Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Tooth (3.16)

NBC Synopsis: CHUCK THE SPY NEEDS A THERAPIST – CHRISTOPHER LLOYD (“BACK TO THE FUTURE”) GUEST STARS – Chuck (Zachary Levi) struggles with disturbing dreams and now he believes his most recent dream predicts danger for a visiting head of state. General Beckman (Bonita Friedericy), however, is unconvinced and assigns Chuck to meet with a CIA psychiatrist Dr. Leo Dreyfus (guest star Christopher Lloyd). Meanwhile, Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) gets surprising news and Anna (guest star Julia Ling) returns to the Buy More to talk to Morgan (Joshua Gomez).

Chuck This Ranking: 69
Dave’s Ranking: Maybe a little better

First Impressions: Observation Thread: Chuck vs The Tooth

Full Write Ups: Chuck vs The Tooth (3.16) by Dave and Joe
Tooth and Bone by Joe
S3 Revisited: Chuck vs The Tooth (3.16) by Ernie, Joe and Dave

Alternatives: Season Three Alternatives 3.14-3.16 by Dave


About atcDave

I'm 54 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 31 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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38 Responses to Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Tooth (3.16)

  1. Martin Traynor says:

    It’s funny. In looking back over comments from previous posts, it looked like some were already looking for PLI angst, or were at least open to entertaining it, though in limited doses. All I can say to that, is “Huh!?!”

    This episode doesn’t rate too high with me. I love Sarah’s ILH/ ILU to the doc and Chuck, respectively. And I loved that Morgan stood by a Chuck no matter how crazy he seemed. Then again, Morgan had nothing to lose if Chuck was wrong/crazy.

    I think my favorite scene is when Sarah visits the doc, announces her love, begs for Chuck, and most of all, the Casey reveal. Good stuff. But the rest of the episode just didn’t do it for me. It felt different, but I’m not sure how.

    • atcDave says:

      There were a few moments I enjoyed, but on balance it wasn’t a very strong episode for me either. I’m not nuts about Chuck looking nuts for so much of it!

  2. Martin Traynor says:

    Yes! Chuck looking nuts didn’t work for me, either. Another disappointment was the revelation that we weren’t finished with Shaw (though at this point we don’t know how he’ll come back into play). But just the fact that he’s back is unsettling, to say the least.

    • duckman says:

      I think I would have been ok with shaw being a figment of chucks imagination. I figured even back in 2010 that he was already paid for so they had to use him. I missed this ep live, I was so beat down by what little I saw of the first 13 that I tuned back out til ld. My reaction to seeing him soil my tv again was “oh c’mon! Really? My reaction to subway was to tune out for 3 years. I think doc was the last of the genious casting for the show, he should have been around for several eps. I’ve never gone for the crazy guy no one believes trope and the only reason I sat through it this time is the characters.I told my buddy at the time I thought they had run out of ideas, I didn’t realize how right I was. Anna was another squandered character, she absolutely should have turned out to be an agent. If there’s a movie, she’s there ace in the hole. They’ll trot out shaw again just show us who’s in charge, but anna’s their chance to salvage the franchise.

      • atcDave says:

        I like the idea of an all imaginary Shaw. I didn’t so much “dislike” Shaw as a villain, but it was certainly the most wasted resurrection in television history!

  3. oldresorter says:

    I don’t like this ep, nor the next 3 very much, even less over time. The eps continue playing the unlikeable Chuck card way too much. But a new revelation to me or for me as a fan, is how the theme of Chuck vs the intersect played out was almost as significant to me as how Chuck and Sarah played out. I liked when the intersect was in Chuck and played a role, but was not one of the driving forces behind the ep. I’d like the use of the intersect to be more like tying a shoe than part of the plot, esp the drama plot, since the concept is part of the shenanigans of the show, not part of the serious stuff. I would have been far happier with the show had Chuck kept intersect 1.0. No Shaw-sect or Morgan-sect or Sarah-sect, or anyone else sect, shaw-sect was a bad idea, that just kept getting worse with each successive use of the intersect, much like the character himself kept coming back. The headaches and the lies made this ep bad for me. I don’t like Ellie’s use in this ep or in this arc either.

    • thinkling says:

      I agree that these episodes don’t age well. First time through, they were a relief from all the unwanted love geometry. It was so good to see Chuck and Sarah together that the rest was … tolerated, almost superfluous. But lying Chuck and lingering Shaw way outlasted their interest and entertainment value — and dragged down what could have been some pretty good episodes.

    • Wilf says:

      I actually don’t mind this ep., and the scene at the Doctor’s house is just great, to me. I agree with you on Ellie’s use here. I mean, was she really that stupid?

