Chuck vs The Living Dead (3.17)

The Season Three finale arc is now well underway, and Chuck’s dual life is heading to an inevitable end.  With Chuck worried Shaw may be feeling better, Ellie being completely duped, and Dad dropping by for a visit; things are getting intense!

After the jump, we’ll talk over Chuck vs The Living Dead.

For me, this episode continues everything that’s good about Tooth, while it makes some of what was wrong much worse.  Overall, I would rate this as another very good episode, with high replay value.  But a few of the bothersome issues are very bothersome.  So I’ll get those complaints out of the way first.  First is the obvious, I can’t really laugh along with Sarah’s interrogation scene.  It’s too much of a sore spot for me.  I did not enjoy the misery arc much at all, and I’m really in no mood to laugh about it.  Now that said, Chuck and Sarah are fine.  It doesn’t seem to re-open old wounds for them as much as it did for many viewers.  It is purely played for laughs.  So even if I don’t feel like laughing along, I’m willing to let it go (well, apart from observing I didn’t like the scene!)

The second gripe is a bigger deal to me.  Chuck’s lying rises to disturbing levels in this episode.  It is really a pet peeve of mine when protagonists are written in contemptible fashion, and that is exactly what happens here.  Lying is one of those things; its wrong, and good intentions don’t really help.  Chuck starts by lying to Sarah.  Sarah catches him on it pretty quickly thanks to Morgan.  And perhaps Sarah’s good attitude about it comes from understanding she is involved with a professional spy.  I do like the way the issue will play out in the next few episodes, but I dislike that it is allowed to play out so long.  Chuck lying to his dad is even worse.  There is no good reason for it, he looks even stupider when he tries to explain himself.  And he denies his father the chance to understand and help, but of course, that is the nature of lies.  And once again, Sarah is shown as the wiser partner.  It amuses me how instrumental Sarah will be from now through Anniversary in getting Chuck to stop lying.

Now I’ve already wasted a lot of time on complaints.  I felt I had to because my complaints with this episode are serious.  BUT, what is good here is wonderful.  From Sarah’s confrontation of Morgan, to Ellie being made a Ring dupe (because of Chuck’s lies of omission…), to Chuck’s big scene with dad at the cabin and Sarah’s timely intervention.  Really some great stuff.  I really am a big fan of the Ellie story here.  I think it is the perfect resolution to keeping her in the dark for three seasons.  Because Ellie doesn’t know anything about the family business, she’s ripe for a bit of social engineering.  Her last scene here with Casey is perfect, tragic and a bit funny.

I love when Chuck visits his dad’s cabin.  This is the explanation Orion was due at the very start; and doing what Chuck does so well, we get a visual aid.  I think this is a good fight sequence for Chuck; Sarah saving the day in the end was fun, as was Chuck’s obviously very proud quip.  Makes me a little sad though we never get enough Chuck/Sarah/Orion bonding time.

If he’d have me…

I would have enjoyed seeing dad come to understand and accept the amazing woman who will be his daughter-in-law.

As the episode ends, we get an amazing sequence of events and montage that sets the stage for the big finale (remember Subway and Ring II originally ran on the same night).  Starting with another really sweet Chuck/Sarah scene, that sets up Chuck’s own thoughts for his spy will.  All mixed with Ellie/Casey/Justin playing out and the big reveal of the return of Shaw.

Its all her!

There a couple of minor plots playing that are worth mentioning briefly.  Morgan and Devon have one of the all time funniest scenes of the entire series.  Even as Morgan has been posturing for so long to be Ellie’s hero and pick up the pieces when that no good Devon finally leaves her; he finds himself completely seduced by the pure awesome perfection of The Captain.  I think this was the funniest Chuck scene since we heard about the decapitated bear…

The other minor (very minor) story going on is Jeff(?).  Not to be rude, but what a waste.  This was just not a good use of screen time.  Fortunately, I think we’re only talking about maybe two minutes total.  But for all those who claim the Buy More has lost its relevance, Living Dead provides the proof.  There will be a few good Buy More laughs in the future, but I sure wish they could just cut the sub-plot entirely when they have nothing better than this to do with it.

~ Dave

What He Said!

Dave, you and I are almost completely in sync with with our opinions about Chuck vs. The Living Dead. Maybe I’m just sensitized to it now, but I too was much more disturbed this time by Chuck’s lying than I have been up to now.

She knows a lie when she hears one

She knows a lie when she hears one

I’ve been minimizing this forever by considering that Chuck’s lies are almost (but not quite) entirely of the white variety and “sins of omission,” meant to avoid hurting someone, especially Sarah. They were less about a lack of trust than about his insecurities; to my mind, a much smaller character flaw. Of course, it’s probably a character flaw that I should admit to, because it’s too easy to see myself in his shoes.

Ellie's got a few secrets of her own

Ellie’s got a few secrets of her own

Regardless, his sins seemed a little less glaring in the past because it’s been apparent that Chuck has been surrounded by lies – not only Sarah’s and the CIA’s but Ellie’s (hiding her communications from Devon) and even Devon’s (about Casey), comical as those were.



Also, the worst of his lies (especially, like you said, when he lies directly to Stephen) lead right up to one of my all time favorite scenes by one of my all time favorite actors – Scott Bakula. For my money, there’s nothing that explains Chuck’s family history and Stephen’s motivations better than Stephen dressing down his son the moment he discovers Chuck is still a spy.

Stephen: What happened?
Chuck: The mission’s over, dad.
Stephen: It’s never over. There will always be another one and another and… The reason a spy has to have one of those is because any mission they go on could be their last. For every spy, there’s someone who cares about him, someone who has to open that box, read that message and mourn their loss. This is a bad business. And I don’t want my family to have any part of it.

Details? No. But it’s certainly more than just good fatherly advice. It’s a warning and expression of regret that shouts one thing – he’s been down this path. Stephen doesn’t care about Chuck’s lies so much as he knows what’s coming and he doesn’t want his son to go through that (and boy, do I love the way Stephen expresses the sentiment). Using Chuck’s character flaw this way, to bring out something essential, was pretty effective and efficient.

But I agree; this time around Chuck’s lies seem less like tools of spy craft and more tools of convenience – his convenience. It makes him look weak and untrustworthy. Sarah is hardly better; she goes so far as to aid and abet, which makes her seem a bit foolish. And then Ellie and Devon get in on the lying act too, so yes, by the time I re-watch this episode, the point is hammered home, hard. Maybe too much so.

I keep forgiving Chuck and Sarah, though. Sarah uses Chuck’s hiding of the truth to show that he can trust her even more than he does. Even the first time I saw this episode, this was the point I started to believe Chuck&Sarah were “real”; we were not going to see any more WT/WT, no more Ross and Rachel, and I could finally breathe easy about them as a couple.

Morgan, sit!

Morgan, sit!

Sure! If Sarah can stand by Chuck when she knows he’s told a white lie, lie of omission or outright whopper with little more than a scolding, they can survive the hard stuff. Face it – that is the hard stuff. For his part, if Chuck can accept what happened on March 22…

Oh yeah. The interrogation. As a group, we’ve had comments measured in metric tonnes about that interrogation, and more broadly about how the characters of Chuck and Sarah were tarnished and diminished. I keep seeing the word “destroyed” used here, but I’m not going to go that far because, like I said, I forgive them. They were never meant to be paragons, I suspect. Really, haven’t you ever wondered if those two had been seeing each other through rose-colored glasses, especially Chuck? Well if they were, worry no longer ’bout that. They know who they’re dealing with – an insecure nerd and an emotional cripple. They’re very much in love, and very much working on their relationship in spite of their understanding of each others flaws. That’s known technically as a good thing, and explains why I come away from The Living Dead feeling good every time.

