mxpw vs. Frea - Chuck vs. the Baby

Chuck vs. the Baby
Season 5, Episode 08, original air-date 30 Dec 2011

When Sarah's old spy handler reappears, she goes off on her own to prevent a secret from her past from destroying her family.

Finally! Another LeJudkins episode! What did Max and Frea think?

mxpw: Want to start things out, Frea?

Frea: My entire review: Thanks for not sucking like last week, show! Okay. I'm good.

mxpw: Haha

mxpw: Well, I don't think that will be my entire review for this episode.

mxpw: However, I will say that compared to Curse and Santa Suit, Baby was a vast improvement. I was starting to get worried about the remainder of the season. And while Baby did nothing to reassure me completely, it at least helped stem the damage.

Frea: Yeah. I think I'm the pessimist this week—surprise, surprise—because it helped stem some of the damage, and it was enjoyable, but unfortunately, I'm left kind of ambivalent.

mxpw: Well, it's an understandable feeling. There was a lot to feel ambivalent about this episode. And I'm not talking about just the potential issues with Sarah's spy past. I mean, people could probably write an essay trying to fit this whole mission to Hungary into Sarah's past and still not completely solve the issue. I'm not really going to get into it myself. Mostly because I think the stuff surrounding her mother is far worse.

Frea: It feels to me, and this is my theory and nobody else's, and also just a theory, that writers of this episode, the fabulous LeJudkins themselves, were handed this assignment. It said, "Give Sarah a younger sister and a past with a baby so that we can get past the last parts of Sarah's reservations about small children and families, paving the way for the perfect ending to this love letters to the fan. Oh, and we have to answer lingering questions about her mom, too, so throw that in there."

Frea: And LeJudkins took a single look at it and were like, "Well...nothing we've implied about the backstory really fits. I mean, we haven't really outright said anything about Sarah's past, so technically we're not retconning if we just...don't say anything now."

mxpw: I happen to kind of agree with you about your theory. I think LeJudkins had their hands tied about the baby and mother storyline. I think Sarah's spy past being...convoluted is probably more their fault, but the baby stuff is on the people on high. It was just so blatantly obvious to me that they were tiptoeing around the fact that before this episode, Sarah's mother had always been presented as...not that great.

mxpw: I mean, she would have needed to be for Sarah's childhood to make sense. So the fact that they never once tried to fill in any blanks about Emma (I believe that was her name) was glaringly obvious.

Frea: Her name was Emma? Oh, okay.

mxpw: Yes, I believe so.

Frea: Yeah, it just felt like really lazy storytelling to me because they knew it didn't make sense. But that's okay. Chuck fans expect plotholes.

mxpw: I don't deny that it was lazy storytelling, and I'm a big fan of LeJudkins. I mean, maybe if Emma hadn't seemed so perfect, it would be one thing, but not only was she like perfectly understanding and caring and cool, but she knew all about Sarah being a spy.

Frea: Yes. And was completely fine with calling her daughter Sarah, so we dodged any Sam bullets. Whew!

mxpw: Which, I feel like I should call foul on. How many times in the first few seasons of this show did we hear that telling family members you were a spy was too dangerous for them? And yet Sarah was being completely free and open with her spy past with her mother, to the point of even calling her while on missions.

Frea: I'm pretty sure that there were two American Girl dolls named Molly and Samantha. I think we figured out Mama Walker's biggest secret: an obsession with American Girl Dolls.

mxpw: Okay.

mxpw: I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to do with that.

Frea: Sorry, it was the first thing I thought of.

mxpw: Aaaaaanyway, yeah, the stuff with them kind of whitewashing Sarah's childhood was something I found more annoying than the confusion about her spy career. It undermined what could have been a super powerful reunion story with her mother.

Frea: But that's pretty par for the course for the show.

mxpw: But I actually have a theory about that.

Frea: Instead of letting Chuck and Ellie have realistic reactions to their mother's abandonment, one statement from her and all was forgiven with no hard feelings, after all.

Frea: Oh yeah? I love theories!

mxpw: Too true, Frea, too true.

mxpw: I think Sarah Walker is a Doll.

mxpw: From the Dollhouse.

mxpw: I think it would explain everything about her.

Frea: Let me guess: her Doll name is Delta.

mxpw: It would explain why her past always seems to change.

mxpw: It would explain why she never seems to learn anything.

mxpw: Also would explain why she's like the most un-self-aware person on the planet.

Frea: I just don't know...

Frea: I mean, brainwashing your main character to be controlled like that?

Frea: Seems lame.

mxpw: I know, it is lame, but it's just the kind of things these writers would try to pull off.

Frea: I fully believe that, yeah.

Frea: Wepdiggy told me a theory that Chuck actually takes place over several universes like Fringe and that way, the backstory is all completely consistent.

Frea: I see his point.

mxpw: I like this theory, as it means there's more than one Sarah Walker out there.

mxpw: That's the kind of multi-dimensional universe I want to live in.

Frea: I'm still happy with the fact that there are multiple Olivia Dunhams, even three seasons later. Anyway, yes, multiple Sarah Walkers, and they're all wonderful, even the one we visited for the first part of Season Three.

mxpw: Heh, so after saying it's in my contract to be the optimist for Sarah episodes, I'm going to say a few pessimistic statements.

Frea: Wait, wait, I don't know how I feel about you stealing my job, Maximus.

mxpw: I said this on twitter, but this episode didn't really do Sarah's intelligence any favors. I think that's the real flaw of this episode for me. I can ignore the spy past issues, I can even (mostly) ignore the whitewashing of Sarah's past, but I thought it was one hit after another for poor Sarah in the first half of this episode.

Frea: I mean, not everybody can wield a scepter this awesome.

Frea: Yes, the MBO job comes with a scepter.

mxpw: I'm sorry, MBO, but I have to get this off of my chest. Communication is the key to any healthy relationship.

mxpw: And I don't want my relationship with Sarah Walker to suffer.

Frea: It's for minion beating. Anyway, yeah, I'd agree with that. Of course, Sarah's intelligence is usually the first thing to go when they need to wank their own plots around.

mxpw: Look, I try to be fair in my reviews. Everybody knows I'm a huge Sarah Walker fan, but I try not to handwave stuff she does when I think it's wrong. And Sarah was wrong a lot in this episode. I know some people might not like me saying this, but I found Sarah annoying in the first half of the episode.

