Chuck vs The Other Guy (3.13)

Back when we reviewed The Ring several months ago, I described that episode as a step down into the abyss.  It was good in its own right, but had acquired so much baggage because of where it was heading I actually thought less of it now in the greater context.  Other Guy is the step back up.  It still suffers some from the muck and mire of that abyss, but it is a strong episode and its heading great places.  This is an episode that actually becomes greater because of its context.

Tanks are under-rated in romance.

After the jump, we’ll continue our season three re-watch with Chuck vs The Other Guy.

Is it really that simple to fix this show?  Just put Chuck and Sarah together on screen as a couple and all the misery is forgotten?  Well I think for many of us the answer is yes, or mostly, or something close to that.  Almost from the beginning, Chuck and Sarah together, whether its working, cover dating, bonding as friends, or later, intimately, has always been a beautiful thing.  Not only do Zach and Yvonne have great chemistry, but the characters are both appealing.  It is easy to root for these two good people coming from radically different worlds, coming together and completing each other.  For me, that was the main hook of the show from about Tango on.  Even during the period when Chuck and Sarah are estranged I think its the episodes they interact together in more like Angel of Death and Tic Tac that work best for many of us.

There is still baggage associated with this episode.  Any time we see Shaw on screen there will be baggage. But there really is surprisingly little.  Maybe more of a tote bag.  As many of you know, I did an S3 marathon with friends who had never seen the show a couple months back.  Well my version of an S3 marathon is just 3.03, 3.04, 3.10, 3.13-3.19.  I found it interesting they really gave no thought to a Sarah/Shaw relationship while watching any of it.  To the extent I had to explain to them in 3.17 that Sarah had been with Shaw briefly, mostly in episodes we skipped.  Of course my episode choices had plenty to do with it, but there was so little obvious draw between them that the thought had never crossed my friends’ minds.  That’s a long way of getting back to my point; there is very little Sarah/Shaw interaction in Other Guy that hints at what has apparently happened.  And I love that now that Sarah has made her choice for Chuck, she will simply give no further thought to Shaw at all.  To be nice, she probably should formally break up with him, like maybe when he’s trying to kill her; but for obvious reasons its never really necessary.

And that makes it quite easy to enjoy the things this episode does so well.  Chuck’s first attempt at rescuing Sarah is sweet and awkward in an almost typical Chuck way; he has more confidence and authority now than he used to, right up until it seems Sarah doesn’t need his help at all.  Then we see Chuck’s insecurities roaring back.  Now Sarah is awkward too.  “I appreciated the tank” may fall short of all time great romantic declarations, but Sarah is still trying to figure out how to communicate with Chuck.  Chuck and Sarah’s “Do you love me?” scene does a little better.  Whether the journey getting here was genius or tedious, this scene is beautiful.  Sarah may still not have a way with words, but in answering Chuck’s question she says enough to change the show forever.

Several secondary parts of Other Guy are also very well handled.  The mission with the elevator may be largely unremarkable, except we finally know beyond a doubt which side Shaw is on.  And there was much rejoicing.  Which brings me to Morgan.  I very much like Morgan the comic sidekick who is very good at a very few things.  I think changing Morgan’s role is one of the great creative decisions made in this season.  Sometimes he is maybe played as too sage, sometimes I think he gets too much screen time (all the way back to the Pilot), but often he is just perfect.  I think that’s the case here.  As Chuck’s Alfred, and as a cheesy fake martial arts expert he is perfectly used.

Casey’s role here is very well handled too.  From melancholy to re-energized he adds a lot to the episode.  I particularly enjoyed him in Paris; that he took down all the Ring agents single handed and then bargained his old job back was just plain fun.  Even better, Casey counseling Chuck,  and standing up for Morgan.  The man has surprising depth.

So what of the climax?  I find the set-up a bit awkward.  Somehow Chuck should have been more respected, and Shaw less so at this point.  Especially by Sarah.  I know some viewers were greatly worried by Sarah and Shaw’s cover situation on the Paris trip; its never worried me too much, although I would have liked the conversation we never heard where Sarah tells Shaw she’s done with him.  Obviously events supersede that, but it still would have been fun.  I think the main points here, are Chuck battling Shaw, Shaw suggesting Chuck doesn’t need to worry himself because he won’t turn on Chuck, he just wants to kill Sarah, and Chuck having to use deadly force to end it.  Very well done scene.  I only wish Shaw had stayed dead; I think it diminished the event by bringing Shaw back.  Especially as he was never more than a passable villain.

No doubt the final scene in the hotel is very satisfying.  Very entertaining.  A very Bond-like feel to it; but we know with Chuck and Sarah it means more than any Bond ending ever did.

For so many of us, this ending was way too slow in coming, and significant character damage was done in the proceeding arc.  But that is over now.  Next week, will see the second re-invention of the show for the season.  And this time in a good way.  I think Other Guy remains a good and satisfying episode in its own right.  It is certainly a great step up out of that abyss.  And so much better lies ahead.

~ Dave

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Do-overs, Mulligans and Second Chances

I would love to get into a long discussion about how Chuck vs. The Other Guy saves Season 3. I would really like to write about how this episode made right all the things that we found wrong with the premise and the characters. But you know, I’m not going to do that. You see, I was surprised to find myself thinking that instead, this episode corrected all the things that were wrong with Season 2.

That’s blasphemy, especially coming from me. I love Season 2. But, um, you know, there was a lot that was wrong with the situation Chuck and Sarah found themselves in. Worse, they made a lot of mistakes themselves.

Barstow

Barstow

It’s like this. Chuck and Sarah got together in a dingy, rundown motel in Barstow. They were exhausted, on the run from the CIA, Casey and Vincent and were pretty much alone – I doubt they even had WiFi! I can’t help but think they were a little scared, too. Certainly Chuck was. And confused. When he asked Sarah “Why are you doing this?”, she replied that it was her job to protect him. Sarah was avoiding the real question, of course. So Chuck persisted.

Chuck: And what about when it’s not your job? What happens to us then?
Sarah: [softly] One mission at a time, Chuck.

Still avoiding. Chuck is avoiding taking action and Sarah is avoiding even thinking about the elephant in the room, their future together and their romance. It was an amazing thing when they woke up in each others arms, about to throw caution to the wind in the golden sunlight. But face it. The sunlight was the only thing golden that morning. The questions weren’t answered and everything else was wrong.

Chuck and Sarah let everything get in their way in that motel room. Morgan stopped them with his petty pilfering, Casey with his interruption, Vincent and even Roark with their villainy. Wrong moment, wrong situation, and they let it happen. It seems Chuck was still that boy hiding from his own birthday party, passive about his future and maybe even about Sarah. And Sarah was still in terse agent mode (you know, the one who was glad she shot the French assassins), and still trying to save Chuck, almost as if she was his mother. Indeed, even after their running was over, Sarah was scheduled to leave with Bryce, a “grown-up”, to head up the new Intersect project. They were still the wrong people.

There’s one conversation in The Ring that underscores the problem.

Chuck: Where’s Bryce?
Sarah: Gone. They’re uploading him with the new computer tonight.
Chuck: Off to save the world. I guess both of you are.
Sarah: You wanna dance?
Chuck: You know I do. You belong out there, saving the world. I’m just – I’m just not that guy.
Sarah: How many times to you have to be a hero to realize that you are ‘that guy?’
Chuck: I want more, Sarah. I want a life. I want a real life.
Sarah: Chuck, I don’t want to save the world. I want…

Stephen interrupted Sarah then, back in April of 2009 (always, the interruptions). Eight months later we saw how it all fell apart in Prague. How could it not? For thirteen episodes, Sarah has been watching Chuck become someone he wasn’t before – a spy. She’s known spies and doesn’t like the compromises that the life requires. Chuck has spent those episodes trying to prove that he doesn’t belong in the car anymore and that he doesn’t have to play second fiddle to a Bryce or a Shaw. Mostly, even as he’s succeeded, he’s failed. Failure tastes a little like death and both Chuck and Sarah realize that these are the stakes for which they’ve been playing.

