Chuck is Back

While I don’t think it lived up to the hype, Chuck is back.  I saw the first episode of my old favorite show I’ve seen in quite some time.  Did it fix everything that has gone wrong this season?  No, but the bleeding has stopped and now the healing can begin.  My second reaction after the jump.

Wasn’t that fun?  It feels good to be back.  There is a part of me that wants to grab Schwartz and/or Fedak by the lapels, shake them violently and scream in their face “WAS THAT SO HARD?!?!?”  OK, all of me wants to do that.  Mostly I’m just grateful to have Chuck back.  I think Zach more than anyone understands the show’s tone and strengths and in his directorial debut that comes out clearly (with a few minor quibbles I’ll get to).  The lack of Chuck and Sarah time was still there but I think in this episode it was necessary for the bromance to be rekindled.  At times I’d wondered if Morgan was necessary anymore, and if they’d considered writing him out with the Benihanas plotline last season, but once again we see him used as the perfect foil for Chuck and the perfect representation of where Chuck’s journey started.

Rock Bottom

We wondered how low Chuck would need to go before he could pick himself back up.  This week we found out.  He’s benched from team B, can’t talk to Sarah (but then that has been a season 3 problem in general), Awesome never was much of a confidant, but now the only person who knows Chuck’s real situation has turned his back.  When Morgan Grimes tells you that you aren’t good enough to be his friend, you’ve pretty much cratered.  Forget the not flashing, Chuck couldn’t even come up with a lie to tell Morgan, and we’ve seen that is definitely a part of his own skill set.

Time to step up.  Chuck gets his first chance to make things right when he realizes that the Buy More, which he’s longed to leave ever since the spy life beckoned IS life to so many of his friends.  Morgan is the new Chuck, the indispensable man of Buymoria, and he could lose it all with this new management coming it (ahem).  Chuck steps up and defends his friend, starting the road back to being “that guy” everyone can count on.

Morgan, following in Chuck’s footsteps as he always does is about to get his chance to be “that guy”.  After discovering that all is not as it seems Morgan engages in some excellent spy work to get the whole story, or so he believes.  As a side note I don’t think I realized what an excellent physical comedian Josh Gomez is.  The scenes where he is sneaking through Castle are, to me, pitch perfect.  Just enough exaggeration for comedic effect without seeming farcical.

Meanwhile in the B story, yeah, the one with Sarah, Shaw, Casey, Ellie, and Awesome, interesting twist, we are starting to see that the Ring just might be scary after all.  They’ve used Devon again to lure out Team B.  This time away from Castle to allow their team to recover stolen intel from Shaw’s base.  And here we have one of the previous  plot holes sort of explained.  Why did the Ring think Devon was Chuck?  Answer, they didn’t.  Go back to Angel of Death and watch as Chuck and Sarah are ejected from the party.  The assassin sees Chuck looking at him and knows Chuck has made him.  He then sees that Casey was called in for backup, but was accidentally thwarted by a seeming innocent bystander.  A quick bit of research between poisoning the premier and going to kill Casey the next morning and the story emerges.  Casey, Walker and Carmichael are spies sent to protect the premier.  Woodcomb is a civilian, but given his attempt to save the premier from Casey apparently knows Carmichael is a spy and knew his mission.  They can use Devon to draw out and infiltrate the CIA.  Maybe even turn the whole team.  We’ll leave the rest of this for later though.  I’m sure it will be revisited.

With his discovery Morgan has a decision to make, he naturally goes to Buymoria’s other go to guy.  In a priceless moment that I hope signals the end of either one of the in jokes or one of the most annoying crutches the writers use (depending on your POV) Morgan puts his hand over Chuck’s mouth to make sure he gets to go first.  “Trust me, this is more important than anything you were going to say.”  Morgan quickly becomes Chuck’s conscience, reminding him that it isn’t his powers that make him a hero, but his character.  Get everyone safe, deal with the problem head on.  Unfortunately the Buy More rebellion kind of puts a kink in Chuck and Morgan’s plans, and shortly thereafter Morgan and Chuck are spending some quality time together, other than the torture of course.  We can only hope Chuck and Sarah get an opportunity soon, especially if the results are similar.

Freed of his need to lie to everyone, including himself Chuck is able to resolve the unresolved conflicts he tried to deny and compartmentalize.  Chuck isn’t the compartmentalizing type.  Just one big special free flowing brain that connects everything to everything else.  Evildoers beware.  Chuck is back, better than ever.

Which leaves one last question.  Duck Hunt.  Did Chuck Flash?  I think so, and I’m hoping that what we just saw was a new direction TPTB may be taking.  Where does the intersect end and Chuck begin?  Are they perhaps now more fully integrated?  With his mind at ease is it possible Chuck no longer fights flashes, but pulls them effortlessly at will?  I like the idea that as time goes on we’ll know less and less when Chuck flashed or didn’t.  Some will of course be obvious, but others will be sort of … hmmm was that Chuck or the intersect?  I say, if we’re lucky yes, that’s the new Chuck.

Done

While we’re on the topic, can we maybe retire a few things? I think after three years they’ve served their purpose and are wearing thin.  Here’s my list.

Someone interrupts just as someone else is about to reveal something important, but then apparently can never revisit the conversation.  Ever.

The phrase “a real spy”.

The flash graphic and the look on Chuck’s face (even Zach hates it)

Shaw  (I know, too much to ask).

OLI, PLI, UST, triangles, trapezoids or rhomboids of any sort.

Looking forward to Mondays again.

While I wouldn’t put this in my top 10, I think it makes the top 3 this season easily.  An impressive feat for a rookie director.  My only quibble was the Jeffster montage.  I think I understand.  Zach is a nice guy and wanted to give all his friends who rarely are more than background a moment in the sun.  I thought it was done really well with the Iwo Jima and Times Square shots, but the nerf gun cocking just got distracting and sort of killed Jeffster for me.  Fear not however, spoilers indicate they will return.

So in conclusion I think this was the second Angel of Death this season.  The show that reminded me, after the angst and serious tone of the opening, that this is a fun show, something to look forward to every week.  From the previews I think we’re looking at another Operation Awesome to follow.  It’s nice to have Monday night to look forward to again.

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About Ernie Davis

I was born in 1998, the illegitimate brain child and pen name of a surly and reclusive misanthrope with a penchant for anonymity. My offline alter ego is a convicted bibliophile and causes rampant pognophobia whenever he goes out in public. He wants to be James Lileks when he grows up or Dave Barry if he doesn’t.  His hobbies are mopery, curling and watching and writing about Chuck.  Obsessively.  Really, the dude needs serious help.
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158 Responses to Chuck is Back

  1. Jason says:

    I am hitting a don’t care point, which is pretty sad, considering how much I did b4 3.1 aired, I will watch every episode until the cancellation, but I feel like the writers have played me as the mark, the old shell game, I think sarah’s contradictive behavior will continue to the end with CS’s epic coupling in the last 5 minutes of 3.13.

    I know 3.10 thru 3.13 will be great episodes and like I said, I am watching, but the sham hangs over them for me like the smell of death.

    Other than calling me names, any postings which tells me I should have hope would be appreciated.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Think of it this way. Most of the early episodes were probably written before Comicon, where Schwedak talked about how “really really great” the traumatic event between Chuck and Sarah would be. Most were in production before the back 6 order. I think the back 6 came right around the time a Subway deal was finalized which was obviously just before this one shot. With that deal came some extra funds I’m sure, and I noticed the first big location shoot since three words happened in this episode, so I think we can expect that production values will pick up.

      Second, I think they shot only the first 11 before they broke for the holidays and didn’t re-start production until late January, so they at least got some fan feedback for 3.12 and/or 3.13, plus the back 6.

      Third, I think from the publicity it is becoming clear TPTB realize they pooched it. The casting calls for 3.14, the “spoilers” on the French site, these are practically big sloppy kisses to the shippers. The pre-release of the next four to critics over the Olympic break? Clearly they knew 3.07 and 3.08 were going to tank with a large segment of the fanbase and wanted to make sure they got out the message to please stick with them for the next few. If they didn’t get it after Comicon, I think it’s pretty clear they do now.

      So now they know what we were telling them was true, the sell by date on WTWT ended in a motel in Barstow and any attempt to pretend that Chuck and Sarah would still be unsure about their or the other’s feelings or continue the WTWT dance would start to harm the characters and the story they’d so skillfully built for two seasons. There was too much momentum in those characters and that story to reset it with a few short scenes of the same ploys they’d used so often, a life changing moment interupted never to be revisited, and two very short conversations where they failed to really communicate.