Frea: I knew you were going to, actually. And I would agree. Look, I'll be honest here:

Frea: I knew exactly what they were going for. They wanted Sarah to see that Lone Wolfing is wrong and have that big the Big After School Special Lesson to be learned so that they still get away with telling the story of the time Sarah once robbed a baby of its birthright.

Frea: That way, they're clear to tell this story because hey, look, Sarah learned her lesson!

Frea: I have so many fundamental problems with this because it feeds into the same problems I've been having with the past couple of episodes, in which characters haven't learned a single thing from all of the missions they've done. Sarah should already know she can trust Chuck with this information. She married him and Chuck has come through for her so many times. For her to be just figuring out this lesson now and not have the baby simply be a reflex and something to apologize over just really dropped her intelligence levels down to Other Guy rankings.

Frea: And you can't tell me that Sarah willingly going to Paris without backup and then letting her guard down around the guy whose wife she killed in cold blood wasn't the biggest walloping with the stupid stick there's ever been on this show. I know people want me to get over Season Three already, but how can I, when it provides me such great fodder for examples?

mxpw: Right, exactly. I said this to Crumby earlier, but this is basically Sarah...

mxpw: Sarah in Curse: "No, Chuck, you're not allowed to do this on your own! We're a team."

mxpw: Sarah in Baby: "No, Chuck, I have to do this alone. It's the only way! I can't tell you anything!"

mxpw: She learned nothing.

Frea: I guess I have to give props to Chuck for being the bigger person, but I'm not as big of a fan of LeJudkins as Maximus is, so they don't get as much of a pass with me. *grin*

mxpw: Haha. Yes, I am a big fan of LeJudkins. They're my favorite writers on staff, but I'd put this middle of the pack for me in terms of their episodes. For precisely what we've just been talking about. You would think Sarah would have clued in just once during the episode that she was basically doing herself what she just yelled at Chuck for doing and made him promise to never do again. But she didn't She was completely un-self-aware. Didn't see the hypocrisy in her actions or even think what she was doing was wrong until it was too late. It made me facepalm, honestly.

mxpw: What was worse for me, though, was when she got on the bus and then got captured. I hated that scene. Not necessarily because Sarah was going off on her own, though that was part of it, but because of what it implied.

Frea: Look, I liked the episode. But I liked the episode in a very, and I'm quoting my friend Ayefah here, "And as regular recipients of Chuck's abuse, we're happy when it just refrains from hurting us" way.

Frea: Also known as "The funny outweighed the stupid for once."

Frea: Which tells you there was a lot of funny. Because there was a whole hell of a lot of stupid.

mxpw: I'm just going to say this and then move away from criticizing Sarah: I thought she was kind of mean to Chuck a bit when she left him behind. Because of how she was acting when Ryker captured her. When she learned that Molly was safe, she just seemed fine with dying because it meant Ryker would never find out about Molly. And yet the whole time I was watching that scene, I couldn't help but think of poor Chuck, who Sarah was apparently perfectly fine with making a widow. Who, because she was unwilling to tell him anything, would never know why his wife left him, would never what happened to her, where she was, any of it. And that just seemed really kind of bleak to me about their relationship.

Frea: Agreed. But it also speaks of the usual tone-deafness for this show.

mxpw: Oh, and okay, one last thing: I pray that Sarah thought Ryker had captured some random infant and was holding it hostage, and that's why she fell for his trap, because otherwise...I just have no words.

Frea: I think she purposely put herself in his trap.

Frea: I thought it was her way of finding out if he really knew about Molly.

mxpw: Hmm...I don't know if I can agree with that.

Frea: I have a really hard time not finishing that name with "Weasley." I FEEL LIKE YOU SHOULD ALL KNOW THIS.

mxpw: I think it's giving her too much credit, honestly. Haha.

Frea: Oh, probably, but neither of us is in her head, so anything we argue is just fanwanking. Like most of the people trying to explain her spy past now!

mxpw: OH SNAP

mxpw: Too true, too true.

Frea: Which may be one of my biggest problems with every single Sarah episode save Phase Three.

mxpw: DeLorean! Since it was the first, not much to screw up. ;-)

Frea: Very true. DeLorean. So wonderfully done.

mxpw: Actually, wait, no, Cougars.

Frea: Let's take a moment and remember DeLorean. And Cougars.

mxpw: *moment of silence*

Frea: Okay, that's over.

mxpw: Onward to the stuff about Sarah I did like! Her awkwardness with the baby!

mxpw: I loved Sarah's improvised crib. Perhaps not the safest thing in the world, but very her.

mxpw: I actually liked that she knew enough to change the baby and feed her. It shows she's not totally socially dysfunctional.

Frea: Childcare with Sarah Walker. An empty magazine can be easily converted into a rattle!

mxpw: I liked her singing. Are we sure that was actually Yvonne?

Frea: I hope so!

mxpw: She didn't sound half bad.

Frea: I like to think it is. She has a deep singing voice, which is neat.

Frea: I'm not just saying that because Altos Have to Stick Together or anything like that.

mxpw: That just made me think of the Princess in her cell in Spaceballs.

Frea: "She's a bass."

mxpw: Haha

Frea: I dare somebody to shoot Sarah's hair. I wonder what would happen.

mxpw: It would bounce off.

Frea: And honestly, I'm kind of amazed this show hasn't stooped to "You caught their stunt doubles!" levels of idiocy.

mxpw: The hair porn in this episode was nice.

Frea: As I called it, "Hey, look, that's Killin' Eve Shaw hair!"

mxpw: I love Yvonne with short hair, but it's nice to see her with long hair again.

Frea: We've all noticed that Sarah's first kill was a brunette, right? More proof that they read the Adorable Psycho.

mxpw: Even if it was fake and unflappable.

mxpw: Haha

Frea: Okay, so the opening part of the episode was just this HUGE shout-out to the Bourne Identity, right?

mxpw: I liked Sarah's tactical turtle neck. It reminded me of Archer.

Frea: I wasn't imagining that?

mxpw: Bourne Identity mixed with the Matrix, yes.

