Chuck Vs. The Broken Heart

Chuck Vs. the Broken Heart is one of those episodes that has great entertainment value, but you sometimes wonder how it really fits in to the story. While it does “nudge” the story along, there are no great revelations that are groundbreaking within what is essentially the Orion arc. It won’t probably ever rank as a series or even season favorite, but it was predictably entertaining. It also introduces us to the ” 49B “.

  The episode starts with Chuck returning to his apartment, when he is “kidnapped” by 3 masked men, only to be rescued by Casey. These turn out to be Morgan, Jeff and Lester doing a dry run for kidnapping Devon for his bachelor party. Since the BuyMorons aren’t invited, Chuck sends them on their way and goes to his room to look over the plans Orion had sent him. While there, General Beckman contacts Chuck ( via his TV ) to ask what Chuck’s relationship with Sarah is becoming and whether it is hampering her job performance. Chuck states that the relationship is purely professional, but Beckman shows him footage of professing that he is crazy about her and giving her his mother’s charm bracelet. She then orders a “49B”.

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  Chuck goes to the  Orange Orange the next morning to ask Sarah about this 49B, and is surprised to find another woman at the counter, who he flashes on and finds to be Agent Alexandra Forrest. Later in Castle, during a conference with Beckman, Sarah explains the 49B to be an evaluation of her performance as a handler, and that Agent Forrest will be taking over as Chuck’s handler. ( More about that in my critique section !)

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When they are alone,  Sarah assures Chuck that Forrest will just be there to make her evaluation and then leave. While talking, Chuck asks Sarah if she can use her government ID to use the CIA computers to help find his dad. Sarah says it would be a breach and illegal, and Forrest shows up to “spell out” the  consequences of such actions. We find out that Forrest is a “by the book” agent…a mirror image of Casey in her love of missions and gun play, and the interaction and “attraction” between the two is quite comical and entertaining.

  The team is given a mission to infiltrate a hospital to identify a suspected terrorist by the name of Rashad Ahmad ( all you football fans will recognize this name, which has 1st and last names juxtaposed !), who had a heart attack while in the US. He is a link to a terrorist leader, Hassan Khalid, who is hiding in Afghanistan. Once an identification is made, the team is to plant a bug in his pacemaker so the US can track Khalid’s movements. During this mission, Sarah is to “wait in the van”, while Forrest and Chuck go in and make the ID. They enter a room with the patient, and are greeted by the terrorist’s doctor, Mohammed Zamir. The ” Doctor…Doctor” introductions are a direct rip off of the scene for Spies Like Us ….quite funny.

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  However a problem arises when Casey can’t get into the surgical store room to plant the bug, so they need to steal a Doctor’s key card. Since this is the hospital that Ellie and Devon work at, they decide to steal Devon’s card, even against Chuck’s vehement protests. However, while capitulating to the team’s wishes, Chuck does hatch a plan whereby his cover is protected while they obtain Awesome’s card. Chuck decides to let the Buymorons throw Devon a bachelor party, in the hopes they can get the key card when he gets drunk.

The plan to get the card is thwarted by Devon staying sober, so Forrest takes matters into her own hands, dressing as a stripper in a cop outfit and taking Devon into the Home Theater room. Devon continues to resist any attempts to have him stray, so Forrest tranqs him and steals the card.

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Chuck continues to protest Forrest’s tactics, reminding her that Sarah would never do anything like that. After the mission is complete, Forrest debriefs Beckman on her findings that Sarah is a liability to the Intersect. Sarah is dismissed from the team and told to return to Washington. Forrest even forbids her to say goodbye to Chuck. Sarah’s disdain for Forrest and the sting from Beckman’s decision lead her to use her government access to start a search for Chuck’s dad. While the program is scouring the government database, Sarah packs up and starts to drive back to Washington.

At the hospital, Zamir discovers that a bug has been planted and moves Ahmad to a vault in the Bank of Dubai. He sends henchmen to find the “doctor” who implanted the pacemaker, which turns out to be Devon. Chuck sees the men coming to the apartment and poses as Devon. Zamir’s men discover Chuck’s watch with the tracking device and throw it in the fountain in the courtyard. They then take him to the vault to “remove” the pacemaker with the bug.

