His and Hers Stupid Stick

…now isn’t that special (credit to SWNerd for the title phrase, inspired!).

Let me preface this review by saying that I don’t feel right writing a review for a painting that is only half finished. Imagine if you will the Mona Lisa (we can only hope right?! Chances are this is more of an Edvard Munch Scream piece), with only the scenery and facial shape drawn–certainly not fair to judge correct? Well that’s what Chuck vs. the Gobbler was, a tease, a half-finished painting that serves best to be the foundation to what is most likely going to be one of Chuck’s best of originally intentioned finales. Nevertheless we bravely march on.

Gobbler had some nice moments, some not so nice moments, aforementioned angst stupid sticks, some heat, and as always the puzzling. What more could you ask for? Well maybe a little less on the bo.

Let’s start with the nice moments first. It’s lovely to see Alex and Morgan together. It almost feels like a parallel universe in which Morgan Guillermo Grimes is no longer getting beat up by a girl or stalking her but rather in a somewhat mature and what we find to be “love” relationship. I don’t know how far this relationship will go, I don’t think Alex is Morgan’s “the one” (sorry!) but it’s an interesting and refreshing dynamic to see on screen. We’re so used to the unusual and difficult but so rewarding relationship (oh so rewarding!) with Chuck and Sarah that when it’s easy, you almost have to take a pause and say, what? That’s weird! It’s an upside down world sometimes. Time will tell on when Morgan will express to her the big 3 words but I think Casey’s not done being Casey. Gotta love Casey’s POV though, you don’t tell someone you love them that’s stupid! You show it. Makes me think that Casey isn’t and wasn’t all that different from the Sarah Walker we met and fell in love with in seasons 1 and 2. Show, don’t tell. Also on tap? Casey to tell his daughter the big 3 words. I think we’ll find that sooner than Morgan though, being put in a coma kind of gives you a fresh perspective on things you miss out on and words you didn’t say.

Also nice, the Ellie-Chuck-Devon interaction. I am a flaming heterosexual and I can say confidently that Sarah Lancaster has never looked more beautiful than in this episode. Her hair was fabulous and they’ve really done a great job giving her the pregnant glow (though I do think that baby is about to pop out!). We see in this episode that she’s a Bartowski after all! It’s not just Chuck or Orion or Frost that can plan and accomplish a spy mission–a mission unrelated to danger or fate of the world sort of situation but one that’s equally devious and inventive: baby names. Tricking Devon (the ultimate worrywart) into her decision is brilliant. A true Bartowski. I also loved how the Buy Morians got in on the fun. It’s amazing to me how in episodes where the B-plot excels the A-plot often falls behind, not always mind you but more often than you’d think. The B-plot in this one worked for me.

Honorable mention to the heartwarming scene with soft-hearted Chuck who only wanted to be with his girl. That kissing his fingers and putting it on her cheek scene is so…Chuck. So lovely, so simple and yet so poignant. They’re freer with the Big 3 words, that’s always a plus. I also loved the unexpected “Honey” Chuck called her when she invaded Castle. Subtle details are the best (kinda like the hand hold in Leftovers). And we mustn’t forget the passionate kiss right before Sarah takes off from Castle. That’s how you express some latent passion after what can only be construed as weeks if not months of separation.

Not so nice? Volkoff. But not the way you’d think! Not awful but evil. Timothy Dalton is a god among men. I don’t say that lightly with this show but he really shined. In Hollywood there are often references to actors stealing the show, often at the expense of other actors so it’s not necessarily a good thing, but TD can steal the show all he wants. Fantastic performance. The man teetered over being psychotic, romantic, devious and brilliant all in 42 minutes. Every scene, every change of tone, personality was a sign of true professional on display and I bought every single one. I’m most impressed with how much I don’t buy him buying what Sarah is selling and I’m waiting in anticipation for what comes next. I won’t go into the preview here but I think he’s liable to just lose it, true villain fashion. Can’t wait.

Now for the painful part, angst stupid sticks. They come in pairs now didn’t you know? Awhile back Ernie and I had a post about the use of the stupid stick and how in film it’s one of the most often used plot tools. While I understand the motivations of all the characters and even appreciate them I couldn’t help but groan at its most blatant use. I’ll try to explain (in an attempt to convince myself) each characters’ motivation in hopes that the stupid stick loses its stick-ness (root for me!).

Did I leave the oven on?

Chuck was told that nothing in the spy life is real but one thing is, how Sarah feels about him. So is he out of line in believing (I think he will at least and angst ensues!) that Sarah has changed like his mom did? His main source of comfort was the belief that she wouldn’t change, that she wouldn’t be lured, “that’s never gonna happen to Sarah, she will always remain the exact same Sarah Walker.” And his greatest fear is that she’ll abandon him much like his mother did. Chuck’s a guy that has grown from his insecurities but not all of it. He may believe that Sarah loves him, and wants to marry him but he can’t help but think history is repeating itself and he’s helpless to stop it. So no, in my opinion he’s not out of line in thinking she almost killed Casey. I hope he had more faith in her, and maybe he will. This would most likely be resolved shortly and swiftly  as soon as Casey awakens. Still a tough stretch for a guy who we have now confirmed to be a The View watching, chips eating basket case when Sarah’s away. Love, what are you going to do?

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's angst!

Sarah goes into the dark side. She didn’t go willingly, she was full of altruistic motives and yes she obviously never meant for Casey to really get hurt but like Chuck said to his mom not that long ago, “there’s always a choice!” Choose she did. She didn’t answer his call. The phones are encrypted, couldn’t she have found a way to at least communicate with him and express her own worry and pain? Well that’s where I understand but groan comes in. “Distance,” was the reason given to us as to why she didn’t answer the phone and really it has merit. Hands shaking, caught in a life she didn’t want and into an action she definitely didn’t want to commit, all she can do is feel. Sarah Walker of the “I’m not like you Sarah, I can’t turn my emotions on and off like some robot” (Ex), feeling, perturbed and definitely shaken. But she has a mission one that for her means the world so, “distance” it is. Rightly or wrongly.

Still there’s something to be said for calling this angst for angst sake. The CRM has reared its ugly head with a pair of stupid sticks, c’est la vie. I hate it.

Now for the most puzzling. I wrote a week ago about this Mary-Sarah parallel and how brilliant it is. So well thought out, constructed, executed. Inspired really, but after this episode I’m quite confused. I should probably repeat that this story isn’t yet fully fleshed out, nor are the events quite as clear without Push Mix in the mix (pun intended) but still puzzled. I don’t really see how Sarah can save Mary at this point, nor do I see how they can (both) get away from Volkoff’s clutches. Plus her reasons to join Volkoff was pretty much nullified when she threw Casey off the building with Chuck looking on, so the reason to defect now seems off. The logic is puzzling. (Side note: mentioning Prague is never fun, and I actually like the emotional punch of that scene.) It seems–though I love it–that Sarah is going almost down the line to Mary’s fate. “It gets easier after awhile,” says Mary. The life, the deception, the separation. Similarly Chuck is too. He’s now tasked to not just bring down Volkoff (brilliant!) much like Stephen did but he also has to get his girl back. My biggest confusion stems from what will be different? What will change for Chuck and Sarah that did not for Stephen and Mary? I’ve said before it’s the decisions they will make and I can still see that, Chuck will be the big sweeping hero because well, it’s his show and they’ve so brilliantly constructed an opening for Chuck’s hero moment here against the most formidable villain we’ve ever had on Chuck, but yet I can’t quite imagine how it’ll take place. That’s the fun I guess, only 1 week to go to find out. Can’t wait for Chuck Bartowski, hero.

All in all not one I consider the best of season 4 (short review: did not like), nor was it really very genius but again that painting.

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About Faith

Eternally faith-ful at least as it relates to my beloved Los Angeles Lakers. Yes that's where the username comes from. Other than that self-professed Chuckaholic, Laker blogger and part time internet addict. Ok, full time.
This entry was posted in Angst, Inside Chuck, Inside Sarah, Reactions, Season 4. Bookmark the permalink.

162 Responses to His and Hers Stupid Stick

  1. jason says:

    assuming mary is not evil, her grabbing sarah’s hand to comfort, then noticing volkov come and letting go was a remarkable scene & how mary would stand by and let chuck pass on sarah in the upcoming eps is mindboggling.

    faith, agree with most all of what you said.

    I too liked jeffster and the awesome’s interaction as much as I maybe ever have liked jeffster. I really do not LOL very often watching chuck, did this time, probably the jeff scene was the funniest – they don’t have to cross the line to lewd to be funny, just the opposite actually.

    I have more or less spec’d to all of you guys that TPTB are going to fool around with CS for at least a couple of more eps, since we all know the original plan was to engage in 4×13, that is going to get increasingly more painful –

    I think the stupid stick hurts as a fan more, when you know it is going to be in effect for a while, quite honestly, if I thought they would get engaged in 4×13, I wouldn’t care at all about the contrived angst moments in 4×12.

    Faith, hopefully this does not open a new wound on 4×11, but that is why I got pi$$y over 4×11’s end, I felt I could see the stupid stick getting raised and getting ready to whack the never on the same page couple straight upside the head.

    Without that ending, 4×11 would have been a top 5 ep, nothing short of a better story, would ever elevate 4×12 to that status, and the only thing I can think of in 4×13 to make it top 5, is an engagment, I simply don’t see how, given what we know

    • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

      I think they chose to extend the wrong story. The proposal should have been resolved to allow the spy story to be told.

      Now we’re going to be asked to believe proposal / relationship issues for who knows how long, from an episodes that sets that in a “meh” fashion.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Totally agree. Now if they have planned for the proposal to come about in the latter part of the season – they better come up with a good story line that’s engaging – and not episode upon episode of angst and hand wringing.

        @Faith – Thanks for the write up. And loved your captions specifically the “It’s a bird, it’s a plane , it’s angst” Gives something to smile about. 🙂

      • Katsumaro says:

        Yeah, agreed. If the proposal wasn’t such a big part of 4.09, then 4.11.. then it’d be one thing. The fact that they decided to not just throw it on the backburner, but fry it on said burner.. at least until later, then that’s another. That’s where the Chuck writers have been rather.. bad.

        Not to say it won’t happen. Obviously it’ll happen, and honestly.. it’s about the journey that gets them there. By time it does happen (and I’m sure it will.. I’ve just got a hunch), then it’ll probably be an awesome moment, and it’ll probably help us forget the needless angst. Also, let’s not forget; Chuck and Sarah didn’t break up. Sarah’s just involved in a REALLY dangerous mission and can’t be thinking about Chuck right now, and Chuck’s worried that A) Sarah changed and tried to kill Casey, and B) she ignored his calls so his old insecurities are popping up like wildfire. He should completely trust Sarah and what she’s trying to do, but with Sarah out of commission, and unable to pass the information to him.. it’s hard to get that message to him, and he’s just too worried that he’ll have a MamaB leaving him all over again.

        Does that make any sense? We talk about Sarah’s life and her abandonment issues all the time. Not to mention she’s a spy, early on, her reason for not wanting to be with Chuck was because of the mission, but Chuck’s had to deal with abandonment as well. His mom, dad.. both were gone before he was what, ten? So when Sarah takes the same mission that his mom’s been on for twenty years, it makes sense that he’s scared stiff!

        Anyway, I just think it’s the bad plot that makes us worry, anyway. It’s been executed rather poorly. Getting them engaged early on would have actually solved the problems it’s causing, but alas. I’ve loved MamaB’s acting, along with Dalton’s Volkoff, but the MamaB plot in general is annoying because the one moment she could have been a good mother, and helped her son out.. she advises Sarah to keep distance to stay with the mission. Good going, MamaB.

      • Faith says:

        Thanks Alladins, notice I mostly put pictures and captions in where it’s toughest lol.

        Jason, we’ll have to see with the proposal détente. I’ve pretty much said my piece and this epi didn’t change that. I’m still hoping for the best 😀

      • thinkling says:

        I’m with you Faith on continued hopes for a proposal.

  2. First Timer says:

    @faith:
    I think you’re wrong about his and hers stupid sticks. There were TONS of stupid sticks to create the phony arc at the end:
    1) Casey gets a text from Sarah on an open line and leaves without backup or a plan?
    2) Chuck goes to the scene with no backup (not even Morgan) or no plan?
    3) Beckman is nowhere to be seen or informed even though it is HER mission, a point driven home just an episode ago?
    4) Volkoff leaves the scene without making sure Casey is dead? (I can just hear Morgan saying, “Didn’t you ever see a John Carpenter movie? Of course he’s alive!”)
    5) Chuck and Sarah have no pre-arranged signal for “safety” or “help” in case they meet? It’s standard undercover procedure, even for local cops, who wear a color of the day as ID.
    6) They are specifically given a plot device to communicate with each other and they don’t use it? Specifically, Sarah doesn’t immediately text Chuck to inquire about Casey after the plan goes pear shaped?

