Mauser vs The Red Test

There have been many times while watching Chuck, I have noticed that stories are recycled, but the roles are in reverse for Chuck and Sarah. Character development makes the story better or can make the story  worse the second time around. For example, in the first three years of Chuck, Both Chuck and Sarah had potential love interest that would put one of them in a fit of jealousy.

Sarah kills Mauser

Did Chuck kill the mole

There are a few story lines I would like to give my point of view on and the first one will be the Mauser shooting from Chuck vs the Santa Claus and Chuck’s red test from Chuck vs the Final Exam. Both episode have similar outcomes and somewhat damaging results to our favorite couple.

If you have not seen these episodes I suggest seeing the episodes first before reading. It may spoil the episodes for you.

Nice moments ruined by the job
A simple gesture of romance

Before diving into my feelings on the two scenes, we should talk about the nice moments of the two episodes first. I have written before about how the spy world often caused problems with the development of Chuck and Sarah’s relationship. Sometimes it would even interfere at the most in opportune times. In Santa Clause, we have a scene between the two that was both romantic and touching, and for Sarah the advance made by Chuck was nonchalant yet still charming none the less, even the agent in her could not resist it. Especially when Chuck gives her the bracelet and Sarah responses, “You should give this to a real girlfriend, and Chuck replied with “I know.” A simple gesture that would be one of many scenes that would show the growth in the relationship.

Sarah lies to Chuck about killing MauserHowever, the elephant in the room wearied it ugly head, which would be the spy world. It turned out that Fulcrum staged Ned taking over the Buymore to flush out who the CIA and NSA were protecting, and unfortunately for Chuck and crew the hostage negotiator was indeed Fulcrum. Mauser suggested Ned to let Casey and Walker go so he could be alone with Chuck.  Sarah like always makes the save, and we get a dark conclusion to this mess. Mauser taunts Sarah telling her that he knew Chuck’s secret and unlike the other fulcrum agents they captured, Fulcrum would try to free him, which Sarah knew would not go well for Chuck. He will be either bunkered by the government or tortured by Fulcrum both situations does not sit well with Agent Walker. She has a split second to make a decision.

Sarah has to make a split decision
A split decision for Sarah

Risk Chuck’s life and arrest Mauser or do what she knew needed to be done in order to protect Chuck and his family, and the decision was to kill Mauser. Unfortunately for Sarah, Mauser was unarmed, and to make matters worse Chuck was watching. Chuck confronted Sarah about Mauser,  and Sarah proceeded to lie about it. The lie was more of an impact than watching Sarah kill Mauser. It started to make Chuck wonder if Sarah will ever be truthful.

His reaction was overblown. Sarah was doing her job, and it is hard for Chuck to fathom this, which is what lead to the reason Sarah would give to Chuck.  Here is what she said,

Chuck Bartowski: He had threatened my family, my friends, and you were just doing your job. I get that but – Sarah, the guy was unarmed. And – and you just…

Sarah Walker: I did what I had to do. He knew who you really were. Your whole family was in danger. And I’m sorry. Sometimes I forget you never asked for all of this.

Chuck also forgets that in the spy world sometimes a spy has to do whatever is necessary in order to make sure a threat is neutralized. In the Mauser situation, Sarah had to kill Mauser because he knew too much, and was a threat to Chuck and his family.  So, what happens when the roles are reversed?

For three years, Sarah watched Chuck use morality on missions, and his reluctance in killing people was something Sarah found to be great. For Sarah, it was an attractive part of Chuck. Something she would tell him when they finally did get together, but what did Chuck do that made Sarah say, “it was the greatness news I ever heard…it means you haven’t change…it means you’re still Chuck, your still my Chuck.”

the day that change their relationshipAfter downloading the Intersect 2.0, Chuck decided in order to be with Sarah he had to become a real spy. Moreover, Chuck’s training was changing him and Sarah was watching the man she fell in love with disappear.

is it
Chuck is becoming a spy that is a good thing…Is it?

For Sarah, her biggest fears were coming true. Chuck was becoming the man she knew the spy world would turn him into. The very fear Bryce had all those years ago. The same man Alexi Volkoff had become. The same would be true for Chuck if he did not have the strong support staff like Sarah, Casey and the rest of the people in Chucks’ life.

The feelings they had for each other were strong, but neither of them were ready to take the next step. They often came close but duty interrupted them. When Chuck begins his final exam, he met up with Sarah at the stakeout point. In which, he provides bubbly, food and entertainment like only Bartowski can. The very charms that she loves are on full display and she is loving it.

Another special moment ruined by dutyChuck Bartowski: So you and Shaw, you’re going to be… living together? Is that it? Are you guys real serious or what?

Sarah Walker: Uh, I don’t know. It’s… it’s different.

Chuck Bartowski: Different how?

Sarah Walker: Than with you.

