Observations: Chuck Versus The Fear Of Death. Plus Breaking Chuck News

Life without the intersect?  Six weeks without Chuck?

Now There’s a Depressing Thought

Yes, another Monday, another chance to revel in a new episode of Chuck.  As usual we want to hear what you thought, so the ever-present observations post is here.  But here at ChuckThis we’re always trying to improve the product, so we’re going to try something new and see how it works.  And we’re sure you’ll let us know!  So far as is possible, we the bloggers are going to try to get a combined post of our first thoughts down and published as soon as possible.  Why?  Well first of all people seem to like to hear our thoughts quickly (blush), and speaking for myself, I know mine often change upon a re-watch or two.  Second, we want people to re-watch, because online views are counted and noticed by NBC, so Nielsen box or not, you can influence NBC’s internal ratings for Chuck.  So when is the best time to re-watch Chuck?  Well with the Chuckaholics on Tuesday night at 10PM.  I know it’s late for us east coasters, but it is the time all of us, us on the east coast and Faith on the west coast, can watch together and post about it.  Sorry Thinkling… We feel your pain.  But to make a re-watch more fun we want you to have something new to look for.  Hopefully we can manage an insight or two each within say 12 hours.  So by all means, have your say here until then, and read some breaking Chuck news, after the jump.

If you haven’t heard yet NBC has announced the mid-season schedule, and consequently when Chuck will be back after a December break.  You can read about it at TVByTheNumbers or at NBC, but I’ll give a brief synopsis.  Chuck will air up to episode 4.10, Chuck Versus The Leftovers, which will mark the return of Frost and Volkoff apparently, and will then break until January 17th when Chuck will return as a lead in for The Cape.  So the bad news is six weeks without a new Chuck on Monday night.  The good news is Chuck is back with a potentially complimentary and much-anticipated geeky sci-fi show following it.  It could be a strong pairing for NBC’s Monday night lineup.

And as a final note, yes, we are working on something for the hiatus along the lines of the re-watch and re-review from last year, but we’re hoping to add some new features.  Details to come.

Ernie for Joe, Amy, Dave, Faith and Thinkling


About Ernie Davis

I was born in 1998, the illegitimate brain child and pen name of a surly and reclusive misanthrope with a penchant for anonymity. My offline alter ego is a convicted bibliophile and causes rampant pognophobia whenever he goes out in public. He wants to be James Lileks when he grows up or Dave Barry if he doesn’t.  His hobbies are mopery, curling and watching and writing about Chuck.  Obsessively.  Really, the dude needs serious help.
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146 Responses to Observations: Chuck Versus The Fear Of Death. Plus Breaking Chuck News

  1. hiswings says:

    Okay, I would totally agree with the re-watch immediately after if I had a DVR, but unfortunately, can’t convince hubby that it is a necessity. So my re-watch time comes when Amazon loads it up on the web on Tuesday am. Yeah I’m geeky/nerdy and I get up early to re-watch before heading to work.

    Six weeks without Chuck – ARGHHHHH!!! Please come up with some cool ways to manage that awful break!! At least this way, I know when I’m out Christmas Shopping – I won’t miss Chuck.

    Question though – since I have a TV pass for Amazon for each episode – do those count in the numbers for NBC?

    • Faith says:

      Are you stateside? Because over here they tend to put more emphasis on NBC.com or hulu.com viewing than say purchases. I know it seems stupid but there are actual numbers that they count for how many people watched an episode all the way through at NBC.com, et al. They call that their TAMI (total audience measurement index) which they then subsequently add to a shows’ overall ratings during consideration.

      Actually I should clarify…they do count purchases…that’s measured in a one buy, one view sort of manner though so your repeated viewings that way don’t get put into consideration while on the other hand repeated viewing via NBC.com and Hulu are because of ad money.

      As for the hiatus, we got some great stuff on the works and since we’re chuckaholics you can pretty much count on a weekly rewatch to tide us over. Believe me you don’t want to see the shakes 😉 lol.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        @Ernie – thanks for the thread.

        @Faith – Great stuff you say? That makes my mood so much better. Thoughts of six continuous Chuckless weeks were making my dormant “shakes” start to shake up again. 🙂

      • Faith says:

        LOL it’s great but I’d still be on emergency stand by for you because we’re not exactly EPKs here haha.

      • patty says:

        Does all the way through mean I have to let the credits play out?

        Also does NBC know I watch my DVR version? Sometime the on demand version is not up until Wed.

        Since I teach I can’t stay up ’til 11. My SPED kids would walk all over the dopey teacher next day. 😦

      • Faith says:

        Yes, they do count our DVR viewing. It’s one of the Live+SD numbers that they put up.

        All the way through does mean credits…but mostly the differentiation comes with say playing all 43 minutes versus say specific scenes on repeat. The latter is not counted, the former yeah. And there is no differentiation between IP addresses as far as I know so technically someone could watch all day every day and they really don’t know the difference.

        I will add though that live viewing is still king in the great ratings debate but that seeing as we’re chuckaholics we always want to do more.

        Finally, yeah I’m really sorry about the late hour…if it make sense for people we can do our very own Chuckthis specific time slot. But I will say that personally it speaks more in terms of volume that people do it together coz there’s always the chance we can crash their servers 😉 I’m just kidding on that last part…so a joint effort is…well better. In any case like Ernie put up there…all that matters is we’re all rewatching and celebrating the joy that is Chuck. To foster that spirit, we’ll be doing our own group think and hopefully give a different, newer perspective than what we all had at first watch.

  2. joe says:

    Gack! I would so love to join the re-watch at 10:00 on Tuesdays, but that’s when the CNN crew records the podcast! SCHEDULE CONFLICT! – and an international one at that!

    Bums me right out.

    Oh, and don’t forget Reward TV after the show. That questionnaire counts a little too, especially with the advertisers.

    • Jen says:

      Joe, it would be so great if you could join us! We have so much fun there.
      Work’s been crazy so ive been horribly MIA from this blog, but tweitter and the tuesday rewatch keep me in the loop.
      I’m gonna try to slack some so i can come join the fun here!

      • atcdave says:

        Hey long time no see! Don’t be such a stranger Jen.

      • Jen says:

        Thanks Dave! I miss it here! I’m gonna try harder to come chat w all of u.
        My mind was a bit off for a few months, but things are getting back to normal. 🙂 Yous hould start seeign me around here more often. I have so much to say about this season and have not bee unloading on anyone!

      • atcdave says:

        Well it is a bummer when one’s mind is off! This has been a great season and there’s obviously plenty of good discussion going on here. The only question is if we’ll start getting tired of having a good time every week…

      • Jen says:

        I don’t think we’ll get tired of havign a good time… but life gets int eh way of the fun sometimes… bummer!
        I was thinkign yesterday of what will happen with the show is over… what will happen to the Chuck community? Hopefully the show will make it into syndication and we’ll still be selling the show to people 🙂

      • atcdave says:

        I predict the show will end in 2012; I believe this is what the Mayans were warning us about.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Well my Firefly obsession led me to check out Chuck. Hopefully Zach, Yvonne, Adam or one of the others will get into some cool projects. It’d be great to see some of them work together again as part of an ensemble, but with such an amazing cast I’m betting they’ll move on to separate projects pretty quickly. My guess is we’ll probably be looking forward to a Chuck re-union when Adam is a guest star on Zach’s new show like we were for Summer Glau on Monday.

        Or since Hollywood is bereft of new ideas maybe Zach and Yvonne can re-make some of the Thin Man movies…

      • thinkling says:

        I believe this is what the Mayans were warning us about.

        Absolutely. 🙂

      • Jen says:

        I’ll definitley follow this cast on anything they do, and after Zac and i marry i won’t mind that he does the Thin Man movies with Yvonne. Well, his options are either me or Yvonne, and seing as she’s taken i’m his only option now… LOL!!!
        On a serious note, i will miss this cast when the show is over. And the Chuck fandom is the best! But sinceis still on, i’m not gonna go there 😉
        I’ve never watched Firefly or the Thin Man movies… yep, not at all. I have catching up to do 😀

      • Ernie Davis says:

        That’s very generous of you Jen! 😉

      • thinkling says:

        They’re so good, I don’t see why it has to end any time soon. There are a lot of new evolutions for the show to progress with ZL/YS as the core spy couple. Keep the same team. Add LH. Get rid of the Buymore. Have all the lighter, non-spy stuff be centered around family. Let GB be their legal umbrella and let them be an off-the-grid ghost team, doing things governments are afraid to do.

        Or they could launch a TV series based on the Thin Man movies. … or remake the Thin Man movies. I really liked them.

      • Jen says:

        I think so too Thinkling, this show’s still got juice in it. It’s so good right now! i dont’ want it to go anywhere. NBC just needs to finally admit it’s the best thing it has in its lineup and promote the heck ouf of it. It’s not too late… i started watching the X-files in its 5th year and became super loyal and watched all previous seasons. We can still make new Chuckaholics for the Chuckventures to come 🙂

      • joe says:

        Jen, we’ve missed you here too, but I love seeing your tweets. I lurk there quite a bit.