    As I said last night, you cannot have epic endings built on stupid. Moreover, at a certain point, the engaged fans DO begin to realize that the show runners are simply unable or unwilling to move the show along in an intelligent, adult, reasonable manner.

    Unlike our passionate friends like Jason and some others, I accept that the show runners have decided that Chuck and Sarah will always be something of a mismatched pair rather than a smoothly operating couple. It’s not how I would have written the show, but I am not writing the show. It’s their show to write.

    But I will not be talked down to or treated as if I am an idiot. As a viewer, I cannot be manipulated into feeling something when the set-up is transparently stupid and egregiously implausible. (I don’t say out of characters because Chuck and Sarah no longer really have consistent and identifiable character traits that the show runers won’t bend to fit a plot.)

    At a certain point, the show runners strain credulity beyond the point you really care about anyone or anything on the show. There’s no drama (we DO know that all will be fine on all fronts). There’s no romance (really, why would ANYONE care about these two lame leading characters now), only soap opera. And there certainly isn’t any credible spy story being told.

    Dalton is brilliant. I’ll watch next week just to see him chew scenery. I will also watch to see if Bakula makes a “shocking” appearance.After Push Mix, though, I really am not sure I care enough to watch further.

    Life is WA-A-A-Y too short for stupid.

    • jason says:

      @ft – interesting reactions over the blog / review world

      reason I kept blogging this season (I’ve almost given up several times, including this week with the blogs), is last season, I thought we might have gotten thru (none of us knows, but my POV has gotten more addressed this season than not), and if I believe that, then I want to keep trying this season, at least for now

      I think the reaction to this ep was much like 3×11, where even the pro reviewers and those inclined to back near everything the show does, have sort of written to paraphrase, ‘come on, enough already, put them together, and DO SOMETHING NEW’

      FT – you know, if somehow 4×13 is the best ep ever, the last laugh may belong to TPTB, I pretty much laid out 4×12, and I think I could also lay out 4×13, except I am sure some big surprise will unfold which I don’t think has been spoiled or leaked at all.

      the test for 4×13, the shippers gotta be able to go awshucks that was so warm and fuzzy, and the mythology guys gotta be able to go wow – that was cool – my guess is we will get the latter, not the former.

      • First Timer says:

        @jason:
        But my point is that the journey impacts the destination. The show runners didn’t understand that last year. That goes without saying.

        To go back to that stupidity THIS year is simply too much for me. If the journey is nonsensical (and Gobbler’s last two acts made NO sense), the destination is simply not interesting to me.

        They CAN’T have a plausible mythology finale because the set-up to get there is silly. They CAN’T have a romantic breakthrough because (at least in my case) I no longer find the silliness they put the characters through compelling or remotely plausible.

        Fool me once (Season 3), shame on the show runners. Fool me twice, shame on me.

        And, like I say, after 60-something hours of this show, I just don’t care anymore.

        I accept that yours and others’ mileage may vary. I speak only for myself. I just don’t find the show logical or compelling on any plane anymore.

      • jason says:

        I agree actually

        Difference with me, I have called the show (often getting blasted here) Get Smart 2008 since Season 1, I really watch mostly drama with my other tv shows, and to me, Chuck always has been a parody of a drama, hence, S4 seems no more poorly written than S1 / S2.

        Which explains why, from my POV, the only real mistake the show can make is to go dark.

        All opinion, of course, and much as I may sound passionate, I am growing very weary of being played by the showrunners.

      • jason says:

        I miswrote, the only real mistake from my POV is to split up chuck and sarah, but beyond that, when the show crosses the line and gets too dark, the show is not written well enough to bear up under the close scrutiny that the darker plot will get – I mean really, did anyone care if there were plot holes in Honeymooners or even Role Models?

      • Big Kev says:

        Jason,
        I think the Orion arc proved that this show can write credible, multi-episode spy stories while keeping the tone entertaining and mostly light – which is what I think most of us want to see.
        S3 and S4 spy stories though? Yeah. Nothing like as convincing.

      • jason says:

        kev – I know – but honestly – I lol’d each time roark spoke, I mean he is chevy chase for goodness sake, and I now like bakula, but he is not a very dramatic guy either, he sort of is like, well Zach (I mean Zach could do Quantum Leap very well, he’d struggle much more to do the coach in FNL’s or Jack Bauer) – I liked S2, but still, any ep with jeff, lester, mike, morgan, and chuck simply isn’t going to be THAT riveting, at least to me?

        I thought S2 tried to copy get smart when I watched it, wasn’t until the blogs I joined in s3 that i realized some took it seriously.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        First Timer

        Agree on a lot of your points – specifically the ones on the Journey and the ‘payoff’.

      • JC says:

        The problem with the spy stories on the show is too many things are left unanswered or swept under the rug. And the resolutions to the arcs are a major let down.

    • patty says:

      Chuck did report to Beckman on the phone as he came up to the building and it is possible that Volkolf heard him which may explain him leaving without checking Casey to see if he was dead.

      I agree about Casey going in with no backup although I expect that was to show he trusted Sarah.

      Sarah may have refused the call because she did not want to hear that Casey was dead. She was also probably afraid of what Chuck would say, he is not the only one with abandonment issues. It was dumb of course but in a beleivable way.

      • First Timer says:

        @patty:
        Chuck talking to Beckman 5 seconds before he is picked up is NOT good spy drama. It was Beckman’s mission and plan. This was one episode where her presense needed to be strong.

        Casey is a spy. He can “trust” Sarah all he wants, he (of all the characters in the show) would want back-up and a plan of attack knowing that an open-line call from Sarah means something is amiss.

        Sarah refusing the call is angst for angst sake. And my point is that we’re supposedly seeing the “old” Sarah in this episode. For her, checking on the outcome of her act is de rigeur.

        But if the show still works for you, great. Honest. I just find it manipulative beyond credibility now. I just don’t care what happens anymore.

    • Rick Holy says:

      What is SO FRUSTRATING is that we’re given episodes that are “right on the money.” And then the next episode regresses into something like a dropped penny – not worth risking throwing out your back to bend and pick it up.

      I just don’t get it. Really, I don’t. I can’t bring myself to believe that TPTB are stupid – or that they think WE’RE stupid. They credit the fans frequently for “being loyal,” for “saving the show,” etc,. etc. I think they’d also credit us with watching the show closely enough to not be dense.

      CHUCK is turning out to be a roller coaster ride – and I think that’s why it’s been so difficult to build up/grow an audience. I keep recommending it to people – I probably won’t stop until it’s finally canceled – but there are times when I find myself saying at the end of an episode, “Boy, I hope they didn’t take me up on my invite to watch CHUCK THIS episode!

      All I can say is that if they drag out more relationship “problems” (not difficulties – all relationships have difficulties) but full-fledged PROBLEMS – problems which they at least APPEAR in prior episodes to have addressed/ worked out – then the rest of this season is going to be much more difficult to enjoy. Period.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Rick, a major impact of the roller coaster is on our enthusiasm. I can’t get too excited about spreading the word right now. I expect to get it back, but I’m a little less enthused every time we go through this cycle.

      • silvercat42 says:

        Remember, Rick and Dave, not everyone shares your perceptions of the “rollercoaster” or which episodes are bad or good. Chuck fan sites tend to emphasize the gripes, rather than the positive reactions, so while you may think most fans agree with you, I can tell you I certainly don’t, and I don’t think I’m alone. While there are episodes I like more than others, I don’t think any of them have been bad–and that includes Fear of Death and Leftovers.

        For me, my measure of whether I enjoy an episode is whether it entertained me (despite whatever flaws it may have) and whether I’m looking forward to the next episode. So far, every Chuck episode, except Season 3’s The Mask, met those requirements.

        Rick, recently on another thread, you very wisely pointed out that we as fans tend to get caught up in minute details and analyze Chuck as if it’s high art. You pointed out that this is a TV show, which has the primary goal of entertaining us.

        While I don’t always immediately like what the show-runners do, I’m willing to see how it plays out in future episodes. They haven’t let me down yet.

        As for this episode, I’ve said it before on other forums, and I want to repeat it here: I don’t look as it being a rehash of old relationship problems. Chuck has just seen the woman he loves try to kill a close friend. Sarah is clearly shaken by what she had to do to stay undercover. While I wish she had taken the call, I understand why she didn’t. Besides, we don’t know what Chuck texted her, but I don’t think it was a friendly hello. Sarah Probably something like, “How could you do that?” Had she read something like that, it would have shaken her more.

        Seeing the promo for next week, it looks like Chuck has decided to try to take down Volkoff himself. He obviously blames and is angry with Volkoff, not Sarah. I think Push Mix will resolve or offset much of the disappointment you have with this episode. If they had aired Push Mix right after Gobbler, your reaction might be completely different.

      • Paul says:

        Totally agree Silvercat. I’m not wailing or gnashing my teeth either.

      • herder says:

        Me either, in fact, on the issue of looking forward to the next episode alone, I think the Gobbeler suceeded more than any other this year. So many plot pieces are in play, there is a lot to look forward to.

      • jason says:

        I am one of the most hated shippers here, radical, and 4×12 did not bother me either. One ? for some of you guys who tend to accept more of the writing and try to enjoy, do you think the ‘decline’ was added after the extension to give TPTB a way out of the proposal, or was it in there all along?

        My theory is it was in there all along, and if we all knew 4×13 was the last ep, the ‘decline’ would have been really a remarkable final tool for angst, I hate to use the word, but good angst.

        I must admit, this way with more eps on the way, the ‘decline’ strikes me more as meh, certainly not brilliant, but certainly not a big worry either.

      • jason says:

        one more ‘contexty’ type issue, if 4×13 was end of series, casey’s status (alive or dead) would be quite a dramatic issue right now, this way, given he is seen in pictures of 4×14 saving chuck and sarah and walking, again, sort of meh.

        I do feel sorry for the showrunners on this issue, things that in a series ending sense might be amazing, this way can be sort of just ok.

      • atcDave says:

        Silver cat, I know perfectly well I don’t speak for everyone, in fact that’s been a common theme here the last few days. This was easily the most divisive episode of the season. And for the record, the first episode I didn’t really like much; I loved Aisle of Terror and First Fight, I thought Fear of Death and Leftovers were fine, I was even mostly okay with Balcony (just three days ago I was being slammed for being a sell out and liking everything).
        Gobbler is the first episode of the season I really wasn’t happy about when it was over, and even at that I’ve said clearly if this ended well I may be completely fine with it.
        But as always, if I have a beef I’m going to air it. I don’t like downbeat endings, that includes cliff hangers (I get it, but I don’t like it; kind of like dental work). I have done what we always do here, that is express my honest opinions and feelings of an episode. I do think many viewers felt the same way I did, at least three casual viewers I know clearly watch Chuck to laugh and have a good time, and are always disappointed by the downbeat endings. This one had the additional negative of using the some sort of methods (angst, non-communication) that they have clubbed us with in the past.
        I have never called this the end of the series or the day I lost all enthusiasm or any such thing. I was simply disappointed in this episode and the willingness of TPTB to re-use techniques I had hoped they had sworn off of.

      • Paul says:

        @jason – I think the “decline” was always there. IMHO, it was meant to show to show us some things. First it was meant to show just how Frost survived all those years in isolation, knowing those she loved were just out of her reach. Second it was meant to show us a Sarah who is on the precipice of making the same choices (and mistakes) that her presumptive mother-in-law made all those years ago. Finally, it was meant to show just how conflicted Sarah is reconciling her new self and humanity, with her old self and what she has to do to not only complete the mission, but to survive.

        So all-in-all, I reject the call that the moment was angst for angst sake. But, I also fell you weren’t SUPPOSED to feel good during that moment. You were supposed to feel apprehension at what is going on with the storyline…..and that IS on purpose because this is the pentultimate episode of this arc. It’s supposed to feel forboding as a set-up for the climax and denumount of 4.13.

      • jason says:

        paul, we seldom agree, but I think I mostly agree with everything you said there, the only point i am making, if it was the 2nd last ep of the series and not of the arc, both casey’s possible and the decline would really be brilliant, given what we know, casey’s fall is sort of so-so, and the decline feels more angst for the sake of angst rather than brilliant.

        I tried to point out to others, on screen, sarah declined about 30 seconds ago, if my math is right, that is 1 forty millionth of the total time mary has been deep, so sarah has lots of room to redeem herself. My guess is, she will probably be deep less than a day or two, possibly less than an hour or two, no more than a week or two … given other timeline stuff this season, essentially didn’t happen at all in the big picture.

      • atcDave says:

        Of course we weren’t supposed to feel good about it Paul, that’s exactly why I didn’t like it!

