The Wedding Planner: A Con in A Sting in A Misdirection

Keeping your eye on the ball won’t be easy in Chuck Versus the Wedding Planner. Everybody is conning somebody. Daphne cons Chuck and Sarah. Chuck and Sarah con the CIA. TeamB cons the hotel, so they can un-con the Gerlichs, so they can con the Klügs in a sting to get Iranian nuclear Intel. That doesn’t even include the Burton cons, both old and new.

The biggest con of all is The Wedding Planner … not Daphne … the episode. This hilarious hijinks and merry misadventure is one big misdirection. The real story, set against a backdrop of loves and hidden among the cons, is about a woman seeking adventure and finding a home, being ready for disappointment and discovering unexpected happiness.

Daddy’s Girl

If you could have anything in the whole world, what would it be?

An adventure somewhere … just you and me.

I tell you what. You save up, and maybe we can do just that.

The exchange squeezes my heart, because I know how the story turns out. Eight-year-old Sarah was filled with innocent adoration for her father and wanted to live endless adventures with him. She craved his love and wanted to please him.

Jack was a charming rogue who loved his daughter … just not as much as the next con. The years turned adoration into disappointment, “If there’s one thing I learned from my father it’s be ready for disappointment.” Twenty-three years later, she doesn’t even want to tell him she’s getting married, much less invite him to the wedding. “Chuck, my dad hasn’t been there for a single important day in my life.”

In spite of everything, Sarah is still a daddy’s girl. Deep down, she loves him and still wants his love and approval.

All Cons Old Are New Again

The Cookie Con.

Eight-year-old Sarah was one cute kid … and one sharp cookie. She also had the cookie con down pat. Offering a 20% discount for the pre-paid order of one box of each flavor cookie, she shows a chart with only three flavors. As the mark gets her money, little Sarah surreptitiously counts it and expands the chart of options accordingly. In an amazing coincidence, the order total exactly matches the sum in the woman’s hand. Slick. A perfect scene for both con and mark. I laugh every time.

Remember, once you know all the cons, you’ll never be a sucker.

The Wedding Con is a retread of Sarah’s cookie con. No doubt Daphne develops a feel for how much money her marks have to spend on their wedding (our account has been emptied out). Gradually she spins their dream wedding, perfect beyond their imagination and their budget. To seal the deal she offers a 40% discount for pre-payment. I don’t know how she is as a wedding planner (since none of her wedding plans are ever executed), but she is wicked good as a con artist … OK maybe just wicked.

I love this scene (squeee): last minute nerves giving way to certainty, Chuck reading Sarah and pulling the trigger for them, their clasped hands, and the look of utter happiness on Sarah’s face. She is so pleased with herself, and Chuck is pleased with her happiness. It would be such a win, if it weren’t such a loss.

Just think, if it weren’t for Casey, they wouldn’t have found out until the big day. Say what? Yup. You think Morgan would ever have referenced Chairman Mao or noticed socialist colors before he moved in with Casey? Uh, no-o. The new Morgan/odd couple thing really works for me. It’s a great niche for him.

The discovery of the con was a hoot with Sarah daughter-of-a-con-man Walker, realizing that she fell for her own con. Sarah on the war path and Chuck trying to keep up is always comedy gold.

After using every available resource to find Daphne and coming up dry, Chuck concludes that she is a ghost. You know why, don’t you? … She expertly uses public transportation to avoid being tracked.

Chuck suggests asking Beckman for help, but Sarah dismisses it, “To locate our wedding planner? I don’t think that’s going to go down too well.” Right. Because the plan she came up with worked out so much better.

Fake It ‘Til You Make It

Sarah searches out her dad for some fatherly advice. Not wanting her dad to know anything about her life, Sarah plays things close to the vest (and wears a coat over the vest), confessing only that she and Chuck were swindled by a party planner. Jack, whose only real gift is reading people, begins reading his daughter very carefully, “You’re still in Burbank with the Schnook. How’s that?” Watch Sarah’s expression as she tells him it’s fine. Eyes down, hiding something, but unable to hide her smile. (I can’t hide mine either) She recovers, “Anyway, the party planner, she ran off with all of our money.” Our money? If Jack had really been paying attention, he would have noticed Sarah fingering her bare left ring-finger … the one that usually sports her engagement ring.

Having used his Burton skills to discover what kind of cop his daughter is, he suggests she use her vast CIA resources. Still reading her, … ohh, she didn’t want him to know that. His surprise is no surprise, but when he confesses his pride, some of her tension melts away. (General, my father is unaware of my CIA career. In fact, I’m not sure he would be all that proud.) Her father is proud of her, even though she is some kind of cop.

Dad’s advice? No authority? No problem. Jack draws a big smile from Sarah when he reminisces about the summer they conned their way into a governor’s mansion and stayed a month on pretense alone.

The meeting leaves Jack with a burning curiosity … and the address where he can find some answers.

Sarah returns to Burbank with an idea. Fake it ’til you make it.

The Flash Con is the mansion con on steroids. It does not go as planned and ends up marshaling all Federal resources toward locating and apprehending the world’s most dangerous … wedding planner. The mission is successful, but the agents are suspended.

More comedy gold from our favorite couple. Sarah’s imitation of Chuck’s flash was hilarious. The flash faking, could it have gone more wrong? Chuck unwittingly connecting Daphne to someone who just blew up three American embassies. Sarah’s kick under the table and her reaction to his blunder. Beckman’s, umm, enthusiastic response to the flash … the most important piece of US intelligence work in the last three months (gulp). Chuck and Sarah’s synchronized response to the small war they just started. Side-splitting funny every time.

Best of all? Chuck, a CIA agent, knew nothing about one of the CIA’s most wanted terrorists but knew that some socialite chick’s GED was probably fake.

Fathers. Jack and Devon, what a contrast of fathering skills. Devon is protecting his family, while Jack is breaking and entering to spy on his. Nothing’s more important than family. Watching Devon with Clare reminds Jack (again) what a lousy father he was/is, but he’s a great con man, and he does discover the source of his daughter’s distraction. Better stick around.

Great scene with Jack teaching the shell game to Clare, and I loved the look on Devon’s face when Jack equated Clara’s signals to poker tells.

Our other father is Casey, who can’t find the right time to tell Kathleen that he’s still alive. Unfortunately, or fortunately, because of Morgan and Alex’s botched attempt to help, he gets made … by Kathleen.

The Daphne Debacle. With the CIA closing in, Chuck and Sarah have to find Daphne first. Great Chuck and Sarah teamwork and an absolutely hilarious take down when the CIA nets its mark. Guess she fell for the government con in spite of herself.

Back in Castle, Beckman is not amused. Another great scene. Contrite Agent Walker is almost painful to watch. Casey’s response should NOT go unnoticed, “We all have personal lives, Walker. It shouldn’t interfere with the mission. You know that.” Two years ago, Casey didn’t know the meaning of personal life. Now he easily claims membership in the club of people that have them. Savor the moment.

The gavel falls … suspension.

Have you noticed that Chuck is always willing to talk back to Beckman. It doesn’t always work out (Buymore chutes come to mind), but he stands up for what he thinks is right, even to a general. This time? Fail. Even Chuck’s real flash gets no traction. They are on their own if they want to get the Zephyr and all of Iran’s nuclear research.

The Shell Game.

In another glance in the rear view mirror, we see Sarah practicing her shell game with her stuffed animals, “You see the secret to the shell game is the ball’s not in any of these. It’s right here in my pocket.”

Once you know all the cons, you’ll never be a sucker.

After overhearing an argument between her grandma and her dad, she resolves to run away with her dad. She gives him her piggy bank as a down payment on their adventure, “Plus we don’t need that money to have an adventure together.” Dad knows the right answer, “You’re right. All we need is you and me.” Another heart-squeezing scene.

I couldn’t help remembering a similar conversation over a dining-car breakfast, “No matter where we go or what we do,” … “as long as we’re together, right?” Sarah has found the man who will share all her adventures and never leave her.

Back in the present, Sarah is in the doldrums. When Jack apologizes for his advice not panning out, Sarah brightens, “Is that why you’re here, because you were worried?” Another tug at my heart strings. Jack gets her to talk, “What’s wrong?” (I bet he could always do that.) As Sarah explains the Klügs, Jack understands, “Your mark are the Klügs, and the Zephyr’s the package.” He totally gets it. And he explains the plan to the team on his state-of-the-art … overhead projector.

They have to un-con the Gerlichs and make the wedding reception happen in order to get to the Klügs and acquire the Zephyr. The un-con becomes a sting. To pull it off, they only need to pull a simple, little con at the hotel ballroom … one of those Bat Mitzvahs with a Hungarian Wedding Theme. I hear they’re all the rage.

Hilarious from start to finish. Sarah was fantastic as Daphne the Bah Mitzvah co-odinadah. Everybody did his job. I loved Chuck’s mixes, especially Chuck Loves Sarah, Vol. 1 of 6. Ready. Out with the Bat Mitzvah and in with the wedding cake … Styrofoam. I’m sure I’ve tasted worse. If they had used white Styrofoam, they might have gotten away with it. Did you notice Jack watching Chuck as he worked with Morgan? And then watching Chuck and Sarah admiring the bride and groom on the cake. Can we still call it a cake if it’s made of Styrofoam?

Uh-oh … the Wedding Crasher. Casey is watching out for them. After weighing the facts (and maybe remembering Keller and Kathleen), Cop Face joins the team. This time he is … security. Some things never change, except we do have the welcome addition of Morgan, who does a great job.

The sting was just fun to watch. Chuck and Sarah’s non-verbal communication across the room. Sarah swinging a very mean cake plate. Got mine. Morgan’s incoming and spy high-five. And of course the squeaky cake. So funny.

But it wouldn’t be Chuck without an infusion of heart, like Jack’s dance with Sarah: her initial hesitation and timid but pleased acceptance; Chuck watching with love and pure satisfaction that she’s getting time and love from her dad.

Jack starts the conversation they need to have, “This may be my only chance to dance with my daughter at a wedding.” Seeing Chuck gave her the courage to break the news, “Chuck and I are getting married.” He knows. She smiles — relieved, “I’m sorry I didn’t invite you.” She was right not to, he tells her and laments his track record of not being around. She still feels the sting of it. He never thought she’d settle down. She feels she’s disappointed him. He wants to make sure she’s happy, “I thought you’d end up more like me, just one adventure after another. Isn’t that what you want?” She smiles, remembering their adventures, “It was. But, um, I found a home here, a good one, and I’m happy. I’m sorry, Dad.” Sorry? All he wants is for her to be happy, he wants to tell her, … but the Klügs are here.

