The Rule of 13

So tonight's episode is Chuck vs. the Push Mix, in which we are promised the best 10 minutes on TV ever, and looking at the episode list, it's got a long history to live up to.  What do we mean?  Well, I was talking to my friend, the great Ardent Aardvark, about it, and this is what we had to say.

Frea: Okay, so 1.13: Marlin

Frea: 2.13: Suburbs

Frea: 3.13: Other Guy

Ardent: Okay, so are we talking actuals or metaphysical? Because if the latter, you have to remember that 2.13 was originally Best Friend.

Frea: actuals.

Aardie: Okay... GO.

Aardie: *ears perked for theory*

Frea: Oh

Frea: It's not an actual theory, but just a statement that Push Mix had better be awesome to be an official 13 episode.

Aardie: Aha! okay...

Aardie: I imagine it to be more like 3.19 than 3.13.

Frea: Although, now that I'm looking back at it:

Frea: Marlin was okay, but it felt like it came out of nowhere.

Frea: Which is probably a fault of the writers' strike, but this show always suffers being end of season heavy

Aardie: Yes, exactly.

Frea: So there's that.

Aardie: And I'm basing my theory on the observation that as a production group evolves over time they tend to replicate what they've done most recently.

Frea: Suburbs was a really great episode and had some awesome moments, and I would probably regard it as the best of the three 13s so far.

Frea: Other Guy's main merits are that it's the end of that era.

Aardie: I have a soft spot in my heart for Marlin. When I look back at Suburbs, it has two sublime moments and a few great ones. Sublime for me are the breakfast scene and Sarah closing down the house. Great ones are the bitchslap and Zac's great performance telling Ellie that he and Sarah are never going to be more than they are.

Frea: And the DYLM scene is fun, except that Sarah destroyed every single video game controller in the house.

Aardie: !!! Hah, didn't use that as evaluation criteria!

Frea: Even the Duck Hunt controller.

Aardie: *smacks forehead*

Frea: That's kind of my skill, to twist stuff.

Aardie: Yea verily.

Aardie: If you ask me what my favorite 3.13 moment is, you're going to get an odd mix. Obviously, Shaw taking three in the chest has to be ranked highest.

Frea: Obviously.

Aardie: But I also like Sarah and Chuck just before they jump in the elevator shaft. There something about Sarah in leather tugging on the rope that makes my pulse race every time.

Aardie: Also...

Aardie: I thought the scene at the cafe worked fairly well and had the right atmosphere of dread to it.

Aardie: (definitely helped by the soundtrack)

Aardie: But overall? I have to give the nod to Marlin.

Aardie: That episode as a whole was very streamlined (as I recall) and had that epic rooftop scene that just broke through the wall that had been established before. I think at that moment it crystallized for Sarah how close she'd come to losing Chuck and her emotions seemed very real to me.  And I think it's the first time Casey goes out of his way to support Sarah's obsession with Chuck.

Frea: You know, I still think my nod goes to Suburbs, barely.  It beats out Marlin by maybe a shred, as I think they're both amazing episodes, but Suburbs had Talking Heads.  And while Marlin had the amazing rooftop scene you mentioned, Suburbs had Casey breaking his hand.  What, there's no comparison there?  Fine, then it explored more of the fun mythology, had some great interaction, and push comes to shove, if I'm going to pick which episode of the two I'd rather rewatch, it's going to be Suburbs.

Frea: And Ayefah, you can stop laughing now.  I hear you over there.

So what's everybody's thoughts?  Is Push Mix going to live up to the 13 Theory?  Is the 13 Theory full of crap, and Frea is, too?  It's more than possible; her eyes are brown.

If you liked what the greatest talking on the Aardvark on the planet had to say, definitely check out his blog, the fantastic Intersected Lightly.  And maybe prod at him about updating once in awhile, for me.  Or, you know, guest posting over here at CI because we would love to have him.




  1. Anonymous31.1.11

    Wow! Tough choice! Suburbs or Marlin. Suburbs or Marlin...
    Talking Heads vs. Noureen DeWulf (Lizzy, the Pita Girl).


    Clearly the 13th episode has got to be at least a little special, conceived as a season ender! So your theory holds water, Frea.

    But that's never a guarantee, of course. Let's call it a correlation! I really think Push Mix (4.13 to be shown in 2.25 hrs. as I type this) is going to be great based on the set-up we've seen and the wonderful acting of Linda Hamilton and Tim Dalton.

    I'm not sure I want to tempt fate and build my expectations too high by taking the words of J.Schwartz and C.Fedak (best 10 minutes of TV e'va!) at face value. I to tend to believe 'em about not changing things too much when they were awarded the extended season, though.

    I'm hopeful. Cautiously optimistic.

    I love your words "sublime moments", Aardie. That's something I'll be looking for!

    - Joe

  2. Suburbs, hands down. That was always one of the higher episodes on the lists of my S2 favorites. :)

    Here's to hoping Push Mix lives up to the hype...

  3. First off I have secured a Chuck tumbler for some Dr Pepper that I should be receiving soon. I have a feeling this will feel like one of the best episodes of the series. Over time that may change, but right now there is so much build up to this episode. All the players are involved, including Ellie and Awesome for the first time.

    On top of all that Chuck may have gone to Hogwarts and took some skele-grow and developed a spine that the writers removed. Sarah has to get out of the black leather.

    Casey has to have a conversation with Sarah, Mamma B has to be there Volkave has to die

    OH yes it will be so much fun!

  4. I have an empty glass in front of me waiting, BDaddy. Just waiting.


    And if Chuck drank skele-grow, I will be completely happy for him. Dude's been needing it.

  5. Wait a second, where does it say Sarah has to get out of the black leather? She can lose the wig; the leather stays!

  6. Other Guy



  7. Suburbs is easily in my top five favorites episodes from any season, but at the same time it's kinda bitter sweet because I always felt it's a plot that could have been stretched out into a 2-3 episode ark that would have really explored some interesting ground. I would really have killed to see Sarah really have to come to grips with being domesticated, either liking it or loathing it, eather way would have told us a lot about her character. Then after 2-3 episodes in the suburbs we could have had a whole episode devoted to the two of them trying to come to grips with what they learned from that little fantasy, be it good or bad. So yea, one of my favorites but at the same time a bittersweet moment of rushed narrative and wasted potential.

  8. Alaster31.1.11

    Push Mix (tentative)
    Other Guy

    Suburbs does have my favorite scene of the three but overall I rank it last of my 13 list.

  9. Oh yea and 2-3 episodes of Jenny McCarthy wouldn't have hurt either, though I'm not sure I could have handled anymore Andy Richter.

  10. But John Clark, didn't you hear? Andy Richter controls the universe!


  11. Hahah-NO!

    Seriously though, while I love suburbs it to me is the quintessential example of Schwartz and Fedak's inability to evenly pace story arks so that they get the most characterization they can out of them.

  12. what is this characterization that you speak of?

  13. Legend tells of a mystical place, a place where fictional characters, that is people who aren't real, or dudes playin other dudes, actually mature and develop into fully rounded human like beings. It is a truly magical place... called HBO.


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