Monday, January 18, 2010

Chuck, "Chuck vs. Operation Awesome": The first rule of Buy More

A review of tonight's "Chuck" coming up just as soon as I count carbs...
"In this mission, Devon is you and you're her. So be her, Chuck." -Casey
I talked a lot last season about the "Chuck" Plot Hole of the Week, and how I often brought them up not to complain, but to illustrate how good the rest of each episode tended to be that I didn't even mind the one gaping flaw in the story. "Chuck vs. Operation Awesome" may be the most obvious example of that to date - or, at least an episode I enjoyed a ton in spite of the biggest plot hole I can remember the series featuring.

Simply put, I in no way understood or believed any of the episode's attempts to explain why the Angie Harmon character might mistakenly believe that Devon was a spy. I don't know what kind of intel The Ring has on the events of the last two seasons, but if they knew some or all of it, they'd focus in on someone at the Buy More. And if they're just basing their theory on the events of last week's "Chuck vs. the Angel De La Muerte," then The Ring poisoner saw Devon interrupt Casey's attempt to stop him, and cause Casey to be arrested by Goya's men. Casey argues that anybody looking at Chuck's life would assume Devon was the spy, but why would anyone be looking at Chuck's life in the first place? And if they were, wouldn't they be aware of all the other stuff that points squarely at Chuck, even if he's a geek with a pocket protector?

But even though I didn't buy the mistaken identity at the center of the episode's plot (nor did I believe Harmon would give so much free rein to a CIA agent she was trying to turn until she was absolutely sure of where his loyalties lay), I had a lot of fun watching "Operation Awesome." Even more than "Angel De La Muerte," it played around with the Chuck/Devon role reversal, and with showing Captain Awesome seriously out of his depth (a good comic showcase for Ryan McPartlin) at the same time Chuck was kicking ass and taking names. Even with the Intersect 2.0, Chuck still often seems like the little kid pretending to be a spy next to Casey and Sarah, but when you leave them in the surveillance van and put Chuck next to civilian Devon (and when the Intersect works properly for once), he comes across as every bit the hero he wants to be (or the hero he sees Sarah and Casey being). He may not like real guns any more than Agent Shaw, but he two-handed those tranq guns like Chow Yun-Fat in "Hard-Boiled." And if Chuck's a bit more of a spaz once Devon goes to the sidelines and the super-capable Agent Shaw gets involved, it gives the writers (in this case, Zev Borow, with Robert Duncan McNeill directing) another chance to show that Chuck can still save the day through his computer skills, and through his knowledge of the death trap that is the Burbank Buy More. At this point, Zachary Levi can very easily play the character as either a bad-ass or a dork, and the show can have fun mixing and matching between the two as needed.

Getting back to Shaw - first glimpsed in shadow at the end of "Chuck vs. the Three Words," and here given face and form by Brandon Routh - he provides a whole lot of drama as he takes direct control over Operation Bartowski and points them very specifically at The Ring. Routh is always going to have an air of Superman about him, but that works for the part - Shaw so quickly winds up at odds with Chuck, Casey and Sarah that if he weren't so square-jawed and wholesome, the character might be instantly hatable. It's still not clear that Shaw has our team's best interests at heart (General Beckman sure seemed afraid for them when she talked to shaw in "Three Words"), but Routh provides some moral ambiguity at the same time he's causing trouble.

And after last week's episode featured none of the Buy More crew and precious little on the pop culture reference front, "Operation Awesome" brought both back in a big way, as Morgan is again promoted to Ass Man(*), and almost immediately has to deal with a rebellion by Lester and Jeff, who both hate management (ass or otherwise) and who are inspired by an Intersect 2.0 malfunction to start up a Buy More Fight Club.

(*)That joke still makes me think so fondly on the "My Favorite Year"-style climax to "Chuck vs. the Seduction," and to Big Mike staring at the mangled "Under New Ass Man" banner and saying, "I ain't new!" It's the gift that keeps on giving, that one.

Morgan was, of course, briefly Ass Man under Millbarge (RIP), but this promotion feels more permanent, and like more fertile territory. He wasn't tricked into this one, and he does have a weird, not entirely desired father-son relationship with Big Mike, and Morgan has to grow and advance at the store in the same way Chuck does in spy world. So this storyline is going to give Josh Gomez some good stuff to play, as it is for Vik Sahay and Scott Krinsky, as Jeff and Lester have immediately turned adversarial on their old buddy Morgan.

Also, I thought I had tired of "Fight Club" references (it has been 10 years, after all), but seeing Lester tricked out in the Tyler Durden sunglasses (and Jeff in much geekier '80s shades) was very funny, as were the glimpses of the bruised, defiant, incredibly nerdy Buy More staff. And, as happens in the better episodes (including the aforementioned "Chuck vs. the Seduction"), a Buy More storyline wound up helping Chuck save the day in a spy story, and those worlds-colliding moments are always welcome. I've said in the past that if the show were to just do references for the sake of them, it would feel like a live-action "Family Guy," but all the "Fight club" jokes tied in nicely to Morgan's story and then to Chuck's.

After the set up of the season's first few episodes, it feels like Shaw's arrival and Morgan's promotion have really kicked season three into gear, and I'm looking forward to what's coming.

Some other thoughts:

• I've never really liked the "Chuck" stylistic device of having a character talk directly into the camera as if we were seeing the POV of the character they're talking to. It always makes things feel too broad on a show that's already quite silly enough, thank you, and it certainly pushed Awesome's attempt to concoct an alibi for Ellie too far into the ridiculous for my tastes. It was only the arrival of Casey at the end of that scene, completely ignorant of the lies Chuck and Devon had told about him, that saved it, I thought.

• I'm sure the gag about the man who doesn't like guns but knows how to use them has been featured in many, many, many films prior to it, but the one that immediately popped out at me after Shaw killed Sydney was the end of "Quigley Down Under" with Tom Selleck and Alan Rickman. (Shaw's hatred of guns also nicely set up the moment where Casey quick-draws on Shaw and says, "Something else you should know about me: I love guns.") And whether or not "Quigley" was where they got the idea from, it leads us to...

• This week in "Chuck" pop culture references: "Fight Club," obviously, but also "Under Siege" (Lester does his Seagal impression and talks about being "just a cook"), "Pulp Fiction" (the adrenaline shot to Shaw), "Enter the Dragon" (Chuck trying to swing his arms around like Bruce Lee to intimidate Sydney and her henchmen), "The Warriors" (Lester apes the famous "Come out to plaaaaay!" scene while taunting Morgan), "An Officer and a Gentleman" (Lester quotes Richard Gere's "I got nowhere else to go!" speech), "Animal House" (Lester is, like Delta House, placed on Double-Secret Probation), and possibly "Alias" (Angie Harmon's character is named Sydney).