Meanwhile, Kathleen corners Casey, not knowing he’s acquiring Iranian nuclear research. “I don’t understand. We had your funeral. They gave me your flag. But you didn’t die.” She thinks he left her for a security gig and moonlighting at the Buymore. Why here, why now. She needs to leave, to be safe. She presses harder, “I talked to Alex, and she already knew. She thinks you’re some kind of hero or something, that you work for the government.” His daughter thinks he’s a hero. His ex-fiancée thinks he’s a heel. His job has made him both, “You should go.”

Wow, two fantastic, emotionally powerful scenes right in the middle of a hilarious con. And it works. It is Quintessential Chuck, and one of the reasons I love the show so much.

Back to the sting. No Zephyr on any of the Klüg brothers. The con man figures it out. It’s a shell games, which means that someone else has the device. Bingo. Morgan finds him, right after his gun finds Morgan. Let’s tie up loose ends in the lovely parking garage, shall we?

Like Chuck, Jack has an aversion to bullets, and he’s good at talking. In this one carefully woven speech, he targets two people, approaching both as a father. He talks down the Father of the Bride, appealing to him to do one right thing for his daughter … don’t take a bullet in the head on her wedding day (women hate that). In the same speech Jack confesses his regret for being a lousy father and lets his daughter know that all he wants is for her to be happy. Messages received. The sting and the dance are complete.

As Col. John Casey, NSA, cuffs Klüg and holds off local police with his badge, we see that Kathleen witnessed the whole thing … Morgan (her future son-in-law?) held hostage, Chuck and Sarah (did she remember them?), and Casey (a true hero). A picture is worth a thousand words … another pending conversation rounded out.

GB is still plenty ticked. Fortunately for Chuck and Sarah, her superiors caught wind of the zephyr and the threat of suspension has pretty much blown over. Fortunate winds indeed.

Casey and Kathleen continue their conversation. It is a perfect scene, one of Casey’s best ever. They talk things out, feeling their way in uncharted territory. It’s a timid beginning, but definitely a beginning.

The Men In Her Life

Dad. Sarah was caught between her parents and forced to choose sides. Though we don’t know what that looked like, we can imagine what it felt like. She obviously chose dad. I’m guessing he was persona non grata to everyone but her. All she knew was that she loved her dad, and he loved her … and he was fun. She was too young to see the negatives that everyone else saw in him.

The thing she wanted most was adventure with her dad, just the two of them. The adventures were fun. They were an escape from a troubled home life. Mostly they were a way to be with her dad.

A car with a comfy back seat and a string of motels served as home, and adventure replaced security. From her reluctance to tell him about her wedding and her apology for settling down, I suspect that Jack sold their life of adventure as superior to a traditional home life.

Ultimately the adventures stretched out in front of them didn’t make up for the discarded names and broken promises that lay behind them, and Sarah learned to be ready for disappointment. Woven into their life of adventure (I’m not sure how, exactly) was the pattern of his leaving her. Adventure became her way of life: every city, a new con and a new name. It’s no wonder she was a perfect candidate for Graham and the CIA, which offered her more of the same.

Her CIA adventures ultimately led her someplace she never expected to be. Home.

Chuck. You’re my home, Chuck. You always have been. For the first time in her life, adventure had serious competition. Chuck Bartowski was unlike her dad and every other man she’d ever known. He was charming, yet guileless, and he loved selflessly. Her dad loved her, but used her. The CIA just used her. Chuck just loves her. Chuck makes her feel loved and comfortable and safe … all the things that make someplace — anyplace — home.

Jack knows that Chuck loves his daughter. He once bet 10 million on it. He knows she’s found a better man. In some really bizarre twisted reasoning, he keeps leaving her to keep from hurting her. Chuck will never understand this. He tries to get Jack to come to the wedding, walk his daughter down the aisle. Jack refuses. He persuades Jack to stay for dinner and goes out for groceries, pleased with his small victory and the happiness it will bring his fiancée.

Sarah comes home to an empty house, both men gone. One she knows is gone for good. The other she knows will never leave.

Chuck comes in talking about a romantic, affordable! Courthouse Wedding and carrying the groceries for her favorite dinner … with her dad, “Where is he?” She hates telling him, “He’s gone.” She watches for his reaction, not wanting to see his disappointment, not wanting to reveal the depth of her own. The love in his eyes is all she needs. She’s OK, “Once you know all the cons, you’ll never be a sucker.”

They both know it’s not true. … She’s still a sucker for her dad.

Of Piggy Banks and Prunups

Sarah’s been looking out for her dad since she was a kid. Nobody chose him? She did. He needed money? She did cookie cons. He needed more money? She gave him her piggy bank.

When he was arrested in San Diego, she was devastated. He left her lots of money, but that wasn’t the same.

Years later, her bravado notwithstanding, she couldn’t bring herself to let him be arrested after the Amad con. Come to find out, she’s been saving money all these years, in case he gets arrested again. (It would have been pointless to arrest him and then turn around and post his bail.)

He has left her and disappointed her all. her. life. He hasn’t been there for a single important day of her life. Regardless of all of that, she loves him and will always be there for him.

The prenup was her new piggy bank, a safe place for money for her dad — only not for adventures … for bail. It didn’t take her long to realize how unnecessary the prenup was.

Chuck is not her father. His love is constant and selfless. He doesn’t disappoint. He doesn’t leave. Her life, her heart, and her fortunes are safe with him.

The piggy bank comes full circle. (This scene is Chuck perfection.)

The irony of the piggy bank and the prenup is that all those years that Sarah was socking away money for her dad, he was adding to her piggy bank. The return of the piggy bank fills so much more than the hole in her bank account. It mends the hole in her heart. It relieves her of the self-imposed, life-long burden of taking care of her dad. And it releases her from the disappointment of her past to the full enjoyment of her present happiness.

Her dad is not Chuck. His love is flawed. He leaves and disappoints and breaks her heart. He was never there for her, but he never stopped loving her.

He guarded her piggy bank — her treasure — adding to it all these years, until she found an adventure and a man worthy of her love.

Maybe she’s not such a sucker after all.

~ Thinkling’s thoughts

Parting Thoughts: One of Chuck’s best episodes. The cast were absolutely perfect. Adam put in one of his best performances, and Clare Carey played Kathleen perfectly. I hope we get more of her. Gary Cole was so great as Sarah’s dad. I think we need a con-mission every season. Zac was fantastic as well. We talk a lot about Yvonne’s face, but Zac is great with his facial expressions, too. Also loved GB’s, Let me guess. You flashed.

What can I say about Yvonne (and her amazing face)? Another outstanding performance and a broad range: her indignation/mortification/anger over being conned, her fake-flash and crazy plan to con Beckman (so not Sarah), her reaction to Chuck, her contrition, her NY accent and performance as the Bah Mitzvah Co-woh-dinadah, her telling Chuck about her dad, and of course the last scene … oh, and every scene she had with Gary Cole.

A perfect stand alone episode. They didn’t blow anything up, but Beckman blew up a few times. Man, I can’t wait for what’s coming … and I hope that there’s a LOT more coming (S5).

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About thinkling

In my [younger] youth, I was a math teacher, basketball coach, and computer programmer. In 1984, we moved to Brazil, where we serve as missionaries. I like to design things and build things, read things and write things. We now live part-time in Brazil, part-time in the US. Love them both. Wife, 37 yrs; mom, 30 yrs. I am blessed.
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116 Responses to The Wedding Planner: A Con in A Sting in A Misdirection

  1. joe says:

    How do you do that, Thinkling? Every time, you get exactly why I love this show.

    Then you put it out there in words.

    Oh no! The girl’s in my head!!! 😉

    • thinkling says:

      Cue Twilight Zone music. Thanks, Joe.

    • kg says:

      Yeah Joe, another three-run jack by Thinkling.

      “Sarah found a man who would never leave her (Hard Salami) and share her adventures (almost any episode, but I think you were aiming for Honeymooners).”

      • thinkling says:

        Yes, Honeymooners, mostly because of the breakfast conversation about their running away together and only needing each other. But you’re right. There are many examples to choose from.

  2. atcDave says:

    This is one of the best episodes ever. We’ve had such a strong S4, its hard to rank order these things; but I think its a toss up right now between Phase 3 and Wedding Planner for season’s best. I mean as of now, there’s only about ten other episodes even in the running.

    It is funny how strong a performer Yvonne is, we almost forget Zach sometimes. Sarah’s “flash face” was laugh out loud funny; but Chuck had apparently never realized what a dork he looked like when flashing! It seems he thought he looked quite cool. I’d call it a humiliating reveal, but the did still get the girl…

    • thinkling says:

      That was funny, not just the face, but also the fact that he didn’t know what he looks like flashing. Obviously Sarah does. Beckman even noticed the difference.

    • thinkling says:

      A lot of people have commented that it’s one of their favorites. I hope TPTB take notice.

      After you said that this and Phase 3 are your two favorites, and recalling that you are not alone, I found it really interesting that two S4 and possibly series favorites are these very Sarah centric episodes. If you think about it Cougars and DeLorean are very well loved, too.

      They have found a really good groove for the Chuck and Sarah relationship/partnership tone. Awesome spy couple working together, couple-y, and funny. That combo will work in all types of episodes, even the heavier ones, indefinitely. IMHO.

      • atcDave says:

        I do hate to keep bringing up S3 here, but it is funny how when questioned prior to that season about the possibility of more Sarah centric episodes they kind of went into their cagey “probably not” sort of answers.
        Now this season we’ve had a number of more Sarah centered episodes. They were paying attention, and I think they may have deliberately hired new writers who wanted to write for Sarah. It’s hard to imagine how they didn’t get this after S2, but it seems now they finally do.

      • thinkling says:

        I think this may be another one of those small things that can tip things in favor of renewal … the TV guide awards, the Emmy4Yvonne, and the rising popularity of her and her character. It’s like a little bit of fresh blood in a show and could be a new promotion angle. It seems to me that we’re seeing more of her in interviews now than before. That’s no accident.

        Besides that, they have also found a good Chuck groove, compared to some of the front half of the season. That’s a big plus.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah there’s no doubt Yvonne is getting far more attention. After almost ignoring her for several months, she’s generating a good deal of buzz now.

  3. Ernie Davis says:

    Wonderful read as always Thinkling. I’m glad someone finally brought out the piggy-bank/prenup connection. I found that one of the most interesting, yet seemingly un-noticed (or at least uncommented on) aspects of this episode, considering how problematic some posters found a lack of an explanation for Sarah wanting a pre-nup last episode. While I agree your explanation is probably closer to home in the resolution I thought it interesting to explore what it must have felt like as a life lesson to Sarah from when it happened till she tore up the pre-nup with Chuck (and eventually found the piggybank on the bed).

    The 8 year old Sarah wanted to go on an adventure with a man she loved without reservation and trusted completely. To do that she was ready to use her life savings. He left without her and took her piggybank. No matter how much she loved and continued to love him, trust was perhaps never again part of the deal. She knew he’d disappoint her and leave again.

