Speculation Post: Chuck vs. the Fear of Death

Ok team, below is the synopsis and your chance to speculate away!

CHUCK FEARS THAT A MAJOR LOSS MAY END HIS SPY CAREER—AND HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH SARAH – ROB RIGGLE, SUMMER GLAU AND RICHARD CHAMBERLAIN GUEST STAR – Afraid that his latest setback is driving a wedge between him and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski), Chuck (Zachary Levi) resolves to prove himself by going on a dangerous mission with the overeager Agent Rye (guest star Rob Riggle). Meanwhile, Morgan (Joshua Gomez) and Casey (Adam Baldwin) scramble as the “Buy Morons” attempt to uncover the true identity of Greta (guest star Summer Glau). Vik Sahay, Scott Krinsky and Bonita Friedericy also star.


About amyabn

My name is Amy and I'm in the active Army as my profession. I love the show Chuck and want to see it succeed for many seasons to come. My twitter handle is amyabn.
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217 Responses to Speculation Post: Chuck vs. the Fear of Death

  1. amyabn says:

    Ok, the next episode looks interesting. My initial thoughts:

    -here we go again with some quack outsider spy thinking he can make Chuck better than what he is. Haven’t we seen this before, most recently with a piece of plywood?

    -looks like Sarah is back in full lioness protector mode; should be fun

    -hope Chuck can reboot again

    • JC says:

      Unlike Shaw, from the promo it looks like he seeks out Rob Riggle’s help. And it seems like he’s just trying to make Chuck flash not train him. Of course it’s not like Chuck trained last season either.

    • Tamara Burks says:

      It’d be interesting if someone who appears to be obviously nuts (instead of creepily) ends up helping Chuck regain the Intersect instead of turning it off (with Sarah’s help) the way Shaw did.

      It would also be interesting if maybe someone makes a remark about how helpful (in a sarcastic tone , Casey would be good for this) Sarah was the last time this happended.

  2. atcdave says:

    I’d be okay with no intersect for a while if Chuck can prove himself useful in other ways. Overprotective Sarah is always fun, can’t get enough of that.

    I’m completely dismissing the first part of that synopsis; whenever Chuck voices that fear he’ll discover he’s being ridiculous (again!).

    • amyabn says:

      The guy has to have some form of muscle memory from all the Chuck-fu by now! And yes, I think Sarah will quickly dispatch his fears as baseless and we’ll have one of those nice make up moments.

  3. Matt says:

    Do we still have the Ring’s intersect that Shaw used? It would be an easy fix. I wonder how bad the operation with the new guy goes. Are we going back to the 1st two seasons where Casey and Sarah come in and save the day? It would definitely be a change of the norm this season.

    As far as speculation goes, I say the schematics for the intersect 2.0 or 3.0 is on the laptop under Ellie’s seat at the end of tonight’s episode.

    • atcdave says:

      It might be fun to see Chuck as the “Damsel in distress” again for old times sake!

      I agree Matt I think the Orion computer will be key in fixing or reinstalling the Intersect.

      • Matt says:

        I love the “damsel in distress” line. I was lmao.
        I wonder if the device she used wiped the intersect info or if it reordered it to help him in the future. She saved him, so she isn’t all bad. Maybe she just can’t come out of her cover yet. Irealize not everyone from Chuck’s past can’t wind up being “good guys”, but I was sort of hoping to have Mama B around in the future.

      • Matt says:

        I meant “can”, not “can’t”. I seriously miss the edit button.

      • atcdave says:

        Of course its also possible she’s a villain who just can’t stand to kill her own son. But I think we’re meant to conclude she’s not really bad, and now Sarah may be quicker to trust Chuck’s instincts.

        But they’re both still in deep doodoo with the General for letting Frost and Volkoff get away.

  4. Tamara Burks says:

    Oh so that’s what that was under the seat! I wonder if Ellie will find it and open it.

  5. Ernie Davis says:

    Eurybia. The project where Mary got the device she showed Chuck. Eurybia is the mother of Astreus, Titan god of the stars and the dusk who married Eos, goddess of the dawn. They gave birth to the four winds. Fornax means the furnace or the forge, and Orion was the hunter. Brush up on your constellations and mythology!

    • atcdave says:

      So this should all make Joe very happy…

      • joe says:

        You betcha!

        I couldn’t catch the name Euybia live, but I assumed I’d pick it up on re-watch. (So thanks, Ernie!)

        It’s time to reread my Frazer – The Golden Bough.

      • JC says:

        Got this from TVSquad

        Eurybia was the Greek goddess of the mastery of the seas, aiding those seeking proper navigation. To where does Mary wish to point her son, and what can he now do once there that he couldn’t before?

    • DaveB says:

      Interesting that Eurybia is described as “having a heart of flint within her.”

      She also bore three children, but as in mythology, they were all male, it might not have bearing here.

      The question is, does “Eurybia” have anything to do with “Frost” in particular (an intersect specific to Frost perhaps?) or is it more general (the information Orion had gathered)?

      • atcdave says:

        The Intersect project is rife with constellation names; my bet is it means nothing more than that.

      • jason says:

        I googled Eurybia, means amazon in latin amercia, a female name, volkov means wolf in russian, and orion’s most common greek mythology meaning might be the hunter.

        Orion hunting the wolf makes perfect sense, not sure about the Eurybia?

        This isn’t particularily the right spot, but the car being ready implies orion had an accomplice. A new character might be introduced, but for the members of the current cast, I have only one good guess.

        She has red hair, and is shorter than morgan, and she just recently was added as a regular, with seemingly little to do right now.

  6. herder says:

    Ignoring the “lose Sarah” bit, if Chuck goes on a mission without the intersect what kind of an agent is he. Is he the old Chuck with girlish screams, is he Morgan, is he still Carmichael, is he Chuck who thinks his way around corners. My guess is the last and that he starts to realize that it is Chuck that Sarah fell for, not some guy with a computer in his brain.

    • atcdave says:

      I think you’re right Herder. And he would probably be treated as an agent who’s suffered a disabling injury. If he can prove he’s still capable, he would be eligible for field work again. Although I’m sure they will paint it a more dire light in 4.08; like if he can’t flash they’re going to remove his brain or something.

      • Paul says:

        if he can’t flash he’ll be removed from the team and there’s a good chance Operaiton Bartowski is over…..and Casey and Sarah get new assignments far, far away.

    • JC says:

      He was holding his own on the plane without flashing at first. We know he doesn’t need to flash to be accurate with a gun. All thats really lacking is fighting skills which he could learn.

      • atcdave says:

        I’d love to see him pull off some stuff on his own talents. I’m sure they won’t let that go long, the Intersect will probably be working by the end of 4.08. But I hope he’s not a totally helpless schmuck.

      • LtDarkstar says:

        I don’t think it’ll be working by the end of ep 8. If you read the synopsis for ep 9 it talkes about the whole team going to Southeast Asia for finding a fix for the Intersect. Also something about his “sanity”…Interesting..

    • thinkling says:

      My take: The girlish screams are gone forever. Carmichael is here to stay, with or without the intersect. And thinking-his-way-around-corners Chuck has never left. Chuck is a unique blend of the best that nerd and agent have to offer.

      This will show him the strength of Sarah’s love, which for some reason he can’t grasp in its totality.

    • DaveB says:

      Remember that the first action he ever did, disabling a bomb, he did without flashing. He also tracked Frost down without flashing. So he has inate abilities, as Casey once told him, that he just needs to trust. The insecure doofus is slowly being peeled away to reveal the guy who saved the ballarina and won fair maiden.

      • herder says:

        At the beginning of the Ring, Beckman wanted to hire the non-intersected Chuck as an anylst, so he does have inate spy abilities, he just cloaks them in a girlish scream.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Tru dat. The problem is while they were willing to eventually accept him as an analyst after 2 years without an Intersect (at first they were just willing to kill him even though it was proved he was suppossed to be recruited) they weren’t willing to accept him as an agent without one.

        Without an Intersect , he was kicked out of spy school (possibly because they didn’t really train him they just expected him to flash) and nearly blown up over some discs that were inconsequential (it seems) .

        They also don’t seem to really respect anything he does that isn’t tied into the Intersect. They could say that the bomb defusing was Intersect related because he found it using the Intersect even though the defusing was all him. Look at how Sarah and Casey (two people who have got to know his non Intersect skills) when Barker shows up and says the chip in unhackable they don’t bother to ask how he knows that and blindly believe him and refuse to let Chuck check it out (he hacked it in about a minute and even though it set off a tracking device that wasn’t the same thing as unhackable and if that’s what Barker meant he should’ve said that) . Sarah and Casey both blindly believed in Barker (to the point of telling him Chuck’s secret and endangering him when barker was captured) which IMHBCO is much worse than Chuck wanting to believe that his mother has a good reason for leaving and loved him just like his father did especially when you add on that said father was dead.

      • herder says:

        Agreed, but there were two instances last year during the arc of misery that did stand out about Chuck’s abilities and Sarah’s and Casey’s faith in him. In the Mask, when the gas is released Sarah says to Shaw “Chuck will find a way” followed by Casey accepting Chuck’s plan to get the antidote. The other is Casey’s “before you were the intersect you were smart” in Other Guy as a means of encouraging him.

        They both seem to have faith in Chuck’s abilities (leaving aside the horrible “the lemon” bit in Pink Slip and the whole of Sarah’s loss of faith from the Mask on) outside the intersect. Even the General has a sort of grudinging respect “Agent Bartowski has formed an effective albeit unortodox team with Agent Walker and Colonel Casey).

        I’d say they respect his intelligence and his ability to come up with innovative ideas, but have yet to be convinced about his innate physical abilities. The point is he does the same job aiming for the same results but not in a physical way, they are much more physical in their solutions to problems.

  7. weaselone says:

    It was tweeted a few minutes ago that Chuck has once more fallen behind Supernatural.

    • herder says:

      Probably because no one voted while the show was airing. The worry is that everyone is so pumped about the episode that they want to talk about it rather than voting.

  8. alladinsgenie4u says:

    Does the synopsis mean that we will yet again see Chuck being insecure. If he is afraid of losing his job due to the Intersect failing – then that is a valid concern. But why be afraid of losing his relationship with Sarah – maybe he goes all insecure and says ridiculous things like for example ” Now I don’t have a giant computer in my head and I am useless as a spy. Sarah, will you still love me”. or something to that effect. If he does do that, I hope Sarah literally smacks some sense into him.

    • atcdave says:

      I think you may be close to it Genie. Its like the synopsis for Couch Lock said something about “Chuck worries about what he’s willing to sacrifice to find his mom.” When he expressed his worries to Sarah she said “your being ridiculous” and that was pretty much the end of it. I expect something similar; Sarah will set him strait, I’m certain of it.

      • thinkling says:

        Ditto. It will be all in Chuck’s head. By the end of the ep, those ridiculous thoughts will be removed and the intersect restored.

  9. odysszeuss says:

    for me it’s obvious. 20 years ago frost and orion decided to take down volkoff by getting frost captured by volkoff and orion making chuck the intersect 3.0 who will have do free his mom. in order to accomplish this orion made a device to remove the intersect 2.0 so elli has to find the intersect 3.0 computer under the seat of the mustang with mama b’s input…

    Whoop! I like the spy story. All these twist and turns. Not sure how they play all these things out. To many possibilities…

  10. JC says:

    4.09 Short Synopsis

    Sarah, Chuck, Morgan and Casey head to the jungles of Southeast Asia when The Belgian (Richard Chamberlain) tries to learn more about the Intersect; Ellie and Awesome try to decipher a secret her father left behind.