Frea: Okay. Yeah, her shoot-out (which I didn't like but did enjoy for the stylistic elements; I really wish this show would refrain from having characters mow down ten or twelve people in a row, as I'd rather like to forget they're all sociopaths) was Matrix-y, but the "Kids are Her Hang-Up" and disappearing behind the bus plus the shaky-cam special all smack of Sarah Bourne.

mxpw: Well, it wouldn't exactly be the first time they've tried to imply that Sarah was like a Jason Bourne equivalent.

mxpw: Her entire past spy history kind of reads as one long homage to the Bourne trilogy.

Frea: I don't see it.

mxpw: You don't?

Frea: No. I'd say she's more like if Linus Caldwell had been the daughter of a Charlie's Angel and then had become a spy instead of a conman.

Frea: And not like Linus Caldwell in temperament at all.

mxpw: Hmm...I suppose I can kind of see that.

Frea: I mean, the Bourne Identity has a military background that volunteered for a brainwashing program. I'd say if anything, she's more Tomb Raider Spy, which was how the beginning scene struck me more than the Matrix.

Frea: If they could've gotten away with Sarah coming in on a bungee cord, they would have.

mxpw: Haha

mxpw: Perhaps you're right.

mxpw: And they probably didn't have the money to do anything like that, though I have to say this episode seemed to have higher production values than the show usually has.

Frea: Way better than last week's. It actually looked like a Chuck episode. I guess it helps to have one of the three editors behind the camera making his directing debut.

mxpw: Yeah.

mxpw: So I want to talk about Ryker for a bit before we move onto the second half of the episode.

mxpw: Can I just say how unbelievably refreshing it was for me to have a bad guy who only wanted money? I was like "Finally! A bad guy who isn't trying to destroy the government or take over the world! He's just normal!"

Frea: Wow

Frea: I did not even consider that

Frea: This episode just went up a point in my estimation!

mxpw: I think the last time we had a bad guy with such normal, mundane reasons was Amy in CAT Squad, who didn't want to be a spy anymore because she was tired of how much the life sucked. Which was basically Ryker's reasoning too.

Frea: All right, but I have a counterpoint to that.

mxpw: Be my guest.

Frea: Not about Ryker specifically because I really am refreshed, but just the fact that five years later, he's still looking for this kid.

Frea: Why wouldn't the next in line for the huge fortune have just declared the kid dead?

Frea: I mean, Sarah mowed down a table full of 10 or 12 people, it's not too much of a leap in logic that the kid might have been killed, too. You can get somebody legally declared dead under those circumstances, can't you?

mxpw: It's possible there were no surviving relatives and the money was in some kind of trust.

Frea: So then where would the money go?

mxpw: I think after a few years, you can have somebody legally declared dead, yes.

mxpw: Um, I have no idea. If nobody declared her dead, then the fortune would just be...floating around, I guess. I'm sure one of our readers could answer this question later in the comments.

Frea: My fingers are crossed that this is the case!

mxpw: This is funny because my father does estate law.

mxpw: I wish he was still here, I would have asked him.

Frea: Ah well. Maybe one of our intrepid readers will have an answer for us. Anyway, that bugged me during the episode.

mxpw: You know what bugged me most?

Frea: Oh, wait, he was trying to kill the baby. Never mind.

mxpw: Besides that. Haha.

mxpw: So when Sarah is confessing to Chuck that Molly is at her mother's, she says that she put Molly with her mother because nobody knew who she was or where she was.

mxpw: Yet as soon as Ryker hears that the baby is with Sarah's mom, he knows exactly where to go.

Frea: Yeah, that was a pretty glaring hole for me

mxpw: That was a big plot hole for me.

mxpw: But I still liked Ryker. Tim DeKay did a great job, I thought. He does menacing pretty well.

Frea: I thought it was ironic.

Frea: They bring in Tim DeKay in the episode where they essentially scrub Bryce Larkin from the mythology completely.

mxpw: Haha, I know, that was pretty hilarious.

mxpw: Okay, second-half episode time! The much stronger half, I thought.

Frea: Wait, wait, wait.

mxpw: Yes?

Frea: Got something I want to say about something that happened in the first half.

Frea: I would like to start a slow clap.

mxpw: *slow clap*

Frea: Because as much as I hated Sarah's going off by herself and turning Casey and Chuck on some seemingly-innocent waiter, I did not see the twist coming that the waiter was actually one of Ryker's men. So here's to you, LeJudkins. You earned this slow clap. Also, the parts where Chuck and Casey are having language difficulties made me giggle endlessly.

mxpw: "It's Europe! She's not busy!"

Frea: Okay! Second half!

mxpw: Sarah redeemed herself in this half, at least with me.

mxpw: Despite the facepalm nature of her even having to learn the lesson in the first place, I loved, loved, that she told Chuck everything. That they *gasp* actually communicated in an open, even-keeled, honest, loving way. I was like "Holy crap, what show am I watching!?"

mxpw: I loved that Chuck stood up for himself and told her she was wrong, too. That was almost as shocking as anything else in the episode. Haha.

Frea: Yeah, I was a little confused about what I was watching, too. Thought the fact that they communicated was great, but man, kind of unfair to Chuck, but that has more to do with the fact that Sarah and Chuck are both plot boomerangs and I can't expect them to learn anything unless it's, like I said before, a Very Special Afterschool Episode.

mxpw: Yeah, that's so true. But I was willing to overlook it because I just loved that scene so much.

mxpw: It was my favorite Chuck/Sarah moment of the season, I think. Until the end.

mxpw: And I have to say, after the last two episodes doing a number on Chuck's character, I really liked him in this episode.

Frea: I really am the cynic of our duo, I think. Because I don't care at all about their house or them having kids or anything.

mxpw: *blows a raspberry in your direction*

mxpw: :P

Frea: :)

mxpw: Yeah, yeah, I know. I may be a sap, but I loved the end. But I wanna talk about that later.

Frea: Okay. What do you want to talk about now?

mxpw: Awesome fight scene in the house?

mxpw: That was really intense. And brutal.

mxpw: Kind of a bit much for this series.

Frea: Oh yeah. That. That was intense and brutal and awesome. Glad she won.

mxpw: Haha

mxpw: And then Sarah gets to meet her little sister. It's gonna be kind of awkward explaining to Molly about her family when she gets older.

Frea: "So Big Sister Sarah killed everybody you would have grown up with and then kidnapped you..."

mxpw: Well, to be fair, her parents were dead. Though, yes, not seeing if she had any living relatives was kind of...a questionable moment.

mxpw: I thought it was a nice moment. And as long as I pretend that Sarah's mom wasn't a very good mom, then her reunion with Sarah was also nice. And it was nice to see Chuck and Emma talk.

mxpw: And Yvonne acted the hell out of all those scenes, especially the one flashback on the porch. That was awesome stuff.

