Monday, January 25, 2010

Chuck, "Chuck vs. First Class": Up, up and away

A review of tonight's "Chuck" coming up just as soon as I write a letter to the airline...
"Let me be a spy. Let me out of the car. I'm ready." -Chuck
One of the reasons I assume NBC sent out five episodes of "Chuck" season three for critics to review is that the network wanted us to see the Chris Fedak-scripted "Chuck vs. First Class," the best of the bunch, and the third season episode that had the most fun, and the strongest handle on, Chuck's transition from schmuck hiding in the car to honest-to-gosh secret agent man.

This is a tricky thing the show is doing. Fedak and Josh Schwartz talked about the Intersect 2.0 as "a game-changer," but whenever I hear that phrase used to refer to a TV show, I usually think either A)I liked the game they were playing just fine and don't want it changed, or B)I didn't like the game and the show is therefore unlikely to change enough for me to care. By giving Chuck all these abilities, and by having people like General Beckman and now Agent Shaw accelerate his transformation from asset to spy, the writers risked robbing the show of a lot of its charm - of changing it from a spy show whose unlikely hero can save the world because he's good at Missile Command or label-making, to a more traditional spy show with a more conventional hero.

An episode like "Chuck vs. First Class" shows that the writers have managed to find a happy medium between letting Chuck grow and changing the show too much. Yes, Chuck goes on a solo mission on a fancy airplane(*) for the first time, but he has Shaw, Sarah and Casey talking him through most of it. He gets the Intersect to work well enough to become both an expert fencer - in a very entertaining, very "Chuck" fight sequence where our man again manages to stop the bad guy without lethal force - and later nunchuk master, but he also has to employ his ability to squeal like a girl, and the nunchuks never actually get used because Shaw and Sarah have taken out the bad guys via remote control. Chuck develops, a little - and it would be frustrating if he didn't - but the writers aren't pushing him as fast as Sarah fears Agent Shaw is, and they're not losing the essence of the series in the process.

(*) That was some very cool design work by the production team on that first class cabin, even if I doubt most airliners actually have room for a large wetbar these days.

In addition to advancing Chuck's career arc as a spy, and giving us more insight into Shaw - whose wife was, as I guessed, the agent he mentioned losing in last week's episode - "Chuck vs. First Class" also sets the stage for some kind of love rhombus between Chuck, Sarah, Shaw and Hannah, the charming woman Chuck meets on the plane and then helps get a job in the Nerd Herd, played by Kristin Kreuk. (This creates a superhero in-joke that I'm not entirely sure was intended, with Sarah heading towards the movie version of Superman and Chuck towards TV's Lana Lang.)

I've expressed my impatience with the Chuck/Sarah Unresolved Sexual Tension, but I'm actually okay with this particular wrinkle. First, Brandon Routh has been very interesting as Shaw. (As others have said, there were many problems with "Superman Returns," but he wasn't one of them, and I would hope he gets the post-cape career he deserves rather than the marginalized one Christopher Reeve had before his accident.) Second, though I was never much impressed by her during the brief period when I cared about "Smallville," I thought Kristin Kreuk fit in very nicely here, and had good chemistry with Zachary Levi. So I can actually understand Sarah and Chuck being drawn to these respective newcomers. I think the show needs to have some forward movement with the two of them soon, but at the same time I can go with the delaying tactics more easily when they're plausible and/or likable. (Lots of shows just come up with delays for the sake of delay, and don't bother to put much thought into them.)

The cherry on the sundae that is "Chuck vs. First Class" is the Buy More subplot, maybe my favorite story set at the store since Jeffster! played "Africa." With "Chuck" (mostly) flying solo, Fedak was free to tap into a comedy gold mine the show has mostly left alone over the last two-plus years: John Casey as Buy More employee. The idea of this veteran, homicidal NSA bad-ass being forced to spend large chunks of time working retail alongside the likes of Jeff and Lester is probably something the show could have done more with sooner. The problem, I guess, is that Buy More subplots usually occur while Operation Bartowski is off on a mission, and that wasn't a problem here. So for once we got a real sense of just how much the other employees are afraid of Casey, and we also got to see Casey applying spy tactics (first fear, then brainwashing) to put down Lester's insurgency. Adam Baldwin and Joshua Gomez made a nice team, and I hope this isn't the last we see of the NSA-colonel-turned-Buy-More-lieutenant-Ass-Man.

Some other thoughts:

• On the last day of press tour, Warner Bros. held a "Chuck" press conference at the Buy More set, with the whole cast, plus Schwartz, Fedak and Brandon Routh (who has learned very well from the show's spoiler-paranoid atmosphere how to answer a question without saying anything at all). A couple of highlights: First, Yvonne Strahovski said that when the Intersect 2.0 was introduced, she worried that Levi was going to take away all her kung fu scenes, which she enjoys - "But it's been good. It's been more fun because now we get to do kung fu together." (The panelists, and several reporters, "Awwww"ed at that.) Second, when Schwartz was asked when we would next see Jeffster!, he said, "We have to build to it. Jeffster is something we can't unleash too early. Otherwise, afterwards is disappointing. So, we gotta earn it. But it's coming." (Fienberg did a more detailed write-up of the set visit, if you care.)

• Have there been previous mentions of Sarah being a trained pilot? We know that Casey can fly jets, but it seemed odd when Shaw said Sarah could, too.

• Stone Cold Steve Austin made, as you'd expect, an effective Ring baddie, but I also liked the casting of Josie Davis (who once upon a time was the "plain" younger sister on "Charles in Charge," before growing up to be a soap opera vamp) as Serena the evil flight attendant.

• When we visit Lester's home for the first time, there's a picture of him being bar mitzvah'ed, which is a photo of a young Vik Sahay's head pasted onto someone else's bar mitzvah photo. Funny sight gag, but it doesn't exactly track with some season one scenes that implied Lester was recently converted to Judaism and/or was preparing to be bar mitzvah'ed as an adult. Because unless you're Danny Duberstein, you don't usually get bar mitzvah'ed multiple times.

• This week in "Chuck" pop culture references: Chuck tries to order a martini "shaken, not stirred" like James Bond used to (before Daniel Craig got the part); the codenames Shaw uses to communicate with the plane-controlling satellite are taken from "War Games" ("Crystal Palace" was the code for NORAD missile command) and the Bourne films (David Strathairn was working on Blackbriar in the third movie); the brainwashing sequence looked very similar to a scene from the Warren Beatty '70s conspiracy thriller "The Parallax View"; and the line Lester says about Morgan ("Morgan Grimes is the kindest, warmest, most understanding human being I've ever known in my life") comes from the brainwashed soldiers in the original "Manchurian Candidate."

• This week's musical selections included the Otis Redding version of "Respect," Carla Bruni's "L'Amourese," Mackintosh Braun's "Wake Up" and "Ready, Aim, Fire" by unknown (which, I'm told, is the name of the band).

