Liars Never Prosper Episode 3.17 – Chuck Vs The Living Dead

Written by Lauren Lefranc & Rafe Judkin
Directed by Jay Chandrasakhar

‘Yes I realize honesty is important in a relationship. Who do you think I am?’
Morgan is not the only one questioning you Chuck. Who are you indeed?
Liars never prosper. And in the ChuckVerse lies can lead to consequences that crash and burn with terminal results.
It is a strange dynamic that an excellent episode derives its thrust by using the over used cliche of characters lying. Lying to a point where it moves far beyond any ability for the viewer, or for me at least, to feel much empathy for the character and the reasons they feel justifies their lies. Chuck’s lie to Sarah about his issues with the Intersect in the Tooth was understandable. His decision to continue that lie in The Living Dead plus the compounding fabrications he tells his father really became a major irritating sore point the longer it went on.
So with that major caveat pointed out this was still an awesome episode. No pretenses on my part. Scott Bakula rules. No doubt I am too enamored with him ever since those Quantum Leap days but he owns the PapaB role. Scott walks back into the show, not having been seen since the Season Two finale, without missing a beat. If there was any guest star that I would love to see elevated to regular cast it is this man. (Making Carina a regular would be pretty sweet too.)

Raise the Blast Shield! Raise the Blast Shield!

Scott takes a potentially stereotypical role of an absent minded professor and father figure and lends dramatic weight and layers of depth to the PapaB character. He often rises above the material and adds gravitas to situations that could end up being cheesy in lesser hands. I marvel at his ability to switch from being bumbling to brilliant to concerned to guilt ridden to caring – and often combinations of them – with ease. His scenes with Ellie and Chuck sharing a meal are so believable and natural. There is a real sense of family here.
The episode made excellent use of the entire cast with Morgan getting great material in every scene he was in. From a long, long overdue scene with just him and Sarah – just wish it could have been longer, to his scenes with Chuck, Casey, and Devon; Morgan has turned into the new Chuck. To the point where if Chuck does not correct soon with his lying I would be totally cool with the show being renamed Morgan. Right now he is the character I want to spend my time with. Morgan gets to play the voice of the audience questioning the other characters as to why they are doing what they are doing. Plus he is the only honest character in the show at the moment.
Ellie’s storyline continues to capitivate. Forced into a situation because the truth has been kept from her by everyone close to her, Ellie falls into the same trap of keeping the truth to herself as she does what she thinks is best. Unlike her parallel storyline with Chuck about lying, empathy exists for her. Being kept in the dark for three seasons for good reasons have put Ellie in harm’s way. As often happens with lies the end result is usually the very thing that the liar was trying to protect the person from. No good can come from Ellie’s storyline and the denouement is going to be a painful one.
Episode Flashes:

  • The clutter of PapaB’s cabin – absent minded professor
  • PapaB translating Ellie’s message without needing to decode it
  • Ellie having to use rough notes to decode and translate PapaB’s response
  • Morgan questioning Chuck on not being honest with Sarah
  • Pop tarts!
  • ‘Of course Shaw’s alive! Haven’t you ever seen a John Carpenter movie?’
  • Morgan prepping for Shaw in the Castle
  • Sarah and Morgan finally having a talk
  • Morgan hiding behind the riot shield from Sarah
  • ‘Reviewing pictures of people you killed? I do that myself from time to time.’
  • Morgan in a ski jacket to hide his bullet proof vest
  • PapaB quickly discerning Chuck is still a spy
  • Casey gets a 2 for 1 needling Chuck and Sarah about Shaw – hilarious!
  • Restaurant receipt musical chair
  • Earrings! – the whole Shaw/Sarah interrogation scene was for one thing only – laughs.Please do not try to divine character motivations and backstory from it. The entire scene was a lark. Nothing more.
  • customer paying Jeffster to NOT play
  • PapaB/Chuck/Ellie dinner scene – HawkMan!
  • Chuck and Sarah suction cupping up to Shaw’s penthouse
  • Shaw’s book collection – Kama Sutra amongst others
  • Sarah seen Predator style with the X-Ray/InfraRed glasses
  • Shaw fake out – ‘Shaw is dead.’
  • Veiled callback to Sarah’s real name at the safe
  • PapaB to the rescue – ‘Just an analyst huh.’
  • Wills – refuse to use the term spy will – and those left behind
  • Morgan barricading himself in his ‘office’ hiding from Shaw
  • ‘Shaw is alive and he is bringing the Reckoning with him!’ Foreshadowing Morgan style.
  • Morgan standing up to Casey defending Ellie
  • Morgan falling for Devon while checking up on Ellie – warm, fluffy towels – sigh
  • Sarah with the hatchet throw saving Chuck’s life. ‘Does she have the Intersect too?’
  • The Governor – this is a cool extension of the Intersect technology
  • PapaB helping his son because Chuck is using the Intersect for the reasons that PapaB created it in the first place – ‘You’re my son.’
  • Ellie clocking Casey with the frying pan
  • Sarah entrusting Chuck with her will
  • foreshadowing closing scenes of Chuck writing his will and the accompanying montage of scenes
  • Ellie an unwitting captive of the Ring
  • Shaw reveal and his Intersecting Ring style – is a portable version far behind?

‘Like I said. Nothing is what it seems.’
Rafe Judkins and Lauren Lefranc go three for three with their scripts this season. I dearly wish that they could have used another means beyond basing the storyline on the proliferation of lies. That knock aside, this was a crackling script. Take that out, and it would have been great to take some of the Jeffster screen time to explore more time with Morgan and Sarah or even an equally long overdue Sarah and Ellie scene, and this would have been perfection.

Intersect – Walker Style.

The show really needs to lock down the subterfuge that is being perpetrated between the lead characters. Especially since Chuck went through the whole lying scenario back in the Hannah arc.  The whole reason about putting Chuck and Sarah together was because they trust each other and can be honest with each other, was it not?
The motives behind what the show is doing are quite clear. As Morgan said there is a reckoning coming. It is coming because of all these lies. I am in mortal dread for the little bearded one. He has undergone such a great character journey this season, one that has been a constant joy all season, that I fear him paying the price for Chuck’s indiscretions in the upcoming finale.
It could be a double whammy if PapaB also becomes a casualty. There is so much foreshadowing going on here I fear the worst. It is often the innocents that end up paying the price. I hope, I hope, I hope, I am wrong.
A season concluding double header next week. I am on the edge of my seat. How about you?

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