Creature Fear: A Quick POV

As painful as it is to admit, life is often full of no-win situations and times when your fears are realized like never before.  These were some of the themes that TPTB sought to explore in the later season 3 episodes like Tic Tac or Final Exam and Other Guy.  They did so with mixed success.  Last night once again I thought to myself that this is what they needed in season 3.  The conflict was organic to the story, the fears real and realistically portrayed by characters whose actions and motivations were clear and known and in character.  I’ve said that to myself many times this season, but last night I felt season 4 finally quit repairing season 3 damage and took off on the maiden episode of its own story.  And what a story we got last night.  After the jump.

Meet Mama B.  She is, as was hinted at, bad ass.  She is, as hinted, what Sarah could still become.  And she is Chuck’s worst nightmare.  Mary Bartowski is the embodiment of how the spy life tears people away and traps them, sucking out what was vital and joyous about them, leaving only regrets and a sense the game needs to be played to the end for what is left of life to have any meaning.  The only truly meaningful things are what you left behind to protect.  We’re still not sure of Mary’s endgame, but perhaps just a part of her needing to see the meaning of her life one last time is playing into it at some level.

Linda Hamilton was superb.  In fact the whole cast is back to firing on all cylinders (aside from Yvonne’s flubbed line at the beginning, but that’s more of an error of direction or editing that they didn’t get a good take into the final cut).  The meeting at the park was a spectacular scene.  Note the initial hostility from Mary towards Sarah, both as the younger and more beautiful spy and (if as she claims she knows everything about Carmichael) she must know, or at least suspect the only woman who Chuck fully trusts and confides in.  Chuck’s introductions are great.  The haughty flip of her hair from Sarah as if to say “that’s right, he’s mine now”, not full lioness mode, but close.  Note Mary’s quick appraisal and once over of Sarah.  We can only speculate what her thoughts are at this point, but I like to think it’s along the lines of seeing herself, realizing that men really do mary their mothers.

So we are set for a helluva ride, but before I start off I want to restate one of my basic principles for watching and dissecting an episode.  Don’t forget, we see more than any single character, so before we judge a character’s actions, put yourself in that character’s shoes.

Chuck gets people.  He can understand what isn’t on the surface, but is perhaps the motivating force.  I like to think the most basic example is Sarah.  She wants to do the right thing and be good, and he gets that, and loves that about her.  He can tap into a very deep part of who a person is, empathize with that, and bring it out.  It may be a part that the person doesn’t even know they have, and that can burn Chuck in the short-term, because sometimes they aren’t quite as sure as Chuck about who they are or what they want.  He also sees how people can rise to the challenge.  He’s been disappointed by people, most notably mom and dad, but he’s seen people go to great lengths to overcome those disappointments.  Ellie, Morgan.  At his core Chuck believes in people, and their ability to change and surprise you. Sadly it seems he’s losing a bit of that.

Sarah reads people.  She got that talent from her dad.  She may have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to Chuck, but mostly because she reads him, who he is, what he does, what he seems to want.  She doesn’t always get him, who he wants to be, what he can do, what he really desires and so she is constantly amazed by him.  But she sees him as uniquely amazing and doesn’t really get that other people can surprise you too.  Her life isn’t one of being happily surprised by people.

One other thing to remember going forward, if that shot seems overly dramatic for such a simple act, it isn’t.

So Chuck and Sarah are on the same page, Mary is giving them an opportunity to get a deadly weapon off the street, but every instinct Sarah has is screaming deceit.  She goes with Chuck, she needs to at this point, but the looks between she and Casey are telling.  He knows and she knows they are taking a huge risk.  They’re more familiar with what the spy life can do to a person, and Mary’s plausible, yet paper-thin story holds little sway with them.  Sarah looks ashamed when Casey casts that suspicious gaze at her, but he’s willing to let his partner have some slack.  Bartowski more than Walker.  She should know better.

But slack is a curious thing.  How much you cut depends on what you know versus what someone else knows, and what you think you know.  There are the known knowns, the known unknowns, and the unknown unknowns.  The last will definitely bite you the hardest.

So Chuck is the buyer for a deadly chemical weapon.  He goes prepared, and it is amazing to see Chuck put on a persona.  The confident Carmichael is more Bond than Bond lately.  Oh, and as an aside, after Chuck asking about getting one of those outfits for home, exactly what was going on in the monitor over Casey’s shoulder at about 14:45 (on Hulu).  It looks Like Sarah is sitting on his lap?!   OK, I digress, I tend to dissect a lot.  Where oh where is my iTunes release?  Guys, you want to sell it that they have a great (ahem) romantic connection, two words, Weinerliscious outfit.

So, the meet.  Chuck cool calm and confident.  A very Terminatorish moment when Mary’s boot hits pavement, and then the drama of Mary laying her hand on Chuck’s shoulder!!!  Why the climax?  It is critical.  She’s checking him for a vest.

This is a brilliantly constructed scene.  Mary is the consummate spy.  Everyone’s reactions will be genuine, Chuck will be safe, Volkof will see everything, until she shoots the camera.  A seemingly insignificant detail, yet oh so critical to her plan.  This script is tight.  Which makes the stupid stick to come so much worse.  But back to my point, Chuck has seen part, Casey has seen part, Sarah has seen part, we’ve seen it all.  Context to follow.

So aside from that Mr. Bartowski, how was lunch?

Little things matter if you want to see the story rather than the plot.  To both Chuck and Sarah Mary showed up to kill Chuck, because she missed her chance at the park when Chuck brought backup.  To Casey Chuck is being, well, Chuck, and Walker is letting her lady feelings get in the way again.  It is however a great addition to the dynamic that Casey has seemed to accept this as part of Sarah, as he’s apparently come to experience something similar.

So Chuck is taken hostage.  Chuck sees one story, his mom had to “kill” him to protect him, and gave him the weapon.  Chuck is a quick study, but he sometimes seems to forget lesser mortals minds don’t follow as quick, and he sometimes seems to forget to mention relevant information.  Chuck now understands.  That seeming affectionate rub of the shoulder, so in character for a mother, but so foreign to a spy approaching an opponent, now makes sense.  It isn’t even clear that Chuck ever clues Sarah in that the whole lunch date was because Charles Carmichael was now on Volkof’s radar as a threat.

Sarah sees another story.  Mary missed her chance, and so she sets up Chuck with someone who can manage to release a debilitating toxin with no repercussions to himself, and then escape.  So, a quick aside, then back to the story.

The stupid stick.  I hate unforced errors.  Chuck and Sarah didn’t need to be disassembling a chemical weapon for it to pose a threat.  It could be safely contained, waiting for pickup, and still pose the same threat.  In a locker or containment unit, all the sudden it activates.  There’s an explosive charge, a plexiglass cube won’t help. Emergency.  Mary knew Wheelright was immune to the toxin.  We know that.  For a consummate spy, that detail shouldn’t be trivial.

Hate to, but I’m calling sloppy, beyond the normal suspension of disbelief.  But as I’ve often said, when Chuck is full of win, we forgive a lot.

So, toxin released, Chuck’s greatest fear, he misjudged his mother, and it may cost him Sarah.  Hallucination aside, it may come to pass.

Here’s what we know.  Mama B is on Chuck’s side.  Here’s what Chuck knows, despite some surprises, his mom seems to be on his side.  This doesn’t even tap into Chuck’s ability to “get” people.  From Sarah’s POV, Chuck has let his desire to get to know his mother get him into three traps.  Griffin Park, where she was able to thwart the plan by having Sarah as backup.  The Lunch Date, where Chuck’s fortunate wearing of a vest saved his life, and the docks, where approaching agents aside, the whole purpose may have been to get a weapon into Castle.  And then Mary proposes another meeting.

Are you getting my gist.  All the sudden Casey doesn’t seem unreasonable.  Mary wants Chuck to meet again.  Chuck isn’t seeing this.  Call Chuck?  Insane.  Even if he can think like a spy about his mother, that leaves him in the position of burning his mother.  Say she ignores the information she has and lets her go…Chuck’s mother, one of the most wanted women on the planet, goes back underground.  How many lives has she forfeited for her loyalty to Chuck.  Protect Chuck, or confide in and trust Chuck, when everything you see screams that will lead to his demise?

Well, there’s a dilemma.

So Sarah does what needs to be done, based on what she knows.  There is a deadly woman, who sows mayhem in the world, and who seems bent on killing the most precious man in her life, and he doesn’t see it.  And he’s admitted he can’t see it.  And he’s asked you, the one person he trusts, to see it for him.  Then he sets up yet another meeting.  And you aren’t invited.

So when your trusted spy partner professional tells you that your beloved’s instincts may be wrong.  The same beloved who seems to have walked into three traps in a row, going for four…what do you do?

Drama?  Angst?  Romance?  They did it right.  More thoughts to come.

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About Ernie Davis

I was born in 1998, the illegitimate brain child and pen name of a surly and reclusive misanthrope with a penchant for anonymity. My offline alter ego is a convicted bibliophile and causes rampant pognophobia whenever he goes out in public. He wants to be James Lileks when he grows up or Dave Barry if he doesn’t.  His hobbies are mopery, curling and watching and writing about Chuck.  Obsessively.  Really, the dude needs serious help.
This entry was posted in Analysis, Observations, Season 4. Bookmark the permalink.

237 Responses to Creature Fear: A Quick POV

  1. thinkling says:

    Outstanding analysis, Ernie

    • thinkling says:

      I agree with everything you’ve said. You set up the dilemma perfectly … very well explained.

      BTW, nice Lincoln reference.

  2. atcdave says:

    Thanks Ernie, excellent write up. I think this episode has already spawned as much good writing and thought as the rest of the season combined. Now you know me, I’m happy to just have fun with the show; but it was so pleasing to me to see angst and tension used in ways that are fitting for a spy story. I still hope the main tension is relieved next week, I just don’t watch shows that ramp up the angst week after week; but as long as the story moves along I’m all in. A well crafted story is fun.

  3. herder says:

    Excellent article Ernie, the differing points of view wasn’t something that I had thought about (but then again it was the beer bash episode so critical thinking might have been at a lower level than normal) but it does make sense out of the decisions by various characters.

    I also especially agree with the notion that the first four or five episodes were a repair of season 3 and that this is the real start of the season 4 story. It has the potential to be a great one, themes like why shouldn’t spies fall in love, how do you balance spy life and family life (with Mama B as exhibit #1 of how not to do it) and when should you turn off the personal and become a professional.

    Personally I think that Sarah’s comment from Operation Awesome about personal feelings being important because you know what you stand to lose will play a prominent role this season too.

    Here Casey is pretty much all professional, Sarah lets the personal dictate the professional initially and then overcompensates in the other direction and Chuck makes the personal his professional guide. Of course all actions have consequences, next week is how those consequences play out.

    Loved the thought put into this and to answer your question, Sarah is kneeling beside Chuck’s table (she has her hand on the back of the chair that the mad Dr later sits on) on the monitor after Casey tells them that adults are listening.

  4. JC says:

    Maybe I missed something since I’ve only watched the episode once but was it implied that Sarah thought that Wheelwright was a Trojan Horse by MEB?

    Here’s my problem with the blind spot excuse. Chuck showed throughout the episode that he was hesitant about MEB. He says it during the meeting in the park. After the shooting he just doesn’t believe his mother right off the bat, she has to plead her case. Was he more open to it because it was his mother of course. But Chuck is a forgiving guy, that’s part of who he is and it isn’t a blind spot.

    My other problem is with Sarah’s plan. If she truly thought he was in danger why not warn him? If it was just Chuck by himself I could understand it but he had Ellie with him. Both Sarah and the audience know that other her there’s one person he would do anything to protect and that’s his sister. Whatever he believed about his mother he wouldn’t take any chance with Ellie’s safety/

    I get your point about not wanting him to have to arrest his mother but what’s worse. Watching her get kidnapped possibly by Volkoff to be killed, thinking she lied and disappeared again or arresting her. From his POV did Sarah plan to make MEB disappear and never mention it? That was my first thought to be honest, that Sarah planned to keep what happened from him.

    Then’s there’s the fact that Chuck could have easily flashed in attempt to protect his mother. And if he got MEB loose we know she doesn’t have a problem shooting people. She put everyone including herself and Chuck in danger.

    • atcdave says:

      Sarah does have much to apologize for in her handling of the arrest, but I do not believe she would have disappeared Mary. She has faithfully practiced and advocated full disclosure with Chuck for 12 episodes since they’ve been together. I would take it as a given she would have clued Chuck in as soon as she was satisfied the situation was contained. Of course, sending Chuck a simple text about the situation would have been sensible and expedient. I do buy the blind spot argument, and I think its obvious Sarah believes it too. It will be interesting to me, in the fight that comes, how much they come to accept each others viewpoints.

      • JC says:

        I don’t know if they’ll even touch the issue of whether Sarah was going to tell Chuck or not. But like I said that’s what was going through my head. That whole scene has a ton issues that will probably never been addressed.

        I guess my problem is that his blind spot is just Chuck trying to see the best in people. And that’s just who he is. Its not specific to his mother, in fact I think he was less trusting of her than anyone else we’ve seen on the show. That’s what bothers me, Sarah saw that he just didn’t blindly trust his mom. And by not telling him she showed her lack of trust in Chuck. Its not what she did but how she did it.

        The funniest part about the whole thing is MEB showed more trust and faith when it comes to Chuck being a spy than anyone else. Compare her reactions to that of Ellie, Orion and Sarah. She’s one proud mom.

        And since I didn’t mention it before great post Ernie.

      • thinkling says:

        1. Chuck was not supposed to witness the nab. Once back at Castle with MEB in tow, Sarah would have called Chuck or texted Castle ASAP … your mom. No, I can’t prove it, but I’m as sure of that as I am of anything.

        2. If Sarah allows Chuck his dinner with his mom, which is what her heart desperately wants to do, she risks his safety and Ellie’s safety (not to mention the spy ramifications). Before she even tells Casey what she knows, she is feeling Chuck’s devastation. But better that than risking his safety. Talk about your catch 22. So she absorbs the pain and does the right thing.

        3. MEB does have respect for Carmichael. (I’d love to know more about her Carmichael/Chuck thoughts.) However, to be fair, there are a few caveats. First, she has never seen the Chuck half of the equation. She knows nothing of the real man he has become. She only knows his spy dossier, and that’s all she can respond to. Second, she doesn’t entrust the mission to him. She is in control. Chuck and Sarah are just window dressing for her mission. She uses them, withholds information from them, and then shoots Chuck for his own good. So, I don’t see her placing all that much trust in him as a great spy … yet. I do think she will come to trust both Chuck and Sarah as spies and allies, sooner rather than later, then later on as family. This is Chuck.

