“It’s Alive!…The Frickin’ Robot!”

We Missed Something

Casey, Doing His Duty.

There’s a big hole in our discussions here, I realize. The hole is approximately Jayne size. Compared to Chuck and Sarah – especially Sarah – we’ve been absolutely remiss in our attempts to understand John Casey.

So what’s to understand? Simple and direct (like a lead pipe to the head is simple and direct), Casey has been a rock from beginning to end, and a pretty despicable rock at that.

I’m sure you remember our introduction to Casey. He was dressed in a suit, moving calmly and efficiently (for the sake of the suit, I’m sure) in direct contrast to the man he was chasing, who athletically and desperately was trying to avoid the confrontation. [Bang!] Don’t move. And just like that, Bryce Larkin, not an accountant, was dead.

If she interfered in the slightest with his plans, Sarah wasn’t going to be too far behind. He advised his NSA partner that “You can shoot the CIA skirt,” you recall. And on the roof of the parking structure he was most interested in having pancakes after killing both “the skirt” and the poor schmuck who had intercepted the agency secrets sent by Bryce. Can’t have them interfering with his efficiency, you know, and they certainly weren’t friends.

Ah, those were the good ol’ days! Since then, Casey has mellowed. He’s now quite willing to make allowances for his best partners.

Casey: Bang up job, Walker. And I’m gonna give you one last chance to come clean. Did you or did you not compromise yourself with the Intersect?
Sarah: Do you ever just want to have a normal life? – have a family? Children?
Casey: The choice we made to protect something bigger than ourselves is the right choice, hard as that is for you to remember sometimes.

See? He gave her one last chance. Apparently, Casey thought about family not at all.

I called Casey despicable. That’s because he sees only one thing. His over-arching motivator is duty and obeying orders without question; that’s what his moral blinders allow him to see. He lectured Agent Walker on their calling, especially when she tried to shift the focus of the topic, because that’s what he understands of right and wrong. That’s where he draws his line.

That line is very bright in his mind, even if it sometime surprises us with nuances and subtleties.

Casey: ‘Cause the only thing I hate more than hippies and neo-liberal fascists and anarchists are the hypocrite fat-cat suits they eventually grow up to become.

It’s a moral line drawn in the sand, which seems an odd thing for him to do, when you think about it. Chuck himself called Casey a “frickin’ robot!” in anger. He shouted a line from the movie Young Frankenstein in jest – It’s ALIVE!!! – when Casey actually showed a hint of emotion in Undercover Lover.

We know, and Chuck knows, Casey had a soft, gooey interior. Chuck saw it when Casey explained himself while enjoying his little corner of heaven. That would be Hot Pockets washed down by some Johnny Walker, Black.

Casey: Here’s to John Casey dodging another bullet. It’s not like I want the wife and kids and the Little League practice and the minivan and the Costco runs.
Chuck: Heh – heh … Yeah, really? You don’t? ‘Cause I – it seems to me that you’d kind of be into the whole American Dream.
Casey: Nah. I do what I do so all those other slobs out there can have it.

Well, maybe not so gooey after all. Those blinders of his won’t even let Casey feel sorry for himself, much less consider that someone might need him personally. We saw in Undercover Lover that his past with the ladies is not exactly all business. We learned in Tic Tac that before there was John Casey, there was Alex Cobern. His gooey center didn’t stop him from leaving the women he loved for that “higher calling.”

John Casey is always looking at the (real) big picture, and that has been to serve a large part of humanity – his country – even at the expense of friends, family and himself. I’ll ask, despite his moral code, is John Casey a complete human being? I mean, it’s nice and noble and all that to be concerned with duty and honor, but isn’t a complete human being also concerned with those that rely on him, and really, with himself too? Casey stood in stark contrast to Chuck and Sarah.

Oh, wait, he didn’t.

A just snuck one in there. In Chuck we had a character who cared about friends and family all right, but had other blinders. He thought of himself as a pretty mediocre person. No dates in five years? With his self image, we were not surprised. He didn’t think much about his obligations to something bigger than family either. Chuck barely wanted to be burdened with the obligations that fall on the Buy More’s Assistant Manager when we first met him, much less a far off duty to his country. To him, that’s was vague notion.

Putting this as gently as I can, pre-Chuck Sarah could barely see beyond her own nose. If we believe her in Best Friend, Sarah seems to have had no friends and only one relative when all this started. But think of Carina’s description of her! Sarah liked the high-octane adventures in exotic locations, and was quite capable of staying emotionally un-involved …because you might have to leave them in five minutes, or shoot them in the head. Bryce told her that she wasn’t good with relationships for a reason. She wasn’t. On her mission to retrieve The Intersect Sarah was determined to “fix it” and said so angrily to Graham, like it was personal. When Bryce seemingly went rogue, Sarah took it as a personal affront. Forget duty; this mission with the nerd behind the desk was about her. Unlike John Casey’s approach to missions, she was glad she poisoned the French assassins, not because it was her duty or for some “higher calling”, but because they were her adversaries. And of course, we learned about Jack Burton and the annual Salvation Army Con. So much for family. Sarah had her blinders too.

We all recognize the changes in those two. Sarah is now concerned with family, and thanks to Chuck, is certainly considering things that are larger, like Chuck’s quest to find his mother. Chuck himself started to realize before Prague that some very important people thought he could do good things, and most of all, Sarah thought he (He! Chuck Bartowski, a normal guy!) was important. The area where they have to do right, their moral universe, is much less restricted now.

I described Casey the way we found him above, but I’m sure you noticed how much he’s changed. He wears a suit less! No, the big difference is, the moral blinders that prevented him from seeing anything besides duty to country are off now. When Casey was ordered to terminate Chuck Bartowski back at the beginning of season 2, he discovered that he could no longer do that “without a second thought.” He has a friend. When Col. James Keller reappears in Tic Tac, the dead Alex Cobern is resurrected, Alex McHugh is discovered and Casey has family to worry about. That’s a change at least as big as the changes we’ve noted in Chuck and Sarah.