• This week in "Chuck" music: "Space Monkeys" by Dust Brothers (the "Fight Club" song, also from the movie), "Got Nuffin" by Spoon (Chuck and Awesome racing through the office building), and "Bears" by Sam Isaac (leading into the final scene at Chuck's apartment).

• In "Chuck vs. the Three Words," Chuck said Casey has dungarees older than Carina, and here Casey complains he has issues of Guns & Ammo older than Shaw. Where is Casey buying all his pants and magazines from?

• I loved the plaintive tone of Jeff's voice as he explained - after Lester said Chuck's kick made him feel like a man for the first time since his bar mitzvah - "I've never had a bar mitzvah!" Also loved that we saw Lester punching Jeff in the face in the background of that scene.

• After the heavy dose of Chuck and Sarah in the season-opening double feature, and a couple of big scenes about the state of their relationship last week, here we only got a hint of it at the very end when Chuck and Sarah tried to argue to Shaw that caring about people can be a help, not a hindrance, to spy work. (Based on the last scene, with Shaw spying on Chuck and company while he studies a wedding ring, I'm assuming the person he lost was his wife.)

• When Shaw explains that The Ring is made up of a group of decentralized cells, my first thought was that Fedak, Schwartz and company had finally figured out a way to avoid all the "How do the bad guys not know there are spies at the Buy More?" questions they had to deal with during the Fulcrum episodes last year. Now we can have one Ring cell after another march into the store, and even discover Chuck's secret identity, and assuming they're arrested or killed, nobody in any other cell is going to be any the wiser.

• In part because I had trouble not thinking of her character as kind of an idiot because of the Devon mistake, I didn't love Angie Harmon as Sydney, but her presence did lead to the first good Sarah-on-girl fight in a while. (Though it wasn't up to the standards of Sarah in the car or Sarah in the locker room. Few things are.)

Finally, in case you missed it (since we posted it on a Saturday night), Fienberg and I got around to recording that podcast we've been threatening to do for forever, and you can listen to or download it here. We only discuss "Chuck" briefly, at the end of a rambling 40+ minutes (prior topics include "Idol," Jay/Conan, press tour, and Dan's hatred of Stephen Hawking), but I imagine that if we ever do this again (which will involve figuring out how to do it via Skype), "Chuck" will be a more prominent topic.

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

I actually thought this was the weakest episode this season. I loved the Buy More stuff, but the rest of the ep seemed too disjointed. Brandon Routh and Angie Harmon just didn't develop their characters at all (though the Shaw character will obviously get more chances to grow in upcoming episodes). Either they tried to do too much, or I simply didn't get a good enough understanding of who Shaw is supposed to be or what he's going to represent (plus the stuff you mentioned about why Devon would be mistaken as the spy).

Oh, and I assume we can talk about LAST week's promos. How bad was that!?! After watching a great showcase for Captain Awesome, and then assuming he gets killed at the end of the episode we IMMEDIATELY see him alive in the upcoming promo and ruin the suspense for this week. NBC.

Anonymous said...

Yeah by far the biggest problem I've had talking people into this show is ignoring the plot holes and realizing its just a really fun way to spend an hour.

But if this were a Nic Cage movie I would love to listen to a Carrolla/Simmons podcast breaking down the plot.

I really hope by lets say episode 8 or so they let Chuck and Sarah finally be together so the last 3 minutes of every show isn't basically close ups of their longing glances. It was effective and wonderful to drive home the point and create interest but its starting to get old, they need to do something else with that arc

Finn said...

I could have done with more Sarah and Casey and I didn't laugh much at the Fight Club, as it was so very out there. The heavy sound effect punching was over the top, might have been funnier if the Buy More gang struggled to fight a bit - looked a bit more wimpy doing it.

Those are my only real complaints. I thought Harmon had a nice presence with what little she worked with. Awesome was funny and Morgan in so much more palatable this year. Nice scene at the end with Chuck looking at his little family too.

Also, this is the first time I was a little bit on edge with what would happen. Shaw seems like an interesting character and am curious to see how that plays out.

EJF said...

All four episodes of Chuck have been fantastic. 1 + 2 were really getting the season warmed up, and 3 (One of my favorite in the whole series) still had some background stuff to deal with before getting in full gear.

This episode was a non-stop thrill ride that had my laughing at five or six different points, and had plenty of action and suspense to go with it. It is exactly the kind of tone that the series should take going forward. They've got me hooked.

Lisa said...

The first four episodes of the season have been fun with a few great moments, but I think the word "Lite" can be added to the name of every character on the show right now. Sarah and Elly in particular aren't making a lot of sense -- Elly's been dumbed down and Sarah seems on the margins, somehow. This show was once a master of the great unexpected emotional payoff, and I need one.

--Deb said...

Okay, first, thank you for the music list. Second, I thought the scene where Awesome lied so, so badly hilarious--if only because he's so Awesome at everything else.

The biggest plot hole, I thought? Not so much the Angie Harmon thinking the spy was Awesome, but ... if Casey and Sarah were watching on surveillance cameras to see Devon standing alone, waiting for instructions ... wouldn't Sydney have been watching, too? And, heck, MY cell phone has GPS capability, wouldn't the Ring be able to track its phones the same way?

But, otherwise? I enjoyed watching Awesome fall apart. Loved the way the Buy More electrified cage helped save the day ...

Oh, and Chuck being so cool and confident in front of Devon, but falling apart on his own at Buy More? I think he doesn't want to embarrass himself in front of the brother-in-law who's finally impressed by HIM for a change.

Unknown said...

There's been a lot of fan grumbling about Shaw's place in the absurdity that is the "love trapezoid" but once again, trusting the writers to do a good job with the characters and the stories they've made trumps any doubts they have. Every move they've set up has been expertly accomplished, I think. Bravo.

Chuck has a lot of moments where the writing can be criticized for plot holes, but I say the rest of the show is good enough and fun enough that I can stomach looking past them.

As far as Skype call recording on Windows (and for free), I use MP3 Skype Recorder (the first entry on Google) - it only records the audio at 16 kHz, but you can set it up to record with you in one channel and the receiving end on another channel, and then use your audio editing program to mix it down. There are paid solutions, but none I've had experience with.

Anonymous said...

I really love Awesome. I was delighted with this and last week's episode. The Buy More fight club was funny too. Good show tonight.

