4.20 Chuck vs. The Family Volkoff: First Impressions

A Bad Day Gets Worse!

Oh, not for me. For Chuck! For us, it’s been so long it’s like I’ve been going through withdrawal!

From the official NBC synopsis, we know that Chuck is going to try to prove Vivian’s innocence. He made a promise to her, after all. To do that, he’s going to have to trust Alexei.

You remember Alexei Volkoff, right? He’s the guy who plays with thermite bombs, sells nuclear weapons to South American Island dictators, likes tiny weapons stand-offs and has a bad crush on Chuck mom. He’s a little insane, and Chuck needs to trust him.

Well, trust is a good thing, and Chuck is a trusting person by nature. If I’m not mistaken, his girlfriend and fiancée sort of likes that about him and she. Trusts. Chuck. (Feels good to say that, doesn’t it?) Sarah, though, is a top notch agent in the organization that trusts no one. Hum…. This sounds like a test they can get through together, or not at all. [Cue sinister organ music!]

Then there’s Casey. I’m sure Casey will trust Chuck in dealing with the Family Volkoff. He’s such a trusting fellow…

Dang sarcasm button is stuck. Sorry. Chuck is going to have to deal with Casey and General Beckman when it comes down to going rogue just enough to prove Vivian is innocent.

I have to wonder in passing, what if she isn’t so innocent?

We get to see the return of Mama B. This time, Ellie may have a few words to say about that, like “Why don’t you want me to look into dad’s work, mom?” That promises to be just a little intense and very revealing. We may find out more about Stephen’s laptop and the Intersect, and maybe even a bit about what he and Mary were doing for the past twenty years.

Thoughts on Tonight’s Episode

When Chuck talked to Vivian face to face in The First Bank of Evil, he told her that his life was more wonderful than he ever thought it could be. For all the rollercoaster highs and lows he’s had (especially with Sarah), are you surprised that Chuck could say that?

I’m not. Chuck is busy taking on new responsibilities, not only saving the world with Sarah, but enlarging the circle of people important to him and people towards whom he feels responsibilities. It’s very much like what a lot of us experience when we get a promotion. All of a sudden the scope of our world just gets bigger.

Sometimes, much bigger.

Chuck’s done well, but the job just got bigger too, and that makes it scary. Let’s see if, after today, he remembers that playing at being a spy with Morgan used to be fun, because I’m guessing that we’re about to take a very serious turn.

So please share your thoughts on the episode. Are we going where you thought? Is Volkoff redeemable or is Vivian lost? Chuck may have to learn yet another lesson about being naive, or maybe, just maybe, it’s a lesson he’s already got down pat.

And did we learn anything about Sarah’s mysterious past?


– joe


About joe

In my life I've been a professor, martial artist, rock 'n roller, rocket scientist, lover, poet and brain surgeon. I'm lying about the brain surgery.
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65 Responses to 4.20 Chuck vs. The Family Volkoff: First Impressions

  1. patty says:

    20 minutes to go!! Watching Chuck vs the A Team on demand with my daughter. We got her fiance and his dad hooked.

  2. Kat says:

    Did I hear wrong or was Chuck reading A Game of Thrones? epic…

    • herder says:

      It’s a nerd cred thing, same as the Princess Bride thing from Morgan in the next scene “…mostly dead…”. Similar to his wonderful line in A-Team: “clever girl”, in fact they seem to be rediscovering their talent for tossing in witty throw away lines that made season two so wonderful and their absence in season three was a real loss. Those little bits don’t add to the plot or the story but they are sort of easter eggs for the fans.

  3. Ernie Davis says:

    Absolute first reaction, as Volkoff said, (to paraphrase) we’re about to have some fun. So many delightful possibilities. And I can hear the complaints coming. But I don’t care at this point. We need to wait. And watch.

    • herder says:

      Diane and Mary are on first name basis? Agent X doesn’t seem to be Chuck, Vivian is the new big bad (ok moderate bad), Casey is coming clean to Kathleen and the name is Sarah Lisa Walker. Lots of interesting stuff tossed about in a pretty good episode.

      • Katsumaro says:

        Where’d the Sarah Lisa Walker part come in? I must have missed that somehow.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Kats…on the top of the prenup they showed.

      • ArmySFC says:

        herder…i still think its chuck. i believe that’s why mary stole that file first.

      • Katsumaro says:

        Ah, thanks Army. Can’t believe I missed that! I must have been turning around to type on twitter and missed that little shot. Hopefully I’ll see that somewhere else. Cool TPTB finally threw that in, even if it wasn’t important.

