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Chuck vs. the American Hero

March 30, 2010 by  

I know I’m on a Spring Break, but I couldn’t let “Chuck vs. the American Hero” go by without posting something.  Had I not I might have heard the collective “Nooooo!” from Chuck fans, and I think we’ve all had enough “Nooooo!” to last us for some time. I’ll have to be brief, but there are a few things we need to discuss.

Tell me I wasn’t the only one singing a little Joe Cocker during the first half of last night’s episode.  The real Team Bartowski wasn’t concocted by the American government in some sub-basement under a yogurt shop. Nope, the real team has been slowly developing over years.  Charter member, Morgan Grimes, has been enlisted for decades, while founding member – Ellie Bartowski – has been a dedicated member her whole life. Chuck’s just the kind of guy that teams come together for. He’s the type of guy you rally around. Just like Sarah & Casey had done countless times before, Team Bartowski showed up when Chuck needed them the most.  This time around it wasn’t about saving the world, but rather getting the girl.

Despite the grunts you might have heard, no one was happier to be on ‘Mission: Charah’ more than John Casey. (Ew, yes, I just said ‘Charah’ and I don’t feel good about myself for doing so.) He might not have been that invested in the end result, but suiting up all in black, running surveillance from a van – the guy was jonesing for a fix.  If that meant he had to put up with the antics of Morgan and Awesome inside what I could only assume was a nasty van, then he was up for the task.  Casey was born to be a spy, and not even the government could take that away from him.

Of course not everyone was meant to be a world class spy, but that doesn’t mean that they cant’ save the day. Both Morgan and Awesome saved Shaw from the bad guys. Neither rescue was timely or pretty, and both stumbled into it, but they both came between Shaw and impending doom in a pivotal moment. Morgan took a bullet for Shaw (ok, maybe not a bullet, but a taser still hurts), and when Shaw was confronted by a gun wielding bad guy it was Awesome that swooped in to rescue Shaw. Yes, they went through a glass window, and maybe Devon pulled what we might want to dub a “Captain Awesome” by taking down the wrong guy, but regardless, he rescued Shaw from danger.

All this so Chuck could finally tell Sarah how he really felt about her. But more on that later.

There was so much to love about this episode.  There was also so much that had to be ignored in order to love this episode.  Kind of par for the course for CHUCK these days. The writers have certainly taken a few too many liberties for my liking, but since they are finally taking us somewhere after stringing us along for so long, I’m willing to ignore some of the issues for the better enjoyment of the episode.

In the interest of time, let’s gets right to the most important moments of last night. (And since I’m writing this on my lunch break we don’t have much of a choice.)

Sorry for skipping around but we need to talk about the fact that Sarah killed Eve Shaw.  I didn’t see that coming, but I like it.  I, like many fans, have been waiting (not so) patiently for the other shoe to drop with Shaw. I’m glad the writers chose to expose evil Shaw this way rather than making him a member of The Ring…too easy.  Of course it took entirely too long to get to this storyline.  I think Fedak and Schwartz signed on Routh for more episodes before realizing he had zero chemistry with Yvonne Strahovski, and even less with the rest of the cast.  I’ve met Routh, and I’m sure he’s a great guy, but there was a reason he didn’t have many lines in “Superman Returns”.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a glimmer of hope when Shaw offered to sacrifice himself for the job.  Could the key to ending Shaw be in a little location device?  Would Shaw blow himself up and make way for the reunion of Sarah and Chuck? Would General Beckman really send a missile down on some random building in L.A.? (Oh wait, I’ve decided to ignore most of the ludicrous plot points from last night. Sorry.)

We now know that Shaw didn’t die in the explosion. He was saved by Chuck. But FINALLY Shaw has some relevance to the story other than being a hardly believable obstacle for Chuck and Sarah.  Shaw has Sarah, but what will come of it?  Will he realize that Sarah didn’t know that the woman she killed in her red test was Shaw’s wife?  Will it matter to him?  I’m fine if the writers don’t make Shaw an all out bad guy, as long as Chuck gets to save the day and his woman again.

