Identity and Balance

I have been giving a lot of thought to the concept of identity lately.  Thinkling’s excellent article, Layers, furthered some of my insights.  I think most of us can agree that Season 3 was a hot mess.  Out of character (OOC) moments galore!  I take most of that as the exception to the rule of what I’ve come to know (or think I know) about our favorite characters.  I want to go a little more in depth on a few characters-after the break!

Alright, let’s start with Mary Elizabeth Bartowski,  AKA Agent Frost.  She left her children and husband behind 20 years ago to presumably pursue justice by infiltrating the Volkoff organization.   What are her motivations?  She says it was to keep her children safe, yet I got no sense that Volkoff ever thought Stephen/Orion was a threat.  Stephen J. Bartowski stayed off the radar, also claiming to protect his children.  Were they working in conjunction, to keep Volkoff at bay?  Was Mary feeding Stephen information so that he could act as that outside force to thwart whatever evil was looming?  Mary returns, ruthless and calculating.  She does, as another reader (sorry-not sure who to credit for this) points out, always tells the truth.  Ok, she leave a LOT out, but in essence, she hasn’t lied.

Mary’s perspective or approach with Chuck is that of a spy peer.  She knows all about Agent Carmichael after all.  Sarah has held her own and the two woman have seemingly developed a begrudging understanding of the other.  And let’s face it, they both fell for the nerd 🙂

But with Ellie, it is different.  The softer motherly side managed to peek out just a bit during that moving scene at Ellie’s apartment.  There was a quick glimpse of mom when she passed the torch of protection to Sarah as they were tied up, and she was looking at Chuck and Sarah as she stated that they needed to finish this.  Volkoff surely though she was talking to him, but I felt it was a plea to Team Bartowski to help her end the mission.  My question for Mary is will she manage to balance both?   Returning to the family after a 20 year mission will be a joy and a strain on everyone.  How will she fit in everyone’s lives again?  Who will she choose to be?  Can she take the lessons learned of a long spy career and help Chuck and Sarah avoid the mistakes she has made or is she so committed to the mission that she doesn’t see that she had any choice?  How does she teach Ellie to be a mother when she was absent for most of her children’s lives?  I would dare say Ellie may have some mothering tips for Mary as she raised Chuck.  What balance will Mary take on as this story unfolds?

Sarah.  Morgan G. Grimes said it best, “Your woman is a hot mystery.”  Sarah gets a lot of attention here on our blog, and I think rightly so.  Yvonne’s portrayal of Sarah is amazing as she adds layers of unspoken emotion and thought to Sarah.  Sarah has struggled between being the woman and being the agent.  She has struggled between duty and love.  She is struggling now with her head and her heart.  Sarah loves Chuck.  I know, duh!  Sarah is learning what it is to be in a real relationship and their mini-fight and subsequent squabbling in the bank were really well done, imho.  Each was able to get their perspective out and a quick resolution was found.  (Maybe TPTB really have learned something). Sarah handed over the hand cuff key and gave in to her heart.  She will question herself and Mary’s motives.  Does Mary need their help or was she talking to Volkfoff?  Did Mary provide a way out because she really is good or because she is a mother not wanting to kill her son?  Now Sarah potentially faces a test to her identity once again as Chuck doubts himself over the apparent loss or loss of ability to utilize the Intersect.  How does Sarah, the woman and lover, square off against the instinctual need of the agent to protect Chuck?

And finally to Chuck.  I see shades of the old Chuck-you know, the insecure, hand-wringing guy we fell for back in the pilot.  He had me at the ballerina and baggage handler line, too, Sarah!  We hadn’t really seen a lot of him lately.  Charles Carmichael, the dashing, confident spy was merging with Chuck as he gained more confidence in himself.  Alas, Charles Carmichael was zapped by a super PSP and all immediate traces of Carmichael seem to have gone, along with Chuck’s Intersect abilities.  And now we have self doubt.  In the preview, Chuck states that he hasn’t been a spy without the Intersect before.  I don’t agree with his assessment and it will take Sarah, the girlfriend, to snap him out of it, all while trying not to over do it with her own fears of him getting hurt and her need to protect him.

In all three cases, we see characters at a cross road.  Who are you going to be?  Do you find that balance or do you careen wildly to the familiar-Mary the spy, Sarah the protector, and Chuck the bumbling Nerd Herder?   Familiar is easy.  Do you suborn your own fears, as Sarah did for Chuck at the bank, and meet in the middle?  What identity wins or is it a balance of all elements that make you who you are?  What road would you choose if you were them?

-amyabn

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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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207 Responses to Identity and Balance

  1. Michael says:

    I can’t disagree with most of what you said. However, “The Honeymooners” is still my favorite episode. Most likely for reasons that have nothing to do with the show itself. Sorry, my explanations would be longer than your post, if I got into it. 🙂

    But, “their mini-fight and subsequent squabbling in the bank were really well done”. Really? That was, for me, the most embarassing Season 4 moment to watch. I just imagined Volkoff laughing himself silly over that scene. Then again, we all see thigs a little differently.

    And I still have not quite figured out what was going on with the Ellie/mustang scenes. It was as if something was cut out. I even had a thought flash, sorry, through my mind that Ellie was going to be given the latest Intersect when I saw the laptop.

    • amyabn says:

      I don’t know, RE: the fight. I think Volkoff/Tuttle got only Chuck’s side of the story. Then he sees his girlfriend holding her own, not only with the verbal but with the physical sparring as well. Now he knows what he’s up against. He also now has leverage against Agent Carmichael if he finds out they are alive-he will go after Sarah. I’m totally speculating here, but that could leave Mary to have to break cover to save Sarah.

      As for the mustang, I think Mary and Stephen were working together, albeit separate, all these years. I think his plea to Chuck to find her was so that Chuck could get her out of the Volkoff organization and home with her family. The laptop is probably what is needed to re-boot Chuck. I’m guessing again, but it is intriguing!

    • atcdave says:

      Michael I think many of us enjoyed the fight within the fight because it was funny and well staged. Volkoff and Mary seeing the fight was an important part of it. Whatever else they thought of Chuck and Sarah’s professionalism, they saw a powerfully effective team, EVEN WHEN they were far from their best. I also think it helped that when many of us were fearing a return of S3 angst, we actually got a fun scene that ended with a big leap of faith from Sarah.
      Now I would agree I am tired of the bickering and arguing type of character interaction we’ve seen from TV couples for 30 years; but for Chuck and Sarah it is an exception. We’ve only had that type of interaction maybe a half dozen times during the run of the show. I don’t think it will be a long term trend.

      I don’t think we’re supposed to know what’s up with the Mustang and Orion laptop Ellie got. It may be a couple episodes yet before it sorts out. As Amy said, I suspect then computer will play into “rebooting” the Intersect; maybe the classic ‘stang is just a nice legacy.

    • joe says:

      Pardons if I’m wrong, Michael, but is this your first time commenting with us? If so, welcome!

      Your take on this episode is quite legit, if in the minority. I’m weird about S3, myself. I find it to be, in many ways, the strongest of the 1st three seasons, and there are things about it that *still* affect me viscerally. That seems to be a major contradiction, but it really isn’t.

      It’s even stranger that the things that really, really bothered me are not the things that troubled most of the fans. I recognize they’re my own “hot button” issues. The show is that personal, sometimes.

      Technical stuff is almost easier to discuss. There are ways to measure and access plot points, characterizations, music, the use of guest stars and other things to gauge quality. That fight scene you mentioned is like that. Most people found it technically superior. But when it comes down to what really hits us where we live, that’s harder. That’s unique to the individual, and we each have different buttons.

      Oh, I know what you mean about the last scene with Ellie in the mustang. I sort of think that’s where the next episode will pick up, so I’m deferring questions for another 8 days.

      • Michael says:

        Oh boy, I’m in trouble now. 🙂 I got replyed to by, not one, not two, but three of the authors! The peril of first post.

        So, I figured I’d respond to all three at the same time.

        OK.

        Rule #1: Chuck is a comedy. I have to always remember that. As much as I love the more serious spy stuff, it is comedy at the core of Chuck.

        I watched the episode again Sunday night. Thank-you Hulu! The scene was funny, very Honeymooners, even though I thought it wasn’t very spy-ish. And the running around that the four of them did when Volkoff’s men stormed the bank, was priceless; first and second viewing.

        Joe, not a first time post. As a matter of fact, we had an email exchange about the TV Guide Poll. So, any ideas on who won that? Here’s to hoping!

        Finally, with regards to wondering how Chuck might fare without the Interest, or how Chuck thinks he might. What was the single, greatest spy achievement in the ‘Chuck’ Universe? I’ll wait… OK, was the Season 3 finale that long ago? Chuck brought down The Ring, and in Beckman’s words, or at least quoted by Chuck, he saved several government agencies as well as saved her butt. And he did all this without the benefit of the Intersect. Using nothing more than his brain. He stands taller than them all; Shaw, Sarah, Casey, Bryce, Cole, Jill or Roarke. Did I forget someone? Mu.. ha.. ha..

        I have a class in the morning, so I need to get some sleep.

      • joe says:

        Ahh – sorry! I had forgotten. It’s one of the first signs, you know 😉

        You mentioned in the post that led this particular thread that you found the scene in the bank “embarrassing”. Did the second viewing change your mind on that, or was I misinterpreting something? You’re right about the comedy. What got me laughing was Mary’s line. Right in the middle of Chuck and Sarah insisting that the other hasn’t been “fair”, Mary speaks up – Kids! Kids! You need to stop this now! We need to DO SOMETHING! just like a mother. The humor comes out of left field so often in the show.

        I’ll second your idea about Chuck, the character, too. Morgan’s line to Ellie comes back to me – When he’s with Sarah, he’s the Chuck we always knew he could be. Whether Chuck knows it or not, that has nothing to do with the Intersect.

    • Merve says:

      Michael, I’m kind of inclined to agree with you about the fight because I also thought that it was really silly, but:

      1) They actually resolved their issues. Sarah realized that Chuck was mad at her not for arresting his mother but for not checking with him first, and Chuck realized that Sarah arrested his mother not because she didn’t trust him but because she was trying to protect him.

      2) At least it didn’t involve not unpacking, accidental quasi-proposals, communication issues that magically appear out of nowhere, self-help books, communication exercises, annoying rehashes of the speeches from “Three Words,” or the re-emergence of Chuck’s whininess. 😉

  2. Ernie Davis says:

    Great post Amy, and a perfect companion piece to Thinkling’s Layers. So much of Chuck is about the characters identity and finding the balance. How much of Chuck is Carmichael, and how much should be. Is Sarah going to let Agent Walker be in charge, or Sarah. So often it seems the characters themselves are struggling with who they are and who they want to be, and I thought you laid that out what I consider one of the most character rich episodes of the series perfectly. Some of this is bound to cary into next episode. Chuck has to decide if he can be Carmichael without the intersect, and Sarah has to decide if Agent Walker can believe in just plain old Chuck. Great stuff.

  3. jason says:

    amy – I have felt this season TPTB have gone out of their way to write sarah very satisfying and consistent after last season’s misery arc sarah debacle. Chuck, on the other hand, they have really struggled with.

    In the anniversary, he was pretty carmicheal awesome, while in first fight, he was near as nerd-rotic as possible. He seems all over the map in terms of the cool can do agent and the bumbling babbling nerdherder. I think sarah loves them both, that isn’t the issue.