      • weaselone says:

        Regarding 2)

        Although you’re correct about Sarah in regards to permitting the meeting to go down before capturing Mama B, it doesn’t excuse her failure to warn Chuck. If Sarah believed Mama B was a threat to Chuck’s safety, she should have called and warned him. Sarah could not have known at the time of her and Casey’s discussion that she would beat Mama B to the restaurant. By not phoning him, she left Chuck to operate clueless as to the continuing rogue status of his mother.

      • MichaelCarmichael says:

        I wonder if Sarah pondered sending him a text and then decided against it. Personal experience – she knew that Beckman was sending the police to her apartment at 5 pm to pick up her father, and she dispatched him for rocky road at 4:55. Similarly, she may know (or may have suspicions) that Chuck let Jill go at the end of First Kill.

      • thinkling says:

        Valid point about giving Chuck a heads-up. Here’s my take on that.

        I assumed Sarah had a clue about the time of the meeting and was, therefore, sure about her timing. Informing Chuck would have burdened him with the same dilemma she has just faced: let Mom go and risk wrath and who knows what if GB finds out; or burn Mom and hate myself. I think it was a calculated mercy on her part, not informing him. She is shielding him from as much of the pain as possible.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Sarah could also have shared with Chuck in the beginning, about Casey’s suspicions about Mama B and his plan to obtain the “expunged” records . IMHO, the secret keeping started from right there – not when she found out about Mama B and the abandoned ISIS Project. But then,one can rationalize that she did it to protect Chuck’s “blind spot”.

      • JC says:

        1. The show has made characters say or act in ways we didn’t think possible for the sake of drama(angst) so its not out of the realm of possibility.

        2.She took the choice out of his hands. Had she shown him the evidence and he didn’t believe it that’s one thing. Or if Chuck had been unreasonable at all through the episode I would get it. But Chuck was completely level headed and rational about his mother.

        And once again were forgetting the Ellie factor. One heads up that MEB is a threat to his sister and there’s no question he arrests his mother no questions asked.

        And again her and Casey had time to plan this op. So it makes sense MEB could have had a team too. By not telling Chuck she left him blind to possible dangers not only to himself but Ellie.

      • thinkling says:

        So, was she supposed to tell Chuck that Casey might be able to track down someone, who might be able to get expunged documents, that might shed light on his mom’s story?

        At that point there wasn’t anything concrete to share. It was just a thin lead that Casey was tracking. Until the lead produced something tangible and helpful, it seemed useless to worry Chuck.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        IMHO, the main point to look out in the next episode will be – Do Chuck and Sarah have a fight over Mama B’s perceived innocence/guilt? Or do they fight over the manner in which she was arrested/abducted. That, to me feels very important

        On a professional level – Sarah and Casey had evidence that justifies their arrest of Mama B – again IMHO, Chuck should not have a huge problem with her arrest. After all there is evidence to prove that Mama B may have been lying. The problem should be about the manner in which it went down.

        Hope I am making sense with my rambling. Or are my opinions completely out of the field?

      • thinkling says:

        @JC: She took the choice out of his hands.
        Yes! Precisely. This is surfacing in my mind as a missing piece in the discussion (or maybe I missed it). The more I think about it, I can only see her actions as a mercy and kindness, rooted in her love for him.

        The files recovered, if accurate (and we still don’t know if they are), settle the question of whether or not to detain her for questioning. There is still much to sort out, but the need to detain is clear.

        What kind of cruelty would it be to put Chuck in the position of having to arrest his own mother … in front of Ellie (who doesn’t know he’s still CIA)? Whether he would man up and do it is not as important as what it would do to him and to Ellie, and even to his mother, if he did.

        This man is everything to her. What he holds dear is important to her, simply because it is important to him. She loves his capacity for trust and innocence. Bringing him in on this arrest would destroy him and shatter his family at his own hand. She could never do that to him.

        The more I think about the decision that she made, the more I feel her anguish … and the more I respect her decision.

        Sarah would have brought him in on it later. But to make him make that choice … well, that would be much colder than what she actually did.

      • JC says:

        @genie

        No I would guess that most people want to see that. I’d be disappointed if the fight was about the arrest of MEB and not about how it was done.

        I do worry though, an argument about the arrest is the easy route. The more delicate one is about how it was done, not keeping him in the loop, etc.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I get the distinct sense that we are having the very argument Chuck and Sarah are about to have, and I think that is great! This is exactly where the show needed to get. Two largely sympathetic characters, each doing what they think best based on who they are and what they know, and facing real consequences because of that.

      • thinkling says:

        @Genie: My pure guess is that it will be over the accuracy of the “evidence” vs. Chuck’s gut feeling about his mom. As Ernie laid out they have each received conflicting evidence since the shooting. Chuck’s evidence is what his mom told him, what he believes intuitively (in his heart) about her innocence. Sarah’s evidence is fact-based, concrete, but is the source reliable? Just a guess.

      • JC says:

        @Thinkling

        I have no doubt that Sarah’s heart was in the right place and she believed it was protecting Chuck.

        But she shouldn’t have taken the choice away from him. As a g/f and partner he deserved a chance to make the choice for himself. Then whatever his decision you react. If he tried to let her go, have the team come in and get her. That’s covering his back as a partner. If he arrests her, help him get through the emotional fallout as a g/f.

        Instead she went behind his back. As a spy she treated him like an asset again not a partner. And as a g/f she withheld things from him. Personally and professionally she showed a lack of trust in him.

        The sad thing is she’s following MEB path. Hurt and possibly lose the ones you love in an attempt to protect them. Watch the scene with Chuck and MEB in the car and then jump to ending. It’s quite clear that conversation could easily be about Sarah.

      • thinkling says:

        Sorry, JC, I don’t see it as a lack of trust or lack of respect. You seem to perceive Sarah as acting in a cold, calloused spy-persona. I see it in an entirely different light.

        We see it differently, but that’s what makes for interesting discussions.

        It will be interesting to see the characters reactions next week, not just Chuck and Sarah, but also Ellie and Devon. Chuck’s spy-cat will probably be out of the bag, too. Lots more drama to come.

      • JC says:

        No, I don’t see her as being cold at all. Spy like and calculating sure, but all done in the name of love. Just like MEB.

      • Paul says:

        But let’s remember this: Sarah may have changed a bunch since eps 1 season 1, but she is above all STILL a spy. One reason why she may not have let Chuck in on the arrest is because Chuck is now COMPROMISED. He is unreliable and unpredictable when it comes to his mother. IF she had told him, what’s to say that Chuck doesn’t warn Frost about it and helps her get away? And if Forst IS a bad guy, then you have one of the most wanted, and dangerous women on the planet getting away. All because you wanted to be a good g/f. That’s bad OPSEC. Again, Sarah has changed a lot, but not all that much in some things.

      • JC says:

        See Chuck might be compromised but he’s hardly unreliable or unpredictable when it comes to his mother. He was the exact opposite in this episode. Not once did he blindly trust his mother, he didn’t keep info from his partner. If Sarah and Casey had presented him with the evidence it’s likely he would have went along their plan.

    • weaselone says:

      Wait, Chuck had a cat and the cat’s a spy? Well, at least the cat’s not a bear…Or is it?

      • thinkling says:

        Well, if it is we’ll have to cut its head off.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Grizzly.

      • thinkling says:

        Thank you Weaselone and Ernie for reminding me of one of the funniest scenes ever. Side-splitting laughter in the middle of this thread is a VERY good thing. 🙂

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Agreed, Thinkling. There were some funny moments, especially between Chuck and his mom. I like the way she nearly forgot she was holding Chuck aat gunpoint as she speeds down the freeway at 100 MPH, ’cause you know, typical day at the office…

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I meant to reply to this earlier since it was one of the things that I dropped in my rush to get this out soon (while the ideas are still fresh). Chuck knows that Wainright wasn’t a Trojan horse because Wainright was determined to kill Mary for setting him up, and said it out loud in front of only Chuck.

      Sarah and Casey were initially skeptical of Mary just because she ran when the agents showed up for Chuck. Why would she need to do so? Well maybe deep cover, but after the weapon goes off and it turns out that Wainright was immune, it looks even more like a trojan horse. Neither of them heard Wainright swear revenge for Mary’s betrayal. For all they know Wainright’s capture was another setup.

      Now on the murky part. Mary knew Wainright was essentially immune to the toxin. That’s the sort of detail that’s important when you are threatening him with exposure to the toxin to disarm the bomb. I think it was just dropped. The writers didn’t consider it, but based on Mary’s attention to detail it looks sloppy on her part, or like a scheme. The problem is that Sarah could see and hear when Wainright was explaining to Chuck that he was immune to the toxin he just released on Chuck, making Wainright look like a Trojan to Sarah, but then why wouldn’t Sarah say something BEFORE Chuck went to meet his mother other than let me come along, and then meekly back off when Chuck said no.

      That’s why I thought it a somewhat confusing detail of the plot and called stupid stick. It may be clarified, but I think it’s just one of those contrivances we either live with or don’t based on how good the episode is and our own level of tolerance.

      Sorry I wasn’t clearer on that part.

  5. joe says:

    I’ll be the 4th to use the word excellent! Wow. Such great writing today!

    I may be getting ahead of the discussion a bit, but I suspect there will be some about Sarah violating their agreement and pact – no secrets, no lies. But I think you have it right, Ernie. For Sarah to call Chuck when she thinks she has the story about Frost makes little sense, especially in light of Chuck’s admission that he has that blind spot. The pact seems trivial in comparison to the danger.

    I’ve been thinking all day that the humor part of the story was nearly as good as in Couch Lock, that the spy story was not quite a tight. Perhaps the Buy More wasn’t quite so well integrated into the story line (the bar has been set pretty high, after all).

    But I absolutely love Linda Hamilton (and doesn’t she look like she’s having a good time playing the role?). Robert Englund was very well used. Sarah Lancaster was amazing!

    I came away from my viewings each time marveling at how INTENSE it was, emotionally. Personally, that’s right where I live – it hit my buttons just right.

    • PeterOinNJ says:

      The posts I’ve read so far have been wonderfully thought provoking and I’m sure there are more to follow – but I want to stop and comment on this before I move forward.
      “I suspect there will be some (teeth gnashing) about Sarah violating their agreement and pact – no secrets, no lies.”
      The natural assumption is we are referring to Sarah not telling Chuck about the move to arrest his mother. After all, that is the big climax right? And Joe your right “The pact seems trivial in comparison to the danger.”

      But that’s not it for me.

      Sarah’s secret started with Casey telling her that he knew someone that “specializes in expunged documents”. Her response,”Do you want back-up?”
      Why didn’t she tell Chuck about this? Hoping Chuck was right and this would be proof? Protecting his blind spot? All good reasons. But, still, a secret.

      I really enjoyed this episode – even with the passing of gas like vs Mask – and it hit all my buttons just right. It also left doubt, serious doubt – probably along the same lines as Chuck’s. “Why does she keep doing this?” “Because she’s a spy.”

      Who is Chuck really talking about here?

      • joe says:

        Heh! Made me laugh, Peter! 😉

        Chuck’s line was great. As comically awesome as he can be, I really enjoy Zac’s acting when he plays serious. The opening scene in Griffin Park (Can’t she say ‘good-bye’ like a normal person?), the scenes with Ellie (Because she’s a spy.) and nearly every scene with Yvonne in this episode were amazing. Zac’s created one of those characters that men want to emulate (and how you do that out of the nerd that we met in S1 is beyond me!)

        Oh – I have no doubt that Chuck was talking about Mary and Sarah with that line.

      • kg says:

        Yesterday, in response to Faith’s wonderful post I defended Sarah.

        Then today, I recall Final Exam/American Hero when she flat out tells him “I don’t believe you” when he tells her he didn’t kill the mole. For me that was worse than any flakiness or relationship with Shaw.

        Then in Tooth, long before she begs the doctor for help, she basically agrees with everyone that Chuck is nuts and lost his marbles.

    • thinkling says:

      I have no idea where to place this random thought. So here.

      One of my favorite scenes was Sarah coming out to get Chuck for dessert. She is still on a cloud from the “you’re my family … ILY” fountain scene. She is happy and cajoling, drawing Chuck into her happiness.

      If you don’t come in soon I’m going to eat yours and blame it on Morgan. How un Agent Walker.

      It’s a snapshot of happiness, innocence. Sarah gets so few of those moments, both of them, really. The happiness of that moment is now lost to the chaos that entered on the coat tails of MEB. That snapshot is what I want them to get back to: unguarded moments of love and shared happiness.

      • atcdave says:

        We’ve seen more Sarah humor so far this season than in the rest of the series. I hope we see funny Sarah again soon.

      • herder says:

        I think there is room for some funny bits between Sarah and Mama B “…are you calling me old?” “not old, just slow”. The other thing that I like about what I think is to come is that we get to see Sarah not only striving to get to Chuck but dealing with other people in order to get there, in other words, Sarah scenes where she is not with Chuck. Those scenes can be funny too “Morgan, we never talk, have a seat”.

      • thinkling says:

        Oh yeah, I think the coming arc with Chuck rogue and Sarah babysitting MamaB will be very good. I think we’ll see humor.

        And, Herder, Sarah tracking down Chuck with MEB … I can’t wait for that. Throw Chuck and Tuttle into the mix. I’m looking forward to the adventure ahead … strapping in and hanging on.

        What I was really more getting at, though, was the Bartowski state of affairs, where life is happy for them. Maybe Thanksgiving will help us come full circle to happy times in the Bartowski courtyard.

      • PeterOinNJ says:

        I’m afraid that it will be a while until we get back to that ‘happy’ state of affairs. To quote John Fogerty “I see the bad moon arising. I see trouble on the way.”
        With all of the discussion about “the rule”, the gas, MommaB etc. there is one important detail that escaped me until now.

        Beckman is going to know everything now – and she is not going to be happy. “I see earthquakes and lightnin’. I see bad times today.”

        We’ve heard rumblings about a split-up, we know that Chuck is going to get more training and according to the short synopsis for Fear of Death, needs to prove himself.(“Hope you got your things together.
        Hope you are quite prepared to die.”)

        All this leads me to believe that Beckman is going to come down hard on them and it will set the tone for the rest of the first 13.

        “Don’t go around tonight,
        Well, it’s bound to take your life,
        There’s a bad moon on the rise.”

      • atcdave says:

        Of course we’ve also heard “best Thanksgiving episode ever.” Which to me means things are back to a happy spot no later than the end of 4.10; which really isn’t so far off now.

        I would also bet things will be mended between Chuck and Sarah by the end of 4.07 or beginning of 4.08. Remember all the talk about lighter tone and learning their lesson about keeping Chuck and Sarah apart for extended periods? I think the story will be intense, but I think the team will be a team.

