Outtake #2 - From "Morgan and the Ninja"

Another outtake, this one more of an original draft of a scene that got changed for the better. Still, I had to cut some of my favorite lines to make it work.

18 OCTOBER 2007
13:22 PDT

Though he expected that both Sarah and Casey would be using his absence to get some quiet office-time in, Chuck found Sarah sitting on the front steps of the Bachelor Pad, as she had coined his new apartment with Casey. Though she was staring out into the courtyard, completely relaxed, he knew better. She could probably rattle off a detailed and terse description of every person that had walked by, as well as any exit point to the courtyard, the temperature, a few facts about the weather, and fourteen ways to kill somebody with the potted plant next to her.

He approached warily, remembering her warning from the night before. “Hey, Sarah.”

“Hey yourself.” She took her time rising to her feet. Flip-flops today, he noted. She was really taking the Southern California thing seriously. “What on earth is that?”

“My new computer.” Chuck set the huge box on the front step and leaned against the post, grateful for a reprieve before he had to carry it upstairs. His body had spent the last two hours reminding him why people generally didn’t get into car accidents for the fun of it.

“Chuck, you already have a computer.”

“With thirteen different ways for the government to track my activities already pre-installed. Pass.”

“You found them already? You were supposed to be resting.”

Chuck moved a shoulder. “I was resting. Computer work is relaxing to me.”

“Nerd.” She smiled.

“Undeniably.” Chuck nudged his new computer box with the toe of one beloved chuck. “I purchased this one with my own money, for my own personal use. I’ll view any attempt to hack it, put a tracking program in it, or alter it in any way an invasion of my privacy.”

“You do know they’ll just order me to do it anyway.”

“Yes. Which is why I’m compromising. You and Casey will have access where you’ll be able to view my activity and make reports, but all files will be read-only.”

Sarah lifted an eyebrow. “Wow. You’ve given this some thought.”

It hurt his maligned body to sit, but he did so anyway. Sarah sat next to him, but she watched the courtyard rather than him. “You, me, Casey, we’re all three of us in a bad situation. I’m doing my best not to make it work. I’m not used to having to deal with other people anymore, so you’ll have to let me know when I overstep. But we’re all here for the same reason, so we might as well get along.”

“Is it so bad here?”

“For me, no.” Chuck shrugged. “I’ve got Ellie back, and Morgan, too. And his Wall of Chuck—”

“Wall of Chuck?”

“I’d describe it for you, but I don’t think you’d believe me. You’ll just have to see it sometime.” Chuck smiled. “We’ll make a day of it. You can visit all of my embarrassments from the third grade on.”

“And who says they’re not already in your file?” Sarah asked. She twisted just enough to pick up a takeout bag, which she set on his lap. “I brought you lunch because all you guys have here is microwaveable, and you really shouldn’t be putting that junk in your body.”

“Hey, they’ve started making Spaghetti-Os with real vegetables now, you know. It says so right on the label.”

“I bet you believe in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus, too.”

“Don’t forget about the Easter Bunny. Everybody always forgets him. Give the bunny a break.”

Chuck pulled a white-wrapped bundle out of the bag, but didn’t unwrap it. “C’mon, we can eat at the table inside.”

“I say we should just eat this out here.”

Out here? Chuck’s eyes roved over the courtyard—everything seemed so open and far away, and who knew what sort of danger could come from that distance? He’d much rather be in the safety of the great indoors...


review - 3.10 - chuck vs. the tic tac

Tonight's episode rocked. We got Chuck kicking butt (even if it was a little contrived that he would have to take a pill to do so when the Intersect has handled six armed guys with no problems before), we got Casey kicked butt (I still say Robert Patrick looked like Brian Kraus during the fight), we got Sarah kicking butt, but best of all, we got teamwork again. I have missed the teamwork so much, and it only seems to happen whenever Shaw's not around. Don't believe me?

Best Casey/Chuck teamwork of the season, post-Shaw? Chuck Vs. the Mask, when they rig up the dupe mask with a smoker. Shaw's still in Castle at this point.

Best Casey advice of the season? When Chuck goes off-mission and calls Casey from the plane in Chuck Vs. First Class, Casey tells him to get taken.

Best Chuck/Sarah teamwork of the season, post-Shaw? Working together to break into the subterranean (the arrow? BRILLIANT) CIA holding facility to break Casey out. Second place is when Shaw gets benched in "Mask" and the two have a snippy conversation about Hannah while attempting to steal the mask. Dangling in midair? Beating guys up? Tension? Heck yeah.

I really hope that now that Casey's a civilian, he comes out with the fact that he loathes Shaw just as much as the rest of us. Since Shaw came along, the only explosion Casey's been around wasn't caused by him.

Bah to that, I say.

Sarah is currently getting massacred at the Google Groups forum and while I see their point, YS is playing the role of Sarah so well that I actually feel a great deal of sympathy for her. Chuck broke her trust at the beginning of the season and she's not the most emotionally balanced person, so I get that it's going to take time to get our heroes and heroine on the same foot. But if Devon can put his faith in Chuck again, Sarah can, too. She should out-awesome Awesome. Talk about fun.