      • silvercat says:

        Dave, I think you’ve really demonstrated why they really should have run episodes 12 and 13 back to back. Think back to last season… Episodes 18 and 19 hadn’t been run back to back, we would have been dealing with the downer of the end of the Subway for a week! It’s my theory that if these two episodes had been the last two of Season 4 or even of the series, they probably would have run them together.

        Actually, Dave, I’m pretty new hear, and I didn’t realize you’ve been pretty favorable toward episodes others have really been down on. In my previous post, I was really reacting to Father Rick’s assertion that this season has been a roller coaster — bad, then good, then bad then good episodes. You did seem to agree with the “roller-coaster” analogy, and that it was affecting fan enthusiasm. Just wanted to point out that there are still a lot of fans who are enthusiastic about this season… many have said so in comments on this blog and at the ChuckTV forum.

      • atcDave says:

        I take the roller coaster analogy as having more to do with S3. S4 has been outstanding. I think this episode has drawn more negative commentary than any other of the season (for being only two days past the air date); so while I know some loved it, I think overall this was not a real well received episode.

        But I think you’re exactly right about the difference it made running the finale back-to-back last season. We would have seen more frustration then too if they hadn’t done it that way. And I do believe they should have done a to-hour event for these two.
        But overall I think the fandom is in a better place now than we were last season. So even if this episode caused some frustration, I think most viewers are still excited for Push Mix (I know I am).

  3. armysfc says:

    since you guys are handing out stupid sticks the number one stick has to go to the pair of mary and sarah. we were flat out told that the key to taking down volkoff was the hydra. well we have volkoff, sarah and mary in volkoff’s office. as soon as he turns it on, dont you think that would have been a good point to put a bullet in his brain? you have hydra and a dead volkoff. problem solved. blame the gobbler for killing volkoff and mama b took care of him. mama b is so hi up i doubt they would question her answers, at least not before they could escape.

    • First Timer says:

      @armysfc:
      The problem with YOUR theory is that the bullet-to-Volkoff’s-head approach would have ended the entire Season 4 arc about 20 years ago. The more they tell us about Volkoff, the more he is being positioned as a one-man band. And logic would have dictated that Frost would have offed him in, say, 1995…

      Can’t be having that now, can we? 🙂

    • Paul says:

      Well, lets use a real analogy to look at this fictional situation: Would killing Osama bin Laden end the threat of al Queda? IMHO, no it would not. Al Queda is a “hydra”, with multiple cells that act independently of each other. Killing the bin Laden would definately feel good for some of us, and would be a great PR coup in some respects, but does not solve the bigger problem of seperate heads still being intact able to hurt you. Now this is not a perfect analogy as Volkoff actually directs ops and bin Laden is now mostly a figurehead, but it does give the idea of why Frost just couldn’t off him.

      • atcDave says:

        However if an operative could kill Bin Laden and escape the scene, it would be considered a successful operation even though the work wasn’t complete. I’d call it a perfect analogy.

      • Paul says:

        But not in context of what the bigger picture is. Killing him would not solve the bigger problem of taking down the network. And in some ways may aggrivate the problem.

      • atcDave says:

        Of course it wouldn’t. Every strategic problem has a long and short solution. It is a matter of planning and allocation of resources to decide if the long solution attainable or if your better off going for the short solution. Frost has clearly failed strategy 101. Of course that may be why she was just an agent and never made it to oversight.

        While I don’t actually know how the CIA plans missions, but I do know a military officer is expected to know when to cut their losses and abandon the mission.

      • armySFC says:

        paul here’s the difference. i agree killing bin laden would not work. what did mary say was contained in hydra? mary said ” hydra is a data base of weapons, buyers, sellers, the complete infrastructure.” they now have access to that information. those are the things you need to shut it down. so by killing volkoff you now have in your possession everything you need to shut him down or fracture the organization so bad it becomes a non entity. based on that information, to me that’s enough to take the shot.

  4. Gringo Chuck Fan says:

    Might I offer a suggestion? – Rather than ‘The Scream’… how about we go with Caravaggio’s “Bacchus” and head of Goliath?
    – Do a search, and you’ll see why that would be my choice – if we are going to go the route of visual imagery…. just say’n.
    I wonder if Fedak and Schwartz took turns designing portions of this seasons story? – just say’n…
    I don’t think that the creative staff sit around and wonder how we will compare this story to the story from last year… just say’n.
    [ I’ve had those months, or years, where I seem to fall in the same ruts, without any visible progress – just say’n]
    I will say that I’m anxious… and looking forward to see how this all plays out.
    Chuck thinks he knows all about ‘Spyies’ – and he thinks he knows all about ‘Sarah Walker’…
    but saying that you know something – and having to live through it are two very different things.
    Sarah has always asked for Trust… funny – we are finding out that its truly the most difficult thing for Chuck to give.
    Chuck says he wants to be a spy – and go on Missions – but what if they don’t have happy endings? I think that Chuck’s rose coloured glasses may end up with blood stains….

    • sd says:

      I have to say that unlike an old trope used re: Chuck and Sarah separation angst…I was happy he walked into the Buy More and wasn’t bummed but confident that Sarah was on a mission and would be the same Sarah when she finished the mission.

      Now, I guess that can be examined two different ways

      1-He was trying to convince himself

      2-He was naive to a certain degree about what was required of this mission

      I say naive b/c he kept asking Sarah…it’s almost over right? How can he think after a few weeks, it would almost be over? Wishful-willful thinking? How can he honestly think a mission that swallowed up his mother for 20-years would be over so quickly?

      Like most of Chuck it races…so fast it hopes we, as viewers, won’t put the brakes on and go uhh???

      I do have to give the showrunners and writers a pass though…what we are seeing is the result of storyboarding for 13 episodes and then getting more in the midst of shooting the plot points and arc from that 13 episode story board.

      I wonder if they knew about the total episodes what we would have seen…and what would have been explored in greater detail.

    • Faith says:

      First off, all the props in the world for the numerous references to “just sayin’.” Awesome.

      Second lol, my intro to art college level course fails me, I had to look that up and wine and indulgence?

      I do think they’ve sold the doubt very well. It’s not particularly easy to swallow but it’s there for us to see and I think I did a pretty good job of illustrating that which they wanted us to see. Like I said, we’ll just have to stay tuned.

      SD, you won’t get an argument out of me over this angst over any other they could have picked. I may have hated the CRM and stupid stick but I’ll take it.

  5. SWnerd says:

    Yay, shout out to me! Thanks. You pretty much nailed what I was thinking when I posted that. And you did somewhat help the stupid stick lose its stick-ness in your explanations. But you’re right, next week’s episode will hopefully go a long way to improving the problems I had with this one. I just wish I could fastforward through this week to get there.

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      Hey! It’s nice to see you posting actively. 🙂

    • Faith says:

      Thanks! I tried.

      You know the more I think about it, the more I realize just how powerful the scenes where. The decision yeah, not a fan…gone over that enough but you have to give credit to our cast for selling the emotion. It’s kind of like Break Up up to a point, angst at its core but so much more under the surface because the emotion was soo good and they sold it so well.

  6. JC says:

    You know earlier in the season I wondered why they never had Sarah say something along the lines of “I’m not your mother Chuck I won’t leave you”. Now I know why its because she is exactly like Mary. But of course that feels false in a way too. The whole distance thing seems like a pointless step back in Sarah’s growth to show a momentous revelation in Push Mix.

    With Chuck I like the fact he’s questioning things. Other characters just expect him to understand and deal with whatever they do. He seems to be the only one who is ever held accountable or has to explain his actions. Now I hope they don’t have him questioning Sarah’s loyalty that would be stupid. But I could see him questioning if they have a future together or something along those lines.

    The whole ending was typical Chuck relationship nonsense but I do think there’s a chance for a compelling story to come out of it between Chuck and Sarah. And yes right now I do hope the engagement has been pushed back.

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      JC

      I said this in the First Reaction thread and I say it again – knowing TPTB we can almost be sure that the next source of angst will be Chuck’s doubts/distrust of Sarah. I am of the view that the stupid stick has been hit one time too many – so if the above scenario does happen, you will not find me getting disappointed with the characters but rather at the writers who have managed to introduce contrived angst that threatens to undo the growth achieved from 3×14 onwards.

      • JC says:

        I understand that Genie and I agree somewhat. But like I said I do think there could be a great story to come out of this. Whether they take it or go the cheap and easy route is the question.

    • Big Kev says:

      JC,
      I didn’t see Sarahs actions as unnecessary – I saw them as her blocking herself off emotionally so she could do what she had to do (even though it hurts her) – in other words, be a spy.
      Contrast this to Chuck, who can’t keep his emotions in check or his judgements sound when those he loves are on the line. It’s why he reaches the wrong conclusion about Sarah’s actions. It’s why Sarah has to protect his blind spot, and why Beckman doesn’t involve him in the double agent mission in any capacity. And it’s why he’s still such an unconvincing spy.

      • JC says:

        There was no reason for her to not tell Chuck that Casey was in on it. Or for her to take any advice from Mary about distance. If anything she should do the opposite of what Mary tells her if she wants a life with Chuck.

        And when it comes to Chuck’s emotions the show picks and chooses when they’re bad. Juts like it does with competence as a spy. If Chuck has blind spot its he always tries to do the right thing. Sarah is the one with a massive blind spot when it comes to Chuck.

      • atcDave says:

        Agree JC. I think we’re setting a record here for how much in agreement we’ve ever been on one episode.

        Especially your “opposite” line. Perfect.

    • Faith says:

      I agree wholeheartedly JC! They’ve opened themselves up to a kick ass finale and story.

      Wow that was weird, we never agree ;-).

  7. jason says:

    My spec that I posted last week about the super secret to be revealed in 4×13 to be scotty b, given that it looked like chuck and volkov were in the cabin, makes me think even more so.

    How about sarah and mary arrive at the hospital moments before chuck and orion, and that is the epic last 5 minutes, as Orion and Mary are re-united by Sarah and Chuck, who probably cautiously eye each other, like a lioness eyes an emerging male cub from the pack.

    Also, does it appear that volkov will try to take out casey and maybe ellie while mary/sarah and chuck/volkov are doing their thing in early 4×13? Maybe morgan and alex will have to kick some butt, although morgan also appears to be with chuck.

    I would assume the gizmo that casey has will lead chuck and morgan to that spoiled computer room?

    Mary and Sarah appear to be captured in a different spoiled scene.

    Really doesn’t take too much more, and all of the ep will come together, I think other than the super secret surprise we have in store, most of it could be story boarded out by the end of the week.

    • First Timer says:

      @jason:
      As I watched last night’s episode, I started having REAL qualms from the moment they gave the Sarah character dialogue about Season 3. (She mentions Prague in the first meeting with Volkoff.) That’s when it struck me how they might have rewritten the rest of the first 13 after the extra back episodes were ordered.

      It may be that Push Mix literally ends with Chuck and Sarah finally reuniting at the end of the last act. There won’t be time for anything but a joyous reunion.

      Then come 14 with the Roan character, who once again will be used as the lightning rod between Chuck and Sarah’s feeling (Chuck now reluctant, Sarah now wondering why they aren’t moving forward.) Then comes a Sarah backstory in 15, which probably convinces Chuck that maybe Sarah has made real progress. Sixteen is a masquerade ball in England (my spec is that this could be Klemmer’s first episode back, it’s his kind of set-up) and, once again, hidden feelings.

      The proposal might come in next episode, which would be the last one in the February sweeps period.

      That it itself would be (in my opinion), a storytelling disaster. Four more episodes will be ludicrous and a Shaw-like drag on the show’s movement.

      And if they extend the proposal until 4.24, you can kiss the show goodbye.

      It’s why I’m thinking of just ending it with Push Mix. The show is getting too dumb for words.

      • sd says:

        Hey FT—

        My thoughts exactly. Awhile back, I thought 4.13 would involve the proposal…but I’m more inclined to think engagement is not in the Chuckverse immediate future.

        I seem to recall a TPTB comment that with the order of more episodes, the engagement story line “changed.” and “elongated”.

        Besides…some of the promo stills from 4.14 of S/C show them not mad at each other…just sad…and that’s, well, sad.

      • jason says:

        my theory was 4×16 – first mate was the original title, now masquerade, full circle from the mess created by the mask, and by klemmer, what was that word? redemption?

        I am pretty sure 14 & 15 are bottle eps and comedy, the angst will probably be more like role models (or honeymooners) angst than mask / fake name / red test / american hero BS vareity

      • First Timer says:

        @jason:
        I don’t think you can do bottle episodes when you bring back characters like Roan and Carina. They are there for a purpose, character wise, if not spy-plot wise.

        And I am not stupid. If you did an accepted proposal in 4×13, then the immediate pressure on show runners would be “When’s the wedding.”