I never expected that the change we saw would be a moral growth, especially in Casey. But that’s exactly what we have.

– joe


About joe

In my life I've been a professor, martial artist, rock 'n roller, rocket scientist, lover, poet and brain surgeon. I'm lying about the brain surgery.
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81 Responses to “It’s Alive!…The Frickin’ Robot!”

  1. Michael says:

    It’s a good thing I read your whole post, first, before I fired. I was already counting all the times in my head where Casey was showing signs of changing. But, then, in less than a couple of sentences, you took the air out of my sails.

    Well done, Joe.

    I like Casey’s character. He isn’t one dimensional. That’s just what we get to see most of the time.

  2. Amrit says:

    Yeah we can also add the following:

    1) Casey went from a man who put duty first all the time to in the second season epecially he let chuck and sarah develop their feelings towards each other, it is not that he only removed their emotional relationship from his reports but that at various times he would chastise each other about not following up on their progress. He did it to sarah when she let jill back into chucks life “your pretty nonchelant about your supercomputer boyfriend browsing someoneelses network” and when she denies the truth he turns around and shakes his head in dissappointment and continued to torment her “I see what the boy sees in her” and “are you sure your just not jealous that bartowski has found himself a new piece of asset” and he did it to chuck when chuck was in self pity mode thinking that cole was a better man then chuck was, casey knew the geek had greateness in him and he pushed chuck to fight more for sarah “looks like his method is working”.
    2) He told sarah the truth about the red test knowing that she still loved chuck, that was a huge personal risk, even killing chucks target was a risk, but he is a shipper as much as any fan.
    3) In ponk slip he made sarah confront her feelings for chuck even if she did not want to in a very sneaky and back handed way. He told her that chuck is still in love with her and when she said he is not he made her go to him and let chuck tell her how he felt.
    4) In tic tac he told chuck that he does not have to make the same choice he did, he can still win sarah back.
    5) In honeymooners he was willing to let chuck and sarah leave and in a rare moment of personal growth he admitted that he wanted them both back because they are important to him.
    6) In chuck versus the tooth he went to the dr because he could not stand chuck being sick.
    7) In subway he told sarah she finally picked a good one.
    8) told chuck he was proud of him, a first in fake name.
    9) openly admitted in anniversary that he missed chuck and showed anger at the possiblity of his death.
    10) In suitcase in the beginning was warning chuck to be careful at the beginning of a mission.
    11) In couch lock let himself be put in harms way for chucks cause.

    We see that casey now loves both chuck and sarah in his own way, and it is not sudden either, we have seen his growth over 4 seasons and it feels well placed and not out of context. It is a well written character and one you have to say well done to TPTB.

    • amyabn says:

      Nice recap, Amrit. I also love that Chuck and Sarah both are free to joke with Casey more, and they both grunt back at him, which cracks me up!

      Great article, Joe!

    • joe says:

      Casey’s got a sort of “tough love” attitude towards Chuck, Amrit. Doesn’t he? He seems to be having a harder time handling Morgan the same way, though. I think Casey’s more afraid that Morgan will break!

    • thinkling says:

      Yeah, nice run through of Casey’s growth, Amrit. I do love it. It’s nice to see it in context of Chuck & Sarah’s relationship, too.

      He has come a long way since Sensei. Twenty years in the business has taught me one thing. People let you down in the end. He has found people who won’t let him down.

      And I love the new TeamB grunt-com. Even Casey and Morgan seem to have grunt repartee, which is an oxymoron if ever there was one.

      Great post, Joe. I thought it was really interesting that you couched a lot of this in terms of their moral universe. I would say that they were each acting in a different corner of the moral universe. Casey describes his as God, Country, Duty, Corp — very defined. Sarah’s is, as you say, more personal. She’s mindful of the greater good, but she has never had a team or family, like Casey had the Marine Corp and Chuck has Ellie and Morgan. She’s been a loner all along, but with a faithful moral compass of honesty and loyalty and a higher notion of fairness than the government may adhere to. Chuck’s moral universe was, as you say, family first and always.

      Through their partnership, each has come to understand that the moral universe is bigger than their personal perception of it. Once their understanding of the moral universe broadens, it’s no surprise that they find themselves fighting their moral battles on a broader field.

      Well done, Joe. I hadn’t put it in this context before. I had seen things more in the realm of personal. But how can one not affect the other?

      • joe says:

        You got it exactly, Thinkling. I very deliberately tried to get away from the idea of a moral continuum, left-center-right, and to the idea of “different corners of a moral universe.”

        Did you recognize the C.S. Lewis? 😉

      • thinkling says:

        Yes, Joe, I thought I saw a C.S. Lewis thumb print in there. 🙂

      • thinkling says:

        At the bottom of it, their moral code was not different, just the arena in which they applied it.

    • Faith says:

      Fantastic summation.

      I’d add one more from the horse’s mouth as it were…ZL himself conveyed how Chuck has changed Casey (and Sarah) from spies into people as it were. He put it as, they’re not less effective, but more human.

  3. jason says:

    JOe, I like the thought of a casey focus in the forums. Unfortunately, I don’t think the writers really spend real much time worrying about his character.

    One great things about longer running shows, sometimes they do more than one ep at a time about secondary characters. I would really enjoy a casey arc with alex’s mother, maybe a casey PLI on the team for an entire arc while alex’s mother is in the arc and casey has a real choice in this universe, or maybe alex finds a new guy who is a bad guy, and casey has to deal with a parent’s worst nightmare, a bad daughter choice.

    For now, casey has been demoted as far as I can tell off of the B team, and is on his own C team with morgan – I wrote about the word rogue replacing the word LI as a CS angst device in the other thread, but the rogueness of CS’s relationship has really limited casey’s role in the show so far, as if chuck has 2-3 scenes of his own and sarah 1-2 of her own, and they have 1-2 together, there aren’t too many left.

    looks like that may change in the upcoming eps, I hope so.

