On Where This Is Headed

Word!

Readers know how I like to step back and look at the big picture. It’s easy with a show like Chuck because when you get right down to it, it’s a big-themed show that’s changed a lot over the years. Makes it a fruitful topic! The moods and colors of each season have continually evolved, and thinking about that helps to give me a sense of where we’re going.

If I had to choose one word to describe season 1 of Chuck, I think it would be – poignant. More than just “deeply affecting,” the word speaks of a sadly-sweet and even painful touch of emotions, like you’d have watching your children have their first crush. You just know what’s coming, there’s no way to stop it, and you don’t really want to. That’s what season 1 did to many of us.

Likewise, for season 2, I would choose the word “desperate.”


Chuck’s terribly desperate race to find his father happened on a track parallel to Sarah’s equally frantic attempts to come to terms with having true feelings for someone, perhaps for the first time in her life. And even that was overshadowed by their even more desperate struggles to touch – not just anyone, but to touch each other while groping through the darkness of the spy-maze they were in. The heart-beat thumping of Luisa’s Bones underscores the point.

S3 is easy. The word for season 3 is “bitter.” Like Casey’s coffee, it’s the taste of campaigns waged and bungled, projects failed due to ignorance and stupidity, love frustrated and lessons learned the hard way. Yes, of course the outcome of all of this is experience, maturity and even wisdom, sometimes. I can’t say that the end result is happiness, though. “Bitter” isn’t the price Chuck and Sarah have to pay to be happy later either, like there’s some universal scale that has to be brought into balance. In a world where happiness is not guaranteed like that, what Chuck and Sarah learned is that happiness is a choice to be made.

After only three episodes of season 4, it would be less than smart to try to reduce it to one word. But so far, I’ve been continually surprised and impressed by the strength of the bond between Chuck & Sarah. Therefore confidence, in the sense of secure trust, is the word I’d choose to describe the tenor. This sense of confidence is not exhibiting itself in any manner that I expected, though. The best analogy I can think of, is that we watched Chuck and Sarah stumbling for the first two seasons over hazardous, rocky terrain. Back then they only partially succeeded in supporting each other when they lost their footing. In S3, the path became downright dangerous and they had to do more than support each other. They had to save each other. Now, Chuck and Sarah are much more sure-footed as they walk through this semi-familiar world, and they seem to be doing it arm in arm with much more confidence in themselves and in each other than we had a right to expect. You can sense it with every new adventure and in every conversation they have. Now try putting *that* into one word!

This confidence showed when Chuck and Sarah spent weeks and months apart with nothing coming between them. It showed when a calm and collected Agent Bartowski came to the defense of a flustered Agent Walker: Tell me. Why are we saving your life, again?. It showed when Sarah defines herself to an antagonistic nemesis.

Heather: Oh! You’re acting awful bitchy, Burton. – or whatever it is you go by.

Sarah: Sarah Walker. And don’t forget it.

That was a revealing statement in light of her history; not about the name with which she chose to identify, but in the easy way she chose it. That’s who she is. If there was any question left, it showed when Sarah decided to give Heather the boot, literally, for dissing Chuck in her presence.

Change, Change, Change!

Chuck is becoming more confident in his identity, too. Well, the guy had a pretty good idea before, but Chuck just didn’t like the unmotivated, undirected person he was. Now Morgan wonders what has happened to his buddy’s “relationship neurosis!” They even take a moment to savor its absence. “Smells like victory!”

I mentioned in comments the significance of Chuck taking the gun from Casey to go after Hugo Panzer. Chuck? A gun? I barely noticed that, right from the beginning, when the two hooded prisoners are brought into Castle, Sarah also hands Chuck a gun saying “Lock and load!”. No nervousness, no neuroses. No, he did not use the gun, but Chuck was calmly prepared to use it. He may have compromised his principles in some way, but that’s the kind of compromise that many people in the real, adult world have to make daily, if only on a smaller and less dramatic scale. The inner struggles that once paralyzed Chuck are simply not stopping him now.

They’ve changed dramatically, and I’m glad. But really, it’s no surprise that Sarah’s changed Chuck. When I think about it, I’m much more surprised about her!

Sarah made an interesting decision on the roof of the Buy More; she gave Heather a very big gun with which to defend herself. BC (that’s Before Chuck) that’s not at all what Agent Walker would have done; I’m sure she would have gotten out of harm’s way by handing over the prisoner, the way she poisoned the French diplomats before they killed her. But not now. Sarah’s decision has Chuck’s signature all over it, and it’s obvious now that his fingerprints are on her heart. In the middle of Chuck’s Red Test, it wasn’t clear to me that she had changed at all, forcing Chuck to make the hard decisions like she had. Sarah was distraught then, because Chuck was changing. I missed that it was because she was changing too.

Chuck & Sarah have grown to accept, understand and even incorporate the strengths that the other has to offer. I like that word, “incorporate!” Chuck and Sarah have done more than recognized the best in each other. They’ve made that an integral part of themselves. Try separating them now. You’d have better luck un-mixing a cake.

Permit me to get a bit pretentious:

Then, the whining schoolboy with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school.

And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow.

Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth.

And then the justice
In fair round belly, with good capon lin’d,
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws, and modern instances,

And so he plays his part.

If Chuck was singing a woeful ballad through seasons one and two, I heard it. The jealous soldier seeking his reputation and fortune was the person we saw when Chuck began the search for his father and re-intersected. “…Even in the cannon’s mouth.” is an apt description of the death struggle with Shaw, I think.

What comes next? We’re not at the “fair round belly” stage of middle age yet, but already we’ve seen those severe eyes on occasion. Justice, wise sayings, and Chuck “playing his part” – I see that beginning now too. Do you think Chuck & Sarah are headed for a life together? Of course they are; that was built into the story from the very start. We don’t have to wonder about it any more – we only have to enjoy them getting there.

– joe

Also: The CNN Audio review for Chuck vs. The Cubic-Z is up at Chuck TV, and all the episodes can be found at Blip TV. Enjoy!

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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 Analysis, Inside Chuck, Inside Sarah, Observations, Season 4. Bookmark the permalink.

149 Responses to On Where This Is Headed

  1. Chuckoff says:

    Magnus says they will split Chuck and Sarah up. Whether it be professionally or romantically it is a horible way to go. I lol at people on the net saying this is a good thing. Umm okay so when we drop to a 1.6-1.7 demo and get cancelled will that still be a good thing?

    If this is where season 4 is headed then I might think about DVR’ing the rest of the season. I didn’t go through hell in S3 to deal with this crap again in S4. Was excited about Mama B storyline but if Chuck and Sarah are a casualty then I say leave Frosty the Snow Bitch alone.

    Just when you think they learned their lesson they smash the show into another iceberg. Will this be resolved eventually, yes. Will I care- nope.

    So don’t hold your breath about an engagement any time soon.

    • joe says:

      I don’t think any one person knows where the story-line is going, with the possible exception of Chris Fedak, Chuckoff. And sometimes I’m not sure *he* knows. 😉

      BTW, love the handle!

    • atcdave says:

      I don’t buy that for a second Chuckoff. That would kill the show and TPTB know it. There certainly may be some bumps along the way, but I’m betting they won’t end more than one or two episodes all season on a down note for Chuck and Sarah.