What I finally realized last night, was that Sarah was the biggest obstacle for Sarah and Chuck. During an episode in which Chuck confessed his love for Sarah (more than a few times…you know, because it sounded good), I found myself rooting against them…just a little bit.  But hear me out before you start beating me with the gun Sarah left on the bed (another one of those ridiculous moments that I’m going to kind of ignore).  I’m just saying that I want Sarah to love Chuck for who he is, and not for the guy she wants him to be.  Like it or not, she had a big role in the transformation of Chuck. Almost everything he’s done, the man he’s become was mostly for her or at least in an effort to be with her.  He finally gets there and she’s all “no thanks”.  What?! For months she’s been pushing him away based on a laundry list of Do’s and Don’ts that seemed to change every week. She tells him that they can’t be together as long as he’s a civilian.  He becomes a spy and then she tells him that they can’t be together because they are both spies.  This guy just can’t win.

[GMMR:After reading the comments (and being chastised by my sister), I went back with fresh eyes and watched the scene with Sarah in the hotel room again. I now see what you all are saying….that she was packing to go leave with Chuck.  It didn’t hit me over the head one the first viewing, but that’s the fun of having comments and having other fans point of what I might have missed.  – Kath]

Last night,  Chuck laid it all out on the line and came full circle from where he was in Prague, and  it still wasn’t enough for Sarah.  She wasn’t able to see past the fact that Chuck killed someone, even though it was something she’s done her whole life.  Yet when Casey came to her and told her that Chuck didn’t kill the mole, Sarah broke out in the first genuine grins she’s had in months. So she loves Chuck as long as he didn’t kill someone?  What’s next?  When is she going to love Chuck for Chuck and not the preconceived notion of how Chuck should be?

And that my friends was entirely too much time dissecting the relationship of fictional characters.  I suppose by now you’ve had a good dose of my cynicism, so let me hit you with a dose of fan girl and say (in my best Daniel Feinberg voice) WOO!! Chuck loves Sarah. Sarah loves Chuck.  Again…Wooo!

I might be a cynic but I’m not impervious to the joy felt when your favorite TV twosomes finally get it right.  And they will…once Chuck rescues Sarah from Shaw.  Chuck and Sarah will be together by the end of next week, I’m sure of it.  They have to be, right?  Next week was supposed to be the season (and maybe series finale).  There’s no way Fedak would let the series end without Chuck and Sarah finally being together. Right? Um, right?

At this point in time, I don’t think anyone in the writers room over at CHUCK would be able to invent yet another obstacle for these two.  It’s time to make it happen and move on.  I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a future episode entitled “Chuck & Sarah vs. the World.”

Other random thoughts while I’m busy packing for my exotic vacation in Burbank…

  • Sarah Lancaster had a great moment last night. Ellie is one of the most underutilized characters in prime time. It’s nice that the writers threw her a bone and gave Sarah/Ellie a moment of contribution last night.
  • Africa?  Doctors without Borders?  Did the CHUCK writers forget to TiVo last week’s episode in which they decided not to go to Africa because of Ellie’ss fellowship? Yes, I know they mentioned her sabbatical in a throw away line, but come on.  A whole Ellie/Devon storyline revolved around going to Africa, and then how they weren’t going to go because Sarah got this fellowship.  Why did the writers bother if they were going to negate it all with a sabbatical? Don’t be lazy.
  • Interesting that Chuck gets to assemble his own team.  Is that was privilege of all newbie spies, or just ones with the Intersect 2.0 in his head?
  • Morgan forcing Awesome to realize that when it comes to communicating with women, maybe Morgan had the edge given that he had to rely on wit and charm, unlike Awesome who just had to flash his gorgeous grin to snag a lady. I don’t know, I think I still would have put money on Awesome over Morgan, but I appreciated his point.
  • I’d watch a spinoff in which Charles Carmichael and his oodles of cash make their way around Rome. Can you imagine the electronics up in that palace?  The Buy More team would be busy for years!
  • John Casey is all kinds of awesome!  Tell me you didn’t love how he went to bat for Chuck and Sarah’s relationship. He’s such a marshmallow.

