I Knew You Could Be Heart-warmed: Top 3 Family Episodes

In the words of TPTB, season 4 of Chuck will be all about family.  So it seemed appropriate to kick off our top three series with a look back at Chuck when it does family well.  The Bartowski clan does family well for such a dysfunctional one.  More to the point Ellie and Chuck have learned to make a family and how to expand it.  Morgan has been family for years, and Captain Awesome has the little brother he always wanted, despite having two younger brothers…  Come to think of it Captain Awesome seems to prefer the Bartowski clan to a somewhat overachieving and awesome one located on the opposite coast.  Maybe there’s a reason Devon got through his teen years with tequila and sports, and decided to go to UCLA.  But through the seasons, despite some rough spots, this patchwork dysfunctional family has always had each other in the end.  Our picks for the episodes that show that best, after the jump.

Chuck Versus The Santa Claus – This one is easy. Bartowski family holidays and Sarah invited to join the family, and she accepts this time.  Everyone is looking out for family.  Sarah doesn’t want to blow Chuck’s cover so he can stay with his family.  Chuck doesn’t want Awesome to be Awesome and risk getting hurt.  Everyone makes sacrifices for family.  Awesome swallows his awesomeness, Chuck is ready to make the ultimate sacrifice and turn himself over, and Sarah re-lives the worst night of her life, all for family.

Chuck Versus The Ring – Nothing brings families together like a wedding.  Or two.  Again, Chuck does what’s necessary to protect the family, then does what’s necessary to make it right.  Devon trusts his newest brother on the most important day of his life, and Ellie gets her dream wedding, and forgives her brother.  True, Sarah, however briefly, considers leaving her new family, and Chuck manages to do something that will cost his family all dearly in the next year, but for a while on that wonderful day everything almost seems right with the Bartowski-Woodcomb clan.

Chuck Versus The Subway/Chuck Versus The Ring II – Yes, I’m cheating, but I watched them as one episode, and they remain that way in my head.  Yes, a lot of bad stuff happens to the Bartowski-Coburn/Casey-Grimes-Walker-Woodcomb family, but they all manage to come through for each other in the end.  Bitter sweet to be sure, but as Chuck says, in the end nothing is more important than family.

– Ernie

Ah, but what are the episodes that speak “family” to the audience? I think the first two are easy. I’ll agree with Ernie.

Chuck vs. The Santa Claus – What says family like the annual Salvation Army Con Job? Hum? Seriously, it’s about everybody trying to look out for everybody. It’s about Devon learning when to take his soon-to-be wife’s advice and when it’s time to act the way he believes is right. It’s about Ellie caring about everybody’s welfare. It’s about the Buy Morons acting not so moronic for a moment and finding the courage to stand up for themselves (if only a little). And it’s about Sarah realizing that she’s part of this tribe. Yes, the bracelet is as real as it gets, and despite her own upbringing, she knows it.

Chuck vs. The Ring – A wedding really does say “family”. If the visuals of Chuck and Stephen giving away the bride aren’t enough, and if Morgan Fairchild acting like the quintessential Mother-in-law Honey Woodcomb isn’t enough, then the music played at the second venue (no, not Jeffster, but Slow Club doing Christmas TV) puts it over the top.

For the hard choice, I pick Chuck vs. The Nemesis. It’s set during the Thanksgiving Holiday, with the Buy More facing “Black Friday,” and the possibility of a pineapple situation. There is a rather traditional family dinner given by Ellie and Devon, attended by Casey and Sarah and Morgan and Anna where a good time and Sweet Potatoes covered with Marshmallows was had by all. Oh yes, and Bryce was there! You may also recall a rather special toast given by Chuck (that was – dark. And specific.)

– joe

Dave’s Picks

I guess I’ll be a little different.  Almost from the beginning this has been one of my favorite recurring themes on the show.   But most of the time we’re talking about just a scene,  usually at the end of the episode,  that constitutes “family time.”   So my picks will be more about favorite moments than an entire episode.

First choice is Chuck vs. The Helicopter. This episode really establishes what the core “family” of the show will be.  Even as far Casey being sort of a sometimes family member.   We see the six main characters together for the first time at Casa Bartowski,  and then five of them together for the end scene.   I love both moments;  from bad magic tricks,  to Sarah bouncing Chuck off the bathroom door,  to a burned corndog.   I laugh and feel heart-warmed at the same time.

Second choice is Chuck vs. The Graviton. I’m surprised I’m the first to pick it.   The Thanksgiving meal is not only a very sweet scene,  but it felt so good as a conclusion to the Jill arc.

Third choice I’ll be more normal;  Chuck vs. The Ring. Wonderful episode for family time,  and epic shoot-outs.

This does leave so many honorable mentions.   Although I’d only list two from S3 (Operation Awesome and Ring II),  but the closeness of the whole crew was a special part of the show through most of the first two seasons.

Amy’s Additions*

Chuck vs. The DeLorean. What can I say?  I love the interactions between Sarah and Jack, Chuck and Sarah, Jack and Charlie, uhhh, schnook, uhhh I mean Chuck.  Jealous, over protective Chuck warmed my heart and the comfort level between the two was great.  Chuck had $20 million reasons to leave, but one really good reason to stay.  I liked the willingness of Casey to try help the situation and I loved the heart to heart between Jack and Chuck.  We got backstory on both PapaB and Sarah.