    I wonder if chuck’s split personality is on purpose, or a consequence of the new writing team. Fedak’s 4×1 chuck was very much the can do agent, I like that chuck slightly more, a little handwringing is ok, but that can easily get out of hand – no pun indended, I guess that makes the title of your essay apropos – all about finding the right ‘balance’ – well played by you!

    • kg says:

      Jason’s right. There’s no doubt Sarah loves both Carmichael and Chuck. Just like the women of Gotham City eventually have to love the Batman and Bruce Wayne.

      The only time I can recall Sarah not believing or believing in Chuck was after she thought he shot and killed the mole (which was excruciating to watch unfold on my screen). But Chuck, even now, has doubts about her in that area. And it surfaced during their fight(s) in the bank. Chuck was pissy, if you will, because Sarah wanted to take on Volkoff’s biggest guy. And then of course it came to a head concerning trusting him with his mom.

      And except for that season three OOC moment, Sarah has always believed in Chuck. I think Chuck needs to shake off some of his own insecurities and understand where Sarah is coming from. Just because she’s not his handler anymore, doesn’t mean she’s never going to stop protecting him any way she can.

      Initially, it was her mission, her job to protect Chuck. He was the government’s asset. Today, he is HER asset. She’s admitted that he’s her world.
      She’s told him that her home is anywhere he is. It’s not that she doesn’t believe in Chuck and his abilities, yeah, she’s Sarah the Lioness and she just can’t help protecting him physically and emotionally.

      It has been said that Yvonne the actress does a wonderful job of displaying her hurt for Chuck on screen when it’s clear he’s been hurt. I have to agree.

      Like Jason, I really liked the confident Carmichael seen in Anniversary. “Obviously you have no idea who I am, or you would have sent more than 10 men to take care of me. I’m going to spell it for you. If you touch one hair on Sarah’s head I’ll do to you what I did to your men.”

      And then later, when Chuck attempted to tell her of his quest to find his mom, Sarah admitted to him why she would try to stop him. It’s what we’ve been talking about. “Chuck, I don’t want to see you get hurt.”

      Here he’s not Carmichael. He’s Chuck. And Chuck always does the right thing. “Yeah,” he says to Sarah after it becomes clear the disabling action might prevent him from finding his mom. “But it’s not worth losing YOU…any of you.”

      So, undoubtedly Amy, Sarah will be instrumental helping Chuck find the balance between the best of Carmichael and the best of Chuck.

  4. Ernie Davis says:

    A thought just occurred to me regarding the laptop and Devon and Ellie trying to figure out the secret of the Mustang. Ellie is going to keep it a secret from Chuck. Think about it. Ellie still apparently thinks Chuck is out of the CIA, and knows both Mom and Dad were spies. She also knows Mom led her to the car Dad left, so does she tell Chuck? No, she does what the Bartowskis always do, they keep secrets to protect those they love. I can see it now, Ellie basically telling Devon that Chuck can’t know because he’ll jump right back into the spy life to save their mother. Cue angsty sibling misunderstanding, the one thing Chuck needed was what Ellie had, but kept from him to protect him.

    • atcdave says:

      That does sound plausible. I wonder if that means Ellie will know Chuck has re-entered the spy life in the next couple episodes. Its kind of hard to see how this could play out without her knowing. Of course, I wouldn’t have guessed it would go this far to begin with.

    • amyabn says:

      I get the feeling that they are going to go full circle, with each person “saving” another. I can see Mary saving Sarah, Sarah rescuing Chuck, Ellie saving Chuck.
      I think it would be neat to have Mary provide the backstory, and then Sarah turn to Ellie and lay out what the Intersect means and how it effects Chuck. It would take Chuck in danger (his mental health) to wake Ellie up. Ellie takes over the role of scientist and in doing so, can protect Chuck in that way. I think the mantel of protecting Chuck physically is already passed.

    • Tamara Burks says:

      I’ve gotta wonder if Chuck will tell Ellie about thier mother using him to lead Volkov to Orion’s lair and susequentially destroying it and thier childhood home.

      • thinkling says:

        I wondered that, too. How will Chuck explain it. Or maybe Ellie didn’t know the house was still theirs. They may not have to explain anything.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Even though I doubt she knew about the house already, he might tell her because he’s worried that thier mother will come back and use Ellie for something.

        This could be cemented by finding out about the computer in the car. he could think she only reminded Ellie about the car because she needed Ellie to get the computer so she could come back and take or destroy it and betray Ellie the way she did Chuck by destroying the lair.

      • thinkling says:

        Interesting twist in reasoning. I hadn’t looked at it like that.

      • DaveB says:

        Ellie discovers the secret in the car while Chuck et al are in Thailand (another opportunity for Chuck to speak Thai?) And she and Awesome try to figure it out…I can see Ellie trying to keep it from Chuck, unless she connects the dots and realizes that what she saw in ‘Coup d’etat’: Chuck with a purpose, is how he is really meant to be. Then she’ll give in a help.

    • thinkling says:

      That’s quite possible. In fact it sounds very TPTB-like. Just depends on how long they want to have Chuck de-intersected. However, it was Chuck who asked her to see if PapaB left her anything. So, since he is the one who knows more about dad’s spy stuff, and the one to initiate the search for what he may have left her, maybe she would tell him … or Sarah.

    • Merve says:

      That’s some good spec, Ernie. I’ve been thinking for a while about what purpose Ellie not knowing about Chuck’s spy life could serve in the story, and this seems to fit the bill.

      Last season, I vehemently defended Ellie’s decision to ask Chuck to quit the spy life, and I still would defend it. But Ellie and Devon being out of the loop this season is wearing thin, so I hope that no matter they’re going with Ellie’s storyline this season, she finds out the truth about Chuck soon.

    • Paul says:

      Ernie, I think that the laptop is TPTB’s way of giving Ellie a mechanism for her to “approve” of Chuck being a spy. I don’t think she will hold back anything in the end. I DO think that she will not learn about Frost being an agent who is trapped until much later in the arc.

  5. JC says:

    I almost have to wonder if part of removing The Intersect is so Chuck can realize he doesn’t need it to be a great spy. Orion said it last season being a spy is in his blood.

    When you think about it being a spy is more of who he is than either Sarah or Casey. Since birth he’s been a part of that world even if he didn’t know it.

    • atcdave says:

      I HOPE that’s part of what comes out of this arc; Chuck discovering his utility even without the Intersect.

      • JC says:

        Other than the fighting skills his abilities are up to par with other spies we’ve seen. And we’ve even seen him be decent fighting without the Intersect, disarming Justin with the cane last season and fighting off Ana Gasteyer.

        I really hope part of this arc makes the fighting skills permanently part of him without flashing. It’d be nice to see him actually have to train and practice some skills with Sarah and Casey.

      • thinkling says:

        Agree, all. I hope the upshot is to see Chuck more confident in who he is as a spy and more confident of who he and Sarah are, without the Intersect. Then he can be reintersected, b/c we know he needs it. But it can be more of a tool, and less of a crutch.

        Like JC said, he’s done a lot of stuff without it. He almost always begins his fights without it. And I’d love to see some more training sessions, too.

        If the Intersect could teach him to fight, he can learn to fight. It would just take time, like for normal people. So this should be interesting. The next 2 episodes are going to be … well, I can’t even find the word.

      • JC says:

        I think someone else here mentioned it but after using the same skill like Kung Fu repeatedly some sort of muscle memory would kick in.

      • atcdave says:

        I agree with both of you, but I think the big thing now is for Chuck to realize what he brings to the team. It would be nice for him to realize he still is valuable even without the Intersect; and of course, that what Sarah thinks of him has nothing to do with the Intersect at all.

      • treecrab says:

        I get annoyed a lot with Chuck and his neuroses, but thinking he’s useless without the Intersect is one of the ones I tend to give him a pass on. Mostly because throughout the run of the series, barring a few isolated incidents, everybody else HAS tended to act like he was useless without it (and before Intersect 2.0, they even thought he was useless with it). It doesn’t surprise me that he would freak out about all the important people in his life looking at him differently, since that’s what’s usually happened before.

        Just look at what happened the last time he couldn’t use the Intersect: He got completely benched (and nearly blown up) and treated like some kind of malfunctioning machine, with neither Sarah or Casey backing him up that he could still help even without the Intersect.

        I don’t think the problem is really Chuck with this issue. I think it’s everyone else. It’s their perception of Chuck that needs to change. Once that happens, Chuck’s will likely follow.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Exactly treecrab.

        It wasn’t until Casey told him that before he was the Intersect he was smart that anyone in spy world acted like he had any non Intersect worth.

        He’s got validation from Casey and he never was seen as any less than great by Ellie and Morgan but it’s Sarah that his fears are riding on.

        Her behavior last time he couldn’t flash (and since she was the root cause of the last two times he couldn’t flash in spy school and the Beard) is key to his fears about being Intersect less.

        Also his non Intersect skills were ignored in the Cole Barker arc ( and he was belittled to boot) .

        When he wasn’t in the spy world but had the Intersect , Sarah spent most of thier time together on missions and she didn’t unpack. His fears in regard to her are perfectly valid.

  6. Tynianrex says:

    Excelent post, amy.

  7. thinkling says:

    Great post Amy. MEB is certainly shaping up to be a wonderfully layered and complicated character. And we still don’t know how it will play out.

    I think she’s one of the good guys. In her sharing of information, she has certainly left out a lot. As for lying, the one thing I wonder about is the whole MI-6 part. Since Tuttle is a fake, did she go to work for MI-6? I think she may be 100% rogue, but still on the side of the good-guys.

    Her way of relating to Chuck and Ellie is interesting. She has the spy connection with Chuck and needs him to help her. So she’s more spy. But she did tell him all that stuff in the car in Aisle. It was very heart-felt. Also, Carmichael became a part of the Volkoff mess when he went looking for her, using public transportation. So Chuck as Carmichael has become directly involved in her spy world. She has to get him out of her spy world as Carmichael. No-one can know about Chuck and Ellie. That makes it a little different. The only other thing is that I think the transition from mother of a girl to mother of a woman is easier than mother of a boy to mother of a man … especially if you haven’t seen either in 20 years.

    • Tamara Burks says:

      I was thinking in Aisle of Terror that the mention that Ellie is pregnant is what shook her because with Ellie she only has one way to relate to her and that’s as mother to a daughter . With Chuck , she can hide behind her spy facade and only deal with him as a spy. All she really knows of Chuck though is what she’s read in his files.I think there’s a lot about him she’d be surprised at. I’d love it if they put the files she’s built her spy world view of Chuck on on the NBC Chuck site as an extra.

      Papa B OTOH seemed much better at relating to his children, probably because not only did he spend more time with them but he’s a self trained spy not a CIA trained one and that allowed him to let his walls down easier . He showed the same warmth to both children , the only thing he didn’t give Ellie was spy info. Chuck’s really getting short changed when it comes to his mother.

      His lack of training also allowed him to admit that he might have been wrong to act in the manner he did . Mama B might have the same problem Bryce and Sarah have with admitting fault . It’s probably in the training manual, never say you’re sorry or admit you’re wrong.

      • thinkling says:

        At some future point, it would be interesting to watch her learn about Chuck … observe him as the man he is with Ellie and Sarah and family.

        For now she is forced to deal with him as Carmichael to protect him and get him out of Volkoff’s cross hairs. Which for now, she has successfully done.

        If we believe her to be a good guy, she is walking a very skinny line and risking torture and a 20 yr mission to extract her son from danger. She can’t afford any slip-ups or looks of affection. She can’t afford to create a bond with him, b/c one look could risk everything. LH really nailed it in the basement. Brrr.