In the meantime, Sarah’s search comes up with an address for Chuck’s dad, so as one last act for Chuck, she heads to Chuck’s apartment with a letter and the address. When she goes in the Morgan door to leave the letter, she notices Chuck’s phone still on the bed. She contacts Casey to let him know that something is wrong, since he never goes anywhere without his phone. Forrest assures them everything is OK since the tracking device shows he is still in the courtyard. While back at Castle, they zoom in on the device in the fountain. It takes Sarah to figure out where they have taken Chuck, and the team head to the bank to rescue him. As they get to the vault, Zamir hears the commotion and locks him and Chuck in. However, while protecting himself from Zamir, the hose to the nitrous oxide anesthetic is broken, and the vault fills with NO2. The team has to best decide how to get into the vault and rescue Chuck.

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  The scene in the vault is wonderfully done. As Zamir and Chuck struggle with a scalpel, the nitrous oxide ( laughing gas ) starts to have its affect, and the 2 start laughing uncontrollably. We get the wonderful ” Ladybugs can’t all be ladies” line, as well as Chuck standing up for Sarah…all the while stoned out of his head. Even while stoned, he still manages to find out the whereabouts of Khalid from Zamir, which is relayed to the team via walkie talkie. Forrest, in her impatience, decides to get the C4, while Sarah works to crack the safe. She realizes that while they may get into the vault with the explosives, they’ll probably kill Chuck in the process. Sarah is none too subtle in her remarks to Forrest as she opens the vault door in that, as a handler, saving the asset is of prime importance !

 

Sarah made the save

In the final mission debriefing, Beckman is about to berate Sarah for interfering in a mission, when Chuck decides he wants to chime in with his two cents worth. Forrest tries to cut him off, but Casey insists she let Chuck speak. Chuck explains that it is BECAUSE he and Sarah care for each other that the team works well, rather than it being a problem in the team dynamic. Because Casey seems to be on board, and the fact that Forrest almost got the asset killed, Beckman relents and reassigns Sarah to the team, dismissing Forrest.

 

Chuck and Sarah together the way they want it

Now that she’s back in Burbank with Chuck, they then set out to go to the address Sarah discovered, outside of Barstow. Chuck is beginning to understand the depth of Sarah’s feelings for him when she explains why she defied authority and got his dad’s address. When they approach the trailer in the middle of nowhere, Chuck is a bit hesitant, stating that his Dad didn’t really want to be found. Sarah encourages him to knock on the door, but there is no answer. In one of her most truly heartfelt moments, Sarah tries to assuage Chuck’s disappointment by reaching up to caress his neck. Just as she’s about to kiss him, the trailer door opens, and Chuck says, “Dad ?”

This is a woman who has began to trust her feelings When Chuck and Sarah started to become one

Hello Dad

The Buy More

 Not much happening here except for the bachelor party…Morgan, Jeff and Lester’s first ever !! Some hilarity results due to Jeff hiring his sister and some of her friends as exotic dancers (“they gave me a discount !” ), and the usual trouble caused by Jeff and Lester photographing the entire event.

Family

 This is one of the underlying threads throughout the story as Chuck attempts to keep his family out of his spy life. It is complicated by having to go undercover at the hospital where Ellie and Devon work, and then involving Devon by stealing his key card. While Devon had no interest in getting drunk or involved with any “exotic dancers”, being tranq’d by Forrest and subsequently the pictures taken by Lester cause a great deal of mistrust…not only between Devon and Ellie, but also Chuck and Ellie since Chuck must protect his cover and try to hide what actually happened at the party.

Critique

As a golfer, my critique will involve birdies ( very good), pars ( good ), and bogeys ( not good).

Birdies

First birdie …Forrest and Casey seemed like a match made in heaven ….until she started badmouthing the team. When she mentioned that, with Sarah gone, things can get back to “normal”, Casey lit into her. Even Casey realizes the dynamic of the team is best served by their disparate personalities, and the fact that they ALL care for each other.