You said you hated my tone, it made you feel so alone,
And so you told me I ought to be leaving.
 
But something kept me standing by that hospital bed,
I should have quit but instead I took care of you.

It’s almost a year later. Are things any different? You bet they are. Once again Chuck has a chance to ask Sarah directly about her feelings for him. I don’t know about you, but I almost expected Morgan to interrupt again, or Beckman to call with some drastic plan that required Chuck and Sarah to save the world. Not this time.

Chuck: I thought I could save you. I thought Shaw was bad and I was gonna save you and we were gonna be together, but that didn’t happen.
Sarah: Shaw’s a good spy.
Chuck: I get it, okay? I think everybody gets that Shaw is amazing. And you two are gonna go run off together and save the world. And that’s great news for the world.

Just once, for the record.

Just once, for the record.

Sound familiar? It’s the same fears Chuck had when he thought Sarah was running off with Bryce. Will Chuck still be passive? No. Not this time.

Chuck: But earlier on in my… drunken haze… I realized that I hadn’t asked you a question. A really important question that I’d like to ask you now, if that’s okay. Just once, for the record, Sarah, do you love me?

Finally. Sarah’s spent an awful long time either avoiding this question this year, and once again, she pauses. Will she still be terse? Let your heart beat a couple of times, because a comet is about to appear.

Sarah: Yes.

Despite the cute little tease about Chuck’s pants and the possibility that he is making a complete fool of himself, Sarah finally speaks.

I fell for you a long, long time ago

I fell for you a long, long time ago

Sarah: No, Chuck. Yes.
Chuck: Wha- uh, what?
Sarah: Chuck, I fell for you a long, long time ago, after you fixed my phone and before you started diffusing bombs with computer viruses. So, yes. [chuckles] Yes.

Just in case you lost count (and just in case the audience and semi-drunk Chuck didn’t get it the first time), Sarah answers yes four times. She loves him, and to hear it stated repeatedly and so definitely is unprecedented for this show. There is just no ambiguity left. This is the answer Chuck didn’t get when they danced at Ellie’s reception and it’s the answer we didn’t get in Barstow (even if we thought we did).

To paraphrase Beckman in the next episode, Well, it’s about time! So, yes, those things that always seemed to be open ended and those questions that seemed to hang in the air back then, well, they’ve finally been addressed.

Before you were the Intersect, you were smart.

Before you were the Intersect, you were smart.

What happens next is a fabulous story – Morgan figures out that Shaw’s a fraud and Sarah is in danger. Chuck makes an amazing rescue that depends on his being a great spy, not on being The Intersect. Casey gets his job back and Morgan becomes a spy too.

Oh, and I agree completely with Dave that Casey is superb as he swaps lives with Morgan, if temporarily. Morgan saves him as much as he saves Chuck, which is really cool! But best of all is the many-layered joke delivered by Beckman, who complains that the bill generated by Chuck’s little rescue attempt is “thicker than my copy of Atlas Shrugged!” It’s hilarious because it’s true!

But there is one, last hurdle Chuck has to overcome – he must convince Sarah that despite all the changes, he’s still the same sweet, innocent and unspoiled guy he was before he wanted to be a spy. It looks like that’s not gonna happen when, to save Sarah, Chuck shoots (and kills) Shaw in front of her. Now that he’s killed someone Sarah will have no choice but to leave him. Right? After all, she was about to leave with Shaw because she thought he killed the mole…

Or so Chuck thinks. But no, like so many times this season with Shaw, Chuck and we have been led astray. There was more to Sarah’s decision to leave than just the “red test,” remember. Chuck wouldn’t tell her why things weren’t as they seemed – he was keeping secrets too and losing her trust. Sarah’s not so foolish as to leave Chuck because he saved her.

No more interruptions!

No more interruptions!

And for his part, Chuck is not so nerdy that he won’t pull the trigger out of fear that Sarah will leave him. He’s not passive any more, not about Sarah and not about his life. In a nutshell, after missing their chance in Barstow and in Prague, Chuck and Sarah finally figure it out and found their second chance.

This is NOT Barstow

This is NOT Barstow

Yes, Chuck and Sarah have come a long way to find themselves back in a motel room bathed in golden light. But what a difference! No interruptions; not even General Beckman is allowed to disturb them. Please don’t think that the journey has taken us nowhere, because there’s a world of difference between the girl who was “never good at the ‘saying her feelings’ part” and the girl who can say exactly when she fell in love. There’s a world of difference between the boy who let his college roommate steal his girlfriends and the guy who killed a man to save Sarah. They are as different as Barstow is from Paris.

Maybe fans are right to say it went on too long. But I can’t think of a single episode that I’d want to do without now.

– joe

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About atcDave

I'm 53 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 30 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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94 Responses to Chuck vs The Other Guy (3.13)

  1. joe says:

    I wanted to add one more thing too, Dave. “I appreciated the tank” is pretty much the debut of Yvonne Strahovski, comedienne, right? I can’t think of any line earlier that is played for that effect.

    • atcDave says:

      Maybe a couple of reactions and quick takes; like remember in Truth when Devon is suggesting Chuck and Sarah seem pretty celibate her reaction is funny in a comic sort of way. But yeah, this is sort of breaking new ground for her. And of course Honeymooners will be like a whole new Sarah.

      • joe says:

        Oooohhhh – good one. There’s one other Sarah scene that always makes me laugh, but it’s in one of the least enjoyed episodes. It’s when Sarah goes “Whooops!” as she’s taken upwards (and Chuck down), in the museum in The Mask. Don’t know why, but it tickles my funny bone.

    • atcDave says:

      My one comment one your take would be; yes it took too long, and I can think of several episodes I could do without. But no doubt everything is finally right again.

    • mr2686 says:

      Joe, what a great analysis! I used to think the arc (in real time) went on a bit too long, but after a few rewatches no longer feel that way. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I just don’t care for Routh as an actor and rewatching season 3 in groupings of 4 and 5 episodes at a time actually seems to break up Routh in to managable doses.
      I absolutely agree with you that Chuck and Sarah have quite a bit of character growth between the end of season 2 and Other Guy, and that’s what enables the relationship to go to the next level.
      On the comedy side, I would like to mention one of my favorite Beckman lines from this episode. When Casey video calls her to get his job back, she tells him that he no longer works for her and unless the Buy More has a sale, they have nothing to talk about.

      • joe says:

        Oh, I *still* think it went on too long, especially IRL. The break for the Olympics was awful and it still feels a bit “stretched out” to me. At the time I was sure it was because of the extra episodes added when the season was extended, but I know that this is how the season would have ended if we hadn’t gotten those extra six episodes. Well, maybe it would have ended with The Honeymooners, essentially. But it still feels stretched out.

        Routh is a weird case. I have no qualifications to judge him as an actor, and Resaw brings up a good point below. He may be doing exactly what he was told to do. But I find the character disappointing too – at least, I do until we get to The Living Dead and Subway. He’s a great villain in the mold of Jason and Freddy in horror movies.

        I really like Grimm these days. But every time I see Nick (the main character, played by David Giuntoli) he makes me think of Routh and I jump.

  2. resaw says:

    Thanks, guys. I know it is said by some that Sarah’s “Yes” to Chuck is unearned, but I don’t think I’d be alone in saying that this is my favourite scene in the entire series, perhaps matched only by the final scene, “Shut up and kiss me.”

    I really appreciated your reviews, and Joe, your comments about this episode correcting season 2 makes the point that season 3, thus far, was an important component in the development of the characters.

    In defence of Brandon Routh: I am more convinced than ever that he was directed to be wooden and emotionless in his portrayal of Shaw. There is a point at the French café, after he has (temporarily) defeated Chuck and has picked up Sarah, where that wooden tone changes. If you haven’t noticed before, listen again to the tone in Shaw’s voice: “Just stay here. I don’t want to hurt you. None of this is your fault.”