Frea: I'm still holding to my theory that she's a reformed coke addict.

mxpw: I think it's a better explanation than the one they gave us on the show.

Frea: They didn't give us an explanation on the show.

mxpw: I know. Hence why I said it was better. Haha.

Frea: Their explanation was literally, "We know the story we want to tell makes no sense with everything we've implied in the past. But we're just going to ignore that because if you're still around, it means you should just be used to plotholes and having to fanwank everything in order for it to make sense anyway. Hey, look over here, it's Sarah Walker doing stunty things! Isn't she pretty? Focus on the pretty!"

mxpw: Wow, you just basically summed up my whole approach to the show.

mxpw: Maybe that's why I'm usually the optimist.

mxpw: I'm always distracted by the pretty.

Frea: I know you well. Look, I know I should be used to this by now. But this episode, as awesome as it was, was just damned lazy.

mxpw: I can't argue with that. And Sarah was really pretty. That dress she wore in the last sequence...

mxpw: Awesome.

Frea: 95% of it probably wasn't an actual retcon, but that's because they've deliberately played vague in the past and don't have the integrity to commit to a single idea with any sense of truth at all.

Frea: However, there was a very big retcon in it and that makes me sad.

mxpw: You are talking about Graham giving Sarah Chuck's folder?

Frea: Yes.

mxpw: Yeah, that was pretty blatantly obvious.

mxpw: See, but that's one of the reasons why I love this show. They remember that Sarah drives a Porsche in the flashbacks, but forget the ending to Nacho Sampler.

Frea: They retconned one of the very few episodes I can stand in early season three, and then they retconned my second-favorite episode of the series, and I dislike that.

mxpw: Yes, but the retcon of Nacho Sampler makes sense.

mxpw: Because nothing in Season 3 actually happened.

mxpw: The characters have all forgotten it.

Frea: Hahaha, that aside, I thought their retconning Nacho Sampler was idiotic for one reason:

Frea: Let's face it, people. Have we seen the ratings? Anybody left is a nerd for this show and knows the mythology in and out. They never had to show us what was in the folder. They could have just showed us the destroyed Intersect device that Bryce used in the Pilot and then, boom-badda-bing, Nacho Sampler STILL MAKES SENSE.

mxpw: Hahaha

mxpw: Yes, but, they had to be sure we knew what was going on.

mxpw: They had to, Frea.

Frea: Just because they ARE the lowest common denominator doesn't mean they have to write for the lowest common denominator.

mxpw: Oh snap again.

mxpw: Okay, so should we actually talk about the B story? I mean, do you want to?

Frea: Alex is the only person on the planet with realistic expectations about dating and everything and I'm sorry she got re-assimilated back into the cult.

mxpw: Haha, yeah, I said basically the same thing on twitter.

mxpw: She's the only one who seems to react realistically to relationship issues and then they kind of swept that under the rug.

mxpw: But she held out for like five episodes. On this show, that's practically an eternity.

Frea: I thought Ellie and Awesome were funny but I just hate everybody for pressuring Alex like that

mxpw: I know! I couldn't believe that Ellie, of all people, was talking up Morgan so much.

Frea: Like the part where Awesome grabbed her arm?

Frea: I wanted her to FLIP HIM DOWN THE STAIRS.

Frea: Because she is the SPAWN OF CASEY.

mxpw: Heeee

mxpw: That would have been hilarious.

Frea: That was a real "OH NO HE DIDN'T" moment for me.

mxpw: Devon would have probably thought it was awesome.

Frea: But I do think that LeJudkins are fans of the Bloggess, as they have introduced the literal concept of "douchecanoe."

mxpw: Haha

When Morgan started talking about being a douche with the Intersect, it made me think of you.

Frea: The Douchersect!

mxpw: And the Douchersect.

mxpw: Okay, so the last scene.

mxpw: You don't have to comment, but I want to say how much I liked it.

Frea: No, wait, not done.

mxpw: Okay.

Frea: I'm also not a fan of the whole "A lady sees a man playing cutely with a small child and all is forgiven" plots as I find them tired and unoriginal.

mxpw: I think it was just supposed to show that Morgan was still Morgan more than anything else. Though I agree that was a cliche way to solve things.

Though I have to say I kind of cracked up when I saw that Alex was drinking Grape soda. It was a nice touch in an otherwise relatively unsubtle episode.

Frea: Excellent point.

mxpw: Now the last scene?

Frea: Okay, we can move on now

mxpw: Sweet.

mxpw: I loved the last scene. I really did. I rolled my eyes at Sarah saying that cutting herself off from all her friends and family was the best thing for her in the early part of her life (because really, how is that healthy for ANYBODY?) so that she could be a spy, despite all evidence to the contrary over the last five seasons, the events that happened in this episode included.

mxpw: But despite that line, I thought that was a wonderful scene between Chuck and Sarah and I'm so happy that Sarah finally decided what she wants her future to be. While she didn't say she no longer wanted to be a spy explicitly, it's obvious she's on that path now with her rejection of the CIA's offer.

Frea: Yeah, that's a nice touch.

mxpw: And I don't know, I just really liked their talk, with the Chuck/Sarah theme playing in the background (I missed it, okay? Don't judge), and then her basically acknowledging she'd like to have kids some day with her speech about the house and their relationship. I thought it was awesome.

mxpw: My favorite scene between them this season. LeJudkins are pretty much the only writers who I feel get them right most of the time and this episode was a good example of why.

Frea: Same for me, but swap "LeJudkins" with "Newman" and we're golden. :)

mxpw: That's not the same at all! :P

Frea: It's how I feel, though. LeJudkins are great because they can make me laugh and I've resigned myself that they really are going to go for the 2.5 kids, white picket fence, and golden retriever ending.

mxpw: Haha. I'm not sure that has anything to do with LeJudkins specifically, though.

mxpw: But that's been kind of obvious since Zoom (which was a Fedak episode, I should point out).

mxpw: Final thoughts?

Frea: Oh, okay. Fine. Final thoughts. Right. Let's see...

