Daughters: Chuck vs. Family Volkoff Review

An interesting episode to say the least. I think I’m going to need a couple of rewatches because there’s something about it that I just didn’t…get?

I thought Timothy Dalton stole the episode once more. His mere presence seems to automatically put the show on a whole other level and whatever level that is, unfortunately I feel like Cohen brings down (sorry!). It might be the fact that I knew she was going to turn bad (because I spoiled myself before my west coast broadcast lol), but I doubt it. She suffers a lot, admittedly in comparison to the presence that is Timothy Dalton as psychotic Volkoff and her outburst in the cave left a lot to be desired. She started off good, with the underlying deviousness of the plan, but the outburst itself, fell flat. Having said that, I thought the amount of rage she put in her voice when on the phone towards the end was good. I’m apprehensive (like Sepinwall) about what a Vivian villain arc will bring. But never say die right? Haha.

The Mcguffin this week was the weapon but it takes the backseat to the brilliant Fathers theme. The legacy that two fathers imparts (Stephen, Volkoff), one good, another bad; and another attempts to build (Casey). I really loved the contrast, on the one hand you have Ellie finding herself through the good of Stephen’s life’s work, on the other you have Vivian whose life is made darker with Volkoff’s life work. You have Volkoff trying to reconnect with Vivian, and you have Ellie disconnecting from her own family (Mary, Chuck).

I’m loving all the mentions of Stephen. It tugs at my heartstrings. Even Volkoff’s apology to Mary and his statement about being unworthy warmed me. An amazing feat for someone who’s essentially a villainous psychotic.

There’s the theme of secrets and lies of course, and in this one it’s really the symbolic prenup that’s separating the family. Chuck fears that Ellie knowing about his spy life will “tear (them) apart” so it’s ironic that not telling her is actually what’s doing it. But this conflict works for me on a couple of levels. On one, with Chuck and Sarah settled, and the focus on family, there really isn’t a lot in terms of conflict for Chuck as it relates to his sister apart from the secrets. It’s eventually going to be resolved, in the meantime I find the how and why interesting. How will she react? Who is Agent X? What amount of danger will she face, and how will Chuck, in his Chuck way, rescue her from it? Two, it’s different from season 3 where it opened her up to be exploited by Justin, because this time she’s not the naive dupe, instead she’s the deceiver. An awesome twist!

To quote Alexei, “she’s my daughter, she takes after me!” A statement that applies to both fathers’ daughters, Vivian and Ellie.

Agent X, so many questions. I assumed that Agent X was Chuck and if said agent remained unknown to both GB, Frost and is feared by Volkoff, it could literally be anybody.

Now for the prenup. I thought it was an interesting dynamic to see Chuck be mature, and patient with Sarah, and Sarah take on Chuck’s hand-wringing persona. I absolutely love the bluntness and openness at which Sarah asked him to stop being so cool. Chuck’s prenup was so cute and loving. Something we’ve come to expect from Chuck Bartowski.

I did have an issue with it though, and that is Sarah was unwilling to explain to Chuck (at least initially) why the prenup—maybe because he never asked, and she was waiting for him to—and yet she had opened up fairly easily to Casey. I’m not fan of them going to other people to resolve their issues. It makes sense, and it works (don’t get me wrong) but I felt weirded out in seeing Chuck go to Morgasey, and Sarah going to Casey (essentially) to talk about their problems. Then again, good things come to those who wait, because eventually they did talk about it. A non-entity in that she tore it up, but it would have worked much better for me (totally subjective!) had she discussed with Chuck why and her thought process rather than leave it implied with Chuck having to be a mind-reader, or rather Morgasey being a mind reader and Chuck essentially just letting her have space. Don’t get me wrong, space works, at times. Certainly did in this one, somewhat. And like I said, it got resolved well.

Final thought, it’s interesting really that out of all the Fathers, Casey and his (Crown Vic) “the choice I made, to protect something bigger than ourselves, is the right choice” is the one guy out of all the fathers who’s making the best of his second chance. And doing something that really none of the fathers did/could do and that is put their daughter above themselves, their life’s work.

All in all I give this 3.5 daughters out of 5.

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About Faith

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

  1. mxpw says:

    The prenup was a false note in this episode for me. It was, frankly, kinda dumb and badly underdeveloped. I just didn’t get why Sarah brought it up at all. It seemed utterly pointless. She wanted to protect money she had stashed away in case her father got in trouble again? First, that was a clunky way to introduce the fact that Jack is coming back next episode, and second, after Delorean, Sarah thinking that way makes little sense. We’ve already seen that Chuck doesn’t have an issue with Jack and we’ve already seen how little he prioritizes money when it comes to Sarah. That Sarah thought she had to protect her money from Chuck was just bizarre, or that he wouldn’t understand why she was keeping the money socked away made her seem like she didn’t know Chuck at all.

    And like you, Faith, I thought it was weird that Sarah opened up to Casey about why she asked for the prenup, but we never see onscreen that she ever explains to Chuck why she asked for it. Just telling Chuck it had to do with her family is not nearly good enough for such a request, and that she would tell Casey and not Chuck was a major cheat by the writers so that they didn’t have to write a scene with Sarah explaining her reasoning to Chuck. You can’t skip that, writing doesn’t work that way.

    The resolution was very nice and sweet and almost made the plotline worthwhile. I just wish the buildup to that moment at the end wasn’t so shoddy, or that the prenup stuff wasn’t treated as such an afterthought at times throughout the episode.

    The rest of the episode was okay. Heh.

    • joe says:

      Hum… That’s good, MXPW; the pre-nup is an underdeveloped theme. But I’m not sure about what exactly the theme is. It may be that the pre-nup itself wasn’t the point, but Sarah expecting Chuck to read her mind was. And that’s a little different.

      That mind-reading bit certainly becomes a sticking point in a lot of marriages (“You *should* have known!”, one spouse or the other complains. Lord knows both can be guilty of that).

      • Gringo Chuck Fan says:

        It would lead us to the conclusion – that Sarah really does want to open up more – [ like at the end of Phase 3: when she confesses that there are so many things that she wants to tell him ] It would seem that Miss Walker is finally ready to start unpacking her baggage [ suitcase].
        It would be easier if Chuck would pry or push back more… but he’s leaving those issues, and the timing up to her – which makes it difficult for her to open up – as she has to initiate that conversation.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        The point was probably to get her to see things from his point of view. But I would have liked to have her think about how a prenup implies a lack of trust as well as saying that they’ll end in divorce.

        On a side note, I’m very happy my new modem finally got her. Mine blew late Friday and the UPS guy didn’t leave it at the door when I was gone taking my mother to the doctor Wednesday.

      • joe says:

        I wrote that immediately after watching the episode Monday, Tamara. On reflection, I absolutely agree with you. It *was* about Sarah seeing things from his POV.

        I hope your mother is okay, Tamara. And I hope you’re really talking about a high-speed router or hub for broadband, and not a dial-up modem! That would be so slow, the Spoiler Pages would take forever to download! 😉

    • Ernie Davis says:

      For the life of me I never felt the pre-nup was about anything other than Sarah wanting Chuck to ask her about it and talk, and it was funny to watch it backfire on her. She is after all Sarah Walker, the least communicative woman in the world, and especially after telling Chuck to back off about her past and family she needs his help to broach the subject as the wedding approaches and it is more on her mind. Especially if she wants her dad, a wanted fugitive, to give her away.

      It was however one of the things I was sure someone would complain about. 😉

      • Crumby says:

        Yeah my first thought was: she didn’t know how to broach the subject, and she knew he would want to talk about it. So it was her way to communicate. But then her explication was weird.

        – So why the prenup?
        – I have some money socked away, in case my dad gets arrested again.
        – Well, I’m sure Bartowski could handle it. Any excuse to weep and hug.
        – Yeah, well, it’s more about what it dredges up for me. My relationship with my family and having to take sides.

        So was she covering up so that she wouldn’t have to rehash the past, or did she want to talk about it? The point is: it wasn’t well explained, and if it had been, it would have played out better.

        That last scene between them was good though. 🙂

      • mxpw says:

        @Ernie – For that to be true, shouldn’t we have seen an actual scene in the episode with Sarah talking to Chuck about her issues? Because we never got that. At the end, they barely discuss the prenup or why she got it. We never see Sarah open up to Chuck about why. I’m not even sure he knows, as Chuck still seemed a little confused at the end there about why Sarah asked for the prenup in the first place.

        That’s why the scene with Casey is a cheat by the writers. They tried to make her explanation to Casey stand-in for her explanation to Chuck, so that they wouldn’t have to write a scene with Sarah talking about her past (and they wanted to bring Jack back up). It was clunky and bad writing. Sarah’s stated reason for why she wanted the prenup (money stashed in case Jack got arrested again) didn’t even have any connection to what ended up being the larger point of the scene: getting between two parents. What does keeping money hidden in case Jack gets in trouble again have to do with her parents’ relationship issues? That scene simply tried to do too much at once.

        The end would have been a lot more satisfying if the prenup had actually been explained and developed well.

      • First Timer says:

        @mxpw:
        The purpose of the pre-nup was wider and deeper in the episode’s writing than some here seem to understand.

        It served a structural purpose since all daughters in the episode (Sarah, Ellie, Alex, Vivian) were dealing with daddy issues. It also served an expository purpose: Sarah talking to Casey about her father allowed the story to move to the Alex-Casey bits. It served a third purpose, too: To show an off-balance Sarah when Chuck doesn’t respond as she expected.

        The failing, as you note here and I said in the other thread, is that the Chuck-Sarah-Jack Burton backstory gets in the way. They SHOULD have cleaned it up with a line in the couch scene. In fact, if the writers were really firing on all cylinders, they could have made it a callback to Suitcase, where Sarah was shocked to learn that Chuck was afraid her unpacking was a threat to the relationship. In this case, they could have had Chuck express surprise that Sarah thought talking about what she needed to do for her ne’er do well dad would be a threat to the relationship.

        But this is what separates a good episode (which Family Volkoff was) from a great episode. It’s the small bits that elevate a script. You rarely get the nuances right in the first couple of drafts. Besides, the writing team on this episode wasn’t A caliber. You had a first-time writer (a story assistant, I’m told) and Wootton, who’s a terrific writer, but has struggled with his Chuck stuff…

      • Ernie Davis says:

        @Ernie – For that to be true, shouldn’t we have seen an actual scene in the episode with Sarah talking to Chuck about her issues?

        Only if you expect it to be resolved in this episode.

        I believe that the final couch scene was where we all expected such a talk to happen, with Sarah tearing up the pre-nup and getting ready to talk about the real issue (set up with the Casey conversation). In inimitable Chuck fashion the conversation is interupted, a new issue introduced (Ellie lying to Chuck) and we wait to see what happens next week when Sarah’s dad issues become unavoidable.

