Chuck vs Phase Three (4.09)

Does anybody really want to talk about this episode?  Naw, I didn’t think so…

Funny with the anniversary event this week, and Phase Three coming up in our regular re-watch, sure seems like a “best of” sort of week.  After the jump, we’ll discuss this favorite from mid season four.

Phase Three shows up on most “top ten” lists we see.  Of course all five Sarah centered episodes tend to score well.  Even Yvonne Strahovski has mentioned this as her favorite a few times.  Its hardly surprising.  This is a fun episode all the way through, Sarah is at her best and baddest, Morgan is well used and funny, the “B” plot manages to be funny; only Chuck is under served here, and that gets bonus points for the pure novelty of it.

But make no mistake that Sarah owns this episode.

Morgan, livin’ dangerous!

Almost every scene she’s in is pitch perfect; stand out moments to me include the Sarah/Casey show down in Castle, that Morgan bravely diffuses.  Then the scene back home; all the way from Sarah investigating Chuck’s shirt, to her conversation with Morgan.  Sarah’s interrogation of the Thai official, and her handling of Casey both before and after; including her declaration of being better with Chuck.  Then we get a show down in Thailand in two acts; both the thug in the bar, and the big pit fighting match.  Notice Sarah basically destroys the star fighter twice, the first destruction is undone by the sand trick.

Just a little intimidating

All leading up to the epic rescue including Sarah emerging from a fetid pond with a knife in her mouth.

And at this point I have to mention Chuck’s part of the story.  Although a much smaller part this time around, we do get a story of Chuck battling The Belgian’s attempts to access his mind.  His interactions with dream Sarah manage to be dramatic in their own way, including the heartbreaking plea for dream Sarah not to leave him.  The implementation of “Phase Three” and the destruction of Chuck’s personality is an interesting faux life, where Chuck’s family and friends all leave him.  Until real Sarah intrudes.  Really a fun and fascinating sort of dual scene; Sarah sobbing for Chuck to come back while his dream reality is punctured with an uber composed manifestation of the same speech.  Very powerful, perfectly executed, and just a wonderful wrap up to an excellent story.

As I mentioned up top, I thought the “B” plot with the Buy Morons helping Devon get the Orion computer fixed is amusing, but otherwise unremarkable.

The episode concludes with Chuck and Sarah happily reunited, and a more confident Chuck who’s only concern about proposing seems to be how to surprise Sarah.

And this all means another short write up this week.  I could mention I’m sick; food poisoning and a prolonged day in the bathroom.  But naw…   Phase Three is a nearly perfect episode.  There’s nothing I need to say to defend it, and nothing worthy of complaint.

~ Dave
ct_bar

Miss Friday

Seconded!

Consider this about a page and a half of nothing but superlatives, and an admonition… he who finds fault with Chuck vs. Phase Three is a fool who has no heart!

WannaMamma!

WannaMamma!

Okay. Now that I have that out of the way, let me see if I can find something in this episode that I hadn’t noticed before. No, I have to start with what we’ve already seen, because it’s so fantastic, and that would be Sarah. There’s a strong sentiment among the fans that the best character in the entire show is – not just Sarah, but badass Sarah. You know. She’s the one who fights Smooth Lau in close quarters to Wannamamma in Best Friends – and wins. She’s the one who rolls from the bottom of Casey’s van in Tic Tac to best five armed guards, knowing there’s five only because of Casey’s signal. Badass Sarah is the one who KO’s Casey on occasion and subdues Morgan with a look or a shoe and Lester with an advance and innuendo. There was some concern after Fake Name and even after Honeymooners that we were losing that character in favor on someone much more deferential to Chuck. We were losing her to someone much more secondary called <music type=”Ominous And Scary”>The Girlfriend</music>.

She’s baaaaaacccckkkkk!

Miss Friday

Miss Friday

What? Did you think she was gone? Here’s a confession: that’s not a view I shared. As much as I like the badass, it’s the other Sarah, the one who seemed to give up (maybe even give up on life itself) in Fake Name and the one who could barely hold back tears in both Alma Mater and The Breakup that haunts me. She’s also the woman who glows while making breakfast in The Suburbs and the spy who is ready to give it all up and go on the run in Lethal Weapon and in Pink Slip. That’s no cartoon character; she’s very human.

Every time Sarah resists taking the next step in the relationship (which was nearly every episode after Honeymooners, you know), I worry unconsciously that this Sarah is in danger of disappearing. I worry that the woman often described in the NBC boards as an “Ice Queen” with armor around her heart is Sarah’s default mode, her go-to persona and always, always, always dominant.

That’s certainly where Sarah goes in this Chuck vs. Phase Three when she can’t find Chuck. Worse, the Intersect is gone, so Chuck is basically helpless and she is frustrated at every turn for days. Much like the Hulk, you don’t want to see frustrated Sarah. Sarah doesn’t want to see frustrated Sarah.

Sarah: You were right. I’m different without Chuck, and I don’t like it.

The aide to the Thai ambassador, one Anand Chanarong (James Lew), thinks he can get past this she-hulk; he happens to have dealings with The Belgian. But even this resistance doesn’t last long. It’s Morgan who provided the clue that leads to him, and Morgan who notices Sarah going “all Kill Bill” on his butt.

Yes, I just stole that line from the episode, and it too is fantastic in context, as are most all the quips in this episode. But what I bet you remember first is not the quips, but Sarah threatening to kill him. That is dramatic and, I think, some of Yvonne’s best work. At least, it is until we get to Thailand and she does even better.

Sarah: Anyone else wanna be my boyfriend?

Muay-Thai

Muay-Thai

But all in all, I don’t think the moment in the Muay-Thai pit (or Sarah raging through half of Burma for that matter) is Yvonne’s absolute best-of-all-time performance (it’s merely great). I think Yvonne does far better when Sarah Walker breaks. And make no mistake, that ice queen, the girl who always had trouble “talking about your feelings” really is shattered here. At least, her heart is. Our good fortune as fans is to see it twice.

Yes, twice. It happens first in front of Morgan, when the goof admits Chuck’s been planning to propose.

Sarah: When was he planning on doing this?
Morgan: I dunno. Ever since he lost the Intersect, The proposal plan got put on hold.
Sarah: Why? Did he think that I wouldn’t wanna marry him without the Intersect? [concerned] Is that how I made him feel?

Shattered

Shattered

It happens again, in Chuck’s more-real-than-real dream, when we can even see the shattering glass. I’m going to gush again. This whole show has been gracenoted by memorable scenes that seem like technical tours-de-force. I always enjoy (and hold my breath) seeing Casey and Sarah running silently up Castle’s stairs to rescue Chuck from Jill when they finally discover she’s a Fulcrum agent. My adrenaline still pumps when Chuck claps the butts of two pistols together in preparation to save his father as Luisa’s Bones plays. I’m sure this is stuff they teach in cinema classes (TV 201, perhaps), but it gets me every time. Chuck walking through the breaking glass as Sarah speaks softly, and as she cries miserably, is perhaps the best of these.

Chuck: But you’re not. You’re not real. This is a dream.
Dream Sarah:[gently] I came to rescue you. I’m right here, Chuck.
Real Sarah: [sobbing] Chuck, please, come on.
Morgan: Hey, hey, hey. Tell him what you told me before, okay? He’ll hear that. I know it. This is your chance. Don’t be Sarah Walker the spy. Be Sarah Walker the girlfriend.
Sarah: Chuck, please. Chuck, I love you! Please wake up. I have so much that I wanna tell you.
Dream Sarah: [gently] I found your proposal plan.
Chuck: No, no, no. This is my mind playing tricks on me. You don’t know anything about my proposal plan.
Sarah: You were gonna do it on the beach in Malibu, where we watched the sunrise after our first date. There were [smiling] several racecars involved.
Chuck: I revised that.
Sarah: Chuck, I wanna spend the rest of my life with you.
Real Sarah: I don’t care if you have the Intersect or not. Without you…
Dream Sarah: I’m nobody. I’m nothing but a spy. Come back to me, Chuck. I wanna marry you.