      The good news is that with them together the relationship can be ignored or used for anything from comedy to the dramatic theme of an episode. There are, again as we always said, far more options with them together, and one more spin around the angst circle isn’t worth passing on those for possibly the last season.

      I think they get it now, I think they’ll get S4, and if they get S4 they usually get enough of an order so that S4 and S5 will get them to syndication (100 episodes), because that is where the real money comes in. We’ll probably be able to look back on this period as a short glitch even though right now it seems an epic fail.

      • AngelTwo says:

        ernie-
        I think you really ARE missing the bigger picture if you think TPTB care. Their reaction to the Mask blow up was the big tell: How dare you demand to be entertained EVERY week (Who closes a book after seven chapters, wondered Fedak?). We wouldn’t tell the story any other way (claims Schwartz).

        Creative people are arrogant. (It’s part of what makes them creative.) They also have a pattern. Schwartz’s pattern is angst. So I have no doubt that Chuck and Sarah will be coupled by 13. But by the end of this year, there will be a different kind of angst threatening them.

        Moreover, you are mistaken if you think they even respect the fans. Adler’s decision to give the show’s most pathetic character (Jeff) the best of the Greek Chorus lines and one of the legendary bad guys of TV (Tony “Paulie Walnuts” Sirico) the WT/WT line shows what they think of fans who think.

        The actors on this show have been astonishingly generous and appreciative of the fan base. I’ve never seen anything like it. And I will watch anything they do in the future as a matter of loyalty.

        But the creators? They hate us–and hate that we love what they created. And I’ll never pay attention to anything they do again. They own me on Chuck, of course. But nothing Fedak, Schwartz or Adler do in the future will get my eyeballs or dollars now.

        It’s a sad commentary. But it’s true.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Think of it this way, some creative people are arrogant, perhaps. So they thought they could pull off a reset that big in only a few episodes and then tell an even bigger story than last season on a smaller budget and with less time to prepare. They may even have believed they did it until fan reaction started coming in. Some creative people may be arrogant, but you don’t get to the top of your field by being stupid and not learning from your mistakes.

        Two things I cited make me believe they learned. Spoilers as extensive as the shooting schedule from that French site, I have a hard time believing those were accidental. Those were for scenes shot in late January, after the fan reaction started coming in, and they came out right around the time of Mask. The casting notices that are coming out are now more like plot synopses, hinting, rather practically screaming “LOOK WE FIXED IT, PLEASE DON’T GO!”

        Trying to rationalize a mistake is just human nature, not arrogance. Besides, in a competitive business and place like Hollywood do you really expect two producers to come out and say “Wow, we really blew it on that one. We totally misread the audience and our vision for the direction of the show was a total failure.” They want to keep working too you know.

      • Marvin says:

        And remember that these episodes have been in the can since last year…Long before the fan reaction to Pinkslip. ‘Beard’ for instance, was filming in November. So it’s not like there could have been any changes even if they’d wanted to.

      • AngelTwo says:

        Ernie-
        First of all, with all due respect, creative people are arrogant because they have to be. You really have to be arrogant to think you can create something by staring at a blank piece of paper or a blank computer screen. That’s what gets you through the process.

        Unfortunately, that arrogance boils over when they think something as collaborative and commercial as a television show can ONLY go one way. They begin thinking they are all tortured novelists working in a shack. Only THEIR vision is right.

        And what you saw from TPTB with the overly revealing casting calls and French leaks was FEAR, not an admission of a mistake. Not even a retreat from the arrogance. Because at the same time they are doing that, you have Fedak saying how dare you stop reading at Chapter 7 and Schwartz adamently defending their decisions.

        You just don’t want to believe Schwartz when he bluntly told Sepinwall that they are going to tell the story they way THEY want to tell the story. And anyone who questions them simply didn’t understand because TPTB were further along than the fans in the story. That’s what he said. It was unambiguous. You’re just having trouble accepting that creative people can also be arrogant A-holes. Trust me, they can, and are.

        Or let us bring it to one simple point that EVERYONE on the planet knows: Levi and Strahovski have insane on-screen chemistry. TPTB knew that probably just a few weeks into shooting Season 1. Yet for Season 3 they picked a storyline that kept Levi and Strahovski OFF the screen together for an insanely huge amount of time.

        There were dozens of storylines they COULD have pursued that would have maximized their best commercial asset without minimizing the angst. Yet they picked the ONE story line that would keep them off the screen together. In other words, it was them saying: We don’t need that chemistry, we can do other things to show you that WE, the creators, run the show.

        That’s arrogance. That’s cutting off your nose to spite your face. That’s where TV people lose themselves.

        You can’t fix mistakes unless you admit that you made it. TPTB may be afraid they’ve lost us. But they won’t admit they made a mistake. Hence, it’s guaranteed that they will repeat them.

      • atcdave says:

        That’s not entirely true Marvin. Scenes do get re-shot and re-edited sometimes. If they really realized how badly things would be received they could have started fixing things; even making some changes to Fake Name during the Olympic break. But admittadly, on a tight budget and production schedule, that is unlikely. Still, it would have been nice if someone at NBC or WB said “you can’t do this.” I think NBC was smart enough to pull their promotions before/during the Olympics, and the extended preview we got was clearly a form of damage control. I just wish they had done more.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I think the odd thing, and we saw this at Comicon, is some excellent writers don’t always express themselves well extemporaneously. The big thing I took from the Sepinwall interview was that they were saying in response to fan reaction, we can’t go revisit those, we’re shooting the later part of the story and writing the end of the season, not that we demand you like this episode. There may be some arrogance assuming they could damage beloved characters and story and still take a season long commitment from the fans for granted, but given how committed the fans have been you’d have to conclude we’re enablers in that regard.

        As far as telling the story the way they want, well you kind of have to. If you don’t believe it you can’t sell it IMHO.

        I think the thing that happened started with The Ring (I curse that episode nearly as much as I love it). There were HUGE plot holes, wildly OOC moments, and a paper thin story that didn’t connect at all to the major developments of the previous episode, but they threw SO many great things into that episode, so much Chuckie goodness that most people, me included, loved it. They apparently thought they could do a whole season that way. They could afford to gloss over a lot, have some wildly OOC things happen, but if they threw enough great stuff in they’d have a winner in the end.

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        Ernie–I think your point would have more resonance if they hadn’t ALREADY been through a firestorm over Beefcake. I personally loved Jon Cake and loved both episodes with him. But TPTB should have known from that the fans would react badly to more PLIs and more roadblocks thrown in the way of Chuck and Sarah. Especially ones that would seem repetitive.

        Moreover, AngelTwo’s point about their decision to write Season 3 minimizing Levi and Strahovski’s on-screen time together is damning. Fedak and Schwartz literally had to sit in a room, hash out a season arc and AGREE that writing against the show’s best creative and financial asset was a good idea. That is undeniably arrogant. Inexcusable. And a clear sign that their egos were simply out of control.

        And the line that I took from the Sepinwall interview that had me shaking my head was Schwartz’s claim that it was his job/responsibility to wring all of the dramatic possibility from the characters.

        That’s melodrama, not drama. But in his, well, arrogance, he doesn’t seem to know or care about the difference.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Something has been rattling around in my head and it finally connected. Shaw is Poochie.

        Simpson’s fans may need to cast their minds all the way back to the late nineties, but for those of you not familiar or want to refresh your memories, go here.

        The episode deals with the problems that arise when the producers try to make a show “fresh” again or boost sagging ratings by adding a new character. That character, being a focus group creation, ends up cliched and lifeless, but taking over the show and destroying the elements that originally made it successful.

        I really hope they kill him off on the way to his home planet.

      • AngelTwo says:

        Ernie, You’re absolutely right. Shaw is Poochie. They were going for “the original dog from hell” and got Poochie instead 🙂

        And one brilliant insight deserves another: Wouldn’t Jeff Barnes make a GREAT Comic Book Guy the next time they feel the need to employ The Greek Chorus? You know, Worst PLI Ev-ah!

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Now we’re on the same page. 😉

      • weaselone says:

        Hmmm…yeah, Shaw’s Poochie. I wonder if JS and CF already know that?