    So why wouldn’t Sarah ask for a pre-nup? After that it’d practically be a reflex. Of course she later realized Chuck was not her dad and saw things from Chuck’s perspective. Seeing the end before it has begun might have been the right thing to do with her dad, but it’s no way to live. And in the end her dad managed to not be quite as bad a father as either of them thought.

    It was also an amazing Sarah backstory, both in the impact and the craftsmanship. They plausible preserved seeming contradictions in the mythology. Raised by a con-man, yet continually abandoned by him. Estranged from or perhaps never even knowing her mother’s family, or perhaps in the middle between them continually. Tossing in the grandmother and not knowing whether she was the maternal or paternal grandmother was pure genius. It also totally preserves the notion that Sarah was with her dad full time in San Diego 10 years later, perhaps after the death of her grandmother who functioned as a mother in her life (also paralleling Chuck having a non-maternal mother, yet feeling the loss of both parents early in life).

    The whole Chuck team just knocked this one out of the park.

    • atcDave says:

      Wow Ernie, I hadn’t made the connection between dad running off with the piggie bank and the pre-nup! Great catch.

    • joe says:

      Absolutely a great catch! My thought at first was that it was Sarah’s way of “thanking” her dad for the box he left her in San Diego, when he was arrested by Graham. I thought she was just trying to look out for him in the same way.

      Well, maybe she was, but the emotion behind it and her reaction to Chuck’s response is just like you laid out.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I’ve come to realize and accept that it is a feature of the show that confusing behavior from a character, like Sarah wanting a prenup or Chuck leaving Sarah at a Prague train station (ducks rotten Easter eggs) is often explained in the (hopefully) next episode. You just have to be open to seeing it. And patient enough to wait for it.

      I like Thinklings take that the prenup was Sarah’s new piggybank and borne out of a desire to protect her dad, and think it was obvious that that was the intent of the money, but it honestly struck me that it was more that Jack Burton devil on her shoulder telling her to get the prenup.

      “You know the con, don’t be a sucker. No matter how much you love and trust each other it’ll end and he’ll leave with your piggybank.”

      • thinkling says:

        OK, Ernie, you’ve really made me think about this. We both connected the piggy bank and the prenup, but from different angles. Expanded prenup/piggy bank thoughts:

        I think her childhood, all of it with her dad — his pattern of leaving, not just the first time he left with the piggy bank, made it natural to think prenup. She learned not to trust, from her dad teaching her not to be a sucker and from his always leaving and disappointing her. Given the way she grew up and that she couldn’t trust her father (someone she should be able to trust), the prenup part makes sense, especially after the reminder that all she knew growing up was disappointment and abandonment. The prenup was a very old-Sarah thing to do. After she did it though, it felt all wrong. It was who she was with her dad, not who she is with Chuck.

        As for the original piggy bank heist, he made up for the money in the piggy bank, and he didn’t stay gone forever. I mean I suppose they did OK working cons together (they pulled in some pretty serious dough from the cookie con). She lived with him (off and on, depending on how all his “leaving” fit in), on the road/lam, at least from 10 years old on (DeLorean flash back). Of course the money in San Diego was way more than the sum in the piggy bank. So the prenup is less about the money and more about his always leaving her.

        To me the piggy bank shows us a lifetime habit (not just adult Sarah suddenly going, oh, I should save up in case my dad gets arrested) of Sarah not only loving, but feeling responsible for her dad. To a certain extent, she was always bailing him out. The piggy bank was one example. She stayed with him, helped with his cons, and looked out for him. I’m convinced that one of the reasons she stayed with him, at least in part, was to keep him out of jail. With her around, he was more careful — kept his risk to a minimum (until she was old enough to take care of herself — Cougars).

        He needed her. What a burden for a kid to think it’s her responsibility to take care of her dad. She never had anyone to take care of her until Chuck. Just think about that.

        The prenup is the new safe place (piggy bank) for the money for her dad, a lifetime burden to which she is obligated. It’s like an untouchable sum of money, and a prenup is a way to keep it absolutely safe. But, of course, she soon realized that it was totally uncool and unnecessary.

        If the piggy bank represents that she always took care of him, and he mostly took advantage of her, then his returning it means that all that time he honored her love in his own way. It was a great twist, and must have really felt good to Sarah, that all the time she was saving for him, he was also saving for her. It’s almost like she has been released from a responsibility and has received her father’s blessing to live her new life without burdens from the past. Her life is her own now. She doesn’t have to take care of him. It was an apology, a blessing, and a release from the responsibility she’s carried all her life. Either way you connect the dots between the prenup and the piggy bank, it was brilliant … and, um, genius.
        _________________

        I agree about explanations (maybe that’s too specific a word) or light being shed in later episodes. S4 has shed lots of light on Sarah and S3. This episode, though I chose not to mention it in the post (but since you’ve already drawn the rotten Easter egg fire I will), shed serious light on Pink Slip. (man, Ernie, it’s like we were watching this one together) Now, we know her dad always leaving her was one of her deepest pains from her past. No wonder her reaction to Prague was so exaggerated. There she was, life savings in hand, to run away (an adventure) with the man she loved, and he leaves her. It was a bad enough wound on its own, but in light of the pain and issues it dredged up … well, I’d have thrown the phone in the pool, too. (And I’ll stop there before I blather on about things that could spoil the discussion of one of the best ever Chuck episodes.)

      • atcDave says:

        I think a lot of this understanding after the fact has to be called ret-con. I honestly think S3 Sarah was a plot device and nothing more. Changing writers for S4, and (maybe) realizing that a significant portion of the fan base is rooting for and identifying with Sarah has led to a bit of damage control this season. So it’s no mere coincidence that we now are understanding her better, it’s a deliberate response to how her character had previously been undermined.
        Now I do agree with calling it genius. I honestly am impressed that they’ve managed to make some sense of these things. I’ll never like S3, but they’re making it a little easier to have some peace about it.

      • thinkling says:

        I don’t disagree with that, Dave. I do think it’s damage control, but that’s better than nothing.

        Joining these thoughts with what was said above about these 2 Sarah centric episodes topping everybody’s favorites list, makes me think about what Faith said about promoting to women. What they said in the beginning about Zac and Chuck, that he appealed to both men and women, is very true about Sarah as well, especially with the relationship where it is. The show has appeal for both genders. I think promoting to women and promoting Yvonne/Sarah would be smart. Promoting the m/m Smith angle should work, too, with lots of action of the two of them as a great team.

      • atcDave says:

        There’s no doubt they’ve learned a lot about promoting the Sarah angle better. Even the standard Chuck photo that comes up on our DVR has switched from one that just showed Chuck; to one that shows both of them. And the network promos all end now with frames of both characters.

      • Crumby says:

        I didn’t need any further explanations for Sarah reacting badly to Prague. The guy she loved and who’s been “pursuing” her for two years throws away their relationship to go become someone else. He then wait SIX months before calling her and he did it only because he got fired. When they reunite all he’s interested in is become an agent. Sarah didn’t have any reason not to be unhappy with Chuck, whatever her past was. And we already knew her dad was always leaving her from DeLorean.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Thinkling, I don’t disagree with much of anything you said. I take Sarah at her word that she had the pre-nup money socked away for dad, and for the most altruistic of reasons, to take care of him as she always did. But I think (and think you agree) that it is her dad’s influence to think she needed to think about the “inevitable” end of the adventure and the fallout. But as you said, old Sarah thinking.

        As for the heist and the return of the piggybank, well, we know Jack saved the piggybank, and while he claims to only ever have added to it, I’ll take the leap and say OK, it’s a sweet moment, Sarah having some restored faith in her father.

        As for the callbacks to far earlier episodes, I always hesitate bringing up season 3, especially with Sarah. But even before this episode we knew about Sarah’s abandonment issues, and that her natural reaction to being hurt was to close off emotionally, so most of season 3 Sarah didn’t bother me too much. It was the dragging out exploring or expanding on Sarah’s story in season 3 that they failed IMHO, not that she was a pod person or acting especially out of character. I’d hesitate to call it retcon as Dave does, because Sarah’s emotional issues with home, family and loss were clear, though not so severe, even in season 1. I wouldn’t even call it damage control. I’ve always looked upon it as adding depth to the characters, another layer. Sometimes those layers add to our understanding because they build on something that was there and was shown, if we were open to it even if we didn’t like what they were telling us or the way they were telling it. And I’ll add my standard caveat that if you essentially tuned out a lot of season 3 because you didn’t enjoy it, that’s fine and a personal decision.

        Some of the genius I see is that they’ve managed to revisit what they told us before, perhaps clumsily and in a way a lot of people rejected, and made it more sympathetic and easier to accept for those who didn’t want to or didn’t care to see it before. In that way they have given ALL the fans an understanding of the complete character we can all move forward with.

        With that I’ll quit before further indulging in defending season 3.1-3.7 a halfhearted (at best) defense of 3.8, a meh for 3.9, despite some great comedic moments, a further halfhearted defense of 3.10 despite some great action, a slightly disappointed defense of 3.11, no defense of 3.12 and a moderate defense of 3.13 based only on relief that they’d finally lost sight of the last molecule of the dead horse they’d been flogging for most of the season and I’d given up caring how they resolved by about 3.8.

      • thinkling says:

        Ernie, I find myself somewhere between you and Dave on S3. I don’t hate it as much as Dave does. I will rewatch. And I’ve analyzed it inside out and backwards to make peace with it, even though I don’t like it. I think it’s a valid story angle that was poorly told and elaborated almost not at all. So much of it is just painful to watch (for me).

        So, S4 does help me understand some of those things better. It’s definitely helped me define some specific things they could have changed to give us a clue as to what they were doing, because now I can see it. But I needed to see it then, not a year later. Some of Sarah’s issues were already there, but hard to dig out. Now those things are more clear. Some things we call retcon may not be, but it is hard to tell when they were so poorly told to start with. Meh.

        You said: Some of the genius I see is that they’ve managed to revisit what they told us before, perhaps clumsily and in a way a lot of people rejected, and made it more sympathetic and easier to accept for those who didn’t want to or didn’t care to see it before. In that way they have given ALL the fans an understanding of the complete character we can all move forward with.

        So, yeah, I agree with that.

        It’s fair to me to call it damage control either way. Going back and expanding on things to help people understand S3, even if it’s genius, is still, to a certain degree, damage control. It has served as damage control, whether they intended it that way or not.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Thinking, valid point, it is damage control to some, another layer to others, and a re-hash to still others.

        As for season 3 I think I’m on record that I think they could have played the season almost completely the same with only minor changes if Nathan Filion were cast as Shaw and had a much better result. However my nerd brain would have blown up having to root against Mal getting the girl.

      • thinkling says:

        My list is a little bit longer than that, Ernie, and it’s kind of tiered: the minimum they’d have to do to make the story clear, which in my mind would have been a big improvement; then tweaks that would have made it less severe without changing the story too much.

