Chuck vs. Phase 3 – First Impressions

Quick! Don’t Think… React!

Did it grab you? Did it leave you cold? Confused? Wanting more or “meh?”

Did you find yourself screaming “PINEAPPLE!“? This is the place to tell us, and maybe even tell us why, if you can. No opinion is a wrong opinion.

We’ll be along later this evening trying to describe what we felt, trying desperately not to step on our Internet toes as we commit our thoughts to bits and bytes for all of posterity to see and for your amusement and amazement.

Please check back, refresh the page and look for updates. They’ll be below the fold.

– joe

What Joe Learned

In the last hour, I learned more about Sarah Walker than I have in three and a half seasons. Agent Walker was Langston Graham’s enforcer? That tells me a whole lot, much more than I even knew before. Without Chuck she is different (“And I don’t like it!”) And without Chuck, “I am nothing but a spy,” she says. After last week, those words and the way they were delivered were more effective to me than anything I could have imagined.

Yvonne Strahovski has just shown me her best work.

The entire cast, with perhaps only the exception of Zac (who got to sit there, reclined, with his eyes closed almost throughout) were dramatically effective, even (and especially!) Jeff and Lester in the dream sequences.

I could imagine someone thinking that there was too much of that fight scene, especially coupled with the night-jungle scene with Sarah rising from the water like Rambo. No, no I can’t. Like usual, I thought the choreography of the fight was spectacular.

Now, for those who have not seen it yet, what follows IS a spoiler, so avert your eyes until the next paragraph.

Chuck’s proposal is something I will have to think about. It wasn’t, and it was. I mean, Sarah accepted, but Chuck has yet to officially ask, which is very, very Chuck like, but certainly not anything like a perfect, dream-scenario proposal like fans would be imagining for Sarah. I don’t know what to make of it just yet, but we’ll see if this isn’t precisely the kind of do-over that we’ve seen in another context.

Lastly, I will say that I’m not troubled by Chuck’s seeming recovery after being “lobotomised”. I really can understand if someone complains that they strained credibility too far in that regard, but to that, I say “Com’mon. This is Chuck. He’s ‘special’ and that’s the way it is.”

Dave’s Impressions

Wow!   Wow!   WOW!   That’s my quick take on Chuck vs. Phase 3.   Colonel and Honeymooners will always have a special place for me,  but this might be my favorite episode ever.   So much fun.   Yvonne deserves an Emmy.  Yeah I know it will never happen;  but HOLY SMOKES!   We saw Sarah in tears,  happy, and ready to kill;  all in 43 minutes of television.   We learned a lot about Sarah’s growth over four seasons,  and have even seen it in the last few weeks.  Remember Suitcase?  Can you believe that was only 6 episodes ago?  Sarah panicked about the idea of marriage;  now we know,  and Chuck knows, Sarah is just waiting for him to figure out how he wants to do it (maybe “Chuck vs. the Balcony”?).  There is so much to consider about Sarah this time.  I remember being disappointed when we heard there would be no Sarah back story episodes this season;  maybe not,  but this sure was a Sarah story.  I never believed she was a reckless enforcer character,  but now we’re learning she truly had a fearsome reputation before Chuck ruined/saved her.

And I don’t want to forget Chuck was in a pretty scary position here.  We’d been pondering all week if Chuck would be without memories for an extended period.  Looks like we worried over nothing,  but its one case where I think our speculation actually enhanced the viewing experience;  I was tense!  It was great seeing him with nothing left except Sarah.   And it sure seems like she put all his fears to rest from last week.   She doesn’t see being a spy as something worth aspiring to;  after all, without Chuck that’s all she is.   At the same time she seems well pleased for his value to be appreciated by the General.

Morgan was perfectly used as the comic relief this week.   I have no complaints.  I loved his scene with Sarah,  and the things he witnessed…   have I said wow?

The “B” plot was short and not very distracting.   It was funny how the Buy Morons are so eager to exploit;  and Devon is such a nice sap!  I suppose I could have done without this story,  but it was good for a few laughs.  And obviously we’re setting something up.   What is on the computer?   Will Ellie become an Intersect?  Or does the computer just contain the key to restoring it in Chuck?

This is now officially my favorite season.  Many of you know I was a huge S2 fan,  and I always will be.  That’s when I first became completely hooked on this show.  But S4 is becoming what I always wanted the show to be.   (um,   I do reserve the right to change my mind if they do something stupid!   But I’m feeling pretty good right now that won’t happen).

Ernie’s lame attempt at instant reactions.

I don’t do instant well apparently.

Don’t think, react.  But I can’t help thinking that this is Chuck firing on all cylinders.  We have amazing drama, romance, action and yes, comedy, in both the A and B plots.  I’m a little blown away.  When Chuck works at it’s best, and this is an example, it works on every level.

And I can’t shake the feeling that the writers and TPTB have been reading a few blogs and some fanfic lately.

OK, so off the top, the funniest and most disturbing use of the Buy More crew so far.  Lester might not have been the right choice, and  Awesome’s sacrifice is on par with Sarah’s.  OK, maybe more.

I will not mention the Hero’s Journey.  I will not mention the Hero’s Journey.  OK,  I fold.  Sarah is on it this season, and it’s on steroids.  But that is stewing about in the left brain, we’re doing right brain tonight.

So here’s the thing.  My first reaction.  Great episode.  Why?  Great drama, romance, action.  The Chuck dream scenes were maybe a bit long, but I understand.

Nope, I don’t do first reaction well.  Everything I want to react to brings up several new trains of thought that I want to explore at length.  So I’ll close.

Loved it.  Great on virtually every level.  Yvonne, what can you say.  We all wanted to see a Sarah meltdown, not out of malice, but because the meltdown lets you see the person.  And it was … moving and illuminating.

Chuck got beat up, but fared well.  He’s more clever than we thought.  It’s pretty clear he brought up uncomfortable discussions with your sleeping partner, then reaped the benefits of faking it (sleeping that is).  He was gonna rock Sarah’s world, and god bless him for it.  And now, we the fans know it’s coming, and like Sarah, are on the edge of our seats waiting to see how he pulls it off.

But here’s the thing.  Chuck is a smart guy.  He knew he was in a dream every time someone asked him to flash.  His answer was always “I can’t, and you know that”, because the people who knew him, and knew of the intersect knew that fact, and others like Lester and perhaps Ellie would not know what flash meant, and Chuck would know he was in a dream.  He only knew Sarah was real when she didn’t ask him to flash, but talked about them, Chuck and Sarah.  So, could Chuck flash, or did he choose not to?  Chuck is after all, a hero.

– Ernie

Faith/Jem’s emotional goo illustration – aka instant reaction

It wasn’t that long ago that Chuck told Sarah, and us…”prepare to be heart-warmed.” Tonight’s Chuck should have had these words as a disclaimer: tour de force of poignancy.

Every moment an emotional pull, every scene a testament to the growth, love and sentimentality that have grown in between our favorite characters, and every reveal a win. And on a night where the stakes were as high as it could get, so did the depth of their emotional connection. They made a distinction towards the end between Sarah Walker, the agent and Sarah Walker, the girlfriend that just…blew me away. More on this later.

I’m not going to lie, I cried buckets. I’m a self-avowed cry baby, but this…this had the tear-jerker aspect of Terms of Endearment, the triumph of Christopher Reeve’s Superman movies, the romance of Love Story…with a happy ending of Disney.

He’s going to propose! He’s going to propose! Ok I just had to get that out there. The “plan” was a stroke of genius. Who else but Chuck would bring it all back to the beach where they ended their first date, had their first “real” conversation and basically fell in love? Who else but Chuck would have this wholly involved, step-by-step plan that showcases how deeply he feels and how much she is loved?

There was a moment in this episode where it dawned on me just how lucky Chuck is. To have her, to have his friends, his family and you know, he totally deserves it. They are who they are because of Chuck. As Sarah made clear later on.

Speaking of Sarah, my favorite topic, or as I will henceforth refer to (not really lol) as the Sarah Walker chronicles. I was floored from “I’m different without Chuck” days ago but I’m all the more prostrate at the openness she exhibited in this one episode, in that one powerful scene. Yvonne Strahovski is a fantastic actor. She channeled all the necessary panic, love and hope that was needed in that one scene and she added strength to it. And if you consider the fact that she basically had to say these lines twice, on two different context complete with its own set of emoting, it’s all the more impressive. It’s the perfect combination that was exactly what was needed in perhaps the most revealing scene Sarah Walker has ever been on in Chuck. Morgan, I will never question your issues of boundaries again because you, you got her to reveal herself to Chuck and it was a sight that brought me down to my knees.

“Chuck please, come on.”

“Tell him what you told me, before…he’ll hear that I know it. This is your chance. Don’t be Sarah Walker the spy, be Sarah Walker, the girlfriend.”

“Chuck please, I love you. Please wake up (voice breaks). I have so much I want to tell you.”

Feel the love

“I found your proposal plan…you were going to do it on the beach in Malibu. Where we watched the sun rise after our first date…Chuck I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I don’t care if you have the intersect or not. Without you, I’m nobody, I’m nothing but a spy. Come back to me, Chuck. I want to marry you.” (Jem’s side note: she did end up proposing, sort of! Yay!)

