Monday, December 15, 2008

Chuck, "Chuck vs. Santa Claus": Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho.

Spoilers for the last "Chuck" of 2008 coming up just as soon as I ask Walter Sobchek to get Casey a toe...

"What do you do when you see your girlfriend do something so horrific it gets permanently burned into your brain?" -Morgan

I still think NBC is being short-sighted in its decision to bench "Chuck" for the next six weeks (it returns the night after the Super Bowl with a 3-D episode), given how the ratings suffered after its last (albeit much longer) hiatus, but if they have to go away for a while, at least they're leaving us with one of the series' best episodes to date.

"Chuck vs. Santa Claus" was moving along amusingly enough when it still seemed like Ned Rhyerson was just a hapless criminal with the bad luck to crash into a store built above a top-secret government intelligence facility, but the surprising left turn it took when Chuck flashed on Lt. Mauser took things to another level.

On a lot of other shows, I would have out-guessed that particular twist, especially since Michael Rooker is usually cast as the heavy, but "Chuck" is exactly the kind of show that would have devoted its entire Christmas episode to a light-hearted "Dog Day Afternoon" parody (with a liberal sprinkling of "Die Hard") where nothing's at stake but Casey's dignity. Plus, Rooker has done at least one other comedy set in a mall. So I was floored when the danger turned out to be very real.

Because Zachary Levi is so good at navigating the show's odd mix of tones, I immediately bought the shift from goofy to deadly serious, that Ned with a jacket was a bumbler who didn't know how to work a gun but that Ned without his jacket was a guy who knew exactly what he was doing when he shot Casey's toe off and sent Casey and Sarah to safety. And because Levi and Yvonne Strahovski are both so good at wearing their characters' hearts on their sleeves, I was just as shaken as Chuck when I saw Sarah kill Lt. Mauser in cold blood to protect Chuck's secret. (She was also protecting, of course, his ability to live a normal life instead of being locked away forever in a CIA safehouse). We know why Sarah did it, but I take it from the way the scene was shot -- and the way the situation was paralleled with Morgan's, where he saw Lester kiss Anna but not the immediate aftermath -- that Chuck didn't hear what they were saying. And even if he had, I still suspect he would be wrecked by what he saw -- maybe even moreso. Chuck's gotten much better at living in spy world, but he doesn't want to be there, doesn't want to face the deadly stakes and moral complications that Sarah and Casey grapple with daily. Knowing that the woman he loves -- and the two actors made it clear in this episode that neither Chuck nor Sarah are in denial about their feelings, not deep down -- murdered a man, even a very bad man who threatened Ellie's life and was prepared to lock Chuck away forever, all for Chuck's sake...

...well, that would mess me up if I was Chuck, especially after Sarah smiled so sweetly and lied so easily to me about it. Even more than the "our relationship is jeopardizing both our lives" argument from "Chuck vs. the Break-Up," this is the kind of romantic complication that doesn't feel the least bit contrived, that could plausibly postpone the inevitable for a long time and not get old.

Chuck witnessing a side of Sarah he usually tries to forget the existence of was the emotional heart of "Chuck vs. the Santa Claus," but this one was clicking just as well on the comedy and action fronts -- the action in particular because, like the centrifuge chase in "Chuck vs. the Gravitron," it didn't skimp on the comedy. Yes, Morgan gets his big "John McClane pulls the gun off his back" moment when he helps take out Ned, but he's dressed as the world's hairiest elf, and he's blasting the bad guy with fake snow.

And speaking of the world's most bad-ass barefoot supercop, the episode made its inspirations plain with the casting of Reginald VelJohnson in his old "Die Hard" role as Sgt. Al Powell, who turns out to be cousin to the similarly round, jolly and snacktastic Big Mike. I would've liked to hear VelJohnson utter one of his lines from the movie (maybe asking Lt. Mauser if he wanted a breath mint), but it was all worth it for the edit from Powell scarfing down a Twinkie to Big Mike doing same, and for the shot of the cousins running to embrace each other to the strains of "Ode to Joy."

(And here are two links for anyone who wants to keep that wonderful Yippee-Ki-Yay feeling going: a minute-by-minute analysis of the first film -- including the first time I've ever heard it suggested that McClane isn't the one shooting at Al's car -- as well as the original version of Guyz Nite's "Die Hard" rock anthem.)

In addition to throwing a huge monkey wrench into the show's central relationship, "Santa Claus" also creates a whole lot of story possibilities for the back half of season two. You knew it was only a matter of time before Fulcrum or some other evil spy organization noticed how much action was going down in this one Burbank mall, and from there it was only a hop, skip and a jump to realizing that one of this mall's employees used to room with Bryce Larkin. Mauser's dead, but Ned's only locked up, and even if Fulcrum never gets to him, they have to realize they struck a nerve with their plan and will redouble their efforts to infiltrate this wacky electronics store. The only reason Chuck still has to work there is because the CIA feels it's a good cover, because who would think to look for the world's greatest intelligence asset at a Buy More? What happens now that the bad guys knew to look, and will probably know to keep looking?

How soon until February 2nd, anyway?

Some other thoughts on "Chuck vs. Santa Claus":

• I'm thinking I need to turn the "Chuck" Plot Hole Of The Week into a more prominent recurring segment, maybe with a sponsor and a theme song (preferably one whose lyrics explain that, while I like to point out these plot holes, the show's too good overall for them to bother me). Any potential advertisers, please get in touch. This week's candidate: when you assume Ned is just a bumbler, it makes sense that he would allow the hostages to roam free through the store, but once he reveals himself to be Fulcrum (to us, if not to the hostages), why would he keep letting them wander around to plot the exact kind of uprising that Awesome led?

• In addition to the triumphant return of Al Powell (last seen cameoing in "Die Hard 2"), our other two guest stars were well-cast and named. Jed Rees, whom I like to think of as one of the aliens from "Galaxy Quest," played a character named after (with a slight change in spelling) the funniest part of "Groundhog Day." Meanwhile, you really have to hand it to the writers' obscure '80s fetish for naming Lt. Mauser after the villain from the second and third "Police Academy" movies, whom nobody remembers because G.W. Bailey came back starting with the fourth one. (Yes, I've seen at least six "Police Academy" movies. I had HBO in the 1980s. What do you expect?)

