Hey, everybody! Since we don’t have a new episode to watch this week, I decided to do something a little different in lieu of my customary episode review.
I’ve noticed more than a few fans say on Twitter and on various comments boards that they refuse to watch tonight’s re-airing of the Season Three episode “Chuck vs. First Class.” Various explanations have been given as to why some fans won’t be watching it, but most of them have to do with people believing that an earlier Season 4 episode from the Volkoff story arc would have been a better choice, or that they refuse to go back and watch an episode from the “dreaded” Daniel Shaw story arc.
Now, I’ll agree that it would have been a better choice to air an earlier Volkoff episode as a set up for “Chuck vs. the Family Volkoff,” which airs next week (though not in Detroit, apparently). I would also say that if it had to be an episode from a past season, the Season Two episode “Chuck vs. Tom Saywer” would have been better for the purpose of catching the attention of new viewers since, in my opinion, it’s a great standalone episode that perfectly distills the core elements and themes of the show as it was in the first two seasons.
However, I will not refuse to watch “Chuck vs. First Class” tonight, whether for those reasons, or because of the fact that it’s part of the Season Three Shaw story arc. You see, I genuinely enjoyed that story arc, as well as Brandon Routh’s portrayal of Shaw’s development from a tragic hero into a villain.
(I’ll give some of you a few moments to clean up whatever drink you just did a spit-take with all over your monitor and/or keyboard. ;-))
I know that a lot of Chuck fans feel that having Chuck & Sarah go through a major falling-out in their relationship, with both of them looking for comfort in relationships with Hannah and Shaw, was too much of a melodramatic departure from the interpersonal formula between the two that had come to define the show up to that point. Others have pointed to Chuck and Sarah’s actions in “Chuck vs. the Fake Name”–Sarah telling Shaw her true first name, and Chuck dumping Hannah so abruptly once he realized he still had feelings for Sarah–as being much too contradictory to their behavior in the past two seasons.
Everyone is absolutely 110% entitled to his or her own opinion, but with all due respect, I believe that expecting Chuck and Sarah’s fictional relationship to not experience any kind of really major trial or dark patch was just as unrealistic and naive as it would be to expect a real romantic relationship to never hit any major snags. The way in which the relationship arc played out in Season Three provided an opportunity for Chuck to really fight to get Sarah back. If the story had played out without any kind of serious rough patch for Chuck and Sarah, I am supremely confident that many fans would have complained that the show’s romance story had gotten unrealistic and boring, and they would have drifted away from the show for that reason.
With the Chuck and Sarah romance story, the old saying really does ring true: Whatever doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger. In any case, the “love trapezoid” story arc was a year ago; I think it’s safe to just let it go at this point.
Besides, I know I am not alone when I say that it was definitely 1000% worth going through all that to see these scenes… 😉