      • ArmySFC says:

        kats…it is kind of important, for a prenup to be valid i would think it had to contain her legal name. my guess is she changed her name from sam to sarah some time. but thats just a guess.

      • uplink2 says:

        This is as much as they will ever mention the name reveal disaster. It is the final resolution of it. She is legally Sarah Lisa Walker soon to be Sarah Lisa Bartowski. And don’t you forget it. Sam will never ever be mentioned again on the show. Its as close to an admission that they screwed that up royally as we are ever gonna see.

      • atcDave says:

        Uplink I agree entirely on the Sarah Lisa Walker thing, it seems to put the argument to bed for now; she is legally Sarah Lisa Walker.

        My money is still on Chuck being Agent X; it seems obvious to me, not sure why everyone else is being so dense about it. I guess we’ll know for sure in three weeks!

    • Faith says:

      And I can hear the complaints coming

      You are harshing my buzz 😉

      Or soon to have buzz, as soon as I see this SQUEE Chuck and Sarah end 😀

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I can hear it now… “Why didn’t Chuck win the chess game?”

        Just a minor example. It may or may not pay off, but there will be the fannon demand that Chuck is a better chess player than Volkoff. Or maybe not, now.

      • ArmySFC says:

        ernie… i can honestly say that thought never crossed my mind.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Glad to hear it, but I thought we weren’t talking. 😉

      • ArmySFC says:

        ernie… i figured this was safe. its not really about the content of the show. the time limit got me though. 5 minutes for a game of chess…you get the idea, lol.

      • First Timer says:

        Why DIDN’T Chuck win the chess game? The problem, you see, goes all the way back to Superman. Back after he was created, people asked why he didn’t track down Hitler and single-handedly beat the Nazis? So the showrunners’ problem with super-powered Chuck isn’t new.

        The trick is NOT to put your superhero in situations that they SHOULD ace. The Intersect WOULD have a winning chess gambit in there.

        Same problem with the pre-nup stuff. Pre-nup issues could be angsty fun, but Sarah wanting a pre-nup to protect a stash for her father? Duh…the one person who GETS her issues with her father is Chuck, the showrunners have told us. It was the centerpiece of an entire episode, in fact. So while using the pre-nup exposition with Casey to move along HIS story next week, the writers messed up the Chuck-Sarah dynamic from DeLorean.

        Other than that, tho, good episode. Some laughs. Some good new mythology. At least three movie callbacks with Dalton that I could count, including the Klaus Maria Brandauer bit from Never Say Never Again. Wonderful use of exposition to alert you that a cheesy bit is coming (Chuck objecting to giving Volkoff the benefit of the doubt, Dalton announcing the twist, Cohan announcing a twist on the twist). And, of course, the showrunners telling you, “Here’s the last time we’ll talk about the name” in the shot of Sarah’s prenup…

        Unless, of course, the payoff of next week’s episode is Gary Cole telling us that Sarah’s real name is Samantha Lisa…Walker. Wouldn’t that be a hoot? And a great way for the showrunners to turn the Fake Name reveal back on fans…

      • Ernie Davis says:

        FT, you assume that Chuck winning the chess game was the smart play, or that superman defeating the nazis singlehanded was the right thing to do…

        Possibilities are a lot of fun.

      • joe says:

        FT, that’s officially the first time you’ve made me spit out my coke on my monitor.

        Now you come here and clean up! 😉

      • First Timer says:

        You miss the point, Ernie. When you write for a superman, you have to make sure the audience can’t outguess you. It’s why the writers eventually had to invent kryptonite, to reduce Superman back to something human after the “powers creep” of the late 1940s and early 1950s. (Initial, Superman couldn’t fly, for example, only leap…)

        The way to have avoided the chess issue this week was simple: You do it the same way the writer avoided the Norseman issue. You make it something only Volkoff knew. I.E., he says something like, “I have to win this game in a sequence of moves only the computer and I know…” Boom, no issue with Chuck not flashing on a chess move to win the game.

        They had the same problem with the pre-nup. They could have cleaned that up with a single line during the couch scene at the end. As Sarah is ripping up her pre-nup, Chuck says something like “After all you’ve done for my family, I can’t believe you didn’t think I’d understand about what you need to do for your dad.” That would have also tied it right back to the very next scene, where Chuck grapples with HIS family problem (Ellie).

        These are the problems, frankly, the Chuck show has been grappling with since Season 3. When you cut the budget, the writers don’t have time for the one last polish of the script or to check for continuity errors or logic flaws. It’s why most of Season 3 and 4 episodes don’t hold a candle to the best parts of Seasons 1 and 2. The budget (and thus time) isn’t there for tighter writing and the kind of production values they once had. It is what it is, of course, but ignoring it won’t make it not be real. And it is NOT carping to point them out.