      • jason says:

        couple of matt barber tweets that at least imply the thanksgiving ep is 4.10:

        # 410. @ZacharyLevi directing. Go Giants!!RT @PeterOinNJ: So which episode is this dinner scene you must be editing be in? BTW, Go Giants!! about 16 hours ago via Echofon

        # Dinner scenes are all about subtext. about 17 hours ago via Echofon

      • jason says:

        wow peter, does that ‘Bad Moon’ ever fit, and yep, beckman is going to be PO’d, I thought more at sarah & casey than chuck, who knows, she might bench sarah and casey, and give chuck to a new team, hell hath no fury, someone ought to do a song with those words, someone probably has?

      • thinkling says:

        Way to talk me down, Peter 😉

        I like your trajectory, Dave. I can’t imagine the fight continuing after Sarah and Mary catch up with Chuck and Tuttle. There will still be the piper to pay with GB, but C/S will face the music together.

        I can’t imagine Thanksgiving being the best they’ve ever done or seen, unless the Bartowski clan is back to some level of happiness and what passes for normal for them.

        TPTB said not dark like s3, lighter like s2. So, I am hopeful the C/S part of the turbulence will calm next week.

  6. Robert H says:

    First of all, an excellent episode. Can’t wait to see the the “blowup” next week between Chuck and Sarah. Was bound to happen sooner or later over one issue or another, so it might as well be over “Mom”.
    There sometimes is in real life that same issue, a bond betweem mother and son that causes problems for
    the girlfriend or wife. Ring any bells folks? But
    of course not always. But it was clever for the writers to take a sometime real life problem for couples and weave it into the story. Linda Hamilton
    was excellent, a great casting choice, kudos to the
    producers. They’ve been justly roasted over the Season 3 disaster and rightly so but they should get
    credit where it’s due and earned. They did well on
    this one and appeared to have learned a great deal
    from past mistakes( I hope ).

    But I digress. Really liked your article Ernie and there is much to be said for it but may I offer a
    different interpretation, mostly about Casey and
    Sarah vs Chuck or vice versa and a sidebar on Sarah? Something bad happened in that last scene where Mama is snatched off the street and into the
    van with a hooded Sarah laying down spy law to Chuck. The expression on his face told it all and it
    spells TROUBLE not just for Chuck and Sarah’s relationship but the unit cohesion of Team Bartowski.

    Casey and Sarah are field agents who are primarily
    concerned with tactics and immediate issues, not
    grand strategy or even the long terms implications
    and consequences of what they do. Act first and ask
    questions later. Up until now this was always balanced usually by Chuck asking and demanding answers because by instinct, education, and his own
    personality/values made for a brilliant combination
    of the two approaches. It was the basic strength of
    the team and now it’s been shattered. “Trust” has been breached in a major way that will be difficult to restore. The damage may never be fully healed.
    (OK it’s TV not real life and of course it will) But
    for the sake of arguement here let’s go on.

    Why? Sarah/Casey snatched HIS MOTHER-HIS MOTHER for
    heaven’s sake and they did this WITHOUT CONSULTING
    HIM about it while his pregnant sister is waiting in
    the restaurant to see the mother whom she needs to
    see,now, at this critical time in her life, who has
    been absent from her life for 29 years, in addition
    to having to deal with a meddling mother in law at home, her husband can’t stand up to.

    Oh yes, Casey and Sarah acted like spies all right.
    They treated Chuck like they did in the beginning of
    their relationship with him. ” You’re not competent
    Chuck. Stay in the car, Chuck. We’ll deal with the
    issues. Stay out of the way, Chuck.” Chuck didn’t go
    along with the program then. Three years later do you think he’ll tolerate that now?

    For you see Casey and Sarah not only breached the
    trust in their team, they also did something Chuck
    will never tolerate, they directly, without consulting him, attacked his mother and indirectly
    hurt his sister when he had to tell her Mom wasn’t
    showing up for their meeting. I’ve never seen Chuck
    looking so grim. He looked like a man betrayed by the people he put absolute trust in, including the
    woman he loves. Now what does he do? How does he react here?

    Of course Casey and Sarah don’t realize the long term consequences here. They only saw the short term
    security issues which were real enough. But Chuck
    saw them, too, and had expressed doubts about his
    mother’s real agenda all along and had confided his
    doubts to Sarah several times, even to the point of
    calling off his search for Mom because he thought he
    might be unncessarily endangering people, namely, his team, not to mention Sarah, and this is how he is repaid for his loyalty to them, to her?

    The bottom line here is that Casey/Sarah still don’t
    really believe in Chuck’s credibility as an agent.
    They don’t really consider him as an “equal” agent
    on the team. They acted in a total condescending,
    patronizing, even arrogant way and the price they pay will be high, especially for Sarah. They
    did what they liked and now they are going to have to like what they have done. The long term emotional
    damage wrought here will far outweigh any short term
    security issues which could have been handled had they only consulted with Chuck first before acting.
    Something could have been worked out but they didn’t
    trust Chuck professionally enough (or personally enough) to do that-with devasting consequences.

    After all how would Sarah had felt if Chuck made arrangements to snatch her father without consulting
    her first, or Casey if his daughter had been taken
    without advising him? They both would have been
    furious and rightly so. The hypocrisy of what they
    did amazes me but I must admit it’s one helluva story line. They snatched his mother!!!!!

    And now the sidebar about Sarah and what this might mean for her personally and her future? with Chuck.

    Sarah’s part in this episode is very interesting. She and Mama take an immediate dislike to each other
    (as to be expected) for reasons other than being
    professional enemies. She sees Mom as a “blind spot”
    to Chuck and therefore a threat. Mom sees Sarah as the wily spy trying to seduce and take away her boy
    (she is his mother after all) even if she has been
    away from “her boy” for 29 years. She also probably
    sees a bit of her younger self in Sarah which of course only inflames the situation.

    But what is Sarah’s real motivation here? She claims
    Mama is a real security threat and she is acting in
    Chuck’s best interest by “protecting” him from his
    blind spot. Oh really? Or doe she want Mama out of the way for another reason, perhaps a subconscious
    one? Mama is a threat to her personally, to her relationship with Chuck. Maybe she doesn’t want Mom
    as competition for Chuck’s affections. The “security
    threat” backed up by Casey, is a convenient means to
    get Mom out the way. It’s bad enough Ellie is hostile to her but to have Mama against her too? So
    Sarah does what she does naturally by training and
    instinct. She reduces the odds against her by getting Mama out of the way while keeping Ellie at
    bay with her emotional,not to mention sexual hold on
    Chuck. A possible dark motive here but an entirely
    real and human one. She is banking all of her emotional resources, her heart if you will, on a future with Chuck. Why shouldn’t she feel threatened
    emotionally here?

    Lastly where does all of this leave Chuck? Just when
    he thinks it is going to all work out, it blows up in his face. He has to reevaluate everything now.
    Who can he really trust anymore? Looks like it may
    come down to Morgan and his sister-maybe but then
    again maybe not. It may well be that he will come to
    realize (if hasn’t already) that trust and innocence
    are liabilities in the spy world. There are no friends-only allies and enemies whose agendas and
    loyalties can change instantly including the woman
    he thought he loved. His own father said as much to
    him before he died. I wonder if he is remembering that now, only time will tell……

    Postscript: I offer this only as a separate analysis
    not necessarily what I really think but
    had a great deal of fun writing. It’s not
    meant to be taken literally. After all
    Chuck is just a television show not to
    be taken seriously but one that I enjoy
    watching even though the characters are
    fictional, not real people. Looking with
    interest on any comments to follow,
    thanks.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      You know I think they did a good job establishing Sarah as having some selfish motives in how she sees Mama B with that first face off. I’m not sure I agree with everything you say, I think Sarah just wants to keep being part of Chuck’s family and sees Mary as disruptive to all of the family. She does after all fear change.

    • Faith says:

      Postscript: I offer this only as a separate analysis
      not necessarily what I really think but
      had a great deal of fun writing. It’s not
      meant to be taken literally. After all
      Chuck is just a television show not to
      be taken seriously but one that I enjoy
      watching even though the characters are
      fictional, not real people. Looking with
      interest on any comments to follow,
      thanks.

      LOL. Seriously, I’m constantly met with this disclaimer/idea…well at least this week. To me that doesn’t even need to be said.

      Having said that though, the fun of a. a blog is to do what it is we do and b. Chuck deserves such analysis. I can’t say the same for much of S3 (though I tried ;-)) but S4 is different.

      And Ugh, you’ve just reminded my my nemesis dialogue of the Chuck and Sarah relationship…”before you got here and long after you’ve gone, Morgan is my family.” It seems as if he has a point :angry:

    • Paul says:

      I don’t agree that they were treating Chuck as an asset. They were treating him as a compromised partner. You don’t tell someone who is emotionally involved with a target when a hit is going to take place because that compromised person may intervene.

      Yes it is a breach of trust, but I think it’s nore Chuck being upset that they don’t trust him to do the right thing, even if it will hurt him personally.

      • atcdave says:

        I think that’s an excellent perspective Paul. I agree they’ve treated as more than an asset; they have even let him plan missions without the help of the intersect. I think he is treated as a valued, if junior, member of the team; which is exactly what he is.

        As someone else observed; Sarah will always treat him as her asset in a personal sense, but there is no dishonor in that.

      • thinkling says:

        There are a host of reasons not to have Chuck involved with the arrest.

        Paul’s point that he is compromised. When would any law officer be asked to arrest his mother? Not good.

        If Chuck were willing to be a part of it … say, try to talk his mother in for an interview, or even meet her and set her up, it could set up a hostage situation. (I mean she did shoot him, from Sarah’s perspective) Things could go south fast. Very bad.

        Warn him about it? Even Sarah, the more likely of the two to arrest her parent, made sure her father didn’t get arrested.

        And those are the spy reasons for not having him in on it. Then there’s the mercy aspect of shielding him and his family from pain on top of pain if he had to arrest his mother.

        I think the fight will be over the evidence vs Chuck’s instinct, not the arrest.

        And Chuck = spy asset is a no

        Chuck = personal asset; that’s a yes and always will be.

        Sarah = personal asset; that’s also a yes and always will be. Chuck is equally protective of Sarah, and assertively so, now.

      • weaselone says:

        But ultimately the evidence Sarah and Casey uncovered suggested that Chuck’s mother posed a threat to Chuck and his sister. Chuck needed to be warned. Leaving Chuck uninformed left him vulnerable had Sarah and Casey not shown up in time.

        Let’s take Chuck’s mom out of the picture for a second. Let’s say Chuck was just meeting with some random contact he believed to be friendly. Casey and Sarah find out additional information that indicates the contact may work for an enemy agency. They decide not warn Chuck that he’s meeting with an enemy agent, or even that they’re coming to apprehend said agent. Instead, they just stake out the meeting place and swoop in and abduct the contact who Chuck still believes is friendly, only identifying themselves after they have the agent in custody. You would all be OK with that?

        Here are some problems I have.
        1. If Casey and Sarah don’t arrive before Mama B and she wants to abduct or kill Chuck, Chuck’s left in the dark and defenseless.
        2. Mama B still could have killed Chuck in that parking lot at the cost of her own life. Chuck gave her an easy shot.

        3. In the process of the abduction, Chuck could have acted in the defense of Mama B who he still considers friendly. This could have resulted in casualties. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful if he’d flashed and smashed Sarah in the face before she took her mask off. The confusion could have also allowed Mama B to escape or possibly injure or kill team members. Alternately, she could have been shot by the sniper. That might have put a permanent freeze on Charah.

      • jason says:

        fan generated angst on top of contrived story telling angst – TPTB gotta love it – this is stupid, but it is going away quickly – are you guys and gals saying you don’t want it to go away?

        – much like season 3 at times, TPTB just told a lousy story, 3.12’s dinner meeting, a lousy story, by 3.13 sarah was telling chuck she always loved him, that is how these guys write or lets say create, they don’t know how to move the story forward without angst

      • weaselone says:

        I think the degree of angst generated among the fans is a little over stated. It’s just discussion which certainly helps pass the time between Chuck episodes. Reasonable people can have different interpretations of Sarah’s and Casey’s actions. Makes things interesting.

        It’s not like last season where the arguments were basically:

        1. Where are the characters we got to know over the last two seasons. Seriously Sarah/Chuck did what. No Sarah, think of the splinters.
        2. You suck, Chuck is awesome and anyone who says otherwise isn’t a real fan and a card carrying member of the crazy shipper club.

      • Faith says:

        Weaselone…Oh memories. Good times.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        @Weaslone – Nice breakdown. Very True.

        @Faith- Good times? Didn’t take you for an agent of chaos. j/k

      • Paul says:

        Weaselone: apples and oranges in the scenario you describe. The very reason why telling Chuck would have been a bad idea is not because he thinks the mark is friendly and doesn’t realize she may be bad, but he is emotionally invested and may do something stupid. Big difference. In your scenario, Chuck would be warned but he could also be trusted to take care of himself and cooperate with the op. And in that situation, he could very well be an asset during the snatch. In the episode however, IMHO he was compromised and could no longer be trusted to follow along. He beyond thinking mom is good. He WANTS mom to be good. That makes him a loose cannon and a danger to the security and success of teh op. Better to leave him out of the immediate plan and bring him on board later. And as was set up, it was only coincidence that he was there when the snatch happened.

      • atcdave says:

        Jason, this is debate and many of us find it fun. Whether anyone is persuaded of anything, or simply forced to think through why they think the way they do; it is a challenge many of us enjoy. Notice most of us are not questioning the validity of the story elements or faithfulness to characters this time; we are debating the quality and nature of decisions made by the characters themselves. As I mentioned on the other thread, this is not how I want the show to be long term and this sort of angst will wear thin; but for this week I’m enjoying the discussions.

        Weaselone I do agree Chuck will rightfully be upset with being left out of the loop. But I still believe Sarah (and Casey) made a legitimate decision about the manner of the arrest. Sarah choose professional concerns over personal ones. She will regret it.
        I think Paul made a good case for why Chuck is the very definition of compromised; and as Thinkling pointed out the decision even had a humanitarian element to it.
        In spite of all the electrons spilled on the subject this week, Mary’s guilt or innocence will likely be the main issue going forward.
        And I’m looking forward to it. I expect great things from the next few episodes.

      • weaselone says:

        Paul, Chuck behaved in an appropriate manner throughout this episode. I don’t see the evidence that Sarah and Casey have which support a conclusion that Chuck would be a lose canon.

        All that you have said just supports the contention that I made. Sarah and Casey went behind Chuck’s back because they doubted his professionalism and that their key consideration was capturing Mama B, not Chuck’s safety.

        It also wasn’t a coincidence that Chuck was there when the Op went down. They grabbed Mama B from out in front of the restaurant Chuck was meeting her at. The possibility that Chuck would be present during the snatch was always a foreseeable risk.