      Breaking them up is just the wishful thinking of a bitter anti-‘shipper.

      • OldDarth says:

        Read that carefully. Chuck and Sarah do not break up in a relationship sense but are split up professionally.

        I am hoping this leads to a situation in 4.08 & 4.09 where Chuck clashes and is captured by Richard Chamberlain’s character – Adelbert De Smet, aka “The Belgian”.

        This separation and eventual reunion could be the final impetus to removing any reservations by either party from formalizing their relationship. Especially for Sarah. It would be even cooler if Sarah teams up with MamaB to take down De Smet and rescue Chuck.

        That would be an exciting two story arc! 8)

      • JC says:

        I like that OD and hopefully it leads us to Sarah coming out of a lake with a knife in her teeth to rescue Chuck.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah I like the sound of that OD. Fedak pretty clearly said between the seasons that they they wouldn’t seperate “major characters” for any length of time this season; a couple episodes pursuing different missions is of course fine and consistant with what Fedak has said.

        Sorry if I over-reacted; I considered a longer response last time about the huge difference between professional mission oriented seperation for brief periods of time, and another bitter/wrenching personal falling out. Obviously, I see one as a big deal, the other not so much (although I will generally prefer Chuck and Sarah together on screen most of the time).

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        @Dave and OD -Agree with you there.I am certainly not buying the “break up” crap – TPTB have categorically said that C/S are a couple throughout this year. There may be two ways in which C/S split up professionally – Wild speculation follows

        Mama B turns up in 4×06 -maybe at the ending of the episode. 4×07 involves Timothy Dalton, Mama B and C/S – a fight between Chuck and Sarah ensues with regards to Mama B. Episode ends with either Chuck going away with going after Mama B on a mission or Chuck gets kidnapped thus setting up the C/S split up in 4×08. I hope the split up doesnt last for more than one episode.( I would really love to see the lioness Sarah going on a mission to rescue her Chuck – woe betide anyone who gets in her way.)-

      • thinkling says:

        First off, great post, Joe. Very thoughtful. Still chewing on it. I sure do love how far Chuck and Sarah have come and where they are now.

        My speculation, for what it’s worth, which is nothing:

        CG = engagement, a good fight in front of Ellie and Awesome, Chuch and Sarah thwarting a nuclear attack, Ellie coming to grips with the spy thing.

        4×5 = C/S happily simmering on the back burner (in the supply closet) and whatever else goes on with Casey. This is probably more in the future as Ernie speculated, b/c Casey’s leg must heel.

        4×6 = the Aisle of Terror, right? — about nightmares? If so, it’s possible that all the previews we’ve seen are nightmares. MEB may not show up in the flesh at all. That’s actually my anonymous bet. It may be too soon to have the actual, happy (or not!) reunion. Just musing aloud. Sarah’s nightmare would be having to face off with Chuck’s mom, not wanting to kill her but not wanting to be killed, or for MEB to kill Chuck (worse yet), what a predicament … talk about in-law problems. Chuck’s nightmare? Guess we’ll have to see what MEB has to say on that park bench in the fog. I don’t expect a face to face with MEB until 4×8 at the earliest.

        4×7-8 = First Fight, and I don’t have a clue, but I like the idea of a kidnapped Chuck and Lioness Sarah to the rescue. In that case Fear of Death could be Sarah’s fear of Chuck’s death. [This would fit with my speculation of why MEB left in the first place, that she left on a mission to neutralize a threat to her family. She traded her freedom for her family’s safety. Volkoff was after the SJB’s research on the Intersect. (The fact that the prototype succeeded and little Chuck hosted it made the stakes too high for casa Bartowski) FF 20 years, and Volkoff starts looking for the Intersect again. This puts Chuck in danger.]

        4×9 = Team B, now including MEB begin Phase Three — the mission to take down Volkoff and save the free world.

        Totally spit balling — ain’t it fun.

      • thinkling says:

        @alladinsgenie4u: I think C/S together is the new and final paradigm for s4 and beyond. Any separations won’t be relationship or personal.

        One more speculation … the first face to face with MEB will be with Sarah. Just seems right to me. Better not be with Ellie … that would be a grenade in munitions arsenal.

      • atcdave says:

        Dang Thinkling, I would love if they’d hired you for one of those open “staff writer” positions! Some really fun stuff here. I especially like the “nightmare” first encounter with MEB. We’ve heard the Thanksgiving episode will be great, but I’m not sure yet the number; 4.10 if they don’t skip any weeks. So I’m thinking everyone, including Ellie, will be on speaking terms with MEB by then.

    • weaselone says:

      Technically, Chuck and Sarah were already broken up professionally at the beginning of the season with Sarah going on solo missions, apparently for months at a time while Chuck pursued his mother as part of a rogue mission with Morgan. It’s quite possible that at some point in the season we’ll see the two of them operating independently of one another for some reason, whether it’s due to one of them being captured, pressure from above, or too much to do and too little manpower. Heck, they may even have to fake a break up when Beckman discovers they’ve been doing the nasty in the supply closet.

      As for Magnus. He may know something, or he may not. He is nearly certainly being deliberately oblique with his statements. You can bet the house, the farm, your car, next week’s paycheck and the secret underground spy facility beneath your place of employment that he is trying to irritate the “ccccrrrraaaaazzzzzyyyyy shhhhhiiiiippppperrrrrssss”. So don’t let him get to you. Force him to get his jollies by pissing in his own personal sandbox.

      • weaselone says:

        Sorry, I meant Sarah went on missions with Casey. She didn’t fly solo.

      • atcdave says:

        I think you’re about right on all of that. I’m also pretty confident if Chuck and Sarah seperated on missions the pay-off will be huge (like our previously mentioned “Sarah charging to the rescue” scenario).

      • herder says:

        Also I stopped reading his page as I found it too spoilery (in a way designed to get the goat of shippers) that I found reduced my enjoyment of the show. Remember this, 4.08 is running during November sweeps month so there will be things that will be designed to up tension but I really think they have learned the lesson that some things can be pushe too far. That and they must know that they are close to getting a back order of 6 or 9 episodes, they wouldn’t do something that would put that at risk.

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        Couldn’t have said it better myself Weaselone, Herder.

      • patty says:

        The “split ” could be the nightmare of one of the leads. Remember the Shaw/fountain/shooting dream sequence and all the speculation around that ?

      • JC says:

        Its also a way to people talking about the show again. A lot of the reviews I’ve read from critics seem to be lukewarm about the show in general anymore. Fans don’t seem to be as engaged. And nothing stirs the pot like a C/S breaking or splitting up rumor.

      • weaselone says:

        I know, I’ve noticed. Strangely, many of these same critics were largely supportive as the first part of season 3 went down in flames. I’m thinking a lot of the hard core supporters who were rearranging the deck chairs last season and unwilling to criticize and voice concerns exhausted a lot of their enthusiasm in the process, while it seems like many of us here who did voice our discontent are more able to be happy about where the show is heading this season and overlook those flaws which do exist.

        Those who were able to be critical about major issues last year, are comfortable overlooking more minor flaws this year. Those that tried to overlook major flaws have tended to become more hypercritical of the show.