        I’d waste half a lifetime on twitter if I didn’t take special care to control myself! Fortunately, this place takes up the rest of my life plus half of my wifes! 😉

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Much as I agree that there are many ways to re-make the show and keep it fresh and evolving I think 6 seasons will be it. Zack and Yvonne’s contracts will be up, and unless Chuck becomes a runaway hit in seasons 5 and 6 there is no way a show with such a limited budget will be able to pay them what they are worth. Also I have the feeling that after six years most of the cast and Schwedak will be ready to move on. So I say re-make The Thin Man with Zach and Yvonne on another network where people can actually see how talented they are!

        As for a season 5 I feel pretty confident. The way things are going Chuck will be NBC’s highest rated show by the spring! For your bit of Wednesday Schaedenfreude Parenthood dropped to a 1.8, with 4.8 million viewers last night.

      • thinkling says:

        True, Ernie. I’m sure they are worth more now than they are paid. They are both so talented. But they are so good together.

        So a Thin Man remake would be good. Wonder if you could borrow the characters as is and plop them into a different life?

        I would be happy if it went 6 seasons. As you say s5 is looking very possible 🙂 I’m just not ready for it to end. It’s like it’s hit it’s just hit its prime in my mind.

      • atcdave says:

        Thinkling you managed to describe my dream scenario there. But I do fear Ernie is right, the chances of Chuck surviving once contracts are up is very slim.

        It would be wonderful to see Zach and Yvonne do a Thin Man remake; its clearly the archetype for the sort of romantic comedy they do. Maybe if we push the rumor hard enough the idea will actually occur to some producer type…

      • Faith says:

        I get the feeling that if and when we get a fifth season the show runners will announce it as Chuck’s last season. The fact that we’re predetermined to 100 isn’t a coincidence IMO.

        And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I mean it is…because life without Chuck is like life without coffee, or chocolate depending on your POV haha. But anyways I digress. A set time isn’t always bad…it allows for freedom for the story to be told the way it’s meant to be and for plot lines to really move forward.

        Then again I wouldn’t put it past these guys to creatively blow our minds 20 seasons in. 😉

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I think syndication at 100 will be the end also Faith, and agree it isn’t a totally bad thing if we’re lucky enough to get a fifth season considering we almost ended the series in that Paris hotel room, Chuck and Sarah together in the last 5 minutes of the last show… But I digress. Syndication means some nice future paychecks for the cast and some of the creative team, so I say great, they deserve it, season 3 quibbles aside. The reason I think 6 is the upper limit is as mentioned above, contracts are up, and Zach and Yvonne especially would have to pass up some wonderful opportunities to keep doing a show that, lets face facts, isn’t seen by enough people. So I say five is a decent shot given that Parenthood is now falling into bear bait territory (schaedenfreude), and six if we’re extremely lucky, but just know going in it’s the last season and wrap up our show in a satisfying way. So far, none of the potential endings would have been remotely satisfying to me.

      • atcdave says:

        You know Faith, I really only buy into the worth of a long planned end on shows with complex mythology AND a plot hook that demands resolution. Whether its finding the one-armed man or getting off the island, a main hook so easily defined gets very tiresome when obstacles keep piling up. But when the main hook is just following the life of an ordinary guy turned super spy, there is no innate end point. I firmly believe the show can be continued indefinitely, in theory.
        Now we know there are a large number of hurdles to over come each season, starting with getting renewed. Obviously keeping key cast together (Levi/Strahovski at a bare minimum), and writers with vision and talent (Schwedak are NOT irreplaceable) are also significant issues.
        With a format like Chuck has, the only imperative for an ending is no dangling cliff hangers. Ideally, no unresolved hooks either; but that is a lesser issue.

      • thinkling says:

        I agree whole heartedly they deserve some future paychecks.

        Also agree that the potential endings would have been woefully inadequate. Now, I think we have a shot at a well-planned, complete series.

        For me, I would like to see an ample married arc, not just a wedding finale. If they have a done-deal last season, they could go for it and do something new. All of season 5 would be fine 😉 Then I would end with Sarah pregnant and them quitting the spy life. Or maybe end with the birth (twins).

      • atcdave says:

        Ernie and I posted at about the same time so I want to address some of his remarks.

        On a purely practical level, the obstacles to continuing past S6 are huge and its unlikely to happen.
        But to me, the biggest problems with 2.22 or 3.19 as a series ending is that both ended with intriguing hooks for what was to come next. Given that S4 is likely to end with either a wedding or engagement, the only additional thing to make it a good end is NO new hooks. I think additional seasons could be handled on a case by case basis, but as long as the main characters are together and we aren’t left with urgent “what’s next?!” the series could have a satisfying end at any point with only a small amount of advance notice. And then, as long as they do nothing stupid with a series finale (killing off Casey maybe) the show still could get picked up by another broadcast or cable network.

      • atcdave says:

        You know Thinkling that’s what I want too; at least one full season of Mr. and Mrs. Carmichael. Not only is it emotionally appealing, I’d like to see it as a new paradigm for how TV romance should be handled (that is, ending the wt/wt well before the show is creatively spent).

      • thinkling says:

        Ditto, Dave!

      • First Timer says:

        Um, not to inject TV reality here, but if I’m Warner and NBC (whuch is now rumored to have a stake in downstream revenue), I ask this question: Does Chuck HAVE a profitable life in syndication?

        The show has done miserably in reruns (remember those .9s for First Class and Beard last year). And it is NOT the kind of show that does well in syndication. Serialized shows like Chuck never do. Modest hits like St. Elsewhere tanked. Huge hits like ER never went anywhere. And on and on. Even hugely successful first-run sitcoms (Cosby and Mad About You come immediately to mind) sometimes tank in syndication. Mad About You is especially notable because they paid the stars (Reiser and Hunt) $1 million an episode each to produce a 7th season. Needless to say, it was money thrown down the hole.

        Chuck is a very low rated show despite is (mostly) critical acclaim. Worse, I think, the fans tend to already own the show in several media: DVD/Blu-Ray and Amazon/iTunes. No matter what you say NOW, how many of you are going to really carve out, say, 7pm EVERY WEEKNIGHT, when/if a syndicator checkerboards Chuck? There’s no need. You already own everything. So a syndicated, second-run Chuck would need to find new viewers immediately and that’s never happened in its first run, even with boosts like the post-SuperBowl show in Season 2 and the comparatively massive promotion before Season 3.

        Moreover, since Warner is already giving Chuck to NBC at “just get me to syndication” licensing fees that are usually reserved for the final year of a show, what incentive would there be for Warner to go lower? And if Chuck doesn’t do well in the spring of 2011 (and Chuck has never done well in spring ratings books), it’ll be very difficult for either NBC or Warner to greenlight a fifth season.

        More to the point, perhaps, 100 is not a magic number. It is a preferred number, but plenty of shows get second-run syndication deals with fewer than 100 shows. Star Trek: Enterprise is an example of that.

        Bottom line, of course, is that no one knows what’s to come. But if ratings don’t pick up, even a network as desperate as NBC might not be able to justify another year of Chuck. And Warner might decide to risk syndication at 78 instead of burning perhaps another $XX million to get to 100.

      • atcdave says:

        First Timer does bring up some points that can’t be denied, like the fact the die hard core audience already owns the show on multiple formats and is unlikely to make it appointment television on any re-airing. This isn’t the 1970s anymore when us trekkies had to find when our local station was airing repeats; most of us own whatever series we are really hooked on.

        But many shows, even heavily serialized shows have succeeded for a while in first run syndication or on basic cable. My favorite example being SG-1; started on Showtime (2 seasons I believe) before switching to Sci-Fi. I started watching during its 5th season, and was able to catch up watching reruns of the previous seasons while watching new episodes as they came up (all the way through S10!).
        Given how cheap Chuck currently is, a cancellation by NBC could still lead to a pick-up by USA or TBS who would run the mix of re-runs and first runs. Such a deal could conceivably keep the show in production at least through the stars’ six year contracts.

        Of course anything we say here is pure speculation. The industry has changed dramatically in just a few years, with more change clearly coming. Nothing regarding Chuck would surprise me at this point. But I think its reasonable to hope for S5. Anything else at this point is guesswork.

      • Jen says:

        I love this… I just mentioned a thought about what will happen whtn the show ends and look at all these commetns! This is why i love this blog! I had missed u all!
        Anyway, i would be more than satisfied with a S5, a S6 would be the cherry on top. Just as was mentioned i think my Thinkling, i too would like to see a season with C&S married. Is the show were to end in this season it would be too sad. With S3 what it was, S4 is more like a come back, and not that the S3 dust has settled… the story can’t stop, at least not yet. I do wanna see Sarah married, the girly dream she probable thought would never come through, and ending the show with babies woudl be just awesome! Chuck’s also a romatinc, he siad he was gonna end up with the girl he loves, takign the show up to where they have a fam seems only natural to me.

