CHUCK vs. The Fake Name - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

CHUCK vs. The Fake Name

March 2, 2010 by  

It’s been quite a few weeks for fans of CHUCK. A roller coaster of emotion if you will. Perhaps I was a little too, shall we say impatient, with the small faction of CHUCK fans who made such a fuss after “Chuck vs. the Mask”. Maybe I was defensive and too protective of my show. While I do believe entertainment is subjective and that everyone has a right to their own opinion, I think I took umbrage with the most vocal of naysayers because I felt that CHUCK was being put in a very specific box. Whether it was true or just my perception, it seemed that the loudest noise was coming from those who didn’t like the direction of the Chuck and Sarah relationship.

To me, CHUCK has never been just about the relationship of Chuck Bartowski and his handler. It’s been about the relationship of Chuck to his friends, his family and his co-workers in light of this massive responsibility called the Intersect being forced on him. It’s been about how Chuck navigated his old life while living in a new life which was about as different as he could possibly imagine. Through his adventures he fell in love with Sarah Walker, and she him. While Chuck and Sarah’s relationship is crucial to the core of the show, it’s not the only important relationship. And while I know that the Hannah/Shaw wedge wasn’t the only issue some fans with the last episode, it seemed to be at the core. As someone who has seen the next three episodes, I just ask that you jump in your “ship” and go with the flow. See where the writers take Chuck, Sarah and us. As we saw in last night’s episode, sometimes a person’s motivations tell us a lot more than their actions.

Ok enough living in the past, let’s talk mobsters, cavities and all things Sam!

There was so much to love about last night’s episode, but for me, nothing beat Zachary Levi’s fantastic turn as undercover Chuck Bartowski – Nerd Herder turned assassin. We’ve seen Chuck pretend to be someone else plenty of times, but he’s never more convincing as when he took on the identity of Rafe Gruber. Chuck’s experience and training as a spy has given him the confidence to really transform himself into this deadly hitman. He took initiative in his mission and proved that he is more than capable of being a real spy.

Last night we saw Chuck as a guy that could really think on his feet, and not balk when the mission called for him to make some tough decisions, even when those decisions included extracting a tooth from Casey and kicking Sarah so hard that she flew across the room. The old Chuck would have hesitated. This Chuck understood that the mission was more important than his personal issues and feelings. In that way we can see just how much Chuck has grown from even the beginning of this season. For better or worse (and we know where Sarah stands) our boy is a bona fide spy.

Slipping into this role allowed for some fantastic moments from Levi. The gravely voice and slick back hair aside, Levi got to put the adorkable Chuck on the shelf for most of an episode and really spend some time playing a grisly, bad ass who was so intimidating he kept even those guys from The Sopranos on their toes. But within the same hour long episode Levi also got to play a sappy romantic, a man searching for his authentic self, a jealous ex, a douche bag, and a guy dealing with heart break. How many TV actors get to take on that kind of range every week? Levi seamlessly transforms himself time and time again throughout the episode and manages to bring true emotion and believability no matter which version of Chuck is being called upon. It’s really a shame that Zac gets overlooked at awards season because this guy is doing some pretty fantastic work on this show.

While Chuck and Sarah’s relationship seems hot and cold these days, I’m really loving the partnership that’s developing between Casey and Chuck. Casey has developed a real respect for Chuck knowing that the Nerd Herder had plenty of opportunities to just walk away. If nothing else Casey has to respect someone that has that level of loyalty to his country. We’ve seen the two work together in the past, but it was fun to see them in a bit of a role reversal. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Casey to take a back seat to Chuck, but he did. He also took a punch to the face and lost a tooth at the hands of the guy he was once sent here to protect, but it was all in the name of the mission, and Casey supported Chuck doing what he had to to protect their cover.

CHUCK has always had a way with casting, and last night they delivered once again by bringing on Sopranos alums Tony Sirico and Louis Lombardi as the guys tasked with making sure Rafe Gruber killed Daniel Shaw. Both guys were appropriately funny and they played off Zac well. The banter in the bar scene was great, but their heartfelt one-on-one with Chuck in the hotel room was hilarious!

