Chuck: Bad Romance, Sarah the Flip-Flopper, and Subway

After two nearly flawless episodes, Monday night’s Chuck fell flat. While a few moments of genuine awesomeness shone through, there were too many weak scenes to earn this installment high marks. Chuck may have passed his final test, but this episode barely squeaked by.

Spy Training: This was the moment we’d all been waiting for—Chuck's final test as an almost-spy. And he passed with flying colors! Well, more or less. Our hero managed to find Russian spy Anatoli Zevlovski, help identify CIA mole Hunter Perry, and generally be a huge thorn in the Ring’s side, but he was ultimately unable to kill his target. As a spy, then, he’s not perfect—and that’s OK. We don’t want Chuck to lose his Chuck-ness. Still, what happens when no one’s there to bail him out?
Grade: A-

The Handlers: Sarah continues to bug the hell out of me as one of the most wishy-washy characters on television. We get it—she doesn’t want to lose the old Chuck. Why not do something about it, then, instead of encouraging Chuck to become a spy and then whining about it? Although Casey’s no longer officially a spy, I’ll continue to include him in this section. He bumps up the grade a bit, because he was able to help out by shooting Perry when Agent Bartwoski couldn’t.
Grade: C+

The Romance: Here’s where things get really ugly. I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion—and I could be terribly wrong here—that Chuck and Sarah will be together by the end of this season. Great. I’m in no particular hurry, but can we please drop the drawn-out angst? I’d like to see more of a focus on, well, anything but the love that dare not speak its name. Sarah was awful to Chuck throughout the entire episode: She decided to help him complete his mission, then insisted that she no longer loves him because he killed someone. (He didn’t.) And despite the potential he once had, Shaw has become unbearably boring. Even as a rebound, he’s hard to take seriously as competition. Don’t even get me started on that thwarted kiss.
Grade: D+

Ellie, Awesome, and Morgan: You know what this episode was lacking? These guys.
Grade: N/A

The Buy More: This week’s Buy More story provided a nice parallel to the spy mission. While Chuck learned to be a better spy, Casey learned to be a better civilian. I loved the idea of Big Mike taking his most unpleasant employee under his wing. Care to guess where the storyline lost me? Starts with an “S,” ends with an “ubway.” Look, I understand the importance of product placement, especially in a show that was saved by a fan campaign that revolved around a major advertiser. But don’t let it interfere with the story. I want Chuck to stick around past this season at almost any cost, but I draw the line at “Subway can soothe the tummy and the soul.” Save it for the commercials.
Grade: C-

Overall grade: C


Follow TV.com writer Louis Peitzman on Twitter: @LouisAtTVDotCom

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Mar 30, 2010
I think Sarah stating she didn't love Chuck anymore for passing his red test was just a knee jerk reaction. She's still trying to reconcile her feelings for Chuck, for who he was and who he's becoming. I think she took to Shaw so quickly b/c he was an easy rebound. He's already a spy, a killer, so she knows what to expect, no suprises. Chuck however has Sarah's emotions all over the place. After all this is the one guy she was going to leave everything for, but instead he chose the spy game, the life she wanted to leave. In the end, I think Sarah still loves him and this will win out. Spy Chuck or Non-spy Chuck, Sarah will ultimately pick Chuck.
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Mar 29, 2010
Very entertaining show with some great stories but perhaps they could focus more on real threats and not a ficticious R.I.N.G. Also, I am in IT support for UK Banks and the tech is not very credible but then again it is a comedy spy fiction. Whenever I need a password I ask the user and they always give it to me. People are very trusting! Only once was my ID checked at a branch in 25 years.
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Mar 28, 2010
I totally agree with everything you said and the grades you gave
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Mar 28, 2010
If this Sarah Chuck relationship? continues as it is much longer it will destroy the show. Sarah has become a distraction and boring, something I think only could be the case if the writers were getting ready to write her out. Chuck didn't pass the spy test (good) and Casey is now a civilian leaving both with more options for their characters then part of the government. I see they Ellie, Morgan and Awesome returning but no Buy more and more independence.
Another thing telling is Casey has become more of a real person being able to tell that Chuck couldn't kill while Sarah didn't get that and in fact used Chucks love to put him in a position where he would have to kill. Just another reason for Sarah disappearing from the show,
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Mar 26, 2010
I have really tried to stick with this show, but,

Chuck and Sarah either need to get it together,

or drop it completely. Waaaaaaaay too much drama

with them, and, as you said, angst. Also, the minor characters who work at Buy More are, at best,

irritating &, most of the time just down right

creepy, with the exception of big Mike. They need

to lose all connection to that angle, and work on the spy stuff. Also, Ellie and Awesome (definitely