    • jason says:

      change as in casey will be in the scenes with C or S, CS are even going to be together less in the upcoming eps I would guess.

    • herder says:

      I think the less Casey aspect is a function of the more Morgan trend this season. Less Morgan would push Casey back into the Chuck and Sarah stories.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Personally speaking, I would take more Casey over more Morgan anytime. That reminds me – does anyone think that TPTB have some problem in giving their main characters proper screen time. Last time around everyone suffered due to Shaw – and Casey was the worst hit. In Season 4 – more screen time devoted to Morgan has again hurt Casey. (in my opinion)

      • thinkling says:

        I agree Genie. I miss Casey. I think it’s the bromance time that has taken things away from Casey. I don’t mind some Morgan. I even like him, but the bromance is a little too front and center.

      • JC says:

        I love Morgan but even I think they’re over doing it. They struck gold when he was brought into the spy world but there can be too much of a good thing. Its like Yvonne and her facial expressions. They milked that for all its worth and I worry they’ll do the same with Morgan.

      • Merve says:

        I think we’re seeing less Casey because there’s a little too much focus on the Chuck/Sarah and Morgan/Casey pairings. But paradoxically, the less screen time Casey gets, the more he seems to be involved in continuing plot lines.

      • atcdave says:

        I’d also agree Morgan is being overused to Casey’s detriment. I would like to see Casey work with Chuck and Sarah more, where he could be a source of teasing and humor without ever putting any actual pressure on the couple; it might even be funny to see them scrambling to defend themselves/each other from Casey’s taunts.

        I’ve always enjoyed Morgan…in small doses.

      • Amrit says:

        The thing is that this show has tried to avoid the darkness of season 3, or the early darkness of season 3. So when they do not have the budget for the buymore and the comic relief then morgan has to carry that load when they are absent. Have you noticed that this season morgan is in every episode! So it is a balancing act, do you want the angst and drama or chuck, sarah and mama b and no comic relief and it goes for 3-5 episodes of drama and issues, etc. Or are you willing to let morgan talk to sarah, to ellie, to mama b and lighten it up a bit. I mean sarah and morgan’s conversation was so funny and straight away those people who feared the first fight, watching that scene the fear went away. I think they are doing a good job, what I would like to see to be honest is all 4 of them working on missions, but the problem there is that if the budget only allows for the 4 of them and that is it then they have to split up the group into 2’s so that they have more scenes to transition between to take up time. It is very difficult, I think they are doing ok, I would not mind them mixing the spy pairing’s sarah and morgan, chuck and casey. But that would enrage certain fans who like chuck and sarah as a spy team, TPTB are backed into a corner because of season 3 aren’t they?

      • jason says:

        armit – sarah and chuck are the funniest pair on the show – ref the honeymooners – casey, sarah, and chuck are very funny too, morgan sort of ruins the chemistry of those 2 or 3, a 3rd or 4th wheel if you will – morgan’s best use is as the straight man for jeff and lester, much like funny zach makes a great straight man for casey and sarah – but it is a balancing act for sure

      • Amrit says:

        honeymooners was a once off man, they are hardly ever going to let chuck and sarah be that free and easy again. Yeah chuck, sarah and casey are funny, but the thing is these last 3 episodes, since they have started the mom arc, chuck and sarah have been tense and serious and so has casey, so hence morgan balances that. Yeah you are right chuck and sarah and casey are funny, but when they are not allowed to be morgan has to take that mantle up. You do bring up a good point though, I complained that they never let chuck and sarah just have a date, or even that farmers market scene last season I wish they let it run for a little longer, where they were not spies but just people, but they do not and that is disappointing.

      • atcdave says:

        I see things much like Jason on this. I think Chuck and Sarah are the best part of the show period. I would prefer half the season (or more) be like Honeymooners; that was how everything can be done right. Morgan wears thin very fast, and I think he’s been over used this season.
        Even in the current arc the funniest part was Chuck and Sarah’s non-fight. Morgan with the earwig went on way too long. I’m still a pretty happy boy right now, but if I could make changes it would be less Morgan and more Chuck and Sarah battling the world together… And loving it!

      • thinkling says:

        You’re right Amrit. This arc is given to drama and tension, and to have an exciting spy story there has got to be some tension and excitement — like FF. On top of that, they are exploring a story that has been personal and painful since the beginning … missing mom.

        I think they’ve done a good balancing act. If they wanted to go a dark route, this story certainly would accommodate them, but they’ve kept it pretty angst-free, considering the topic. Chuck and Sarah are together as a team in the mom search and a couple (albeit not always on screen together as a spy couple, à la Honeymooners.) I dunno, I think they’ve treated it pretty realistically. I expect it will end up being my favorite season.

        And to your point about Morgan. I guess you’re right. He does lighten the mood. And better him than Jeffster, IMO.

        Looks like Casey Morgan and Sarah will be on a mission together in Phase 3. So that should be a little different … and from the look of it great fighting.

        I know Honeymooners was a sort-of one off, but I’d like to think we could have some more fun spy romps like it … and some real-people moments really would be nice. The extra episodes may give us some of those things.

      • Amrit says:

        I do agree that chuck and sarah are awesome and honeymooners would be great for half the season, but those episodes would not feed into the mythology. I do not know, I know a lot of people watch for chuck and sarah, some for casey, some for the buymore and some for the spy plot. The strongest part is chuck and sarah that is fair, but the show runners cannot discount the other fans who like the other elements of the show. Plus a 7/8 day shoot means that it would be tough for zach and yvonne to do all those scenes alone, they would burn out. Maybe I am biased but I like morgan in the spy world, he is funny.

