Rewatch Week Three: Season One Episode Three

Chuck vs The Tango

In our third installment of our Chuckaholic’s rewatch, we have reached the third episode of season one. This episode  is a classic no matter how you slice it.

The episode really showcased the many talents this show could provide when it blended action with comedy. It also dabbled a little in the romance department, which was why overall this was a great third episode. Some would even say it was a nice rebound from Helicopter.

Chuck vs The Tango would mark Chuck’s first crusade out in the field and he gets asked numerous times about his future. From Big Mike to Ellie. So without further delay, let’s dive into the third episode. Chuck vs The Tango.

Chuck vs The Tango has a lot of firsts for the series. One of the first noticeable things was the show had a theme song now. The show was picked up by NBC, so they had a budget to work with, and Cake’s Short Skirt/Long Jacket was the choice for the theme

The other changes from the first two episodes would be the scenery was painted and everything was in place on how we know the apartment was supposed to look like. Don’t believe me check the scenery from this episode to that of the Pilot. It is like night and day.

We hear the name Team Bartowski, but not in reference to the spy team, but rather Chuck said in the direction of Devon, Ellie and Morgan. The spy team was called Operation Bartowski just little bit of trivia for those that ever get the question. All that being said, let’s get into the episode.

I usually separate the Buymore story from the main one, but this episode the Buymore is incorporated into the overall story.

Main Story

The episode began with the journey of a painting from Iran to Burbank. Each courier was killed once the painting was delivered.

The painting from Tango
It is an ugly painting.

After we see how the painting traveled. At the Buymore. Chuck was assisting a customer or using it as an excuse to play a shooting game with a kid. He was having fun until Harry Tang told Chuck Big Mike was looking for him. Chuck would get the message when Mike said now Chuck.

Chuck and Big Mike talk about promotion
Big Mike: It’s time to think about your future, Chuck

I find it interesting that no matter how many times we watch these episodes we seem to miss things. When Big Mike said “Time to think about your future.” it would ultimately be the theme of the show. The concept of thinking about Chuck’s future will come up a few times in this episode.

The Nerd Crew
Chuck’s Stable of Hoes.

Big Mike told Chuck to fix all the electronics and computers in the Nerd Herd cage in two days or the position was going to Harry Tang. Chuck gathered his nerds and went to start the task, but just before he got started. Morgan told him his lady was here, and bulk computers gave him the willies.

What I love about the clip above was how fun Sarah was having with Chuck. She knew she put Chuck on the spot when she asked him for a kiss. her smile said as much.

Sarah flirting and having fun with Chuck

The question on her mind could Chuck actually kiss her. When he just pecked her. It was funny because Sarah’s reaction to it was classic. “That’s it.” Most men in Chuck’s position would dive right in but not our Nerdy Hero. He explained to Sarah he doesn’t do well with PDA. Sarah used that as a ploy to speak with Chuck about the mission of the episode.

It’s not how  she brought Chuck to the home theater room, It’s the way she did it. In a very flirting way, In what could be deemed as a sell job,  Sarah enjoyed every minute of the flirting she was doing. There was only one person in the store who didn’t like it. The person would be John Casey.

Very naughty Ms. Walker The first hand holding

Casey was annoyed by Sarah coming to the Buymore without notify him first, but Sarah said she wouldn’t dream of starting without him. Sarah showed pictures of sleeping people {dead}, but Chuck didn’t flash. He said he didn’t know why they were dead until Jeff came in with a newspaper.

Flash newspaper

The picture of the painting made Chuck flash. It revealed the baddie of the episode as La Cuidad, a arms dealer, who uses art as way to smuggle weapon plans and designs. Chuck would exit the theater after the flash to go fix the hard drives.

The next scenes are one of my favorite of the series. They show Ellie, Morgan and Devon talking with Chuck about his potential promotion at the Buymore, and over at Casey’s apartment about his spy career. I have often said I don’t like Ellie much and in this episode was one of the reasons.

You will learn that I favor Sarah’s approach in dealing with the psychic of Chuck compared to Ellie. Chuck is an emotional guy and the attacks Ellie did often would close him off more. Sarah’s approach was more of an encouraging perspective.

Ellie was excited for Chuck when she heard the news that her brother applied for the Assistant Manager’s job. However, Chuck’s lack of enthusiasm for the promotion gave Ellie a chance to tee off on his lack of moving on with his life. She went as far as said he has been finding himself for the last few years, and his place is not at the Buymore.

