Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Honeymooners (3.14)

NBC Synopsis: CHUCK AND SARAH GO ON A EUROPEAN ADVENTURE-While in Europe, Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) and Chuck (Zachary Levi) realize they’re traveling on a train with Spanish spies. Even though they’re all alone, they decide to take on these rogue agents. Of course, this impromptu mission doesn’t go smoothly. Meanwhile, Beckman (Bonita Friedericy) orders her newest “unlikely” spy team – John Casey (Adam Baldwin) and Morgan Grimes (Joshua Gomez) – to track down the missing couple.

Chuck This Ranking2
Dave’s Ranking: 1

First Impressions: Observation Thread: Chuck vs The Honeymooners

Full Write Ups: Chuck vs The Honeymooners (3.14) by Dave and Joe
The Honeymoon; Not Quite Over Yet by Joe
S3 Revisited: Chuck vs The Honeymooners (3.14) by Ernie, Joe and Dave
A Good Start by Ernie

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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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54 Responses to Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Honeymooners (3.14)

  1. authorguy says:

    A vast disappointment. Our noble hero kills a man for the first time, and decides that a sex romp through Europe is the best response. WTF? Sorry, this was nothing but the producers sucking up to the fans, putting out pretty little Charah moments with no rhyme or reason to them. Everything that was good about the show up to this point, is only occasionally recaptured after it. A few good spots: The Charleseses were a great bit, unfortunately too short. The fight scene, cuffed together but in perfect sync, was a very nice counterpoint to the beautifully done fight scene with Sarah and Bryce in season 1. And Morgan using his Chuck-fu in one (otherwise ridiculous) scene, and later on his knowledge of local customs to smoke out the impostors. Good parts but a mediocre episode. .

    • atcDave says:

      I’m just so glad they finally decided to suck up to this fan! This should have been the entire series.

    • thinkling says:

      Well, I suppose somebody had to write the minority opinion … glad that’s out of the way.

    • I’m pulled between Marc and Dave et al, on my opinion of this episode. First, I really liked it for the most part. It was full of joy after a really tough season. However, I am very much with Marc on wishing they had done some more exploration of the impact of Chuck having shot and killed (so he thought) Shaw. I liked a lot of the remainder of season 3 as well, but found most of seasons 4 and 5 to be much weaker than season 3.

      • atcDave says:

        I would have been okay with a little drama regarding Chuck killing someone, and I actually would have preferred it to the Chuck lying and Intersect sickness stuff we did see.
        But I never wanted it to be a big deal, especially since I think the moral clarity of his actions is pretty much perfect. Unlike a Red Test, there should be no regrets for what he’s done.

        It might be like, this last week I put my mom in a memory care nursing home. There is no doubt she wouldn’t have “wanted” such a thing, and we had to use some subterfuge to get her there. So I feel bad about it. I feel like a bad son. But there is not a doubt in my mind it was for the best. My biggest regret is that it wasn’t done sooner.
        Chuck’s regrets over killing could have been similar. A dramatic and terrible moment. But necessary.

        If you look back at our initial reactions to Other Guy this was often brought up. We all thought it might be an issue. But Chuck was never the sort of show to dwell on such things. And I’m glad it wasn’t. It was more of a fun show than a serious show. So I’m completely fine with how it was all handled.

      • anthropocene says:

        Exactly. Each and every week, “Chuck” generally moved on from the previous episode. Only a few significant incidents (e.g., the bomb kiss, the shooting of Mauser) were ever rehashed. There were plenty of other traumas that could have been stretched out, such as the death of Stephen B and Chuck’s torture at the hands of the Belgian (and Sarah’s guilt over that)—but what might have been gained in drama could have been lost in comedy, so I think it was generally a wash.

      • atcDave says:

        And we have plenty of good fan fiction that gets into the heavier stuff!

      • authorguy says:

        Having spent five whole minutes thinking about the issue, I have a fix that would have kept all the fun parts and made the whole episode make a lot more sense. Put a “One month later…” sign at the beginning, then do the room service scene. In the coffee shop, have Sarah tell Casey that the therapy wasn’t enough, Chuck needed to know he hadn’t lost her , so she took him off grid to prove it. Then at the end, have Beckman say that the therapists agreed with Sarah’s approach, and blah blah blah.
        Three sentences, 100% vastly improved context. It’s not hard.