      • Waverly says:

        In catching up with all of these posts (how do you guys keep up?), and this excellent thread, my impression has been that both points of view are correct: they are arrogant and they have recently been adapting to the fan’s reactions.

      • Merve says:

        I really don’t think that the writers are arrogant. I don’t think that they knew how coldly the new season would be received. A lot of this season might have seemed like a good idea at the time. Honestly, I can’t blame them. Many fans have enjoyed this season. (Heck, I was completely on board until the last quarter or so of “Mask.”) So it’s not as if the writers willingly decided on something that they knew would be unpopular; it’s not as if it was universally poorly received.

        At worst, the writers misjudged their fan base. At best, they’re showing artistic integrity by telling the story that they wanted to tell. (I’m not saying that just because they’re showing artistic integrity, you’re obligated to watch. That would be ludicrous.)

        And quite frankly, even if Schwartz and Fedak are out of touch, they’re at the very least appreciative of their fan base. They gave an interview after the “Mask” blowup (and pretty swiftly, too). Most showrunners or show creators wouldn’t bother. I’d like to see Tina Fey apologize for the crapfest that is Season 4 of 30 Rock. Or Carter Bays and Craig Thomas apologize for the Barney-Robin debacle on How I Met Your Mother. Or Hart Hanson apologize for the mess he made of Bones after turning a beloved character evil.

        Like I said, you don’t have to agree with the show’s creators. You don’t have to watch their show if you don’t like it. But I don’t think that they’re arrogant.

      • atcdave says:

        The thing is Merve, a very large portion of the fan base has been very vocal and very clear about what we think of the “reset” since it was first clearly layed out at Comic-Con in July 2009. While some were enthused with the “plans”, I’m going to guess 50+% of us were clear that we thought this was a terrible idea. To the point of many saying they wished the show had been cancelled instead. The response we heard was “we’re the professionals, we know how to tell a story.” Like none of us know how what we really want? That is pure arrogance.
        Any casual reading of the forums from April to July of 2009 would have shown what the prevailing desires of the fans were. No fans were saying “they have to do it this way” or “they better do this or I quit.” But rather we were all excited about the possibilities of What teamB would do next, and what Chuck and Sarah together would look like, and what the Buy Morons would do next season (or even if they would be back). People were excited about fun possibilities. The show this year has crapped on all those wants. They have torn apart Chuck and Sarah and reduced their screen time together; they have ruined the dynamic of team Bartowski; they have reduced the role of the Buy Morons; they have used less humor overall.
        In short, they have given us things we don’t want and removed or reduced the things we do want. I think it was pure hubris. I hope they get it now. We will see.

      • Merve says:

        Dave, that’s the problem. If a bunch of fans want one thing and another bunch of fans want another thing, then to whom are TPTB supposed to listen? Even if the majority of fans want to see something and TPTB choose to make that happen, they’re still alienating the large portion of the fan base that doesn’t want to see it. The way I see, TPTB gambled on one portion of the fan base and they lost the bet. That doesn’t mean that any other gamble would have been a sure bet. Heck, even playing it “safe” and maintaining the status quo would have been a gamble; personally, I would have been bored to death.

      • Big Kev says:

        The creators “hate us”, Angel Two? They hate that we love what they’ve created? With all due respect, I think that’s an argument way too far.
        Aside from the obvious point that it’s not in their commercial interests to deliberately and knowingly alienate their fanbase, I struggle to comprehand some of the personal vituperation directed at Schwatrz and Fedak from some quarters this season.
        They’ve made a creative and commercial decision to send the show in a certain direction this season. You may not agree with it, heck, I don’t agree with some of it, but to equate that with contempt for fans is just ridiculous. Without the fans, they have no show, and they have no jobs. As Ernie says, you don’t get to be where they are in this industry by being stupid.
        At the very worst, they may have misjudged their fanbase. I’m not even sure about that, given that the ratings appear to be steady or better than this time last season.
        If, by contempt, you mean that they haven’t come out and confessed all their sins of Season 3, then you’re right. But that’s not contempt. That’s their commercial reality. That part of their job is to believe in their product, to sell it, and to publicise it as best they can – and you don’t do that by admitting that your product is crap.
        You’re not going to get an in depth discussion on the artistic merits or otherwise of a season from the showrunners – and certainly not while the season is in progress. You’re going to get the company line.
        So don’t listen to what they say – watch what they do. If the back six take the show back towards a direction that you/we are happy with, then you know they’ve listened. If it doesn’t, then you can exercise your First Amendment right to dunp them, and their show.
        As for the various lines in Fake Name about WT/WT – that’s not contempt. It’s an attempt at humour, no more and no less. Like it or don’t like it (and I didn’t particularly), but that’s really all it was. To call it anything else is to take it all way too seriously.

      • Merve says:

        Thank you, Big Kev, for saying everything that I wanted to say far more eloquently than I could have said it.

      • Jason says:

        ernie (and others!) thx for the thoughtful replies, I wish next monday’s topic would be titled ‘sarah is back’, but I really don’t think that will happen – yet. I have one ? for anyone willing to try an answer, since these 13 were written with no future in mind, how would your feelings be right now if 13 was likely it? What do you think the mood of the fan base would be if that were the case? Would a public campaign with wide fan base support be going on to save the show?

      • Jason says:

        I guess that was 3 ?’s, or one ? asked 3 different ways, sorry about that.

      • atcdave says:

        Merve, I’m sorry if I rambled somewhat; but I guess my main point should have been that there wasn’t so much divide in the fanbase prior to Comic-Con. If you look at what was being written on various forums from April to July of 2009, you see a very excited and unified group of fans. We all expected some changes, including more serious and intense mission and adventure segments. But it seems obvious to me the big unifying themes were 1) Chuck and Sarah together 2) the fun dynamic of team Bartowski (Chuck, Sarah, Casey), and how perfect Casey was for keeping sarcasm and humor in every situation even if Chuck and Sarah were mostly “happy” 3) the comedy of the Buy Morons, even if Buy More itself were to no longer exist 4) the warmth that existed in all of Chuck’s friends and family relationships.
        A few stray voices didn’t like one aspect or another (the Buy Morons being the most controversial); but an overwhelming majority of posters were drawn to the show for some or all of these elements. The path chosen by TPTB has undermined every single one of these elements. It has left many of us feeling like we fought to save a show, that simply is not the show we fought to save anymore. I don’t believe anyone set out to “ruin” the show; but I think they were beyond sloppy in determining what actually made the show work, and they proceded to undo everything that many (most?) of us were watching for. I think most of us are still here, because we think they will get back to what we want.

        Which brings me to Jason’s comment. I would be very unhappy if I thought the show was ending at 3.13. I would still be watching, because I think they will end in a good place. But they basically subjected us to a whole season I haven’t enjoyed just to get back to where they should have started. I remember when the back six were ordered, I felt a huge sigh of relief. None of us even knew then just how bleak this season would be, but I knew I hadn’t liked any of the talk I was hearing about it. So the back six suggested to me there was another chance, at getting past an ill-conceived story arc, back to the stuff I like. It turns out that vague feeling may have been more accurate than I ever imagined. I’ve seen the back six refered to as a S4 preview; that makes me even more excited. Obviously, we’ll see soon what that’s actually going to mean; but I’ve been optimistic about the back six since day one.
        I guess I should mention the possibilty that the original S3 story could have been stretched out to fill all 19 episodes. The first I ever thought about that was when I saw the interview saying that wouldn’t happen. If I really thought this story was all we would see this season, I might have already thrown in the towel. Its hard to say, without this blog, I might have called it quits anyway. There have been many times this season when I looked forward to coming here more than I wanted to watch the show.

    • atcdave says:

      This is fascinating. Ernie and AngelTwo giving such different responses while obviously unhappy about the same things. Depending on the day, I flip between these extremes.
      I hope Ernie is right, that TPTB now get it, and we have a better show to look forward to. But I’m not sure. Since seeing the write-up for 3.12, it seems they will run the Sham through to the end of the original season. I suppose the tone of that episode could be telling; I’m hoping for funny and warm, but then I’ve been hoping for that all season and mostly been disappointed.
      AngelTwo, you always do a great job of articulating my worst fears. They did give us two great seasons, but right now it feels like they’re actually trying to tick off their fans.

      • kg says:

        Angel Two

        Not that Ernie needs any apologists, but HE HAS already written pieces that have outlined Zac and Yvonne’s tremendous on-screen chemsitry and taken TPTB to task for criminally limiting their shared scenes.

