Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Marlin (1.13)

NBC Synopsis: THE NERD OF THE RINGS- Captain Awesome (Ryan McPartlin) asks Chuck (Zachary Levi) if he can have Ellie’s (Sarah Lancaster) hand in marriage, and then insists Chuck holds on to the ring until he plans it all out. Chuck decides to lock it in his Buy-More locker, and returns the next day to discover everything had been stolen from the store. Meanwhile, Agent Casey (Adam Baldwin) and Agent Walker (Yvonne Strahovski) discover that the CIA has been spying on them in hopes of discovering “the intersect.” With Chuck’s identity and life on the line, NSA has no other option than to relocate Chuck into a permanent holding cell. Will Chuck lose his family and friends forever?

Chuck This Ranking19
Dave’s Ranking: I agree

Full Write Ups: Chuck vs The Marlin (1.13) by Dave and Joe

Other Write Ups: Reader’s Digest Rewatch: Make-up Then Break-up Arc by Dave

Season Overview: Chuck in Overview: Season One by Dave

~ Dave 

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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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14 Responses to Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Marlin (1.13)

  1. resaw says:

    I’ve enjoyed all of season 1 multiple times, but there are some episodes that have grown old, or that I wish would have been condensed. This episode, though, I like every bit of it. It always seems fresh to me. I’m sure I remember reading a review by Alan Sepinwall in which he observed that, due to the writer’s strike, this final episode was less polished than others. Frankly, I don’t see it. I really like the way it thoroughly integrated Chuck’s spy life with his Buy More life, for example. I like as well that there is this tension between the government agencies’ concerns for the security of the Intersect and Chuck’s desire to live as normal a life as possible, along with Sarah’s desire to preserve that freedom for him. It’s heightened here, and appropriately so at the end of the season; even if this season ended too soon because of the strike, the story it told was perfect.

    Of course, there is the patented heart-rending speech by Chuck matched by the equally heart-rending shot of Sarah’s face that we got to see on the helipad. Chuck’s line, “And maybe we can say how we really feel,” was beautiful. In those words, he is saying for Sarah what she has not been prepared to say, but that they both know what he is saying is true. Yes, this is certainly a favourite scene in the series.

    There are a few other minor things. 1. Does anyone know what Sarah said in German at the Wienerlicious when she handed over that meal at the beginning of the episode? 2. I am totally struck by Jeff’s reversion to a hardened criminal type when he and Lester discover the police are investigating the theft of the contents of the Buy More. Ordinarily, he is befuddled, but as a criminal he seems to be in his element. 3. I think it’s a great running gag that the guys are always clarifying that the fish is a marlin. It is after all the iconic game fish, a sports fisherman’s fish. 4. Big Mike’s obsession with “Norman,” is hilarious throughout, as is his focus on Chuck as the most likely guilty party, and especially the literal application the expression, “We’ll just have to turn up the heat on you.” 5. Despite Casey’s repeatedly stated concern that Sarah might be compromised with the “asset,” we get this: “And we, meaning I, go get Lizzie, while you find Chuck.” He has some awareness of Sarah’s feelings and apparently some sympathy for those feelings as well (This last one is not so minor, actually!)

    Thank you again for providing a forum for this re-watch. I’m not sure what I’m going to do if/when this comes to an end. However, we have four more seasons to go!

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah this is definitely a strong episode. I don’t know what lack of polish someone may have seen; but to me, it’s this one, the Pilot and Tango that a just pure S1 perfection. Chuck at its best.
      As you mention, how well the plots integrate and some wonderful Charah moments are particularly powerful.

      We’ve got a while before it matters, but if we still have any traffic at all, and we aren’t in the middle of Chuck:The Movie hype, we will look at some sort of different presentation and do another re-watch after a brief break. I have no problem with weekly Chuck indefinitely.

    • anthropocene says:

      Sarah said something along the lines of: “Thank you for visiting us at Wienerlicious.”

      • anthropocene says:

        Interesting that they cut to her immediately after Chuck was eyeballing Awesome’s engagement ring.

      • atcDave says:

        Funny how she gets so caught up in finding a ring too! And funny how Morgan jumps the gun so much.

    • thinkling says:

      I agree with every bit of that Resaw. The roof-top is all you said, and will always be one of my favorite scenes. The first 3 and Marlin are the top of S1 for me.

      Also, I will never not laugh at clueless big Mike whistling through the stripped-bare Buymore.

      For three people who began the season in a state of distrust — almost antagonists — they certainly ended it as a cohesive — almost tight knit — team.

  2. Wilf says:

    Marlin has to be one of my top series episodes. The pathos and truth of the extraction scene, the comedy (albeit creepy) of mammary-cam and of course its relevance to the plot in the end (little is ever totally irrelevant in Chuck), and so much more were just vintage Chuck. Great.

  3. Justin G says:

    I only discovered Chuck around a month or so ago and have been watching it enthusiastically ever since. I am mid way through Season 4 and because I have watched them all in such a short space of time, the third and fourth series feel a lot different than the first two.

    The Marlin episode is really good but the 1st series highlight for me is in ‘The Truth’ when the drug kicks in and then we get to the elevator scene where Chuck tells Sarah ‘God you’re so pretty’ and Casey ‘your jaw was chiselled by Michalangelo himself’!

    • atcDave says:

      Glad you found us Justin!

      There was definitely a big change after S2, the budget was cut a lot. And then at the start of S4 Chris Fedak became the primary show runner when Josh Schwartz moved on to other projects.
      So, good catch!

  4. thinkling says:

    Two small details:
    1. Chuck’s locker was cleaned out except for two pictures of him and Sarah, taped to the inside of the door. (You can see it when he closes the door on his cleaned out locker.)
    2. The last appearance of Beckman’s wedding ring.

  5. this episode is special in a unique way…mostly for Sarah in particular… I wrote a (comment) post a several weeks ago in which I mentioned that, for the first two seasons Chuck functioned like an addiction for Sarah, people may not agree with that but i think it applies reasonably well because of the very end of this episode… she grows dependent on Chuck at such an increasingly alarming rate that when other people (Casey, Beckman Carina and even Chuck himself) bring it up she goes into denial and gets defensive and hostile…not really her fault; she is trying to hold on to what allowed her to escape her pain and she had plenty of emotional pain before she met Chuck which puts the Prague indecent in perspective for me…and allows me to find solace in what would later be a terrible decision by JS…I hope i am making sense.

    I still monitor this site daily but am becoming laser focused on my fan fic…this chapter is driving me nuts…I had a plot and then removed most of it to my edits document…I sympathize with Ernie, writing is not to be rushed:)

    • oldresorter says:

      josh that is completely how I saw the rewatch, Sarah getting angry and / or defensive when called on her feelings by someone, especially by Chuck. The scene that iced it for me came at the expense of an alarm clock. Was there a particular moment in this episode that sealed it for you? The show kept hammering home this notion of ‘What is Sarah thinking / doing?’ The show was called Chuck, but the most interesting story was the show ‘Sarah’, and Charles Irving Bartowski was mostly along for the ride.

      • Josh says:

        OR
        I’d say the very end…Sarah and Casey are standing by the window as the latter says “we can only keep him here for so long, you realize that don’t you?” and then they pull a close up of her face and she’s afraid of being cut off from him and when that finally occurs come S3 she can’t handle the withdrawal and gets worse before getting better

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