Cat Squad — Collision With The Past

Whenever Sarah’s past collides with her present, the results are dangerous, tempestuous, hilarious, and eventually heartwarming. Anger, frustration, and punching bags (or punching people) are usually involved. Chuck almost always gets caught in the storm before he winds up being the real hero … and Sarah’s very own baggage handler.

Chuck Versus the Cat Squad has all that and more. We get Sarah’s old team, an explosion, a cat fight, and a mission to Rio. Plus, Cat Squad has more collisions than Rio rush hour. Major collision alert. Sarah’s past collides with her present, while Chuck’s good intentions collide with reality. Morgan collides with his ex, Carina. Casey probes his reality, after his new life collided with the dead end created by his past choices.

As for the heartwarming, there was so much. We got some l-o-n-g anticipated Ellie/Sarah bonding, a sorely missed Ellie/Chuck conversation, and yet another “best” C/S moment. What begins as an unwelcome intrusion ends up giving Sarah the very things she didn’t know she missed, didn’t know she needed, and didn’t know she wanted.


Random alert! Did Cat Squad give you dreams? nightmares? My husband dragged into the kitchen Tuesday morning, prompting me to ask how he slept. Not great, apparently. All night he dreamed he was in Rio fighting the drug lords. He said he kept having to fight and had to drive a bus and a get away car (hilarious, because he hates driving in Rio) and he just couldn’t stop the dream. I’m afraid I wasn’t very sympathetic. I couldn’t stop laughing.

Well, Rio was a new place to go on a mission. The Carnaval footage was ancient, but Chuck and Casey’s “Catch of the Day” Kombi, complete with fishing nets inside, was a funny touch. In the cramped interior of the Kombi, Casey actually talks about his lady feelings, without being asked. What is the world coming to? I think the universe really may collapse on itself. Casey’s new life recently collided with a dead end created by his past. Remember when we all wondered why Casey stuck around the Buymore after GB canned him? Turns out he was getting to know his daughter on the sly. Remember he told Sarah that the Ring would go after the people they cared about … then went to save Alex. When Clara was born, the odd family of Casey, Alex, and Morgan vowed to stick around forever. The next logical step would be to talk to Kathleen. Sadly, when he went to do just that, he collided with a family picture that he could never be a part of. At least that’s the way it looks now; so Casey is suffering whiplash from his own collision. A future mission for Agent Charles Fixit Bartowski, I’m sure.

Inside the smelly fish Kombi, surrounded by the deafening noise of Carnaval, Chuck digs into the past and the Cat Squad mystery. What say we leave Rio for now and do our own digging into this colossal collision with the past.

Cause and Collisions

There’s always something that causes collisions: fatigue, distractions, fog, deer, speeding … something. What caused all these collisions?

Who am I going to invite? Who’s going to come? and … Who’s going to walk me down the aisle?

Chuck wants Sarah to be happy. That’s it. That is all. he. wants. Her family situation is complicated, but the minimum he can do is track down her old team, so she’ll at least have a friend at the party, right? Being a good fiancé, he’s nudging, trying to help fix things.

For once Morgan had a solid piece of advice. Ask Sarah. But Chuck by-passed Sarah’s reluctance and decided to arrange a wonderful, terror-inducing surprise for her.

That’s the cause.

Without knowing exactly what awaits her, Sarah parks her Porsche, walks into the courtyard, and runs into Ellie, who is leaving to face her own terror. I loved! this brief Ellie/Sarah encounter. Their affectionate, knowing exchange about Chuck’s sometimes-annoying/sometimes-endearing quality of diving in to fix things is so … sister-in-law-ish … fantastic post-engagement exploration of new territory. Ellie offers a listening ear. Sarah’s thanks and admission that it feels good to talk about things is real progress. This is something they both need, Sarah perhaps more-so, but Ellie, too. Hurray!

Sirens In The Distance

Sarah walks in on Chuck preparing for … a quiet evening with friends? He seriously doesn’t know Sarah’s old team. He may even have a couple of board games picked out. Sarah can see the collision coming. She’s changed … a lot. Her life couldn’t be more different now (unless perhaps she entered a convent). You just don’t know what to expect with this team. But it’s pretty safe to assume that board games are out.

Cue the thunder of chopper blades, the glare of a search light, and the blare of the loud speaker. … Let the collisions begin.

OK, one of the funniest lines was Morgan’s. “It’s my ex.” Seriously? He and Carina had a double date and a one night stand. Only Morgan would think that qualifies her to be his ex.

Speaking of Morgan, this is a good place to open a parenthesis to talk about his collision with Carina. I thought it was funny. It wasn’t dragged into all the muddy corners of Carina’s past (for which I’m grateful), and Morgan’s discomfort was great comedy. His waking up with Carina, the scene at the door, and his hiding behind the kitchen counter … funny. My favorite scene, though, was his phone call and air-kisses to Alex and the immediate appearance of General Beckman on the monitor … hilarious. I’ll probably never not laugh at that one.

Sarah’s Collisions

The Fender-bender. The morning wake-up scene sets the stage for the coming collision. Hungover Sarah was so funny. (Perfect scene from the first groan to the last hand gestures, one more scene that will never cease to make me chuckle.) Chuck’s PJ’s and Sarah’s outfit give visual reference to the contrast between the bridge-club snacks and quiet evening Chuck had prepared (which would have been fine with Sarah) and the evening that the Cats drummed up: clubbing in Hollywood, Vegas, and Miami. Chuck takes Sarah’s muffled admission that the evening was OK as a sign that the band is back together. He is so happy that he made her happy and is only somewhat dampened by her story of a traitor in the ranks. Nothing that a quiet coffee and conversation can’t resolve … for normal people, anyway.

Breakfast. Exciting-adrenaline-fueled-spy-life sits down with If-a-yawn-could-yawn … and Sarah’s worlds begin to collide: her old life, old self, old team, with her new life, new self, and new team, all of which center around Chuck.

How do you explain Chuck to these super agents? Well, you can’t, not without compromising national security. He’s an agent? Yes, and a really good one, but he’s not Bryce or Cole … or James Bond. Level-6-clearance, presidential-go-to-guy Special Agent Charles Carmichael is well hidden behind his every-guy persona. What has gotten into Sarah Walker!? … Awkward.

Their perception is predictable … a doofus. Wasn’t that Carina’s appellation?

Carina, however, will not be a problem. Notice, she never joins in the sarcasm or the doubts, because she, perhaps better than anyone else, knows their story. She realized, even before Sarah herself, that Sarah had fallen for Chuck. Then on their last shared mission, all the gaps were filled in. By perception she knew Sarah had fallen in love with Chuck. When GB put the success of Carina’s mission squarely on Chuck, she had to figure that there was more to Chuck than meets the eye. Sarah wouldn’t tell Carina what happened, but her timid question about a different life told Carina that Sarah had gone way beyond the cardinal rule of spying. The video from the vault answered every last question … even giving Carina clues about Chuck, himself. She may be a cat, but Carina is a good friend, so she leaves Chuck and Sarah alone and takes her matches to Morgan’s fireworks shed.

Breakfast digesting and the Cats on their way, it appears that Sarah will escape with only a fender-bender. It wasn’t all bad, but I’m glad it’s over. … Ka-boom! … Guess that’s a no on the fender-bender. … Let the collisions continue.

The Ten-car Pile-up. The dreaded micro-collision with her past escalates into something more like real-life bumper cars, and Sarah is getting slammed from every direction. Her Porsche explodes next to her house, nearly killing her friend. Gaez is back. The traitor is involved somehow. Old grudges resurface, and she is forced, from the top, to go on a mission with her old team, whom she clearly does not trust (General, we’re not a team anymore).

And Chuck has an idea.

Oh no. Chuck’s last idea gave her the mother of all hangovers, turned her Porsche into shrapnel, and landed her in the middle of the mission from hell with demons from her past. All because he wanted to make her happy, to fix her past. Can we please ease up on the ideas.

In addition to the obvious external collisions, there are also some internal secondary collisions. First, the mission is colliding with her personal life, largely thanks to Chuck. For Sarah the end game is nailing Gaez, bringing down the traitor, and getting the heck out of Rio. For Chuck the end game is still Sarah’s happiness, which he believes is tied, in part, to her reconciling with her past. Chuck plans to use the Intersect to review all the data and find the traitor. Sarah knows his plan is valid. It’s his end game she’s having trouble with.

Second, who Sarah used to be is colliding with who she is now. Sarah learned to be self sufficient early in life. She didn’t need any one or any thing. She could take care of herself … and did. That’s the Sarah the cats knew … the wild card agent, who liked life a little on the wild side. The reunion has got to be a wee bit stressful.

She has changed … a lot. She loves Chuck. She needs Chuck, and she’s comfortable admitting it. Her world has expanded enough to fit one more, and that has been a stunning expansion! Chuck’s family and TeamB are in there too, but Chuck is the only one she really needs. She doesn’t need friends at her engagement party. She doesn’t need her family. Above all, she doesn’t need her past fixed. Needing Chuck doesn’t mean needing all his help to fix things. … Does it?

That independent, self-sufficiency is an old-Sarah trait that bubbles to the surface in this episode. See, Sarah is a fixer, too. She just operates in a different arena. Remember her conversation with Graham in the Pilate? But I can fix it. … Just give me 12 hours. Sarah does not need help fixing things.

After all these collisions, Sarah is a wreck. By the time she leaves on the mission, she is frustrated with Chuck, angry at her circumstances, and suspicious of her team. Still she has a job to do. Nail Gaez. Bring down the traitor. Get out of Rio. Done.

Her mood is not improved by the turn of events in Rio. Now, she is angry at Gaez, angry at the setup, and angry at the traitor, whom she assumes to be Zondra, of course. She didn’t cause this, but she will fix it.

That’s what Chuck fell into. He interrupted her fixing things. At least that’s her perception. Gaez could just as easily have lied, so Chuck’s fall could have been a blessing in disguise. Amy and Zondra looked properly taken aback at Sarah’s outburst and even seemed to sympathize with Chuck. Must have been a chilly flight back from Rio.

She’s still stewing when she sends him to clear their home of kitty luggage. Despite her protests, however, she looks at his report, which helps her and Zondra figure things out … not over quiet coffee and conversation.

I loved Chuck’s talk with Ellie. How I have missed them! Most of their talks this season were overshadowed by Chuck’s secret. It was so refreshing for them to talk about life and love again. Ellie offers bits of wisdom and some astute insights into Sarah. Chuck’s good intentions collide with reality. He blew it … big time. Sometimes it’s enough to be understanding. He doesn’t have to fix everything.

Meanwhile, back at Castle, Sarah’s frustration and anger flee, when she realizes Chuck may be walking into trouble.

Chuck, the baggage handler, arrives just in time for trouble. I loved the Buymore scene. Chuck with an apology in one hand and a plan in the other … so Chuck. I also liked Zondra and Sarah’s brief conversation.

Z: He’s a dead man.

S: Well, he’s got a plan. At least I think he does.

Z: Is he shopping? What’s he doing?

Notice, Carina knows better than to question TeamB. She just watches.

Chuck’s plan was genius (remember this is Chuck). DVD’s + a waffle iron = throwing stars. Don’t try this at home, kids. (Doesn’t the Buymore sell knives? I know. Where’s the fun in that?)

All in all this was good Chuck fun. Chuck bobbing and weaving and apologizing. Sarah equating her happiness with him getting out of this alive. Chuck would have totally saved the day if one of the bad guys hadn’t been a bad gal. Chuck still can’t hit a girl. Chuck takes out Gaez. Zondra lassos the mole. Day saved.

What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You

The rest is the icing on the cake.

Sarah and Zondra making amends was so well played: sincere, friendly, but not syrupy or overdone. Sarah regains something she didn’t know she missed. Friendship is real in both worlds, and it feels good to have it back. I loved their eager acceptance of Sarah’s soft-spoken invitation to the engagement party and to be bridesmaids at her wedding. They may not know how to be bridesmaids without machine guns, but they will give it a shot. Maybe Sarah’s spy friends wouldn’t mind an occasional taste of real life, after all. Who’d’a thought that Sarah would ever be anyone’s guide to real life? Scary. Of course now, I can hardly wait for the wedding. Come on. We already knew there would be machine guns. But maybe we can forego the pink taffeta. Call Casey the wedding planner, quick.

The ring scene is another one to add to this season’s growing list of perfect Chuck and Sarah moments. The mirror shot of Sarah fingering her ring is so … real girl, woman-in-love. What’s in an engagement ring? A name. Family. A future. The forever love of the man who put it on her finger. Her perfect match. A love that is the air she breathes. Chuck’s devotion to her happiness. … How could she have ever imagined that she didn’t need his help? He always has her back, always protects her blind side.

In her first words, Chuck, no more apologies. … I, I want to say thank you, is the asking and giving of forgiveness. But the words that follow rival her Suitcase confession:

No, Chuck, please … don’t ever stop helping me. There are a thousand ways I need your help every, single day, and … you’re perfect.

The engagement party is a far cry from her clubbing with the Cats, but it’s where she belongs … let’s party.

The episode comes full circle for Sarah with another conversation with Ellie. Was Sarah really thinking about her family or just the maid of honor question? I don’t know; it doesn’t matter. Either way, Ellie’s spidy sense zeroes in on long-buried hurts … ones that Sarah didn’t know she wanted to talk about. Ellie’s offer to talk about them and involve Chuck later was received with humble relief and gratitude. This is the new Sarah, who has finally realized that it’s OK to accept help.

There’s family in that engagement ring. Sarah has been welcome in Chuck’s family for a long time. She has fought for and protected his family just as she has fought for and protected Chuck, himself. But now it’s different. Now, for the first time, Sarah will be a part of a real family, have a real family name … one she will keep for life. She will be a Bartowski. She and Ellie have always liked each other, but now Ellie is practically family, her soon-to-be sister. Ellie is also a daughter. More than anyone else, Ellie can understand Sarah’s pain. Has Sarah ever had a woman to talk to? My guess is no. Either way, she has one now, and she is ready to talk.

Maybe you wonder why I chose a picture of Chuck as a banner for my thoughts on this very Sarah-centric episode. … Chuck started it all. As much as this is a funny spy tale about Sarah and her former team, it’s just as much about Chuck wanting to make Sarah happy and learning how to help her. It’s the story of her coming to recognize her need for his help and learning to receive it as part of his love.

As Chuck watches the scene through the window, things have come full circle for him, too. All he wanted was to make Sarah happy. He still needs to work on his technique, but in spite of his blunders, he seems to have succeeded. He can’t hear the words exchanged between his fiancée and his sister, but he knows it’s all good. His two best gals have found each other.

Sarah is happy.

All’s right with his world.



About thinkling

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

  1. Verkan_Vall says:


    YES! Those are all the things I liked about this episode. I don’t know if it is exhaustion, relief or just the need to relax, but I’ve really enjoyed these last 3 shows; I can watch almost any episode this season over again at any time for that matter.

    Is it too much to hope for more Sarah and Ellie, please?

    • thinkling says:

      I really hope so, VV. I was blown away that they gave us that … twice. 🙂

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      More Ellie/Sarah and more Chuck/Ellie. I was thrilled that Sarah and Ellie had two conversations but I was more glad when Chuck and Ellie talked relationship issues. Felt just right.

    • We’re gonna have some wedding planning between Sarah and her MoH.

      Also, it’s interesting that for the first time Ellie was used to threathened Sarah (when Amy mentioned her and the baby). It illustrates well that they’re family now, not just Chuck’s family.

  2. herder says:

    It was interesting that Carina took no part in the comments about Chuck, I remember from 3 Words that she seemed to accept him as an equal in the spy business. Most of the shots about Chuck came from Zondra, meaning they were really shots against Sarah and Sarah treated them as such. Don’t recall noticing any comments from Amy, except at the end with her “you’re no match for us” just before Chuck shows that he is.

    I really do hope that those two do show up for the wedding, I think Carina still has mischief to make between Morgan, Alex and Casey. Also their reactions to a potential Bridezilla Sarah would be priceless, to say nothing of the physical harm they could do to Jeffster if they tried hitting on the girls or crashing the wedding ( I can imagine Sarah telling them to dispose of wedding crashing Jeffster).

    • thinkling says:

      I was thinking the same thing, Herder. I hope they’ve cleared their calendars for that episode. I’ll be disappointed if they can’t make it. With all of the extended families and Sarah’s friends, it has such potential for side-splitting hilarity.

    • It was interesting that Carina took no part in the comments about Chuck […] Most of the shots about Chuck came from Zondra, meaning they were really shots against Sarah.


      Really hope they’ll be back for the wedding!

    • patty says:

      In Wookie during the same conversation where Sarah lies to Chuck about her relationship to Bryce he id’s himself as the Intersect. Carina uses the stuff she overheard there and earlier at the window to manipulate Chuck. She may not have understood what the Intersect was at the time but I bet she found out. I think that Carina knows exactly why Chuck is special by now, she is just keeping it to herself.

      Of course this assumes that the guys who own Chuck actually remember that far back, sometimes they seem to forget stuff like that.

      • thinkling says:

        It was a little less direct than that, Patty, but good memory. Sarah says that Morgan is like the Intersect on Chuck. Then Chuck says he wishes he could access her file, but the stupid thing doesn’t work like that.

        The pieces are there, so maybe she did more or less put it together, although she acted clueless about him in Wookie. After ll the Intersect wasn’t really a known entity. However, after seeing the video, she has more than enough to piece it together. At least to have a pretty good idea.

      • I don’t think Carina knows. He didn’t specificaly ID’d himself has the Intersect. They said Morgan was the Intersect on Chuck, and the Chuck wish he could access her file, but that’s it.

        In 3 Words she didn’t seem to know. She has to know he’s special considering he’s been protected for 3 years by Sarah and Casey, and he has “special training,” but that’s all.

        The Intersect wasn’t a well known concept at the beginning of the show, especially a human Intersect. The 2.0 is probably even less known about.

      • patty says:

        He also pointed to his head when he said it.

        I don’t think she knew then, but as a spy I am sure she noted the unfamiliar word and remembered it. Eventually she could have found out what it was and put two and two together. Certainly after her second appearence she would have had enough info to work it out.

      • jason says:

        i don’t think carina knows either, the carina knows reminds me of several times on this board we have spec’d that ellie did not like sarah, I have always defended the ellie / sarah, i.e. ‘sallie’ relationship, as far back as the ‘is my husband safe with you’ back in the shaw misery season. I make up my own POV as much as anyone on this board, but when called on my mistakes by more rationale posters, I always try to default to if it isn’t on screen, it didn’t happen. I don’t think we have seen any evidence that carina knows – do you guys?

      • atcDave says:

        I think you’re correct Jason. It hasn’t been mentioned, which really gives the writers some leeway in how to handle it if it ever comes up. Historically the safest assumption would seem to be that Carina does not know; she only knows that Chuck is an analyst turned agent who more than a little of Sarah’s attention.

      • thinkling says:

        Knows? As in knows knows? No.

        But he said in the 3W video, How could I run away with you … knowing that what I had in my head could help a lot of people. That plus his top-spy body guards would let her know that at minimum he is a huge intelligence asset, because he has something unusual in his head. I doubt she knows specifics, but she has a general idea of his value to the CIA and that he has unusual skills.

        She has also seen him just “know” stuff, out of the blue. The system for the diamond, her Argentine assignment, her arms dealer fiancé, the Gaez bomb.

      • jason says:

        think – you really gotta watch the librarian movies, the guy in non intersected, but is really smart, maybe smarter than intersected chuck, and he seems to be able to translate reading about kungfu into knowing kung fu

        I’m thinking that is what the word on the street is about chuck, he is the smartest man in the world type thing.

        funny, talk about who knows, I just rewatched 4×7 as I am trying to catch up to dave on his rewatch project, volkov is staring right at chuck as he flashed in the bank, for how much I blog and watch the show, does volkov know about the intersect? Mary did in 4×6 already, but did volkov – I assume he did, but did I miss the part where he talked about it?

      • I always thought that Volkoff doesn’t know. There’s nothing that indicates that he does.

      • kg says:

        Chuck displays his intelligence in Wookie when he basically tells Carina how to disarm/beat the security system and steal the rock. But other than that she has no real insight that he’s nothing more than the analyst he’s portrayed as. And she notices Sarah’s initial attraction to Chuck and “predicts” her falling for him.