        I catch myself giving it too much thought and then slap myself. 😉

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Fair enough, they did delay and bury some of the exposition, Chuck’s speech in Three Words being a great example, and they also underemphasized things that needed to be clearer. And some things they just plain backloaded to the point a lot of us gave up before the explanation came, so I’d tend to agree with your tier one assessment, to a degree. The difference in degree perhaps being shipper tendencies and tolerance level for digging the story out.

        As for the rest I don’t mind thinking about it, but much as I’d love to do so and write about it I’ve seen the inevitable result of doing so.

      • thinkling says:

        It’s fine to dig for nuances and deeper character analysis, but you shouldn’t have to dig for minimal story elements. Knowing some things from the beginning would have made the story so much more compelling … one we could have followed and gotten into and known how to root for the characters, rather than being left on the sidelines trying to figure out the rules of the game and if there was even anything to root for.

      • Big Kev says:

        I guess by the time I’d watched S3 the various motivations and reactions were clear enough to me, even though I could have zabsolutely done with them being revealed in a different order. So my need to have those areas revisited is less strong than some, and I see less value in the revisit as a result.
        But I couldn’t agree with you more about this episode. The subtlety of the callbacks and connections, the payoff to the prenup and the depth of what simple scenes reveal about the characters – this isn’t just a revisit or a rehash. This episode is genius.

      • atcDave says:

        It seems we all can agree Wedding Planner was genius. It seems to be the closest to a universally acclaimed episode this season, even Phase 3 seemed to have a few more detractors.

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        Sarah’s abandonment issues /Wedding Planner retconing back to Pink Slip – OK, maybe
        But I’ll throw this out there at the end of your discussion because it has always bugged me. There are 3 things that happen during the DYLM scene, which don’t get me wrong I’m sure is meant to be a very sweet scene, but in my opinion is used to “magically” sweep the previous 12 episodes away.
        1) “Sarah DYLM – Yes (x4)”
        Come out of nowhere since Chuck & Sarah (Sarah especially) never fell in love with each other again after reset in Pink Slip. Actually Other Guy is truly just Pink Slip in reverse. If you’re looking for the history behind “how did we get to this point”, don’t waste your time, it isn’t there.
        2) “Wait, what about my Red Test”
        The less said about anything pertaining to Red Test the better.
        And finally (and coming back to the discussion) – 3) “You’re still my Chuck”
        Actually no, he’s not. After Prague he’s pretty much like exactly every other man she has ever known, including her father.
        I guess all I’m saying is be careful what you retcon. There is no explanation for the characters actions or motivations in S3 that make any sense with what we were shown in the prior season. I also think that going anywhere into S3 from S4 doesn’t work, since just like S3 chose to ignore S1 & S2, S4 has chosen to ignore (thankfully so) S3.
        I know Other Guy ranks as a high point on people’s list. I just never got there for me because it didn’t resolve anything that came before it. It just swept it under the rug never to be brought up again.
        Wedding Planner was a great episode. On my own personal 1 – 10 scale (Only whole numbers apply) it gets a 10 along with Phase 3 this season. I’m all for understanding Sarah, but I’m sorry, I can’t make the leap into thinking that we’re suppose to understand Pink Slip better from this episode when issues like the name reveal, and Mama B’s 20 year mission exist.

        Sorry for the length.

      • atcDave says:

        Joseph I’d agree with most of this. But if I remember correctly from our favorite episode polls, Other Guy didn’t actually score that well. I think it was seen as a huge relief when it aired, the misery arc was over. But it seems to have quickly lost its glow. It was not picked by many for a top all time episode. It scores fairly well in a S3 context, but all things considered there was little to choose from in S3.

        I think Honeymooners is the episode most ‘shippers still love. Even as awesome as S4 for has been for us ‘shippers, Honeymooners is a special episode.
        I believe Subway/Ring II is the only other S3 episode that picked up many favorite votes.
        Notice these are all S3.5!

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Ah! Season 3 discussion *comes right at the point where I had left my brain bleach bottle in storage – my bad*

        @Joseph – Nice points. That’s all I am saying on the topic.

      • JC says:

        Whether this episode was supposed to give insight into what made Sarah tick in S3 or not, it did highlight what I think is a major problem. Both Sarah and Casey’s issues and history are given more weight than Chuck’s. His past is just as messed up as theirs but the show never takes it seriously at least compared to the rest of Team B. The same goes with his issues, now they even have Morgan making fun of him.

        I’m all for the show exploring Sarah or Casey’s characters but I’d like them to show Chuck the same respect. Look how the rejections and aftermath were handled in Pink Slip and Ring Pt1. Or Chuck pulling Casey’s tooth compared to Sarah knocking him out a window. This leads to everyone gets a free pass but Chuck. And before people go crazy, I’m not saying Chuck shouldn’t be called out on the show but I’d like to see him do the same.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        I think Chuck’s issues should be brought up. Most of the women in his life have betrayed him in some way.

        He got his mother back (the first betrayer) but her reason for leaving was she took a mission and got. Infiltrating a company and bringing it down is a long term mission at best and she shouldn’t have taken it in the first place. Looks how long it took to get Sarah in and that was with his mother already in . He was able to take it down quickly but that was with his mother and Sarah on the inside plus the help of Morgan, Casey and an army led by General Beckman with some of his dad’s tech along with using any competitiveness Vokoff felt towards Orion against him.

        Sarah constantly rejected him and got her head turned by every pretty boy agent that came along. Also it seemed like she made him work to get even the slightest thing she gave to those others easily. Not to mention that once when he tried to get her on a date (I can’t remember the ep) she said she couldn’t because he was an asset and he replied that she dated Bryce . She said it was different because he was an agent. Her excuse was that he wasn’t an agents and with all the massive jerking around she did and how she was leaving once he was de intersected with Bryce. He had every reason to think she would only stick with him if he was an agent and that he was the default guy and nothing we’ve seen on screen really disabuses the notion. We know she loves him but has she shown that she’s capable of being true to him.

        I’d really like Sarah to get what she was asking in Prague. She asked him to abandon his family , friends and future for a woman who appeared to be leaving him for the guy who screwed him over every chance he got (her freakout over Bryce’s body didn’t help).

        Plus added to that we have it where (while we know she was going with Chuck) it appears that she left him high and dry without even a message to be with Shaw and only chose him once both she and Shaw knew she killed his wife. And even then she went with Shaw to the place she killed his wife arm in arm (I really would have liked someone to call her on how stupid that was like Casey).

      • jason says:

        after the hundreds of thousands of words trying to rationalize season 3, interesting to try to take a great season 4 episode to invent yet another way to rationalize – here is mine – near every show has a bad season, one a significant portion of the fans as well as the critics reject. Sure in some universe some actor may be able to improve it some, you think …. geez? But the plot that required all those words to attempt to come to grips with last season & now evidently a new actor was not a hit last season, and that plot still is not a hit.

        I have a friend who recently got divorced, he cheated on his wife, she forgave him, but he kept bringing it up, she told my wife that is what got to her. Most of us are like that wife, able to forgive, but wishing that season 3 would not be brought up. I did not think of season 3 once while enjoying the wedding planner immensely. IMO trying to link this great episode with season 3’s misery seems like an exercise in futility.

        I suspect long after chuck is done a few bloggers will be expousing season 3’s virtues and how shippers ruined the season for them, my rebuttal, those who love chuck and sarah did not create or write season 3, nor did they purposefully dislike the season, the content on the screen caused fans who love chuck and sarah to reject the season 3 story.

        In many ways, FEdak has owned up to the mistake and done a great job with season 4, I wonder why some bloggers can’t?

      • Crumby says:

        JC I agree that Chuck’s issues haven’t been well dealt with. I think the only time they did it well was in Dream Job. When Orion came back in S3, they screw up by making Chuck ‘unlikeable’ with all the lying when his reasons for not wanting to explain himself to his father were completely understandable. (I remember that it’s a conversation with you JC here, that made me see it back then, when all I could see was that Chuck was lying and lying and lying.) And then in S4, they made him so neurotic with his mommy issues, it was hard for me to be sympathetic.

      • thinkling says:

        @Tamara: I completely disagree with your position on Chuck and Sarah. We’re pretty much 180 degrees apart. I consider Sarah the more faithful of the two.

        @JC: Chuck’s life and story drive the entire series. It’s pretty much all about Chuck. His abandonment by his dad drove S2. His mom’s departure and the way he and Ellie grew up together has been front and center since Sizzling Shrimp. (That’s what’s driving his keeping his secret from her, and Sarah has given him a pass on that.) So, I don’t really see that Sarah and Casey’s back stories are given more weight … quite the opposite.

        The tooth and the window are parallel incidents. Both happened during times of Chuck and Sarah fearing that the other would change. However, the starting point is different. In S3 Sarah only had her fears. By S4 they were operating from a strong relationship of love and trust. Casey had the same reaction both times. So there’s complete consistency in how Chuck and Sarah were treated by the objective party. Casey knew they had a job to do and encouraged them to do it. And they did. After the tooth incident, he told Chuck he was proud of him. He obviously didn’t blame Sarah for pushing him out the window. Chuck’s reaction to Sarah pushing Casey was far from a pass. He urged the general to act, to get her out, because he was worried about what the mission was doing to her. Then he went against orders to get her out.

        @Jason: S4 is fantastic, and Wedding Planner is one of the best of the best. I really wasn’t trying to “link” the episode to S3. It was more of a passing remark that grew feet. I don’t think the episodes are linked, just that new information on characters often sheds light on their past behavior. Now, I sort of regret bringing it up. I didn’t want to spoil the mood. Guess I should have known better. 😉

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Now, I sort of regret bringing it up. I didn’t want to spoil the mood. Guess I should have known better.

        Thinkling, I was looking over the monthly sales report for Genie’s Brain Bleach and I couldn’t help but notice that there has been a downward trend. So, I ask you, is this your devious attempt at shoring up the sales of brain bleach. 😉 🙂

      • thinkling says:

        LOL Alladins! R U trying to get me in trouble? Oh, no. Never mind. I do pretty well on my own. 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Tamara as always I really do disagree with your characterization of Sarah. I don’t see how you can get “her head turned by every pretty boy who came along” from what we saw. She consistently rejected other agents who came on to her (and seriously, any guy who thought she was available WOULD come on to her) except for Shaw. And Shaw came AFTER Chuck had rejected her. Now I would agree Sarah looses some sympathy in the situation because Shaw was SUCH a looser and because it took her longer to figure out the error of her ways than it did Chuck. And I’ll always agree the situation was distasteful and I wish the writers had never gone there. But its over, and Sarah has made up for her errors many times over. But I always felt it was clear Sarah had chosen Chuck at the end of American Hero even before she knew the facts about the shooting; Casey’s revelation simply knocked down the last of her reservations.