      • atcdave says:

        That is an interesting comment Weaselone. Of course there may be some split just on what our actual taste is (no shock here, I prefer the light fun tone we have now; others may actually prefer the darker, more serious episodes we saw more of in S3). But we know some, who tried to keep their hopes up (I’m thinking of you Joe!) were particularly hard hit when Sarah actually seemed happy with Shaw in American Hero; while it seemed like many of us hard core ‘shippers were already over it and were just happy that was the end of it.

        I’d also say its possible there are those who just can’t stand that those who were so unhappy last year are so happy this year. I think S3 may have permanently fractured the fan base. Very sad, late S2 (after the Beefcake to do) we were a pretty unified, and happy bunch.

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        The problem with the “split up” comment is that for a while you could almost see the positive energy generated by the first 3 episodes of S4 heading south for the winter. IMO a affect caused by S3 that we can ill afford.

      • Gord says:

        I stopped reading Magnus’s blog about a year ago. I don’t consider anything he says as being reliable – he is speculating like the rest of us, and he does love to get the shippers wound up. Until I hear something like that from TPTB through a credible source, I’m not going to believe it.

        You’re point about Chuck using a gun, this actually started in the final fight scene with Shaw in the finale. He came storming into the Buy More with a gun. He didn’t want to use it, but he would if he had to.

        I think tranq gun will always be his weapon of choice, but perhaps one thing “good” Shaw said to him early on sank in “I don’t like guns, but its good to know how to use one”.

      • joe says:

        Hi, Gord!
        You’re absolutely right about the gun, of course. But when I wrote that, I was thinking in terms of using a gun outside use in the direct and immediate defense of Sarah. He almost seemed to take it for intimidation!

        I think this is the first time he’s taken one so nonchalantly.

    • Merve says:

      Chuck and Sarah are splitting up this season? I also hear that Casey’s getting a sex change and Beckman will be abducted by aliens. 😉

      • thinkling says:

        @merve: Chuck vs.Jerry Springer and Chuck vs. the X-file.

      • Merve says:

        My super-secret spoiler ninjas tell me that those are the titles of episodes 10 and 11 respectively.

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        I’m surprised no one has stated the most obvious reason for the supposed split.

        Diane!

      • thinkling says:

        Riiigght. And if anybody believes this thread, I’ve got a few acres of the Amazon Rain Forrest for sale at a very good price.

      • joe says:

        Don’t be too surprised if this winds up on the spoiler page, Thinkling! 😉

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Way to crush me… AGAIN!

        Can’t Chuck and Dianne ever catch a break? It was bad enough seeing Dianne back in video-mode only.

      • Jan says:

        Outstanding Merve…

      • weaselone says:

        Wait Merve, you have super secret spoiler ninjas? Where did you hire them and can you get a volume discount?

      • Merve says:

        @weaselone: Large Mart provides Ninja services. Volume discounts are available for jobs that require ten ninjas or more. 😉

        @everyone: In all seriousness, I’m just having fun here. (Please ignore how paradoxical that sentence sounded.) I don’t think that anyone who operates a Chuck fansite has any malicious or devious intent. That being said, unofficial spoilers should be taken with a grain of salt. People who are close to the show, or even people who work on the show, don’t necessarily know what’s going to happen next. Heck, even official spoilers should be regarded with a degree of skepticism; even they can be inaccurate or misleading. Remember last year when Ausiello said that he was 99% sure that the Orange Orange would be replaced with a Subway this season? Unless Sarah’s been serving sandwiches in her spare time, I think that we can regard that spoiler as untrue. (Although, to be fair, Ausiello did leave himself a 1% margin of error.) In short, don’t believe the hype! 🙂

    • Lexmor says:

      Magnus really loves to stir things up doesn’t he? And why not? It’s good for him.

      Well, stand done ladies and gents. TPTB have learned their lesson. If Chuck and Sarah are separated for a short time professionally, it is nothing more than an obstacle most couples have to face as the relationship grows. And in this case, the tension created especially with Mama B around the corner, it will make for great drama.

      Remember, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

  2. Dan says:

    Looking back on previous seasons, I really preferred the episodes where the C/S relationship took a back seat, letting the full casts chemistry shine through. While I’m a huge shipper, and don mind the Charah, I think it would do TPTB some good to center on something besides C/S for an episode or two. Just a thought!

    • joe says:

      It’s a good one too, Dan. If I’m really pressed to think about it, my favorite episode is still Dream Job, with portions of Predator mixed in. That’s exactly the place where the relationship was put most in the background and the search for Stephen/Orion was in front.

      But I can just imagine what was going on in Sarah’s head all the while. We didn’t have to see it on screen, just the results in Colonel.

    • atcdave says:

      While I wouldn’t go quite so far Dan, I do agree the relationship needs to be pushed to the back every now and then so actual spy stories can be told. I think that’s important to the future of the show. Of course you know that’s also why I think an engagement is coming soon; I think that’s the only way to get many of us to quit talking about it, so other parts of the story can be told.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        I am pretty sure the relationship will be pushed to the background in 4×05 and 4×06. But 4×07 is bound to bring it back to the forefront – C/S fight over Mama B. I hope their differences are resolved by the end of 4×08 and from 4×09 onwards we can hope to see more mythology driven episodes. C/S growth can occur in the background – I am okay with that – but I am still hoping for an early engagement – which, I am quietly confident is coming.

      • atcdave says:

        Quietly until you made the prediction on a public web site…

        Hey no problem Genie, if I look like a fool next week (well, a bigger fool than normal anyway!) I’ll be glad to have plenty of company.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Just to be clear – When I say background growth for C/S I dont mean a “supply closet” situation – something not seen just referenced. I am hoping to see a seamless meshing up of the mythology with parallel growth and strengthening of Chuck and Sarah’s relationship.

      • thinkling says:

        @alladinsgenie4u: Good call. I agree with the parallel growth model. I think some of these early relationship issues are stand-outs. They need to be dealt with, and I’m very satisfied with the way they have been done. But after the wedding, when things are settling into some plain of Bartowski normal, which we know won’t be anyone else’s plain of normal, then their internal growth issues need to be just like you said. The mythology/mission needs to elicit something within their relationship that grows and strengthens them.

    • Merve says:

      I kind of agree. I don’t find Chuck and Sarah’s relationship particularly interesting, and I’ve been pretty bored with this season. But I’m not bored enough to stop watching, and I expect things to pick up once Mama B enters the picture.

      • Gord says:

        But what about the new love geometric shape this season. Someone has already mentioned the Chuck/Dianne situtation. But how will this affect Chuck’s relationship with Morgan who is clearly conflicted between his love for Alex, and his love for Dianne.

        I mean how do you think Morgan got promoted to manager, it’s obvious he slept his way to the top.

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        LMAO. The little bearded man is a ladies man. Those star wars sheets are a seducer.

      • joe says:

        First Anna, then Carina, then Diane??? Quick! Call Mekenna! Hurry! I don’t think she knows what’s in store for poor Alex yet!!!

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        I can’t figure it out.

        Diagan or Morane? 😉

      • atcdave says:

        I think Dorgan has a nice ring to it!

      • thinkling says:

        I vote for Dorgan … in nomenclature only, of course.