• I think we're starting to take for granted just how good Strahovski is at the emotional scenes, but take another look at her during the sequence where everyone at the Buy More is calling their loved ones and Sarah realizes she's got nobody to call. Man. And Chuck's attempt to get her into the holiday spirit -- which we know Josh Schwartz has no shortage of -- felt very similar to Seth Cohen trying to get Ryan into the Chrismukkah spirit. Chuck is obviously Seth, which I guess makes Sarah into a very femme Ryan.

• The song playing over the final sequence is "Christmas and Me Are Through" by Your Vegas.

• I think the writers are still struggling to nail Millbarge; he was very funny bonding with Big Mike over the price-gouging early on, but his attempt to promote the store after being released fell flat

• On the other hand, General Beckman is starting to get a personality. I liked her giving Casey grief for getting paper cuts at the gift-wrapping station: "It's an electronics store, Major, not Basra. Get it together." That also nicely foreshadowed that Casey would suffer the first permanent injury in his career later in the episode.

• This week's Disturbing Jeff Fact (also a potential destination for some lucky sponsor!): he only has eight toes. I don't even want to think about what happened to the other two.

• During the phone call montage, we find out that Casey's close enough to his mom that he lets her call him "Johnny Boy," and that Jeff's mother is Prisoner 27318 at Lompoc.

• We all know about the brilliance of the picket fence when played in Indiana high school basketball, but is there really a football version of the play? Or was Captain Awesome's play-diagramming just shameless pandering to me and Bill Simmons?

• One missed opportunity: given that Chuck had already begged Devin to not be awesome (i.e., don't try to jump Ned), and given that Mauser and Ned were watching him closely to make sure he didn't warn his friends, it would have been much cooler if he had told Devin that now was exactly the time to be awesome.

What did everybody else think?

93 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chuck keeps getting better. I love the Chuck/Sarah relationship and the actors are terrific at hitting all the right notes. This obstacle seems very real and opens to the fact that she deals with lots of killing, not just this one and they have to mean something.

Funny moments throughout, especially love the wrapping paper cuts on Casey and the phone calls from Lester to the sex line and Jeff to the prison.

Looking forward to Feb!

Mike said...

Oh, I thought they couldn't surpass the casting of Carl Lumbly as Casey's sensei (I'm the guy who had the comment to that effect based on the preview deleted a couple of weeks back), but seeing Reginald VelJohnson reprising his role as Al Powell was amazing. Particularly in a Christmas episode - Die Hard, along with Gremlins, is my favorite sneakily Christmas-themed film of all time. And I _thought_ Lt. Mauser sounded familiar...

I agree, I was also a little disappointed in the second part of the Milbarge story. Jeff and Lester are pretty clearly one-note characters, and they're getting flat to me. But we've seen that Tony Hale can take a one-note character and make him compelling. Better lines and more screen time for Milbarge!

Anyway, thanks for the great analysis, and for the forum for our comments.

Matt said...

I didnt see you mention it but when Millbarge tells Ned his mom has a rare disease, he calls it
Lucaplekia(sp?). A reference to the classic 80's film, Lucas. I believe. This show is amazing!

Matt said...

Don't they explicitly show McClane firing his gun after the body drops on Powell's car? Where's the mystery?

As soon as I saw the name in the credits and heard him introduce himself as Sgt. Powell, I was waiting for more cameos. Sure, Dwayne and Karl are dead, but you can't get William Atherton to be the TV reporter? What's Ellis up to nowadays?

Chris Littmann said...

Great twist turned a potentially vanilla holiday episode into one of the top two or three all-time. (Bonus points for catching the Ned Rhyerson thing. You've got me on alert now, and I really want to solve the mystery of the sports names.)

Alan Sepinwall said...

Don't they explicitly show McClane firing his gun after the body drops on Powell's car? Where's the mystery?

I assumed as much, but apparently a lot of people are adamant that McClane wouldn't shoot at another cop and risk maybe killing him.

you can't get William Atherton to be the TV reporter? What's Ellis up to nowadays?

Atherton's busy on "Life," where I'm busy working in quotes from various Atherton films of the 1980s and early 90s. Got a recommended Richard Thornburg line?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Oh, and Ellis is playing Debra Messing's boyfriend on "The Starter Wife."

OldDarth said...

Great episode overall. Lots of laughs and Big Mike's cousin turning out to be Al the cop from the first Die Hard was a nice touch.

Nice fake-out about the incident. Turned out it was not just the execution but Sarah's bald face lie too. It all comes back to the trust issue again.

Love the parallel with Morgan and Anna too.

How long before Chuck calls Sarah on her lie? I'm betting it will be in 2.14.

Imagine if Chuck finds out about the termination order on him now? No way he will trust Sarah on this.

Put this one up in the top two or three for the season.

Karen said...

More thoughts in a moment, but Alan the quote at the beginning of your review was said by Morgan, not by Chuck.

Alan Sepinwall said...

More thoughts in a moment, but Alan the quote at the beginning of your review was said by Morgan, not by Chuck.

You are correct. Fixed.

Cameron Hughes said...

While there are a lot of similarities between Seth and Chuck, I don't think Chuck is nearly as cynical as Seth was

Alan Sepinwall said...

While there are a lot of similarities between Seth and Chuck, I don't think Chuck is nearly as cynical as Seth was

And Sarah doesn't get into as much trouble at cotillions as Ryan did.

Gregg said...

If Chuck is Seth and Sarah Ryan, does that mean that John Casey is Luke?

And thank you all for making not feel like the only person who looks for references in every episode. My roommate and girlfriend both think I am nuts.

I cannot wait for this show to come back. It has easily become the one I look forward to most each week.

Matt said...

I'm trying to think of a Dick Thornburg quote, but all I can think about is "Helsinki, Sweden", which isn't him.

Ember said...

Can anyone help me find out what the song at the end is? I've got it stuck in my head now and would like to put a name to it.
"Santa Claus, Santa Claus
There's no Christmas here anymore
'cause she's gone..."

Loved this episode - really great job by the entire cast, right down to Anna's "Gross!"

Alan Sepinwall said...

Can anyone help me find out what the song at the end is?

If you re-read the review really carefully, you'll find that I've hidden that information very cleverly somewhere within.

Karen said...

Wow, Alan, that was fast!

This was a really tremendous episode on just about every conceivable front, with every set of characters having a little development of their own.

