Moving On Up — Masquerade

Masquerade Unmasks Opportunity and Growing Pains

Masquerade changed its mood–and mine–as easily as, well … changing masks. I enjoyed the highs and lows, every scene and every mood; and I never felt like I was being jerked around. From a very, very bad bad-guy to a mysterious socialite to an enigmatic NCS director; from humorous beginnings to poignant final chapters, Chuck’s hallmark character growth and change provide the drama marbled throughout the fun of Masquerade. And everybody finds themselves moving on up.

As some others have said, Masquerade had some heavy lifting to do. Season 4.0 concluded its main arcs oh-so nicely. Seduction Impossible and Cat Squad gave us a heartwarming and hilarious interlude to catch our breath and be entertained. Time to move on.

More than any other show I’ve known, Chuck and its characters grow and progress. It’s like a video game with multiple levels. Each season (or half season, as the case may be) moves everyone up to the next level. By my count we’re about to begin level 6. Masquerade sets up Season 4.5 and positions all of our Chuck friends and heroes for new things yet to come. Well except for the Buymorons — some things really never change.

Things change, and it’s not really a bad thing. I think it’s going to be OK. Morgan

Valentines Day Disaster

From over-kill Morgan to buzz-kill Casey, the Valentnes Day fiasco was pure comedy, marbled with sweetness and punctuated with a romantic tease. I loved the contrast between Morgan’s over-the-top decorations (9 bear-skin rugs and that huge stuffed heart) and Chuck’s sweeter, more sensible ones (heart shaped chocolate soufflé, champagne, candles, and music). Well, the shirt was a bit much, but underneath it all, he is still a nerd. Sarah was so cute feeling her way through her first real-girl Valentines Day (only giving herself away by not knowing about socks and college door knobs). She was so pleased with herself over her chocolate strawberries. Apparently strawberries are her specialty.

The comedy of errors that follows when Chuck goes to retrieve the strawberries, and he and Sarah inadvertently witness Morgan and Alex’s, um … zen patty-cake love ritual was role-on-the-floor funny. Sarah’s winged surprise was too cute (definitely a new side of Sarah Walker we’re seeing).

The scene does feel like Chuck and Sarah are the parents and Morgan and Alex are the teenage couple. What is happening? Ah, but then the real parent ruins the mood, embarrassing one and all.

Happy Valentines Day, everybody.

Kiss Normal Good-buy

Meanwhile the Drs. Awesome are not feeling, looking, or smelling awesome. The new has worn off of new-born bliss and turned it into baby exhaustion and eau de vomit and Cheerios. Been there. Done that. Threw away the t-shirt. More comedy gold as Ellie and Devon go in search of sleep remedies. They finally find the perfect solution … and steal it. Jeff and Lester are at an acceptable, even funny, level of weird and creepy as they do stuffed animal recordings and stalk nursing mothers. Ellie shows off more of her prowess as queen manipulator as she lures them away from their Sleep Sheep so that Devon can shepherd it safely into the Woodcomb fold.

Masquerade … Vivian Unmasked (sort of)

The Masquerade treats us to creeped out Chuck and funny! Sarah. Sarah yanks Chuck’s chain about sex-crazed, orgy parties. So. Funny. He is such fun to mess with, and it’s twice the fun when Sarah does the messing. Casey and Morgan bicker back and forth about their relevancy status with TeamB and Chuck and Sarah, unwittingly priming each other to make some big decisions.

Finally, we meet the mysterious Vivian MacArthur, whom none of her guests seems to know. Curious. Gregarious host she is not, hiding out in anonymity, first behind a mask; then finally completely away from her own party, in the stable giving her attention and affection to her horse. Curious. Not that she’s hiding, I understand and sympathize with that part. I just wouldn’t have thrown the party to begin with.

Chuck and Sarah discover that Vivian is the daughter of Alexei Volkoff, apparently by a woman named Ms. MacArthur. Not surprisingly, she knows nothing about her father. Well, if you sold nukes to banana republic dictators and frequently shot your disappointing employees, would you tell your daughter the truth? Yeah … me neither.

With Vivian safe in Castle, the remaining tasks are divied up. Casey takes paperwork over people work (no surprise there). Sarah volunteers to make Morgan feel less like a third wheel (double take there). That leaves Chuck to debrief Vivian.


Chuck and Vivian. Chuck, the good guy who wants to help people, doesn’t stop with the perfunctory task of debriefing Vivian.

As we drill down into Vivian’s past, we learn that she has led a privileged life: attended the best schools, no training spared, no advantage witheld. She lacked for nothing, save the love of family, which in the end matters far more than privilege.

Chuck tries to help her feel better about her father and more hopeful about her future, [Maybe] he was trying to protect you from the very dark and dangerous world he was a part of. … And now you have a chance to do what you want.

The punch line? This accomplished, privileged woman has absolutely no clue what she wants to do with her life, I can’t believe I still don’t know what to do with my life.

Chuck, of course, has been in her shoes. He doffs his agent cap and dons his hero cap. That’s right. This is our hero, still rescuing people on a personal level.

You should’ve seen my life a few years ago. I was working a dead end job. I was living with my sister. And then something … an opportunity just fell in my lap. I never expected this to be my life, but here I am, and I’m … happy. And if you give it some time, I’m sure you can find that for you as well.

I’m going to pick these as the most significant words of the arc. OK, maybe not the whole arc. I mean this is just the first episode. Come to think of it I do will probably be the most significant words, but I digress. I believe these words set up the story.

We know Chuck’s story and how the Intersect, along with Sarah of course, propelled him into the life he didn’t ask for but was supposed to have. The opportunity (the Intersect) didn’t make Chuck a hero, it gave him the opportunity to be the hero he already was. As we drilled down into Chuck’s past, we learned that he was prepared to be the Intersect all along. He had a special brain, uploaded the Alpha Intersect as a child, and demonstrated a unique aptitude at Stanford. The opportunity suited him: his aptitude, his training, and his character — his hero’s heart.

What about Vivian? The necklace is her opportunity. And the rest of it?

You were skeet shooting at age 7, had your black belt at 13, and by the time you graduated from the London School of Economics, you were fluent in 5 languages. Your whole life, your father’s been grooming you. You are his succession plan.

That’s the training. How about the aptitude? Does blowing someone away with a shotgun, without hesitation, count? Left-handed no less. The unknown is her character. Does she have the heart of a hero or the heart of a villain? Who will influence her along the way.

That’s the Vivian story … or my spec on it anyway.

Casey. An opportunity drops into his lap, too. We know almost nothing about it. Just that it’s with NCS. Here are the pertinent parts of the invitation so far.

Bently: Afternoon, Colonel. Paperwork, bar tending, any chance your skills are being wasted here? You started working for the NSA because you were America’s best sharp shooter, and now … you’re so much more than this, Colonel. I’m putting together a new team, and I want you to lead them.

C: What’s the directive?

Bently: You’re not going to spend the rest of your career with this team, and you know it. Sooner or later, you going to have to move on, Colonel. Why not today, when you can go out on top?

This sounds oddly familiar. There must be a course.

Keller: How would you feel if I told you that there was a covert black ops team of America’s finest snipers, rangers, and men willing to do anything to protect this country … and that team wanted you?

C: I’d say that sounds like a dream come true, sir.

Keller: Then I’d say you have quite a choice to make. You can either go home to your family or you can become the soldier you always dreamed you could be. Tic Tac

Casey has changed. He’s learned some things. He’s a little more cautious. He knows he doesn’t want to leave his team, and he absolutely will not leave his family.

It’s only a thread to go on. We have no idea where this is going. I’m not sure I trust Director Jane Bently. But I trust Colonel John Casey.

When I became a man, I put away childish things. Ap Paul

Morgan. Sarah volunteers to help Morgan not feel like the third wheel. I found this to be such a sweet, and brave, gesture on her part. Morgan and Sarah give us the gold once more. They only really connect when it involves Chuck. So here sit two people with grape soda and cheese puffs and absolutely nothing in common, nothing to talk about. Awkward. Hilarious. Sweet. Poignant. Perfect.

How does one hang, anyway?

Sarah, desperately searching for any interest to bond over, remarks about the toys on the mantle. Toys on the mantle … did I just type that? It’s clear by Morgan’s reaction that he doesn’t consider them toys. They’re collectibles. Sarah, trying to get in touch with the inner child she probably never had, begins to play with the … toys. Hilarious. (Maybe her kids will get to play with their collectibles — when Daddy’s gone, of course.) Morgan explains, and Sarah adjusts, “They’re really fun … to look at.” Sweet.

“Anyway, I’ve been arranging them this way since I was about 13.” The look that flickers across Sarah’s face speaks of the childhood and best friend she never had. Did Sarah ever have collectibles? How well can you arrange things in a motel room? How many toys can you carry from town to town to town? How many did she leave behind? Poignant. It’s sad that Sarah doesn’t have any memorabilia from her childhood. It’s also kind of sad that Morgan’s memorabilia is on the mantle.

Sarah will gnaw off her arm, though, before she will take that away from him. “No. No, they’re collectibles. It’s different. They have … value.” You have value. She is stricken that he suddenly feels … diminished. Perfect.

Morgan’s epiphany is due. Chuck willingly lets Morgan indulge his inner child. It gives him a chance to revisit his own inner child on occasion. The thing is, it isn’t Morgan’s inner child. It’s his inner … him.

He has come a long way from the guy who took Ellie’s pillow to prom, or the guy who figured if he and Chuck couldn’t get girls they would always have each other. Or even the guy who asked if Chuck quit the Buymore, where would they work? But he is still living with his best friend and his best friend’s fiancée. They would never ask him to leave, but he figures it out on his own. High fives to Morgan.

Chuck needs to let Morgan move out. He’s going to be married in a few months. He and Sarah need their own place. Sarah moved into a bachelor pad, Chuck and Morgan’s place. She’s fine with that. Wherever Chuck is, it’s home. The bearded sage is right, though. It needs to be Chuck and Sarah’s place, and right now it’s not. Sarah’s casual remark unconsciously reveals the truth, So, I know you guys like having these toys around. It’s their place. It will never be her place as long as Morgan is there … not really.

Still, she is genuinely sad to see Morgan go, because she knows what it means for Chuck. She accepts Morgan as family. She now understands and appreciates this friendship that was so alien to her in Best Friend. Her support of Chuck is perfect.