      • jason says:

        why would cs not feed into the mythology, why does chuck mythology need angst, are the story tellers not good enough to tell a mythology story with CS a happy couple?

      • Amrit says:

        well the stakes are always high when looking at the mythology. Let’s start with the characters past: These characters as much as we love them and and as much as they are happy now, they are damaged characters. Whenever we look back into who these people are there is going to be conflict because as much as sarah wants to open up she is still very protective of her past for good reason (she is ashamed and loves chuck too much to expose him to that), chuck trusts people too much and will always get burned and so that brings conflict and you see where this is going. It would be great for these characters to face their past and still be happy when these episodes come up, but that is not true to who these characters are.

        Now looking to the spy mythology, how can a couple be happy when there are people like volkoff, the ring or fulcrum who want to kill you. These are trained killers and therefore the stakes are raised and happiness becomes and end point.

      • thinkling says:

        I would say that a mythology about missing parents (including Sarah’s back story) and top secret government projects and a deep cover mission in a dangerous world generates a fair amount of drama. The resolution to the parental mysteries has been interesting and not nearly as angsty as missing parent stories could be.

        I don’t necessarily consider what we’ve had so far angst, because I don’t sense angst in or between C/S, well maybe a little over MEB’s arrest, but it was dealt with quickly and with a lot of humor. They are resolving issues together, not dwelling on them or letting them fester. “Getting their couple feet,” as Yvonne called it. That’s drama, but I don’t think all drama is angst. I sense more viewer angst over where the show “might” go than actual angst on screen in C/S.

        The mythology besides generating intriguing drama has also given us interesting, compelling characters … overcoming characters, ones we believe in and root for (especially if you excise s3.0). Chuck and Sarah are who they are b/c of their less-than-ideal pasts.

        That’s the rich drama side that comes from the story. But there is hilarity and action and romance, and we’re getting all of that this season. The drama side was very light in the first 5 episodes. Now we’ll have 5 episodes that are more drama intensive. But even at that there’s still humor and heart warming moments. Maybe after the epic arc and its drama, we’ll get some pure fun like Honeymooners … maybe an engagement. (I can always hope.) Then the birth. 🙂

      • thinkling says:

        Looks like we posted almost simultaneously, Amrit.

      • atcdave says:

        Amrit they can be happy together because that’s a matter of character not circumstance. I would love to see Chuck and Sarah facing their challenges cheerfully because they are facing them together. Even mostly upbeat episodes like Honeymooners and Suitcase had life and death moments; the characters responded appropriately to the situation but didn’t let it ruin what they had that was good. THAT is a mood I never get tired of seeing. And I see no reason why it can’t be applied to issues affecting mythology and family background.

        Again I’ve been mostly very happy with this season and agree with Thinkling’s comment that we’ve seen more angst in the fan base than we have on screen. Too much Morgan would be among my minor complaints with the season; I’d rather see Casey working with Chuck and Sarah on occasion to tease them about what what they’ve got going; and I’d be happy to never see Chuck talk to Morgan when he should be talking to Sarah again.

        But again I am happy with how this is going, and we’re less than 24 hours from our next episode!

      • thinkling says:

        Dave, do you not see Chuck & Sarah happy this season? I don’t think they are as carefree and giddy like they were in Honeymooners. The level of giddiness has diminished, but the level of love and happiness is still there, even stronger in my view. I see them as a happy couple, albeit with an issue here or there to work through. The mom hunt has generated drama, but I still see C/S solidly together and happy to be together. I definitely don’t see any unhappiness between them.

        I guess what I’m saying is that I see the C/S context as that of being in love with each other and happy to be together and happy to work together in both CIA and family missions. The mood is couple-y in a very good way. Within that context, there are some personal issues to resolve and some real challenges created by the mom hunt. All of those are being dealt with in love (and let’s face it, some of our most romantic, tender moments on the show, to date ) and humor and togetherness. I haven’t ever felt the love or the relationship threatened.

        For that I am very happy. The story mood is serious b/c of the mom-hunt. But the C/S mood is very happy and together. Does that make sense?

        Happy Monday!! Can’t wait.

      • amyabn says:

        I’d actually like to see more Morgan/Sarah interaction. Casey seems to not mind having him around and has learned from Chuck to let him out of the van. Morgan and Sarah is comedy gold. Scenes like the fridge oj raid from Role Models and the stiletto scene (and slightly inappropriate touching) crack me up. I would like to see them bond over an “I miss Chuck moment” like Morgan and Ellie did. Or a mission with the two of them-imagine they have to play the couple. Morgan would trip all over himself to not do anything inappropriate while selling the cover.

        And who gave Morgan mouth to mouth when they had to resusitate him via CPR in Iran? I don’t think Casey would have, so that leaves Chuck or Sarah. Hmmm….

      • thinkling says:

        I could go for some more Sarah/Morgan comedy. It is gold. The S/M scene in FF was one of my favorites … really lightened the mood. In fact maybe we could try that some instead of the bromance and Chuck talking to Morgan when he should be talking to Sarah.

        Casey probably whacked his chest, while Sarah did the mouth to mouth, while Chuck stared slack-jawed.