A Ellie Lecture Casey and Sarah talking about his real career

However, you don’t get the same message from his spy team, well at least from Sarah. Casey would suggest to Beckman that they bring the Intersect to the auction. Everything about the baddie was in the computer.

Sarah defending Chuck’s lack of training voiced her concern of him being in the field. It showed that she cared for Chuck’s well being. It wouldn’t work because Casey said he would be fine. It’s only an Art Auction. GB agreed with Casey.

Meanwhile back at Chuck’s apartment Ellie and crew were still ranking on Chuck. It drove him enough to go to sleep. When Chuck came to his room. He found Casey waiting at his window. Casey: “Congratulations, you just got your first mission tomorrow night.: Hope your ready for the real world.”

Devon also elluded to something in this scene that is worth mentioning. He said, “He needs something to challenge him.” Little do they know the spy world would be the very thing that would.

We should also take a look at a expression Sarah made once Beckman said bring the Intersect on the mission. I believe Sarah didn’t want Chuck to become a spy.

Spoiler alert, I made mention in other articles and discussions that Sarah’s demeanor in Season 3 would be the very reason behind this screencap.

A early sign that Sarah doesn't want Chuck in the spy world
Sarah not thrilled with the idea Chuck would be working as a spy.

It would be an early indication of things to come. I believe she never wanted Chuck to be a spy. She wanted the image of him as a normal guy to stay true. Thus, the idea that he was going to be on a mission with her was not an easy thing to take.

Casey informing Chuck of his first mission Chuck learning he has a mission

After the first opening credit, Chuck was asking Casey a series of questions about what to wear and how to perform. Casey said relax and they rented him a tux. Chuck was getting excited.

He would ask Casey if there was a tutorial he could show him just in case he would need to throw down, but Casey quickly squashed that theory, by saying nothing was going to happen to him, but sarcastically said “Assuming you know how to tango.” it is quite enduring on how smart Chuck is to not know what Casey meant, but its what makes Chuck so great.

We then get one of three special Charah moments in this episode. The first after Chuck’s conversation with Casey. Sarah showed up at the store. He was ready to tell her that he had computers to fix, but Jeffster and Anna said they would take care of it.

it opened the door for Sarah to fill Chuck in on the mission. The scene would also be the birth of Charles Carmichael.  IT would also be Sarah’s second body contact of the episode. This time with feeling behind it.

Carmichael introduction

Charles Carmichael You did this before

Sarah learning about Chuck's past with Bryce
Sarah listening about what went down at Stanford
Hand touching number two
If the first hand touching was an admiration than this one must of meant something else. No?

The physical contact from Sarah’s end won’t stop here. She will go for it again later in the episode.

At the apartment, Chuck seeked advice from his sister about how to tango. Ellie didn’t know, but Devon did. In one of they classic Chuck scenes of the entire series. Devon taught Chuck how to dance the tango.

What stands out in this scene is Ellie. Sarah Lancaster seemed to struggle with not smiling and giggling in watching the two dance. While Chuck was learning to tango, the spy team was getting ready for the mission. Yvonne Strahovski really knows how to fill out a red dress.

Operation Bartowski arrived at the auction in style. They came in a limo. Chuck was nervous about the mission, and kept freaking out in the car. Casey and Sarah would calm him down by using “Spy humor.”  They would also give him his first GPS watch.

The Spy Watch

Casey telling Chuck about tango Is that a code Spy humor Sarah trying to calm Chuck before the mission

They head inside and while walking up the stairs Chuck spilled some sauce on to his shirt,  he would complain saying he was a spy for all of 5 minutes and he got soy sauce on his shirt. Sarah quickly told him to go wash it off and to stop saying he’s a spy.

While washing off the stain, a man stood beside him. The man caused Chuck to flash, which made Chuck believe he was La Ciudad. Chuck ran out of the bathroom and told Sarah who he flashed on in the bathroom.

is that La Cuidad It is it is Chuck telling Sarah he found La Cuidad

Sarah and Chuck entered the ballroom, and Sarah told Chuck to wait at the bar. Chuck not used to be ordered around snickered a bit at the order. When he gets to the bar, Casey posed as a bartender.

As Chuck and Casey are chitchatting, when Allen Watterman recognized Bartowski, and almost blew Chuck’s cover, but Chuck played it cool. Chuck was monitoring what was going on with Sarah and “La Ciudad.” Like Big Mike, Watterman put his two cents in for what it was worth to help Chuck with his future. Allen offered Chuck a business card, but the Intersect did its thing.

