Nothing Is As It Seems

As we expected, the Gobbler was big and ugly and scary and a little on the heavy side. Oh, and he eats people. As for the episode Chuck Versus the Gobbler, it shared many characteristics with its namesake. The episode opens a window into Sarah’s dark, new world and shows us some pretty scary things … not like war and bears, more like the cost of love and the pain of commitment. For all its weight and gloom, The Gobbler was not without its positive side: a few lighter moments, some very interesting story setups, Mary/Sarah interaction, and Sarah Walker action.

Chuck took a left turn at the end of Balcony. In Gobbler we awoke to find ourselves in a whole other reality. Despite some great individual elements, the down notes of the episode left me feeling … well, down. I had to take a step back and retreat a bit to analyze what I saw … to try to understand the story better and draw my own conclusions about The Gobbler.

As I set aside my somber mood and rising fears to analyze the episode, I found a story that’s authentic and worth exploring — one that I liked better than I first thought I did. Depending on what comes next, it may even turn out to have been a great story.

Nothing Is As It Seems

We begin the episode on that famous Egyptian river, which oddly enough, now runs through the Buymore. Instead of moping around eating cheese balls and watching … The View? … Chuck enters the Buymore as though he just won the lottery. Zippity doo dah, zippity aye. He has convinced himself that Sarah’s success is at hand and that she could never change like his mom did. Morgan’s not buying the mood, and Casey knows Sarah’s risks all too well. It is a fragile denial-détente that they are willing to help Chuck maintain. Their friendship and support of Chuck is one of the highlights of the episode (a big check in the win column).

Back to Chuck’s denial. If or how much Sarah will change and how Chuck will handle it is the story. The Gobbler calls back Sarah’s fears when Chuck chose to become a spy. Just in case we missed it, Sarah reminds us. Sarah knew the spy world and what it could do to a person, and she was rightly afraid for Chuck. For various reasons, she lost faith.

Now the situation is reversed, and Chuck must watch Sarah enter a world that could change her. Chuck’s naiveté about the spy world, especially its more unsavory neighborhoods, puts a thin layer of denial between him and the fear she might not come back. His faith in his Sarah is his shield against the worst of all fears that she might change, like his mom did.

No sooner does this sentiment escape his lips, than we cut to the cold, confident Babe-in-Black striding into Volkoff’s office. Meet the all-new, old Sarah Walker. (This scene is another check in the win column.)

Acknowledging yet defying his invitation to sit, Sarah tells Psycho Romeo a story he could believe, or at least one that intrigues him. It turns out that the unhinged Romantic, has more surprises up his Renaissance sleeves: paintings and poetry, for starters. Our Ms. Walker shows off some of her uber moves and offers him a chess match he can’t refuse. She is just so much fun! The game’s afoot, Walker. Watch yourself.

Enter Frost, with the same confident stride as Walker. First she reads Sarah, who quickly explains everything by claiming Frost as her inspiration. Next the master spy puts her own plan in motion. She plays the faithful right hand to Volkoff and bends him to her will. She is good.

As Sarah toasts her suicide mission with a shot of Vodka, we cut to Chuck eating a bowl of cereal in sunny Burbank. The abrupt changes between the two worlds and the juxtaposition of scenes highlight the dark chasm that separates the normal world where people eat cereal and go to work, snuggle and fall in love, from the dangerous world that Sarah infiltrated to do battle with a mad man. At Volkoff industries, Phyllis cleans up dead bodies with the same nonchalance that Chuck and Morgan mop up orange juice and pizza spills back at Casa Bartowski.

Morgan skips off to cuddle in a nice warm bed, and we are transported back to a frigid world and the only unsurveiled square meter inside the Volkoff compound … and the meeting we’ve all been waiting for. Mother/Spy meets Daughter/Spy. This is one of my favorite scenes and begins a new chapter in the bond between Sarah and Mary. (Another check in the win column)

Decisions

Mrs. Bartowski, I came here to help you take down Volkoff and to get you the hell out of here.

Sarah calls Mary Mrs. Bartowski. Not Frost, the spy. Not Mary, her adult equal. But Mrs. Bartowski, a familial name … what a woman would call her future mother-in-law. The message is one of grit and caring and kinship.

Mary the spy explains the mission to Sarah. Yuri has something to do with Hydra, Volkoff’s entire database and network. Hydra is the key they need to bring down Volkoff. We remember Hydra as one of the files in Orion’s Base. (I hope it’s in the 3.0, but that would still be speculation.)

The Mother/Spy, from her experience as a double agent, warns Sarah of the risks of the mission, Sarah, I need you to realize that going undercover in a place like this can require certain difficult choices.

I’m well aware. Sarah didn’t come home from spy camp yesterday.

Finally the Mother speaks, You might find yourself becoming someone you no longer recognize. A warning from her heart, from her own life, as a woman. A voice of concern for the woman her son loves. (Remember the elevator-hand-holding moment?)

Sarah considers the cost. One last chance to back out. She does not waver. I’m willing to do whatever it takes.

While Mary warns Sarah of certain difficult decisions and Sarah chooses to stay on the dangerous path, an ocean and two continents away, Ellie asks Chuck for help with her difficult decision — one that, according to Devon, will set their daughter’s path for the rest of her life. Dude! A little perspective. The name game was light hearted and entertaining. I especially loved how it was all a set up the whole time. Ellie fooled everyone, while no one fooled her. Chuck was right. She is half a spy. (Win column? Yes.)

Seems Like Old Times

The scene in Castle was a taste of sweet relief for everyone. Chuck’s face is the one to watch this time: shock, recognition, relief … my world is OK. Big hug. Chuck can’t take his eyes off of the new Sarah. His Sarah? Is it because he’s so glad to see her? A little weirded out? Or is it because she is 9 shades of evocative? All of the above. Sarah catches his lost look and waits until he sees her eyes … sees her. After the brief briefing, Chuck finally comes to his senses and chases her down. They share a more fitting reunion. Intimate. Poignant.

See you in prison.

As Chuck, all decked out in jail-bird orange, is led into the prison REC room, I couldn’t help recall another REC room and another group of scary faces (Tooth). We even find Merlin’s cousin, who wants to give Morgan love advice. In this REC room, however, the mugs are scarier and the Kung Fu is real. It was a great scene for all of TeamB, and felt like the good old days … until the poignant good-buy, as Sarah returns to her mission, Yuri in tow. Unlike Morgan and Casey, she won’t play into Chuck’s denial. She gently lets him know that she may not be home next week.

(Two more checks in the win column.)

Harsh New Realities

Chuck realizes Sarah may not come back for a while and flirts with despondency, “Did we record The View?” His friends try to fill the void and take his mind off his loneliness with a rousing game of Risk … the board game of world domination.

Meanwhile, back in Moscow, we watch the real deal. Even prison is tame compared to the world of Alexei Volkoff. Yuri should have stayed in jail, where he was top dog and had his own comfy chair. Despite Yuri’s apologies, Uncle Psychopath can’t contain his disappointment. (I’d hate to see what he would do if he were angry instead of merely disappointed.) Mary and Sarah barely mask their horror, as Alexei dispatches Yuri to another world in order to retrieve Hydra from Yuri’s head. May he never, ever learn what’s in Chuck’s head!

The data base, and the genius of Volkoff’s operation, is a network of global operatives, none of whom knows anything other than his own tiny part in the operation. Volkoff, through Hydra, controls his entire evil empire. Now that’s world domination.

Mary manages to recover the brains of the shattered … storage device, before they depart to take care of one last item of business.

(I even put this scene in the win column . But from here on out the C/S and spy scenes go in the sad or pain column.)

Tests

Kill John Casey.

This is where we’ve been headed all along. A test of loyalty. Another “red test” … one that Sarah has no intention of completing, but must sell as real.

Another good moment between Mary and Sarah in the stairwell, as Sarah wracks her brain to figure out how to believably fake Casey’s death. Mary slips Hydra to Sarah for her to give Casey, in the event that they succeed in faking Casey’s death before Volkoff loses patience and finishes the job for her.

Casey is prepared. He didn’t get home from spy camp yesterday, either. Of course, he could have been more prepared, but then we wouldn’t have a story. Casey and Sarah fake fight long enough to devise a plan. I loved the scene. Two seasoned spies, partners, doing all in their power to save each other.

The brilliant plan turned into everyone’s worst nightmare, not just because the platform gave way, but because Chuck witnessed the whole thing. Alexei Volkoff … there are not enough synonyms for evil in the dictionary to describe this despicable man, as he manipulates this circumstance to try to destroy Chuck and Sarah. Mary feels a mother’s pain.

Sarah leaves Chuck and Casey unconscious. Her nightmare is only beginning, while in another galaxy, far, far away (that would be the other side of Burbank), Ellie and Devon are realizing their dream.

Full Circle

We’ve spanned the story and some of the angst of S3 in one hour, with one huge difference. This time, we started from a platform of love and trust, instead of pain and doubt. It will make all the difference.

Chuck confronts his worst fear. He watches Sarah change, externally at first, and then at her core, or so it appears to him. He watches Sarah carry out a kill order. Sound familiar? (Final Exam) Once again, only Casey can clear things up, but his coma is his vow of silence. No longer in denial, Chuck feels the pain of loss. His world is crumbling around him. Clinging to a seed of faith, he reaches out to Sarah.

Sarah hates the game she’s gotten involved in. She is in a world of her own pain. Mary comforts her the same way she did Ellie. She stills Sarah’s nervous hands and offers the only solace to be found in their world.

M: It gets easier.
S: How?
M: Distance.

Cold comfort. Cruel encouragement. … Survival. In an effort to numb her pain and survive, Sarah ignores Chuck’s call. Dumb. But, this is the story they want to tell. They want us to feel Chuck’s pain of loss and Sarah’s pain of isolation.

Bottom Line

Now, with so many checks in the win column, do I feel good about the episode? No. I don’t think I’m supposed to. Do I like the episode? On some levels, very much. Do I feel hopeful about Push Mix? Definitley.

Good grief, if Other Guy can snatch a happy ending from the jaws of misery, Push Mix should be a walk in the park. All throughout Season 4, they have laid a foundation of strength and love. Gobbler is a test, no doubt about it. But have faith. Chuck and Sarah will pass the test!

Casey, of course, isn’t going to die.

Chuck will recover his faith. Either Casey will tell him what happened, as he did Sarah (in Am Hero), or Chuck will find Hydra and puzzle it out on his own.

Sarah will reconnect emotionally and physically with her home and her real strength.

To sum up: Chuck and Sarah will find their way back to each other and to a good place. The bad guy will go down. Clara will be born. MamaB will be there. Casey will be ambulatory. … Savor the moment.

And yes, I’m still hoping for a proposal in 4.13. Why? Because it is the 800 pound gorilla in the room … with a ring in his pocket. (Well, if gorillas had pockets.) Because backing away from it now would be bad story telling. Because it would diminish the entire C/S story from Suitcase through Phase 3 through Balcony, rendering the best moments of the season pointless. Because it would be a sour note to end on, and sour C/S notes cannot exist in anyone’s concept of the best 10 minutes of Chuck, ever … ever.

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

Parting Thoughts

Kudos again to the whole cast. There wasn’t anyone who annoyed me this week. TD was brilliant, as usual. Yvonne once again sold Sarah’s cover and conflict through nuanced acting and her amazing face. LH, well, she’d better stick around. I love her character, and things are just now getting good between her and Sarah. Zach did a great job, too, giving us Chuck in all phases of denial and grief.

I appreciated the parallel. I loved the back and forth between the two worlds. They succeeded in showing me the stark contrast between the normal world and Mary’s world. I understand Sarah’s empathetic compassion and determination to get her out of there. I feel the full weight of Sarah’s sacrifice and heartache. Her risk is crystal clear. I am convinced. I feel Chuck’s helplessness and loneliness. They’ve sold me the story. Now they have to deliver the pay off, and it needs to be BIG.

Thinkling’s thoughts

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About thinkling

In my [younger] youth, I was a math teacher, basketball coach, and computer programmer. In 1984, we moved to Brazil, where we serve as missionaries. I like to design things and build things, read things and write things. We now live part-time in Brazil, part-time in the US. Love them both. Wife, 37 yrs; mom, 30 yrs. I am blessed.
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316 Responses to Nothing Is As It Seems

  1. joe says:

    Survival. In an effort to numb her pain and survive, Sarah ignores Chuck’s call. Dumb.

    Oh, yes, and she absolutely *had* to. I don’t think Sarah had the strength to answer the call and then go on. She would have given up and gone home to Chuck.

    Wow – see what you did there, Thinkling? You got me all caught up in the story again.

    “Psycho Romeo” – Funnnnnnny! Have I mentioned lately how much I enjoy your writing, Thinkling? 😉

  2. BillAtWork says:

    Yes, yes, yes. That expresses it exactly. That you for expressing it so perfectly.

    I can’t wait to see the tie in to Orion and Hydra.

    • Big Kev says:

      Seconded, Bill. Insightful, clear and beautifully written review of a complex episode. Great work, Thinkling.

    • thinkling says:

      Thank you, guys. 🙂

      • kg says:

        Thinkling, your organized breakdowns and checks in the Win column at each stop undoubtedly will help folks in this community more than you might have initially imagined.

        And your description and analysis of the ending was spectacular. You conveyed the feelings and expressions of many on both sides of the “hotly contested” issue this week, and expertly tied it all together with three wonderfully crafted and succint sentences.

        You played it right down the middle for both sides. Conflicted Sarah. Necessary for survival, yet a mistake nonetheless. Aces girl.

      • thinkling says:

        Thank you KG. I intentionally didn’t read any comments before writing this. So, that turned out well if it helps everybody feel better about the episode.

        Aces, girl I like that. I haven’t been called girl in a while 😉

    • Tamara Burks says:

      I wonder since there was a box marked Hydra in the Orion cave was he working at it from his end. People have had the suspicion that Frost and Orion were working together but what if they were both working the same case but not together? They might have occassionaly actually screwed each other up.

      Maybe the lesson in all of this is that mary’s mistake was going in alone and not with Orion (of course he was a scientist then he later turned himself into a spy) . Sarah is pretty much trying to make the same mistake that Mama B did . Chuck won’t let her though. Mama B is already there but she’s stuck too plus Chuck has resources that Papa B didn’t .

      Papa B wasn’t a conventional spy either but he not only had to teach himself to be one but he had two children to raise until whatever danger he attracted actually made it dangerous for him to stay with them.He also was quite literally alone in his quest. He had no standing with the CIA or NSA and no one to back him up. Unlike Chuck who is considered to be important by the President and can call up an army if need be,plus he has Casey (when he’s uninjured ) , Morgan and Ellie and Devon for any emergency medical care they might need (not to mention Ellie’s lethal skillet swinging and smarts in fixing the Intersect and Devon’s knocking people down skills) and I bet if she was physically there Beckman could kick some rear.

      And if it ends up in the Buy More while people are there Big Mike knows how to bring big guys down, Jeffster can freak out spies who would just be flabbergasted at them and then there’s the CIA trainees who so far haven’t done much good.

      • joe says:

        You’ve hit on something that seems so very important here, Tamara – that Orion had to go it alone. It almost seems that Stephen’s isolation wasthe very reason Frost had to go it alone, perhaps the reason the situation has been at that meta-stable point for 20 years.

        As I write that, it also seems to me that even though she cut herself off from Chuck, Sarah is NOT alone. Mary is there. Are any of them alone?

        I can think of about a dozen ways for this apparent, awful isolation in which Sarah, Chuck and Casey seem to be enmeshed, but that’s guesswork. I’m awful at it. What TPTB choose to do at this point WILL be interesting!

  3. Ernie Davis says:

    It’s a funny thing, the more I watch this episode the more I like it. Of course the end didn’t really bother me, I mean we all knew something like that was coming, that Volkoff would sow doubt in Chuck or Sarah or both.

    I think that there is one interesting twist to Sarah nearly killing Casey. She basically did do his bidding, and it makes me wonder about Mary. How often has she done exactly what Volkoff wanted, even if not exactly what he asked, just to keep cover and prolong her chances at a successful mission? As much as Mary has held Volkoff at bay for years he has kept her near him and working for him. I’m not so convinced he’s convinced of her loyalty, but he has her cooperation it seems. Is the realization that she IS his right hand something that is coming? Is it Sarah or Chuck who might open her eyes?

    It is a slim line between sides, as Volkoff mentions, a particular moment when a spy decides to stop pretending and to take the leap and to join the other side. So when Sarah, or Mary decides that keeping their “cover”, proving their loyalty to Volkoff, is more important than anything else, whose side are they effectively on, and what is it they’re pretending?

    • joe says:

      Man, Ernie, that was a vapor of a thought in my head about mamaB. You made it explicit – She’s gotten so close to the line, she may have crossed it.

    • thinkling says:

      Interesting thought that Volkoff doesn’t buy Mary’s loyalty. I have a hard time imagining Volkoff putting up with disloyalty for 20 years, but he’s crazy; so you never know.

      If keeping a cover is more important than anything else, including the original end game, then they may have effectively crossed over. With Mary it’s hard to tell, but I don’t think she thinks she has. Sarah still has sight of her end game.

      If she hadn’t pushed Casey, they would have all been killed. Casey, then Sarah, then Chuck. Or maybe not Chuck, as the memory would have been worse than death. She has just gotten an up close view of this maniac. I think she is more aware of the threat he poses to her family than even Mary is, and thus more determined than ever to reach the end game. I think Mary may not have lost sight of the end game, but she may have lost the will to see it and go after it. She may be seeing it again through Sarah’s eyes.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Exactly, we know Sarah hasn’t crossed that line, but neither Chuck nor Mary nor Volkoff do. It has always been a theme that Chuck isn’t a by any means necessary spy. He knows the end does not justify all means and you can’t be one of the good guys by doing evil things. It will be fun to see Sarah figure that out and to see if Mary did or needs to.

      I absolutely think Volkoff has played a 20 year game with Mary, bending her to his will. Look at the first thing he did after Sarah’s first mission. He dangled the object of their desire, their ticket out in front of both women, so close they could practically touch it, then snatched it away and made them both prove themselves.

