Details, Details…

The Micro To Clean Slate’s Macro


I’m getting a very season 3 vibe lately.  I should probably have faith, and Faith, to keep me from the dark place, but I am getting that sense of Deja Vu.  I loved Chuck Versus The Balcony, and thought it one of the best of the season, like Joe, and Thinkling, and Faith.  And there is a part of me that is wondering why others don’t see what I see?  But then a part of me sees what I think they see and keeps them from seeing the genius that I see.  See?  After the jump…

Another Ernie and Faith (epic) production.

Ernie: I’ve been reading the board a lot lately, a few boards actually, Castle Inanity (CI) among them, and I’ve been a bit mystified.  I saw one of the most awesome (sorry) and epically crafted (sorry again) and game changing (yep, probably lost you) episodes of the season.  While I don’t want to dismiss complaints, some legitimate, some matters of taste, I do want to point out a few things to those complaining of OOC moments, WTF moments, unexplained shifts in behavior, doormat moments, or whatever else you want to bring up.  And I have a lot of confidence that we’ll work this out at great length, right up until the next spec and reaction thread which is why I’m posting this late afternoon Sunday.

I’ll say this right up front, the motivating force behind this post was a post at CI.  For the moment I don’t want to get into specifics, though I’m sure that will come, in comments, but to me there was a huge disconnect, something that  made me want to question if we’re all watching the same show?

I won’t say that the folks at CI don’t have a few good points.   I will say, as I said in season 3, that a lot of the complaints that are being aired are about things that have been there since the very beginning, and complaining now, and using them to highlight the decline of the show strikes me as puzzling at best, and disingenuous at worse.  Not that I’m accusing the CI folks of this, it was more a season 3 thing.  I’m going to highlight this with what I see as one of the most jaw-dropping breaks in both plot and character for the sake of a cool scene the show has ever known.  It happened in Helicopter.

Lets set the scene.  Casey and Sarah both think the other is, while perhaps not a double agent, bent on cleaning the operation and procuring the intersect for themselves after having murdered the good Dr. Zarnow.  By circumstance they both end up at a casa Bartowski dinner party, where Chuck is left to try and keep everyone from eating a poisoned soufflé.  So, absolutely hilarious scene with the tablecloth, the soufflé in the bathtub, etc.  Then Sarah, the rogue assassin working with Bryce bent on stealing the intersect, says she needs a moment alone with Chuck in the bathroom, and Casey walks away and waits patiently for them to finish as he hears sounds he knows very well aren’t coming from makeup sex.  Un-freaking-believable.

But it was funny.

So, you on-board with that scene?  OK then, we’ve set the bar for suspension of disbelief this show requires from episode 2 onward.  Lets move on.

I started going on about the genius of this season some time around Aisle of Terror and First Fight, but I started to see this season 3 disgruntlement, the desire to find flaws at every turn, long before that.  In Aisle of terror however, one of the big complaints was a hanging curve ball.  How did Frost know Chuck had on a vest?  The answer was simple, they showed you.  Were you paying attention?

This is where I find it necessary to depart from the writer’s perspective we often get stuck in.  It all starts with the writer and the story, and we are communicating in a writers environment, but television is not a novel, it is a visual medium and writers do not tell the whole story.  They don’t write so much as script a show.  A lot is left to the actors, the director and the editors to fill in, and blaming the writers, or giving them full credit for what works and doesn’t is, again, disingenuous.  Granted, if the story and script isn’t there the chance of pulling it off is slim, but the same is true of the acting, the editing and the directing.  In the example I cite, and the infamous turn of events in Barstow, there was no dialog involved, yet we all took something from the latter while a lot of us ignored the former as one of those Helicopter-ish things we needed to give them and others called it a huge plot hole.  It was neither.  It was one of those genius touches I’ve been talking about.  How did she know he had a vest?  She checked.

If you demand a certain level of detail and explanation you need to watch closely, not casually.  Sometimes you need to watch obsessively, repeatedly, and with every revealing moment, scene, and turn for the character from each episode in mind.  If you do, usually the payoff is there and the season is genius.  If you want to watch casually, well then, you probably aren’t reading this.

As a quick aside I’ll be saying genius a lot, but to make it up to you dear reader, I’ll lay off the epic and awesome for this post.

Faith: You bring up a great point. Television is an entirely different medium from novels and even films. See in novels you have an insight into the characters’ internal and external motivations and thoughts at all times; in television the viewer has to draw conclusions often on what is given. In Shakespeare you can have a long monologue, sometimes even in film (Lois Lane’s “Can You Read My Mind” in Superman I comes to mind) but in television it’s virtually impossible and unheard of. But this isn’t a bad thing, it adds to the suspense and suspension of disbelief (remember that phrase) that is necessary to enjoy this medium. When you write to make sense of everything you get bogged down with details and what is a fun hour turns into a learning hour. Not fun. Exposition is key but it is one of the toughest and most unentertaining aspects of television. Therein is where the actors, directors and cinematography comes in to make it as painless as possible. There’s a scene in Balcony that contrasts just how painful that is that I will get into later. It’s also important to note that television has the distinct advantage (or disadvantage if you’re a cynic) of being the only collaborative medium. What is shown is not always the one intended. Actors make interpretations on the script, often they make changes by imploring writers to stay true to their characters or playing certain scenes a certain way. What makes the best scenes are the ones closest to the character’s essence and what makes the best actors are the ones that understand that (and their characters).

Having said that, I don’t know what television is for you but for me it’s purpose is to make me feel something. It’s entertainment at its core. Whether that means making you feel dirty, devastated or uplifted it’s meant to get that reaction out of you. Where Chuck stands above the rest is the manner at which they go about that. Season 3 excluded (sorry Ernie), storytelling on Chuck hasn’t been disingenuous, it’s consistent to the characters they’ve made and the story lines they’ve cultivated. More, they expand on and develop the characters (character growth is key) and the universe. Do they get a rise out of its viewers for the sake of getting a rise? Not often. Chuck is not Bones. The progression, intent and motivations are always illustrated to the best of their abilities (again, a tough one in this medium) and they do a very good job on drawing from what we know and what we have seen to crystallize current trends and events (more on this later). Therein lies the distinction between telling a story and mismatching scenes to piss off the viewers. If they really wanted to piss off the viewers, they’d have had Sarah take off (contrary to her character growth), after breaking up with him because she fears she might not make it back from rescuing Mary from Volkoff. That’s conflict for the sake of conflict, and not germane to the characters or the show. So does Chuck make me feel like an emotional yo-yo half the time? Yes, because that’s what it’s supposed to do. But where I will accept it and enjoy it from Chuck is the knowledge that they’re doing it for a purpose, with enough background and foreshadowing (more on this later as well).


Ernie: Back to the genius.  Here’s the thing about that famous shoulder rub.  No, don’t go screaming, I’m talking about Linda Hamilton and the one in Aisle of Terror.  Yes, that one.  It wasn’t just a throwaway shot to fill in a plot hole or set up a piece of insignificant dialog meant to explain or justify a character’s actions, even if it was meant to be.  Because writers, actors, directors and editors, none of them tell the whole story.  The story is what the viewer experiences.

That simple shot, combined with the scene set up one of the highlights of the season for me.  The bar has been raised for Chuck and team B.  We’re not in Burbank anymore.  Even if we’re, you know, in Burbank.

The full payoff didn’t come till the end of First Fight, at least for me, but Carmichael’s chemical weapons buy gone awry set up so much for the Volkoff and Frost storyline and characters.  Here is an agent who has to be the master deceiver, to play fast and loose and ad-lib at a moments notice.  Here is an agent who has to take huge risks just to maintain cover.  Here is an agent who has to so completely focus on the mission that she must be able to shoot her own son in the chest or blow up the home she raised him in with her husband.  You see where we’re headed?  Frost was created in that one simple scene, and a simple shoulder rub was a huge part of that.

Faith: I’ll add one more. Driving at what I can only assume was at illegal speeds on the freeway, Frost had her gun pointed at Chuck at all times–while driving competently. This is a detail that may or may not be in the script (it probably was) but it’s a detail that gives you an insight into her character, and the life she has had to lead. Subtle, but powerful. As viewers we aren’t told (they can’t tell us) exactly what has led her to this point (not yet anyway), but we’re given a gem into her motivation: survival. We’re made to draw conclusions on that one shot, that one scene that the life she has had to lead has not been easy. And we didn’t even need to read her mind for it, because well, we can’t.

Why Balcony is one of the best

Ernie: Now that I’ve established the context and given my point of view I want to talk about Chuck Versus The Balcony, about the show I saw but in, as Faith so appropriately defines them, the micro, as opposed to the macro.  Joe, Thinkling and I have all talked about the emotional component and the larger story the episode gives us, and I may bring in some of the story elements the episode covers or some of the character elements developed over the course of the season, but for the most part I want to concentrate on the nuts and bolts of the episode.  Every element is there for a reason and every scene has a purpose.  If you watch waiting for a specific event or determined to see a character in a certain light you may be disappointed.  If you watch with a mind open to seeing what they are showing, and have been showing all season, you might just agree, it’s genius.

So on to the opening, the real one in the restaurant.  Chuck and Sarah are sharing a romantic dinner, and as often is the case Chuck seems out of sorts.  Chuck wants to talk, he always wants to talk, about everything.  After Volkoff, his mother and everything Chuck tells Sarah he feels he’s dragged his feet (cold feet?) about, well, their lives together and what it will be like.  Sarah seeks to re-assure Chuck.  This is the new Sarah the Girlfriend that they’ve been building since Suitcase.  Sarah the girlfriend knows Chuck has some issues and that her silence only makes things worse.  She saw it in the weird unpacking thing that made Chuck think she had one foot out the door.  She nipped it in the bud with the baby thing freaking her out before it could lead to a full-blown Chuck mope, and they’re working on their crappy communication skills.  But she and Chuck, they’re in it with both feet, for the long haul, so Sarah isn’t worried about a proposal.  She wants Chuck to feel safe and at home with her.  Sadly another of her quirks freaks Chuck out.  A casual mention of her poor history with proposals and his near spit-take on a glass of wine makes that evident.  Time for Sarah the girlfriend to fix things.