The old Sarah, the one we often described as having a shell around her heart and as an ice maiden, is broken, but not gone. Instead, Sarah is whole. Chuck knows it and the fans can sense it. Is there any question left or angst about Chuck and Sarah and there future? Chuck is awake and that’s all the answer we need.

miss friday don’t you know
I don’t really care about taking it slow
I’m gonna dream about the fire in your eyes
I’m gonna sleep all day
I’m gonna give ’em hell
and you’ll say wake wake up get out o’ your head
you gotta wake wake up get out o’ your head
you got a lot to live
you got a lot to live for
so bye bye bye misery

Nico Stai – Miss Friday

Müeller

Müeller

Richard Chamberlain was appropriately subdued as the bad-guy who didn’t even realize he was in over his head. There was simply no room in this episode for a stronger evil villain, because that was filled by the Igor-ish Torsten Voges as Dr. Müeller. This story was, after all, not about good vs. bad or the CIA vs. arms dealers or the Intersect against anything. It was about Chuck and Sarah.

The Intersect? Oh yes. It’s gone. But much like Orion, it’s not going to stay away long. Knock, knock.

– 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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112 Responses to Chuck vs Phase Three (4.09)

  1. mr2686 says:

    A great, great episode to be sure. This one ranks as my number 5 all time, and as Dave wrote, it comes up on most peoples top episodes. Since I really can’t add anything else about this great episode, I would like to throw this out for general discussion. Dr. Mueller, while “working” on Chuck, states that “anymore and Chuck will be lobotomized”…and then keeps going. We see Chuck in the Buy More with everyone (Jeff, Lester, Big Mike, Morgan, etc etc) fading away and his world crumbling. This is not a dream, this is his memories going away. If that’s the case, then how can he go forward in the next episodes and have no memory loss? I’ll tell you how. Sarah unlocks those memories, much like Chuck helps unlock Morgan’s memories in S5. If that is the case, doesn’t it make sense that Chuck is doing the same thing on the beach with Sarah in The Goodbye? If not, then you have a very large plot hole, but if she has unlocked Chuck’s memories, then doesn’t that tie the bad intersect/memory loss issues all together and make sense that we do indeed have a happy ending?

    • joe says:

      I like it, MR. In hindsight, it does add another factoid to the pile that suggests what Sarah’s future will be, post-Goodbye. Honestly, this is first time I noticed the foreshadowing that points us right to the finale – It took me a little by surprise.

      I guess my first thought about it is that someone, most likely Fedak, had an idea for a story about the Intersect and Memory loss and created an early version of what we saw later. I’m not sure it was true foreshadowing the way Morgan’s story was at the beginning of S5. It may have been an idea that grew later.

      Or maybe someone really wanted to tell that story, about how the Intersect is dangerous to anyone but Chuck. That’s a point that ties into Stephen’s line about Chuck being “special.”

    • atcDave says:

      Well I don’t quite buy any deliberate foreshadowing, but I do agree they’ve helped each other back from this edge, and several other edges in the time they’ve been together. And I agree with the happy end, because I’m confident they can fight back from that too.
      So this does foreshadow in the sense of how far they’ll go with and for each other.

    • authorguy says:

      I like this idea. I haven’t rewatched s4 or S5 until now, so I’ll keep these ideas in mind as the amnesia arc draws near.

  2. anthropocene says:

    The entire climactic scene in the jungle was pure gold. Morgan’s death-defying bravery seasoned with hilarious gestures and quips (the zipped lips and “Who brought their dad to the party?”): possibly his greatest “magnet” role ever. The Giant Blonde She-Male (assisted by Casey) laying waste to the place, knocking the Belgian through a window, then sinking into helpless terror at the sight of Chuck who (for all she knew, and after Mueller’s taunt) could already have been a vegetable, or dying. Chuck’s final plea for help is answered by Sarah’s arrival, and the sweet, desperate way she retrieved her lover’s soul in the nick of time, with a little help from Morgan.

    I like your speculation about the finale, mr2686. You gave me a mental image of Sarah’s final sob of relief and gratitude, with her arms around Chuck, being repeated in some way on the beach, not long after the fade to black.

    • authorguy says:

      What makes this episode oner of my favorites is Yvonne’s tour-de-force acting in very scene, the mama-bear, the Giant Blonde, then the stricken girlfriend, all in one episode. I know of no other actress who could have done all that.

  3. bigfan22 says:

    This was actually one of my favorite episodes of the season. I felt like Sarah really opened up and was ready to commit a 100% at this time.

    The blonde she male segment was probably my favorite Sarah. It showed how she was willing to go all mama bear in defense of Chuck. Honestly….the moment she was standing in front of Chuck trying to bring his memories back, finally made me believe that their future would be bright together. Before that, the constant hesitation by both of them, made me feel like they could be good together, but maybe not good enough to last the distance(if their relationship was at all real).

    I know a lot of people have different views on Morgan. For the most part, I tolerated him on the show, but this episode I think was one of his finest moments. I really enjoyed his banter with Casey during the entire episode.

    MR2686…thats a great observation. I can see Chuck doing that for Sarah on the beach scene. I know everyone has their own interpretations for that final moment, but I wish they would have done something like this for her. It would have made things so much sweeter.

    As it is, I’m one of those people that assumes the happy end is what they got.

    • atcDave says:

      I think I was already pretty sure they’d be alright, but even so, it sure is satisfying to see how far Sarah will go, and how dangerous she is (!).
      I agree exactly about Morgan. His scenes with Sarah generally seem to be pretty good, but their big scene in the bedroom is just awesome.

  4. andereandre says:

    Until this episode I thought luring away a tiger was Morgans bravest moment, but that was nothing compared with him standing between Sarah and Casey.
    I think Casey acknowledges that with his hm.

  5. CaptMediocre says:

    P3 easily makes my series top 5 list.

    Isn’t it bizarre that an episode where the show’s titular character hardly exist is one most fans AGREE was one of the best.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah it is funny. Although I’ve mentioned before, there used to be a couple of different “favorite character” polls up at the NBC forums, and Sarah won by a lot. She had around 60% of the vote! compared to 30% for Chuck. And this was the same over the whole run of the series, and even when the poll was worded slightly differently a few times.
      When I watch a great performance like in Phase Three, it’s easy to see why it always was that way (even in the polls done for S1 or S2).

    • bigfan22 says:

      Haha. Your right CaptMediocre. It’s crazy how little screen time Chuck gets in the episode, and yet most people still find it in the top 5 of their favorite episodes.

      • noblz says:

        Yeah, I read somewhere that he was also doing stuff because he was directing the next episode. He had less time to give.

  6. resaw says:

    I’m never been precise as to attempt to rank the episodes, but this is probably my favourite episode of what I think of as perhaps the weakest season of the series, and I agree that it really is one of the best episodes of the series. It also makes the irritating Fear of Death somewhat tolerable in that it sets up this episode. This is such an emotional, by turns gut-wrenching and heart-warming, episode. Joe and Anthro, your summaries revisit those elements well enough that the emotions came up again just as I was reading your comments.

    I also like it that the B-plot has some real significance in that it gets Orion’s computer up and running, which has some significance for the series going forward.

    This episode raises an interesting question about individuality and relationships. “Without you, I’m nothing but a spy,” says Sarah. I interpret this positively to mean that, because of her relationship with Chuck, she has become a whole woman; that without him in her life, she reverts to the wild card enforcer, the ice queen spy whose main attribute is an ability to kill in 200 different ways. In the context, it is a very romantic thing to say, and it also says a lot about the importance of relationships in our development as human beings, but I could imagine some might consider this a problematic statement; that is, that Sarah needs a man in her life to consider herself whole, as the Thai diplomat alleged.