    • JC says:

      She doesn’t seem as fearful about Chuck being a spy compared to Orion. Her reaction is an interesting contrast.

      Like others have said part of it is because she knows his exploits as Carmichael. But I can’t help but think part of it is because of the Alpha Intersect, she knew that no matter what because of that ability he would be drawn into the spy world.

  8. Amrit says:

    You know one thing that I did notice in this last episode was that chucks mom was a lot colder to him then ellie. I have a feeling that mama b’s relationship with chuck will be the same as jack had with his dad in lost. His dad said in order to make jack the man he was….. the surgeon he needed to be…. he had to sacrifice certain elements when he raised him for the sake of his own destiny. This is the balance that is so intriguing, does mama b have to sacrifice being a mom that chuck bartowski deserves so that she can prepare him for his ultimate destiny as charles charmichael?, it certainly sends chills down my spine. We always wanted chuck to be the super hero he always was meant to be, but who gives him that final push? it is not casey (red test saver), sarah (she loves him how he is, that is sweet and kind), ellie (she wants to protect him) or papa b (he never wanted chuck to be a spy in the first place. So that leaves mama b, is that her role for the season and series, to lead chuck into the role that makes him the worlds saviour? if this is the way the season goes, then I agree we have just witnessed an episode that could ulimately change the landscape of the series and the fate of our beloved characters, I for one have high hopes for what lies ahead………..We all know that where chuck goes casey, sarah and morgan will follow, this is as much their destiny as it is his, if the psp device gave chuck all orions intel and he just has not learned to bring it online yet, then we are in the accession phase of the story where the hero learns to use these new powers with the ones he already has (intersect 2.0) and a new hero is found….

    • atcdave says:

      My guess is mom’s coldness towards Chuck is almost all mission/Volkoff related. So once he’s out of the picture, Mary will likely treat Chuck and Ellie more like a mom.

      • thinkling says:

        That’s my take. She can’t afford any look or gesture that is non spy-like or they could all be dead. The check for the vest at the restaurant was a risk.

      • Amrit says:

        But here’s the question, stephen Bartowski was a father for 18 of chucks 29 years, his mom has been spy instead of mom for 20 of the his 29 years. So you see where her priorities ultimately lay, she is a mom yes, but she is also much more of a spy first then mom. I mean she shot chuck, even if you know he is wearing a vest, that is still cold and calculating. so unlike dad she will always be willing to send chuck on missions unlike dad who said to chuck that you should walk away from some fights. So it makes sense that chuck’s ultimate destiny could be decided by his mom’s influence. You get my trail of thoughts here……….or is it total speculation nonsense……….

      • atcdave says:

        Oh there’s no denying MEB is a better spy than mom; in fact I’d call her a total screw up in the mom department. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to do better, or even that she will do better if given another chance. Which I think is exactly where we’re heading. She will be better as a grandma and mother to her adult children than she was before. And she will serve as an object lesson to Chuck and Sarah.

      • Amrit says:

        But is there any indication that could happen, papa b was a great man, but even in his death he could not prevent chuck going back into a world that holds so much danger and risk….but I will give papa b credit as soon as he saw how well chuck and sarah work together in the cabin and how much he loves her, he went along with it…. and tried to help his son become the man he always wanted him to be……..

      • atcdave says:

        The only indication is in the way Chuck usually plays out. Except for the front of S3, they usually avoid going dark for extended periods. In spite of Bryce and Orion each having tragic ends, both were good heroic characters. I honestly can’t see MEB being handled any differently. To me the only real question is; is MEB currently a bad guy who will be in need of redemption (the Darth Vader approach) or is she a misunderstood hero who will prove herself in the end.

      • Amrit says:

        I know making her good in the end would be the chuck way of going, but would it be dark for mama b to challenge chuck and his team (sarah, casey and morgan) to do something that of a higher purpose, it would mean that mama b is a misunderstood hero, but it gives her an out to leave as a hero… She could introduce chuck to what she has been doing these last 20 years and hand that mantle to him, it would not be dark because team b will be united and together…..it just seems so much more interesting then the usual she is good……

      • atcdave says:

        Oh yeah, there is a good possibility she will point the team towards important work even above and beyond Volkoff. But I think the highest lesson learned with Frost will be that Chuck and Sarah will not repeat the mistakes of his parents. Specifically, not to sacrifice family for a vague “greater good.”

      • Amrit says:

        But is not what they do now a sort of vague better good? I mean sarah has said many times through season 3 that you never know who your working for (Pink Slip), you are always living a different life in a different city (Pink Slip), the lines get blurred between who you can trust and who you cannnot trust (Tic Tac). So how can they avoid sacrificing a life that they may not want (mama b’s higher purpose) for a life that is ultimately the same? It is as this article would say a balancing act, one that only get’s tougher the more you learn. The problem is you cannot avoid going down this path unless the last episode of the series they all walk off into the sunset to live normal lives, now chris fedak writes prologues so there is always a new story to write, a new adventure to be had, no one exactly knows………

      • atcdave says:

        Serving the “greater good” is the point of military and police service, fire fighting, and civil service in general. But Orion and Frost let themselves get wrapped up to a degree that destroyed their family; that is, they didn’t just take risks for public service. They abandoned children they were directly responsible for raising (without even arranging for guardianship?) to pursue their respective missions. Don’t get me wrong, there are appropriate times to make such a sacrifice, but so far I’m not convinced. I think raising a family and protecting the family unit is a VERY high calling, and I’d rank Orion and Frost as failures in that regard. I expect Chuck and Sarah to make it work.

  9. Amrit says:

    When it comes to the balancing act I do feel worried for chuck at times. There is a train of thought that when someone do’s you wrong you have two choices:

    1) Swallow your anger and let it eat you up and make you bitter.
    2) Throw it back in someones face.

    But with chuck there is a third option and that is to let it go, and when he does that he is truely free and manages to remain the same person deep down. I think this why sarah has always loved him, it is not about him being smart, inventive, brave, kind or sweet. It is deep down he finds a way to let it go and be the man she loves. In the long term that will be what keeps chuck and sarah together, but in the short term that allows people like mama b hurt him. The perfect example of this is when he had shaw by the throat, he could of gone through option 1 and hated himself for causing his fathers death, or killed shaw. But know he let it go and that is what makes him great, no matter what happens I can always route for this type of hero who tries to balance everything and everyone and no matter what happens will wake up the next day look in the mirror and be happy with man he is and do the same thing again, now that has to be admired………

    • thinkling says:

      Like he told Ellie when he brought his dad home: I realized we can hate him for the rest of our lives, or we can choose to forgive him.

    • Amrit says:

      I totally agree with this analysis, it is beautiful, introspective and the reason I love chuck. Another great moment is when he say’s to Ellie about papa b, we can either hate him or forgive him…..When you put into words what makes chuck great it makes sarah’s fear of losing her chuck in season 3 all the more powerful! As fans we want to see this man succeed because he does things his way and never loses his humanity in the process, it makes bryce’s actions at standford all the more understandable because he must have known what the cia would have done to chuck. As a fan you want to see chuck succeed but like sarah never at the cost of who he is and how people like mama b act will be provide a precursor or keyhole insight into where our heroes destiny ends, it is so intriguing yet suspenceful, I wait in awe to see how chuck navigates his way to his ultimate desination while remaining our chuck/our hero/our avitar.

      • thinkling says:

        Another thing that makes Chuck’s capacity for forgiveness great is that it does not come from a state of denial or passivity. It’s active and intentional. That’s powerful, and it’s forward looking rather than backward dwelling.

        Chuck is funny and easy going. He trusts and forgives (even when his mother shoots him in the heart). Looking on, one might think that Chuck is passive and clueless. If that were the case these qualities would be hollow shells — weaknesses. But because they are active and intentional, they are great strengths, and Sarah is right to perceive them as such. Sarah’s comic duck description wasn’t far off, really. On the surface he seems to let things roll off his back … passively let things go. Underneath, he is doing the hard work of forgiveness that, as you said, frees him to be the Chuck Sarah loves.

      • joe says:

        That’s poetry, Thinkling. Wow!

      • thinkling says:

        @Joe: And you can dance to it.

      • atcdave says:

        Thanks Thinkling for a well stated take on why Chuck is so appealing; he appears to be an ordinary guy but is really extraordinary.

      • thinkling says:

        Ha. Thanks, Dave, for summarizing my 2 paragraphs in 11 words. 🙂

      • joe says:

        Dave just put his finger (pen? keyboard??) on exactly why Chuck is such an appealing character, and it ties in exactly with what Amrit stated last night.

        That “ordinary guy” *is* us. Those extraordinary things are within our grasp.

        Um… Pardons. Got inspired there, for a second! 😉

      • Amrit says:

        Also with his charm and charisma, not to mention that he is looking really good this season with his skin the perfect complextion and suits that are perfect it only reaffirms what sarah saw in him in the first place, that one day he could be this man. He is streets ahead of cole, bryce and shaw, I actually laugh to myself now thinking that there was ever competition! Chuck is and always will be well ahead, because he is who he is!

      • Amrit says:

        You know in a way it is easy to look at chuck now and say yeah he is looking really good and it is no suprise that sarah is with him, because they look really good together. But you have to give credit to sarah for seeing something in him in the first place, for falling in love with him when he was at a low point in his life and sticking with him and helping him get over jill and bryce and getting his standford degree and basically not doing what so many of us do and go for the person that looks best on paper. It truely is romantic and makes their love all the more facinating.

  10. kg says:

    I’m going to be blunt and honest here. This sucks. It’s Monday and we have no episode. I know it’s been said before, but I’ll say it again. This wonderful community really does help one get through the doldrums and anxiety of waiting for another episode.

    Thank you

    • amyabn says:

      I totally agree. And I had to burst one of my Soldier’s bubble tonight. He convinced his wife to let him watch Chuck live (he usually gets the short straw and has to watch the next day) when i broke it to him that there was no episode tonight. 😦

      And while we’re sort of on that topic, what ever happened to the iTunes Season Pass????

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Well I’m going to raise my blast shields and say I’m kinda glad there is a break tonight since the Steelers play Cincinnati and I don’t have to choose between obsessions.

    • joe says:

      Gee, kg. And here I thought I was the only one who felt that way. 😉

      But we have the prescription for what ails ya. You already know the drill. Take two episodes (at Hulu or at NBC) and see us back here in the morning!

      • Bellatrix says:

        In the end having no chuck tonight has turned out just right for me (Im having a very bad case of pink eye/ conjuntivitis). Wait, that reminds me i shouldn’t be at the computer. Arrg! I really hate pink eye! (and it doesen’t make any difference I would have watched chuck anyway) well back to optimism, no school for me tomorrow (yay!)

      • joe says:

        Awwww – take care of that, Bell, and get well.

    • atcdave says:

      Agree KG, the community is great. It gives me something fun and Chuck centric to do tonight.

      It sure does seem like a cruelly long break after a dynamite episode.

      • First Timer says:

        I dunno, much as I would have liked an episode tonight, I can’t help comparing this to LAST YEAR. Remember the two-week Olympic break between Mask and Fake Name.

        Now THAT was cruel…with an awful payoff, too.

        This is a walk in the park compared to February.

      • atcdave says:

        Ha! yeah you’re right. Its much better to be excited on a long lay-off than POed!

