Summer Poll Season; The Seasons Go Head To Head

The Battle Over The Best of Chuck

In our last round we broke Chuck episodes out by season to come up with the (approximately) top 20 Chuck episodes (I rounded up on seasons 2&3).  This time the gloves are off.  Seasons can’t guarantee their pro-rated share of picks, and we go all out for the top Chuck episodes of all time.  Till next season.  After the jump.

By now we should all be getting good at this.  Below is a list of 77 Chuck episodes (Ring II and Subway are combined since they were aired and sold as a single episode).  All we need to do is pick the 20 we love best.  Simple, right?

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About Ernie Davis

I was born in 1998, the illegitimate brain child and pen name of a surly and reclusive misanthrope with a penchant for anonymity. My offline alter ego is a convicted bibliophile and causes rampant pognophobia whenever he goes out in public. He wants to be James Lileks when he grows up or Dave Barry if he doesn’t.  His hobbies are mopery, curling and watching and writing about Chuck.  Obsessively.  Really, the dude needs serious help.
This entry was posted in polls, Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, Season 4. Bookmark the permalink.

189 Responses to Summer Poll Season; The Seasons Go Head To Head

  1. lappers84 says:

    A lot of good episodes to choose from (and yes even a couple from 3.0). On the whole though I have really enjoyed season 4 and the real growth of both Chuck and Sarah (not to forget the others). But lets be honest here in think this season has been primarily centred on the CS relationship. 🙂

  2. atcDave says:

    Limiting this to four is seriously hard. I think S4 benefits the most from such a small number; if say, we were picking a top 8 the extra 4 would likely all have been S1 and S2. But for now, I couldn’t choose between Phase 3 and Wedding Planner; so they both made the list and I only had two choices left!

    • herder says:

      Dave, isn’t this a top 20, not top 4?, later it may be reduced to pick four of the top 20, but this is a winnowing out process. Even at a top 20, I ran out of picks in season four and had to bump off three episodes from seasons one and two (the limited season three picks were safe).

      • lappers84 says:

        I think season 3 was pretty easy to pick from, I struggled to pick out my faves from season 4.

      • atcDave says:

        Geez, maybe if I’d actually read the directions…

        Thanks Herder.

        Yeah S3 is easy, one episode.

      • atcDave says:

        20 makes for a more interesting list, as I was saying when I was stupid (!), I’ve got 8 easy favorites. The next 12 came pretty easy too, but it seemed like a clear second tier. S4 still comes out the strongest, but S2 puts in a good showing now.

  3. Big Kev says:

    Episode breakdown for me.
    Season One: 5 episodes
    Season Two: 7
    Season 3: 5
    Season 4: 3
    Season one stands up well – 5 top 5 episodes out of 13. Season 3 had some troughs but it also had some peaks. Season 4 is a season of great scenes that don’t always hold together as episodes.
    Season 2 still the best one in my book. Barely a bad episode in the 22 and many outstanding ones. A fantastic season of TV.

    • jason says:

      season one -1 (pilot)
      season two -1 (delorean)
      season three – 2 (role models, honeymooners)
      season four – 22, oops I mean 16

      • atcDave says:

        Wow! and I thought I liked S4!

        S1 – 4
        S2 – 7
        S3 – 1
        S4 – 8

      • jason says:

        dave – I am politically independent, have voted for multiple presidential candidates from both parties since I first voted for abe lincoln back a few decades ago, but I love poking fun at the us senate, who I could vote on the floor in 75% of their places without anyone missing them, as they have a position, an agenda, that they are expected to uphold.

        As a Chuck fan, I am grid locked into a certain position, it may not be that I always absolutely think I am right, but I think my general direction for the show is absolutely right, hence I post things here like 16 season 4 eps vs 4 in the first 3 seasons, to show support for chuck and sarah as a couple, my agenda so to speak, kind of like we all could probably guess how maybe ted kennedy would vote / react on near any issue.

        As a small aside, I did not love the show in seasons 1 and in particular season 2 like some of you guys & gals, but I saw potential in chuck, sarah, and comedy – to me the drama and spy stuff is paper thin on chuck. That is why season 3 was so frustrating, from my POV, the show had not built up a positive bank account of good will, such that I would cut it some slack when it really went bad. The first time I honestly felt ok with TPTB, was after 4×13 aired, the first time I felt the show had a positive balance of good will from my POV.

        Now after 4×24, I have a healthy nestegg of goodwill in the chuck bank, and my voting record on episodes reflects that pov – does that make sense?

      • herder says:

        I think that I voted as follows:

        One- 3
        Two- 7
        Three- 4
        Four- 6

      • atcDave says:

        I know you came along a little later Jason, I guess the only difference I see from having watched from the very beginning is that I also saw the immediate potential for Chuck and Sarah, but didn’t expect TPTB to make such an ordeal of it. I obviously misread the start of the series by thinking it would be more of a comedy and feel good sort of show. So even in S1 I was peeved with the triangles arc starting in 1.08. Now I was not so heavily invested at that point and it didn’t really tick me off like the S3 stuff did; but even now, while I can see that Truth was a very funny episode, it’s the first time I recognized the teen soap DNA in the show and I’ll simply never consider that episode a favorite.
        But I did love the start of the series, and episodes 1.01-1.03 all made my favorites list. I’ve seen those three episodes more than any others too.
        Same thing happened at the start of S2. Loved the first five episodes. I still go back and watch those five quite often, they sort of define what I love about Chuck; the mix of action and humor, and the profound sense of affection even in an impossible situation for Chuck and Sarah.
        S3 only had one single episode that really worked for me on every level; although if we’re adding our next ten favorites I would likely add four from S3 (Angel of Death, Operation Awesome, Role Models, and Subway/Ring II)
        S4 is absolutely when the show became what I always wanted it to be, and I think that’s reflected in the number of favorites I picked. And as we’ve discussed before, if we were picking a bottom 10 (or even bottom 20 maybe) I wouldn’t pick a single episode from S4, while S3 would dominate that list.

        So Ernie, bottom 10, do we go there?

      • thinkling says:

        Dave, you and I probably voted similarly (shocker, I know). I could just stand behind you and let you talk for me about the way I saw the seasons and the series. On rewatch, I watch the first 3 in S1 more than the others. I’ve never liked the geometry, so OLI episodes never make my favorites list. And S4 is what I’ve been waiting for the show to become. I’m so glad we got to see it and glad for a season of married CS. Personally, I would keep watching until Chuck gets dentures and Sarah gets orthopedic shoes, but I’m grateful for the last 30 we got and the 13 bonus episodes to come.

        The first 5 of S2 are also favorites of mine. Forget the Jill arc. Get rid of the end of Suburbs and all of Beefcake. Then get rid of all of First Kill, except the end (which is more like the intro to Colonel anyway). With those changes I like all the rest.

        I picked the same as you in S3 and would add the same extras you would.

        Muuurder is the only one I wouldn’t miss from S4. But I don’t feel anywhere near the dislike for it that I do for some episodes in other seasons.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Thinkling I suspect our exact likes and dislikes are pretty similar. I also have no OLI episode on a favorites list, although there are a couple of them I don’t hate! I could concede pretty easily Bryce and Jill are fair game. But Lou and Cole initially struck me as unneeded and unwanted distractions that served no purpose to me as a viewer.
        But that said, I can rank a couple of episodes as sort of lower tier, but I don’t completely dislike. That would be:

        Truth – I don’t care for Lou but this actually a very funny episode.

        Imported Hard Salami – Amazing but true, I STILL don’t care for Lou, but this is a dynamite Sarah episode, and who can forget that kiss…

        Break-Up – I didn’t care for the first few minutes when we’re seeing entirely through Chuck’s hurt perspective, but I almost felt a little sorry for Bryce in the end. And the break-up that breaks-up nothing is an amazing scene. (oh, and the exchange scene at the train station between Chuck and von Hayes has to be one of the laugh out loud funniest scenes ever).

        Fat Lady – I’m not big on Jill, but another awesome Sarah episode, and an incredible ending.

        Gravitron – Gee, I’m still not big on Jill; but an awesome ending for my least favorite arc of the first two seasons.

        Lethal Weapon – Never doubted from the start where Sarah’s affections really lay, its just a matter of making it clear (at least to Cole)…

        First Kill – I’m still not big on Jill, but the last 5 minutes is my favorite Chuck moment until Honeymooners.

        Other Guy – The only S3 OLI episode I find tolerable. Shaw gets shot in the chest and Chuck and Sarah finally figure things out.

        The only non-OLI episodes I really don’t like are all S3, especially Pink Slip.

        For S4 I would still rank Anniversary below Muuurder; but really I enjoyed every episode of this last season, and its the first time I can ever say that.

      • thinkling says:

        Dave: If we were in school, one of us would get kicked for copying. I don’t think Joe would do that to us. LOL.

        Except for Anniversary and Muuurder, I agree 100%. I would only add one other laugh out loud funny scene in Breakup … watching Chuck watching Bryce and Sarah dance … being a total wine klutz. Plus I found von Hayes to be totally hilarious (Were you dropped as a child from a very great height?)

      • atcDave says:

        And …you have no idea how little leg room there is…

        Oh I forgot, Volkoff was supposed to be the first baddie played for laughs; von Hayes was scary serious!

        (and no joke, Lambada just came up on my iPod as I’m typing this).

      • thinkling says:

        He could have traded his Lamborghini for a 2 bedroom condo … lots more legroom. 😀

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Lots of good discussion between the ChuckThis twins 😉

        I gotta disagree about the Jill arc. The first was a bit clumsy and the last a bit of a letdown, but Fat Lady regularly makes my favorites list, and not just for the ending. But the arc overall played well into the whole mythology of Chuck having been a part of the spy world for years without knowing it.

        A bottom 10… We went for the hate in season 3 polls, mostly to let people blow off steam. We’ll have to see how soon I run out of ideas for polls 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Ernie you know we’re really the same person using different log-ins…

        Oh wait, that’s been done…

      • Faith says:

        New poll idea: episodes you would take to a deserted island.

        Actually pretty much everything deserted island related. A sandwich perhaps, just not roast beef.

        Getting back to the episode though, it’s not necessarily your favorite episode, but one you can foreseeably see yourself watching for the rest of your deserted island life. For example, I LOVEEE Phase Three, but that episode is heavy. I would take Best Friend over Phase Three on that deserted island for that reason.

      • joe says:

        Desert island picks! Great idea, Faith. 😉

        I’d still have to take those last 6 or 7 from S2. Can’t live without them!

    • thinkling says:

      How about a desert island in reverse? You thought S3 would be the last one and saved room for all of Chuck in your suitcase, but now you have S4’s additional episodes. You only have room for 54 episodes. Which 24 will you leave behind?

  4. thinkling says:

    Now I wish I could remember my season by season choices. 😐

    • lappers84 says:

      I realise this isn’t the place to post, but will anybody be doing a thread regarding the whole conspiracy theory on Chuck, because I have a whole load of thoughts running through my head right now

  5. Crumby says:

    S1 – 4
    S2 – 9

  6. Crumby says:

    S1 – 4
    S2 – 9
    S3 – 2
    S4 – 5

  7. Faith says:

    You’re an evil, evil man Ernie, to torture us like this!

    The first 5 was relatively easy (so long as you don’t actually ask me to rank them), the rest was an experience in hand wringing and mischegas.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Hey, I gotta go with my strengths.

      I’m the same way. Right out of the gate I know I’m picking Tango, Truth, First Date, Fat Lady, Ring and Honeymooners. This year added Phase 3 and Suitcase to the certain picks. It’s the next twelve that are the problem, and I usually end up say unchecking Seduction so I can do Tom Sawyer, then unchecking Coup d’Etat to re-pick Seduction… You get the point.

  8. Faith says:

    Also <3. Lou, the only likable PLI :P. Truth made it to my top 20.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I kind of liked Hannah. (ducks thrown objects). 😉

      • atcDave says:

        I thought Hannah was likable, but she served absolutely no purpose (well, no purpose worth serving) on the show.

        “Gee, let’s introduce a sweet, nice character to make our protagonist out to be a total jerk…”

      • Big Kev says:

        Dave,
        Don’t disagree with you about Hannah – but there have been entire episodes this season that have served no discernible story-telling purpose. But the characters are in a better place, so tolerance is generally a lot higher.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Kev you’re right; but to me just having fun is the ultimate purpose, so even if say “Leftovers” was kind of lame, I laughed and enjoyed it and found nothing objectionable, so I won’t complain much! (ummm, I’m talking TV here, not a life philosophy!).

      • Faith says:

        *throws objects*

        Blahna? Bleh ;).

      • herder says:

        You were supposed to like Hannah, she was sort of a Trojan Horse of a character. You liked her, brought her in and then she led to all sorts of bad things. Her role was to provide the rational for Sarah moving on to Shaw. If she made Chuck into a jerk, well that was incidental.

        I liked her too, just not the role she played.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah exactly herder.

      • Faith says:

        Stalker chick? Not awesome.

      • thinkling says:

        I agree. Hannah was likeable, and believably Chuck’s type. I felt bad for her at the end, and she was rightfully angry. At that time, Chuck was not a nice person. Yes, her role was to clear the obstruction for Sarah/Shaw. But I honestly think she was more than that. She was a representation of the innocence that Chuck once was, and ultimately it was his relationship with her that made him realize he’d been living a lie on every level of his life. She was a part of his down turn and his turn around.

        I accept that she was meant to give both Sarah and fans the rational for sham, but I’ll always see her as more than that.

  9. Rick Holy says:

    I harken back to Jeff in “Tom Sawyer” first “taking in” the two bikini-clad beauties and then standing in front of the vending machine in the Buy More break room: “Choices, so many choices!” What a nice predicament to be in!

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

    S1 – 4
    S2 – 8
    S3 –
    S4 – 8

    • Faith says:

      LOL -.

      Wow S4 tied S2. High praise 😉

    • Crumby says:

      Not even some S3 love for Honeymooners, Captain? 😉

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        It’s hard to envisage Honeymooners as part of S3. It’s a wonderful dream – that’s all it is. 😉

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      S1 and S2 – Every episode except Beefcake
      S3 – Only one – Honeymooners
      S4- Twelve in all – 4×02, 4×04, 4×05, 4×07, 4×09, 4×12, 4×14, 4×17, 4×19, 4×21, 4×23, 4×24 -except for the ending. 😛

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        And Colonel will always remain my favorite episode over every other episode. -even over Honeymooners and Cliffhanger

      • thinkling says:

        Alladins, you liked Gobbler, but not Balcony or Push Mix? That’s cool, just unusual. Most folks like it the other way around. Have you been sampling a little too much product, lately? 😉

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        I liked Balcony, don’t get me wrong – but it was a toss up between multiple proposal fakeouts and Sarah in a leather suit. Guess who won. 🙂

        As for Push Mix – well, they parroted that the ending 10 min were the most spic – which I didn’t find to be that epic so ….

