Monday, February 08, 2010

Chuck, "Chuck vs. the Mask": Night at the museum

A review of tonight's "Chuck" coming up just as soon as I'm ready for my big boy bike...
"So if I have to see you with someone else, it might as well be a hero." -Chuck
"What can I say? I have a type." -Sarah
"Chuck vs. the Mask" wasn't designed to be the last episode viewers would see for a few weeks (remember, the season was originally going to debut after the Olympics), and as such doesn't have the jaw-dropping quality you sometimes get from mid-season finales. We get our first glimpse of The Ring's headquarters(*) and learn (not surprisingly) that they want Shaw dead, and we close with Chuck and Sarah moving into new relationships with other people, but there's nothing seismic about what happens. It's just a solid episode of "Chuck."

(*) Said HQ looking very much like the Fulcrum digs we saw back in last season's "Chuck vs. the Predator," no? I'd been assuming that the two groups are unconnected - that Fulcrum basically died with Ted Roark, and that The Ring has its own agenda and intel. Are we supposed to assume, based on the similar design, that Fulcrum is as much a Fulcrum splinter group as Fulcrum was a CIA splinter? Or just that the "Chuck" production design team really digs this look?

But while I enjoy a good cliffhanger as much as the next guy, the actual good ones have been in short supply around television as more and more shows have turned to them leading into long hiatuses. Too many shows do them just to do them, and they either screw up a good thing or get undone so quickly that there's very little point to them. What "Chuck" is doing is strong enough to keep me interested three weeks from now, even if this one didn't end with Shaw pulling off one of those "Mission: Impossible" masks and revealing himself to be Bryce Larkin's sister seeking revenge on the members of Operation Bartowski for her brother's death, or something equally surprising or weird.

And the way that "Chuck" works, odds are that one of Shaw or Hannah, if not both of them, will turn out to be too good to be true. Hannah could be another Lou from season one - the normal woman Chuck can't have because of his double life and his love for Sarah - or she could be another Jill. After last week's episode dealt with the rules for cultivating an asset, more than a few of you pointed out that Hannah's relationship with Chuck so far fits those rules to a T.

And Shaw could be another Bryce or Cole - the alpha male Chuck still can't quite be, but someone who's ultimately a good guy - or he could have a dark hidden agenda, including one where he's actually working for The Ring. On the one hand, the final scene of this episode suggests they want him dead; on the other, our first glimpse of Shaw (in "Chuck vs. the Three Words showed that General Beckman was very afraid for what he was going to do to Chuck, Sarah and Casey.

But here's the thing: as we get ready to play guessing games over the next three weeks, I have to say that I like these two relationships. And I say that as someone who thinks Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski have absurd chemistry together, and who got very frustrated at some of the shenanigans used at the start of the season to keep Chuck and Sarah apart. (And also as someone who usually grinds his teeth at any hint of a love quadrangle, or rhombus, or trapezoid.) Brandon Routh and, especially, Kristin Kreuk have fit very well into the show's world and tones, have clicked nicely with their respective co-stars, and have created plausible, interesting reasons why our hero and heroine might let their eyes wander. If Sarah has a type (which Shaw most certainly matches), then so does Chuck (which Hannah does, as well). Since I'm assuming one or both will wind up as a betrayer, I'm assuming/hoping that the writers will finally ditch the stall tactics before the season's out (and preferably by the end of the originally-planned 13 episodes), but at the moment I'm enjoying what they're giving us.

And speaking of Sarah's "hero" type, Chuck ironically has rarely matched it more than he does in "Chuck vs. the Mask," where he plays a much more active, decisive role in ensuring the success of the mission than he did when allegedly flying solo in "Chuck vs. First Class." He steps in when Shaw's compromised at the museum gala (and turns out to be a better catcher of falling objects than Shaw), and he comes up with the plan to both save Hannah and get the antidote. Yes, Shaw throws Sarah over his shoulder and busts out of Castle to ensure they can take the antidote in time, but Chuck does the metaphorical heavy lifting in this one, which was just as satisfying a mark in his spy growth chart as his willingness to burn Manoosh at the end of last week's episode.

This was also a bit of an old-school episode, with the Intersect 2.0 skills taking a week off in favor of Chuck using his computer talents (and Hannah's) and some old-fashioned ingenuity (plus a more traditional Intersect flash to identify the vase) to save the day. I worried when they introduced the kung fu cliffhanger to season two that the show would lose its ability to have Chuck be a hero while still being fundamentally Chuck, and so far, season three has managed to balance things out nicely. The talk of Chuck getting to operate solo seems premature - and surely, Fedak, Schwartz and company would never be dumb enough to try and ditch Sarah and Casey - but he's definitely getting much better at this, whether he's flashing on new skills or using his old ones.

Looking forward to what comes next in March.

Some other thoughts:

• Last week's episode was the closest we've come all season to having the entire cast all present at once, with only Big Mike missing. Mike's still absent in this one, along with Awesome and Jeffster.

• Poor Morgan. He called dibs on Hannah with Jeff and Lester, but never even thought Chuck would be his competition - even though it was Chuck who asked Morgan to get her the job. He and Ellie no longer seem nearly as hot on Chuck's spy scent as they were last week - and with Jeffster absent, we learn that their stalking powers weren't mighty enough to dig up anything on Chuck - but we're definitely heading towards a place where Morgan will be moving himself away from Chuck.

• Still waiting for a truly kick-ass Sarah fight scene to rival some stuff from season two (fighting Michael Clarke Duncan, beating on Nicole Richie in the showers, going at it with Smooth Lau in the sports car), but the sequence with Sarah fighting one of the goons (and running off a wall) while Chuck hung from the rig and Shaw and Hannah tried to out-hack each other was at least in the ballpark.

• This week in "Chuck" music: "Let's All Die" by Jack Penate (playing for much of the pre-credits sequence at the museum), Franz Ferdinand's "Can't Stop Feeling" (Chuck and Hannah, and Sarah and Shaw, pack up for their "mission" at the museum), and Matt Costa's "Astair" (Morgan and Ellie see Chuck and Hannah making out in the AV room).

• This week in "Chuck" pop culture references: the wire rig that Shaw used in the opening scene, and the gag where he tries (and in this case fails) to catch a falling object before it can hit the floor, is from the first Tom Cruise "Mission: Impossible." Chuck trying to find the right vase reminded me of Indiana Jones trying to figure out which cup was the Holy Grail (and, in a way, it would have been cooler if Chuck had figured it out without the Intersect's help). Anything else?

• Couple of notable guest stars this week, with Jim Piddock (a regular in the Christopher Guest movies) as the Luddite museum curator, and Henri Lubatti from (the rapping Bosnian terrorist from Showtime's underrated "Sleeper Cell," but also a very funny guest star on the final season of "The O.C." as Taylor's smarmy French husband) as the burned bad guy.

• Of course Casey takes his coffee black and bitter. Of course he does. And he's especially bitter this week that he can never blow stuff up. (I almost went with a "just as soon as I blow the hatch" intro just because I felt bad for the guy.) Adam Baldwin also did one of his most expressive grunts of the series when Casey recognized what was going on with Shaw and Sarah at the end.

• Should we take Hannah's "You saved my life, Chuck!" reaction at the end - when she had no way of knowing this - as our (relatively minor) "Chuck" Plot Hole of the Week, or as yet another sign she might be a baddie? I like Kreuk enough that I want to take the character at face value, but when she said that - and when the show skipped past the inevitable moment where Hannah stood up and noticed Chuck's ex-girlfriend was conveniently also at the museum - my eyebrows raised.

Again, show's off air for the rest of the month, returning on March 1 with "Chuck vs. the Fake Name." Earlier today, NBC announced finale dates for a bunch of its series, and "Chuck" season three will close with a two-hour finale (combining episodes 18 & 19) on Monday, May 24 from 8-10 p.m. Assuming I've done the math right, that's 11 episodes (counting 18 & 19 as one) airing over 13 Mondays, so we'll get a couple of repeats at some point (likely in early April, after the show's had a chance to find its post-Olympics sea legs, and before May sweeps begin).

What did everybody else think?


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Anonymous said...

Long time Chuck fan here. Subway-purchaser & supporter.

I am not a 'shipper' of this show, but last night lost us (my family).

Our sad decision to remove Chuck from our viewing schedule came from the abhorrently low-grade soap opera style this program has delved into. Specifically, forcing characters to behave in stark contrast to their established norms. And all for nothing more grand or "progressive" than cheap shock value.

It was blatant and poorly written out-of-character nonsense in the first episode this season, which nearly lost us. But to see such continued amateurism on the part of the producers is a signal of a downgraded pattern.

If we'd wanted low-brow shock value, we'd be watching Jersey Shore.

There are simply too few hours in the day in which we get to relax as a family and enjoy a fun program. I have to agree with what my daughter said last night as Chuck closed, "lame".

Andrew said...

The only real problem I have with the two relationships is the absolute lack of chemistry between Routh and Strahovski. Their scenes together just don't work right. The idea I'm ambivalent about (I would prefer the show just puts our heroes together), but the execution has been bad.

Silvana said...

como se nota que los yanquis no tienen problemas de verdad!! mira que enojarse por una serie... que pavotes!!

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

Wow, this ep was nowhere near as bad as the "controversy" talk made it out to be. If you're watching this show because you want the two leads to smooch, you're not going to be a long-term fan, so just quietly walk away. But the fact is, neither of these relationships look like a long-term affair at all; Kreuk's character is burning really hot and fast, which usually sets up a dramatic break-up, and far too little has been revealed about Routh's character to have a stable relationship yet. So:


Baylink said...