  11. Matt says:

    It looks like we’ll get some family stuff and a return to the Thanksgiving episodes this year. The synopsis for epi 10 was released and I’m not sure they wanted to give away that Mama B would be free to wander around. The link is below.

    http://www.spoilertv.com/2010/11/chuck-episode-410-chuck-versus.html

    It kind of reminds me of the time we knew that Jill was Fulcrum two or three episodes before it happened. I wish they wouldn’t do this, but what can you do?

    • herder says:

      And under the heading of Whaaa? the title of 4.13 apparantly will be Chuck vs. The Push Mix. Is that sufficiently cryptic for those who are spoiler adverse.

      • Merve says:

        Chuck at an all-night rave? Stranger things have happened. 😉

      • herder says:

        I’m thinking a mix tape of all his favorite songs to “push” him to ask what he wants to ask. Yeah It’s a stretch but that’s my guess and I’m sticking to it (at least until a better idea comes along).

      • JC says:

        Push Mix makes me think Ellie is going into labor in 4.13. Don’t know if the timeline works though.

      • thinkling says:

        I don’t see anything wrong with two big family events to one mix. 🙂 Double entendre and all that.

        And, Jason, what’s a little thing like time. The time line has been broken for a while now.

    • amyabn says:

      Thanks Matt!

    • atcdave says:

      Interesting synopsis; and notice it says nothing about what ANY of the main characters are doing! (Okay, I guess enjoying a Thanksgiving meal a day late.)

      • thinkling says:

        The real question is What were they doing on Thanksgiving Day???

      • atcdave says:

        Maybe trying to get home from Thailand? I think this also makes MEB as any sort of villain unlikely; I think 4.10 is her next appearance, and she’s apparently ready to party with her family by the end of the ep.

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, I think so, too. Should be exciting. I’ll be happy with good-guy Mary partying with her family.

        Still a lot of mysteries, though.

      • You wouldn’t be so spoiled if you stopped reading synopsizes. 😉

        Granted, I think they are being a bit more cryptic with 4.09 and 4.10 than they have been in the past.

      • joe says:

        That’s right!

        Everyone go over to Chuckgasmic right now to NOT GET REALLY SPOILED! 😉

        Sigh. It’s time I admit it. I’m Joe, I’m a spoiler addict (and Magnus is my pusher!)

      • I am evil, yes I am. 🙂

        Granted, at least I try to make a little game out of the spoilers. I don’t just come out and go “Hey, Sarah gets pregnant in 4.10! YES!!!! That is why the hiatus starts after that episode. They need her to be a couple of months pregnant when the season starts up again!”

        That would be wrong.

        Were it true.

      • joe says:

        Hum…

        “… and it’s Shaw’s.”

        Now THAT would be evil! 😉

      • It is definitely Shaw’s.

      • atcdave says:

        I gave up on avoiding spoilers a year ago. Of course totally made up spoilers are in a category of there own…

      • odysszeuss says:

        kind of: “OFF TOPIC” but isn’t that a really good Short version of Sarah vs. Chuck Bartowski (by Magnus Anton Lekay LINK above )

        Imagine this: Here is this woman who has spent her life running from who she is and pretending to be someone else. The only person who loved her, as a child, also abused that relationship by using her to take advantage of other people. Then the CIA comes along and robs her of any chance to develop meaningful relationships with anyone. So she survives by never allowing anyone, except her partners, to become meaningful to her. And then she meets this guy who immediately shakes her foundation. And over time he breaks her walls down until she can’t resist him, even though everything she has learned demands she do just that. Over time she not only loves him but begins to see a real possibility of spending the rest of her life with him and starting a family with him. This is beyond a fantasy for her… it was once an impossibility and now it is the most real thing in her life.

  12. herder says:

    For those of you keeping score, NBC’s ratings last night without Chuck were GWB 1.7, The Event 1.7 and Chase 1.2. If Chuck were airing last night it may very well have been the highest rated show on NBC, scary for the network. You have to wonder if Chase will air it’s back nine with those numbers, Undercovers was beating that, so is The Apprentice.

    • jason says:

      maybe they will order another 10 episodes of chuck and run it twice a week this spring – holy cow – the event 1.7 – if they had any doubt that chuck was helping the event, that had to be erased last night. The bear’s mouth appears to be wide open and ready to put the finishing bite into the next victim, i.e. the bear’s ‘chase’ of ‘the chase’ is near over.

    • atcdave says:

      Holy smokes that’s amazing! We can start building a case for Chuck S5 right there.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Well I think that if nothing else that should dent (if not end) the argument that Chuck is a drag on NBC’s Monday night lineup.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah! The Event needs Chuck to even be mediocre. Wow!

        Even if they thought they could replace Chuck with a cheap news show the rest of the line-up would never survive it.

      • thinkling says:

        So our week off may have been a blessing in disguise …

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Well I’d say if both Chuck and The Event’s numbers are up next week we’ve made the case for a season 5, so long as the numbers hold through the spring.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah Ernie, this news is really exciting but obviously its contingent on a few things. Like Chuck’s numbers holding up where they have been, and Event bouncing back a little; and of course the big one, Chuck’s numbers holding or rising in the months ahead.

        But this was a huge important “event”.

    • herder says:

      It will be interesting to see if Chuck gets any promotion this week (aside from it’s usual two 15 second spots on SNF) Summer Glau should be promotable, also isn’t she on one of NBC’s midseason replacements, that would be promoting one of your own.

      Don’t get too excited, bad news for The Event and Chase is not necessarily good news for Chuck, we still need to increase ratings for a season 5. Personally I think they will go up over the next three episodes, hopefully enough so that NBC will promote it’s return in the winter so that people will know when it is returning rather than slipping into the schedule in the dead of night.

      • jason says:

        herder – I would think holding at 2M for the next 3 would be about the best expected, if TPTB had something new and exciting to promote, they probably would be already, or would be soon (say like an engagement in 4.10) to try to lure new viewers in … right now I think linda h and timmy D are the excitement that the show has to offer thru 4.10, certainly the promo for 4.8 isn’t going to lure anyone new in – right?

        Unless maybe an EPK comes out from NBC and that gets some new people interested, but those seem more preaching to the choir than finding new parishioners.

        I’m guessing the next big push will be over the break, where we find out what the next big things will be. I am curious with all the hints about weddings starting with 3.14’s honeymoon, vows, and rings, how patient the fanbase is going to be if CS stay on hold for another 14 or 15 episodes … most the boards I look at are already planning bridal showers and the like …. season 3 showed how much fans did not like being messed with on journies, even if the destinations are really great.

  13. Chuckaddict says:

    This is off topic, but I was re-watching Fat Lady last night to get my fix. The FULCRUM operative’s cover was as an electrician for Tuttle Electric. Coincidence?

    • Merve says:

      It’s probably a coincidence, but if it ends up being important, maybe it’ll explain the giant, gaping plot holes in the Jill arc. (Nah, wishful thinking…)

  14. Faith says:

    Allow me to be narcissistic for a moment here since I’ve been gone for well..awhile, you know you missed me lol.

    So here are my general and specific thoughts out of the fantastic insights of the blog:

    She does, as another reader (sorry-not sure who to credit for this) points out, always tells the truth.  Ok, she leave a LOT out, but in essence, she hasn’t lied.

      That was me! :-D. Yeah I thought it was curious how she is who she says she is, but she isn’t. Her actions have shown one thing but inside she is a mom and I truly believe her when she says she did it for them/for family or whatnot. Well at least not selfish-I must get with Volkoff reasons.

    she was looking at Chuck and Sarah as she stated that they needed to finish this. Volkoff surely though she was talking to him, but I felt it was a plea to Team Bartowski to help her end the mission.

      It’s interesting to note that when Chuck went on this mission he said and I quote, “I thought I could find her, save her, bring her home.” When the line between good and evil started to blur he changed his mind and that’s where we really saw his blindside. He’s not sure where he really believes she stands and he’s questioning that which he knows in his heart is the truth. And to go back into charted territory: the reason why Sarah felt like her actions were necessary.

    Sarah is learning what it is to be in a real relationship

      THIS! In the days after First Fight, when the euphoria wore off people begun to question faults…specifically who’s at fault. I am on record saying there need not be blame but if there was Sarah was at fault for not talking to Chuck, for not considering his role in all this before protecting his blind side. But in the end it’s important to acknowledge she’s been a spy almost her entire life (esp. if you consider the spy-ish aspect of the con) and a girlfriend…a serious one at that for how long? She’s still learning, and she’ll make mistakes and fix them. Together she and Chuck will grow closer together by fixing that which the other breaks and compromising on things that cannot be bent.

    How does Sarah, the woman and lover, square off against the instinctual need of the agent to protect Chuck?

      I think we got the answer to that in a way. It’s exhausting to fight with Chuck, it’s exhausting but necessary for her to act in protection of him but in the end how she overcomes this necessity (in this specific situation) is through faith. She may not agree with regards to MamaB’s morality, or Chuck’s perceived vulnerability but she knows that to love him is to trust him.

    -@JC: The Intersect is so Chuck can realize he doesn’t need it to be a great spy. Orion said it last season being a spy is in his blood.

      There’s still a part of Chuck that considers his worthiness, his identity as tied to the intersect. In a lot of ways I think he remains fearful that as soon as he can’t flash, Sarah won’t love him anymore or that he’s no longer the assertive, fulfilled man that he is. I would hope that this arc revisits and fixes some of that. He’s Chuck and that’s why we love him. Not because of the super-computer in his brain, nor his wicked (but pretty humorous) spy skills. I personally miss the moments when Chuck solves a problem on wit and inventiveness alone.

    -@Tamara:I was thinking in Aisle of Terror that the mention that Ellie is pregnant is what shook her because with Ellie she only has one way to relate to her and that’s as mother to a daughter . With Chuck , she can hide behind her spy facade and only deal with him as a spy.

      Remember that MamaB said from the get go (and this is one of the truths that I give a lot of emphasis to) that she doesn’t want to know anything about any of them. Because knowing puts her and especially them in danger. She knows about Carmichael the spy, but she doesn’t know that Chuck has a girlfriend. I think she was different with Ellie because the idea of motherhood is such an emotional and powerful pull that it pierced her spy shell, her spy persona. I keep on replaying that scene with the bear and she’s walking towards Chuck carefree and excited to see her pregnant daughter after many years…it’s one that is perhaps the most emotional and motherly and genuine for her.

    -@Amrit: first good to see you around these parts. In case you don’t know I’m CN8 on the boards (no Faith is not my real name either lol), just like Alladins is alladins on the boards. Anyways, welcome!

    But you have to give credit to sarah for seeing something in him in the first place, for falling in love with him when he was at a low point in his life and sticking with him and helping him get over jill and bryce and getting his standford degree and basically not doing what so many of us do and go for the person that looks best on paper. It truely is romantic and makes their love all the more facinating.

      ♥♥♥♥♥♥
      She always saw the potential and she came right when Chuck needed her. What can I say, they’re meant to be.

    -@Dave: I gave up on avoiding spoilers a year ago. Of course totally made up spoilers are in a category of there own…

      BURN!
    • kg says:

      Faith your fifth item reminds me of a revealing deleted scene from the Ex.

      It looks like Chuck and Sarah are in her hotel room. I think the setting is just before his date with Jill. Chuck is nervous and ticklish as Sarah tries to attach a wire to his chest.

      “Jill is very successful and I’m just a putz who is paid to wear a pocket protecter,” Chuck admits.

      “Jill isn’t going out with you because of some big story you made up,” Sarah answers as a retort. “She’s going out with you because you’re you.”

      Chuck jumps back in and says, “How do you know that?” And naturally when pressed, Sarah quickly changes the subject.