• Though we never get to see Hannah's flat, her description of it lives up to the Roger Ebert rule that all movie and TV apartments and hotel rooms in Paris must have a view of the Eiffel Tower from the window.

• Last season's finale confirmed that Chuck does, in fact, get a paycheck from the government for his spy work. Do he and Casey (who just got a raise from Morgan) get to keep their Buy More paychecks, too? (Now that Sarah works at a government front, this isn't an issue for her like it was in the Wienerlicious days.)

What did everybody else think?

125 comments:

Jess said...

• Have there been previous mentions of Sarah being a trained pilot? We know that Casey can fly jets, but it seemed odd when Shaw said Sarah could, too

Season 1--Sarah knew how to fly a helicopter, so aircraft isn't too big a stretch. Besides, she can do anything.

Garrett said...

I agree - aside from the first episode back, they've done a good job of not letting Chuck's new abilities throw the tone out of whack.

And any episode in which Adam Baldwin gets an Evil Willow line is alright by me.

Alyson said...

I'm liking Brandon Routh a lot as Shaw - he's 100% correct about Sarah and Casey (though more Sarah than Casey) leaning towards overprotecting Chuck to the point that he doesn't learn anything. And it was nice to see Chuck have some measure of control over his flashes.

Nothing will beat the sight of Lester in footy pajamas though. Also, I need to know what happened with the volleyball incident at the company picnic.

Anonymous said...

I think I saw that the name of the airline was "Millennium Falcon." Anybody else catch that, or am I just crazy?

Stef said...

Great use of guest stars tonight, I thought. So many shows overdo guest stars, but these were all woven in nicely.

Otto Man said...

Great one. The Manchurian Candidate gag was great.

Otto Man said...

I think I saw that the name of the airline was "Millennium Falcon."

I can't remember the name, but the initials were MA. Maybe Millennium Airlines?

Otto Man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicole said...

I kept waiting for Hannah to be a Ring agent, so I'm glad that she is just a regular person. (at least for now). KK was always better when she was "girl next door" Lana Lang as opposed to "superpower kung fu" lana.

I suspect the lack of success for the most recent Superman movie will actually benefit Brandon Routh. He was funny in Kevin Smith's Zack and Miri Make a Porno and definitely played against type.

Finn said...

Very funny episode, especially the plane sequences. Agent Chuck being at his best. The Buy More stuff was decent too. Really, though, Casey is the funniest of them all and he is fun interacting with them. Nice scenes between Sarah/Shaw, I like that the CIA tracked her, seems very plausible and maybe will make her realize the plan was doomed to fail.

Hannah was fine, but Chuck maybe a bit too receptive to her for my tastes...but he is a good, friendly guy, so I guess believable. But the idea that he was so into seeing her after one plane ride? Buts its all good, because nice episode overall.

erin said...

I really enjoyed Kristin Kreuk (never saw Smallville, but i recognized her) and think she'll do nicely with the cast for however long she's there.

It was fun to see Chuck "unleashed" of sorts, but still with help. I like that Casey is giving him excellent advice by advising him to start fighting by screaming like a girl. Makes sense!

Speaking of little girls, Vic Sahay's hair is just so awesome, as were Lester's footie pajamas, and making Jeff his mouthpiece when refusing to speak to Morgan. He's such a creepy little dude, i love it.

weiqin said...

i enjoyed it immensely. Love that shaw actually recognizes that chuck has to learn how to be a proper spy and not constantly protect him. And like you alan, i think kristin kreuk was very good with zach levi. Also, we finally get some story development! Can't wait for the rest of the season!

Joe said...

"Hannah was fine, but Chuck maybe a bit too receptive to her for my tastes...but he is a good, friendly guy, so I guess believable. But the idea that he was so into seeing her after one plane ride?"

This is not in any way, shape or form a stretch. Have you seen Kristin Kreuk?

GracieGirl said...

Dear Messieurs Schwartz and Fedak,

Can we please get a webisode titled "Colonel Casey vs. the Volleyball Incident?"

Thankyouverymuch!
The entire Chuck fanbase

Anonymous said...

I loved it too. Shaw and Hannah are both really likable. And anything with that much Jeffster is good for me.

Finn said...

Joe, lol, you are right, I had no problems overall with Kreuk. She has more charisma then Shaw, which is an interesting character, but no so sure about Routh yet. He seems very wooden, I haven't seen him really in anything before. I am not a Superman fan. So I don't know if he is always like this, or if he is trying to play the character as a straight-laced type.

Also, funny Casey/Chuck interaction while Chuck is on the phone with him in the coffin

Steve said...

In the end, when Shaw told Sarah they had both made the mistake of falling in love with a spy, I'm wondering if that was confirmation of Shaw buying into Sarah's Lisbon explanation (that she went there to spread her old boyfriend/partner Bryce's ashes)or if that was Shaw's way of letting Sarah know that he did indeed know about Sarah and Chuck. My guess would be the latter.

rosengje said...

The best pop culture reference of all: Bored now.

I have always thought Kristin Kreuk and Shiri Appleby are parts of the same person. Their simultaneous return to tv seems very suspicious.

jxl said...

Enjoyed the episode immensely.

However one thing that I've been wondering about is the rotation of supporting cast (no Ellie or Awesome in this episode). Is this purely down to budgetary constraints or is it because as the spy world becomes more prominent there is less space to fit in all the different storylines.

James said...

I loved the chemistry between Chunk and Hannah. Of course, they're no Chuck/Sarah, but as far as interlopers go, I'm looking forward to more of Kristin Kreuk.

Also, I can't get over how much Brandon Routh sounds like Tom Cruise. It's both distracting and fascinating to me at once.

Build A Better Fan said...

I'm impressed with how smoothly this show is running, especially considering how much they're shaking things up. After what I felt was an awkward transition to the new normal in the first couple of episodes, it's been solid storytelling (well, with a couple of plot holes). Even the Buy More sideplots have been entertaining, when I usually find them weak.

One thing, though: given the events of "First Class," I don't understand why Chuck wasn't allowed to look at the lockbox in "Three Words."

Will be interested to see the ratings tomorrow late morning, to see how Chuck managed with House coming back after a hiatus. After tonight, I don't see reason for anxiety until the Olympics hiatus.

jxl - It's a budgetary thing, but I think the effect on the show has been very good. Fewer characters, more focus, tighter and better-developed stories.

Anonymous said...

"In the end, when Shaw told Sarah they had both made the mistake of falling in love with a spy, I'm wondering if that was confirmation of Shaw buying into Sarah's Lisbon explanation (that she went there to spread her old boyfriend/partner Bryce's ashes)or if that was Shaw's way of letting Sarah know that he did indeed know about Sarah and Chuck. My guess would be the latter."

This is quite perceptive and a neat insight. I agree with your conclusion.

Karen said...

The BEST pop-culture reference AND in-joke was having Adam Baldwin return to the role he had in "My Bodyguard." When I realized that Morgan was going to bring in Casey as his muscle I shrieked in glee.

