Chuck vs. the Masquerade Review

"We're the Charles'. Charlesez."

Note: I was going to post this on the comment section, it’s not really a write up per say, but it got very lengthy and I figured I’d spare you guys having to scroll through my comment and give you the opportunity to completely ignore this post instead 😀

I’ll say right off that I didn’t like this one as much as I liked some of the episodes this season. That’s not a bad thing, Chuck is always awesome and this is definitely a strong showing.

"Muhaha"

For a show that boasts drama, comedy, action, adventure and romance (with a sprinkling of pop culture) this was one of the strongest of recent episodes to straddle those genre lines. They did a very good job in my opinion of moving in between scenes of light comedy, sinister themes and poignant moments. Thematically this was a far different episode than most of the season. The tone was definitely darker, even sad. From the the gruesome scene with the shot to the head (not something Chuck tends to do, but when they’re foreshadowing a darker episode they use it) to the scenes in Echo Park about Valentine’s day to Vivian’s party to the climax it was all seamless in its ever changing tone. You almost had to wonder if you’re watching the same show after every commercial, but yet it fits and goes together. But if this episode was a foreshadowing of the things to come (as leading arc episodes usually are) it’s going to be a very intense back 8.

My main issue for the episode itself was Vivian, played by Lauren Cohan. Not that I didn’t enjoy Cohan’s performance, I think she did an ok job, nor is it the role (I think we’re going to be floored with the developments) but rather the execution. I didn’t feel that there was much screen chemistry between her and Zac Levi. I should say that that’s not a bad thing…as a friend so aptly put it, too much chemistry and the shipper in me would riot 😉 (I’m just kidding, PLIs are so 2010). But I do think there’s something to be said for it. Yvonne Strahovski and Adam Baldwin have chemistry on screen together. So does Sarah Lancaster and Zachary Levi (BTW IMO that’s the kind of relationship they’re going for here). Chemistry isn’t always romantic, or steamy but it definitely enhances a scene when present.

More importantly (and this is where the bulk of my issue is) when it comes to her and her situation we were often told rather than shown and I felt like in this particular episode the writing rule of thumb should have been adhered. Obviously you can’t always show certain things, that takes time and money, something that is already short on Chuck but it would have contributed immensely to the episode. For example, in Castle when she was telling Chuck that she’s aimless and that she doesn’t know what to do with her life, I’d have preferred to be shown her socialite and aimless lifestyle and lonely upbringing much like they showed us Chuck working at the Buy More, avoiding the party his sister threw for him and striking out on all his conversations with the women in said party in the pilot. Those scenes added credence to his role as an unfulfilled individual whose entire being is about to be turned upside down with his destiny forthcoming. Plus it added sympathy. For Vivian we were pretty much just told. Again understandable with budgets, etc.

"You're a good guy and you want to help people, leave the deception to me."

Having said that it was a fantastic parallel: Vivian and Chuck. I absolutely adored the scene in which Chuck becomes “Chuck” (aka not a spy) and tells her his life story. Chuck is such a sharer but in this one he more than just wanted to help, he wanted to give her hope that not all is lost because look at how his life turned out. He’s “happy.” The best heroes aren’t simply heroic in action, but rather in the hope that they instill that even in dark times there is a hero among us. Chuck was certainly “heroic” in this episode. We’re reminded once again that Chuck Bartowski is “not like any other spy, he’s a good guy who wants to help people” (Gravitron). It’s a fantastic, yet subtle call back.

It was also great to see the parallel of two individuals as Herder put it that were essentially armed for a destiny. Both were also abandoned as children–a very powerful life-changing event. Though I do have to wonder if there is any one in this show who wasn’t abandoned (haha). Yet even with all the parallels, the distinction becomes clear very early on. The writers put Vivian in a situation that sets her apart from Chuck. Shooting to kill. Chuck is an idealized hero, as in he won’t kill unless it’s absolutely necessary and usually only when it comes as a move to save his love ones’ lives and not his own; in this one the writers have essentially separated Vivian from Chuck by essentially giving her her red test long before we ever really got to know her. Very well done. Certainly adds to the ambiguity of her role.

"The truth is you and I could never have a future together. I fooled myself into thinking we could but the truth is we can't."

The Morgan and Chuck relationship drama (heh) was also very well done. Life is funny sometimes, you think you’ve grown but you’re actually holding on to your past. Morgan this season has been the most mature he has ever been and it was very interesting to see him grow up and realize that he’s living as Chuck and Sarah’s kid. (Too funny). It’s the end of the Corgan era and it’s bittersweet but it’s part of growing up. I thought that aspect of the episode was very well done. Of particular note was the symbolism of Chuck and Morgan separating with toys into their own space and you have this wall shot of the two of them back to back and Sarah enters the picture with “Chuck, is everything ok?” Fantastic. From one part of life to another, “you guys are going to be married in a few months” (throw away line or fact?). From one relationship to another. It’s subtle but it’s powerful. Of course the fact that it’s reminiscent of Pushing Daisies didn’t hurt ;). (Film nerd note: Sarah was not in the room when they panned the room as Chuck enters, but she suddenly appeared when Chuck was sitting, of course she could could have been in the closet lol).

Though I do have to ask, Chuck said “living with two bestfriends.” Who was the second one and is he referring to him living with two best friends or Morgan living with two best friends? I think more than likely he’s referring to Sarah and Morgan as his now two best friends. Fantastic callback to Best Friends (no pun intended).

"You're Sarah Walker, you can do anything."

I’m still not convinced that Alex is the one for Morgan but I thought their weird sensual habits were absolutely hilarious. Getting caught by Casey was even more hilarious. It was an awkward scene all around and it was well played by all the participants. You contrast that with the Awesomes who were not so awesome and it was a very interesting Valentine’s day altogether. Still Sarah’s attempt at fostering a connection with Morgan through his “toys” was the funniest of all. It was simply hilarious. Awkward and yet very funny. A nice moment of emotional connection for Sarah (she really genuinely felt bad that Morgan is leaving) and an awakening for Morgan Guillermo Grimes as well.

Casey’s questionable future as a Team Bartowski’s fat kid was evident in this one. I say “fat kid” with affection. He was necessary and yet not. It’s a dichotomy that really works for me and I absolutely love that they’re exploring this. When Chuck was telling Vivian about the direction his life has taken, “I never expected this to be my life” they showed a shot of Casey whose life also didn’t exactly turn out like he wanted, also in some ways for the better, another parallel. I don’t know how I feel about Robin Givens (friend or foe?) but as is I’m intrigued. They foretold several aspects of this coming storyline with the lines, “go out on top” but seeing it develop is still worth watching.

It’s also worth noting that Adam Baldwin had the most of his screen time in this episode in a great long while.  He returned to his soldier roots, while not exactly leaving behind his “lady feelings conversing inside a stakeout van” persona. A fine balance.

"You mean you've been faking it this whole time?" "No, not that."

Finally, I feel teased. They got me hooked on a premise of Valentine’s day complete with romantic situations and yet they didn’t come through. Well they did, but the romance wasn’t so much Chuck and Sarah but Chuck and Morgan and considering they essentially broke up, happy valentine’s day it is not. That said, loved the references to several romantic comedies that I absolutely love Pretty Woman (my second favorite movie! First: Notting Hill) and Love Actually. Yes women do go for those movies and well, men too lol. I thought it was of note that Sarah actually got the pop culture reference. We’re definitely far removed from Living Dead when Chuck had to explain humor. And of course there’s always the engagement ring sighting. Good stuff.

All in all I would give this 4 bear skin rugs out of 5 bear skin rugs, which may or may not rise with repeated viewings. Probably the weakest of the Lejudkins’ team showing, because they are that good. What did you guys think?

————————–

Some reviews from people that actually do this for a living:

Sepinwall: “It is, in other words, a much denser episode of ‘Chuck’ than we often get, and one that handled almost all of its assignments superbly. Lots going on, but it didn’t feel too busy.”

Zap2it: “It’s not that the past two episodes have skimped on character development, but ‘Chuck vs. the Masquerade’ also threw a whole bunch of spy stuff on top pretty big things in the non-spy lives of Chuck and Morgan, Casey, and Ellie and Awesome. Yet despite all those plates spinning (and a few excellent comedy beats), nothing felt underserved. It was an excellent balancing act.”

LA Times: “I have no idea what’s going on but I like it.”

TV Squad: “A more accurate title? ‘Chuck versus the Incredibly Heavy Lifting,’ a title that describes the incredible amount of story and plot thrown into this hour. Did all of it work? Not really. But what didn’t work isn’t entirely the show’s fault.”

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About Faith

Eternally faith-ful at least as it relates to my beloved Los Angeles Lakers. Yes that's where the username comes from. Other than that self-professed Chuckaholic, Laker blogger and part time internet addict. Ok, full time.
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231 Responses to Chuck vs. the Masquerade Review

  1. Rick Holy says:

    Just one quick observation at 4:30 a.m. as I get “ready for the day.” Again, I REALLY liked this episode. There were soooo many good elements to it. But as I watched it and saw the things that were kind of taking place – like (obviously) Morgan moving out, the possibility of a “new mission” for Casey, etc., it gave me more of a feeling of “they’re really wrapping this up to END at the conclusion of Season 4.” Does anybody out there relate to that vibe? Morgan “moves on,” Casey “moves on,” and Chuck and Sarah “begin their married lives together,” either as spies or “non-spies.”

    Of course, with CHUCK being always “on the bubble” each season, it’s a good idea to “act” as if this is the end and wrap it up. No Volkoff blowing up the BuyMore FOR REAL – perhaps even the entire strip mall (including the Underpants store!) would kind of seal the deal.

    There’s always the “other” possibility, that looking to the possibility of a fifth season :), they might be making the show – if it comes back – somewhat “different” for next season. Could there be a “CHUCK” withOUT Casey? withOUT Morgan? withOUT the BuyMore/Morons?? IF we do get a fifth season, I would imagine they’ll have to “budget cut” again as our ratings are AGAIN lower (they’ve declined each and every season – and that means fewer advertising dollars). This would be one way to do it.

    Anyway, just some thoughts as I delight in the remainder of this season and either (a) look forward to a fifth, or (b) lament the “end” of CHUCK.

    Will be interesting to see what the ratings show for last night.

    “Good Morning,” all.

  2. jason says:

    Faith – I have a very different POV from some here on the show, I LOVED this episode, in a way I liked role models, not so much because of the show, but because of the needed ‘heavy lifting’ that was done. For the show to move forward, ch-ch-changes needed to be made, this episode took care of that.

    I am not sure casey will stay on ‘his’ own A team, but that would work for me, with him maybe working with CS in maybe 1 of 3 eps & his A team maybe co-oping with team B in maybe 1 in 4 eps. I agree with the writers, his having to stay in the car is not his role, and morgan is a great guy in the van on the headsets.

    I am pretty sure chuck and sarah needed to have their own place, so this ep took care of that (evidentily Sarah and Jason are the only 2 people in the world who think dolls are for playing with).

    I like that the show ended with 4 cliffhangers, and none involved CS:
    1- where will morgan move to?
    2- is vivian good or bad?
    3- what is casey going to do?
    4- what in the world is robin givens up to?
    That is a great step in the right direction for a fan who wants a CS vs the world show, this show really nailed it for me!!!!!

    One note on vivian, some reviews have spec’d her not telling CS about the key that she is already evil – I interpret that she does not YET trust CS, and that her teaming with them is ahead of us yet, rather than behind us.

    Finally, the romance. IMO, the show this season feigns romance and pulls it back, so I expected no Valentines day action, right now the romance of CS is played for the angst angle that the wt/wt used to fulfill, we are teased with victoria secret wings, with belly dancing, and the action is not consummated on screen, I gladly take that as the wt/wt theme, than PLI’s – LOL!!!!!!!

    • Rick Holy says:

      Great observations. You’ll get no arguement from me on any of you points. I thought this was a great episode – like you said – to move things forward. And it did. Now let’s see where we go from here – and hopefully into a 5th Season! 🙂

    • Paul says:

      Jason my take on the quesitons you brought up:

      1) Morgan moving in with Alex is too obvious. If Big Mike isn’t living at the Grimes home yet, maybe he’ll move there. The other possiblity is Jeff and Lester.

      2) I think Vivian has started down the path towards the dark side. It will be an interesting development. Does she fully bite? Or does she pull a Luke Skywallker and back away from the abyss before it’s too late.

      3&4) From synopsis and spoilers, Casey takes up Robin Given’s offer (can’t remember the character name), but is doing it on “the side”. And from them specifically recruiting him for being a sniper, it may be she is putting together a hit team. Two really interesting thoughts come to mind about that possibility. One is will Casey still want to do that kind of work? And two, wiill his new team become at odds with Team B? Like ordered to eliminate Team B at odds.

      • atcDave says:

        That might be an interesting and very dark twist. It might even make some sense gives the 4.18 write up we’re seeing that suggests Chuck is worried about his own obsolescence.
        With some reservations I could really like that. I know I’m frequently complaining that I don’t like dark, but I’m completely fine with baddies doing bad things! So if Bentley (Robin Givens) does turn out to be so evil as to order a hit on Chuck (and maybe Sarah) I’m fine with it, as long as Casey has the moral strength to recognize evil as evil. This is a case where Casey struggling with “following orders” would be completely unacceptable and cross the line into cheap angst and no fun television for me.
        But oh boy, a little “civil war” between government agencies could be seriously fun stuff.

    • weaselone says:

      Regarding Vivian
      I feel that she’s ultimately going to be an opponent of Team B’s, but the jury is obviously still out on that. Even if does end up being the back 8 baddie, there’s still numerous ways it could play out.

      1. Even in this episode she’s bad and simply utilizing Team B in order to achieve her ends and eliminate her competition.
      2. She goes to the dark side at the end of this episode and will enlist Team B as unwitting allies in her bid to gain control of her father’s network.
      3. She starts off with a desire to do good the siren’s call of her father’s criminal network proves too alluring for someone who has been groomed for leadership and seeks a purpose in life.
      4. She stays good and helps to bring down the remains of her father’s network.
      5. She turns to the dark side, but eventually repents and assists in Volkoff’s ultimate destruction.

      • Faith says:

        1. We have to wonder if anyone is really that clueless. Just like no one is ever as perky as Amy.
        2. I think it depends on what was behind the door.
        3. Free will versus destiny, I like! My preference in the 5. In fact you can tack on Ernie’s hero’s journey for this one. That said it’s still “Chuck’s” show so who knows how far they can go into this.
        4. More my spec right now. But mostly because they teased us about her life and they like I said usually prefer to keep villains largely unidentifiable.
        5. Probably will happen lol.

