became more rational about it, and decided to have it all, and the show became alive (and fun to watch) again.

    BUT, I’m a bit like Authorguy on this; on the fence. I totally agree with all who says the “misery” arc was painful to watch (execution), and sometimes I was kind of feeling like WTF??? But I totally get what was the basic plan TPTB tried to put in motion. So I agree with both sides and partially disagree with both, and in doing so, pleasing neither… 😉

  9. SarahSam says:

    Agree with most that there was no redemption in reconciling the couple, which is why I ceased to believe in the relationship. S3 essentially destroyed Charah for me. The Sarah Walker I loved was diminished by the story and particularly by Shaw. The show is called Chuck and is based on his perspective but I recall the original premise was a triangle relationship with Chuck possibly torn between Kayla (normal) and Sarah (spy world). Conflict was always in play,as it is in any good story. I think they recognized Strahovski was special and they could encompass the perceived conflict of those worlds without the extra character. I don’t think they ever foresaw Strahovski making Sarah Walker the most appealing character on the show. I think that’s why you see the implications of “Dark” Sarah Walker starting in Pink Slip. I imagine that’s part of the overview they always had for the character, but Strahovski’s portrayal made her sympathetic to the point that you couldn’t completely sully her. In my opinion BAW’s right, they did want it both ways because Sarah Walker was popular with the fanbase but probably was not the character they envisioned originally. They’re are at least consistent . The same Sarah who can tell Chuck he is her home is the same Sarah who hasn’t told Chuck about her mother. Wildly divergent. I think the running reminder is that Sarah gets the hots for every guy she works with and in S3 is amplified by Superman casting. Who couldn’t get over emotional devastation with Superman right? Even if you have no chemistry with him and he is a crap spy right? You’ll be so dismissive of him , that even after he tries to kill you, you’ll still wear his Tiffany earrings. I recall an interview where Schwartz says that Shaw “would be the perfect mate for Sarah in the spy world if there were no Chuck” problem was….there was a Chuck.

    • atcDave says:

      I’d say its even worse than saying “there was a Chuck”; Sarah was a sympathetic, likable and heroic character from the start. Shaw was an arrogant doofus. There’s just no way that pairing was believable.
      I think there was a bit of disconnect that lingered to the end. As you mention, Sarah was generally the most popular character on the show; yet for the show runners it was all about Chuck. That wouldn’t have been a huge problem, except on those occasions when Sarah was reduced to a plot device. We Sarah fans were often left scratching our heads, trying to make sense of something that really, was senseless. But of course it became a big problem when Sarah was a marginalized plot device for most of a season.
      I do think the problem was greatly diminished in the last two seasons. Partly because CF kind of “got it”, at least better than he had. It was also helped by bringing in some writers who were better for Sarah (LeJudkins and Newman).
      But ultimately, I would have liked things a bit better if the concept had been “Chuck and Sarah” all along. And I don’t necessarily mean Charah from the start, I just mean treating both characters as equal leads from the beginning.

      • anthropocene says:

        I agree. “The Secret and the Agent.” What fun that would have been.

      • BillAtWork says:

        But here is the main disconnect. We wanted them to tell the love story of two opposites that filled in each other’s weaknesses.

        Chris Fedak wanted to tell the story of a hero’s journey from nerd to bad-ass, and getting the hot chick was basically only a part of his reward.

        The base problem is that, to get any network to pay for it, he had to sell it as the love story. But in his mind, it never was.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Anthro, much as I loved (most of) the show, I can only imagine it would have been even better with that concept from the beginning. Sarah had so little screen time in some of the early episodes its amazing. I can only imagine if she’d received equal treatment from the start it would have been so much better.

        Yeah Bill I think that was the biggest break between writers and fans. Well, some fans anyway. I understand there were those who honestly preferred it being all Chuck’s story. But every survey I ever saw on favorite characters in the show (at the old NBC forums) showed Sarah getting about 60% of the vote (separate polls for S1 & S2, I was no longer involved after that, so I don’t know if later polls were ever done).
        I’m really not even sure it was initially billed as a romance, at least not as the main story. But I do think by the end of S2 it was the main force for many, if not most, viewers. And then it was practically flushed for a season. But I do think, to CF’s ever lasting credit, once they got to S4 he had the sense to let some of the staff writers really elevate it to front and center. Again; the LaJudkins team and Kristen Newman are the best example, they really wrote the show I had been hoping for.
        And it always makes me laugh that the show runners express surprise that Honeymooners and Phase Three were fan favorites. That’s the show I wanted from the start.

      • BillAtWork says:

        I think that CF had several objectives, not necessarily in any order.