    • thinkling says:

      ooo that sounds interesting. I suppose Chuck is captured at this point. That sounds like a really fun combo, too.

      • thinkling says:

        Never mind. I see you included Chuck in the expedition. I missed that at first read. Brain cramp. Or maybe I have been hitting the brain bleach. It will be my new excuse for all further brain glitches. 😉

      • JC says:

        Just because they end up in the same place doesn’t mean they go together. Remember the season premier.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        And TV.com had this synopsis:
        In order to escape The Belgian, Sarah, Chuck, Morgan and Casey immerse themselves in the jungles of Southeast Asia. The Belgian’s mission is to discover more about the Intersect. Meanwhile, Ellie and Awesome dive into the secret Steven Bartowski left behind.

        It could still mean that Sarah and et al rescue Chuck and escape into the jungles. I am still leaning toward the possibility that Chuck will be captured in 4×08 and his captivity will continue onto 4×09

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      Thanks for the info. So, the much rumored professional separation between C/S lasts all of one episode. And wasn’t there a spoiler from Ausiello a while back about a mission in Thailand – and a lot of WB studios made to look like Thailand.

    • JC says:

      I think were all missing the most important thing her. A mud covered naked Sarah coming out of a lake with knife in between her teeth.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Looking forward to that. Although, the naked part may still remain Rafe’s fantasy and not translate onto the screen. Still, it is going to be one awesome scene.

  11. DaveB says:

    We all know Chuck tends to… overreact… emotionally. I think this will be an example of that.

  12. Paul says:

    Okay I just had a crazy thought. From DR’s hints and the promo, it seems that C/S’s performance issues in bed start next eps. Also, Morgan is supposed to not be able to resist Sarah’s “womanly ways”. Isn’t 4.08 the eps that there was a casting call for a pole dance instructor????? Soooooo, if I were to pull together a Scooby-doo plot, I would spec that Sarah gets it into her head that the pole dancing may help Chuck “get into the mood” and she gives Morgan a preview to see if he thinks Chuck might like it…..;)

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      As per DR’s hints, I am pretty sure that the “performance issues” are mutual – and not just limited to Chuck. And for all we know, it may be played out for comedic effect. As for the rumors regarding the casting of a pole dancing instructor – I believe it was for a much later episode – 4×09 or 4×10.

    • atcdave says:

      You’re kidding, right Paul? I could see Morgan suggesting that scenario, but the chances of Sarah playing along? Something about a snowball in Hell.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Guys, I hate to burst your bubble, but I’m guessing DR’s “spoiler” was about Chuck having performance issues in bed? We already saw it in the preview. He gets attacked in their bedroom by the new trainer and can’t flash.

    • Tamara Burks says:

      I think the womanly ways refers to Morgan putting his hands on Sarah’s chest when he refers to her icy exterior.

  13. weaselone says:

    In the synopsis for 4.08 we have Chuck afraid that his setback is driving a wedge between him and Sarah. This has people speculating that Chuck is insecure about his relationship with Sarah, and afraid he’ll lose her. I can’t help but wonder whether these individuals actually read last week’s synopsis and then watched the show.

    The synopsis for 4.07 stated that Chuck went on a rogue mission to avoid confronting Sarah. In the actual episode, Chuck had every intention of talking with Sarah, but just wanted time to cool off. The rogue mission was an effort to clear his mother’s name not an excuse to run away from a fight. In order to accomplish his mission he had to operate without Sarah’s knowledge.

    Given the disconnect between last week’s synopsis and the actual episode I find it surprising that not only are people taking this week’s synopsis so literally, but they’re actually diving deeper into the melodrama pool than the synopsis itself. Chuck and Sarah are a spy couple. If Chuck can’t function as a full partner due to a malfunctioning Intersect by definition it creates a wedge in the relationship. Does it mean that Chuck questions Sarah’s love for him? No, but it does leave them unable to function as a spy couple.

    Chuck wants to be a spy, in particular he wants to be a spy with Sarah. With the glitching of the Intersect, it’s quite natural that he will fear this could lead to him being benched permanently and by extension the end of him and Sarah as a spy couple. Now waiting for your super hot spy girlfriend to walk through the door after an extended mission is a far better than a life spent on a couch eating cheese balls, but it isn’t what Chuck wants and he knows it’s not what Sarah would prefer.

    • atcdave says:

      The thing we always must remember about a synopsis. They are written by a committee of 12, none of whom are allowed to write more than three non-consecutive words; nor are they allowed to actually watch the episode they are writing for. They have to work from the script, reading no more than 3 scenes, with pages shuffled in random order.

  14. Rick Holy says:

    Hey good people. I’m enjoying reading all your posts, but unless I’m mising something, ya’ll are overlooking something BIG. SUMMER GLAU is going to guest star on this episode!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 [Is that enough “smiles” for you?].

    It’s another “Firefly” reunion for Adam Baldwin. Now if we could only lasso Gina Torres. She played a wonderful nemesis (Anna Espinoza) to Sydney Bristow in ALIAS. I’m sure she’d make a great nemesis for Sarah in some future episode of CHUCK.

    Anyway, I LOVE Summer Glau. River Tam. Cameron Phillips (the Terminator). And if you’ve not seen it on Youtube, check out her guest star appearance on The Big Bang Theory. It’s priceless!

    Anyway, although it may officially be Fall, I say “Bring on the SUMMER!!” Can’t wait – but I guess I have to – for two weeks!! 😦

  15. herder says:

    So the fear of death is supposedly some way to scare Chuck back to flashing ( sort of like the way his dad threw the letter opener at him last year). To accomplish this they seperate him from Sarah and assign Rob Riggle to be his new partner.

    Doesn’t the General ever learn, twice last year Chuck couldn’t flash, both times it was related to problems with Sarah. He could flash, after a fashion when things between he and Sarah reached an equilibrium of sorts.

    If they want him to be able to flash, send them on a holiday to a deserted island (or another long train ride) and by the end he’ll be flashing up a storm. Heck, lock them in their apartment for a week and send Morgan on a week long mission and that would probably work too. Problem solved.

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      Yeah! You are totally right on leaving Chuck and Sarah alone all week on a deserted island/ or getting Morgan out of the house (BTW, I hope he finds a new place for himself soon ). Win- win for everyone (even the fans- who are starved of some C/S hotness)

      The reason he is paired with that crazy CIA agent is that Sarah is incapable of frightening Chuck into recovering his flashing skills (she is too much in love to do that – enter the crazy and over eager agent, who has some very unorthodox way of upping the ante (from the promo)

    • JC says:

      This time might be different and it’s not his emotions blocking the flashes. During the promo right at the end, it showed an empty flash. I’m thinking whatever Mary showed him is clashing with the 2.0. Two other points from the promo, one Chuck looks very willing to be teamed up with Riggle for at least short term and Sarah’s outfit seemed to imply sexy times are still aplenty at Casa Bartowski.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        But the promo also stressed that unless he flashes his life would be in mortal peril. And 4×08 and 4×09 are like continuous story lines – maybe his problem spills over to 4×09, where Ellie and her present from Orion comes into play.

        As for sexy times at Casa Bartowski – I really hope we see a scene similar to the bed scene in Suitcase. IMHO, it’s long overdue.

      • JC says:

        I agree with you, the Intersect problem probably lasts until 4.09. The short synopsis for 4.09 even mentions The Belgian is interested in it.

        What I’m getting at is that I don’t think his emotions are the problem this time. I’m sure everyone will think it is till the end of the episode. It’s more likely a software issue, that’s why I mentioned the empty to flash at the end of the promo. I don’t think we’ve ever seen that before.

        Just going off what we’ve seen. Mary knew exactly where the device was. This implies Orion told her about it and this plan was in place case of emergencies. My guess is was designed to work with the original Intersect or it’s a brand new one designed to overwrite the original. It was created before Orion knew Chuck uploaded the 2.0 and it’s clashing with it. He didn’t have a chance to modify it but he left the instructions(computer) with Ellie the neurologist.

      • atcdave says:

        Interesting spec, I could see something like that. I wonder if it might even have been deliberate (I mean temporarily disabling the Intersect), since she didn’t seem very worried about Chuck flashing in the scene with Volkoff. Perhaps it was largely about keeping knowledge of the intersect from her boss. If its actually an intersect upgrade, the files from the Orion Cave is the only thing I can really see adding. Only other possibility I could see is if it makes the Intersect easier for Chuck to use like less sensitive to Chuck’s emotions or less damaging to his physiology.

      • JC says:

        It has to be an upgrade or update, if its not that dialogue Mary had about ” Your father didn’t want you to see this” and “He was wrong” is a major flub on the writers part.

      • atcdave says:

        I was thinking the line could have just been a “made you look!” thing.

        Most likely scenario is some sort of upgrade to the intersect; I just hope it isn’t too much of an upgrade, to my mind its too powerful already anyhow. I would prefer they strip the “skills” section out and make an information only thing again; but I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority on that and think there’s little chance of them doing that.

      • JC says:

        My personal hope is that it gives him permanent spy skills like Kung Fu, Parkour, etc. Then they can have him flash on more info like the first two seasons and some secondary skills like languages.

        Watching the episode again the images on the PSP were completely different than we’ve seen before. There were no actual pictures but shapes and designs. That seems pretty significant.

      • Paul says:

        At Dave, it could be a “made you look” thing. THAT would be a line that got Chuck’s attention. IMHO, what that PSP was isn’t so much a de-intersect machine, but maybe a “recovery disk” that wipes the data and resets the intersect to it’s “clean, factory” configuration. It will still work, but there’s no data there. THAT needs to be reuploaded….hence the Mustang.

        Now WHY whould Frost do this? It was shown that she wants to take Chuck off of Volkoff’s radar. Either by “killing” him herself or letting Volkoff think he killed him. With Chuck’s intersect not working, he’s essentially out of the spy game (so it is assumed) and cannot continue to keep looking for her.

      • JC says:

        The device could also have unlocked whatever information Chuck downloaded as a child.

      • atcdave says:

        Paul is kind of get at what I was thinking, the computer in the Mustang has to play into this somehow. So whatever Mary did it wasn’t the end of the process.

      • JC says:

        I’m wondering whatever is on that computer and the PSP is it going to play into the whole destiny angle for Chuck and maybe Ellie.

  16. Crumby says:

    Chuck feels special because of the Intersect. He’s likely to be willing to get it back with or without Sarah in the picture.

  17. Crumby says:

    I’m a little disappointed about the Gretas. None of them has been really use in the spy story.

    • Paul says:

      I don’t think they’re supposed to be involved with the spy stories. But I agree that besides Isaiah Mustafa, they haven’t really been used well. However, Summer Glau is supposed to have a bigger role next eps.

      • herder says:

        In the promo at the end of last night’s episode there is a small clip of Greta (from the rear) pulling a knife on Lester. Maybe he hits on her in a distinctly unpleasant way, should be funny.

      • Paul says:

        From a promo, Jeffster “investigate” Greta. Could be they start becoming suspicious. Could be they try hitting on her….

    • Crumby says:

      I just thought that one of them could have had a role like Carina or something. Bringing a mission to the team…

      • atcdave says:

        We still don’t really know what their function is. My supposition is sort of overseer of the junior agents at the Buy More. But that is purely a guess, don’t have a clue if they will ever tell us why Greta changes every week.