    • Big Kev says:

      Completely agree Jason – top quality episode. Perfect balance, as all the best Chuck eps are IMO. So much fantastic comedy in the first half leading to intriguing new characters and possible new directions in the second. LaFranc/Judkins and Newman continue to carry the season virtually on their own, with an honorable mention for Fedak.
      I also loved the little things this episode did well – perfect use of Devon, Ellie and the BuyMorons – baby Clara being soothed by
      Jeffster is absolute genius.
      “Eyes Wide Shut – but not so boring….” Move over, Roger Ebert!

      Faith,
      In defence of the writers on the “show don’t tell” thing, they did give us the scene of Vivian being detached and friendless at her own
      party, with a father that has totally deceived her. Given what else they packed in, I thought that was enough to sell the drifting socialite thing.

      Only slight nitpick was the whole Chuck horseback/dismount scene and yet more laughably incompetent bad guys – but this week, it really does feel like a nitpick because the rest was so good.

      All the ingredients that i love about this show – and leaving me intrigued for the rest of the back half, without giving too much away. A great job.

      • JC says:

        Yeah the “show don’t tell” usually bothers me but with Vivian I kinda understand it. She’s important to the story but not to the extent of certain other characters that killed their believability. Now if somehow that changes as the arc progresses they might have a problem.

      • Faith says:

        I thought the horseback riding was a great callback to the pilot’s car chase. And in a twist in this one Chuck was actually Sarah with the knife and the lead. I made a “equestrian emergency” joke during viewing lol.

        I guess I wanted more. It was said that it was her first party so that was interesting on its own. Also usually when they skimp on details it’s done because there’s enough back story (or in part of the main cast, we’ve seen enough for us to draw our own conclusions) in Vivian since she’s relatively new, there was none. The sins of the father aspect was well expounded though.

        JC I think she’s going to be a big part of the upcoming story. Right now I tend to think that she’s going to be good. If she’s good it’s more important to identify and sympathize with her than if she’s Volkoff for example. We really didn’t know much about Volkoff because in Chuck-verse rules when a villain is a villain we aren’t made to identify with them (much) because they will probably be off’d soon enough. We just won’t mention that will shall not be named LOL.

        Also I’m taking a stand, Vivian is good! 😀 I’m probably going to be wrong about this, just like I’ve been wrong 99 times out of 10 in my specs. The villain will still be Volkoff (with probably another guest star to add spice) but Vivian will be instrumental against him as a force for good. And that is where your spec of Chuck as a handler will come in. Based on the “kidnapping” and bank robbery promo not that far out.

      • JC says:

        @Faith

        I completely understand what you’re saying about setting up her character better. And don’t me wrong I think she’s important to the story. What I was getting at is I don’t she’s going to influence the way main characters act or drastically shift the dynamics of relationships, professionally or personally. Unlike another character who won’t be named.

        So I’m a little more forgiving right now but if down the road that changes I’ll have issues with the setup.

        Whether she’ll be good or not I don’t know. Since they were using SW so much, maybe she’ll end up like Anakin. Seduced by the dark side and redeemed in the end by Luk..Chuck.

      • Faith says:

        Is Chuck Hans or Luke? I think the “toy” was a pretty significant choice because you know Morgan is very Chewie with his beard. Plus didn’t ZL once make a reference to Hans being in some wall or something? lol.

        And I get what you mean by not changing the dynamics. They’ve gone on record saying this will be different than what they’ve done before and we saw that in this episode.

    • First Timer says:

      @jason:
      It’s not whether Vivian is “already evil.” As I said in the other thread, she’s Michael Corleone. Once she gets the taste, she’s in.

      Besides, look at this practically. Unless the show runners are throwing a fantastic lie at us, she’s got the keys to the Volkoff Kingdom. There’s no drama if she’s a good guy fighting her dad. Chuck, Sarah, the NSA/CIA and his daughter all aligned against Volkoff? Even the show runners couldn’t make that believable.

      Unless, of course, the “twist” is that the show runners turn Vivian into Mongo, just a pawn in the game of life. And that would made this episode useless…

      So she’s evil, if not by the end of this episode, soon and irretrivably.

      • Paul says:

        I like your Godfather motif. I think she is a good person who is seduced by the dark side. The question will be, does she realize that she is being seduced and fight it in the end, or does she finally go over willingly?

      • jason says:

        probably FT, but casual fans won’t know that, I don’t know that for sure, to me, she would be / could be very exciting as an ally, one of the problems with the show chuck, is sarah is required in nearly every scene (romance, aw shucks family stuff, seduction or the carrot for male bad guys, the stick for female bad guys, etc, etc), giving her some help makes sense for me going forward …… BUT to go full circle, yes you probably are right, she is the next bad guy.

        I for some reason think she only has 5 eps, that Dalton does too (or 4 if he skips one), that dalton will return in 4×20 thru the end, and that she will be in 16 thru 18, then return for 23/24. So it is not beyond reality that she helps take dalton down, rather than is his ally, just a different POV from your Godfather take, which by the way, I did not consider and do like.

      • jason says:

        To finish off my spec’s, that would leave 4×19 as the murder on the orient express call back episode with no recurring guest stars, a stand alone or procedural ep, and will attempt to rival honeymooners for awesomeness.

      • First Timer says:

        @jason:
        How they parcel out the appearances will be interesting. But remember, back in Season 2, there was an episode right near the end (First Kill) where neither Bakula nor Chase even appeared even though the story was all about them. I think we can assume at least two of the episodes to come (Muurder and A Team) that will be sort of standalones and will not require either Volkoff character.

        As I say, though, it really comes down to Fedak’s Godfather thing (he even admits that’s why last year’s finale was ostentatiously called Ring, Part II, as a callback to Godfather) and the reality of TV storytelling: Vivian is more intriguing as a bad guy.

        Besides, I don’t think you REALLY mean you want to see less of Strahovski. 🙂

        And don’t forget Mama B, she’ll be back for the good guys. So the final episodes will actually be about the EXTENDED Bartowski Family versus the Volkoff Family. If anything, I think the Volkoff Family needs even more help. The Robin Givens character, for example…

      • jason says:

        like I said, I like your spec, you probably have it nailed, my point, to the casual fan, it is not a given, I like the bartkowski’s vs the volkov’s, and yea, givens near has to be a villain, she might even be the sort who could stick for S5 – it is not something I need, but I know some bloggers would prefer a evil regular, the trick is to get it right, a character who is evil, yet somehow has a credible reason to keep ellie and her family alive …. geez, how about mama B as the bad guy – just kidding FT – I actually sort of tease on this board way too much

        I love Yvonne, but I think the show over played her in season 3, she now has limits on what she can do or can’t. IMO a seduction scene by vivian of a bad guy, would be funny for example, by sarah, might not be, and sure would not be something a fair number of fans would look forward to – same is true of a kidnapping / blackmailing of sarah by givens for example – sort of the same rules apply to chuck also – most shows go thru this, which is why casts tend to expand and roles fill in over time.

      • First Timer says:

        @jason:
        I don’t think the Sarah character’s days of seduction have to be over. As long as it’s NOT used to create phony angst between Chuck and Sarah, seduction stuff will still work. In fact, we haven’t seen the best potential stuff yet: Chuck and Sarah working together to seduce a pair of marks.

        As for the balance (too much Sarah), I see what you mean. The problem, though, isn’t about too much Sarah per se, it’s about the third part of the original team (Casey) getting crowded out by Morgan and even, to an extent, Mama B. It’ll be interesting if this upcoming arc for the Casey character is played for plot purposes only or if they are going to use it as a way to redress and reset the balance between the original team in a substantive way.

        If there is a Season 5, to be honest, they will either have to have a better Chuck-Sarah-Casey balance or write the Casey character out of the show. I have an odd feeling that they might actually write Casey out going forward.

      • Faith says:

        Since one of the themes of the show is choices, I think Vivian’s going to be given one. It’s part of the reason why I took exception to not being shown enough about her…she will have to make a choice to be evil (or not) IMO and knowing her before she takes that leap would make it far more interesting. Of course more than likely they’re shaping her up to be a villain and in that way they’re not letting us get to know her (purposely) because of it.

        Paul, I think it depends on how much Chuck is a part of her life (the seduce and fight vs. the willingly). I think Chuck is the difference in most of the characters’ lives in positive ways and they certainly can draw on that with Vivian as well. If Chuck befriends her and shows her the importance of having friends, a family she might choose to scoff evil and an empty connection to a father that abandoned her. Note: I’m not saying she’s going to be Sarah aka OLI, Sarah was never on the brink of evil, but I think she might see the benefits of a connection and how it changes you for the better like Casey did—that is if they go that route. Though I will admit FT’s specs and Vivian being evil are a tad more exciting.

      • atcDave says:

        My money is on Vivian going dark for a period, but ultimately pulling back possibly for fear of following in her father’s footsteps and/or to help take him down in the end. Basically I’m specing she will be ambiguous, leaning bad until she finally chooses sides and leaves daddy Volkoff as the main baddie for the season.
        I get the Godfather parallel, and I certainly can see them having some fun with that. But just like their other parallels that are often incomplete, they will twist her from Corleone to Anakin in the end. I think re-signing Timothy Dalton is what guarantees that outcome. Perhaps if he wasn’t returning, Vivian would have been the ultimate villain; but not now.

      • First Timer says:

        Oh, by the way, one more GIGANTIC Godfather call-out: This episode ends EXACTLY the way Godfather I ends. With Michael in power and the doors close on the viewer.

        I really don’t think there is ANY question of where they are going with the Vivian character. You already know she can kill without thinking about it much. She’s already lied to Team B (not telling them what Boris said about the “key).

        She’s Michael Corleone. I don’t even think there is a “choice” she has to make. It’s already been made. My guess is we’ll know by the next episode. The robbery is a cover because there is something Vivian wants in the bank…she’ll get it from Chuck and Sarah and away we go…

    • joe says:

      Faith, I absolutely understand that a bunch of us are having a “This was a very different kind of Chuck” reaction. It was!

      But we certainly have seen these elements before. I mean, in Predator we had that same kind of intensity, and in Nacho Sampler we had Chuck looking back at someone and seeing himself.

      And certainly we got a lot of Morgan and Chuck in Best Friend.

      Yet, this took us by surprise. I absolutely loved the feel; I’m not sure I want a steady diet of it, though. Then, it would lose it’s specialness. But when done occasionally it’s raises the level of everything around it. Very cool, and “Judkens & LeFranc are Genius”!

      I’m starting to think that Patrick Norris, the director, is too.

      • Faith says:

        I can’t help but create a contrast Joe. With the shooting to the head it was shades of Emmett and yet in this one it worked very well thematically to underly what could be a sinister role for Vivian (well someone in this episode will be villainous for sure). But for the most part it was very much (I agree with Sarge on this one) a S1 type episode.

        We also had the full cast. That added to a “seen elements before” feel for sure.

    • Faith says:

      ch-ch-changes! LOL. Nice.

      It was probably the least Sarah involved episode in recent episodes so that was definitely reason enough for the tease lol. But yeah I agree, tease > PLI. Though really… LOL.

      I do understand the “value” aspect of collectibles (I have a wonder woman barbie that’s still in its box) but I still do consider them toys. I’m kind of like Sarah in that scene–I really care more about the fact that they care about those things rather than internally seeing their value. The nerd aspect of the episode didn’t much work for me but I didn’t really take exception to that because the show is about a nerd so the props have to back that up. Though I can’t help but hope that now they can redecorate that place, put some Sarah touches in the entire apartment and not just in their room. I would like to see that “list” she said she made in Lethal Weapon of the things Chuck has to lose.

      Casey having his own team would certainly open up your spec of “Charah” leaving the spy life. Without Casey, they won’t have anything to leave behind or let down if/when they decide to hang it up. Though I’ve really always imagined that Casey would be the first to leave the life and I don’t know…teach or something. Move into the suburbs with his 3 boys and Stepford wife. Or take a desk job (as the general) and move into the suburbs with wife and 3 boys, while Chuck and Sarah save the world on an almost daily basis-internationally.

      • jason says:

        I really wanted to go ‘ch-ch-charles charles, we are the charlessssss’ …. but it seems they are the carmicheal’s again, I probably have my expectations amped up too high for the muuurder ep – 4×19 – I’m thinking there is a shot that the charles make an appearance.

        Just like the count is now 23 episodes that I am minimally content with, last night’s ep makes 4 straight that I loved …. I always get a little cranky about chuck when the serialized spy stuff starts, because usually the show misfires shortly after, but so far, things are sailing along just fine for this shipper.

        When chuck and sarah are doing ok, they can make the show excel without CS being in the forefront, to me this one was all of that, I have not rewatched, but sarah was really smoking in this ep, the ‘surprise’ line, the ‘orgy party’ joke, just how hot she was at the party, then shooting the gun from the car, volunteering to ‘hang’ with morgan, playing with the toys, comforting downtrodden chuck after he lost his BBF, in the wig, riding the horse, so much, yet in most those scenes, the other characters shined, that is greatness, when you make those around you great, really was one of my complaints about dalton, and compliments to hamilton, hamilton played a role that allowed dalton, ellie, chuck, sarah all to excel in those scenes shared with LH.

        anyhow, you might get a squee out of this rather large, grumpy old man if the ch-ch-charles’ssss show up in episode 4×19!

      • thinkling says:

        My hope with regard to Casey is that they are using this new mission to ultimately return him to TeamB and reset the balance.

        It will be interesting to see how this works with TeamB without Casey, though they may not know at first. But how will Morgan fit in. Casey’s absence will leave a hole, and now Morgan won’t have a trainer/mentor/babysitter, unless Casey recruits him for his new team.

        As for Chuck and Sarah leaving the spy life, I don’t think Casey is much of a consideration, professionally. He always has lots of options. But one like this in Burbank does leave things tidy, just in case.

      • atcDave says:

        I believe Adam Baldwin has the same 6-year contract that Zach and Yvonne do, and I’m pretty sure they won’t know if they’ve been renewed or canceled at the time they wrap production; I’m thinking things will be pretty open ended for Casey. He may have more autonomy or options than just working for/with The Bartowski’s; but I think its reasonable to guess he’ll still be present and a willing part of whatever professional decisions they make. I don’t believe they would consider an S5 without Casey.

  3. sd says:

    I have to say—I might like this upcoming arc way more than the “find mom” arc.
    As I said in an earlier post, this episode was paced so well…engaging all the the characters in a “real”–not rushed way. And there were some plausible cliffhangers that will make the next episodes very interesting.

    I also loved the interplay between Chuck and Morgan…and of course, Sarah trying to bond with Morgan over toys–I mean collectables.

    I also like the catch about Vivian not hesitating to use the gun on the bad guy—perhaps that’s our clue that Vivian decides to pick-up where her dad left off?

