gallery Chemistry Can Blind Us: Communication Breakdowns and Missed Signals

Chapter One

Last time we deconstructed Chuck and Sarah’s relationship, we talked about the formation of the relationship.  We laid the foundation and now we focus on building the walls and believe me we have some juicy stuff in this article.

There is so much information one article won’t be enough because the article will become like scroll paper with it’s length. Thus, we will break it down by installments.

The approach one must take in order to enjoy this discussion comes from taking Chuck and Sarah out of their fictional worlds and taking the context of their relationship and see how long a relationship could last with so much baggage surrounding it.

Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski made it rather difficult to root against them so anything they did would only make us love them more. Especially seeing how they are off camera. When we see them smiling and carrying on a beach or their interactions on Picking Favorites.

The possibility of them dating in real life doesn’t help either. Although, the whole Chuck universe knew someday the lightbulb would turn on. No matter how talented a duo can be with chemistry. there needs to be feelings and trust when performing. The best example of that would be Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler. Drew and Adam have done three movies together and they all are great to watch especially Blended.

USA Rights Only-Berlin, Germany - 5/19/2014 - World Premiere of Blended at the Cinestar  -PICTURED: Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler -PHOTO by: James Coldrey/Action Press/ -APGv_148042 Editorial - Rights Managed Image - Please contact for licensing fee Startraks Photo New York, NY For licensing please call 212-414-9464 or email


3386_320The relationship between Zachary and Yvonne made it seem like we were watching reality television at times, and further their relationship one weekend in Utah. Yvonne is willing to pause filming just to be with Zac at Nerd HQ, tumblr_nr8v5iJq431qmyz1so4_1280 yvonne-strahovski-nerd-hq-panel-at-comic-con-2014-in-san-diego_1

It’s moments like these which make people love Chuck and Sarah that much. It’s not like any other on screen relationships  when the camera are off. Eventually fans see right through them and they lose their lusters.

Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski’s on screen chemistry always makes people wonder if they have hidden feelings waiting to surface. The ability to generate intense moments like “save you later” scene, comes from comfortability with each other. When you work that many scenes together there needs to be a bond between the performers,  trust in delivering their lines even if they do make mistakes.  Chuck113-01023 Chuck113-01024They know they are pretending, but it’s hard to believe when such raw emotion can be harnessed without real feelings behind them. Is it wrong to guess their friendship does have real feelings behind it? They make it harder now to believe they are just really close friends.

While Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski have closeness off camera, Chuck and Sarah’s chemistry in working and cover dating comes with a lot of miss opportunity and communication breakdowns.

There were many times  where the writers could’ve gave Chuck and Sarah a voice and explain themselves at the precise moment when the miscues take place, but then what would they do with the remaining episode they had left on the docket.

The Writer’s strike of 2007 caused some series to cancel remaining episodes of their respective seasons, and Chuck was one of those series. Thus, Season Two began with a vastly different Sarah Walker and Chuck Bartowski. A year together change their relationship.

Chuck113-01199Chuck and Sarah are looking inside the Bartowski/Woodcomb apartment and watched Devon pop the question. Chuck excited for his sister invited Sarah in to join in on the joyous occasion, but the agent inside her still has possession of her heart, and declined the invitation, but while popular opinion believes this scene was a hero stances for Walker. It’s actually foreshadowing as Mr. Bush wrote in his book Unpacking Chuck   Chuck113-01214

Both Chuck and Sarah are staring into the mirror of their future. The Woodcombs are right when they predict they are next in line to marry, but Sarah missed the opportunity to take advantage of an invitation, she missed the signal set forth from Chuck as taking part in a normal life occasion.  but do you remember the first time she was invited to a major family function? Chuck105-01217

Sarah may have turned down Chuck’s invitation in Marlin, but she didn’t walk away from the opportunity presented to her in Sizzling Shrimp. How about when it came to Chuck and his father? The moment wasn’t too big for Sarah to not be by his side then. Chuck219-00011

In fact, she embraced the moment by smiling and appreciating the special Bartowski holiday. So, was the moment in Marlin too heavy for Sarah? May be so, but the truth is we all have been down that road.

We take the high road because of the nobility of it all, but we still wish to take part in the moment because for Sarah’s sake it means that much more. Sarah was staring at her surrogate family.  Sarah heroics isn’t something her agency signed off on, Sarah made this mission personnel in every sense of the word. Chuck113-01217 Chuck113-01219 Chuck113-01220After the Season One inadvertent season finale aired, we saw Sarah standing outside watching her family celebrate a union of families, but the Writer’s strike deprived us from nine missing episode from final scene of Marlin until the end of the first part of the Jill Arc.