But, as they say in cheap cable TV commercials, “Wait! There’s more!” Re-watching, I found much more cleverness than I had remembered in Living Dead. Did you notice that, when Chuck was first confronted by Stephen about still working with that NSA person and with his handler, Chuck told his dad that he and Sarah were boyfriend and girlfriend now? The cover that became reality becomes a cover again. Weird. Funny. Clever. Chubby!

Hangin' around

Hangin’ around

In fact, the whole episode is clever enough to do double duty. It stands alone (well, maybe barely well enough) as an adventure with Chuck&Sarah, as a team, chasing down clues that lead from Shaw’s penthouse to Stephen’s cabin (with a very Castle-like leap between buildings included), Casey spying on Ellie as she spies on him (man, does he get beat up by women a lot, or what?!) with the ring skulking in the background. The amazing thing is that the episode also serves to re-introduces us to Stephen (man, I miss him) and as a segway to the season finale with Justin, The Ring, and most ominously, Shaw. The set-up alone is a lot of work for one episode.

I almost got this far without once using the dreaded 4-letter word – Shaw. That’s funny since he’s obviously the character after whom the episode is named. There is a cleverness hidden here too that shows up in Chuck’s final soliloquy.

Chuck: My name is Chuck Bartowski, and if you’re reading this, it means I’m already dead. I don’t know what will end up killing me, but I’ve chosen to be a spy and there are consequences to that. It may be my emotions that end up doing me in, or a slip-up trying to protect my friends, or my family, who never wanted me to be a part of this. Or it could be the thing I never saw coming.

No, it’s not Shaw. One way or another, Chuck has seen him coming. What he hasn’t seen is that there is a new Intersect. That is the zombie – the living dead – and Shaw is more dangerous than ever. Despite the miserable hokeyness of that spy-will, I like it as a device that shows both this fear and the trust growing in Chuck and Sarah.

So let them come like an army against us
I know you won’t be afraid
Because I am the armor upon you now
And we are never betrayed
There is no ending between you and me

I absolutely agree that Morgan and Devon are at the top of their game here. But Dave, there’s one place where I disagree with you most vehemently. The Jeffster stuff is hilarious! Earth, Wind, Fire and Rain? Love it! Big Mike is their savior, the man who puts the “ster” back in Jeffster. Oh that’s not easy to do, and Lester protests, all right.

Lester: How many times to I have to tell you? Art: good. Commercialism: bad, evil, weird, chubby.

But they work through their differences and try to merge their two worlds, just like another couple I know.


– joe


About atcDave

I'm 54 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 31 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
This entry was posted in Season 3. Bookmark the permalink.

69 Responses to Chuck vs The Living Dead (3.17)

  1. mr2686 says:

    I’ll have to agree on almost everything written here. This episode doesn’t hit many sour notes, and when it works, it really works.
    When it works:
    1. Morgan and Devon – OMG this was over the top funny.
    2. Chuck and Orion’s comments about Sarah during the fight at the cabin.
    3. Chuck catching a knife thrown by his dad. (this will set up a similar scene next week between chuck and Shaw.
    When it doesn’t work:
    1. They Buy More back story. I am a huge fan of most Buy More back stories, but this one just doesn’t work for me. About the only thing that’s good about it is that you set up Big Mike as being Jeffster’s manager, and you find out about “Rain” (that was actually pretty funny especially when Big Mike gives Lester his old “Rain” costume (I can’t wear this anymore, but you have the hips of a six year old girl”).
    An overall excellent episode and one that’s fun to rewatch over and over again.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah the “Rain” bit was funny, otherwise, not so much.

      I still remember the first time this ran though, being so excited by everything going on at the end. I just knew great things were coming.

  2. joe says:

    Another one of my favorite lines is Stephen telling Chuck that he’s never wrong, with just a hint of incredulity that Chuck would ever think he was! 😉

  3. uplink2 says:

    Ok, I’m going to do my rewatch tonight and talk more about some of the very good moments here but I do have to comment a bit about Joe’s point on the interrogation scene. Joe, I agree with you that I can forgive Chuck and Sarah as they seem to have forgiven each other but what I can’t forgive is the writers and TPTB that ever thought the idea of a woman wearing earrings given to her by the man that tried to murder her and the man she loved could ever be viewed as funny in any way shape or form. It’s disgusting and offensive to it’s core.

    Now I realize this episode was written before Chuckpocalypse happened but we all know they knew they had serious problems on their hands when they did write it. I don’t think they understood the depth of hatred for Sarah/Shaw and the absolute visceral nature of that hatred but even accepting that this was written in a vacuum, which it wasn’t but let’s just give them that point, how would anyone ever believe the earrings part of that scene was funny? I just don’t get how they couldn’t see how insulting that moment is to Sarah’s character. Let alone the fact that for me at least that entire scene plus Stephen calling Shaw Sarah’s “lover” absolutely confirms what many of us were trying desperately to believe never happened. How could they not see, or care, that wearing the earrings of an attempted murderer and traitor she thought was killed by the man she loved and never wanted to have to kill anyone wasn’t absolutely horrific, demeaning and trashes her character in such a way that was absolutely unnecessary at that point. Sarah/Shaw was done and many of us desperately wanted to forget it ever happened but yet that scene made it even worse that we had imagined. Plus it was done all for a little awkward and uncomfortable humor. It’s insulting to Sarah and it’s insulting to the viewers. I must admit it pretty much shocks me that LeJudkins wrote this episode and that scene but it seems they were still serving the Shaw is Superman and Sarah/Shaw was real Kool Aid in the writers room when they did.

    • atcDave says:

      You know I don’t like he scene either Uplink. But I think all we can really say is, they obviously thought it was funny. And apparently thought we’d all be more willing to laugh along with them at this point.

    • joe says:

      Yeah, it’s not funny. I’m not sure it was meant to be.

      But that may be the problem. I’m *not* sure what it was meant to be or what it was meant to tell us. So yeah, that’s a fail.

      I do disagree with one thing, though, Uplink. I don’t think Stephen knew independently and I don’t think he was told by Chuck that Sarah and Shaw were lovers. I do believe that the writers were letting him jump to conclusions just like the fans were supposed to.

      Of course, if you want to believe they were mocking us, then yes, that was mean-spirited on their part. I could also argue that they were intentionally letting us stay on the knife-edge about how we interpreted Sham. Both interpretations were possible, depending on the viewer’s inclinations.

      • atcDave says:

        I do agree Joe that Stephen’s declaration doesn’t “prove” anything. Sarah isn’t even present to confirm, deny or reaction in any way. But of course, Chuck doesn’t refute it, and HE probably knows.

      • Been a long time since I’ve weighed in here although I have been following the rewatch posts as I have done my own rewatch.

        Joe, I also think that the writers were letting Stephen jump to conclusions just like the fans were supposed to. They have often used that devise in the past and Chuck’s reaction to Stephen’s comment is the real tell for me.Chuck was still under the assumption that the DC trip was all meetings, and his Dad’s comment visibly shook him.

        And while I don’t think the earrings reveal was funny, it didn’t destroy the character for me. It just reenforced that Sarah really knows nothing about being in a relationship. To her, they were just earrings and I don’t think they had any meaning at all. To me, it showed there was no sentimental value at all to her. Think of all the relationship lessons she learned and continued to learn in S4. I think once it was pointed out, she was deeply embarassed and it showed. Take another look at her reaction – a real OH SHUCKS look for sure. They did come out and I’ll wager they never went back in. I think, in this scene, the writers were giving us a view of how unimportant Sarah viewed her “relationship” with Shaw, and her realization of how it looked to Chuck.