NOT Morgan) need more air time. Casey is actually

the best character of them all. Hope they make

some changes soon, or it's gonna fizzle out.
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Mar 26, 2010
the episode ws nothing compared to the last 2 episode and i really want sarah to make up her mind about things. i wanted morgan and awesome and ellie in the episode they add pizazz although big mike and casey was pretty nice odd but nice
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Mar 25, 2010
@ litlemspepper: da da daaaaaa! [ominous organ music]
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Mar 25, 2010
Has anyone noticed the bracelet which the girl dropped? it looks like the same bracelet that Chuck gave to Sarah during the Christmas episode. What if the girl that Sarah killed is related to Chuck? his mother? hmm..
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Mar 25, 2010
Sarah annoyed me in this episode. She claims she loves Chuck (the non-spy) but instantly ends any conversation Chuck starts about anything non-spy related. Chuck tells Sarah that he believes they could be together when he becomes a spy (if she wishes); yet, she never actually tells Chuck that's not necessary. It's obvious that Chuck doesn't want to be a spy to be a spy but is doing it to get her and feel less like a third wheel in her world. I still have doubts that Shaw and Sarah are even together. They don't act like they are together buy for some reason allow Chuck to think that they are. Why would anyone do that to someone they really loved?
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Mar 24, 2010
Blame it on Jay !!
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Mar 24, 2010
Sarah really was annoying this episode, and I really didn't like the Buymore plot, but it was a alright episode thanks to Chuck. Could have had some Morgan.
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Mar 24, 2010
I completely disagree on your take on Sarah. If there's one thing the series has made clear it's that Sarah is a pretty damaged woman, clarified with the flashbacks to Cougar, but also learning that she's NEVER been allowed to just be "Sam." With her dad she was whoever he needed her to be, and almost immediately she was made to be Sarah Walker by the CIA. The character does NOT exist in a vacuum; she changes and evolves. And for the first time in her life she TRULY allowed herself to love someone, and he broke her heart. If Sarah hasn't been right this season it's because the Prague Incident has pretty much shattered the emotional armor she'd built up over the years to defend herself, and watching Chuck changing has led her to question her OWN identity (pretty specifically stated in Fake Name). Sarah's falling apart at the seams right now emotionally, and I applaud the writers for putting her through the ringer like this. She has SO MANY deeply buried wounds that she NEEDED to endure this collapse in order to really heal. And I think that's what we're going to see happen over the next two episodes as she finally puts her self-identity back together again.
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Mar 24, 2010
Save Chuck! One of the very few shows I truly look forward to watching.
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Mar 24, 2010
You know, I have to disagree with the Subway placement. If it saves the show, I don't care. Have them go to Subway every episode. It was a good scene, so I'm ok with it. I do agree that Sarah's waffling is more frustrating than Brett Favre's. She's got to show some conviction along on the way. I'm still trying to figure out the answer to that obvious question: "what about the intersect"? I mean, they said that if Chuck failed the mission he'd go back to his life. Really? Just like that? How are they supposed to get the intersect out of his head? Isn't that where we all started? That's a bothersome plot hole in my opinion that needs to be addressed. Still a HUGE fan. Love the show more than any other. But, some things need addressing.
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Mar 24, 2010
these episodes are awesome people need to stop giving up on shows are keep watching them this season has been amazing and keeps getting better
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Mar 24, 2010
I've seen Chuck posters all over the Subways in my area, so I found it a bit gratifying to finally see Subway on the show. (I don't know what Subway's serve you at your table, though) It was fun product placement, and what's really tiresome is people complaining any little time a brand name pops up in a show or movie.
As for the rest of the ep, I thought Sarah was the best thing about the episode. The spy mission was the usual stuff we've gotten before (including exploring Chuck's first kill) but it was Yvonne's conflicted performance that was the emotional center of the episode. Keep in mind this entry was originally meant to wind the season down (until NBC ordered more episodes) so the show-runners started getting back to the Chuck/Sarah stuff in a really strong way. I thought her flashback was a bit tacked on, but overall, this felt like another big moment for the series, just like the last couple of episodes, and was nowhere near as bad as this reviewer complains. I'm in the B+, A- area
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Mar 24, 2010
Im going to start by saying that I love this show. All about it. But I have to aggree with your review, Monday's episode was NOT what I expected at all... While I was reading comments tho, something hit me right in the face, and it was brettlee93 who I think nailed it. What Sarah needs is what we all need in life (something wich Im so happy and lucky to have) she needs MORGAN; and I dont mean Morgan as the character, wich is not such a bad choice for her to morgan up a bit, but Morgan as the IDEA. She needs that goofy friend that will go at any lenght to help you, and show you those things about yourself that you dont even know. I believe that it is precisely that turning point the one that will change everything for her and us Chuck fans, so we can all move on past the ever tiring Charah drama and head straight on to that point in this amazing story that we have all been waiting for. Agent Bartwoski, SHINE!!!
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Mar 24, 2010
Chuck is corny and funny enough to pull of such an overly obvious product placement situation in a funny and corny way. So I didn't mind that. But this whole Sarah wish-washy-ness is completely annoying and out-of-character! The lack of Ellie, Awesome, and Morgan and the continued existence of Shaw were HUGE point deductions for me!
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Mar 24, 2010
I hardly watch this show and I'm already tired of her flip flopping
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Mar 24, 2010
Totally love this show... i think its one of the best shows out there. Right now Sarah (or Sam) and Shaw are the only odd things in the show... sticks out like a sore thumb... Its clearly a no-brainer that they use the "confusion" gig to fill in the gaps between the storyline... comon guys.. dont do that...!! Just like how they had to suddenly bring out that her real name was Sam!! And no mention about that after the show...!?!? Thats right.. because then they have to do alot of other explaining!!
Leave the show less mushy and get to the geeky, sloppy and fun Chuck-BuyMore-Casey-Morgan-Elley-Mr.Awesome stuff :)... oh yeh and give Mr.Awesome his back-bone back :)
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Mar 24, 2010
totally agree..this episode was sooooo ....... nothing.....really boreing...pathetic storyline...hopes it gets better...cause i love CHUCK
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Mar 24, 2010
Yay for Symantec's Norton 360 placement. :D
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Mar 24, 2010
