Season Three begins with a very unusual episode. It’s clearly not like First Date or the Pilot where we see the characters as they were, but it’s unfair to say it’s business as usual when we end S2 with a bang.
Chuck vs the Pink Slip really isn’t one episode, but two in one. If you remember S2 ended with this Thus, we see a vastly different Chuck. Chuck sitting in a dark musty place acting more like an agent than the nerd we were accustomed too. He was in the middle of a mission. The new aspect of this season was Chuck taking orders from Beckman not his handlers. It’s new because just a year ago the opening scene had this. Team Bartowski was whole. What is noticeable in the opening moments of Pink Slip there is no Casey or Sarah with Chuck during this mission. Chuck’s expression is cold and going with the motions.
Beckman says they can see the briefcase was in the room with them. Chuck was talking hardball with the baddie in the room who was questioning Agent Carmichael. One of the new approaches to this season is taking some songs that play during the scene and distinguish the moment with the substitution of dialogue.
There are many scenes in this season where music gives the viewer insight on the thought process of the character. I hope you enjoy this.
The song playing during this scene was Sam Sparro’s Black and Gold and in some of the lyrics we hear the words “If you’re not here with me.”
Tears and fears are mentioned throughout the song. Lyrics like this one “’cause if you’re not really here then the stars don’t even matter now I’m filled to the top with fear.
One thing we have uncovered with the acting of Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski was the ability to bring emotion to the table. Chuck may be on a mission and seem in control, but the eyes don’t lie. There is something missing from Chuck and he knows it, but do you know who else knows it. The baddie can read Chuck wasn’t a serious threat.
Yuri was standing in front of him with a gun pointed, but the man didn’t appear ready to pull a trigger like some other baddies we have seen thus far. Yuri comes off as man pushing for Chuck to take action. How do I know, look at the next set of dialogue. We get a glimpse of the old Chuck when he says “Please, give me the case.” Yuri provides the viewer with some history by stating how Chuck arrived with no gun, and says please.
I have made mention in previous articles how this season was about making Chuck into a weapon, and right off the bat we get the mention of NO GUN, Chuck flashes Kung Fu and boom he takes out all the guys without the need of a weapon.
I am not trying to belittle Chuck’s desire to not use a weapon, but the creators of Chuck depicted a CIA Agent must do things against their principles to simply survive a mission. I am not knocking Chuck for any of his moves, but the opening scene does provide a glimpse on things to come. After Chuck gains the upper hand, Chuck asked for the case, Beckman orders Chuck to shoot Yuri. Chuck gains the briefcase and makes a run for it all without firing a weapon. Beckman still quarterbacking instructs Chuck where the nearest extraction point was located, she claimed the chopper wouldn’t make it in time. She ordered Chuck to climb to a rooftop.
Chuck heads for it, and Beckman asked why Chuck’s blood pressure level was up. Chuck tensed up even more. We end the scene with Chuck on a roof trying to flash zip lining, which he failed to flash. Clearly, we see the struggles Chuck was having with the new intersect coincide with patients running out with Beckman.
Chuck was standing on the rooftop with his pants down to his ankles. Beckman would end the training simulator and order Chuck to come down. The next point in weaponizing Chuck comes in the question Beckman asks, “Why didn’t you shoot Yuri?”
Chuck explains why he didn’t, and Beckman breaks it down for us. They spent millions of dollars trying to get 2.0 up and running for a “real” agent. We see lack of faith from Beckman’s perspective and as a result a sense of disappointment. Beckman wanted Chuck to succeed because Team Bartowski assisted in taking down Fulcrum, but as one enemy fades, a new one surfaces. The opportunity for an advantage comes with a great price to people like Beckman.
Beckman mentions how the 2.0 was supposed to be uploaded into a real spy who can control his or her emotions. Bryce Larkin was that choice, but once again the Intersect was downloaded into Chuck. Thus, Bartowski was not Beckman’s first choice. Remember Beckman offered an Analyst job not field operative like what Larkin did despite Chuck being on more missions during a short time frame as an asset. Thus, Beckman loved the machine not the man. Chuck asked Beckman to contact his father. He said, “maybe he can fix the glitches.” Beckman broke it down for us on the future of Chuck. “It’s not the computer Chuck, It’s with you.”