      • jason says:

        I don’t know, were it chuck on the ground, I am pretty sure morgan would tackle sarah out of the way so he could get his mouth on chuck’s, for morgan – given they way these writers love him, I am not so sure moses didn’t part the skies and take care of things with a lightening bolt

        sarah and morgan, so far I have always loved those scenes, but like all things morgan, one more and I might be ready to hurl, can we have an episode without him saving the day, especially given that recently, chuck has been acting like he is a 5 year old, makes morgan’s all seeing, all knowing act getting a little old

      • thinkling says:

        Hey, Jason, maybe there’s an emotional component in the new, improved Intersect he’ll be getting in the next couple of episodes. We can always hope. Or it could be part of the governor 3.0 😉

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Actually Morgan has been pretty inconsistent in his newfound “awesomeness”. In Anniversary he was still boundry-crossing Morgan who messes things up, in Suitcase he not only put his foot in it as usual, leading to Chuck and Sarah awkward moment number 3,597 (snow pea?) but he gave Chuck pretty bad advice that led to the minor suitcase angst, in Cubic Z he pretty much needed Big Mike to bail him out after he causes a riot, and in Coup d’Etat he points out something pretty obvious, Chuck and Sarah don’t talk about things they should talk about. The book probably turned out to be good advice since it did lead to a way for Sarah to move forward at least in her own mind, but keeping it a secret, given the cover especially, was definitely setting Chuck up for awkward moment number 3,622 (Is that the book?) Even then remember the good advice part, the conversations, were coming from Dr. Fred, not Morgan, who couldn’t figure out his own lovelife without Big Mike.

        As for Couch Lock, yes, Morgan got Casey back in the game and saved the day at the end, but only after messing up Casey’s plan and getting them both captured, so I call that one a wash.

        As for Aisle of Terror, Morgan is sort of a non-factor aside from telling Chuck not to fill up on bread before an arms deal. Morgan’s relationship advice is dubious at best in First Fight. I’d contend he manages to make things worse with Sarah, calling it a crisis after telling Chuck not to talk to her yet.

        So am I tired of the new Morgan? For the most part no. The earpiece scene was perhaps slightly too long, some of his physical comedy; I can see where people find it a bit … much on occasion. I’d dial him down a notch, he isn’t quite to Jeffster’s level yet, but I can understand some people having their fill of Morgan lately.

      • JC says:

        It probably won’t happen in these first thirteen but I’d love to see Chuck and Casey being paired up on a mission again in the back eleven. Give me me a cross between Under Cover Lover and Tic Tac. I’d forgotten how great those two are together on screen.

        That allows you to have Sarah paired up with Morgan and Chuck’s family dealing with something not related to the spy world.

        It was great to see Chuck thrown into the spy world and overcome situations he hadn’t encountered before. The same applies to Sarah but in regards to normal everyday life.

      • jason says:

        @think – I just want sarah to get ‘her chuck’ back, the one who cares about others, not just himself and his own agenda, we’ve had almost two seasons of that now

        @ernie – yea, I know, morgan is the lightening rod this season sort of the way shaw was last season for me, because, I am frustrated at the way the stories are told. I had better adapt, because they are what they are, aren’t they? Would you give that last sentence an F?

        @JC – much as I want CS together, I would not mind a CC ep, but rather that sarah – morgan, I would bust a gut at sarah – jeff – lester.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        @Jason Would you give that last sentence an F?

        I’m sorry I’m slow, last sentence an F?

        And don’t worry I’ll be doing a 3,000 word essay on Morgan’s Hero’s Journey soon. That will obviously put everything in context and make it better. 😉

      • thinkling says:

        I’ve always liked C/C episodes, and S/M would be hilarious.

        Sarah/Jeff/Lester would be funny, but I don’t think they would survive. 😉

        @Jason: I’ll have to think about the old Chuck vs. what we’ve had for the past two years. He does seem more preoccupied with his own agenda. That may have begun when he decided to take control of his life and find Orion. So some of what we see may be that Chuck now has some sense of purpose. Before he had none. Then, too, he may just not be quite the same guy as before.

        Do you have specifics?

      • jason says:

        @think – season 3 he ignored everything & everyone to be a spy, then he dropped everything to get sarah, then he started lying to everyone, I am not even sure why he started lying anymore, then he dropped everything and everyone to find his mom, now he seems to have the emotional stability of a 5 year old …. lucky no ballerina has shown up on his watch lately eh.

        @ernie – trying to be glib about my own poor writing skills, aren’t you a teacher?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        @Jason, I’m not a teacher anymore, and I taught science not writing (thank god), but I saw more than my share of poor writing. I was afraid you were refering to mine! Your writing actually wouldn’t raise an eyebrow … some of the essays I was forced to endure!

      • atcdave says:

        Thinkling I do see Chuck and Sarah as very happy together, both in the present and going forward through the season. The only (minor) complaint I have with the handling of the central relationship is over reliance on angst. This season its mostly been for laughs (Suitcase and the double fight of FF) so its not a huge concern, I just prefer the happy mood of Honeymooners and hope get more like that.
        And I do like Morgan, he often makes me laugh quite hard. But they do overuse him on occasion, the earwig scene went WAY too long, and I’m tired of Chuck going to Morgan when he ought to be talking to Sarah. I like the idea of Chuck-Casey on a mission while Sarah and Morgan have to deal with a domestic crises; that sounds like comic gold. But I do prefer that Chuck and Sarah share MOST of the screen time and most of the missions.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Dave, so would you say Morgan needs to be dialed back from an 11 to a 9 or 10 and Chuck and Sarah spy stuff turned up from an 8 to an 11? I think we have a few episodes before we get that, but I’d tend to agree.

        One of the things I noticed in the un-angsty (OK, less angsty) back 6 last season was how well Zach and Yvonne do comedy together. They are doing that this season with episodes like Suitcase, Cubic Z and Coup d’Etat but then they usually have the comic part infused with relationship stuff this season as opposed to cover stuff. They could do a bit less of that, or something a bit more dry like in Couch Lock (given Sarah’s dry sense of humor) or like Casey and Sarah’s reaction to the “master spies” in Anniversary, and I’d be pretty happy. Not that I’m less than happy now.

      • atcdave says:

        Agree almost entirely Ernie, except I might dial Morgan back to an 8!

