OK. Let me fill you in.
As some of you may remember, I was a regulari'ish poster around here towards the end of season 3.1. And I was probably one of it's harshest critics. In a nutshell, those first 13 episodes of this season had gone from bad to worse for me, mainly thanks to the creation of 'SuperChuck'. I won't go over old old ground again, suffice to say I went from loving this show to essentially hating it. Or at least, loathing one aspect of it - The deconstruction of Sarah Walker, from confident, butt kicking capable independent spy to love sick moppet who cried and needed Chuck to save her all the time. I had other issues with the show's new direction; Chuck seeming less likeable, cos he'd lost the vulnerability that made him so much more heroic than just having superpowers; Casey having very little to do; The Awesomectomy of Devon. But it was the Sarah arc that affected me most.
The straw that broke the camel's back was when the events of episode 13 basically stole what should have been a moment of joy for me, something in previous seasons I'd always hoped for. But the manner in which it was brought about was now tainted by the same problem that had been ruining season 3 from the start. And so, I needed a break. I decided I couldn't watch the back six, week after week, potentially going through the same disappointment, frustration and anger that had accompanied the previous 13 episodes. So I decided to wait. And watch 'em together, in one hit. Like pulling off a band-aid quickly, so it hurts less.
And I've manged to stay completely spoiler free. Outside of a couple of guest stars I already knew about, and some very vague rumour/supposition about the finale, I know nothing about the 6 episodes I'm about to watch. I only even know the titles of two of them (I managed to get to this page without scoping the other episode thread titles!).
I'm presuming that most of the people reading this have seen the season to it's finale, and are well aware what's in store for me. Some of you are probably either thinking "Man, he's gonna love this," or "Oh dear, this won't be good!" Naturally, I'm hoping it's the former.
One last thing, before I start. My How-to-fix-Chuck checklist; What I really, really hope I see over the next four hours. 1) Sarah back to being Sarah. And not just cos she's in a relationship with Chuck, cos that implies she needs him in some way. I want the proper Sarah back. Having her kick loads of butt again will be a bonus, but I'll just be grateful if she doesn't have to be rescued by someone more than twice and she's in control of her life, and her choices. 2) Casey having more to do. 3) Devon regaining his awesome. 4) Chuck losing that stupid Intersect version 2 - Yeah, I know that one's a long shot, but it ruined the show and it pretty much ruined him.
Right then. Here we go.
Chuck vs The Honeymooners
As this episode drew to an end, I thought to meself "Good start" . And literally seconds later, Chuck said the same to Sarah. Here's hoping that's an omen.
Well that was certainly the most enjoyable episode of the year to date. It's the first time in a long time, I've come away from an episode of Chuck happy. It's actually the first time in ages I haven't felt the urge to just skip to the end. Truth be told, the only real problems I had with this episode still stem from everything that has come before it this year. I still can't find meself completely happy for Chuck and Sarah, because of the lingering bad taste from everything until now. But ultimately, it ticked most of the boxes it needed to tick to get things back on track (pun intended!)
I guess the most notable aspect of this episode was the idea that Sarah (and Chuck) did want to be spies, which slightly undermines a lot of the arguments for 'moppet Sarah' that we've had up until now this year. So much of the attempted justification of that awful arc was based around the idea that Sarah wanted a 'real' life. But hey, guess what. She doesn't. She just wants a life with Chuck. So why we had to go through 13 weeks of Sarah being a bit useless to get us here, I don't know. But let's not dwell on the past.
There were a lot of positives to be had here, from Sarah being pretty much back to Sarah, the golden partnership that is Casey and Morgan and, of course, Jeffster's best performance yet. The only downsides were Chuck himself, cos I still can't get past the Intersect 2.0 as being a cheat, a shortcut. And the ass-kicking, which whilst it was great to see Sarah back in action, I could have done without Chuck there in the final scene. Again, cos he's cheating. And, let's be honest, he just doesn't look as good.
Still, minor problems aside, a definite step in the right direction. But we've got a loooong way to go, and there were certainly a couple of false dawns at the start of series 3, so we ain't out of the woods yet.
And so, to episode 15 I go!