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Sex, Lies, and Secret Agents: Chuck Comes Face to Face with His Ex on "Chuck"

You've already read my advance review of the next three episodes of Chuck from last week but I am curious to know just what you all thought of this week's episode ("Chuck Versus the Ex"), in which our would-be superspy ran head long into ex-girlfriend Jill (guest star Jordana Brewster) and confronted the reason behind loss of his "mojo" back at Stanford.

Written by Zev Borow, who wrote last season's "Chuck Versus the Crown Vic," and directed by Jay Chandrasekhar (Arrested Development, Super Troopers), this week's episode is easily the best of the series to date, displaying Chuck's full potential to blend action, comedy, and romance into one delicious, sugar-coated package.

While I listed all of my reasons in my advance review, I'll say this: it gave nearly every single supporting character an opportunity to shine in a storyline that had Chuck, Casey, and Sarah investigating Jill's boss Guy LeFleur while Captain Awesome trained the Buy More staff in CPR, all while advancing the love triangle between Chuck, Sarah, and Jill and giving us another peek into Chuck's college days.

So what did I love so much about this week's episode? The way Emmett said "pronto," for one; Big Mike's near-choking on one of his beloved doughnuts; the awkward reach-hug/hand-grab between Chuck and Jill after she discovers him hiding under the table; Casey saying "who hasn't?" when he learned that Jill had slept with Bryce Larkin (and his later disguise as an arty matre'd); the James Bondian music before Chuck's "fine Italian automobile" stopped short of the restaurant on his date with Jill; getting to hear Yvonne Strahovski's actual Australian accent before she excused herself to go to the loo. (Ha!)

What else? There was Emmett channeling Tobias with a subtle "hot, hot, hot" whilst drinking coffee; Ellie catching Morgan with her underwear; Casey wiping down the glass table after dumping Jill's tissues in the trash; Jeff swallowing the pen cap so that Lester and Morgan could pass their written CPR test; Chuck taking control of the crime scene to demonstrate his first real display of courage and grit.

And, oh, that cringe-worthy kiss between Chuck and Casey which paid off the CPR training storyline and brought us the least likely liplock on television this year. Plus, I couldn't help but root for Chuck when he finally won the girl after saving the day himself and got to kiss her in front of an entire squad of FBI, CIA, SWAT agents... to the tune of Iggy Pop's appropriately-titled "Pumpin' For Jill" no less. God, I love this series.

While I missed Anna (why exactly was she excused from the mandatory CPR training?), I thought that Borow did a fantastic job further developing Emmett's character and making more of a presence at the Buy More. In his first appearance, Emmett (Tony Hale) came off as little more than a corporate drone but I was happy to see him play a larger role in this week's episode as he begins to put the screws to our boy Chuck, slowly becoming aware of Chuck's inexplicable absences from the Buy More.

Best line of the evening: "If I wanted to take tests, I would have been a boat captain." - Jeff (Though it was a toss-up between that and Casey's "I served my country with honor, let me die with dignity.")

But enough of what I thought. Do you agree with my assessment that "Chuck Versus the Ex" was the best episode so far? Did you jump with joy when Chuck turned up at Jill's hotel with an entire contingent of FBI agents? Or feel your heart break when Sarah overheard Chuck say that his relationship with her was nothing but a cover? Talk back here.

Next week on Chuck ("Chuck Versus the Fat Lady"), Chuck and Jill have to cancel their weekend getaway at the last minute when Chuck is needed for a mission to uncover corrupt Fulcrum agents in the CIA; Jill is jealous when she meets Sarah and learns that she and Chuck will have to pose as a couple.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I thought it was another great episode to a great season, BUT I thought that CHUCK vs the Cougars was better.

Cougars had the emotional connection for Sarah. While Chuck stepped up to support and protect Sarah\Jenny emotionally.

I thought the missing key to CHUCK vs the EX was the little jealous looks from Sarah when confronted with Chuck & Jill. In previous episodes there was the eye movements and the subtle facial expressions of shock, anger, or heart ache.

Thinking about it again the camera angles were off and the shots were not close enough to her face to really catch it as they were in other episodes.

Yes I understand the whole EX issue with old feelings, but Chuck seemed to completely forget about Sarah this episode. Could be setup for the next two episodes???

Perfect line from Chuck was "Turn off my emotions off like a robot."

Wonderful interaction between Chuck and his sister.

CASEY was EXCELLENT as usual.

Nice to really see Chuck embrace his calling as super secret agent Carmichael…The underlining theme for this season.

I truly hope that in Chuck vs the Fat Lady we see Sarah work for Chuck's attention.

