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What the Chuck?! s3e13 - And the Tank - Cancel the Tank.

Sarah in Chuck vs the Other Guy yvonne strahovski Here we are at the culmination of so many things. For an episode that was originally supposed to be the season ender, this certainly ties up a lot of things so we can move forward. Oh so many things. This is, for once - really, a game changer on more than one level. Spoilers ahead!
This is the show I have been waiting for! I think we all have. This is show we wanted to save last year and have been waiting to see again all season. Look, I liked the last 12 episodes, some more than others, but this episode "Chuck vs the Other Guy" was what the doctor ordered!

Now maybe you like Dancing With The Stars more, or Breaking Bad (either way, those are killer recaps!) and no longer love Chuck as much as you did. Give this one a chance. Seriously. Though I suppose if you're here, you did, huh?  So why am I all excited? Well we open where we left off last week. Sarah and Shaw have gone off into the blue, Chuck is convinced Shaw wants to kill her, Beckman is with him on this and Chuck needs to save her. He goes to Casey, finding him thanks to Morgan (in return for a brushed off "make me a member of your team), and Casey gives Chuck instructions on how to call for more back-up than any man rightfully needs. 

And we're off! Shaw and Sarah head into the Ring base and we see the teleconferencing center (is that what you call the place bad guys send holograms of themselves from?) that the Ring used last episode. Sarah sees her red test. Shaw explains. Oh no…

Of course Chuck gets there with a strike team the size of Rhode Island. They all go in, Chuck in the lead, and find… Shaw holding Sarah as he tells her it's all right. He understands she didn't know her target was Shaw's wife.  Buh? Wait, what? The Chuck who cried wolf? Seems so.

Beckman is far from impressed. Shaw defends Chuck's action, if a bit extreme, as the right one. No matter. Beckman benches Chuck and plans on sending Sarah and Shaw to D.C. to lead the new anti-Ring team.  Chuck goes home and starts drinking. The Casey problem-solver of choice: Black Label. Chuck gets nice and hammered while playing Guitar Hero, until Morgan comes in to find him.  They scuffle over the bottle, Morgan thinks Chuck has had enough, and Chuck … well Chuck flashes and Morgan ends up on the floor tied up with every controller you've ever seen.

Sarah comes over to find this, Chuck in his underwear fiddling with the Guitar Hero controller and bottle, Morgan on the floor, and cuts Morgan free. I mean, sure, helpful. Also wrecking hundreds of dollars worth of video game equipment! Errr, whatever.
Sarah tells Chuck she loves him yvonne strahovski zachary levi
Chuck is just so sure he's going to lose her to Shaw. So sure. This is his downward spiral. He wanted to save her earlier, he loves her, he fears losing her. And he explains it and finally just asks her if she loves him. When she pauses he takes it for the worst, but no. Of course she does.  She even tells him when she fell for him. Somewhere in the middle of the very first episode. Not that she says it like that but "Between your fixing my phone and defusing bombs" - that was the pilot. Still! Finally they are on the same damn page! She tells him about the red test, that she knows he didn't kill anyone, that he is still the same guy we all root for.  These two kooky kids are happy!

Except there's a new mission. Shaw knows where the Ring boss is. All right, look, it's Manservant Neville. His only given character name on Chuck is "Ring Director" so let's just call him Manservant Neville, shall we? All you Middleman fans in the place, let's keep that joke alive.  Regardless!

Shaw, Sarah and Chuck go to run a mission to kidnap Manservant Neville and Chuck is nervous, both because he still doesn't think Shaw is all right (projecting his own emotional control issues on Shaw it seems) and worried about telling Shaw that Chuck and Sarah are, finally, an item.  They go about the mission and Shaw gets attacked by Ring agents. That passes, and again Chuck cries wolf, thinking a stray mid-fight shot was meant for him and Sarah. 

Chuck and Sarah with Ring agents yvonne strahovski zachary levi They get into the elevator and grab Manservant Neville. And then his secretary. And then a maintenance man. Yeah, it's Chuck.  Best case of escalating goofiness in a tense situation around.  Eventually, more Ring agents come and there are guns everywhere and … enter Shaw. Six shots, six take-downs. He asks to be left alone with Manservant Neville and the elevator doors close and we hear a shot.

Cut to Castle and Beckman is pissed that Shaw killed Manservant Neville, but much like Shaw stood up for him earlier, Chuck stands up for Shaw. He's a good guy, our Chuck.  He really is.