I loathed Kristin Kreuk on "Smallville" but she was delightful here. I don't understand that, but I'm OK with it.

Alan Sepinwall said...

However one thing that I've been wondering about is the rotation of supporting cast (no Ellie or Awesome in this episode). Is this purely down to budgetary constraints or is it because as the spy world becomes more prominent there is less space to fit in all the different storylines.

Budgetary. Levi, Strahovski and Baldwin are the only actors who are going to be in every episode. Lots of shows actually work like that these days, but it's starker for Chuck because Warner Bros. had to agree to a reduced licensing fee (i.e., lower budget) from last year in order to secure the renewal.

jxl said...

Thanks for the info Alan.

TV Obsessed said...

I liked the episode a lot and it propelled the season ahead far more than the other episodes did, but the plot holes were annoying. I don't see why Chuck had to take the key while it was on the plane and if it was just training, why couldn't Shaw have given Chuck a meaningful mission? Nonetheless, the expansion of Shaw's character helped the episode greatly and the fighting on plane was awesome as well.

OldDarth said...

Great episode - the PLIs are much more layered and interesting. Much more than vanilla extract employed this season!

Chuck is still Chuck - his reaction to a first class ticket was perfect.

With the BuyMore storylines tooled to get Casey into the store as opposed to getting Chuck out - these sequences are a treat to watch.

Anonymous said...

Hang on - that was the First Lady of France singing at the end there?

Wow.

Word verification: fraevier

Interesting pseudo-French.

Anonymous said...

The over-dependence on the word "spy" has now been upgraded from minor annoyance to major detractor.

buzz said...

Ya know, Casey intoning "Bored now" got me thinking about Whedon alumni.

Since Dollhouse is doomed (right Alan?) they should see if they could get Summer Glau for something, at season's end.

Lisa said...

First off, someone MUST fund the exact line that Casey gave about insurgents because it was beyond perfect.

That aside, I am feeling MUCH better about the show now that I've seen this episode. Perfect mission storyline, perfect Buy More storyline. All's right with the world.

And I'm with Alan about the parallel KK/ZL, YS/BR romance storylines. Chuck and Hannah feels a lot like the Chuck/Lou storyline which worked because we got to see Chuck being truly charming, and I think we need another dose of that at this point in the series, particularly for newbies.

As for the Shaw/Sarah pairing, my hunch is that the benefit here is that the audience is going to find out a lot more about Sarah's backstory without Chuck finding out. I think this will give YS much more to work with, and I'd also like to see Sarah become much less of a mystery so we could actually start to envision her future with Chuck. I think S3 is going to be about Chuck growing up and Sarah becoming more three-dimensional.

Routh is doing a great job with this. I just thought they brought him in for eye candy, but they've given this guy a really good storyline -- for lack of a better phrase, I think he's going to turn Chuck into a full member of the team, and that will change how Sarah looks at him for good. Interesting stuff.

Oh, and as for the Casey/Morgan team-up, I say bring me MORE. If these guys actually do become friends (as if Casey can truly become friends with anyone), I wonder if Casey will make a slip that finally gets Morgan suspicious about Chuck. I could live happily with menacing Casey moments forever, but Baldwin is too good simply to waste him like that.

Alan Sepinwall said...

The over-dependence on the word "spy" has now been upgraded from minor annoyance to major detractor.

Hey, once upon a time it was the word "secrets" that the writers were beating into the ground. At least they've moved onto something else.

Build A Better Fan said...

TV Obsessed - Easily-enough explained. The key may have been well-protected on the ground, but smuggling it required them to be lower-key and use fewer personnel. Transport is often the weak point in the chain.

Nathan said...

I'm kind of thinking that the Hannah character was there under instructions from Shaw. I can see Shaw wanting to wean Chuck off of Sarah by providing him with a "real" girlfriend. I mean really..a beautiful girl sitting next to Chuck who just happens to be in IT and is currently unemployed?

Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure that the airplane interior was of the new 787 Dreamliner or based on it.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who thinks it isn't completely unreasonable for Casey and Sarah to be overprotective of Chuck?

I mean, sure he's had a penchant the last 2 seasons for solving problems or saving the day in very... unusual ways. BUT, it was their (Sarah and Casey's) job to protect Chuck - as the intersect - because he wasn't a trained spy. And technically, he isn't really a fully trained spy - he flunked out.

So, while I agree that Sarah and Casey are overprotective of Chuck, and it isn't beneficial anymore, that was their job description for two years. And for two years, Chuck had a way of finding the most trouble in Burbank. Casey said it best "Bartowski, you're like the poster child for friendly fire."

So I agree with Shaw, but don't understand why it's so surprising.

Kev said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Given current TV melodrama, when Chuck was getting ready to get off the plane and spend a couple of days with Hannah in Paris, and then was told he'd immediately have to turn around and come home, I kept waiting for Shaw to say something like, "Leno just decided he wants to be in Paris, so Chuck, even though you've dreamed about this your whole life you have to turn around and come home."

Deseree Eve said...

Is it just me or does Chuck have a type?? I think Kristen Kruek and Rachel Bilson look so much alike! I bet the next Chuck distraction is Mila Kunis.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Kev, I know you only mentioned a minor point, but talking about the content of the previews is still a no-no around here.

TW said...

I thought this was the worst episode of the season and only strengthened my belief that the biggest problem of the show is the Chuck character itself.

Since it was made clear fairly early on in the season that the creators were unwilling or afraid of making any substantial changes with the premise (last season's ending gave them every possible chance to do so), I was hoping they would atleast focus on the multiple character traits that are mostly unnecessary to the show's current status. The biggest of which is the incomprehensible dweepiness of Chuck. Yes, I know he's not a spy, but after all this time he should not be a total nincompoop either.

Chuck can be a totally normal, or even a fairly commanding presence when he's around the Buy More crowd, but as soon as the spy stuff starts he drops to a babylike level, completely dependant on others to survive. The Intersect is nothing but a convenient crutch at this point, being there when the script calls for it - instead of being something that Chuck could use instinctively and cleverly. That way it could serve as a device in Chuck's development as a non-spy in a spyworld.

Other than that, Kreuk was good. Let's hope they have the patience to explore this storyline for a while instead of getting back to the wretched Chuck/Sara borefest.

Andrew said...

I'll be honest...this episode was nothing short of t3h aw3some. Brandon Routh is maybe the first new character that I actually would like to see remain in some capacity...I know it may not happen, but I would love if it did. He fits so well into this world.
And I'm interested to see how they spin this new romantic diversion for Chuck. I would say, more than Rachel Bilson's character or Jill, this has at least some chemistry rivaling Chuck-Sarah. Then again, Zach Levi's always charming...so, yeah.

Jayne said...

I also whooped when I realized Casey was going to be Morgan's bodyguard -
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_McI_KJIXOq0/Sf_XvOHfCFI/AAAAAAAAFQA/NZJlcRKil4Y/s400/MyBodyguard1.jpg

7s Tim said...