      • herder says:

        I’m not sure what the daddy issue was that led to the prenup, and really I’m not sure that we were meant to, I think Ernie’s right in that it is something to be dealt with in the next episode. What kind of obligation that she feels would be so great that she would risk hurting Chuck (her home) and make no mistake, she was apprehensive about giving it to him.

        Ultimately she decided against the prenup but the obligation she feels is still there and it is up to Jack Burton to release her from that obligation. Some sort of “we both love you angel, but he’s a better man than I am and better for you”.

        Might I say that I’m looking forward to the return of Jack Burton, the man with a name for everyone, Angel, Schnook, Cop Face (my personal favorite) does Morgan remain the Magnet or does he get a new name.

      • Faith says:

        Some good points on both sides. I thought it was a miss in writing myself, certainly a missed opportunity but I also agree with First Timer in that it’s what separates a great episode into well, Family Volkoff.

        If you notice the episode received a 3.5 out of 5 from me, a bit harsh but I think those are the exact reasons why it did so.

        And Ernie, I wouldn’t want to disappoint ;). Come to think of it…have I squeed on the ending yet? 😛

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Faith I just assume you squee at everything remotely squee-able.

        I assume you squee’d at the fact that Chuck and Sarah have a joint account in the promo. 😉

        I guess when Sarah and Casey talked and it became about dad I just assumed it was a setup for next week, so I wasn’t looking for any further resolution at this point.

        My guess is that the money in question, and possibly it’s origins, will play a part in the next episode.

      • First Timer says:

        @herder:
        The daddy issue for Sarah? It’s right there in the mountain scene between Casey and Sarah…at 28:30

        Casey: “So why the pre-nup?”
        Sarah: “I have some money socked away in case my dad gets arrested again.”

        It’s pretty blunt exposition…although Baldwin did swallow his line.

        And how can’t Gary Cole’s return be win-win? It’s a fun character, long-time viewers bring good vibes from DeLorean and (I think) you’ll get some closure there. And since the Casey-Alex-mom angle is likely to be heavy and kind of downbeat, I expect Chuck-Sarah-Daddy Burton to be total fun, all played for maximum laughs.

        Too bad they won’t have Cole for the wedding, though. Who’s going to deliver the equivalent of Boxleitner’s line about Sam Kinison and an Indian lesbian ruining the wedding?

      • herder says:

        FT, I viewed the money held for bail as a symptom of the underlying daddy issue, not the issue itself. Why does she feel so responsible for his actions, it’s not like she has good memories of his cons. That is what I expect will be made more clear next episode.

      • First Timer says:

        @herder:
        They did sort of address that in DeLorean with Chuck’s stuff about the sins of the father. I truly doubt they are going there next episode, though. It looks like this is a flip of DeLorean in that Burton pulls Chuck and Sarah’s CIA bacon out of the fire this time. I think they’ll go for laughs on Burton angle and angst/drama with Casey, Alex, et. al. But we shall see, shan’t we?

    • bc says:

      I agree that the prenup came out of the blue and just seemed too out of place. To me, the only purpose that it served was to establish that Sarah has money to be conned out of next episode. Which in turn opens up the door to bring in Gary Cole.

  2. amyabn says:

    Well, I can’t wait to watch it. But imagine my surprise when I get up (I’m 7 hours ahead of EST) and it isn’t available on iTunes. It is currently 0616 EST and it is usually up around midnight or so, EST. They better get it up or I will be an unhappy person! It will still take like two days to download, so the sooner they get it up, the faster I can get my Chuck fix!

  3. JC says:

    This might be a first, I actually like an episode more than Faith. 😉 I thought it was the strongest since Seduction Impossible. Dalton stole the episode again but that’s to be expected at this point. I really hope this wasn’t the last of him this season. Oddly enough my favorite moment was between Chuck and Mary. They actually acted like they were related and Mary showed actual affection towards the child that risked his life to save her.

    My only two complaints would be I haven’t really bought into Vivian’s heel turn yet, it feels like it came out of nowhere really. Hopefully we get something more out of it in the upcoming episodes. And like others have mentioned the whole idea of a prenup. Its not like Chuck has any problem about Jack being a conman so it made no sense for her to be hiding money. And having Sarah talk to everyone else about her past except Chuck drives me up a wall.

    Random speculation Vivian isn’t a Volkoff. Dalton’s lines about its who she is and protecting family along with the weapon designed to kill people based on DNA make me think a TWIST is coming.

    • patty says:

      She took that DNA test in the bank though.

    • Gringo Chuck Fan says:

      Dalton steals the episodes – because that’s how he’s written. He is always the focus. He always gets to put on the big show in the spotlight – he’s unpredictable. Violent then funny… he is a character held in tension. There isn’t another character that is written that way. Casey could be that guy – but he is most often reduced to grunts and threats – with moments of fatherly advice…. Big Mike has his moments – but its confined to handling the Buy Morons. Chuck will always be just too nice and sweet to command the same tension…. So, Hail to the creators of Volkoff – and Hip Hip Hooray for the way Timothy Dalton is able to pull it off…. its wonderful to watch the whole thing come together.
      On the other hand – I’m just a little dissappointed that Mary Bartowski hasn’t really had a chance to stand out… she seems to always overshadowed by Volkoff.

      • Faith says:

        JC lol. I’m glad you enjoyed it! About time 😉 just kidding. Seriously though, I agree with you about Mary. They’re doing a great job fleshing her out while still maintaining the life she lived. I got chills when she called Beckman, “Diane” and not in a good way! Heh.

        I agree with that GCF. Dalton is written very well, and in such a way that truly showcases his talents. Part of the reasons why these episodes are so strong is because of his delivery. There’s an old adage that a good actor will make a bad script look good, a bad actor will make a great script look bad (or something to that effect). My fear is that the same will be assumed with Vivian and I don’t think she’s got the acting chops to pull it off. Like I said, she suffers tremendously in comparison.

      • Crumby says:

        I found Linda Hamilton to be very good in that episode, she brings a lot of nuances to her character.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I’ve been trying to figure out a way they could keep both Linda Hamilton and Timothy Dalton around for another season as occasional guest stars. Mary being a regular, if infrequent part of their lives is easy. Volkoff is a tougher one. Even if he does start to reform (which by the way was a hillarious hook for his scenery chewing preformance) it is tough to figure a way to cart him in for a few episodes at a time. The best I can come up with is a lot of flashbacks while exploring the Orion and intersect mythology. We so need that next season.

      • Crumby says:

        Some new evil organization could just get him out of jail to exploit his evil knowledge/resources. Or someone he worked with/knew could resurface and bring him back into the story.

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      And having Sarah talk to everyone else about her past except Chuck drives me up a wall.

      Hey! Give the poor girl a break. At least she didn’t end up kissing Casey after revealing something about herself. 😉 😛

      Random speculation Vivian isn’t a Volkoff. Dalton’s lines about its who she is and protecting family along with the weapon designed to kill people based on DNA make me think a TWIST is coming.

      My random spec – Vivian is going to die (at CIA hands – she becomes the Red Test for some rookie) and there will be hell to pay. We haven’t seen the limits of Volkoff’s true psychotic personality.

      • patty says:

        I think she is going to target “Agent X” with the DNA weapon. I am thinking that Agent X is a Bartowski relation, like Stephen, (or maybe Sarah’s dad or Casey but I doubt it). If deployed it puts the relatives of the target in as much danger as the target. That would mean Chuck, Ellie and Clara. Maybe Vivian will come to her senses and stop because she doesn’t want to kill Clara?

        They did something similar in the Dresdan Files latest book, to push Harry into some heinous (sp?) choices which would normally be OOC for him.

      • JC says:

        @Genie

        You know her not talking about her past with Chuck wouldn’t bother me if we got an occasional scene between the two of the them discussing it. Its like smart Chuck, I got that in A-Team so the chess thing didn’t bother me a bit.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Maybe it will turn out that Agent X is Volkoff and he has multiple personalities and Vivian will end up targeting herself and her father with the weapon.

  4. joe says:

    I really liked the pace and action in the one. It was – exciting!

    My thing is that I just like “cool” Charles Carmichael/Bartowski. You know, the guy who faced down Volkoff, and shows up with just a trace of controlled rage. We saw a lot of him this time.

    Great write-up, Faith!

  5. jason says:

    faith – interesting – I really liked chuck and sarah in this one, have only watched once, but usually my rewatch only makes me like the show more. INterestingly, very little scene stealing by morgan in this ep, but I loved the odd couple at breakfast scene as well as morgan / alex this time, and no jeffster, which really allowed the guest stars and the big 3 more time and more story, which is a huge win in my mind.

    Like many things in all tv, the prenup was played for many reasons, none of which were ‘a prenup meant to cause CS angst’. The main serious reason for the prenup was to allow casey to see how children suffer when placed in the middle of a parent battle, giving him an out to resolve the kathleen issue. Of the many reasons to celebrate the 24 ep season 4, resolving ‘casleen’ (that’s bad) is one for sure!

    I am not even positive the ‘official’ name reveal of sarah lisa walker was even an intention of the prenup, but like many things this season, it did help to make the s3 hangover feel a little better for me.

    Other than that, the prenup was comedy gold. I just love how Yvonne plays stuff for nuance, in this case her nervous strut out of the room after handing chuck the note hit a positive chord with me. She is really starting to be the one wanting to talk during missions, holy cow, chuck has really changed her. In some ways, she carried the comedy in the ep. The couch has become the new water fountain in season 4.5, this CS ending might have been the cutest CS moment this season, and left me feeling more like earlier seasons did.

    For the alias side of the plot, I’ll be interested in how those who watch chuck for the spy / mythology react to this ep. I liked it much more than usual. Like many great stories, near almost anything might happen in the next 4 eps regarding vivian, dalton (if he even is in any more eps), mary, the eraser, ellie, and agent x. I have long hoped for chuck and sarah on a serious adventure caused by the world, in love and in trust with each other, while they are having fun and being funny, this ep qualified in that regard on first view, possibly in the best way since the Honeymooners.

  6. Big Kev says:

    It feels good (after the complete turkey that was Muurder) to be able to say that I enjoyed the episode. Loved the Father comparisons that Faith has alluded to, the continuing brilliance of Dalton, the further involvement of Ellie in the storyline, the twist of Vivian burning Alexei….and the mythology around Agent X.
    Prenup was back to the contrived “issue of the week” stuff from Suitcase/CubicZ – didn’t like it then either, although this one was rescued by Casey’s perspective on Alex as the kid in the middle. The chess match was a little too convoluted and cute for me too, but really only a minor quibble.
    I’m just about on board still with Vivian. Delivery was patchy, but I did think she nailed “….shattered my LIFE!!”…..and I liked the twist, as I mentioned.
    How many dumb orders does Beckman get to give in this series before people start to figure out that her judgements are pretty poor??

    UNO to the death!! Awesome 🙂

    So who is Agent X? How would Volkoff know about someone that MamaB/Frost and the CIA weren’t aware of? I’ve thought all season that there’s a connection between Orion and PapaB that we haven’t been told yet, but I can’t think what it is.