I’ll interject for a moment here if I may. Well I will anyway! Heh. One of the boons of television (and Chuck in particular) is that we may not always know what characters are feeling or thinking but we’re given a window to them through actors’ emoting. Want a clue into how this proposal will turn out and how Chuck feels about how important, how meaningful it is for him to propose to her, the love of his life? Watch his face as Sarah tells the story of her parents’ proposal. It’s an illustration of abject humor, mostly at himself and his luck.  Sarah finishes the story with, “please, take your time, no rush.” Sounds like foreshadowing to me.

Now revisit that same scene and really listen to the dialogue. Like Ernie pointed out Chuck is stressing this proposal because he hasn’t been. He’s been too concerned about his mom and to hear Sarah tell it it’s been literally hanging over their heads for weeks. Don’t disregard the lame exposition into what has gone on before this scene (see what I mean about it bogs down the film but is necessary?), but also take away from it the emotional component, the humor. That’s what television, more than any other medium does best (in my opinion). There’s this guy that is trying so hard to just propose to the woman he loves and he gets thwarted, but he’s a guy that loves so he wants to make it right. Ask yourself, is the intent (not the actual scene itself but the intent) of this setting and scene consistent to the guy we have grown to love? The big romantic who as Thinkling pointed out covered his sister’s apartment with red rose petals for romance? Yes, it is. Finally and more importantly, take note of the surroundings and the setting, and ask yourself if this proposal was the right one for Chuck and Sarah. The people, the couple we have known them to be. See unlike a written medium where we can read thoughts like, “it just didn’t feel right coming in and it went downhill from there” we have to be shown it, and that we were.

One of the problems still hanging over Chuck and Sarah is Sarah’s clean slate courtesy of Chuck.  Chuck STILL knows almost nothing but the broadest strokes about how Sarah grew up and how it affected her.  Kind of like us.  And god bless him, he wants to make it better.  He wants to fix it and to help her and to hold her and tell her that it’s alright if she’s not normal, he loves her no matter what.  Kind of like us.  But Chuck, poor Chuck, sometimes feels like he’s trying to navigate a minefield in the dark because of that same clean slate he wants to give her.  And Sarah, well while she appreciates the clean slate, she’s starting to see how much it taxes Chuck and how often one of her quirks or some undiscovered bit of her past can poke at his deepest fears.  Sarah the girlfriend is starting to take over when it comes to Chuck.  And Sarah, god bless her, knows what some of us have forgotten or ignored lately.  Chuck has been through a lot these past few months.  From losing his father at the hands of her former lover to being emotionally blackmailed into quitting the job that made him feel he mattered by his distraught sister (the only person in his life other than Morgan who never let him down and Sarah is self-aware enough to know where she falls on that list, at least in her mind) to having to go back to hiding his life from his sister, to finding his apparently evil mother and being betrayed by her, again, and again, to losing the one thing that he felt made him special, to nearly dying and losing his mind and sanity to once again bringing an evil presence into the lives of his friends and family… Well, it’s a miracle he isn’t on the couch eating cheeseballs or getting bedsores playing Golden Eye.  And there he is, worrying about neglecting her.

Context: it’s very important. We may only be shown the actions, but we’re told the intent. You’re right Ernie Chuck has and has had a lot going on but through it all he retains his heart and worries. About this, about her, about their future. Though I do take exception on what Chuck knows or doesn’t know about her (it’s yet another distinction between film and print in that we’re left to draw conclusions)…I for one believe that he knows a lot more than we think, but that’s another topic.

A valid point Faith, we don’t know how much Chuck knows about Sarah, but we are specifically shown there are enough gaps that her mentioning a bad history with proposals comes as a bit of a shock.  So, the proposal:  of course it’s over the top and wrong for them, and I emphasize them.  This is a proposal that has to work for both Chuck and Sarah.  and Chuck realizes that even before the family story, but he tried for the save right up until he saw why it was wrong for them.  And might I remind those that say this sort of a big proposal isn’t something Chuck would think of, remember this is the guy who started planning a proposal that involved several race-cars and a wild stallion as an adolescent, even if the revisions had it ending in the perfect spot for Chuck and Sarah.  The reason Chuck’s adolescent fantasies don’t fit with reality is that there is an actual girl involved now, and Chuck and Sarah are about small intimate moments.  So are these characters out of character?  Sarah the sharer,  Chuck the planner and Morgan sidekick who isn’t always the best guy to go to for romantic advice?  I say a win on all counts.  Chuck dreams big, but is grounded.  Morgan gets carried away and brings out the adolescent in Chuck.  Sarah is still learning about this communication thing, but she’s trying.

The comedy of shutting down the proposal.  Absolute win for me.

So on to the Mc Guffin, er mission of the week.  Recover stolen blah, blah, blah…  Never mind, we’re talking about how they move the story forward.  Another seemingly insignificant line gives us the next bit of exposition.  No, not every criminal works for Volkoff, but what happens the next time they are called on to take one down?  Chuck revealed that this is weighing on his mind and that he just dodged a bullet.  Sarah knows Chuck, Sarah the spy and handler knows a bit how Chuck’s mind works when it comes to his friends and family.  Sarah the spy knows the situation with Volkoff is unstable and it’s only a matter of time till they’re ordered after him or he decides to use Mary’s family as leverage.  So Sarah decides to do something.  Why alone?  Because it can’t be Chuck.  If it’s Chuck Volkoff will go after the family, feeling the truce was broken, and he’ll be ready for Mary.  Why not talk it out with Chuck?  What is to be gained?  Sarah knows what Chuck would say, and that she’d do it for him anyway.  You don’t discuss stepping between your partner and the bullet with his name on it, you don’t ask permission, you do it.  Totally in character.

I find that most of the questions people asked with regards to “why Sarah” could be summed up quite simply. And again, in this episode in particular, we’re only given so much because a. it’s only an hour, and b. there has been enough background and breadcrumbs to lead us to some conclusions. I’ve mentioned some of these but it probably bears repeating. So why Sarah? Let’s take away for the moment the fact that she didn’t tell Chuck that she talked to Beckman about wanting to do all that she could to bring down Volkoff and bring MamaB home and just focus on the why her. Sarah has been a spy for a very long time. We know this, we see this. Volkoff is not and will not be easily fooled. The man is a brilliant strategist, a master of deception, and a competent charades player. He’s not just going to wake up one morning and say, “huh, Chuck Bartowski is now going to go rogue, I accept this. Welcome to the team Chuck.” Not even on Chuck (little jab at the gravity of the show we all love). But it’s perfectly plausible for Sarah to get in there (for whatever reason they will give us, and give us they will) and join ranks with the bad guys. See in television there are often unwritten rules. Like an active team never exceeds 4 participants (Beckman isn’t really part of the team, she’s a figurehead) or that an idealized hero would never fully embrace the bad side, just like a main character would never sully themselves to the point of no return. Even in…ok I won’t go there but it was close! So why Sarah? Well apart from the plausibility, there’s also the chess match. Volkoff (the bad guy) is now holding all the cards. He’s got Chuck where (he thinks) he wants him. Remember this is a story about Chuck’s journey, his rise to heroism. So Sarah goes to “save” MamaB for him, but I think we’ll find that Chuck is the true hero. Just like he was in Colonel when he bravely (stupidly) left the car and tried to sabotage Fulcrum’s intersect as to prevent an army of intersects, bad intersects running around. We’re back to the micro-and macro. Chuck saves the world, Sarah saves Chuck. That’s what it comes down to. And in this one misguided(?) attempt at heroism, Sarah has essentially given Chuck his moment. And more this is consistent to the Sarah Walker we have known and grown to love these past 4 years. Chuck is her guy and she would do anything for him.

So off on the mission, and a few words about Chuck the spy.  He’s been mostly great this season.  From Anniversary on through Aisle he was the man with the plan and the leader of the team we always knew him as.  He was confident, responsible and focused.  Did he have occasional doubts?  Sure, but he’s still fairly new to the business.  On this mission with the sub-mission we see that Chuck is back.  We get a bit of comedy, a bit of action and a drunk Sarah flirting and employing her heels as a deadly weapon once again.  I don’t think anyone objected to any of that, so I’ll just note that once again Chuck is a competent spy.   As Chuck tells Morgan, he remains focused on the objective and his team.  If he happens to find the right time to pop the question, well, bonus, if he doesn’t, c’est la vie.  Chuck the boyfriend however found the perfect spot.  He watched his girlfriend drink it in and he wanted to make her perfect moment a reality on the spot.  C’est la vie.

It’s been brought to my attention that people are dwelling on Chuck’s lack of heroism thus far this season. The word regression has been bandied at several times. My answer? Chuck is still the hero, he’s just not doing it at nearly a large-scale as he did in American Hero and there’s a reason for that…which we will get into a bit more in-depth in a different piece but for now, just recognize that although Chuck Bartowski isn’t saving the world by sabotaging the intersect, he’s doing heroic things. Let’s return to Balcony for a bit. So Sarah rescues Casey, heroic. But who accomplished the mission? Who singlehandedly not only recovered that which needed to be recovered but also protected it in the process? In our attempt to look for what we want, or what is obvious, we’re ignoring the subtle cues in his growth as a hero and the maturity in his personality. Chuck has been a hero all throughout this season (with ups and downs I’ll grant you), and he’s doing it on a much larger (world, as opposed to Burbank), albeit subtle scale.

Back at Castle, Chuck the boyfriend, is moping a bit.  He’s still prone to that you know.  He wanted so much to make this special for Sarah the girlfriend.  Things just never seem to go right for Chuck.  Well one thing in Chuck’s life is more right than anything, and that is Sarah.  Sarah the spy may be taking the lead on the submission and turning Cobra into a double agent, but it’s Sarah the girlfriend who is doing it, for all the right reasons.  Could Chuck pull it off?  Yes, of course, but each delay and hitch in the proposal weighs on him, and Sarah doesn’t want his desire to make something special for her to be something that weighs on him.  She understands his need to feel like a guy who can give her that, so she does what a good partner does, she helps him.  I suppose she really should have discussed it with him first though.

I never had a problem with Sarah taking control of the proposal. But here’s where I go back to details and intent. “What, wait, Chuck was planning on proposing to me at the restaurant?” Watch her face, this momentary and poignant window into the woman beneath the spy who hates surprises. She was, against herself surprised and overjoyed. And she finishes off the scene with, “we’re going to make this proposal happen, for Chuck’s sake and for mine.” Now go back to the initial intent, Chuck’s initial intent. Is it any different from hers? “For Chuck’s sake, and for mine.” See these two are so in love they don’t realize that half of what they’re doing is for the other, and for themselves. So when we get to peek into the internal its breathtaking: “I’m nervous…I don’t get butterflies.” Keep in mind that this is TV, we’re not often privy to their thoughts and feelings and this window within is all the more compelling because of that.