  18. Big Kev says:

    A couple of specs or questions on the MamaB/Volkoff story – not necessarily next episode-related.
    1-So MamaB is the one putting the classified ads in the paper. She knows that Orion is dead. I think it will play out that Orion was helping her run her deep cover op all along, rather than looking for her. The intel in the Mustang will be an intersect upgrade and a back up of Orion’s work.
    2-When Dalton was first cast I thought he would be Volkoff. Then as I watched the set up this week and last, I thought not. Specifically – why would MamaB send her son to Volkoff? Even if her plan is to further embed her cover by blowing up Orion’s cave (knowing there is a data backup in the Mustang), sending Chuck into the clutches of the big bad without his knowledge this early in the piece seems like a particularly high-risk gamble.
    Still can’t quite get my head around that question. Any other ideas?

    • jason says:

      the second one for me was kind of baffling too, u might say her mission was to lure carmicheal to volkoff, but didn’t she kill carmicheal in the last episode, with freddy krueger at the table?

      I did not know mary was placing the ads, I assumed that was papa b on some sort of automatic orders?

      any guesses on what the device mary shot in chucks eyes did other than stop him from intersecting, if anything?

      if I had to guess, I would guess orion and mary were in contact over the years, that orion ‘did it for her’ was run cover for her from the states?

      lots of ?’s – fewer answers – lots of time to post and discuss

    • herder says:

      Maybe she thought that Sarah would be backing him up and when she saw that it had been Morgan, she had to go to plan B. After all, Volkov thinks that he is Carmichael, but nobody knows that he is her son.

    • JC says:

      What Mary said in Aisle was true, she “killed” Carmichael to protect Chuck and Ellie’s identities. Her plan was working perfectly until she got arrested.

      Now she knows Volkoff will come after her and indirectly her family. She sends Chuck to him under the pretense that he’s her handler. She’s playing them both. Remember she makes a point to tell Chuck that not even Tuttle knows that he’s her son. Chuck as Carmichael is already on Volkoff’s radar, notice how he keeps fishing for the reason why Chuck is helping Frost and maybe Orion. Mary knew Chuck would be safe with Volkoff until he got what he wanted the location of the Orion Cave. That’s why she insists on going with Sarah. She knew the cave had the computer for those disks. Once again she covers up the fact Chuck is her son when she interrupts him during Volkoff’s villain speech.

      So in one swift move she secures her cover by destroying her husband’s work and killing his protege. But in reality she saves him by slipping Sarah the razor and probably uploading into Chuck whatever Volkoff wanted gone.

    • Paul says:

      BK, I don’t think Frost was the one putting the ads in the paper. I think that was something Orion put into motion in the event of his death. However, I DO think Frost knows the significance of the car and gave Ellie a gentle nudge.

      • Big Kev says:

        You may be right. I just thought the fact that the car story had wording that was almost identical to the ad was a tip. Add in the timing issue and it seemed clear to me. Either way, everything about the set ups in this episode has me excited!

      • Gringo Chuck Fan says:

        Not only the ads in the paper…. but someone placing the hand written note on the steering wheel for Ellie! Orion must have had a partner???
        I hope we get to find out more about who that is… Who had the car and was taking care of it?

      • Paul says:

        I think the car was already set up ready to go. It was one of those off camera things or it hit the cutting room floor for time.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        When Ellie and Awesome were walking out to the car they mentioned a he. There was probably some account set up that made automatic payments. This account could have paid the light bills for the house and lair and sent a paycheck to the person who had the car and note. The car was probably in storage and the note kept in a safe place (and was wrote shortly before he came back) and the person hired for the job was just suppossed to make sure the ads were placed with that exact wording, sift through any phone calls or messages and only get the car and note out if Ellie called and give it to her.Then once Ellie had the car stop the ads from running. If the payment is automatic they’d probably still get paid afterwards until the account runs dry.

        This person would not be a partner but someone paid to do a slightly odd job.

  19. Big Kev says:

    I thought Ellie’s comment about the ads only starting up the day after PapaB’s death was a pointer that it was Mary placing them. Then she relates the car story as a tip to Ellie to go back to the ad and find the car.
    My initial thought is that the PSP is something that clears out the 2.0 in Chucks brain – hence the inability to flash next episode – but knowing that the replacement is in the Mustang. Will probably play out entirely differently, of course!

    Mary’s initial plan to take Chuck off the radar by staging the shooting was scuppered by her being captured. She knows that Volkoff will get personally involved in the rescue attempt (because he’s clearly in love with her?) and when that happens, Volkoff will inevitably discover that Carmichael is still alive.
    So now not only does she have to get Chuck convincingly off Volkoff’s radar, she also needs to get herself rescued. Using Chuck to bring Volkoff to her accomplishes the second, having Volkoff see Chuck and Sarah’s “deaths” accomplishes the first.
    Hmmm. Sounds quite plausible when i write it down!

  20. Big Kev says:

    Great minds and all that…..
    I think we must have been writing at the same time!

  21. Yves says:

    Hello everyone

    I’ve written a couple of comments here. Today, I have a favor to ask. I have a presentation to make about the television network CBS. The problem is, I’m french, and it seems to me that TV broadcasting doesn’t work the same way it does in Europe.

    So I’d like to ask some questions here, because it’s one of the only american speaking weblog I read.

    US Television is based on TV Networks, such as ABC, NBC or CBS. Each of them owns, or has a partnership with local TV stations. This means some programms are widely broadcasted (like Chuck) on local stations. Or, are the networks and the stations independant from each other?

    Would someone please explain it to me?

    • Paul says:

      Local stations will affiliate (essentially franchise) with one of the major broadcast stations. Typically in one area, there is only one station affiliated with each major broadcast company. They will air the major air time feeds, but have the ability to pre-empt locally if desired.

    • DaveB says:

      In the US, Federal law limits the number of TV (or radio) stations a network like CBS can own and operate. So CBS will contract with independant stations to carry some or all of CBS’s programming. These stations are called “Affiliates”. In some communities one station might affliate with more than one network, but this usually only happens in smaller communities where there are limited broadcasting stations.

    • atcdave says:

      Paul and DaveB already did a great job with this so I’ll just add a couple tidbits. Add Fox and that’s the extent of major US networks. CW is considered a minor network because it has less programming and isn’t in as many markets. You see some really different things in more rural areas like a single station with multiple channels spread over a large geographic area. I think DaveB hit on the biggest oddity of all, a single broadcaster being affiliated with multiple networks. I’ve seen prime-time line-ups that were a patch work of different network programs, with some shows either skipped entirely or pushed into middle of the night slots. That’s probably not such a big deal in this DVR era, but it sure could have been tough to be a Chuck fan in some minor markets more than a decade ago.

      It used to be local broadcasters were required to add local news content, but those regulations have been relaxed (Fox is the newest of the networks, and many of its affiliates have never had their own news departments). But for most stations local News/Weather/Sports is an important part of what they bring to the mix.

      Ask anything else you want Yves, there’s a lot of knowledgable people here, I’m sure we get you MOSTLY accurate information!

    • odysszeuss says:

      that’s all kind of confusing to me…

      NOT the answers, I think I got it.
      ,and I didn’t ask, anyway…
      ,but good/interesting to know…

      • atcdave says:

        It is confusing, and I’m sure most Americans don’t even get how it works. Especially the difference between network and local programming. In most markets you’ll see a local and network newscast back-to-back, many viewers don’t even understand (or care about) the difference. And of course local broadcasters can purchase syndicated programming; which is either made for syndicated distribution (like most game shows), or is reruns of older network programming. That can get really confusing if say a CBS affiliate is airing new episodes of 2 1/2 Men with the network feed, and then purchases re-runs of the same show via a syndication pack, that they run every night at 7:30 or something. Many viewers will never get the difference between the airtimes and even most DVRs can’t tag the difference between the current network airing and the older rerun (actually Simpsons is what causes the most problems here since there has been over 4 million episodes during the 600 years its been on).

        And add to all that non-affiliated local stations, super stations, cable networks, and don’t even get me started on PBS!

      • odysszeuss says:

        …now I’m really confused. No, no I got it. in very easy words: Instead of adding a “local” 24/7 “Channel” for local programming additional to Countrywide 24/7 “Channels” you have (because of time difference and law) “affiliate” Channels, which are contracted to minimum one big network and they generate their own programming mix (network “live”, local and syndication)
        …an affiliate contracted to more than one broadcaster, say watching Chuck life and thereafter House Season 1 Episode (say 5) in syndication is a possible scenario???

      • atcdave says:

        Hey you got it! Clear as mud right? The local/affiliate game goes back to the dawn of broadcast television here. Local stations often couldn’t (well, still can’t) afford much original content so they signed up with networks (usually studio organs) to fill their schedule. But federal (FCC) law required them to have some local/public service content as part of their broadcast license.

  22. wax_eagle says:

    Not sure if this is a fake out or not, but I was fooling around on NBC’s chuck website and they had the PSP device as a flash on the computer. The tool tip reads “Reverse Intersect.” Is this a hint or a fake out?

  23. jason says:

    2 wild a$$ guesses:

    first – beckman may be orion’s handler or contact or accomplice, hence things like get the car ready, place the ad, etc could all be done by her – plus it would pull her into the spy drama twists and turns a little bit more

    second – did anyone else pick up on no romantic feelings being volkov and frost, more almost like ‘siblings’?

    Neither is a strong opinion, just on rewatch last night both things hit me.

    • atcdave says:

      Couple interesting specs. We may not ever know on Orion, I think he’ll matter less going forward. Maybe I’m wrong, we may learn more about him during this current round of Intersect tampering; and hearing from Beckman makes some sense, they don’t even have to sign another actor for it. But I think mamaB will dominate family history issues in the future.

      I really don’t know about Volkoff/Frost at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised either way; including them actually being siblings.

    • Paul says:

      I don’t think so. Everything that transpired: the car ads, the car having a letter in it, all could have been pre-arranged before his death and only set into motion upon the event of his death (kinda like his spy will being sent to Chuck). I think Ellie finding where the car was stored, how it was stored, etc, was meant to be assumed to happen off screen or maybe was cut out for time.

    • herder says:

      I’ll agree that Beckman knows more than she is letting on, she is hiding secrets in her tiny little person. I don’t think that she is currently helping Mama B but I do think that she has helped her in the past or at least knows of her. But the notion that she has been on a one woman mission for twenty years with no CIA contact seems a bit far fetched. I do find the notion that Volkov has moles in the CIA interesting, although with the Fulcrum moles, Ring moles and now Volkov moles it’s amazing that they have any regular agents available to do missions.

      Volkov and Mama B is intentionally vague, Goya said she was some sort of a kept woman but he could never figure out the relationship between them. What I did notice is that in Aisle of Terror Mama B spoke of how she missed her kids every day, but no mention of Papa B or the more generic family. Also Chuck refrained from saying that Orion had been killed when talking about him at the end of First Fight with his mom. Does Mama B know about the fact that Stephen is dead and if so about the circumstances of that death.

      • atcdave says:

        Funny about the length of the mission. It makes me wonder just what the heck Volkoff must be up to. I mean, Frost has certainly had the opportunity to just kill him over the years, and possibly damage or destroy much of his operation. In the end, will his take down actually do justice to this situation? Don’t get me wrong, it will be fun just to see the baddie taken down and mom reunited with her family. But I wonder if the situation will hold up under any scrutiny.

        It was interesting that Chuck checked himself on mentioning Orion’s death. It was obvious enough it must come into play later, yet Volkoff seemed to know he was dead (and Mary didn’t?). Curious.

      • jason says:

        dave – that 20 year thing, frost not killing volkov, and how dalton acted toward mary and visa versa, made me craft the brother and sister guess, since the season is about family, mary all of a sudden becomes ellie except with high stakes like keeping brother volkov from blowing up the world, more than sarah on a 20 year spy mission.