        To get renewed for the next season.

        To blow some stuff up.

        To pay homage to things from his youth.

        To live vicariously through Chuck.

        Telling the love story sometimes got in the way. Some of those things worked well. Some, not so much. The Bo Derrick thing was a major fail for me. In fact I would call it the worst episode of the series (keeping in mind that I haven’t seen Fake Name). But First Class is a close second.

    • uplink2 says:

      Great points SarahSam. I’ve always felt that Yvonne took the Sarah Walker character to so many places they had never envisioned. She was just so good that her portrayal of the character forced them to change the direction they originally intended. Once they shot her scenes for the pilot and especially the beach scene, Kayla was dead meat. There was no way her character could be included.

      I’ve always thought that Fedak in particular sees the show through Chuck and Morgan’s eyes and the fans or at least a very large portion of them see it through Sarah’s. Hence the disconnect. They used Sarah as a plot device far too many times for my liking.

      To your point about Schwartz though I actually think it was Fedak in the great Mo Ryan interview where she almost got him to actually say something honest and not just spin before he caught himself after his stumble, talked about how in any other show they would have been perfect for each other. But what he fails to mention is that if it had still been Routh and Yvonne in those roles with their complete lack of chemistry, it would have been cancelled in 3 weeks or never even got a pickup. They got caught up in the Superman “idea” but failed to actually watch the movie to see if he could actually act. He had no chemistry with Kate Bosworth in the movie and was so bad they dumped him for any sequels. The casting of Kristin was because they thought it was so “cool” to have Superman and Superman’s girlfriend. On paper it sounded great but on screen he at least was a disaster,

      The earring scene is so incredibly offensive and disrespectful to Sarah especially when they played it for laughs. I don’t know what LeJudkins were thinking. I really question if there was any attempt at continuity and overall character discussions sometimes in that writers room. It is so inconsistent so many times.

    • aerox says:

      The only interview I’ve read, that deals with Kayla, basically has Schwartz and Fedak saying that there was no way in hell that two women would be fighting over someone who they tried to portray as a ‘nerd’, so they canned Kayla. Then of course they only ended up casting super hotties as PLIs and the actual love interest, so the entire point is moot all by itself, but there you have it.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I think that “believability” is code for “Yvonne is going to own this”.

      • uplink2 says:

        The original script shows that Kayla was not really a nice girl and was rather dismissive of Chuck going for the latest club hottie. Fedak did say in the Sepinwall all season interviews on season 1 that after Helicopter they changed Sarah’s character. I think the Sarah of Helicopter is more of the original vision and was probably already written before they started showing the pilot. The response to Yvonne basically taking over every scene she was in made them change direction away from their original vision for her. I give them credit for that but they should have realized more that she and the chemistry between her and Zach were their biggest strengths and utilized her far more. Maybe they never would have done an entire season throwing away that chemistry for the sake of a chemistry free dance with a 2X4.

  10. SarahSam says:

    I stand corrected uplink, a telling and compromised comment nevertheless. I agree with your assertion though, I believe what Yvonne brought in her creation was not how they envisioned Sarah Walker and it brings to bear if Yvonne changed their original vision, did the change in their original vision reconcile with their perceived direction. Was it really their original intent to pair the couple or if the show had been a respectable hit would they have run wt/wt until the cows came home? After the reprieve for the show, the planned ending at 3.13 was Chuck and Sarah together, how long would that have stretched out if there was no campaign to save Chuck and a full S3 episode order? The truth as many of you have stated is that once she changed their vision of the character, the direction changes. It’s a point of no return love story after S2 and Dave eloquently stated my sentiments exactly concerning being “ready” for each other. No one is ever truly ready and if you aren’t ready how do you become ready by being apart?

    • atcDave says:

      It would be interesting to know their original outline, if they ever even had it thought through more than a single season. I think not only Yvonne, but how well Zach and Yvonne played off each other helped force the issue. No doubt, that’s the very thing that had me so excited about this show and ready to fight for it after S2.

    • uplink2 says:

      It’s one of the bewildering things about season 3. Most watchers of the show would say that it’s biggest strength and most critical element in its success was the undeniable chemistry between Zach and Yvonne. It is far beyond many I have seen. Tracy/Hepburn, Burton/Taylor, Hanks/Ryan. It is on that level or at least the TV version. But yet they chose to throw that out the window for most of season 3 and substitute it with a couple with some mild chemistry Chuck/Hannah and one with absolutely none Sarah/Shaw. It was so lacking in that relationship that it made her look like a fool for giving him the time of day and added to the whole perception that it was all a contrived plot to just extend the WTWT. There was nothing to that relationship that was worthwhile and yet they chose it over one of the greatest duo’s in TV history and jammed it down our throats for six episodes. It’s mind boggling.