A quick word about Morgan.  Morgan is a vehicle for exposition.  He is getting so much screen time this season precisely because we were despondent from the lack of exposition last season.  We needed to know how Sarah was feeling or Chuck was feeling, but since TPTB had always given Chuck and Sarah those roles for each other and were determined to keep them apart someone else had to take on that role.  I’ll just quote Sarah.  Shaw?  Really?  Yeah, that worked out.  Morgan doesn’t look so bad now does he?  For the most part Chuck and Sarah have those roles back, but Ellie can’t play that role for Chuck while he’s keeping secrets from her and Casey has, well limited use for Sarah on that front, though they tried (poor Casey).  So Morgan is both a sounding board for Chuck and Sarah’s Jiminy Cricket on occasion.

Why not Ellie? I’ll do what Ernie hates and draw my own conclusions into that. Apart from the fact that they’ve communicated enough times this season that Chuck so badly wants a separation between Ellie and the spy life (something she feels strongly about herself), it just doesn’t work. And yet, logically it does. I’ll explain. Remember American Hero? The team of Morgasey sets off to help Chuck get the girl and fails, in comes Ellie and wins. I postulate that Ellie wasn’t involved because this proposal, proposals, plural were meant to fail. But that’s just Faith’s little romantic quirks. Let’s take it in terms of actual logic and not fate: Chuck is a spy again, with the intersect. I’m not sure how far into the planning he could actually accomplish with Ellie considering that he’s spending most of his times on missions and on finds. “So hey, Ellie, I was in this balcony in France in between missions and the moment was lost. So how do I get it back?” But fret not, all is not lost. Not even Ellie taking on a future role in this milestone, though it would have to be fountain related (win!).

So it’s back to France for a mission with a sub-mission and a double agent.  Heh.  Both Chuck and Sarah’s spidey sense is tingling throughout, and we know why, but before we get to that, the proposal.  A lot of people wanted there to be a proposal this episode.  There was.  Some wanted a small intimate moment befitting the kind of couple Chuck and Sarah are.  They got it.  We all got Chuck and Sarah the boyfriend and girlfriend – lost in the moment.  The only thing we were missing were three words;  “marry me” and “yes.”

Ah, yes the proposal to end all proposals. Or was it? The moon was shining, our heroes in their finest attires, the lines poignant. But wait, weren’t we told nothing is, or will be as it seems? Almost “too easy.” NO! Say it ain’t so. This was the moment, the one. Through all the hand wringing and the planning we’ve arrived at the right moment. But it wasn’t. Ask yourself throughout the 4 years, when Chuck has gone into his (although always touching) word vomit where has it been? And then ask yourself if a balcony in France is the perfect setting after all? It feels like (logic out the window) Chuck, the spy was proposing to Sarah the spy. Ironically he mentioned James Bond but wasn’t that exactly what you’d picture James Bond would do? Propose at the most romantic spot in the world, complete with the moon? But this is Chuck and Chuck is about home and heart. Now listen to the song; the song was about trying repeatedly. “And there are so many questions, that I just never get to learn and there are so many questions that still burn.” Then imagine this same moment (poignancy at least, not setting) when MamaB is saved and Chuck and Sarah has yet another “it is real” moment. That’s epic.

And Faith has tossed me that hanging curve.  But I want to talk about Lester.  Yeah, Lester, the anti-Chuck.  That is a whole other post, but bear with me briefly.  So Lester, somehow through birth and upbringing ends up with the gift of all gifts, the flawless “12” hinjew who actually seems open to the idea of marrying him.  Poor overcompensating Lester.  It never does enter his mind that he might, as Lester, have something to offer.  So Lester, poor overcompensating Lester, pretends he’s someone he’s not.  Well that first approach doesn’t work out, does it?  So Lester, poor overcompensating Lester, tries to be someone he aspires to be, but never will.  If he were happier being Lester he might just have a better life, with the girl.

So why isn’t Chuck Awesome?  Why didn’t the proposals happen?  Why is it Sarah protecting Chuck and not the other way around for a change?  Chuck isn’t and never will be James Bond, Sarah knows it, but she fell in love with Chuck Bartowski who is great on his own.

Why didn’t Lester get the girl?



About Ernie Davis

I was born in 1998, the illegitimate brain child and pen name of a surly and reclusive misanthrope with a penchant for anonymity. My offline alter ego is a convicted bibliophile and causes rampant pognophobia whenever he goes out in public. He wants to be James Lileks when he grows up or Dave Barry if he doesn’t.  His hobbies are mopery, curling and watching and writing about Chuck.  Obsessively.  Really, the dude needs serious help.
This entry was posted in Analysis, Inside Chuck, Inside Sarah, Observations, Reactions, Season 4. Bookmark the permalink.

129 Responses to Details, Details…

  1. alladinsgenie4u says:

    Ernie and Faith – Thanks. I have started chewing on it and will reply in detail after hopefully digesting the matter. 🙂 Cant wait to read the discussions that follow – specifically the ones on the portrayal of Chuck(character) in Season 4.

  2. jason says:

    nice – just 3 comments about what u guys wrote:

    ellie – I had a theory earlier, that she will never give her spy permission, she will be that moral compass that allows CS to walk away at the end, kind of like chuck’s dream in 4×9, ellie is pulling CS out of the darkness into the ‘normal’ life

    Yep, I 100% that morgan is there so CS can talk about each other, yet not be together, yet tell us how much they care on screen – sort of dumb, but beats a more wooden alternative used other seasons, exponentially, or even infinitely.

    finally, poor chuck and his women, so if he decides to not ask sarah to marry him as result of sarah’s heroic mission to save his mom, who should chuck fear the most? Sarah herself, sarah telling mary (who I assume will be quite fond of sarah by then) or ellie? No wonder that guy is so neurotic, could you be surrounded by 3 women to fear more?

    • Faith says:

      Interesting perspective about Ellie. I remember when the wedding outtakes for Ring came out. The talks were about how Ellie and Devon are the couple/ has the life Chuck and Sarah wanted and could only dream of. I’ve felt (in light of Chuck accepting and embracing the fact that he is not a regular 9-5 guy) that that was the past, no longer true. But maybe you’re right. Maybe the normal will lure them away from the world (and Chuck’s destiny) if not once again, eventually.

      As for his women lol. Some guys could only dream of such a dilemma. 😉

  3. atcDave says:

    You know, I agree with most of your specific points. And I even mostly liked this episode. But I do believe you’ve misread why so many were unhappy.

    Remember our many exciting discussions last season of journey versus destination? I firmly believe both matter, a lot. Failing on either count will sink a show. This season the journey has mostly been fun, and we believe the destination will be too. But taken on it’s own merits, Balcony is the reverse of S3; that is, a mostly fun journey with a mostly no fun destination.
    Now I’m mostly okay with that (mostly being the key word here). Because I’ve been paying attention and I believe I like where this is going. But I think for many, especially casual viewers, the fun ride is completely negated by the no fun destination.
    I know this can never be a comprehensive explanation. Surely the CI writers have a more sophisticated view than this. But so much of the on-line mood is formed by tweets and brief comments of viewers who were simply disappointed. So when they’re bummed out by the ending, they simply look back on the episode and amplify the details they didn’t care for. Had the destination been fun, the reverse would have likely happened.
    To me the most frustrating thing is the way TPTB consistently shoot themselves in the foot with these things. Here we finally got all the promotion we’d been waiting for, and we saw an uptick in the ratings for 4.11. But my fear is that many viewers, whether they were first timers or returning after a disgruntled S3 experience; will be put off by yet another sour ending and be gone for good.

    Only time will tell. We have another new episode tomorrow, I hope for a better reaction.

    • jason says:

      dave – that is why reviews and blogs for 4×9 or 3×14 often were about a half doz words, geez that was great, or that was fun, or I really liked that, while people who like the ‘details’ spends thousands of words trying to convince others to like what simply fell flat. It fell flat, because noone likes seeing the puppy get hit over the head by with a baseball bat to end an episode of the ‘Waltons’ – what I think TPTB miss, is just how ‘folksy’ most of their eps are, way to folksy to go so dark.

      My guess is that is the reason they went public last week, and why they sent Zach out to, and now why Yvonne got rushed out on a sunday, why the ‘kiss’ and hello boys has been on the air for almost 2 weeks – going to be interesting how it all plays out – but yea – they really never learn.

      • atcDave says:

        Congratulations on your stupid Packers. (sorry about the stupid part, I really couldn’t help myself!) At least our defense kept us in the game. Did our third string quarterback scare you any? Just wondering.

        You know I’ll be a Packers fan in two weeks against the Steelers!

      • jason says:

        thx dave, the last 3 games on the road vs the conference’s 3 best teams has been hard on GB, add in the prior 2 must wins vs giants and the second bear’s game, so yes, it has been ‘scary’.

        I told my son after the first practice that sam shields was going to make the team (he was undrafted and a free agent) – so after this game I earned probably ten years worth of being wrong …

        sure hope I am wrong about the 4×13 lack of engagement spec of mine, that is one I gladly would accept failure on, but I am sad to say, the more I see, the more evidence I think there is out there, but that is for a different set of ‘details’ to be hashed out

        I edited to put a few paragraph spaces in – acceptable?

    • Faith says:

      Dave I think the destination is still forthcoming. I’m not going to go over again with you my perspective on TPTB’s decisions on promotion and teases…have done that enough but I think we won’t be dissatisfied with the end result/destination. Though maybe I am blinded by faith heh.

      • atcDave says:

        Faith you know I agree entirely. I’m just trying to sort out reasons why this particular episode drew so much fire. I do think it was the wrong note to come back to after a break; again not for us, we’re convinced it will be worth it. But for more casual viewers, it left them with a bad taste after a long break (or even first time viewers).
        i know that’s not the only explanation, but I think it is behind SOME of the discontent.

      • thinkling says:

        Well, just from my internal barometer when I was watching the first time, not analyzing (which is almost like breathing to me sometimes), this was my guts reaction.