        I believe he has also intimated it makes terrible business sense. He’s just decided to move forward and not make himself guilty of piling on.

        He understands and agrees fundamentally with what you’re alluding. He’s just saying that he’s optimistic and hopeful that they understand their mistake, that they won’t repeat it, but obviously a public admission is not possible.

    • AngelTwo says:

      And because EVERYONE who cares about Chuck should see that Ernie is brilliantly correct is casting Shaw as Poochie, here’s the episode online:
      http://bit.ly/bFYV4u

      I’d forgotten how hilarious it was…and how truly, absolutely appropos it is to Chuck Season 3.

      • weaselone says:

        From hence forward Shaw will be known as Poochie and his relationship with Sam will be dubbed Smoochie.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        That is the perfect way to PO the anti-shippers and cool-aid drinkers. Anyone still post on the NBC boards?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        And that reminds me of a movie, a dark comedy called Death to Smoochie. Perfect. It also dealt rather harshly with non-creative types messing with show dynamics for commercial purposes and having it blow up in their face if I recall correctly

      • weaselone says:

        I’ll post something if you like under the heading “Poochie and Smoochie”, but I don’t guarantee the quality of results.

      • weaselone says:

        Although this probably merits a better writer, it’s own blog post and a reproduction posted in its own thread on the NBC Chuck boards.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Please do. Send it to our site e-mail and we can do a guest post.

      • weaselone says:

        Actually, the better writer I was talking about was you. You certainly have a better writing style and a better grasp of the Simpson’s than I. If you wanted I was going to repost your short blurb in the NBC forums along with the new names for Hannah and Shaw and links back to your initial post on this site.

      • atcdave says:

        Will the link here get you in trouble? we’re not an “official” or “legal” anything.

      • weaselone says:

        The worst that would happen is they’d take down the post and block my account. I doubt that would happen though as there aren’t any spoilers.

      • atcdave says:

        I don’t know weaselone; I’ve heard talk of posters disappearing in the middle of the night….

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Weaselone, I think I replied before your reply. By all means give it a go, I think you’re an excellent writer. Most people on the board are. How would you get in trouble? I’ll post it on the NBC boards since I don’t go there anymore and I still have an account. It’s about time I lose my mod-virginity like everyone else here.

      • weaselone says:

        I think that has more to do with the direction of the show, but I can always leave out the links if it makes everyone feel safer.

      • weaselone says:

        OK, I can give it a try, but it will probably be at least a few days. I have a busy end of the week and that’s a lot of show stealing that has to be categorized.

    • Zsjaer says:

      I admit i am not so into Chuck and Sarah anymore, yes the magic is gone for me, but i have to say that i am still very curious about how they are going to deal with the spy story. This episode is about Casey and seems pretty good. At the moment i am not interested in the romance..to say the truth Chuck is a lot better without Charah now.And specially without Sarah

    • AngelTwo says:

      A NOTE TO BIG KEV:
      First of all, please forgive my putting this here but the other strand was too long and there was no direct way to respond.

      Yes, Big Kev, TPTB hate the fans and hate that we love what they created.

      As harsh as that sounds, my background and my current job puts me 24/7 with creative people. I am also personally responsible for creating media as well–for a living, for pay.

      I don’t know what you do for a living. But when I tell you as a working media myself that the reasonship between creative people, the things they create and the buyers of what they create is complicated, you’ll have to accept that this is my PROFESSIONAL judgment, not emotion.

      And as I have said at least three times on this thread, the proof of their own self-destructive and counter-productive nature is how they have handled the on-screen chemistry between Levi and Strahovski.

      Creative people who aren’t letting their ego and arrogance get to them look at that chemistry and say: “Man, we got a weapon. Let’s figure out how to use it.” There were literally dozens of story lines they could have concocted that would have capitalized on that chemistry without putting the two characters in a relationship.

      Yet they chose to write the ONE storyline that minimized Levi and Strahovski’s on-screen time. That doesn’t happen by accident.

      That is arrogant and self-destructive. And, sorry, if you don’t understand that creative people are not only capable of that, but often court that, then you just don’t understand the creative process.

      And, oh, by the way, if you don’t understand that Adler was making fun of you–or the fans in particular–in episode 8, well, I can’t help you there, either.

      • AngelTwo says:

        Oh, by the way, a little further context here. Ernie has brilliantly referred us to how The Simpsons handled fan adulation (and the nature of TV craziness). The Simpsons could get away with tweaking the fans because it was wildly popular then (its eighth season), both a critical and commercial powerhouse.

        Chuck has never been a commercial success. That’s why the decisions TPTB have made are all the more crucial and the nature of their self-destructive behavior all the more obvious. Only crazy people (especially after the Beefcake firestorm) go out and do it AGAIN knowing that a portion of the fan base it needs to survive will be angry, become dispirited and may depart.

        Creative people are crazy. It’s the nature of the beast. And I don’t spare myself in that judgment.

      • JLR says:

        I for one can vouch for the phenomena that AngelTwo describes. I’ve seen it myself in working business deals/contractual issues involving artists/content creators/media people. It’s hard to fathom unless you’ve witnessed it. I’ve seen 7 to 8 figure deals get blown apart merely because of over-bearing ego. It’s jarring to experience it up close. I’m not “in the biz” as an artist of any kind, so I can’t explain why it seems “artists” just seem to operate differently.

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        I think the telling point about the TPTB’s reaction is that they are arrogantly (yes, sorry, arrogantly) defending their decisions.

        Would I expect them to apologize? No, not in season, of course not. But they COULD HAVE said, “please have faith, we’re headed somewhere…” Instead, we got Fedak telling us we have no right to stop viewing in the middle of a season and are foolish for expecting to be entertained every week. And Schwartz doing his “we know what we’re doing and you just have to accept it” routine.

        Absurdly, of course, all the media attention for Chuck lately has been about Chuck-Sarah as a couple. Eonline has it in their current poll, it was one of the top couples in TV Guide a few weeks ago, too.

        But, oops, TPTB not only haven’t had Chuck and Sarah together as a couple this year; in fact, they have barely been on screen together at the same time this year.

        I don’t hear anyone in the media making Chuck one of the top spy shows of all time, one of the top comedies of all time or one of the top workplace shows of all time.

        It’s all about the couple and TPTB decided to keep the couple apart. For nine episodes so far, and at least two more of teh original 13.

        That smells like creative arrogance and self-destructive stupidity to me, too.

  2. sd says:

    Hi Jason–

    No name calling from me. My hope is that this is the start of the season most of us wanted–Shippers or not.

    For example, S/C didn’t have much screen time together in this ep…but it was done “honestly”.

    • herder says:

      Well, it was done honestly because at this point they don’t have much of a relationship. They have broken Chuck and now started to rebuild him, Sarah is still broken, hopefully they start to repair her over the next two episodes then they have to start to repair the relationship. I’m beginning to wonder how much of a payoff we are going to get in 3.13, I’m thinking that it isn’t going to be what we want or expect. If I’m wrong, great but this season it seems to be a matter of revising your expectations downward in order to enjoy what they do give.

  3. weaselone says:

    I know this is probably going to get me reamed, but I was somewhat upset by the lack of any real indication that Sarah and Shaw were involved other that the “you can talk to us” bit and the Sarah’s appeal to Shaw that he “do it for me”. I don’t think Shaw and Sam make a good match, but the writers could have at least tried to convince the audience that Sarah was bringing Shaw Chinese food and hooking up with him in the Castle on her down time.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I actually agree. They should have the courage of their convictions. If this really was a necessary part of the story and needed to “grow” Sarah as a character then tell it and tell it well. In the end I think they just reflexively thought they would follow the pattern of break them up at the beginning of the season, run them both through a PLI, put them back together by the end of the season, repeat. Formulaic storytelling at its worst.

      • weaselone says:

        As it is, it makes it all the more difficult to understand Sarah’s relationship with Shaw. If we accept she’s broken, drifting without an anchor and latches on to Shaw out of desperation, where’s the latching on? Where are the further attempts to be real? Why were things still so off when they posed as a couple at the hotel? Instead of using it as an opportunity to display some sort of relationship between the two characters, the writer pokes fun at them with the “you’re a beautiful couple” comment. They could have expressed affection, bantered in some way, or Shaw could have bestowed a well received kiss on Sarah’s neck, but instead they’re complemented as if they were an ice sculpture. All we get is a reminder of the shallow, cold and transitory nature of their relationship

    • Marvin says:

      Something that kind of weirded me out in the scene where Shaw and Sarah bench Chuck: They’re both getting that same red-rimmed eye look. It’s like Shaw has initiated Sarah into his realm of the undead.