        And yes, I have taken huge amounts of the Snark Soothner Solution after seeing Morgan get Intersected – so that may be affecting my choices a little bit. 😉

      • thinkling says:

        LOL 😛

      • Faith says:

        Subway was pretty good. I mean I know he who shall not be named was on it but you can’t go wrong with Duck and Sarah Lancaster in tears. I swear I’m turning into a SL Fangirl. 😀

      • atcDave says:

        Push Mix doesn’t make my favorites either. I like the episode, actually I like it a lot, and I love the final epic 10 minutes; but it can’t compete with some of the other awesomeness that is Chuck. At least not in a top 20 sense of the word.

      • Crumby says:

        I liked Gobbler more than Push Mix too. At least on first watch. I haven’t rewatch them recently.

        The first half of Push Mix wasn’t epic, and like every damn “final” since S3, Sarah doesn’t have much to do.

        I agree about Subway. It was pretty good. I think it would be more fair to not pair it with Ring II actually.

        Also Sarah Lancaster is awesome! Completely agree Faith! 🙂

  11. joe says:

    Oh gee – Ernie strikes again!

    Okay, as weird as this feels right now, I picked
    Season 1 – 2 epis; Truth, and Marlin
    Season 2 – 8 epis; First Date, Breakup, Best Friend, Predator, Broken Heart, Dream Job, First Kill & Colonel
    Season 3 – 3 epis; Angel De La Muerta, Other Guy, Honeymooners & Subway/Ring 2
    Season 4 – 5 epis; Cubic Z, Phase 3, Push Mix, First Bank of Evil & The Cliff Hanger

    And I can’t believe only 2 from S1 came out on this list! Okay, let me explain.
    First of all, I sort of still, even to this date, think of First Date as an S1 episode, even though I know it isn’t. And except for the pilot, many of the S1 episodes lay the ground work for what’s to come and establish the characters. It’s a thankless job, but some episodes have got to do it! 😉

    And really, all the episodes from Lethal Weapon through to The Colonel are one, big, glorious, long-running epic tale in my mind. I can’t separate them! They deserve 6 votes in my mind and unfairly dominate everything in my imagination!

    S4 is most interesting. I already confessed to being a ‘shipper, so I can’t help but pick anything that leads to where we are today, including Chuck on one knee in Cubic Z. I also just loved Phase 3 for both that and for the action, and I loved First Bank of Evil for the way Chuck and Sarah did the Bonnie and Clyde routine in the bank.

    What hurts is that so many other episodes should be on this list!

    • joe says:

      Okay, it’s five minutes later.
      Can I change my vote? I have 4 others I want to add now…

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I’ve made and re-sorted my list so many times now it’s hard to keep track. I did however spot a trend. With only 4, 6, 5 and 6 picks I pretty clearly decided that episodes like Wookie, Tom Sawyer, and DeLorean, while great, were second tier for me. But only within the constraints of the seasons. With the seasons head to head, season 3 and season 4 lost out. Season 3 the most. Season 4, while a very strong season with some amazing progress for the characters wasn’t as overall entertaining to me as was season 2. That said, my overall view of season 4, that I enjoyed every episode, a lot, doesn’t apply to any other season of Chuck. So while season 4 didn’t reach the heights of season 1 or 2, it stood well above the others taken on average. So now I need to do another poll. Rate individual episodes on a 1-5 stars basis.

      Jeeze Joe, can’t we farm this back out to the New Deli office?

  12. Lola says:

    ohh, come on! I don’t even remmember which ones i picked. If I have to do it again, i’ll probably change it, there are SO many good episodes, that I can’t seem to choose 😛

    But here is an aproximation:
    s1: pilot, alma mater, undercoverlover.
    s2: well… everything except: beedcake and 3/4 of leathal weapon
    s3: only tic tac, other guy, honeymooners and the double ending subway/the ring
    s4: everything except cubic z, first 3/4 of fear of death, oh! and the bachelor party in last details.

    See! I can’t even pick complete episodes not to like! 😀

    Ok, here’s the poll:
    s1 : 3
    s2: 12
    s3: 3
    s4: 5

    • joe says:

      Heh! I had to go back to my brower’s history and write them down, Lola. Firefox crashed when I did that, but came back to the page with my choices still selected!

      • lappers84 says:

        I’ve forgotten most of my choices myself (mostly from season 4) since their were loads to choose from. For me most of season 1 was decent but there were 3 that stood out for me. Season 2 was better showing more character development. Season 3 (well we all know what we thought of the first 13) still there were a couple from the first arc that stood out. Season 4 was filled with gems which made it harder to choose (hence the reason I forgot my picks :/)

        Season 1:
        Pilot
        Wookie
        Marlin

        Season 2:
        Cougars
        Tom Sawyer
        Delorean
        Colonel
        Ring

        Season 3:
        Beard
        American Hero
        Other Guy
        Honeymooners
        Subway/Ring II

        Season 4: (I think)
        Suitcase
        Phase 3
        Balcony
        Push Mix
        A-Team
        Wedding Planner
        Cliffhanger

      • Lola says:

        ffox’s “recover” option worked!!! jeje. Hate when the browser crashes and I lost my tabs selection of the day. Honestly, I really don’t remmember exactly which ones a choose, mostly S4, as Lappers84 says, there are so many good eps there…

  13. Ernie Davis says:

    For those of you playing along at home, the results so far for the top 14 top 10 Chuck episodes:

    1 ) Chuck Versus the Honeymooners
    2 ) Chuck Versus the Colonel
    3 ) Chuck Versus Phase Three
    4 ) Chuck Versus the Intersect
    5 ) Chuck Versus the First Date & Chuck Versus the Subway/Chuck Versus the Ring Part II
    6 ) Chuck Versus the Seduction
    7 ) Chuck Versus the Cliffhanger
    8 ) Chuck Versus the Other Guy & Chuck Versus the Wedding Planner
    9 ) Chuck Versus the DeLorean, Chuck Versus the Push Mix & Chuck Versus the Last Details
    10) Chuck Versus the Cougars

    Chuck Versus the Seduction Impossible trails by one vote

    By season:

    1 ) 1
    2) 5
    3) 3
    4) 5

    • thinkling says:

      That’s really interesting. I’m a little surprised by the fact that S1 had only 1 episode that made the list, but I’m not surprised by which episode made it. I guess aside from the pilot, people’s tastes varied widely.

      A few other observations.
      ~ Only 4 episodes out of 78 are clearly Sarah centric. They all made the list. That should tell somebody something.
      ~ The 4 finales of the last 2 seasons made the list. Impressive. Of course it would be sad it they didn’t. Don’t know what happened to Ring1.

      Ernie what about the other 6 that made the top 20? Could you re-comment and include those, too? (Cuz we voted for 20)

    • atcDave says:

      Its funny how we often talk about how diverse our taste is as a fandom; and I suppose this poll doesn’t proove anything except that most of our readers share views much like our authors. But looking at the episodes that are leading so far, only 4 of them (Subway/Ring II, Seduction, Other Guy, and Push Mix) failed to make my list, and all four of them would have made it if we were voting for just 10 more episodes (ie, none of the episodes I DON’T like made the list).

      • Big Kev says:

        Dave,
        I think Ernie made a fantastic point earlier in another thread. The point was that we all like different things about the show in different combinations – but the best episodes are ones that have all of those ingredients present in some form. It’s when some ingredients are left out at the expense of others that you see divisions. It’s all about balance.

      • atcDave says:

        I think that’s right.

        Or maybe not just “not present”, but when one of the elements many of us are drawn to is somehow “defective” or screwed up. Then those who care most about that element will be upset, and even most viewers may be a little put off. So an episode like “Mask” generates outrage among ‘shippers, and general dislike among most other fans; and gets tagged as a favorite by VERY few viewers.

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        I think my biggest issue as of late, is that the show certainly wants to go with some drama, high drama or even false drama but is not willing to make this drama pay-off. Instead it just get swept away and we move on to scenes TPTB perceive everybody wants to see. In other words, the drama exist but it never pays off.
        The first really bombsized occurrence of this is the Mauser shooting, but this trend has become an all too regular occurrence in both S3 & S4. Face it the supposed drama of the first 13 was never resolved, it just got sent away with DYLM & Honeymooners (which is the main reason 3.14 doesn’t make my list). Imagine how much more meaningful DYLM could have been if C&S had actually talked before it. S4 examples are numerous:
        – Sarah telling Chuck he’s not a spy – no fall out
        – Sarah leaving to get Mama B – Sarah doesn’t conclude that this mission isn’t for her, Mama B send her home
        – Sarah blowing up at Chuck in Cat Squad – no discussion afterwards
        – Mama B 20 year absence – Agent X retcon only made her look worse without a proper explanation
        – Not showing Sarah wake up in the hospital – for a millisecond fakeout that wasn’t worth it IMO
        (there seems to be trend here)

        This is all good stuff, but to show this to the fans and repeatedly not explain it becomes tiresome for the watchers. I watched Wookie last night, which ends with “Lisa” and just could not get out of my head how pointless that scene is now. Great dramatic moment – fans robbed of payoff.

        I can tell you that neither 3.13, 3.19, 4.13, 4.24 made my top 20. Quite simply because the episodes are very shallow in story resolution and very full of scenes everybody has been waiting for all season. Lot of bread but no meat.

        S3 was a failure on multiple levels which don’t need to be rehashed again. But I can’t help but wonder if people who say S4 was for them, lacking, would think differently if even some of the shows drama was resolved properly.

      • atcDave says:

        Well Joseph, I do agree some golden moments and opportunities have been squandered; but I think we tend to expect too much from a TV show sometimes, and all of our analyzing every detail truly doesn’t help that situation.
        The show’s teen soap DNA shows at times when a scene is constructed for shock value without any real thought of its honesty to the characters as previously written or shown. I think that’s part of why so many of us simply reject the main arc of S3; I for one simply could not accept what I was being fed in Pink Slip, so I reject virtually all of what follows. I can rejoice in Honeymooners because it seems to me to be the proper next episode right after Ring.

        But I’m not sure what you want from some of the other moments. I mean Sarah got mad at Chuck in Cat Squad, and then apologized for her actions; is that not enough? Sarah blurted out something stupid in Fear of Death, and then blamed herself for Chuck getting captured and spent the next episode going to heroic/extreme measures to make things right; how is that not enough?
        I just completely disagree about Agent X, I immediately understood a story I had previously considered stupid and thought far more highly of Mary than I had before.

        Not showing Sarah waking up in the hospital for a simple sight gag was unfortunate; but time constraints may have been part of that decision, I mean the episode was so packed they even skipped the opening credits!

        I agree entirely about not liking Sarah’s mission to free Mary and how poorly it reflected on her that Mary had to dismiss her. I think that’s why Gobbler will never make my favorites list; the cheap angsty ending was never really made right, Sarah was being an idiot. Now I actually did enjoy Push Mix quite a lot on its own merits; my only beef with it is its failure to redeem the end of Gobbler.

        Joseph we did hear complaints like yours all season long. I get that many viewers felt the same way; but I don’t get what actually IS expected. I still think Chuck is the most satisfying hour of entertainment I’ve ever seen on television. Television in general is not meant to stand up to the sort of scrutiny we often subject it to, it IS NOT cinema (movie making typically devotes 2 or so years to create a 2 hour product; television gets 10 months to create 18 hours). I think, all things considered, Chuck is an amazing and satisfying show.

      • Crumby says:

        I completely agree on the lack of resolution.

        FOD & Phase Three are a very good example.

        Dave you said: Sarah blurted out something stupid in Fear of Death, and then blamed herself for Chuck getting captured and spent the next episode going to heroic/extreme measures to make things right; how is that not enough?

        Well no it’s not enough considering she said “No you’re not [a spy]” to Chuck because he was acting completely irrationally in FOD and almost got himself killed in the process. Sarah had to go to extreme measures to save him, and when he comes back, he’s called a spy without the Intersect out of the blue, they don’t talk about what was at the core of the problem ie. Chuck taking huge risks without considering Sarah, and there is not even a thank you from Chuck to her. If there’s something I don’t like about Phase Three, it’s the end.

        The end of Gobbler served no purpose at all in Push Mix. The end of Aisle of Terror could have been addressed better than it was in First Fight too. Same thing with the prenup, the resolution was completely underwhelming.

        The Agent X stuff is another good example. Did Mary try to save Hartley or not? We don’t know, they didn’t address it. Volkoff was desintersected like it was nothing when it was convenient. The last scene of 4.22 between Chuck and Ellie lead to nowhere.

        Ellie discovering the truth about Chuck spying again… 21 episodes of making a big deal out of it and then, “Oh I’m such an idiot, of course you’re a spy, and I really don’t mind”. WTH?

        If they took less time to build up to “dramatic moments” and more time to working through the issues/situations and resolve them, it would be really more satisfying.

        Now I just can’t really care about drama or big reveals because I know they won’t resolve anything, they’ll just go for the easy fix, sometimes ignoring stuff altogether. It’s really disappointing.

      • ArmySFC says:

        joseph crumby, well i agree with you. dave sorry but the agent x left me flat. you may think that putting friends above family is ok, i don’t. to me it seemed like lazy writing. they couldn’t think of a logical thing that made sense so they made hartely a friend of the family, then didn’t explain enough about it.

        here’s my biggest complaint about the season. the inconsistencies in it. the whole no lies bit, you saw where that led. your not a spy then he’s the one of the best. when did they actually show that? the two biggest eps people claim that chuck is a great spy are push mix and cliff hanger? what kind of spy work did he do exactly? what information did he gather? he came up with plans alright based on information he already had. sure he got volkoff to give up his password but finding him easy, in fact volkoff found him. then add cliff hanger. he knew where viv was so all he had to do was go there.

        did he save sarah? not in my opinion, hartely did. chucks pleading fell short until her dad came on the scene and turned the tables. who helped with the russians? volkoff industries. who do you think got them? hartely not chuck.

        there are to many things that were just smoothed over. ellie just caving like that? not buying that one either. why not flush it out more?

        to me it all comes down to putting to much in every episode. they juggle to many plots at once. cut out some of the sub plots and make the single plot strong and well done. not what we saw a lot of this season. i know its how they do things but maybe that’s why people lost interest? they make a big deal of things then whoosh its resolved. then again it could just be me.

      • atcDave says:

        Well its clear we’re just not going to agree on this. Except for the end of Gobbler I was completely satisfied with all of those resolutions. I seriously don’t want the show to dwell on that sort of stuff, and am happy to just have a forgiving Chuck and simpler story lines. I also know we’ve gone around in circles on this all season long, and I don’t see the problems many of you do.