        There is one scene that in the final arc that bothers me far more than anything revealed in the interrogation – one word actually – but that doesn’t come till Subway, so I’ll hold off on it till then.

        But I’m sure you can guess.

      • oldresorter says:

        I’d have to think that the lines were put in the ep to confirm that Shaw and Sarah indeed were lovers (I think its pretty obvious from the Mask thru Hero though). If placed in the ep for other reasons, the writers probably would have used the lines later for some sort of resolution, instead, my guess is those scenes (Steven’s and the interrogation) were the resolution and yes, the writers tried to resolve things with gentle humor that probably worked for a portion of the fan base.

        I haven’t rewatched yet, but will tonight. My 4th ep since the final on the beach, haven’t quit yet, been enjoying the rewatch. I recall being uber mad that Shaw came back on first go round when living dead first aried, be interesting to see if I like it more tonight?

      • uplink2 says:

        Peter, I know exactly what you are talking about and that moment is another that spoke volumes with one word. Volumes I never wanted to hear.

        What I don’t get is what was the point to that scene? It’s another example of very high risk for virtually no reward. In many ways it is similar to the name reveal. Not on s story point impact but the fact that it was a HUGE risk that offended very large portions of the fanbase but had absolutely minimal story benefit. The viewer has to think too hard for your conclusion which may in fact be the correct one. But why take that risk for such an insignificant plot point? It wasn’t funny in the least and served no story benefit other than to tweak the reality of Sham that IMO the great majority of the fanbase wanted to forget ever happened. It’s that lack of really seeing what large portions of your audience sees that has always concerned me. I don’t want to believe they were intentionally mocking us like Joe mentioned, though I absolutely believed it after Fake Name, but I have great difficulty with the motives and benefits of a scene like that.

      • atcDave says:

        Peter I agree about Sarah’s view on “stuff” and relationships, and saw the scene much the same way. She might have even been proud of herself for having scammed such nice loot from Shaw, but her attitude shifted immediately when she realized how Chuck would take it. So although I’m not nuts about the scene, mostly because of what it seems to confirm; I don’t hate it either. It’s just kind of uncomfortable and not much fun.

      • atcDave says:

        Uplink I do think Fake Name is educational as far as TPTB’s attitudes. I think they believed we would all just be laughing along with them at this point. They didn’t seem to have any idea how seriously many of us would take this. Granted, I’m somewhat dumbfounded that they wouldn’t realize Charah was THE main draw of the show for a significant portion of the fan base; but it seems to be exactly what happened.

      • uplink2 says:

        Dave, I do absolutely believe much of Fake Name was TPTB mocking portions of the fanbase and that fact bothers me greatly. But I don’t think that is the case here. To me, and maybe its more hoping than anything, it says more about them being clueless than it being intentional mocking. They simply thought it was a funny uncomfortable moment about what we were all just supposed to have accepted that Sarah/Shaw was real and that it worked. I think this and the “word” that Peter is talking about next week are the last ditch attempts to make us believe Sarah/Shaw worked. The post Mask damage control interview happened just after this episode was finished being written and it is obvious they are still trying to sell that failde story idea so its understandable they were still drinking the KoolAid in the writers room. And I give LeJudkins a bit of a pass as they were still very new and I really enjoyed a great deal of their writing as the only other moment I didn’t like from them was the bolted on taxi scene in Tic Tac but I have a feeling that is more a Fedak decision to include that one.

        Hey many comedians write stories that they think are funny and flop miserably. Based on LeJudkins record I can accept that, but it’s the insistence on still forcing the believability of Sham that is the biggest failure and I doubt that was their decision.

      • Dave says:


        I’m OK with this episode except for the interrogation scene, just like you and I agree with the view you have about it.

        I disagree with “oldresorter”, it was not obvious that Sarah and Shaw were lovers from Mask to Hero. In fact what I saw was Sarah decided to try a new relationship for about 1 week (end of FE till mid-Hero), and there was certainly no sign of intimacy beyond 2 kisses 4 episodes apart.

        I always felt that TPTB, for some unfathomable reason, had to have Sarah have sex with Shaw. Not sure how that helped the story or more specifically Sarah’s character to force this (and they’re not through, see S5e07). Whether they were looking for laughs or not, it just failed completely.

      • uplink2 says:

        Well for me until that scene I could make myself believe that it didn’t happen between them even after FE. But this scene and the comment by Stephen, unconfirmed or not, felt like they were ramming it down out throats that it did. As a matter of fact I now believe it happened after Fake Name because of the intentional symmetry of Mask where they said it absolutely was their intent for both relationships to start in the same episode, I think that extends to Fake Name as well with both having to sleep with someone in the same episode as well.

        This is also one of the ridiculous troupes about WTWT and the fact that each of the main characters must sleep with someone else first before they can get together. It’s far too standard a plot device for my liking. We’ve been down this road alot in the past few months but of what benefit was it to the overall story? None IMO. And this episode is very enjoyable, well except for Chuck’s lying, but this scene really damages it a great deal. It is especially bothersome because it was entirely unnecessary other than to reinforce the idea of Sham long after it had failed so miserably.

      • Dave says:


        We’ve mentioned this before, I went with what was shown on screen rather than what TPTB told us. What they told us made no sense with what we were seeing.

        I saw a relationship begin at the end of FE, Sarah at least agreed to a date with him, their first, at the beginning of Hero. Prior to the end of FE Sarah would have to have been having sex with Shaw while still in love with Chuck and Shaw knew she was in love with Chuck. TPTB may have said something about symmetry, but they never showed it.

        But apparently, Sarah ran over to Shaw’s loft minutes after Chuck’s red test and slept with Shaw at least twice before ever going on a date. Terribly insulting to Sarah the character.

      • atcDave says:

        I think I would agree with saying Sham seemed to occur from the end of Final Exam to early American Hero. Although whether they call it dating or not, they were pretty friendly from as early as Mask. Which as always, I find the whole thing insulting to Sarah as Shaw was such a creep.
        And Uplink I completely agree this is particularly sad as its such predictable television wt/wt game playing sort of stuff. Among other reasons, its irksome precisely because I had previously thought this show was better than that.
        I’m not sure I would agree with saying they meant to insult their audience; but I do think they tried to get us to laugh along with something that was just too offensive to ever be funny. Its the old trick of trying to win over an audience with humor, something Chuck has typically done very well. But it just won’t fly on this issue. But in the end, TPTB are determined to hang on to it. Pity, since even to the end it could have been completely defused with a simple denial from Sarah. I mean, we never SAW anything, we just have strong inference. But at this point, the inference is so strong, I think most viewers would cry “retcon” if they tried to deny in a later movie or something.