Chuck has yet to learn how to control the flashes because he kept saying what he flashed. Watterman was a Ponzi scheme artist.  As Chuck was finishing up with Watterman, La Ciudad took out a gun and directed Sarah out of the room. It  caused Casey to hop the bar and go after them. Casey told Chuck to stay at the bar.

La Cuidad directing Sarah out of the room'

They got Sarah

Casey making chase

Meanwhile, Jeffster, Morgan and Anna were talking about Chuck and Sarah. They were saying there was no way someone like Chuck could be with Sarah. it caused Morgan to go in defensive mode for his best friend.

Morgan trying to rally the troops
Morgan about to be a trapped Morgan.
Morgan stuck in the cage
Morgan has problems

The most common misdirection television shows like to do is make you think they revealed the baddie of the show. The man that Chuck flashed on made it seem like that he was the guy. However, he was not. Everyone was looking for a man, but La Ciudad was actually a woman. Lorena Bernal played La Ciudad.

I have to say La Cuidad was a very nice looking baddie. I think she was the best of the female guest stars. Only Ilsa came close.

Chuck would step away from the bar and sweep the room. He wold notice the painting and walk towards it. As he got closer, he flashed on the frame. The baddies were shipping the intel in the frame. As Chuck stood in front of the painting, La Ciudad made her presence felt.

The real La CiudadAs Chuck was interacting with Malena. Sarah was being questioned by the man with the gun. Casey was able to track them to the roof. Sarah saw him through the crack of the door.

Chuck was telling Malena how he thought the painting was very Bobby Ross. One of Chuck’s strongest qualities is his innocences. The very innocences that makes women attracted to him. Malena’s smile makes you think that Chuck could have anyone he wanted.

Chuck said he was interested in the frame, which drew the attention of Malena. As they continue to talk, tango music started to play in the ballroom. Malena said she loved to tango. Chuck would say “Who, doesn’t” Malena asked Bartowski if he would like to dance. He said, yes of course.

Chuck tangoing with La Cuidad
Apparently, Devon taught Chuck the female portion of the dance.

Malena would point out to Carmichael that his hand should be on her waist,but the very noble Chuck would tell her that he learned the female version of the tango. furthermore, would she care to lead. She didn’t mind.

Casey making the save Sarah with her weapon drawn

The scar of La Ciudad
Chuck flashes on the scar

While Casey and Sarah were on the roof with weapons draw. Chuck was dancing with the real La Ciudad.  It would turn out that the man with the gun was a agent from MI6, who also was trailing La Ciudad.

After Chuck flashed on the scar on Malena’s neck. He realized how dangerous this woman was.

Meanwhile back at the Buymore, Morgan called the hotel.  He wanted Chuck to come to the store, and get him out of the cage.

Morgan calling for Chuck's help Morgan had a woman from the hotel look for Chuck. When the lady found Chuck. She would tell Chuck this his friend on the phone was looking for him. She would ask are you Chuck bartowski. This would make Malena suspicious and call her men over. Malena would force  Chuck to go up to her room to find out who he really was.

Chuck put on the spot

Malena SuspicousChuck in troubleAs Malena and her crew  were taking Chuck up to her hotel room. Sarah and Casey ran back to the ballroom to look for Chuck. Chuck was not in the room. Casey and Sarah tracked Chuck by tracing his watch that Sarah gave him earlier.

Sarah looking for ChuckChuck was tied to a chair, and Malena started to question him. She was very keen on her threat when she describe what she would do to him if he didn’t answer the questions honestly.

She asked what was Chuck’s real name. He would say his name was Charles Carmichael. Malena proceeded to throw a knife at his crotch. Instantly, Chuck said Charles Bartowski.

She advised him that the next question would be a very painful death if he did not tell her the truth. The first option was an old favorite, pull his tooth– too noisey. The second option would be cut of his toe–too messy. The third option would be to chuck him off the balcony—very painful death–not a good way to go. So here was her question.

Malena: Who do you work for?

Nice shot MalenaMalena getting cosyChuck is one lucky guy.

Chuck would tell the truth, he worked for no one, but Malena didn’t believe him, so she signaled her guys to throw him off the balcony. Chuck’s quick thinking made him come up with a way to stop with them. He would say that he came to the auction under a fake name to impress a girl. He fixes computers for a living, and that the painting was a fake.