      • thinkling says:

        For the most part I agree with Dave. There’s a balance to maintain between resolution and story progression and all the elements of Chuck. To resolve things in a thorough, airtight manor, you bog the story down. In the limited episodes we have you have to choose what to tell and how much time to spend. I like the blend of all things Chuck. To keep that some things get lost in the cracks and some things have to be tied up simply and quickly, leaving us to fill in the blanks. If they explained every detail and gave us all those off screen conversations we’d like to hear, the story would never move forward and Chuck would no longer be light on its feet.

        I’m not saying it’s perfect. They could have sometimes done a better job, just with a dialogue tweak or an extra sentence, but mostly I’m satisfied with the resolutions that Dave mentioned. Sometimes a little leeway to read between the lines isn’t a bad thing. (I can think of one episode that gave us a little too much resolution.)

      • joe says:

        Absolutely, Thinkling. That balance is crucial, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all deal, either. Everyone is going to have something; a line, a look, a scene, that would strike them as “better”. That’s being human.

        Anyone brave enough to put their creative imaginings out there to be viewed, analysed and critiqued by Joe Anyone is displaying arrogance, chutzpah and bravery, if you ask me. I mean, I couldn’t do it. Yet, here I am on a (much) smaller stage doing just that. Go figure.

        We can only assume that the rewards are commensurate with the price.

        Like Dave, I tend to see cleverness in their resolutions this season and found them satisfying. Of course, I may be giving them some benefit of the doubt here, but that’s only because they’ve earned my good will, right? Well, that and the fact that so many episodes both thrilled me and tugged on my heartstrings (again) this season… 😉

        Now I have a question. How much would it take to resolve some of these hanging threads? I contend that, in many cases, it’s not much.

        My big example is the bracelet. As large as it loomed in the fan’s minds it just seems forgotten. Did we imagine or inflate its importance? Doubt it. Every time I re-watch Santa-Clause and the S3 episodes where it reappeared, I become more convinced that everything about that bracelet was deliberate. That tells me we’ll see it again.

        But it may be only once. All it would take would be one appearance, and one look from Mary, followed by one look look from Sarah telling us that a connection has been made. If they spoke more than one, short sentence each about it, that would almost be too much!

        The fear is always that we may be asked to leave some of these conversations up to our imagination. I don’t think the fear should ever be that they simply forgot to tell us.

        And if they choose not to, well, that’s the balance you were talking about, Thinkling.

      • jason says:

        in broad terms at least, the more the main story is going in a direction I approve, the less the inconsistency bothers me, in other words, in season 3 near everything bothered me, in season 4, very little has, except when I saw hints in eps 4×6’s end, ep 4×8, ep 4×12 that the chuck sarah story might revert to things that bothered me about season 3. Interestingly, immediately following those eps were very strong eps from my POV that quickly and clearly resolved any misgivings I had – which made season 4 special for me.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Jason I mostly agree. I mentioned above the only episode I was really unhappy with the resolution was the end of Gobbler; and even that, it all came out okay in the wash so I’m willing to overlook it. I just don’t expect airtight resolutions, or meticulously thorough denouements; as long as it mostly makes sense and I can still like and respect the characters I like and respect I’m likely to be fine with it.

    • Rick Holy says:

      Like your list, except I would have Cougars higher – if for no other reason than the “cheeseburger” moment at the end. Chuck wanting to know about Sarah’s past so strongly, yet yielding when he’s given a chance because he knows how uncomfortable/painful it is for Sarah to talk about it. That has to rank in my Top 3 Chuck/Sarah moments in the series. And the smiles on both their faces was just golden.

      • thinkling says:

        You hit my soft spot, Fr Rick. Cougars is probably my #1 in S2 (and thus an all-time favorite), though I admit my S2 favorites are mostly neck and neck.

        I do love the end, for the same reasons, but I also love Chuck’s aha moment (sometimes the nerd gets the girl) when he realizes that Sarah loves him. (At least that’s the way I read it.) Fantastic episode.

  14. Gord says:

    I can’t do it, I was up to 20 before I was barely into S3.
    So here are my favourites – S1, S2, S3 – Mask and Fake Name, S4 minus Muurder and the last 15 seconds of Cliffhanger.

  15. Ernie Davis says:

    Man I am starting to feel like the New Deli office… Sure, give it to the swarthy bearded guy! But OK, since Thinkling asked nicely. The present snapshot of our 29 top 20 episodes. Finally Tango made it!!

    1 ) Chuck Versus the Colonel & Chuck Versus the Honeymooners

    2 ) Chuck Versus Phase Three

    3 ) Chuck Versus the Intersect

    4 ) Chuck Versus the First Date & Chuck Versus the Subway/Chuck Versus the Ring Part II

    5 ) Chuck Versus the Seduction

    6 ) Chuck Versus the Cliffhanger

    7 ) Chuck Versus the Wedding Planner & Chuck Versus the Last Details

    8 ) Chuck Versus the DeLorean & Chuck Versus the Other Guy
     
    9 ) Chuck Versus the Push Mix

    10) Chuck Versus the Seduction Impossible

    11) Chuck Versus the Cougars

    12) Chuck Versus the Truth, Chuck Versus the Ring & Chuck Versus the Tic Tac

    13) Chuck Versus the Imported Hard Salami, Chuck Versus the Suburbs & Chuck Versus the Balcony
     
    14) Chuck Versus Santa Claus

    15) Chuck Versus the Best Friend

    16) Chuck Versus the Suitcase

    17) Chuck Versus the First Fight & Chuck Versus the First Bank of Evil

    18) Chuck Versus the Beard

    19) Chuck Versus the Wookiee

    20) Chuck Versus the Tango

    • atcDave says:

      I agree Ernie, yeah for Tango!

      What I said above still mostly holds; 18 and 19 are episodes that would be below even my second tier, but other than that the most popular episodes are proving to be among my favorites too.

      I’d been concerned about being out of step most of this season; what with loving every episode while a significant chunk of the fandom did not. But I feel more in synch after seeing these results.

    • thinkling says:

      Thank you Ernie! For your kindness the São Paulo office will lend a hand:

      Percentage of each season that made the favorites lists:
      Top 20:
      S1 – 5 of 13 = 38%
      S2 – 9 of 22 = 41%
      S3 – 4 of 19 = 21%
      S4 – 11 of 24 = 46%

      Top 10:
      S1 – 1 of 13 = 8%
      S2 – 4 of 22 = 18%
      S3 – 2 of 19 = 11%
      S4 – 7 of 24 = 29%

      • atcDave says:

        wow Thinkling! its very illuminating to see the percentages too. As much maligned as S4 was, it still generated the bulk of “favorite” episodes. Now I realize there may be some “recency” bias, certainly I think S1 suffers for being out of mind for many of us. And S3 still puts in a dismal showing.

      • thinkling says:

        Actually I goofed. Sorry. The abacus is on the fritz. 😉

        I attributed Honeymooners to S4. That changes the percentages for S3 and S4 as follows:

        Top 10: ………….Top 20:
        S1 1 = 8% ….. S1 5 = 38%
        S2 4 = 18% …. S2 9 = 41%
        S3 3 = 16% …. S3 5 = 26%
        S4 6 = 25% …. S4 10 = 42%

        In the final 20, it narrows the gap between S2 and S4. In the top 10 it narrows the gap between S2 and S3, but S4 still takes a healthy lead.

      • herder says:

        Truthfully I don’t put too much weight on the percentages, the most recent episodes tend to get a higher percentage of the votes. In this case season four gets higher than it will as time goes by, in other words as season five airs, season four episodes will be more likely to slip from the top twenty than season one two and three.

        The biggest thing is the strength of season two despite the passage of time. Compare that to the reletive weakness of season one in the polls (as opposed to the affection that most of us have for them).

      • atcDave says:

        Well herder I do think it’s significant how well S2 has held up, and also significant that S3 doesn’t do so well. I also find it interesting that in spite of all the anger directed at S4 that it did pretty well, I’m quite sure S3 would not have benifited from a recency bias.

      • thinkling says:

        S3 does have a recency bias over S1 and S2. It still fell well below both of them in the top 20 and significantly below S2 in the top 10. The other three seasons are pretty close n the top 20.

        It makes sense to me that the shorter list would be more likely to reflect a recency bias. Hence the disparity in the two lists.

    • Faith says:

      First, such shippers 😉 lol. Second, 😦 not much love for Break Up, and Best Friend…surprised it’s that low.

  16. andyt says:

    My breakdown was fairly even for each season:
    S1:5
    S2:6
    S3:4
    S4: 5

    However, many for each season are unconventional. For Season 1 I love “Alma Mater” and “Nemesis” and “Undercover Lover”. In Season 2, I would much rather watch Dream Job over and over again than say “Colonel” an episode that I haven’t watched in well over a year and a half. In Season 3 I love “Beard” and “Other Guy”. I know I am the weird Chuck fan in the room but each of these episodes emphasize elements of the show that I personally love the humor, action, great music etc.

    • andyt says:

      Additionally this was hard to limit because I would put almost every episode of Season 1 in the top 20 except one. I never re-watch vs. the Truth. I skip it every time. I find that episode painfully bad and awful. I am ashamed to say that I almost stopped watching the show because of that episode, but Nemesis made me so excited and happy that I had to watch more Chuck.

  17. Silvercat42 says:

    My favorites broke down like this:

    Season 1 – 3
    Season 2 – 6
    Season 3 – 4
    Season 4 – 7
    Now that we’ve finished season 4 (the best one, as far as I’m concerned) I want to bring something up that really concerns me. Frankly, folks, I’m getting tired of all the rehashed complaints. Seems to me those of you who no longer enjoy the show for the most part shouldn’t even consider yourself fans anymore, and spare those of us who are the negativity. This is, after all, a fan site, and if you’re not a fan, what is your purpose here?

    If I’ve offended anyone, well that’s the way I feel. You offend me with your continued griping.

    Nuff said. If I’m kicked off the board for being so blunt, so be it.

    • Silvercat42 says:

      One other thought… constructive criticism is valid. But continual snarking just gets old and tedious to this Chuck fan. It’s as if some of you just want to tweak us to see how far you can go before people react.

      • armysfc says:

        mmm, well i haven’t seen snarky comments, just personal observations about the show. i’m a phillies fans to the max. been following them for over 40 years. watched or listened to every game i could. the right fielders stink, the shortstop is getting old and hardly hits in the clutch. the first basemen strikes out to much. does it make me less of a fan because i see the flaws in the team? as a fan i see what is wrong with a team or show. from what you say i should just stop watching the phillies. to me being a fan means watching the show or team as an entire entity not just parts of it. it means being able to say half of an episode was well done but part of it made no sense or was bad. just because i like a show doesn’t mean i can’t see the faults in it. ignoring things i see wrong with an episode just to make me like it better is like saying i should FF through all parts morgan. to me a show or team is not just parts but the whole. like the phillies, great pitching but can’t score runs. should i just ignore that part of the team?

        to me an episode isn’t limited to cute romantic c/s moments or great action or even comedy. its about the whole. it allows me to look at phase three and say the morgan/sarah conversation at the beginning was tremendous while the devon treating the mass of buymorons (turned his apt. into a clinic) was stupid. one great arc spoiled by a sorry arc. like i said the whole not the parts. same as my phillies. i don’t think that makes me less of a fan anymore than a person that only cares about one aspect of the show. it just makes me a fan with a different taste.

      • Silvercat42 says:

        Army, your definition of fan and mine are totally different. To me a fan enjoys something overall. When it gets to the point where the negatives overwhelm the positive, how can you say you’re a fan? Criticism is one thing, even nit picky negativism is permissible once or twice, but rehashing what you don’t like about a show gets old fast. I find myself avoiding this site for weeks sometimes because of that negativity. If your intention is to drive fans away or tick them off, then mission accomplished.

      • JC says:

        Its good to know that you’ve defined what makes a real fan. I guess watching the show live for four years, buying the DVDs, Subway sandwiches and writing letters to sponsors isn’t enough. Instead I should just talk about how great every episode is and not be bothered by my nitpicky complaints about the regular poor characterization, plotting and continuity. And rehashing is OK when it involves the words genius, epic and best season ever.

        I can’t remember once when I’ve ever questioned other posters status as real fans because I disagree with their opinion, complaints or why they enjoy the show. But I guess that same respect isn’t shown to me or others who didn’t love this season.

      • armysfc says:

        SC, we obviously have different ideas of what a fan is. i would like to address 2 points you made. first one is this, “To me a fan enjoys something overall.” what about the fan that comes here and says things like “as long as c/s are in a good place in the end that’s all i care about.”, “i don’t care about the mythology”, “i watch for the mythology not the comedy”. they watch for a specific part of the show not the whole thing. there is no overall in those quotes. does this mean to you they are not fans? sounds like it to me.

        second, “but rehashing what you don’t like about a show gets old fast” rehashing the same things you like doesn’t? i find they both get tiring after a while, and that’s why both of those run their course quickly.

        third, “If your intention is to drive fans away or tick them off, then mission accomplished.” why would a true fan be driven away by anything someone else says? i never make posts to tweak anyone, nor to drive them away. in fact i have stayed away from commenting on whether or not an episode is good or bad. i haven’t commented on the season as a whole, not that i can remember. certain parts maybe but not the whole.

        SC, i think the owners of this blog will agree when i say this. this blog is the most friendly towards season 4. they like it more than the others i go to do. i think its great that they do. most of them here suffered through s3 so they deserve it after that. i would suggest you go to another blog if you haven’t and see the difference. those guys are just as big of fans as those here, they just see it different. then bottom line is they, like myself are still fans.

      • Silvercat42 says:

        JC and Army, you misunderstand my point. Like many of you, there are flaws I find in Chuck, and I’ve written about them at times. There’s nothing wrong with criticism. But the fact is in spite of the flaws, I really enjoy this show and feel it’s the best thing on television.

        Granted, I’ve only been on this site for a few months, but it seems I keep reading criticisms about Season 4 over and over. And from some of you, I’ve only seen negative reviews and comments. After awhile, it feels like you’re basically saying that people like me who enjoy still enjoy the show are stupid.

        The point is, the purpose of this thread was to pick our favorite episodes, and yet some posters just couldn’t resist ripping into the show. Fine, that’s you’re right. And it’s my right to say how I feel.

      • armysfc says:

        SC that could be true however for as long as i have been here no thread stay’s pure. it always strays to something else. i’m one of the few that liked left overs alot. i felt it was a good lead in to the break and said so. i have said many times how they handled the c/s relationship this year was great. i have also said why i didn’t like an episode. for the most part i stopped doing that. maybe ernie will do a least liked episodes poll. if he does i would bet you would see the opposite happen, people will defend an episode they like if it comes in near the top of the least liked episodes. it’s human nature.