I confess that when Mauser showed up to take over from Al Powell, I wondered about him (no ID flashed, or anything), but it never occurred to me that he was working in concert with Ned. That is, once I felt certain that Ned was really innocuous--I wondered when he first burst in if he was sent on purpose as well, but the actor really sold me on the guy's innocuousness. When the SWAT guys told Casey that Ned wasn't married, I was certain that they were Mauser's associates, lying, not real cops telling the truth. So I was caught ahead and behing on a regular roller coaster.

Thanks for pointing out that Ned was a Galaxy Quest alum; I knew I recognized him from somewhere!

But even suspecting (then not suspecting) Ned and suspecting (then forgetting to continue suspecting) Mauser, it never occurred to me that they were FULCRUM, or that they had set up this clever sting to smoke out the reason for Casey and Sarah's presence. That was ingenious.

The scene among the Christmas trees was heartbreaking. When Chuck turned back, I figured he'd get himself captured. It never occurred to me, until they showed the moment he began to overhear Mauser's and Sarah's exchange, what they were actually setting him up for. I think that all he actually heard was Mauser saying "I'm ready to go; arrest me." So, not only did he not realize this was the capstone to his taunting Sarah with Chuck's dire future, but it comes off looking like Sarah shot a repentant, willing captive. I think that, more than the shooting itself, is what got to Chuck (because I'm a big ol' geek, it made me think of the White Witch and Aslan, Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time, and Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time--did any of that make it into the movie??). And then Sarah blithely lying about it was the capper. Levi's look of almost nauseated horror and anguish was heartbreaking.

As was the sight of Morgan, digesting the kiss between Anna and Lester. Gomez hasn't shown--or been allowed to show--the depth of character that Levi has displayed for Chuck, but that shot of Morgan's heartbreak was poignant indeed.

I agree that this break until February just seems unnecessary. I don't understand networks' habitual splitting of seasons. I can't begin to understand how that helps ratings. It just makes me cranky and pissed off.

But I think I may hold on to this episode on the DVR for a while. There was so much going on; it was a real Christmas present to the fans.

I love this show so much.

J said...

Okay, I like this show plenty, I'm involved, it's appointment TV. But the gushing here's felt a little heavy lately. A lot of the first half of this ep was just dead space. The Fulcrum reveal needed to happen way sooner; as long as we think Ned's a bumbler, and folks are wandering the store willy nilly, there was zero reason to not to try to take him down. Chuck's panicky personality has been tiresome since early in the show's run. Levi's cute, and fine at the quieter stuff, casual buddy humor or sincere relationship moments. Beyond that he can't manage anything but a stiff cartoony OMG!!! mode.

The Sarah-the-Killer thing is Zzzzzzzz. SHE KILLED A BAD GUY ON A SPY SHOW. Rather than Chuck's shock over the action and a dumb lie as a contrivance, I'd rather they just went ahead and confronted her own problems with the action and her inability to share that vulnerability.

As far as plot holes, how about everything related to the store? Decorating on the day before Xmas? Leaving a whole squad of Nerd Herd vehicles clogging the parking lot's closest spaces? Chuck not warning Elly and Awesome about day-before price mark-ups? And don't they have a complete list of FULCRUM agents, now? Shouldn't Ned have been on that?

Still love the show, enjoy its characters, want to see both Chuck and Sarah happy. And things like the look on Lester's face when he called his phone sex line, that's good stuff. And those things help me abide a lot of the many flaws.

filmcricket said...

God, what a great episode. I didn't see the Fulcrum twist coming at all. At first I was a little disappointed, because I thought the situation was tense enough, with Chuck possibly blowing his cover, that spy-world didn't need to intrude into Chuck-world any further. But it totally paid off at the end.

Chuck knows intellectually that Sarah's killed people before, but it's been a long time since he's had to face that fact, and I'm certain he never thought she'd do it in cold blood. This is a much bigger and more realistic obstacle to any potential romance than their professional relationship. I just hope they deal with the aftermath quickly. Not that Chuck should get over it soon, but I hope they don't go several episodes of not talking about it and screwing up missions because they aren't communicating.

Am I the only one who was disappointed not to see Anna take part in the rescue? I kept waiting for her to kick Ned's butt.

Bobman said...

I was particularly impressed with strahovski in this episode. A buddy of mine is just getting into the show, watching eps from last season on DVD, and I watched a few with him, and her acting improvement ( as well as Morgans character improvement) is the biggest thing to jump out at me. Kudos.

As for the 'murder', chuck has seen her kill so many people, I'm kinds surprised it's such a big deal now. The cold bloodedness I guess, but you'd think he would have known it was part of the package after all this time.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Ned Rhyerson the name of the "old friend" of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Wasn't Ned Rhyerson the name of the "old friend" of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day?

If you re-read the review really carefully, you'll find that I've hidden that information very cleverly somewhere within.

RSR said...

When you assume Ned is just a bumbler, it makes sense that he would allow the hostages to roam free through the store, but once he reveals himself to be Fulcrum...

I was under the impression the Ned was actually a random guy that Fulcrum enlisted for this particular project so that the CIA/NSA wouldn't have any information on him when they inevitably looked it up...although now that I think about it, he did have that too good to be true kick at Lester...so maybe he wasn't so random after all. Just a thought to explain the plot hole.

This definitely goes in my top Christmas episodes list. I loved how they (yet again) combined the humor with the action. Great episode! The next two months are gonna be difficult...

filmcricket said...

@ Bobman: I'm not sure Chuck has seen Sarah kill people a lot. He's seen both Casey and Sarah shoot at people to stop them, and beat the living crap out people in self-defense, but the show is pretty careful about the actual body count.

(It reminds me of the first season of Alias where you never saw Sydney with a gun - she was always just kickboxing her way out of situations. Or, you know, The A-Team with millions of bullets fired but no one ever gets hit unless it's a plot point like Murdoch spending a whole episode with a bullet in his shoulder.)

In the pilot, Chuck flashes on Sarah shooting some people, and in "vs. the Helicopter" he thinks she's killed the doctor and trying to poison him, but other than that, he hasn't really seen her be fully lethal.

Anonymous said...

Plot holes? There's always tons, but a few that came to mind while watching the episode were:

If you're sending in a secret operative who's going to call his wife...Why not give him a wife?

What exactly was Ned's exit strategy after Mauser and Chuck left? He just seemed to be settling in for the long haul, taking off his jean jacket and all.

Won't FULCRUM just send a couple more agents to the Buy More tomorrow? To be honest, this was during Michael Rooker's speech and what I was actually wondering was why would Mauser taunt Sarah to shoot him? But clearly to answer to that is obvious: Because Michael Rooker's a badass, that's why.

skip said...