      • anthropocene says:

        But that would have implied that the question of running away together (as proposed in “American Hero”) was left hanging for a month. Chuck and Sarah seized their opportunity in Paris. I still think TPTB could have written some angst for Chuck over the shooting into “Honeymooners” and had Sarah help him get through it. It would have added another, weightier factor to the question of whether they should run or not. IMHO.

      • authorguy says:

        I just put up a rough sketch. There’s no reason they can’t run away together a month later, and have the whole thing proceed as before. My preferred version would be for Sarah to do this as an opportunity for Chuck to decide what he wants to do, since he’s the one with the trauma. If he stays, she stays with him, if he runs, she runs with him. The romp in the hotel room would have been enough to calm his fears enough to return for the therapy in the first place.
        Not to mention that the emotional impact of “One month later..” isn’t very big. When Sarah went rogue after the Balcony, the supposed weeks she’d been gone had no emotional impact at all. That’s why authors are told to show and not tell.

  2. Martin Traynor says:

    I love one-name shows that can summed up in one word. CHUCK used to be FUN…and then it wasn’t. And now, thankfully, it is once more. So much to love in this episode. Especially Chuck and Sarah enjoying each other. They are having fun together, and it’s awfully fun to watch. I love their handcuffed fight, which comes in as second favorite only behind their fight within the fight during “The First Fight,” and I love that more because they’re actually making up while they fight. Genius.

    Their vows (both sets) are adorable. And wow, when Sarah (Yvonne, but really, as Sarah) smiles…stop the presses! She’s all that!

    I even enjoyed Morgan finding Chuck through some pretty intelligent reasoning and a little too intense observation on Chuck’s skin care issues…ugh.

    This and Role Models are my favorites of this season, and two of my top five easily. More fun to come…!

  3. thinkling says:

    Definitely one of my favorites … in the top of my top tier, but I can’t isolate it as 1 or 2 since there are several I consider just as good.

  4. uplink2 says:

    Absolutely my favorite episode of the series. Possibly my favorite 42 minutes of TV ever! There isn’t a single frame I would change in this episode. The irony that it comes in the same season as the worst episodes of the series is rather poetic. It is just an incredibly fun ride. I also think you can see the relief that the misery is over in the actors themselves, especially Yvonne. She finally got to do some of the comedy, and did it extremely well. The accent was fantastic, and she was just so giddily happy. The strain of seeing Sarah so damaged by the previous arc and finally getting to play her as the capable, caring and intelligent spy again was evident in her performance I believe. Not that she didn’t give her all in the earlier episodes because she was great with the awful material they gave her. But here the fun was back for Yvonne too. Plus as we know her then real life boyfriend was on set as part of the cast and their 2 beloved dogs showed up as well. That had to make for a great week for all of them.

    The other day I saw a little thing on Twitter about favorite moments, scenes etc and I replied that the final scene from this episode is my favorite scene in the show and maybe all of TV. It is just perfect and as usual Yvonne brings just that little extra that makes it work so much better. Her movement of her leg where she pulls it in to them cuddling as they pull out is symbolic to me of Sarah being all in now. From that moment I knew there wouldn’t be any pointless relationship angst ever again. Sarah was in with both feet and the problems they encountered, and there would be many, would be dealt with together and from a position of wanting the relationship to work no matter what. Sarah Walker was committed fully and she never fails when she is that committed.

    And to Marc’s point about no fallout from Chuck killing Shaw, I think TPTB gave us the exact formula to deal with what came before, ignore it. The first scene of this episode flows perfectly from the “It is real” scene in Colonel. No retconning or straining to find some round about, poorly executed intent to justify what we are seeing is necessary. It simply works if you just ignore, like they did so many times, what had happened in the prior arc.

    But damn do I wish we got a 5.14 as well. That would have been just as perfect I think.

    • atcDave says:

      I agree with pretty much all of that Uplink. This is likely my favorite episode of any show,ever.
      I think Zac and Yvonne both enjoyed getting to do something more fun again. And I remember Yvonne saying at the following ComicCon how much she loved being a part of the fun stuff and hoped that would continue.