These three episodes have the potential to blast CHUCK into the orbit of great series. Let's all hope the ratings show it.
Anonymous said…
LOVED this episode. (Although, I think my favorite is Chuck vs. the Undercover Lover.) You've hit all the great moments. This series makes my week. (This and Pushing Daisies.)

Random thoughts:

Where is Anna? Surely there must be an Anna and Emmett confrontation? Or a Casey and Emmett confrontation.

Casey's "let me die with dignity" gets my vote for the best quote of the night. Runner-up: Chuck's "I'd like to wallow more" comment to Sarah.
Anonymous said…
you mention all the great things that happened in the ep, and I agree, the supporting cast really held the standard for this week's ep, but the Jill storyline? How can you say that such an out-of-character, continuity-neglecting, poorly-written episode was the best one yet?

I'm all for introducing characters that can throw a nice angsty wrench into things, but the way Chuck reacted to Jill's reappearence in his life made no sense. His readiness to continuously value Jill over Sarah was an affront to the last 5 episodes that showed us just how much he actually cares for Sarah.

Him listening to a Jill Mix at the beginning of the ep was such a poor segway out of the flashback and felt like it belonged in episode 1.01, not 2.06.

And it seemed like all Sarah was good for was her Jealousy Reaction Shots.

best ep to date? I remember when I got to see an advance screening of Jersey Girl and I thought it was the Best Movie Ever. Usually advance screenings do that to people.... just something to consider.
Anonymous said…
Anonymous, you are CRAZY. I am going to assume that you've never run into an ex-girlfriend much less one that broke your heart. Chuck's behavior was spot on when he ran into Jill and the show has shown that he has not gotten over her even if he does have feelings for Sarah which she keeps reminding them that they can't act on. I LOVED this episode and thought that Chuck and Jill were great for each other. I am sure that something is going to split them up but I am glad that they are dealing with the Jill story line from before the show started and letting Chuck win for once. Why was "His readiness to continuously value Jill over Sarah was an affront to the last 5 episodes that showed us just how much he actually cares for Sarah."? He's a GUY. Here's a girl who he was involved with who is back in his life. Sarah won't date him no matter how much he tries so why can't he go for Jill? How is that an "affront?" I can't take anyone seriously who says that Jersey Girl was their favorite movie.
Anonymous said…
Great EP! I am glad that The Kiss you mentioned turned out to be between Chuck and Casey which was hysterical. I think it's safe to say that we all think that Jill is somehow tangled up with something evil and that her relationship with Chuck will be short lived but I liked having them together for now. I kind of wish that Chuck had pushed Jill about why she slept with Bryce. Was it part of Bryce's plan to get Chuck out of Stanford???
Anonymous said…
This and Chuck Vs. the Cougars are my 2 favorite eps so far. S2 has proven to be far superior so far to S1 and I can't wait to see what the writers come up with next.
Anonymous said…
I liked the episode but I'm noticing a bothersome trend- Chuck's flash on Guy LeFleur didn't mean anything. It just served to make the team report to General Beckman, who already had all the important information. Why have an Intersect if you already have all the connections? I know we don't want Chuck to become Mr. Exposition, but that's why he's so important.
-Rachel
Anonymous said…
I thought this episode was good...but in my book, not the best of the season. The writing was I don't know...off to me. I do agree with first anonymous, Chuck continually values other people over Sarah and it's a little tiring. And the Jill Mix thing was kind of random that he would just listen to it all of a sudden. I don't think this episode is as horrible as I've heard some people say (on boards people are being overly dramatic and saying this episode makes them not want to watch the show anymore) but I didn't exactly like Chuck in this episode, it was dumb of him when he got in the van and Sarah asked him why he was smiling and he said she kissed me and he had that dumb look on his face after like oops.
But I look forward to the rest of this arc no matter what; and Chuck continues to be my favorite show!
Anonymous said…
This was definitely my favorite episode so far and I'm surprised by some of the negative comments. Chuck's reaction to seeing Jill again was spot on. And I liked the dynamic between them. And I love that, for once, Chuck not only got to save the day but got to do it in front of a girl. Excellent ep all around!
Anonymous said…
I would never trust the opinion of someone who liked Jersey Girl. Even if it was an advanced screening. This episode was fantastic and I don't see how seeing it in advance would change a person's opinion of it since it's an ongoing TV show and not a film. I totally agree with Televisionary and think the show lived up to its full potential in this episode. I loved it!
Anonymous said…
As usual, the 'shippers are crazy. Just because Sarah and Chuck are facing complications with a new love triangle you don't like the show? Idiots. Some of us watch the show because we like the characters, the action, and the comedy and not just because we're rooting for Chuck and Sarah to fall in love. Go watch Lipstick Jungle or something if you just want romance crap.
Anonymous said…
For those of you who question Chuck's instant gravitation toward Jill over Sarah, did you not see the first 10 minutes of the very first episode?

