Reason To Hope


Like Chuck at its best, Chuck Versus the Balcony brought some of everything to the party. The Intersect brought its flashing best in action mode, and TeamB brought their trademark banter and teamwork. Libations of laughter flowed freely, and the Buymorons served up their usual shenanigans. Chuck & Sarah revealed the tender, giving nature of their love; demonstrated the lengths they will go for each other; and drew back the curtain on some of their most romantic moments. Not to be outdone, the CIA brought the drama, dressed to the nine’s in their evening assault-attire.

Did you notice all the doubles in this episode? I started to name the post “On the Double,” because there were two of almost everything … and because one good Danny Kaye reference deserves another. There was only one balcony, but there was double of almost everything else. Double Intersect action. Double missions. Double headsets. Double nano chips. Double double-agents. Double proposals to the double power. Double double-cross. Double trouble. And in the end we’re brought to the bittersweet reality that double the pleasure sometimes means double the pain.

The episode left many fans with mixed feelings. Well, duh. There was some pretty heavy stuff in there: tough decisions made in light of grave realities, self sacrificing love on the heels of euphoric romance, Chuck & Sarah’s love about to be tested and their future in the balance. Don’t despair. Don’t crumple under the weight. There was so much to enjoy in this episode, and frankly a lot of reason to hope.


When I was little and my daddy used to tuck me in, he would always ask, “What’s the nicest thing that happened today?” There’s a lot of wisdom in that. So, I’m going to start with the nicest things, the best things that happened in Chuck Versus the Balcony.

Action. While not action heavy like Best Friend or Ring, the Intersect action was some of the best, especially the wine balancing and wall bouncing. Their ride off the balcony was fun, a call back to Anniversary, perhaps. Always a good idea to bring the chutes repelling gear.

Comedy. I smiled a lot in Balcony, and I laughed a lot, too. OK, the first aborted proposal was way over-the-top, as Sarah so innocently and cluelessly pointed out. In trying to ease his mind, she set in motion Chuck’s frantic attempt to abort the mission, without her knowing it, as well as the elfin footman’s futile efforts to recover his balloons. Chuck’s relief at news of a mission mirrored Sarah’s relief over the cancellation of the romantic Moroccan mission.

The laughs got better as the mission wore on. Casey as Agent Bartowski’s personal man-servant was hilarious from start to bloody finish: “Rghh, Colonel in the Marine Corp demoted to man servant for a nerd;” Sarah and Chuck’s facial expressions; Chuck’s abuse of the situation; and some fitting retribution that, alas, we will probably never witness. Sarah’s tipsy (and deadly) flirtations never fail to entertain me. I especially enjoy the change in her demeanor as she cold conks the enchanted victim. Chuck’s scramble to find the nano chip made me chuckle, especially the look on his face when the one wine bottle he was tracking disappeared into a sea of people with dozens of bobbing wine bottles. The homage to Danny Kaye’s Court Jester was a nice touch.

The funniest scene by far, though, was the Morgan/Sarah scene, with call backs to similar hilarious scenes from Living Dead and First Fight. At least Morgan no longer cowers behind a riot shield, but he does quickly put the desk between him and Sarah, because as she reminds him, she is someone deadly. I loved Sarah’s takeover of the mission, her motivation (which I was pleased to note, included herself), and the way she pulled it off. Besides the humor I like the nascent rapport between Morgan and Sarah … sort of a best-friend-in-law thing. Morgan is gentle, but honest. He gives her the Intel that she is so anxious to gain … insight into the sides of Chuck that Morgan knows and she hasn’t quite figured out. Chuck is a lucky guy to be the center of their good-will conspiracy.

And speaking of the Bearded Sage, he was in good form in balcony. He encouraged Chuck, kept him prepared (the ring, the mints and the … tide sticks?), did his homework, and gave Chuck some pretty savvy advice on picking the spot. He was helpful in the first double mission, but he was at his bearded best as the Double Agent with the dueling headsets, handling the double mission and the sub-mission’s double proposal. That would be Chuck’s proposal … that Sarah was running … so that Chuck could give her the proposal of her dreams.

Romance/Relationship. Chuck really shines in this episode, once you know where to look. I’m not talking about the return of his confidence as a spy, though that was a welcome change. I mean the guy who wants to make Sarah happy, who wants to wipe the slate clean of every bad memory and replace them with something amazing and romantic. This time the mishugaas isn’t about Chuck’s usual insecurities and neuroses. It’s all about his love for Sarah and wanting to give her what she deserves. This is the guy who went dumpster diving for Ellie’s ring; whose one demand of the CIA was a romantic evening for his sister and brother-in-law; and the guy who spent the better part of a year’s paycheck to give his sister her dream wedding. I forgive him his nervousness, because of the intent of his love … well, that and he was proposing, after all.

Is it just me or is Sarah … different? She’s seems so much more comfortable with love and real life, since Phase 3. She’s relaxed and able to enjoy the moment, from the intimate dinner to the views in the Loire Valley. Did you ever think you would see Sarah Walker pause to enjoy a sunset … during a mission? Sarah was a delight to watch in this episode. It’s not unusual for Chuck to go on about things (the Swiss air and the milky chocolate), so Chuck’s enthusing is no surprise, “Is this place amazing or what. It feels so…” But when Sarah gets all wistful and finishes his sentence, “Romantic … I knowww,” then enjoys a kiss … well, I didn’t know which to do first, pick up my jaw or smack the silly grin off my face.

A couple of years ago, Chuck warned her that if she wasn’t careful she might actually turn into a real girl, one day. And sure enough, not only is she a real girl, she’s a woman in love, complete with butterflies. O course, Sarah has loved Chuck fiercely and been in love with him for a long time, but she’s never abandoned herself to the luxury of being a woman in love.

Sarah’s mood sets the romantic tone for the episode. The best of the four proposals, the one that would have been the real deal had the CIA not dropped in to make an arrest, nears the top of my list of Chuck’s most romantic moments. Why? For starters, it’s a proposal, and proposals are romantic (well, except for Lester’s … Run, Jinsanah, run). Second, it’s a very romantic setting, not that bus stations and holding cells won’t get the job done (they will, and Casey’s advice was timely and true), but if a girl had her choice … Well, give me the full moon over a French chateau, any day. Third, Chuck’s words. He finally found his voice and spoke from his heart. Fourth, Sarah’s mood … her first-time butterflies and her complete readiness for the question that not too long ago, she didn’t think she could even process. Finally and mostly, I love this proposal because of the focus of each on the other. For Chuck, it’s all about Sarah. For Sarah it’s all about Chuck. He wants to give her happiness and the proposal of her dreams. She wants to give him that pleasure because it means so much to him to do this for her. It doesn’t get any better than that, leaving out the CIA’s unwelcome appearance and abysmal timing, of course.

As Sarah is hauled away under protest, the mood evaporates and the moon’s magic disappears … and with it my joyful anticipation. Robbed. Anyone else besides me feel robbed?


Tough Decisions Made In Light Of Grave Realities. Sarah told Beckman that she was willing to do anything in her power to bring back Chuck’s mother and eliminate Volkoff and his organization. What’s behind her decision? The immediate context is Chuck’s concern for his family and friends. Let’s add some more context to give us perspective. Last time MamaB was with them, Sarah saw a clear picture of her situation and began to sympathize with her in a way that few people could. After Mary saved Sarah’s life, gratitude joined sympathy and kinship was born. Add to that the fact that Mary is Sarah’s future mother-in-law, which means that Sarah’s love for Chuck radiates to his mom as well. That in itself is probably not enough for her to make this decision. But all of this is set against the dark backdrop of looming danger. Volkoff knows everything about them: where they live, where their base is, their names, that Ellie is pregnant. How long can Mary hold the madman at bay? This is basically a hostage situation. Volkoff holds hostage all that Sarah holds dear: Chuck, their future, and her new family. Every minute that Volkoff is free, they are all at risk. If someone doesn’t stop him, constant danger and probable death are the guaranteed outcome for everyone she loves, especially Chuck. Sarah could never live with herself if her own inaction resulted in harm to Chuck or his family. That is the grave reality that tore this decision from Sarah’s heart.

Self Sacrificing Love On The Heels Of Euphoric Romance. Picture Sarah on the balcony as Chuck proposes. Now picture her in the holding cell. I don’t see a woman chomping at the bit to go on a mission. I see a woman with a heavy heart. This is the most heart wrenching scene of Chuck … ever. At the same time, Sarah’s love has never been more powerful, not even in Phase 3. From her statement, “They’re not taking me, Chuck. I’m going,” I infer that she could have refused the mission. She doesn’t. She relinquishes everything, entrusts it to Chuck for safe keeping, and descends into a darkness she abhors in order to rescue her family and buy back her future. The crushing sadness of the moment is mitigated only by the strength of her sacrificial love.