    • Lucian says:

      You are right; I’m confident that we have not seen the end of Sham. Sam/Sarah may be a very large flake, but even that has to have limits.

      • John says:

        Sham lasts until end of 3.12 or into 3.13.

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        I believe Shaw/Sarah is over in 11. Chuck wins Sarah back in 12. Thirteen is happy ending.

        As for indications of Shaw/Sarah, apparently a line of dialogue has been cut from episode 10 that explains that Sarah has been to Washington to be with Shaw. It was in the episode given to screeners but apparently will now not appear on the broadcast. But there are a couple of times in e10 when Shaw and Sarah are called a couple.

        Deal with it. They went there.

      • Faith says:

        I’m not quite versed on the blog think sync of the past couple of days (stupid life!) does everyone know the 3.12 spoilers?

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        I meant TPTB went there. And thank god for Sarah. She might have exploded otherwise…

      • atcdave says:

        One write up I saw for 3.12 indicates the whole crew helping Chuck win Sarah back. While this could be funny, I’m disappointed it would still be in doubt by 3.12. So I don’t believe we’ll see any great progress in 3.10 or 3.11.

        Of course, she could still dump Shaw in 3.11; but basically, they have no intention of getting to a happy spot in the front 13. That is my definition of a wasted season. I’m ready for 3.14 already!

      • JC says:

        People have said Sarah says something in 3.11 that makes her dating Shaw seem implausible. Could be she plans on quitting the CIA.

    • Waverly says:

      I had the same reaction. But it’s possible to explain that the writers decided to leave their relationship ambiguous because Sarah really is uncertain and conflicted. Emotional teenagers do act irrationally.

      I agree that it shouldn’t have cost much screen time to express some elaboration, of any sort, to help tell their story better.

    • kg says:

      I think with all the attention focused on the repaired bromance, folks speculating on Shaw’s actual role has ceased.

      We’ve narrowed him as either insanely vengeful, stupidly well-intended or my personal favorite just plain evil.

      Week after week this guy has shown me less and less. Maybe I’m just naturally cynical, but after the way he engaged Chuck last week in his hotel, the way he has used and manipulated Sarah and as I watched him futilly lead Sarah and Casey to Malibu while leaving Chuck behind seemingly defenseless, I exclaimed “this clown cannot be this stupid can he? He purposely set them up.”

      I think he definitely has it in for Chuck. Either because he has real feelings for Sam or he’s a fraudulent double agent brought in to destroy team Bartowski.

      That didn’t sound like a very convincing contingency plan. Destoying that entire business area and possibly several civilians. He wanted Chuck dead. And if I’m remotely correct, Sarah’s plea “do it for me” has way more weight and meaning than we originally thought.

  4. atcdave says:

    Excellent post Ernie. I agree entirely. It was great to have a fun episode again. It didn’t nearly fix all the damage that’s been this season, but it felt like we might be on the right track. I was glad to see you giving some love to Angel of Death, I still see that as the season’s high point.
    I do look forward to 3.10. But cautiously. As I’ve said elsewhere, I think this season will end where it should have started; so I doubt I’ll find anything before 3.13 completely satisfying. But if they are at least heading in the right direction I won’t be totally grumpy.

    • BeCoolBoy says:

      atcdave: I think Angel of Death was better than Beard for one reason. Angel of Death had Chuck and Sarah working together, too. As YOU have pointed out so many times, the show Chuck simply doesn’t work when Chuck and Sarah aren’t in a good place together. And while Beard eliminated most of the angst, the subtext was that Chuck didn’t have Sarah anymore so he needed Morgan back, at least.

      Angel of Death, for season 3, was firing on ALL cylinders. Beard was good, but behind because a crucial piece of a great Chuck episode was missing.

    • herder says:

      I had forgotten to mention that I do agree with both Ernie’s initial post and Dave’s reply. I do credit Zach with having a pretty good idea of what people like about the show and, within the story constraints (no Chuck/Sarah) he did his best to put as much of it in the episode as possible. He even slid in one classic Sarah bit, her wry smile as he and Morgan head up the stairs in castle for their night in.

      This season Chuck has had mad gun skills, think of his use of the tranq guns in Awesome Operation, were those flash skills or skills he has picked up by a lifetime of gaming and honed by his training. In other words is he developing real skills useful to his work outside the intersect or can he flash on those skills in non-life threatening situations, some sort of easier version of his forced flash from Dream Job.

      The other thing that I was thinking of was how many guys did Chuck take out in the castle, does it approach Cole’s initial seven or his truthful twelve that he didn’t want to boast about. Chuck, on his game is able to do what the best of spies could do last year.

      • Waverly says:

        Actually, Chuck only took out three bad guys. Casey did two, with a surprising assist from Jeff. And Morgan did one, although with obvious help from the focus on Chuck.

        That reminds me that I don’t think Devon ever took out any bad guys — just a disguised Casey.

  5. PeterOinNj says:

    Let me start by saying Ernie, it’s good to have you back. The last few days and posts on this site have depressed me at best. While I support the fact that everyone has an opinion and all opinions should be viewed just as they are – that person’s opinion – it was hard for me to read Apathy/Same Tune?/Off Topic Post and all the supporting comments and not walk away discouraged. Today’s post left me with a lighter heart than I have had in some time. So thanks.

    I agree that this episode did not fix everything, but it sure seems like a nice beginning.I like your observation that we are starting to see that the Ring just might be scary after all. There is a lot of credence to your argument that Devon was being used to find Team B and I hope much of this gets fleshed out in the coming episodes. Has that clue has really been there the whole time and we didn’t see it because we were so consumed by the Chuck/Sarah/Shaw dynamic?

    You raise great questions at the end: Where does the intersect end and Chuck begin? Are they perhaps now more fully integrated? Is this like Luke finally fully embracing the force? (And if we continue that analogy, does that make Shaw Sarah’s brother? I AM SO SORRY FOR THAT BUT COULD NOT RESIST!)

    It is nice to have Monday nights to look forward to again!

    • metajoke says:

      I’ve begun to think that Shaw may be Chuck’s brother from Papa B’s as yet unrevealed first marriage. He wants to be Chuck’s mentor but he’s really pissed that HE doesn’t have the mental capacity or control that Chuck has.

      You know, Shaw as Lor and B4 to Chuck’s Data…

      Besides, I don’t want to think about Shaw being Sarah’s brother. Altogether too creepy, too Holocroft Covenant for me …

  6. Jen says:

    ALl great posts here today! I’m really thankful for all you very analytical minds… i love reading all that you write.

    Here’s a review of this Monday’s ep. Sounds like it should be “Epic”… as they say…

    http://chuckgasmic.blogspot.com/

    I’m extremelly happy it seems CHuck is back. Maybe we can forget the last few eps never happened?

    • atcdave says:

      Its good to see a good review; but that is Magnus, he thought Beard was the best episode ever. I will be pleased if it continues Chuck’s climb out of the pit. Thankfully no Shaw this week, but other than that my expectations are fairly low.

      • JLR says:

        Hey, if TPTB can forget entire episodes, hell, entire arcs, then you’re right: maybe we can as well.

        Yet I highly doubt I will. My olfactory sense is too keen; I can’t help but notice the stench.

    • ChuckNewbie8 says:

      How is DR getting these sneak peaks and how can we get our fab foursome to get the same treatment? And by extension us too (self serving yes but I had good intentions lol).

      • herder says:

        The only problem with that idea is that they then get sworn to secrecy and so the rest of us lose their insight and their speculation. So Joe, Dave, Amy and Ernie, for my own selfish reasons I hope you don’t get added to the next list of previewers.

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        Work around: We too will swear to secrecy. We can even require a password for the blog. Just like during the prohibition. We can be a Chuck speak easy!

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        Seriously I want someone I can trust to preview things for me. Someone that’s just as crazy, emotional while fair and is a shipper at heart.

      • John says:

        Unfortunately the only ones that get advanced copies of the episodes are brown nosers.