        But extending the proposal arc is just bad storytelling. As I said before, won’t get fooled again. I SHOULD have walked away after Pink Slip. Chances are I will walk away now after Push Mix.

      • jason says:

        ft – i do not think you are stupid by ANY means, near the opposite, you are very cogent in how you express yourself, bottle is probably the wrong word, I have heard honeymooners referred to as a bottle ep, obviously no single ep has moved the relationship forward in shipper’s hearts like that one. I honestly think 14 & 15 are going to be comedy eps, and running in place versus the engagment or lack of engagement whatever it may be in 4×13.

        If they won’t marry them in 4×24, I agree, it becomes a challenge, after writing 4×9 and 4×11, what do you do with them?

      • First Timer says:

        @jason:
        Sorry, the “stupid” comment wasn’t aimed at you. It was a generic term to mean that we all do understand that once the proposal is behind them, the show runners would immediately get the “when’s the marriage?” question from some quarters.

        Should have been clearer there!

  8. joe says:

    Great write-up, Faith. How did you *do* that so quick??!! 😉

    I must say, I’m still struggling and unable to decide how much I liked it. I mean, I thought that Alex and Morgan were great. The Buy More humor was (for the second time in a row) pretty much spot on. Not abusive to the rest of the show at all.

    TD was unexpectedly villainous – quite a feet considering the incredible job he’s been doing with Volkoff all along.

    Chuck-as-action-hero (you know, the Charles Carmichael that I always like to see more of) was a little absent – but then the line “Can’t I be top dog for even 1 minute?” resurrected him just enough.

    But I’m going to have to watch carefully for Mary once more. For all the power Linda Hamilton has put into the character, she didn’t seem to have much of an effect this time. I’m going to chalk that one up to the fact that this was just not a complete episode, just like you said, Faith.

    @FT, you bring up some good points about the nonsensical idiocies. But here’s what happened to me – for the first 20 min. or so, I was still dwelling on the idea that C&S and Yuri and Casey could not possibly travel to Moscow so quickly. Sarah could not get back to Burbank so quickly. The snow (?) and then rain seen through Volkoff’s windows put him on the eastern front, right?

    No. I was wrong – they were in LA, apparently. I was thinking about that when Volkoff’s (not Sarah’s) call came in on the insecure line. Pre-arranged signals (or the lack thereof) were noted, but simple did not register as an issue with me. I must have a high tolerance for convenient slip-ups, or something.

    [As an aside, I’ve been bothered all season much more by Casey walking into the Afgani cave in Couch Lock to confront his old team and knocking the helmet off his head on the entrance. Couldn’t they take the time to reshoot that scene? Apparently the schedule/budget would not allow even that.]

    But the big issue, that ending, this is where *I* feel stupid. I felt like I saw right through it! [What’s that supposed to mean, Buckley???] I can’t exactly say yet, but it means that it didn’t bug me.

    However, I got the idea that I didn’t buy something I’m going to need for the upcoming episode. That’s not good, but it did make that ending a heck of a lot more palatable for me.

    I may be a) totally stupid for having missed something, or b) totally mis-reading the characters, or c) TPTB have slipped up or d) I’m a genius to have seen everything. 2 chances out of 4, I’m an idiot, and 1 out of 4 that they blew it.

    Seems about right.

    • First Timer says:

      @joe:
      I think we have, at minimum, DeGregorio’s MO as a writer: VERY strong set up (both Aisle of Terror and this episode) and brutally silly endings.

      I guess I stopped being a shipper sometime in Season 3. So I don’t really care about The Relationship that much any more.

      What I care about is good storytelling. It’s NOT good storytelling when Casey rushes to a Sarah meet without backup just because they have to throw him out the window to rattle Chuck (and Sarah). It is NOT good storytelling when Sarah is not checking in to get the results of a mission. (Again, since I no longer care about The Relationship, for me it’s not about comforting Chuck. The mission-first Sarah should be in charge here. That’s what they told us last week. She should have been texting Chuck for an update, not the other way around.)

      So they can pull out all of the stops next week. They can dazzle all they want. The problem is that the setup can’t support the weight of it.

      And, sadly, I just don’t care anymore. Push Mix, for me, is going to be one more round of Dalton magic, maybe a “surprise” return of Bakula and only a sporting interest in how they leave it with Chuck and Sarah.

      I just don’t feel, though, that 11 more hours of commitment to a show that continues to recycle ham-fisted plots and and continues to make a hash out of its major characters is worth the time.

      Morgan’s growth and Jeff’s never-ending weirdness isn’t enough to make me continue to watch the show.

    • Faith says:

      Habit Joe. I can now write a piece on a dime because of habit 😀

      Don’t feel bad about seeing right through it, it wasn’t a twist episode (like FF), it was a set up (2-parter as it were) and set up it was. I am so loving the parallel and it had to go down like that for the parallel to really be…real, for the hero in Chuck to really emerge. But at the same time, I hated it. I love being wishy washy, or hate it, I’m not sure lol.

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  10. joe says:

    Ack! I keep forgetting to mention the very, absolute, most stupendous and amazing thing about the episode!!!

    My sister’s name is Claire.
    Our mother’s name is Clare.
    Her mother’s name was Clara.

    I must be Chuck!!! 😉

  11. jason says:

    chuck 2.0, cape 1.6, harry’s law 2.1, tv by the numbers

  12. joanna says:

    I liked the episode. He is dark, and I do not like dark episodes, usually watch only once, but I’m optimistic. I’m loving season 4, and I think we should give more credit to the writers.
    Even the dark, saw a Sarah compatible 4×08 from their actions, it is emotional, the effects of Chuck on it are clear.
    When she entered the castle, was even funny the need she had to do everything too fast, she was running away from Chuck, he knocks down the walls with a look. When he’s around, it does what is necessary out of respect for him, she has a moral as much as possible, but Chuck has a bearing on their actions, so much that she needed a push from Casey himself to try to kill him .
    And in the end we get the distance, and two counselors. On one side the reason, the other emotion. On the plane, Sarah was agitated. It was Casey? Too, but Mary gives the answer and a very broad understanding of the whole situation. Sarah is so Chuck and the consequences for their relationship, but she has a mission, the mission of his life, literally personal, incidentally, has nothing to work on it. Being a spy has just come in handy in the situation, and from another angle, she is accompanied by his future mother. She understands and stroke. And beside the warmth comes the harsh reality when he says that distance is required. But it’s still all about family, is a mission Bartowski.
    Refuse to call it hurts, but the distance is already working its magic, it is less difficult to say no. Both were affected by distance, by the companies. Chuck liability follows the advice of Alex. The only one who is endowed with reason and strangely know the truth, is unable to speak. If the fact of having to deal with the dark side of his girlfriend is not enough, he has yet to see his friend very sick, but I think that was outweighed by the pain of seeing his father Alex. Chuck always has a higher load of trouble, besides all this, he feels guilty for Casey after all this whole mission is to Chuck lead a happy and peaceful.
    What about the consequences? It is about them that I am optimistic, I’d be willing to trade a marriage proposal that I know will happen, for a dip in the soul of Sarah. Maybe now she has to fight with other weapons, that unlike a firearm that can only hurt, it also has the power to heal them, I’m talking about words and feelings, in short, the real girl Sarah, will have to fight to regain your Chuck.

  13. kg says:

    Not once have I thought about which particular episode Chuck should propose to Sarah. Not once have I cared which episode a wedding would occur.

    Now realize that I am a shipper like many of you, and personally I feel an engagement would be fun and a wedding storybook, but those occurrences are not essential for my viewing or my viewing enjoyment.

    The world is very complex today. Many couples succeed and share a wonderful, beautiful life without marriage. And let’s not forget that Chuck and Sarah are not normal individuals or by any means a normal couple. Chuck himself admits, he simply wants to be where Sarah is, wants to do what she’s doing, and wherever she’s at is the most beautiful place in the world.

    The mutual love, respect, admiration, and willingness to please or think of the other at one’s own personal cost is clearly prevalent. Sometimes love is not enough. Trust issues are apparently lingering. Partners, yes. Lovers, sure. But these two are not ready for marriage. At this moment.

    All I ever asked of TPTB was that they finally put Chuck and Sarah together. They have. As they should have based on what we watched in seasons one and two.

    I enjoyed last night’s episode, and I can’t wait until next Monday. And like many of you, I have enjoyed all the episodes sans two (3-7 and 3-8). Without getting too specific, the good elements far outweigh the bad ones in 64 of 66 episodes. That’s a 97 percent approval rating. The material doesn’t have to be perfect. Not everyone is going to get what they want. Or when they want it.

    Now, we get to my major problem with the ending. I didn’t like that Sarah tossed her phone into the pool in Pink Slip. The plausible explanation was she was hurting. We get that.

    Distance???? Now??? What the hell? And the most hurtful, disconcerting component is that she listened to Mary on this matter. Because while I don’t believe MEB is evil, and genuinely loves her children, I’m not sold on this woman. We don’t know everything about her.

    I think there are several instances when Mama B actually enjoys this role. Granted, she’s had to make some seemingly terrible and regrettable choices to maintain her cover, but trapped for 20 years? That’s a bit much. There was absolutely no way out in that time frame?? At all?? I think there’s possibly more Carina in Mary than Sarah. A good portion of her being loves the adrenaline rush. Loves the challenge. Enjoys her status as number two. Enjoys the perks. Relishes and appreciates this lone wolf approach. She’s a good person, but very conflicted, and at some point a la Donnie Brosco, crossed a line and lost herself in this Frost persona.

    And if you recall the scene during the Aisle of Terror, she was perfectly content to disappear again once she believed she had protected Chuck and Ellie. But then Chuck told his mom that his sister was pregnant.

    Meanwhile, I understand that Sarah was placed in a no-win situation by Volkoff. I know she misses Chuck. I know she feels awful due to her role in Casey’s condiditon. I just cannot fathom how she could DECLINE Chuck’s message. That made me so ANGRY. On advice from Frost. Distance. LOL. That’s how it starts.

    I believed that Chuck was her home. Always has been. No lies AND no secrets from Anniversary. Put him through the ringer because she believed HE was changing. Refused to believe him, in him, concerning the mole incident.

    But she can’t pick up the phone to (1) explain her dialogue with Casey (2)find out how Casey is doing (3)let Chuck know how she’s doing (4) Find out how Chuck is doing. That’s a lot. And it’s difficult I know.

    It’s BS. It nearly destroys all the genius and warm, tender moments we’ve seen. So Chuck has every right to have doubts. This lack of action on her part here is not his overly developed insecurities overwhelming him. As great and forgiving a guy he is, it simply would be abnormal and unbelievable for him not to have doubts and questions.

    • armySFC says:

      kg agree on the proposal. getting the rings on the fingers does not make you love your partner more. just as not having them make you love them any less. i may be different than most here but i think there has to be some fallout from this mission. traumatic events just happened to them. sarah thinks she killed casey, chuck saw her try to kill casey, even though he’s alive, it had to have an impact. thinking that her last hope to get back home went out the window with casey i can see her closing off. it was a dark episode, and they have dark problems.

    • Big Kev says:

      KG,
      It’s always interesting how 2 people can see the same scene completely differently. My thought was “how can Chuck think it acceptable to call Sarah in the middle of a deep cover mission?” it struck me as perfectly normal in the circumstances for Sarah to ignore the call. Volkoff is on the plane after all. My reaction seems to be different to most everyone else’s, so maybe I missed something.
      It’s tough to weigh up the motivations of fictional characters, and it’s probably a 50/50 call on whether Chuck should trust Sarah given what he’s seen wrt Casey – but in the same situation Morgan would trust Chuck, even if he saw him throw Casey out of a window, and Casey would trust Sarah if the roles were reversed. Just an opinion – but that’s why I think Chuck’s reaction is wrong. Understandable, but wrong.

      • kg says:

        Kev I understand where you’re coming from. I couldn’t really argue against the essence of what you’re saying.

        I just assumed he wasn’t attempting to call her on the unsecure line. If in fact he was, then Sarah is risking her life and justfied by declining. I haven’t exercised the option on my second viewing yet. I was working under the assumption that he was contacting her via his coded message apparatus.

        That, and she declined only after heeding advice from Frost.

      • herder says:

        KG, I think it was the coded message apparatus, but the point is the same. If caught with it I hardly think Volkov is going to her “well, a coded message device, this is obviously personal and no interest of mine”.

        My biggest question is what is in Chuck’s mind, is he questioning Sarah’s motives or is he simply paralyzed into innaction due to worry. He is worried about his mother, Casey and Sarah and whether they will all come through this. Worry does not necessarily mean distrust.