Binary Solution. Think binary weapon, a weapon formed by combining two components, which by themselves are harmless, but when joined together become deadly. Now think Agent Frost and Agent Sarah Walker. Mary has 20 years worth of Intel, Volkoff’s trust, and access to his entire organization. She is a major intelligence asset, but cut off from outside help, she hasn’t been able to complete her mission. The CIA has the muscle, but they don’t have the Intel. Working independently they have been harmless to Volkoff. Sarah, the CIA’s finest, because of her relationship to Charles Carmichael, son of Orion, both of whom Volkoff despises, is automatically a person of interest to Volkoff. Because of her bond with Frost, she has an instant ally on the inside. She has the entire CIA and TeamB to back her up. All of that plus her background and skills make her uniquely qualified for this mission. Something tells me that the world’s most dangerous arms dealer won’t be able to withstand the binary weapon that’s headed his way.

Love and Redemption. Season 4 has painstakingly laid a foundation of hope for this very moment, building on 2 well established themes of Chuck, love and redemption.

Looking back over the growth of Chuck & Sarah’s love from day one to the present, we see a love that has cleared obstacles, endured trials, and weathered storms. Their love in Balcony is strong, mature, and more confident than at any previous time. It is strong enough to bear the weight of trials to come.

Sarah’s story is one of redemption. (Ernie recently elaborated on this topic in his post about clean slates, where I have more to say on the subject than I will here.) Sarah’s redemption is our basis for hoping.

Chuck’s love redeemed Sarah, bought her back from a loveless life of cons and covers. He gave her a clean slate. In relationship with Chuck, Sarah grows and becomes the whole, emotionally mature, vulnerable woman we see in Balcony. The proposal, or Sarah’s knowledge that Chuck was indeed going to propose, is not just a romantic moment. The proposal brings her redemption full circle. Chuck not only redeemed her from her loveless past, he wants to keep her. It’s not only real; it’s forever. The woman who walked out onto the balcony to help Chuck get through the proposal he so wanted to give her … that woman is confident in the love that redeemed her and in the woman she has become because of it. At this point in the story, the redeemed becomes the redeemer.

What does that mean? It means we’re back to her sacrificial love. It means she lays aside the beauty of her new life, her newfound vulnerability, and the woman-in-love persona. She puts on the old-Sarah persona for just a little while longer. Because she was redeemed from that world, she is the one who must go back, in order to rescue Chuck’s mother, to buy back her future, and to secure the safety of her family. Her test will be to free the hostages without becoming captive to that world again herself.

Why will she succeed? Because she’s not the same person she was before. This genius season lays it out for us. The old Sarah had no sense of home and a poorly developed sense of self. She was anchor-less. She didn’t have anyone in her life that cared about her. All that has changed. She’s different with Chuck. She has a home, a real life and a future, something to lose and someone to fight for. She is anchored in a love that is strong enough to hold her. That my friend is reason to hope.


About thinkling

In my [younger] youth, I was a math teacher, basketball coach, and computer programmer. In 1984, we moved to Brazil, where we serve as missionaries. I like to design things and build things, read things and write things. We now live part-time in Brazil, part-time in the US. Love them both. Wife, 37 yrs; mom, 30 yrs. I am blessed.
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144 Responses to Reason To Hope

  1. Gringo Chuck Fan says:

    Fantastic summary! – I’ve been hearing rumblings that some in the Chucknaverse were not so thrilled… but I think you caught the right tone and flavour. What did you think of Sarah’s story about her mothers family restaurant? Wow – finally a peek into the ‘Walker’ world!
    I’ve been wondering what ‘ Head Space’ Chuck has been in lately…
    He’s been puzzled about whether his mother is good or bad …
    and Volkoff is in Love with his Mom…
    He’s been stumped trying to create the perfect moment to pop the question…
    He got slammed pretty good by his brother-in-law
    about spying again…
    He’s been lying to his sister [ all season]…
    Doesn’t add up to much to be positive about –
    but I think he needs to pull himself together quickly!
    Can’t wait to watch 12 and 13… too bad its not going to be an extended double episode night.

    • thinkling says:

      Thanks, Gringo.

      I loved Sarah’s reference to her mom and her family restaurant. It came out so easily. Sarah is truly at home, isn’t she?

      I think we’ll see Chuck return. He has been off his game, but he was much better in Balcony than, say, FOD. I’m hopeful that all things Chuck will return to their e**c best.

      I know. I really wish it was a double header.

  2. atcDave says:

    In keeping with theme of redemption, that is pretty much how I feel about this episode too. I think on first viewing I was disappointed and sad by the end, which caused it to drop considerably in my esteem. After a couple subsequent viewings, it has come up a bit. I still think it starts slow, and Chuck’s first proposal attempt is so over the top its painful to watch. But what’s good in this episode is outstanding.
    It is good to see Chuck back in professional spy mode here; he even shifts between nerdy Chuck and cool Carmichael as needed during the mission. He seems to have little fear about flashing on command and is generally as capable as we’ve ever seen. Sarah is wonderful in multiple scenes; and I’d say Yvonne shows as much depth and range in this episode as she ever has (I’d still call Phase 3 a more powerful performance).

    The toughest part of this episode is the painful ending. As we were discussing elsewhere here today, I think we’re seeing a deliberate effort by TPTB to leak enough information to lighten the mood. Even as we see a tearful Sarah escorted away from Chuck, we’ve already seen the previews of her happily sneaking back to Castle. I have mixed feelings if they’ve given away too much, but clearly they want no S3 repeats. We already know the separation will be fairly short duration, at least in terms of screen time. That makes it so much easier to just enjoy the story to come, instead of worrying about another long and depressing misery arc.
    I think they came into S4 with a very good game plan. And we’ve been reaping the benefits since September.

    • thinkling says:

      Yeah, I have to agree about Yvonne. I think Phase 3 seems like a more powerful performance because the tone is so desperate and emotional all the way through. In Balcony, she plays the woman in love (and the tipsy damsel in distress). Not until the end does she have such emotional stuff. But she covers the range, and the nuances are brilliant.

  3. jason says:

    @think – robbed – yep – I am pretty sure that is why the feelings were mixed about 4×11, not because of anything bad about it, but because if this ep had played thru to its romantic fruition by simply adding another 2 or 3 words, including a yes from sarah and a kiss, pick up the girl, kiss her passionatelyas he carries her to his room, and cut

    this ep would have been a 2nd best in show type ep for the shipperiest of the shippers (I don’t think they can ever beat honeymooners) – so robbed is a great term – for some reason that was the proposal I wanted to see – now I may have hope for a great one, but little faith

    I wish I did not have to hope, I wish I had faith that the show will deliver in 4×12 and beyond, but since I have an oath of charity I can say nothing bad about how the show is going to proceed so, I will join thinkling on her hopeful watch & commend all those who indeed already have refound their faith!

    • thinkling says:

      Love your vow of charity, Jason. How’re you holding up? 😉

    • atcDave says:

      Jason I do sort of agree about the robbed part. As I said back on Monday night I think the time has passed on when the proposal can even be most satisfying. Sort of in the same way wt/wt became very damaging to the show and characters after Colonel. They do seem to push things too far.

      But I agree with the idea of being more charitable about it. To me, it is a far smaller issue than what our complaints were in S3. So while I’m not thrilled with that aspect of their pacing; the show is otherwise a lot of fun, so I’m okay with enjoying the ride.

      • thinkling says:

        I am loving S4. Everyone knows that. I agree with you, though, that they are dangerously close to dampening the experience by the never-resolving proposal arc. I can’t (or shouldn’t) express how disappointed I will be if Chuck & Sarah are not engaged or married by the end of 4.13. Nor can I imagine that an engagement-less 4.13 could be considered the best 10 minutes of Chuck ever (unless it happens in 4.12, of course).

        That’s my rant, and I’m sticking to it.

      • atcDave says:

        Agree 100% Thinkling.

      • uplink2 says:

        Though I agree with you about for it really to be the best 10 minutes the engagement needs to happen but I was discussing this elsewhere and a couple of points come to mind. Zach’s comments about it would not have been said unless he was absolutely certain it was going to happen and the only way to do that is by it already being shot or he had read the script. It was said before the had started shooting 4.16 so that means it happens by 4.15 at the latest. I’m ok with that as it is Carina’s return and on Valentines day. I’m hoping for a great moment for each Sarah and Chuck one on one with Carina. That would be something special.

        The other reason I think it may be pushed out of 13 is that 13 does not air in February sweeps. They start Feb 3 and you know in TV weddings, babies and proposals all come during a ratings book. Especially one as anticipated as this one. No 4.15 times out perfectly for the middle of sweeps and it being Valentines Day. What better day to have a proposal in TV land.

      • atcDave says:

        Agree with most of your reasoning uplink. The only reason I still expect and hope sooner is that they also said they hadn’t changed anything in the front 13 because they didn’t have time to rework the stories.

        That makes me think they will end 4.13 with an engagement (or wedding). That and all the “best 10 minutes ever” talk. They have to know a huge chunk of the fan base will never agree if the long teased engagement doesn’t happen.

