Steady As She Goes

All Those Worries!

All For One!

All For One and...


I have a deep suspicion that many you have already seen Chuck vs. The Anniversary several times. It’s been once a day since Monday for me, thanks to NBC, Hulu and the magic of Al Gore’s Internet. Since many of the comments echo my own thoughts, I’ll refrain from merely repeating what we said one more time (and point out that you can hear an insta-review here).

Let me just say that the first episode of the season was a blast. Anniversary left me with a very good feeling, one that hasn’t changed after watching the episode several times.


Did you have fears, even quiet ones, that the episode wouldn’t be so effective? Yeah, me too. My biggest was the worry that the Sarah Walker character would not be able to carry the load of being “the girlfriend” and still be the strong female character (read, kick-butt spy) that we and Chuck fell in love with. I was concerned that it had to be one or the other. Well, steady now. It didn’t take long. Before the theme song was played Sarah already had said “I love you” to Chuck and made him say it back before she left on a “business trip”, punched out Dolph Lundgren, got Casey to sing “Thankweu!” and parachuted off a building. Fears all gone!

And that was just the start. Worried about Chuck’s keeping lies and secrets? Many fans were. After the new rule was established, that should be forgotten too.

Concerned about the idea of Chuck and Casey going on missions together while Chuck and Morgan, uh, go on missions together? Charles and Michael, the Carmichael brothers, were great as partners (and Sarah and Casey still are), although I do hope we find out more about what happened in Tangiers. Regardless, by the end of the episode we should see that Team B is now best thought of as Athos, Porthos, Aramis and Morgan!

[Shout it out! All for one, and one for all!]

When season 3 ended we should have been concerned about this season’s big story – the introduction of Mary Elizabeth Bartowski. It’s a major character and it’s not an exaggeration to say the success of the season hinges on her. Well, any worries were 99.44% laid to rest at the San Diego ComicCon when Linda Hamilton was introduced. The remaining 0.56% disappeared nearly as soon as we saw her face on Monday. Any stubborn doubters left? They got blown away along with Marco at the end. After that, the 2 second teaser we all saw with MamaB and Sarah holding guns on each other was breathtakingly awesome. We won’t see Mary Elizabeth for several more episodes, but I can’t wait. Soon we’ll get to see the return of Heather Chandler, and I’m stoked for that, too, so be steady, my beating heart.  Chuck has to be the fastest 60 minutes on TV, and the longest 6 days 23 hours between episodes too.

[Ah, there’s a pattern here. Chuck is rock steady and has no fears of Fulcrum or The Ring or Volkoff Industries or any baddy any more. I know why. After facing Ellie, General Beckman, Sarah and now Mary Elizabeth, the bad guys are easy by comparison!]

This was premier week for many shows. I tried to watch and record them, and in fact, I was sort of looking forward to quite a few. But oddly, it turns out I could barely watch. I saw my regulars, NCIS, The Big Bang Theory, Bones. I tried Hawaii 5-O, (bleep) My Father Says (ooohhh -NB, that show co-stars Jonathan Sadowski, who played Lazslo Mahnovski in the Sandworm episode), and I’ll still give The Event a look (I recorded it). But as good as they are, none of them (even TBBT and NCIS) seemed to hit the mark this week. Only Chuck did. I can make no claims to objectivity, but it tells me something.

Maybe this was it. There was a little thing that you may have missed in this first episode. When Sarah first hears that those two “master spies” Marco has been chasing unsuccessfully have managed to penetrate Volkoff Industries, her reaction is to say softly “Oh, Chuck.” It’s an echo of what Mary Elizabeth had said earlier, easily overlooked, and relatively unimportant to the story. But it’s those kinds of little things that have been making a difference for me, week in and week out.

Don’t get me wrong now. Chuck has surprised me constantly with it’s take on big, important ideas – truth, honesty, loyalty, the importance of being true to your principles, the value of friends and family, and the meaning of sacrifice. Very big ideas, indeed. Really, it’s not the show’s take that surprises me so much; It’s the show’s steady persistence in having those themes upfront when other shows either shied away or floundered miserably, like they had touched third rails or something.

Yet it’s Sarah’s simple “Oh, Chuck” that makes me come back to watch the episode yet again. I want to find more of those kinds of gems. Like Sarah-smiles (and Sarah-tears now, too), I can’t get enough of them.

As of today, Jeff Zucker is no longer in charge at NBC-U. That will mean something to Chuck eventually. But it means nothing for a while yet, and it may even be a positive thing. One can’t say yet. The show is on a very good course, and from what I can see, it’s going to stay that way.

– joe

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About joe

In my life I've been a professor, martial artist, rock 'n roller, rocket scientist, lover, poet and brain surgeon. I'm lying about the brain surgery.
This entry was posted in Breaking News, Observations, Season 4. Bookmark the permalink.

125 Responses to Steady As She Goes

  1. jason says:

    thx joe, one small thing about the ellie / chuck fountain scene, ellie says to chuck ‘you have sarah’ in a very positive tone, end of season 3 I never thought the ‘is my husband safe with you’ was a negative, but was a positive toward sarah – again here, nothing but positive – ellie likes that chuck is playing with ‘big girls’ at least for now,

    near 100% of sarah’s lines in 4×1 – I don’t think the biggest shipper in the fandom could have written more positive shipper friendly lines for sarah (or for that matter chuck, casey, or morgan). When sarah and chuck were together with team B, morgan largely nods his head with each CS exchange, watch him, his reaction was alot like I felt watching CS, lots of nodding of approval. My fear morgan would muddy up the works with constant interruptions and stupidity, just was unwarranted, glad to say I was wrong.

  2. aardvark7734 says:

    Awesome video from Callie. Loved it!

    Oh, and your article was good too. 😀

    Seriously, though, still feeling the glow of the premiere and getting back to loving the show again. I’ve got my fingers crossed that this season’s start challenges the S2 start, which up to now has been my favorite.

  3. OldDarth says:

    My love continues unabated from season to season. 😀

    Yippee!

    Great article Joe. Permission to go to maximum warp?

  4. atcdave says:

    Great write up Joe. Yeah I’m seriously excited for this season. Great premier. Don’t you know it though, the Bears are on Monday night this week. Oh the agony! There aren’t many things that will make me tune in late for a Bears game (especially Bears-Packers!); but I think I’ll be missing the first quarter this week…

    • joe says:

      What? Not the Lions? Get otta town, Dave!

    • atcdave says:

      Oh I’ll root for the Lions when they aren’t playing the Bears; but you know its hard to get too excited about that.

      Actually I’m kind of considered a heathen living in Ann Arbor; not only am I not a UM fan, I don’t really follow NCAA football. But considering the Lions, I guess its not surprising folks don’t take the NFL very seriously here.

      • jason says:

        dave – packer fan all the way here – I will watch chuck after the game (I’m not a nielson) – my son goes to college in green bay and knows quite a few of the packer personnel / press for a variety of reasons, I know a bunch of stories, some I can repeat, some not so much – high hopes in GB this year, but the Bear game monday really should test us – 2 keys – can cutler exploit sam shields & can our LT block peppers – someone told me to watch ‘The Librarian’ as a chuck like movie – it sure is – 2 lines delivered – one by the female body guard – ‘get your hands off my geek’ & the other by the geek explaining his relationship with his handler ‘its complicated’

      • amyabn says:

        Dave, you know I have to throw in a Go Green! MSU for the win! 🙂

      • atcdave says:

        Funny thing is Amy, at ARB ATCT we’ve always had more Spartans and Buckeyes than Wolverines, go figure. I guess I’m a Husky (NIU), but like I said, not really an NCAA guy.

        Yeah Jason, I lived in Milwaukee for a year, the Bears/Packers rivalry is awesome. Lots of fun, and of course, we’re both undefeated going into this game. I know the Packers are heavy favorites, but this will be fun. And yes, I really will miss the first quarter to watch Chuck!
        My wife and I really enjoyed The Librarian movies; cheesy fun. I would say less sophistcated than Chuck. Sadly, I believe the Sarah-like character is only in the first movie.

  5. Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

    I know we shouldn’t compare, but as season premieres go this one just seems to have left the fans in a much better place the the S3 premiere.

    I still have no idea why they went where they went last season (and truly never will) but the positive vibe emmanating from the fans after Anniversary must be a welcome change.

    Also the episode ended on a “hopeful” note. – Much better. The 3 minute rule need not apply to 4.01.

    • atcdave says:

      Yeah Joseph, this feels more like S2 again. I’m excited and expecting great things; I think last year it was more a feeling of sinking dread.

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  7. Jan says:

    Great video. And great post, Joe.

