Top 10: HELL YEAH moments

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

“What do you think we are, the FBI? The only thing you’re going to see is a muzzle flash and an e-ticket straight to hell.”

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

“Anybody else wanna be my boyfriend?”

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

“Well, I see how I could have given you that impression. I had to die quite a few times—it’s one of the perils of being 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

“Guys…I know Kung Fu.”

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.

5) Barstow

Oh, honestly, just put Bon Iver on repeat.

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

Love on the rocks
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

“Saved the best for last.”

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.

“You should know I wanted to help you. I was going to let you get away. But you were about to kill Sarah and that made the decision for me. 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

“No! I will take full responsibility! Chuck is my asset. My guy. Just give us more time. Please.”

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

“’Cause this guy Bryce was a real douche. You know, he got my buddy Chuck kicked out of Stanford, he ruined his life. I don’t know why he’d do that to the nicest guy in the world, you know?”

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!)


  1. Not QUITE a top ten, but I'd like to include the Hungary scene from Baby, post Intersect Sarah from Bo and Chuckles little speech while getting his overly black motorcycle in Cliffhanger. "Eleven hours and counting? I don't give a damn."

    I would include more of s1 and 2, but you've got most of them anyway, so here is me, reminding you that Season 4 and 5 weren't ALL terrible.

    Oh and please don't tell me that "Sarah could do those things without the Intersect." She stopped being able to do those things roughly around the time that Barstow happened (Phase Three not counting.) Bryce was right after all and if Sarah wasn't such an important character, I wouldn't have minded his prophecy to actually come true. "Having feelings for her is going to get her killed." Well, at least her skills have deteriorated at an astonishingly fast pace either way.

  2. Anonymous23.1.12

    Stephen B being Orion is my #1, big Scott Bakula fan. (Just realised they have the same intials).

    I'm still not sure how he survived that helicopter getting blown up, so I'll just assume he was beamed up.

    Talking of Top 10s, where is mxpw's Top 10 SWP moments?

  3. Also not quite a top ten, but I wanted to tag along with the Bryce bit. That whole fight scene was so amazingly badass for sure. And the fact that Sarah DID stay.. well I liked that bit too!

    As for other moments.. honestly you nailed a lot of them, though we've had some in S5 (Intersect may be icky, but that fight at the end of Bo was oh so great, and stripper kick!)

  4. I know there are good moments in S4 and S5. I don't think the seasons overall succeed, though, so their potential for Hell Yeah is just automatically lowered.

    1. They're diamonds in the rough, that's for sure.

  5. A couple of these were my "HELL YEAH" moments too.Cool list!

    Here's some you don't have, just for fun:

    Awesome teaching Chuck to Tango! HELL YEAH 'cause Awesome was all steamy in his robe, plus, he spoke Spanish, HOT. And both of them were just hilarious!

    But here's my real HELL YEAH moment. Though you do have Barstow in this list...Chara's first true kiss was literally explosive and made me stand up from the floor and cheer, while never taking my eyes off the screen. It was so deliciously unexpected, and the whole countdown, tension to save one another's life, their stubborness...*sighs* it made for a memorable "WE"RE GONNA DIE NOW AND I WANT TO DIE KISSING YOU" kiss. Hee. Plus, Sarah initiated it, so. :)

    That's all. Bye now.

    1. Yes, I agree. That kiss! ;-)

  6. Neil Simon?

    Good list. I would add to it Chuck kissing Sarah in Seduction. Also I had the same reaction watching Chuck save Sarah in Suburbs because, for a moment, I thought they were going to do the Sarah memory wipe thing. Fortunately this show isn't that dumb. By the way, I haven't seen Bullet Train yet. Is it any good?

    1. Yeah, I'm just making people up at this point. Or I wrote this in a haze Friday night. One of the two.

    2. Got the Neil part right though. :)

    3. The list tomorrow actually has no words, so I won't be mixing up Paul Diamond or anything like that.

    4. So ... charades then?

  7. Great list. I'd agree with pretty much everything.

    I think I'd add Honeymooners because the French and European geography was aw inspiring... Wait, no. That wasn't it. ;-)

    I really liked the call back to the tandem fight in the café. Part of it was probably that it came after S3.0, but I really enjoyed seeing this back then.