    Super Spy Tip of the week? Never trust a Limey with good teeth.

    Man, next week’s promo looks fantastic!

  7. Crumby says:

    I mostly enjoyed the episode, but I feel like, like Chuck, it tried to hard to be cool.

    I expect Chuck to go for the funny rather than serious most of the time (like the UNO stuff, that was GOLD), but there’s a line between going for the funny and not making any sense. At some point in the episode, my only thought was “WTH?” which doesn’t make it as funny for me.

    Having said that there was plenty to enjoy in the episode.

    • Crumby says:

      Also, while the Chuck/Ellie thing has been bothering me since Anniversary, if there’s a relationship they definitely got right this season it’s the Casey/Alex one. Loving it!

  8. Gringo Chuck Fan says:

    Who was the sniper shooting at everyone – at the beginning of the episode?
    Was that all just a setup by Vivan, so that Chuck and the CIA would bring Volkoff out of prison to help find the rest of the components for the DNA tracker?
    If that’s the case – wow… what an elaborate setup!
    Some say that Vivian’s acting is suspect – but she played the victim in panic pretty well…. or well enough to fool Chuck.
    Speaking of fooling Chuck – is this the first time – we’ve seen the “Intersect Intuition” go wrong? even after Chuck heard the same thing with the advice from his mother about Volkoff…..
    Hmmm wonder if that’s the last we’ll see of Sir Timothy Dalton [ hope not!]
    – After all – he was the fan favorite for best villian! Would we be worried about ratings if he was a weekly regular?

  9. Viridis says:

    I’m disappointed that people haven’t commented on my favorite throwaway joke:

    “Target’s on the move, Hot Mama.”
    “Copy that, Six Pack.”

    It’s so cute to see Awesome and Ellie try being spies in a family of masters.

    And I have to agree with some post I’ve read (don’t remember which thread) that argues that this Chuck/Ellie secret keeping is a bit like the Chuck/Sarah secret keeping of seasons past. Except there’s even less reason for them to keep secrets from each other. Chuck knows that Ellie is working on the Intersect. Without revealing that he’s still working with the CIA, he can say that he had an Intersect in his brain, though it’s been taken out. He can still keep the secret about his spy life while warning his sister away from digging further; pretend that Orion’s computer could give her the Intersect too.

    Of course, the plot requires that she dig further so that Agent X (which I’m going to theorize is a hidden Intersect in Ellie that needs to be activated) can come and save the day from the Big Bad, whichever Volkoff it is.

    And Chuck being surprised at Ellie lying is completely ridiculous.

    • joe says:

      Well, I can’t say that I’m disappointed, but I sure am surprised! 😉
      Well, it did go by kinda quick, but that was absolutely a great line! I sorta smirked when the great, experienced spy, Frost, totally missed the Baby-cam. I mean, really?

      Nice to see you here, Viridis.

    • Tamara Burks says:

      I don’t think Chuck’s surprise at Ellie’s lying is ridiculous. Ellie is the paragon of virtue to him. She’s the one he would think of if someone asked about his mother not his actual mother. She is probably the reason that Chuck was willing to give Sarah a chance at all instead of being soured on women.

  10. Scott says:

    I have a theory on Agent X. I think it’s Jeff and the intersect turned him the way he is…

    • Big Kev says:

      Ouch. What a day. From the TV Guide high to that. I’m still holding out hope for a move to Fridays for a final S5 – but that just hurts.

      • ZuneT says:

        If a show gets 1.3 on Mondays it will get 0.9 on Fridays due to less available audience.

        Just hope WB gives Chuck out practically for free, otherwise I m afraid it’s pretty much over

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        It hurts everywhere and not only on the inside. 😦

      • joe says:

        Don’t lose hope, ZuneT. I know foolish optimism is un-cool, but network TV in general and NBC in particular are in the midst of a revolution (and they know it). It’s not really possible to predict with any confidence what they might do.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      The only mitigating factor is that almost everything was down, and most down more than Chuck. The sad fact is that, realistically, we now need to see an uptic in the numbers in the last 4 episodes, and I doubt that’ll happen without some promotion. Luckily the TV Guide stuff (Yvonne favorite actress Chuck & Sarah favorite couple) came at the right time, and with the season wrapped maybe Zach & Yvonne can hit some talk shows.

      We can also hope that LOLA falls even lower.

    • luckygirl says:

      This latest hiatus was just a big mistake. You can’t give an inch when going up against a juggernaut reality show, especially not one that requires night of viewership to vote. Its just too easy for people to dive right in without ever seeing an episode before.

      • joe says:

        Ooooohhhh – if network TV is going to be completely dominated by reality TV, then it looks like I’m finally going to be able to turn the TV off.

        Permanently.

        If there’s no Chuck to watch, would doing that really be such a big loss?

      • atcDave says:

        Agree with that Joe, at least network TV has less worthwhile to offer all the time.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise. It was a warm day on the east coast, meaning people were out and about enjoying the evening rather than in front of the TV. We’re well into the baseball season, and that will either pre-empt or draw viewers locally, and that is just one more hurdle we’ll have to overcome. Remember, the 1.3 is not a relative share, it is the share of the total number of available housholds. When people don’t watch TV in the spring and summer EVERYONE’S numbers drop, as last night. If there is a localy televised baseball game it’s likely to draw from all competing shows. If baseball pre-empts in some local markets, that will initially depress the numbers, but can cause an adjustment in the finals (which I’m hoping for). The point is that we can’t get depressed over a spring drop that has happened every year. Sadly we’re a smaller audience and that 1.3 often does get taken in an absolute context as opposed to relative to everything else. But as we move further into spring there is one thing Chuck fans can do.

      Pray for rain every Monday night

    • ArmySFC says:

      i wonder how much the black out in the detroit market area affected the ratings.

    • Crumby says:

      Even with this 1.3, the season average is still 1.8, so it’s not that bad considering the others NBC shows.

      However, you can make all excuses you want, the Chuck audience seems to be leaving. We’ve always assumed that the core audience was around 1.7 and 5 millions viewers, which is apparently no longer the case. Some fans have stopped watching the show. Even the Live+7 numbers barely reach 2.0 now.

      It’s not just about a limited fan base anymore, it’s about a fan base that is disappearing, which is worrisome.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Crumby…the ratings news didn’t come as a shock to me. DST kills most early shows every year so why would this year be different? the decline started before DST around 4.07 and continued downward from there. it just happened slower than the last couple episodes.

        i don’t see chuck the same as many here. i hold the belief that most viewers see chuck like i do. that being its an ok show, not great and not bad somewhere in the middle. the fan base was there just not as vested as people believed. i think this is coming to light now. i guess i’m different that way.

        DWTS, HIMYM and house do run against chuck. i call that a wash because they run against it in the fall also where chuck held its own most of the fall season. their ratings were down as well this week.

        will we ever know why the ratings dropped? probably not. DST is a factor as is the quality of the show itself. there are a multitude of things it could be and speculating on them can drive you nuts.

      • Crumby says:

        Actually FoD and Phase 3 were lower than the 1.9/2.0 that the beginning of the season had, but Leftovers got a 2.0 and Balcony a 2.1. The #s went down from there.

        What I meant was just that DST certainly is part of it, since everything is going down, but 1.3 is really low. There’s more to it.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Crumby…i agree that there is something else going on. i said during and after the first to arcs that this show does not respond well to the arc formats. during both of those 2 three episode arcs the ratings fell. they also fell during the final arc of season 3.

        then they went and did 2 more arcs. one wrapped up on a down note (bentley). now they will continue the current one. will the ratings drop more? i think by the end of the year the ratings will be around 1.1. i think the final will be higher just because some folks that left may tune in to see the wedding (if there is one to be seen).

      • atcDave says:

        This is really disheartening. I know there’s a lot of possible reasons, but bottom line is the show is not holding viewers.
        Really too bad to me, I’ve never loved the show more. But I know even among the casual viewers I speak to about half of them have said they are less enthused with the second half of the season. Unlike S3, I don’t actually know any viewers who have quit, but a loss of enthusiasm is never good.

        This is the first time I’ve actually thought our chances of renewal were not good. We still might have a chance if numbers rebound some, and some recent publicity like the TV Guide and Hulu polls could help. But we are seriously running out of opportunities for anything good to happen.

      • ArmySFC says:

        dave what were the reasons given for their declining interest?

      • atcDave says:

        Really nothing more than just they weren’t as excited as they used to be. They couldn’t provide more details than that, of course most people don’t analyze these things in the detail we do here, so I suppose that isn’t surprising.

        Again, just to emphasize, a year ago I was hearing “spy Chuck is no fun” and “I really can’t stand to watch anymore.”
        Its nothing like that dramatic, and none of them have suggested quitting; but some of them wait a few days to watch now and they don’t get excited to talk like they used to.
        Also, this is certainly not all viewers. I still know many who are as enthused as ever (apart from me, there’s my wife, two co-workers, and one other friend who think the show is better than ever).

        We’ve mentioned before that serialized television just naturally sheds viewers over time. I think there’s a certain inevitability that as a story develops some will loose track or loose interest; some will be disappointed in some aspect or story or character or something and give it up. It also seems likely that the very changes some of us cherish are exactly the things that turn others off.
        But I’m hoping last night is better explained by external factors (DST, nice weather, other programming) and we will still see enough of a rebound to get another season. Some good publicity this week (TV Guide coming out Thursday) could be just enough of a push; I still think we don’t need much, just some signs of life.

      • ZuneT says:

        No matter how divisive (and in my opinion bad) Season 3 was it still generated a buzz. Season 4 just doesn’t deliver a buzz, it just caters to those people that are content watching Chuck & Sarah as a couple with mild comic relief thrown in by the ByMorons and soft villains that don’t really do anything threatening if you ‘re honest. And that is pretty much reflected in the ratings, and if again you are honest, even in the fansites. Just look at how many different people were commenting on the fansites each episode last year and look at this year, you will find this year it’s mostly the same 10 people commenting across 3 different fan sites, not the plethora of fans that were getting mad/angry/hopeful/excited last year.

        In short what I am saying is that in some ways “bad” can be better that “safe”

      • ArmySFC says:

        dave…thanks! i know my interest started dropping in the first quarter of the season and fell till the second half. then it started to pick up again. i’m not in the i have to see it category nor am i in the it can wait either. i know i wont be watching next monday because the phils are on tv so anything but that is out. it comes down to what i like more, baseball or chuck.

      • atcDave says:

        ZuneT I really can’t agree with the premise bad is better than safe. When I think of people being more excited with the show its mainly an S2 thing. The end of S2 is when we saw the peak of enthusiasm and fan involvement. I think S3 caused a still lingering split in the fan base. SO MANY viewers left in anger that season. While S4 has been awesome for many of us, and I’m certain would have been treasured by many of those viewers who loved S1 and S2, I think it is mainly not liked by those who loved S3.