    With the NBC/Comcast merger coming soon…and the recent presentation to the Goldman Sachs Media Conference, highlighting CHUCK in the video portion of the presentation (according to The Hollywood Reporter)…CHUCK could be in a better place. There were rumors that NBC wanted to buy CHUCK. WB may not want to let go. But better to have more suitors than none. Comcast, more than NBC, is interested in content…especially successful content with a strong following = CHUCK.

    When NBC virtually ignored CHUCK promotion for the new season, it got me thinking. What if that was to establish a base line of support? What if it was purposely designed to see how well the show would do on its own, against strong competition?

    A 2.0 rating in the key 18-49 demographic, with approximately 6 million viewers is not great. But it was darn good considering the bulk of the promotion was from Twitter, support from loyal editors and links to nbc epks. Those videos were well produced, especially the 5 minute season presentation. I’m unaware if they were shown anywhere but on nbc.com (I do not have access to how much of it might have been included in the Goldman Sachs piece). But if they were produced to tweak the already strong fan base and online supporters, the ratings could indicate that they worked.

    With Comcast getting 51% of SYFY, USA Networks, NBC, Universal and related companies in the merger, they have a vested interested in getting the most from the successful content currently available from these entities. I think they have a greater vision. “Last Comic Standing,” “Minute to Win It,” and “Biggest Loser” may have their place…but these shows won’t have the syndication value of comedies and dramas that can fill the hours and hours of time open on 24 hour cable networks.

    So we wait, hoping for a back 6/9, which would put the episode count for CHUCK to 73/76. If the new syndication # is 88 instead of 100 (the # of episodes needed to get the most value out of syndication)…that still leaves another 13+ episode season needed, giving us a Season 5 (at least).

    I suppose this could all be overshadowed by a significant drop in CHUCK’s ratings. But I’m hard pressed to see how that could be, considering the clips we’ve seen from upcoming episodes, the C/S dynamic going strong, Morgan/Alec, the Awesome baby and Linda Hamilton. Couple that with the prospect that NBC will actually promote upcoming episodes, there could even be ratings increases 🙂 (Okay, call me an optimist)

    • atcdave says:

      Some good and interesting comments Jan. I do wonder about the syndication value of Chuck; it hasn’t generally done well in reruns. But that may be a reflection of a well informed and intelligent fandom that knows a recent or out of sequence rerun is being shown. Its possible an actually start-to-finish run of the entire series would actually do better; and I could easily imagine USA or Sci-Fi (yes, I still refuse to acknowledge the new non-acronym) doing a whole Chuck marathon over the course of a week. It also makes me think original programming of Chuck could have a future on one of those cable networks; I know I’ve heard in the past Chuck was too expensive for this. But given the budget cuts the show has survived, I wonder if the situation is now different.

      I think Chuck does very well in a number of non-traditional measures like; audience income/education level, support of paid sponsors, purchases/viewing of content in non-broadcast formats, and internet “presence.” It seems like maybe Comcast already values this dimension.

  8. thinkling says:

    Wow, Joe, either you’ve got great ears or a much better sound system than I do. I can’t hear Sarah’s “Oh, Chuck” for the life of me. Too, bad it’s not more audible (or maybe it is for everyone else). What a great Sarah moment. This shared protective instinct (MamaB/Sarah) may be what initially pits them against each other. But later it could become a bond.

    My fears have been put to rest … 99.7%. The other 0.3% is just residual distrust spawned by s3.

    A couple of other things have struck me. I really like Chuck’s new self-possessed calm. For someone who is “out of the spy business” and hasn’t flashed in months, he is remarkably composed and good at flashing and being a spy … oh, and apparently very limber. Another thing is that Chuck actually chose Sarah (and Casey) over his mom twice … when he made the decision to leave the computer to save them and when he decided to trigger the EMP. A very nice realization … for both of them. And last, the unabashed warning to not harm a hair on Sarah’s head. Looks like the Lioness has found her Lion.

    • joe says:

      Whoa! Now I have to go hunting for those two works again, Thinkling! I heard it only in my headphones, and definitely missed it the first three times I watched the show.

      I loved the way Chuck threatened Marco too, out of calm, matter of fact anger. THAT was a credible threat!

      I had a slightly different take on Chuck’s decision. He chose Sarah and Casey over the chance – the opportunity – to find his mom. That’s a little different, but it’s the kind of sharp distinction I want Chuck to make. His head overrode his heart just exactly enough and in just the right way to damage neither one. Before now Chuck would have reacted far more emotionally and caused much more angst. Right?

      • thinkling says:

        Point taken. It was only “the chance” to find his mom. But It was his only solid lead that he had spent months and thousands to find. So, it was really significant. Yeah, calmer more rational Chuck is a good thing. His heart and his brain are working in harmony, finally. Chuck will never lose his heart, and he didn’t in that decision. His heart just found its home in the right place. Sarah is good for him and he for her, but we’ve known that all along, right?

      • joe says:

        Ah, Well put, Thinkling. “Significant” was the word I was after, and you found it!

        Heh! In guy terms, oh yeah, Chuck is hitting on all cylinders now and that’s all Sarah’s doing.

      • thinkling says:

        “I loved the way Chuck threatened Marco too, out of calm, matter of fact anger.”

        That was great … but he was still so very Chuck. After all he had to ask Morgan if it was scary enough. I like that.

  9. nena says:

    I totally agree with you this week I watched Greys anatomy, Bones, The big bang theory, NCIS, House but Chuck’s premiere was something else. I don’t know why but every time I watch Chuck I need more and more and one episode is not enough for me…

    I love Sarah’s reaction before the gunfire and after she realises that Chuck is fine. Ahhh she loves him so much!!!

    • joe says:

      Hi, Nena. Glad to see you here!

      I’ve been talking a lot all summer about how much I’ve enjoyed the change – the growth I’ve seen, especially in Chuck since season 1. It made S3 very much richer for me.

      But if there’s one thing I never want to see change, it’s the way Yvonne Strahovski conveys so much without words.

      Please, oh please let that continue!

    • amyabn says:

      Welcome, Nena. And just to pile on, I watched NCIS, CSI, and tried to watch Undercovers. Of the 3, I found myself moved a couple of times during NCIS so overall it was good. A much different vibe than Chuck. CSI was just ok for me, and I turned Undercovers off after the first 15 minutes. Nothing grabs me like Chuck. I think I’ve watched Anniversary at least 8 times already! Looking forward to Monday night!

      • Gord says:

        I actually suffered through the whole episode of undercovers. I kept telling myself this is a JJ Abrams show its going to be great by the end of the episode.

        Guess what you were the smart one turning it off after 15 minutes. That’s an hour of my life I wont get back.

        I did find something amusing in it though. The Grumpy old agent’s name was Shaw. I thought to myself maybe he’s so grumpy because his son turned out to be an evil Ring Intersect agent.

      • atcdave says:

        I do wonder when names get recycled like that how intentional it is. Like the heroine of Covert Affairs named Annie Walker. Surly they know exactly what they’re doing.

  10. Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

    I can’t reply correctly on my mobile so …

    I was keeping an eye (and ear) out for Sarah’s “Oh Chuck” while rewatching last night. She says it while watching the monitor in Castle showing Chuck talking to Beckman at the Buymore.

    • thinkling says:

      Yeah, that one I heard.

      I wondered if she (and maybe even Casey) had an inkling who the other spies were. Obviously, if she said “Oh, Chuck” again, she instantly knew/feared it was Chuck. Even so, I think she may have suspected. But it all happened pretty fast w/ the picture and all.

    • joe says:

      Ah – that’s the one I heard too. Hummmm… see what being a senior brings ya? Nothing but troubles.

  11. Gord says:

    Great article. I must say this season is shaping up to be amazing.

    This premiere has become one of my all-time favourite episodes of Chuck (I’m hoping I will be saying the same thing about Suitcase). Although I have said that just about every episode since American Hero.

    I guess what makes the last of S3 and beginning of S4 so terrific is the fact that they are fully utilizing the natural chemistry that exists between the cast members, rather than creating artificial barriers between the characters. This has resulted in the episodes being more light and fun. Even the drama and tension just seems to be handled in a much better way than it was in the early part of S3.

    I loved the scene where Chuck tells Sarah and Casey all about his search for Mama B in Orion’s lair.

    I also didn’t mind the fact that Chuck lied to Ellie at the end because it was well explained as a way of protecting Ellie. Also we saw in the promo that shortly he will be telling Ellie about his search for Mama B. I’m assuming it becomes more dangerous not to tell her than to tell her.

    I’m starting to ramble, but that’s because I’m looking forward to this season with absolutely no reservations about the journey TPTB are taking us on.

  12. JC says:

    It was very a strong premier, a lot of my misgivings about the season have been put to rest. Compared to S3 it was much better jumping on point for new viewers. There’s still some minor problems that I worry about but we’ll see as the season goes along. The show really needs someone to handle the continuity and nothing else.