Sarah Walker isn’t standing with one feet in and one out of the relationship anymore. She hasn’t been since Suitcase’s reveal…but tonight she is all in, and it’s a sight to see. And more importantly Chuck knows that now. I’ve stated several times that these two weren’t ready for marriage, but now they are unequivocally ready for such a milestone. After tonight, bring on the cake (well wedding cake that is). Because she’s not holding back, and neither is he. For the first time in a really long time (if not ever), they’re transparent to one another, honest, revealing.

Some other not so shipper centric noticeable: the fight choreography team IMO outdid themselves here. The fights on Chuck are always tops, but tonight, even without the dual-and thereby coolness aspect of Honeymooners we were shown some fantastic moves and some smooth delivery.

Honorable mention for scene of the night: smelling his shirt. That is so…what a girl in love would do. Well she would wear it and then crawl into bed but that scene was no less powerful and it got better from there.

Final thoughts: Kristin Newman is my new Ali Adler. She continues to put out these fantastic scripts full of imagery and imagination. The dialogue is sharp and the emotion overflowing. The team of Lejudkins still may reign supreme because of seniority and the pure awesomeness of Honeymooners (lol) but Newman is the Ali Adler to their Matt Miller haha.

P.S. How hot was that opening scene. Steamy PDA FTW. Now do it for real, and not in a nightmare 😉 LMAO

Thinklings First Thoughts

Well, I’m not very good at  instant reactions, either. They amounted to “Wow … Um, wow … AH, wow.” Only with my time difference, by the time I finished watching, I didn’t remember how to spell WOW.  So, my truly first thoughts as I dozed off:

Roller!Coaster. You know that frisson of anticipation you get on the long, slow ride to the top of the first peak of a roller-coaster? That’s how I feel all week before Chuck, and this week … best ride eh-ver! … Squee! … Do it again!

Does it seem weird to you that every week I say, no THIS is my favorite Chuck episode? But this week I really mean it … honest. WOW!! Best fights, best romance, funny plot B, mystery lap-top, great Morgan, Amazing! Yvonne … nothing not to like.

At Joe’s suggestion, the rest of my post sleep, fresher thoughts will begin a new post, b/c this one is EXPLODING (his word). So, stay tuned for yet another post where your can put your most excellent comments.


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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223 Responses to Chuck vs. Phase 3 – First Impressions

  1. amyabn says:

    What a kick @ss episode! I loved Morgan in this one-just the right balance for his character. Casey was a great partner and friend. And Yvonne hit it OUT of the park with her performance tonight. Going back to the tivo for another watch. More after I stop squeeing!

  2. Paul says:

    That was pure awesome….nuff said.

  3. jason says:

    seemed practically perfect to me – wow – I well up easily watching tv – I think this one got me 3 times – kept waiting for the other shoe to drop – it never did – geez that was great – at least from my POV

    • joe says:

      Jason, I’m really glad you’re thinking this way. All the while I kept saying to myself “Is this really as exciting as it seems to me?” and “OMG, I *really* believe Sarah!” I didn’t well-up, but I almost had to remember to breathe.

      • jason says:

        my 3 well up point were twice during the sarah shirt scene, the first time with the shirt, the second time with morgan during the big fish line, then during the final sleeping beauty scene with the handsome princess kissing the sleeping nerd to wake him up – my goodness did Yvonne ever move from moment to moment in this episode with grace and aplomb – am I that biased or is she that good at acting????

      • joe says:

        I’m voting that she’s that good, Jason.

        After sleeping on it, I’m more convinced than I was last night that this was Emmy-Award level stuff.

    • bdaddydl says:

      I agree thank goodness the other shoe did not drop. I have already seen this twice. Oh man I cant wait till the left coast sees this…so much to say

    • jason says:

      One last comment, I have used the term ‘sarah the lioness will roar’ many times in anticipation of 4×9. I got that wrong, sarah the lioness implies sarah is protecting her cub – which indeed the show has projected a bit of a motherly protection of chuck by sarah since the pilot.

      But in this episode, Sarah Walker, girlfriend was protecting her mate not her cub, and she protected him with a ferociousness that would scare off any lioness.

      • joe says:

        Interesting notion, Jason, and agree. I would have thought that the difference between protecting her cub and protecting her mate would be due to – Chuck! But apparently not. He didn’t do a thing to change her attitude. It was our perceptions, based on Sarah’s works (and Yvonne’s acting) that changed.

      • Faith says:

        Holy crap that’s it. Thank you for that Jason…that was exactly what it was.

        Sarah saving her mate.

  4. alladinsgenie4u says:

    Come on fellow fans. Start amusing and amazing us (at least me)with your take on the episode. I still have to wait for more than an hour before I get to watch it. 😦

  5. Christian says:


  6. Waverly says:

    Awesome episode.

    I don’t think I want to be Sarah’s boyfriend.

  7. sniderman says:

    I’m fairly certain this episode jumped to the top of every fan’s Top Ten Episodes list. An instant classic.

  8. OldDarth says:

    That was quick. First Fight has been bumped from my all time favorite episode in just two weeks! Wow!

  9. Christian says:

    With or without that knowledge tho, this episode was one of the best episodes of the series. And Yvonne’s performance was by far one of her best and most emotional. I loved this episode. Can’t wait til next week!!

  10. herder says:

    Well, I’m impressed, one of the most intense, exciting episodes in the entire series. Crazy in love Sarah came out in a big way, you definitely don’t want to get between her and her man. Giant blond shemale, Morgan the magnet, does anyone else want to be my boyfriend, your usual Mr Casey so much to like.

    I guess a proposal is back on the table (I like that he was planning to do it at the beach where they went after their first date). Confirmation that Chuck has value even without the intersect.

    Another Orion computer to push the plot along, I wonder what it showed Ellie and Awesome. All that and the return of Mama B and Volkov next week, I can hardly wait.

    • Paul says:

      I think the whole proposal thing isn’t so much that Sarah “accepted” but that she realizes that she’s open to it and Chuck now knows it’s okay to ask her (as opposed to earlier in the season where Sarah was having major anxiety about it). I think this is very much like any serious couple who know a proposal is in the works, but will still wait for the right time.

      • odysszeuss says:

        “I think this is very much like any serious couple who know a proposal is in the works, but will still wait for the right time.”

        serious couple. that they are, now. Jupp!

  11. Tamara Burks says:

    I loved it. I was going give me the next ep NOW!.
    The promo for the next ep makes me think I’m right that Mama B told Ellie the story about the car in order to get her hands on the computer.

    • joe says:

      When I finally get my hands on the S4 DVD I will not be able to watch First Fight without immediately watching Fear of Death, Phase 3 and now I’m sure, Leftovers No way will I be able to stop with just one.

      I can’t tell yet, Tamara, if Mama B was playing Ellie, or if she is playing Volkoff.

      Hey, wait. I just realized, LH is coming back next week! Is it possible that the next episode will be even better???

      • Faith says:

        Hell, the entire season will get worn down within months. Time to get multiple copies.

        Tell your family that you want the same DVD/Blu-ray as backups lol.

  12. 904 says:

    Stellar episode —

    –For those on the lookout for this kind of stuff, it had the most “heated” scene this side of “Colonel” in that bedroom dream sequence.

    –Great directing, great editing. The meshing of dream and reality with the Sarah in the climactic scene was fantastic, as was the Buy More dream sequence. The only comparable episodes I can recall that engaged the senses so well were the dreams from “The Tooth” and the Mr. Roboto scene from “Ring 1”

    –Sarah’s fight sequences were believable, well edited and choreographed. Stahovski did everything well, even the (gratuitous) slow-motion “canteen shower.” I’m not complaining.

    –That hair…

    –Morgan hit all the right notes at the right times. The tone found a near-perfect balance even better than First Fight.

    –I just can’t ignore the skill in the writing and visual crafting of the dream sequences as I recall the jungle escape, Ellie and Awesome asking Chuck to flash, etc. It avoided the cliche and the CGI-heavy tropes.

    • Paul says:

      BTW who wrote this one?

      • joe says:

        Paul, I didn’t write it down, but I didn’t recognize either the writer or the director. I’ll be making a note of it when I re-watch tomorrow morning.

        The writer put in a “knock-knock joke” as a main point. For me, it referenced back to Bryce’s e-mail to Chuck (the Zork game), and showed a real love for the show.

      • herder says:

        The episode was written by Kristin Newman (Coup D’Etat) and directed by Anton Cropper (who). I’ve got to say that I really liked the Morgan/Sarah talk, it hit all the right notes, in fact I thought that this was the best episode for Morgan so far, I loved the line that you’re a pretty big fish. As for the director, I haven’t the faintest clue who he is but he must have some sort of experience in filming fight sequences, as they could not have been easy to choreograph.

        Also the best use of Lester so far this year in the bed/dream sequence, I’d bet money that they had to do several takes to get one without Zach and Yvonne cracking up.

      • First Timer says:

        Written by Kristen Newman. It would be her second script for the show.

        Directed by Anton Cropper, who did a lot of episodes of Monk as director and first assistant director. It’s his first Chuck, I believe.

      • Faith says:

        Kristin Newman has background from That 70s show and How I Met Your Mother. I say her muscle is showing :-D. Great script doesn’t even begin to describe it.

      • thinkling says:

        @Herder: Agree about Lester. It would be fun to see some of those on the extras.

  13. Big Kev says:

    Have been reading just the first line of everyone’s reaction (so I don’t get spoiled!) – and I’m now seriously excited to watch in a few hours later tonight…. Sounds like a classic!