There's a lot that could be said about this ep, but people have already said all of it.

I'll just say I'm on Alan's side; I'm enjoying the ride, and the PHotW doesn't usually bother me all that badly.

It's a *drama* folks; there has to be some, um, drama. Don't any of you ever watch soaps? :-)

And, finally, Josh and Chris have to be in *heaven*: look at all these people bitching about *the fictional characters they created*. That's got to be what you want, if you create fiction: invested audiences.

I think there's little doubt it was an accident they juggled the premiere schedule so as to make *this* the last episode before the break.

On, and hat tip to Matt Barber; that "checklist" scene was masterfully edited; the L-cuts almost drove me nuts. :-)

Marco P. said...

Question for Alan.

What is different about what is happening with the characters now as opposed to the numerous other times Chuck has had a side fling with a tasty brunette, or when agent Cole was in the same role prior to Routh? Could it be that this time there is indeed chemistry and it scares the shippers? Or is it exactly the same and the insane reaction comes from some other strange place?

Marco P. said...

Also, you have mentioned the potential downfall of having Chuck become too cool for school of a spy in the past. Do you think the show is approaching that? As others have stated, he has lost a lot of the fun quirks that made him so likable.

I am also not a fan of this talk of Chuck being near ready to be on his own. Is that what we're going to get next season? An even more down-sized cast?

Chuck Anonymously said...

How are they selling the show? Go back and watch all the promos run for this season. In a gist, you have a ordinary guy, an extraordinary spy, set in a the world of espionage wrapped up in a Buy More. First-timers tuned in for that -it's the show's premise, get fed that story and then have it all fall apart on them. No Buymorians, love trapezoids, weakening storytelling. You can see where this is going. And so do the ratings. Lose a few viewers week to week is okay as long as the numbers stay steady. Losing viewers steadily means the show isn't holding their interest. For the handful of us commenting here as well as the TV critics who love the show, we're a drop in the bucket. We can afford patience. But there are shows out there are pulling in twice the number of viewers and keeping them as well as growing their viewership. It doesn't mean those are dumbed down shows as I've heard tell. These are the shows that connect to their audience. And while a lot of folks like to thumb their noses at these big hitters for being "too simple", or "crime procedurals", I beg to differ, they are good story tellers. Might not be the stories we like, being Chuck fans, but those shows are good at what they do. And so should Chuck. We're audience handicapped as it is because the show's premise is out there but we're not keping new viewers either.... So something's off. Last night's episode was probably a good example of what it is that's off.

Allison DeWitt said...

I'm kind of impressed by the passion for this show and kind of appalled at how personal it's gotten with some folks.

I suddenly had a flash that this could be a lot like the bitter fight on "How I Met Your Mother" over ducks vs. rabbits.

I hope the humorous image, maybe?

Alan Sepinwall said...

How is the show losing viewers "steadily"? The ratings have been extremely consistent on all the previous Monday airings. This is the first time they dipped a little, and a lot of that came because the CBS comedies all got the same kind of post-Super Bowl boost that the Chuck 3D episode did a year ago.

Sam Hobart said...

Anyone else getting a trollish vibe from the direction this discussion has gone? I get the overwhelming sense that there are a few really passionate people freaked out by last night's episode who have somehow created much ado about nothing. The nice thing would be if we can use the ridiculous, call to stop watching to galvanize a bit of support to bring the rating back up from that unfortunate 2.2 last night. Because 2.4-2.5 makes Chuck NBC's 3rd best rated scripted show.

Stephanie said...

Wow. I never thought an episode of Chuck would provoke this kind of a reaction.

I enjoyed this episode. I don't think it's one of the strongest - I share the feelings of others here who felt the Sarah/Shaw stuff was a bit rushed - but I thought overall it was decent.

I don't understand the issues with Chuck/Hannah and Sarah/Shaw. As someone else pointed out, KK and BR are GUEST stars and therefore are not long for this world. And I think that Shaw is connected somehow to that dude in the pilot who demanded that Chuck "tell him about the girl". I still think that's Sarah and that a future storyline will feature her quite prominently.

Hannah and Shaw aren't serious contenders for either Chuck or Sarah's affections. Whatever they have together isn't going to last, but I think it will contribute to each character's growth and make for a better story.

I keep hearing complaints about how weak the obstacles are that are keeping Chuck and Sarah apart, and I couldn't disagree more. Furthermore, I think the writers are doing an admirable job of handling these obstacles. Alan mentioned in an earlier review that Chuck and Sarah are passing each other and are at different points in their respective journeys. There are valid reasons for them to not be together, some of them being the nature of the work, some of them being themselves, but they all make sense and feel real to me. Their separation doesn't feel artificial, but completely organic given where they are in their development.

Which brings me to another point; Chuck is on his journey, and right now, that means becoming a spy. And yes, that means leaving some of the old Chuck behind. But this isn't the end of the road, we don't know where he's going to land and I'm enjoying where the writers are taking him. I completely buy Chuck being seduced by the Intersect and the power it gives him and wanting to be more than what he is. Maybe he will become an insufferable prick, but I don't think so, and if he does go a little dark, I don't think it will last. But right now, I'm happy with where things are and I'm looking forward to tuning back in after the Olympics.

Waldo said...

I don't get the upset shippers pointing to the ratings as a sign of a dwindling product. Hello! The ratings have never been great. Hence the whole people having to buy sandwiches to get it renewed thing from last year.

And to the dude talking about how shows with better ratings get them due to telling good stories. Could you please tell me what great stories Two & a Half Men tells? Cuz it dominates ratings wise. That must mean it's an amazing show by your logic.

Fact is the masses as simple. And don't have much time or want to spend much effort thinking about their entertainment. Hence Transformers 2 making a billion dollars. Using your logic, it must be because people are drawn to really good things, right?

You get too cute or smart for that matter (like AD or Pushing Daisies) and the normals will tune out. It's that simple. Middle America isn't interested in The Wire or Breaking Bad. They want hour-long crime procedurals that wrap their story up in an hour and sitcoms that tell them when to laugh. That and old people all have their tv's perpetually stuck on CBS. So yeah, ratings are a great sign of quality and good storytelling.

Waldo said...

I do see where people can say that the romantic relationships feel a tad rushed. Not terribly, but I can see it. But you got to keep in mind that originally this season was only 13 episodes long. That puts us at the midway point of that arc. So when writing these last couple episodes, the writers were halfway through whatever story it was they wanted to tell. And if you look at it rationally, normally things don't end too well for a relationship when they peak at the midway point of a story.

Anonymous said...

Apparently the "Chuck and Sarah gaze at each other moodily over the shoulders of Chuck's latest brunette and Sarah's latest superspy, one or both of whom are double agents"-thing has been done once too many times...

Michael G. said...

Man, all this other nonsense made me forget my favorite part: Chuck playing Goldeneye for three months after getting dumped! No matter how bad the rest of the episode was, that alone gets it my undying love.

And, I liked the episode overall. I thought the writing was sloppier than usual though: The museum being close enough to Buy More/the museum employing a system that works just slow enough for Chuck to get there in time. Twice. The guys with guns disappearing after the gas was released. Casey disappearing so the main bad guy could escape. Not explaining how Chuck and Hannah got out of the museum without Hannah noticing Superman and Sarah. Oh, and the trapdoor into Castle is just way too noticeable.

I dunno, it just seems like the writers usually do a better job of not leaving loose ends like this.

Kenrick said...

I agree with some of the other posters. I believe Hannah is really just a civilian and will be killed off, giving Chuck his very own Refrigerator Woman

Anonymous said...

I was one of the earliest anon posters who criticized both this episode (and the whole 3rd season). After reading through a lot of the later comments, I'd like to respond to Alan and others who seem to have the impression that the criticism of this episode stems from where the writers are taking the Sarah/Chuck relationship.

I've been watching and loving Chuck since the night it premiered. I enjoy it because it has good actors/characters, solid production values, humor, a little action and fun storylines (even if one must suspend disbelief at times to follow them). Chuck is a show that for 2 seasons consistently left a smile on my face after every episode. Unfortunately, I feel that there's been a noticeable drop in quality this season, culminating with last nights clunker of an episode. Just to be clear, I'm not a shipper (I had to google that word to find out what it means). I am eagerly awaiting the next episode. I believe that the season will improve and most fans will be satisfied with where we end up at the end of season 3. Hell, I'm already rooting for renewal. However, that doesn't mean I can't look fairly at this season and find a lot to criticize.

I get the sense that a lot of my criticisms can be traced back to one factor, budget cuts. Alan can correct me on this, but I think that the budget cuts meant that:

-one or two writers were cut

-substantial reduction in funds for actor salaries

-episodes which previously were filmed in 6 or 7 days are now filmed in 5 or 6.

-the original order was for 13 episodes.

I think the Sarah/Shaw and Chuck/Hannah relationships serve as a good example of the problems brought about by the budget cuts. I don't necessarily have a problem with the idea of either of these relationship, but I do have a problem with the execution. Frankly, I didn't really buy either of them, and I think it is mostly because they felt rushed. Had the writers had more time to develop both relationships in a believable way, I think you would see a lot less criticism.


Doc said...