    • atcDave says:

      I agree that the Intersect malfunction story is not one of my favorites, and I also was no big fan of the 2.0 and it’s super powers. That stretched Unbelievability a little too far for me.
      I would also add that I never re-watch this end arc “just for the fun of it”. Lying and malfunctioning Chuck just isn’t much fun for me. But as Thinkling mentioned above, I enjoyed this arc the first time through. And it seems to generally play well with first time viewers.

    • uplink2 says:

      For me the malfunctioning Intersect came out of left field and that’s why it doesn’t work for me. There was absolutely no set up for it really. At no point in the first 13 was it really hinted at. Just “we don’t know” or the Sarah had to “now protect the World from Chuck.” It was just thrown in to set up the Doc story and the governor being needed to bring back Stephen.

      I will say this is probably the weakest of the back six but it is still better than almost all of the front 12. And I don’t agree with the last 3 being weak. IMO Subway is certainly the best of the Shaw episodes and amazing as it is coming from me but it’s the only time that Routh actually gave a decent performance. The look through the Subway door is his finest moment in the series in my mind. Next week is a good episode that is almost destroyed by one scene and I only have a few quibbles about Ring II other than the absurdity of as Bill at work calls it “the capture of 5 accountants in a stairwell”.

      I won’t go into this week my dislike for the entire idea of bringing back Shaw, I’ll save that for later. But Subway is to me probably the second or third best episode of season 3. This is probably around 10.

      • I agree that the mental health impact of the Intersect was introduced very suddenly, but I think it was appropriate to explore. As for the suddenness of its manifestation, I think it’s plausible that Chuck’s brain had been burdened by the Intersect over the last several years, but he had been physically able to cope until a tipping point had been reached, which happened to be during this episode. Having had some experience with illness in other organs of the body, I know that one can feel perfectly healthy, the body coping with deteriorating function quite well, until suddenly a symptom appears that cannot be denied.

        I’ll agree that this is the weakest episode of the back six (I’ll refrain from discussing the front 12 this time). I still think they wasted Christopher Lloyd’s talents as a deadpan Dr. Dreyfus. I would have liked to see him with more emotional range. I also continue to think that they interjected humour at inappropriate times. Merlin throwing in his two cents’ worth after Sarah rescues Chuck from Dr. Kowambe still makes me cringe. Chuck’s choice to conceal from Sarah the ongoing concern that Dr. Dreyfus has for his mental health was an absolute disappointment, but as subsequent episodes make use of this situation for dramatic effect, I can see why TPTB chose to go the way they did. Positively, it gave Sarah the opportunity to practise forgiveness toward Chuck as well as for us to see that their relationship includes very human flaws. This episode demonstrates that Sarah has been growing in terms of her emotional openness; it also shows us that Chuck has much growing left to do.

        I did think about Sarah a little more this time. Aside from the breakthrough of acknowledging her love of Chuck, it occurred to me that this could almost be a reprise for her of the beginning of season 3. Then, she had her heart broken by Chuck because of a decision he made. Now, with the two of them having overcome that history, Sarah has found a home for her heart with Chuck, but is suddenly in a situation where that home might be taken from her. Her standing at Dr. Dreyfus’s door saying, “I need him to be okay,” hints at that situation. Certainly that sequence is a highlight of this episode for me.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree with most of that Russ, except Merlin did make me laugh!
        I do like the way Sarah’s story will play out over the course of the season, it only annoys me a little that this accomplished in part by making Chuck look bad. But as I’ve said before, that’s more of a nitpick than a serious complaint.

  4. Martin Traynor says:

    I guess I’m one of the few that bought into the Intersect 2.0 providing those abilities. I mean, if I could extend disbelief to the idea that all those secrets (for Intersect 1.0) could be imbedded in pictures, downloaded into the human mind and retrieved at either stimulation or plain old will, then it seems logical that you could implant skills like fighting into a newer version.

    Be that as it may, Chuck gaining those skills certainly changed the dynamic of the show. And that would have happened even if they didn’t reset Chuck/Sarah the way they did with Pink Slip. We are, at the beginning of S3, well beyond the “Chuck, stay in the car” trope. Whether that’s for better or worse, I’m not sure. On the one hand, I like physically empowered Chuck; on the other, I loved/love mentally empowered Chuck, who needed protecting from mama-bear Sarah and cold-steel Casey.

    But I’ll agree with the consensus that lying Chuck is no fun. Neither is Intersect-threatened Chuck. Thankfully, neither were ultimately much of an issue in the long-run. But they both seem rather necessary given the direction TPTB wanted to take the remainder of the season. And if given the choice between lying angst and LI angst, I’ll take lying. Though neither is desirable, especially at this stage of the show.