        Two-plus years later in Three Words, in addition to General Beckman’s admission that the mission centers around Chuck, she has to realize that Chuck is something more than what is seen on the surface. They’ve constructed a first-class base underneath an electronics store. And while it’s obvious to Carina Sarah has fallen for Chuck (the real-life questions, the charm bracelet, etc.) she also knows that Sarah’s a very competent agent. She’s not just hanging around because she has feelings for Chuck. Casey is still there. They represent arguably the top two agents for the CIA and NSA. There’s got to be something special about Chuck. Feelings AND a special, special reason why it was so important to protect this seemingly nondescript nerd.

        The fact that Chuck navigated around the lazers in Karl’s vault was further proof. And the final piece was Chuck’s plea to Sarah “How could I run away with you when I knew THIS THING IN MY HEAD could help a lot of people.”

        Right on folks. If she didn’t know then before she gave the recording stick to Sarah that Chuck was the intersect, she had enough info to find out about it and conclude that indeed he was the one-and-only human intersect.

      • thinkling says:

        @Jason: I really like the Librarian movies, except the 3rd one. That’s a good analogy, Jason. Just translate it to the spy world.

        I agree with Crumby. I don’t think Volkoff knows. He’s too arrogant not to have mentioned it. The scene in the bank, Chuck turns away and just puts his fists up to his head. That could just be the way he focuses. Volkoff didn’t see an actual flash. On the plane his back was turned. Plus, in reality, I think they are more discreet than what we see. Only Sarah really recognizes them, and that one Ring guy that killed Roarke.

      • Even if it’s obvious that Carina must have figured out that Chuck is a very special guy, is the Intersect 2.0 enough of a well known concept for her to figure it out?

      • jason says:

        my math was bad, that is leave vegas at 2 am arrive at 10:19 am

  3. joe says:

    Hum… A chopper, loud speakers and search lights, an exploding Porsche, and not one complaining neighbor. Not one police siren. PLOT HOLE!!!

    Oh, who cares? This episode was exactly as much fun as you described, Thinkling! It was a little camp, a smidgen silly and tons sweet and tender. Hey! Alex and Morgan are perfect together. Did you catch the fantastic bit of acting-with-her-eyes that Mini Anden did when Alex told Carina “It’s alright. He loves me.”? That’s the kind of thing that lets me watch nearly every episode with new eyes time and time again.

  4. First Timer says:

    You know, there’s one thing about how they’ve written the Sarah character in Season 3.5 and 4 that is dramatically different than the assumption we and the show runners made about the Sarah character in Seasons 1/2.

    In Seasons 1/2, Chuck (and by extension, viewers) mostly assumed that Sarah, “the real girl,” was simply hidden. The little “real” interaction they had in Suburbs pointed to that. Chuck is surprised that Sarah is cooking HIM a traditional breakfast, not that she can do it. (Continuity note: Yeah, Sarah apparently couldn’t cook weiners in Season 1, but she did bring a souffle in Helicopter…)

    In Season 3.5 and beyond, though, the show runners have positioned Sarah as totally unfamiliar with “real girl” attributes. She can’t say I love you, she can’t handle a move-in-together, she can’t unpack, she has no friends at all and can’t maintain a relationship with any of her family, etc…

    While I suppose there are laughs to be had from Sarah-as-social-spaz. they probably should be careful about how far they push it.

    I’d much prefer a Sarah who surprises us by knowing EXACTLY what she wants from a traditional wedding now that she has agreed to one than a Sarah who is so overwhelmed by the process that she has to hit the heavy bag to relieve the stress.

    Besides, Sarah as Bridezilla has more potential for laughs than a pathetic Sarah who’s never thought about a wedding…

    • I never expected Sarah to be comfortable with saying ILY, moving in, unpacking or past relationships.

      Sarah from S1/S2 clearly indicated to me that there was more to her than a ruthless spy, and that there was a clear desire for a “normal/real” life, but not that she’d have a clue how to do it or what that meant. Especially after learning that her dad was a conman that moved her from town to town and ID to ID until she was recruited in high school. To me she was someone that never had the chance to experience “normal life” activities and those she knew about where due to her training, skills and capacity to blend in.

      Honestly, I’d find it weird if she knew right away what she wanted for her wedding. However, once she’d have overcome the first difficulties about it, probably with Chuck and Ellie’s help, she can become Bridezilla. 🙂

      • herder says:

        Ideally with Chuck and Ellie’s help, but more likely with Morgan’s, can you see him in any way shape or form not trying to have as big a say as possible in the wedding plans?

      • That’s true. He’s probably thought about the day he’ll be Chuck’s best man more than Chuck thought about his wedding, and Chuck has probably thought A LOT about his wedding.

        I could see a Ellie/Morgan confrontation on this! Chuck & Sarah watching, completely out of the preparation of their own wedding!

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Herder and Crumby

        Nice speculations. In the end frustrated at the bickering between Ellie and Morgan about how the wedding should go, C/S receive help from unexpected quarters – Casey.

      • thinkling says:

        I think you hit the nail on the head, Crumby. Wanting real life, even being familiar with it, and knowing what to do with it when you have it are two different things.

        The thing about Suburbs “real life” scenario is that it wasn’t real. Anybody who has watched TVLand can get up one morning and fry some eggs. But actually having the real relationship and making a real life are different from a weekend cover.

      • First Timer says:

        Uh, no, the specific point of the breakfast scene in Suburbs is that it IS real. Chuck comes down, sees a domesticated Sarah, thinks it’s an act for the cover. Sarah tells him Casey swept the house for bugs, then specifically says: “I’m cooking for YOU, Chuck.” It was the moment of reality in fake real life that was created in the episode.

        Which is my point about Season 1/2. We were led to believe that the Sarah character was simply hiding her “real girl” attributes. They had positioned the Sarah character as not good at relationships since Bryce threw it in her face in Nemesis, but a lot of “normal” people aren’t good at relationships, either. There truly was no indication, though, that Sarah was a social misfit.

        My point is only that in Season 3.5 and beyond, they have categorized Sarah at inept at anything that isn’t spying. I just think the joke has worn thin and that writing the Sarah character be hopeless at everything in her personal life will have diminishing returns.

        I mean, for me, I wouldn’t find humor in a scene where Sarah doesn’t see her wedding dress until it’s time for the ceremony because Ellie bought it for her. I’d hate to see a scene where she is disinterested in china patterns, but Chuck and Ellie fight over what should go on the register.

        We’ve talked A LOT about the Chuck character and whether he’s written as emasculated without the Intersect. I hope we can avoid having to discuss whether Sarah is SO inept in personal affairs that the character is ruined.

        Besides, I’ve never met a woman who hasn’t thought about their wedding. Their tastes may not run to the traditional, but the Western woman doesn’t exist who hasn’t done a little planning in their mind.

        If they want her to go “Eek!” if a mouse invades Casa Bartowski, fine. But I think it’d be funnier if she produces a knife from her bra strap and takes care of business… 🙂

      • jason says:

        @FT – I for some reason, not spoiled or knowingly, conjecture only, think sarah is going to be into the wedding. Even the tone, the feel, of her asking the 2 spies to be bridesmaids and ellie to be maid of honer, sarah seemed pretty girlish, as did the 2 cold blooded spies?

        I think ellie is going to be the wedding voice of reason, and sarah is going to be freaking out. Heck, given what the writers have done with other characters, ellie and morgan will probably find sarah’s mom – LOL

        I am excited about the possibility that ellie becomes the next overused character on the show, I don’t think in this universe, I would ever call ellie an 800 lb gorilla

      • The feelings were real, but the actions were still a role she was playing, a Martha Stewart kind of role. It wasn’t her, and that cover wasn’t them. That’s the point of the end of the episode. However they clearly aspired to that.

        There’s plenty of things that indicated that she just didn’t know what normal life was, like the fact that she didn’t do Christmas.

        About the wedding, I think they are going to show us that Sarah isn’t that thrilled about the wedding plans and stuff at first, but then she’ll take part of it, hopefully with weird special Sarah Walker touch. I think we’ll see both.

      • thinkling says:

        Hey FT, I love the mouse idea … or roach or what ever … preferably with lots of stunned witnesses, like her dad and the Woodcomb’s Sr … Jeff and Lester, too.

        One comment from Yvonne in a recent interview (I’m paraphrasing) was that Sarah wants to marry Chuck, but isn’t so much into the wedding stuff but that that could change. I think we are seeing the change, like Jason said, by her already taking care of her brides maids and made of honor.

        We haven’t seen Sarah in any task oriented real life stuff, since they’ve been together, like cooking or laundry or whatever. We know from Suburbs and the souffle that she can cook. Maybe it was the deep fryer that messed up her corn dogs. There’s no on screen evidence that she is inept at those things (guess the real test will be when Morgan moves out). Her struggle is with the relationship part of real life, defining her self as part of that world and realizing that she wants it for real, that it’s more than a favorite dream. That seems to have been accomplished.

        I would never describe Sarah as a social misfit. She’s always been gracious to people, even the “freaking yahoos.” She was fine at the engagement party, etc. She socializes well enough, even though she’s shy and not really close to people. But she’s certainly not a social misfit. I’ve assumed her lack of friends is due to her job, not her personality or social skills. As for family, her dad is in jail or on the run, though their encounter was warm enough. We’ve just now discovered that her relationship with her mom is strained (or strange, I couldn’t hear). Lots of people have strained/strange relationships with a parent.

      • andyt says:

        An intriguing discussion, but I disagree FT. I do not think they have changed their tone on Sarah into a clutz or “spaz” since 3.14. In fact most of her hangups are exactly the same as in S1/2 she does not know how to be a “real” girl because she never was one. In season 1, she couldn’t make the food at Weinerlicious because unlike many her age she never had a part time job in the service industry, she was learning to be a spy. Chuck even points out that she and Casey were not trained by the government to be a weiner girl and appliance salesman. In “Helicopter” she even make a joke about having to eat her cooking. I do not see any change. Also, most of her foibles are not skill related but emotional and psychological as pointed out in “Best Friend” which followed “Suburbs” where she can’t understand Chuck’s friendship with Morgan because she never had a friend like that.

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t see Sarah as being that terribly defective on a “normal” scale. We were told way back in S1 that she had baggage and was lousy at relationships. Well, not surprisingly we don’t really see that play out until she is actually IN a relationship with Chuck. And all things considered she’s done quite well. Almost comically well in fact; for every relationship “issue” that has come up, Sarah has learned and adapted. In some cases (no lies, no secrets) Sarah’s even the one who initiated the relationship growth.
        In some ways, Sarah is almost annoyingly good at whatever she sets her mind to.

      • jason says:

        dave – on my rewatch, I was reminded how ‘cute’ I thought sarah’s line about the book chuck was reading, “Do you want me to read it”, in so many different ways this season, she has expressed desire to make things work, too extreme really, I just got done with 4×8, don’t hit me, other than rye, I loved the episode, I think there are all kinds of hidden jewels (LOL) of knowledge about the show in 4×8, it was my first rewatch, I need to rewatch again, but I think lots of the ‘future’ spy career of chuck is fleshed out in that episode, to what end, I am not sure. I have been so infuriated with the contrived nature of Rye’s insertion into the team, that I missed the good parts of 4×8, I will have to go back and read some of the blogs here about that ep, I am sure I missed some great analysis here too, by being the way I was about rye

      • thinkling says:

        @Dave: Good point. Her skills at normal can’t be tested in circumstances other than normal. She’s people smart, observant, a great handler, but that’s different. The adjustment has been fun to watch, and you’re right. Sarah has adapted quite well.

        She also initiated the dungeon conversation, “What’s with all the no’s lately?” So, I think they’ve played it quite well. She is someone who has never experienced normal, thus behind the curve, but someone who wants to make it work and adjusts readily and quickly, therefore not deficient, just inexperienced.

      • atcDave says:

        Glad you liked Fear of Death so much more on re-watch Jason. I really thought there was some good stuff in that one, I loved Sarah’s first confrontation of Rye in the dojo for one; she knew he was a doofus! My only real beef with that episode remains the ending; I think they could have contrived to have Chuck captured without making Sarah out to be the villain. I get that blaming herself was part of her motivation in Phase 3, but I think that was overplayed and unnecesary.

      • Sarah was also the one that wanted to talk in First Fight. Talk about growth here!

    • weaselone says:

      I’d always assumed the CIA made the souffle as there seemed to be no other way Sarah could have cooked it…her hotel room didn’t exactly have a kitchenette. I think we get confirmation of this in vs. Cat Squad as Morgan is summoned back in to make breakfast because none of the smoking hot female spies in the Cat Squad can actually cook in the more traditional way. Apparently Sarah’s breakfast skills only extend to omelets and sliced strawberries.

      I had always thought it would be a nice touch if Chuck had started taking cooking lessons from Ellie and Morgan in order to fill that void in the household, or at least flashed on the method for making chocolate croissants.

    • ChuckNewbie8 says:

      On the contrary I think they have been faithful to Sarah and Sarah’s progress. It’s exactly why I put more value in episodes like Suitcase and Role Models, it’s because it puts more credence into the characterization we were originally given and yet advances her in her journey.

  5. uplink2 says:

    Great review Think. I really love this episode on so many levels and you hit them all. The only thing I want to point out is a comment I made in the first reactions thread. What I love about the final looking through the window scene is it really is a full circle return of the incredibly sad window scene from Marlin. In that scene Sarah was watching Chuck and his family experience something she had never known and in her mind probably never would. The special warmth that the love of family can give. It broke my heart to look at Sarah’s eyes in that scene and it stuck with me. There is such sadness and longing there that it is difficult to watch sometimes because of the brilliance of Yvonne.

    Now she has come full circle and Chuck was watching the woman he adores so completely experiencing that kind of love and warmth for the first time in her life. The sigh of pure joy and contentment he gives is in such contrast to the sadness and longing that Sarah showed in Marlin. It really is one of my favorite callbacks of any this show has ever done because it shows incredible growth and how love can do anything. I’ve watched that scene probably 20 times by now and it never fails to bring a bit of a misty feeling of contentment to me as well.

    • joe says:

      That’s so well put, Uplink. Ya gotta love those call-backs, especially when they’re used in this fashion.

    • atcDave says:

      That really was an awesome moment; actually two awesome moments (from Marlin and Cat Squad).

    • herder says:

      I like that word “adores” as it applies to both Chuck and Sarah, clearly he adores her and is willing to do anything to make her happy, that adoration goes so far as to excuse her her faults such as sudden lashing out on occasion. But she adores him too, she realizes how much she needs his help every day and thins that he is perfect when quite clearly he is not. That is one of the nicer things about this romance, not only do they love each other but they adore each other.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        clearly he adores her and is willing to do anything to make her happy, that adoration goes so far as to excuse her her faults such as sudden lashing out on occasion. But she adores him too, she realizes how much she needs his help every day and thins that he is perfect when quite clearly he is not

        Ah! The eloquence. Very nicely put Herder. 🙂

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, Herder well said. Chuck’s open adoration of Sarah is endearing. Her saying he was perfect, I took to mean in every way perfect for her … exactly who she needs, help and all.

    • thinkling says:

      Love that call back Uplink. Very, very nice, indeed.

      Yvonne’s brilliance is breathtaking in so many scenes. Marlin is certainly one of them. Very powerful! Breakup is another one. Actually we could probably compose a long list. 😉

  6. atcDave says:

    Thanks for another great write-up Thinkling. I especially liked your take on Carina this time around. She certainly caused less mayhem than she has before, and I miss that a little (of course Morgan wouldn’t see it that way); but it was satisfying to see “friend” Carina.
    Funny you’d notice Rio details that escaped most of us (“dated” footage? I’m sure like most Americans, I had no clue). And I had no idea they were in a Kombi, I couldn’t figure out what all the nets were about.

    This was such a fun episode, and I loved the sweet scenes at the end. That is my favorite Chuck formula.

    • thinkling says:

      As best I can tell, the outside of the Kombi said Pescado do Dia, Catch of the Day, a common menu term. Kombis are everywhere. I almost fell out of one once. I don’t lean against the doors any more.

      Carnaval hasn’t looked that sedate in many years. The costumes were so, um, ample.

      I’m a huge fan of the sweet scenes at the end! 😉

      • atcDave says:

        So are you suggesting current Carnaval footage wouldn’t make it on American TV?

        Like the old Bart Simpson line “Look Mom its the stripper from the children’s show we were watching!” (while visiting Brazil)

      • thinkling says:

        You’re so perceptive. Exactly. You would have to unsee a lot.

      • atcDave says:

        Hmmm, I’m envisioning fumbling for the remote with my wife’s hands firmly clasped over my eyes…

      • thinkling says:

        Your wife would own the remote. 😉 One hand over your eyes, one hand wielding the remote.

  7. jason says:

    @think – since you sometimes are willing to opine over some open ended issues about the show chuck, I have a ? about the show for you – i put it here because you appear to be online looking at this thread right now, really anyone else too for that matter.

    I often try to rationalize why I ship chuck / sarah, I really am not that much of a shipper on other shows, might be almost the opposite. Anyhow, my recently arrived at theory, in my mind, since the pilot, the show chuck has not been about the journey of the nerd to get the girl, i think the nerd got the girl, immediately in the balerina scene (3×13 confirms that). Hence, it isn’t so much I ship CS, it is more I am angry when separation of any kind is introduced, because they have been written together since the ballerina scene, not in a made up way, but on screen we’ve been told.

    Rather, I think the journey has been to self actuate, to find himself, his calling. To that end, assuming the answer is not to be James Bond (again, we have had several references, including the balcony and the cat squad) that chuck’s perfect as is or in the balcony the i did not fall in love with james bond … anyhow to that end, I sure hope this upcoming arc is about chuck finding peace in who he is (slightly neurotic, kind, gentle, sweet, not willing to kill, etc) and find a career that matches who he is, even if the last 5 minutes ends with him in peace, I hope he finds it, I think that is a logical wrap for the show.

    sorry if this takes you off track from the cat squad, but the talk of chuck being ‘just right as he is’ from sarah for the second time reminded me I thought this already in balcony.

    • thinkling says:

      Hence, it isn’t so much I ship CS, it is more I am angry when separation of any kind is introduced, because they have been written together since the ballerina scene, not in a made up way, but on screen we’ve been told.

      I might have said that it was obvious they were supposed to be together, but I like the way you said it. I think that’s the emotional reaction a lot of us had (past tense, thank goodness) to interlopers. It became very clear in the first half of the season that they were in love, but trapped in this horribly unfair circumstance that thwarted their love.

      I think you’re right. His journey is about his destiny as a hero. Hers is a journey toward real life. Below, I’m recycling a comment I made elsewhere, because I think it’s relevant to your point.

      The “Chuck” story begins, as Chuck’s story and Sarah’s story converge and begin to intertwine. The story is about two people whose past has robbed them of their future. One is the story of a guy who was meant to be a hero but is living a mediocre life in a dead-end job. The other is the story of a beautiful, smart, accomplished woman whose life is filled with excitement and adventure but lacks the roots and companionship, the love and warmth she secretly desires. They become embroiled in the Intersect plot. As they respond to their shared circumstances and to each other, it becomes clear that, not only are they in love, but each is vital to the other’s story. She sees and nurtures the hero in the guy. He loves the woman beneath the spy and stirs in her the abandoned hope that she can have a real life of love and belonging. Each one becomes an integral part of the others journey, until we can’t shake the feeling that they are bound for a shared destination.

      I can’t think of another couple that have been so together from the start and destined to be so. “Chuck” won’t work with them apart. When I say their stories intertwine, they quickly become inseparable. At least that’s the way I saw it. That’s why as you say, we couldn’t tolerate the OLI’s. So, for me, I am so happy now that we’re done with that. I love Chuck and Sarah together.

      Now, Sarah helps Chuck see that he’s his own brand of hero, and that’s who she loves. I think we see huge progress in Push Mix as Chuck steps into Orion’s shoes. I hope that continues and that he continues to be comfortable in his own skin. So far, so good, I think.

      Does that answer your ? at all?

      • jason says:

        yea – big time – thx

      • kg says:

        It does for me Thinkling. LOL. And great episode review before I forget. I appreciated the Pilot references, I CAN FIX IT and I CAN BE YOUR PERSONAL BAGGAGE HANDLER.