Don't understand the hate. I actually think this was the best episode of the season so far. Had all the small character moments (Sarah's reaction to re-partnering with Chuck, Casey's explosion blueballs) as well as good high stakes stuff (Morgan/Ellie, both love interests in mortal danger) that it felt like Chuck should when operating at it's highest levels. While Shaw was getting on my nerves early on in the season he is growing on me. It also helps that I am falling for Kristen as fast as Chuck is. She is too cute and lovable to not be a legitimate love interest. I just hope that she isn't the double agent that Chuck normally falls for. I'd much rather Shaw be the Ring agent in disguise.

Anonymous said...


I think a lot of fans are really missing Lester/Jeff/Mike/Awesome/etc. These secondary/tertiary characters are a big part of what make the show so much fun. If their exclusion was part of the natural development of the show (say for example if Chuck's spy job had necessitated a move from the Buy More) I might be more open to it, but it's quite obvious that the only reason we're seeing less of them is budget driven (and yes Alan, I know these characters were missing from some episodes last season, but it's been much more pronounced this season, and the quality of the show suffers for it).

The action/spy scenes (while always a bit silly) have been almost cartoonish on a few occasions this season. I'm thinking of the helicopter scene in "Mexico" and the arms show in Dubai (as but two examples). I can't help but believe that in seasons 1 and 2 there would have been more money available to improve the production values of the scenes.

I could go into more detail with my criticisms, but I think what I said above does a fairly good job of summarizing things (and I really need to get back to work)

In short Alan (and others), I think a lot of critics of this episode (and season) do see the "whole picture" of this show (by that I mean do not just watch Chuck for the Sarah relationship and frankly could care less what happens to them, as long as it's a believable, well written storyline) and are criticizing the episode (and season) because the whole picture has been a bit of a disappointment. To be blunt, I don't believe the storytelling/production quality of the season have met the standards set in seasons 1 and 2. If this is down to financial constraints (as I suspect) it's a shame, but it doesn't change the fact that season 3 Chuck just isn't quite as good as season 1/2 Chuck. It's still better than 98% of what's on television (and like I said, I'm eager for the next episode), but after the standard set by those first 35 episodes, I can't help but feel a bit disappointed by what we've seen so far this season.

dez said...

I agree with Alan. If you have prerequisite relationships in a tv show, you're watching for the wrong reasons. And should stick to soap operas.

Hey, now, I like CHUCK and I like soap operas :-) Which is possibly why the relationship obstacles don't bother me since they happen constantly on soaps (and much more drawn out than what's happening with Chuck & Sarah).

I agree with the Anonymous above about the budget cuts adversely affecting the show. We totally should have had at least one scene of Jeffster's stalking techniques to bridge between last ep and this one, and Awesome should be trying to keep Ellie and Morgan from spying on Chuck. Ah, well, I'll still be there for the next ep and all the ones I can get, frankly.

Chuck Anonymously said...

Ratings steadily declining... We can graph it. Either way, even with error bars, it's not trending the way it should for automatic renewal.

Add in the 2.2/6 for this week and only a blind person con't see the trend here or even the most-diehard Chuck fan. This is more worrisome than the shipper $*%6storm going on right now. The show's slipping in quality and so are the ratings. People will buy a good story but won't be a good story being told badly.

And hey, we're live in a world that's got options, you don't like Chuck you watch something else, you play a video game, you watch a movie on Netflix.

To reply to Waldo, I said they were good at telling the stories not necessarily that the stories are good stories. Obviously these shows connect with their audience hence the big numbers and the fact that they keep them means they're doing something right. People watch TV to be entertained, and when they are they keep coming back. Else they go elsewhere. You can say that about Transformers too, hey I saw that movie and enjoyed it - I was there for the robots. I wasn't looking for Oscar Award winning acting.

AppleJill said...

Alan Sepinwall wrote...

And, frankly, with Chuck being promoted from "asset" to "spy," whatever rules there were in place about Chuck and Sarah dating are gone. That's not the reason they're not together. YMMV about the new reasons (Sarah's hurt over Prague, Chuck becoming not the guy she loved in the first place, attraction to newcomers, etc., etc.).

What about the issue of Chuck emotions causing problems with the intersect? Wasn't that a big reason for Chuck and Sarah not being together at the beginning of the season?

As fun as the show is, I think the real consequences of Chuck and Sarah being in a relationship either aren't addressed enough or aren't remembered by the fans. Chuck being an intersect puts him in a separate position than a normal spy. I'm sure that the higher ups don't want him in any relationship, but acquiesce to Lou and Hannah types (if they are the same type; we don't completely know at this point). Sarah is not an equal to Chuck.

Big national security issues are at hand that should trump a relationship. The fun nature of the show, with bad guys usually escaping or being knocked out, instead of being killed.

I wish the show would have handled Emmitt's death differently. Maybe they still have that in their back pocket, but an innocent person being killed really emphasizes that being the intersect isn't a game and that being field agents for the NSA or CIA (at least in Chuckword's version) is a risk for normal relationship. Maybe hearing about Shaw's wife will reinforce this idea.

Michael G. said...

There's definitely less emphasis on the B-storylines now, which basically comes down to much less Buy More. It's possible that that Chuck producers/writers were planning on going down this road anyway, since the focus of Season 3 has been on Chuck the spy.

We'll never know though, because the budget cuts basically forced their hand.

Hans L. said...

I'm convinced that the budget cuts are hurting the show. As the one guy pointd out, we never get to see Jeffster stalking or Awesome trying to play interrference on Morgan and Ellie. Its the little things like that, the comedic relief that is making the other stories feel flat. That and new Preppy serious Chuck isnt as fun as the old one.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's because I just started watching The Wire a few weeks ago, but this show seems to be getting less intelligent by the week.

I don't care who's kissing who. I really, truly don't. I just want the show to get back to where it was before this season started.

Nathan said...

I went back and watched the episode where Shaw was introduced and seeing the shock Beckman conveyed at what Shaw had planned tells me this is all some sort of plan. I still believe Hannah was a Shaw plant/device but I have to wonder if she isn't going to get burned, probably by Shaw, in a major way.
I'm willing to bet the death of Shaw's wife by the Ring will turn out to be a major factor in what Shaw has going on and the Ring's interest in Shaw is going to lead to much bad mojo for our heroes.
I think Shaw is A LOT darker than he is being played as of right now and that final shot from a few episodes ago of him watching Sarah, Casey, Chuck and the family together while playing with his wedding ring was probably a good bit of foreshadowing.
Or I could be totally wrong.

KevinCalvin said...


I just wanted to give you kudos for sticking through all these comments. I've seen crazier internet insanity, but not by much.

I get that people care about the show, but I don't think this stuff helps eh!

OperativeJ said...

I am a huge Chuck/Sarah fan, and i'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little disappointed with the episode.

I know that Chuck/Sarah will be together in the end, but, I also want it to be believable. They haven't been officially together in the entire series, but the build up to that point was always believable. That much cannot be said right now.

Will I boycott the show because my ship isn't together? No. Because boycotting and getting it cancelled isn't going to solve my complaint.

But I will say that I wish the Sarah/Shaw thing was a little better executed. The 180 from Sarah about her feelings for Shaw seemed a little lazy to me.

That's just my two cents.

mac35 said...

I guess if the "Shipper-pocalypse of 2010" has shown us anything is that Chuck fans are as invested as ever. That is definitely a good thing but the risk is that if the subset of the viewership that is displeased isn't satiated soon after the show returns it does risk alienating them. Unfortunately this is a show that can't afford to lose ANY viewers.

Marquand said...

That complaint is also one due to the reduced budget. The season was originally only 13 episodes. This was the 7th. With less eps the writers had to tell their story quicker and less time than in the past for setting up and execution.

And i have a crackpot theory. Shaw's wife isn't dead! It is in fact Hannah!!!! DUn DUN dun!

SamSparx said...

Well, I quite liked it, overall - for all its obvious budget-saviness. I think some poster above made some excellent points about the possibility Sarah is looking to Shaw in part because of Hannah and Chuck - neither Chuck nor Sarah was the initial instigator, and I can see them both responding eventually - Chuck feeling still raw about being frozen out by Sarah, post Prague and Sarah still feeling vulnerable about putting her self on the line and going towards someone she considers a safe bet (owing to Shaw's previous and similar experiences).

On the other hand, I like the idea (also hinted at previously) that Hannah is Shaw's attempt to separate Sarah and Chuck for Shaw's own, probably nefarious purposes. The coincidence of her turning up on Chuck's first solo mission (as decided upon by Shaw against the other's reccomendations) is just a tad co-incidental, as is the timing of Hannah's move on chuck and Shaw's move on Sarah.

I won't go into the merits of 'shipping' arguments on boards, but shipping itself always seemed a fairly risky proposition, as couples on TV are constantly not getting together or breaking up or being unfaithful over real or perceived slights - the one dependable thing is change! It's like playing a single number on a roulette wheel and getting annoyed when it doesn't come up - Yes, you might win big, but you're guaranteed to be annoyed a lot of the time.

EJF said...


Again, I'm not going crazy over this episode, but I think that the budget really is showing this season. While the writers have proven that they are top-notch, Grade A talent, the sets and environments that they have been in have felt cheap at times, and the rotating cast is definitely noticeable.

Given the recent success of the show (assuming that this stupid Chuck-fan backlash is just a passing internet fad), do you think that the budget will increase?

Linus said...

I like this show, and I find the hysteria about Chuck and Sarah borderline comical.

But I'd kill for about five more minutes of Captain Awesome every week.

Mike said...

I really hope this comment isn't lost in the mire, but everyone should go read Linda Holmes' reasoned response at NPR postedhere.

