First Impressions: Chuck vs. The CAT Squad

Doesn’t Morgan’s Expression Say It All?

The poor guy is caught between a rock and a Carina.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

So please take this opportunity to tell us what you thought. Oh, I know Carina is a doll – you gotta love her despite yourself. Herself. Ourselves!

(But before you watch the show, check out this exclusive clip from Matt Mitovich!)

Yes, all criticisms accepted and read!

Hope you enjoyed!

– joe

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About joe

In my life I've been a professor, martial artist, rock 'n roller, rocket scientist, lover, poet and brain surgeon. I'm lying about the brain surgery.
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330 Responses to First Impressions: Chuck vs. The CAT Squad

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  2. Faith says:

    That clip was the bomb. I love it, it’s like the Hart to Hart from last year…although admittedly that was better ;).

  3. Katsumaro says:

    Well.. fun episode, full of hotness. Almost an overload of hotness, really.

  4. weaselone says:

    Not enough Morlex angst. The issue should have been drawn out for another season and a half at least.

    • Katsumaro says:

      Hahaha. Oh god. Don’t even kid about that. You may give TPTB ideas or something. Though that would mean we’d have to get a Season 5…

      • weaselone says:

        Is it wrong that I was taking a strange sort of pleasure in Morgan’s relationship troubles? I felt sort of like I was on the some wavelength as Carina until she went all soft on me.

      • Katsumaro says:

        Maybe a little wrong. No one should have Chuck/Sarah’s issues repeated.

      • atcDave says:

        Naw Weaselone, its fun; I like watching angst magic happen when I don’t really care!

  5. Rick Holy says:

    Quick impression. Nice “self-contained” episode. CHUCK doesn’t need to have these long story arcs. It may be better without them. 2-3 episode arcs MAXIMUM. Underlying/ beneath the surface lengthy arcs are fine – but not DOMINANT, lengthy arcs.

    This episode had enough fun and enough “drama.” Was it “outstanding?” No. But each episode doesn’t need to be outstanding, just entertaining – and this episode was that.

    It put enough elements into on episode without going “too deep” into anything specific. Yes, you COULD have had “The C.A.T.S” and Lou Diamond Phillips (who I liked in this episode, even though he wasn’t on screen alot) be a 2 episode arc – but you didn’t need to. They covered a part of Sarah’s past – introduced a new character (and brought back an old one) and moved “the overall CHUCK story” forward with regard to Sarah and her difficulty with her past and with Chuck and Sarah as they approach their “big day.” The Sarah/Ellie moment at the end was something I think we’ve all been waiting for. Sarah has found someone else she can confide in – someone who is NOT Chuck – someone with whom she can discuss her life, her problems, AND Chuck and the relationship as well. Nice fit. And loved Morgan stepping up to the plate.

    All in all, I liked it enough, and that’s all I ask from CHUCK. Now, if we want to start picking at nits, I’m sure there’s one thing or another that we could pounce on, but why? It is what it is and it was entertaining. The next episode looks like more of the same.

    Hopefully we’ll see stability or an uptick in the ratings. Another slide spells trouble – and we don’t want/need that!!

    • Paul says:

      I like that Ellie seems like she’s going to be a “big sis” to Sarah too.

      • joe says:

        Ah! That was great – and it took me by surprise!

        I don’t think I’ve ever outright said that I wanted to see Sarah & Ellie have “that talk”, but I really have wanted that. To see it start to develop just like that… wow! More proof that TPTB actually read the fans words.

    • Katsumaro says:

      Agreed. I mean.. I think everyone and their grandmother could have seen “Oh no, Amy’s the mole” coming a mile away, but with “Chuck”.. it doesn’t seem to matter.

      I had tons of fun with the episode. The hotness meter was ticking way past ‘overload’ too, so that’s always helpful.

      Either way, not only did we finally get our Ellie and Sarah bonding moments (I admit I couldn’t keep the smile off my face), we also got yet another mention of Sarah’s mom. That’s great.

      • weaselone says:

        To be fair there are only so many options regarding the mole. Either Sarah’s suspicions were correct or Amy was the mole. It certainly wouldn’t have been Carina or Sarah.

      • Katsumaro says:

        Shocker would have been if it was actually Carina, but I think that’s even beneath her.

      • weaselone says:

        It would have been a shocker, but given the Carina character has already popped up twice and been shown to have Sarah’s back it would be something better left explored in fan fiction.

    • sd says:

      I liked it but the episode seemed like a battle between C.A.T “camp” and “reality”—as if the writers wouldn’t take the plunge either way.

      Having said that, we learned a bit more about Sarah and like Fr. Rick says we got to see Sarah reaching out to Ellie for help with all things Chuck and the wedding which was nice.

      I think folks were also posting about how Chuck and Sarah’s relationship may impact Carina…it seems it wasn’t C/S but Morgan and Alex—who knew?

  6. Gringo Chuck Fan says:

    Wow – lots of fun…. another great episode of Sarah… err – I mean Chuck.
    For some reason – I think I would have liked to see Morgan squirm on the hook a little longer… almost dissappointed that the Alex – Morgan – Carina triangle seems to have been shut down already….
    Can’t believe we heard Sarah say the “P” word… partly funny! – partly shock value?
    Great to see Sarah start to mend part of her past – and to start to make connections with Ellie. [ Probably something we’ve all wanted to see for way too long]
    If we hadn’t been bright enough to see where the season is heading – I think 4.15 points all the characters toward their end of season destiny.
    Strap yourself in – and enjoy the ride : )

    • luckygirl says:

      I totally thought she said hussy.

      • Rick Holy says:

        I’m pretty sure it was “pussy.” After all, we’re talking about the “C.A.T.” squad here. 🙂

      • luckygirl says:

        Hmm. That’s kind of inappropriate for an 8pm show.

      • atcDave says:

        I definitely heard a “p”.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Actually “pussy” doesn’t really have the same singular connotation (sp?) that it used to have. Basically a “pussy” is a wimp. Now if they were have to used the word in regard to the “other” meaning, then that WOULD be inappropriate – and the censors would definitely not have allowed it.

        It’s kind of like “son of a bitch.” That used to be waaaaaay off limits. Yet on LOST, it was about 1/3 of Sawyer’s vocabulary! 🙂

      • luckygirl says:

        Sorry, I don’t want to seem like a big prude. I’ve just never heard it on an 8pm show before. Kind of shocked.

  7. patty says:

    I also liked that Chuck went to Ellie for advice, FINALLY, just because the spy stuff is secret shouldn’t have meant that Chuck couldn’t discuss regular stuff with her!

    Of course I am way past ready for Ellie to find out about Chuck’s career and deal with it!

    My whole family died when Chuck said Amy was the mole because who can be that perky. I said about the same thing 10 minutes earlier.

    • I also liked that Chuck went to Ellie for advice, FINALLY.

      Yes.

      We finally got our Ellie/Sarah scene! Even two! That was great. Also I loved that we saw Sarah asking Ellie to be her made of honor. That’s a big step for Sarah.

      • thinkling says:

        Ellie’s ba-ack. Last week the scene with mom was great. This week, three, count ’em three, big sister scenes.

        Sarah’s growth was huge this week.

        Finally. 🙂

      • DaveB says:

        “You never know, maybe we can add another member to the squad” I think is a little bit of fortune telling on the part of TPTB. As we were obliquely reminded last week, spying is in the family history. Ellie may become more than just MoH for Sarah.

    • thinkling says:

      That perky line was hilarious, making Chuck right all night long.

    • joe says:

      Heh! Didn’t say it, but I certainly thought it! 😉

  8. herder says:

    Another fun episode, not as much fun as Seduction Impossible but still pretty fun. I sort of got the impression that Nicholas Wooten was writing with a check list beside him; girls night out check, awkward Morgan moment check, Chuck and Ellie talk check, girl fight check, Casey moment check, Chuck and Sarah moment check, Ellie and Sarah talk check. Having said that the check list does contain some pretty good elements and in the end it was fun.

    Interesting that despite the worries, there was no dirtying of Sarah’s past. I’ve watched it again already with fast forward through slower parts, unlike last week with Seduction Impossible where there was no fast forward. Also Chuck was worried that he had screwed up trying to help Sarah but no hint that he thought that he could loose her over a screw up “I’m sure she still loves you”. A stable if tumultuous relationship.

    So mom not only exists but she is still out there, Casey is still thinking about Kathleen, set up for two of the stories for the rest of the year, any bets that Kathleen will be Casey’s date for the wedding? Sarah has chosen her brides mates and matron of honour, it’ll be good to see Carina and Zondra again, no Amy though, two blonds for the team was one too many.

    Bottom line, it was fun and leaves me wanting more, what more can you ask of the show.

    • atcDave says:

      Great point Herder about the stable relationship. I was also pleased they didn’t play that for angst and resolved it quickly. Chuck and Sarah still have their issues but I don’t think they even count as “crap communicators” anymore. They mostly deal with issues as they come up, as a couple should.

      • Katsumaro says:

        Agreed. They seem to be a lot better with their communication (it has been a bit since that episode about their ‘communication’ after all), and it being resolved quickly was great. A nice moment with Sarah and her ring.. so that appeals to the shippers out there, though I’ll be surprised if some don’t jump on Sarah for biting Chuck’s head off. I’d be like “Hello? He sort of deserved it there!” ..haha.

      • Paul says:

        I actually liked Sarah biting Chuck’s head off. While he’s coming from good intentions, sometimes he doesn’t think before he acts.

    • odysszeuss says:

      JEPP, Herder,

      I had that check list feeling, too… 😉

  9. atcDave says:

    Okay, the burning issue to me; will Sarah’s Boxster have more lives than Jim Rockford’s Firebird or did we just see the end of an era? I NEED to know! (great cheesy CG explosion by the way!)

    Very fun episode. Of course I’m of that exact age; Charlie’s Angels premiered as I entered my teens; so this episode had a special sort of nostalgia appeal to me.
    I’d call it a stand-alone, at least in terms of the “a” plot. But I think we saw some big moments for the characters. Especially Sarah and Ellie, that was the closest they’ve been ever. We’ve speculated that Ellie might still harbor some resentment towards Sarah about her brothers spy career or some such; but that would seem to be a non-issue. I really LOVE the idea of Ellie being more involved in a story where she doesn’t seem like a ninny; and big sister to both Chuck and Sarah would seem to fit the bill.
    Still not sure if we’ll see Jack Burton again or not, obviously his story gives them an easy out of Gary Cole is unavailable. It seems conclusive that Sarah’s mom IS alive, which probably guarantees we’ll meet her before the wedding. Did they just commit to at least one more Carina episode? It sure sounded like it to me (Carina remains one of those characters I love to hate. Like a live hand grenade she makes everything interesting). No opinion about Zondra, just not an interesting character to me at this point.
    Low point for Chuck, tripping through the skylight, OOPS! Loved him making good though in the final scuffle; but dang if Amy wasn’t as tough as Miss Walker herself! (Love that Chuck still won’t hit a girl; too funny, my kind of hero!)
    I loved the final party scene. Sweet moments for Chuck and Sarah, and Ellie and Sarah in particular.

    • Katsumaro says:

      Yeah.. agreed on the Chuck not hitting a girl thing. It was so easy for him to toss her or something, but he still refused to, Haha. I also loved Chuck’s convo with Sarah even during dangerous times.

      The scenes with Sarah and Ellie were *so* overdue, you know? So glad we’re seeing some of that. I can’t wait to see them conspiring together about the wedding and leaving Chuck out of it instead of it being Chuck and Sarah with no mention of Ellie.

      As far as another Carina ep goes.. please, I hope so. That’d be great. Maybe push her and Casey together? Two personalities clash once more.

      • atcDave says:

        So Carina was blown off by “Martin” this week; Maybe Casey will blow her off for the wedding?!
        Chuck still trying to apologize while Sarah is fearing for is life was funny. I’ve occasionally been annoyed by his talking at inopportune times, but I liked that scene; Sarah’s feelings matter more to him than the killer across the room.

        It would be funny to see Chuck get cut out of some aspect of the wedding planning by a now conspiring Sarah and Ellie. I mean c’mon, that’s not really the guys job anyway. Meddling sister seems much more traditional.

    • Gringo Chuck Fan says:

      They needed just one shot of a CAT Squad gals in a red bathing suite – aka Farrah Fawcett tribute…

    • PeterOinNJ says:

      It wasn’t CG. They actually blew it up on the lot! There was a lot of tweeting gong on from the lot the week it happened.

    • odysszeuss says:

      it thought it was a 911 convertible and sometimes a coupe, never a boxster… 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Obviously I’m not really a Porsche guy! Yeah I was just looking at pictures and I guess it was a 911. Geez, I thought a Boxster was pushing it on a Feds salary!

  10. Gringo Chuck Fan says:

    Ok – not a criticism – this is an actual question:
    What guy digs up his girls old friends – and then hangs around?
    Was he doing this for Sarah? or so he could find out more about her past?

    Something BIG this way comes… from the past of Sarah Walker!!!
    I love the way they are building these back stories! Whatever it is – its going to be really good – hopefully not to painful/emotional to watch… as effective as they are at building empathy – I’m just a big puddle when they pull us into those traps.

    • atcDave says:

      Fair question. I just thought it was funny that Chuck expected something so mundane as drinks and party mix. While the girls were planning clubbing in Miami.

    • weaselone says:

      To be fair, Sarah seemed quite uncomfortable about reconnecting with people from her past so Chuck probably anticipated being there for support if necessary. That’s not how it turned out anyway as the C.A.T. Squad apparently went on a nation wide bender that ended with Sarah having a massive hangover and the CATs crashing on Chuck’s floor and in Morgan’s bed to what appeared to be Chuck’s surprise and Morgan’s consternation.

    • joe says:

      Well, my big question is: Who actually *did* know that Gorbachev could dance so well? Hum???

  11. jason says:

    loved the episode, I am positive that surprises nobody here, my perfect kind of episode. I have been shipping ‘sallie’ (SA-rarh & eLLIE) since early season 3 – FINALLY I got my two together, and on valentines day, you’da thunk?

    Anyhow, did anyone else notice as Sallie were hugging at the very end, the cat club’s voice over said something like see kitties can play nice, maybe we can add another – he almost had to be talking about ellie – holy cow – I would love it so much – ellie on a cat club mission – oh boy.

    • atcDave says:

      well you know that was my kind of episode too Jason.

      Its too bad John Forsyth just passed (last year I think?); it would have been great to get him for the voice over.

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

    OK first off, I liked this episode. I was entertained for an hour, so what more could you ask for. It would have been too hilarious if after the night out, while waking up, Chuck would have told Sarah that he never noticed that tattoo before just to scare her.

    I will say this. It’s the second time that Sarah has blown up at Chuck in front of everyone, which I don’t generally mind because it seems so real. But unfortunately (although not as bad as the, “NO, your not” time) this time it also gets swept up into Chucks ever forgiving heart. It just irks me that these potentially dramatic moments lead to nowhere.

    Oh and the Chuck & Sarah theme (that’s what I call it) made an appearance in the final bedroom scene. Excellent since I miss that tune.

    • joe says:

      Heh! A tatoo gag like that *would* be funny. Chuck could pull it off. Once. 😉

      A Chuck&Sarah theme? I’ll have to listen for that now! Thanks.

      • herder says:

        I don’t know if I ‘d call it a Chuck and Sarah theme, but it is one of Tim Jones’s themes for the show. The one that got me is the big party in the courtyard and having a Cure-esque band playing, initially I was trying to figure out which of their songs it was, until the vocals and it was clear that it wasn’t Robert Smith. That and bringing back an old standby (for the show) Franz Ferdinand.

    • uplink2 says:

      Yea only the second time this season I think for the Charah theme. The other was Leftovers.

      There were so many great things about this episode. It really had the feel good feeling of DeLorean, Role Models or even Seduction 1. This is the kind of episode they do well and need to do more of. Predictable in spots sure but a lot of fun in execution.

      Loved the Chuck Sarah scene where she tells him to never stop helping her and that he was perfect. It was the absolute perfect thing to say to him at that moment. The scene with the girls was what I was hoping for from Carina coming back, they just added another girl to the mix. Glad Zondra will be coming back for the wedding.

      And the long awaited Ellie/Sarah scene. Sarah is still very awkward around Ellie, the confident Doctor with the perfect life, the perfect husband, and the perfect child. Who wouldn’t be intimidated but Ellie Woodcomb? But I loved that Ellie told her that they will talk about Sarah and her family and include Chuck later on. That was perfect as it also made the scene from First Fight mean so much more. And the look on Chuck’s face and his sigh of relief at the end was amazing. Watching the 2 most important women in his life building a bond in front of his eyes must have been a very special moment for him.

      All in all another example of why season 4 is my favorite by a mile.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        I totally loved Chuck in this episode. He was trying his best to make Sarah happy with the best of intentions. Sarah was initially very adamant and vociferous about not needing any help and it kind of felt like she was still reluctant to see Chuck helping her out – but the bedroom scene was awesome. Everyone needs help – even the great Sarah Walker – it was heartwarming that she acknowledged Chuck’s efforts in the end.

        And two Ellie/Sarah conversations. The ones which we had been hoping happened in Season 3. Better late than never. I loved both the scenes.

      • atcDave says:

        Good call about the S2 feel to this episode. Its one of those stand alones that would be perfect for getting friends and family hooked; especially guys in their late 40s who will have such fond memories of Charlie’s Angels.

      • joe says:

        I agree with you about Chuck, Genie. I liked the way he used his head, smoothed things over with Sarah and flashed at the same time.

        Multitasking!

  13. Snips says:

    pro
    Yvonne Strahovski
    Sarah Walker in every way
    Hangover Sarah!!!!.
    CAT Squad
    Morgan and Alex and Carina of course XD
    Cat fight
    Sarah and Ellie, a little forced, but okey

    contra
    Chuck himself in every way

    My complaining about Chuck as a character in this season is Unprintable.
    But I would love to get Josh Schwartz or Chris Fedak email address to tell them, KILL
    Chuck Bartowski
    and rename the Show Sarah Walker.
    Chuck is the most disgusting character in this season so far.In EVERY WAY.
    and this episode proved me again.
    It was a perfect opportunity for Chuck to make something awesome to impress the Girls, and so far, He is nothing but an Idiot.
    Every time when they bring a Bad ass character, you see how annoying Chuck really is.
    Cole, Bryce , Shaw now Cat Squad, and .
    Even the Chuck and Sarah relationship is only matter because of Sarah Walker, nothing more nothing less.
    To me, if Chuck get an episode like phase three where He need to save Sarah, and Every one I mean Every one, Casey, Morgan, Ellie , Devon Alex, Cole , Mama B, Jack Burtun, CAT Squad , just watching How Awesome, Bad Ass , Dangerous, Evil and . Chuck really is , just becasue he wants to Save Sarah, it would be not enough to me.
    Chuck season 4 saved by Yvonne Strahovski.
    I can safe to say this after 15 episode.

    But overall it was good episode, becasue of Yvonne Strahovski

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      Wow! What passion and zest. 🙂 You must really love Chuck Bartowski – how else could anyone get so upset about a character and his actions.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, I think you’re being a bit hard on Chuck. I do agree, though, that this episode was hardly his finest hour . It feels like the writers were going out of their way to make him seem extra lame tonight.

      • Snips says:

        Thank you. Exactly.
        But, this is how I feel so far, I don’t realy mind the Nerd Chuck , but sometimes they make him to fool and unlucky. sometimes they go too far with this. and not only just this season, but in this season is the most irritating
        But
        Imagine a scenario like this
        in the last scene, where Chuck is in the Buy More. Zondra say something like, He is gonna die. Sarah : No if he has a plan, or something like this.
        They can make, Chuck lose the key when he is fight with Lou Daimond Phillips, and Amy try to escape , Cat squad show up, captured her, and then they see Chuck take out the bad guy . and now the bigger picture is more likable.
        or something like that

        and when people say, OMG Ellie and Chuck, yeah, Ellie is always gonna say some positive thing about Chuck She is He’s sister , they have a good relationship, except the lie part about the Spy stuff, but that is just matter of time. That is why I love Jack Burtunk, He is accepted Chuck as Sarah’s boyfriend.
        We know why Sarah love Chuck or we think we know , but other people like Carina need to see a capable Chuck

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        I beg to differ. The only lame moment would be him falling down through the skylight, but even then he took out three goons. The fallout of his accident was that Sarah couldn’t extract the mole’s identity at that point but if you remember, his research into the CAT squad’s movements in Milan helped Sarah and Zondra to arrive at the correct conclusion.

        And regarding the emotional front – his intentions were gold and even Sarah admitted at the end that she dos require his help.

      • weaselone says:

        It’s doubtful that the Lou Diamond Phillips character would have given up the mole to Sarah regardless of whether Chuck had fallen through the sky light. Sarah was obsessed with proving the mole was Zondra so that’s the name that he would have given her, not Amy who he would have needed in order to make his escape.

    • atcDave says:

      While I would agree Yvonne Strahovski is the main draw of the show, I don’t really agree with your take on Chuck. I love how he is enthusiastic and eager to please. Ellie nailed it why he is easy (for most of us) to love. I was okay with Sarah being cranky about his meddling, but I loved how forgiving she was in the end; Sarah has no idea how to preserve or restore relationships and Chuck is a master at it.
      I also loved how Chuck proved himself at the end. He took down the big baddie alone and still refused to hit a girl! A perfect hero and gentleman, too funny. I would think he proved himself quite well to Sarah’s friends at that point; and he incidently left collaring their traitorous team-mate to the ladies.

  14. alladinsgenie4u says:

    JC, is you are not gone (hopefully) and still reading the posts – I was reminded of you when it was Chuck who ended up apologizing for what he had done (although I thought he was not at fault) 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      To be honest, that bothered me, too. But only because he was so sheepish about the whole thing. I miss the days when Chuck would actually fight with Sarah, rather than stand around looking contrite while she yells at him. Here it felt less like a couple having an argument than a child being reprimanded by his mother.