      • uplink2 says:

        4.14 synopsis pretty much ends this discussion. So it better be in 4.15

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t get it. Why does that end the discussion? Don’t engaged/married couples still discuss future plans?

      • uplink2 says:

        Oh if I am being an optimist it means that but this is TPTB and it was supposedly “decelerated” after the back 11 pickup. So my realistic side sees no engagement in 4.13.

      • atcDave says:

        It certainly could have been pushed back. I think that would be a bad plan; but I’m on record as saying anything after 4.04 is a bad plan….

      • thinkling says:

        Dave, this is the quote I’m thinking of:

        “You’ll see a lot of storylines coming to fruition” in the next three episodes, star Zachary Levi tells Zap2it. “The back 11 pickup was so late that there wasn’t really a way to massage that in.”

        If that means that they weren’t able to change anything at all, them I agree, it’ll have to happen. It sounds like things will be resolved, but it’s not clear as crystal.

        Is that the reference you’re thinking of?

      • atcDave says:

        Yes Thinkling that is exactly the quote I was thinking of. Of course, like everything we’re discussing it is all speculation. But I still expect an engagement (or better) in 4.13 (just like I’ve been expecting one almost every week all season…)

      • thinkling says:

        Dave, I can’t define “a lot” of story lines, without including the engagement. There’s MamaB/Volkoff, baby Awesome, and C/S. Those are the main ones. I suppose “a lot” could be hyperbole for one or two.

        Agree that “at odds over future plans” doesn’t rule out 4.13 engagement. In fact there is a much broader range of plans after the engagement and even more after the marriage.

      • armysfc says:

        i think dave was right all those times he said they would get engaged in 4.11. when they got the extra episodes they pushed it back. i believe that just before sarah got arrested she was supposed to say yes and it got cut. that scene was pretty short. it can easily be moved to another episode and made to fit. they set the stage for a short heart felt proposal when chuck was talking to casey.

        the same goes for adding it later. maybe tptb decided to add it to the most dramatic episode in chuck. cut a bit of jeffster and add the proposal. easy fix script wise i would think. it would be pushed back but not by a lot. tbh the longer it drags out the less i care. for me they are already married and just need the paper to prove it.

        as for sweeps it depends on your view i guess. will a proposal that’s been on the table for a while draw more fans than the climatic ending of an arc that has the best villain ever? who holds the entire bartowski family future in his hands.

        a wedding i can see as equal but a proposal. also take into account the demographics they target males between 19-49. up to age 30 (my guess) action beats romance. so you move the engagement to an episode loaded with action and the final results are the best moments on chuck.

        uplink, not to offend you but what couple discusses when and how they get engaged? they have already passed that hurdle. they want to get married and were a hares breath from being engaged. as others have said there are tons of things couples need to plan out for their future.

      • Katsumaro says:

        To add to this talk about the synopsis and ‘future plans’ — gotta remember; there’s tons of planning for weddings, and maybe they’d be at odds about where to have the wedding? Who to invite (may see if they can get Sarah’s dad there, etc), and all that. I don’t see how they’d go from Sarah taking over the engagement plan with Morgan to her being opposed all the sudden, unless it’s coming from Chuck’s side.. and I don’t see how that’s possible considering the mission Sarah is going through for him.

        Heck, I doubt it has anything to do with the “Seduction” part, mainly because for some reason, I think that’s all about Roan.

        Still.. while the words ‘future plans’ could mean that the engagement still hasn’t happened, it’s just as possible that it did happen and it’s all wedding ‘future plan’ talk. That’s my thoughts anyway..

      • jason says:

        fedak answered a proposal timing ? earlier this month with something like ‘it’s not when you think’ – pretty clear now, that meant later not sooner, for those thinking it has to be in 4×13, I have been warning you all season, that this won’t come easy for TPTB, they don’t want to get them engaged, because they don’t want to get them married, because they view that as the end of the show –

        so when the extra eps came, the first thought was delay, the 2nd thought was seduction mission (sorry everyone, sarah is going to seduce), the next thought was kat club, the next thought was brunette – near anyone can see a pattern there – right?

        I am trying to show patience and understanding for TPTB, I think they underestimate what they created, and how strongly the fan base would embrace the happy couple approach to the show (th problem is Yvonne simply sell’s the ‘i love chuck’ thing too well, such that when something to the contrary is written, it is somewhat repulsive), I honestly do not think that show is ever going to be written, maybe an ep here or there, but I think chuck will be handwringing for every increasingly manufactured reasons right up to the alter and the “I do’ finish.

      • herder says:

        Jason, I agree that Sarah will have to seduce, when I don’t know except that I think that it is sometime in the next three episodes. But seductions can be handled in many ways, angsty like Von Hayes or in Beefcake or for laughs like in Seduction or Suburbs.

        If they go to seduction again and I think they do, even if it is Sarah doing it if she gets so far and realizes that she has lost the inner coldness to be able to do it properly it could be more of a french farce (think some sweaty guy chasing her around a hotel room) than an emotional wringer.

      • Rac2873 says:

        Oh I wish I could believe Zach 100% but he lied about Linda staying on after 4.13. So he could be lying about the fact they had did not change the first arc.

      • atcDave says:

        RAC we don’t know that it was a lie. He really may not have known when the interview was given.

        I’m really hoping they didn’t mess with this front arc too much.

      • armysfc says:

        jason etal, here is the quote about the engagement, “When should we expect the epic proposal that seems to be coming?” But I think I can make a good guess at that.

        Your guess might not be as good as you think.

        here’s my take. it could mean two things. one the actual time or two the epic part. it may just be a heart felt one like on the balcony. we already know it got moved just not how far. and the epic one seems to have failed. many fans feel cheated by the fact the last and IMHO best one got stopped. i read several boards and blogs so its not just here.

        i think they can drag it out as long as they want and make it work if they quit teasing the viewer each week. to me thats just bad tv.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        @Herder and Jason

        I am guessing that the seduction scenario for Sarah will come in 4×13. Remember, a while back there was an interview with Yvonne conducted by Pop Magazine – Issue 17 [ – go to page 42] The interviewer while starting the article mentions that he just saw an incredible fight scene in a hotel room with Yvonne dressed in “little more than underwear” and a “rigging system bound to confuse a sailor”. The article also mentions that the interview takes place a day after Phase 3 aired. And I believe filming for 4×14 started in the first week of December. Most probably the scene mentioned above is for 4×13. What say?

      • atcDave says:

        Army I do think you’re right about it could have been dragged out; but they’ve already dragged it too far. If they don’t seal the deal people will start getting grumpy. I still don’t see an S3 like melt down, but people will start getting unhappy.

      • armysfc says:

        genie at this point in time anything is possible. it could be from an earlier episode. maybe the suitcase? sarah had a couple fight scenes in that one.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:


        Fight scene in a hotel room in her underwear? No way it’s from earlier episodes. A fan who went to ChuckFest 2 on November 5 asked around and was informed that they were filming 4×12 at that point. And the interview for Pop Magazine took place on Nov 23. That’s why I am guessing that it is from 4×13 – now if someone can dig out when they started filming 4×14,we will know for sure, but based on tweets from Lesley Ann, in all probability they started filming 4×14 in December.

      • Paul says:

        Genie, DR has confirmed that the infamous and much anticipated Sarah seduction is in 4.14.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:


        I see. But I am pretty sure it will not be angsty or cringe worthy like Beefcake.

      • armysfc says:

        it may not be cringe worthy like before but after the drama of these next episodes why even go there? guys please don’t lynch me for this. so far most of the angst/drama has come due to some action on sarah’s part. her your not a spy line caused chuck to go off with a nut. her choice to do anything leads to this arc. her having chuck’s mom arrested. granted they were all done because of her love for chuck but it comes back to her. face it in this show the best way to create drama and angst is to use sarah as the point man. chuck has done his fair share as well. but when he screws up it doesn’t rile the fans like when sarah does something. take first fight (i think) when chuck runs off with dalton for the first time. was everyone as out raged by what he did? you can in a loose way say that mission and this arc are similar. it’s just when chuck does something it just doesn’t have the emotional feel like it does with sarah.

        take the seduction mission coming up. for arguments sake lets say sarah has to do the seduction. chuck will no doubt react like he normally does. he’ll pout and whine and complain to her about it. now chuck has to do a seduction. will sarah react as bad or even at all? probably not she knows what the job entails. so it creates no friction or not as much. TPTB do not want a smooth relationship and they have said as much.

        i hope that during the rest of the season we see a change in this trend. if chuck has to do a seduction i want to sarah get jealous and concerned. if chuck needs to go on a solo mission i want to see sarah support him. tell him he can do it yet still be worried. make the angst/drama feel real not put there for the sake of doing it.

      • thinkling says:

        I agree with that Army. Sarah does generate more angst. Now that you mention it, I’m trying to put my finger on the reason.

        Chuck has had 2 seduction missions. Seduction, of course. Sarah was fine with it until she saw Chuck in the elevator being kissed passionately by his mark.