      • herder says:

        As it stands now, the one I trust the most is Mo Ryan and to a lesser extent Feinberg and Sepinwall (although with reservations). Most of the bloggers I find to be too much of fanboys who can see no evil.

      • John says:

        Sepinwall and Jace are imo the biggest TPTB brown nosers of the bunch.

      • atcdave says:

        None of us have been approached (as far as I know), or are likely to be. While I would be willing to keep certain secrets; there is no way on Earth I (pretty sure the whole gang will agree) will play the suck up game just to get an early look. I think its more important for us to remain honest critics. Mo Ryan is the best indicator of what most of us will like.
        You all know, I look forward to being a gushing excited fan boy again when things get better; but regardless of the “destination”, this “journey” has been one of the worst conceived I’ve ever sat through. My greatest satisfaction this season has been to post my irate opinions here.

      • Faith says:

        Couldn’t have phrased it any better Herder. You’re the man!

        “fanboys who can see no evil”

        Not that your brown noser isn’t great John lol.

      • BigCheese says:

        “My greatest satisfaction this season has been to post my irate opinions here.”

        Agree with this.

        +1 sir.

      • Rick Holy says:

        I used to drool over any “sneak previews” or spoilers that I could see or hear about. Not this season. I just wait for the episode to “happen,” hoping that I won’t be utterly disappointed.

        I think one of ya’ll mentioned previously about “setting the bar low.” Let’s just say I’m there with ya!

        When good, maybe even excellent episodes are referred to as “epic,” it’s getting ridiculous.

        I previously alluded to the possibility of using the word “cataclysmic” to describe the (hopefully future) episode where Chuck and Sarah actually have an adult conversation and openly and honestly express their feelings for each other. I tried to stay away from using the “o” word – but, O.K. – I’ll “say” (write) it. TPTB are probably going to tell us that the episode will be “Orgasmic!”

        My point here is ….. ENOUGH with the exaggeration already!

      • amyabn says:

        I would love to preview for you guys. Sadly, even as a part of the fab four, I don’t think we have enough “cred” to warrant such an opportunity. 😦
        I would love to tour the set like Gray Jones (Chuck vs. the Podcast) got to do. I want to see the process-from the writers, all the way through. And yeah, meeting the cast would be, well, AWESOME!
        I don’t know how Magnus does it but I sure would like to!

      • Jason says:

        i really think the CS thing is going to be great from here on in (until 19 at least), the payback is on, I think sarah is going to be really great at discovering feelings for chuck, like she has never had them starting the end of 3.9, i think you will like 10, 11 even more, 12 more than that, and 13 the most, from the chuck sarah standpoint. Just let it happen, you’ve paid the price of admission by sitting thru the first 8.

  7. ChuckNewbie8 says:

    They’re not quite all the way back but one main thing has returned: Chuck (literally). The butterfly was wandering aimlessly amongst leopards thinking he belongs and should imitate but with Morgan’s help he’s back as “Chuck” but Spy Chuck (butterfly).

    Now if only Sarah Walker were to return 🙂

    • kg says:

      She’s on her way back, Faith. She indirectly saved Chuck’s life by talking down that fool/fraud Shaw.

      She quickly backed Chuck’s story about Morgan’s unabashed loyalty.

      And she warmed the screen with her infectious smile as the boys departed Castle.

      • Gord says:

        When I rewatched this episode, I noticed when she was pleading with Shaw for more time before activating the self destruct, there were tears developing in the corner of her eye.

        I was almost waiting for her to put her hand on her gun, because it felt very much to me like the rooftop scene with Longshore in Marlin.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah, I was more than a little disappointed she didn’t do that.

      • JC says:

        I don’t know if I’m seeing things but when Chuck walked out after Morgan. Shaw looked disappointed or angry. It wasn’t shock or relief. Did any else see that or was just me?

      • Waverly says:

        I was waiting for her to grab the cell. No need to resort to a gun.

        I thought Shaw was feeling disappointed. That’s quite understandable, because Chuck took over again, deciding that Morgan would stay working at the Buy More.

        Shaw is becoming increasingly marginalized as Chuck becomes more confident and capable.

  8. Rick Holy says:

    People CAN redeem themselves. TPTB STILL have that opportunity. Can they regain the trust of the die-hard fans who did so much to help “save” this show? The ball’s in THEIR court. The next episodes will be rather telling as to whether or not they’re actually seeking redemption, or should I say, will be rather telling as to whether or not they think they actually NEED it.

    It takes courage to admit, “you know, I/we could have done this BETTER or DIFFERENTLY.” As long as we’re using the “jump the shark” analogy, I’ll refer to a “Fonzieism” from happy days. Remember the scene where he had to admit he was WRONG. He kept trying to say “I was WRONG,” but the word wrong just wouldn’t/couldn’t come out no matter how hard he tried. (And we know, in the end, that Fonzie was a good guy).

    Anyway, here’s hoping things WILL get better and that redemption WILL come if not this season, then next (if we’re lucky enough to get it after the carnage of this season).

    • AngelTwo says:

      Father Rick-
      You do realize that “jump the shark” as a term for a show past its life was/is a Fonzie-ism, right? There was an episode where Fonzie jumps a shark and an idiom was born…

      • Rick Holy says:

        Yes, my friend, I do. That’s why I mentioned “jump the shark (tank) a “Fonzieism,” which therefore led me into another “Fonziesim” (of sorts) – his seeming inability or difficulty to admit when he was wr, wru, wruu, wroo, wrooo, WRONG!

        At least a few folks have used the “jump the shark (tank)” to describe aspects of the show during season 3 that it just tied in perfectly – at least to me – with the other (much less referred to) Fonziesim that I mentioned.

        So, I’m with you there, brother (or sister) – sorry I don’t remember your geneder as angels are generally considered “sexless.” But I think we’re on the same page!!

        Keep on Chuckin’, friend – and let’s continue to hope for “better days ahead!”

    • atcdave says:

      I do agree with your point Rick; except I don’t see them ever “admitting” they were wrong. I think we’ll have to settle for fixing the show.

      I hope I’m wrong (I’ve had plenty of practice admitting that here!); I would love to hear them say the whole concept of S3 was flawed. Shoot, I’d settle for an admission they could have handled certain aspects better. But I’m not holding my breath.

  9. John says:

    For those that are interested, this is the list of pilots NBC has at it’s disposal for the fall season. So, Chuck has to start doing better because there are quite a number of options that NBC can choose.

    The Event
    Chase (Jerry Bruckheimer)
    Undercovers (JJ Abrams)
    Love Bites
    Rockford Files (David Shore)
    Prime Suspect
    Kindreds (David E. Kelly)
    John Eisendrath Project (Title TBD)
    The Cape
    Adam Carolla Project (Title TBD)
    Perfect Couples
    Outsourced
    Friends with Benefits
    The Strip
    This Little Piggy
    The Pink House
    Beach Lane
    Nathan vs. Nurture
    [ed. Apologies, John. This wound up in the spam bin for no discernible reason.]

  10. Gord says:

    With respect to the duck hunt flash/didn’t flash thing, I was thinking, that he didn’t flash, but rather he is starting to retain skills from the intersect that he has used repeatedly.
    Maybe soon he will be able to do some kung fu moves without flashing.

    Another possibility is that he is just that good. Before he had intersect 2.0, he managed to use tranq guns in Dream Job quite effectively.

  11. John says:

    For those of you interested, the list of pilots NBC has at it’s disposal for fall season.

    The Event
    Chase (Jerry Bruckheimer)
    Undercovers (JJ Abrams)
    Love Bites
    Rockford Files (David Shore)
    Prime Suspect
    Kindreds (David E. Kelly)
    John Eisendrath Project (Title TBD)
    The Cape
    Adam Carolla Project (Title TBD)
    Perfect Couples
    Outsourced
    Friends with Benefits
    The Strip
    This Little Piggy
    The Pink House
    Beach Lane
    Nathan vs. Nurture

    • John says:

      If Chuck doesn’t start pulling in better ratings, there appear to be quite a number of other shows waiting to takes it’s spot.

      • BigCheese says:

        I’m excited with JJ Abrams show. Spy couple. What more can I say?

        Well, after this season of Chuck, I am rooting for this Pilot.

        Look at this:
        “NBC’s “Undercovers” has been described as a mix between “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and “The Bourne Identity.” Warner Bros. had no comment.”

        That COULD have been the third season of Chuck.