Anonymous said...

The moment I saw General Beckman with a megaphone in the first few minutes of this season's first episode, I thought: Jump the shark.

This show has now officially jumped the shark. I no longer care about any of these characters. Casey still gets off a good line and I think Chuck and Sarah together would make a dynamite story line, but the show is getting tedious.

The spy stuff has always been hokey, the humor just isn't as sharp, the music isn't as good and we all know this is now about Chuck and Sarah. And I'm tired of all the filler while the writers play the will they/won't they stuff one more season.

Blair Waldorf said...

Loved that moment at the end where Chuck and Sarah exchange wistful looks and Shaw sadly puts his ring on. I love me some tortured, tragic romance.

Average Joe said...

Plot holes aside, this episode did nothing for me. The show has to walk a fine line between the comedy and drama, but I'm starting to worry the show's tone is in danger with everything this season has set up. I don't buy the Ring as a scary villian, nor should I, but the whole episode had everyone acting, poorly I thought, like danger was around every corner.

I didn't laugh at anything, and, more importantly, I didn't enjoy any of it. Maybe Superman will bring a fun new dynamic to the team, but I think the show's strength is how Chuck/Sarah/Casey play off each other...and there didn't feel like any of that this week.

Jobin said...

I'm a little worried. This was the first episode where the "Chuck as a legit spy" angle didn't work for me. I like how the first two seasons were formulated - Chuck the geek saves the day with irony, quick thinking, and awkwardness. I don't think I laughed more than once or twice this entire episode, and I worry that Chuck's new "role" as an actual, legitimate spy with abilities is taking away from the heart of the show.

Are we ever going to hear the "Chuck, STAY IN THE CAR!" line again? Please tell me yes!

unkraut said...

The episode was pretty funny, especially in the beginning.. but (besides those pretty large plot holes) i was disappointed when Shaw was about to tell them at least some basic stuff about The Ring, and you didn't get to hear it. Also, if there is an enemy who comes to the Buy More, i expect a good showdown.. that was pretty lame.
But I'm a sucker for Fight Club jokes, so all in all, it was a good episode.

Matt said...

Ugh, the Chuck vs the Seduction youtube link is down already!

Anonymous said...

Alan, try using to hold a conference call with Skype and record your conversation as a mp3.

Mel said...

"Where is Casey buying all his pants and magazines from?"

LOL! That's right up there with, "I decapitated the bear." Nice on, Alan.

Unknown said...

I have really been impressed with how hilarious Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) has been in the last two eps. First, the looks she gave as she danced with the General in "Angel of Death", then the way she played with Devon as he spun his tale. Ellie has really shone this season. Also, yay that Morgan is growing up. He handled his buddies beautifully and I'm going to enjoy watching him flesh out his new role as ass. man. this season. In the same way, I'm enjoying Chuck's new sometime-superspy role. The mix between the capable fighter with Devon and the confused nerd in the Buy More was great. And of course, Sarah and Casey were awesome! I loved the way Sarah stepped in against Shaw at the end.

Miss Micah Bliker said...

I'm sorta over Chuck. I had a huge crush on the show but so far this season, it is not doing it for me at all. It will not take much at all for me to stop watching.

Doesn't mean that I won't spend some rainy May weekend watching every single show of S3 back to back though. It's just so fun but... the short in Intersect 2.0 annoys me as much as the short in my laptop's power supply does.

That and I'm not in a good mood. This podcast of Dan and Alan is fugging annoying. OMG. So Annoying with all the heavy sighing. WTF? Could it be any gayer?

Anonymous said...

I have to admit I didn't much care for this episode. I agree that it is the weakest of the season so far.

Build A Better Fan said...

I wasn't a fan of the first episode, which seemed to have to try too hard to transition to the new normal. The second helped to stop the bleeding by wrapping up some of the more annoying angst. The third started to get the show back in its groove. And this one was just fun.

The plot hole only bothered me for a minute. I thought they should have been a lot more cautious of him just showing up, wondering if he'd been followed or bugged. (And he should have been, if The Ring is supposed to be a formidable enemy.) But whaddayagonnado.

I don't usually like the Buy More side plots, and was happy to see them slashed because of the budgetary need to focus on fewer characters. But I liked tonight's. That may have something to do with loving Fight Club, but Lester played it right and made it fun. And for a character who usually annoys me more than he entertains, that's a big step up.

Shaw was compelling from beginning to end. His job was to make an interesting first impression, and he did. Looking forward to seeing more of how he shakes up the old dynamic.

The action was all good, although Sepinwall's right: the Sarah-Sydney fight, while decent, can't compare to the brutal car fight in "Best Friend."

And unlike the first few episodes where a seeming drop in production values and fight choreography distracted me (the train station, the outdoor scene in Mexico, and the exploding jail juice), this episode had none of that. Always nice to be able to just watch the action.

Alan: "the death trap that is the Burbank Buy More"
There should be an official count of the number of bodies that have hit the Buy More floors.

In the end, I was laughing and grinning for more of the episode than I've done for most of the episodes in the series. I've no doubt the emotional gut checks are coming, but they can wait.

P.S. Y'all should really avoid the promos for the next week. I always have, and have never regretted it.

Michael said...

what was the name of the song that was playing during the fight at the buy more?


Billiam said...

I was at first getting a little tired of Chuck "freaking out," but once he and Awesome went on their mission, I started loving the episode.

I would say that the Chuck/Sarah glances felt pretty tacked on, since their relationship really hadn't been focused on at all during the episode. It was almost like the writers were having trouble coming up with an emotional beat to end the episode and so felt they had to resort to the old stand-by.

J said...

The episode ran out of plot like seven minutes early, and I'm convinced that this was simply an hommage to Harmon's old series Baywatch Nights; that happened in every single episode, there.

I really wish Baywatch Nights Seasons Two+ were on DVD. Loved the one where the 'Hoff defeats a resurrected Hopi god by punching him. Happy days, good times.

Unknown said...

OK, I've been a fan, I bought (and still buy) the $5 foot long, etc. etc. ..... did I just see Check jumping the shark? Please, say it ain't so, Alan ..... anyone?

Unknown said...

Duh .... Check = Chuck

cgeye said...

I thought Shaw's purpose is to butch up Chuck deliberately == they knew Chuck has a big father problem, but he responds to authority badly, especially after his cashiering from Stanford. Casey's been compromised, even though normal people can't see it, so they need another Big Brother to shape his behavior. A Bryce Larkin Chuck can freely hate and react against....