      • jason says:

        brother or sister or lovers or something else all together, the odds of well connected volkov not knowing frost has children are pretty slim.

      • atcdave says:

        Jason, i think your brother/sister spec is the best I’ve heard on the topic. So perhaps Frost truly can’t bring herself to kill him and has tried to keep him from starting WWIII for 20 years.

      • wax_eagle says:

        I find it unlikely. Wouldn’t her brother know she has children?

      • atcdave says:

        Maybe not, if he’s long been a mobster she may have lived her life in the US (CIA and family) mostly secret from him. It does seem like a long shot, but it nicely addresses some problems.

      • Paul says:

        TPTB have already stated in pre-season interviews that Volkoff is not realated in any way to Chuck.

      • atcdave says:

        OK, thanks Paul, I hadn’t heard that.

  24. FirstTimer says:

    Long-time lurker here. I guess I am surprised at how much surprise there’s been about all of this.

    Can I direct you back to the end of Ring II? Orion’s voice over never said he was looking for Mama B. It was all about doing missions that governments wouldn’t do and how he did it all for her. The ONLY indication that Mama B was “missing” was a box labeled as such.

    This is a lot like (save me) Pink Slip where we all assumed Sarah wanted out of the spy life when, in fact, the dialogue didn’t actually say that.

    Chuck’s search for his mom (such as it was) is an assumption Chuck made. In fact, most of the spec on this site between Ring II and the disclosures around ComicCon was about Chuck as a soldier-of-fortune type, not even a big search for mom.

    I guess this is my long-winded way of saying it is clear that Orion and Frost were working together for 20 years and Orion was complicit in keeping Mama B “missing” officially. And remember in Anniversary, Chuck says “this is as far as my father got.” That was a “safe house” that MamaB was monitoring, which clearly means it was where Orion and Mama B could communicate.

    In Monday’s episode, Mama B’s line about having thought the family home was sold is also a misdirect. Once she is shown realizing that this was Orion’s headquarters, she knew exactly which box to look for to unearth the PSP-like device, whatever it may be…

    I think the resolution of this arc is exactly the story Mama B told the 9-year-old Chuck: The Frost Queen returns, the king is restored, Castle is saved and everyone loves her again. And Chuck is “the prince,” the character he claims he liked in the story.

    I think the only question left is whether the “king” (Orion) is restored. And I assume, if Bakula is available, he will be back…

    • atcdave says:

      Those are all reasonable guesses. Certainly the return of Frost will unfold that way. But I think its more speculative when you get to Orion. Among the things I was thinking was just that the updated Intersect will include more information about Orion’s research and life’s work; so perhap’s “the King is restored” only in the sense Chuck will take up the mantle. Which IS what we were thinking might happen in the off season, but hasn’t quite come to fruition yet.

      I would love if Bakula was available for a return engagement, although I doubt he and Hamilton would both become new cast members. The ensemble is quite large already. But certainly Orion/Frost restored and “living happily ever after” would be a nice way of wrapping up this arc.

      • FirstTimer says:

        atcdave: I meant available (re: Bakula) for an episode or two. I would think that it would be written that the reunitd Frost and Orion go back underground to fight the good fight off the grid while Chuck and Sarah fight the good “public” (er, onscreen) fight.

    • Paul says:

      First Timer, welcome!

      I agree that the arc will likely play out like the story, buy mostly the line “and the Frost Queen returned home, but this time a hero”

      However, there are only 2 characters that TPTB have vehemently said are dead and not coming back: Bryce and Orion. Even with Shaw, they never made that statement. I have no reason to disbelieve them.

      • atcdave says:

        You’re right Paul; one lesson learned from S3, believe TPTB, even if they’re talking crazy/stupid!!

      • FirstTimer says:

        You mean like when they told us we’d never learn Sarah’s “real” name? Or that Ellie would never learn Chuck was a spy? It seems to me that when the creators say something definitively WON’T happen, it will happen in that season.

      • Paul says:

        I have never heard them say we would never learn Sarah’s name or that Ellie would never learn Chuck’s secret. On those, TPTB have been elusively vague. On whether Bryce or Orion would come back, it’s always been a flat out no.

    • thinkling says:

      I may be the only one, but I think the story scenario is what was supposed to happen, but didn’t.

      Some version of her return is a given. I think she’s a good guy and will help bring down Volkoff, but the story book version didn’t happen. Whatever happens, I think it’s shaping up to be awesome, but those who think they gave us the blue print in the first scene may be surprised.

      As to Sarah in Pink Slip, I want to be a real person again with you … what do say, Chuck, will you run away with me? sure sounds like some bridge burning to me.

      As to the mom search. I’m confused, didn’t Schwedak say at Comicon that this season was going to be all about Chuck’s search for mom?

      What is at the heart of the season? “It’s all about family this season,” executive producer Chris Fedak told TVGuide.com backstage. “The fun of the season is the search for mom. Chuck has this mission from his father: He has to find his mother. That is the heart of this season.”

      And Volkoff threw it in Chuck’s face about how pathetic it was that Orion searched his whole life for a woman that didn’t want to be found. Of course, all that could be misdirection, but that’s not a given. Looks like Chuck is neither alone nor off base in making the assumption.

      Well, that’s my daily peso’s worth. I don’t pretend to know how it will all play out. That’s the fun of give and take. None of us really knows. Hey, even Yvonne and Zach and Linda don’t know. That’s why I only bet CG pesos.

      Or I may be wrong 😉 C’est le Chuck

      • FirstTimer says:

        @paul: Check past interviews. They said both. And it was clear that, at some point, they had no intention to do a name reveal or tell Ellie. In fact, we KNOW that they never even had a “real” name for the Sarah character. When Adler put it in the script, she went to Strahovski and asked for the name Strahovski used in her prep. My point is only that there is NOTHING definitive when you’re writing a weekly TV show. Plans always change based on storylines, ratings, actor availability, etc.

        @thinkling: As I said, all of the spec after Ring II and BEFORE ComicCon was about Chuck being a soldier of fortune/Orion type. It changed after TPTB announced the arc at ComicCon. As for Volkoff’s comments, well, it’s already been established that he doesn’t know everything. I would suggest Mama B told him that Orion was “searching” for her rather than the fact that they were in constant touch. As for the storybook version NOT happening, I suppose that is a possibility. But my bet is we get everything, including the Frost Queen saving Castle.

      • atcdave says:

        It is interesting Thinkling that the “search for mom” may be much less than season long at this point. But I’m sure they originally intended to wrap it up by 4.13 (end of the first order); possibly sooner (4.10 if they new that would be the holiday break, or 4.11 if they didn’t). I kind of hope for the earlier wrap up. I’d love to see a couple of “just for fun” sort of stand alone eps for 4.12 and 4.13. So many of my favorite Chuck episodes are in that category. That’s also when I think they’d be more likely to do engagement/wedding themed stuff. I love the idea they could do that and still have a big “back half” arc afterwards.

      • thinkling says:

        Right, Dave, the mom search was for the season they knew they were guaranteed. Now they have a much bigger sandbox. 11 more episodes gives room for more mythology and some stand-alone’s. Some of those have been my favorites, too.

        And I’m all for engagement/wedding stuff. Shocker, huh? 🙂

  25. Bellatrix says:

    Hi there!
    This chapter got me wondering what the PSP’s contents were. It can’t just be an intersect eraser I belive its some kind of encoded intersect update (thats why chuck cant flash) and the decoder pakage is in the mustang’s laptop.
    Any way thats just my guess. One more thing. Didnt the house blow up last episode? Where on earth will they live now? Maby the CIA/NSA workers will fix it. Still, i can’t help but imagine ellie’s face when she finds out.
    I apologize for any grammar/ spelling mistake. Im from Argentina and english is my second langage (I usually speak spanish)
    Its a pity we have to wait two weeks for the next episode (maby they are rebuilding the house 😉 )

    • jason says:

      bella – chuck and sarah’s apartment is still ok, chuck’s dad’s and mom’s old house blew up.

      I like your spec about encode / decode, do you think if ellie has to figure something out, she will in the next episode so chuck can flash, or will it take ellie longer, and maybe chuck will get partial flashing back???

      • Bellatrix says:

        I guess he will be getting these empty flashes like the one in the promo. Scince the chapter will be about chuck trying to flash again (with the help of that crazy agent) i doubt he will get this fixed so soon (to give us more time of freaked out, trying to survive chuck) ellie will probably realize something at the very end of the chapter, something like ” OMG, there’s this weird laptop under my car’s seat!” she opens it and blackout.
        Extra off-topic info: bellatrix is the star that represents Orion’s right shoulder in the constelation I chose it as a nickname because I really like orion’s character though Im sure he won’t reapear again like someone said earlier (unless its a flashback)

    • atcdave says:

      Hey Bellatrix welcome to the discussion! I love your name, and don’t worry about the English; we have many international friends here and value your contribution the same as any.

      I’ve been kicking that idea around too, that somehow Chuck will need the computer in the Mustang before he can make sense of whatever his mom did to him. It would be fun if Ellie accidentally got the Intersect for a while, but I bet they don’t do that!

      • JC says:

        I’m really hoping Ellie’s neurology specialty comes into play and that’s why Orion left the computer to her.

      • Bellatrix says:

        Thanks! I doubt that will happen too (especially since she is pregnant) most probable scenario: the computer will ask for identification (like what we saw on previous episodes) and this will trigger a message for ellie which will lead her to giving the laptop to chuck.
        Im hoping next chapter to be really awsome. It promises loads of action and comedy (like chuck usually does) but I feel this one will be one of the best episodes this season.
        Well at least it must be since after a two week wait everyone will be waiting for something BIG.
        Im glad i found chuck this cause im the only chuck viewer at home (and no one there is intrested in my theories)
        Thank you guys for being here 🙂 it makes the series much more intresting.
        Ive always thought fans are 50% of any series this blog proves it.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah JC, I would like that too if Ellie were actually needed for something in the spy realm.

        Bellatrix I agree this episode was awesome. I think I’ll always be drawn to some of the really sweet episodes like Suitcase; but it is awesome when they get everything right like they did for First Fight. I’m not surprised you have a hard time getting family interested, it has to be tough to deal with a foreign language show; and as a kid I grew up in a home where sci-fi wasn’t appreciated (I’m just really glad a married a woman who likes it!)

      • Bellatrix says:

        Atcdave I think the writers are doing a great job too!
        My main problem with getting my family to watch the show isn’t the language (we all speak fairly fluent enhlish)but the fact that the series is already on its fourth season. Well at least there is one chuck viewer in my family. Chuck 1/ family who doesent care 6 (dr. House won them long ago)

      • atcdave says:

        I think fourth season part does make it hard to attract new viewers. People know they’ve missed a lot of story. House is tough competition here too; do you have the U.S. network feeds or is it local providers? It would be funny if you had local providers setting up the same competition we have here.

      • Bellatrix says:

        We have both or something like that. Our local providers are not quite local we have warner chanel, universal and many of the US providers but in spanish. These follow aproximatley the same competition settings. We also have the option of having them in english (which is much, much better since you hear the actual actors voice) and local channels which dont show much (just really old the simpsons seasons and local shows which aren’t too intrsting. Mainly ridiculous soap operas and some other shows)

      • thinkling says:

        Love all these specs, guys. I’ve been sort of without internet, and it is hindering my ChuckThis.

        This is an awesome development in the season. In fact I really loved the episode FF.

        I like the call back to the end of Colonel, when the intersect was removed.