        Joe, if I caused you to do a spit-take, I apologize. Spit-takes that aren’t televised are never funny because, well, you do have to clean them up… 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        Much as I despise the idea of an actual pre-nup I liked the way it was handled in this episode. Right from the start Sarah seemed to be begging Chuck to talk her out of it; and it isn’t hard for her to imagine being of two minds about the subject, knowing both that Chuck is the one person who understands her Daddy issues, and that being responsible for her dad should be none of Chuck’s concern. What a time for Chuck to decide to “be cool!”
        BTW, I loved Chuck’s counter pre-nup; divorce will not even be considered! (I remember getting very similar advice in pre-marital counseling; it shouldn’t even be a part of your vocabulary).

        I’ll also claim victory for predicting the outcome; Chuck signs and Sarah tears it up. I predict the sun will come up tomorrow too.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Volkoff probabably HAD to win . He would have built in something so that if he was forced to go there all he had to do was throw the game. He didn’t do that because it was part of his plan.

        And Chuck might not know chess since he’s a video gamer and it might not be in the Intersect because the programmers didn’t think it would come in handy at any point.

      • atcDave says:

        Its also possible the computer would recognize certain elements of style/strategy. So even if Chuck were a good enough chess player, the computer might recognize it wasn’t Volkoff.

  4. uplink2 says:

    Really loved this episode. Best since Push Mix and might be #3 of the season for me. And they did the only thing they really could do with the disaster of the name reveal. They kept the great one and will ignore the horrible one. Sam will never be mentioned on this show again under any circumstances. She is Sarah Lisa Walker and don’t you forget it!

    Loved the twists and there were a few. Vivian is much better as a villain and loved that she holds both Chuck and Alexi responsible. But the Ellie lying to her brother’s face was a big shocker. It will fall apart soon enough as she didn’t even question how he knew about it.

    • atcDave says:

      It was funny that Ellie didn’t even question what Chuck knew. It kind of turned all responsibility for their deception around in one moment. But yeah it looks to be settled in Agent X.

      Vivian as a villain seems to hinge entirely on being deceived. I’m thinking Chuck will prove his good intentions to her in the end and she will have a compete turn about.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Or she’ll find out Riley set her up and he’s been using her to gain control of Volkoff Industries.

  5. herder says:

    Some really funny bits too, Game of Thrones nerd reference, Casey and Morgan as some sort of old couple, cool Chuck leaving Sarah non-plussed, the craziness that is Volkov, cheating at Uno, I mean really who cheats at Uno? I found myself wondering if the intersect would have some sort of way to win at Uno, or would it be beneath the people who put the skills into the intersect to have children’s games in it.

  6. Oli says:

    I am starting to think Elie is Agent X. Think of her not as a full Agent but rather as an assistant or a mentor, sort of like Q/James Bond relationship. It would perfectly make sense since she is a Bartowski after all.
    Chuck, Mama B and Orion all have/had their moment to shine, it’s now Elie’s time

    • herder says:

      I don’t know, didn’t Vivian say that her father only feared one person, this Agent X, if that is so, how could it be Ellie, did he fear some sort of potential agent as opposed to an actual agent that caused his operations harm. Also I don’t recall anywhere when it was stated that he knew about intersect agents, Mary did and she knew that Chuck was the intersect but I got the impression that she hid it from Volkov.

      • Oli says:

        Vivian did say that, but maybe it was a “Chuck pretends to be Orion” situation. Orion could have been using the Agent X i.d. to scare the crap out of Volkof(f) and make him focus his efforts on fake Agent X while the real one is in the wild.
        Orion could have been preparing Elie the same way that Alexei prepared Vivian.
        I can see where you come from when you say the obvious choice for Agent X is Chuck (Him being the main character). But in terms of story depth and future plot possibilities, I still think Elie could be agent X.
        Or maybe even Morgan (highly impossible)

      • atcDave says:

        I still think Agent X is Chuck. Specifically the Intersect. Its just that Alexei doesn’t know what the Intersect is, only that Orion was working on a super-weapon/agent that could take him down. And Chuck did.

      • Big Kev says:

        You know, I was building a theory that Agent X was going to be Volkoff, who is revealed to be Orion’s brother. Something happened to turn him to the dark side, and the only people that knew his relationship to the Bartowskis were Orion and MamaB – hence their determination to take him down, whatever the cost.
        The reference to Agent X being known and feared within Volkoff industries rather blew my theory – but I still like the idea that there’s a connection between Orion and Volkoff that hasn’t been revealed yet.