    What I’m most curious about is the new writers and if they get the voice of the characters.

    • joe says:

      Me too, JC. The Suitcase was written by LeFranc and Judkins, I believe. I realize that they made their big splash last season, but I still sorta see them as part of the new writing crew.

      And you can bet I’m looking forward to 4.02. – About 52 hours!

      • JC says:

        That’s funny Joe, I have more faith in LeJudkins than anyone on the staff including Fedak. That was one of my worries about the premier, the writer.

        LeJudkins on the other hand wrote the strongest episodes of S3 and the way they handle Sarah is fantastic. I’m not worried about Suitcase as much as the these upcoming episodes by the rest of the staff. Worried but excited to see their take on the characters.

    • herder says:

      My biggest thing is that it was fun, there is always something to quibble about but Chuck, when it is fun is better than almost anything else that is on TV. I watched parts of Undercovers and while it was ok, I didn’t see why I should relate to the two main characters. Chuck is an everyman and Sarah is someone very likeable but so damaged that you can’t help rooting for her to be happy (maybe that was the failing of the Shaw arc, you couldn’t see how she could be happy with that stiff). The characters in Undercovers were so gifted, capable and talented without any redeeming flaws that they weren’t interesting.

      The Anniversary wasn’t a perfect episode, but it was a very fun Chuck episode and should appeal to those who like the show (maybe an apology to fans). That is what has got me excited about what is to come, my show is back.

      • atcdave says:

        Funny Herder. I’m not sure I require a character to be flawed as such(Brisco County, Jr was humorously perfect), but lacking relateability is a problem for leads.
        I agree about Anniversary; it wasn’t perfect, not even as good as First Date or many other earlier episodes. But it sure felt like old Chuck was back or as you said, like it was my show again.

      • Merve says:

        Herder, I’ll take what you’re saying about Undercovers one step further. The problem with the characters isn’t so much that they don’t have flaws as much as it is that they don’t have personalities. After watching one episode, I have no sense of the kind of people that Steven and Samantha are. Furthermore, they aren’t facing any real issues. Their biggest problem was that the spark was missing from their marriage. Apparently, the show is set in a Cialis-free world because the only way for them to restore that spark was by becoming spies again. *rolls eyes*

        But I’m willing to give the show another shot. It wasn’t horrible, and it’s possible that it’ll develop an intriguing mythology over the next couple of episodes. However, for now, there’s nothing there to hook me. I can only hope that it gets better.

      • thinkling says:

        In some ways it’s hard to compare Anniversary with S2 eps (and s3.0 – forget it) b/c the dynamic is so different and so much has happened since then. It’s like a new beginning on multiple levels. But it had all the key Chuck ingredients. I echo the sentiment of many that the show I love is back. It’s like I let out a breath that I’ve been holding since the end of s3.

  13. Ernie Davis says:

    Hey Joe, (and others) lots of good discussion here about a return to form and fun. I wanted to mention something I started to notice a few times last season in the back 6, and has continued with Anniversary.

    In season 2 the scene before what I like to call the prologue scene setting up the next episode you not always, but frequently got a Chuck and Sarah fountain scene or another such Chuck and Sarah moment that seemed to serve to sort of cement their interactions or their new reality from the events of the episode. They weren’t always happy, but they were usually at least hopeful.

    In the front 13 of season 3 those moments were still there, but not nearly as hopeful. Then they turned nasty. Those moments became Chuck and Hannah or Sarah and Shaw moments, then they turned to Sarah leaving Chuck moments. With the back 6 we got, while not fountain scenes a return to the Chuck and Sarah moment. Think You Saved me at the end of Other Guy, Feelin’ Good at the end of Honeymooners, the moving in scene at the end of Role Models, the ILY moment in Tooth, the spy wills at the end of Living Dead. Even Ring 2 had Sarah patching Chuck up in the Buy More and the leaving the spy game talk. Now they’ve added the Chuck and Sarah in bed talking scene right where all the fountain talks used to be. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy again. Hope they keep it up.

    • atcdave says:

      Agree entirely Ernie. While they certainly should change things up on occasion, the warm and fuzzy Chuck/Sarah scene at the end was a huge part of what made the show special in the first two seasons. Loosing them, in much of S3, was worse than never having them; it was a painful loss. Since 3.13 they’ve returned to form(ula) and it makes a huge difference.

    • herder says:

      Perhaps we have a new thing, Joe used to comment on how truth was spoken at the fountain, maybe we have a new truth spot for Chuck and Sarah, in bed. Sort of how at the end of Hill Street Blues the Captain and the DA (sorry can’t remember their names) used to have a moment at the end of most shows where they would talk.

      • joe says:

        Telling the truth in bed, Herder? Dangerous! Audacious! Chubby! No, wait. That’s Lester.

        I think you’ve located the new “C” (for Chuck) Spot, Herder! 😉

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I think that with the new situation beb is where they can be Chuck and Sarah, whereas before the fountain was where they could be Chuck and Sarah. I kind of like the idea.

        Only problem for Chuck is that he keeps running out of boxers a lot sooner than he used to. I think he needs to convince Sarah to go back to the lingerie. 😉

      • herder says:

        Well as this is a PG show, I think this is the way to show them in bed doing something other than what they would likely be doing. Come on, they have been apart for three months and what do they do? talk about Ellie, maybe after three days of meals had been delivered to their room.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Remember Herder, they had a whole transatlantic and continental US flight before they were back in Burbank, plus presumably a debriefing and a talk in the OC before they talked to Ellie. I’m guessing Casey grunted and rolled his eyes and Morgan snickered once or twice when Chuck and Sarah made themselves scarce in that timeframe.

      • herder says:

        Are you suggesting that Chuck and Sarah may have joined the mile high club?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Suggesting? No, I’m not suggesting it.

      • herder says:

        Well, considering some of your Duck posts, I thought that maybe the General would have insisted that they keep their hands clappping for the duration of the flight.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Clearly Chuck has a lot to learn before he’s man enough for Dianne. She’s willing to indulge him for now. 😉 Remember, she’s been slow playing him for years…

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        Knowing Beckman, she probably sent the concorde after them. She doesn’t want any hanky panky on the flight for her own jealous reasons 😉

      • thinkling says:

        The fountain became a special “friend” spot for CS. But not only would it be silly to hang out at the fountain when they’re living together, but the new level of relationship calls for a more intimate place. The apartment (for Role Models and Tooth) and the bed (for Honeymooners, Living Dead, and now Anniversary) are more appropriate. And it just struck me that the more intimate conversations (Living Dead & Anniversary) were held in/on the bed (even though they wouldn’t have had to be), intentionally(?) highlighting the intimacy of the moment. Nice touch.

        CN8’s comment about the Concord made me wonder, will Beckman even know that CM were in Moscow? Wouldn’t that open a can of worms Team B wants to keep a lid on? Hmm.

    • atcdave says:

      I think that’s exactly right Herder, and it wouldn’t make much sense for Chuck and Sarah to spend much time there anymore. Interesting thing is, maybe now the fountain will be Chuck and Ellie’s spot. Sarah has taken Ellie’s spot in the home (as it should be), but Ellie is still something special.

      • herder says:

        Except for the big question that I fully expect will take place at the fountain. Probably in 4.13.

      • atcdave says:

        I hope its sooner than that! But of course, the fountain would be fitting spot for it.

      • joe says:

        Wouldn’t it be great for Morgan and Alex to have a scene at the fountain?

      • jason says:

        joe – I sort of hope not actually, the show really could use a steady diet of the basics, get the A plot right and plowing forward, Chuck on the most, then sarah, then casey, then Morgan, Alex really should be an excuse to give Casey some story more than Morgan, now I would love a Casey / Alex scene at the fountain, but I hope Alex is used more for Casey to find his ‘humanity’ than Morgan find a girl.

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        Not quite…still would love to see a proposal there. Where truth resides.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah, for old time sake a vote for a proposal at the fountain. But I think most of the time now it will be Chuck and Ellie’s spot.

    • joe says:

      That’s spot on about the second-to-last scene, Ernie. It seems obvious when you say it, but that scene really cements the tone for the show (and for the week).

      S3 featured a string of downers in that slot. I’m mostly convinced that even if the rest of the season had stayed the same but they had done something different with only 2 or 3 of those scenes many of the hard-core fans would have been very happy.

      And if OD is reading this, he’ll know that I stole the idea outright from him!

      • atcdave says:

        I disagree Joe, there is no way you can patch up Sham and make me happy with it. It wouldn’t take a lot time wise to fix S3, but it would take little changes in a lot of episodes. Starting with 3.01.

  14. Robert H says:

    Another good article Joe as usual. You’re really
    spoiling us in a good way.