      • Katsumaro says:

        I dunno. I talked about this on Twitter with Genie, but I looked at that as a sort of.. hrm. What’s the word. Basically, Sarah warned him that this sort of stuff could happen (with the CAT Squad in town), and Chuck did royally screw up when he let the baddie escape before forging over the identity of the mole. The Sarah Walker we saw there with Chuck was more of Agent Walker, and not Sarah the girlfriend/soon-to-be-Mrs. Bartowski, you know?

        That’s all I got out of the scene. That and I actually laughed when Chuck was like.. “Yeah, I deserved that.”

        As far as him being made to be more of a joke this episode, well the skylight scene aside, his efforts were all quite genuine as Sarah basically told him at the end when she told him to not stop with the helping. She’s just trying to grow into this more ‘normal’ person (as normal as a super hot, superspy can be that is), and it’s just taking her a while.

      • atcDave says:

        I was quite happy with the way Chuck regretted his meddling. He was butting in where he wasn’t wanted, he has to expect a certain amount of backlash. Its one of those things where you’re a hero if it works, a doofus if it doesn’t. There really isn’t any in between, so when things went wrong Chuck felt like a doofus. Sarah didn’t look her best scolding Chuck when he was already down either.
        But the beautiful thing this season is how they both apologize for their own actions. Chuck apologized for meddling and Sarah apologized for over-reacting. I thought that was perfect and sweet.

      • I was quite happy with the way Chuck regretted his meddling.

        Me too. Especially the fact that he agreed to let the issue of her family go for now. I hope he really does it. Sarah needs to make the decision to reconcile with her family or not herself. I hated how Chuck tried to force things on her, before even knowing what was the issue. So I’m happy they found middle ground with this, Sarah telling Chuck that she does need his help, and him saying he’ll respect her wish regarding her family.

    • Tamara Burks says:

      I thought he shouldn’t have been yelled at either.He tried asking her and got nowhere (it seems like that double standard on revelations is still active where Chuck has to come clean about everything and Sarah nothing) and after years of getting nowhere just going ahead and doing something really is his best shot to get some kind of positive response .

      I do think that Sarah is realizing the effect of her standoffishness at least (at least I hope so) when he says he won’t help and she acts quickly to reassure him and tell him to help.

      And I lke the idea of Sarah and Ellie talking, now if Sarah had told Ellie her name (or Casey) it would’ve been great because they are people who have earned her trust and that she can open up to . With Elllie she can talk to her about Chuck and about any doubts that things will go horribly wrong with her and Chuck’s future and it makes sense because Ellie is not only her friend but Chuck’s substitute mother.

  15. Robert H says:

    First the good news, the episode was entertaining on the whole. Great to see the Carina
    character back again. The interactions with Morgan were fun to watch.

    Now the bad news which I’ll try to keep short since I seem to be saying it every week
    anyway knowing it ‘s going to be very much a minority point of view. The Chuck character once again comes across as simply pathetic, sad to watch really. I watch the
    show not for the Chuck character but in spite of him. Screws up the mission demonstrating his usual spy incompetence with his silly tranq gun, then spends the
    next half of it constantly apologizing and begging forgiveness for his errors, even to the point of still apologizing as 2 killers are trying to take him out in the store, then says he
    can’t hit a woman, even when that woman is a trained assassin trying to kill him. Then he starts to apologize again before the party starts. The scene where he is carrying out his marching orders from Sarah lugging all of the suitcases made him look like a bad
    bellhop in a hotel and then of course he gets zinged again from his sister. Ellie was right
    of course but he still ends up looking like a doofus. Do the writers want to completely
    feminize this character or maybe Schwartz & Fedak want to? The more episodes I
    watch, even though on the whole they are entertaining, the less I think there will be a
    5th season. The show is running out of storylines and credibility. It just isn’t the same
    show and it never will be again. If it does get cancelled, I will miss it much less now than I would have two years ago prior to season 3 which for me is a really sad thing to have to say. As long as the episodes continue to entertain, I will continue to watch despite my deep dislike for what has been done to the Chuck character. I just wonder
    how Zach Levi really feels about the character he plays now as opposed to the character he portrayed in seasons 1 and 2. Would love to ask him but even if that were
    possible it would be highly unlikely to get a straight answer for obvious reasons.

    Wonder what the ratings will be. If they continue to tank for a 3rd straight week…..
    Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

  16. Katsumaro says:

    Jeez, talk about some harsh criticism on Chuck’s character. So lemme get this straight. He goes all badass mode with the fighting-type flashes, kicks major tail, owns everything in his path… and it’s too mundane because he’s not smart Chuck anymore. Okay, so Chuck tries to help Sarah out by delving into her past with the CAT Squad, even if it sorta comes back to bite him in the behind for a bit (until the end), and is relegated to boyfriend taking care of things while she’s out on a mission.. and it’s feminizing him? Okay… I guess he should have just told her to carry her own luggage?

    Another thing. Is Chuck a spy with a ton of time into the job? No. He’s still a regular guy, but let’s not forget how much the intersect helps him. That and I’m pretty sure he was worried about Sarah, and that glass up there needs to get checked, seriously! Haha. Yeah, he may be an official spy, but as we’ve seen in missions past over the years, even the best like Sarah can mess up. He still took out the goons at the bottom, though!

    Plus yeah, he was trying to say sorry (not so much beg for forgiveness, though we may be seeing that differently), but I saw it as endearing and not ‘lame’. Plus.. I don’t think I remember a time when Chuck’s ever hit a woman in the entire series, so what’s the big deal? I guess we should change his character so he hits them (the evil ones obviously) so it’d ‘toughen up’ his character or something? He has morals. That’s something Sarah loves about him; the fact that he hasn’t been turned ‘dark’ sort of like Casey, while he’s been a spy.

    No, there’s been a lot of this complaining over Chuck as a character. Yeah, he has his faults, but who doesn’t? His major fault is he tries too hard to solve problems, as Ellie and Sarah talked about. That could sometimes come across as annoying, but it was even said in the actual episode. That was the point. I’m not trying to white knight for the series, or anything, because I do agree that some of the episodes have been rather lackluster, but to pick on Chuck’s character for what I see are faults that I’d love to have.. well I find that beyond silly.

    • SWnerd says:

      I agree entirely. People have been really critical of Chuck this season but I don’t really see anything that he’s done wrong. I still love the character. No he’s not the greatest spy in the world who’s all suave and smooth but he’s not supposed to be. He’s Chuck the goofy lovable nerd who also happens to be a pretty resourceful and proficient spy, just not in the traditional sense. I thought it was funny when he fell through the skylight but was still able to tranq everyone as he was spinning around.

      And as far as him trying to fix things for Sarah, well that’s also something that I love about the character. He did offer to be her baggage handler and he has the best of intentions. He just wants her to be happy and I think it’s sweet that he tries so hard. Plus Sarah did thank him for it in the end.

      • atcDave says:

        Agree entirely Katsumaro and Herder. They’ve done a great job of keeping him an ordinary, decent guy even though he has super-powers and a “big fish” for a fiancée.

        great catch about the “baggage handler”! Sometimes its more literal than others.

    • PeterOinNJ says:

      I have voiced concern about the lack of “Chuck the Hero” this season, but I can’t say that about this episode. Chuck was in character, had great insights and in the end, saved the day. He’ll never hit a woman – that’s totally in character. And he really was not a buffoon in the episode, even with the meddling he was Chuck. If anything, I think that Sarah reverting to Crown Vic Sarah had more to do with how Chuck might have been perceived, only this time, he couldn’t be accused of “faking a flash”.
      Good episode and good ending!

      • I agree. They may have gone a little too far with Chuck’s meddling and Sarah’s anger, but I still think it was in character.

        And I liked the ending.

      • thinkling says:

        Good observation Peter, about Sarah’s anger.

        Chuck was Chuck, in both spy mode and personal mode. I think Sarah was in character, but out of sorts, if that makes any sense.

        Loved the episode. Really loved the whole ending and the Ellie moments.

    • Merve says:

      I have been very critical of Chuck’s character this season, and I stand by that. He’s been whiny, neurotic, and incompetent to the point of annoying me immensely. But that criticism doesn’t apply to this episode. For one thing, he didn’t whine about Sarah wanting him to butt out. Moreover, he showed some smarts (the DVD throwing stars), and he took down a bunch of bad guys. That’s much more like the kind of Chuck that I’d like to see in future episode, and I hope that the kind of Chuck who can’t steal purses or sneezes on missions disappears permanently.

  17. jason says:

    I just rewatched. Let me start by saying this makes 22 straight episodes where I am satisfied. Cat Squad will not make my top 5, nor my bottom 12 plus, I simply enjoyed it.

    I like how Sarah’s past is getting fleshed (what a great sarah word) out. My overall impression is sarah knows who her mother is, where she is, and they just won’t, don’t or can’t be together? Would seem the issue will get explored in this arc – seemingly in a realistic way possibly with ellie’s help – minimally, the last scene implied Ellie would get involved with Sarah Walker’s indoctrination into becoming more of a real girl, really looking forward to all of that.

    As far as Sarah’s dad it appears sarah would love for him to be at the wedding, but he is on the run from the law, my spitball is Sarah is going to ask Casey to walk her down the isle and casey will accept, but selfless Casey’s wedding gift to sarah is going to be Jack Burton’s arm (ok, and his body too), and somehow the colonel fix things with the law?

    The only other real issue floating around as result of this ep is chuck’s girlish ways, I have no doubt, the writers are trying to find that S1/S2 vibe with / for Chuck B, like many things in this show. They probably have tried a little too hard. I was hoping Chuck would really impress Sarah’s friends somehow. I suppose they could have been impressed by his slowing down the baddies in the buymore. But if so, then the writers have to tell that story with dialog, almost seemed the opposite, with the line, what is he doing shopping. Although it was nice sarah said he has a plan and she did look sort of confident, she had to add something like I hope to ruin the moment.

    Cat Squad reminded me a great deal of the ‘other guy’ in terms of my liking the ep, i.e. 3×13. In both eps, there were scenes that I could rewatch over and over and over, others that will be subject to the dreaded FF button on first rewatch – I won’t get into that, at the risk of sounding negative, my dislike for one character need not repeat itself yet again, the use of the FF button is between myself and him.

    I am worried about viewership numbers, as if 4×13 and 4×14 didn’t start to cause a bit of an uptick in the numbers say into the 1.8 to 2.0 demo numbers, I am not sure there is an uptick to be had – I don’t think on its own, 4×15 will contribute to stronger numbers going forward if 4×13&14 didn’t don’t do the trick? The only other positive coming soon, is the event is slightly stronger than the cape, and might get chuck a needed boost, maybe a .1 boost, but still, at this point, each .1 is golden. Conversely, if the show dropped into the 1.5/1.6 range last night this early in the season, I am afraid the bear may finally have caught chuck’s scent …. I just don’t see anything coming up which will fix those numbers, in spite of my own personal enjoyment of the show.

    We will know in about 4 hours?

    • Michael says:

      @jason

      >> I just don’t see anything coming up which will fix those numbers, in spite of my own personal enjoyment of the show.

      Have any shows ever come back afrter sliding in the ratings? I can think of dozens where the ratings just slowly slid downwards and the show finally disappeared, but has it ever happened where a show regained its earlier success?

      Just curious.

      • armysfc says:

        the only on i can think of was JAG back in the day. it moved from nbc to cbs after nbc canceled it after 1 season. it ran for 9 years after the change.

      • jason says:

        my best hope for chuck has 3 prongs and an outside shot:

        1-that the ‘vivian’ mini arc trips the trigger of some of the fans of the more ‘spy clever’ chuck fan base, while the impending wedding holds a steady course to port for the shipper base

        2-that chuck, the event and harry’s law help each other find maybe a 2.2/2.0/2.2 fan base to watch, as opposed to the current 1.7/1.3/1.7 with the cape sandwhiched in there

        3-that some of the lost shipper fans from season 3 get reintroduced by making a ‘wedding’ painfully obvious and clear

        my outside hope is that the wedding is moved up and spoiled via EPK’s, this might get fans back to watch the wedding, and would give them something to look forward to watch after the wedding ep. In this far out hope, “Volkov’ is brought down by the team after the wedding, which would separate this season from season 2’s wedding story – and sort of create 3 arcs, the mama b arc, the wedding arc, and the volkov final confrontation mini arc.

      • herder says:

        Jason, there is another possibility, a 13 episode order for Friday nights, the network has to air something on Fridays.

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t know exact numbers but MASH teetered on the brink early in its run, and then again with the arrival of BJ Hunnicutt (1st and 4th seasons) but was ultimately one of the most successful shows in history.
        Not that I expect such extremes for our nerd, but a few more seasons is not out of the question just because ratings are weak.

      • Michael says:

        @jason

        >> EPK’s

        ???

        And didn’t the team already take down Volkoff? Or was that just a dream I had a few weeks back?

      • atcDave says:

        Michael, EPK is Electronic Press Kit. It’s the bundle of promos and extra features the network makes available to affiliates and media to promote the episode. Jason is suggesting (and I agree with him) that making a big deal out of the pending wedding might draw back some of those viewers who left in S3.
        Volkoff was only arrested. We know Dalton will be back at some point (probably the end of the season), probably to be taken down again.

    • luckygirl says:

      We also still have Daylight Savings Time and Dancing With The Stars to worry about pretty soon.

    • armysfc says:

      jason, its been debated long and hard on the ratings. i believe TPTB put all their eggs in one basket for the episodes 4.11-4.13. this was going to be the big push to get the show renewed. they tried to bring the 2 big things of the show to the forefront, relationship and mythology. 11 centered on the proposal and led into the mythology in 12 and 13 concluded them both. i believe they also knew it was a dangerous path they were taking. they went to great lengths in the promos to show important things. in the one for 12 they made sure that we knew that sarah was against killing casey by having him say push me, they showed sarah coming back and kissing chuck. these were pretty big reveals. i think it was keep the fans fears of it going to dark at bay.

      for what ever reason the arc was not as well received as they had hoped and the ratings slid during it. i have no idea how they can regain the viewers again. it was pointed out in another thread the is a big divide in the fan base. based on numbers its hard to tell which part of the fan base is slowly fading away. lets just hope it stays where its at.

  18. First Timer says:

    I think Nick Wootton is a good writer, but not for Chuck. I don’t think he gets the characters or the balance or how the characters have moved over the years. He’s cashing a paycheck on this show. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but this isn’t a good show for him. I hope he gets himself something that intellectually engages him going forward.

    This episode is almost literally a rewrite, tonally, of Wookies. Throughout the episode, the Chuck and Sarah characters are acting as if it is Season 1 Episode 4. Chuck is blundering, but effective, and acts as if he has no clue about who Sarah is and what pushes her buttons. Sarah is raging at him for his mistakes and his interference. And, in the tag, Chuck apologizes for misunderstanding and Sarah offers a version of the Lisa moment.

    The problem, of course, is that the characters simply wouldn’t act that way NOW. What worked tonally in Wookies doesn’t work in Cat Squad. You’ve had immense growth in the Sarah character so she wouldn’t snap at Chuck and his (perceived) mistakes as she snapped at him in Wookie. And Chuck would be (somewhat) smarter than he was in Wookie about how he intrudes into Sarah’s past. And while Chuck WOULD continue to ask forgiveness in a moment when he should be concentrating on the mission, Sarah NOW wouldn’t blow him off the way she did here.

    Yet that’s what we got: Wookies repacked four years after Chuck and Sarah supposedly understand more about each other. It’s these kinds of emotional missteps with the characters that make the show nearly impossible to take seriously even on the relationship side. We always shrug out shoulders when the spy drama is lacking. But when they mess up the emotional life of the star characters, man, it makes the show hard to take.

    Two other problems with the episode:
    –It was way too crowded. A four-woman CAT squad was unweildy from a storytelling technique. It would have been better if they left Carina out and brought her back at another time. Bringing her back in this episode meant there still had to be TWO other CAT squad members so that Sarah’s incorrect assessment of the traitor could then be moved to the real baddie. And you couldn’t have Carina as the baddie, so suddenly there are four CAT squaders. The crowding also meant that there was nothing for Lou Diamond Phillips to do.
    — The Chuck-won’t-hit-a-girl gimmick doesn’t work anymore. The Chuck-won’t-kill meme is worthy as an ongoing theme. But the won’t-hit-a-girl? When the “girl” is a killer trying to kill him? Shouldn’t the Intersect have a way for Chuck to neutralize someone without punching a girl in the face? It’s not that it emasculates the character, it’s that when you add up all of Chuck’s “rules,” he does become an ineffective field agent. It would have been better for Chuck to have been given a way to neutralize Amy without hitting her. But, of course, that entire scene was actually a set up to allow one shot: a “battered” but victorious CAT squad. And when you’re writing scenes just to get to one shot, it’s not a good scene.

    • joe says:

      Great observation about the tone being like Wookie, FT. But I think the Morgan-Alex story adds enough to make it feel unique enough. – At least, for my tastes.

      Interesting about the “Chuck-won’t-hit-a-girl” rule. Actually, all Chuck-rules come down to the limits imposed on us, on boys in particular. They’re the ingrained tics that feel restrictive at times and frustratingly impossible to overcome at others. They make us uncertain and unsure of ourselves.

      “Why didn’t you stop that man???”
      “I didn’t know he was a purse snatcher!”

      They may make weak excuses for failure to be heroic in a story, but they’re also very real encumbrances in daily life, like molasses.

      • First Timer says:

        @joe:
        Being a woman, I don’t want a man hitting me. Well, anyone hitting me…

        But the problem is that Chuck as a show has been pretty good at showing women as equal-opportunity bad guys. So if you’re attacked by a woman with a bo or a knife or a gun, I trust you would defend yourself…

        Chuck, the character, faces bad-guy women all the time. And while it’s hilarous when, in Honeymooners, he doesn’t want to hit a girl and Sarah swings around and says “I will!”, it can’t continue. In last night’s episode, with the mission (such as it was) at stake, he had to act.

        If Chuck won’t kill (admirable), won’t fight women (admirable, but…) and is still mistake- and emotion-prone (both understandable), he becomes a bad field agent. He might as well stay in the car (which, of course, we know isn’t safe either). So it strains credulity on the show to have him so constricted in life- and mission-threatening situations. And now the joke is old.

        I really, really didn’t want him to punch Amy in the face. But I didn’t want him giving up because he won’t fight a trained assassin who just happens to be a woman.

        As to the Morgan-Alex angle, I agree. I wasn’t talking about the episode as a whole. I was just pointing out that Wootton repeated the tone of Wookies in the Chuck-Sarah interaction and that the show has taken the characters far beyond that. The TONE of their interaction in this episode was simply way off and I think it goes to Wootton’s discomfort with this particular genre.

        Compare it to last week’s episode. As I pointed out, Fedak hit a VERY familiar theme (run or stay) for him. But the Chuck-Sarah interaction seemed right for where the characters are NOW in Season 4. It wasn’t a rerun of the stuff in Season 2’s Seduction.

  19. chuck says:

    At the end it said something about there being a possibility of another CAT member while looking at Ellie and Sarah, after-all Ellie’s family are spies could she be one?

  20. OldDarth says:

    These CATS have no claws.

    Pretty pedestrian effort. Really disliked how Chuck and Sarah were both made subservient to the plot. Disliked Sarah berating Chuck in front of the other CATS. Shades of Fear of Death. Really, really disliked Chuck taking it. Disliked Sarah’s cutting down of Chuck. He could have been cut on the glass.

    Carina with Morgan sounded much better on paper than in execution.

    This one really lost its momentum from the Rio scene and on. The stupid and contrivance sticks were out in full force from the breaking ceiling glass on. Lou Diamond Philips – La Bamba! – did the best he could do with the material he had to work with.

    The show has always been about relations but it is the spy missions that drive them. When the missions are weak then the relationship payoffs are underwhelming because of it.

    Not much funny in this episode either.

    Loved the long, long overdue Sarah/Ellie scenes.

  21. silvercat says:

    I usually try not to nitpick, but actually Ellie will be her “matron of honor” because she’s a married woman. Overall a fun episode, with real strong relationship development. I was getting pretty tired oft Carina toying with Morgan, and was happy to see she did apologize at the end of the ep.

    • joe says:

      My wife said the exact same thing the second she heard “maid of honor”. 😉

    • atcDave says:

      I think “matron of honor” is becoming an obsolete term. Matron sounds dreadfully old to most people, and I think its unlikely to be used in most wedding parties regardless of actual status.

      • silvercat says:

        Well, I live in the South, but it’s still very much in use in weddings here.

      • atcDave says:

        We’ve been to weddings where it is appropriate, and I’d say it’s about 50/50 on if it’s used or not.
        By the way, I’m in the Midwest. My guess would be the traditional terminology is more commonly used in the south, and less common on the coasts.

  22. Gringo Chuck Fan says:

    Wow – I sense a collective case of Cat Scratch Fever…. I’m a wee bit baffled by the critical responses. I had a chance to rewatch [ early this morning – or late last night]
    – 4.15 was lots of fun!
    I don’t think it reflects badly on Chuck…. Sarah snapping at Chuck is not so much a rehash of old themes… but an outward display of her current mental/emotional state.
    The stress of “going through the motions” for this wedding… – then all the baggage with her old Squad… On top of that there’s Chuck. Last week he found out that he’s not really listening to Sarah. Talking – yes. Hearing her word – yes…. but not understanding. When Sarah gets stressed – she’s loud and direct…. Fury is a lost art.
    [hmmm, I know someone like that.]
    Its a family ‘climate’ thing… I grew up in a warring tribe – pretty loud – some big erruptions – but then its over and everything calms down. My wife cannot deal with that… and its taken a long time for me to let go of ‘the dark side’…
    Whats unusual in the Chuck and Sarah dynamic – is that they seem to have their gender roles reversed when it comes to confilict resolution… well, good luck with that.
    So what are folks expecting? For Sarah to never get angry or stressed? For Chuck to never make any mistakes?… well, good luck with that.
    Its like the opposite of Edith and Archy Bunker – I think Sarah finds some comfort in hanging on to her anger…. its probably a healthy outlet… maybe not quite ready to open up ‘Pandora’s Box’ to Chuck completely yet. Its fun watching her stress and her tension as Chuck starts to find out more about his bride to be. The shoe seems to be on the other foot…. we saw moments of Chuck insecure about ” Landing a Big Fish”… and now its Sarah with her insecurities showing. There are lots of things in her past that she wants to leave in the past. Methinks its not a question of Chuck’s understanding, love and forgiveness – but whether Sarah can deal with those things herself…. Makes for great story telling!