      Evil genius.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Oh and the Ellie parallel was also genius. She makes Chuck an unwitting double agent and plays he and Devon like a fiddle. They feel they are doing the right thing by deceiving her (and frankly they have a point) but she gets exactly what she wants from both of them. Again, genius.

      • thinkling says:

        Ooh good catch Ernie. I missed it. But he is so arrogant in his evil that he missed (I think he did) that Mary grabbed the guts of the eyeball. A 20 year game like that … really tragic.

        That is just evil to the core. Nobody can stand a smug psycho.

        He is going down.

      • herder says:

        I didn’t see the Ellie parallel, clever.

      • atcDave says:

        I really look forward to the going down part. But are we sure Volkoff didn’t notice the key part of the eye disappearing? I wouldn’t be surprised if teamB gets the tables turned on them one more time before they can pull it out.

      • jason says:

        I wonder if volkov maybe wants something other than Mary’s love? Maybe Orion had (or has) something that Volkov has been after for all of these years? or maybe volkov has something mary / orion want, other than to take him down???

        One odd thing comes to my mind is the menu in frost’s safe room, did someone leave it there on purpose? Or Did someone orchestrate the breakout of casey’s team, knowing they were linked to frost and would come for casey?

        In other words, as chuck was assembling clues all along, is it possible someone was helping Chuck find volkov to bring this entire thing to a head?

        Would be nice if there was a very clever twist to all of this, I am sort of expecting it – anyone else?

      • atcDave says:

        Jason I think there’s a good chance Volkoff has a game in mind to get Intersect technology.
        It also would seem Volkoff finds out Casey isn’t dead somehow.

        It will be very interesting to see how things come together, and how much of what we’ve already seen will really matter.

      • thinkling says:

        That’s a great spec, Jason. The part about Volkoff wanting something from Orion.

        A helper helping Chuck find Volkoff is intriguing, too. Is he/she an evil elf or a good elf?

        I still wonder about Volkoff’s person inside the CIA. That could keep things going a while.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Well I’ll spec out my twist. Why would Mary feel compelled to spend 20 years on a mission to take down a network run by Hydra, an advanced computer program? Why would Stephen have to disappear and spend years looking for her? Who designed Hydra? How did Volkoff get it? With a key component (that I don’t think Volkoff missed just like I think he thinks Sarah tossed Casey out the window to “maintain cover”) who might be able to take Volkoff’s network down?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Thinkling, he’s a smirker. He’s going down. 😉

      • thinkling says:

        Exactly the line I had in mind, Ernie.

        who might be able to take Volkoff’s network down? Charles Irving Bartowski. See, I’ve wondered all this time if the human Intersect hasn’t always been a part of this. At least, I think that’s what you’re getting at.

        So, that seems a popular spec among us.

      • thinkling says:

        It will be interesting, Dave, to see just how much Volkoff noticed, like the eye innards.

        I bet he has some more tricks up his evil, master-mind sleeves.

      • Paul says:

        Part of the twist could be that the Orion Cave was just a decoy. The REAL intel that Orion was gathering to find/free his wife is back in his cabin. And could be keyed to the laptop. That way, even if Volkoff found the cave and destroyed it, there is still the intel available for someone like Chuck to pick up andcarry on.

      • kg says:

        Therefore, are you folks possibly intimating that Project Omaha is actually taking down VI?

        Yes Dave, he knows Casey isn’t dead. Right in the trailer. He sent one of his goons to snuff out John with a pillow.

        I still say Volkoff’s main objective is to make love to Frost. The guy is very smart, but completely nuts. All the spy and VI stuff is secondary. His number one mission is to completely conquer Mary.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        KG

        For Volkoff to be successful in conquering Mama B, he should take the advice of Plywood on how to manipulate and exploit damaged female spies. 😉

      • thinkling says:

        He is one fermented fruit cake. Creepy KG, really creepy.

      • thinkling says:

        Alladins: brain bleach, a double dose, on the double.

        Arrgggh

      • JC says:

        My Borscht is contained within your Borscht might work.

      • kg says:

        Heh heh. That was quick and funny Alladin.

      • SWnerd says:

        Not cool, genie, not cool. Accurate…and kinda funny…but still not cool. Pass that brain bleach around thinkling.

      • Paul says:

        @KG – I think project Omaha was the original Intersect project. If that is the caes, I don’t think it was aimed at any one specific target.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        SWNerd

        Muhahaha! On the requests for brain bleach. My plan is working. You can order Genie’s Brain Bleach from Thinkling (my Marketing and PR Manager) – I ship cases of it to her every now and then. 🙂

      • SWnerd says:

        You must have made a fortune last year. I completely drained my supply, so I guess put me down for a bottle.

      • joe says:

        So much for need a separate speculation post! You guys. You all must spec. for a living! 😉

      • atcDave says:

        I got that kg, that was exactly my point. Volkoff isn’t done, he still has plans and power. Somehow he finds out Casey is alive and where he is. That indicates more than just responding to events. He still has options at play.

  4. atcDave says:

    Excellent and balanced recap Thinkling, thanks. Especially love your reasoning on the bottom line. I think they can come up with an awesome and satisfying conclusion; and I’m still mostly optimistic that they will. I suppose that “mostly” part is exactly what will keep me on the edge of my seat through Push Mix. Theres no football this weekend, maybe I can just sleep until Monday…

  5. Faith says:

    Thinkling, thanks for the perspective. You’re right we’re not supposed to be happy coming off this, but definitely not faith-less(?).

    You also brought up this line and really got me thinking: Sarah, I need you to realize that going undercover in a place like this can require certain difficult choices. You might find yourself becoming someone you no longer recognize…

    What was she going to say after that? Because I do think Sarah interrupted her before she could finish her thought.

    Dare I say…”If you do, get out?” Or more, “it’s not worth losing Chuck. I’ve lived this life and this mission, you and Chuck don’t need to. Learn from my heartbreak with Stephen and find your happiness.”

    Ok a bit of a stretch towards the end, but I can picture it. I can picture her imploring the woman that her son loves to carpe diem, and choose love. She’s already lost her life/family, she may at that moment come to think she didn’t need to see her son and her son’s soulmate lose it too. But Sarah stopped her with essentially…I know the risk and I’ll take it. Powerful stuff.

    Last point and I know people will hate me for this (*ducks before things gets thrown!* lol)…I do think we were supposed to see shades of Mauser/Final Exam and then American Hero here. Chuck sees Sarah do something that he can’t quite accept and unlike in years past where he would internalize it and sit on the couch watching the View he’ll go after her and demand an explanation. He trusts her now more than ever so he’ll try to have faith in that, in them. But I do think she might need to do a reverse American Hero as well and prove to him she’s the same gal. I hate to bring this up because I know so many people hated that stretch but I’ve always understood it and in some ways it was the moment when I realized that Chuck was back. “Go, don’t stop!” And I will say although it’s “shades” of, it’s not completely the same because this time around they’re both all in and with that comes a lot more love and trust.

    Last point, I promise…I’m also starting to think that Mary will give Chuck her engagement ring from Stephen. It’s one of the few things I could see coming off postponing the engagement…and in some ways it makes it more personal, special. Mary gives her blessing and becomes a part of something that she lacked for 20 years, a family and what do you know the parallel returns for the better because so does Sarah (becomes a part of a real family, for good).

    • thinkling says:

      Faith, I didn’t catch the interruption in the Mary/Sarah talk, but I think Mary was certainly giving Sarah a way out and a warning from the heart. I love their partnership/relationship. They have great chemistry, not in the romantic sense of course, but in an empathetic, bonding kind of way. Whatever was supposed to be bubbling below the surface in their relationship, from AOT until now, has been perfectly portrayed by Yvonne and LH.

      As to Final Exam, I totally agree. It’s pretty much my thesis of the episode in a nutshell that Chuck and Sarah are going through Sarah’s S3 story with the shoes on the other feet. But they start from a vastly different place, one of love and trust, not doubt and pain. I know there is that Stephen Mary parallel, but I think the S3 parallel is just as strong, if not more so. It just doesn’t feel as bad, because of their starting point. But the tests are the same.

      Love love love the idea of the engagement ring!!

    • herder says:

      Faith, I’ve thought that a lot of this story would be about not only the differences between Chuck/Sarah and Stephen/Mary but about redemption and faith. Of course there is the redemption of Chuck, not a loser anymore that has been going on since the first season and Sarah, the real girl since season two. But also the redemtion of Mary the mother and lost spy, if I had to guess I think that Volkov doesn’t beleive for a minute that Sarah has gone over and sets either Mary to kill her or other bad guys and Mary has to choose if continuing her cover is worth Sarah’s life and chooses Sarah, blowing her cover but keeping faith with her family.

      Before that Sarah has to choose to follow Mary’s “distance” or find another way to complete the mission and stay true to herself. At some point Chuck has to choose to beleive in Sarah on faith “I want you to trust me even when you think I’m wrong” before Casey lets him on on the truth about the window toss, sort of a reverse American Hero. Redemption through faith in each other without proof.

      • Faith says:

        Well said. And taken like that isn’t that the most…exemplary form of storytelling?

        It is/would be for me. Thanks Herder.

        Also, yeah I don’t believe for a minute that Volkoff has bought Sarah’s transformation. He’s a mad genius, key on genius

      • thinkling says:

        Yes to all of that Herder. You’ve laid it out so well. That is the story. If they do all that it will have been a great story.

      • Paul says:

        I think what we are going to see is that Sarah decides that distance isn’t the answer and may tell Frost that. Hence, not repeating the same mistakes.

      • atcDave says:

        Paul that is exactly what I want to see. I will completely be okay with every cheap angst trick (sorry, my interpretation) if Sarah realizes that on her own. Oh, and Chuck doesn’t ask “who is this woman?”

      • thinkling says:

        Dave, Paul: ditto all that 🙂

    • Paul says:

      You had me all the way up until the engagement ring thing. IMHO that is a bit much….

  6. herder says:

    Thinkling, I get the impression that my view of this episode is very similar to yours, it all seemed well done, nothing annoying, even from the Buy More gang, lots of win. Some unease about the end but a realization that it was a function of storytelling and an understanding of the undercurrents running through it. Personally I put it in the top half of this year (which to me is high praise) but the final opinion waits until it is shown what they do with it. My only concern is that TPTB have a history of over promising and underdelivering. Ultimately I really liked your review.

    • atcDave says:

      Funny Herder, your few reservations are the things that currently have it on the bottom of my list. That could change; but I’m wary of over-promising, cheap angst tricks, and stupid sticks.

      I am however, very excited and hopeful about having my fears be unfounded.

    • thinkling says:

      Thanks Herder. From your comments, we do seem to agree. I have the same concern about TPTB.

  7. silvercat says:

    Thinkling, you’ve certainly expressed the feelings I have about this episode, especially after viewing it three times. Sure, I didn’t like the fact that Sarah declined Chuck’s message, but I certainly understood why. The ending was definitely a downer, but so was the ending of The Subway. Last season, however, NBC ran Subway and Ring back to back. Unfortunately this time we have to stew in our misery juices for several days. I believe, however, we’ll find out that it was worth it.

    I was a bit taken aback by many of the reactions of folks who felt the last scene was simply there to manufacture angst. I saw it as a necessary plot devise to spur Chuck on to heroic action, and as others have noted, episode 13 has the potential to be Chuck’s turn to do a Phase Three rescue.

    I also have a feeling that the Hydra date will play a major role in Push Mix. My speculation is that Chuck will discover through Hydra that the Ring was part of Volkoff’s vast empire, which makes Volkoff ultimately responsible for Stephen’s death. After all, in the promo, Chuck says he lost everything (including his father?) due to Volkoff.

    • thinkling says:

      Nice catch, Silvercat. I missed the part about losing his dad because of Volkoff.

      I can’t wait to see heroic Chuck. You’re right about incentive.

      Bottom line, this kind of story wouldn’t sell itself if everyone were all cheery, would it? If it resolves well, it will have been a good story.

    • Tamara Burks says:

      And if that was true , what if Shaw was actually ordered to take down Papa B and didn’t kill him to destabilize Chuck? That would also raise the possibility that Volkoff knew about Mama B’s family all along.

      • patty says:

        When the Ring agents were after Chucks dad in the cabin it was fairly obvious that there orders were get the governor then dispose of Orion. I always thought that those were Shaw’s orders too. Messing with Chuck’s head was just an added bonus from his point of view.

      • patty says:

        AAARGH!!!!

        Their orders!!

        How do you guys stick in italics anyway?

      • thinkling says:

        You use brackets like those, but I’ll have to illustrate with ()

        (i)TEXT(/i) Substitute your text for TEXT and substitute for ()

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t think (guess only) Shaw will come up again. I don’t believe he had anything to do with Volkoff.

        However, I do believe we’ll find Volkoff was heavily responsible for Orion going off grid while Chuck was in high school. So Volkoff is responsible for Chuck loosing his father from that point on, even if not his actual death.

      • thinkling says:

        Crumm. OK I’ll try again.

        You use greater-than/less-than brackets, but I’ll have to illustrate with ()

        (i)TEXT(/i) Substitute your text for TEXT and substitute less-than for “(” and greater-than for “)”

        Will = TEXT

      • patty says:

        {i}their{/i} orders
        [I]their[/i] orders
        bleh!!

      • patty says:

        Okay now that makes sense

      • thinkling says:

        Knew we’d get there, Patty.

      • BillAtWork says:

        One thing that I think we’ll never see, and that’s anyone uttering the name Shaw again. But that doesn’t man that the Ring isn’t involved here in some way. Shaw was only Ring at the very end.

      • atcDave says:

        great minds think alike Bill! (of course so do mediocre minds so make of it what you will…)

      • joe says:

        Patty, you can also do:
        <strong>to make things bold</strong> and

        <a href=”http://YourURLHere”>to make hyperlinks</a>

      • Tamara Burks says:

        The only things close to a Shaw reference we’ve gotten were Chuck saying that Sarah only trusted those Beckman ordered her to trust in FF and the two buck chuck wine reference (It’s from Charles Shaw winery possibly an unintended reference ).

    • herder says:

      I’ll agree with the suprise about the reaction to the declined message, but I have a different idea about how Hydra plays out. I suspect that Papa B had a back up to the Orion Cave and that back up was at his camp. Chuck goes there to get the intelligence on Hydra and that is where the confrontation with Volkov takes place.

      • atcDave says:

        that seems reasonable. We know Orion had some intel on Hydra, who knows, maybe he was the original designer.

      • Paul says:

        That’s what I’m guessing too Herder. I’m going to take it a step further and say the the Orion cave was a decoy, meant to be sacrificed in case Volkoff got too close. I betcha the laptop is the key to whatever is in the cabin.

      • thinkling says:

        That’s a great spec Paul. That would make the whole explosion make sense.

      • Paul says:

        Well the explosions occured because Volkoff planted bombs around the house. However, why would Orion leave ALL of his data in one place? And in such an obvious place (albeit a bit hard to find).

      • SWnerd says:

        And what kind of technological genius only has hard copies of his life’s work. That would be dumb. Digital backups. The rule is if you don’t have it in at least 3 places, you don’t have it. Of course the sensitive nature of the information means you can’t just store it anywhere but Orion could employ infinite encryption techniques.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        I had forgotten about him being at Orion’s cabin in the next ep.

        Even so even if Orion and Frost were working together , it still stands that Chuck has one heck of a lot more resources to work with and especially since Frost was declared rogue and Orion was the thorn in Beckman’s side and not a regular spy.

    • JC says:

      The lose of Stephen could mean earlier in life when he left Chuck and Ellie.

      I don’t mind when they try and tie things together but having Volkoff running the Ring which was running Fulcrum would be cheesy beyond belief. It’d be more interesting if Volkoff and Stephen were partners at one point in the early stages of the Intersect.

      • First Timer says:

        FWIW, and assuming the showrunners aren’t profligately using the word “Hydra” like they used the word “Omaha” in Seasons 1, there is something to note in the last two minutes of Ring II.

        Of all the boxes that the camera pans on, only TWO carry a certain label.

        One says Identity: Orion. Another says Identity: Hyrda.

        None of the other boxes shown are marked with the word “identity.”

        Do with that what you will.

        And remember, Orion’s voice-over in Ring II NEVER said he was searching for Mary Bartowski. All he ever said was a) he was a freelance spy for 20 years b) he was doing things governments couldn’t and c) he did it all for her.

        I think it’s the same kind of duck blind the show runners sent us to in Pink Slip. We THOUGHT we heard Sarah say she wanted out of the spy life. She never said that. We just assumed it. But as we learned throughout the season (and she explicitly in Honeymooners) she never wanted to leave the spy life…

        I think those of you thinking that Orion was searching for Frost got snookered. You maded the same erronious leap that Chuck did.

        It’ll almost surely be revealed that Orion was using information from Frost to foil Volkoff and that was what the 20-year mission was about…

  8. patty says:

    You know we have spent all this time thinking about the Mary/Sarah similarities and differences.

    Maybe we should also look at how Chuck is different from Orion. Stephen was a behind the scenes kind of guy who avoided directly confronting his enemies. Chuck doesn’t like direct conflict but if it is needed he is willing to get directly involved.

    This might actually be the thing that extracts Mary and Sarah from their sitation.

    • Tamara Burks says:

      Exactly , I posted about that above this. There was a lso a manner of timing, Papa B was a self taught spy with no backup , Chuck is his own kind of spy with plenty of backup . The timing also fits better since Chuck can get in there much faster than Orion would have been able to.

    • thinkling says:

      Spot on, Patty. Chuck never stayed in the car. He has always scraped together enough gumption to help his family and friend and team. His dad, as you say, stayed in the shadows.

      Plus Chuck is an agent and has a team. Another difference.

    • Anonymous says:

      I thought the whole difference between Orion and Chuck was established at the end of both s2 and s3, with Orion looking to run, and Chuck looking to go back to protect those he loves.

  9. uplink2 says:

    Great analysis and it is so much like my journey has been this past 48 hours.