The point is that Chuck has to learn how to work the Intersect 2.0 with his emotions -- the 'spies are emotionless' bullshit is just that. Hatred, passion and ruthlessness are what soldiers use to fight; the adrenaline's merely channeled into action. Shaw has to force Chuck to defend himself without relying on handlers, or else those handlers will be used again and again to compromise him. Even if Chuck weren't in love with Sarah, or envious of Casey's butchness, he's too nice a guy to let people who protect him die because of him -- even though that's what being the Intersect will someday demand.

There's the larger subtext throughout CHUCK, that every spy who knows about him hates him, because he has bogarted the tool that could Save The World, if only he stopped being, yes, selfish, and use it properly.

If Shaw's the man dedicated to bring down the Ring, as Larkin was the Fulcrum hit man, then his mission is to either mold Chuck into the spy he must be, or kill him. Chuck, because of the Intersect's 'killing word' database, can no longer be considered neutral. He is now a weapon, and either he learns how to aim himself, or be destroyed.

I'm fine with being wrong about Mark Sheppard = Shaw, but I don't think I'm wrong about the golden suitcase. If they can't risk Chuck knowing about a secret weapon, despite what he already has in his brain, then that weapon has something to do with him....

But, Harmon? A waste. How many times must I see one sexy bitch or bastard after the other taunt Chuck about his un-spyness, until one handler or another does the dirty work Chuck forced them to do? Three seasons in, that's an ongoing irresponsibility that's more nagging to me than the Charah sitch.

Geoff said...

While it doesn't make the Ring not seeing Chuck as the CIA agent much more believable, remember that there's a hospital log somewhere with Devon's name on it that indicates he put a bug in a terrorist.

Also, I thought that the Awesome/Chuck interplay was great. Chuck as a handler was surprisingly nice to see as was the contrast between Chuck's "Duck Hunt" skills and his "choke" in the Buy More.

Finally, you know what's beginning to bother me? Why does the Ring have such terrible cell phones? I mean, they look cool and futuristic and all, but they break every time they're dropped. I've dropped my phone 3 times this past week and it's fine.

Pamela Jaye said...

at the end, when Shaw put on the Ring, I thought maybe he was part of... the Ring.
(but then, we had a problem, starting late, trying to catch up, getting phone calls, we missed a whole scene and had to go back and pick it up and go from there)

and naming her Sidney, even when I *didn't* watch Alias, only confused me, but I did expect Chuck to use the electrified cage and the crew to be doing something in the cage when clueless Morgan found them.

i'm still stuck on last week's first day of med school - Ellie doesn't seem the Grey's Anatomy type. sex in the broom closet with a stranger? during class?

also, Grey's taught me - they mispronounced amiodarone. (though for years, I thought it was amniodarone)

jblount said...

thought it seemed a bit off, particularly for a story involving the bigger plot and awesome. at first thought maybe it was a case of a writer's first chuck script and not quite getting to tone right or overplaying aspects of the show (the popcult refs during the firing really seemed clumsy to my ears) but zev borow (go figure - what an odd career) has written a few chuck's before this, including a couple of my faves. am hoping shaw isn't a just a new bryce larkin; it's a shame bryan singer made such a hash of his superman cuz routh really is made for that part.

Frank said...

Small thing about this ep that bothered me: We didn't need the patented Chuck - Sarah longing glances at the end. The episode was already ending on the emotional note of "Chuck is spending quality time with everyone he really cares about". It was poignant enough without adding the Chuck-Sarah component that's starting to drive some fans crazy. They did a good job avoiding it for the most part, other than the scene in Castle when Sarah kind of acknowledged that having people you care about makes spy work worth doing. I thought that scene was a nice, understated way to make reference to their relationship without the googly eyes.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Billiam about Chuck's freak out at the beginning of the episode. There are times when I wish that someone would pull Zach Levi aside and tell him to cool it with the belligerent stuttering.

I also totally agree with anybody who's fed up with the longing glances and "Let's establish where we are in our relationship" conversations between Chuck and Sarah at the end of each episode.

Anonymous said...

If I didn't know any better, I'd think tonight was one of the "extra" six episodes thrown together as filler, spliced with some of the Routh stuff or re-shoots to tie him into the plot. Literally nothing happened; I felt like I'd seen this episode already four or five times.

If someone could explain why they didn't just have Routh kill Angie Harmon when she came up to the 12th floor, instead of going along with the whole charade, I'd love to hear it.

Also, Chuck is going to have to kill somebody, on purpose, at some point.

I'm hoping everyone finds the strike zone again, soon. Have to say I'm greatly disappointed thus far.

Paul Worthington said...

Posting only to counter the many nay-sayers: I enjoyed it. Just a a good fun hour of Tv. Don't over think it so much, everyone! It's a silly show, self-admittedly so.

But one criticism I agree on: tired of Chuck / Sarah, but not in the way everyone else is. Just let them be a happy couple, and get on with the fun. The relationship angst is just unnecessary.

mac35 said...

I think these last 2 episodes (and the 2nd as well, just less so) have really felt much closer to S2 than the opener.

The writers are nicely integrating an overarching story into the mix while still keeping the humor, silliness and pop culture references that make the show unique. Not sure how I feel about the Shaw character yet but I have a feeling this is going to be yet another point on the Sarah/Chuck love hexagon...which is NOT what the show needs right now.

Build A Better Fan said...

Anon@1:21 - If someone could explain why they didn't just have Routh kill Angie Harmon when she came up to the 12th floor, instead of going along with the whole charade, I'd love to hear it."

She hadn't deactivated the explosive in Devon's ear, and the rest of her cell would still be out there, believing Shaw is still alive.
That said, I don't recall the poisoner from the previous episode being among the neutralized Ring agents. So that's a loose end, someone out there still "knowing" Devon is a spy.

mac35 said...

Oh one more thing. I'm shocked no one has mentioned the stealthily placed Wilhelm; IIRC it was when the random greenshirt was shocked on the Buy More cage.

maryploppins said...

Yes the plot holes do nag at me too ... but I've never found a show that doesn't have that issue, so I don't know why Chuck would be any different I guess. Another couple shows that I've been watching a lot of recently are Dexter and Sons of Anarchy, and they have the exact same issues. Chuck can actually get away with it a little easier because it's a mostly lighthearted comedy, but I definitely do prefer it when they keep the gaping holes to a minimum. ;-)

This episode did have a few more plot holes than I would like, but I need to watch it again to see if maybe some of those things will make more sense to me the second time around. On the "Chuck scale" as compared to other episodes, I'd put this one at "pretty good" I think. But I still feel like I need to watch it again, because sometimes my appreciation grows on the second (or third) viewing. ;-)

I thought there were a good number of funny parts to this episode, and that is what I most enjoyed. I'm also glad we got to meet Shaw for the first time.