        I want to keep emphasizing that I am happy with the show right now. I would rate seasons over all at
        S1 – 8.5
        S2 – 9.0
        S3 – 3.0
        S3.5 – 8.5
        S4 – 9.5

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Interesting Dave, I think I may be enjoying this season the most of all of them also. I would give my numbers, but season 3 gets way too complicated for me. Hated Pink Slip, Hated Three Words as a result, but I’ve mellowed, liked Angel, loved Operation Awesome and liked up through Mask. Didn’t like Mask, but not primarily for the shoulder rub from hell. Compared to the Sham setup earlier on the shoulder rub was small potatoes. Fake name was sort of a mess, and from then on I just wanted to see some movement in the plot. My absolute least favorite of S3, American Hero. But I still don’t think I’d rate any of them at less than 5/10. It’s just that I usually won’t bother with a show I consider a 5/10.

      • herder says:

        Lots of interesting things about tonight’s episode, if Chuck is off with Agent Rye all the time, do Sarah and Morgan commiserate over missing Chuck. If Chuck is away on missions without her, how does Sarah explain his absence to Ellie.

        Does Casey say the obvious to agent Rye “you’re a moron” (a definite chug for those playing six pack Chuck). And Summer Glau as Greta, do they expand the role or does her absence from promotion indicate that her role is small. And then there is Richard Chamberlain, the Belgian, it sounds like an Austin Powers joke.

        Is agent Rye going to continue the CIA’s habit of sending agents to help Chuck that only mess things up more (Forrest, Shaw) and nearly get him killed. And if he does screw up and get Chuck captured, does Sarah unload on the General (lioness) or keep her cool to go about her own plans to fix things.

      • atcdave says:

        I only went as high as 3.0 because I really did like Angel of Death and Operation Awesome. Nacho Sampler kind of gets a splunge; the rest of the season, well I never would have watched if it were a new show. American Hero is the mirror image of most of that season, a lousy episode with a great ending. It really is amazing how dramatically different it is to so many of us, from the rest of the series. Notice I had to score S3.5 separately, its just a completely different thing.

      • atcdave says:

        oh Herder I would love to see Sarah go ballistic on the General after new guy gets Chuck in trouble. Hey its 3:30 already! less than 5 hours to go!

      • jason says:

        I would not try rating, but if I did, I too would break out the back 6 from the front 13 of season 3.

        Season 3.1 my expectations were so high for the show, sky high really, and the performance was so far below. Season 3.5 my expectations were much more moderate, and the honeymooners blew me right out of the water. Since then, I have been cautious with my expectations, but the show and my expectations have more or less found an equalibirum, not perfect by any means, but fairly enjoyable.

        Since I watched 1 & 2 all at once, I would have to say they both exceeded my expectations, and caused me to be a fan for S3, and stick thru the bad. One thing about chuck, it is like the little girl, when she is good, she is very, very good, when she is bad, well, ….. you know the rest

      • thinkling says:

        @Dave: glad you see C/S as happy together. I thought I was missing something. I agree that the best part of the show is C/S on screen together in spy, romantic, and comedy situations. When they stray from that too much, the show is less. I don’t mind the current drama arc, b/c it is so well done and a good story, and b/c Chuck & Sarah are together. But I hope TPTB don’t feel the need to repeat the separation angle this season.

        I pretty much agree with your numbers on seasons. I’m loving s4. Even though it’s not your 10, it’s finally where I’ve wanted to see Chuck & Sarah (minus the ring, of course). I’m not a fan of the WTWT, especially the triangles. So now I can enjoy it on the level I’ve wanted to all along.

        Ernie, agree about the comedy of Zach and Yvonne. I hope we get more of that. I liked the first four to establish the relationship, but Couch Lock is probably more what we could have as a steady diet. C/S were a great spy couple. There was lots of comedy (watching Sarah react to what they did to Casey and then try to reassure Chuck that it would be OK, the bomb defusing, great stuff). They had some family time, and some nice couple stuff. That type of episode, with a touch more romance from time to time (à la Suitcase or Coup), would always be a treat. I also like your Morgan and C/S dials.

        @Herder: From the promos, it looks like GRETA gets more to do tonight. I have never seen Summer Glau before, but from the promo, I can see why she is appealing to everyone. That should be fun and a pretty good use of Morgan.

        Does anyone else think it’s funny that Dr. Killdare is going to be an evil doctor? Ha!

        I think Sarah will be in lioness mode off and on for the next 2 weeks. I think she may start unloading on GB even before Chuck gets captured. Oddly enough, we were all predicting an angst cloud last week, but I think we’ll get more this week for Sarah, b/c of what’s going on with Chuck. And her please come home safe to me … well, Sarah won’t be a happy camper for a while. Rye looks funny. So I think we’ll still get plenty of laughs.

        I wonder how things will be explained to Ellie, but then I wondered that in Anniversary when everybody left for 3 months, and in Suitcase. Doesn’t she wonder where they disappear to? I would love some Sarah/Ellie bonding sometime in the next 2 eps.

        Less than 3 hrs to go 🙂

      • JC says:

        Another person who hates Am Hero, welcome to the club.

        And since were rating the seasons.

        S1- 9
        S2- 10
        S3- 5
        S3.5- 7.5
        S4- 9

        I had hoped that Sarah would get asked to do the baby shower. Chuck would be on a mission with Casey. So that would force her to go to Morgan for help. Morgan would bring in Alex and Big Mike. Of course Jeffster would weasel their way in somehow. The potential for comedy gold is off the charts.

      • atcdave says:

        Agree with that Thinkling. Part of what’s fun about Summer Glau and isn’t so obvious in previews; she has prominently played off-kilter characters quite well. In Firefly she was a pure nut case; a very dangerous, do not disturb (oops, she’s already disturbed!) sort of nut case. And it kept getting better because we didn’t really appreciate until the movie (Serenity) came out how VERY dangerous she was. Of course they exorcise her demons by the end, and we (briefly) see a fairly normal girl.
        In Sarah Conner Chronicles she played a late model Terminator (apparently the most advanced of the true cyborg models) and was fun for humorless sense of humor and pragmatic view of extreme violence.
        It will be VERY interesting to see in what ways they may honor her serious nerd appeal.

