A few weeks ago, I talked about releasing a new series called The Arcs of Chuck. and as Chuckaholic’s reaches Chuck vs The Sandworm in our rewatch. We will begin our study of arcs within the series.
This series will be focus on Team Bartowski, and how each character changed after the arc was finished. First, we need to understand the concept of what is an arc.
A story arc is defined as
In Season One, the first arc would be the following episodes.
Chuck vs The Ala Mater through the arc subsequently includes The Truth and Hard Salami, but we know Bryce’s returns at the end of Hard Salami.
The arc was about establishing Sarah’s feelings for Chuck and Chuck to confront his past both with his former Alma Mater and Bryce Larkin. A revelation that will change the both of them for the long haul.
we shall begin with Chuck and Bryce,
Chuck Vs The Ala Mater
We still didn’t understand the backstory from the days in Stanford. Why did Bryce place copies of the midterm exam under Chuck’s bed. Chuck will learn Bryce’s intentions. Chuck wasn’t the only one who would learn, Sarah would too.
Both Chuck and Sarah believed Bryce was a bad man. He went rogue and was disruptive in both of their lives. Chuck thought the man set him up as cheater and stole his girlfriend.
Sarah thought Bryce turned on the CIA, and it was an abrupt ending to their relationship. She also had to work with the man who killed her boyfriend. John Casey’s issue would be to keep the team together while his grudge with Bryce would disappear as well.
In Alma Mater, Chuck and Bryce were not enemies. In fact, they seem to be very good friends. They playing a game of shooting darts, and they are enjoying each other’s time together.
However, that will all change when Professor Fleming said, a student reported that Chuck had copies of the midterm exam. This was news to Chuck, and asked who the student was. When Fleming said, Bryce. Chuck felt betrayed by someone he thought was his friend.
It made it even more difficult when Chuck asked him why he did it, and Bryce said. “You did it to yourself.”
Bryce was cold about his betrayal, and it left the first scar on Chuck’s confidence. The next would be Bryce taking Jill from him as well, I won’t reveal too much into the Jill situation because it’s not the focus of this arc, while Jill was apart of it. Chuck was more interested in why Bryce framed him and sent him the intersect in this arc.
Chuck would then find a disc that had information on it. Apparently, the CIA had Charles Bartowski as a potential recruit.
As you can see Bryce was recruited in 2002. Chuck was set for recruitment in 2003. While all this happen in Stanford. Bryce sending the Intersect to Chuck never was supposed to bring Sarah into Chuck’s life, but she did.
While Sarah had an idea about Chuck’s past, in Alma Mater she would take the trip to Chuck and Bryce’s old stomping grounds. It was an interesting opportunity for Sarah to learn about their history and get a better understanding of the two men.
When Chuck came back to Stanford, his heart was in his throat, and understandably. When a person has been wronged. It is hard to return to the place where the crime happened.
Bryce’s impact has affected all three members. Bryce framed Chuck. Bryce turned on the government, which affected Casey and Sarah. Most of the time Casey doesn’t care about Chuck’s past.
He said once, “You mistaken I care about your life before the Intersect.” However, here Casey doesn’t look like someone that doesn’t care.
We fast forward to the end, Chuck was able to figure out that he was on path to be recruited into the CIA, but what he didn’t expect was what Bryce did.
If you watch the scene carefully, pay attention to Sarah. As Fleming listed all of Chuck strong points, she keeps looking at Chuck.
Take a look at the frames, This is the start of Sarah’s change. Revelation is a powerful tool. The truth was Sarah was not totally over Bryce, but also realizes that the two men she cared deeply about were both supposed to be CIA agents. Bryce was a hero in Stanford.
Now the Start of Chuck’s change,
Chuck’s hatred for Bryce diminished a bit with this revelation, and with him “dead” Chuck couldn’t talk to him, but that would change because Bryce would return.