Here's what bugs me. Chuck only saw Sarah shoot Mauser because he went back into tree lot. But why did he go back? Chuck has no fighting skills and no weapon at hand (and no training to use a weapon even if he did). What could he possibly be except a nuisance to Sarah in trying to take Mauser down?

The truth is Chuck went back because the show needed Chuck to see Sarah shoot Mauser. But the show uses this scene too often, where Chuck says "I can't leave you" to Sarah and then shows up to play a crucial plot convenient role. He's done it less with Casey, but it was also apparent in the Carl Lumbly episode when he just wouldn't stay put at the Orange Orange and stay out of John's way.

I'd understand if Chuck always happened to be at the right place at the right time, but I don't understand why the show chooses instead to draw attention to a creaky piece of plot mechanics via suggesting that Chuck never ever listens to John or Sarah.

Josh M. said...

Thanks for linking to my Die Hard diary. It's the blog post that won't die. Anybody who gets a "Mauser" reference, by the way, gets an A+ in my book.

Rewatch the Die Hard scene again. It never shows McClane firing the gun, just a gun being fired - and the bullets seem to be coming out of the building on a floor beneath where McClane should be. It just doesn't make sense that a cop would pepper another cop's car with bullets from 200 yards.

I gotta get in touch with McTiernan somehow and get to the bottom of this. I've now seen about five blogs run with that question from my original post.

Mayhem said...

I think one of the major things that was accomplished today was the giving Morgan some depth. I think he was becoming one of those one trick guys like Jeff and Lester and kinda bland. Tonight though giving him the quote on quote hero role and then getting his heart broke stood out to me.

I think what tonight also set up was place where Bryce shows back up in future episodes. I read somewhere that even though Matt Bomer is staring in some new cable show that he is contracted to appear into as many as 4 episodes of Chuck a season so could a Larkin return provide enough reason for Fulcrum to stay away from Chuck. Since the Fulcrum guy said he now knows that Chuck is the intersect it proves they didn't know. All they know is that bad things happen to all their people when they go near the Buy More.

As far as Chuck seeing what Sarah did tonight, I see it as something that will be dealt with but will eventually strengthen their relationship. Chuck has seen flashes of Sarah killing. He has referenced it in a couple of episodes alright. At that point why would Sarah admit to Chuck that she killed the Fulcrum agent? What point would that serve?

Tonight's episode did one major thing. It has cemented Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strohowski into a future if and when Chuck runs its course. It was one of the best-acted episodes of the series...thus why it will be regarded as one of the best episodes. Doing it all with basically a secondary role for John Casey. Loved Baldwin's little Full Metal Jacket reference when leaves the store, "Freedom?" Atleast I think that was what he said.

Also you guys think of Die Hard when thinking of Reginald VelJohnson? I think of Carl Wenslow from Family Matters. I was waiting for Urkel to come out to talk to him.

Neil F. said...

A great episode and a great review by Alan, as usual. I don't have anything to add about this ep. of "Chuck," but I do want to clarify the confusion about who shoots the car in "Die Hard." It is absolutely not McClain, and absolutely is one of the terrorists. I popped in the DVD to be sure, and here's how it goes down:

When Sgt. Powell walks into the building to talk to the fake security guard, there is a camera shot of a few terrorists - one with a huge machine gun - looking out a low-floor window. McClain is on one of the top floors, with a much smaller submachine gun. A few minutes later, McClain throws the dead terrorist's body out the window. With their cover blown, the terrorist with the huge machine gun on the lower floor opens up on the police car.

Matt said...

Okay, I feel really silly for looking into this, but...

Josh is right. When you see McClane in the window -- "welcome to the party, pal" -- he's not firing, but shots are heard. According to the script:

Suddenly a barrage of MACHINE GUN FIRE from Alexander on the third floor drowns out his call! Powell ducks and flattens against the seat as bullets blow out the front window, covering him in glass.

But still, it makes just a little less sense for Bruce Willis to shoot up the cop car than for the terrorists to do so. "Inconvenient timing," as Hans says.

Sorry for the interruption. Back to Chuck.

Katrine said...

I agree with Karen: the crux of "what Chuck saw" is that he saw (and heard) a Fulcrum agent ready to surrender, and Sarah shooting him absolutely without reason (far as he saw it).

And then the easy lie about the detainment facility--if I were Chuck, I'd be thinking "all those other people that were taken to a 'detainment facility' during the course of last two years-were they just shot too?"

Katrine said...

As far as plot holes go thoigh: WHY DOES FULCRUM KEEP SENDING AGENTS TO DISAPPEAR?

We've already had at least 3 agents who found out Chuck's secret and then were either killed or taken in by the CIA/NSA. You'd think if Fulcrum were at least mildly competent, they'd have their agents, I dunno, twitter "Chuck is the intersect!" to the headquarters as soon as they find out before doing ANYTHING else. Otherwise it seems like we're in for an ever-growing string of agents just coming up and being disposed of, one by one...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, chock-a-block with '80s film references again. One that flashed for me with the Ryerson character, at least early on, that you didn't mention was Tim Robbins in "Cadillac Man"---one of the few Robin Williams films I can sit through. Right down down to crashing his vehicle into the showroom.

Juanita's Journal said...

Here's what bugs me. Chuck only saw Sarah shoot Mauser because he went back into tree lot. But why did he go back? Chuck has no fighting skills and no weapon at hand (and no training to use a weapon even if he did). What could he possibly be except a nuisance to Sarah in trying to take Mauser down?


Because he is Chuck and he is always concerned over those he loves. This isn't the first time he has done this.

Charles said...

Yes, there is a football play called 'picket fence,' though I don't know if it makes sense in the way it was used.

It's a defensive call where you let the receivers get behind your linebackers, but each linebacker covers the passing lane that the receivers are in. Their job is to make the receiver look open to the QB, but then knock down the ball when it is thrown. I think the most prominent time it was used was in the 1995 AFC Championship game, when the Chargers used it to beat the Steelers on the last drive of the game.

Anthony Foglia said...

Good episode, but a lot of plot holes. Most have been covered (What was Ned's exit strategy? Why didn't he do a better job controlling the hostages at the end? etc.), but here's an additional one: Why didn't Sarah tell Chuck she shot Mauser? Obviously she wouldn't say it was simply to get rid of him, but she could say it was self-defense. We'd still get the same doubt from Chuck, but it wouldn't be that big a lie.