    • Paul says:

      Totally agree. I also think this is what DR was referring to in his comment about Sarah’s epiphany (which I guess is still upcoming) and his thoughts on people who pine for Sarah’s actions vs who she is.

    • herder says:

      I’ll agree with this Gringo, I tune into Chuck for a fun hour, that’s what last night was – fun. Not only that, I don’t see anything wrong with the way that Chuck’s character was written last night, that was the purpose of the first Ellie/Sarah talk, she holds back he rushes in, this is their characters. I don’t expect the fact that they are engaged to change who they are, but it is clear that both are trying to be better for the other.

      Chuck not being a “big fish” fit into the plot, the CATs weren’t overly impressed with him, but that wasn’t an issue for Sarah because she needs him as he is. Also, the use of the intersect fit this time, he is who he is with an extra set of skills grafted on.

      Bottom line is that I liked it, it wasn’t my favorite of the year but I liked it and was happy with it.

  23. Michael says:

    I loved the scene and the episode. It is still behind Honeymooners, but that is really unfair to this episode. 🙂

    Carina is my all time favorite non-regular cast member. Of any show. She has been on the show three times, but, her impact makes it felt throughout. You always wonder and want for her to make another appearance.

    She comes across as a bad ass, cold-hearted bitch. But, she was the one that gave Sarah that thumb drive with the Chuck video on it. For me, she will always have that gooey soft center. Although she might kick my ass for saying so.

    Okay, I admit it, I am so freaking enamored with her. I even put her in my fanfic as a Casey LI. Their attitudes towards each other are changing. Jarina? And, I finally beat the show to press with an Alex admission to loving Morgan. Rock on, Malex.

    Yeah, sorry, I became one of those.

  24. Rick Holy says:

    Well, according to TVBTN, we actually “held steady” at last week’s numbers. The first half hour we had a 1.8, the second half hour a 1.7. I think the premier of “Mad Love” on CBS probably hurt us a little in that second half-hour. It was promoted HEAVILY. One of our local Chicago new channels even showed people on Michigan avenue handing out free (Valentine’s Day) candy with “ads” for last nights premiere of “Mad Love” along with the candy. Who wouldn’t be interested in taking a peak at a show called “Mad Love” on Valentine’s Day.

    So if we want to see the glass as “half full,” we’re not dropping – we actually had a slight uptick, at least for the first half hour, and overall we held steady. “The Cape” continues to plummet. It’s on its way out the door.

    Bottom line, it could have been worse! And we can still continue to hope for better!

    • joe says:

      Well put, Fr. Rick. It’s a bit of a “good-news/bad-news” thing. With NBCs continuing problems, it’s more good than bad, I’m sure.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Actually, with the exception of “Mike and Molly” EVERYTHING dropped last night. And even though are numbers are low, we didn’t – we held steady. Let’s face it – Monday nights are murder for NBC. Both Chuck and Harry’s Law had 1.7’s – tied for the highest demo rating for the night.

        IF NBC renews Chuck, do they move it to another night – like a Friday – and hope it’s loyal 5 million fans will follow it in what would likely be its final season?

        Will be interesting to see what happens. I still think there’s hope. NBC/WB are making money off of this show, even with its low ratings. Ratings are down vs. last year, but you can say that about almost EVERY show on network TV. Last year our ratings weren’t much better, and we got a 24 episode order.

        I still think NBC is going to order a boat load of new pilots for the Fall. But looking at their success/failure rate over the past few seasons, it’s likely a good number would fail. They need to have SOMETHING in their “back pocket” to pull out and fill in the gaps for some of those Fall pilots which we know WILL get cancelled.

        So do they order MORE pilots for the back pocket? I doubt it. Establishing a new show costs money. You have to build new sets; audition and hire cast – as well as writers, producers, etc. It costs – and it’s a risk. I think CHUCK has a good chance of being a “back pocket” show for NBC next year. The cast and crew are in place, sets already built, etc. – and they’ll likely find even more ways to cut costs.

        We shall see. In the meantime, it’s SO important to keep re-watching episodes on NBC.COM and HULU.COM. Those “hits” count – not as much as Nielsen’s, but they DO count – otherwise NBC wouldn’t advetise so much to “watch again at NBC.COM!” Every little ounce of “viewer interest” in CHUCK is going to be needed – I think – to get another season. We’ve got to show that interest! I think we can – we have before!

      • Neve says:

        another season? seriously? I m sorry but in my opinion the show itself doesn’t want another season. I mean creatively it’s been in limbo for like a year, the whole writer reshuffle didn’t really produce anything fascinating in terms of storylines. It’s the same cliches over and over again … If you asked me 2 years ago I ‘d tell you there’s no way I ‘d ever get bored of Lester but now? I am sick and tired of them … same applies to many of the cliches (including the chuck/sarah cliches) the show just repeats and repeats and repeats.

        And the show this season looks downright amateur at times. Some of those green screen effects are seriously third rate. I mean obviously the budget has gotten SO tight, and with all the stunt casting we end up with sfx that wouldn’t seem out of place on public access.

        Sorry.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Opinions (and expectations) differ. A number of us are still deriving pleasure from watching the show. Is it a “masterpiece of television?” No. But to some it’s still entertaining. And a “bad” as it might be to others – and I respect that opinion – it still (for most of the season) did better than a number of NBC shows which if not already axed on their way to the chopping block.

        Let’s be honest, you don’t have to be a “great” show to stay around. Is 2.5 Men really a great show? Talk about repeating the same thing over and over and over ad nauseum. Let’s see, this episode Charlie Sheen’s character tries to get into some chick’s pants. Haven’t seen THAT before!

        CHUCK may be repeating some of the same elements – won’t argue that at all – but at the same time, there has been a different theme for each year of the show.

        Bottom line. There’s a lot worse crap out there on TV that’s popular – and is much more poorly written and executed than Chuck. So some of us hang with Chuck – even with it’s problems. I’ll take a 5th season of Chuck over DWTS, 2.5 Men, HIMYM, or a number of other shows ANY day.

      • atcDave says:

        Good comments Rick. Quality and longevity have rarely been linked on television. But I love Chuck more than ever. The growth we’ve seen in both characters and relationships is first rate. I’d love to see some of the fx budget restored, but its safe to say that will never happen. I watch mainly for the characters I love anyway.

      • armySFC says:

        Fr Rick, i have said this many times before, what one person may think is crap, another person thinks is good. i do agree with the themes on most shows repeat. any LAO is a good example. each show follows the same exact format time after time. the thing is that for those shows it works. it’s what the viewers of those shows want to see. the popularity and life of those shows supports that. i can’t say whether any of the shows that are more popular than chuck are better written or not. i think that’s up to each individual to decide.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Agreed! Neve leans towards the “Chuck is crap” side. I don’t. As I stated, opinions and expectations differ – even on this blog! 🙂 That’s what makes it interesting!!

      • atcDave says:

        You are completely right about that army. Many aspects of “quality” are highly subjective. And I do think Chuck looses some momentum by trying to be too many different things. For those of us who love the current balance there is nothing better; but we know there are many viewers who strongly prefer one aspect over another, or maybe even the balance that was unique to a particular season. So it seems there will always be a number of viewers who are not satisfied with whatever the current feel of the show may be. I fear that is unavoidable. We’ve had too many conversations where someone mentions their favorite episode or aspect of Chuck and someone else responds how they hated that very thing. For me they’ve got everything right this season, but it is obvious not everyone agrees.

      • joe says:

        So very true, Dave. These last two episodes have (intensionally) not hit upon those themes and moments that I personally love the most – the ones that Chuck has hit on historically. But at the same time, they’ve felt like a fun, welcome respite from the tension and romantic angst on which I seem to thrive.

        I love it, but in a different way. These past two weeks have shorn up the best moments like support beams this season.

      • armySFC says:

        dave i have always had a problem using quality to describe something as abstract as a tv show. ill explain. quality can have a defined standard such as in steel. there is a set tolerance that has to be met to fit a certain rating or hardness. if its not met it falls into a lower category.

        it can be subjective. a tv show really has no standards to meet does it (FCC standards excluded)? as long as the viewers watch it the networks are happy. when dealing with tv i have never been able to say if a show i like is better in quality than one i don’t watch. i just know what i like.

      • atcDave says:

        Army I think there are absolute issues of quality. For example, since the budget cuts after S2 we’ve seen clearly lower quality fx and stunt work. Sets are simpler, and many sloppy shots that probably would have been redone in earlier seasons have been forced to make do. These things may specifically be called “production quality”, and they are relative in the sense of comparing tv shows to each other; but those comparisons are often regarded as absolute, critical viewers can easily tell the difference between a well crafted show and a sloppy one.
        Similar things can be said about quality of writing and acting. Critical viewers can often recognize believable dialogue (or heavily plagiarized material) and convincing performances.

        The subjective element is about viewer taste. If you don’t like a particular genre or the way something is done, it is common to dismiss it as poor quality; but of course that is clearly subjective.

      • armySFC says:

        thanks dave!

      • Rick Holy says:

        Yeah, thanks, Dave! That was really well explained. You’re a “quality” guy! 😉

      • Neve says:

        Neve leans towards the Chuck used to be great but isnt anymore side.

        Some people are all about the Chuck/Sarah thing and they are happy so long as that ‘s there front and center. I m not, I prefered geek Chuck of season 2 slightly lost, slightly out of his depth, with a purpose to Superhero Chuck of season 4 that looks ridiculous, sounds ridiculous and has Morgan be what Chuck used to be. Nor do I appreciate the lack of purpose in the show, or originality. I m half expecting them to start searching for Sarah’s mum and auntie Harriet now they dealt with Chuck’s parents.

        And I also would prefer if they didn’t cast random “name” B actresses/actors and instead gave me better production values. I am sick and tired of sets that look like they were built up overnight in my basement, special effects that look like some newbie with 3DS Max made as part of a school project and greenscreen content that was licensed for a buck and a half.

        And all that doesn equal crap, it equals I don’t agree with where they took the show. And I don’t appreciate the fact they don’t have an actual story to tell, aside from circling around half episode stories that get stretched into whole arcs. Proposal? Let’s see if we can extend it into a whole season. Yeah I m creative.

      • atcDave says:

        Sorry to hear you’re so unhappy with the show Neve. I love most of what’s changed this season. I do wish they had a bigger budget for better looking fx and set/location work. But I think the casting decisions have been brilliant, and I look forward to whatever new characters we will meet in the season ahead. I would also love to know more about Sarah’s family, I completely trust TPTB to tell an engaging story. I wouldn’t ever say Chuck and Sarah together is the only thing I need to enjoy the rest of the show, but it did have to happen before I could enjoy the show after S2. So S3 was a doomed effort from my perspective, but I have enjoyed so much of what’s happened since.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Neve. Sorry, too, that there are so many things that you don’t like about this season. Things like “less special” effects I expected – without the budget cuts the show wasn’t going to come back. And let’s be honest, even in the “glory days” of Seasons 1 and 2, what was the demo rating average? Around 2.4 maybe. Hardly stellar, and on the other networks probably worthy of cancellation – and understandably so. The fact that the show still exists in ANY form at this point is amazing to me (and yes, I know it’s NBC we’re talking about so it doesn’t take much).

        Has the writing suffered some? Yes – I won’t dispute that. I would assume that’s what happens when you’re not able to retain a core group of writers and keep bringing in so many different/new people.

        Bottom line for me is that I watch the show for fun, not expecting it to be “The Greatest Story Ever Told” on T.V. Maybe my “bar” isn’t as high as yours and I’m easier to please. Hate to lose viewers, but if it’s such that you’re sick and tired of it, then there’s always the remote. And I understand making that decision. I absolutely LOVED “HEROES.” For 2 Seasons! They lost me in the third and by the fourth I didn’t even know it was still on. So let’s just say I understand being less than pleased with a show that you feel has tanked. Chuck, for me, however, is still entertaining – even with the bad green screen effects, so I’ll still keep tuning in – and hoping for more.

    • patty says:

      A lot of people go out on Valentines Day so I expect that the DVR numbers should improve more than usual as people who weren’t home watch on DVR.

  25. The episode wasn’t perfect but it was fun and there was some serious stuff as well. I think it prepared for the rest of the season well.

    I’m excited about Ellie again, that’s good, I have great hopes for her has MoH AND her in the spy world.

    Sarah will work on her family issue, and Chuck is supporting her, instead of pushing which is great. I think she’s given a lot of thoughts about her dad and her mom, she just needs time.

    The little Casey bits will probably have in influence on this NSA stuff that’s coming.

    Next week, seems really fun, and I’m excited!

  26. James Bond says:

    I think the way sarah shouted at chuck is kind of the writers way out of exploring sarah’s past too much. They did the same in cougars, but the reason fans were not upset then and are now is because the execution this time was very poor. In the end of cougars when chuck let her off the hook it was sweet and came from an episode of chuck learning how much sarah’s past hurt her, this time similar elements were there but the story of how these former team members do not trust each other came off lacking and so when sarah loses her temper like cougars the payoff does not seem right or balanced. I think Nick Wooton has bombed his three episodes and does not get the tone of the show yet, Craig Degrigorio the same, Henry Alsonso Mayers has been so so. I think the only writer to nail the elements is kristen Newman and even I do not like how she makes chuck too sensitive. We need Ali Adler back and Matt Miller, double quick time!

    • kg says:

      I can understand Sarah’s frustration with Chuck for bringing the squad back in spite of his good intentions, and her car was blown up and she was forced to go on a mission she didn’t want with at least one person she couldn’t trust. And her frustration level increased because she thought she could get the mole from Lou Diamond Philips.

      But there was absolutely no reason for Sarah to scream at Chuck and tune him up in front of the girls, using a line that made no sense, “I don’t need your help.” Where did that come from? Then she cuts him loose and he hits the floor hard. Still, extra nice Chuck groans, “I deserved that.”

  27. Rick Holy says:

    How many episodes do we have left this season? 8? Sure as heck hope we get the wedding in by season’s end!! I’m more nervous now about the possibility of “the end” than I’ve EVER been! So just to be “safe,” let’s END WELL!!! At the same time, remember – It aint over ’til it’s over!

    • atcDave says:

      I’m also more eager than ever for a renewal. I love that they’ve developed the story in ways that aren’t commonly done, and I really look forward to what they do ahead.
      But I would bet money we get a wedding by ( okay, at) season’s end. That seems to be the main arc of the back episodes. I think the only way it would be extended would be if they knew they were getting an S5; they might make it a cliffhanger and finish next season. But it doesn’t look like is going to happen.

      • armySFC says:

        dave i agree. 3 reasons. 1 web site about the wedding. i can’t see them dragging it out. 2 the episodes will either have been written by now or be done soon. i heard they are filming about 18 or so. 3 to put it off would mean an early renewal. they wont end this season with out the wedding. i think they want it all wrapped up in case of cancellation.

      • thinkling says:

        I would love to see the wedding by 20.

        21 would be the honeymoon which Volkoff would interrupt …

      • atcDave says:

        Oh yeah Thinkling, earlier would be better. But my Costa Graven Pesos are on 4.24.

        Army I forget about the web site; I don’t see that going unfulfilled.

        Ernie good point about the wrap up of Push Mix. At one point they had suggested they might extend some things with the back order (which they later sort of denied); the only thing that even might have been extended was leaving Volkoff alive instead of dead. What are the odds he doesn’t survive the season finale?

      • Anonymous says:

        Thinkling

        They will never go for the wedding in 4×20 or 4×21. It is bound to happen in the last episode of the season – it’s TPTB’s pet penchant for keeping all things good for the last episode.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Thinkling

        I am pretty sure TPTB will never give us the wedding in 4×20 or 4×21. As per their habit they will save it for the final episode.

      • jason says:

        i suggested an early wedding earlier as a way to mix things up, rally support for the remaining eps – I know it is unlikely – but it would really surprise fans, even if announced, as then the ? would be – what next – otherwise, most of us could story board out the end, unless the wedding does not take place in S4, and that is not likely to win over many fans now is it?

      • jason says:

        the other thing about an early wedding, then the show can end with the greatest ending ever, sarah invites chuck to the beach from the pilot, clock is ticking , 10 seconds left, queue the shoulder bump, sarah turns to chuck, and says, “chuck, I’m …….”

        If the series is over you can fill in the blank with whatever you choose, even fedak can say but, if it is renewed, you can fill in the blank in a variety of ways, I’m leaving the CIA, I’m going undercover, I’m pregnant, I’m happier than I ever thought I could be, etc, etc,

      • Faith says:

        More like, “don’t freak out ok? Chuck, I’m…” :O

      • joe says:

        Holy cow! That’s perfect! ;D

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I think that how they ended Push Mix is the best indication that they intend to end things with more of a sense of closure than past seasons. Definitely a wedding episode for the May sweeps.

      • BDaddyDL says:

        Yeah I gotta agree, Chuck is getting a reputation for bringing the romance, so may sweeps seem ideal.

  28. Tamara Burks says:

    Two of the things I thought worked well were Chuck using the dvds as throwing stars. That takes imagination. I’m hoping we’ll continue to get proof that while Chuck may have his problems with the standard agent behavior , he’s excellant at things other agents wouldn’t consider (and about not hitting a girl usually Sarah is around to do that).

    Also the different ways Chuck and Sarah approached who the traitor within the Cat Squad was. Sarah blindly believed that Zondra was the traitor and threw away her friendship and she never spotted that Amy’s perkiness was an act even with her years of experience both at cons and in the CIA.

    Chuck OTOH questioned Amy’s perkiness and did research and proved that Zondra and Carina were innocent and couldn’t have been the traitor using info that was already there to be put together by someone willing to do the work.

    Considering the women traveled together Sarah really should have figured out that the smart way for a traitor within the group to tag thier location was to plant a bug on another woman in something she carried with her on every assignment (like a basic pair of shoes) . Bugging herself would have been stupid.

    This actually highlights the differences in Chuck and Sarah approach to relationships. Chuck is alot more willing to work for a relationship than Sarah . He may get frustrated at times and try to give up but he puts in the work. Sarah OTOH believes the worst and runs away without making an effort. Emotionally Sarah really is a coward especially compared to Chuck .I hope she gets braver about the emotional as time goes by.

  29. Big Kev says:

    Very typical S4 episode – both for good and bad. Light and entertaining, without ever threatening to be memorable, I loved parts of it and found myself largely apathetic about the rest.

    Loved:-

    Morgan and Alex. I love the way Alex faces things head on, that combination of fearlessness that she gets from her father but with empathy and clarity, no doubt learned from her mother. Also loved the way Morgan (eventually) stood up to Carina, and made his declaration to Alex. The self-deprecation of “statistical impossibility” was perfect, and the resolution between the two of them was just right. I think they’re becoming a real highlight of the show, in the small doses that they’re used.
    The Sarah/Ellie scenes. Yvonne played the combination of being hesitant and shy, but still having the conversation just right. We’ve all looked forward to some Sarah/Ellie, and both the scenes delivered.
    The Sarah/Zondra fight. Yeah, I’m a guy…..

    Bleh:-

    Pushy Chuck. Maybe it comes from being English (!!) but people not respecting personal boundaries when they’ve clearly been asked to just pushes my buttons. I know his intentions are good, but he should have enough respect for Sarah to know that she’ll address things when she’s ready. I loved the way Wootton used Casey and Ellie to make the same point, and then had Chuck (finally) have a moment of awareness on the subject. Then he rather took that away with Sarah’s apology at the end. The scene itself was nicely done, but it struck me as the writer wanting to keep everyone happy rather than following the logic of his story setup. Didn’t quite work for me.
    Carina. She was used to drive the Morgan/Alex dynamic, and that was a win, but I’d love to have seen more of Carina with Sarah, to continue the development from Wookie through Three Words. Carina is a huge draw amongst the fanbase, and I just didn’t quite think the episode made the most of getting her back.
    Not enough funny. The best standalones are either totally OTT romps (Coup d’Etat, Seduction Impossible) or ones with some genuine danger in the spy plot (Santa Claus). This episode wasn’t either, and suffers in comparison.
    Lou Diamond Phillips. There must have been a helluva lot of LDP on the cutting room floor. Not quite Bronson Pinchot levels of “blink and you’ll miss it” but pretty close.

    I do agree with First Timer that Wootton is clearly not suited to Chuck. This is the best of his three episodes by some way, and it’s still only a “solid” outing. He does seem to love whiny, pushy Chuck and strident Sarah as a dynamic, which is precisely my least favourite combination. I’m sure he’s a good writer, but I hope we don’t see any more of him on Chuck. Phil Klemmer to take his place in the starting rotation, please.

    • atcDave says:

      I do agree it would have been nice to have more Sarah/Carina time. Probably won’t happen in a wedding episode either, too much going on.

      Maybe we’ll see more of Carina in deleted scenes too.

    • uplink2 says:

      Big Kev, sorry I can not agree with you about Phil Klemmer. To me he has written some of the weakest episodes of the prior group of writers. He has written some good ones like Suburbs and Tom Sawyer but he can never be forgiven for writing probably the worst written episode of the series, Mask. Not my most hated, that is reserved for Fake Name, but definitely the worst written. He also wrote Role Models which I think is the one of the weakest of the back six. Wooten is probably not my first choice among the new writers but I’m not that thrilled about Klemmer either. Personally give me the rest written by Kristin and LeJudkins and I’ll be very happy.