        But again, all of this is in the past, Sarah has shown extreme faithfulness and determination as Chuck’s partner, lover, and protector ever since. She even seems to have an easier time getting over her many obstacles than Chuck does. (only the marriage issue took more than a single episode for her; while Chuck agonizes over the perfect proposal or re-uniting her with friends and family she doesn’t want to see for weeks).
        I mostly like both characters very much, that has always been (well apart from the misery arc!) the greatest strength of the show to me. But I think this season we’ve seen far more of Chuck’s shortcomings than Sarah’s.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        But I think this season we’ve seen far more of Chuck’s shortcomings than Sarah’s.

        Some elaboration, please?

      • Faith says:

        …in bed.

        Where’s Joseph? 😀 LMAO.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Faith, you are too much. LMAO. 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        It may be more an impression than something I can prove Alladins. It seems like every one of Sarah’s “issues” is resolved by episode’s end, while Chuck’s get drawn out over a full arc. Some of that is surely just due to the fact Chuck is still the central character. But it just leaves me with the feeling Sarah can be counted on to get over her various issues once they are brought up; while Chuck’s problems are more often drawn out.
        My perception may also be exaggerated by the difference in the characters; Sarah is usually poised and cool, while Chuck frets and worries.
        I didn’t mean to make too big a thing of it except as part of the point that I think the worst of Sarah’s problems are now in the past.

      • Crumby says:

        I think part of it is that Sarah’s ways of dealings with their issues are usually way less annoying than Chuck’s.

        Sure she has a hard time opening up, and she often just say that she wants something (elopement, prenup) or doesn’t want something (invit people to the engagement party, invit her father to the wedding) without much elaboration. But at least she talks directly to Chuck about it.

        Chuck is always either avoiding the subject or lying (suitcase, first fight), or playing some kind of games (the “I do” book, saying “no”, the “cool” attitude).

        For someone that always talks about everything, it’s really weird that his closed off fiancée seems to be so often more inclined to discuss their issues than him.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Actually it was me who brought it up (season 3) and provided the legs. And I’ll tell you why. I’m waiting to see if it’s safe. Kind of like Lincoln jokes.

        Now I’ll tell you why. Because despite the “thousands of words of rationalization” we still can’t have a rational discussion. Every attempt has a post saying it was a complete disaster or that we need to drop it and move on.

        Why?

        I’m presently re-watching S3 again, and again, enjoying most of it (especially without the frustration of blogging and waiting for certain things to be revealed). I wouldn’t mind talking about it again, but without all the shouting and personalization.

        If you are done with season 3, there is no reason you need to read or comment on a discussion about season 3, it’s as simple as that.

      • thinkling says:

        Crumby, good observations. I think hit it. Now, I’m trying to think back to previous seasons … has it always been this way or is it a new wrinkle in the relationship?

      • Faith says:

        I think most of us here take pride in reading each and every comment. When you read the chronicles of season 3, both in favor for and against it just gets draining. And in some ways it takes away from the fun of what is.

        I’m the first one to admit I dislike going there, not because of an emotional reaction on my part but because what was just brings with it baggage, baggage that frankly is out of place in the here and now. We’ll have plenty of time to rehash what was when Chuck is over, why take away from the joy that is season 4 episodes like Wedding planner to rationalize, build on contempt or for that matter love for what is arguably the most contentious season of Chuck? I say contentious, not to say that one is better than the other but contention as in no sense of agreement or congruence, and for that matter increasingly closed minds on either side.

        Headdesk. <–is apt.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Chuck is always either avoiding the subject or lying (suitcase, first fight), or playing some kind of games (the “I do” book, saying “no”, the “cool” attitude).
        For someone that always talks about everything, it’s really weird that his closed off fiancée seems to be so often more inclined to discuss their issues than him.

        Chuck’s methods have sometimes come off annoying because TPTB have made his issues a joke. And to further entrench that, they have him go to Morgan (most of the times) for nonsensical advice that Morgan himself doesn’t follow.

        Coming back to Suitcase – Although he avoided the talk at first, he couldn’t keep quiet about it and did indeed talk to Sarah about it. He even asked her not to unpack just because he talked about it but do so on her own time.And see where it led – Sarah unpacked. Her issue was resolved but only after Chuck probed it.

        The communication exercises in 4×04 – although a bit silly bore fruit. Didn’t they? Didn’t they make Sarah more open (albeit to a sleeping Chuck)?

        As for First Fight – didn’t they both avoid each other at first? (Sarah slipping guiltily into the apartment) and Chuck taking Morgan’s stupid advice. But it was resolved the moment, they both started talking about it (at the bank). I will not talk about the “line about trusting even when wrong” – because it sounded off to me too – but the result here was Sarah trusting Chuck to do things right even though she may have reservations about it. Again there was growth for Sarah’s character because Chuck took issue with her actions (arresting Mama B)

        As for 4×20 – agree about the “cold” attitude. It was odd. I sometimes wonder if TPTB have forgotten about the character they created. I miss the times when Chuck was an open emotional book. The whole pre-nup issue could also have led to a more satisfactory conclusion, if you had Chuck and Sarah talking about it throughout the episode. But, alas. TPTB suddenly feel that Chuck is thoroughly incompetent in the “emotional dept” because they have to give something to Morgan to do (EMS FTW!!). Hence Yoda Morgan and disciple Chuck. Take away the issue of Morgan giving advice and have Chuck talk it out with Sarah and you have a mature and emotionally competent man who is likable too.

      • First Timer says:

        @erniedavis:
        You have two problems with your Season 3 opinions. I mean, you, personally…

        1) Those 13 episodes are not very good. I mean objectively. You can defend the story arc, chart the twist and turns. All good as far as they go. But those 13 episodes, objectively, are not particularly well written (Pink Slip, Fake Name, Final Exam) or horrifically rushed (Mask, Am Hero/Other Guy) or flawed because the supposed superspy is actually not shown on screen to be a good spy (Mask, Fake Name, Beard and, obviously, Other Guy). So while you can explain the CONCEPT of Season 3 to those who still don’t get it (average guy wants to become a spy, spy gal who fell in love with average guy is afraid the spy life will change him), the 13 episodes are just not well written or particularly entertaining television. But you’ve consistently equated understanding the story with endorsing the quality of it.

        2) You keep trying to bang those 13 episodes into the monomyth meme that you embrace. And, frankly, as each episode post Season 3.0 shows, the showrunners created Season 3 as a standalone kind of thing. It’s pretty clear now that they were convinced they would never get anything past that 13-episode order, so they told an entirely different story from Seasons 1-2. The characters had the same names, some of the motivations were similar, but they literally weren’t in the same universe in Season 3. As Fedak himself has said, he tried to create a new show inside the shell of the existing show called Chuck. Then, when they got the back 6 of Season 3 and Season 4, they essentially go back to the story they they’d been telling in Seasons 1-2. So what you have, if you insist on the Hero’s Journey, is Season 1, Season 2, the little continuation of Ring in Pink Slip that leads to Prague and then Honeymooners onward. To even try to reconcile Chuck with the monomyth, you have to assume Chuck actually says yes to Sarah in Prague and then they have their Honeymooners adventure and the epiphany that they want to be spy partners. Season 3 literally needs to be taken out of the narrative if you are going to push the monomyth. Because the Chuck and Sarah from Season 3.o are simply not the same characters that were shown in Season 1 and 2 and Season 3.5 and 4

        I guarantee that you’ll get a better reception for your Season 3 commentary if you try it without insisting to people that Season 3 is good television or that it is integral to your Hero’s Journey meme.

        BTW, I don’t think Seasons 3.5 or 4 are better written than Season 3. They’ve just given viewers the characters they had in Seasons 1/2 and sent them in a direction the viewers like better. It’s the only reason why so many gush about post-Season 3.0 episodes. From a writing standpoint, though, most aren’t particularly better than Season 3’s stuff.

      • Crumby says:

        First I want to say that I’m not arguing that Chuck didn’t help Sarah resolve some issues. Of course, in the end it’s always going to end well, and Chuck is gonna get what he wants and be right. It’s always like that. But his “methods”? Meh.

        Suitcase – Sarah asked him directly if the unpacking thing bothered him and he lied before going to Morgan about it. The issue was only brought up again because he blurted out something about it right before a bomb was going to explode. Had he not lie in the first place, the result would have been the same be the end of the episode. Sarah would have considered and worked on the issue.

        The communication exercises in 4×04 – Again he lied. That did help, but there was no need to lie about it. Sarah would do anything for Chuck, just like he’d do anything for her. If he talked about what was bothering her, they may have argued (like they did about change when she discovered about the book) but they’d have work through the issue just as well.

        As for First Fight – didn’t they both avoid each other at first? No Sarah did slip guiltily into the apartment and wasn’t really looking forward to the talk, but she was looking for him to talk. Again, the conversation would have been the same if Sarah could have had found Chuck before the bank.

        The saying “no” stuff and “cool” attitude were just ridiculous, albeit funny.

        The fact is, when Chuck stands his ground on something (that doesn’t include her past) Sarah often backs down. His ways of dealing with things often makes things worse than better. It’s once all the cards are played and that Sarah has figured out the truth that issues are resolved.

        Just like Sarah’s ways don’t resolve anything either (elopement, prenup) but at least she goes to Chuck with it, and from there they can work on things. It’s less frustrating that all the shenanigans Chuck put them trough before getting to the actual issue.

      • thinkling says:

        This is a transcontinental thread.

        Alladins, you and Crumby are both hitting in the same area. You’ve just come up with the reason … the fact that Chuck goes to Morgan, or Casey, for advice instead of talking to Sarah. My wish list for Chuck growth would be Chuck learning to just talk to Sarah about things. I know some people think that the advice triangle provides comedy, but they could ease up on it a bit. In every instance of annoyance, Morgan is somewhat behind the way Chuck is dealing with the situation.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Crumby

        I agree that if TPTB had Chuck talking directly to Sarah about issues facing them instead of using “Morgan’s methods”, things would have flowed much better. But I say this again – this issue of Chuck avoiding an issue and running to Morgan has become a running gag throughout this season. If we talk about a character’s growth – I would call this a “stagnation” – Chuck is doing exactly the same thing now (going to Morgan) that he was doing at the beginning of the season.
        And I repeat my earlier observation: Take away the issue of Morgan giving advice and have Chuck talk it out with Sarah and you have a mature and emotionally competent man who is likable too.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        @erniedavis:
        You have two problems with your Season 3 opinions. I mean, you, personally…

        1) Those 13 episodes are not very good. I mean objectively.

        FT, thank you, and QED.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Thinkling
        I know some people think that the advice triangle provides comedy, but they could ease up on it a bit. In every instance of annoyance, Morgan is somewhat behind the way Chuck is dealing with the situation.