  14. Rick Holy says:

    Let me put it this way. The “highlight” of the year as far as Catholic worship goes (the Mass) is the Easter Vigil which takes place the night before Easter Sunday (Holy Saturday evening). Let’s just say this episode was “the Easter Vigil” of Season 4. OUTSTANDING. If you weren’t a “shipper” (crazy or not, doesn’t matter) before this episode, you’ve GOT TO put yourself SOMEWHERE in that category after it. This is the kind of episode that makes me want MORE! This episode was what “CHUCK” is all about (at least for me).

    • Rick Holy says:

      And by the way, Yvone kicking a** is one of the reasons that I watch CHUCK. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – she has the facial expressions DOWN. Some “girl fights” just come off as phony. Not with Yvonne. Let’s be thankful for however long we have her on CHUCK – however many seasons we get. This woman is definitely going places. The girl can ACT!! They keep talking about a possible Wonder Woman TV series or movie, but they never mention Yvonne. Dye her hair black – and there’s your Wonder Woman!

      • joe says:

        If you check on twitter right now, Fr. Rick, you’ll see about two dozen tweets calling for Yvonne to get an Emmy for this episode.

        She should AT LEAST be nominated, seriously.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Yvonne ROCKS. Because this show is so “underwatched,” she isn’t getting the exposure she deserves. She captures every emotion perfectly. Remember the “break up scene” at the fountain in Season 2? Within a span of about 8 seconds she was able to capture a handful of different emotions perfectly.

    • joe says:

      “We are all shippers now.” 😉

    • atcdave says:

      Agree with every word Rick. The pit match was one awesome fight scene. Even if Yvonne doesn’t get an Emmy, they have to be nominated for the stunt work again.

  15. joe says:

    ATCDave said: its one case where I think our speculation actually enhanced the viewing experience;

    You know, you’re right! And I hadn’t thought of it that way. I’m so use to either being spoiled or spoiling myself that I’ve become a bit jaded about speculations. This time the tension was heightened.

    It’s possible that all the Specs on MamaB are doing that for me too.

    • atcdave says:

      It was funny watching with my wife; I muttered something like “do you think they’ll get to him in time?” and my wife looked at me like I was nuts, “of course they will.” While I’m thinking, “I don’t know, this could get kind of messy.” Funny that.

    • bdaddydl says:

      i had actually moved past this episode. I had been talking with ARMYSFC about this episode, and I thought thies episode wont solve anyhing. I will watch it and really freak out next week.


  16. rac2873 says:

    Rafe Lefrance and Le Judkins wrote this.

  17. luckygirl says:

    Did Morgan say he had to dig a TOOTH out of her ARM…I can’t can’t even…that was such an awesome episode.

  18. Lola says:

    WOW! Great episode!
    I’m off to bed, its 1am here… but… wow! loved it.

  19. luckygirl says:

    I have to say on a shallow note, that picture of Chuck and Sarah on Chuck’s phone was super cute.

  20. JC says:

    I pretty much have to echo everyone else fantastic episode top three easily. My favorite part was that Sarah just didn’t rescue him physically but emotionally too. That’s something I’ve wanted to see for a long time.

    • atcdave says:

      I’m glad you were pleased with how they handled It JC. I know you were as upset as anyone last week, so I was really wondering how you would see this one.

      • JC says:

        Yeah I was a little worried about how things would go down. But they seemed to address a lot of issues with the episode. The scene with Sarah and Morgan was great. They explored Chuck’s insecurities about how Sarah views him and how she never acknowledged or recognized it before.

        Then the ending with both Sarah and Beckman vocalizing Chuck’s worth as a spy without the Intersect.

        My only nitpick, what a missed opportunity for a Bryce Larkin cameo.

      • atcdave says:

        The whole flashback as the memories were deleted bit had me hoping for a lot we didn’t get. Like maybe one brief appearance of a certain hot dog girl coming into the Buy More…

      • JC says:

        A Wienerlicious cameo? I might have fainted. Though I did love the mentions of Graham and Roarke, they do remember previous seasons. 😉

      • atcdave says:

        I liked that too. It would have fun to see so much more, but the episode was packed as it was.

      • JC says:

        Agreed, I thought for sure we would see Bakula but I’m thinking that’s next week.

    • joe says:

      Great point, JC, and a great way of putting it.

  21. joe says:

    Ah, just read your section Ernie, and for the first time, I’m going to say you are unequivocally, completely, 180 deg. WRONG!

    You “do instant” very well! 😉

  22. Anon says:

    The way they go about the marriage reminds me of the end of season 2.

    And the writers themselves brought us here with marriage talk.

    Let’s see where we go from here.

    I’m happy that shippers seemed to love this episode.I’m undecided about it.

  23. bdaddydl says:

    I do not know if editors get awards, but the scene where Sarah is standing over Chuck was…Damn.

    For all the action in this episode, It was the scenes where Sarah wasn’t badass Sarah walker that made the episode for me.

    Also, the castle scene with Chuck and Sarah was as if you were teaching a class on TV. This is how to show chemistry class.

    I know a lot of you think season 1 or 2 was the best, but how can this not already be one of the best ever?

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      For all the action in this episode, It was the scenes where Sarah wasn’t badass Sarah walker that made the episode for me.

      Same here. Her action scenes were great, but her emotional scenes knocked it out of the park.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Amen to that! Yvonne can do it all – and do it all extremely WELL!! This woman needs a good publicist. Hopefully we’ll get that cover of TV Guide in December and a little bit about Zach & Yvonne to read about. CHUCK is really going to be a launching pad for their careers. And we’ll be able to say, “We remember them back when…..”

  24. alladinsgenie4u says:

    To be honest, to use Faith’s term I am kinda floating on air right now. This episode was one of the best. Everything clicked. The action and romance was top notch. Ellie and Awesome were good. And the Buy More sub plot was highly entertaining.

    And the most important thing – we got to see the limitless depth of Sarah’s love for Chuck. It was so heartwarming – and for me,Sarah crying for Chuck to come back to reality – has now replaced Mama B/Ellie scene at the top.

  25. Fake Empire says:

    It has been a very long time since I visited this board and posted. I hope all of you are well. This was an outstanding episode from start to finish, which motivated me to comment on it.

    IMHO, I felt like I saw the return of Sarah’s many dimensions: some of which are protectiveness, “whoop-a$$-ness,” and lovingness. Adding to that was tonight’s theme of desperation. Gosh, YS does an incredible job acting out the many layers of conflict, both internal and external. Admittedly, I am still a “flaming shipper,” and I am beyond glad C&S are together . . . but watching Sarah battle these conflicts and complexeties in this episode reminded me of why I came to enjoy Sarah (and YS) in S1 & S2.

    Great episode – contending w/ Colonel as my favorite.

    • Faith says:

      Nice to see an old friend.A perfect episode top return with. 🙂

    • atcdave says:

      Great to see you back Fake Empire. This kind of finishes off the old S3 hangover for me; this is officially the most excited I’ve ever been for the show.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you and good to see you both! S4 has surpassed my expectations in every way. The new (and sorta-new) writers have done excellent work. I’m glad your S3 hangover has ended atcdave – I think I’m still in denial that there even was an S3! (at least epi’s 1-11) 😉

      • Fake Empire says:

        Ok – rusty due to absence; above post is me. I forgot about the need to re-enter username.

      • jason says:

        dave – proposal ep 4×24 jason guess looks pretty weak right now, daves 4×4 is out the window, what is your guess now? I have no clue, prior to the extension, I would have guessed 4×13 – but heck, even casey knew chuck was proposing, how can TPTB delay for very long now? Linda H seemed to really like 4×10 – maybe? just maybe????

      • herder says:

        So if the beach is now off the radar as the romantic proposal spot as it is no longer a suprise, where is an important place for both of them. My guess is at the fountain, in episode 4.13 with a family heirloom as engagement ring.

      • Faith says:

        Train in Paris?

        That would be a great deviation from all the race cars lol.

      • atcdave says:

        It will certainly be in the front 13. 4.10 looks pretty packed; but I like the sound of “Chuck vs. the Balcony”. For now that’s my best guess. And you all know how well my 4.04 guess worked out!

      • thinkling says:

        Wild guesses:

        The top of the building from the pilot or Marlin.

        Public transpo in Mosscow … b/c he’s an expert

        Castle … in the storage closet

        A gondola in Switzerland, where the air is so fresh and the chocolate … so milky

        A stakeout w/ sizzling shrimp, Champaign, and the fortune cookies stuffed with a special Chuck messages.

      • Faith says:

        In bed just as she gets up because he can’t imagine never doing that for the rest of his life. Sometimes the most spontaneous ones are the best moments.

      • joe says:

        Castle … in the storage closet

        Train in Paris

        Mr. Mustard, in the library with a wrench.

        Oh wait. We’re not playing Clue?

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        For all we know, he may end up proposing to her while on a mission. 🙂

        But I really love the idea about Chuck and Morgan teaming up to plan the perfect proposal for Sarah. I hope TPTB follow this up and come up with some really heartwarming stuff.

      • thinkling says:

        Well, Joe, I don’t have a clue.

        It may take us by surprise the way this one did. Did anybody else see this as a marriage/proposal situation about to happen. I didn’t.

      • atcdave says:

        I like the storage closet!