While the mission was going on, mind you, Morgan was busy quitting the Buy More. He assumed the whole "being Chuck's assistant" thing was a done deal and jumped all sorts of guns. As he left he had an interesting talk with Casey. One that seemed a bit too harsh, but also could be taken as an attempt to make Casey angry so he would stop wallowing in being a civilian. 

Chuck gets home, happy, because even though Sarah and Shaw are going to Paris for a final mission to wipe out the rest of the Ring, he knows she loves him and they'll make this work.  Morgan, when he starts to find out, however, spirals down like Chuck did earlier.  Chuck tries to show him how awesome Shaw was fighting the Ring, trying to explain that Shaw is a good guy when Morgan uses his own talents to work something out: Shaw was faking the fight.

Yes, that's right, Morgan, an avid Kung-Fu movie watcher, can spot a pulled punch and mis-connecting kick a mile away.  For once Chuck isn't crying wolf! Here's proof that Shaw is a bad guy. They run to Castle and watch up General Beckman and…

Wait. I need to stop. Beckman uses the Clapper. For reals. That was just priceless. The Clapper!

Beckman doesn't want to hear the proof, or see it, she's had enough and the addition of Morgan just sets her off. She benches Chuckles and goes back to bed.  Chuck decides he needs Morgan's help. Morgan is all he has. But, Morgan insists, there is another. 

Awww, yeah. Casey, in his living room. PJs and a robe. Insisting he can't help, no matter what logic Chuck uses on him. So Morgan continues the attack from in the Buy More. He calls Casey out. He shames him. And Casey snaps. Grabbing Morgan by the neck he leans in, scowl in place, and tells Morgan to get his suit. The black one.

And now it's a race to Paris!

Shaw leads Sarah, who still doesn't think Shaw is a bad guy, to where Sarah killed his wife. She realizes it and is utterly confused but light starts to dawn, which is also when she works out she's been drugged and the Ring is here.

The Ring Director is helping Shaw "teach the CIA a lesson" that they shouldn't have had his wife killed, by giving the Ring crucial Intersect building plans and then killing Sarah. Uhm, Shaw? That isn't teaching them anything other than you're a freakin' crack-pot! You crack-pot!

Chuck vs Shaw in Paris zachary levi brandon routh The Ring Director leaves, Shaw intends to take Sarah to the river and kill her, when who shows up but Chuck.  Some gunshots and Shaw nods and says "You brought Casey?" Yeah, of course he did, crack-pot! Anyway, they fight and Shaw uses Chuck's emotions against him, knowing Chuck still can't flash if he gets too worried and concerned. So he grabs Sarah and they head off to the river, leaving Chuck behind. A beaten Chuck, on the ground.

Chuck vs Shaw in Paris 2 zachary levi brandon routh We go to the river and Sarah, still paralyzed by the drug, is helpless. Shaw is about to push her over the bridge when… well… Chuck. With a gun in hand again. Shaw taunts him a bit, knowing Chuck won't shoot. And then Chuck shoots him three times in the chest. Shaw goes off the bridge, still holding Sarah's wrist. Chuck grabs the rest of her and eventually Shaw just falls off. 

Casey calls Beckman and has the Ring Director, using him as a bargaining chip to get his stripes back and also to… well… make Morgan an official member of Team Bartowski!  Casey and Morgan have grown to, if not like, appreciate each other. It's been interesting to watch as they spent time this season in each other's shoes.

We finish with Chuck and Sarah in a hotel room in Paris (with a view of the Eiffel Tower 'natch) and they start to talk and end up with Ye Olde Smootchfest. Beckman rings them for a new mission but they pull a Bond moment and shut her off.

And that's where we are for two weeks. So what about all of it? Well, first of all I think we. as fans, have earned Chuck and Sarah but more importantly I think they've earned it as characters. Yeah, this season went to the will-they-won't-they well a few too many times but in the end you can see the progression. This season, and it feels right to talk about these 13 episodes as a single season since they were written that way, has been about growing up. 

We watched Chuck grow into a man and learn what that really means - and it isn't always good. We watched Sarah start off not wanting to be a spy and slowly grow back into the job and why, in reflection of the man she loved.  We saw Casey grow as a person outside of being a spy, and can now see that it's made him think of others and care a bit more than he did - and to let him say so.  We've watched Morgan grow from that goofy friend to assistant manager to someone who can do a good job as the assistant to Chuck.  The whole season has been about growth and every major character has felt the effects of that.

Ellie and Awesome? Not so much. Some, yeah, but very little. Jeffster? Well they can't really grow. Big Mike? He's grown into the Beckman of the Buy More, really. Which I love. 