        I have to emphasize, none of those who expressed less enthusiasm were considering quitting the show. But I think it does explain some of the drop in blogging and on-line commentary. There is still enough enthusiasm we do well in on-line voting and general internet presence. But there was a sort of euphoric high at the end of S2 that simply couldn’t endure (like the initial rush of falling in love). I think that lead directly to the anger of S3, and some of the exhaustion now.
        Chuck has always had a sophisticated and tech savvy audience, my guess is most of those viewers who didn’t watch last night, either have it sitting on their DVR and will watch sometime in the next week, or they will stream it. But its hurting us because these things don’t help ratings. I HOPE, when we get to our finale arc next month those viewers will feel more enthused again and more of them will watch same day.

        As a secondary note remember, this is only the second year of the revised DST. So while it had no impact on us for S2, it has hurt us for S3 and S4.

      • ArmySFC says:

        ZuneT…what you say is true. if you take the time to look at season 3 the ratings drop was HUGE compared to this year. addressing the number of posters on sites it also fills that bill. i would bet if you looked at the posts during last season they were mostly complaints about the show not the glowing reviews you get now.

        the other thing is on some of the other sites when a negative post is made the other posters tend to gang up on that poster. on one board they got on one person so bad they never posted again. while boards can give you an idea of what the show is like the main thing you need to remember is most if not all of them are started by folks that love the show. this holds true for any show not just chuck. so while they may inform you of things you missed during viewing, i don’t think they can be used to gauge the entirety of the fandom as some may believe.

        when given a chance most people will complain when things are bad and be quiet when things are good. think about this when do you talk more about your car (anything can be used) when its running good or when its in the shop?

      • atcDave says:

        I think you’re exactly right about that army, people are far more likely to comment when they’re unhappy than when they are happy. Which is a separate issue from the quality of the show. This site was FAR more active a year ago than it is now, yet every single one of us six principals are far happier with the show now than we were then.

      • atcDave says:

        I guess I should add to the enthusiasm discussion, for what its worth, this sites traffic has been very heavy the last two days. Perhaps (hopefully), one more reason to hope we’ll see some rebound these last few episodes.

    • patty says:

      Go do Reward TV and watch it on demand. It may not help but it can’t hurt.

    • Faith says:

      Couple of things:

      1. The thank the advertisers page has been updated. I did it superspeed so it might have typos but it’s complete. Well Joe did most of the work, as did all of us here early in October.
      2. What do you guys think of Pizza Hut as the new Subway? That is if it’s available internationally. The point is we need an “Angel” (theatre term for backer/sponsor) that is affordable, affluent & accessible. Something, anything Chuck fans the world over can participate in. ZL already nixed the microsoft idea.

  11. Rick Holy says:

    In homage to the late “Dandy Don” Meredith (for those who remember Monday Night Football back in the 70’s), “Turn out the lights, the party’s over!”

    For the most part, enjoyed last night’s episode – and am looking forward to what seem more and more to be the FINAL episodes of CHUCK. But now “weeping” here – it’s been a good run, especially for a show that has barely survived each of it’s seasons.

    Renewal would be a miracle, but miracles DO happen. I just don’t see how you justify renewing it. At this point reality/crap game shows would do just as well, and “rolling the dice” on new shows isn’t so risky when what you’re replacing is at CHUCK’s current levels (as compared to demo levels of past seasons).

    So…… let’s have a “happy” wedding day and go out on a high note!

  12. First Timer says:

    Here is the ONLY way to spin a 1.3 in a positive way: The final episode hasn’t gone into editing yet. The showrunners would be wise to give the show a clean ending. Or as clean an ending as possible given what’s been storyboarded, written and shot…

    It’s not happening, I know, but Chuck and Sarah back on the beach would have been a nice ending…

  13. Katsumaro says:

    Great write up as usual, Faith.

    I actually enjoyed this episode, including the pre-nup bit, but I can see how that wasn’t for everyone. I also thought it was more of a way for Sarah to broach the subject, and shown by her shock when Chuck played it ‘cool’.. she was hoping to talk about it as well. I have a feeling if Chuck had asked in his typical way, she would have spilled the reason, but the writers chose to write Chuck in the ‘cool’ manner, giving us the fun of watching Sarah squirm for a while. That and the ending was a nice payoff, so that helps.

    As for the rest.. Volkoff was simply brilliant once again.W ell Dalton was. Volkoff still worries me. I’m sure he’s still evil and will go back to the ‘darkside’ at any given moment. He’s still such a fun character.

    As for the ratings.. well, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy ‘Chuck’ in the next episodes up until the finale, and if that happens to be the series finale? So be it. I’ll know that I watched and enjoyed as much as possible and not regret it at all. If.. by some miracle, it indeed gets renewed though? That’d be wonderful. Not keeping my hopes up, though. I love ‘Chuck’ to bits, and I’ve met so many awesome people thanks to it.. so if these next episodes are indeed it’s last, I just want to say ‘Thank you’ to it for being so awesome over the years.

  14. Gringo Chuck Fan says:

    I don’t really think that the timing and schedule for these last 11 has really helped the chances of the show either…
    the on again – off again jumble has made it really tough to keep connected to the show … [frustrating] As it is – we have what looks to be another great looking EP next week – then off again…. grrrr…
    Lack of consistency is not working in our favour here….. lets hope that NBC has already made a decision – and that its just stringing us along – until the final annoucement is made.

  15. Waverly says:

    OK, here’s why I haven’t been very enthusiastic about this show for quite a while: the stories just haven’t been written well enough to allow me to suspend my disbelief so that I can enjoy each episode.

    There are still terrific moments: sometimes great acting, occasional wonderful situations, and some clever phrases or references. But in-between there’s just too much that’s incredible, and I mean that in the literal sense: I just can’t believe or understand it.

    I have always accepted the major assumption of a science-fiction show like this. In “Chuck” it’s the intersect technology. But I’ve had an increasingly hard time believing the situations and characters ever since the beginning of season 3. Maybe one could blame a reduced budget, but I really think more carefully thought-out situations and explanations would help me swallow what they are feeding us.

    I’m sorry that I lack the enthusiasm to even come up with a good list of examples. I was wondering if I should post at all. But I did want to support those people complaining about entirely avoidable flaws in the episodes.

    • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

      There was a shift in the show’s “tone” (whatever that means) at the start of S3 from what was being essentially optimistic to being (very) pessimistic. A shift, that I still think, the show has yet to recover from.

      I get that things have to change, but I believe that Chuck’s “everyman” status coming to a screaching halt in Pink Slip is a factor as to why the story became “lost” to a lot of people (read: me).

      • atcDave says:

        I blame the 2.0…

        I do think it was a mistake to make Chuck too much of an alpha type hero. Especially when they often try to have it both ways. I’ve always thought keeping Chuck as a planner/problem solver, while Sarah and Casey did the dirty work would have been a better route. Chuck even could have become the team leader in a way without ever making him physically dangerous.
        S3 was also a jarring shift in tone from the first two seasons; much darker. For me the show has completely recovered, but that’s only by completely ignoring most of what they did last season. Obviously for many, they lost enthusiasm that will never come back.
        But even I would agree this sometimes cocky Chuck is far less appealing. And if the initial hook of the show was a character we could relate to in Chuck, paired with a more traditional hero in Sarah; we’ve seen Chuck’s relatability diminish, so far more of the show’s appeal now is dependent on Sarah. Obviously that makes S3 a big problem when Sarah wasn’t a very appealing hero either. S4 has fixed that problem spectacularly. As I said, I’m pretty enthused again, but I do get why some viewers aren’t.

      • Crumby says:

        It’s not so much the 2.0 than the way they approached it, I think.

        First, Chuck wanting so badly to be a spy almost came from nowhere and was really too much of a switch from the guy that wanted a normal life. Then they wanted so much to make him a good spy that the other characters became less good. Casey and Sarah haven’t been great spies ever since Chuck he’s the one supposed to save the day every damn time. It’s really annoying. Sarah particularly suffers from that. And I’m not talking about S3.

        They didn’t have to approached the 2.0 that way, but they obviously wanted to, and the balance between Serious Spy Chuck and Normal Kinda Goofy Chuck isn’t always well done IMO.

        For example, in this episode Chuck was very serious at the beginning, once in the mission he was eyes wide so often I forgot it wasn’t his normal face, and then back to normal. Very weird.

        Honestly Chuck the character is probably one of my biggest problem I had this year.

        Also, I think a lot of fans tend to overrate S2. Some of the complain with S4 could be made about S2, only back then they were more willing to accept it than now. They’ve grown tired of it.

        Finally, you guys have been very enthusiastic about this season, probably more than a lot of fans I think.

      • Faith says:

        I blame the crazy shippers!

        …wait a minute, I’m a crazy shipper. Foiled!

      • ZuneT says:

        Very much agree with atcDave, trying to turn Chuck into an Alpha Male type thing trapped the show, because it basically cost the show the basic charm it had at the beginning. The clueless nerd that goes and does dangerous stuff cause he luves the girl and feels a sense of duty. That was thrown out the window, and now they are trying to kinda sorta recapture it through the sidekick (Morgan). Doesn’t work for me. Chuck (the show) should have ended with the end of the hero path, that’s how stories end. Prince goes home, claims his throne and his girl, end of story. You don’t watch the price grow old, get fat and drink beer. Maybe a poor analogy but that’s what Chuck the show is doing, showing us beyond what it should have.

        Obviously part of the blame for this lies with the fact Chuck was never afforded the luxury of knowing when the end would come. They didn’t have the security Lost for example had so they kinda fast forwarded to the end and then got stuck. End of season 2 they though man we ‘re lucky to get S3, might as well rush to tell the hero story. Then … you know, poof, where do we really go from here?

      • ArmySFC says:

        dave… i agree with the 2.0 being an issue. my thing is they didn’t stay the course if you will. once chuck made his commitment to being a spy they needed to slowly evolve him into it. he needed the honest support of his team. he needed to be the alpha male once he got the 2.0.

        for an older group like us the goofy nerd/spy may work. to the younger male viewer i don’t think it works. they want to see the kick ass guy taking down the enemy and using real guns not tranqs. all you have to do is look at action movies and video games aimed at the same demographic as chuck. how many have a male character that is as weak as chuck? even batman who doesn’t use a gun is far removed from chuck.

        my son who is 19 and a group of his friends the same age started watching chuck this year. it was a group of between 8-10. by the middle of the season they had left. the two main reasons being chuck is a pansy and to much romance and not enough action. the pansy being the biggest reason. they weren’t concerned about all the subtle reasons about chucks past, they just cared he was to wussy to use a gun.