        Suburbs, Chuck was supposed to respond to the advances of the cougar lady across the street. He thought it was terrible, and it only hurt his feelings that Sarah was OK with it. So, they’ve had a little fun with it in the past.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Army and Thinkling

        Now, if Seduction Impossible is heavy with Sarah-angst, one wouldn’t classify it as a fun episode coming after some intense ones like 4×12 and 4×13.(as claimed by CF and JS). Or maybe their idea of fun is diametrically opposite to what the fans consider as fun. 🙂

      • thinkling says:

        Genie, won’t be the first time we’ve wondered that, now will it? 😉

      • armysfc says:

        thinkling, i think the reason is simple. people may like sarah better but they feel chuck more. up until 3.13 sarah was pretty much closed off emotionally. chuck was always open with his. fans feel his pain. we wanted him to get the girl from the start, not we wanted the girl to get him. we cheered him on as he slowly got through to sarah. every time she rejected him we felt his pain more. it was sarah’s choice not to get involved with chuck earlier in the show. her decisions drove the wt/wt sub plot not chuck.

        even in this current arc. look at this blog. we all know why sarah did what she did. the most common thing asked is how will chuck handle it? we all believe that sarah will be ok and finish the mission. not many people question how her emotions
        will be affected. while most question how chucks will be. again more concern about chuck’s feelings than sarah’s.
        i’ll ask this question, if at the end of 13 the relationships ends by mutual agreement. who will you feel more sorry for, chuck or sarah? for me it would be chuck, another lost love. for sarah it will be her first lost love. but it would damage chuck more, even if its only by a little.

      • armysfc says:

        genie, i don’t think it will that heavy. kind of on par with first fight. just a bit of tension. my point was that do we even need the smallest bit of angst right after this very tense and dramatic arc ends? i was using the episode as an example. i’ll try to be clearer in the future.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        my point was that do we even need the smallest bit of angst right after this very tense and dramatic arc ends?

        How can a fish survive without water? How can TPTB be comfortable unless they have injected the weekly dose of angst in the episode? 🙂

      • Faith says:

        one man’s angst is another person’s conflict. If it’s done well or with humor all the better. Honestly I think we’re all over thinking this. We stressed Anniversary and look at how that turned out. We’ll just have to wait and see.

      • JC says:

        I still say it has a lot do with the way the show is written and how other characters treat Chuck compared to the rest of the cast. On the show Chuck’s emotions and issues are played for laughs. While on the other hand Sarah or Casey’s past and issues have been used for drama and treated seriously. This why I tend to defend Chuck more because it seems like the show or the character himself won’t. I do admit its been much harder this season.

      • herder says:

        Remember how so many were worried about the potential angst of First Fight? we even had people threatening to stop watching (ok, just one). When the dust settled many thought it was one of the best episodes of the series. Let it play out, I think TPTB have earned some trust, not a huge amount that allows a Pink Slip but some.

        As far as things being pushed into the back half, a part that I hope has been pushed back is the end of the Mama B and Volkov stories, I want more Linda Hamilton and Timothy Dalton please. You have four main story lines this year, Ellie’s pregnancy, the proposal, Mama B and Volkov. I’d be happy to have the first two resolved and the other two continue to a later resolution.

      • Faith says:

        To be honest Herder, I’m getting weary over the panic…I mean I get it, but it’s enough.

      • Katsumaro says:

        Man, this reply section really grew!

        Reading this, it really got me thinking. Elsewhere with the 4.14 synopsis being discussed + here made me really think about what the possible ‘most epic ten minutes of Chuck to date’ could be. Could it be a break-up? I doubt that. They said that there would be ups and downs, but Chuck and Sarah were going to be Chuck and Sarah, so.. I don’t think that’s going to be the ‘epic moment’. If it is, they are cruel, cruel people, Haha.

        Now another thought. could it be Orion getting brought back? Yeah, we saw him ‘die’.. but did we really? He got shot, then we’re off screen mostly. Who’s to say he wasn’t brought back? Someone mentioned in another post elsewhere that in the story Mama B was telling young Chuck, it mentioned the Frost Queen coming to save the Castle, restore the King, and returns home after twenty years. Isn’t that..sort of what’s going on here? Minus restoring the King of course, as I figure that’d be Orion. What if he was brought back in the ‘most epic ten minutes, et all’? What would you guys think about that? Personally.. jump the shark would be an understatement. Orion dying was one of the more powerful moments in “Chuck” (with Sarah finding Chuck in Phase 3 being up there too) and to have it cheapened.. well.. it’d suck.

        Anyway, this isn’t totally a post on the Charah possible more angst/drama, but I figured I’d throw it out there. I still think there’s a chance it could be talks over the wedding and what not, but looking at Sarah and Chuck’s expressions there.. it certainly does seem like Chuck’s all irritated because Sarah had to do some seducing.

  4. JC says:

    Balcony should of worked but it just didn’t for me.

    Lots of great scenes with some bad ones but for some reason it didn’t come together as an episode. I wish they hadn’t gone for the traditional interrupted proposals. The first one was OK because we actually got Sarah opening up. They should of had Chuck pop the question in the cell before he was told about Sarah’s mission. Would have been a great to show his absolute faith in her.

    I still have issues with the whole double agent arc and the way it was handled at the end. But that’s the way the show rolls. I need to take my own advice that after four seasons it’s not going to change.

    • uplink2 says:

      Personally I loved this episode and love the dichotomy of the 2 final scenes. To me they brilliantly display the 2 sides of the life that they want to live in. For them to “have it all” they have to accept the reality of both of these worlds.

      I am glad Chuck did not get to ask the question in the cell. Sarah interrupted him for a reason. She didn’t want to say yes before leaving on what may be a suicide mission. She wouldn’t want to do that to him. She also never wants to say no to him either so the best way to resolve that is to simply stop him from asking the question. Brilliantly done IMO.
      Also the fact that Chuck responds to Sarah with just “I love you” after she says he has to trust her in that it has to be her for the plan to work was beautiful growth for him and for them as a couple. He followed his own advice in First Fight and believed in her even when he thought she was wrong and did it without hesitation and without questioning her. It was a very sweet and beautiful moment.

      • thinkling says:

        Good comments Uplink. You’re right about their double realities. Of course this particular mission is unique, complex, and more deeply mired in the underworld than most of their missions.

        I’ve really thought about Sarah cutting off Chuck’s jailhouse proposal, and I agree with you that there was justifiable reason for it. Some will argue the other way. But I see how it would be hard to say “yes” and then say, “Oh, btw, I’m leaving.” So I see the reasoning. It would be a hard decision, once painted into that corner, which way to write it.

        That said, I still felt robbed. Cold.

      • thinkling says:

        OH, and I totally agree about Chuck’s ILY … perfect.

      • uplink2 says:

        I think his ILY was my favorite part of the scene. It showed just how much he has grown and how strong their relationship has become. It was a sign of complete trust and acceptance of everything and it was a very poignant moment.

      • JC says:

        If you’re a fan of Chuck and Sarah romance I can see how you’d love this episode. And even though I’m not I can still appreciate their scenes together but the way it was handled as a whole didn’t work for me.

        When it comes to the ending IMO I think they glossed over Chuck’s abandonment issues. He’s been insecure about almost every aspect of their relationship. So for the whole Sarah goes undercover not to rattle him seems very convenient. But its not like I didn’t expect it either. Its more about how the is written than this particular episode.

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, Uplink, what a scene. Both ILY’s were poignant. I’m glad this is an action/comedy/romance. I don’t know how much more of the drama I could stand. *sniff*

  5. sd says:

    This seemed like a mixed bag of an episode to me until the last third but I re-watched (why is a second viewing always better with Chuck—don’t answer, I know why) and it elevated itself.

    I wasn’t happy with the opening sequences…but some of the interplay I missed on first viewing I “discovered” when I watched again.

    I have to say, it also would have been so easy (imo) for Morgan to go the way of the buy-morons and be kind of a waste of time at best and cringe worthy at worst but his character has developed in ways I can only applaud. I know Sarah appreciates how much he has Chuck’s back along with their best friend status…I just wish as part of Morgan’s growth he doesn’t stay afraid of her.

    Speaking of Morgan…who knew he would continue to have so much more emotional intelligence on matters of the heart—and breath mints and tide to go!

  6. patty says:

    I think they are setting up Sarah to be in the same place as Chuck was in Other Guy. He chose to shoot Shaw because it was the only choice that would save her. He did this knowing that he could lose her forever.

    The forth coming defenestration of (a willing)Casey will put Sarah in the same place. The reason they held the proposal up is so that when it comes it will be a way to demonstrate conclusively to Sarah that Chuck still loves her in spite of what she did.

    I expect that the whole situation will carry over to 13 with Casey’s fate being left up the air. I also hope that Casey will be the one to help Chuck get past it and place the blame on Volkolf!