        I was into the proposal. (I blathered on about it in my post, because it just doesn’t get any better.) I mean my heart is skipping beats and beating faster. My smile is getting bigger … Then the CIA flipped a switch. Their spot lights went on, and my smile went off. From there the good feelings leaked out of my mood like a balloon with a hole in it.

        OK, that was my first reaction. I had to think about it a little more to catch up with the story and see where we’re headed and why. If it weren’t for the S3 dormant malady that springs up to bite me at times like these, I would have utter faith in a 4.13 proposal.

        My guess is a lot of people don’t have the patience for this sort of curve ball, especially since the last curve ball did so much damage.

        I think TPTB have earned the right to a curve ball, IF it really fits the story, and IF they don’t delay the payoff they yanked away. I think both of those IF’s could be fulfilled, but we have to see. A curve ball just for the thrill of the pitcher won’t be tolerated.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah deflated is exactly how I felt too. I can make myself be patient because I believe it’s coming soon. But as we’ve been discussing, my patience won’t be great. If it weren’t for S3 we’d likely all be more patient.

  4. JC says:

    Really great post Ernie and Faith.

    I was really liking this season for the first nine episodes but these last four with the exception of Phase Three have been rough for me.

    My biggest complaint has been Chuck this season. You say he’s not James Bond but you know he hasn’t been Chuck Bartowski either. Some of his regression I can understand when he’s around his mother, thats completely believable to me. Its the other things that have gotten to me. The way he’s been written it’s basically diet Bryce. They won’t let him go all out as spy with the 2.0 but they won’t let solve missions like they did when he had the 1.0. All the smarts he displayed in the first two seasons is gone and so is the courage. What happened to the guy who swung off the BuyMore roof to save Sarah? That was all Chuck not the Intersect. Morgan has showed more competence as a spy of late than Chuck.

    Then you have the way other characters treat him. Again it seems like Sarah and Casey look at Morgan as more of spy than Chuck. The same thing with Chuck issues, they’re played for jokes or ignored all together. And then you have this overprotective streak they give characters towards him, its like Chuck is some fragile doll that will break.

    Part of the problem seems they’re trying to make up for Sarah’s treatment last season by giving her loads of story. That’s great we all want to see that but not at the expense of the title character. The other seems to be they’re afraid to really make Chuck a hero because the audience will lose some connection with him.

    A quick comment on Morgan. You’re right that he’s become a vehicle for exposition but he’s also on the verge of being a Gary Stu. Whenever he shows up I can’t help but think here comes a solution to whatever problem is happening.

    • Faith says:

      JC you know I think you’ve got a point but I also think Chuck’s going through a process. An up and down if you will and his up is just now getting ready to kick into gear. I think we’ll see that he will be the hero standing at the end of this arc, kind of like he was when he first revealed, “guys I know Kung Fu.”

      I’ll second you on the seduction heroics. We could use more of that. But at the same time that was more of a purposeful departure from the whiny, ducking and in the car guy he was then so they had to show big sweeping gestures of the hero within. Now he’s more in between those two personas IMO, more consistently and silently, confidently heroic–so the big sweeping gestures are rare and saved for American Hero/Other Guy sort of climax. Or maybe that’s just how I see it 🙂

  5. armySFC says:

    excellent write up you guys. i’ll give my 2 cents on it. i like being here and posting my ideas. i’ll try to sound nice and i hope it works. we are each entitled to our opinions. i am the only one that knows what i like or what i should like in or about a show. your trying to convince me that i should see the show the way you do. that i should enjoy the show they way you do. if not i am wrong. that i have a problem with. the members at CI have the same right you do. what right do you or i have to question that? you made your point to me loud and clear. i hope you guys enjoy the rest of the season and hopefully any that come after this one. it has been a pleasure to be apart of this blog. i will miss it.

    i can not in good consciousness continue to be part of this. when a person questions me or another group about their own personal choice bothers me. its worse when they take the pains you guys did to point out why were are wrong is even worse. do you raise the same point with people that share a different religious belief than you do? take care all of you. i wonder now how many private chats you guys had making fun of myself and any others that do not share your opinion.

    thanks for allowing me to voice my opinion on this matter. again it was fun being involved here. i hope you get what you want. a blog of like minded people who all share the same view of each episode so there is no strife. enjoy the rest of the season. ArmySFC out.

    • joe says:

      The man deserves a reply, but honestly, I’m not 100% convinced the points raised do.

      But for the record, I don’t know how any of us could be less coercive. That’s what I hear in Army’s words, even if he uses “trying to convince”. Heartfelt explanations for our reactions, like Thinkling, Ernie, Faith, Dave have given beautifully for our reactions to each episode are what we’ve tried be about from the start.

      I do love intelligent discussions, and as a fan of this blog, that is what I find here in spades. The line may be thin between intelligent and endlessly repetitive/closed off, but I don’t think it’s been crossed.

    • atcDave says:

      Army this is essentially a debating club. We all do have different opinions here, and more difference is always welcome. Just as you have consistently expressed your opinion, we will too. We do have some advantage in “having the floor”, but dissenting opinions are always welcome (as long as individuals are respected).

      Your opinions have absolutely shaped ours. Its even possible some of your opinions led directly to some of the featured articles here. That’s an opportunity for you to speak up again!
      But we do all try to listen to each other here. My opinions have been modified and developed many times through the discussions I’ve had here. I know all the other featured writers can say the same. Sometimes that just means we understand an opinion we disagree with better, but hey, that counts too. I’m sure you’ve noticed in some of our multi-authored pieces we don’t even agree with each other sometimes! There really is no unified “ChuckThis” voice.
      You know you’ve written some lengthy comments here the last few days, that’s awesome! Please don’t take offense when we choose to write lengthy opinion pieces too. “Long form” is what we specialize in.

    • Faith says:

      I’m sorry you feel like that. Best of luck on your future endeavors.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Army, it’s a funny thing, personal views. Last season I was, along with others, pretty down on the show at times while there were a lot of bloggers and critics who seemed to be saying it’s not so bad. Mo Ryan put it best, the feeling we get when others tell us it’s not as bad as we think. So if I came off as telling you you are wrong to dislike it I’m sorry for that because that wasn’t my intent. But the thing is I’m not a professional critic. I’m just a fan who gives his opinion, like you. I guess I understand your point, I seem to have a bigger megaphone. The question I have to ask however is what would you have me do? I really honestly enjoyed the episode and really thought people who were complaining were missing something. So that is what I said. Would you have me shut up because I liked the show? Is my opinion only valid when it matches yours? Are you, when you talk about why you think an episode sucked, somehow saying I’m wrong for enjoying it?

      If there is anyone who has a valid complaint it’s the CI folks. They are a group of very talented writers who made a case that the episode and the show lately is flawed. I tried to make the case they are wrong. I respect their opinion and their right to express it, I just don’t see it. It pains me to an extent to do this, but I thought their criticisms were, well, wrong. So I said so. I’m sure they’ll be telling me why I’m wrong at some point. So does that meet your standard? Should I hate them for questioning my enjoyment? They already have: fans continually give them a pass on the crappy writing, plotholes, bad continuity, inconsistent characterization, because they think only entertainment is important. And it is, don’t get me wrong, but you shouldn’t be so willing to accept a pile of crap just because you occasionally find a fleck of gold in it. And it goes on from there. Have they crossed a line? Should we therefore consider their opinions an affront to our personal choice to enjoy the show and share what we enjoyed about it? Frankly I think I went out of my way to be respectful of other opinions that were, to be blunt, a lot less respectful of contrasting views, and this isn’t just about the CI post. I’m just having a hard time lately figuring out why I’m out of line telling people why I think they are missing the great things going on, but those telling me I have no taste because I like a pile of crap are fine.

      • herder says:

        Ernie, I read this post with particular interest as I usually find my own views of the show pretty much in synch with yours and Faith’s. I was interested in finding out why the two of you got so much more out of this episode than I did. Differing opionions are important otherwise things degenerat to the SNL Chris Farley sketch, “Do you remember when…that was awesome”. I will rewatch again with both of your points and arguments in mind.

      • armySFC says:

        ernie, faith etal. ernie have read all the responses and i feel i need to respond to yours. you gave the most heart felt response. like you said, “It pains me to an extent to do this, but I thought their criticisms were, well, wrong. So I said so.” that is the problem i had with the write up. you have every right to your opinion as they have theirs. it’s what makes this blog great. maybe this quote from the movie an American President will help you see why i posted what i did.

        “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can’t just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the “land of the free”

        opinions in my mind should never be wrong. accepted as different, debated to see if you can sway that person to your view, but never wrong. again thank you for letting me respond.

      • patty says:

        There is no “right” or “Wrong” answer to the question “Did you enjoy ________”

        That said there is plenty of room for serious yet fun discussion about your very personal answer to that question.

        I, personally, enjoyed the episode (except for Lester, just want to smack him and I really wanted the engagement to actually go through). That said I am not mad at mxpw or Frea for having a different viewpoint from me. I am not going to say rude things about them or stop reading Fates or DA just to teach them a lesson for hating an episode I liked!

        I might, however, try to express the reasons why I liked the episode and discuss why I found it enjoyable. Debate is a good thing, it helps us appreciate other people’s perspective.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Army, you have a decent complaint there and by saying their criticisms were wrong I may have fanned the flame. But I think they are wrong. I’m not saying they are bad people or they kick puppies or hate their mothers, I think they are mistaken. I am not denying them the opportunity to make a case or to burn the flag. When they say certain actions are out of character, I think they are wrong and will make a case that says they are wrong, and here is why. That’s my opinion. They are mistaken. I’m sure they share the opinion and think I’m wrong. I mentioned specifically that much of what we talk about are matters of personal taste, but some isn’t. Is there continuity between episodes and decent exposition? That can be reasonably argued outside the bounds of personal taste, as I did repetedly in season 3. When they say Sarah’s actions are not explained or reasonable I can say they are wrong, the writers have constructed a case and explained why she would take such an action. I think they are wrong and that some of their, and some of the fans criticisms are unfounded. And the world didn’t end.

        In addition I think you are wrong. I feel perfectly fine criticizing other peoples opinions. I’d feel fine criticizing someone’s religion if they practiced human sacrafice. I’d gladly say they are wrong. If someone has the opinion that the KKK was a swell group of guys I think they are seriously wrong and will gladly say so. Me expressing that view does not deprive such an idiot of his right to be an idiot. Neither does me calling him an idiot deprive him of that right. He can hold any opinion he likes, make any case he likes, he has that right, but he does not have the right to be protected from criticism or the consequences of making his case. I will never celebrate or endorse things I loath and I have no obligation to do so.