    • jason says:

      yea – it took her all of 15 minutes to kill, chuck hasn’t managed one in 70 some odd episodes, she probably is a bad guy. My problem with her being a villain, I liked her with the team & want the team to add a woman, would love for her to be a good guy.

      off topic, but that was the best wig Yvonne put on, they caught me off guard with that, both from the promo and while shooting, I did a double take

      • Paul says:

        Yeah, she looked A LOT like Vivian in that scene.

      • patty says:

        They went to great lengths to establish for us, the viewers, how evil the guy Vivian killed was. He also told Vivian that he was going to kill her.

        I think that we are intended to contrast Chuck and Vivian but we are not meant to conclude that she is evil. The guy killed a bunch of other people and told Vivian outright that he was going to kill her.

        This reminds me of how much trouble Beckman and Shaw went to to prove to Chuck that Perry was really bad BEFORE they assigned him to kill Perry. Despite this, Chuck was still not willing to kill him.

      • Faith says:

        They’re really taking my “more wigs, more accents” wish list seriously ;).

        Yeah that was my point about the writers effectively separating her from Chuck in the pilot parallel even from the get go. Though I’m not convinced she’s a villain…yet. I think Robin Givens has a better chance right now of being villainous because she’s shrouded in mystery.

      • thinkling says:

        I liked this wig, too. The black wig in Gobbler was the worst of all of them, with the Milan wig next to worst. The Ring 2 wig was OK, too.

        Yeah, Paul, she totally convinced me.

        Vivian’s kill was definitely self defense, but she also didn’t hesitate or seem regretful. There is still room to wonder whether she’ll be good or bad, but right now I lean toward bad, reserving the right to change my opinion as things go along. (She didn’t want anyone to die for her, so that’s a plus.)

        I think you’re right about Givens, Faith, I don’t trust her.

    • Tamara Burks says:

      Vivian had no choice but to kill him and she’d had plenty of training with guns from what Boris said. It was him or her. She had no alternative action. Even though she knew martial arts (he said ) she was too far away to use it effectively before he could’ve shot her.

      Chuck has taken the shot when he had to (with Shaw in Paris) . It’s just that he usually has protection from Casey and Sarah or is able to figure his way out of a situation before he gets backed into a corner and has to use deadly force.

      Vivian didn’t have time to find another way out. Plus she’s had the training to use a weapon and to defend herself from an attack. And she knew that Boris was a killer already. Shooting Boris so quickly does not make her a bad guy.

      Neither does keeping the info about the necklace quiet. For her it’s not a key to a bad guys closet, it’s a rare token of her father’s affection . She could accept that Boris was after her to kill her because she saw the evidence of that but finding out the truth about her father she’ll have to see for herself.

      I really don’t see Vivian as a potential bad guy, I see her as a counterpart to Chuck in that both will be rebels against the path thier parents chose for them. Chuck’s parent’s tried to keep him completely ignorant of thier world even though that would lessen the pain of thier abandoment knowing that they had gotten tangled up in something and didn’t want to leave (though I maintain Mama B has a lot to answer for taking the assignment in the first place since no taking down an empire from the inside job will be quick even if it was only VI.)

      Volkoff OTOH trained Vivian from birth to take over the reins including possibly making sure that her life kept her from forming close attachments . I think that she’ll end up trying to make right as many wrongs as she can that her father committed and that she’ll be angry at her father for not raising a daughter but a business heir only. Plus the easy acceptance by Chuck (whose family was shattered by Volkoff ) will keep her from straying to the dark side. I think Vivian wants to find a place to fit and doing the right thing will be the place for her.

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t think anyone said she did anything wrong in Masquerade Tamara; certainly the killing was easily within the definition of self defense. But they have planted seeds. Vivian is more decisive, and apparently more capable of extreme action than Chuck even still is (he couldn’t hit a girl just last week!).
        I hope in the end Vivian is one of the good guys, but it looks to me like she will be severely tested on a moral level. And my guess is we won’t like all of her choices.

      • patty says:

        I agree Dave. I also think she will prove vulnerable to manipulation by her father. What her choice will be in the end is a good question.

      • Paul says:

        Ditto Dave. The only actions I saw as potentially “bad” by Vivian was witholding info. I think what we will see with her, if they go the villain route, is a slow descent to the dark side. Her actions will become more and more morally ambigous until we finally reach the point where she is a bad guy.

  4. Rick Holy says:

    One thing – even if Vivian already has or goes “dark,” Volkoff Industries is already EXTREMELY crippled – with Hydra having been hi-jacked by Team B. Let’s see…….. Fulcrum was effectively “taken down.” The Ring was effectively “taken down.” And it sure SEEMS like there is sufficient reason to believe that Volkoff Industries has been taken down – or at least extremely weakened. It almost seems anti-climactic (if you have a more appropriate word to use, feel free to insert it) to have her “go dark” and “take over” Dad’s weakened empire.

    Maybe the “struggle” will be more about personality or family (if she DOES somehow have some relation to Mary and/or Chuck and Ellie) than about a powerful evil empire. Just some wild speculation.

    • Paul says:

      Unless Hydra was only the surface. Hydra could have been Volkoff’s “throw away wallet” so to speak (ie something of less value that you give to a mugger so he leaves you alone, yet does not compromise your real assets). What Vivian may have is the key to something bigger.

      OR she is given the means to avenge her dad. A counterstroke if you will.

    • thinkling says:

      At least for now, TeamB believes that Volkoff Industries is shut down. With all the lieutenants dead and Vivian presumed good, there is no one to start it back up. It may never be started back up. It may be only a revenge game from here on out.

    • armysfc says:

      rick, i’m not ready to go down the bad road yet with vivian. maybe after next week. though from the promo and the synopsis of chuck telling her to get in contact with her inner villain, it sounds like she is in on the plan to get what is needed out of the bank.

      different opinion here on the avenge or revenge for her father. she seemed very estranged from her dad. was never shown anything about his evil empire. she said she went to the best schools, was never around and every minute of every day was planned for her. (i will say it could have been a good plan). another thing, if he was grooming her to take over, don’t you think that alexi would have told frost he had a kid? then again maybe not. the key bit puzzles me a bit. i can’t remember when the said she got it. i thought it was when she was young but i can’t remember. it appears to be the only one.

      as i said i’ll wait till next week to firm up or change my mind. but if push comes to shove i’d say she’s good and helps bring her dad down if and when he gets out.

  5. herder says:

    One of the neat things about Morgan moving out is that it opens up a spare bedroom for visitors such as either mom or Jack Burton to stay with Chuck and Sarah and introduce a new type of awkward into their home lives. That or somewhere an in the doghouse Awesome could hide for the night.

    Also another expression of delight at the scene where Casey walks into the room and sees the rest of the team and his daughter behaving with the restraint of teenagers when their parents are gone for the weekend. The “who are these people” look on his face was great and the fact that he marched them to the general (a parent) without allowing them to change was just wonderful. It fits with the growing up theme of the episode, they start as teenagers and move on to adulthood over the course of the episode.

    • Faith says:

      Well said again Herder, you’re on fire. Great post. It was a coming of age story within the story itself and that was one of the things that really worked well for me.

      As for the spare bedroom, I have to wonder if Chuck and Sarah will move into that one, I think it’s bigger. But then again Chuck’s room has been a staple.

      Hopefully this will mean a Suburbs like breakfast scene in the future…

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, it has to be nice for Chuck and Sarah to also “have” the living room.

        I’m thinking that one bedroom can be an office/guest room, and the Tron poster can go in the office. But maybe I’m expecting too much.

      • atcDave says:

        It will be interesting to see how much set redesign they do. My guess would be they hold off on a major re-work until S5 (Gee, now they have to renew!).

  6. armySFC says:

    ok question here. as everyone knows by now i’m a time guy. i have a question. the last scene with ellie and devon putting the baby in the nursery. ellie says to devon, “it’s time baby clara is three months old.” is this 1) just a mistake that they didn’t catch or 2) a fast forward in the episode to help set up the next episode or 3) a fast forward in the episode to help explain the new room in the castle?

    • Tamara Burks says:

      Probably a combination of factors including the room in Castle and possibly they had a filming break before this ep and were using the same baby or they just wanted to make sure enough time had passed so that the Woodcombs were realistically wiped out and desperate.

      3 days without sleep along wouldn’t make them look that bad especially since both are doctors and have experience with that especially from when they were interns. But weeks of Clara discovering her voice and using it to great effectiveness which escalated to her not stopping her crying no matter what would turn them into two desperate people willing to use petty theft or shoplifting (depending on wheter or not jeffster paid for the dolls themselves or were just using it) to get some much needed sleep.

  7. Rick Holy says:

    1.7 in the ratings again. I think that’s four weeks in a row now. Certainly not great, but especially with little or no promotion, also not “terrible” to be holding steady (even if “low” steady). Harry’s Law (so HEAVILY promoted) had a much large number of total viewers than CHUCK, but still only managed a 1.7 demo rating (which is SUPPOSED TO BE the “only thing” that counts with advertisers).

    Still think we have a chance – slim, but still a chance – at a “back pocket” mid-season replacement 13 episode renewal.

    • jason says:

      rick, I am still holding out hope that chuck – the event – harry’s law can nudge toward 2.0 / 1.8 / 2.0 or even 2.2 / 2.0 / 2.2 next month, before the inevitable slide at season’s end – the cape is so weak, just hard to sustain viewership on monday’s right now, the event is back in 2 weeks with a 2 parter (no chuck that week I think), then hopefully the numbers will start to move at least a little bit, plus I assume the event will receive promo, which again, should help chuck – by the way, check out harry’s law, it is really kind of nice, and I must admit, I do not like kathy bates, but she is very good in this role

      • Michael S. says:

        Jason, I’m totally with you on The Cape. I can’t even watch 5 minutes of the show. But Chuck/The Event/Harry’s Law are all great shows. And how can you not like Kathy Bates? She is an AMAZING actress, and her role as Harriet Korn is PERFECT for her. Harry’s Law, The Defenders and Undercovers are some of my favorite new series and I fear that they’ll cancel them like my favs. last year got cancelled (Mercy/Trauma/Dollhouse). Oi vey, woe is me. (**Mandatory bring back Firefly plug – Browncoats RULE**)

      • Tamara Burks says:

        I like Harry’s law but it’s on the same time as Castle so I’ve been catching it when they rerun it on Saturdays.

      • armySFC says:

        i agree they need something to follow chuck. the event may help because the cape stinks. i have castle at the top of my list so i also caught harrys law on the rerun. i made it through 2 episodes before i pulled the plug on that one. they have started to push the event again. i have seen some previews already. i think i combined promo with chuck and the event could help. we shall have to wait and see.

      • Big Kev says:

        25,000 Neilsen boxes. That stat just blows my mind every time I see it. So 400 people in the required demo with boxes are watching Chuck and that’s how we get our 1.7? And commercial decisions worth many millions are made on that basis? If the fate of Chuck didn’t rest on this farce I’d be laughing, because truthfully, there’s not much else you can do.

      • atcDave says:

        The scary thing is Kev, I remember studying this specifically in a stats class 25 years ago; and from a mathematical/statistical perspective there is complete confidence in those numbers. Nielsen is even on record as saying they could get good data with less than half that number of boxes, but they couldn’t sell their customers on it.

        The current problem isn’t one of the sample size, its with what’s being measured. People draw their passive entertainment from so many sources, and watch in so many different ways (internet, DVR, DVD, etc.); Nielsen just isn’t a good indicator of viewing habits anymore.

      • Big Kev says:

        Fair point Dave. I’m an arts guy rather than a science guy, and I guess there’s just something fundamentally counter-intuitive to me about the idea of 25,000 people speaking for a country as huge, diverse and constantly changing as the US. And by extension, a good portion of the rest of the world. I should probably curb my righteous indignation on a subject I admit to knowing nothing about! 🙂

        Completely with you on the fact that they’re also measuring the wrong thing. Seems to me that trying to measure media habits in our current
        world is impossible. All the more
        reason to move to a model based on viewers somehow responding directly from whatever platform they use.

      • atcDave says:

        Hope you know I wasn’t trying to rude before, just hoped to point out it isn’t quite as bad as it looks. I do agree it seems outrageous that so much hinges on so few viewers.

        I suspect whatever comes next will be a little more pay-per-view or ala carte in nature; with viewers paying more directly for the content they watch.
        But it is hard to overcome the commercial broadcast model where even someone who’s totally down on their luck can watch for “free”. But with total audiences shrinking on broadcast networks, especially for scripted programing, some sort of major change is inevitable.

      • armySFC says:

        dave kev. i agree with viewing habit changing. i don’t know what fomula they use but it works. then again i also don’t believe that it’s all based on neilsen boxes either. we talked about this before. there has to be some way the cable companies get a general idea of how many boxes are set to one channel or another in a generic manner.

        i’m basing this on local cable companies adding or deleting channels from the packages they offer.

      • armySFC says:

        @dave, i agree with what you said. the problem lies in where the networks get their money. the big money has to come from advertising. i just did some quick math. last figures i saw for a 30 sec add on NBC on monday was 75k. during chuck NBC makes 2.6 mil. we get 5.5 mil viewers. so NBC would need to charge about .50 cents to make the same.

        now the big difference the ad money is a guarantee the pay per episode is not. i dont know if the 75 k is right, it may be higher. i do know i saw the top 10 and one i do remember is house gets near 230 k or 8.2 million an episode. based on those numbers they would have to charge .82 cents an episode.

        of course a flat rate would work, but how many people want to pay for a show then get the ads? i agree they ned some new way.

      • Big Kev says:

        Army/Dave,
        So where do the likes of HBO get the majority of their money from? Is it from subscription fees or advertising, or a mixture of both? And could that model work across other genres? That way, we would at least have more outlets for quality TV, with the networks free to continue producing lowest-common-denominator stuff.

      • armySFC says:

        big kev, here is what i found out about hbo/ espn. they both charge a monthly fee to the cable company per subscriber. espn get 3.20 for each person that gets cable HBO get 7 dollars. then for HBO you pay the cable company an additional fee to view the channels. appx 29% of subscribers get HBO. so if i under stand what i read. if a cable company 1 million subscribers they pay 3.2 mil to ESPN and 7 mil to HBO.

        also remember that ESPN is owned by Disney and HBO by time Warner. ESPN carries ads that bring money in to Disney. HBO even though it has no ads it is backed by a company that has the ability to sell ads to generate revenue.

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t believe HBO gets any money for non-subscribers. Their total revenue stream is from paid accounts. ESPN is more of a hybrid model, getting fees from the cable/satellite systems that carry them and advertising.

      • armysfc says:

        dave, heres the information from the site i got the information from. i included the link. maybe you’ll get a better handle on it than i did. 2. HBO: $3.7 billion in Revenue and 24% of Time Warner’s Stock

        We expect HBO to generate about $3.7 billion in revenue for Time Warner in 2010. Unlike ESPN, HBO earns revenue only through only subscription fees.