        Inr egards to syndication, First Timer’s comment about how wellt his show woudl do in syndication is somethign to think about. I wish for Chuck to be syndicated so i can catch it on TV at random moments, but it’s true, i really won’t need it cause i wll own all the DVDs and Downloads out there. In the end, we only haev what the show runners and NBC want to give us, so we’ll enjoy that while we have it.
        I saw a comment out there somewhere by a Chuckster that wants this show on HBO… LOL! it was after a Sarah in little clothes comment. that was funny. This is a famili show! =P

      • atcdave says:

        Hey Jen that will happen every time you hit on one of our favorite hot topics! (bring it up tomorrow, we’ll likely all go through the same bit again)

      • Faith says:

        Have to disagree here…syndication would do wonders for Chuck. Chuck isn’t serialized enough that you have to go all Lost and say wha-ha? But it just keeps you tuned in with their chemistry, their plot and their relationships to work as a show in the background. That’s essentially what syndication is, a show that works as a filler in the background. And what works additionally for Chuck is that it has eye candy.

        Shows that are syndicated today aren’t the shows that were syndicated before. I’m seeing Entourage syndicated to which I say, WTF? I hate that show…but that’s another topic. If Get Smart can be in syndication, ER, how I met your mother…ghost whisperer (shudders) so can Chuck. It’s never a question of “If I already have it, why tune in” it’s a question of hey it’s on, I’ll tune in. The office does very well on both DVD and itunes sales but it skyrocketed with syndication and if the amount of times its syndicated is any indication, people still tune in. And although the genre is different the “portability” still applies.

        But perhaps the greatest argument for syndication for Chuck is that it is eternally replayable. You just don’t get tired of it (at least I don’t).

        And Dave, I don’t disagree about the kind of “story” that Chuck is. They have shown remarkable strength to reinvent themselves every season but at the same time though isn’t it at its core about a boy to a man story? One that involves maturing, fulfillment, love? So in that essence there can be a set end. In a lot of ways what they’re going over now (destiny) is building up to that; or I should say tie-in to that.

      • atcdave says:

        So far Faith, Chuck has mainly been a sort of coming of age story. But that is just a short form of life’s journey. Again I see no innate reason why it would have to stop at any particular stage of life. Granted, its unlikely to ever become “Chuck and Sarah: The Pension Years”, but I see no absolute reason why that couldn’t be. Just keep telling Chuck (and Sarah’s) life story, I’d never miss a chapter!

      • thinkling says:

        Chuck & Sarah: The Pension Years.

        🙂 🙂 🙂 Good one! Wonder if my retirement home will carry it?
        Or if they do, if I’ll be able to hear it?

      • Faith says:

        Dave, I think some of us have always dreamed (aloud) of an undercover blues like direction but I’m not sure TPTB feels the same lol.

        And thinkling, by then they might be inputting data into our brains, no hearing needed haha.

      • thinkling says:

        Kind of like Intersect hearing, or dolphins or something. Cool.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        OK, I’m replying fairly far upthread, and at length so here is where I make things basically unmanagable…

        Thinkling: Also agree that the potential endings would have been woefully inadequate. Now, I think we have a shot at a well-planned, complete series.

        Thinkling, Dave, I think that what you say is why I (and I’m guessing Faith) are saying wrap it up with season 5.  if we get one.  While we don’t know exactly what is planned for the rest of this season, let’s presume as Schwedak said they wrote a 5 season outline.  That works out nicely.  Let’s also presume that it will be a 22 episode season, if nothing else than because WB will want it in syndication even if NBC doesn’t air the episodes (of course that will mean torches and pitchforks brigades after NBC).  So, presuming the mythology is wrapping up at the end they can easily do a wedding somewhere in 5.10 to 5.13 and blow it up for the sweeps; Fedak style.  Tactical teams, terrorists, Sarah kicking butt in a wedding dress, Mini Anden and Gary Cole both back, Casey and his crack team of wedding planners, and yes, even Jeffster.  The second half of the season has Chuck and Sarah as the Turners, but of course much better, as the mythology and the other character arcs are wrapped up.  So if they get season 5 I say don’t gamble on a cliffhanger ending to try to force another season.  Like Dave said, no additional hooks.  Instead, if that 6th season comes along, do it like a pilot with a new concept or a new take on the show.  If the 6th season is essentially a self contained show that basically starts where Undercovers did, you’ve made your case for giving Chuck another shot, plus you have the backstory and mythology and character development that Undercovers apparently lacked, to it’s detriment.

        First Timer, all valid points, but TV reality, the business side, is something we don’t really have access to unless there is someone involved with the show or NBC or WB that wants to out themselves.  But we can look at the basic logic of a few things we know, so on to a few points.

        Chuck hasn’t done well in re-runs and is a low rated show, but what is it up against?  If a Chuck re-run is going against DWTS or HIMYM or House of course it’s going to get crushed.  The fact that Chuck is still up against some of the highest rated shows on TV is pretty obviously one of the reasons it is rated low in the overnights.  Look at the +7 and Chuck pulls a lot closer to shows like Bones or Castle.  Not necessarily a hit, but no slouch.  Chuck’s audience is more like 7 million than 5, it’s just that a lot of them watch DWTS or HIMYM and record Chuck.  So some say the DVR numbers don’t matter, but it does show that Chuck has a potential audience larger than it’s current share should the other networks or NBC decide to counter-program.

        The reason Chuck stays on Monday in it’s time slot is that everything else they’ve tried there has done worse. In addition it could be that, low as numbers are for the Event lately, Chuck does act as a lead in. I think it interesting that Chuck is basically keeping it’s spot while other shows are shoved around continually. I am really not joking when I say the way things are going Chuck could be NBC’s highest rated scripted show by spring. Chuck seems to have found the bottom if it’s live audience at about 5.5 million with a demo of 1.9-2.0ish. Other shows keep falling, and once a show like Undercovers or Outlaw is basically seen as dead, look for the live audience to jump ship even quicker. In addition Chuck is cheaper than most shows in NBC’s lineup that pull comparable or worse numbers. Those taken together all point to why a fifth season might be desirable, given that the word is the mid-season NBC lineup was the weaker part of the pilot order.

        NBC ordered 19 pilots, picked up 13, three hour long scripted shows are already dead, and we’re likely to see at least that number fall from the mid-season ranks, meaning of those 13 pilots 6 or 7 survive. That doesn’t count Chuck’s competition, which is basically The Event and Parenthood and possibly LOLA. All of which pull numbers in demo close to Chuck, but have dropped sharply recently. Take out all those shows with ratings lower than Chuck, plus Chuck, and NBC is looking for another 10-12 pilots. Now seriously, if you are a producer and have any say in the matter, are you going to work with NBC who can offer The Event or Parenthood as a lead-in, or a network who can offer DWTS or Two And A Half Men? NBC is simply not in a position to scrap it’s schedule and start over, even with an infusion of funds should the Comcast sale go through.

        As for syndication, as you rightly pointed out a network hit does not guarantee successful syndication, but a small audience doesn’t mean it can’t be successful. It’s a category error. A first run network show has a potential market of a few networks and a few national cable channels. A show that has run on the networks and enters syndication has a potential market of hundreds of independent and affiliates in dozens of markets, plus cable. In addition the network shows have to draw national advertisers who demand that key demo. In syndication the customer, the affiliate or the cable station, can essentially pick their audience and market to the advertisers, both local and national, depending on their time-slot and needs. And finally, in syndication, we aren’t their audience anymore, though we could be. As Faith said, sure, if I were fixing dinner in the kitchen and my choices were re-runs of NCIS, Bones, or Chuck, it’d be Chuck. And I guarantee I’d have seen Chuck, but not the others. Also a point in Chuck’s favor, while it may be serialized and mythology laden, in syndication it’d also likely be running five days a week. Chuck can be a very different experience seen in a compressed time. Trust me on that. The Jill and Cole arcs caused barely a blip on my fan-radar.

        So in conclusion, I think yes, you can make a case for Chuck to get a fifth season and be a successful show in syndication. I’ll just note in closing that I’ve never seen nor rented all of Buffy or Angel, but if there’s an episode on, I’ll likely watch it. Why? Those two mythology-laden and heavily serialized shows are in almost constant syndication in my area.

      • thinkling says:

        And they could definitely do the Undercover Blues style comedy. They could do something close to that just in a stand alone espisode.

      • thinkling says:

        @Ernie: I like that scenario. A planned s5 that could be a great wrap, or a back story to a sort of Chuck sequel (s6 and beyond) with the sort of scenario Dave and I liked: Get rid of the Buymore. Have all the lighter, non-spy stuff be centered around family. Let GB be their legal umbrella and let them be an off-the-grid ghost team, doing things governments are afraid to do. Or an even greater departure if need be … as long as its Chuck & Sarah’s continuing story. That could work, and maybe give them new contracts.