I hate hate hate hate shaw but I like having a character that I want to see die everytime he is on the screen lol. As for sarah I see it as she is trying to convince herself she doesnt love him anymore like chuck did until morgan made him admit the truth to himself.
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Mar 24, 2010
Agreed, but Subway he;ped to save Chuck, so im allfor it being in there. God how awful is Rouths acting? Relpace him with a hunk of wood, and give his salary to morgan ellie etc. I dont think anyone will actually notice the switch.
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Mar 24, 2010
It was a well played product placement in comparison to other shows like Eureka and their Speedstick plugs. Now that was bad.
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Mar 24, 2010
I actually don't mind the product placement in Chuck. It's not like it's in every episode, and Big Mike's devotion to Subway is played more for laughs than seriously.
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Mar 24, 2010
I agree with you completely.
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Mar 24, 2010
Honestly, I think the product placement of Subway is funny. :) I can't really explain it past that, but it is! It's great! :)
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Mar 24, 2010
Wow harsh much! never the less ur right.
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Mar 24, 2010
I don't mind the Subway thing at all! I'm grateful to them helping keep Chuck on the air, and there is a Subway near my work and one near my home. I'm not annoyed by them being all over the place. I thought it was ok to leave the family and Morgan out of this episode, and the Buymore stuff was great. I'm glad Chuck didn't kill anyone. I do think Sarah was a total biatch in this one. I normally can't stand Kristin Kreuk (not her fault, just the idiotic writing on Smallville), but I'm starting to think she and Chuck were a cuter couple than he and Sarah are. . .
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Mar 24, 2010
I think that they should have kept Hannah around a bit longer. Actually have Sarah and Chuck having real relationships with other people. Kristen krueks run on Smallville may have lasted way too long, but I think that she would have been a nice addition to the cast in a recurring role. It would have been a good way to show Sarah and Chucks relationship in a new way as both friends and partners. Plus with Morgan now in on things, it could have added to his character too with him having to keep the secret from Hannah. Instead, Chuck broke it off and we are back to the same back and forth with Chuck and Sarah.
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Mar 24, 2010
Subway paid NBC to keep Chuck on the air. Therefore, Chuck *is* the commercial.
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Mar 23, 2010
I have to give Casey an A+ grade for his recent character development. Considering his past opinions of Chuck we see that, in his own way, he come to respect Chuck even though he remains to see Chuck as a pacifist. Sarah is, frankly, getting on my nerves but the blame for that falls on the writers, of course. Now, why am I annoyed with Sarah? Sarah, from most of what we have seen is a hardened spy. Chuck, the innocent and bumbling civilian who has developed into a spy with help in numerous ways, has re-awakened her long lost memories and sense of self that was outside of her job. Seeing Chuck become hardened is disturbing to her because she is seeing a genuinely decent person turn into what she doesn't like about herself. She's seeing what happened to her happen to someone she honestly cares about. It can be harder to watch someone else get hurt than getting hurt, yourself. Okay, that part makes sense and I can see the validity. What doesn't work and annoys me is that her seeing Chuck become the person she doesn't like - even though she doesn't know the whole story - drives her into the arms of another guy? Meh. Lame writing. Even worse is the simple fact that the writers, IMHO, have made Sarah look like a tramp. Let's look back at all the male "good guy" spies who have been on the show. Sarah always falls for them in one way or another. Sarah is supposed to be a spy and while she may have her weaknesses like everyone else the way they have made her look like a tramp actually harms the independent and strong personality that her character is supposed to possess. I agree that Sarah's whining and waffling is simply bad. It's bad writing. I'm not saying that Sarah and Chuck should be an item with their love for one another written in stone but there simply has to be a better way of approaching the plot in why they aren't supposed to be together without doing irreparable harm to one of the main characters. Lastly, I don't like Shaw at all. The fact that Shaw is involved with Sarah is inconsequential. I simply find the character 2 dimensional. I also find contradictions in what we've seen from his character and his background. He comes across as a square peg temporarily put in a round hole where the wrongness of it is simply glaringly obvious.
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Mar 23, 2010
Shirtless Chuck! :D
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Mar 23, 2010
I agree that the episode had a few "sticking points" plotwise, especially Sarah's sudden move to kiss Chuck. What?! And her sudden revelation that she no longer loves him anymore just because he completed his job as she told him to do. She knew he would so he could serve his country, honor his father's trust in him, and be with her! Sarah's lack of character arc disappoints me, and we have GOT to get Casey into the CIA. I realized last night he's out of the NSA, but why can't we have him join the CIA?! He certainly has the credentials, & they could definately use him. As for Subway, I thought it was a pretty humorous way to bring the actual restaurant & product onto centerstage, but of course, it was a gross moment because Jeffery Barnes was there! We gotta give Jeff a makeover and set him up with Henrietta. I'm sure she's devestated that Emmitt Milbarge fell off the face of the earth!
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Mar 23, 2010
I agree with your grade and analysis of the Spy-Training. That last question , about next time, however, is the reason why I wish Chuck was able to do what he was asked to do. I would not have loved him any less. I also agree about the handlers. and the romance, except I'm not too keen on seeing them together...I just want her to make a choice once and for all. I disagree about the rest of the family (including Morgan). I don't think they needed to be in this particular episode, I just hope they're not kept away for too long. I had no problems w/ the product placement, or "the line". The line fit Big Mike's character perfectly. It sounds exactly like something he would say.
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Mar 23, 2010
great episode but i think the next one will be really special!
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Mar 23, 2010
the product placements up until now i thought were awesome.. funny but yet not taking away from the story... I was ok with Big Mike talking about his favorite sub in that one episode but i'm with you on that subway quote went a little too far.. I could of maybe got past that whole scene if not for that quote.. Yes i know they need to be in the show but not like this.. It needs to be funny and clever like the USA network does with Psych and Burn Notice for product placements
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Mar 23, 2010
Product placement is annoying if it is really obvious but otherwise it's okay.
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Mar 23, 2010
Funny thing is, for as great as the last episode was, hardly anyone watched it when it aired.