    • atcDave says:

      No one’s getting kicked off the site SilverCat. And I would agree that I just don’t get the complaining about S4. To me, this is the year they got everything right.

      • Silvercat42 says:

        Well, looking at this poll the majority of people agree with us about Season 4. Which proves to me that most of the negative comments about Season 4 tended to come from a very small minority, probably 6 or 7 at the most. Maybe it’s just my perception, but they seemed to dominate much of the discussion, although those who enjoyed the season did effectively answer much of the criticism.

        Season 4 is my favorite, with Season 2 in second place. Even though it only beat Season 2 by one in my top 20, I don’t think there was one mediocre episode this season.

      • atcDave says:

        I do gather that other sites have seen a lot more negative sentiment about the season than we have. Just remember, all six of us principals here mostly enjoyed the season. That doesn’t mean we all agree on every episode or plot turn; but you are in good company just by being mostly happy with this season.

      • Silvercat42 says:

        Fans are never going to agree on plot points or execution, but the important thing is whether you enjoy the over all product, flaws and all. With that caveat, I’d say Season 4 was pretty successful for most fans, as the poll seems to indicate.

    • Big Kev says:

      Silvercat,
      I don’t think there’s anything snarky being written here – but your point about what your purposes are as a fan is well made.
      I enjoyed some of S4 – but I also found much of it really disappointing and poorly written. That’s an honest opinion, and one that I’ve expressed here. I don’t think that makes me any less of a fan. In some ways, I think it makes me more of one, because I’m going to try and change my expectations of the show so that I can enjoy S5 a little more, and that takes a bit of effort. The alternative for me is to stop watching, and I don’t want to do that with only one season to go.
      But I do agree that hearing the same opinions expressed over and over again can be annoying. That’s one of the reasons I don’t post as much here any more, because I’m not sure I have much to add very often from what I’ve said for most of the season. But hearing the same opinions isn’t only limited to those of us who haven’t enjoyed S4 so much – it happens on the “everything is wonderful” side of the argument too. It’s just the nature of blogs. A lot views on both sides get rehashed. You can’t stop people from voicing their opinions – but you can choose not to read those posters whose views annoy you. I think that’s probably the better option.

      • Silvercat42 says:

        Ignore those posters. Pretty hard when they tend at times to dominate the conversation. What I end up doing is ignoring the site completely for awhile. Which is sad. Fan sites are supposed to be a place for fans to share their enjoyment of something.

  18. John says:

    To me S4 wasn’t a poor season, but it failed in my eyes to live up to past seasons (mostly the first two, and to a lesser extent the third). It particularly fell off a bit after chuck vs the push mix when they clearly weren’t expecting more episodes to be ordered after the initial 13. That said it was still better than a majority of shows on TV last year. As for how I voted I didn’t keep count of which episodes I picked, but the majority of my votes went to S2 episodes followed by S1, and a tie between S3 and S4 for last

  19. Lewis says:

    I’ve been following CHUCK from the start over here in England and I have to say, I am incredibly disappointed with Season 4… Season 1 was great followed by an INCREDIBLE Season 2, but after that… Season 3 was a let down and Season 4 was sooooo bad!!! In my opinion the problem is that we no longer see Chuck as he’s meant to be – a nerd. That’s what differed CHUCK from all the other action shows out there. However now that Chuck has taken on more of a successful spy role the show has lost that uniqueness and become far too similar too it’s competitors. Oh well, I’ll still remember the days of CHUCK vs. Santa Claus etc!!! Opinions?

    • joe says:

      Hummmm…
      Hi, Lewis. Since you asked, I’ll rise to the challenge! You probably know already that I really, *really* liked S4. I’m debating in my mind if I like it more than S2. It’s very close, and that’s taking into consideration many of the things that make S2 so wonderful to me have no meaning to anyone else. I mean, they hit on things that just coincidentally touched me personally, and I have no expectations that it would work that way with others, or will even work the same way on me in another year.

      So, given that, I have to disagree with you about Chuck himself. One of the weakest aspects of S1 and part of S2 was the way he whined, withdrew and even embarrassed himself repeatedly. IIRC, one of the biggest complaints repeated often in the NBC Boards back then was about Chuck’s whining.

      I know that I was happier when he got that “Charles Carmichael” attitude about him and grew a spine (I think the first time we saw that was in First Date when he faced down Luther Colt with Morgan’s attack plans). Well, they could have overused it, but didn’t, I’m sure you agree.

      I was happiest when Sarah saw it. Most fans hated Beefcake because it looked like Chuck had taken more than one major step back towards being whiny!

      You could see in S4 from the beginning, like in the fountain scene when he tells Sarah that he’s just seen a ghost – his mother – that Chuck is not going back to whiny. With the possible exception of aborting his proposal (the one involving the horse and carriage and the violins) at the last minute, he didn’t embarrass himself either. For me, that’s a major improvement (I hate it when humor is based on embarrassment. For me, that just doesn’t work).

      As for the character no longer being different from his competitors on TV, I think he always was, and still is. I mean, who can you compare him to? Johnny Galecki’s Leonard? Not hardly. Leonard’s a loser and will always be one whether he gets Penny or not. Chuck is not Jeffrey Donovan’s Michael Westen; Westen shows no soft side and he doesn’t bleed. I don’t think he’s anything like Mark Feuerstein’s Dr. Hank Lawson (Royal Pains) either, because Lawson is already someone who’s got it figured out. Chuck is still on his journey.

      Who else? Matt Bomer’s Neal Caffrey is much closer to Bryce Larson, of course, but Chuck’s charm is very different from either Neil’s or Bryce’s, and Chuck doesn’t lose his charm now that “Charles Carmichael” isn’t an act for him.

      Other than Bones and NCIS, both of which have have nerds but no characters that strike me as Chuck-like, I can’t think of any other action shows except for standard police drama’s with slight twists (The Mentallist, for instance).

      Okay – I think I just admitted that I haven’t been watching any of the new shows from last season! 😉 If there’s another nerd character that come close please let me know, ’cause I’m interested!

      Anyway, I don’t really hope to change your opinion here. But I do hope I at least showed you an opposite opinion.

    • atcDave says:

      While I don’t agree with your judgement, I do agree something was lost along the way. It all goes back to the 2.0…

      I think the decision to make Chuck a real spy was fundamentally a bad one. He becomes less relate-able, at least to us nerds who make up so much of the core audience. One of my co-workers commented back early in S3 “spy Chuck isn’t very much fun.” And of course, “sometimes the nerd gets the girl” was shown to be a lie. Instead we saw he had to stop being a nerd first.

      Now all that said, I disagree that the show has become “sooooo bad.” I think they’ve done a great job preserving the quirky charm and character based humor. Chuck is still the hero I can most relate to. And although I truly disliked S3; S4 has managed to restore much of what made the show special; mainly the strength of the Chuck/Sarah relationship, the core themes of family and friendship, and exciting/funny spy capers along the way.
      Some change was inevitable and even needed. So while I miss some of what was special in the beginning, I love much of what is special now just as much

      • Big Kev says:

        Dave,
        With the benefit of (much) hindsight, I agree with you about the 2.0, at least in terms of what they decided to do with it.
        To me, the logic of making Chuck a “real” spy is that the show grows up and becomes a little more serious. You can’t immerse Chuck in the spy world without showing us some of that world, and raising the stakes a little. And broadly, I think that’s what they tried to do with S3. I think it could have worked if they’d written the relationship better, and ditched the PLI’s – but mileage obviously varies on that one.
        But for S4 they went back to S1 levels of lightness and comedy – and to me, that just doesn’t work if you’re also trying to tell me that Chuck is a “real spy”. It works if Chuck is an accidental spy – the bumbling nerd – but not if he’s supposed to be a full-fledged agent. I can’t buy the goofiness of S4 with Chuck as a real agent. I’ve tried – but it just doesn’t fit for me, and it leaves a show that is utterly confused about how to handle its title character.
        In some wierd way, Intersected Morgan may be a good development for those who like the “Get Smart” version of the show. It provides the writers with a way to bring the slapstick and comedy without undermining Chuck himself.

      • ArmySFC says:

        dave…i agree with 2.0 being a big part of the change in chuck. they made him to dependent on the intersect. i agree with all the posters that said they should have trained chuck from the start. that part never made sense to me after season 1. small hints of training would have made it easier to accept his transition. i feel they needed to go all the way with him being a spy or not do it at all.

        kev…i agree with you as well. saying that chuck is a real spy and making him the butt of jokes doesn’t work for me either.

      • JC says:

        Its not the 2.0 but the way the writers used it. Instead of using it for creative skills it became the Kung Fu solution to most missions or problems. They basically turned Chuck into diet Bryce and the attempts to keep him normal by making him screw up on missions were even worse. He can still be a nerd at home and with creative solutions to missions like A-Team without making him a bumbling idiot. Chuck should be written like Batman.

        I thought by increasing Morgan’s role in spy world we would get a more confident spy Chuck but in some ways it was the reverse. In most cases Morgan came off better and was treated as more of spy than Chuck. That’s why I fear Morgan Fu, he’s basically become a Gary Stu character and the addition of Intersect is the icing on the cake.

        S4 was great for Sarah’s growth as character but it shouldn’t come at the expense of your hero. Just like Chuck S3’s growth shouldn’t have come at the expense of you female and most popular character. And what’s even worse is the growth from Chuck we saw was reset. What happened to the guy from Subway and Ring PT2?

      • atcDave says:

        I guess I’ll agree the 2.0 could conceivably have been written in a way I would have liked it better. But I think my preference will always be for some of the fan fiction we saw written in the S2 time frame that gave us a Chuck who was capable of good strategic and mission planning, but remained physically limited. So we could have actually had a more balanced teamB with Chuck planning missions and traps while Casey and Sarah do most of the skull cracking. Let’s even say he could get some physical training too, so he could be consistently good with tranq pistols and maybe not be completely helpless in a fight. But keep the physical comedy of Chuck who is clumsy and awkward.

        Okay, here’s my secret where I reveal the true depths of my nerdiness. I spent over a decade as a dedicated D&D player. So I always wanted to see Chuck as the party Mage (okay, without spells!), while Casey is the Fighter (meat shield), and Sarah is a Fighter-Thief (and highest level of the bunch).
        If you understand that, you should get exactly what I always saw as the ideal format (oh, and you’re as a big a nerd as I am!)

      • Silvercat42 says:

        Actually, I think the show, and the Chuck character, improved when he became a real spy. In Seasons 1 & 2, Chuck was basically portrayed as a hapless victim who was having trouble dealing with a situation that had been thrust upon him. But when, in Season 3, he decided his destiny was to be a spy, he never gave up up and in the end was successful.

        And, yes, he finally got the girl. (Actually, he had Sarah early on, but until Chuck became an equal, they really had no future together…)

        As for Season 4, I loved seeing a Chuck who is confident and capable as a spy, but still basically a good, moral, family-oriented guy. He’s also definitely still a nerd (as we saw in Last Details when he and Morgan sang the theme from Star Wars).

        For these reasons, as well as Sarah’s growth and the captivating story line involving Volkoff and Momma B, Season 4 is my favorite.

        I’m 61, a trekkie, and Bab 5 fan. And for me, Chuck is the best thing on tv right now. For those who no longer enjoy the show, I would remind you that no one is forcing you to watch it.

      • Big Kev says:

        SC,
        Still don’t agree with your proposition that you either have to enjoy everything about the show unconditionally, or else stop watching it – but I guess that conversation’s already been had.
        I also love Chuck when he’s confident and capable as a spy – in fact I think it’s almost a prerequisite for me – I just don’t think we see it anything like often enough. I love the Chuck in Push Mix and Cliffhanger – but the hapless, neurotic Chuck from Suitcase, FoD, CAT Squad or Muurder is unwatchable.

      • armysfc says:

        dave, nice d&d reference. i played it alot too. keep in mind that a mage can defend him/herself with a staff or other blunt weapon, and do some minimal damage. that’s why i say training. it never made sense to me to have the biggest asset defenseless. then the intersect could have stayed more as a tool vs a crutch. that has been a comment made on this board several times. when you compared chuck to the mage without the spells, it is the same as chuck without the intersect, correct? both are missing the thing that makes them what they are. nothing else changes with either except what really makes them an important person in the party. would you take a mage along that could not cast a spell? i wouldn’t, and that’s what the show is doing by taking away the intersect from chuck.

        i think you and kev hit the nail on the head. when you hear CIA agent, you don’t picture a clumsy guy. you picture someone with skills. especially when you tell folks he’s one of the best. by telling us that, you need to move the character along. it’s a tough spot for the writers to hit that balance. i’ll give you an example of a character that is done well. Bones. she is the best at what she does and knows it. yet she is not defenseless. she knows martial arts and can fire a weapon if she has to.

        picture chuck the same way, he’s good at being a spy, still has his core values and ideas, yet if needed can defend himself. even now 4 years later, chuck will get his clock cleaned in a fight with out the intersect. hence the crutch angle. he’s the kicker to what you said. since they showed us time and time again chuck would do anything to keep sarah safe, why not give him the natural means to do it?

      • Big Kev says:

        I thought the uproar over Sarah’s “you’re not a spy” comment in FOD illustrated exactly the corner that the writers have painted themselves into with Chuck as a spy. Half of the fandom were outraged that she would say it, whereas the other half (including me) took it as a statement of the obvious.

      • armysfc says:

        kev i agree on the split over “your not a spy”. i thought it was obvious he wasn’t a spy. i think the uproar came because they had been telling him he was, and that he was that guy. she did it in front of their boss, which is what got me, not that she said it. many folks believed that emasculated chuck in the way it was done. that’s what i read in most of the posts that were angry she said it.

        also add leftovers to the mix of eps you listed. didn’t he cry out for sarah to help him in that one as well?

        SC, i’m not sure on this so everyone bare with me. if you go back and re-watch the entire season and make a list of the episodes where chuck was the confident spy vs the neurotic hapless one, you’ll see more of the latter, maybe not by a lot but more. the other thing is something that actually bothers me and not much does. that’s someone telling me i’m not a fan because i don’t like something as much as they do, or i watch a show for different reasons than they do.

        there have been some very good episodes this season and some very bad ones. most are in the average to slightly above average range for me. some i liked so much i actually re-watched them, some i cut off in mid show and switched channels. i always came back the next week. so if i had to rank season 4 it’s in third behind 1&2 and that’s because i never saw 3.

