Well we’ve made it to the end of the misery arc. Or is this the beginning of a new show? Hmm, maybe we’ll save that thought for next week. Other Guy is about wrapping up the Season Three front arc, and it does manage to bring in a new era for the show. But for this post, we’ll be looking at it as a wrap up, and discuss what maybe still could have been different.
I think that this will be a shorter post than others in this series, especially since I’ve already said most of what I wanted about the episode itself in the main post. After the jump, its once more into the breach…
As mentioned above, I’ll skip my usual commentary here, and get right to the Alternative part of the post. Even though I mostly enjoyed Other Guy, its safe to say a lot of that is simply because the misery was now over. Because so much of this episode was about wrapping up the ugly arc before, there is plenty of story elements here that I would have rather seen done differently. To continue the sort of short/long fix device I’ve used all season, I would say the short fix is pretty simple. Because I was mostly(ish) happy with the episode and its outcome the only thing I’d really mess with would be some of the attitudes towards Shaw stuff. We’ve discussed several times how woefully inadequate Shaw seems to be as a super spy. I could easily see this episode as the dying last gap of Shaw’s influence over Beckman. Perhaps the General is still convinced of his genius, but no way should Chuck or Sarah be buying it for a second. I would love to see some attention payed to the idea that Sarah does not want to be with Shaw on a mission without backup. The opening sequence is simple, she immediately activates her tracking device when she goes to help Shaw. Perhaps Shaw is jamming it, so Chuck doesn’t get the signal until late. The bigger change would be Paris. I simply imagine Sarah and Chuck agreeing quite easily that Chuck (and Casey?) will follow to provide support. I think its as simple as that. If we need the “before the Intersect you were smart” moment its simple enough to have Shaw loose them somehow, and Chuck use his brains to reacquire the target.
As always, the long fix is a bit more involved. Other Guy would change a great deal if Chuck and Sarah had been together. The most obvious thing being that the DYLM? moment wouldn’t quite be as epic. Although it still could be a sweet moment if we know Sarah has been worried about the effect of training and the job on Chuck. The focus of the drama though might not be all that different. Perhaps Beckman really is thinking of breaking up the team. I like the idea that corrupt Shaw has been manipulating the team to tear them apart all along. He shouldn’t be succeeding as well as he wants, except maybe Beckman is falling for it; between firing Casey and reassigning Sarah, Shaw is on the verge of having his Intersect agent isolated. But his manipulation has failed in nearly every other way; Chuck and Sarah trust each other and work well together, Casey may still be covertly involved, and Sarah knows she’ll quit rather than leave. I guess that makes Shaw the one who’s truly isolated. I like the sound of that.
So moving on to fan fiction. I believe most Other Guy themed fiction is more along the lines of smut than true alternates. You all know I’m not going to go there. This isn’t really the sort of crisis point that drives fan fiction writers to tinker or re-invent. But there are a couple. Surprisingly, both are fairly recent. Many of you may have already read Jason75’s “Chuck vs Everything’s OK“, but if you didn’t, be sure to check it out! Its short, kind of funny, and may be the most completely acceptable way of dealing with the misery arc, while still retaining much of the final scene.
A significantly longer piece is Steampunk.Chuckster’s “Chuck Versus the City of PDA“. You probably won’t have to think too hard to figure out what its about. More specifically, it will take us from the end of Other Guy to the beginning of Honeymooners. Do I need to mention this is mostly fluff? But its fun fluff. Those familiar with Steampunk.Chuckster know the writing will be first rate. Just a completely enjoyable way to spend about an hour.
I sure do look forward to hearing from our regular crew here. Especially those who have been constructing more involved alternates for the season. One last time; let’s do better than the pros!
I have truly had a lot of fun doing this series of posts these last few months! Sadly, I see no way of keeping them up on a weekly basis. The show is so much fun coming up, and I think we all will be more interested in sharing our discussion with the whole community again. But it has struck me as a bit of an epiphany, that crisis points and inspired alternate stories will come up again, even when we’re completely happy with the show itself. So even if no longer weekly, this series will continue as an occasional feature whenever I think (or you all tell me!) there is interest in exploring more of the “what ifs” and “could have beens” that stray from show canon. The next time I expect to publish one of these posts will be after Ring II. I just know there’s a few alternates spun off from that one!