    I also want to add my appreciation for the brilliant choice of The Antlers’ “Kettering” for the bridge scene.

    This episode makes me wonder whether I would have been happier if the series had ended here rather than go on to the flatter season 4 or what remains for me an unsatisfying conclusion to the series at 5.13. I think I can say that had 3.13 been the end, it would have ended on an unambiguous high note for me. On the other hand, I would have been disappointed to not have the show continue, and in my view, more Chuck is always a better outcome than less, so I’m glad that it continued (and I wish it would come back!… in movie form, or whatever).

    • joe says:

      Ack! I just had a brilliant reply swallowed by Al Gore’s Interweb! Ack!

      I think you’re right about Routh, Resaw. He could very well have been doing exactly what he was told to do, which is often no small feat.

      I have a love-hate relationship with Kettering. It’s an amazing song, but painful in the extreme. I haven’t been exactly in the situation described by the lyrics, but I’ve been close enough that the song almost hurts to hear.

      It’s like Gray’s Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard. I was introduced to it too young – only a parent could understand that grief. But it’s a brilliant description.

      I have a suspicion that, had there not been that six episode extension, S3 would still have ended with a major fight between Chuck and Shaw, the Buy More would still have been destroyed and C&S would be starting a new life together. I’m just not sure what they would have left out, though!

      • atcDave says:

        At one point it was suggested that an epic Chuck/Shaw showdown in Paris was supposed to happen long about 3.09. My suspicion is, without the back order, the misery arc would have been more compressed and we would have had a couple of better episodes before 3.13. I’m glad we got that back order for many reasons, but that wouldn’t be one of them. From this point, I think the Show’s best is yet to come, and it very nearly never happened.

      • mr2686 says:

        I can believe that Routh was told to be serious/all business, but I doubt he was told to be wooden. I mean, Beckman is serious/all business most of the time but doesn’t come off like plywood. I think that part is on hm and nobody else.
        Joe, I hear what you’re saying about Grimm, but when you watch it for awhile you realize that Giuntoli commands his facial expressions much better which makes him much more likeable to the viewer (less stiff for sure). Both he and Routh do look like they could be brothers though.

      • He’s not ‘serious/all business’, he’s affectless, completely unable to respond emotionally. I see him trying to do so with Sarah, and failing. Only his anger at Sarah (because of Eve), and then at Chuck, is genuine. That is the character Routh was playing.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree exactly with that MR.

      • mr2686 says:

        Marc, I can buy what you’re saying about trying to be affectless, but if that’s the case he showed just enough emotion to not do that well either. I really don’t want to pick apart his performance, and maybe he would be good in other rolls, but I just don’t think he was right for this one. Heck, if Ryan McPartlin wasn’t already cast I think he would have done a good job, as well as Jonathan Cake. Maybe it’s just that there were just too many good actors that were already used in this series to compare Routh to.

      • joe says:

        Hang on, guys. Something just dawned on me. Routh is actually pretty good at showing intensity and subsumed rage. He’s a volcano always on the verge of exploding. But where his technique is hard to swallow is when he’s being friendly. Those places where he befriends or compliments Chuck always make me want to scream at the TV – “Don’t BELIEVE him!” Those scenes where he’s being intimate with Sarah (like, the shoulder rub), even more so.

      • mr2686 says:

        Yeah Joe, I keep going back to his eyes. They always look too intense or angry which would naturally make him better suited for later when he’s a villain. The fact that he can’t change his expression is what makes his character not work for me.

      • atcDave says:

        That may be exactly why he works better as a baddie.

      • uplink2 says:

        I’m going to post a longer post later but I had to comment on this. I rewatched this episode last night and one thing stuck out even more than it has in the past. Sorry guys but to me Routh is absolutely horrible in this episode. IMO it is his singular worst performance of his entire time on the show. Couple that with his pathetic performance in Hero and it proves to me at least that in his quintessential moment, the big reveal of the entire reason behind his arc, he fell flat on his face. From the incredibly awkward looks to the sides as he is holding his gun trained on Sarah during the rescue, to his glances as he is listening in to the conversations in Castle to his disastrous performance in the cafe scene, it’s just one weak performance after another. To me when his story was on the line, he failed miserably in displaying anything from a crazed mad man, conflicted lover, evil traitor, to a man struggling with his new identity. So we get none of those just a wooden and horribly flat performance.

        I would contend that Routh is incapable of portraying a multi-layered, conflicted and deeply troubled character. That is why he works much better as a singular version of the character, the villain. But to ask him to display a range of emotions especially non-verbally is simply something he is incapable of. Especially when you compare that to Yvonne who may be one of the best in the business at it. With Routh the looks, the glances, the twitches all come across as incredibly phoney and forced.

        TPTB gave him an incredibly under developed character with a story that showed exactly the opposite of what they were telling. Then to give that to a very weak and limited actor and you get what we got, a show killing character. He was out of his realm and IMO this episode in particular highlights just how bad he was in the role up to this point.

      • atcDave says:

        As always Uplink, your judgement of Routh is a bit harsher than mine. But I agree entirely with calling him a show killing character. And I mean that in two senses; first being he was WRITTEN as a show killing character. Everything about Shaw, his concept and execution, is written to destroy the very fabric of the show I once loved. The moment the full idea of his character was conceived in JS’ brain was the moment it was guaranteed I would hate the character and what he did to the show.
        Casting an actor who brought zero charisma to the role could only make a bad situation worse.

      • oldresorter says:

        During s3, I was as hard as anyone on the Shaw actor. In hindsight, I doubt he had much to do with s3’s fail, so Superman, if you’re out there, I apologize for being mean to you.

        IMO, Shaw’s fail was that the way his character was written. As proof, look how quickly the bad writing of s3 made many of us who love Chuck and / or Sarah dislike them. I don’t but that villains always are disliked, I love most the Chuck villains. The ones I dislike, usually have the same flaw, too seriously portrayed, which makes them look ridiculous (Shaw, Dekker, Quinn, Volkov’s daughter) while the funny, quirky ones near all work (Roark, Colt, Lou Ferigno and his supermodel boss, Dalton). Quirky Orion worked, more serious Frost not so much.

        So I’m easing up on Superman. The writers, well I guess they’re still in the woodshed.

      • uplink2 says:

        Jason, I’m not saying that Routh is the cause by any means. I agree completely that much of Season 3’s failings began long before we even heard the name Daniel Shaw. Pink Slip is a disaster and as has been noted many folks left the show immediately after it aired and never even met Shaw. I have never bought in to the idea a different actor would have made this failed concept work only that it would have failed less with an actor of the skill of a Bomer or Cake. I’m just saying that an extremely flawed character written to be complex and multi-layered was made much worse by an actor who didn’t have to chops for much beyond a singularly focused version of the character, the villain. And this episode in particular shows just how limited he was.

      • uplink2 says:

        One more thing, I also think that is what Schwartz and Fedak meant when they said

        “JS: With Brandon, I think the character really found its footing in the second half of his arc. Again, you cast people. Brandon was great. He really brought a lot and brought a lot of profile to the character and strength and was kind of the anti-Chuck and that’s what we wanted, but sometimes it takes a minute to figure out how to write for somebody.

        CF: And I think that once we found out he played a great villain, we found him. “

        It took the reduction of Shaw to a singular role to find what it took to write for the actor they cast.

      • atcDave says:

        :”…only that it would have failed less…”

        I love it! Too true and too funny!

      • Dave says:

        atcDave

        You mentioned OG being originally planned at ep 3.09. In that little remake project, OG occurs at episode 8, which would have made Subway/Ring II the end of the front of the season (14.5 episodes, but hey, it was close).

        If you lose the LIs and Zombie Sarah, that’s where you come out. When I remade the opening arc, I lost the LIs for both Chuck and Sarah, and dumped all Zombie Sarah related stuff. Funny, huh?