    • srb2506 says:

      I am confused. You say that this was written before the Chuckpocalypse but you also say that we know that the writers new there was a serious problem when they wrote it but then you also say that they did not unnderstand the visceral hatred that most of the fans had for Sarah/Shaw. How do we know that they knew there was a serious problem? I have not read/heard of an interview with any of the writers that admit that. They new that we would not like it as it was a problem in the Chuck/Sarah relationship.
      I remember that on the official NBC Chuck Forum people were saying that they would never show Sarah as having sex with somone other than Chuck, that she had to be pure but it was allright for Chuck to as we had already seen with Jill and then obviously with Hannah. I think this interrogation scene is a subtle way of saying that they may have had sex. I am saying subtle because they could have done it much more overtly surveilance footage if they did it in castle being referenced by Casey or Bekman, Sarah saying ‘we slept together and now you want to kill me’ and of course Shaw being shown in Sarahs bed in her hotel. I use ‘may’ have had sex because of those exact reasons it is left to us to make that call we had seen The kiss in Castle in the end of fake name, Sarah saying that this is there first date in ‘Other Guy’ and then what we hear about in this scene, Dinner with wine in Washington (as it was an expense paid for by the CIA could not have been a ‘date’ more likely business type lunch), couples massage, ok this did upset me to start with but is not necesarily as sexual as it sounds as the ‘couple’ do not need to be naked or indeed a ‘couple’. Finally we have the admission that she was off the grid in Shaws apartment after Chuck Red Test. At first I was confused as we had seen them in her hotel room when she was telling him about her red test and then basically walking out. But thinking logically she has noone else to talk to. At that tme Casey was a civilian and plus talking to him about lady feelings was just to strange at the time, dont forget this was before Casey confrimed he was a shipper by telling Sarah the truth about Chucks red test.
      She cant talk to anyone else and she basically has to stay in Los Angeles until she gets orders from Bekman. That only leaves Shaw. I know some people think she should be angry at Shaw for making her do that to Chuck but she is clearly thinking more of herself aand what she has done both in regards to her red test, her future as she thinks her Chuck has changed so much and is not the man she fell in love with, and lastly that she is the person responsible for that change.
      Finally you and a lot of people complain about her wearing the earrings, I remember listening to the SWFG podcast for this episode and if I remember correctly it was only Mel visiting from Cuck Vs the Podcast and Chucktv that had a problem with it all the other girls ssaid they would have kept the earings. Plus the idea of Sarah keeping jewelry given to her had already been set up as she kept Chucks Mothers charm bracelet after he basically destroyed her in Pink Slip, surely if you think she should throw Tiffany earings away, she should have done the same to a plain silver charm bracelet.

      • atcDave says:

        I’m not entirely sure who the “you” is in some of your comments srb, there are several of us arguing or complaining about similar or related things. Broadly speaking, TPTB have no excuse for not knowing the Shaw/Sarah story would be a problem from Comic Con 2009 on. And they started some damage control in the immediate aftermath of that event. But I think they didn’t realize how widespread dislike of their chosen story line was until the Chuckpocalypse in February of 2010 (right after Mask ran), and more extensive damage control started over the Olympic break. Even so, most of us were happy to assume nothing physical ever happened there, really all the way through Other Guy that was my assumption.
        As far as Living Dead goes, it was likely written just before that time. The extended preview that aired during the Olympic break showed footage through Role Models, so if that was brand new at the time, it would mean Tooth was in pre- production and Living Dead was maybe just leaving the writer’s room. Certainly there was time to change it, maybe they even did, and thought tweaking us would be funny for everyone. It’s hard to know exactly what they knew when they wrote it, but I wish they’d just left it alone.
        As far as the characters’ behavior goes, I can only say I wish they’d kept both leads clearly exclusive to each other. This is a culture and values disconnect between some of us viewers and the show staff. It’s a common disconnect these days. But I was disappointed in Chuck’s behavior with Jill; although she was an ex, and Chuck was arguably in a down period (although Cougars and Tom Sawyer did not leave Charah in a very bad place); so I’m willing to give him a pass for that. Not so much for Hannah, I found his behavior with her repulsive and utterly unacceptable. Really in a character and show destroying sort of way. I can only care for the show going forward by just rejecting that part of the story entirely.
        With Sarah, they left us a bit of plausible deniability until Living Dead. What the interrogation did, was make it much harder to claim Sarah had behaved herself. As some commenters pointed out above, it is still possible to claim they weren’t physical, but I think the writers clearly want us to believe they had been. Again, I just wish they’d left it alone. I don’t find it remotely funny, and undermines my esteem for the character.
        As far as ear rings specifically go, I couldn’t care less. I can see it being a little funny if she feels like she scammed them off of Shaw, and I can see Chuck being a little hurt if he finds out where they came from in a way like he did. So it just makes Sarah look a little insensitive or dense. Not a huge thing, but again, I sort of wish they’d never gone there.
        And that sort of sums up my whole impression of the interrogation scene. It really re-opened a can of worms right when I only wanted the show to move on. It forced us to revisit a depressing period of the show when both characters acted like contemptible slime balls (I always found Chuck’s behavior a little worse, but Sarah hardly distinguished herself either).

  4. Bill says:

    As I’ve remarked a few times during this re-watch, this episode ended my strong emotional investment in the show, pretty much for good. I was a casual viewer from this point forward.

    The problem with this episode, in my opinion, is simple: by bringing Shaw back to life a mere four episodes after Other Guy, the showrunners absolutely undid Chuck’s hero’s journey. They mocked the sacrifice of innocence he made by killing Shaw to save Sarah. They cheapened his act of heroism to a point of meaninglessness.

    Tonally, this episode seals the second reset of the show: from here on out it’s Season 2 Lite. There is no longer any such thing as meaningful stakes. There is no chance for Chuck to be epic after this episode.

    For me, it’s not an overstatement to suggest that Shaw’s resurrection killed Chuck.

    • atcDave says:

      Well, I do agree bringing Shaw back was a mistake. But otherwise I really like S2 lite. In fact, I think describing it that way pretty much defines what makes S4 my favorite. But then I’m always of the opinion going so dark as they did for much of S3 was a major mistake. I think they also managed to do a pretty good job with meaningful stakes, but there will be future problems with tone and motive. In particular, they never managed to explain Mary in a way that was at all sympathetic, and obviously Vivian was not well executed at all. But I was watching the show to have a good time and for Charah, so I found the rest of the series pretty fulfilling.

      • Bill says:

        But, doesn’t it seem like the Charah relationship is the only aspect of the show that progressed from here in a way that made sense and was (mostly) true to canon? Other aspects of the show never reflected the same level of attention to detail that they did when the show was at its best (S2). Look at this episode for example:

        1. Devin hasn’t noticed his wife’s new Ring phone?
        2. Morgan is deathly afraid of Shaw?
        3. Sarah would wear earrings bought for her by someone who tried to kill her and who her boyfriend killed?
        4. Justin calls Ellie on her own phone as well as the Ring phone?
        5. Ellie would bug her dad?
        6. Ellie would invite Justin to her residence?
        7. Casey – the Colonel – can’t infiltrate Ellie’s residence without getting knocked out by her?

        Season 2 was so much tighter than what came after. Coupled with the undoing of Chuck’s hero’s journey that takes place here, the show became something…less than it had been.

      • atcDave says:

        Bill none of those things are particularly troubling to me. Really. I know there’s nothing I can say if those events bother you, but in most cases I don’t even feel compelled to question them. Stuff happens.
        In S1 we had NSA Incinerators that are apparently available to anyone who really wants one, and magically destroy all DNA. In S2 we learn about a key, top secret computer technology that was apparently developed by a scientist who disappeared 20 years ago and no one even knew his name. The show was built around ideas and contrivances that don’t really stand up to any kind of scrutiny. Its about a guy with a computer in his brain. We kind of have to let a lot of things go.
        If something reaches a point where you just can’t suspend the disbelief any longer, then its not surprising you won’t like it. But as Ernie has discussed in “The Rule of Cool”, most of the show’s ideas are just all about outrageous fun. For me, I can accept most of it as long as it doesn’t make the main characters look bad or stupid (and by “main characters” I pretty much just mean Chuck and Sarah)…

    • uplink2 says:

      Bill, though I understand your POV I’m probably not as harsh on this idea. I stated my opinion last week about why they brought Shaw back. First, money. He was simply cheaper. Pretty sad statement that economics played a part in undoing Chuck’s hero journey but it did. Second the attempt to somehow justify and salvage the character. For many they accomplished that though at what cost will be debated for years. But what I don’t understand is why they insisted that Stephen stay dead to justify the stakes and not Shaw or Bryce for that matter? Why was the thought of bringing back Stephen Bartowski less appealing than resurrecting Bryce and Shaw? Bryce I kind of understand as he is a major plot device element but bringing back Shaw from the dead is far far far less appealing to me than Orion.