For Sarah, her revelation would be Bryce’s intentions were of a noble cause. He went against the agency, which really would of been interesting if we learned what cause Bryce to allow Fulcrum to recruit him, but the good in Bryce question the motives of Fulcrum.
While Bryce wasn’t a mainstay on the show, he went through a change as well. He was tortured and manipulated by Fulcrum, so they can get their hands on the Intersect, and as Chuck and Sarah are watching the video, they begin to ponder if there were reasons why Bryce broke into the intersect room and in sending the Intersect to Chuck.
The beauty of an arc is to demonstrate change, but first the hook comes about. When the packaged revealed to be Bryce Larkin. Sarah and Casey are flabbergasted. How can this be possible? Casey shot the man laying the box, and he is breathing.
Sarah’s mind was like a Daytona 500. Revelation was capable of doing such things. Especially an unexplained one. There are so many questions, and when one is answered another comes about.
The problem now of course was they needed to tell Chuck. How does Sarah and Casey approach this? There really was no easy way, but Bryce asked for Chuck, which is also amazing in itself.
Sarah is standing outside. His former girlfriend, and he asked for Chuck. I understand he didn’t know that, but if Bryce’s feelings were true wouldn’t he had called for Sarah?
A lot of people can look at that in two ways. Chuck was his only friend and further Chuck was the only one he trusted. Where does that leave Sarah then?
Sarah went to find Chuck, and while Sarah and Casey dealt with the revelation first. Sarah compromised her assassignment by doing this. Thus, Chuck had been trying to reach Sarah.
Revelation in the kiss was something that transpired in Chuck and Sarah’s relationship, but with Bryce’s return. The kiss was sent to the back burner of importances.
Chuck was excited when he saw Sarah, but she was hurting. She was visibly shaken and Chuck didn’t notice it. He was focused on trying to talk to Sarah about the kiss, and he didn’t wait to dive right in, but what was excitement would instantly become one of astonishment.
Chuck’s life was effected the most with the news of Bryce being alive. A longer history between the two. Stanford, stealing his girlfriend, and finally sending him the Intersect. So, Chuck had the most to ask.
Casey and Sarah asked Chuck to go in and talk with Bryce. They wanted him to find out what happen to Bryce. A change is required here. Chuck to swallow his pride and do the country a service. Sarah uses the words be a friend, but would she be strong enough to ask the questions herself. Casey was the only one of the three that could because his involvement in the arc is not a tremendous change like it was for Bryce, Sarah and Chuck.
Casey killed Bryce, and evident showed he was willing to do it again. Casey’s hatred for Bryce was fueled by the distrust Casey had for Bryce. He didn’t want to asked the questions because he was stuck on the intel he already had on Bryce. He was a traitor.
It’s why Casey responded with no remorse at Chuck’s apartment.
Chuck: Um, what-what do you think bryce meant when he said, “casey, care to Care to try again? ” ’cause call me crazy, but i got the weirdest feeling like it was you who killed him.
Casey: Good guess.
Chuck: Are you ser Does sarah know about that?
Casey: It’s in my report.
Chuck: Why would you Do that? Why did you kill bryce?
Casey: Orders. Your old nemesis is a very dangerous human being, Chuck. You get a chance to shoot bryce larkin, you shoot to kill.
Casey telling Chuck he shot Bryce completes the pilot in my view. Chuck didn’t know that tibet, thus everyone knows the facts about Bryce’s breach of the CIA. We also have to realize Casey didn’t see Fleming’s recording with Bryce. So, Casey is in the dark regarding Bryce’s true intentions.
Chuck standing outside of the holding cell of Bryce, Chuck’s mind was working. and we get one of those conversations Chuck will have with his handlers that create tension amongst the group.
They knew the history, but Bryce asked for him. It was a losing situation for everyone one involved. It is usually the case for bombs like Bryce’s return.
Chuck: Wait, You want me to go in there and ask him what exactly? Just so we’re on the same page. “hey, bryce, “why did you send me the intersect? Why did you choose my life to ruin? ” how exactly do i start that conversation?