      • Faith says:

        I am shamelessly going to toot my own horn and say yes lol. This is Chuck we’re talking about here. Roses all over the room seduction, Chuck. He had to have had a plan all along. Not to mention they’re serious and seriously in love.

        And on a not so internal manner—the story tellers have been building up to this all this time.

      • herder says:

        Sarah said to Chuck in the lab “I want to marry you” in front of both Casey and “Mr Discression” Morgan Grimes. The only variable is how long before MGG blurts this out to Awesome and Ellie. The question of the proposal isn’t if, it’s where and when.

      • jason says:

        music has been in 3 romantic scenes, the pilot, the train in 3×13, then chuck’s room in 3×13.

        How about chuck sings a song to sarah in 4×11 on a balcony?

    • amyabn says:

      Welcome back! I agree about the desperation. I likened it to the word “raw” in Thinklings post. Great stuff!

  26. kg says:

    I don’t care about the secrets. It’s Chuck.

  27. Big Kev says:

    Sensational episode. Huge props first up to Kristin Newman. It takes serious writing talent and versatility to pen Coup d’Etat (which was a lighthearted romp) and follow that with a contrasting episode of such emotional intensity.
    To Merritt Yoncka and his stunt team – best fight ever. Brilliantly choreographed and shot. So kudos to a first up director too. Are you sensing a pattern here? 🙂
    And of course a tour de force from Yvonne. From unhinged and on the edge to a woman back in the arms of the man she loves, she nailed every scene and carried the episode.
    Agree with other posters on the inspired use of Lester too.
    Doesn’t quite beat out Subway and Colonel for me – but certainly makes my top 5. What really excites me is the quality of the season since the slowish start….I’m getting the same vibe I got in the run home of Season 2, and I can’t pay the show a higher compliment than that.
    What else? Loved “Mr Casey – your usual?” Perfect timing. Can’t wait to see what’s on the computer and how it brings Ellie front and centre into the story. And Dave’s “proposal by 4.13” is back in the game to rescue his batting average! Wonderful use of Morgan in that scene – showed his growth as much as Sarah’s.
    Only off note for me? Casey’s reference to Graham’s previous use of Sarah. I could buy Sarah as an enforcer, but “unpredictable, wild card” doesn’t square with anything we’ve been told or seen of Sarah’s spy personality pre-Chuck.
    But hey, a very minor quibble – my only one for one of the best episodes of the series.

    • jason says:

      kev – I struggle with a top 3, since I really, really enjoyed the pilot, the delorean knocks my socks off, and I think honeymooners will continue to be #1 for the duration of the series. So I struggle with what to do with this one – it probably knocks the delorean out and moves into #2 –

      interestingly as big of a shipper as I am, the colonel is not a fav of mine, probably ranks about 10 or 12 – the non-consumation of the relationship seems more angsty and a shell game move than romantic.

      There was no shell game going on here, all the cards are on the table & both players are all in. I don’t know how TPTB can keep the card game going until 4×24 without a proposal now – interesting.

      • Big Kev says:

        Proposal definitely by 4.13 for my money and I so hope they bring Jack Burton back in the second half to give the parental seal of approval. I loved DeLorean too – before Dalton and Hamilton, Gary Cole and John
        Laroquette were my picks as best guests.
        Interesting view re Colonel. I loved it because the emotions from all of the team were so real (Inc Casey) and I do tend to love the end of season episodes where they play out themes that have percolated over many episodes. They always have a sense of urgency and momentum that earlier episodes can lack.
        Dave reckons I’m not a shipper. I say he’s wrong and I can prove it because First Date also makes my top five 🙂 The Pilot is the other choice for me. Still possibly the best pilot I’ve seen for any show.
        But back to this ep – Sarah Walker in with both feet and fists flying…..fantastic!! Volkoff may be a chilling operator but at some point this season he’s going to have to face off against Sarah, MamaB and Ellie all protecting what they love. I can’t wait to see that!

      • atcdave says:

        Hey Kev I seriously meant no offense in calling you a non-‘shipper! I based it only on your ability to like episodes independent of the Chuck/Sarah relationship. You certainly have the right to tell me different! And I’m pleased by your enthusiasm with this one.
        I do agree Kev about the comment about “old Sarah.” It doesn’t mesh with how I’ve viewed her character. I can easily believe she used to be colder, and more likely to put mission/career ahead of other considerations. But going back to S1 we have Chuck telling Carina “Sarah’s not like that” and Carina concedes the point. So I’m thinking the truth is probably not as harsh as Casey’s assessment. But regardless, Sarah has changed a great deal from her time with Chuck; including a great deal just recently.

        Jason not enthusing over Colonel amuses me. We may have to strip you your ‘shipper credentials! I agonize over whether I like Colonel or Honeymooners better. Recently I’ve been leaning more towards Honeymooners, but that’s mainly because of the damage done to Colonel by S3.

    • joe says:

      I rather liked the reference to Sarah as “Graham’s reckless enforcer”, Kev. Somehow it seemed to fit right into a half-formed concept that I had from the beginning.

      It’s like this: From the pilot, Sarah is talking to Graham on her cell and is almost pulled from the mission. She describes Casey as a burn out, and she angry says, about what Bryce has done “I can *fix* this,” with no thought to the consequences. As for Chuck, “Piece of cake.”

      The way she handled Casey’s men in the dance-hall certainly qualifies as “enforcement”, and she way she drove backwards with Chuck in the car certainly was “reckless”. IOW, I had a lightbulb-turning-on situation.

      • amyabn says:

        Maybe “enforcer” was really supposed to be a reference to her being Graham’s go to gal as opposed to a physical enforcer, although she’s good at that too.

    • Faith says:

      I would go with the evolution of Sarah Walker as a spy, as my explanation for the “enforcer” reveal.

      Keep in mind that she wasn’t always externally motivated (in terms of saving the world), she grew up internally motivated, as in just staying alive. I think it’s plausible there could have been a point in time before she understood what being a spy means (which she subsequently taught Chuck) where she was a wildcard. I’m thinking sometime right after she got recruited. All that rage and youth.

      • Big Kev says:

        Excellent point. It will be interesting to see if they revisit the reference in any Sarah backstory epidodes. From a writing and storytelling point of view I guess I would much rather have been shown that history rather than told it, because I think it is a significant departure from what we’ve been led to believe.

    • armySFC says:

      @ Big Kev
      i semi agree with the enforcer thing but here is why i shy away from it. Unless they plan on completely changing Sarah’s back story this late in the show I don’t see her as Grahm’s enforcer. We know from ep 3.13 that her red test was 5 years ago meaning it happened in 05. We also know that she was partnered with Bryce once she became a spy for 2 years until 2007 when she met chuck. During that time she was on several long missions with Bryce as well as personal trips. It seems unlikely to me that Grahm would have an enforcer that was always tied up in long term missions. I’m sure she may have been used in a pinch. The writers can spin it however they want, but the evidence that is out there now tells me different. just my opinion.

      • Big Kev says:

        I hadn’t thought about it in terms of timelines and previous assignments, but you’re absolutely right. Long term deep cover and enforcer dont seem to fit.

      • JC says:

        I think we see with the inconsistencies in both Sarah and Casey’s backstories that they were never planned out. We did have a few writers try and give Sarah depth, the fans latched onto those brief glimpses. And now TPTB might not want to go that route but its too late for a lot of fans.

      • atcdave says:

        Some of what we’re seeing is just normal with changing writers. The new ones aren’t necessarily enthused about what’s been done in the past. In many ways they are simply stuck with it, in other ways we may see some moments that don’t quite track true with what came before. I would consider this a minor issue; they are really trying to drive home the point that Chuck has changed Sarah, so exaggerating where she started may be one way of making the point.

        And I do believe it was intended from the beginning that Chuck was Sarah’s route to the sort of love and family she never would have known in her previous life.

      • JC says:

        Dave I didn’t mean to imply that Chuck’s love wasn’t always intended as a way for Sarah to rediscovery herself. But the line reminded me of comparing Sarah to Heather Chandler a way of darkening up her past that didn’t really fit with what we’ve been shown before.

        And I’m really taking it as a throwaway line for now. If we get a flashback that turns her into a female Casey than yeah I’ll have a problem.

      • atcdave says:

        Agree entirely JC.

      • thinkling says:

        It could be somewhat true, but exaggerated or misunderstood, like the French diplomats/assassins. I can see someone viewing Sarah as a wildcard and unpredictable, depending on their set of expectations. She’s always been a bit of a wildcard when it came to protecting Chuck.

        I blame Graham for a lot of whatever Sarah was that she didn’t like. And whatever that was, I don’t think she ever lost her moral compass. Otherwise, nothing wouldn’t have bothered her.

      • Paul says:

        The line referencing Sarah’s pre-Chuck professional reputation didn’t bother me at all. We know Sarah did some pretty unsavory things back then. We’ve been given enough clues and hints as to what dark deeds she is capable of. So, for me, that line (amont others) was merely a confirmation of how much she has changed becaues of Chuck. And I believe that was how it was intended to be seen. It really doesn’t matter what she did back then, because she is different now….and everyone knows it. In a way, Grahan dying had set Sarah free to follow this path.

      • jason says:

        I still think the ‘graham’s enforcer’ line was a setup to the epic line that came a few minutes later – ‘you’re right, i remember what I was like before chuck – and I don’t like it’ – so the graham line was not meant to be mythology or canon, simply a set up.