Chuck: Sam and I are on again, off again. Driving everyone in my life a little crazy.
Paulie: I hate those will they or won’t they things. Just do it already.
Edgar: If you and this girl love each other so much, what’s keeping you apart?

Speaking of the female half of the will they, won’t they duo of Burbank, we need to talk about Sarah, ok? Or should I say Sam? Am I the only one that didn’t find Sarah’s confession of her real name that big of a deal? I get that it’s an important development for the character, but they way I see it, we don’t know Sam. It’s just her name. The person we know is Sarah, and as much as she might have created a “character” to hide her true identity, I see Sarah as a more fully realized woman that Sam will ever be. It’s almost as Sam has become the alias rather than the other way around.

I don’t know about you but I’d kill for a one-on-one with Ms. Walker. That girl is regressing back to her high school days and if she’s not careful it could get her killed. For weeks now we’ve been listening to Sarah moan and groan about how Chuck is becoming a different person. She’s worried she’s losing the innocent, lovable guy she fell in love with. She’s spent so much time thinking about how much Chuck has changed that she’s not realizing that she’s changing too. She’s letting her guard down at the wrong times. Dangerous for a spy.

When we first met Sarah she was a deadly spy whose only concern was protecting the asset and the Intersect. Even the way she cared for Chuck early on was in part all part of her job. Her love for Chuck has changed her. She’s been given a glimpse into what life could be like if she wasn’t forced to hide behind her identity. It’s dinner with Chuck’s family. It’s game night. It’s falling in love with a great man and leading a “normal” life. She sees the life Chuck is giving up and she’s resenting him for doing so. What I’m not sure she realizes, at least to the extent that she needs to, is that Chuck is doing this for her. He’s becoming the man that she essentially needs him to be; that she’s forced him to be.

Despite their growing feelings for each other, Sarah has cited her role as Chuck’s protector as the reason they couldn’t be together. As long as Sarah was charged with protecting Chuck she couldn’t allow herself to act on her true feelings, no matter how desperately she wanted to. Knowing this, Chuck set out to become a real spy. A guy that Sarah no longer needed to protect. Her equal. All this training and all these missions have been in pursuit of finally being with Sarah at the same place and time. Chuck has even gone so far as to say it – when I’m a spy we can be together. It’s not until recently that he’s realized that in trying to be the man that he thought Sarah wanted, he gave up the part of himself that she fell in love with.

Ironically, while Chuck is becoming a stronger man more in control of his emotions, it’s Sarah that’s becoming weaker. Just as Chuck was when he started out, Sarah is now making decisions based on her feelings rather than her instincts as a spy. Ain’t that a bitch.

All of this relationship examination was to get me to the subject of Sarah and Shaw (sorry I took us on the scenic route). I know that so many of you cringe at the very idea of this twosome, but I don’t understand why. Are you really watching what’s happening between them? I mean really watching? If you want to pay attention to the superficial happenings, Sarah and Shaw seem to be flirting. There’s certainly a mutual attraction. Hell there’s even been some kissing. I have no doubt that Shaw would like something more with Sarah, but I don’t believe that Sarah truly wants to be with Shaw. Stop looking at what Sarah’s doing with Daniel and look at why she’s doing it. He’s an easy out. Being with Chuck is too complicated for her right now, so rather than try to face what’s really going on with Chuck, it’s easier to be with Shaw. Look closely at the moments leading up to Sarah & Shaw’s most intimate moments and you’ll realize that Chuck is right there with them. Shaw’s the guy that Sarah goes to to talk about Chuck. And as much as he might want to ignore it, Daniel sees it. He’s seen it from the very beginning. I think when this is all said and done, he’ll be the one that makes Sarah see it.

As for the other piece in this love trapezoid, I’m fine with seeing Hannah go. Kristin Kruek was great for her arc, but I wasn’t all that fond of Hannah. She just came across as a little too desperate for me. She took a job beneath her qualifications for some guy she met on a plane. Before their relationship even began she was acting like an old nag. She had all the makings of a Stage 5 clinger.