        Those and Carina’s reticence and respect for Chuck and Sarah. I agree, the writers didn’t forget about Carina in this episode, they purposely wrote her as reluctant to hurt or dig at CS but then turn her mischievous desires to Morgan.

        Your description of our favorite couple caused me to recall all the wasted time seemingly important people had believing that Sarah’s presence was the reason Chuck failed, screwed up or couldn’t operate at all. It was completely the opposite. To function properly he needs Sarah there, supporting him, loving him, forgiving him and reassuring him.

        We saw it again in CAT Squad. Chuck has seconds to fend off and survive against two assassins and all he cares about is apologizing to Sarah and consumed by HER feelings.

        His own sister summed it up nicely. “Chuck you bend over backwards to help people. It’s why you’re so easy to love.”

      • jason says:

        @think – don’t know how to italic, but here is what you wrote:

        “I think you’re right. His journey is about his destiny as a hero. Hers is a journey toward real life. Below, I’m recycling a comment I made elsewhere, because I think it’s relevant to your point. ”

        I agree, but have a ?, his destiny to be a hero, yes, but what career will he undertake to fulfill that destiny, what is the end game? You mentioned ‘Orion’s shoes’, to me, that is where I lose my footing, Orion did kill at least once as I recall using a predator, Mary did kill as a Cia agent, so has sarah, quite often, but not near as much any longer.

        From my shaky vantage point, I think there should be an end game, not orion, not cia spies, something else. I just don’t know what other than just walking away. I have no idea if this is an issue to be resolved, or that cia spies and / or orion will be the end game, seems to me the entire show has set themselves up for CS to walk away from it all at the end, either into open space or into other careers? Am I the only one who thinks that, or does everyone else?

      • thinkling says:

        So true about the Buymore scene, KG. Even when she started in on him in Rio, he said he was trying to help and look at all the bad guys he tranqued. It was so endearing. Well, not to Sarah at the time, but to everyone else.

      • joe says:

        Jason, it’s hard to think in terms of an “end game” for a television series with no definite expiration. I’m aware of one – Babylon 5, which was conceived from the beginning as a 5 year arc. Even then, network machinations made them compress the original story into 4 years and tack on a fairly pointless 5th season with a nearly totally revamped cast.

        You mentioned above about how Chuck and Sarah were “together” from the beginning (if only in terms of their own desires) and that the ballerina scene was the proof. But you know, it didn’t become proof until the 3rd season. Had Chuck ended after Lizzy was beaten on the Buy More roof top, or after Ellie and Devon had been married, then we would not have known for certain what it meant to Sarah.

        If Devon proposing to Ellie while Sarah watched from the outside had been the end, we would not have known about her domestic side, or known about Orion, or Stephen, or Emmett for that matter. Morgan would have barely known Anna Wu. All that came later.

        If Ellie’s wedding had been the end we would not have had Prague and Shaw, but we also would not have had Alex and Kathleen and Paris, and of course, if Paris had been the end, we would not have had Alex and Morgan together, Mary Elizabeth and Clara, and I’m guessing Casey and Kathleen.

        I doubt any of that had been fleshed out in their minds when the order came down for another season.

        In light of all this, what could possibly be the end game? It’s like life – there is none until it’s over. Unlike The Lord of the Rings where Tolkien could actually be supreme lord and master of that universe, this one is different. We actually have a little say in what goes on.

        I guess that makes this less than great art. But it sure can be cool!

      • thinkling says:

        Jason, here are my musings:
        For as long as the show exists, I think they will be spies. They already operate by different rules, outside the government box. I’d like to see them even more off the books, taking care of those things that governments are afraid to, the things on Orion’s laptop. GB would still be their handler/boss.

        Chuck will become more and more his own kind of spy, I think I called him Charles Carmichael Orion Bartowski. All of those people are inside Chuck. The smarts of Orion and the unfailing hero of Chuck Bartowski. Carmichael gives him just a hint of Bond.

        In the end, I have a hard time seeing them out of the game altogether. Presumable they will have kids to consider, though. So I see them trying to retire, but being called back to consultant for the government, on particularly difficult cases. Hence, a lot of, “OK, one last case.”

      • I think the end game is kids.

        They’ll want a family, and they won’t be either of their parents. They won’t abandon their children and they’ll want to give them a normal life.

        Maybe they’ll take desk jobs or something like that because I can’t see them out of the game, but they won’t remain field agents.

      • jason says:

        @crumby – we can only hope, thank goodness we have been around as long as we have, I suppose such great thoughts would not have been possible if the show had ended season one, you think? – LOL

      • armysfc says:

        end game? who knows, but i do think this. i am not looking forward to season 5. hear me out, lol. where can they go next year? by the end of this season we will probably know a lot about sarahs family and past, so thats out. we have chucks parents accounted for, so thats out. we have them married, so thats out. can they do a season on morgan? not likely. for most of you here this season has been fun. its been driven by the chuck and sarah relationship or things related to them. most here feel most of the seasons were driven by that as well. the mythology has been pushed to the back burner for the most part, and when its used its not done real well ( not bad just not great)

        they can’t get them pregnant early because how would fans react to a pregnant woman getting beat up or shot? bring in a new female partner while sarah hangs back or replace chuck and have him work out of castle? that changes the show to much. how far can chuck go in the spy world with his current beliefs?

        can fans take another season of character development? maybe but it probably wont be well received.

        i know they had to pack all of the above into this year because it could be their last. so i ask again what can they do next year except a year based on mythology? i would love it but again it changes the show.

      • uplink2 says:

        I speculated this somewhere and here is my endgame scene slightly edited and it fits with Schwartz’s finale of The OC.

        We cut to a shot 7 years down the road of Sarah in the kitchen of the very house we saw in Suburbs. In the high chair is their 2 year old daughter Lisa. The camera pans over to a 5 year old boy who is walking towards the den door which is just ajar and he sneaks in the door where we see Chuck working at his computer. He turns to his son Stephen and gives him a big smile and Stephen asks what you working on today dad? And as the camera pans over you see diagnostics running on the screen for The Intersect 5.0. a picture of Ellie on a monitor consulting him on some brain issues. Chuck calls to Sarah and she gets on the computer in the kitchen to see Casey, Morgan and Alex awaiting their orders from her for their next mission to steal some advanced brain wave technology from the Chinese. Fade to black.

      • Now that they’re on their way to the wedding, that’s the logical next step.

        Considering how important their jobs are for both of them, help people, do something that matter, make a difference, etc., I think children is the only thing that would really make them reconsider.

        Before this though, I’d like to see them evolve in their job. There is other way to make something that matters. Sarah could take more responsibilities, Chuck could embrace his Orion legacy, both working together. They could evolve progressively to activities that require less field activity, making their ‘field retirement’ less abrupt.

      • Big Kev says:

        You’ve certainly hit on my major fear about a Season 5. Even if we get one – what story do the writers have left to tell? This season has felt a little like they’re stretching for storylines occasionally – and I worry about that being even more the case for a potential S5.
        I can’t see them departing from their usual MO of a “theme” for the season, with a couple of smaller arcs and some standalones. The 2 recurring themes have been Chuck’s Hero’s Journey and Family – and, as you say, I honestly think the first of those is tapped out.
        I agree with Crumby. I think kids is the obvious next theme – and they’re foreshadowing that with the Vivian character in the back half – even arms dealers have kids too! Hopefully it will involve Ellie and Alex becoming further integrated into the story, as Orion’s daughter and Casey’s daughter – and a final scene along the lines of Uplink’s spec would be perfect!

      • joe says:

        Big Kev, I used to sit up nights worrying that they had already made the last great rock tune too.

        That was ’73.

        Of course, it took until the advent of Lady GaGa to prove me right… 😉

      • thinkling says:

        I’m not worried about S5. Chuck evolves more in his Orion side, inventor-genius, while at the same time becoming more confident as himself as a field agent. TeamB goes more clandestine to work on the super classified Orion files. Chuck and Sarah are a solid, passionate, empowered spy couple. Ellie does brain stuff. MamaB is part of the team.

        The mythology instead of the center of the plot becomes the springboard to tackle bigger foes. Chuck and Sarah together aren’t the focus of the story, but the strength of the team to take on the new baddies and lead their team, all of whom play some kind of role.

        I only see things getting better.

      • Big Kev says:

        Hahaha 🙂
        Couldn’t agree more!!! And Yvonne follows her on Twitter. Very disappointing….

      • uplink2 says:

        If we get a season 5 I think there are great stories to tell. First its the greatest spy couple in the world against all comers. Why not a few Mr. and Mrs Smith moments.

        I think the impending Casey storyline in an interesting one. Now that Chuck and Sarah are getting married and Chuck is now on an equal footing with Sarah, what is Casey’s role going to be? Does he want what Sarah has found? Or was the choice he made the right one? His growth done that path could be very interesting.

        Why not add another character? Have Zondra join the team or Vivian? What will Mary do? Will Lester find out the secret?

        It will be interesting to see.

      • armysfc says:

        thinkling, you just hit my worry on the head. the mythology. you guys here dissect every episode to its finest points. rarely is the focus on the mythology of the show. they have been on character development, romance and family. most viewers this year i feel have over looked the deficiencies in the mythology because the romance part is so strong (for the most part). this year has been fun (for most) but the mythology has lagged way behind the romance. in fact most of the arcs have been tied into the relationship. even in the stand alones have had a c/s over tone. that can’t work next year.

        i agree that having them as a strong spy couple where the romance is in the back ground is good. i just don’t feel this crop of writers or TPTB can put out mythology in a good enough way to keep me interested. they haven’t demonstrated that yet. if you take the relationship out of the picture this year during the arcs, the mythology is ok but not real good.

      • thinkling says:

        So, Army, are you saying that good, strong spy stories with villains related to the Orion files and Intersect history wouldn’t be interesting? Personally, I don’t really require mythology, per se, though I’m sure there is more to tell about Orion’s work and the Intersect. Short arcs, good villains, great stand alone episodes would still entertain me plenty.

        That’s why I ask. It seems like you want more mythology driven plots. Whereas, I’m OK with the mythology becoming the back story to great new villains and a great spy couple leading a team against them.

        Just curious.

      • armysfc says:

        thinkling, maybe mythology is the wrong word. here’s what i mean. good villains are great, like volkoff. the problem i had with the season was this. im going to get critical so don’t get mad. just take cat squad for example. first problem. the bar hopping. it was dark when it started to give the benefit of the doubt say 1800. sarah was in bed when alex came to go to breakfast with morgan. both M/C were still asleep. benefit of the doubt say 0900. they were back already. that give them 15 hours between when they left till when they got back. they went to la, vegas, miami. its a 5 hour flight from la to miami. so they spent at least 10 hours on the plane. so they clubbed for maybe 5 hours. ok they got hammered on the plane. its the only thing that make sense. so why the big thing about clubbing? now the bad agent. it had to be amy right from the start. you eliminate sarah and carina right off the bat. that leaves z and a. z was cleared and it was on her a good spy would not bug herself, so that leaves amy. no suspense in that at all. thinking a bad guy is just going to ask a group of agents at the same time to defect is just poor. woo them maybe, have amy feel them out over time maybe, but to just catch them and ask all of them at the same time? also chuck says in the van that milan happened 8 years ago. which fits the cat squad which started in 03. here comes the red test. sarah clearly says eve shaw was here first kill. per chuck in other guy “that happened 5 years ago” or 2005. so i’m to believe sarah was part of an elite spy team for 2 years without a kill or better yet was made a spy before her red test when according to canon it’s required?

        same thing with the volkoff arc. take the gobbler, in 48 hours she spent 39 hours on the plane (one that can’t make the trip with out a refuel) so it would have been longer. got yuri out of jail and tossed casey out a window. mama b was gone for 20 years. why? it was never filled in. during that time she allowed a man to sell nukes to 3rd world country and was there when he did it! they were pointed at the US. she come back and nothing happens to her? also she says i’m down loading hydra to a secure cia server… after 20 years her codes are still good? and if they are good why didn’t she drop messages there over 20 years? with no technical support (i know she was in contact with beckman) sarah has a device that allows hydra to boot up in volkoffs office. remember he needed the eye from yuri to get it to work. where did it come from? the purpose of the PSP was for what? again never explained. all open holes.

        those are just a few. i could list many more. these things can’t happen when the show turns to one that is say mission based like you and i think will be a good idea. things will need to be much tighter in that area. there have been holes or issues in most of the missions this season. and that’s the part that worries me about them going that way. they will continue to mess these type things up.

        good missions sure, but they better be tight and not like they are now. does that help?

      • weaselone says:

        What if it wasn’t 9 hours, but approaching 33 hours? The Cats said they would have Sarah back by noon the next day, but they could have violated curfew. 24+ hours of nearly uninterrupted drunken partying would better fit better with the state of the Cats at it’s conclusion than the IMHO significantly less than 9 hour scenario you outlined. I think an 8-9 PM exit followed by a 3-4 AM reappearance is most likely as it was completely dark when they left and they Cat’s appeared to have slept a bit before breakfast. That implies either that the Cat’s really aren’t big partiers and possibly lied about where they had gone, or the total trip was longer than 24 hours.

      • jason says:

        I too was thinking 33 hours, not 9, with miami as the last stop, my disconnect was just how much wardrobe was in that helicopter, although I suppose they went shopping b4 partying.

        one thing in terms of the reality of chuck, my assumption is the status of wildcard enforcer is not a pay grade on the standard government list, and that sarah & her friends are sort of mega wealthy, hence blowing ten thousand or so bucks on a wild evening is not out of the ?. I say this, because fedak once said CS have problems that all young couples have, what young couple does not at some point have that money ‘discussion’, I might be the only one, I’d like to see it.

        @joe – I think most of us are painfully aware of chuck’s tettering status each season, but I think that makes this sort of ‘end game’ speculation all the more interesting, and quite relevant for this timeframe – you might not – don’t worry about it then. Also, no ships affect me from other shows, I mostly laugh at shippers. From your posts, I don’t think CS ever got to you the way they got to me in the pilot, I simply was trying to sort out my POV, it is up to you to sort out your POV – unless we were privy to the writers room, we will never really know the intent, but from my POV, CS are written together since the pilot, and when OLI came into the picture in S1/S2/S3, the show always, 100% of the time, lost momentum because of the way the rest of the show was written, again, my POV of why I so dislike OLI’s in chuck, and could care less most of the rest of the time.

      • thinkling says:

        @army: yeah, now I understand where your concerns are coming from. I thought maybe it was content, but you’re worried about execution.

      • armysfc says:

        weasel, jason, could be but i really doubt it. don’t read to many words into what sarah said. she was specific. we went to a club in hollywood, then another in vegas and an after hours club in miami. who knew gorbachev could dance so good? with that specific list she would she have left out stayed over in… we know chuck would he not ask why didn’t you get back yesterday if it was 39 hrs? she also added they were to tired to get a hotel room. if they were gone 36 hrs and knew they were going back to her place, being good spies if the could get a hotel where they stopped don’t you think they would have called while they were away and arranged a roon? so thats part of the problem, a viewer should not have to guess they should know from whats shown. more proof they have trouble doing mission releated stuff.

      • armysfc says:

        @ thinkling, if that’s what it’s called then yes execution. that’s why i really liked 4.14. i didn’t see much that was off. it had everything. but part of what i said was content too. missing information and the like. well i say its content which might not be the show literary term for it.

        like i said i’m all for a strong spy couple doing missions, heck i have been waiting all year for them to do a mission with just the two of them and casey in reserve. plus they need to get better use of the villain if they go that route. LDP was kind of wasted in the last episode.

      • jason says:

        @army – it is over a 5 hour flight from vegas to miami, near 11 hours round trip, there also is a 3 hour time zone change, in a negative way, so if you leave vegas at 2am, you arrive in miami at 9:19 am, anyhow, with 11 hours of travel, that would leave you negative 2 hours to party in vegas and miami, that does not count travel time from burbank to vegas …. hence my assumption they partied for 33 hours ….. by the way, the first time I went to vegas, the group I was with easily stayed up for that long, I was about sarah’s age at the time, and went with 2 other guys, didn’t meet Gorbochev or anyone famous or go clubbing in miami however.

      • joe says:

        @Jason – Fair point. The end game *has* to be supremely important sometime. From my POV, it’s a situation faced by every successful TV show, and not every show has handled it well. The quality of the ending seemingly has little correlation to the quality of the show during it’s lifetime. The Mary Tyler Moore Show did (that’s the gold standard in my book), M*A*S*H did not (and I know that’s a controversial opinion).

        I always called myself a ‘shipper, mostly because C&S has always been the single most important thing about the show to me. That’s what I dwell on in private moments, and I see it as the show’s driving force. I don’t think you mean to imply that the love story was complete at the end of the pilot, but for me, it’s never complete. It evolves and presents interesting situations throughout, and has to be the engine that drives the show.

        But a fine engine does not a great car make. There’s no head-turning quotient in that. The show’s other aspects – the humor, the glamor (think, the sexy lady spies), the music – put it head and shoulders above anything else I see on TV. Then they add in just enough heart-pounding thrills (Chuck clapping the handles of two guns together as he prepares to save his father, Sarah in tears, desperate to wake Chuck from his machine-induced coma) to get me on the edge of my seat and I have to stop myself from proselytizing and gushing. Love stories are fairly easy to come by. Chuck has continually amazed me with the constant influx of guest stars that change the mix and keep it fresh while letting me keep sight of the things I loved in S1 and S2.

        I can be such an obnoxious “glass-half-full” kind of guy, sometimes. 😉

      • armysfc says:

        jason your correct and proved my point. my hole point was about screwed up time lines and them not being able to do it right. i based what i said Zondra saying 12 tomorrow. the plan was to be gone all night and have sarah back by noon the next day. to make it work all they had to do was have a one minute scene where chuck and morgan were talking and have chuck say sarahs still away with her friends. they only show him waking up and her hung over.

        that’s the point they say something and can’t make it fit.

      • They obviously have a serious problem with dates and time in that show. I think Sarah used Chuck’s “Time Machine” from Cubic Z.

        Apart from those details, I personally don’t really like the “villain of the week” type of show. I don’t mind if the relationships and characters are strong enough, and if the show is good enough to make the cases interesting, but still the episodes I love the most are those that address the mythology of said show.

        For example, some episodes of Castle bored me, because there isn’t enough about the relationship and the cases often don’t interest me that much (the supporting cast isn’t that good IMO). The best episodes are those when the characters are directly involved, like with Beckett’s mother. Same thing with Bones. The episodes with her mom or family always got the most of my attention, and recurring villains like the Grave Digger really add to the show for me.

        I loved Chuck because of its originality, the characters were awesome, and it’s so much fun you don’t get bored. But still, when they gave us more Stanford backstory with Alma Matter, and then brought back Bryce in Nemesis, that was seriously awesome.

        I don’t need long multi-episodes arcs to be happy, but having Team B just fight a new random villain week after week when we already know a lot more about Sarah & Casey’s backstories, that CS are married, Awesome & Ellie have a kid, and Morgan has Alex, I’m not sure it would keep my interest as high as it is now.

      • Big Kev says:

        Agreed. I think that an entire season of Villain of the Week fails the “keep the story interesting” test. Clearly there are some things we know are going to happen (or not happen) on the show – the villain will ultimately be vanquished, and our heroes will ultimately live happily ever after. But mythology, done well, is a great way to deepen the characters and add plot twists, even within genre limitations. Bryce and Orion were great examples of that done well, The Red Test was an example of it done badly and Linda H’s performance rescued MamaB’s poor story IMO. I really hope they stick with the mythology framework in S5.

      • armysfc says:

        crumby, like you pointed out personal taste dictate what kind of show you like. i’m the opposite of you. i have not seen an episode of castle yet that has bored me. with chuck this season there have been very few episodes that had me glued to my seat or wanting more.

        i too enjoy the arcs in a show, if they are done well and not rushed. even though push mix was good, the arc was rushed to completion. i understand the constraints of the show.

        what i would like to see is something similar to what chuck did with the volkoff arc only different. have the baddie of the week. each one or most of them connected in some minor way to the big baddie you are going after. say someone from orions files. keep the big bad guy secret as they go. they have to keep adding up the pieces to who he is. then have a 2 episode arc where they figure out who he is and take him down. it gives chuck the chance to use his smarts and c/s the opertunity tp shine as a spy couple. it gives the individual bad guy for those that want that, and it gives the arc feel to those that enjoy that as well. you can toss in a few stand alone fluffy ones in there as well. it would be a good balance.