        HBO is a premium cable channel and charges a high subscriber fee of more than $7 per subscriber. However, due to its high subscriber fee, HBO only about 39% of US pay-TV subscribers receive HBO.

        https://www.trefis.com/company?article=15281#

      • armysfc says:

        dave sorry hit the wrong button. the way it reads to me (using the rest of the article) is a subscriber is anyone that gets that tier on the cable. a subscription allows you to view the channel. hence why only 39% but HBO.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah that all makes sense army. Users subscribe specifically to HBO at a fairly high rate, which is why they produce high quality programming tailored to their customers. While ESPN draws a much smaller fee from everyone who gets the most basic package from most cable and satellite services.

    • Faith says:

      • luckygirl says:

        That sounds ominous.

      • herder says:

        But it might be an accurate asessement of how close to a season 5 we are, get back to a 1.9 demo and good things might happen.

      • atcDave says:

        I get it. But seriously, its not like there’s anyone I haven’t talked to about Chuck at this point.

      • luckygirl says:

        I just don’t think we’re going to get back to that point. Especially with daylight savings time and DWTS coming back. There is nothing to be done that hasn’t been done in the past 4 years.

      • Rick Holy says:

        I hate to disagree with Mr. Schwartz, but it’s not WE who are going to be able to come up with the .2 people. And truthfully, it isn’t HIM, either. It’s NBC. Either they promote this show, or they don’t. And as of right now, they don’t.

        We can talk, Facebook, Twitter, ’til we’re blue in the face. I HAVE been for 4 seasons now. But even if we DO gain some “converts,” how many have Nielsen boxes? With, I believe, only 25,000 Nielsen boxes out there, the likelihood of any of us knowing someone who would “count” is slim to none – and slim just walked out the door.

        NBC promotes Harry’s Law and the Thursday Night Comedy block ad nauseum. And most of those shows have declined in ratings faster (in relation to how long they’ve been on the air) than CHUCK.

        If NBC isn’t going to promote the show more, then that “.2” just isn’t going to appear. It just isn’t. I fear the best we can hope for is that CHUCK maintains its 1.7. And although we don’t HOPE that anything on NBC continues it’s downslide, that may, in the end, be what saves us.

        And by the way, I think we’ve been at 1.7 for FOUR weeks (although I could be mistaken). If I’m NOT mistaken, then his tweet should have said, “find the .2 of you who were watching like FIVE (not three) weeks ago.”

        Honestly, no matter how much you love a show, after awhile you tire of being turned to to help “save the show.” About the only way we could help is to find out who owns Nielsen boxes, steal them, and hook them up in our houses!!

        For now, “my computer” is watching CHUCK on NBC.COM and HULU like a crackhead on crack. And I’m buying Subway and even bought – believe it or not – the “new” BUYMORE lunch box that the NBC.COM store is selling. (The CHUCK selection is pretty weak, in all honesty). Like I really need a lunch box! Maybe I’ll use it to carry my Subway sandwich as I walk back from Subway to the house on Monday to watch CHUCK.

      • jason says:

        when human target got 2.4 on monday’s after routinely getting 1.7 or something like that on wednesdays or friday’s, made me think your network’s base plays a bigger role in viewership than I used to, hence, I keep stressing hope that the event can help raise the base for NBC on monday’s, my observation is once a show stabilizes, chuck will beat any other monday night show by a few .1’s, but what chuck needs, is that other show to be around 2-2.2, not around 1.3-1.5. I think Harry’s Law is going to help, I am hoping the event will too, other than that, I don’t think there is any hope …. .2 to .4 fans aren’t going to just start tuning in, chuck lost them in season 3, they aren’t coming back without a real good reason.

      • atcDave says:

        They need to start hyping the wedding. And not JUST during Chuck. Advertise the web site during the Today show or Thursday comedy night. That might reach some who have wandered away.

      • jason says:

        a lead in like

        ‘Chuck and Sarah are getting married this season – yea to each other, but Chuck Bartkowski is not a normal boy and Sarah Walker is not a normal girl, so tune in each week to see how this abnormal pair works together to pull off the ‘perfectly normal’ wedding – it will be ‘epic’ I promise’

        …. something that sort of addresses a bit of the flaws of the past, yet promises to deliver …. had I left in S3, this teaser would have appealed to me at least.

      • Faith says:

        LMAO. Operation “steal Nielsen boxes and hook them up in our houses!!” commences! 😉

      • Rick Holy says:

        I’m with ya, Dave. The other thing that J.S. is well aware of. DWTS is coming back in a week or two. That’s NOT going to help us. NEVER DOES. So maybe the 0.2 that J.S. is asking us to find is JUST TO STAY at 1.7, because with DWTS coming, and eventually D.S.T., I can see a drop in numbers. Maybe not HUGE, but at this point ANY drop is significant.

        You just wonder if ONE “CHUCK” ad during, perhaps, “The Office,” and ONE “CHUCK ad during, perhaps, SNL (featuring Yvonne, of course) in advance of a SOLID, “non-filler” episode would do. You don’t know unless you try it. And they’re NOT trying it.

        That’s why, honestly, if this season IS the last, I will be able to say that I did everything I could to “help” the show. And God forgive me for the money I’ve spent on multiple copies of DVDs, Blu Rays, Chuck merchandise, Subway gift cards, etc., etc.

        I may get “hooked” on a TV show again, but I’ll never, NEVER get myself “invested” as much as I have with this one. There were shows that I liked just as much before, but never went to the extent I have for CHUCK. I’m sure there will be shows I’ll like just as much in the future, but my “fan(aticisim)” will be kept to reasonable levels! 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        Faith, that’s probably the most solid idea yet. Maybe we could not only save Chuck, but get rid of a lot of “reality” programming at the same time. (“In today’s news, nobody watched The Bachelor last night; not one single viewer…”)

      • armySFC says:

        all. good points on ratings. they can get new viewers or ones that have left by increasing the number of promotions they run. the thing they have to do is tailor the promos to attract people not familiar with the show. the promo for the last episode told people what about the episode? for us fans that watch the show every week enough. but if you don’t watch the show and know whats going on? not a whole lot.

        now this promo for next week, it opens with sarah slapping an magazine in a weapon. a head shot of both of them looking badass in shades. then lets rob a bank, then the whole chuck walking all confident and badass on the tellers counter while sarah fires her weapon at the ceiling. the whole promo screams action, add in the joke and its good. even if you never saw chuck a day in your life you know they are planning to rob a bank and its going to be good.

        you can run all the promos you want but if you don’t catch a different group of people it won’t help. they promoted the volkoff arc a lot, but in a way to ward off current viewers having trouble with the next episode.

        @dave i had the wedding promo talk with some friends. unless you watch chuck on a regular basis and know whats going on. while hyping up a wedding for a couple you don’t know cause you to watch a show? the viewers that left in s3 because of the whole mess, don’t you think that them getting engaged would have been enough to get them to come back?

        the promo they are running now has a good chance of reaching the target they want. it just screams action and comedy. just my take,

      • atcDave says:

        Army I am thinking entirely of viewers who left in S3, and I still encounter some who don’t even know Chuck and Sarah are “together” now. One I spoke with about a month ago got very excited and giggled a lot about it (she was one of those who was steaming mad in S3); I think I got her interest back. But like I said, that was only a month ago. NBC really needs to stress their “togetherness” in promos; I think it matters a lot to the majority who left last season.

      • armySFC says:

        Dave its a double edge sword no matter how you look at it. try to get back fans that left last year and seem to show no desire to come back or target viewers that may not have seen the show or only a few episodes. either way runs a risk.

        i’m playing devils advocate here with this so don’t take anyone take offense. if i was a viewer from last year that was thinking of coming back i would have tuned in at least once to see where the show was at. anyone that watched even one episode this year would know they are together. the ones that left last year and haven’t come back most likely won’t.

        as much as i have said all season that new viewers are hard to find, i think you have a better chance to get new ones rather than old ones back.

      • atcDave says:

        As I said, I found one a month ago who didn’t know they were together now and was very happy about it. I don’t think its that uncommon, I’ve rarely returned to a show I’ve given up on; and when I have its always been because of an actor or writer or someone I knew I liked coming/returning to the show (basically a known change I considered good). I’ve never just “checked in” again.
        I know my behavior is not everyone’s; but I know there are viewers out there who need to know the show is more like the one they used to love in S1/S2; than the aberration we got in S3.

        Now of course you’re right that there a lot of completely untapped viewers out there too, I still encounter people who have never heard of the show. And that is 100% ON US to fix; because they are clearly out of the reach of NBC advertising. I still talk about it whenever I get the chance. I even ran a little Chuck marathon while visiting family this Christmas; two members of the extended gathering had never heard of the show. My wife was just telling me about a Chuck Facebook thing, which as a total Neanderthal I know nothing about; but for those Chuck fans who have joined the 21st century that sort of thing is the perfect tool for reaching out.

      • armySFC says:

        dave, the other thing they need to consider is when they advertise. i feel that running a promo during a sporting event on a weekend will reach more viewers than the same promo run on a week night. generally they get more viewers and 2) the ones on week night have seen the show promoted.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I do agree about the sporting events. Problem the end of football season is that Sunday Night Football is NBC’s most watched show, by quite a bit. It’s also how I first heard of Chuck. But of course there are other sporting events running all the time, and those would be excellent spots to advertise. Focus on action/adventure for those spots; apart from figure skating, most sports audiences won’t care so much about the wedding!

    • castn says:

      Last whole episode I watched was last year, the one Morgan found out about Chuck and the intersect in that dojo thing and I was the last person in my circle of friends still watching Chuck.
      Caught maybe 10 minutes here and there of 4-5 season 4 episodes, can’t say I see any reason to get back to the show and no amount of promos will convince me. Viewers you lost you can’t win back. Same as getting food poisoning at a restaurant, you won’t go back there easily.

      • armySFC says:

        sadly for the most part i agree. if they left because they were mad as a hat at the show yeah its tough. if they left because the found something else they liked better its tough. if they left because real life got i the way and just forgot about the show then you have a chance. it all depends on why they left.

      • atcDave says:

        It does depend on the why. In my experience, if a show will return to what it once was, and avoid whatever caused the alienation, most viewers can be convinced to return. The trick is convincing them. I can think of 6 shows I’ve quit in the last decade, two of them fixed issues where I was willing to give them another chance; and in both cases I was pleased with the result.

        Of the 5 households I know that quit Chuck last season, I’ve got 4 of them to come back. And even with the fifth home, I work with the husband who will watch episodes with me on our lunch break. So his wife is the only individual I know who won’t watch again.

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        You CAN get people back, but it is VERY tough. I did it with 4 people who walked out on Season 3 so mad they still cannot discuss Schwarz and Fedak in civil terms. There are 3 other people from my circle of friends who have told me that they have no intention of watching “that show” again, ever. I think the food-poisoning analogy is apt.

        I’ve also managed to get 3 or 4 households to start watching Chuck, and I agree with Dave: many people have never heard of it. If anyone is going to try to get former viewers back, I have some suggestions:

        1. Emphasize that Chuck and Sarah are together.
        2. Say how much fun the show is.
        3. Mention Baby Clara
        4. Do not be the first to mention Shaw. If he does come up in the conversation, state that he isn’t in Season 4.
        5. Say how much fun the show is, again.
        6. Offer them food or money.

        (optional: beg and/or pray)

        I do find it amusing that Mr. Schwarz is asking us to find him viewers. Isn’t that what the fans did at the end of season 2? And then what happened?

      • atcDave says:

        Especially agree with point 4!

        There are people who simply won’t come back. Don’t add frustration to a hopeless situation. If they really aren’t interested after a sales pitch, let it go.

      • Faith says:

        If all else fails, steal their nielsen box hook it up in your house! LMAO.

      • thinkling says:

        =:-O
        😉

      • patty says:

        Sadly Neilson has though of that or I would have stolen my brothers last summer.

        Should have sent Father Rick over when he was in Orlando. If a priest says watch Chuck on time maybe he will listen! 😀

  8. Michael S. says:

    I agree with all the cliffhangers. Why is Givens trying to recruit Casey to join the National Clandestine Service, and since CS are already CIA operatives are they not already part of NCS? Which brings into play why there is a General leading CIA ops. But I’m with ya on whether Vivian is good or bad. Does she take over leadership of Volkoff Industries, or does she help Team B in eliminating the fringes that still remain and in the process find a new super evil mister bad guy. Makes me glad to be with DISH Network, though. As a DISH customer/employee I’ve recorded every single episode of Chuck (all the way back to Season 1) and still have it there. And DISH has more HD channels than any other provider, which is amazing. Should check it out. Anyway, my last burning question is… what trouble has MamaB been stirring up? She’s been absent the last few episodes.

    • Tamara Burks says:

      I think Mama B is being heavily debreifed about her actions for the last 20 years. Probably the only reason they didn’t immediately yank her back to DC to answer thier questions is because of Chuck’s importance.

      • Michael S. says:

        If that’s so then why was she around at the beginning of Chuck vs. The Seduction Impossible? Given that it’s probably a few weeks in Chuck time between episodes, then debriefing should have already been done now. I just don’t like the mystery, lol. I wanna know now! 🙂 Heck, we’ve found out last night that the baby is now 3 months old… at that rate it’d be 1 month in Chuck time per episode. Seems a little fast.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        They were probably willing to give her a few weeks while they began the round up of the people in the Hydra network. Plus it’s not like they didn’t have an eye on her.

        Even if Chuck now has privacy in his bedroom, there are probably still cameras all over the place that lay dormant when they think they aren’t needed, they just might be monitored by someone other than Casey.

        Once Ellie told her it was ok then she probably made contact and was told to come in for debreifing and to discuss her career future.

        Plus they wouldn’t want Chuck’s intersect to malfunction again because of upset and he’s been designated as vitally important.

  9. Faith says:

    On topic, a vid from Matt Barber:

    • JC says:

      Someone did a screen grab that showed a scene where Sarah and Morgan are playing Duckhunt. Hopefully it makes the deleted scenes on the DVD.

      • Paul says:

        Yeah, it’s too bad that they cut that part of the scene out…..but I think it would have shown them bonding a bit too much and maybe lost some of the awkwardness they were going for.

      • thinkling says:

        Aww. That would have been fun.

  10. Rick Holy says:

    Something intrigues me about Vivian. How old is she supposed to be? Around CHUCK’s age? 30, give or take. If she’s THAT old (not that 30 is old) why would Volkoff STILL (assuming he hand’t been taken down) not have her already involved in the life that he had obviously had her hidden away and trained for from the time she was a tot? It would be a “waste of resources” to wait so long. If he wasn’t captured, what would he have done, wait until she was 40?