BS said...

Just watched it. Enjoyed it. Enough said.

RealShot said...

Chuck waits 2 seasons to get an answer from Sarah and now this guy comes and in 7 episodes is her type. That's just BS

Anonymous said...

Dear freiends...
We love this Show.. c'mon! This show is back for a 3rd Season because we all brogth it back (thanks Wendy!), dont' jump ship now just becase you feel confused and have so many questions... questions are meant to be answered, and you'll get them. If you jump ship, then all of us lose. Don't you love the cast, chemistry, comedy, action, drama, romance?? Just sit tight, wait, have faith and WATCH the show. I'm sure we won't be disappointed!

Eric Johnson said...

Just want to chime in and say that I, like Alan, am still really grooving on what the show is doing. I jokingly referred to the Chuck of the last few episodes as the "Bill Henrickson of Burbank" which I mean as a slight against the character but not the show.

It feels like Chuck has been taking his "normal life" for granted and alienating his close friends and family (not to mention Hannah, who I thought was going to be ditched by Chuck yet again this week until she decided to follow him to the museum). I have to expect that this is a trend that we'll say pay-off in the future, either with Chuck becoming Casey 2.0 or realizing what's going on and maybe working on improving his attitude a bit.

Actually now that I think about it Weeds's Nancy Botwin may be a good comparison to what's happening with Chuck attitude-wise, although I'd certainly hope that he handles it better than she has.

Anyways, count me as another person who's loving the show and can't wait for it to return after the Olympics.

Anonymous said...

A) I have no need for Chuck and Sarah to be together. I just want good, truthful writing. The writing is getting more and more poor and less and less believable. Sure, have them go off and have other relationships, but at least be compelling. At least be interesting. At least be entertaining. At least have a bit of realism. A bit. At least. And, this may be no one's fault, but there is zero chemistry between Kreuk and Levi.

B) Almost off-topic at this point, but the actor playing Morgan, Josh Gomez, has lost his mojo. He's become a total bore.

Andrew said...


Anonymous said...

This is what happens. I've seen it before. Fandom wank. For people who don't watch the show just for the Sarah and Chuck dynamic, it's very satisfying. People who are upset about the entire episode are probably Chuck and Sarah fans having a hard time dealing with their couple being on the rocks. Everyone calm down. It'll happen, they'll get together. :D

Brian said...

The shot of the Ring HQ at the end of this episode looked like it was out of "The Parallax View," where at the very beginning and end of the film, the tribunal rules that there was no conspiracy.

Mario Pooun said...

Eric, you just scared the living crap out of me! Your possible comparison to Nancy Botwin eerily has legs. Likable early season central character gets a bit too big for their britches and next thing you know is the most annoying character on the show. Weeds needs to be taught to tv writers and producers as a cautionary tale of what not to do after a promising start. Yuck. Did that show turn into a turd sandwich, or what?

Jess D said...

To Mike @ 3:04 p.m.

Thanks for posting that link to the Linda Holmes article. I've had similar thoughts about this whole fan entitlement business in reviewing today's comment explosion, and it was nice to read her piece. I wholeheartedly support the notion that while we are all free to say what we like and don't like about a story, the writers are in no way, shape, or form obligated to change their story in response. Certainly, I would hope that enough people like the story that the ratings stay good enough to let the show continue, but if not, I'd much rather be left with the story the writers intended to tell rather than the one the *supposed* majority of fans demanded to see.

Michael G. said...

Mike: Just letting you know that your comment wasn't totally overlooked. Good article, but one thing the author didn't point out in her analogy is that, logistically speaking, the bus's route is planned out for the next seven weeks. What, are Fedak and Schwartz and the rest supposed to scrap the rest of the episodes that have been shot for months and start over? Ridiculous.

W Gladstone said...

Wow. I thought this episode might provoke a strong reaction but I didn't expect to see over 220 comments. I've only got through half of them & I know there's arguments on both sides but what I take from it all is that there is some incredible passion for this show. And that for me is a testament to the ability of the shows creators , writers & actors.

Now everyone may not agree with the current direction of the show but I would say trust these same guys that have entertained us the past few years. I look forward to watching the rest of the season & enjoying everything that makes Chuck so great.

Underneath the Stars

GDP1992 said...

Dang yo. Been seeing links to dis thread all over tha intanet today! Might have been annoying for Allen, but it's getting our brotha some mad circulation. Nice!

Allen, I hope to hear you talk about this whole phanamana on yo next podcast bro!

compain87 said...

Alan I have a question for you. Lots of people have commented that the reason that they hated this episode is not the relationship aspect but the "poor writing". Taken at face value it is a valid complaint but it seems that none of the critics have mentioned anything about this. It seems as if this is just a code word for not liking the show in general. This always irks me whether people are talking about a TV show or a movie.

Back to my question about the show, Alan do you see the "bad writing"? was there anything to make this a valid complaint? Are shippers just using this argument to fit their needs because I can't see the bad writing. If anything I look at Chucks character development in the spy world as good writing. Chuck shouldn't be the innocent person seen in season 1 anymore.

Maybe it's just me but I don't see this complaint of "poor writing", then again I don't have an English degree and do not write for a living, I guess that's why I'm asking you.

I really don't mean to be offend the the haters of this episode, but I hate it when people use the "bad writing" argument.

Eric Johnson said...

@Kenrick: Yes! I love that someone else is seeing a possible Gwen Stacy situation here. I really like that as an alternative to another "Chuck vs the Femme Fatale."

@Mario: I agree, though I don't think the change is being handled in a way that'll lead to the creative dissonance that Weeds is suffering from. I do think the potential character parallels are fascinating, though.

Susan said...

Regarding the NPR blog Alan tweeted about, I find it frustrating that if you didn't like last night's episode, if you think it was downright AWFUL, you are a "shipper" whose whole enjoyment of a show depends on one couple -making you some sort of knuckle dragging idiot--and you are trying to hijack the plotline. My entire enjoyment of Chuck wasn't Chuck/Sarah, but it was a core feature for me, as it should have been, as it was meant to be. This condescending attitude of the NPR writer and others is guiling. I know full well not every episode of a favorite show will go as "I" want it to. If that was the case, Grey's Anatomy would be a helluva lot more fun for me if I was calling the shots. BUT here's the point she and others are missing. The arc does NOT NOT NOT fit these characters and THAT does affect my enjoyment of show--it's called WRITING. Bad writing=bad show. IThe Office plotline she mentioned with Jim and Pam didn't suddenly change who that character was. If the writers had only given Chuck and Sarah another fake out love interest that would have been one thing. It was the execution that was insulting to fans of the show. It's amazing me how one poster's suggestion that there be a boycott has resulted in this "Critics" outrage from all corners. Only the critics know good TV. The critics are saying THEY have seen many a show jump the shark and Chuck hasn't and they should know. I think the viewers get to decide. How dare a fan be angry--they must be shipper, a lunatic, just plain stupid. I don't think a boycott is necessary because we all have freewill to watch or not. Let the ratings fall where they will.

ScottyG said...

short season means things might just have to be hurried, whatever i'm forgiving

i'm pumped to see where the season is going, at least Lost is on to tide me over until Chuck returns

Anonymous said...

Wow... I read the original post when there were only 2 or 3 comments last night. My how things have changed!
I really liked last night's episode- not the best, but certainly not so bad that it's worth burying the series!

And, as a Nielsen home, I can say that I'll proudly keep watching and cheering, and I'm happy that it'll be back in March. (And so that I don't feel so paranoid, I'll also point out that I'm posting this from a cafe- don't want the box taken away!!!)

Melissa said...

I just saw that Josh Schwartz is actually tweeting the NPR article to Chuck fans!!! Let me get this straight, the show's creator is saying "you're a bunch of shippers trying to take over the show" if you expressed a negative opinion today?? He must like what she had to say to retweet it and hers was the most condescending article I've read all day on this. That's not a personal attack on the author, just an opinion on the article. All you Chuck fans who didn't like the episode, the show's creators just shot your the bird. At fist I thought the boycott was extreme but now I don't think so.

Dave B said...

Seems like "bad writing" = "Chuck and Sarah not together" for most of the "I'm not complaining about the relationship" posts.

After being wildly unimpressed by the first 2 episodes this season, I've thoroughly enjoyed the show since. A good chunk of that was minimizing the forlorn stares between Chuck and Sarah. I still haven't watched season 2, so I have no idea if the guest stars this year are filling roles from then, but I am liking the fact that the 'ship isn't getting all the focus. I want geeky spy stuff. We all know who will end up together. Unless Chuck gets stuck in the Black Lodge.

I've even gotten over most of the budget cut issue. The first episode was horrible, with the lame Mexican shoot-out and explosion where it suddenly seemed to be night. Might not get every cast member every week, but it's still entertaining.

Hopefully it maintains its steady levels when it comes back in March, and starts improving on them.

PS, I still absolutely hate the songs used as soundtrack, but oh well. I've learned to block those out.

Survivor said...

I love the way things are going with the show. This is by far the best season yet. The new characters have brought life to the series and I think Chuck has a future as long as the writers keep besting their work on a weekly basis.

p.s. Hannah is really hot. Go Chuck!

Anonymous said...