Chuck vs. The Ring. Weddings, shootouts, wrist computers aiding our heroine, stalling of weddings, trying to choose love-only to be cut off mid-sentence, and the ultimate decision to upload the new Intersect 2.0.  ‘Nuf said.

Chuck vs. The Subway/Ring II. I loved it all.  I loved that the family came together to save Team Bartowski, I love that Sarah finally picked the right guy (and got credit for it), I’m thrilled that the scheme to nail Shaw didn’t involve the intersect-we got smart Chuck-that guy before the intersect.  Sarah was willing to do whatever it took to save Chuck, both from the CIA accusations and to get her hands on the governor.  Casey acknowledged Alex and we almost got a real hug from our Sugar Bear.  There

* Due to a rather busy schedule Amy mailed her picks but didn’t get to expand on them yet.  I’m sure we’ll hear about her reasons for her picks in comments or in this space when Amy is able to take the time out from that little defending the nation thing she does in her spare time.  In the mean time our best wishes are with her as always.*  Thanks as always to my co-bloggers for their infinite patience with my crazy life.

Have Your Say

We know you’ll have your say in the comments, but just for fun pick your top three family episodes in our poll, and then tell us why in comments.


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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59 Responses to I Knew You Could Be Heart-warmed: Top 3 Family Episodes

  1. Merve says:

    I’m surprised that no one has weighed in on this yet. Excellent choices and explanations, guys. I never really stopped to think about “Santa Claus” as a “family” episode before, but putting Chuck in the same room as all the people he cares about surely fits the bill.

    My picks:
    – DeLorean – It turns out that Sarah cares about family too.
    – Subway – Who steps up to try to save the day? Chuck’s family. Ellie’s “Yes” at the end of the episode might be the most powerful moment of the series.
    – Ring: Part II – Where to start? So many good bits: the six main characters gathered at the side of the road; Ellie promising to protect Chuck; flashbacks with Stephen; Casey and Sarah accepting their places in the extended Bartowski clan; and Chuck finding out about Orion’s legacy. Family-wise, it’s stellar from top to bottom.

    Chuck is pretty unique. It’s not a show about a family, but the idea of family plays a huge role in it. It’s one of the biggest draws of the show for me. And since season 4 is going to be about “family,” you can bet that I’m excited to see what comes next.

  2. joe says:

    I’m not too surprised, Merve. We really started discussing it two days ago, already with the announcement post.

    What’s funny is that I’ve come to question my own choice, now! I just happened to see Sizzling Shrimp again, and wouldn’t you know it, that’s a very excellent family episode too. Mei-Ling Cho is trying to save her brother, after all. That’s the episode where Ellie comes to Morgan’s rescue by buying birthday and Christmas presents early so that he won’t come in last in the Buy More sales contest and lose his job. And Chuck keeps distracted from “Mother’s Day,” despite his best efforts and intentions. It’s the day he and Ellie learned to rely on each other.

    Sizzling Shrimp at least deserves an honorable mention!

    I’m with you all the way about Season 4, Merve. If it’s really about family, I’m going to be happy.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I gave Sizzling Shrimp a sort of runner-up honorable mention consideration, but at the time considered it too much a downer because Ellie was the one who needed to let Chuck keep getting away with missing family events, but in the end it was sort of Ellie being mom to both Chuck and Morgan, letting them both grow up a bit and changing what she wanted to allow her “family” to stay together. Now that I mention it I may need to watch that again.

      My other honorable mentions, weirdly, included both the Casey-centric episodes, Undercover Lover and Sensei.

      • joe says:

        Hum. That’s not bad, Ernie. The Casey episodes *are* about family, such as it is for him.

        Having done “the arts”, I can vouch that the Dojo really is a family kind of place. I’m sure others here know that. It is a mentoring and nurturing place, but it’s not like a school or work atmosphere. It’s got to do with the physicality, I suspect.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Joe, it’s more than that. Notice the B-plot of Undercover Lover is Ellie and Devon fight over their anniversary gift. Morgan comes through for Ellie when Sarah, who bless her despite her abject terror tries to help until a mission interrupts and can’t. Devon sees he’s been selfish and comes through for Ellie, and the next episode proposes.

        In Sensei the Awesomes come and basically try to take over the family, in an I’m sure well meaning way, until Ellie cracks, Devon backs her up, and Chuck dedicates himself to finding Dad for Ellie. Sarah even helps run interference with the Awesomes, again, till mission time interferes.

        Yes, both are trying times, but they end with the family bonds better established and tighter than before.

      • joe says:

        Ack! Absolutely right! I have a bad tendency of misplacing the B-plots. I had forgotten that The Awesomes were in Sensei!

  3. OldDarth says:

    Pretty close to my top 3 episodes:

    Same – consider them best all around for a reason
    Dream Job



    • joe says:

      That’s an interesting thought, Lou. My brain immediately jumped to “Sarah has a family. It’s just a different kind of family.” And then I realized that it applies to Chuck, too.