      • Big Kev says:

        Uplink,
        I wasn’t championing Klemmer per se, more just saying that if he is going to be writing episodes, then someone else is going to be losing some – and I hope that someone is Wootton.
        I agree with you that his record in S3 wasn’t good. Mask stands alone IMO as the single worst written Chuck episode ever, Role Models was filler, and American Hero had plenty of problems. In his defence though, I loved Angel de la Muerte, and prior to S3 I’d enjoyed everything he had written.
        Either way, I think it will be interesting to see how a year out has changed his perspective on the show and the characters. Prior to Mask, I enjoyed his “all is not what it seems” writing style, and I’ll be watching to see what he does on his return.

        BTW – is it wrong that I’m partly hoping that Human Target and No Ordinary Family don’t get picked up, so that Matt Miller and Ali Adler (my 2 favourite writers on this show, historically) might be tempted back for a potential S5??
        Yeah, it’s probably wrong – but I’m hoping anyway!!

      • atcDave says:

        I’m pretty sure Human Target is toast. Too bad, I really enjoyed it this season; huge improvement over S1 for me, the Chuck influence helped. But it got no back-order. Cancellation is a mere formality at this point.
        Not sure if I’m ready for the return of Alison Adler; Fake Name is very raw subject for me. I know her other work is better, but I intensely disliked that episode.

    • Big Kev says:

      I watched the first 3 episodes of Human Target. I liked the lead, but the premise wasn’t enough to hook me, and S2 didn’t get picked up anywhere here that I know of.

      I always thought Fake Name was a well-crafted episode, even though I hated it. It doesn’t bother me anything like as much now though, but I understand that there are some that will never be reconciled to it.

      I was probably being unfair in my previous list now that I think about it. Chris Fedak wrote or co-wrote 2 of my top 5 episodes (First Date and Pilot), so in some ways he deserves equal billing with Matt and Ali, with LaFranc and Judkins close behind. He hasn’t come close to anything of that standard since Season 2 though, so that relegates him back to second!

      Kristin Newman is gaining rapidly on the outside rail though – undoubtedly the pick of the new crop.

      • atcDave says:

        I did exactly the same thing with Human Target; I watched the first three then deleted it, boring.
        But with Matt Miller taking over as show runner, Zev Burrow as a staff writer (and even Tim Jones doing music) I decided to give it another chance (haha) for S2 and liked it MUCH better. But apparently the existing fans of S1 didn’t feel the same because its ratings tanked fast. As I said, no back order. I guess WB could shop it around, but that’s always a long shot.
        Mostly agree with your choice on writers, including Fedak. I always see it as entertainment first and foremost so I’m far more interested in if I like it than I am in any technical merits. Adler is a gifted writer, but Fake Name still registers as a gross betrayal to me. Of course I feel that way about most of S3, and I know the real culprits are Schwedak, who there is apparently no getting rid of. So I tend not to get too excited about the comings and goings of specific writers.

      • Big Kev says:

        I have contradictory feelings on the merits and influence of individual writers. On the one hand (and I know we disagree about this) I think the writing this season has been really choppy and inconsistent, and I think that can absolutely be attributed to the turnover in the writers’ room. On the other, clearly having an experienced writers’ room didn’t save us from the problems of Season 3 – so not sure where I stand on that issue!

      • atcDave says:

        Well you know I agree with the S3 part of that! Although as I said, I think the direction was mandated by Schwedak, so individual writer’s preferences don’t play into the major malfunction. But certain things like flushing the name reveal down the toilet, I have to believe the script writer could have found a better way to do it.

        But that’s past now. I would agree there are some differences in tone between writers; and I agree strongly that Lefranc and Judkins; and Newman are the best of the bunch. But I think what Schwedak decide will always be the major determining factor in if I’m happy with the show or not. I mostly like the direction of the show right now, so I’m okay with a little learning curve for some of the newbies. Even long running, successful shows go through some of those sorts of ups and downs (look at Simpsons, wildly uneven on style and quality).

      • armysfc says:

        dave and big kev. dave and i had a talk about quality earlier. he explained what it meant in terms of a show. my belief is that a viewer will over look shoddy writing if they like an episode and will kill the writing if they hate the episode. i’m just using general terms on this no particular show. dave and others have pointed out some well liked shows are not well written, and some well written shows are not well liked.

      • atcDave says:

        I do agree its easier to overlook shortcomings when you’re happy with the final product. I’m sure most of us are discriminating enough where we’ve watched something that struck us as so laughably bad a promising set-up; or a few good ideas couldn’t make up for dialog that sounded completely unreal (hmmm, Star Wars episode II anyone?) or implausible shifts in character we couldn’t quite buy into. But I do think that most network television has a fairly consistent level of quality in an absolute sense; that is, stories generally make sense, major characters act like they ought to, and dialog sounds like modern English (I did say MOST, there are certainly extremes at both ends of the spectrum). So the major determinant on success of a story usually comes down to personal taste; I’m happy with Chuck right now, so its easier for me to overlook shortcomings. If some aspect of the show really annoys you, you’re more likely to pick up on other shortcomings.

        So I TRY to be honest in my opinion of S3; that is, I don’t really care about rationalizing the story or characters in an absolute sense, because I simply disliked the product. I know others (like my fellow blogger Ernie) want to analyze every twist and sort out where every mistake is (or even what shouldn’t be considered a mistake). S4 has been easy for me to enjoy; I’m eager to buy into this story. We do still discuss criticism here, and I accept there have been deficiencies; but there is so much good stuff to get to!
        Like, I wonder how competitive Casey will get with his old team when he has a new group under his wing?

      • Big Kev says:

        You know, it’s been one of the most interesting things about coming to this blog for me – to hear the discussions about writing styles, plot and pacing, characterisations, and to get a sense of how commercial decisions and the like affect what gets onto the screen. I’m academic in that way – I love getting into the nuts and bolts, the whole process like that. It’s now something I’m genuinely quite interested in, and this blog has helped me develop a more “critical” eye when it comes to watching TV.
        The flipside is that it may well mean that I enjoy this show less, because I pick up on stuff that I would have missed before. Add that to the fact that after 4 seasons, you’re seeing the repeating of writing techniques and tricks that is common to all shows, and that may well explain why I’m more ambivalent than most about this season.
        I wouldn’t swap that perspective though. I’ve learned a lot about a whole new area of interest from this blog, and that’s something that I’ll still have after Chuck finishes up, whenever that is.

      • atcDave says:

        Wow Kev, then I guess I’m both pleased and sorry if we’ve helped!
        I do get that sometimes as you learn more about the nuts and bolts of things that you loose some of the simple appreciation. For myself I’m not sure. I feel like I’ve grown a great deal by being exposed to other critical viewers. Sometimes, a particular screen moment will strike me as “gee, I wonder what (fellow blogger) will think about that”. But I don’t think the way I watch initially has been changed all that much. And I think I love discussing and analyzing here as much as I love the show itself.

      • Big Kev says:

        Dave,
        Gotta love the WordPress predictive text. I’ve just had a smile at the thought of you being “exploded” to other bloggers! 🙂
        Absolutely agree about the pleasure of coming to the blog. Sometimes I miss the real meat of discussions because of the time difference, but I always come away with a viewpoint that I hadn’t considered.
        I’ve done a bit of writing in my time, and the quality of some of the pieces that you guys put together is sensational. Truly, articulate schnooks!

      • atcDave says:

        Thanks for the catch Kev! I think that was actually the iPad, it gets really creative with typos. I’m just fortunate to have the edit feature. I do wish we could get that to all you guys.

      • joe says:

        Big Kev: I love getting into the nuts and bolts, the whole process like that. It’s now something I’m genuinely quite interested in, and this blog has helped me develop a more “critical” eye when it comes to watching TV.
        The flipside is that it may well mean that I enjoy this show less, because I pick up on stuff that I would have missed before.

        I know what you mean. Forgive me if you’ve heard me relate this story before, but it bears retelling –

        I knew a dancer, once. She was my 1st wife’s ballet instructor. Lovely woman, very sharp and talented, and extremely passionate about ballet. It was her art.

        At her prompting, my (then) wife and I went to see a particular ballet at the Kennedy Center. It was great. We had a wonderful time. IIRC, it was one of Rudolf Nureyev’s last performances when he was with the Paris Opera Ballet. He was well past his prime I understand, but a legend nonetheless.

        I was shocked, the next week, to talk to that woman about the show and find out that she just did not enjoy it in the least. She had all sorts of criticisms; the one I remember is that the dancers’ shoes squeaked too much on the stage.

        All I could think, was that she loved dance so much and was so passionate about her art that she could no longer enjoy it. That was a shame because it almost rated as historic. To see Nureyev and yet let your enjoyment be determined by a minor technical detail in the performance of a supporting member seemed to be a mistake.

        But she rightly could not ignore such things. Somehow there has to be a balance between that left-brained, technically astute understanding of what the goals, limits and victories are precisely, and the the right-brained “this spoke truth/this made me feel good” mushyness of our libido-driven senses.

      • atcDave says:

        That is a great story/illustration Joe. I know I often have problems with historical dramas for exactly that reason (I mean, King’s Speech was a great movie and all; but wasn’t anyone else bothered that it covered 12 years of history while using the same two little girls for the princesses? Yes I’m being silly, great movie). There is a sense of familiarity breeds contempt. I also think we suffer from some of the really perfect moments we’ve had with Chuck, it raises the bar for everything else.

  30. First Timer says:

    All the other stuff, good and bad, in this episode aside, there really was a blockbuster: The showrunners have told us that Sarah’s mother is alive. And they have all but told us that Sarah would have had some sort of ADULT contact with her. (I mean, they can’t logically rest the “strained” comment on the child Sarah being on the con with her dad as we saw in DeLorean.)

    I think it’s the one wild card for the rest of the season: What kind of family backstory have they cooked up for the Sarah character’s mother?

    And for what’s it’s worth, except for her bad-guy dad, Sarah was at fault for breaking ALL of the important relationships we’ve been told about to date. She thought Bryce was rogue and then later called her relationship with him “a mistake.” Her incorrect suspicion of Zondra ruined her relationship with the Cat Squad.

    So it will be interesting to see if they saddle Sarah with the responsibility of the bad relationship with her mother, too.

    (BTW, I suppose you could look to Grosse Point Blank for some backstory. Martin Blank, the assassin for hire who goes back to his high-school reunion, a la Sarah in Cougars, couldn’t sustain relationships. And his mother was in a mental institution. But I don’t think they’ve used Grosse Point Blank often enough as a template to think they will reference any of this vis a vis Sarah’s mother.)

    This one is an honest-to-goodness mystery, folks. We have NOTHING to go on or spec about. It’ll all come from thin air…

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      My wild guess. (tongue in cheek) 😛
      Sarah’s mother is Director Grahams second cousin. She told him to look out for her daughter and he responded by ensuring that Jack Burton went to jail and recruited Sarah into the CIA. Sarah came to know about it afterwards which led to the ‘strained’ nature of her relationship with her mother.

    • I disagree that Sarah is the one at fault about her past relationships.

      She thought Bryce was rogue (like everybody else) because he didn’t trust her enough to tell her what was going on. When he came back she let him explain himself.

      Sarah accused Zondra and believed she was a traitor, just like Zondra accused her the same way. It didn’t destroy Sarah’s relationship with Carina or Amy. They just couldn’t be a team anymore because of BOTH Sarah and Zondra (and Amy, since she was the traitor).

      • First Timer says:

        @crumby:
        Yeah, but you’re forgetting that it was Sarah who called her Bryce relationship a mistake AFTER she knew the truth. And it was Sarah who (wrongly) continued to suspect Zondra after the CIA cleared her. They went to some length to plant that fact in last night’s episode. I really have NO idea where they are going with her mother. But you can’t ignore the bits of backstory they’ve given her. All her friendships ended badly due to her suspicions and regrets. As I say, it may not mean ANYTHING in regard to the story they are cooking up. I just point it out.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Zondra’s return accusation came off as a reaction to being accused by someone she trusted and being betrayed and years of festering resentment because of the original accusation.

        See my post above about Sarah and relationships.

      • I thought she told Casey that her relationship with Bryce was a mistake in Hard Salami, right before Nemesis. Did she repeated it after as well?

        Even so, I don’t have any problem with someone saying that a relationship that ended because the guy didn’t trust you enough to tell you he had a good reason to go rogue is a mistake.

        I do think she was wrong to keep accusing Zondra that way though.

      • To her defense, she was played by Amy.

        Sarah knew something was wrong with the team, and Amy made it look like it was Zondra. It was wrong to jump to conclusion, but the alternative was to accuse her other teammates with even less reasons to. And neither Sarah or Zondra cared enough about their relationship to actually found out the truth.

      • atcDave says:

        Of course Sarah has claimed all along that she was bad at relationships (oh and that she came with baggage), it would seem the lady is correct.
        I think we can assume Chuck is the first person who’s taken the time to get past her defenses; which has led to her having closer relationships with others (including Ellie, Casey, and even Morgan). But an old relationship has a way of bringing out the old baggage too. It was a win that Sarah apologized so quickly when she realized she was wrong.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Crumby , it’s highly unlikely Zondra would have been allowed access to any info on the investigation into the accusations against her. If she’d tried harder then she might have accused of trying to bury the investigation and tamper with evidence.

        If Sarah’s belief that Zondra was guilty was brought up to Zondra (as in even your teammate believes you’re guilty ) that would breed more resentment against Sarah.

        And if we’ve learned anything from watching Sarah all this time it’s that Sarah sucks at genuine relationships so I’d definitely say there’s a much better chance that the blame for the fractured relationship belongs with Sarah.

    • kg says:

      I liked Grosse Point Blank. In general, I must admit I’m a Cusack fan. Yeah, in addition to what you alluded, Martin is also similar to Sarah in that he seriously contemplated getting out and trying to construct a semblance of a real life.

      Of course, Debbie is his connection

    • Gringo Chuck Fan says:

      This whole Sarah story arc should prove to be the most entertaining story that TPTB of Chuck have ever attempted!
      Secretly I’ve got my fanfic down to two scenerios:
      1. Sarah’s mom is a Meg Ryan [ movie role types] …. that had been “taken advantage” conned by Sarah’s Dad…. young and in love – and made too many bad descisions for all the wrong reseaons – so she left them both. Lots of hurt, and resentment… tooo much to forgive and repair.
      OR
      2. Sarah’s mom is wild and dangerous… I’m thinking Sharon Stone [ movie roles types of course] – similar lifestyle as Sarah’s father – only more edgy.
      Gamblers, husslers and underworld types. I’m guessing that she actually lost Sarah in a card game… where Sarah’s father had to pull off a con job – just to get her back. Even the remote possibility that he’s not actually her biological father… just a con man with a good heart. Someone that cared for her, gave her a home…. not really loved – more like business partner.

      Ok – the bedtime story is over…. we’ll just need to wait and watch. Whatever unfolds is sure to be much more entertaining than anything I could dream up.

      • Paul says:

        I have considered both of those scenarios and both are very plausible. I tend to discount your second scenario, but only because Sarah seems to know the story of her parents, how they met, got engaged, etc. So I think Jack is her real father. Sarah also seems to have had contact as an adult with her mother (thier relationships is “strained”). Could be her mom did fall in love with the rascal Jack Burton (or whatever his name is), but when she found out what he did for a living (particularly if he conned her and her family), she wanted nothing to do with him. If Sarah chose being with dad over mom, then that could easily lead to a strained relationship.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        I’d go with the first one . I think he took Sarah after the marriage and the planned money from that didn’t happen. He probably figured out that a child was a great tool to get people to trust him and when old enough be a partner. It sounds cold but remember this is the man who dragged her around the country and used her in cons that got her hurt on at least one occassion that we know of for sure and probably others not to mention the damage done to her psyche.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Tamara

        If her dad is to be blamed, why then would she mention to Ellie that she had a strained relationship with her mother. One more thing – it looks like she may have had some form of contact with her mother through all these years. A 9 yr old kid doesn’t have strained relationships with their parents. Grown up children do.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        alladinsgenie4u

        the strained adult relationship could be because Sarah went back as an adult and either they believed that Sarah was who she said she was but thought she was looking to con them the same way her father had been .

        Even more likely given what she said about how long it had been since she used Sam she went back under an assumed name and was either discovered and believed to be a fraud or they believed that she was thier missing child and believed she was looking to run a con on them.

        By the time they believed that she wasn’t a con artist like her father (he’s got a lot to answer for) the relationship would have been very strained indeed. And since Sarah was never taught to fight to keep anything by her father or the CIA but rather to grab , cut and run (by both) she wouldn’t have fought to clear things up and solidify the relationship.

        Sarah’s a physical fighter being an emotional one is still a very new and strange territory for her.

  31. uplink2 says:

    So after re-watching again something struck me about the final scene that was very sweet. We had speculated about a possible Carina moment where she sees Chuck and Sarah, maybe even Morgan and Alex through the window completely happy a la Marlin with Sarah. Well we didn’t get that but what we got was even better. It was that scene from Marlin coming full circle. Chuck looking through the window at Sarah this time with his sister being as happy as he was back then. He was witnessing a bond develop between the 2 most important people in his life that had never really been there before like this. The Sarah Ellie relationship was never close and was never really strong. I always thought Ellie in effect sort of dissed Sarah in the plane coming back from Costa Gravis when all she talked about was Chuck saving their lives and never mentioned Sarah at all. That always bothered me a little bit. But here the bond was real and it was the both of them reaching out to each other and Ellie had the exact understanding of Sarah that she talked about with Chuck earlier. She was much like Chuck was the week before. She held out her hand and her heart but never pushed it on Sarah, she simply said it was there for her if she needed it. That moment and the look and sigh from Chuck was one of the most special moments in a season full of them and a great call back to another great but sad moment from the past.

  32. jason says:

    I know there has been criticism of the current writers here & pining for those who went on to other shows only to fail, I want to say 3 things in favor of staying away from the old and sticking with the current ones:

    1 – for some fans, season 4 has been easily the best season, count me in that crowd, for me, S4 rates far superior to S2, 1 and obviously far superior to the shaw misery season.

    2 – along that line of reasoning, S4 has not produced any cringeworthy episodes, where I am angry at the showrunners and writers for what they just created, how they disrespected the lead characters and the fans who love those characters.

    3 – if those past writers were so great, would you not think undercovers, no ordinary family, and human target would all not have lasted one year under their guidance … I watch all 3 shows, the only show that has not had elements of my being angry at the show this season is Human Target (which I find delightful), in particular, no ordinary family, which has no real reason to be hurtful, somehow found a way to write something rather repulsive (as opposed to undercovers, which had an element of overall repulsiveness), an odd coincidence, I am not so sure?

    So for my 2 cents on this subject, I am more than content with the current team!

    • atcDave says:

      I am too Jason. We had some great moments with the previous writers, but to varying degrees I still blame them for S3. So I’m perfectly happy with how things are now.
      I wouldn’t worry about any returns either though. As I’ve said elsewhere, I believe most of the S3 malfunction was purely Schwedak’s responsibility. So I think it’s a mistake to make too big a thing of it either way.
      Agree about the other shows too. I loved S2 of Human Target. No Ordinary Family I gave up on about 4 episodes in; it just wasn’t what I would call a fun show, that family was WAY too messed up for me to spend any time with. And Undercovers I gave up on before the Pilot (bad reviews scared me away).

    • herder says:

      In terms other writers, don’t forget Scott Rosenbaum running V, another ex-Chuck running a show on the edge of cancellation. I tried Human Target for the first time this year and enjoyed it, haven’t watched No Ordinary Family and don’t get the sense that I’m missing much. Undercovers wasn’t that bad, it just didn’t have anything in it that made you want to tune in next week.

      • jason says:

        forgot about him, seems like that type (sci fi / drama / mystery / maybe a bit of comedy) of show is a failed concept probably more so than all the ex chuck writers are doing a bad job – but still, I like season 4 with the new team.

        too bad, as I have always sort of liked that type of show that is failing, but the place to find such in the past was on cable (usa network, sci fi channel, etc) … I suspect that will be the case soon again.

  33. jason says:

    On the subject of writers and tv quality, I have made a point to watch a fair amount of the new shows in the chuck genre. One observation about the failed “Cape”, the cape seems to represent the worst in this genre for one simple reason, the show by definition is unhappy, and the show keeps showing that poor fatherless family, scene after scene, showing that beautiful women start to move on in absolute misery, showing the poor little boy reading those comic books, near in tears scene after scene, while the dad is fighting a battle that borders of ridiculous, in terms of how the cards are stacked against him. Then, the dad, has summer glau, who I suppose teams with the dad to be the wt/wt, but by definition, the can’t be, shouldn’t be, and don’t even appear to wanna be … the whole concept is horrible, hard to believe what NBC was thinking? So far, it IS season 3 of chuck, really hard to turn on episode after episode of misery.

  34. jason says:

    Ok, I’m on a roll, one last point, castle on the other had, ended last season using contrived miscommunication to keep castle and beckett apart, spoiled that S3 both would have LI’s just like chuck did, then decided to only show the LI’s 1 or 2 or 3 scenes. Lately, castle and beckett end each scene together AFTER the case is over, rather than finding every conceivable reason to keep them apart, they have found every conceivable reason to keep beckett from going home to her LI, latest, on valentine’s day, castle is upset his buddy was guilty, beckett says let me buy you a drink to cheer you up, castle, it’s valentines day, don’t you have plans, answer, I have a couple of hours ….. just think how that would have changed 3×10’s acceptance, and 3×11’s acceptance even more so???????

    • armysfc says:

      the other big difference in the shows is on castle the OLI’s are not in every episode and they are mentioned in passing. when they are in an episode its only for short bits. chuck had the OLI’s in the viewers face the entire episode. for the viewer out of sight out of mind comes into play more than ever. with the OLI’s not being on screen much of the time the viewer has less time thinking about how much they don’t like the OLI.

      • atcDave says:

        Great points both of you guys. I think it also helps that the pace and “heat” on Castle has always been a notch or two below what we had at the end of S2 on Chuck. It gives them more margin for error in the wt/wt; and our expectations have been kept pretty low.
        Besides, I still expect to find out Beckett’s beau is a phony; I know we’ve seen him once or twice, but she has so little to do with him. Almost like, what if they really broke up 2 months ago? (hey, conspiracy theories die hard!)