How did Chuck introduce himself to Hannah? As Mr. Charmichael, or as Mr. Bartowski? I accidentally deleted from the DVR before checking, but could have sworn it was as his standard cover, and yet he invites this lady into his real life. Also, someone should have noticed that they accidentally sedated Morgan, cause not having a plan to deal with Jeff getting knocked out seemed bad, but just allowing someone else to be put down willy-nilly is just crazy. As is condoning civilian drugging, but somehow I see that as totally fine.

SPP said...

Elsewhere I noted...

Tonight, Chuck plumbed the nightmarish end-game of the Bush Years, as a dull, inept leader who rose to power through good connections turned to a shady military to resolve a domestic dispute because he lacked the leadership skills to resolve it himself. Techniques once thought necessary to protect Americans from foreign threats were deployed against Americans themselves. Does a John Casey bound by the Geneva Conventions brainwash Lester? No, but once you have made John Casey you cannot unmake him, and when the callow and unworthy are given such tools, they will use them badly. Or it was a really hilarious C-story. Either way.

Hope that's not too inflammatory, I thought it was funny.

WWWeaves said...

"Bored now." Gold, pure gold.

dez said...

I loved Casey grunting at the other Buy Moreans and them scattering about the store after he rescued Morgan from the claw game.

I liked the ep and kinda, sorta want to see Chuck with Hannah (I need to get over my aversion to Lana first, heh). And I've liked Routh since his days on "One Life to Live." Wish they would do another "Superman" with him (as long as they find a real Lois Lane and a not a stick figure), but I'm happy to have him on Chuck for the time being.

toonsterwu said...

I want to know what happened at last year's volleyball thing.

Rachael said...

This was a great episode, and Alan, I can see why you liked it the best out of all of the first 5 eps. I think I may have to agree with you. Sarah didn't have quite as much to do in this episode which was the only downside (I like when she gets to kick a$$), but Casey had a great storyline, which kinda made up for it. The episode was entertaining and funny and everything a good episode of Chuck should be.

@Steve - "In the end, when Shaw told Sarah they had both made the mistake of falling in love with a spy, I'm wondering if that was confirmation of Shaw buying into Sarah's Lisbon explanation ..." That is a really great question, I didn't even think about it when I was watching that scene. Now I'll have to go back and watch it again. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Would love to see Daniel Shaw and Cole Barker go on a mission with Chuck.

cgeye said...

Good points, above:

"It was fun to see Chuck "unleashed" of sorts, but still with help. I like that Casey is giving him excellent advice by advising him to start fighting by screaming like a girl. Makes sense!"

'bout time they use Chuck's innate strengths, such as screaming like a girl, buying time to flash once a weapon is revealed, etc. These are habits of his that should be worked with instead of fought.

"I wonder if Casey will make a slip that finally gets Morgan suspicious about Chuck. I could live happily with menacing Casey moments forever, but Baldwin is too good simply to waste him like that."

Once they broke into Casey's locker and judged him to be a Chuck-obsessed stalker, I don't think they'd buy the spy bit. Ex-cop/soldier, sure, but Chuck? Working in intelligence? I don't think these guys can think out of a paper bag, which is why I was shocked that the brainwashing worked on Lester -- who knew there was unbaked brain left to clean?

"Does a John Casey bound by the Geneva Conventions brainwash Lester? No, but once you have made John Casey you cannot unmake him, and when the callow and unworthy are given such tools, they will use them badly." This is why I chose CHUCK Over 24 last year -- at least it has the decency to *laugh* about what Constitutional protections we've shrugged away over the decades. I was shocked Casey didn't resort to torture first... but he's got a birthday coming up....

Anonymous said...

I'm unfamiliar with how show biz works, but eventhough Lancaster and McPartlin aren't physically in the episode, they are creditted to be in them. So does that mean they should get paid too?

Christopher said...

thoroughly enjoyed the episode, thoroughly enjoyed the Danny Duberstein reference. great job, Alan.

cgeye said...

And since we've got the usual NBC Uni corp-service of having an WWE actor on the series, why not reciprocate properly, to snag an audience all about the ultra-V?

Yes, I mean Adam Baldwin, IN THE RING, mobbed with WWE heel fanboys (sing out, boys, "The Man Called Jayne" -- and somewhere Henry Jenkins has a myocardial infarct) and saved by True Blue WWE heroes. It's a great political match, sine the WWE are all about soldier entertainment -- and if the lovely Miss Yvonne would deign to appear, a bit of fight choreographer magic could make her hair pull a femme WWE heel into the next state.

To the CHUCK series subordinates tasked to read: You could suck it up for Subway and those cars, you can suck it up for this. Just hype it to us in advance, so we can spread the word, 'kay?

verif: scrotra -- which those wrestlers would be clutchin' when Casey steps into the arena, I tell you what....

Anonymous said...

Was really pleased Kristin Kreuk is sticking around. At the risk of minimalizing everything else in the ep (Morsey? Crimes? Whatever, I hope we see more of them, since that's the first Morgan plot that hasn't annoyed me) ... I was smitted with her. I've never seen her act, though I remember hearing some criticism when "Earthsea" was done a few years back, but wow, she's certainly cute. And plays cute well.

Sara Ann Stinson said...

So the real problem with falling in love with a spy is when they defect to the Ring, amiright? Seriously, I'm calling it: Dead Wife is really Evil Spy Wife.

BigTed said...

As others have pointed out, Hannah is just too good to be true, and it seems highly unlikely that she's just another regular "sandwich-shop girl." (And her willingness to work at the Buy More is more evidence of that, especially since actual Geek Squad employees make about $10-16 per hour.) It remains to be seen whether she's a spy, a counter-spy, or something else... But I agree that Kristen Kreuk was much more appealing here than in "Smallville."

Not only was the plane very old-fashioned in its expansiveness (and convenient bar), but the lack of security (or apparently rules of any sort) also seemed very old-fashioned. (I doubt you'd be allowed to check fencing swords in a duffel bag, either.) You can't really do light espionage comedy in the high-alert context of a modern-seeming airline, but these scenes still came off as a little disorienting.

Nick said...

Great episode. I loved all the references, but it seemed like they missed two they could have worked in. The Princess Bride while fencing, perhaps, "I am not left handed," somehow.

And I was thinking Executive Decision once Chuck went to the elevator. And if Chuck is Kurt Russell, then Shaw is Joe Morton, Casey is Steven Segall, and Sarah is either Oliver Platt, BD Wong, or John Leguizamo (or maybe all three). I suppose Kristin Kreuk is Halle Berre.

And as much as I would have liked to see Casey get to fly the plane remotely, I wouldn't give up a frame of his alliance with Lester. I think Casey's having a blast. He gets to put some skills to use (with some restraint) and the Buy Morians are generally screwed anyway.