      • atcdave says:

        I mostly agree Jason, and that was an awesome line. To me, the set up doesn’t quite track with the Sarah who fought to protect Chuck from the bunker in Pilot, who Carina admitted was not a ruthless careerist in Wookie, or sobbed in Other Guy that she always wanted to be a “good spy”. I’m considering it not too big a deal; after all, she was ruthless and scary efficient so it’s easy to see how Casey could have not liked the ace problem solver from a rival agency much. And as you say, the point is how different she is with Chuck.

    • JC says:

      I get the that Sarah as an “unpredictable, wild card” doesn’t really fit with what we’ve seen pre Chuck but that was just Casey’s opinion of her. Of course they could have been referring to her time with Bryce who did come off that way.

      I’ll withhold judgment on the line until we get a Sarah flashback episode.

  28. sd says:

    After this episode, who doesn’t want an episode on Sarah’s back story? Why did Casey call her not only Graham’s enforcer but wild card? Certainly, we haven’t seen her act as a wild card–unless Chuck is involved–so, there must be a lot more to explore with that statement.

    I have not been able to see all S4 maybe Chuck’s perceived worth to Sarah as it relates to his ablity to flash as the interesect has been explored in more depth…it just seemed a bit forced as an emotional “driver.” I mean, in past seasons we’ve had Beckman propose Chuck continue spy work without the intersect…which he turned down at the time.

    I love the episode’s way to address the national health care crisis…trading computer knowledge for prostate exams and a colonoscopy.

    I always thought a proposal would come on the beach they sat after their first date…I guess the writers thought it obvious too and using that as part of “Chuck’s wake-up” means we will be surprised when a proposal does come.

    And don’t you find it interesting that Sarah kept using the word boyfriend on her search…and “shared” her love for Chuck with the Thai official she was trained in more than 200 ways to kill?

    The fight scene was epic even with the “really, c’mon now” canteen moment.

    And I have to say, Morgan continues to impress–how he came between Casey and Sarah to cool down the moment and how he gave Sarah the “wake-up” she needed about Chuck’s insecurities…”you know, you are a big fish…” Imho, I think she didn’t “get it” until that point because she has always considered Chuck the big fish and her unworthy.

    Just some thoughts before I watch the ep again

    • jason says:

      I thought the ‘big fish’ comment was really a lucid description of sarah from chuck and morgan’s POV – I agree sarah did not get that in the past, chuck is her ‘big fish’ – there is more than one thai male that now knows not to get a big fish angry, especially during mating season – speaking of mating season or a biological clock – tic tic -I thought the guy getting interrogated played his role really well, and sarah responded really well

      • atcdave says:

        The interrogation scene was great, and almost lost in such a strong episode. And yeah, I think the Thai spy may have learned a lesson about teasing an already angry lioness.

      • Paul says:

        I think back to First Date with Sarah’s line “what about me?” I always thought it was partly Sarah egging him on to give her a compliment, but I also thought she really never saw herself as anything special. Or at least anything that Chuck couldn’t have gotten with anyways.

    • amyabn says:

      I think the wild card comment could either refer to a Sarah we haven’t seen yet (maybe while partnered with Bryce)or the fact that Sarah was willing to break protocol for Chuck. Just spitballing here. I’ll write more tonight if I have time, but I rewatched and I’m still floored!

      • thinkling says:

        When you look at the interrogation scene, that’s enough of a definition of ‘enforcer and wild card.’ We’re OK with it, b/c it was for Chuck, and the Thai guy was a bad guy. And she didn’t kill him.

        So, is that the sort of stuff she did for Graham sometimes? I don’t know if I want a detailed definition. It’s enough for me to know that it always did bother her, and that Chuck pulled her out of it, made her different.

      • atcdave says:

        I’d buy that entirely.

    • herder says:

      To my mind there were two crucial scenes, the first her scene with Morgan in the bedroom (a sentence I thought I’d never type), not just the big fish bit which was great but Morgan’s line “…and Chuck knows that because you’ve told him…”. The look on Sarah’s face, where the cost of her inability to talk about things comes crashing down on her.

      That gets bookened with the scene in the lab, “…Chuck come back to me, I have so much I want to tell you…”. She’s giving him the one part of herself that she had always held back. The fear of losing Chuck has changed her.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Spot on, herder. Spot on. I’ve got high hopes for these last episodes leading to the end of the “original 13” order.

      • sd says:

        Agreed, Herder.

        Now do you think Morgan said that to Sarah b/c he’s a better communicator and just assumed…or did he say that to Sarah b/c he knew she hadn’t told Chuck and wanted her to know how important communication is?

        Didn’t think I would ever be analyzing Morgan’s motivations.

      • herder says:

        sd, I think that Morgan is a bit of an idiot savant with regards to emotional currents. He tends to blurt out uncomfortable truths, usually about Chuck but also about others too. In turn he is oblivious with regard to his own emotional state.

      • DaveB says:

        Yeah, I love that look on her face when she realized that she hadn’t told him, at least not in so many words.

      • joe says:

        Excellent thought, Herder! In all the excitement of last night’s reax, I almost forgot how pivotal that scene with Morgan and Sarah was.

        And you’re absolutely right about Morgan too – he’s the emotional “idiot savant.” I think Chuck’s always known that, too.

      • bdaddydl says:

        @Joe there is something to be said for a episdoe with this many spot on performances the scene with Sarah and Morgan is just a scene we forgot about. would have been the best in a mere mortals show.

      • herder says:

        To appreciate the way that Sarah felt when Morgan made his point, start with last week’s “…but you’re not a spy…”. Sarah knew that she had hurt Chuck, that she caused him to go and try to be a spy, to put himself in danger. It was important to him to be a spy but not to her, because that’s not the way she sees him.

        When Morgan makes his point and she realizes that she never told Chuck why she loves him, she realizes that not only did she push his buttons about not being a spy but that she added to his anxiety by not being open with him when he was at his low over losing the intersect.

        She realizes that she has let him down twice, once by poking his weak spot by saying he wasn’t a spy and earlier by not easing the weak spot by explaining why that wasn’t an issue for her. It’s after this that terminator Sarah emerges, the Sarah version of the drugged Chuck from Tic Tac.

      • Faith says:

        Well said Herder.

        And it forced her to be as open and as revealing as she has ever been. Granted it had to take for Chuck to lose it all (quite literally) but it was no less powerful and in some ways fitting.

    • DaveB says:

      I think that after her red test, she might have gone a little over the deep end in terms of blooding. Ashamed at her bit of buck fever, she went overboard in the other direction and became a killer. Casey’s reaction to her was interesting, because he was essentially calling her out with the same concept that she was naming him, a burned out killer.

      • Big Kev says:

        That was why the comment felt off to me, Dave. I think the intent has always been to contrast Casey, the trained trigger man, the professional killer, with Sarah, the agent who kills only when she has to. That contrast was made explicit in the Pilot and has been consistently highlighted since – so to move away from it now struck a false note for me.
        That said, Casey has implied once or twice before that he and Sarah have similar attitudes, so the intent may be to draw attention to how Casey’s view of Sarah differs in some respects from our view.

      • Paul says:

        Kev, I thnk the difference between Casey and Sarah initially was Casey enjoyed what he did and Sarah necessarily didn’t. But she WAS a trained efficient killer.

      • Big Kev says:

        You’re right Paul – and I could definitely buy Sarah as an enforcer – but I don’t see where unpredictable wildcard comes from given what we’ve been told of Sarah pre-Chuck. It’s a Carina description to me, not a Sarah description. But in the context of such a fabulous episode, it’s a nitpick.

      • luckygirl says:

        Sarah did have some missions with Carina if I remember Wookie correctly and I think Casey was there or participated or something. Maybe she had some wild days with Carina.

      • DaveB says:

        I think it would be interesting to revisit the red test, and a little of a Sarah that was well paired with Carina. I have a feeling that Bryce directed some of her more insane energies, and that is the Sarah Walker that Casey was referring to.

      • atcdave says:

        I also think we’re seeing a bit of a retcon here. Sarah the “wild card” doesn’t really mesh that well with what we actually saw early in S1. Maybe only in the sense she wasn’t entirely by the book. But then, that part of her character hasn’t exactly changed either.

        However it was meant, she was clearly not the thug/cleaner Casey was.

      • JC says:

        Well remember what Casey said was his opinion of how she was. He was never too fond of CIA agents until Sarah.

        It could just be a throwaway line, we should probably wait till we get a Sarah flashback before calling it retcon.

      • atcdave says:

        I suppose you’re right JC. I just hope they don’t expect us to unlearn what we knew from the beginning!

      • JC says:

        If the line meant comparing her to Carina or Bryce then I can see that completely. Those two don’t weren’t by the book spies. If they try and twist it into something else well we have a problem.

        I think I’ve been here long enough that if it’s a retcon you know I’ll be screaming bloody murder.

      • jason says:

        I thought casey’s comment about graham’s wildcard enforcer was in there more to set up sarah’s later epic line – ‘you were right, I’m different without chuck, and I don’t like it’

    • thinkling says:

      I agree completely. I think Sarah was floored that Chuck thought of her as a big fish.

      They’re each just now seeing each other through each other’s eyes. Bout time.