      Very different notions of “family,” and yet, they somehow work. Makes me want to tie Fedak to a chair and pick his brains about that. 🙂

    • Herder says:

      I’m a little bit suprised at the lack of recognition of Dream Job as a family episode, I don’t expect it to be top three, but I had figured on more honorable mentions. The opening scene with Chuck and Sarah and Papa B and the hurt/pride between Chuck and Stephen. The Ellie/Stephen and Ellie/Chuck scenes in the apartment and the whole pancakes thing.

      Stephen explaining that Ellie is mad because she doesn’t want Devon to turn into him topped off with the “he’s my son” bit at the end and the Daddy’s gone song. All these are parts of the running theme about the hurt caused by the Bartowski parents’ dissapearance and the corrospondingly close relationship between Chuck and Ellie.

      That said I can’t disagree with any of the choices in the main post. That said if the theme this year is family and a big part of it is about Chuck’s search for mom, then what happened when dad showed up for the first time should be important too.

      • atcdave says:

        I agree Dream Job had some excellent family moments. I think the problem we all had is that so many episodes do. Its long been one of the more satisfying elements of the show. I made the comment a few days ago how in several of the categories we’ve chosen I can come up with a “top 2” pretty fast, but then a third choice is almost a ten or fifteen way tie. Family might have even been a twenty way tie!

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Agreed, I can almost always pick my top one off the top of my head. The second pick is a little tougher, but then the 2 or 3 that competed for #2 spot and didn’t make it usually gets expanded to about 7 or 8 for the #3 spot. I think I’ve already changed my mind 2 or 3 times for the top 3 drama episodes.

  4. patty says:

    I think Best Friend deserves a mention because it helps define Chuck’s relationship with Morgan. Also when Sarah and Casey think Chuck is dead we really get to see how much they care about him. Finally it is when Chuck tells Sarah how he feels about her in a way that she can accept and understand it.

    I also like Chuck versus the Living Dead. Chuck won’t come clean with his Dad about the 2.0 but his Dad keeps pushing. When Chuck is forced to admit the truth they have an arguement and then reach forgiveness and acceptance. That is the way families work. You make mistakes (like lieing) but eventually you forgive each other.

    • joe says:

      I love the thought about Best Friends Patty. The only reason that I didn’t put it in this list is because it deserves to be in so many already! Really!

      I like the idea about Sarah coming to understand what “friends” means in this episode. But for me, that final scene with Africa playing in the background – it’s not that Chuck puts it in a way that she can accept. It’s like he totally, almost suddenly turns her head around. It’s a thunderclap when he says “Yeah, you do.” to her “I never had anyone care about me before.”

      Sigh – love that scene!

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Best Friends certainly deserves to be near the top. There are some Devon and Ellie issues there too, and the Grimes extended family issues that Chuck needs to deal with play into the Family B dynamic. I agree with some of the Sarah finally understanding friendship, but I sort of put that more in the romance category. Chuck kind of lets her know he understands and will be there in whatever way he can and she needs. And it absolutely un-nerves her that he’s that dedicated to her (and her to him after her reaction to his “death”) with no “real” romance going on. Sarah’s apology to Chuck is basically a plea for him to re-assure her that he does care after nearly writing her out of the family (long before you got here and long after you’re gone, Morgan is family) while she plays with the charm bracelet that he basically welcomed her into the family with. A lot of good cases to be made for episodes.

  5. jason says:

    honeymooners – chuck – ellie actually had a grownup brother and sister moment, chuck – sarah apparently had many grownup moments, morgan – chuck had a real conversation where morgan is not stalking chuck, sarah – casey never closer, awesome taking care of ellie – family, family and more family

    Delorean because of sarah, her dad, and chuck & best friends for many reasons, but sarah’s concern over chuck’s apparent death and the CS moment at the end

    Seems like whenever the family group has sat down and had dinner, something bad happens, like at the end of 3.19 chuck abandons his family or when sarah insults chuck and his family by making out with bryce in chuck’s bedroom, sure would be nice if one of those moments was special, maybe there was one and I am missing it – one where chuck and sarah and the entire cast is eating dinner and really happy

    • Merve says:

      The dinner scenes at the end of “Sizzling Shrimp,” “Gravitron,” and “Operation Awesome” fit the bill, but “Operation Awesome” is the only one with Casey, if I remember correctly.

      • jason says:

        chuck and sarah were pretty icy in awesome, have to check out the other two. Plus shaw was part of the dinner scene in op awesome – so far – I refuse to vote for any episode with routh in it

    • atcdave says:

      Jason, that’s why I listed Gravitron. I love the whole crew enjoying a meal together, and no drama.

    • kg says:

      Jason, how about Operation Awesome (3-4), with Shaw creepily watching them. The one where Chuck tells Sarah “I’m glad you came, it wouldn’t have been the same without you.”