Although I might not have been exchanging friendship bracelets with Hannah, as a girl I couldn’t help but feel for her. Getting dumped by the guy you’re seeing the day after you sleep together for the first time? Ouch. I suppose on some level I should have been very disgusted with Chuck at that moment, but I wasn’t. I knew his true intention wasn’t to hurt her. I truly don’t think Chuck even realized that he was using her. But he was, and when Ellie helped him to realize that he had to break things off with her. In that regard, he was actually being a decent guy. But still, appearances are everything and he certainly looked like a douche to Hannah. But she’s gone. Ladies and gents, where back to a proper love triangle.

As for the other love of Chuck’s life, I’d say that I missed Morgan this week, but knowing the awesomeness of Mr. Grimes in next week’s episode I was ok with not seeing him kick around the Buy More last night. Besides, the minor Buy more plotline was well served with just the right amount of Jeff and Lester. Congrats to Ali Adler for finding the perfect balance for those two Buy Morians. Too much and it gets old quick, not enough and you’re left wanting more. Well played.

I promise that I’m going to make time this week to share more thoughts on the next three episodes of CHUCK. As much as I loved “Chuck vs. the Fake Name” I have no problem telling you that it only gets better from here. Just wait until you see what the writers have in store for CHUCK fans over the next few weeks. Wowie Kazowie! Don’t even think about missing next week’s “Chuck vs. the Beard”. Not only is it the directing debut of Zachary Levi, but it’s one of my favorite episodes of the entire series.

While I head over to the Buy More to see if they have any crockpots left on sale, here are a few more memorable moments from last night’s CHUCK.

  • Hey Ellie, last time I checked, when someone was in the shower with the water running they can’t hear you when you’re talking through a door. No stop butting in on your brother’s life and get one of your own. Have the CHUCK writers never seen EVERWOOD? Do they not know what Sarah Lancaster is capable of? It’s been three seasons. Give that girls something to do! As an actress I’m sure she’s happy to have a job, but she’s can’t be satisfied playing the same role all the time, can she?
  • I think Casey should start wearing a Team Chuck shirt. I love the way he subtly taunts Sarah about her feelings for Chuck. The way he stared right at her last night while he mentioned that Chuck had a date and probably got lucky?! Classic!
  • Who doesn’t love a good cupcake? Even assassins I guess.
  • What’s Chuck’s secret with the ladies? Mind control LSD, sorcery, or a deal with the devil. Ask Jeffster and they’ll say all of the above. For a guy that they tried to sell us as a geek, Chuck has always had the most beautiful women in his life. It’s right for Jeffster consider Satan’s involvement.
  • Paulie Walnuts remembered Casey having an association with an Alex Coburn. The guy is important enough to be in the Intersect, but the details have been blocked from Chuck. Who is this guy and why is Casey so deadset on Chuck knowing any more than he does? Is this the part when I tease that I know something you don’t know? No? Ok, no teasing then.
  • Chuck/Raef: “Is this stuff sterile? I take pride in my work. I want to kill him, not some secondary infection.”
  • I just want to throw it out there that Jennifer Garner would kick all kinds of ass (literally) if she were to guest on CHUCK. Can you imagine Sarah Walker fighting Sydney Bristow? Dream of dreams!
  • Excuse me while I hit the pause and rewind button a few hundred times on the scene of shirtless Shaw. That boy is pretty. I’m not a fan of Shaw and I can’t say that I’m loving what Brandon Routh is bringing to the show. I think a different actor might bring more depth. But he sure is nice to look at.
  • Sarah: “It’s like I’m watching Chuck disappear, and the further he gets from who he is the more I want to remember who I am. Who I was before all of this.”
  • Who needs Rafe Gruber when we have the sharp shooting skills of John Casey?!
  • Great musical moment just after Chuck dumps Hannah. The camera pulls back as the music swells and the lyrics plays “I’m a hell of a guy living a hell of a lie.” Yes, you are Chuck. Of course I’m still hoping that Fedak, Schwartz and music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas will find a way to incorporate Air Traffic Controller’s “Don’t Tell Me What to Do” into the show. (Sorry, but I’m obsessed with this group…the only album I’ve been listening to for weeks.)