      • thinkling says:

        Well put, Dave. The discussion is good, and thinking through all the angles is fun. I don’t see anyone questioning character, only judgment, which in this case was complicated. I’m good for now and look forward to the resolution. However, I agree this needs to be the last slice of angst from the C/S relationship cake. I’ve lost my appetite for it. Lets explore the C/S face some other angst together … please.

        As for the core of the discussion, it’s pretty clear that compelling arguments can be made for several different scenarios for the MamaB snatch. So, Sarah probably went through some of these same thought processes, only under pressure. It was a judgment call, and there were risks involved no matter how it played out. So, had we been in their shoes, some of us would have done it the same, and some of us would have modifies various aspects of the plan. Though, I probably still side with Sarah, Weaselone made some compelling points about the risks. Although, look again at the take down. It wasn’t a sniper on the roof; it was a scope like the one Sarah used in the park. I saw no guns at all. If any guns were drawn, it would have been MEB’s first draw.

        I still don’t buy that Sarah chose professional over personal. I think Sarah fuses agent and girlfriend throughout the episode (except the dessert remarks, which were all girlfriend). We know Sarah is agent. So where’s the gf? In the park she is both suspicious agent and protective gf, always thinking of protecting Chuck, from anything. At the mission set up, she’s not comfortable with the lack of facts (agent), but she has clearly decided to follow Chuck’s instinct (gf). After the shooting she’s gf, “I can’t believe your mom betrayed you like that.” When Casey finds a lead, well she really wants some facts, b/c Chuck was shot and things are just too murky. So that is Sarah lost in a sea of instinct, wishing for something, anything, solid to latch onto. Go to the Casey meeting; look at her face. There’s the conflict between professional and personal. But I think in the end, she still satisfied both rolls. What had to be done was clear, and it killed her to do it, but that was the professional side of things. Not asking him to participate, protecting his blind side, I still see as Sarah the girlfriend doing whatever it takes to protect Chuck, her Chuck, from all forms of hurt and harm.

        Going forward … main issue is whether or not MamaB is a double agent or not. Is the evidence valid, or is Chuck right about her?

      • jason says:

        It’s just we’ve seen the angst CS conundrum angle played b4 by TPTB more than once, and it is going to dominate (it already has) what amounts to the best chuck spy plot / adventure that has ever been written.

        Looks like chuck is going to go solo in 4.7 because he and sarah are fighting, sarah and handcuffed mary are going to track him down, then chuck is going to again go in 4.8 without sarah to ‘prove himself’, that almost has to be to prove himself to sarah, right? We have no idea about 4.9, I have guessed sarah will track chuck down yet again, mary will probably again figure into that equation too.

        After that there are 4 more eps to play with. I am guessing a few ‘bottle’ eps in there, before the big climax in 4.12 / 4.13.

      • Paul says:

        Chuck may have acted appropriately, but by his own admission he has a blindspot for his mom. That alone makes him unreliable in that kind of situation.

        And I should have been more precise: it was coincidence Chuck was outside when the snatch took place. He wasn’t supposed to see it go down.

      • atcdave says:

        Jason, I think the Sarah/Mary together time could be a lot of fun. And the spoilers we’ve heard about 4.08 make it sound like Chuck and Sarah are seperated against their will, so perhaps who Chuck really needs to prove himself to is General Beckman. Especially if she’s unhappy about him going off on a rogue mission and leaving his whole team compromised (supporting said rogue operation). It means he needs to either prove he’ll be a good boy and follow orders (unlikely) or that his instincts are good and he should be given more operational leeway (more likely).

      • thinkling says:

        Can’t wait for Sarah/Mary time. I hope TPTB don’t waste this opportunity.

        I think your scenario is likely, Dave. And Chuck will likely prove himself worthy of the presidential priority he has become lol. Chuck always comes out on the side of operational leeway. He will likely get his whole team back in GB’s good graces, including dear old (sorry, slow) mom.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Mary and Sarah time could be interesting if our speculation that Sarah chases Chuck with Mary as her guide, but frankly I’m a little more interested in the initial Chuck and mom time:

        Mary: “Chuck, I’m not sure I approve of this new girl of yours.”

        Chuck: “Mooooommmmm…..”

      • Faith says:

        Thinkling here is something that might set your mind at ease…sort of.

        Sarah’s action were spurned by an emotional (remember her blindspot) component. But her literal action, her way of dealing with her concern is spyish and thereby professional. It’s what she knows.

        I think of her “betrayal” (forgive the continued use of a word many of you don’t identify with) as that which is from BC Sarah. The old Sarah would have acted as is, same take charge, protect mode. But her drive would have been borne out of her heroic side: protect the world at all cost. B.C. that same action has stemmed from “protect Chuck at all costs.” that’s what makes “I’m looking out for your blindside.”

        Doesn’t make it right but it makes it an act of love.

      • Faith says:

        *” that’s what makes “I’m looking out for your blindside.””

        So poignant and powerful.

      • jason says:

        faith, what if alpha male sarah tells snively, whiney chuck if he has a problem with her protecting his blindside like he asked her to, then he can sleep on the couch until he is ready to apologize, no more snuggle time b4 bed – LOL?

      • Faith says:

        LOL. Since Chuck’s always been the girl in this relationship I think Sarah might just find herself riding the couch 😉

      • jason says:

        I have experienced self imposed quiet time myself until the apology has been forthcoming, why older married guys will tell you the two secret words to a long and happy marriage are ….

      • thinkling says:

        You were right, dear. I was wrong.

        … That’s 7 words. 😉 jk

      • thinkling says:

        @Faith: Yes, I think there was a lot swirling around in Sarah’s mind and heart over this.

        This is such new territory in so many ways: the couple aspect, the mother-in-law aspect, the rogue mission, the love for Chuck that assures him they will find his answers. It’s complicated to say the least.

        We also don’t know what the Casey factor was in all of this. Maybe they struck a deal: I won’t tell GB if you don’t tell Chuck. We won’t really know the whole story until Monday.

        I can go with your reasoning (except for the “B” word) about the mix of “Sarah’s” acting throughout. She is layered and sometimes all the layers get in on the action. Thanks for the good word.

        I also love the I’m looking out for your blind spot. I think it was the fasted way she knew to communicate to Chuck that she is on his side … always. Even when they fight next week, she’ll still be on his side. He just won’t see it that way.

      • Faith says:

        Note to self: read post before sending. I meant to say A.C. (after Chuck). Before Chuck is old Sarah.

      • thinkling says:

        No problem. I translated it. Thanks.

    • kg says:

      Robert very provactive piece, but except for giving birth to Chuck, it pains me to read and hear that Mary is Chuck’s mother. She’s really not. She left him 20 years ago while Ellie raised him admits she knows nothing of him and is not interested at this time. Now, she claims it is to protect him, I’m not convinced.

      There’s no reason to denigrate Casey and Sarah’s actions as if they captured Mother Theresa. From the outset, Sarah believed Mary’s story was flimsy and suspect, but sided with Chuck for his sake. Sarah’s had to listen to Chuck whine about his mother issues since she’s known, she’s had to live with the damage Mary’s departure did to Chuck, and then she was powerless to prevent and horrified to watch Mary shoot Chuck in the heart.

      And Sarah is always screwed in these scenarios because she’s caught in the middle. Casey is also a professional partner. She is stuck attempting to be sympathetic to two entirely different men. So, yeah, when Casey showed some evidence that Mary was a fraud, then she had to act swiftly.

      You’re right in that it will cost her, but if she does nothing and Chuck and Ellie are physically harmed or killed, well, she’s devastated beyond reproach and there’s no relationship to repair.

      I believe Casey was going to act with or without Sarah, and we know when it comes to making a sound spy-related decision, (with the exception of bunkering Chuck) Sarah’s character is in. She’s a follower.

      There’s no question neither Casey or Sarah stopped to think how it would hurt Ellie and Chuck’s feelings, but I don’t believe there was a dark agenda involved. And I don’t believe they think that Chuck is not a credible agent.

      For whatever reason, reading your piece, it allowed me to recall Colonel. Sarah wanted to leave Casey cuffed to the radiator and Casey wanted Chuck to drive off as Fulcrum led Sarah away. In each case, it was Chuck who intervened. He convinced Sarah to help Casey and he wasn’t going anywhere without Sarah. Casey would have had to shoot him. The difference is that Chuck took action by putting the car in reverse. Casey did nothing.

      Despite some of the changes in Casey, deep down, he’s still a cold-blooded assassin.

      • weaselone says:

        Kg, I think it’s a little harsh to suggest that Chuck has been “whining about his mother” since Sarah has known him. His mother rarely came up in the first 3 seasons, and the most notable time was in season one when Chuck missed “mother’s day” with Ellie. Chuck’s also remarkably well adjusted for having been abandoned by both his parents when compared to Sarah.

        Sarah and Casey deserve reproach for there actions because during this episode Chuck acted responsibly when it came to his mother. He contacted Sarah for backup for the first meeting, wore a vest at the meeting and activated the tracking device when she abducted him. There was no reason save for a lack of faith in Chuck’s professionalism not to call him with the information they uncovered. The had the time to drive back and pick up a team, a van and to get in position before Mama B showed up. At the minimum they could have shot him a message warning him that Mama B was a threat. That would have been the proper move if Chuck’s safety was the key concern and they regarded him as a professional. Instead they opted to leave him in the dark.

      • atcdave says:

        Excellent post KG, I’ll buy most of that. I wouldn’t have called Sarah a follower, I think she will take initiative anytime to protect Chuck (even Zombie Sarah made a half hearted effort in Beard); but that’s the crux of the issue here. Either way she was taking a huge risk, so she choose to protect his life at the risk of incurring his wrath. Whether she knew the risk she was taking or not remains to be seen.

        But I agree entirely with your take on the arrest.

      • atcdave says:

        Funny weaselone, yet another example of how completely split the fandom is on this. Its pretty dramatic and sides feel pretty strong. Not like last season when most of us just hated TPTB…

      • kg says:

        Weaselone I felt a little uncomfortable with the “whine” comment seconds after I submitted. It’s not directly accurate. I just wanted to convey that Mary’s abandonment of Chuck has hurt Sarah because she knows it hurt Chuck. And I knew someone would accurately refute me. I agree. Mary is only mentioned when brother and sister explain the significance of Mother’s Day to Sarah.

        Therefore, in addition to her potential danger as a rogue spy, right or wrong, this gives Sarah another reason not to like Mary and a strong desire to protect Chuck from both physical and emotional harm.

        I also agree with you that Chuck has turned out to be a, dare I say, awesome guy without Mary’s presence.

        So, you can’t have it both ways. Chuck is a man now. This is what irritated me about Robert’s piece. I don’t consider Mary his mother. Chuck shouldn’t either. As you correctly pointed out, Weaselone, Chuck is fairly well adjusted.

        Sarah’s his girl. He IS a spy himself. He just told her that she is his family along with Ellie, Awesome, Morgan and Casey. What? That all changed because of one lousy phone call from MEB?

        Chuck cannot be upset because Casey and Sarah abducted his mother. He can’t look at it that way. He can’t be overly upset because his partners denied Ellie a chance to meet a mother they never talked about. He has to understand why Sarah participated.

        You’ve been consistent with the Sarah could have contacted him/let him know theme. The more I think about that you’re right. As a girl friend you’re correct.

        That I think is what he should be angry about. Not the act, how it was handled or more aptly mishhandled.

      • weaselone says:

        Kg. I’ve never suggested that taking in Mama B was improper. Certainly, that direction is where the evidence is currently pointing. I just think that Chuck should have been contacted.

        I am currently wondering whether Casey’s intel is truly reliable. Even Casey suggested his contact was unsavory and the way the meeting went down certainly confirmed that. The contact could even be part of Volkoff’s network in which case, Casey’s snooping behind Chuck’s back regarding Isis could have significant repercussions in future episodes.

  7. Crumby says:

    Great article Ernie!

    I’m really curious about how they’ll handle next week episode. The set up was great, we know where the characters were at (it is a nice change from S3), so it’ll be interesting.

  8. Allius says:

    What a great analysis! Thanks!

  9. Faith says:

    I’ll start off with the song…

    “I could say it but you wont believe me
    You say you do but you don’t deceive me
    It’s hard to know they’re out there
    It’s hard to know that you still care

    I could say it but you wont believe me
    You say you do but you don’t deceive me
    Dead hearts are everywhere”

    What do the songs mean? To each his own. But to me it’s a testament to the betrayal. Two lines in particular speak to me: “It’s hard to know that you still care.” “Dead hearts are everywhere.” With this act, no-win as you pointed out, Sarah put into question the very foundation of their relationship. Or more specifically the shaky foundation of their relationship.

    The conflict was organic to the story, the fears real and realistically portrayed by characters whose actions and motivations were clear and known and in character. I’ve said that to myself many times this season, but last night I felt season 4 finally quit repairing season 3 damage and took off on the maiden episode of its own story. And what a story we got last night.

    It’s almost unfair to lament on the richness and depth of the characters at this point. They are and always have been more than a caricature, more than one dimension. Every decision (ever stick Sarah has used in the past to beat his love with) is not without its black and white and grays. This is no different. You have got a point that in this instance there really isn’t a “win” for Sarah. She arrests his mom, she’s the girlfriend that arrested his mom. She doesn’t and she fails at the one thing she has known herself to be, her identity…something that has given her purpose through the endless years of nothingness (aka B.C. before Chuck). So she can’t win. But it’s not quite that simple.

    She was put in a no-win situation but the situation was not without grounds for exploration. Plain and simple she acted without consulting him. Like I said maybe she didn’t have time, she was certainly fearful for his safety…her home but that doesn’t make it right. This is Chuck’s mom. This is, as the woman who loves him…his decision.

    Someone pointed out to me if Chuck were to jump of a bridge and Casey and Sarah were to stop him, would they be wrong in doing so? Apart from the largely unfair comparison…at the end of the day it’s Chuck’s family. It’s his decision. Granted I would have no problem with Sarah arresting Mary after talking with Chuck…if need be, but you don’t abduct her at that moment without consulting Chuck. If he gets hurt, either emotionally or physically well all that you can do is be there for the fallout…if there is one. That’s the difference between being a spy and being a girlfriend. Partnership is trust.

    Meet Mama B. She is, as was hinted at, bad ass. She is, as hinted, what Sarah could still become…(and meeting scene)

    Fantastic.

    There were most definitely some parallels and a foreshadowing going on. And we’re reminded painfully that Sarah isn’t that different as is. In a way I think what we’re seeing from Mary is the end result of losing her Chuck. A deviousness, unwilling to bend…willing to risk it all sort of mentality that lives in black and white. She does what she has to do (for whatever reason) just like in Sarah’s case she did what she had to do to protect his blindside.