I'm totally with all of you about the Chuck/Sarah stuff and the longing glances at the end of each ep, it's definitely starting to get a bit old after all this time haha. I'm also starting to think that they need to just get them together already, to just move things forward and not become stagnant with that piece of the story. Though maybe they will by the end of this season, we'll see!

One other commenter mentioned that there was very little Chuck/Casey/Sarah interaction and banter in this ep, and that is very true. That is one of the best parts of this show, and I REALLY hope we don't lose any of that this season. :-\

Oh and I also agree with some of the commenters that Chuck's "I don't shoot people" thing will probably get old fast ... my husband already started complaining about it during this episode. ;-) But I'm conflicted about that one, because once Chuck becomes a killer ... seems that he will lose a great deal of his innocence (which is one of the most appealing parts of the character). So, I don't really know what to say about this one! My husband said, "Well he could have at least shot her in the leg or something!!" Which is true. :)

Anyway for the most part I enjoyed the ep, and I'm excited to see what's ahead in season 3.

Greg M said...

I think w/ ep3 and this episode, Chuck seems to be hitting his stride with the intersect 2.0. Last ep was very, very tight, the "I decapitated the bear" has been the funniest moment of the season for me, and Brandon Routh's character was appropriately enigmatic.

Anonymous said...

I think there was also a pop reference to Scream when Chuck is using the PA system with that creepy woice calling Sydney.

Tom Galloway said...

As a side note, Marv Wolfman's posted on Facebook that he enjoyed spotting the Titans poster that's facing out from Chuck and Morgan's kitchen (for those not up on comics, Marv was the writer responsible for putting that particular comic book team membership roster together).

One big plot hole; where the heck did Bartowski pere wander off to? Yeah, over to TNT to do Men of a Certain Age, but seriously, you'd think Chuck's father would want to help him out with handling Intersect 2.0. As far as I recall, there's been no in-story reason as to why he's apparently off the grid again.

Anonymous said...

This episode was pretty good. I would also as the weakest this season, but I've enjoyed all four episodes so far.

About Chuck not killing: I hope he clings to this with all his might. Yes it gets annoying sometimes, but like Batman and Superman, upholding this ideal sets Chuck apart. One of the core ideas about Chuck is that he is almost superhumanly good. He manages to reach people like Bryce, Sarah, Casey, and Jill, whose empathy either never developed or withered away. I hope Agent Shaw ends up learning something from Chuck rather than the other way around. However, if he isn't going to kill, he needs to keep something with him at all times to otherwise immobilize his enemies. Knock-out spray, tranquilizers, whatever...there's being principled and then there's stupid.

About Chuck/Sarah: First of all, I just want them to get together. Second of all, I didn't read their looks at the end as longing or angsty. I read them as satisfied. Chuck was surveying the family that he loves so much and who he saved, and he was immensely happy. Sarah knows how happy he is, and is happy herself for being a part of it, even just as a friend.

maryploppins said...

O.k. so I just watched the ep again before going to bed, and I definitely enjoyed it more the second time around. :) It went from "pretty good" to "quite enjoyable". The Chuck and Sarah stuff actually didn't annoy me the second time around ... it was subtle and not over-the-top, which I appreciate. And I really do trust the writers to take that storyline in the right direction. I think that we'll see some significant movement there this season. And that's not a spoiler because I don't know anything, just a hunch on my part.

I also realized that there was a bit more Chuck/Sarah/Casey banter than I recalled from my first viewing. I am still a teeny bit nervous in the sense of - I hope that Sarah and Casey don't end up getting pushed to the sidelines this season with Chuck being able to better defend himself now, and with Shaw being in the picture. But ... again I trust the writers on this one.

I also realized that some of what I thought might have been plot holes were actually "filled up" on my second viewing, because I realized that there were explanations for some of these pieces of the story that I missed on the first viewing. :)

Mike F said...

I gave this show another try after ditching it in season one...and I can see what the appeal is for you guys...but I'm just not interested in the show enough to keep watching it

The comic spy stuff just gets old for me very quickly, I guess

might catch an episode here or there...but its always going to be a desperation watch for me

anjosie said...

All around, I liked the episode, but didnt love it.

It reminded me alot of Dream Job; heavy on the mythology and action, but light on everything else. I didnt care for Dream Job the 1st time around, but now I love it, so I plan on rewatching this one most definetly. I get that the writers had to do a lot with this episode. It was our introduction to Shaw, as well as showing Chuck "being Sarah", and Awesome's probably last taste of the spy world.

I think we need to give the show some more time to fill in the questions (or plot holes, if you want to call them that) that were raised. A few of them I think I can answer.

As for Sydney knowing everything about Devon & Ellie. That ties into why the Ring wanted him. I'm sure they had heard rumblings of a CIA badass and thought it was Devon from seeing him in 3.03, but it was actually Chuck, they just didn't know it. And remember what Shaw said, the ring doesnt need anything, and they already know everything. This is probably soemthing we will find out more about later on.

I am definetly intrigued by Shaw and his motives. I do not think for a minute he's as good as he is being made out to be. And the fact that he was willing to throw Chuck to the Ring almost immediately and wouldnt let Casey & Sarah help shows that.

The ending where they all came to dinner was great. I remember seeing the fans complaining at the end of s.2 that the endings weren't happy like they used to be. It was a great Chuck ending, with some (in my opinion, subtle and what weve come to expect with this great show) Chuck & Sarah interaction that wasn't too over the top. That, plus Sarah not agreeing with Shaw that family is a liability, show that she has not fully returned to her cold ways despite what happened between her and Chuck.

Gotta give the show some slack I think. Let it build. I saw the same complaints at the beginning of s.2, and it only got really really good around the 2nd half.

One more thing to add--why does it seem like NBC is phoning in these promos now that the premiere is over? That promo for next week was incredibly weak. It showed me absolutely no reason why I would want to tune in. That kind of scares me for new viewers.

imkeh said...

If one ep you didn't like means a show jumped the shark, every show on the history of TV must have jumped the shark for you 200 times. Odd way of watching TV.

The first three were amazing. This one admittedly underwhelmed me, but it's the FOURTH episode!

Xenaclone said...

I was really hoping that Casey would break up the fight club. He would go in there and knock them all out in about 15 seconds flat and walk away with a smug smile on his face.