    On Chuck’s memory loss, and then instant recovery, my thought was that the memory was draining away into a reservoir of sorts, but, because the draining was not complete, when Sarah got to Chuck, it all came back to him. Not that that matters a whole lot.

    Thanks, as always, Dave and Joe, for kicking off this discussion. Dave, I hope you are feeling well soon.

    • atcDave says:

      I’m feeling much better now, that post was written several days ago and I’ve since made it back to work.

      I think the “nothing but a spy” line actually gives me great hope for the finale. The fact she could say “no thanks” to Beckman’s job offer shows she’s thinking like more than a spy. And that leads straight back to Chuck.

    • joe says:

      Joe and Anthro, your summaries revisit those elements well enough that the emotions came up again just as I was reading your comments.

      Then my work here is done! 😉

    • anthropocene says:

      Ditto!

  7. andereandre says:

    In Ring II, one of the boxes in Orion’s cave is labeled “Corvus: Phase Two”.
    So could it be that this mind wiping process is another one of Orion’s inventions?

  8. BillAtWork says:

    Okay, as usual, I have a different take. This is easily one of my favorites. Depending on what day you asked me, it might be #1. The split scene where dream Sarah and real Sarah are saying the same thing is easily the best of the series. “Without you I’m nobody. I’m nothing but a spy.” is the most romantic thing either character ever said.

    But my favorite part was not the Giant Blonde Shemale. Oh, “does anyone else wanna be my boyfriend?” was well done. But my favorite part was the beginning. We saw very plainly that Sarah in love was a very different person. When she was getting the information in the torture session, she didn’t even look like the same person. That was Agent Walker at her coldest. Yvonne is an amazing actress and that may have been her best moment. “I’m different without Chuck… and I don’t like it,” is a fist pump moment.

    However, it is a little annoying that they would write it as Sarah never having told Chuck that she loved him with or without the Intersect. It should have been a very powerful moment. But it is one of those things where the writer of an episode totally ignores what has happened in the series before that point. Sarah told Chuck exactly that in Ring II.

    It’s like Chuck’s epipany in Beard that he loved Sarah. It should have been a powerful moment. Except that it was like the 10th time.

    • authorguy says:

      There’s nothing wrong with it being the 10th time as long as Chuck is a different person each time. It’s not a 50 first dates scenario, where his memory is wiped in between.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Okay, but how is Chuck a different person? Because he’s a spy now? What is the difference beween the Chuck of Three Words where he said that the reason he broke Sarah’s heart was because he loved her (huh?) and the Chuck in Beard? Was the fact that Chuck loved Sarah even in question? It wasn’t for me. He said it over and over, to her directly, and other people.

      • authorguy says:

        In between, there were both Shaw and Hannah, and the choices he made because of both of them. I saw him trying very hard not to love Sarah, convinced he’d blown his one chance and she’d moved on. Plus Shaw telling him every time he turned around that emotions only interfere with his work, so he’s trying to shut down the biggest emotion he has. Chuck’s a new and different person every time he turns around.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Sorry. Not buying it. One of the defining characteristics of Chuck was that he loved Sarah. He first inferred it in Santa, first said it out loud in Seduction, first said it to her in Lethal Weapon and repeated it several times. The instant that he broke her heart in Prague (in negitive time really, since Prague was flashback) he clearly pined for her and wanted to get back to a good spot with her. Then just as he was there, came First Class.

        If Chuck’s epiphany in Beard had been that being a spy didn’t mean anything without her it might have meant more.

        As it was written, it just makes him seem unbelivably clueless.

      • authorguy says:

        That’s exactly right. His love for Sarah defines him, but he has to redefine himself a number of times through the show before he realizes that she is always at his center. Three Words is a statement of what he did, but by Angel de la Muerte he was already trying to change himself. Then Shaw comes along and pushes him to reject all emotion, while Hannah is luring to the normal side of the Force. He realizes it in Fake Name, when he rejects Hannah and the normal life she represents, but he becomes conscious of that decision/choice in Beard. Of course, Sarah herself goes through a number of transitions all season long, so even as he redefines himself he has to deal with the changes she’s made. Once he accepts it in Beard it stays, unchanged until he finally states his case in American Hero.

      • atcDave says:

        Marc that was a great explanation! It really highlights how truly dreadful S3 was; what a load of dreck… It’s impossible to even read all that without laughing.

      • authorguy says:

        It’s not at all dreck. It’s just a plot of Shakespearean complexity not written by Shakespeare. If the plot of the original 13 episodes had been told over the whole 19, and the time devoted to the Buy More been devoted to the A plot, they might have been able to make it work. It doesn’t help that the storytelling is complicated by non-storytelling requirements.
        S4 is a much more difficult season to make sense of from that perspective. There doesn’t appear to be any coherent story linking these episodes.

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t care about any interconnecting things, I care about each product as a single package. It’s how I watch television.

        And when you get into Chuck trying to disconnect from his emotions while being drawn to Hannah because she’s normal…. THAT is dreck. It’s all literary mumbo jumbo nonsense. It’s a way of dressing up OOC behavior. And most of all it’s just justifying an entertainment failure.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Exactly, Dave.

        And the worst part is they had already done that exact storyline 2 other times. Who was Hannah if not Lou, the normal girl that could give Chuck what Sarah couldn’t? Who was Jill, if not that same normal appeal? Okay, So Chuck realizing that Sarah couldn’t give him what he wanted, seeking out that relationship with another wonam, and realizing that the other woman didn’t give him what he was seeking with Sarah is a valid story — the first time. By Hannah time, it was simply rediculous.

        It makes Chuck look weak and clueless. And even if they did have some complex Shakesperian story in their heads when they were writting (which I don’t believe) it totally failed on the screen. It was shallow, felt manipulative, and was zero fun to watch.

      • authorguy says:

        Once again you ignore the fact tht S1 Chuck is a different man than S3 chuck, so his attempts to connect with Lou, and the lessons learned, are vastly different from his connection with Hannah, and what he learned there. But enough time has been wasted on enough threads over this, so I’ll not waste any more.

      • Wilf says:

        Marc, I wonder if we could persuade the RSC to stage episodes of Chuck in Stratford on Avon. Now I like that idea!

      • authorguy says:

        Iambic pentameter gives me a headache.
        Shakespeare wrote plays like Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet in a week. He could compose as fast as he could move his pen. He could have written the scripts they needed to portray the complexity of the S3 storyline as fast as they needed them. Without that level of genius to call upon they resorted to classic tropes for the needed depth, which they didn’t apply properly.

      • uplink2 says:

        Ok Marc, I have to question this. Why did the buffoon Shaw telling him to put aside his emotions mean more to him than the hundreds of times Sarah, Casey and Bryce for that matter told him the exact same thing? Why did “Shaw, a real life agent of the CIA” saying he could do this matter more than Sarah’s opinion? What the hell was she, just a yogurt salesgirl? Plus Three Words as it turned out, meant nothing other than an explanation of why Chuck chose to be a spy. It never once did anything to alleviate the real problem which was how OOC and disgustingly he treated Sarah in Prague. And you know I completely disagree with you that Hannah was anything more than Lou 2.0. Hannah was completely pointless other than to allow Sarah/Shaw. And all of this has nothing to do with the underlying spy story. It was simply all about getting us one more round of OLI’s and nothing more. Even Fedak and Schwartz basically admit that. The OLI’s and WTWT were the important thing and they just tried to do damage control by saying they didn’t just put Shaw in there to be the other guy. That absolutely is dreck, complete and total dreck because it doesn’t matter at all to the underlying spy story. It’s all about WTWT and dragging us and them through one more round of pointless and in one case at least repulsive OLI’s.