        I hate situations where a character’s basic traits and positive values are sacrificed for comedy. My wish for S5 – Mature Chuck and Sarah and less of EMS – second only to C/S PDA. 😉

      • Crumby says:

        Alladins, I think we actually agree on this. 😉

        Chuck’s issues are very often either played for comedy, or “overplayed” (chuck’s lying, his neurotic reaction to his mom). It makes him unlikeable and annoying.

        That’s definitely something they need to work on in S5. Take Wedding Planner for example, Sarah is completely going overboard with her pursuit of Daphne. Yet, she doesn’t come out as unlikeable. Her reaction is real, understandable and treated with substance. She also got her “redemption” moment when she clearly wanted to do the right thing about the Klugs.

        They need to do the same thing with Chuck. If you want him to be “neurotic” or go overboard about something, fine, but tell us why, make it understandable and sympathetic, and resolve the issue so that Chuck can move on.

      • joe says:

        Ooof! Monster thread!

        FT, once again, you bring up some valid points, but it’s “once again.” Yes, they’ve been considered (especially by Ernie), and he’s stated his points equally well. What you may have missed in the way this discussion has been deconstructed is the perfect symmetry that’s been made with the use of “good” and “bad”.

        In each instance, it doesn’t come down to fact, but of opinion. What’s good and what’s bad are never going to be determined here, much less dictated. We merely state our opinions about what we like and what we didn’t.

      • thinkling says:

        @Alladins
        A very worthy wish list. 🙂

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Crumby
        Chuck’s issues are very often either played for comedy, or “overplayed” (chuck’s lying, his neurotic reaction to his mom). It makes him unlikeable and annoying.

        If by Chuck’s lying – you mean his lies to Ellie, then I fully agree. TPTB feel that they are doing a service to good drama by keeping up this farce of lies, but like “a not to be mentioned arc” it has long gone past it’s expiration date. In fact, I am almost certain that they will repeat a scenario of S3.5 where Ellie is in danger and finds out in the end.

        As for Chuck’s neurotic reaction to his mom (I believe you are talking about 4×10) – I kind of understood where he was coming from and the issues that he raised. But as you say it was overplayed – it became overplayed the moment he was “banished” from the interrogation and he resorted to calling Sarah.

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        “If you are done with season 3, there is no reason you need to read or comment on a discussion about season 3, it’s as simple as that.”

        No problem. Consider me told.

      • First Timer says:

        @joe:
        No, again, you’re confusing whether you (or anyone) LIKED or DISLIKED something with whether any particular episode is well written.

        It’s perfectly good to disagree over whether you liked or disliked something. That’s what makes a souffle (or something like that.)

        But when a show tells you a character is “superspy” then only shows him bumbling, that’s poor writing. When a show presents you a “dramatic” reveal like the name in Fake Name through the eyes of Chuck, but Chuck had previously disavowed any interest in the past of the character making the reveal, that’s poor writing.

        Opinion is ALWAYS in the eyes of the beholder. But you can make an objective judgment about whether a plot holds together, whether the writing sells the concept.

        Folks who follow Chuck can make pretty good judgments about writing when it’s stuff they like. I mean, pretty much everyone likes Honeymooners, for example, but no one suggests it’s as well crafted as, say, Colonel. It’s when they DON’T like things, like Season 3, where the judgment gets blurred and suddenly quality and enjoyment are perceived as inseparable.

        I’m honestly and truly suggesting that Ernie can make his case better if he stops telling people that they’d like Season 3 if only they understood the story and understood the how it fits into his greater view of the mythology. Ernie has a pretty good handle on the season, yet his point gets lost because he keeps insisting people who don’t like the season don’t understand its profundity.

        But I can see that Ernie gets to make his points over and over without objection. If we disagree, we’re told we’re doing something wrong and have broken some unwritten rule. So, okay, I promise. I won’t comment ever again.

        Thanks for the space. And if I’ve broken another unwritten rule of this blog, feel free to delete this post.

      • ArmySFC says:

        wow long and good thread. this may be off tangent but i have a question. season 3 has been mostly panned here. season 4 has been praised. can someone explain to me how come this season has lost almost as many viewers as season 3? lose another 600k and this season will have lost more. by the end of the finale this season could have lost more viewers than season 3. will that make season 4 the new villain in the what season killed chuck?

        this is not a comment on the quality of the show or the writing. it’s a simple observation comparing the loss of viewers between what is considered a bad and good season. i have heard many times the reason for the epic loss of viewers in season 3 was because TPTB didn’t give the fans what they want, the plots were poor, or WT/WT played out to long and the writing was bad. can’t that be said for this year as well? i don’t feel i am in the minority on this as some people may think. as the ratings continue to fall isn’t it time to look at the show itself as the reason for the fall? it’s clear to me based on the numbers that more casual fans share my opinion than folks here would like to believe. the numbers clearly show people have left.

        why can’t the same reasons used for last years collapse can be used this year as well? hoping that the tone of this season carries over to next year is the same as asking for the tone of season 3 to come back next year. the number of losses during both seasons should show people that neither way worked. there is something clearly wrong with the show in it’s current state, same as i hear about last season. it’s not about whether i like the show at this point or not. it’s about what the numbers are screaming loud and clear. people are leaving at a fast rate and there does not seem to be an end in sight.

        if this post offended anyone here that was not my intent. my intent is to point out that while the folks on this blog consider this season very good, there is a large number of fans that have tuned out because they felt different. the ratings are past the point where the vast number of casual fans are enjoying the show can be considered true (sorry to use your quote dave). a 40% plus drop on viewers proves that.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Sarah really hasn’t been exposed to that many pretty boy spies but she has had her head turned by those.

        With Bryce there was history , bad history but still history so I tend to file Jill under the same blanket for reason for behavior.

        With Cole she really was fawning over him, and forgot her professionalism and got captured because of it. If he hadn’t essentially asked her to throw away her job to have a fling with him she might not have snapped out of it. Plus because some liked his arc , they ran with it and made it worse with Shaw.

        With Shaw he wasn’t a threat to her job (which she had embraced again full force) in fact he was more into the job than anybody else. He probably considered her to be part of the job perk.

        And if Shaw had been even the slightest bit of a competant spy at any time than it would have made so much more sense because it certainly can’t have been his personality. That leaves looks which sucks as a reason to date him.

        The only sign that Shaw was any kind of an agent was when he shot himself in his first onscreen appearance. Unfortunately it started unraveling when he killed Sydney instead of wounding her because she turned agents to the Ring she was a valuable resource against the bad guys.

        He just went downhill from there and never improved even as a bad guy. His one appearance to be badass later was turned out to be faked because he ‘d been turned. And how dumb was it to call the Ring leaders while they were in a crowd of people sitting down to watch a presentation. All they had to do was sit still and the good guys wouldn’t have figured them out.

        And I’m in a much better mood this evening since the Honeymooners is on (love the fight scenes and I have to wonder at the condom supply they laid in plus the Jeffster song is very soothing) and the air conditioner was fixed quickly and the symptoms of heat stroke are wearing off.

      • Rev says:

        @armyfsc, IMO there is a bit of truth in there, and I do have some things that I think might have turned some people away. First off I want to say overal I really like season 4, especially compared with season3, I don’t think it’s better than season2, but it isn’t bad at all. However there are certain things that I think didn’t help. Take a look at the whole proposal arc, I think a lot of fans, especially casual ones are tired of the constant interruptions and using that to postpone Charah moments. I sure know I am. If you look at the ratings, after balcony ratings dropped fairly sharp, it seems as though the four failed proposals was too much for people, and made people think lessons weren’t learned. Good writers shouldn’t need to draw everything out when it comes to Charah to make things interesting. Personally I’m so tired of never having a Charah moment that is just pure, and sweet, and without something screwing it up. I mean think about it, the first kiss only lead to fights and arguements, the first I love you was tainted by the lie that inmediately followed, and the proposal was nothing but one mess after another. And I’m fine with that first proposal that didn’t go, but at one point a writer should say okay it’s enough, let’s just go with it. And that point isn’t after the millionth Charah interruption.

        I also wasn’t impressed by vs The Suitcase. I mean the episode was a lot of fun, at least I really enjoyed it, but seriously you are going to make the luckiest guy in the world, the guy that is not just dating Sarah Walker, but also lives with her, drool all over some model while his way too hot girlfriend is sitting next to him? I mean really? What do you mean creating angst for the sake of angst? Again I liked the episode, but that isn’t very inspired writing in my opinion.

        Another thing that really annoyed me, was the ending of vs The Gobbler. I mean we get this angsty ending, that made no sense, at least not to me, and then what do we do with it? Nothing, it hasn’t been mentioned since. Then what, oh do please tell me, was the whole freaking point of it? Why don’t the writers ever try to resolve something? I mean name reveals, Shaw/Hannah, the lie under influence of pentathol, the constant lying at the end of season 3, the prague incident, they have not resolved one thing of it. I’m fine with angst, but for the love of everything Chuck, make it have a point, and resolve it.

        Something I forgot about balcony was the whole proposal speech. It was great, till Chuck started whining about wanting to be James Bond. Umm sorry but we already kinda dealed with that I don’t know 2 episodes earlier didn’t we?

        Ok moving on a little, we go to vs The Cat Squad. I’ve seen quite a few good responses to it, but to me personally, Chuck was acting like a four year old, not to mention Sarah’s reactions. Worst scene was by far Chuck falling through the roof, I was just scratching my head at the both of them. By far the worst episode of the second half of the season, without a doubt.

        We get vs The Masquerade, an episode that felt rushed. Though there were some fun moments there. And the entrance of Vivian. I don’t mind Vivian being a villain, but I don’t care about her. For some reason, the shift in character, the reasons they gave, I don’t know, it felt like rubbish. Oh the CIA lied to you, but you hate your daddy anyway so why try to avenge him? Why go after Bartowski for locking up the man you are so desperate to kill? Again no real way of making sense of it.

        And then the cliffhanger idea for an ending, lack of respect really.

        Another reason would be, the change in tone from season 3. People that suffered through season 3, might just want more of that. I’ve even seen people seriously claim that season3 was their favourite season. Then this season is not really for you.

        Anyway, despite all of this I love Chuck. I know it might sound harsh what I wrote, or it might hurt someone here, but the truth is, I say this because we all know how great this show can be. The idea Schwedak had with this show was genius, so many possibilities, but they havent fully exploited the potential.