      • JLR says:

        Likewise, I’m curious about the JJ Abrams project. Schwedak might wind up kicking themselves in the future a/c the missed opportunity.

      • atcdave says:

        No doubt BigCheese. That’s the show we were hoping for!

      • eaglemmoomin says:

        Undercovers is intended to be a bottle show. If it does replace Chuck then all of the lovely mythogy and serialized story will be gone. If you can accept the style of episodes from the first 6 episodes of S1 Chuck ALL the time then fine. Me I can’t as it’ll get old and repetitive quick.

    • atcdave says:

      Trading a known performer in a tough slot for an unknown is a gamble. I think if Chuck can just hold its numbers we’ll be fine.

      I knew about Undercovers; but a new Rockford? NBC may have a couple shows I need to check out next season.

      • John says:

        Chase, Undercovers, Rockford Files, and Kindreds are pretty much locks considering the pedigree of their executive producers.

      • Gord says:

        I don’t know if I could handle anyone other than James Garner as Rockford. He played that character so well.

        As for the ratings, I might be wrong, but if I recall every show they have tried to put in that timeslot has performed much worse than Chuck.

        I still think NBC might try a spy night theme, with Chuck and the new JJ Abrams show together.

        I still wonder if there isn’t a better night/timeslot for Chuck.
        Wed at 8 or 9 might work better.
        Actually the Space Channel (Canada’s version of a scifi channel) is running Chuck Wednesday nights at 9 PM.

      • Rick Holy says:

        I wouldn’t bank on NBC bringing back old shows. I might be wrong, but wasn’t it NBC who brought back Knight Rider – and it BOMBED terribly.

        People like to remember popular shows the way they were – not the way someone tries to remake them.

        With that being said, NBC DOES have a number of options for next season – so there is a lot of uncertainty whether or not CHUCK will be back next season.

        If it goes, it will be too bad. Not that it will be gone, but for what this season COULD have been, especially if it’s the last.

  12. Gord says:

    By the way, a colleague at work just starting watching Chuck a few episodes back and is loving it.
    I thought it was quite amusing that after this episode he said to me. So it looks like Chuck has feelings for Sarah.

    I said yes, if you had been watching this show from the beginning you would know that is the worlds worst kept secret.

    What is encouraging is that people are still joining the world of Chuck and they are enjoying it just fine even without knowing all that is going on.

    He keeps asking me questions and I’m reluctant to talk too much about the relationship stuff because I don’t want him to start feeling bitter and twisted.

    Although personally with the exception of the tail end of Mask, I have enjoyed this season. Yes it is different, and can be much darker at times, but I still think it is telling a good story.

  13. BigCheese says:

    What a great news from Ausiello:

    “Question: There’s some confusion about the duration of Brandon Routh’s stay on Chuck. We know it was extended from four to eight episodes, but another rumor suggested that his stint has been extended even further. Can you clear this up? —David
    Ausiello: Here’s what I can tell you without totally ruining the story: Shaw will be around for a little while longer.”

    Haha, he’s back to marry Sarah right? LOL.

  14. Who Dat says:

    Ok please bare with me I’m typing from an iPod touch. TPTB got together at the beginning of the seaon, and said we need Chuck to hit rock bottum and come out the other side a better spy and better person. How do we do that…and season 3 was born.
    I think we got a good look at the beginnings of the new chuck in the beard. I like this Chuck he’s a good guy.
    Now if we could just find someone to write a prayer to help guide tptb, Maybe we can see the end of triangles

    • atcdave says:

      Maybe we can get NBC or Subway to hand down a “no more triangles” mandate!

    • Faith says:

      I honestly think that stuff ends this year. S4 won’t be smooth sailing but it’ll be about adult relationships. I remember JS and CF saying before they just recently got married (not to each other) and they compare Chuck to something like that, that age and maturity. In contrast to say Gossip Girl.

      Granted it’s not exactly glaringly clear right now lol but I think they’ll get there.

  15. JLR says:

    Posted the following at ChuckTV in response to OD’s ep. review, and it is applicable here as well:

    Nice review, and nicer still to watch an episode that didn’t make me cringe, or force me into a deep meditative state in order to suss out what the heck is going on w/ the weird actions of the characters.

    If there’s one regret for me, it is the continued emasculation of Awesome. Dude used to be so cool, and now he doesn’t even have Chuck’s back anymore (though that does look to change in an upcoming episode). As someone else said up-thread, Morgan is the only character who seems to have survived Schwedak’s bloodlust to diminish characters this season (I say this in anticipation of Casey’s apparent treason next episode).

    In any event, it was a nice, brief respite for me from the melodramatic C/S storyline. I will batten down the hatches for more weirdness yet to come.

  16. sd says:

    Does anyone know “how” or “why” Shaw makes his exit? Perhaps he pops up in the back six as a turned Ring agent and is quickly dispatched by Team B. I don’t know…

    • JC says:

      There’s rumors of him being in the last two episodes of the back six. Supposedly people saw him filming and there’s a pic floating around.

      So we have Papa B, a flashback and most people guessing Mama B.

      Now Shaw. They wouldn’t go there would they?

      • atcdave says:

        If Shaw and Chuck are (half) brothers, I can live with that, especially if Shaw is dead.

      • Jason says:

        shaw would have been fine if written just slightly different, if you gave me about 40-60 sec’s worth of editting, everything they wanted done could have gotten done so far, and the sarah character would not appear as crazy – maybe things will redeem themselves, but I sort of think they just go away’

        Routh and Zach are big buddies, my guess is routh is a little down on his luck, came cheap, on paper he is a wonderful fit to the chuck mythoology as an ex superman & he looks the part of a PLI / LI

        Him coming back for a bit of career redemption in ep19 or 18 would not shock me, could see routh asking zach to help him out, if he just exits ep 13 without redemption, he will not be able to be part of the chuck family at places like comic-con, could you imagine him showing up right now, it would be ‘ugly’

      • atcdave says:

        That’s funny Jason, I think Routh might really need a bodyguard at any gathering of Chuck fans!

      • Marvin says:

        I can’t imagine that Shaw is related to Chuck, in that if Mama B was lured away by Whatzzisname, then Shaw would be much younger than Chuck. Like 10 years younger.

        But I do wonder about Eve.

  17. metajoke says:

    I think the great thing about the Chuck fandom is that it is more adult. They DO understand the distinction between character and actor. Routh would be just fine.

    Schwartz, on the other hand, and maybe even Fedak, might want to rethink their plans for a summer weekend in San Diego… I don’t think the fans will be so forgiving to Schwartz, especially.

    • weaselone says:

      Yeah, it’s not really Routh’s fault. He certainly didn’t create the Shaw character and he’s not responsible for the producers deciding to cast him in the role.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I actually feel sorry for him. He may not be the greatest actor, I haven’t seen him enough to judge. But for him to play opposite two of the most charismatic actors Ive seen in years with that amazing chemistry, and to be associated with keeping that from the fans, you just got to feel sorry for the guy. For him to be constantly paired with Yvonne, of course he’s going to look like a mannequin by comparison, especially when people see or remember how Zach pairs up with Yvonne.

      • metajoke says:

        It’s been so long since I’ve seen Chuck and Sarah together, I think I’ve forgotten 🙂

    • atcdave says:

      Of course that’s true; even if we don’t like Shaw, few people would actually blame the actor. I think you’re right, Schwartz would have a much harder time.

      • Lucian says:

        Maybe Routh is an outstanding actor and they have told him “act like a mannequin with bloodshot eyes”.

      • JC says:

        I have nothing against Routh, like others have said he’s working with what they give him. Look at Kruek she was hated by Smallville fans but I thought she was excellent on Chuck. Clearly it was the writers fault not hers.

        My problem is the angst which is Schwartz’s trademark. This season’s love trapezoid reminds of the OC season three. And the Shaw is Oliver from season two. Go to any OC fan site and mention him. I guarantee the reactions are the same as people are having about Shaw.

    • ChuckNewbie8 says:

      well I haven’t heard any death threats so that’s good. It’s always a drag when people make it personal.

      I mean we joke about our pitchforks and stuff but we are joking 🙂

      There are some questions on why Shaw is the way he’s portrayed and people are saying it’s a matter of continuity. Different writers writing different things and so mismanaging the aspects of his character but I have to disagree. When you write a character in, especially in a show like this you diagram the essence of the character. You just build on what is done. And while there are some goofs it’s the little stuff, like Casey not liking cigars to liking cigars.