The question of whether or not Chuck using a real weapon isn’t up for debate here because Chuck was able to flash Kung Fu, but failed to zip line. Kung Fu represents hand to hand combat which Chuck had no issues in doing. Some say Bruce Lee was a weapon in himself by simply using hand to hand combat. However, when the need to use a gun, we saw Chuck freeze. When Beckman wasn’t screaming in his ear Chuck was fine, but the pressure of Beckman in his ear would be the reason Chuck froze. Intersect or not people don’t perform well under intense pressure.
Beckman sends Chuck packing, but without protest from Chuck, who finishes the scene by saying how she didn’t know what he sacrificed to be there., but from Beckman’s perspective why should she care? Beckman was spending millions of dollars on getting him to perform as The Intersect 2.0. A large amount of resources allocated to this program was far more important than Chuck’s emotional state. Can you blame her? However, the moves made by Beckman shouldn’t be foreign to us. Beckman never went out of her way to help him with finding his father. Chuck had to do that on his own.
We often talk about one side of things, but for this rewatch we will look at the story from all angles if applicable. We don’t know how much pressure Beckman was under in getting Chuck functioning. A program like this one requires the bosses of Beckman become less patient and seek positive results which this would cause training to become intensified.
The episode then shifts to six months earlier. The moment stems from the night Chuck downloaded 2.0, which means it’s also the night Larkin was killed. Thus, we see a very disheveled Sarah Walker.
Watch her actions and movements around Castle. Her emotions were compromised at this stage. Casey is filling in Chuck about being sent to Prague (I know he said in Europe) for training. The government was going to turn Chuck into a superagent. Casey was rather pleased with that idea, but not Sarah.Sarah’s mind clearly is preoccupied with the events she witnessed during the closing moments of S2, but she was already in this state here, The moment was a hot mess for Sarah Walker. Thus, Sarah Walker standing before Chuck was not the same Sarah Walker we saw here, So, the early stages of S3 we have Sarah Walker as we know her gone for the moment. Sarah dwells on the facts of what it means for Chuck becoming a spy. She channels her personal demons when she states “new cities, new missions” and the fact he was NOT going to be the same person.
In other words, Sarah is telling us the Chuck before her is the one she loves, but a superspy Chuck may not be the one she wants. It’s selfish in a way because Sarah is only seeing it from her perspective more on that in a minute.
For Chuck, he has Beckman saying he wasn’t a real spy and Sarah claiming he wasn’t going to be the same person. How can Chuck function when two halves of himself are not in sync. It’s this state of confusion that was apart of Chuck’s emotional state we saw during the latter parts of his spy training in Prague. What I mean is, Chuck’s equilibrium was off kilter.
Sarah’s eyes show nothing but fear and panic behind them. The question then becomes is this her concerns of Chuck or losing what she was trying to accomplish with her own life? It is absolutely fair for Sarah to feel the way she did, but when a person is in the state of flux like Sarah was in, rational thinking isn’t apart of the mindset anymore. A lot happened that night which would break most human beings even if you are a super spy like Walker. In other words, Sarah was thinking emotionally when she asked Chuck to run.
It doesn’t make sense when only seven months ago Casey was sent to retrieve Chuck and Sarah or even in the pilot here, Sarah stated how it was impossible to run from the agency. I also would like to know how the government would just let the 2.0 wander around the globe with the skill set they inputted into the program without tracking it, but with rash thinking happening behind her thought process Sarah was not in the right state of mind. Any decisions she suggests are foolheartedly.
However, there is something else we should consider from this moment, Sarah’s thought process behind Chuck becoming a field operative. There is huge difference between being a analyst compared to a field operative. I am not talking about realism here. I am talking about what Chuck’s writers and creators wanted to establish within the agency they have created.
