So this week Max and I have decided to celebrate the show not in the cynical fashion most would expect, but by revisiting some of the things that made us fall in love with Chuck in the first place. Sure, those things may not be present today, but it’s fun to walk down memory lane and look at the good times (and some of the bad times). I’m kicking off the week with my best 10 "HELL YEAH" moments. What does that mean? These were just my top times on the show where I sat up and went, "HELL YEAH!" And yes, there’s even a moment in here from Season Three for all of you people who think I (rightfully) like Season One and Two more.
So click the link to read more. And remember, these are my opinions and mine alone. Well, okay, mxpw submitted a few of them.
1) Chuck bluffs
This is my all-time favorite moment of the show, no holds barred. Trapped amid a bunch of thugs, Sarah and Casey nowhere near to help, Chuck has to rely on something we haven’t really see him use much in the past couple of scenes: his brain. And does he ever. He looks right into Mr. Colt’s imposing face and bluffs, even drawing Morgan in on the scheme with some clever Call of Duty trickery. The best part is that it works...allowing Chuck to run away like a little girl.
2) Sarah wins the fight in Phase Three. Actually, just all of Phase Three
I’ll be honest with you: I don’t think Season Four has much going for it. But Phase Three...oh, yes, Phase Three stands out. Written by then-newbie writer (and my possibly-made-up-fiancée) Kristin Newman, this episode brought something a lot of fans have wanted to see for a long time: Sarah kicking butt and taking names. Seriously, the woman basically destroys Thailand in her quest to get her boyfriend back. It had everything: drama, heart, desperation, sheer ass-kicking awesomeness, and most of all, Sarah Walker stripped down (not literally, though she was rocking short shorts) and at her most desperate. Did anybody not feel chills when she looked up upon winning and demanded, “Now, where is the Belgian?” I certainly did.
3) Stephen Bartowski is Orion
To this day I consider the Orion arc one of the meatiest storylines the show has tackled. It had a lot: smart, conflicted Chuck driving to get at something he wanted but knew would take Sarah away from him, old Bartowski family dynamics, and awesome actors. My parents are Leapers, so I remember old Quantum Leap episodes of yore, and to see Scott Bakula come on the show was something of a nerdy dream come true. And to see him go from bumbling Stephen J. Bartowski to businesslike Orion (with that sleeve! OMG THE SLEEVE)! I thought my mind was blown when Chuck donned tac gear and tranqed Casey and then they one-upped themselves with the Orion reveal, no matter that we knew it was probably coming. Seriously, I was on the edge of my seat, shouting, “Hell yeah!” And when Casey and Sarah pull Chuck away from Orion? Oh man. OH MAN. I’m gibbering now just thinking about it, and it’s almost three years later.
4) Chuck uploads the Intersect 2.0 for the first time
Funny story: it took me a couple of weeks to get around to watching Chuck vs. the Ring and I still somehow managed not to get spoiled. Mostly because I was busy doing things like touring London and avoiding the Internets, but even so. So when I got back from my trip, exhausted, I immediately pulled up Hulu to catch the thrilling conclusion to the episode that followed Colonel. I was positive Chuck and Sarah were going to get together and Chuck would become some kind of analyst and—HOLY FRAK HE JUST DID KUNG FU. At the time, I couldn’t have possibly have guessed that this would lead to the Nuclear Winter of Characterization that is Season Three, so I am confident to say that when I watched that for the first time, I screamed. And then immediately rewound it and watched it five or six or twelve more times.
Speaking of Colonel, how f*#%@ing awesome was that hotel room scene? My main memory of it is actually that I thought, “Wow, this came out of nowhere,” when I saw it in the preview for the next week. No movement on the Charah front (I mean, this followed a friggin’ Jill episode) and then BAM THEY ARE ROLLING AROUND ON A DIRTY HOTEL ROOM BED AND I SHOULD LEAVE BECAUSE THIS SO SEXY IT’S UNCOMFORTABLE BUT THANK GOD, THE UST SHOULD BE OVER SO—my poor deluded self. Even with Season Three following it, Barstow remains a big HELL YEAH moment. The hand porn! The pauses! The almost sexy-times! The radiator! (...wait, what? Oh, c’mon, Casey and Chuck trying to figure out how Casey can kill Chuck with a radiator is awesome enough to be in this paragraph)
6) Casey emerges from the pool in Undercover Lover
Ain’t no big surprise...