At this point, how much longer can Chuck work at the Buy-More before the illogic ruins the show?

Anonymous said...

The one thing I do every week- no matter how stressful the job, no matter how much I hate my life- is get up and dance during the opening credits of Chuck. I love this show.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't Sarah tell Chuck she shot Mauser?

Because she cares for him and knows that Chuck would have trouble caring for somebody who killed people.

Devin McCullen said...

Another '80s reference that hasn't been pointed out yet - when Mauser asks Sarah "What are you going to do, arrest me?", he's clearly imitating Billy Drago in The Untouchables. (Which should have told us what was coming.)

But I've got to ask, why didn't they use the Hall & Oates version of "Jingle Bell Rock" (aka The Worst Music Video Ever)?

And I started laughing the minute they switched to Ode to Joy, because I knew exactly where that was headed.

RSR said...

Somewhat unrelated to the episode but when exactly does the show return? I've read in some places not until the episode after the Superbowl but I've read other places that it is set to return the week before...any intel on that? Thanks!

Alan Sepinwall said...

Somewhat unrelated to the episode but when exactly does the show return? I've read in some places not until the episode after the Superbowl but I've read other places that it is set to return the week before...any intel on that? Thanks!

If you re-read the review really carefully, you'll find that I've hidden that information very cleverly somewhere within.

me said...

Did anyone else get an "Empire Records" vibe when Ned first crashed into the Buy More?

My Name's Not Warren?

Maybe?

Marquis said...

Anyone have any idea how they are going to handle the 3D episode if you don't live in the us?

Bruce Reid said...

Alan: "During the phone call montage, we find out that Casey's close enough to his mom that he lets her call him "Johnny Boy,"...."

Apologies if your humor's too dry for me to pick up on, but I took Casey's phone call as an update on the situation to the strike force, so they'd know the extraction failed and Chuck was still inside.

Anonymous said...

During the scene where Chuck is talking to sara in the romantic comedy DVD section the only DVD in the shot and a lot of the shot was BASEKETBALL... Matt Stone and Trey Parker's sports parody. I wonder which prop guy,writer, or producer loves Baseketball.

WendyL said...

I have to say that I must applause both Levi and Strahovski for their wonderful works in this episode. And I am particularly impressed with Strahovski more and more, week after week. She does such superb job in selling Sarah's loneliness and sadness (when everyone was phoning their love ones), the intensity of the fight scenes, and the struggle on whether or not to shoot the Fulcrum agent. The looks on her eyes were so telling. That cold-blooded look as she murdered the agent had me stunned. Also, I have to commend her for putting on a believable perfect American accent.

RSR said...

Wow, I'm clearly blind haha. Just got confused because the stupid tv.com episode guide must have gotten titles or air dates of the episodes mixed up.

Another fun moment I noticed:
In the screencap you've used for the episode, another moment frames it a little differently so that the sign in the background is directly next to Casey and it says "Stubborn. You Bet." Very typical Casey.

pixelwax said...

At this point, how much longer can Chuck work at the Buy-More before the illogic ruins the show?

Who cares?!

I'm having so much fun with this show I just don't see how it can be ruined. For me, I see each show for what it is and my need for logic does not build from show to show. Thus, I think logic and plot holes are only issues for those who are not having a total blast with it. IOW, if you're having a total good time with the show, you're not out to fulfill a prophecy of doom. Others? Seek and ye shall find your buzzkill. YMMV. :)

pixelwax said...

Chuck's panicky personality has been tiresome since early in the show's run.

I think you're missing the difference between now and then. Take tonight's show for example. While he may have had moments of panic it wasn't like before. Tonight he got through his panic and put his experience to use and devised outs to protect those he loved. He was hardly the incapacitated gelatinous mass he once appeared to be.

Kensington said...

I enjoyed the episode right up until the moment when Chuck saw Sarah killing Mauser. As soon as I realized that they were going to go angsty with that, it felt contrived, and I rolled my eyes.

This is the kind of conflict that would be best addressed with an honest conversation, and such an honest conversation would probably end up being a hell of a lot more interesting than the prolonged angst-fest that the closing montage promised. Imagine if, instead of a music video, we got to see Chuck and Sarah talk about what happened and express their true unbridled, messy feelings about it. That could be really dynamic and fascinating television.

Also, the same thing, to a less significant effect, could be said about the Anna-Morgan situation. If she tells Morgan what happened, the conflict is over. If she doesn't, it's contrived. It's classic idiot plot.

Edvin said...

Ive read this post alot of times now , ive did my best to figure out what the name to song in the end is " santa claus there's no christmas here anymore , throw the bells away ...etc "
But i really cant find it ,probably my english that is a bit limited , or it´s just to obvious . But can´t you just please post the name in comments. Love the post as i loved the episode

Rachel said...

The one thing I do every week- no matter how stressful the job, no matter how much I hate my life- is get up and dance during the opening credits of Chuck. I love this show.

I dance to it every week too! I love everything about the title sequence.

Put me in the "loved it" column for this episode. Levi and YS brought it as usual, and everything else clicked well.

Only technical quibble -- the continuity editing in the scene when Sarah shoots Mauser. She clearly had one hand on the gun, then two in the close-up, and then one again after that. I don't usually notice stuff like that on the first viewing, but it stuck out like a sore thumb.

Rachel said...

Edvin --

• The song playing over the final sequence is "Christmas and Me Are Through" by Your Vegas.

Devin McCullen said...

Also, while it obviously wasn't a reference, as a Pushing Daisies fan I was amused to see Chuck & Ned working together.

Sarah said...

Kensington - yes, yes, yes. I wholeheartedly agree with you. I was loving this episode so much until I saw that final scene coming and thought, oh no they aren't. And yes, they did. And that killed the love.

What I have a hard time with is Chuck believing that Sarah wouldn't kill the person HE TOLD HIS BIGGEST SECRET TO. He really has no one to blame but himeself - if he hadn't told the Fulcrum agent he was the Intersect, she wouldn't have had to kill him (most likely).

Chuck has known all along Sarah will do anything to protect him, first because it's her job and then because she cares for him, and so why is he surprised/shocked/disgusted by Sarah shooting the agent?

Yes, she lies to him, but his life, and the lives of everyone he loves, were at risk and CHUCK put them there.

dez said...

But clearly to answer to that is obvious: Because Michael Rooker's a badass, that's why.