      • It is my opinion that the writers undervalued Yvonne as an actress even after getting Chuck and Sarah together…I wish she could have smiled more; laughed more. Her closest counterpart is Jenna Fischer (The Office) and she got a lot more opportunity to be happy come season 4; which is odd considering The Office was a half hour show and Chuck was an hour show; granted the Office was a much more comedic show but my point is this is the only time yvonne gets to be herself from start to finish which is sad…i guess its just boils down to happiness not being a priority for CHUCK as a show…

      • uplink2 says:

        Oh I agree Josh. To me Yvonne is the most talented actor/actress and Sarah is the most interesting character. But the show is called Chuck and she was used far too many times as a plot device to tell HIS story, not hers. That was a mistake IMO but it was their show and that is how they viewed it.

      • authorguy says:

        The show should have been centered around him, not focused on him. They had too good a cast, and most of them were wasted in small roles. They should have shown how great Chuck was by his effects on those around him, rather than by some Hero’s Journey they were afraid to actually show.

      • anthropocene says:

        Given that there initially were going to be competing love interests for Chuck, I figure Yvonne must have taken the producers by surprise.

      • authorguy says:

        That’s an excuse for the first season, not the fifth.

      • uplink2 says:

        I will give them props for recognizing that Kayla wasn’t needed and dropping her before they finished editing the pilot. On that note they clearly saw what we saw and ran with it. I just question why they continued to use Sarah as a tool to prop up Chuck on his heroes journey and not recognize that she was possibly the biggest reason folks were watching. I know she was for me. But looking at what they did to her character in season 3 and the finale shows me they didn’t feel the same way about her. And for some reason they saw Morgan as far more important than I ever did.

      • anthropocene says:

        Well, Season 5 wasn’t that big an issue—I thought Season 5 Sarah was for the most part a well-developed, mature, even more lovable character.

      • atcDave says:

        In my mind there was an idea, or ideal of Chuck that was basically the setting as seen through his eyes. We (I) would enjoy this world because we could identify with Chuck and wanted to go on his journey with him.
        So that would mean a frightening and exciting new life, friends and family he loved, and a deepening relationship with Sarah. Especially as the show went, Sarah would take on a larger role as her role in Chuck’s life expanded.
        At its best, the show succeeded perfectly.

        But there were areas of disconnect between what the show runners wanted to do and what I wanted to see. I’ll still say the single biggest problem was the arc where I didn’t like or respect Chuck very much. Even afterwards he occasionally struggled with lying or playing the buffoon which undermined my ability to, and desire to connect.
        Of course we’ve been over all that.

        This all impacts Sarah is a few ways. The first season I just always wanted her part to be bigger. By second season it was, but not always by a lot. Third season she was marginalized in ways that almost killed all my affection for the show. I only stuck it out in the hopes it would change. But once the misery arc ended her part did indeed grow quite significantly, and there was much rejoicing.
        But it always remained true that the show runners wanted Chuck to be the super hero of the story. And, as I’ve said before, I would have preferred Chuck to be the mastermind while Sarah was the muscle.
        Or perhaps I should say they wanted Chuck to be the story’s ultimate hero. I liked him being a hero; but I preferred him as the moral hero who brought out the best in Sarah, Casey and even Morgan.

        Mostly this was a small complaint. Certainly the last two seasons were more of a shared journey for Chuck and Sarah. But if I were calling the shots this would have been even more pronounced. And, as others mentioned, Morgan’s part would have been smaller.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh yeah Anthro I loved how mature and steady Sarah was by S5. Easily one of the very best stories of character growth I’ve ever seen on television.

      • uplink2 says:

        I agree with that Dave and that is why it was so disheartening when it was all thrown away for a trip down memory lane that she never fully recovered from. I loved season 5 Sarah until that ride on the Bullet train and we never saw her again. It’s why it has been so difficult for me to rewatch as I still wonder what is the point if my favorite character who made such tremendous growth never remembers it and is never the same in the end.

      • Justin says:

        Dave, I love the kind of show you saw Chuck could be. And I love S5 Sarah too. That was until all her beautiful growth was undone by her amnesia.

  5. uplink

    The mark of novice showrunners…the greats (Chuck Lorre, Greg Daniel’s, Shondra Rymes to name a few) never treat main characters like plot devices…the longest running and most widely popular shows have experienced staffs; JS and company were just not capable of sustaining CHUCK past syndication…nothing worse than when the people pulling the strings don’t capitalize on a great ensemble cast.

    i really wish CHUCK could have had a 7-10 year run; so much untapped potential it is maddening…

    • authorguy says:

      Their inability to recognize their own genius was a commonplace on this show. Not just the cast, but the plot elements they came up with could have fueled an entire season, but they threw them away after a single episode. Who needs artificial angst when you’ve got Atroxium and no antidote? Just sad.