    • atcDave says:

      The 2.0 wasn’t a huge thing to me. Its definitely not how I would have preferred it; my first choice would have been Chuck as more of a planner/mastermind sort, maybe with minimal self defense ability. But leave Sarah and Casey as the “muscle”, while Chuck deduces and schemes. That was sort of my dream/vision going back to late S2.
      What they chose was a little more cheesy and over-the-top than I was thinking. But its okay. As you say, the show was pretty outrageous from the start anyway, so it wasn’t a huge thing to me.

      • Justin says:

        I would have loved to see that dream/vision on the show. I can see it going down as this scenario of Stephen, after coming out of hiding to help his son and deal with Fulcrum, realize that his presence hasn’t gone unnoticed by some of the other enemies he made over the years so he must go deeper underground than before. But someone needs to keep the majority of the Orion organization going in the meantime. He picks Chuck for the job, seeing that his son won’t settle for a purely normal life after getting more than a taste of something more. So Season 3 would be about Chuck stepping up as head of his father’s secret organization with the intention of using it to help others in ways the CIA couldn’t and making Casey and Sarah a part of it.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Justin that would have worked very well for me.
        Sarah would quickly leave the CIA to work with Chuck full time. Casey might leave too (like the Carmichael Industries thing) or he might stay with the government as a liaison.

      • oldresorter says:

        Justin I agree, I was even hoping for that to play out in s4. I think many of us thought that would be the direction of the show in s4 after he discovered the cave. It would have been so simple, Orion leaves specific instructions, the cave becomes the new headquarters, the house becomes home, maybe ‘had’ a red door which Sarah admits somewhere late in s4 was always her dream, it would have been a shoe in plot. It is one of my biggest beefs with the writing team, they seem to set up so many good ideas, that they simply let go unresolved. And a few bad ideas, cough .. cough .. amnesia, that went unresolved too.

      • atcDave says:

        Shoot I was ready for”the New Orion Industries” or some such to start S3!

  5. I forgot to mention on my post earlier today: Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians and Canadian wannabes. (Or, if you want to join me in a bit of historical nostalgia, as we used to call July 1 prior to 1983: Happy “Dominion Day.”

    • How i met your mother gave me a huge liking for Canada and i have EVERY Robin Sparkles song in my itunes! Plus most of my favorite CW shows are filmed in Vancouver and Neil Young is amazing, thanks Canada!

      • LOL! Every Robin Sparkles song?! Sing it with me now: “Let’s go to the mall.”

        I’m surprised you didn’t mention Rush as well, given the prominent role their song “Tom Sawyer” played in a certain episode of Chuck.

        Of course, I can thank you Americans for more or less taking Justin Bieber off our hands.

        I must admit, among the reasons I like watching The Flash is to see if I can recognize a landmark (I grew up further up the Fraser Valley from Vancouver, in Chilliwack). Oh, and did you ever watch the SyFy series Eureka? The scenes outside the Cafe Diem were filmed in Chilliwack.

      • anthropocene says:

        Thanks to VHS tapes smuggled to me by a friend and colleague at UBC (indicating how long ago that was), I used to follow “North of 60” almost as faithfully as I followed “Chuck.” It was a far more authentic counterpart to “Northern Exposure.”

  6. Russ

    “TODAY!” Lol

    i didn’t know Rush was from Canada; Tom Sawyer is a great song though!

    Justin Bieber…I won’t even get into how much i loathe that guy.

    The scenery on the flash is really good and i haven’t watched Eureka but i think its on Netflix. It seems like most of the recent syfy series on the cw were filmed in or near vancouver; i always wanted to visit where they fillmed Lex’s first car crash in smallvile and the farm they used as the Kent farm!

  7. oldresorter says:

    Pretty good week for the actress portraying Rene Carpenter!

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah it was a solid performance.

    • thinkling says:

      Yes, it was. It’s not a particularly heavy role, but this outing had some dramatic weight and some good moments between Rene and Scott. What’s fun to me is to put Rene beside her other roles and smile at the breadth and depth of her talent and the uniqueness she brings each character. For example, you can’t get much more different than Rene Carpenter and Kate Morgan. And Yvonne makes both of them come to life.

      It’s been fun to watch her be Rene. I wonder what the real Rene thinks.

      • i agree with that! it’s also why if yvonne does take over 24 i really hope people tune in! i also think it would be fun to see her in a recurring role on heroes reborn because seeing her with super powers would be fun and of course reunite her with zac!