    Surprised to hear of Zucker’s firing so soon. I thought he would have to go but didn’t think it would be this early. Look’s like Comcast is going to
    clean house as well it should.

    What does this mean for Chuck? As you said too early
    to tell yet. A lot depends when Comcast takes control officially. If it’s in FEB 2011 NBC execs
    could decide Chuck’s fate but who really knows
    now? At the media presentation Chuck was high lighted in a very positive way but Zucker made that
    presentation. Does it really count for anything now?
    Once again, don’t know. Are Jeff Caspin and Angela
    Bromstad going to have any say one way or another
    about Chuck’s fate and if so would Comcast overrule
    them anyway regardless of how it goes? Again too
    early to say. Will Chuck get a back 6 or 9 order
    with Zucker gone or will everything be put on hold
    till the new bosses arrive? Again it’s uncertain.

    The best security for Chuck will be a good performance. The ratings have to be acceptable
    and show quality good. Episode 1 is a good start
    and now they have to build on it, try to get their
    base back, and hope for the best.

    That’s all I have time for now. Finished reviewing
    Season 3 DVD before watching episode 1 of Season 4.
    Will comment on that later, thanks.

    P.S. I watched The Event and Undercovers. Was not
    impressed. Whether or not Chuck is helped by a
    potentially bad fall NBC schedule too early to say.
    We’ll have to wait and see.

    • herder says:

      One thing that I have noticed is that in a number of high tech commercials Chuck seems to feature, there is the ipod commercial with Short Skirt, Long Dress (Chuck’s theme song). In the cable commercial where they show a bunch of TV’s you have Chuck putting his hand on the intersect computer, also there were the Awesome and Ellie Commercials last year. It seems that advertisers understand that Chuck viewers relate to their sponsors and react to that at a rate greater than the norm. If this is so then Comcast may have a bias in favor of the show.

      • joe says:

        You know, one thing I miss about S3 is the Devon/Ellie & Morgan “Let’s go to the Olympics!” commercials.

        Those should have been put on the DVDs!

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Joe, you’ve hit on one of the things that makes me think Chuck is breaking new ground in not just advertising, but in financing the show in creative ways. The three actors in those commercials were the top three (outside Chuck, Casey and Sarah) for screen time, and I’m guessing pay. From season 2 to three they all got cut to a lower pay scale where they were still regulars, but not in every episode. With that TPTB apparently worked out a way to lessen the blow in reducing their pay (a series of commercials I’m sure they were paid decently for) and created a direct link to the show for the advertiser in addition to the usual product placement, with the characters themselves singing the praises of the car. And Chuck fans LOVED it!

    • joe says:

      Seems Zucker’s firing surprised him too, Robert.

      Maybe I’m just a foolish optimist. I have no trouble believing that Chuck is more than “best of breed” when it comes to NBC. I think it’s the leading edge of a new wave in television entertainment, with shows like Burn Notice, White Collar and even Covert Affairs trying to figure out the secret.

      The uniqueness is in the fan engagement. It requiring good storytelling, compelling characters and a cast willing to engage the fans in the new media that’s available.

      Comcast would be pretty foolish to undervalue that. The only question remaining then is exactly how foolish are they?

  15. ChuckNewbie8 says:

    First off, Joe GET OUT OF MY HEAD! That parallel of “Oh, Chuck”s has been in my mind ever since my third rewatch.

    Now if you were to point these out, I might as well give up and consider you my twin! 😀 :

    “Chuck what about your sister? What are you going to tell Ellie?”
    – Is a good line to show that at this point, even though she was a bridesmaid at Ellie’s wedding Sarah still doesn’t consider Ellie her own person. She is and remains an extension of Chuck. When referring to Ellie, it’s always, “your sister,” “Chuck’s sister.” I would love for a point for Sarah and Ellie to foster a relationship to the point where she becomes important enough to be referred as her own person. I think Sarah still needs people in her life who cares about her…Chuck was the first but shouldn’t be the only.

    “Chuck, you don’t have to be a spy”
    – Very interesting line right there because obviously she would love for him to be a spy and be with her, and even more she knows it’s what he’s destined to be but she understands and love him enough to want what he wants and what he wants most of all in this situation is to put family over himself.
    – I find trust her telling…and really what should have been considered before omitting the truth about the search for MamaB but since that was as you said, less anxiety ridden than advertised, it’s all good.

    As for worries about the season. I wouldn’t consider the trust issue to be a worry per say, it’s just there. And it was there and gone. There are always going to be similar conflicts but where once they would involve a 2 step back , 1 step forward approach where we are now and who they are now are completely different. Case and point, “New rule, no secrets, no lies” and not 20 minutes (our time ;-)) later we see Chuck opening up to Sarah. Not just his thoughts, feelings but the facts.

    Awhile back someone pointed out to me that Chuck and Sarah work because at their core they’re the same person. I thought that was really brilliant back then but no more so than I do today. They’ve both been through the wringer in terms of relationships (familial, male-female, every sort of relationships) and they’re both really just learning to be together…really together. No secrets, no lies. And therein is where I’m most excited about this season…the level of intimacy that they will delve into not just during the season but from this moment on.

    But I will add that if there was one worry for me it’s the future. Chuck is and was special and I’m worried that just as it’s getting great, the rug will be pulled from under us. There’s still so many stories to be told, so much growth to go through and I’m worried that our life after death (death as in almost cancellation) will end. In that I’m sure I’m not alone. And so it’s essential I do my part, we all do our part…subway, viewings, etc. It’s a comfort to do something for which is out of my hands in a way.

    • ChuckNewbie8 says:

      Ugh, “- I find trust her telling…and really what should have been considered before omitting the truth about the search for MamaB but since that was as you said, less anxiety ridden than advertised, it’s all good.” mind moving too fast. That was supposed to say, “I find ^that scenario speaks of why she deserves trust. The fact that she supports him even at the cost of her own feelings/thoughts/time with him…should have been a clue from the get go that when it comes to big things he wants she will always support him. Including that which involves danger to his person–i.e. search for MamaB. But of course since it went by painless and quick, it’s all good”

      There, better haha.

    • thinkling says:

      I loved that “Chuck you don’t have to be a spy” too. I love seeing the differences from Handler Sarah to Girlfriend Sarah. She can finally be open in her support of him. Even her nudge that he would have to be a spy again was deferential and understanding.

      I’m with you on wanting to see an Ellie/Sarah friendship and closeness. I see the potential on both sides. And maybe there’s some hope for the name thing, b/c in the final scene, Sarah did ask, “are you going to tell Ellie?” It was, I thought, a very soft and compassionate question. More so than the one about spy life. This is a deeply personal aspect of their lives, and I think Sarah’s approach was exactly that. That conversation had nothing to do with the spy world. It was all family, so much so that she said, “That’s not being a spy; that’s being a brother.” Sarah is becoming his sounding board in both worlds … sweet. Before she really stayed out of the family stuff, pretty much. Now she seems to be much more on the inside. Love it.

      • joe says:

        You made me think of something, Thinkling (hence, the name, perhaps??? 😉 )

        It’s been easy for me to infer a lot of the interactions that have gone on “off-screen”. I’ve had no trouble imagining conversations that we haven’t heard between Chuck and Morgan, between Morgan and Ellie, between Ellie and Devon…

        But not so with Sarah and Ellie. And after “Chuck is like a duck,” I’m more than anxious to see them talk. But I don’t know what it is they should talk about.

        Should they talk about the danger of being spies? Well, as far as Ellie’s concerned, he isn’t one yet. But maybe that’s coming. Should they talk about Chuck? Not really. They both know about him. Should Ellie tell Sarah to treat him right? I think Ellie knows she’s going to, or at least, that Chuck thinks she’s going to. This could be the first time either one of them has had a sister. What do sisters talk about?

        Maybe all I want is to see them walk off-stage at the end of an episode and at the start of their conversation. I don’t have to hear the details, so long as I know they’re talking.

      • jason says:

        joe – even though I am a guy, all 3 of the loves of my life were middle sisters in families of 3 girls – so I have a bit of experience at what sisters talk about – actually too much. Ellie right now needs someone to talk about the pregnancy with – the girl stuff about pregnancy – to shop with for the baby – to talk to about how obsessive awesome is, while ellie is being obsessive about becoming a mother – etc.

        Sarah to ellie, a bit tricker since sarah can’t complain about her job or chuck to ellie, but sarah is so in need of a women with some homemaking experience to help her – even though sarah did great in the suburbs, it is not out of the ? for ellie to help sarah decorate, recpies, deal with morgan, talk about casey, jeff. lester, big mike, etc

        They both could talk about life without a mother, and life with a father who is a bit crazy.