What I find important about this scene would be the nature of Chuck. He needed to face Bryce eventually, and he needed to overcome the second obstacle from his past. He did go inside, but he still needed to proceeded with caution because Bryce was still believe to be rogue.
Bryce Larkin: Who are you?
Chuck Bartowski: Hey, buddy, it’s me, Chuck.
Bryce Larkin: [Bryce looks at him] I don’t believe you. What have you done with the real Chuck?
Chuck Bartowski: I’d like to come out now, please.
John Casey: [sarcastically to Sarah] Real born interrogator.
Chuck Bartowski: Great. Well, unless we’re in the twilight zone, and I’m some kind of clone, the answer to your question is, ‘yes’ I am the real Chuck.
Bryce Larkin: Prove it.
[says something in Klingon]
Chuck Bartowski: Come on they’re people watching.
Bryce Larkin: Do it.
[Chuck responds in Klingon]
John Casey: What the hell?
Bryce Larkin: Your Klingon’s a bit rusty.
Chuck Bartowski: Yeah, I’ve been kinda busy ever since I got your e-mail.
Bryce Larkin: Did you open it?
Chuck Bartowski: Yeah.
Bryce Larkin: Your computer?
Chuck Bartowski: Destroyed.
Bryce Larkin: So your the only one?
Chuck Bartowski: I don’t get it Bryce, why did you do it? Why did you send it to me? Why did you blow up the computer? And, last but not least, how the hell are you still alive?
While Chuck and Bryce are talking in the room, Sarah is watching from outside. Doesn’t She have a stake in this reunion. Sarah didn’t just have professional questions. She had a personal connection to both men in the room before her.
The only reason that makes sense to me why Bryce would call for Chuck rather then Sarah would be her links to the CIA and Bryce was not prepared to deal with that at the moment. Bryce was still trying to escape the clutches of Fulcrum.
Bryce was trying to reconnect with the agency he went against, and once Sarah came into the picture. Bryce was also trying to reconnect with her.
A lot was going on between Bryce, Sarah and Chuck, and we haven’t even included Charah’s part in the arc. As far as Casey goes his role in the arc was learning the history between the three of them. I will get back to Bryce/Chuck in minute because its time to bring Sarah and Chuck’s relationship into this article.
Chuck and Sarah’s Revelation
The funny thing about truth is we talk about each side’s perspective when it comes to their cover relationship. Whether they believed they had a real relationship or not is not the issue in this arc.
We also know Chuck has true feelings in this relationship. He is falling for her just as much as she is for him., but at this point we haven’t seen anything from Sarah’s position. Everything was a cover. From Chuck’s point of view. The fake photo and fake sleep over all were cover related.
However, it has been mentioned many times on this site that Sarah needed a spark to drive the emotions out of her. Carina said in Wookie, she enjoying taking from Sarah, what Sarah wanted, and could there be anyone better than Carina to know what Sarah wanted.
Sarah didn’t know her cover will end up to be needed for her own feelings. not until this woman came into the picture.
I had mentioned in Chuck vs Sandworm about the fake gift It could be said, the way Lou came into the picture was how Sarah walked into Chuck’s life. The difference was Lou didn’t have interior motive in meeting Chuck.
Lou was not an agent trying to pry into Chuck’s life, and Chuck was very excited about that. For three months now, he has had a woman in his life, but everything was based on covers and lies. So when Lou showed legitimate interest, it made Chuck curious.
The gift that Lou gave Chuck was a sandwich. It was very simple much like the photo, but there was no fake trip to Comic Con. There was no bug in the back. This was a gift giving to him with genuine feelings behind it. Enter Sarah, I mentioned Sarah needed a spark if you will.
Sarah’s life has always been of not needing to work hard on missions. Yeah, she faced danger and threats of death stared her face, but Bryce stayed with her until he was recruited by Fulcrum, and there really was no closure to that relationship, but the truth is Sarah never had a challenge in her personal life.