  8. 1) Anna Wu kicks Strahan's ass
    2) Anna Wu: "Speak for yourself." from Tango
    3) Chuck jumps from the roof of the Buy More to save Sarah
    4) Big Mike takes out Leader
    5) "The Kiss part 1" from Hard Salami
    6) Sarah's death defying hail mary to crash Casey's SUV in the Pilot
    7) "Close your eyes." from Suburbs (though it was quickly ruined)
    8) "We have to run" -First Kill
    9" Casey, the wedding crasher, from Ring Part 1
    10) Ding Dong, the Milbarge is gone (the only redeeming part of the S3 premiere)

    1. Great list. I think #8 would be somewhere near the top of mine.

  9. shetowstheline24.1.12

    I stopped reading fics about a year and a half ago and now i feel very out of the loop. Any recommendations for a good tear-jerker/angst story? Maximus, i think you mentioned awhile back that you had some new ones that you liked. Care to share?

  10. Imma add mine, because yes! an article celebrating the good things in Chuck! Wheee!

    My favorite favorite favorite little moment in Chuck is the whole wedding sequence in Ring Part 1. Ellie and Devon walk handsomely down a sandy aisle, Sarah and Chuck are on opposite sides of them, Sarah is no longer wearing pink but that majestic color that brought out her eyes. And the song! Yes, Bon Iver takes the cake in angsty, du fuck did just that happen?! moments, but Christmas TV, and its message, and how perfectly timed the little looks were in that ceremony between Sarah, and Chuck, is one of the most perfect gems out there.

    And Bryce could see it all. Sarah might as well have been naked, that's how bare her love was for Chuck. And then he asks her, "you're not coming are you?". She shakes her head...Just perfection choreographed.

    That is my favorite moment that's not always celebrated loudly.

    Unlike the "Feeling Good" moment which is obviously my crack.

    Even now, after everything in S4-5, after all the wonderful moments in Chuck S1-2, that scene packs a punch. It hits me in the gut, tickles my tear ducts, and squeezes my heart in a particular way. It was everything I had hoped their coming together would be. And I would have been happy had it ended there. How I wish.


    1. I do love that scene. Christmas TV is actually the most-played song in my iTunes library! That's probably one of the most ironic things about the show: the showrunner seems to get off on these big grand gesture things lately, but it's the little moments like this that really keep us coming back. I think I shall have to rewatch this scene a few times before Friday. It'll be rough, but I'll soldier on.

  11. Tenks725.1.12

    Good list.

    The only one I disagree with is number 7 because it felt like a dick measuring contest like you mentioned in your description. That ruined the scene for me. I hated the end of the Cliffhanger and Santa Suit for the same reasons. The suspense they were trying to convey with all of those scenes was lost as soon as I felt like Chuck was more interested in proving himself than saving Sarah.

    If I was going to stick with a season 3 scene to replace it, I'd go with Sarah throwing the hatchet to deflect the knife that was thrown at Chuck in the Living Dead:
    "Does she have the Intersect too?"
    "No dad. That's all her."

    Or, if I was going to stick with a Chuck saving Sarah moment, I'd go with the scene from the Anniversary where Chuck takes out 10 armed guards and then threatens Drago that he'll do the same to him if he so much as touches a hair on Sarah's head. Unlike the Ring: Part 2, the Cliffhanger, and the Santa Suit, I actually felt like Sarah's safety was the most important thing to Chuck in that scene.

  12. singlewalkrun27.1.12

    I think you got all the important ones. But the moments I knew I loved the show were the comedic ones. I would find myself laughing so hard at the tiniest thing and I knew in those moments that it would always be one of my favorites.

    They don't fit in the category of "Hell Yeah" moments, but here are some I'd like to point out:

    When Chuck cell goes off right when they get to the Bomb (Pilot). I just love the timing of it. The little beat before he goes to answer it as Sarah and Casey both kneel to get a better look at the bomb.

    And now that I think about it, that weird little dance move Morgan does to move out of frame after Chuck gives him a look for eavesdropping is the other moment in the Pilot that I always remember loving.

    When Jill introduces her boss as Guy Lafleur (Ex). This isn't even a joke really, but as a huge hockey fan the fact that they named a character after the Montreal Canadiens legend was just too amusing to me.

    Any moment from Wedding Planner. Solely because it was the episode that made me start rooting for the show again. I was really disappointed with how S4 was going and I really didn't care all that much if it ended that year. But then I saw wedding planner and I suddenly wanted it to keep going.


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