Well, that’s the end of my lunch break, so now it’s time to turn it over to you. Your thoughts on “Chuck vs. the American Hero”.


19 Responses to “Chuck vs. the American Hero”

  1. Amanda on March 30th, 2010 2:39 pm

    Actually, I believe that Sarah had already made her choice to go with Chuck before Casey stopped by. I think that’s what her “It’s not necessary” was about when she asked him if he was there on Chuck’s behalf. Believe me, this was a big concern of mine going into the episode — I wanted to see her make her Chuck choice before finding out he didn’t whack the mole — and I truly do believe she’d made that choice beforehand. Casey telling her the truth was icing on the spy cake.

  2. Kim on March 30th, 2010 3:06 pm

    I’m pressed for time but I had to say I appreciated the “He’s such a marshmallow” line. I immediately had a Veronica Mars flashback, even if that’s not what you were going for, I’m going to run with it. haha.

  3. Nicole on March 30th, 2010 3:16 pm

    I too am pressed for time, but had to jump in because I loved this ep so much and agree with you 100%. Except that I too, thought that Sarah had already made her decision to be with Chuck before Casey stopped by. I think his confession just made her even more sure of her choice.

    I was giddy watching Chuck, Casey, Awesome and Morgan working together, and Morgan’s convo with Awesome about his “handsome bubble” was so funny and so on point. It’s like Jon Hamm’s character on 30 Rock – people who think everything always works out (when in reality, everything always works out…FOR THEM).

    Theory: Shaw will go full-on evil (try to kill Sarah and join up with The Ring) and Chuck will end up getting his first kill after all, to save Sarah’s life. How appropriate if he kills to save his girl, rather than just because it’s a red test? I mean, he IS a spy for crying out loud. If he can’t kill EVER, isn’t that problem?

  4. GMMR on March 30th, 2010 3:59 pm

    Good thought, Amanda. Maybe that scene deserves a rewatch by me. I thought she was packing for D.C., but she could have easily been packing to meet up with Chuck. Thanks for sharing your POV on that one!

  5. GMMR on March 30th, 2010 4:01 pm

    @Nicole – I like where you are going with this. Exactly, Chuck needs to get his first kill. Are we to expect he’ll go his entire career without killing anyone? He might be more judicious in his kills than Sarah and Casey, but he’ll need to do it in order to save his life, or the life of someone from his team. If that someone is Sarah, and the kill is Shaw then BRING IT!

  6. Otter on March 30th, 2010 4:06 pm

    I agree with Amanda it was clear sarah choose to be with chuck before casey stopped by to tell her.

  7. Dee on March 30th, 2010 4:07 pm

    @ Amanada & Nicole, I feel the same way. I’m choosing to believe (as Alan Sepinwall pointed out) the smile on Sarah’s face when Casey told Sarah the truth was more “Yay, I made the right call.” as opposed to “Yay, now I get to change my mind.”

    All quibbles aside, I personally loved the episode and thought all the characters worked perfectly together in this episode. Morgan was the quintessential loyal wingman (“love is a battlefield” heh!), Awesome was awesome (to point of tackling the wrong person despite his “freakish bubble of handsomeness”), Casey’s love-for-the-governement style sales pitch at the Buy More and his loyalty at the end, Ellie gave good advice and wasn’t preachy (“You are a Bartowski, start acting like one”), and Jeffster’s epic stalking skills (‘Picasso of creepiness’). I even thought Shaw was interesting tonight and kinda geeked out on his “Superman-like run” to get back to Sarah at the restaurant.

  8. Michele on March 30th, 2010 4:48 pm

    * I also thought she was packing for Chuck not Shaw when Casey came in.

    *I actually called that Sarah killed SHaw’s wife early on, and I was kinda bummed that I did (I hate when things feel predictable)…

    *The Africa thing pissed me off so badly that I wound up missing most of what came next as I tried to rationalize it in my head and I had to go back.

    *None of that really matters if we can see Chuck & Sarah together and get rid of Shaw. Woohoo!