      Sarah has always considered Chuck a charming, desirable guy especially when Beckman, Casey and Montgomery didn’t believe so. It never surprised her that Lou, Jill and Sasha were attracted or charmed by him.

      Oddly enough, even though she’s the hot CIA agent, she was just as threatened, jealous and hurt by the presence of other women interested in Chuck. She just wasn’t as obvious as Chuck. But we could always see otherwise.

      Yes. They are meant to be. They’ve been there for each other. As much as I appreciate that they’re finally a real couple, I still find their earlier moments together so much more tender and sweet.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah KG, their courtship the first two seasons was wonderful and special. I’m sure that’s why many of us are totally hooked on the show and the ‘ship. But I think it just was time to move on. The current phase is still fun and sweet, but different. I could do without the faux angst of unpacking suitcases and agonizing over “change”. But its mainly been played for laughs so I’m Ok; I’m just looking forward to seeing more of the awesome partnership we’ve caught glimpses of all season. I think we have the next phase of wonderful and special taking shape.

      • Faith says:

        I love that, thanks for the reminder KG.

        There’s also from seduction’s charming…”it worked on me.”

        While I never want Chuck to get a big head (and he’s not the type of guy who would) I would at least like him to realize that she loves him for a reason and gain confidence in that.

        I’m not gonna lie…I love jealous Sarah. I want JIll back for that reason. Don’t get me wrong…it’ll go nowhere, but I love what she brings in Sarah. To me it’s fun…and not stupid because it’ll go nowhere lol. But I understand I’m in the minority with that.

        I too love who they were…what they were…and at the risk of asking for too much mush…I think we need a little bit more of that. I think it was Amy who said that they’re a couple now yes…with issues and fights, but in a lot of ways it seems like they’re less of a couple (in the together, PDA sense) than they were. It would be nice to get back some of that.

      • Amrit says:

        To be honest I think roan knew that chuck was charming, when he was teaching chuck how to seduce his mark, he first baited sarah by critisizing chuck and then he baited chuck by saying that maybe casey should kiss agent walker and chuck was like oh no way is casey kissing my girl. You see roan knew straight away that there was something between chuck and sarah and all episode he kept making them reveal their feelings, remember he is a master romancer, of course he saw what was there, that is why he told chuck what to do at the end of the episode, he knew chuck could do it even if he did not know. As with casey, casey has always thought that chuck could be with sarah, he spent 2 seasons either berating sarah “your pretty nonchelant that your super computer boyfriend is browsing someonelses network” and when she said it is just a cover he shook his head as to say come on fight for him. With chuck he would say do not faint when tortured be more of a man (beefcake) like cole, he has always pushed chuck to be a more confident man, deep down he always knew chuck had it in him because he does love his chuck and sarah! Beckman, well she is their boss, but even she said it is about time, 3000 miles away and even she knew it was pretty obvious.

      • thinkling says:

        Great thread. I do hope Chuck gets it through his thick, albeit special, noggin that he is capable, exceptional even, without the intersect. And even though she shouldn’t need to say it again. I hope Sarah can knock some sense into the same said noggin. She did say, “I fell in love with a regular guy.” But maybe she can convince him that even with the intersect gone, he’s still her one and only Chuck.

        I agree with Dave. I’m really glad they’re together and in the next phase of their life together. Still fun and sweet, though different.

        I also agree with Amy and Faith that a little more passion/PDA (from time to time) would be good … and more realistic … hello! Sometimes (ok, a lot of times) I really hate the way TV writes married (OR together) couples. The world has 6+ billion people. How do they think we all got here? They write it as though marriage makes a relationship less or narrows the possibilities, when the exact opposite is true. Opening the door into marriage is an expansion and deepening of everything. I’d like to see them write it that way. Imagine how great it would be with Zach and Yvonne.

      • amyabn says:

        @Faith, I love jealous Sarah too, and part of me would like to see Jill back, but I guess the thing that needs to be resolved for Sarah is that she isn’t Jenny Burton anymore. I have been rewatching S4 (shocking, I know!) and I think they overplayed jealous Sarah in Suitcase. It was funny to a point, but Sarah is the epitome of the Ugly Duckling to Swan story.

        I guess it leads back to the main point of identity. We all have our own image of ourselves and who we are. Does Sarah still look in the mirror and see Jenny Burton? She has to know in her heart that Chuck isn’t a cheater so maybe that’s why her reactions to Chuck and the supermodel seemed over done to me. I guess I’m hoping that while Sarah is getting Chuck over his Intersect-less existential spy crisis of sorts, he can do the same for her in regards to her self image. In a humorous way, of course! I’m very much in ATCDave’s camp that they’ve done well with the humorous resolution to the problems and I really like that.

      • jason says:

        @amy – the magic chuck formula is dramatic spy adventures and warm, humorous relationships

        Seems to me Chuck is harping on sarah not trusting him, but the real issue seems to be chuck not trusting sarah, has been that way since american hero – I wonder if that is intentional and will be told as a story with a resolution, or is just bad writing and will meander thru the series, then just go away when TPTB think the fans have had all they can tolerate

        If chuck’s line in 4.7 – you only trust those who beckman tells you to implied shaw, maybe chuck and sarah will have it out over season 3 one last time and then this trust issue will go away – or maybe they will thru actions in this arc prove themselves to each other, like other stories on the show, TPTB really have problems defining issues and bringing them to a close? Who knows?

      • atcdave says:

        I’d also be okay with a little more PDA; and would agree jealous Sarah can be quite interesting, as long as its clearly over nothing (I never want to see a straying Chuck). Along those lines
        I’d like to see the return of Jill again; maybe she’s a little wacko obsessed with Chuck now, or maybe she’s fearful for her life and comes to Chuck for protection in exchange for information or some such thing. But I would like to see her deal with a happy and professionally capable Chuck; and of course, Sarah deal with wanting to rip her limb from limb.
        We’ve seen a few times since 3.14 that Yvonne is gifted comedic actress and I look forward to seeing that more often too. I fell in love with this show because of the blend of action and comedy, there’s a special satisfaction in seeing the professional and tough Agent Walker corupted by Chuck’s silliness.

      • kg says:

        Well guys and gals, take the scene from Anniversary as an example.

        Sarah believes the love of her life is laying on the floor above in 100 different pieces. And of course, Yvonne did her usual great job of screaming and then crying when at first she thought he was dead and again when she heard his voice on the communicator.

        They’ve seen one another in passing over several months. Sarah briefly was led to believe he was dead. She’s tied to a chair with Casey and was herself nearly shot to death.

        Where’s the hug and warm embrace? Where’s the passionate kiss after he unties her? I know he had another mission, but….All were given is a frigid “Happy Anniverary” on the bus and a peck on the cheek.

      • joe says:

        Always the romantic. Huh, KG? 😉

        Seriously, at the time, it didn’t bother me. It was very much akin to Chuck exploding into approximately the same number of pieces in the herder in Best Friend. We get Sarah’s agonized look, turn, quick recognition that her worst fears are not realized, and then, no more than a sigh.

        Agent Walker is all about business and “one mission at a time”, it seems. What happens after (often in the broom closet, I take it), is left more to our imagination. 😉

      • thinkling says:

        I think that’s all we’ll ever get in public, as it were.

        I really don’t think either of them is big on PDA. The PDA they had before was cover. I’d be fine with a little more of the subtle public affection (around family and teamB when appropriate) and a little more in the private affection department, like seduction or Colonel.

        A scene in Aisle that was somewhat telling in this department was right after Chuck’s mom shot him. Sarah had her hands on his shoulders, and as they talked she leaned down and kissed him on the cheek. It was wonderful affection and very couple-y. But as soon as Casey and Morgan started down the steps, she quickly removed her hands from his shoulders. It was just Casey and Morgan, but Castle isn’t the time or place, unless it’s the supply closet, apparently. (Just finished this, Joe, before I saw yours.)

      • amyabn says:

        It’s been hashed through before (regarding the PDA) but somewhere, something changed. The passionate kissing has cooled quite a bit from Hard Salami and Seduction. I think that was the last really “steamy” and passionate kiss we’ve seen. I think even Zach’s kisses with Kristin Kreuk had more heat. He and Rachel Bilson (Lou) certainly had heat, as did Jordana Brewster (Jill).
        It has to be weird kissing your co-star all the time and in real life she is like your sister. I don’t know! but I’d like to see a little more heat too 😉

      • Faith says:

        Another great call back KG. Maybe it’s like suitcase’s missing 30 minutes hehe (waiting for Ernie to bring up that it should be longer).

        Joe, does it bother me? No. But it’s something that would certainly feel good (call back pun!) to see.

        I’m starting to feel like a perv asking for PDA for a fictional couple hahah. Not that I don’t already feel so enjoying Smallville’s PDA so much 😉 lol. But it comes down to this…

        In Wookie Sarah told Carina, “you don’t have to be so hands on with Morgan you’re going to give him the wrong idea.” While at the same time she takes an opportunity whenever possible to fix his lapel, touch his cheek, even in Sensei she had probably one of the most open and unintentional actions she has ever shown with touching him and saying. “Chuck, you’re so sweet.”

        All we’re saying is…ok me 😉 is where has this gone? I understand the constraints of the job, I even understand the seriousness of missions but there should be an in between. In rewatching Break Up, I can’t help but compare Bryce and Sarah to Chuck and Sarah.

      • thinkling says:

        Colonel had heat. It’s pretty much since they’ve been an official couple ()except for kiss after the fight in Honeymooners. I can’t believe it’s a Zach/Yvonne problem. I think it’s the way it’s being written … a very odd take on couple-hood.

      • luckygirl says:

        I think alot of writers for tv shows tend to equate that heat is for star crossed or dysfunctional couples whereas sweet and tender is equated to more healthy stable couples. I can’t recall any hot scenes for any solid stable couple I’ve ever loved, maybe I’m watching the wrong shows.

      • kg says:

        Joe, now that I’ve said what I had to say, I’ll shut up so that I won’t suck up what’s left of the remaining air. (he he back at you).

      • thinkling says:

        No, Luckygirl, I think you’re exactly right. That’s my beef.

        Admittedly there’s the sweet, tender, comfortable affection of more slolid, stable couples, but that’s not *all* solid, stable couples have. Let’s see a show of hands; who wants these people to write your life. Right. No hands.

      • thinkling says:

        OK. That sounded a little harsh. Sorry. They have had some really sweet moments, some great heartfelt moments. There is lots of love there. And I’ve loved all that. What they’ve given us is really great. But it does seem like there’s a little something missing.

      • Faith says:

        Luckygirl there are some shows that do it right. But they’re rare. I just think that coupledom is largely uncharted territory for television writing.
        I’m all for tender, sweet. But since the topic is balance I think some balance is required. We argue amongst ourselves all the time about wt/wt versus the story doesn’t end. I have faith in these writers, I think they can do it right.

      • luckygirl says:

        I think the writers might feel like they’ve already handled the passion part and now want a bit of an assumption to be made on the part of the viewers in regards to their private life. They showed us previously there is obviously passion and then they give us bits of dialogue along the way such as “supply closets” and “dresses for home”. I would certainly would enjoy more and see where you guys are coming from but I’m fine with what we have.

      • Faith says:

        Kg salami reference? You’re on fire. ♥ it.

      • atcdave says:

        Well, I still think the end scene of Honeymooners was about the most romantic thing I’ve ever seen on television; but what we see has cooled off a lot since then. I’m mostly okay with that, but it would be nice if they turned it up just a little, like more frequent hand holding and hello/goodbye kisses. I suspect we’ll get a few heavily romantic episodes in the near future (Balconey sounds like it might have potential). Probably actual engagement/wedding/honeymoon episodes will contain more overt affection too.