      • Big Kev says:

        @Army,
        Honestly, I think getting into discussions about why the ratings are what they are is almost futile for Chuck. The show drops at least 25% of it’s fanbase every season, regardless of tone, content or the perceived quality of the show. I suspect one of the reasons is the multi-genre nature of Chuck, which makes it difficult to hold a specific audience. So last season we may have lost a lot of people who didn’t like the angst and the darker tone, and I suspect this season we’ve lost a lot of 25-35 yr old males who didn’t sign up for a romantic comedy about proposals and weddings. That’s my guess, but really, who knows? TV audiences seem to like shows that give them what it says on the tin, week in, week out – hence the popularity of procedurals, game shows and reality TV. No deviation from the formula, please.
        Chuck isn’t like that, and I think it’s ratings suffer. But to me, quality is more important than longevity. If they have to turn Chuck into just another cookie cutter spy show with extra humour to boost the ratings, then frankly I’d rather they didn’t bother. I don’t think they will. At this point the ratings are what they are, and it’s too late to do much about it.
        If we do get a final Season 5, I’d love to see what stories they come up with when they don’t actually have to worry about ratings.

      • armysfc says:

        big kev…be careful what you wish for about season 5. they admitted they wrote season 3 like they wanted. look at the trouble that still causes.

        you touched on more points i could have brought up. we will never know why folks left. my point was and still is the ratings are a reflection of how any show is viewed. if quality is what people want give it to them. be like Disney who historically only does a show for 4 years and lets the viewer know up front. this is what you get. they have a set number of episodes and can plan accordingly. that has to help the writers knowing up front what and what the end game is.

        TPTB here are still planning for another season and have flat out said that even when they find out its over they plan on an open ending.

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        Army

        To me what’s changed after S2 is the way the showrunners are actually telling the story. Season long arcs notwithstanding (let’s face it, neither of the 3.01-3.13 or 4.01 to 4.13 story arcs were well told)

        I won’t comment on the writing, since I don’t know the first thing about putting a TV show together.

        But from where I sit, in front of my TV the actual “telling” of the story just seems different. And not in a good way.

        Enjoy. I’ve enjoyed my time here.

      • atcDave says:

        Well you know I’ve completely enjoyed this season, so first response to why we’ve lost viewers is simply I don’t know. Big Kev mentioned that we’ve seen a similar drop every season, which is typical of serials. I do think there’s also a lot of truth to saying Chuck’s many different styles may play into it as well; in particular, I think many of those viewers we lost in S3 are exactly the people who would like S4 best. And I KNOW that many of them can be brought back with a little effort, because I’ve brought some of them back. I still think promoting the engagement/wedding arcs would have brought many of those viewers back, but it may be too late now.
        Bottom line is always that the viewing public is fickle. We’ve gotten a lot of good buzz the last couple weeks, let’s hope it translates into a slight bump in May.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Joseph (and others) when I say if you are done with season 3 there is no need to read or comment I don’t need it in a nasty way, I just mean that at a certain point the conversation has moved on past some points of view. There are those, for example, who don’t accept the premise of season 3, that Chuck decided to embrace his destiny and become a hero, and was willing to, at least initially, sacrafice being with Sarah to do so. OK, noted. But if you reject that premise, is there really much you can add to the subsequent conversation among those who dont?

        I understand that season 3 is a sore spot to some, and they don’t want to revisit it, but a lot of people who feel that way were on the receiving end of the same sort of censorship in the fan community during season 3, and a lot of them came here to escape it. It has always bugged me that so much of the season 3 discussion initially was on how wrong TPTB were to do this or that or what they should have done rather than discussing the meritsof what they did do. In addition we’ve effectively censored discussion of a large part of season 3, 13 seperate episodes lumped together as one, because any time I try to revisit any part of it I get a post or two re-stating that the season was an objective failure so any discussion is pointless, and then a rant or two on how bad TPTB blew it and how insulted we should feel. Then a lot of the same people tell me I need to let it go… It’s just a bit frustrating for me, so sorry if I come off as short tempered and dismissive, I don’t mean it in that way.

      • Big Kev says:

        Ernie,
        It’s always been a frustration to me that it’s next to impossible to have any conversation about S3 that doesn’t degenerate into some form of “but the season sucks because C/S weren’t together”. It’s a common view, but one I don’t share, and I’d certainly enjoy a space where those who saw some merit especially in the front 13 (despite it’s obvious flaws) can have that discussion. Maybe we could give it a separate page, like we do for spoilers, so that those who think the season is dreadful don’t have to read what the rest of us think about it?
        I do take Faith’s point too though. With numbers down and quite a lot of despondency afoot in the fandom, now may not be the best time. Maybe a discussion for (post renewal) hiatus?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        A valid point, but then I’m cautiously confident we’re getting another season, so you can’t dampen my enthusiasm. 😉

      • ArmySFC says:

        while i understand the not wanting to talk about season 3 and it’s baggage. here is something that is more disconcerting or should be. chuck and sarah top another list. warning: not in a good way. this site was once firmly behind chuck.

        http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/telefile/2011/04/twop-10-couples-we-really-dont.php

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Army

        That missing spark they are talking about is obviously the lack of good, steamy PDA on an occasional basis. 😉 Which further strengthens our long standing demand/wish to see more of C/S intimacy on screen. 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        Well army, while I completely don’t get this for myself; it would seem that a fairly large number of people feel this way, hence our dropping ratings. I’d say it makes me angry but there’s nothing to gain from that. The “save a bubble show” poll currently being run by TV Guide voices the exact opposite sentiment, so good for them!

      • ArmySFC says:

        dave… sometimes to much of a good thing is bad. like eating the same cheese pizza every day. sometimes you just want something else. in this case a different thing to watch or do.

      • Big Kev says:

        Dave,
        They’re not necessarily opposite sentiments. I can see exactly where TWP are coming from (as I duck the hail of missiles….) but I absolutely want to save Chuck and see a Season 5.

      • Mess says:

        Have to agree with dave on this one, I have no real problem with any perceived lack of PDA or anything like that(I understand where it comes from, but seriously there is more to being a couple than PDA). Actually I still believe in C/S and quite enjoy them myself.

      • atcDave says:

        Geez talk about a monster thread!

        Thanks Mess.

        Kev it wasn’t just about renewal, in their little blurb TV Guide specifically talked about how great Chuck and Sarah still are to watch and how much they want another season of it. That is my sentiment exactly.
        TWP’s comments simply don’t compute for me. Kind of like eating fish or watching reality television, I simply don’t get it. They’re criticizing my favorite part of the show. It would be like saying “I hate air shows because there’s too many airplanes” or “I prefer pizzerias that serve Chinese food”.

    • Crumby says:

      If that was what they were going for with the prenup, yes that was well done. But I still think the execution was lacking. Waiting the next episode to have a rather un-highlighted explanation isn’t genius.

      In fact that’s one of those things that made S3 so frustrating. Every time they gave us an explanation you had to look for it and interpret everything. That’s just tiring and confusing. Sometimes you need to tell or clearly show some things.

      However, Wedding Planner made it completely believable that Sarah would take her father’s side and stash some money in case he’d need help. That’s brilliant and the piggybank was part of it.

      The problem with the prenup doesn’t come from Wedding Planner but from Family Volkoff. I don’t hold against WP the fact that it didn’t repair the mess made by FM, but the connection between the prenup and the piggybank wouldn’t have gone so unnoticed if they had explained properly in FM, IMO.

      I think the intention is genius, the execution isn’t. That’s one thing the show needs to work on in S5. That way it will be even better. Crazy, I know! 😉

    • Faith says:

      This will come as no surprise (heh) but I disagree. The issues with the prenup, at least on my part wasn’t that there was a “prenup,” honestly that was expected, but rather how they dealt with it after the fact. My biggest problem was the lack of communication and then the almost automatic need to go to other people to hash their problems out. I know it’s done for conflict, and honestly I was fine with it for the most part but I do think they could have dealt with it some other way, a better way.

      Also Chuck wasn’t cool so much as cold and that wasn’t lovable.

      That said, this whole thing is making me think that since Chuck did leave her hanging in Prague (no matter his reasons, and if you recall I was one of the ones that defended those reasons and Prague), if I were Sarah I would be a bit more cautious about their relationship going forward. Knowing that this is the guy that sticks and the guy that loves you unconditionally doesn’t erase that which you experienced first hand and that is he’s left you in the past. But I guess that’s the point, she loves him enough to go against her own life long survival instincts and trust him.

      Damn you Ernie ;), you got me talking about season 3. 😐

      • Crumby says:

        Agreed.

      • thinkling says:

        I think Chuck was trying to be cool, but it’s so not him that it just came across all wrong … ouch. And Sarah wouldn’t have talked about it with Casey, had Chuck been willing to talk the bazillion times she tried. At least it was Casey who brought it up. She didn’t “go to him” like she did in Cubic Z.

    • Big Kev says:

      Mess,
      Just to clarify, I know some have problems with the lack of PDA. I don’t really, although I do think they’ve dialled things back a little too far. My issues (especially in the front 13) are much more story related, and revolve around how putting C/S together on it’s own isn’t enough – the story that you tell through them still has to be interesting. Honestly, I thought as a couple they were heartwarming but dull for much of the front 13 but I completely understand that makes me a minority of one on this blog!

      • Big Kev says:

        Wow. Not sure how that comment got there. It’s supposed to be at the bottom of the world’s longest thread! Oh well 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        Sorry I don’t see right off how to move it Kev. I would be the world’s worst tech support. I’m on my iPad and editing stuff is just different. I might move it later tonight when I get to a real computer (if it doesn’t develop into its own thread!)

  4. Verkan_Vall says:

    @Thinkling, thanks for a great write-up.

    I enjoyed this episode immensely. More, please.

  5. Crumby says:

    “You’re still in Burbank with the Schnook. How’s that?” Watch Sarah’s expression as she tells him it’s fine. Eyes down, hiding something, but unable to hide her smile. (I can’t hide mine either) She recovers, “Anyway, the party planner, she ran off with all of our money.” Our money? If Jack had really been paying attention, he would have noticed Sarah fingering her bare left ring-finger … the one that usually sports her engagement ring.

    I had noticed but you put it into words very well Thinkling. 🙂

    I loved how Sarah said “Chuck and I” and “our money” even though she was trying to hide the wedding from her dad. She left her guard down, she’s in love and happy. She took off her ring and changed her story, but she can’t hide it all.

    Her “fine” and the fact that she played with her ring-free finger was brilliant.

    • thinkling says:

      So true. She is a changed woman. I don’t know if it was written in, or if it was all Yvonne, but it was brilliant.

      This whole episode was brilliant … so many little things, like their looks across the room. And I loved Jack’s expression when he sat down in the chair (video game, whatever it was) in their apartment. Everybody was totally perfect.

      (The van scene just didn’t rise to the brilliance of the rest of the episode.)

      • Crumby says:

        And I loved Jack’s expression when he sat down in the chair (video game, whatever it was) in their apartment.

        Yes! That was brilliantly funny.

      • Faith says:

        The picture you included up there is yet another example. Look at Chuck getting all hands on during a mish lol.