      • armySFC says:

        erine well said and on all those points i agree.

      • thinkling says:

        I think one of the things we do here, intentionally and regularly, is to help fans feel better about the show that we all love. We don’t manufacture it. It’s not hype. It’s really what we see, think, and feel.

        One of the ways we do that is to explain why we loved an episode and what we saw that made us like it. Or why we think it’s genius.

        For Ernie it’s all about the Hero’s Journey. He sees the big picture. He’s good at showing how the details of each episode fit into that big picture.

        Faith keeps her eye on the growth of the show and the characters, where they came from and how far they’ve come. She never loses sight of the love and the heart.

        For me it’s what I see just below the surface in the nuances, in the context, in the layered complexity of the characters — where it came from and why it makes them relate and do things the way they do.

        Joe is our eternal romantic, encourager, and optimist. He sees our own struggles and hopes and dreams in these characters and helps us identify with them, like he does.

        Dave, another resident romantic, always reminds us how much better things are in S4 than in S3 and that TPTB have learned their lesson. He encourages us to hang in there and have a little faith.

        Amy is touched by the romance and sees her hopes reflected in the characters, moods, and especially the music. She reminds us how lucky we are to have this great show at the push of a button.

        S3 put everyone in the doldrums. We totally get that. There is still lingering distrust. I understand. (Frankly I’m about to gnaw my arm off.) Sometimes all of that creates angst and fear where, it later turns out, there wasn’t any.

        We just want to encourage everyone with the good things we see in the hope to reconcile gaps, deepen appreciation, mitigate disappointment, and restore a more optimistic anticipation.

        If we succeed even a little bit, it makes us happy.

      • jason says:

        @think – my theory is all 6 of you agree on near everything, compliment each other, and cold shoulder any opinion other than your own – and are becoming increasingly hostile to any opinion or blogger on this blog that you do not agree with

        This was esp apparent here, when a pair of you wrote something where you both pile on a POV opposing an OPINION on 4×11 that the majority of your principals enjoyed

        when a pair of you write – you need to point – counterpoint things to make things interesting, when you both agree, it ‘feels’ unfair, and like piling on

      • Faith says:

        Wow harsh. I would like to point out that Ernie and I had a very vocal and blatant difference of opinion just recently with FOD. In fact we almost never agree which is why this whole thing is weird. Having said that I’ll consider your points and remember them in the future (I’m not just saying that BTW, I am nothing if not honest to a fault).

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Jason, I really don’t get where people say we are opposing an opinion. A lot of people, Frea and Maximus included, had specific criticisms about the writing, the continuity, the pacing and the characterizations that we took issue with and made specific points about. In no way were we saying you had to accept our view or had to enjoy the episode. I thought some of the criticisms were not well founded and wanted to point out why.

      • atcDave says:

        Jason it is tough sometimes to form a good reply to something you really disagree with. I’m sorry if anyone felt ignored or like they were given the cold shoulder; but I try to choose conversations to get involved in that I feel I have something to contribute to. If I look at a comment and feel like I’ve already said all I can about it, I may just skip it.
        Case in point is your continued assertion there will be no engagement in the front arc. Well I still think there will be one in 4.13. We’ve gone back and forth on this a few times. I’m not ignoring you, but I don’t have anything else to say for now. I’m sure it will come up one way or the other a week from tonight.
        I know the tone did get a little heated around here for a few days. All six of us were excited about the show (I think I liked Balcony less than the rest of the gang; but I still thought it was better than most of S3 and I still believe in the show and season overall) and were a little dismayed at the weight of negative opinion we were getting from commenters. So we each argued our positions and opinions. You know all six of us are here because we love the show and believe in where it can and will go. I understand that makes us different from many casual viewers. But I hope you remember last season, we are perfectly willing to give negative opinions when we have negative feelings about things. By the same measure, when we have positive feelings we will express those too.
        We also don’t have any particular agenda on when we pair up for a post. Our re-watches during the holiday break were almost random pairings. Sometimes we agreed on most everything and could only do the Chris Farley thing. Other times we had more of a debate. Most of our featured articles here are just one of us gets an idea and writes a post, so you only see single authorship. Occasionally, one of us will start a post, or want to address a particular topic; but feel the need for some input and send an e-mail to the whole gang asking for help. If one or more of us feels like adding on we may end up with a multi-author piece. That is all. We certainly don’t want to shut anyone up. The diversity of well spoken opinion is what makes this site so much fun. Please don’t ever think that we don’t value other opinions.

      • jason says:

        @dave / @faith / @joe, since I know you 3 the best – I am not talking about responses to my own stuff, Lord knows I deserve any ugly treatment I get – more just a POV, a feel if you will after reading some of the responses from others and how the mods have responded – site seems more like what you don’t want to be than what you want it to be the last week or so

      • thinkling says:


        It should be clear from my only comment on this topic, the one you responded to, what our motivation is.

        We just want to encourage everyone with the good things we see in the hope to reconcile gaps, deepen appreciation, mitigate disappointment, and restore a more optimistic anticipation. If we succeed even a little bit, it makes us happy.

        Clearly, then, it makes me a little sad to know that what we meant to encourage and uplift has been misconstrued as hostility.

        On this particular post, while opposing views weren’t presented (as in liked it/hated it), complementary aspects (story telling/television medium) were explored. I found it enlightening. Others are entitled to their own opinion on the episode and the post.

        The other thing that sometimes arises in the blog is the difference between opinion and interpretation. This is not an emotional issue with me at all, and has nothing to do with liking or not liking an episode. I’ll admit the issue frustrates me occasionally. Once or twice I’ve pushed back a little harder than I usually do. I mean no offense to anyone.

        We gladly accept opinions as just that. Opinions like: I loved this scene; I want less Morgan time; I hated the down ending; Casey’s advice was great; the surveilled proposal creeped me out. Those are opinions.

        However, there are rules for interpretation. Sometimes I have given an interpretation, only to have it shot down by facts that someone else reminds me of. Either I didn’t think it through thoroughly or I overlooked some facts. I amend my interpretation at that point. That’s a good thing.

        Interpretations or assertions that contradict what is actually shown on screen or contradict established characterization and context are different from an opinion. Sometimes comments try to show why an interpretation isn’t supported by the facts. Sometimes a comment is meant to defend an interpretation or assertion in light of certain characterization and context.

        I’ll use the ones I responded to as an example. The interpretation that Sarah chose the job over Chuck is not supported by what we were shown. Sarah made her motivation clear in her dialogue and her face. The assertion that Sarah is doing exactly the same thing that Mary did ignores context and many of the facts as we know them.

        So, I’ll circle back to motivation. Pointing out context and facts is also meant to mitigate unnecessary negative feelings and fears. It’s not intended as an act of hostility.

        Sorry I’ve been so verbose … again. I’m sad that you see me as hostile, and I want you to know how far that is from my intention and from the intention of this blog and its bloggers. Thanks.


      • Frea_O says:

        Hey, everybody, I’d really appreciate if you stopped mentioning Castle Inanity. I’m sorry you think we’re wrong (and I’m not going to get into it if we are or not; everybody has an opinion and is entitled to that opinion), but if you feel that way, I would appreciate if you came to us and told us that either via email or in the comments on CI itself, as Joe was kind enough to do.

        Thank you very much and I’m sorry this is becoming an issue, but it is. You’ve been a fun sort of sister blog.

        Frea O’Scanlin

      • silvercat42 says:

        Army, if you don’t enjoy this show anymore, perhaps it is time to move on.

        I’ve been a science fiction/fantasy/spy genre fan for a long time, and when a show starts frustrating me more than entertaining me, I leave. But if others still like it, good for them. Some examples: Heroes, Star Trek Voyager, Alias, and Star Trek Enterprise all lost me after a while, primarily because I felt the shows lost focus or went in directions I just didn’t appreciate. Bottom line: if I don’t like a show anymore, I stop watching it… but I certainly won’t belittle those who still like it.

        As for you feeling attacked, it goes both ways. Some critics have pretty much called me stupid because I don’t share their perspective. In particular, I got a lot of negative reaction because I expressed my fondness for Season 3. And I’ve also had vitriol directed at me for defending episodes this season, which has been genius and has potential to be the best of the series so far.

        At times, I feel some Chuck fan blogs tend to become primarily gripe blogs, and I end up not logging on for a week or two. I’ve come to enjoy this blog a lot, because even when there is criticism, it tends to be tempered with an overall enjoyment of Chuck the show. And the analysis, such as that displayed in this particular blog, is brilliant and often points out details I’ve missed.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Hey Frea, Sorry if I offended, it wasn’t my intent. I was actually hoping for a dialog here because a few of our posters had brough up your review for discussion. I suppose I got carried away in comments when it seemed to me some posters were advocating a double standard. It was probably a mistake for me to mention CI at all when I was responding more to the general negativity on the boards rather than any real specifics in your review, so I apologize. In reality I just wanted to give you guys a plug and say I had a different view of the episode, but that went sideways quick apparently. So again, I apologize for even bringing CI into this discussion and if there are hard feelings I apologize for that too and recognize I should have handled things differently.

      • jason says:

        @think – just trying to point out to the board from someone who has been here a while on what I saw – but, none of us needs a lesson on how to analyze tv, we all come from various backgrounds, education levels, ages, and cultural POV’s, just let people be, state your case and see if it can hold water, as you kknow, my bucket has been so shot full of holes I can hardly recognize what material it was forged from.

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  7. Frea O says:

    Hey, Ernie, and Faith!

    Thanks for the mention and the free publicity. Glad you guys are reading our reviews! Definitely an interesting viewpoint, and always so interesting how subjective everything can be.

    Thanks for the read!


    PS – I recommend, and this is just me as a blogger/writer, maybe breaking up your paragraphs a little. 🙂

    • joe says:

      Right back at ya, Frea. She may not say so, but Thinkling is still tickled pink that you got some inspiration from her post.

      And I’m always glad to know you read us too!

    • atcDave says:

      We don’t need no stinken paragraphs…

      Paragraphs are for sissys!

    • Faith says:

      Haha, thanks. I really should also stop starting sentences with but and and. But bad habits (see there it is again!)…maybe for the next arbitration I can get Joe to up my slop enough for an editor and proofreader.