    We also saw a little bit of the suspicion that is ingrained in being a spy from both parties. I think sometimes it’s easy to forget that Chuck really isn’t of that world. What he knows and how he is is still so far removed…and the fact that he continues as such is indeed what’s lovable about him…but in this instance he is less relatable to Mary as Sarah is. When Mary lowered her gun, Sarah did not. When Mary started her explanations, Sarah didn’t buy it. And I think her suspicious nature and her attitude are yes, what makes her a good spy, and yes what makes her like Mary but her actions were also spurned by Chuck’s hurt. Chuck’s past. She was additionally hostile and suspicious because this is the woman that hurt him, that broke him, that abandoned him. She knows all about abandonment and knows full well the pain in fighting against ghosts of the past. And when that past comes into true form, well it’s not a good day. Lioness Sarah is apt. And I think something that is within her character to portray.

    Chuck gets people

    Chuck gets the good in people. No matter how much they hurt him, he’s always willing to forgive and to help whenever possible. He’s always willing to rely on faith. This is a trait that we know Sarah admires, but in this particular instance I wish Sarah emulated.

    Sarah reads people. She got that talent from her dad. She may have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to Chuck…

    Great points about Sarah’s blindspot being Chuck.

    She goes with Chuck, she needs to at this point, but the looks between she and Casey are telling…Sarah looks ashamed when Casey casts that suspicious gaze at her, but he’s willing to let his partner have some slack. Bartowski more than Walker. She should know better.

    a. Her need to go with Chuck…lovable as it is…does not bode well for a mature, equal relationship. It’s one of the things I’ve pointed out and objected to. Not specifically in this instance but all that encompasses this urge.

    b. The looks were fantastic. I was actually very much heart-warmed at her devotion to him. Against her own instinct she was willing to do as his mom said and even against the doubt that a veteran spy like Casey had (much like her) she was willing to stand firm on her stance with Chuck. But I also think this moment is a foreshadowing. We’re given at this point in time a contrast to that which will come which will be her not standing by Chuck…and instead acting for him.

    It looks Like Sarah is sitting on his lap?! OK, I digress, I tend to dissect a lot. Where oh where is my iTunes release? Guys, you want to sell it that they have a great (ahem) romantic connection, two words, Weinerliscious outfit.

    Good god, how could I have missed that? Let me finish this and I will definitely be glued to that minute and shot 😀

    She’s checking him for a vest…This is a brilliantly constructed scene

    Nice! I didn’t even realize that.

    Sarah sees another story. Mary missed her chance, and so she sets up Chuck with someone who can manage to release a debilitating toxin with no repercussions to himself, and then escape. So, a quick aside, then back to the story…From Sarah’s POV, Chuck has let his desire to get to know his mother get him into three traps. Griffin Park, where she was able to thwart the plan by having Sarah as backup. The Lunch Date, where Chuck’s fortunate wearing of a vest saved his life, and the docks, where approaching agents aside, the whole purpose may have been to get a weapon into Castle. And then Mary proposes another meeting.

    Very valid. I’m not taking away from any of that. There are repeated doubts that are instilled not just to Chuck but to her as well. We’re reminded repeatedly of her worst fears and perhaps her reaction is borne out of her greatest fear. While Chuck’s reaction is borne out of his greatest fear. But the way they deal with it is the distinction. Chuck jumps in with both feet with optimism, Sarah stands back in suspicion.

    Remember the blindspot conversation? Well this illustrates that perfectly. The fact that she’s blinded by her own need to keep him safe makes her see all these things, makes her think this way. And the fact that this is being done by the woman that hurt him…well it’s on like donkey kong!

    Call Chuck? Insane. Even if he can think like a spy about his mother, that leaves him in the position of burning his mother. Say she ignores the information she has and lets her go…Chuck’s mother, one of the most wanted women on the planet, goes back underground. How many lives has she forfeited for her loyalty to Chuck. Protect Chuck, or confide in and trust Chuck, when everything you see screams that will lead to his demise?

    Well, there’s a dilemma.

    So Sarah does what needs to be done, based on what she knows.

    And there is what I believe to be their fundamental problem.

    All things in consideration, blind spot…repeated signs of trouble, emotional attachment, professional instinct… her actions were both loving and hurtful. When she “did what needed to be done” she in turn ignored that which is the most important…heart. Particularly his heart. And this action is exactly what makes her a great spy. At which I bring back, “she’s a spy” as a reference to more than just Mary Bartowski but one Sarah Walker.

    Additionally (this isn’t my idea but Articulate_Schnook from the boards) remember Delorean? She let go of her dad. She broke protocol for emotion and he was there for her. Right or wrong he was there for her. Because at the end of the day that’s all you can do. If you love them enough you let them be who they are.

    • Faith says:

      Ok I had no idea it would get as long as it did.

      I think people are starting to think of this blog as less of a blog and more of an extensive but required, albeit tedious 😉 reading! Sorry!

    • joe says:

      I thought I had studied the episode pretty carefully, Faith, but not nearly so much and you and Ernie and others. We do pretty well sometimes, but clearly, the best thing about this blog is still the commenters! That’s as it should be – you have us outnumbered, after all! 😉

      Wonderful post!

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Faith, I think the best part about this conflict, the realness of it, is that we can all make arguments for and against Sarah’s actions, and it doesn’t diminish her as a character. Neither her love for Chuck or her super spy credentials are damaged by what she did, but the conflict is still there and real. Too often in season 3, and some would argue even before that, Sarah’s realness as a character was either sacraficed or damaged for the sake of a plot point or to insert some angst and drama in the story. It isn’t the case this time, so I’m willing to go wherever they take us with this, for now. I think it is fantastic writing.

      • PeterOinNJ says:

        “we can all make arguments for and against Sarah’s actions, and it doesn’t diminish her as a character. Neither her love for Chuck or her super spy credentials are damaged by what she did, but the conflict is still there and real.”
        Ernie, this is the reason I like this episode so very much and am willing to put up with some of the other things (see pass gas like vs Mask reference above). In the past, there was much discussion about plot devices (ie: PLI’s) to move the story along and spur large spurts of growth. This “feels” like one of those plot devices and thankfully, there is no PLI involved. It is not OOC, it is done with the best of intentions – yes, it is organic.

        By the way, I expect that will make it harder and more dramatic because as Pogo once said: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

  10. Neve says:

    I am glad people are still enjoying the show, personally season 4 has been a miss for me. The show just feels stale, no direction whatsoever and the writing … completely formulaic.

  11. jason says:

    Just seemed like a bad ending and an excuse to have angst to me. It leaves me cold towards the writers and sad for the lead actors, and I think many of reactions here are way over dramatic.

    the fact that so many of you have to use so many words to justify this, reminds me of season 3 right around 3.7 / 3.8 when fans were trying to rationalize CS.

    Sorry, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, I’m not buying what is being sold.

  12. jason says:

    had magnus’s podcast on while doing morning emails, he sounded like me about 4.6 (he called the last scene forced angst, compared the ep to 3.7 & mocked the lab scene), just for the record, I am not magnus – LOL.

    Not that we are 100% in agreement, but much of what ODarth wrote about 4.6 I agree with too. If magnus, OD, and a crazy shipper find common ground to dislike an ep, that is not a resounding endorsement for the ep, is it?

    • joe says:

      This episode seems to have brought out this great divide, Jason. – And it’s not along the usual fault lines either, I think.
      From what I’ve seen of the fans’ comments, about a third really liked it (calling it one of the best of the season, if not The Best ™), about a third think it had some pretty serious flaws, and about a third claimed from the start that they have to think about it some more.

      Very unusual!

      • herder says:

        I’m kind of suprised at the reaction, I thought it was pretty good, a few flaws but nothing worth dismissing the whole episode. Perhaps it is a bit of a hangover from season 3, people thinking that there is going to be angst like last year where I genuinely think that TPTB have something different up their sleeve this year.

        I don’t even mind revisiting some of the ideas that were raised and dropped last year. For instance why is “never fall in love” the primary rule, what are the consequences if you do. I see a lot of fertile ground from exploring and the fight doesn’t bother me because I suspect that it will end out dealing with issues in a way we can’t forsee.

      • joe says:

        I think I detect a nuance, though, Jason Herder (Sorry! Apologies!). Honestly, that 1/3 who think the episode is flawed haven’t come across as dismissing the entire episode to me. I’ve picked up that most really liked it “except…”.

        At worst, they put it in the middle of the pack (which, for a show like Chuck, is pretty high praise), as opposed to the the level of 3-D or the depths of The Mask.

        (Oops! Did I just make a paid, political announcement here???? 😉 )

      • jason says:

        herder – I might be more positive about the upcoming episodes than most of you, I don’t like 4.6’s end, or last parts starting with the lab scene.

        I simply am the sort of person who can only watch the shell game for so long b4 I grab the con artist by the wrist and lift up all 3 shells with him disabled.

        I love mo ryan, but never more so when she called out TPTB with the word ‘shenanigans’ b4 S3 ever started- someone needs to do it again.

        Drama in chuck for 3 seasons equals cs angst, somehow that has to change (there are 1000’s of ways to create great drama). Thing that really sucks, the spy adventure (volkov, mama b, seemingly dalton coming up) in season 4 is wonderful, but at the end of 4.6 the angst shell game is on again. I am saying it – shenanigans.

      • jason says:

        joe – if I recall, both you and I like the mask, for me, it was right up to the point shaw released the poison gas in the lab, funny, I liked 4.6 right up to the same point.

        I agree about 4.6’s polarizing affect, but don’t you agree, polarizing is not good for this show? Sort of like the joke in 3.17, or using shaw as the star of 3.18 and 3.19, some may have loved it, but at the same time those things caused dislike and distrust for the show runners.

        Mumbling and grumbling (like I do about morgan and jeffster or some do about CS’s getting too cute) the show will survive, anger it will not.

        I am reading near anger at least from many fans for multiple reasons after 4.6, IMO that means it was a bad episode.

      • joe says:

        I simply am the sort of person who can only watch the shell game for so long b4 I grab the con artist by the wrist and lift up all 3 shells with him disabled.

        Well put, Jason. But please consider this. When you lift up all 3 shells, you may be surprised to discover that the pea is not under any of them. It never was. THAT’s the real con.

        Heh – Well, actually, I *did* enjoy the mask, right up until the last few minutes. Not to beat a dead horse here, but neither the gassing scene nor Shaw not succeeding in his part of the mission bothered me too much at the time (especially the latter – it only made Chuck seem more competent as a spy).

        Chuck and Sarah arriving a “Just Friends”, however, was always one of my buttons to be pushed. 😉

      • atcdave says:

        It is interesting how this season, this episode in particular, has redefined many of our “alliances” from last season. I find myself agreeing and disagreeing with completely different folks than in the past.

        I do agree with much of what Jason says here. It concerns me if TPTB don’t know how to write a fun show without inserting relationship angst for Chuck and Sarah every few weeks. Even our all “happy” episodes this season have had a silly issue or two (unpacking, a non-engagement drawn out for 3 episodes). I want to see Chuck and Sarah function like they did in Couch Lock; WHEN THEY ARE THE LEAD CHARACTERS of the episode. Maybe not all the time, but say 21 out of 22 episodes would be nice. As I’ve said elsewhere, I want to see Chuck and Sarah vs. the World; even as I now fear TPTB never intend to give me that show.

        Now that said, there is such a thing as legitimate angst. That is tension, worries, and anxieties that come from living in a complicated and dangerous world. To me, Aisle of Terror hit the nail on the head with presenting a natural issue and conflict that our featured couple will have a problem with. I expect to pleased with the resolution, as long as it isn’t drawn out over too many episodes. I just hope when this is done, Schwedak can put their angst toys away and tell a different sort of story for a while. Sigh.

      • JC says:

        I think we talked about this the Couch Lock thread Dave.

        I worry they can’t write C/S as the main focus without the angst real or contrived. That’s what made Couch Lock so good, Chuck and Sarah were just two spies in love.

  13. DaveB says:

    Did anyone catch that the shot of Mamma B shooting out the camera was nearly identical to the shot of Sarah shooting out the camera on Chucks first flash of her?

  14. Tamara Burks says:

    I’m looking forward to outright comparisons between Mama B and Sarah. The look Sarah gave Chuck when he said she may be a bad mom but she’s a great spy was interesting.

    • joe says:

      I heard the phase “Chuck wants to marry his mother” a lot this week! 😉

    • herder says:

      If things play out as I suspect – Sarah takes off after rogue Chuck with a handcuffed MEB in tow – that there will be plenty of time for Sarah and Mary to size each other up and try to put each other in place.

      • thinkling says:

        That’s the way I see it going down. I think a new respect will be forged between them as a result. I can’t wait. It’ll be fun to see the foursome on screen. Hope we get lots of that.

      • DaveB says:

        Honestly, if Sarah can hand a gun to Heather Chandler, I don’t see why Sarah can’t go after Chuck with his Mom in tow.

      • joe says:

        Oh, to be a writer on the show! So many good possibilities!

  15. DaveB says:

    I’m trying to think…Has there been an episode where Chuck was really mad at Sarah? Afraid of her, pining for her, uncomfortable around her, upset by her, but really, steaming, MAD?

    This should be interesting.

    • MichaelCarmichael says:

      I don’t think we have, and to this point I don’t think Chuck has ever felt secure enough to be steaming mad. Which may have been part of the point of the declarations of love in the first five episodes.

    • joe says:

      The closest I can recall at Chuck being angry at Sarah is in Crown Vic when he rather pointedly asked if that kiss was about him or if he was just convenient.

    • DaveB says:

      I wonder though, if part of his running from Sarah on this rogue mission is in part due to him not wanting to get mad at her. Anger and the intersect are not a good combination.

      • thinkling says:

        What a great observation. The intersect is working so well now, we tend to forget about it. I’d like to see Sarah have to pull a spare governor out for him some time. Maybe as she goes after him next week, hmm.

    • weaselone says:

      An entire episode, no. He did get fairly hot with her in Crown Vic when she implied that he was a “flash faker”.

      • MichaelCarmichael says:

        I think that was more righteous indignation, as when he went off on Casey over the surveillance equipment in Sandworm. I think we’ve only really seen really angry Chuck when he’s dressing down Morgan over the whale tail incident in the same episode.

    • Paul says:

      He was pretty mad in best friend when Sarah made him choose betwen Morgan’s life and his friendship.

  16. Ernie Davis says:

    I want to thank everyone for all the nice compliments, especially since I felt really rushed on this. I wanted to get it out and hopefully read before the Chuckaholics Attack re-watch, which I don’t think I accomplished. Still you may notice a few changes as I correct some errors and tighten up a bit of prose. Editor’s perogative. 😉

  17. Anon says:

    Imo,The fake name and the mask can be deconstructed the same way. Sarah’s conflict is obvious and in character.

