As we begin on our next season three discussion, we have an underrated episode. Angel De La Muerte is an episodes with a lot of firsts, but for a complete episode write up please refer to the episode article Chuck vs Angel De La Muerte
Normally, we would begin with the start of the episode, but this episode really boils down to some scenes that take on a understanding and harsh reality for characters in the story, but sometimes a episode should be explored from the ending.
The song being used to set the mood was Daniel Zott’s Living a Lie. A great song used because one of the lyric was on the ball when describing Chuck.
and if i gave it all way i’d expect something back
i’m never sure that i could tell you where my heart is at
cause every good thing i do is a selfish act
and i’m a hell of a guy
living a hell of a lie
Chuck was giving something away, but it transcends beyond just Sarah. It includes every being of what and who we know Chuck Bartowski to be.
What do we know about Charles Irving Bartowski, we know he is a selfless and willingness to put his friends and family before himself, but this would not be the case in this episode.
The path Chuck was on became tremendous burden not just for the characters around him, but for himself. He stressed how he didn’t want his family involved with the CIA, but in this episode Devon was involved not only because he was the first to know of Chuck’s secret, but the first family member to work a mission.
It starts from the beginning when Devon wanted to be included with Chuck’s team. There is something Chuck says that can be missed easily, but after several rewatches it dawn on my what Living a Lie was saying.
when i wake up with the morning light i can always breathe
somehow that never has meant much to me
and i can’t say i am thankful for the things i have
i’m a hell of a guy
living a hell of a lie
It’s true Chuck was able to separate his two halves, but Devon said it best.
Devon: Oh, no way.
I think I scratched my espionage itch.
Don’t get me wrong.
Black tie dinners and embassy extractions are killer, but just not worth it.
Chuck: What’s not?
It takes a special person to do what Team Bartowski does for a living. The risks often outweigh the reward, but for Casey and Sarah they understand that at this juncture, and most importantly Chuck was beginning to process that for himself.
Getting back to earlier in the episode, When Devon asked to work with the team Chuck says “Ellie would kill me.” I find it interesting how Chuck comes off as if Ellie knowing Chuck was a spy would kill him, but in reality it’s not the case.
Ellie would kill Chuck for putting Devon’s life in danger perhaps? Thus, the inclusion of family on a mission isn’t the issue, but putting his brother-in-law in harm’s way was the problem. Sound familiar? The fact that Sarah was always around the family often put the Woodcombs in harm’s way, but who’s counting really.Thus, the old Chuck would’ve protested the idea of Devon even knowing about the mission, but Chuck understands the game better now than ever before. It’s also easier to digest when Devon knows his secret life.
I mentioned in Three Words, how Sarah wasn’t the priority anymore, but the option to be with her was what he was striving for. Thus, the idea of Chuck and Sarah being just friends was also weighing heavily on them from a grand scheme of things, but again Chuck pulled a Agent Walker by hiding behind protocol to mask his pain.
Sarah shielded herself as well, but that’s nothing new from her. After Devon leaves, Chuck and Sarah’s moment is so awkward that it fails in comparison with this scene in Crown Vic. You can see the love behind both of their eyes, but then again Chuck and Sarah didn’t have an incident like Prague occur, but we can’t lose sight on the bigger picture here. Watch the handshake in Crown Vic, (I provide both scenes for you to watch)
Angel De La Muerte,
The term used in Angel De La Muerte was being fake friends. They never would claim their cover to be reduced to be just friends. It was always classified as cover dating. It’s a big change in how Chuck and Sarah saw each other. Another sign that things were not back to normal.
The handshake was a lot quicker in release than it was in Crown Vic. The characters had love behind their eyes and what’s worse Chuck and Sarah’s awkward responses to what would be deemed what friends would do was not traditional Chuck and Sarah makeup actions.
To further my point, Chuck and Sarah’s make up sessions weren’t very good so far this season. Thus, the priority at the moment we’re not each other despite showing glimpses of those feelings we know they have for each other.
I also want to take the time to point out Sarah’s reaction to seeing Chuck become more and more comfortable in his skin as a spy and more and more confused on her own role with Chuck when she can see him perform surgery on Casey.
The illusion also was set up before they came to the consulate. Sarah was sounding more like a handler when she reminds Chuck of how he didn’t want his family mixed up with the CIA.
It may be true in most cases, but Chuck wasn’t worried with the addition of Devon because what does a spy need to do sometimes? They use information as a way to gain advantage in a mission. Chuck and Devon both know Casey’s capture was due to Devon’s interference so the good doctor was looking for a reprieve. Devon being the generalissimo’s personal doctor was the information needed to save Casey. Chuck used his family as a mark, which Chuck from S1/S2 would never do or even consider, but experience and maturation in how the spy game works changes things.