Aces, Yvonne, aces.

The Best Is Yet To Be. Robert Browning

Morgan is determined to grow up. Maybe that means leaving behind something that’s great. But it most assuredly means gaining something that’s better. Alex, maybe?

For Chuck, things are perfect. He has Sarah. He has his best friend. What could be better than that? I guarantee you he’s about to find out.

Casa Bartowski may get a bit of a face lift. That won’t be a bad thing, either. Where will Sarah make her mark? How will they make the Ellie/Devon/Chuck/Morgan/Sarah apartment the Charleses-ez place?

Casey may move on up to a better opportunity. Or he may come back to TeamB with absolute conviction that it’s where he belongs. Or he may prepare the way for them to move on up to NCS, too.

Vivian is moving on up. Will she succeed her father or oppose everything he stood for?

Ah, the youngest member of TeamB? Clara moving on up to the nursery means Ellie and Devon can get some much needed sleep and find their new normal. Even Han and Chewy move on up from merely collectibles to heirloom status.

The heavy lifting is done and done well. Season 4 is set on a new plane toward growth and good things to come. I am excited about the next 8 episodes: the spy story, Casey’s future, MamaB’s involvement, Ellie’s progress, Sarah’s back story, and the wedding.

The best is yet to be.

~ Thinkling’s thoughts

About thinkling

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

  1. Rick Holy says:

    How can I NOT comment regarding the St. Paul quote!!

    The Morgan and Sarah “hanging” was one of my favorite parts of the episode. I just LOVED how Sarah tried to enter into a world that she had been witnesss to now for some time (the Chuck and Morgan world), but I still think doesn’t understand completely (likely because of the lack of a “best girlfriend” growing up).

    The line about “I know you guys like to PLAY WITH THESE TOYS – and the look on Morgan’s face as she refers to the “collectibles” as toys will be one of my favorite moments from this season. It ranks up there with the adorable Alex wearing Morgan’s “never worn” Back to the Future tee shirt while dripping O.J. and pizza sauce – and Morgan’s eye-widening reaction to it.

    To those who say that this season has been too Sarah-centric at the “cost” of Chuck, I wouldn’t disagree. But truthfully I think the season NEEDED to be Sarah-centric. Season 3 ended with Chuck and Sarah “together.” We know A LOT about Chuck and how he got to this point – including now knowing the story of his mother. Sarah – as Chuck referred to her – is still in many ways “a mystery.”

    I’ve found the Sarah “growth moments” to be absolutely delightful. And I’m hoping the remaining episodes reveal more about her past. We don’t need every detail (doubt there’s enough time for it anyway) but a little more “Sarah history” can’t hurt. I have a terrible memory, but I can’t remember a “BAD” episode that dealt with Sarah and “who she was.” Some have been better than others, but can’t remember a “BAD” one.

    Plus – and this is a BIG PLUS – in focusing on Sarah, we’re getting to see more of Yvonne’s skills as an actress. She handles the comedic aspects wonderfully – as she does everything else.

    I’ve found this season, with the exception of maybe a couple of “clunker” episodes (and you expect that in a 24 episode season) to be VERY entertaining. And NO, not “all” of that entertainment has to do with the “CHARAH” aspect of the show. There’s been a lot of humor, great guest stars, and as Thinkling has pointed out so well, significant character growth. (And yes, I know it hasn’t been a “stellar” season for Chuck, but it’s not like that’s intolerable).

    As for my Season 4 evaluation, in honor of the late Gene Siskel and in admiration of the great determination and spirit of Roger Ebert, I give it “two thumbs up!”

    8 more episodes to go. (unless we DO get a S5). Looking forward to every minute of them!

    • thinkling says:

      Couldn’t agree with you more, Fr. Rick. So many great scenes this season! The Sarah/Morgan scenes have all been winners.

      • joe says:

        I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to use the line from Paul’s letters this week, Thinkling. Once again you succinctly wrote the thoughts with which I’ve struggled.

      • thinkling says:

        Thanks, Joe. They really fit, don’t they, Paul’s words, I mean.

  2. Robert H says:

    Liked your article, Didn’t particularly like the episode. It was definitive as to where things are going, like it or not. They have an awful lot to fit into 8 episodes and they better hurry. Time is running out, literally. Hope they at least get Sarah’s backstory in
    as that relates to the entire series making it complete and Casey’s too if possible. I would rather see the Sarah backstory even more than the wedding assuming that takes place. Anybody think NBC will advise the producers on renewal before final decisions are made so that the series can be wrapped up in the last 8 episodes if a 5th season is not to be? Just wondering how it will all turn out.

  3. OldDarth says:

    What intrigues me the most is how well they will handle this short arc. Given their spotty track record with the 13 episode arcs, especially this season with all the unresolved and dangling story threads, it will be intriguing to watch it unfold.

    What will be interesting to see is if the show can maintain the fun, deemed vital by many here, and recapture the sense of real risk and danger of Season 2 and 3. Right now the show feels like it is on cruise control and hence the lassitude that has descended over the fan base this season.

    • jason says:

      OD – The show seems to follow set patterns, I think the next foray into ‘raised stakes’ will be 4×18. Going to be interesting to see how it plays with the fans, my fingers are crossed that it is successful & popular.

      This show can’t stand to alienate too many fans at this point, which for a multiple genre show like chuck is practically impossible, but I would assume a well spun dramatic arc would placate season 4’s biggest critics without doing too much damage to other segments in the fan base.

      For me, TPTB pretty much can do anything and keep me happy, as long as chuck and sarah are a team, in love, in trust, and engage in a CS vs the world theme. My way has so many options available, could do dozens more CS spy couple stories. The show will run out of fans before it ever runs out of story unfortunately.

      • atcDave says:

        I mostly agree Jason. For me they’ve hit the balance of all elements exactly right this season. Just enough drama and tension mixed in to the humor and romance. I’m quite certain if they’d hit this balance a year ago the ratings would be significantly better now. But I think they alienated so many viewers they will always be on a tightrope now. It is so difficult to attract new viewers to a going concern this late in the game; and so many casual viewers I speak with act like the show has a full count, one big misstep and they’re done. My confidence has been mostly restored this season, but many viewers don’t feel that way.

      • OldDarth says:

        One can only hope. But frankly at this point of the game doubt it will happen. If so, it will be a welcome and pleasant surprise.

        There is a writer’s maxim – Never give the fans what they want. Give them something better.

        That has not happened this season.

      • atcDave says:

        Many of our opinions are 180 degrees off from that OD. I have honestly NEVER enjoyed a show more than S4 of Chuck. They are delivering the most satisfying show I’ve ever seen on pretty much every level.

      • thinkling says:

        That’s where I am, too, Dave. They have way exceeded my best hopes for a season of Chuck.

    • thinkling says:

      OD, I know you and I like totally different aspects of Chuck, so I mean no offense or disrespect. I just see the nature of the show differently.

      … … the fun, deemed vital by many here ???

      Sounds like you deem the fun as superfluous … something you tolerate, maybe, while wishing for something else?

      Fun has been vital to Chuck since episode 1, scene 1. It’s a fun show. The fans didn’t make fun vital to Chuck. The show runners did. The show attracted a huge fan base who like fun … because that’s what the show has always been. Their S3 foray into a darker tone was disastrous, in large part because it departed from the genre it had established over the first 2 seasons.

      I know people view the villains differently, but I see Volkoff as a worthy villain, posing danger and risk a plenty. Granted, S2 had a sense of danger and risk with the Intersect plot and Chuck in the center of it all. I really liked S2. I like S4 better, though.

      I rate S3.0 pretty low on the risk and danger scale, except maybe toward the end when Shaw wanted to kill everyone. It certainly didn’t stand out to me as presenting any riveting spy plots. It was dark but not very dangerous … and not very appealing to the majority of fans. I don’t dismiss the story they wanted to tell, but I reject some aspects of it out right (not just because I hated them, but because they were unnecessary distractions from the core of the story) and view it as very poorly told.

      Not meant as a challenge, just a different view. 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        Its no secret you and I DO agree on most of this. I was hooked right from the Pilot because the show was fun and funny.
        One of my friends complained about Pink Slip that he “didn’t laugh once” and he was furious about the exit the gave Emmitt (vulgar language and a brutal execution), and he’s one of the fans who has stuck with the show and never missed an episode!

        I also think Volkoff was an excellent baddie, very much of the same sort as Roark. As far as danger goes I found Volkoff to be the most frightening villain yet.

        I think the broad cross-section of the fan base agrees with the more positive assessment. The ratings have been very steady this season. It is very hard to draw new viewers to a show in its fourth season, and there clearly are some viewers who are less than enthused; but steady ratings do indicate most viewers are at least content. And everyone I talk to is absolutely excited.

      • OldDarth says:

        Thinkling no challenge taken. I mention fun because it is constantly mentioned as the standard to measure the success of this season against here.

        For me it is merely one slice of the pie. Drama, tension, a real sense of stakes, and an intriguing storyline to name a few are just as important if not more.

        As for rating Season 3 low on the danger and risk scale – another example of our fundamental differences on how we interpret things. S3 had the MOST drama and stakes. Chuck was risking giving up everything, including Sarah, to take on a greater cause. The most emotionally engaging story of the series. A journey that has been lost this season.

        Fun is fine.

        But does it have be so toothless?

      • armysfc says:

        dave, not a complaint or criticism just a note i suppose. you keep saying ratings are very steady this year. the truth is they fell 25% from 2.1 to 1.7. they have been steady at 1.7 for the last 5 weeks which is .4 lower than the start of the season. prior to that they were up and down several times. i know ups and downs in a season are to be expected on an episode by episode basis. i consider a steady season to be based on an average. lets use 2.0 as a base line. going from 1.8 to 2.2 as highs and lows but returning to the 2.0 most of the time is steady. going from 2.1 to 1.7 and staying there is a decline. it could be we just have a wider margin where i use .4 and you use .8.

      • thinkling says:

        OK, well stated, OD.

        I know that S3 was supposed to be full of risk for Chuck, but they never sold it until it was over, if then.