    Can’t comment on Chuck and Sarah’s partnership issues without seeing “the first fight”. First impression of Chuck’s mom? Not pleasant 🙂

  18. Rick Holy says:

    As they used to say on Monty Python’s Flying Circus, “And now for something completely different.”

    According to the CHUCK Facebook page, we are currently trailing SUPERNATURAL in the “vote to get on the cover of TV guide poll.” Trailing to SUPERNATURAL????? How is that possible. So, good people, get on that web site that Joe posted awhile back and VOTE FOR CHUCK – over and over and over again (multiple voting is allowed – even encouraged). We’ll be “off the air” all December. Let’s AT LEAST make the cover of TV Guide to take away the CHUCK withdrawal.

    VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!! It’s your DUTY as a citizen of Buymoria!

    • joe says:

      And here’s the link again!

      Thanks for the reminder, Fr. Rick!

      [Added: Heh! Even as I type this at 12:10 eastern, Josh Schwartz himself is busy on twitter asking people to vote! “It’s help make the case for season 5”, he tweets.]

  19. Ernie Davis says:

    So I’m finally catching up on all the comments from the observation thread. I see a lot of people had reactions similar to mine. But I do want to address something Faith brought up, and it is something I largely agree with. Chuck and Sarah need to break up. Unfortunately they can’t.

    I’ve mentioned above that so much of what I see this season, the exposition on Sarah’s self image and fear of roots, the conflict and drama arising naturally from the story, was needed in season 3 in at least small doses from the very beginning. Instead it was hinted at, alluded to, and often came down to Yvonne frowning or tearing up. It was also so backloaded that by the time they started to give you hints to what was driving the characters the damage was done and pretty much nobody cared to look again. It was a tremendous disservice to the show not just for the episodes and characters it damaged, but because by executing things so poorly they have killed off the dramatic possibilities that are present in the relationship. The fanbase just plain won’t stand for it, and Chuck’s viewership being pretty much what it is can’t afford another hit. By forcefeeding us the angst they’ve ruined it. We can’t even stand the slight whif of it anymore.

    The thing is that as I’ve thought about this, more and more it comes down to a refusal to develop the Sarah character even the slightest bit. Or rather to explain the character as they knew her. If we’d seen Sarah’s fears of comitment and self image earlier much of her confusing season 3 behavior would have made a lot more sense. If we understood that the closest she’d come to love was Bryce, or that she felt she’d ruin a “regular guy” like Chuck, it might be easier to swallow her choosing to date Shaw and Bryce, or being tempted by Cole, rather than risk something real with Chuck when she felt she already knew where it would end. Heartbreak for the both of them.

    And I come back again to The Ring. Wanting to keep Sarah a total mystery even as she’s started to open up to and trust and value Chuck above all else sowed the seeds for the problems of season 3. If Chuck and Sarah had talked, just once, where Sarah even hinted at her fears and her problems, we could have had the exact same season with a lot less gnashing of teeth. I’m not saying that a lot of the problems wouldn’t still be there, just that we’d have arrived at the reset with a plausible explanation for both of their behavior, Sarah wanting to run, Chuck wanting to be a spy and having some trepidation where Sarah is concerned, even as they both understood their and the other’s feelings. Two or three sentances would have done it, and Sarah wouldn’t have been out of character to say a few things about not fitting into Chuck’s world anymore.

    So what has that cost? Probably what could have been some great and wonderful romantic drama. The sense that the relationship mattered because it COULD end as opposed to regular assurances that it won’t. Some real character development for both Chuck and Sarah that would add to rather than confuse who the characters are.

    I’m probably going to tick a few people off with this, but I always wanted to see a real breakup that mattered to both Chuck and Sarah to really show how much they mattered to each other. Chuck’s beard and bathrobe at the beginning of season 3 didn’t really do it for me, because he never had Sarah. He had the idea of Sarah. Sarah, you never really saw her life change after “losing” Chuck. She had a silly impulsive plan that didn’t work out, and life went on. They showed us why Sarah mattered to Chuck in season 2, how she brought out the true nature of the hero in him and made him believe in himself. While they hinted to why Sarah wanted Chuck, what he represented to her, they never showed or even told us why Sarah needed Chuck, how he saved her, until this season. That failure to let us understand Sarah, even a bit, has now cost them some real dramatic possibilities.

    I’ve long had a scene in mind to show how much Sarah needed Chuck and how he’s changed her. It basically has Sarah returning once again to her sterile hotel room after having lived with Chuck for a while. The contrast between Chuck’s room, filled with life and history and the hotel room has long been a favorite bit of symbolism of mine. To see Sarah returning with her suitcase to exactly where she was before would have been both powerful and heart-rending, even if we knew it was only temporary. Imagine the scene. Late at night, the darkened room, and Sarah entering with her suitcase. She looks around the room, puts her picture of Chuck on the nightstand as she sits on the bed, and then totally loses it. Yes, Sarah Walker actually sobbing openly over even the temporary loss of her Chuck would have said it all. Not just that she’d cry over Chuck, but that she’d allow herself. The realization and admission, even if only to herself, that there was no going back. Yvonne would have knocked it out of the park without a word, and it would have been the perfect cliffhanger for a mid-season break. I doubt they could do it now without killing the show, which is a shame.

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      es, Sarah Walker actually sobbing openly over even the temporary loss of her Chuck would have said it all. Not just that she’d cry over Chuck, but that she’d allow herself. The realization and admission, even if only to herself, that there was no going back.

      Granted Sarah was not with Chuck at that time , but didn’t TPTB lose a golden opportunity for such a powerful scene at the ending of 3.11. But they had to cheapen it with the revolting presence of Plywood.

    • Faith says:

      THANK YOU!

    • herder says:

      I’ll agree with that scene at the end and say that you’re right it is no longer possible. But what is possible is after Chuck goes on his rogue mission we have a night time view of Sarah in bed, unable to sleep (she’s become accustomed to having Chuck next to her) maybe she reaches over to his empty side of the bed like Chuck did in Anniversary. She wipes a tear from her eye sets her features and the next morning sets out with MEB in tow to find Chuck and bring him back safe.

      My biggest complaint about season 3 is that it took what was a special tv relationship and cheapened it by putting it through conventional tv situations, break them up, give a new love interest and let jealousy fly oh my. What’s worse is that they did it in such a way that they didn’t even really bother to explain why it was happening, simply this is the way that things go.

      Having had my season 3 screed, I will say that there is the possibility of recapturing some of that specialness if they show what steps the two of them are willing to take to overcome a real obstacle to their happiness. Reintroduce the characters that would run through walls for each other. I think that TPTB are going to try this and that is why I’m not as apprehensive about this “seperation” as many others.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        why I’m not as apprehensive about this “separation” as many others.

        Same here. Not apprehensive about it – seeing that it is something that will be forced upon them.

        Reintroduce the characters that would run through walls for each other.

        Are you listening TPTB? Isn’t this the biggest reason that Chuck and Sarah have always mattered most than any other TV couple? At least for me it is.

      • Faith says:

        Here here!

        BTW Herder, I absolutely adore that scene. I asked for a reverse suitcase/bed missing scene awhile back.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        @Herder and Faith – On the topic of Suitcase type scene – We seriously need to see some passion between C/S. Don’t get me wrong – I love all the C/S cuteness – but passion on a semi-regular basis ain’t a bad idea at all. What say?

      • Faith says:

        PDA FTW!!!

      • thinkling says:

        Yes! to the empty bed scene, but I’d say we could have a racking sob or two. The fight, Chuck off God knows where, facing danger, and things that go bump in the night.

        Yes to some passion, on occasion.

        And yes to the characters that would run through walls for each other, or arrest your mother so you don’t have to (sorry, how did that get in there? Bad keyboard!)

      • thinkling says:

        Oh, and I say Sarah doesn’t wait until morning. She busts Mary out in the wee hours, and off they go into the dark of night.

    • JC says:

      I’m going to defend the TPTB somewhat. Sarah like most of the supporting characters was never intended to be that important. They were just there to service Chuck’s growth into a hero. That’s part of the reason why she has never been fully fleshed out. Her character didn’t have an arc or back story built like Chuck. I truly believe she was always going to be just out of reach for Chuck until the end of the series.

      But then they ran into problems. The chemistry between her and Levi, her skills as an actress and popularity of the character. How they didn’t know that the stunning blonder who beats the crap out of people on a regular basis wouldn’t become the star is beyond me.

      Then you had certain writers tried to develop her and give her more depth. That stood in stark contrast to the original intention of the character. The prize for the hero and plot device to make Chuck leap into action.

      The TPTB should count their blessing they got Strahovski because the way Sarah had been written could have been a show killer.

      • weaselone says:

        That Sarah is considered by fans to deserve more than being a cardboard cutout has been apparent since season one. They’ve had more than ample time to draft out a back story for her and being to flesh out the character.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Agreed Weaselone. It’s long been my beef that what is writen and what we see aren’t necessarily the same, and the writers have to watch the show with as much care as we do if they want to understand how the story is playing out as opposed to how they intended it. They need to adapt.

        The thing is I think they finally get that, in season 4. To be fair they started the trend in the back 6 of season 3. The strength of the show has always been the characters and our desire and ability to invest in them. When they no longer matter or are cardboard cutouts the show dies.

      • JC says:

        @weaselone

        I agree with you. Just the thought they didn’t have back stories or any intention to flesh out the “secondary” characters bothers me. It doesn’t shock me though, especially reading interviews with Fedak. He comes off very stubborn and defensive when it comes to his vision and whether it worked or not.

        All I was saying is that I think the popularity of Casey and in particular Sarah caught them off guard.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        JC, Agreed, there were a number of things TPTB didn’t plan for when they imprudently created something so miraculous. 😉

      • atcdave says:

        I’ll agree with everything except your desire to defend TPTB!

        I think they were really blindsided by the popularity of Sarah. I know I’ve mentioned that many of us would love this to be “Chuck and Sarah”, not just “Chuck.” And as Ernie mentions, that is closer to what we’re getting since 3.14.
        But it really is the job of a show runner to recognize when they need to alter a format or outline a little. Shows from MASH to Simpsons have changed who their focus is on and the tone of the show during their runs. I think S2 really planted the seeds of this problem. We got enough of Sarah to make her truly compelling; and then the central relationship was heated up a bit. And we got a bucket of cold water for S3. It was an “epic” error in judgement and failure to entertain.

    • Anonymous1 says:

      ” If we’d seen Sarah’s fears of commitment and self image earlier much of her confusing season 3 behavior would have made a lot more sense. If we understood that the closest she’d come to love was Bryce, or that she felt she’d ruin a “regular guy” like Chuck, it might be easier to swallow her choosing to date Shaw and Bryce, or being tempted by Cole, rather than risk something real with Chuck when she felt she already knew where it would end. Heartbreak for the both of them.”

      I’m guessing Sarah had told Bryce her real name-“3 years”-. And she told her real name to Shaw too. Familiar ground.

      Sarah cried at the thought of losing Chuck in Anniversary.It would have been better to have Sarah crying for Chuck in 3.11 but i don’t really care for the angst either way.

      Primarily,we have Chuck’s POV. Maybe that’s why we know how “intimate” Hannah and Chuck became. And apart from the earring joke and some time spent together,we don’t know much about Sham(:P)

    • Jan says:

      Outstanding…thanks

  20. Robert H says:

    Wow a lot of different comments so far. Looks like very few don’t buy what I wrote or are ignoring it
    but that’s ok. Faith and I do agree on one point.
    Chuck should have been consulted, period. The excuse
    of there was no time doesn’t hold water. Chuck is a
    high tech guy you know. Cell phone,texting,emergency
    location beacon could have been used. Sarah sent Casey an emergency SOS when Chuck locked her in Castle while going to save Shaw in Season 3. She couldn’t have come up with something to contact Chuck? I just don’t buy it. Granted she was in a tough spot but she and Casey used poor judgement here for the reasons I mentioned in my first post.

    This was his mother they snatched, not just any old
    spy enemy. The issue here is not that it may have been necessary from a pragmatic point of view
    because in a way it was. The issue is they didn’t consult Chuck before doing it. Team trust, not too
    mention couple trust has been breached. Realistically Chuck has to have serious issues with what happened. How could he not? If he is that insecure with Sarah that he won’t get angry with her over this then he better start looking for a new girlfriend and reexamine his friendship/working
    realtionship with Casey. Somtimes, even in the best
    of relationships, a line needs to be drawn. This is
    one of those times.

    Jason respect your views but I don’t quite understand what you want. As for Magnus who really
    cares anyway? I bitterly criticized the producers
    and NBC last year over the disastrous Season 3 along
    with a lot of other people who felt the same way.
    However, at least so far this year I need feel compelled to defend them. They have insofar as budget will allow restored to a large extent the original charm of the show. Chuck/Sarah are together, not apart. The fact they are having and will continue to have problems as a couple is expected and realistic-as long as they face them together as a couple. The original Buymore has been
    restored as well as the zany characters who work there (with the exception of Anna Wu). The ratings
    while not great have held steady compared to the rest of the NBC schedule and show an uptick when all
    forms of viewing within the 7 day aftershow timespan
    are measured(a pleasnt surprise) and NBC has ordered
    11 more episodes that probably would not have happened if the producers didn’t listen to fan concerns/criticism of Season 3 (thank God they finally did). I think they have earned some credit here and it should be given to them(as long as they don’t do anything stupid again). So once again I
    don’t understand where your’re coming from. Maybe I’m missing something here. In any realtionship there will always be some “angst” or issues to be
    dealt with and overcome. That can even be interesting as long as Chuck/Sarah face those issues
    together in overcoming them. The near fatal error
    made last year was in separating them with the PLI’s. For those people that want an always smooth,
    syrupy, happy, mushy realtionship between them-well
    they have a right to their wishes of course but they
    are not being realistic. Life just doen’t work that way and the show needs some realism to retain credibility.

    I really enjoyed the episode and look forward to next week’s, thanks.

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      As Dave has repeatedly pointed out in his posts – the best way to go about adding drama/angst to C/S would be the occurrence of problems that pit both of them against circumstances/evil guys. Chuck and Sarah vs the World – if you will

      The easiest way TPTB usually takes is to pit them against each other on a continuous basis. Sure, they will have problems as a couple (any couple does) and they will need to overcome them – but IMHO that cannot be used continuously as the source of angst.

    • Faith says:

      Of course we didn’t ignore your post! *Aghast!*

      It was like 3 in the morning lol. I like to to think that the people of Chuckthis does a good job of listening to all sides and welcoming and acknowledging all people. Although admittedly me and Ernie tend to argue amongst ourselves! JK.

