Chuck Versus the American Hero

Episode Reviews (18)

574 votes
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  • 5.0


    By Boo_Radley, Oct 25, 2012

    I'm a huge 'Chuck' fan, but this is the last in an arc of episodes I don't love. The dynamic between Chuck and Sarah after he deserts her in Prague does not make for happy viewing. When Chuck finally becomes an agent, and invites Sarah to accompany him to Rome as part of his team, she says "I'm going to Washington, okay? And I'm going with Shaw." She then explains that she can't be with him because "you're not the same guy that I fell for." When Chuck asks why, Sarah looks at him in disgust and shouts "you killed somebody, Chuck! I saw you kill the mole!" Too honourable to implicate Casey as the shooter, Chuck asks Sarah to believe him when he tells her that what she saw wasn't as straightforward as she thinks. "I don't" she says. Sarah is really cold in this scene, and I found myself thinking "why isn't Chuck fun anymore?"

    Sarah's relationship with Shaw is so cold and unconvincing, and she behaves so coldly to Chuck, that she just seems cold all over; miserable and angry and unpleasant. We know she's not actually like that, and at the end of the episode when Casey confesses to killing the mole, her face lights up and she's back to her old self, ready to run away with Chuck and be happy. However, what doesn't work in this story is her inexplicable attitude to Chuck. I get that she's hurt that Chuck chose his spy life over running away with her in Prague, and she's genuinely afraid that he's becoming a hardened CIA agent, but even if he becomes the toughest, coolest spy in the CIA, he's still no worse than Shaw, or Bryce, or Sarah herself.

    Last season she executed someone who threatened Chuck and his family and friends. Chuck didn't understand how she could be so cold-blooded, but she explained that it's what she's trained to do, and it was necessary to protect him. Now she won't offer him the same understanding. She's outraged that he apparently shot someone, and won't believe him when he asks her to trust him. She won't even look him in the eye. In Season 2 Episode 12, she's angry with Chuck because he's not coping with the spy life. She shouts "I don't know what's happened to you, but this is our job! [T]o protect...the country and anybody else who needs protecting. We do whatever it takes no matter what! Did you forget that?" Chuck is not actually a spy at this point in the story, but an asset. He's never had spy training and he hasn't made any promises to the US government. And yet he's expected to have the same devotion to duty, make the same sacrifices and take the same risks as Sarah and Casey. In Season 3, now that Chuck is officially a spy, Sarah seems to despise him. I don't find it persuasive, and I don't think it makes for good viewing.

    Fortunately by the end of the episode, things pick up, and before long Sarah is cute and fun again, and Chuck is Chuck. Shaw is much more interesting as a bad guy (I never felt it was plausible that someone essentially the same age as Sarah was supposed to be her superior, so high up in the ranks that he can issue orders, remotely take over commercial aircraft and decide with full authority whether or not Chuck qualified as a "real" spy). The ensuing drama is compelling rather than awkward. I just wish they hadn't wasted so much on this multi-episode diversion, in which Sarah is unappealing and mean, inexplicably attracted to the impossibly handsome but desperately boring Shaw, and Chuck is a bit lost, having a brief fling with the irritating Hannah and vacillating between loving Sarah and being totally relaxed about her relationship with Shaw.

    One last thing: I find it implausible throughout this episode arc that Shaw, Sarah and Chuck use the term "spy" so frequently and in so many contexts. They rarely refer to themselves as CIA agents, which sounds more realistic. Beckman, Chuck, Casey and Sarah all refer to Chuck as a "real spy." When Chuck can't flash anymore, he says "I'm not a spy anymore." Beckman tells Sarah to make Chuck into a "real spy," so Sarah tells Chuck "if you want to be a real spy, you have to act like one." Chuck says "I am a real spy," and Sarah says "a real spy would have flashed [and] been able to defend himself." I'm pretty sure "real spies" don't actually refer to themselves as "real spies" this often. It sounds amateurish and cartoony.