      • Merve says:

        Look on the bright side: less kissing means more time to watch bad guys get the crap beaten out of them. 🙂

      • atcdave says:

        Absolutely Merve!

      • thinkling says:

        Always a manganese lining to be found. 😉 (jk)

        SO my view on PDA:
        … Public Display of Affection, I’m OK with what we have
        … Private Display of Affection, love what they’ve given us, but could use a bit of steam from time to time.
        … Public Display of Aggression. (Thank you Jason for coining the term) Always welcome!

      • atcdave says:

        Ditto that!

  15. luckygirl says:

    Faith- In Wookie Sarah told Carina, “you don’t have to be so hands on with Morgan you’re going to give him the wrong idea.” While at the same time she takes an opportunity whenever possible to fix his lapel, touch his cheek, even in Sensei she had probably one of the most open and unintentional actions she has ever shown with touching him and saying. “Chuck, you’re so sweet.”

    That was when that was all she had though. It also didn’t happen in every episode. I don’t think I exactly understand what people constitute as PDA because I think there has been some form of physical affection in almost every episode this season and the last six episodes of last season.

    • Faith says:

      In fairness PDA is hard to define. I consider PDA to involve touching. But specifically for this conversation something that involves steam.

      One of my most favorite Chuck and Sarah scenes is the hand holding at the end of Colonel. I wouldn’t be averse to that.

      As for it’s different because that’s all that she could do back then…fair point. But at the same time these people know more than anyone how fickle life can be…spy life all the more so: carpe diem.

      • Amrit says:

        I do not think it is zach or yvonne, you look at the end of suitcase the chemistry is still there! I have heard that hotter scenes have been shot but in the scripts TPTB have wanted to keep it sweet, why? no idea! But if you do look at some of the kisssing scenes this season, in one shot zach hands are around yvonnes waist and then they are on her face, it is obvious that the editors are editing the kissing scenes around the hot stuff. But no problem, I am sure they will bring it back in the future, they are probably trying to show a pure and sweet love this season. In a way I like that chuck is not like goya grabbing his girlfriends behind in front of everyone while kissing her, I like that chuck respects sarah and is gentle with her.

      • thinkling says:

        That’s interesting and very plausible, Amrit. I certainly wouldn’t give up or trade any of what they’ve given us. I don’t mean to sound like I don’t like what we’ve got. Because I do love the pure, sweet love. Passion, devoid of the pure and sweet wouldn’t be appealing at all. But adding a puff of steam to the pure and sweet every now and then would be good.

      • atcdave says:

        I sure agree with that Amrit, I like a respectful Chuck. I do think it will heat up a little, but I would prefer to see them be sensible while on missions; save the more overt stuff for opening/ending scenes. Of course, at that point its not really PDA anymore if its in the privacy of their own home; its just perfectly apt affection.

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, Dave, for me I guess I’m talking more about private (perfectly apt affection) rather than public affection. They’re hardly ever any place that actual PDA would be appropriate.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Unfortunately very late in to the discussion regarding PDA or the paucity of it during this season. I am of the view that all the cute and sweet C/S scenes are awesome but what one expects from a young couple in love is a little more heat and passion. To me frequent PDA would constitute more hand touching, hugging,cuddling and kissing with some passion.

        @Faith – I get what you are saying about feeling like a perv for hoping to see some PDA – but my view is that our demand/want/need for some PDA has been brought out by TPTB not getting the balance right. IMHO, They need to sprinkle the PDA evenly over the episodes.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        @Thinkling – PDA cuts both ways – Let’s us see some Private Display of Affection then. No need for them to indulge it on missions. After work at home, or on a date night would be perfect.

      • Amrit says:

        The thing is you can do loads of pda during episodes like honeymooners or suitcase where the spy story is a lark! But when the stakes are raised and each episode ends on a cliffhanger like 4.05, 4.06 and 4.07 these episodes are moving fast and furious and there is no time to talk about feelings and kiss and cuddle, because they got to move on to get where they need to go. They have given a few episodes this season of love, but now they have to resolve mama b and volkoff and the intersect, etc. Next episode sarah maybe giving chuck a massage while thet are both unclothed and there maybe some pda there, so that sarah can relax chuck, lol. But in a spy show getting the balance is very tough, especially when emotions are so high during an emotional arc like the one we are in the middle of, but hopefully at 4.13 the will give a few more pda episodes untill they set up the next spy arc. I mean look at last episode they had to resolve their fight while fighting the bad guy’s not time for sweetness and love there.

      • atcdave says:

        Good catch Amrit about all the different story needs they have to adress with a major arc. I guess that’s why I wasn’t as bothered by it, I’m sure we’ll get some lighter “pay off” episodes later that will be a bit steamier.

        Funny Genie, I guess “private displays of affection” is also a “PDA”; and we sometimes use the instances interchangably, after all we the viewers are seeing a lot that ought to be private. But you know seriously, the phrase was coined as “public”!

      • jason says:

        I would have written season 3’s back 6 and season 4’s CS relationship quite differently, mostly making chuck more aggressive, passionate, and truthful, they have done sarah really well IMO. But, after the shaw misery arc, I honestly think TPTB are trying, so I am going to give them a pretty wide berth to do what they want, I have only disliked the last 5 minutes of 4×6 for CS, other than that, I have liked the whole season for CS, albeit not loved.

      • kg says:

        Two important aspects from Santa Claus. First, Sarah seemed genuinely appreciative and touched that when all the other hostages were calling their loved ones, Chuck was calling her. Naturally, she tried to say it was good for the cover, but nobody was believing that. Seconds before Chuck placed the call, she was watching everyone else make their attempts, and she had that dejected look on her face because she had no one to call and no one was calling her. Again, another simple yet extremely clutch move by Chuck.

        Then he gives her the charm bracelet and immediately is heartwarmed. When she decides to not accept because she believes Chuck should give it to a real girlfriend and Chuck says, “I know,” she is both thrilled and horrified at the same time.

        Anyway, I just recall all kinds of hugs and kisses the rest of the episode and the in-close promise that she would never let anyone hurt him.

        Then of course, Chuck is horrified after she takes out Mauser and lies to him.

        Another example of a roller coaster of emotions that comprise classic season two CHUCK episodes.

      • Faith says:

        3 words: make up sex, hehe.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Are you listening TPTB? the Queen has a suggestion that should be enforced/ brought to fruition. ASAP.

  16. alladinsgenie4u says:

    Sorry for disturbing the trending topic but here’s something of interest.

    Huge thanks to rac2873 for providing these links.

    BTS Pics from 4×12

    http://twitpic.com/35o4k7
    http://twitpic.com/35o4jz
    http://twitpic.com/35o4k6
    http://twitpic.com/35o4k0

    And also pics from 4×09

    http://www.spoilertv.com/2010/11/chuck-episode-409-chuck-versus-phase_10.html

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      Again a huge thanks to rac2873 for this new link. The description is with respect to the BTS pics of 4×12 in the above comment.

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0934814/board/thread/173589302

      • jason says:

        A pretty big spoiler by reading the IMDB thread for 4×12, maybe more for what is ‘not’ happening in the scene than what is? I must admit, not much of 4.8 thru 4.12, what I know at least, exactly thrills me, not any CS on screen or in action as a spy team that is for sure, at least based on what I know it almost seems the opposite – oh well.

      • atcdave says:

        Hey Jason, just remember how worried we were about First Fight; and it finished with a wonderful last few minutes. You know there’s no way Chuck and Sarah are apart the whole time from 4.08 to 4.12. I remember Fedak saying both that they’d learned a lesson about keeping them apart for very long, AND that they were done exploring obstacles to keep them apart. So even if we see an occasional scene where they aren’t together, it doesn’t mean its anything long term. I seriously think this season will be the best we’ve seen yet; and you know I was a huge fan of S2, and a huge critic of S3. But I just feel great about what we’re seeing now.

      • thinkling says:

        I agree with Dave, Jason. Don’t pay any tolls ’til we get to the bridges. Here’s what we think we may know so far.

        In 4.08, Chuck & Sarah will be a spy team with one member a temporary casualty and the other in, what I expect to be, a very supportive roll. Chuck will likely be captured by the end of it.

        4.09 — lioness rogue Sarah to the rescue and some major Agent Walker but kicking in a mud pit. What’s not to like about that?

        4.10 — Thanksgiving. Don’t know for sure, but all my CG pesos on C/S together. LH said it was the best episode we’ve ever done or seen. Can’t be that if they’re apart.

        4.11 — forgot what that is.

        4.12 — involves a Federal Prison. Just b/c Chuck is in orange doesn’t mean he’s a prisoner. It could very well be a TeamB rescue mission, with Chuck and Casey undercover. That’s my current bet, based on the slimmest of data. Who are they rescuing. I have my guesses.

        I think TeamB will be running on all cylinders again by the end of 4.09 (EARLY 4.10 at the latest). If not we can all come here and commiserate together.

        That’s my Costa Gravan bet, and I’m sticking to it.

      • jason says:

        @dave/@think – I did not like how 4.6 ended, I have consistently said I was not too worried about 4.7, what I am now saying, I, just me, am starting to realize, I don’t like how Fedak tells stories, I don’t like how he treats the CS relationship (I didn’t like it in many of the S1/S2 eps either), he does not see them as a team, and plays them apart to generate drama, it is his way, something I have to deal with – my post here simply stated that what I see of 4.8 thru 4.12, I don’t like and I am not excited at all, seems like a bad way to get and sustain fans

      • jason says:

        @think – even if your spec is correct, sarah is going rogue, looks now like she is going to seduce a local war lord in 4.9, and if CS link up by 4.10, to me CS have been apart for 7,8,9 eps which has been the s4 spy arc, just not what I hoped for or wanted. The show is by far the best when CS on an adventure together generates the drama.

      • thinkling says:

        @Jason: OK, now I see where you’re coming from, w/ regards to C/S. They do use the C/S relationship to squeeze every last drop of drama. I’ve always said I’d prefer to see more of C/S against the world.

        I’m still on board this season and basically enjoying it, and I hope it won’t turn out as stressful as you think in the C/S dpt.

      • atcdave says:

        Jason you know I prefer seeing Chuck and Sarah together, and I do agree Fedak is probably the least capable writer there is with regards to the relationship (for starters, I would almost always make an episode’s final scene be C/S together; CF usually has something after the C/S moment, to me that’s less emotionally satisfying). But I guess I am okay with them physically apart on occasion, as long as they are actually “together.” My favorite episodes usually are the ones where C/S are together the whole way through; Colonel and Honeymooners being my best of the best. But I’m still pretty excited about what they’re doing.

    • JC says:

      If there was any doubt before we know she can pull off the Miranda Lawson costume.

    • Amrit says:

      Where is chuck in all of these pics? I mean does sarah have to enter a competition so that chuck can be found? or is chuck one of the competitors? this is really interesting, considering zach directed this episode, I wonder what he is doing here, hum.

      • jason says:

        i think this is from 4×9, and that zach directs 4×10?

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Looks like Chuck will be in captivity for a major part of 4×09. Question is – why does Sarah have to fight in the pit/ring? She doesn’t travel to Thailand to enter some fighting competition. So,in all probability this will have something to do with the rescue mission.Maybe, if she wins, the gangsters/rough types/wrestlers agree to lead Team B to where Chuck is kept captive.