      • atcDave says:

        I really disagree about completing a “Hero’s Journey” as an automatic or natural end to the show. If anything I think they erred in creating a season long arc that put all of its pay-off in a single ending episode (of course I’m talking about 3.01-3.13). It made the show a dark comedy for most of the season. Perhaps if the show had started that way more from S1 they would have attracted an audience that prefers that sort of story (not me). But many of us (me) prefer a satisfying conclusion every week. Both in terms of few major hanging plot points and some emotional satisfaction. That is mostly what I got in the first two seasons.
        I also prefer the idea of Chuck as a life story as opposed to a hero’s journey. I always hate when the story ends too soon and we never see how the triumphant hero is rewarded. I also hate the idea that the real hero will ever settle for a boring life. I want to see him rise again and again to face new challenges. In classic mythology, it was usually the hero who tries to settle down who comes to a disgraceful end (like Jason). Those who remember their calling are often blessed with long and satisfying lives (Theseus, Odysseus, Beowulf). I’d be happy to see Chuck and Sarah save the world, one week at a time for many years to come.
        Now at some point a happily ever after is called for. Especially for heroes like Chuck and Sarah who seem perfect for the transition to a more ordinary sort of heroics, like raising children who will one day save the world again…

        As far as glorifying S2 goes, I both agree and disagree. I agree much of the serialized story was sloppy and left a lot hanging that was never resolved. I see this a function of Chuck being mostly a COMEDY and we’re sort trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole when make too big a thing of the spy plots and character drama. BUT, S2 is when most of us fell in love with the show. So even if it had certain shortcomings; the mix of action, comedy, and drama is close to what many of us actually consider ideal. So for those who are holding up S2 to be more than it was, all subsequent seasons will fail because they can’t really deliver what Chuck has never really delivered. But for those of us who are looking for the show to be an action/comedy/drama S4 has been very satisfying.

        Now before anyone gets too offended I do know there’s more to it than that. There have been some real changes that many people won’t like. As I said, the character of Chuck has changed in ways I’m not 100% pleased with (let’s say 80% for me). Many of the other characters have changed too (“grown” if you like the change; some other word if you don’t!). And of course relationship angst has largely been replaced with romantic comedy (200% improvement to me!). I’d also say S2 was blessed with some brilliant and lucky casting decisions (who’d have thought Chevy Chase would be such an excellent villain) while S3 was cursed with a huge mistake, and it sounds like some are starting to feel the same way about one recurring character in S4.

      • atcDave says:

        Army I’m not sure if its all an age thing, but clearly Chuck won’t work so well with those who only want a violent action hero. No show can appeal to every viewer, and I think Chuck was designed at conception in a way that will never work for fans of more violent action. We see a few commenters who clearly want Chuck to be more like Jason Bourne. But that’s just never been the show or the character. I’m sorry your son’s friends were disappointed, but I don’t think the show was ever designed to appeal to them. (Just as 24 was never designed to appeal to me).

      • ArmySFC says:

        dave its not so much violent hero its the fact that the others do it and chuck is seen as weak in comparison. you would be right if the others fell in line, they don’t. sarah/casey/villian kill repeatedly. compare chuck to them he is weak. that i think was their point.

      • atcDave says:

        I know army; but as Sarah said in Ring II, “that’s what makes you [Chuck] great!”

        I adore that part of his character, and I’m sure many of us who love this show do. We’ve seen that he will use deadly force to protect a loved one, but I hope the show never puts him in a situation where he actually kills (umm…again, sort of?).

      • ArmySFC says:

        dave i kind of enjoy that also. i stand by what i said, the young males don’t. 18-30 males want to see a strong male. batman is a good example. if chuck was strong like that is what im saying.

      • armysfc says:

        dave you said this in response to my son and his friends leaving chuck…”but I don’t think the show was ever designed to appeal to them.” you answered the question of rating problems. why would NBC put out and look at the numbers of tv show for age group it was not designed to appeal to? maybe behind the scenes NBC only looks at the older bracket in the 18-49 male demo, the 35 -49 range. that alone could explain the renewals and the high end car adds. if those numbers are high enough who knows about next year?

      • Big Kev says:

        I’ll say this about where the ratings are right now – they’re only a couple of ticks off where we could reasonably have expected to be at this point in the season, based on past performance and having opened at 2.1. I reckon 1.5 would have been the expected benchmark, and we’re at 1.3. That should still be within NBC’s business models for profitability this season, and a projected Season 5, albeit at the bottom end.
        No doubt the revenue part of the equation is lower than they expected it to be – although I suspect not by that much. So if there’s any wiggle room left on the cost side (WB’s licence fee), or they’re prepared to cut their margins slightly, it’s not beyond the realms that a deal could still be cut that would give us a Season 5. I’m guessing there’s some hard bargaining going on right now over what WB is prepared to give away to get the show to syndication, and what NBC reckon they can charge for ads in this economy based on these ratings.
        Add in the unknowns about how good NBC’s pilots are (or aren’t), whether the NFL will still be in lockout, and what Comcast wants to do as a broad strategy and you have a negotiation that’s probably going to go right down to the last possible minute. But I don’t think it’s done yet.

      • atcDave says:

        18-49 is a pretty broad range. I’m still barely in it, and I clearly have little in common with most 18 year olds. The top end of that age range generally has more disposable income, and likely is more appealing to sellers of more expensive merchandise.

        We’ve discussed that a few times here the last few days, Chuck does draw from the higher end of the key demo. I know TPTB do not intentionally try to drive away the younger viewers, but I think its just normal that us older folks will typically like different shows than the younger. CBS has a long tradition of reaching the top end of the key demo. NBC usually aim towards the middle of it (although I think they’ve been scewing older recently). CW aims at the very young key demo (especially women).

      • atcDave says:

        Good summation Big Kev.

  16. Ernie Davis says:

    Second thoughts, after a quick re-watch. I didn’t have a big problem with Vivian’s turn, as some did. She showed a dark side pretty quickly, going for the shotgun or letter opener as a first resort. But I did get the sense that she lacked as a villain. It’s about the menace. Casey, Sarah, Volkoff, Frost, they can do menacing. Even Chuck can on occasion (Tic Tac). It isn’t anything really lacking in Vivian to me, she just doesn’t seem sufficiently menacing.

    • atcDave says:

      I saw it more as conflicted, while trying to play righteous anger. That’s a fairly complex response. I think her performance will be completely acceptable if she does turn out to be a redeemable character. Of course the CIA really has not done right by her, but Chuck has always been fair to her. I’d like to see Chuck re-establish his credibility with her when he turns her from her path of violence. perhaps the opportunity will come when she realizes the “Agent X” she’s trying to kill is Chuck.
      I hope they don’t just have her be an increasingly psycho baddie who has to be locked away like her father. Not only is that a more depressing story, but I think that may be beyond the actress’ range (certainly she can’t deliver a Dalton-like performance).

      • JC says:

        Probably the biggest issue was that her turn happened off screen. We could have used an episode with Ray Wise establishing why she went to the dark side. As it was her reasoning came off like a spoiled child who was playing a villain. She’s no Dalton but its hard to blame an actress when you get a drastic character turn out of the blue with barely any dialogue or exposition.

  17. Enforcer says:

    For the record, I’m very unhappy with the quality of the show.
    The spy stuff was the main reason I watched ‘Chuck,’ and this season is definitely the most ridiculous. Sneezing behind curtains, playing Uno.

    Is it cute? Definitely.
    But it doesn’t match up with the mythology of the Intersect.

    ‘Chuck’ needs to be injected with a heavy dose of Bryce Larkin. Or Cole Barker.

    Someone above assumed that happy fans do not have a reason to post, which explains the decrease in blog activity. In response to that, I would like to mention that I am currently an unpleased fan who has not posted since the start of this season. Rather than argue or cause friction with you kindhearted fans, I’ve chosen to remain silent.

    However, your ideal version of the show–where the relationship is the focus, right now, in Season 4–is not great. It’s not great in my eyes nor in the eyes of the Nielsen viewers. The satisfaction factor of this show has dropped, and the ratings are dropping in response.

    Oh, well.

    • atcDave says:

      I think I’ve been clear I don’t want the relationship to be the focus of the show, my favorite aspect has long been the comedy and action-adventure. I absolutely require Chuck and Sarah to be in a good place or I can’t enjoy the other aspects at all, but that is not where I want the focus to be.

      The formula followed all season long has yielded steady numbers until just recently. This is obviously cause for concern. As I’ve said before, I’ve seen some loss of enthusiasm among more casual fans this season. I think it’s normal that those of us posting and commenting here are more likely to be extremely pleased or extremely angry. After all, we’re more invested from the very start. But I don’t get how the mix of comedy and excitement on the spy missions could be a problem. That mix has been there from the start, from Chuck’s girlish screams to lacing the quiche with microbots. The style of that humor has changed some, largely because Chuck’s view of life and death danger has completely changed over 4 years.
      I do like when there’s also a sense of real tension on a mission. Like Gobbler and Push Mix really cranked it up. I expect we’ll see something like that again in Agent X and Last Details.

    • Big Kev says:

      @Enforcer,
      I share your diagnosis of why the Season has disappointed at times. Just a little too light, too fluffy and inconsequential for me at times.
      The problem with any ratings diagnosis though is simple – the show has lost 20-25% of it’s starting fanbase EVERY season. At times when I thought the show was close to perfect, people stopped watching. At times like now when I think it’s a way off it’s best, people have stopped watching.
      The decline starts slowly, DST smashes us, and then it’s a downhill ride till the end of the season. And it seems to happen regardless of where the show is, or where the balance of the show is.
      So about half way through last season, I think I just accepted that ratings are what they are, and stopped (well, mostly stopped….) trying to figure out why, or what type of show would make it better.
      Most people just don’t love the show as much as we do anymore.

    • armysfc says:

      all three good points! i have some weird thoughts on this year so far.

      Dave like you i want to see c/s in a good place. here is where we differ i think. once they got together last year i could have cared less about the moving in, the empty closet, engagement, wedding, prenup or sarah telling chuck she loves him. i knew it, you knew it, they knew it. doing those things this year made the relationship a focal point.

      enforcer…the intersect mythology has been better of late. he randomness of his flashes has always been a issue for the show. most bad guys chuck flashes when he sees their face. for sarah and casey he never did. other have brought things up as well. we are used to it by now.

      im going to use some good quotes joe made in another thread to make a point about chuck. joe i promise its in a good way. joe said….
      I must be getting old (or as Shakespeare would say, Olde), but even quality shows like NCIS and House seem to rehash – not plot points, but something akin to pacing and structure. I swear, I can almost set my watch to certain touchstones in NCIS (I *did* set my watch when Monk reached certain critical marks!), and sometimes it seems that the only thing different about a given House episode was the name of the disease. Thinkling, you found the right word – formulaic. House certainly is, but it’s character driven (and sometimes it’s characters are as fantastic as Chuck’s)! So it can retain it’s charm.

      now on to my point. every show joe mentioned is a quality well rated show that has survived for years. i would add any LAO and castle as well. they follow a pattern or formula each episode just like joe and thinkling said. the big thing is it WORKS, not just for one show but for a lot of shows over the long haul of time. chuck’s method based solely on ratings does not work.

      the one thing that sets those shows apart from chuck is this. at the start of most episodes of chuck you KNOW who the bad guy is. at the start of those shows the crime has been committed but RARELY do you know who did it. they use the unknown to draw the viewer in. they don’t need to rely on relationships or family for the drama. chuck tried to do it last episode and most here said they liked the mystery aspect of it. maybe thats why the enthusiasm has been dropping. we know who the baddie is. its just a matter of catching them. which for the most part happens quickly.