  3. authorguy says:

    “They are as different as Barstow is from Paris.” Exactly the point. They needed that growth and in S3 they got it, just not very well, but I think it would have taken Shakespeare to tell it well in just 13 episodes.
    Most of the fanfics written to replace S3 never deal with that growth angle. It either never happens or it already has, mostly Sarah suddenly realizing what she wants and communicating that to Chuck, but also Chuck becoming calm and competent with the action hero stuff, and neither is where these characters are at that time. Sarah’s a great spy but a weak person. I like the stories but they don’t feel like Chuck.

    • atcDave says:

      No doubt Sarah has some serious growing to do, but I completely reject the idea any of it happened in the front arc of this season. I think in Other Guy we are getting exactly the same Sarah we last saw in Ring. She will grow spectacularly and beautifully from here on out, especially in S4. But American Hero ends with her making the same decision she made in Ring. And in Honeymooners she and Chuck try what was started in Pink Slip. So far, no meaningful lessens have been learned by Sarah, except those that were purely a construction of S3. But now that we’ve finished that epic circular journey, it’s time to move forward.

      • So Ring ended with her throwing her gun on the bed and running off to be with Chuck. I must have missed that scene.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh brother, you know better. Don’t be insulting.

      • I’m not insulting anybody, I’m just not going to accept a statement I know is blatantly untrue. Sarah’s choices in Ring and AH are 180 degrees apart.

      • atcDave says:

        No, they’re exactly the same. Sarah decides to leave the CIA to be with Chuck. And even decides to physically run away with him (From Pink Slip and Honeymooners). The only significant difference being, this time Chuck actually goes with her.

      • In Ring Chuck asks her to go away with him and she says she’s leaving with Bryce. In AH Chuck asks her to go away with him and she throws away her gun and packs her bags.

      • atcDave says:

        And she changes her mind and let’s Bryce know. She’s interrupted before she can tell Chuck. But later suggests they run away.

        From a character situation the scenes are identical, the only difference is events.

      • joe says:

        Great discussion, guys.

        Dave, I see your point – there are so many similarities between The Ring and Am. Hero, especially in the step they are about to take. But something seems different. It’s like in The Ring, it’s Sarah running away (and Marc would add “again”, I’m sure) and trying to convince Chuck. In Am. Hero, it’s that same “I’d like to start my life with a Euro-pass, away from the Buy More” idea that Chuck gave to Ellie a long time ago. It’s his plan (his five year plan?) more than it’s Sarah’s, and this time, she’s running towards a life with Chuck instead of away from her old life. At least, that’s the impression it leaves with me.

        It’s a pretty big change!

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Joe I think Chuck has changed in some significant ways, especially the whole spy/career sort of thing. I can think of a million ways Chuck’s growth could have been handled BETTER, but it did happen. Sarah on the other hand, I don’t buy one iota of it. The only things she overcame in S3 were things that were introduced in S3. In order to have had growth, she would have to show changes after the season from before; and there pointedly are none. she is making exactly the same decisions she did before the misery arc started. By itself, that might not be a terrible way to tell a story; but if you hate the story to begin with, it adds pointlessness on top of it.

    • joe says:

      The pace at which things developed in those last six or seven episodes of S2 make me think that they could have done it, though. Marc. I’m not sure we would have ended in Paris or seen Casey’s old commander, or Goya or Manoosh, but perhaps we would have seen bits of them.

      I never thought of Sarah in those terms before – a great spy but a weak person. But you’re onto something! That might put S3.5 in a whole different light.

      • “If she’d had a single rational thought in her head after what she’d seen, she couldn’t remember it, just an all-consuming urge to run, as she had before. That was her life, running away, leaving all of her messes behind her. Then Operation Bartowski kept her pinned to one place, and Chuck made her face up to the things she did and had done. She wasn’t a good person. She was barely a person at all.”

      • joe says:

        Wow. That is a stunning description of Sarah.

        If those are your words, I’m thoroughly embarrassed in admitting I haven’t kept up with the fan fiction and feeling ignorant! The word of the day is “Brilliant.”

      • Thank you. Those are from episode three in my nine2five series, ‘Larger Than Life.’ It’s the beginning of the Sarah growth arc in that story.

  4. oldresorter says:

    This was not an epic episode like DeLorean or Colonel or Honeymooners or the Pilot or Phse 3, where everything was near perfect. But,m this was a classic Chuck ep where some of the bad was still stunningly bad (Zombie Sarah leaving with Shaw twice), Sarah getting captured by Shaw with no clue what hit her, Morgan taking over Chuck’s job as the brains in the show, etc. Killing Shaw would have been a top ten moment in the show, but that becomes a source of meh once Shaw is resurrected. But like classic Chuck, the good was just so darned good, ‘tank appreciation’, ‘yes’, finally working together on a small mission in the middle with smiles on their faces, and then the hotel in Paris, that little else really mattered.

    • atcDave says:

      I think I’d rate it a little more highly than that Jason, but no doubt it does still have a little stink attached to it from the arc before. Honeymooners is where the show finally starts to deliver on its potential. But I think Other Guy has enough strong moments to be a pretty good episode, even apart from just ending the misery.
      I think the most annoying thing to me is that Shaw is still regarded as a “great spy” by everyone, even when we’ve seen absolutely no evidence of it on screen, ever. If I could change one thing, it would be for Sarah to take Chuck’s concerns a little more seriously. Beckman can remain clueless, that’s actually sort of funny.

    • joe says:

      Everything you listed there, Jason, is about Chuck or Sarah’s interaction with or reaction to Shaw – one source! Yeah, I agree that, when it comes to Shaw, they’re showing a lot less credulity than I’m used to seeing from them (and I’ll also agree with you that I don’t like it!). I always have to swallow two major things to make that plausible. First, in the eyes of C&S, in that world where the line between hero and dead is thin, Shaw can pass for a hero even if he can’t in ours. Second, I have to believe that C&S are both struggling mightily with their own confusion about their love for each other, the one he knows is dangerous and the one she can barely admit to. They’re off balance (and that’s intentional).

      S3.0 is about Chuck and Sarah finding their way, as is S3.1.

    • oldresorter says:

      Joe / Dave – I might have poorly expressed my opinion, which I suspect is not one many share. For me, the ‘average’ Chuck show contains some really odd scenes, that don’t work … but … and this is a big but … the good is so good in the average show, that I easily forgive or gloss over the bad. Such was the case with the ‘Other Guy’. The bad was bad still in the ‘Other Guy’, but the good was top notch.

      the problem with the misery arc, unless you really liked Jeff and Lester and Morgan, there was little ‘really great’ to nueter the stunningly bad. The show lost its formula.

      Now I doubt if I still would have liked the LI in season 3, but I think the group of fans in general, would have responded to s3, if the good IN EACH EPISODE was great enough, to balance out the bad.

      To compare and contrast to show my idea, I think this ‘balancing act’ was achieved for most fans in s5’s ending arc, I got the feeling many did not appreciate the end, but after some thinking, the good was good enough that the last arc passed.

      In both s3 and in s5, I thought Chuck and Sarah deserved better. The writers have proven, they CAN hit it out of the park at times. The arc that put Chuck and SArah together for good, as well as the arc that ended the show, needed to do that. Not in a split the fan base sort of way, but in a way that nearly the whole group went wow, was that ever great.

      End of rambling (not quite a rant, was it?)

      • atcDave says:

        No not quite a rant! Definitely some good analysis there, and I know we don’t always quite agree on what’s good or bad (I think I like the silly humor a lot more than you do); but I agree completely with saying the balance of moods and elements that made the show were changed, brutally, in the misery arc. Definitely less humor, and a lengthy run of all down beat endings. I think some episodes, like Nacho Sampler and Final Exam could have been received 180 degrees different with more upbeat endings. Of course both of those play directly to the LI issue. No matter how many sub-issues we identify, that one is the killer.