I'm not sure about Shaw yet. I liked that he let Chuck try to sort things out his own way, that he trusted him to try to be a spy. Now if Shaw teaches Chuck some meditation/relaxation techniques, that might help Chuck gain some control.

I hope the writers don't keep making the 'OMG, Casey is OLD' joke too many more times; at least not without a nice big payoff where Casey shows that maturity has its own rewards.

I'm waiting for Ellie to start asking questions as to why her neighbor [and retail worker] broke into a foreign embassy and tried to take out the president of another country. She's a smart lady; she must be at least trying to join the dots?

OldDarth said...

Granted you have to accept Devon as being mistaken as a spy but it was not Sidney Prince that targeted Devon as a spy it was the syringe assassin from 3.03 that did.

He saw Devon tackle Casey at the gala.

Anonymous said...

I wish everybody would stop bloody complaining about the changes in the show. I think it's fantastic that thew writers are attempting to try other stuff, and widening their horizons. If only other shows would do that too.

Tony said...

@Michael: I didn't see the whole episode, so I don't know what song played when Chuck and Awesome were in the office building, but the fight at the Buy More was definitely to Spoon's "Got Nuffin." Hey, that album came out today! Go buy it everybody, it's great!

Nate said...

Slightly off topic, did anyone else have problems with sound on this episode? The voices (center channel) were weak and very hard to hear.

Mike Mac said...

"Anonymous said...
I think there was also a pop reference to Scream when Chuck is using the PA system with that creepy woice calling Sydney."

Absolutely! I was shocked that Alan missed this one. I thought it was very clear that's what they were going for.

Also, really enjoyed the Spoon track as a theme for the episode, used several times. And @JoshSchwartz76 is clearly a fan!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe people complain this much about 30 seconds of long stares between Chuck and Sarah. There are new viewers who haven't been through it before, and if they didn't include them, people would be angry about the writers completely ignoring the issue.

Sonia said...

Plot holes, schmlot holes...who cares? Chuck is such a fun show that has a little something for everyone.

I especially enjoyed the Buy More stuff in this last episode -- I think I counted 4 movie references in one scene alone (Alan mentioned all of them). Jeff and Lester are just killing it this season!!

Baylink said...

> If someone could explain why they didn't just have Routh kill Angie Harmon when she came up to the 12th floor, instead of going along with the whole charade, I'd love to hear it.

Ok, I'll do that; remedial spy-fiction for those who weren't following along at home.

Though the implementation had a couple of rough spots, the plot of this episode was: "Shaw, against Beckman's better judgement, sets Team Bartowski up to get Devon into the ring as a false flag operation -- setting them up to have a double agent who can get them a better handle on what the Ring is actually doing."

The point of the setup was that Devon, like an aspiring mafioso, had to whack someone for the Ring, so they'd trust him. Shaw knew this, and set himself up to survive it.

The funny part is that in this episode, "Morgan barges in with the best of intentions and screws everything up" was replaced with "Casey and Sarah barge in with the best of intentions and screw everything up"; I personally appreciated the meta.

For reasons I cannot explain to you, I was whacked enough myself last night to *forget that Chuck is a 60 minute show*, so I walked out to investigate dinner after the :30 cliffhanger. Because of this, I missed the setup scene where they talk about using Devon to draw Sydney in... and I think the show played much better without that scene being first. Without it, Casey and Sarah's surprise at the lockdown made a lot more sense, and there was some actual mystery in *our* heads as to what was going on -- something that's often missing in Chuck eps at the tactical level, though I thought that this episode held up its end on the strategic level.

Overall, I continue not to have too much trouble suspending my disbelief while watching Chuck; I'd rather have plot holes than characterization holes, which bother my quite a bit more. For my part, I thought they played exactly the right amount of the Charah card, in two places; at the party at end of ep, and also at the Castle worktable, after getting read out by Beckman; I was waiting for Chuck to do something stupid like saying "thank you", instead of that half-nod he did instead, which was the right place to go.

A-, for me; I *almost* believe that their barely-mentioned plan to make Devon a double agent "could have succeeded except for Sarah and Casey overreacting", which is what they want me to think.

No, really; I asked Ali. :-)

Baylink said...

Oh, and Lester had a Bender line from that other famous Club, "Breakfast", while Morgan was trying to break things up in back; I forget what, though.

Dave T said...

I hope the writers don't keep making the 'OMG, Casey is OLD' joke too many more times; at least not without a nice big payoff where Casey shows that maturity has its own rewards.

As we learned last week, Casey was an assassin in 1983! How old IS this character?! (Adam Baldwin's age is not the issue, so I'm ruling out anything from his IMDB page.)

Alyson said...

One big plot hole; where the heck did Bartowski pere wander off to? Yeah, over to TNT to do Men of a Certain Age, but seriously, you'd think Chuck's father would want to help him out with handling Intersect 2.0. As far as I recall, there's been no in-story reason as to why he's apparently off the grid again.

Papa Bartowski was always planning to leaving town after Ellie's wedding; he assumed that Bryce was going to upload Intersect 2.0, and if he's as far off the grid now as he was the first time, he has no knowledge of the facts that Bryce is dead and Chuck uploaded 2.0 instead.

jenmoon said...

Wow, Brandon Routh is hot. I was drooling every time he was on screen. But besides that, I was expecting the character to come off as insufferable, and he didn't. I do think he's there to "butch up" Chuck some as well. I wonder what's with the ring. Hidden wife somewhere? (Or as was proposed, dead wife?)

Wow, there's one thing Awesome CAN'T do in the world. Who woulda thunk there was something?

Anyhoo, the theme of the episode sure seemed to be "Sometimes you gotta pull the trigger." I can't recall Big Mike's line to Morgan exactly, but it summed things up. Now, I know everyone likes Chuck all sweet and innocent, but he's a mostly full-fledged freaking spy now, and this episode sure seemed to be indicating that at SOME POINT he's gonna have to lose his killginity. Realistically, this is the case. And what's he gonna do if the choice someday boils down to "either you kill the bad guy, or the bad guy kills Sarah/Ellie/Morgan?" And a leg shot isn't possible? And someone else isn't around to shoot for him?

I can't say that I necessarily look FORWARD to seeing that happen, but writing around having Chuck kill at some point is going to get harder and more preposterous to do, and the show's pointing that out in this episode a lot. I really don't know how long the show could possibly keep him from killing someone because he has to. I keep thinking of the song "Coward of the County", sometimes you gotta fight (or kill) when you're a man (spy). Some day, he's gonna have to deal with that if he wants to be a world-saving badass.