      • atcDave says:

        Uplink you know I agree with all of that. But Marc is right, we’ve covered this countless times in other threads. Maybe we should drop it for now.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Yeah, Dave. I agree. The S3 thing has been beat into the ground. The people who hate it really hate it. And the ones who don’t hate it, well I’m not sure about them (just kidding)

        The the point that applies to this episode is valid IMO. One of the main scenes that drive the story is Sarah’s horror when she realizes that she never told Chuck that she didn’t love him because of the Intersect.

        And she told him that almost exactly in Ring II. “I fell in love with a regular guy.”

        No amount of Shakesperian spin changes that.

      • authorguy says:

        As I recall, the question in Ring 2 was ‘in love with a regular guy’ vs ‘in love with a spy’, not ‘in love with a guy with a computer in his head.’ There was only one place he could have asked Intersect vs non-Intersect, and that was in S2.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Are you really going to make that distinction? Really? “I fell in love with a regular guy,” doesn’t mean that his standing in the spy world didn’t matter? That she wasn’t in love… with Chuck, the person? Really?

        And this wasn’t some obscure scene. It was in an episode designed to be a series finale. They could have possibly been the very last words that Sarah ever said to him.

      • authorguy says:

        We all know I thought what she should have said was ‘Absolutely not. You aren’t a regular guy.’ But no, I don’t see that telling him she fell in love with a regular guy counts toward saying she fell in love with him regardless of the Intersect. I wouldn’t have taken her seriously if she had. She’s only ever seen him with it, except for a brief period where he wanted to quit rather than continue. It’s not until he loses it here that she gets a chance to see him in action without it, trying to do what he thinks is right. Her shout of “No you’re not” in FoD would only feed into the view that she only loves him with the Intersect.

      • uplink2 says:

        Ok, sorry guys you’re right. Yes Bill, I really really hate it lol.

        But I do think your point Bill about “falling in love with a regular guy” goes back to an earlier point of it’s ok to make assumptions only when they help take a more positive view of what TPTB were telling us. I mean did anyone other than this episode’s version of Chuck possibly, actually believe it was the Intersect was why Sarah loved him? I think Sarah’s reaction to Chuck downloading the Intersect 2.0 proves the opposite. She loved Chuck, not Chuck, Intersect Agent.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Yeah, Uplink.

        In this case I don’t think you even have to make an assumption. She literally said the words “I fell in love with a regular guy.” What else could she possibly have meant? Did she mean she fell in love with a regular guy but only one with a super computer in his head, and once he lost it all bets were off, lol?

        This is what keeps these silly arguments going. Folks try so hard to not allow for the fact that TPTB was sometimes sloppy that they get caught trying to defend the indefensible.

        Well here is the unvarished truth. Sometimes TPTB was sloppy. The professional critics called them on it almost every week. This is clearly an example. Did it ruin the episode? Of course not. But trying to defend it is silly.

      • atcDave says:

        I think this is really just about Sarah’s insecurities. She actually was pretty clear just the week before in Fear of Death that she loves him Intersect/Spy or not. But being clear and open has always been tough for her, so when Morgan brings it up, she worries.

        For Chuck’s part, he actually seems pretty secure that Sarah loves him (listen to his speech to Rye when dangling over the Abyss); its his worth as a spy he’s insecure about. And Sarah isn’t as much help in that regard.

        As I mentioned last week; there’s an old adage about Women need to be loved, Men need to be respected. Whether we buy the reasoning or not, THOSE are the issues both are wrestling with here. Sarah is unsure if she is loving/affirming enough. Chuck is uncertain of his professional value.

      • thinkling says:

        I agree with all of that, Dave. Morgan seems really good at amplifying Chuck and Sarah’s insecurities (Chuck’s in Suitcase and Coup d’Etat and Sarah’s in Phase 3). Chuck’s main worry over being sans Intersect is over being a spy without it. That’s what he says in the massage scene, and that’s his big relief after Beckman’s debriefing.

        He does know Sarah loves him and wouldn’t leave him. One thing I noticed this time was that he told dream Sarah that he knew she wouldn’t [leave] that it was just a dream … one induced by Dr. Creepy, at that.

        Even being certain of each other’s love, though, doesn’t stop either of them from feeling undeserving of that love. Chuck always feels like he needs to be more like a spy to deserve Sarah. (Sarah of course feels the opposite. She just wants him to be the regular guy she fell for.) Likewise, Sarah is always conscious that she isn’t the normal girl that she thinks Chuck deserves. Add Sarah’s blaming herself for his capture, Morgan’s proposal reveal and his interpretation of Chuck’s mindset, and we get Sarah’s meltdown and a very entertaining vehicle for some Sarah growth.

        And of course Dr. Morgan, though well meaning, is not always right

      • atcDave says:

        I wonder too if the early Anniversary situation amplifies this. Chuck knows what its like to be left behind while Sarah runs off to work, and he doesn’t want to be be in that boat again.

      • thinkling says:

        I think so, undoubtedly. Chuck said he enjoyed being a spy and doing great things with her. He has to wonder exactly what kind of life he would be offering her, if her weren’t a spy.

  9. oldresorter says:

    I don’t know, such a great episode for the show Chuck and the character Sarah, while the clueless, hapless, hopeless, helpless baffoon simply couldn’t really sell much drama as the injured party. I recall when it ended, I simply hoped the amnesia would get ignored, like every other thing of any consequence, which it was. I hate amnesia ideas. I wonder if TPTB thought since Phase 3 worked so well, they’d end with Sarah having forgotten everything and let Chuck be the hero like Sarah was here. Of course, in the final, Chuck failed to fix Sarah, and he gave up even saying ‘I used to be in love’ while all her other so called friends and family abandoned her until Morgan saved the day and convinced the hapless, hopeless, clueless, helpless Chuck to wimper off to the beach, hoping to find Sarah and deliver a kiss, which in spite of the teasing, was not shown to be magic.

    But yes, I loved the ep, as long as I don’t think about how epically woeful the final idea was in season 5.

  10. uplink2 says:

    I haven’t had a chance to rewatch yet, I will tonight, but I wanted to talk about what can happen when something so special, a performance for the ages, starts something really pretty cool.

    I remember the night this episode aired how Twitter just blew up. Praise for Yvonne’s performance was like nothing I had ever seen before. It was an incredible evening. The next day the buzz was still flying and various hashtags started showing up. I coined the hashtag #Emmy4Yvonne and started tweeting it. A couple of other folks saw it and replied that they liked that one better than any other they had seen. Well within a few hours it took off and it became the signature hashtag for our love of her and her incredible performance in this episode. Within 1 day, @Chuck_Wagon, myself and @Venreal had begun to organize something to try and push the idea forward. Venreal was a webmaster and set up the Emmy4Yvonne website. We then added @avsfan83, @bubblyjolie and soon the most well know Chuck fan Bailey, @LittleChuckFan and then finally we added @KrisWatchesOn because of her talent in video editing. For anyone who has never seen her work on YouTube, please go look at it. It’s amazing.

    Well within a week we had an operational website, met via Skype a few times and had developed into a plan where we took contributions to place a fan based ad in Emmy magazine. We raised the required funds in 72 hours. During the interm we did an email interview with Yvonne and I’m still thrilled that one of my questions was answered by the Giant Blonde She-male. We were proud of that interview as we thought it was one of the more insightful she had done at the time.

    Anyway the ads were bought and they appeared in 2 issues. We knew it would be a hard task to win her the nomination as the category of comedy didn’t lend itself to a dramatic performance like Phase 3, but I am still very proud of our efforts and the amazing response that the Chuck and Yvonne fans in particular showed us and her. I don’t remember the exact quote but Mercedes Masohn once said she would have fainted if her fans had ever done something like that for her. I know that Yvonne was deeply touched by the love and generosity her fans showed her.