      • herder says:

        One theory I read is that it is because of the change in his episodes from 6 to 8.

        The idea goes that he was to be a trainer and a love interest for Sarah, put him in Natcho Sampler, develop the interest more then in the Beard he asks her to go with him when he leaves, Sarah says no (breaks up with him as Chuck did with Hannah). But they add the three episodes at the end, they have to hurry up the attraction and then draw it out, it throws off both the character by increasing the secrets and taking away from the reason for the romance in the first place.

        I’ve expanded the idea a bit, but the idea is the same, his secrets get delayed which weakens the spy story and at the same time they don’t want to make the romance too much so they act like collegues more than a couple. By drawing out his story while keeping the rest of the story on pace there is a disconnect.

        Also by having him ask her to go with him then his having to leave would highlight the dangers of a romance in a team, that if things go bad one has to leave. This gives Sarah an example for Chuck as to why they can’t be together. Of course this is all speculation, I have no real proof of this idea but it does make some sense and it fits with the late expansion of his role. What do you think?

      • BigCheese says:

        What starts wrong, will end wrong.

        Now add to this mess (301-313) these last minute changes and we have the perfect 3rd season loved by all.

        Which leads me to think: what’s the great pay off?

      • Faith says:

        That could be it. But it still doesn’t explain why his character isn’t fully developed on what little time he had. Cole was only in 2 episodes but we knew who he was, what he was about. With Shaw we’re led to believe certain things but they actually don’t tell us anything. What they do tell us is inconsistent.

        However I think your last point is really good. He is at the essence just a tool for both Chuck and Sarah.

      • atcdave says:

        But its a broken tool. The problem with the technique the first time wasn’t that it was poorly developed, its that most of us don’t want to see it. So spending more time on a “better” set up, just means we all spend more time bored or frustrated.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I think the problem with the Shaw character is in the execution. With him they tried something they never tried before and something I think ill advised. They made the story about Shaw, not Chuck. He was placed in the role of leading man, given all the scenes with the leading lady, made the unknown and the focus of every episode he was in, and yet, never defined. Because they did that we have no freaking idea how to look at a scene. TPTB may consider it drama or thrilling, but with Cole we knew within the first half of his first episode how to interpret what he was doing. With Shaw they essentially introduced a new leading man, but left his story and character totally undefined. It’s OK to have characters like Hannah somewhat undefined for a few episodes, but not your leads, and they made Shaw a lead. First Class was as much about Shaw as it was about Chuck. This is where they are going off the tracks. They had Chevy Chase and Scott Bakula in the same four episode arc, but the story was still about Chuck. You don’t make your leads into peripheral characters for a guest star.

      • atcdave says:

        Wow Ernie, excellent point.

      • herder says:

        Great point Ernie, they have kind of replaced the heart at the centre of the show with an undefined character. That and the fact that it seems to have become a plot rule that Sarah must always be a few feet of Shaw in every scene that he is in, it’s getting creepy.

        At least when she was with Chuck in previous seasons she seemed to enjoy the physical proximity, now it seems as if she is tied to him by an invisible leash, and doesn’t get much enjoyment out of it. Maybe that is something that she is to learn over the next two episodes, how to have fun in her job again, at least the parts of it that allow for fun.

  18. sd says:

    I am not well versed in the stories of the bible…but JC, doesn’t that sound potentially very Cain and Able to you?

    • BigCheese says:

      When you begin looking for answers or similarities in the Bible, there is something wrong.

    • metajoke says:

      Thank, er, god! Finally something that doesn’t come out of the Joseph Campbell/Star Wars handbook of modern heroes. I could almost relish a little Biblical parallels. And while I am usually against TPTB flaunting Strahovski’s body (really, we get it, she’s gorgeous…), I could get next to her dressed as Eve. Or didn’t they already do that with Sarah Lancaster?

    • atcdave says:

      I’m still thinking Shaw will get a heroic death. I don’t even think he’ll be a villain, my money is on a revenge motive, that will finally lead to his death. But if he is a baddy, I suspect he will redeem himself in an act of self-sacrifice.

      So I don’t think it will be fratricide. That’s dark even for this season of Chuck.

      • Matt says:

        I think you are right on. I don’t think Shaw is completely a good guy, but I don’t think he is a bad guy. So, in the world of black and white, he’s a light gray.

        The heroic death avenging his wife and possibly sacrificing himself for Team BArtowski is how he’ll probably be used. If he doesn’t die, he could be written as a recurring, aka Bryce 2. I don’t really want to see him again unless he leaves knowing that he, like his predecessors have lost the girl’s heart to a geek. If he is used only as a tool in the spy trade and is no longer a PLI, I wouldn’t mind having him around. The guys get to have Carina grace the screen, the gals should get theirs with Shaw (if you’re into the whole Super Man thing).

        Things are looking up for Chuck. He is in the same place he was before Sarah showed up, but with a lot more skills, more self-confidence, and a Stanford degree. I have to say that this episode was a return to the first two seasons. I’ll take a few more of these, please!!

    • JC says:

      First off the rumor I’ve heard about him being back is probably nothing. The source said Nathan Fillion would being appearing too. So I wouldn’t take it too serious.

      It could have been a good story. But I think they’ve gone to the well with people from Chuck’s past being spies or all connected too much already. He kinda loses his everyman hero aspect. Unless they’re changing the game again and he’s always been destined to be a hero.

      My other problem with bringing him back is how much screen time would he take away from other characters again. The back six already has so many guest stars and if you add Routh how much of the budget has been used up.

  19. sd says:

    The more I think about it…the more we’re hearing about who is in the last eps of the season and the showrunners saying it will even be more “epic” (btw, really beginning to dislike that word) than last year…JC’s idea makes sense…Shaw is Chuck’s step bro…and Shaw knows it…has known it all along.

    Wouldn’t it be interesting if Papa B was involved in sending Shaw to “help” Team B…

    Maybe that’s one reason the General was so “you have to tell them…they need to know”…that phrase has yet to be explained.

    • John says:

      Nah, the “epicness” will be finding out that Sam and Shaw are siblings and we’ll all be like “ewww she made out with her brother”.

  20. Jason says:

    I would assume there are so many plot holes needing explaining, that many will be left dangling, how much of this is due to different writers each week, different directors each week, one thing I noticed – when the cast was interviewed, they all commented zach knew the story, so he did not need to get any help with the characters – I think that is quite telling – is it possible, that people like old darth / ernie / joe / lizjames know the story better than at least some of the actual writers / producers ????

    • atcdave says:

      I think you may be right. I notice shows with smaller writing teams (Burn Notice, White Collar) often do a better job with continuity and a consistant tone from week to week. But I think the trade off is, when things are working right, a larger group can make for a much more “packed” episode. That is quicker humor, and just generally more going on. This season, I would not say things are working right on Chuck; with disjointed story telling, inconsistant tone, and wildly OOC moments.

  21. lou federico says:

    i never thought i would be begging for Bryce and/or Cole to come back. I just can’t take Shaw anymore. Is it the bad acting or the cluelessness. I CANT WAIT FOR THE CHUCK FLASH KICKING THE CRAP OUT OF SHAW MOMENT. I want more than a sucker punch.

  22. Judy says:

    I just wanted to briefly comment on the note that Awesome is emasculated this season. Actually, I think they’ve done a lot of good things with that character. He started out as very one dimensional in the first and most of the second season. What did Ellie see in him except for his looks? But this year, he’s become a more rounded and complex character. The main (spy) characters in the show are like comic book figures in their spy life. Devon looks at what they do and responds in a reality-based way. He recognizes how dangerous the situation would be if real. His rejection of the the tickets to Paris and his suggestion to Ellie that they move is responsible and rational. I didn’t like the character very much in the first season, but I like him now. The only downside to this development in Awesome is that it’s consistent with the overall dark tone of 3rd season so far (except the outstanding Beard episode).

  23. amyabn says:

    What continues to puzzle me (and I haven’t heard anything more about it) is that all the reviewers who have seen the episodes say that the C&S relationship is “resolved” in a completely unique way. What the heck does that mean? They have certainly kept this little concept well under wraps. If anyone has any more intel, please share. The writers have certainly gone to the well of past ideas a lot and so my curiousity is piqued at the prospects.

  24. Pingback: Chuck Versus The Beard (3.09) | Chuck This

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