      • atcDave says:

        Army my main point on calling Chuck the Mage is that he would be VERY weak in combat. His survival skills would be minimal. And yes I’ve played adventures where the party’s mage had no spells. They are still the smartest character in the party and a good planner. But when the action starts, they hide. That is not the same thing as being helpless. They still may be a dynamic and important part of winning a battle, but their quarter staff and darts are unlikely to ever turn the tide. They’re more likely to activate a mysterious artifact, or identify the enemy leader (and direct one of their more dangerous team-mates towards said enemy leader); than they are to win a battle through their physical capabilities. Chuck might even be like a specialist Diviner who has even less combat magic capability than a normal mage; but correspondingly better informative magic.
        The Intersect 2.0 gives Chuck the equivalent of some combat magic. Like Tenser’s Transformation or Mordkainen’s Sword. But this is exactly what I call boring stuff. I would much rather see Chuck without the combat magic who is mainly just smart. Not weak, not helpless, not afraid; just not physically very dangerous. He’s the one who disables the villain’s ultimate weapon, or identifies which soldier is carrying the bomb, or convinces a key baddie to switch sides. This is the sort of hero that requires far more creativity to write and keep interesting than just flashing on Kung Fu every week. But that is exactly what I had hoped to see, and that has been the show’s greatest failing to me. That is also why I’m cautiously pleased that Chuck doesn’t have the Intersect anymore. I just hope they write Chuck as an effective and intelligent team leader who doesn’t need Kung Fu to win every fight; and don’t turn this into “Morgan” every week.
        As always, I don’t want to make too big a thing of this, I DO like the show as it is. Commenting on things I would rather see changed is NOT synonymous with saying I’m unhappy with the current show.

        Big Kev, you forget another portion of the fandom that just wasn’t that upset with Sarah’s comment at all. Chuck had shown some intelligence and creativity without the Intersect, and he could be a benefit as part of any team. But Sarah was in a panic over his vulnerability and pairing with a partner who clearly did not have Chuck’s best interest in mind. She spoke rashly and likely drove Chuck further to make a reckless decision. I think she regretted saying it as soon as she spoke, whether there was truth in it or not. I was completely sympathetic with both characters in that scene.

      • thinkling says:

        Interesting discussion, all. “Painting themselves into a corner” is an interesting way to describe it, and the 2.0 was probably the paint brush. Initially they were training him, but then training went out the window, and it morphed into Intersect-only spy skills. I’ve always thought that was a mistake … to just let the Intersect do it all.

        The 2.0 had the Intel component, as well as the kung-fu side. I think they over-reached. The 2.0 should have been a tool to help the nerd with the computer in his brain function (and function well) in the spy world. Instead they made the 2.0 a super power to make him king of the spy world. That’s where they made the balance hard to achieve.

        Kev, you mentioned Cliff Hanger and Push Mix as two good episodes for Chuck. I think FBoE, A-Team, and Couch Lock also stuck a good balance.

        Army, I like your Bones analogy. I’d never seen thought of Brennan as a model for Chuck (probably because they are so different), in that she is principally something else (not a fighter, but a scientist) but has the skills in reserve when she needs them. That could work, but it would require training.

      • armysfc says:

        dave, i agree with you on the mage chuck thing, the last thing i want to see happen if for chuck to run and hide or leave the dirty work to casey and sarah. the best scenes to me are when chuck and sarah fight alongside each other like honeymooners. you’re right again about the kung-fu. i want him to know it on his own. i also want to see him as the planner and leader, but i want him on the front line. if the ultimate goal was to have chuck hang in the back, why make a big deal of making him an agent in the first place? i do agree with most of your points, i just said it differently, well i think anyway. on an off note my best character was an illusionist, he rocked!

      • atcDave says:

        Thinkling I think we’re saying about the same thing again! I like the idea of Chuck not being helpless, but not charging into fight (usually) either.

        Army would it surprise you to know I usually played the Paladin, like my four best characters were all Paladins! (including two in the same campaign)

      • armysfc says:

        thinkling, that was my point. despite her having the other skills it doesn’t affect who she is or what she does. same could be done with chuck. they don’t have to show me the training either, just a line like, tomorrow you have cardio with devon, or weapons with casey or get changed and met me in the dojo. one line every couple episodes would work.

      • armysfc says:

        dave nope! i was a chaotic evil, lol.

      • thinkling says:

        Right, Army. I was agreeing with you. I don’t have to see the training either. Like you say, just a line or two to let us know that Chuck is and has been training.

        Kev, as to the lightness and darkness of the spy world, I think the S4 external spy world (Volkoff and the world he created, his threat to the world at large, and Mary’s existence undercover in his organization) was darker than the external spy world of S3 (the ring? — meh).

        S1 and S2, Chuck was involved in that world, but sheltered from it by Sarah and Casey. The threat was to his life, because he was the only Intersect. In S3 he chose to enter the spy world on different terms, as a spy and not a protected asset. The risk of S3 wasn’t external, but internal … the risk of Chuck losing himself. He didn’t.

        S4 you have real spy Chuck in the real spy world. He now knows the risks of that world, but has never surrendered his values or his hope in human goodness … the worth of every individual, that everyone is worth saving, and in fact can be rescued from the talons of the darker world they inhabit. Chuck’s shelter from the dark spy world is no longer external (Sarah and Casey) but internal, his own value system, which insulates him from the darkness. Through his influence Sarah and Casey have embraced his attitudes and are insulated by similar internal values. So Chuck is now the team’s shelter, on a more effective level, from the darkness of the spy world.

        The plain of external danger is another issue, one they chose to address only through the Intersect. To me that was the slipped cog.

        I don’t mind at all the return to lighter Chuck. In fact I’m grateful for it, but lighter Chuck doesn’t have to mean whiny or neurotic Chuck. That’s where they’ve had to find a balance. Sometimes they didn’t do as well as others.

        For me, S4 is still far and away my favorite season. The balance one way or the other didn’t ruin any episodes for me. For others, I understand, they had hoped for better balance throughout the season. For a non finale episode, I think FBoE did it extremely well. Chuck used all his Chuck talents in the case. He helped Sarah get into the wedding without it affecting the mission. He used the Intersect some, but was an awesome spy in the bank robbery, even when he wasn’t using it. Then we had the sweet nerd Chuck with Sarah’s stocking on his head … very season one-ish … all the loveable things about Chuck without any hand-wringing or insecuities.

      • armysfc says:

        thinkling… i agree with you all all parts except one. that’s volkoff. he derailed season 4 for me. not that he wasn’t a great bad guy but because it was personal. maybe it’s how they did it i’m not sure. the idea of a spy/ agent is to protect the greater good. they told us that a lot in previous seasons. they in a sense became vigilantes. it was all about the family, even sarahs mission was because she was doing it for chuck.

        fulcrum was a big bad i could relate to, the ring not so much. volkoff, not much.

        go back to seasons one and two. chuck and his family were in danger then as well. ellie got poisoned and threatened at the buymore. they still were going after fulcrum because they wanted to change the govt. not because it was bothering chuck like volkoff.

        FBoE was my favorite in season 4. to me it hit on all cylinders. sarah in the van trusted chuck to do his job and he did. the jokes during the bank job was well done. i made more comments right after it aired. if they had that balance all season then it would have been the best season for me as well. the A-team was another i really liked. it went back to season 1 chuck where he just ran right in and took over not worrying about anything.

      • atcDave says:

        Army I know you’re not alone in your feelings about Volkoff; but I think that is a minority opinion, even if its a fairly large minority. We saw Timothy Dalton win the “Favorite Villain” poll at TV Guide this year, and for myself, I found him the best villain the series has ever had. Just the right balance of menace and looney humor; a larger than life comic book sort of baddie, very similar to Chevy Chase’s Rourke, but MORE. But then that’s exactly what I want from Chuck.

        I would agree First Bank of Evil was an excellent episode; and Chuck and Sarah working together as a capable and professional team is another thing I really want to see from the series (actually, its probably the main thing I want to see). But I see that as the main theme of S4, and that’s exactly why S4 is my favorite season ever. We saw Chuck and Sarah as an effective partnership from 4.02 on; as I’ve said many times, S4 is when the show became what I always wanted it to be.
        That doesn’t mean I see it as perfect. I don’t care for some of Chuck’s whiney neurotic moments; and I don’t really like the recurring theme of Chuck wanting to discuss personal issues during missions. But I suspect I laugh those annoyances off a little easier than many commenters seem to.

      • BigKev67 says:

        @Thinkling,
        Great points, as always. Agree about FBoE and your earlier reference to Couch Lock. Excellent, well-balanced episodes that were good for Chuck and his evolution as a spy.
        Liked your comments about the external vs the internal parts of the spy world. From a story perspective it’s the internal stuff I find much more interesting. How the characters respond to the challenges and conflicts presented by the spy world, how they grow and change. The external stuff is fun (especially when it’s done through someone as awesome as Timothy Dalton) but you know that the villain will always get theirs and TeamB will triumph – as they should – so that can be as much fun as they want to make it. But to me the internal stuff is where the meat is. S3, for all it’s faults, had a lot of that, and those were the parts of the season that I loved.
        Sarah’s journey was done brilliantly in S4. From Anniversary through Phase 3 and Wedding Planner and all the little moments in between, they wrote it well and Yvonne sold it as only she can. In contrast to that, Chuck’s growth is much more patchy this season, and some really promising story possibilities (takedown of MamaB, Sarah undercover, Ellie finally learning the truth) just weren’t paid off well enough, or explored as they should have been. As I say, that’s where the meat is for me, so that’s why I’m disappointed. But I have the Sarah episodes to help me get over it 🙂

  20. Silvercat42 says:

    Big Kev, I certainly don’t believe that people should “enjoy everything about the show unconditionally or else stop watching it…” I’m certainly not one of those people. As a writer, former actor, and journalist, I can be as critical as the next guy, and I certainly am aware of the show’s flaws. I certainly don’t enjoy “everything,” but overall I enjoy Chuck more than anything else on television.

    My point is that when certain people post only negative comments and have nothing positive to say about the show (btw, you’re not in that category), why do they keep watching? And why do they keep coming to fan sites and spewing their negativity? I question their motives. To me, they’re basically telling the rest of us we’re stupid for still enjoying the show.

    • BigKev67 says:

      SC,
      A well made point. There’s definitely a difference between someone who loves the show and is sometimes critical and someone who has nothing good to say and should probably no longer be watching. Truthfully, I have sometimes felt like the second rather than the first occasionally this season, and I’ve cut down my posting a bit as a result. Like everything on blogs like this, self-censorship has a role to play. Outside of that, even though I do see your point, I’m less sure about what can be done to address it.

      • atcDave says:

        In the most extreme cases we’ve seen the flame-out coming too. I can think of at least three regular commenters here who went through a prolonged period of disillusionment with the show and finally did quit watching (or at least quit commenting, its hard to be sure if they really quit watching!)
        I think the main issue is if you feel the show has taken a permanent change in a direction you will no longer enjoy. As unhappy as I was with S3 I never lost hope that what I was unhappy with pass. If I didn’t have that hope I certainly would have quit watching by Mask.
        I know I’m not always the most sympathetic with those comments because to me the experience is exactly the opposite, the show has changed in ways I love.

      • BigKev67 says:

        Dave,
        I’m 99.9% sure that S5 is going to be identical in tone and style to S4 – if the Morgan intersect is any guide it may even be lighter. And I’m cool with that. The show has had enough changes in tone. It doesn’t need another one in it’s final season.
        I’m going to take Jason’s advice. I’m going to watch it as Get Smart, but with better characters. I’m going to forget about the story and just enjoy what’s coming!

      • atcDave says:

        I agree BigKev. I don’t see any other way to interpret Morgan the Intersect than to say the lighter tone will continue. This actually may be a step further that way than I would have preferred, but it isn’t such a big deal to me as it is to some. I mean, I like comic silly Chuck; I’m just hoping the show doesn’t turn into “Morgan.”

      • armysfc says:

        kev…i’m not sure what they have planned for season 5. i do believe they will keep it lite and airy but ya never know. one thing i do believe is it will be different than this year. with the ambitious task they have set for themselves with decker and how they planned chucks destiny, lets say it will be interesting.

      • BigKev67 says:

        @Army,
        Honestly? The conspiracy thing is why I’m going to forget about the story. They just don’t do arcs and mythology well any more. My high expectations for S4 were based on the spy-heavy setup at the end of Ring 2 and they just didn’t deliver that. So I’m taking all that with a large pinch of salt for S5, and if they surprise me with a well-crafted mythology, then it’s a bonus.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Although I find the conspiracy theory a bit far fetched – and given the track record of TBTP from S3 onwards – I am not expecting the spy mythology to be a weighted one (CF even said in an interview after the finale that the show will focus on character mythology in S5)- my concern is that Morgansect and the issues arising with it will take up the major portion of the season (did CF not say that the show will go back to S1 roots with Chuck being Morgan’s handler? – this in turn may lead to reduced screen time for Sarah and Casey, mess up the dynamics of the original Team B and focus more on the Chuck/Morgan bromance and dedicate more time to Morgan’s screen time- all things I severely dislike.

        But then again – best to go in expecting sillyness and if they do end up putting together something decent it could turn out to be enjoyable

      • ArmySFC says:

        kev, thats why i said it would be interesting. they stink at the mythology. i’m wondering how in depth they will try to get or do what they usually do, wrap it up in a quick unfulfilling way. them trying to work in morgan should be funny so that’s a plus.

      • joe says:

        @BigKev My high expectations for S4 were based on the spy-heavy setup at the end of Ring 2 and they just didn’t deliver that.

        @Army they stink at the mythology.

        Interesting discussion.

        When I think about S4 it seems to be overwhelmingly about Chuck & Sarah. That’s opposed to S1, which was about the Intersect, S2, which was all about Fulcrum and S3, which was all about Shaw… um The Ring. I mean, if I reduce each season in my mind down to one word, that’s what I come to (and YMMV).

        Of course, I don’t think that any of that was what I might have predicted at the start of the season, so my track record is pretty bad. Honestly, I don’t think many have been good at making that prediction and having it pan out.

        The question of the mythology is rather fascinating, I think, because people have such a hunger to know more. I don’t know of any writer besides Tolkien who actually wrote tomes detailing the underpinnings for their own use (well, maybe J.K. Rowlin has done that). I would think that such a detailed mythology is a work in progress, at least in part.

        I wonder what we’re asking about, though. Chuck has been such a transparent character. We think we know everything about him from the first, but we don’t. We don’t know his underlying strengths or his true weaknesses in fact, mostly because he doesn’t know either.

        Sarah is just the opposite. We think we don’t know anything at all about her. Yet every time she’s on screen we see her blatantly take action with no second-guessing or doubts. We see her talents and skills and we see what she’s thinking by her eyes long before she puts it to words.

        We’re eventually told their stories piece by piece, but it’s never going to be enough – I can tell by the amazing amount of fan fiction and by it’s quality (and thanks, Dave, for keeping it highlighted!). Having an episode completely devoted to Sarah’s sister (if she exists), for instance, would be satisfying for her mythology, but unless there’s a spy/adventure story in there somewhere, it’s also going to be really weird TV for Chuck fans.