      • First Timer says:

        You DO understand that the term “checkerboard” means five days a week, right?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        FT, yes, You said 5 nights a week, that was clear and I can read, but I was making the point that it is a very different viewing experience 5 nights a week which is the likely way to run it in syndication and we were not the likely or intended audience, and I’m sure that you understand my point that in syndication 5 nights a week on local affiliates or independent stations or even cable Chuck is no longer competing against network shows, but game shows, repeats of other syndicated shows or Oprah and comparisons to runs on live prime time network TV aren’t really relevant to how Chuck would preform in syndication.

      • atcdave says:

        Ernie, put that way I actually do agree; that is, no new hooks in the season finale. That way any season can serve as the end. Given Chuck’s marginal ratings, that would simply be good courtesy to the loyal fans (to be honest I prefer it that way anyhow; I hate being told I have to remember too much for 3+ months. After all, I don’t follow most shows as closely as I do Chuck).

        And you know I’m totally on board with wanting an Undercover Blues style show. I don’t believe Schwedak are the ones to give it to us; which is kind of why I like the idea of a change in production team!

  3. Tamara Burks says:

    Luckily I’ve been recording season on dvd (there’s some pixelation on fast movement scenes like fights , that I mean to call the satellite people about) and it’s good far rewatching in the off weeks. Not to mention I picked up the Buck Rogers box set and it has 30 hours I can watch during the Christmas specials.

  4. JC says:

    Did they use a leftover script from last season? These issues feel a season late.

    • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

      I said this earlier in the season and please understand that I do think this season excellent, no complaints.

      However some of the episode themes (especially the Sarah emotional growth themes and this episode) we have seen this season kinda belong before DYLM, in order to give DYLM more weight,

      That being said I am happy that we are exploring these themes.

      Oh btw, Sarah coming out of the pond in the promo to save Chuck in WAAAAY hotter than her getting out of the pool for whatever reason in 3.01.

      • atcdave says:

        Oh geez yeah Joseph; looks like a very Sarah heavy episode coming up, and in the best possible way. Best 30 seconds of the night was that promo!

      • JC says:

        Totally agree with you. Suitcase and Cubic Z were rehashes but they were played for laughs and we got some real growth out of Sarah. This episode felt like the complete opposite to me, using issues from last season to up the drama with a dash of legit angst. That’s what bothered me about the episode. Although I did like that it gave Sarah a real moment of losing Chuck unlike S3.

  5. amyabn says:

    Initial impressions! WOW!
    -Pros: funny, good use of a Greta (finally), Jeff and Lester actually funny (I usually find them creepy), better (less) use of Morgan
    -Cons: It’s already over! That flew by! I don’t like the “Sarah is holding you back” meme. I think once Chuck realizes that she is the one supporting him (holding him up) he’ll flash again

    More intelligent and hopefully in depth tomorrow with the rest of the ChuckThis crew! Off to watch again! TG for DVR!

    • jason says:

      amy – I don’t know if you knew this, but generally I don’t watch jeff / lester / buymore stuff at all, this ep, I just kept hoping it would pan back to the buymore, the mission was really bad – the show should consider never hiring male CIA agent guest stars ever again – this guy made shaw seem smart – for those wanting me to take this show seriously, how can anyone after a ‘showing’ liek that?

      intentional angst keeping CS apart maybe, I’m not even sure that is what that was, simply a stupid plot, poorly written, I would be embarrased to ask friends to watch chuck based on this episode,

      but sarah sure loves chuck, and chuck sure is one lost soul, I will give whoever wrote this credit for getting those points across

    • Paul says:

      Amy, Sarah IS the rock…but not in Rye’s misguided sense. She is the rock that his life is built around.

      And speaking of Rye, he was an interesting character. Something like what Awesome would be if he actually took to the spy world.

      Jason, I don’t see Chuck’s capture as intentional angst. It’s something that really hasn’t been explored in the past in very much depth and something I’d really be interested in seeing. That being said, this eps isn’t teh best stand-alone. I think taken with the next eps, it will flow better.

      • jason says:

        paul – chuck’s capture had to happen, paint by the numbers story board contrivance was all it was to set up sarah’s epic rescue mission –

        but rye’s mission with chuck, not angst, just really stupid, poor writing, a desert within a desert moment, – I agree with you – none of this was intentional angst – it just was kind of wierd –

        maybe a band of gypies should have stolen chuck in the middle of the night and delivered him to the belgium , or steve erkel could have astro projected chuck into the belguim’s liar, or I don’t know, anything – yikes

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I’m going to second Amy and add a few brief observations, to be expanded upon. WOW.

      Ok, specifics. Yes, a bit of a retread, but that is a pattern this season. Things that should have been handled last season but weren’t are being revisited. Well. I know anything other than absolute trust and belief between Chuck and Sarah is going to bother some, but despite communication, there are some issues.

      Sarah knows Chuck is, despite his and others protestations, fearless when it comes to his personal safety. What he fears is losing his team, letting down his team, but without his team with him, sorry, the CIA geniuses are clueless once again.

      Chuck, yes, he wants to be a spy and make a difference, but he needs to personify that difference. He needs that difference to be personal and real. The really cool being a spy thing rings hollow to him. He needs to see why it matters.

      • Faith says:

        I don’t really see it as a revisiting so much as a building on what was.

        And yes I for one have an issue with their “trust” lol.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I don’t mean revisited in a bad way, but then retread seems a bit negative no matter how you spin it. Anyway, I agree that this comes back to a previously established dynamic, as much of this season has, and then knocks it out of the park IMHO.

    • Tamara Burks says:

      I’m glad they finally made good use of the Greta storyline . Even regular customers would notice a person named Greta always being there but being a different person especially if they noticed the male Greta.

      • Paul says:

        The funny thing is Jeff and Lester are only now cluing in on it….and they’re only really fascinated because this Greta was hot…

  6. Judy says:

    Next week looks good, but this was the weakest episode of the season by far. I preferred the Buy More plot to the main story.

  7. Judy says:

    JC, I agree that this was just a retread. How many times have they brought in a CIA expert who makes things worse and undervalues Sarah (Forest, Shaw, I’m sure there were others). This episode was weak. The little humor that there was was forced. It’s such a contrast to last week’s episode where all the elements came together so well. I think Wooten, who also wrote Cubic Z is much weaker than the other writers.

  8. First Timer says:

    I think you’re wrong about Wooton. He’s a good writer. Just not for Chuck.

    I did like two things: Sarah blurting out something she clearly feels about Chuck’s spying ability. And Chuck realizing pretty quickly that he needs Sarah. I was sort of hoping of a moment or two of Sarah (finally) crying before going off on her rogue mission, but I guess they are never going to give her.

    Everything else was pretty weak. And, hello, why wouldn’t Casey call Chuck direct to warn him that The Belgian knows about the Intersect? Awful logic there.

    We obviously know now (partially) why Mama B returns in Leftovers. She will explain she knew The Belgian was targeting the Intersect and she needed to temporarily knock it out to protect Chuck.

    And my spec about Volkoff (or at least Dalton’s character) not being what he seems might actually have some life. Why would Volkoff’s headquarters in Russia be boarded up? After all, if he really is a Russian arms dealer, he’d have no fear of the CIA in his home country.

    Overall, though, weakest episode of the season.

  9. herder says:

    The highlight of the night was Casey and Greta growling at each other, which was sort of the problem. There was a lot of exposition setting up the larger arc, loyalty, trust and how far you go for the team. But in doing so they seemed to miss a lot of what makes the show fun, it was sort of a rehash of First Class and the Beard.

    I think it also diminishes the General, who is the only one who genuinely scares Chuck, Sarah and Casey to have her continually push morons and incompetents to be in charge of Chuck/the Team. Shaw, Forrest and now Rye, all three have allowed Chuck to be captured for boneheaded reasons. I can see Sarah raging at the General for placing Chuck in the care of someone who would hang up the phone as she was trying to deliver essential information. At that point I expected Rye to be a double agent, instead he was collosally stupid.

    It’s not that I disliked the episode, I did like it, but more that I was frustrated about parts of it. A good Buy More story for a change, it’s even got to the point where the Subway bits make me smile as they are such cheesy promotion. The end sets up well for the next episode, Casey has declared himself, as of course has Sarah. Chuck needs to get his head out of his ***, and I still think the way that he flashes is, as always when he is in a good place with Sarah. Send them on another week long train ride from Paris to Lyons or lock the two of them alone in his apartment and I’m sure he would be flashing again in no time. But really, even Shaw in First Flight had back ups to help the situation if things went bad, Rye didn’t even have that.

    One last thing, the picture from the diamond, isn’t that Chuck’s initial CIA badge, if so wouldn’t that identify him as Bartowski and not Carmicheal. Maybe the family connection is out in the open now. Also, this Belgian, is he part of Volkov’s organization or is he some sort of independant evildoer.

    • kg says:

      Beckman isn’t concerned with the people that serve her. She’s pleased with the results, but struggles with the methods used to achieve the results.

      The bottom line is that the people who serve her are expendable. That’s why she continues to send in and rely upon morons. You can add the Turners to the list.