  6. aardvark7734 says:

    I thought my selection of Best Friends was going to be unconventional, but drats – Patty, Joe and Ernie already explained (above) why this is a great family episode. So there. 🙂

    In the poll, I was unable to resist picking the last entry, Subway/Ring2 together – I mean, it’s a two for one on heavy family episodes, how could you not? In sheer quantity of family emphasis, this conglomeration overwhelms both Ring and Santa Claus, and I was trying to save my final pick for something no one had picked yet. Why? Because if everyone picks the same episodes the reasoning degenerates to “yeah, me too” pretty quickly!

    So for my third pick I chose ‘Truth’. It’s hard to forget the Sushi restaurant double date and the “you’re joined at the hip but that’s not where you should be joined” quip from Devon, the sweet recollection about the color of Ellie’s sweater, the fact that that sweater later saved Ellie’s life by offering safe harbor for the data pendant, Chuck’s concern for Ellie’s safety, Devon’s crack about riding a bicycle, the “I think it’s time for us to sleep together” cover moment, the hilarious sleepover scene with “really BIG girl” and “words taste like peaches”, the fact that Chuck sacrificed himself to give Ellie the only antidote available and finally the scene at the end where Chuck peeks in on a touching moment of mutual thankfulness between his sister and her (soon to be) fiance.

    Whew, that was a lot. All in all, I think the first season of the show had a heavy family anchoring that later seasons got away from. There was a lot more of that casual stuff like the chats between Chuck and Ellie about Sarah in Tango, and the “Mother’s Day” stuff in Sizzling Shrimp, not to mention the whole engagement theme in Marlin. I don’t think the “Chuck must have gravitas” crew will agree with me, but when I think of Chuck and family, I’m generally drawn to S1 overall, even though two of my picks are from succeeding seasons.

    • Merve says:

      I’m going to agree with you there. S1 was more focused on family than subsequent seasons. It’s one of the things that I like about the earlier Chuck episodes. A focus on the family doesn’t have much to do with whether or not Chuck has “gravitas.” I appreciated that the family stuff returned to the forefront in the final 3 episodes of S3, and I’m happy that S4 is going to focus on “family.”

    • joe says:

      Unconventional, Aardvark? Just chalk it up to the great minds axiom! 🙂

      Good job justifying the choice of Truth, too. It *is* a good family episode.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I know, I totally cheated with the “Ernie Option” of Subway/RingII, but to me they functioned as a single episode. And they show up that way in my iTunes.

    • atcdave says:

      I love the gathering scenes in Tango and Sizzling Shrimp. Its just part of what makes Tango one of the best of the best.

  7. Ernie Davis says:

    So here is a thought. Since S4 is going to be all about family, aside from the obvious search for mom that will be tied into both the mythology and the spy stories, what family dynamics would you expect/like to see played out and how?

    The first obvious one is an Awesome baby. Clearly unless there is a plan for a big time jump either between seasons or within the season that one won’t fully play out in 13 or even 22 episodes.

    Another we’ve heard about is a group vacation to the island of Costa Gravas. Aside from the obvious bikini potential (and both Awesome and Chuck shirtless for the ladies and non-traditionally inclined men) there could be some interesting family dynamic, especially if Chuck and Sarah hit a bit of a bump in just the previous episode.

    • amyabn says:

      I’m hoping that the Costa Gravas scenario will be a chance for Ellie to see Chuck and Sarah as a real couple and an awesome spy team. I rewatched a few scenes from Angel and Living Dead. I don’t think Devon has really seen Chuck in action and Ellie clearly needs to see him as a grown man (if she hasn’t by this episode). I also think Ellie needs to see how awesome Sarah is so she can pass the mantle, so to speak, about protecting Chuck.

      The time jump could be interesting. I guess we’ll know how far they jumped in Anniversary (is it Chuck and Sarah’s, Mother’s Day), although I suppose they can jump any time they want.

      I would like to have them play the game they played in Wookie-the “how well do you know your partner” game. No one would have to lie and I think Morgan, Ellie, and Awesome would be amazed at the true tales of Chuck, Sarah, and Team B. Sarah describes a true, most dangerous situation, and Ellie comments about how that beats the sunburn she and her sister had as kids. Sarah then confirms or denies the existence of said sister. Just another way to bring the family closer with truths.

      I’d like Casey’s softer side revealed-how he essentially made the second wedding happen, touching moments with Alex.

      I’d like to see the Awesomes come for a visit and see Sarah stand up for Ellie. That whole wedding dinner tasting was really awkward and I didn’t like the way they portrayed Sarah in that scene (they played her like a ditz, imho).

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Awesome saw awesome Sarah in Angel de la Muerte and some awesome Chuck (but not Chuck-fu) in Operation Awesome, so he just sort of needs to see a Honeymooners type fight to see their full potential together. It’s really Ellie who needs to see Chuck and Sarah in action. Ellie did see the aftermath of Chuck-fu in Subway, but hasn’t really had a full demonstration of them together or Sarah at all.

        But I think you are on to what I was thinking. Could this be where Ellie sees that it’s time to cut the apron strings? She may not be able to protect Chuck as a spy, but Sarah can.