Lou provided that challenge. She had stole Chuck from her, and normally it wouldn’t have been an issue if there were no real feelings involved. Take a look at Sarah’s reaction to the gift.
The smile was fake, she was acting nice, but you can see she wonder why this woman has Chuck’s attention.
Back to the gift, Sarah looked down and noticed the gift, and watch her expression.
Its very similar to that of Sandworm.
The difference here my friends was Sarah’s gift was a fake, and Chuck treated it as such.
What Chuck did with the picture was usually what someone would do with a gift that turned out to be phony, and its the driving factor into this expression from Sarah.
This was the first spark not the spark that would ignite the fuse. What really started to change her feelings was the ending of the truth. After all they went through, near death, Chuck asking a question that seemed logical to ask at the time.
Chuck did the right thing and broke off the fake relationship. It was becoming a burden. The flirting and uncompromising outfits like she wore during sleepover mission. It all was beginning to add up, and here is Lou who wants Chuck for him.
Sarah has a problem of her own. Sarah was the one compromised now.
Chuck: We need to break up.
Chuck:You know, you know, like, fake-fake break up our pretend relationship. I just can’t do this anymore, you know? The longer we go, the longer we keep trying to fool people into believing that we’re a real couple The person I keep fooling the most is me.
The revelation that one has real feelings for someone can come at any moment, and once those feelings come to the surface. Streaks begin to pop up, you never knew you had. For example, When Sarah showed up at the Buymore fighting for her man.
If Sarah didn’t understand how being a normal woman worked, she did a good job when showing Chuck just how much the break up was not working for her.
This was not Agent Sarah here, Sarah was reacting to a woman that felt like what a person who was dumped felt like. It was a shock to the system, and she felt it. It was the act of breaking up that forced out the real girlfriend, and Sarah, who at times withheld her feelings had cracked.
These emotions will spill over into an unlikely place her place of work. where she controlled her feelings the most. When it came time for a briefing and a mission.
We learned early on Sarah was never going to compromise missions until her personal life got involved. It was something Chuck normally did, but Sarah allowed her emotions get the better of her. Revelation of one’s own feelings on the matter makes decisions like interfering with Chuck’s date so glaring.
and then we get a classic moment,
When Sarah did this impulsive act, she was a build up and direct reaction to not being used to one’s own feelings. She leap into Chuck’s arms. She Initiated the first kiss, and it was something she did on purpose.
However, that will all change when this was revealed to be in the package.
She acted on her emotions and showed Chuck feelings she didn’t even know she had, but things have gotten complicated with the addition of Bryce.
Bryce, Chuck and Sarah
Now we continue with the Bryce situation, In Nemesis, Bryce was able to get himself free, and used Chuck as a shield, and long behold it forced Sarah to reveal herself to Bryce.
Sarah now has a major problem. She has begun feeling real emotions towards Chuck, but with Bryce alive Sarah has begun to be conflicted with these two men. She torn between the two, and establishing Sarah’s feelings for Bartowski became a huge test in her development, and would begin at Thanksgiving when Bryce kissed her.
Chuck had no choice now, he must confront the person he hated the most. Bryce was not dead, and he was in town.
First, Sarah and Chuck talked about Bryce, and Sarah insisted that she had an assassignment to do, and Bryce would be someone else’s mission, and Chuck still wanted to know if she would come for Thanksgiving, but Sarah was hesitant at first, but with Ellie showing up, she said yes.
When Chuck went to get Marshmallows, Bryce made his appearance. Bryce came off a bit arrogant at first, seemed to intentionally ignore Chuck’s questions, and further complicate things when Bryce said he needed to talk with Sarah.
All the progress Chuck made in lessing his hatred for Bryce was ramped back up with Bryce in the flesh. Chuck would go back into the apartment, and tell Sarah where Bryce was.