    That said I will be pretty irked if they are not engaged by the end of ep. 13. Not holding my breath for a wedding though. They’ll probably hold that one off until a possible season 5.

    Also, I loved the Court Jester reference. Seriously it is a very Chuck like movie. The female lead is an accomplished warrior. The male lead is a court jester who trips over his own feet. At one point a witch casts a spell on him that causes him to become an expert swordsman instantly. If someone snaps their fingers though he loses his abilities and returns to his uncoordinated self. He is scared half to death most of the time yet still confronts the bad guys (with the help of a bunch of bearded little men)!

    • thinkling says:

      You’re probably right about the OG parallel.

      Yeah Patty. I love some of the old Danny Kaye movies. The wine balancing fight in Balcony reminded me a little of the sword fight in Court Jester, when he slices through the candles and they don’t fall. ZL has many of the same comedic skills. I hadn’t thought how Chuck like the movie was though, but you’re right. The witches spell was his Intersect that sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t. LOL.

      Defenestration … I learned a new word … thanks 🙂

      I’ll be with you in the irked row, if they snatch the proposal away again.

  7. Faith says:

    You know how some episodes depreciates on rewatch? This one increases in value (hey jewelry aka diamond rings talk! ha). It just gets better every time I watch it. But I understand that that’s rare for most :).

    Thinkling, the real girl is really coming into her own. Yvonne Strahovski usually steals the show anyway but in this one she did it without being the protagonist and it was fantastic.

    Loved the callbacks you mentioned, there are also a couple more. You mentioned Morgan giving her permission–a change from his panic induced, ring stealing reaction in Marlin–that reminds me a lot of Honeymooners and how Chuck and Sarah are running away together and Morgan says to her, “take care of my boy.” *Sniff* So touching.

    Do I feel cheated? No. But mostly because, (I’ve gone over this enough you guys are probably sick of me) it wasn’t meant to be…what will be will be an extra dose of awesome. I’m sure of it. Fountain proposal FTW!

    Action: I don’t really know how I feel about the new intersect. I think the whole wine thing was pretty cool but the fight was only ok…apart from the wall jump, that was cool.

    Finally “anchorless” is perfect. That word was bandied around these parts often last season and it’s just so lovely to see that the Agent has found a home.

    • thinkling says:

      You’re right, Faith, about that Honeymooners call back. The dueling headsets also reminded me of Awesome’s two watches in Operation Awesome.

      I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the new Intersect’s tricks. At least I hope not.

      Yvonne was really fantastic. Subtle and nuanced may be even harder to pull off than cutting a swath across a small country. I really couldn’t get over the woman-in-love.

      I will tamp down on my “cheated” pouty-face for now, but I’ll be seriously miffed if they take the engagement past 4.13 😉

  8. Paul says:

    I agree that Sarah has changed since Phase Three. I think the change is that she is FINALLY all in. No more “take it slow”, no more “why can’t we just be”, no more anxieties about them failing. Sarah caught a glimpse of what it would be like to never have Chuck in her life again. And it scared the living crap out of her. She doesn’t ever want to feel that way again, and thus has taken that final step forward. She is in it with both feet now. And although this line will make some folks cringe, it’s true. “Love suits you, I guess.”

  9. herder says:

    And at the last moment NBC switches the Saturday 8 pm repeat of Balcony for the Harry’s Law pilot, sigh, just when I thought that NBC was getting behind Chuck.

  10. joe says:

    Thinkling, you and the others have left me in awe.

    I’ve been away all evening, but I’ll confess that I spent over two hours of it transcribing and making notes about this episode. Even before I read your review I was stunned by the what I saw. You’d think I’d have gotten it the first 3 times I watched. You hit the tone perfectly.

    Sarah convinces me. She’s perfectly calm and comfortable with the Chuck proposing, and wants him to “take his time” (her words). In the restaurant she looks the way she did in The Suburbs – glowing was the word we used most to describe her. And she looks even moreso in the moonlight on the balcony.

    Sarah took charge, and it was charming, “For Chuck’s sake. And for mine.” – again, her words. The fans who wanted Sarah to ask Chuck should be happy. Somehow, she did that and still allowed Chuck to be traditional.

    Sarah was nervous! When was the last time you saw that? Oh, that’s right. Never! The butterflies made Sarah’s smile all the more wonderful.

    And this time, when I watched the ending scene, I *did* understand why she chose to be her old self again, for a little while, and you explained it exactly. Chuck’s mom is hostage, Chuck is hostage, Ellie, everyone. Everyone Sarah loves now – family is being held hostage by Volkoff, and she must leave so much behind.

    Forget that it really wasn’t well explained why it had to be her and not someone else. If that bugs someone, I dub them a purest and say “Fie on you!” Chuck understood – he got it. Emotionally, it could be no other way. It was devastating and Sarah was devastated.

    I’m not frustrated by the delay. Sarah heard Chuck’s words and they were perfect, several times, in fact. Sarah already said ‘yes’ weeks ago. The perfect proposal was offered, accepted, and it was perfect, and they can still have a romantic, spontaneous, “Will you marry me, Sarah Walker?” – “Yes, I will, now tranq the bad guys!” moment on top of it all like a cherry. However they do it will be great.

    Wonderful review, Thinkling!

    • Paul says:

      You know, I get the feeling there isn’t going to be another huge, build up proposal. I think Sarah is simply going to say “yes” and that is that.

    • atcDave says:

      Joe and Paul I think you guys might be on to something. I could easily see it coming at a dire moment late in 4.13. Someone suggested earlier Sarah being wary of Chuck after “killing” Casey; how perfect to see all her fears washed away as things are getting tense and Chuck says “Sarah, if we get out of this will you marry me?”. Big climax, Volkoff is captured, mamaB rescued, and all are reunited and rush back to the states in time to see baby Awesome born, end of episode.

      That works for me.

      • herder says:

        Dave, that or when the mission is finally over and they are sitting by the fountain having a quiet talk Sarah says something like “in France, before I was arrested, I beleive you were asking me something?”. Allows her to take the lead but Chuck to still do the asking.

      • jason says:

        dave – I think chuck is going to be wary of sarah, not the other way around – do you think a real backlash will occur in the fan base if an engagement does not occur in 4×13, I picture the ep ends with them all together & happy, sort of like the one star wars ep ended, and for some reason, the big thing in the last 5 minutes schwartz promised is going to be papa B’s return – which in itself is incredibly stupid, but when it is being sold to replace the engagement as ‘big’, going to make it even worse – so you have TPTB thinking they just wrote gone with the wind, and the fan base feeling the just got fleeced by some shady con artists – might be interesting

      • jason says:

        man herder, that would be so neat, awesome, I ‘hope’ you are right, that would be perfect

      • armysfc says:

        to play on the opposite side of the coin than earlier. in the pod cast one of them (i dont know who) said, for those that have been here the ending wile be satisfied. now depends on people i know but them being engaged show have people more that satisfied. so time will tell.

      • atcDave says:

        Herder that would also be an excellent ending; Geez, and they say ‘shippers want to write the show for them, I can see a half dozen ways to make an engagement work, I’m not picky!

        Jason I don’t think the situation is quite that extreme. But I do think any ending that doesn’t include an engagement will NEVER be regarded as “best 10 minutes ever” by a very large number of viewers. I’m 80% sure TPTB know that. Which is part of why I still say it will happen in 4.13, I just don’t think they would even bring up the “best ever” bit if the engagement wasn’t happening.
        Simply taking down Volkoff (no matter how clever or exciting) or a return of papaB won’t cut it.

      • thinkling says:

        I agree, Dave. And it’s not that a non-engagement ending could never satisfy. It’s that the engagement has been the co-storyline of the season since Suitcase. They began it and developed it every way possible. It’s been done 6 ways from Sunday. And now it was going to be done once and for all, but was interrupted at the last possible moment.

        That’s why it would be so unsatisfying for it not to happen. They need to finish what they’ve been dangling in front of us all season. Otherwise it comes off as a cruel bait and switch or a return to the wt/wt TPTB said was history.

        I also think they have fulfilled the magic Chuck wanted, and something simple and sweet will be the final ticket (but not in a bus station). Fountain, or in an action sequence would be my guess.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        The Fountain would be nice, although I am still hoping for the early morning proposal at the beach. But one thing I would like to see – I want the moment to be intensely private and intimate – no prying eyes of Casey, Morgan or anyone else. TBH, Chuck is a charming guy – he doesn’t need someone else to quarterback his proposal plan.

      • Faith says:

        See that’s the thing all these ideas just highlights to me why it was good it didn’t happen in Balcony.

        *ducks people throwing things at me* Heh.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:


        If the writers top Chuck’s awesome speech with another great moment/gesture/scene, then I am willing to forgive them for torpedoing what was easily the most romantic scene between C/S. Did Clark Kent give such an awesome speech before proposing on Smallville? I think not. 😉

        In two sentences Chuck showed just how to love a woman – he cherishes every moment with her as the most beautiful thing. Isn’t Sarah a lucky girl?