    • jason says:

      genie – yep – me too.

      robert all I want is drama created from CS the couple going on adventures, not drama created from CS finding reasons to dislike each other.

      The story tellers can tell any story they want, they CHOOSE to have relational angst, it is NOT a REQUIREMENT.

  21. Jan says:

    The depth of writing, analysis and sheer commitment to Chuck on this site is amazing.

    All these posts are thought-provoking.
    Thank you all

  22. godot says:

    I guess I am surprised no one has mentioned the obvious yet: The supposed superspy who is good enough to get the drop on Sarah, check her son for a vest and know that he’d activate a homing device becomes so emotional by the episode’s tag that she’d let herself get snatched?

    It’s awful storytelling. If they had been true to the character they were trying to sell, Mama B would have left the bear and a note on Ellie’s bed. She’d never have set up a meet via her son, the one with the superspy girlfriend who Mama B knows doesn’t trust her.

    But, no-o-o-o, they have to rerun last year’s Papa B storyline: The spy comes in from the cold and gets destroyed by a retroactive emotional change of heart.

    I’d have a LOT more respect for TPTB if they had the guts to tell a story where both Papa B and Mama B (or at least ONE of them) stay true to being the spies they’ve been for 20 years. That would have been unique: A parent come backs and, rather than change their mind about family, continues doing what they’re doing because they believe in the actions they took and the decisions they made 20 years ago.

    Worst of all, telling the less gutsy story about the original Bartowskis doesn’t get TPTB any further. We already know how this is going to end: Chuck and Sarah go forward as a couple vowing not to make the initial mistakes their predecessors made. Softening Mama and Papa B only makes the Chuck and Sarah story less notable.

    I have always been able to live with the silliness and the plot holes in the spy stories of Chuck. But the show would be immensely better now if they had stuck to some of the Season 2 memes about the silly spy world they created: Sarah shooting Mauser without second guessing or apologizing; Vincent being “professional” enough to kill the enemy; Beckman being “the soldier;” Roark admitting he’s gonna kill you either way; etc.

    If you want Chuck and Sarah to be the soft, gushy heart of the show (and most of us DO), the surrounding characters need to be sharp-edged types. Otherwise, it’s one big, blubbery mess. And it all but destroys the spy story AND the romance.

    My two cents, anyway…

    • Faith says:

      Betrayal isn’t just between Chuck and Sarah. Or Casey and Morgan, and Chuck. But that which is far more painful and cutting…between a son and his mother. She was blindsided exactly because it was Chuck. So, no a superspy did not just get ambushed, a mom did.

      And I’m perfectly willing to buy into that because it’s a contrasting and well thought out plot point.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Excellent point about trusting Chuck Faith, I hadn’t even considered that part of it. We forget that Mary, while her plan is still hidden, basically broke cover to save her son rather than warn him through back channels or in some less conspicuous way a spy might choose. When it comes to Chuck Mary is acting more like a mother than a spy. When it comes to Chuck, Sarah is acting more like a mother than a spy too.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        So, no a super spy did not just get ambushed, a mom did.

        But Faith, look Godot has a point- just think for a moment. Mama B setting up a meeting with her family in a restaurant – where there is every chance of Volkoff coming to know about her shenanigans- doesn’t sit right with me. Wasn’t she putting herself and her family in danger by such an open meeting. Even Mama B, the mom should have known better than to set up such a rendezvous point.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Aladin, I wasn’t bothered by that aspect of it. Frost, being Volkoff’s right hand would likely know of and be able to controll Volkoff’s informants in the area. Or she’d just kill them. 😉

        I just thought she looked a little too helpless, but then I hadn’t considered the initial shock of thinking Chuck set her up. Now I need to watch that scene again. I need my iTunes…

      • Faith says:

        “Did you honestly think he would come alone?”
        “I thought maybe he would trust me.”

        It seems to me when it comes to Chuck, MamaB is more mom than spy…even from the get go. Even her, “good boy” after turning on his tracker is more motherly than spyish.

        Play that scene again. Experience her joy at that moment of escape where she’s not a spy, she’s not an agent, she’s not straddling the black and white of her life but a mom. One that is out to see her family for the first time in many, many years. Pause at that shot and take in the fantastic acting by LH.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        @Ernie – OK! I can accept that. But with super spies you kinda expect a lot of cloak and dagger stuff. Like Chuck taking Ellie to the Encino house and Mama B showing up furtively. Sarah and Casey ambushing her when she leaves after her meeting with Ellie.

        BTW, I really felt for Ellie in that last scene – Sarah Lancaster can do the emotional stuff very well-dare I say on par with Yvonne.

      • thinkling says:

        @Faith: I did really like MEB’s mother moments. And Chuck probably started it with his “mother issues” comment.

        As a mother, I loved the good boy line about the tracker … priceless.

        And the scene of her coming in with the bear. She was smiling and calling out to Chuck, like a regular mom. And her outfit was also less spy-ish. Yes, LH did a fantastic job. And I’m still sad that they left the bear.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Aladin, the whole cast is just amazing if you ask me. I was even impressed with Ryan McPartlin’s use of a slight change in his tone of voice to express all his misgivings about his mother living with them for the week. That was hilarious.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        @Faith – Is there some way we can start a petition to have LH as a regular on the show? We can also add a request for some C/S on screen passion to round it off. LOL.

        @Thinkling – I was also sad that Chuck didn’t bring in the bear – but that would have mad Ellie all the more heartbroken and left Chuck with a lot more explaining to do than just “She is a spy”

      • thinkling says:

        You’re right, Genie. But bear or no bear, Chuck has some splainin to do.

        What do you bet a bear just like that one ultimately makes into the Woodcomb nursery

      • Faith says:

        Genie, I am serious about this!

        😀

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        @Faith – Aha! Thanks for the petition. I just signed it.

        Alladin:[jk] – Now, if only you had included a request for more C/S passion. [/jk]

        Faith : One mission at a time, Alladin.

      • Faith says:

        LMAO Alladins. 😉

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Agreed, the consumate spy getting snatched so easily was a slight clunker for me too, but then it was superspies Sarah Walker and John Casey doing the snatching, so I’ll forgive them. It’s a lot easier to forgive when the episode is good and entertaining.

      • godot says:

        @faith:
        If superspy Mary B becomes “mom” just because she sees Chuck and hears her daughter is preggers, well, then, Sarah’s long journey to “real girl” isn’t that big a deal, is it?

        @ernie:
        Mama B did NOT break cover just to save her son. She broke cover to USE him to deliver a weapon AND protect him. Big difference. Her best moment is when she says she doesn’t WANT to know anything about Chuck and Ellie.

        The point I’m trying to make is that by making both Mama B and Papa B do about- faces, it cheapens the decisions that Chuck and Sarah make.

        What Chuck and Sarah are doing should be seen as taking the UNCONVENTIONAL and DIFFICULT path. If it’s the INEVITABLE path (because both hard-core Mama and Papa B take it, too), it’s not that interesting.

        Every character in the show that has come with a hard-edged realism toward the spy life (Casey, Papa B, Mama B, even Bryce and Beckman) has now been diluted because they go all emotional. So then why are Chuck and Sarah any different if ALL spies eventually realize that “love is the answer.”

        You need AT LEAST one recurring charater to point out that Chuck and Sarah are going a different way.

      • JC says:

        But the unconventional aspect of being in love and spies went out the window last season with the Shaws and the Turners.

        And I would disagree about hard edged realism. Until S3 most of the good spies were portrayed as bad asses with hearts of gold.

      • godot says:

        @jc:
        Really, you are going to bring up the Shaws and the Turners? Eve Shaw was assasinated and her husband went crackers. The Turners, even as they were played for comedy, were portrayed as victims of the spy life as much as masters of it.

        Chuck and Sarah have to be seen as different, unique, courageous for choosing to be together. For the show to work, they must be the outside-the-box solution to the rock-and-a-hard-place equasion.

        Otherwise, the show is Undercovers. And how’s that working for NBC and Abrams?

      • Faith says:

        a. It is a big deal because it is what will eventually separate Sarah from Mary.

        b. You seem to think of Mary as this one dimension character, namely bad. I respectfully disagree.

        c. Chuck and Sarah are more like Stephen and Mary than we have ever imagined and I think this is a valid plot point. One that calls into question the choices we make and the decisions we live with.

        d. Love is the answer? Ok, fair point. But think of it this way, knowing the answer doesn’t always mean fighting for it. Where Chuck and Sarah differ is through it all they have fought to be together. The same thing cannot be said for everyone else…and yes including MamaB. Which is not to say she doesn’t have her human qualities…she is a mom like it or not. Her choices, her decision, her background doesn’t dispute that and what she feels for her family. I think TPTB have done a good job expressing that.

        e. Redemption.

        f. What did she say after saying she didn’t want to know about him…”they will torture me and I don’t want” to reveal something about you. A fairly motherly reaction wouldn’t you agree?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Godot, I didn’t mean to imply that saving Chuck was the only reason she broke cover, she was also, as you said, making sure the nerve agent and the scientist who could make it were delivered to the CIA. But how she chose to do that, by breaking cover and going to see her son, is an interesting choice given the resources she probably has at her disposal and other options that one would think a deep cover consumate spy would consider.

      • JC says:

        I don’t care that Eve was assassinated and Danny went crazy or that the Turners were burn outs. Both couples clearly loved each other and were married. That goes against everything we were told as an audience during the first two seasons. So the moment they created those couples Chuck and Sarah being in love as spies lost any uniqueness.

        You can’t write their situation as different or courageous when its not.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        @Ernie – On a lighter side – other than the fact that she could delegate such a delicate mission to her son(maybe she was wary of Volkof’s reach in the CIA)there was also another reason why Mama B chose Chuck. You see – the name Carmichael obviously carries great weight in the spy world.

      • thinkling says:

        @Faith: Great points. I thought the torture comment was really revealing, but it hasn’t gotten much ink. All the more reason Team B has got to get her outa there and shut down Volkoff.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I don’t recall that being a couple or in love was presented as unique or impossible, just that it was uniquely dangerous both physically and to the relationship in the spy world. The Shaws and the Turners only reinforce that, as do the elder Bartowskis. It’s not the uniqueness, it’s trying and succeeding when they know it’s against the odds that makes Chuck and Sarah special. There’s your Chuck and Sarah versus the world story.

      • Paul says:

        Just because you’re a superspy doesn’t mean someone can’t take advantage when you get sloppy….or overconfident.

    • joe says:

      If you want Chuck and Sarah to be the soft, gushy heart of the show (and most of us DO), the surrounding characters need to be sharp-edged types. Otherwise, it’s one big, blubbery mess. And it all but destroys the spy story AND the romance. Like usual, that’s an interest take, G!

      But I’m not sure I completely understand. If by soft & gushy you’re talking about the C&S romance (the one I still get all gushy about 😉 ) then I agree. But Chuck and Sarah themselves are VERY attractive as the ultra-competent uber-spy couple! I mean, I really like seeing Chuck NOT whining and ducking, and actually being effective all the way through. (Ooohhhh – and did you notice? He didn’t flash one time in this episode. As Chuck told Stephen about Sarah, that was all him.)

      I guess I’m saying that I’m really enjoying them being NOT soft & gushy together as spies, too, and it just doesn’t seem like a contradiction to me! It’s precisely the way I’d hope to have the characters evolve.

      Of course, I can be pretty easy to please sometimes.

  23. joe says:

    Forgive the OT, but the latest CNN Podcast is up! Enjoy.
    http://olddarthcnn.blip.tv/file/4302705/

  24. DaveB says:

    Entirely speculative, but, Chuck’s Dad, in his Mea Culpa, said “everything I did, I did for her.” It sounded like he did what he did in order to find Mary. What if it was literal? All the things that Papa Bartowski did were for Frost. Not to find her, but for her.

    Another possibly funny line: Mama B looks at Sarah and says “You broke the cardinal rule of spying, didn’t you? You fell in love.” No response from Sarah, so Mary continues, “Bartowski’s have that effect.”

    • joe says:

      I always thought that Stephen’s line *was* literal, Dave. He may not have liked MEB’s decision (This is a bad business!), but he respected it.

      I’d love to hear MEB come out with a line like that!

      • thinkling says:

        So, when did Stephen lose contact with Mary?

        If Mary knows everything about Carmichael, when did she know that Chuck was Carmichael? And why doesn’t she know who Sarah is? Or was the “who are you” rhetorical?

        Questions questions.

        Personally I think Sarah Mary conversations and scenes have all sorts of potential.

      • joe says:

        Pretty deep questions, too.

        But you know, Thinkling, the older I get, the more I resist asking them. Each answer seems to take my imagination down a different path of quantum mechanical, virtual universes, and we quickly get into the realm of fan-fiction.

        I certainly hope that we *do* get some of those answers, though. And like a kid at Christmas, I can’t wait!

    • jason says:

      dave – the ‘i did it for her’ intrigued me too dave. Since chuck’s mission was to find mary, I sort of assumed that was orion’s too. But what if orion’s was different, say like provide digital cover from the usa for mary? Probably a little far fetched, but there might be something to that line of thinking you are on.

      Looks like CS will not be on mission together in some of 4.7, most of 4.8, and too early to tell in 4.9/10, so if sarah is with mary, that would be great. I am wondering if mary returns to her former volkov status at any point in 4.7 thru 4.9/10?

    • atcdave says:

      I was under the impression there wasn’t much contact there; anything he did for her may have been more along the lines of indirect fire support.

      I do look forward to Mary/Sarah interaction. Could be fun and illuminating. We may get to hear Sarah defend some decisions like we haven’t before; or at least defend her Chuck.
      I was also somewhat baffled by how someone could know of Carmichael but not Walker. I guess, just because the question was asked doesn’t mean she didn’t have a pretty good idea of the answer. That or it was really the Carmichael/Cobra missions that made his reputation.

      • jason says:

        that public transportation thing going for cobra/carmichael.

      • atcdave says:

        Masters of the trade those two!

      • thinkling says:

        Carmichael/Cobra doesn’t reveal “everything there is to know about Charles Carmichael.” She knows about the intersect, and it’s implied that she knows much more than the C/C team.

        So surely she knows about Walker, maybe even Casey.

        She maybe knows about Walker, but not Sarah. The girlfriend thing was a surprise I think.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Question is – does she know everything about her husband’s death and the circumstances which led to it? *cough*Plywood*cough*

      • thinkling says:

        Good question. I wonder that, too.

        I also wonder what all accomplishments are attached to Carmichael’s record. Guess we’ll have to ask Fitzroy. And is the Bartowski name attached to the files? At the big convo with all the brass that Chuck burst in on, they were throwing his name around, so …

      • thinkling says:

        Thinking Mary/Sarah interaction, it would be fun to have Mary ask Sarah stuff like, Is he always like this … what do you mean he doesn’t have a gun … did he just flash.