"However, if he isn't going to kill, he needs to keep something with him at all times to otherwise immobilize his enemies. Knock-out spray, tranquilizers, whatever...there's being principled and then there's stupid."


Lisa said...

I've been wondering since S1 if Chuck will ever be forced to kill someone and what it will mean for the series. However, I wonder if he will follow in Pa Bartowski's footsteps and simply invent stuff that will outsmart, incapacitate or incarcerate villains. I thought his little wiring job on the Ring!Phone was significant for possibly that reason.

Separately, I was looking at another comment board and there's some interesting speculation about the closing scene where Brandon Routh's character puts that ring on. My read of the scene was that he was a widower or somehow separated from his true love and the "family" gathering at Chuck's made him wistful, but there's actually some speculation out there that the ring might be connected to Sarah somehow. Food for thought.

Anonymous said...

There was a lot of nitpicking about this episode, but I loved it! I had more fun watching the pre-intro part of this episode than just about anything else on TV.

Morgan in the ass man position under Big Mike was a good move, I think it has a lot of potential, and Chuck speaking to the old Asian woman in her native tongue was great, with everyone's response (particularly Sarah's).

I really liked Chuck not being able to control the flashes, to comedic effect. He dropped Lester with one kick, but came up empty when the bad guys stormed the Buy More.

As always, it's the little things that you almost fail to notice (like episode one of this season, when I believe a sign in the background shows Jeff as employee of the month) that makes Chuck so funny, like when Lester punches Jeff over Chuck's shoulder as he leaves the scene was great.

We finally see at least one thing that Awesome is definitely bad at, and that's lying to cover his tracks. I was giggling as Awesome's cat/bear lie snowballed until Chuck had to reboot the whole alibi, and Ellie's reaction to Casey throughout the rest of the episode.

I am glad to see that Devon didn't get too caught up in the spy world, so that he'd be just another government agent in Chuck's mixed up little world. While he knows more than the rest of the civilians, keeping him separated is a good thing, imo.

I liked the parallels between what Morgan was going through at Buy More, and what Chuck was going through in the spy story, a throwback to last season's stories.

The only annoyance is the longing glances between Chuck and Sarah...although after reading some of the comments, maybe it's possible that I have misread them, I hope so. Whether or not they hook up doesn't matter to me, I will be annoyed if they persistently keep them on the edge.

We finally get to meet Shaw. Does this mean less or no more General Beckham? Shaw may be an interesting addition, as we see them chase the Ring this year, with Shaw pushing Chuck, like beefcake last season, but with the added complication of being his boss as well.

I like what Rachel said above, I think she changed my mind, I would rather see Chuck not get involved with carrying a gun and having to kill somebody.

The Fight Club references didn't work quite as well as last season's homage to Shawshank, but I still liked it, that is part of the fun of Chuck.

Yeechang Lee said...

Four points, on both this and last week's episodes:

* To me Shaw is being positioned as a vision of Chuck's future. Note how:

** We first meet him--a tall, black-haired man--in Chuck's uniform of a rolled-up white button-up shirt and loosened tie, banging away at computers
** He says that he hates guns . . .
** . . . but has learned how to shoot one, even while Chuck specifically refuses to shoot someone.
** He knows all about the Intersect.

I wouldn't be surprised if Shaw began as some ordinary civilian in some technical line of work who involuntarily got pulled into the CIA, with his wife/girlfriend being killed the cause/result. Chuck learning this will cause him to again ponder the danger his government work poses to the ones around him, including Sarah.

* Chuck is just as impatient with the civilian Devon's curiosity and unfamiliarity with spy work as Casey (and sometimes Sarah) are impatient with Chuck's curiosity and unfamiliarity with (real) spy work. Pretty clear parallel set up between the two situations.

* It makes perfect sense that Devon is a bad liar. We've seen over and over just how much of a straight arrow he is.

* The inability to lie well is, actually, the only thing that disqualifies Devon from being a spy. Otherwise, he'd be a perfect agent candidate on paper: A very athletic, highly intelligent surgeon with language and other skills.

Chip said...

She thought Devon was a spy because last week when they stormed the Armand Assante's consulate his 2nd in command thought Devon was the spy and then Chuck pretended to be a doctor with the whole pulling the bullet out of Casey thing. Still a big gaping hole but still a very enjoyable episode, my fave of the season so far. Spot on about the awesome-ellie scene though, and ass man made me instantly recall Chuck vs the seduction too lol. And I love Angie Harmon

Anonymous said...

Totally agreed with Anonymous above, regarding: "I didn't read their looks at the end as longing or angsty. I read them as satisfied. Chuck was surveying the family that he loves so much and who he saved, and he was immensely happy. Sarah knows how happy he is, and is happy herself for being a part of it, even just as a friend."

Chip said...

Btw how are the ratings doing

Anonymous said...


based on your constant plugging for this show, my wife and I tried the first 4 episodes of Chuck as we were looking for a few new shows to add to a pretty lean roster of shows we now watch.

I think our conclusion is that this is a show that doesn't know what it wants to be. Some posters here say they think its a fun way to spend an hour. And that may be my biggest criticism of this show. Through 4 episodes I don't see this as a show that had enough material to be entertaining for a full hour (or 43 minutes of running time).

This was my conclusion of the show, 20 -23 minutes of OK spy "lite" material, 10 minutes of longing looks between Chuck and blondie or other "relationship" conversations and 10 throwaway minutes of tertiary characters at the superstore that add nothing but filler to get the show to the proper running time.

I'm still not sure if they are shooting for a slapstick spy show ala Jack of All Trades (which frankly was better and funnier) Or are they trying to do Alias "lite" with the focus on the personal relationships Chuck is trying to preserve and protect? That is a tough case to make as I never feel that anyone in Chuck is actually in danger in this show. If they are shooting for a hybrid I am not sure its working very well.

I will give the show a little more time and maybe the first two seasons were better so I'll watch a few online to see. I am not trying to be mean here as I have seen more than my fair share of shows I loved get canned (like the original "Cupid" with Piven).

But I have to say to all you Chuck fans, if the first 4 episodes are any indication, you might have some trouble building your viewership base. The only thing that seems to be in your favor is that the show is on NBC who has such a lean line up they might not have any better options.

Alan what am I missing here?

Anonymous said...

I don't want to re-hash, or even come across as whining about the show, but....