 Second birdie ….Chuck takes the lead on a plan to get Devon’s card while protecting his cover …all without the intersect. If Sarah had been with the team, the plan might or might not have worked, but Forrest didn’t help matters with her routine. Additionally, Chuck had the where-with-all during his stoned state and was able to extract the whereabouts of Khalid…showing that he was not entirely a liability on these missions.

Pars

 Sarah doing something quite unselfish for Chuck was a major milestone for her… but it was akin to a deathbed confession. She did it to spite the government for taking her off the team as well as help Chuck. We’re not entirely sure what her motivations were because of the timing. But I don’t think there was anything selfish to this act.

 Second par, during the final debriefing, Chuck and Sarah made it very clear to General Beckman that they “cared for each other.” It was an interesting confession in that there was never any indication that Sarah was moving past the “cover” story ….staying very much in Agent mode in front of Chuck during the whole 49B. It was only after she came back and rescued him from the vault that we saw ( at the same time as Chuck) that Sarah cared enough to defy orders.

 This par is a technical one, but I want to give props to Yvonne for this scene.

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As we know, Sarah is the dream girl …perfect in every way. As such, there are a lot of tricks of the trade to make her come out perfect on screen, such as lots of makeup, soft lighting and a soft focus. Usually, Sarah is seen with skin that looks like cream, but in this scene, it is a hard light ( the sun )which casts lots of shadows. Because of this, we can see the “imperfections” in Yvonne’s face. I think this is wonderful in so many ways…and Yvonne actually requested this form of lighting in 24LAD so she wouldn’t be seen as a “model”, but rather as a CIA agent. Kinda cool !!

Bogeys

 First big bogey is to the premise of the show. If Sarah is to undergo a 49B to assess how her performance is affected by Chuck’s emotions for her, well, shouldn’t she be observed as the handler? If Forrest takes over as the handler, then it’s pretty hard to assess Sarah’s performance in her job, since she isn’t doing her actual job !!

 Second bogey isn’t a big one, but I probably should mention that some women feel offended by the hypersexual nature of some of the scenes in Chuck, and this one had the very seductive gun cleaning scene. I don’t think it’s much of a secret that the Chuck writers /creators objectify women, given the number of bra and panty scene’s we get with Sarah. However, most of these scenes are to remind us that Sarah is, actually, an “object” of desire for Chuck. This was a funny one in that Forrest could possibly have been the “object” of Casey’s desires ….until she spoke out against Sarah !

2 comments

  1. Great article Gary,

    There are a lot of good scenes in this episode, the only issue I have with the episode i can’t stomach Alex Forrest. She is over the top and its not even good acting. Grant it, she doesn’t know about Chuck’s special skills, but still there is a word I could use but not appropriate for here.

    For me the best scene was in the vault for me, when it came time for Chuck to man up. and took a stance. I also find it interesting how Sarah had hard time leaving Castle and Burbank. It truly define this as Sarah leaving the agent behind and realzing the deep feelings she has, As I have wrote nothing said it more then the opening scene of Dream Job for me.

    I have question though why would they call this episode the broken heart. No one’s heart was really broken like in Prague or like the Mauser situation.

    • Alex was a good character…a hard nose agent with no emotion…(sound familiar? ) She was similar to Casey, but without the wise cracks. It made no sense that she took over as the “Handler”, though. I think the idea was to contrast how 2 female agents could be so different…Alex had no emotions, Sarah had to bury hers. It was a ploy to humanize Sarah even more…and it wasn’t the first time Chuck writers push antagonistic character and protagonists far apart ( think Chuck vs the beefcake).

      The Broken Heart was definitively Sarah’s…she was losing Chuck in her life. Of course she had a hard time leaving Chuck behind…she realized how she felt about him..she had admitted it to herself by then. That’s why she could go against orders and risk her job. Sure, it wasn’t a Broken Heart of the scale of Prague, but I don’t understand how Mauser relates to broken hearts……it was more or less confusion on Chuck’s part….and an understanding of what Sarah really needs to become in her line of work.

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