        Or the other way around — Sarah to Mary was he always … what was he like as a kid

        Could be humorous and poignant and wonderful.

      • Faith says:

        LH for series regular seriously! http://act.ly/2kh

        All of that and more 😉

      • thinkling says:

        @Faith: yeah, I really love what she adds to the mix. She would be a great growth character, too. Really fun.

        Of course, I loved PapaB, and his interactions with Sarah. I think she enjoyed one of them having a dad.

    • jason says:

      just one more spitball – has anyone thought that mary might be VOLKOV?

      • thinkling says:

        Oo shudder … no. If this weren’t Chuck, maybe, but … no.

      • atcdave says:

        Yes, and the Dread Pirate Roberts too.

      • jason says:

        mama b seemed pretty afraid of volkov finding out about chuck, and indicated that he was a real person by her line of ?’s, when she shot the agents in the anniversay, so probably not, would be a real twist though

      • Faith says:

        I have Jason and I’m intrigued at the possibilities!

      • kg says:

        Yes. Examples. Yaphet Kotto played two characters in Live and Let Die.

        There was a MacMillian and Wife episode that dealt with Mac as a spy years before he met Sally and long before he became commissioner of the SF Police Department.

        Members of Mac’s betrayed team had figured out that sexy team member Elena Standish had invented a bad guy named Venice, who was responsible for ruining missions. It was Standish betraying the team as a double agent.

        She kills a couple of the team members who figured her out. Naturally, Hudson as Mac investigates and Steve Forest (from SWAT fame) from the intelligence realm asks him to back off due to national security reasons. Of course, Mac says this is my city no way.

        Anyway, the final guy is poisoned and before he dies in his hotel room, he grabs the venetian blinds from the window, ties them to himself as he sits in a chair so that the the blinds will stand upright.

        Mac eventually figues out the clue the dead man attempted to leave. That “Venice is standing”, or that in some German vernacular, the actual translation is “Venice is Standish.”

      • sniderman says:

        Actually, since Timothy Dalton played a “Soviet-like” overlord in “Beautician and the Beast” (yeah, yeah, I know…), I know he can do a very passable Russian-ish accent. When he was announced, I was *certain* he was cast as Volkov. Big-name star playing the big-name villain. But now that we know his role, that possibility seems remote.

        Unless HE’S the one playing a dual role. It would stand to reason that MEB is answering to Volkov, who is also he former MI6 handler, you know?

      • Paul says:

        Could be. Now this is pure spec, but IF he was Volkoff, he could have easily shut project Isis down, essentially cutting Frost off from any CIA help. In any case I wonder if Graham had anything to do with Isis being shut down?

    • Paul says:

      But that would also nullify the whole “Missing” file in the Orion cave.

      • jason says:

        paul, even though I threw the spitball out, I agree, as well as mary killing dolph lundgren and his henchman after she was sure volkov did not know about chuck … interesting no guest star seemingly cast as volkov however, richard chamberlain has been given a name, some belgium baddie if I recall? Might be Volkov will first appear in the last 2 eps, or maybe even in the back 11? The spy story this season is great.

      • Paul says:

        Could be that they were saving actually revealing Volkoff in case of a back season pick-up and/or a S5. That would fall in line with TPTB’s love of prologue. Eps 13 could have a “happy ending” with Volkoff finally coming on the scene and REALLY gunning for Team B.

      • jason says:

        I could see that, happy ending with mary in the mix, maybe even an engagement scene, then with about 5 seconds left, pan to a video feed, with some baddie asking, ‘frost is a traitor, what do you want me to do’ an unknown, a deep voice with a heavy accent replies eerily, ‘kill her, kill them all’ and cut.

      • thinkling says:

        Paul and Jason, that’s so evil … but in a good way. I like it.

  25. Crumby says:

    I’m curions about Mama B’s intentions towards the baby. Was it just the grandmother doing or does the baby has a spy interest? Little Awesomette is a Bartowski after all.

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      shhhh!! Awesome may hear you. And then start to royally freak out.

    • thinkling says:

      And the Woodcomb genes may not be the brightest in the pool after all. Shhh … don’t tell Honey.

      I got the impression she was pure grandmother at that moment

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Her quote about the baby already being half-perfect reminded me of mothers in law from my country (India). A lot of them tend to attribute all the goodness to their son’s genes/characteristics while slighting their daughters in law – totally uncool.

      • atcdave says:

        That’s funny, but I think mothers-in-law are a universal constant. My brother-in-law has the worst ever (um, please don’t do the math on that!).

      • thinkling says:

        @Alladin: agreed – totally uncool.

        @Dave: There are two solutions to that equation, so you’re safe 🙂

      • atcdave says:

        Phew, thanks. I didn’t even think of that since my wife even have a….

      • thinkling says:

        But WE didn’t know that 😉

      • thinkling says:

        @Dave: maybe I should have said there are 10 solutions to that equation … isn’t base 2 great!

    • atcdave says:

      Okay, I guess I’ll change the topic a little now. Informal survey, assuming the inevitable, between Ellie and Sarah who has the more nightmarish mother-in-law?

      I say Ellie hands down. Remember, Honey Woodcomb, the ultimate Chuck villain!

      • Faith says:

        If I wasn’t so intrigued at the relationship that can foster…think about it, they’re both spies! They both love nerds, and Chuck…I would vote for Mary.

        But for someone that gave birth to Awesome, Mrs. Awesome is certainly not awesome to Ellie so she has the edge.

        The better question would be, which is the worse father in law? I go Casey all the way.

      • thinkling says:

        Each is sort of the nightmare in her category. Honey, a doctor married to a doctor. The perfect awesome. Too perfect. Too extreme. Stepford creepy. Mary is Agent Walker, before-Chuck, on steroids. Too all-spy. Each older woman characterizes the extreme her daughter-in-law might want to avoid.

        Honey seems unlikely to change. I think she and Ellie are farther from genuine interaction than Sarah and Mary are.

        I agree with Faith. I am intrigued by the Sarah/Mary relationship potential. For some reason, I think they could be good for each other. I don’t really see that potential in Honey/Ellie.

        So as things stand now. Honey it is. Poor Ellie.

    • Crumby says:

      I also got the impression that Mary was all grandmother, especially with the scene at the store and with the bear, but everything isn’t as it seems, is it?

      I don’t know, it’s probably just wishful thinking, I think that this baby being the next Bartowski gen could be interesting from a spy point of view.

      • thinkling says:

        I think so, too. That would certainly up the stakes in some future arc. Better let Uncle Chuck screen all her DVDs

      • jason says:

        mary, honey, ellie, and sarah – honey all over ellie, sarah having to restrain mary who has her plastic fork in position to do a little fork surgery on honey’s throat, ‘mary, no that is our family’, be priceless … would love to see a twist where mary actually liked sarah, fingers crossed

      • Crumby says:

        If she spend some time with Sarah, how could Mary not like her? 😉 Unless…

      • atcdave says:

        I predict Sarah and Mary will eventually bond just fine. They may continue to have some professional disagreements with Mary being more of a lone wolf and Sarah more of a team player; but I think in the next episode ot two we’ll see them start to get along.

      • thinkling says:

        @Jason: Every time I think of those four together, I laugh. Maybe Thanksgiving we’ll get our wish.

        Crumby and Dave, I hope so [Mary Sarah bonding]. I see so much potential there for great spy moments and great family moments.

        These women are like mirrors on opposing walls, whose reflections are unending.

        Where Mary is now is where Sarah was before Chuck. Where Mary used to be is where Sarah is headed, but has no idea how to get there.

        The path that Sarah just walked is Frost’s path out of the Volkoff underworld and back to the real world. Just watching Sarah with Chuck could help her in that direction. Once there, Mary will be able to empathize with Sarah in ways that other women can’t. The potential for empathy between these two women is huge, and the comedy could be gold as well. Oh, and lets not leave out the spy fun.

        Of course, I’m operating under the assumption that Mary is one of the good guys and wants her life back. My CG pesos are all in on this one.

  26. jason says:

    I watched alie adler’s ‘no ordinary family’s’ pilot this weekend, pretty good, sci fi stuff for sure, kind of like a female flash married to the hulk, with 2 teenage super powered kids. Noticed it got 1.9M/5 as the lead in show for tues DWTS, not very promising I would think, anyone else watch it yet?

    • atcdave says:

      Yeah Jason, I watched the first three episodes. But the family is so disfunctional I’ve already lost interest. Too much time spent worrying about things, not enough time doing something useful. Boring stuff to me.

  27. Sarah Sam says:

    Great analyses all. Really enjoyed the comments.It will certainly be interesting to see where we go from here but I’m sure it will be entertaining as hell.Ernie,the scene you depicted with Sarah, brilliant and the comments after about how the creators have failed to fully develop and understand Sarah Walker is why we probably never had that scene. Her popularity was never their intended vision ,hell ,Sarah is even minimized on the dvd covers.I ‘ve always posited that at least once convey to us through Sarahs pespective and eyes, not Chucks, what his loss would mean to her now that they have truly been together.

    • Crumby says:

      We need a Sarah-centric episode. They have 11 more now, hope they do it.

      • DaveB says:

        I have a feeling one is coming up. “Fear of Death” says that Chuck is trying to redeem himself, so I get the sense that Chuck royally screws up in “First Fight” and Sarah has to save the day, Chuck’s Mom and 007.

        It’s possible this might lead to some introspection on Sarah’s part as to how her actions might have pushed Chuck over the edge, and what led Sarah to where she is now.

        But…Mere speculation on my part…

    • atcdave says:

      At least we’ve had a lot more Sarah this season than last. Marginalizing the most popular character on the show was certainly high on the list of bone-head moves last season. I know TPTB are shocked that aren’t all screaming for more Morgan time. Hopefully we’ll get an actual Sarah-centric episode later this season.

  28. Crumby says:

    I don’t really get how come Chuck found Mary that fast, or at least make enough noise to make her come to him, when Orion didn’t in 20 years.

    So did Orion try to find Mary or not? Or is it the fact that he died that made him ask Chuck to find her?

    And why Mary hasn’t mention her husband at all, btw?

    • thinkling says:

      Orion didn’t use public transportation?

      Chuck did say at the safe house that his dad never got that far. Guess he never found the weapons-to-go menu, and he didn’t have the 2.0 in his head. I don’t know if that answer really flies, but it’s the best I can come up with.

      I’m still waiting for some dad discussion. Maybe she knows, b/c she know everything about CC. She may be aware of the Ring stuff, including the shooting of PapaB. Or it just hasn’t come up yet. Or TPTB don’t care as much as we do, like when would that ever happen? 😉

      • Paul says:

        Possible that Orion wasn’t mentioned in the reports of the Ring takedown. Likely that just haven’t broached the topic yet. I’d love to see a conversation where Frost mentions Orion and Chuck says “Mom, Dad’s dead….”

      • thinkling says:

        It wouldn’t even be a bad Sarah/Mary scene, especially if Mary suspects, but doesn’t know how to broach the subject with Chuck.

    • jason says:

      JC, if my guessing is correct, this ep would not play until early february sometime at the earliest. Is there any chance they will air out of order, and 4.9 (which has been spoiled as really epic, will be the last episode before the 45 day break.

      4.7 nov 1
      4.8 nov 15
      4.12 nov 22
      4.9 nov 29

      from what I know, nov 8th is not going to show an ep, and all of december is some sort of holiday singing special in chuck’s time slot.

      • Paul says:

        Could be that “gobbler” has nothing to do with a holiday. Why would they show the penultimate episode out of order?

      • Crumby says:

        Do we know when Chuck’s coming back after the december break?

      • jason says:

        cumby, from what I read, there are several alternatives, but as far as I know, nobody has thrown out a date yet for the comeback after the break. Since chuck is so much a male viewership, I root for an early schedule to completion, such that we get done b4 the NBA playoffs are in full swing.

      • Paul says:

        I think early to mid January. Just like last season.

  29. DaveB says:

    Chuck vs First Fight Nov 1
    Chuck vs Fear of Death Nov 15
    Chuck Vs Phase Three Nov 22

    Alternatively, we have
    Chuck vs First Fight Nov 1
    Chuck vs Fear of Death Nov 8
    Chuck Vs Phase Three Nov 15
    Chuck vs The Leftovers Nov 22

  30. godot says:

    On the “Who is Volkoff?” matter. Well, it doesn’t actually matter.

    The show’s worldview to date has been that we’re our own worst enemy. Thus Fulcrum and The Ring have been mostly rogue spies or zealots or capitalist stooges. So the logic is that Volkoff Industries is a front from a CIA-MI6-KGB group that wants to maintain the world order. Volkoff himself will be a McGuffin on the order of The Ring Director or the Ring Elders.

    That would also explain the Orion comment about doing things that governments didn’t want to do. It’ll almost surely be revealed that Orion was working for/with Frost, or at least knew that Volkoff Industries was a sort of black ops of insiders dedicated to keeping things on what they perceived as an even keel.

    BTW, did Orion ever say at any point that he was SEARCHING for Mary Bartowski? My recollection (and, forgive me if I’m wrong, don’t have access to S3E19 at the moment) is that the only evidence of her being “missing” was the box you saw. I don’t recall Orion actually saying he was searching for her, just that he “did it all for her.”

    • godot says:

      BTW, with all these extra episodes to play with, and possibly a season 5 now, the door is wide open for a return of Orion. Although it is clear that TPTB hadn’t specifically planned it, they certainly wrote things in a way that makes it easy to explain his return.

      His murder in front of the regenerative tissue stuff is obvious, of course. But since, at that moment, The Ring was in effective control, they could have spirited away his body. And it could be easily posited that Volkoff (er, Frost) reached in and took control of all that in the chaos of “saving multiple branches of the government.”

      And with the last extra episodes shooting AFTER Bakula wraps on his own show, this card could be played. Because, as I said earlier, TPTB have a lot of episodes to fill, not a lot of time to create them, and they’d want actors (Bakula, Routh) who know how the shows works and could step right into characters that don’t need to be created from whole cloth.

    • Crumby says:

      Nope Orion didn’t say he was looking for Mary. He only said he did it all for her (did what exactly?).

      But Chuck did say that he’s dad gave him the mission of finding her. Did he misunderstood? Or was it something we just did see, in the OC or somewhere else? I do think Orion asked Chuck to find her, because TPTB said in several interviews that finding mom was Chuck’s mission from his dad.

      My questions are: why Orion didn’t look for her before? Why ask Chuck once dead? And if he did look for her before, how come he didn’t find her?

  31. Faith says:

    Hi-yo!

    You guys going to put up the spec thread? *demanding hinting wink*

    I have burning thoughts after reading Jace’s Televisionary review!

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