      • atcDave says:

        I was always taught you should never start a sentence with but or and, which is why I do it as often as possible.

      • joe says:

        I go through and replace every and with a period and start a new sentence. But with buts, I just remove them and never worry about the contradictions and shifts and nuances I meant to introduce, but for the flow, must try to keep intact.

        And then there’s the idea I tack on by using ands at the very start of the next paragraph.

        But I never do that twice in a row.

        But sometimes I do.

        Whew! 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Good use of but and and. Its just that kind of outside the box thinking that leads to outside the box thinking.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Personally I want to learn to use the semicolon properly. And I want to break my comma habbit. I’m really bad with commas. I used to be that way with parentheticals, and I think to an extent I’ve switched to commas as a substitute, but nowdays it seems the dash has gained a lot of favor. It’s all so confusing.

      • thinkling says:

        I think I over-use the ellipsis. I should probably learn some new techniques.

        And I think is need to examine colons more closely, the punctuation variety, of course … not a colonoscopy. More of a colonology.

      • joe says:

        ERNIE’S ONE OF THEM COMMA ABUSERS! Shame – shame!!!

      • herder says:


      • joe says:

        Precisely! We know all about them comma-nists. Many of them are thespians!

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Now you all know my secret shame. Aside from the whole Duck thing, which isn’t really much of a secret… I’m a comma-nist.

        My name is Ernie, and I’m a comma-nist.

      • atcDave says:

        I love parenthetical statements and semi-colons. When my wife proof reads my work physical violence often results, I feel so abused!

  8. thinkling says:

    You guys know I loved the post. I loved the attention to … well, details.

    You made me see a little bit of significance to the Lester saga. And you helped me see the use of Morgan in a new light.

    What really became more clear was how integral the first “throw away” proposal was to the context, the characters, and the story. I hadn’t picked up on all of that. Every one of the key details is in that opening scene: that Chuck has been super worried about his family, that Sarah is keenly attuned to him in this regard, and how “other focused” they are.

    Great job all round. Thank you for the post.

  9. JC says:

    You know I posted a huge response and I now that I think about it was unnecessary. I get what’s been off this season.

    All the development and growth they’ve given Sarah has been at the expense of Chuck. Its like a complete reversal from last season. They’re revisiting certain themes and issues but we’re actually getting insight into Sarah. The problem is that while Sarah is growing, Chuck is stuck until she catches up to where he was at the end of last season.

    • joe says:

      Ya know, JC, I’m going to have to think about this idea. I just spent 15 minutes up at Frea’s and MXPW’s added my $0.02 about the something similar – that Chuck has been almost passive of late.

      My gut reaction was to say I didn’t think so (and pointed to a few scenes that supported my stance), but there’s more than a few subtleties here. I can understand why that last scene and a lot of what’s been going on with MamaB makes it appear that way.

      Where I differ, I think, is in how Chuck was earlier. I was seeing a lot more loser-schnook, and a lot less Carmichael, all the way up to Predator. It was at that point, after Cole had left, that Chuck began to be the character I wanted to see all the time. Trouble is, he was also much darker, morose and he also seemed quite able to let Sarah go if she wanted. I’m not talking about Prague, but about the dance at Ellie’s wedding.

      I liked that Chuck in Dream Job, quitting the Buy More and defying Casey to save his father. But if those qualities were what led us to Mask and Fake Name, well, like I said, I’d have to think about his development and what it means.

      • JC says:

        I really hate to bring this up but IMO a lot of these issues with Chuck do stem from S3 and to a lesser degree the 2.0.

        Sarah had hardly any real growth last year and when it did happen it seemed to come out of nowhere. So look at this year we get the revisiting of the moving in, losing Chuck, etc from her perspective. The problem is we’ve seen Chuck go through all this before, so it looks he’s regressing in certain episodes to accommodate Sarah’s growth. And I’m glad we’re actually getting that but it is hurting his character much like S3 did to Sarah.

        When it comes to Chuck I think there’s a real divide with the fans. Again with S3 I think some fans never saw what he was doing was wrong early in the season and this created a disconnect. So when the show holds him back as a spy its frustrating. The same with my complaint about him not getting angry or standing up for himself. I know some people use the argument that’s who he is but we could say the same about Sarah never talking. She grew on that front but still is reserved why can’t they do the same for Chuck?

        It also seems in the rush to make him an action hero with the 2.0, the heroic traits Chuck had before have been lost. Just because he can fight doesn’t mean his IQ has to drop.

      • Katsumaro says:

        I *kinda* agree with what you’ve got to say, JC.. but I also disagree at some points too.

        First of all, I think S3+ has a lot of fans in divided camps as it is. The writers/directors didn’t really do themselves a favor with the whole Shaw plot and all. My belief was always.. Sarah sort of ‘fell into’ Shaw’s arms because she was both confused about who Chuck was and who he is now, and if she could really love him (which she obviously knew she could), and then the writers not really knowing where they wanted to go, so it came out messy. That and let’s be honest; not many people liked Shaw when he was the good guy. Heck, I didn’t like him at all until he was a bad guy and got shot, Haha. Yeah.. that makes me a bad person, so sue me!

        Anyway, sort of went on a tangent there. My point was that it seemed like the writers wrote themselves into a corner after the needless amounts of drama/angst they decided to put both the characters, and the fans through at the start of S3, on through to Episode 12. They only redeemed themselves when they turned Shaw into a baddie with the twist that Sarah shot and killed his wife for her ‘Red test’, and then things sort of fixed themselves. That’s my view on the whole ‘fan divide’, though.

        As far as what’s going on now, and how Chuck’s growth was majorly S3 while Sarah’s is S4, and Chuck’s somehow lost his luster? I dunno. S1-3, Chuck did grow a lot. That much is true, but he also didn’t have to worry about knowing exactly WHERE his mother, who’s been missing for twenty years, was, or think he had any chance of finding her. Boom, S4 pops up and now it’s clear that she’s possibly in danger/a spy/et all, and his worries skyrocket. No longer does he have to worry about his relationship with Sarah (at least not as much), but he’s got to worry about keeping more secrets from Ellie, and worry about finding his mom. That really weighs heavily on him, since I honestly think he places finding her really high on the list, especially since he lost his father. Know what I mean?

        So yeah, while Chuck appears to be a bit flatter/taking a big backseat in S4 in terms of growth compared to Sarah, I really think there’s reasons that explain it. He’s not a happy go lucky spy learning on the job.. he’s a worried son trying to find his mom, save his mom, or what have you. I think we’ll see a bit more development as Sarah goes in deep undercover, and really see what Chuck can do (I hope) when he encounters Volkoff, Evil!Sarah, and Mary coming up in 4.12 and 4.13.. and then hopefully, assuming they save MamaB, we’ll see more growth in both Chuck and Sarah at the same time since he won’t have that nagging worry anymore.

        Sorry about the HEAVY wall of text here. Just wanted to get all my opinions out the best way I can. God it’s too late to be typing this much. D:

      • Katsumaro says:

        Sorry for the double post, but holy crap at how much text that actually is that I posted. REALLY sorry about that, haha.

      • JC says:

        I tried not to get into much detail with S3 as that tends to overtake discussions.

        When it comes to S3 Chuck did show us he wanted to be a spy for the greater good and could be a real spy. What I still don’t know is whether Sarah is OK with him being a real spy? If he had to pull Casey’s tooth again,is that OK or will she have another melt down. So I ask myself is that something they’ll explore or is Chuck doomed to be a sorta spy.

        I’m OK with Sarah being the star of this season. I love that they’re giving her more depth as a character, What I’m not OK with is they have to make Chuck look like a schmuck to do it. Its the same complaint I had about making Chuck a hero last season, it was at the cost of Sarah’s character.

        A lot of Chuck insecurities this season seem to be retreads done so Sarah can grow from them. And I was OK with that until FOD and Balcony just pushed me over the edge. The Intersect less arc really didn’t do Chuck any favors and quite frankly made him hard to root for. And with Balcony it seemed very convenient in my eyes that his abandonment issues or insecurities disappeared so suddenly.

      • Katsumaro says:

        Yeah, we won’t go into S3 as I don’t want to get off subject here, but I will say that I don’t think Sarah will ever be completely okay with him being a ‘real spy’, but I do think she’ll support him the best she can. She doesn’t really show that she has a lot of confidence in him, honestly.. what with the first episode of S4 with him upstairs with those guys with the guns. She all the sudden thought that he really got shot. She also switches from girlfriend mode to agent mode fairly quick. So yeah.. is she happy he’s a spy? No, I don’t really think so.. but is it a deal breaker? Not at all.

        I dunno if the intersect-less arc really hurt Chuck as much as it showed that he really isn’t very much of a field agent/spy without it. He doesn’t have the fighting ability that Sarah has, the ability to pull a gun and shoot someone like Casey.. or anything like that, and the Intersect helps him a ton. I think the way Chuck works though, is once he has something in his mind (getting his mom back, getting the Intersect back..), he tries to go through it. Kinda like “Balcony” and how he wanted the proposal to happen. That and come on.. he’s still very insecure about things. He probably still thinks he’s dreaming and wondering when Sarah’s going to really leave him, so with Sarah going in deep undercover, it’ll play on his insecurities there, along with his dreams he had back in 4.09 when everyone left him. Don’t you think that’d stress him out a ton?

        And again.. I don’t think his insecurities this season are just retreads of Sarah’s. They’ve both had issues in their lives, and dealing with abandonment. Chuck’s mom and dad both left home when he was still a kid (Sarah.. we don’t know about her mom, but her dad was a conman, so..), Chuck found out his long-time girlfriend Jill was a fulcrum agent, while his best friend was a spy who got him expelled, etc.. Sarah has to lie her entire life due to being an agent, and so on. Both have major insecurities and they are just learning about them together. I don’t see why people are overreacting so much.

      • JC says:

        You’re probably right that Sarah will never be OK with Chuck being a spy. But is she OK with Chuck doing some less than savory things as a spy? Could he burn an asset or pose as an assassin without her freaking out? When FOD happened that seemed like a legitimate issues between them. That she is an emotional rock in a way because Chuck is afraid of how Sarah will react to what he does.

        I do disagree about the Intersect less arc though. Chuck acted like he had never been on a mission before in his life. Its like the writers and Chuck forgot about those first two seasons of him being successful using smarts and courage. This whole business that Chuck is worthless without the 2.0 was created just for S3 and they still haven’t put it rest. That is one the biggest disservices to his character the show has ever done.