      • Paul says:

        My take on fan reaction if the proposal doesn’t come in 4.13 – you sometimes don’t get what you want. At least not at the exact time you want it. Let’s be frank here, fanbases can be very selfish at times and demand things that they feel they “deserve” (not the general sentiment here, but I’ve gotten that vibe from other fan forums). And, again quite frankly, pout when they don’t get it. So waht to do? IMHO, we sit back, take a deep breath and let the story unfold. We KNOW a real proposal is coming. Only a fool would believe otherwise. It may not come in 4.13. It may not come until 4.15. And you know what? As long as it fits the story, I’m okay with that.

      • atcDave says:

        Paul there is some truth in what you say. Obviously the writers have to tell the story in a way that works for them and their style. And they will always have final control over how their stories and characters are handled.

        But I think you dismiss fan reaction to easily. The story is told for the benefit of the listener. If the fans get disgruntled they will change the channel. Okay, probably not any of us, we’re invested even when we get frustrated. But I think our opinions mirror those of thousands of more casual viewers who may simply wander away if the show doesn’t deliver to their liking. It is in TPTB best interest to pay attention to what their fans want. That doesn’t mean delivering exactly what we want all the time, that would actually get boring. But they can’t disregard what we want either. They MUST please the audience or there is no show.
        Now as I’ve said elsewhere, I don’t believe we’re looking at a situation anything like S3 yet. They can play around with the proposal wt/wt for a while; and they have. But I think Balcony was sort of a breaking point; that is, they’ve now broken the proposal game. They now must deliver or people WILL start getting disgruntled, and that means viewers leaving. The situation can still flex some with the story, like I don’t believe anyone expects a proposal in 4.12. And I suppose its possible they could even construct 4.13 in a way that people wouldn’t feel too disappointed without one. But they’re on borrowed time now, and they have to deliver soon. They can’t ignore fan reaction on that.

      • thinkling says:

        Genie, Faith. For some very unexplainable reason, I was OK with the proposal under surveillance. Maybe since they both knew about it and didn’t care. It was kind of cute, Morgan getting both of them sort of ready and then leaving it all up to them. Even Casey almost smiled.

        In retrospect, it will be nice for the real one to be un-quarterbacked, perhaps even spontaneous, whether during a mission moment, a hospital moment, or at the fountain.

        But I would have been fine with the Balcony being the real deal.

      • thinkling says:

        Dave, borrowed time is an excellent way of putting it … not only because of the story itself (ALL the proposal stuff leading up to Balcony), but because of their own words in interviews, implying shipper happiness and best-ever 10 minutes. They have built it up on two fronts. So, yeah, they are on borrowed time to fulfill what has been promised in the story and the interviews.

      • Paul says:

        @Dave, I agree that a proposal HAS to come and I agree that TPTB are on borrowed time. My point is that some parts of the fanbase sometimes create unreasonalbe expectations and demands. As you stated, it’s a two way street, but not just on TPTB’s part.

      • Paul says:

        Thinkling, I don’t believe they ever implied “shipper happiness” with the last 10min Epic ending qoute. Just that it would be awesome. So we have to be careful of interjecting our own wants into that statement because “real proposal” and “most epic 10min” are not necessarily mutually inclusive.

      • thinkling says:

        Different sentence Paul. They said that shippers had some really sweet moments coming up in the next few episodes, and they couldn’t wait for their reaction. From that I infer that shippers will be pleased, not angry.

        I found the interview:

        So will the Chuck and Sarah shippers – who are very passionate, as I’m sure you know…

        CF: Tell me about it.

        Do you think they’ll be happy with the decisions Chuck comes to in the next few episodes?

        CF: I do think that the shippers do have some really big, exciting episodes coming up. I can’t wait for their reaction.

      • thinkling says:

        Oops I’ll finish my thought. It’s not just one single quote, but the sum of several recent quotes that lead me to infer they won’t end on a down note.

      • Paul says:

        Thinkling, I’m not saying that it’s NOT going to happen, only that we should be careful to build up expectations. While they’ve hinted that some nice things are coming, that interview was given well before 4.11 was released. I’ve also read interveiws from around the back pick-up that not all storylines that were started in the front half would be wrapped up by 4.13. Meaning they chose to defer some of the pay-offs until the back half. So again, not saying that a proposal won’t happen, just don’t create an expectation that it MUST happen.

      • thinkling says:

        Paul, true enough. But a downer between Chuck & Sarah or a dark twist at the end of 4.13 would negate what they’ve been saying.

      • Rac2873 says:


        How would the TPTB spin no engagement in 4.13 after what we saw in 4.11. If they are going to delay it say to 4.15 or later then all that trust they gained will be lost. Rule #1 don’t manipulate me. That’s the only rule I ask show runners to abide by. They want my trust they would have to earn it. So let’s say after this whole buildup they postpone the engagement, I know for certain I will not be as forgiving as you.

      • Paul says:

        Rac, I belive any storyteller’s job is to mainpulate you. Manipulate your feelings so you become invested, manipulate your investment to keep tuned in. That is the very basis of storytelling, particularly with serialized TV. So IMHO, it’s not a matter of being forgiving, but for lack of a better word, more flexible.

        As to reconcile 4.11 with a deferment of pay-off, it could be easily a matter of time. It’s been said that TPTB had contingency plans in case there was a back pick-up. So there could have been scenes and mini-arcs that would have been included/excluded depending on how much time they had to tell the story. I agree that 4.11 was another point of no return moment. But I disagree that the velocity of that story arc has to be maintianed at the current pace. I don’t believe they are going to wait until 4.24 for the pay-off to happen. But I won’t be bent out of shape if it happens in 4.15 or 4.16 either.

      • JC says:

        As showrunners when you keep promoting the best ten of the your show and that show is Chuck it better include a major step forward in the C/S relationship. If it doesn’t then they truly are clueless about the majority of their fanbase. I’m sure they’ll be more to it, a Bartowski family reunion, maybe some kind of message from Orion (crosses fingers).

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah JC, my guess would be multiple cool things in rapid succession. We know Volkoff will be taken down in some way, mamaB is rescued, and baby Awesome is born. There could be something else we can only guess at like a return of Orion or a new story hook. For all that I still say, without an engagement it simply can not be a best 10 minutes ever, and I’m 80% sure TPTB know most of us feel that way.

      • thinkling says:

        What Dave said

      • armysfc says:

        i second thinkling. now all in favor say aye! lol.

      • Rac2873 says:

        Ok Paul I get that.

        I am just done with the manipulation of the proposal arc. One more delay and you lost me. So time push this story line along.

      • Rac2873 says:

        Dave that would be a great scene.

        Okay no more complaining from me about something that has not happened yet. Why am I so on edge lately. We should be expecting great things but I am still doubtful. Too many spoilers out there. Sometimes I think it would be great to be unspoiled.

      • armysfc says:

        everyone, all good thoughts. now some food for thought. f/s say they were amazed at the reaction to phase 3. they promised us the best 10 minutes ever at the end of 13. from what i read here and on other blogs and message boards, most posters say they will settle for no less than an engagement to make it live up to the hype.

        i have no doubt that even if the episode rocks, if the engagement doesn’t happen it will be the main topic on most boards. with fans again voicing their displeasure. the actual episode will come in a close second.

        will f/s then come out and say we don’t understand the fans reaction to push mix? what leads me to ask this, i don’t think they believed that phase three was all that good. if they thought it was that good why would they be surprised it got so much praise? to put out an episode you think is good and then wonder why it got good reviews makes no sense. if you put out an episode you believe is sub par and it gets good reviews, then yes the reaction makes sense.

      • atcDave says:

        Army I do agree Schwedak’s confusion to our Phase 3 reaction concerns me. That is exactly the thing that makes me think they still don’t get us.
        They also made a joke of the happy couple question. That also shows a bit of disconnect to me. I don’t think any of us are clueless enough to suggest Chuck and Sarah should be perfect and happy and loving all the time; that would be unrealistic on a human level that would undermine the very strength of the show.
        BUT, I think its safe to say many, if not most of us; would like to see our favorite twosome happy and enjoying themselves quite often. Draw more of the challenges from external sources, and focus less on their relational issues. Not all the time. But some. Personally I would prefer if more than half the episodes had no particular “couple” issues. To me, much more than that registers as soap opera (which yes, Chuck does sometimes, like almost all of S3 did).

        As it stands, I’m left with the distinct feeling Scwedak (I believe it was actually JS who was the guilty party) simply do not get it. I even suspect this exact issue is what keeps the show from ever being more than a cult hit. It is aimed at a mostly male audience, and I think most of us guys don’t want an “issue of the week” sort of thing in the central relationship. I think if Chuck and Sarah spent most of their time facing external threats, basically taking on the world together, we would be far more patient with the relationship issues that did come up.

        Oh well, at this point it is what it is. They aren’t likely to change. It is maddening to see a show come so close to perfection (yes, I’m speaking of MY taste here), yet fumble just often enough to never get there.
        Adrian Peterson has problems with fumbles too.