  6. oldresorter says:

    This ep was great on it’s own, but the timing of the ep helped it for me. After the dark of 13 straight eps, this ep shined the light brightly on the show and its characters.

    I think the formula for success on tv is pretty simple, you have to create drama and then pay it off while making fans love the leading characters, in proper proportion to the type of story and characters you develop. Chuck never quite got this formula ‘right’, seemingly bouncing or oscillating all around the balanced approach with huge spikes of drama or happy / joy / fun / etc, but never quite finding its way straight thru to the final scene on the beach. The Honeymooners ep sure helped bring the equation back into some semblance of balance overall, even though the ep was pure sweetness start to finish, a huge spike in the other direction from the 1st 13 eps, dragging the overall mood back closer to average.

    Unfortunately, by this time, many of the fans who were looking for this ‘nicer or happier’ type of show had already departed, and the show’s relationship with the audience never was quite the same again. Nor was the fans relationship with each other every the same, the dark first 13 eps left an extremely fractured fan base, with neither side really ever being satisfied again. It’s a near miracle the show got renewed at the end of s3 and again in s4.

    I really like the beginning, teasing maybe something sinister, b4 beginning the march toward epic joy. But other than the timing of the ep and the joy throughout, this ep ended as strong as any of the 91 eps ever, right up there with DeLorean, Pilot, Phase 3, Best Friends, the final of season 4’s wedding, etc. Needless to say, #1 on my list.

    Kudo’s to the writers.

    • atcDave says:

      I agree with most of that OR. I suppose I’m a little more upbeat about how they normally did with that balance of things, I think they only badly screwed up the once. But no doubt I would have preferred even more of the joyful and less of the angst in a few places.

    • uplink2 says:

      OR you bring up a great point. We have talked about it in the past certainly but the biggest disappointment/mistake/negative fallout whatever you want to call it of the choices made in early season 3 is that it tore apart the fanbase viciously and that fanbase never fully recovered. The negativity, distrust, blame game, mocking, and general malaise that can be read throughout many sites and postings on the web from that time and going forward is testimony to why their decisions were so flawed and how badly managed everything was on their part. Part of it is certainly the fans expectations but I still place that blame on TPTB for not managing those expectations and giving us a well executed product and vision. And they bungled the PR element in spectacular fashion.

      Before season 3 there were certainly folks on the outer fringes of the fanbase that weren’t content but that tone was different. What ultimately happened was that folks were dissatisfied, became vocal about it trying to get their voices heard, and they were mocked for that opinion with things like “trust us, we know what we are doing”, that enabled folks to take their lead and mock each other in return and it all cycled down into the muck never to recover.

      And you are right many folks that would have loved 3.14 on were already gone and never to come back. Their distrust of TPTB grew and they simply didn’t want to fall victim to it again. For those of us that stayed it was worth it. Ultimately I loved the show deeply and was entertained once again. I may not like how it ended but that has been easier to deal with simply because I don’t think those that were unhappy with the finale were ever mocked like the season 3 stuff. It was a well executed tragic storyline that simply I didn’t enjoy as much as I wanted to. The same can’t be said about season 3. But as I said up top I really would have loved a 5.14 episode like this one to wrap up these characters in a way I think they deserved.

  7. mynameissam says:

    Hey I love the show chuck watched it on NBC n now finished watching it all on netflix
    I hated how it ended but I like it how they left it open for hopefully a chuck reload ed season http://www.thepetitionsite.com/817/457/554/save-chuck/
    If you all could sign that please

  8. noblz says:

    Finally able to post. This episode is more like what I expect of Chuck, campy, funny and Chuck and Sarah together. This is near the top of my actual top ten of my top ten(29).

    Good stuff all around. The swing fight, C&S turned on by spying and the “Charleses”.

    Good funny dialogue
    Casey: “No, I think he’s got something else in his hands…Chuck’s off grid with Walker Grimes, do the Math…They’re having intercourse, you idiot!”

    Sarah:”My husband is going to kick your beee-hinds!”

    or better yet “Charlie Baby, look what I did, I made an Ooopsie!”

    This was just good start to finish. Especially the last scene.

  9. Martin Traynor says:

    “Charlie Baby, look what I did, I made an Ooopsie!”

    -Best comedic line of the whole series, from words to delivery to reaction. Loved it! (And oh, that accent!)