Can I just say, hubba-hubba? I loved Undercover Lover when it first aired for a lot of reasons: we were done with the whole Bryce-angst arc, Casey and Chuck’s interactions will always be some of my favorite (“Casey! You’re hurting...the Intersect!”), and we finally got to objectify one of the show’s males beside Awesome. What? You think mxpw isn’t the only shallow one around here? Adam Baldwin is hot! And this episode was fantastically funny, as drunk/tranqued Casey always is. The moment he emerges from the pool in his tux, with Neil Diamond crooning in the background? I about died. SWOON.
7) Chuck walks into the Buy More
I’m having to turn in my feminist card to include this, as Chuck coming in to fight Shaw actually smacks of being a size contest like in Santa Suit. Besides, my enjoyment of this scene is purely lust; how bloody hot was Chuck coming into the Buy More, gun in his hand, completely confident? It also marked the misguided “Hero Journey” moment where he overcame his fear in his abilities and kind of sacrificed himself, knowing that going in to stop Shaw was likely going to kill him. There were probably smarter ways to go about it (you can’t tell me that the entire Buy More’s not equipped with some kind of gas...oh wait, that came about in Season Four, didn’t it? Well, a simple tranq dart/sniper would have solved everything anyway), but that entrance was still awesome and elicited a HELL YEAH at the time. Doing the exact same thing all over again in Santa Suit elicited a F*** YOU.
8) You're under arrest, Jill. And I’m breaking up with you.
Oh, Jill Roberts. You were a character I loved to hate. I hated that you doubted Chuck at Stanford and then never apologized for it. I hated that he was conveniently in love with you all over again so that this arc could take place. And I hated that since you were on screen, Sarah Walker became Sarah Who? Granted, you had some charming moments, but oh GOD I WAS SO HAPPY WHEN CHUCK GOT OVER YOUR TRAITOROUS ASS. I mean, sure, it was completely absurd and coincidental that you were a Fulcrum agent, but I’m used to absurd and coincidental on this show. And I am so glad Chuck arrested you.
9) Sarah reaches for her gun on the rooftop
Sarah Walker doesn’t talk much, guys. I’m pretty sure you can condense all of her dialogue from S3.1 onto two pages, but even before that, she was always quiet. It worked for her, though, I thought. That meant her actions could speak so much louder. And Sarah reaching for her gun on the rooftop in Marlin is one of those actions, to me, that just screams. After all, Longshore is a fellow agent, not an enemy, and Sarah was about to draw a gun on him so that she wouldn’t lose Chuck. I remember being on the edge of my seat going, “IS SHE—IS SHE REALLY GOING TO—” Sarah Walker, you utter sap. You’re amazing. Granted, it sucked that Longshore got shot anyway, but I still love that character beat. Also, it led to “Save you later?” Guh. GUH, I TELL YOU.
10) Bryce and Sarah fight in tandem
Whoa, whoa, whoa, Frea, what the 3$#@ is Bryce doing on a top-ten list?? Now, wait a second, hear me out. This is a “Moments that made me go HELL YEAH” list, not characters I liked. That comes later. Anyway, I love the notion this show has that true teamwork/seeing-eye-to-eye means punching bad guys in step with your partner. It’s a theme we’ve seen threaded throughout the whole series: Chuck and Sarah get over their fight in First Fight while fighting in tandem, Morgan and Casey have a great tied-together fight that mirrors the one Chuck and Casey had in Undercover Lover, Chuck and Sarah later do this exact fight from Nemesis but in handcuffs. So really, this fight is a precursor to all of those great moments, and it itself is a great moment. You may not like Bryce, but how awesome was it seeing Bryce and Sarah kick all of that ass together? It was like a dance. AN AWESOME DANCE.
AND SHE STILL STAYED IN BURBANK. It’s official. My rep as a cynic is ruined. BRING ON THE CHARAH.
What about you? What are your favorite HELL YEAH moments? Sound off in the comments. Let’s end this week with love, not with scorn! (That’s for our reviews next week!)