When it comes to heroes we often place them on a pedestal in which we assume they will do the right thing all the time. They are required to never go against their principles, heart or lose their soul in some cases.
Change is quite often used when trying to understand the reason our heroes are forced into compromising situation. The very situations that call for decisions that will not only change heroes, but affect those around them. When it comes to Oliver and Chuck nothing can be more true for them.
Season Three seemed to be a turning point for both series when it comes to the makeup of main characters. It centered around two women. Sarah Walker and Felicity Smoak and how the men they love feel like the life they are living would not be adequate enough for their beloved or for being a hero.
Chuck felt he would need to become a spy if he wanted to be with Sarah. Conversely, Sarah didn’t want Chuck to become a field operative. The disconnect here would ultimately create a very bad situation between the two. However, Oliver was starting to see a fork in the road when it comes to his relationship with Felicity. Like Sarah Walker, Oliver saw people as either targets or threats much like a superagent sees people, so emotions like Oliver and Sarah saw in their beloveds changed them. They wanted to protect Chuck and Felicity by any means necessary even if it meant never being able to have the one thing they desire most their hearts. But intrigue garners more from one’s beloved. Sarah was in a trance when she saw how Chuck helped the ballerina because of what Oliver said above.
Oliver: The entire time that I was gone, I could never completely trust someone.
And when that goes on long, you stop seeing people for people.
You see threats.
And when I decided to come home, I I just didn’t know how to turn that part of me off.
When Oliver said this to Felicity, I started thinking about the trust issues in Sarah and how hard it was for her to trust someone. It’s the very expression in the Pilot of Chuck that makes one think Sarah no longer saw Chuck as a threat to the country, but more on her perspective on people. For example, Sarah’s expression when Chuck comes knocking on her door with flowers on their date. Walker was in awe of the kindness Chuck showed her. Oliver met Felicity in a similar matter when it comes to the initial meet. Oliver needed a laptop to be rescued in order to find intel, but what makes it fun is the cover he uses to deceive Felicity into fixing the computer, but unlike Chuck, Felicity wasn’t buying into it. Felicity’s look of “are you kidding me” made Oliver see the potential in working with her much like this expression from Sarah Walker when working with Chuck. The seeds are planted for a future between the normal lives of Felicity and Chuck with that of a superhero like Arrow and Agent Walker, but Sarah and Oliver still have to learn how to balance everything. Something neither can come to terms with even as the series move on and character development deems itself.
Chuck and Felicity are very much the same person. Computer hacking geniuses, who are thrusted into worlds they can barely deem possible let alone apart of, but while Chuck’s team struggle with letting Chuck grow at times. Oliver trusts Felicity’s capabilities as a computer technician. However, it wouldn’t be the same for Chuck when it comes to his technical skills. Chuck was denied the chance to hack into a chip containing intel. A chip Alexis was looking for. Chuck could crack the chip if allowed, but the team constant need to shelter Chuck made them waste away talents that could challenge Felicity if the two squared off in a hacking match up.
We have establish the similarities in the two couples and their counterparts. Let’s turn our focus on the change Oliver and Chuck both had to endure. The change that would have Felicity and Sarah questioning if the decisions they were making was not only changing them mentally, but changing their souls.
Chuck’s path to change began when the original Intersect was taken out. The idea of Sarah being with him was reachable, but while trying to court Sarah. The desire to become a spy became even more important because like the wrist watch symbolizes Chuck and Sarah’s connection. The spy team, missions, long trips spent together all played its role in Chuck’s decision. It also doesn’t help Larkin returned and was ready to work with Sarah again.
The same can be said for Oliver and Felicity. Time spent working missions and worrying about each other develops feelings over time.
Felicity seeing Oliver go from willing to kill to fulfill his father’s wishes to a man that had to show mercy or the message he was sending was no different in the eyes of the law. The killer inside of him had to be harnessed. Detective Lance would reiterate over and over in Season One how Arrow’s methods were criminal because the vigilante’s methods were outside the scope of the law.