    • uplink2 says:

      But what about the when Vivian said that Agent X was the only person her father feared. That can’t be Ellie. To me its either Chuck, Orion or someone new being introduced. Heck it could even be Bryce Larkin.

      • Anonymous says:

        Im thinking it may be bryce larkin as well. Its been bugging me about why his body was removed from the intersect room in “chuck vs the ring II”, im thinking its because they brought him back to life, again. Also bryce was the only agent that orion trusted with his orion identity, so it would make sense as well.

      • atcDave says:

        It won’t be Bryce, if for no other reason than the fact Matthew Bomer is not available. Bummer but true.

    • herder says:

      Ok, two bits of speculation here, first go back to what Volkov said in prison “that’s a DNA tracker, a target or family of targets can be picked out of a crowd and killed”. We have no idea of how this Norseman (was that it’s name) works, but “family of targets” seems to indicate that Vivian will use it against the Bartowski family. Which brings us back to who Agent X is, the obvious choice is Chuck, but he wasn’t going agaist Volkov and didn’t even know about him until Anniversary. What if Agent X is Mama B, Orion had a version of the intersect in his head, what if he put a version in Mary’s head too and she was working covertly against Volkov’s interests as Agent X.

      Vivian either assumes that Agent X is Chuck and decides to get rid of Mary too or finds out that Mary is Agent X and decides to get rid of Chuck too putting Ellie at risk as well as anyone else with Bartowski or Mary’s DNA such as baby Clara or any other relations (auntie Diane anyone?). This revenge is planned for the Bartowski/Walker wedding, ok the auntie Diane bit is probably a bit far (you can breathe easier Duck shippers) but the rest makes sense.

    • kg says:

      Harkens me back to the days of my youth and the Speed Race cartoon. The infamous Racer X was none other than Speed’s disgraced/exiled older brother. One who passed himself off as a bad guy, but actually returned to the circuit disguised to watch over his little bro.

    • Tamara Burks says:

      Check out the data on the screen at the end of ep 19, it’s a male outline. My top 2 possibilities is that agent X is Chuck but he got the code name and rep and that he kept screwing up Volkoff’s customers (The Ring was one) and the moles in the CIA and NSA that Volkoff had were only able to find out about him as agent X.

      2cd possibility is that Agent X is another alias of Orion’s. An alter that he kept active so that people wouldn’t think they were in the clear when Orion had to fake his death.

  7. Gringo Chuck Fan says:

    What was with the Bad day – goes wrong thing all about??? I understand the pre-nup twist – [and that was kinda funny.]
    Once again the Morgan and Casey tandem was fantastic!
    ~ but was Chuck having a bad day, I missed that part?… anyways, I’ll never understand the way they write up those preview summaries.
    We should have started an office poll – for Sarah’s real name… somebody would have won alot of money. ~ just say’n.
    Loved pretty much the whole episode… I’d quibble with a few of the writing decisions – but nothing major. I’d say this was certainly well paced – and as always – really well performed. [ What a fantastic cast!!!]
    What did yall think of Yvonne’s music video –
    or all the TVG awards? I think the fans deserve a reward for those 3 awards. An announcement about Season 5 would do just fine thank you… It would be the one thing that would be sure to make us all very happy.
    Who wrote that Episode?… lots of good pop references in there too.

  8. bundy says:

    I posted a video that Yvonne did for College Humor in the spoiler section.I didn’t know where to put it.Chek it out!!!It’s funny!!!

  9. joe says:

    That was the most exciting episode I’ve seen all year! You guys won’t believe this, but I actually wrote two lines to wonder aloud if Casey might be facing his own growing circle of responsibilities. I was wondering if Kathleen might make an appearance.

    Tonight, they were reading my mind.

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

    I say this totally as a “car guy”.

    Dudes, you should have kept the Porsche!

    The Lotus isn’t ugly by any means. It’s just looks like most other sports cars and it certainly doesn’t make a statement or is half as sexy as the Porsche. The fact that it resembles the anemic Tesla of S3 is helping your case either.

    • luckygirl says:

      There is probably a product promotional reason for the switch.

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      The fact that it resembles the anemic Tesla of S3 is helping your case either.

      Brings back bad memories of rotting plywood. 😛

      BTW, what exactly was the pre-nup about?

      • armysfc says:

        money stashed for dads bail and family issues.

      • joe says:

        That’s what I understood, too.