        One (of many on my list) of the things that would have helped S3 would have been for us to understand the risk up front. We needed to understand exactly what the government wanted from the Intersect project and the ramifications of that. Their end game drove Sarah’s fear … that and her own painful experience. If we had known those two things up front, we could have understood Sarah and felt her fear and his risk along with her. That would have provided the true sense of risk and danger.

        I probably would never have loved S3, but I can think of several ways they could have made the same story acceptable and compelling to me.

      • atcDave says:

        Tic Tac and Subway were both 1.7s too. So I guess I’ve seen it as range from 1.7 to 2.1 that has been consistent from 3.10 – 4.16. I continue to hope for gains, but unless it heads above 2.1 I think we are simply showing consistency. September shows (season premiers) often show slight spikes as people are checking out shows. November and February are sweeps months because they’re considered more representative (of course, they’ve been sweeps months for so long now they’ve taken on their own dynamic).

      • uplink2 says:

        OD et all. I think the issue for most of this discussion is that it can be said that in season 2 they had great danger and drama many many times but in the end they relied on the single most important aspect of the show, the Zach and Yvonne on screen chemistry to drive both the drama and its resolution. 2 cases in point, the great 3 episode opening arc exposed the dangers of Sarah’s growing feelings for Chuck both for her and for Chuck quite clearly. Feelings can get them killed. But they resolved it by using their chemistry to make the audience feel it, believe it and respect the decision that Chuck made to break up with Sarah. In the Beefcake and Lethal Weapon arc, again great danger for the life they lead with heroes sacrificing themselves for the good of the mission. But also in Cole’s case for the good of someone he cared about. A classic Chuck lesson. In the end they brought the audience through what could have been an unpopular decision about not moving in together with one of the finest moments of Zach and Yvonne chemistry in the fountain scene followed by the Tron poster reveal.

        Now we come to season 3 where that lesson needed to be learned by Chuck himself. As was also stated in this thread the dangers of lying to your family, burning an asset, the pain it can cause to a relationship, but instead of relying on the show’s greatest strength to bring the audience along with this story they kept Zach and Yvonne apart onscreen or when they were together Sham was always 3 feet from her. Then in the worst of it they gave Routh that beloved spot of the last interaction with Yvonne and he was never up to the task. Simply put they didn’t run the drama and the danger through their greatest asset, they ran it through an underdeveloped character played by a much weaker actor. I agree with Think it was far more than just the LI relationship choice that doomed the arc it was their choice to move away from running the story through their greatest strength, Yvonne, Zach and Adam as well.

        The perfect example of this is running the biggest game changing, epic reveal, signature element of the story through Daniel Shaw and no one cared in the least that Sarah killed Shaw’s wife. It fell flatter than Routh’s acting. The most important part of the “drama” and “danger” became irrelevant because it hinged on a character no one cared about or wanted to invest in. It was an epic fail.

        This season however one of the reasons I love it so much is that they have gone back heavily to their greatest strength. My favorite episodes all end with a Chuck/Sarah scene that drives the story forward. I will agree with you that some of the drama has been lost this season but for me at least I don’t really care because my favorite element is front and center. I also think they needed to indulge some of that element of the fanbase and yes played it safe for the first 13 to in effect make up for moving away from it so disastrously last season. But now we seem to be coming back to that balance you and I have talked about often. Greatest spy couple in the world taking on all comers. The balance seems to be coming back as Think highlights so well in her review. Let’s just hope it continues because if they are not getting a season 5 it would be great to “go out on top” of their game.

        I’ve been going back and reading a lot of the threads from season 3 and have found it fascinating. One thing that stuck out to me was that some posed the idea that coming to a place like this site made you look at the show more critically and worsened your reaction to what you may not have liked. Now there may be some truth to all that but it wasn’t true for me. I never read anything on any site or heard any interview and came to the exact same conclusions as to what was wrong with what they were doing. What I have learned and really appreciate by coming her and elsewhere is how to better articulate it. For that I am grateful.

      • armysfc says:

        dave, last season here was one 1.7 subway. here’s a count of the numbers from TVBTN fitting in the episode range you mentioned. there were four 2.1, six 2.0, eight 1.9, two 1.8 and six 1.7. that counts for the 26 episodes. further break down shows 18 of those episodes are 1.9 or higher while 6 are 1.8 or lower. 4 of the lower end were the last 4. 4.12 is the turning point. it was 1.9 followed by four 1.7s.

        prior to 4.12 the numbers were constantly 1.9 or higher with only 2 below 4.8 and 4.9. that’s why i say we are losing viewers.
        ratings don’t lie (in the context they are now used)

        i use 1.9 as the base line because it is the center number.

      • Tamara Burks says:


        I agree with you that coming to sites like this didn’t make people feel worse about the storyline. It seemed to function both as a way to talk people off the ledge of leaving the show and letting them know they weren’t the only ones to feel that way.

        And yes by the time we found out that Sarah killed Eve no one cared . In fact I wouldn’t have been surprised if we’d found out that Eve had set up the hit herself in order to fake her death (by wearing a vest) just to get away from Shaw because divorcing him was thwarted by family connections or something.

        Shaw was supposed to be Chuck’s mentor and a tragic villian. He failed miserably at both.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree with all of that Tamara!

      • joe says:

        I’m sorry – I’m a day behind, Tamara! But what you wrote strikes a chord.

        My impression is that most everyone here thinks a lot about the show and about the whole process of storytelling. We’re not dummies; in fact, as a group we’re bright, articulate and fairly curious.

        To the real talent in involved in the creation of the show, the kind of scrutiny we can bring to bear has to be intimidating. We must seem sometimes like Kurt Cobain (“Here we are now, entertain us!”).

        The trick for them is to break through the wall of cynicism we each construct and get to the child who wants to be entertained. The trick for us is sometimes to let ’em, I think. Or at least, meet them half way.

  4. Verkan_Vall says:

    Thanks, Thinkling. Very well put.

    They’ve done a good job with the setup, now let us see how they do with the follow-through. I’m hopeful, but they’ve had problems with that in the past.

  5. Big Kev says:

    Huge fan of both the episode and Thinkling’s write up. I love the thematic episodes of Chuck, and this one handled so much material, with grace and style, while keeping everyone “in character”. There may have been better performances from the cast this season (Dalton in First Fight, and Yvonne in Phase Three) but I really do think this was the best script of the season so far, deft and (a rarity for these writers) well-paced.
    I’m pretty convinced by FT’s Godfather spec re Vivian, but I’m still holding out that they will do something a little different. Jane Bentley intrigues me. I dont trust her, and I thought Givens played her with a tightly controlled
    mysteriousness that was just right.
    The promo for 4.17 looks great too. I’m excited!

    • thinkling says:

      They have bated some intriguing hooks, haven’t they. And everyone was in character … that’s always nice. I am really excited.

      We just keep getting more and more of Yvonne’s range with the nuanced changes in Sarah. Last episode with Ellie and this one with Valentines Day and the Morgan scene … new layers of Sarah and more surprises from Yvonne.

      They have presented lots of possibilities for twists and turns in the story … and drama from other than the central relationship. I hope that continues. Also so hoping for s5. I believe in this episode, they have laid tracks for s5. We’ll see.

  6. James Bond says:

    Olddarth I do wonder if the negative fan and press reaction to season 3 have stopped them from telling the story they want to tell. I mean in the end of the day they have to move onto different projects when chuck is done and they have to keep their reputation in tact…..they just seem to be servicing fans. is it great story telling? No? Are they now getting harassed? No, so they are just coasting until chuc ends, sad!

    • OldDarth says:

      Hard to say but when one pauses to look back at where the show was positioned to go at the end of Season 3 in bold, new directions only to go back to the status quo; one cannot help but wonder if the fan outcry made them decide to play it safe.

      Dropping Chuck’s hero journey and focusing on the relationships sure has made the show less exciting and involving for me.

      Shame we will never get to see the Chuck hero/superhero arc come to fruition. That would have been excitingly fun exciting and an awesome framework to hang all the relationships on.

      • OldDarth says:

        grrr, darn lack of edit, please ignore ‘exciting’

      • James Bond says:

        The thing is I have no problem at all making the kind of a sarah centric season (as long as it also integrated into chuck’s hero journey), but they should have taken the approach to showing flashbacks of who sarah was and who she is now and then parallel that to mama b to show the difference between sarah and her. They should of also shown mama b flashbacks and just made mama b a person who loved the spy life more then her family and they could have used that as the difference between sarah and mama b and although it would have been dark and some angst and it is harsh to paint a character who would love being a spy more then a mom and wife, it would have been far more genuine and a better story…..but as you say lou, they played it safe and that is a little disappointing, then again like you I did not have a problem with season 3.

      • James Bond says:

        Furthermore it would have made chuck and sarah’s relationship far more deeper and less superficial then it is now….you know what I mean Olddarth? the fact that sarah chose to be with chuck and work through her past traumas then run.

      • atcDave says:

        Again I’m extremely pleased they haven’t told such a dark and angst filled story. I find the show to be far more fun and satisfying this season compared to the S3 disaster. I also have a much easier time selling the show on friends and have managed to get most of those who left last season to return. If they had continued with the more convoluted and depressing tone they adopted for S3 that never would have happened. I’m quite certain if the mood and style of S3 had continued the show would be done by now, and I wouldn’t miss it.

      • James Bond says:

        The only really really major contrived part of season 3 was the the shaw and sarah romance… take that out and the story was ok. Yeah they hit the darkness and angst button, but it is only dark and angsty if you are a fan or chuck and sarah/shipper/crazy shipper. The fact is I think that TPTB were right to have chuck to go through that spy training process before chuck and sarah got together. The fact is he made a choice at the end of season 2 to be a spy and by the beginning of season 3 he had no idea how much casey and sarah had protected him from the harsh truth for 2 years before, so he had to see first hand how hard it is to lie to people and his family when sarah was not covering for him (as a cover girlfriend), to burn assets, to torture when necessary and ultimately to kill people. These are questions that have to be asked and so it was a good idea and fans should not bash them for that, they just screwed up on the shaw and sarah romance, that was it.

        So in short they should be able to do the darkness if it provides sweet reward…..the only thing critics said they did not like about season 3.0 was…..the sarah shaw romance.

      • JC says:

        They should create darkness within the world they created and not have it rely on character stupidity. Even without the romance the Ring arc relied on characters being dragged along by the plot.