Chuck was not the only one who would have to face his past. Sarah had to deal with her own issues when came to Bryce. The problem was Sarah didn’t hate Bryce. In fact, the very presence of him rekindled some old feelings she had for him.
I will save my opinion of the scene for the rewatch article because I have a lot to say on the issue, and its irrelevant for this particular article.
Much like Chuck had outside, Sarah was struggling with seeing Bryce alive again, and when you don’t have proper closure old feelings begin to burn like yesterday’s fires, and she succumbs to Bryce’s advances.
All those emotions about Bryce would resurface. Chuck was watching Bryce steal another woman from him, and still questions about Stanford and the Intersect were unanswered.
Bryce would explain to Chuck that the man they bumped into in the elevator was Fulcrum. They were looking for the Intersect, they were looking for Chuck., and that would be the only details for now.
It came time for Bryce to explain himself, and would tell Sarah and Chuck he was not rogue and continued to fill in on the missing pieces to the story. Now I don’t want to ruin the rest of the episode because I want to save it for the rewatch article.
Except I will add the video about the final scene of Chuck vs The Nemesis, and it really explains Sarah’s anger and torture in Crown Vic.
If you noticed once Casey heard from Bryce he wasn’t rogue and the truth about Bryce’s mission. Casey cooled on wanting to kill him again. It came full circle.
Bryce telling Chuck that he had only one friend in the store, and Sarah knowing her former partner was not a traitor seemed to reunite the team a bit. The reality was Chuck would always consider Bryce a threat no matter what. Everyone has a personal rival, and its good because it brings out the best in the character.
The Bryce portion of the arc was over, and for Chuck he confronted Stanford and Bryce. He learned about the past and while their were still questions. Chuck would have to wait because Bryce was headed out to stop Fulcrum.
Sarah’s Struggles in Crown Vic
Chuck vs The Crown Vic would mark the end of the first Arc. While we saw some change in Chuck. We still had to fully establish her feelings for Chuck.
She did so when she elected to stay in Burbank rather than leave with Bryce. It was a metaphor of sorts. Bryce calling on the old phone and Chuck calling on the new phone was well done by creative of the series.
While we can see Sarah still hurting about Bryce being alive, She followed her heart, and stayed with Chuck. However, Chuck wouldn’t make it easier for Sarah to get adjusted with her decision because he kept asking her about their cover and what it meant for them.
Again the emotions between the two would carry over into the mission, which would cause Chuck and Sarah to have a major blow up and my favorite Chuck man up moment.
Since Bryce’s reemergence, they haven’t talked about the kiss, and when it came down to talking about it. Sarah was in full fledge agent mode. Thus, she gave her patent agent response, but it still was something worth talking about, and Chuck put her on the spot.
We fast forward to the end of the episode, and when everything was squared, Chuck and Sarah made their peace. They admitted they both are bad at relationships, and when Chuck put himself down, Sarah was there to reassure him, and they have a special bonding moment.
for the first time since the beginning of Chuck vs The Truth, Sarah and Chuck are communicating. They are smiling at each other and even shook hands. Bygones be bygones, and really set Sarah’s feelings for Chuck towards real ones.
So, let;s go over the changes.
Chuck found out the truth about Bryce’s reasons for setting him up for cheating and sending him the Intersect. He came out of the arc with a better understanding of what happened at Stanford. Revelation worked out for Bartowski in a sense.
Sarah’s feelings for Chuck became real. She discovered she had a jealousy and impulsive streak all fueled from her revelation of her own feelings for Chuck, and by staying in Burbank proved she was comfortable with her new situation.
Casey also made a change. He no longer had hatred for Bryce as a traitor to the country. Bryce’s change came when he realized Fulcrum was not all they said they were, and worked to regain the good graces of the CIA, which was able to accomplish.
I hope you liked the first arc article. The next one will be a multi season one which will start with Chuck vs The Marlin and run through The Break up of season two.