        It appears that Sarah had money stashed specifically for her father, much like he had hidden a stash for her when she was a teen (as we saw in Cougars. The pre-nup would have kept that money in her hands in the event of their divorce.

        But it was also a vehicle for her to explain that she was caught in between her warring parents, to Casey and to us. I’m going to rewatch specifically to understand her reaction to Chuck’s reaction to the whole thing.

        Apparently, his being “cool” about it was not the reaction she was expecting. His pre-nup, however, sure saved the day.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        @Army and Joe – thanks

        @Joe – What!! Even Chuck came up with a pre-nup?

      • joe says:

        Sure. Sarah Lisa Walker promised to love Chuck forever. Charles Irving Bartowski promised to love her back, forever. They both signed. It was sweet. 😉

      • herder says:

        Rewatch the beginning and look at Sarah’s body language, she pauses in the kitchen and then drops the envelope on the table in a half run, then when Chuck says he is staying and for her to go ahead she almost runs out the door. Great acting by Yvonne of someone hoping to brazen out a difficult situation, cool Chuck definitely was not what she was expecting. Instead of defending herself from his questions she ended out thinking about what he should have been saying and changed her own mind.

      • joe says:

        I *like* that interpretation, Herder! I suspect that’s what I’m going to believe when I get a chance to re-watch.

      • atcDave says:

        I think Sarah completely expected Chuck to talk her out of it; she simply felt some odd sense of family duty to draw it up in the first place. Thus she was totally rattled when Chuck decided to “be cool.”

    • herder says:

      I get my feed from the Boston affiliate of NBC, during the show they had ads for Lincoln, BMW and Mercedes (maybe others too, I didn’t notice first time through), pretty high end stuff for a show that normally pushes Toyota Siennas. Maybe the ad guys know something about the demographics that we don’t.

      • armysfc says:

        i heard earlier in the year more adult males between 40 and over are tuning in than males 18-40. who better to buy a sports car than a male going through a mid life crisis.

      • joe says:

        I saw those same high-end brands from NBC’s DC affiliate too.

        I’m thinking that the ad guys finally glommed onto something we knew from the beginning, Herder. The show always had appeal for an older demo.

        Schwartz in particular has got a reputation for producing angst filled teen-fests. That seems to always be his target. Maybe this time he missed, or it just got by the ad men for a while. But I could tell that 40 year olds and up were the ones watching.

      • joe says:

        Heh. Army, my kid brother’s band was called Mid-Life Crysys. I got rid of that sports car years ago!

        They should start advertising Oldsmobiles next! 😉

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        I’ll just say that I have a much better chance of successfully dragging myself (and looking cool doing it) out of a BMW or Mercedes (or Porsche). I might hernia myself getting out of that particular Lotus.

      • herder says:

        Well my last three cars have been among those brands so maybe there is something to that. Add Mary’s Cadillac from Aisle of Terror (promotional consideration) and high end sedans seem to be popular with advertisers of the show. Unfortunately there is never going to be a “buy a Mercedes” fan campaign to save the show.

      • armysfc says:

        joe…if olds were still made id agree with you. i believe GM stopped making the brand last year.

      • joe says:

        Yeah, GM stopped making Olds’ more than a year ago, Army. I’m thinking it was 2008.

        But it’s still “Your father’s Oldmobile.” 😉

      • Tamara Burks says:

        My car is an Olds!

    • Gringo Chuck Fan says:

      The pre-nup was a great setup or introduction into Sarah’s family situation:
      I get the feeling that Sarah actually wants Chuck to push back – and to pry into her private life; just a little.
      We witnessed the big confession at the end of Phase 3: that there are so many things that she wants to tell him… and she has appreciated how patient he has been – waiting for her to be ready to open up [ the suitcase – and start to unpack all the baggage]. With Chuck being so easy and accepting – it is forcing her to initiate that conversation – and open up about her past – that she so desperately wants to deal with… I think we are seeing that whole theme now.
      First with Casey – and then Volkoff – now Sarah, and finally I suspect we’ll get some resolution with Ellie, Chuck and Mary.
      I would have liked a few more moments between Sarah and Chuck – to watch her fritter and fret about his ” cool” reaction… but I don’t think there was enough time in this episode for all that subtle stuff. The conversation between Casey and Sarah really helped to reinforce her frame of mind.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        I think that if Chuck had behaved the way she expected she might have gotten defensive and put up some walls. By playing cool she actually worked her way around to seeing how he’d see it.

        Though I wouldn’t have minded Sarah also saying something about the prenup implying that she doesn’t trust him and how that wasn’t true.

  11. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Family Volkoff (4.20) | Chuck This

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