      Forgetting “It’s about damn time” for a minute, Beckman never wanted Chuck and Sarah together. She resents the effect Chuck has had on Walker. Her worst fears realized is the job Chuck’s influence has had on Casey. The woman she can reluctantly rationalize, but she undoubtedly never ever imagined Chuck could change Casey. Although the team has been wildly successful and even saved her ass, she’s still pissed off and resentful because the CIA’s top agent and the Colonel are compromised because in her mind because of Bartowski.

      Chuck is special, and not because he has the aptitude for the intersect. Sarah knows it and tried very hard to remind him of that. With or without the super computer, Chuck is smart, resouceful, compassionate, loyal and trusting. He is also the son of Orion, the expert scientist and inventor and Frost, the master spy.

      • Paul says:

        I don’t think Beckman is so much pissed as she has to walk a fine line with the team…much more so than with other subordinates.

  10. JC says:

    Really didn’t like the episode. Oddly enough I loved Riggle’s character though he felt like a frat boy spy but his stupidity just to move the story forward reeks of season 3.

    Sarah’s line about Chuck not being a spy was a low blow. I get the idea that she wants to protect him but you can do it without treating him like a child. I hope during Phase Three she realizes she needs to treat him as an equal. While I love the idea of Sarah going psycho to rescue him, I hope he does it himself without the Intersect or anyone else.

    • atcdave says:

      I wasn’t thinking quite so harshly about Sarah’s words, but I agree she spoke foolishly. I did like Chuck’s statement of love while hanging from the gondola. I agree that I really want to see Chuck prove himself while captive, between resisting torture and maybe facilitating his own rescue, he needs it both for himself and for Sarah.

      I actually liked Rye, for his stupidity. He was comically clueless. Remember “What About Bob?”. “it’s death therapy! brilliant!”

      • JC says:

        I don’t think it was intentional but that had to hurt. On some level it has to make him wonder if they’d work out if he wasn’t a spy.

        And it goes against everything Sarah told him before, “How many times do you have to be a hero to realize that you are that guy?” Wasn’t that the point of Other Guy, he saved the day without the Intersect. Like Casey said before all this you were smart.

        I mentioned this before that characters view Chuck’s spy abilities depending on the plot of the episode or arc. The inconsistency is really frustrating.

        And once again the idea that he hasn’t had training in fighting skills is a glaring plot hole. That’s his only deficiency as a spy without the Intersect.

        I guess you can tell I was really disappointed in this episode.

      • atcdave says:

        I agree with most of your specific beefs. It is purely manipulative writing to have Sarah say something like that, its at odds with her normal attitude. Maybe we should assume she just panicked. She wants Chuck to be her normal boyfriend, and worries that he is in over his head, especially without the Intersect. Bottom line is, the comment was just about motivating Chuck to take a foolish chance and get nabbed.
        Chuck did fight some, both with the ninjas and again on the gondola; I’m willing to buy he just isn’t very good without the Intersect. We know he’s used guns without flashing. I would have thought with the Intersect down he’d give a little more thought to arming himself.

      • JC says:

        It just really feels like this episode should have happened last season. I almost wonder if this was one of the original ideas for S3 until it went off the rails. The issues they bring up are valid but how they did it was flawed and it felt like a huge step back for the story and characters.

      • Chuck604 says:

        I think it was an emotional outburst from Sarah more than anything else because of her overwhelming feelings of trying to protect Chuck, even from himself. I can’t wait for next week though, Sarah looking for Chuck is a nice twist.

      • luckygirl says:

        Chuck604 – I agree I think Sarah was basically all girfriend in this episode. Whether she was deflecting the guilt trips coming from Morgan and Casey. To the obsessive need for Chuck to be safe and then at the end fighting with Beckman. She had been slowly reaching her breaking point and she finally snapped. Was it intentional? No. Was it harsh? Yep. But I really don’t think she was thinking clearly at that point. She knows he’s a hero, infact she told him not to be one. She was just as much not a spy as Chuck in terms of where her head was at in this episode.

      • JC says:

        Like I said I’m not bashing Sarah for that comment heat of the moment but it I thinks that’s her true feelings. Although it does bring up one of my nagging issues with the show, people can yell and treat Chuck like crap with no repercussions from him.

        Her comment didn’t make him go on the mission to be a spy it was because she still doesn’t see him as an equal. That’s something that seriously needs to be addressed.

    • Tamara Burks says:

      It was kind of a double ouch considering that she said he was a spy earlier.

      And while Chuck does try to fight it’s obvious that they have only trained him with the Intersect in mind. In season 3 you see what little training he’s being given in spy school, by Casey and Sarah involves him flashing . That’s poor planning on thier part especially following his flash stoppage in season 3. The Intersect in a human brain really is still an unknown , after all it’s not like they can take it apart so they should make it where Chuck is prepared in a worst case scenario.

  11. rac2873 says:

    I loved it and I am not going to nitpick.

    I have no beefs with it and next weeks episode looks EPIC!!!

    Can I post the link to the promo or is that considered a spoiler?

    • Tamara Burks says:

      I would think that posting the link and saying it’s to next weeks promo wouldn’t really be a spoiler unless you describe it in detail.After all no one’s forcing people to click.

  12. odysszeuss says:

    I don’t get it? Why are so many complaining about the FACT that Chuck is not a real Spy. He really isn’t. Especially without the Intersect.

    AND that is exactly why Sarah is so in Love with him. As You all said:He is smart, resourceful and all these. But he’s not a Spy in a kind of ruthless way a James Bond or a Sarah Walker is, when they need to be. A Mauser Moment will not happen with Chuck. He’s more like an Agent in a NCIS way. And this whole Duo 4×08 & 4×09 perhaps trio with 4×10 is dealing with this “Issue”…

    The ruthless aspect is somehow part of the definition of a real Spy (Red Test, Mauser). AND again Chuck is not a Spy. It seems to become directly addressed in 4×09. I really hope they establish his “Special Agent” Status anyhow vs. being his self betrayal thinking he can handle himself in a dangerous situation without the Inersect and without a weapon (Gun) he is capital to use without the Intersect. And even then. Chuck’s worth of a live even of an enemy could but him still in real danger. SO: Sarah is absolutely right calling him directly: “You are not a spy”

    Chuck is not an equal Spy like Sarah. He would never kill Mauser. He can not fight without the Intersect.. AND again: that’s the point Sarah loves him: “You’re a good guy and you really wants to help people”

    Chuck is not a Spy he is an Agent and with the Intersect he is a Special Agent. But he’s not a spy. Kind of nitpicking, I know. But I’m serious…

    • JC says:

      I think you like the show is confusing Spy and Assassin. Repeatedly Sarah told Chuck before the 2.0 that he was a spy, even Bryce pointed out that fact in season 2. Casey told him in Other Guy and he saved by himself no Intersect.He was on the CIA’s radar at Stanford. Orion was a spy for twenty years and he wasn’t a cold blooded killer with Kung Fu skills. Its S3 nonsense again that somehow Chuck is worthless without the 2.0.

      The only aspect of being a spy Chuck lacks is proficiency in physical self defense. And that failure lays at the feet of Beckman, Casey and yes even Sarah especially after certain events last season. This episode showed me that he was never trained beyond “Flash Chuck”.

      • odysszeuss says:

        While I’ll see your point, the problem is: Chuck, if he really would be a real spy he could compensate this lack of training and the absence of fight skills in using guns. We know, he shot Shaw, but it really was a higher cause scenario. In a day by day spy situation he’s kind of peacefully like a lamp. Meanwhile I have to adjust my quote. He’s not a spy nor an agent without an Intersect. He will always be: a smart Field analyst. By the way: Orion had fight skills of his own. Using a gun or predators wasn’t a problem form either…

      • DaveB says:

        The only aspect of being a spy Chuck lacks is proficiency in physical self defense. And that failure lays at the feet of Beckman, Casey and yes even Sarah especially after certain events last season. This episode showed me that he was never trained beyond “Flash Chuck”.

        Exactly! He should be training without the intersect. There’s too much dependancy on it…

      • JC says:


        Chuck shouldn’t have a lack of training. He has arguably two of best spies in the world as a g/f and partner. The government spent millions on him with a special spy school in Prague. Yet they completely neglected any form of real training. Its completely insane.

        And Chuck’s far from a lamb even without training. He’s shown time and again how competent of a spy he was on pure instinct. The key thing is he needs a certain someone to believe in him for confidence and she came up short last night.

      • odysszeuss says:

        Jein (yesno) Jason! My point is 1000% Nitpicking. I Know that. And you’re absolutly rigth about that Training issue.

        BUT A) Given, he can not really defend himself without intersect and B) he can not really defend himself with a weapon (gun) he is not field ready. He can stalk a dangerous situation with his given skills without intersect/gun he’s in the real spy world a lamp or a sitting dog (quoting Sarah [ Beard]). I created the Field analyst description. TPTB are concentrating them self now exactly on that tinytiny Problem left in Chuck’s Spy arc and I’m really curios how they solve it

      • odysszeuss says:

        sorry JC !!! not Jason !!! SO SORRY!!!