Frea: Most of the problems I had with this episode weren't actually problems with this episode specifically. Max is a lot more forgiving than I am on everything but Sarah Walker, which is completely fine. This show built up a lot of goodwill with me in the first few episodes and then salted the earth with Curse and Santa Suit and this episode, though it was much better than most of the season so far, ended up suffering in comparison. I thought this episode was lazy storytelling and I had a lot of issues with it, but it made me laugh and I am now warm with the knowledge that Sarah once had a stuffed dog named Bunny, so I guess I have to say, good episode. Thanks for not sucking as much as last week's and the week before that. All good.

mxpw: It's true, I am a lot more forgiving. And even Sarah, who annoyed me for the first half of the episode, I ended up forgiving by the end. Because she just became awesome again. I loved the two big Chuck/Sarah scenes, Chuck was a freaking revelation this week in comparison to the last two, Ellie and Devon were pretty damn funny, and even Casey had a good moment with the waiter. Yeah, Sarah did a lot of stupid stuff this episode, but the rest of the episode was just good enough to overcome it. And really, Yvonne was amazing. I feel like I don't say that enough, but it's true. She made this episode overcome many of its failings. I'm so glad she's Sarah Walker.

mxpw: Ratings?

Frea: 8 out of 10 Castle Slides

mxpw: *blinks* What?

Frea: It was 7 but I said something at some point in the review about my rating going up a point.

mxpw: When I mentioned that Ryker had normal reasons for being a bad guy.

Frea: "Don't hate the episode, just hate the show."

mxpw: Still, damn. I didn't expect that.

mxpw: No real SWP to remark on here, so Four Sarahs kicking ass out of Five.

Frea: I'm more inclined to give it a higher rating because it didn't completely abuse me like the Shaw suckfest last weekend.

mxpw: Works for me!

What'd you think? Surprised by our ratings?  So was Maximus.


  1. I can see all the points you make, especially about this episode benefiting from comparison to two horrible episodes but I still can't quite get over Sarah being somewhat lame in this one. On the other hand, the purple roller skates sitting up on Sarah's side of the closet have me thinking of her doing roller disco to Dancing Queen. As much as I hate disco I think I kinda find that appealing.

  2. Anonymous3.1.12


    "They never had to show us what was in the folder. They could have just showed us the destroyed Intersect device that Bryce used in the Pilot and then, boom-badda-bing, Nacho Sampler STILL MAKES SENSE."

    Actually, they couldn't. Sarah was already in LA by the time Graham would have received Bryce's device. Casey still had it with him when he, Graham, and Beckman were in the Intersect room talking. So even if Casey handed it over to the CIA after mentioning that he retrieved it from Bryce, Sarah never would have seen it.

  3. George the FIRST3.1.12

    I've resigned myself to the fact that I'll be unsatisfied with this season even though they knew 'forehand that they only had 13 episodes to write.

    As for retconning, I'm disillusioning myself into believing that Sarah went to Burbank to look for Chuck, then left for Washington and had the mission with Ryker and after it went south Graham gave her the intersect mission to be Chuck's handler. As in: episode 1 - Ryker's mission - episode 2.

    I know it probably all fantasy to believe that but leave me to my world where the writers reread what they wrote or at the very least watch the show they're suppose to write for.

    Anyway, thanks for the review. Because of you guys I've realized a lot more things about this episode than I had before. Can't say that they are all good though.

  4. Anonymous, Okay, yeah, now that you mention it, I see your point. *sigh* And while that's a great theory, George the FIRST (I love the all caps), unfortunately in that single sentence, you've given it more thought than the writers have.


  5. Tenks73.1.12

    I actually loved this episode which is a first for me since Phase 3 I think. It wasn’t flawless but it was as close to perfect as I can expect an episode to be at this point. I had the same problems with it that you two did but was expecting most of that coming in and was able to overlook it pretty easily.

    For example, I wasn’t bothered that they didn’t try to offer an explanation for why Sarah didn’t grow up with her mom. Ever since we learned that Jack Burton was a con artist I’ve felt like any explanation that they tried to use for why Sarah was raised by him instead of her mom wouldn’t work. There were only three possible scenarios I could imagine that would work and two of them, IMO, are too dark for the show to use: 1) Sarah’s mom passed away when Sarah was young which caused Jack to turn into a con artist, 2) Jack abducted Sarah, or 3) Frea’s suggestion that Sarah’s mom was a drug addict and was unfit to raise a child. Numbers 2 and 3 seem to be too dark for the show and the only way for #1 to work would be for Emma only to be seen in flashbacks.

    So while I was momentarily annoyed that we didn’t get a reason why Sarah was raised by her father instead of her mom, I was also happy that they didn’t try and just throw something in there that didn’t make any sense. I look at it this way, sometimes it is better to just admit your mistakes and move on rather than dwell on them. Had they done something like that last week with Shaw, I would have been much more accepting of it instead of focusing on how bad their explanation was. If he had just taken advantage of the virus to escape and try and get his revenge, I would have accepted that far more than what we got with the whole “Shaw’s been blackmailing Decker” angle they tried to pass off.

    With regards to Ryker knowing exactly where to go once Sarah said Molly was with her mom, I’m going to assume that he traced Emma’s cell phone number back to her. Sarah was obviously still in contact with her mom somewhat since Sarah’s name popped up when she called, so my theory is that Ryker had cloned Sarah’s phone when she was captured and then found Emma through that. Assuming that they have remained in contact is the only way to explain why Emma had Sarah’s cell phone number programmed into her phone anyways so the theory sort of fits.

    Until reading your review, I didn’t think that Sarah was just accepting her death when Ryker had her tied up. I just thought she was trying to buy herself some time by refusing to tell Ryker anything so that she could either figure out a way to escape or so that Chuck and Casey could save her. Her line about being able to die knowing that Molly was safe seemed to me to be playing along with Ryker’s opinion of her. He thought that she was still a loner with no family or friends so she obviously couldn’t admit that she had a team because it would ruin the element of surprise that Chuck and Casey had going for them.

  6. Tenks73.1.12


    As far as the plot hole with Bryce was concerned, I’m going to fanwank it away with the following timeline:

    -Early August 2007 – Bryce goes off grid/rogue and Sarah, as Bryce’s ex-partner/lover, is questioned about his disappearance and suspected of being in on it.
    -Late August 2007 – Sarah is reinstated into the CIA on probation and assigned a handler (Ryker).
    - Early September 2007 – Sarah goes to Hungary with Ryker on the mission and rescues Molly.
    - Late September 2007 – Bryce breaks into the DNI, steals the Intersect, and e-mails it to Chuck. Sarah, after leaving Molly with her mom, returns to DC and is sent on a new mission to LA to investigate Chuck/the Intersect.