    I’ll always be proud of having been involved with that effort from the beginning and my little part in coining the phrase that grew into something so much fun. This episode will always have a very special place in my heart because it brought me closer to a large group of great Chuck fans and in a way I guess I got to talk to Yvonne indirectly when she answered my question in our interview.

    • atcDave says:

      That was an exciting time Uplink. It really energized the fan base. I think it was the closest we all came to being unified on something since S2 (well, maybe Honeymooners!)

  11. From the bottom of a latrine barrel to the mountain top of Olympus with back to back episodes.

    Love this one. Near perfection.

  12. oldresorter says:

    Can’t help but laugh at the irony that tonight I’d bet our fav NYC detective turned spook has a Phase 3 like ep going all out to save her ‘stay in the car’ man?

    • atcDave says:

      Should be fun. I know I’m excited!

    • atcDave says:

      Good episode, although I’m still not really liking the federal thing.

      • joe says:

        Yeah, great twist. But I really thought Kate would be back at the precinct by the end of tonight’s episode. I see the seed’s are planted, though.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah, I’m just hoping those seeds sprout quickly!

      • thinkling says:

        Surely they’ll sprout quickly. The DC thing really doesn’t have any legs and doesn’t use the support cast much at all.The DC setup would make it an entirely different show. Although I’ve enjoyed that world short term, I think it’s gone as far as it can. It served its purpose for Kate to see what her dream job really means. I’m really glad Cutty (or whatever her name is) turned out to be such a stand-up character.

      • oldresorter says:

        It’ll be interesting to see how quickly DC ends, I’d think it’ll be used as the conclusion of some ep to generate a Castle-Beckett ‘water fountain’ moment, maybe even ep 3, there are only so many ways to keep NYC’s team involved. Many of us seem to agree on DC, this show tends to deliver on such issues, show seems to be written ‘safely’ most of the time.

        I agree the partner is been a great character. The line that’s what partners do she delivered seemed to have dual meanings, you could see the wheels turning in Becketts head.

        Is ‘Pi’ a regular? He may as well be Morgan Grimes s1/s2 grating on me every moment he is on screen, before Morgan became Chuck mid way thru s3.

        Speaking of written safely and Beckett, Beckett was not over the top crazy to save her man, just a little. To compare to Sarah Walker in Phase 3 seems to show the stark difference between Chuck and Castle, with Castle never going to the extremes that Chuck did. I loved Sarah in Phase 3, but the reason I think YS did not win any awards, is the performance felt like watching a cartoon character more than a dramatic lead. Chuck was even more so that way, his agony was so interspersed with humor / Jeffster, it was hard to take his plight seriously. To me, that is why when Chuck did something ‘real’ (Mauser / amnesia and ambiguous recovery / Sarah falling for Shaw / Chuck rejecting Sarah in Prague), it often fell flat for me.

      • atcDave says:

        Yvonne has described Chuck as a comic book several times. But I always found Sarah quite believable, she has a pretty cool exterior, with a lot of emotion just below the surface. By comparison, I think Kate’s cool runs a little deeper.
        But either way I think much of Chuck’s drama worked quite well. It only failed me when they went too dark for too long.

      • mr2686 says:

        The DC ep’s have been good so far, but as has been said, the secondary characters have not been used enough. I also thought she’d be leaving DC after ep2 but maybe it will be after ep3. The secondary characters on Castle, for me, are much like the ones on Chuck. I think they add a lot and compliment each ep. I did see where both the NY and DC teams will come together on a case next week, so maybe that will a turning point. I can also see where the Pi character could be a Morgan type, but only if they show something like he’s studying to be a writer and has Castle mentor him, and in turn what Castle teaches him plays in to the current week’s case. If they don’t do something like that, they should dump the character now.

      • oldresorter says:

        Dave – at this point none of us is going to change minds, but I thought Chuck really nailed it was when Chuck highlighted the ‘over the top cartoon characters’ meet sweet moments of human connection.

        I thought the pilot was comic in that manner, hardly a serious moment in the entire ep, lots of sweet aw shucks moments, but nothing morbid (I thought Bryce’s whole scene was funny, parody of a real spy, and I fist pumped when he died, too bad he didn’t stay down). Sarah and Chuck’s Pilot spy scenes were near slap stick, including the Laurel and Hardy music in the background during the fight / chase scenes.

        Delorean too, cartoonish characters (German investment banker scenes and con artist selling National momuments, cop face and snook) meeting up with many aw shucks moments.

        Honeymooner’s Charles and tandem fighting scenes, meant to be fun, not serious, as was the bad guy with a golden heart and morganesque observation skills. I thought phase 3 mostly had the same, all meant in good fun, nobody was in harms way.

        But … when this show didn’t do campy meets sweet, it was simply silly too often, to pull off the mean, dark, drama stuff for me (I realize most of you were OK with it). I thought when Chuck was the ‘campy’ spy show parady, with great heart, that’s when the show literally knocked everyone’s socks off. To me, Phase 3 was one such episode.

      • atcDave says:

        MR I actually like the NYPD supporting cast better than I liked the Buy More, but mostly I agree with the comparison. Right now that’s part of what isn’t working for me, the DC crew seems weak in comparison. But assuming they aren’t actually eliminating NY from the show, I’m not terribly worried about getting back to it.

      • The federal arc has a few problems:
        – Beckett is about solving murders and getting families closure. She isn’t about climbing ladders or saving the world. From the ladder perspective, starting over with the AG team job is a step backwards. She’s the low person on the totem pole. If she wanted a more important job, she would have gone after sergeant sooner, and she’d play politics with the Mayor and Chief of D’s. If she wanted to save the world, she would have gone into the CIA instead of the NYPD. Solving murders is the “one kinky thing she does with handcuffs.” It’s her dream job.
        – The AG position would likely be temporary. When a new AG is appointed with a new presidency, why would the new AG keep around the special police squad of his predecessor. Of course it’s a made up position, so who cares.
        – The way the show presented this job as the best job in the world, there has to be with a good reason to leave the job and go back to the NYPD, so she does regret not taking her shot. That takes time and artificially adds weight to the reason, likely making some the audience unhappy with the pace or validity of the reason.
        – There is one reason for Beckett to want the job, to go after Senator Bracken. Thinking she would be able to open an investigation before getting seniority is naive. Any thought of being able to prosecute a high ranking member of government should have just been squashed with how the SecDef got away with lying to a Federal Agent. The biggest part of this problem is they haven’t established this is Kate’s reason.

        I like that they are trying something new. I just think “Federal rookie is better than NYPD superstar” is not a valid reason.

        Pi might work if they establish his character more, especially why Alexis wouldn’t think he is an idiot. He’s been on so little, the only thing he can be is an annoying waste of screen time, especially since Castle episodes are shorter than most shows.

        Spoiler based on next episode promo. Yes, the next case is in NYC, with the Feds trying to take over.

      • atcDave says:

        Some interesting thoughts Jeff. As a viewer, my biggest beef with the DC job is just that its more serious, less fun. The DC cast is pretty stiff.
        Pi is funny, but I think if my daughter was involved with him I’d start seriously drinking. Morgan is a better prospect.

      • thinkling says:

        Good analysis, Jeff. Agree about Pi. If I’m going to be interested in him at all (rather than just anoyed – waste of screne time, indeed), they need to give me some shred of a reason why Alexis likes him. I mean she’s always been the most mature one of the household, so what in the world does she see in Pi?

    • thinkling says:

      Maybe there’ll be a federal case in NYC, putting both teams together for the end of the DC arc. It can’t last long. They haven’t replaced Becket in NYC, and Ryan and Espo are doing what exactly?