    They also have a lot of dumb rules about what a "real spy" is and isn't. Sarah tells Chuck "You're a spy now, Chuck. You have to keep your feelings to yourself." Carina says "spies don't fall in love," referring to it as the "cardinal rule of spying," before telling Chuck to "go be a spy." Later, Sarah says "Spies do not have feelings. Feelings get you killed. You need to learn to bury them in a place deep inside." (Of course, anyone who has ever watched a romance comedy knows that burying your feelings in a place deep inside is exactly not what you're supposed to do: you're supposed to express your feelings, be spontaneous, live in the moment, stop the wedding, say those three little words, get the girl, etc.) Chuck later agrees "You're right, I'm not a real spy. I'm emotional and that makes me a liability." The cliches don't end there. Sydney says "spies don't say please," Shaw refers to covert ops as "the spy business," and insists that if Sarah and Casey help him out "he'll never be a real spy" (which is ridiculous) and that "until you start flashing again, you're no longer a spy." When he wants to destroy the Castle with Chuck in it, he tells Sarah "you have to think like a spy" and Sarah says "I am thinking like a spy." The all use terms like "spy-life," "spy-proofing," "spy test" and "spy-related," and I've lost count of the number of times they say "real spy," "perfect spy" and sometimes "true spy" and "full-fledged spy." Later, Chuck makes Morgan an unofficial spy, and the word has finally lost all meaning.

    That said, I actually love Chuck, and the episodes that follow this are amazing.moreless

    0 0

  • 9.0

    This Is The Big Risky Step Chuck Needs...

    By SamuelLang, Feb 16, 2011

    This episode is the next step for CHUCK, the show is great and the way it has been developed so far has kept me gripped from start to finish and now that CHUCK is getting better and moving on with what he wants to become (A Real Spy), i think the show is moving along with him... This Episode gave it all, funny smart and best of all a cliffhanger to CHUCK and his love triangle.

    With alot of people not giving this show the chance it should have, maybe a move to a more action CHUCK is what the show needs and with the last couple of episodes we have had, its kept alot of it CHUCKness that we all know and love to watch as well so bring on Episode 13... Thanks for readingmoreless

    3 0

  • 5.5

    Are we nearing the end

    By Space_Monkey_uk, Sep 29, 2010

    As we dont get chuck here in the UK, I get my fix of chuck once a month by post from a friend in the US. I am eagerly awaiting the next 4 episodes but I have to wonder from what Ive seen from this latest series if Chuck is coming to an end. This series has seen chuck become less of an intersect loaded asset and more a real spy I cant see where they can go from here without loosing the loveable slightly incompetant and comical Chuck we have come to know. Chuck, Sarah Casey and the gang from the Buymore are a winning combination but if things continue the way they have Chuck as we know him could be coming to an end and a spin off series with Chuck the Real Spy possibly coming in the near futuremoreless

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  • 10

    Series are heating up high again.

    By enricbr9, Jun 14, 2010

    Simply spectacular.

    As I understood, without subs and such, it has been a terrible episode.

    Large involvement of ordinary people, like Captain Awesome, Morgan and Jeffster in a secret CIA mission.

    Also, great show of sincerity of John Casey telling the truth to Sarah about Chuck's red test.

    About Shaw, he scares me. I said that the Red Sarah would test out some way, and the truth is that it surprised me.

    About Sarah, I've finally seen the Sarah we all knew, but in the first part of the episode she gave me a disgusting sensation. I hope now that Shaw doesn't do something crazy because at the end of it they painted that as such.

    In summary, the level rose again and produced a huge season finale promises to be spectacular, which I can't wait to see.

    By the way, It has been 2 episodes since they said "Chuck's going to Rome for an undercover mission"...will that happen any day?moreless

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  • 10

    Holy cow! Possible spoilers

    By abiagi, Jun 14, 2010

    Why is this show in danger of being canceled!?! I just don't get it. There are not too many shows out there right now that makes you love or hate characters so much. And no other show brings you comedy, action, romance and suspense like Chuck. This was a perfect episode in my eyes. I'm really glad to see they utilized almost every character with the exception of big Mike. The balance of action, romance, comedy and suspense was perfect! After last week's episode my first initial thought of Sarah's red test was that she killed Chuck's mom. Mostly because of that bracelet falling out of her purse. I wonder if that was intentional to make you believe it was Chuck's mom rather than Shaws wife. I'm personally glad that it turned out to be Shaw's wife. It totally just gave the show a new dynamic, and we get to see that dynamic in next week's episode! If NBC cancels Chuck I may never watch NBC again! Great, great episode!moreless

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  • 10

    amazing i hope they dont cancel chuck, to possibly save chuck go to eonline and vote for one of your favorite shows to maybe save. voting closes april 4

    By peace4ever95, Jun 14, 2010

    this episode was awesome and there are so many other words to explain this episode i loved it it was brilliant i dont know why chuck might get cancelled to save chuck you need to go to eonline and vote for one show to save click on chuck and then after that hit sumbit come on guys dont let chuck down chuck deserves to stay and it is amazing show i know this isnt really a review i just thought i would spread the word the voting closes on april 4 so go vote for chuck to stay and dont let an amazing tv show go downmoreless

    3 1

  • 10

    Chuck try to get Sara for his Rome's mision. Morgan, Casey and Awesome joined him . The ring meet Shaw, that risk himself for destroying this organization

    By zizuEM, Jun 14, 2010

    Extraordinay and amazing Episode!