Malena would ask him about the fake painting, he would tell her that the frame looked different from  the one in the newspaper, and he had no intention of buying it. She believe him, since he saw her she would have to kill him. As Malena was putting on a suppressor on her gun. Casey and Sarah made it to the room.

Hold on to your pants cause this is when the shooting starts.

As Malena was ready to shoot Chuck, Sarah and Casey attack the henchmen at the door. It would cause Malena and crew to open fire on the door. Great realism here. Most shows forget that bullets would go through walls. Especially with the fire power they had in the room.

Malena getting ready to shoot Chuck

Sarah concerned about Chuck

Malena made her escape, she drop a floor down and ran through Allen Watterman’s room. Casey and Sarah were able to get into the room to make the save. As  I mentioned at the top, Sarah made her third body contact in this scene.

Third Body contact from SarahChuck survived his first mission for the time being. As Casey said, he should be happy he was still alive. Meanwhile, Malena said she had to take out Chuck before leaving the country.

At the apartment, Chuck walked in and woke up Ellie, who was sleeping on the couch. She asked him did he tango. He said he did, but he didn’t know how much longer he was going to be seeing her. Ellie wanted to know what happen, but Chuck was adhesive with his answers. Ellie getting frustrated here annoyed me because Chuck does not need to explain every detail, and when he elected not to she didn’t need to get all prissy. Sorry for the Ellie rant.

Ellie would cry  if he didn’t want to talk to her, then maybe he should talk to Morgan, who called 75 times. He said he was locked in some cage or whatever that means.

Chuck talking with Ellie and Awesome

Chuck saved Morgan

Chuck went to the Buymore to rescue Morgan and to fix the rest of the computers before Big Mike came in the morning. We also have one of the series best songs played in this scene. Band of Horses’s General Specific played on the radio.

In the Morning, Big Mike came to the back asking Chuck if he finished, Chuck said yes. Big Mike was impressed because the mission he gave Chuck was an incentive, and didn’t think he could do it. Harry Tang would soon show up with empty beer cans in his hands reporting it to Big Mike, but Mike didn’t mind.

Big Mike Impressed

First rule of managment always take credit
First rule of Big Mike Managment Always take Credit.

Harry the Rat

After working on an all nighter between the mission and working on the computers. Chuck was half dead. Casey would say good morning Bartowski, and complimented him on the work he did on the mission. Chuck would ask Casey to stop being facetious. Chuck said he let Malena get away.

Casey told him they were able to get a photo of her and a blood sample, which was good. He would also say they have men waiting for her when she arrived.  He would then say Chuck looked good now that was being facetious.

Casey and Chuck talking abou the mission

He worked what would be called the hole. When he saw Malena henchmen entered the store. He dropped below the desk before they could see him.

Harry would ask Chuck if he was hiding from work again. What Harry would say next was pretty funny. Chuck would tell Harry to go away. Harry would respond, ” In your dreams Chuck, All your going to see, when you sleep is Tang in your face.”

Malena Henchmen Chuck hiding from them Casey Spotted them

Harry TangAll your going to see is Tang in your face

As Casey was in pursuit of the henchmen, Sarah saw Malena headed in her direction. She knew it was her from the scar on her neck. A very nice set of action scenes come into play. Sarah goes one on one with Malena, and Casey took on the two baddies in the store. Gotan Project’s Santa Maria would play during this scene.

Sarah climb to the roof of the Wienerlicious to find Malena getting ready to use a sniper rifle.

Sarah sees Malena

Casey took out the first baddie in a freezer.

Baddie no 1 taken care of Sarah taking on Malena on the roof

Sarah got kicked in the face

Chuck made way for the back of the store, but the second henchmen followed him back there. Casey took him out with a very nice move. He threw a microwave at the big fella.

Henchmen found Chuck

You will see this baddie again
This won’t be the last time you will see this baddie. Chuck veterans know who this guy is
Nice Shot Casey
Casey took him out by throwing a Microwave.

The ladies continue to brawl and ultimately Sarah gets the better of Malena. It was a nice fight scene between the ladies, and again I thought Lorena was a very nice looking baddie.

At the apartment, Ellie and Chuck have one of many brother sister conversations. Ellie wanted to know if Chuck liked Sarah, but Chuck being Chuck said she wasn’t in to him. Ellie would mark the first character to say to Chuck this:

Ellie: Trust me, I’v seen the way that girl looks at you, she is into you.