  9. Kertaku on March 30th, 2010 5:04 pm

    Yeah, i agree, Sarah already made her decission about going with Chuck before Casey came clean.
    For me it was obvious because of 2 things :
    – The line she made to Casey before his confession : “…If you came to plead his case than it’s really not necessary” – it would have been worded differently if she was going with Shaw.
    – she was already packing when Shaw was still in hospital and they didn’t know when he wake up.

  10. Karen (Kath's sis) on March 30th, 2010 5:08 pm

    Watch again Kath ( 3or4 more times if your like me)….I think Amanda is right Sarah chose Chuck before Casey arrived . Personally I turned into a puddle at “I Love you” I loved the way Zach delivered the line. I loved the scene with Chuck and Ellie and loved Ellies line to Casey about his public displays of indecency. Next weeks looks like greatness!!!!!!

  11. Beth on March 30th, 2010 5:08 pm

    I loved this episode- it’s what a Chuck episode should be! Like everyone has said, all the characters worked well together, they were utilized to help the story AND holy smokes, Shaw even had some emotion and depth.

    Few things-
    *how amazing are ZL and YS? The scene that took place in Castle, Chuck telling Sarah he loved her- doing it in a charming, confident yet nervous way was aces- and the looks on Sarah’s face when she was listening to him confess all this way so great- you could see her literally processing it all…Seriously, these two make me happy. (loved Chuck’s line about packing for both summer and winter weather, ha!)
    *And I have to disgaree with you about Sarah pushing him away- its not because she had some laundry list of what exactly Chuck had to be/not be- its that she put it all out there for him, got rejected and her way of dealing with it is denial/pushing it away. I think she knows he’s still the same guy he always has been- and that same guy told her no. I’d be beat up too. UNTIL he professed his love (multiple times!).
    *Another disagreement, I think Casey did want to be on the stakeout BUT I also think he wants them together as much as we all do. How many times has he told Chuck to go after her, or given him advice? Casey cares.

    Thanks for writing your recap! I love reading what you have to say! (even if I disagree sometimes!) 🙂

  12. Lily on March 30th, 2010 7:31 pm

    She was packing to go with Chuck. I’m sure of it for all the reasons listed by people before me, but also because of the picture on her nightstand. Sarah had put away that picture of her and Chuck before that episode. I actually went and checked out the scene of her and Carina changing in her room, from earlier this season and the picture was not there. In last night episode, Sarah was packing witth a picture of Chuck holding her in the background. It was not a simple slip from the director. They put it in there on purpose to show the audiance that Sarah had chosen Chuck. I mean she acually put that picture back on her nightstand, right next to her as she started packing. That does not seem like the action of a girl who plan on leaving the guy and put him out of her mind. I am probably overanalysing it but I really believe that it was suppose to clue us in on who Sarah had chosen, Chuck.

    Casey telling her the truth was just confirmation for her that she had made the right choice and a big relief for her.

  13. Jaqob on March 30th, 2010 8:05 pm

    Decent analysis of the show. I’ve never gotten the whole “If Chuck intentionally kills a bad treasonous traitor guy using a gun that makes him unlovable as far as I’m concerned” rationale that Sarah has.

    This kind of writing WREAKS of this idiotic leftist idea that guns are “bad” so lots of people having guns with them in an area is bad and “scary” and anyone that uses guns to harm or kill is a very bad evil person.

    I just can’t imagine a CIA agent ever thinking like that. Especially since Chuck killing that traitor in the previous episode would be a GOOD and HEROIC act that saved innocent American lives and prevented the spread of identities that The Ring could take advantage of in various ways.

    That is the big problem I have with this writing arc. But also, with this episode I have some important technical concerns like:

    1) How the hell did Casey get into the castle since he is a civilian and no longer has clearance to get in there using one of those retina scans?
    2) When Chuck came out of that bombed building with Shaw, where the hell did they come from? Were they already outside of the building? Or were they beneath somewhere and once it had been blown up they came out? Because even if they were within 20 feet of it it probably would have killed them both pretty easily, right?
    3) How does Shaw get such easy and quick clearance to get up and run off with Sarah like he did? And why does he and Hannah and others always look so lucid immediately after regaining consciousness?