      • thinkling says:

        Army I like your S5 template of a meshing of villain of the week with mythology. I think there are some great things in Orion’s files, and that we may not be done with the history of the Intersect. Chuck really running with the Orion legacy would be great, b/c he is smarter and braver than his father but has his dad’s other good qualities in abundance. Sarah at his side is always his strength, and he is her heart.

        I would like them to do better on chronology (I’ve gone on endlessly elsewhere about the 6/9 mo. anniv.). But in the end, I’m more interested in other things, so I just adjust it in my mind and go on.

      • Like I said, I don’t need multi-episode arc to be happy, and I don’t mind villain that are taken care of in one episode like this season. I don’t see the beginning of S4 like a “villain of the week” type of episodes.

        Anniversary was about the Volkoff/Mama B arc. Cubic Z was mythology related with Heather and Hugo. Coup d’Etat brought back a villain we already knew and that had history with Casey. Couch Lock was about Casey’s old team. AoT had Mama B. First Fight, Leftovers, Gobbler and Push Mix had Volkoff and Mama B.

        Suitcase had a new villain, but related to Volkoff. The Belgian was a new villain, but he was after the Intersect. So basically only Balcony had a villain we couldn’t care less about, and it was fine since it was a relationship heavy episode.

        I’m fine with that kind of villains, but I still think that the mythology or spy stories were the weak point of the season, and was saved by the large focus on the relationship and the fact that the big bad was part of the mythology.

        S5 can’t focus as much on CS, so they need to be stronger on the spy front, and mythology allows to keep the interest for the spy story episode after episode and allows to see how that affects the characters and relationships.

        So random villain that have no connections to any characters don’t interest me much, unless the focus of the episode is on something else.

      • atcDave says:

        I guess I’m in the clear minority here, but I do prefer villain of the week, most of the time. Especially on other show I don’t follow as closely as I do Chuck; I barely remember where they’re at week to week on Smallville, because I really don’t care anymore.
        I think Chuck has typically done a very good job combining the episodic/serialized approach; but then I do follow it closely enough I never loose track of who’s who and what’s what. Even so, I would prefer a few more villains who need to be taken down just because they’re villains and represent a national security threat. Too often the team makes everything a family business. Now I don’t want to make too big a thing of that; I’ve really enjoyed, well really the entire series except for the misery arc. But I would love to see Chuck and Sarah going after more baddies just because its their job to do so.
        As far as the Castle comparison goes, sorry I have nearly zero interest in Beckett’s mom. The strength of the show is the interesting case of the week and fun banter of the cast; much like a lighter version of NCIS, when they get into mythology I boot up solitaire.

      • weaselone says:

        It’s probably fanwankery on my part and there’s no doubt the show runners play fast and loose with the times and dates. I would suggest they spend some time speaking with the better fan fiction writers about making time lines and story outlines except I’ve concluded that they do it intentionally to mess with us. It’s occurs too often and is too obvious for it to be attributed to laziness.

        Schwartz and Fedak read fan blogs in their off time. Right now they’re probably tallying the number of posts about the time frame of Sarah’s Cat Squad hosted bachelor party, laughing at the more convoluted pieces of fan wankery attempting to explain it and chortling at those whose ire was piqued by their absolute disregard of time and geography. They’re probably completely plastered from taking shots every time they read a post that includes the word “hours”. They probably have to finish the bottle for every instance of “space-time continuum”. So drink up boys. Space-time continuum, space-time continuum, space time continuum. They’re probably sitting on the edge of their seats hoping it generates more conversation than Volkoff’s super plane in Gobbler and placing wagers on how many words will be devoted to the 5-hour round trip to England (mission included). Schwartz is probably guessing high with Fedak convinced that featuring Yvonne in wings and contrasting it with her in a mask and figure hugging black dress will be sufficient distraction to drive down the word count.

      • armySFC says:

        jason 4.07 -4.09 were the intersectless arc. 4.10 was stand alone and 4.11-4.13 was the end of the volkoff arc. hope this helps.

      • @Dave – I don’t care about Beckett’s mom per se, but the episodes were Beckett’s family comes into plays are episodes were the characters are emotionally involved in the case, and I find it more interesting because we usually learn more about the characters and the relationships.

        I care more about the case because the characters care more about it. If that make any sense. Most of the time, the cases don’t interest me, I find them predictable, and only the banter between the team is interesting.

      • Faith says:

        I see this a bit different. In television, the episodic and overarching storylines have to co-exist but it doesn’t always mix well. I have a great example actually: Legend of the Seeker. The show was actually based on the Sword of Truth books with the first season being about the first book, in its entirety. Because the show is a 22 episode season they couldn’t just face the villain in the second episode so they had to balance between the overarching arc and the daily grind. If it was a mini-series I can see such a close mythology being done but as it’s 22 it’s kind of hard to do that. So though it was frustrating the number of times they got taken away from their journey it was part and parcel of being a 22 episode show. You can’t have every single episode be climactic or integral to the plot, there are things called sweeps and there’s the march to the finale. So you use unrelated challenges and villains until the several ones before the finale. In Chuck’s credit (my own opinion) this season they’ve done a far better job keeping that search for MamaB in mind even in episodes that are fairly unrelated to Volkoff, et al.

        It’s also the same thing that goes on with Smallville. You don’t have every single episode dealing with Darkseid for example, in one they went to an alternate universe, etc. There’s also the holidays, which is an almost unwritten rule which tends to take away from that, and more importantly: sweeps. These are just 3 examples, this formula is not unheard of in all of television.

        I think the best shows are ones that find a balance between serialized (closely tied arcs) and procedurals. And in my opinion Chuck’s strengths are that you can often take away personal bests (episodes) in either category. For example Best Friend is one of my favorites, a largely stand-alone episode and yet I love Colonel as well which was the climax of the search for PapaB.

        There’s also something to be said for the viewing public. By and large procedurals are far more popular than serialized. With exceptions of course.

        I’ve said this before but it probably bears repeating. What makes Chuck great is that everyone gets what they want. The difference being you don’t always get it, but in every season everyone takes something they like/enjoy from it. It’s like being a drama, comedy, action, adventure genre. It’s ambitious yes, but also unique.

      • Big Kev says:

        Procedural? Is that the term for the standalone story of the week type shows? Didn’t know that. It’s a good term. It implies an established series of steps to be followed….and that’s exactly what those sorts of shows are.
        I guess I have a different perspective because I come from a culture of much shorter TV series. As you say, you can tell a much more episodic and layered story over 8 episodes than you can over 22. Cold Feet is probably the first example of the “dramedy” genre and it’s a really tightly-written, 8 episode season format. Character-driven, and wonderful from week to week, but the story moves an astonishing amount over its 5 seasons. I really recommend it to anyone who hasnt seen it. I guess that’s the sort of shorter, deeper story that I love.
        But you’re so right Faith. Part of the genius of this show is the way it combines both genres and storytelling formulas. There’s just no other show like it when it’s firing on all cylinders.

      • herder says:

        I always thought that Procedural refered to all those police/forensic/lawyer shows, they show the procedure that is followed in the criminal process. Of course I have no proof either way, just an observation.

      • Big Kev says:

        Yeah, I figured it meant those. And also the hospital dramas – anything that follows a “case of the week” format. The last one of those I tried was Greys – I lasted about 4 episodes!

      • jason says:

        yikes this must be one of the longest threads yet. Was curious so I goggled procedural tv, here is one answer:

        “In television, “procedural” specifically refers to a genre of programs in which a problem is introduced, investigated and solved all within the same episode. These shows tend to be hour-long dramas, and are often (though not always) police or crime related.

        The general formula for a police procedural involves the commission or discovery of a crime at the beginning of the episode, the ensuing investigation, and the arrest or conviction of a perpetrator at the end of the episode. The best known examples of this genre are the Law & Order and CSI franchises. House is an example of a non-crime-related procedural.

        * Procedural dramas are generally very popular in broadcast syndication because the lack of long-term storylines makes it easier for viewers to tune in for just one episode without feeling lost.
        * Procedurals are sometimes criticized for their lack of character development, with little attention being paid to the lives of the recurring characters outside of their jobs.”

      • jason says:

        If syndication is a goal of the show, the notion that procedural type shows are more fit for syndication might be one reason for less serialized drama this season?

      • Big Kev says:

        Thanks Jason!
        Funny – those last 2 points could have been taken directly from these discussions 🙂

    • atcDave says:

      Wow. Great discussion I missed by being off-line last night! Let me throw in a few stray comments.
      As Jason said at the start, I’ve always found this to be about Chuck and Sarah, even long before the actual romance started. So, just like Jason, I had zero interest in Lou or Bryce or Jill or any other distraction. I think I mentioned here the other day not caring so much for dream or flashback scenes because I look at things in a fairly linear fashion and I’m just not a big fan of detours. So that is always how I saw anything that separated Chuck and Sarah on screen. Some, like Bryce and Jill I could accept as organic to the story; but I still never really liked those stories. To me, the difficult initial set-up with life and death situations, major personality differences, and legitimate professional barriers was always enough. Every triangle was just a distraction that left me counting episodes until the end.
      Now why I actually became a Charah ‘shipper is an off-shoot of that. It likely has more to do with the combination of relating to Chuck and adoring Sarah. While I also love the show Castle; I don’t actually relate to Rick. I do look forward to that central relationship developing also, but I’m far more relaxed about the pacing. Ditto for Burn Notice; I certainly don’t relate to Michael (he’s a fun character, but in no version of reality would he be me) and Fiona is mainly nuts (again, fun character, but I don’t actually find her appealing as a woman).
      But I like Thinkling’s response to that too. There is a perfect sort of symmetry in how Chuck and Sarah strengthen and complete each other. Add to that a really appealing on screen chemistry; and I’d say Chuck, both the show and the character, is not living up to potential when Sarah is not on screen with him.
      My hopes for S5 are exactly as Thinkling stated. I have some concerns about if Schwedak can actually deliver the goods. But I think some of the pessimism is unfounded. It is true that THIS season has heavily focused on the relationship and family; but the first two seasons did a good job of telling other stories, and I have no doubt they can change their emphasis again if needed. I don’t think kids need to be involved anytime soon; in fact, I would hope they wait until S8 or so before they even think about it.
      For end game I see a couple possibilities. The most likely has the series ending with Chuck and Sarah at the top of their profession and living happily and dangerously ever after. If we get an S5 or beyond I think a semi-retirement ending becomes more likely. With Chuck maybe doing more spy-tech work while Sarah trains the next generation of agents. It would be simple enough if there was ever interest in doing a later movie to have them called up for the “one last mission” scenario.

      I did want address a couple army’s comments too. I agree the timelines have been poorly this season. They especially don’t seem to understand how long travel takes. Although we know Sarah is a pilot; we really need to see her rushing off in a CIA F-18 (two seater, of course) at some point. That could explain some of the near miraculous travel times we’ve seen.
      They’ve deffinately fudged the Red Test thing, in pretty much every way (grotesque idea to begin with). But I think it would be reasonable to drop the idea Sarah had never killed before; and leave it at she’d never assassinated before. I know they refered to Eve as her “first kill”. But that really doesn’t make sense without qualifying it as first assassination.

      Dang I wish I’d been in on this last night! You guys had some fun.

      • patty says:

        I think you are right Dave. There is a world of difference between killing someone who is a threat and killing someone because you have been ordered too. My assumption has always been that the “red test” is limited to agents who they plan to use as assassins and not all agents. I remember Casey stressing that Bryce was a CIA trained assassin.

        In Chuck’s case he does not feel right about killing people period. He is only willing to do it in extreem cases. This was a concern to Beckman since the fact that he would be unable to function as an assassin was pretty clear in Prague.

      • armysfc says:

        dave i agree with the points about the show, for the most part. however i can’t “drop the fact” that sarah never killed before her red test and assume she did. it’s not like it was a throw away line, it was a big scene. her saying it was the worst day of her life and all.

        i liked you comment about chuck. that may be my problem with the show. there is no way i relate to chuck in any fashion. castle more than chuck but closer to michael. probably closest to casey though.

        like you i think in a linear way and i suppose that’s why time lines bug me, lol. i don’t really care about the past for the most part. i know how they are now, and could care less about what happened before because i have seen them grow to who they are now.

      • atcDave says:

        I think a lot in Chuck I just disregard, like most of S3. I kind of don’t care if it’s canon or not. I’ve read so much fan fiction out there that is better conceived and thought out, especially on the misery arc. So to me it just isn’t a big deal to say the Red Test, as presented on the show, doesn’t actually make sense. It’s like if a book says 1 + 1 = 3; I don’t really care, I know it’s wrong and what’s printed doesn’t impact what can’t be right.
        Ditto for the timeline, it had to be two days later; doesn’t really matter if the show said otherwise, the math doesn’t back it up.

      • armysfc says:

        dave i agree. what started all this was thinkling and i were have a discussion about next year. we both agree that a good spy couple and stories is where they need to go. my point was for them to do that things needed to be tighter. i used the time lines on things as an example of how they mess things up. i would at least like them to be believable. she had a good idea plots based on orions old work. if you can’t get the time to make sense it takes away from the mission. for me anyways and for you not so much. personal preference is all.

        my opinion may differ than yours. isn’t it bad when things that are supposed to connect don’t?

      • atcDave says:

        I agree with all of that army. And its always a bit of a fail when you have to disregard something that was spelled out clearly in the show.
        But I do agree the spy couple is the direction the will/must go. I would prefer if they were more careful about their continuity/reality issues. But I think you’re right, it isn’t quite as big an issue to me as it seems with you.

      • armysfc says:

        dave the time just popped up as one thing that bothered me about this season, well as a whole. time is not at the top of the list, it just happens to be the one thing i put out as a fault i saw that got latched on to. there were other points i brought up in a discussion with thinkling. combining time with the other things i brought up was used to show why i worry that they can pull off a good season 5. see my post about what i feel would make a good season 5. to pull it off it will require things to fit. this season it was easy to over look the spy mistakes. next season not so much.
        i don’t think many viewers will want to watch a show that has to many things they have to ignore to enjoy.

  8. herder says:

    Don’t know where to post this but I get the Canadian channel Show case west, it is showing the Australian tv show Sea Patrol, it is showing one of the episodes that Yvonne did before getting Chuck. Kind of neat hearing her Aussie accent.

  9. milkyway says:

    You have the talent to summarize all the highlights, the sweet moments, the fun stuff . It’s so well written, so sensitive. You said everything I want to say about the episode.Thank you very much. I just want to add one thought. I would like to see Awesome and Mama B at the engagement party. But I still love the episode!

    • thinkling says:

      Thanks, Milkyway.

      MamaB and Awesome … I know! More family faces at the engagement party would have been so nice. My guess is it’s the budget. I guess they didn’t want to pay Linda Hamilton to mingle. 😉

      I don’t remember seeing you post here before, Milkyway, or I missed it. Anyway, welcome. Is your moniker in honor of the galaxy or the candy bar?

  10. ChuckNewbie8 says:

    Re:write up. Thanks for that Thinkling. It’s not the first time the return to “baggage handler” has been brought to my attention with regards to this episode (Rafael aka keepchuckalive has that honor) but you did illustrate how it was it occurred and why.

    I will add from my own initial thoughts that I was impressed with the fact that Sarah was the first of her friends to be a “real” bridesmaid nay maid of honor and it’s a testament to not just falling for Chuck but growing (becoming more) because of him. We hardly ever see the reverse of Chuck getting lucky with her but it’s also true. She was lucky to have found, fallen and now find herself with a future with Chuck. She is just as worthy of the end result of the choices she made to be with him.

    It was also interesting that Chuck was the first to put the maid of honor and bridesmaid ideas in her head but he didn’t suggest Ellie. She made that decision all on her own and that fact makes it even more special and touching. We have always wanted them to have a relationship independent of Chuck and now we not just have it, we see it. Hopefully this is just the beginning.

    • She made that decision all on her own and that fact makes it even more special and touching.

      I liked that too. It was a huge episode on the much anticipated Ellie/Sarah front.

    • thinkling says:

      I noticed that, too, Faith, that Chuck didn’t suggest Ellie. That was all Sarah, and I just loved that. I hope there’s more Ellie/Sarah too.

      I wonder how much Chuck influenced her to ask them to be bridesmaids. I hadn’t really pondered that before.

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        In the very beginning when he brought up inviting the CAT Squad and she went into her panic…he said, “one can be a bridesmaid! Or-r a maid of honor?”

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, I remembered what he said. I just hadn’t pondered if his comment was the main reason she invited them, or if it’s something she would have done without his suggestion.

        His comment probably had more weight and influence than I gave it credit for.

  11. ChuckNewbie8 says:

    Jason, you can use blockquotes instead of italics…

    Just type:

    And it ends up like this: Pretty!

    Also at the bottom of the comment box are numerous examples of code that does work in wordpress. em or i = italics. a href is linking.

  12. Tamara Burks says:

    I can visualize Sarah (and possibly the other women of the show as her backup) at one of those wedding dress sales that become a mob scene and kicking butt until she gets the dress she wants . She might start off being reluctantly dragged to it by Ellie but once it becomes a war zone her instincts will kick in and she will fight her way through the place.

    Also I could see Chuck and Sarah becoming trainers for agents after having children. Sarah’s specialty could be knowing what is truly important adn chuck’s on how to think outside of the box . Telling people that all that training is well and good but sometimes it might actually end up outing you as an agent (like in Chuck vs the Seduction where Sasha realized he’d been taught his moves by Roan because he used the exact same methods on her).

    • Faith says:

      Bridezilla Sarah puts the fear of death in me. Heh. Though to be honest I can picture Chuck more in that vein than Sarah LMAO.

    • First Timer says:

      All I know is this: Mini Anden better be back for the wedding epsisode. And they better have her with a machine gun under her dress. And she better have to use it. And we better get Sarah saying to Carina: “Thanks for not listening to me…”

      And I guess they are deciding, right about now, how much call back they will be doing to Ring. I mean, they’ve made the Volkoff character even crazier than Roark. He pretty much has to be there to threaten to kill everyone unless he gets (the Intersect, Vivian, Frost, whatever) back…

      And somewhere there should be a betting pool for charity to guess the song Jeffster will perform. Weirdly, I actually hope they play THAT part straight and have Jeffster do GOOD stuff, a la Honeymooners.

      • thinkling says:

        I agree with all of that FT. Of course good stuff only comes from Jeffster unplugged. Let’s hope the amp blows just before the wedding.

        I’m sure Daddy Psychopath would be happy to walk Sarah down the aisle.

      • joe says:

        Heh! You know, as much as I enjoyed “Blaze of Glory”, my favorite Jeffster cover so far has been “Leaving on a Jet Plane”. I’m a sucker for those Kumbaya folk tunes that I grew up with.

        We won’t mention that I got a couple of great dates in my day singing ’em, too. 😉

  13. jason says:

    I read so many posts about wanting drama, or I think OD often posts that the spy story carries the show. I think CS’s relationship carries the show, but I would so like this next arc to have a spy story that is really clever, smart, twisty in a techy / mythology, not relationshippy way, I think the show really needs to energize the mythology segment of the fan base.

    I many fans from both the shippers and the spy side have hit a point where we feel the show can both write a compelling spy story without a CS OLI, without CS going rogue, without CS getting kidnapped, and without CS losing faith in each other. I submit if Cs work together on the mystery, a more clever drama can be spun, that at this point, CS’s relationship woes only get in the way of the mystery.

    If the show needs a cliffhanger, have one where the danger touches both CS …. here is an example …. had 4×7 ended with frost and volkov leaving and then cuts to the house getting blown up …. we would not know until next week what happened to CS … I am sure there are better examples, but I just watched 4×7, so that one pops in my head. That ending is a cliffhanger, but it is not sad, it is exciting, what chuck seems to focus on is sadness with cliffhangers, it simply is not an endearing quality in a show that is even to the most serious fans, at least a borderline comedy / parody series.