The analyst is safe behind computers. The analyst researches data which basically is the grunt work for a field operative. The analyst goes on an occasional field operative experience that most likely would be safe for him. For example, running numbers for the mafia. Sarah’s reaction to that news, Sarah’s mindset when hearing the general’s offer was of great news because it meant Sarah didn’t have to give up anything. Chuck working for the agency was something she could live with, but what she couldn’t live with was Chuck getting hurt. There is no debating that issue at all. She could never live with herself if she learned Chuck was hurt or killed without her being there to help him. It would destroy her being. Want proof? Here’s one,
In Sarah’s mind being a field operative comes with immense dangers. Look at her past, Bryce was a field operative who disappeared from her and was killed twice (negative). Langston Graham killed in the line of duty (negative). The CAT Squad was disbanded due to shadiness amongst the group (negative). There was no room for error from her perspective. There are very few positives from her experience in allowing Chuck to proceed with this new adventure.
We often question experience as being misguided because it’s what we base our own lives on. We never take in account that experiences are different for everyone. Sarah is being unfair in a sense because whether she likes it or not Chuck has two years of experience being a field operative, and for the most part handled himself nicely. A Bryce Larkin wouldn’t ask Chuck to join his team if he didn’t see potential in him. Was there bumps in the road? Sure, everyone goes through them. Casey didn’t know a Ring Operative was on his team. Does this mean Sarah should tell Casey to hang it up? I find it comical when writers or people believe heroes are the only smart ones.
The first night the group was together Chuck was able to disarm a bomb without the use of the Intersect, but again Sarah’s experience and emotion was guiding her thought process. Thus, the idea of Chuck becoming a full fledge spy comes with selfish trepidation and angst. It’s sort of like a person driving a car in bad weather. They slip, which means the rest of the world will do the same thing. It’s not the case because everyone responses to similar situation differently.
The negative feeds into a thought process that destroys any chance of positive results. Thus, Sarah saying what she knows is an experience she has as an agent. Does this mean Casey or Larkin feel the same way? Does this mean Carina or Mei Ling would seek an out from their lives she ever knew? Did Ilsa give up spying when she knew Casey was still alive? It’s the very reason for vacations and time off. Sarah was burnt out from the field she excelled in. There comes a point when choosing to run is an option that all of us face. Orion ran from his family only to return twenty years later.
In a sense, Chuck ran from himself. A man who seeked to become a high tech guy was steamrolled by Larkin, but it’s the fact Larkin also stole his girlfriend that sent Chuck down a serious tailspin.
We also have the song Wait It Out sung by Imogen Heap.
The lyrics “Everybody says that time heals everything.
But what of the wretched hollow? The endless in-between?
Are we just going to wait it out? We were told the future of the season with a lyric within the song. Some other lyrics in the song are as follows “In the shatter of us collapsed.
It cuts me with every could-have-been.” Words like these makes you wonder who has collapsed? The other question would be were we listening? Were we paying attention to everything that went on during the scene. The scene within a scene details.
The other thing I find interesting about the closing moments of this scene would be Sarah’s look of trying to convince herself if she was doing the right thing, but we shall see in a moment how it’s not going to end well for either of them. This would mark the beginning of the end for Season Two.
We are going to have to wait it out, but for Chuck and Sarah they had to wait three weeks before seeing each other. There is a significant amount of time between Castle and the train station. A lot can happen which it did. I will explain why when we come to that moment.
We come to the present moment, where we see Chuck sitting on his sister’s couch in a state of disbelief on how he lost everything. No job but most importantly no Sarah.
The ending of Season Two would conclude in the next set of scenes.
After Chuck said he lost Sarah, we see Sarah walking out of a swimming pool. I can understand a lot of people’s position on this scene as Sarah being cold as we watch her with a new man and what appears to be a vacation, but it’s not what it seems. Sarah is working and with that means Sarah couldn’t answer the phone if she was supposed to be the lady of her mark, but again Sarah’s actions make you think on contrary.