All right, now is the time for my insane theory of the week--Sarah's playing Shaw. That's what she and Beckman talked about on the plane back to DC. It's suspected that the guy is actually tied in with the Ring (how else is he suddenly the CIA's number one expert on an organization they'd never heard of until the season finale?), and Sarah's being super-spy Sarah to get in close with him.

It's purely wishful thinking at this point, but there HAS to be a twist. There HAS to be.

And Chuck accidentally burning Casey in the beginning of the episode? Made me laugh until my sides split. Then Sarah's taking his gun away nearly made me cry. Casey/Sarah -- One True Partnership.

- Frea


Outtake #1 - Back in the Bunker

The following is an outtake from "What Fates Impose," the fanfic I have going on up at ff.net. This is from the second chapter, titled Go Fish. The chapter already contains one flashback in the form of Chuck and Sarah have drinks and play cards in the bunker, and I had included this scene just to kind of show the Chuck of then just how hardcore the life of the spy was. It ended up dragging down the chapter, and even though I love this characterization of Chuck and Bryce being friends, the other flashback was much, much more important.

17 NOVEMBER 2005
BUNKER 77142135
16:42 OMST

Sarah didn’t emerge from the bunk room at all the afternoon she and Bryce arrived. Chuck really couldn’t say that he was surprised. It didn’t matter that Bryce had good tactical reasons for wanting his partner to meet their new tech support—promising a girl Cabo and delivering Siberia was just something even the incomparable Bryce Larkin couldn’t pull off.

“Give her time,” Bryce said at one point while he and Chuck faced off in Mortal Kombat, a game Chuck had rewired for his system. “She got winged on this last mission and—”

“She got shot?! Why isn’t she in the hospital?” Chuck half-rose as if to go drag her there himself.

Bryce, however, waved his hands in a frantic plea that Chuck shut up before he bodily hauled Chuck back into his seat. “Shh, for Pete’s sake—geez. She’ll hear.”

“What the hell is she doing here? Geez, Bryce, she should be in an ER or something.”

“I said she got winged. It grazed her. She’s been shot worse.”

“Either way.” This time Chuck did rise.

“Where are you going?”

“To go put the medical kit in an even more obvious position, just in case, duh.”

When Chuck returned from leaving the medkit in the middle of the table, Bryce hadn’t moved from the desk chair. He’d somehow even managed to prop his feet up on the desk, something Chuck’s height wouldn’t allow him to do in the confined space.

“Still the same old Chuck, huh?”

Chuck tucked a leg under himself as he returned to his own seat—and to Sub-Zero, his waiting fighter. “Don’t know what you mean.”

“Sure you do. Make me a promise—tell me they’ll never take that away from you.”

“This chair?” Chuck said, deliberately doing his best Eastwood. “Sure. They want this chair, they have to pry it from my cold, dead fingers.”

Bryce laughed, and Chuck sensed an underlying edge of tension he didn’t trust.

But yeah, I also cut this because Sarah probably shouldn't be drinking with a gunshot wound, even a minor one.


Still Alive

I've had six reviews already today and not a single one has threatened to kill me. I have dual feelings of relief and disappointment. On the one hand, it's nice to not have somebody out for my blood. On the other hand, c'mon, screaming reviews are always funny!

Ah well.

Here's a little bit of music to really get into how I feel today:

Now back to writing. Spoiler alert, Fernando makes an appearance.




The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

So I have to thank my beta reader, ohtheconspiracy. I sent this poor person 50+ pages last night and asked if I could have the 13-page chapter beta'd by Thursday. Not only did Con beta the chapter, but also returned it to me a full 24 hours before I expected it!!

Tomorrow marks a massive change in the story, and this is what Con says about it:

"I'm going to be honest, though--
Your readers are going to kill you.
No joke."

Oh man, I can't wait. I'm going to annoy a lot of people tomorrow, but there's so much going on in the story right now that they don't know, so all I can do is clap my hands in glee and dance.



review - chuck vs. the fake name (01 mar 2010)

To clarify: my issues with episode 8 of the third season has nothing to do whatsoever with the acting of Yvonne Strahovski, Zac Levi, Adam Baldwin, Sarah Lancaster, or even Ryan McPartlin. Notice that I left Brandon Routh off that list. There's a reason for that. Kristin Kreuk? Meh. Take her or leave her, I don't really care one way or the other. I'm not a fan of Smallville, so there's no pre-conceived notions about her. I mean, I did take siblings to see Street Fighter last year. I didn't like it (Chris Klein channeling a terrible John Wayne? Yeah. I wish I'd made that sentence up), but Kristin overall was okay.

But the aforementioned actors knocked the episode out of the park. Were any of them to get nominated for an Emmy, this would be an episode to submit.

So what were my issues?

1. The reveal of Sarah's real name. This is a moment fans have been waiting for since "Chuck Vs. the Wookie," and due to NBC being completely unwilling to promote Chuck during the overlong Olympics, there was absolutely NOTHING promoted about it. Fail Award #1 goes to the NBC promo department for that one.

And then two and a half years of Chuck scrambling to find out some tiny scrap of Sarah's past, taking whatever she'll give him, and Sarah just blurts it out to Shaw.