      • I don’t see how Nacho Sampler has a LI problem, Shaw wasn’t in that one. It was downbeat for a totally different and perfectly justified reason.

      • atcDave says:

        Nacho Sampler is purely part of the too many downbeat endings problem. I guess I mashed things together too fast in my previous comment and misspoke. I mentioned a couple episodes that might have been a lot of fun if they’d found a more upbeat way to end them. MOST of the downbeat mood, in the season as a whole, can be attributed to the LI issue. In Nacho Sampler its more just general estrangement and distance between the leads at a time when even friendly support could have greatly changed the mood. I was looking for episodes that had a lot of fun material, but were largely undone by a heavy mood at the end. And I don’t mean to say they can never end on a down note; but 12 in a row was just too different from the show I signed up for. During that period, the LI issue was the single biggest problem. But the various endings did find a variety of ways to be depressing. Some might have been acceptable, but all together they were not.

        Did that cover it?

    • uplink2 says:

      @Joe, I have a question for you. In your world of Chuck and Sarah, where was Shaw ever shown to be a great spy? Where was he ever actually shown to be deserving of the almost vomit worthy praise they heap on him even to the point of not trusting those that have shown time and time again they are deserving of that trust? I can’t think of a single solitary moment when that happens.

      In the case of Bryce we saw it 2 seconds into his first appearance, with Cole we saw it throughout his two episodes. At no point do we see anything from Shaw that even in the C&S spy world is deserving of the level of deference and praise he gets.

      • The scene in First Class where he has that control panel for the plane and has everything running smoothly is the best he gets. If I thought Shaw was anything other than a place-holder I’d agree with you. In fact, I do agree with you, but I don’t think it matters a bit for the story they were telling.

      • mr2686 says:

        I would also add the fact that he was willing to be shot (or really shoot himself) to fool the ring in to believing he was dead). Still not much really to make us believe he was a great spy. With Cole, it was easy to see with a quick look by Sarah through his file of commendations. They could have done something similiar with Shaw as well but elected to push that part of the story to the side.

      • atcDave says:

        Actually I thought the willing to be shot part made him look like a total idiot the first time we met him! He putting a very heavy responsibility on a trainee agent he’d never even met before!

      • uplink2 says:

        I would contend that in neither of those cases was it shown that he was a great spy. In the scene in OA he was willing to let an unknown trainee shoot him, stop his heart and hope that he would administer the antedote in time. Then he shoots a Ring agent, woman, in the back who simply was reaching for a knife instead of disarming her so she could be interrogated. That would have been a much smarter play but instead he went for the kill shot. Neither of those two moments show him as intellegent at all. It shows him as reckless, stupid and unfocused on anything but revenge. It almost makes him suicidal as we will see again in Hero.

        In First Class he sends that same rookie agent into a situation he lied to him about and gave him incomplete information on and his fallback was unknown and untested technology that required Sarah to save the day not him. He also denied his agent the ability to reach out for help when he needed it. Sure it was a test but at no time does it show him as a great spy like Cole or Bryce was. Yet throughout this arc its all “We have to tell them, Shaw’s a great spy, Shaw, a real life agent for the CIA, You make a beautiful couple, Do nothing while he calls Langley to destroy the nations #1 intelligence asset, He’s a true American Hero, what you’re seeing is the ultimate professional something you’re not. Shaw’s a great spy, I get it I think everybody gets it, Shaw’s amazing. This isn’t you Shaw, you can’t do this” It’s praise upon praise upon praise and never once was he shown to deserve it. It’s just like Ninja pointed out a few weeks back. They took a writers shortcut in the stuntcasting and forgot to actually show us the back story they wanted to cheat and have us assume when they told it us instead of showing it.

      • uplink2 says:

        One more thing. This is a classic illustration where the concept failed in execution. In those 2 incidents the intent may have been exactly as you proposed but the execution completely undermines it and creates the exact opposite impression. It’s a constant theme throughout season 3 where I may grant you the intent but it fails on execution. And as I say constantly, good intent does not excuse poor execution. This isn’t kids soccer where you get a trophy just for showing up. If it isn’t on screen it doesn’t matter what the intent was, you have still failed to deliver a creditable storyline.

      • I can agree with you to some extent. The writers failed to deliver a strong story, yes. But I hold that the tropes they chose have a power of their own (that’s what makes them tropes), and by choosing those tropes the writers did manage to put together a story under the covers. The words and deeds are not there explicitly, but the meaning is there. Did they have the time or talent to put the words and deeds there? Probably not. It takes me 2 weeks to put together an episode of nine2five and that’s with their spadework to draw upon and three years to think about it, not to mention shooting time and other budgetary considerations. Should the writers have put them there explicitly? Probably. We’re past the time when audiences brought their own minds to a show and filled in the blanks, and most viewers either can’t or won’t do that work.
        But if you are willing and can do it, there’s quite a season here.

      • joe says:

        @Uplink

        In your world of Chuck and Sarah, where was Shaw ever shown to be a great spy?

        Yeah, I can buy the examples given above, but I would add also his message to Sarah after he saved Chuck by remote control – “My agents are never alone.” There’s also his self-appraisal “I’m always right. It’s annoying, but true.”

        I do get your point – that most of the reason to call him a “great” spy is because he says so, even as he’s doing dumb things like subjecting himself and Sarah to a “poison gas” that doesn’t quite poison them, wild geese chases that take them to resorts and dropping the proverbial ball more than once. Casey hates him too for those very reasons.

        But he’s also right about Chuck and how Casey and his relationship were holding back his potential as a spy.

        The audience finds it easier to dismiss him than do Chuck and Sarah because they don’t quite have the view that we do, and because both want to see Chuck’s dream of being a spy come true (there’s a bit of self-deceit going on with them on this topic). Our appraisal of Shaw’s skills was never as important as theirs.

      • atcDave says:

        Of course Casey’s first judgement of Shaw was that he was a moron. Perhaps it was Casey’s default judgement, but I wish they’d followed that mantra a little more.

        I can accept that Chuck could have been dazzled by Shaw, especially early on. He saved Chuck’s life in OA, and Chuck never knew he had mocked his plan or tried to undermine his plan by blocking Casey and Sarah. And then he stroked Chuck’s ego in First Class and gave him a solo mission. Never mind that he gave him an incomplete briefing or put him on the plane with no real back-up.

        But I could never buy Sarah falling for it. She saw Shaw’s arrogance and stupidity, yet eventually was won over by him. That was probably the first major failing of the Shaw story for me. IF they had just played him as the arrogant idiot that Casey, Sarah and eventually Chuck just saw right through it might have been fun. Imagine if only Beckman was dazzled by his BS, and the team was stuck with an idiot who was bound to get them all killed. It could have been exciting and fun. What we got just didn’t work for many of us.

        As to Casey and Sarah holding Chuck back, there actually could have been a good story there. But again, the judgement of Shaw is significantly off base. He talks about what’s wrong with the team. The team that we’ve been consistently told is the government’s best. So which is it? Shaw is self important, rude and dismissive in spectacularly inappropriate ways. And then its all made worse by Sarah falling for it. Worst story telling decision ever.

      • uplink2 says:

        @Joe, the problem with that is that it creates a disconnect between how the characters are reacting and how the audience is seeing what they are reacting to. The characters are reacting to the intent of the story but we are reacting to what we are being shown. That to me is a huge problem because it makes you say “WTF” far too often and it makes the characters seem like idiots because they draw the exact opposite conclusion to what the audience is drawing. Now sometimes that is intentional on the part of the writers but that’s not the case here. They want us to see the same intent that the characters are seeing but unfortunately for them we aren’t. We are seeing precisely what they don’t want us to see. The result of that is our opinion of the characters is diminished and it makes them look stupid.