        Do I think all his insecurities are retreads, no. But the ones that revisited certain themes from last I sure do and like I said it was done to show and the growth of Sarah. I’m fine with that but I do think they ignore a lot Chuck issues or treat them as jokes on the show. I just want them to treat his fears or past like they do Sarah and Casey’s. The ones in Phase Three seemed out of left field IMO but ignoring his abandonment issues at the end of Balcony was glaring. If there was one moment this season when Chuck should have been completely crazy it was then.

      • Katsumaro says:

        One more reply on this just so I can avoid flooding the topic with it.

        My thing with Chuck being Intersectless even though during S1/S2, he did okay in missions.. remember this. In S1/S2, the intersect didn’t give him kung-fu powers, so he didn’t rely on it to survive a mission. He relied on what you said; his smarts and courage.

        Then the end of S2 introduced the 2.0, and into S3, he trained with that pretty much to improve his own fighting skills. The 2.0 is what pushed him to that. No 2.0 = no Spy Chuck, so he’d probably be the same as S1/2 Chuck in S3/4.. but he did get the 2.0. So he worked to improve it. Get where I’m going? He was dependent on the 2.0, so when he suddenly lost it, to his mom no less, he was lost. It’s not to say he was suddenly stupid, or wasn’t courageous (he obviously still had courage to go on missions without the intersect), but just like he’s sort of dependent on Sarah in some cases, he was dependent on the 2.0. It was his crutch, and in Chuck’s mind, it was what kept Sarah Walker, the Spy, with him.

        So that’s my thoughts on it.. and look, another semi-wall of text. Sorry guys! I just hate how some people seem to overlook all this, you know? The time difference from S3 finale and S4 where he lost the 2.0 had to be what.. at least a year? Close? Granted he was ‘out of the spy game’ for a little bit, but got back in with his mom search, so.. yeah.

      • atcDave says:

        Hey JC and Katsumaro thanks for a very good essay. Interesting and thoughtful comments. I enjoyed that a lot.

      • Katsumaro says:

        Are you being sarcastic, Dave? I can never tell on the internets. If not, then I was just curious! I just hate when I get on a subject I like to talk about. My fingers just keep on moving, like they’re on auto-pilot! Sorry about the essay worth of stuff, though.

      • atcDave says:

        No, I was serious. I liked all the discussion! Thanks, really.

      • JC says:

        Thanks Dave

        I know I have tendency to dwell on certain topics a lot. This season its been Chuck not getting angry or the ignoring of his issues. Kinda like last season and my Sarah is a plot device rants. I’m trying to moderate myself more.

      • Katsumaro says:

        Ah, well thanks Dave! Sometimes I don’t realize just how much I type. Maybe it’s not actually a lot that I’m typing, and the way the layout is on the site, it just *looks* like I’m typing out a lot. Appreciate the positive reaction, though!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Valid questions and points JC. I think though that it is a safe assumption to conclude that Sarah will never be fully ok with Chuck being a full fledged spy. There are just certain parts of the job she doesn’t like for him(and maybe not even for herself anymore), and she fears would change him, or possibly kill him. That has been clear for years, and with her now probably more in love with him than ever, I can’t see that changing. Sure she’ll tolerate it, if she’s there to protect him, but only because she knows it’s important to him. For her only one thing matters, and that is have Chuck in her life, as she said she needs him to be ok. It isn’t wanting, it is needing, and in fairness you can’t blame Sarah for wanting him safe. I have to admit though, the whole reaction on the pulling out Casey’s tooth was a bit too much. What did she want him to do? Get them all killed? She really does seem to have a slightly double standard sometimes when it comes to Chuck.

  11. Amrit says:

    For me the best time and place for a proposal would actually be at the beach, after the mission is complete and just like in the pilot it is them on their own sitting there and chuck proposes…….

  12. jason says:

    this thread has been sort of an odd thread, you guys aren’t turning into the very thing you wanted to avoid by starting this I hope?

    sorry, just gives me a bad vibe?

    • Faith says:

      Nah. Though I think we can all agree new episode tonight = aces. Can’t wait!

      • herder says:

        Tonight’s episode is another of those that we know very little going in, Sarah will be undercover in a catsuit, Chuck will be undercover in a prison suit, Casey will go through a window. Most of the speculation that we have is about Push Mix, the original season end.

        This is a middle episode of a three show arc again which have not been overly sucessful this year (Cubic Z, FOD anyone?). Instead, my guess is that this will be more like Subway than American Hero (to use comparables). I have big hopes for this one, as Faith said “Aces”.

      • Faith says:

        I was kinda hoping for a colonel-esque epic before Ring myself. But like Chuck said, baby steps lol. In any case Subway eh? I hope that means more Ellie. I’m still haunted by her facial expression after PapaB’s demise. Sarah Lancaster is definitely an underrated, yet fantastic actor.

      • joe says:

        Not by me, she’s not! You see, I have this “thing” for long-haired brunettes that goes all the way back to high school (hi, Julie!).

        We’re due for an episode with major Ellie & Devon involvement. We may not get it tonight, what with Sarah in Moscow and Chuck in prison, but it’s not impossible. Ellie is a great vehicle to keep Mary Elizabeth connected to Burbank.

      • patty says:

        We just need to remember that this week and next week are really two halves of one story and not get too worked up about the probable cliffhanger.

      • thinkling says:

        Absolutely Patty. Just wish they were back to back, like subway/ring2.

        I anticipate absolute great episodes. I’m only sweating the proposal. (But I guess the whole world knows that by now.)

      • Faith says:

        That’s kind of how I feel this episode was and the next two to follow. They’re really very tightly wound entities and to dismiss one is ignoring the others. Which is fine. I think we can all agree that having a show to be passionate about beats the alternative.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        @Faith – Not for the first time this week I am wishing that 4×12 and 4×13 was a double feature.

      • thinkling says:

        Faith, this season has had a lot of tightly wound episodes, more so than other seasons, I think.

        Suitcase, Cubic Z, and Coup were sequential in theme and time. Very tight.

        Then you had Couch Lock, Aisle of Terror, First Fight, FOD, and Phase 3. Interlocking episodes — all 5. Leftovers wasn’t far behind.

        The first gap of more than a few days was between Leftovers and Balcony. (Well excluding the Anniversary timeline, which nobody understands)

        And here we have 3 more episodes that really can’t be separated. This whole season should be watched in 5 sittings or less.

        That’s how I watched the first 3 seasons (more than 5 sittings, but more or less straight through), so this week-at-a-time mode is killing me.

      • herder says:

        Tonight is the Baby Name episode for Awesome and Ellie and next week is the birth of the awesome child so they should be reasonably involved. I was hoping that Sarah would be around for the Baby name game, perhaps start that biological clock tick-tick-ticking.

      • thinkling says:

        Me, too, Herder. I looks like TeamB will miss out on the baby stuff, which is too bad (if indeed it turns out that way).

      • atcDave says:

        I’m really wishing this was a double episode with Push Mix. I fully expect some good action and story tonight, but no resolution. That will make for a long wait next week!

      • joe says:

        Yeah, I’m ready for a double episode too.

        Hummm… That’s just like the physiognomy of reactions to addictive drugs, isn’t it? You need bigger and bigger doses as time goes on.

        Found in the dictionary under Addiction: “I can quit watching Chuck any time.” – Ernie Davis, sometime in 2010.

        I’ve cut down to only four or five viewings a week, myself. Now I know what our mission will be once this show ends – Chuckaholism counseling.

      • atcDave says:

        I’m all for bigger doses every week. I think the next season order should be for 52 two hour episodes. But maybe that’s just me.

      • joe says:

        The equivalent of a full length feature movie every week…

        Yup – that’s about right. Lay it on me, baby!

  13. herder says:

    It’s funny how tastes differ, while I liked this episode, I didn’t love it. My feelings for it have nothing to do with the end, in fact I thought that was well done, it has more to do with a slow start, an annoying first proposal and a Lester story that had some promise but fizzled.

    A number of years ago I was at a scotch tasting, about two hours in a friend, shouted everybody down and then posed the question to the guest expert “why do I like this scotch better than that scotch”. The answer that the expert was too polite to give is “because you do”. You can discuss what you like about a particular scotch, coulor, peatiness ect, but it all comes down to personal taste, you like it (or not) because you do.

    If others loved this episode, good for them, most critics seemed to really like it too (from the reviews that I have read). As I said, I liked it but while there were parts I really liked (most of the second half) there were parts that felt thin to me. If Ernie and Faith want to draw my attention to why they thought this one was so good, I’m happy to read and see if my opinion changes (the episode does improve on rewatching, especially if you fast forward the Lester stuff after the Hinjews of Saskatchewan). That is the purpose of this blog, a place where we can all discuss what we did like about the show and what fell flat.

  14. Gringo Chuck Fan says:

    In 4.11 we saw a little of what I suspect happened often last season…. the ripples or waves created when a good idea needs to be drawn out longer because the show was granted an extension to their original number of episodes.
    [ I get the feeling S3 had too much of that too often] Whenever a good idea is reworked – or remixed – things seem to come apart at the seams… momentarily…
    I’m suspicious we are seeing the affect of some rework – re-edit – patch work within the plot as they try to transition from 13 episodes into a longer season. It may not be that smooth at the moment – but in the long run – it gives the writers and cast more room to grow and more time to tell it.
    We all love the show – we are all rather astute in our assessment of story and characters… I think we’ve been able to find ‘those’ details. [ I won’t call them flaws – because I certainly couldn’t pull a story apart and piece it back together] Guess we’ll just have to sit back and enjoy the ride – [ yep – there will be bumps along the way – no doubt] 🙂
    cheers –

    • thinkling says:

      I think sometimes (and forgive me if this has been said already) it’s better to stick to the plan. Instead of seeing the back 11 as an opportunity to extend an arc, in this case an already lengthy and quite thorough, proposal arc; it would be better to view it as an opportunity to elaborate a wonderful engagement arc, full of new stuff. The lead up to the proposal has been excellent and satisfying. Prolonging it, IMO, can be neither.

      I get it, TPTB felt rushed … had to cover a lot in a few episodes. And they did. Now, they’re going yippy, more time to do all that. Well, that ship has sailed. It’s been covered. Do something else e**c.