        Which isn’t to say it might not work. It might! But it’s not what we’ve been seeing so far.

      • atcDave says:

        Joe, I think you’re right that we will never get enough of the character’s stories, or the mythology for that matter. Some of that is just the basic format of the show seems to bring about some frustration due to its own success. That is, they’ve done a variety of things well in the past, and attracted a wide variety of viewers who have wildly divergent taste. Those different viewers adopt their own sort of priorities on what they want to see; and grow frustrated if the format doesn’t change to suit them, and get even MORE frustrated when there are slight shifts away from what they like.
        I’ve made clear that for myself I’m quite happy with the S4 balance; I like Chuck and Sarah time, family/friendship themes, character based humor, and wild action adventure, pretty much in that order. The mythology is a ways down the list for me, and I did not care for the various forms of angst that were heavily employed in the first three seasons. So in S4, most of the angst has been replaced with romantic comedy or more character based humor; and the mythology certainly didn’t gain any screen time. So that makes Dave a happy boy.
        But its easy to see where people who focused on mythology the first three seasons might be disappointed. And certainly those who liked the darker aspect of the show, or had little or no interest in seeing more of Sarah on screen; would be less thrilled with S4.
        I also get that its no easy thing to just adjust your expectations, I know I can’t. Hopefully, if the mix of style and genre stays similar in S5 we won’t continue loosing viewers. But at this point it may not matter anymore anyway.

      • JC says:

        @Genie

        Its Morgan Fu my friend not Morgansect because that takes my brain to a dark place that haunts Casey.

        @Joe

        I going to have disagree with you about S3. It was all about the Chuck and Sarah relationship just like S4. The only difference was the state of the relationship.

        And IMO that’s where show went off course. The balance of the first two seasons has been totally lost as a whole. Sure we’ve gotten some gems that hit it out of the park but the last two season’s main arcs never came together. I give them slack because of the late pickups but like others have said they suck at mythology.

        And let me add I don’t think anyone here expects LOTR or Lost type mythology but I shouldn’t have to constantly ignore past seasons or episodes. The show should stick to what it does well standalones or short 2-3 episode arcs, thats where the show shines. TVMcGee said it best on his podcast do you really want to base your last season on the weakest part of your show.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Joe, i think i may have confused you a bit. the mythology i mean is the spy aspect of the show, not the character. i think they have handled the character growth and back lighting very well. other than the when it actually happened/ timeline aspect that is. so i can’t complain about that. same with the comedy, i leave that alone as well because i find very little of it laughable , i may be amused but very seldom do i laugh at the show. i have a very different take on whats funny and i understand that so i don’t comment on the humor of the show. sarah’s mom or sister (if there is one) is her character or what made her.

        the spy aspect has never really panned out for me this season. as i said before it was all tied in to the family aspect. i loved volkoff as a bad guy, he was a true bad guy. then in an attempt to explain mary’s 20 yr mission, bang he was a friend of the family that was made bad by the CIA. again tied in to the family. look at the ring? how did that turn out? caught a bunch of old people in a stair well and no more ring. same with fulcrum. thats the part i say they do poorly.

        the character/relationships have been done superbly. the spy part not so much. thats why even way back in Dec, i was saying that they needed to go to a more episodic style with one bad guy per episode and maybe 1 small arc. i really think it would have helped ratings as well. those type shows do better with viewers.

      • Herder says:

        Although in fairness with regard to Fulcrum team Bartowski first took out their office building and then blew up most of their agents at a drive-in theater. That does lend some credence to the demise of Fulcrum. The Ring on the other hand, they were all powerful until suddenly they weren’t.

  21. Herder says:

    Not sure where to post this but DR has indicated that season 5 will run from October 21 to February 3, 2012. The idea is that NBC would run repeats of new programing on fridays for the first month. Say what you want but DR is usually pretty accurate in this type of thing.

    • atcDave says:

      So a later start than we’d assumed. Hopefully, if they’re setting the schedule now we’ll get some well planned out holiday episodes.

      • thinkling says:

        That’s a nice thought. I would love Thanksgiving and Christmas episodes. (Although, the first Christmas episode was one of my least favorite episodes, probably my least favorite of S1.) Haven’t had a Christmas episode since S2.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah funny, I did not like Crown Victoria either; or at least not the first 35 minutes of it. But Santa Claus, in spite of the outrageously overplayed end scene, is still a strong episode.
        But I’ve liked the Thanksgiving episodes from those first two seasons, especially Gravitron.

        But more than anything, I just like the idea of more excuses to have family time sort of scenes.

      • ArmySFC says:

        there are 16 fridays during that time including the start and end dates. so there will be 3 off weeks. my guess is one at thanksgiving, one the week of christmas and one after new years.

      • atcDave says:

        Or they might take all three in December; a lot of possibilities, we likely won’t really know for a while yet.

      • armysfc says:

        dave true they could do them all in dec. i just went with what made sense. who watches TV black friday? the other weeks i mentioned is the college bowl season and NBC carries college football so i guessed there may be games. you’re right though we won’t know more till much later

      • thinkling says:

        I agree. I hope we get lots of good family stuff. And I hope LH stays as a regular.

        It’s funny about Crown Victoria. It’s my least favorite episode in S1, but it has one of my favorite quotes of the series in the last 5 minutes when Sarah tells Chuck he’s good at his job, the one where he risks his life to save others … the one he didn’t ask for but was supposed to have. With few exceptions, even the episodes of Chuck I don’t like have a great scene or two.

      • atcDave says:

        I pretty much love Crown Vic from the moment Sarah chooses to believe Chuck and go against orders to save Morgan. But the ride is so rough up until that point, it may be my least favorite episode overall from S1.

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, I agree. After her leap over the counter, all is fine.

  22. Ernie Davis says:

    Well since the poll numbers were pretty stable and voting had dropped off I’m closing the poll and giving the final tally. There is a remarkable consistency in the results, with only two episodes dropping out (one if you count the fact that we had 21 picks when done by season, hence the 21st place on the poll) and two additions from season 2 and one from season 3. We may argue a lot, but it seems we all generally agree on what constitutes the best of Chuck.

    1 ) Chuck Versus the Colonel & Chuck Versus the Honeymooners
    2 ) Chuck Versus Phase Three
    3 ) Chuck Versus the Intersect
    4 ) Chuck Versus the First Date
    5 ) Chuck Versus the Subway/Chuck Versus the Ring Part II
    6 ) Chuck Versus the Cliffhanger
    7 ) Chuck Versus the Other Guy
    8 ) Chuck Versus the Seduction
    9 ) Chuck Versus the DeLorean
    10) Chuck Versus the Last Details
    11) Chuck Versus the Wedding Planner
    12) Chuck Versus the Push Mix
    13) Chuck Versus the Cougars & Chuck Versus the Ring
    14) Chuck Versus the Seduction Impossible
    15) Chuck Versus the Truth
    16) Chuck Versus Santa Claus
    17) Chuck Versus the Tic Tac
    18) Chuck Versus the Suburbs
    19) Chuck Versus the Imported Hard Salami & Chuck Versus the Balcony
    20) Chuck Versus the Best Friend
    ( 21) Chuck Versus the Beard )

    By season, season 1 and 3 lose out to season 2 and 4, but not by much.

    Season 1 3 (Chuck Versus the Marlin drops out)
    Season 2 9 (Chuck Versus Santa Claus and Chuck Versus the Best Friend added in)
    Season 3 4 (Chuck Versus the Beard drops out of the top 20)
    Season 4 7 (Chuck Versus the Balcony makes the cut in a tie)

    Below are the final results for the “by season” picks.
    Season 1

    1) Chuck Versus the Intersect
    2) Chuck Versus the Marlin
    3) Chuck Versus the Imported Hard Salami
    4) Chuck Versus the Truth

    Season 2

    1) Chuck Versus the Colonel
    2) Chuck Versus the First Date
    3) Chuck Versus the Seduction
    4) Chuck Versus the Ring & Chuck Versus the DeLorean tied
    5) Chuck Versus the Cougars
    6) Chuck Versus the Suburbs

    Season 3

    1) Chuck Versus the Honeymooners
    2) Chuck Versus the Subway/Chuck Versus the Ring Part II
    3) Chuck Versus the Other Guy
    4) Chuck Versus the Beard
    5) Chuck Versus the Tic Tac

    Season 4

    1) Chuck Versus Phase Three
    2) Chuck Versus the Wedding Planner
    3) Chuck Versus the Push Mix
    4) Chuck Versus the Cliffhanger
    5) Chuck Versus the Seduction Impossible
    6) Chuck Versus the Last Details

  23. Ernie Davis says:

    I hesitate to weigh in at this point, but I will anyway. My initial instinct was to let this thread die, but a part of me just wants to ask some people, on this board and elsewhere, what show have you been watching for four seasons?  Because it doesn’t sound like Chuck.  While I am not trying to tell anyone that their opinion isn’t valid I do want to offer an opposing point of view, one that I think is a lot closer to the reality of how Chuck is made and presented. I think a lot of people are taking some things way too seriously and missing some of what they should be paying attention to if they want to get the most out of Chuck. I’ll probably revisit a lot of this later in a larger post I’m working on, but I wanted to weigh in while the topic is still on peoples minds, and perhaps see where some of the discussion goes before going too far on a larger post.

    I know I take the characters and their growth and journey pretty seriously sometimes, but that is because that is precisely what TPTB have showed me I should be investing in.  The spy plots and mythology, fun as they are, have always been “spy lite” and the McGuffin of the week.  Chuck has never been a tightly plotted serialized spy drama.  Ever.  As mentioned frequently, Chuck’s appeal has always been a cross-genre formula that takes some amazingly drawn and played characters on a fun, funny, and occasionally thrilling and dramatic journey.  If you are looking for a deeply drawn and accurately portrayed spy show with an intricate and detailed mythology, look elsewhere, ’cause Chuck never has been that and never will be.  And this is where I always get back to “it’s the story not the plot” that matters.  Taken on its own terms the plot is there, and sufficient, to drive the story and the characters.  If you look for answers or meaning in the intersect or the missions of course you’ll be frustrated and find it lacking, because frankly it isn’t there and never was. Was Seduction Impossible about stopping a counterfeiting ring?  Was Cat Squad about taking down a group of assassins called “The Gentle Hand”?  Was Colonel or Ring I about the demise of Fulcrum and Ted Roarke?  For that matter was the pilot about a stolen database of government secrets?  Chuck is, and always has been about the characters and the way their lives are changed, and how they grow, together.  It is about a man’s (and a woman’s) struggle to find some sort of balance in their life and to find some measure of redemption or to regain something they lost somewhere along their journey.  It has always been deeply personalized and intertwined with the family and its legacy.  As early as Alma Mater we saw that Chuck was being pulled into the spy world long before he knew it.  As early as the pilot we saw that much of the drama would come from Chuck’s struggle to maintain a semblance of a normal life and to keep his spy life from endangering his family or taking him from them.  The same theme is still there, just in a slightly different form.  The Bartowski family and legacy are intertwined with the spy life, and it is the repeated intrusion of that life into the family life that provides the tension and the conflict in Chuck’s, and now Sarah’s life.

    That said I also think the plot and the spy mythology are often misunderstood. There is a continuity there, despite recent cries of retcon, that is either missed, dismissed, or ignored.  Like the way the characters show new layers and depth as the story progresses we see, and have seen from the beginning, the plot is rarely the whole story the first, or even second time around.  Too often I see people closing themselves off to explanation and calling plot hole or retcon because the exposition is delayed or doesn’t meet their expectations.  There is also an absolutist approach, that there must be one motivation, one explanation given in the plot that explains the totality of a character’s actions, and the Volkoff story is the perfect example.  Mary took a mission when Chuck was 9 years old.  We don’t know the whole story on her motives for doing so yet, but as with Sarah going into VI we can sense that there is both a sense of responsibility and unique opportunity or qualification involved that made her the perfect candidate.  Once on that mission she became trapped.  We were shown repetedly why she couldn’t leave.  Volkoff followed her in both First Fight and Leftovers, leading him directly to the family she sought to protect.  We saw in Leftovers and Push Mix and later in Vivian why she couldn’t simply kill Volkoff and walk away, aside from the fact that it would be suicide for her.  Volkoff’s organization would remain largely intact and simply pass to another.  We also saw why Mary was never quite able to complete the mission by taking down Volkoff and his organization simultaneously.  Volkoff never fully trusted Mary, he was playing a 20 year game of cat and mouse.  There is your explanation for the 20 year mission, and we had it by Push Mix.  You can say it is unsatisfying or lacking if that is your feeling, but I think it is also important to acknowledge that it is on par with the Orion back story in the highly lauded season 2 as far as explanation and detail.

    Orion left because bad people would come after him and his family, so he dropped off the grid to protect them, resurfacing only when he needed to help Chuck. That was it.  End of story.  And we all accepted it as sufficient for the story, at that point.  Does the fact that Volkoff was Hartly Winterbottom change any of that?  Frankly no, it adds another layer.  Now we see that it isn’t just wanting the intersect that makes the CIA want Orion and hunt him.  Just as Chuck and team B became a danger to some powerful people when they found out about Agent X, Orion was a risk.  Fulcrum wanted the intersect, as did the CIA and the NSA, but the CIA also wanted anyone who knew about Agent X contained, and as we saw in Cliffhanger they didn’t care about collateral damage.  So perhaps Orion ran to protect his family, and to try to find and save his wife, and perhaps to try and save his friend.  He had many reasons to leave his family and take up the life of a spy, and they don’t have to be either/or or even in conflict.  Keeping his children safe by staying away may have been the primary reason he left, but taking up the search for his missing wife and hoping to find a way to fix his friend can still be a part of his years on the run and life as a spy.  So why is it retcon or diminishing his story that he tried to make many things right that went wrong?  Why does one reason have to negate others?  The same applies to Mary.  Once she was in VI perhaps there were times she could have pulled the trigger on Volkoff and walked away, but perhaps she was reluctant for any number of reasons from killing a friend to endangering herself to perhaps even creating an even worse heir to the Volkoff organization whom she couldn’t influence or access.  Could she take the chance that she wouldn’t be hunted down by Volkoff’s heir or organization and might end up leading them to her family?  Was it wrong of her to hang on to the hope that as long as she stayed alive and with Volkoff she could not only protect her family, but there was a chance she could complete her mission and save her friend?

    Now I understand the desire for more details and depth as the show and the story progress, and that is where I think some of the dissatisfaction is coming from. It isn’t from something that has changed about the show or the way it is written or presented, it is about us, and what we want, need, or expect from the show evolving or changing as the show and the characters evolve and change in some ways, while remaining true and unchanged in others.  In a lot of ways I sympathize.  I often wish for things the show doesn’t deliver, but that is about my expectations, not some decline or change in the show.  In the end I guess what bothers me most is that a lot of the fandom seems to complain about a decline I don’t see or about things they accepted about the show in season 1 or 2.  A part of me feels as if it’s unfair of us to try to change the deal, to now reject what we accepted when we became fans.

