Season 3 Episode 12

Chuck Versus the American Hero

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Mar 29, 2010 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
578 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Chuck gets his first assignment as a real spy, posing as an independently wealthy young expatriate in Rome. When he finds out that he can choose between the best agents to join his team, he has only Sarah on his mind, so he and his friends team up to win her back.moreless

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  • Great!!!!!!. . .

    . . .more chuck and sarah bullsh!t

    The episode would have been like 10 fold better; if chuck and sarah's continued copyright infringement on on 'Ross and Rachel" never happened.

    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
  • This Is The Big Risky Step Chuck Needs...

    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
  • Are we nearing the end

    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
  • Series are heating up high again.

    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
Zachary Levi

Zachary Levi

Charles "Chuck" Irving Bartowski

Yvonne Strahovski

Yvonne Strahovski

Sarah Walker

Joshua Gomez

Joshua Gomez

Morgan Grimes

Ryan McPartlin

Ryan McPartlin

Devon "Captain Awesome" Christian Woodcomb

Scott Krinsky

Scott Krinsky

Jefferson Barnes

Vik Sahay

Vik Sahay

Lester Patel

Mark Sheppard

Mark Sheppard

The Director

Guest Star

Roger R. Cross

Roger R. Cross

Ring Agent

Guest Star

Mary Pat Gleason

Mary Pat Gleason

Morgue Technician

Guest Star

Bonita Friedericy

Bonita Friedericy

General Diane Beckman

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • It is revealed that the woman Sarah shot as part of her red test was Daniel Shaw's wife Evelyn Shaw.

    • Despite the fact that Casey was dismissed and denied access to the Castle, as seen in previous episodes, in this one, Sarah calls for his help through morse code, and seconds later he can be seen inside the castle as if he still had complete access to it.

    • Featured Music:
      "At The Checkout Counter" by Billy Martin (Casey and Morgan talk to Chuck at the Buy More)
      "Down River" by The Temper Trap (Chuck reveals his feelings to Sarah; Casey tells Sarah the truth)

  • QUOTES (8)

    • (Sarah refuses to join Chuck's team and then Chuck decides to quit)
      Casey: There goes our chance to ever get out of the Buy More.
      Morgan: Really? Is that what they teach you in the Marine Corps? Hmm? Roll over and die?
      Casey: This isn't exactly combat, Morgan.
      Morgan: That's where you're wrong, Casey. Because is a battlefield.

    • Chuck: Wasn't this the plan? There's nothing stopping us from being together now. I passed my spy test.
      Sarah: That's why I can't be with you, okay? You're not... you're not the same guy that I fell for.
      Chuck: How? Why? Because I'm an agent now? How am I not the same guy?
      Sarah: You killed somebody, Chuck. I saw you kill the mole!
      Chuck: Sarah, I know what you think you saw on the train tracks, but it's not that simple. It's more complicated than that, and I need you to believe me.
      Sarah: I don't.

    • Chuck: (To Sarah) And since I've already given the fancy eloquent version of this speech before, right now I'm just gonna be blunt and honest. I love you. One more time just because it feels really nice to say it: I love you. I feel like I've been bottling this up forever: I love you.

    • General Beckman: (to Chuck) For God's sake, put that gun away. You're a spy now.

    • Morgan: Man down! I've been tased. I can't feel my legs. Bring a stretcher, a wheelbarrow. Possibly change of pants.

    • Ellie: Hold on for a minute. You guys expect me to believe that the three of you got my husband beat up and tossed in jail to save my brother's love life?
      Awesome: Yes. Yes we did.
      Casey: We're as shocked as you are.

    • Jeff: It's insulting. Do they have any idea how much stalking experience I have?
      Lester: If only they did, Jeffrey. You're very prolific. You're the--the Picasso of creepiness.
      Jeff: It's true. And this is my Blue period.

    • Jeff: Stalker's log. Stalkee is behind a gray van with another male, possibly for a sexual encounter. Both men are physically fit. Should be lively.
      Lester: Jeffrey? Don't make me afraid to be alone with you.

  • NOTES (4)


    • Since Brandon Routh previously played an American hero in Superman Returns, that may have been the reason for this episode's title.