    One thing I missed in both of my viewings that you point out that is of huge yet subtle significance. The fact that Sarah calls her Mrs Bartowski. I didn’t catch that on either watch or at least catch the significance. Your take on it is perfect and makes that moment even more special.

    • thinkling says:

      Thanks Uplink. I think I may be glad I haven’t been your traveling companion in the past couple of days. 😉

      • uplink2 says:

        Oh its been an interesting ride believe me. This episode has had me as conflicted as Sarah but I’ve come to realize that may be a great thing. It may in fact be the intent of the writers. It just all will be hinging on the payoff.

        I’ve also become addicted to Sylvia and have listened to it a number of times and it has helped me come to terms with that conflict and realize just how great this may end up being.

      • joe says:

        Great point, Uplink. When I watched the episode I caught that Sarah saying “Mrs. Bartowski” was important – actually I think it arrested my breathing for a moment. Then I totally forgot about it.

        And Thinkling, putting it in the context of family like you did is perfect. Agent Walker CIA addresses former agents and turncoats/traitors by their last name. Agent Walker addresses current agents and those she respects by their last name (Casey), with the title “Agent” and by their first name (Cole, Bryce).

        Stephen was “Chuck’s father” or Orion, a cover name and secret identity. Mary Elizabeth is all of those – Mary, Frost, mamaB (which is how Casey referred to her once) and now Mrs. Bartowski.

        Future mother-in-law. Wow.

  10. aknuckey says:

    Thinkling, Thank you for so eloquently putting in type what I’ve been thinking since the end of the episode on Monday. There were indeed so many wins that I instantly forgave the couple of things that I didn’t like so much. A big difference for me though is that I found the pain in this episode believeable.
    I have so thoroughly enjoyed Season 4 that sometimes I’ve found it frustrating to continue reading posts and comments that have gotten so down on the direction or execution of the story. My husband and I watch a TON of movies and television and analyze each of them to death – much like Chuck fans do here. While we demand more of Chuck, partially because it’s our favorite show and partially because it set such high standards, I think sometimes I enjoy particular episodes more than others because comparatively this show is genius every week.
    These are characters that matter and that we care about. I want to see that drama. I want to actually feel the drama being played out when I watch a movie or television show. And one reason that I actually enjoy when the pain is played through C/S is because I feel that pain more so with them than if the pain was played through any other character.
    Now, before everyone thinks that I’m crazy for loving those moments, my point is that I think those deep moments make the comedy that much better. That’s what I love about Honeymooners coming off of the deeply intense first half of Season 3.
    One more point and then I’ll shut up (or stop typing). I think I am less bothered by a retread or repeated mistakes because that makes the characters I love feel more real. Though we try to learn from our mistakes, I think each of us can admit that we repeat them. Should C/S know to trust each other by now. Yes, but – it’s not that simple or easy, especially with the pasts they both have.
    All in all, I can’t wait for next week, and I have faith that this mid-season finale will be fabulous.

    • thinkling says:

      I don’t remember you commenting before, AK. Glad you joined the conversation. Or maybe you have and I just don’t remember.

      You could say that Chuck is our favorite show, too. I believe in under-statement.

      I did find the pain believable. I find it all in character and the situation in keeping with the story line. It will make the payoff sweet.

      I don’t want a ton of drama, especially gratuitous angst. But I don’t think that’s what Gobbler was.

      Most of the time when I peak in the Bartowski window, I want to see our favorite couple happy … a passionate, empowered couple doing great things together.

      That said, I understand there will be issues. I think S4 has done really well in striking a balance. The drama has been organic and the characterization good.

      We often talk about how amazing it is that Chuck can do comedy, action, romance, and drama … all within the space of 42 minutes (First Fight, for example). It’s an incredible show and cast.

      OK I’ll stop now.

      • aknuckey says:

        Thanks for the welcome. I have sat on the sidelines for a while, but finally decided to actively participate.

        I agree that I prefer to see our couple happy. I guess my point was that enjoy the juxtaposition to make me truly appreciate both ends of the spectrum.

        And you are correct – this show and cast are definitely incredible!

      • BillAtWork says:

        They went out of their way to make the episode far less angsty than they could have. They never had Sarah deny Chuck. In fact, her love for Chuck was the reason she gave to Volkoff. They got them together a couple of times for sweet moments. And we never had any question in our minds of Sarah’s loyalty.

      • thinkling says:

        Have to agree with you there, Bill. This story has a ton of angst potential.

        They have been good at keeping their word about a lighter, more season-2-esque tone.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Bill

        Agreed. IMHO, the only real concern is how TPTB deal with the probable angst brought about by the ending part of the episode – and I am not talking about the declined call but Volkoff’s order to kill Casey and Chuck’s subsequent misunderstanding over what he saw.

      • atcDave says:

        I do agree they eased up on the angst compared to what they could have. Perhaps that’s a lesson learned.

    • joe says:

      I’m so glad to have you de-lurk too, aknuckey.

      You know by now that we tend to NOT shut-up around here. We laid in a good supply of bits and bytes for the winter so use ’em up! And welcome to the discussion.

    • silvercat42 says:

      Thanks so much for your post, aknucky. You’ve expressed so eloquently my feelings about this show, and why I was able to get through Season 3 without tearing my hair out.

      All during the dark episodes of the first half of the season, I was absolutely sure that Chuck and Sarah would not only end up together, but that it would be a satisfying, permanent relationship. The PLIs (not even Shaw) didn’t particularly upset me, because they primarily showed both Chuck and Sarah that they were made for each other.

      To me, the light at the end of the tunnel came in Final Exam when Sarah told Chuck that her “thing” with Shaw was different than with Chuck. That showed me that she was still hooked on Chuck, despite her hurt about Prague and her deep concerns about losing Chuck to the spy life. The dark Season 3 episodes had a major payoff with the joy of Honeymooners, and of course the last scene of The Other Guy.

      I guess that’s why the flaws and perceived retreads don’t bother me as much as other fans, because I’m expecting a major payoff, similar to what happened in the last six episodes of Season 3.

      I particularly like this point you made: I think I am less bothered by a retread or repeated mistakes because that makes the characters I love feel more real. Though we try to learn from our mistakes, I think each of us can admit that we repeat them. Should C/S know to trust each other by now. Yes, but – it’s not that simple or easy, especially with the pasts they both have.

      Well said. And I would add, what some fans interpret as “manufactured angst” is, to me, a necessary step in the development of Chuck’s Phase Three moment.

      • aknuckey says:

        Thanks, silvercat. You know, I’ve thought before that we tend to view the show similarly from previous comments of yours I’ve seen.
        I also agree with your point about some of these things being a necessary step in the development. Not all angst is just for angst’s sake. I still have faith that it’s about the bigger payoff!

  11. JC says:

    IMO the ending was complete contrived just to add a cliff hanger and some angst to the episode. Its not like this was unexpected at all, did we really think the episode would end with the spy story.

    I’m withholding judgment until Push Mix plays out. I can see the ending leading into a really good arc if they go a certain direction. Now if it’s ignored or we get another deal with it Chuck moment than I’ll have some problems.

  12. Course Jester says:

    Nice post, Thinkling. Well reasoned and artfully written, as usual. That said… 🙂

    I agree with you in many places. The baby name subplot was enjoyable for me; while not a Jeffster/Buy More fan, they were funny in their (thankfully) limited role. And I love any effective use of the woefully underutilized Sarah Lancaster, who was very slick in easily outmaneuvering the Captain. I’m also enjoying the Morgan/Casey/Alex story, and I can’t wait for Carina to show up to play merry hell with the bearded one.

    That said, ths episode ultimately fell flat for me, and it was due to the rejected message at the end. I’m sorry, but it was angst for angst’s sake. I just can’t see it any other way. I looked at it from the perspectives of both relationship Sarah and spy Sarah, and rejecting that message made no sense for either.

    Relationship Sarah told us in “Suitcase” that Chuck was her home. She told us that Chuck is what keeps her grounded and sane, that he is what she keeps fighting to come back to. If this is true, why on earth would she cut herself off from him at the moment she needed him the most? In times of peril, don’t we hold tightest to that which gives us strength? I do, but apparently Sarah doesn’t, and all on the suggestion of Mama B. And why does she listen to Mary? Sarah knows that Mary has been “trying” to take down Volkoff for twenty years, and that Mary’s “strategy” cost her everything and everyone she supposedly loved. Following her advice here is like taking marriage tips from Henry VIII, or attending a cultural diversity seminar led by Hitler.

    It doesn’t get any better from the perspective of Spy Sarah. Consider what she knows as she leaves with Volkoff: Casey has the chip, but is seriously injured and possibly dead. Chuck is unconscious and had no chance to communicate with anyone, so he doesn’t know about the chip. Mama B told Sarah that Hydra was the key to taking down Volkoff, even going so far as to tell Sarah that it was more important than Volkoff himself. Given these things, Sarah had to answer that message, no matter how she “felt”. IT

    • thinkling says:

      You argue your point really well. I think you hit it on the “feeling” word. Sarah acted on feelings. I hope she’ll snap out of it.

      I said it was a dumb thing to do on her part. You’re right. So did they do it for angst sake, or to show that Sarah is in such a difficult place that she does exactly what she shouldn’t. Or in that moment, is it believable that the emotional pain was too much to connect. I’m not sure I know the answer. OK, I’m sure I don’t know the answer. But I know I sometimes run away from the thing I most need, when I’m in a painful spot.

      … 🙂

      • thinkling says:

        Ah, one more thought. I think Sarah thinks Casey is dead. She saw the successful landing on the platform. Then she saw the fall to the ground that she probably thinks no one could survive. That explains her deep bought of anxiety to me.

      • silvercat42 says:

        You’re absolutely right, thinkling. While what Sarah did was dumb, it is also absolutely understandable, considering the fact that she thinks she killed Casey, and in doing so has maybe ruined her relationship with Chuck. Sure, she rejected the call to keep her distance, but I also believe she did it because she was so distraught she wasn’t sure that she could deal with possible recriminations from Chuck.

    • SWnerd says:

      I’ve also been thinking that Mary probably isn’t the best person to take advice from in that situation. And I hadn’t really thought about it much but you’re right, Agent Walker needed to contact her team to tell them about the chip that Casey had on his person. It’s like a crucial piece to taking down Volkoff’s network.

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      CJ – Thanks. 🙂

      Oh Boy! Here I was well on my way into thinking that the declined call was a trivial matter just inserted for angst’s sake, but your thoughts on why it was important for Sarah to take that call and not listen to Mama B’s advice have given me serious food for thought.

    • JC says:

      You could see the puppet strings in the setup for the next episode. Like you said it makes no sense for her not to send a coded message to Chuck that Casey was in on it and she slipped information about Hydra in his pocket.

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      CJ and JC – what follows is a sarcastic joke. Please don’t take seriously. 🙂

      I have hit upon the real reason why experienced spies like Mama B and Sarah did not tell Chuck about the device in Casey’s pocket. And then the convenient placing of Casey in a coma.
      It’s all a set up for a heroic discovery to be made by – wait for it – Morgan Grimes. 🙂 Chuck is down and depressed, Morgan goes through Casey’s effects, sees the device, gives it to Chuck who then flashes on it and we are off and running. It’s all part of Morgan’s growth. 😉 🙂

  13. Course Jester says:

    So sorry, computer wig-out. More coming. 😀

  14. Course Jester says:

    As I was saying… 🙂

    Sarah had to answer that message because SHE NEEDED TO MAKE SURE THAT CHUCK FOUND THAT CHIP. It’s the key to the whole mission, and Sarah is the only one in a position to make sure Chuck knows about it. If she doesn’t tell him about it, then why on earth did she even go undercover in the first place? If Sarah had really reverted to her cold, professional spy mode, she would have realized this instantly. Yet she refused his message and stared moodily out the window, Mama B’s foolish mantra of “distance” on her lips.

    Sarah was alone when Chuck’s message came in. Consider how this simple, brief message would have taken care of everything:

    “SORRY U HAD 2 C THAT. KC SUPPOSED TO LAND ON SCAFFOLD. IS HE OK? DID U FIND THE CHIP?”

    Chuck now knows that not only was the fall a setup, but that Sarah passed something to Casey and he needs to find it. It also lets him know that Sarah has not crossed to the dark side and become Darth Walker.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a stickler for believability. If I were, I’d be watching Nat Geo documentarions instead of a show like “Chuck”. But believability is not the same thing as logic. When supposedly smart characters act in completely illogical ways like Sarah did in MessageGate, I can only conclude that I’m being manipulated by the writers. What’s worse, it wasn’t necessary. There was a better way to do it. How about the scene on the plane happening like this: When Volkoff leaves, Mary turns to Sarah and tells Sarah that she has to let Chuck know about the Hydra chip. Sarah says that she knows, and at that moment Chuck’s message comes through. Just as Sarah is about to accept, Volkoff comes back in, smiling smugly. He asks Mary to move over so he can sit next to his new protege, and Sarah has to discreetly slide her phone away from Volkoff and reject the message. It’s believable, no one looks dumb, and it’s not needlessly and manipulatively angsty.

    • thinkling says:

      That’s an ending that makes total sense and doesn’t make Sarah look dumb. I like it.

      I agree with your logic and that Sarah was dumb. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, if she doesn’t stay dumb.

    • SWnerd says:

      Plausible, yet still plays out in dramatic fashion. Plus that would have been another opportunity for Dalton to showcase Volkoff’s creepy psychotic persona, which has been some of the best stuff of the series. Loves it!

    • atcDave says:

      Thanks Course Jester, excellent comment. I will be fine with it if Sarah snaps out of it quickly; as you said, it wasn’t even “professional” Sarah, it was freaked out Sarah. I really hope to see Sarah get a grip and remember what is important, not have to get clubbed over the head with it. To me, stupid characters are the most difficult to root for.

  15. Course Jester says:

    Agreed, people don’t always act in logical ways when they’re stressed. But if Sarah’s in professional mode to the point where she’s able to shake off Casey’s apparent death quickly enough to stay in character in front of Volkoff, then she should have instantly realized that she was the only one who could tell Chuck about the chip. No matter how I looked at it, I just couldn’t make that message refusal work, and it just took me completely out of the moment. I saw it as lazy writing, more of the same angsty junk that we got in S3.

  16. Katsumaro says:

    As easy as it could have been to answer that secure line on the enemy’s plane and make sure that both Casey was okay and that Chuck knew to get the chip, it’s my belief that Sarah just didn’t want to risk getting overly emotional with Chuck, even if it’s through a text message. Yeah, it’s stupid, and seems like lazy writing, but I’ve got to believe that there’s a reason to everything the writers do. Manufactured angst is the worst kind of angst, but let’s not go overboard here and come up with other ways Sarah could have handled it.

    Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not *completely* defending how they chose to handle things, but again.. usually when the writers do this whole ‘meh’ sort of writing, we’re pleasantly surprised by something kickass later on. As for the chip and why Sarah wouldn’t think to let him know about that, how do we know he hasn’t gotten it yet? Granted something that important is generally shown on camera… it just makes me wonder. Why would Sarah say for Casey to get it specifically to Chuck? Not to Beckman? My thoughts are that Chuck’s been researching Hydra sort of ‘behind the scenes’ and we’ll see some of that in 4.13. Maybe all of that. Who knows.

    @CJ – Have we been watching the same show? You know the writers never let the cast of Chuck go the easy route. I’ve come to expect it. Chuck and Sarah were so in love at the end of S2, what with Sarah ready to run away with Chuck, yet they don’t actually get together until 3.12/13. Obviously they’ve admitted that it was a bad mistake.. I’m just saying, things aren’t going to come easy for these two. Besides, I’m glad things didn’t all go as easily in this mission, or else it wouldn’t make what Mary’s been through seem..right at all. I mean twenty years for her on a mission that may take Sarah months?

    I suppose that’s where my ‘I’m not really connecting with MamaB’s plot’ thing comes in. I just don’t feel…much of anything for the Volkoff/MamaB plot. Yeah, both are great actors, and both are playing the roles of the two characters in ways that I love, but I’m just not digging the plot. That’s neither here, nor there, though.

    Anyway, longwinded message-short — everything happens for a reason. Said things that happen may be stupid, we may not like it, we may threaten to ‘quit watching the show’.. but they happen for a reason. My thoughts on those threatening to quit, especially over the lack of a proposal? Good riddance. :/ No need for fair-weather fans IMO. I’ll watch because I’m a fan of the show “Chuck”.. not because I want to watch Happy Fluffy Go-Time Charah every episode.

    • JC says:

      No were not usually pleasantly surprised because most of the time things are just ignored or completely forgotten about.

      The problem is people don’t complain more about the lazy writing, inconsistency, continuity errors and plot holes. When they just sit back accepting the same things over and over the writing will never change.

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      My thoughts on those threatening to quit, especially over the lack of a proposal? Good riddance. :/ No need for fair-weather fans IMO. I’ll watch because I’m a fan of the show “Chuck”.. not because I want to watch Happy Fluffy Go-Time Charah every episode.

      With all respect, can you specifically point out where on this blog someone has threatened to quit the show over a lack of proposal? IMHO, most of the comments have been directed at the possible stupidity of postponing the proposal beyond 4×13 using manufactured angst.

      I don’t know about “Happy Fluffy Charah time” but I personally consider it foolish to have a relationship issue of the week pop up just so to have some conflict or the other between C/S. And the show is still reluctant to show them as an empowered spy couple solving missions and juggling normal life – seriously apart from Suitcase when has there been a general dose of “Happy Fluffy Charah time”?

      • Course Jester says:

        @Kat – I’m not looking for “Happy Fluffy Go-Time Charah” either. I have no problem with angst; it’s a genuine emotion, and it can be quite powerful provided it’s well written and believable. This, however, was neither. It was contrived and artificial. I’m not espousing my ending in particular, simply pointing out that there were other ways available and the writers still chose to go the lazy route.

        I know that everyone is different. But personally, I can’t get behind the “everything happens for a reason” philosophy, because it’s like saying that the end justifies the means. It’s an excuse for poor writing to me. I don’t think it’s asking too much to want to enjoy the journey as well as the destination.