    So are there plot holes and legitimate criticism to be made?  Sure.  But frankly I also feel things have gotten out of hand to the point where some overly critical critics are sucking the air out of the room and leaving no space for the discussion of what is good and fun.  It bothers me because I see the most engaged and enthusiastic portion of the fanbase slipping away or going silent. I can’t help but believe that part of the decline in viewership over the last two seasons is a side affect from the most enthusiastic and engaged fans, the ones who talk about Chuck to friends and co-workers and more casual viewers, the ones who read the fan blogs even if they don’t comment, having their enthusiasm questioned and criticized to the point where they simply don’t bother anymore. It has definitely affected me.  I don’t point out plot holes or call stupid stick anymore because I know someone will take my words and use them to flog the writers, producers, and yes, even some fans.  Much as I’ve enjoyed this blog and everyone here one of the side effects is that there is now a voice in my head every time I watch Chuck pointing out every criticism, warranted or not, that is likely to show up on the blog (or elsewhere in the fandom) in the next few days.  After 4 years, going into the 5th Chuck is what it is, and complaining about things that have been there from the start isn’t going to change that.  In that sense it is about self censorship and a bit of self awareness.  If you think or realize you’ve moved on and aren’t satisfied with the show anymore, it is probably the polite thing to do, move on.  If you still enjoy the show remember that on occasion.  And maybe even say so.

    • atcDave says:

      Really excellent comment Ernie. I could probably bicker with you on a few points, but that’s kind of the whole point isn’t it? We so often get caught up in minutia we loose sight of the bigger picture; like say, what an awesome show Chuck is and we should be celebrating it not complaining over every perceived flaw! (sorry, that’s sort of the dumbed down version for folks like me!)

    • ArmySFC says:

      ernie…won’t quibble with your major comments. that’s your opinion, so there is no use arguing with you on it. the one thing i do think is off is the idea that 3.6 million people stopped watching chuck (or a significant portion) because they read negative comments on ANY blog. if you truly like a show, it shouldn’t matter what anyone’s else thinks, good or bad. another person or person’s view should not sway them into the other person’s point of view. can it happen? sure, but then is that fan really engrossed in the show?

      i don’t know your numbers here but, if what your saying is true. wouldn’t those fans that read the blogs, stop after they stopped watching the show? it’s just my opinion of course.

      what confuses me is people here (mods) can say and have said that season three killed or at least caused the majority of viewer loss to chuck. most didn’t like it. why can’t the same be said for season 4? maybe not as many have left as did in season 3 but 1.4 million lost viewers is not a small amount by any standards.

      • atcDave says:

        One huge difference between S3 and S4; every single casual viewer I know hated S3, even the ones who continued watching because they thought it would get better. While apart from some of the griping here, every single casual viewer I know enjoyed S4.
        Yeah I know that doesn’t account for why our numbers continued to slip. But eight people I know disliked S3, and liked S4.

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        @ArmySFC

        I wouldn’t say that S4 was a success, even though I enjoyed it a great deal. I really needed an escape from some things this year and S4 was great for that. But in regard to your question about why S4 doesn’t get the blame like S3 does: for many people (myself included) many of S4’s problems are the result of, or continuation of, Season 3’s mistakes.

        For example: the darkness and damage to the main characters that was a big theme of S3 was followed by S4’s emphasis on comedy and the proposal/wedding themes, with an extra ration of absurdity. This change was abrupt and avoided resolving some of the issues from S3 to the point where it struck many viewers as a retcon, just as many think that S3 was a retcon of Seasons 1 & 2. A lot of people think they overcompensated.

        Season 4 brought big changes to the writing staff since so many had left at the end of S3, and that changed the show on a different level.

        Then there is the issue of how S3 changed the viewers who stayed despite being unhappy with the show; I think that unhappiness has sometimes translated into exhaustion: some people just don’t have the patience they once did with the show’s flaws. Or what they perceive as flaws.

        I also think it would be a mistake to underestimate the effect of those fans who left the show last year and who have been talking it down. Chuck S4 has had to swim upstream against a lot of bad word of mouth/bad press, and that has had an effect.

        If you never saw S3, I don’t know if all of this makes any sense, but I would like to echo what Dave just posted: every viewer that I’ve spoken to who has seen both S3 and S4, prefers S4 by a mile. It’s just more fun.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Army, that’s a nice straw man you’ve got there. I’m not in any way claiming that 3.6 million people, or a significant fraction stopped watching because of negative comments on a blog. What I am saying is that some of the most engaged fan base have stopped coming to this blog as often because of the negative comments. A few have said so. When the negativity kills the enthusiasm for the biggest fans they stop talking about or promoting Chuck (or any other show) to their friends and co-workers. Most shows sheds viewers as they age. The ones that are successful in the long term manage to keep their numbers up by bringing in new viewers. Fans are about the only promotion Chuck got from about mid season 3 on, and if the fans are turned off and not promoting or watching the numbers drop. Just as we can make a difference at the margins by heavily participating in advertiser campaigns we can also make a difference at the margins by letting the show die a slow death by a thousand cuts.

        We interact with a lot of fans here, and I have to say that my experiences match Dave’s. While both are anecdotal last year people left the show or lost enthusiasm because they didn’t enjoy the direction the show took. This year I hear more about disliking the mood of some fans than I do about disliking the show.

      • Big Kev says:

        VV,
        I think you make a great point about the change in tone. The switch between S3 and S4 was quite drastic, as was the switch between S2 and S3. It jarred with me for a long time this season, but I got used to it, which is one of the reasons I much prefer the back half of this season to the front half.
        The good news is I don’t think there’s going to be any great change in tone for S5 – so no more tonal “whiplash”.

    • joe says:

      Ya know, minutia is the right word. Even as I read your words, Ernie, I’m thinking “Man, I actually missed that point.” And I know why – it’s a big story now, and there are a lot of details that I’ve tried to focus on and retain. It’s hard. The big picture, as you so correctly pointed out, is still about Chuck & Sarah and their struggle to find balance.

      Harry Tang was a great character. I don’t miss him all that much. Emmett was an even better character, and ditto. Neither do I miss whiny Chuck and ice-queen Sarah. I like where we are now; I like the way Morgan has grown up. And I like the way the bonds between Chuck and Sarah, bonds which seemed so fragile at first, are now the strongest thing I’ve ever seen depicted on television.

      • atcDave says:

        Ditto all that Joe!

      • Henry says:

        I don’t miss the ice-queen Sarah either, but may I say that I miss the frozen yoghurt-queen Sarah? 🙂

      • joe says:

        Oh, that’s funny, Henry! I do – I do – I do miss frozen yoghurt-queen and Fro-Yo-Princess Sarah.

        When was the last time you saw anybody look so good in orange??? 😉

    • andyt says:

      Ernie
      Many, many great points. I also feel that the core elements of the show have not changed over the last four seasons. Chuck at its heart is a comedy-action show. It is not serious drama. In fact, they play fast and loose with their mythology so that they do not become bogged down as other shows such as X-Files and Alias. In those shows the mythology became so cumbersome that it sucked the life out the show. Chuck does not do this.
      Another point hits home personally. I used to read and comment more frequently on the blog last year. However, I found that the discussions became stale because of the negativity of a few posters over what I perceived to by minor or irrelevant minutia as Joe says. While I don’t watch the show with that inner voice that you have, I find it less fun to come to the blog after a show. I would look forward to a longer analysis of these points from you as you struck a real chord with the sensibilities that I have had over the last few months. I love all seasons of Chuck largely equally, and believe almost every episode is equally good if for different reasons(except for the vs. the Truth). Keep writing.

    • Joeeph (can't be Joe) says:

      I agree completely with Ernie’s post above, for S1 and S2.

      But since the introduction of the Intersect 2.0, no, we haven’t been watching the same show.

      BTW, boards & blogs can get just as “stale” when the conversations are all ” puppy dogs & rainbows”.

      But from my chair, and after reading the posts farther up this thread, you won’t have to worry about negative ( or any) comments from myself again. The message has been received, loud & clear.

      I’ve enjoyed my time here at Chuck This and wish you all the best.

      Joseph (can’t be Joe)

      AKA @CaptMediocre1

      • joe says:

        Oh, brother.

        No, you weren’t the target, Joseph (it’s interesting that you thought you were, though). Fact is, THERE WERE NO TARGETS. Ernie’s essay is a general statement about the discussion.

        You’re right about the puppy dogs and rainbows, of course. But that was never in question. It’s about the difference between stating an opinion and dominating a discussion. It’s about the difference between speaking and hearing.

        What’s lost, maybe, is the notion that most everyone here has been amazing most of the time (including you, Joe), insightful, informative and simply delightful to read. It’s the occasional “threads from hell” (you know the ones – repetitive re-hashings of things we’ve gone over 15 times already – you can tell them by their length and the promiscuous use of the number 3 in the text, along with the famous 4-letter S-word) that get wearisome.

        From what I remember, you haven’t exactly instigated those, have you?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Well this is why I often wonder about some of these posts. This wasn’t specifically directed at anyone, nor is it designed to chase anyone away. Posting and even critical posting is fine. What I am asking for is some self-moderation. We don’t censor on this board, and because we have a very mature and wonderful group of posters here that has worked out great. We can almost always count on those who comment to remain respectful and to keep the language and attitude in check. Most conflicts are short-lived and resolved quickly. However, on occasion things have flared up and we (the authors) feel the need to step in and act as moderators, asking for cooperation and civility from all parties. Let’s just say that this is a similar situation. Call it a hostile posting environment. You’ve read it on this thread and we’ve heard about it BTS, some of our readers are leaving or staying away for longer periods because of the tone and the mood of the posts. I would hope that those who come here and enjoy posting and reading would show some restraint and allow others to do the same. About the 5th or 6th time someone has expressed their opinion that TPTB suck at serialized spy drama or that there is too much Charah or Morgan now, I think we can conclude the point is made and allow those who don’t necessarily share that view to have a conversation without another poster jumping in to once again make the point that TPTB suck at serialized spy drama or that there is too much Charah or Morgan now.

        I’ve sat back and allowed any number or season three bashing threads to go on undisturbed, and I’ve done the same with those who like to point out plot holes, even though I don’t agree with a lot that they say. All I’m asking for is the same courtesy be extended back to those who want to share their views. Views that may not be shared by all who read and post here.

      • Big Kev says:

        Ernie,
        Kudos to you for calling it like you see it, as always.
        I agree with you, actually. Constant rehashes of discussions and points wasn’t helpful in S3 and it’s not helpful in S4. I’m a hypocrite as I type that, because I’ve been guilty of getting into too many circuitous discussions about S4 – so I’m going to try and restrain myself from now on 🙂
        Good, bad or indifferent, the season is done. It’s in the books, and those who enhoyed it should be allowed to enjoy it. Those who didn’t either have to revise their expectations for S5 or move on. I’m going to try and do the first, because I’m not quite ready to do the second.

      • Big Kev says:

        Oh…..forgot to add this thought. Why don’t we have a rewatch of the top 10 episodes as revealed in the last poll? Maybe that will give everyone a chance to spend some time talking unambiguously about things that we love.

      • ArmySFC says:

        can’t be joe. no its, puppies, kittens and rainbows, with the occasional rainbow kitten. joe, your wrong. there were targets, those of us that don’t see the show and see the rainbow kittens and say so. i have always said the show has good and bad parts.

        may season 5 bring you all the rainbow kittens your guys want.

        Dave, your right in the post below, there is no hope for some of us. morgan getting the intersect. i only see it as comedy and screw ups waiting to happen.

        your guys have been a blast to talk with over the past couple months. if all goes well maybe next year you wont have any negative opinions. Peace Out!

    • Crumby says:

      I do agree that Chuck has never been Alias or whatever other show that would have been tighter in terms of spy plot. It’s always been this way. And I also agree that it’s the characters and their individual and collective journey that are really important, and the heart of the show.

      However there are two points I want to address.

      First the show itself choose to make the spy part of the show more important, more serious in S3 and it’s only fair that fans therefore have taken that part of the show more seriously as well since then.

      Second, Chuck’s mythology is really centered on the characters. Bryce, Fulcrum, the Intersect, Jill, Orion, Shaw, Mary, Volkoff… Everything is personal. When the mythology or spy story fail to make much sense, then it reflects poorly on the characters.

      A tighter spy story would only serve the character but the accumulation of inconsistencies, nonsense, retcons or non-resolutions diminish them for me. That is what really bothers me on this mythology/spy plot thing.

      • atcDave says:

        Crumby you do manage to bring out once again one of the reasons why I really don’t care for S3 so much (they made too much of the spy plot/mythology). But I think that’s exactly why S4 works so well for me, the spy plot/mythology generally made perfect sense, but it was back to it’s S1/S2 level of importance versus the character development and humor.

      • Crumby says:

        That’s the problem for me. The spy plot/mythology didn’t make much sense to me in S4. It comes to a point where I have to think at the episodes as standalone to make it work.

        A few example:
        – Desintersecting Volkoff so easily in Cliffhanger really makes you wonder why Mary didn’t use the PSP on him.
        – Mary knew about Agent X but did she try to do something about it or not?
        – Mary stayed 20 years with Volkoff because she needed to take down the network. They did that in Push Mix. So how come Vivian could take over VI?

        And I’d say that S4 was too focus on personal matters, Chuck and Sarah ended up looking really self-centered at times. It felt like the characters and relationships were driving the story instead of reacting to it.

        If they managed to make a tighter mythology/spy plot (no need to create something overly complex) that really drives the story and allow for characters and relationships development in S5, with the tone they had in S4, I think that’d make for a stronger season.

      • atcDave says:

        But see Crumby that’s exactly the point. There ARE possible explanations for all those things. On the PSP; perhaps First Fight was the first time Mary had been able to get ahold of the thing, and perhaps it would only work on the 2.0. Its not too hard to believe Orion’s laptap may have been the only remaining complete copy of Orion’s many years of research and it wasn’t possible to deactivate the older Intersect without the laptop.