        Can probably only do one episode, but sarah and ellie shopping at the mall and running into trouble (best if not spy related or sarah’s fault) would be an ‘awesome’ episode, and a chance for ellie to see first hand how handy it is to have sarah around.

      • atcdave says:

        I really love the idea of some Ellie/Sarah time. Especially like Jason’s take on it. One area where Sarah may really need some sisterly advice is in dealing with Morgan. We know Sarah’s not always amused by Morgan’s brand of innuendo, which presumably hasn’t changed much in the time Ellie has known him! Maybe just laughing together about Morgan moments; I don’t want see it get mean though. I also like the idea of Ellie dragging Sarah into “normal” kicking and screaming if necessary. Of course Sarah needs to prove the value of her unique skill set as well…

      • thinkling says:

        Looks like we’d all like to see more Sarah/Ellie time. I really like some of the ideas, too.

        I think it might be natural for Ellie to ask Sarah how they really met and what Sarah’s feelings were for Chuck and when. She might be curious to know how Chuck reacted to all things spy. Ellie might ask about Bryce. The Christmas/Mauser experience might come up, since it might dawn on Ellie that Sarah had indeed been close to guns and wasn’t really scared.

        I know those are all sort of related to their spy life, but without some understanding of that, Ellie will never understand either of them or their relationship. I think she would gain a new appreciation of both of them.

      • Merve says:

        Weirdly enough, the only episodes with significant Sarah/Ellie time – “Undercover Lover”, “Tom Sawyer”, and “Angel de la Muerte” – were all written by Phil Klemmer. I don’t think that that means anything; it’s just an observation.

        I like that Sarah is kind of awkward around Ellie, as if she’s thinking, “Oh crap! Here’s a normal person. How do I react?” It helps humanize Sarah a bit. Even if the show does develop the Sarah/Ellie relationship more, I hope that some of the awkwardness remains. We need more gems like “Chuck is like a duck.”

      • thinkling says:

        @Merve: Awkward Sarah is priceless, and I’m not sure how you could beat Chuck is like a duck. If there’s anything Sarah would be more awkward around than a normal person, it would probably be a pregnant person. Laugh alert!

      • joe says:

        @Jason, You have much more experience than I. My sister was the only girl – she had two brothers who looked after her and 3 she looked after (and if I said that to any of ’em, they’d come back with a big sarcastic “Right!”). I like your take on the Sarah-Ellie relationship.

        @everyone Great thoughts! Yes, Sarah has seemed a bit nervous around Ellie up to now. I’m pretty sure that’s gone. I hope so, at least.

      • atcdave says:

        I guess I’d like to see Sarah get more comfortable around Ellie. Its hard to admit that, because Yvonne plays awkward so well; but then they need to keep coming up with new ways of pushing her comfort Zone like the sexting.

        But my bet is they don’t ever give us the Sarah/Ellie scenes we’d love to see; so far the average is one a year. It goes back to earlier discussions we’ve had, the show is “Chuck” not “Chuck & Sarah”. Much as many of us would love to see her a co-lead, I believe TPTB will always see her as a second banana. I’m pleased with the growth we’ve seen from her, excluding the pointless S3 detour; I just think her growth will always be shown via Chuck. I hope I’m wrong.

        I think fan fiction will always be the venue where real Sarah growth is explored; and where the vast majority of Sarah/Ellie scenes will appear. And believe me, whether you want to see Sarah and Ellie as friends, sisters, rivals, or bitter foes; some fan fiction writer has explored it.

    • joe says:

      First off, Joe GET OUT OF MY HEAD!

      Hum… Two words, Faith.
      Mwa-ha! 😉

      Chuck and Sarah are the same person??? The guy who couldn’t make himself attend his own birthday party, who led off with stories about Jill when introduced to girls, the guy with the girlish scream is the same as the jet-setting, lock-picking, knife-throwing master spy???

      You betcha. I need to make a macro that just types out “Chuck&Sarah” as one word with one key stroke. It’s a great observation.

      They both have their insecurities, they both have their strengths and flaws, and they both have a central core of principles that won’t be compromised. They wear their hearts differently, but both hearts are large.

      And you know what I like? When one talks, the other listens.

    • amyabn says:

      CN8, I thought they did the whole “ellie, your sister” bit in case they had new viewers. If Anniversary was your first Chuck episode ever, you would be able to keep up. They used a lot of exposition to explain things that we, the devoted, already knew. I’m ok with that if we can keep new viewers and get the numbers up!

      As for Sarah and Ellie, yes, I really want some Sarah/Ellie time. Maybe they’ll get some girl time in Costa Gravas. I re-read the expanded teaser and I’m glad it is only the 4 of them going (unless Casey shows up later). I’d like to see them interact as a family and as two couples. I would also love to see them play that truth game (from Wookie) now that they can tell the truth about everything. I think it would be very interesting to watch Ellie and Awesome’s reactions to the truth.

      • atcdave says:

        I saw that too Amy. Could be fun when trouble comes, with Sarah as the only true pro and Chuck lending his special talents. And of course, Awesome not being Awesome (hopefully just this once!).

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        I considered that Amy, but no one else seems to put that role distinction. Even at the very beginning of the episode (where you’d expect the intro of who’s who would be), Chuck says “we can’t tell anyone not Sarah, not Casey, not Ellie. Not Ellie.” Morgan just said, “you promised ‘her”‘ But even going all the way to ring 1 she called her “your sister,” not Ellie or Ellie’s wedding but your sister, sister’s wedding.

      • thinkling says:

        @CN8 Your comments got me to thinking, and maybe there’s something I’m missing, but Sarah refers to Ellie by name at least some in past episodes (Honeymooners, Truth, Beefcake, Marlin, Sizzling Shrimp, The Ring(1), Undercover Lover). I’ve always thought that Sarah has cared about Ellie and Devon as more than just an extension of Chuck.

        I think Sarah is hurt that Chuck considered “his sister’s” feelings over hers in his promise to quit the spy life (especially considering the revised train vows). Maybe it’s the rivalry of the two relationships that she is expressing in Anniversary rather than a diminished personhood for Ellie. She is missing Chuck in the field and feels, quite understandably, that he slighted her in favor of “his sister.” Chuck’s “it’s not worth losing you” and his including her in his family stuff should help ease those hurts. And frankly, that’s an area where Chuck still needs to grow.

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        That’s great, I love thoughts that encourage more thoughts 🙂

        I will clarify though that it’s not that Sarah doesn’t ever call her “Ellie,” especially to her face. I think in a lot of ways what was so sad about S3 is the disconnection from the people that were becoming more important to her than she’s used to. But my point is more the fact that Ellie is less real to her, less a person she herself has in her life than an extension to the man she loves. Hence the “your sister” rather than “Ellie,” a lot of the time. My point is that I would love it if she got to the point where that will no longer be the case…that Ellie is almost as essential as Chuck. Not more obviously…coz it’s Chuck lol but close.

        Think of it this way, in S1’s Marlin she’s on the outside looking in. When Chuck asked her, “do you want to go in?” she says “no, it’s a family thing”—a clear sign that even though Chuck is purposely elevating her status to something more (than what they had back then) she didn’t feel like she belonged…at least not yet. You fast forward to S2, and she’s bridesmaid to Ellie’s wedding. Now that doesn’t mean much in the context that we were shown but one of the extras was that she was actually helping plan the wedding and is in all the little details as a maid of honor. Now this even would indicate that she’s a lot closer to “family” than she was in Marlin but she’s still not completely there. Progress at least. She considers them important because Chuck considers them important. What I said and what this whole post is really about is I want her to get to the point (and she will) where Ellie in particular is important because she’s Ellie, she’s her sister/friend. They may never get to the point where she’ll talk to her about the dregs of being a spy, but I would like to think she can get to the point where she’ll talk to her about Chuck. This to me is Sarah’s growth. Not just as a girlfriend, or a lover but a person with a circle of friends/family/essential people in her life. And one that I hope we get to discover.

        I also wonder whether anyone on the inside compares what was their (Chuck and Sarah’s) relationship to what it is now. And I wonder if they see a difference. A lot of us here always maintained that to Sarah the relationship was always real, so she in turn acted as close to that as she could but I do wonder nonetheless lol. As you can tell I’m revisiting some old epis and they’re making me introspective and nostalgic.

      • amyabn says:

        @CN8 I agree with your summation. I didn’t like the way they set up the final scenes in S3. I read the “is my husband safe with you” line as sort of hostile, the blocking in the family scene where they do the toast kept them separate, etc. I liked Ellie’s acknowledgement that “you have Sarah” but does Ellie really understand what that means?
        Look at it this way, putting yourself in Ellie’s shoes: I tell Chuck to quit the spy world, he quits. Chuck didn’t even consult Sarah on the decision! And while it’s nice that Sarah speaks up and asks about his promise to Ellie (she understands Ellie’s importance), up to the line in Volkoff about not losing Sarah, I would really wonder where I stood with Chuck. I really would like to see a scene where Ellie (and Sarah) come to realize who Chuck’s best girl is. I hope that makes sense-I haven’t had my full load of caffeine yet!

