Among the most subtle props used on the show is the action of brushing an object off a character’s person to imply that character’s difficulty in ridding himself of emotional residue/entanglement. Chuck’s decision to return to Stanford proves a struggle for him given the hurtful memories he still carries from his tenure there: Bryce Larkin getting him expelled from school and Jill dumping him to be with Bryce. When starting out on the Chuck Bartowski Memorial Tour with Sarah, Chuck pointedly swipes away a leaf that falls on his shoulder even as he admits, “This is really freaking me out. It’s like nothing has changed.” When Sarah asks whether that’s good or bad, Chuck proves so internally discombobulated that he can’t manage an answer beyond, “It’s a…it’s a…yeah.” By the end of the episode, however, he finds himself able to brush off the past and retrieve the frat photo with Bryce out of the garbage.
In a similar image (“Aisle of Terror”), Chuck walks through a faux spider’s web in the Buy More, part of the Halloween décor, and carries a cottony remnant on his shoulder for a few paces before picking it off and tossing it to the side. It is no coincidence that the episode focuses on Chuck’s internal entanglement re: the reappearance of his delinquent mother, who has just shot him in the chest in the preceding scene. Thus, the prop serves as the metaphorical equivalent of Chuck’s attempt to shed his emotional turmoil and move forward, which proves no easy task.