      I think the protraction of the arc in S3 hurt the story some, too. However, I can understand it more, because they only got a back 6. Eleven is practically a whole new season. Sky’s the limit, why rehash?

      • James Bond says:

        I think you are right ! Proposal in episode 13 and wedding in 24 and in between 13 and 24 between missions let chuck, Sarah, Casey, Morgan and Ellie plan the wedding

      • thinkling says:

        Exactly! It’s not rocket science. 🙂

      • patty says:

        Unfortunately the reasons I have been reading that lead to extending the proposal have nothing to do with story and everything to do with marketing.

      • thinkling says:

        I think you’re right Patty, and I am no TV expert at all. But I still wonder if it’s smart.

        How many new people are they going to pick up between now and February? How many fans might they lose with a proposal bait and switch, specially those already made timid by the S3 debacle?

        I’m not going anywhere, but some people would.

        I could be totally wrong, or maybe they’ll handle it well. I just can’t quite imagine it right now. Have to wait and see and reserve judgment.

        C’est le Chuck.

      • atcDave says:

        I think you’re mostly right Patty; except I would actually call it “ill-advised marketing”. I think a lot of what when wrong with S3 was drawing out the wt/wt past its natural end at Colonel. I think we may be seeing something similar with the proposal. For most of us the natural end of the proposal story simply had to be Balcony. Now I do believe it can still be salvaged, and Balcony could be an enjoyable episode for many re-watches if they fix it quickly (meaning Push Mix). But drawing it out much further, like for some ill-advised marketing goal like a Valentines Day proposal is no longer true to the characters or story as most of us are seeing it. And it may leave a sour taste to this whole proposal arc (kind of like how many of us still don’t care for Other Guy even though we have nothing against the episode itself).

      • thinkling says:

        Good explanation, Dave.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Hasn’t been confirmed yet though has it? I mean the whole proposal being extended till end of the season?

    • thinkling says:

      No. This is all speculation, as far as I know.

    • atcDave says:

      Last comment I heard on the subject was Zach saying they had not made any changes to the front arc because the extension came too late.

      • thinkling says:

        I hope that’s the case, because that would mean the highest likelihood of the proposal in 4.13

        But I thought the wording “hard to massage that in” left a little wiggle room. I really need to keep my paranoia in check.

      • atcDave says:

        Actually you’re completely right Thinkling, he did leave a little opening there. But not much of one! I still think we’ll see an engagement or quick wedding in 4.13. (my Costa Graven Pesos are on engagement only, with wedding getting the full PR press for the season finale).

      • thinkling says:

        I’m all in.

  16. jason says:

    not sure where to put this, very little effort into spec’ing into what might occur tonight on this board – my guess is the casey ‘window’ scene is the cliffhanger end

    I think at some point, sarah is going to ‘Pink Slip’ chuck right square in the heart

    The nature of how mama b and sarah do or do not communicate / team in this ep is to me the most interesting / inspiring story to be told, it could be told so many different ways.

    I was hoping the hot kissing scene was coming late, but my guess is that will be very early, since casey looks fully mobile at that point, same with the prison scene.

    • Stef62 says:

      TPTB said that they would be together for the original 13 EP’s. Never said anything about the back 11

    • herder says:

      I agree that the scene with the Casey window scene will be at the end. I wonder if there will be a reversal of the Chuck and Sarah scene from Tic Tac where Sarah was shocked at Chuck’s actions when on Laudinol, only this time Chuck is shocked by Sarah’s ruthlessness.

      So far we have had Timothy Dalton in two epidodes where he has show at least three personalities, which Volkov or Volkov’s do we get this time. My guess is we get both “give Frost the damn phone” Volkov and the “children love me” Volkov.

      I wonder if one of the themes is the difference between the personality you show to the world and the personality you show to the ones that you love. That and how much of the cover that you take on as a spy is you and how much is artifice along with how much of that cover becomes internalized (how much of it becomes who you are).

      You will have Mama B and Sarah and maybe Chuck too all donning cover for missions, how much of that role that they play is who they really are and how much is a disguise. Finally how easy or hard is it to step in and out of and how much remains with you despite your desire to change.

      • atcDave says:

        I also think the window toss is likely the ending cliff hanger. That will also likely make it the height of tension and emotional nadir. So we’ll have Casey hurt, Sarah trapped in the mission, and Chuck disappointed in Sarah and worried about Casey.

        I really hate those sorts of endings. I hope they throw us a bone of some sort, that is, some reason for happy thoughts. Like seeing a possible avenue of escape for Sarah and/or knowing that Chuck is more worried than angry.
        I also echo the all means all sentiment. I have to believe TPTB got the message loud and clear that the audience wants Chuck and Sarah together. So apart form the occasional mission imposed separation (like the Fear of Death/Phase 3) I don’t believe there will be any long term issues.
        If they don’t get that yet and the season turns ugly, I will join the “let’s get it over with and end this thing” crowd.

      • jason says:

        don’t they show on the preview chuck getting knocked cold and volkov leaving with frost (you can’t see sarah, but I assume she will leave right behind)

        an alternative ending would be for another scene or two to occur after that, possible with chuck / morgan seeing casey fighting for his life and maybe sarah / frost gettting discovered or arrested by volkov

        that would set up 4×13’s synposis of sarah rescuing frost and chuck / morgan going after volkov, possibly without knowing what the other is doing???

      • thinkling says:

        You’re alternate ending seems plausible, Jason. It would bookend Anniversary. I would love it if they showed Casey OK to avoid any long term angst. Resolving that would be nice, but they’ll probably leave it.

        Or they could have TeamB united by the end of Gobbler, but with the mission going sideways, like in Subway.

        Lots of possibilities.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        I may be totally wrong but when they (TPTB, Yvonne) have talked about Sarah’s new avatar it has only been in conjunction with 4×12. So, I am holding out to the hope that Team B is reunited by the end of the episode and then go on separate missions in 4×13. As Thinkling says 4×13 could be a nice bookend to 4×01 – Chuck and Morgan going after Volkoff and in the process rescuing Sarah and Mama B.

      • thinkling says:

        Ooh, that is a great observation, Alladins. I so hope you’re right. If you are right, the kiss could be closer to the end.

        Thanks, Alladins. I needed that.

      • atcDave says:

        that would be great, I think Miranda Lawson look may be tied to the mission, so if its gone perhaps the Volkoff part of Sarah’s mission is mostly wrapped this week.

      • thinkling says:

        I definitely get the feeling the ML is specific to the under cover Volkoff mission. Ending that tonight would certainly put a brighter coat of paint on things.

      • uplink2 says:

        I am also of the belief that the Casey scene will be the episode end. How the Gobbler stuff ties in to all of this will be very interesting. I think Sarah’s arrival will be early in the episode but how they get her there and has she started working with Volkoff by then I don’t know.

        This episode has the potential to be a crucial episode for the show. Will it follow an American Hero narrative with a payoff stymied by an opening door or will it go dark with an unconscious Chuck, Casey and Sarah headed off with Mary and Volkoff? Will Morgan be the one that saves both Chuck and Casey? We probably won’t know that till next week but I’m looking forward to the promo for next week almost as much as the episode itself.

    • thinkling says:

      I agree that Casey out the window is likely to be the cliffy. And you’re right that the kiss has to is early (1st 10 to 15 minutes), because that’s what gets the rest of TeamB involved in all they have to do.

      Yeah, I can’t wait to see the Mary/Sarah exchanges.

      No more Pink Slips on Chuck ever again.

    • JC says:

      Guess I’m going to be different, what a shock. The ending will be Beckman telling Chuck they lost contact with Sarah. Cutting to a scene where Chuck is talking to Ellie and is about to come clean when she goes into labor.

  17. Joe,Thinkling,Ernie,Liz,Faith,and Rick Holy!

    Tonight’s episode should’ve been name “GIRLS NIGHT OUT”, Sarah and Mary Bartowski on a dangerous mission together! This is going to be interesting and potentially Exciting!

    • thinkling says:

      No doubt about the exciting part, Bernard. Enjoy the show! How about Ninja Women’s night out. 😉

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Bartowski Ladies on the Rampage.? 😉

        Two Double Agents? Double the fun. 😉

      • thinkling says:

        Now Russia gets a double dose of what Thailand got.

        Two Double Agents: Double the Saber, Double the Gun.

        (for any of you that remember the double mint chewing gum commercials from ions ago)

  18. KA says:

    Let’s hope we can keep Chuck going. And check out this blog I found which really made me realize how much I like Chuck.

    Ed: Random guy – sorry. This got caught up in the spam filter. I’ll check out your site at length. My quick look-see was very positive! – joe

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

    OK, I’m not having a meltdown but I am gonna need some help.

    This is the 1st episode of Chuck ever that I didn’t feel for Chuck or Sarah’s plight. Why? What did I miss?

  20. Faith says:

    Sarge posted this over at the boards. I’m reposting it here as an illustration of Chuck and Sarah’s “journey” together and why it couldn’t have happened in Balcony when it was all said and done ;-).

    [quote name=’sarge87′ date=’26 January 2011 – 04:15 AM’ timestamp=’1296033357′ post=’4544066′]

    Second, did you really think Chuck and Sarah would have this picturesque, fairytale, perfect moment to make a marriage proposal? History says; “I don’t think so.”

    Let’s go back in time to all the high points in Chuck and Sarah’s relationship, shall we?

    – Chuck and Sarah’s first real kiss came about when they thought they were going to be blown up into a gazillion pieces.

    – Chuck gives Sarah his mother’s charm bracelet during a hostage crisis which turned out to be an attempted Chucknapping.

    – Chuck and Sarah’s first date was interrupted by Mr. Colt and his merry band of thugs.

    – Chuck’s first chance to “score a homerun” is while they are fugitives on the run from the United States Government which was thwarted by Morgan and Casey.

    – Chuck and Sarah’s DYLM moment comes at a point where their boss is planning to kill Sarah.

    – When Chuck finally does get to “round the bases” multiple times, he had to kill their boss, and go on the run again from the US Government to hide from the CIA.

    – When Chuck and Sarah finally move in together, he finds out the Intersect is killing him. Shaw returns from the dead and is secretly stalking him at the same time.

    – On their 6/9 month Anniversary, Chuck had to go to Russia to save Casey and Sarah.

    Oh, I think we can count on a proposal when we least expect it.

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