My review of “Chuck” Episode 4.09 (“Chuck vs. Phase Three”) (Spoiler Alert!)

I love you,
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.

I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me...

I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy…

–“Love,” by Roy Croft (full text of the poem can be found here: http://thinkexist.com/quotation/i-love-you-not-only-for-what-you-are-but-for-what/1602010.html)

To echo what a lot of folks have been saying on Twitter, “Chuck vs Phase Three” is by far the best episode of Season Four, if not the best episode of the whole series thus far. I was particularly pleased that we got confirmation of what I always believed was the ultimate source of Sarah’s fears that Chuck would lose his moral compass as a result of becoming a full-fledged spy. Chuck’s kindness and compassion are not only the qualities that Sarah loves most about him, but they also represent a moral beacon for Sarah: a way for her to reconnect with the better angels of her nature and find redemption after all of the very nasty things she has had to do over the course of her career as a spy. I thought it was especially good that this episode had not only Sarah acknowledging the positive effect Chuck has had on her (“I’m different without Chuck, and I don’t like it”), but Casey as well, with him pointing out that Sarah was reverting back her former nature as “Langston Graham’s wild-card enforcer” in the way she was approaching the search for Chuck. As a side note, that comment from Casey seemed to me to give an interesting hint at a past rivalry between him and Sarah that pre-dated the events of the Pilot episode, something that would be really cool to explore in any further examination the show may do of Sarah’s back story.

Another strong point of this episode was, of course, Yvonne Strahovski’s truly phenomenal performance, which was easily her best overall performance thus far. Along with her wonderful non-verbal acting in the scene where Sarah is alone in the bedroom, clutching Chuck’s workshirt and smelling it to get a hint of his scent (major kudos to whoever came up with that little touch), Yvonne did an incredible job in the final rescue scene where Sarah is telling Chuck that she knows about his proposal plan and that she loves him. That scene was set up in a really fantastic way, with Chuck’s dream image of Sarah speaking to him in cool, calm and serene tones intermixed with the real Sarah’s total lack of emotional control as she begged Chuck to wake up and come back to her.

The secondary story of this episode–Devon giving free medical help to Jeff, Lester and the Buy More crew in exchange for help getting the Orion computer working for Ellie–was not as strong as the primary story in my opinion, but it was definitely entertaining and provided necessary comic relief in light of the intensity of the rescue mission plot. I also liked the subtle reference back to Season Two’s “Chuck vs. the Predator” with Lester’s recognition of the Orion computer as (what he thinks is) a Roark Industries laptop. For a little while, I wondered if working on the computer might be the point when Jeff and/or Lester became aware of Chuck’s secret, but no dice there. However, there were several close calls leading up to Devon and Morgan’s respective discoveries of Chuck’s spy life, so maybe Jeff and Lester’s close calls in “Couch Lock,” “Fear of Death,” and this episode are hints at things to come.

All in all, this truly was an exceptional episode of Chuck, and I’m really looking forward to next week’s episode and where the show will go from there (after an excruciatingly long seven week break, that is).

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7 Responses to My review of “Chuck” Episode 4.09 (“Chuck vs. Phase Three”) (Spoiler Alert!)

  1. Great first post Matt. Good to see you’ve joined the Bloggers 🙂

  2. Gray Jones says:

    Hi Matt,

    I see you’ve discovered an alternative to Twitlonger 😉

    Seriously, though, great first post. I agree 100% with your assessment of the episode.

    Thanks for all your support of Chuck vs. the Podcast and on Twitter!

    All teh best,
    Gray.

    • Matt says:

      Thanks very much, Gray…Glad you liked the post, and I’ll definitely make a concerted effort to be a little less trigger-happy with Twitlonger! 😀

      As always, I’m happy to support Chuck vs. the Podcast, and just like Chuck, I’ll be encouraging as many people as I can to follow it who aren’t familiar with it.

      Take care, God Bless, and I know you had yours last month, but Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

      –Matt

  3. Glory says:

    As was stated before, great review! I thought this was the strongest episode of the season as well, maybe even series.

    Interesting thought regarding Jeff and Lester possibly becoming a part of Chuck’s spy world. I’m a huge Jeff and Lester fan but I’d rather they not. However, I did spend most of the episode wondering if Devon would end up with an Intersect of his own. I wouldn’t be opposed to that!

    • Matt says:

      Yeah, I’m not sure how exactly that will turn out if and when Jeff & Lester discover Chuck’s secret. At least once or twice on “Chuck vs. The Podcast,” Vik Sahay has said that he feels Lester would be inclined to sell Chuck out to the bad guys in some way in order to save his own skin, which to some extent, I’d say is a pretty fair assessment. However, if it went down like that, I figure that would be the point where Jeff steps in and acts as Lester’s de facto conscience, saying, “We can’t sell Chuck out like that…he’s our friend” (or something along those lines).

  4. Pingback: My review of “Chuck” Episode 4.12 (“Chuck vs. The Gobbler”) (Spoiler Alert!) | Matt's Blog

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