It started at Chuck's birthday party where all he talks about his Jill. Ellie gives him the speech how he has to stop pining over Jill and move on.

Just as Ellie told him again in this episode that it was a BAD idea to go to dinner with Jill to get closure. Chuck admitted it the next morning.

The producers and writers setup this episode and the next two in season one episode one. Just like they setup the Bryce’s storyline in episode one and dealt with it in CHUCK vs the Alma Mater and CHUCK vs the Nemesis.

Not to mention Fulcrum. The two underlining themes I see for this season are Chuck Bartwoski becoming Charles Carmichael and Fulcrum's continued search for the Intersect AKA Chuck.

Josh Schwartz said it himself that the first half of season two is parts of what was to be the back half of season one. He said that not all of the outline of season one was used but I'd say it is pretty safe to say that Jill's return is a part of that.
Anonymous said…
All those little moments were great, but it couldn't mask the biggest problem of the episode.
How the hell did we get from the " make a wish and look at Sarah with puppy eyes" moment from the end of the last episode to the " listening Jill's 2003 mixed tape " on the beginning of this episode.
No matter what you guys say about Chuck's reaction for Jill was normal, it just simple not true.
If all happen in a few days , in a few episode, i'll buy it, but the immediate " lets forget what happend the last 5 years and make a fool out of myself while stomping over others feelings" was simply not Chuck, it was out of character.
With this the episode lost its credibility for me, so i didn't like it. Not because Chuck went for Jill, just because the way he did. Let me just quote someone from another board: "Yeesh…talk about making ridiculous character leaps just to keep some romantic tension in a series. They should have just brought the Jill character in for the full season instead of shoehorning her in for November. I feel sorry for the actors for having to try to make that episode work"
Page48 said…
Guy Lafleur?

Who's up next week, Rocket Richard?
Anonymous said…
The saving grace in this episode? The freaking Buy More. I have never enjoyed their sub plot more than the full one. I laughed out loud almost every time they were on screen, and they're so lovable and adorable, it was nice to have that innocence back in the show.

The whole Jill situation could have been handled better, in my opinion. And as a Chuck/Sarah fan myself, I did not fully enjoy this episode not for that reason, but for many others.

Chuck seemed very out of character. I didn't enjoy him this episode at all.

"Cause I like this Chuck Bartowski a lot more." Oh, yeah, sure. The one that forgives you with no explanations and doesn't call you out for what you did. Jill did not manage to win me over.

Awesome, Lester, Jeff, Morgan, Emmett, Sarah, Casey...they all killed it. Jill and Chuck together and individually...grated. It was not a matter of 'OMFG, CHUCK AND SARAH DIDN'T HAVE ANY SCENES OF SUBSTANCE, FORGET THIS EPISODE.' Sarah seems to get the shaft anytime there's an episode where she won't really be interacting with Chuck, and not to mention, Chuck just seemed pathetic and immature the whole episode. That's what annoyed me. I feel like Nemesis was handled a hell of a lot better than the Ex.

That's my opinion thrown together pretty poorly, but hey, what can you do?
Anonymous said…
I would say this is the funniest episode, just couldn't keep myself from lol: casey's lines (he always knows when and where to twist the knife in people's back) , the Buy Morons' way to get through the test... but it also makes me "ouch" sometime when thinking of " make a wish and look at Sarah with puppy eyes" moment from the end of the last episode and then looking at Chuck's "dump" face when Sarah said she would do the presentation for Jill.
What I miss(and don't like) in this episode: Anna,"Chuck seemed to completely forget about Sarah this episode", where is Chuck-Morgan's inspired friendship?
but yes, the guest stars did a great job with their character And I can't wait for next week's episode to see how the "mess" in Chuck's relationships develop and the mess of the Buy Morons get worsen :)
granted I am rooting for Chuck and Sarah, these are just my personal opinions!
Anonymous said…
Let me quote a few line from the NBC board:
"I think fans would accept this episode much better if it had been done right after ep 2.03, because after 2.04 when Chuck connects with an emotional Sarah and after 2.05 when she goes out of her way to give him his diploma, this episode seems contrived."

"Chuck: "Sarah. You're the greatest thing that's ever happened to me."
Chuck: "Sarah. I love you."
Chuck: "Sarah. I'm willing to die for you."
Chuck: "But hot dang!...there's Jill!!! Sarah, I'm outta here!!"]"