A better way to end season one would of been seeing Jill kidnapping Chuck. It would been a great way to start a season, but we can save that discussion for a rainy day for now let’s focus on  miss opportunities  and signals from both Chuck and Sarah.

In the beginning of Season Two, we saw warmth behind Sarah’s eyes when it came to Chuck,  Especially when Chuck succeeded despite not listening to her orders of staying in the car. It’s this moment in which we wonder  what happened between standing outside the apartment until this scene? Thank you to the wonderful writers who went on strike. strahovski-ep201-001

Chuck and Sarah’s relationship would begin to blossom especially when the opportunity came for Chuck’s return to his normal life. A life Sarah was interested in too, but the news of Chuck leaving the agency brought out an interesting expression from Sarah, which often can be lost when given a quick glance, Chuck201-00077When Walker was listening to Beckman and Graham give their orders. Sarah turned from her bosses in which they couldn’t see her reaction, but we saw all of it.  As the news of Chuck being released from the clutches of the government. Ms. Walker didn’t seem thrilled with the idea of Chuck leaving.

The question of whether or not Sarah wanted Chuck to be a spy will be a discussion most of us could talk about in nauseum, but it was not the concept of Chuck being a spy the issue, but more of not being with him. The idea she couldn’t protect him from the dangers of what a field operative has to deal with. It’s that change that bothered her the most. Face it, Chuck was place in car for his protection, and the more he trained the less he needed her.

There is a lot of merit when Sarah saw Chuck’s watch on the nightstand. It was like their lifeline was disconnected. Something that horrified Walker. She couldn’t keep ties on where he was, who he was with and most of all communicate with him. Chuck207-01141 Chuck207-01144

Sarah knew deep down she would never be able to walk away from something that replaced her real family. So, Chuck being forced into her world was a way for her to have the best of both worlds.  However, she never informed him of this part. Walker never explained XYZ to him. The reason was obvious she never needed too.

The problem was the cover blown up in Season One as a result of the sandwich queen and in Season Two. She was replaced by an ex. Something she should have experience in when you take in account Chuck’s dealings with Bryce, who was her ex.

Once again, on the sidelines, watching Chuck with another woman.

Sarah was threatened more by Jill in this regard. She had to work with Roberts and Jill took all of Chuck’s time personally. Take a look at Sarah’s expressions when dealing with Jill Roberts. Chuck206-00624

In First Date, The expression used by Sarah could indicate how much Chuck has grown on her. Sarah’s wall around her heart has been broken and Sarah was feeling it. Walker’s conversation with Chuck in the courtyard furthers this theory when she has one of her admission of interest and clear miss from Chuck’s perspective. Chuck201-00095 Chuck201-00096The conversation is simple and innocent if you don’t pay attention to the details of the moment, but Chuckaholics have always pointed out Sarah’ spoke in half truths. Moments when Walker says something, but her body language and expressions says something else. In the scene above, everything matches. It’s one of my personal favorite Sarah Walker moments because of the tenderness it delivers.

Sarah asks Chuck what was his next move, a simple question on its surface, but Sarah wasn’t just referring to work  only. As Chuck says he has the Buymore, Sarah embracing the role of not just a handler, but friend encourages him by saying he was worth far more than just the Buymore. Something his sister always said, but Sarah’s soft nurturing approach was better, and it hit home, but he missed was really was being asked. Chuck201-00103 Chuck201-00108 Chuck201-00106

Sarah:  You can do anything.
I’ve seen you in action.
And I’m not just talking about the bomb defusing, or the diamond stealing.
I mean, anything you wanted, you could have.

It’s understandable why Chuck would miss the signal sent from Sarah because Sarah used the word cover so many times before, but while Sarah was trying to protect herself from being exposed about those feelings. The feelings still manage to surface.

One of the classic scenes in which Zac/Chuck and Yvonne/Sarah chemistry was well utilized was in Truth.  When it came time to take the antidote we had an explosive scene. The acting was perfect. The emotion of angst was well done from both performer and viewer perspective alike. Chuck108-01048 Chuck108-01054 Chuck108-01055Emotions like Chuck and Sarah performed here can’t be done without Zac and Yvonne’s respect and chemistry as performers. The passion can be cut with a knife that’s how intense the scene became, but it gets better. Chuck asked her a question that put Sarah on the spot. Chuck108-01056 Chuck108-01057

Chuck: Our thing under the undercover thing.
Is this ever going anywhere?

It’s not the question that was asked, it’s the surroundings and situation that caused the problem. They are finishing up a mission and under the spell of truth serum Chuck takes advantage of the situation. Sarah’s answering the question also comes into play when she fights herself in answering the question.