  29. Anon says:

    Remember what Mr.Charles said about Mrs.Charles? “She is a tigress.”

    Sarah attacking people and the castle scene at the end of the episode really showed us the tigress.

    I don’t think anyone in Thailand would imagine Sarah to behave like that 😛

  30. First Timer says:

    I’ll keep my opinions to myself since it’s clear I am in the very small minority of people who didn’t find this a particularly epic episode.

    But can I raise this (I think) important point: Why are we suddenly in the “react…don’t think” mode?

    Doesn’t this blog exist (and, in fact, the entire Chuck fandom exist) because we DO want to think? Haven’t Chuck fans traditionally believed the show was worthy of some thinking and cogitating. That Chuck wasn’t all just nerves and emotions and action scenes and superficial reactions?

    Instant impressions are important, of course. And Chuck is just a television show at the end of the day. But why the rush to ONLY “react”? Why the command to “don’t think”?

    It’s almost as if we DO take a moment to think, everyone’s concerned that we won’t be as thrilled or taken with developments or the episode.

    Why the rush (or the need) to proclaim this “best episode ever” or “top five?”

    • amyabn says:

      @FT, I’ll take the liberty to reply and say that Joe’s tag line was meant as humorous. We tried the roundtable last week, with our usual reaction thread. We just switched it back (sort of).
      This was the immediate gut reaction to the episode. My personal MO is to watch live, post a quick reaction, and go back to watch it again to digest more. I try to post something more pithy than my usual “WOW” or “it was awesome” because it is my impression, not my full analysis.

      Please feel free to add your perspectives as they are welcome. And for those who have moved it up on their personal faves list, well, it’s personal choice, so live and let live I say! 🙂

      • First Timer says:

        Doesn’t matter now, really. The news of the ratings is much more dire than anything about the episode. Based solely on the good Sunday night NBC had (great ratings for football and a long game), I’d expected the ratings to go up just because some more Neilsen Family TVs were still tuned to NBC.

        This rating plunge, in sweeps month, sort of casts a pall on anything else I might quibble with. Because there may not be that many episodes left to quibble with now…

    • Rick Holy says:

      I think much of the “thinking” is actually taking place in the minds of the fans WHILE they are watching the show. Remember, most Chuck fans – especially those on blogs like these – have watched past episodes NUMEROUS times. It’s not like, Hmm. Let me try to remember what that episode was like back in Season 1. The “recall” is pretty much there because the episode has probably been seen 10 times previously.

      In this particular episode, there wasn’t alot to have to think about because what was good could be discrened at least imho rather quickly. The conversation between Sarah and Morgan in the bedroom. Sarah’s show of emotions on a level not previously seen. And of course the action and comedy elements that blended in.

      There ARE more CHUCK episodes that are more complex and perhaps require more time to chew over and think about. I just don’t think this was one of them. Let’s be honest, when we feel an episode is a clinker (or clunker), we say it. And when we think one excels, we express that, too.

      Just look back at S3. Most (though not all) did not care for the direction of the show, the excesive use of one character (Shaw), upping the angst factor between Chuck and Sarah, etc., etc. [I won’t rehash all of that].

      I just think that Chuck fans know what they see when they see it, and although first impressions aren’t always correct, usually – even after thinking more about it – they are (kind of like that old addage on multiple choice exams in school. Pick the first answer you think is right).

      Appreciate your insight into thinking or having more in depth conversations before proclaiming an episode among one of the best. I just think this episode was so obviously “right up there” that at least for the majority of the fans (or at least the majority of the fans on this blog) they “knew it” right away.

      And I DO also share you concern about the ratings, but all in all a 1.7 isn’t much different than a 2.0. If we start slowly inching up again, we should be in good shape. If we start slipping – and, heaven forbid – dropping to 1.5 or below, then it’s time to put on the worry hats.

      That’s all from me. And before I foget. A Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to everybody! Keep on Chuckin’!! We’ve been down before – we’ll bounce back. Keep emailing, Facebooking, tweeting, etc., promos for next week. With “Sarah Connor” and “James Bond,” this should HOPEFULLY be an excellent episode – and perhaps have an uptick in the ratings. Fingers crossed.

      • atcdave says:

        And have no doubt we will pick this episode apart in the coming week. And everything will be examined during the hiatus. We just thought would be fun to go with gut reactions, especially after such an intense episode!

      • steph says:

        thanks for the rally cry, rick! yes, most fans i know are just as you described. i’m already breaking the show down into act breaks, favorite moments, details of continuity and bad ass moments even on a first watch!

    • amyabn says:

      great minds post at the same time!

    • SWnerd says:

      Don’t even try to understand the viewing choices of the mindless masses. It will only make your head hurt.

      • Rick Holy says:

        DWTS is in the finals. That’s what hurt CHUCK the most. Compared to Chuck’s season high of 2.0, it’s only a drop of 15% – that’s not really that bad against a DWTS finals. It will bounce back up.

        Truthfully, I’m not worried. NBC knows what kind of ratings CHUCK is going to get on Monday nights – and it’s still doing equal or better than “The Event” which is costing NBC alot of money in promotion as well as production in comparison to CHUCK.

        CHUCK will get a fifth season even if it stays only in the 1.5-2.0 range. What else is NBC going to put against DWTS that is as cheap to produce as CHUCK? Another dopey game show? That will be lucky to draw half of CHUCK’s ratings.

        Monday night at 8/7 central is brutal, plain and simple.

        Don’t stop spreading the word – and don’t stop supporting CHUCK in all the other ways that make a difference – “re-viewing on HULU and NBC.COM – MULTIPLE TIMES!,” buying the S1-S3 DVDs (Hey, it’s Christmas coming up), SUBWAY!!!!!!, the CHUCK store stuff at

        Yes it would be better to have higher ratings, and they will ultimately inch back up.

      • joe says:

        That’s the kind of optimism the fans need right now, Fr. Rick. Thanks. I also think you’re right. There’s been a controversy over Bristol Palin this week (up to and including bomb threats, I hear). I doubt it actually *hurt* their ratings.

        I also want to remind everyone about Reward TV. That won’t hurt with the advertisers either.

    • atcdave says:

      The numbers are depressing; but really, its only a .1 drop from a week ago (assuming we get the same .1 bump in the finals) and it was up against the DWTS final. Which has been ALL OVER the entertainment media I might add. I don’t know what NBC is thinking, but I only consider this a minor disappointment.

      • beti says:

        oops I think numbers don´t count.. let`s face it how many ppl like me must download chuck from the net!!

      • atcdave says:

        The numbers do still matter to the network, it determines how much they can charge for advertising which directly affects the revenue stream.
        But you are right that the numbers don’t matter as much as they used to because of streaming, downloads, and disc sales. I believe Chuck is still doing well enough. And it’s a cheap show in a hard slot. But higher numbers are always better, and if the network ever decides they can replace Chuck with something that will do better, they will.

  31. amyabn says:

    Bad news folks: first ratings numbers are out and Chuck went down again this week. 1.7/4 and 4.8 million viewers. I just don’t get it! They have been steadily improving this whole season imho(talking quality here) and the numbers are going in the wrong direction. I have truly been entertained and have enjoyed this season.


    • jason says:

      @amy / faith – ratings lag performance. I would have to think there are about .5M ‘soft’ Nielson fans who are giving this season a chance and liked the chuck lite show, but are losing their faith as the show is getting heavier. In the past, heavier has always meant an illogical separation of CS, this season it has not (yet), but with how transparent and silly beckman and rob riddle rye were in 4.8, some of those old feelings had to surface, lets hope they all get word of 4.9 and quickly come back, and that the show is able to sustain both those .5M as well as attract a few new ones with some optimistic holiday promo work.

      plus dwts is nearing the end and jennfier grey is the best guest star they ever will have – finally the event was 1.7/4 – so chuck no longer is getting any help from there

      • amyabn says:

        I guess the whole thing irritates me because I still (in my market) see Chase and The Event plugged endlessly and next to nothing for Chuck. NBC believed in it enough to give it a back 11 yet fails to invest in its success.

        I don’t know how else to get it into the minds of the masses, but as SWNerd points out, I fail to understand the folks out there who enjoy “reality” tv.

    • JC says:

      It’s probably lots of reasons. The one week break after an extremely strong episode, coming back with one of weaker episodes, MNF, DWTS nearing the finale and the holiday season. Kinda a recipe for ratings disaster.

      • Anon says:

        Let’s hope after the break nbc will air promos for the show.Or the new schedule will give room to shine.

        I had heard something about the cape airing after Chuck or something.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        @Anon – I have the same hope regarding promos during the hiatus. It would be cool if they did made some joint Chuck/Chase promos and really promote the hell out of them.

    • jason says:

      the last time I posted something like this, both a series of interviews came out as well as EPK’s – but if a week ever needed some ‘special’ promo work, this would be the week, no DWTS, a great episode to pull from, and a dalton / hamilton episode.

      Although I admittedly am biased, I think the key to a rally back over the break is a very shipper friendly spot to end on – too bad, 4×9’s end would have been perfect really?