Huh...I actually like Chuck with Hannah (I think Kristin Kruek is smoking hot); they seem to make sense. Shaw & Sarah? Eh, Shaw came across as a bit sleazy to me, more harassing than anything else. I wish TPTB could have Sarah hook up w/ a civilian. The more I think about it, the more I want the Chuck & Sarah relationship resolution to be them agreeing on no further romantic entanglements. At least then we could hopefully explore the spy plot more, AND get more screen time for Casey who has been criminally under-used this season.

Sheldon said...


Damn everyone who has bad things to say about Chuck. Don't even leave comments if you're gonna diss the show which we struggled so hard to save!

medrawt said...

I haven't seen the episode yet myself, but does it seem possible that part of the uproar is related to the experience of watching from week to week? I have to imagine that as more and more people become accustomed (as I have) to the rhythm of watching a show on DVD, in concentrated bursts, the experience of watching a serialized show for one hour every week can become extremely frustrating, and the sort of character/plot developments which are intended to cause tension instead turn into full-fledged agitation because it seems so permanent. I've definitely noticed a decrease in my own patience for certain kinds of storytelling choices when I'm watching the actual broadcast vs. when I can control the pace of consumption w/DVDs; if I were watching Chuck Season 3 on DVD, I'd be done by now, and whatever happened in this episode might have (a) led somewhere enjoyable (b) turned out to be a hiccup in the broader narrative.

Which leads me to also say, as someone who gets very emotionally invested in some shows (though not Chuck, which is more casually enjoyable to me, like the stuff on USA), that you either have faith in the creators or you don't, but one episode shouldn't shake that. If I got off-board of Buffy because of each individual shitty episode - or episode that seemed shitty when I first watched it - I would've stopped watching the show a whole bunch of times. ("Beer Bad" was insulting! Whedon jumped the shark! I'm OUT!!!")

hilmi said...

After watching 3.07,I don't want to see Chuck and Sarah together.It lost its spark a long time ago.So,I will support the boycott and spread this idea.

Jess D said...

To those now upset about the NPR article ...

I didn't read it as having a condescending attitude towards anyone that didn't like the episode. The author seemed fine with people expressing their displeasure with the episode. She also noted that individuals are perfectly justified in giving up on a show if they don't like the direction the writing is taking.

The author's main point of contention is with the "entitled" audience reaction. Those fans who are suggesting that their personal vision for the show is the only way it can possibly be good and are attempting to organize or boycott to somehow force the writers to tell the story they want to see. It isn't the "I didn't like it" (for whatever reason) attitude. It is the "I didn't like it and you must change it to suit me because clearly I represent the majority" attitude. Particularly when the story is still in the process of unfolding and the audience can't yet see how the larger arc shapes up. That isn't (or shouldn't be) the way TV shows are made, and the NPR author and show creators are reacting to that.

Unknown said...

Confession - I've been watching every episode from seasons 1 and 2 back to back over the past few weeks. Watching the eps chronologically didn't make last night's seem out of the blue. It wasn't surprising to see Chuck become closer to Hannah or Sarah become more involved with Shaw.

For Chuck, I think Hannah represents his last attempt at living an "ordinary" life. He's not exactly at ease with his new status as a spy, but also realizes anything with Sarah will complicate things further for him. And Chuck's relationship with Hannah could be what finally pushes Morgan to confront Chuck about his other life. He didn't seem to happy last night.

On the Sarah/Shaw front, maybe Sarah knows more about his background and is lining up something we'll see play out before the season finale.

rspad said...

Wow. It's sad that it's usually the loudest & most negative of the bunch that steers the conversation. I hope the show runners realize not all Chuck fans, nor even most 'shippers, are "revolting".

I was a bit disappointed in the Shaw/Sarah pairing too, but only because it seemed rushed and contrived in the span of one episode. Overall, though, I have loved the direction the show was heading and am completely on board to see where things go. Boycott the show? Are you kidding me?? I LOVE this show!

And don't the disgruntled realize the show's already shot thru at least Ep. 13? What the hell is a boycott going to do? You have no idea how the stories are evolving. Take a breath, enjoy the ride.

Yang said...

Exactly what Jess D said. It's not knocking people who were displeased with the show. It's condescending towards those who throw a fit when their own show they've made up in their head doesn't come to pass exactly as they see it fit. HELLO PEOPLE. This isn't your show. The creator and authors of the property get to decide how their story goes. Same as any book or movie. If you really don't get it, go watch some Twilight or soap operas. Properties that are made with the exact intent of the fans gravitating towards shipping. Otherwise please save it, because you're ruining it for the rest of us. Thanks.

Stellar Drift said...

"I have to state that asking the fans to boycott the show and NBC because of displeasure at a relationship progress is the opposite of productive."

Screw productive. They are just repeating the same "lets split them up and get them back and tease the idiots viewers back for another year" (mad cackle to the bank whilst they cash their cheques)

Enough. Cancel the damn show - too bad if you liked it (that's the reason to follow shows you hate, they can't disappoint you).


The Great Gasparigi of NY said...

Sadly this thread as well as all of the Chuck shipper nonsense has done nothing but provide us with a microcosm of what's wrong with the world today. A bunch of selfish narrow-minded people who think the world revolves around them. This fact exists in every facet of life unfortunately. Be it politics, religion, sports, media, etc. Learn the world around you, folks! You aren't the only ones inhabiting it.

Rebecka S. said...

Stellar Drift, I really hope that was satire you were going for.

Tarasa said...

Biting my tongue to not get into the "chuck is dead to me because of this episode" because quite frankly it just doesn't make sense to me. So instead I'll say how surprised I am that I've been enjoying Kristin Kreuk - she fits in very well. I think maybe she was sent by the general to help pull Chuck away from Sarah

I like Sarah and Chuck together but it's not my first, second or even third reason for watching. Loved the review, Alan, as usual.

FYI - Sarah & Chuck being the "heart" of the show doesn't have to necessarily mean them being a forever romantic couple. They are still a strong supporter of one another even without the romance IMO.

I agree with Brandy that the idea of Jeffster stalking Chuck was tantalizing and I'm bummed it appears that it won't happen.

Julie's Journey said...

Gosh. It's just like pretty much every love story on'll work out. Just give it time.

7s Tim said...

Isn't "jumping the shark" a term used when a show does something extreme to attract viewers, but just goes a bit too far?
And Chuck and Sarah getting randy is

Also, what was with the spacious room with the opening to climb down and grab an artifact from the museum? Now that seemed extreme, even for a Chuck. What kinda of floor plan is this for a museum? seemed more like a bank had been converted (the big roll back doors) or like it was a jam piece between several architects. Maybe a Mosby design.

And why was Chuck going to work in the morning with a Guitar Hero guitar?

And why is Hanna the only one on the show with really great hair? Chuck's is crazy on purpose most of the time, Sarah mostly just wears it like she's going to or coming from the gym, Shaw just has too thick hair-- it isn't natural or healthy or fair dammit-- and this chick comes in looking like she just stepped off a runway (except, you know, she's like midget short). How could Chuck not hit that ppl? Hell, even is he had been in a serious commited relationship with Sarah, you'd understand the temptation, am I right?

I hope Chuck doesn't end up getting with Sarah again. They are both just too whiny and emo-- sarah should get with Casey.

Craig Ranapia said...

Good grief... I actually like the direction the Chuck-Sarah 2.0 dynamic is going in, while fully granting that the execution is far from perfect.

I'm willing to cut the show a lot of slack in that department, because you know something: Throwing Intersect 7 into the mix, and having Chuck remain much as he ever was is not an option. Change Chuck (and Sarah) and not changing their relationship in a fundamental way would have been a serious jump the shark moment for me.

That is all.

Stellar Drift said...

"Good lord. It's ONE EPISODE."

No. Its the entire season so far.

Chaz said...

One thing I cannot understand is people's outrage/disappointment at the characters "changing" from seasons 1 and 2. Of course the characters are changing, if they didn't it would be unbelievable and boring. Even if they're interesting it'll get boring if they stay the same and never change, just look at House.

hilmi said...

Sarah is in love with Shaw and Chuck is in love with Hannah.Also,I don't enjoy Chuck and Sarah moments anymore.Time to move on.Yet,I may watch 3.13.

Max said...

In this case, in the war of Chuck vs. the Mask, Chuck lost out, the character that we've gotten to know has put on a certain mask this season that he's never been able to as a spy before, he's always shown his affection and desire toward Sarah. However this season, Chuck has had to hide that, but by hiding it, that lack of it is starting to become Chuck. There was a scene when both Sarah and Chuck acknowledged what was going on in this season, that they've grown apart; Levi and Strahovski sold the scene perfectly.
While I've loved Chuck as a show partially because of that ship, I only got to that ship because of the actors, and as long as I get to see the actors' chemistry and great scenes together like that, I feel as though the show still definitely works.
As far as the whole title of the episode goes, I feel like it was apt that both relationships began in this episode, in that Chuck as a show loves punning on its episode titles, often not comedically. Chuck's mask is his life at this point, we're not really seeing the Chuck that we're used to, the playful Chuck. There's a reason that this episode wasn't particularly humorous, Chuck's soul doesn't seem as goofy as it did before. While he's grown, he's still masking himself because of necessity. He feels as though this stoic mask is necessary to survive as a true spy. He seems even to have lost sight of the idea of helping people that was present to start the season. He has masked himself totally as a spy. He's on mission now. Chuck vs. First Class seems like the last time we saw Chuck without his mask on for part of the episode. I feel like Chuck has become his mask in the past two episodes to deal with the tragedy of his new life. He sees Shaw and so forth. He feels like that's his only protectionistic approach.

Jayme said...