  10. Martin Traynor says:

    This comment might be more appropriate for earlier episodes in this season (Misery Arc), but I’ve been watching the end of season 2 during my lunch breaks at work (Orion Arc), and man, I forgot how incredibly powerful those episodes were. They had high drama that came out naturally through incredible storytelling, acting and music. Great humor. The characters gelled, Chuck and Sarah grew closer; everything clicked.

    That’s what makes the misery arc so much worse, was that this show was pretty darn near perfect (I actually think it was perfect at the end of season 2, but that’s neither here nor there…).

    I’m glad we’re back to the fun, but I agree with those who feel the show never truly regained what it had then. It might have come close a few times, but the drama was NEVER near what it achieved in the back of season 2. The humor, maybe, but not the dramatic stuff. It never had the weight (although the Volkov take-down was close).

  11. oldresorter says:

    Anyone else watch Astr Wives Club last night? I liked period shows in the past, like Manhattan or The Kennedys or even Murdoch Mysteries , so I found myself liking the AWC show from the start, regardless of YS’s role or the writing or acting, I find the story fascinating. She was solid, she obviously was not the lead female in the ep, but did her job in a supporting role just fine.

    YS in the 50’s / 60’s garb and platinum blond hair made me chuckle, in that she probably could do a fair Marilyn Monroe or Jane Mansfield characterization. She sure looks glamourous compared to the other 6 members of the AWC. And tall.

    I doubt the series will last much past the ten eps already done, even if Jenifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper were in the cast, not much of a story to be told long term. Hopefully at some point she can get involved in a successful project. I don’t think this is going to be the one though.

    • anthropocene says:

      My wife and I did. “The AWC” reminded me of “The Right Stuff,” but from a very different perspective. My wife is an enthusiast for all things midcentury modern and was a fan of “Mad Men,” and she enjoyed the period atmosphere of this show. But it’s not really my kind of drama, so I’m not likely to follow it.

      We too both immediately noticed how much taller Yvonne is than the other “wives!” Watching her channel Rene Carpenter’s (presumed) accent and demeanor, I kept seeing her as Sarah in one of her guises, like Mrs. Charles!

      • atcDave says:

        I haven’t watched it yet (it’s up for tonight), but when I was at the gym last night it was on. So while I was on a stationary bike reading some Chuck fiction I would periodically look up and see “Sarah” on the big screen. Kind of funny.

        And yeah, she sure looks tall!

      • Yes, Anthro, I was struck by her accent as well.

      • thinkling says:

        Heh … I’ll watch tonight as well, and I noticed (in previews) how she towered over everyone else. I only heard one little bit of her accent in previews, but I’m sure it’ll be spot on. Yvonne is so good with accents.

      • noblz says:

        I read on a blog somewhere, That sure enough, that is Rene Carpenter’s accent or close to it. Rene Carpenter did TV and radio so I’m sure YS had plenty of material to study.

      • thinkling says:

        Watched it this evening. She is amazing with accents … doesn’t sound a thing like Sarah. I’m looking forward to the series. It’s fun to watch Yvonne, even when she’s not the main wife of the week. Makes me want to read more about the real people.

  12. Martin Traynor says:

    I enjoyed it. And I, too, noticed Yvonne towering over everyone. Never noticed how dark her eyebrows were before (then again, her hair was never that shade of platinum, either). Looking forward to the rest of the series.

    • thinkling says:

      And she wasn’t even wearing heels. 😮

    • atcDave says:

      I enjoyed the Pilot. Louise Shepherd seemed a pretty tragic figure, but the show was interesting and I’ll look forward to the rest.

      • Martin Traynor says:

        Dave, I think they all might be tragic except for Annie Glenn (relationship-wise, anyway)…

      • atcDave says:

        I know, but I was thinking even on a psychological level!

      • noblz says:

        The sneak peek for Episode 2 had some interesting stuff. The series must run longer than just Mercury (sticking strictly to historical stuff, don’t want to spoil anything). They showed and EVA and that was Gemini 4 with Ed White (I did actually go to Ed White HS in Jax FL) and a shot of the NASA guys telling Betty Grissom about the accident which was Apollo 1 where Grissom, White and Chaffee got killed. They must cover a great many years in this 10 episode gig given some other stuff I don’t want to spoil.

  13. Martin Traynor says:

    Well, yes, I suppose if you wanted to go all psycho(logial) on us 🙂

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