        To me that is entirely the fault of the writers and actor that they didn’t do a good enough job convincing us what they wanted us to see. Everything we are seeing about Shaw is repulsive and anyone who believes the hype about him seems clueless. Plus let’s face it they were trying to do a cheat and expect us to accept Shaw as “Superman” simply because they cast Routh. They felt they could do a slight of hand and not have to actually show us what the character was supposed to be. If you listen to Schwedak’s description of who and what they thought Shaw was the story makes more sense but the problem is we never saw that character on screen. We saw a suicidal, clueless, uncharismatic buffoon and anyone who believed his hype was an idiot. What they did show of him only made things worse. For me not knowing that he was going to become an LI when his character was introduced I still hated him from his first moment on screen. The battle was already lost with me and I expect many many others. The story of Daniel Shaw that resided in Schwedak’s heads never made it to the screen and for them to continually talk about it when we were seeing the exact opposite made them look as clueless or as arrogant as Shaw was.

      • Now it is clear that some people think that his plan of letting Chuck shoot him so he appears to be dead is not a good plan but I have to disagree. Shaw is a spy and therefore is aware that he may die while doing his job he is also extremely focused on taking down his wife’s killer as he says in AH he would be prepared to give his life to get the people who killed his wife. You say he was letting an unknown trainee shoot him but that is not the case, he knows about Chuck, knows he has the intersect and therefore believes that Chuck will revive him and he almost certainly knows about Devon too. You could actually say that he trusts Chuck with his Life.
        With this plan he can get a mole within the ring and get one step closer to taking them down, I have no doubt that he views this as an acceptable risk.
        In case of shooting the ring agent yes it may be that they would have got some information from her, they may not, he knew about her and he may believe that she is not high enough within the organisation to give him anything he needs, but it could just be that he wants to kill all those people in the Ring for killing his wife.

      • atcDave says:

        No he didn’t know Chuck, he’d only read his file.

        And for the rest of that; way too much speculation for it to work on screen. Shaw came across as an arrogant and incompetent jerk. He still could have been an interesting character for the season, but only if Team B saw right through him. Having Sarah fall for him, and the writers try to convince us off camera that Shaw is really a great spy is a complete failure for most viewers.

      • mr2686 says:

        I think the original plan, as we see through at least one scene and one deleted scene, was that Sarah was to try and get close to Shaw and spy on him. Once some scenes got deleted, it turned it and they started writing a story where she falls for him. Not the best way to go, but I live with it and it doesn’t drive me nuts like most people.

      • atcDave says:

        Obviously, I’m one of those. That original plan might have worked quite well for me, what we got completely failed me.

      • uplink2 says:

        It’s possible that was the writer’s meeting that happened around the time of First Class being shot. They decided to push the stupid OLI’s and what we got was Mask, Fake Name and Chuckpocalypse. It fits into the timeline of Ali Adler’s rather offensive “trust us” damage control video.

        I still disagree that Shaw was ever “shown” to be a great spy. He wasn’t. They used the stuntcasting shortcut of casting Superman so they wouldn’t have to actually write a story. But at no point does he ever act as a “great spy”. If Shaw had seen Chuck’s file it would have said “never shot a weapon”, “no weapons training”, “fear of firearms”, “a danger to himself as well as others handling a weapon” yet the idiot tells him to shoot him above his heart.

        As I mentioned above the continued disconnect between what Schwedak were telling people Shaw was and the actual character being shown on screen just destroyed much of the trust people had in what they were selling. It is one of the reasons reaction to the finale was so mixed. That trust in TPTB had been lost in S3. They kept trying to push the kool-aid when a very large portion of the viewers and their own staff knew it tasted like vinegar. Yet they continued to deny that it wasn’t working. Then in the end they only admit that they didn’t know how to write for Routh until they made him a villain. Never once admitting their storyline sucked on execution beyond just the fact that Routh simply is a weak and limited actor who was only cast because of what he was instead of how good he was.

        The deleted scenes from First Class would have changed the entire storyline into a much much more tolerable one without making the leads look like pathetic shells of their former selves. We talk about it time and time again, sacrificing character for plot. And an unwanted, poorly cast and poorly executed plot at that.

      • atcDave says:

        That was all very well put Uplink, I agree entirely.

  5. atcDave says:

    I did want to add one thought/comment on Joe’s part of the above post. I do agree completely that Other Guy is, in part, about fixing what went wrong in S2. That’s not a slam on S2 at all. Part of the fun of S2 was watching Chuck and Sarah try to sort out how to do what was right vs what they wanted. In Colonel and Ring, it seemed they were finally on the same page (or getting there), but the details were uncertain. In Other Guy, they finally really start that process (at least the together part of it. I still do acknowledge Chuck has already started on the career part of it).
    But for those of us who dislike the misery arc that is THE major failing of it. Post-S2 we were mostly eager to see how Chuck and Sarah would make things work. S3 simply shoved the issue aside and put it on hold for 12 episodes. Now we’re finally back to the meat of the show. And from here on out things will be far more satisfying.

    • Dave says:

      atcDave

      Will there be an alternatives thread? I actually built a new version of 3.0 based on our discussion (have some time off from work and the weather was too bad to go fishing as I’d planned), I think you called it a “‘shipper friendly” version. I’ll wait for the alternatives but if there isn’t going to a new thread I’ll share my results here.

      • atcDave says:

        Yes I’ll have an alternative thread up Tuesday evening. That will be the the last regularly weekly Alternative post. Should be fun!

    • You are right he did not know chuck but he knows about him and the intersect. The question was when was he shown to be a good spy and I think this was it, Would have been better if he had stayed a good spy and not been involved with Sarah

      • atcDave says:

        Well I agree with the last part. If they’d dumped the LI angle entirely; and made him either a good mentor, partner and friend, OR, played up the incompetent buffoon part. Either of those could have been a good story. The LI angle makes every thing else pretty irrelevent, that was a show killing decision.

  6. Bill says:

    I greatly enjoyed this episode when it originally aired. It was such a pleasure, and a relief, to see Chuck and Sarah together, for real, at last. By comparison to most of the rest of the episodes in the arc that it concluded, OG was epic indeed. I’m sure my initial posts in another Chuck forum at the time were superlatively positive.

    But, this re-watch is about placing episodes in the context of the entire series. And in that context, in fact, in the context of the six episodes that followed, there really is nothing epic about OG. In terms of the romance, OG pales in comparison to Honeymooners. In terms of the hero’s journey, the showrunners obliterated any value that journey had (and to my thinking, obliterated the only legitimate story-telling rationale of the front arc) by bringing Shaw back to life only 4 episodes later.

    Three years on I consider OG to be a good, but not great, Chuck ep. A number of very nice moments for our favorite characters, but not really the peak it appeared, at first blush, to be.

    • atcDave says:

      That was all nicely put Bill. I think the DYLM scene and last scene at the hotel are beautiful. But more as a promise of things to come. Other Guy is still more about sorting out the mess than it is about moving forward.

    • uplink2 says:

      Bill I agree and probably had the same reaction at the time. I watched those two moments on YouTube quite often. But in retrospect I thin of all the possible finales, Ring 1, Other Guy, Ring 2, Push Mix, Cliffhanger and Goodbye, Other Guy is the weakest by far. I has 2 incredibly sweet and wonderful moments but as far as being a properly set up payoff for what had come before, it fails on many levels. To me the best of the lot is Push Mix. I think that was the perfectly executed payoff to the episodes and stories that led up to it. That followed by Ring 1 and Goodbye and that is only because Goodbye ended 5 minutes too soon.

      • Dave says:

        Uplink

        OBTW, I left a note for you on the last thread about your ff.net piece of the scene with THE picture at the end of AH. You captured perfectly what I had in mind when we were discussing what a good scene it would be. Two thumbs up!! Good job!!

      • uplink2 says:

        Thanks Dave, I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  7. CaptMediocre says:

    This is a bit jumbled so i apologize.