    • armySFC says:

      @amyabn Here’s my take on the ratings drop. for me each show has two types of viewers. The hard core viewer who will watch the show no matter how bad it gets and the fringe viewer who enjoys the show but will tune out when the show doesn’t entertain them. these are the the fans that are leaving. As for why? here is my theory. Chuck was sold and bought by us as a show about a man with an intersect stuck in his brain. That makes him a unique character on TV or even in the movies. episode 4.07 had a rating of 2.0, 4.08 had a rating of 1.8 now this weeks 1.7/4. in 4.07 the intersect got messed up again.

      since episode 3.9 (to include it) 20 episodes of Chuck have aired. in 8 of them the intersect has failed to work properly, that’s 40 percent of the shows. i think that at the end of 4.07 the fringe viewer said not this again and left, causing the drop in ratings for 4.08. 4.08 stunk and did not resolve the issue causing more fringe viewers to leave, so it dropped ratings for 4.09 which is a shame because of how good 4.09 was. will it be enough to bring rating up? i have no idea. what i do think is if they keep the intersect from working for very much longer rating will continue to drop. the intersect is what makes Chuck and the show unique. you can find the equivalent of Casey and Sarah on several shows that are currently airing, that type of character is not special, Chuck’s character is. with out the intersect Chuck is just another show with no unique characters. just my take.

      • atcdave says:

        I think DWTS is the main issue now. We’ll see if ratings can creep back up in the winter. I haven’t encountered one single casual viewer who is unhappy with show right now. I just think we were buried by an avalanche of publicity for Dancing; most households have multiple viewers, if someone in the home “has to” see the dancing hoopla, a “casual” Chuck viewer, by definition, will not put up much of a fight for their show.

      • armySFC says:

        @ atcdave i have and I’m one of them. That’s why i can make comments like this. I got my son and his college friends interested in Chuck over a year ago. He called me after 4.07 and said dad not his again. his group of 6-8 kids no longer watch the show. they are all in the demographics for the show. granted its a small sample to go by, but if it happens else where it adds up. the main reason for people switching to another show whether it’s DWTS or CBS it still says the same thing. chuck is not strong enough to hold it’s fringe viewers or they would not have left to watch DWTS or anything else. i agree fully on the casual fans comment you made as well. i have seen other posts on this site saying that the intersect not working is getting stale. but atcdave if you can answer this for me i would be happy. you have been on this site and posting for a while. would you classify most of the posters here as casual fans, die hard fans or some where in between. thanks!

      • atcdave says:

        Oh we’re the die hard lunatic fringe. It’s very hard for us to relate to casual viewing attitudes. The comment you made about your son is interesting and a little unexpected to me, not at all what the casual viewers I know are saying. But it’s obvious something is going or our numbers wouldn’t slipping. I still think we’ll see some improvement over the winter. Obviously if we don’t, it will be the end of the show.

      • armySFC says:

        @atcdave well your talking to one now. i started watching from the first episode of the series. i was good till season 3 and i left for most of it when i got tired of the way the show was going. then i came back and have watched every episode ever since. overall i am happy with the show in general. but i began watching the show and stayed with it because of how the intersect is different. the relationship is a plus for me but not the main reason i watch the show. as you can guess the reason i left during season 3 was the mind numbing angst the was present in almost every show. now like i said in my first post, the intersect not working for 40 percent of the last 20 eps is getting old and tired for me. so you now have the opinion of a casual fan. if this continues on much longer i will leave again and this time not come back. the last eps have Chuck reverting back to his old self maybe even worse. i don’t remember Chuck acting like he did in 4.08, clueless. he may have been scared but he came through with out the intersect on many occasions. now he can’t do that. unlike the die hard fan i will take my viewing else where. but i do hope they can get viewers to come back. because while i am a casual fan i do like the show.

      • joe says:

        Army, there’s a lot of truth in what you say, of course. But it’s also a bit of a tautology.

        I guess I’ve more than outed myself as a romantic dreamer, amateur philosopher and literary critic. But those things have never been all that interesting to me. It’s just that I’ve seen enough, read enough and even thought enough now about such thing as to see the value. Finally.

        It doesn’t surprise me at all that the college-age demographic wants to see more Intersect when to me that’s one of the least interesting aspects of the show. For me, it *is* the family, the loyalty, Chuck’s struggles to “do the right thing”, Sarah’s struggles to be a human being and of course, the romance ™ that are endlessly fascinating.

        Chuck probably failed to reach it’s intended demographic. Not surprising – these are bigger concepts than most shows deal with (as are the Christian values that underpin them). The younger end of that “desired demo” is hardly ready for them. I’m hoping that they actually gave up on that mission intentionally, and decided to entertain *my* demo for as long as they could anyway.

      • armySFC says:

        @ Joe i can see you point of view and understand how you feel. i agree they may have failed to reach the younger end of the demographics but at the same time i think they may have chased some of them away with the show getting away from the sci-fi angle and going to the romantic family interaction show. as atcdave said there is something wrong right now that is causing the viewers to turn away. whether it’s DWTS or something else they need to fix it or it will be all over for the show. i am just giving my opinion on what will need to change to keep me interested in the show.

      • joe says:

        Oh, absolutely, Army. And I’m glad you did. I believe you’re right, too – it’s a big part of the ratings decline.

        I’m just saying that ATM, I’m resigned to it, and not particularly upset, either. It’s going to end sometime, after all. After this week’s episode, I’m grateful for every hour we get to see.

        The other aspect is NBCs travails. Even with the low ratings I don’t think it’s a given that Chuck won’t be renewed. They have so little in the works, after all. I guess it’s a commentary on the general low quality of TV; people are NOT watching other shows so much as turning the tube off.

        Call me a communist, but no matter what happens I won’t be tuning into “Iron Chef”, “DWTS” or even “American Idol”.

      • thinkling says:

        Unfortunately they used their “Intersect malfunction” credits on the misery arc and a really lame reason for its malfunction. Or at least they rode that reason into the ground and then beat it long after it was dead.

        Now they have a really cool, legitimate, mythology-linked reason that it’s not working, one I could have lots of patience with, had they not “flogged the dead horse” so extensively last season.

        It’s not like they haven’t taken away Clark’s powers over and over again, ad nauseam. And he acts pretty ridiculous without them sometimes, too. Unfortunately the ghost of season past still haunts.

      • armySFC says:

        @ Joe i watch 4 shows every week. Bones, Castle, 2.5 men and Chuck. if they aren’t on the TV is off. the one thing that could not hurt is for them to promote it better. but in their defense this is the first time in a while they have started the viewing season at the beginning and not after the winter break. you are correct also about the low ratings may not mean the end of the show. i think that the new show cape is it? will help chuck. from what i have seen and heard about it, it relates more to the type of fans chuck targets vs the event, which was so screwed up i left after the first ep. the one thing in the shows favor is that if they reach the 100 ep mark they can syndicate it. which would continue to make them money for a long time.

      • atcdave says:

        I guess I really agree with Joe here (hey, that doesn’t happen often!), the Interesect itself has really never interested me much. I watch for the adventure, the family/friends themes, and just generally a fun time. I also agree with Thinkling it’s a shame if loosing the Intersect isn’t working for many fans because it’s already been overdone. If Army SFC is right about what’s turning off younger viewers, that ought to be an easy fix.

      • armySFC says:

        @ thinkling. i could not agree more. that’s why i hope it ends this week and doesn’t last over the break. i am really curious as to how they will end it and if gives chuck any additional goodies.

      • thinkling says:

        I think they will Army. They’ve played out all the efforts to jump-start it, and they’ve put him in about the worst danger possible. Sarah has saved him epically. It’s over. They either leave him without it, which they won’t do. It’s not the heart of the story, but it is the vehicle.

        So I say next week we get it back WITH extra goodies.

      • JC says:

        I have to admit I’m torn on this issue in many ways.

        I love the mythology of the show and personally I think the spy stuff is at its best when dealing with it. But like armySFC pointed out before this the third time we’ve had Chuck losing the Intersect in less than a year.

        FOD might have been the first time I’ve disliked Chuck having the 2.0. I loved they gave Chuck the ability to defend himself but it had one draw back .It seemed like everyone forgot Chuck’s natural spy instincts and the fact the CIA planned on recruiting him.

        If they were going down the same path of having an Intersectless Chuck I had hoped we’d get Sarah and Casey training him. Because other than the physical defense side Chuck is a world class spy. His natural instincts and aptitude are amazing and its something you’d think the government would want to groom. I disappointed we didn’t get that.

        I guess I’m in the minority in thinking Chuck won’t be able to flash till Balcony. I have no doubt that Ellie has the fix with Orion Computer but she said it herself. If its spy related keep it away from Chuck. Its the MO of this show, try and protect the person you love by keeping them in the dark. Chuck didn’t tell her he’s a spy again to protect her and she won’t tell him about the computer for the same reasons. Everything will come out at the end of the episode.

      • armySFC says:

        @ JC i am hoping that she shows it to sarah or casey because it is spy related because she knows about them. they would then of course show it to chuck. but i agree with some other posters, that the computer has information from here dad that makes her accept that chuck needs to be a spy because he is unique and she finally lets him go out on his own knowing he doesn’t need her to protect him anymore. that he is a grown man now and not the little kid she made the promise to protect. of course a great twist would be for mama b to give it to chuck.

      • atcdave says:

        Given what we know about the story for Leftovers I don’t think it would be too much of a leap for Ellie to figure out at some point Chuck needs the Intersect for them all to survive the day. Pure bonus if she figures out Chuck can do a lot of good in the world.

      • thinkling says:

        She was pretty quick to ask him to do some spy stuff in CG.