  4. joe says:

    Probably not the place to put this, but it’s fun. So here it is.


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

    A Casey-centric thread / blog – Excellent

    Like most I think John Casey is a cool character. The Casey scenes that always stand out for me are the one where “big brother” get to come out, which isn’t very often. However when “big brother” does make an appearance you do get the feeling the that Chuck, Sarah and now even Morgan DO listen.

  6. Bellatrix says:

    Finally! Its monday! (in Argentina) After two weeks of being really patient we finally get to see the new episode 🙂 now we just have to endure a few hours wait…
    Well… Just a few hours….
    Are we there yet?

  7. Tamara Burks says:

    Casey’s definitely evolved from when we first saw him and he’s become a better man for it.

  8. ANon says:

    Hey,it hadn’t been 5 years!* He went on dates.He just didn’t let anyone in after Jill.

    *Defending Chuck here 😛

    • joe says:

      Hi, ANon.

      Well, I’m pretty sure Chuck said he had had no dates after Jill and before the Mexican Restaurant with Sarah… Of course, he may have been exaggerating! 😉

      It’s an interesting bit of trivia. Apparently, right up until the last minute, there was another major character in the cast; Chuck’s brunette (of course) girlfriend. She was supposed to be a “free-spirit” type, in direct contract to the ultra-disciplined ice-queen, Agent Walker.

      But TPTB decided it made things too complex, character-wise. They didn’t drop her because, all of a sudden, Chuck was to be perceived as a loser, but because of the time needed for yet another character. It just worked out that way!

      • atcdave says:

        Some of the early publicity photos we see had the other girl in the shot, and were re-cropped before release (I’ve seen the before and afters somewhere, maybe Aardvark’s blog?). I’ve often thought, if they hadn’t made that change, its possible I never would have watched again after the Pilot. I bet even the original outline called for her to be gone by S2 or S3; but there are few things that would turn me off quicker than an integral love triangle.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Actually Kayla Hart (the character in question) was going to be another unatainable woman, not Chuck’s girlfriend per se. I think the dynamic they were probably looking for was an extended version of the Lou arc where Chuck and Sarah are in a cover relationship that he wants to keep ending every time he sees a hopeful sign from Kayla while Sarah who can’t comit falls for him for real and continually has to ruin things for Chuck for missions or to protect him. Yes a full season of the Lou and Jill arcs. And yes, Aardvark has a wonderful writeup about it on his site.

      • atcdave says:

        Thanks for the link Ernie, that’s exactly what I was thinking of. I’m really glad they cut that, Chuck spending a season (or more) bouncing back and forth sounds dreadful. Like I said, I probably wouldn’t have watched past the Pilot I certainly wouldn’t have Chuck so “relateable.”

      • thinkling says:

        Agreed. That would have sucked all the goodness and chemistry right out of the show. I could barely stand the brief triangles we got.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      He had dates, just not second dates. From Hellicopter:

      Chuck: Oh, and, uh…just so you know…um…tonight was probably the best…only second date I’ve been on in years.

      But we know he had some dates from Nacho Sampler when Casey reviews his old file:

      Chuck: Thank you. So, uh, that first day you came into the Buy More, when we first met, what did they tell you about me?

      Casey: What do you think? You hadn’t had a date in over a year, and they don’t waste the blondes on just anyone.

      Chuck: Uh, it hadn’t been a year. Okay? Thanks.

      So dates, yes, just not very good ones or second ones apparently. That sounds about right for Chuck. Ellie wouldn’t allow him to go dateless too long.

  9. jason says:

    joe – you probably think I am the antithesis of you, so many of our views about the show are directly different. But, we are not near as much different as you might think. I actually was a rocket scientist too, well sort of, SR71 spy plane is one I can talk about – a lifetime or two ago for me, but still very much a part of my life – your ‘rocket scientist’ line cracks me up anyhow, never quite thought of it that way!!!

    anyhow, your great work on casey, made me think about season 4’s motivation for TPTB. If we assume they had pretty clear instruction 4×13 was it for the show, makes sense to start with 3-5 lite CS romance eps, a awesome ep in costa gravis, a casey backstory, quite a bit more ellie than usual (with her mom, in the family business, then as a mom), give morgan’s career all the boost you can by including him in lots of scenes, then a tribute to sarah the lioness launching her action film career, maybe all of this at the expense a bit of Zach, who really isn’t going to need any help finding work at all, then finally ending with a deeper, stronger CS romance mini arc … built around a couple of great guests stars and a very good spy / family mystery arc, makes alot of sense really.

    My point is, from a selfish standpoint, I may not like what feels like forced angst right now, but if chuck doesn’t leave sarah side, how can she go all rambo over half of the males in southeastern asia in an ep or two?

    Anyhow, per the usual, something Joe wrote got me to thinking along those lines …. thought I would chime in, since I have been unreasonably hard on this season, a season that I too indeed have been near 100% enjoying.

    • atcdave says:

      SR71 awesome bird. I saw one of the two seaters fly, in NASA markings; summer of 1997. It had an engine problem leaving Osh Kosh and diverted to Milwaukee where I was working at the time. It was on all the local news channels when it left, and one station showed me standing on the tower catwalk with binoculars staring at the beast, what a blast.

    • joe says:

      @Jason, one of my best buds in the ’80s was a then former U2 pilot. Great guy. Former college football player, too. He let me wail on him full-out in the Karate Studio.

      Yeah, he only knocked me silly once or twice… 😉

      Anyway, he was substantially bigger than I, so there wasn’t much I could do to hurt him. But there was something I could do – manuever him around. Lower center of gravity and all that. More or less, it’s the game a smaller fighter plays.

      You’ve done a masterful job at keeping me – us – on the level here, Jason. Unless Yvonne Strahovski herself walks into my room (um, yeah, right!) I’m not likely to go completely fan-boy on my own, but I do maneuver the discussion more or less intentionally by the things I emphasize. By choice, those things are positive because I really like what I see.