    Now, if she’s closer to 20 (and yes, she looks older than 20), there are some interesting – and even far-fetched possibilities here. If Mary Bartowski leaves when Chuck is 9 – let’s say she’s PREGNANT, but it’s early enough that she doesn’t know it. We don’t know at what point she “became a traitor” and went to work for Volkoff. But the guy is obviously wack-job nuts about her. So she has a kid – that’s NOT his. If he is so crazily infatuated with her, what’s he going to do with the kid? Send her away to boarding school after boarding school, etc., etc., etc.

    So, what I’m saying here, is IF – and it’s a big IF – we take her to be YOUNGER (like early 20’s) she COULD be Chuck and Ellie’s SISTER (and Stephen Bartowski’s daughter). I know this is waaaaaay far fetched – but c’mon, we’re talking about a show where Mama B stays with Volkoff for 20 years and NEVER(?) finds a way to take him down during all that time. Knowing there is a kid involved that Volkoff knows about (and remember, he DIDN’T know about Chuck and Ellie until this season) would/could have hampered her in “offing” the guy. If so, what happens to her daughter (who she probably doesn’t even know where she’s at).

    Honestly, I haven’t had ANY alcohol today! 🙂 I just think – especially when you see the almost immediate “connection” between Chuck and Vivian that there’s a lot more “under the surface.” It wouldn’t shock me that they’re SOMEHOW related, which will be revealed in the end – perhaps when she’s pointing a gun at Chuck’s head and Mama B stops her by saying, “he’s your brother.”

    It’s not like things just as strange or unexpected haven’t happened on Chuck!!

    O.K., everyone. Now tell me how NUTS I am!! 🙂

    • armySFC says:

      rick, from what i have read she is between 24 and 28. no confirmed information though.

    • atcDave says:

      I don’t think that’s such an outrageous spec Rick. I don’t quite think its likely either; but it certainly is a possibility.

    • Tamara Burks says:

      Having her be the lost Bartowski would be ininitely preferable to having her be Volkoff’s and Frost’s child . Not to mention it would make her older and it would , like you said, give Volkoff a built in hostage . Maybe Vivian’s age is also why she was willing to finally take him down completely because she would be able to reconnect with her older children and they could help her find her lost daughter and if they didn’t Vivian was an adult and not a child needing protection..

    • Faith says:

      You’re nuts ;).

      LOL, nah, I can see it but I will say though that from the Sepinwall interview JS and CF have said unequivocally that they have not had sex at any point in the last 20 years. Far fetched? Yes, but this is Chuck ;). I’m thinking she’s as pure as…mostly because I think they, like we do really respect Stephen Bartowski’s memory and they wouldn’t do anything to even hint of her cheating on him even though it would be totally believable.

      There are specs though that MamaB was pregnant when she went on the mission and that Vivian is really Frost and Orion’s child. Is your mind blown yet? LOL.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Faith. That’s what I was alluding to. That she is Chuck and Ellie’s sister – not “half,” but “whole.” As in Mary E. and Stephen J. are the parents. The ages don’t match up? Who cares? This is CHUCK, after all! 😉 Or what about the possibility that during those 20 years, especially early on, that Mama B and Papa B “got together” when Mama B was able to elude Volkoff for a night?? Hmmm. So many possibilities. So few episodes left!

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Though that would beg the question as to why Mama B didn’t mention her. Possible answer- she was afraid to admit that she failed another child on top of the two she abandoned.

      • jason says:

        my biggest problem (and there are a few) with vivian being orion and volkov’s child is she simple does not look 20, nor is the actress in real life 20, I am pretty sure she is more zach and yvonne’s age, and she also ‘looks’ zach and yvonne’s age, if they wanted to tell a different story, they should have gotten a different actress.

      • jason says:

        opps – I meant of course frost and volkov’s – see – it shows just how silly such a plot would be

      • Paul says:

        I think Vivian is supposed to be around 25, and she looks about 25.

    • thinkling says:

      If she were 19, it would be an intriguing plot, Fr. Rick.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah that’s the problem. I had thought from the stills it would work (I wasn’t familiar with the actress). But my first thought when we saw her in the mask last night was, “she’s a lot older than I thought.” (Dave’s list of things to never say to a woman, No. 1…)

      • Rick Holy says:

        thinkling. Let’s say she’s 24. In the Chuckverse that doesn’t matter! It’s not like anyone (except we die-hards) would do the math! Maybe I’m just to “mushy,” but it just seemed like there was some kind of “bond” between Chuck and Vivian. Not Romantic. And maybe not flesh and blood (although I think that would be cool), but SOME KIND of bond.

      • JC says:

        That would be a huge plot hole even for Chuck. How many times did they say Mary was gone on a twenty year mission during those first thirteen? You can’t treat your audience like they’re morons.

      • thinkling says:

        Oops, I went the wrong way on my math.

        Cohen was born in 82, so she’s Yvonne’s age. It would be an interesting plot that would explain Mary’s staying for 20 years, but I don’t think that’s where they are headed. I do like the idea, though, Rick. 🙂

  11. Tamara Burks says:

    I thought that the b plot was perfectly done. The Woodcombs extreme exhaustian and desperation played out realistically. I wonder if this was an example of product placement. If it was it was done flawlessly. I also have to wonder if little Clara was imprinted intot liking Jeffster when they played at her birth (and if any other babies were born at the same time they were playing have the same problem sleeping but thier parents will never discover the solution like the Woodcombs did).

    Love the Valentine’s day setup and I’m glad it was aired in order despite Valentines day being last week.

    Chuck and Morgan both had girlfriends on VDay at the same time-yay!
    Morgan brought a pack of 9 bear skin rugs at Big Lots .
    The living room looked like the Vday section of Hallmark exploded all over the living room.
    Chuck’s love machine shirt with his picture on it.
    Sarah not knowing what the sock on the door meant .
    Whatever the heck Alex and Morgan were doing . They really do fit each other because they were perfectly in synch.Loved the looks on Chuck and Sarah’s faces at thier antics.
    Sarah’s adorable little angel winged nightie. Chuck’s delighted expression and Sarah’s sheepish “suprise”. Too cute.
    Casey barreling in from across the way saying there better be a good reason (don’t they lock thier door or do doors just open for Casey in self defense? Maybe it has some sensor attached so it will unlock for authorized users) .
    Poor Casey . No man should have to face his daughter’s sexuality head on so soon after meeting her .Give that man some brain bleach.
    They get marched into Castle without getting a chance to change. At least Sarah had a coat and was able to tuck her wings back in (though I would’ve loved to see the expression on the General’s face when she saw that) but poor Morgan was only wearing a short robe.

    I like Vivian . I think she’ll end up being what takes down Volkoff completely when the case goes to court.

    TPTB don’t have a great track record with people they send to Castle (and casey gets betrayed a lot) so I’m calling Bently (Robin Givens character) as a bad guy . I just hope she’s good at being one unlike Shaw who was pretty lame except for murdering Papa B and he seemd to do that after shifting the focus of his rage to Chuck who never did him any wrong except for thwarting him.

    No telling what is behind that door Vivian opened . Maybe evidence that her father is the arms dealer they told her he is. Maybe her mother’s frozen body (since there were mention of schools and lessons but no mother).

    I love that Casey immediately says he isn’t moving from Burbank. He’s definitely found his home.

    I hope Morgan finds a place to live soon , maybe with Alex.

    And I love that Morgan said that he kept Han and Chewie in the family and we see it up on a shelf in Clara’s room (indicating that Morgan is part of the extended Bartowski clan) while the exhausted Ellie and Devon lay down in thier specially picked out outfits for some long needed sleep.

  12. Ernie Davis says:

    Faith, (sigh) I’m going to have to mostly agree with you. The episode was certainly in my top half, but probably not the top five for the season. That said I thought this episode (with the usual Chuck allowances and exceptions applied) was one of the better executed ones this season. It had to pack a lot into 43 minutes to set up the back 8 arc I think we all see coming, but it never felt rushed or contrived in the way they did it. The Morgasey scene at the bar was a perfect setup for both their realizations that they are riding Charah’s (heh) coat tails. Not out of laziness or lack of ambition, but out of contentment. Everyone is in a happy place, but as Morgan recognizes, like childhood, that doesn’t mean you can stay there forever. To his credit Morgan has always recognized and embraced his role as sidekick and first mate, it was always one of his strengths that he knew he’d been riding Chuck’s coat tails for years, but since Chuck didn’t mind he dedicated himself to (despite some initial resistance in S1) being the best best friend he could. Casey is a different story. He’s not meant to be a sidekick, and having gradually moved from point man and team leader to backup for the best spy team in the business has to sting. The loyalty is still there, and he’d sacrifice a lot to stay close enough to remain backup, if needed, and to maintain a connection with his daughter. It is very interesting that this new opportunity seems to call for virtually no sacrifice on his part. Very interesting.

    So Morgan is moving out. He’s realized Chuck doesn’t need a sidekick, full-time at least, and he has a new first mate. In retrospect, maybe pushing Morgan to the front of so much of the story had a purpose. Chuck and Morgan’s growing up moment, silly and nerdy as it was, was touching. Except for the fact that it means now they’ll only be spending their working hours and game nights together as opposed to 24/7, I’d be almost sad to see Morgan move out. With half the nerd-abilia leaving Casa Bartowski it’ll be interesting to see what changes are wrought.

    Now as for Faith’s complaint, Vivian. I get the complaint, but I think they did about as good a job as they could with the limited resources and time. I’ve written before how stunt casting has been ingeniously employed to allow a character to be dropped into a role with virtually no introduction. It wasn’t really an option in Vivian’s case. She can’t be a scenery chewing Volkoff or an Frost Queen Mary, because she needs to evolve over the arc if she is headed where we think, or are supposed to fear, she is headed. The best shorthand they could come up with was season 1 Chuck, and they did that about as well as they could. Is she shy? Well who holds a masked ball as their first party, and then hides out in a separate room to boot? Not someone looking for a lot of social interaction, that’s certain. Vivian’s fleeing to the stables in addition was about the best show of her feelings of alienation from the world she lived in I could see. Her talk in Castle with Chuck was another excellent bit of showing that she’d never been given a choice, or time to think about what she wanted out of life. But Vivian is not Chuck.

    Chuck had ambition and direction and potential, and it was taken from him. It took him a while, and someone special to help him find it again, but his desire to matter, to make a difference and to go out into the world and do great things is something he always had. Vivian has never been allowed to have an ambition it seems. She’s had direction and accomplishments, but apparently no goals, at least no goals of her own, and it has all happened in a vacuum, without her ever having time or opportunity to consider the meaning of her life and what she wants it to be.

    When Chuck first became the intersect, it cemented his underachieving time and place as an apparently permanent condition. It was having someone else tell him that the world and life he’d allowed himself to slip into was now the limits of his world, and life. Well he had a rather exciting career on the side, but his life was still limited, not through his admitted slacker side, but from the outside. It was then that Chuck decided to push back and regain control of his life, and control he had exercised up until he was kicked out of Stanford. Yet in the end he chose the life he’d been initially forced into, for all the right reasons. It will be interesting to see how Vivian reacts with the apparent reversal of the initial situation. She has a life most would envy, yet apparently little ambition. Being given a goal, or a purpose could be something new for her. What she chooses to make of her opportunity, which goal or purpose she chooses, is going to be the meat of this coming arc. And I don’t expect to be fully sure till nearly the end.

    • atcDave says:

      Wow Ernie. Thanks for a great essay on Vivian. You certainly managed more insight into her character and similarities/differences to Chuck than I ever would have managed. It will be interesting to see where this goes.

    • Faith says:

      I thought you’d completely disagree with me. Then we can finally get back to the way things were or supposed to be 😉 lol.

      “It had to pack a lot into 43 minutes to set up the back 8 arc I think we all see coming, but it never felt rushed or contrived in the way they did it.”

      Agreed. I thought it pacing was well done. It did literally feel like you were watching a different show every commercial and yet it didn’t feel wierd or out of place, it all somehow still fit together. A fantastic outing on that alone IMO.

      ” Very interesting.”

      If by that you mean trap, I’m thinking the same way. It’s just too convenient and Robin Givens was just too recruity. I want to say that this is shades of Tic Tac but not quite.

      I didn’t catch the party duality, but good call. That is what they’re going for. Essentially two people who were unfulfilled in their lives and not just in terms of social aspects but confidence. I stick by my show don’t tell about the talk though ;). I just think they could have gone totally Paris Hilton without the arrogance (Princess Diaries?) and really showed us that she needed something. That with all the wealth and the privilege she’s aimless and unfulfilled and in some ways Chuck is her Sarah who walked into the “Buy More” and changed things. Scratch Chuck and make it “thing” as in the key. Chuck said his life changed when “something” fell into his lap namely the intersect, so for Vivian it had to be the key that changes everything.

      • Michael S. says:

        I’m with ya on the “trap” vibe that Givens/Bentley was giving off. I certainly hope that they don’t rehash a “rogue spy ring” again ala FULCRUM and The Ring. We’ll see how it works out, though. It all seems too easy for Casey to just move over and join the National Clandestine Service instead of stick with the NSA.

      • herder says:

        My money is on Bentley working for Alexi Volkov to disrupt Team Bartowski to throw his capture and conviction into doubt so as to arrange an escape. Where in season 2 Casey accepted an order to kill Chuck the intersect, now he would reject such an order, but I think Bentley will try and manouever Casey back into the position of orders are orders.

      • atcDave says:

        I was thinking that too herder. We know Volkoff had sources inside the government. Since his story obviously isn’t over yet, we may yet hear more about his long reach.

      • thinkling says:

        That makes sense. It may also be a point of insertion for MamaB later on. She has always insisted that Volkoff has people in the CIA. She may be the one to catch on first.

        Casey may get sucked in before he catches on, too, making for some tense moments.

      • Paul says:

        I don’t think Bentley is a bad guy per se. Definately don’t think she works for Volkoff. I think she runs the “dirtier” side of the intelligence community business. That is, she’s Graham 2.0. She runs her own ops, and her goals, while in the general interest of the nation, may conflict with Gen Beckman’s goals. Her methods may also be a bit more “dirty” as well. I can easily see interdepartment conflicts happening. As stated somewhere above, I would love to see Casey’s ultimate loyalties put to the test. Something like, Bentley wants Team B eliminated because they are “obsolete” or “a liability” and Casey must choose what to do.

    • Faith says:

      I should add that I think the biggest shame and perhaps the source of my grievance is even though I think we will get to know her more in the coming episodes they have lost the opportunity to delve more into what led to this point.

      I’m guessing after this episode they will be tackling the after intersect part of the story (if we’re comparing it to Chuck). Of course we could still have a Mother’s Day kind of episode but just like Chuck, Vivian will never really be the same after that first encounter.