    • thinkling says:

      I agree with that Jason. I think Couch Lock was a sort of template for that, in that you had C/S working together so well as a spy couple. You had humor from Sarah. Their relationship was a real presence but not at all the focus of the episode. In the end Chuck had a great epiphany that came from the mission itself and not any kind of relationship drama. It also turned into a sweet moment for C/S. I’d like to see more episodes like that.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree with both of you. I’d love to see the more stable couple facing things together without too much internal strife. The last two episodes have only been okay in that regard, I still hope for better.

    • Big Kev says:

      I didn’t used to pay much attention to the spy plots when I first started watching the show – it was all about the fun, the sharp dialogue, the relationships (all of them) and the chemistry between Chuck and Sarah. As I continued to watch, I realised that most of my favorite episodes had a great villain and some sense of tension. That realization crept up on me a bit but it’s now part of the formula for a great episode for me. Pilot, Marlin, First Date, Santa Claus, Lethal Weapon, Colonel, Tic Tac, Subway, First Fight. All great villains, all with a dramatic twist or two and most with loads of Chuck and Sarah. Those are the main 3 things I need for a great episode – and I reckon those 3 elements would unify the fan base. Great villains, a dramatic twist, Chuck and Sarah. Rinse and repeat. I think we’ve had 2 of the 3 this season – but there’s been no drama or sense of unpredictability over the season so far and I’ve missed that. For me it’s not so much mythology per se, its more about telling a story that has a few twists and turns and doesn’t always progress in a straight line.

      PS Before you ask – I love Honeymooners! It’s just outside my top 5, but it is the only one on the list with no spy plot or villain to speak of.

      • jason says:

        @kev – two of the eps you liked I did not, a couple I did, the Pilot, colonel and First Fight being ones I like from your list, funny, I must really don’t like what some of you guys do though, since so many of you love colonel, I do not like it THAT much. I agree tic tac would have been wonderful, much like santa claus and suburbs, but all 3 had repulsive endings …. for me it is CS romance, comedy, parody, clever spy story, happy ending …. having a strong villain, a sad ending, and a OLI ruins an ep for me. I thought chevy chase or armando assanti both were parody villains, which is what I like. I do not like dalton near as much as any of you for example, I tolerate him, but wish he did not return.

      • atcDave says:

        Well Kev, I agree with your checklist and I agree that is the formula that hooked me on the show, but to me S4 has succeeded well in that regard. So perhaps it is not as unifying as we would hope!

      • atcDave says:

        Jason I completely agree an OLI undermines any episode. Absolutely dreadful story telling device I would be happy to never see again, period.

      • jason says:

        more villain examples, freddy kruegar was parody, he was awesome in aisle of terror, yet he let chuck and sarah have the show, richard chamberlain was serious, he was awful in phase 3, and his sort of off beat lab assistant stole the villain show in that ep,

        dolph lundren was parody with a bit of larceny, sort of like chevy chase – but lundgren brought out the best in all the stars, casey, sarah, chuck, mary – problem with dalton, yea he was big time scary and parody, but two of his big eps, 4×10 and 4×12, were not great eps, he was written / he acted too big, I want my villains there to enhance the show, not steal it

      • Big Kev says:

        Point taken about Dalton stealing scenes. I think the answer is to make your main characters as strong as the villain. I don’t think you ever lose by getting someone as good as Dalton on your show – but the other characters have to raise their game. Yvonne/Sarah matched Dalton/Volkoff all season, sadly Zach/Chuck did not. The one scene that he did (the cabin standoff) is one of my favourites of the season and shows what can happen when the lead and the villain both bring their A game.

        Yeah – a definite difference regarding the dramatic success or otherwise of S4 so far. Agree completely with both of you about OLI’s. Device should have been dead and buried by the end of S2. Take the LI’s out of S3 and I really don’t have much of an issue with anything else – although I know we’ll differ on that.

      • atcDave says:

        Well Kev I do agree the OLIs were the BIGGEST problem of S3. I know I’ve said Chuck and Sarah just needed to be together after Colonel, and I do mean that. But I begrudgingly could have accepted a relationship fractured by Prague (maybe). Couldn’t accept OLIs at all.

      • thinkling says:

        @Big Kev: I don’t think that Zach/Chuck wasn’t supposed to be a match for Volkoff/Dalton. That was part of his growing up as a spy and as the kind of spy he is (more Orion/less James Bond). Chuck can play in the big leagues, but only as himself, not as an archetype that he is clearly not. To me that’s one of the things that made that cabin scene so compelling. Chuck had finally grown up, and stepped into his destiny as a his own style hero/spy.

        Sarah has always been a grown up spy, so she would match MamaB and Volkoff. That’s why it had to be her undercover. But then Chuck came into his own and joined the party in a fantastic way.

        Of course Sarah has her own growing up to do as a real girl/woman.

        Maybe they regressed Chuck a little too much, but I’ve been on board with where the story led, though I know you really haven’t.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Tic tac was like Seduction for me in that I find it completely watchable if it was stopped before the end scene . Seduction should have stopped before Chuck got to Sarah’s room and found that jerk Bryce Larkin there (followed in Breakup by Bryce acting like he was marking his territory with Sarah) and (just to be safe) before Beckman asks Sarah about going to DC in Tic Tac but definitely no cab scene.

      • thinkling says:

        Tamara, I agree. I liked Tic Tac, if you cut the end like you said.

        Agreed on Seduction, too, although with time, that one bothers me less.

        If you give me the scissors, I could make some S3 episodes better or more watchable, depending on the episode.

      • atcDave says:

        I would agree entirely about Tic Tac. In fact, I remember at the time a lot of our talk was how good it was to see the old team dynamic working through most of the episode. But the ending killed it. Seduction doesn’t even bother me that way anymore; but anything Shaw oriented steams me up a bit.

    • armysfc says:

      im sorta of like OD in my views. i may not say this right so bear with me. i too think the spy story carries the show. almost everything that happens on the show is because of the spy story. take away that chuck and sarah don’t meet. bryce never gets chuck kicked out. i’m not saying this real well, lol. everything that happens in the show is connected in some way to the spy angel. mama b, papa b. the relationship develops because of it. think of chuck as a tree. the spy story is the trunk. the branches are the different story lines that come from it. the relationship, the missions, everything. take away the spy story and you are left with slightly dysfunctional people in a relationship with goofy friends. take away the relationship and you still have the basis of the show, a spy story.

      • OldDarth says:

        Guess my ears were burning!

        No doubt the relationship is the heart of this show. (A statement that applies to the majority of shows.) It carries Chuck as many state. But relationships alone are not enough to make for compelling story telling. What is needed is a driving force that pushes the relationships.

        Lost, BSG, Star Trek, Fringe, etc. etc. all have fantastical elements to them but it is how the characters react, and interact with one another, to those elements that engages viewers emotionally. The universe creates the conditions that allow a disparate group of characters to come together and form a family. The world or universe provides the framework or spine or skeleton to hang the relationships or heart onto. That framework provides the drive, the forward momentum, and the narrative thrust.

        The better realized ie in terms of depth and consistency, the fictional sandbox is the greater the payoff is for the character moments. So when Chuck creates spy arcs which lack narrative consistency or story logic, the payoffs for the characters are diminished. This is because the major crutch for resolving story conflicts becomes a case of plot contrivances and/or character manipulation both leading to inconsistent or diminished character behaviour.

        Stories that use these crutches feel dishonest and cheat the emotional experience of following the characters. Rather than telling a story where the characters have to change to fulfill plot points, the story should unfold based on how the characters behave in any given situation. Then you get more compelling story telling and that innate sense of rightness that leads to greater payoff. This is harder to write and takes more time. A precious commodity in the pressure cooking of producing a weekly serialized show.

        Chuck Vs The C.A.T. Squad is a textbook example of a spy mission that cheats. The number of contrivances from the moment Chuck falls through the skylight until the climax in the BuyMore exceed credibility. Even for Chuck. Casey taking a ‘powder’ was the last straw for me.

        Acceptance of contrivances is possible if the payoff is worth it either in comedy, action, or drama. Especially for a cross genre show like Chuck where one has to relax their standards more. Buying one or two contrivances an episode is doable but at some point after that if they continue my emotional investment goes out the window because the story stakes become undermined.

        This episode feel less than the better ones because it used multiple contrivances and yielded little to no payoff in terms of entertainment. So when Sarah has her ‘epiphany’ at the end of the episode it feels manufactured rather than something honestly attained.

        It is a seeming contradiction but the best stories of fiction, which are in essence a set of lies, are those that tell their stories honestly. And the coin of that truth is maintaining the integrity of the characters and their relationships.

        That is the big issue I have with Chuck this season. The show has collapsed into itself and ALL it is about is relationships now. Chuck’s hero journey has been abandoned and with it so has gone the narrative thrust and energy of the series.

        Is the show fun? Sure. Does that have to come at the sacrifice of a bigger picture story? It should not but that is what is transpiring this season.

        Hope this explains with greater clarity when I say the spy stories in Chuck drive the show.

      • Big Kev says:

        “All (Chuck) is about is relationships now….but relationships alone aren’t enough for compelling storytelling. What is needed is a driving force that pushes the relationships”
        Perfectly stated.
        The relationship should be infused through the fabric of the story – it shouldn’t BE the story.

      • armysfc says:

        OD agreed. that is why this season is flat for me.

      • thinkling says:

        Army, there’s another way to look at it. I view the whole thing from a different angle. Not to be contrary or to minimize the need for good spy plots, though.

        I’m going to throw an “Ernie” wrench into things and say that plot and story are different.** (I know not all people agree.) But the story I talked about above (C/S journeys, individual and together, and their relationship) could be moved along by other plots. The spy stuff is the plot, a mechanism to drive the story — events that the principles respond to; and according to their responses, they grow and change and move toward their destinies. So yes, they do have to do the spy stuff well, because it’s the vehicle they’ve chosen to move the story.

        To me, if you take away the relationship and Chuck and Sarah’s journey(s), you are without a story. You may still have good spy romps, but they wouldn’t go anywhere or have much meaning. There are some shows that are pretty plot centric, and the plots don’t drive any particular story, or the story is more subtle. And that’s fine. In such cases, the events are the main thing, and the characters are more like props that serve the plot/events. They don’t grow or change much. Shows have various balances and emphases.

        In “Chuck,” the characters and their development are key, and the plot serves to drive their story or development. (I think that lines up pretty well with some things that TPTB have said all along) Even in character centered shows, compelling plots are necessary.

        Now, I agree, that given the fact that they have chosen a spy plot to drive the story, they need to do it well. We all have differing degrees of satisfaction (or criticism) with how well (or not) they’ve done the plot. Fans also vary according to which side of things they require to be compelling: character growth and development (the story) or the plots. The drop out rate correlates with how well the show hits their sweet spots. I’m more of a story person, with character development being more compelling to me. I don’t care how good the plot is, if there is no character development I will lose interest or be briefly entertained but totally uninvested. Sounds like you are more of a plot kind of guy.

        We’ve talked about an end game. The end game could be a complete change of plot, because C/S growth needs something else to keep their story moving. We’ve said they could do analysis and training, have a family, or other stuff. But whatever it is, I assume their “story” continues, even if off-screen. They could even spin off a whole new series with a different plot, like C/S for hire in the private sector (like Thinman series), or as spies having a family and trying w/out success to retire (like Undercover Blues). It would be a continuation of their story, driven by an altogether different plot that would challenge them in different ways for their continued growth. At some point, they will outgrow their current status quo, like Chuck outgrew the asset-stay-in-the-car thing.

        A spin off is a total change in plot. But each season they have significantly changed the plot to move Chuck and Sarah along their path, and cause them to grow into who they are supposed to become. Mythology has played a huge part, and can continue to do so in a number of direct or indirect ways. Presumably they could maintain the spy genre and keep on upgrading the plot to propel Chuck and Sarah’s story. Next step for them: maybe become the consummate spy couple, growing toward leading the country’s number one ghost team. Add to that the requisite humor, family, romance (married), and Chuck still being Chuck, and I can watch indefinitely.

        Hope that makes at least a bit of sense. Sorry I rambled.

        **Ernie did a very long, masterfully done, epic post on this. I’m just touching on a small point, and maybe not even that well.

      • uplink2 says:

        OD I think that is probably the best narrative you have written that explains what you have been talking about all season. We have had our disagreements but I see where you are coming from more clearly. Interestingly we are not that far apart on what we would like to see. I would love better written and more honest and believable spy stories where you see how the characters you know react to the situation they are given. Last season is a perfect example of the opposite where the characters were changed drastically to fit the storyline and we all saw how that went.

        There are many ways to have the spy story drive the relationship without it harming it but unfortunately that seems at times to be all they can manage. So to keep the relationship intact this season they have stayed away from the spy story mattering at all at least in your POV. I’m not so bothered by it because it is far more important to keep the relationship solid and growing. Real issues that couples face? Absolutely but OLI’s, never again. Believing in each other and not questioning the others motives is also a must and I think they are getting there.

        The recent interview with Lauren hinted at some rumors that would contradict some previously mentioned stuff on the show. Chuck do a retcon? The would never do that lol. But I am very interested in the 3 stories we have coming. Sarah’s family, Casey leaving, and who is Vivian exactly. My feeling is she may end up being Sarah’s sister or at least half sister. Now wouldn’t that be a fun arc.

      • armySFC says:

        thinkling good points. like you said i look for different things in a show. i don’t care about a hero’s journey or the big romance. so i guess i’m a plot guy. either one is ok its a personal choice. i do think chuck can fit both things next year which would be good.

      • atcDave says:

        You do make some excellent points OD, and I agree with more of that than you might suspect. But I would say the realities and relationships of the characters are always what define the emotional impact of the story to me. So while plot/story/setting/genre may all impact the mind and intellect, its the people that impact the emotions.
        I would also like if the actual plots on Chuck engaged the brain a little more at times, but I think the first two seasons alone were strong enough that I’m forever engaged emotionally in the characters of Chuck.
        Some of the other series you mention kind of solidify my thoughts on this. BSG was interesting, but I quit watching after S1 because there wasn’t a single character I liked. I have watched every episode of every incarnation of Star Trek and never intend to miss anything that may be ahead. But Star Trek is mostly intellectual with me, it only rarely engages the emotions (well, other than pure excitement). Chuck remains unique, its a show I watch because I love the characters.

      • thinkling says:

        Totally agree Army, it is a choice, which is why different shows appeal to different people for different reasons. Ideally a show does both well, and I think Chuck definitely can. Hopefully we both get our wish going forward.

      • thinkling says:

        @Dave, not too surprisingly, I’m pretty much in the same camp as you.

      • Big Kev says:

        I completely agree about plot and story being different. I don’t know if I’m right, but I see the plot as being the series of events that make up the story.
        Where we differ, I think, is in what we think the story should be. I think the story is the broad one of Chuck’s journey to destiny and herodom. It encompasses all of his relationships, his work as a spy, his growth as a man, his acceptance of his destiny. His relationship with Sarah is clearly the most important component in all of that – but it is only one component.
        Your post (I think) implies that, for you, Chuck and Sarah’s relationship is the story, and as long as that is moving forward, then you’re happy. Whereas I need all the components of the broader story to move forward to be happy. Yeah, I know – I’m just tough to please 🙂
        If I’ve misrepresented your thinking, feel free to correct me!
        FWIW I think in Seasons 1 and 2 the show told a broader story more in line with my idea of what the story should be, and that’s why I prefer those seasons.
        Starting in S3, the focus of the show narrowed more and became more explicitly about Chuck and Sarah, and that focus has narrowed further in S4.
        I think it’s a deliberate choice, no doubt because the showrunners realized how much most of the fans focused on the relationship, and also what gold they had struck with Yvonne.
        They misread the relationship focus into a feeling that we loved the angst and the wt/wt – hence S3 – but they’ve now put that right. In narrowing the focus though, the larger cast and particularly Casey have become marginalized.
        I get why they’ve done it – because no doubt the C/S focused fans are the largest part of the fanbase – but it’s taken the show further away from what I would like to see.

      • weaselone says:

        Buying one or two contrivances an episode is doable but at some point after that if they continue my emotional investment goes out the window because the story stakes become undermined.

        Don’t you mean falls through the skylight? I agree with you OD and I think you stated your position as well as you have all year. Chuck get’s some leeway on contrivances, but for the most part these contrivances should be utilized for comedy and entertainment value. Using them to drive the story and the characters is a big no no in my book.

        Chuck coming crashing down through the skylight is a key example of just such a contrivance. Chuck get’s to look like a big, incompetent klutz, interrupt bad guy of the week’s reveal of the traitor in the cat squad and piss off Sarah even more. All of this depends on
        1. The idea that Chuck would be clumsy enough to fall through the skylight.
        2. That skylights are so flimsy that slightly leaning against one will cause them to give way.
        3. That a villain would finger his ally under duress when his interrogator has clearly revealed there’s an alternate answer she’s willing to accept.
        4. That bad guys are too priggish/incompetent to properly search Sarah for a decently sized knife.

        It would have been sufficient to have Sarah conceal a smaller item to cut her bindings and threaten Neil Diamond. He could have implicated Zandra and used Sarah’s reaction to the information to trigger his little getaway attempt as Chuck crashes through the skylight and Casey arrives to provide support. That sets you up for later scenes at the Castle where you can have Chuck side with Zandra regarding the trustworthiness of the confession, keeping her out of a holding cell, Sarah refusing to listen and sending him after the luggage, the Zandra vs Sarah fight and Amy’s betrayal.

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        I agree with what was said above but I’ll add my two cents worth.

        I think, for some bizarre reason, we’ve seen both ends of the spectrum.

        Last season there was supposedly a spy story there, confusing though it was. But without the core relationship (or really any relationship really) functioning on some level, the spy story wasn’t enough to be compelling or carry the show. (Also as BK stated above, the LI’s totally threw a left turn in any proper drama related to Chuck becoming a spy and Sarah’s reservations towards such, which would have been a dramatic story all by itself, it just can’t go on for 13 eps.)

        This season we’ve seen (to date) the opposite. Rather relationship heavy episodes (admittedly probably required due to S3) but the spy story has been, what appears to be, “thrown in”. The characters (Mama B & Volkov) were good, excellent even, until they actually showed up. Let’s face it Mama B was a total badass until Volkov showed up and then the badassery left. While Volkov industries was shown to have it’s fingers in all parts of various government organizations, again until Alexi showed up. (I won’t even get into Ellie and her “blinders” because it’s just beyond stupid at this point)

        For some reason, in both seasons, the story’s “raison d’etre” lost steam around the mid-point of the arc. 3.07 last season, 4.08 this season. The first one was an unbelievable 180 degree turn that was necessary in order to keep an unpopular character (EDIT: that sucked rocks). The second, the search for Mom ended in the previous episode.

        My disappointment is probably my own because in both cases I see the potential for truly amazing TV stories in both of the seasons. I personally think the backloading of relevant story points in the last few episodes is not working because a lot of relevant story points are simply being ignored. Yes the final arc episodes are nice and sweet, but that is all they are. They do not resolve the essential story / story points that came before and remain ignored.

        Now back to the topic at hand. I’ve seen several post relating to how they wish the show had a S2 feel. I wish that as well. By this I don’t mean the characters need to go back, but the story elements need to go back. Leave the Chuck & Sarah relationship stuff “bubbling” underneath the surface of the show / story poking it’s head up at appropriate moments, while having missions and mythology “driving” the story.

      • Big Kev says:

        PS You’ve probably figured out by now that I’m completely a story guy 🙂 Plot and continuity is desirable and all well and good – but if it doesn’t add up to a compelling story driven by well-written characters, then I’m probably gone.

      • Big Kev says:

        Agree with every word of your post. Your analysis of the 2 extremes of S3 and S4 is spot on, as is your diagnosis of where both seasons hit the wall.
        And frustration is exactly the right word. They’ve done relationship stuff brilliantly on this show. They’ve done good spy arcs and broader stuff well too. At times (step forward S2) they’ve even done them together. It frustrates me that they ever moved away from that balance and I’m hanging on to the conviction that they will get it back!

      • jason says:

        kev – 3×7 and 4×8 as the points the show goes south, aren’t those also the points when the stand alone eps stop? Do you at least see the possibility the show should do stand alone?

        Then to add fuel to my analysis, one the spy arc starts, still a couple of good stand alone eps (3×9 & 3×10 – 4X9 and 4×11 until the end) shine, the rest sort of don’t, I mean, even with the relationship consummation, 3×13 is considered only average by most … while meaningless, fluffy, funny, feel-good 3×14 is considered one of the series best.