        As for the chip, I said that Sarah should tell Chuck about it simply because that’s who Sarah had a means of communicating with. Beckman would have been fine as well. And I can’t think that the chip has been found; you said it yourself, we would have seen something that big. Not only that, but if the chip had been found, Chuck would have realized that there was more to what happened than met the eye, and there would have been a lot less hand-wringing. Can’t have that, can we? 😉

        I agree with you about the Mama B arc, though. It’s a waste of terrific guest stars, and they are the only reasons that the arc has been enjoyable at all. Dalton has clearly been having a ball and is fun to watch, and Hamilton is doing what she can with what she has. I just can’t bring myself to feel any sympathy for her character. She’s either truly turned to Volkoff (even if she’s in denial about it), or she’s the world’s worst spy. How on earth has she been working for this guy for TWO DECADES and not gotten a decent sense of his organization’s structure? There’s no way she could have been his right hand for that long and not known that he runs things using underlings who know nothing of each other, a la Keyser Soze. He’s clearly the only driving force of the organization. And so all she had to do was put a bullet in Volkoff’s head twenty years ago, and she could have gone home. If all of the power is in one man’s hands, you simply eliminate that man. The rudderless organization will flounder. Bang. Done. “Steven, I’m on my way home. Do you and the kids want me to bring Chinese food?” 😀

      • Katsumaro says:

        @genie: Honestly, first off, lemme apologize for going.. semi-ragish there. There’s been a couple places here and there where Chuck fans are basically threatening to quit if they push the proposal past 4.13. I mean.. quitting the show over that? What’s the other 4+ seasons worth of episodes been then? You know what I mean? If it happens to take place during 4.14.. 4.15, or 4.16.. will it lessen it anymore compared to happening earlier? My philosophy is if we rush them too much with an engagement, then the fans will push for ‘When’s the wedding’ or ‘When are they going to have kids?’ and it’ll never end. I don’t speak for everyone when I say this, but I’d rather them not push to play house that fast. Also, by playing house, I mean husband/wife/marriage so soon, not what they’re doing now. I hope I’m making a better point here than my previous post.

        @CJ: Glad to see you agree about the MamaB plot. It has been a huge waste of some awesome talent throughout the arc.

        As far as the other stuff goes.. I suppose my only defense for it is the writers didn’t want everything to come along so easily. Will Team Chuck end up coming out ahead with 4.13? We don’t know for sure, but I hope they do. I suppose the writing team just wanted things to be even harder than they already are, what with the hunt for the chip in the next episode, or maybe as previously mentioned.. an accident ‘oh, there it is’ by Morgan, Haha.

        With the “Happy Fluffy Go-Time Charah” (was just a random thought in my head on the name there).. not to say I haven’t enjoyed all the bits and pieces throughout the season from Sarah unpacking, to moving in, to accepting that she wants to marry Chuck.. it’s just I feel like we’ve gotten away from the actual premise of the show, and have been for a while now. I’d say originally, part of it was meant to be about Sarah, Chuck, and their growing relationship, both from friends to what they are now, but what about everything else? If you asked some fans right now, what would they rather have; a storyline that would be impactful on the characters for some time to come, and would make a big difference, but would also contain angst/drama, or an episode where Chuck and Sarah go on vacation, sort of like in 3.14, and stop some random group of villains.. what would they take?

        I guess the point of all this is I’m just frustrated more at the fanbase than I am the writers/directors/what have you. Again, it hasn’t happened here, but in other spots, there’s been a ton of mixed reactions and people threatening to stop watching Chuck if Chuck and Sarah aren’t engaged by the end of 4.13. I’m not the only one to find that silly.. am I?

      • Anonymous says:

        Exactly alladinsgenie, the writers seem to be either unwilling or incapable to create a situation in which C/S are happy and even more so, where they are working together as a great spy couple. No one is looking for a happy Charah all the time, but it’s bordering on ridiculous, that the only thing they can seemingly come up with now is the whole angst business we’ve seen before.

      • Katsumaro says:

        A small post from me considering my history of.. long stuff.

        Right now, I think the reason we’re getting a more angst-ridden Chuck and Sarah is just given the situation. I’m actually expecting some Chuck and Sarah team-up super spy stuff assuming the arc ends on a happy note. I just wish PapaB could have been around to see MamaB again. Ah well.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        If you asked some fans right now, what would they rather have; a storyline that would be impactful on the characters for some time to come, and would make a big difference, but would also contain angst/drama, or an episode where Chuck and Sarah go on vacation, sort of like in 3.14, and stop some random group of villains.. what would they take?

        I will take a combination of episodes like 3×14 (happy, go lucky) and great drama (3×18 and 3×19). But one important point – when I say drama I don’t mean continuous relationship conflict introduced to generate faux drama but drama emanating from external threats, pulls and pressures of spy life vs normal life etc.

        And you say something about TPTB not making things easy – on this I say that in their effort to make things harder TPTB have time and again made the journey stutter and suffer – thereby even when things go rosy again one feels highly underwhelmed. And I agree with CJ, make the journey too enjoyable – not torturous to the point that one is just fed up and ants the end to arrive. (Season 3 Misery Arc is the perfect example)

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        @Katsumaro – Also please – no need for apologies. We are all passionate about this show and all debates are good. 🙂

      • Katsumaro says:

        With the ‘one or the other’ option of ‘drama/angst/impactful episode’ vs Honeymooners-like.. I meant choosing one out of the two. Not combining them! =P But yeah, I agree. I’d rather take both as well. Heck.. 4.11 was sort of like that, wasn’t it? Fun stuff, then super serious later on.

        Anyway, it is indeed the journey that matters, but why does it have to be so torturous? I just don’t know. I guess my thinking, the spy life can’t be easy on anyone. Constant lying, constant moving around/traveling to your next mission.. of course it’s not going to be all rosy. I know you’re not saying you want it that way, but it seems like that’s what some people out there want.

        And to your other point, the faux drama thing. I do agree completely there. It irritates me how they produce drama out of nothing, or what people think is drama. I personally didn’t see much in the “Sarah not answering the phone” thing, but then you’d ask the other end of the spectrum, and they are absolutely fuming over it. I think the writers’ choice of drama is rather hit and miss with this show.

        I hope things work out though. I really do.

      • JC says:

        @Genie

        Word, why go to the Chuck and Sarah misunderstanding drama once again? How many times can you use the same cliche before it loses any impact? This one is one way past its expiration date.

        Now if this leads to something new than fine but if get the same awkward C/S makeup about it then what was the point? A meaningless cliffhanger because the spy story is paper thin.

      • Katsumaro says:

        @genie – And thank you. I just felt like I get a bit too upset from one site and carried it over to this one. I shouldn’t have done that.

      • Katsumaro says:

        @JC – Why is ‘going to the well again’ with Chuck and Sarah misunderstanding drama so bad again? Annoying? Sure. It’s not like these two know everything about one another, at least that’s what the audience is lead to believe. I remember in 4.11 when we were ecstatic to hear something about Sarah’s home life. What else do we know? Or Chuck for that matter? Chuck said those fabled words in 4.12.. that ‘his Sarah would never change’.. well, maybe Chuck doesn’t know ‘his Sarah’ as well as he thought, and this certain misunderstanding between them leads to him learning more? I wouldn’t think that to be bad.

      • JC says:

        @Katsumaro

        Did you read the rest of my post? I said if it led to an interesting arc or something new I would be fine with it. In fact I’m hoping for that. But all I have to go by is the show’s track record and its very repetitive on how it resolves these issues.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Word, why go to the Chuck and Sarah misunderstanding drama once again? How many times can you use the same cliche before it loses any impact? This one is one way past its expiration date.

        JC – No arguments there. 🙂

        And to your other point, the faux drama thing. I do agree completely there. It irritates me how they produce drama out of nothing, or what people think is drama. I personally didn’t see much in the “Sarah not answering the phone” thing, but then you’d ask the other end of the spectrum, and they are absolutely fuming over it. I think the writers’ choice of drama is rather hit and miss with this show.

        Just to be clear, when I said faux drama I meant drama cooked up by TPTB which they believe is drama but to a fan it looks like Contrived Street 101 – case in point – declined phone call. And I believe CJ has posted some excellent thought about how a declined phone call could still have been good drama if the potential for misunderstanding and unnecessary angst had been removed from it.

      • Katsumaro says:

        @Genie: Alright, alright. I’ll yield here, then. I think everyone can agree that the ‘not answering the phone bit’ could have been handled a bit differently than just having Sarah hit ‘decline’ on it.. but there’s nothing we can really do about that now that it’s happened. Best we can do is hope it still turns out for the best.

        @JC – Yeah, I saw that. Sorry about that. Once my fingers start moving, it’s hard to stop them, really.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Alright, alright. I’ll yield here, then.

        Hey! I thought this was a discussion. Not a duel. 😉 🙂

      • JC says:

        @Katsumaro

        No worries.

        If you look at some of my other posts about this episode what you suggested about Chuck wondering if he really knows Sarah is what I want to happen. I think the setup is there with Seduction, Cat Squad and Vivian or at least I’m seeing it.

      • Katsumaro says:

        Yeah. I think there’s chances for Chuck to learn way more about Sarah coming up with the next few episodes. When you mention Vivian, though.. you’re not insinuating a break-up of sorts are you? Because the chances of that happening are between slim and none, IMO. I’m still trying to think about who this Vivian character really is.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree katsumaro, I’d say virtually zero chance of any break-up this season.

        Also by way of your earlier question; I vastly prefer the Honeymooners type of episode. I also enjoy the occasional more intense and dramatic episodes. But I get VERY tired of the relationship crises of the week format. I would prefer say 15 or more episodes a season be almost entirely light and fun with no particular problems between C/S except maybe for some mission related excitement (you know, a little life and death stuff!). I’d also prefer if the issues in more dramatic episodes were situational in nature (I thought Aisle of Terror had an outstanding ending, as long as they only do stuff like that a couple times a year); and resolved in a timely and satisfying way (nothing hanging over the main characters for more than an episode or two).

        I have come to realize Chuck will never quite be the show I want it to be. My dream show would be an action/adventure themed show with a central relationship like the Thin Man movies. But that style has been out of fashion for most of my adult life; Hart to Hart came closest but it was a little TOO sappy (not enough humor and too simple). When Chuck comes close it comes closer than anything else I’ve ever seen (like Honeymooners or even Suitcase, minus the silly suitcase bit). And that’s why I will probably never give up on this show.
        And again, a good ending in Push Mix will make up for a lot of the angst silliness. But I sure wish those guys could learn some new tricks.

      • JC says:

        I think it’s going to be more than just learning about her past but him questioning who Sarah really is the spy or the girl. And whether he can deal with that moving forward. A less stupid, melodramatic and shorter reversal of last S3.

        And no I don’t think they’ll break up or Vivian will be a PLI. We know she and Chuck share something in common. My guess is she’s Volkoff’s daughter who gets sucked into the spy world. And who better to be the handler of someone like that than Chuck. Chuck is her Sarah, the spy who saves her life and protects her. We know Chuck is charming and oblivious when it comes to women. Vivian develops feelings for him, he’s blind to it. But guess who isn’t, Sarah. So instead of backing off like she always did, she fights and does the heavy lifting in the relationship.

  17. Anonymous says:

    CJ – You make such excellent points about how the ending doesn’t make any sense, like at all, you actually voiced all the things that bothered me about it.

    Let me be upfront, I liked this episode, it wasn’t the greatest, felt a little flat, but there wasn’t anything really wrong with it, till that distance scene. First thing going through my mind was oh no here we go again, angst for the sake of angst, and to make it worse, angst we’ve seen before, and angst that does not make any sense. There are so many reasons why Sarah should have answered, yet is there really a reason why she shouldn’t? Some say it was to supress the pain, perhaps it was what the writers wanted us to think, but Sarah Walker isn’t Sarah the spy anymore, she hasn’t been for a long time, she can’t just put those things away anymore. In fact Sarah Walker the woman needed one thing more than ever, and that was Chuck’s shoulder to cry on. Not to mention that as CJ pointed out, the spy Sarah Walker had unfinished business aswell, that required Chuck’s help. She didn’t even need to accept his message, but at the very least she needed to send him one. Perhaps she was thinking Casey died, and they’d search his belongings, or perhaps she was in too much shock to think. I’m trying to defend something that seems slightly beyond defending. For now the only reasons I see for her not responding was creating angst where there really is none, and getting Chuck to go on a rampage next episode. And as CJ points out, they could have done that in a more believable way then what they have chosen to do now. Very poor writing, a complete disappointment.

    Speaking on the subject of angst, the whole people being mad about it, isn’t just in that scene. It finds it’s roots in the past. We’ve been down this road before, we’ve been down this exact type of angst before, and we’ve seen the show go down a route no one liked because of it before. People aren’t just disappointed because it was a very poorly written scene, it was no matter how powerful it might have been as a stand alone scene, but because of that history.

    The same goes for the whole proposal thing. Let’s say we get a push back of the proposal to end of the season, yes I think if TPTB push it back, they are not going to show us a proposal till the final episode, it wouldn’t be a problem. People would understand if the angst that would cause it was legit(I actually wrote on here that I don’t want a proposal for the proposal, and if angst is good I like angst, and want them to work through it). If there actually was a good reason for doing it, instead of the old and very poorly written oh I am going to listen to someone I shouldn’t listen to, because she clearly isn’t good at this, and just not communicate with the man that I love that is in dire need of a lot of intel and explanation, and can tell me something that is really important to know with regards to Casey’s health. That kind of rubbish angst, makes people disappointed when they push things back. Are we really to take such a storyline serious? There are a million other ways they could have sold us a delayal on the proposal front in a better way, and no one would complain. For example, make the undercover mission longer(would help us understand mamaB a bit better aswell) and then let her actually lose herself in that web completely. Now that would be legitimate angst, that could push back a proposal, not this fake manufactured just so we can get a set up for the final eventhough it doesn’t make any sense at all, and there are better and more inspired ways to do it stuff we got now. Besides, there is a real chance by pushing it back, in the way they are doing now, they are negating a large part of the first half of the season. I’m not looking for a proposal, I hadn’t even thought about it till season 4 brought it up, and honestly I can’t help thinking most fans would have been fine if they never brought it up this season but THEY did, and now THEY have to deal with it in a good manner. But I’m sure we are going to get a push back on the proposal based on this poorly written angst, and we are going to get a new round of PLI’s. Atleast I’m certain that if there isn’t a proposal before 4.16 we are getting a pli storyline. Bring on the female Shaw.

    I’m waiting to see what 4.13 brings, I’m hoping it somewhat validates the ending of 4.12, eventhough I am skeptical at best. This episode will always have a bitter taste about it, because of this ending that as said before doesn’t make any sense at all. Big thing to look forward to, the last showcasing of Dalton’s incredible skills, it will be a shame to see him leave, a true loss for the show. Volkoff/Dalton is such fun. No villain will ever trump that guy, that’s for sure.

    • armysfc says:

      i agree the call could have been handled better. many fine alternatives have been given so far. would lengthening the under cover arc have worked? i suppose what side of the fence you sit on would have an effect on how you feel. to do it properly sarah would need to be away from chuck for several episodes. would the majority of the fans want that? i agree it would make the angst/drama more believable. like i said it depends on what side of the fence you sit on.

      zac said in an interview that the additional episodes came to late to make major changes. if they extended from the beginning where would it have fit? granted some of the less than stellar episodes would be a good place to start. from the network point of view it would have been a logistical nightmare. they don’t know when an episode is written how good or bad it is. that’s decided by the viewers. granted TPTB don’t get it right sometimes but i also don’t think they intentionally try to anger the fans. i think they get stuck in their ways.

      we complain about the writers issues now, imagine having to write arc’s for sarah and chuck. i think to do it right an equal amount of time would be needed. do i know if any of this is true? no it’s just a guess on my part of course.

      from what i have seen so far this season any major changes on the front end would have changed from a very enjoyable season so far to one filled with angst as we watched sarah fade into the darkness. like i said it depends on what side of the fence you sit on if want a show that would have to get very dark to make that work. just my thoughts.

      • Anonymous says:

        That are all very fair points Army. I suppose for me, eventhough I am a shipper, I don’t mind angst at all if it’s well written. I like to see(or read) a great story. I see a lot of people speaking about the destination, well for me the journey is more important, we see the destination for 5minutes, maybe 10 in the next episode, we see the Journey for hours. And the more epic the journey, the more rewarding the conclusion. I know a lot of people would probably get angry over an extended seperation between Chuck and Sarah, the real question is though, if they now force angst upon us in this way, wouldn’t that do more harm? Wouldn’t those same people get angry still? The real problem for all those angry people isn’t in the current round of angst, it’s in the past with the misery arc, they feel they get betrayed again.

        For me angst has never been a problem, in fact well written angst is fine, and can even be greatly enjoyable. I didn’t mind season one or two angst, it made sense. I know some people hate Bryce Larkin for example for getting between C/S but I don’t, the guy was right in his assessment afterall(well maybe not in Nemesis but still, can’t blame the guy for still having feelings for Sarah). I could even understand what they wanted to achieve with the whole prague thing, I don’t like how they incorperated it into season3 but I could understand the growth they wanted from C/S to get them together. But this just doesn’t make sense to me, if they use it to delay the proposal, it’s a complete failure, while a good angst story leading to an indefinitely delayed proposal well I wouldn’t mind that. For me as said it’s about the journey. Though I do agree that if my idea of extending the undercover thing would have been done, we would have gone down a very dark road. And yes I do realise that would probably scare people off. But I also see a lot of people actively seeking similarities between C/S and Frost and Orion, well no better way to achieve that, then go dark for a few episodes. But ok I’m probably on a different side of the fence then most.

        I understand that for TPTB to change things around with the mid season adding of episodes, is a hard task, quite possibly nearly impossible. But then, in all honesty, they shouldn’t change things around, and stay true to their built up. It might mean you have a small story reset half way the season, fine, but that does not annoy fans because the story they’ve built up isn’t nullified in it. That might mean, they actually have to show Chuck and Sarah happy for a while, that in itself wouldn’t be that bad for a change would it? There are other ways to add some drama to the show I’d think, besides some light and funny episodes are things people enjoy, look at honeymooners, never heard anyone say anything negative about that.