      Props on the contrast to Chuck and the goals and dreams aspect. Chuck did have to find his own way after losing it, and maybe Vivian never really had it. Although in fairness I think Chuck thought the same in the moment, and maybe Vivian did too.

      • Michael S. says:

        My real question is… who is Vivian’s mother? Certainly it can’t be Momma B, so why was there never a mention (at all) of Volkoff being married or otherwise involved with someone else? At least, I don’t remember a mention like that.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Let’s hope Vivian’s mother doesn’t turn out to be Sarah’s mom as well. That would be concentrated soap opera.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree, that would be too much. Some convoluted Bartowski connection may work because we already know about Volkoff and Frost. But adding a Walker/Burton into the mix might be too much.

  13. herder says:

    A quick example of timeline problems, Ellie was talking about Clara being 3 months old, but this was a Valentine’s day episode, three months back isNovember 14, prior to Thanksgiving when she was pregnant in Leftovers.

    • Rick Holy says:

      “Time” isn’t always relevant in the Chuckverse. That’s why I think that my “Vivian is possibly Chuck’s and Ellie’s WHOLE (not half) sister is possible. Who pays attention to ages and dates anyway??? 🙂

      And by the way, Sarah’s “real” name is supposedly SAM. If THAT ever comes up again in any SIGNIFICANT way in a future episode, it’s Subway on ME – for all of you!!

      In the Chuckverse, some things you can just ignore! 😉

      • Michael S. says:

        With her middle name being Lisa. And, it would heavily depend on Vivian’s age if it’s possible that she’s their sister. Wasn’t Chuck like 8 or 9 when Mama B left the nest?

      • Tamara Burks says:

        How about this as an alternate theory. Vivian is Sarah’s half sister either through her mother or even where Jack Burton fathered her while on a con and Volokoff inconrrectly thinks she is his.

    • armySFC says:

      herder, i asked that question earlier today, in this same thread, lol. i had 2 thoughts, both are weak but ehh. she was born 4 weeks rt. everything in the episode took place the week after v day. when they break to ellie and devon at the end its now 6 weeks further in time. they could have used that last scene to move forward in time. my other guess is it was a mistake that just never got caught. i know they stink at time lines, but if its not used to move forward or a mistake, then its just very bad. like you said if she really is 3 months old, she would have been born near the end of november.

  14. uplink2 says:

    Not sure where to post this but very interesting charts done by a member at ChuckTV showing the trends in overall viewers for the 4 seasons. The evidence of the problems with season 3 contributing is very clear. Also interesting that season 4 is trending up a bit.

    /\ being seasons 1-4, with the vertical line showing the change in seasons.

    Seasons 3-4, with a (degree 2 polynomial) trendline which shows an overall slight upward trend in S4 viewer numbers.

    Very interesting stuff. Season 2 is fairly consistent but Season 3 is like a ski slope down.

    • atcDave says:

      And this is why we discuss S3! Its effect was dramatic.

      Very pleased to see the S4 trend is slightly up. Let’s hope that continues, I would think even a small uptick would be good news come renewal time.

    • Faith says:

      I posted this chart awhile back…still relevant I think ;).

    • Rick Holy says:

      It’s just really sad to think what “could have been.” But if this turns out to be it, it will have been a pretty decent run – and hopefully we’ll see more of Levi, Strahovski and Baldwin on other shows that have a chance.

  15. thinkling says:

    They did a very good job in my opinion of moving in between scenes of light comedy, sinister themes and poignant moments.

    I really agree with that, Faith. Chuck is such a nimble show, and this episode did it all. The beginning series of murders reminded me of Tango. Tango was not as dark an episode, but it was Chuck’s first real mission and foray into danger.

    I took Chuck’s comment “why wouldn’t you want to live with your two best friends,” to mean Morgan living with his two best friends. I mean in Chuck’s mind if he is Morgan’s best friend, that status would naturally be shared with Sarah. And I maintain that Morgan and Sarah have this best-friend-in-law relationship going this season.

    The Valentine set up was quite a tease. The chocolate strawberries would have kept, but Morgan and Alex were a riot. So funny. 🙂

  16. Robert H says:

    Have read all of the comments. I guess I was the only one who did not like the episode.
    That’s the bad news, The good news, if you can call it that, is the episode was definitive
    in one way or another. Either they are getting ready to wrap it up or if they do get a 5th season there will be more budget cuts with major characters either gone or severely cut back in appearance which would mean marginal characters and sets would definitely be gone. Which begs the question, if that would happen why would what is left of the fractured fan base continue to watch it anyway with the ratings
    declining again on a downward slope?

    The fact that Schwartz is appealing for .2% more viewers is very bad. People are not forgetting what happened after the fans came to the rescue in Season 2 and what they got as a reward for that effort-Season 3-enough said. It isn’t going to happen, period.

    If NBC can’t or won’t promote the show that is NBC’s problem not the viewers. If Schwartz needs to make an appeal, he needs to be going to the network, not the fans.

    If the show does get renewed for one more year it will be because of business reasons with ratings only being one of several factors-costs,profit margins, and the the lure of syndication-ony 22 more episodes needed. WB could offer a very sweet deal that might be
    hard to turn down. Comcast will have a major say here. Hard to call one way or another.

    But as I said before if the price is more budget cuts who’s going to watch it anyway? The show is a ghost of its former self and nothing lasts forever. The viewers who left are not coming back. The post mortem will read “Season 3 killed the show” and the producers along with NBC are responsible. It’s all very sad because it could have been and should have been avoided.

    Nothing to do now except wait and see…….

    • Rick Holy says:

      And it seems like it’s “wait and see” EVERY season. Not just because of the ratings game, but because the CHUCK announcement isn’t usually made until the last moment.

      If they DO come back with a 5th season, I agree that it’s probably going to be under the condition of more budget cuts. I would think the whole “Buy More” thing would be gone. Period. Ellie and Awesome? Probably gone. Even Morgan – probably gone. I think you wind up with a “Hart to Hart” kind of situation (they’re bringing back Charlies Angels and Wonder Woman – why not “Hart to Hart II?”). Perhaps Casey is still a regular, perhaps not.

      The thing is, if you’re NBC and you DO bring the show back, do you bring it back in the same format as it is now. The current format isn’t gaining viewers – in fact it’s losing them – every season. If you bring it back for a 5th – and again at this point that’s still a HUGE “toss-up,” why don’t you try “shaking it up.” Levi, Strahovski and Baldwin have the greatest future “star power” (although Baldwin is already probably the best known based on his resume). Focus the show on them – and see what happens.

      If it’s between “cancelled” and “bringing it back but paired down and different,” I’m willing to give the later a shot. Without all the Buy More stuff and with reduced characters, this COULD even be more of a half-hour type comedy show instead of an hour. And it could be WITHOUT story arcs – just self-contained episodes. Truly, I think that’s one of the reasons it suffers in the ratings is even though it has dramatic aspects, it is more toward the comedy category – and how many comedies are an hour long? In an hour, it tries to do too much, and especially if the episode isn’t written well it suffers – and people turn it off. One of the interesting things with CHUCK is that if you look at the individual episode ratings, the second half hour usually has a lower rating than the first – meaning people are tuning into something else before the show ends. I think the first half hour of CHUCK is up against HIMYM – and that’s a stronger show than whatever it is that CBS has in the second half hour of CHUCK’s time slot.

      Anyway – do I sound like a desperate fan(atic) grasping at straws?? I admit it. This is really the only show that I “tune in to.” I occasionally “catch” other shows, but very infrequently, and I certainly don’t schedule me evening – or my DVD recording – around them. There will be a “hole” in my week when CHUCK goes. Hopefully something good will fill it – and that something good will have Levi, Strahovski or Baldwin as part of the cast!

      • jason says:

        rick – I would think morgan has a better shot at staying, than casey. Morgan IS the PERFECT stay in the car, communication ops guy for chuck and sarah. I would have to think that ellie and awesome might be brought back for selected eps. thing about jeff and lester, I would have to think they come sort of cheap, probably just as cheap as other characters would – although I am guessing.

        I would have to think, NBC should be applauded for letting us fans get the story told to the CS wedding, possibly with morgan & casey also partnered with mother / daughter … if you think about it, that is a fantastic place to call it quits from.

        I am sptiballin, but I would have to guess Zach and Yvonne are in danger of getting typecast if they stick around too much longer – both have lots to offer, I would be that sad to let them go, but they have given this show a great deal & I sort of look forward to what they do next.

        But, OK, twist my arm, one more season would be awesome, I am just trying to get my rationalizations ready, just in case it is over at 4 seasons.

      • armySFC says:

        rick, you do have some interesting ideas. don’t take this as an argument just a counter point. buymore needs to stay because of product placement that generates income. scale it back or go to what they had in the first episode. make it a functioning CIA substation.

        cutting screen time or actors from the show if they are under contract for six years. i know the big three are. probably won’t work.

        you need to have a balance for the show. i have said many times before the show has gone to far one way or another when it changed. season three went way to far one direction and season 4 has gone to far the other way. this year is a good example.

        these are just my opinions of what they did to just the characters this year. morgan has gone from the lovable side kick to an all knowing all seeing sage. not that its a bad thing but it came at the expense of others.

        chuck: while he has had some good moments, he had a lot where he was reduced to a bumbling fool as well. while he has grown, not as much as morgan.

        casey for the most part has been ignored.

        people wanted to see chuck and sarah together and they got it. they got family themes as well. it was the overwhelming theme this year. even though the majority of the fans may have wanted it, some segment of the fandom may have not wanted it. by pushing that aspect at the fans you alienate the part of the fan base that is not as vested in it. this year dropped 25% using that idea, so something caused folks to leave.

        if you go to more comedy or more drama you risk the same thing. i think a one and done type would be better with a arc in the back ground till you have a 2 part mini arc wrapping it up.

        joe said it best about this last episode, that it seemed more adult in how it came across. if this is how they play out the rest of the season and it does well maybe they go that way next year. if they get a 5th, and the changes they make draw in viewers or keep the same numbers why not shoot for a 6th? the big 3 are under contract for 6 so why not.

        in the end changes need to be made, just don’t go to far one way or another.

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t expect sweeping changes in cast if we get an S5. The show is established with a vocal and committed fan base; if the show is renewed, it means NBC wants more of the same.
        I’ve heard the Buy More is actually a money making aspect of the show right now (the set is paid for, and is perfect for product placement). I would also say Adam Baldwin is still a huge draw. He is well known from Firefly and a long career playing soldiers and thugs, he will probably be with the show to the end. If they make further cuts; Morgan, Ellie, and Devon are the most likely candidates. But the show is already quite cheap, and I believe it is even now making money at its reduced viewing numbers; so most likely scenario is to maintain the status quo.
        My preference is to see the show continue for many years to come yet. Apart from that, the ideal time to end the show will always be after one more season!

      • thinkling says:

        I agree with all of that, Dave … especially after one more season … and another and another …

    • uplink2 says:

      Robert, I would argue one point. The charts I listed above show a slight increase in overall viewers this season. Now the demo’s have dropped but that is something that is not limited to Chuck. Younger viewers are just not watching network television anymore in the numbers they once did. Also based on economics 18-25 year olds do not have the spending money they once did as my 24 year old son can attest. So advertisers that I have some info on at least at a local level are looking to 25-54 demo’s more and there Chuck is higher. In my market the 25-54 demo was .4 higher than 18-49 and Men 25-54 was .2 higher still. It will be interesting to see if that makes a difference but the threshold 18-49 # for cancellation will be different this year than last and it will be interesting to see how the networks respond.

      Personally I think that overall #s are a better gauge to decide how the audience is responding to the show and this season it is slightly better. But I agree that the epitaph for the show will be written as Season 3 killed its chances of building a larger audience and the data supporting that is very strong. Though in discussions I have had elsewhere season 3 apologists still hold to it was all DST’s fault. But the dropping overall #s were there long before DST. Many factors are involved certainly but those charts clearly show the most sustained downward trend happened in Season 3. And I agree completely it was all so unnecessary.

      • Paul says:

        Us “apologists” are not saying it was only DST. Only it was not as you claim, simply disenchantment with S3. It’s a much more complex mix than that. Do I think disappointment with S3 played some part? Yes, but only a PART. There are other factors that may have been at play.

  17. Tamara Burks says:

    We may end up saying that season 3 killed the show , it can be added to the writer’s strike killed the show (some just took a little longer to die ) , a business takeover killed the show (there was a show I liked that this happened to ) in the list of terrible reasons for a show to end.

    And I had an interesting thought , Volkoff has one thing going for him that all other bad guys didn’t have (except for Lazlo who was probably taken back into custody and heavily medicated) , he has a viable insanity defense. A good lawyer will point this out and try to shift as much of the blame as possible onto Mama B. Of course that won’t work for anything before she arrived but it may be enough to cast doubt over all of it and get him off. Plus a lot of people don’t get that just because someone is crazy it doesn’t mean they don’t know the difference between right and wrong . It can mean they don’t know the difference but it doesn’t always.

    • jason says:

      one great thing about the insanity angle, the writers could have tuttle appear at the trial, the shock of getting caught causing volkov to literally – go insane – which would be another great opportunity to let dalton steal an episode or two

      • atcDave says:

        That would be fun Jason, I liked Tuttle!

        Realistically, being insane does not “get you off” anymore. It means you go to a high security hospital instead of a prison. Volkoff would need to be more than nuts to escape justice, somehow he will need to escape.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        In a hospital , he could slowly let himself be cured. Any man who still thinks he’ll be getting somewhere with Frost after 20 years is definitely a patient lunatic.

  18. Rick Holy says:

    There were two “moments” in this episode with Yvonne/Sarah that we’re just way too cute. When Chuck tells her that “it’s like when you’re in college and you put a sock on your door……” And Sarah’s clueless response, “Why would you do that?” This “worldly woman” (who has probably had her share of lovers) has no clue as to the old college roomie “signal.”

    The second was in the house with Morgan and the whole Han Solo/Chewbaca “toys.” “I know you guys like to play with these toys…….” And AGAIN, we have this “worldly woman” playing with toys. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED the “Chewbaca noises” that she was making. “arrrrrrrr ahhhhhhh arrrrrrrr ahhhhhh.”

    Those are the kind of bits of subtle humor that good writers – who KNOW the character for whom they are writing – will include in an episode. Not “major” things, but things that add A LOT to an episode.

    And yet ANOTHER reason I’ll be “cryin’ the blues” in a MAJOR way if this season is the last 😦 ! But, it aint over til it’s over. So until they say “call it,” and the show is pronounced “dead,” it’s still alive and kickin’ – like us! So Keep on Chuckin’ everybody!!

    • atcDave says:

      You forgot the bashful “surprise” when she sprouted wings. Funny AND cute.