The words Lance kept saying was only partially the problem. The other significant problem was Oliver blaming himself in the death of Tommy Merlyn. A blow that hurt Oliver. Tommy Merlyn plays a major role when it comes to the makeup of Oliver. Tommy was to Oliver like Morgan was to Chuck.
The decision not to kill came from the scene above, but again we can show how two similar situations could cause different results. Tommy was furious with Oliver for not telling him about being the Arrow. The same can’t be said about Morgan.
Morgan and Chuck were friends much like Tommy and Oliver. All four were together since their youth days, but a secret of this magnitude ruins relationships and the chance to make amends may never come as was the case for Queen.
As far as Sarah and Felicity go, Oliver working with Merlyn and Chuck pursuing his spy career would cause both women to question their decisions but what Arrow provided Felicity was a voice. Smoak was able to voice her concerns with the change. Sarah just stood on the sidelines and became voiceless. Oliver has an expression like he wants to tell Felicity the truth, but with what was at stake all Oliver could do is play the role of Al Sah-Him. The change he made was bigger than any of his team could understand. The cover Oliver played worked to perfection because Ra’s Al Ghul had no inkling Oliver was working him with the assistance from Malcolm.
Likewise, Chuck Bartowski had to ordeal the same kind of change. Once news broke about Sarah and Bryce working together again. Chuck had no choice, but train to become a spy. The job wouldn’t allow Sarah and Chuck to be together, but once Sarah caught wind of the news. Sarah was not adjusting to the news gracefully.
Chuck never had the taste for killing, and when it came to changing that belief for the sake of being a spy was one thing, but it came with a risk. Sarah wasn’t thrilled with the idea of Chuck killing because what it does to people. The clean innocent nature of Charles Bartowski was one of the biggest attractive quality Chuck had. Her words, “you’re not the same person I feel for.” However, we all know Chuck didn’t do it, but the failure of communication and trust displayed its ugly head here.
Sarah’s trepidation with Chuck killing is the complete opposite from Felicity standpoint. When Oliver was going to challenge Ra’s to a duel. Felicity wasn’t worry about Oliver beating him or not, but Oliver’s humanity would come into play and prevent him from killing Ra’s. Sarah never spoke like Felicity which is ashame because it made Sarah seem powerless.
The premise was for Chuck to become a spy, and if the Red Test was the only way for him to join the CIA then Chuck had no choice., but what does these fine ladies have in common. Shaw/Palmer seemed to be in the right place at the right time.
The word “gone” is an interesting word used by Felicity because as I will discuss further shortly, Sarah used the words “he won’t be the same.” In Sarah’s mind, Chuck “killed” the mole, which meant Bartowski was gone. He would no longer be this image. While Felicity saying Oliver was gone in the physical sense. Sarah’s image of Chuck was now gone too. The coincides was how Shaw/Palmer was the ear they came too.
Sarah and Felicity both fell in love with an image of the man they called their respective beloved. It’s the change in season three that made the two women question their devotion to Chuck and Oliver, which also leads them to bed Shaw/Palmer.
Both women succumbed to the superman like qualities and big bank accounts. The penthouse life, but neither woman would ever give their most prized possession which was their hearts. Those hearts belong to Oliver and Chuck.
We shall continue this discussion about Olicity and Charah when the time comes, but for now I leave you with this.
He was Quentin Lance’s partner in Arrow, but when he was on Chuck he was the Ring Agent who turned Shaw. He gave Shaw the intel about who really killed Eve. Another character that appeared in both Arrow and Chuck would be Vinnie Jones. I don’t know what it is about Vinnie, but he is very entertaining when it comes to being a baddie.
Well, this would conclude my comparison between the two series and their third season. It’s now time to compare and contrast the characters themselves until next time. Chuck and Arrow fans it’s hard to say goodbye to Chuck, but at least Arrow fills the void in my heart.
Arrow fans, please enjoy the Chuck material already on this site….Hopefully I can help bridge the two series together as they both have parallel stories despite being from two very different worlds.