  18. BillAtWork says:

    @FirstTimer

    I agree. The only thing that makes sense is that Orion and Frost have been working together, waging a secret war for the past 20 years.

    That’s why Frost knew about the PSP. That’s why she used it. So Chuck would have to reintersect himself with Orion’s computer with the Hydra information in it.

    That’s why it was MamaB who reminded Ellie about the car.

    That’s why Frost led Volkoff to Orion’s lab and allowed it to be blown up. The real lab (or a copy) is in the cabin.

    Frost and Orion have been fighting a family war. And it’s time for the 2nd generation to pick up the fight. Chuck and Sarah are going to become Orion and Frost, The Sequel (sorry, my fanfic roots showing through, lol).

    • thinkling says:

      Orion and Frost … only smarter 🙂

    • Katsumaro says:

      I still need to catch up on your fanfiction.. because that’s a really good possible explanation of things between Orion and Frost. Chuck, Orion 2.0, and Sarah.. Frost 2.0, eh? Very nice! Here’s hoping Sarah won’t be gone for twenty years, though!

  19. armysfc says:

    thinkling, very nice write up. i share many of the same thoughts. thanks for taking the time to do this write up.

  20. Rick Holy says:

    Just something to ponder. Frustrated fans LEAVE – that’s why some of us are pointing out the frustrating aspects of 4.12 and other episodes (and seasons).

    Our friends at TVBTN have – I believe correctly – pointed out that the ratings for CHUCK have declined EVERY season. Is that because DWTS, Bachelor, and HIMYM have gotten BETTER each year. Don’t think so. Think it’s because people – for whatever reasons – and I have my opinion on some of them – have left the show.

    Does that make them “silly.” No. It makes them consumers of a product called a TV show. And when they don’t like the taste of it anymore, they’ll start eating something else.

    So those of us who are concerned voice that opinion because we don’t want to see the shows ratings drop any farther (or is it further?). We WANT a 5th Season.

    And please don’t say, “look, we just recently got a 2.1 – a season 4 high!” Yes, that was cause to be happy – but how does that compare to S1, S2, and S3.

    The bottom line is that we’re very fortunate to still be on the air. How many shows that lose viewers each season they’re on the air continue to be renewed? Eventually the bubble bursts and the renewal luck comes to an end. That’s what we DON’T want for CHUCK.

    I post regularly on TVBTN in support/defense of CHUCK – and I’ve noticed (and I take people at their word) that a number of people – NOT casual viewers but those who would be considered “fans” of the show – have stated they’ve left. THAT matters. Look what happened to HEROES. Started great for two season. The third had people saying, WHAT? And by the 4th it was basically over.

    Hopefully we won’t be NBC’s “Heroes, part 2.”

    • atcDave says:

      Yep Rick that is exactly the reason to post complaints in addition to praises. How else are TPTB to know what people like and what they don’t if we don’t speak up?
      I hate finding myself in a position where I spend all week defending a few criticisms; especially when my confidence level is pretty high that things will be sorted out next week.
      But I really mean to be clear about those few things I don’t like. Especially when they are repeating mistakes of the past; that’s a pattern of behavior I thought we were done with.

    • armysfc says:

      rick, i couldn’t agree more. i fact i have raised this issue several times on this blog. the most recent time during the 4.07 – 4.09. granted DWTS was near the end but these were some of my least favorite episodes. it caused what many argue as the best episode this season to not have as many viewers as it should have.

      the main point of my rating rant is schwartz. look at the shows he has been in charge of before. they start off well and decline in the ratings. oc lasted 4 years and GG is in its 4th season with declining ratings. the main theme prevalent in both is the amount of relationship angst. it was brought to my attention that 4 years is good and to have 3 shows go that long is very good. my answer is why not put a show on that can go longer?

      schwartz reminds me of the story the scorpion and the frog. at the end of the story when the scorpion stings the frog. the frog asks “why did you do that?” the scorpion replies, “I could not help myself. It is my nature.” i see schwartz as the scorpion (not in a bad way, just unable to change his nature) he enjoys relationship angst.

      while they have gotten better this year (from what i hear) several quotes from TPTB scare me. the big one is when they said if c/s were happy it would be boring. i would lay odds that we will not see many completely happy episodes in the future. depending on how bad the angst is will definitely affect ratings. i am with you they need to change what they do or the show chuck will reside along at least one of schwartz’s other shows. sitting on the sidelines. just my thoughts.

      • atcDave says:

        I know we are often on opposite sides of things army but I agree entirely with this post.

        Those quotes about the happy relationship also really concern me. If I could be really rude for minute (I would NEVER do what I’m suggesting); I would have loved for the reporter’s (Sepinwall if I recall correctly) follow-up question to be “so can the studio just fire your butt or would you have to be bought out?”
        It really bothers me if JS just smuggly thinks this is his signature style and we can love it or shove it.

        (deep breaths Dave…)

        Now I suspect we’re actually worrying more than we need to about that line for a few reasons. If JS can be happy just playing some of the conflict issues off as humor, like they did in most of S4, it isn’t such a bad thing. I also think CF has taken more of the outlining responsibilities so JS will presumably have less to do with shaping the feel of the show as time goes. And finally I think he was largely just yanking everyone’s chain; now I think that was very foolish of him given our distrust of him on the topic (distrust born of experience I must add), but I suspect that’s exactly what he was doing.

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        @Armysfc, atcDave, Father Rick:

        Gentlemen, you’ve nailed it.

        We can’t afford to be complacent. Floating along with ratings around 2.0 shouldn’t be considered good enough.

        Complaints about what the showrunners are doing wrong need to be published, especially when we see them repeating past mistakes.

        I know that Silvercat and others don’t want to hear this, but the fact is that Season 3 did an immense amount of damage to the show’s fanbase. A great many Season 1&2 fans left, and many of the current fans don’t have much trust or patience with the plotting and scripting of the show. The damage done by season 3 is why some many fans react so heatedly to what should be relatively minor disagreements with different episodes or other fans. They’re still hurt or angry.

        I’ve noticed that tempers tend to flare when the scripts seem to force angst onto the audience. I think that is because most of season 3 was contrived or forced, and the fans knew it. TPTB could have done that season half a dozen different ways, but they wanted the misery arc, and that’s what we had rubbed in our faces. When we see the same symptoms we saw in season 3, we quite understandably fear that TPTB will do something like that again.

        Josh Schwartz is the one who worries me; in the Sepinwall interview, he is the one who said that the last few minutes of the next episode would be great television. If I remember correctly, Schwartz is the one who said that Chuck vs the Fake Name was great television as well.

        I’ll watch Chuck no matter what, and rewatch (most) of the show after it ends. Why? Because I would watch Yvonne Strahovski and Sara Lancaster model burlap, and because a good episode of Chuck is the best escapist entertainment on TV.

        I only hope I can say exactly that about the rest of this season. Thanks for your patience.

      • Big Kev says:

        Ahhh, guys – you know I can never resist these “there’s too much angst – Schwartz is an idiot” discussions.
        I’m not going to take the bait this time, except to say this – to me, Chuck is a relationship show, set in the spy world. If every one of those relationships was happy, 100% of the time, I admit it – I would be bored. Kick ass fight scenes on their own wouldn’t be enough for me if our heroes weren’t challenged and conflicted, at least sometimes. If you were selling me a spy world where the married heroes didn’t occasionally have to be apart, or where that relationship wasn’t stretched occasionally by moral ambiguity, or conflicts of interest – even sometimes to breaking point – then I wouldn’t be buying it. There’s no right or wrong with this – but there is a spectrum, and good writers find the broad middle of the spectrum and write for that.
        Most writers I know would agree with the old adage “there is no story without conflict” – and that’s all Josh is saying. The trick is to find enough conflict to keep me interested, but not too much that Dave switches off.
        Honestly, if he’s yanking your chain, it’s only because you’re letting him.

      • armysfc says:

        big kev. you are correct also. every relationship has issues. if every episode floats along where everything is fine it would get boring? if every episode from here on out had as much action and suspense as the gobbler but did not have the *decline* part done the way its was done, was it boring?

        i’m not saying i want a show that’s based on the c/s relationship solely. i want one that has action, suspense and comedy. the only way TPTB seem to be able to add the angst to this show is by threatening the relationship. they could use many things to get the couple in disagreements. it happens all the time. to continually hold the state of the relationship over the viewers head is what i worry about. i can’t say anything for the other fans, but if i know c/s are stable and running in the back ground i’m good. make the missions more intense and suspense full. get jeffster back to season 1-2. this week was the closest they have been like that in a while. i’m not the biggest c/s shipper out there, but in this case i agree. you either make the commitment to have them together or get them permanently apart and have them move on. the longer they play this game, the closer to the edge they get.

      • thinkling says:

        Spot on Big Kev. There is a spectrum. I agree with all that.

        The other thing, though, is that you can vary the source of the conflict. The conflict can arise from the mission and lead to couple growth without causing angst between them. Couch Lock is a good example.

        All conflict doesn’t have to = heavy angst or long misery arcs. A happy, solid couple can deal with conflict without it becoming an angst fest.

        Some conflict is light (JS even mentioned Honeymooners). Some is heavier — AOT, for example.

        Variety is the spice of conflict.

      • Rick Holy says:

        @ Big Kev. It’s not “chain yanking” I’m concerned about. It’s “yanking away of FANS,” and not just the casual ones. Our overall lower ratings each season (meaning FEWER PEOPLE TUNING IN) is what worries me – because as the trend continues, you can only decline to so low a level that even NBC (in its present sorry state) will say “Bye Bye.”

        Then the results is NO MORE “CHUCK.” For the die-hards, like me, we’ll stick with it even through the “low points,” but others WON’T – and THAT can and will likely decide the fate of the show – at least for one more season.

      • atcDave says:

        You know Big Kev I actually agree with most of your comment. I know I’m at one particular extreme when it comes to relationship conflict (I don’t like it) but even so, it was never angst for its own sake I objected to. Remember I loved Aisle of Terror, I thought that was a perfect example of a personal/professional conflict, it was somewhat different than what we’d seen, and I bought the decisions as completely in character. I think I have acknowledged frequently that this genre guaranties a certain level of angst will always be there.

        What I object to is two things; first is the stupid stick. It makes me angry when a protagonist is set up for failure by an unbelievable level of stupidity. Which is exactly how I saw the “my Sarah will never change” line. It breaks my brain to think Chuck could even say that. Has any character changed more in four years of show? And its all been because of Chuck! Stupid, stupid comment; they really lost me right there (I don’t mean in terms of the whole episode, only for set up of Chuck’s “shocking realization” that comes later). Of course stupid would also be Sarah’s “I’ll do whatever it takes” declaration; and turning to the agent who’s wasted 20 years of her life on one stupid mission for advice are nearly on the same level for utter stupidity.
        Second is recycling devices that most of us hated the first time. Specifically that means the declined phone call; but in a broader sense I mean all the miscommunication associated with it.

        It is true I am not a huge fan of conflict among the protagonists in any scenario; but I can accept it and live with it if its true to the characters, believable to the situation, and is resolved in a timely fashion (I mean, normally by the end of the episode). I speak up about it because I know many people who agree with me, and especially after alienating so many viewers in S3 the show is on a short leash with many viewers.

        Now as I tried to get at above; if the “conflict” is the sort of low tension stuff they did in Honeymooners I could enjoy that indefinitely, and I strongly suspect a lot of what is to come will be like that. As long as the show stays mostly fun I can even be enthusiastic about it when more challenging stories come up. But they really burned me up with the stupid/miscommunication stuff in S3, so I suspect I will always have a high sensitivity for that now. And yes that does mean I will always a chain to yank on that subject.

  21. Faith says:

    I think I’ll take Ernie’s lead and start writing my posts in haiku.

    • herder says:

      Nooo, the long form explanations of why something works or doesn’t work is the charm of this site. I love the long detailed explanations and defences of points of view, a fourteen sylable explanation just won’t wash.

      • Faith says:

        :-D. But the divisiveness would be less! Less frustration for all!

        Though you do have a point with explaining POVs that’s pretty good.

      • herder says:

        Yes, but this is a situation where more is, well, more (and by that I mean better).

      • Faith says:

        Ok you’ve convinced me. Haiku put off for now :).

      • joe says:

        Not to worry, herder. Faith, Ernie, Thinkling and I are genetically incapable of haiku.

        Limericks, however, are another story altogether.

        Ahem… “There once was a blogger named Faith…”

        [STOP THAT, BUCKLEY!!!]

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Ahem: Joe and Faith

        There was once a blogger named Faith
        In Lakers she had (mis)placed faith
        And nothing would change this to unfaith
        Not even a deadly threat from a wraith.

        😉 🙂

      • Faith says:

        ^LMAO. Awesome Alladins!

      • thinkling says:

        There once was a prisoner named Gobbler
        He ate people like others eat cobbler
        Chuck stole his prize chair
        In a fight that was fair.
        What quest could ever be nobler?

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Chuck vs Double Agent

        Mama is a double agent
        My wife to be is a double agent
        Even Morgan was briefly a double agent
        When O when will I get to be a double agent.

        It’s lame, but spur of the moment. 🙂

      • Ernie Davis says:

        This has taken a decidedly silly turn. I like it. From now on it’s bad haiku and limericks. Maybe an epic (heh) poem for Herder who likes the longer format.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Volkoff should take lessons from Agent Shaw
        Blinded was he by revenge and never foresaw
        That Chuck was a hero to be held in awe
        And his heroic actions made even his loved ones go “AWWW”

      • thinkling says:

        As an agent, I’m quite the double
        I get in a lot of trouble
        The end of the story
        Will be hunky dory
        So there don’t you dare burst my bubble

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        For years now we’ve been hoping,
        For the couple that is Sarah and Chuck.
        But the longer for Volkov she is spying,
        The more likely we should be cheering on DUCK!

      • thinkling says:

        These limericks are really such fun.
        But for now I’m afraid I am done.
        Though, the blog is seductive
        I must be productive
        There are errands that have to be run.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Keep distance is the advice
        Which sounds very unwise
        But it’s all done with good intention
        So Chuck, don’t you dare doubt my devotion

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Sarah is gone but don’t worry Chuck
        If not Charah there is always Duck
        At the very least don’t be a moping muck
        Go get wasted on some Two Buck Chuck.

      • Faith says:

        Ok, Alladins, just for you 🙂

        Proposals and marriages
        are never quite so easy
        see Stephen and Mary

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Taking the liberty to add another line

        Proposals and marriages
        are never quite so easy
        see Stephen and Mary</em
        And learn to be wary 🙂

      • Faith says:

        Love reigns supreme
        Through distances and time
        Happily ever after

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Happily ever after is such a misnomer
        Because death is the greatest leveler
        Heard it so from a nameless Traveler. 🙂

      • joe says:

        Oh, what have I done???

      • thinkling says:

        Love reigns supreme
        Through distances and time
        Happily ever after

        Yes. That! 🙂

      • thinkling says:

        Joe, you’ve created your very own Hydra 😉

      • Faith says:

        Death is certain
        Happy subjective
        love eternal

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        How this came about I don’t know
        But now this thread has limericks to tow
        Would it be just to blame Joe
        For something he didn’t foreshadow

      • joe says:

        Noooooo!!!! <voice=”Vincent Price”> I’ve created a monster! </voice>

      • thinkling says:

        But look, Joe, it’s a baby Hydra. He’s so cute, and he’s got all those heads. And they do say two heads are better than one. 😉

        What are you gonna name him? … Grunka!

      • herder says:

        Joe, when you said Vincent Price, I automatically got the voice of the guy on SNL who does Vincent Price impressions, more over the top and funnier. Oh yeah, never heard of a heroic limerick or haiku, most heroic stories ie Beowulf ect are epic poems or oral stories.

      • atcDave says:

        Didn’t you know that the Saxon’s wrote in haiku? Little known fact. The Japanese were just the first to name the format. (hee hee)

  22. Faith says:

    Josh Schwartz responded to this review:

    “Maybe that’s why “Chuck Versus The Gobbler” felt a bit messy and rushed…”

    by:

    • jason says:

      @faith – JS really thinks he nailed this, I just hope he didn’t princess bride (or out-think) himself, the whole “I am a smart man, and a smart man would put the poison in the glass he hands you, but you are a smart man, and you would anticipate, etc, etc”

      As many of you know, I think he is largely incompetent, that near any showrunner on tv would have this series in the mid 3’s, what CS had in terms of chemistry, has seldom been replicated on TV, right now, by trying to show the struggles that a normal couple might have, indeed, all that has been done is to take ‘special’ and reduce it to ‘normal’ – not exactly a major achievement –

      I am hoping 4×13 moves CS and the show back toward ‘special’ – in lots of ways, there are not real many shots left for JS, if they do screw up 4×13 thru say 4×16 somehow, that will be it, game set match ….

      Before the ‘crazy’ fanboys (by the way, most shippers on this site are not the ones melting down over the show this season) who have come onto this board recently get all over me for badmouthing their boy JS, let me say, I have enjoyed all 12 episodes this season more or less, as well as the last 7 more or less of last season. Again, to repeat, what was ‘special’ is simply being reduced to ‘normal’, hardly an ‘epic’ undertaking.

      I think JS thinks he nailed this upcoming ep, we will all know soon enough.

      By the way, my current odds on engagement are 10-1 no, but I think CS will be left in a very nice place at 4×13’s end, as good as if they were engaged you might ask, well, I think that will be part of how the best ten minutes of chuck ever are indeed judged.

      • armysfc says:

        jason i agree with you on js. take a look above and you’ll see i feel the same way.

        i think he may have misjudged what the fans would consider the best 10 ever. my guess on what we will see is probably be wrong. i see three things happening. first is a very heart felt and emotional talk between sarah and casey. the second is mama b, chuck and ellie visiting with the baby. family reunited in a way, with ellie reluctantly giving chuck her blessing to be a spy. the third thing is a emotional talk between chuck and sarah. chuck will convince sarah that he understood why she had to to the things she did. they will be in a happy place at the end of the show.

        i have said before i am not the biggest shipper out there. with all the hype we got all season about the engagement and after how close they got in the balcony to make it the best 10 ever the engagement arc has to end. the best 10 so far for me happened in phase 3 at the end. it will take far more than another emotional i love you speech to elevate this ending above that one.