    “Don’t you tell me what to do. But more importantly don’t tell me what I shouldn’t do. No need to say to me what you would do if it was you, cause I never asked for your sophisticated point of view. And don’t you look at me like that. I’m doing everything I can to keep my identity in tact. I may be sounding like an ass but I’m just behaving like a man….your heart has a mind of it’s own and you ain’t learning a damn thing lately, So just get out, just get out while you still have a chance. You’ll find someone you’ll love completely.

  • I’ve spent way too much today staring off into space and wondering how “Sam” is going to manifest into the show.
  • Zac Levi is SUCH a “chuck-magnet”

I hope you’re not all CHUCK’ed out. Next week I’ll try to share my thoughts earlier in the day. One of these days when I hit the lottery I can be one of those TV bloggers that actually gets to sit at home, watch TV and write about the shows right after they air. Until then, it’s all about what I can get done before I leave for work, during my lunch break, and when I get home at night before the next crop of shows begin.

But if you still have it in you to discuss last night’s episode, I would LOVE to hear YOUR thought on Chuck as Rafe; Shaw & Sarah & Sam & Chuck; The Sopranos; the adios of the Hannah and whatever else you want to talk about.


15 Responses to “CHUCK vs. The Fake Name”

  1. gat on March 2nd, 2010 2:09 am

    Chuck Me!!

    This is definitely one of my favorite eps in all of Chuckdom so far. I just finished rewatching; loved the mafia guys, loved Awesome’s abs and inability to lie to Ellie, loved Shaw’s overall sexiness, loved Casey’s tooth (ok, not so much on that one. Gross.), basically loved it all. And how about Chuck’s ability to quickly get into character and become an assassin? Amazing. Oh, and Sam?

    Can’t wait to see your dissection tomorrow.

  2. Karen (Kath's sis) on March 2nd, 2010 6:03 am

    When Chuck started to talk in his “cover voice” I couldn’t help but laugh….to which my husband responded ” you think that is funny?” . Yes I do Dave yes I do.! Loved Casey and Chuck working together( and Caseys admiration of Chucks work). Loved the dual name reveal. Loved that -despite desperately wanting to be a spy- Chuck still has some Chuck left in him… he needs to find a balance. It was nice to see Chuck and Ellie together and that Chuck now knows how Sarah feels about “her ” Chuck slipping into someone she doesn’t want to see him become. All in all a great solid episode of Chuck! Thank you so much for turning me on to it!

  3. Kath (Give Me My Remote) on March 2nd, 2010 6:41 am

    @Karen – That’s what sisters are for. As for that husband of yours questioning the funny on CHUCK? Tell him to watch it 😉

  4. BonesFan021 on March 2nd, 2010 9:04 pm

    I’m so pro-Shaw on this show. He has great chemistry with both Sarah and Chuck. The guys when they thought Sarah was killed it was simply amazing. I’m really happy Hannah got the boot. The chemistry I look for in characters wasn’t there in my view. My only up and coming few at this moment is Shaw is going to die protecting either Chuck or Sarah before his arch comes to a close. I’m rather almost hoping he gets the same reprieve that Capt Awesome got in S1.

  5. Janelle on March 2nd, 2010 9:25 pm

    Seriously? Sarah’s first name is Sam. Middle name Lisa? Worst name ever!

    And I was digging all the Awesome (and Shaw) abs. Many gratuitous topless men.

  6. angelpoo12 on March 2nd, 2010 10:49 pm

    I disagree with The Devil statement. Zac Levi is saved from what I read.

  7. reesespuff27 on March 2nd, 2010 11:01 pm

    Am I the only who thought it was weird for Chuck to tell Ellie that she was only ‘half a spy’, and that she didn’t find that strange at all? I’ve got nothing else to say that you didn’t already, great recap! I’m following you on twitter now.