As for this episode, I really saw nothing wrong with it.
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Mar 23, 2010
I agree that this episode was terribly weak when shown after the last two episodes, however there's a lot I disagree with you on. For one I'm sick and tired of the romance stuff; have been for a long time now. And one of the reasons I've been sick of it is because I knew it would get to this point where I just don't give a s**t anymore. Now it seems Chuck's spy advancement is going that same route. I wanted him to shoot soooooo bad, because as it stands now, were still stuck in the same damn loop we've been in for months. I get that we don't want to lose Chuck's Chuck-ness, but there's going to come a time where Chuck IS a real spy. Going out on spy missions for months at a time will become natural and at that point he has to be willing to kill(or at least shoot someone in the leg). Maybe this is just what I wish would happen, but I compare all shows to the structure of Lost now. With each passing season the show has to evolve or else it becomes stale. To me, that means saying goodbye to a lot of what we love about the current show. So stop running in circles!
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Mar 23, 2010
I guess I'm the only person in the world who doesn't mind product placement. Normal human beings go to Subway, what's the big deal? What, there aren't any foods/restaurants/products that you willingly sing the praises of? It's only a problem when it's awkward and interferes with the show, and I honestly don't think it did. I liked the episode. Loved the references this week, Eastern Promises, Casino Royale, Rocky.
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Mar 23, 2010
I completely disagree with you. I loved this episode. I didn't see any problems with it whatsoever. Subway's going to have to be there. They paid all that money. Its a fact of life. Expect it and move on.
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Mar 23, 2010
So true. Everything.
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