I hope (and don't expect) that we'll ever get the full story of the Volleyball Incident, but I hope they refer to it again so the legend grows. What people come up with online should hilarious enough.

One B-story is good for me. I don't miss Elie and Awesome. It would seem natural, that even though they live across the courtyard, they probably don't see Chuck every day.

geoff said...

Great episode. If I can't watch Casey comically pass out in an episode, I suppose that Morgan will do. Also, I'm still not sure I like Shaw. He clearly hates the ring but there's still something he's hiding - something that the General thought the others should know about.

On a just barely related note, Mass Effect 2 comes out tomorrow and Yvonne Strahovski and Adam Balwin have both lent their voices to the game, which, having liked the first one, is a nice bonus.

Brian said...

I must have missed something: How did Chuck get the poison out of his system? Are we supposed to think he got the antidote off the lady agent after she was knocked out?

And I totally marked out at the Manchurian Candidate reference. Fantastic capper to a funny B story.

Anonymous said...

Evil Flight Attendant dropped the vial with the antidote when the plane started pitching. Chuck crawled after it and drank it.

mac35 said...

Terrific episode. Both plots worked well and I liked seeing Casey in the Buy More end of things. Anytime the characters have to get out of their comfort zone it usually works well for me.

I'm really, really liking both Shaw and Hannah which I never would have bet on going into this season. However, that like could rapid turn to irritation if they "go there" with Shaw and Sarah especially after his staunch position (and personal experience) that getting involved with fellow assets/handlers is bad news.

imkeh said...

TW if you have a problem with Chuck's character uh I think you're watching the wrong show.

My favorite line said with a straight face Shaw about Jeff getting sedated:"Don't worry. I've read everyone's files..He'll be fine."

Anonymous said...

When they mentioned the volleyball interest, I laughed hysterically as all I could think of was the old "Noodle Incident" running gag from Calvin and Hobbes.

Anonymous said...

Still not into Shaw. The actor is not very charismatic. But he'll do for now.

However, I loved Hannah. Hannah and Chuck were adorable together and I can't wait to see how they develop that relationship. Really hope she's not evil. However, maybe she's not what she seemed. Maybe she's Shaw's wife? That would definately be a wink to Superman.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, were those Zune earphones that Stone Cold Steve Austin was using?

Anyway, I really liked this episode, and I feel like they're getting somewhere. Both Brandon Routh and Kristin Kreuk work well here.

David said...

Anyone else think it was a Charlton Heston reference when Chuck pried the key from the corpse's cold, dead hands? =)

Count me in as loving this ep. For one, it showed me that I only hated her Smallville character and not Kristin Kreuk- she glowed onscreen tonight in a way she never did as whispery, needy Lana. Also laughed at the in-joke of her asking Chuck about his secret.

Matthew L said...

If you haven't seen it, there's an interview with Vik Sahay over at the AV Club. http://www.avclub.com/articles/vik-sahay,37493/

Anonymous said...

Did they specify that Shaw's wife died? Maybe she just switched teams and joined the dark side? You know how the writers love their star wars references.

Alan Sepinwall said...

In his recap of the episode, Fienberg asks a good (if irrelevant, Chuck Plot Hole of the Week-ish) question: why is the Yale fencing team flying from LA to Paris?

Nancy said...

Alan-always love your thoughts. I am not down with the Superman related love interests even if they are a cute superhero inside joke. Not that the 2 actors aren't good or good looking, but in terms of being far fetched, I think it is. Chuck declares his love for Sarah, he's madly trying to make up for his terrible error in Prague and the next minute they are both crushing on others. The emotional switch has been turned off rather quickly don't you think. I don't know what they should have used to separate them yet again, which is why I am one like you who has voted for moving that arc forward sooner rather than later. I love Chuck and I don't want to see them overwork that angle. Not just for selfish instant gratification reasons, but because I truly think they rest losing fans and hurting the goodness that is this show. Some shows pull that will they/will won't stuff for years, and some shows know when to fold. This show is at its heart more than others, about this guy's heart--Chuck's heart. And like the intersect arc they need to move that forward as well.

Lianna said...

I think someone already said it but in season 1, episode 2 Chuck Vs The Helicopter Sarah knew how to fly one, she was the one giving Chuck instructions, so I assumed she knew how to fly other aircrafts as well.

Come on Sepinwall! Where's all you Chuck knowledge!

Oh and by the way, last week you forgot a very important pop culture reference in Chuck Vs Operation Awesome! When Chuck gets the bad guys into the Buy More, he greets then with a "Hello Sidney!" a la "Scream" which had me lmao!

Anonymous said...

In his recap of the episode, Fienberg asks a good (if irrelevant, Chuck Plot Hole of the Week-ish) question: why is the Yale fencing team flying from LA to Paris?

fanwank

Well, it wasn't the whole team, it was two members carrying their gear. It's not beyond the scope of possibility that two members are from LA and are flying to Paris for a study abroad program of some indeterminate length, but wanted to bring their gear so they could stay sharp/take classes in France.

/fanwank

I'm more interested in an explanation as to why fencers would have multiple non-competition, sharpened sabres in their bags. The weapon Chuck used couldn't be used in competition.

Sonia said...

Insurgents? I hate insurgents.

And thus, Colonel Casey finally gets to use his extensive skills at Buy More. I agree Alan, pure comic gold and LONG overdue!

cleamontis said...

No one caught the Mad Max pop culture ref to "Captain Walker"?

Anonymous said...

I agree. Chuck shows very little emotion toward Sarah now. They shake hands and are friends? I understand the plot device that was Chuck saying no in Prague, and that is the one step back after they take 2 forward, at least there was some forward, but how can those feelings now just disappear within their interaction and dialogue? Shouldn't Chuck still be seem hoping that Sarah will come to understand his decision and allow him to have both her AND the spy world? Some off hand comments or looks?Not just Sarah worried, the usual emotion that is there, but Chuck staying strong in his feelings that caused him to mopeon the couch and eat cheesballs and Sarah starting to come back around? Of course it would take until episode 13 for us to see that, but sure seems like Chuck is more heroic if he knows he wants Sarah and doesn't waiver, even if he has to wait for her to come back around. I just have such trouble watching them interact now. It's like they hardly know each other...not realistic even for a suspend disbelief in the name of fun show like Chuck. Ah well..too late now. The season is written up til 13 at least.

JJ said...

I thought the most obvious reference was "My Bodyguard". A 1980 film starring Adam Baldwin who was the bodyguard of My Bodyguard. A most excellent nod to that film.

Frederick said...

Alan,

This had the potential to be fantastic & hilarious episode as Chuck tried to juggle a cover ID with a pretty girl he liked and his new found spy freedom and responsibilities with all of his old insecurities, self doubt and fear.

By staging the mission on a plane the writers had a real opportunity to isolate Chuck from his team and have him grow as a character a little bit. But I think the episode was almost a complete failure.