      • atcDave says:

        James I would never argue against the situation being rife with potential for dark and angst filled story lines. In fact we’ve had that very discussion here several times, there certainly is an organic level of angst in a story about an ordinary guy thrust into such a dangerous life.

        But the problem is it was a jarring shift from what we’d seen for two seasons. Chuck had established an audience that doesn’t really care for that style so much, so when S3 laid it on thick, viewers started tuning out. Half of the casual viewers I know quit during S3, the other half were unhappy.
        So organic or not, it failed as entertainment.
        Of course the relationship is the single largest part of that. I am quite certain Colonel was the point of no return for a major part of the audience. The darkness likely would have been tolerated if Chuck and Sarah had remained together as she helped him adjust to his dangerous new role.
        Again, doesn’t really matter what seems realistic; the show exists to entertain, when the audience is unhappy and leaving the show has failed in its reason to exist.

        I do happily wear the mantle of crazy ‘shipper. And I’m convinced most casual viewers are to some extent. I think its no coincidence that ratings plummeted drastically during the main S3 arc, but stabilized as it came to an end. We’ve discussed many issues here that likely contributed; the Sham was almost certainly number one, but I know too many people who quit right at Pink Slip. Viewers I know had no interest in darker themes and a Chuck/Sarah separation.

      • thinkling says:

        I beg to differ. Removing the Shaw/Sarah romance would have been a fine start and helped a lot, but there was far more wrong with S3 than just that. Even accepting the premise of the story and that part of Chuck’s journey, which I agree is perfectly valid to tell, they blew it on so many levels.

      • OldDarth says:

        I am with you James. Remove the LIs from last season, Chuck’s bothered me more than Sarah’s, and there was a damn good story arc last season.

        Especially compared to this season. Which is what? Chuck becoming a fiancee? Great to see the Chuck and Sarah relationship advance? Sure. Enough to make for an exciting season story arc. Mileage obviously varies on that point.

        Why did Chuck’s hero journey have to be dropped? Plenty of room in it for Sarah et al. Why did Chuck the character have to be in a strait jacket for most of the first 13 episodes? Any arc that does that to a show’s titular character cannot be deemed a success or a way to entice new viewers.

      • JC says:


        I’m not calling you out but what was the great arc you saw in S3? I’ve read your reviews and listened to the CNN podcast. The flaws you’ve pointed out this season which I’m mostly in agreement about seemed just as apparent in S3 to me. Is it because Chuck’s journey has taken a back seat to Sarah? Or is it something more?

      • atcDave says:

        I’m not sure why you regard S4 as toothless. S3 never produced a credible threat until Shaw himself turned bad, and that worked largely because most of us thoroughly disliked him already. The Ring was never particularly interesting; I think Fulcrum and Volkoff both were more engaging foes.
        And the manner in which Chuck risked everything with Sarah struck many of us as cynical manipulation, and extending wt/wt beyond it’s expiration date.
        The majority of viewers I speak with consider the writers themselves to be the main threat in S3.
        Apart from a few commenters on the Internet I don’t know a single viewer who prefers S3 to S4. And I’ve even had some success in introducing new viewers to the show.

        I certainly don’t mean to say you aren’t entitled to your opinion, but I think it is a minority position. The vast majority of television watchers are looking to have fun and laugh. That’s why it’s called the entertainment industry; most of us find enough stress and drama in our real lives, and look to television to help us relax and laugh at the end of the day. I think that’s why “reality” programming is so popular, those of us who want to think at all at the end of the day are in the minority. Those who want to be seriously challenged are at an extreme fringe. (I’ll fess up to being in the minority but not the extreme fringe!)

      • James Bond says:

        I think Lou there have been good tense episodes that raise the stakes but then they kept returing to the status quo. You have fear of death then phase three then nothing, you have balcony…then gobler and then push mix and things or plot points have not continued…..why not show chuck upset in balcony and being motivated and angry for 2-3 episodes in order to make the resolution at the end of 14 more rewarding.

        I think the problem with this show Lou is that they have always used the drama and angst between chuck and sarah as a way to drive the story forward, as soon as you remove that they have stuggled to replace that addictive element that kept people so hooked and invested in the spy plots. A way around that would be to invest time, episodes and resources (which they do not have) in the enemies or mama b…by doing that they can provide a credible threat to chuck and that makes it a compelling story. I do feel for the chuck show runners with no money it is must be incredibly tough to write a story when they do not have the resources and promised episodes like lost to tell a story and that is unfortunate…..but what do you do?

        I can see why they pushed shaw and sarah together….they had no time and not enough resources to have shaw in enough episodes for the fans to care why he was there and why his story mattered. The time it got around to dealing with his wife, I first thought what wife? we have not heard about her since first class and all the sudden we should care about him or her?

      • atcDave says:

        James I think you’re just wrong about people loving the tension between Chuck and Sarah. I think most viewers were more interested in the sweet and warm aspects of their relationship. What’s more, I think assuming viewers did like that tension was exactly the fatal mistake the show runners made that ruined S3 for most viewers.
        I’d also say Chuck’s easy going nature, and NOT hanging on to his anger or hurts is one of the more appealing features of both the show and his character to many like me. From the beginning, Chuck being a good and forgiving man has been a very strong and unique aspect of the show. It is easy, and expected, to write a hero who carries a righteous indignation. But a hero who sees the best in people and doesn’t carry a grudge? That’s special stuff.

      • James Bond says:


        Yeah true that is great about chuck, but chuck thought in order to be a hero in sarah’s eyes was for him to be a spy! he saw bryce, cole, etc be spies and sarah never ever told him that a) her type was not only a spy but him….a hero who saved the day by not using spy methods and b) being him was more then enough for her. Sarah never said anything!

      • thinkling says:

        Agreed Dave. I don’t think people love the tension or the wt/wt near as much as show runners (I’ve even heard Zach say it) think they do. I put up with it to a point, but they always exceed my tolerance levels. I’m much more interested in the type of story we have now, with a couple at the center doing great things together. That’s what Chuck wants … doing great things, doing them with Sarah.

        Ditto on Chuck’s character, too. It’s a theme of the show, and something Sarah has always loved about him.

      • jason says:

        this discussion reminds me of albert einstein – no – not the theory of relativity – although that might indeed be a ? of how the shaw misery season is relevant to thinkling’s written celebration of the masquerade ep.

        more, einstein’s famous quote about insanity, discussing the shaw misery season yet one more time will not change the fact it is over, TPTB have made choices based on reactions that have already been cataloged in their minds – the only ones that matter, and things have moved on. Discussing season 3 one more time is not going to make anyone like it anymore or any less.

        Think – nice job on capturing the spirit of episode 16, with now 8 eps left this season, soon enough we will know what TPTB have in store for our hero and heroine. I am excited for it & as the time draws closer, I would guess we all are going to be a little less squirrelly about nitpicking the show elements, as the reality of the renewal status will start to hit home, one way or the other.

      • thinkling says:

        Thanks Jason. Good reminder to take this great intro and look forward to the rest of the season.

      • atcDave says:

        James, that I agree with entirely! Sarah never said a thing, and that is among the things that makes the whole season arc so distasteful.
        Had episode 3.01 been Honeymooners; they could have ended with Chuck and Sarah deciding to return home so Chuck could get his training and accept his destiny. They still could have had Chuck’s struggles with developing and betraying an asset, first solo mission, the possibility of really having to kill, and a Ring expert/mentor/traitor character. All while Chuck is getting coping advice from Sarah while they discuss and deal with her fears of what all this may do his character.
        Wow! It excites me just to write it that way! If only…

        Jason, about insanity; I think I feel it coming on…
        Sorry, I know it’s tiresome to go over again. But I really don’t want to let these points slip by. Just because I’m I ‘shipper doesn’t mean I’m crazy or stupid; and I always want my (our) views accurately presented, not just used as straw men.

      • thinkling says:

        Ooo, Dave. I like that angle … so much potential. That is fun to think about.

      • uplink2 says:

        @James Bond look at my post up a few for some more comments on this discussion but I want to question 1 point you make up a few posts.

        You said you understand why they pushed Sham and Sarah together and that is because they had no time and not enough resources to have shaw in enough episodes for the fans to care why he was there and why his story mattered. . I would content that is a completely inaccurate statement. Brandon Routh was in more episodes than any other guest start in the history of the show. More than Bryce Larkin, more than Stephen Bartowski, Jill, Cole Barker and the list goes on. All stories the fans cared about. There was plenty of time to tell a story that the fans would have engaged with. But the problem is they didn’t tell it well, they took away screen time from who makes the show work, told a story no one wanted to hear and gave it to a mediocre actor who looked even more inept when sharing the screen with Yvonne, Zach and Adam.

        He was on the show so much it could almost have been called Daniel. And all of that came at the expense of the characters we did care about. They also suffered from the curse of telling us but not showing us. They told us he was the perfect spy but what they showed us was an incompetent spy. They told us he was “the safest man in the world” but what they showed us was a sexual predator.

        The LI part of the Shaw story was the more egregious but there were so many other elements of failure in their storytelling and his performance that the only way to have saved it was for him to be sent on his way after his original order of 4 episodes. Have Beckman realize how horrible a spy he was after he tried to kill his rival Chuck, the CIA’s greatest asset to protect useless information about his story of vengeance in Beard. Have Sarah pull her gun on him and do her primary job of protecting Chuck instead acting like a little school girl asking Daddy to do something “for her”.

        There are so many areas where this story failed but the lack of screen time is not one of them.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        James B. Season 3 would have been a whole lot better with the Sham especially when you consider that Sham included Sarah acting like she’d lost every ounce of sense she’d ever had and had her enabling a hypocritical , incompetant , arrogant . manipulative scumbag and rewarding him at every turn.

        There still would have been darkness but a lot of people wouldn’t have lost all respect for Sarah (a taste of which we got with the Barker arc) . Maybe the things she told Shaw could have been told to Casey, who would grumble about being told but has a familial relationship with Sarah and that would have made it ok.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        WITHOUT the Sham not with Darn it! We really do need and edit button.

      • atcDave says:

        You had me worried for a minute there Tamara!