      • joe says:

        Sarah was a ditz at the dinner tasting? Awww – I didn’t think so, Amy. I mean, Honey Woodcomb would fluster anyone! 🙂

        I’ll third Ernie’s second about Ellie seeing Chuck (and Sarah!) in action. That would be extra special.

        @Ernie, Hey! You should have made a post of of the question What family dynamics would you like to see? Excellent!

        Maybe it’s the mood I’m in, but each of the suggestion so far – Casey admitting what he did for the Awesome’s 2nd wedding, the reprise of the game they played in Wookie, Ellie letting Chuck go (and relying on Sarah) – the suggestions really *are* heartwarming. Hits me where I live, I think.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Joe, I thought the subtext was clear. Here’s the best of what we’ve seen from Chuck in this category, so where do we go from here? Everyone concentrates on what they liked, what was missing, and hopefully, discussion ensues. Right out of your playbook partner. Ask the right question. 😉

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I thought Sarah was playing ditz on purpose (note the hairdo), something she does on occasion when she wants to blend. Or survive. 😉

      • Crumby says:

        Will they jump time in Anniversary (more than the summer, I mean)? I thought the Anniversary was meant for Chuck getting the Intersect and meeting Sarah and Casey.

    • JC says:

      I want some conflict between Ellie and Sarah over Chuck dating a spy. If Ellie finds out the truth about her parents I can see her not wanting Chuck to go down that same path.

      An episode of Casey struggling on how to deal with Alex. And maybe him coming to either Ellie or Chuck for advice.

      MEB creating a divided loyalty situation for Chuck with his family. Chuck standing up to Ellie and Sarah about his mother.

    • aardvark7734 says:

      Ernie, you dropped the Awesome’s baby out there like it’s self evident how that will be played. If you meant in stereotypical ways, then sure, that’s probably going to be tapped to some extent.

      But a lot more could be done with it.

      First, introducing a new child into the Bartowski family has to cause some reflection on Ellie’s part. Her childhood was hardly ideal and she might have some irrational fears about her own child having to deal with missing parents – particularly after the close call they had at the end of last season.

      Also, just the idea of child rearing in an atmosphere not wholly disentangled from the spy world would put additional stress on the inclusion of Sarah and Casey into the family.

      Finally, the baby is innately enmeshed in the search for their mom as the very nature of the maternal bond plays out in duality – Ellie is hardwired to believe in her mother even if that belief is initially masked by her abandonment issues. But as the bond with her unborn child grows, Ellie will find it harder and harder to side against her.

      • BDaddyDL says:

        there is something else. excluding the Shaw thing the only people to handle the intersect have been Bartowski’s. That could also add a wrinkle to the story.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        For some of the reasons Merve mentioned I didn’t feel the need to go into the baby. Mostly I don’t think a baby will be a factor this season. Ellie’s pregnancy could be, but I hope they don’t do it as the stereotypical hyper-maternal pregnant woman. I don’t think Ellie can get any more maternal. She needs to go the other way, so maybe a baby on the way could give her maternal instincts a new focus, which would be fine.

    • Merve says:

      What I’d expect to see:
      – Devon and Ellie discussing starting a family. Maybe Ellie will get pregnant. If the show gets a back 9, I’d bet money on the Woodcomb child being born in the season finale.
      – More Chuck/Ellie moments, especially ones relating to their mother.
      – Casey reconnecting with his daughter (and possibly reconnecting with his ex-fiancée, but not necessarily in a romantic setting).

      What I’d like to see:
      – Sure, Casey and Morgan have a fun dynamic. But so do Morgan and Devon. It was used well in the back 6 and I’d like to see it used again. We need more great lines like “I’m a lapsed vegetarian.”
      – Sarah has found love. Next step: family. Sarah should get to know Ellie, Devon, and Morgan better. I’d like to see the Chuck/Sarah dynamic fold into the larger family dynamic.
      – I kind of want to see a scene where Ellie apologizes to Casey for what she thought of him (and for smacking him in the face with a frypan).
      – I feel as if Casey and Devon could find some common ground because they both have a strong sense of duty. Maybe they could do finally do watersports together.
      – I feel as if this is a vain hope, but I don’t want the Stephen/Mary relationship to mirror the Chuck/Sarah one. I feel as if Stephen would have reacted differently (or reacted, period) to the news that Chuck and Sarah were dating if Mary had been his handler. I fear that the show will use Stephen and Mary’s relationship to show Chuck and Sarah not making the same mistakes, which would paint the Bartowski parents in a negative light. There’s a much more interesting story to be told than Chuck = Stephen, Sarah = Mary.
      – Bolonia needs to make a reappearance. Morgan needs his mommy and Big Mike needs to keep the romance alive.

      • aardvark7734 says:

        As seems to be the norm, I strongly agree and strongly disagree with your post.

        Strongly agree with Sarah finding the true relationships with the rest of the extended family. Also with Morgan and Devon being explored. Ellie and Casey? Win.

        Casey and Devon? Bolognia and Big Mike? Meh.

        Disagree strongly about the agent-asset parallel and have no problem with Stephen and Mary being depicted as people who didn’t find the answer. This allows room for Chuck and Sarah to figure out the whole “future is not set” thing from Terminator, which goes along with Linda Hamilton in perfect synchronicity. Not sure why you’re afraid of it, to be honest.