    That would explain why Sarah was randomly listening to a voicemail from her mom at the beginning of the episode (she was still trying to get over Bryce’s betrayal and needed to hear a familiar voice/was considering taking her mom up on the offer to come home) and explain why Sarah had a handler still after completing her red test years before. There are still some issues with continuity (Sarah being sent to LA to be Chuck’s handler for instance) but it is better than nothing. I had actually forgotten about Sarah seeing Chuck’s folder on the plane in the Nacho Sampler. I hate season 3 with every fiber of my being so don’t remember much from it.

    I was also annoyed with Sarah not trusting Chuck from the very beginning but felt that the confrontation, while hypocritical of Chuck, was a fantastic scene. When Chuck acted the same way back in the Curse, what really annoyed me was the resolution (or lack thereof) of it. Chuck just sat there trying to make jokes and laugh it all off. And Sarah didn’t seem to take it very seriously either and was making her threats with a smile.

    This was the first time in a long time that I felt a problem that arose in their relationship was actually addressed and handled instead of being swept under the rug. I was left with a feeling that trust wouldn’t be an issue for them anymore. So, while I wish it had never been a problem, I was very happy with the way it was handled for once which made the whole thing alright for me.

    What I loved about the episode was Yvonne’s performance. From her very first panicky phone call to her mom because Molly wouldn’t stop crying, to the scene where Sarah is leaving Molly with Emma, and finally the reunion in Chuck and Sarah’s apartment, everything was just amazing to me. I was also thrilled that Chuck seemed concerned for Sarah and ran up to her after her fight with Ryker to make sure she was ok. That was a huge part of what I hated about the previous episode so I was immensely happy to see it happen.

    Like mxpw, I loved the last scene between Chuck and Sarah. It was great to see Sarah open up about what kind of life she wants to have and not just blindly return to the CIA because Chuck wanted to in order to buy the house.

  7. Tenks, your fanwanks are lovely and would make perfect sense and the writers should really adopt them. Also, I can't help but think that they're inspired by all of the suspicion being thrown on Sarah over Bryce's betrayal in Fates because that's not something I've seen much anywhere else. So I may be completely biased.

    Still, it's the fact that there needs to be fanwanking on the fans' part in order to make up for the deficit of the writers that depresses me. It used to be a fun game and I agree that your scenarios are too dark (but damn, they make a whole hell of a lot more sense), but by this point, the writers should be plugging the holes cleverly rather than creating more.

  8. Tenks73.1.12

    Oh, one last thing I wanted to comment on was the shoot-out from the beginning of the episode. I thought that they did a nice job of showing Sarah's human-side with it.

    When Ryker first told her to kill everyone, she hesitated and (I believe) asked why they were being killed. It was only after he told her that they had killed the owners of the house and she saw the bodies for herself that she was willing to kill them.

    Also, when Sarah was talking to Graham about the mission afterwards, she still seemed to be a bit shaken up over her actions. Her tone in particular stood out to me.

    Graham: "Look, I know what Ryker made you do. I know everything."
    Sarah: "I was just obeying orders."
    Graham: "There is no need to worry about that now."

    It made it seem like Sarah wasn't this cold-blooded assassin similar to how Casey was portrayed at the beginning of the series. She still felt the effects of taking a life and it wasn't something she did easily.

  9. Tenks73.1.12


    I absolutely agree and it depresses me as well. I'm just thankful that the rest of the episode (particularly the scenes with Sarah and Molly/her mom) were so enjoyable to me because it made it easier to overlook what would have bothered me otherwise.

  10. Tenks73.1.12

    Really wish there was a way to edit comments.

    Yeah, I think that it probably did come from reading Fates. I wasn't actively thinking about it at the time but that certainly explains why that theory made sense to me.

  11. mxpw3.1.12

    @Tenks7 - But Sarah had no idea that Chuck and Casey were coming. She was right about the waiter, but it's obvious she only sent Chuck and Casey after the waiter as a distraction so that she could get on the bus. For all she knew, he really could have just been a waiter who delivered the napkin. And that would mean that even if Chuck and Casey eventually tracked her down somehow, it could be hours later and who knows what could have happened to her in that timespan.

    My point wasn't so much that she was resigned to death, but that she knowingly put herself in a situation where she very well could have been killed, and seemed to have no concern for what that might do to Chuck. And I think we're supposed to think Sarah didn't really expect to be rescued, or else Ryker's speech to her about being a loner loses its impact. I believe we're supposed to think it's because of Ryker's speech that Sarah realizes she was wrong about what she was doing and that's why she opens up to Chuck later. Because Ryker makes her see that her lone-wolfing it is exactly what led to her current predicament. I'm sure Ryker's comment about being a loner really hit home for her and made her realize how dumb it was not to tell her husband what was going on.

    I pretty much agree with everything else you said and appreciate your attempts at explaining the holes in the story. You did what I didn't want to do in the review, so thank you for that. I know that must have strained your brain a bit, heh.

  12. Tenks73.1.12


    I thought she was being serious about the waiter being connected to Ryker. It was clear to me that the guy wasn't a real waiter since he fled as soon as he had delivered the note. Had Ryker just paid a waiter at the cafe to hand the note to Sarah, he would have stopped when she was telling him that she hadn't ordered anything. A regular waiter also wouldn't have been paid enough to just run away from his job after delivering the note.

    We'll have to agree to disagree that she was knowingly putting herself in a situation where she could have been killed - well, anymore than the risk they normally take with every mission. I think she was confident that she could get to Ryker, figure out what Shaw had told him, and end it all without being captured herself. If she wasn't, I'd like to think she wouldn't have gone or she would have figured out another way to get Ryker out in the open. I also don't think that she felt like Ryker would kill her right away if she was captured.

    Think about it from Ryker's perspective. Five years ago he gave up everything and went on the run from the CIA because his plan to use Molly for her families fortune was foiled by Sarah. I'm sure that he wants to get his revenge on Sarah but he obviously still wants to get his hands on the money as well. It is the only thing that would make his five years of running worthwhile.