      • herder says:

        Of course you do have to question how closely Ellie is following things. Her brother who she asked to quit the spy life has gone missing for three months with Morgan and Sarah, whom Chuck is with has been away for the past three months on a mission with Casey. Chuck being gone would normally lead to questions as to whether he has kept his promise and Sarah being gone would lead to questions if everything is ok.

      • thinkling says:

        @CN8: Wonderful summation. I see what you’re saying, and I’m in complete agreement in wanting to see Sarah and Ellie have a real relationship. Sarah *does* need that. Don’t know if we’ll ever see it as much as we want, but I really hope so. If the show is about family, this is one area that needs to be addressed …and fixed.

        Great visual from Marlin … Sarah on the outside looking in. I agree that to Sarah, her relationship with Chuck was always real, but it was forbidden. I think, perhaps to a lesser degree, Chuck’s family became the family she never had, but that too was forbidden. (We see it from Wookie on, and her look in Marlin captures the longing she has for it to be real.) Up until now, what could Sarah really talk about with Ellie. Sarah proved to be a pretty good listener (Tom Sawyer and Undercover Lover) but was, understandably, at a loss in contributing to the conversation. Even though Sarah’s love for Chuck was real, and she longed to be a part of his family, officially nothing could really be real. Even after the CS relationship was real, there still was not a lot that Sarah could tell Ellie, b/c there was still so little Ellie could know about them.

        But, like you point out, even under these less than conducive circumstances, there is growth. In Marlin, Sarah’s on the outside looking in. In Santa Claus, she tentatively accepts a real position in the family. After all it’s not just a girlfriend gift that she accepts, it’s his missing mother’s charm bracelet. And Ellie couldn’t be more pleased. Even so, you can see Sarah’s conflict in accepting something so real. Protocol says she shouldn’t, but she just can’t help it.

        FF past all the destruction of s3 to the point where Ellie finally knows that “my brother and Sarah are spies.” NOW, we have a foundation for Sarah to build a real relationship with Ellie. But it’s a two-edged sword. Even as the spy reveal is the doorway to the real relationship (S/E), it also becomes a temporary barrier to it. Ellie loved Orange-Orange Sarah, the sweet, normal girlfriend who was afraid of guns. But the real Sarah, who is who she’s always been (when you’re undercover, you’re still you, but the details are different), has to wonder if she’ll still be accepted, as a spy. The reception thus far has seemed a bit mixed. If Ellie want’s Chuck to have nothing to do with the spy world, what would that mean to Sarah? Does Ellie now reject Sarah? Blame Sarah? View her as tainted, somehow? And to make matters worse, Chuck aligned himself with Ellie, seemingly against what he and Sarah had decided, in his decision to quit the spy life (hence the hurt I mentioned earlier). To a large degree, this is a growth hurdle that Chuck and Ellie have to clear before all the other relationships can progress (including CS). So, if Sarah is still a bit timid, I can’t blame her. Ellie needs to reach out, too. The positive “you have Sarah” comment gives me hope that Ellie will do just that, as she always has with Sarah.

        Chuck’s new openness and his choosing Sarah over the file will help Sarah feel a part of the family, which in turn should clear a path for her relationship with Ellie. But until Chuck put Sarah in her rightful place as his girlfriend (now that things are real), she couldn’t really have a leg up to any other family relationships. Based on what we’ve seen so far in Anniversary, I’m hopeful that the relationships will be put in proper order, and that the “in-law” relationships will get wings of their own.

        Last comment on others noticing the change in the CS relationship: my bet is on Ellie to notice. It could be a starting point to a deeper S/E relationship.

        (Amy’s comments came in while I was writing this, and she echoes some of my own thoughts, or I echo hers. ;))

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        I’m kind of hoping that we have another “I know” moment similar to the final window scene in Marlin and the bracelet scene in Santa Claus. It would be good if Chuck said “I know”, but it would be really good if it was Ellie.

      • jason says:

        so far I see ellie so different, I mentioned the ‘with my husband’ scene b4 as being open for interpretation, but also, remember it was ellie who told chuck to go after sarah like a bartkowski would, plus, a small line, but when ellie fled in 3.18, chuck told her ‘sarah checked the car’ in such a manner that it seemed ellie was quite accepting of sarah being in the inner circle of ‘good’ rather than bad, plus she was a bridemaid, and a trusted part of the wedding, plus they did talk in 3.4 like friends would, overall, I just can’t recall ANY overtly negative about ellie and sarah since the wedding – but I don’t think it is a matter that TPTB consider important, I don’t think we will see much of a change in season 4, more niceness, but no real scene or plot for the two of them to sink their teeth in together – maybe the back 9 or season 5?

      • jason says:

        one last ellie thing, I think the lie to remarkably happy ellie was meant for the fans (and somewhat to sarah the character), explaining the tooth lie chuck delivered to sarah in the ILU scene, at the time, the explanation on the brds was how could chuck bring sarah down after the very emotional ILU was delivered, I thought the chuck / ellie ‘pregnancy’ vs ‘I am a spy again’ moment, was much the same, and meant that way … chuck really wanted to tell both sarah and ellie the truth going into those conversations, he just couldn’t, I was mad when he didn;t tell sarah, but I understood the ellie lie, at least enough to let it ride, I must admit, I am trying real hard to be positive, since the main thing I want from the show, I am getting this season, i.e. CS a couple

      • thinkling says:

        @Jason: I love your take on the is-my-husband-safe-with-you moment. I had seen it as a negative, but now I can see how it might have been a positive. Thank you for that.

      • atcdave says:

        I think the end of S3 can be re-interpreted a little bit now that we’ve seen how Ellie talked about Sarah in Anniversary. Apparently Ellie can accept that sweet underachieving yogurt girl is the same as driven uber capable super spy for the one reason that matters; she loves Chuck. So while there may yet be issues and concerns between them, Ellie does still seem to accept Sarah as family. Hopefully 4.04 will explore this relationship at least a little.
        I really like the symbolism of how Sarah is now Chuck’s confidante, we really saw that at the end of 4.01 when Sarah was read in on all of Chuck’s activities; but Ellie was not. Should have happened sooner, like by the end of Honeymooners, but what was my biggest beef with the end of S3 now seems to be a non-issue.

      • thinkling says:

        @Dave: Nice call. In one episode Chuck has placed Sarah above his mission (that one part of it) to find his mom and has made her his #1 confidante in the family biz. Last season’s “You were right, Sis, nothing is more important than family” seemed to leave Sarah a bit on the side. But not any more. Sarah rules (no secrets, no lies). She’s his best girl. Looks like Chuck is finally forming a primary family unit with Sarah. Hurray for that.

        I had a new take on her conversation about his rejoining the agency and asking what he was going to tell Ellie. It was almost a nudge for him to become his own person, including dealing with his sister. From some of her remarks, she has know that ultimately he would need to do this.

        The scene before the escape from Volkoff (new rule, not worth losing you), the scene in the basement, and the scene in the bedroom, though brief, are all very powerful scenes for CS.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah I agree Thinkling; in just a few minutes at the end of the episode they answered almost all our concerns.

  16. DignityRLI says:

    Thanks guys. Enjoyed all the analysis as much as the show (lost count of my rewatches, ran out of fingers and toes!).
    Thought: Without spoilers for the opening, I would have thought Chuck was asking Sarah for help with the search and been surprised with the Morgan reveal… would have been fun.
    Thought: This 2:33 clip defines Chuck, Season 4 for me. “You clearly have no idea…” http://youtu.be/y8qPtTh83yQ
    -Chuck doesn’t need saving.
    -Chuck will do the saving.
    -If you touch one hair on Sarah’s head, he will do to you…..
    -If accompanied by his best friend of 23 years, he can fulfill his role as a Master Spy. He will lead the mission and he will lead the charge.
    *All of Team Bartowski counts on one another, even Casey has a soft spot… while Sarah’s voice cracks as her boyfriend is threatened, Casey is planning to avenge his friend.
    *Team Bartowski, saving the world…. Watch out world.
    Chuck is Back!!!

    • joe says:

      Hi, Dignity. Great to see you in the conversation.

      Love that clip. Oh yeah, Chuck is scary enough – when he wants to be.