You expected less from Henry, the Serial Killer? :-)

Not much to add, as I loved the ep as much as most posters here, but I don't mind the Chuck/Sarah angst over the shooting (well, as long as they don't drag it out forever). Plus, John Casey with paper cuts from gift wrapping = endless amusement.

@Mayhem, I also thought of "Family Matters" over "Die Hard." Urkel showing up with a gun would have been pretty funny.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Also you guys think of Die Hard when thinking of Reginald VelJohnson?

When he's playing his character from "Die Hard" in a parody of "Die Hard," I sure do.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I don't think the Chuck/Sarah thing qualifies as Idiot Plot, because even if they had an honest conversation about it, I think he would still be freaked out. Sarah committed cold-blooded murder for Chuck, and even if she was probably right to do so, and even if not doing so probably would have led to the end of Chuck's life as he knows it (and possibly the end of Ellie and Morgan and Awesome's lives as they know it), he still has to live with that guilt. Sarah can do the moral calculus and be fine with what she did; Chuck's still too innocent to do that.

So whether he confronts her or not, this creates real problems for the two of them, and I like that.

Blogette said...

What I have a hard time with is Chuck believing that Sarah wouldn't kill the person HE TOLD HIS BIGGEST SECRET TO. He really has no one to blame but himeself - if he hadn't told the Fulcrum agent he was the Intersect, she wouldn't have had to kill him (most likely).
Sarah had completely planned on just arresting the guy until he made his threat.

So here's the thing (and I I have no idea if anyone said this before me, so I apologize in advance if so), from Chuck's POV - since he only saw the tail end of the confrontation between Sarah and the Fulcrum agent - all he saw was a guy fully complying with arrest and then Sarah shooting him anyway. THAT is what I found Chuck's initial problem to be with the situation. And then she lied to him with a smile on her face (even though, on her side of things, she was just as screwed up since she just killed a guy, not because it's her job, but because of her feelings).

Blogette said...

Also:

"Oh no, he didn't!" - the most WTF moment of the episode...in a good way.

Andrew said...

I don't have anything to add but mad props for an episode that not only worked in all of the characters, gave plausible reasons for tension between Chuck and Sarah (with a parallel for Morgan) and namedropped "Ned, Ned Ryerson" from Groundhog Day. After having Sarah's dad being a couple of syllables away from pulling a scam of selling Nakatomi Plaza in the last episode, bringing in Reginal VelJohnson to play Big Mike's brother was brilliant.

And the turn the episode took in the last half hour was surprising and engaging.

erin said...

Re: the theme song

I'm the same way! I know it's a great Cake song on its own, but I love it even more combined with the animation. It puts me in a groovin' mood. And the little Chuck figure missing the Chinese throwing star weapon by pulling his head up? Love it!

Ok, back to the plot...

Nigel said...

...it would have been much cooler if he had told Devin that now was exactly the time to be awesome.

I had exactly that feeling. "Now it's time to be awesome" would have made an excellent line, but on the other hand I was too wrapped up in the intense awesomeness of the entire ep to be too bothered ;)

Anonymous said...

Weren't the cops on the tail of the car during the chase? If so, how come they didn't charge into the store after the crash? There was enough of a delay before Chuck closed it down.

Mayhem said...

Huge Ratings increase for Chuck. Over 500,000 by early counts. It got 7.56 Million viewers finishing 2nd for the 8/7PM Central time slot. Good news.

J said...

@Alan I don't think the Chuck/Sarah thing qualifies as Idiot Plot, because even if they had an honest conversation about it, I think he would still be freaked out.

I bristle more at the drawn-out mechanics of the situation than the problems it represents between the two of them. Now we have to go through him telling her he knows, her explaining the lie and finally just telling him what she could have told him at the end of the episode. Waste of time.

@pixelwax Tonight he got through his panic and put his experience to use and devised outs to protect those he loved. He was hardly the incapacitated gelatinous mass he once appeared to be.

The character was functional. The actor used the same lazy bug-eyed stuttering shortcuts. I was knocking Levi, not Chuck (who certainly could have come up with a better long-term solution than telling Fulcrum that he was the Intersect, but whatevs).

filmcricket said...

Is anyone wondering what Fulcrum's endgame is with the Intersect anyway? Bryce said his mission in the pilot was "an internal strike" and in the S2 premiere, Fulcrum blows up the new computer (along with Tony Todd and what looked like a phalanx of agents ready to take Chuck's place).

But Bryce is also still alive because he told Tommy he was the Intersect; Fulcrum is chasing Bryce on that basis, and the few Fulcrum agents who have discovered Chuck's secret have tried to take him in rather than killing him. If the plan is to destroy the Intersect, why not just shoot him in the head and have done with it?

Kensington said...

Alan:
"I don't think the Chuck/Sarah thing qualifies as Idiot Plot, because even if they had an honest conversation about it, I think he would still be freaked out."
He might well still be freaked out, but at least it would still happen with everyone's cards on the table, which leaves more potential for the story to develop in interesting, unique and intelligent directions.

If they address what happened openly in the next episode, then fine, but if they're planning to drag it out with Sarah not understanding why Chuck's got the willies and Chuck not saying anything, that could get really tedious really quickly.

But you're probably right about it not necessarily being Idiot Plot. However, Morgan and Anna is clearly Idiot Plot.

Consider this potential exchange:

MORGAN: "Anna, I saw you kissing Lester!"

ANNA: "No, Morgan, you idiot! He kissed me, and I socked him for it! It was disgusting!"

If that exchange, or something like it, happens, the conflict is over; if it doesn't happen, it's contrived.

Kensington said...

"Huge Ratings increase for Chuck."
Great! And now all of those new viewers will have nothing to solidify their viewership for the next six weeks.

Awesome.

Alan Sepinwall said...

However, Morgan and Anna is clearly Idiot Plot.

Given that Anna clearly won't be dating Lester anytime soon, I suspect this is one where the truth will come out much quicker than it will with Chuck and Sarah.

Kathleen Taylor said...

Ned? Ned Rhyerson?

I thought I caught a bit of The Shining in the chase through the Christmas Trees as well (much like the throwaway reference to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, last week). I find myself watching and loving the show for the story, but the references give it a special kick.

Stylist Mick said...

Needed more Ellis:

http://www.cafepress.com/dont_be_ellis.137485317

Alan Sepinwall said...

Oh, that is splendid, Stylist Mick. If I could afford Chrismukkah presents this year, I would absolutely get one for myself or my life partner.