  3. ChuckNewbie8 says:

    Trust eh? Not yet Joe IMO lol. I think trust will remain one of the toughies for both Chuck and Sarah. There’s a confidence yes, an intimacy (my word for the season) but it is not without it’s struggles and conflict. As it should be 🙂

    • joe says:

      Think I’m getting ahead of myself here, Faith? 😉

      Well, okay. There’s a black cloud on the horizon named Mary Elizabeth and it’s coming fast. But not this week. That’s gonna be one heck of a challenge for them.

      Ohhh! Nobody’s mentioned Ellie in the Speculation thread. In hindsight, I’m surprised. We’ve got Ellie, Devon, Chuck & Sarah and one revolution all together in Costa Gravas. Is Ellie going to find out that Chuck is still in the spy game? 1200 Costa Gravan Pesos says she does!

      We’ll see how Chuck handles his conflicting promises to Ellie and to Sarah.

      • Waverly says:

        I don’t see what the big issue is with Ellie finding out about Chuck’s return to the spy business. You don’t think Ellie will respect the “will” of their father? And that Ellie won’t acknowledge that what Chuck is doing is (in his belief) in their best interests?

        That doesn’t mean the show/story won’t play up this conflict. But in the long run she will realize that she can’t get her wish. And I bet she’ll be glad that he returned.

    • PeterOinNJ says:

      Joe, Thanks for the great post and Faith thanks for making think a little more.

      Confidence? Yes, I see that – in who they are and who they are to each other. Intimacy? In seasons past that would have been too complex a value for these two but yeah, I see that too. I’ve heard intimacy described as “in to me see” and these two are really letting each other in. Remember when all we hoped for was that they would finally talk? Struggles & conflict? Absolutely! That’s life and that’s part of what makes this show so interesting – it mixes in real life with fantasy. We’ve already been reminded (twice) that this is real life – not a TV show and not a video game. Wonder if the writers are sending us a message there.

      Trust? No, not yet. Before they can really trust each other, they have to trust themselves. I don’t think that has happened yet. But – it’s only episode 4!

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        Well said Peter. I agree. In to see…nice!

      • joe says:

        Peter, thanks. And I can’t believe how much fun and how thoughtful all these comments have been today. Faith and Thinkling and so many others have had me grinning from ear to ear.

        And all this for a piece that’s really too wordy and even too pretentious. It makes me believe Zac when he sings the praises of the fans. It’s a very special bunch of people.

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      Trust or the lack of it is going to rear it’s ugly head in 4×07. I am confident that C/S will come out of that conflict with their bond all the more stronger.
      And I love the word that you use to describe the season.

    • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

      Analyze it. Look for it. Intepret it all you like. There is only one way that you will know for sure that there is complete and total trust between Chuck and Sarah.

      Chuck will get out of the driver’s side of the Porsche. 🙂

  4. amyabn says:

    Great article, Joe. I think the rush to get them to a good place (Chuck and Sarah) are so that it can be put in the background and we can get back to the quest of finding MEB. I’m good with that. Chuck and Sarah as a united front against or for MEB will be interesting and also allow other characters time in the mix. At least I hope so.

    • ChuckNewbie8 says:

      I guess its my day for disagreements lol. I don’t think the relationship unraveling is mutually exclusive to the mythology and all the pay stuff. What made the last 6 episodes of Chuck’s season 2 so epic (my epic is not like JS’ epic…you can trust me lol) is that it combined those two in a manner only Chuck can bring. And what made colonel unforgettable is upteenth power it brought that. JMHO.

      • thinkling says:

        I actually agree with both of you. Some C/S steps probably need to be showcased, while others can be subtly and artfully woven into the rest of the story.

      • joe says:

        And I’d like to agree with all three of you!

        I have the idea that the fans need to feel that C&S are in a good place, and are a little cautious about letting themselves believe it. At least, that’s my reaction sometimes (lots of “Oh Nooooozzzzz! They’re squabbling again! Oh Nooozzzzz!”).

        When we believe they’re solid, then we’ll see that united front.

        MEB is an amazing wedge issue, though, the way my imagination is going. It’s just my speculation, but the question “Is she a good or bad character?” may be deep and unresolved. It’ll force C&S to examine their most sacred beliefs about the world. I don’t see it as a given that it threatens their beliefs about each other, though.

        Then again, it might. Either way, they come out the other end much stronger.

        I’m trying not to look too far ahead, but isn’t it a positive thing that MEB shows up in 4.06, and the Tim Dalton character in 4.08 and 4.09? I think the timing is good. There’s room left at the end of the season for – something.

    • atcdave says:

      I’m thinking MEB won’t so much threaten Chuck and Sarah as couple either; but she will likely make them think about how they want to be together. Specifically, running out on family = not good. So we may get a decision to “leave the spy life” before having kids. My guess is that decision may be altered or amended several times depending on how long the show runs, but I could easily see echos of it to the very end with possible ending being either “Chuck and Sarah left the CIA had a dozen kids and lived happily ever” or “they continued to run missions until they were in their sixties, never had kids, and didn’t follow the Turner’s advice and staying married just the once; but they enjoyed their nieces and nephews very much.” Obviously I see a large range there, but my point is the fate of the parents will have a life long impact, even on a good marriage.

      • thinkling says:

        I don’t think she’ll drive a wedge, but there will be issues, like to trust or not to trust, and how that makes both of them feel. I think Sarah will earn MEB’s respect. Who knows, the two of them may dig Chuck out of trouble. I’d kind of like to see that.

        Chuck and Sarah can write their own Bartowski hand-book. The Mamas and the Papas got a few things wrong.

        I agree that they probably won’t mix spy world and kids, certainly not anytime soon. But if they get a couple more seasons, you never know. (I actually know a spy couple with a toddler, so it can work.)

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah its kind of wide open really, if the show runs another four seasons I could easily see adding a child to the mix (especially if Yvonne actually has a child, that or she spends a season only talking to Chuck on the phone); like I said adapting however they need while learning from their own messed up backgrounds could easily be an enduring theme.

      • thinkling says:

        another four seasons … I like that.

        adapting however they need while learning from their own messed up backgrounds could easily be an enduring theme.

        That a theme that can easily parallel their spy world and extended family world — in the same way the Buymore used to parallel the spy world/mission. So much futile ground to plow in their couple life! And infinitely more fun than the repeating loop of wt/wt!

      • thinkling says:

        Oops … I meant fertile ground …dang automatic spell check.

      • atcdave says:

        Like we’ve been saying for a couple years, there is so much more potential in dealing with couple’s issues than just repeating the wt/wt dance.

      • thinkling says:

        Glad they finally got the memo.

  5. Jan says:

    Great comments, from top to bottom. Insightful and still fun. Especially love the Porsche discussion.

    I think Joe’s comment about C/S being in a good place is most important. We were conditioned to worry that there was a problem lurking in every situation. I suppose that’s why comments on other sites can get the masses so riled. We want them to be happy and together. We’ve seen too much of the frustrated and apart.

    And, then there’s the ever present worry that this season will be Chuck’s last.

    It certainly seems as if TPTB are balancing these fears. We’re seeing signs that, no matter what the ratings fate brings, the resolution of Chuck will be positive. What a wonderful thing.

    Since I believe that Chuck will again be the strongest NBC show on Mondays in the next few weeks, and MEB on deck, it’s turning into a great Season 4 ride.