        But, just to repeat myself, I hope all the lessons learned about chuck and sarah continue to be part of the story as has been now for 22 straight episodes of them together, and I hope the mythology part of the fan base gets their socks knocked off by season 4.5 in a positive way, and I hope in a clever, consistent, neat and tidy way, the kind of story that makes me go wow, that was good….and in spite of the fact I am a shipper here, I mostly watch drama, and I do get impressed by cleverness in telling a mystery story, Chuck simply has never impressed me that way.

      • armySFC says:

        jason, posted in the wrong place before. 4.07-4.09 were the intersectless arc 4.10 was stand alone and 4.11-4.13 was the final volkoff arc. hope this helps.

      • jason says:

        amazing army – you are remarkable – really – holy cow – thank you – I stand by what I wrote – hope that helps

      • For me the show was at its greatest at the end of S2, where everything was well balanced, relationships, character development, mystery, spy story, mythology, etc.

        Standalone episodes can be fun, and I’ve enjoyed them a lot. But a season of standalone episodes can’t have me hooked like the end of S2 have. And I’m looking for that kind of things in a show.

        Honeymooners will remain one of my favorite, but a season of 22 Honeymooners would not be my favorite. I would lose interest along the way. I’d keep watching because I have no doubt it would be fun, and I love the characters too much to stop, but one of the component that made me love the show would be missing.

      • armySFC says:

        jason, really dude no reason to get snippy. you wrote this “kev – 3×7 and 4×8 as the points the show goes south, aren’t those also the points when the stand alone eps stop?” clearly in season 4 the stand alone stopped in 4.06 not 4.08. not knowing if it was a typo or you not knowing i figured i would help. that”s it. sorry if you took offense.

      • Big Kev says:

        I think the show does standalones well. I just don’t think I could take 24 of them without an overarching story.
        I’m not sure I agree about the problems in both seasons coming with the end of standalones either.
        S3 I enjoyed the arc of Op Awesome to Nacho Sampler – Chuck having his first solo mission and his first asset. I even liked Shaw’s intro – a real twist, enigmatic. After 3.06 I thought the season was flying. Then they ruined it utterly with the WTF PLI whiplash of Mask. I just loathe that episode. As soon as Shaw became an LI, the season was doomed – arcs, standalones, the whole lot.
        This season, First Fight is my favorite by some way, which is completely a spy arc episode. This season I do agree they haven’t handled the arc at all well (damn the intersectless arc) but they’ve also spent way too much time on contrived Chuck/Sarah fluff (Suitcase, CubicZ, Balcony) which has taken up time that could have been used to make the stated theme of the season (family and MamaB) more fleshed out and convincing. One bad arc and too much fluff and the season hits the wall….so in that sense it’s the arcs and the standalones both at fault this season.
        Some of that I’m prepared to put down to new writers and growing pains. And they’d written some great stuff up to the hiatus, but they need to deliver with the Vivian story or, IMO, the season will be lost.

      • thinkling says:

        @Big Kev: Sort of. But I’m not quite that one dimensional.

        Chuck and Sarah are integral to each other’s stories, but their stories do involve other components. I thoroughly enjoy those. I guess I see Sarah influencing, to one degree or another, all the other components in Chuck’s growth, as he does in hers. The relationship is so much more than just a relationship (in the romantic sense, though that’s a lovely part of it). That’s one of the [many] reasons why S3 was such a failure. Part of the appeal of the relationship to me is the fact that they are each other’s strength, that they complement each other and call forth the best in each other, help each other reach their destinies. They are one in much more than a romantic sense.

        I would say that if Chuck and Sarah’s relationship is in a bad place, I’m not happy. That’s different, in my mind anyway, than saying as long as they are happy, I’m happy. In a way without the forward motion of the spy story and mythology, the relationship itself is less fulfilled. (but still nice 😉 ) For the relationship to be all it can be, it needs to be involved in a good forward moving plot. I think S4 succeeded at that more than some people.

        I am happy with S4, largely because of the Chuck and Sarah forward movement and moments. Wt/wt had reached it’s limit in S2, and S3 was a disaster; so S4 is just great for me.

        Besides the fact that I love the relationship. I’m also not at all unhappy with the other things (mythology, MamaB, Volkoff, Intersect-less arc, etc) as some people are. I see Chuck’s growth through all of that. I see an overarching purpose to all of it, for his/their journey. If Sarah was to have any growth, the relationship had to be highlighted, because that’s where she needed to grow. And I’ve loved her growth.

        They’ve had a pretty difficult task to do all they did in 13 episodes. Maybe with that much done, they can put a little more focus on the spy/mythology part.

        Going forward I’d like to see good spy plots. Having Chuck and Sarah as a strong presence, without being the focus is fine. Couch Lock is an example. They were a strong, functioning spy couple, but their relationship issues weren’t the focus of the episode. In the end C/S had a nice moment, and Chuck had a break-through epiphany, but it wasn’t the focus all episode, and it wasn’t the result of relationship issues, but rather the spy plot.

        From S2, Tom Sawyer was an example of C/S working well together, trusting each other. Their relationship was fun, but not the focus, not strained or broken, no OLI’s, just really good trust and teamwork. Translate episodes like that to Chuck and Sarah together/married.

        Aisle of Terror was another example where Chuck and Sarah’s relationship wasn’t the focus, but they worked well together. There was even an intimacy in the way they worked together, but the episode was about MamaB (and Chuck’s reaction to her return) and the mission, not Chuck and Sarah specifically. I am all over that kind of episode.

        I don’t know if I’ve clarified myself at all. I’m sorry I’ve rambled, but it’s sometimes hard for me to explain myself.

      • atcDave says:

        I’ll be completely predictable and mainly agree with Thinkling’s comments. The few times I’ve been unhappy this season has been when it looked like they were repeating the worst of the miscommunication/ cheap angst type gimmicks that we’re all pretty tired of. Specifically that would mean the end scenes in Fear of Death and Gobbler. But both times, I felt the resolution the following week was mostly (in the case of Gobbler) or completely (in the case of Fear of Death) satisfying; so I just don’t feel any deep seated frustration at this point.

        I think it leaves me the most optimistic and excited I’ve ever been for episodes ahead.

  14. First Timer says:

    Sadly, I think it’s impossible to get back to a Season 2 feel because the two BRILLIANT constructs of Season 2 (Chuck wants a normal life back and Sarah is living out a fantasy relationship) no longer exist. The show runners were right to end both scenarios becasue they’d taken them as far as they could go. Unfortunately, coming up with concepts as strong as those two is nearly impossible.

    If you’re having a problem with this season, I suggest it’s for several other reasons:
    1) Chuck the spy is inconsistently written. Some episodes he’s a dumbass, some episodes he’s a master strategist. And we never know whether Sarah believes he’s one or the other because her “feelings” are tailored to meet the needs of each episode’s drama.
    2) Sarah the real girl is rather overdrawn and overblown. As I said earlier up this post, in Season 1/2, we were led to believe she was hiding her “real girl” attributes. This season we’re told she has NO “real girl” attributes and needs to be tutored on everything.
    3) The spy stories are incestuous. Volkoff, this year’s big bad, wasn’t a big bad because he was a global arms dealer who’d sell nukes to banana-republic dictators and had his hooks into the CIA and NSA. He’s the big bad because he threatened the Bartowski Family. Unlike Season 1/2, when Chuck and Sarah were saving the world and the Bartowski Family just happened to be involved, Chuck and Sarah this year are beating up on Volkoff for family reasons and they just happen to save the world as a side benefit.
    4) Morgan, who they have recast as the novice in in the spy world a la Chuck Seasons 1/2, actually seems to be something of a savant. Both as a spy and a relationship guru. He can do no wrong. And even when he does wrong, it turns out right. Chuck was never this “lucky” in the first two years.
    5) Casey and Beckman, whose original jobs were to represent unthinking muscle and the bureaucracy, respectively, now have lives. And by making them lovable on their own terms, the writers no longer can have Chuck and Sarah revolt against them. That means there’s no real tension between the “government way” and the unorthodox methods of Chuck and Sarah. (Anyone kept count of how many times Sarah has gone off-mission or commited treason in four seasons?) Losing that tension really does hurt the spy stories, such as they are. Now it’s everyone against the bad guys rather than Chuck and Sarah trying to thread their way between the bad guys and the bureaucracy.
    5) Finally, some of the fault lies with us: Especially after Season 2, with that LONG hiatus, we analyzed and thought about and hashed out the first 35 episodes to within an inch of their lives. And because we had nothing ELSE to do, we started writing our own stories (and backstories) for the characters. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…but it does impact our ability to take the show as its presented to us now. We don’t JUST rate episodes based on their perceived quality, but also on where we think the characters are, where we’d have moved them, where we would have taken the show.

    Regardless of whether you love or hate this year’s episodes and directions, that’s a pretty tall order of things the show has to navigate.

    • You raised an interesting point about Casey, Beckman and the government. I’m hoping that the Robin Given’s character will fill the hole.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Totally agree with you.

      • thinkling says:

        We do need that type of character … an efficiency/observer/IA type person to look over all their shoulders, including GB … somebody we can despise and not worry about getting attached to. It’s always more fun if they have to fight the baddies and fly under federal radar. Good point.

        Well, we had that in Shaw (someone we could despise and not worry about getting attached to), but that wasn’t his natural function.

    • OldDarth says:

      The show had the next chapter of the Chuck saga in its hands at the end of Season 3.

      Chuck, and Team Bartowski, stepping out of the confines of a spy organization and picking up the reins of Orion’s legacy. Choosing their missions or working in a partnership with General Beckman. They become the Batman to Beckman’s Commissioner Gordon. Thus Chuck et al continue their character growth against a compelling, exciting and sure to push them; hero’s journey.

      It was there and they instead choose the safe route and falling back into the established set up of the show. A setup that has been under strain ever since Chuck decided to become a spy.

      • thinkling says:

        picking up the reins of Orion’s legacy. Choosing their missions or working in a partnership with General Beckman. They become the Batman to Beckman’s Commissioner Gordon.

        I think that’s the direction to head with the spy stuff.

      • Big Kev says:

        Agreed Thinkling and OD,
        I’ve never been as excited about where the show was at as I was at the end of S3. Subway remains my favorite episode and there were limitless possibilities for both the spy world and various relationships at the end of the Season…..and so far, they’ve pooched it.
        But you’ve both nailed what needs to happen. I’d even take an (all of) TeamB going rogue scenario as a possible setup for S5. I just hope Josh and Chris are reading 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        I agree that would be the best story. I’d also bet a lot of Costa Gravan Pesos they never go that way. My current feeling they have too much invested in the status quo. I think Beckman in charge and the Buy More are things we keep for the duration.

      • I don’t see the need for going out of a spy organization. Couldn’t the role of Team B evolve within the government?

        Just wondering why it would have to be rogue or private contractor or something else than CIA and NSA Agents?

    • Anonymous says:

      Personally, your first and fourth points are what really bother me about this season. I either like or can live with everything else, but something has gone really wrong when Chuck suffers in comparison to Morgan. There are many things I could nitpick, but I probably wouldn’t complain at all if Chuck himself was better written.

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      Nice points FT. The first and fourth points are the ones that are really galling.

      Speaking of Chuck’s inconsistency – IMHO, the writers feel that to balance a nerdy Chuck with spy Chuck they have to have him make silly mistakes and commit goof-ups. This is sort of insulting to nerds. Nerds are smart, capable people. Write a smart Chuck – that’s the real tribute to his character.

    • weaselone says:

      1. Most fragile sky light ever…it’s not just that they make Chuck follow bad advice from Morgan, bungle things in the spy world, or apologize incessantly for things he wasn’t necessarily wrong about, but throwing in silly contrived stuff to make him look bad and then having him fail to defend himself regarding it is just unforgivable.
      2. I’ve always thought that Sarah was a combo deal. There was some real girl in her as well as some aspiration to be a real girl, but in many ways she doesn’t know how to be one and some of the real girl characteristics she displays were merely affections developed for her cover.
      3. They need to try to get a little bit of the barrier back between the spy world and family world. Obviously, the spy world can threaten the home front, but the major goal of the spy stories shouldn’t be to recover long lost family members.
      4. Don’t get me started about Morgan. He’s obviously a character that Schwedak loves which explains why the Captain and the Big Three give up their awesomeness to him on a regular basis. It also explains why he’s still in essentially every episode while other more interesting characters receive less screen time than his girlfriend.
      5. They need to insert this back into the show, pronto. Casey’s a lost cause. He’s been softening since the end of season 1. By the end of season 2 he could no longer be used solely as big, brawny by the book man. Beckman really isn’t an option at this point outside of having her step in a role as liaison between the team and government should it go a little free lance.

  15. Josh says:

    I think one thing about sarah that fans do not consider is that chuck is all she needs, when she say’s without you I am nothing but a spy, you are my chuck, I need chuck, etc, etc, etc.

    I know fans were upset that sarah does not stick up for chuck when people like carina, her cat squad or her father belittle him, but could it be that sarah just does not care what they think and wants to keep them away from chuck because she only wants and cares about chuck and not them. Did you see how quickly she was trying to get rid of the cat squad in the beginning, sarah is very possesive of chuck and I do not even think it registers with her when people insult him because she just wants to get rid of them. Another thing people keep wanting is more sarah and ellie conversation, could it be that deep down it does not bother sarah if she does not talk to ellie (unlike fans who pine for it) because she only wants to be with chuck.

    I mean she was willing to run away in the beginning of season 3, she is perfectly content on just having chuck and that is it, that should tell fans a lot on why sarah really has never bothered with the rest of the bartowski clan….

    • Paul says:

      I think they’ve alluded all 4 seasons that Ellie and Sarah are friends, but maybe no BFF’s. I’ve said all along I think Sarah is a bit intimidated by Ellie in terms of real world stuff, as well as Sarah’s natrual tendency to not make close relationships. I think Ellie’s offering to help Sarah is in many ways her accepting Sarah into the family and becoming “big Sis” for her too.

    • thinkling says:

      I think there’s some truth to that, but Sarah moving closer to Ellie, as genuine family, is growth in that area for her. It’s part of the way she needs to grow. She’s never had a family. Now she does, and she’s learning what all that means to her.

      If relationships are hard for her, developing two at a time would be nearly impossible. Interconnected relationships … forget it. But she is getting there. Plus it is hard for her to talk about her day.

      I loved Sarah’s growth this episode.

      • Josh says:

        But thinkling I know you and fans want sarah to be closer to Ellie to have a normal life. But has sarah ever said that a normal life includes chuck’s family? I mean what I gather from sarah that a family is her and chuck and any kids they have….and being spies together. I mean when pushed came to shove in phase three sarah let slip that she does not need anybody but chuck! in season 3 she was more than willing to run away and only be with chuck, to this day when sarah is around ellie and awesome or even at times morgan her eyes dart left and right and she struggles to maintain eye contact, but when she is with chuck her eyes are fixated on his all the time, she is comfortable with him and maybe the writers are trying to tell us something there, maybe chuck is sarah’s world and that is all that is important to her first and foremost.

      • Wasn’t it the point of the episode? Expend Sarah’s world to more than Chuck?

        At the end she told Chuck she was glad the girls were there, and she wants them at the wedding too. And she chose her MoH by herself.

      • thinkling says:

        I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. Chuck will always be the center of Sarah’s world. She will always look at him that way. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to be a part of his family.

        She’s never had one, and I think she likes the idea, but doesn’t have a model to go by. Cat Squad shows her moving in that direction, on her own, and looking pleased about it.

        She seemed to like the family dinners. She warmed up to the idea of heartwarming Christmas w/ the Bartowski’s. Even in the Pilot, she recognized the importance of family. In Couch Lock, she and Ellie were having an animated conversation, and Sarah looked like she enjoyed it.

      • Paul says:

        @Josh – Sarah is marrying into a very tight knit group. With Chuck comes Ellie, Morgan and Awesome. If she is going to be with Chuck, she is going to have to accept the others into her life as well. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. The gist of this epsiode was just that: Chuck doesn’t quite get that Sarah isn’t the extrovert that he is, who wants his loved ones close by at all times. On Sarah’s part, she has to come to the realization that by being with Chuck, she’s going to have to face those phobias of having friends and family always near. In the end they compromise. Chuck learns that he needs to back off and let Sarah come around at her own pace. Sarah learns that having friends and familly around are not necessarily a liability or that they are going to hurt you.

      • thinkling says:

        Well put Paul. I would say it was more positive than that, even. That Sarah learns that having family, a sister like Ellie, is actually a very good thing, something she actually needs.

        She learned that she may need more than just Chuck, like friends, a sister, and Chuck’s help.

        On the C/S contrast, Sarah was even a little hesitant about having company when she first walked in, even before she found out who it was.

      • atcDave says:

        Crumby, Thinkling, Paul; great comments you guys.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Sarah not understanding the importance of family for Chuck in any real deep down way is probably why she didn’t get why her asking him to run away with her in Prague was pretty selfish and not well thought out.

        She was asking him to abandon his sister (who had already been abandoned by both parents and was there for him through that and other betrayals) , his friends (Morgan was also there for him) and his future (the one that had been sideswiped by Bryce) to spend his life on the run from people that she told him in the pilot he couldn’t hide from.To truly stay hidden he would have to never contact the people he loved again.

        And we saw in the Honeymooners that Chuck is terrible at staying hidden .They could have found him easily using his habits to find him,. using Morgan just made the job quicker.

        I would love for Sarah to just suddenly realize one day what she was asking Chuck to give up and go up to him and tell him of her realization and apologize to him plu be close enough to Ellie to apologize to her for trying to take Chuck away essentially forever.

    • uplink2 says:

      I read in a few places about how Sarah and Ellie, i.e. Yvonne and Sarah had no chemistry on screen which is ludicrous. I think the awkwardness of the final scene between them was perfect. This was the first time she had ever asked anyone other than Chuck for a real life favor/connection. And yes Ellie Woodcomb is a very intimidating woman but in a good way. She is in many ways everything Sarah is not. So for someone like Sarah to have to ask Ellie to be part of something she has no idea about was terrifying for her. Even more so than what Chuck had planned at the beginning of the episode. I think we will see a lot more of this going forward and finally Sarah Lancaster is being brought to the front.

      The connection between them is a real area of growth and potential great scenes. As we maybe head to season 5 a real Bartowski clan working together in some fashion will be full of gold for the more balanced story even this shipper wants. Neither girl had a sister and they will very soon and that is a special bond that will be great to see grow on screen.

      • thinkling says:

        Totally agree. I thought their chemistry was fine.

        Sarah is so powerful and competent in the spy world. That would make it all the more difficult to ask for help. It was a totally new demeanor for Sarah, too. I don’t recall Sarah interacting that same way with anyone else before. Does anyone else. I can’t place this particular Sarah, which is perfect, actually.

        That cut line of Sarah’s (about working presidential secret service, but not being able to handle Ellie’s wedding) definitely applies.

      • uplink2 says:

        The asking for help and needing help were one of the major elements of this episode. Sarah Walker realizing that its ok and actually welcome to ask for help in a family. Something she has never known outside of helping with a scam.

        That took even more courage for her to do than stand up to Gaez or any of her rivals before. But what made it work was Ellie put her at ease. She saw something was troubling her and let her know that she is there for her just like Chuck is and in this case even more than Chuck is. She can get her to open up and then filter it to her brother. It was the perfect building of sisterhood.

  16. Now that we’ve seen some Sarah/Morgan and Sarah/Ellie bonding, it could be funny to see a Sarah/Awesome scene about what it’s like to be engaged/married to a Bartowski or some in-laws support or something. 😉

    • herder says:

      Have one of them mutter “this is a really weird family” ala Woody Woodcombe.

      • thinkling says:

        I loved that line!

        Woodcomb wishes:

        Get mixed up in a spy plot with Chuck and Sarah and Sarah’s dad.

        See Sarah nail something with her knife throwing skills.

        See a Chuck and Sarah fight like FF.

        Stumble across a presidential commendation for TeamB.

        Cross paths with GB.

        Woodcomb comedy gold.