Instead of giving Chuck an opportunity to grow and see how he would handle a complete deviation in plans in his own "unique" way when he saw the target on the plane we got 30 minutes of Chuck calling home to his mommy. Why have the episode on a plane at all if his team needed to step in to save the day on speakerphone and put the all of the passengers in danger in the meantime?

Alan, you say they are letting Chuck grow bit by bit and I see him stuck in place as a character and who did not do much anything on his own during this episode. (although the "pen" bit was funny) The episode could have worked if Chuck was forced to improvise on his own with something going wrong in each case and with home base in the dark.

At the end of the episode home base would have had no idea how many things went completely wrong only that he accomplished the mission. Chuck then would come clean and say he got lucky and recognize he in not ready to be a real "spy" without the help of the team and he will stop crying about not getting his shot in each episode.

The story just didn't work and Chuck didn't grow at all in my mind.

The "will they or won't they kick in" spy powers bit is already old for me as well.

Sorry guys I really want to like this show as the concept is fun, but if NBC is trying to sell this to new viewers based on the slate of episodes so far this year - wow very tough.

Anonymous said...

Another pop reference - the "Mr. Joshua" scene from Lethal Weapon as Morgan and Casey put some fear into the Buy Moreans.

The Buy More could be a 30 minute sitcom on its own. Incredibly funny.

Adam P. Knave said...

Quick Chuck thought:

Shaw runs the Ring. Look at it. Have we ever seen a character touch rings as much as he has? Also, naming it the Ring would fit with the whole dead wife thing. He had "an agent inside the Ring" that was his wife. She died five years ago. And this data of hers will turn the tide? Five year old data?

Add to it that when he tells Sarah that he never leaves an operative alone... he wanted to not answer Chuck. He was going to leave him alone. It was that Chuck called Casey who called Sarah that got him through. But there was a backup Ring agent, that when he heard her voice Shaw knew her name? Really? He never leaves an operative alone... so the back-up Ring agent? Right.

Also notice that up until now everyone wanted to "make Chuck a spy" but Shaw wants to "Turn him into a spy" Why are we SUDDENLY saying "turn him" a lot? If Shaw is Ring, could he be pushing Chuck so Chuck looks up to him, so that the Intersect is under his spell so he can TURN Chuck?

Robin said...

Frederick,

I will agree with you on selling the show to new viewers -- these episodes haven't been nearly as strong as any of the S2 episodes, and have seemed to have moved back towards S1 level quality. Now, I liked S1, so I'm still happy with them, but those people who gave up and never saw S2 aren't probably going to be impressed.

That said, I really liked last night's episode, and I was so happy when Hannah walked into the Buy More last night. While I agree that there are too many coincidental things about her character to make me trust her completely, in the suspend-your-disbelief world of Chuck, maybe she really is who she says she is. I can dream, right? :)

Anonymous said...

eventhough Lancaster and McPartlin aren't physically in the episode, they are creditted to be in them. So does that mean they should get paid too?

Yes, actors in recurring roles still get paid per episode, usually at a lower rate.

Chussar22 said...

Has anyone mentioned yet how Chuck is basically Echo from Dollhouse now that he has control over his flashes?

Alan Sepinwall said...

I'm unfamiliar with how show biz works, but eventhough Lancaster and McPartlin aren't physically in the episode, they are creditted to be in them. So does that mean they should get paid too?

No. One recent trend in the business is what's known as the "10 of 13" contract, where people are series regulars, with all the benefits and security that comes with that, but aren't contracted to be in every episode of the series. (It's usually, as the name suggests, 10 out of the first 13, though that rate can vary. We haven't seen a lot of Big Mike yet this season, for instance.) So McPartlin and Lancaster were in the opening credits because they're series regulars, but they weren't paid for this one because they weren't contracted to be in it.

BM said...

Another pop reference was Lester's prank on Morgan of the heater on the door handle from home alone.

Lisa said...

Adam's post was really interesting -- if Shaw is actually Ring, it will be interesting to see how the General was co-opted (or if she was -- might she be found dead or disappeared later?)

We've seen the seeds of Sarah's suspicion planted early. Perhaps Shaw will be a good cop for awhile, building up Chuck's confidence and eventually winning Sarah's and Casey's faith in his leadership. But if this scenario is true, it would be interesting to know how he's found out and see how the three fight back.

Matthew said...

I think it's best we don't know what happened at the volleyball game. Nothing they could have come up with would be as funny as our own imagination of just what constitutes the "John Casey Volleyball Incident."

Anonymous said...

how about the Clark Kent-esque glasses Routh put on?

Kathleen Taylor said...

So, can you really get into the cargo hold from the cabin on fancy-pants airplanes?

Andrea said...

All I got some the episode: Sarah and Casey are official expendable characters. With Chuck going solo, Casey wasn't even involved in Castle, and Sarah could have easily been replaced with another agent who can fly a plane. Chuck seems to be over with Sarah all thanks to Hannah who have just entered.

I did not take this episode as a development for Chuck, the character. He flashes by luck and in the end, had his behind saved by someone else.

Kyle said...

Speaking of Whedon alums, I've been thinking for a while that if his contract with Fox will allow it, they need to figure out a way to get David Boreanaz on the show for an episode just so that Baldwin can start to get even with him for being killed by his characters TWICE. Once on Angel and once on Bones.

schoolbooksue said...

@anonymous- maybe the reason Shaw lacks personality is because he is in fact BRAINWASHED so he doesn't remember his former life as a Ring operative! Maybe that's why they inserted the "Manchurian Candidate" reference and gave him the same last name as Laurence Harvey's character Raymond Shaw. I sure hope no one asks him to play cards during their free time.

Anonymous said...

I think the name of the airline was Millennium Atlantic - which would make sense since the bar in first class is based on the first class section from Virgin Atlantic Airlines (Richard Branson's airline).

Jim S said...

Alan,

There was also the Casino Royale callback. Chuck gets the code to the eletronic door via his smartphone.

Danny said...

Almost spit out my drink with the Danny Duberstein reference!

Excellent episode to btw.

Anonymous said...

Is there any good reason why Chuck has (so quickly, too) transferred his affections to Hannah and away from Sarah?

He knows Sarah is in love with him, so much so that she'll risk her life--literally--to be with him. But it seems not to matter.

That's the underlying problem with the Prague flashback. It fundamentally undermines the basic premise of the show re Chuck & Sarah. I can picture the creators watching Season 3 of The Office for tips on how to flip the lovesick guy into the one being pined after, but this is way different. Chuck *knows* he could have had Sarah. I could understand if Chuck, like Sarah earlier, had concluded that his new life precluded any romantic attachments. But I don't quite think the look on his face at the end of the episode reflected that.

It really makes no sense outside of needing to delay getting the two of them together. Then it makes perfect sense.

BTW, giant Fail by those trying to turn this into The Daily Kos with all the political stuff.