        But like you guys said, bottom line is, the show is still about Castle and Beckett working together and being friends. If the romance simmers unrequited for a while, it’s no biggie.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        With Castle it’s actually pretty easy to forget the OLI’s exist at all. We know that Castle broke up with his and it is possible that Beckett has broke up with hers and is just playing it close to the vest (which is normal for her) and is possibly afraid to make an all out play for Castle (since she was the one going to do it the last time and was basically one day too late) .

        Plus with Castle there was no outright denial that there could be a relationship (like all the times Sarah said no , for instance when he said she dated Bryce and they worked together and her response was Bryce was an agent) .

        Not to mention gotta love those commercials they have.

  35. herder says:

    On a completely different topic, does the destruction of Sarah’s Porche mean that we get a scene of them trying to pick out a new car? That could be funny, safety first Chuck wanting a mini van while impulsive Sarah wants another Porche. I know most likely we’ll never hear of it again, but it could be funny, Sarah rolling her eyes at Chuck’s collection of safe yet dull car pamphlets, Chuck freaking out on a test drive as Sarah drives like his mother.

    • Big Kev says:

      Love it, Herder. That would be awesome!! We could also have Morgan and Alex shopping for another DeLorean…

    • atcDave says:

      That would be so much fun. Of course I love cars anyway. Gee here’s a thought, maybe the FEDERAL EMPLOYEE could be troubled to buy American! Sarah always looked great in her Porsche, but I think she’d look great in Mustang too!

    • Faith says:

      Purple hummer (the hummer idea is not mine :), the purple is added by Gord for me lol)…it’s a “tank” which is just what she’ll need to protect her kiddies. You don’t mess with GBSM’s cubs! 😀

      And on the plus side, although I know you guys are depressed about the porsche 😉 but this way Sarah doesn’t have to deliberate on whether she should let Chuck drive her car lol.

      • atcDave says:

        I like the Hummer! And a real military model too, not one of these sissified H2 or H3 models.

      • First Timer says:

        If we’re talking about FUN, wouldn’t superspy Sarah tooling around in a Nerd Herder be funnier? I mean, we know Chuck is seduced by hot wheels: He swiped Shaw’s Tessla in Season 3 and his initial proposal plan had him arriving in a DeLorean and leaving in a Maserati. So he might want another hot car.

        Meanwhile, I still can’t figure out what the logic is for not giving Sarah a cover job at the Buy More. They’ve gotten some humor out of Casey being a green shirt. Sarah in “gen pop” would be pretty funny, too… You know, using a hidden knife to open a DVD case. Or even have her, well, you know, fix someone’s phone at the Nerd Herd desk…

      • sd says:

        One of the funniest scenes ever was the escape in the pilot with Sarah “piloting” the nerd herd in reverse and Chuck’s horrified looks. The cherry on top was the two stoner dudes saying as the car goes backwards down the stairs “computer emergency.”

      • First Timer says:

        @sd:
        Exactly. Couldn’t you see a scene where Sarah is dispiritedly driving the POS Nerd Herder to Castle only to get a call from Chuck or Beckman or someone telling her to chase a bad guy? And off she goes, superspy using Nerd Herder…

      • Faith says:

        I don’t really want her working at the buy more…I like that there’s a sense of mystery in where she works. If she worked at the Buy More, there would be no chances to see her walk in and Chuck take her in… *sigh* 🙂

        That said, that “computer emergency” was indeed one of the best scenes in all of Chuck. That pilot was something else-very much like a movie really.

      • It’s true that she really should have a cover. It doesn’t make any sense. All those people that came to the engagement party, what do they think she does for a living? And like you said FT, cover job are FUN!

        I do miss the repeated destruction of Nerd Herders. 😉

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Sarah is obviously an aspiring actress and runway model. After all she made the cover of Fashionista magazine for the special Milan Fashion week issue. 😉

      • Faith says:

        Plus I think YS made a deal with the EPs, she will dress up in lingerie whenever required but no more cover work daily gratuitous scenes 😛 Sorry boys.

      • armySFC says:

        dave, ya ever been in a real one? take it from personal experience the only good seat in one is standing in the turret. lol.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Faith

        Plus I think YS made a deal with the EPs, she will dress up in lingerie whenever required but no more cover work daily gratuitous scenes Sorry boys 😛

        Do you think she made a deal about less PDA too. 😦 Now that would be really cruel. 🙂

      • Faith says:

        Never Alladins, no worries. She’s a ‘shipper ;).

        Remember she herself has an emotional attachment to Sarah’s engagement ring!

      • thinkling says:

        I’ve wondered about the replacement car. Could be another sports car (Chuck did want his cover to be race car driver) … one that she would let him drive. Or Ellie could loan out the ’68 Mustang, with blue leather seats. I don’t see Chuck as the mini-van type, at least not yet. Could be fun. Maybe the insurance will pay for a very cool replacement on par with what she had.

        A Nerd Herder temporary replacement would be funny. I do love the computer emergency scene from the Pilot. I still laugh at it after who knows how many rewatches.

        I think she should have no cover, or rather many covers. Every time someone asks, she should say something different. Jeff and Lester could take it upon themselves to find out what she does. Sarah, Chuck, Casey, and Morgan could all give different answers. Back to the humor of the spastic colon.

      • jason says:

        @think – jeff and lester would come to the conclusion that sarah is a ‘professional’ – the car – the outfits – the hours – and the fact everyone gives them a different answer about her career – might even follow her on a local mission where she is a ‘date’ in a restuarant, not realizing casey and chuck irately are afraid they will screw up the mission, while watching them and her on surveillance

      • atcDave says:

        I love the idea of Jeff and Lester trying to investigate Sarah. I do miss the “cover” job. I get that all the major players in Chuck’s life know she’s a spy; but what exactly does she say in casual conversation (oh I’m sorry; Greeting Card Writer of course. hmmm, that was funnier for Maxwell Smart). Maybe just “Government employee, if I told you more I’d have to kill you.” Great conversation starter!

        Army my only experience with actual hummers has been at auto shows; my wife and I used to joke that we needed one for a third car. They have the most spectacularly bad use of interior space I’ve ever seen; especially the front, with two seats and a massive console in between that’s as big as both seats together! I understand there are engineering reasons for some of that, but I’m still not surprised the military wants a replacement.

      • armySFC says:

        dave i can explain the massive gap in the front seat. the mil version has a huge transmission that sits under that hump. remember the hump in the old rear wheel drive car you drove? same thing only way bigger. so they put a console over it. and the hummer is now over 26 years old. it was the replacement for the jeep, but do to armed conflict it is now no where near the same as the originals. my favorite is the old soft top with only 2 seats and the bed in the back. like a small pick up. take the top off and your free as a bird, lol.

      • atcDave says:

        Thanks Army. I’m pretty sure at one point I knew that was the transmission; but I think more grey hair means fewer grey cells…

  36. Big Kev says:

    I don’t normally try and dissect ratings, or visit Magnus’ blog, but I’ve just seen an interesting post on his latest podcast thread (would insert link here if I knew how to do that with an IPhone….)
    A poster called dkd (presumably with inside knowledge from somewhere) says that the sudden drop in ratings has come exclusively from the male 18-35 demo, which is apparently down 40% since Balcony. Apparently an uptick in female viewers this week saved our 1.7 rating.
    Too simplistic to say the boys are bailing out at
    too much romcom stuff?

    • jason says:

      any attempt to make that statement is annoying kev, unfortunately for me, I do it all the time, you can be free to call it jason’s ratings fanwank:

      1 – the show was solid for 8 straight happy ending eps, 4×1 thru 4×8
      2 – the moment the 8th ep ended lousy, 4×9 dropped
      3 – 4×9’s greatness stabilized ratings in 4×10 thru 4×12
      4 – 4×11’s & 12’s angsty, sad endings dropped ratings for 4×13
      5 – 4×13,14’s greatness stabilized ratings again

      My simple fanwank theory, bad episodes and sad endings causes us to lose fans who don’t return – I think the evidence is overwhelming that I am write et er right – don’t you? – LOL

      Bottom line – this is not a serious show, when it gets serious, esp at the endings, it loses fans!

      • atcDave says:

        You may be more than a little right Jason. Add to what you said, I think many long time fans are still leery and have S3 fatigue; so cut less slack than they otherwise might have.

    • uplink2 says:

      I work in the biz and younger male demo’s 18-34 in particular are leaving Network TV in droves. It is not limited to just Chuck, it is happening all over. Part of it is sampling issues with Nielsen as they are having issues getting younger viewers to join in. We are seeing disparities that don’t make sense at all between 18-34 and 18-49 data. So I wouldn’t attribute this to an issue just with Chuck but it is a growing concern throughout the television industry.

      • atcDave says:

        But isn’t the burning question, are they really leaving network TV or just watching things on their own schedule? In my job we have a definite slow season, where much tv gets watched in the break room. From what I’ve seen, our younger controllers are voracious consumers of television programming (they’ll sit still for 8 episodes of the same show; I can’t even do that with Chuck!); but they’re doing it from disc or download.
        So the trick may be to account for the total revenue stream and weight the Nielsen’s to highly.

      • armySFC says:

        dave as you said tv shows but from disc or down load. so i think you are right, they are just watching on there own schedule. ill give you an example, my son likes a show, his wife likes a show. they are on at the same time, guess who wins? so my son watches his later. also like uplink says, think of the age group involved. uplink said it best, would a 26 yo sit in front of a tv at 8 to watch a show? so yeah i think your right, they watch it on their own schedule.

        add this to the mix, who the heck really watches the commercials anyway? so when they DVR they pass them, i know i do.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah sorry, I saw this discussed in more detail below.

    • armySFC says:

      i don’t think so. there is a reason why certain shows target certain people. you can bet your bottom dollar shows like gossip girl don’t target 18-49 yo males. the more the romance comes to the front the less it appeals to males. this show targets those males. do i have proof other than personal observation no. go to a romantic comedy and look at the audience, how many all male groups will you see. then go to an action movie. do the same thing. the action movie will have considerably more all male groups than the romcon.

      it should also be pointed out that chuck has picked up more viewers over 50.

      • uplink2 says:

        Well I can tell you I have seen the data and it is true. Younger folks are leaving Network TV and younger men in particular are dropping across the board. Again some of this is statistical anomalies and sampling issues but the evidence is clear. We can generalize about the romance VS action thing certainly but you can’t attribute this drop in male viewership to just the more romantic tone of this season because the data doesn’t support it. In fact many sponsors are now targeting 25-54 even more than 18-49 because they are who are watching and who have money to spend.

      • armySFC says:

        uplink you may have confused my post as a response to yours. i was responding to big kev about his asking if he was wrong to think that the romance being a possible cause in the male drop. one thing i never do is argue with a person that is in the know and has the facts to back it up. but your statement of data saying it doesn’t support that theory. what does the data say for viewers leaving chuck or any other show? its been debated long and hard as to why people leave. i’m sure most of us here would like to know.

      • uplink2 says:

        Sorry, sometimes the threading of this blog confuses me. What we are seeing is a general decline in viewership ratings but in particular the younger demos are really dropping. We have been discussing things with Nielsen and shown them data that does not make sense and they say “we will look into it” but nothing is really done. They do seem to have sampling issues with younger folks and lets be honest the younger viewers are much more likely to be looking to different technologies for entertainment than older viewers. The web, Hulu, mobile devices, are big draws for them.

        Think of it what is a 26 year old male more likely to do at 8pm these days? Get on their computer or smart phone or get in front of Network TV? DVR’s in homes are now well over 40% and they can stream the shows online or on their phone. This trend has dramatically ramped up in the last year and even more so in 2011 it is growing even faster. TV has serious challenges going forward and Network TV in particular. Rights fees for carrying Network TV on cable will be an even bigger issue as the industry needs another revenue stream.

        I can’t go into too much detail for obvious reasons but the biggest drop in viewership for the Networks is among younger viewers and males are dropping faster than females.

      • herder says:

        Uplink this was something I was thinking of posting about at TVBTN, on the live plus 7 numbers it showed that Chuck which had 1.9 demo and 6 million viewer for 4.12 increased by 0.6 demo and 1.1 million viewers. In it’s weekly report said each demo number represented 1.31 million viewers.

        That translates as 2.489 million of the 6 million live plus 3 hours were 18-49 or 41%, of the plus 7 786 thousand of the 1.1 million were 18-49 or 71%. In other words the younger viewers were not sitting down at 8 pm and watching. I would imagine that as the age in the 18-49 bracket drops the alternative viewing increases.

      • armySFC says:

        herder, uplink. good points. i don’t know and maybe uplink can shed some light on this. my question is why would a network care about dvr numbers? from where i sit i just blow by the commercials, and my bet is most if not all viewers do the same. so any advertising is most likely wasted on that type of viewer. hulu could be used i suppose because i have yet to find a way to bypass the adds they stick in there. they are short so i don’t mind as much. so while the +7 +3 numbers look good, do the networks really care that much about them?

      • herder says:

        Army, that is sort of the point, most advertisers want 18-49 and especially certain segments of it. If a quarter (0.6 of 2.5 total demo) of the target market (ie 18-49 who will watch Chuck) watches in such a manner that it can’t be sold, that is a real problem for the network.

      • uplink2 says:

        I will tell you that there is talk about restricting the ability to bypass commercials in DVR recordings. Not sure where it is going but you see it happening with On Demand and online vierwership. You can’t bypass the commercials there, they just have fewer of them. The technology exists but it hasn’t been implemented. That is why I believe that we should rewatch the On Demand version if it is available rather than our DVR’s. Those are metered and you have to watch the commercials.

      • luckygirl says:

        Does it help to watch on demand if you don’t have cable through Comcast?

      • uplink2 says:

        All the cable companies collect their On Demand data so yes its equally important if your provider is not Comcast. You have no control of that so it still matters. How much IDK but it is reported.

      • atcDave says:

        Thanks for some great insight you guys, I enjoyed reading all of this. I know football and Chuck are the only things I even try to watch live anymore. I’m actually surprised DVR penetration is only 40%; my parents are literally the only people I know who don’t use one. I even have one friend who’s been out of work so long he recently dumped his cable for antennae, but even he said “I’m glad I have the lifetime subscription on my TIVO.” Just who are these 60% who don’t have DVRs? The elderly and low-income are the only groups I can guess, and they aren’t exactly the most sought after by advertisers.
        I know product placement has become more popular since the VCR era for exactly the reason of skipping commercials.

        It does raise another question about getting programming made. At what point will we start seeing first rate programming that has no home network? I remember SG-1 finished its run with a couple of direct to video movies. They were at least as well done as the show ever was, and as I understand it did make money. Given that Chuck is popular both in disc sales and downloads, it wouldn’t be inconceivable to me that the show could turn a profit with no network at all.

      • armySFC says:

        dave this may surprise you, but i was surprised it was that high. i know very few people that have it. i’m not kidding. in my family my son is the only one that has it, that’s 6 households. out of my group of 30 or so friends only 2 have it. for my group we all have multiple tv’s and watch our own shows. if there is one we all like its on one set. the other thing to all this we’re not TV heads so to speak, meaning if we miss a show its no big deal. i’ll never get it because i watch an episode once. that’s all i need. same with most of my friends.

      • atcDave says:

        Army is some of that career related? I’m guessing if you’re in a mobile lifestyle it makes home base sort of equipment harder to hang on to.
        I admit I am a TV junkie. If I like a show I will never miss an episode; and the DVR is liberating to me. I don’t even have to think about a schedule while traveling (which I only do a couple times a year anyway).
        But I also rarely re-watch. Chuck and Burn Notice are the only shows I can think of that I enjoy enough to watch a rerun. Television is not usually crafted in such a way to stand up under close scrutiny anyway (unlike cinema which is much stronger in that regard).

      • armySFC says:

        for me no, i’m more a sports freak than any tv or movie. i have 6 shows i try and watch. as for my friends its more the same i suppose. they are stable so mobility is not the issue. they are like me that way, tv is not that important to them, it’s more sports.

      • Faith says:

        Something somewhat related. I did my own poll of television watching habits using a random sample of 23 college students for my research in psychology class last sem. Now while 23 may not seem like much of a sample size it was representative because it was random and I did get a fairly widespread college age range. Still would have preferred a larger sample size but it wasn’t to be. As such there is only internal validity in the study and not external.

        what I can tell you is this:
        Of the 23 students only 9 dvr/hulu/purchases through iTunes or amazon. 12 watches live. These seem to be independent on units taken, family responsibilities (kids), and work. BTW there were 14 men and 9 women in the study, mean age was 20.

        Side note: ^that actually wasn’t what I was testing ;).

      • atcDave says:

        That is interesting Faith. Although I wouldn’t expect college students to have their own DVRs anyway. I would however, expect them to have pretty unrestricted Internet access so at least Hulu and other streaming options should be there.

        I’m trying to remember my college days, something about stone tablets and smoke signals…

        But I seem to remember several terms when I was simply too busy for much television. There also not much disposable income; so I wouldn’t expect any pay service to much in use. I didn’t even have a VCR until late in my Senior year (Betamax! Oh yeah).

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Well when talking about the Nielsens and sampling and demographics what uplink mentions is a concern. You don’t want a random sample, you want a perfect demographic selection that mirrors the population as closely as possible in every aspect. If there are problems having younger males participate in numbers that reflect their portion of the population then they need to adjust for the under-sampling, and then you can get into trouble.

        As for younger viewers leaving network TV that is a phenomenon that is just going to get worse as those of us who grew up with appointment TV as an ingrained habit leave the market and the key demographic.

        Like Dave I don’t even try to watch anything other that Chuck or sports live, and my DVR gets pretty full by the end of a season, but it’s been about a decade since I followed any TV show live (before Chuck). I was well into my twenties before VHS had much market penetration, and friends and I used to have TV nights, but that had pretty much died out by the early 90’s since we were all doing other things (and had the money for something other that TV and popcorn). So just as we were hitting the demographic sweet spot of late 20’s early 30’s consumers we were all no longer following network TV live. Someone born in 1990 has never really known a world where you needed to watch a show live to be able to see it. The network TV model is going to have to change drastically. The recording industry nearly killed itself by clinging to the $18 CD model for distributing their product even when there were alternatives presented to them.

      • joe says:

        Ernie, you could have your perfect, random sample, but that’s not what they’re paying them for.

        They? Them? The advertisers are calling the shots (they always have) and I contend two things – 1) Neilsen Co. will *always* be tempted to tell them statistically what they want to hear and 2) the advertisers are buying the wrong eyeballs with that “preferred demographic” fetish of theirs.

        Actually, I think they know that. But they’ve decided to go after those who are not particularly astute about money.

        If males 14-25 are not watching television in general, it’s *because* of the ads. TV is far from being the only game in town now, for them and they’re not buying Toyota Siennas regardless.

        Much like AM radio and CD sales, the business model is no longer working like it once did, and will have to change. From what I can tell, Comcast is determined to do what it can to survive the change.

      • atcDave says:

        Preferred eyeballs is a funny thing. I was watching football with a friend a few weeks ago and he made first the comment “we’re almost out of the age advertisers even care about” then a few minutes later during commercials “I never pay attention to commercials anymore.” I laughed out loud, “you think those two might be related?”
        I remember marketing classes where we were taught that younger viewers are more susceptible to advertising. But they generally have no money. So its a balancing act to find people you can reach who can actually afford your product. Of course some times its about getting kids to apply pressure to parents or establish goodwill with someone who will be your customer “someday”. There’s just a lot of different ways of looking at it.
        I think Chuck in particular can benefit from better tracking of downloads and disc sales.

      • uplink2 says:

        Broadcasters are under a lot of pressure. They only have one revenue stream and that is half what it once was in some markets. They are also under pressure from Washington to give up more spectrum. The first step needed is subscriber fees. Broadcasters need a new revenue stream and that is where it needs to come from. Why should cable companies make money off programming that they get for free? That needs to change. For sports fans look at ESPN the reason they are getting virtually everything in terms of programming now is that they get the biggest subscriber fees from cable operators by a mile. Its not even close to what the #2 company gets. So all of their expenses are paid for by subscriber fees before they even collect 1 penny of advertising. They are hugely profitable. Not so with broadcasters and until they can get a similar model it is only going to get worse. Plus the model of how they are monitored is broken. Its a mess and no real solution is in sight.

      • atcDave says:

        Thanks Uplink. So does that mean even most basic cable is free from the rating game? I know I’ve seen USA bragging about how many viewers Burn Notice gets (it rivals Chuck). But are those ratings only about bragging rights or do they still have some bearing on advertising rates?

      • uplink2 says:

        No they affect ad rates. ESPN is just a very special case because their subscriber fees are so large compared to other networks like USA. Advertising is very important for basic cable stations but they have the advantage of subscriber fees coming in monthly. Now ratings affect how much those fees are as USA can’t charge as much as say TBS but they are a known income source once those rates are established.

      • Faith says:

        *cough*BSpn*cough* hehe. I hate that network with a vengeance. Laker hating commies ;).

      • atcDave says:

        Faith, how dare you criticize the all-Cowboys network; proudly offering all NFL news and how it will effect the Cowboys.

        Seriously, I switched to the NFL network for my football news after the Bears and Colts won their title games to face each other in the Super Bowl; and all Sports Center wanted to talk about was the Cowboys fired their coach the same day. Brother!

      • armysfc says:

        faith, dave.. mild complaints both of you. now had you brought up their love of the yankees, that’s reason to hate em.

  37. Big Kev says:

    Thanks guys. Really interesting conversation.
    I’d heard before that younger males are a problem in TV land and Uplink confirms it – although I guess I was interested in why the male drop would have come in one hit, after that particular ep.
    And Jason, your theory about angsty endings may be right – but it also doesn’t explain why only males would be leaving at that particular point.
    My “too much wedding talk” theory is just that, but the only other guy I know who watches Chuck has just finished Balcony and he said, “it’s still good – but they’ve turned it into a romantic comedy”.
    Constructing a theory based on a sample size of 2 – how’s that for “Big Kev’s Ratings Fanwank”? 🙂

    Personally I think the network TV model is dead, and the sooner it goes and takes it’s antiquated, unrepresentative Nielsen system with it the better. Then we can move to some sort of subscription model where people can watch whenever, and on whatever platform they like. Hopefully something like that might end the tyranny of lowest-common-denominator TV too. That probably is just me dreaming!