      • Big Kev says:

        He was using the encrypted message device – sorry, I was misleading in my wording. And sending a message is certainly doable – but not advisable at that precise time. My thinking was more along the lines of whether it was appropriate or helpful for Chuck to ask. Would Bryce have done it? Would Casey have? Or would they have trusted their partner and waited for communication.
        I was much more convinced by the need for Sarah’s course of action than I was by Chuck’s – but I will admit to having the hatchet out for Chuck at the moment 🙂

      • kg says:

        You’re right Herder. We’re not sure exactly what Chuck is thinking. Knowing Chuck, most likely it is worry and not the distrust. Certainly I’m hoping for the former.

      • Faith says:

        Herder, props on calling it Subway revisited. That was as close to Subway as I can see. Whereas one Chuck lost his dad, the other he thinks he’s lost Sarah (to the dark side! Pum pum purum!). It’s going to be fun to see the full picture after this.

      • treecrab says:

        But…that’s not what happened. Sarah doesn’t ignore the call because she’s worried about getting caught. We even have her say out loud, so that we know exactly WHY, she’s ignoring the message. She says “Distance” as she declines. It has nothing to do with her being afraid of being caught. If that was it, they wouldn’t have had Sarah say that line right then.

        She ignores the call because she was being stupid and listening to Mary and thinking she had to distance herself from Chuck. Which makes her exactly like Mary.

      • jason says:

        but, 5 minutes into 4×13, sarah may say to frost, I can’t do this, I love chuck too much, and mary might say “I’m glad, let’s end this now’ – surely since the episode is supposed to be really great, a possible outcome is positive resolution to the rejected phone call – maybe

      • Big Kev says:

        Treecrab,
        Disagree that cutting herself off from Chuck is a stupid thing to do at that point. If she lets emotion in, thinking she may have killed her partner and lost her boyfriend, her cover may be blown and her judgement affected. Volkoff may be playing her anyway, but she doesn’t know that at this point. She’s reverting to training and to type – as she said all along she would have to do.

      • jason says:

        kev – it is funny, none of 4×12 bothered me at all, although, I don’t like chuck dark but I knew it was coming, I thought it was written about as mildly as it could have been, season 4 has almost followed season 3 in structure, so sarah left with volkov instead of with shaw, even had phone issues in 3×12’s last scene – LOL

      • Big Kev says:

        Jason,
        Agreed. Here’s another one that proves I need to get out more. Opening scenes of 3.11 and 4.11 – chase scenes with the same music!

      • treecrab says:

        @Kev – But I ask you, how does that make her any different from Mary? Isn’t that what we are supposed to see/want to see from her character? What is the point of this arc then? Because right now she is following the exact same path that Mary took. She’s not different and that’s not interesting.

      • Big Kev says:

        @Treecrab
        I think the point is that they’re completely similar. They both made the same choices – To fall in love with their assets and to risk all to protect their families. They will – with help of course – redeem each other.

      • atcDave says:

        I was actually angry with both of them about the phone call. If we assume Chuck is bothered by Sarah declining his call (we’ll see more next week, it is remotely possible he gets that she undercover and may simply not be able to take it); then he is an idiot for thinking she should always be able to talk to him while she’s undercover.
        Of course Sarah was an idiot too for taking the worst possible advice and declining the call for the most idiotic of reasons.

        Perfect symmetry.

        I’m hoping that Jason is right. Sarah can completely redeem herself by quickly realizing she did the wrong thing, and then she can get Frost out of her own hell.

        Being deeply disappointed in both leads at the end of the episode makes the resolution next week very critical.

      • JC says:

        Here’s the thing, everyone cries foul when Chuck doesn’t doubt someone and trusts without any reason. You know acting like a spy. So when he does it in this episode, people get mad because it concerns Sarah. Why does she get a free pass? Everyone said he had a blind spot towards his mother and that was a problem. So a blind spot for Sarah is OK? We’ve seen everyone doubt Chuck including her, so it’s nice to see a reversal of sorts.

        And Chuck has every right to question how far Sarah would go and what that means. What if Volkoff had told her to kill Morgan or Devon? Sarah is playing the same game Mary did with Chuck and I don’t think he has any warm feelings for his mother.

        Let me add before anyone kills me, I’m not bashing Sarah at all. I’m just hoping we get a reverse of last season somewhat and they address the massive double standard on the show.

      • herder says:

        The declined message seems to be getting the most attention as a plot point. Most, and Im generalizing here, seem to see it as relationship angst. I see it in a different way, I see it in terms of Sarah risking losing herself in the mission the way that Mama B did.

        I’m sure Mama B went into the Volkov mission with the best of intentions and lost herself along the way. Bit by bit Volkov chipped away at her defences and she took more and more desperate risks to stay on mission. She distanced herself from her family and her support in a wrong headed attempt to keep her eye on the prize.

        I’m sure she still loved Stephen and her family but she made the wrong choices, bending to what is pressing rather than what is important. Twenty years on she is still doing that. Now Sarah is starting on the same path.

        This was Chuck’s fear right from the time Sarah told him about the mission. I don’t think that he doubts Sarah’s love for him but he does worry that she will end out going the same way as his mother. This is the dark before the dawn.

        My guess is that we see both of them start making the right decisions very early in the next episode, probably before the opening credits. Sarah choses to act in a way different than Mama B would and Chuck in a way different than Stephen did (if you want to keep them safe Charles you have to run).

        A big part of the story is the similarities and differences between Chuck and Sarah and Stephen and Mary. We’ve seen the similarities, next comes the differences. That’s why it is a cliffhanger, for a week we get to speculate about how they will get themselves out of this predicament. But to get out of it they first have to get into it. Distance, it won’t last long.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        @treecrab, I have to say you are highlighting exactly what I often complain about, some might say preach against.

        But I ask you, how does that make her any different from Mary?

        Is she supposed to be? Are we to the point in the story where the difference manifests itself? Maybe the difference is Chuck.

        Isn’t that what we are supposed to see/want to see from her character?

        Is it? Maybe we want to see Chuck rescue Sarah in a big damn hero moment. To me what we are supposed to want or see is a loaded phrase that hints of writing your own story and declaring the one told a failure when it doesn’t match.

        What is the point of this arc then? Because right now she is following the exact same path that Mary took.

        Scary isn’t it?

        She’s not different

        We don’t know that yet.

        and that’s not interesting.

        Speak for yourself. 😉

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah Herder, watching them both make good decisions right out of the gate next week is exactly what I’m hoping for. Ultimately how they fix this is at least as important as that they will fix it.

      And JC I have not ever bashed Chuck for trusting in general, I actually like trust as a personality trait. When I have bashed him, it’s for trusting the wrong people; and usually the correct answer is trust Sarah more, and others less. Which is exactly the ideal balance with any significant other ( trust your partner most, others less; if you can’t honestly do that it’s time for a different significant other).

      • JC says:

        I wasn’t saying you were bashing Chuck Dave.

        But that trusting nature has led to some fans and the show saying he can’t be a real spy. So when he finally does question things and IMO had a legit reason to, people get made at him.

        Remember Sarah’s statement in First Fight about why does Chuck keep trusting Mary when all she does is hurt him? Since Sarah is following Mary’s stupid advice and making the same choices as her. Why shouldn’t Chuck have some doubts about what Sarah did. If Casey had died or if she been ordered to kill Morgan don’t you think that might put a damper on the wedding.

        Let me put it this way the show has every character doubt or question Chuck about everything he’s done. Its nice to see that he’s the one finally doing it. And maybe for once someone else will be held accountable for their actions on the show.

        I hope they don’t sweep this under the rug like Mauser, if they use it right it could create some real and fantastic conflict.

      • JC says:

        Forget to add this.

        When I say doubts I mean personally about Sarah and their future together or if really knows who she is. If shouldn’t be him questioning whether she really went rogue.

  14. Ernie Davis says:

    Quite a few interesting reads here today. Sorry to hear this episode broke a few viewers. I may have to consider whether I’m too easy on Chuck, because lately I can’t seem to get upset with it. As I said in my piece Sunday as far as I’m concerned the issues a lot of people can’t get past were there at the beginning, so I think they were essentially part of the buy-in. Now granted things occasionally get worse and are sometimes better, but asking for this to realistically portray the spy world, or even more realistically portray it is a no-win game. The spy world they inhabit is a fantasy creation so I don’t expect or want it to be more realistically drawn. That said, there is a point where they violate their own rules, and that can be a matter of taste as far as how far you’ll let them go for the sake of a laugh. As I said, that was there when I signed on, so it isn’t a make or break for me.

    When it comes to the complaints about Chuck and Sarah I’ll go back to my trope about letting them tell their story and then decide if you like it. I went through my crisis of faith in the writers at the beginning of season 3. What I didn’t count on was that they were telling me something true about the characters. With the professional barrier between them removed we all expected something wonderful between Chuck and Sarah, and Barstow was a part of that. What we didn’t count on was being told that the professional part of their relationship was what kept them together, not apart, and without it these were two seriously damaged people who really didn’t like themselves much. I know, not a great story till you get past the nasty parts, which we are. But there is in my opinion an equally nasty hangover from that that really limits the dramatic opportunities available to the writers. Chuck and Sarah can never break up. Chuck can’t lie. Sarah can’t leave or decline his calls. It all re-opens old wounds, I understand. Part of the genius of this season to me is that even within those constraints the writers have managed some pretty decent dramatic stuff with Chuck and Sarah. The end of Aisle of Terror was one of my absolute favorites, and it sort of applies here. Sarah acts without talking to Chuck because she knows, or fears she knows the outcome, and she needs to be a spy on occasion, still.

    Sarah declines Chuck’s call for a simple reason. She can’t filter every decision through how it may affect Chuck or their relationship because it could get her, Frost, or Chuck’s whole family killed. She is declining the call to protect them. Probably nothing would make her happier than explaining and hearing Casey was alive and hearing that it was OK, he still loved her. But then what about the next tough choice or the one after that?

    Chuck doubts Sarah for a very good reason. She told him she’d have to resort to being an older more ruthless version of herself, the one she hates, in order to survive. Chuck knows Sarah isn’t as tough as she seems, emotionally. He is worried that whether she survives or not he could lose her.

    Overall this season, with LeFrank and Judkins as story editors, I’ve found the scripts to be tighter and the multi-story elements to be better developed and carried forward than last season. A low bar some would say, but there were some problems with that in season 2 also. For me this episode was in that same mold seaon 4 mold. Solid, entertaining, and as Faith points out a second act episode that sets up what could be the great finale where all the things we want are paid off. I’d rank it, while not in the top 5, probably not in the bottom 5 either, better than FOD, Leftovers and Couch Lock, maybe Cubic Z, not quite to Coup d’Etat or Phase 3 levels, but then I’m a big picture fan.

    • jason says:

      ernie – bloggers write about limited opportunities for TPTB to ruin the chuck sarah relationship, but make no mention of the fact that the show has seldom if ever taken any other regular characters down dramatically.

      many tough takes on drama and cosmopolitan views have been given about the show, yet I only read of one way to write drama – oh, please you shippers, please, let TPTB ramp up the angst with chuck & sarah, its so unfair, yada, yada, yada.

      I am sick of it – been there done that for 4 seasons now with Cs angst of near every flavor – now how about put CS together and lets see what else TPTB have left?

      here are some ideas: torture morgan for 2 eps, beat him to a living pulp for being so ridiculously brave, have alex cheat on him 3 or 4 times at random and then run away with daniel shaw, have ellie have sex with lester, have awesome have sex with I don’t know, jeff and have big mike have an affair with kathleen while casey is watching on tape, followed by casey attempting suicide – funny, none of that sounds all that nice when it isn’t happening to sarah walker, does it?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Jason I think you misunderstand. I’m not in favor of removing those constraints. They are self imposed by the writers and TPTB for one simple reason. They pooched last season and the fans won’t stand for another flog at the dead horse. Those opportunities are no longer there because they mishandled things. Wishing they had been done well or could be done well because season 3 hadn’t happened the same way isn’t the same as advocating another round of PLI’s and breakups on top of season 3.

        My point is that this season I think they’ve managed to still inject some appropriate drama and movement into the ship without overdoing it. Taste varries, but I think I’d get bored without any change or movement in the romance. I know some say enough, make them Hart to Hart and be done with it. Both perfectly valid matters of personal taste and I think TPTB have managed that balancing act well so far.

      • Big Kev says:

        Jason,
        I’m going to be in a minority of one here – but I’m close to thinking that if putting them together gives us the Chuck character we saw in Suitcase, CubicZ, Fear of Death and a few other occasions this season……then breaking them up again might not be a bad idea….

      • jason says:

        my point still, the constraint should be there regardless, as they have gone to the well time and time again on the contrived relational angst theme, there is more to drama than that one thing.

        In lots of ways, season 4 has done reasonably well with other drama, so I probably over-reacted, I think for example, in 4×13, sarah and casey may have a more touching moment than chuck and sarah. I thought mary touching sarah’s hand in the plane when she gave her advice was dramatic, really cool.