      • Bill says:

        Dave, I appreciate your perspective about letting things go. I could do that quite readily when the big picture remained epic. Once that quality was lost (sometime during S3 but no later than LD), however, it became much more difficult for me to do so.

        Uplink — good question as to why Stephen stayed dead. And, money is likely a main reason why Shaw returned. Doesn’t make me feel better about it though. 😉

    • BigKev67 says:

      Bill – agreed. Shaw’s resurrection was the point at which I realised that I couldn’t trust anything I was seeing on screen any more, because there was nothing that couldn’t be undone if convenience dictated it be so. The whole point of the front 13 was lost, and any real investment in the stakes of the story from here onwards went with it. In a sense, my total shock at the finale can be traced back to here – having previously shown themselves to be prepared to undo almost anything, I expected Sarah’s memory loss to be resolved the same way – and of course, it wasn’t. My fault for having expectations I guess – but that came from the sheer number of things that TPTB had backtracked on over the course of 5 years.

  5. oldresorter says:

    Rewatched last night. After watching 3 straight without fast forwarding, I FF’d last night, through the interrogation scene, then right thru most the rest, stopping only for a short stop on the penthouse mission, along with long stops at the cabin scene and Sarah’s spy will. I guess I just don’t like how these writers think, I view the show as a comedy that has a streak of vindictiveness along with a terrible case of show amnesia, where many of the main plot points simply get thrown away allowing the viewers to make up near any resolution or answer they want to to major issues raised in the show. In this ep, why not discuss the interrogation scene during the spy will scene, as obviously new information about the Sarah Shaw love affair came to light during Casey’s dressing down of Sarah, Chuck and the portion of the fan base that loves them?

    • uplink2 says:

      I think the reason for not discussing it is they still were trying to ram down our throats that Sarah/Shaw worked and was justified. Therefore there is no need to discuss what happened. Even Sarah’s reactions to all of it seemed to show that she was told to try and sell that it worked and she being to team player she is, did her job.

      In discussing this elsewhere, this episode is in many ways the “coda” for the misery arc. It is a return to the theme of lying and that Sham worked. The last ditch attempt to salvage and redeem that arc as successful which it clearly wasn’t. So I guess if I’m going to dismiss that arc and not rewatch then I should include this one too.

      BigKev is right, bringing back Shaw makes their argument about “stakes” with Orion completely fall flat. Stakes only matter if they serve what the current train of thought was. They could ignore them for Shaw because they needed to. Shaw was cheap to bring back and they felt they needed to salvage the character somehow. To hell with stakes and mythology. Saying:

      Josh Schwartz sometimes it takes a minute to figure out how to write for somebody.

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

      tells me 2 things. First that they admit he failed as an good guy/LI but second they decided to salvage the character once they realized he was better as a villain. But that flies in the face of their comments about stakes and Orion. Orion could stay dead because they didn’t need him to be alive.

  6. uplink2 says:

    I re-watched last night also and I must admit that this episode is one of the few that I’ve actually re-watched that losses something in re-watch. The interrogation scene is still totally unfunny and unnecessary and I’ve yet to see the point of it. But one thing that I knew was there that really jumped out at me this time was the again failed attempt at humor of the focus on the Kama Sutra book in Shaw’s penthouse. I won’t even get into the ridiculous idea that after Shaw had to hide in Castle after Fake Name because the Ring was after him that after just a short time later he is taking Sarah to his Penthouse for a day “off the grid” and even more definitively certain on this re-watch, “off with their clothes.” Plus why would a spy who is top secret have a penthouse anyway? Oh that’s right he’s “Superman” and reads the Kama Sutra!

    In this re-watch it is very clear to me that Sarah is acknowledging she did the nasty with Shaw (oh I just threw up in my mouth a little bit). Her reactions to a number of the hints is both embarrassed at its reveal but that she isn’t going to apologize for her actions. Right or wrong Chuck has to accept that he has nothing to say about what happened and she is reacting like it absolutely did happen.

    But the thing that most stood out as diminishing the episode is the incredible extent of the lying on Chuck’s part. He has gotten so hooked on lying that he does it even when he doesn’t have to.

    Plus I really disliked how incredibly stupid they made Ellie in this episode and turned her into a liar as well. Plus for her to ask Chuck to get out of the spy business after what she did in many ways to help get her father killed is pretty sad. She was duped by a great liar but it was her lies that helped set up her father.

    I’d have to say that in this re-watch I’ve learned this episode is probably the least likely of any of the back six I will re-watch again. I loved Sarah in this episode but Chuck and Ellie? Not so much.

    • Dave says:


      Chuck’s lying was an issue for me, but only a moderate one. He generally lied to spare someone’s feelings for the most part. This is the one that didn’t make any sense, since Orion is likely the one person who can help him.

      Sarah didn’t need to apologize to Chuck, she needed to apologize to her fans. I was never in the Sarah had to stay pure camp, but if she was going to stray at least let it be someone who was worthy and who made sense. She needed to have someone who was a) a decent spy, b) a decent guy and c) someone who treated her well (like Bryce or Cole). Shaw was none of the above, it made absolutely no sense no matter how many times TPTB tell us that there is a universe where Sarah and Shaw are perfect for each other, its just not this universe.

      Ellie was a hypocrite with amnesia.

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t think Sarah and Shaw problems are related to how good a spy Shaw is. I think its all on Sarah. She fed Chuck a line about why they couldn’t be together for two years; then when he finally took action to fix it, she abandoned him.

        As I’ve said before, this simply isn’t the Sarah we saw for the first two seasons, so I’m actually not that worried about it. Front arc of S3 was just a different show, with different characters, that looked a little like Chuck.

      • atcDave says:

        I guess I do agree though with saying the way they made Shaw a completely unlikable incompetent nincompoop just makes it all worse.

      • Dave says:


        You’ve hit on my main issue with the Misery Arc. Besides being too dark way too long, Sarah was nearly unrecognizable from the end of FC on, maybe even the end of 3W. She was mind-bogglingly OOC.

        Why would Sarah, or any woman in fact, run to bed with a guy who a couple of hours earlier forced her to give Chuck his red test over her objections? He used her because he knew Chuck would do what she said, and admitted as much to Sarah. Especially if this same guy pretty much treated her like crap all the time. How does she suddenly decide she’s falling for that guy? That was always my problem with this. we got 6 1/2 episodes of something that definitely wasn’t Sarah.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I totally agree Dave. It just completely makes no sense.

      • uplink2 says:

        I don’t want to drift too far afield in an episode thread but your point I think goes to the heart of the issue. It makes no sense because the motive wasn’t character driven, it was purely an extension of WTWT and one last trip to the empty OLI well. To make that happen they had to change the characters significantly and twist them to fit the plot rather than have them drive the plot. This episode is the final element of ramming Sarah/Shaw down our throats.