    • Big Kev says:

      PS Hope I didn’t offend anyone here who works in Network TV/for Neilsen with that post. Certainly not my intent.

    • armySFC says:

      yeah not sure how well a pay for platform would go over. would it be cost effective to the consumer? ads pay for most of the of the shows on network tv. but its not a bad idea.

      what i want to know is why can’t cable companies track what each box tunes into. they could add some mini program and a small modem to the cable box. the program tracks the channel being selected. if it stays on for a certain time say 5 minutes (or whatever the networks deem to be a good number) it pings the computer that monitors the boxes. when it senses a switch it pings it again. in theory you could get an almost perfect image of what a cable boxes selects any time its on. it could also track what programs are set to be recorded. the cable companies have the basic information needed on file for billing purposes, and the demographics of most ares are already on file with the govt.

      granted it would leave loop holes but you would get a true count of what is watched live and what is DVR’d. my guess is there is no fool proof way to get the numbers but this sounds like a pretty good way. just how feasible it is i don’t know.

    • atcDave says:

      Nothing you said is offensive Big Kev! I think you’re exactly right that something will change in the distribution model.
      Army, as I understand it the problem with cable/satellite providers furnishing that information is in federally mandated privacy restrictions on how viewing data can be distributed. Nielsen viewers sign an agreement with the company, and even receive nominal pay for making their info available. I know I’d be happy to have my viewing habits rated, but there would likely have to be some sort of opt in system because not everyone would feel that way; which would always make such data suspect.
      The pay model is currently in effect on the so called “premium” channels. HBO in particular has established a reputation for programming excellence. Even the “basic” cable channels like USA and FX are sort of a hybrid. The cable/satellite provider pays a small fee to the station for each household the station is in (much smaller than premium, like 5 cents a month; which incidently is a big part of why they are hesitant to add more channels to their lower tiers). Of course the basic channels sell advertising also, but I believe they use a more standardized rate structure and draw less revenue from advertising (maybe Uplink or someone knows more?).
      Of course the big problem with a fee or “a la carte” system is would tend to put a premium on all entertainment. I’ve never payed for a premium service; which is mildly frustrating when something outstanding like Band of Brothers comes along. A co-worker showed me an episode, and then I had to wait until it came out on disc to see the rest. I would hate for something similar to happen with all the television I enjoy. Hopefully something like a basic cable package would endure, because I really shudder at the thought of adding 10 dollars or more to my bill for one more channel.

      • armySFC says:

        thanks for the info dave! the other issue going to a pay type system you would force consumers to buy a product. take the big three, they are still free over the air channels. by putting them on cable only you would force people that don’t want cable or satellite to buy it. i cant see that going over well. i only pay for just above regular because i want espn and CSN (sports that carries the phillies). other than that i have no need for premium channels.

        as for my idea i bet if you offered customers a small discount per month, you would get a big return. just limit the channels to the lower tiers (ones that only go pg) that get tracked. you could do the complete info sheet that the networks want and the permission you need as well.

      • Big Kev says:

        Privacy issues were my first thought too, Dave. I think an opt in system could be easily done – a discounted service fee for those who agree to be monitored.
        I have no problem with paying for what I watch. Network TV here (Australia) is dreadful even by the standards of the model, and I can honestly say that every show I watch is on one of the cable channels. I think some variation of that is where we’re heading, smaller, maybe genre-based channels as you say.
        I’d be happy to pay NBC a subscription for the rights to download Chuck. They don’t give me that option and I don’t see why I should wait a year to watch because their business model is outdated, or because I dont live in the US….so I download through other means and buy the DVD’s when they come out.
        Just seems to me that the networks aren’t doing themselves any favors by moving so slowly when their consumers habits are changing so quickly. As Ernie said – did they learn nothing from the music business? It’s frustrating.

      • Big Kev says:

        Sorry, I should clarify – when I say Network TV, of course what I mean is free to air TV.

  38. Big Kev says:

    One more observation about this, and then I promise I’ll shut up!
    I remember from my time living in the US how much resistance there is to the idea of “universal” (ie free) anything, amongst some people – universal healthcare, university education, whatever, I remember the discussion would usually be preceded by the word “socialised” – but no one seemed to have a similar issue with the concept of free to air TV. I’ve always found that anomaly to be interesting. Whereas in Britain, there is much more of a “universal” psyche, but the penetration of satellite/cable TV is (I believe) something over 80%

    • atcDave says:

      Like army said below! The networks actually are a money making business. They lease the public airwaves from the federal government (who imposes certain rules and standards). Only PBS gets tax money; which has been reduced recently due to their heavily favoring one political party.

  39. armySFC says:

    lol, its simple really, free over the air tv get paid for by the advertisers. free eduction, health care or any other service has to get the money somewhere, mostly in the form of taxes. so while everyone gets to use these services its not really free. i don’t see Toyota, burger king or ford paying for that. they will how ever give money to a network to air their ads where someone will by the product. i dont pay a dime to see NBC if i use my antenna, and its in HD as well.

  40. Tamara Burks says:

    One thing I think is interesting is that Sarah is actually worse at judging who to trust and gaining people’s trust (who know her real identity) than Chuck is.

    it would be neat to bring it up if they ever decide to get Sarah into therapy.

    • Verkan_Vall says:

      ALERT! ALERT!
      THIS POST CONTAINS A REFERENCE TO SEASON 3
      YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

      @Faith:

      Yes, it isn’t just the difference in their personalities, it’s as if she has that much less experience with normal life, normal people and relationships.

      I liked this episode and I think that the last 3 have been solid entertainment. I really liked that Sarah asked Ellie to be her matron of honor; a normal person, representing a normal life. I didn’t feel this so much as a rejection of her past and her friends, but a positive choice for her future and her family to be. A deliberate decision to plunge waist-deep into the life that Chuck is offering her.

      Another reason why I like this show so much, and yet another reason why season 3 makes season 4 impossible.

      Which is why I ignore season 3.

      • atcDave says:

        Thanks for the warning! Perhaps we should require it on all S3 references?

      • uplink2 says:

        Maybe we should just finally decide that 3.1-13 never actually happened and season 3 began with Chuck VS The Honeymooners. So we are actually at ep 3.22 coming up of a 30 episode season!

      • atcDave says:

        You know I’m close to that anyway. After all, Honeymooners did start with Chuck and Sarah running away together on a train. Its not even that much of a reach!
        This is where I normally recommend “Chuck and Sarah vs. Themselves” by ninjavanish (see link at right). Its an awesome retelling of what S3 ought to have been. But it does go totally off in its own direction by what would have been Fake Name. Still an excellent story, just doesn’t have as much to do with S3 after that.

      • First Timer says:

        I really wish I knew if the writers and show runners have adopted the “many worlds” theory in quantum physics. That’s the one that essentially says that at every decision point in time, there is a dimension where each possible decision happens.

        I say this because Season 3 (e1 to e13) is essentially what happens when Chuck rejects Sarah on the train platform in Prague. But everything since Honeymooners seems to be what happens if Chuck says yes to Sarah on the train platform in Prague.

        In fact, it’s almost seamless. Chuck has the kung fu moment at the end of Ring. Then we see the bit in Pink Slip where Sarah pitches the runaway to Chuck in Castle. Then they meet again three weeks later in Prague and they run away, aka the beginning of Honeymooners. Then it’s on to S3 e14-19 and S4 to date.

        I mean, we may learn eventually that once the show runners got the greenlight for extra episodes in Season 3, they said: Okay, we’ve written the season that posits Chuck rejecting Sarah to be a spy. Now that we have more episodes, let’s write the show as if Chuck says yes to Sarah and they try to run away.

        Hey, weirder things have happened in writer’s rooms on TV shows…

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Asking Ellie to be the matron of honor also has a practical aspect. You know she’ll show for the wedding . If it was a spy who was in that position they may not be able to get the time off, may be called to do a mission in the middle of the wedding, get trailed by a bad guy to the wedding or some other disaster that makes Ellie wish Jeffster had played the wedding (letting her find out exactly what dmage Jeff’s roman candles covered up when he set off the sprinklers.).

        Maybe the Honeymooners is what happened after Dr Sam Beckett set things right at the request of his fellow scientist Stephen Bartowski. If it was hopefully he’ll come back and find a way to save Stephen’s life and reunite Stephen and Mary together with thier children instead of Mary only being reunited with thier children.

      • atcDave says:

        Fun suppositions, except it didn’t undo Shaw, or Chuck becoming a real agent, or anything involving Costa Gravis; sigh. We’re stuck with it.

      • First Timer says:

        @atcdave:
        I did say ALMOST seamless.

        The other stuff, though, is all no worse than some stuff they leave hanging anyway. Is the existence of Costa Gravas in S4 any worse than not telling us what happened after the “it’s real” moment? Is the existence of Casey’s backstory from TicTac any more dangly in S4 than the fact that, in Cat Squad, they ignored the fact that Buy More is a weapons fortress and Chuck was left to create one with CDs and a waffle iron?

        And so many important things from S3 HAVE been totally ignored (Chuck’s six months of Prague training; the red test stuff; the Rome assignment; the existence of a somewhat functioning Intersect from the ashes of the kung fu moment), that you can’t help but wonder.

        I’m not one of those who think the show runners have reacted to the negative reviews of S3. Season 3 was written and almost totally shot before Pink Slip/Three World aired. Almost all of the back six was written and shot BEFORE Mask aired.

        My point is that the back six of S3 was the show runners idea. They were headed in the direction we see now LONG before fans reacted badly to what they were seeing in the original S3. So I just wonder if some sort of decision was made to use Prague as the many world jump point.

        And maybe it goes back to what I was saying last week about Fedak’s personal style. He’s obsessed with “run or stay” decisions for his characters. So he may have decided, when the back order for S3 came in, to explore the option not originally taken in Prague.

      • atcDave says:

        You know, I almost added another comment after my previous saying exactly that First Timer, that skipping 3.01-3.13 presents no worse continuity gaps than what we’ve sometimes seen anyway! Apart from the Awesome episodes I certainly don’t see myself re-watching any of the others by choice. Even Other Guy is no longer that appealing to me, Honeymooners is when Chuck re-invented (for the second time) starts.

      • jason says:

        I am pretty sure the best way to view chuck as a marathon, would be to skip from 2×22 to 3×14, there are a few continuity gaps – morgan knows all of a sudden for example, but even that is not gaping, if you watch, it isn’t as odd as you might think.

        I would suggest someone make a tape of 3×13 with the tank, the apartment scene, the 2 quick scenes b4 and after the elevator, and the Eiffel tower, that is all I ever watch 3×13 for, takes me about 5 or 6 minutes, the rest of 13 does not appeal to me at all.

      • herder says:

        I liked parts of it more than you did, but even with your aversion to the first part of season 3, you left out the bear, how can you have highlights of season 3 without “I decapitated the bear” one of the funniest sequences in the entire series.

      • First Timer says:

        @herder:
        Well, I like “Bears,” the Sam Isaacs song that played at the end of Operation Awesome, more than the “I decapitated the bear!” moment. But I’ll give up “Bears” if you give up “I decapitated the bear!” and we all make believe that Season 3 e1-13 was, in essence, Bizarro Chuck.

        And now that I think about it, didn’t Fedak say in an interview that Shaw would have been perfect for Sarah in an alternate universe? (I think that was in a Mo Ryan interview.) So maybe Season 3 entirely took place in an alternate universe. You know, the one that has Bizarro Jerry Seinfeld in it, too.

        We live in THIS universe, where S2E22 is followed by S3E14 and the Bizarro Universe has Sarah and Shaw together and alternate Seinfeld…

      • First Timer says:

        I went back and checked. Fedak made his “version of reality” comment about Sarah-Shaw to TV Guide in March, 2010. Here’s the exchange. If we have Fedak talking versions of reality and we know his episodes often revolve around the stay or run theme, maybe all of Season 3 is a version of reality that exists somewhere other than this reality. 🙂

        March 22, 2010
        TVGuide.com: Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) and Shaw (Brandon Routh) seem to be getting closer. Will they get serious?
        Fedak: Absolutely. I think as she’s watched Chuck change this season — and that he seems to be changing from the guy that she fell in love with — [she realizes] Shaw is the guy that she should’ve been with in the first place. He’s a guy who shares much of her professional experience. She’s not a normal girl and Shaw’s not a normal guy. They know that world and are obviously attracted to each other. There’s a version of reality where he’s the perfect guy for her.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        FT
        Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) and Shaw (Brandon Routh) seem to be getting closer. Will they get serious?
        Absolutely. I think as she’s watched Chuck change this season — and that he seems to be changing from the guy that she fell in love with — [she realizes] Shaw is the guy that she should’ve been with in the first place.

        What a load of BS. Reading it still makes me cringe. Although this interview does fit in with the time line of the ‘penthouse day'(March 23) when the Sham got serious.

      • joe says:

        Yeah, I find the idea of “reality” (and A.U.s) in the context of fiction to be curious, myself.

        Isn’t it better to think about what we’d like to see, verses what we’ve been shown? At least that gives us a chance to compare our own imagination to the authors.

        Speaking of my own opinion only, of course, we can’t get away from the idea that S3 bites. I have a great deal of sympathy for the notion (often stated by Dave) that the whole idea is to be entertained, first and foremost. So for this reason, we have here a *fail* on our hands.

        But at the same time, I’m also of the opinion that “reality” bites (at least, often enough). As much as S3 reflects reality then, it’s a success. It’s not meant to be liked; it’s meant to take us to something we can like. With all political irony intended, mission accomplished.

        I live with the seeming contradiction.

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        Joe, I hear what your saying really want to believe it. The problem with showing us reality, especially a darker reality, is that it has to be believable. I can buy into the Chuck portion of the reality, for a while. But I cannot buy into the Sarah portion of that reality once Shaw start rubbing her neck. That reality was never portayed correctly for me to buy into it. To say that these weren’t the same characters that we had previously been shown and fell in love with is an understatement.

        As far as Fedak’s comments noted above, he has no choice but to say those things since the bulk of his season’s concept rest with the fans believing it. The fans either didn’t believe it, or didn’t want to believe it, or just simply didn’t want to see it, it doesn’t really matter. After Shaw became the main star of the show ANY story real, imaginary, or alternate universe was lost.

        I see comments all the time about “it was all necessary in order to get the characters to the Hotel in Paris”, and I would agree with that only in the charcaters started their individual “trips” to Paris somewhere around episode 7 or 8. But they never did. Their “trip” to Paris started when Sarah woke up. 3.13 ended exactly the way 3.1 started, with an about face from where we started to where we needed to be, with a very mean spirited and suicidal story thrown in the middle.

        As far as alternate universes and throwing a chunk of S3 episodes, I think your all missing the simplest explanation. They were all high.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        I see comments all the time about “it was all necessary in order to get the characters to the Hotel in Paris”, and I would agree with that only in the charcaters started their individual “trips” to Paris somewhere around episode 7 or 8. But they never did. Their “trip” to Paris started when Sarah woke up. 3.13 ended exactly the way 3.1 started, with an about face from where we started to where we needed to be, with a very mean spirited and suicidal story thrown in the middle.

        This^^. The journey (or the lack of it) was so royally screwed up the whiplash turnaround in 3×13 was totally underwhelming and felt rushed.

        As far as alternate universes and throwing a chunk of S3 episodes, I think your all missing the simplest explanation. They were all high.

        LOL. That’s a good one.

      • atcDave says:

        Awesome comment Joseph!

        Although speaking as someone who spent most of the last week high (Vicodin, don’t get any funny ideas folks!), I’d say they must have been VERY high.

      • uplink2 says:

        Wow, I had never seen that comment except the altered version from M Ryan before. I am so glad that I was not an online Chuck fan back then I would have been furious with that comment. I know he had to try and justify what they had shot already but that is such a freaking lie when you look at what happened on screen prior to 3.1 and what happened during this arc.

        I wonder what was going on in his head when he said it. Did he actually believe it or did he just do what he had to to justify the disastrous choices they had made? The more I think about all this the more angry I get. I can’t let it go because having not lived through the online world during it I am about 9 months behind all of you in my grieving process.

        I think someone should cut an episode that starts with Chuck and Morgan in Castle where he admits to being a spy and tells him he loves Sarah, followed by Sarah asking him to run away together. Follow that with the surveillance scene then cut to final exam where he says that if he passes this test they can be together and they almost kiss. Then cut to DYLM, the scene in the hotel room and then the train station platform where they begin to kiss and now off to Honeymooners. That is how I choose to see my universe. It is just as plausible with fewer holes and plot devices. It would take about 1 episodes worth of time and Honeymooners becomes 3.2.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Uplink, we were all pretty outraged at the time too. I don’t think anyone bought it at the time; even the professional critics were giving them a lot of heat over it. Major snafu.
        I honestly think they were impressed with their cleverness and brilliance; until the Chuck-pocalypse hit after Mask (going into the Olympic break). Then they knew they had problem, and started trying “damage control”. But it was pretty self-serving and non-apologetic at the time.
        I think we have reaped the benefits of our reaction now with S4, but so much damage was done.

      • uplink2 says:

        Thanks Dave, read my post further down. If I give them the benefit of the doubt I think the change in the back 6 may have been because they saw how badly the first 13 really were and knew that Chuckpocalypse was coming, just not the the extent it did.

        They are just so pompous in all this in trying to rationalize something that was clearly a lie in execution. I know its what their PR folks told them to do but even the deflecting of any talk about 3.0 Shaw to only “he was a great villain” at ComicCon was condescending and dishonest.

        I know it will never happen but I’d love after the show has ended to have Fedak more than Josh actually talk openly and honestly about it and admit it was the huge mistake it was.

      • atcDave says:

        I’d also love to get a little dirt on what was going on behind the scenes during S3. Especially if anyone tried to steer them away from this story, and if either of Schwedak ever really admitted, even privately, that they had really screwed up bad.
        We’ll certainly never get anything along those lines officially; but maybe someday, someone involved will publish a memoir.

      • jason says:

        the fri night lights guy was pretty open about his season 2, in 2 separate things I read, he admitted the season failed, was ‘rejected’ by his fans, was his biggest disappointment over the 5 seasons, etc –

        I think someone will come out and discuss season 3 sometime in the future, I am convinced there was some infighting going on, that many writers don’t leave with a day of each other without having resumes out on the street for quite some time –

        reminds me of my younger days, 2 of my best friends had children born the same day, a little creative math, we all figured out what night was 9 months prior, we had won a big regional basketball tourny, stayed out all night celebrating, I guess some for longer than others,

        my guess is those resumes hit the street in mid season, to secure all those new jobs, kind of like having kids, doesn’t happen overnight – LOL

      • uplink2 says:

        Interesting Jason. I really missed a lot by not being involved back then but I guess it has its good and bad. But you are right you don”t loose the # of writers they did without something going on behind the scenes. Especially since the season 4 pickup happened at a normal time for all shows, the Up Front announcement.

        The issue will be did they leave because they argued with the bosses because they didn’t like their direction or were they the biggest proponents, and now scapegoats, for the misdirection of season 3.

    • Michael says:

      @First Timer

      >>> Fedak: Absolutely. I think as she’s watched Chuck change this season — and that he seems to be changing from the guy that she fell in love with — [she realizes] Shaw is the guy that she should’ve been with in the first place. He’s a guy who shares much of her professional experience. She’s not a normal girl and Shaw’s not a normal guy. They know that world and are obviously attracted to each other. There’s a version of reality where he’s the perfect guy for her.

      I never had that much of an issue with Season 3, but if Fedak said that about the Sarah and Shaw saga, one or more of the following is true about Fedak;

      1) He went insane
      2) He was screwing with TV Guide ( trying to drive up the buzz for the show )
      3) Doesn’t know his own characters very well.
      4) He is living in an alternate universe.
      5) Was taking drugs

      The odd thing, about the whole 5 episode Sarah/Shaw arc, I never got the impression that Sarah really cared about Shaw that much and that she was just using him to get over Chuck.

      • First Timer says:

        I dunno, I thought Liz James made a pretty impressive case explaining what the show runners were TRYING to do with the relationship. (It’s here: http://www.articulateschnook.com/10/070510shaw.html)

        It didn’t work, to be sure. But since the show runners really DID write and film virtually the entire first 13 of Season 3 before we EVER saw an episode, my point is that they decided to go to Honeymooners and beyond long before we fans had a chance to weigh in.

        THEY made the decision to go another way before we told them we hated what we were watching. They didn’t react to the fans.

        So the question is WHY they did the first 13 and WHY go the Honeymooners route after that when it WAS NOT the bad reaction from the fans that forced them to do it?

        It’s why I come back to the many worlds approach…. I have no other explanation than that. And it may be the best explanation.

      • herder says:

        add 6) he doesn’t know his audience.

        It still makes me angry to read these things, it was like they were trying to poke the fans with a stick from the time they got the renewal in May of ’09. Then after poking the audience with a stick they were shocked when people got angry. What a waste of an opportunity.

      • herder says:

        firsttimer, they did change the story to put them together for the back 6, but they also had a angsty story in there that I think got edited out at the last moment. My guess is that Sarah’s repudiation of Shaw was dropped from the first 13 to allow the question of her feelings for him to remain. Starting with Casey’s questioning of the day off the map, the earings, her calling out “Daniel” when he showed on video, my guess is that this was a set up for what will she do, who will she choose type of thing. That they planned her rejection of him for the finale, but they started to get cold feet and edited that part out. This is why I think that Sarah had little to do in the finale, her story with Shaw got dropped after filming.

      • Herder – Do you really think they wanted to go there? The guy tried to kill her because she killed his wife…

        When you think about it, Sarah had little do to in Push Mix as well. I think they just don’t know how to give Chuck his hero moment if Sarah is too present.