  13. noblz says:

    I sort of see romantic episodes as serious or lighthearted (yes, I see this as romance with the plus of a very good spy story behind it). Of the lighthearted variety, Honeymooners is my favorite and of the serious kind, P3 is my favorite.

    Yvonne was simply great. I think we saw 7 (?) versions of Sarah in this ep. In order of appearance, 1) playful in bed dream Sarah, 2) worried spy girlfriend, 3) Wild-card enforcer, 4) angelic torturer, 5) Giant Blonde She-Male, 6) frantic sobbing girlfriend Sarah and finally 7) normal girl-next-door Sarah in final Castle scene…fantastic performance.

    Zach had a reduced role, I read, because he was directing the next episode and he did not have as much time available. It is funny that he had such a reduced role in a very popular episode.

    No need for any alternatives for this episode IMHO.

    • uplink2 says:

      Did my rewatch tonight and Dave you hit it right on the head. Sarah showed so much range in this episode and I believe that is what was the catalyst for all the Emmy talk. Happy, sad, lost, serious, scary, driven, vulnerable and finally content. We saw every emotion a character can have here. It really is an Yvonne tour de force on just so many levels.

      I also have to comment on the incredible editing job done in this episode. Kevin Mock did a superlative job in editing both the fight scenes and the incredible final sequence in Thailand. Simply brilliantly done. It rivals the work that won the show an Emmy for the pilot. I’d also like to say it may be Kristin Newman’s best episode with come great dialog and fantastic one liners.

      On the discussion above about it being some sort of foreshadowing of the finale I think that wasn’t the intent as this was simply too early. They have also shown that they didn’t have that master plan all that well thought out. Hey if they didn’t know Shaw was behind the conspiracy until after we first met Decker and heard about it, no way did Phase 3 foreshadow the ending. It’s just threatening memories is an easy way to add tension to a show about a computer in someone’s brain.

      But if they did foreshadow it what this episode has over the finale is we actually saw that Chuck was ok, a little fuzzy sure but back to his old self. Something we didn’t see but IMO needed to see at show’s end. Especially seeing IMO Sarah was the more important and interesting character on their 5 year journey.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree with all of that!

      • mr2686 says:

        I don’t believe it was foreshadowing. What I do believe is that when they got to the end of S4 and knew they had one more season, they went back and tried to come up with something that might tie in to another part of the journey. Obviously the split on the Goodbye is that some saw Sarah coming back, and some didn’t or were not sure. What some of us saw was Sarah being “ok” when she asked Chuck to kiss her. Some wanted or needed more. It’s all in the eyes of the beholder.

  14. thinkling says:

    Sorry to hear about your own unpleasant Phase 3, Dave.

    I find I can’t just number the Chuck episodes, but Phase 3 makes my crème de la crème, every time. In fact, just put all the Sarah centric episodes in that category. I know that TPTB thought YS was really good when they cast her, but only later,I imagine, did they realize her depth as an actress. And I think her enormous popularity took them by surprise. (Didn’t they say they were worried about how well Phase 3 would be received?) She has the rare gift of being able to pull off the spy without losing her femininity. So few women can do that. I think before, Dave, we said she doesn’t throw like a girl or walk like a man. I guess I’ve wandered down this rabbit trail, because Phase 3 showcases this particular talent of Yvonne so well. She made Sarah convincingly both tough and vulnerable. She made Sarah the Giant Blond SheMale and the dream Sarah of the intercut scene without seeming schizophrenic.

    Every Chuck episode has at least one scene that I like, even Pink Slip (Chuck trying not to flatten Emmet, thin I know). Most Chuck episodes have one or two scenes I really love. But Phase 3 strings together so many favorite scenes. So if I rate Chuck based on favorite scenes, Phase 3 just has to bubble up to the very top. I have to say that the B plot that I found funny the first two times loses it rewatch value for me as time goes on, though it is funny and a great performance by Devon.

    Besides all the obvious Sarah stuff, I really loved the dream world. And that last intercut scene … Tour de Force, indeed, Joe. It’s just superb. All of Chuck’s other dreams have an internal dialog between Chuck and whoever. In the last scene, Chuck is reacting to a monologue … Sarah’s monologue of the things she wants to tell him. Real world Sarah invades Chuck’s inner world and says what she needs to say. But it doesn’t have the quality of dialog (because it isn’t). It is off in content and rhythm. Dream world Sarah’s words don’t respond to Chuck’s words, and the rhythm was the extra touch. It’s a beat or two off for normal dialog, because it’s a monolog. A truly fantastic scene.

    • atcDave says:

      It is interesting that TPTB never quite got how popular Sarah was. Well maybe by late S4. But yeah those five are all special. All in my top ten. Although as I’ve said before, I think there may be 30 episodes in my top ten.

  15. Brilliant episode,and as many of you have so eloquently stated,a marvellous showcase for Yvonne’s varied acting talents.You have all left me with little further to add,so I will just say this…………..I loved Sarah being badass to the strains of Wolfmother’s “Woman”!!!!!!!.

    Oh and kudos to you Uplink 2,for Emmy4Yvonne.You and everyone involved should be rightly proud of your campaign on Yvonne’s behalf.

  16. joe says:

    I just ran across this video – an early (2007?) interview with Zac and Yvonne that I had not seen before. Sorry if you’ve seen it already, but tell me – isn’t there at least one that appears to be in the show BUT ISN’T? Nice interview.

    • noblz says:

      Probably 2008 I’ve seen a version with an Olympic report lead in. Probably just before Season 2.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I would say Summer 2008. The anchor’s last line (0″from Beijing”) suggests during the Olympics that year. And we know Zac and Yvonne went on a down under Chuck promotional tour that year, I think just before they started work on S2. So it was probably shot in June or July, and aired in August.

      • joe says:

        Oh, of course. I heard him say “Beijing” too and didn’t make the connection. 2008 it is.

  17. Thanks Joe,you guessed it………….I am an aging rocker.!!!!!!!
    Uplink2,I couldn’t agree more!!

  18. revdr says:

    I agree that Phase 3 was Sarah at her best (and worst). For all of her life she had distanced herself from the possibility of a (semi) normal life. Chuck changed that for her. For her to say that she didn’t like herself without Chuck spoke volumes about how Sarah has grown. That’s why I was so troubled about how the series finally ended. I don’t care about a re-visit to the original beach scene with the roles reversed, Sarah still didn’t remember (magic kiss not-with-standing). Essentially five years of character growth was thrown out the window. We now have to imagine that Chuck and Sarah can find their way back to each other making Phase 3 something she may never remember.

    • atcDave says:

      I also would have preferred a little more assurance all was well in the end. But I do find a little comfort from the exact exchange you mention. The old Sarah we hear about in Phase Three is distinctly different from the Sarah who says “no thanks” to Beckman’s job offer in the finale. She isn’t “just a spy” at the end of 5.13. She is the complete Sarah Bartowski again that we saw on the Bullet Train. It just wish they had made that difference more clear.

      • revdr says:

        On the contrary…she does say that she’s “just a spy” (a good one she says). She doesn’t remember being Sarah Bartowski and being told “their story” by Chuck isn’t going to magically change that. She said that she needed to be alone to find herself. I hated that. Just because the writer (Chris Fedak) wanted to renew the will they/wont they that we had to endure for 2+years. The ending tore down everything that had been established. Phase 3 became moot.

      • atcDave says:

        No its definitely not moot. Its the stark differences between how Sarah saw herself, and how she recovered at the very end of Goodbye that point the way to their future. As always, I would have preferred more time, and more clarity on how they presented it. I think it was incomplete and unsatisfying. But its looking at a series long growth for Sarah that shows it is clearly happening again at the end of the series. The Sarah who says no to Beckman, asks Chuck for “our story” and tells him to kiss her; is not the the Sarah who claims to only be good as a spy in Crown Vic or claims to be nothing but a spy in Phase Three.
        And I think its that Phase Three comparison that is most clear; she tells Chuck “without you I’m nothing but a spy”. Yet at the end of Goodbye she’s ready for that other part of herself that she knows is missing.