      Doesn’t mean I don’t see the negatives or puzzle over why this or that wasn’t done. It’s just a decision about where to shine my flashlight.

      I understand the structure you laid out. It makes sense. I can only wonder how much they’ll fiddle with the last of the 13 episodes now that they have 11 more to produce. I’m no writer, but I’m curious as to how the professionals (yes, like Liz James) work that into the process and if they’re ever satisfied with the results – purely technical stuff.

      But emotionally and as I fan, I’m more confident than I am for any other show that when I see the results I will be entertained and will come away wanting more. Maybe not in the ways I expected, mind you. But almost certainly.

      And that’s not bad!

    • jason says:

      I enjoy the sr71 / u2 stories, for those not up to speed, a pilot in 1960 named gary powers got shot down or downed at least over russia in a u2 jet, dave saw one in 1997, the same basic design, unchanged, somewhat unchallenged for almost 40 years flying spy missions. No longer top secret, you can google SR71 and find out as much as I know, but when I actually worked on the jet, my little part of it, was a big deal, sort of scary actually, I was just a kid, the FBI (I think) goes to your home town and investigates you b4 they let you in, with my friends and family growing up, I am surprised I got in.

      Joe, a football teammate of mine was a pilot in the thunderbirds after graduating from the air force academy. In hs, he was allconf in 4 different sports, I think a total of 12 times all told, class pres, nat honor society, prom king, got all the girls, I think they have a type, both the united states airforce and the girls! He got me upgraded on a recent business trip, he is a commercial pilot these days, married 3 times I think, couple of kids, golfed with him last summer in an alumini football scramble, hasn’t changed a bit.

      • atcdave says:

        I did see an SR71, different bird from U2. I used to work U2s when they were called TR1s. But at the center all you see is a green slash, not very exciting! I did see a U2 do a low pass at Dayton Airshow a few years back too; funny that they’ve now outlasted the Blackbirds in inventory.

    • thinkling says:

      Jason, thanks for the comments. I feel so much better, knowing you’re finding some small benefit to the separation arc. I hope you end up liking this season more than you expect.

      I’m so impressed with you rocket scientist types. I just appreciate you’re letting me play in the same sandbox.

      I had a coworker/friend who was a rocket scientist w/ an MBA, Th.M, and PhD in Logic. It was always mental gymnastic discussing things with him. Could never win any arguments, but never quit trying.

      • jason says:

        @dave – that was so much fun, I googled u2 / sr71 etc myself, I was so happy to see the sr71 had a great safety record for the duration of the project, I left in the middle somewhere – that is the one thing you really are on pins and needles about, esp if you are in on the design of the electronics, later, I did some stuff for the apache helicopter – modified design so the cold, ice, and snow reliability features to include heat and sand around 1985, think the US government knew where the next battles were going to take place?

        @think – BS-EE, MBA, college minor in Philosophy – I credit the Philosopy stuff to 9 years of strict catholic nuns in my upbringing – IMO you more than hold your own with us argumentative nerdish rocket scientist types – LOL

        I saw you coach BB – I kind of got roped into that late in life, have coached maybe 6 or 7 seasons, 4th grade boys, 7th grade girls, 8th grade boys, and several 16-18 year old AAU boys teams, wish I had started earlier, it is someplace one really can help, can really see immediate results

      • atcdave says:

        I bet Jason, I know I always cringe whenever they start blaming ATC in any incident. Both because I usually can see exactly how the mistake occurred, and I know we’re about to see an armload of new procedures (usually pointless) to compensate.

      • thinkling says:

        Thanks, Jason. It’s fun.

        You’re right about sports being a venue to help kids. I don’t coach any more, but my husband and I are heavily involved in the sports community here in Brazil. It’s where/how we think we can make a difference.

  10. herder says:

    Just saw the new NBC schedule, almost too many changes to follow. Chuck returns January 17th, followed by The Cape (for January and February, but The Event comes back at 9pm in March), Harry’s Law is on at 10 pm for January and February then Parenthood takes over at 10 in March.

    In the “Hey wait a minute, how does this affect me” category I’d say that with all the new shows and moving shows (Chuck, Biggest Loser, LOLA, Community and The Office are the only ones keeping their timeslots) that we are in the golden age of season 4 promotion from NBC right now and we aren’t getting any more.

    • atcdave says:

      The Cape is the only new NBC show I might be interested in. If it isn’t too dark, it might be a good pairing with Chuck.

    • herder says:

      Whoops I read it wrong, LOLA is moving too, only four shows (four hours out of twelve) keep their time slots, everything else Monday to Thursday is in flux.

    • Faith says:

      I think it’s actually a positive. They’re confident with Chuck at the time it’s set and are willing to use it as their lead in for new shows who will desperately need it. Yesterday Summer Glau already started the suck up campaign 😉 to what she calls “loyal Chuck fans” that hopefully will tune in to the Cape.

      I’m very interested in the cape as is, so this is good.

      Of the shows that kept their timeslot, I think only Community, the Office and Chuck are scripted shows…considering these are the ones that have held solid (and grown) this season it’s a sign of confidence. A bit surprised at the move of 30 Rock, but then again you figure that their viewers will tune in at whatever time slot because of its Emmy fervor.

    • JC says:

      Just saw this over on Mo Ryan’s site. All these midseason replacements have bomb written all over them. The preview for the Cape during football made me laugh at how serious it takes itself. And Harry’s Law was retooled with different actors. Originally it was supposed to star David Tennant (Doctor 10) which was the only reason I would watch.

      Another thing I noticed was The Event isn’t coming back until the end of February, that’s a show killer.

      • atcdave says:

        Almost makes me wonder if changes were ordered to The Event!

        I’m tentatively on board for Cape, but I’ll have to see more previews and reviews before I decide for sure.

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