      • atcDave says:

        Of course Columbo always showed exactly who the baddie was at the start…

        I think suspense and excitement can be built a variety of different ways. Chuck often does very well in that regard because it is less formulaic than most. I think Chuck has had a variety of minor problems during its run that have kept it from broader success, everything from irregular scheduling and promotion, to budget cuts that did lower production quality and a quirky/nerdy main hook that will always restrict its audience some. Tighter scripting and spy stories MIGHT have helped some, but I think the main draw has always been the appeal of the main characters (of which the health of the central relationship is a significant portion). When we like and relate to those main characters the show is better than anything I’ve ever seen. Obviously for some viewers that aspect has not worked this season (some seem to find Chuck to weak?).

      • JC says:

        No doubt the show is character driven but the spy stories, mythology and continuity give the moments between characters more impact if they’re stronger. That to me is why S2 is held in such high regard with fans. And why the Orion arc and Colonel are praised compared to the MEB arc or Other Guy, Push Mix.

      • armysfc says:

        dave of course there is an exception to every rule. the point is shows that follow a structured formula seem to do well. as you pointed out Columbo did. so did Matlock, Quincy M.E and a host of others. maybe that’s part of chucks problem? great story lines are constantly interrupted by a switch to another scene and go back again.

        most people are creatures of habit. they drive to work the same way every day, they eat around the same time every day. people. i would bet they watch TV the same way as well. chucks being different from what they are used to may be a problem.

        despite what we talk about here, we will never know why chuck went south this year or in years past.

      • atcDave says:

        I do agree a more structured formula is often an advantage. The popularity of various procedurals makes that pretty clear.

        I would also agree we will never sort out all of what’s gone wrong with Chuck’s ratings. I think we can assume when any fan we know who quits the show or is angry about something, that many other viewers are too. I think every show goes through some turnover and that rule likely applies in every case. But I also know I’ve brought far more fans aboard who love the show, and S3 was the only time I heard any widespread dissatisfaction from them. So figuring what “most” of the viewers we’ve lost left for is never going to be easy. I think the most likely answer is that there are many factors. Some could be fixed by the network, some blame goes to writers and various production details that have disappointed for one reason or another, and some likely lies with us when talk too negatively (or don’t talk at all!) to non or casual viewers (word of mouth is a huge part of any show’s success or failure).

      • armysfc says:

        dave another thing i agree with you on is that fan interest is declining. i don’t mean with the people leaving either, just how the fans view the show. we all know our favorite spoiler guru. he has put out some things that should have fans bothered. the reaction to them has been blah to say the least. unlike in the past where it stirred up a frenzy.

        maybe it has something to do with all the ratings talk that goes on. fans see the show is declining and figure this is it. why spread the word about a show that’s done? unlike other seasons where interest was high it has been replaced by apathy.

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t think its all apathy though army. I’ve stopped worrying about spoilers because this season TPTB have given me the show
        I want. Last season was full of frustration as each spoiler dug a deeper hole and told a story I honestly didn’t want to see. But S4 has been the complete opposite. The few things I got upset about early in the season proved to be no big deal. Over the summer they promised a show lighter in tone, all about family, Chuck/Sarah together all season. They’ve delivered as promised, so I’m not very stressed by any spoilers right now.

        I know some fans have lost some enthusiasm, but that is not why I’m not stressed about the show.

      • jason says:

        I have loved season 4 start to current ep, but late this season, lots of things are finally catching up with the show:

        1 – no promotion worked for a while, but in any business, lack of promotion results in the business’s decline

        2 – a revolving door in the writers room has hurt continuity and cleverness

        3 – no money for special effects, more guests & major recurring stars – this seems to really hurt the drama

        4 – NBC is broken

        5 – overall trend down on network tv’s neilson viewership numbers (I think that is true at least?)

        6 – the show was written for now at least 4 end of show episodes (2×22, 3×13, 3×19, 4×13, 4×22) – I guess that’s 5 – this can’t be easy, that is 5 end of show eps out of 42 eps

        7 – I will try to say this as politically correct as possible, but even enthusiastic fans who love the show and delve into the detail, can’t even agree on fundamental things like is it a comedy or is it a drama. This confusion among fans may work for a while or work if the show had money, continuity, promotion, was on CBS, etc, but it has not worked for chuck for quite some time, well, since season 2, when seemingly both the spy / drama fans and the comedy / romance fans were simultaneously happy.

        8 – possibly season 3’s hangover was terminal?

        This amount of negative momentum would have killed most shows long ago, but not chuck, so when does season 5 start?

        Take care everyone!

    • Big Kev says:

      JC/Dave,
      It’s funny how perspectives on a show can change as you watch.
      Thru Seasons 1 and 2 I was, broadly, a shipper. In S3, the relationship began to drown everything else out, and was that badly handled that I began to watch the show for other reasons, and to appreciate other perspectives.
      It was then that I realized that all of my very favourite episodes have a strong spy plot, either as a standalone or as an arc, with a hint of drama and a couple of plot twists. I took those ingredients for granted a little and didn’t realize how fundamental they were to the episodes I loved.
      I’m now in complete agreement with OD when he says the spy plots are the structural basis for the show. A good spy arc heightens the emotions of the characters and illustrates their journey. A bad spy arc looks lazy and takes away from the emotional reward of the payoff.
      I guess I still think the relationship overwhelms everything else in the show, to it’s detriment, and to the point where some episodes (Suitcase, Balcony) have no function at all outside of the relationship – but I can live with the fluff if the greater story is convincing and well told. The Orion arc was. I think the S3.5 arc was, by and large. I even liked most of Chucks journey in the front half of S3, although they butchered the relationship and overdid Sarah’s descent.
      S4’s spy arcs were poor in the front 13, despite the stellar efforts of individual cast. I am really liking the Ellie/PapaB/AgentX story though, and I’m just about still on board with Vivian…..so hoping for a tense, twisty resolution!

      • Judy says:

        I agree, the better written episodes have a solid spy story and some element of suspense or danger that’s compelling. I love Chuck. But I wonder if some of the drop off in viewers is because 4.13 seemed to wrap everything up. It felt like a series finale. Wedding plans are just not suspenseful.

  18. First Timer says:

    @everyone:
    This issue of spy drama vs. central relationship, at least for me, was answered by the first thing I read on this blog: Why Chuck and Sarah Matter (It’s here:
    https://chuckthisblog.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/why-chuck-and-sarah-matter/)

    The point is fairly simple: Chuck and Sarah matter and we loved them because they were fighting the good fight against external threats. Ever since the beginning of Season 3, all of the spy stories seem to matter only because they affect Chuck and his family. Taking down the Ring the first time mattered only because Shaw, the hero turned bad, stood between Chuck and Sarah. Taking down the Ring the second time (and saving “multiple branches of the federal government”) mattered only because Shaw wanted to kill Chuck and Sarah. Beating Volkoff mattered only because they were finding and extracting Chuck’s mother. Beating Vivian Volkoff seems as if it will matter only because she wants to kill Chuck.

    It’s okay to focus on Chuck and Sarah as a couple as a continuing theme. But when the spy drama is SOLELY focused on how it affects them, too, the show is unbalanced.

    The showrunners once posited that Chuck and Sarah’s job was to save the world. Now they only save the world when it doesn’t interfere with a proposal or wedding planning. That’s a tactical storytelling error. The spy drama, such as it is, needs to matter on its own for the show to have balance.

    • First Timer says:

      BTW, none of this actually seems to affect the ratings. The biggest fall-off in numbers was during season 1 and the original season 3 and those two arcs of episodes can’t be more dissimilar. Season 2, by most accounts the “best” creative season, shows the least precipitous decline. But, otherwise, this show has show a traditional 4-year decline in ratings.

  19. Chase says:

    Chuck is a spy show with caricature Wile e Coyote villains and no palpable sense of danger to the protagonists. Of course it fails. The show has transformed itself from a balancing act between all the various aspects (comedy/action/romance) in S2 to just a run of the mill soapy drama where the storylines are centered around weddings and proposals and is Chuck lying to Ellie or is Chuck hiding things from Sarah and whatever, why would you expect that to work? One Tree Hill does those storylines and they do them way better than Chuck could ever hope to. Plus the comedy is stale, 3 years of Jeff and Lester being Jeff and Lester isn’t exactly comedy brilliance … I reached the point where I switch the channel whenever they are on screen, cause they are so predictable.

    Sure a small percentage of the populace are enthralled with Chuck. And obviously the leaders of this blog are part of that percentage. But Chuck has to exist in the wider marketplace and no amount of swooning over how great it is that Sarah can cry and be emotional will make Chuck successful. It will just make those that are incredibly invested in the show already follow it to the end, but it’s not going to attract new viewers. Campy has never been successful outside the realm of conventions and weird niches.

    Sorry if I offended anybody but that’s the way it is IMO.

  20. Faith says:

    So much vitriol directed towards the blog, the show and…well pick one. Seriously is it hate on the blog week? I’m just shaking my head. Just when we need a united fan base too.

    I’ll leave it at this. No matter how anyone feels about the direction of the show, or its past, its future, I continue to support it and enjoy it because of the cast and crew (yes that includes the writers) and I hope you guys will too. They’re the number one reason why I want a season 5 and why I will never lose hope for one.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah Faith it hasn’t been much fun around here this week! Funny last season many of us were being dumped on for being too negative. I actually still think those who are unhappy are in the minority, but possibly a fairly large minority. But of the half dozen different people I occasionally watch the show with I have encountered no such anger. As I mentioned the other day, a few are less enthused than they were two years ago, but every one of them still watches; enjoys the humor and the characters and the action.

      I still say I’ve never been happier with the show. For every snoozer we get like Muuurder we get several awesome episodes like Seduction Impossible, Bank of Evil, or A-Team. I’m still a happy boy!

      • Crumby says:

        Guys, I don’t mean to offend anybody, I enjoy coming here a lot, and your work is greatly appreciated. But you’ve all been very adamant that this season was genius, and that you’ve never been happier with the show.

        Obviously, when someone doesn’t feel that way, point out why and keeps hearing that no, this is the best season ever, it can get frustrating.

        I have enjoyed S4 a lot, but there are flaws that are difficult to pass on for me. For the record, I didn’t like A-Team at all and liked Muuurder a lot… 😉

        Having said that, S5 can be awesome. I think this season suffered from S3 hangover, but there are still stories to tell, and I’m exciting for what’s coming.

        So I’m with you Faith on the support thing. The cast & crew have been amazing, and the show has still so much more to offer than a lot of boring high rated ones. There are 3 episodes left before we know about S5 (if I’m not mistaken NBC’s upfronts are in the morning of the Season Finale) so let’s enjoy what we have and hope for a S5.