        Sarah asks Chuck if he’s ok. They discover the intersect is gone to things sploding in the background … only this time the sentiment is totally different. So many things have changed since then, no?

        I like the idea that this is a binary poison type of thing. Mom gave him the first dose, and the second is in the mustang.

        Can’t wait to see the intersect 3.0, and I’m with you guys about Ellie. This could be a perfect role for her in team B.

        I’m pretty certain that once the new intersect is in place, nothing will have been lost, and much will have been gained.

        I hate the two week wait, but at least it was after FF and not AoT.

      • atcdave says:

        Good catch on the not quite parallel to Colonel!

        I’ll also agree on the better time for a week off. We were a pretty anxious bunch after Aisle of Terror; much happier mood this week. More casual viewers I’ve spoken to feel the same way; very happy with the episode, eager to get past the break!

  26. OldDarth says:

    As to how MamaB knew about the PSP either Mama and Papa B were in contact or they had a dead drop where the two of them could keep each other apprised of their latest situation.

    As to the PSP Flash, spec Chuck’s flash issues are due to the incompatibilities between the Intersect 2.0 and PapaB’s version of the Intersect. Remember PapaB was not involved with the addition of the abilities to Intersect 2.0.

    Believe the PSP Flash contained all the Intel lost in the Orion Cave.

    • atcdave says:

      The lost intel is the most logical thing.

      So if its incompatibility how do you think they fix it? Does the laptop contain yet another full Intersect download? or maybe just some technical information that will help Ellie figure out how to get it working again?

      • OldDarth says:

        Yes I hope it is Ellie that through a combination of the Orion laptop and her neuroscience skills pieces together the solution.

      • LtDarkstar says:

        I agree, I hope they use Elle to that capacity – use her doctor skills as a nerologoist and a combination of the laptop. That would make for an epic arc!

  27. Bellatrix says:

    Oh my! Terrible typo alert “enhlish”. I meant ENGLISH *note to self: must learn how to type on ipod*

    • joe says:

      Hi, Bellatrix. Welcome to the group. Please don’t worry about typos. If I only had a dollar for every typo I’ve made, I’d be a rich man!

      • Bellatrix says:

        Thanks joe! I’ve been using the series to improve my english. By the way if you recibed a dollar for every typo where I live you would be almost four times richer (i live in argentina and our currency not that strong)

  28. Judy says:

    Despite the fake outs, everything that MEB has done has been completely consistent. She acts to conceal her childrens’ identity. In 4.1, she killed Marco et al to keep Volkoff from finding out. In 4.6, she shoots Chuck to fool Volkoff. Finally, in 4.7, she blows up Orion’s base for the same purpose. She seems to an extreme example of a “ruthless spy,” the term that Chuck coined in 3.13. Her willingness to put her team (son) at risk seems to fit Beckman’s definition of an excellent spy.

    Her only mistake, it seems, was wanting to see her daughter in 4.6. She then used it to her advantage as a means of ultimate escape in 4.7.

    I don’t see how MEB couldn’t have been in touch with Orion over the years. How would she have known about the PSP? How could Orion have been unable to find her? Why would she have been monitoring the safe house all thIose years? Is mentioning the car to the Ellie, the same as Orion showing the RIOS info to Chuck in Dream Job?

    Is it possible that she’s a second, unknown, Bartowski in Operation Bartowski (probably not…)

    • JC says:

      Chuck assumed his father was looking for but remember in the finale last year Orion said he did it all for her.

      It’s likely they were in contact all this time and the PSP (Project Eurybia)and the Mustang was some sort of fail safe plan they had in case Volkoff got close to Chuck and Ellie. Remember Orion said he was protecting them and with his death they would come after both Chuck and Ellie.

    • atcdave says:

      It also adds the thought that Orion wasn’t just upset Chuck had chosen a dangerous life for himself (and future family); but he was in extra danger because of the Frost/Volkoff situation.

  29. Big Kev says:

    Off topic for a second – no reactions to the cancellation of Undercovers yet? Where’s Ernie? Figuring out how many different ways to get Schadenfreude into one post!
    For the record I never saw UC because it didn’t air here. But I would have refused to watch on principle. I think it was bought to replace Chuck and there wasn’t an ounce of originality in the premise – 2 good reasons for me never to watch!

    • atcdave says:

      Never did hear much good about the show. Its now the second fall show to bite the bullet on NBC.

      The only real interest to me is that it comes after NBC ordered 4 additional episodes. It serves as a reminder that the order alone isn’t enough; rating must hold up or the order can be cancelled. We’re still in good shape with Chuck, one of the few shows with ratings trending up (even if only a little!)

      • herder says:

        Dave, NBC never ordered more episodes of Undercovers, they did order three or four extra scripts (much cheaper than episodes) but cancelled the show before ordering any further episodes produced or filmed.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Hey Kev, thanks for the shoutout, yep, Schadenfreude. I have nothing personal against anyone associated with the show, but yep, a lot of us saw it as a Chuck replacement. And an unoriginal one at that. (And I did refuse to watch it on principle, that and I’m not as awestruck by JJ Abrams as some.)

      The only problem is that this spring, when Chase is canceled, that leaves Chuck competing with Parenthood and The Event for which low rated hour long scripted show gets tossed to the bear.

      I still feel pretty good about Chuck. I have a feeling they didn’t get within a full season order of 22 episodes to make 100 and syndication just by accident.

      • Big Kev says:

        Agreed Ernie. I may have this wrong but I would have taken it personally if I was Schwedak – getting canceled for a poor copy would have really stung. I’m sure there are a few smug grins on the Chuck set at the moment although they’d be much too nice to admit it.
        I saw that piece about Kristen Newman potentially leaving to run her own show. What price Phil Klemmer as a pinch hitter if that happens?
        I think you’re right about S5 too. If there’s as much money in syndication as people think I’m sure WB would almost give the show away to get a slice of that. At this point i would be really surprised if we dont see a Season 5. I can’t see the Event coming back at that price with those ratings, but I guess NBC can’t scrap everything, right?

      • jason says:

        I’ve watched undercovers, I would prefer klemmer go write for the next show we want the bear to eat, he wrote 3.7 and 3.12, I saw the same sort of cringe worthy moments in undercovers. I like parts of both 3.7 & 3.12, but klemmer IMO has the largest propensity to cast tough CS moments in the worst light possible …

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Now here’s the thing that might get me into trouble. I think they should wrap it up with season 5. With 22 episodes they can give the fans everything they want and wrap it up neatly. Don’t get me wrong, I love the show, but parts are starting to, as with many TV shows, move into self parody. I thought the phrase “awesome” was going to be the first thing, but amazingly they dodged that bullet.

        Sadly the first element to reach self parody is (or is going to be depending on your POV) Jeffster. They are going to greater and greater lengths to make what was an enjoyable element, a dysfunctional and co-dependant couple of slightly weird losers into something so over the top ridiculous it is essentially self parody. Morgan is testing the limits too on occasion.

        So I say get that 100th episode made so the cast gets their big syndication paychecks, but make that 100th episode the last and let them move on to new projects.

      • atcdave says:

        I actually hope for at least one season after the main story is comlete (S6 perhaps). I would like to spend some time with the now fully mature Team Bartowski. Of course I’m thinking of a purely fun, James Bond lite sort of thing. I guess what I always WANTED this show to be, but I’m realizing now its not what TPTB ever intended. If they are incapable of writing a season of “just for fun” then of course they end on a natural high note. But I can’t believe that would be so; they have done such an outstanding job with the occasional light and fluffy episode (like 2.04/2.05); I would love to see them finish with a run of everyone happy.

        I know, ending after S5 is far more likely.

      • jason says:

        One mission at a time, right now, lets just hope all of season 4 gets shot and shown, and that the viewership numbers can trickle upward. I think we saw this week how quickly a few bad weeks can end a show, Undercover’s 1.3M was pretty close to chuck after the misery arc decimated the fan ranks last season, and even right now, our show struggles to get above 2.0.

        We don’t know how 4.10 will end, and lead into the 40-60 day ‘break’, we can only hope that some momentum can be found over the holiday season with a great 4.10 show and some hope, some compelling promotion, and maybe even a little luck, opposite of what transpired during the olympics last season.

        I still don’t trust TPTB by any stretch of my imagination, they still have to finish off the front 13 and deliver and solid back 11 to get season 5. I just can’t help but remember these were the same guys who thought of season 3’s misery arc.

      • atcdave says:

        Of course you’re right Jason. But I never quite understand the eagerness to talk about ending the show. We’ve seen many shows successfully reinvent themselves during their run; the best example I can think of being SG-1 which went through 2 complete overhauls, yet retained the mix of sci-fi action/adventure/humor that marked it from the start. SG-1s S10 was excellent entertainment; and it didn’t end because of either a creative or ratings collapse, it ended because it had become too expensive to produce under SyFy Channels rather limited revenue model. The bottom line in its logevity was the fun stories and likeable cast.

        Chuck could easily follow the same path to longevity. For now, things are very much one season at a time. But I see no reason to impose limits; a likeable cast and fun story telling could keep things going as long as there is anyone willing to pay for it.

      • atcdave says:

        Let me add to that; if TPTB are determined the only way to tell stories is with lots of relationship and internal angst, then by all means wrap it up when the main outline is complete. But I think the characters and setting could easily have life beyond that. If Schwedak can’t see that I would love for the studio to replace them.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Jason, I understand your point, but I think the backorders are a pretty clear sign NBC doesn’t have much choice. They just plain don’t have anything to fill the schedule once the mid season replacements come in. They ordered 13 new shows for this season. Chase, The Event, Outlaw, Undercovers, Outsourced and Law and Order LA and School Pride have already premiered, and Outlaw and Undercovers, both hour long dramas, have already been canceled. Waiting to replace them are The Cape, Love Bites, Perfect Couples and Harry’s Law (all hour long shows). I’m not sure which NBC shows are scheduled to be replaced for the second half of the season, but the feeling I got from the backorders of Chase, The Event and Chuck that they’re just about out of replacement shows. Of the four coming in, I think the Kathy Bates vehicle Harry’s Law, is probably headed the same way as Outlaw. I’m hoping some of the others can help feed the bear, or at least make Chuck look good by comparrison and we’ll get a fifth season.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Dave, I understand your point about re-invention, but I get the feeling it isn’t Schwedak’s strong suit. I’d love it if they could do a light and fun season 6, but as I said, if they keep going in the direction they are going, before long certain elements of the show are going to drag it down. I’m not anxious to end the show by any means, especially if they could maintain the quality, but I think the cast will be ready to move on to bigger things very soon, and season 6 would be the end of their contracts, so I don’t see it going beyond that in any case.

      • jason says:

        ernie – I agree with much of what you said. I have been surprised this season how jeff and lester have been written, I thought with a possible syndication deal, that jeffster would move more into family hour comedy. As CS get more serious, they make for much better comedy, hence the need for jeffster, buymore, and funny morgan goes away – only morgan has a clear role in the new show, with casey, alex, as well as chuck and sarah’s alfred.

        ernie and dave, interesting, I would think the ‘experts’ would tell you that the moment CS get married – be that 4×24 or 5×22 or 4 x13 or some other time, the show is over, game, set, match

        I would think these are the same experts who would have said chuck will be done at 3×13, then at 3×19, then again at 4×13.

        I think if the show can just stay true to CS, and then use the adventures & spy stories to generate drama, the show can go as far as they want to.