      • joe says:

        I have to agree with Dave here, RevDr. Yeah – I know. Big surprise!

        But seriously, don’t you think the Sarah we see at the beach (and really, at the door saying she “doesn’t feel it”) is different from the Agent Walker we see in flashback in Baby and again in vs. Sarah (when Quinn still manipulates her)? In my mind, Sarah on the beach is the Sarah we saw at the end of The Intersect (the pilot) too. But she’s not the one we heard about at the beginning, though, the one who existed BC (before Chuck), described later as Graham’s wild-card enforcer and the someone she doesn’t like in Phase Three.

        It’s gotten easier this past 1.5 years for me to see that Sarah’s back, not to the point she was in Bullet Train of course, but to where she was just after meeting Chuck. Perhaps she back to where she was sometime … after you fixed my phone and before you started diffusing bombs with computer viruses.

        That’s not exactly where we wanted. But to me, it’s not devastating. In fact, it’s very hopeful.

      • atcDave says:

        Actually Joe I’ll disagree with you too. I think she’s way past where she was at the end of the Pilot. At that point she was all about being professional. We know she had a compassionate and moral dimension to her all along that many spies apparently lack (going back for Carina described in Wookiee and of course everything with the titled Baby from that episode), but in the end she has pointedly turned her back on a professional life to pursue her personal life. That is more like S4 or even S5 Sarah. Obviously its not a perfect parallel, she’s still missing key memories and context, but I think she is reclaiming her interests, values and personality very quickly.

      • joe says:

        Hum. I’ll buy that, Dave. I was thinking solely about her relationship to Chuck, but yeah, the way she thinks about herself professionally, the status of her moral compass and what she wants out of life now, you’re right. By the time she’s on the beach, she’s way past where she was in the pilot.

      • atcDave says:

        I think she’s way past that point with Chuck too. She didn’t ask him to kiss her for “the cover”. It was because she wants her life back, and she wants him back. Obviously with missing memories she’s not going to quite be the wife she was, but I think all indications are that the recovery will come quickly.

      • joe says:

        Yeah. I was describing the point at which she fell in love with Chuck, even if she didn’t know it (or could admit it) for years. I guesimate that’s this is something like 90-95% of the recovery. It’s the important part.

        But yes, it’s taken me a long time to realize, but it *is* happening quickly, much more quickly than the first time. That’s why I think it’s “hopeful”. That’s why I’m finally optimistic about that controversial ending.

      • oldresorter says:

        My take, she was at the point of Paris, the ‘Kiss Me’ equivalent of ‘Shut up and kiss me’. So she progressed two and a half seasons (the pilot to Paris) in a couple of minutes, and yes, that is rapid progress. Ending on a kiss initiated by Sarah was a sweet ending, the beach was a great bookend, and the kiss me line a nice call back, I get it all, still, I can’t take back the reaction I had to the scene the first time, I didn’t like the scene at all, left me empty and unhappy.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I mostly agree Jason. I feel a lot better about it now, but it will never be the ending I would have chosen.

        By the way, should I congratulate you now or wait until after they actually play the game?

      • oldresorter says:

        NFL games anything can happen, a special teams play, a pick, a long run or two, missed assignment, bad call, and the favorite can quickly get beaten down. Packers could be tough as this season wears on, but right now, I’m not convinced. (Sounds like Bears too)

        I played HS football, best player on my team was a 3 yr MLB starter in HS, 4 yr MLB starter in college. I recall visiting him my jr yr in college, his fore head was swollen to double the normal size. Once done with college, he had all kinds of problems, drugs, robberies, beatings (bad ones), he died a few years ago, weighed close to 500 lbs I heard it might have been suicide or overdose, so the NFL’s investigations into concussion related suicide in ex players seems pretty close to home for me. Makes you wonder if football will be / should be around at all in another generation or two?

        Sorry for being a downer. As for the final, I’m hoping the blog you guys provide will help me come to grips with the final, it seemed to work for s3 so I have hopes.

      • joe says:

        Jason, you seem to have carried this around with you for a long time. I have to ask why.

        I’m really sorry about the way it turned out for your friend. It sounds like he was really used and abused by a lot of people just because he was a big guy. As bad as it seems sometimes, I still believe not everyone is out to use everyone else. He caught a very bad deal. I don’t think his situation had anything to do with you and I doubt you had it within your power to do much about it.

        It’s funny how this universe is constructed. We’re all alike in that one way, Jason. We all have things to contend with. You and I are not exempt from that and neither are the fictional characters we’ve come to know. If there’s one thing about the finale that is true to life, it’s that very thought – sometimes it gets hard. From there, you find out your not going it alone and you make the best of each day.

      • oldresorter says:

        Joe – thanks, but a line must have got cutted out, my point at the end of the first paragraph was I wonder if football will be around in another couple of decades. I think the proof that it causes long term harm to all players is compelling, just a matter of degree where most head trauma is slight enough that it has little affect until old age (which seems closer these days to me than it did forty years ago when I played).

        Hence my comment about my classmate, who by the way, was 6 ft and 180 lbs in high school, and weighed about 205 in college (so is 500 lbs was quite shocking). He got a try out with the falcons at Strong Safety, but didn’t make it, too slow. I really don’t feel bad about him, most my close friends were in HS with me and teammates of his too, we all sort of ignored his death, until recently when the concussion issue hit the NFL. My son played HS football, every down for 4 years, even at the time I was petrified of how he might get hurt, and when it was over, I was relieved, and I did do my best to discourage him from playing college football, which he could have done. Now, I’d do my best to discourage him from playing ever, one way of doing that, not watch it quite so intently on Sundays.

        The whole thing was a round bout way of saying rather prophetically, the packers and the bears have had so many injuries, and if Rodgers goes down, we’re pretty avg.

        On that note, congrat’s Dave and the Bears, a couple of years ago, a Packers loss would be a big deal to me, now days, not quite so much.

        And yes, I do see the comparison to how disappointment at Chuck s3 or Chuck’s beach scene will become and should become a footnote in any of our personnal histories, as I said, I got over s3 finally, and look forward to getting over the lousy final two eps, heck, I almost thought I might have beat it with this writing, then I had to call the last two eps lousy – LOL – Have a good day guys and gals!

  19. revdr says:

    I just feel like 5 years of history and character growth were essentially wiped away. Sarah told Chuck in Goodbye that she didn’t remember being his wife and that she couldn’t be the woman he wanted her to be…all she could remember was being a spy. They could have just as easily wiped Chuck’s memories clean at the end of Phase 3 but they didn’t. To me it wasn’t fair. Additional time at the end of the finale wouldn’t have made a difference. Even the producers said that they were leaving it up to the fan’s imagination. Even shows like Fringe gave their leads a definitive happy ending. Here they wanted Chuck to have to win Sarah all over again.

    • atcDave says:

      Oh I agree entirely it was a terrible place to leave things. The ending was just horribly incomplete and melancholy, not even remotely what I was hoping for. But I think there is evidence on screen that all was well, or soon would be. But like obviously you, and so many other viewers, I would have given my front teeth to actually see things return to normal.

      • revdr says:

        I wouldn’t say that all was well but sure, at the end she wasn’t Sarah the enforcer or even the Sarah at the end of the pilot. She just wasn’t the Sarah that we had come to love. And Chuck wasn’t the nerdy nobody from the pilot either…he just was put in the position of possibly losing the love of his life. Everyone else moved onward and upward, even Morgan. Chuck was left standing still. That’s not a hopeful ending, that’s an ambivalent one.