      • thinkling says:

        Bashful Sarah is always a winning combination.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        That was incredibly adorable. Plus it makes me think that Sarah is definitely picking out things that she likes these days instead of what the CIA says is appropriate.

      • atcDave says:

        hmmmm, you don’t think angel wings on the CIA’s “Top Tools of Seduction” list?!

      • jason says:

        my own opinion of s4, in particular the last 3 eps, most shippers are so happy with the relationship stuff, that they really don’t know what to say, while most those who take the show serious, look at things like the equestrian fight scene this week, or the skylight crash in the last ep, or the casey arm stuck in the wall or beckman bazooka scenes and have given up …. seems even if the show had the writing or acting to do action drama, they no longer have the production skills to pull it off …. again, my POV loves the show as is, but as someone who mostly watches action drama, I do get the complaint …. my issue with chuck it the action drama has never appealed to me, hence this is nothing new, but even I see the last few eps the production of action has sunk to new lows ….. I am not sure if sarah has been cuter every on this show than when she played with chuck and morgan’s toys, grrrrhh, bam, bam ….. maybe a little foreshadowing of what kind of mom she might make – I can wish that, but I think this show won’t get that far, unless they decide to treat us to a dream sequence flash ahead throw away episode …. in the suburbs maybe ten years in the future, how about episode 4×22?

      • atcDave says:

        I’m not even worried that far out Jason, just one season at a time!

        But it does seem they’ve made a real choice this season about tone. The show is lighter, more fun, and romantic. And for the most part they’ve gone away from the more intense and dramatic story lines. My guess is, a majority of fans are happy with the change. All the casual viewers I talk to are loving this season, and most here seem happy too. Ratings are holding pretty steady too (almost annoyingly so sometimes). But for those who actually prefer the grittier more intense sort of story, I’m sure this season is a big disappointment, and we see some of that in comments here.

        Sarah playing with “collectables”, and sprouting angel wings is irresistible stuff for those of us who want that sort of show. But I imagine it grates on the nerves of some viewers; as I said, a choice has been made.

      • jason says:

        dave – uplink’s charts make it real clear how the show sunk in season 3 and how it has stabilized in season 4.

        I went back and took each week from TVBTN’s, the first 7 eps held at 1.9 to 2.0, then 4×8 and 4×9 dropped to 1.7, , 4×9 kind of won fans back to 1.9 for 4×10, and 4×11 premiered at 2.1.

        I still think the sad endings for 4×11 and 4×12 killed this 2011 chuck, as the 2.1 quickly dropped back to 1.9 then 1.7, again, since then, chuck has held the 1.7. But I do understand where others would say that the failure of the volkov arc to dramatically entertain lost fans from 2.1 to 1.7.

        I also have thought the Cape’s dropping off the face of the earth may have pulled chuck down during those few weeks, I certainly know my parents always turn the tv on to the channel they watch for the night, it just takes a few % of the households to view that way to have the cape hurt chuck.

        I agree 100% with you that it feels like the writers have chosen a path, I am keeping my fingers crossed that vivian, jane bentley, and volkov can supply enough drama to keep that part of the fan base in line. Also, I would not be surprised that mama b has one more dramatic card left to play. This is sad, but given how many people she has killed, I sort of think her lot in life may be to die while taking out volkov ….. which compared to stephen senseless execution, would make some sense, but again, would be very sad

      • JC says:

        I was reading someone else comments about Chuck and I think they summed it up nicely. Its like Humpty Dumpty broke after S2 and they’ve never been able to put him back together just right.

        That’s why I loved this episode it seemed to have a balance that’s been lacking. Just the right mix of humor, romance, drama and action. Well I could have used some more action scenes but it was close enough.

      • armySFC says:

        jason i think you are correct on some points. i am non shipper (meaning the relationship and cutesy stuff that goes with it) is not that big a deal to me. if i know they are together that’s enough for me.

        one of my bigest problems with the season so far is like you said, the intersectless arc and volkoff arc. i wont go into details about why. the scenes you mentioned didn’t bother me that much. i actually found the riding scene quite enjoyable. it’s how the show has been for the most part with its action scenes. so i accept them as what i am going to get.

        the other big problem i have is the amount of time they spent with the romantic goodness. it was almost to much for me. not that i mind the romance angel, but they removed part of the show i did prefer. but as dave says the casual viewer and the type of fans that run this blog were happy as clams.

        this last episode was good for me, more so than any other this season. it was well balanced, not heavy in one area and the big three got to shine.

        the big thing you said that i agree with is by going so far one way they cost some viewers like myself that aren’t that vested in the c/s and do want a more balanced show.

    • thinkling says:

      And “They’re really fun … to look at. 🙂

    • Big Kev says:

      JC,
      You’re dead right – and it all goes back to the magic word – balance. They moved away from balance after S2, and they’ve never found it again. I’ve enjoyed most of S3 (slightly more than most) and S4 (slightly less than most) – but neither of them have quite worked in totality. I would love to ask Josh and Chris why they chose to walk away from that S2 balance, and why they’ve stayed away from it this season. But Dave is right – the tone of both S3 and S4 is a very deliberate choice.
      I think taking all sense of stakes and unpredictability out of the spy plots is a mistake, and it’s the loss of that, rather than “grittiness” per se, that has disappointed me a little – but Masquerade left me genuinely intrigued and unsure as to how things might play out for the first time since before the Tuttle reveal in First Fight, so I’m happy with that. I think the worst thing you can do with any kind of story, in any genre, is to make it entirely predictable – and I think they did that with much of the first 13.
      So Season 4 gets a 7/10 from me so far – which is about what I gave S3 – but even a 7/10 season of Chuck is better than most other TV!! 🙂

      • armysfc says:

        big kev, yeah that’s my opinion as well balance is what they need. oh and the answer to your ESPN/HBO question is in this thread. my rating is about a 5/10 for the first 13 and 7.5/10 for the last 3.

      • Big Kev says:

        @Army,
        Thanks so much for digging up that info about HBO. I saw it and appreciated it. It makes me think that an ideal future model might be smaller, genre-based subscription channels, maybe backed by the networks or other big corporations – with free to air network TV free to really chase mass-market programming.

      • JC says:

        @Big Kev

        You know its balance and more, the characters for the first time in awhile felt real and believable to me. We didn’t need a long winded Casey speech about feelings, it was summed up when he said he wouldn’t leave Burbank. That’s what we expect from him and we understood what he meant by it. The same with all the characters, Chuck nerdiness was apparent at home where it belongs. Morgan wasn’t the oracle of Delphi. Sarah growth from previous episodes stuck. Even the Ellie and Awesome scenes which sometimes slow an episode down, worked great and felt real. There’s been times the last two seasons where I generally questioned whether the writers had ever been in an adult relationship. This wasn’t one of them.

        As for the stakes, well I haven’t felt there’s been any since S2 and I don’t know with the tone of the show whether there will be. The same with the spy plots I just don’t think they care about them so I’ve given up getting worked up about them unless it creates a major continuity gaff or retcon.

    • joe says:

      Heh! I’m voting for the “wings” scene as major cute, too, Fr. Rick. But only because it was so precious the way she shrugged “Surprise!” to Chuck right then. 😉

      • Rick Holy says:

        Spot on! It never ceases to amaze me that no matter what emotion/situation Yvonne is asked to “act,” she nails it EVERY TIME!

      • atcDave says:

        I’m trying to convince my wife she needs to find those wings, so far no luck…

      • Rick Holy says:

        Dave. No need to convince her she NEEDS them. Just go to Victoria’s Secret (or if that’s too embarassing, I’d assume they’re on line) and order her the “nightie with the wings!”

        We have an old saying – and I’m sure priests aren’t the only ones who use it. “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission!”

        So GO FOR IT! I bet she’d love ’em! (Only you’d have to have a shirt made with your picture on it that says “Love Machine” – or whatever it was that was written on Chuck’s shirt!) 😉 🙂

      • thinkling says:

        I love that we’re seeing new sides to real-girl Sarah, and this is definitely one of them. It’s subtle; it’s fantastic; it’s fun. Sarah with Ellie was another unseen side to Sarah. And I don’t just mean the fact of what she’s doing, but the looks and tone of voice, the almost timid smile/laugh and shy “surprise.” And not to mention efforts to bond with Morgan and defend “collectibles.”

        I also loved the difference in tone compared to the scene in Seduction Impossible.

        Yvonne can do anything!

      • jason says:

        @think – I just want to let bloggers know, that while some think season 4 is out of balance, I think season 4 is perfectly in balance with Yvonne moving toward a real girl leading the way, as for rating seasons, season 1 = 6, season 2 = 7, season 3 (less 14 & 15) = 0, yep ZERO, season 4 plus 3×14,15 = 9.8 (4×8 and the misery in 11’s end and 12 only hicups) … just because a few bloggers think something is fact – like the show is losing fans this season because it is out of balance, does not mean the show is losing fans because it is out of balance …. I am no more sure of why the show is losing fans than an alternate theory that would be ANY change in balance back toward the shaw season’s misery and repulsion would result in a substantial erosion in the fan base that has remained.

      • thinkling says:

        Jason, you know me … I’m a huge fan of S4. I love what they’ve done with the relationship and Sarah’s growth is stunning. For Sarah’s growth to be addressed, the relationship had to be the focus, because that’s where she needed growth. I think they did it so well, tying it in with and bringing it out of spy scenarios and the main arcs. Aces.

        Now that her growth spurt is accomplished, I would expect to see new little things along the way, but not necessarily big issue things … at least not very often. Her family issues are on the table already and will probably be touched on periodically, but not every week, obviously.

        That said I enjoy episodes like Masquerade that don’t focus entirely on the relationship. The relationship was stable and wonderful, but there were no “issues,” and I liked that. The episode was infused with little things that evidenced all of Sarah’s past growth, and they were delightful, but not distracting. The big issues were all elsewhere, which was really nice. The relationship was simmering nicely on the back burner. They lifted the lid once or twice, but for the most part, the relationship was a presence without being the focus, like steam from a simmering pot.

      • thinkling says:

        Ah, I agree with you, too, Jason, that any return to darkness would lose people. I think TPTB get that much at least. If anything begins to smell like the misery arc or Shaw, it would be suicide for the show.

        I think the drama has been well done this season, and I surely don’t miss the OLI’s … may they be banished forever, amen.

        I don’t know why the ratings are dropping, but didn’t someone say that the overall numbers are steady? Just the younger demo is dropping. I know things are changing in the way people watch television shows, and I don’t think the ratings don’t reflect the changes. They are behind the curve. But that’s just me spit-balling, because I am not in any way an expert on these things.

      • armysfc says:

        jason, just curious. why do you think a change in balance has to as you said “in balance back toward the shaw season’s misery and repulsion”?

      • Big Kev says:

        Agreed, Thinkling. I loved this episode. They packed so much in, fleshing out characters while setting up new ones, moving the story forward while celebrating the past – and having the relationship infused into the story without ever becoming the story. In terms of writing, to have so much handled so deftly and paced so well, I reckon this was hands down the best script of the season.

      • atcDave says:

        Jason and Thinkling you know I’m in total agreement about liking the balance of this season so far. I wouldn’t ever use a term like “out of balance”, the way various story/mood/thematic elements are used in any show simply are part of what it is; and some viewers will always be happier if the balance was something else. I think our statistically steady numbers this season show a majority of viewers are pleased with what they’ve done so far; but anytime there’s a change, some viewers will prefer what came before, that is unavoidable.

        I think TPTB finally get that the show is teetering on the brink and needs to please as much of its remaining audience as possible; I think they also get that means keeping it mostly light and fun. But I don’t really have any problem with the effective use of occasional drama and tension we’ve seen this season, I think its well conceived to keep the characters and situations real and exciting.
        I was equally excited about the final stretch of S2; but this has been all season. I can’t hardly imagine a show better suited to my taste than what we’re seeing right now.

      • jason says:

        army – my notion is s4 has the balance just right, perfect, and that s3 took s2’s badness and made it worse …. correct me if I am wrong, but I was refuting a theory on this blog that s2 had it perfect, that s3 too far in the misery direction and s4 too far in the warm comedy direction ….. so for my viewing taste in the show chuck (which varies from my viewing taste somewhat dramatically), chuck season 4 has figured themselves out – had it not happened, the show would be done, 3×14 & 15 bailed them out last season giving the show the blueprint for this season, and this season the show has been delightful, delightful enough to get renewed, I honestly do not think so, but delightful enough to have a shot at it, yep, it does

      • armysfc says:

        jason, i haven’t read anywhere on this blog anyone wanting any return to anything resembling season 3. that’s why i asked the question of you. it’s also why i included your comment in the question. as for the balance question people are talking about look at thinkling’s and big kevs posts above this one. i have also said the same things but on a different thread.

        joe posted a comment as well, “There was something so – the only words I can think to describe it are “dramatically adult” – about this episode.” (referring to 4.16)

        i don’t think anyone is suggesting getting away from the fun appeal of this season, its more like thinkling says, the relationship simmers on the back burner an come out now and again while moving the other parts more to the forefront.

      • jason says:

        army, this is a cut and paste from a post of yours, I am pretty sure quite a few bloggers agree with you by the way, I really was more addressing something I thought kevin wrote rather than you when I wrote what I wrote, I think it is a fairly common debate point about s2/s3/s4 between he and I, we sort of like going back and forth (I think?), really no big deal, it is strictly that, an opinion, as is mine that season 4 is perfectly in balance:

        “armySFC says:
        February 23, 2011 at 11:49 am

        ……you need to have a balance for the show. i have said many times before the show has gone to far one way or another when it changed. season three went way to far one direction and season 4 has gone to far the other way. this year is a good example…..”

      • atcDave says:

        Jason, I think S2 is when most of us fell completely in love with the show. I know for myself, when S1 debuted I thought it was the best show currently on television. S2 is when I decided it was possibly my favorite show ever.
        I would also say that I believe S2 is the height of the technical quality of the show; that is, they had the budget and talent to do everything they wanted to do well. As both a Charah ‘shipper and one who dislikes all forms of love geometry I certainly found some things to dislike in S2; but overall it was wonderful entertainment.
        But to me, S4 is the story telling peak of the show (so far). All the elements I’ve been wanting are finally in place (okay, I’m sure you all know what I mean by that!), and they’ve struck the right tone in almost every case. Certainly the prevailing philosophy on what they want to do this season is exactly what I want to see. My biggest complaints have had to do with the use of techniques I’m pretty tired of (mis-communication derived angst) and some continuity sloppiness; but these are really minor beefs, and I’ve truly never liked a show more than what we’re currently getting.

      • armysfc says:

        jason yes i did say that, you just happened to leave out my explanation that takes up the next 3-5 paragraphs. that aside i have my own break down about the viewers of the show. it maybe similar to how you see it then again it may not.