For all of you saying, "Oh no! Chuck and Sarah won't get together! The show is ruined!" Please, please please, just give this a chance to work out. If Chuck and Sarah truly believe that they can't get back together, then this is, basically, the way they would act. (Personally, I'd be a bit wary of the high paid techie who was paid to travel to France suddenly deciding to take a minimum wage job, especially considering that almost everyone in my life is a spy, but whatever.)

Now, I'm not a huge fan of romantic destinies in TV shows, instead preferring realism, suspense & unpredictability, but you have to think this is what's going on. All throughout Friends, everybody knew Ross and Rachel were going to get together in the end, even when they are in relationships with various other people. I can only imagine that the same thing will happen here. Chuck and Sarah will start to grow apart, but then realize that they only have eyes for each other.

Even with my lack of fondness for romantic destinies, on of my favorite parts of Chuck is the interplay between characters. While each episode isn’t particularly weak, I’ve had a feeling this season that something was missing, and I think this is it. With the budget cuts forcing many of the characters to be absent from each episode and even eliminating several characters, (R.I.P. Emmett Milbarge) it feels like they are trying to fill episodes with as much action as possible. Also, since the season was condensed to just 13 episodes, originally, it kind of feels like they are rushing just to get to where they are going instead of taking the time to enjoy the ride. This bothers me more than anything in the Chuck/Sarah relationship could.

Liz said...

Last night's episode was an example of why I'm glad this show was renewed. I agree with others here, that there is SO much more to this show and the characters than the potential for a single romantic pairing. Sure, I enjoy Chuck and Sarah's relationship. I also found myself smiling with Chuck as he kissed Hannah. And feeling badly for Morgan at the very end.

Kudos for a truly fun show.

Alan Sepinwall said...

If you haven't seen it yet, I spoke with Schwartz and Fedak a few minutes ago about the reaction to the episode.

jblount said...

re: yr last point alan, maybe it's just that i'm aware that there's budget constraints now and so i'm looking for signs of it hurting the show - i've noticed that it seems like there's not nearly as much use of some 80s "classic" to underline/highlight a moment when this was really a part of the show's voice. or that morgan's promotion to ass man means they don't have to pay another actor to play that part. or it could be i'm imagining both or it's the natural progression of the show, as much as the development in chuck's character.

Mike said...

People who would even think of boycotting the show are beyond idiotic. People who don't understand the definition of "jumping the shark" are also beyond idiotic.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Last year Smallville Clark/Lois fans went ballistic after Lana returned and slept with Clark Kent throwing cold water on the budding romance between he and Lois Lane.

The outrage and anger was very similar to what I'm reading here.

Granted, Clark/Lois shippers knew sooner or later the writers would have to fix the ship.

Good luck to Chuck/Sarah shippers, I hope it works out better for you.

Because even if Clark/Lois are destiny the relationship feels marred by that interlude, especially since the writers are trying to pretend the Lana interlude never happened.

I hope nothing remotely like that happens here.

weaselone said...

I thought the episode averaged out to decent. It was about 3/4 of a good to excellent episode with the final 1/4 consisting of some of the weakest writing yet seen on the small screen. We're talking complete 180s of several major characters without anything shown on the screen to justify the changes. The viewers were just expected to swallow it.

Everyone, from shipper to Schwartz worshiping fanboy knew this was coming, just as they knew the relationship reset was coming at the beginning of the season. The executive producers are aware of the shipper crowd and so should have know that they were juggling the equivalent of old, nitroglycerin sweating dynamite. That seems to suggest that the greatest care should be taken when handling these issues to avoid unnecessarily losing fingers, but the evidence suggests the exact opposite has occurred. Instead of bringing their A game, the writers and producers have consistently dropped the ball when dealing with the relationship this season.

Alan has noted that the relationship is one of the items that repeatedly hasn't clicked this season. The shippers might be overreacting, but they certainly aren't wrong in their assessment of this issue. The writers and producers seem to have been almost deliberately callous. Well, they messed with the bull, now they get the horns. Unfortunately, the consequences might be the rest of us don't get a season 4.

Chuck Anonymously said...

One fan calls for a boycott and Chuck fandom goes up in flames. Fedak and Schwartz have to "talk" the excited parties down. But right now, any criticism of the show is being met with the "you're a shipper, you suck" vibe. Kinda unfair don't you think? There are valid points being made by the critics but anyone who says last night's episode wasn't great is getting tarred by the same brush as the locos.

Personally, last night's episode felt off for me, the story seemed rushed and weak at many points throughout. I like Chuck - a lot. So its hard to put into words a non-fan would understand when I try to say the show was off - it just was not Chuck. I hope my fellow fans understand where I'm coming from. And just to be clear, the love quadrangle or whatever shape its in now is the least of the problems. You don't have to look any further than the ratings to know that we're trending down. This does not equate ratings to quality. But it does mean we're losing the fight for eyeballs. You may have the best show on TV but no one's watching - oh wait that's cableland. And with three weeks off and apparently not much promotion (according to Schwartz), how're the numbers going to look after the Olympics? Its looking like an uphill battle for renewal. So being on NBC buys Chuck some time to get the ratings up but say worse case scenario and the network decides its going to start fresh - keep the franchises like L&O and clean house. Chuck is borderline at best right now. Sure it's #3 or #4 on the NBC slate but a 2.2 rating while great at NBC does not cut it in today's TV landscape. Not when you have House and the CBS comedies on Monday proving week after week that people watch live TV. Maybe just not our people but those are eyeballs the advertisers and network executives value. Arguing that those shows are any less than what Chuck is does not make it any less true. Fans of those shows could just easily say that Chuck sucks and they don't watch it for that reason. That's just as valid as us Chuck fans saying we don't watch HIMYM because its "too simple." Point is, whatever they're doing over there in mainstream land, they're doing better than here in fringeland. They have a huge audience they keep week after week. Granted, they have huge numbers over us so that seems like an easy task. But hey, with fewer numbers you'd think this fanbase is more committed to sticking around. After all if you watch the show, you're probably one of the few. Problem is, we're losing viewers easily and not adding any new ones at all. That makes me worried.

But then you come online to express an opinion and suddenly get lumped into the category of "crazy". Where's the smart chuck fandom - surely there are folks out there who are in the same boat. Yeah, the crazies are out and about but hey lots of us aren't. No calls for a boycott here is there? Just an expression of worry that the show we love isn't clicking on all cylinders. And a genuine concern that losing viewers and not gaining new fans is sounding a death knell for this show.

Tar away people....

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say, that i really liked this episode and am very interested where they are going with this.

furthermore I have to say that I really, really like hannahs character and how they established her (even though I'm with alan on the whole forgiveness thing...I feel like there is a scene missing, it goes over too easy..) and even though shaw is a bit shady still, i'm thrilled to see what is going to happen next.

and I say all these things as someone who would dearly love to see chuck and sarah get their happy ending and while I haven't read through a lot of comments I skimmed and got the gists of it through other people referencing things, it makes me really sad how people are reacting just cause things don't happen exactly as they wish it....

Seriously go read fanficiton they have some really nice Charah-fic up there to tide you over if it makes you this mad. Or write it yourself..but stop putting out hate-messages like children who didn't get their lollipop.

this show is ulitmately not about a love relationship, but about growing up and responsibility and trust and realizing your potential. And I think it was a great step forward in their emotional growth that chuck and Sarah decided to gripe at each other over their romantic interest, but accept new possibilities in the other ones lifes like adults.

So great show like always and I hope all the curling will help people cool off in the next weeks ;)

Thom said...

As one of the few people on Team Karen in regards to The Office, it makes sense that I actually like where the show is going. I honestly hope Chuck get over Sarah. He really needs to move on. This season has been about making tough choices. Chuck (and to a lesser extent, Morgan) have made choices that require them to be more responsible. They can't be who they were before, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. If the writers just pandered to their base 100% of the time, the show would be terrible. That being said, I would like a bit more Casey -- but not so much that I'll abandon a show that is still a lot of fun.

Spammmm said...

Wow. So many people that just don't get it. If it wasn't so sad it'd almost be funny. Doesn't anyone actually watch the episodes or is everyone to busy staring at Adam Baldwin's finely sculpted chin. There's this thing called character development. Shaw is the new Bryce (except shinier with more hair), he's guiding Chuck towards something greater and he's interfering with the Sarah/Chuck thing (duh). Hannah is what Chuck has always wanted, a "regular" girl that likes Chuck for Chuck (BTW Sarah is that too, but Chuck doesn't see that, not really). Chuck is becoming more than just the guy that waits in the car, and it's changing him in terms of what he is willing to do, and his capabilities as an agent. Sarah is Sarah, she likes the Chuck of old, perhaps she loves him (snore), but she's not sure if she likes new Chuck who is not at all like old Chuck. And Casey is always perfect as Casey. So as the show progresses they need other characters to play off the changes, otherwise the show would be damn boring. I liked "Chuck versus the Mask" mostly because it was more about showing the changes between Chuck and Sarah, and how they're growing apart (but you can see they still want to be together). There's still 13 eps left this season people, and we're not all going to like every one of them. The show is better when there's some fire behind it. I don't expect Hannah and Shaw to last, but that's the best part, for a few weeks we get some good actors playing fun roles that mess with the show and make it better. But that's just me. I like tension and angstyness (I'm a Whedon fan too). In the end enjoy the show, don't get mad over nothing otherwise you'll have nothing to get mad over.

Baylink said...