      • Merve says:

        I see the mirror as a cheap device for propagating the problems of the past into the future. Chuck and Sarah have their own issues; they don’t need to have the same problems as Chuck’s parents. Furthermore, Stephen has already been painted as a flawed person. An examination of his marital troubles will denigrate his character further. The dead can’t defend themselves.

      • atcdave says:

        Actually I’m mostly with Merve on all this. I think it is a vain hope now to stop the parallels between Orion/MEB and Chuck/Sarah. I’m disappointed they feel the need to go this way. But as Aardvark indicates, if Chuck and Sarah can move forward, aware of the situation and past mistakes, and pointedly not repeating them, it could still be an effective story-line.
        I mainly hope it isn’t used for the same sort of excessive angst we saw at the end of Santa Claus. I remember at the time thinking any legitimate concerns Chuck might have from the Mauser shooting were ruined by the comical over-reaction in the final scene. That is what I worry about in a parallel relationship situation. I wouldn’t want to see Chuck OR Sarah make a big deal of it beyond “we’ll never leave each other no matter what” (which sounds a lot like a wedding vow…). I just have a bad feeling this will lead to the next over-played faux-angst of the series.

    • Crumby says:

      I’d like to see Sarah interact more with Ellie, Morgan and Awesome. We really didn’t get much so far, and that really wouldn’t be that complicated to do.

      But I also would like to see a little more of Sarah-Casey without the little cheesiness we got in the back 6. They could do that through the Casey-Alex storyline, especially if Alex is involved with some government agency. Casey is the only one whose as much part of Chuck’s family than Sarah’s (even if their the same now). But there are possibilities here. Helping Casey deeling with is fatherhood. Giving Alex young spy tips. Etc.

    • Crumby says:

      Like others have said I’d also really like to see some kind of Chuck-Sarah-Ellie “confrontation” about Sarah.
      Ellie could see by herself kick ass spy Sarah, but also that Sarah would do anything to protect Chuck and not just in a physical way but also in a “protect who Chuck is” way. That’s something Ellie and Sarah have in common.
      We also could see Chuck telling Ellie what Sarah means to him and why he loves her, that could explain why she’s so great to those who are still wondering.
      Finally, Ellie needs to back off a little, let them figure things out by themselves, and accept that Sarah is “Chuck’s best gal” now. She used to do it well in the past. Chuck needs to accept it as well btw. I still don’t like that Chuck took life-changing decisions with Ellie without involving Sarah.

      The thing is maybe Ellie’s coldness to Sarah in the finale wasn’t intended and won’t be address. Will they even have scenes together outside family dinner? That would be such a shame. Everything Ellie knew about Sarah isn’t true. She basically doesn’t know anything about her after three years apart from her feelings for Chuck. She encouraged Chuck to pursue Sarah and is realizing that person isn’t who she thought she was. That has to be weird for Ellie, there must be some mix of anger, fear, disappointment, etc. that Ellie feels toward Sarah. That should be address, I hope it will.

      • jason says:

        i understand what you are saying, I did not see the coldness everyone is talking about, the ‘my husband safe’ thing to me is what I would say about my child to the person in the room I trusted the most – also – what is the big deal – instead of an orange orange waitress sarah is one of the most powerful, heroic women in the world – her little brother is really playing with ‘big girls’ – but yes, I suppose it will be played negatively, I just don’t see that it has to

      • Crumby says:

        Sure Sarah is not the OO underachiever employee which is a good point. But:
        – She’s been lying to Ellie for three years. And Ellie didn’t know her before that. Some people always say that Chuck doesn’t know anything about Sarah, well he knows way more than Ellie… She’s basically was basically meeting Sarah for the first time in the Finale.
        – Ellie didn’t seem to like the government much. Sarah is working for the CIA, and it is dangerous work, for her and the people in her life.
        – Ellie could blame Sarah for Chuck’s involvement with the CIA. Comment like “she showed me the greater good” and stuff could not please Ellie.

        I don’t know. I wouldn’t want it to be dragged, but they could address that in one episode. What’s the point of making such a big deal about lies if there are no consequences to it?

      • atcdave says:

        Its hard to say how they’ll play it, I could see either way. Ellie has long been a supporter of Chuck and Sarah. She may feel betrayed by all the lies, but Chuck has lied to her more than Sarah, of course it was largely at Sarah’s urging…. It seems like she could be mad at both or either.

        I do think most of what we know about people isn’t the “facts” of their life, its the personality and the way we interact. The biggest fact between Sarah and Ellie is that Sarah loves Ellie’s little brother. So while there may be some issues or awkwardness, I wouldn’t expect huge problems. But we’ll see.

      • JC says:

        It’d be a waste if they didn’t show some Ellie/ Sarah conflict.

        I would guess at some point Ellie will find out the truth about her parents and how they were spies. That life ruined her and Chuck’s childhood. I could see her having real issues that Chuck was following the same path.

        Normally Sarah would back off after this type of personal conflict. But instead it could show some real growth for Sarah. Have her stand up to Ellie and affirm her love and commitment to Chuck. Maybe even have her say something along the lines of “I not your mother, Chuck will always come first”.