    Chuck vs the Other Guy is quite simply a reset episode, nothing more. It’s an episode where nothing is fixed. They just grabbed the biggest paint roller they could find and covered it all up.

    As previously stated, if the showrunners didn’t want to address the drama presented they should have never gone there. But then unresolved drama did become a trademark of this show.

    Other Guy, much like the beach scene in the finale, is wholly inadequate in fixing what came before it.

    It’s an episode of where “we have to check off all these things from the list regardless of if it makes sense or not because we have to get to here in the story”. And it shows.

    The biggest problem in all of S3 can be seen from space in this episode. That is that in order for Shaw to exist in this world, everyone else (but especially Sarah) has to become the stupidest people ever. I mean on what planet does John Casey think Shaw is a good spy.

    For me, it never mattered that Chuck and Sarah weren’t on a supposed equal footing professionally or humanitarily (yes, I’m making up words). One would make up where the other was lacking. When Chuck showed some spy prowess or Sarah some form of emotion, THAT was special to watch. But it was special because they did it for each other and not by themselves. What really drew you into these characters, that were essentially “fish out of each other’s water”, was the implicit trust they shared in one another.

    So sure maybe the characters “grew” (although I never saw it) during the first 13, but their relationship, their trust in each other certainly didn’t, it went totally backwards. And by never adequately showing this trust being regained or rediscovered (by continuously showing us and telling us that it wasn’t) and the rekindling Chuck and Sarah’s bond, that WAS the heart of the show, the relationship is now “less” than it was previously.

    I have no way of proving it. But I really do think that the root cause of people not buying into the supposed “hopeful” ending of the finale can be traced back to this unearned resolution of the misery arc.

    • Angus MacNab says:

      Here, here! Harumph!!

      This is exactly why we need a movie! And they blankety well better address this stuff!

    • atcDave says:

      Wow. Well in principle I agree with everything here. I’m not quite so cynical about Other Guy specifically, I think its a fun episode and finally puts everything in a good spot. But I agree entirely it can’t ever make good for all the damage they’d done.
      As to a couple of specific points; first, I agree 1000 times over about Chuck and Sarah on equal footing. My absolute favorite aspect of the first two seasons was how Chuck and Sarah were as polar opposite as two basically good people could ever be. And how they helped each other survive in each other’s worlds. Sarah literally protecting Chuck from all harm when bullets, knives and fists took flight; while Chuck helped Sarah navigate the hazards of dealing with, trusting and loving other people. It would have been infinitely more satisfying to see them as full partners, romantic partners, guiding each other until they were both fully capable of surviving their respective alien environments. But S3 sort of flushes that all down the toilet. Now I do like the product from Honeymooners on, and we do see a story of Sarah finally growing and maturing into a more complete person. But so much was sacrificed by having Chuck get his initial footing as a spy separately. And show canon is permanently less for the story they chose.
      I would also agree about the series ending. I think TPTB exhausted fan good will completely during an ill advised S3 story. So much so that we were no longer willing to trust or give any benefit of the doubt.

    • uplink2 says:

      Bravo my friend. I agree completely. What’s sad is they actually believe this was enough to wipe away the unresolved conflict and drama.

      But you are also right in that the cheerleading of the awesomeness of the Shaw character seriously damages the characters. I mean come on Chuck makes a copy of Shaw’s fight with the Ring agents? Are you freaking kidding me? Chuck is now a full fledged CIA Agent and he completely ignores his correct instinct about Shaw and becomes a freaking fanboy who will sit in his room watching that surveillance video? They just wouldn’t give on the absurd, unwarranted glorification of Daniel Shaw. I’m surprised they didn’t tell us he walked on the Seine River after he was shot to the waiting Ring van..

      • BigKev67 says:

        Well, they brought him back from the dead after getting shot – and in so doing, negated one of the main purposes of the whole front 13, so they pretty much did tell us that 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        Funny Kev!

    • Bill says:

      Cap’n, your quote about unresolved drama hits home with me. As the series went on beyond S3, it seems to me that we see more and more unresolved set-ups, dramatic and otherwise. By the time I lost interest in following the show on a weekly basis (sometime in S4 — think it was Muurder that put the nail in the coffin), so many supposed game-changers had been dangled and then ignored by the showrunners that it was hard to get that excited about the next big thing.

  8. oldresorter says:

    Did anyone else hope that the writers had some clever twist that would have made Shaw / Sarah make sense going into this ep? I did.

    I think I lost my ‘hope’ when Sarah and Chuck spoke in the apartment, and she said ‘Yes.’ Although one of the 5 or 6 scenes I’ve watched more than others in the show, the scene more or less confirmed, no clever twist was forthcoming to save the season.

    But sadly, the ‘Yes’ always seemed to have a caveat, something along the lines ‘as long as you’re still my Chuck’. That along with the fact Sarah did not fall in love with Chuck in the final amnesia arc immediately or near immediately, makes their love somehow less ‘epic’ to me. More real, but real drama isn’t why I watch Chuck. Matter of fact, when Chuck gets real, the show makes me groan, I simply don’t view it that way. Unfortunately for me, I’m pretty sure the writers do, they take themselves too seriously for how they casted the show and for how they write most of the show.

    • uplink2 says:

      I think first time through most of what I felt was relief the misery was over and “Die Shaw Die!!! The more horrible the better!!” But in rewatch this episode loses a lot I think. Believe me it has 2 of the greatest scenes from the series with DYLM and the hotel room scene but if you look at it closely and don’t get dazzled by those scenes there are a lot of problems with it. But I think that is all that entered their minds that we would be so dazzled and relieved by those 2 moments that we wouldn’t look too closely as what was really going on.

      One of the many things that trouble me is how Sarah acts for much of the episode. In Castle she is incredibly weak and submissive when asked if she can work with Shaw. Plus in the DYLM scene when Chuck talks about her leaving with Shaw, she never denies it or tells him she was going to meet him at the train station. She simply looks away as if she was actually still going with Shaw on this new mission. Plus in rewatch we never actually see who triggered Sarah’s distress signal. She is beginning to be concerned and calls Shaw’s name a couple of times but I tried to watch closely to see who does it and we never see it. Plus why does her phone now work when it didn’t all the way there?

      I also looked to see what Shaw is looking at as he approaches Sarah with his gun aimed at her. Is he looking for the assault team or is he looking at the screens? With Routh’s poor expressions you can’t decipher it other than the editing makes it look like he’s looking at the screens. But what was the play here for Shaw? Why bring her there? I mean I get that he wanted to get the analysts notes on the Ring’s cypher but what was the point of bringing Sarah there to see the video? Was it to get Chuck benched so that he wouldn’t go to Paris? It’s not really clear. But not much is at this point because nothing really much matters in the actual story.

      But in this most recent rewatch Chuck’s fanboying of Shaw really was never more annoying. I mean really he made a copy of the fight scene? WTF Chuck? If I’m going to make a copy of anyone fighting its going to be Sarah, I mean really. Plus the fight wasn’t anywhere even close to what she has done athletically. It’s all a rouse to make Morgan the brains and Chuck the clueless fanboy.

      • atcDave says:

        I’m not sure that any of those questions are particularly important to me, it’s sort of the nature of the show that a lot of details are skipped over.
        But I assume it was Sarah activated her own beacon. It may have been satellite based instead of cell, that would actually make sense for a spy! Or Shaw was jamming her signal earlier, the jamming may have stopped when they separated at the warehouse, or got away from his car (?).
        It’s possible Shaw was planning on killing Sarah at the warehouse, after Sarah had faced her true “crime”, but then he lost the opportunity because of Chuck’s rescue. But I’m guessing he meant to do it in France all along. Again, it doesn’t really matter to me.