    • kg says:

      I agree. Emotionally upset, Lioness Sarah in full protect mode, heat of the moment, seemingly everyone against her, her actual words didn’t match her loving intentions.

      Odyzzzeuss is right. I think she met that Chuck isn’t a killer (unless a loved one is mortally threatened) and not ruthless, but she said flat out Chuck isn’t a spy, and naturally a hurt Chuck took it the wrong way.

      I don’t think that Sarah has forgotten that Chuck can make useful contributions without the intersect, but sending him out there alone without backup and with a loose canon agent who is barely known and certainly not trustworthy; all without the intersect to protect him was ludicrous. Sarah was correct.

      • thinkling says:

        Good discussion. Sarah’s words were spoken in haste and they came out harsh, especially to Chuck. Worse they were spoken in front of GB, Casey, and Rye. She instantly regretted them and assures him they will talk about it. But too late, Chuck is now doubly determined to do anything to get the Intersect back and be a spy again.

        All that said, GB was about to send Chuck into a very dangerous situation with a nut-case agent who really only wanted to scare him to death … literally. A dead Chuck flashing or non-flashing is the last thing Sarah wants. So she spoke at least a partial truth.

        Recall the setup: Chuck had just said “I can take care of these wrong people [that will kill for the diamond] without you holding my hand.” Sarah, legitimately worried asks, “Why does it make sense to risk your life?” Chuck replies, “Because it’s what I do. I’m a spy.” That last a clear result of Rye’s inept, flawed assessment of the situation.

        Rye has brainwashed Chuck in a short period of time, no? It’s all well and good (well, not really, but that’s the story line) to do this PFOD therapy, as long as there is a safety net. That’s Sarah’s logic … and mine. Recall the earlier safety net discussion. In some ways, I think Sarah is the only one with a brain in her head, let alone an Intersect. Are these people idiots? You don’t just actually risk Chuck’s life for an exercise that has even odds for restoring the Intersect or getting him killed. The exercise was a brilliant success; he flashed right before he died. Not awesome.

        So, with everybody ready to put Chuck in real, serious danger for an unproven theoretical exercise, Sarah speaks the harsh reality that without the Intersect Chuck is not a spy … not in the current context of risking his life and taking care of cold-blooded assassins.

        It came out harsh. It needs some serious qualifications and explanations. But she was correct … without proper backup (not Rye), he was not in any condition to take on the mission at hand. The reasons why — lack of training, etc — are moot at this point. His life is at stake.

        At least GB, who was paying close attention to the exchange, finally smelled the coffee and sent Sarah to provide backup.

      • atcdave says:

        You know, the problem with Thinkling being around is I so often have the words taken out of my mouth; oh and then some, she’s far more wordy than I!

        I was also imagining Sarah thinking on a purely personal level. In a way, she doesn’t care if Chuck is a spy or not, she just wants him back in one breathing piece. So in one way, we could say Sarah is just speaking personally, she doesn’t see the spy. We’ve heard her enthuse before about the oodles of confidence she has in Chuck, and its a personal confidence on a far deeper level than professional. So of course her desperate words end up being the worst possible thing she say to Chuck in that scenario.
        It becomes a challenge, and now he has to prove himself. We can see Sarah kicking herself to the end of the episode after her ill chosen words. Funny thing about the male ego; I can’t imagine a harder relationship than with someone in the same business, when everyone knows SHE is more capable by far. That does sting.

        I just really hope Chuck does something to facilitate his own rescue. Just for his own ego if nothing else.

      • thinkling says:


        I hope he does something to get himself out of his current predicament, but things look pretty dire, especially the chemical lobotomy. eek.

      • atcdave says:

        Oh yeah it was a scary preview for Chuck! Don’t get me wrong, I want Sarah to be the hero again. But at the same time I want a demonstration of how she needs Chuck, not just for her humanity, but because they really are a great team.

      • thinkling says:

        Agreed on that. I think she knows on a personal level, but on the spy level, maybe not so much. So that would be some good growth there.

  13. Big Kev says:

    Only time for one watch and now I’ve got to go to bed – but some pretty harsh judgements above IMO. Fun episode, with some sharp dialogue. Yeah, parts were a retread but some legitimate issues raised. The question of Chucks role without the intersect is a perfectly reasonable one to raise. Last season it was all lost in the angst-fest after Fake Name so it’s been revisited. We still don’t know exactly what MamaB did with the PSP so we could even have Chuck intersect-less for a while.
    Mission was weak, but that’s never a deal breaker for me. I do agree that someone needs to call out Beckman for her consistently appalling lack of judgement of other CIA spies.
    Jeff and Lester were great this episode and props to Wootten for learning his lesson and writing a much better Buy More story after the poor one of CubicZ.
    Speaking of Wootton I have to say he hasn’t been given great set ups in either of his episodes so far. A ridiculous proposal scenario in the first one and the short straw of a MamaB free episode straight after the strongest episode of the season. With that in mind, I think he’s done a better job than many are giving him credit for. It made me laugh plenty, moved the plot forward more than I thought it would, had some poignant moments for all of TeamB and a great ending – pretty good in my book.
    But – they do need to spend more on the green screen. That gondola shot was straight out of 70’s Bond. Actually, what am I saying? That was probably the point….

    • atcdave says:

      I mostly agree Kev about the quality of this episode; and the special challenge of following up not only First Fight, but Aisle of Terror too; really the two strongest eps of the season.

  14. OldDarth says:

    Episode never gelled for me except for the last 5 mintues. Too many clunky story points used to drive the story narrative to reach the point of having Chuck captured.

    Plus over-playing of character issues a la the empty closet from Suitcase, often ignoring, if not downright contradicting, previous character history.

  15. DaveB says:

    I think this episode had several logic holes in it, primarily the whole issue with the diamond auction being a trap to lure the intersect into the clutches of the Belgian. However, it provided a big entry point for the camel into the tent: Sarah doesn’t think Chuck is capable of being a spy without the intersect, and neither does Chuck.

    Did anyone else think that Rye looked like Al from Home Improvement? I was expecting him to say “I don’t think so, Chuck.”

    I personally think that the rock that is blocking the intersect is the intersect itself. Chuck can’t use it because he thinks his mother is a bad guy and “did something” to it. Chuck’s failure is his inability to believe in himself, it always has been, and Sarah’s blurting out that he wasn’t a spy isn’t helping any.

    In a way, I hope that Chuck rescues himself from the Belgian, and everything that we see Sarah going through turns out to be for nothing. It’s not to be nasty or mean, but Chuck needs to do something heroic without the intersect. As Rye said, Chuck’s got big stones, he just needs to succeed with them, rather than fold at the end.

    • odysszeuss says:

      Jepp exactly. AL! I knew he reminded me of someone.
      perhaps he really saves himself, but in away he anyhow manages to sort out his problem in his brain for himself (in his brain). Not physical with his fist. In the preview he seemed kind of trapped in his mind?!?

      • jason says:

        those are both great pov’s, maybe sarah will go thru hell to chuck, and when she dramatically arrives he will have the bad guys all wrapped up and captured (with or without the intersect, that might be kind of cool.

        I was thinking the mama b device may be a way to assess the intersect without flashing, just have it on all the time, with no need for a governor. So all this time, chuck may simply be working thru in his mind how to turn himself on, hint to chuck, think about kissing sarah – LOL

      • odysszeuss says:

        @jason that would be the coolest scenario at all. Chuck more powerful than ever and Sarah more lioness than ever. What Make-up sex that would be 😉

      • Stef62 says:

        Or based on the lobotomy quote from the preview, his memories of her/them have been wiped to pre-intersect settings

      • Anonymous says:

        It would be a mess if Chuck lost his memories of Sarah. Though,it would make fore great angst.But we filled that quota with season 3.

        I was expecting to have Orion’s computer to unlock the intersect.But it seems Chuck doesn’t have time for that.Unless he gets out or Sarah reaches him in time,he’s toast.

    • Paul says:

      The diamond auction wasn’t intended to be a trap, but a baddie selling information. The Belgian made it a trap when he realized the wonderful opportunity that was presented to him.

    • JC says:

      I’m still thinking he won’t need the Intersect for Kung Fu anymore. That scene with Rye and Sarah after the slap fest seemed to be hinting at it. Sarah reacted on instinct to Rye’s attacks from something she hadn’t used in years. Chuck thinks he needs to flash but its already there in his memory but he doesn’t know that or the PSP is glitching with the 2.0.

      So either the attempted memory wipe or the Orion computer will trigger it.

      • Paul says:

        I would disagree. Chuck may have had the stones to face ninjas, but he got his butt handed to him by them as well. So far, we have seen that Chuck does not retain muscle memory of his physical flashses. If he did, he’d only have to flash once and never have to again. What Sarah had was muscle memory burned in by training. It’s the difference between cognitively knowing how to execute a technique and doing it by thinkning about it vs. doing it instinctively through muscle memory.