One of many kisses
One of many Kisses

So close yet, yet so far. A near kiss that we have seen so many times before. A kiss that is interrupted by the job. Shaw calls.

After completing the mission part of his exam, both Chuck and Sarah reached the pinnacle stage of their relationship, and the reason was Chuck’s test was not done. Decisions were needed to be made and the consequences of those decisions would affect everything.

footage from Sarah's killUnfortunately for Sarah, Chuck would have to perform a red test, in which Sarah says “The day of her red test was the worst moment of her life.” As Shaw tells Sarah what Chuck has to do next Sarah immediately shoots it down.

Daniel Shaw: Chuck has to kill him.

Sarah Walker: What? Chuck has to kill him? You’re giving him the Red Test tonight?

Daniel Shaw: That’s right.

Sarah Walker: Why didn’t you tell me?I don't think I want him to do that

Daniel Shaw: Because you would’ve said you couldn’t be a part of it.

Sarah Walker: I can’t… I can’t be a part of it. And I won’t! *You* have to meet him. I can’t make him do something like that. I’m not sure I want him to be able to do something like that.

Here is where I have my first issue between the two events. After killing Mauser, Sarah explained that it was her duty to protect Chuck and his family. She said, “It was something she had to do.” Yet, when Chuck was faced with the same issue. Sarah took it to heart, claiming “I am not sure I want him to be able to do something like that”

Sarah’s response and concern was not of an agent. She knew what it took to become an agent and the sacrifices spies have to do, and she was on the receiving end of Chuck sacrificing his own happiness in order to become a spy.

Sarah’s reaction is onSarah is in a tough spote of a girlfriend, who saw the one she loved backed in a corner. Sarah was put in a position to follow orders or protect Chuck. The difficult part also was the decision was to be made by Chuck only. Her heart is in her throat, and once Chuck does arrive for what he thought was dinner between the two turns out to be orders. Again the job becomes the x factor.

As Sarah was telling Chuck the remaining part of his exam, Sarah hoped that Chuck did not become lost in his quest to become a spy, which makes me want to point something about the dinner scene.

The one of the things I love about the show was how music sometimes spoke for characters. For example, as Sarah is walking away from Chuck, the song my sleep is playing. Sarah turned around to glance back at Chuck and you can hear this in the background

“But time has been unkind

and kept me far from you

But I know you will be holding me

In my sleep”

It is fitting that this portion of the song can be heard. Sarah was leaving for Washington, and she was with Shaw, but for Sarah her heart belonged to only one person. No matter what happened that night Sarah was going to keep Chuck in her dreams.

Casey killed the moleThe mole arrives and Chuck follows him out to the train tracks, and points his gun at the mole. The sound of gunfire echoes in the air, but it is not Chuck who fired his weapon. Casey killed the mole, but unlike Chuck watching Sarah kill Mauser, she never saw Casey. In her eyes, Chuck killed the mole, which broke her heart.  Later that night, Sarah visibly shaken by what she saw, said she no longer was in love with Chuck.

Chuck was also placed in a tough spot because Casey told him that no one could know about what he did.  Furthermore, He was being stationed in Rome, and this would mean he would be leaving without Sarah, but for the first time the job gave him an opportunity to win her back. General Beckman told him to take a vacation on them, and in a week you get to pick your own team.

When Chuck returns to Burbank, he finds that Sarah is leaving with Shaw. The reason was because he killed someone. She saw him kill the mole. Except he didn’t and protecting Casey was in Chuck’s mind, but thinking about the Mauser situation, it seemed like Sarah overreacted to this. Chuck came too far in his development as a spy to turn back, and Sarah falling out of love that quickly was just another lie she was trying to sell on Shaw.

Casey tells Sarah he hilled the mole
He didn’t kill the mole

Did Sarah have the right to be angry? Yes, she did, but she seemed to forget   what it felt like for Chuck watching her kill Mauser. Something that would last for a while much like the Red Test did for Sarah. The only difference was Chuck didn’t kill the mole. It took Casey to confess to Sarah the truth about what happen.

Casey thank youThe greatest news she ever heard because Chuck was still her Chuck. However, when the roles were reversed Sarah was doing her job.


  1. Yup. Agree with it all. The only problem is, of course, that Sarah doesn’t really even like herself for being a cold blooded assassin, although she realizes that, in order to complete the “job”, she has to bury those feelings. I think when it comes down to it, perhaps the more apt analogy to the Mauser shooting may be when Chuck has to shoot Shaw on the bridge. In both cases, they were protecting each other.