      • JC says:

        I think we have to remember too that someone can have problems with a show and still love it. I have my issues but if I didn’t still enjoy the show I wouldn’t be watching. Its the same way I feel about my favorite team. I’ll complain and whine about them but I’m a die hard fan till the bitter end.

        And when comes to cast and crew they get all my support for what they do even I don’t agree with everything.

      • Crumby says:

        Ditto, JC!

        And just to be clear, Amy, Dave, Ernie, Faith, Joe and Thinkling: I love Chuck This! 🙂

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Its the same way I feel about my favorite team. I’ll complain and whine about them but I’m a die hard fan till the bitter end.

        JC, Well said!!

      • atcDave says:

        JC I appreciate that comment a lot and I think its completely fair. I’ve never said the show couldn’t stand any improvement, and I won’t hesitate to complain when I see a problem. I even agree with many of the specific complaints I’ve seen brought up (and generally say so). But it is true I’m mostly very happy with the show this season; whereas last season I was more in the angry but still wanting more camp.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Dave i agree with you. i have enjoyed this season on a modest level. there have been some episodes i really like, some i turned off and most fall in the middle. little things add up to bigger problems. in the last 3 episodes there have been 4 count downs to death. 1 nuke, 1 boom box bomb, 1 machine gun nest and 1 explosives planted around a room. 2 were in the same episode. i look at that and cringe. some folks may look at that and say well they can’t come up with anything new and tune out or lose more interest. while i enjoyed most of it that caused me to drop my over all liking of the episode way down.

      • JC says:

        @Dave

        My comment wasn’t directed at you. I just wanted to point out for everyone that just because someone has issues with the show doesn’t mean they don’t like it. IMO that led to some of problems that happened not too long ago. And the reverse is true too, just because someone praises the show doesn’t mean they don’t recognize the flaws.

    • Chase says:

      Vitriol towards the blog? You guys are ecstatic with Season 4, therefore you are part of those enthralled with it. It’s not vitriol, it’s just an observation, deduction, conclusion, call it whatever you wish.

      As to percentages, 4.01: 6 million viewers, 4.20: 4.1 million viewers.
      1/3rd of the viewership is gone in 6 months. In my book 1/3 is quite a sizable chunk . Loosing 1/3 of your viewers while having the best season ever is a slight contradiction in terms, but I don’t deny you your right to love Season 4, I am just expressing my own personal feelings which are different to yours.

      And one of the reasons I stopped visiting the NBC boards more than a year ago, Faith, was this prerequisite of loving everything that Chuck the show did else you were a hater/opponent/Chuck detractor and all those lovely things. And one of the reasons, in my humble opinion always, that Chuck’s storytelling has gone to where it has, was that the only voices allowed to be heard were the shippers, and the get Chuck/Sarah together and give us a “Mr & Mrs Smith/Heart to Heart type show” brigade.

      • First Timer says:

        I never thought I’d have the chance to use this Chuck line: Gee, Chase, who crapped in YOUR box of chocolate?

        If you’re unhappy with the Chuck This blog, the NBC boards or whatever, why not start your own blog? If your feel your voice isn’t being heard, speak out and do something about.

        Why criticize the people who volunteer their time to support something they love? If you don’t like how they are running their operations, start your own…

        I’ve been quite critical of what I’ve seen this year and I’ve seen nothing but respect from the people who run this blog. I thank joe, amy, atcdave, ernie and thinkling for the work they put in. I’ve never felt my (often) conflicting views were surpressed or ignored.

      • Chase says:

        I have no criticism for Joe or amy or Dave, they have always been incredibly open to all opinions. But Faith, look, “vitriol towards the show and this blog” because somebody happens to have a different opinion and she’s been the same ever since her NBC days 😉

        And I don’t care enough to start my own blog about Chuck, thanks. I expressed an opinion, saw a hissy reply to it, and explained my POV. Beyond that I have much better things to do with my time so I ‘ll just go do them

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Chase
        But Faith, look, “vitriol towards the show and this blog” because somebody happens to have a different opinion and she’s been the same ever since her NBC days

        Wow! Faith has had differences of opinion with a lot of fellow posters here (ask JC). I am sure she was not referring to those people as one with vitriol. The vitriolic posts are different in nature from the difference of opinion posts. You are mixing them up (knowingly/unknowingly)

    • Waverly says:

      Hate? Speaking for myself, I don’t hate the show — I still watch it, after all.

      It’s just that I don’t think it has been matching the expectations I had after watching the first two seasons. Occasionally there are really good episodes, but overall there have been too many disappointments. That has resulted in reduced enthusiasm by me, and I suspect in other people too.

      • Crumby says:

        I think that’s fair Waverly. I still love the show but some elements have disappointed me, and it made me lower my expectations and reduce my enthusiasm.

        I’m still having fun though.

    • Faith says:

      I’ll take it in stages so I don’t come out unclear.

      1. Did you guys read the review? I may think the season is genius but thinking it’s genius doesn’t mean I’m blind to its faults. I find the idea that just because I like the show and I like its direction, I’m put on a defensive…off-putting. I’m also not above disliking episodes.

      2. Admittedly the NBC Boards has always had a lean towards not crapping on the show too much but I don’t think I’ve ever been one of them. Though I can only assume from the wink Chase that you were jokingly referring to my blatant and shameless shipperism lol. That’s fine. But I think my posts stand for themselves, and yes both here and there. I’ve taken plenty of lumps over the years for dissenting views, so I would be the last one to silence that.

      3. But tone is different from opinion (dissenting or otherwise). Using the words I hate you, is different from I dislike you. The tone I read in this page alone makes me think there is vitriol towards the blog and the show. Look, I’m not saying you can’t not like the show, or you have to be a sunshine pumper. Heck, you don’t even have to like this blog (although I have to ask aloud if you don’t like the blog, really why come here? Obviously I have nothing to add to the conversation). I say “you” as a general term, not directed at anyone specifically. Ask Big Kev, ask R1p, anyone, when have I ever said someone’s an idiot for not liking the show? I appreciate differences in opinion, I like to challenge them at times and sometimes I just leave it be because you can’t change other people’s minds, you can only give them another perspective if they’re listening. The same that they have done for me.

      You know I used to hate the Jill arc. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why Chuck would all of a sudden start looking at Jill’s pictures. I called foul. But I was given another perspective, one that turned a negative into acceptable. Of course I still want Sarah to skewer Jill (death ray glare!) in the future but I can now stomach it. Now that might never have happened had it not been for the boards, and these same people that have formed this blog.

      4. In the end what I was hoping for was at least one congruence. I’ve seen how hard these guys work, I’ve seen their passion for this. My post above wasn’t about making all of this about me and my point of view but rather a call for people to look beyond what is favorable or unsatisfying but rather to see that beyond those things are these guys. These real people, albeit actors 😉 who deserve our support even when at times like these (see Family Volkoff review). If for nothing else, I had hoped we could agree on that.

      • Anonymous says:

        Honestly, I haven’t seen anything here from any regular posters that I would call “vitriolic”, but anyone is entitled to call it as they see it, especially someone who has contributed as much to the blog, and to the fandom as Faith has.
        I would say that for a first time poster to post something provocative, and then get upset when someone inevitably, and strongly, disagrees with their opinion, is pretty uncool in my view. But I’ll leave it at that.
        I think there is definitely a more “critical” view of S4 out there, that’s reflected on other blogs, and not always here. But I’m fine with that, and I go to those other blogs to read those other opinions. I usually come here first though, because I think the quality of the insight is usually better, and I like to read upbeat views of episodes and look for the good stuff first, and I know I’ll get that here.
        I’ve never felt like my opnions were discouraged or disrespected here at all, even though I’ve been in the minority in many of them. As Faith says, different opinions add to my enjoyment of the show – someone pointed out some dramatic purposes of the prenup that I hadn’t considered in this very episode, which made me give the whole setup more credit than I gave it on first watch. A perfect example.
        These are tough times. I wasn’t around at the end of S2, so this week is really the first time I’ve come face to face with the probability of the show being cancelled. And through that, I’ve learned something.
        I want a Season 5. I think this show has one, last, genius season in it. I’d like to see it announced as the last season upfront, in one order, so that the writers know exactly how long they have – and then I want the writers to leave nothing on the table. I want to see the season they would write if they didn’t have to worry about ratings, about still having some story left in the tank, about anything except telling the best final season story they can possibly think of. And then I want to see Family Bartowski (including MamaB) kicking ass, taking names and riding off happily into the sunset. That would be genius.

      • Big Kev says:

        Oops – sorry – anonymous above is me!

      • atcDave says:

        Thanks for those words about the blog Big Kev. Especially appreciated as you and I have often been of differing opinions.

        I also really want to see another season.

      • ArmySFC says:

        faith i find it hard to care for actors, sports figures or anyone in the lime light. they chose their profession same as a doctor, fire fighter, cop or soldier. i believe these folks give their all as well just in ways that go unnoticed by most. its the actors or sports stars job to perform or play. you can bet you last dime if they didn’t give it their all parts would be few and far between. i believe the cast of chuck give their all every time they are on camera. once chuck is done whether its at the end of this season or several years down the road they will move on and give it their all again. that’s what makes them good actors.

        if i comment in a negative or positive way its about the show itself and the direction it’s heading not the job the actors do. many bad scripts have been made better by good actors.

      • Faith says:

        Thanks for the kind words Kev. I can honestly say that it’s been my pleasure. I don’t think it’s high praise to say that how ever good the show is, that’s how great the people are that follow it. And that enhances the experience for me and why I do half the things I do. At times when I absolutely hated the episode, I find like minded people to sympathize with me, or make me feel better. And when I absolutely love something, there are those that are on cloud nine with me.

        One more thing, like you I think these guys still have a story to tell. It’s a shame that they’ve had to speed through the storylines, but that doesn’t take away from what could be. I don’t know, I think it’s my personality but to me the fact that these guys are the ones that made me fall in love with the show to begin with, means they get my trust in future endeavors. I just hope they will have an opportunity to do so.

        Army, I see it a bit different from you. Obviously they get paid, and paid handsomely for the work they do (and honestly even that is sad in comparison to entertainment industry salaries, especially considering that they all took paycuts to get us a season 3 and beyond–or so I’ve heard), but it’s beyond money, beyond duty/responsibility. My conversation with Zac Levi showed that, he wants to prolong the show for the fans; he can certainly make more money and have more fame in other ways but just like Joshua Gomez, he knows and appreciates that he’s a part of something bigger and that something bigger is related to us, the fans. It’s not so much “if the show is over, move on” the guy is talking about wanting to make enough money to buy rights to the show and keep it on the air himself, if that’s not dedication, and an appreciation of the fans and the show worthy of our love and support and unity, I don’t know what is.