Yvonne’s acting makes it seem like we were watching reality television. The sweaty, struggle of composure was well done. The pinnacle of what makes the scene so great was her glance up and her forced “no” leaves the viewer pondering what the hell. Chuck108-01058 Chuck108-01059No, would  of been acceptable if she didn’t reveal the truth of the episode. She informed Casey she did not compromise herself because if she hadn’t been trained to withstand the serum she may have. This was a huge admission in S1 as she basically told Casey she was compromised. This revelation also comes at the heels of being cover broken up. Thus, the balancing act between being an agent and being a cover girlfriend comes into play. Chuck108-01227

The mastery of Chuck and Sarah from their actors comes from within. It comes in the way they kiss. It comes in the form of creating emotions that only two people with great chemistry can pull off. Chuck108-01180 Chuck108-01187 Chuck108-01195 Chuck108-01197The problem in this scene comes in the form of not establishing the ground rules from the start, but to be fair neither of them knew their feelings were rapidly grow to the point where it would force Chuck to react. Something Sarah didn’t understand herself, but when Sarah initially thinks Chuck was going in for the kiss only to be shocked to hear a break up speech. All of this was a blow to Sarah’s system.Chuck108-01197 Chuck108-01211 Chuck108-01213 Chuck108-01215 Chuck108-01221The reason this scene was powerful comes in the form Chuck and Sarah’s ability to not understand their feelings and how to go about it. It makes you feel for the characters and even more love the work of Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski. Especially, when you see the expression Sarah has while talking to Casey.

The pain in Chuck’s face can’t go unnoticed, but it won’t be the last time we see the same expression when giving a cover break up speech. More on that in a moment, but we finish this up by saying the more we watch the actors perform the more you feel for the characters.

Remember this? Chuck203-01185 Chuck203-01186 Chuck203-01191 Chuck203-01192 Chuck203-01195 Chuck203-01201

Misunderstandings and lack of communication  really began when Chuck and Sarah had their initial cover sleepover. The battle between Chuck and Sarah about what the definition of what cover means comes when Chuck was setting up his bedroom for the night’s festivities. Sarah walks in and was warmed by the candles and music. The dancing Chuck standing before her, but Sarah also remembers Chuck running across the parking lot for Lou, and furthermore she also knew there were listening devices and cameras in Chuck’s bedroom.

Thus, Sarah couldn’t act on her feelings with so much at stake, but it doesn’t mean Chuck is any less confused about the hot and cold relationship he has with his handler. Sarah surprised by what Chuck prepared for their cover sleep over still managed to smile. A smile that would indicate she was rather pleased with what she saw. The effort was well received but Sarah being Sarah had to pull the rug from underneath Bartowski. Chuck108-00577As a viewer, there was nothing wrong with what Chuck did. I gather from Sarah’s experience with the Bryces of the world would cause the disconnect,

Sarah retorts to what she knew which was her job. The opportunity came for Sarah and Chuck to discuss their rules of the cover relationship, but again there wasn’t rules like the Cider House had. Sarah could of laid the groundwork here for Chuck, but instead she used protocol answers to mask what was burning inside of her.  As a result, it leaves Chuck on the cusp of pursuing Lou. Chuck108-00665Sarah wouldn’t go down without protest either,  Chuck108-00684

The exchange was classic Chuck and Sarah’s verbal jousting, Sarah using handler words in disguising her true intentions. ” Our cover is boyfriend/girlfriend, so tactically, that would be challenging.
Plus any prospective date would have to endure a rigorous vetting process to determine her motivation,” but Chuck asked wouldn’t her motivation be love.

Sarah would follow by communicating a Sarah Walker  response not what an agent would normally respond, but with a twist.

Sarah:  Ideally, but you’re a very important piece of intelligence, {Agent Walker} and you have to be handled with extreme care.{Sarah’s own twist}

The expression says it all with her desperation glance. Chuck didn’t miss the expression either because he questions the logic behind what Walker said. Chuck108-00681Chuck108-00684We fast forward to Season Two,

Chuck and Sarah  don’t have communication issues when they are preparing for their second date, and Sarah was absolutely glowing with happiness when Chuck finally took the initiative in asking her out. Again, the surroundings had to be kept in perspective as the Orange was filled with government devices that could get both Bartowski and Walker in trouble. Chuck201-00329 Chuck201-00330

The same scene in which Beckman used in her video package during the 49B initiation. Walker’s slip clearly shows she has begun to recognize her feelings, but like anything else in her life registering from heart to mouth takes time, but when She agrees to the date. two things happen here,

  1. Sarah now acknowledges their first date from the pilot was in fact a date.
  2. Sarah also is giddy after Chuck leaves the store. Chuck201-00332 Chuck201-00340 Chuck201-00341Chuck201-00350

Follow by Sarah’s way she dressed for her date compared to a year ago. Remember the knives, poison hairpins,  and  a bulletproof vest, but not in first date. Chuck201-00364Sarah took the time to bedazzle herself in this episode a significant change from the Pilot and even more so Mr. Bartowski is exuberating with confidence on this date.