Ok, so I meant to say it was "no accident" they got this ep scheduled before the break, but... IO Error between Chair and Keyboard.

And, to Pierre Chang: Don't you hate it when people say "Great googley moogley!" when you know, deep down in your heart that's it's only a pretty *good* googley moogley?

Here's my challenge to those who say that *just now*, the writing and acting went in the tank:

I'm going to go back and deep-watch the first 7 eps again -- cause, that'll be rough -- and I'll take my own notes about spots where I think the acting or writing are professionally weaker than called for.

You bring your notes too; we'll meet back here, next week. :-)

prentolv: Wasn't that that city where Chuck was supposed to run away with Sarah?

Stellar Drift said...

"I'm assuming/hoping that the writers will finally ditch the stall tactics before the season's out"

Yeah, so did I in season one.
And in season two.
Now in season three I understand that the hacks who write this will NEVER stop going around in circles, they don't have the talent. Might as well cancel this depressing mess.

Stellar Drift said...

@Rebecka S.

Its nice to have hope.

vampy said...

I hate it when things are too predictable, like "Sarah and Chuck get together and live happily ever after and have two beautiful children, a boy and a girl, who become the best spies ever!!!" (That's from my Chuck and Sarah fanfic. Do you like it? I don't either because it sucks!)

Do I think if Sarah and Chuck got together it would kill the show? I don't know. But I don't care if Sarah and Chuck get together. Don't get me wrong, I liked the romantic tension and attraction earlier, but frankly they will have to do some CPR on that relationship before I will buy it again. Which doesn't mean I don't think that Sarah loves Chuck, just that they can't seem to make it work.

I think part of the problem is Shaw as a Bryce stand in. The Sarah/Shaw relationship would be more understandable if it was Sarah/Bryce. Shaw is exactly the same character as Bryce but without the history with Sarah that he needs. We're all supposed to pretend that Chuck isn't himself a handsome, charming superman... which my sister has pointed out is absurd (she called him tall, dark and handsome). But Bryce was always the coolly, competent, suave super-spy to Chuck's more down to earth charm.

Chuck/Hannah makes so much sense, she's a hot, female nerd who has been throwing herself at the hot, male nerd, Chuck.

Chuck's been getting the deep freeze from Sarah and he's not made of stone.

If Sarah had never come into his life, it wouldn't even be anything but a slam dunk that he would go for Hannah. I hope when they kill off Hannah there is some emotional pay off, because she deserves it. She deserves some grief out of Chuck. (Yes, I think Hannah will be killed off somehow and neo-Bryce will also leave. I don't know the particulars, but I expect it will end with Sarah and Chuck comforting each other.)

Personally, I don't care about all this stuff anyway, as long as I get to see more of "The hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne."

cg said...

I'm completely surprised by this controversy. I find it ridiculous to be honest. As viewers of the show we are SUPPOSED to get angry when our "made of each other" leads hook up with other people. However, we do NOT abandon the show. Especially not a show that NEEDS us to watch. NBC won't renew this show again if the devout fans (who saved it in the first place) stop watching.
GIVE IT TIME. Sarah and Chuck WILL be together in due time. I think that's pretty obvious-especially since Brandon Routh and Kristin Kreuk are merely "special guest stars" for the time being.
Chuck is awesome. Don't write it off just yet.

Stellar Drift said...

"The theme of the season is growth."

Indeed, it is time for the writers to grow and move on and get a new job.

Anonymous said...

If the goal of the fans is to make sure that Chuck is renewed for a 4th season, they are not achieving their goal. All of the complaints about one episode and threats of boycotting will only do one thing - get the show cancelled. And that will just be sad. I say give it a shot and wait until the end to decide to quit watching.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why people are so freaked out about these new relationships.

A) They're guest stars. Not going to be around forever. And while it sucks to watch now...

B) Shaw's doing all the talking and the touching in the necking scene, he does all the hugging in the rescue scene (Sarah doesn't even raise her arms), and in the massage scene. Sarah hasn't even touched shaw. She's passively accepting his advances.

As for Chuck, while he may be a bit more physically enthusiastic, it was pretty clear where his interests lay. Casey had to remind him to rescue Hannah. Chuck got the antidote first and was worried about sarah first.

I don't understand what the big deal is. Sure, it's a step backward, but both Chuck and Sarah are going about things pretty halfheartedly.

Anonymous said...

How's this for a conspiracy theory...

Hannah works for Shaw. Basically, what other people said about the mysterious coincidences in Chuck vs. First Class.

Shaw's read Sarah and Chuck's files. And after the 41B and Agent Forrester last season, how can he not know about Sarah and Chuck's relationship?

Shaw solves what he percieves to be a problem with Chuck's development by getting them both into alternative relationships. Because Sarah and Chuck haven't purused Shaw/Hannah at all, it's definitely been the other way around.

Chuck and Sarah find out, Chuck decks Shaw as seen in the extended promo, life is again awesome.

The last two episodes haven't had very many lighthearted moments. Thank God for Casey. I would be perfectly happing just watching 41 minutes of Adam Baldwin's one-liners.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure what the fuss is all about. I enjoyed the episode very much. My only complaint might be that some of the plot holes were pretty obvious (though that has always been true on Chuck to some degree). Like the ring operative leaving museum or that he knew how to call Hannah and that Chuck would be the next to be there and answer the phone, etc. But these plot problems are not really new...maybe just a tiny bit worse than usual recently...

Anonymous said...

A lot of people griped about Sarah's behavior towards Shaw. I just saw the show again, thanks to Hulu. I think I have solved how Sarah seemed to irrationally jump to Shaw after lukewarm reception throughout the rest of their interaction.

At the beginning of the ep, Sarah seemed more resistant to Shaw, and smiled happily to be working with Chuck instead of Shaw to retrieve the mask.

It seems to me like the writers were going for Sarah moving out of the way to separate herself from Chuck, romantically if not professionally, for Chuck's own good. Let him have a more conventional relationship with Hannah, and as they eluded to at the end of the ep, Chuck's future is as a solo agent.

Either way, everyone knows that neither Hannah nor Shaw will be longterm additions to the show.

Greg M said...

Okay, I read through the first 200 comments. It's possible I'm not as attached to Chuck & Sarah getting together, because I started in s2. Still haven't seen all of s1. In real life, people don't together, and there's no "supposed" to.

That being said, this still ranks as the weakest episode of the season, regardless of romantic entanglements. The opener had the epic sweep, and the reassurance that Chuck's kung fu skills wouldn't ruin the show. The two Awesome shows had Awesome (and the county of "Costa-Gravas"), and the plane episode was incredibly strong.
Not sure if it was budget, or one of those moments when the constant demands of producing TV on a tight schedule just overwhelmed everything, but it felt like things misfired a bit. The stakes somehow weren't high enough until the end.

It's possible that a better-executed episode might have sold viewers on the two romantic relationships better (particularly Shaw-Sarah, which was quite sudden.)

Anonymous said...

I have loved the series from day 1.
Yet, I felt that this episode brought a bad taste to the mouth. Moreover, I can identify exactly where it happened--at the end. Now I will admit upfront that I have been a shipper. I can understand all the arguments about the ship's inevitability as well as the need to currently introduce some sort of conflict. The issue is that it has not been done in a way that would not trivialize the ship completely. It is at odds with what the show has been saying for some time now. In fact it is even at odds with what happened in this episode itself. In the past we have seen either Sarah being attracted to another character or Chuck being attracted to another character. But whenever that happens, it is made fairly obvious that the other one is quite unhappy with this situation--something that allows us to know that the primary ship, while in turbulent waters, is still sailing. Here they have made both break it off simultaneously. This, as a result means that the conclusion of the episode gave us no reason to expect that Charah could be back after this. I mean, Chuck shows no real jealousy at seeing Sarah in Shaw's arms like that (which, it has been shown repeatedly is one of the great constants in his character) and rushes to Hannah instead? Chuck feeling no panic at the idea that the 'Old Team' will no longer be around soon enough (which implies that Sarah won't be around either)? Sarah telling Chuck that she will soon be leaving him without showing any deeper feeling about it?

Are we to believe that Sarah who was clearly distubed by working with shaw at the party and so delighted to be Chuck instead actually enjoyed what was happening at the party? Yvonne really did not play it like she was attracted to Shaw in the least earlier on, and yet her comment about it being 'dangerous' at the end is something that would make sense if they had shown us a backstory in which Sarah and Shaw had clearly developed an attraction to each other but had been fighting it for some time due to the unprofessional nature of such a romance but had finally decided to succumb to their feelings. What they actually show us is that Sarah suddenly goes from being irritated at him to deeply attracted to him. Such a sudden change in attitude seems to indicate that her feelings may be very strong, and this does not sit well with my shipper perspective. Perhaps this is how many others who are expressing anger also feel.

BradynJ said...

Thought I might as well give in 2 cents after reading all those comments.

This episode to me, watching it for the first time (I don't know if it was my T.V or the station, but the sound was coming in a few seconds earlier then the mouths moved so it was irritating) I was somewhat disapointed, it seemed rushed and had it's flaws, but after watching it for the second time, all i can think is "how did I miss all that the first time?" it truly is a great episode. but yes, it still has some flaws, but not nearly as many as some of you make it out to have. (one hint to the Sarah and Chuck relationship, Watch the last part where Sarah and Chuck talk, Then watch the part after with Sarah and Shaw, If you don't see it, then I'm sorry)

I would like to also mention, instead of Boycotting the next episode:
"That way we can send a message to NBC and the producers of the show that we are still interested in the show but we are not prepared to settle for the caliber of show we saw last night"
Do whatever you can possible to get AS MANY people to watch it, and let them know that we still stand by them, no matter what the shippers miss and rage about. (The love between Chuck and Sarah is still strong in Episode 7, some of you just missed it with your eyes filled with rage and fail to see the small things)

And I apologize for bringing up the Boycott comment, I just thought it would help those who ussually scan to the bottom (I do it most of the time :P) few comments to understand what I was talking about.