I like this Ellie not the judgmental over the top big sister. It was a nice conversation between the two that ended in a hug. Oh, and she was able to get out of Chuck that he liked Sarah.

The doorbell rang and waiting outside was Morgan and Sarah. Morgan asked Chuck what she was doing here. It was a brief comical scene.

The song Slow Show by The National was the song playing during the final scene of this episode.

I really love the ending of this episode, and I have talked about the significance of the fountain scene in other articles.  Sarah was giving Chuck a chance to kiss her, but instead of writing about I figured I let you watch the scene to close out this week’s episode.

Next week will mark the fourth week of our rewatch, Imagine that we are done with the first disc of season one. Time moves fast when your having fun. Remember to watch the episode, then read, and finally ⇓ discuss Chuck vs The Tango ⇓.

Next Episode is Chuck vs The Wookie.








  1. This was actually the first episode of Chuck I ever saw….still one of my favorites from Season 1.

    An interesting thing I noticed ( since we talk bout Chuck being a bit of a nerd around women ) is the tone deafness of Captain Awesome when he’s talking about knowing the tango and ( in front of Ellie) speaks of how it helped him get all the women in Buenos Aires !! Just shows that it’s a bit of a guy thing, rather than a Chuck thing exclusively !

    • Chuck’s issues with women date back to the opening scene, as he is standing around a group of women. All of Ellie’s Doctor friends who she picked out would like Chuck, but they are scared off because of the nerd. There will be one woman who was attracted to the nerd and stayed around and that would be Sarah.

      Sarah fell for the nerd, and Chuck fell for the agent. As we piece the characters personalities we can see its the very reason Chuck missed Sarah’s normal girl signals like in this episode the three times she touches him and the two times seeking a kiss from him. Cover or not there as a genuine interest in being intimate,

      spoiler alert,

      Its funny how you mention Buenos Aires, I just finish watching Chuck vs the First Date and Devon made reference to Amsterdam and Chuck goofy grin was more focused on the sights and rivers than what Devon really meant. As smart as he is with gadgets and gidgets Chuck the ultimate nerd is clueless to real life situations. Ironically, So is Sarah. its why they mix well so well.

  2. Great episode. I think it is the one that really starts the building block of a Chuck / Sarah relationship! He admits he likes her and Elle tells him that Sarah is very interested. And the following words:

    “you know……………and so do I”

    “You know if we were really dating this would be the part where I would be forced to kiss you goodnight….
    ……forced…would it be so bad…..
    I am sure I could suffer through it……….
    ……….me to (with that I am really starting to like being with you look, that is worth about a million heart thumps, sorry I am getting off track)

    And Chuck ends the scene with that OMG look on his face. Me… really!

    Hey, at this point in time (1st watch), I am really getting into this show!

    • One the things about Chuck vs Tango I enjoy is the fact we get to see how Sarah really enjoys being with Chuck. Her movements and giddiness makes you reveal as Morgan said “He is so in.”

      What we will see from here on out is the struggle between the Nerd and the Agent. The Nerd doesn’t think the Agent would fall for him and The Agent claiming that everything is for the cover but her actions say other things.

      We see the willingness to hold his hand and caress his head, and to further illustrate her desire for intimacy be seeking a Kiss twice in this episode.

      We will see an Agent next week, who operates very different then Sarah and that agent most likely wouldn’t be seeking a kiss rather protecting him and being a true handler by what it’s definition is suppose to be.

  3. This is the first episode in my opinion where we really start see that sarah is really starting to fall for chuck especially with the courtyard scene at the end and that is when i really fell in love with the cuck and sarah relationship.

  4. Going through some of the articles for the first time. Everyone is right, the relationship is starting to change between Chuck and Sarah. In a later episode, Lou brought Chuck a Sandwich that she name after him. It was an indicator that she liked him, this was a personal gift. Now look at the scene where Sarah runs into La Ciudad in the parking lot. Notice that Sarah is bringing a sandwich bag and drink to the Buy More. This is for Chuck, Sarah is bringing that same indicator to Chuck that she likes him. At the end she is telling Chuck she wants a kiss for real, but knows she can’t do it with Casey watching. It’s not love yet, but Sarah is “into him”, as Ellie said. By the way, Ellie’s role is big sister. A lot of what you don’t like about her is due to how older sibling are to the younger, especially if they raise them.

    So much of the relationship is blunted by Chuck always being monitored, but there were places they could go that would be out of the watchful eyes of Casey or monitors. Of course, that would detract from the story.

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