      • uplink2 says:

        Here is another legacy of the Sham disaster. Think writes a tremendous essay about a very good episode and all it takes is a brief mention of season 3 “drama” and off we go with 20 lengthy posts about what a disaster it was.

        Fair or unfair, believe it or not, when the cancellation of Chuck finally happens it will be blamed in large part on the mistakes of season 3. That is its lasting legacy. It took a once great and unique show and turned it into just another TV show for many and no matter how great it has been since Honeymooners and this season or going forward it will always be tarnished by the decisions they made after their fanbase saved their jobs.

      • Rick Holy says:

        I don’t usually post “links,” but since this particular part of the thread seems to be “re-living” the Sarah/Shaw/Chuck aspect of Season 3, I thought I would. (Joe, if you don’t think it’s appropriate, feel free to delete it – won’t hurt my feelings).

        PLEASE NOTE: There is “objectionable” language as part of this little video. Some of you may have already seen it – others may have seen the same video adapted to other shows and situations. Let’s just say some Chuck fans weren’t the only ones that were upset by the whole Sarah and Shaw “situation.”

        Here it is:

      • atcDave says:

        That one is always so funny Rick. I love the secretaries weeping in the outer room.

      • joe says:

        That was hilarious Fr. Rick.

        I’ve seen a half-dozen variations – it never gets old! 😉

    • James Bond says:


      When you say the way he risked everything with sarah… you mean prague? well to be fair to the show runners when chuck was talking to bryce in the intersect room I am pretty sure that he was under the misguided impression that being a spy was cool! he said you and sarah are going to go on exciting missions and be a team again, etc……

      The fact is chuck always thought that being a spy was exciting and honourable and cool and he thought he could convince sarah to be a spy with him at the beginning of season 3, the fact that sarah did not join him or at least explain why being a spy was not all excitement and joy is a huge reason why they should not be together! not a contrivance or as big a contivance as fans make out.

      If chuck could not grasp that being a spy required a tremendous commitment to doing things that he hated in order to be a hero then he was not ready to be with sarah. If sarah could not say one sentence like “chuck if you become a spy you will definately have to kill people at random all the time and I cannot love a man who would do that” then maybe she was not ready for chuck. If two people cannot tell each other what they really want then do they really understand love? do they simply not love each other enough? are they not willing to commit to love? or take a risk on love?

      If they cannot do any of those things then it is perfectly acceptable to say that prague was necessary for their relationship. In the end of the day sarah did open up more as the season went on and started to tell chuck what really bothered her and that was the point, the only problem with the arc is that shaw sucked!

      • JC says:

        When did Chuck try and convince Sarah to be a spy with at the him the beginning of S3? Chuck giving up Sarah for the greater good wasn’t the contrivance it was the how it was done. The whole relationship arc could have been solved with a two minute conversation, yet they dragged it out for 13 episodes. That was the problem, all the anvils they kept putting in the way kept getting more ridiculous as the season went on. Everything from Hannah, the name reveal, Manoosh, etc had me rolling my eyes like Mary’s twenty year mission.

        Chuck thought the spy was fun and exciting because that’s the way it was written for three out of the four seasons. You can’t fundamentally change the universe you created to suit the current story. You have a CIA that builds castle slides and then orders agents to make their bones like a gang. It wasn’t that the show was dark, it was those situations came for a different show. And the whole broken spies, losing your humanity if you become a spy was nonsense created just for that season. If anything other than Shaw every good spy on the show has shown caring and compassion. The writers might have wanted to ignore previous seasons but the fans didn’t.

      • atcDave says:

        Well for starters, making the spy world a darker place was an S3 contrivance. These things can be written as pure fluff like Get Smart or grotesque and twisted like 24. Chuck had previously inhabited a bit of a middle ground. It was a bit of a cheat to have things turn abruptly darker at the start of S3.

        But that all really misses the point. I don’t even care how one rationalizes it. It failed as entertainment. For myself and many others, we were watching to have fun. So it almost doesn’t even matter how the story makes sense. By taking Chuck on a darker journey, apart from Sarah (and yes I believe that is the biggest malfunction of them all; even if the Sham was actually worse in execution, separating Chuck and Sarah was the fatal flaw for many of us) the show stopped being what I (and EVERY casual viewer I know) was tuning in for. Had Pink Slip been the pilot, I never would have watched another episode. It was depressing and no fun; I don’t watch depressing and no fun regardless of it’s technical merits.

      • James Bond says:

        When he said in final exam on the stakeout date that if he passes the test then they could be together, he was under the assumption that being a spy with sarah was why he said no in prague and that she would understand that. But again when chuck said those things at no point did she say look I love you and I love you more then being a spy, if you love me more then being a spy then lets leave and have a life together! please do not complete this final exam!

        Also the show is about chuck and the tone of the show is from his point of view, his point of view in season 1 and 2 is saving the day but not doing the dirty work casey and sarah did and thus by him and us not seeing the struggles they go through the tone was lighter. In season 3 his point of view changed to oh I want to be a spy and he had to do these dark bad things and thus the tone of the show representing his journey changed to something darker. It was darker because we were now seeing first hand what makes casey and sarah before they met chuck such dark and flawed human beings, if the were to make his spy training a walk in the park then that would be disingenous to not only his journey but who sarah and casey are it devalues their characters.

      • First Timer says:

        Nice try, but no sale. S3 went off the track in Pink Slip: There is no logical way that they could sell Chuck changing his mind about running away with Sarah in three weeks. That’s why they went to a nonlinear format.

        So from the very first episode, there was what even the writers understood was a no-sale.

        And the supposed “dark” side of spying was something they NEVER showed. The audience never saw the dark, dangerous person that Chuck was becoming because it was never on the screen. And since they posited that Sarah hated this dark person Chuck was becoming, her character collapsed as a saleable commodity, too. The only times Chuck acted badly was when he burned an asset (and be felt bad about it), pulled Casey’s tooth (at both Casey and Sarah’s urging) and almost killed someone (while drugged).

        So you have your two main characters acting in ways that made no sense to the viewers.

        And, please, could we NOT have a defense of Final Exam. The episode essentially got the writer (Zev Borow) fired. Even though the writing team lost four writers (Miller, Rosenbaum, Klemmer and Adler) to other shows last season, the show runners STILL chose to fire Borow. That’s a pretty good indication that even the show runners throught the construction of Final Exam was a mess.

        Season 3 didn’t fail because Chuck and Sarah weren’t together. It failed because there was no logic to their actions and nothing on screen that explained how they were interacting (or not interacting) with each other.

      • Big Kev says:

        I’ll chip in at the end here to say this. The decision to make Chuck a “willing” spy creates a problem for the tone of the show. If Chuck is an asset, you can use the legitimate device that he needs to be protected from the darkness of that world. That means you can keep the tone light, as S1 and S2 generally did.
        Once Chuck becomes a willing spy, the story setup can’t protect him from that world any more. You can’t have Chuck as a Field Agent who doesnt see bad stuff sometimes and doesn’t face tough choices, because that’s not true to the world you’ve created previously, through the characters of Sarah and Casey.
        Presenting Chuck as a legitimate (or “real”) spy, while keeping him, and the show, essentially “Chuck”, is a tightrope for the writers to walk. This season, whenever the story has given Chuck a moment of utility as a “real spy” the next couple of episodes have taken it away again, and I think Chuck has been entirely unconvincing as a spy this season until Push Mix. I’ve found that a little frustrating, but I think it’s maybe symptomatic of that tightrope that the writers are on.

      • James Bond says:

        @First Timer

        You say that there was not a good reason for chuck to say no to sarah how about from the end of colonel sarah said that what they had was real then she said in ring that she was leaving with Bryce then he found out she was staying… the end of season 2 sarah was a yo yo! So how is this for a reason, the only way that chuck could make sure that sarah would want to be with him and only him is if he was a spy like cole and bryce so that she would commit to him and not be so wishy washy!

        Your next point: how did the audience not see the dark side of chuck, firstly he was lieing all the time, his friends and family found out and called him out on his lieing, he pulled casey’s tooth, he took pleasure in punching out arnaldo, he took laudonol and almost strangled a guy to death, how are none of these things not dark? also you have mentioned them and you still do not think they have ultimately changed who he was as a person?

        Zev Borrow was not fired, that episode got a lot of critical praise by the critics and reviewers! Zev Borrow left to write full time for human target. There was nothing wrong with the episode.

        You say that the characters did not interact with each other, casey and chuck were quite tight in those first 13, casey was awesome! Also how many times did chuck say to sarah I am totally crazy about you, is there a future between us, I am going to get this thing out of my head! not once in the first 2 seasons did she say we could have a future, we could run away, etc, etc. By the time she did say it in pink slip… could he believe that they would meet another spy and she just turned her head on him? she never ever said how she felt and that is why he needed to become a hero she always glitched on the bryce’s the coles’s, etc!

      • James Bond says:

        @big kev

        That is what I said above! the show is from chucks point of view, as an asset it is light because casey and sarah did the dirty work and darker in season 3 because chuck had to do the dirty work!

      • atcDave says:

        Kev and James Bond, you guys are still totally missing the point. It doesn’t matter if it makes sense. Seriously. Its fiction. Reality is somewhat different (I guarantee you there is no such thing as a Red Test!).

        As fiction, the writers can strike whatever tone they WANT TO. It makes no difference what anybody’s view of reality is. They could decide the CIA is really a tool of The Illuminati, or the only way to retire is execution, or all international disputes will be settled by water pistols. There is no reality until they create it! (yes its true, the closer to “reality”, or the more believable they make it, the easier it is to accept in most cases). But it is possible to create a wide range of possible and believable story-lines.

        As such, S3 failed as entertainment. I don’t care if it makes sense on some level. It doesn’t matter whose perspective it is from. It doesn’t matter what idea someone had for a point to it all. It doesn’t matter who is a talented writer.
        For a many viewers; wt/wt had burned out at Colonel. S3 was doomed at conception, period. It makes no difference if Sarah or Chuck’s actions at Prague are defensible, or who was cast as Shaw, or if Red Tests even exist. S3 failed as entertainment at Pink Slip; and they didn’t start telling a story I gave a rip about again until Honeymooners.
        That is why ratings plummeted. I know of two households that quit at Pink Slip, and two more left during the Sham. None of them expressed any concern over points of view, or Heroes Journeys, or abandonment issues. The show stopped being fun so they quit watching. That is how the ENTERTAINMENT industry works.