      • Crumby says:

        I do think most of what we know about people isn’t the “facts” of their life, its the personality and the way we interact.

        Dave I agree with that but I wonder Ellie really knows about Sarah’s personality. She knew from day one that Sarah loved Chuck, and she always thought that Sarah had a good influence on Chuck, but what else does she really know. Personally, I’ve seen a huge part of Sarah’s awesomeness through spy related stuff, which Ellie doesn’t know about.

        I think it’s different for Chuck because he’s still her brother, he always has been. She knows him, whether he’s a spy or not. But Sarah? I don’t know I think Ellie should at least wonder about this even if it’s for 20 seconds before realizing Sarah’s Sarah.

      • atcdave says:

        I think it was suggested in S1 that Chuck and Sarah spent a fair amount of time with Ellie and Deven. I admit that’s a perception, we’ve never been told how much time was spent; but we do know the point of Sarah’s cover was so she and Casey could be there quite often. That combined with what a big fan of Sarah Ellie always was, makes me think she “knows” her fairly well.
        I am not saying there won’t be any issues, there will be. I’m just saying I wouldn’t expect a big season long feud or anything. Maybe just a few episodes of questioning things or giving Sarah the silent treatment. I would love to see Sarah take initiative to make amends with Ellie, again, quickly. I would also love to see Chuck defend Sarah to his sister. But I don’t want to see this drawn out for long.

      • Crumby says:

        We’re on the same page with this then. Like I said I don’t want it to be dragged, I just think it should be quickly address in one episode.

        I’ve read several comments here, can’t remember who made them, sorry, that said they didn’t find Sarah that great at least in S1, they didn’t know why people liked her so much right away, and after the Front 13 of S3… This would be the perfect opportunity to tell us about Sarah’s Awesomeness! 🙂

  8. kg says:

    The Living Dead as a complete episode certainly does not compare to the ones voted on repeatedly in this piece and I’m not sure is even worthy as honorable mention, but I would like to take the time to cite the spy will scene from it.

    It was very touching and moving. Sarah has that grave look on her face and pats the bed to sit close. Chuck clearly knows she has something serious on her mind.

    Chuck’s near brush with death in the cabin is a horrific reminder to Sarah how close she came to losing Chuck forever in Best Friends. How ironic that it was her waiting in the car this time, and if she had waited another few seconds, she might have been too late.

    Her willingness to offer the will to Chuck at this juncture is another strong example of reaffirmation, trust, declaration of love and her commitment to Chuck in scenes we saw in Other Guy, Honeymooners, Role Models and Tooth. It’s “her entire life” and she wants Chuck to have it.

    We’ve known all along they were in love and therefore perfect for each other. This simple but effective scene was the final piece to the puzzle if you will.

    It’s interesting, a friend of mine watched some of season 1 just before the premiere of season three and then the rest of season one during season three.

    He had to listen to my mumbling and frustrating outbursts toward some of the material from season three. He didn’t think season three was that bad. He didn’t understand why I hated some of it. I kept telling him that “you can’t understand because you never saw season two.”

    We began watching season two this summer and finished it last weekend. He now sees what I was trying to tell him last winter and spring. He looks at the first part of three differently, in a more negative light. He now agrees with me.

    He’s intimating as early as Seduction and First Date how Sarah is ready for the taking, but Chuck won’t step up all the way.

    And I’m noticing the horror in Sarah’s face every time it appears she has to leave or how determined Chuck is to rid himself of the intersect. It’s obvious she’s in love with him. Obvious to all the characters and the fans, but she struggles mightily to have to make the choice to stay herself. As long as there is an assignment or as long as Chuck is the human intersect, she can stay without having to choose.

    • atcdave says:

      Some great observations KG. I too liked the spy will scene in Living Dead, but you’re right, I wouldn’t otherwise call it a great “family” episode.

      Interesting about your friend. It seems to me a lot of viewers who joined during S3 and watched S1 & S2 at a more accelerated pace for the first time often don’t share the Charah passion us old-timers have. Good to see that isn’t always true!

  9. kg says:

    Yeah Dave, that scene I alluded to in 3 x 17 is Sarah’s final step in fully connecting with Chuck and his little world, his family. The real family she never had but always secretly longed and pined for.

    Yes, not a complete family episode, but certainly a strong family moment, although this 43 minutes of television did feature a lot of pull and tug between Chuck and his dad.

    And I know I speak for most folks when I reiterate I’m looking forward to more intimate scenes between Ellie, Awesome and Morgan. She’s great with Chuck and Casey. They’re an A-Team as far as I’m concerned. She certainly needs more quality dialogue with the other three.

  10. Crumby says:

    I’d go with Sizzling Shrimp, Best Friend and Subway/Ring II in no particular order.