    When he had Sarah tied to the chair, he put his gun to her shoulder (the same spot she had shot him IIRC) instead of her head. He was going to torture her to try and get the information and I'm sure she realized that is what he would do if he captured her. You made the point yourself, this was a villain driven by money; not his desire to destroy the government or the world. Your general point about not being concerned about what it would do to Chuck if she was wrong (whether she was tortured or killed) still stands though.

    I'll have to watch again but my impression when I first saw it was that it was the overall situation - not Ryker's speech - that made Sarah realize she was wrong to not trust Chuck and to go in alone. I'm sure that Ryker's comments helped to drive it home, but I'd like to think she would have come to the same conclusion on her own.

    I certainly understand where you are coming from with your thoughts. Your interpretation of the scene didn't even occur to me until I read the review but it makes a lot of sense. I just really want to give Sarah the benefit of the doubt here since I've been so cynical over the past few weeks and it feels nice to enjoy an episode for once.

  13. CaptMediocre3.1.12

    BTW, if you're keeping score. That was:

    - 3.5 episodes of Morgansect, which were good, fun and ultimately pointless to most.


    - 1 episode for Sarah's mom and their relationship, which should have had substance and a great dramatic payoff, but left most watching wondering, "but what about ...."

    That ratio seems oddly backwards to me.

    Sarah's mom is a two or three episode story that needed a great payoff. Oh we got the great payoff, we just have no idea why.

    Besides, Tim Dekay as a baddie in another ep or two would have been outstanding. But then we wouldn't have had time for Shaw. Oh wait...... let me think about that.........

    Good episode - yeah OK. But all bread no meat, or, no meat you cab sink your teeth into.

  14. @capt medeocre I dont really know what you expect Sarah is a main Character yes but the show is called Chuck. When in S2 when we met Chucks dad how many episodes was he in as his dad it was one. All the rest were because he was Orion. How many episodes dealt with Mary as Chuck and Ellies mother. The only reason that a parent has needed a long storyline is if they are involved in the spy world and I would have found it completely stupid if they had made Emma a spy. I see your point about Morgansect being 3 episodes long and yes it might have been better if it was 2 or 1 but the first episodes of the season were very good IMO.

  15. CaptMediocre3.1.12

    I don't disagree about the first episodes of the season.

    But the Sarah / Mom - relationship / reconciliation needed "more". More time, more effort, more set-up, more explanation. Just more. I don't doubt bringing a long lost character back is a precarious situation for the showrunners. Papa B worked, Mama B was a bust. Sarah's mom - I'm not sure yet.

    I admit that my expectations were probably set way too high for this episode. But really, other than knowing Sarah's mom exist and that she's still alive we learned nothing. But I knew that already.

    Last season TPTB said that there likely wouldn't be a mom episode / story in the back 11 because they wanted to it justice (paraphrasing). I was expecting more than this. (Yes, I know, I should know better by now)

    Listen, like most I'm not down on the episode. I liked it. The reunion scene at the apartment was easily one of the best scenes this season.
    Cheryl Ladd as mom was a casting coup, IMO.

    Also, I think the rewriting of the show's history with the "false" Sarah / Graham scene is a set-up for some overarching conspiracy that I hope we're not done with. I honestly would prefer to ignore that scene altogether, but it's screaming set-up.

    "the show is called Chuck" - (I really hate that overused explanation) it's not the first time I've seen this. That and "we're seeing things through Chuck's eyes" (another one of my favorites. I know what your saying but Chuck was in the episode. His calling out Sarah for going after Ryker alone was one of the few (if not the only) time a stupid decision wasn't handwaved away.

    I wanted "more", and it's frustrating because I think all the elements were there for "more". Is that so wrong?

  16. I loved this episode, Tim DeKay was awesome, Tony Todd, Chuck calling out Sarah on her actions, Alex and Ellie being sexy.

    But two things really bothered me. The first is continuity issues, which the show has always been bad with but man forgetting your own pilot is at a new level. Either that or Sarah is actually River Song.

    The second is this episode really killed most of the sympathy I had for Sarah when it came to her past. All those times they used the "You know how I grew up" line feels like I was lied to as a viewer. Her mom came off as perfect and even Jack was father of the year compared to either Mary or Stephen. Its hard for me to buy into she was broken because of her past while Chuck had some normal life. It seems since S3 whatever the show tells me I'm shown the complete opposite.

  17. All i meant re 'the show is called Chuck' was to wonder why you think the writers should make such a big deal of Sarahs reunion with her Mom. After all she is a fairly minor Character.
    I thought they handled it really well we got a very lovely scene when Sarah gave her the baby outside the house, Plus Sarahs panicy phone call and Emma talking to both Chuck and Sarah in there home. I loved that just as much as Ellies' first scene with Mary it just felt very natural to me, I always loved the fact that Sarah was there listening the whole time.
    No it is not wrong to want more, when it comes to this show I always want more, more episodes and more time in the episodes. I must admit in other episodes I have sometimes wished for more of certain scenes and less of others but I have to be honest in this one I would have liked more explanation why Sarah had a Handler (I assume it is because Bryce had gone rogue and she is under review or something). Yes I would have loved to know why Sarah went with her dad when her mum looks so good and well normal (it could be just as simple as they seperated, Sarah decided to go with her dad as a: all girls love there dads, b: Life with him was exciting and different not boring like life at home with Mom). However I could not think of any other scene that I did not like and wanted to rip out of the episode to put this information in. That may be because there was no Jeffster in the episode in fact no Buy More at all as although this season is better than last for the BM it is still the part of the show that I can generally live without.
    @JC I dont think Sarah was ever trying to get sympathy when she says 'You know how I grew up' it was her explanation for her actions. The point was even going by series 2 we knew she did not have a normal upbringing. We knew she was with her Dad and that he was a con man we knew that she had moved around a lot with lots of different identities. The fact is that she had a parent with her and now as seems likely Sarah decided to leave her. This is unlike Chucks past he was abandoned by his parents and left with Ellie. I think that Sarah was always a loner with her dad she probably did not have any friends, was taught by her dads actions the danger of trusting people and that she has to lie to everyone. All these lessons are then reinforced by the CIA and she continues on the same path. Chuck always had Ellie and in Morgan a real best friend so he still had people to trust.
    In comparison with her upbringing Chuck did have a more normal life there are many more children who need adoption, than being the child of a con artist and then being trained by the CIA.