After Sarah drops the phone into the water, Sarah takes a moment to recollect herself before turning around. It makes the viewer see there are issues between Chuck and Sarah which means we have to wait it out for an explanation.
or “If you’re not here with me, nothing else matters.” The two songs work well together, but while Chuck was at home. Sarah was working. Business was definitely not as usual.
After the credits, Chuck is very different from what we were use to. He has a beard and very frail looking. He is addicted to Cheeseballs. A cry for help was in need. Thus, Ellie calls in the calvary. Morgan comes to Burbank to awaken Chuck from his depressed state. No such luck for the bearded chef.
Chuck realizes he has no more cheeseballs and heads to the Buymore for some more. The head of Buymoria was in midseason form as king of the Buymore. Emmett had all the Buymore employees acting like robots even Jeff was in line with Emperor Milbarge at the helm. When Emmett spots Chuck buying cheeseballs, Milbarge thought he was stealing the toilet paper and quickly moves in on Chuck. Chuck’s adaption with the new intersect was in it’s infancy stage as Chuck couldn’t control his urges.
It’s almost like Chuck was on withdrawal mode. Chuck’s very assistance would lift once he learned Sarah was still in Burbank. The other key physical features to note would be Chuck’s weight. He seemed to be a lot more heavier in this episode. All signs point to Chuck hitting rock bottom. It begs the question was Chuck like this during the five years after Stanford?
While his spirits were crushed before news of Sarah still being in town, Chuck’s eyes would show signs of life once Lester and Jeff talk about her. The chance to talk to her was paramount. Thus, he heads over to the yogurt shop.
He tries to head down to Castle, but Casey cuts him off at the bridge. Casey would voice his own version of concern with Chuck by claiming he heard Chuck was a lemon, but seeing Chuck in this matter was even pathetic to Casey as well. Lies are the early stages of the season with Chuck lying about his jacket and Casey counter lying about not speaking to Sarah when Bartowski asked. The cat and mouse game between Chuck and Sarah continues.
When Sarah calls Casey’s cellphone, Chuck noticed Casey’s lie and asked to speak with her, but Sarah wanted no part in talking with Chuck. Now, we see more issues between Chuck and Sarah, but Chuck really wasn’t there for Sarah though. He will say as much.
His responses were maybe we can get the team back together again. He believed he could still be a great spy, but Beckman said otherwise. Casey took jabs at Chuck’s expense by keep calling him a lemon. Chuck’s plea didn’t carry any weight with Casey at this point.
However, Chuck didn’t just stand pat. He noticed where the team’s mission was going to be located and Chuck found new energy, but before he goes Casey asked what happened between him and Walker.
I used to write how Chuck was selfish in this episode, but after several rewatches I have come around on this theory, but more to the point saw Chuck was realizing what was going to keep him from Sarah. An analyst or even an asset was never going to work. Sarah being reassigned also was a sign Sarah was never going to give up her career either.
Chuck realizes he needs to enter her world. He needs to be apart of the world he dreads just to stay face with Sarah. It’s almost like how a man leaves his world in order to enter his wife’s comfort zone. We ended The Ring with the theme of sacrifice as being apart of the conclusion of S2, but Chuck taking that step forward in his development shows he is sacrificing his old life to create a new one with Sarah.
The problem is without the missing variable into that theory Chuck needs to fix whatever happened between him and Sarah and the best part about it. He knows it. Chuck goes home and cleans up. His focus was to change into his spy gear, which is all wrong because it still represents his previous life as a nerd herder. I believe in order to move on we have to let go of the things we used to be. The white shirt with grey tie works as a cover, but isn’t that what is the problem to begin with. The notion of separating real from a cover?
Sarah is real but a relationship worked as a cover, and the minute the real part became obtainable something would block them from their self actualization which would being each other.
This is the focus of the season. Yes, we are seeing Chuck and Sarah going separate roads for a while, but we have to learn to wait it out or we will never be happy. How do we get past the questions as Imogen sang? You face them even if they are difficult. It helps build character.