        Aren’t any of you non shippers feeling TPTB are starting to tap out the CS relationship game – if I were you guys, I’d be irate, because the way it is being done, totally keeps the mythology part of the show from growing, it would have to grow if CS were a team instead of rogue half the time while longing and misunderstanding each other – hasn’t that started to bore you guys, at least for me, it is about CS, so I get that.

        And although I was being testy with my examples, why not have had sarah lancaster fall or even faux fall for justin last season and had some drama over whose baby it was?

        or have one of the greta’s hit on alex, maybe date her, would have been angsty and funny, for both morgan and casey.

        Or have Kathleen show up at BuyMore with an evil guy who she just met, have everyone love the guy, but casey, who can’t understand what anyone sees in the guy?

        I pose this to kev and ernie specifically, why does it always have to be sarah?????

        In my world, CS together frees up the story and the cast in near infinite ways, right now, the constraint is not that CS can’t cheat, the constraint is that TPTB refuse to put CS together.

        Sorry for the rant, it is born of passion and pure intention.

      • jason says:

        kev – FOD was the most contrived season 4 angst ep of the season – by contrived I mean using the CIA to split CS, so not a good example,

        why not write a season of the charles, from the honeymooners, several costa gravis pesos says you’d be over 3M by the end of the season, guaranteed, EVERYONE loved the ep, haters, shippers, fanboys, intellectuals, didn’t matter.

      • Big Kev says:

        Jason,
        I think the point of hineymooners lies in the context. It was a great episode, no doubt – but it worked in part as a release of the angst that had gone before it.
        It’s the Hart to Hart issue that’s been discussed before. Good looking couple beat up some cartoonish villains, predictable fun and everyone goes home happy every week.
        I’d be bored with that after about 3 episodes, but I completely get that others would thoroughly enjoy it.
        The simple answer to your other question about why no one else gets beaten with the angst stick is because we dont really care that much about anyone else. Chuck and Sarah are catnip for 90% of the fanbase, so 90% of the show is going to be about them.
        For me, it’s all about the story. Give me a compelling story and I dont much mind what dramatic devices you use, or whether a certain couple ends up together. I’ve found the unpeeling of Sarah’s layers this season to be a great story – but Chuck’s not so much. So the totality of the relationship for me this season has been largely flat.
        But I don’t see how you can argue that they won’t put Chuck and Sarah together. They ARE together – and they will be again in short order in 4.13. You can argue that TPTB won’t let them be happy – but not that they won’t put them together.

      • jason says:

        kev chuck and sarah by most definitions have been together for 19 straight eps

        Chuck and sarah have been rogue to each other for many of those 19 eps, and will continue to be so in 4×13.

        If you think about it, the lighter, what I called bottle eps, those not in the mythology, are generally cs together on missions, and they split them on missions and create angst for the mythology missions.

        I think if they had them together on misssions for those eps that they are trying to increase ratings, and are putting max effort, money, resources, etc – the results would be staggering, as would the charles full time.

        The charles are not hart to hart, it is an easy quip, but sarah walker and chuck bartkowski are unique on to themselves.

      • jason says:

        kev / ernie – enjoyed the debate, kev you and i have gotten into this b4, while I freely admit I see there is no right or wrong, what gets me is somehow CS together is intellectually bankrupt, for how lacking this show is on many fronts, I think most opinions and takes hold about equal weight, which I feel is why this particular blog has succeeded, it generally allows everyone to freely be as stupid as they wish – which at times, has allowed me to pretty well max out (in stupidity that is)

    • Big Kev says:

      Ernie,
      Firstly thanks to you (and Faith) for your Details post. I was away for a couple of days and didn’t have a chance to post on it – but you said I’d like it, and you were right 🙂
      Well considered thoughts on this episode too. Very clear summation of Sarah’s thoughts in particular, which may shed light for a few people. I completely agree on the straightjacket that the writers find themselves in this season with regards to Chuck and Sarah – it’s one of their own making to an extent, but when you have this heated a reaction to one scene in a 13 episode season, there can be no doubt that the straightjacket exists.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Thanks Kev, glad to have you back. The Details post actually fell out of something else Faith and I were working on together. That might be the one I said you’d like. I can’t recall exactly. In any case, glad you liked it and one more epic (sorry) Faith and Ernie post in the pipeline and then I think I may need a break! I really may start to do everything in haiku.

    • Faith says:

      I actually like the way they put the reason she didn’t answer the call…it was clear to me. Actually, “like” is probably not apt but I understand it, and can only groan ;).

      I mean her hands were shaking restless! She was overwrought, and worried and not to mention having a hard time not only being separated from Chuck (coming from where she’s coming from that in itself is a big draw), but also worried about how this whole thing will go, and how he would look at her now. I liked the contrast to Ex, exactly as I put it up there, the calm, robotic agent has turned into a real girl and it’s not easy. It’s not easy to go back to being the spy. So she took advice (rightly or wrongly) from a fellow spy that has gone through it before: distance.

      • sd says:

        Faith…

        Agreed. That scene was telegraphed with very few words…something I generally appreciate vs. puffy dialog…but in this case…I think the scene was screaming for more interaction than just the word “distance”

        I think a few sentences between the two would make it very clear why she couldn’t answer the phone.

      • kg says:

        Fair enough Faith. We did see all that. And although I’m still not completely sure what to make of MEB, and if I like and trust her or not, (that’s probably a good thing and the intention of TPTB), you’re right, Sarah is on tilt right now away from her rock and home (Chuck) and turned, right or wrong, to a person just like her. A woman a lot like her. A woman who has gone through this.

        I watched it again after my original post and I got that the feeling that the first third of the ep Chuck believed in what Sarah was doing, and why. He was optimistic.

        And then as Big Kev alluded, I think his mindset turned to worry and concern for Sarah’s safety. We’ll say 75 percent of worry and 25 percent (after the prison break) of losing Sarah.

        After wrangling the info from Morgan, I agree it was still more than 50 percent worry, and he even told Morgan his bad feeling had nothing to do with the relationship, he was very worried that something was wrong and his worry was about both Casey and Sarah. Teammates and trusted friends.

        I think it was Volkoff who began to plant the seed and perhaps scare Chuck into thinking Sarah may have gone to the dark side. He bragged how he had turned his mom and now he was going to do the same with Sarah. A horrified Chuck sees her throw Casey out the window.

        Chuck is never going to be a prototypical spy. I can’t argue with Kev and others about Chuck not understanding the CIA playbook. I’m looking at it from his POV. He’s lost his mom, he begins to think he’s losing Sarah. Volkoff captures him and taunts him. Sarah “seemingly,” “willingly” tosses Casey out a ninth floor window. Chuck is sitting in a hospital room while Casey lies in a coma. Sarah refuses his encrypted message, as far as we know, for the first time.

        He has to be freaked out. You can see it in his face now. This is well beyond mere worry. I’d now put the percentages at 50-50.

        He may never verbalize it to Sarah in the future, but he’s 50 percent doubt and questioning now. That’s all I’m sayin.

      • Faith says:

        Oh most definitely KG. I think I said, I’m not sure…that I totally understand if Chuck were to freak out or distrust her for a bit. I wouldn’t like it, much like Sarah’s situation but I understand it.

        I like how you broke down the progression from confidence to outright fear. I think that’s exactly what they were going for. From Chuck feeling confident (which was weird) to the doubts creeping in. This life took away his mom for 20 years, essentially for most of his life and it’s only understandable that his greatest fear is now choking him. I don’t think Sarah’s warning to him that it’s not going to be soon helped, but he needed to hear that, he was almost too naively confident earlier on.

        I’ll say one thing though, well repeat it…they’ve created the best of all possible situations for Chuck to emerge from this as the true hero. I said in the details piece that there’s this distinction in heroism between Chuck and Sarah: Sarah saves Chuck (or his family/peace of mind), Chuck saves the world.

        I don’t know if I could be any more excited at the line he uttered in the promo: “for years I’ve stood aside while one man took everything away from me.” That’s so badass!

      • kg says:

        Thanks Faith. Loved your details piece and specifically that hero distinction line.

        True. Very true. Chuck has had enough. He couldn’t prevent what happened to his mom and father when he was a boy. And he I think he still harbors some guilt in the aftermatch of his dad’s murder. And although he didn’t like Beckman/Sarah’s plan, he went along with it and attempted to show some patience, support and optimism.

        But he now sees the writing on the wall. Sarah is just as much his life, his rock -personally AND professionally, as he is to her. One way or another we’re guessing what he’s actually thinking, but we can certainly see he’s quickly realized Sarah’s in trouble. Chuck, the man, is not waiting around for it to get worse – and the worst is losing Sarah forever. He’s pissed off and wants to help. He wants to take down Volkoff himself.

        That’s why I don’t worry about the ifs and whens of proposals and weddings. Those things will happen eventually. It’s inevitable. The important thing is they ARE together. Four feet in.

        I think I was trying to stir the pot a little this morning and pretend like I didn’t know some of what will occur in the future. As if I had ignored all the spoilers.

      • Big Kev says:

        Agreed Faith. That promo is all kinds of win.

    • atcDave says:

      I really agree with many of your points Ernie. I especially agree that the spy world of Chuck is a fantasy, it will never match reality all that closely. But reality is our closest point of reference, so I think it’s natural we will object on realism grounds when something doesn’t ring true. It is a bit of a double standard, but it is how we think. It’s very much the same as arguments we used to get into back in my D&D days; getting very heated with each other over the most “realistic” way to calculate falling damage two minutes after escaping from an ogre.

      The case in point here has mainly to do with Sarah and Mary. We could all kind of laugh off Mary being trapped on one stupid mission for 20 years; but when we see Sarah treating Mary as a credible source on coping with it, it boggles the mind.

      I’m okay with the idea the story is incomplete, and I may be very happy again next week. But Gobbler is what we got this week, and I didn’t like it much. It did have several very well done moments from the baby name, to Dalton’s performance, to the prison break mission, to Sarah’s break in to Castle. And that may serve to elevate this episode a few notches if the conclusion is solid.
      But I really didn’t like the old cheap angst tricks revisited. It seriously rubbed me wrong. This isn’t S3; I expect some satisfaction next week and I can withhold (final) judgement until then. But on it’s own merits Gobbler (mainly the ending) did not sit very well with me.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Dave, this is something I originally wanted to get into in my last post, but somewhere around 5,000 words things get cut for brevity.

        I absolutely saw, and get, that the interrupted conversation and the big misunderstanding, concepts thoroughly poisoned in s3 for many, would be seen as rearing their ugly heads again. It is a pretty important point, and one I should have emphasized, so thanks for raising that point. I can see that a lot of people will see some of this as recycled tropes that we thought we were past. It is a valid argument. I think it comes down to individual taste.

        I see these issues as re-surfacing as events stress the relationship, and that’s cool with me since I think they put enough distance, and treated them originally enough that I was willing to let it pass.

      • atcDave says:

        Ernie if it ends well (I don’t just mean Chuck saves the day, that part is a no brainer) I’m fine with it all. But so far I worry about how they clubbed us with this stuff for most of S3. As I’ve been saying, this ending could be truly awesome (probably). But it could be truly awful, and everything hangs in that balance.

      • silvercat42 says:

        I just wish fans could once and for all get over Season 3. But then I never had the negative reaction many fans did. That being said, this is Season 4, with a totally different tone and story. And, as Ernie has said repeatedly, it’s genius.

        Even though some things may seem to remind us of old issues in Season 3, I feel things are completely different. I just don’t see the end of this episode as manufactured angst. I see it as the beginning of a plot development that will be fulfilled next week.

      • atcDave says:

        Season 3 scarred us, it will never be over it’s a part of the history. I have judged S4 on it’s own merits and until Gobbler I was mostly happy. I think I’ve been very balanced in my criticism and have never suggested any extreme response.

        But we OWE it to TPTB to speak up when we don’t enjoy their product. Each of us here likely represents thousands of other viewers who will never speak up. So I will say clearly when and where I’m disappointed in the hopes of getting a better product in the future (I recently filled out a lengthy survey on my new car too; very similar thing, I told them what I love and what I’m a little disappointed with).

      • silvercat says:

        Well, Dave, I can certainly understand the idea of letting TPTB when you’re disappointed. A major let down for me, and I expressed it vociferously at the time, was the total disconnect between The Colonel and The Ring. At the end of the Colonel, a beautiful, glowing Sarah tells Chuck “it is real,” which led me and many others to believe they would finally consummate what they had started earlier at the motel. But in the next episode, Sarah tells Chuck she’s going away with Bryce. No explanation as to the change of heart, no reference that anything happened the night before or earlier at the motel for that matter.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree silvercat that was a disconnect too, and many of us were grumpy about it at the time. I always list good and bad when I make my initial episode comments. Sometimes one greatly out numbers the other; and sometimes one or two issues dominate all discussion. But there is always good and bad (even in those episodes I will never watch again).