    • atcdave says:

      It is funny how touchy we are sometimes about the Chuck/Sarah thing; but as you say, they gave us plenty to worry about for a long time, its hard to adjust to things being better!

    • joe says:

      Exactly, Jan, and Dave. I had a feeling that I wasn’t alone having that little bit of anxiety.

      It’s gratifying to think that things actually *are* better for them in the story, and it’s not just my imagination.

      Wait – I put that poorly. It’s not just that things are better for C&S, it’s that they actually are more mature and adult agents of their own destiny.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah Joe I’d call that better in every way; not only for Chuck and Sarah, but it makes the show more of what I’d always hoped for.

      • thinkling says:

        I will gladly join the happy chorus. It is such a relief to be able to enjoy these wonderful people and their story, instead of worrying about them.
        They are back on a natural, normal, expected (not sure what word is best) path in their growth and relationship. It’s what I want to see.

        When I think of the brokenness of s3, I just go WHAT were they THINKING?! It’s like TPTB ate sour grapes and my teeth were set on edge.

        Now it’s … All Good.

      • Waverly says:

        Sounds like the fans are going through the same kind of emotional history that Chuck and Sarah are. Can we trust the storytellers/can C&S trust each others commitment? Can the story be positive and open/can C&S tell no lies and keep no secrets? Can the story look to the future/can C&S look to their future together?

  6. ChuckNewbie8 says:

    The more I try to think, *squee* and examine where it is we’re headed the more I’m enthralled by the past. I’m (as you would expect) back to watching those that came before. I think I said last season how much S3 has messed with my compulsive rewatching of what was (at least during the season) but that too has changed.

    So as I try to draw conclusions about what will be the more I’m brought back to the past. For example: the idea of trust, the idea of spy—Sarah and Bryce said it best, you never know who you can trust. Can we trust MamaB? What do we really know about her? How different is she really from the Sarah that was? Think back to that scene where Chuck flashed on Sarah’s ring…that scene is amazingly similar to that with MamaB in Anniversary.

    And the more I think about all these issues of commitment I’m drawn to Role Models and the Turners: “the CIA has a way of breaking young idealists, especially when they’re in love.”

    I’m beyond ecstatic the fun is back in Chuck…the good feeling, the affection, the laughs…but perhaps I am most thankful about the return of that which I lost: my love for (and obsession lol of) what was.

    • joe says:

      Gee, Faith. I hope you cheer up about it soon.

      – Darn it. Wry-Sarcastic-Wit Switch is stuck again…

      😉

      I have to say, I’m feeling the same. JC said above that the critics and even some of the fandom has been a bit luke-warm about the episodes so far. I have to disagree with that a bit. For me, it’s more like many are sitting back with a quiet attitude that’s somewhere between satisfaction and anticipation. It’s like they’re saying to themselves “This is nothing. Just wait until they really get going!”

      The bar for Chuck is set that high for some of us.

      • atcdave says:

        It feels great to be happy about things again, I feel like I did late S2.

        I’m not too worried about critical opinion at this point; obviously good reviews are better. But I think its really tough to get much attention in the fourth season, and as Joe says the bar was set really high. And even if quality hasn’t changed one iota the show will no longer be “fresh” and “original” like it was when it was new (and those things matter a lot more to critics than they ever will to most viewers).

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        lol Joe, I don’t think I’ve been secretive by how tough S3 was for me…but I’m also not immune to the good things that happened. I guess my point is…the bar is high and most amazing of all is that Chuck meets it, and with this new season it feels like 99x out of 10, it exceeds it. Hence my return to absolute fan-girl-ism and that which came before.

      • Merve says:

        Critical reception has been pretty positive this season, at least for “Anniversary” and “Suitcase.” “Cubic Z” received a lot of negative reviews, but it’s just one of episode in a sea of episodes that have received mainly positive reviews. (Dig back through critical reviews and you’ll find that pretty much the only other episode of Chuck that has received universally negative reviews is “Tooth.”) I wouldn’t lose faith over one dud episode.

        As for me, yes, I’ve been pretty lukewarm to this season so far. I’ve mainly been bored with it. But I expect it to pick up once Mama B re-enters the picture, and I’m glad that a lot of other fans seem to be enjoying it so far.

      • atcdave says:

        I wasn’t aware Tooth was so reviled by professionals; it wouldn’t even make my bottom 10!

      • amyabn says:

        @joe, I think some of the lukewarm reception is a whiplash effect from last season. I’m back to promoting the show like I used to, but I must admit that despite my optimism, there is this nagging fear in the corner of my mind that TPTB willl jerk the rug out from underneath me. Silly? Maybe, but Chuck is still the best thing out there in my book, so I’ll do my best to ignore that fear and remain a Chuck cheerleader (minus the pom poms and short skirt 🙂 )

      • atcdave says:

        Its funny Amy how many of us seem to feel exactly the same way. And I’ve got this honest streak that compells me to say “my favorite show ever, well apart from a chunk of season 3…” I just can’t help but include that qualifier. And when I do find someone who wants to get into it I always to add “…just start S3 at 3.13…”

  7. Gringo Chuck Fan says:

    Not sure if this is the right place to launch a new conversation idea:
    I was struck by an interesting thought as I went out for my morning meander with our puppy…
    In EP 4.06 – there’s new Baddie with Nightmare toxin…
    [ shades of the scarecrow from batman I suppose]
    OK – here’s my question….???
    If Sarah, Chuck and Casey were all exposed to some small amount of this toxin; what would the resulting nightmare [FEAR] be for each of them?
    With me on this?
    I’ll start with Casey, because I think its where the humour would lie…. maybe changing diapers???
    Casey seems to have some issues with openness and being transparent… being needed or showing his needs…

    Now the interesting part – and I’d love to hear your own ideas:

    Chuck – I think he’s got some abandonment issues…
    but ultimately I think Chuck’s greatest fear is dying. He just has sooo much to live for! [Especially with Sarah] There are so many things that he still wants to do – things that he wants to accomplish….

    Sarah – I think her greatest deepest fear – is being alone…

    I’m just trying to move the pieces around on the board…. looking for that final step that might just finally bring these two together –

    Sarah realizing that she’s more afraid of being alone and lonely for the rest of her life…
    somewhat insecure and unwanted. [ Rather than what she thinks she’s not ready for… Babies!]
    Chuck realizing he needs to make the most of every moment – and take advantage of every opportunity.
    [ He’s wasted too much of his life already… He has so much potential – yet so little to show for it]
    Wow- all that, and I haven’t even had my coffee yet.
    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts:

    • amyabn says:

      I think in regards to Casey, we need to know more about his choice back in the 80’s to leave Alex Coburn behind and become John Casey. I don’t say this lightly. I understand duty and country very well, and there are some out there that take it to the extreme, which is how Casey has been portrayed. I think, then, you have to look at the circumstances under which he made such a life altering choice. He was “seduced” by Keller, leaving the love of his life behind. Maybe his biggest fear is whether or not he truly made the right decision.

      The theme this season is family. Sarah, Morgan, and Chuck are all encouraging Casey to get to know Alex, and we saw him light up when he called her and referred to himself as dad. Perhaps his biggest fear is that his family (Team bartowski, Alex) are taken away and he is stuck with his old life. I still need to ponder about Chuck and Sarah’s fears, but Casey is an easier case for me. Just my 2 cents.