      • armySFC says:

        dave, i could not agree more. any show is what the viewers make it. they are the ones that ultimately decide if the show stays on the air or not. many well written and planned out shows never make it while some poorly written ones do. dave you hit the nail on the head. each viewer tunes into a show with certain expectations and if they are met they stay if not they leave.

      • atcDave says:

        Thanks army; I guess at least I was clear!

      • armySFC says:

        dave np. it’s nothing more than i have been saying for months. no matter how you say it, each viewer or reader knows what they like, action, drama, comedy, angst or suspense. when those conditions are not met, they find another show or story that meets their needs.

      • uplink2 says:

        Bravo Dave. Very Very well said and I could not agree more.

      • JC says:

        @James Bond

        Just like the show used only half the story to sell dark Chuck so are you. Chuck lied to protect his family, just like he’s doing now and before, he pulled Casey’s tooth to save his life, just like he took the laudonol to protect Kathleen. Hell even the Manoosh story failed because he belonged locked up and was nothing like Chuck.

        @Big Kev

        I’m not saying the show shouldn’t go dark but they need to stay within the boundaries of the world they created. That’s why I use the comparison between Tic Tac and Final Exam. One felt like a dark and dramatic episode of Chuck, the other felt like a watered down version of Le Femme Nikita. And if they’re go to those type of stories the writing and scripts need to be much tighter than they ever have been.

      • patty says:

        Burning Manoosh was necessary, but Chuck feeling bad about it was part of who he is. Casey understood Chuck better than anyone at this point.

        It was Casey’s fault Chuck had to pull his tooth and Casey did it on purpose. Sarah was completely unreasonable blaming Chuck for the situation. What was he supposed to do? Get them both killed.

        This was not where I got mad at Sarah, up to a point I saw her as simply being worried about Chuck and expressing it poorly. I got mad at her when she thought he killed the mole and left him to deal with it on his own. She was supposed to be his friend and that is not how a friend acts.

        I should probably mention that Pink Slip was the second full Chuck episode I had seen. I saw the pilot when it first aired but was unable to watch anymore of the first season. So I really wasn’t a shipper at this point, I was just watch a new show I thought was great.

        If I had heard that Scott Bakula and Chevy Chase were on the second season I probably would have tuned in then since I love them to death! This just goes to show that little advertising is probably hurting the show.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Bottom line for me – and I think I’m echoing Dave’s sentiments here – is that I watch this show FOR FUN. Yes, a “scotch” (Chuck’s word) of drama, even “a pinch” of angst – no problema. But the dominant point of this show – at least I always THOUGHT it was – was about “the fun” that went along with a Nerd Herder “becoming” a spy through a freak email.

        When “the fun” becomes not “dominant,” but “recessive” (sorry, I’m referring back to my high school and college genetics courses), then the enjoyment of watching drops – along with the number of viewers, apparently.

        Starting with the last part of S3 and for virtually all of S4 (to date) the show has been FUN again. Has it been perfect? NO. But this is “CHUCK.” I’m not expecting perfection. Look at the premise we’re dealing with here. Not saying it can’t be better – it can. But as far as the enjoyment I’m getting from the show – which is the main reason I turn to it as a “refuge” at the end of the day – I put S4 right up there with S1 and S2.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Oops. That WASN’T a Freudian slip. I think I spelled “scotch” as in the drink (and I’m not a scotch drinker). So how do you spell a word that SOUNDS LIKE “SKOHTCH”? Chuck has used it on at least two occasions that I can remember!

      • JC says:


        Manoosh deserved what he got, it was just another example of the show saying it was bad while showing exact opposite during S3. The same with the tooth and even in Tic Tac. It was like the show gave everyone especially Sarah selective amnesia to sell the story.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Ooh! Season 3 discussion. Must read, but first things first *searches personal stock* “Dammit!! Where’s the brain bleach bottle right when I need it.” 😉

      • OldDarth says:

        Speaking of fringe TV viewers, I love Fringe. 😀

      • Rick Holy says:

        @OD. Haven’t watched a single episode of Fringe – but based on all the “Fringe” talk, especially on TVBTN, I bought the first two seasons on DVD. Now to find time to watch. Why is it that I seem to be drawn to shows with short “shelve lives” and/or are always seemingly “on the bubble?” I’m looking forward to FRINGE, once I’m able to get started on it. I’m hoping it helps me with my LOST withdrawl. Still haven’t found my “fix” yet for its absence.

      • Herder says:

        Fr Rick, I think the word you are looking for is “scootch” meaning “a little bit”. I’ve also followed your lead and left home 16″ snow today for Florida’s sun, I’ll even put up with the tedium of golf for warm sun. My worry is my hosts have scheduled something for monday evening, I’ll have to dvr 4.17 and hope that there was no powerfailure at home to interupt the recording of monday’s episode for rewatches. Great review thinkling, I love the St Paul references.

      • thinkling says:

        Look at all the S3 discussion I missed. Alladins, where’s that brain bleach? Is it on back order again? 😉

        I agree with Dave on the entertainment factor.

        I totally agree that Manoosh deserved what he got. It’s a photo finish, but NS was one of my least favorite S3 episodes, for that reason. Manoosh was nothing like Chuck, making the whole premise false.

        Big Kev, making Chuck a willing spy did create a challenge, but they made the challenge bigger and more drastic than necessary, and then couldn’t and didn’t solve it. They just made it go away … thank goodness. I mean by 3.13, that’s all I cared about. … Please, just make it go away. 😉

        JC, good points about the darkness comparisons. I agree, they went AU on their own show.

        Now, I’m going to take a liberal dose of brain bleach and go to bed.

      • James Bond says:

        Yeah OD Fringe is awesome, if chuck only had the guarinteed set of episodes and budget that fringe gets, then I think the stories would be much better paced and plotted and the arcs would be better.

      • James Bond says:

        Speaking of which why is chuck always in line for cancellation when basically subway covers a lot of the costs, as does all their product placements and chuck does a lot of product placements. The actual budget coming from the WB or NBC must be tiny I mean tiny and yet chuck gets no promotion and is at the same level as the rest of NBC promod series, what is up?

      • atcDave says:

        James I do think Chuck is a very low cost show for NBC and that helps a lot. I’m not sure if various analysis models out there really take that into account very well, but I imagine NBC looks at it when making decisions.
        But even if the show were free, there is a bottom level where NBC would choose not to run it anymore simply because its a drag on their schedule. I’m not sure where that line is though. I believe Friday Night Lights ran its last couple seasons with abysmal ratings (certainly not a reflection on the quality of the show, which was always well regarded) because it was entirely paid for by DirecTV; they just buried it on Friday night and let it run out. I would not be offended if Chuck met a similar fate.

        There are alternate production models emerging too. SG-1 finished its run with a couple of direct to video movies; which had similar production values to the show itself, and apparently did make money for the studio. There’s even Star Trek: Phase Two getting made as a fan effort with Internet only distribution (I have no idea how they pay their bills, but the quality is almost ready for tv).

      • OldDarth says:

        ‘@OD. Haven’t watched a single episode of Fringe – but based on all the “Fringe” talk, especially on TVBTN, I bought the first two seasons on DVD. Now to find time to watch. Why is it that I seem to be drawn to shows with short “shelve lives” and/or are always seemingly “on the bubble?” I’m looking forward to FRINGE, once I’m able to get started on it. I’m hoping it helps me with my LOST withdrawl. Still haven’t found my “fix” yet for its absence.’

        Fringe will fix your Lost withdrawal nicely. It is a fantastic show that really finds its footing in the second season. John Noble is frakking fanatastic!

      • James Bond says:

        But that is my point until recently chuck was on par with the rest of the schedule in the key demo it does not drag the schedule down so they should make the commitment season long every year

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I agree James. I think there’s a reasonable chance that’s exactly what will happen. Especially if Chuck’s numbers come back up a little after pairing it with The Event again.

      • armySFC says:

        all, just a spit ball here. 2.5 men just got canceled for the rest of the year and a replacement show put on in its place (i believe). what do you think about a move of chuck to 9 with the event at 8? maybe chuck can get some of the 9 pm viewers that like comedy to come over from the now missing 2.5 men? chuck has more in the way of comedy than the event which is fairly dark.

      • uplink2 says:

        Well as of the week of Valentines Day Chuck was slightly above the weekly NBC average for demo, 1.7-1.6 and basically right at the average for viewers with 5.5 mil. So it is in their middle of the pack. Where that cutoff will be is yet to be seen.

  7. Joanna says:

    Hi thinkling,
    small great things in this episode.
    Sarah Morgan-scene was funny and touching. Sarah has been so delicate with Morgan since he gave her blessing to marry Chuck.

    Next scene is more interesting to me. Sarah finds Chuck sitting on the ground, vulnerable. We do not have a monologue of Chuck talking about his feelings. He quickly says that is fine and that everything will be fine and changes the subject. Chuck had his dose of maturity. I liked it.

    Everything leads us to see Chuck and Sarah as one, of an outside perspective. The unity of their relationship is overflowing, Casey calls them CHARAH, and even the biggest critic of relationships (Morgan) realized this. No more Achilles heel, communication problems, submissions without Sarah or emotional barriers. They are ready, or they may find their way alone. Morgan was a very important catalyst of this relationship, if not for him, maybe Sarah’s clothes were still packed in the suitcase, as well as their feelings, and I think the affection with which Sarah has treaty Morgan comes from this, she is grateful for this help, directly or indirectly.
    …But is not that Sarah Walker is really enjoying use the ring.

    • thinkling says:

      I agree, Joanna. I have loved the progression of the Sarah/Morgan relationship. Every scene with the two of them has been great.

      Sarah feeling Chuck’s pain and offering such soft-spoken heartfelt sympathy was perfect.

      You’re right about C/S, too. I like how they are progressing the relationship in the engagement period. It’s subtle and quite wonderful on both sides. Morgan has been an encourager to both of them. But Chuck is taking on a new “first mate” … for life. Morgan has to take a step back. It can’t continue to be a threesome. Morgan will always be Chuck’s best friend, but the dynamic has to shift. Fantastic of Morgan to have that perception.