        Just like the necessary spy story of the first half of the season didn’t need and was over shadowed by the contrived OLI story, the Ring/harmful Intersect story of the last half of the season didn’t need the return of Shaw. In fact bringing him back diminishes that same spy story from the first half the season even more. It also diminishes Sarah one more time as they used the idea of a woman wearing earrings given to her by an ex-lover who tried to murder her and became a traitor to everything she believed in, all for some lame attempt at humor.

        I’m glad that with this episode we get past the final insult of trying to reinforce Sarah/Shaw as real and believable because damn it was no where near close and in an infinite number of universes it still will never work.

      • Dave says:


        There is one more, S5E07 lest we forget. I could write that off to malfunctioning intersect delusions, but hey.

      • uplink2 says:

        Dave, I think this little bit from the 5 season interview with Sepinwall explains alot about that.

        When you set up at the end of the fourth season that Decker has this big plan and someone is really mad at Chuck and on and on, did you know then it was going to be Shaw or did that come to you later?

        Chris Fedak: Am I supposed to tell you the true answer to that?

        Tell me the true answer, Chris.

        Chris Fedak: No, (I) did not know it was Shaw.

        Okay. So when did you realize that Shaw explains many things and also allows satisfying closure for Chuck and Ellie?

        Chris Fedak: Very soon after. Once we had a feel for how long the season would actually be, when we realized that it would most likely be 13 episodes, that was the moment where we thought, “Well, who could be behind this? It would be fun if it was someone we already set up.” It would be fun if it was Shaw, but we weren’t tied to that…

        So he even admits there was no plan for the person behind the “conspiracy” at the end of season 4. Shaw was brought back because first of all Fedak wanted to bring him back and second to try and explain who was behind it all but of course Shaw knew nothing of Sarah killing Eve and hadn’t turned so how was he responsible for “everything”? Answer is, it doesn’t matter simply because he wanted to bring him back. Again stakes and plausibility only matter when they are convenient.

    • uplink2 says:

      Dave, I agree and that is part of where the loss of trust in TPTB comes in to play later on. I would contend that there is no universe in an infinite number of universe where Sarah/Shaw actually works. That was the one of the central problems with the misery arc. Then to double down in this episode where they are clearly telling us their involvement was much worse than we imagined just adds that final insult to the storyline.

  7. oldresorter says:

    Castle is in production already. Our buddy Nathan made some news:

    The problem with Shaw is that any use of him turns off a certain portion of the fanbase, and the show needs every fan on its side. Shaw also makes fans more in tune to details of the show, and less tolerant, since he is associated with for many some of the worst writing in the show and many of the near ungiveable moments the writers came up with.

    I would have enjoyed the second s3 arc more without him, but I don’t really know if the writers had a good story in them. The ring story itself was woeful, and Shaw hate carried the story, it sure wasn’t the plot or the writing.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah I think there’s way too much baggage with Shaw. Even if I say I think he was passable as a villain, I really never wanted to see him again. It was never the “good” sort of hated Villain like Volkoff or Roark.

    • uplink2 says:

      I agree. But Fedak said before S5 started that he planned to bring someone back even knowing that many of the fans didn’t want him back. I think Shaw being behind it all is full of gigantic plot holes. Now Quinn is another story as his vendetta against Chuck goes back to before the pilot. But it was never about plausibility, it was solely about bringing back Shaw.

  8. Niteshade says:

    This is my first time posting. And I do not mean to offend, but I have a differnet take on the Sham relationship. I didn’t see a deep emotional relationship between Sarah and Shaw. I characterize their interaction as a “friends with benifits or partners with benifits” arrangement or better put, “a spy relationship”. This type of relationship is in her comfort zone and possible the only type of relationship she has had prior to Chuck.
    As Sarah said in Final Exam, her relations with Shaw are different than with Chuck. She feels a deep emotional attachment to Chuck. She loves Chuck (I believe She’s in love for the first time in her life but the events in Prague completely discombobulated her, she does not handle rejection well. It takes a while before she is willing to risk hurt again with Chuck.
    To tie this post to the current thread, IMO, Sarah doesn’t place any emotional attachment to the earrings and she did think about how Chuck feels about them (or her relations with Shaw) until Chuck’s reactions during the interrogation . As I recall, She takes them off.

    • atcDave says:

      Niteshade it’s always good to have some new speak up, so welcome to the site!

      I would pretty much agree with that interpretation, and I think you have a lot of company who saw things that way. To me, that actually makes it all worse, it adds cheap to all it’s other problems.
      But the bottom line is, whatever it meant, or didn’t mean to Sarah, it’s something I had zero interest in seeing on screen. And as unappealing as Shaw was, it makes Sarah look stupid even if she only saw Shaw as a friend.

    • uplink2 says:

      Welcome Niteshade. Glad to have you with us and I hope you will continue to post here. I do think that was the “intent” but the execution was woeful. The OLI story was purely done to extend the WTWT for another 13 episodes and had no real story benefit at all. It was unnecessary and they had to seriously diminish the characters to try and sell it, which for a very large portion of the fanbase they failed miserably. Plus the complete lack of chemistry between Sarah and Shaw coupled with the fact he was shown to be an incompetent boob and extremely unlikable on any level makes Sarah look a pathetic idiot for having anything to do with him, “spy relationship” or not.

      I think it’s clear that Sarah had no attachment to the earrings but they were given to her by a traitor that tried to murder her. Why would any woman ever wear something given to her by a man that wanted to kill her? I find the use of that idea, especially when it was done for laughs, to be rather insulting. It wasn’t funny and it wasn’t necessary. I’ll forgive LeJudkins because they were new and were still being given the Sarah/Shaw KoolAid and I don’t think it was their idea but I still find it offensive to the Sarah character. Even if Sham worked I’d still find the idea insulting.

  9. oldresorter says:

    Read a review of Covert Affairs season 4 first ep, funny comment, show getting darker in s4. Isn’t that the way these shows go? They hook you with sweet romantic comedy, then once the fans are invested, they go dark.

    A comment I forgot about this arc, Ellie went dramatic and got her only signficant (I think this is true) B arc, and it bombed. So I’ve often asked for more drama from the rest of the cast, my ‘kill Morgan’ comment. Yet, this whole Ellie arc was almost as bad as Sham. And I KNOW Sarah Lancaster is a fantastic actress. I’m pretty sure, the way Chuck was framed, dark plots simply don’t work real well, not all the dark fails, but most of it does on Chuck.

    • mr2686 says:

      I’d don’t think Covert Affairs was ever a “sweet romantic comedy”, even in the broadest sense, and in fact has always been on the darker side (although it’s getting darker each season).

      • oldresorter says:

        I described s1 of CA as what could almost be Sarah Walker’s first days as a spy, which I found interesting during s1 of Covert Affairs. Plus, the s1 family stuff was pretty fantasitic, Annie’s sister is a pretty darned good actress, her name eludes me. And Auggie and Annie right from the start had the ‘Castle’ or ‘Moonlighting’ banter thing going, those are my reasons for calling it a sweet romantic comedy. Although I understand how MR2686 might see things different than I do, that does not make me wrong (or right), most of this stuff is in the eye of the beholder.

        I’m pretty sure shows start off lighter to get fans invested with and liking / loving the important characters, before they start introducing flaws. I think the problem with s3 on Chuck,was the rejection of Sarah, the lying and the treatment of Hannah did not seem consistent with the Chuck we knew, and maybe even worse, the odd falling into Shaw’s bed arc did seem consistent with Sarah, but the part of Sarah fans liked the least.