"I think he was acting like himself, there is no excuse for those words because i think he regretted them the minute they came out of his mouth but when you speak without thinking it's because somehow somewhere those ideas were lurking in his mind for some time now, and i just hope that line doesn't have many repercussions in the future.

Those were HARSH words and they weren't spoken to Casey, who would brush it off easily they were spoken to Sarah his friend and confident in the spy world for the most part, the girl who likes gardenias and hates olives and the girl who he saw had a difficult time holding herself together when the mission was personal.

He was Chuck, even if we don't like it."

"Why? Why is Chuck listening to a music mix from 2003. A mix associated with someone who did to him what she did? Why did he even keep it? Before Sarah showed up, it would have been sort of understandable; but only from a TV show perspective and after we give allowance that it's a poorly plotted show. After what Chuck has gone through with Sarah, he keeps the Jill mix to listen to, and to daydream about Jill? It's a good thing Sarah is not mixed up with this jerk and loser. Come on, Agent Walker, tell Beckman your being stuck in L.A. is making you lose your effectiveness as a field agent. Make up any excuse and get the hell out. A cheat will always be a cheat."



This pretty much sums it up why most of the fans didn't like it
Anonymous said…
As usual, fucking 'shipper nonsense. That's why I don't read the NBC boards. Since when did Chuck and Sarah proclaim themselves to be inseparable lovers? People are reading way too much into their relationship and missing the other elements of the show. Chuck is a cheat? WTF, people? Get a clue.
Anonymous said…
Chill dude. Everyone have their own reason to watch this show.
Some people watching for the Sarah and Chuck relationship, and they felt betrayed.
With the ratings Chuck has they just cannot alienate part of the fanbase, it could lead to an early cancellation.
So the writers should try to satisfy every group and they failed in the last episode.
Anonymous said…
A show that tries to please everyone and every group becomes watered down and trite. You can't please everyone all the time. Besides for the fact that if Chuck and Sarah did get together, the show would be over (look at Moonlighting.) The show thrives on the sexual tension between them not on the fruition of their romance. This is why I hate mindless relationship followers.
Anonymous said…
For those of you who are unhappy about Chuck's treatment of Sarah, how did you like Chuck vs the Imported Hard Salami???

Where he dumped Sarah for Lou.

It isn't too hard to figure out how Chuck felt about Sarah before that episode, and you could see the ache in Sarah's face at the end of Chuck vs the Truth.

What about Chuck seeing Bryce and Sarah kiss in Chuck's bedroom in Chuck vs the Nemesis.

Hello people, they are pulling at your heart strings to get you to watch.

Like I said before, let this Jill/Fulcrum story play out for the three episodes. I get a feeling that you might be a little happier by the end of the third episode.
Anonymous said…
Let me rephrase myself :)
The writers/producers cannot afford to piss off part of their fanbase.
Everyone knows that Sarah and Chuck wont be together soon, but as long as they keep the characters lovable, there is no harm done.
But if they make a hero act completely out of character ( some feel this way ) it could alienate some fans.
Everyone knew Jill will throw a wrench in the relationship, everyone accepted this, but the way it was done looked weird for some people ( including myself )
They just had a giant leap , too big from the last episode.
Anonymous said…
Casey fan, I think the reason the Lou storyline didn't exactly upset anybody is becasue they did it in a logical, believable way. Personaly, as a PROUD shipper I love it when people like Lou or Bryce come into the mix because it adds tention and usual brings the ship closer together in the end. I was really excited to see how Jill would factor into the C/S relationship. But the way they handled it was completely uncharacteristic on Chuck's part. I'd say 50% of fans think the same and we can't all be be "wrong."

ted23, thinking that shippers didn't like the episode because we're idiot shippers is just ignorant. The writers are putting forth this relationship. ANd if you want to watch an out and out spy show? Go watch My Own Worst Enemy.
Anonymous said…
I totally agree with all of the above. hey, nobody's perfect, the show can not satisfy all of us! Chuck(the show) need a strong fanbase to be able to carry on. So let's not fight each other based on our points of view. we don't want major Casey or Morgan or Lester,Jeff, Anna to retire soon! Why so upset about the triangle love thing! it existed before with Sarah and Bryce and we accepted it. So yes, let's stop shouting at each other or blaming anyone and wait for the next 2 episodes to see how things work out.
Anonymous said…
Absolutely, let's reserve judgment until we see how this plays out. Until then, let's get the focus back where it belongs . . . on Casey.

So, favorite Casey moment in this ep?

Mine (as noted in my earlier post): "Let me die with dignity!"

Or, we could theorize on Anna's whereabouts . . .