      • Judy says:

        Thinkling, I like your observation about Sarah being the new first mate. I wish they had kept the original Chuck vs the First Mate title for the episode because I think the episode was more about primary and secondary relationships than a masquerade.
        I thought this Morgan plot line worked very well.

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, Judy, the First Mate title makes sense. I don’t see as much a connection to the chosen title, Masquerade.

      • Paul says:

        Unless, they were going for an allusion to Vivian masquerading…. as well as the masquerade ball in the first part of the eps.

      • jason says:

        I thought masquerade was meant to parallel mask. In mask, chuck is set up to separate from team B by a recurring guest star, in masquerade it is Casey … in mask sarah & chuck leave each other in masquerade morgan and chuck split. In mask shaw and sarah have a mission with sarah passed out, while chuck and hannah have another, in masquerade, casey saves passed out sarah, while chuck and vivian have a separate sequence. Not a perfect parallel maybe, but mask ended with sh&% and the ring’s connection established, masquerade sure hinted at the volkov / vivian connection?

      • atcDave says:

        I think they’re just trying to forget Mask ever happened. So Masquerade is the new and improved…

      • thinkling says:

        Those are really interesting observations, Jason. It’s funny. In spite of the similarities, I sure don’t feel the way I did after Mask. I liked all the changes and new characters in Masquerade, and it excited me about the upcoming arc. That wasn’t quite how I felt after Mask. 😉

      • jason says:

        think – that is the point – all season long they have been redoing themes – but doing them right this time

      • thinkling says:

        @Jason True dat.

      • Frea O says:

        Let’s be honest: their naming the episode Masquerade is a direct stab at me because I have NOT been able to get that song from Phantom of the Opera out of my head all week. Somewhere, LeJudkins is laughing and rubbing their hands together evilly.

        Or maybe that’s just my imagination. Either way, if that was their nefarious plan, it worked. *walks away, humming Masquerade*

      • thinkling says:

        I knew there had to be a reason that made sense. Now I can sleep … even if you can’t. 😛

      • atcDave says:

        Frea the annoying thing about mentioning Phantom of the Opera is that, to me, its a silent movie with Lon Chaney. So trying to determine what song you might have running through your head took a me a couple minutes to process (“oh yeah, my wife made me watch some musical remake of the thing…”)

      • Frea O says:

        I have a long history with Phantom of the Opera since it made its first premier on my birthday, and I read the book in high school, and I regularly see it when it comes to town (never through my own design; people keep buying me tickets!). But the song Masquerade that opens the second act is one of my least-favorite things about it and always, always, always gets stuck in my head whenever I hear that word. 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        Funny I don’t think I liked the song either. But in the moldy oldie it was the color sequence. I mean dang, color footage from 1925! How cool is that! (I’ve seen color stills from WWI, but no motion picture footage. I love that stuff!)

  8. atcDave says:

    Good write up and insightful comments as always. There was so much to love in this episode, and it set up so many stories. Typically I prefer stand alone episodes, but this one did leave me interested in what lies ahead; I think Casey’s story in particular excites me. Although what choices Vivian may make will likely be even more critical in the short run.
    Loved your call back to Best Friend. The difference of a couple years is amazing, even if Sarah can’t quite relate to a lifelong friendship, she graciously accepts that it is important to Chuck and that MAKES it important to her. I liked even the little details like Sarah called Chuck to tell him about Morgan’s decision; she knows this will be very important to him. It feels a little different from the Sarah of Best Friend who responded to Chuck’s grief with a duty speech.

    • jason says:

      I would love a real A and B team, both capable, and competent and legit, with the A team largely being called on to kill / assassinate, while the B team to out think, con, swindle the bad guys.

      I would also love Casey being asked at the end of the arc, which one does he want to be a part of. I would not even mind his answer being the A team, a kind of this is what I do, someone has to do this stuff in order for our kids to sleep safely at night, and I am good at it.

      Casey and Mama B would be a pretty good assassin team, eh?

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Jason, that may be the big part of what happens. I would prefer to see Casey stick with teamB, but I could imagine a more parallel structure for a while. Of course it would likely mean less Casey if his missions were separate or different for any length of time.

      • thinkling says:

        I like the idea of this new team … or a new foray into NCS. I’d actually like all of TeamB to end up there, but probably not with Bently. I think whatever she’s up to will end up being, maybe not evil, but misguided. TeamB will have to step in and do the job right. Just a guess of course.

        I can’t see TeamB without Casey. He is vital to the team, and right now I don’t see how they will fill his void. Maybe it’s a way to reset his relevance.

        If there are parallel teams, I would want to see a lot of joint missions.

      • jason says:

        Casey chided morgan for needing to leave CS, being their kid – well, I expect morgan to tell casey the same thing & soon, especially given his line about CS being the best spy team in the world.

        On a related or parallel note, I wonder when chuck and sarah realize casey is about to leave, who will they send to talk him off the fence, chuck or sarah?

      • thinkling says:

        I’d like to see both of them talk to him together. Or maybe both separately saying some things differently and some things the same.

      • atcDave says:

        In spite of the superficial parallels, breaking up the professional team is a bit different than changing living arrangements. We did see, even in Masquerade that Chuck and Sarah still need Casey. I’d love to see that brought up. I hope Casey makes a clear choice before (if?) Bentley is exposed as some sort of psycho baddie.

      • thinkling says:

        In a season filled with psycho baddies … 😉

      • patty says:

        Has Robin Givens’ character been recruiting the Gretas? If so we have only really seen Summer Glau’s Greta in any depth. She seemed to think “National Security” was a valid reason to kill a couple of obnoxious civilians. This really doesn’t make me think I want any of Team B working for her!

      • patty says:

        By “working for her” I mean Robin Givens! Not Summer’s Greta!

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Her excuses for wanting to kill Jeffster were pretty lame.
        First, spies are a dime a dozen, Jeffster is unique!
        @cd if you don’t want anyone to notice that something strange is going on don’t give different people the same code naem and have them use it while under cover in the same place as the other people who used the name . That was the spyworlds screwup . It could just as easily have been noticed by one of those teenage boys who used to hang around the weinerlicious oogling over Sarah and they could have started hanging around the Buy More because they noticed all the mode;l beautiful female employees wearing high heels and short skirts.

    • thinkling says:

      I liked the call to Chuck, too, Dave. Everything went wrong, but she knew she couldn’t fix it, but maybe Chuck could. It was a grief for both of them … a necessary grief, but a grief none-the-less. It was an appropriate and necessary end of an era and handled perfectly. Morgan’s right. It’ll be OK.

  9. jason says:

    @think – I loved your line:

    “I never felt like I was being jerked around”

    Going to be interesting how this arc plays out. I must admit, between what I read and what I see, generally, I can guess what is coming up with some amount of lucidity. For example, it sure seems like robin givens is going to be a bad guy. But, with Vivian I really can’t tell, well, it seems like she is going to be a bad guy, I just don’t want her to be, which I guess makes me interested.

    With all the star wars references, I really don’t read boards or postings or reviews of shows much, but I assume the last 3 movies were not real popular – my take was the anakin actor was not good, but also the story didn’t sell the fall well, plus the fall is not a popular story …. If vivian does fall, I hope the sell is logical and makes sense, such that “I don’t feel jerked around’.

    • thinkling says:

      Jason, I think Vivian is sort of on the fence, with no clear notion to who she is or what she wants. My spec is that her choosing her allegiance will be part of the story. Unlike MamaB whose allegiance was firm, but unknown to us, Vivian’s allegiance is probably unknown to her.

    • thinkling says:

      I guess I was referring more to the flow and pacing of the episode, but everyone also seemed in character, and there was a refreshing absence of the stupid stick. 😉 🙂

    • atcDave says:

      Good point about Vivian Jason. It looks like she may fall, but we HOPE she doesn’t.
      My guess is still that she will fall, but be redeemed in the end. But of course that’s my guess, I’m always a sucker for the redemption story!

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        But of course that’s my guess, I’m always a sucker for the redemption story!

        So, does that mean you are open to a story arc in Season 5 about Plywood’s redemption. 😉 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        Now you’re getting nasty! Actually I’d be fine with that, although I can honestly say the story doesn’t excite me.

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

    OK I know this is a touchy subject, but here we go, get your timeline sliderules out.

    According to Ellie, Clara is 3 months old around Valentine’s Day (ep. 3.16). Now when I went to school (admittedly a different school then TPTB) that would make her birthday, more or less, in the neighborhood of Thanksgiving (ep. 3.10). Yet young Clara, and it’s not her fault after all she’s an infant, was born at the back end of 3.13.


    Using similar logic, it is entirely conceivable that if Chuck and Sarah do indeed get hitched by 4.23 or 4.24 **crosses fingers**, that they would be in fact married by the time Sh** shows up on the scene in 3.04.

    Therefore all this discussion about “S3 this” and “S4 that” is completely irrelevant since it is painfully obvious that Chuck and Sarah were in fact married in S3.

    Problem solved.

    PS (for genie)

    As was pointed out to me yesterday, the sheep from 4.07 (their arc should have been extended) were obviously there to convey to Chuck that Tuttlekov was in fact a wolf in sheeps clothing. What the he** were the trees doing in S3 that they couldn’t wave a branch or two in Chuck or Sarah direction.

    • uplink2 says:

      Now that is the kind of deep analysis I come to this site for. 😀 Afterall Chuck did point us in the right direction back in 4.03 with Heather Chandler, “Time Machine” Alexi had it wrong. That is really “The solution to all problems”.

      I actually think the sheep gave a much more convincing performance that Routh did.

  11. Rick Holy says:

    Hey guys, not to bring up an unrelated subject……. Well, yes, I AM bringing up a sort of unrelated subject. Our friends over at ChuckTV are suggesting that as “a sandwich” may have helped save CHUCK in the past, perhaps “a sheep” may help save CHUCK in the present.

    Trying to show an advertiser (or in this case a “product placer”) on CHUCK the effectiveness/return of their ad/placement, they are suggesting the “Sleep Sheep.” I’ve already mentioned before that I bought one. I think Tamara posted the link on this blog.

    Anyway, I know not everyone can fork over the $25 – and I know not everyone has a baby (or has trouble falling asleep like me) but I noticed someone on ChuckTV say they purchased a number of them and donated them to charity. I thought that was a brilliant idea. There are many poor and or single “new moms” for whom something like the “sleep sheep” would simply be an unaffordable “luxury.” Just a thought – but it’s a way to “help CHUCK” and perhaps more importantly to give to someone in need.