        Because Chuck has never been ABOUT the spy plot/mythology, we can’t expect lengthy and thorough explanations on every aspect of the show. For those of us who are having a good time it is no burden to just say “there could be a reason for that, and its not important enough to me to worry about it”.
        In fact, I would say that really is SOP in most television and movies. Those few that really offer explanations for every excruciating detail are generally considered boring and don’t have much of a fan base. Most stories told in the visual mediums will simplify many details, including backstories and character motivations. If the show is engaging, most viewers can overlook, or “fill in the gaps”; they will enjoy what the show does well and not sweat the rest as long as it doesn’t insult intelligence.
        And that’s exactly where Chuck is at. And seriously, you can’t say it insults your intelligence without claiming to be smarter than the rest of us. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but that’s how it works. Most of us here enjoy the show enormously and are happy to fill in those gaps, because they just aren’t that big of a deal to us. And I sure don’t want them to shorten a scene between Chuck and Sarah or Casey and Morgan so we can get more Intersect techno-babble. I’d rather make up my own justification and get on with the fun stuff! If you don’t like certain aspects of the show or creative decisions that have been made, that’s fine; you know we criticize those things freely around here. But so many of the arguements we’ve heard recently seem to be about not liking the way the show has always been, or complaining about things the majority of us here actually like. THAT has become tiresome.
        There are plenty of sites where the authors simply like to complain about the show, that’s not us. We are currently working on a rewatch and discussion of the later part of S4 AND the other top ten episodes (according to our polls). WE are very excited to do this because we love this show and hope many of our readers will join us in a summer long celebration of Chuck.

      • Crumby says:

        I understand your frustration with my comments Dave, and I’m not trying to ruin the fun for anybody, so I’ll end this conversation with that post.

        I agree that everything doesn’t need to be explain of course, that’d be boring and great it is when you’re able to put 2 and 2 together by yourself and wonder at your discovery? 😉

        However, to be able to put 2 and 2 together you need to have enough indications to do so. I feel that’s what lacking here. A line or two sometimes that would let us now something which associated with something else explains everything. I don’t need to hear Chuck do the entire reasoning for me, but sometime I feel like there are so many interpretations that I don’t know what to think, and so I don’t always get the characters.

        Which brings me to my last point. Like you I don’t care about Intersect techno babble. I don’t need to know how it works or whatever (although a simple ‘it wouldn’t have worked on his Intersect’ would do it). What I’m talking about is Mary’s character. Did she really let her friend being Volkoff and not try to save him? Because she didn’t try to use the PSP on him, she let him roast in jail after he got arrested, there is zero sign that she tried to help him. You can assume she did, but it isn’t based on any fact we were given. You can also assumed she did nothing in order to protect her family. There are many things you assume about Mary, but in the end I just don’t care anymore. I have no clue who Mary is, and it could change tomorrow anyway. And that is what bothers me. Not just because her character is important, but because she affects the other character.
        I don’t understand how VI was taken over not because of plot details like weren’t the funds frozen once Volkoff was arrested, I can let that go, but how Chuck, Sarah, Casey and Mary could let that happen, along with the entire CIA. In terms of character and who they are, it bothers me. Just like it bothered me to not understand Sarah’s motivations about the prenup which had nothing to do with mythology or spy plot. I don’t care about where the money come from, what did the prenup say or whatever. But I care about what people do what they do, and what does it say about them.

        Anyway, what I wanted to say in the first place was just that for me, the complains about the spy plot/mythology have nothing to do with wanting the show to be more of a “spy show” but it regards the characters and relationships, and how it affects them or make them look like. I just wanted to clear that up because I didn’t feel that it was understood.

      • atcDave says:

        That does make some sense Crumby. But I do think we fans have a long history of trying to make more out of some parts of the show than are there. So much of Chuck is just a comedy, but we all (and I do include myself on this) take these characters very seriously and want them to feel real. But we need to remember the heart of the show is rooted in the spy comedy genre (with “Spies Like Us” listed as a major influence) and it is a constant struggle not to make more of Chuck than it is. One of my co-workers made the comment “Chuck is like Get Smart, only not as stupid”. I kind of feel like that is setting the bar awfully low, but perhaps closer to the truth than we often like to think.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Crumby, I originally started this reply before your clarification, but I think it may help (perhaps) with some of the “plot holes” that get brought up. Some of it I’ll probably save for a larger piece I’m working on. I don’t totally disagree with you, but I don’t fully agree either. I’m not against tighter plots and better continuity or more developed spy-stuff mythology, especially when it comes to the characters, but I think we all need to ask ourselves at what cost? Dave pointed out that this is not a cost-free proposition. There is limited screen and production time available to TPTB and they need to use it judiciously. Chuck already does more with less than nearly any other show on TV, and I don’t think we can assume that the extra time and effort to tighten things up on the spy mythology and plot continuity front would be cost free, especially with the budget cuts from season 3 onward.

        Yes, it is true we should take our cues about what to invest in from TPTB, and they clearly were more enamored with the spy possibilities and exploring them through Chuck in season 3. I think that season 3 however was a bit of over-reach and ended up being pulled back a bit to get back the balance a lot of people like. I think the opening arcs of this season, by going back to a few of the season 3 character issues and resolving them in a far more satisfying way was TPTB cluing us in to the fact that they were back to character focused drama. Recent interviews have pretty much confirmed that as Fedak now refers to Chuck as a character based action-comedy, noting that there has always been a two pronged approach with both spy and character mythology. I understand that for some people who are and were more invested in the spy-stuff and a more dramatic direction this is a bit of a disappointment, and expectations they developed in season 3 are no longer being met. I wish I had an answer for that other than you can’t please everyone all the time, but as we seem to agree, when Chuck is firing on all cylinders nothing beats it.

        Now as for the plot holes everyone complains about I keep seeing something similar in a lot of them. I can’t remember who, but right after Gobbler someone complained that Sarah and Mary should have shot Volkoff and taken the Hydra device when they had the chance, because that made sense. Why they didn’t was an unexplained plot hole or represented sloppy lazy writing apparently. But let’s take them at their word and play the what-if game. First, were either Mary or Sarah armed? We know Volkoff didn’t fully trust Sarah, he was having some fun manipulating her. Mary didn’t seem to be armed either, but let’s assume they could shoot Volkoff. Then what? They saunter out of Volkoff industries with a device they know virtually nothing about and return home to live happily ever after? To me it doesn’t pass even the most superficial scrutiny even in real time. But what about the retcons? Can they change the situation to where something like the PSP should have been used differently at the time knowing what we know now?

        We can do the same thing with the PSP. Now that the Agent X reveal lets us know Volkoff was an intersect implant. Should Mary have removed it at the time? Ask yourself, then what? First of all, as Dave points out, would it even work? Would Volkoff merely stand still and watch what Mary showed him? Assume it would and he would, then what? Suddenly, Mary, a wanted traitor has Hartley Winterbottom, a very embarrassing mistake of the CIA’s creation that they want swept away and they are standing in front of Chuck and Sarah in Orion’s secret lair full of stolen secrets. That should end well for everyone…problem solved! Mary has completed her mission, cleared her name, saved her friend and protected Chuck and Sarah from any harm. So long as they’re all willing to disappear off the face of the earth and they don’t mind someone else running Volkoff industries. What Mary did or did not do is fully consistent with the plot if you examine the ramifications of going in the direction you wonder about. You need to keep in mind that the “retcon” reveals only one additional motivation Mary might have had, another layer if you will, it does not necessarily negate the others. Mary is still motivated by a desire to protect her family by keeping them secret from Volkoff and his organization but the Agent X “retcon” reveals she also has to protect them from the CIA if they find out the true origins of Alexi Volkoff. In addition she has to protect herself (Hartley’s last hope) and Hartley from the CIA. Volkoff may be best equipped to do that for the time being, so having no perfect or even necessarily good options, she chooses the least bad. Deintersect Chuck, effectively removing him from field work, fake both Chuck and Sarah’s death, taking them off Volkoff’s radar, and destroy Orion’s work to further establish Volkoff’s trust.

        So I find myself a bit torn on whether to address a lot of these. In some ways a lot of people are calling something left unresolved or ambiguous a plot hole and others are calling stupid stick or sloppy writing for not taking the plot in a direction I find doesn’t pass the most cursory test of taking the chain of events to the next logical step or conclusion. But I hate to sound dismissive, especially where individual tastes and expectations are concerned. If Frost and Sarah are professional spies would they be dumb enough to grab a device they know nothing about, and one that may be totally useless at that point, and basically commit suicide by killing Volkoff? Would Mary, who is playing a dangerous game against both the CIA and Volkoff jump to the endgame without a plan for what happens next just because she has access to a device that might be useful for one aspect of what she wants to do? To me it often seems people are finding problems where none exist, or where we’ve seen them take liberties all along.

        So yeah, tighter plots and more detailed mythology would be great, but writing those takes time and effort that either requires more resources and time, neither of which Chuck has, or could result in losing a lot of the aspects of the show a lot of us love. The mythology can, as someone noted and I’ve said before, become a straightjacket or a weight which limits the show and the directions it can go. Leaving some ambiguity where our own imaginations can fill in the details allows the writers enough leeway to change direction or take up a new arc quickly. By and large they’ve done this very well, so in the end I choose to appreciate and celebrate the wealth of things TPTB manage to deliver rather than resent the few they don’t, especially going into the last season.

        Oh, and if you’re confused you can always come here. We live for overthinking and explaining these things. 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Besides, it would have been a darn shame to waste such an epic comment after you went to all the trouble to compose it!

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Well I obviously had to edit a lot out for the sake of brevity. 😉

  24. Silvercat42 says:

    Ernie, thank you so much for your post. You’ve said what I’ve been trying to say much better. I have stopped going to many other sites because they basically were dominated by negative comments. I enjoy Chuck This primarily because most of the comments are cogent analyses of the show, its characters, it’s story lines, etc. Unfortunately, some people now feel it’s their duty to bring their negativity here. Please follow Ernie’s suggestion. If you no longer enjoy the show, move on. If you do, let us know once in awhile. A Chuck fan site should not be a hostile environment for Chuck fans.

    • jason says:

      @silvercat – I loved season 4, much more than season’s 1 or 2, which I did not like as much as many – for the same reasons I did not like the shaw season. What I found comfortable on this site, was my complaints about season 3 were largely not shouted down on chuckthis last season. I have done my best to try to convince others of season 4’s genius this season, but I try to be tolerant of those who express differing views from mine. I don’t think it is fair to say to anyone here if you don’t share a particular POV, don’t post here or don’t watch the show, seemingly, this site was formed for near the opposite reason.

      @ernie – you are going to have loads of fun this summer as I think this site will be ripe for the type of analysis you provide. Is it accurate to say you will be defending / proving the general notion that chuck’s 4 season long story has a serious side & is well written mythology wise, all four seasons? My one complaint about your theories has always been not enough of that side of Chuck is told on screen, too much is left to fill in the blanks. Some of that makes for awesome TV, but I am hoping that season 5 is strong in that regard. Interestingly, the end of episode 4×24 with clyde drexler’s conspiracy comment is fedak’s first salvo in making that happen is season 5.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Jason, I think (like me) Silvercat is not advocating anyone who is a fan of the show needs to leave if they feel they still have something to contribute or gain from the site. There are a few extreme cases however, and I think we saw that with Old Darth. He basically stopped enjoying the show, and to his credit realized he didn’t have anything to add to the discussion that he hadn’t already said, so he moved on and let us discuss what we like about the show. It was the polite thing to do. If in marginal cases you find yourself being critical more often than not I’m not advocatring anyone stop posting or leave, just perhaps self moderate a bit and realize you don’t have to insert your opinion into EVERY discussion. My example is the season 3 bashing threads. I see it all the time, we get a new poster who has just discovered Chuck and needs to get some season 3 anger off their chest, and some of the regulars help him vent. That’s fine on occasion, even though I don’t agree, I no longer feel the need to jump into that discussion and defend every aspect I like about season 3. In the same way I’d hope that those who perhaps find something lacking in the show would realize that even though they are welcome to voice their opinions and dissatisfaction that it isn’t always necessary to remind those discussing things they like that their opinion isn’t universal.

        As far as more analysis I think everyone here will be glad to know that we have a few things in the works. Re-watches and reviews, and some fun speculation are being planned, so there should be more announcements as the details are nailed down.

        As for filling in the blanks or charting the journey I have a piece in the works that may address the feeling that we have to put in too much work as fans to pull out meaning and story as well as one that covers the season and the series mythology.

        And as always thanks for your comments.

      • jason says:

        thx ernie, as always!!!!

      • atcDave says:

        I think there’s also a big difference between criticism that still has hope for the future versus an attitude of giving up. No matter how ugly we got with S3 at times there was usually the expectation that a corner would be turned; a lot of what we’ve seen in the late S4 criticisms includes no such hope.

      • Silvercat42 says:

        Jason, expressing points of view that might be contrary to mine is completely appropriate and acceptable. What I have been objecting to is how a few posters have become so angry and upset about Season 4 and the general direction of Chuck that they think they have to insert their negative opinions over and over. And, frankly, I find most of their objections very nit picky. To me, the only purpose they have in posting negative stuff is to point out how stupid we are for enjoying the show despite its flaws and shortcomings.

        I have been a genre fan for over 40 years. I get enough grief from non-fans who think my tastes and love for sci fi and fantasy are weird. I don’t need people on a fan site basically implying the same thing about my love for Chuck. When the environment becomes too hostile, I stop visiting for days, even weeks, and I’m not the only one. That should not be the case on a site sponsored by and provided for FANS!

      • atcDave says:

        SC there’s been days I didn’t want to come to the site either. But for the record, it was founded by people who love Chuck and wanted a place where we could celebrate our favorite show. Safe to say, most of us are sci-fi/fantasy nerds too!

  25. jason says:

    My romcom interpretation of chuck has centered about sarah has been dangled about chuck for a while, then taken away. In the first two seasons, this was done in a very methodical 2 steps FORWARD (not backward) 1 step backward traditional wt/wt. In season 3, the writers essentially flipped, and did a 2 or 3 or 4 steps backward, maybe a baby step forward, to the point those invested in chuck and sarah were giving up hope. Schwartz then made a video when he realized they took it too far, with tape from the honeymooners and such – several leaks came out about eps 13 and 14 – some of those leaks were pretty official, and the show was saved.

    Season 4 really did change, but still in eps 4×6, 4×11/12, and 4×23/24 Sarah was taken away from chuck. Still, the season was a 24 step forward movement, no steps back, the take aways were fake outs, and each episode was a step or two forward.

    For season 5, I’m saying, hoping, and sort of theorizing, that season 5’s hook is going to be morgan getting taken from chuck & sarah & casey & alex rather than sarah being taken from chuck. This will set up many possibilities, with maybe sarah even going giant blond shemale to get morgan back, casey will be ballistic, and chuck certainly will have a phase 3 moment if morgan were in harms way.

    I think giving Morgan the intersect, might be a step to raise the morgan stakes a bit to set up a fall, a one step forward two steps back plot toward the end of the season, even though it will be comedy gold for a while.

    • atcDave says:

      That’s an interesting spec Jason. I could see Morgan being used as a plot point that way, while keeping the core of teamB together and allowing for a maximum of Chuck and Sarah time.

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