  18. Tenks74.1.12


    "Yes I would have loved to know why Sarah went with her dad when her mum looks so good and well normal (it could be just as simple as they seperated, Sarah decided to go with her dad as a: all girls love there dads, b: Life with him was exciting and different not boring like life at home with Mom)."

    My guess is that the reason is tied to Sarah's protective nature. We've seen how protective she is of Chuck (fighting for him to stay out of the bunker from the very beginning of the show and committing treason to keep him out of one at the end of season 2), saw what lengths she would go to in order to protect her father - first from the Sheikh and then from the CIA - in the DeLorean, and again saw that side of her with Molly in this episode. That just seems to be a part of who she is.

    So her reason for going with her dad rather than her mom is probably related to that. I'm guessing she might have felt that if she didn't go with her father, he wouldn't have anyone to watch his back and might even take bigger risks since he wouldn't have to worry about her. So she choose to go with him to protect him.

    It could also be that she believed that her mom would always be there for her and would always love her but if she let her father go, she might never see him again or that he would forget/stop loving her. That doesn't answer the obvious question of why her mom would have allowed it though.

    Anyways, that's just my two cents on the subject. While it is a bit depressing that we'll never really know what the reasons were, I'm glad that we got to meet her mom because the scenes with the two of them together were fantastic.

  19. "All i meant re 'the show is called Chuck' was to wonder why you think the writers should make such a big deal of Sarahs reunion with her Mom. After all she is a fairly minor Character."

    srb, you're depressing me. In no way, shape, or form should Sarah ever be considered a minor character. The S5 fanart has two people on the front: Chuck AND Sarah. The show Firefly didn't have the ship as the main character, did it? (if anything, I'd say Mal was)

    "The show is called Chuck, not Sarah" is an argument that should die a painful death, in my opinion. The show's called Chuck because that's a catchy name. Since they chose to elevate everybody around Chuck and to stop using Chuck as the "eyes of the audience," it's an ensemble show and each member of the cast should be given screentime accordingly.

  20. Henry4.1.12

    "The S5 fanart has two people on the front: Chuck AND Sarah."
    Not necessarily in this order, if I may add...

  21. Haha, depends if you're reading the cover in Hebrew or not. Chuck's to the left in the shot I'm thinking of. :) Also, his name come first in the alphabet, as he pointed out in Walker's Eleven.

  22. Henry4.1.12

    Well, Sarah IS a Hebrew name, after all... :)

  23. Touché, my friend. Guess even S5 fanart confirms it: Sarah IS more important!

  24. Anonymous4.1.12

    "srb, you're depressing me. In no way, shape, or form should Sarah ever be considered a minor character."

    I think that srb was talking about Sarah's mom with the minor character comment. He called Sarah a major character in his/her first post.

  25. Oh. That makes a little more sense. Sorry about that, srb. I still disagree, though, because even though Sarah's mom herself is a minor character, her importance should never be minor with things they've implied in the past.

  26. If a large part of the audience is still watching just to see how they deal with the "Saran's mom" thing then, yeah, you could say she's of pretty big importance.

  27. I am sorry Frea I should have been clearer Sarah/Yvonne is the reason I watch the show and in no way did i mean to imply thaty she is not a majpr character. I was as has been already surmised suggesting that Emma is not Major Chaacter I would be pleasantly surprised to see her again on screen but I am not expecting it.

  28. Anonymous4.1.12

    I can't believe that no one has commented on the absolutely BEST quote of the episode:

    Chuck to Casey: "Casey, you act as if I've learned nothing in the last four years."

    A totally subversive move by the writers (and I can't believe that Fedak/Schwarz left the line in the show).

    It also comfirmed my fear that the appearance of Sarah's mother would be just a "skip and wave" walk-on.

    Oh well, so far this season I've just been happy for the actors that they get 13 more paychecks; however, by now I've just about used up the resevoir of good will built up by the first two seasons.

    I was totally stoked to see Tony Todd again, however!

    Finally, I was glad to get some more insight into the depth of Sarah Walker's Daddy Issues - every time she has to fight an older white male she ends up taking a (usually brutal) beating. (Remember Mauser in Santa Clause?)

    On the other hand, perhaps that's the lesson we're supposed to draw: Sarah made a really stupid decision leaving her perfect mother for her con-man father. He pretty much let her down at every opportunity and now she hates him (even though she loves him so much she'd sacrifice her life for him without a second thought).

    Now, whenever she meets another older white male, he usually does something bad (usually really bad) to her, which has left her unable to enter into a relationship (any relationship, not just an intimate one).

    This explains why she has been the Queen of Mixed Messages to Chuck, treated him more like a Golden Retreiver than an adult male and manipulated him at every opportunity.

    I'd better stop there. I can feel my blood pressure spiking. (Lord, I miss the show that existed in Season One and Two!)

  29. Anonymous5.1.12

    I am confused you talk about Sarah being the queen of mixed messages, and manipulating him at every oportunity which is something she only did to him in S1 and 2. But then you say you miss the show that existed in s1 and 2 so do I take that to mean that you liked Sarahs maninpulation and mixed signals.

  30. @frea I did post something along these lines last night but it was late. You are right in all the seasons artwork after 1 it is Chuck and Sarah, (and even that is but just her legs) they are the major Charcters on the show.I have never considered Sarah anything other than the most important character she is. Sarah is the reason I watch the show. I would have liked them to rename it Chuck and Sarah after they officially gor together after Honeymooners. I would have been totally OK with a multi episode arc with Chuck captured, bunkered etc and not appearing in the epiosode much or at all as we concentrate on Sarah. I would have also loved an episode that started with 'My name is Sarah here is what you need to know.' and proceeded to tell Chuck and Sarahs story from her POV.
    That is why I love your aditional stories to Fates as we see things from Sarahs pov. And all FF from Sarahs POV.
    I did mean Sarahs mum is not an important Character, she had only been referenced on two previous ocasions, her uppbringing was always more to do with her relationship with her father rather than mother.
    'I still disagree, though, because even though Sarah's mom herself is a minor character, her importance should never be minor with things they've implied in the past.'
    I am probably being stupid but what have they implied in the past? as the only thing I can think of is that Sarah told Ellie that the relationship with her mother is 'Complicated'.

  31. Thank you Frea and Maximus. Always a great read! :)


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