    What ends up happening after Chuck’s Red Test, though, is that Sarah falls “out of love” with him. REALLY ??? Three years together, and, even though he “did” what he was ordered to do, Sarah doesn’t love him anymore ? He has no other qualities or values that she admires enough to see past his “job”??? Obviously, she falls for guys who kill people ! Bryce, Cole and Shaw …she was attracted to all of them….even having a sexual relationship with Shaw after only a short period of time. So, if everything is equal and she has to chose between Shaw ( or Bryce) and Chuck ( i.e., they’re all spies and killers ), she chose Shaw over Chuck. Only when she found out that Chuck didn’t kill the Mole did she reconsider her feelings for him. That just doesn’t seem like what the heart of the story had intended. Wasn’t Sarah also attracted to his charm, his sense of humor, his love of family ? He was also a very selfless guy…always putting the needs of others ahead of himself.

    I guess this was discussed at length when the series was on network TV. Thank god I wasn’t watching at the time. I think they aired Chuck vs The Mask, then went on a break for the Olympics. Could you imagine the pent up anger having to endure the Shaw arc for like 2 MONTHS ! Glad I could plow through it in a day or so !

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  3. It wasn’t the spy training that worried Sarah. It was the fact that Chuck would have to KILL another person. Sarah remembered her red test, and as she said with tears ” it was the worst day of her life”, because after she killed THEN she became Langston Grahms “unforgiving, unfriendly, and unquestioning about her orders” wild card enforcer, and why her shooting Mauser made perfect sense. What we don’t see until flashbacks later in the series was that this was the Sarah Walker that first met chuck at the buy more, and by the time she tries to free Chucks mom she says ” I have to go back to being the OLD ME if I’m going to survive this”

  4. Sarah’s behavior in S3E7-12 was completely out of character. The whole red test thing was simply a cheaply manufactured excuse to raise conflict.

    The Shaw arc was gloomy and too long. His behavior doesn’t even make sense. Why hit on Sarah if you know it’s going to affect the Intersect’s performance, which is what you need to fight the Ring? Didn’t he make it his mission to fight the Ring? Didn’t he say that emotions affect the mission? Then why pursue an emotional attachment to Sarah? It makes no sense.

    When he even came back in the second part of the season, I realized most of season 3 was a disaster.

      • A man should always strive to bring justice, not revenge. That’s what Chuck did. Shaw murdered Chuck’s father before his eyes, but Chuck did not seek revenge. He sought justice.

        Shaw should have determined why the CIA had his wife executed? Had she turned? Was it a mistake by Graham? Was it a mistake by the CIA? Was it due to someone’s betrayal?

        He also knew that Sarah had been just a pawn in the CIA’s decision to execute Eve, so it was wrong of him to want to kill Sarah.

      • He was killing Sarah to kill the cia top spy. He said so in other guy. He knew Sarah did what she was ordered 2 do. As i said, put the writing aside. I saw Shaw as a key to Chuck’s spy development i always thought he was coddled. Bryce was Chuck’s nemesis but was never in town Shaw was there living in burbank. I honest the justice part but its unrealistic when u believed the ring killed her but not do anything when you learn the truth

      • Killing the CIA’s top spy is still wrong. First, he needs to determine whether the CIA is guilty of anything in regards to his wife; his wife could have turned, or the CIA might not have known the details. Even if it was the CIA’s fault, killing another human being in order to punish an organization is morally wrong. He was letting a wrong emotion (his obsession for his late wife) cloud his judgment. This from a man who himself said that emotions make agents vulnerable.

      • It was semi-ok for Sarah to kill Mauser because Mauser had threatened the safety of the Intersect. Mauser represented an active threat and was malicious. Of course, the better course of action for Sarah would have been to report Mauser’s threat to Beckman and let Beckman make the decision to execute Mauser. But Mauser was definitely guilty.

        It was ok for Sarah to storm Thailand because she was saving an innocent man from an evil man who wanted to steal the Intersect data for profit and lobotomize Chuck in the process. And as far as I remember, she didn’t kill anyone in Thailand.

      • If Beckman knew Mauser knew Chuck was headed for the underground. Beckman didnt see Chuck’s worth until he found Orion. See i think what we have here is Shaw’s revenge Chucks test and Sarah shooting Mauser. The red test plays into it because Chhck worked hard to become a spy.

        The idea sarah and chuck couldnt be together was illogical but human nature predicts that would be the hurdle. They fell for the image a regular guy mauser was takjng that away, but Shaw was on the hunt for a killer. So it goes to my theory about the cia being the real villian

      • Not necessarily. Chuck was still the only Intersect, so much more valuable to Beckman than Mauser. If Sarah thought Beckman would sacrifice Mauser instead of the Intersect, then Sarah was right to execute Mauser.

        I’m afraid I can’t parse the rest of your argument. Not sure what you mean.

  5. Sorry, I meant to say, “If Sarah thought Beckman would sacrifice the Intersect instead of Mauser, then Sarah was right to execute Mauser.”

    • Thats a double standard than. Sarah represents good so its justified to protect her interest. Shaw was impacted personally. Graham died so we dont know what made him believe Eve turned either way Shaw was lied to. He was hunting someone that didnt exist.

      So because shaw chose to avenge those that took the one he loved away. Its the same 2 me

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