      • SarahSam says:

        It is mind boggling and the only way you can reconcile it is to take an Ernie like perspective in what their intent was as opposed to what you saw and how you interpreted it. In my opinion Ernie is accurate in some of what they intended but the disconnect between what their intentions were and what was playing out on the screen was huge. If you’re making it up as you go, there has to some adaptation. I think they maintained some of their original perceptions of Sarah Walker despite what played out onscreen and those residual perceptions created a lack of awareness in which they failed to realize they were damaging her character. Or was it their intent all alone? to enable Chuck to become an even bigger hero? To take an epic love story, reboot and diminish it, bring them together and dangle the happily ever after carrot but subsequently conclude with a tragic love story…was all that in the five year plan? That’s difficult to believe.

      • atcDave says:

        For starters, I do think Ernie is completely correct about the likely intent of the story, and how we were meant to look at it. The problem I always have is from an entertainment perspective. It was too dark and no fun, and made both main characters look like idiots or morons for most of the season.

        As far as the original plan or outline goes, I sure would be interested in seeing it, and how it changed over time. But we know it started changing almost immediately, with the Kayla Hart character being eliminated shortly after filming began. I also heard years ago, that they originally planned to end S1 with Chuck seeing Sarah shoot a prisoner (the Santa Claus ending). Given how long a wait those seven weeks until 3D seemed to take I can only imagine a whole summer would have been worse. We’ve also heard that Devon was originally going to be a spy, and would be killed at the end of S1. Really scary thought, what if Devon was the prisoner Sarah killed? I think there’s an excellent possibility Chuck could have been one of those shows I give up on at their first season finale (once I make it past the Pilot, the first season finale is the next most common time for me to quit a show). I REALLY don’t like things that dark!
        We also know the Shaw arc was altered at least two times after it started, so I’m not sure how seriously any outline was being taken at that point. I would love to know how things might have been different if they hadn’t lost Matt Bomer; and although I’m never a fan of triangles, I can imagine Sarah turning to Bryce with her worries about Chuck making far more sense to me than turning to Shaw ever did. NinjaVanish had some fun with such Bryce thoughts last week in “The Long Wait” thread.
        As I understand it, a five year plan is part of how a new show is pitched to a network. I’m guessing those plans are always pretty fluid. But I bet in Chuck’s case it’s more extreme than many; between six possible series finales, cast changes, very invested fans, and Sarah/Yvonne’s off the charts charisma the original outline may be good mostly for laughs. Still, it would be interesting to see, especially to see intermediate steps too and get how the show runners’ thinking shifted over the course of the series.

      • lappers84 says:

        Makes you wonder if they deliberately chose Kreuk and Routh because they believed that they would lack that chemistry with Zach and Yvonne, in an attempt to make their ep 13 hotel reunion that much more epic……backfired a little didn’t it. But what if they did have chemistry, how would we all be considering 3.0 now, any worse or any better – the balance would clearly have changed.

      • uplink2 says:

        Didn’t I also hear that a full 22 episode season 1 was supposed to end with the 2.0?

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t remember hearing that; but so much has been tossed around, I honestly have no idea about what they really were considering. Well; except the Kayla stuff is well documented, and Ryan talks about Devon being a spy and getting killed in a couple interviews.
        I suspect the 2.0 was one of those spontaneous “let’s see how this works, we’re probably getting canceled anyway…” sort of moments.