However, we must face the awkward moments even if humans don’t want too. For Sarah, seeing Chuck was enough to throw her off her game. We can see it in her mannerisms. The words time heals can be heard as Chuck and Sarah walk towards each other. There isn’t happiness in seeing each other, but remorse (Chuck) and angst (Sarah) the problems between the two are still fresh on their minds and most importantly their souls.
However, what saves Sarah from going through with her conflict is the job. As the man we saw her with arrives in the room, Sarah advises Chuck to kiss her, but from Chuck’s position he doesn’t see her mark approaching. He doesn’t know the parameters of the mission. Thus, Sarah has to think fast and kissing was her only option. Sarah had to back it up by slapping Chuck, which would send Big Bartowski to the floor.
The other thing to note there is a sense of missing each other in their presence, but the friction is anchoring them down for sure. Look at their eyes, Chuck started the conversation by saying he didn’t want her to think he was there because of her, but to provide backup. So, Chuck isn’t trying to be a stalker ex, but trying to put the pieces back together or better salvage anything he can.
After the slap, Chuck has a kitchen meeting with his former team. Chuck tries to convince them how things went wrong in Prague, but he needed to prove to Beckman he could still be a spy.
Casey was leaning towards Chuck, but they both needed Walker’s approval, but after a few moments she denies him. Clearly, Sarah doesn’t want to be in the presence of Chuck.
The reason I suggest this comes with the idea of him having the 2.0 in his head. We know at any moment Chuck could flash, which means he is more likely to take out a threat with Kung Fu than a room full of agents. He took out five Ring operatives with one simple flash.
This has everything to do with Sarah’s problems with Chuck on a personal level. She isn’t ready to be around Chuck and it’s obvious. Furthermore, when she returns to her seat Sarah isn’t focused on her mark either. She is clearly off her game now.
Chuck is thrown outside of the club, but before he is discarded Chuck flashes on the name of the mark Javier. So, once outside the club Chuck tries to get into the club again.
One moment with his former team and Chuck was stabilized. This means Chuck needs his team to function, but he had work to do to prove he wasn’t broken.
On the other hand, Sarah was lost now. She clearly was shaken knowing Chuck was around and it didn’t go unnoticed either as her new man was questioning whether he should provide some help, but Sarah said no.
Outside, Chuck was fighting to get into the club. He flashes Kung Fu and accidentally knocks out a band member, which Chuck training taught him to use the outfit as a disguise to help out the team. Chuck returns to the room and heads for the stage to replace Manny. Casey warns the team about how Chuck was going to blow the operation. This time Sarah gave Chuck a chance to prove himself. Chuck would flash on using the guitar and Chuck was off playing music like a pro. Meanwhile, the man Chuck knocked out regained composure and grabbed Chuck’s Buymore badge.
What will be new for this rewatch will be skipping scenes to focus on the waiting out process of Chuck and Sarah. While Chuck reconnects with Morgan, Chuck comes to the Buymore and helps Morgan gather his things, but he doesn’t know is Sarah was watching him from Castle.
I always have felt Sarah’s position on the issue with Prague was not of anger (more on this in a little bit), but of being shocked by the idea of Chuck ever hurting her. Thus, Sarah’s love for Chuck never changed. She still loves him. Emotions like this one would never happen if she didn’t want him still. There is still feelings behind those eyes. Casey knows it too. He says, she should say goodbye to him. He deserves as much. Casey is right. If this is the end, Chuck does deserve some opportunity to make peace. It wouldn’t bold well for anyone if Chuck and Sarah part on negative terms. Sarah’s initial reaction was out of anger of being forced to interact with Chuck.
To be fair, Sarah never gave him that chance to square things away. How long do we have to wait it out? Does time heal wounds? The theory I have about this problem comes in the form of how does one heal when everything still reminds her of him?