Heres to hoping that Chuck has plenty more seasons, even if I have to eat 1000 subway sandwiches :P

Anonymous said...

Long-time fan, checked that Will Chuck Be Renewed website every few hours for weeks, not affiliated in any way with the show, industry, never met any of these people. I agree with many of the posters -- the Sarah/Shaw thing happened way too fast. We hear Josh and Chris say that Shaw and Sarah have a lot in common. We have yet to see any of that and that sequence was not well done. BUT, having said that, HOW ABOUT SOME FAITH IN JOSH, CHRIS AND THE WRITERS FOLKS??? They have created all the characters, the whole series that we all love, out of thin air. We've been on a fun ride for years with them. Let's see where it goes. You don't abandon ship just because you hit a few waves!!!

padma said...

Chuck was simply Chuck in this episode. The whole do you love me, don't you love me scenario between Sarah and Chuck was getting a bit annoying. OBVIOUSLY they love each other, why else would there be so much tension? They are meant for each other and yet due to professional reasons and other complications can not afford to be with one another. Recall the third episode of season 2 when Bryce returns and they're in the train station but Sarah can not kill the girl holding Chuck hostage because she is too emotionally involved. You do NOT want any of the spy fun ruined because of this. Yet you've got to also have a bit of romance and what better way than to introduce some hot guest stars? Remember they are GUEST STARS. Check the dictionary on GUEST. TEMPORARY stars. Moreover its nice to see them each individually happy for once rather than continuously pining for a normal life and normal relationship. I can not believe the outrage of some fans and I am really disappointed by it. If you think you're going to desert the show due to inconveniences for your personal preferences and imaginations then you are not the fan Chuck deserves and you need not come back. I have loved Chuck since it first aired on NBC and I will always support the show.

This was only for the disgruntled fans, Alan. I love your blog and I read it after every Chuck episode! :)

Unknown said...

Great show. How much are we talking about this? How much are we trying to decipher all the clues? Isn't this what makes this show, and others like it, so great? Chuck and Sarah aren't going anywhere-and for me the best moment of the show was their 'goodbye'. Fret not-we are only on chapter 7 of 19 for this season-try putting down any book (especially a mystery-Agatha Christie was great at this) and then read the end. Chapter 7 has very little to do with the end except to lead you down interesting rabbit trails that ultimately make the ending that much more satisfying. CHILL OUT PEOPLE. And enjoy the ride!!

Pickle Litsell said...

With this shippy war at full tilt [c'mon guys - it's a light entertainment show where the whole point is the two main love interest characters have ups and downs] I can't believe not one person has mentioned the totally awesome fact that the voice of the Ring honcho guy at the end (maybe actually the guy but looking a bit thin) was the one, the only William Shatner. Great Baddies Much Chuck?

logan said...

i really liked this past episode, it didn't end the way i expected it too but i kind of like the new twist, I think it has a lot of good potential. i can't wait for the Olympics to get over with so the new episode can come out.

Rayway said...

Personally quite enjoyed the episode and looking forward to what is coming up.

It's obvious many people are getting quite annoyed but pls stick with the show - I want a Season 4.

Points to take into account:

The show was almost cancelled.

Budget is tight.

Episodes do feel a little rushed compared to Season 1 and 2 but let us not forget, the original number of episodes for Season 3 was supposed to be 13. Correct me if I am wrong, I think shooting began before Season 3 was extended to 19 episodes. Thus, the writers were probably pushed for time and consequently tried to cram a lot into a short space.

I am missing the old Chuck too and much of the comedy that was so rife in the last two seasons. I miss the Chuck and Sarah moments and the innocence of the show, especially Chuck's unique ways of saving the day. HOWEVER, I have Season 1 and 2 for all that. Season 3 is a development. Chuck has been engrossed in the spy world for a long time and it makes sense for him to change. He has been on so many missions and also had fairly intense spy training from the government. I like how Chuck is developing as a character. The much more independent spy missions have been pretty smooth for Chuck so far and I am sure it is going to get a lot more complicated. Chuck has become cockier and a hell of a lot more confident but that will have consequences. In fact, he is already losing both Sarah and Morgan! People are getting frustrated at Chuck's change but this shows how much they care about the character. I just hope the writers are only using this as a way of furthering the storyline and for Chuck, eventually, to realise how much he has changed. Anyway, Chuck is still Chuck at the moment. He has definitely not become some sort of monster all of a sudden! Cockier, yes, but still Chuck.

There is a lot less comedy but enough laughs nonetheless (ie. moments in Chuck vs. The Nacho Sampler).

Team Bartowski (Chuck, Sarah and Casey) has been used intensively. Doing it all again in Season 3 would be far too formulaic. To be fair, it is not like Sarah and Casey have disappeared. Still ample time left for them to get involved.

I hate myself for saying this but Chuck and Sarah being apart feels sort of right. Chuck choosing not to run away with Sarah truly surprised me at the instant, yet, after consideration, Chuck did make the correct choice. Running would have ended in complete failure. It took Casey hardly anytime to track down Chuck and Sarah in 'The Colonel'. Also, could Chuck have left his family and Morgan behind? I do not think so. Sarah was acting impulsively, something she does not do with Chuck very often at all. The Chuck and Sarah relationship is extremely complicated. They really do love each other. As a result, I believe that the reason both of them fall frequently for other 'candidates' is that it is a breather. Sarah is on the rebound. She has kept a lot locked away since being rejected by Chuck. Shaw is different from all the previous spies in that he is much more caring. Bryce was overly involved in the job, Cole was just so upfront. Shaw, on the other hand, is staying with the team long term and more similar to Chuck than any of the spies we have met so far. Sarah likes guys who admit their feelings which is what Chuck has done on numerous accounts and ultimately what Shaw does in this latest episode. Chuck's acceptance also shows how he is maturing. Chuck and Sarah separated will allow them to realise again and solidify their love for each other. You stop appreciating people close to you until they are gone and you come to apprehend how much they mean to you.

Rayway said...

Agreeing with previous comments, I think Sarah was referring to Chuck when she talks about herself having 'a type'.

Despite being a Charah fan, Season 3 has not been too much of a problem for me. Chuck getting intimate with Hannah is believable. He has been deprived of female contact. Being with Sarah all the time but not getting anything much must be pretty tough - basically what Awesome says :)

What does seriously get on my nerves though is the lack of attention to detail so far. I am going cut the writers some slack on the non-existent time lapse when Chuck travelled to Dubai but come on, in this episode, there are some serious plot holes. The mask vault goes into lockdown at the start and there is no security to sort it out!? Hannah does not ask any questions about why she gets locked in the vault and is left to suffocate!? How does Hannah not notice Sarah and Shaw who are a few feet away!? No sign of any CIA/NSA team to clean up the mess!? Casey is nowhere to be seen at the end and does not arrest the bad guy who somehow manages to escape!? The thing is, a couple of lines would have sufficiently sorted out the problems highlighted above. Again, I am going to sympathise and put things down to a limited budget and time. Hopefully, the season spans out a bit better later on.

Not going to lie and really trying to give a balanced view, a lot of things are missing this season. Nonetheless, it is early days and the story arcs have now been set. I am going to keep watching, keep supporting and I hope other people do so as well. Chuck vs. The Mask was not a brilliant episode, one of the weaker ones in fact for me, primarily due to the plot holes. Still enjoyable nevertheless. I am realistic, not every episode is going to be amazing. I am just thankful that Chuck is back to be honest and I am going to relish in what I am presented with, as long as the plot remains feasible (probably would stop watching if the build up resulted in Shaw actually being superman in disguise or something - quite certain that will not happen though).

Even if Season 3 feels a tad weak for some, I want to remind everyone that most shows do stumble slightly once they reach such a stage. Heroes Season 1 for instance was absolutely fantastic. Everything flowed so well. Heroes Season 2/3 were not to my taste - so many characters, lack of any direction to the story. Felt like the whole point of the series had turned into creating random new characters. Season 4 I have not bothered watching. I have been informed it is not great either, if not getting worse. Chuck, however, has direction. It is so different from all the shows on TV right now. It is carefree, easy going, laughable, enjoyable and generally great fun to watch.

Sooooooooo, enjoy Chuck. Get annoyed by the little things but, it is still episode 7. Take a deep breath and relax. The 'bad' tension between the characters and audience is good, kind of. The writers may pull all this off brilliantly or, royally screw everything up. Fingers crossed they do not mess up the basic elements of Chuck that made it so awesome. Until then, none of us viewers can know for sure. Pls do not be too judgemental yet. Still early days! KEEP WATCHING!!!

(Sorry for the long comment. Got carried away.)

Anonymous said...

When someone uses the word "boycott" non-ironically, particularly on the internet, 90% of the time they're a effing moron.

Guess who didn't just beat the odds?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else here think that the 4th Ring chair appeared empty?

Alan Sepinwall said...

For the sake of everyone's sanity, I'm shutting down the comments in this post. We can talk about Chuck again after the next episode airs on March 1.

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