      But I’ll betcha there’ll be times when even the Intersect won’t solve a particular problem that he’s facing. At that moment I won’t be surprised at all if Sarah does a little saving herself. 😉

      • DignityRLI says:

        Looking forward to that moment… Because watching the Master Spy grow into a new level of girlfriend and partner is what sets this show apart… Fedak did a great job defining her in the premiere, too… Sarah is no longer adrift; she can still smile, sashay, and drop Marco with one punch; she can leave Chuck behind to do her job; and she is willing to take a risk and go beyond who she is to explore what being in a relationship means – because Chuck is worth every risk.Cool.

  17. Gringo Chuck Fan says:

    “Chuck’s keeping lies and secrets? After the new rule was established, that should be forgotten too.”
    … “Chuck has surprised me constantly with it’s take on big, important ideas – truth, honesty, loyalty, the importance of being true to your principles, the value of friends and family, and the meaning of sacrifice. Very big ideas, indeed.”

    …. Aye, there’s the rub….

    I don’t think they have had Chuck’s lies under our nose for nothing…
    From ChuckTV.net and the latest interview on the set with Zac – he basically explains the circumstances that I think we’ll see explored in the coming EP’s.
    Sarah wants complete transparency from Chuck.
    Chuck on the other hand has some trust issues.
    He is always ready to justify or rationalize his behaviour [ lies].
    I suspect Sarah will not put up with his faults for long. He made a promise- no lies no secrets….
    We saw what happened to Chuck the last time he dissappointed Sarah.
    [… “that’s not the kiss is was expecting”…]
    Methinks we’ll see Chuck back on the couch with his trusty cheeseballs soon!

    • atcdave says:

      I doubt they’ll go that dark again Gringo, the mood last season was positively hostile from fans. And we’ve heard a lot about the lighter mood for this season and Chuck and Sarah doing “couply” things and even discussing marriage. Not to say there won’t be challenges, but I don’t think we’ll see a major blow-up.

      • thinkling says:

        Agreed, Dave. That would be truly stupid after s3. It time for them to grow up and grow together. Rehashing the cheese-balls would be a major hindrance on multiple levels. Besides, my heart just couldn’t take it.

      • jason says:

        I am not too worried, there is a spec out there from that jack guy, the same one who last year gave away the paris scene early, evidently he has read all the scripts and said that 4×1 is one of the LEAST romantic CS eps of the season – if that is even remotely true – hang on fellow shippers – this season is going to sail by in what seems like seconds.

      • thinkling says:

        Wahooo!!

      • atcdave says:

        Wow Jason, I hadn’t heard that. I guess I’m a pretty hard core ‘shipper since that makes me happy. I suddenly feel the need to do something manly this afternoon to offset my current mood!

        Hey how about those Bears!

      • joe says:

        And if it’s true Jason, the resulting SQUEEs will wake the 17 year locust from their slumber 11 years early!

      • thinkling says:

        Yup, if I didn’t have ears my smile would be going all the way around my head.

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        SQUEE!

    • JC says:

      No secrets and lies, so that works both ways right?

  18. jason says:

    http://www.fanforum.com/f15/

    follow the chuck links to find the post, it is a third hand one, but the poster is a fairly reliable source, plus a very important blogger throws in an affirmation right afterwards.

    I tried to google “jack tvbtn chuck” but came up empty to find the original.

    • aardvark7734 says:

      So the third hand quote is:

      “I feel last weeks episode is the weakest of the season so you are going to love the rest. Alot of fun and romance in store for shippers. :)”

      This will sound picky, but technically that doesn’t mean the other episodes are going to have any more romance in them than the premiere. He could have meant that the coming episodes are stronger overall for other reasons, and that cumulatively they contain a lot of funny and romantic moments.

      Because while I can certainly imagine better episodes than the premiere, they were rock solid on all of the relationship reaffirmation stuff with C & S. “No more secrets, no more lies.” It doesn’t get too much better than that.

      • jason says:

        thx aardvark – that is why I included the link, i read the forum quickly, thought after I posted I might have written it too positive, but with no edit function I let it stand – I was not going to mention it at all, but thought it appropriate when the gloom and doom broom was being brought out for CS, I am trying to keep as upbeat as possible this season about the show if appropriate, sorry if I was misleading

      • thinkling says:

        Any way you look at it, it’s good news and further serves to allay any lurking fears.

      • aardvark7734 says:

        No worries, Jason. 🙂

        I can’t help my analyst tendencies, and my obsessiveness about accurate meaning is, for better or worse, an innate part of that.

        Having said that, I’m in a really happy place regarding S4. No, I’m not completely there WRT trusting Schwedak again, but this last episode was such a demonstratively good first step that I’m way ahead of where I thought I’d be. Just like many of you have noted, it is such a joy to be keenly anticipating next episodes again like we were in S2, instead of dreading them like we were in S3. I missed that feeling so much.

        I kid around with friends about emulating a “magic eight ball” when it comes to predicting how happy we’ll be with the direction of this show. It just means I suck up all of the available info and produce an unspecific answer worthy of the real novelty item. When they ask “is this season going to be good”, I’ve taken to answer them with: “All signs point to yes.”

    • atcdave says:

      I really do expect great things from this season. However the commenter Jason linked to is to be taken, we’ve had a lot of indicators this season will be good for us ‘shippers. We do occasionally hear of struggles they may face; but the simple fact Yvonne would refer to MEB as the “future in-law” is pretty telling about the mood on set. Seriously, if that interview was done during the shooting of 4.07 (just guessing because they were working on 4.06 last week) and we can guess from previews Sarah thinks Chuck might be proposing to her in 4.03; we’re already up to half the season of good things.

      I’m still betting after the reception of last season’s reset/triangles arc they won’t end more than one episode all season on a down note for Chuck and Sarah.

      • thinkling says:

        “Future in-law” probably means a wedding in s4. I’m hoping before the end of s4. Then of course I’m hoping for a season 5 and so on. At the very least it means that the perception is that CS are together for good. And that makes me verrry happy.

      • joe says:

        Steady now, Thinkling! It could be that Yvonne is a wishful thinker like the rest of us and merely got ahead of herself here.

        But Dave has to be right that this is MOOD on set. This is the way they’re all thinking.

        That’s more than enough to raise some squees around here!

      • atcdave says:

        I’ve been thinking S4 wedding since first season. Don’t know why. I was thrown off a little when late S2 seemed to speed things up a bit, but of course we know all about S3. My current “vibe” is proposal in November with a 4.13 wedding. A back nine order soon could change my feeling, but the longer they put it off the less changes they can make to the front order.

        You all know if I were in charge I would do things more quickly, and all of the above is just pure guesswork from my own intuition; which was off about pretty much everything last year!

      • thinkling says:

        If Ernie is right about the timeline, a wedding doesn’t even seem rushed. If we get the nine months until Jr Awesome gets here, that’s plenty of time for Chuck and Sarah to tie the knot.

        Ha! That way it’s quick enough (well almost) for Dave and me … and slow enough for it’s-too-soon-they-need-more-time bunch. Brilliant.

  19. aardvark7734 says:

    So, in the general “stream of good will towards the show” theme of this post, I have to steer you guys to Frea’s latest video. If you need an appetizer for tonight’s Chuck episode and want to grin like an idiot for a few minutes, you can see it here:

    Geez, how fun is this?

  20. Robert H says:

    Joe, this message mostly for you. As stated earlier
    I reviewed Season 3 on DVD before watching Season 4
    Episode 1. Reviewing Season 3 didn’t do much to change my overall opinion it was a disaster. Of course the big (and hopefully not a fatal series ending error) was to separate Chuck/Sarah. Episode
    7 was the powderkeg that finally exploded into viewer rage. Episodes 1-6 simply represented the long burning fuse prior to episode 7. The details need not be reviewed again. The last 6 or 7 episodes
    should have been what Season 3 could have been but it’s too late for that now.

    A couple of intersting things I did pick up as it may make a difference looking down the road for Season 4. Almost everyone (including me) has been down on Chuck because of the secrets and lies he’s been involved in but what about Sarah? She’s no angel either. It was quite indirectly evident (at least to me, others may not agree) that she slept with Shaw and is keeping it very quiet. She got very
    uncomfortable when Casey questioned her closely in one of the last 6 episodes about being off grid in
    unaccountable time with Shaw in his apartment or where ever they were. Chuck tried to defend her but
    you could see he was not happy about it either. Sarah said essentially nothing about it and clearly
    was trying to evade Casey’s questions. A convenient
    “diversion” in the scene ended the questioning but
    I found that very interesting. I really did not pick that up until I reviewed the episode on DVD.

    Another clue pointing to this is when Casey left early and Sarah/Shaw were alone in castle in a somewhat intimate situation. Castle does have facilities for overnight stays. Remember the British
    MI-6 agent staying there overnight in Season 2?
    Remember the neck/back massage the kissing scene with Shaw/Sarah? Remember the restaurant scene?