    • thinkling says:

      The essence of nightmares (perhaps not all, but some) is that they use our loves, joys, and pleasures to induce icy-hot, heart-thumping, paralyzing fear. All my worst nightmares involve my husband and son. Find what a person loves and treasures, and you will find the root-ball of their nightmares.

      For Chuck, it’s Sarah and family and friends. If he’s afraid of dying, it’s the fear of what his death would do to them. His fear of the bunker in Marlin was exactly this. But I don’t think that’s it. I think Chuck’s greatest nightmare might be watching Sarah and/or Ellie in a life threatening situation and being flash-less and unable to stop it.

      For Sarah it would be losing Chuck, b/c he is everything to her.

      Maybe Casey’s would be (borrowing from what Amy said) having to make the country v. family decision all over again, this time with Alex in the balance.

      However, given the theme of the season, the search for mom, I think Chuck and Sarah’s nightmares will involve MEB in some way. I commented above on Sarah’s MEB nightmare. For Chuck maybe it would be MEB betraying Sarah and/or Clan Bartowski.

    • joe says:

      Great speculations, all!

      I’m sure my ideas on this will change, but for me, the one thing that stands out about Sarah was how she reacted to the idea that Bryce had gone rogue, and how determined she was to “fix it.” I think her biggest fears might be related to Chuck becoming rogue.

      Casey fears being emotionally dependent.

      Chuck will always have his abandonment issues.

      The thing is, all these things are really happening to the characters. Chuck *has* started a rogue operation to find his mother, Casey is becoming emotionally dependent on Alex and it’s pretty clear that Mary Elizabeth did abandon her family for some yet-to-be-determined reason.

      • thinkling says:

        Interesting about Sarah, Joe. But back then Sarah was “all spy”. Now, she is “woman” in equal measure. Do you think that would change the the shape of her nightmares?

      • joe says:

        Oohhh! Good question, Thinkling. But I have no idea!

        I’m really bad at understanding Sarah that way. Unlike Chuck, to me she’s a black box – there’s no way to peer inside and I have to wait until she shows me what’s going on inside her head.

        I agree with you absolutely that “she is woman” now, where before she was “all spy.” I’m afraid that doesn’t help me understand her, though. After all, point me to the guy who says he understands women, I’ll point you to a prevaricator! 😉

      • thinkling says:

        Like your honesty, Joe. 🙂

        Not only was Sarah “all spy” back then, but her relationship with Bryce was pretty much “all spy” as well.

        Chuck touched the girl/woman in her the day they met, so with Chuck there has always been a personal side. Whenever she thought Chuck had gone rogue, as in Predator and Anniversary, her focus was on the personal aspect of his actions: he didn’t tell her (Predator) or he might get hurt (Anniversary). She knows Chuck is never going to go rogue to the point of betrayal (like it was assumed of Bryce). Sometimes she doesn’t even mind so much if he goes rogue, as long as she gets to go, too.

        Neither of us would disagree that her nightmare would revolve around Chuck. I just think it would involve fears of a more personal nature.

      • atcdave says:

        I agree Thinkling it was the day they met. So many folks want to make Sarah’s growth long and gradual; Okay, maybe some of it was. But in the Pilot she was asking “what about his family? what about his job?” She saw Chuck as a man and a person immediately. It was more revolution than evolution. A sudden new way of looking at things for Sarah Walker (well that, and I think she had more humanity and idealism in her at the very start than say Casey or Carina).

        I think what I’m getting at is Sarah was special in a way that caused her to respond to Chuck from the very start.

      • thinkling says:

        Sarah was special in a way that caused her to respond to Chuck from the very start.

        No doubt about it Dave.

    • Waverly says:

      I don’t think Sarah’s afraid of being alone — she’s been alone since high school.

      She might be afraid of losing her “home”: Chuck & family. Although she hasn’t been afraid of losing her job/profession when Chuck was involved, I suspect that would actually rank relatively high on the list of fears. What else would she do?

      I’ll speculate that Casey’s fears boil down to loss of duty and the sense of direction it gives. We don’t know what happened the first time, but the second time I wondered if he was going to change his primary duties/allegiances to the Buy More.

      Of course their nightmares will just be whatever is funniest for us viewers. (I suppose Chuck’s nightmare in 3D was kind of an exception.)

      • joe says:

        Great points, Waverly. You might be right on the money with Sarah. She might be afraid of losing her “home” (and she said that Chuck has always been her home, hasn’t she!).

        I think Casey might be afraid of losing his team! He already lost his job once, but he’s a commander. His first duty has always been to those he’s led and partnered with.

        It’s hard to decide if Chuck has no fears or if he fears everything equally. Well, his fears of losing Ellie, Morgan and Awesome have been as great as his fear of losing Sarah. At least he still believes she can do anything.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Sometimes she doesn’t even mind so much if he goes rogue, as long as she gets to go, too.”

      Why did my mind go straight to the gutter when I read the comment.

      I wonder if Casey’s biggest fear wouldn’t be losing his honor. All of Casey’s actions are pretty well dictated by his own moral code, especially so since he met Chuck. There was a bit of a glimpse at this in Tic-Tac, but his actions there were to save his family.

    • ChuckNewbie8 says:

      Greatest fear? All kidding aside I think if you were to seriously examine that which is their greatest fears you’d only have to look back at S3.

      Ironically, the same goes for us viewers as well.

    • JC says:

      I think MEB will represent Chuck and Sarah’s greatest fears.

      For Sarah MEB had everything that she wants. A loving normal family and she gave it up. Would she do the same to Chuck? Also I think some part of Sarah thinks she isn’t good enough or deserves a life with Chuck.

      And for Chuck would Sarah abandon him like his mother did his father. Is he following in his father’s footsteps?

      • atcdave says:

        It will be interesting to see how much of that they actually address. I could imagine everything superficially fine but a lot of worries stewing beneath. I hope they don’t leave it that dark, and they did say the show would be lighter this year; but the potential for deep angst is there.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        @Dave – IMHO, there’s a fine line between ‘dark’ and ‘depressing’. When/if they do intend to go dark later on in the season – it would be good if the going gets dark dark and not depressing dark. Let’s say a sense of impending doom but not gloom.

      • atcdave says:

        I know we throw the word dark around a lot, I think it means different things at different times. I’m fine with dark in the sense of scary situations and bad guys; and the natural sort of concerns that will come with two damaged people in a dangerous lifestyle.
        But if say the characters become preoccupied with their problems or give up believing in each other it crosses the line into stuff I don’t need to see (like much of S3).
        Is that sort of the difference you were thinking between dark and depressing?

      • JC says:

        Just to contradict myself, the TPTB might not explore any of those issues. Like the much speculated Sarah and Ellie talk, what the fans see as important the TPTB don’t.

        They have tendency to gloss over really important issues and create ones that didn’t seem to exist before. I’m curious to see what they go into moving forward.

      • atcdave says:

        Its funny JC, they’ve set up a lot of potentially interesting situations that have never gone anywhere. Among the things I love about fan fiction is seeing how many writers really want to explore things that the show has never made time for. The Sarah/Ellie friendship (or even rivalry) is high on that list. Just like a “secret” romance, Sarah dealing with a kill order, and Chuck and Sarah going off the grid for a prolonged period of time. Obviously that last one would have been impossible to do without radically restructuring the show; but the others all make me a little sad they were never done justice. There were so many more fun things they could have done with S3 than what we got!