Regarding "Chuck losing his innocence if he kills." I'm wondering why it's so easy to absolve him of his role in peeps getting killed. So he creates situations to force others (Casey & Sarah usually) to cover his ass & kill on his behalf, and that's fine, but if he kills to protect someone it means he becomes Jason Bourne? The 'runners have taken the show darker (to wit, dispatching Emmit Mo Green style). Chucks gonna have to kill in the Chuckverse they've made, or it becomes even more unbelievable.

Charah needs to be euthanized already. Granted, C/S are "on a break", but the chemistry that used to be there just seems forced to me this season. I'm not feeling it; yeah, I know we're supposed to be sensing conflict, but....something's off. Maybe ZL & YS just "lost that loving feeling" over the hiatus.

One positive about episode 4: even though the gratuitous longing glances were there, I didn't feel assaulted by the C/S thing. Just resolve it already & prove that the spy plot actually has some legs.... I'm guessing that isn't the case, thus the soap opera treatment of C/S.

I want to say more, but this is becoming a laundry list of complaints, which I didn't intend when I started.

AcesCharles said...

@ the last Anonymous post (lame, but didn't know how else to address this):

While I respect your opinion, I have to say I completely and wholeheartedly disagree with what you said about the who "Charah" thing...especially about the chemistry.

Considering what's happened so far this season, I feel that both Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski are playing it just right - I mean, Chuck just broke Sarah's heart for crying out wouldn't feel natural if they had just gone back to the good ol' times.

Anonymous said...

I think it's about time for Chuck to take abullet for Sarah (like Cole from season 2) so Sarah can show chuck how much she cares for him and let him know she loves him so they can finally be together. Also, it would toughen him up (I can totally see Shaw shooting Chuck for some reason).

It's also time for Chuck to shoot a gun (preferably at another human being) to get him used to shooting people. He doesn't have to kill people on a regular basis but like Shaw said, "It pays to know how to use one." I'm sure there's going to be a time when Ellie/Awesome/Morgan/Whomever is in trouble and Chuck is going to have to shoot some people.

filmcricket said...

Just finally got to watch it and I thought it was plenty fun, plot holes and all.

"If someone could explain why they didn't just have Routh kill Angie Harmon when she came up to the 12th floor, instead of going along with the whole charade, I'd love to hear it"

In addition to the fact that Devon would have still had an explosive attached to his ear, we're not really sure (are we?) what Shaw's plans for Sydney were. He killed her at the Buy More but she was only there because Chuck went off the grid and got her there in the first place. Maybe I need to watch it again to see if I missed something, but it's possible Shaw's original plan was to capture her, not kill her, to try to get more info on the Ring.

I'm not sure how I feel about the Ring as the big bad, though. First of all, I don't want all the shows to become about fighting them; "Chuck" needs to have non-arc episodes sprinkled amongst the mythology-based eps, like "X-Files" did. Second, even if the audience doesn't know what the Ring's endgame is, I sure hope the writers do. Fulcrum's goals were pretty fuzzy and until the suburbs episode, it wasn't clear whether they were trying to destroy the Intersect or use it for something, and that always bothered me.

Finally, the biggest suspension of disbelief problem I've had for a while is that there's no security cameras catching all the shenanigans that go on in the Buy More, government-sanctioned or otherwise. I fanwank it that the NSA's clean-up team replaces the tapes every night.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. Sigh. Chuck was my favorite show to watch last season, I was looking forward to this season so much... and it just isn't doing anything for me. This was the episode I enjoyed the most of season 3 so far, and yet it still disappointed. Things just don't feel right anymore somehow. I feel like the show is changing too much where it maybe shouldn't, and not changing enough where it should. (Chuck no longer makes any sense at the BuyMore. They should get him an easy fake cover like Sarah's Orange Orange shop. I keep forgetting he even works there, it seems so very incidental--and then when he IS there it's just forced and odd and I wonder why he even has to bother with it. And of course the Chuck/Sarah UST just needs to be resolved and moved on from already.)

judodog said...

Liked this episode a lot. Great to see Chuck looking after, and caring for Awesome and using his non-intersect skills to hack the communication device... very Michael Weston. Loved the Buy More Fight Club stuff. BUT, the Shaw character feels way too much like a retread of the British spy (forget his name) from last season. shaw is a good looking bad ass, pro spy, catches Sarah's eye... Chuck gets jealous, Sarah ultimately chooses Chuck.... getting tired of that.

Athene said...

Frederick said:

"I'm still not sure if they are shooting for a slapstick spy show ala Jack of All Trades (which frankly was better and funnier) Or are they trying to do Alias "lite" with the focus on the personal relationships Chuck is trying to preserve and protect? That is a tough case to make as I never feel that anyone in Chuck is actually in danger in this show. If they are shooting for a hybrid I am not sure its working very well."

They are shooting for a hybrid show but honestly non of the shows you mentioned really fit what Chuck resembles. If you've ever watched the show called "Get Smart" which was made in 1965 (which the move "Get Smart" tried and failed to resemble). The storyline was a bumbling spy with a female partner (99) who usually got him out of his scrapes. True chuck is a lot more competent than in the past (especially with the Intersect 2.0) but there are times where his feet might need to be pulled out of the fire (a la Maxwell Smart). The movie didn't do this series justice (it went for five seasons before cancellation. In 1995 they revived it for a season before it was canceled that same year). For a long time the execs kept saying "it's not Get Smart, it's not Get Smart, it's not Get Smart" but they realized that it was more Get smart than anything else out there and have embraced the image. We'll see if it holds up to the long term.

Karen said...

I didn't see the final scene as being more of the patented longing gazes at all. There was a certain wistfulness, sure, but what there mostly was, I thought, was a kind of affectionate recognition of what Chuck and Sarah have taught each other. When Shaw said that friends and family are a liability, Sarah replied that it's good to remember you have something to lose, and then she looked at Chuck. The first season Sarah would NEVER have said that. Sarah has taught Chuck a lot about being a spy, but Chuck has taught Sarah a lot about being connected, about being a part of a community. That final scene, with Chuck standing there smiling: I didn't see it as him casting longing glances at Sarah, but just taking a moment to drink in the gathering of all these people he cared about. And Sarah, looking back at him in turn, was conveying--again, in my opinion--her recognition that this group of people he cares about are all now people she cares about as well. Sarah was torn UP last week when she had to tell Chuck that Devon had been kidnapped, and that wasn't just because she knew how upset Chuck would be. She really is part of his extended family now, and that's what I saw in their faces at the end.

Having said that, I am going to dedicate the rest of this comment to a shout-out regarding the smokin' shoes that Sydney was wearing as she strode into the Crystal Towers. Even the camera guy couldn't take his eyes off them. Gorgeous.