      • thinkling says:

        Regarding the surprise over Phase 3, I think some of it was that Phase 3 is so out-of-the-box. It was very different from the usual Chuck, and they didn’t know how fans would react to something like that. I do think part of it is their continued underestimation of Sarah’s popularity and ability to carry a lot of the weight of the show. I think they were surprised that such a Chuck-lite show went over so well.

        I don’t think they thought it was sub-par. They just wondered how well it would be received b/c of its out-of-the-box nature and Chuck-lite-ness.

      • jason says:

        think – I thought the way fedak answered the ‘forr shippers really exciting episodes coming up’, he left wiggle room for ‘but not right now’.

        I think the disconnect between 4×9’s reaction & the enthusiasm for 4×13 on TPTB behalf will be enlightening.

        BUT …. there is a significant part of the fanbase that while entertained by 3×14 or 4×9, want a really dramatic, tied together, mythology spy story, well told, well acted, I think that is were the best ten minutes for 4×13 came from, so that part of the fandom can say thankyou for remembering them with the cool spy plot. I also think something special will happen, like papa B’s return, or something.

        Had that been it, end of series, that almost would have been required to tie up all the mythology, along with a CS engagement to tie up the relationship 800#lb gorilla in the room.

        Something slowed down with the rewrite I am pretty sure fedak told us, all indications it was NOT the spy story – I think we are going to go back in tone to about first fight, call it second fight – seems pretty stupid after 4×9 and 4×11, but so did 3×1, 3×7, 3×8, 3×9, 3×11, 3×12 after 2×21 or really after 1×1 thru 2×22, we have no control, except for very chucklike girlish whining, may as well man up and take our medicine – or girl up if the case may be – LOL

  11. Rac2873 says:

    Watching Balncony and saw another parallel. Casey proposes to Cathleen gets shipped out and never sees her again. Chuck never got to propose to Sarah she is essentially being shipped out but she will come back to get that ring. With Casey and Kathleen the proposal happened but like Sarah’s parents it never amounted to much. However with Chuck and Sarah the proposal was delayed but the wedding will happen.

    Does that make any sense? Lol

    • ChuckNewbie8 says:

      Does to me! In Kathleen and Sarah’s parents cases they didn’t last…Chuck and Sarah will.

    • thinkling says:

      Yes, Rac, perfect sense. And it fits all the parallelism of the season. Parallels are of no value, unless they serve to highlight the differences. So, yes, good catch.

  12. herder says:

    One thing that I have noticed, mainly because the promos are averwhelmingly about Sarah’s undercover mission is that the speculation is mainly about Sarah (ok, many of us find her the most interesting character too). Little has been said about Chuck and what he is doing, is the Gobbler and Chuck going undercover in prison (another parallel) part of Sarah’s mission, in aid of it or is it something completely different (B plot).

    I suspect that by the time Gobbler is over the focus will have shifted to Chuck, what he is going to do and the situation he is in. After all, despite many fond wishes the show is Chuck and not Chuck & Sarah. I suspect that a lot of the Sarah parts are set up to what will be Chuck’s actions and decisions.

    • alladinsgenie4u says:


      If we recall back to the BTS pics of 4×12 they showed a prison, Morgan and Casey in prison uniforms and Sarah in the black suit and also reports of Chuck in prison clothes.And a fan who had posted these pics also said that he saw Yvonne practicing some fighting moves at the set (college used as a prison) So ,it’s safe to say that the Gobbler is somehow connected to Sarah’s undercover mission. I am thinking that maybe it’s her first job as Volkoff Industires’ member and she takes the help of Team B to complete the mission.

      I suspect that a lot of the Sarah parts are set up to what will be Chuck’s actions and decisions.

      Totally agree.

      Apart from his foray into the prison to take on the Gobbler, I am guessing that the rest of the episode will have him reacting to various actions of Sarah – the synopsis itself gives a hint that he worries about her going too deep. But I still hope he becomes proactive and gets involved in the action too and not just remain in react mode to happenings all around him.

    • armysfc says:

      herder i think the reason sarah’s mission is talked about so much is because it’s the only mission on the table. it is the mission to end all missions (well at least for now). even the synopsis leaves out chuck except that sarah enlists there help. if we didn’t see the promos would we have any idea what they had in mind for chuck and the rest of the team? like in FOD it was all about chuck.

      my guess is when this episode is over and we see the promos for 13 things will change in who we focus on next. that is if it looks like someone other than sarah has something major to do concerning this arc. if not the talk will continue on with sarah in the lead.

  13. Mike says:

    I have to commend you on an incredibly astute analysis of the episode. I had just basically watched it and enjoyed it greatly on a purely visceral level; your analysis made me realize some of the layers. You should be doing this professionally.

    • atcDave says:

      Thinkling is well paid with imaginary gruel. We trust she won’t sell out…

      • thinkling says:

        Thank you Mike. I feel like I just got a raise.

        Dave’s right. The gruel is one of the many hidden perks in my imaginary contract. I called Joe to collect the other day, and he said Don’t worry the gruel is in the mail. What can that mean? Seriously, this is a fun blog. I enjoy my fellow bloggers and all the readers that make it so.

        Glad you liked it. 🙂

  14. herder says:

    Was reading some of the comments on Castle Inanity and one of them set off a sudden understanding of why the first part of this episode bothered me. Why in God’s name is Chuck going to Morgan for proposal advice (balloons, champagne, minstrals, horse and carriage) when he has the obvious source of Ellie at hand who would tell him what a disater that would be.

    Ellie who told him “you’re a Bartowski, act like one” would never have suggested that lame attempt. Ellie whose wedding plans were “on the beach, with sand between my toes surrounded by people who I love” would have great proposal suggestions. Ellie who would have been thrilled to be included in this type of thing. Awesome could have added details that would make it, well, awesome. Instead we get the ideas of man-child Morgan, played for laughs but that actually came off as being annoying.

    Grrrr, more Ellie, less Morgan please.

    Here endeth the rant.

    • atcDave says:

      Ohhhh, good rant! Ditto all.

    • armySFC says:

      right on herder. how is it now chuck keeps running to morgan for relationship advice or any for that matter. in the past morgan used to ask chuck. morgan has never had a good relationship that i have seen. why go to him. ellie is the much better choice or devon for that matter. second the less morgan more ellie.

    • thinkling says:

      I would much rather have him talking to Ellie, too. I miss Ellie and the family moments.

      Why do you think this is … because of screen time issues, or budget issues, or because Ellie is in the dark about the spy biz? Do they just want a lot of Morgan?

      • armySFC says:

        i they think they just like morgan. remember they compared him to alfred once. they said this season was about family. i figured more ellie interaction. i guess they figure chuck/sarah taking down volkoff counts as family time. granted they did introduce us to mama b. but has this season been about family or protecting it?

      • Anonymous says:

        Morgan is the poster boy of Season 4. No objection to his growth- but tbh it’s coming at the expense of Chuck. I second Herder’s opinion – it’s time for less Morgan. His increased screen presence has led to the sidelining of both Chuck and Casey. Or maybe it’s the fact that the Intersect-less arc did no favors to Chuck and sort of pushed him too much into the background. The writers are to blame for the inconsistency of Chuck as a character. Neurotic Chuck on a constant basis is an unlikeable Chuck.

      • armySFC says:

        anon. agreed. they took him from the lovable funny side kick to sage of wisdom in all matters. he now gives advice to sarah and casey. his growth was very, very fast this year. while as you say it came at chuck and casey’s expense.

      • Anonymous says:

        Casey has been sidelined by Morgan this season,the same way he was done so in Season 3 when Agent Log showed up. And to top it even Chuck is becoming a casualty now.We know that Chuck is a smart guy – just don’t make him look incompetent when compared to Morgan. Damn the Intersect-less arc again.

      • Paul says:

        The genius of Morgan, IMHO, is that while he definately has gained and showed competence in arenas that our protagonists clearly lack, he is still woefully INcompetent in some of the most everyday things. Yet he still manages to find some way to pull his share the load (no matter how small it is). And does so with an innocence that you just can’t help laughing. He’s kind of like a puppy dog in some respects.

        I think the ultimate joke at the end of the series would be Morgan actually BECOMING a master spy along the lines of Get Smart. Bumbles through, yet somehow lands on his feet.

      • armySFC says:

        paul i agree in the past that may have been true. but as of late not so much the case. thats not the part i have the issues with. he became a master of relationships in what 5/6 episodes? it wasn’t long ago when he suggested chuck read a book. gone are the days when he was a bumbler. he’s now running ops from the van, so to speak. the future they advance him the less funny his bumbling will become. we will expect him maintain those levels. as you said over coming his bumbling is part of his charm.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Because the more time Chuck spends alone with Ellie the more he has to lie, or worry about lying. Team B has been backstopping him all season, and Devon isn’t Chuck’s biggest fan right now.

