‘I appreciated the tank.’
Chuck and Sarah are together. Huzzah! The elephant in the room has been set free. What was so great about this episode is that the Sarah and Chuck relationship was resolved early in the episode. That early resolution allowed attention to shift to other matters such as tracking down the Ring Leader.
The episode opens with the best teaser the series has done to date. Like Chuck we rightly believe that Shaw is intent on seeking revenge on Sarah. He leads her to an abandoned Ring location where monitors show Sarah’s Red Test playing in a never ending loop. Sarah learns that Eve Shaw was her Red Test while Shaw hovers menacingly in the background. With that setup a hilarious payoff is delivered when Chuck arrives on the scene after seemingly mobilizing the entire military to rescue Sarah. Including stealth bombers and tanks.
From the teaser the episode never falters as it gives resolutions and changes for the main characters all done in that uniquely comedic touching and heartfelt way that the Chuck show does so well. When the show shifts back to the spy world, the little beats between Chuck and Sarah as they worry about Shaw in general and about him finding out about them specifically; continue the fun of the previous normal world moments.
‘You saved me.’
The show shifts gears in the final act as Chuck really has to save Sarah this time as Shaw’s end game plays out. Season long threads are revisited as Chuck’s aversion to violence, his priority on family and friends, his Red Test, and the struggle to not lose himself even as he must do necessary things he abhors. The final act is the serious version of the teaser and this time it is all about Chuck handling it on his own with no backup.
Chuck tries everything in his power to prevent the eventual outcome from happening but once he knows there are no other options he does the necessary thing and pulls the trigger. A trigger pull that he knows will save Sarah’s life but may cost him Sarah’s love. If Sarah remains steadfast in her belief that if Chuck kills it means he cannot be the same guy she fell for. Fortunately for Chuck, Sarah was able to witness the moment in her paralyzed state so she knows the truth of that moment. She knows what Chuck did was unavoidable. She saw Chuck trying everything to not have to kill. Sarah knows he had no choice and that Chuck’s love for her is such that Chuck was able to have the stones, as Casey would say, to pull the trigger.
Chuck saved her.
Most fitting that the theme of Chuck doing the right thing no matter what the cost is the very thing that brings him and Sarah together.
- Opening sequence – one of the best ever for the series. Tense, action packed, and funny.
- ‘And the tank too.’
- General Beckman chewing Chuck out for his rescue mission – ‘This bill is longer than my copy of Atlas Shrugged.’ LOL
- ‘I appreciated the tank.’
- MORGAN! Like every scene he was in!
- Morgan saying goodbye to Big Mike
- Casey and Morgan wishing each other well in their respective old lives
- Chuck on a nerd bender mixing whiskey, mint ice cream, guitar hero, and John Hughes movies.
- Sarah’s amazing ability to conceal knives no matter how she is dressed
- OMD -‘If You Leave,’ on vinyl! Or at least the show used a needle on record sound effect
- Morgan yelling he hates the song now
- Sarah admitting she loves Chuck – without ever saying it – and fell for him pretty well from the start
- Morgan obviously eavesdropping on Chuck and Sarah’s heart to heart and popping out at the mention of a mission
- Chuck and Sarah worried about whether or not Shaw knows about them and resultant shot down the elevator shaft
- the elevator scenes – including the cheesy Ring logos at the end of the hallways
- Morgan sussing out right away that Shaw’s fight was staged – Sonny Chiba for the win!
- Beckman does sleep sometimes! Plus she uses the clapper!
- Morgan’s Yoda line delivery, ‘There is another.’
- Morgan rallying Casey to help out Chuck rescue Sarah
- Chuck trying everything to avoid killing Shaw but doing what was necessary in the end
- Casey getting back on the team and adding Morgan to Team Bartowski!
- Joy at RingLeader Mark Shepherd not being dead somewhat muted by him being captured
- Sarah’s realization that Chuck saved her for real
- Beckman’s interruption – very Bondish
- Sarah’s, ‘Shut up and kiss me, ‘ followed by Chuck’s you betcha head shake before diving in
- closing shot of Chuck’s Chuck hanging out of the bed before panning to the Eiffel Tower
‘Shut up and kiss me.’
‘Chuck Versus The Other Guy,’ is a crackling piece of enjoyment. The action, the humor, the drama, nerd/80s references, and of course – romance are mixed together to provide a finale in midseason. Chris Fedak has introduced several major changes, the key one being the long awaited, and for many – way overdue, resolution to the Chuck and Sarah, ‘Will They, Won’t They,’ storyline. Yvonne and Zac nailed their heart to heart scene with Josh hovering in the background. Chuck at its best. Funny and touching.
There were many other things to like in this episode. With the Love Interest storyline between Sarah and Shaw finally put to bed, so to speak, the shift of focus to Shaw’s revenge storyline was most welcome. Too bad it was undercooked and left till so late in the game. However the production budget was apportioned for the episodes, this one felt like it had something a little extra as there was never a moment where costs seem to be an issue. The Paris scenes especially looked very authentic. Kudos to the production crew!
Most enjoyable was Morgan’s role in this episode. He straightened out Chuck several times, pointed out Shaw’s duplicity, and gave Casey a kick in the rear to boot. His inclusion on Team Bartowski opens up a wealth of story possibilities and the comedy potential is off the charts based on his interactions with Casey and Beckman. Glimpses of him in action from the promo for the upcoming episodes are hilarious.
Quibbles with the episode? Three minor ones. First one; the lack of Ellie and Awesome was a disappointment in what is a midseason season finale. Secondly; thematically the same material was covered again contrasting Shaw against Chuck. It felt like the character of Chuck was treading water, waiting for everyone to catch up until the last act. Finally, it would have been a nice call back to 3.04 if Chuck had repeated his nothing matters more to him than family and friends creedo in response to Shaw’s belief that Chuck would not pull the trigger.
The gang is back together and the next 6 episodes should be a blend of the best elements of Seasons 1 and 2 mixed in with the evolved characters of Season 3 to date. Safe to say, everyone is looking to the next half dozen episodes with great anticipation.