      • joe says:

        Jason, are you saying JS has a dizzying intellect? Well, I’m dizzy too! 😉

      • Big Kev says:

        Jason,
        Far be it for me to criticize a bloke who’s got 3 TV shows up and running, while all I do is sit on my couch and watch (one of) them – but you’re right – he’s left a huge hostage to fortune with that comment, especially with an online fanbase as vocal and volatile as this one is.
        I can’t even imagine what he might think “the best 10 minutes of Chuck ever” might be – but I’m not looking forward to the disappointment if he doesn’t deliver.

      • thinkling says:

        Army, so true as to why the engagement needs to occur for it to be the best 10.

        Big Kev, agree with all of that. I keep thinking that it’s so obvious (the importance of the proposal arc being fulfilled in the best 10 min). How could they not get it? It’s not like they’ve let C/S float all season, and we’re hoping they’ll pull a proposal out the hat. They’re the ones who have made the proposal arc a co-headline with the mythology arc. And I’m being generous to the myth arc. 😉

        Rant over. What is wrong with this keyboard!

      • Big Kev says:

        I just wonder how they can make the proposal sufficiently “epic” when they’ve told us it’s been coming for weeks? If Chris Fedak hadn’t been so adamant that PapaB is dead, my money would have been on him somehow coming back too.
        My spec? Volkoff takedown, mad rush back to Burbank for baby Clara, and cut to Chuck and Sarah on their beach…..
        Yeah, unoriginal, I know!

      • thinkling says:

        The proposal doesn’t have to be epic, IMO. They’ve did epic in Phase 3, wonderfully romantic in Balcony. The proposal just has to be. It can be unexpected (at that moment) or just really sweet, like so many C/S moments. They can do sweet significant scenes on a dime in Chuck. Suitcase and Coup, come to mind.

        Maybe its not so much that the proposal has to be epic, but the lack of a proposal at this point would make things … un-epic.

      • armysfc says:

        big kev. its not about criticizing the man for getting the shows up and running. its about doing what has to be done to keep the show on the air and growing. its about providing the majority of the fans what they want to see. like it or not TV is a business. the higher the ratings the more money they can charge for ads, the bigger the budget, the bigger the budget the more they can do with the show. while he gets my props for getting chuck on the air he must bear the criticism when things go bad.

        i have heard people say let the writers write what they like and not worry about the fans. while it sounds good on paper would it really work? when any show starts the writers have no idea if it’s going to be a hit or a flop. if its a hit and gets better keep on going. if its a hit and starts to fall, change direction.

        i’m not sure about this, but the main reason i see for declining ratings in any show is people leave because they found something they like better. it may be another show or you just say ehh it’s not really that good and go bowling.

        with the three shows he has started one is done, the other two are in danger of being done. i’m not the brightest bulb in the strand but if i see the same results from the same thing i am going to change my approach. didn’t einstein say “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” you would think by know he would get it.

      • armysfc says:

        thinkling, i second that. i never saw epic as the way to go for chuck and sarah. a simplistic proposal would do nicely. like you, for me it needs to be there for the ending to be epic.

      • Faith says:

        Inconceivable Jason! 😉

      • thinkling says:

        Army, perfect use of Einstein 😉 You’re exactly right.

      • atcDave says:

        Great discussion you guys!

        I still think an engagement is likely, just because I can’t imagine JS being bold enough to even bring up “best 10 minutes ever” if he wasn’t going to deliver on what he’s been setting up all season.

        But there is that nagging feeling that it isn’t what’s important to JS. I could believe he would consider taking down Volkoff, rescuing Mary, reuniting the whole gang, and the birth of Clara to be enough.

        If he believes that he’s wrong. We’ll soon see.

      • jason says:

        faith – I think JS might just pull it off.

        if you think of season 3 going into the season, who would have ever thought the chuck ILU in 3×12 and the sarah ILU in 3×17 and the paris consumation scene in 3×13 would get roundly trumped by a drunk chuck and a contrite sarah in the apartment, a single line – I appreciated the tank, and a complete episode which came immediately after an arc concluded, where the couple were both being dishonest with each other while on a train?

        The thought process is schwartz to fedak, what can we do to end 4×13 without an engagement that will knock shippers socks off while they in unison are going aw-shucks, that was sweet?

        I think that ? does have answers.

        The big issue for them, and probably the next issue for fans, is what will the nature of the delay be, because the moment 4×14 starts, the 800lb gorilla will enter the room and will quickly suck all the oxygen out, with its heavy breathing.

      • thinkling says:

        @Dave

        Ditto that

        Oh sooo wrong!

      • Mess says:

        I don’t even think it is just a matter of JS wanting to have angst to make things interesting, I think they feel they are incapable of making happy interesting. It actually shows their limitations. When it comes to the engagement, there is more at stake then just the C/S engagement, the whole season upto this point is at stake. Delay the proposal and they effectively destroy the work they put in the first 11 episodes.

      • atcDave says:

        Well put mess. I do think they feel happy isn’t interesting. As I’ve said before, Thin Man should be required viewing for this crew. Happy can be very fun and interesting, especially when the outside world is so dangerous. It does require a lot of effort and creativity, but these guys have already shown that when they’re on their game they’re as clever as anyone.

        I think they’re just trapped in a 25 year old mind set; and I’m sure its no coincidence that means their entire adult lives.

      • Faith says:

        I’ll start off by saying this isn’t pointed to any specific comment, not yours Dave or yours Mess, or any of the ones here. If it seems like it it’s merely a coincidence and I apologize.

        That said, I sometimes find it frustrating that the same people that gave us Chuck and Honeymooners aren’t given nearly enough credit for both. If they could do that obviously they’re not so bad after all. But hey I’m not above being overly critical of them myself (see history), that would make me a hypocrite.

      • First Timer says:

        As I’ve said, I don’t really think I’ll continue with the show past Push Mix and I certainly don’t care about the proposal as anything but a storytelling device.

        But I’ve been trying to put it together in my head. If they kick the proposal out of 4×13, where they originally had it, then consider that they bring in the Roan character in 14. Okay, that can go a lot of ways from a storytelling point of view.

        But we now know from the synopsis of 4×15 that Chuck digs up the til-now-unknown Cat Squad. Whether Carina is a free agent or part of the Cat Squad is unknown. Either way, though, let’s guess that Chuck contacted her, too…

        So if we know from the synopsis of 14 that chuck is hesitating and Sarah is pushing forward, doesn’t it stand to reason that Sarah (probably with help from Roan) wins the day at the end of 14?

        Because why is Chuck digging up Sarah’s old “pals” for 15? The only think I can think of is a wedding shower or a bachelorette party.

        So based solely on what we know now (and, boy, as we’ve seen, that is VERY dangerous), the proposal either does come in the rush of events at the end of 4×13 or at the end of 4×14.

        That’s my thinking…

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I’m not sure exactly when hell froze over but TV By The Numbers has Chuck as a show more likely to be renewed than canceled, and here I go agreeing with Faith again.

        In one sense I also like to be overly-critial and groan at some of Schwedak’s excesses, which are by the way FAR less evident this season. In another I find myself defending them like a hometown team. I’m alowed to criticize them but when someone who isn’t a fan does that’s going too far. It’s what gives me my delightfully schizophrenic personality online. 😉

        Taken for what it is, essentially a comicbook on film, Chuck is genius, especially this season. But it gets so frustrating that people can enthuse over how great Sarah looks fighting in a leather catsuit and stillettos, taking out huge men with a single kick, and then take offense that the spy plot isn’t as fleshed out as they think it should be. Tastes vary, and I’m not criticizing anyone personally or telling anyone what to like about the show, I’m just giving my take on it all.

        To me, time after time TPTB have showed us where the bar is set. You can invest in the characters and the relationships, the rest is pretty much up for grabs. Now agreed, even up for grabs has it’s boundaries and they are occasionally pushed, but these issues have been here since the beginning. When the characters remain true and the show provides the laughs and drama most of us are fine to go with the flow. When the characters actions seem out of character or seem to be a step backwards, we get antsy when an explanation isn’t forthcomming. Unfortunately as we saw in season 3, TPTB are fans of backloaded exposition and denoument. Most of us were force fed angst and backloaded exposition past our limit last season, and so my theory is that this season the whiff we are getting is turning some peoples stomachs.

        Take two episodes like Honeymooners and Colonel and get some rest till Monday. It should help that queasy feeling. 😉

      • Mess says:

        That reasoning makes a lot of sense First Timer. Personally I’d love to see some Carina goodness after an engagement anyway.

        I do agree they have done a great job at happy in the honeymooners, it was a great and fun episode. But I don’t understand honestly why they don’t do more of those episodes, because as dave says, there is enough to make it interesting even if they are happy. Besides, we see all across tv angst, angst, angst, making a story with a happy bases, that might actually appeal to people. I’m not saying btw, that I’m against angst, I’m not, well written angst isn’t bad(S2 angst never really annoyed me for example), but all angst, all the time is something that bothers people, especially if those people feel it is put in just for angst sake. The question also isn’t are they capable of writing great angstfree episode, because they are, but they need to realise that they are, and that they actually can create something original and fresh that way.

      • atcDave says:

        Faith you are right in pointing out Honeymooners, you know I’ve brought it up 10+ times in the last few days. That is the exact episode that gives me both hope and frustration. Hope because that is completely the show I want to watch, and its obvious these writers can do it when they decide to.
        But its frustration because they do it so rarely. We’ve seen glimpses of it since, but I think only Suitcase came close to delivering that same mood for 43 minutes. I would never say that’s what the show always needs to be, I’ve loved almost every bit of S4; but I sure wish we’d get more episodes like Honeymooners.

      • jason says:

        what I view as the #1 missed opportunity in the show, is a honeymooners approach (i.e. the charles vs half of the time rogue sarah or rogue chuck)) to a major spy arc, say 4×6 thru 4×13, I think it would knock it out of the park, the time and effort spent contriving ways to keep CS fighting, apart, and rogue could be spent in making the spy part better, and making the cast all get in on the drama a little bit more, plus, a certain grace envelops the show when chuck and sarah are in trust with each other, even if things about them are not perfect

      • Ernie Davis says:

        FT, some excellent points on what may be coming. Also part of Schwedak said Seduction Impossible and Cat Squad would feel like Honeymooners, so… But here’s another thought that might be comedy gold for Cat Squad. We’ve alwaus wanted Chuck to throw Sarah a surprise birthday party, so who might Chuck invite to said party? From someone who found the first proposal gone wrong hillarious imagine Chuck when the realization that the people he invited to Sarah’s first ever surprise birthday party with her new family aren’t people she really wants to be in the same room with, and she especially doesn’t want them in the same room with Chuck and family. 😀

      • atcDave says:

        Ernie that could be very funny. even better if Sarah doesn’t have to say anything, just Chuck figures out on his own that this was a bad idea…

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Dave, I get your point, but remember some of the impact of Honeymooners was relief for some of the fans getting something out of the show after 13 episodes they largely hated. To me we have had 4 Honeymooner-ish episodes this season, from Suitcase through Couch Lock, before we got into the dramatic ones, and from the sounds of it we will get at least two more after the dramatic conclusion of 4.13. TPTB are taking on the unenviable task of trying to please everyone.

      • First Timer says:

        @erniedavis:
        Regardless of what the rest of us may think of the tone of Seduction Impossible, I’m pretty sure it’ll mean heartbreak for Duck shippers… 🙂

      • Faith says:

        Well 2012 is near. So…

      • atcDave says:

        Well Ernie I did enjoy all those episodes, as I’ve enjoyed everything this season really. But I don’t see much that compares to Honeymooners. They keep making relationship problems too big a thing. I really wish they would just leave it alone for a while (after an engagement!).
        Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe that’s exactly what’s coming. My concerns actually have more to do with JS’ comments and how the show is discussed in the media sometimes than it does with what’s actually on screen. I’m still 80% sure the show itself will continue to be brilliant. Now if Schwartz would just stop talking about how he never wants to portray a happy couple…

      • Ernie Davis says:

        FT, we’re used to it. 😉

  23. Tamara Burks says:

    One thing I’ve wondered about is maybe part of Sarah’s reason for gong on what could be a suicide mission is guilt over the death of Papa B. It was her actions and inactions that led to his death (though Graham was the one who set the ball rolling and Shaw the massive hypocrite killed him.) Maybe she’s been having what if in her head. What if she hadn’t followed orders, what if she hadn’t ignored Shaw’s craziness , what if she hadn’t blindly trusted Shaw in going with him to Paris and if she’d shot him self defense or defense of Chuck she might have aimed for the head. What if she’d killed him (or at least shot him in the knee) after he took over the CIA. Overwhelming guilt could explain why she’s going so far to save his remaining parent.

    • Anonymous says:

      Fair question Tamara, completely impossible to answer though, since we haven’t really seen anything about how they handled Orion’s death, other than Chuck’s attitude in the Van, and his desire to take up his fathers mission. My personal opinion is that it might have contributed into her actions. Not necessarily guilt, because both her and Orion knew full well of the dangers, but her desire to give him atleast one parent, partially perhaps because she knows and relates to having no parents, and she knows how important family is to him. I think though that most important factor for Sarah was, their overall safety. Volkoff has them in an impossible situation, they all knew it, and she saw how it was effecting the man she loves more than anything else.

    • JC says:

      Nobody bringing up Stephen’s death is one of the strangest things this season. I can kinda buy Mary not doing, since they’re using the distance angle to maintain her cover. But man how hasn’t Chuck thrown his death in his mother’s face by now.

      • Faith says:

        Maybe he’s not dead. There are several specs going around that the best 10 minutes includes his reveal. This after months of telling us he’s really dead, for certain.

        Quick someone look up the shooting schedule of men of a certain age and find out if he was free around November of last year! 😀

      • armySFC says:

        yeah i don’t know what i’m more tired of, phones not getting answered or dead guys coming back. it a tough choice for me, lol.

  24. Joeeph (can't be Joe) says:

    Am I the only one who hopes that Sarah realizes she made the wrong decision about going on / taking on the “take down Volkoff” mission by herself, not after Chuck saves the day? Otherwise Sarah’s conflicted thoughts are only used do that hero Chuck can come to the rescue. In other words one has to appear weak so that the other can be made heroic.

    • Paul says:

      I think Sarah comes to the realization that Frost’s advice of “distance” was not the right choice for her anymore.

    • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

      AHH Edit:

      That should be ‘Sarah comes to the realization by herself’.

      and,

      SO that Chuck can come to the rescue.

      The above is why the DECLINE scene didn’t work for me. The strong Sarah we’ve scene this season, was replaced by unsure Sarah for the first time.

      Also I do find it totally bizarre how on a show about a male hero, the conversation this season has been almost completely about his female counterpart. Don’t get me wrong, I love S4 Sarah to pieces. But really now, where’s Chuck this season.

      • joe says:

        Ooohhh! I sort of like this, Joseph.

        But let me add that there was something in the decline scene (love that name for it, btw) that I saw a bit different.

        What I saw was Sarah actually being *strong*, not weak. She wanted so badly to take that call, but because of Frost’s single word realized that she would not be able to go on with the mission if she had.

        Yes – a mistake. But I don’t think it’s one of weakness. She’s not taking the easy route.

        Make any sense?

      • armysfc says:

        joe, let me play the opposite side of the fence here. you brought up the mission. she was strong when she declined the text. her mission is to bring down volkoff. casey has in his position the hydra. she thinks he is dead. the strong thing to do in my opinion is take the text and let chuck know that casey has what they need to bring down volkoff. not letting her team know she puts the mission at risk as well as the rest of her life. by declining the text it seems like she has resigned herself to the same fate as mary. granted its a hard to choice to make and to do either requires strength. she should have thought more about the mission than what mary said.

      • JC says:

        It makes zero sense for her not to at least say she gave Casey info about Volkoff and Hydra. This is one of those moments like last season where they make Sarah look dumb as a spy so Chuck can save the day.

      • Paul says:

        Two things:

        @joseph, DR made a comment that Sarah “doesn’t need rescuing” and that 4.13 isn’t a rehash of 3.13. With that in mind, I think Sarah can still realize that distance is not the answer and it’s more of an internal decision that she will follow from now on, than her having to act on it right away.

        @ joe and armysfc – I took away from the ending that Sarah and Frost were resigned to the fact that they were now both stuck and getting out was out, for now, out of their hands. I remember seeing the desperation on Frost’s face when Volkoff had the Hyrda eyeball on his desk. You could see her wanting to reach out and grab it. And when it was smashed you could almost see hope die in her eyes.

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        What I think I’m trying to say (in a rather poor way) is that they went through all the trouble of setting up the Mama B / Sarah parallel with the DECLINE scene. I get it. I’m not a fan of it, but I get it.

        I guess what I see is that if Sarah doesn’t come to the realization that taking Volkov down was probably not right for her, prior to Chuck sweeping in and saving the day, then ANY parallel is pointless and was never there to start with, because no growth or “ah ha” moment comes from it.

        I pretty sure I’m asking for too much and will never see it, but it would nice.

        Also, I which I could feel for Mama B but I can’t. The show has basically showed us that it was TOTALLY her decision to stay with Volkov and have glossed over any real reason for it. I’m sorry but since Hydra is a weak story point, so is “in order to protect my family”. It needed WAY more set-up and explanation than it got.

        Just like Sarah’s Red Test (it took tremendous effort to write the words “Red Test”) too little explanation, too late, for what is the crux of the story. I’m waiting too see 4.13, but I have a Other Guy feeling about it. Lots of scenes that we all want to see, but does nothing to solve the story that came before. I hope to be proven wrong.