      • JC says:

        You know I think that leads to a lot of fan frustration. They set up all these things and then sweep them under the rug.

        As for S3 well even though it was supposedly about Chuck and Sarah it never felt like it. For me it would’ve been more satisfying for them to question who they were in love with. Was Sarah in love with the man or the idea of what Chuck represented. And Chuck did he fall for the real Sarah(Sam) or the persona she created for her assignment. Those issues still hang over the relationship in my mind.

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        You know I watched Cubic Z again last night with the young fellow and the two Sarah / Casey scenes really stood out. They were really really good. Sarah talks – Casey begrudgingly listens and offers the odd snooty remark (he is Casey after all).

        We could have used more Sarah / Casey scenes last season when trying to understand Sarah’s supposed journey. The Shaw thing truly did suck at making Sarah’s plight believable and only made it confusing and wide open to varying intepretations.

        The handful of Sarah / Casey scenes this season have done more to show Sarah’s growth than the 402 episodes (yes it seemed that long) in which she was tied to Shaw’s hip.

        All the Sarah / Casey scenes have gotten the point they were trying to make across, with little or no interpretation necessary. Nice.

      • atcdave says:

        I think we all would have been happier if Sarah’s issues and concerns had been explored through her friendship with Casey; instead of the dreadful Sham they rammed down our throats. It would have even been better had she turned to Shaw as a colleague instead of a romantic interest; but Casey would have been the best way to go.

        As it was, we never saw growth as much as a sad lonely character adrift, being used by her boss. Way to creepy for a show that still calls itself a comedy first.

    • herder says:

      Great question Gringo, for Chuck I think his greatest fear could be either going back to being a loser who works at the Buy More or letting down those who love him. How many times have we seen Chuck being extreemly uncomfortable trying to explain how he did nothing for five years after Stanford. On the other hand he doesn’t want to let down anyone (perhaps because he has been let down himself so many times: parents, Bryce, Jill ect.)even leaving Sarah it was to live up to the person she taught him he could be.

      Sarah’s greatest fear, I think is to have trusted someone and then have them let her down (her father, Bryce and yes Chuck). That is why she has made herself so self reliant and why trusting Chuck with herself is so hard. An alternative way of putting this is that she fears letting down others the way that she herself has been let down. This may account for some of last season’s arc, as poorly shown as it was.

      Casey’s greatest fear is much harder, perhaps the thought that the sacrifices he has made for what he thinks is right aren’t worth what it has cost him. The thought that the price that he as well as his fiancee Kathleen and Alex have paid aren’t justified by what he has accomplished.

      The strange thing is, as Faith has pointed out, that all these themes to a greater or lesser extent were canvassed in season three, just not terribly clearly. Perhaps with some sharper writing (and some even shaper editing of certain scenes and themes) season three could have been the epic that we were promised.

  8. rac2873 says:

    Just to put the spilt up/break up issue to bed.

    From the 17/24 Sep EW issue.

    The headline news? Chuck’s spy mama is Sarah Connor – a.k.a. Linda
    Hamilton, who plays Mary Bartowski. “The heart of the season is Chuck’s
    search for his mom.” says exec producer Chris Fedak, “and what that means
    for his relationship with Sarah.” And let there be no mistake, Chuck and
    Sarah will be in a relationship this season. All season. “We explored
    every possible obstacle between them in S1-3,” notes exec producer Josh
    Schwartz. “Our audience was ready for them to be together.”. Chuck’s
    sister, Ellie, will be expecting a mini Awesome with husband Devon; romance
    will blossom between Morgan and Casey’s new found daughter, Alex; and one of
    the show’s landmarks will be no more. “The yogurt shop is gone,” says
    Fedak, who hedged when asked if it’ll be replaced by longtime sponsor/savior
    Subway. “That TBD-very TBD.”

    • atcdave says:

      “we explored every possible obstacle between them in S1-3”. Talk about understatement!

      • thinkling says:

        Sounds like what Fedek told Sepinwall at the very end of s3: Chuck and Sarah are together, and we’re really excited to see them together and be a couple. That internal angst, I think we’ve played it out. It’s been well explored. I’m much more interested to see what happens to them as a couple, their relationship.

        I like the consistency of the theme. I also don’t attach too much importance to the phrase this season. Some people interpret that to mean they will yank the C/S rug out from under us in season 5. I just think there’s no going back at this point, and I don’t think even they want to go back. It would be certain Chuckicide, and death would be instantaneous.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah, I think they get that now.

        I’m on record as saying I believe their intent all along was to have them together in S4; but I wish they’d listened when we tried to talk them out of that horrible S3, I’ll always be convinced we’d have 2 million more viewers now if they hadn’t squandered fan goodwill last year.

      • Paul says:

        Well Dave, there are some pretty heavy hints were they are going with the relationship this season already.

        They alluded to Chuck being a 5 season arc. Now, that is always malleable depedning on what TPTB want to do with the show. But I am wondering if we are closer to the end of the CHuck story than the beginning.

      • atcdave says:

        Paul we may be nearing the end of the planned overarching story. But these things are always flexible in television. They may have had a five year plan from the start, but Zach and Yvonne were signed to six year contracts.

        I think the basic format of Chuck could be carried on indefinitely if that were a wise business decision. It may become more like a super powered Hart to Hart over time; or morph in some other way we can’t foresee, but the show will continue as long as someone will pay to keep it in production (and enough of the cast can be hired to keep it going). I could easily see Schwartz and/or Fedak being bought out in a couple seasons, or some of the supporting cast moving on. I only hope they have the sense to end the show if they can’t retain both Zach AND Yvonne.

      • joe says:

        That’s a good point, Dave.

        I’m not sure that they could last without Adam or Josh, too. Oh, the characters could leave, but not the actors! From my distant perspective it really seems like these people like each other and keep each other happy.

        There’s a lot of shows – M*A*S*H comes to mind – where conditions on the set were just awful, the cast fought with the writers and the writers fought with the producers. When cast members left it was because they didn’t need the show (Wayne Rogers) or wanted to not be clowns (Larry Linville and McLean Stevenson). Somehow “they” found a way to make it last years longer, but it couldn’t have been easy.

        Statements like what I saw quoted from Linda Hamilton seem to say that the atmosphere there is great (for Hollywood). All credits given to Zac and Josh in particular, they say. Honestly, I think that kind of thing has to come from the top. It may be that Josh Schwartz’s greatest contribution to the show is enabling them to have a good time. If so, it wouldn’t be a minor thing!

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah Joe that’s huge. I may have oversimplified some. Of course Adam may be someone they can’t do without either; and camaraderie on set, working conditions, and even outside opportunities all play a role in keeping things going. I mainly meant that the original purpose or story arc is not the prime determinant (possibly not even A prime determinant) in the longevity of the show. Ratings holding up is probably the main thing, other issues in decreasing importance; but in the end, as long as someone controlling the money wants to keep the show going, there is a good chance a way will be found to do so.