    Now of course Chuck did sleep with Hannah but that
    was pretty much in the open. Then when Chuck saves
    Sarah from Shaw it’s been pretty much forgotten or
    has it? Is it an unspoken but potential issue that
    may one day come out into the open between Chuck/Sarah, especially with Shaw still alive? Why
    didn’t Shaw use that as a weapon to split them apart
    especially where Chuck was concerned. After all he killed his father. Why not mess with Chuck’s head
    even further by taunting him with his sleeping with
    Sarah?

    Which leads us to Season 4. I watched Epidode 2 tonight which was excellent. I only hope they can keep it going. In Episode 1 Sarah gets all over
    Chuck for keeping secrets from her. In Episode 2
    she is reluctant to unpack and really “move in” with Chuck and then gets defensive when he calls her on it. By the end of the episode she finally comes around and “officially” moves in.

    But something else very interesting also occurs in
    Episode 2. She appears to get very nervous early in
    the episode when a reference is made about them (Chuck/Sarah) following Ellie/Awesome in one day
    having a baby. Then in the final scene of Episode 2
    Chuck also makes an indirect reference to them possibly having a child one day. Sarah appears to be asleep when he says this and her back is to him
    so he can’t see her face. When she hears this her eyes pop open very wide and it is a look of utter
    consternation. Now is this just a concern of hers that maybe they are moving too fast and looking too far ahead of themselves at the present time or is it
    something else? I looked at the final scene and then
    thought of the earlier scene and wondered “What the
    hell is going on here?”. My feeling is she’s hiding
    something from her past and it ‘s going to collide
    sooner or later in her realtionship with Chuck and
    their future together. It’s quite evident that she
    seems very worried or even scared of whatever it is. Is it possible that she has a child of her own
    no one knows about or is it something else, maybe
    she can’t have children for whatever reason or is
    another major issue standing in the way?

    It will be very intersting to find out one way or the other. Of course I’m just speculating and could
    be way off here but still I wonder….Does anybody
    else feel the same way? Would appreciate some other
    thoughts on this including yours too Joe and the
    other writers on this blog. My point in all of this is that Chuck is not the only one keeping secrets in
    their relationship and Sarah has a responsibility for transparency in their relationship as well but will she? Only time will tell…..

    Anyway the first 2 episodes have been excellent and
    I hope they’re rewarded in the ratings. It doesn’t
    look like NBC is going to promote Chuck much at all.
    Let’s all hope for the best and get as many people to watch as much as possible, including repeat viewings, thanks.

    • atcdave says:

      I sure agree Robert that this season is off to a very good start. But I think you’re over-thinking it on the kids issue. We kind of tried to do that with the “con” theories posited about S3. But with Chuck its usually as simple as what you see is what you get. I think Sarah is just worried; wife/mother is not part of how she’s ever seen herself or expected her life to be. So the possibilities opening up to her are frightening. I’m thinking the marriage issue will be resolved this season, with Sarah eventually happily embracing the idea. The kid issue may get discussed, but there will be no Chuck/Sarah pregnancy this season. And I’m sure TPTB finally get that they screwed up royally last season; discovering a secret child from her past would be too much of the same sort of soap opera drivel we got in S3. I just don’t believe they would be so thick as to do that. Of course I’ve been wrong before…

    • joe says:

      This will sound strange to you, Robert, ’cause I’ve been intentionally coloring it differently. But in many ways I agree with you. Absolutely. I’ve been quietly asserting here that Sarah’s got her faults – in fact, she gave us the litany way back in the Pilot.

      And if you really needed proof that Sarah had a “real” relationship with Shaw, Stephen spells it out for Chuck in Subway. “Thanks for the info, dad.”

      But like my old Physics textbooks used to say, we’ll leave it as “an exercise for the reader” to decide if what Sarah and Shaw had was a “real” relationship.

      You’re words pointed out to me that there’s a lot of similarities between what Chuck thought Bryce (and Jill) did to him and what Shaw (and Sarah) did to him. The difference, of course, is in how Chuck reacted and what he did about it.

      My reaction was similar to yours, too, about C&S’s reaction to any mention of marriage and babies. Oh yeah, they jumped, especially Sarah at the end. Bothered me a little, at first, but it shouldn’t have.

      Besides the fact the if these characters were real people, it WOULD be too soon, it’s in character for them. Sarah balked at moving in, and at parting with her beloved “30-ft. rule” and really, with every step in the forward direction of their relationship from day 1. Right? That’s her. Lately she’s been reconsidering by the end of the episode or meeting Chuck half way (and he’s been doing the same). They’ve been growing and maturing all along and will continue to do so, I’m sure.

      So Dave is right – the idea of marriage and babies IS a big deal. But we don’t have to over-think it.

      And really, this is one that we can have confidence will work out right.

  21. Robert H says:

    P.S. By the way there is a scene in Season 3 where
    Sarah attacks Shaw in his office and knocks him
    literally off his feet to the floor supposedly because of his betrayal of team and country.

    Now that was probably in part very true but I wonder
    if her attack on Shaw might have been part of something else-a “PERSONAL” betrayal the “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. After all he did use
    and manipulate her but was it more than just a “professional” betrayal? I have a feeling it was and
    as stated earlier this will surface again somewhere
    along the line.

    Joe,regarding your comment on how foolish could
    Comcast get in evaluating Chuck’s value. Well it
    depends and we don’t know yet. Hopefully better
    than NBC’s but for all of its mistakes NBC has at least kept the show on the air. What will Comcast do? Some times you’re better off dealing with the devil you know but it could go either way depending on how well the show does this year along with other
    variables in the mix. Just too early to say. The best thing that will help Chuck is strong viewer
    support and hopefully the show will get that if its
    quality stays high and most of the base comes back,
    thanks.

  22. Robert H says:

    Appreciate your comments atcdave and as I said before I could be way off base here but remember what Sarah said to Casey in Season 1, I’m just
    paraphrasing here “Did you ever want a home and family?” when Casey asked her, really demanded to
    know if she had compromised herself with the intersect. Of course that was two seasons ago. Things change but was that comment really inconsistent with her character, considering her own
    upbringing, her own possible “undisclosed desires”,
    ( a pun here on the video by Muse here, Joe, I just
    couldn’t resist. )

    You’re probably right atcdave, but still I just can’t help but wonder here. Probably just my own
    over active imagination, thanks.

  23. P.S. by the way atcdave, I was not referring to a Sarah pregnancy this season or even in a Season 5, if the series would get that far-simply as a possible long term result of their relationship that
    would be far, far down the road, thanks.

  24. Thanks for your comments Joe/atcdave. Just wanted to get some other views on this, not a big deal.

    My comments on the impact of a possible Sarah pregnancy referred to that as an idea in principle,
    not something immediate. Just her possible reaction
    to the idea in general. I don’t see it happening this year or even in a season 5, assuming they get one. I agree with you Joe the eyes popping wide open
    at the end of the episode means something. Yvonne
    Strahovski is excellent at communicating emotions
    with body language and facial expressions. Those eyes opening wide was a picture worth a thousand words as were her tears in episode 1 when she learned Chuck was safe, not killed in a hail of gun
    fire.

    Saw the overnite ratings and was somewhat disappointed. They were adjusted from 1.9 to 2.0 in
    the 18-49 range about the same as last week. Looking
    at the positive side the ratings were down across the board for most shows. The Event and and Chase
    were down , too. Read that some blamed Chuck for down Event ratings but I don’t buy that. I’ve watched
    The Event for 2 weeks now. The premise is interesting
    but it jumps around so much back and forth in time it’s hard to follow. If it were told in a straight
    forward way it’s chances for success would be much better. I don’t think it’s going to make it. The
    Chase is a joke while Undercovers is just so-so. Just my personal opinion of course which really means nothing in the overall scheme of things.

    Given the current harsh economic climate “Outsourced”
    is an insult to every unemployed person in America, not to mention their families and friends.
    NBC has a lot of gall just putting it on the air but
    that’s NBC. Once Comcast takes over there may well be a lot of NBC executives “outsourced” as well. A
    start on that was begun last Friday with Zucker’s
    firing. What goes around comes around I guess.

    That’s about all for now. Should be interesting to
    see the Chuck ratings within 1 week of aired showtime. Last year, even with the disaster of Season 3 it increased 22%. This measurement of viewing will be vital for renewal. Let’s hope for the best, thanks.

    [I have no idea why this post (and your PS) were put into the spam-bin, but I rescued it. Apologies! – Joe]

  25. Robert H says:

    I just had a comment come back as a duplicate. The
    extra one was sent because the original was not listed with a name/initial as it should have been.

    Please release it. If there is a technical problem
    please advise, thanks.

  26. Robert H says:

    Thanks for getting my comments back, Joe. I think I
    know now what went wrong on my end and have corrected. Appreciate your help, thanks.

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