  15. Stef62 says:

    There’s a line in EP14’s synopsis :

    ‘Meanwhile, Chuck and Sarah are at odds over their future plans.’

    That makes it pretty clear that by end of 13 things are not that good between them. I’m thinking a reversed call back to ‘Seduction’, with maybe Sarah looking to Roan for help.

    Apologies if this is the wrong place for this…

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t know Stef, it’s really a generic line, that could mean just about everything, with regards to their future. Could be in a happy way, but could definitely be about angst. Thing that has me voting against Angst filled episode right now, is that they claim it’s going to be a fun episode, like honeymooners, but who knows, maybe they think WT/WT is fun.

      As for the whole angst thing, I don’t mind angst, but the whole problem with this storyline is, that it seems to be a storyline we have already seen before. There were other ways to use this storyline to create angst, rather then Sarah not answering his call, like her actually losing herself completely in the undercover world. If they want to stretch the proposal till 4.24, and they are looking to bring in PLI’s(I’m not sure that that Oxford girl won’t be a PLI, especially not after last nights rehash of old storylines) and all those other dreaded things we already experienced in the previous seasons, then this is not the best way to go about it.

      • Stef62 says:

        I’m just thinking that Sarah will still be all in, and Chuck will have one foot back out.

        Plus I’m kind of viewing the back 11 as season 5-lite. So any commitments to keep them together are voided

      • Big Kev says:

        I’m really hoping that the Oxford girl (Olivia?) turns out to be Chuck’s asset. Chuck as a handler would give us new insight into his character, and some possibilities for amusing jealous Sarah – assuming of course that they played it for laughs. I still think they will. I think half an episode of angst here and maybe a matching half in 4.23 is all we’ll have to get through.

      • Stef62 says:

        I hope you’re right, but TPTB have previous for majorly pooching the characters

      • Anonymous says:

        It could be Stef, I’m not entirely sure that it won’t be that way. In fact after last night, I have started to think about that possibility. The real thing that is annoying me, is that the whole angst based on a misunderstanding, is just not very well written angst. A while back, I made a post saying I don’t want a proposal for the sake of a proposal, but I want them to resolve things, the thing is, there really isn’t that much to resolve apart from a miscommunication, due to her not answering his call. That means that to me, if they let her explain herself, and he still doesn’t accept it, they are forcing angst upon us, rather then having it make sense.

        Now if they had skipped suitcase and pushed all episodes one back, then made 4.11 the first part of her undercover mission, they could have explored her actually completely losing herself, due to similair choices as the one she made last night, then continuing that in 4.12, and 4.13, and then you have legitimate angst, that needs resolving.

        What I’m fearing now, is that they will set up this angst arc based on a short miscommunication, and then will proceed to draw out both the angst and the proposal till 4.24(then don’t bring up a proposal in the first half of the season tbh) In fact, if they have it happen as you suggest that he’s not all in anymore, you might just see the Oxford Girl become a serious PLI(both for the girl and for Chuck, and you might see a reset to previous seasons with him saying I want a normal girl and you’re not it), because he’s distraught by Sarah. Again that isn’t necessarily bad, but then make the Angst have a different bases then the whole we don’t talk so we got angst thing. There really isn’t any bases for prolonged angst now IMO, and if they do they kinda failed at the season4 story arc, no matter how much I liked it till now.

      • Stef62 says:

        TPTB have had a tendency of giving us what we want, but with a twist.

        People have said in the past lets have Sarah chase after Chuck for a change. maybe the next few ep’s will see the start of that, including the use of a PLI…meh….

  16. Loved the episode. If you take away the end, it was very strong. Good pace. Kept me on the edge the whole time.

    The ending is disappointing, and feels like they’ll just never get it… Not only it was ridiculously contrived but like they always do, it probably won’t have any resolution. I’ve just stopped hoping on those.

    • MichaelCarmichael says:

      I liked the episode very much, much more than Balcony (but then, while I like Sarah and Chuck together, I find their togetherness this season has occasionally sucked as much air out of the scene as their lack of togetherness did last season).

      To me the ending felt defensible as a turning point. Getting inside VI has demonstrated that you can’t be simultaneously inside and outside, talking through everything with your boyfriend. To be in is to put people in harm’s way, and the only way out is obviously to put an end to VI.

      I think that explains Mary to a large extent, without being able to get out, you have to stay in, and in order to stay in, Volcoff pushes you further and further.

      • jason says:

        micheal – I thought 4×12 did a wonderful job of explaining how those 20 years might have happened, as illogical as that thought first sounds, but so far, sarah has been in for about 30 seconds since she declined the phone call, I think that might be 1/40 millionth of the time mama b was deep, so sarah has a little time to redeem herself, I think it will only take 5 or 10 minutes of screen time to end it.

  17. Rick Holy says:

    Not that I want CHUCK to be canceled, but I hear – accurately or not – that they’re “bringing back” Charlie’s Angels (heck, it’s working for Hawaii Five-O).

    Make Yvonne an “angel” along with Trisha Helfer and I don’t care whoever else (maybe Summer Glau since The Cape is likely to get canceled), and my grieving period over the end of CHUCK won’t last too long!

    Maybe you could even make “Chuck” “Charley,” and have both Zach & Yvonne on the show. It’s TV. ANYTHING’s possible!!

    • Faith says:

      Rick, after last night’s episode I’m all the more convinced that Sarah Lancaster NEEDS to play the newly picked up Wonder Woman at NBC. She would so rock that role!

  18. Rick Holy says:

    Just heard we got bumped DOWN in the final rating to a 1.9. A little disappointed – but that is pretty much the “norm” for CHUCK. If we start dropping down much below that, then I’m going to start getting nervous. Oh, well. It may be “Charlie’s Angels” after all next year (but only if Yvonne is in it!).

    • Paul says:

      I’m not nervous at all. It’s doing better than most other scripted shows on NBC, and Comcast is not likely at all to go scorched earth this fall. S5 may be the last of it, but as long as they finish well, I’m happy.

      • Rick Holy says:

        That takes a great deal of confidence to assume that they’re “finish well.” Look at the first three seasons. Even though S1 and S2 were FAAAAAAR better than S3, did ANY of them actually “finish well?” I think the best you could say is that S1 and S2 “didn’t finish badly.” S3 I won’t even bring myself to comment on anymore. Enough is enough of that already. But my confidence in this “finishing well” aint exactly “way up there.”

        Truthfully, I conisder myself about as die-hard as a die-hard can be for this show. I won’t go into all the details of my support – let’s just say it’s almost beyond reason for a 47 year old man. But if we have a return to the “non or poor communitive angst” crapola, I’m going to join our old friend Liz James and bid a fond adieu to this show.

        I’m hoping against hope, however. Other of my recent favorite shows ended “well” and on their own terms – primarily ALIAS and LOST. And even Smallville – in it’s 10th season, is doing a damn good job at bringing things to a close very well. But with CHUCK, I have my doubts – and well into the 4th season, it’s a sad state of affairs when you can’t be confident in what might happen next.

        I had a friend who just started watching Chuck recently (yes, new fans can be picked up) and he commented to me on 4.12 – “what a lame ending.” And this is from someone who hasn’t experienced a number of previous contrived plot devices and lame endings.

        All I can say at this point is that in 4.13, they better pull something amazing out of their you-know-what. Another layer of angst on the Chuck cake aint gonna cut it. Not anymore.

        Just sayin.

      • atcDave says:

        Thanks Rick for summing up my concerns perfectly.

      • Paul says:

        Gotta disagree with your friend. I thought the ending to 4.12 was a great set-up for the climax to 4.13. Don’t know what he was expecting or looking for in the eps (or the show for that matter), but that ending was what I was expecting for this story arc.

  19. atcDave says:

    Thanks for a very well thought out review Faith. Two thoughts really stood out to me; the stupid stick issue, you know I’m in total agreement. And I loved your incomplete painting analogy; that seems perfectly fitting.

    I know I’ve said many times here I didn’t care for this episode much, but I always want to keep that in the context of knowing I haven’t seen the whole picture yet.
    In S3 we had to wait several months for all the pieces to fall into place, and for a show like Chuck that simply doesn’t work.
    But this time we should get some satisfaction next week. As long as the resolution is good, that should be no problem.

    • silvercat42 says:

      I’m glad you’re keeping an open mind, Dave. A lot can still happen, not only next episode, but in the next 12 eps, and I’m confident Season 4 will end up being the best of the series (so far).

      • atcDave says:

        I always do SilverCat. I judge each episode on it’s own merits (even in S3 I spoke up clearly on the episodes I did like, and identified the story elements I enjoyed).

        I also expect greatness this season. Apart from Gobbler this has been the best season ever of the show. And I expect it to end that way. Perhaps I was disappointed partly because my expectations have been lifted so high?

      • Rick Holy says:

        I hope so, too. I REALLY, REALLY do! I’m counting on 4.13 being one of the BEST episodes of CHUCK – of which there have been a number.

        But let me throw this out for all of your consideration – and maybe someone who is much better versed in this kind of thing than me (which is probably ALL of you) can comment – either confirming what I’m saying or showing me that I’m wrong. I’ll take ANY and all confirmations and/or corrections happily. So here goes:

        “CHUCK” has always been advertised as a “DRAMEDY,” combining the elements of drama and comedy. That, in and of itself, makes it a challenge for the writers (at least in my amateur opinion).

        Drama is a great aspect of the show, no doubt. But have we too often slipped into MELOdrama at times? My very yellowed Random House paperback dictionary from 1978 (notes as the first “nonsexist dictionary in history” on the cover) defines melodrama as: a drama in which exaggeration of effect and emotion is produced and plot or action is emphasized at the expense of characterization. Now I THINK I know what that means, but I’ll be honest and say that I’m not exactly sure.

        My question is this – has the show, at times, for better or worse, become not a “DRAMEDY,” but a “MELO-DRAMEDY?” It just seems like there are elements of “drama” (like at the end of 4.12 and in other past episodes) that are inserted that don’t have to be and which – at least in my opinion and apparently that of others – detracts from the overall quality of the show.

        Any takers, explainers (or even complainers)??

        Thanks! Fingers crossed for a dramatic (but not melodramatic) 4.13! 😉

      • atcDave says:

        I think you’re right about the melodrama Rick and that is the crux of many of our concerns. Just that the ending seemed contrived and constructed to make things feel as bad as the possibly could. That and they used techniques (angst and miscommunication) that have already been outrageously overused.

      • jason says:

        dave, but if it had been the last time ever, the last episode ever to cliffhang, and had been resolved within seconds in the final episode, I think it works, but with the extension, it just becomes very – ok whatever – fine – because we have seen this quite often in chuck, including in FOD, no big deal, we know they are going to kiss and hug at the end of 4×13 or even get engaged, it just becomes a non issue, but if the show was over, I understand why they end 4×12 that way, I guess we all react different, I think it is kind of cool, had 4×13 been the last ep.

      • First Timer says:

        @rickholy:
        The show runners passed MELOdrama early in Season 3. From The Relationship Perspective, they are in soap opera.

        Let me take a stab at describing the difference.

        If Sarah initiated the call, trying to check in with Chuck as to Casey’s health, then Chuck declines the call, that’s drama.

        If Sarah initiated the call, trying to check in with Chuck as to Casey’s health, and Chuck takes the call but refuses to tell her anything because he is now unsure of her loyalties, that’s melodrama.

        But what they showed us, Chuck initiating a call out of confusion and concern, and Sarah declining the call because of a sudden burst of (fill in the blank as to what you thought happened there), that’s soap opera.

        And, for the record, according to the NBC Chuck Website (http://www.nbc.com/chuck/about/), Chuck is an “action-comedy.”

      • Rick Holy says:

        @First Timer. Thanks for the break down and illustrations. Excellent! And although the offical site may describe the show as an “action-comedy,” I know I’ve heard either the actors, creators – or both – using the word “Dramedy” in past interviews.

        I wonder – and I know it’s way late in the game to speculate on this – but I wonder if CHUCK was more heavy on the comedy (the light hearted aspect of the show) and less heavy on the drama/melodrama, if the show would have a great appeal to “the masses?” Just a thought – but the episodes of CHUCK that I enjoy the most consists mostly of comedy with just enough drama in the mix.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree Jason, that’s why I’ve tried to hedge everything with the qualification that they will likely make good next week.
        I really wish they’d been able to run 12/13 back to back, I have a very thin skin where the angst melodrama is concerned.

      • Faith says:

        Fr. Rick I’ll argue the opposite…because well I believe the opposite.