        I still want to see Honey, Mary, Sarah, and Ellie doing something together: holiday cooking, wedding stuff, whatever.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        I’d like to see a Mary and Honey showdown.Where Mary tells Honey that if she ever talks to her daughter in the snotty way she did in that baby store again , she will make sure they never finds Honey’s body.

        Of course a bonus would have a physical showdown where we find out Mrs. Awesome is one heck of a fighter too (probably at the top of her game because Awesome don’t settle for anything less than the highest possible accomplishment.)

      • joe says:

        Tonight, on NBC! Grandma vs. Grandma Smackdown!

        Fantastic, Tamara. I’ve seen this one IRL too! 😉

    • weaselone says:

      Sarah, I know from personal experience that Bartowskis are very passionate people. With that and all your spy related activities it’s no wonder you’ve been dragging a little bit lately. Fortunately, I have a solution to your problem, my new and improved energy shake . It’s guaranteed to improve performance both on a mission and in the bedroom.

      • thinkling says:

        ROTFL! Fantastic.

        Or have him serve it up to her like he used to do to Chuck all the time. That would be a new face for Yvonne. 🙂

      • weaselone says:

        You know you’re part of the family when Devon starts tempting you with the taste of a healthy colon. And yes, I would like to see the ick face Yvonne used in that situation. Bonus points if she drinks it first and comments that it does indeed taste like a healthy colon.

      • thinkling says:

        I’m sure her face would be priceless. Bonus if Chuck and Ellie are anxiously watching.

      • thinkling says:

        She could probably gulp it down then proceed to identify the jungle and the plant from some of her missions, and give all sorts of survival facts about it, blowing Devon away and disappointing Chuck and Ellie. Then she could walk calmly into the kitchen, roll her eyes and give a prize winning yuck reaction just for us.

      • weaselone says:

        Is Sarah allowed to speak that many words without interruption in a non spy related social setting yet?

      • thinkling says:

        All the funnier … Sarah pontificating.

      • First Timer says:

        It’s actually ludicrous to think there can be any genuine (by that I mean believable as we watch it) bonding between the Sarah and Ellie characters until a) Ellie learns Chuck is back in the spy world and b) Accepts that Chuck is a spy.

        It’s OBVIOUS that is where they are headed, of course. So I wonder if they are going to do it obliquely. In other words, Ellie tells Sarah she regrets forcing Chuck out and Sarah says something like, “Lemme see what I can do…” and then tells Chuck to talk to Ellie.

        It’s one of the bazillion strands they are going to have to tie up by the end of the season…

      • thinkling says:

        Right FT. The sooner the better. It is old and cripples one of the best relationships, that is Chuck with his sister. And you’re right. It will be hard for Sarah to go very far with Ellie with that in the way. Then there’s MamaB who knows the truth but, rightly, feels it isn’t her place to out her son or interfere with his relationship with his sister.

        Big mess. Clean up on aisle 4, please.

      • uplink2 says:

        I agree. This has to end now. It should have ended when Chuck told her about searching his mom. I don’t want Sarah to tell her but she can be the catalyst for Chuck. Kind of like she is helping him like he has helped her. That could be a great moment.

      • I’ve been wanting Chuck to tell Ellie about him spying again since Anniversary but I don’t see it as a problem for Ellie/Sarah bonding.

        The point of their bonding in that ep was that their relationship wasn’t all about Chuck. They’re friends. And Sarah can talk past relationships, family, wedding, etc. with her.

      • First Timer says:

        Well, I wouldn’t say “clean up” per se. Not everything we don’t like is something that needs to be “fixed.” I mean, it’s a choice the show runners have specifically made. I assume they will address it as the season-ending arc matures.

        And when you think about the mythology of the show, Ellie is actually extraordinarily important. She is and has been the only person in Chuck’s life who keeps him grounded in the non-spy world. Everyone else in his life that matters IS a spy or knows. She needs to be OUT of the spy life (and, essentially, against the life) to keep the show grounded. She’s the Bartowski family’s equivalent of Buy More.

        And, generally speaking, she’s the difference between Chuck and Sarah. They play the Sarah character as having no one who ever helped her stay grounded in real life. Chuck, on the other hand, had Ellie. Ellie is why Chuck can claim to be “a normal guy” (Break-up, Lethal Weapon, et al). The lack of an Ellie in her life is why Sarah isn’t a “real girl.”

        For a character that doesn’t get much screen time, Ellie plays a fairly critical role in how the show functions.

      • I don’t know if Ellie not knowing or being against it makes Chuck more a normal guy. What normal guy leads a double life?

        Morgan is part of the spy life but he’s still part of Chuck’s normal life too. It’s the attachment and the relationship that counts.

        Ellie is on the same journey that Chuck was in S2. She tries to stay away from the spy life at all cost, but eventually the spy life will catch up with her. She’s gonna have her ‘do I download the 2.0 or not’ moment and embrace her Bartowski destiny.

      • thinkling says:

        Crumby, Sarah and Ellie can talk about mom stuff and complicated family, but there will always be a gorilla in the room on Sarah’s side, because she and Chuck are perpetuating a lie. So, yeah, they can bond, and maybe it will bother Sarah less than Chuck, because its his lie, and she’s more used to it. Still I would think it would weigh things down.

        Uplink, I like that idea that Sarah can help Chuck, maybe even MamaB.

        FT. I agree that Ellie has to be out of the biz, but in the know. She doesn’t have to love the idea, but she needs to accept it for Chuck as she did for her mom. I am not in favor of Ellie entering the spy biz. I know some people are, but I think it’s necessary that she stay “normal.”

        I agree, too, that Ellie has made that difference in Chuck’s life, and now she will start to make a similar difference in Sarah’s life.

      • I don’t disagree that it would weigh things down, but there’s still place for a real and sincere relationship. Or it would be like saying Chuck can’t have any real relationship with Ellie until he tells her. That’s not true, we’ve just seen it.

        I still want him to tell her though. It’s an important step in his journey.

      • thinkling says:

        I can agree with that, Crumby. I’ll just be glad when that particular gorilla leaves the room.

    • I also want another of those ‘lady feelings’ scenes she has with Casey. Like in Cubic Z. They’re hilarious when they talk feelings and normal life together.

      • thinkling says:

        Yes, that was all sorts of hilarious.

        Maybe this time it could be Casey talking about his lady feelings to Sarah.

  17. Rick Holy says:

    Hey folks. Help me out here. I go to NBC.COM all the time to “watch” CHUCK episodes. But I NEVER get on the message boards. For you who do regularly, what’s the “overall vibe” about this fourth season. I would think most fans would be happy with it. I know I am. Of course we can point to 1 & 2 as being the “best,” so far, but you’d expect that the early seasons – as they reveal info. about the characters and the story – would be fondly looked back upon with more “love.”

    IF “CHUCK” survives, one thing I wonder. Do we HAVE to have ad much DRAMA as we’ve had in the past. Now, nothing against drama, but I think because this show has been such a “mix” of things – and sometimes the long “drama” arcs may have led some people away – it is BETTER for Chuck’s future to be more comedic over-all? There have been a number of recent S4 episodes that have been just plain fun – and, actually, at this point in the CHUCK story, that’s what I’m looking for. A little bit of “drama” sprinkled in here and there is fine, but the “spyjinx fun,” the “goofy fun,” etc., is what I enjoy about the show. And I think you can have “charater development” as the dramatic component to what is overall a COMEDY show.

    I thought The Roan episode was a riot. I thought the CAT Squad was humorous enough, and there were episodes preceding those that were just FUN. If Chuck and Sarah get “hitched” by the end of S4 – and if there is an S5 – I hope they take it in the direction of “more SPYJINK comedy” (less Buy-More comedy would be fine, thankyou. I’m not saying dump the Buy-More, but move it further into the background – MUCH further into the background).

    Maybe it might also have a better chance at attracting viewers. Remember, especially in a crummy economy, people want to laugh (or they want to see “average folk” reach their dreams). That’s why AI and some of the CBS comedies I think are high on the ratings charts.

    • thinkling says:

      Really interesting point you make in the last paragraph, Fr. Rick. Makes all kinds of sense.

    • atcDave says:

      I don’t really know the mood of the NBC boards, but Rick I agree 100% with what you’re saying. I’m way past tired of of relationship “drama” on the show, and would much prefer for things to be fun. Which basically means, I’ve loved this season. I think we’ve seen just about enough tension and uncertainty for Chuck and Sarah; just the right amount of excitement and tension on missions; a good amount of family and friendship type warmth; and loads of humor and fun. This season is nearly exactly what I want. The only changes I would make are the obvious growth type changes related to the coming marriage.
      Okay, I would concede a few minor points, like we’ve seen some sloppy continuity and loose ends. But basically I think the show has been at its best this season. The casual viewers I speak with mostly agree; I really haven’t seen any complaints except what we run into here with more critical viewers.

      I also agree entirely Rick about the tone of shows that are successful right now, and the traditional wisdom about the types of entertainment that succeed when times are rough. In fact I’m stunned at the amount of darker, more cynical television being produced right now; and I think many broadcasters and studios are missing a big opportunity by not making more escapist fun. Scripted television has seen ratings declines on a broad scale in recent years, and I’m quite sure the darker more dramatic material being produced is a big part of the reason why.

    • armysfc says:

      rick see my reply below. stupid buttons got me again!

    • Big Kev says:

      Fr Rick,
      For me, there’s almost always an inverse relationship between how popular a show is and how much I like it. I dont know if that makes me a TV snob, but if that’s the charge, I’ll plead guilty. Original, creative shows that try something different usually don’t rate well – shows that follow the same formula week in week out seem to have the ratings sewn up.
      So I have a dilemma when it comes to Chuck. I’d love it to be watched by 10 million people – but I don’t want it to become the type of show that 10 million viewer type shows nearly always are.
      Me and ratings? It’s complicated 🙂

      • armysfc says:

        big kev. i give every new show a shot. there have been many i liked a lot and got canned, some i hated and they did well. for the most part i fit in with how the ratings go. its funny but this year i’m closer to the ratings more than ever. 2 of the shows i watch on a weekly basis are SVU and chuck. my interest in both shows has gone down as the season has gone on, and so have the ratings. the other 4 i follow that still hold my peak interest, 3 have held steady and one has gone up. your not alone in the “me and my ratings are complicated”

      • luckygirl says:

        I really agree with you about that Big Kev. Shows that hit tend to be dumbed down as they appeal to more and more of a general audience. I remember on a dvd commentary for Arrested Development where they said Fox came to them and asked them to deliberately dumb it down every season to try and gain a mass audience. I don’t care for television trying to stoop and pander for an audience. I just want smart television but, smart television rarely experiences ratings success.

        I always hated, as bad as it sounds, that The Office took off because it is just a shell at this point. The humor is now mainly broad and the characters two-dimensional.

    • Faith says:

      There is a tendency for people to voice displeasure over say pleasure…that’s mostly what’s happened with the boards. For the most part people are happy so they’re no longer posting as much. It’s not like post Colonel either where the Save Chuck movement permeates with the euphoria so for the most part the boards membership have been a small but largely happy majority.

      I know this for a fact (that people are happy so they aren’t posting as much) because we get returners stopping by with a post here and there just to say, “I haven’t posted in awhile but this was the best episode blah blah.” For the rest, it’s been a banner of a season (overwhelmingly positive regard over season 3).

      Having said that on episode nights/threads we still get somewhere between 50 to 100+ readers/lurkers with a small minority of them posters (30 or so). Of course since I’m on west coast time and forbidden to spoil myself silly, I often miss the exact numbers and crowd on east coast time (usually 9pm) when it’s far busier.

      • jason says:

        I look at NBC sometimes, never post there, it has changed so much since shaw’s misery season. the NBC board Intersect thread almost reads like a soap opera, with characters (might have them wrong) assigned to certain parts, bamasteve, iheart, casey killer, sarge, lever, and of course chucknonper…) it is very humorous to me.

        I often feel ready to quit blogging, as I am so happy with the show I really have not much to say, and for those who don’t like season 4 I do understand the need to vent, and should just leave things alone.

        I know everyone disagrees, but I especially loved the first 6 eps, and the last 2 this season, as well as the other odd eps, 7,9,11,13 the even eps in the serialized arc I did not like as much, 8,10,12 …. but still far more than most in shaw’s misery season

      • jason says:

        that read awkward as my writing often does, where is that edit button. anyhow, i meant to say I understand the need to vent therefore I should just let others vent and not try to refute or rebut those opinions being critical of season 4, goodness knows all of you put up with plenty of crap from me in expressing my anger over the shaw misery season.

      • atcDave says:

        It is very true that the person with complaints is far more likely to post than the person who is happy. That has certainly been a source of some frustration for us here at this site. The number of daily hits at this site was much higher last season, on occasion we saw nearly 6000 hits a day; while this season we’ve rarely been over 3000. I think people who want to complain feel both the need to vent and the need to commiserate. Add to that, last season even the principals on this site were divided over the relative merits of the show; so lively debate was guaranteed.
        Whereas this season all six of us are mostly satisfied (I think I’m actually the most unhappy of the group, and I’m pretty darn happy). We still do criticism and don’t wish to silence it; but it is a different mood when none of the six of us really share in the more critical viewpoints.

        I would like to encourage especially those with positive opinions about this season to speak up. It makes us wonder sometimes if we’re so out of step with the fandom; but I do know the casual viewers I know tend to be quite happy with things. But to bring this back to a perfect circle, those happy viewers just don’t comment as often.

      • armySFC says:

        all. good discussion and for the most part i agree. when a car is running well you never speak of it. when its broke you complain about it. i was always curious about the number of hits this site gets so thanks for the information.

        while it is hard to figure out why people post or not some things come to mind. dave has pointed out to me many times the casual fan is not likely to go online to post or even read about the show. they just watch it and enjoy it or don’t.

        i like to keep things simple for the most part. ill give you my simple theory on why the blogs and boards are like they are now. you don’t create a blog for something you don’t like. even if you did how long would you keep it going? just like you don’t keep watching a show you don’t like hoping it gets better. you don’t keep eating something you don’t like hoping you will like it.

        that leaves blogs made by people who like something, so naturally the feel is for the most part like the people that created it. on all the boards and blogs i follow the same thing happens. when opposing views are voiced they are accepted for a while, then not so much. those people then leave and don’t post there again.

        @dave you posted this “I would like to encourage especially those with positive opinions about this season to speak up. It makes us wonder sometimes if we’re so out of step with the fandom?” over the course of the last couple months there were several of us that were critical of the show and pointed that out. by my count there were between 4 or 5 of us. most are not here anymore. i myself only post about speculations (like the direction of the show for next year) anymore and don’t say more than the show is losing me. well except yesterday when i gave thinkling me to explain so i did. jc said it best when he left, he didn’t want to hurt your enjoyment of the show by posting negative things about it. i am posting just not about what i think is good or bad about an episode or the show.

        whether its a bones, castle, chuck blog or message board. the majority party (good or bad) makes the minority party uncomfortable about posting there. so in the end you get a place that caters to what the majority party feels. so using boards or blogs doesn’t give a true idea of the masses. how you can find that out i have no idea.

        faith you said it best, for the most part fans are happy. keep in mind that since the start of the season 25% of the fans have said peace out. i hope for you guys here on this blog the trend stops. and that for the most part is now all.

        my last thoughts, casual fans that are unhappy with the direction of the show will hang in there for a while hoping it gets better before leaving. then they just slowly drop away.

      • herder says:

        Army, I’m going to try and respond to the idea that you have raised about negative or unpopular opinions about what the show is doing. There is a certain inherent contradiction about negative comments on a fan supporter site, from my own perspective of this site (I found it just prior to the start of season 3) it’s not that criticsisms are not welcome, but rather that the tone of the comment remain respectful of other commentors.

        Generally speaking it is fair comment to say I don’t like this or that or that TTB should concentrate on this or that or even this isn’t working and this is why. What is actively discouraged is comments like you are blind or disillusioned if you accept this or that situation. Not because the criticsism is invalid but because the tone can lead to flame wars. Specifically I recall one spat last year where someone went after OD for supporting the direction of the show when so many were against it. It wasn’t the opinion that was discouraged but the way in which it was expressed.

        Presonally I love the show and particularly season 2 and this year, but I’m not blind to it’s faults and failings, I don’t take it personally if someone has a differing point of view, so long as it is presented in a non-confrontational manner. Similarly if someone has a point of view that is different from my own I may try to adress why I think that person is mistaken without making it into a confrontation.

        I think, and this may be presumptious of me, that you may have mistaken comments about the manner in which an opinion is expressed for a sort of censorship of the opinion itself. In some fourteen months on this site I have never seen a comment deleted or denied, but I have seen situations where respect and tact have been requested.

        If you have qualms about the direction of the show or questions about how things are presented and dealt with I don’t think anyone has a problem with those being expressed. As far as I can see it is never a question of what is said, it is on occasion a question of how it is said.

        If I have caused offense, please accept my appologies, but I’d rather hear what you really think than what you feel safe in saying. None of us has revealed knowlege of how best to present the show, all opinions are equally valid but there is also an ethos of respect here that all strive to maintain. In some ways tone trumps bluntness.

      • armySFC says:

        herder, no offense taken. i was talking in general. on different sites i have seen comments like, it makes me scratch my head head and wonder if they are watching the same show as me, I’m just not sure of what bothering you with this, I think you’ve been strident and insistent with an extreme minority viewpoint, if you claim to love the show, lets hear about the love.

        comments like that are why i stopped posting anything negative about the show. there are many thing i like about the show, for example i feel that seduction impossible was the best this year, and amongst the best they have done. i agree with JC and what he said. you guys do love the show, probably more than i have ever even liked a show. so in fairness to the people who post here and who run the blog i have decided not to post negative comments. the moderators of this blog do it because they love the show and by my posting negative comments if it affects them in a negative way, well i would rather keep my ideas to myself.

        i love the speculation ideas and ratings talk. i contribute to those threads.

    • Verkan_Vall says:

      @Fr. Rick:

      “Remember, especially in a crummy economy, people want to laugh (or they want to see “average folk” reach their dreams).”

      From your keyboard to the Showrunners’ eyes. People watch shows like Chuck to escape, and in a time with 10% unemployment, people need all the good- natured escape they can get. Who wants to watch a show that rubs heartache, loneliness and rejection in your face, when you get enough of that in real life?

      So, More Season 4 Chuck, please. Even if it means more (shudder) Jeffster and Morgan the Guru. But especially if it means more Sarah and more…DIANE!

  18. armysfc says:

    rick, i did i quick review of last weeks ratings for just the top 25: 9 are drama shows CSI, greys bones type shows. 9 are comedy, 2.5 men, big bang type shows. 5 were specials/reality type shows. 1 was glee and i don’t know where to put it. 1 was a premier mr sunshine.

    the top 10: 4 were drama 3 were comedy 3 were reality/ specials. so its a pretty even split. you can go more comedy or you can go more drama. when i say drama i mean a more serious show not angst filled.

    as for the NBC boards its hard to get a read. for one thing there are a ton of threads to go through. the second is early in the season when i followed it pretty close the number of people who liked and dislike the show as it is now was about even. now its mostly favorable.

    the thing that makes it hard is most of the people that had problems with the show are no longer posting, and the ones that do are a small core group similar to here. so while its favorable to the show the number of posters is down and the ones that did like it as much are no longer there. its not a lot but i hope it helps.

    • atcDave says:

      Good breakdown on the successful shows army. I agree with your point most of the “drama” are not the angst-filled sort. Its heavy on the CSI/NCIS sort that are really crime/dramas, a category all their own, and consistent with the more escapist type entertainment that is traditionally popular during downturns and wars. Those types also tend to be more episodic than serialized. [I’m not saying there’s no demand for such shows, but I do think they are less popular than writers/producers want them to be.]

      • armysfc says:

        thanks dave! it kind of goes with what i was looking for in season 5. i posted about that way up top. i think chuck can remain true to itself if it just adds balance. last year they went to far one way, and this year to far the other. when i put my idea to paper here i took what was in the top 25 shows plus what chuck does. single episodes with the bad guy of the week, with a subtle big baddie lurking behind the scenes (orion bad guy here) that is in some way connected to them all. keep his identity unknown till they actually use orions files. little clues they need to add up to figure out who it is. then have a small 2 episode arc where c/s as the super spy couple move in and take them down. it also allows you to add a fluffy fun solo job in there once in a while. you can still inject the humorous moments like now and keep the c/s relationship strong but more subdued than this year. i’m quiet sure the shippers would be more than happy to know they are going strong and not need to see it as much as this year. i think this could work real well.