GabbyD said...

totally agree with your love for this ep.

good story for chuck and the spies, and entertaining story in the buy more...

insurgents! :)

Anonymous said...

"It's like they hardly know each other...not realistic even for a suspend disbelief in the name of fun show like Chuck."

I called this last week. People complain when they stare at each other for 5 seconds, and the complain when they don't stare at each other. The writers can't win.

mac35 said...

I still can't get over how much I enjoyed the Hannah/Chuck interaction. They seemed to be very familiar and have comfort working together that you don't often see.

And I can totally buy Chuck going for her. While he does still have feelings for Sarah he has seen nothing to indicate she still is into him and with Shaw's arrival Chuck must realize that it's unlikely that anything can/will happen with Sarah going forward.

Anonymous said...

When Hannah asked, "What about Paris?" at the end, I was positive Chuck was going to respond "We'll always have Paris."

No such luck.

Nick said...

@schoolbooksue & @Anonymous

- Shaw's name is light of the Manchurian Candidate reference seems too spot on now that you mention it. It seems like Shaw may be the leader of the Ring (who better to lead the CIA's investigation into it).

A thought regarding the use of spy/spies. At the end of "Chuck vs. the Ring", Sarah asks the Ring operative (who betrayed Casey/killed Roark) who they are, and he responded "We're spies, Agent Walker. The best."
Which is what Shaw wants Chuck to be.

Also, I can totally buy Chuck being attracted to Hannah. Just because he loves Sarah doesn't mean he can't be interested in someone else. That happens to people all the time. And on a 10 hour plane ride with free booze would make it even easier.

Jayme said...

My first thought with Hannah was "Who does she work for?" I can't help but think that she's a baddie or a plant by Shaw. I'm really hoping that she's a nobody, but with pretty much everyone being a spy in season 2, I can't help but think that she will be, too.

I'm becoming more and more convinced that Shaw is involved in/leading the Ring. Since Shaw is so advanced in the CIA that they'd willingly divulge that Chuck is the intersect, he could easily control what information about him was given. I do expect this same belief to be displayed in the show by Sarah/Casey/Chuck, however my bet is on Shaw being good in the end.

Smile more, Sell more... said...

Hugo mentioned his watch keeping track of heart rate and temp and I wonder if that detail will play a part in future episodes. This episode was so good; it definitely fired on all cylinders.

I really just like watching this show and not picking apart the plot holes and other things. I just take it for what it is, since it really is just entertainment.

Anonymous said...

I believe that Shaw is/was a Ring operative who had been flipped for some reason (wife got killed?) which might be why Sydney wanted him dead and maybe that's what Beckman wanted to tell Team Bartowski.

Anonymous said...

Just to add to my above comment: Assuming Shaw is/was a Ring operative, it would explain why he knows so much about them and how he was able to identify the stewardess holding Chuck at gunpoint.

Anonymous said...

Definitely the best episode of the season, mostly because of Routh (although Kreuk was pretty charming - does anybody think she won't turn up to be Ring? I hope they don't do that since it treads too close to Jill/Fulcrum stuff). I actually liked Superman Returns, and thought he was pretty good in it, but even so I'm surprised how much he's added already. I sometimes get exasperated with how helpless Chuck gets, so seeing him taking care of business more definitely makes the show more fun to watch for me at least.

MikeS said...

I just have to say, the jet-takeover-satellite was the silliest gimmick on Chuck yet. Castle just happens to have a 747 command console that we didn't see yet?

But the episode was so much fun despite that, that I didn't care.

Morgan and Casey teaming up for the respect of the Buy More was genius.

You'd think Chuck would have spoken up for a little downtime in Paris, especially after the hell that Shaw unwittingly put him in on the flight.

I'm not a hundred percent thrilled at another Chuck love interest that plays him against Sarah, we've seen this with the sandwich girl and with Jill.

Anonymous said...

"Castle just happens to have a 747 command console that we didn't see yet?"

Why would we need to? Were you this surprised when they showed the artillery room for the first time? It's not like we ever got an official tour.

Karen said...

I, too, got a little...intrigued by the inclusion of a ring in the lockbox--a ring allegedly belonging to Shaw's wife, unseen in 5 years--and the name of the organization being the Ring. I think the theory that Shaw is part of it--or head of it--is very lausible. Adding his name to the Manchurian Candidate connection, and it's more plausible still.

I, too, feared that Hannah would turn out to be a bad guy, and was so pleased that she seemed to be legit. Although I find it difficult to believe that a woman who had a high-level tech trouble-shooting job that rated a flat in Paris and worldwide travel would settle for a close-to-minimum-wage job with the Nerd Herd. Her willingness to take it, even in this economic downturn, felt like her potential badness is also plausible.

But I have to say that suspecting that two separate characters in one episode were actually covert Ring ops highlights just how paranoid I've become!

Sarah said...

This episode was just pure joy for me from start to finish. So far this season it has felt like each episode has been an improvement over the one before it and it is really impressive how they've settled into Chuck's new normal given what a game changer Intersect 2.0 is.

Kristin Kreuk was luminous in this role and I agree with an earlier poster who pointed out that Chuck is never more charming than in his early flirtation with a "regular" girl like Lou or now Hannah. It will be interesting. It will be interesting to see how she is used in future episodes and how that creates tension with Sarah.

dez said...

Shaw seems like a natural Ring leader to me.

Thanks you folks, I'll be here again next week! :-D

Anonymous said...

Fantastic episode. Loved everything about it. I also think Routh is a great addition to the show. He plays a believable leader. He is Superman! ;) This season is so good, and it only gets better and better.

Anonymous said...

One pop culture reference you missed that I thought was very funny was the "Taken" reference when Chuck is on the phone with Casey and he tells him to scream.

Sell more Smile more said...

Just watched the episode again. Chuck is wearing what looks like a wedding band when he is in the cargo hold checking the baggage for Hugo. I had to rewind and pause the frame to be sure I had seen correctly. It's when he first puts his hand on the coffin to look at the label.

What is that about, did Zac Levi get married on the sly?

dez said...

^The last Zac Levi personal story I read was that he & his long-time GF had split.

Baylink said...

Like me and Chuck, Alan, I suspect you haven't spent a lot of time on 747's lately.

They're *REALLY* big airplanes. :-)

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/175426/boeing_747_8_interior/

Baylink said...

> Hannah was fine, but Chuck maybe a bit too receptive to her for my tastes...but he is a good, friendly guy, so I guess believable.

It didn't actually occur to me to raise a flag at this until someone said it... but yeah: isn't Chuck supposed to think that things are going well -- slowly, but well -- with he and Sarah?

So, what's the triangle? Chuck, Sarah and Hannah? Or Chuck, Sarah and Shaw?

> In the end, when Shaw told Sarah they had both made the mistake of falling in love with a spy,

I'm quite certain he was telling Sarah that he believes she's fallen for Chuck, and wants to make sure she undertands the consequences.