  14. Carly on March 30th, 2010 10:19 pm

    @Kim – Me too on the V.Mars reference!! That was totally the first thing that popped into my head.

    As for the episode – there may be plot holes and contrived situations, sure, but no other show keeps me as thoroughly entertained – laughing, swooning, on the edge of my seat – as Chuck. And no other show takes me two hours to get through because I rewind just about every scene!

    I heart Chuck 🙂

  15. Erin on March 31st, 2010 1:00 am

    As an avid Chuck/Sarah shipper, I too found myself rooting against them initially this episode. When it seemed like Shaw was going to be dying an American hero, I didn’t want Sarah to suddenly pick Chuck because it felt almost like a second choice. (Maybe that was just me) And I also found her flip-flopping a bit frustrating. One minute she’s telling Chuck to become a spy so they can be together, then she can’t be with him because spy Chuck just “isn’t the same guy”. Make up your mind, woman! But taking in to consideration what everyone else is saying, I’m glad she did choose Chuck before Evil!Shaw intervened.

    Speaking of which. The Shaw/Sarah storyline did not irritate me as much as the majority of the fanbase. I had faith in the writers that it would go somewhere eventually. But I had no idea that we’d be getting such a satisfying twist. I absolutely (speaking strictly from a story standpoint) loved that this seemingly random kill ended up being such a significant point. Pretty sure that Shaw has snapped beyond the point of reason, and is not going to hear Sarah’s side of the story. Makes me want Monday to come even quicker.

    Plot holes and all, Chuck remains one of the few consistently entertaining shows. This episode rivals Chuck vs. The Beard as my seasonal favorite. It makes me queasy thinking that such a high-quality show might not come back next season.

  16. jason on March 31st, 2010 6:41 am

    how about an episode ‘chuck vs TPTB’, allow fedak and schwartz to poke fun at the WT/WT angle kind of like they poked fun at all the shippers in 3.8, have multiple random scenes of handsome men and women asking CS on dates, maybe get a 20sec appearance by paris hilton asking chuck out, jeff & sarah for some reason could witness the paris hilton thing on a monitor, jeff could say to sarah something like, ‘he isn’t going to be the least bit interested, even if this was a lame tv show trying to throw another ill conceived wt/wt at you and chuck, his answer is going to be no, he loves you’ – ok that is stupid, but anyhow

  17. AMM on March 31st, 2010 9:55 am

    My favorite part had to be when Ellie picked the guys up from jail and said something about chuck came to you all rather than her about helping him with his love life and Casey mumbled something like “kind of surprised myself” 🙂
    I <3 Casey!

  18. Billiam on April 1st, 2010 7:58 am

    If the episode was entitled “Chuck vs. the World” does that mean he would have defeat Sarah’s seven evil ex-boyfriends?

  19. Laci on May 19th, 2010 1:04 am

    Lmao I ended up taking a like 3 month break from the show because it got so monotomous. Course now I come back around the finalle and get to catch up on all the mush. I hope they dont keep dragging the Charah thing around. You drag it through the mud too much and kaboom! No more love for the relationship because the path there was so monotomous.

    I loved the twist at the end as well that Sarah killed Shaw’s ex. I didnt really see it coming at all, which doesnt happen too often. Could have been because I was so droned out I was barely paying attention when Sarah was talking about her first kill. I do like how you pointed out that Sarahs gotten nit picky. She has this laundry list of things to do and keeps finding new ones.

    You had a lot of good points there, but I being the TV nerd I am would like to point out one you missed. We finally have out bad guy for the rest of the storyline(hopefully), and his name is Crow–I mean we dont know yet. Very funny, my two favorite shows use the same actor for a role, only Crowly was the extremely witty manipulative demon fighting for team Winchester for his own personal reasons. Needless to say I squeeled like a little fan girl when he popped onto screen with a simular-seeming persona to his other char, considering he’s my favorite recent addition to their cast. Even if he goes villan next season he’d be kick ass.