It was well received. because Sarah’s heart was falling more and more with Chuck as the date went on. Chuck used his charms which made Sarah want to revisit a past event from Chuck vs Imported Hard Salami.

If you don’t remember let me refresh your memory shall we, The second attempt by Sarah to kiss ChuckSarah’s initial desire to kiss Chuck came in Tango. The intrigue was close for Sarah in Truth when Sarah believed Chuck was coming in for a kiss. A compromising situation, but Sarah’s will power was compromised and the thought was sinking in on the possibility. You can see she was succumbing to the desire for intimacy.Chuck108-01197Sarah was tired of waiting and with the potential of dying Sarah made sure she kissed him. Chuck109-01091A special moment from Season One, but while this scene was well done by Zac and Yvonne. The intensity was amplified in First Date, Final Exam and Gravitron. Anyone can tell you the kiss in seduction was even more passionate then in Hard Salami because of the circumstances, but these scenes can’t be sold if the performers don’t sell it. There is no question Zac and Yvonne performance was epic. chuck311_00420Chuck201-00529Chuck208-00371Chuck202-00385The kiss Chuck and Sarah share here in this scene comes with a bit of an asterisk because Chuck was trying to prove to Roan he could kiss Walker, but there was another kiss in the episode that seem to be more organic.  It begs the question has Sarah been thinking about kissing Chuck since their date, and what happen to Chuck’s hatred for PDA. Chuck202-00071The kiss scenes were magical, but left the power couple with even more questions as a certain someone kept showing up at the wrong times. Each time Chuck and Sarah progressed in their relationship a Mr. Bryce Larkin popped up. Chuck109-01226

Chuck202-01182 Chuck202-01184 Chuck202-01185

Bryce Larkin holds a great deal of power over Chuck and Sarah. You can say he is both Chuck and Sarah’s nemesis from school and from their personal life perspective, but even more so he also had possession of Sarah as well. She wilted when in the presence of Larkin so much so she forgets she is in Chuck’s bedroom when they lock lips, but it also would make Chuck become super defensive with Bryce and Sarah.

Remember this scene? Chuck203-00410The power of emotion can be empowering if one allows it. Sarah looking ravishing in that dress could make heads turn, but when Chuck dismisses the dress much like she reacted in The Truth. Chuck said red wasn’t his color. However, let’s take a look at the reality of the scene. He was digging the dress, but with Bryce behind him and the words “don’t let the lines get blurry.” It was only natural for Chuck to run for cover.Chuck203-00402Chuck203-00404

Communication isn’t only done through the mouth. Communication comes in the form of nonverbal indications  in Hard Salami we saw a lot of those nonverbal communication. Chuck109-00084 Chuck109-00088

Sarah tries to sell her tears when pleading for Chuck to reconsider the break up, but it only gets worse from here, but you can see the sell job worked because Chuck wasn’t sure himself. Chuck109-00090Confusion would be the key here, but then again Sarah wasn’t confused as the first act of impulsiveness would commence. Sarah would confront the problem, and let me tell you by doing so could of been a major problem for Walker. Agent Walker was showing the viewer just how compromised Sarah had become with this situation, but it gets even worse. Chuck109-00289

then again during the mission and preparation,  Chuck109-00343Chuck109-00481

One final note before we move on to the next part of this discussion. Yvonne Strahovski acting range was on display in Hard Salami because of one particular scene. Chuck109-00226

The ability to maintain composure while Chuck reference Lou as his girlfriend was killing Sarah, and her ability to hold her emotions in check was amazing.

In Closing, the next part of this article will dig into the last part of Season Two and why the Orion episodes was really when the relationship was reaching it’s best when it came to emotion, communication and trust, and it will include this scene. Sarah's reaction to Chuck's line

Until next time Chuckaholics, remember Chuck vs Arrow is your site so play, engage but most of all it’s hard to say goodbye because we didn’t and if you need something to fill your heart, why not try an Arrow.




  1. Just read the episode article for “First Date”. I’ll comment here to stay current. You mention the great mix of comedy and action this episode features; did you ever notice hoe many series start out as dramadies like “Chuck” and just get darker and darker? Buffy did it, Cuuck did it (the last 2 episodes are almost devoid of humor) Castle did it. Its too bad, if I wanted to watch a serious spy drama, I could hop over to Acorn or PBS and watch MI6. Why do these series feel the need to ramp up the drama at the expense of the humor? From “Dream Job” right into Season 3 “Chuck” really loses the humor and light attitude and I think that”s why the ratings started to drop. There’s very little fun until “Honeymooners” and it doesn’t last.

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