    Sizzling Shrimp – Mother’s day, anyone? We get to know more about Ellie, Chuck and their parents. We can see how important is Ellie, Morgan tells her that she got Chuck through all the tough times in his life, and she has a comment in that episode that could have been made at some moment in S3: “You’re a good person, Chuck. You’re a good brother and you’re a good friend. Don’t lose that.” We also got our first very own “evening of Morgan.” We not only get the bromance but also some Ellie-Morgan bonding time, when we realize Ellie doesn’t hate Morgan that much 😉 ! The mission by itself is family related: as Chinese spy that goes rogue to save her brother. Finally, Sarah got included in this family. Ellie invites her to mother’s day and she can see by herself what family means in Chuck-terms. It’s about being there and taking care of each other.

    Best Friend – We could say that it is more about the bromance or even Chuck and Sarah but well, I loved Chuck’s quote about Morgan: “Look, Sarah… I don’t have parents. I mean, not really. And I don’t talk about it because that’s just the way that things are now. But it wasn’t always this way. Morgan was there the first day that my mom took off. He didn’t say much because, honestly, what is a fifth grader supposed to say? But we sat there and split a cherry cheesecake and played Legend of Zelda all night long. And my dad… Well, that’s a whole… other story, but Morgan was there for that, too. Morgan is more than just my best friend. He’s my family. Before you got here and long after you’ve gone, Morgan is my family.” That speech really marked me. And Sarah’s following answer: “while I appreciate your friendship with Morgan, losing sight of that container endangers many people’s best friends. Not just yours, Chuck.” The greater good speech, that thing Chuck was talking about in the vault in three words… But eventually, Sarah understood Chuck and apologized, she even told a little something about herself/her feelings to explain herself. Even Jeffster got a line on partnership…

    The Season 3 Finale – Shaw got to everybody through the people they care about: Chuck, Casey, Sarah, Papa B, Ellie… but eventually the episodes brought the 6 main characters together. The civilians saved the spies because of family, ironic when you think of those talks on how family and friends makes you weak… Papa B got killed and we learn more about Mama B. Chuck chose to fight for is family over running away. We also got a family diner, with Alex has a bonus, which is not only great because she’s Casey’s daughter, because I liked her a lot in those episodes, but also because it shows how Casey is a complete part of that family now. He’s bringing his own member. I liked that. And it was the first family dinner with no cover for anybody.

  11. amyabn says:

    I keep thinking they could open S4 with Sarah and Morgan bonding over missing Chuck, who went off to Buy More Corporate (aka meeting with Beckman in DC). Maybe Ellie and Devon are over, with the 5 of them (I’m including Casey) and Chuck comes home. A nice reunion between Sarah and Chuck, and we get the scoop on the new Buy More.

  12. Big Kev says:

    Slghtly late to this debate – but I’m going to pitch in with an episode that I can’t believe no one has mentioned – Tic Tac.
    If Delorean is so popular as a Sarah-centric family episode (and it should be – I voted for it) then I think Tic Tac gets the same weight. Not just for the obvious reveals about Casey’s “family” but for showing us that even for Casey, the cold school burn out, family trumps all. He may have made one decision in 1989, but now he makes another – protecting Alex and Kathleen is now more important than his orders, his career and everything that he previously held dear.
    Of course, the unspoken implication is that being around Chuck and Sarah has helped change his priorities – and here again, Tic Tac delivers in spades on the family front.
    We know what Chuck will do for his sister, for Morgan, for Sarah, for those that he cares about – his “family”, biological or otherwise. In Tic Tac we find out that Casey is also a part of that family, and his inclusion carries trhe same weight. Chuck and Sarah aren’t just about protecting their partner here – they’re about protecting another member of the family. It’s not family in the conventional sense of the word – but it’s family nonetheless.
    It’s a bit of a cheat to choose Subway, because it’s such a fantastic episode that it probably comes top 3 in “types” – so for my other 2, I’m going for Delorean (as mentioned) and Sizzling Shrimp.
    I love Sizzling Shrimp because it’s the first time we really get an insight into why Chuck and Ellie are so close. The Mother’s Day concept is such a wonderful device, it reveals so much backstory and motive, so elegantly. I loved Best Friend too, but because it comes so much later in the series, much of what it reveals can already be guessed at.
    You may have figured out that I’m a sucket for episodes that define “family” in the broadest terms too – and I love the idea that Ellie, in opening up Mother’s Day to Sarah and connecting with Morgan, understands intuitively that these people are part of Chuck’s family, and therefore part of hers.
    The whole idea of family, how it’s defined, and how it shapes who you are is one of my very favourite things about Chuck – one of the things that elevates this show, at its best.

    • aardvark7734 says:

      Wonderful post, Kev.

      I like all of the things about Tic Tac you mentioned. In my opinion, it’s a much better Casey episode than Sensei was and went a long way to heal any residual doubts he might have had about being an equal member of the team (from Colonel).

      Your observations about Ellie’s inclusion of Morgan and Sarah into Mother’s Day bodes well for S4. Unless TPTB start scraping the barrel for angst sources this force should take hold once again and draw our spies together into the ad hoc family we already consider them to be.

    • Merve says:

      The other great family-related thing about “Tic Tac” is the subplot where Devon and Ellie work through the fellowship/Africa debate. It’s nice to see that they respect Morgan enough as a member of their “extended family” to consult him on the issue.

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