      Plus, had Chuck asked Ellie not only would the squeal deafen all dogs in southern California and shattered all windows in the LA metropolitan area, but Sarah would have known the second she saw Ellie.

      In addition, Ellie, who remember, is presently expecting, would have been worse than Morgan as far as taking over the planning from Chuck. And Chuck knows this. Ellie would have bought the ring, or made Chuck exchange it if it wasn’t the right one, found the restaurant, the florist, and the string quartet. There is a disconnect between what Ellie would want for herself and what she would want for her little brother. Chuck knows this.

      Yes, if Chuck wants to keep this a secret, Ellie is the first person he should go to. 😉

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        Right! Plus the whole thing was supposed to fail. Every single one.

      • herder says:

        Yes Ellie would have taken this over in a way that Morgan could not have but it would have been in a dignified and romantic way. Besides, there is a certain symetry with Ellie taking over Chuck’s proposal considering he took over her wedding. In any event it would not have been the cliched disaster that was the restaurant attempt. Personally I prefer a heartfelt flop than an amaturish flop.

        Besides can you think of any decision that you would prefer Morgan’s advice to that of Ellie’s? Judging by Sarah’s cluelessness regarding Morgan’s restaurant proposal I’m sure Sarah would have misunderstood Ellie’s squee for some particularly awesome action of Awesome.

        And for the difficulties of explaining why the first proposal idea (the beach) couldn’t be used three simple words would suffice “Morgan blew it”. No furter questions needed. Maybe we get Ellie’s input between contractions in Push Mix.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I think the main point is that Chuck wouldn’t do that while he is concealing something major from Ellie, like the fact that mom and that nice Alexai man we had over for Charades can’t come to the wedding because they are the heads of an evil international criminal organization.

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah I think a lot of the lack of Ellie/Chuck interaction has to do with the CIA elephant in the room, especially after Leftovers.

        Surely some tacit solution will be reached by 4.13

  15. Big Kev says:

    Great review. I’ve been reading this review in conjunction with the one on Castle Inanity, and between you, you’ve pointed out why I have such mixed thoughts about this season – it’s a question of structure vs content.
    Take balcony. The CI guys cast a writers perspective over the many weaknesses of the episode. And they’re dead right. Chuck taking relationship advice from Morgan? Chuck thinking that shy, reserved Sarah would appreciate a public production? 4 proposals? Frankly, you could see the strings in this episode, and they were very, very obvious.
    But Thinkling, you and others are so right about the good things. The parallels, the depths of Sarah’s love, the romance and the sheer entertainment. Structurally, this episode was
    awful – but I enjoyed it on first viewing, and even more on second. So what to think??
    Sums up the season for me. Do I rail against the awfully contrived Chuck/Sarah “issues” or just relax and enjoy their story? Do I shake my head at the utter implausibility of MamaB’s backstory – or revel in the fact that I can’t take my eyes off
    LindaH in every scene she’s in?
    Honestly, I don’t know what to think at this point. I enjoy the show while wincing weekly at much of the writing and story contrivances. I shake my head – but cue up the episode rewatch. I guess I’ve just answered my own question – content is triumphing over structure.

    • Faith says:

      Very well said Big Kev. Sometimes I do think we get bogged down by the details we miss the spirit of the story, the fun.

      Like I told Crumby–it feels like a week ago–people are blinded by the events/details (or content as you put it) and doesn’t take time to take note of the context and the context makes the episode.

      BTW, I blame Shaw.

      • thinkling says:

        LOL who doesn’t? 😛

        Context rules.

      • herder says:

        Personally I blame Shaw for Morgan, Ellie’s lack of screen time, Diane not being at the Buy More, Jeff and Lester, Awesome not being awesome Chuck being less than Chuck not enough Casey and anything else wrong with the show.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Way to go Herder! The Log is the root of all evils. Couldn’t agree more. 🙂

      • herder says:

        All kidding aside, I sense a bigger divide on this episode than most. Some love it and put it in their top five others put it as their second least favorite of the season (after FOD). Again, personally, it would fall in the lower half of this season, but would probably be in the top few of 3.0 if coompared. Perhaps what it is being compared to is the critical factor.

    • thinkling says:

      Obviously that’s the side I fall on most of the time. I’m willing to overlook a lot for the heart and the humor of it. It probably makes me a happier viewer.

      I don’t care about the structure. Just give me my blasted proposal! 😉

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Just give me my blasted proposal!

        Now, now. Don’t be hasty. I am thinking of including some “Patience Pills” with the next batch of brain bleach that is being shipped out. Hope it reaches before 4×13. 🙂

      • Faith says:

        Patience pills, the new viagra? 😉 Magic!

        I could use some…but not for the show, for other things lol.

        Thinkling, good things happen to those who wait. I guarantee. If it doesn’t, I’m leaving the blog!

        Ok that might be a bit hasty but I’ll post less! How about that?

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Leaving the blog. Wow! You need some anti-leavening err I mean anti-leaving agents. 🙂

      • thinkling says:

        Aww. Thanks.

        Patience pills. You can just open up your own shop. With patience pills and brain bleach you could make a killing.

        Faith, your guarantee cheers me.

      • Faith says:

        Don’t worry Alladins, I’d still have the boards then…like Merlin, I’ll always come back for you haha.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        If I open my own shop peddling brain bleach and patience pills, I will surely end up being my own biggest consumer. 🙂

      • alladinsgenie4u says:


        You will come back for me. Awww!! 😀

      • thinkling says:

        Hey Alladins, you should take out an add on the blog

        Alladins Apothecary

        Anti-Leaving Agents — to give you staying power.
        Patience pills — for TPTB syndrome.
        Brain Bleach — for PTSD (Post Third Season Disorder)

      • alladinsgenie4u says:


        Ooh! What do I have here. Free publicity. Much appreciated. I am thinking of hiring you as my Marketing and PR Manager.Pay will be in the form of gruel or Costa Gravan pesos whichever is available.

      • thinkling says:

        Costa Graven Pesos are probably easier to wire.

        You think if a bunch of us ask PayPal will add CGP to their list of supported currencies?

    • armySFC says:

      i just go by how i feel when i watch it. if to many things don’t make sense or bug me it takes away from the over all joy of watching. i guess its a combination. i really don’t think about either when i watch it just kinda happens i guess.

      • Big Kev says:

        I certainly watched Seasons 1 and 2 that way. But coming to this blog, and others, and reading so many different views (particularly those of writers) means that I definitely watch episodes more “critically” now. That faculty adds hugely to my enjoyment, but it can mean it’s harder to just sit back and relax.
        Even though I didn’t have the benefit of Chuck blogs when I watched Season 2, I am genuinely convinced that they told much tighter stories in Season 2, which is why that season remains my favorite by some way.

      • atcDave says:

        I would agree Big Kev that S2 was superior, in most ways really.

        But I’ve also had a blast with this season. I can see some of the technical shortcomings, but for the most part they have a small affect on my enjoyment of individual episodes.
        I’ll also say, I don’t really feel like I have any least favorite episodes this season. I know that’s sort of a cop out. But I have a few favorites, and a few that aren’t quite favorites; but S3 had about 10 episodes I rank below ANYTHING I’ve seen this season.

      • Big Kev says:

        The good episodes have been as good as anything (Phase 3, First Fight, Coup D’Etat) but there have been a few too many transitions or fillers for me (Suitcase, Cubic Z, Fear of Death, Leftovers) – and I haven’t liked Chuck’s storyline at all this season.
        What I have found is that I watch the show for different reasons now too. I started out as a shipper – I’m really not any more. Season 3 and Chuck’s regression this season has seen to that. But Sarah’s story gets more compelling every season, Morgan’s growth and comedy value infuse each episode and LindaH/TimD just raise the chops of the whole show, much as Scott Bakula did. What I like about the show has changed markedly, but “the love is still there”.

      • JC says:

        I’m in a weird place with the show. I want to love it again like I did during the first two season but I can’t. And what’s really frustrating is all the pieces are there for the show to be great but they’re not using them.

        I know most people here aren’t bothered by the continuity errors but they’re really starting to hurt the show. Sarah, Casey and even Chuck’s back stories are so butchered it’s hard to get invested when it feels like they’ll retcon anything to make an arc work.

        And for all the talk of the show changing sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. Its like were getting the same stories with a fresh coat of paint. Chuck has suffered the most, they won’t let him be a super spy or the guy who outsmarted people so left him in limbo.

        Don’t get me wrong it’s still one of my favorite shows but that excitement I used to have is gone.

      • Paul says:

        JC, although I am not in the same place you are with the show, I totally understand how you feel. Attachment to hobbies, places, activities often wane over time. I was an ADDICTED dancer when the swing revival hit about 14yrs ago. I couldn’t imagine my life without dancing. Now, while I still enjoy it immensely, I don’t NEED it nor am I any longer obssessed by it. Not that I’m going to ever give it up, just that it’s found it’s appropriate place and priority in my life.

  16. Pingback: Push Mix Delivers | Chuck This

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