Chris Littmann said...

Alan, I'm trying to solicit answers from SN users about the whole Chuck-random athlete connection. I'm guessing you could get a bug in Schwartz's ear before me, but you must share if you figure it out!

http://www.sportingnews.com/blog/firstcuts/entry/view/15720/solving_the_chuck-sports_connection

Ed said...

Maybe it's too obvious, but I predict we'll see the shadow of Fulcrum's "Mr. Big" when the show comes back from its break.

And if it's not that obvious, the show comes back on Groundhog's Day.

mjryan said...

My question is this: why did Sarah lie to Chuck in the first place? Why not tell him that she killed Mauser and why? "He knew about you and even in custody we can't trust that Fulcrum won't discover your secret. I did it so you, Awesome and Ellie can keep your lives for a little while longer." Hello, that's her job, isn't it? If Chuck thought about it for a while, he'd realize what a tool his being and thank his lucky stars that Sarah, and Casey, go to the lengths they do to protect him and the people he loves.

I don't know, I really hate conflict from lack of communication, so the whole ending scene kinda pisses me off. It would be much better for Chuck to have reservations about Sarah knowing the facts than on half information. For Chuck to view Sarah differently because she has the ability to kill - even it if is justified - would be real conflict. For him to view her differently on half-information not only gives the writers an easy out from the "conflict" but it reeks of laziness in storytelling.

As for plot holes, why is John Casey using his real name?

Pale Writer said...

So...we get a Nakatomi reference the episode before the Die Hard parody; now a Groundhog Day reference the episode before the episode that airs on Groundhog Day.

Can we work backwards and try to find a pattern? Do I care too much?

cgeye said...

"What I have a hard time with is Chuck believing that Sarah wouldn't kill the person HE TOLD HIS BIGGEST SECRET TO. He really has no one to blame but himself - if he hadn't told the Fulcrum agent he was the Intersect, she wouldn't have had to kill him (most likely).

Chuck has known all along Sarah will do anything to protect him, first because it's her job and then because she cares for him, and so why is he surprised/shocked/disgusted by Sarah shooting the agent?

Yes, she lies to him, but his life, and the lives of everyone he loves, were at risk and CHUCK put them there."


Especially when Boo told him DURING THE EPISODE that she'd let no one hurt him. Just how many people does he think Bryce has killed, to keep the Intersect safe? John Casey? I'm assuming he's so bad-ass that he insists on using his real name, to give evildoers the fear.

Sarah was kicking ass and shooting automatics right along with both men -- and wasn't one of the more significant plot lines this season her growing doubts regarding being ruthless, because of her feelings for Chuck? If she were male, I'd say she regained her potency as an operative, after the blows of confronting her past with her father, but for now I'd say she's got her groove back.

Violence is how Sarah knows who and what she is, when she can rely on nothing else. The CIA gave and gives her a home, in contrast to the clandestine life giving Sydney Bristow the illusion of a happy and safe childhood. Unlike Sydney, she won't get her man killed because she was stupid; unlike Sarah, Chuck will continue to pretend the business of preserving his life has no cost, and he'll endanger himself and his family again and again, because he's supposed to be innocent. In short, Chuck Bartowski is America, 2008, and he's a very true and entertaining mirror. No one needs to throw shoes at him, however; he wouldn't know what hit him.

By-the-by, how the frak can a man stay that innocent, that doe-like, while even watching the news, when he has terabytes of America's and the world's dirtiest secrets accessible by his looking at a triggering image? That is the biggest plot hole CHUCK has -- why a man who could bring down every crooked politician and honest criminal is out in the open, unassassinated by his own goverment, to keep him quiet? If we ignore that hole, then we're in it for the long haul, and needs must ignore everything else attached to that.

It took THE SOPRANOS to deglamorize what THE GODFATHER built, regarding the American Mafia; perhaps the next decade will see more spy series that take on that unique career in betrayal, without being produced by the BBC... but they might not be as entertaining as CHUCK.

a said...

Rachel,

Not only was Sarah's gun held in one hand in the two-shot and a two-handed Weaver grip in the close-up, but in the two-shot she's holding the gun in her right hand, and in her left in the close-up. Think it might not even be YH's hand?

The whole "shoot the bad guy" ending didn't work that well for me. It reeked of a thousand other "oh no, now there's a secret between us" twists used on other, much worse shows. I agree that an honest admission by Sarah that "I did it because it's my job to protect you" would be much truer to the show and go down avenues other shows haven't been down innumerable times.

Still, the show is so much fun!

Pamela Jaye said...

I'm in Boston and my DVR is in FL, so the only thing I've been able to see so far is Chuck, cause my friend records it (yay! and I won't repeat the bar story, again. - wait: my friend said I should, so hopefully, her niece won't mind.

if you look very closely at the first video you can see Zach and Josh, and we think they are in the second one too, but it was a bit dark. They are also mentioned in the blog post itself. Really cute. (alas, Julie watches HIMYM, TBBT - but not Chuck. her aunt and family watch Chuck cause of this event, though, and they just bought me season 1 :-) (thanks, Kay!))

dave s said...

I thought the way they got Awesome & Ellie into the store was silly, but everything else was great. I'm with others that the "idiot plot" candidates are in keeping with the characters and the choices they've made all along.

I love the way the show swings into deeper emotional territory sometimes. I like that it doesn't live there, but the stakes get a little higher every time it plays in that particular playground. It does it so well and it really helps to stay invested in the characters.

I don't ever want Chuck to turn into a serial ala Lost/Heroes, etc., but I'm ready for it to have a "big bad" ala Buffy, and for what happened tonight to affect things for the rest of the season. I'm sure they can have Chuck & Sara be sweet and fun together again soon, but I want this to matter.

So, Chuck, you're flirting with becoming the best show on TV (rather than the most fun show on TV). Take us to the promised land. Raise the stakes. And have a ton of fun while you do it.

ThoughtfulGeek said...

Subject: Not Sarah’s hands.