      • JC says:

        I’m not saying its muscle memory. I’m thinking he’ll just be able to access it permanently without flashing. He just doesn’t know how to do it yet because the PSP wasn’t compatible with the 2.0.

  16. jason says:

    It is a set up ep, but I am beginning to wonder ‘how’ the writers can possibly let sarah go to SE asia, rescue chuck, slap him a few times for being stupid, then drag him off by his hair, throw him over her back and carry him home, and once safe sit him down on her bed and tell him to never, never go on a foolish mission alone again without her? Even for chuck, that would have to be a blow to his dignity, and at this point, that guy does not have much left.

    Maybe sarah will end up caught and chuck will save her again with or without his powers, although haven’t they done that one last season?

    I suppose there will be some great lesson from all of this learned by both of them after 4.9, and I honestly am waiting to be pleasantly surprised.

    But in the past, these story tellers seem to just say ‘uncle’ at some point, give up, and return the hero and heroince home with little explanation or growth – I hope this time TPTB get it right – you’d have to think, ok I’d have to think they will – I have some hope at least.

    I can’t even say I really disliked the episode, there was nothing in it offensive or repulsive like all of the shaw misery arc episodes, it was kind of like are TPTB really going to tell this story letting chuck go on a mission with this rube, is that really how they are going to set up chuck’s rescue, ok, whatever?

    i sort of feel like I did after the mask last season, hopefully waiting for the next episode to reveal what TPTB have in mind & sort of fix everything. Only, this season, the resolution will be far better.

    • odysszeuss says:

      I absolutely share your feeling her. In the moment it’s impossible for me to figure out exactly why I’m upset. You’re right it’s anyhow like Mask without #shawgate…

  17. Ernie Davis says:

    I think the point some people are missing about Sarah’s kick in the gut is that she’s right. With the intersect he can handle himself in the spy world. Without the intersect he is a hero, and resourceful, but he can’t be a spy without his team to back him up. Rye took his team away and tried to tell him all he needed was the intersect, which we all know isn’t true. Sarah knew that intersect or no, he needs his team. But without the intersect he needs her, because his heroics WILL put him in harms way and someone like Rye who sees his only value as the intersect and just waits for him to flash will get him captured or killed. Duh.

    In the best sense possible Sarah says what she does out of love and honesty because she knows Chuck. But as is often the case it comes back and bites her by driving Chuck to want to prove himself the hero when he doesn’t need to.

    • jason says:

      nicely put ernie – seems like the show has been down this path before, starting with the ballerina, would be nice if it can be coherently put to rest in 4×9, such that we do not need 6 weeks and couple of million words to understand how and why

    • JC says:


      That’s not how the scene played out though. Her statement was that he can’t be a spy without the Intersect. Which contradicts everything she had told him before. So either she was lying all those times or Sarah as the plot device has reared its ugly head again.

      I understand the point you’re getting at and maybe that’s what they were going for but they didn’t get it across in the scene. The same goes for Rye’s point about Chuck relying on Sarah too much. It was terrible writing just to move the story forward.

      • herder says:

        I thought that she said “but you’re not a spy”, harsh but true and blurted out at a time of great stress, I took it the way that Ernie laid it out. I do agree however with the point about Rye saying that Sarah was the rock sitting on the intersect and that he relied to heavily on her. It flies in the face of everything that we have seen, namely that the intersect works better when she is with him and he was a bit of a dolt for seeming to go along with this interpretation.

      • thinkling says:

        I think what Sarah always said was that Chuck was a hero. And all that was before the Intersect 2.0. I don’t remember her saying that he was a spy, at least not in the full sense of the word. In fact that was the s3 story line … Chuck becoming a spy, and it always hinged on the proper functioning of the Intersect.

      • thinkling says:

        In context, JC, it was the defense/fighting part of being a spy, not being a spy in its totality. In the context of what was said, the only point of discussion was about his being able to protect himself and take out the bad guys. His resourcefulness and brilliance and whatever else he brings to the spy table were never at issue … only his ability to fight and defend himself.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        @thinkling – But the way in which the scene was played out – it looked like the very notion of him being a spy was questioned and so it looked very blunt and harsh – thereby leading Chuck to try and prove himself as being capable.

      • JC says:

        That may be true but judging from the reactions of everyone in the scene including Sarah herself that wasn’t how it was received.

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, that’s probably true. It was received like a bomb. But I think all along in Sarah’s mind, as well as the context, it had to do with his protection and risking his life.

    • herder says:

      The thing is that didn’t bother me at all, for the reasons you have stated, Sarah is protective, Chuck wants to prove himself, that is who the characters are.

      It is a little jarring that the Chuck who would do anything to get the intersect out of his head is now willing to do anything to get it back in. I guess the bit that bothered me was that Chuck who last week accused Sarah of only trusting those whom the General told her to trust was now trusting the person that the General told him to trust despite Sarah questioning his methods.

      • thinkling says:

        Interesting point on trust, Herder. The focus is on Sarah not trusting Chuck, but it cuts both ways.

    • First Timer says:

      You’re right, but only to a point. Since this is a paint-by-the-numbers arc (except for what might be some cool Strahovski stunts next week), the upshot is pre-ordained.

      Chuck has ALREADY realized he is incomplete without Sarah. He said as much as he hung from the gondola in the awful green-screen session. Next week, or perhaps in Leftovers, Sarah will realize she is incomplete without Chuck.

      Chuck is not a spy without the Intersect. And he’s not a great spy without Sarah. Sarah is a spy based on her history and training. But she is not a great spy without Chuck.

      End of November sweeps arc. Very little to see here, frankly.

      • thinkling says:

        FT, I’m just kind of curious. Sometimes when I read your comments — paint by numbers, preordained, nothing to see here — um, why you watch? What aspect of the show hooks you? What do you find compelling? I’d love to hear more about that.

      • First Timer says:

        I thought the first two seasons were extraordinarily well done, clever and unique. And the arcs during the two sweeps periods were new, and thus fascinating. In Season 1, Chuck wants a “normal girl” and Sarah’s old flame, the superspy, comes back. In Season 2, Chuck’s old flame comes back in the sweeps arc. Predictable and inevitable, yes. But they make her a spy and change the mythology. Jill isn’t Lou and we get to watch Sarah’s reaction.

        Season 3, they decide to revisit old themes (Chuck and the normal girl, Sarah and the superspy). It’s dangerous because the audience has seen it. And it failed because it was poorly done.

        This year, the arc is also paint by the number: Chuck and Sarah’s status quo is upset. But you KNOW where they are going with it because Chuck will realize he needs Sarah to be a great spy and Sarah needs Chuck to be a great spy. We’ve seen that several times already. So at the end of Leftovers, we’ll be where we were at the start of the sweeps arc.

        As for what I expect from the show, well, I said that the other day: I was expecting Hart to Hart meets I Spy. They are giving us, once again, Get Smart meets The OC. And that is especially apparent in the sweeps arcs.

      • jason says:

        think – I agree that chuck needs sarah to be a great spy. But I disagree that sarah needs chuck to be a great spy, actually, I think chuck actually holds her back as a spy, I think sarah needs chuck to be a great person.

        What I think season 4 is about, how spy – person chuck works best with spy – person sarah, that happy medium we sometimes blog about.

        Just my opinion, does it sound right at all?

      • First Timer says:

        By the way, what INITIALLY attracted me to the show was the sit: A guy who desperately wanted his old life back, even though it wasn’t all that great. And a gal who was living out a fantasy relationship. That sit in season 1 and season 2 was unique in TV history as far as I can tell. We all know the reset for season 3 required a more traditional show. Their version of that traditional show hasn’t been as good as I hoped. It’s good, at least since season 3.5, but not nearly as fascinating as the original two years.

      • thinkling says:

        @Jason: Actually that was First Timer that said Sarah needs Chuck to be a great spy.

        Chuck has helped Sarah grow as a person. And in some ways you’re right that he holds her back a little as a spy. But that may not be a bad thing.

        The example of who she could be without Chuck holding her back is MEB, aka Frost. And we definitely don’t want that, and neither does she. So, who is the greater spy?

        I think Chuck & Sarah complete each other and bring out the best in each other. The people they are with and b/c of each other are better people whether in the spy world or the real world. As Sarah said a couple of Thanksgiving’s ago, We’re better together. So, yes, what you say makes sense … this is about them learning to work together, as a couple and as a spy-couple.

        In the current conflict they are forced to address their life together sans Intersect. In my view it’s more than justified to explore this as part of the story (and not just a rehash b/c of the relative differences in them and the team and the cause of the Intersect’s malfunction). I would say it is critical for them to define themselves apart from the Intersect. Obviously, Chuck has to get it back, but it’s a blessing in disguise for Chuck to understand his value apart from the Intersect and for Chuck & Sarah to come to a fuller understanding of who they are together.