      • DignityRLI says:

        -Declined call. Joe is right, she made the hard choice. Casey did/didn’t survive? She knows he fell too far. She can’t change that. Focus. One can’t fight the war, can’t stand next to a psychopath, can’t face the ever-present Dark Side and prevail, let alone survive, if one’s head is in Burbank. Those wringing hands said everything; she’s very worried, she’s questioning all – she needs to get over the horizon, compartmentalize, FOCUS on the task ahead. Oh, and she doesn’t know that her nightmare is going to end in next week’s episode, she is buckling down for what might be years ahead of her.

      • joe says:

        Army, I see your point (and well stated!). It may very well turn out to be that this is the case – Sarah has had a very weak moment.

        If it plays out that way, what I expect to see is Sarah changing her mind, actively doing something about it (and making contact with Chuck herself), apologizing profusely and saying she was wrong. Well, maybe 2 of the 3! 😉

        If not, Chuck will either apologize for not trusting her or say he trusted her all along and wanted just to tell her that he understood (but he apologizes for calling either way).

        Is there a scenario under which neither has a reason to apologize?

        I’ll admit that the scene is ambiguous that way – it’s possible to believe both! (And I *know* I’m an incurable optimist!) Either way, I’ll be watching to see how it plays out.

      • armySFC says:

        joe, i think it leads to a bigger moment where sarah says to mary. i can’t take this anymore. chuck should have the info we need. i need to get back to him. i’m not you. one can hope anyway. like you i will be watching.

    • atcDave says:

      Agree entirely Joseph. Sarah realize her mistake is what I most want to see from this. I suppose its not completely necessary if the time to react comes very quickly. But she’s placed herself in a precarious situation and I really hope she gets that wasn’t a great idea.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I wanted to bring up a few points that people seem hung up on. The first is Sarah “deciding” to go on a solo undercover mission without talking it over with Chuck. I put it out there that it is possibly on par with Sarah “deciding” to become a spy after her father was arrested. I still think there is more to come, but consider. Sarah volunteered to help take Volkoff down, basically because she saw the situation as unstable and Chuck and her future together in jeapordy.

      Beckman decided to send Sarah on a solo undercover mission as a traitor, and set it up with apparently convincing evidence that Sarah was a traitor. Now in the cell, does Sarah look happy and enthusiastic about being sent on a mission? No, she looks like she’s having her life torn away from her. Once Beckman set up the mission, can we conclude that Sarah had a lot of choice in the matter? Even if she did have a choice what would be the outcome of Sarah saying no? All the sudden all the charges are dropped without explanation and she goes right back to being a regular spy? That certainly wouldn’t trip any alarms… We may want to hold off on concluding we know Sarah’s full situation or motivations, like we may still need to hold off on Mary and Volkoff’s too. Sarah could be motivated by something she heard Mary say to Ellie, or by her need to protect Chuck, or for all we know, she was basically blackmailed into it by Beckman because she unwisely offered to take down Volkoff “by any means necessary”, and then it came back to bite her. Remember when you’re undercover you’re still you, and remember the phrase “I’m trying to buy a future with the man I love.”

      Overall there was enough in this and the previous episode for me to like them both, a lot. There was also enough to make me think there is a lot more to come in all the stories everyone seems to think we have the full story on.

      Now as for the piece of Hydra. If casey is dead, they’ll find it on his body. If Casey isn’t, he’ll eventually tell them. Those looking for 24-ish spy plots ask youselves why Sarah would feel the need to take the call and potentially break cover (and yes that was a concern you could see as she looked at the phone) to tell them Casey has something that they’ve likely already found as opposed to trusting her team to find it and get to the bottom of what it is. The only thing she could tell them is it is a piece of a computer and/or database. At this point they are telling us that to Sarah the risk of taking that phone call far outweighs any benefit. Didn’t bother me at all from the spy side, and the emotional impact on the characters was pretty great as far as I’m concerned.

      • JC says:

        @Ernie

        When it comes to the info about Hydra that’s a pretty big assumption by Sarah considering that nobody outside her, Mary, Volkoff and maybe Orion new about it. And she knows Chuck and how insecure he is, to not even reassure him a little makes zero sense.

      • Mess says:

        You have some good points, and I agree with a lot you are saying Ernie, but personally I don’t really like the ending. But final judgement on it will only be possible after 4.13. For now I’m on the I don’t like it part of the fence, but who knows it might change after the next episode. For me it really will depend how they will use it.

        I do really agree with what you are saying about Sarah going undercover.

      • armySFC says:

        ernie, you brought up several valid points. i hold sarah to be smart agent. for her not to think beckman would toss her to the wolves makes her seem stupid. beckman who wanted to put chuck down at the end of season 1, beckman who dropped a bunker buster on shaw in season 3. the general has shown she cares little about her agents. sarah know this a good agent would know of all the possibilities.

        as for finding it on his body, yeah they might. but how long would it take? ill give you she does not look like the dead in the eye spy she said she was going to become. she looks nervous and upset several times during the episode. so the emotions are wearing on her.

        the decline didn’t bother me that much if at all. i see both sides of the coin and depending on how you read it all the ideas make sense and have valid points.

      • thinkling says:

        Good counter points to the declined call, Ernie.

        As to Sarah’s motivation and going on the mission, I totally agree.

      • Paul says:

        Well, having worked in an ER most of my career, I can tell you that any clothing cut off of a patient is given to the family/next of kin unless it is needed for evidence by forensics. I could totally see this happening: Casey’s clothes are given to Alex. Alex finds the chip, shows it to Morgan who wonders what it is…..and Chuck sees it and flashes on it. He likely realizes that the fight was a set-up that just went bad. Cue Chuck making plans to take down volkoff.

  25. silvercat42 says:

    I want to bring up one more thing concerning Sarah’s decision to decline Chuck’s message… she is obviously feeling very guilty about pushing Casey out the window (whether it was idea or not), and Sarah tends to do very stupid stuff out of guilt. For example, in The Final Exam, Sarah feels very guilty that she was responsible for turning Chuck into a killer. As a result, she ended up in Shaw’s arms and probably his (though we don’t really know for sure exactly what happened that day she spent with him in the penthouse suite). Bottom line: Sarah’s action is understandable in light of how she deals with guilt.

    • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

      SC – you and I have talked before over at ChuckTV so I know your aware of my stand on S3 Sarah and “intepreting” her emotions and thought. But to me there is nothing “obvious” about the DECLINE scene. From the reams of discussion above there seems to be different intepretation depending from what people got out of it.

      I’ll tell you, right off the bat, that that scene fell flat for me, (it doesn’t phase me that she “declined”) but my take away from it is the setup for the Sarah / Mama B parallel.

      Like I said in the other thread I don’t feel anything Sarah in that scene, nothing good or nothing bad, just nothing. So I don’t see her feeling for Casey, I don’t see her missing Chuck, I see someone resigned to the fact that this is going to take a long time….

      … and perhaps it was the wrong course of action is hopefully something she (by herself) will realize in 4.13.

    • jason says:

      The end of 4×12, who cares, probably b4 the credits, sarah and mary are going to be trying to escape, for all we know, mary looks at sarah within seconds of the decline and says, ‘My goodness, you love him, I never knew, I have to get you home dear, and now’ or sarah looks at mary and says, “Mrs Bartkowski, Ellie is having a baby, I have to get you home now” –

      even if a few days pass timeline wise, it only will be a scene on TV, there is not enough time for all the scenes we have seen as well as some of the scenes we know are coming to all fit in 40 minutes unless the mary sarah deep undercover story lasts about one minute of screen time before they go for it.

  26. silvercat42 says:

    Previous comment meant to read “whether it was his idea or not…” and “probably his bed.” I wish we had ways of revising our comments for a short while after posting them.

  27. DignityRLI says:

    If I might… 3 Points.
    -The moment it all turns. It hasn’t happened yet. Volkoff thinks it just did. Sarah is looking the Dark Side square in the face, and the stakes have never been higher (“Sometimes it helps to know you’ve got something to lose”). TPTB only had 42 minutes to get the story to the point where some characters believe that ‘the moment it all turns’ had arrived and that others knew it was fast approaching. After rewatching, I believe we got there. Glad we didn’t sacrifice other episodes/time to get there.

    -Team B. The closing song starts (Silvia), and as the powerful music kicks in, a shot of Team B together, even if the hour is dark. We know that when they are together, they are at their strongest – and undefeated. No, wait, one more shot; Sarah is on her own…. moving at Mach .8 away from Chuck and Team B, not towards them. The hour will get darker yet.

    -Silly Volkoff- You. Have. No. Idea. Neither does Mary really. This is no ride in a sheep truck. Playtime is over. Chuck is about to realize the foolishness of thinking Sarah could do this on her own while he watched The View (“We’re better as a team”). Team B will be reunited. Chuck Bartowski, the brains, the heart, the courage of Team B is about to orchestrate the destruction of that which threatens those he loves. I can hear Ellie’s own words, “…then you don’t stop. You don’t quit. You never go too far… You are a Bartowski, Chuck. Start acting like one!” Is Team B 4 strong? 6? 8? I don’t know, neither does Volkoff (but I am sure he has underestimated them). I am reassured, knowing that Team B grows by 1 next week.

    • patty says:

      Yep, Volkoff is in for a rude awakening. He has no idea.

      He likes to control people by trapping them into doing his bidding and he thinks he has Sarah right where he wants her. I still think he plans to control Chuck by controlling his loved ones.

      Chuck’s strength is his outside the box thinking and the fact that once he is committed he holds nothing back. I don’t think that Volkoff can even understand that.

      • thinkling says:

        So very true Patty! Ditto all.

        Can’t wait for him to get his comeuppance … and his fall downeth

  28. rac2873 says:

    I want to believe that the last ten minutes is great. I have even heard the term the tron poster reveal at the end of leathal weapon. But does anybody think that if Chuck and Sarah don’t get engaged it will be the best ten minutes ever and the fans will be so amazed they will forget about the engagement. If there is no engagement which was the plot line for the 1st 13 then it will feel incomplete. I really wish Schwedak did not say that because now I will be severly dissapointed if their words don’t ring true.

    • armySFC says:

      rac, we had a big thing on that very topic earlier. i’m not a huge shipper but the way they played it the only way it will be epic is if they get engaged. all else will be great, but not epic.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Absolutely correct. TPTB – and God bless ’em – are becoming “Captain Awesomes” with their (over)use of the word EPIC. I wish I could recount Ellie’s “talk” with Devon when she was under the spell of the truth serum (from S1), but it basically went, “If EVERYTHING is “awesome,” then “awesome” is just ORDINARY.

        Same goes for “epic.”

        Here’s hoping that 4.13 IS TRULY “epic.” I think TPTB are fully capable of pulling it off. I also think they’re fully capable of missing the “epic” boat completely.

        Good luck guys. Here’s hoping you succeed in an “epicly awesome” way!

    • atcDave says:

      Rac we know there are some fans who really don’t care about the engagement issue and might consider a best ever without it. I think most of us will feel disappointed if it doesn’t happen. But the burning question is, does JS get that? I really think he does. I strongly suspect he knows most viewers will be disappointed if 4.13 ends with no engagement. Which leads me to think it just has to happen. It’s a really clueless comment to make if the engagement has been delayed.

      Keep the faith! We’ll know in just a few days now either way.

      • Rick Holy says:

        The silly thing in all of this is that they’re basically ALREADY engaged! Chuck was 2 seconds short of putting the ring on her finger when Sarah got “busted” for treason. Kind of like in (I believe) episode 3.12 where he “confronts” Sarah and tells her “I’ve already made the long, eloquent version of this speech, so I’m just going to be blunt – I love you!”

        At this point, he’s made the (engagement) speech – actually TWICE (the second time in the holding cell at Castle). All he has to do now is whip out that ring and say “MARRY ME!”

        How hard could it be to fit that into the forecasted “10 minute epicness” of 4.13?

      • atcDave says:

        You’re right Rick. In a way it’s been a done deal since Coup; when Sarah told Chuck in his sleep she’d marry him. At least we’ve known since then they were both willing.

      • Big Kev says:

        I consider myself a “lapsed shipper”. I thought the relationship was written brilliantly and originally for the most part in S1 and S2, badly botched in S3, and pretty stock standard and predictable for S4 – but even I’ll be disappointed if they don’t end up engaged!
        I just wonder how something that we’ve all known is coming for the whole season can be seen as “epic”? I just wonder if they have something else up their sleeves? Elopement maybe? Dunno. I just have a sneaky feeling that there’s something coming that none of us are expecting.

      • atcDave says:

        Hey Big Kev, glad you got sucked back in!

        I’d love to see like a quick wedding arrainged in the hospital chapel or something; you know, not quite an elopement, but something quick now that the whole gang and family are reunited.

        To me, that would certainly be a big part of a best 10 minutes ever. But I do think you’re right Kev, they likely have something else up their sleeves. An engagement or wedding is still in the realms of things we expect to see soon anyway. My guess is a really spectacular take-down of Volkoff, tearful reunion with mom, everyone together in time for the birth, something big for Chuck and Sarah, AND something big we haven’t guessed at yet.

        But maybe I just dream big…

      • Big Kev says:

        I’d love the engagement scene to be a callback to the Pilot – Chuck and Sarah on the beach, in the aftermath of the baby and the big reunion. A Comet Appears playing in the background. Sarah turns to Chuck, and says, “remember when we sat here and I asked you to trust me? I need you to do one more thing for me Chuck – marry me”
        A callback for those of us who’ve been in from the start, and Sarah proposing would be a nice twist. They won’t do that – but that’s how I’d write it 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        you’re right Kev they won’t do that.

        But it would be awesome!

      • silvercat42 says:

        I for one, don’t care all that much when the proposal happens, because as Rev. Rick points out, they really are already engaged. In fact, Rick’s points are the very same points I made on another fan site just a couple of days ago. Sarah actually said yes TWOICE before Chuck had the chance to ask once, and he did ask on the balcony, short of getting out “will you marry me.”

        I would prefer if they skipped the engagement, and eloped… but I suppose that’s too much to ask and the spoilers seem to indicate they will actually be in discussion over whether to have a small or large wedding.

        Whatever happens, I’m sure the showrunners will throw in some interesting twists. They always do, and they haven’t let me down yet.

      • jason says:

        seduction mission, then a sarah girl friend back story, both written after 4×13 was changed, interesting, I can’t fit the pieces together without the engagement, unless the plan is to move cs backwards into real angst, but it sounds like 14 & 15 are fun eps, which would seem funny if CS were engaged, and really funny if CS were married, and sort of not funny if CS are being played for angst again – interesting – I don’t know – and some have spec’d engagement in 4×14, why not do it as planned then, to delay one episode, doesn’t add up either – anyone able to put it all together?

      • patty says:

        Honestly I suspect the epic 10 minutes refers to the spy story and how team B takes down Volkoff and maybe the whole family at Ellie’s bedside holding little Clara (makes me think of Heidi’s friend). They don’t seem to be as worked up about the engagement as we are.

      • thinkling says:

        If they are not worked up about the engagement, then why did they work it up so much?

      • armySFC says:

        my guesses on the last 10. chuck, ellie, mary, devon and baby in one scene. casey and sarah have heart to heart in another and finally a chuck and sarah moment no engagement. put that in any order. my guess also shows that chuck and sarah don’t see the baby together, just a hunch. plenty of goose bumps, short on best 10 ever.

      • JC says:

        @Jason

        If the engagement doesn’t happen in Push Mix, I wouldn’t bet on it till after Vivian makes her appearance.

      • Mess says:

        Absolutely JC, if we don’t get the engagement in 4.13, and we won’t get it in 4.14(which is doubtful in itself if it isn’t in 4.13) I’m going to entrench myself for another round of PLI’s, this time around starring Vivian, possible future name, the female Shaw.

      • Katsumaro says:

        Told myself I wouldn’t post much anymore until the episode came out.. but I just have to say something.

        Let’s assume that the engagement doesn’t happen in 4×13 for this hypothetical thing here. Just because they don’t get engaged by 4×13 (or 4×14, etc).. it automatically means this Vivian character absolutely must be a PLI? I’m confused. What if it’s a relative of Sarah’s? I figured Sarah would get a little more backstory in the latter half of the season. Why does it have to be someone to make a move on Chuck? As much as we’ve seen some contrived angst, and all that.. I do really think TPTB learned their lesson through 3×01 to 3×12 about keeping Chuck and Sarah apart. Remember, Chuck hasn’t actually gotten the whole “Will you marry me?” out to Sarah yet, so just because Chuck decides he wants to wait, it’s not like he’s calling it off or breaking up with her. From a viewer standpoint, we know they both want it, but based around everything Chuck’s seen/will possibly see, maybe he just wants to take a step back, and reassess what an engagement will mean to a pair of spies. Is that so hard to believe?

        Now, obviously this is all hypothetical as we don’t know how 4×13+ will play out just yet, but I think the fun of this series is sitting back and waiting, seeing what they’ll throw at us. 4×09 carried possibilities of them totally retconning Chuck and wiping his memory of everything, but they didn’t. Yeah, the ending of 4×12 was really tough to watch as a Chuck/Sarah fan, but it’s not like she told him “We need to break up while I’m on this secret mission”, it was just a decline on the phone call so she could keep ‘in character’ if you will.

        Anyway, I’m ranting now. End point to those who want to skip yet another one of my wall-o-texts: Just because they didn’t get engaged in 4×11, or possibly may not in 4×13, it doesn’t mean their relationship is over, or that Vivian’s going to come in and try to steal Chuck away. If she IS a PLI.. the only role I think she’ll play is to push Chuck and Sarah even closer together (if that’s even possible), and maybe as a comedic role to show off more Sarah jealousy. Who knows though? That’s still a ways off. Let’s enjoy the ride, people.

        /end rant

      • atcDave says:

        Vivian will not be a PLI or LI, nothing to worry about Katsumaro. They’re only saying that because every guest star always has been…

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Angry Katsumaro – here we go again. 😉 🙂

        From a viewer standpoint, we know they both want it, but based around everything Chuck’s seen/will possibly see, maybe he just wants to take a step back, and reassess what an engagement will mean to a pair of spies. Is that so hard to believe?