        I’m a sports fan myself so I appreciate the analogy and add one of my own. Think of it this way, the difference between a guy that just clocks in for the paycheck, never doing any more than he has to and gets off on talent alone and the guy that works hard in the offseason, watches tape, gets up at 6:30 in the morning to run sets/or run the treadmill before a 2 pm practice deserves extra recognition. These guys are those kind of guys.

      • herder says:

        Meh, not a big fan of saying so and so is a big whatever, I’ve enjoyed Faith’s posts here and on the NBC boards and don’t ever recall a situation where I thought the tone was wrong or off putting. That and I love this site even when I didn’t agree with what people or persons were saying, I really don’t see a problem, just my two cents.

  21. TV DVD Combi says:

    I’ve only just started watching Chuck and cannot believe it took me so long to get around to watching it!

    Been catching up with some of the older series of Chuck online and I have to say, I love it! Just bugs me we’re behind in the UK so it takes a little longer for us to catch up on the episodes you guys get to see.

    • atcDave says:

      Always excited to hear from another satisfied viewer! Obviously we do this blog because we love it too, it has been a rare and special show.

  22. Robert H says:

    I finally got around to watching the latest episode on Wednesday and was not impressed one bit. With a 1.3 rating I guess a lot of other people were not impressed
    either. Chuck was referred to as a “pansy” in a comment above. I couldn’t agree more
    which no doubt will rile the ” I love Chuck no matter what” people but too bad. That’s the way it is. People have a right to their opinion of course and I have no problem with
    that but I have no desire to be part of the Chuck cheerleading squad, thank you.

    His fiance drops a prenup on him without a word of warning and what does he do? Claims he needs to take a shower and runs over to Casey/Morgan for advice when he
    needs to discuss it directly and openly with his fiance but he won’t. Why? For the same
    reason he won’t confront her over anything. He’s either AFRAID of her or losing her.
    She’s just as bad at communicating or even worse. She drops the paperwork on the coffee table and asks him to sign it very casually and skips out the door without a word of explanation. But she has no problem with discussing it with Casey in the middle of a
    mission but a full explanation is never given as to why. In the end the problem is solved as she tears up the prenup and all is well. We don’t really know why it was drawn up in the first place except for a few teasing hints here and there and people wonder why the ratings are tanking. That’s part of the answer. Viewers are sick of it and they won’t watch it anymore.

    As a couple they are simply ridiculous. They exhibit no real communication or emotional intimacy. In real life they would have the chance of a snowball in hell in succeeding as a couple. There has to be some credibility here. They were much closer
    emotionally in Seasons 1 and 2 when they weren’t together. Did I commit a sin by mentioning Seasons 1 and 2? I certainly hope not.

    The only thing worthwhile about this episode was Timothy Dalton’s performance which
    was great as usual. The rest of the cast are not even close to him in pure ability. It’s a
    shame we probably won’t see him again. Ellie trying to be a spy is just stupid but if they want to make her a spy for the last 4 episodes then let them. At this stage of the game it won’t make a difference one way or the other anyway. All in all the episode got
    a 1.3 because it deserved a 1.3, period.

    As for the show’s future (if there is one) I’m inclined to agree with Big Kev above but all in all I don’t really care any more one way or another. Even if Season 5 came about
    I doubt if anything would really change with the show except it would probably be worse than it is now so why watch it ? The charm and the original focal points of the
    major characters is gone and most of the original supporting cast has disappeared too.
    They can’t redo it or can they? Remember the “dream” sequence in the old “Dallas” TV series when a whole season was washed out by having one of the major characters
    do a dream thing where in effect that season never happened at all. Maybe they could do the same thing for Chuck in a 5th season. It opens when everyone is standing around him at the Buymore. Chuck took a fall and was knocked out. While unconscious
    he dreams Seasons 3 and 4 but in reality when he wakes up they never happened. It was all just a dream. Restore the budget and they pick up from the end of Season 2 and go on from there. The rest is history. The show then goes on for another 3 to 4 years with Charah getting married,leaving the spy life, starting a family, and living
    happily ever after. It could happen, right? Well , no, but what the hell-just having some fun here.

    Seriously, it ‘s time to let it go. Just take the last 4 episodes and let it go. The postmortems can be done later.

    • DS says:

      You’re basing your entire argument on the false premise that the quality of an episode is based on the ratings – its a non sequitur argument. At the most, you can perhaps suggest that it might say something about the quality of the previous episode but not the same episode, because this episode started with a 1.3 from the first second and not with the ‘steady’ 1.7, therefore, the people that didn’t watch ‘Chuck vs The Volkoff Family’ decided to do so after ‘Chuck vs The Muuurder’ for whatever reason. In short, a number of factors are at play here besides the quality: Nice weather (DST), hiatuses, strong competition and the overall decline of live viewers (alternative media).

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, they can’t please everyone at the same time, and because of this, the people who are unhappy with the show tend to stop watching. This is an unavoidable problem most serialized shows face. The only thing they can do to postpone this inevitable demise is to make the stories as entertaining as possible for the remaining viewers.

      Anyway, I agree with your opinion regarding chucks attitude. That bothered me as well. I don’t think that the idea of a pre-nup is bad per se* but she should have raised the issue before ‘surprising’ him with the papers. He had every right to put her in her place right there and then at the breakfast table, but sadly he didn’t, because, like you said, he is probably scared of losing her.

      But besides all of this, I nevertheless enjoyed this episode and, IMO, it was an improvement compared to last week.

      * I believe it was more meant as a cry for attention (as in I have issues I need to talk about) and when chuck didn’t go for it she discussed them with Casey instead. It would also explain why she teared the papers apart right after her chat.

    • atcDave says:

      I would agree I didn’t care for the way Sarah dumped the papers on Chuck; but it was obvious from their very next scene that Sarah did in fact want to talk about it, and was a bit put off that Chuck didn’t. I think DS’ interpretation is likely, she was using the pre-nup as a clumsy device for initiating a discussion; but it back-fired on her when Chuck got “cool”.

      I don’t care for the idea of a pre-nup at all, I think its simply an expression of distrust and an expectation of failure. But that said, Chuck is a comedy first and foremost. It was a funny bit, I laughed several times over both of their responses to the situation, and I loved the very sweet resolution.

  23. Tamara Burks says:

    I had another thought. We all thought that Mama B led Ellie to the computer but she seemed surprised that Ellie had it. Was it because she knew it had been given to Chuck and then the CIA or did she not know about it all?

    If the latter is true she might actually have just been reminiscing when she talked about the car.

    • atcDave says:

      Could be a little of both. Mary may have known about the provision to get the car to Ellie, including any final messages from dad. But its been 20 years (apparently) since she had free contact with Orion, so she may have known nothing about the details of what Orion would pass to Ellie.

  24. Verkan_Vall says:

    I liked this episode; no surprise, I’ve liked almost every one this season. It wasn’t great, but it was good enough and for me, a good episode of Chuck is better than anything else that’s on right now.

    Timothy Dalton was impressive, as usual. I’ve been a fan of his since I saw The Lion in Winter, where a 24 year old Dalton held his own against the likes of Peter O’Toole, Katherine Hepburn and Anthony Hopkins. As for Dalton drinking champagne out of Yvonne’s shoe at the TV Guide shoot….the bastard!

    One thing about the name reveal on the pre-nup agreement: I think it might have been something of a missed opportunity. It was a pleasant surprise to see it, as I had thought TPTB were going to ignore the issue entirely. The name “Sarah Lisa Walker” ignores a significant section of S3, and that is my attitude towards most of the season anyway. But I can’t help but think that this should have been publicized somehow.

    I think the loss of viewers from S1 & S2 began to accelerate after Fake Name, and the people who most needed to see the name reveal in Family Volkoff are the fans that left during the Misery Arc. I know that it would cost money, and that there is no guarantee of success, but I think that a release of a short spoiler video on Youtube a couple of weeks before Monday night might have generated some interest in the show.

    Considering the lack of support from the network, how could it have hurt?

  25. Robert H says:

    DS, respect your opinion on the ratings issue and technically you may be right but in the end a 1.3 is a 1.3 whatever the reasons are and reality is reality. Less and less people are watching the show. To be fair NBC has to take a large portion of the blame
    here with their scheduling idiocy with so little promotion and they are doing the same thing with “The Event”. However looking at the other side viewers just aren’t buying
    what they are being offered, hence the ratings slide. You can only postively spin a bad
    situation for so long. Reality has a way of catching up and sadly we are that that point
    now. It is what it is and it’s unlikely to change before the middle of May, unless it gets worse. If the series gets renewed for one more year for whatever reasons, fine. If not
    then it’s time to move on.

    • DS says:

      The current ratings are very worrisome and I don’t think the usual save-our-show-efforts are going to cut it this time. Fortunately, the chuck fan base is pretty smart and innovative. chucknielsen.net is an example of this, they managed to find a few Nielsen households in only a couple of days time, if they manage to get a dozen more in the next few days and convince them to watch live, chuck might even cheat death. Granted, I might sound slightly delusional here but, one must admit, it is one of the more better/effective ideas i’ve seen in ages, they need more publicity. I’m glad TVBTN did a (condescending) story on them.. but the more the merrier.

      So if you give a chuck help them fellows out finding new Nielsen viewers.

  26. Robert H says:

    One more thing about the episode. I did a rewatch and to be fair to the Sarah character she did reach out to our hero twice before discussing it with Casey. True she
    brought it up at the office and in the field rather than at home but at least she tried. I agree it was a cry for attention, however indirect, but as usual doofus Chuck did not pick it up as he should have. From what I could see he didn’t even read the prenup which should have prompted a discussion or inquiry to Sarah at the very least. It’s just
    one more example of the Chuck character being presented as a weak,vacillating,insecure, individual as well as extremely poor writing with little or no
    credibility behind it. The character was not that way (May I dare say it?) in Seasons 1 and 2 which is a major but not the only reason where the show is today. It will be interesting to see the final four episodes just to see where it goes, not so much with any anticipation but simply curiosity as renewal chances are getting dimmer and dimmer.

    • Crumby says:

      Yep I agree about all that on the Chuck character. When will he just ask Sarah about something that’s bothering him, instead of inviting people from her past, dismissing her explanations, or going to Morgan.

      Sarah doesn’t open up easily, but Chuck really isn’t helping IMO. Sure he’s supportive, but when comes the moment where she needs to talk he’s awful.

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

  28. DKD says:

    Posting this here because it’s the most recent page.

    I present the steamy image we never got on Chuck:

    http://media.gettyimages.com/photos/the-kiss-episode-103-pictured-zachary-levi-as-james-mcmann-eva-as-picture-id500853758

    • joe says:

      Hey, DK! Thanks for this. I have no idea why I had NO IDEA just a steamy photo of our two fav. characters existed.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Thanks DKD. For future reference you could always post in the Zachary Levi section of the Chuck News tab on the header.

      I watched all three episodes on Hulu. Fun and quirky, but kind of meh. I’ll watch a few more to see if Zach will be appearing regularly.

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