And oh crap, now that I'm thinking about it, it makes perfect sense. I hate it when my brain plays devil's advocate.

The rule of Season Three so far seems to be "All Roads Lead to Prague," where Chuck left Sarah in the lurch and instead of finding a diner, sitting down, and discussing it like rational adults, they left everybody (including each other) hanging and with resentful feelings. So far Prague has managed to make Chuck go into hibernation mode, break the Intersect, screw up the Carina mission, send Sarah into an emotional tailspin, give Shaw reason to be suspicious of Sarah... And now it's breaking Sarah little by little, combined with seeing Chuck go down a dark path. Again, the sensible adults go right out the window--Sarah's hiding from the reality by using Shaw instead of confronting Chuck about it. On the one hand, it IS mature (Chuck is, after all, an adult), but it's also a little cowardly not to face up to Chuck about it. You see your friend going down a dark path, the best thing you can do is let them know and be there for them even if they do blow up at you.

From an objective standpoint, I can even admire this plotline. It's in the mechanics that it breaks down. Strahovski could make reading a phone book dramatic. Routh, on the other hand, can make the dramatic look like reading a phone book. I know he's a major "geek get" for a lowish cost, but I'd much rather have an unknown who can act than a well-known that can't.

So to have her completely and totally sell the "my name is Sam" scene and to have Shaw just stand there like a lump...

A little disheartening, really.

I'm not 100% sold on the actual name itself, but I'm working myself around to it. Right now in my head, she's "Samsarah" or "Sarahsam," depending on how much I want her to sound like a hobbit. I do find it neat that they let Strahovski pick her name and that she's known since the pilot.

My personal bet? Samantha Lisa Ryder. Though I would take Watson, too. A little wink-wink-nudge-nudge to Sarah being Chuck's MJ (I'll cover those parallels in another post).

2. Shaw Stealing Sarah's Dessert

Seriously, do NOT take somebody else's chocolate. This is a cardinal rule in dealing with women, Shaw.

Wait, does Shaw have a first name? Oh, right. Daniel. Another common name for a spy vs. the irregular names for the non-spies (even when he goes into spy mode, Chuck becomes Charles).

3. Hannah

So far, kudos on not making her connected to the spy world. But wow, that girl is like two steps away from exhuming the dead Peaches II and boiling it on Chuck's stove. She meets this guy on a plane, moves to a new city to work a job with him, and spends her time stalking him. There's "moving quickly" and then there's "ludicrous speed." I appreciate her arc being wrapped up rapidly (or so it seems right now), but dang, that was fast.

4. The Assassin

He was so pretty, and so underused.

5. Shaw's "Nobility"

For the record, it's chivalrous to defend the girl you like, I get that. Sucker-punching a guy who can't hit back? Douche move, dude. Sarah's stunt with the ankle-cuffs was funnier and much more tasteful.

And now on to things I liked!

1. Zachary Levi

YOWZA, he sold every single scene he was in. Gruff assassin with just enough Chuck to make it funny, the heartbreaking scenes with Hannah, the start of the realization at the toast that although Hannah feels like she's exactly where she's supposed to be, he doesn't at all. And his reaction to Sarah just blurting out her real name to Shaw made my stomach hurt, it was so well done.

2. They broke the rule.

There's an unspoken rule in the Chuck universe--threatening Sarah automatically triggers the hero switch in Chuck. Point a screw driver at her head, tell Chuck you're going to kill her after you're done with him, try to abduct her outside the Buy More, and Chuck will set your guys against each other, pull off the biggest bluff of the century, or perform a flawless Tarzan to save the day. That's just the way it is.

But this episode? Sarah had a gun to her head and Chuck couldn't flash. Granted, he couldn't flash before that but he still tried to punch the assassin anyway! It was up to Casey to save the day.

My personal take on this? Perfect setup for next week's game-changing episode.

3. Return of Big Sister Ellie!

Title says it all. I adore Ellie. I'm so glad Lancaster got a better show and character than Everwood to be on.

4. Jeff

Should've known he was a Charah shipper. Welcome to the fold, buddy. We stocked the fridge up with your best friend Beer and the Juke Box has every Styx, Queen, and Supertramp hit all ready to go.

One final grievance to air and then I'm done.

Simply put, I miss the color. I don't know if it's just the sets they've been choosing or if it's Brandon Routh, but it feels like every time Shaw is on set, the color is just sucked out of everything. One of my favorite things about Season Two was the bright, vibrant colors in every scene--the reunion, the castle, the fair in "Gravitron," Awesome and Ellie's beach wedding. But every episode with Shaw in it seems to me to be predominantly brown/gray. Maybe I'm just reacting to his clothing, but the shots in his hotel room (shut your curtains, dude, you're wanted by a massive spy organization and you were in a room with somebody who could ID you last week) and of the hotel were just...blah. And the shot of the hotel looked like something post-apocalyptic, though that could just be LA.

Shaw even makes the castle seem colorless. What's up with that?

So I'll be back with more thoughts on next week's episode. I really, really hope it's the awesome game-changer they've been promising because these last two were good, but depressing.

- Frea