      • armysfc says:

        there is a good article that was or is linked here on the blog called “why shaw mattered”. never having seen season 3 earlier than 3.12 the article made sense to me, and so do the comments fedak made. compared to what the article said i can see what they attempted. even this season as far as sarah has come she is still leery of opening up to chuck even this late in the season. her past is an example. in one sense they were right, shaw was the perfect guy for her, in the spy sense. it points out the difference in spy love sarah and shaw vs romantic love sarah and chuck.

        from reading here and other places the execution was bad at best. this caused a lot of bad blood and lack of trust between the viewers and the show runners. even during this season it has reared its ugly head many times.

      • herder says:

        Crumby, yes I do think that they intended to go there, in the sense that they did with Lethal Weapon. That Chuck would be afraid of losing her, his lies, her apparant feelings for Shaw, we wouldn’t know untill the end, like when Cole asked her to leave with him and she said she wouldn’t. Not that she would go with him, it was supposed to be a worry that she might, but I think that got dropped as the disaster that was Shaw finally sunk in.

      • atcDave says:

        I do agree we can tell in the back six of S3 that TPTB hadn’t quite realized yet HOW irate the fans would be with was foisted on us in the main arc.
        The biggest thing just being the return of Shaw. I doubt they ever would have put him on screen again if they had realized how totally POed their fans were. The second thing was the interrogation scene in Living Dead. That was, as Herder describes, a “poking the fans with a stick” sort of moment. If they had any clue at all, they would have written the scene to repudiate that anything ever happened. What we got was just another tone-deaf moment in a tone-deaf season. The third big thing was just all of Chuck’s lies and deception in that stretch. That is the biggest thing that keeps me from enjoying episodes 3.16-3.19 even now. And look at the difference this season! I believe it was Jason referred to the “no lies, no secrets” pledge of 4.01 as a promise to the audience. I think that is exactly correct. They have responded to what the fans want, it just took them a while to get there; which if can toot my own horn again, is exactly what I said back in 2/2010 when I wrote “The Right to Complain.” Let’s just hope the response came in time to get our ratings heading back up!

      • First Timer says:

        @herder:
        The facts and the real life time line simply do not support your contention. The first 13 of the show were written before Pink Slip ever aired. And we KNOW they were filming Honeymooners in late January because Levi did a live broadcast from the location on Ustream. I mean, those are simply the facts.

        By the show runners’ comments, they claim the only thing that changed with the back-six renewal notice was that the last couple of scenes were changed. Originally, they claim, the Chuck-Shaw confrontation was supposed to be on the Eiffel Tower. After Chuck beats Shaw and Shaw falls from the tower, Chuck and Sarah walk away. You can believe that or not, but that is their claim.

        But at least from the actual facts of timing, all of Season 3, e1-13, were filmed around the time the show had its Season 3 broadcast premiere. And Honeymooners was being filmed in January, 2010, just as we’d gotten to the first three episodes. By the time Mask aired on February 8, they’d have had Role Models in the can at least and were probably filming Tooth. That means Living Dead was written and in production. That means probably everything but Subway and Ring II were also essentially written, too.

        I mean, I HATE Season 3 with a passion. Abhor it. Won’t watch it. But I’m not into the conspiracy theories or the concept that we fans forced the show runners into “fixing” the back 6. It is indisputably clear that the original 13 were in the can by the time we started seeing the first episodes of the season and the back six was deep into production and almost completely written before Mask.

        The show runners chose the path for the show after the original 13 of Season 3, not us. So the question is WHY they went with the lighter, happier show BEFORE they knew how much we’d hate the darker Season 3 episodes.

        And all I’ve been saying is that maybe Fedak was using the Prague train station as a quantum physics kind of thing. The original season 3 (complete with Sarah-Shaw) was one reality he saw and everything from Honeymooners on is the other reality he saw. That IS my spec.

        But it’s wrong to suggest that the show runners only lightened up AFTER we revolted. The realities of TV production clearly make that idea physically impossible.

      • So the question is WHY they went with the lighter, happier show BEFORE they knew how much we’d hate the darker Season 3 episodes.

        S3.0 “darkness” was part of the story they wanted to tell. Once 3.13 over, the “darkness” didn’t have much sense anymore. They had told their story, Chuck was a spy, he didn’t changed, and he got the girl.

        The Back 6 were certainly a big relief after the S#@# misery, and Honeymooners and Role Models were certainly intended to be ‘lighter’ after some heavy episodes designed to end a season, but I wouldn’t necessarily called 3.16 to 3.19 lighter. I don’t think they thought of it that way and even if they felt that way, I don’t believe it was their intention.

        They finished the season on a theme that was exactly what Sarah expressed in Pink Slip: the spy world is full of ruthless people, nothing is as it seems and you don’t always know who the good guys are…

        However, the lighter tone of S4 is clearly a choice IMO.

      • uplink2 says:

        @FT
        I might give them the benefit of the doubt here that maybe they actually saw how bad it showed on screen in the first 13 and foresaw the reaction from the fans. But obviously they couldn’t change it so they decided to take the back 6 in a completely different direction to try and stem the revolt. If they had stayed that original route it would have possibly ended up getting the show canceled as there would be no save the show effort after season 3 because the active fans were so turned off by it.

        I do believe they anticipated it as the post Mask interview was set up in advance I’m sure and it was so offensive in just a blatant just wait and see load of crap instead of a real explanation. However I don’t think they thought it would be as bad as it was and that we would still be talking about it a year later. Or that the damage would still be affecting the show and its fans.

      • herder says:

        First Timer, I’m suggesting that when they got the extention in November they removed Sarah’s rejection of Shaw from 3.12 or 3.13 because when they planned the back 6 they had decided he was not dead, but would be returning. I think, no proof, that they had intended to have some romantic angst about Shaw/Sarah in the back 6, at least a question in the fans minds like in Leathal Weapon. Keep in mind that at this point they tought that the Shaw/Sarah story was the best thing since sliced bread.

        As production continued on the back six they had bits that would lay the foundation for this angst, Casey’s questions about the day off the grid, the earings, Chuck’s lies. I’m suggesting that the time they got to filming the finale, the ratings had plunged to 1.9 and they lost their nerve for that part of the story and removed it, probably in editing. That is why you have her suprised “Daniel” in Subway minutes after saying “Shaw is dead”.

      • First Timer says:

        @herder:
        That simply can’t be right because Sarah chooses Chuck at the end of E12 when Casey tells her about the red test. She’s headed to Chuck at Union Station (what IS it about Fedak and trains?) when Shaw “kidnaps” her. Then she reaffirms TWICE to Chuck in E13 that she’s with him and this is when Shaw has yet to be exposed as a rogue. So nothing was removed.

        The other stuff in the back six about Shaw and Sarah is used as a reflection of Chuck’s continued insecurity. Besides, it’s simply not plausible, even in the weirdness of Season 3, that they’d try to sell you a Sarah character who still had feelings for Shaw after he kidnapped her, drugged her and then was going to throw her off a bridge to her death.

        @uplink:
        It’s not a matter of giving the show runners the “benefit of the doubt.” The show’s production time line indisputably shows that the first 13 were filmed BEFORE mid-January, they were filming Honeymooners in late January and were in production for the last two or three episodes of the year by February 8 when Mask aired. The timeline is clear: Season 3, both the original 13 and the back 6, were all done in a vacuum without any impact of fan reaction.

      • herder says:

        First Timer, you mean unlike the way that Jill betrayed Chuck to Leader so that he could be killed but then later on in the season had her back in First Kill where he still had feelings for her (even though he wasn’t going to run with her)? This is exactly the type of plot that they liked. In any event it is just speculation and either or both of us could be correct or not at all.

      • uplink2 says:

        @FT

        My point about giving them the benefit of the doubt was about them recognizing the pile of crap they had executed BEFORE the fans saw it and so they changed the direction for the back 6 on their own. Not sure I buy it but I try to be a positive person.

      • atcDave says:

        Uplink I think there is some evidence of that. As FT was saying, they had no outside feedback yet when the tone of the show changed, although I think the S3.5 tone shift was minor compared to the bigger adjustment we saw for S4. I think, at the very least, they knew they’d strung together a series of down episodes and they needed to do something fun before starting the next arc.
        I don’t think they had any clue how poorly S3 would be received. And I don’t think they really saw how poorly Shaw was coming across, or they wouldn’t have extended his story. I remember well reading when his contract was extended not once, but twice! I think they are just beginning to get that for many viewers, Sarah is THE reason for the show; and her character can not be made to look bad without dire consequences.

      • armySFC says:

        dave i agree with the show now being about sarah. i think its happen as a construct of the show. take away the romantic angel of the show for a minute. start at the beginning of the show. if they would have slowly advance chuck, with sarah and casey providing the supporting roles it would be different today. chuck would be the main focus of the show. early on sarah was the one to get most of the mission assignments. people will gravitate towards the hero or the person that gets most of the attention. i believe that’s why sarahs character took so much heat in season 3. from what i have read they knocked her off the ivory tower many fans placed her on.

        had the missions be more split up casey and chuck doing them and an equal amount of save chuck time given between the two agents it would be different today as well. whether it was a concious choice or not the writers made sarah into the popular character she is today. had they written casey different and had him more involved from the start he would be the one people would want to see.

        imagine if from the start sarah was sent to kill chuck and casey was the one sent to find the intersect. if casey had mentored chuck in the spy world and spent his time with him instead of sarah do you think sarah would be as well liked as she is today?

        so while sarah is indeed the fav character of many, the writers made her that way. same as they could have done for any of the big three. example of that, morgan was a favorite early on but with his huge change this year, he is becoming a bigger favorite. in the early years did anyone really care about his love life? now they do. its all what the writers do. just my two cents.

      • uplink2 says:

        Interesting thoughts both of you. Army first I will agree with you only to a point, I believe a lot of the reason that Sarah has become the focus of the show for so many is more about Yvonne Strahovski than it is about the writers. I have often thought that Yvonne is almost too good an actress for the part they wanted to create originally. She is just so great as she said in response to our Emmy4Yvonne question “letting the audience in” to the character without the use of dialog that she took the role to places they probably didn’t intend it to go. I love all the actors on the show but Yvonne is in a place by herself IMO. She simply is the most talented and multi layered of all of them. But they didn’t see that really till this season. Another example of not understanding what their audience responded to.

        Dave I’m just trying to be nice but I can’t get how they “liked what they saw on screen” from Shaw or Routh. I can’t believe they extended him twice. I never knew that. That really makes me question their abilities as it is simply so obvious that he sucked and had no chemistry with the best actor on the show. All of this just sounds like PR BS. Trying till their last breath to spin a disaster into something it wasn’t. I also find it hard to believe that no one said anything either in editing or in the writers room about this simply not working. Truly bizarre.

      • armySFC says:

        uplink, very true, but then again what she got to show was based on the part she was written. her character had to be put in a position to do that. here’s an example. most people didn’t know how good of a dramatic actor she was until phase three. her scene in that episode brought that out. if she never got that scene opinions of her ability never would have changed.

      • uplink2 says:

        True she has to get part of it from the writers but I still believe her talent took it to another level.

      • Yeah, take Best Friend for example, when the car exploded and Sarah and Casey thought Chuck was inside. You can write this as well as you want, but it’s Yvonne’s talent that owns it.

        Her talent does take everything to another level, just like a bad actor can make great writing look bad.

        Sarah wasn’t supposed to be as important to the show as she is now. In S1, I don’t think TPTB ever thought that Yvonne would basically owns S4.

      • atcDave says:

        Army I do agree Sarah could have been written as a darker character and it might have affected her popularity. But of course a darker Sarah would have meant a totally different show that would have likely attracted different fans, so really all bets are off.
        I really tend to agree with Uplink on this. Zach is a good actor and Chuck is a likable, relatable character; but Yvonne is extraordinary. She is a gifted actress who exudes charisma on screen. I also think we were well aware of of her dramatic depth long before Phase 3. She was amazing in Nemesis, Cougars, DeLorean and many others. On a professional level, I think the biggest fubar of S3 was not recognizing what the show’s real strength was and getting away from it, in almost every way, for most of the season.
        Uplink I also agree it doesn’t really speak well of TPTB that they liked what they were seeing on Shaw. My precise count on extensions may be off, we got some conflicting information during production on how many episode he was to be in. But the 3.18-3.19 appearance was absolutely a later addition; and given how the episode count we were hearing changed several times, I suspect it was extended AT LEAST one other time.
        We’ve discussed this here a few times, but I do believe Routh would have been fine, and Shaw acceptable, if he had just been written as a mentor/traitor character. But they really messed up when they made him a romantic figure; he didn’t have chemistry with Yvonne, he wasn’t credible with Sarah, and fans didn’t want to see any of it regardless.

      • uplink2 says:

        BTW @FT

        I had read that argument for Shaw/Sarah from Liz James before and though she puts things together from her POV that fit what she is trying to say, I just don’t buy it. I didn’t the first time and still don’t on re-read. There are so many elements of her story that just don’t hold true from what is actually shown. And the only thing that is canon IS what is shown. Anything else is just speculation and from her POV its speculation with an agenda of proving her point. No need to go into why I disagree with so much of her premise but in the end it is all for naught. What we got was simply an awful story that betrayed the characters we have been shown for 2 season and betrayed what the fans had been asked to do to save these guys jobs. But one complete facutal error in her analysis, when she said that Shaw knew of Sarah’s loss after talking about his loss of a true love, he was talking about Bryce, not Chuck as she was talking about spreading his ashes in Barcelona. He even said she loved a spy and Chuck wasn’t one, at least not yet.

        All in all such a tragic decision that almost doomed this show. Can you imagine if Other Guy had actually been the series finale? How distasteful would that have been?

      • armySFC says:

        @all let me say this to clear up any misconceptions you may have. i never said whether or not yvonne was or was not a quality actor.

        my whole point was not to question her talent. it was to point out that the way a show is written dictates how we feel for a character. if yvonne was given parts that only showed her putting chuck down (like early casey) or constantly doubting him and she stayed in that roll through 4 seasons she would most likely not be as popular as she is now despite how well she acted the part. take silence of the lambs. anthony hopkins played a great part but you hated his character. if from the start sarah was portrayed in a bad way, no matter how well yvonne played the part sarah would not be as well liked.

        i do realize that it would be a different show but again not my intent. i just my opinion that the diversity of the role an actor is given allows them to showcase what they can or can’t do.

  41. Michael says:

    @armySFC

    >>> people will gravitate towards the hero or the person that gets most of the attention. i believe that’s why sarahs character took so much heat in season 3. from what i have read they knocked her off the ivory tower many fans placed her on.

    True, they will. However, I get the feeling that the horror people feel with Sarah and Shaw in Season 3 came from a deeper place, an almost subconscious one.

    Without getting into all of the mythological clutter or psycho-babble or societal taboos on the show, let me propose this;

    It was ‘ok’ with the audience that Chuck slept with other women; Jill and Hannah, because he was seen as ‘waiting’ for Sarah to come to her senses. Whereas Sarah had to remain chaste because it was her decision not to have a physical relationship with Chuck. I don’t think the audience put her on the Ivory Tower, Sarah put herself there. She even said it to Cole, that she would not cheat on her cover boyfriend. As silly as it sounds out of context, it makes perfect sense at that point in the show. As for her not sleeping with the asset, hockey pucks. Show canon is that agents use sex as a tool, like any other tool. Does anyone have any doubts that Carina would have slept with Chuck to keep him in line? Sarah was afraid, plain and simple.

    So, horror of horrors, she sleeps with Shaw. It was a betrayal of trust that was at issue and she did it so cheaply.

    While I have my nickel going into the slot here, what the heck is spy love? I could see that she had feelings for Bryce, but Shaw? I doubt she had any feelings other than lust for Shaw. That is probably why the name reveal was taken so badly by the audience.

    But then again, I could be full of it.

    OK, I’ll slink away now before the heat gets turned up too high.

    • I never thought it was ‘OK’ for Chuck to sleep with Jill and Hannah.

      He’s the one that ‘broke up’ with Sarah in Break Up. He didn’t cheat on her considering they were fake dating and she couldn’t give him what he wanted at the time, and Jill was his college sweetheart, but still.

      And Hannah was certainly NOT fine at all. And it was great that she actually called him on it. Chuck is the one that rejected Sarah in Prague and he never tried to get her back. He was in no way waiting for Sarah at that point.

      However, it was understandable that Chuck could fall for Jill again, and Hannah wasn’t unlikeable. Shaw on the other hand was a complete mess of a character and nobody understood how Sarah could be attracted to him, even less so sleep with him. And they made it last. Chuck discovered that Jill was Fulcrum right after he slept with her and he broke up with Hannah in the same episode we learn they had sex.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Chuck’s one night stand with Hannah was certainly not OK. And it was a total retcon of the ending of 3×02 where he professed his love for Sarah. The only saving grace was that the breakup with Hannah happened in the same episode and as a shocked viewer I was able to recover from it (one night stand). Now contrast that with the Sham. *shudders* which never seemed to end. *stuff of nightmares*

      • Big Kev says:

        Wow – the collective Season 3 psychosis continues!
        I wish I was a psychologist – I’d have a thesis in responses to betrayal and grieving from some of you 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        Well Big Kev we are emotionally invested in this show, and S3 will likely sit wrong forever. I think its become more interesting again precisely because S4 has been so much better.

      • weaselone says:

        With all the issues that existed in season three from Prague to Mask to Fake name, the biggest problem was the promise that Sarah and Chuck would work on cleaning up the mess that was their personal relationship and the absolute failure of them to actually do so. Chuck and Sarah essentially fell back together.

      • atcDave says:

        I think there were so many problems with S3 its hard to pick a worst! But yeah, the lie at the end of Three Words was among the major problems. It gave us a false hope, that sustained through two more upbeat episodes. But to me, First Class was the drop off the cliff. Its when the lie of Three Words was exposed, there would be no effort to fix anything.

    • atcDave says:

      I think there’s some truth in that Michael. But I must add many of us were extremely angry with Chuck first with Jill, and even more with Hannah.
      I think both of those are seen as smaller issues than Shaw for their own reasons. I lost some respect for Chuck over Jill, but she was an ex. So it’s a bad, but understandable failing.
      Hannah is a more interesting case. For starters, she was credible in her part; we believed Hannah was a decent sort and an actual good match for Chuck (in a different universe of course). But the big thing is just that Chuck figured out his error before (actually WELL before) Sarah did. So what you’re saying rings most true at the end, which may be the lasting memory for most of us; Sarah had the power to make things right for quite some time before she actually did. And that’s when we got really angry!

    • uplink2 says:

      I would also contend that part of the reason that fewer folks had issue with Hannah was simply put 1. Kristin Kruek is a much better actor and more likable than Brandon Routh, 2. We saw the attraction grow on screen. 3. There was real chemistry between Zach and Kristin. 4 She was done with in 4 episodes.

      And finally she was a victim of Chuck the Schmuck. One of my biggest complaints I have with Fake Name is they turned Chuck into a complete asshole to Hannah in the way he broke up with her. She should have punched him in the face. How a showrunner can allow the hero of your show to be portrayed as an incredibly despicable jerk for purely soap opera drama is beyond me. I hated Chuck in that episode from the time he walked in to Castle showing how he got laid in front of Sarah to how he treated Hannah at the end. He was a complete ass.

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        From a story standpoint Hannah had only one purpose, to make Sham acceptable to the masses. She was eye candy and eye candy only. Since Sham was never believable (in any universe), the Hannah role is irrelevant and totally pointless.

        Both LI’s just took away from what was going to be a difficult story on the characters that we loved. Hannah at least left and we got back to Chuck journey. Shaw wearing out his welcome never allowed us to get back to Sarah’s journey.

  42. First Timer says:

    @uplink2:
    You wrote: But one complete facutal error in her analysis, when she said that Shaw knew of Sarah’s loss after talking about his loss of a true love, he was talking about Bryce, not Chuck as she was talking about spreading his ashes in Barcelona. He even said she loved a spy and Chuck wasn’t one, at least not yet.

    I’m sure Liz James, should she choose to write again (I wish she would), can defend herself much better than I. But you literally twisted her words. She never says Shaw was aware that Sarah loved Chuck. What she wrote was this: “Who could have noticed that Sarah equated Shaw’s loss of his spy wife, his true love, with her loss of Chuck, her guy-turned-spy true love?”

    She understood the subtext YOU missed in First Class. Shaw WAS talking about Bryce, but Sarah clearly was thinking about Chuck in First Class. That was the entire POINT of First Class. Sarah uses burying Bryce’s ashes as a cover to keep Shaw in the dark about her going to Prague in her three days off the grid.

    As for what you claim is OTHER non-canon points that Liz James made, I can’t find any. I found her article persuasive because it STUCK to canon, contrasted what we were shown on the screen compared to what we THOUGHT we were thinking or what we WANTED to think. She made the case for the show runner’s work better than the show runners.

    So, again, it comes back to what you want to believe: If you want to believe that the show runners reacted to fan criticism despite the production timeline that shows otherwise, you will. If you want to believe there was no case for Sarah and Shaw because you don’t WANT it to be there, you won’t believe it.

    But the show runners tried to sell a Shaw/Sarah romance and a lot of fans get really bent out of shape because the Sarah character exhibits no regret for her actions. The show runners are unapologetic for the relationship and they have written Sarah as being unapologetic, too.

    • Big Kev says:

      @FT
      Completely agree with you about the structure and production timelines of S3. I’ve never believed that fan reaction had any impact on how S3 was written whatsoever. It had an impact on the PR and the damage control at the time, and it’s completely shaped S4, but as you say, it couldn’t have impacted S3.

      I liked Liz James’ take on Sarah/Shaw. I thought it was well argued, and I completely agree with her distinction – but unlike Liz, I just never thought that “spy love” was a particularly clever or noble concept. To the extent that it was worth exploring, it had already been done with Sarah/Bryce. I just didn’t see what we learned by going back to it, either in conception (which was Liz’s justification) or in execution (what we actually saw on screen).