        I think what makes these shows really work or not, is how consistent the flawed or dark behavior is with the character and the story, and how the flaws make fans, through resolution love the character even more.

        In Chuck, I didn’t love either Chuck or Sarah more than I did at the end of s2 after either of the s3 arcs, either the sham arc or the liar arc.

        I didn’t like Annie Walker more after her s3 slutty spy arc either. We’ll see how she does with s4, which appears to maybe be about, believe it or not, lying, maybe between Augie and Annie, should be interesting to compare to how its handled vs Chuck – LOL!

      • uplink2 says:

        For me I’d have much rather have seen Ellie introduced to the spy world via her brain and not through lying. It took till the end of season 4 to utilize her talents as a neurologist and then when those talents were needed most, they sent her away to Chicago because she was “being wooed by mid-westerners”. So much for family always coming first.

      • atcDave says:

        Well I think the S4 Ellie story was a mistake on several levels. And no doubt I’ve imagined many other scenarios for Ellie being brought in; either recruiting her for her medical knowledge, or seeing Sarah in action are my two favorite options.

      • uplink2 says:

        Speaking of that, it always bugged me in Coup d ‘ta that Ellie only compliments Chuck on the fight when they are on the plane. She never once mentioned that Sarah helped save them as well. I think many of the fics that have Sarah train Ellie in self-defense etc are great. They never explored enough of that relationship.

      • atcDave says:

        Well I think it all plays back to the completely Chuck-centric view that TPTB had. The show was called Chuck, and all major events must center on Chuck.
        Pity. As we’ve said several times, Sarah is really the more interesting character. I would have loved to see the Sarah/Ellie relationship/friendship explored more. My favorite idea is always Sarah visibly saving the day as Ellie watches in shock. CF obviously preferred the idea of Chuck doing the same thing. I get that. But I sure do love all the fan fics that do it more my way.
        I think the fight in Costa Gravis sort of illustrates the point. Sarah didn’t really acquit herself very well, so I’m not surprised Ellie would focus on her brother there at all. But I sure do wish they’d let Ellie see Sarah in all her glory.

      • joe says:

        Good morning, afternoon – whatever! I’m having a hard time getting started today, and this conversation took a turn for the great.

        I saw Covert Affairs last night, and I havta say I enjoyed it. I rather enjoyed last season too, more than the second season with Annie chasing some bozo around the world because she had the hots for him.

        I’m impressed that most everyone has been so consistent. That darkness is precisely what I’ve been enjoying most, both in C.A. and in S3 of Chuck – I guess that means it’s me. And if you don’t care for it, that just means it’s you – your preference. And that’s okay.

        Of course, what I’ve been really in to, consistently, are those romances. Last night was highlighted not by the adventure-line, and certainly not by the continuing Joan and Arthur soap opera (a story worthy of Melrose Place, btw, and pardon me while I stick a finger down my throat). Of course, there’s very little comedy in that show – I consider that a small minus. I miss the sister role (That was Anne Dudek, btw, who also did two seasons in House). Chuck was more enjoyable for me because of the strong family stuff.

        But the romance with Auggie was spot on. They did a good job making it as inevitable as Chuck&Sarah. I’m such a sucker for romance.

        Everyone’s using the term “darker,” which seems right. But isn’t it just the case that it’s gotten a bit more serious? That happens whenever the drama is heightened, right? Darker to me means more evil, especially in the characters, or that the stakes are higher, which isn’t quite the same as less humor. Maybe that’s a distinction without a difference, but that’s what I’m seeing in C.A. and in Chuck S3 – a bit less humor and higher stakes, as opposed to more evil in the characters.

      • uplink2 says:

        @Joe, which leads us to the discussion about this episode in that the “stakes” you liked about 3.0 get thrown away because it was “convenient” and “cheaper” to bring back Shaw than to actually make the stakes something you can trust are real. And to me much of that “convenience” was the desire to salvage the character regardless of its story impact.

      • atcDave says:

        Joe I do think “darker” can be used in a few different senses, not all of which bother me. In fact, I’m completely fine with it in the “evil” sense of bad guys doing bigger and worse things. That does raise the stakes and make everything more exciting.

        But there’s another sense I intensely dislike, and it was true on both Chuck S3 and CA. That is, making the protagonist more morally conflicted and generally less admirable. This was particularly big on Chuck when being able to like and relate to the protagonist was a huge part of the original appeal. So when Chuck became quite a slime ball over the course of S3 (and he did, there’s no other way to describe it) it severely undermined the appeal of the entire show. I was drawn to a story of the “nice guy” saving the day. When Chuck was no longer a nice guy for an extended period of time the show lost much of its appeal.
        CA presented a version of the CIA that was a real cesspool of internal politics and back biting. I could have dealt with that as long as Annie remained above it all. But she hasn’t. And as S3 unfolded, and the CIA whore story was developed, I could only quit. They are going directions I have no interest in following, or even glancing at from a distance. She’s not just morally conflicted, she’s morally corrupt. So no thanks.

      • oldresorter says:

        Joe / Dave – i said this elsewhere, but I understand morally flawed main characters, as long as they emerge with a clear lesson learned that they actually speak about so I as a viewer understand and that I like the character more, not less as result of the journey, not because of the destination achieved to use Chuck speak.

        My best non chuck sarah example would be lying Chuck and Ellie, I wish that the two of them would have realized and spoken to one another about their lies caused their father to die (which is true), and the result of that dialogue, they later dispayed ‘trust’ that somehow caused them to ultimately beat Shaw, with Ellie even being thrown the bone ‘That’s for our father.’ as Shaw is being led away defeated.

      • atcDave says:

        Jason I agree with all of that. I actually like redemption stories, and I’m fine with heroes who learn their lessons. But somehow much of Chuck’s lessons learned seem more like making excuses. And I think a big thing is that such stories need to resolve more quickly, usually. I could imagine a longer term opposite of “Breaking Bad” working quite well, with a corrupt character turning his life around and becoming more admirable and heroic as the story unfolds. But starting with an admirable character, changing him to a jerk for little or no reason, then having him switch back is not very satisfying to me.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah as MR said. I think Covert Affairs was getting darker, but it started a little darker than I prefer. So it sort went from being a “maybe” to a flat out “no” for me.
      But Jason I do agree that it seems to be a trend for many shows to get darker as they go. I guess it makes some sense, that as they introduce characters and premise it’s often less dark than when they hit the meat of the story. Still, it makes it tough for me, the trend is definitely towards darker stories than I prefer.

      Jason I do disagree about saying Ellie’s arc bombed, I actually really like it in terms of introducing Ellie to the spy world. I particularly like how it’s a direct fall out of keeping secrets from her for years. And, we’ll get into this more more next week, I love the various scenes with her, Devon and Morgan in Subway. I never thought Ellie looked bad or stupid through any of this; but shame on Chuck for keeping secrets after there was any point (once Devon knew, it clearly a loosing proposition to try to exclude Ellie).

      • oldresorter says:

        Dave – funny, I can’t watch the Ellie arc, I don’t like it at all. More and more I have to realize that other than the Chuck and Sarah cute personal moments, and the Casey, Chuck and Sarah spy missions, the rest of the show isn’t for me. The thing that keeps me coming back, years later, I like the CS sweet personal moments, and the Casey, CS spy missions, more than anything else on tV. It make for odd viewing, as I go from being dazzled, to being angry and hitting FF, three or four times per ep on most rewatches.