Mine: CIA training
Anonymous said…
@ Casey Fan:

Where he dumped Sarah for Lou.

He actually didn't dump Sarah for Lou. He asked Sarah if they were ever going anywhere, if they could ever be together or have a future...she said no. The guy would be an idiot to stick by her side when, not only does she say 'no', he's under the impression that she's talking 100% truth. That is when Chuck then proceeded to try Lou out. She was really...second best. And that relationship was done ridiculously, as well. But I won't get into that.

Chuck seemed completely out of character this episode and that is what pissed me off. He was pathetic, seemed desperate...I couldn't find it in me to feel anything for him this episode, and as he is the 'main' character, I was upset about that.

The episode was definitely not the worst, but there's no way I'm ranking it as the best.

And for the record, I wouldn't mind episodes where Chuck and Sarah didn't interact and have streams of scenes, if they didn't neglect Sarah as a character in those episodes. There are other people on the show, you know. Let her have a scene of SUBSTANCE with Casey every once in a while.

I'm already losing Chuck a bit, I don't want Sarah to lose her spunk.

Oh, also, Jill didn't seem...real enough to me. I don't know what it was. Something about her seemed cartoonish. Her reactions, her expressions...I can't explain it.
Anonymous said…
Could have had some lead up too show some longing for a relationship at the beginning of this episode.(Thats been since episode one though) So to remind those who forget he had a three/four year relationship with Jill and its not surprising to see someone wanting to JUMP back into something that is still missing today.Its easy to fall into old patterns and yet many act like this is new and sudden.There are reasons people new in a relationship fear the EX.Chuck wants to be a jerk, but its not his strong point and Jill was coming on strong and she would know how to push his buttons after three plus years.Like he said in the restaurant, Chuck was not himself so why are you people knocking the episode for something he acknowledges himself?
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
Casey Fan, I totally agree with you, 100%, I think what we all should do now is to support the show to keep it going. And I do hope there are more episode than just this season ( >300 might be good :) )
Unknown said…
@Casey Fan, you suck for putting spoilers in your comments. For that, I correct your grammar: please note that the word you want is underlying, not underlining.

Jace, can you moderate the comments and delete spoilers?

This was an awesome episode, and yes, I think it was the best so far (but it's a tough call). I preferred the interaction between Chuck and Sarah in Chuck vs. The Cougars (cuz I'm sappy), but this ep had everything.

@Andy: Why would someone pine over a girlfriend who broke their heart? I'd never pine over someone who treated me the way Jill treated Chuck. Listening to a "Jill" playlist?! I'd be deleting it and scrubbing my hard drive.

Best line was from Ellie: "So you deny being a perv but you admit to being a thief?"
Jace Lacob said…
Casey Fan: SKST is right. You should not have included spoilers in your comment and your comment has now been deleted.

I've included your original comment MINUS the spoiler below:

"Can't we all just get along? We are all CHUCK fans, let’s keep it that way.

This isn't the Packers vs Benedict Favre. “Open other can of worms.”

On Chuck being out of character, I watched the episode again. (Thank You NBC.com!) I’d say it started with the car scene and restaurant. Did you feel it was Zachary Levi’s acting or Chuck?
Ever notice that they break out the Bond music when Chuck goes into Carmichael mode?

As the last poster said Chuck acknowledged that he was not being himself.
Ellie has been questioning Chuck's life plan in the previous couple episodes.

No surprise that he would jump back to OLD Chuck when Jill shows up. Although it kind of feels like he jumped back to OLD Chuck after the new intersect was destroyed. Can't really blame the guy to look for closure from Jill and maybe a little more.

A little too much more in my opinion. I don't agree with how he completely forgets about Sarah. Although he did tell Sarah that he knows that they can never have a real relationship in VS the Break-Up. L

I will also concur that Sarah was lacking in this episode.

Ditto on Jill not seeming real enough. Something felt off from the car scene to the end. [DELETED BY EDITOR]

I’ll agree that the timing of VS the Ex (and the next two) very likely could have worked out better if they were before the Cougars episode.

Although it was a funny scene with Jill talking to her very unpleasant friend on the phone and Chuck pipes in “Hello it’s $12.50.” I’m by far no expert, but is it really plausible that Jill could hear Chuck on the phone?

I'm trying to take a long term prospective for the season and the series. By the time this season is over Vs the Ex may make more sense. This was only episode 6 of 22. With hopefully 100 more in the future, with the 2020 ending from the Chuck comics."
Anonymous said…
Sorry.
Anonymous said…
Anyone else notice that this is the first time we've seen an Agent Charles Carmichael ID?

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