  8. Kath (Give Me My Remote) on March 2nd, 2010 11:45 pm

    Yeah “half spy” didn’t actually make any sense to me. Strange, forced choice of words.

  9. John Timmer on March 3rd, 2010 10:09 am

    I’ve had enough and I’m not going to take it any more. Until Shaw is gone I will not watch Chuck (my favorite show). A 2-3 week guest shot is OK ie Kristin Kueuk, but 7+ weeks of Brandon Routh is too much. I miss the Buy More crew because time is spent on Routh and a plot line I hate. Miss Sarah and Chuck interaction.

  10. Nicole on March 3rd, 2010 11:23 am

    I also loved the episode – was surprised that some viewers/critics didn’t feel the same, however I was also suprised by Chuckgate 2010 after The Mask, so what do I know?

    I’m guessing “Sam” is short for Samantha, but even still Samantha Lisa just seems awkward, I guess because they both end in “a”. I love Sarah right now and agree that she’s cozying up to Shaw because of the fact that she can’t cozy up to Chuck. If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with… My only problem (and it’s really minor) with Shaw and Sarah is that when they’re getting physical, I get ZERO chemistry between them. I like their friendship and think they work really well together in that respect, but the kissing? I don’t know man, they feel like brother and sister or something.

    Agree re: Chuck and Casey as a team – fabulous. Also that Ellie needs MORE – that whole thing with the shower was pretty dumb. I have a younger brother and I have those same feelings about wanting to know more about his life or share my opinion, but…no. He would have punched me by now if I was anywhere near as naggy as she is. Don’t get me wrong, I butt in, I’m just WAY more subtle.

    Based on the post, I cannot wait for the next eps!!

  11. Nicole on March 3rd, 2010 11:32 am

    John, if we got exactly what we wanted in every episode of every show we love, how would that be exciting? Part of the fun is NOT knowing what’s going to happen. I know you miss the Buy More, but I really think that you’d have that with our without Routh. As part of the renewal for Season 3, they had to agree to budget cuts, meaning every episode would leave a character or characters out. Last night there was no Morgan, previously there’s been no Ellie/Awesome, or Buy More. In this part of the show, the big focus is on Chuck and how he’s changing as a spy. I think the focus would be heavily on Team Bartowski whether or not Shaw was in the picture.

    If it’s really your favourite show, you know how close it came to cancellation last year – why would you want to encourage that again this year by boycotting until Routh is gone? My advice is to watch the whole season before you judge whether you’ll continue. I think you’ll find that they’re setting things up now that will result in big payoffs later.

  12. Billiam on March 3rd, 2010 12:55 pm

    Just like with the Janitor on Scrubs, there was no way that the reveal of Sarah’s name would live up to people’s expectations… because it’s just a name: how amazing it could be? The only “big deal” was how much it upset Chuck that, after years of her unwillingness to tell him anything about her past, she tells Shaw her real name after only knowing him a short while. Understandable.

    I like Shaw, but I enjoyed Chuck/Hannah more, and that was the relationship that I would have rather seen linger. I suppose though, that I might be biased because I share Chuck’s tendency towards quirky, cute brunettes (Lou, Jill, and now Hannah).

  13. Forts on March 3rd, 2010 1:52 pm

    The “musical moment” last night was almost/just as good as last season’s “Chuck vs. the Dream Job” moment with “Daddy’s Gone”

    I used to have a few theories about Alex Coburn but after the second viewing of “the Fake Name”… theories officially on the shelf…

  14. JT on March 3rd, 2010 6:27 pm

    Thanks for the great inciteful comments on the Chuck/Sarah relationship. I agree with you 100%.

    I’m nervous about the next episode. I keep reading it’s one of the best episodes of the show. I have such high expectations now…maybe too high

  15. Sarah on March 4th, 2010 7:12 pm

    My friends and I have a few theories about Sarah’s motives with Shaw, my personal favourite being that she’s just ‘living the lie’ to get closer to the Ring.

    My question is, after the heartbreak of seeing his best friend with his current crush, we didn’t see Morgan at all this week. Are they going to resolve that or just play it off as Morgan moping?