      • atcDave says:

        That certainly sounds like a reasonable balance. My guess is Schwedak will often want to insert relationship turmoil to some extant, even though I think the show would benefit from a little less of it.
        You know the way I’ve always hoped it would be was more of “Chuck and Sarah vs the world” sort of thing. Of course that means a little more focus on external challenges. It sounds like most of us hope for that to some degree or another.

      • jason says:

        kev / army (nice to be posting with you!)

        Right from the pilot, sarah and chuck struck me as parody, with a remarkable chemistry – that combo got me. The pairing of what might be the hottest women in the world, a suitable mate for James Bond, with a nerdish school boy is hilarious to me on its own. But, then when sarah the normal girl is reduced to a nerdish, awkward schoolgirl when they were alone, that was the magic for me, it was those black olive / pickle moments, the family game nights, the shoulder bump on the beach, even when she introduced chuck as her boyfriend to her real dad, for me, that is where the show got magical.

        When it brought in LI’s that is when I cry OC, when it tries to right a serialized spy plot that I cry Get Smart, when it tries to cross a line with sex or violence, that is when I cry WTF, but when ellie, mama b, and sara were in that apartment, or when sarah and morgan talked about chuck’s plan, or when casey is starting to talk about having to toughen up for when he is leaving for afghanastan, or when TPTB let CS go for it, like in honeymooners (and many eps really), that is when this show hits on all cylinders.

        The rest just gets in the way for me, B grade writing at best.

        Army, I respect the POV that the notion of CIA is serious, but beckman is parody of all that is serious about the CIA, as opposed to langston graham, who could have been a general in Patriot Games.

        Also, I found Casey to be funny, like when he went to kill chuck, I laughed the entire time, he isn’t scary, he is funny, a parody of Jack Bauer, not Jack Bauer.

        when describing chuck to others in those days, my description was she shouldn’t like anything about him, but she loved him from the moment she lays eyes on him, to me, that is not drama as much as comedy.

  19. jason says:

    I would love to see a poll of casual users, just giving fans simple a choice
    Pick one or the other, chuck is a
    1 – comedy
    2 – drama
    Not so sure on this board drama might win or at least be competitive, but I think comedy would be the overwhelming choice by the general public, but that is strickly my opinion.

    • Faith says:

      Romance! Heh.

      I give shippers a bad name, don’t I? haha.

    • atcDave says:

      I think you’re right Jason. Most casual viewers watch to laugh. Now I would add, well used drama absolutely makes humor that much sweeter and more heartfelt. Chuck works for me because that balance has often (certainly absolutely not always!) been perfect.

      • Big Kev says:

        You’ve hit the nail on the head Dave. I wouldn’t be invested in the characters if this was just a comedy. I find sitcom characters way too one dimensional for that. Chuck injects just enough drama and real life to ensure that its situations are cartoonish, but never its main characters. Its that balance, that concept of “just enough” that makes the show unique and (if I may use the term) genius.

      • atcDave says:

        Hey, I agree with your agreement! Yeah Kev I think its that the drama makes the characters seem more real. So even when the situations are ridiculous, or the secondary characters are caricatures; we can laugh harder because we are engaged with the main characters.

      • thinkling says:

        That’s a great way to describe it Big Kev. And it’s so much better than the other way around, where the plot and the show are all serious and the characters are cardboard. That’s almost what went wrong in S3. The show took itself too seriously, went to dark, and the characters lost their heart and became two dimensional and unengaging.

        This show is unique and genius.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I’m going to jump on the bandwagon and agree with Kev. That is exactly what I’ve seen and loved about Chuck. They take the characters seriously, they take their interactions seriously (when it matters) and the rest, well, that depends on the fun index.

        I’m way behind, I know, but as I skimmed I saw a lot of people commenting on the timeframe. Was it 9 hours? Two days? How do they party in LA, Vegas and Miami? You want logistics? Talk to UPS. The point is that they are letting you and your imagination run wild, because it doesn’t really matter! We have a group of super-sexy super-spies on the loose. They can figure out a way to party transcontinentally if they want to. Maybe they call in a few favors for a Learjet. Maybe Carina zeroes in on the right guy to get them to Vegas, then Miami and home. Wardrobe? Meh. The point is that these girls on the loose can get just about anything they want, from anyone. It’s fun, go with it.

      • thinkling says:

        That’s funny, Ernie. I actually thought about the Wardrobe. 🙂

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Thinkling, I’m not saying the girls came unprepared, or that a credit card or two might not have taken a beating in the process, I’m just guessing that Carina and Sarah, let alone the others, wouldn’t have a tough time finding opportunities and transportation to other hot spots. To me it’s like worrying how they afforded cover charges and drinks because Sarah and the others didn’t seem to have purses or wallets on them.

      • thinkling says:

        Ha! My bad. I know I understood what I thought you said. I just now realized that what I understood was not what you meant.

        I never gave a second thought to their outfits. There’s plenty of room in a helicopter for a suitcase or two (and we know how much 2 suitcases can hold 😉 ).

        I never commented on the issue at all, but when I was thinking about the time factor, I thought of the Wardrobe (the one in the spare room). So, when you said wardrobe, I thought of the piece of furniture that leads to other worlds, not the outfits. … Sorry for the confusion.

        I probably should see someone about this. They probably have pills for it.

        Just musing. I agree with your original comments. It wasn’t worth parsing to death. It was just a transcontinental whirlwind of fun.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        There is clearly a gap in my nerd-knowledge from never having read much of C.S. Lewis’ work, nor having seen the movies. I was inadvertently clever, apparently. 😉

      • Ernie Davis says:

        But, on the wardrobe (the collection of clothes, not the piece of furniture) I think based on spoiler pictures we’ll soon see how Sarah has both an endless wardrobe, yet never seems to need more than two suitcases.

      • thinkling says:

        That’s why you get more gruel than I do … you can be clever even when you’re not trying 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Not to stir up trouble, I’m just thinking about the unlikely trip and timeline. I assumed they were gone more than a day; if they were expected at noon the following day, they either got in a few hours early or late; late seems more likely to me. No biggie.

        Of course they had a jet. Helicopters are slow, uncomfortable and short range; they probably just took the chopper to a nearby GA airport where their Falcon was stashed (same type a/c we saw Casey and Sarah using in Anniversary, and a common executive aircraft). Plenty of room on board for wardrobe changes and their forgotten wallets.

        It’s not that I don’t care about little details, it’s just I’m perfectly happy to give them the benefit of the doubt and not worry about such things.
        It’s like an old psych test showing a segmented circle. When subjects were asked what they saw, something like 90% just said “a circle.”. They weren’t the least bit bothered that they were technically incorrect; it was close enough and they were willing to assume the rest.

      • armysfc says:

        dave i started the time thing i think, lol. when i made the point earlier it was done more to show how i lacked faith in the writers to do a good mythology arc. a good arc to me should have very few loose ends. take the time we have been talking about. i said it could happen in the time allotted and they just got hammered on the plane as they flew. it could have taken 2 days and they spent time in all the places. either way is ok.

        a good writer should see this hole and fix it. when they got up, all chuck had to do was say, how were your two nights with your friends. problem fixed. maybe it’s my 28 years of military life that causes me to pay attention to details more than i should. like you said it’s a small thing and did it take away from the episode for me, no. if they do go to a mythology arc small details can be a big difference in making it very good or laughable.

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        I prefer to think the club they went to in Vegas was called “Miami”.

        Put that in your timeline. 😉

      • armysfc says:

        yeah i would but sarah said, then we went to an after hours club in miami, so….

      • atcDave says:

        I’m pretty sure “Miami” is a hotel in Vegas so the night club there…

        Kidding, I have no clue…

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        Bummer! I thought I had the answer.

        I stand corrected.

      • armysfc says:

        my original theory was they call Santa every time they need to travel.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        I believe it’s Frea’s theory that they use the magical Castle Slide that connects the whole world. 😀

      • jason says:

        the travel thing is just one of the examples that makes me try to get other to realize this show is a comedy, a parody, which is why when it tries to do something like the mauser scene, like the shaw misery season, even like mama b’s 20 year sojourn into volkov industry, the drama falls flat, the show is just too riddled with comedy & ridiculousness to pull it off … until I started blogging (i.e. after I watched season 1 & 2), I never realized anyone thought anything about the show was serious, to me, chuck always had been get smart 2008, obviously, I was wrong, as many of you really took season 2 seriously, and obviously, season 3 was serious.

        I just watching harrison ford’s rendition of jack ryan in the ‘patriot games’, he is a top notch CIA analyst with a smoking hot doctor wife (anne archer, wow) and kid. Although he kills in this, the movie is fairly dramatic, for those wanting serious, do you want to go violent vs the innocent, do you want volkov’s revenge to be putting morgan or baby clara in the hospital for half an arc – I simply don’t think so, Chuck is not a drama, it is a comedy, it really is.

        My contention is what the spy story needs is extraordinary cleverness, not violence or sexual perversion / predators to ramp up the drama. I didn’t think the volkov cabin scene was extraordinary, but it tried, problem I have, is that sort of attempt needs to be made more than once an arc, maybe not every episode, but most would be nice

      • Big Kev says:

        The Get Smart 2008 idea intrigues me, and I’d like to ask you a question about it. You’re pretty heavily invested in Chuck and Sarah, judging by your posts. Presumably because there’s something about their characters or their relationship that speaks to you. I guess my question is this – if “nothing” about the show is serious, and the show is purely a comedic parody – how does that investment come about? Can you invest in something that is purely comedic and/or cartoonish? I can’t – which is why I ask the question. For me the show has to be grounded in just enough “reality” in terms of the characters to make that connection possible. I like comedy and I watch some sitcoms – but they’re always forgotten 5 mins after I turn them off. My engagement is as superficial as the characters.
        You have a completely different perspective, so I’m interested to hear where your connection to the characters on the show comes about?

      • armysfc says:

        jason your points are all valid. the thing for me and maybe others is trying to make a parody of the CIA and NSA while using their names doesn’t work. just hearing those agencies makes me think of legitimate threats. from the pilot till now, i have not seen as much death, destruction and violence done in a serious way, ever in a comedy. the Chuck and Sarah romance has been handled for the most part in a serious way. tons of character growth, maturation are just a few.

        i believe it is possible to have comedic moments and at the same time a dramatic spy arc. i agree with your last part about them not being able to pull it off. my rational is many straight comedies do successfully add dramatic moments and plots to them. king of queens did a good arc on them wanting to have kids and not being able to.

      • Big Kev says:

        BTW – should have mentioned in my last post that I completely agree that the spy plots should be clever and tightly-written rather than violent. Spot on. I thought Subway was a great example of a tight, suspenseful and clever spy plot – a little let down by the “elders on the staircase”, but otherwise great.

      • jason says:

        wwrong spot, my answer (sorry for the length) is above, I am not so sure everyone is THAT far apart on this show, to me much of what has been posted this season, is ‘grumble factor’ stuff, as opposed to last season which for me at least was passionate anger.

      • jason says:

        kev – I did not like subway at all, the waste of steven B’s death without having a point (seemed to be a simple execution) to me was one of the low non sarah points of season 3. His death should have taught chuck to not lie, or should have been heroic and purposeful like a trade for ellie orchestrated by orion, it should have meant something. Plus, any episode with shaw, casts a dark pale of misery and a foul stench over the entire proceeding.

      • Big Kev says:

        Thanks for the reply. I liked the way you explained it. Sounds like the Chuck/Sarah stuff/FamilyB stuff is completely separate almost from the rest of the show for you, and one part can be sweet and heartwarming while the other is ridiculous. I can see how that would work.
        They’re a bit more combined for me, which is why I love episodes like Colonel, Subway and Lethal Weapon, where a decent spy plot combines with Chuck/Sarah and elevates both.

        My problems with S4 are a little more than “grumbles”, but I’m certainly not angry the way many were about S3. I’d say I’m mildly disappointed at this point, just as I was with the totality of S3 (obviously for completely different reasons) – but part of that is because I know how good this show can be and I always judge it by those standards.
        Hopefully that’s nothing that a couple of outstanding episodes in the final 9 won’t fix!

        Always a pleasure posting with you, Jason – but I gotta go to bed!

      • thinkling says:

        I believe it’s Frea’s theory that they use the magical Castle Slide that connects the whole world.

        See. The CIA version of the Wardrobe in the spare room. 😉

  20. amyabn says:

    I thought I’d add that I loved the episode. I’m glad Carina didn’t jump on the bandwagon and bash on Chuck. I would have loved Sarah and Chuck fighting together against Amy and Gaez so the rest of the Cats could see them in action.

    As to the rest of this thread, I thought I’d share a comment from my mom. I have been trying to get her to watch Chuck. I was out visiting her back in S3 and she just couldn’t get into it. she told me last night that she caught some of Push Mix and thought it was really good. She admitted that before, she didn’t understand what I saw in the show. I told her S3 was an anomaly and she should try to watch more. I hope more people give it a shot/come back. I’ve really enjoyed this season alot, albeit a bit behind you guys!

  21. Tamara Burks says:

    I had a thought about the Shaw misery arc that I believe to be correct. I think that the Cole Barker arc was either the audition for the arc or the initial germ of an idea for the misery arc.

    Cole – after Chuck gets his hopes dashed in the burbs he breaks up with her
    Shaw – Sarah asks him to run away with her after she rejects him at Ellie’s wedding , then appears to be willing to be with him (once Bryce was dead) but only if they did it her way. He breaks up with her.

    Cole- she fawns over him and blindly accepts everything he says (exactly when did he have time to sufficiently establish that the chip was unhackable)
    Shaw – the same thing it just took longer to start

    Cole – she told him that Chuck was the Intersect (If I’m wrong correct me, I don’t want to rewatch )
    Shaw- She told her name
    Both were things she shouldn’t have told . She trusted both men with important info way too easily.

    Appeared to act less competant at her job around both men .

    Sarah didn’t realize how strange her behavior was with either men.

    They didn’t have a suffiecient seperation after either men. There was a point at the end of Predator where Chuck was hiding info from Sarah and she seem to realize that something was off between them but they brought in Broken Heart too quickly and in season 3 they could have had some seperation between them after Chuck found out that Sarah killed Shaw’s wife and went to rescue her and found her with Shaw. Then when she came to find him he could have said he was tired of beating his head against a brick wall with her and that no matter what he does it obviously isn’t enough and turned her away (especially since he had no more reason to believe that she didn’t choose him by default after she found out she killed Shaw’s wife than he had to believe that Bryce was telling the truth about her not leaving with him -it looked like too much of a default situation there too).

    She never clearly stated she chose Chuck outright to Chuck in both seasons. In fact with Shaw we never see her break up with him, we just see her packing to go with Chuck (was there a deleted phone call or something to Shaw?). She didn’t seem to exhibit any awkward behavior you would think was present after breaking up with one guy for another when Shaw showed up. While she told Chuck she fell in love with him that’s not really choosing since she stated she fell in love with him years earlier and still chose to reject Chuck countless times. And given that she was trained as a con artist both by her father and the CIA , then how is he to know what is true with her?

    The Shaw misery arc was the Cole Barker arc -just made much much worse and lasted longer . The Barker arc definitely showed us the first indicator that Sarah could indeed act like she left her brain at the door . At the time I thought they couldn’t make Sarah act worse than that and then came season 3.

    If it’s true that they got the idea for the misery arc from the Barker arc, why the heck did they think repating it and extending it was such a great idea?

    • herder says:

      I think they drew incorrect lessons from Beefcake/Leathal Weapon; first the down of Beefcake made the up of Leathal Weapon that much better, if they made a really big down then the up at the end would be corrospondingly big. Secondly that the poor reception for Beefcake was because Cole made Chuck inadequate, not because the PLI route was overdone. They figured that if Shaw was helping Chuck become a spy and did not overshadow him that the fans wouldn’t be too upset. Instead what we got was an overly long stretch with a love interest who was incompetent, another PLI on a show that had burned out the patience of it’s audience for such things and insufficient up at the end to make up for the extended down that preceeded it. In a phrase they over promised and under delivered. But that is the past now and things are in a much happier place.

      • atcDave says:

        Ditto all that Herder. I can easily see Cole a prototype Shaw. Beefcake was easily my least favorite episode prior to S3. We had Chuck looking bad, Sarah unsympathetic and flaky, in addition to Sarah being a bit smitten by the hunky guest star. It was just too many strikes against it.
        Lethal Weapon went over better because it fixed all those problems nicely, in addition to Jonathon Cake having a warmer demeanor and better chemistry with both Zach and Yvonne.
        So the hole they dug was not as deep and they got out of it better.
        I agree Herder they likely learned all the wrong lessons from it. The biggest one should have been that the wt/wt was at its end.

  22. herder says:

    No speculation thread yet so here it goes. Interrupted Valentines, the show starts and ends with Chuck and Sarah in the bedroom trying to romance each other. They go to England to do something with/for Vivian: Chuck and Sarah take the roles of Sarah and Casey from the start of season one to handle Vivian, Chuck is the carrot (s1 Sarah) and Sarah is the stick (s1 Casey). Maybe Vivian gets a crush on Chuck and Sarah has to stake out her territory (this may happen in a later Vivian episode). Casey is recruited for a team of his own as he is stagnating in Burbank and he takes up the offer. Morgan considers moving in with Alex in Casey’s old place and goes to Big Mike for advice (not a bad plan). Things blow up, there is a twist and we get a setup of the next big arc, even though we will not have seen the big twist yet.

    • Anonymous says:

      Great specs, Herder. It all sounds very reasonable. Hopefully, we will ultimately get that positive Valentines Day moment.

      I would imagine, or hope, that if Chuck is the carrot and Vivian gets a crush on him, that he is adorably clueless, and Sarah has to warn him. This lets Sarah protect her territory, not so much based on jealousy of anything Chuck does, but watching one of his other blind-spots.

    • jason says:

      herder – I’m going to follow suit and make a few predictions:

      vivian / chuck are going to have a brother and sister relationship, not even a hint of PLI from either …. does that mean we will get a later reveal that chuck and vivian are …. I don’t know if it was posted here or not, but an interview with vivian implied that some new reveals occur that contradict earlier episodes, so well …. maybe

      I do think, some elements of masquerade will remind us of mask, except this time the splitting up at the end will not center around chuck and sarah, but around casey and morgan with team b, with chuck, with each other.

      • atcDave says:

        I keep wondering if Vivian could be a half-sib to Chuck via Volkoff/Frost. So of course that would be contrary to Mary’s claim of nothing ever happening.
        I don’t really like the time-line for that, it would mean Vivian is very young AND Mary got involved with Volkoff very early in her mission.
        But I’m not sure what else they could do that would be that big a deal.

      • I think that the mole Casey killed for Chuck’s Red Test was Vivian’s husband.

      • atcDave says:

        Is that based on anything in particular Crumby? I’m not familiar with the actress but she does look a little young for that.

      • I was just joking Dave. A new team member with some kind of weird connection to the team as a twist and that could end up being the villain? It just reminded me of something…

      • thinkling says:

        Good one Crumby! ROTFL

        Let’s don’t go there. 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Okay, sorry. I’m a bit slow on the uptake!

      • uplink2 says:

        Actually the mole Casey killed is Olivia Munn’s good friends husband.

        God that show is horrible. She better make some calls back to John Stewart.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Best possible speculation is that she’s Volkoff’s daughter under an alias or that she’s Sarah’s half sister by way of Jack Burton .

        It would be neat if Vivian expressed an interest in Chuck but he didn’t see it because once he was in a committed relationship with Sarah all other women disappeared really .

        Sarah could see that a worldly, educated woman could indeed find Chuck very interesting.

        An added bonus to this would be for her to find them talking animatedly and she finds out that Vivian has told Chuck more in one conversation than she has in 4 years.

    • uplink2 says:

      Great specs all but what I like is I have really no good clue as to where we go next. Lots of possibilities. Its a bit better than prior to Anniversary as a big arc is starting but we have nothing to base the direction on.

      I really don’t see LI’s in this and maybe this will be an example of how you can have a dramatic story of growth into the spy world without them. What many had hoped fro last season. Again making up for ill will.

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

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