        I wonder if the laptop has some footage of his awesomeness and a little of his Intersect history. Maybe an explanation of Bryce and Stanford. Maybe footage of the end of First Fight.

        It was PapaB that made her promise to take care of Chuck. Maybe in the laptop he is releasing her from that promise.

        I know some people talk about Ellie being Intersected. I personally hope not. Somebody in the family needs to be “normal.” In on the secret, yes. Part of it somehow (neurology, maybe), yes. But not another Intersect or spy.

      • armySFC says:

        @atcdave i would love to see that. that would clear up two arcs at the same time. the intersect loss and the ellie not knowing about chuck. that would make me very happy and set me up waiting for a return to the show after the break. i just hope they don’t have a crazy cliff hanger.

      • atcdave says:

        Agree about the cliffhanger Army; although a pure action/story based cliffie isn’t too bad, as long as we’re done with the over-wrought angst (and I do believe we are).

        Thinking I mostly agree about Ellie and the Intersect. Although I might enjoy a short term EllieIntersect if it were played just for laughs.

      • JC says:


        I agree that the computer will make Ellie accept Chuck being a spy. I’m calling another Bakula voice over or video and that’s what she saw at the end of FOD.

        My own spec is that her and Devon will seem clueless to whats going on but it’ll be an act. And over the course of the episode lots of Bartowski dirty laundry will come out and she’ll finally accept Chuck as a spy.

        I’m expecting a scene similar to Living Dead. With Ellie accepting Chuck’s choice of being a spy and using her skills to help get the Intersect working again. That’s why I don’t think he’ll be flashing again till Balcony.

      • herder says:

        How about the computer starts with footage of Chuck, Sarah, Casey, Bryce and Papa B saving her wedding day as an intro to an explanation of the life Chuck has to live. Not going to happen but it would be cool.

      • thinkling says:

        Very cool, Herder. Orion was tapped into a lot of feeds, so who knows. “… or I’ll kill the bride.” “Fulcrum wants Chuck here dead, no matter what.” Yeah. Not gonna happen, but it would be great.

        I almost looks like the laptop has its own rechargeable energy source which means it could be auto updating all the time.

        I also bet that somewhere on there is the information to prove MEB’s innocence … if indeed she is.

      • Paul says:

        Honestly, I don’t see it being a content issue as a format issue. The target demo is LESS likely to watch live and use alternate means to watch.

      • armySFC says:

        @ Paul
        excuse me if i sound confused so maybe you could explain to me what you mean. why would any network put on a show that caters to people that are LESS likely to watch a show live? from what i understand the higher the rating the more they can charge for advertising thus the more money the network makes. which means they can put more money into the show. so why would they target an age group that wont generate the the most income. which is the live TV advertising. that’s why i am confused and need help.

      • Paul says:

        SFC, the core idea of my theory has been kicked around the forums alot. The the crux of the problem is that the Neilsen rating system is obsolete. It does not really reflect what is really going on with viewership. Applied to Chuck, it means that the core demo they are shooting for (18-34yo males) don’t really watch TV anymore for their shows, but rely on other methods….mainly the internet or DVR. And Neilsen ratings DON’T take that into account.

        Further, while we may loose a few folks here and there (as reflected by teh slight slip in ratings), the overall viewership has not really changed a whole lot. So the question is, are they leaving the show because the “content sucks” or are they merely deferring watching to do other stuff, THEN watch the show on DVR, via the internet, etc. Or are there OTHER factors happening (midterms, holiday travel, pre-emption due to weather, local events, etc). It is way to simplistic to say the the drop in ratings is content related.

  32. JC says:

    So what did Ellie and Devon see on the laptop? My guess is a message from Orion that explains their family connection to the spy world. And a detailed plan on how to fix the Intersect. I think Stephen will spill it all in the message.

    So in Leftovers Ellie and Devon will be acting completely clueless to what’s going on but it’ll be all an act.

    • thinkling says:

      There’s an interesting twist. I wonder if the laptop will be the object of their quest.

      Whatever was on there, it didn’t take them long to react.

      I can’t wait, but it’s a better holding spot than last week.

      • beti says:

        I´m dying to know what`s in the laptop.. !! first I tought ellie and awsome the new intersect?.. I hope not.. and obviously I`m sure Chuck is going to flash again b/c if orion will know this thing will remove the intersect he will used it in season 2..

      • thinkling says:

        if orion will know this thing will remove the intersect he will used it in season 2..

        Good catch. You’re the first person I know of to mention that.

  33. odysszeuss says:


    • odysszeuss says:

      That was so awesome and intense…

    • Faith says:

      Best reaction ever! Lol.

    • atcdave says:

      Don’t mince words, what did you really think.

    • odysszeuss says:

      I just had to re watch that episode immediately. Don’t know I did that ever before. The French Song to the beginning?!? Wasn’t that great??? Morgan “Daddy” Grimes!? Beckman had nothing and her face therafter, GREAT!? I INSIST!?! AFRAID JET!?! NO I NEED CHUCK!?! Dr. Müller (at least one person who speaks slowly and distinctly, yeah ;-)!?! Giant Sarah coming out of the water, trying to catch one of the running small and tiny enemy’s. So So So many good use of the whole cast. I had to ff the whole buymore and Elli plot. It never was better. But the Sarah Story really was epic…
      If you reading this you have to sound it in Dr.Müllers voice…

  34. Lola says:

    I’m re watching the ep (awesome episode!) and I have a doubt. Maybe they said it and I didn’t catch it b/c English is not my native language, but: How did Morgan find the intel on the Thai guy from the embassy?
    Can someone help my here pls??
    Thanks guys!!!

  35. Lola says:

    grrr… now I really, really want to know what’s in the computerrrr!!!!
    Well… at least it’s almost wednesday, so 5 days left 🙂

    • thinkling says:

      Me too. However, I’m not as on edge as I have been for the lead up to the past, um, 4 episodes.

      Chuck & Sarah are in a very good place, and the tease leading into next week doesn’t have quite the anxious cliffhanger-y feel to it as past episodes.

      I’m taking a much needed breather, savoring what we’ve had and really looking forward to what’s to come.

      • beti says:

        Happy it`s wednesday but.. i think episode 10 is the last in 2010!! with this intensity I won`t last ´till january without going nuts !! OK DON´T FREAK OUT!!

      • Lola says:

        I enjoyed this eps a lot! And Iam going a little crazy thinking that we won’t have another new episode until January.

        But I have to admit, beeing almost thursday means: the weekend is around the corner!! iupyyy!

        Happy Thanksgiving for all of you in the US and enjoy your extended weekend!

  36. Robert H says:

    Great episode. A shame about the ratings But maybe
    there were a lot of recordings for viewing later this week and hopefully a lot of repeat viewings on
    Hula and in the view day plus 7 category to
    boost ratings. The interview with Bush hurt the
    continuity of the uptick in ratings. I’d like to
    know what the ratings were for that stupid interview. NBC doesn’t promote the show, then orders
    a back 11, but then doesn’t push it during the November sweeps. Its continuing mismanagement and
    incompetence insures a major housecleaning by Comcast when the takeover is complete.

    As far as the episode went, it was great. The only slight negative I see is that she had to rescue him again and he could not function on his own without
    the intersect. Whether or not there will be blowback
    on this between them in the upcoming episodes we’ll
    have to wait and see but we’re not that far from episode 13 anyway. Maybe it will quietly be laid to rest.

    And would that be all bad anyway? Sarah demonstrated
    beyond the shadow of any doubt that she loves him and that love is unconditional. He knows this now.
    Beckman has indicated a place will be found for him
    without the intersect, assuming its loss is permanent. Chuck seems to think he is still a “spy”
    which I found somewhat amusing. Sarah wisely kept her mouth shut this time on the subject. She was just happy to get “her Chuck” back. Well, why not?

    It will be interesting to see how all of this eventually plays out but let’s just enjoy the moment
    and sort the details out later.

    Wonder what NBC will do with the show after the December hiatus? I’ve got a bad feeling thy’re going
    to do what NBC has become famous for-NOTHING. They
    will probably leave it in that awful Monday night
    time slot or do something worse-move it to Friday
    or Saturday night, the kiss of death. I guess nothing to do except wait and find out. the prospects for a 5th season seem less and less.

    Once again, a shame about the ratings. One of the best episodes ever done.

    • wax_eagle says:

      As far as what NBC will do with Chuck in January, they have already announced it will stay in its time slot and be followed by the Cape for a couple of weeks until the Event returns.

    • atcdave says:

      With DWTS out of the way for a while, I expect ratings to rebound some. All things considered, Chuck is still in better shape than other NBC shows (Event now has the same numbers as Chuck, and costs significantly more).

  37. Merve says:

    That was a fun episode of Sarah, but I’m looking forward to the return of Chuck next week, hopefully with a smarter, more useful, less neurotic version of the title character.

  38. Chuck604 says:

    Great episode! Definitely in my top 3 episodes since the beginning of the show. Love the fact that Sarah felt so vulnerable that Chuck was gone, but at the same time she turned that vulnerability into an unstoppable motivation to save Chuck. She realized the way Chuck made her act and feel more profoundly than ever before. I liked that fact that she conveyed her feeling to Morgan, Casey and ultimately to Chuck, bringing him back from the brink of mind melting oblivion. Can’t wait for next week.

  39. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs Phase Three (4.09) | Chuck This

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