        Cant argue with that. 🙂 But I am a like a kid who has been forced to watch candy being dangled in front of him and snatched away at the last moment. So, if the engagement doesn’t happen in 4×13 it would be justifiable if I throw a tantrum or two. [ but don’t worry, I won’t be leaving the show :)]

      • atcDave says:

        Funny Genie. I wouldn’t leave either, but I would be very disappointed.

      • JC says:

        I’m not saying Vivian will be a PLI but a catalyst of sorts. If an engagement doesn’t happen, I think we’ll get a few episodes of spy couple issues/ Chuck wondering if he knows the real Sarah.

        Push Mix could be a way of revisiting Mauser, Seduction well that speaks for itself, Cat Squad deals with Sarah’s past. Then you have Vivian which I think will give a us a more heroic and proactive Chuck as a spy. And with Sarah she could see her as a threat and make her more proactive in the relationship. If there’s any romantic feelings, I’ll guarantee it’s one sided with this Vivian having a crush on Chuck.

      • Katsumaro says:

        @genie – Not angry! Only a bit ranty there, that’s all! 😀 And yeah, I agree that a non-engagement would be disappointing, but considering all the crazy stuff that’s probably going to go down during the episode, I wouldn’t want them to just take a minute for the proposal and that’s it. I want a 4×11-ish sort of thing, even if it’s in the middle of a mission. Honestly.. that’d be more fitting, you know? A sort of ‘First Fight’ moment where they’re talking out their problems as they beat the crap out of people!

        @JC – I guess I can see Vivian as a ‘catalyst’ if anything. I wouldn’t mind her being a sister to Sarah, or of some sort of relation. We’ve seen her dad and that’s really it. Needs more awesome Sarah backstory. We’ve gotten tons out of Chuck, and even a good share out of Casey, but Sarah? Still a closed book. :/

      • Faith says:

        From henceforth I retire the title “PLI” because as we’ve seen and learned from this season and part of last season there are no more potentials about it…it’s Chuck and Sarah and that’s it. However, there’s nothing that says that others wouldn’t feel unrequited love for our heroes and so it’s ULI (Unrequited Love Interests) it is! Yes!

        Genius! 😉

    • rac2873 says:

      I just think this is going to be one of those episodes were we all want Chuck or Sarah to tell the other person they love them but it never happens. Remember all the rampant speculation from Lethal Weapon and it ended by deepening the mythology but Chuck and Sarah were still in limbo.

      I think they are going to try to wow us with Marry coming home, the baby being born and some spy thing but I think they have every intention of delaying the proposal. It was originally supposed to be the series ender and now as DR says it will happen when it happens.

      Well I am not going to hold my breath for it to happen in 4.13. This is the perfect oppertunity to create some distance and Chuck to have one foot out while Sarah is all in. Sarah being the pursuer.

      For those to say delayed gratification. The TPTB knew they were getting 19 last year imagine if they changed Other Guy and Chuck and Sarah did not end up together until later. You would have felt jipped, I would feel the same way as the never ending engagement plotline.

      • armySFC says:

        rac, i have been giving some thought to them pushing back the engagement. but a different question comes to mind. if the season did end this episode we know they would have heard the question and answer. what about casey? they have to have him back in the saddle now. maybe they had to speed up his recovery. if it ended in 13 they could have left him in a coma till the start of next season. i just wonder if they changed that also.

      • JC says:

        Its funny over at CI they had they review of the episode and they hit what’s been off for me. I don’t care about Mary at all. The only reason I want her to live is because of Linda Hamilton but as a character I have no sympathy for her.

      • thinkling says:

        I think if it had ended in 4.13, the whole series would have ended. It was a question of extra episodes or cancellation.

        Casey is not in the saddle in 4.13. He’s bonding with Alex, according to the synopsis. (It’s Morgan and Chuck who go off after Volkoff, while Sarah tries to free Mary.) We don’t know when Casey will wake up. The frustrating thing about promos is you don’t have any sense of chronology.

      • atcDave says:

        JC, I think Mary has been really fun in a few scenes, especially in Aisle of Terror. But I agree as far as I have no investment in her character at this point. She’s just the laughably bad spy who’s leading Sarah down the wrong path.

        I do hope that changes.

        Yeah Thinkling, I think its safe to say if there had been no back order after 13 it would have meant the series was cancelled. So it had to be either the end of everything… or not.

        It was never going to be a big cliffhanger.

      • JC says:

        @Dave

        Yeah I really I don’t know why Chuck wants to save her. The way its been played so far I don’t know if he likes his mother let alone loves her. If anything it seems like he’s doing it for Ellie and out of loyalty to his father.

      • Katsumaro says:

        No matter how you look at it, JC… she’s still his mother. Yeah, I have nothing in stock as far as her plot and what she’s done to her family, but he knows what it means to Ellie (with the baby coming and all), and what it meant to his dad. So yeah, it’s probably partially because of PapaB and Ellie, but she’s still his mother, no matter what.

        Honestly.. I hope something happens in 4×13 that would give us more of a reason to be emotionally connected to MamaB’s plight, but as it stands, I wouldn’t really miss her if she disappears into the background :/

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah katsumaro, I do get she’s still mom and there’s sort of a duty issue even apart from any feelings. But it sure does stink to be Chuck right now; loosing Sarah in pursuit of a mom he no longer is even attached to.

      • armysfc says:

        thinkling, you may have confused what i meant by back in the saddle. i was saying that if the season ended on 4.13 would they have casey recovered or still in a coma. by getting the extra episodes they had to bring him out of the coma, or back in the saddle.

      • thinkling says:

        Ah, ok, sorry Army. I was thinking of a more active saddle. I get it now. 🙂

      • JC says:

        @Katsumaro

        I think this one those disconnect moments again. Because I haven’t seen Chuck express any real feelings for his mother, its hard for me to see why Sarah wants to save her for Chuck.

        And I disagree about her being his mother. She’s the woman who gave birth to Chuck but she was never really a mother to him. There’s a big difference.

      • Katsumaro says:

        @JC – She was his mother for a small part of his life. Yeah, she wasn’t what Ellie is to him as both the big sister and person who raised him, but she’s still blood, and blood’s thicker than water.

        As for showing emotion… I’d be full of emotions, personally. I’d be scared to trust at first, as Chuck was, and then the whole ‘getting shot in the heart’ thing would freak me out, then oh, by the way.. Volkoff’s in love with her too? I think Zach/Chuck’s shown the right kind of emotion in these situations: Confusion.

      • JC says:

        @Katsumaro

        I guess we’ll just have to disagree, blood doesn’t make you family just related. IMO Casey and Morgan are more Chuck’s family than his parents ever were.

        And I understand the confusion part but I haven’t seen really any real affection towards his mother. Honestly I hope we don’t see that for awhile, she deserves the cold shoulder from Chuck.

  29. joe says:

    A little OT for this, but I added the promo for 4.13 to the Season 4.0 Spoiler Page.

  30. jason says:

    Last working day before the day of the last episode of the arc. I posted something called 20?’s prior to season 4, one of them was what will be the ‘issue’ of season 4, much like the LI dominated season 3’s front half, and the hangover seemed to dominate the second half.

    Was it the engagement or lack of dangled out there all season?

    Was it finally a great pair of recurring guest stars making a compelling serialized spy story?

    Was it, as promised, family, or maybe Mama B’s story either or, lumped into one, sort of as promised?

    Was it that CS were together, all 13 episodes, a couple, even if rogue missions made up a third of the eps or more, especially during the meaty part of the season?

    Or something else all together?

    For me, I have mixed feelings on my answer, I am not sure exactly one issue dominated this arc, although, and unfortunately, I thought the arc would have been far better without the engagement being used as the 800 lb gorilla, funny, sometimes I think TPTB don’t quite understand how good they are, and how CS together becomes a strength, and how the 800lb gorilla has held them back these 4 seasons, not catapulted them forward. But, given that this season, the CS manufactured conflict did not soley dominate, means TPTB have taken steps in the right direction – IMO

    Hope everyone gets what they want to see on 4×13, I think the conclusion to the arc is going to be ‘great’

    • atcDave says:

      I mostly agree with your analysis paragraph Jason. I’d say I’m 95% satisfied with the season so far.
      My only (minor) issues so far have to do with Chuck not using his brains enough and being too reliant on the 2.0 to do anything right; and that TPTB feel the need to interject some sort of minor relationship issue in almost every episode even when it only seems to detract from the rest of the story. Neither of these were problems in the first two seasons which is likely the only reason they stand out to me now. I’m sure we all remember the times when resourceful Chuck saved the day even though he no training and no way to physically protect himself except for his two bodyguards. I really miss that approach. I also remember many episodes that were just fun with no particular relationship issues coming up, just the underlying issue of a forbidden “friendship” (or whatever it was for the first two years!).

      But I would add, this may be coming a week too soon. With the first arc ending this Monday, impressions may still change some. Especially if Chuck really uses his brain to resolve the Volkoff situation, and Chuck and Sarah show understanding and maturity in dealing with the issues from this mission.

      • armysfc says:

        dave surprise we agree again. chuck using his brains to solve problems was great. and like you i miss it. that was the main problem i had during the intersect-less arc. people have said a few things that would make this episode less than epic. while it is a minor point, one thing that will bring down the episode for me is if chuck doesn’t get to finish his part in the mission alone. the show we have been told is the journey of a hero. i hope they let him have that. whether its taking down volkoff physically or hacking the systems, i want to see chuck finish it. no last second help from sarah or morgan, just chuck.

      • JC says:

        Ahh the days of smart, resourceful Chuck and encouraging, insightful Sarah. How I miss those traits.

    • JC says:

      @Jason

      I would say they’ve handled most of things you had questions about fairly well. Did they go to the engagement story a little early sure but it did lead to some good moments.

      The only misses I see are the overall spy story with Mary and Volkoff. Great characters but the twenty year mission, Hydra all seem paper thin at this point. Mary is a great character but I have zero sympathy for her plight. Compare that to Orion who even though he sucked as father I felt for him. Even more so now, knowing what I do about Mary. The family thing has worked out but I wish we had more Chuck and Ellie scenes, the connection between those two was one of favorite things on the show.

      • Paul says:

        JC, at times, I’m not sure we’re supposed to feel bad for Frost. When comparing her to Orion, she does come off as a less sympathetic character because she was the one who CAUSED this whole mess. She’s also distanced herself so much from who she was back then….and I think that is kind of the point. She’s a warning to Chuck and more importantly Sarah of what happens when you put the mission above all else.

        However, there are brief moments where we get windows into her pain and what she sacrficed (rightly or wrongly). The scene where she is spying on Ellie in the baby store. The sheer desperation on her face when Volkoff had the Hydra eye. And her comforting Sarah on the plane. There is more to Frost still to be explored. I just think we haven ‘t gone there yet.

      • herder says:

        I wonder if the sympathy for Papa B is somehow related to the fact that both Chuck and Ellie were allowed to be angry with him for leaving. In Dream Job Chuck confronted him directly and later Ellie left the room rather than speak to him. Anger was expressed, dealt with then the characters moved on. With Mama B Ellie hasn’t expressed any anger and Chuck’s has been more about the mission than her leaving for 20 years. I think justifiable anger has been missing from this arc.

      • First Timer says:

        The reason why you may not feel sympathy for Frost is because the showrunners tried for 10 episodes to keep her an ambiguous charater. Linda Hamilton even said in an interview that the writers would constantly remind her NOT to shade the character one way or the other.

        It’s hard to have sympathy for a character who the show claims may have sold out her family.

        By contrast, you were shown an apparently goofy Papa B at the start. You had immediate sympathy for him because, at worst, he was a victim. Then he is revealed as Orion and you know he’s a hero.

        All that said, the only way this last 10 minutes have any chance of being “epic” is if they pull out a really compelling new secret: Volkoff and Orion have a backstory or Orion is alive again or maybe Intersect 3.0 somehow contains Orion (a la the weird Star Trek III thing with Spock and McCoy).

      • atcDave says:

        It’s possible we’ll gain more sympathy for Frost soon. Especially if she behaves heroically in Push Mix; we already know she’ll be trying to “reconnect” with family in coming episodes. Right now is likely the low point in her credibility and likability.

      • jason says:

        sometimes I feel sarah in 4×12 is being used as a plot device to explain Frost’s fall for 20 years, how it could happen, sometimes I think Frost is being used as a plot device to explain how bad Sarah’s life would be or become without Chuck, but either way, the 20 years keeps muddying up any attempt to link the word brilliant with the Frost story

        One conversation I recall a long time ago, when such things concerned me, a friend who was superhot but sort of promiscuous, once told me she did not deserve nice guys, liked being around bad guys much more because she could just be herself, didn’t have to feel bad about her past ….

        I know that is fanficy in explaining frost’s 20 years, but after enough murders, cutting off fingers, and such, I could use that as an explanation for frost not returning to her family, I am almost sure that is what the casey throw as well as the dalton dialog was supposed to explain … might even be the purpose of the red test by the cia, being bad breaks you so the government has your soul, and you have no interest in being a ‘normal girl’, except of course if you are sarah walker – LOL

      • atcDave says:

        Jason I think there’s a lot of truth to that. Its really revolting to think about how much crime Frost has surely abetted in her 20 years of service to Volkoff. That is among the more ludicrous aspects of the mission; they’ve done more evil together than likely would have happened if she put a bullet in his head 20 years ago. It’s just one more way Frost is not credible as a heroic character; at best she’s conflicted.

        But I do love redemption stories. And that’s a big part of what I expect Monday. I really hope to see Sarah help snap her out of her decades long funk and get her out of that life. Whether we will ever have sympathy for Frost will likely be determined by what comes next; never from what’s in her past.

      • jason says:

        dave – if they want frost to stick around, we will get over it, think back to season 1, casey executed bryce, and entered chuck’s apt to kill chuck, I think of him as a teddy bear now, so it has happened, maybe frost is worse, but still.

        Also, a guess as to the cause of the chuck / sarah bickering in 4×14 – i am going for sarah wants chuck to forgive her very BBF friend mary for her transgressions, chuck isn’t quite seeing things that way

      • atcDave says:

        agree about Mary going forward. You’re right Casey was also a hard character to actually like, I think that changed mostly over the course of S2. And S3 was much kinder to the development of Casey than it was to Chuck and Sarah.

        My spec on the issue in 4.14 is still that its about conduct on seduction missions. Most likely; Chuck’s unhappy when Sarah uses her charms on a mark, and Sarah doesn’t get it. Until late in the episode Chuck has to get a ladies attention and Sarah experiences a bit of turnabout. So they will likely reach an understanding to minimize (or completely avoid) such behavior in the future. This scenario works whether Chuck and Sarah are engaged, married, or none of the above.

  31. Gringo Chuck Fan says:

    Hola Amigos – Well, its been another wonderful week of scutiny, analysis, examination and exposition…
    I thought it was time to leave the comments alone. Waltz into Monday night [ blissfully unaware] without any pre-conceived notions or expectations and just sit, enjoy and be entertained….
    I clicked an old playlist – and my mind started reeling. D’oh!
    There was I time I thought the I was over these musical connections and analogies.

    Now, heading into Monday – and the Biggest and best 10 minutes of Chuck ever…
    I really really want to hear these anthems get resolved within the relationships of the characters.

    Theme song for Sarah Walker = U2 Ultraviolet
    http://tinyurl.com/5s8l6ln
    “The price of love is not cheap”…
    – and I find this song works on sooo many levels. Can Chuck be the Light for Sarah Walker?

    Theme song for Charles Bartowski:
    U2 Mysterious Ways… http://tinyurl.com/66eagj9
    yep, Its all right Chuck, she moves in mysterious ways… get over it…

    [Did I ever mention the only thing I geek out about more than Chuck, would be U2?]

    And finally, I want Mary Bartowski to have a moment alone with Charles… a collage of images from their past with the song from Lynard Skynard – “Simple Man” playing as these images and scenes roll across the screen.
    ” Mama told me when I was young
    Come sit beside me, my only son
    And listen closely to what I say.
    And if you do this
    It will help you some sunny day.

    Take your time… Don’t live too fast,
    Troubles will come and they will pass.
    Go find a woman and you’ll find love,
    And don’t forget son,
    There is someone up above.” …

    “Forget your lusts and rich man’s gold
    All that you need is in your soul,
    And you can do this if you try.
    All that I want for you my son,
    Is to be satisfied.”….

    “Boy, don’t you worry… you’ll find yourself.
    Follow you heart and nothing else.
    And you can do this if you try.
    All I want for you my son,
    Is to be satisfied.”….

    “(Chorus)
    And be a simple kind of man.
    Be something you love and understand.
    Be a simple kind of man.
    Won’t you do this for me son,
    If you can?”

    I think that Chuck can smile,
    look into his mothers eyes
    and tell her that he has done all those things.
    Although he’s a nerd…
    with an intersect in his brain –
    he is a simple man – with a heart of gold.

  32. Rac2873 says:

    After reading this tweet and seeing the promo I am subscribing to Bill at Work’s theory that Chuck become Orion.

    He goes from Spy to Super Spy/Super Hero.

    • Rac2873 says:

      Forgot the tweet.

      RT @JoshSchwartz76 : Chuck fans – this Monday is the biggest episode of the year. Maybe ever. Spread the word all wknd. U can’t miss Mon!

    • patty says:

      Is there a new promo?

      • Faith says:

        There’s a 15 second teaser that I think Joe posted over at the spoiler section. It’s nothing new, just the Volkoff+Chuck portion of the old promo.

        If you want to check out the breakdown pics I have them here.

      • jason says:

        @faith / @rac / @atcdave / other shippers – it is possible chuck never again asks sarah to marry him, and he for sure does not propose in 4×13 nor do they get married, it hit me this am what could happen in 4×13 between CS – if my spec is right, it is going to be awesome.

  33. OldDarth says:

    Chuck should have become Orion at the end of Season 3.

  34. uplink2 says:

    One other thought I have been having is maybe the proposal comes actually during the final showdown when they are on the brink of being killed and Chuck decides that he doesn’t want to die without having asked her and pops the question then.

    Fedak has said it would come when we least expect it so..

  35. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Gobbler (4.12) | Chuck This

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