        I’ve actually become quite cynical about so called “artistic issues” in serial television. So many shows have wrapped up early (or, shudder, cut off abruptly) because ratings slipped. Or even continued on for many seasons after the original arch was done. Joe loves mentioning MASH as an example of a show that kept going (longer than the war it was nominally about). I’d add Magnum PI, was meant to end with the death of Thomas Magnum, only to get another season; shockingly the previous finale was re-edited and the character was only seriously injured (Okay, the last season was pretty weak, but at least the ending was a little more upbeat). Or Stargate:SG-1, the main villain was defeated after S3 (Apophos). The show was renewed so a new enemy was introduced (the system lords) and destroyed at the end of S8. The show was renewed again. A new enemy was introduced (the Ori), and the show was cancelled at S10 with no resolution, oops. A made for video movie later and that problem was fixed.
        Or my favorite, Sledge Hammer. The show had lousy ratings and was sure to get canceled at S1; so the head writer had Sledge accidentally set off a nuclear bomb with the whole cast present. Then, in a very Chuck like move the network renewed the show. So S2 simply started with the words “two years previously.” Funniest escape from Armagedon ever!

        Wow! this all started with you Paul! You know I never mean to be rude. I’m just trying to make a point that a show can be continued long after an initial outline is complete. So don’t assume MEB being found or Chuck and Sarah getting married is any reflection on how much more Chuck there is to enjoy.

      • Paul says:

        I brought this up for a couple of reasons:

        1) Chuck is perennially on the bubble. We never know if this is going to be the last season. I would hate for the show to end if there was more stoty that was meant to be told.

        but…

        2) I have always gotten the feeling that Chuck was sort of like a novel or novel series. There is a definate beginning to the story and a definate ending to it. You could always keep it going indefinately, but is that really good for the overall story to be told?

      • atcdave says:

        I don’t really see any mandatory end point for Chuck. Its not like, they got off the island, now what. Chuck (and Sarah) can easily have a CIA career lasting 25 years that could be fun every step of the way. Of course at some point people burn out; but Gunsmoke ran 19 years before they threw in the towel.
        I don’t believe there is any over-riding issue that would require termination any earlier. Writers, producers, even most of the cast could turn over several times. I seriously think as long and ratings hold up, and Zach and Yvonne are game, the show can run indefinitely.
        Obviously the ratings aren’t holding up that well. We’ll be lucky for every season we get. But apart from whatever “vision” Schwedak may have I see no automatic end point.

    • Waverly says:

      Does “mini Awesome” imply that the baby is a boy?

      • atcdave says:

        Are you suggesting girls can’t be awesome? You’re living dangerously!

      • michael says:

        I can’t recall whether I read it here or elsewhere – a comment from Joss Whedon regarding the possibility of a “Serenity 2” and the disappointment he felt in the fact that by giving answers to some of the big questions in Serenity, the doors were closed on all those scenes that could have developed the big questions (or something like that). Maybe that’s an argument against TV with a five year plan when the leash is as short as it seems to be.

  9. ChuckNewbie8 says:

    Apparently there was a promo during the ND game today. One of Sarah in the bikini.

    • joe says:

      The first rule of Fight Club advertising: Know thy audience!

      That one can’t hurt! 😉

    • atcdave says:

      Yeah seriously, all sexism aside; you know that’s the smart move!

      • amyabn says:

        They really need to show off all the assets. They already put too much of Yvonne on display (sorry, guys, it get it, but come on!) to waste it by not advertising it.
        I still crack up at Morgan telling Chuck he needs to hit the pec deck. I wonder if Zach is lifting weights a bit. Gotta stay in shape now that he’s got the girl and all that.

        I’m also surprised that they don’t show more of the gun fights or fist fights. That would appeal to the preferred demo.

  10. herder says:

    If I had to chose a one word synopsis for season four, I think it would be “real”. For seasons one two and three you have chosen poignant, desperate and bitter, now Chuck and Sarah are facing the consequences of acheiving their hearts’ desire. What do you do when your dreams come true, how do you mix what you desperately want with what you already have and combine what you want with what you are.

    Anniversary dealt with how you mix the demands of a relationship with the demand of your job and the obligations of your day to day living. Suitcase was about how do you let go of the things you hold on to in order to live your life to allow the new life that you have chosen to live with someone else. Cubic Z dealt with the implications of what you have chosen, marriage and children with who you have been, who you are and who you will be if you follow the path that you have chosen.

    In short, how do you merge real life with what you have decided you really want. It’s not easy and there are unexpected comprimises and challenges but in the end the result is worth the accomodation. Life is real, season four is about what real means for these characters.

    • ChuckNewbie8 says:

      I really like how you put that Herder.

      Heather said “so when did you two start dating for real?” in Cubic-Z. Sarah said something along those lines as well at the end of her speech in Suitcase: “I’ve never had a real home, I wanted this to be one.”

      While I still like my own word: intimacy I think this concept of “real” is equally powerful. From the beginning the question of what is real and what is fake has always been something that’s come between them, but now it’s the thing that keeps them together. What they have is real, and on some level it always was 😀

      • herder says:

        It’s not entirely original, at the end of Colonel Chuck says it feels real, Sarah says it is real. I think that this season is an exploration of that theme that was dropped at the end of that episode.

        This far the compromises have been on Sarah’s part, perhaps making up for the way that she was written last year. I think that Chuck’s compromises and hard choices come to the fore when Mama B shows up. Who does your primary loyalty lie with, the family you were born with or the family you make, and how do you balance the competeing demands of the two.

        Of course I am aware of the irony of the fact that I chose as the theme/feeling of the show this year as “real” when the subject matter of the show is a guy with a computer in his brain.

      • thinkling says:

        It’s part of the magic of Chuck … that through this absurdly “unreal” premise they have portrayed such “real” characters that cause us to care about them and to reflect on real life. There are other shows whose premises are more real, but whose characters are less real and less compelling.

      • atcdave says:

        I think that’s often the appeal in sci-fi and fantasy; putting very human characters in amazing and unreal situations. Even if your very human characters are Hobbits…

      • thinkling says:

        Excellent point, Dave. Perhaps fantasy is sometimes a better backdrop than reality to showcase human character and struggle. Tolkien and Lewis certainly though so.

    • thinkling says:

      Good word, Herder. One of the things I have enjoyed the most in s4 is seeing the difference “real” makes … especially where Sarah is concerned. Chuck was never any good at “fake,” so he’s not that different in the relationship realm. But Sarah, now that’s a different story. I really like “real.”

      The other thing you said that I like is … the implications of what you have chosen, marriage and children … Marriage and children is not a shocking revelation. Chuck and Sarah have both voiced what normal life means. Sarah has chosen this. Knowing that you’ve chosen it is fine as long as it remains a distant possibility. Facing it as a present consideration is still a little scary.

    • joe says:

      You make a great argument, Herder! And I too like the way you put it!

    • Paul says:

      Very nice analysis Herder. I would also say that a theme in S4 is “growing up”. For the most part of the series, the main characters have been in a state of prolonged adolesence. They may enjoy some of the privilages of adulthood, but none of them (barring Ellie and Awesome, who have always been the standard bearers for what is “normal”) had to deal with the responsiblities or realities. Going with the gender reversal thing, Sarah is very much like a post-college guy who is enjoying the fast life, but suddenly finds herself facing the end of that life and having to come down to the earth with the rest of us. And looking that life altering moment square in the eye is beyond scary for some.

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