        The only actor they have that might make it in mainstream tv imo is yvonne. I think Zach will be more of a ron howard, lenord nimoy, i.e. he is going to own hollywook in about 20 years.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Jason, It’s funny what you say about Zach. I can’t remember whether it was here or in an e-mail, but I remember telling Liz I thought he would be the next Tom Hanks a while back. Zach clearly knows and loves playing the Hollywood game.

        I could see Josh Gomez getting a little more high profile out of this. He was a series regular before, and with as much screen time as he’s getting I could see him as a co-star at least in his next role. Same for Ryan McPartlin. I think they’ll both at least get a shot out of this. Sarah Lancaster is already established, as are Scott Krinsky, Adam Baldwin and Mark Christopher Lawrence. I think they, plus Vik and Bonita might get a bit of a boost, but I don’t see their careers drastically changing.

        Yvonne I see getting into movies more and more. Chuck is clearly introducing her to the world as a potential star. But Yvonne I could see keeping one foot in Australia and returning there and working infrequently once she’s done some high profile stuff and established herself.

        As for the wedding, I’d be OK if they did it as a series finale with Chuck and Sarah retiring to start a family, and then shades of Ring I an enemy from their past (but not Shaw) seeks vengance at the wedding. Sarah Walker kicking butt in a wedding gown with Carina by her side, destroying the church in the process would be awesome. Then Casey and his crack team of wedding planners swing into action to give Chuck and Sarah their dream wedding, cue honeymoon and the ending that hints their adventures continue, even as they live happily ever after, end series.

        I also think they could do it sooner, and end with a spec someone posted here. Sarah finds out she’s pregnant, freaks out because she realizes she’ll be giving up the spy life to become a mother. She goes to the beach where Chuck watches her thinking all night. He comes to her the next morning, taking on Sarah’s role from the premier. Trust me, shoulder bump, end series.

        Either way, one more season or two, I hope they plan it out well and bring the story to a satisfying conclusion. I wouldn’t have been happy with 2.22, 3.13 or 3.19 as a series end, so that’s why I’d rather see them plan an ending rather than get canceled.

      • atcdave says:

        I do agree Ernie that I don’t think Schwedak are a good team for taking the show much past a wedding. They seem to view the show as being ABOUT the central relationship. I do have some hope for going on; but they would have to shift the emotional weight of the show off of pure relationship issues.

        I bring this up because I think so many viewers, like myself, want to enjoy visiting these characters in this world once a week; whether there is any overarching story or not. I honestly don’t think most viewers care as much as we do about “big picture” elements; I think most people watch a show because they enjoy some combination of setting and characters, story is secondary as a draw. I don’t mean to say the story doesn’t matter, only that people watch based more on if they like the characters and world. In that context, Chuck could continue for as long as the main cast can be kept together.

        I really think keeping that cast together is the single biggest issue. Zach and Yvonne are not only central to that, they are the ones most likely to have their careers affected by their Chuck exposure. Jason may well be right about Zach; he seems like a potential leader for his generation of actors. I would love to see Yvonne get her own series after this, especially if she’s willing to continue working with the action/adventure genre; but my feeling is as you said, she’s more likely interested in big screen work, and I think she always wants to do a wide variety of things.
        My hope is that they will all be happy to have steady work as long as it continues, but realistically going beyond S6 will be a huge hurdle.

      • Big Kev says:

        I can only speak for myself on this obviously, but I have a slightly different slant on the characters v story debate. For me, characters are what bring me into a show – but story is what keeps me there. It’s fine if the characters are relateable and likeable but if the stories are dull, then I’m gone. That’s why a spy lite mission of the week “Hart to Hart” direction wouldn’t cut it for me. No compelling narrative to hold it all together, no sense of the show or the characters working towards something.
        People watch the show for different reasons of course, and I’m convinced that 50-60% of viewers are primarily drawn by Chuck and Sarah. I’ve certainly been in that category but I’m beginning to change. I’ve realized that almost all of my favourite episodes (Subway, Colonel, First Date, Marlin, First Fight) have a convincing spy plot and mythology element. They have a sense of stakes, a feeling that things that have built up over several episodes are playing out or reaching a crescendo. In that sense I’m coming to agree with the OD view of the spy plots/mythology providing a sense of balance to the show, a foundation upon which everything else stands. In that sense I’ve started to change the way I watch the show, and part of that was a reaction to 4.02 and to a lesser extent, 4.03 where I just found myself going “enough fluff – give me a story!” 4.04 was more story-free fluff but it was such a funny episode that I didn’t care as much, but I was very glad to see the return of a storyline in 4.05.

      • joe says:

        That’s an excellent way of putting it, Big Kev. I do agree with Dave that the characters, especially Chuck & Sarah are the thing that drew in the audience Chuck found. It certainly was “the thing” for me. (And oh, I also see Zac as the up and coming power behind the camera, too). But I firmly believe that the relationship tent pole was only the first of many.

        The spy story, the sense of adventure while always being able to laugh at itself, the tender moments that centered around family and friends those sneak up on you from behind. The fans found themselves rooting for Morgan and Alex astonishingly quickly!

        Even more, the themes of good and evil, loyalty and trust in all the relationships (between family and friends as well as between partners and lovers), the difficulty of doing the right thing – these themes are not shallow.

        I think that had they been satisfied with only the romance, the show *would* have been shallow. It didn’t turn out that way, and it’s a rarity in network television. It’s a good thing that the emphasis can shift like it has, if only a bit.

      • atcdave says:

        Well, first of all I loved Hart to Hart; I’d be happy with a newer version of it. But my whole point in bringing SG-1 into the discussion is how easily a series can be reinvented and intriduce new story lines that keep a show fresh over a long duration. I don’t see any particular reason why Chuck would need to end; the format is potentially open ended indefinitely. I know the show will end. But I see no set expiration date on when that ought to be; no more so than NCIS or Gunsmoke.

      • JC says:

        I’ve always harped on the fact the spies stories need to be better for the show to work. Those stories along with the mythology are the framework of the show. They need to be strong for the character’s actions to be believable.

        This might only be me but the spy stories seem the strongest when they’re directly connected to the mythology of the show. The Orion arc which in my opinion is the strongest of the series to date is an example. And its the reason why the MEB one has all the pieces to surpass it.

        On the issue on whether the show should end. I think it comes down to whether or not they’ll go to C/S relationship drama for long stretches every season. If they can get past that and spend the time on other aspects of the show I’m all for it. But I really do question if they’re willing or able to do that.

        They have a huge world to play in but it seems like they limit themselves for some reason.

      • Big Kev says:

        Completely agree, JC. I think the spy plot absolutely has to be more than just “killing bad guys”. Much better when it involves the bigger issues that Joe mentions in his post above – family, loyalty, trust, teamwork, destiny, growth – all good stuff.
        The Orion arc nailed all that masterfully, and I think that the MamaB arc is going to surpass it.
        I’m really not sure where I stand on the long term future of the show. In terms of the mythology/story arcs that I think are essential, the question is how many more are there to explore? Especially if you take it as a given (which I do) that Chuck and Sarah will be the centre of them?
        Sarah’s backstory is an obvious one, as is bringing Ellie into the spy world as an active participant and fleshing out her story that way. I think those 2 combined would make a great premise for S5. After that? Not so sure. Family backstory is pretty much dealt with. Team Bartowski would be a top level kickass spy team. Not much room for growth there. Bartowski spy family life with potential spy children is obviously a possibility, as Dave alludes to. I think Zac and Yvonne’s other projects may make it a moot point at the end of S5 though, to be honest.

      • atcdave says:

        I 100% agree with JCs post above. It is a nice luxury when writers and network coordinate an ending in such a way that a proper finale can be written. But I don’t see any mandatory point where that has to happen on Chuck; we’ve already seen an ability to wrap a major story with hooks into what comes next several times. I think that can continue as long as key parties are willing and the ratings allow.

        As has been mentioned, contracts expired after S6 make continuing past that unlikely anyway. But I would never say never…

      • JC says:

        More of Sarah’s past is a must if there’s a season five. More of Ellie is always good although I think we might see her in the spy world this season.

        My personal preference would be an expansion of what happened in the back six last season. I want to see some villain( Omaha Project creators) strike at Team B and force them on the run. It lets them spread their wings story wise, plus it’s opportunity to bring back past guest stars. Force them to work on the fringes with past allies and even villains. You could even tie Sarah’s back story into this, have Sarah go to her father or mother for help.

        Here’s where I might take some heat, get rid of the BuyMore. More importantly get Chuck out of there and give him a better cover. Reduce those characters to guest stars and promote Alex to a regular. The show has moved past it and every episode where its appears for more than a scene feels out of place.

        I just want to expand of what I meant about the C/S relationship. I don’t expect it to be puppy dog and rainbows all the time. But I also don’t need episodes about every stage of the relationship good or bad either. Those two characters should be central to the show not their relationship issues. That’s why I hope they get married in the back eleven so it’s not milked to death.

        For an ending to the show Sarah being pregnant and them both quitting the spy life seems fitting. Although like Ernie said I do want a pregnancy scare beforehand just so Chuck can say” Stay in the car Sarah”. 🙂

        What I don’t want are resets, backtracking or magical resurrections.

      • atcdave says:

        I’d agree with all that too JC.
        I think my only objection to any comments above is in trying to nail down a particular season when these things ought to wrap up. It will most likely be S5 or S6; but continuing beyond that could be easily done.

      • jason says:

        Kev – story vs characters – I don’t think it is that simple, with any tv show really. Of course great stories make a TV show, no debate.

        Same is true with the acting. Do not discount the fact that dalton and hamilton were in that cave & bank scenes making the writers and the story look awfully good. Dalton sold us on tuttle with his 2 prior scenes with chuck, and that hamilton has sold the mary backstory with her 3 or 4 prior scenes, setting up the epic reveal in Orion’s cave. Great writing, maybe, but the show’s big 2 (chuck and sarah) as well as the best two actors as guests to appear together, sure does not hurt. Same story can’t get sold with big mike, jeff, lester, awesome, and now don’t throw rocks at me, or morgan. Ellie could see a molten rock in hell on the other hand., as SCotty B and CChase did in season 2’s stronger arc.

        I have spent a fair amount of time watching other similar tv shows, trying to figure out why I like the show Chuck so much. I still come back to the unique spell that the CS relationship casts over me as a fan.

        What the show fails at is relational angst sold as drama vs an adventurous spy story sold as drama. Those who hail season 2’s story, remember CS were together as the story unfolded, sort of the CS vs the world that many of us want. Once CS are working together, indeed the story as you say (I’d like to think the guest stars too – s2 it was scotty B and CChase) is crucial.

        Once and if CS are put together for good at season 4 or 5’s end, I have no doubt with more solid writing and decent guest stars, great tv can continue. Without solid writing and acting, not sure how any tv show can make it these days?

      • JC says:


        I’m not saying the show has to end after S5 but I’d much prefer if they did know an end date so they could wrap up the story in a satisfying way.

        And I agree the show could continue on but not like it is now. They would need to make some major changes before things grew stale.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah JC, keeping any show fresh and fun is tricky. Look how few new shows even manage it. Many of the very successful long running shows don’t even bother after a point, they completely switch to cruise control and let the characters/setting do all the work. I don’t really see Chuck ever having that luxury; although I admit, I will watch the show as long as it runs even if the quality does drop after a point (I would require C/S to remain together; a future “divorce arc” or “Sarah’s death” would be an instant deal breaker). But as marginal as Chuck’s ratings have been I doubt it would survive much viewer boredom.

        It would be best if the writers had enough notice at the end to do a proper end story. Not many shows are that lucky, very few actually end with the writer’s input. But I do hope, whenever the end comes, there is enough notice to end things well.