As for Shaw being wooden: his career killed his *wife*; of course he's a bit wooden. He's also been thrown into command of a 2 year old team where he's not making many friends....

> After tonight, I don't see reason for anxiety until the Olympics hiatus.

Well, it will be interesting to see what NBC Promo, and Honda, and Subway have in store for us over the Olympic break...

> The over-dependence on the word "spy" has now been upgraded from minor annoyance to major detractor.

I agree with this entirely, and bringing in Shaw was their opportunity to fix it. Alas, it's a bit late. Alan? Next time you're talking to Chris and Josh, please tell them to look up the conversation about this in Tom Clancy -- I'll get you a specific reference if you like. They're "Agents" or "Officers".

> Chuck and Hannah feels a lot like the Chuck/Lou storyline which worked because we got to see Chuck being truly charming, and I think we need another dose of that at this point in the series, particularly for newbies.

... because Hannah is *new*, and he doesn't have baggage with her; exactly. Now, on the other hand, he wanted to be a real spy, and here's where he starts paying, in sweat: they stuck it to him on this point, making him fly back from Paris without even getting off the plane... and then they "gave her back to him", if you will. To be fair to all the angst he and Sarah have gone through, they *have* to take her away again...

See what you get for wanting him together with Sarah, folks? Now you have to go through it all over again.. :-)

> I am pretty sure that the airplane interior was of the new 787 Dreamliner or based on it.

Could have been the 747-8, too; see my link above.

> "Leno just decided he wants to be in Paris, so Chuck, even though you've dreamed about this your whole life you have to turn around and come home."

Damn you; I was *drinking* when I read that. :-)

> I bet the next Chuck distraction is Mila Kunis.

Oh, *please*??

> instead of getting back to the wretched Chuck/Sara borefest.

Lessee... 47 comments in favor... and you. Is Adam Baldwin holding a gun to your head to watch?

> How did Chuck introduce himself to Hannah? As Mr. Charmichael, or as Mr. Bartowski?

He introduced himself as Carmichael when he sat down, but gave her a Bartowksi business card when she left... or at least we assume he must have; it would get messy at work otherwise.

[ more to come, but why hog all the fun.... ]

Anonymous said...

Actually he introduced himself to Hannah as Chuck then Charles.

Baylink said...

> Would love to see Daniel Shaw and Cole Barker go on a mission with Chuck.

You guys realize that Chris and Josh are setting us up for a "Potshot" in S4, right?

> However, that like could rapid turn to irritation if they "go there" with Shaw and Sarah especially after his staunch position (and personal experience) that getting involved with fellow assets/handlers is bad news.

Myself, I'm betting on "Chuck goes for Hannah, Sarah gets jealous and notices that Shaw is awfully interesting looking, Shaw knows better and turns her down, more or less artfully, and then Sarah has to contemplate some not very promising thoughts about herownself."

> I'm more interested in an explanation as to why fencers would have multiple non-competition, sharpened sabres in their bags. The weapon Chuck used couldn't be used in competition.

[staff writer] Because that's what we needed at that part of the plot, silly. [/staff writer]

And yes, nice that they didn't fence epee', no?

> [10 of 13] but they weren't paid for this one because they weren't contracted to be in it.

Which leads to a question I haven't been able to get an answer out of Ali or Matt about on Twitter: how do the break the season for that, and decide who gets written for in each episode? Producer push? Writer pull?

> So, can you really get into the cargo hold from the cabin on fancy-pants airplanes?

No, of course not. If you could, then terrorists would be able to get to the guns which they actually are allowed to carry in their checked luggage. Baggage on a 747 is pre-loaded in ATA containers called Unit Load Devices.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_Load_Device

> And I can totally buy Chuck going for her. While he does still have feelings for Sarah he has seen nothing to indicate she still is into him and with Shaw's arrival Chuck must realize that it's unlikely that anything can/will happen with Sarah going forward.

This is an excellent point. It's easy to forget, sometimes, what things *Chuck knows*, which are a subset of the things we know as viewers, since we get to see Sarah when Chuck's not there.

*We* know she's turned, but he doesn't have to, which easily explains Channah. (You knew I had to do it, right? :-)

> When Hannah asked, "What about Paris?" at the end, I was positive Chuck was going to respond "We'll always have Paris."

That would have been fabulous, but they'd have had to lay a couple of lines of groundwork for it, so as not to be breaking the fourth wall. This *isn't* Boston Legal, nor Ally McBeal.

> I'm becoming more and more convinced that Shaw is involved in/leading the Ring. Since Shaw is so advanced in the CIA that they'd willingly divulge that Chuck is the intersect, he could easily control what information about him was given.

As common a trope as it is in fanfic that *Beckman* is in/leading Fulcrum, this wouldn't be all that surprising...

> I agree with an earlier poster who pointed out that Chuck is never more charming than in his early flirtation with a "regular" girl like Lou or now Hannah.

I'd like to amend that to "after he gets over his early flirtation (at which he's *miserable*), and starts being a normal guy again". In this, he's much like me -- and, I suspect, most geeks.

And I'm out. Hope I didn't bore anyone too badly. :-)

wv: corato: The Newest Volkswagen.

Pamela Jaye said...

I've expressed my impatience with the Chuck/Sarah Unresolved Sexual Tension,

that's Chuck vs The Unresolved Sexual Tension
(seriously what a cool self referential title that would be)

Anonymous said...

I wonder if we should heed Morgan Grimes advice about women and palindromic names.....

xenaclone said...

I would also like to see the Volleyball incident! Beach volleyball, perhaps!

I think Casey hypnotised Lester purely and simply to mess with the guy's head. IMO, it gave Casey perverse delight. It also showed us that Casey has indeed, many skills. Seeing that Lester still wears kids' pyjamas with feet booties was hysterical!

BTW - nitpick alert! 1) Chuck's cellphone should not have worked in the cargo hold. Look up 'Faraday Cage'. :-). 2) It's physically impossible to see any of Paris from Charles De Gaulle airport. Much less from a vantage point which appeared to be perched on top of the Sacre Coeur de Montmatre!

Tukka said...

"Although I find it difficult to believe that a woman who had a high-level tech trouble-shooting job that rated a flat in Paris and worldwide travel would settle for a close-to-minimum-wage job with the Nerd Herd. Her willingness to take it, even in this economic downturn, felt like her potential badness is also plausible."

Yeah, I also had trouble swallowing that.

But are we certain that Hannah is at the Buy More to apply for a job? I guess that's implied, given that the offer that Chuck made, but maybe she's just there to ask Chuck out on a date, or for some other reason.

pgillan said...

In the last week or so, NCIS, Human Target and Chuck have all had episodes on planes. That mean "trend," right?

pgillan said...

In the last week or so, NCIS, Human Target and Chuck have all had episodes on planes. That mean "trend," right?

Nevermind. You made that exact point in a post about NCIS's Michael Weatherly last week. The only thing that sucks about watching all my television online is that I'm a week behind.