So no, this season was far from perfect, and it isn't over yet even not really, but by the end of it everything lines up and is drawn together well and the payoff was spectacular.  It was tense when it wanted to be tense, funny when it wanted to be funny and sweet when it felt the need. That's the show I love.

Now we take two weeks off and then come back for Season 3.1 - the back 6 episodes that promise to be even bigger than this. I can't wait.

Now don't forget, the most important part of What the Chuck?! is you guys, our own Team Bartowski. So let's discuss this one. I think we have a lot to talk about but I do ask, as always, that you not talk about anything that spoils future episodes, including the previews for episode 14 and beyond.  Also, I do want to know - we have two weeks off. I could use them for something Chuck related, if you guys have ideas you want me to write about. Let me know and tell me what you think! Report, Team Bartowski!






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Comments

Anne

I loved this episode of Chuck too! I'm glad Sarah and Chuck finally got together... but you know how they always say when the "love interests" in shows get together, everything goes down hill? I really hope that doesn't happen here.
The one thing I'd like to know more about is what the ratings for Chuck have been this season. Have they been high enough for NBC to keep it around? I don't want to have to go through what I did last spring/summer with not knowing! Just curious!

Silver

I am also concerned about the Chuck/Sarah love connection making the show suck out loud. When has breaking the sexual tension ever done favors for a show? Certainly not with Who's The Boss.

But I'm going to keep watching because I know they will find a way to keep those crazy kids dancing around each other. And they better.

Adam P. Knave

As far as Chuck/Sarah goes ... I dunno. When they weren't together everyone just wanted them together. Now that they are everyone seems to be worried that they ARE. I don't think it's true. Moonlighting didn't die because of that, it was already on the death watch before they slept together. Yes, sometimes it can ruin a show, but so can anything else. There are enough characters and story that I don't think it'll be a problem. And again, since everyone was so angry that they hadn't gotten together until now - I think we owe it to the show to trust them now that they delivered.

Ratings wise - they aren't OMGWOW but they aren't marked for death either. Word has it that renewal/cancellation will be announced BEFORE the 2 part finale ends (last 2 eps air back to back!) so we'll know going in and as soon as I know, I will post a special What the Chuck?! update on Mamapop. So keep your eyes peeled!

D.J.

I really liked this episode, too, and it did tie pretty much everything up, didn't it? Not as epic as the Season Two ender, but, well, they have less budget, and, I suppose, this was more internally epic? If that makes any sense?

"Big Mike? He's grown into the Beckman of the Buy More, really." LOL. I hadn't thought of it like that! Well said.

Really excited to see what's in store for Team Bartwoski next!

Adam P. Knave

Yeah this was quieter in scope, and that's budget related but I think it means just as much for the characters if not more. ... No, probably about the same?

John Harnes

You hit it right on the head. This episode was what fans wanted since the last minutes of season 2. I expect the next 6 episodes are going to be fantastic!

If folks were turned off by the angst they truly need to give the latest episode a view online at Hula or NBC. It is great! And if folks give the show a chance it will hook them in. There is just so much the team can do now. The cast are not just kids but real people and the fantasy is fun again!

Adam P. Knave

Yeah we've spend 3 seasons so far growing Chuck from a boy into a man. Now he'll, probably, have to deal with what that means. I can't imagine shooting Shaw has no affect on him. And the other characters have also all grown. So now we get to see what a more mature, trusting Team Bartowski can do and what upsets their lives. Looks, exciting!

DianaCLT

This was an excellent show...but I just can't help but think that we haven't seen the last of Shaw. He arranged for it to look like he killed 6 members of the Ring; surely he can fake his own death.

Adam P. Knave

I wondered about that but given that Morgan was all "Did you see blood?" about the Ring Agent deaths and then we see a bunch of blood on Shaw's shirt and he lies there face down in the river I think they oversold it to make the point that he was really dead. Still, you never do know with this show.

Christy

My prediction - they're totally going to resurrect Shaw as the Ring's intersect or maybe part cyborg - he's certainly got the robot-acting down. Loved this episode! What other show can reference Batman, James Bond & freakin' Die Hard in a single episode without missing a beat. I wish there was a comprehensive listing of the references in Chuck - I know I've missed a bunch.

Adam P. Knave

HAHAHAH! That's hysterical! Robot!Shaw would be awesome. As for listings, Wikipedia tries pretty well for references, most weeks. I might try to do something about the music used in the show for next week, myself.

Muirnait

I too have my doubts about Shaw's death. But I haven't actually watched the episode yet, because exams suck and I a way, way too busy.




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