      • atcDave says:

        I’ll buy ambivalence as far as saying we don’t know how long a full recovery might actually take. But I think Chuck has clearly grown over the course of the series; he has more confidence, some professional respect, and a wife he loves that needs his help during a recovery process.
        Again, not the joyful end I was hoping for, but I still think Chuck (and Sarah both) are in a happier place than they were in the beginning.

    • thinkling says:

      Hey Revdr. Seems like old times talking about the finale. I’ve shed gray cells a plenty and lots and lots of ink over the finale. So this is my very short take.

      You know the expression “gone but not forgotten.” Well, in the finale, Sarah Bartowski was forgotten but not gone.

      I think we see evidence of that on screen all the way through the finale. We see Sarah trying to be the woman she remembers (Agent Walker– Graham’s Wild Card Enforcer), but the woman she has forgotten (Sarah Bartowski– the woman she actually is because of all those 5 years of growth) keeps surfacing and getting in the way.

      By the time she says she needs to find herself, she knows that she isn’t just Agent Walker any more. She is someone else, and she needs to find out who she is. When she asks Chuck to tell her their story, she is 1) putting trust in Chuck, 2) acknowledging that their story is also her story; and 3) she is asking to be read back into her life. By then she wants her life back, and she’s trusting Chuck to help her. As we watch Chuck tell her their story, we see her reconnecting with her life and with Chuck. When she asks him to kiss her, she’s acting on that connection. She’s not confident like the Sarah from the Pilot or like Sarah Bartowski of Bullet Train … or even the Sarah from Chuck vs Sarah who was sure she had been reset to only a spy. At the beach, she’s uncertain and a little lost, so she’s timidly feeling her way with Chuck’s help. And that’s a huge step forward.

      To get inside Sarah’s head with me, if your not averse, you could read the first chapter or two of Sarah vs Finding Herself. The rest of the story is how she gets her life back, but the first two chapters deal with Sarah’s mindset, the story Chuck tells her, and the kiss. Just my take, of course, but I wrote it to help me find more closure than we got in the finale.

      • revdr says:

        Hey, thanks Thinkling: I appreciate the heads up. But therein lies the problem for me. I guess I wanted the finale to be tied up in a neat little bow and I didn’t get that. My problem is that I bought Subway sandwiches and participated in renewal campaigns each season to help save the show and in the end I wasn’t happy with the way the show ended. Selfish on my part maybe but the Chuck/Sarah relationship is mostly what kept me coming back. Why is it fair to have to imagine a happy ending down the line when we could have very easily had one in closing. Over the years several of my favorites at least gave us positive (and surprising) endings (Cheers, Newhart and a few others) while others though hopeful were left wanting (Gilmore Girls being a big example for me). Chuck’s ending made me not want to get invested in a show again. Sorry, I didn’t mean to go off on a tangent….I just felt cheated. Fanfics are great but never as satisfying as the real thing.

      • atcDave says:

        Its always the mixed blessing of open/unsatisfying endings, they really open the door to fan-fic treatments. Thinkling’s post series story is really outstanding, just as good as it gets. There’s dozens of other very good ones too, SO MANY were inspired to fill in the gaps from that episode.

      • revdr says:

        Thanks again Thinkling; I did indeed read your story on FanFiction and even made it a favorite. It was indeed excellent. Unfortunately it still doesn’t alter my thinking on the subject. I still feel as though I was shortchanged and unless and until I see a movie properly tying up the loose ends I will never be satisfied. I watched the extending version of the finale today and I still don’t like it. I own both dvd and Blu-ray sets and will probably never watch season 5 again. To me what was supposed to be a “Love Letter To The Fans” seemed more like a “Dear John” letter. I have read many fanfics for Chuck and Gilmore Girls (my other favorite) post finale and some of them have been really great with viable reasons for what occurred during and after the end of the last show of each series it only (to me at least) speaks to these shows writers inability or perhaps lack of caring to actually honor most of their loyal fans. Maybe I just like happy endings…..

      • thinkling says:

        I totally get that Revdr (hey does that mean you’re like a ThD? Rev. Dr.). I often imagine what comes next or extended endings, but this is the first time I’ve actually gone to the trouble to write it down. Such was my investment in the characters and my own longing for more. Oh, and to prove that you can get there from here. After analyzing the finale, I came away with a (reasonable) profile of Sarah’s mindset and the conclusion that the finale was reassuring with regards to that future they were planning, so I cleared a path from the beach to the happy ending. It didn’t change the finale, but it validated my belief that the finale was reassuring, and that was better than forever wondering if they could make it. Hey, Fedak assured us that Chuck and Sarah would be okay and then left the details to our imaginations. So, I called his ambiguity and raised him a happy ending (which was really a happy beginning).

        Anyway, all that to say I really do understand where you’re coming from.

      • revdr says:

        I totally understand your, and others need to try to glean some positive meaning from the final beach scene and the finale in general, and believe me I have tried, but it just hasn’t registered with me. Surely, I would love to see beyond what we wound up with but for me it’s not going to happen. While I am a hopeful person by nature the finale left me sad, not hopeful. Like I stated before, I wanted the fairy tale ending but what I got was ambiguity. For me it was like wanting a new bike for Christmas only to wind up getting socks. I probably will never like the ending but hey, at least I got to have Chuck for five years under very uncertain circumstances. I just came away feeling like in the end the writer of that episode really didn’t care what we the fans wanted but gave what he (CF) wanted us to have. And really, you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. I did learn the lesson though of not getting too caught up in these shows because in the end you are always at the mercy of those individuals who write and produce and what you want and what you eventually get are not necessarily the same. Chuck wasn’t “Choose Your Own Adventure” for me although I wanted the “happily ever after”. By the way, yes, I am a ThD , but essentially I’m just a disappointed Chuck fan.

      • authorguy says:

        That’s why I wrote my own. Unlike almost everyone here, it seems, I’m overwriting the stuff they showed us as I write better versions of it.

  20. revdr says:

    Totally agree with you about Chuck. He certainly is not the loveable loser anymore. And I totally respect him for saving a theater full of people rather than recovering Sarah’s memories. It’s what he’s always done; do the right thing. As to him being in a happier place…maybe, but I suppose I’ll forever be disappointed in Fedak for ruining the ending for me. Josh at least ended his other shows with the primary leads together. Chuck was my favorite show ever and I have watched a lot of tv in sixty years. We deserved better than we got.

  21. Christopher says:

    Now for those who watch FX’s Archer there is a word in that show that makes Phase Three such a great episode. For me this is when we see Sarah become Rampage Sarah Walker We all knew that Sarah Walker loved Chuck, but to what extent.

    We also see for the first time how important team Bartowkski really mean to each other. What was once only three really becomes four with Morgan, and they all are beginning really need Chuck, but most of all Sarah needs Chuck.

    In the past three seasons and first 8 episodes of season 4 we have seen glimpses of the emotion in Sarah when it comes to Chuck and her feelings. Sometimes you would wonder if you ever will, but that is all erased with this episode. From beginning to end we see a tearful, worried, and someone who was missing Chuck.

    Here for the first time Agent Walker and Sarah the normal girl worked in tandem. The protector and the girlfriend both in need of that comfort.

    Throw in the Proposal Plan and now we have a an Agent will 200 ways to kill in need to help the inner woman of herself. It makes The Suburbs and Cubic Z where a wedding ring was a cover or not real becomes real in her heart. The dream of normalcy is almost complete.

    We get a dream sequence that is quite funny in the beginning with Lester questioning Chuck’s man who by saying do you expect to keep a girl like her if you can’t flash. I love it

    It is easy to make this about Sarah saving chuck, but it is deeper than that. It is about Sarah the woman and Sarah the agent working together to get the man they both love. or in other words Rampage Sarah with emotions deadly combination

  22. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs Phase Three (4.09) | Chuck This

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