Casey and Sarah are still stationed in Castle. Thus, Sarah has to stay in a place where all her memories of being with Chuck are located. Meanwhile, Chuck’s memories comes in the form of doing missions. There isn’t as much angst from Chuck’s perspective being in the apartment. It’s Castle that really holds Sarah down.
Remember Castle was the place she asked him to run. Whether we agree with that idea or not. Sarah has to walk in the room where she asked him to run. He said, “Yes.” Sarah believed Chuck was on board with her.
It’s not like packing up and heading to Washington, Zurich or Lisbon. It’s still Burbank. Thus, where was the opportunity for Sarah to heal?
It was important for the viewer to see some sort of life from one of them. The first one was Sarah as she was watching him from Castle. Sarah’s wall was cracked again. Chuck’s presence reopened the feelings she still had for him, but the question still remains why such turmoil between the two?Chuck and Sarah gets captured by the baddie and his crew. we will now discuss the final part of this episode I want to discuss in depth.
There are two lyrics in the song that spells out the scene for us. As Chuck walks towards her, I said three weeks are a long time between seeing each other. Anything can happen during that time span. Something happened between time Chuck went along with Sarah’s plan and appearing at the train station..
The first lyric is “I’m working on erasing you, I just don’t have the proper tools, I get hammered, forget that you exist There’s no way I’m forgetting this. The message is clear in the music. We are never going to forget this moment. Follow by, “I been working on my backwards walk, There’s nowhere else for me to go Except back to you just one last time
Say yes before I change my mind”
Chuck and Sarah are submerged in a role reversal from a scene from Chuck vs The Ring, Chuck isn’t smiling when seeing her for the first time in three weeks, and it dawned on me what was wrong with this scene from the start. This scene is the same as another scene we saw before. The problem the viewer has is we saw Beckman give Sarah her new assignment. We knew Sarah’s dismay when she arrived at the Church. Here, we didn’t see what happened with Chuck, but Sarah is excited much like Chuck was preparing to ask her to go on a vacation with her. Chuck (like Sarah) had information that was going to ruin any plans of them being together.
Thus, when she kisses him. She immediately sensed a problem. Chuck’s kiss was cold and filled with no passion like the ones she shared with him before. Chuck let’s her know about the training facility in Prague much like Sarah informed him of her new project. He explained they were going to train him to become a real spy. However, Sarah was not happy with this at all. She told him how everything they told him wasn’t real. What they had was real. It’s the very first time cover never comes out of her mouth.
During times like this Sarah always used the term cover to protect herself, but not here. Sarah flipped right before our eyes. “I been working on my backwards walk There’s nowhere else for me to go Except back to you just one last time.” Follow by Sarah reaching for his hand. Sarah’s expression of beginning to crack. Chuck’s body language and facial features all indicate Sarah wasn’t going to like the decision he made. Chuck did what Sarah had done for two years. As I mentioned, the roles are reversed Chuck used the words I can’t because he Chuck knew this wasn’t the way he wanted to live his life.
Sarah believed what they were about to do was a “real life.” It wasn’t Chuck’s life being on the run. Another sign things were reversed between the characters. We never heard Sarah say the words Real Life before. Sarah worked on her faults and cracks, but it doesn’t make sense. It’s as the music stated, There is no way we are going to forget this, but all we can do is wait it out. If Chuck and Sarah are not together then nothing else matters.
Here are the scenes we talked about in this rewatch article for you to explore.
Nothing Else Matters:
Wait it Out:
Not going to forget this:
I conclude this rewatch with this. The framework of the season was presented to us through song, but the imagery and role reversal was the cause of not seeing the journey we were about to undertake.
Sarah’s words of a simple and real life anything but the Sarah we knew for two years, and Chuck’s lines of adventure and doing things that matter was the kind of words Sarah would say to him the two previous years.
As the title states, a brand new Chuck.
I hope you enjoyed this rewatch as this will be the format going forward.
Remember Chuckaholics is your site so play, engage but most of all it’s hard to say goodbye because we didn’t.