Believe It Or Not, It’s Just Me – Episode 3.12: Chuck Vs The American Hero

Written by Matt Miller/Phil Klemmer
Directed by Jeremiah Chechik
Greatest American Hero Theme Song – Believe It Or Not
Look at what’s happened to me,
I can’t believe it myself.
Suddenly I’m up on top of the world,
It should’ve been somebody else.
Believe it or not,
I’m walking on air.
I never thought I could feel so free.
Flying away on a wing and a prayer.
Who could it be?
Believe it or not it’s just me.
Just like a light of a new day,
It hit me from out of the blue.
Breaking me out of the spell I was in,
Making all of my wishes come true.
Believe it or not,
I’m walking on air.
I never thought I could feel so free.
Flying away on a wing and a prayer.
Who could it be?
Believe it or not it’s just me.

‘No thanks. She’s still there.’
With the attainment of his goal of becoming a spy, Chuck believes he can finally be together with Sarah. Everything seems to be falling in place when Beckman tells him he can pick the members of his team. Naturally his first choice is Sarah. So Sarah’s angry reaction upon Chuck’s return and offer is a shock for him. Telling Chuck that because he has killed, Sarah; based on how her Red Test affected her, does not believe that Chuck can emerge from that test as the same guy she originally fell for.
Sarah is grieving for what she believes is the death of the Chuck Bartowski she fell in love with. If we apply the Stages of Grief to Sarah:
1)Denial
2)Anger
3)Bargaining
4)Depression
5)Acceptance,
in 3.11, she was in the denial phase, hence her proclamation of no longer loving Chuck. Now she has moved onto the anger phase which her behaviour and responses upon Chuck’s return validate. Chuck is trapped because he cannot reveal that Casey killed the mole and not him.

Vision Clouded By Anger – The Nerd Is Right There In Front Of Sarah

Fearful that Sarah is slipping away from him into a life in DC with Shaw; Morgan, Casey, and Devon rally to Chuck’s aide; albeit they do so with ulterior motives. As expected, the results of this mission are less than helpful but provide a lot of enjoyment as Civilian Team Bartowski(CTB) unknowingly vy with a Ring Team intent on capturing Shaw. This leads to excellent Ellie moments as she first scolds CTB and then Chuck.
This time Chuck returns to woo Sarah with a clear head. Rescuing Shaw, with the knowledge that Sarah may very well end up leaving with Shaw, Chuck does the right thing again. Even if it is at a personal cost. Through his actions, Chuck proves to Sarah that he is indeed that guy she first fell for. Chuck is the ‘True’ American Hero of this episode as what he did was for selfless reasons in stark contrast to the revenge reasons that motivate Shaw.
Chuck’s closing speech is much like the one he gave Sarah at the end of Lethal Weapon. Except this time he is blunt and direct in relaying to Sarah his feelings. And again, he leaves the choice up to her. He shows Sarah how deeply he feels by being willing to give up the spy life he has worked so hard to attain to be with her.
Episode Flashes:

  • Beckman’s waiting area with multiple receptionists and spies waiting to see her
  • Chuck trying to find out how to sit comfortably with a gun
  • Chuck and Beckman scene – ‘I understand that the hand wringing and the second guessing are all part of your process.’
  • Ellie excited to go to Africa because she thinks that is what Devon wants
  • Chuck’s Civilian Team Bartowski(CTB) – Casey, Morgan and Devon!
  • Morgan telling Casey to take a number
  • Morgan telling Casey love is a battlefield
  • Jeff and Lester being totally cognizant and up to date on the Sarah/Chuck/Shaw triangle -‘Guy knows how to fill out a pair of slacks!’
  • CTB with their own agenda – ‘We help you get the girl back, you help us get out of Burbank.’.
  • CTB and Ring Team targetting Shaw at the restaurant
  • Morgan telling Devon, ‘You live in a bubble. A freakish bubble of awesomeness.’
  • Morgan calling Shaw out of the restaurant and getting carried away with instructions
  • Morgan getting tasered! ‘Man down! I’ve been tazzed! Bring a stretcher. Wheelbarrow….change of pants!’ LOL
  • Ellie scolding CTB
  • Ellie’s anger at Chuck for going to CTB instead of her
  • Ellie’s pep talk to Chuck telling him to act like a Bartowski and that one can never go too far in the pursuit of love
  • Jeff & Lester berating CTBs stalking skills and proving theirs by tailing Shaw in Loretta
  • ‘Stalker’s Log: Possibly for sexual encounter. Both men are physically fit. Should be lively.’
  • Casey selling ‘Hot Zone’ vacuum cleaner
  • Chuck’s Batman jump into Shaw’s sports car
  • Dr. Jibb Pop Machine elevator entrance into Ring base
  • Ring Leader – very cool
  • Chuck and bad guy’s reactions to impending flash bomb explosion
  • Stealth Bomber Sequence
  • Chuck’s rescue of Shaw – The ‘True’ American Hero
  • Chuck’s final speech to Sarah – ‘One time because it feels really nice to say. I love you Sarah Walker.’
  • Casey’s confession of killing mole in Sarah’s apartment. Adam really nailed it.
  • Reveal that Sarah killed Shaw’s wife – Eve.

Phil Klemmer was tasked with kicking off the Sarah and Shaw relationship in 3.07 – Chuck Versus The Mask and along with Matt Miller in Chuck Versus The Greatest American Hero, he has drawn the short straw once again in ending it. If he volunteered for these two episodes then Phil is to be commended as the Real American Hero of the Chuck writing staff. If it was the luck of the draw then Phil should not take it personally if no one takes him up on an offer to pick lottery ticket numbers.
With this episode the final pertinent pieces of the Sarah and Shaw relationship have been placed in the open. I have been withholding final judgment until this moment, hoping that the writers would pull a rabbit out of their hat to salvage this arc. Alas, it is not to be. For all the props I have given the show in my reviews, I am behoven to call foul when appropriate. To be blunt, the Sarah and Shaw relationship was a sham. It did not work and the episodes that included it, suffered because of it. A further examination of why will take place in an article(s) looking back over the first 13 episodes during the upcoming two week break after 3.13 airs.
Proof that the Sarah and Shaw relationship is irrelevant is that if you can isolate and ignore those moments the episode still works. Works very well. The inclusion of Morgan into Chuck’s spy life continues to reap great dividends. The interplay between Casey, Morgan, and Devon is a hoot to watch. The action beats were great. The Chuck and Sarah moments were as good as they have ever been. Casey’s continuing struggle in the civilian world continues to intrigue.
‘I love you Sarah Walker. Always have.’

A Real Hero – Selfless Act

As mentioned in the 3.11 review, I was banking on a Casey and Sarah counterpart scene to bookend the one that Chuck and Casey had, which came to be true. While the scene did not prove to be the deciding factor in Sarah’s decision it did put to rest any lingering doubts she had during her packing. Adam and Yvonne played the scene beautifully. Casey’s furtive glances at Sarah’s packing on the bed and his round about way of wishing Sarah well was done to perfection. My favorite scene of the episode.
With the reveal that she killed Shaw’s wife the stage for the next episode has been set.   So glad that the episode ended with Sarah being shown as having clearly made up her mind.
Spy or not, Sarah believes it.  It’s just Chuck.

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