        25% are shippers, the most important thing to them is the chuck and sarah relationship and all that goes with it. 50% are casual fans, they like all aspects of the show. some lean towards the shipper side some lean towards the content side. if some minor bump in the road happens in the relationship they don’t panic. same with a bad plot. 25% are looking for content, they want a good well written plot that drives the characters.

        i believe that 90% of fans are quite happy with the air of the season. i’m a content guy. am i happy with how c/s are now? yes. am i happy about how they deliver a mission or the content? not so much. i’m happy with the overall air of the show as well.

        the balance i keep talking about is make the show enjoyable for all the viewers. i don’t want them to change whats working, why fix what isn’t broke. improve the areas that are not as strong as the other parts. improve the content so those fans are happy, keep the shipper tone going. this makes both the edge groups happy. the fans in the middle will still be happy. i don’t know if that gives you a better idea of what i’m trying to say or not.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        I checked Padre. Victoria’s secret doesn’t seem to sell the wings. But you can google angel wings feather and order and alot of places will pop up. I remember runing across a online tatto supply place once that sold them and on Instructables.com there’s a posting that tells how to make a pair.

  19. Rick Holy says:

    And she gets CUTER the more times you re-watch on NBC.COM.

    COME ON everybody out there. Get on to NBC.COM/CHUCK and re-watch the episodes (if you’re not already doing it). Somehow NBC does count on-line viewing (otherwise they wouldn’t advertise it so much). If we’re on that razor thin line between renewal and cancellation, ANYTHING – even online views/hits – could make the difference. They DO generate ad revenue from on line viewing. Obviously not near as much as “live viewing,” but SOMETHING.

    And by the way, my new “Buy More” lunch box that I bought from the NBC.COM store just arrived today. 47 years old and my first “tin” lunch box since I was I think 6! See what crazy things LOVE (for a TV show) will make you do.

    And it’s STILL not too late to get someone interested in CHUCK. I’ve had two friends start watching this season and one (a married couple) are addicted, and the other doesn’t miss an episode. So it IS possible to get more folks watching. AND IF ANYONE HEARS ABOUT SOMEONE WITH A NIELSEN BOX, INVITE YOURSELF OVER TO THEIR HOUSE ON MONDAY NIGHT. TELL THEM YOU’LL BRING DINNER! BUT THE ENTERTAINMENT NEEDS TO BE “CHUCK!”

    And PLEASE, don’t forget Subway on Monday nights. They could STILL be a factor in all of this. Haven’t seen a sub on an episode lately, but I’m expecting that it won’t be too much longer before one of those beautiful footlongs appears!

    • Verkan_Vall says:

      55 years old and I can’t believe I’m saying this…

      How much was that lunch box, Fr. Rick?

      Not…Not that I would ever use it MYSELF. Heavens no, it’s just that I have younger relatives, much younger in fact, that could use it. Probably.

      Why don’t I just go over to the store at NBC.com and stop bothering you with this whole, humiliating subject. Although, I really could go for a foot-long sub right now.

      • Rick Holy says:

        I hate to admit it, but I think by the time all was said and done, it was something like $20. But what the heck, I’ll store my 1977 limited edition Kenner Han Solo and Chewbacca toys – I mean “collectibles” – in it!! 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        Just don’t let “mom” play with those “collectibles” Rick!

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        I was having second thoughts about the lunch box (only $15), but realized that it would be perfect for holding my set of Jeffster shotglasses!

        Gee, thanks Fr. Rick!

  20. Tamara Burks says:

    Ellie’s I have a plan (which she and Devon easily pulled off even while sleep deprived) makes me think that Chuck isn’t the only planner in the family .

    You have to wonder how this could have been applied to the early non parent years to keep CPS from taking Chuck and keeping themselves with a roof over thier heads and food on the table.

  21. Tamara Burks says:

    I checked ,the sleep sheep (http://sleepsheep.com/) was definitely product placement and it was incredibly and smoothly well done.

    • Rick Holy says:

      Now I want one! Most nights I don’t sleep well – maybe it would work for me!

      • Big Kev says:

        Hahaha…..I’d probably have a few non-Sarah scenes in there, but no doubt she’s always been my favourite character in the show. Speaking of shy and sweet, the “real” Sarah fishing for compliments in First Date is just one of the reasons why that episode is tied as my all-time favorite.

        PS I’m getting ready to duck the hail of missiles from you here, but my second favourite character would be Morgan….

      • Big Kev says:

        Sorry – that was supposed to be in reply to a post from Jason further down (facepalm……)

      • patty says:

        I want the itty bitty jeffster t-shirt for mine!

    • Rick Holy says:

      O.K. Here’s how NUTS I am. I just bought one for ME. It will fit nicely in my headboard. Has a 45 minute timer. I don’t think I’ll listen to the mother’s heartbeat sound. I’ll go with either the ocean waves or the whales. I’ll report back how it works.

      Now if anyone out there knows how to sew and would like to sew me a little shirt that says CHUCK [or SARAH :)], that would make the little fella (or gal) complete! With that and my new BuyMore lunch box, I’ll be all set!

      Dear Lord – I’m pathetic!

      • atcDave says:

        Um, Rick; is there any chance we can recruit you to give a special “Chuck” homily to all of the advertisers? I mean obviously, advertising and product placement on Chuck works!

      • Faith says:

        How about an iron on “love machine” design for the shirt? Now that would be AWESOME!

      • Rick Holy says:

        Dave. Actually there WAS a “comment” section on the order form for the sheep. And I was SURE to put that I saw the thing on CHUCK on NBC on Monday night – so they know at least ONE person saw it. Thanks to Tamara for posting the link and for doing the research to find it on line.

        And I’ll be honest (like I’m usually not???). Right now I’m very happy with my 2002 station wagon. Just put ALOT of money into necessary maintenance, etc., so I’m counting on keeping it for a few more years. But if I wasn’t, I would definitely look at that “sport” station wagon they’ve advertised on CHUCK (it seems like every other ad is for some model of car). I think it’s a LEXUS, so probably out of my price range – but who knows, maybe in a few years a can nab a used one!! I also love the looks of that Honda CrossTour (the thing Ellie and Awesome and Morgan drove to the Olympics in), but again, not in the market for a few more years!!

      • Rick Holy says:

        Faith – as long as it didn’t have MY NAME or PICTURE along with the “Love Machine” title. That could be a little awkward – especially when the cleaning lady comes in to clean the house! 🙂

      • Faith says:

        Nah, we have to cater to the sexes…

        For men:

        For women:

        LMAO.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Faith. Order me the “winged one.” PLEASE!!!! 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        Sarah/Yvonne’s look is so funny in that shot. Who’d have thought Sarah had such a shy streak in her?!

      • Faith says:

        Wait are you serious? Because I can actually do it lol. I’d be happy to :). I made a shirt for Pushing Daisies in the same fashion. Well designed the shirt, I bought the shirt itself from Michaels. 😀

      • atcDave says:

        It sure makes me happy to see everyone having so much fun here tonight! (and no, I’m not buying a shirt…)

      • Faith says:

        LOL it’s a bear’s shirt. How much could those things cost? I’ll do it for free :D.

      • Rick Holy says:

        CAN’T SLEEP!! Need that “Sleep Sheep” to get here – and SOON! And FAITH, Heck yeah I’ll buy the “Sarah” tee shirt! (But not with LOVE MACHINE on it – might be awkward walking around the church in the summer! 🙂 ). Maybe “SURPRISE” across the top would be more prudent. 😉

      • thinkling says:

        Sarah/Yvonne’s look is so funny in that shot. Who’d have thought Sarah had such a shy streak in her?!

        Dave, I actually think the real Sarah has a pretty wide shy streak. It comes out when she does really real things, like asking her friends to an engagement party and to be bridesmaids or asking Ellie to be MOH or talk about family with her. It comes out in sweet ways when she is being transparent with Chuck.

        She can apply lots of her skills as an agent to hide it, but down deep, under the KA agent, Chuck’s Sarah is sweet and shy (but don’t tell anybody). Wonder what her Myers Briggs would be.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I know Thinkling. When you go back and watch older episodes, you can actually see how that is perfectly consistent. But we didn’t really start to see it until S3.5; its another of those things that didn’t become clear until they were actually together. And its really been one of the unexpected pleasures in watching this season.

      • Big Kev says:

        I always thought the shoulder bump from the pilot was a window into exactly that – a shy and sweet Sarah. Still one of my favorite scenes from the whole series.

      • jason says:

        kev – me too – I have a few others that just pop out, and sarah’s impersonation of chewie for morgan has to be top ten too, I know this one won’t make real many lists, but when sarah turns to chuck and goes ‘what’s the plan’ while she is sipping her coffee in honeymooners, top ten also, I think you will find a theme to my top scenes in the show, I might get to triple digits in top scenes from the show before sarah would not be involved … I will have to think about that, anyone have any candidates, top non sarah scenes in chuck all 4 seasons????

      • Big Kev says:

        Wow – just managed to reply to your post in completely the wrong place! There’s now a comment sitting under one of Fr Rick’s posts that makes no sense at all!
        “Top 10 scenes of Chuck”…… You’ve started me thinking now!!

      • jason says:

        ok kev – back at you – your comment about morgan as #2 for you got me to thinking, here is my list:

        1 – sarah
        2 – ellie
        3 – casey
        4 – chuck
        5 – morgan
        6 – awesome
        7 – beckman
        8 – big mike
        99 – jeffster

      • Big Kev says:

        Only 99 for Jeffster? I’m surprised they’re that high 🙂
        I’m not their biggest fan any more, but I have to say I thought the Woodcomb/Jeffster B plot this week was perfect. Funny, sweet, and equal parts devious and deviant.

      • jason says:

        you got me there – 99 – so if I make a mistake when typing in such a manner that a deep seeded truth comes out, is it still as freudian slip, or is it something else?

      • patty says:

        Father Rick about your car. I actually bought a Pontiac Vibe (which is a Chevy built Matrix) and yes Chuck played a factor in that descision. We wanted a hatchback with good mileage and I said “What is that car they use for the Nerd Herder, it looks perfect.”
        We would have gotten the Matrix but the local Toyota dealer kept switching up the prices on us.

  22. Robert H says:

    Fr. Rick really agree with you on your first comment respounding to mine above except for one little thing, I did not like the series “Hart to Hart” and if it comes back for a 5th
    season in that mode I definitely am gone, I will not watch it, period. And quite frankly
    if the Casey character is gone I will probably not watch either. The Casey character
    balanced the Chuck/Sarah characters although not quite so much this year.

    Uplink2 thanks for the info on the stats. Found it very interesting. You made some good points and they are worth thinking about.

    I’ll say one thing about Schwartz, he sure has a lot of nerve asking viewers for a .2%
    increase in ratings considering how he and Fedak “thanked” the viewers for coming to
    the rescue after Season 2 with the debacle of Season 3. I don’t think I could work up the nerve to make that kind of request but then again I’m not Schwartz.

    As for a possible Season 6 some people are speculating about my question would be, “Are you kidding me or what?” The odds are strong there will not be a Season 5 although I concede that under certain circumstances it could happen but I wouldn’t bet the ranch on it. I don’t think there would be enough viable story lines for a 5th season, let alone a 6th one. But I could be wrong.

    Hope they can complete the Sarah backstory before the end of the season. The series
    ending with be incomplete without it but time is running out. Hope it happens, thanks.

    • Rick Holy says:

      Robert – I don’t necessarily mean that it has to be “another” Hart to Hart, because honestly, I don’t remember too much about the series. I guess my main point was in “pairing down” the show, you end up with two primary characters (is it proper to say “more primary” than they are already). Some say like a “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” thing. Or, and maybe this isn’t a good omen since it crashed and burned so quickly, a kind of “Undercovers,” where the couple and the “spy life” are the main/primary focus – with “some” supporting cast tossed in here and there.

      • atcDave says:

        Thin Man! Perfect model. The cases were played serious but the lead couple loved each other and enjoyed life. Hart to Hart was clearly meant to follow that model but it had little “edge,” Thin Man was far more unpredictable and all in all, Chuck-like.

      • thinkling says:

        Yes! Thin Man with a little Undercover Blues on the side. That is Chuck to a tee.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Hate to appear stupid (as if THAT hasn’t happened before). But what’s the “Thin Man” all about? Is that a movie or something from the 40’s???? I’m clueless in St. Louis – or Northwest Indiana.

      • thinkling says:

        30’s – 40’s. B&W series of movies about a crime solving couple, Nick and Nora Charles. William Powell and Myrna Loy star. She’s rich. He’s a former detective. They have a dog. Humor, mystery. Fun to watch.

      • thinkling says:

        P.S. I did NOT watch the originals, just the reruns, thank yew. 😉

      • atcDave says:

        There were six Thin Man movies total. The first couple movies are VERY big on alcohol/drunk humor (they were done right after prohibition ended), but that was scaled back a little after they had a kid in the third movie.
        But as I said, very Chuck-like in tone. The mysteries are played mostly straight, while the humor comes from the featured couple and their eccentric friends.

  23. Robert H says:

    P.S. forgot to mention one point Fr. Rick has made from time to time and is one that I
    very much agree with.

    I will never again make the emotional committment to any show that I have made to this one. It simply isn’t worth it and I think the majority of viewers who have stopped
    watching the show within parameters of seasons 3 and 4 would probably agree. I will
    probably continue to watch the show to its conclusion, one way or the other till the end
    of the season, more out of curiosity as to how it will end rather than simply watching the show for its own sake, thanks.

    • Rick Holy says:

      Amen!

    • OldDarth says:

      Not me.

      Star Trek, Night Stalker, Greatest American Hero, Lost, DeadWood, The Wire, Chuck, and Fringe to name a few all have generated strong emotional ties for me.

      I look forward to continuing to do so in the future as well.

    • armysfc says:

      well i never got attached to any show so for me its easy.

    • Tamara Burks says:

      At one point in my life it seemed that every show I liked got canceled quickly. And then came Quantum Leap!

      Shows I like still get canceled (one year I liked 3 new shows all got canceled) but Quantum Leap is the one that convinced me that I wasn’t a jinx.

      • atcDave says:

        I think my worst year I lost 5 shows! But hey, last year I didn’t loose any.
        I’ve always loved television and I look for things to invest in. At any time I usually have about ten shows I’m watching, but only 4 or 5 I’m really hooked on. Currently, apart from Chuck I would list Castle, Burn Notice, and White Collar as the shows I get really excited over. But even so, Chuck is nearly unique in my experience for the level of investment I feel.

  24. OldDarth says:

    Ooooo Quantum Leap! Another good friend. 😀

  25. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Masquerade (4.16) | Chuck This

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