    Just a thought. If you’re interested here’s their link:

    • uplink2 says:

      I saw on Twitter today that someone asked the NBCStore account to get baby sized Jeffster T-Shirts because they wanted to put them on their Sleep Sheep. The store account replied that they were going to work on it. Not sure how serious it was but I found it interesting.

      I was asked about Sleep Sheep in the quiz at the Nielsen site I took the day after it aired. They asked me if it being included in the show would make me want to buy it more and of course I said yes.

  12. Rick Holy says:

    “CHUCK” RULES! Sorry, don’t know what came over me. Just felt like I had to say that! 🙂

    • thinkling says:

      Rick, did you just flash?

      • Rick Holy says:

        Nope. If I had “flashed,” I would have posted “CHUCK” RENEWED!! 😉

        I DO love when Sarah asks Chuck that questions every now and then when he HADN’T flashed, only put 2+2 together in his own mind – without the help of the Intersect files!

      • thinkling says:

        In that case, flash anytime, Fr. 😀

        Yeah, me, too.

        A bit off topic, but it surprised me when they were with Vivian in the stable and she told Chuck to get ready to flash. ??

      • First Timer says:

        It’s almost as if they changed the mythology of “flashing” and forgot to tell the audience. In Cat Square, Chuck flashed twice in a row on demand in the Buy More (throwing stars, fight skills). That never happened before either.

        You think the showrunners cut a scene post-Leftovers and forgot that it was the explanation of the laptop-created reboot? Or are they saving some sort of exposition (Ellie’s “research”) for later….

      • thinkling says:

        I thought he had done that a lot before. What was the difference in Cat Squad and other times (like Suitcase, Coup, First Fight, and even Nacho Sampler)?

        What did I miss?

      • thinkling says:

        I guess I should explain. What struck me as odd wasn’t the on-demand part, but that she said it in front of Vivian.

      • weaselone says:

        Ditto. I was struck that she asked him to do so in front of someone who was quite possibly a significant threat. I wonder if it will come back to bite them in a later episode.

      • atcDave says:

        I still expect to lean something about Ellie’s improvements, but I haven’t really seen proof of anything yet. Maybe they’ll just mention at some point that it’s faster now.

        The Vivian thing will be very interesting to see what happens. They’re on a mission together this week, we’ll see if she gets what’s going on yet.

      • weaselone says:

        Speaking of interesting, when do we get an episode of the Charlesesez taking care of Clara while the Drs. Awesome are given a night off? I’m thinking ninjas, heavy weaponry, grunts and diaper duty.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh yeah that would be funny! Like we saw in Masquerade, awkward social situations are the best!

      • thinkling says:

        I had the same thought Weaselone … wondering if it would come back to bite them. I don’t ever remember them saying flash in front of anybody.

        Love your babysitting spec, too. I laugh just thinking about C/S on babysitting duty.

        Dave, I’m a little nervous with Vivian potentially learning so much about Castle and TeamB … and having heard “flash.” What happened to vetting everybody? … Odd.

      • JC says:

        Vetting went out the window last year with Hannah. 😉

        As much as watching C/S deal take care of Clara would be fun, I’d much rather see Casey have to do it by himself while protecting her from Volkoff. A car seat in the Crown Vic, beating the crap out of henchman because he finally got her to fall asleep.

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, JC, that would be hilarious.

        They didn’t vet Jill either, and look how well that turned out. Next season, they can give Castle tours to every 100th customer and give away a “mission with Chuck and Sarah” to employee of the month. jk 😉

      • First Timer says:

        @thinkling, atcdave:
        That was my point about Masquerade really being one big Godfather callback and Vivian being Michael Corleone. Just as the “families” and the corrupt cop (Sterling Hayden) considered Michael a “civilian,” Chuck and Sarah consider Vivian a civilian.

        Michael (and Vivian) go on to use that civilian status and what they learned to advance their agendas when they go to the dark side.

        We’re gona get everything but oranges on a conference table in Castle on Monday evening…

      • thinkling says:

        Sorry, FT, I never saw The Godfather, so I missed your reference, but I see the setup.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh boy, Castle tours, sign me up. I want to play with the mini-gun controls!

  13. Tamara Burks says:

    They didn’t really vet Barker either. Sure they knew he was a British agent but there was no reason for them to believe that the chip was unhackable and especially no reason for him to know Chuck was the Intersect.

    • thinkling says:

      Yeah, it was dumb to not let Chuck have a go at the chip first. But with the Intersect reveal there were extenuating circumstances, like impending torture.

  14. Herder says:

    One of the things that really like about this season 4.5 is that the Chuck and Sarah conflict is grounded in more understandable areas. In seduction Impossible the surface reason for the conflict, to have a big wedding or to elope and avoid the whole mess was reasonable. In truth all weddings are really about the bride, something that Sarah acknowledged with her questions “who will I invite, who will come, who will walk me down the asile”, even a Sarah Walker wedding is about the bride. Her own insecurities masked that simple fact.

    In Cat Squad the conflict between Chuck and Sarah was about his involvement in her past. For someone as private and reserved as Sarah is it must come as quite a shock to realize her past does not belong to her alone anymore. Sarah has to come to terms with what it means to be a couple and having to share her past with someone else, and also the benefit of the lessening of the burden of that past by sharing it.

    In Masquerade, the conflict was borne by Chuck, becoming a couple and creating a life together going forward can also mean having to leave the past in the past, even if it is a loved part of your past. Choices and growth have a cost, sometimes even a painfull cost but the benefit it worth the cost.

    First Bank of Evil is supposed to have Sarah come to terms with her inner bride, what ever that means, but it sounds like again them confronting the consequences of deciding to get married and dealing with it albeit this time with more potential for fun. Sort of the way all their issues have been dealt with this back eleven so far which is what has made the show so much fun recently.

    • thinkling says:

      Fantastic summary and insights Herder! I love that.

    • atcDave says:

      Good comments Herder. We’ve already seen Sarah become more open than even seemed possible back in S2. I wonder just how far this will go, and if she really will become as open with Ellie as she has become with Chuck (family is new concept for her).

      • Herder says:

        What I really liked was that the accomodations went both ways, he’s helping her to become a real girl and she’s helping him become a real adult. Both have to move and grow.

      • thinkling says:

        Right Herder. It’s a Chuck theme I love … the two of them helping and completing each other. It’s realistic, it’s drama, and it’s very sweet. At the same time they bring out the innate humor, because, well, there’s a lot of humor in these issues, if you don’t over burden them with angst.

        So, based on your ABC’s, Herder, how will they manage to make the wedding about Sarah, and how will she end up being OK with that?

        I also wonder if we’ll be privy to a follow through of Sarah with Ellie … or some of Sarah honestly sharing her past with Chuck.

        And how will Chuck and Sarah celebrate their “empty nest?”

      • uplink2 says:

        Well there is a big Sarah/Ellie scene coming tomorrow and I wonder what will come of it. Taking that into consideration I’m wondering if Ellie’s “research” is not spy related at all but Sarah related and that has Devon concerned because he feels it will bring about his lying to Ellie about the laptop and not sharing Chuck being back spying with her. Will Ellie be looking in to Sarah’s family as a way of helping Sarah like Chuck has done for her. Will there be consequences of that?

        Also I can’t wait to see the changes they make to the apartment now that they finally have a true couple place. Does Sarah have taste and style? She seems to have improved their bedroom noqw what will happen in the community rooms. What will they do to Morgan’s room? Den, office, gym, research lab, nursery?

      • thinkling says:

        Cool, Uplink, I missed the memo. But I’m all for Sarah/Ellie scenes. Based on the synopsis, it could be wedding stuff. The episode looks like it will be a lot of fun.

        I looking forward to the apartment upgrades, too.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Won’t happen, but now that Chuck and Sarah have their own place I’d love to see a scene with them livin’ it up overjoyed at their new privacy. Sarah in socks and Chuck’s shirt doing a “Risky Business” slide would suffice, and be a great 80’s movie reference to boot.

      • thinkling says:

        Exactly Ernie. I’d love to see some exuberance over having the whole apt to themselves. There are so many ways they could play it. Fun.

      • atcDave says:

        That would be a lot of Ernie. My guess is they won’t make too big a thing of it, unless they’re celebrating when Morgan makes use of the Morgan Door…

        I was under the impression the Sarah/Ellie scene would just be wedding talk, although I hope to hear a little about Sarah’s mom too.

      • thinkling says:

        Dave, he wouldn’t have to use the Morgan door, just the front door, interrupting the spatially unrestricted celebration.

      • atcDave says:

        Morgan has often been a fun and funny character as this season has unfolded. So it seems apt here to be discussing what would obviously be an epic and funny death scene for him.

      • thinkling says:

        ROTFL 😀

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        Based on’s pro and cons for Morgan moving out…being alone in their apartment involves a lot of leggy valkyrie with aversion to clothing time. But then again, we’ve been teased before 😉 LOL.

      • Verkan_Vall says:


        “So it seems apt here to be discussing what would obviously be an epic and funny death scene for him.”

        YES! I would PAY to see that scene!

      • atcDave says:

        And Verkan the burning question is; would it involve Sarah’s heels again?

    • uplink2 says:

      Great take on 4.5 Herder and I agree completely. There is truth and realism in the conflicts they are working through. They fit with the characters perfectly and the characters are driving the resolution not the plot driving the characters like we saw last season. Its here is a situation and how would Chuck and Sarah deal with it not how do we have to change Chuck and Sarah to fit this implausible situation we have contrived. Real drama and real tension is always welcome with me as long as it fits with the characters and their growth. The progressions shown and the reaction is plausible. Even though it wasn’t resolved perfectly the “No, you’re not… at least no now” scene was perfectly within what we knew of how far Sarah had come and what still drove her, protecting Chuck. Trying to cover up her concerns with her family with eloping was a perfect fit as well.

      • thinkling says:

        I totally agree Uplink. The drama and conflict has been believable arising naturally from the story, all the mom stuff, First Fight, etc; or as you say from the characters themselves, like FOD. That’s one of the things I love about this season.

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

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