        Sarah was always subservient around her bosses. Early on I found it a little annoying how quickly she would back down to a “is there a problem” challenge. Really, on several of those occasions the correct answer was “yes, big problem.” I get Casey being well indoctrinated into military protocols. But Sarah is a career civilian. I don’t really know how the civilian intelligence agencies work on this, they may be big on military protocol too, I don’t know. Regardless, Sarah has always been pretty docile around her bosses. From quite early on she was willing to take liberties only when they weren’t looking, but I wouldn’t expect her to take a strong stand to Beckman on this point. I think they’re even consistent on this to the point it’s easier for her to just run away than try to force her relationship issues on them in the next couple episodes. Even when she finally stands up to Beckman at the end of Honeymooners it’s obviously very difficult for her and she tries to lie first.
        It is all an interesting side to her character we don’t often talk about. But Sarah Walker is actually not very confrontational. This may be one of those areas where Chuck gives her new found strength. Perhaps he becomes the first thing that’s “hers” that she thinks is worth fighting for.

        Chuck fawning over Shaw is a funny thing. Not only Sarah, but Casey too is more dangerous and capable than Shaw. And they clearly failed as story-tellers to ever give a good reason for Chuck’s fascination. Although I’d perhaps be willing to say Chuck’s “interest” in him has something to do with making nice with the guy he just accused of all sorts of illegal things, oh and maybe some guilt over stealing the guy’s girl too (if Shaw ever noticed). But no doubt, if I were Chuck I’d be far more interested in watching Sarah’s athletic endeavors than, well, anyone else’s.

      • joe says:

        That’s a great point about Sarah, Dave. She isn’t confrontational at all. Even when she pulls a gun on Casey (in Tic Tac), it’s “Wanna tell me what’s going on here, John?”

        There’s also the scene in Predator, when Beckman, Casey and Sarah are trying to figure out what to do about Orion in Casey’s room in Echo Park. She’s completely deferential to her superior, who really isn’t in her chain of command but temporarily.

        Something that I really should have mentioned about Sarah’s character but missed (much like having a name on the tip of your tongue, I just couldn’t find it) – it came to me last night. The “Do you love me?” scene in this episode is related, I think, very much to the scene at the end of Wookiee. Chuck is desperate to know anything at all about Sarah that’s real. She can barely get out that her middle name is Lisa, and then, only when it looks like Chuck can’t hear.

        This time, when Chuck asks “Do you love me?”, Sarah pauses a long time, long enough that Chuck thinks she won’t answer (and he’s made a fool of himself). We’re supposed to think that too. But she answers. That’s a complete departure from the Sarah we’ve known for three years.

        Uplink, I never quite agreed with the idea that Sarah became “subservient” all of a sudden in S3, mostly because it the point always seemed to be made in reference to gender politics. That doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere with the real gist of the show’s story (much less with the tenor of this blog, but that’s secondary to what I’m trying to say). You’re bringing it up in a different, more appropriate context, which is cool, but I still don’t see that Sarah is all that subservient to Shaw compared to any other boss. And then, if you throw in how she interacted with Bryce, Cole, Ellie, Mary and Stephen, it looks to me to be right in that same ballpark.

        Hum! When I think about it, the only people she ever acted on in a confrontational manner (those that weren’t direct threats, anyway), would be, IIRC, the 49B (Sarah hated her), Morgan (!) and Chuck when he was an asset.

      • Dave says:

        Uplink

        An interesting point about the prowess of Team Bartowski’s members. Shaw is a piker compared to them. By OG, Chuck is the best in H2HC he took out at least 5 guys at least twice. Sarah regularly does in 2-3 opponents. Casey never did large numbers hand-to-hand but he did beat Ty Bennett (with an assist from Chuck the Sensei).

        If you’re counting coup and look at the whole series and all weapons then Sarah has taken at least 11 in Budapest (technically this was before OG but we didn’t know it), Chuck took 10 in Moscow and Casey did 8 (or 9 depending on how you count) in England.

        Shaw wasn’t in their league.

      • uplink2 says:

        Joe and Dave, what I’m really looking at is not simply deference to a superior like we have seen before. “No ma’am” when she is asked if there is a problem but still with the respect for her superior and a level of confidence. In the scenes here she isn’t being deferential, she’s being wimpy. That’s the difference I see here. It’s reminiscent of wimpy Sarah from Beard but in an even more subdued manner. I agree she is deferential to her superiors both male and female but it’s the wimpyness with which she expresses it here that bothers me, like she is afraid to say anything in defiance. None of what she is being asked is an order, its “can you work with him?” but her response is completely lacking in confidence and conviction and Chuck sees it and is a bit crushed by it that he has lost her to Shaw again. It’s zombie Sarah once more.

      • I can see that as her being unsure what to do. At the beginning, she knew her job, her position, everything was clearly defined. But now she’s not a ‘pure spy’ anymore, and she doesn’t know where the boundaries are. I’m often enough hesitant to do something I’ve never done before in a production environment, that I can understand her reluctance too.

      • atcDave says:

        Well Joe I would add Sarah is always plenty confrontational with enemies. But it is interesting she has a fairly passive nature among friends. No doubt she will fight hard for Chuck, but I think its part of her fundamental conflict of interest that she will have to learn to fight for him with her own superiors. It may be another sign of a more mature Sarah, even without specific memories, at the end 5.13. She chooses “finding herself” (and I always maintain that can ONLY mean finding Chuck) over going back to the spy life at the end.

        Dave I’ve always liked that Sarah is simply the most dangerous character on the show, period. She easily has the largest body count. And she took on groups of opponents far more often, and successfully, than anyone else.
        I’d say the second most dangerous thing any bad guy can do on Chuck is pick on Sarah. The most dangerous thing for a bad guy is to pick on Chuck…. because then Sarah gets REALLY ticked.

      • Dave says:

        atcDave

        …And you never want to try to handle the merchandise or offer to be her boyfriend…unless your name is Chuck.

      • atcDave says:

        She’s so cute when she’s furious…

        Maybe I shouldn’t say that; never mind Sarah Walker, I think even Yvonne could beat the stuffing out of me. I shouldn’t be patronizing!

      • When was the last time Sarah had a good fight that he could make a copy of? the last one I can think of was Tic-Tac and as that was in the woods I doubt there was surveillance camera around. before that a reasonable one in Mask and before that probably against Smooth Lau in Season 2s Vs Best Friend
        You also have to bear in mind that Chuck thinks Shaw just saved his and Sarah’s Life so him changing his opinion of him is reasonable given the circumstances.
        I believe that he is looking at the screens as they are showing video of his dead wife it would be hard for him to ignore.

      • You describe Sarah as being week and submissive, I see he more surprised, in shock as she has just found out her Red test was killing Shaw’s wife. now this is not referred to again but the suspicion is that Evelyn was innocent and therefore you would have to think that Sarah is questioning everything she has done for the CIA. It is referenced that Graham gave the order but with no explanation I would have loved that to be developed further even making Graham a part of the ring or something.
        Her agreement to continue working with Shaw is in my opinion just Sarah’s idea that she is responsible for his wifes death (guilt possibly) but she considers going after the people responsible, the ring, is the right thing to do. It could also be viewed as her redemption for killing her in the first place. He of course uses that to get his end game of her in Paris.

      • Dave says:

        barker

        Her best all around action was the opening of vs the Baby (5.08). She had a good 1 on 1 scrap in Suitcase and the Kick-boxing fight in Phase 3 was priceless.

  9. oldresorter says:

    My three fav moments of the misery season came in this ep, the tank, the ILU and Paris. 4th best, believe it or not, the bickering in the museum scene from Mask (maybe I’m missing something).

    • atcDave says:

      That’s an interesting thought Jason. I’ve got a few others I like; Sarah and her fists from Angel of Death, Chuck’s Intersect freak out from Operation Awesome, and decapitating the Bear from the same episode. Sarah having Casey’s back from Tic Tac; oh and everything involving Fitzroy from the same episode. Then jump to Chuck’s ILY moment from American Hero.
      No attempt to rank order, just all “favorite” moments.

  10. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Other Guy (3.13) | Chuck This

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