      • jason says:

        dave – to that end, I am now thinking the engagement got moved to 4×20 something, from 4×13. I would rather them get engaged and married in 4×8 during the credits, I just don’t think it will happen.

        If I am right, do you think fans will start to get upset? My spec is in the place of engagement / marriage stuff, they will keep trying to write spy mythology & character backstory. I spec that volkov will be around 4×24.

        I would be real surprised if the last 2-3 episodes for the series (be it s4/5/6) are not story boarded already – i.e. a wedding, with the hope if they cannot end on their own terms, that they maybe can get a movie. Obviously, somewhere around S6 this spec goes out of spec and the wedding becomes the 800 lb gorilla.

      • herder says:

        I don’t know where the engagement is planned, but the fact that they have already had an episode about the issue shows that it is on their mind. I will say that I thought that JS or CF said that this time if they got an episode extention beyond 13 that they wouldn’t change the story for the first thirteen.

        My problem with this is that firstly it seems to imply that they changed part of the story last year upon getting the back 6 (I think they did extend the Sarah/Shaw arc, but that is just a guess). But more importantly they said the same thing last year then apparantly did change things, so you can’t put too much weight on what they say publicly.

        I think an engagement was planned for 4.13, whether they stick with that now that they have a back 11 is anyone’s guess.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        @herder – Personally speaking I hope that they stick with the original plan for the front 13. And if they do decide to extend the Mama B/Volkoff arc, I hope they come up with some kind of resolution in 4×13 while at the same time leaving open a believable scenario in which these characters make a return in the back 11.

        And I am with you in guessing that they made a lot of changes to the whole Shaw story once they got the back 6.

        As for the engagement – they have already set up the scenario with episodes like Suitcase and Coup D’Etat – for them to simply ignore it and extend the engagement beyond 4×13 would be unrealistic – unless of course they come up with some epic “game changing” twist that ensures that the issue is pushed to the back burner.

        BTW, have they given any indication as to what they are planning for the back 11?

      • atcdave says:

        The only thing I’ve seen hinted at for the back eleven was some mention of Timothy Dalton being extended; but I’m not even sure if that was rumor or fact. So basically I know nothing (which many of you guessed already!).

        Allowing for the fact I’ve already been wrong several times about engagement; I suspect 4.13 with a wedding for 4.24. I HOPE the engagement will be a little sooner like 4.10 (end of November sweeps), but I think 4.13 is more likely.
        As others mentioned, the topics been broached, it can’t be undone, they need to get on with it.

      • jason says:

        @dave – still, if not engaged till 4×24, but lets say the story continues to be pretty good, as most of season 4 has been, how do you think that will sell?

      • atcdave says:

        I think putting off the engagement until 4.24 would be a mistake, WAY too much time between when it was broached and done. Just by way of comparison; Smallville finally made Lois and Clark a real couple earlier this season, and Clark was already asking her father’s permission last week. Pacing varies a lot from show to show, but I think waiting another 17 (!) episodes to get there is way too long.

      • jason says:

        I think it is a mistake too, I would put the odds of later than 4×20 at near 80% (which includes no engagement at all in S4), i.e. I think it was moved when we got more eps.

        Will be interesting how fans react, and if those who could care less will again start mocking the shippers just like last season. Does not take long for 1.9M to become 1.5M.

        Dave – I have never needed the engagement to like chuck, I want CS in trust, in love, and together on missions and after missions. But once the subject was brought so front and center ever since the ep was titled honeymooners and vows were mock exchanged, as well as rings, now in season 4’s first 4 eps, I hate the notion of being teased with something for 2 long seasons. Going to be interesting.

      • herder says:

        The only reason that I would consider justifing the delay of the engagement beyond a (presumably) scheduled 3.13 because of the extra 11 is to ask her dad’s permission. I’m not talking a long delay, maybe twp pf three, but with the extra episodes, if you could bring back Gary Cole for that reason, you could get some Sarah back story and anytime you can get Jack Burton calling Chuck “schnook” it makes for a funny episode. Chuck does strike me as the type to ask permission, but would he if he wasn’t sure of the answer?

      • thinkling says:

        Wow, long thread. I’ll just tag on that Chuck already has Jack’s blessing. “Lucky for me she found the right Schnook. Take care of her.” I think that’s good enough for the dad’s blessing.

        I would love to see him back, though. Engagement party or whatever.

        Oh, and shocker … I would like the engagement by 4.13 at the latest. I would love a wedding before the season finale, but I’m not holding my breath.

  30. Rick Holy says:

    One word. SUMMER GLAU! (Actually that’s TWO words). As clever as the writers are, one way or another I hope they find SOME way to slip in something “River Tam” or “Cameron Phillips” in Summer’s “Greta.” I’m betting on a line/exchange between Summer & Adam Baldwin.

    • Faith says:

      There certainly seems to be a lot of this: http://yfrog.com/77sesameg of late from Firefly fans lol.

      P.S. love the profile Fr. Rick. Always love to read about people. It’s amazing really how far and away (sometimes quite literally) we all are and yet Chuck brings all of us together.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Faith – sorry to hear about your Lakers addiction. I’m for ‘da Bulls! By the way, your streaming video where Chuck “breaks up” with Sarah at the Weinerlicious from Season 1 – that was the exact moment when I was channel surfing and stumbled onto this show that I knew nothing about – that scene – and I was hooked. Truth be told, it was the great facial expression acting of Yvonne that got me – and got me watching the next week and the next week and the next. The rest, as they say, is history!

  31. Ernie Davis says:

    Lots of fun spec here, but I wanted to add a few things. I am thinking along the same lines as FirstTimer. There were just too many tells where Mary lets Chuck and/or Sarah know she is on their side. Her familiarity with the device she showed Chuck, her statement, your father never wanted you to see this, her leading Ellie to the car, and finally looking at Chuck and Sarah saying let’s finish this seem to point to her still working to bring down Volkoff. But I don’t take the fairytale at the beginning as literally laying out the arc. Like Thinkling I think that was Mary’s way of telling Chuck what she was going away to do. Her last mission essentially. How many times have Chuck and Sarah said one last mission to each other?

    So here is what Orion said at the end of Ring II:

    Now I need you to do something for me Charles. Something secret. You better get a pen. I never wanted you to be a spy. I knew how dangerous this world is, what it does to the people in it. Boy, do I know that. That’s why I kept something from you, something about me, about Orion. I’ve been a spy for the last 20 years, working for myself, doing things governments are afraid to do. Maybe being a spy is…is in our blood, and… maybe I should have told you…all of this long ago, but Chuck, your story… It’s only just beginning. It’s time you know the truth about my work and about the people who tried to destroy me because if I’m gone, then you’re not safe from them anymore, and neither is Ellie. These people… They… they are…they are ruthless and cunning and…Chuck, it’s… it’s time you learned about your family. Because…I did it all for her.

    Note that he says he has been a spy for the last twenty years. But we know he hasn’t been gone from his kids that long based on the timeline. Closer to 12. Also he never says he was looking for Mary, just he did it all (his 20 year spy career) for her. So I think that the people who see Orion as being Mary’s only backup are on the right track. But I think it may come down to Chuck being special, and Ellie being “there is another”. Luke and Leia essentially. The Bartowskis have special brains.

    In Ring II they hint that Chuck downloading the beta intersect in Stephen’s office might be the triggering event in Mary leaving. We know she left on a mission. We suspect that Orion was working for the CIA and Mary was a handler who, like Sarah fell in love. She may have been semi-retired but not fully retired by the time Chuck downloaded intersect beta since they hint in anniversary that Mary’s leaving was an occasional thing. So what would make Mary go on such a risky mission? The need to protect her family. Say that Stephen’s work was getting noticed by the wrong people, everyone seems to have sources in the CIA. With Chuck essentially proving the concept of programming peoples brains, and also being the ideal test subject, he, and we suppose Ellie, suddenly become a hot comodity in the international arms market, along with Stephen and his work. So as Beckman said Orion purged his records and dissapeared, and she and the rest of the world have been looking for him since before Sarah was in a training bra. I’ll put that at about 20 years ago, about the same time Mary’s records at the CIA were scrubbed and she went rogue.

    Mary, the trained agent, starts to infiltrate organizations looking for the intersect and/or it’s designer while Stephen provides backup through electronic and other means. He also stays with the kids till Ellie is old enough to legally act as Chuck’s guardian, then goes undergrownd taking on a more active role in international espionage. Stephen’s main job is to interfere with searches for him, the kids, or Mary while providing Mary with backup and cover. Mary, using Volkoff as a resource, starts taking out bad guys as they are identified. But with Orion and his support gone things will, as Stephen and Mary know, quickly start to unravel if they haven’t managed to take down Volkoff and/or other big baddies. So the contingency plan is in place to lead Chuck to Mary, both to act as backup like Orion did and to put them into contact so Mary can point them in the right direction (the car and the playstation).

    So what’s the endgame? I’m Not sure. I think there will be another big MacGuffin, some reason Mary couldn’t take down Volkoff and had to keep him confident in her for so long. The intersect and protecting her family will play into it, but I get the feeling we’ll be introduced to the big MacGuffin in Phase 3.

    As far as not flashing it might or might not be related to the PSP. Or it could be partly related. Have I hedged enough? I think it modified the intersect in some way we’ll discover in Phase 3, leaving us with a brain exploding cliff hanger. I also think the not flashing might have something to do with Chuck thinking his mother betrayed him (note the music).

    As for the short term, like next episode I think it’s pretty clear that the remnants of their first fight will linger. Chuck obviously feels the need to be a spy, and will do just about anything to remain one. It looks like the guest star is going to go Frea on Chuck and beat the bejeesus out of him while putting him through the ringer. Sarah isn’t going to be as supportive as she could because she’ll think Chuck is wrong and hate seeing him constantly beat up and abused. Chuck will decide he’s a spy, intersect or not, and go on a mission Sarah doesn’t think he can handle. Cue angsty ending.

    I would be remiss, and ruin my reputation, if I didn’t point out that this is the part of the Hero’s Journey where the hero descends to hell and “dies” only to be reborn with a new mastery of his power or gift after seeming to have lost it. I expect Fear of Death to end with Chuck in captivity alone and the others racing to save him. Chuck is saved and “re-born” in Phase 3, which leads to a brief respite from the action in Leftovers (there is often a lull, pause, or even celebration after the Hero’s resurection) only to have Leftovers end with a switchup that sets up the three episode finale arc.

    Anyway that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. For now.

    • atcdave says:

      A very detailed and plausable scenario. Which I’d say is the main strike against it. I don’t think we’ll see anything this sophisticated on the show. Your basic outline may hold up, but I think you overthought it. The one detail I already expect them to fumble is the 20 years Mary has been undercover; I would bet a truckload of Costa Gravan Pesos (what, 3 or 4 dollars!) that we will never have a completely acceptable reason for it.
      But I do think many of your other specs (Orion as tech support, Chuck and Ellie being special in the Intersect Underworld) will at least be hinted at. Chuck being abducted on a foolish mission also strikes me as likely. I HOPE we get at least a full episode of denouement for 4.13, possibly ending with the next hook; but that may be a long shot.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        You are likely right that we won’t get all the details, just the outline. My guess is that we get the Orion/Frost team, the reason for going rogue, and one more big MacGuffin to try to explain a 20 year mission.

      • Paul says:

        Ernie, I think the significance of the 20yr number is much simpler. Mary B disappeared 20yrs ago, and that is when Stepehen became a spy to look for her. HE didn’t disappear and go full time until the kids were old enough to take care of themselves. While it is plausable that he was Mary’s outside backup, I don’t believe that was the case.