Sarah’s role as a agent and apart of the team comes with her flourishing, but she retorts back to the Sarah we are seeing this season when Chuck performs surgery not to take the bullet out, but when Chuck attempted to drain blood from Casey. Sarah was fine with Chuck’s flash because it’s business as usual, but where Sarah returns to S3’s Sarah comes when Chuck takes charge and sedates Casey for his blood. Thus, the realization of Sarah’s love for the old Chuck and not the Chuck she sees before her. There is so much talk about how Chuck is dysfunctionally when it comes to not being around Sarah, but the same can be said for Sarah from a different perspective.
Sarah and Chuck’s lives are lies, but not to the rest of the world.
One final discussion from Angel De La Muerte,
Chuck and Sarah’s relationship would be the topic of discussion and what they needed was a voice of reason. A voice that came from an outside source. Not Casey or Carina for Sarah, but from Ellie Bartowski.
The stage is perfect for an intimate conversation, but Chuck and Sarah’s heart to heart doesn’t come between each other. Ellie and Awesome provide some advice and insight for the struggling couple.
Ellie’s words were perfect for the moment, and what was best about the scene was Sarah’s expressions when watching Chuck from across the room. It’s one of my personal favorites because we saw into Sarah’s soul for a brief moment.
A moment that often is overlooked because of everything that was going on, but if you look at her closely. We see longing for things to be normal again. Sarah’s attraction of Chuck comes with being in a intimate surrounding and on a mission working together. Losing herself like she did in Chuck vs The Truth, a moment she shared with a female companion.
In world surrounded of mostly male figures, Ellie’s role here was essential. The voice of reason and tenderness helps the mood in every way. The living a lie complex was not fooling Ellie when she saw Sarah’s glance.
Furthermore, Ellie calls her out on it. Again Sarah tries to be coy by stating they were just friends, but the half truth was exposed with one look. Ellie’s “Sarah, do you still have feelings for my brother?”
If you read Sarah’s expression with what she said, It was classic Sarah speaking in a half truth, but to be fair Ellie and Awesome don’t understand the gist of what Chuck and Sarah were about. How the relationship was a cover. Chuck informs Devon on how it was their jobs to fool people, but in reality the only people they were fooling was themselves.
It’s the very reason why living a lie was best fitted for the end of this episode because the truth of who and what Sarah and Chuck were would ultimately have the two embrace each other once news came about Devon being captured by The Ring. Thus, in a time of tragedy we see a very real embrace. In many ways, the dances and fancy clothes were the facade, and in the lie comes truths that are hard to deny. We cherish a moment like the dance scene, but we seen it before when Larkin and Sarah danced the floor to create an illusion, but living a lie isn’t about the spy game. It isn’t about hiding the truth of who they are. The lie we are not seeing is how much Chuck and Sarah are lying to themselves. Hot or cold as Ellie so eloquently put it. The dress Sarah wore to the banquet was all indications Sarah was lost within herself. Confused about her role in Chuck’s life just as much as Chuck was confused about his role in hers.
and here, These two moments show us how much Sarah still loves Chuck, but circumstances put wrinkles into. Chuck’s decision to make Sarah an option was not sitting well with Sarah and it shows during the scene when Chuck plays doctor.
Chuck’s makeup has changed when interjecting his family on a mission without protest was new, but once Devon gets kidnapped more we see signs of the old Chuck in the next rewatch.
Finally, we can say the writers get it wrong, and for future articles there will be head scratchers for sure, but sometimes if we look at a song they chose for a scene, it could help balance the whole thing out.
The theme of living a lie can be even traced back to many events from S1/S2 that I will discuss further in part two to this rewatch, but for now digest this for a moment.
The best things Chuck provided was giving snippets of future stories or episodes. The build may be slow or often disorganized, but when planting a song like living a lie makes one see just how much the people of Chuck were trying to tell us. It’s up to us to see those clues.
How often do you listen to a song in a episode and say wow now I understand that moment. For example, in Pink Slip, I pointed out about how the train station was the erasing of the past and what we knew Chuck and Sarah as.
The moments of living a lie lost in if you are not here then I don’t want to be either can be significant if you see how the characters interact apart and when they come together.
Chemistry between Chuck and Casey wasn’t a focal point because there was nothing to fix between the two, but for Chuck and Sarah there was a lot needed to be done before we see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Well, that’s all for now. up next is Operation Awesome where we get introduced to a character that will always be hated amongst the masses, but again by the time this episode airs Chuck and Sarah’s problems were created by them.