    The writers have made an odd job on this season, they change the climate of the story, losing jocularity.

    This was criticized and questioned the existentiality of Chuck. however this episode again magnify the series. and knowing the end of the second season, we hope the season finale of chuck (and maybe of the serie)will be a classic. Chuck todays became a Clasic

    This show is unique, and this episode a piece of really perfection.

    The direction was amazing, with a minimalist sense of expressing much in short shots, dialogue is not extensive but accurate, and great performances. the plot was on a great level.

    we saw on this epi the Action and suspense in a dose of pure voragine, mixed with the extraordinary quota of drama, this time of commitment (shaw revenge him wife's murderered) against frindship or love, or chuck losing sara.

    The first scene filmed like an old-english-serie, was a good tribute for the old spy series.

    Casey, Morgan, Awesome first, and later jeffster put the share of humor.

    And the unexpected final twist, is a demostration of the good work from the writers (they thought the story from the beginning of the season).

    Today chuck is received in a cult, if before it had doubts.moreless

    9 0

  • 10

    I can see it now... Chuck, Season 8.

    By xanderodell, Jun 14, 2010

    Wow, wow and wow! I love this episode because of its feel of the intro. I feel like I'm getting good at this spy stuff too coz I think I can see the future of this TV Show! Since Chuck didn't really pass his Spy Exam I think this will be his own personal spy exam. I feel that he really needs to kill somebody, who and how are the hard ones. The more I think about it, I believe that he can't be a Batman like Spy forever, too many trails, too many enemies, and too many loved ones alive to use to get to him. SOOOOO.. I think he'll kill Shaw, he'll have the choice. With no more tranq bullets left all he has is a loaded Beretta, a choice needs to be made, kill Shaw or lose Sarah. Or Kill Random bad guy or lose sarah. Hehe.moreless

    8 1

  • 10


    By Rollingfire14, Jun 14, 2010

    This was a perfect american super spy episode. I just loved it, the direction and the thrill was just awesome. Chuck really has grown up and deserves the best. The writers have done an excellent job by setting in the missing puzzle links for Shaw's wife's death and Sarah. This episode just made Chuck awesome to super - awesome.

    the rest of the crew did perfect especially Morgan, Casey, Awesome and the stalkers.

    Expecting loadz after this episode as the end was just so ?? so i cant wait for the next episode.

    The chemistry between Sarah and Chuck is reborn, could be seen after Casey tells the truth, this spices up things more.moreless

    9 0

  • 7.5

    10s? Not even

    By RobGrizz, Jun 14, 2010

    Was this the best episode of Chuck ever? No. In fact, I was more put off by the Sarah/Chuck angst this time around, whereas I feel the show has done a good job of not driving us crazy with it this season. But it was a solid episode overall. If things feel like they're moving fast, its because next week was the original intended finale. I'm not complaining about the pace, because right now, the show's forward momentum is fantastic. Last week I loved Sarah. Last week it felt right that Chuck was back in pursuit of her. This week I felt these elements were disjointed. I enjoyed Casey, Devon and Morgan playing Chuck's support crew, and the highlight of the episode was the reconnaissance at the restaurant. All the players got some nice material and were handled well. But honestly (and this may come from my general dislike of Brandon Routh) I just couldn't get into the rest of the plot and the second half of the episode. I didn't care that he was captured (The Ring zeroes in on him every week, it feel like), and it was odd to me that the General would give Chuck all this random 'free time.' (Aren't there more pressing matters?) It was like the entire episode paid service to Chuck trying to get the girl. It was like the real world was put on hold. Now Jeff and Lester got some good stalking stuff, (when are nunchuks not funny?) and Ellie got a great moment. There was even a somewhat brilliant twist with Sarah and Shaw's late wife. But Sarah's wishy-washy confusion over Chuck or Shaw got on my nerves (am I watching Grey Anatomy?) and I was disappointed it took Casey to confess he killed that agent and not Chuck for Sarah to make a decision. I mean, Sarah really should have known Chuck could never kill somebody. It's like she doesn't know him at all.

    I dunno, folks. This one may have been trying too hard. The American Hero, the slo-mo of Chuck carrying Shaw out of the explosion (I laughed; I half-expected Sarah to start jumping up and down with Glee)..this one didn't work for me.moreless

    1 11

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