        As far as why Mary didnt’ take down Volkoff years ago, that is still wide open. IMHO, it’s because she couldn’t do it alone and she got in so deep that unless there was there was not possiblity of her getting out. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the story she told Chuck (and Ellie) was actually the truth…minus some minor embellishments to get her primary intention completed.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Paul, I think there are too many tells, Mary directing Ellie to the car for instance or knowing what to look for in the Orion Cave for her to not have been in contact with Stephen in the last 20 years.

        The key was Mary being captured. At that point she knew Volkoff would get involved and go directly to the last person she was in contact with, Chuck. She needed to find a way to get Chuck off Volkoff’s radar and also engage what looks like a contingency plan to give the kids the tools they’d need to protect themselves should they get drawn into the spy world.

        My guess is that we’ll find the plan was for Mary and Stephen to keep them out of it if possible, but Stepher’s death before Volkoff was brought down put them in danger.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I meant to add that I can see how your theory could be right. Mary could still be a good guy trying to just get Chuck and Ellie out of harms way and the spy life, and since she knows about the intersect she may have been familiar with Orion’s work after she left, but to me knowing where to get the device she showed Chuck and mentioning the car’s custom seats to Ellie smacks of a plan already in place.

    • thinkling says:

      Good job, Ernie. Lots of detail.

      I’ve thought strongly for a long time that your spec of Mary’s leaving is exactly right. I don’t have as strong specs about how it wraps up, except that MEB and Team B work together to bring down Volkoff.

      I love all the phase 3 speculation and I think your hero’s journey sequence is very likely in this case. Can’t wait to see what the 3.0 is like. Hate the long winter break.

    • FirstTimer says:

      @ernie, et. al.
      There is one more tell that I think worth noting: The one bit of Mary-Ellie conversation we hear is Mary saying: “It all starts with a SCIENTIST named Stephen Bartowski.” One can asssume TPTB wanted us to know that Papa B was a scientist-turned-spy. He wasn’t always a spy.

      Meanwhile, I think it’s right (and easy) to assume the first generation Bartowskis are essentially the retconned blueprint for Chuck and Sarah. And as many have said along the way, the upshot will be that Chuck and Sarah decide to do it TOGETHER, not separately.

      I suppose it is possible they leave the backstory incomplete. But I continue to come back to the Frost Queen story: There is no reason to use it as exposition UNLESS it is the arc. It’d be too obscure to reference as WRONG a dozen episodes later. So I believe it is an easter egg to anyone paying attention.

      As for Volkoff, I just don’t think that is even an issue. There have never REALLY been any independent “big bads” in Chuck. The past has been consumed with Fulcrum and The Ring, organizations of rogue or misguided spies. One can assume Volkoff Industries is the same kind of thing. Maybe the twist is that it is the Russian version of rogue spies. A whole bunch of ex-KGB types who are either profiteering or misguided, die-hard cold warriors.

      The only thing that interests me at this point (to be honest) is the angle they are going to play in the Volkoff-Mama B relationship. Is Volkoff a Shaw type? A Bryce type? A Roark type? And do they end the Volkoff arc in 13 or string it along now into the back 11.

      • herder says:

        I think they string it along, I saw in one interview that Timothy Dalton was now going to be in 7 episodes, unless they are every one from now to 4.13 that puts him into the second part of the season.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        FirstTimer, Mary Bartowski: And the king was free, and the castle was restored, and the Frost Queen returned home once more. This time, she was a hero, and the Frost Queen promised her children that she would never ever leave them again.

        I think there isn’t much way to free the king, assuming he’s Orion, now that he’s dead, and yes, I believe TPTB when they say he’s really dead because at a certain point back from the dead jumps the shark.

        I think the whole point of the fairytale was to establish The Frost Queen as a childhood memory for Chuck so he’d follow leads on Frost when they came up. Beyond that I don’t see that it HAS to function as anything else.

        You could be right, because a certain portion of it is things a lot of us are assuming or want. Mary will return a hero and they will be a family again, and the characters in the fairytale are clearly self referential, but again I think that was mostly so Chuck would make the connection. It is a bit of an Easter egg and fun to ponder, but I don’t think it is all likely to be true in the end.

      • FirstTimer says:

        You left out the part where Mary asks Chuck what he thought of the story and he says “I like the Prince.” (Hello, Chuck being “the price.”)

        To me, it is pretty clear that the arc is being laid out. There’s simply no reason to write the fairy that way (or give Mary the code name Frost) if the writers weren’t signaling something. I LITERALLY expect Mama B to save Castle in episode 12 or 13, unless, of course, it is established that “the castle” is actually some other secret lair.

        As for bringing Orion back from the dead, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I wouldn’t view it as a jump the shark moment. The Bryce return was closest to jumping the shark, if you ask me. Vincent’s constant “near” deaths became a “They killed Kenny” joke. And Shaw’s return was also done well with the John Carpenter joke from Morgan.

        So given the absurdity of this show, and the fact that he was shot right in front of the alleged regeneration thing, it can be “plausibly” handled.

        As I say, my opinion. I just don’t see writers creating a fairytale like that without referencing it again or paying it off.

    • JC says:

      I really do hope that the Alpha Intersect Chuck downloaded as a child is mentioned again. That’s a huge plot point for the writers not to touch on. What I’m curious about is whether Orion ever removed it? I got the impression from S2 that he didn’t have the resources or just figured out how to remove it. If he didn’t it would make sense if Orion put some sort of block on it so Chuck couldn’t flash as a child. Maybe the PSP unlocks or activates it.

      The only part of my spec that I’m really confident in is that the PSP and Mustang were some sort of emergency plan that Orion and Mary had put together. A worse case scenario type deal, that’s why Orion never mentioned it. But it also ties into one of earlier spec that Mary has been preparing for the inevitable. She knew Chuck would be drawn into this world no matter what. It also fits with how she treats Chuck as a spy compared to how his father did.

      Another point we have to remember is that Orion only invented parts of the Intersect. Was his partner Alexi Volkoff? Did Orion with help from Mary steal it for the CIA? That could be the reason why Volkoff hated Orion he stole his girl and his prized invention. It would fit especially with the letter Orion left for Ellie where mentions that the family has many secrets he kept from her and Chuck.

  32. alladinsgenie4u says:

    Thanks to rac2873 for the detailed synopsis info of 4×09.


    Strahovski), Casey (Adam Baldwin) and Morgan (Joshua Gomez) ventureinto the jungles of Southeast Asia when The Belgian (guest star Richard Chamberlain) attempts to unravel the secrets of the Intersect.Meanwhile, Captain Awesome (Ryan McPartlin) and Ellie (SarahLancaster) try to decipher a secret left behind by her father. Scott
    Krinsky, Vik Sahay, Mark Christopher Lawrence and Bonita Friedericyalso star.

    • herder says:

      A full house, all regulars present and Richard Chamberlain too. And a Sarah rogue mission, Chuck’s sanity being threatened, didn’t we do that in The Tooth?

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Maybe “The Belgian” tortures Chuck to the point of insanity/conducts experiments on him in an effort to learn more about the Intersect – which would be completely different from the Tooth situation.

      • JC says:

        I like that idea. Fear of Death promo showed those empty flashes, whatever the PSP did is incomplete. So until Ellie figures out what’s on that computer flashing may be dangerous for Chuck. And if the Belgian is torturing and forcing him to flash it could cause real problems.

      • This time his sanity is more impressively threatened.

      • odysszeuss says:

        @ Magnus Anton Lekay: 😉

    • atcdave says:

      Sarah and a rogue mission has to be good. That means she’s going against orders for Chuck, how can this not be a great episode?!

      • Bellatrix says:

        Hi Actdave! I guess she will try to find Frost to “fix” Chuck even if she is told not to. I bet we will see her fighting, inflitrating buildings, and other spy stuff on her own while Chuck is being scared to death.
        I would like her to pair up with Ellie and solve the problem but I really doubt that will fit into this episode (in 40 minutes we will see the crazy agent scareing Chuck, the buymorons trying to dicsover who Greta really is and Sarah in a rouge mission) Chuck vs. The fear of death is bound to be a great episode! 7 days to go! (well its really 8 in a few minutes it will be 7, I mean in Argentina I have no idea what time it is in the US)

      • atcdave says:

        That write up is for 4.09, so I’m thinking a lot may change in the week before we get to it. In particular, I’m thinking Chuck will be captured at the end of 4.08; so Sarah will go chasing half-way across the world to find him. It sounds like Casey and Morgan will be there in some capacity too, so maybe they get to Thailand first, then Sarah goes rogue.

        I also would love to see Sarah and Ellie have to work together at some point but I don’t think we’ll see it yet; at least I don’t think Ellie will be joining the team in Thailand.

        As for times, I believe you’re at Zulu-3 in Argentina; which is 2 hours ahead of the US Eastern Zone. So when we’re watching Chuck at 8:00 PM it should be 10:00 PM for you. Is that when it airs for you? Are you on the US feed or do you have a local provider? Seems I’ve been asking that question a lot recently, we have a VERY international fandom.

      • thinkling says:

        Wow. Sounds like we’re in for some intense episodes. (You know, I keep thinking, if they’re doing these great eps now, what was up with them in s3? OK, sorry. Bad Keyboard, bad!) Can’t wait … shiver

        OT: Zulu-3 is now really 3 hrs from Zulu-5 (don’t do the math), at least in Brazil, because of Brazilian DST.

        Geographically we’re 2 time zones apart, but it varies from a 1 to 3 hr difference b/c of the shifts created by the two hemispheres going on and off of DST.

        So, if Argentina is on DST right now, like Brazil is, the difference is 3 hrs.

        Chuck for me is 11:00 now. 😦

      • atcdave says:

        Oh geez Thinkling, it never occurred to me your DST would be opposite ours; that makes perfect sense. I’ll add one more irrelevant tidbit to the mix; I do weather observations as part of my job function, well, the National Weather Service wants everything in LST (local Standard Time) whether we are currently using DST or not. Gotta love the government!

      • thinkling says:

        Fun times. It’s best if you don’t think about it too much.

        I don’t know about now, but years ago, in Belem (city at the mouth of the Amazon), DST was voluntary. Establishments decided for themselves whether they would go on DST or not. Ai caramba! Trying to be anywhere on time was impossible, though “on time” was a relative term anyway. 😉

      • atcdave says:

        Voluntary DST? That is funny. I’m sure you know each state can use DST or not here, and some states (Indiana in particular) use it or not in different parts of the state. But if you know the local practice its not quite as random as “voluntary”!

      • thinkling says:

        I didn’t know that. Interesting. I’m not fond of it myself, but where we are in the US is on the very western edge of the time zone, so practically speaking, we’re already on DST.

      • atcdave says:

        Oh yeah, its a joke. It exists entirely so the politicians can do something that looks like they can do something about energy usage. My own theory is that DST only mattered in the 40 years between when the light bulb entered general use and TV became popular. Especially now with computers dominating our “indoors” time and energy usage, I don’t believe the actual time of day affects energy use all that much.

      • Bellatrix says:

        Hi actdave! My previous post is tagged 10:50 pm (US time I guess) but it was actually 11:50 here (and yes we have GMT -3 hours) anyway the show airs 10 pm here. Im not certain why.

      • atcdave says:

        Just to be a pain, my own posts come up one hour off also, I don’t know why.

        I know a lot of international viewers watch episodes at completely different times than we do; but apparently you are either watching off an NBC feed or your local provider struck a very good deal to get same day rights. Either way its great, you won’t get everything spoiled by coming here!

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