      • thinkling says:

        I loved his hand on her arm/shoulder in that scene … and Jack definitely taking it in … and Casey the wedding crasher in the background. Their love is written all over their faces and body language. If they think they’re hiding anything from Sarah’s dad, they are seriously delusional.

      • thinkling says:

        Technically, it wasn’t a mish. It was a con. 😉

    • atcDave says:

      Although funny that Jack didn’t get WHY his daughter had let down her guard. I mean, it wasn’t until he saw the program that he caught on. The idea his daughter had changed because she’d fallen in love was the farthest thing from his mind.

      • thinkling says:

        Oh yeah. He was blind sided. And Sarah is still learning just how invasive love is. She is totally a woman in love, excited about getting married. And they are doing it so well.

        I also loved Chuck’s we’re not a couple of sappy, helpless lovebirds. Well, … But they recovered very nicely.

      • Crumby says:

        Yeah. Even “big day” didn’t do it! He really needed to see the wedding program. He was like “I’ll believe it when I’ll see it!” So funny. Plus that gave us another “I’m the worst spy in the world” moment for Awesome! 🙂

      • joe says:

        Gee! I hadn’t thought of it that way, Dave. I sorta got the idea that Jack may have been surprised, but then realized it and accepted it pretty quickly. He likes the schnook after all.

        But I hadn’t thought that Jack thought his daughter had changed. I thought it was more like he knew it would come to this eventually and was always trying to protect her from the pitfalls of trusting too much.

        When I watch again I’ll keep your interpretation in mind!

      • Crumby says:

        It really makes you wonder what happened between Jack and Sarah’s mom. We know he did try to propose, but obviously if he can’t understand love, they weren’t that strong as a couple. And how terrible is Sarah’s mom for Jack to be the great parent from the two?

      • thinkling says:

        No kidding. I’m guessing we won’t see her until next season, but I wouldn’t mind a few more sentences of elucidation. It could be as simple as the fact that Sarah stuck up for her dad.

        Nice new gravatar, BTW.

      • atcDave says:

        yeah Thinkling that whole scene was funny, of course the whole episode was funny so this is hardly surprising. But I even liked Chuck’s little “whipped” moment “you mean us? right, getting in the car…” Sort of a typical Chuck ramble, and playing totally submissive to an irate Sarah. I don’t know why, but playing “yes dear” with my wife always makes me laugh. Its like he was humoring her and staying out of her cross-hairs at the same time.

        I really do wonder what we’ll see when we do meet Sarah’s mom. The pattern of the show is a few painful moments then a sentimental reunion. I doubt they’ll change it too much. Perhaps little Sarah (Jennie, Rebecca, Katie, whatever) just had an urge for adventure that dad met and mom couldn’t. But you do have to wonder if something is really wrong with mom.

      • thinkling says:

        Dave, I also loved Sarah’s “of course I mean us.”

        You’re right Sarah on a tare and Chuck keeping up to humor her, keep her out of trouble, etc (like A-Team) is so funny. It’s similar to Sarah making sure the proposal happened and employing Morgan as her double agent.

        Then you have the opposite, when Sarah is out of her depth and Chuck helps out, like FBoE … and Cat Squad, which was kind of a combination of the two models.

        There’s so much depth to work with.

      • Crumby says:

        Thanks Thinkling. 😉

    • joe says:

      I’ve seen the episode three times, and I’m sort of ashamed to admit that each time I’ve missed Sarah playing with the ring that’s not there.

      Swooosh! Over Joe’s head again!

      It’s another one of those marvelous little things they’ve put into each episode that lets me enjoy watch time and time again. There’s always something new.

      I’m starting to wake up to the fact that in almost every episode in S4, they put in one perfectly stunning special effect; the “ringing in the ears” effect (in Muuurder, when the bomb goes off as Chuck & Sarah flee the interrogation room), the groggy-dizzy effect of a “flash-bang”, the laptop scanning… Like Sarah playing with the ring that’s not there, they can be small, but set up the atmosphere wonderfully.

    • Crumby says:

      I like that Jack didn’t question Chuck and Sarah as a couple. He only wanted to know if she was sure about settling down, but whether Chuck was the right guy to do it with was never in question.

      • thinkling says:

        I liked that, too. He already like Charlie and told him to take care of her in DeLorean. That was already tacit approval. And making sure it’s what she wanted was very paternal. The dance was really really well done by both of them.

  6. Faith says:

    What fun! A fun read and a fun episode.

    “If Jack had really been paying attention, he would have noticed Sarah fingering her bare left ring-finger … the one that usually sports her engagement ring.”

    I caught that my second time around and I can shamelessly say, squee! What a great, subtle detail that adds to the realism of the relationship. Whoever added it be it Yvonne, or the director, great job.

    Chuck is not her father. His love is constant and selfless. He doesn’t disappoint. He doesn’t leave. Her life, her heart, and her fortunes are safe with him.

    Well said. Chuck doesn’t leave. He sticks, he fights for her the way no one in her life ever did.

    I do have one thing to add though, when Jack was with Devon and they were talking about being a father Jack said, “I taught her to keep things close. I said, the second you let your guard down, you get hurt and she did. She let her guard down. I want to know why,” and then he finds the wedding plan.

    Sarah let her guard down the moment she walked into the buy more and found something she wasn’t expecting, the guy she wasn’t expecting and from there it’s been a rollercoaster of fighting against herself, the CIA, and learning to be comfortable letting her guard down. And Jack was correct, sometime during that rollercoaster she did get hurt, a lot but she also found love.

    I think Casey called it “compromised,” Sarah’s been compromised since that first day at the Buy More. She’s just so good that she even fooled her dad, and Chuck too… for a little bit, in Delorean, et al.

    • thinkling says:

      Yes, she let her guard down, not all at once, but it started slipping badly from day 1. Then she’d get it back in place. Then it would slip further. You get the idea. Of course to do her job she had to keep it in place, but inside it was crumbling.

      Of course, as you said that’s how she found love. Squeee. They — the writers and Yvonne — are doing such a great job of showing the gradual changes in her.

  7. Crumby says:

    @alladinsgenie4u

    Chuck’s lying – His lying to Ellie is definitely a problem, but I also was thinking of his father in Living Dead. In that episode, Chuck lies at least 3 times to his father, everytime covering up with another lie, while we knew he was lying to Sarah about his health (that wasn’t helping). It completely took me away from the fact that he had reasons not to want to explain himself to his father. His dad left him, twice, and comes back telling him how he should live his life? No way. The lying made me want to slap Chuck instead of being on his side. If I hadn’t come here, talk about it, and see through his very repetitive lies, I probably still want to slap him thinking about it. 😉

    As for Chuck’s neurotic reaction to his mom – yeah, 4×10 comes to mind, but the whole arc in general too. Chuck was really on the edge about the search for mom and the discovery of Volkoff. The Intersectless ard didn’t help…

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      First of all – thanks for de-intersecting from that enormous thread above us. It was getting cumbersome and brain-bleach worthy. 😉 🙂

      Chuck’s continuous lies to his father was one of low points of S3.5. I hated that approach of TPTB. As for his mom search -I thought he did okay when she first showed up in 4×06, went a bit overboard in 4×10 – but it was an episode which focused solely on Volkoff and Mama B while all the others were reduced to spectators but he was back on track by 4×12 and all through 4×13. As for the Intersectless arc – the less said the better 😉 – 4×08 and 4×10 are very low on my re-watch list. 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        I’d say since Honeymooners, Chuck’s lying to Sarah and Orion in S3.5 (well, until 4.01 with Sarah) has been my least favorite part of the show by far. Other shortcomings have been much smaller issues to me.

      • thinkling says:

        Ditto that Dave. I’m ready for the no secrets no lies to a Bartowski family policy. I’m with MamaB on that (and Sarah). I was so relieved that they ended the lying between Chuck and Sarah in Anniversary.

    • Crumby says:

      Yeah, neurotic is probably not the good word. It’s more his ups and downs about his mom. One minute is all about saving his mom and there’s nothing stopping him, the next his second-guessing everything. It was fine at first, because it illustrated well that the whole mom thing was making a number on him, but then it became tiring (tiresome?). The worst was the beginning of Leftovers. When they played it for comedy (I think we found a pattern here ;)).

  8. herder says:

    Thinkling I think that you may have explained the one bit of this wonderful episode that escaped me, the lack of exposition of why, from Jack’s point of view, Sarah is with Chuck. I would have liked a scene about why Sarah loves Chuck to explain to Jack the reason for the change in Sarah’s wish for moving on to wanting to remain in Burbank.

    He already knew the reason, he simply didn’t think that it would be something that his daughter would want. Awesome taking it for granted, something as obvious as the sun rising in the morning and her saying that she was happy was enough clued him into the fact that what he saw from Chuck in Delorean was reciprocated by Sarah in both big and small ways was enough. It was his own discomfort with the whole Chuck surroundings and his daughter’s comfort with those same surroundings that slowed his realization down.

    He is no longer concerned with the why just that it is. He already knew that Chuck was the better man, he just didn’t know that that was something that Sarah wanted.

    • thinkling says:

      I liked the less-is-more approach to the Jack/Sarah conversation and dance. He didn’t medal into anything except to discern that it’s what she wanted … that she was happy. Like you say he already knew Chuck was the better man (and loved her 10 million dollars worth, which to a man like Jack says it all).

      Although it was probably a little bitter-sweet for him, realizing that he didn’t give her what she needed to make her happy. As long as she chose adventure, he could think he gave her the kind of life she wanted.

  9. jason says:

    think – that picture is neat, reminds me of one of my wife, father in law, and myself, cole definitely got the ‘look’ right based on my real life experience of one. As far as ratings and season 4 go – I don’t think we will ever know, my 2 cent psycho babble, Harry’s Law on monday’s along with adding dalton and hamilton had to move the demographic older. Also, maybe the engagement / wedding dragged out too long.

    For a 50 something fan of the couple’s story, both adding TD/LH and having lots of wedding story was great, but I know my 20 something son would have rather had CS get married, and a young CIA couple move onto missions, with a married CS mentoring and leading them. Much as many love morgan (and Alex) – I don’t think they are the couple that the 18-35 group would want, more Hannah & Cole – if you know what I mean.

    But chuck is what chuck is, seems like it may even get renewed, for me, as long as it stays happy and CS stay together, they can do near anything and I am Ok, I suppose that is shallow – oh well.

    • thinkling says:

      I love the way Jack watched Chuck after he found out they were engaged. The episode was just fantastic all round, but I loved the father/daughter dynamic explored and the contrast of the men in her life.

      I’m with you on 110% on the happy C/S wish. I think that’s the ticket. Even people who want more intense spy stuff are happier without all the relationship angst (I think). They have a winning combo in ZL/YS. Now if they can hit the right balance with the spy stuff and episodes and mythology, they could actually pick up viewers if they promote it right. At least I think they could.

  10. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Wedding Planner (4.21) | Chuck This

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