      • jason says:

        genie – sarah the lioness is in action for sure, I have a feeling until chuck is safe, most members of the male race are going to be in peril, lets hope morgan does not place his hand in any strange places in this episode – LOL

      • thinkling says:

        Wow, thanks for the link, Jason. Sarah the lioness, for sure.

        Things will definitely not be slowing down before Thanksgiving.

        I hope they advertise this one.

    • atcdave says:

      My bet is this is a rescue mission. I think Sarah will be kicking much butt!

      • Amrit says:

        Should casey not be doing the fighting as well? I mean morgan cannot, but seriously what are sarah, casey and morgan doing? Maybe if sarah is getting beaten badly chuck will step up and flash and get his intersect online so that he can save her and that would be awesome! Chuck yet again doing what he has to for the love of his life! awwwwww

      • atcdave says:

        Sarah’s a better fighter than Casey; by my count they’ve fought each other three times and Sarah has always won, Casey’s best outcome was in Helicopter when he escaped with only cuts and bruises (in Colonel she knocked himout twice).

        Okay, actually I’d say Casey is all about brute force, while Sarah is more of a finesse fighter; so Casey probably would be a better choice for a pit match. But it may be Sarah spoke up first, if they’re looking for her man she’s doing the talking (and threatening?). Or maybe someone agreed to help, but only if Sarah could defeat 16 guys armed with chainsaws or something.

      • kg says:

        Oh yeah Dave. TPTB caved in and gave Yvonne some glory (well sort of) on the runway, but she herself has said repeatedly she loves the scenes where she can kick some butt.

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      In one of the pics of Sarah,Casey and Morgan – it looks like Sarah is holding a water bottle in her left hand – does that indicate a break between rounds during a fight or a break between two fights?

    • JC says:

      Can’t believe I’m the first person to mention the movie Kickboxer with Jean Claude Van Damme. If they have Sarah dip her taped hands in glue and broken glass for the last fight I’d lose my mind.

      • joe says:

        Heh! Not the first, JC! I remember that one. If one of the baddies licks the broken glass, then you called the reference!

  17. thinkling says:

    I don’t know where to put this, so I’ll put it here.

    I was just rewatching FF and caught Sarah/Mary bookend conversations/scenes. I just didn’t notice before how well they go together, even though I’ve thought about them separately.

    In the Sarah/Casey interrogation of Frost, Sarah says, “I can’t protect your son if I don’t know where he is.” She says, “I’m trying to protect him, too, which is why I’m not saying a word to either of you. The only one I know I can trust is my son.”

    Fast Fwd through all of Mary’s observations of Sarah with Ellie, her determination to get Chuck back, her fight with Chuck in the bank (including her reason for not telling him, the physical fight, and her believing in him in the end). Now in the basement, when Mary slips Sarah the blade — not Chuck, but Sarah — it means that she has found another person she can trust. I wonder if Sarah realizes the significance. Probably, not much gets by her. Better question: when will Sarah return the trust?

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      Mama B’s request to protect Chuck will surely be at the back of her mind when she goes rogue in 4×09 – no doubt about that.

    • Amrit says:

      It is not that I disagree with what you are saying you could be totally right, but mama b is supposed to be this master of deception and a highly skilled agent. Is it possible that mama b always trusted sarah from the moment she saw her with chuck, I mean if she is that perceptive she would just have taken one look at how sarah looked at chuck and she would know straight away, also if she knows everything about charles carmichael then does she not know everything about john casey and sarah walker, would she not know about the rogue missions and all the stuff they have done if she used volkoff’s people in the cia to track them? Basically when she rolled into town it maybe possible that she knew who to trust and who not to trust, who she could play (on sarah’s emotions not casey’s) and she always planned to give sarah that blade and always planned to destroy orions base, I do not know, because no one knows her motivation yet! but we shall see……

      • kg says:

        Yes Amrit, very perceptive and plausible. The scenario you outlined is more than likely. Again, unlike Shaw, making the assumption that as advertised Chuck’s mom is the world’s foremost master female spy.

        What Thinkling noticed AFTER Mary arrived was for the benefit of everyone else.

      • thinkling says:

        You could be right. She never admits to knowing anything about Carmichael’s team, but surely she knows something. But knowing something about them and trusting them are two different things.

        I get the feeling she is really studying Sarah and only trusts her after these observations.

        But she is a master of deception.

      • Amrit says:

        oh come on mama b runs circles around shaw! I mean TPTB may have said that he is a ring expert and super spy but mama b in one episode, in 2 minutes of the premier she has already made shaw look like a world class putz! Looking at how she has operated nothing can be taken for granted! this is the one of most interesting characters that they have ever created and that is why it is so tough to see where the story is going….

      • Amrit says:

        Actually I may have accidently raised an interesting question for myself! how did mama b know everything about charles carmichael? She never wanted to let volkoff know about her family and she was a kept women as goya said. So if she made a request to see charles carmichaels files I am guessing that volkoff being really possessive of her would check on everything she did and would ask jis people in the cia to give him everything they gave her. Now what papa b said to chuck was that I have been working against these bad people for 20 years and I did it all for her. Never did he say that she was missing or kidnapped or whatever, he may have been keeping her under the radar. Now my guess is that where chuck found mama b’s meeting spot in the premier is where papa b communicated with her, and also he may have updated her on chuck, ellie and charles carmichael. His dad could have told her everything so that she knew about her family, you say that she did not know about the pregnancy, well papa b died before ellie became pregnant, just a thought. So all these years papa b monitored chuck at standford and afterwards and montiored ellie and helped mama b do whatever she did, the plot thickens, so it is possible that orion trusted sarah and casey and so would mama b, possibly. Was that terrible?

      • Amrit says:

        Oh and maybe mama b just wanted to see what chuck saw in sarah…..why he trusted her even though she is a spy, why he loves her even though in their line of work they can leave at any time, maybe mama b was just being a mom, they always give the girls that date their sons are harder time then daughters boyfriends!lol! but I guess she got her answer from sarah on her determined she was to get him back!

      • thinkling says:

        She is a great character, isn’t she!

        Another thought on what she knows and doesn’t, though. Knowing someone’s dossier is not the same as knowing them in the flesh. Even if she’s read all their files, she would need to observe them in person.

        I think she had a general plan. It may have included most of what happened, objectives-wise, but I think some decisions were made along the way. Her being captured wasn’t part of the plan, for instance. I think she was evaluating both Chuck and Sarah, testing the waters for future missions. I also don’t think she would trust anyone based on files or even first impressions. She’s too careful for that.

      • Amrit says:

        but what did papa b give at her drop off place in LA in the premier? did he just give files to help her complete her missions, did he leave her personal letters to let her know what he knew of his children, before he died did he leave her a letter saying “honey I am back in LA to see Ellie, she wanted to see me, Ellie is fine, still an excellent Dr, Chuck has got a girlfriend his partner sarah walker, she loves him very much, remember last year when I told you she went rogue to help rescue me! So good for chuck, he is a spy and I have built him a governor for the new intersect 2.0 ……………” you see?

      • thinkling says:

        I don’t assume that she had so much knowledge all along. When she said she didn’t want to know anything about Chuck, I think she meant it.

        Whatever contact she had with Stephen, I assume was much less personal. I don’t think they met or had trysts once a year. It would have been something undetectable. She was deep under cover. If he communicated with Ellie through the classifieds, it’s unlikely he would communicate with Mary, who is in constant danger and supposed to care nothing for her husband, face to face, even in a “safe house.” It would be too dangerous for all 4 Bartowski’s

      • Amrit says:

        fair enough, so did volkoff never know mary’s last name or did papa b destroy all her personal files when she first went to work for volkoff was she mary smith or mary jones or mary….Did volkoff only ever know stephen j bartowski as orion, how well did papa and mama b hide their identies? I mean there was file of mary bartowski in the nsa files that volkoff could have had access to and he could then have found stephen bartowsk and then chuck and ellie bartowski. So many questions and it will be facinating to see how TPTB link it all together all the while pushing the intersect story and defeating volkoff in the next 6 episodes of the original 13 order arc….They have set up a situation where there are a million balls in the air……

      • kg says:

        Well, I know she runs circles around him. That was the point. In no way was I comparing them, rather contrasting.

        TPTB went out of their way to announce Shaw was an expert and completely competent spy. And to be fair, I’ll say he had a very good debut in the Awesome/Sydney episode. But week after week, we saw him make several big mistakes.

        Meanwhile, Mary entered the story with much less fanfare. We assumed she was competent simply because we were told she was deep undercover for 20 years, she was Orion’s wife and Chuck’s mom. And the more we see, she’s better than advertised.

      • thinkling says:

        Totally agree. There are still a lot of questions.

        From what we’ve seen, I gather that Volkoff only knew Frost’s husband as Orion. He couldn’t figure out the connection between Carmichael and Orion. If he knew last names, it would have been a cake walk. He also only ever referred to her as “Frost.” Whether or not he knew more, we don’t know.

        Frost’s records were all expunged, as were Orion’s for that matter. The one sheet of paper that Sarah found didn’t have MEB’s real name on it … only her code name, which Chuck only learned from Volkoff’s computer, which he only recognized because of the stories his mother read him as a child. So, it seems to me that Volkoff doesn’t know much about her real life, and she wants it to stay that way.

        I don’t know how she knew about Carmichael, except that Volkoff apparently kept tabs on Orion and knew somehow that Carmichael followed in his footsteps. Remember the Fulcrum baddie? I know you. Orion was coming out of the cold for you. So on the espionage grapevine, Orion and Carmichael were well known. Only MEB would have been able to connect all the dots.

      • Amrit says:

        did’nt that file casey find actually have her name on it? I thought it did. Hum….the questions are mounting now that we actually think about it, did volkoff have access to sarah’s file she found in the premier or casey’s file he found in aisle of terror, I guess we shall find out…..but the thing with chuck is that like shaw’s wife murder sometimes these questions are never answered, I mean was eve shaw bad?, was their proof? it all came down to a belief that graeham had and the secret went to the grave with him. All these questions could be answered simply by volkoff trusting frost so much that when she joined him he had a blind spot too and just took it on faith that she served him and only him and that when she told him that she went rogue he believed her…..being his right hand man and all…..

      • atcdave says:

        Wow great discussion you all, makes me regret having to leave my computer for a bit!

        We really may never know how much Frost really knows about anything, but it does seem unlikely to me that she would know all about Carmichael but not Sarah. Likewise we may never know if Volkoff knows real names for Frost and Orion, if he does its a gigantic plot hole. But its also hard to believe he would trust Frost as his apparent number 2 without knowing that detail! What a conundrum. Perhaps she fed him a well developed cover story with fake names for her and Orion. My bet is we will never know.

      • Amrit says:

        Well here’s the thing about chuck, you get to an end of season for example like colonel and you have all these questions because there are plot holes galore and then chuck and sarah have that bedroom scene and then you suddenly forget why you cared in the first place. After other guy I had loads of questions about shaw and eve shaw and what the ring’s purpose was really, but the second honeymooners started and chuck and sarah gave those massive smiles too each other it just went all away, all the questions, the feelings of being upset at how they dealt with early parts of season 3. When they agreed to run away and they had those free and unadulterated smiles my heart melted and I did not care anymore. Will you run away with me, I do and scene! As long as chuck and sarah are fullfilled the answers are no longer necessary, and when they became the charles’, I had fallen back in love with these people! It was not the kissing it was the banter the charm the charisma they both had together, I will never forget that adorable hand wave sarah gave. Well that is me at least!