      • oldresorter says:

        I’d probably never watch that show if not for Yvonne (it is basically a soap opera), but I also am enjoying the time period, the way people acted was how I recall, I was 5 in 1960, lived in Chicago. My other fav’s from the show (don’t know the actors names) – Trudi & Gordo Cooper and John & esp Annie Glenn (she’s stealing every scene she is in IMO)

      • atcDave says:

        I’ve liked Gordo and Trudy Cooper on screen, but I keep reminding myself, IRL Trudy divorced Gordo as soon as he left the space program because he never stopped playing around. I believe the Glenn’s and Shira’s were the only couples who stayed married (FWIW).

      • Ernie Davis says:

        The Shepherds never divorced. They died a few weeks apart, still married, though it seems Alan went on taking advantage of his wife’s forgiving nature for quite some time.

        I’ve enjoyed the series so far. Solid cast from top to bottom. I also find a lot of it familiar from when I was growing up.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh that’s funny, Shepherd was such a horn dog I just assumed…

        That familiarity is both intriguing and frustrating to me. I lot of what I “know” is presented a little differently here; so I’m often wondering about license vs liberties!

      • thinkling says:

        Yes surprisingly solid cast, and ditto on Annie Glenn. She is great. I loved her singing in church … great voice and a hymn I’m partial to. I also love the bond between her and Rene. Yeah, last night had some real gems.

        It’s my growing up era as well. The space program was a BIG deal. My parents remembered where they were when Pearl Harbor was attacked. For me those memorable moments were the assassination of Kennedy and many of the space events, the momentous and the tragic. The Space program inspired a generation, and I’m not sure what today’s equivalent would be? I’ve always loved NASA and the Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian.

        I’m enjoying the show, the era, and the reliving of a special time in history. It does make me want to go back and know more about the players, though — to discern between reality and artistic liberty. I do find the philandering particularly sad.

      • atcDave says:

        For the Kennedy assassination I’m pretty sure I was doing something unmentionable with my diapers.
        But one of my very first clear memories is of Apollo 8 orbiting the Moon in 1968 (I was 5). I kept bugging my parents “why don’t they just land?!”
        Over the next year, before the Moon landing, I became a miniature space nerd. The Mercury and Gemini programs were a big part of what I “studied”. But since this was all before I was six my standards of academic research were pretty low (but I could tell the difference between a Mercury Redstone and Mercury Atlas!).

      • thinkling says:

        Article on Annie Glenn’s stutter and a video interview of her and John

      • noblz says:

        Good episode. Yvonne was fantastic as Rene. Her emotional scenes were very good. For essentially a soap it has been good. I figured to give it a pass because of Yvonne and the topic (as a kid I remember standing in the schoolyard in St Augustine watching the contrails as they launched) but Mrs otherDave got interested from the trailers and is a huge fangirl. The one scene Mrs otherDave cracked up at was the drunk confrontation between Trudi and Gordo Cooper. The “You lied to me about lying to me..” was great. Like I said Mrs otherDave (wife of a former Army officer) got a good laugh out of Trudi Cooper’s antics in this one.

      • oldresorter says:

        I must be a bit older, as I recall the 1st big thing that took place in my life was getting a TV, probably mostly based on how excited my parents were. Second, the election of Kennedy, again my parents, devout Catholics, were sky high then. On the down side, I recall practicing for air raids or whatever it was we were afraid of during the Cuban missile crisis by hiding under our desks.

        Obviously I recall the Kennedy assassination too. But by the time we landed on the moon, I honestly was more interested in the daily hardball game during the summer, tackle football game in the fall, and shooting baskets on the driveway the rest of the year. We had a huge neighborhood of boys, and easily could field 7 plus per team. Landing on the moon for some reason was not a big day for me.

        In the landing on the moon timeframe I do recall was how scared the older boys in my neighborhood were of the Vietnam war. By the time my lottery number came up, it was nearly over, I think my number was 141. By then, I hardly even took note, but the war was a big deal to me in the late 60’s.

        And, I also recall how confused modern music / free love / drug culture made my mom and dad, they didn’t like how the world was changing at all in the late 60’s. The Rockwellian dream life, portrayed in the AWC story and at least in my own home life, was pretty much over by 1970. I wonder how far this 1st year will take the history lesson … maybe to the moon, or will they try to stretch things out for several seasons?

  8. noblz says:

    Finally back on the internet (nasty blowup with previous provider, had to change). Tooth jut didn’t catch me. Nothing specifically wrong, but Chuck the buffoon never has been big for me. On the plus side the scenes with Sarah admitting her love and saying “I love you” were great. Another thing I always found neat was the opening where Chuck and Sarah have reversed the usual male/female roles (at least the ones at my house) with Sarah using the remote…really!

    Again, OK episode just didn’t really hook me.

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