        By your definition of melodrama: “emphasized at the expense of characterization.” You have to ask have they done that? Have they written the stories at the expense of the characters we have known and grown to love these past 4 years. I say unequivocally no. I won’t get into the past specifics but I will on this one.

        For this to be a melodrama they needed to have had Sarah fully embrace the dark side without pause, without worry and definitely without thought to Chuck. But they didn’t. Instead they showed us just enough doubt and worry (with the hands thing) to show to us that she’s changed (as we have seen) from the cold-robotic agent that she was once before. Even back in S2 she could effectively turn off her emotions and often implored Chuck (as a spy) to do the same. But that’s no longer the case because she’s changed with Chuck. She’s become more with him and so we see that.

        I’m not disputing that it was on the surface angst for angst sake…that’s in its own measure a sort of conflict but even then the characterization is consistent. It’s consistent to the characters, more to the person they are now and the history we were given about them.

        Just look at it this way, what among all things has Sarah cared about more in these last 4 years? It’s Chuck. Why is she doing this, going undercover like this…contrary to her own feelings of being the “old me”…Chuck. That’s not inconsistent, in fact it’s true to form. By not answering his phone call she is in turn putting his needs above her own because this mission in her mindset is of the upmost importance for him and she can’t be girlfriend Sarah right now, even if she really wants to. She’s having a hard enough time staying in character as is, and so she rightly or wrongly took the advice of someone who loved, who went undercover and who knows just what she’s going through.

        For this to be a melodrama there needs to be no rhyme or reason for actions and events. And in this case I think there clearly was. For all involved.

      • thinkling says:

        Great explanation, Faith. Agree completely.

      • Rick Holy says:

        @Faith and @ Thinkling. We’re gonna have to agree to disagree on this one.

        But let me propose this – would answering the call have jeopardized Sarah’s mission? No, I don’t think so. Because Sarah WAS going to answer it, until Mama B’s words came to mind – “distance.”

        The bottom line is that the ending of this otherwise pretty good episode could have been handled differently – and WELL – and imho, it wasn’t. Another tired old contrived device was used – a disregarded phone call and a heapin’ helpin’ of unnecessary angst.

        The frightening thing is that this MIGHT be an indicator of another trip down “angst lane” in upcoming episodes with Chuck and Sarah (AGAIN – ad nauseum) having to resolve communication issues, their future, etc.

        Honestly, get them hooked up and make this show about the two of them (and Team Bartowski) dealing with “bad guys.” Look at a number of those episodes in the LATER part of S3. The “heavy” angst was gone, the team was “on the job,” the action and humor were there – and it was downright CHUCK entertainment at it’s comedic and light hearted best.

        This kind of stuff isn’t. It would be O.K. if over four seasons it’s happened once or twice. But it’s been far more times than that – and that’s what’s getting old – and tired.

        We’re seeing it obviously through different perspectives – different “eyes” – and that’s O.K. These eyes are just tired of seeing it – AGAIN!

      • atcDave says:

        I guess I’ll side with calling it melodrama just because following any mamaB advise strikes me as an incredibly bad idea. The better answer would have been to embrace what’s important so she doesn’t loose sight of the need to get out of this mission before 20 years go by. Following Frost’s advice is the way to desolation and loosing yourself.

      • Faith says:

        Fr. Rick, I’m fine with that. I certainly don’t want to change anybody’s minds, merely put out a different scenario that may be clearer. I think I’ve communicated enough how I myself didn’t care for the stupid sticks, or in particular for the episode as a whole (with a caveat that it’s not fair to judge this episode as of yet).

        I will say though that although it wouldn’t have jeopardized her mission directly, it would have done so internally. The fact of the matter is she was feeling too much and thinking too much and in this life that’s not conducive to survival and that’s where Mary’s advice fits.

        Dave, I also can’t dispute that. She took bad advice from a spy that’s been stuck in a life she neither wanted or knew how to get out of…but it’s also good advice if you’re a spy who wants to survive in that life. In Balcony she said to Chuck straight out, “I need to be the old me for a little while, if I’m going to survive this.” This is it, what she has to do to survive. The old her, emotionally closed off, undercover chameleon, near robot. Something she hasn’t been since falling for Chuck and it’s taking all of her to just put up that facade in place as is and she’s failing…as we see with the hands.

  20. uplink2 says:

    I can’t keep up with you guys. Man you can get to 100 comments quickly. Loved the review Faith.

    I am in a quandary about this episode. I posted this elsewhere but I have never had this feeling (or lack of)about a Chuck episode before, ever. Even during season 3 I knew how I felt about an episode as soon as I had seen it but with this one I feel as conflicted as Sarah Walker sitting on the plane. But actually that may be a good thing and the intent of the writers. I can’t really come to terms with it till I see the second part. How they deal with things there will determine if this episode fell flat for me or was part of an epic duo.

    There are so many great things here not the least of which is the use of Sylvia by Miike Snow in the final scene. Possibly the best use of music this season which has been tremendous musically. But I did have some issues, the phone decline plot device needs to be retired and in particular I didn’t like Chuck trying to use his brain to tell his gut to believe in Sarah when it should be the other way around by now. He needs to find that belief deep in his soul at some point.

    I do hope that Casey wakes up in the A section of the episode so that question Chuck asks in the hospital room is put to rest quickly. They made a huge effort to tell the audience about the plan and Chuck needs to know the answer soon as well.

    I am very intrigued by the use of the Orion cabin in the showdown with Volkoff. When does that come in the episode and how does Chuck get from the server room to there or vice versa? There is more to the laptop/PSP story and how it will all tie together, Orion, Mary, the cabin, the OC, Chuck, Intersect 3.0 (?) My feeling is there will be a master plan that Stephen put the pieces out there for Chuck to use and Chuck will have a moment of clarity and realizes how to bring it together. Chuck will use the thing that Casey will give him to take down the network and ultimately Volkoff.

    If they take the angst out of the story in the A section and give us the drama we could be in store for an amazing episode. But in order to put a final verdict on this episode I need to see that.

    As I write this Sylvia is playing in my head and probably will all week.

    • atcDave says:

      Great comments Uplink, I think I agree with all. I’m way past tired of cheap angst tricks and I hope they lay that to rest quickly.
      I am intrigued and excited about a return to the Orion cabin. It may just be a research site where Chuck can play with the Hydra pieces in private. But I wonder if we’ll find Hydra has some connection to the Intersect?

      • Big Kev says:

        Volkoff mentioned that he had a secure backup location for Hydra. I wonder if Stephen was able to hack in somehow and obtain a copy? Is it in the cabin, the OC – or even on the computer he sent to Ellie?

      • armysfc says:

        not to bust any bubbles here. chuck is a low budget show. it could be they are just using the same props in a different way. that said, i do like the idea that it is orions cabin. now that would be a wild twist!

      • uplink2 says:

        Well the cabin was used before in TicTac I believe but they changed the wall hangings etc. In this case they are identical which is why I highlighted them in the the screencaps I posted. I do believe it is Orion’s cave as Fedak hinted that the laptop in particular is not done yey.

    • Stef62 says:

      This is probably a stupid idea, but what if the PSP had contained Orions memories, (for use of a better phrase), and these kick in somehow for the finale against Volkov.

      Lets you bring back Bakula, by having him ‘take over’ Chuck for any fight. So father, and son defeat him together.

      its a cheap effect to do, just have Chuck see his reflection as Orion, swing camera back, and Bakula takes over

  21. kgvet44@cox.net says:

    In an attempt to change the topic if you will, I’ve been thinking about Volkoff lately and I think I know what his motivation is.

    It’s all about Mama B. Think about it for a minute. She’s done just about everything for him except one thing. Give it up – some sex. He freaked out and attacked castle when the CIA had her. He wanted a “family” dinner in leftovers. He claims to love. He’s had everything except a role in the hay, again if you will, with Frost.

    Indirectly, all this trouble is her fault. LOL. He hates Orion, is jealous of him, and keeps her from him for 20 years. And now Volkoff lashes out at the son of Orion by taunting him and hurting him and possessing the women in his life. Mom and Sarah.

    I’m surprised that Shaw wasn’t working for Alexi. LOL. That would have been perfect. Kill Orion and then taunt the son by boinking Chuck’s girl.

    • silvercat42 says:

      In the promo, Chuck says “I did nothing while one man took everything from me.” Could it be that Chuck gets info from Hydra that indicates the Ring–and Shaw–were part of VI? I think it’s a very, very good possibility, and one of the major surprises that will be revealed next episode.

  22. silvercat42 says:

    What I meant to add was “everything” could also mean that Volkoff was responsible for Stephen’s death.

  23. thinkling says:

    Great post, Faith. Great title. Funny captions.

    You raise a good point that we are seeing half a painting and trying to evaluate it. Hard to do. Whether or not we end up liking it will depend on Push Mix.

    Push Mix can justify Gobbler and Balcony. Other Guy stood no chance of justifying S3. So we are miles ahead on that score.

    I think there is enough different about Chuck and Sarah v. Mary and Stephen, both in their circumstances, their motivations, and their resources.

    For Sarah saving Mary and their both getting out? I’m thinking that now that they have access to the DB, it’s possible. Once they are in full possession of Hydra, they can lop off the main head, so to speak. With the DB, they can take down the network.

    Just some random thoughts. Thank you for your post.

    • Faith says:

      Thank you, I was waiting for someone to approach the “what now” query.

      I don’t think I considered the DB access as their way out. Maybe because I thought of it more in the terms of they’ve effectively given Chuck through Casey the way to bring down Volkoff with the Hydra so in a sense they could have gotten out right then and there…or right before the plane. By staying in basically (in my mindset) all they’re doing is prolonging being caught. Although there is something to be said (like you pointed out) for Mary shooting Volkoff in the head after finding out that Hydra’s been effectively brought down.

      The circumstances are right down the line the same so it can’t be that. But I do subscribe to Ernie’s mentality that that’s just how it’s supposed to be and how we’re supposed to see it until the last minute. This is among numerous reasons why I don’t think it’s fair to judge this episode, not just the arc or the parallel itself but this specific episode…we’re not given nearly enough as of yet. But it maybe naive of me but I think once we’re given the full picture it’s going to blow our minds. It’s already shaping up to be like that on promo alone. Imagine Chuck saying and taking command. Suicide mission FTW!

    • atcDave says:

      I do agree we’re still way ahead of where S3 got us. Last season we stopped waiting for it make sense at Fake Name, and just wanted it to be over. This arc still has the potential to be awesome with a great finale.

      • uplink2 says:

        Dave I could not agree more. I’m still holding final judgment on it till we see it all play out but my being conflicted could ultimately end up being a sign of greatness for this episode but alas its all in the execution.

        All of this season I am so excited for the next weeks episode and the anticipation has been high. Last season (1-13)there were only 3 times I felt even part of that excitement, after Three Words and we all know how my heart got stabbed after that episode was ignored, after Beard when Chuck finally had his aha moment, and after Hero when we knew it would finally be over the next week. This season has been nothing but anticipation so I’m hoping and believing that the payoff will be worth it.

      • atcDave says:

        I’ll ditto all of that uplink. I’ve tried to say several times that final judgement on both Gobbler and Balcony is pending; until we get the conclusion next week I’m not sure if I them.
        I don’t care for the cliff hangers and waiting a week between each; but I’m still mostly confident the ending will make it all worthwhile.

        These next few days will get long!

      • OldDarth says:

        This season arc has been handcuffed by the need to play it safe.

        The biggest transgression has been the straitjacketing of the lead character for the near entirety of this season. Even though the rest of the cast has had great opportunities to shine the show still revolves around Chuck. Because of Chuck being subjugated by the seasonal arc all that fantastic energy being thrown to Chuck by Sarah, Morgan, Casey et al is not being returned and ends up at his feet.

        All that lost synergy.

        All that lost sense of real stakes and risk.

        Add in the removal of any tension about Sarah accepting Chuck’s proposal and what is there to get really excited about this season?

        All those factors leaves a season, to date, with only ‘moments’ to get excited about and some pretty fantastic guest casting choices.

        The show needs to un-hogtie Chuck and put him back in the saddle ASAP!

        Please, please have Push Mix rescue this season arc on some level without tarnishing the Orion legacy. Frost too, if possible.

      • atcDave says:

        Wow OD, can’t say I agree with much of that. While I am eager to see Chuck have a big hero moment in Push Mix, my overall feeling for this season has been overwhelmingly positive. And while I could agree S2 was in some ways technically superior, I think S4 has been about the most satisfying television I’ve ever seen in my life.

  24. Faith says:

    This is from the Emmy4Yvonne interview with YS:

    “Sarah Walker was always an amazing spy, but in the beginning she was never great at expressing her emotions. I think she always felt that was something ‘normal’ people were good at. But being a spy, she often had to lock any emotions away, simply to just get on with the job or the task at hand.”

    So why distance? ^because. 😀

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