Previous commentators "Rachel" and "A" are correct! Immediately after Sarah shoots Mauser we see an inserted ‘afterthought’ close-up 3-second clip of (someone’s) LEFT trigger-finger hand, whereas just before and after that clip we see Sarah's usual right trigger-finger hand on the gun. Not only that, but Chuck had clearly placed the bracelet on Sarah’s RIGHT wrist and we can still see it on her right as we see Sarah lower her gun after firing. But the bracelet is on someone’s LEFT wrist during this afterthought close-up. The close-up hands of this afterthought clip are NOT Sarah's hands. Just freeze-frame and compare those slightly rough hands and wrist (with slightly dirty fingernails) to Sarah's smooth & pretty feminine hands you see in a close-up freeze-frame earlier in the episode; (When Chuck and Sarah are in the Buy More and Chuck calls Sarah - she answers her cell phone - showing a good close-up of her hand.) So the Director goofed in the detail department. It was still a great episode. And Yvonne’s hands were not available for this 3 second clip since shooting of the episode had already wrapped up. So a stand-in was hastily used.

But forget the goof. Our real attention should be to the reason why the Director believed it was so important to create this 3 second scene. Did you catch it?

The Director added it in order to place focus on the important family heirloom bracelet Chuck had just given Sarah. It is an heirloom that was understandably special to Chuck - given by his father to his mother in celebrating (and symbolizing) the newborn life of Ellie and the joys and hopes that come with new birth. And yet in this close-up scene, Chuck sees the special woman whom he chose as worthy of wearing this symbol of life, yet holding a gun (just a few inches from the bracelet) and taking a life. Talk about contrast! And just as Morgan suggested later, this scene was burned into Chuck’s memory. We see Chuck think about this contrast again as he watches Ellie notice Sarah wearing the heirloom and saying “It looks good on you!”

Rachel said...

Oh, I understood why they had the close-up -- to emphasize the bracelet v. what Chuck just saw. And don't get me wrong, it didn't ruin the episode for me at all. It's just one of those things that I couldn't help but notice.

Josh M. said...

I just bought one, Stylist Mick. That's awesome - thanks.

jawlz said...

Oh, I also thought the 'my mom has leukoplakia' thing was a shout-out to the under appreciated 80s high-school-film gem Lucas; Lucas was the complete nerd who became a hero (of sorts), and was called leukoplakia to make fun of him.

Chip said...

I think Lester's maniacal laugh after stealing a kiss with Anna deserves a bullet point and the writers deserve points for not pursuing some freak love triangle like i feared they would for a second. As far as Chuck's reaction to Sarah's actions I think he should man up, but as for her lying she could've at least admitted to killing him just under self defense circumstances. It was definitely a good way to remind Chuck of Sarah's other side though.

Anonymous said...

but as for her lying she could've at least admitted to killing him just under self defense circumstances.

But that would be another lie; Chuck obviously saw the man was defenseless. Sarah's lie was with good intentions, and Chuck hasn't given her enough evidence to think he's ready the know the naked truth about being a spy.

Anonymous said...

As far as Die Hard goes and who is shooting, check out the scene on youtube. Mclain throws the body and clearly another person is doing the shooting, totally different weapon then the one Mclain had.

As far as Chuck goes, great episode, loved it when Al and big Mike called each other pal too. Hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Chuck vs. Santa Claus: I don't think Sarah killed the guy, that last shot of him on the ground - no blood or indication he was shot. I think Casey came up behind him and knocked him out or if the guy is dead, Casey made the shot out of Chuck’s line of vision (and remember it was depicted that Casey “killed” Bryce-and Chuck got over that). Or maybe the bad guy had a hidden weapon of some kind as just before Sarah’s shot he put his hands over his head for 'no reason', and if she did shoot him ... self defense. But I don’t think that's how it will play out, I still say Sarah didn’t really kill the guy. Time will tell, we'll hopefully see next season.

Baylink said...

> Immediately after Sarah shoots Mauser we see an inserted ‘afterthought’ close-up 3-second clip of (someone’s) LEFT trigger-finger hand, whereas just before and after that clip we see Sarah's usual right trigger-finger hand on the gun. Not only that, but Chuck had clearly placed the bracelet on Sarah’s RIGHT wrist and we can still see it on her right as we see Sarah lower her gun after firing. But the bracelet is on someone’s LEFT wrist during this afterthought close-up. [ ... ] So the Director goofed in the detail department.

Correct: it was a continuity screw up. In the insert, she's using a left-handed Walker stance; in the rest of the scene, right single- handed. But...

> But forget the goof. Our real attention should be to the reason why the Director believed it was so important to create this 3 second scene. Did you catch it?

I did. But I'm pretty sure you didn't.

> The Director added it in order to place focus on the important family heirloom bracelet Chuck had just given Sarah. It is an heirloom that was understandably special to Chuck - given by his father to his mother in celebrating (and symbolizing) the newborn life of Ellie and the joys and hopes that come with new birth. And yet in this close-up scene, Chuck sees the special woman whom he chose as worthy of wearing this symbol of life, yet holding a gun (just a few inches from the bracelet) and taking a life.

Yup. I was right. You missed it.

What Sarah was doing -- and anyone who reads this sort of novel will tell you that it was the proper solution to the problem: letting Mauser (great name, BTW) continue to live was not an acceptable solution, after Chuck admitted to being the Intersect. I knew he was a dead man walking.

But what *actually* happened is that Sarah preserved as much of a life as Chuck already has, instead of letting Mauser live, which would have had exactly the results he predicted.

What *I* think will be interesting is Chuck's reaction to realizing Sarah lied to him, and whether they go anywhere interesting with that.

I originally fell for this show mostly for the characters, the light badinage, and, of course, the fact that Yvonne is hot and Im heterosexual, but the writers persist in turning it into a *really* good TV series.

By my standards for such things, at least. :-)

max_h said...

I love this episode, and especially the final turn of events with Chuck looking on as Sarah kills Mauser. I was half expecting Chuck to jump in, all geeky knight in shining armor, on Mauser as he was brutally kicking Sarah while she was on the ground. So I was pleasantly surprised at the dark turn that the show chose in the episode. My heart sank a little upon realizing the difficult situation that Sarah found herself in, standing there while Mauser taunted her, and what the consequences of her actions would mean for both her relationship with Chuck further down the road. Easily one of my favorite episodes of any show of the year. "Chuck" has really been amazing this season!

Lyson said...

Someone mentioned the scene where sarah, and chuck are stalking / being stalked in the Christmas tree lot - I took it as a minor reference to Lethal Weapon 1 ( also set at Christmas)- when Riggs is doing a similar thing.

Marquis said...

I'm really posting this late, but I'm going through a season 2 marathon and I caught something. when Mauser first calls he asks to speak to Ned, not Nathan. He shouldn't know that info yet. If that was an intentional error on behalf of the writers to subtly clue us in it's brilliant.