      • atcdave says:

        You are right about that amrit.

      • Faith says:

        Amrit, to quote Casey, “love is for suckers” and we are that…suckers. 😀

      • Amrit says:

        and so is casey……he talks a good game but as soon as he saw that sarah was in trouble in other guy he told chuck to get everyone and everything to go and rescue her, and the tank…..I think where in honeymooners we saw just how good chuck and sarah were, we saw casey basically in his own way plead to have them back. At first he chastised them for running, then he tried a different tact and was more diplomatic and said you can have it all……casey does love his chuck and sarah as much as any of us……..

      • JC says:

        I have to disagree somewhat on the dropped stories and plot holes. Eve Shaw was the biggest one, it drove a whole season basically and it her death supposedly was the reason why Sarah was acting like a whack job. There should have been some resolution for that, the same goes for those damned disks they wasted three episodes on.

        But I’ve come to conclusion the show goes by the “Rule of Cool” which often leads into a “Wall Banger”. Google TV Tropes if you don’t know what they mean.

      • Amrit says:

        The thing is with season 3 episodes 1-13, what they should have done is make shaw a bad guy from episode 1-13, a spy who knew from the start that sarah killed his wife, who knew she was in love with chuck and who always planned to kill sarah. So if shaw was a double ring agent in the beginning executing his plan, he could have got a ring agent who is in the cia (like justin) make chuck dump sarah by threatening his family and friends and told chuck if you tell sarah anything we will destroy you. So sarah thinks chuck dumped her for the spy life but that would not have been true he would have done it to protect her, totally in character. So the season goes by, sarah does not know anything chuck does not know shaw is behind the threats and in the end it is revealed, once shaw has taken everything away from sarah he reveals his plan that he made chuck dump her that he wanted to destroy her that he made colonel keller get casey to comit treason so that she would lose a friend and colleague and basically this whole season has been about his revenge. Now that would have been a believable season 3 story arc. But you know what the chuck writers although great sometimes are just not smart enough to pull that kind of arc off, instead they have sarah fall for shaw when they had zero chemistry, etc, etc, etc. This season will be no different they could do something awesome, but it will not be and they will tie it up in a dissapointing fashion. Now here is the question, if you love this show then you have to let it go and stick to what you love and forget about the weaknessess. Chucks plot and logic are just not that good, sadly, but I still love the show!

      • thinkling says:

        The discussion continued … fantastic, too. I had to leave my computer for sleep. Time difference is killing me. Now I can think again.

        @Amrit and Dave on the Honeymooners charm … ditto all that. “It was not the kissing it was the banter the charm the charisma they both had together, I will never forget that adorable hand wave Sarah gave.” And it still is the heart of why we love them.

        The file Casey found did have Mary Bartowski’s name on it. Good call, Amrit. But Casey had to get hold of it through dirty channels. The file had been expunged.

        I buy into the well woven cover story, with fake names or no names. It is a bit of a plot hole, but one I can live with, that somehow she managed to keep her family a secret from Volkoff by conceding tidbits about Orion, her husband for whom she cared nothing. She probably brought some pretty attractive bargaining chips to the table and was able to somewhat set her terms. From what I see of her, I can’t imagine her not controlling the negotiation.

        So to Volkoff and the rest of the spy world Carmichael is just another spy (a master spy) … an Orion protégé. Volkoff is curious but clueless of any relationship. And MEB is a master of deception. She’s been fooling him for 20 years. (I don’t want to know all the details.) That is of course if her being one of the good guys holds. I still think it will.

        Amrit, I have a lot of faith for this season’s arc. I don’t think it’s anywhere near as inconsistent or ooc as s3. I think they are doing and will continue to do a good job with the story and with C/S. That doesn’t mean they’ll answer all our questions. I’m not sure that’s possible. But when all is said and done, I think we’ll be more than satisfied and able to ignore whatever plot holes dot the landscape.

      • thinkling says:

        Reply to self. I don’t think season 4 is ooc at all, and the inconsistencies are within the limits of acceptable and normal.

      • atcdave says:

        Amrit I’m not quite as cynical about the quality of the spy stories. Chuck will never be as complex as 24, but its not meant to be. I see Chuck primarily as good light hearted fun. Part of the S3 failing was they tried to tell a darker story; but they weren’t willing to really invest the time into making the story believable or even interesting. And the little detail that they’d spent two seasons attracting a crazy excited fan base that wasn’t interested in the darker story (not interested and not convinced; bad combination!).

        But when they tell stories like the Orion arc; its just sophisticated enough to engage our brains and is compelling because we care so much about the characters involved. Again, its not 24, but I gave up on 24 after S1 because I’d rather laugh and have a good time.

      • JC says:

        I have to agree with Amrit somewhat. In each of the seasons they’ve had some great ideas that seem to be leading to something great. But the climax of the spy stories usually fall flat.

        From an episode to episode basis the stories are strong it’s when they try and tie it all together is where they have problems.

  18. Amrit says:

    you know to a lesser extent, who is in charge of operation bartowski? I know chuck has a level 6 security clearance (beard) and now he is a special agent and the team is still called team bartowski, so is chuck in charge or more famously is charles in charge? Does all the paperwork sent to washington have casey and sarah as team members and charles carmichael as their supervisor? he does seem to have high clearance. Interesting……. and since morgan, sarah, chuck and casey all work for the government do they pay their rent for their residence, they paid for sarah’s hotel, so could they pay for their rent. Hum…. not really important or interesting questions but still cool to think of…….

    • atcdave says:

      Security clearance and relative rank don’t always go hand in hand. Rather famously the President of the United States (FDR) was removed from the need to know list on some classified material (signals intelligence stuff) for several months during WWII. But my guess would be Beckman is the only head of Team Bartowski; Casey and Sarah have equal status as senior agents representing different agencies; Chuck is a junior agent with very high security access; Morgan is a civilian asset.

      I’m not sure how the CIA works, but in other federal service you may get housing or a housing allowance for temporary or high cost areas. Sarah’s assignment may have switched from temporary to permanent when she moved in with Chuck.

    • Paul says:

      To be honest, I think Chuck’s “Level 6” clearance was only granted becuase the Intersect alredy granted him all of teh data. It’s not like anyone can deny him access if his clearance isn’t high enough….

      • Amrit says:

        but remember one thing, general beckman said that she has being fulcrum and the ring for years and lost loads of agents in the process. The one common factor in defeating them both one special agent charles carmichael! It is possible that chuck has been promoted over casey and sarah because lately he has been running operations!

      • thinkling says:

        I think that’s initially true Paul, but Chuck has probably earned it by now.

        Regardless of rank or anything else, Chuck is probably his own case. I don’t think he out-ranks Sarah or Casey. He’s just in a class all by himself.

        That’s why this next mini arc with Chuck Intersect-less will be interesting to see how he is seen/treated as an agent without the intersect.

  19. alladinsgenie4u says:

    Since this is the thread with the most current traffic – here goes.

    Kristin has put up a sneak peek for 4×08 on her site.

    http://eonli.ne/c70wQ2

    Most of it is devoted to Summer Glau as Greta but the ending of the clip has a short but very interesting scene between Chuck and the CIA agent.

    Sarah is the emotional rock sitting on the Intersect? What could it mean? Sitting down as in hampering the Intersect perhaps?

    Thoughts?

    • JC says:

      The first one that comes to mind is that he relies on Sarah too much and that holds him and by default the Intersect back. But they already covered that in S3 and it’s not like they would rehash an old idea. 😉

      Second one is that he’s worried about how Sarah will react to what he does as a spy. That on some level she still sees him as an innocent who constantly needs protecting. He doesn’t see himself as her equal.

    • joe says:

      Hum! I appears that the short scene with Chuck and the CIA agent is gone from the clip now. At least, the clip ended normally for me before it was shown.

      Thanks for the link, Genie. But please – who calls Sarah an “emotional rock sitting on the Intersect”? Is it Chuck? Morgan???

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      Okay! found the clip on youtube which contains the Chuck/Riggle conversation ( it was deleted from Kristin’s sneak peek after some time)

      http://bit.ly/9vwBUe

      Conversation excerpts

      Chuck: Do you really think that Sarah is the emotional rock sitting on the Intersect.?
      Riggle: Why do you always call for her right before you flash. You did it in the bedroom and in the vault.
      Chuck : Yeah. Well, you know I was—
      Riggle: Scared?

      So, it looks like Riggle plants that idea in Chuck’s head about Sarah being the emotional rock hindering his flashing.

      And Riggle’e line – why do you call out to her before you flash – in the bedroom and the vault – So, does this mean that Chuck will be flashing in this episode ? Or, that he calls for Sarah, tries to flash but doesn’t?

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      Just watched the sneak peek again – If TPTB decide to go for the emotions angle again then – maybe what Riggle is trying to convey to Chuck is that, when he (Chuck) is scared/faced with a dangerous situation he automatically calls for Sarah instead of relying on the Intersect to help him out. So, maybe Chuck’s habit of always looking for Sarah’s help is getting in the way of his flashing. Maybe Fear of Death comes into play here. Faced with a dangerous situation and no Sarah at hand to help him out , there would be no way for Chuck to escape but to flash. And maybe this is the reason he gets separated from Sarah on this mission and gets paired with Riggle.

  20. amyabn says:

    This is off topic a bit, but I’m wondering when Ellie is going to find out that Chuck is a spy (again)? Any bets? Will Ellie know that Chuck is being held between episodes 8 and 9 (if my interpretations about the spoilers are right) and freak out? Something has to prompt Ellie and Awesome to dig into the laptop. Any thoughts?

  21. thinkling says:

    That is the shoe we keep waiting to drop, no?

    I would love for Ellie to find out through Sarah. Perhaps the Mother/Daughter moments cemented their bond somewhat. (how could it not?) Sarah at a breaking point might unburden herself to Ellie. Or Sarah might recall the mustang conversation when she sees one in the parking lot. Or maybe we get some pointed, assertive questions from Ellie (she’s gotten good at that) — a sort of parallel to the castle Sarah/Morgan scene, only Ellie is Sarah, and Sarah is Morgan. It could be a great S/E bonding moment, and it would team them up to help out their favorite guy. Maybe Sarah could even help Ellie deal with the issue.

    More realistically, I sort of expect Ellie to find out at the end of Phase 3, after the laptop discovery and the return of TeamB. We don’t know what kind of physical shape Chuck & Sarah will be in on their return, but perhaps it will lead to questions or note comparing.

    End rambling here. Shutting up.

    • thinkling says:

      sorry I put this in the wrong place

      • amyabn says:

        No worries! I always chuckle a bit with all those times Sarah would come over, split lip, etc, and nothing is said 🙂

        Part of me wants Ellie to be upset with Sarah, only to have everyone else gently weigh in. The fight footage from the bank should be attainable and Ellie needs to see how wonderfully they work together. Tie in the steps Sarah is willing to take to protect Chuck (Muy Thai anyone??) and what Chuck has done for Sarah. Everyone should feel all warm and fuzzy and heartwarmed. I love a happy ending!

      • JC says:

        I’d love if Sarah stood up to Ellie about how selfish she’s being about Chuck being a spy. Something similar to the conversation between Chuck and Orion in Living Dead last season. Even have her mention she had fears too but Chuck constantly proved that he was meant for this.

      • thinkling says:

        I’ve thought about the split lips, etc, too. But it’s equally funny to me that she isn’t bruised a whole lot more.

  22. Pingback: Roundtable Reactions – Fear of Death « Chuck This

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