  11. SarahSam says:

    Haven’t read the Long Wait postings yet Dave, looking forward to it . I’m sure the comments I’m about to make are probably echoed in many of those posts. I agree with you about Bomer though. A triangle works with him because Sarah is emotionally devastated, Bryce turns up alive and all her concerns about Chuck changing she relays to him and of course, he takes advantage as Shaw did but it’s not so dark because of the prior relationship.We know Bryce wanted Sarah back. It’s a better story that doesn’t damage the Sarah Walker character. Perfectly understandable. Turning to someone she barely knew for an emotional connection was not what most of us wanted to see and viewers bailed. Once you don’t get Bomer, you can’t damage the heroine with the first guy that shows up. You ditch the triangle and go in another direction. I think TPTB were so caught up in the casting coups determining the story, they failed to realize the failings of the story and how it impacted our heroes going forward. My opinion of course lappers is that even if they had chemistry with the love interests it wouldn’t have changed too many protests on separating Chuck and Sarah. I think the separation was my major problem with the arc and that extrapolated to the devices used for the contrivance. Although you raise an interesting point, I think Zac had good chemistry with Kristin, but nobody believed Sarah/Shaw and if it were deliberate to direct Yvonne/Routh to play it that way, then it’s just another confirmation on how I believe TPTB really viewed Sarah Walker. I believed Sarah cared for Bryce, I never got the feeling she cared for Shaw, despite what they attempted, it was so incoherent. In AH, Chuck locks her in Castle after her determination to go get blown up with Shaw on his suicide mission. Chuck saves him, tells her he loves her and to run away with him and before the episode concludes that’s what she decides to do. The guy who a few hours earlier,she was determined to not let ” go it alone” on a suicide mission, the guy she was moving to DC with, was in a hospital bed and she planned on leaving with Chuck without telling him. That’s real caring and that’s also Killing Sarah Walker. It was totally unnecessary to diminish Sarah so you could build Chuck up. Chuck was already “special” we knew that.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah there’s no doubt it did a lot of damage; both main characters seemed adolescent in a creepy sort of way. Just to be clear, I’m only saying Bryce would have worked better, NOT that it’s what I wanted to see. Any triangle post-Colonel was unwanted from my perspective. I’m only saying Bryce wouldn’t have been character destroying in the way Shaw was.
      SarahSam read the comments on The Long Wait post. NinjaVanish really got creative with the Bryce scenario, a FRIENDS scenario, that was far more appealing.

    • uplink2 says:

      The issue with Bryce for season 3 is how many times does Sarah have to pick Chuck over him? She did it 3 times already and on the fourth she runs to Bryce? It is another case of damaging Sarah’s character to sell the story. Now I will agree he is a far more believable LI for Sarah than Shaw/Routh ever was but it still adds up to a delay troupe contrivance and a real bad case of WTWT fatigue. The only scenario I can see it working is if Bryce was so injured when he was shot that he has to retire from active field duty. Maybe leaves the CIA entirely and he offers Sarah the “normal” life Chuck spits back in her face. Now that might have been a great story but I’m not sure how happy folks would have been with it either.

      SarahSam there are so many examples in season 3 of them “Killing Sarah Walker” as you so perfectly characterize. She never officially broke up with Shaw and even after telling Chuck she loves him she walks arm in arm with Shaw in Paris? Really?” There was no “cover” going on then. But in AH/OG Sarah is such a terrible spy that you wonder that it didn’t matter at all what they did to her just as long as Chuck gets his hero moment. She never notices the wedding ring, she never questions why she can’t get a signal all the way from downtown LA to the desert. She willingly goes to Paris, the site of her Red Test with the man whose wife she just found out was the target and never once questions that or asks for backup.She falls into Shaw’s arms after learning she had killed his wife when she was supposed to be meeting Chuck at the train station to run away with him. She blindly accepts that Shaw would be perfectly fine working with his wife’s killer. During that arc she was made to look like a terrible spy and the best one in those episodes was Morgan for god’s sake.

      I think this line might be one of the best descriptions of the season 3 disaster that I ahve ever read

      I think TPTB were so caught up in the casting coups determining the story, they failed to realize the failings of the story and how it impacted our heroes going forward.

      Simply perfectly put. I also think they were caught up in their own hype and in the adoration and dedication of the fans of the show that they thought we would love whatever they put on screen. And that actually is true of some Chuck fans. But they really didn’t get much of their audience. They were shocked when so many saw that they were not wearing any clothes and told them so.

      • atcDave says:

        As I said above, I think Bryce works great as a friend and confidante. No triangle is appealing.

  12. First Impression says:

    What a difference 6 months makes.  The dynamics of the show have shifted and Sarah has built a seemingly impenetrable wall against Chuck.  With the flashback revealing just how much she was willing to give up, Chuck’s choice of the job over her was devastating.  After listening to Chuck beg her for two seasons to give them a chance, she takes the plunge only to be jilted at the altar (well the train station).  He deserves her ire.

    But then Chuck has never taken the time to carve out his corner of the world.  He’s not a playboy that can sit back and let someone else call the shots.  He wants to contribute, be part of a team.  After wallowing in cheese balls for a while, Chuck finally realizes this and tries to pull Team B back together.  

    From El Bucho and “spastic colon” to Mexico and “Don’t freak out”, the show hits its stride with nods to S1.  

    But back at the fountain, you can still hear the pain in Sarah’s voice as she says, “I acted impulsively and it’s a mistake I don’t usually make.  It won’t happen again.”  But Sarah.  “You’re a spy now Chuck.  You have to keep your feelings to yourself.”  The hard reality sets in.

    Side note:  I wonder why Sarah picked the name Hector Calderon as Chuck’s new identity.  

  13. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Pink Slip (3.01) | Chuck This

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