      • Wilf says:


        Well, in fairness, keeping Ellie in the dark was supposed to be the prescribed CIA way, so it wasn’t just about Chuck keeping it a secret. Just shows, the CIA way was actually a whole lot worse than useless!

      • atcDave says:

        Except Sarah was now advising against it. It’s sort of a silly contrivance; many thousands of people have security clearances and handle secret or sensitive data every day. That doesn’t mean loved ones don’t know what you do, only that you can’t divulge specific information (I know, I have a security clearance. Oops, I just spilled it, I’ll have to eliminate you all…).
        In Chuck’s case, he obviously can’t go talking about the Intersect. And initially, there may have been issues about not wanting it known he was even a person of interest.. But that time is passed, and there should be little risk in saying Chuck was an analyst of some sort for the Agency. And it makes things like having access to CIA information, equipment and personnel much easier to explain.

        I particularly think once Devon knows, it would actually make containment easier if Ellie is in on the game too. Especially since Devon is such a lousy liar.
        Now to be honest, Chuck lying to Ellie at this point bothers me far, FAR less than him lying to Sarah or his father. But it does all add up, and I think it doesn’t reflect well on Chuck. I like the way the lies to Ellie play out and it is a very well conceived story. In every case, Chuck will pay a price for the lies he’s been telling. I like that. But I still don’t like that our protagonist behaved so poorly for so long.

  10. srb2506 says:

    I know this is awfully late and everyone has moved on but I just thought I would post this
    It does suprise me that there is for some almost a double standard going on here a lot of people have said that Sarah having a relationship with shaw is wrong and it is damaging to her character if she had sex with him. Some of you mention the fact that they dont have chemistry and i agree with you but that is more a Yvonne/Brandon thing. To be honest Yvonne has so much Chemistry with Zac that almost any other relationship just does not work and although she certainly did have some with Cole and Bryce nowhere near as much as with Chuck.
    Act Dave said that he was not just hung up on Sarah being kept pure but that it should be someone worthy of her, to me that is partly the problem, i also did not like that the writers reset the Chuck/Sarah relationship and would have preffered them to do somethimg else and was covered quite a lot at the beggining of season 3, but the fact is that is what they did. If Sarah wants to have a real relationship with someone it would have to be somone involved in the spy life as if not then the relationship would never be honest very much Chucks ill fated relationship with Hannah. So therefore there has to be 2 options either a spy, super cool, debonair and attractive and of course brave but they had already done that with Cole and Bryce the other way they could have done it that may have been more ‘believable if the team was given an analyst who is very like Chuck in many ways and she finds herself getting more interested in him as Chuck becomes more of the closed off and serious Spy. The problem with either of these two options they could be a more real threat to Chuck and Sarah getting together, the one thing you could say about Sarah was that she did not Love Shaw, she even admitted it to Chuck. I know that the show lost viewers in large amounts in early seaon 3 but I think the ones that stayed did not really doubt that Chuck and Sarah would be together at the end, If they had put a more serious obstacle in the way we might prefer it now & it may not have damaged Sarah for some of you but it might also have lost us even more viewers.
    For the record I did not think the relationship damaged Sarah, unlike Chucks relationships with Jill and Hannah they really showed him in a bad light. In Chucks case he tells Sarah that she is the ‘Greatest Thing to ever happen to me,’ before telling her that they dont have a future together, and that is all done to keep her safe, and you can tell from his voice it was hard for him to do. Then the two of them share a beer while watching the shooting star and he makes a wish and clearly looks at her Then when Jill comes back on the scene he Asks Sarah to help him have time with Jill, then lets Sarah go into a life threatening situation to protect With Hannah he comes skpping down the stairs after having sex with Hannah and then it is up to Sarah to rescue his family meal with Ellie and Hannah.This after telling Sarah that he loves her, Sarah offering to stay and fix things but except for inviting her over for a family dinner with Casey included aswell he does nothing to try and repair the relationship.
    This is not to say that I am happy with the Sarah/Shaw relationship merely that i understand it and yes I could have done without finding out what happened between them and although i do not jump to the same conclusion as some of you, I do not think for example that Sarah just went straight into bed with Shaw after Chucks red Test I think she had to talk to somone and he was there. Prtly because she is angry at Shaw but because she is angry at herself, she is the one who made Chuck do it, She may even view it as some kind of punishment as she finally has ruined the man she fell in love with and she now has no chance of happiness in her future so she has made her bed and now she has to lie in it.

    • atcDave says:

      I think you’re misrepresenting or badly paraphrasing some things srb. I am firmly against seeing either Chuck or Sarah play the field with anyone else, period. There is absolutely no “worthiness” issue to that at all. I also disagree with there being any double standard; there absolutely, categorically is not. I actually think Chuck behaves much worse than Sarah; he hurts Sarah, he cheats first (yes, I consider Hannah a cheat) and he’s indiscrete. As slime balls go, S3 Chuck is hard to beat. Sarah sometimes gets more attention only because her stupidity lasts longer than Chuck’s, and Shaw is a despicable slug in every sense.
      The only comment some of us have made about Sarah needing someone better than Shaw is as a confidante, someone she can talk to about professional and personal conflicts. Honestly Chuck is the only person I would want to see in that role too. But if they had still had Bryce, or if they had presented Shaw in a way with no romantic overtones at all, I could imagine it working without making Sarah look like almost as big a slime as Chuck.

  11. CaptMediocre says:

    The thing about Sham is that during that time Sarah had to be shown as a weak woman in desperate need of psychiatric help that needs a man to tell her what to do.

    Chuck had his epiphany (twice maybe three times), Sarah never had hers, so in her case it was all for no visible reason.

    • atcDave says:

      Well I think Sarah does finally have an epiphany at the end of American Hero. But of course the journey getting there was just far to ugly for my taste. And I agree completely about how weak and pathetic they made her look for most of the season getting there.

      They essentially ruined the show and characters for most of a season.

  12. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Living Dead (3.17) | Chuck This

  13. Neil Sandford says:

    Wow!! i’m shocked and naive, when i watched s3 overall and re-watched, it never occurred to me Sarah having an intimate relationship with Shaw, but all this talk kind of turns my stomach, i didn’t put her on a pedestal and i’m not a prude but i always thought she had certain value’s, my fav character by far, even though she’s a spy and it can be part of the job and although i can’t see anything sexual happening after FE in her hotel room (because of the distress she was in) what concerns me, if she was intimate, if, when and what was the time gap between then and Honeymooners, it implies she was bed hopping which really makes her look cheap, let alone degrade her character, to the point that the writing had become tacky, sleazy which can really affect your feelings to how you then view said character.

    I do see the valid arguments more so saying she didn’t and i tend to keep them in my mind, in that case ignorance is bliss.

    Wouldn’t it have been nice if we have got five decent seasons to run through instead of skipping half of one season, watching a few episodes of that season and the skipping another episode before the penultimate episode, shame.

    • atcDave says:

      I agree it’s best to take the most naive approach here, which is consistent with my whole “ignore the arc” strategy! But it does leave this gap of “how did Chuck become a spy?”!

      It really is a shame they botched this part of the story.

      • The angst in the first three seasons is what inspired my AU, I just don’t by that Sarah could not have been his handler AND his girlfriend, so I came up with the idea to use the events of Baby as a catalyst for that scenario where Sarah is concerned. It is my first true AU so I was not expecting much but the response has been extremely positive so it’s nice to know my bold idea is paying off.

      • atcDave says:

        I think an AU from such an early period is always appealing. I think we all know how television is written and yearn for something more adult and satisfying.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s