    • weaselone says:

      I think it’s fairly obvious what the writers were trying to write and why they and by extension Sarah have no reason to apologize. In their view girls like Sarah don’t end up with geeky nerds like Chuck, they end up with men like Shaw. Now this is a show that targets a certain segment of the population that wants to see the guy like Chuck win a girl like Sarah, but as Big Mike would say that’s simply unnatural. Lions eat gazelles, they don’t marry them and start a families.

      Sarah’s an incredibly hot, highly competent female spy and Shaw is an incredibly hot, highly competent male spy (Just ignore his fantastic performance in The Mask and “desert is in your desert” lines and go with it). They’re a natural match even before you throw in the painful memories of loves lost which they have in common.. Lions don’t need to apologize for being lions, especially to prey animals.

      Of course, Chuck can’t actually be coupled with Sarah and remain as he was. He can’t be as nerdy and unkempt as he was in the first two seasons although he can remain insecure, occasionally whiny and clumsy. He he has to don the trappings of the sexy, competent spy. He needs to wear a lion skin.

      In the writers’ views Sarah and Chuck ending up together violates the basic rules of nature. As a result no matter how much pain and suffering Chuck and the fans had to endure Chuck should simply be thankful that he ended up with Sarah and the fans should pucker up and kiss Schwedak’s rings for overturning the natural order. No apologies are forthcoming, nor in their opinions should there be.

      • atcDave says:

        Yes, and add that to the list of S3 failings. The nerd doesn’t get the girl. He has to become cool.

        But you do have to admit this is something they have fixed, even without acknowledging the error. They have kept Chuck nerdy, insecure, and sweet; and he’s really got the girl now.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Weaslone – Nice analogy. We could have easily digested it if they had not shown the high level of love that Sarah had for Chuck in the past two seasons. Even after Prague and before 3×05 it looked like things would work themselves out because we were shown that Sarah still cared a lot about Chuck. so, when things start to unravel in 3×07 it comes as a complete shock.

        As a result no matter how much pain and suffering Chuck and the fans had to endure Chuck should simply be thankful that he ended up with Sarah

        After the events of 3×11 and most of 3×12, that was exactly my reaction in 3×13. I had given up hope that the epicness could ever return and was just relieved when the torture ended.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        He he has to don the trappings of the sexy, competent spy. He needs to wear a lion skin.

        But when he does so or tries to do so he is still rejected and vilified to boot because he has changed from a nerd to a spy.

    • uplink2 says:

      @FT
      The problem with her entire analysis is that I reject the very concept of Spy Love. There is no such thing because spy love is not love in the least. There can be affection, lust, attraction, caring but it is anything but love. It is simply a made up concept by a made up TV show. So she is trying to justify something that is based on a made up concept and therefore the argument fails at its very core. It is a twisting of reality to fit a desired goal by the show runners and her thought that Shaw should have mattered.

      For factual “canon” errors I’m going to focus on three paragraphs from her story but not Fake Name because I agree with a lot of her contempt for Ali Adler in that episode. And there is so much more I hate that it would take hours to discuss which we have done many times. So I’ll leave that one out and focus on the aftermath of Fake Name.

      Sarah and Shaw were better in Beard. They made a good-looking couple on the resort mission and they worked very well as a spy couple when Chuck’s survival was at stake. Shaw was right to call for strike on Castle. Sarah was right to use her relationship with Shaw to beg for more time for Chuck. And Shaw reacted as a spy lover: He gave Sarah as much slack as he could without jeopardizing his own duty.

      They did not work well as a spy couple when Chuck’s safety was at stake because Chuck’s safety never mattered to Shaw, it was all about saving the information that was in Castle from getting into the wrong hands. Shaw didn’t understand that Chuck and the Intersect were far more valuable than anything that was in Castle. To him Chuck was just another spy in training/asset and not the most valuable item in the CIA. He also knew he was his rival for Sarah and killing him eliminated him as a rival. (my own devious bias there I guess but remember he had said “you blew it” in Fake Name) Also Sarah did not perform well at all because she violated her raison d’etre as Chuck’s handler. Her job was to protect the asset at all cost because he and the Intersect were far more important and valuable than anything that was in Castle. Remember “He’s too valuable”. Sarah the great spy didn’t react like she had for the 2 season’s prior. That Sarah would have pulled her gun on Shaw and never tried to use her “relationship” to plead for five more minutes. She also would have forced him to wait till Casey was back to see if he had found a way in and was now out of danger. So she didn’t protect her partner either. She would have reacted as a great spy and not a wimpy little girl saying “Please do it for me”. There was no “couple” in their actions but only Shaw concerned with his view of duty, the wrong view as it turns out, and Sarah failing miserably at hers. They were a terrible “spy couple” in that episode. Both of their performances as spies were complete failures. They were duped out of position and didn’t protect the Intersect even if it wasn’t working. Chuck was the hero that saved both the info in Castle and his best friend. He also had his epiphany that changed his course from that point on. He, Morgan and to some extent Casey were the only ones who did their job that day. Chuck and Morgan were the great “spy couple” that day.

      Final Exam is poorly crafted, but Sarah and Shaw’s key scenes are not. Yet they play badly because fans had now rejected the story arc. What felt like Shaw manipulating Sarah into manipulating Chuck should have played as spy lovers leveling with each other about their respective duties. The scene where Shaw is in Sarah’s bedroom asking Sarah whether she still loved Chuck? Shaw knew the score. He was always aware that Sarah was in “true love” with someone else, just as he assumed Sarah knew that his dead wife was his true love.

      It felt like Shaw was manipulating Sarah because he was. It was never about spy lovers leveling with each other. It was about Shaw giving him his red test too soon and manipulating Sarah into helping him to break the final connection between Chuck and Sarah. Give Chuck a choice without options, kill the mole and lose Sarah, or don’t kill the mole and lose Sarah. Then he preys on a broken woman, as she does say correctly Shaw knew the score, who was in total despair for his own jollies. That is not what a “spy lover” does, its what a sexual predator does.

      American Hero almost worked as a high-stakes collision between “true love” and “spy love.” If you were pained by how comfortable Sarah was with Shaw on their date, it’s because the faults of previous episodes obscured their legitimate emotional, intellectual, professional and romantic connection. But simply put, Sarah looked happy because she was happy.

      Here she makes the HUGE assumption that there was a legitimate connection but if there had been Sarah would never have responded to Chuck like she did. She was practically begging him to tell her he loved her and begging him to give her the excuse she needed to get out of the lie with Shaw. She looked happy at the beginning because she thought she had lost the Chuck she loved and was trying to make the best of what was left in her life. She was not legitimately happy because she never would have let Chuck affect her if she was. She had made her decision to leave with Shaw if you accept that there is a legitimate connection. She was living a lie with Shaw and all it took was an honest confession from Chuck to expose that lie.

      I will give her credit for trying to make a case for her argument with some very thoughtful and interesting insights but she makes assumptions that simply were not there in fact or canon. Though I will agree that she does a better job defending the show runners case than the show runners did but I still don’t buy it. What happened, happened because of what was shown to us on screen. But the concept she is trying to defend is a concept that doesn’t exist in reality so to try and make the case for it she is forced to create a reality that simply wasn’t there or wasn’t shown. All in all it is a failed argument because it violates so many of the things we had come to know about these characters. To accept her POV you have to accept a huge retcon and that retcon is what the fans rejected the most. The actions of Sarah and Chuck both did not fit the characters we knew for the 2 prior seasons. And to expect “Shaw to matter” when the prior Chuck and Sarah didn’t matter under this retcon is ludicrous. It was destined to failure from the very beginning and no matter what she says it was supposed to look like, it didn’t. The fans rejected it because it should have been rejected. Shaw didn’t matter because he couldn’t without giving up on everything we knew before that. And I as a fan wasn’t about to give up on the Chuck and Sarah I had come to know and love and it seems not many did.

      • armysfc says:

        ft, uplink you both present good arguments. the basis of both arguments is what each one hoses to believe. on your point uplink i have trouble with it from the start. these two lines set the tone. “The problem with her entire analysis is that I reject the very concept of Spy Love. There is no such thing because spy love is not love in the least.” as far as i know there are multiple kinds of love. love of a spouse or significant other, love of a pet, love for your parents, love of the God you choose to follow. i have never loved a pet nor am i religious. that doesn’t mean that there is not love there.

        it shows me that you are already looking for faults in the argument based on what you believe and not what is presented. it’s been discussed many times here, but two people can look at the same scene in the show and come away with different views on what went on. i’ll site an example from a pod cast i listened to. sorry i don’t remember which one it was. in the scene from 4.14. chuck falls through the glass. sarah yells at him. one member says sarah acted harsh by yelling and chuck should have responded in kind. the other says sarah acted like she always did and lashed out. same scene different view.

        i have enjoyed both sides of the argument and have come to this conclusion. its like tic tac toe. neither of you can win, because in the end it’s based on personal views. same as why some folks loved FOD and some hated it.

      • uplink2 says:

        There are many types of love I agree but even in those you listed it is the concern and caring for the other that matters most. There is no I love you but only up to this point. Either you love something or someone or you don’t. You can care for them or be attracted to them like Sarah and Bryce were but if you truly love someone you don’t keep that person in the dark about why you may appear as a traitor or have them grieve at your death without knowing the reason. Hell both Bryce and Sarah said they were not friends so how can you say they were in love or even just loved each other? Friendship is at the core of love, even the mythical spy love. They cared about the other but someone that loves you doesn’t send 20 baskets of flowers, they spend the time to find out your favorite and send just that one.

        A person that loves you doesn’t take advantage when you are in total despair at the loss of something great when you think you yourself are responsible for that loss in your mind. A sexual predator does.

        As far as my rejecting the premise causing trouble for you that also points to my problem with her argument as she was looking for things to promote her initial concept that Shaw/Sarah should have mattered instead of really examining what was actually there. All of this is great fodder for sites like these and you are right both POV’s have merit and very little will change because people can see different things from the exact same scene. But I place the final judgment on the issue in what actually happened and my final statement.

        … to expect “Shaw to matter” when the prior Chuck and Sarah didn’t matter under this retcon is ludicrous. The fans rejected it because it should have been rejected. Shaw didn’t matter because he couldn’t without giving up on everything we knew before that.

        In order for her argument to work you have to accept the retcon of the two primary characters of the show. As many have said, Colonel makes season 3 impossible just as season 3 makes season 4 impossible. We are now expected to accept a retcon of the retcon. Now this retcon is far more enjoyable but to really see the show work this season you have to ignore last season. Sarah asked Chuck to meet him at the train station but that train station was in Paris and not in Prague.

      • armysfc says:

        uplink good points but remember should have nattered. the idea was good but the execution and writing was bad. but that’s been this shows problem all along.

        in another thread we compared castle’s wt/wt to chuck’s wt/wt. it was widely agreed that its easier to handle castle’s because even though they had OLI it was not in your face. another difference is that castle and beckett still work good as partners and friends, where as in chuck not so much. c/s never really spent time away from work as friends c/b do. so the OLI got magnified by a lot.

      • uplink2 says:

        I agree with your comments about Castle though I have never really watched it but understand the concept and agree with it. But that points to my argument. That to accept that it was a good idea means you have to accept the retcon to make it work. That is what your point is all about. The C/S relationship and the characters themselves we had been shown up to this point don’t allow season 3 to happen. So for the idea of Shaw to work you have to accept the retcon of them. Something that was rejected very vocally by the fans. In order for it to work Season 3 has to happen in an alternate universe. So it was doomed to failure from the start and add on to that they gave a crappy character to a crappy actor and we got what we got. A failed arc that almost cost these guys their jobs.

      • armysfc says:

        up link you misunderstand me again, lol. i never saw season 3 before 3.12. im talking in loose terms on why, if done right from the beginning it may have made sense. my main point was its an argument neither side can really win. take any episode from this season and tell me what you like, i bet i can argue an opposing side based on canon.

    • uplink2 says:

      I thought about this overnight and want to make one more point about why she thought that they were a good spy couple in Beard is so factually wrong. The information that the Ring was looking for in Castle on those disks that Shaw was so desperate to protect was about him. It was about what he and Eve had learned about The Ring that led to her death. So this “great spy” was trying to stop the Ring from learning about his story, his actions and his personal tragedy. He chose to potentially kill Chuck, Casey and Morgan (though he didn’t know about him) to protect himself and his search for vengeance. Not the actions of a great spy at all and coupled that with Sarah’s complete failure at her primary job that day they were the worst spy couple ever. Shaw chose protecting himself over protecting the greatest asset to the CIA and Sarah wimped out and was prepared to let him do it. Again the only great spy couple that day was Chuck and Morgan.

      • herder says:

        Interestingly that was one of the few times that the bad guy has seemed genuinely dangerous, that The Ring were smart enough to lure the spies away on a wild goose chase inorder to get a closer look at the Buy More. Volkov did that twice this year, first with the Tuttle hoax, secondly with the assault on the Buy More to rescue Frost.

        Most times the bad guys don’t seem to be smart enough to be real threats, the Beard was one time that they were. A smart bad guy allows for a smarter good guy to catch them, that allows for the Chuck we like to see to make an appearance.

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        @Uplink2

        Exactly. You have just pin-pointed and described why what the showrunners claimed about Shaw never rang true.
        Thanks.

      • herder says:

        If you want to get to the crux of the issue, if Shaw allows the discs to be captured and the information to get out, the CIA is no worse off than it was in the past as it is info about the Ring that the Ring already knows. However this is information that Eve Shaw acquired at the cost of her life, if he gives it up then her death has no meaning, Chuck has to die for for her death to have meaning.

        So Shaw’s need for his wife’s death to have meaning takes precedence over Sara’s duty to protect Chuck, and she weakly agrees with that, one of the only times in the whole series that I would call Sarah weak. This is leaving aside the fact that the intelligence is five years old and likely out of date and worthless. Shaw’s personal issues outweigh his duty, Sarah fails in hers, is it any wonder that the scene leaves us scratching our heads. A nonsense dilema designed to cause angst, once again a poor ending to a pretty good episode. Bah humbug!

      • uplink2 says:

        This is why Liz James argument fails in the final analysis. Of the 3.7 thru 3.12 episodes Beard is my favorite. It shows so clearly why Chuck is the true hero and Shaw is simply a sexual predator bent on vengeance. Liz completely misinterprets what is going on in the episode in order to justify her goal of Shaw should matter. She focuses on the superficial, that Shaw and Sarah “looked” like an attractive couple on their mission. The writers even beat us over the head with the comment from the hotel girl. It was phony and irrelevant. Shaw’s only focus was protecting his desire for vengeance without any regard for Chuck, Casey, Morgan or Sarah for that matter. And Sarah was so poorly written as to wimp out in deference to her new boyfriend. There was nothing in Castle or on those disks that justified killing Chuck or risking his life. The Intersect trumped all of that and yet Shaw didn’t care and Sarah didn’t protect her asset
        Even the retconned scumbag Chuck of Fake Name would never have done what Shaw tried to do and Sarah allowed him to do. Shaw was never the hero and the audience saw right through that argument. Liz James has it completely factually wrong in this episode. Shaw and Sarah were a complete failure as spies and if that makes them a couple then they deserved each other.

        I love this episode because of Chuck’s revelation and he shines here. It made the end of this nightmare seem possible finally. I also love it because it showed that he was so far superior to the ” great spy” on many levels. Shaw was a fraud and everything about him was a fraud and it was never so evident as it was here. And for Liz to say that Shaw and Sarah did the right thing here is ridiculous. Only one spy, leaving Casey aside, did the right things in this episode and that was Charles Bartowski.

  43. Verkan_Vall says:

    ALERT! Season 3 Reference!

    @Joe: more power to anyone who can find entertainment in and a use for, season 3 of Chuck. The show needs all of its fans.

    My problem with Season 3 is twofold:

    -I found it unnecessary and so frustrating, depressing and infuriating that it does not qualify as entertainment for me (and life is just too short).
    – in trying to get some fans who have left to come back to Chuck, I have found out the hard way that the only S3 episodes that won’t provoke an outburst are Honeymooners to Tooth (3. 14 – 16).

    @FirstTimer: Thanks! I’m not up on quantum mechanics, but writers such as H. Beam Piper and Andre Norton have touched on the “Many Worlds” concept in depth. Season 3.1-3.13 = Bizarro World. Indeed.

    @Joseph, Michael: Thanks. I had never considered the possibility of a chemical explanation.

    From the first few minutes of episode 3.1, I’ve been wondering “Why?” I watched all of the season 1 and 2 episodes in the weeks before S3 started, and I couldn’t believe how jarring the difference was. As Dave as said, the show was almost unrecognizable. Why did the showrunners make such a 90 degree turn? What about the fans of S1 & 2?

    I know 7 of those fans; they went to the mat for this show. They sent postcards, they wrote letters, bought sandwhiches, went to flash mobs, and all they wanted was to watch Chuck, to watch the show that they loved. I’ve never seen them connect to ANY other show like that, and they pulled me in too.

    So WHY did TPTB decide to turn their backs on their old fans in a ruthless quest for new ones? Why didn’t they keep faith with their old fans, the ones who had helped bring the show back from cancellation?

    I mean, there are a number of different ways to have gone dark, they could have even gone the fast, easy, cheesy way using a sandbox. (A sandbox or virtual machine is a way of running a process in its own memory space in such a way that it does not threaten the rest of the system. It can be seen, but does no damage.)

    Example: Season 3
    Chuck in Prague, Chuck in training, Chuck gets caught in an explosion.
    Chuck is knocked unconscious, falls into a coma, and the Intersect connects to his subconscious mind (or the base OS he uploaded as a child), and starts to show him the probable outcomes of his unspoken desires, looping cascades of nightmares where he loses Sarah and his father, over and over again.

    In one or two episodes, they could have gone as dark as they wanted (Casey as a traitor? How about Casey as a killer for the Ring, with Casey being the one who guns down Morgan behind the BuyMore when Morgan sacrifices himself to allow Ellie to escape with a wounded Awesome?), but it would have all happened in the coma, in the sandbox, and the fans would have known it. They could have had Chuck come out of the coma on his own, and run to the station to meet Sarah, or have her learn of his condition and get to the hospital to bring him out of it.

    The rest of the season could have consisted of Chuck and Sarah working together to avoid these fates, and growing together as a couple, and I think most of us would have enjoyed that a HECK of a lot more than what we got.

    Folks, I’m not a good writer, I write hack and slash fantasy and I’m small potatoes; but there was some serious talent writing for S3 Chuck. I know that someone had to have come up something that was better than what was inflicted on us, and TPTB rejected it. Why?

    In effect, Fedak and Schwarz decided to beat the show to death for 3 months and fully expected the fans from the first 2 seasons to watch, and then they would wave the MagicScript wand over the last 2 episodes and everybody would be happy. It didn’t work out that way: they gained some new fans, but drove casual viewers and old fans away by the millions. But WHY did they do it?

    At first, I thought it was our old friend Hubris, with some classical greek overtones (Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad…). But now, thanks to FirstTimer, Joseph and Michael, I have an explanation that makes as much or more sense than anything else I’ve read on the subject:

    The Showrunners took an extended vacation to Bizarro world, and while they were there, they went on a 12 episode bender.

    ……

    Okay.

    • armySFC says:

      i remember before the season or during it (was deployed at the time) that TPTB said they wanted to write a show they wanted to. something along those lines anyway. they said at the start of the show (its been said here many times) that this was chucks journey from boy to man to super spy. my guess is they really didn’t think about the results, just that it was their show and they could write what they would enjoy. they did and it hurt the show.

    • atcDave says:

      Wow VV, some great comments. I hadn’t seen the “sand box” term before, I may find use for that in the future! I don’t particularly like the idea; I’m pretty linear in my approach to things, and I tend to regard all such dreams, flashbacks, etc as unwanted distraction. Although I do often love flash forwards and alternate realities (“Yesterday’s Enterprise”, say no more…); so I can imagine the idea working, it just seems like it normally doesn’t.

      But of course the main idea there is, almost anything would have been better than what they actually did.
      I used the word hubris several times during and since S3, and it has occasionally generated very angry responses from other commenters; but to this day I honestly think it is the best explanation. They were so convinced of the genius of their own idea(s) for S3 that they stopped paying attention to any outside input. I know the voices saying “don’t do it” were loud and clear. Easily 80+% of fan responses were totally negative about details that started to leak at Comic Con, where Maureen Ryan even warned them that the time had run out on the wt/wt. And every new revelation after was viewed with the same sort “they can’t be serious” responses.
      I am not a “one cause” believer on what went wrong with S3. But the continuing wt/wt was the most obvious and discussed in the many months between Comic Con and when 3.01 aired. As we were saying yesterday, I would love to know if anyone involved in production actually questioned their direction (like especially the writers who had to create the dreck we saw). But whether any insiders spoke up or not, Schwedak had to ignore a lot voices telling them it was time to move the central relationship along. And that is hubris.

      • uplink2 says:

        Dave I’ve been wondering aloud about the same thing. I have a hard time believing that the mass exodus of writer/producers at the end of season 3 was based purely on getting a late call about renewal. They got the same late call after season 2 but there was no mass exodus.

        I want to believe that someone saw how bad the execution was and how badly some of the episodes were being written and it created some tension in the ranks that lead to the some of the exodus. That being said it looks like very few of those that did leave will still have a job come May as most of the shows they went to are going to be canceled as well. If that is the case I’m not so sure I want them back either. It is going to be a very interesting spring.

      • armySFC says:

        dave FT put out some good information on s3. i don’t know when com con took place but the 1st 13 were filmed before the season even aired. it may have been to late (filmed) when the leaks came out and the reactions were bad. they just had to go with it.

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        @atcDave:

        Agreed. I myself was hoping for an exploration of Chuck as Orion’s heir in seaon 3, but instead we got dreck. Oh well.

        ComicCon takes place in early-mid July, I believe. That means about half a year elapsed from ComicCon 2009 and the start of the 3rd season in Jan. 2010. That is a fair amount of time, and even then why did they deliberately damage the series leads the way they did?

        I don’t understand. I hope someone does write a book or article explaining or recounting how things went down, because Season 3 Chuck is a text-book example of what NOT to do to a show.

  44. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The CAT Squad (4.15) | Chuck This

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