      • thinkling says:

        @FT OK, thanks … helps me understand your POV. 🙂

    • atcdave says:

      Very well put Ernie. I still have some issue with the way things were presented; the story telling felt a bit manipulative to get to the desired end point (I mean too many “but Sarah/General Beckman/Chuck knows better than that!”). But I agree entirely about how Sarah likely saw the situation and what she said.

  18. odysszeuss says:

    Well said Ernie. I really like the Hero aspect without Intersect and Sarah seeing the big picture…

  19. Anonymous says:

    I think Chuck needs to free himself,at least be on the run when he’s found by Sarah. That would imply growth on his part and Sarah would still be right about his limits.

    In 4×01,we are told that Chuck didn’t even flash for months.And he doesn’t seem to train. The show is still about a regular guy who gets to kick ass by using the intersect.

    A lot of the fans want him to be more than a regular guy when he isn’t flashing.And they want him to sing 😛

    I guess we are gonna learn about tpb’s perspective of Chuck.

    Yvonne Strahovski must be having fun judging by the promo.She gets to kick ass a lot 😛

    • Anonymous says:

      But Rye’s interaction with Sarah during lifting the “granite rock” sequence, can also be interpreted as the writers’ way of saying “Chuck isn’t a field ready spy without the intersect.”

  20. herder says:

    The overnight metered markets (no demos) are out and while they are notoriously difficult to translate into finals I would guess that we either went down a bit or remained level. The Event continues to drop, Chase went up a bit.

    • Faith says:

      1.8 Is the early word.

    • herder says:

      This is part of why it is so hard to translate the metered markets which are expressed in household ratings ie 3.4/5 to numbers to demos. For example two weeks ago the metered markets said Chuck got a 3.7/6 this week, 3.4/7 but we went to daylight savings time which has an effect on household participation rates. As it turned out although demos went down from 2.0 to 1.8 (probably closer due to rounding) the total viewers went up from 5.45 million to 5.55 million, and increase of 100,000. I’m hoping for a tick up to 1.9 in the finals as I dodn’t think the audience suddenly get older or turn 50 over the last two weeks.

      • jason says:

        herder – in your opinion, did this ep really do any different than last ep, or the ep before even? My first reaction, is they all are the same, or am I missing something?

        My other opinion, is Chuck has about 1.9M viewers who will watch, as long as the show does not stray too far from the theme of the last 13 or 14 episodes.

        I may not have loved last night’s episode, but it sure has been consistent with the general theme since S3’s misery arc.

      • herder says:

        Jason, it’s hard to say, Chuck started with a 2.0 demo and about 5.8 million viewers, it went down to 1.9 demo and 5.3 million viewers and has very slowly and gradually trended up. The 1.8 could be a statistical variation sort of like the data points around a trend line.

        The composition of the audience should not change, if 5.3 million viewers translates into a 1.9 demo in the 18-49 age bracket then 5.55 million should cause that demo to go up.

        For shows it is not the total viewing audience that is important it is the demos, in this case the comforting arguement is that the slight increase means that the 1.8 is an anomoly. A show that skews younger needs a smaller audience to produce a given demo and an older skewing one needs a bigger audience. Community gets a similar demo to Chuck while drawing about 500,000 viewers less, Dateline gets smaller demos with about two million more viewers.

        I wouldn’t be suprised to see Chuck go up to 1.9 demo and 5.6 million in the finals this evening. The real proof will come over the next two weeks, do we go to 2.0 and 5.7 million or do we drop to 1.8 and 5.3 million.

  21. alladinsgenie4u says:

    Didn’t know where to put this – here goes

    Chuck – Episode 4.14 – Chuck versus The Seduction Impossible http://goo.gl/fb/cbGGk

  22. thinkling says:

    Your seduction, should you decide to accept it … pom pom pa dom pom pom pa dom pom pom peedle leedl lee. Or maybe the music should be more vampy.

    OK, so I flunked spelling.

  23. Jen says:

    A’ight.. here goes my opinion of this week’s ep… i finally get to unload properly!

    Liked it… but not completely…
    I love my Charah stuff, and i’m satisfied with that. Here we have Chucn and Sarah who are not afraid to show their love in front of anyone, not GB nor Casey. Chuck trusts Sarah when he’s the most afraid, Sarah will do anything to protect Chuck. Not only as a spy, but as a woman. I love her tryign not to stress Chuck any further and not wanting anyone to stress him out about the intersect. She doesnt’ ened him to be there intersect or a spy for him to be HER Chuck. I also liek how she protect her home… why is Rye there?

    The issue raised… is Chuck still a spy w/o the intersect. He asks Sarah this question and I noticed she hesitated when Chuck asked her if he was still a spy w/o it. She respondes yes.. and i agree, he’s not a complete spy w/o it! The problem is, Chuck doesn’t have any combat training. They all know this… Chuck w/o the intersect can get killed pretty fast. I think even Chuck needs to be aware of this and know he has nothing to prove, he simply doesn’t have the benefit of years of training and experience (read: fighting skillzzzz). I think it’s this knwoledge that made Sarah be so afraid that she says “no, you are not a spy, not right now” during that video conf. So i back her up in her freak out moment, i’d be freaking out too. The way it came out wasn’t nice, but i know where it’s coming from and i hop Chuck understands too.

    What i didn’t like… Chuck regressing. I didn’t liek him sitting at the Nerd Herder desk wondering if his life is the Buy More after all. I also didn’t like him being influence by Rye to be a hero. Shouldn’t he know by now he’s more than the Buy More, and that just running into danger to prove something is not the way to go if he was supposed to wait for the appropriare manpower to get there? I also didn’t like them saying Sarah is the emotional rock sitting on the intersect… this isn’t true (Eyeroll!!) All these things feel so S3, and i dont’ want to remember anything about S3… only anythign from honeymooners on.

    Anyway… it’s taken me all day to kinda put this together sop i’m sorry if some things dont’ make sense… and i’ve rambled. Just needed to say all this. Uff… i feel better.

    • atcdave says:

      Some good comments Jen, I mostly agree. Although I think Sarah’s “not a spy” gaffe influenced Chuck more than anything Rye did. In the end, I think Chuck did mostly get where she was coming from, his comment at the life or death moment in the gondola kind of addressed that (kind of!). But in a way, he does still need to get his self confidence back.

    • thinkling says:

      Interesting comments, Jen. You made me think some more about a couple of things.

      1. I had said I liked the Buymore scene. First, b/c it was such a stock scene in the first 2 seasons. But I like it for the contrast. Before, the CIA kept Chuck at the Buymore b/c of the Intersect. So, Chuck used to want to get rid of the Intersect to escape the Buymore to have a normal life … to live the life he wanted, with the girl that he loved.

      Now, it has flip-flopped. The Buymore is a CIA base. If he can’t get the Intersect back, he may be stuck in the CIA base instead of … on missions, living the life that he wants, with the girl that he loves.

      Sarah’s entrance used to be a cover, and as much as he loved seeing her come in, it only made him wish for what he couldn’t have. And she loved Chuck, but had to keep it a cover. Now, no cover … all real. He seeks her out, and when he sees her, all is right with his world again … same for her, and it showed. *sigh*

      2. The other thing you mentioned was Sarah’s hesitation when Chuck asked, “But am I a spy?” I think there was a lot of parsing going on there, and in the end she told him what he needed to hear, without really lying. Without the Intersect, though, she knows he isn’t fully a spy, i.e. able to defend himself (So, No). But he has much to offer to his spy job without it: resourcefulness, intelligence, etc. He found Shaw, killed him, and saved her, all without the Intersect. (So, Yes) Then again on some level, Sarah doesn’t see Chuck as a spy. She has always believed in him and thought him to be a true hero with or without the intersect. (So, Yes, sort of) But he’s never been or ever will be Bryce or Shaw or Casey. (So, No, Sort of) He has kept a slice of innocence that most spies lose; and thanks to him, she is finding her lost innocence. She needs him to be OK. She needs him to be Chuck. And on some emotionally visceral level she needs him to not be a spy, even though she knows he’s a good one, especially with the Intersect.

      If that was convoluted, that’s ok b/c I think Sarah’s feelings toward Chuck are in some ways beautifully simple (end of Coup d’Etat) and in others, like the spy issues, oddly complex. And the simplicity of her love for him, only adds to the complexity of the spy side of the issue.

  24. sd says:

    Hello all–

    I just returned from two and a half months in remote parts of the world–where sadly, my Monday nights didn’t include Chuck. I was, however, sometimes able to catch snippets of the show on you tube along with internet reviews.

    Now that I’m back, my season four is starting.

    Of the full episodes I’ve seen I have to say they far exceed S3 for me and far exceed what I thought I would be seeing after I took a look at the bits and pieces on the web.

    I now have to search around for the shows not readily avail–anniversary, suitcase and cubic z.

    • atcdave says:

      Great to have you back! S4 has certainly been a lot better. There are some great moments in those first three episodes, be sure you hunt them down (would be nice if iTunes would come through, I mean c’mon, they just got the Beatles, they should be able to handle Chuck!)

  25. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs the Fear of Death (4.08) | Chuck This

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